Dear TV Writers: Your Fear of the Moonlighting Curse is Killing Your Show

What is the Moonlighting Curse, and why is it such a big deal to television writers? Read this in-depth look at the crippling phenomenon and find out!

Getting Rid of the Stigma: Mental Illness in Young Adult Fiction, by Megan Mann

In this piece, Megan brilliantly discusses the stigma of mental illness in literature and how some young adult novels are helping to change the landscape for this discussion.

In Appreciation of the Everyday Heroine

A mask does not a hero make. In this piece, I discuss why it's wrong to dismiss characters without costumes or masks as superheroes.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Overlooking Tiffany Haddish's Girls Trip Performance is a Slight by the HFPA [Contributor: Megan Mann]


I’m going to be honest with you guys: I absolutely love awards season. I love rounding my friends up and making snacks so we can enjoy the shows together, watching the red carpet and believing that — while in my pajamas — I am fully capable of being a judge on Fashion Police. And I love playing the game with my friend Molly of who can guess more winners correct. These are traditions that I firmly believe in and look forward to every year.

But this year I’m not as excited as I usually am. After hearing the Golden Globes nominations, I’m sitting here wondering what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is thinking. They’re placing movies, such as the absolute knockout debut of Jordan Peele, Get Out, in the wrong categories, overlooking some of the best films of the year (Goodbye Christopher Robin and Breathe come immediately to mind), nominating bizarre performances (Yes, I’m looking at Ansel Elgort in Baby Drive because honestly? No.), completely shutting out Greta Gerwig for her absolutely stunning first turn as director of the incredible Lady Bird, and generally overlooking some seriously standout performances that made cinema so lovely this year.

However, there’s one performance in particular that has me reeling. Sure, there are some obvious omissions such as Beanie Feldstein in Lady Bird and Andrew Garfield in Breathe, but there’s only one that really has me angry.

One of the best performances this year (not just comedy or drama or suspense or whatever genre), and one of the single most impressive was Tiffany Haddish in Girls Trip.

Now, for those of you who have not seen Girls Trip, you’re already missing out. It’s a story that would resonate with any girl and her group of friends. It’s about four girls who met in college and have gone through the ups and downs of life together ever since. But it’s been a while since they’ve seen each other. When Ryan, the group member who has skyrocketed to fame, is asked to speak at the Essence festival, she invites her girls along — despite the years between them and drama that was the catalyst. It’s up and down, a laugh riot and a truly emotional piece of work.

But it’s Tiffany Haddish’s performance that stands out above the rest. While most of us are familiar with Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett-Smith, and while Regina Hall is a star in her own right, (and soon to star in the adaptation of one of 2017’s biggest novels The Hate U Give), it’s Haddish most of us are unfamiliar with. From the second she steps on the screen and delivers her first joke, you know she’s going to shine. She delivers each line with immense sincerity and kills every joke in the film.

However, comedy is more than just making someone laugh. It’s my humble opinion (and you’re free to disagree with it) that if comedy isn’t rooted in something fundamental or doesn’t have some sort of emotional tether, it’s simply not going to work. While Haddish has you absolutely rolling in your seat and making you cry with her borderline naivete and outright candor, she was also sweet and caring, loving and understanding. After defending her friend without hesitation earlier in the film and making us laugh, it’s at the end of that night that she wants to bring the girls together to pray and thank God for bringing her very best friends together again. Her blatant sexual prowess is a riot, but after a major blowout, she reminds her friends that she would do anything for them — and be there for them no matter what. You can tell that she truly means it.

So it concerns me that the Hollywood Foreign Press Aassociation would overlook such a multilayered, versatile performance. If we can nominate Melissa McCarthy for her outlandish and raunchy turn in Bridesmaids, why are we overlooking Haddish for one of the best performances, comedically, in 2017? When I watch these award shows, I want there to be equal representation. I want there to be women of all different shapes, sizes, colors, credences, and nationalities represented in the nominations. I want to know that the group of women representing in each category were chosen based not on what they’ve given to cinema over time, but what they’ve given to cinema within the confines of the awards season calendar.

Overlooking this performance is downright shameful on the part of the HFPA. If you went to the movies this year or rented Girls Trip from your local library, Redbox. or your Amazon account, you know that Haddish gave an award-winning performance as Dina — the essential glue that holds the Flosse Posse together. She is the one who overlooks past mistakes and just wants to enjoy her gal pals and their precious time together. She was one of the biggest reasons why that movie was such a smash hit.

In not nominating her, the HFPA proves that they care more for big, established names than they do pure, raw talent. Do I believe that some of those household names deserve to be nominated? Of course I do. Did some of the lesser-known actors creep in this year for their deserving place? Obviously. But overlooking talent like that of Tiffany Haddish is plain ignorant, to be honest. Of all of the performances, it should be her name that is in the Best Supporting Actress category. It’s ridiculous and unbelievable that her name was not roll called for her wildly deserving performance.

And I know I’m not even close to the only one who believes that.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Arrow 6x09 Recap: "Irreconcilable Differences" (The Honeymoon's Over) [Contributor: Marilyn]


"Irreconcilable Differences"
Original Airdate: December 7, 2017

We’ve reached the midseason finale of Arrow. Where does the time go? As sad as I am to see the show leave us for the next five or six weeks, I’m thrilled to get to watch what heads off this episode: Oliver and Felicity’s wedding reception. Because of course, Donna Smoak would not let this wedding go uncelebrated. And because this show loves its main couple and the fans. Don’t even tell me I’m wrong about that.

The episode kicks off with the grand reception and boy... is it ever grand, right down to the couple on top of the tiered wedding cake that look exactly like Oliver and Felicity. Oliver is happy to have Thea out of her coma and in attendance but he’s also a bit nervous because Felicity isn’t there yet. It’s kind of adorable how nervous he is. Thea points out that the two are already married, so there’s really nothing to stress out about. And that’s when Felicity arrives, on the arms of her proud parents.

And to categorize Oliver’s expression as “awestruck” seems like an understatement. I’ve never had anyone look at me that way before... and I’ve been married nearly twenty years. These two actors certainly know how to sell the chemistry, I’ll give them that. Plus, Arrow pulls out all the stops, having Felicity enter in slow motion, and to beautiful music. After Donna gives the couple a bit of a hard time for eloping and not having a proper Jewish wedding, Oliver steals his wife away and they share a sweet kiss.

The reception is perfect. There is cake cutting (and feeding), bouquet tossing (Curtis catches it, narrowly beating out Donna), and a first dance (featuring Etta James’ “At Last” which is so on point I could weep). We even get a cute scene with Oliver and Felicity talking to the Hoffmans (their old neighbors from Ivy Town), and get to see Curtis flub his speech and Rene smoothly take over. As if that wasn’t enough, we even get a bit of awkwardness between Noah, Donna, and Quentin, when the latter cuts in on the former dancing together.

Sadly, then the plot of the episode interrupts and we must get on with the rest of the episode.

Quentin gets a call from Jean Loring, Oliver’s attorney. Apparently, she’s learned that the “smoking gun” in Oliver’s case vs. the FBI is a witness willing to testify that he’s the Green Arrow. But it gets even better. It’s someone on the team. I found it rather adorable and awesome that Oliver didn’t even consider for a nano-second that it could be Felicity or Diggle. Those two were out of contention immediately. The newbies on the other hand? Well...

Oliver is upset. And rightly so, but he wears his betrayal like a cloak for almost the entire rest of the episode. Someone he has trusted — that he has brought into his life and welcomed even at his wedding reception — has sold him out. And not a minor thing either; he could be locked up for life, away from his wife and son. As a man who finally has gotten his hands on everything he’s ever wanted, the threat of having it torn away is a bitter pill to swallow. He’s immediately suspicious of all the newbies and Felicity offers to track them because... well, that’s what we do on Team Arrow. We all have trackers installed, apparently. I mean, it’s super handy when one of them is kidnapped I guess?

The team learns that Dinah is meeting with Vigilante. And Vigilante knows who Green Arrow really is. I’m a bit unclear on whether or not he knew before Dinah said Oliver’s name, but the fact is that Oliver is concerned Vigilante would rat him out to the FBI. So Dinah is promptly shunned and she takes it about as well as you’d expect.

Team Arrow has been her family and life since they found her, and now to find that there’s no foundation of trust there? It stings more than a little. The rest of the team is upset to learn that Oliver and company have been tracking them and it leads to a lot of bickering. Amidst that bickering, Rene drops a bomb: He is the one who talked to Watson and has agree to testify against Oliver.

Rene explains that the FBI agent used his daughter against him. She knew he was Wild Dog and could make it so he’d never see his daughter again if he failed to cooperate. Rene did what any father would do, which Oliver recognizes later (thankfully so, since that’s essentially what he did when he left the team to spend time with William). But before Oliver finds understanding, he feels the betrayal and he tells Rene to leave. Curtis and Dinah aren’t too happy though.

Things go from dicey to worse when Black Siren, acting under Cayden James’ orders yet again, abducts Quentin and knocks out Thea. Cayden is holding Quentin hostage in return for some device that is being held at ARGUS. The device is apparently something that will help Cayden build this super bomb he’s been threatening to use for a while now. He wants the team to break into ARGUS, steal the device, and trade it to him for Lance. If they don’t cooperate, Lance is dead. It’s kind of a no-brainer and Oliver brings Rene back because he knows they need the whole team on deck for this.

They get into ARGUS, take the device, and arrange for the trade. Simple, right? Except Cayden realizes pretty much right off the bat that they’ve sabotaged the device and he can’t use it any longer. The deal is off. Curtis and Rene disobey orders from Oliver to go hunt down Lance, which ends up being a good thing, but Oliver doesn’t see it that way after the fact. Black Siren lets Lance go, so he’s fine, but Oliver is feeling very upset that the team didn’t follow the chain of command.

Rene is out because Oliver doesn’t believe in giving a third warning, prompting Dinah to bow out as well. She goes right to Vigilante, telling him she needs someone who will stick by her and that may just be him. Curtis also leaves, claiming he feels disrespected. It leaves the Original Team Arrow, alone in the bunker. Which is a bit eerie but also not the worst thing that’s ever happened.

Of course, we have to end with something juicy and that is the reveal that Cayden is not just working with Black Siren, but with Anatoly, Vigilante, and Ricardo Diaz as well. It’s a whole flock of villains, waiting to rain down badness on Oliver and Star(ling) City.

And that’s all we have until the middle of January. I choose to believe that Oliver and Felicity jetted off to Aruba after this to spend a long, sun-soaked honeymoon together while Thea and Raisa kept William company at home.

So what did you think about Arrow’s midseason finale? Was it great or did you think it was lackluster? And how many times have you re-watched those reception scenes? Sound off below!

The Flash 4x09 Review: "Don’t Run" (Chekhov’s Knife) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]


"Don’t Run"
Original Airdate: December 5, 2017 

It’s midseason finale time on The Flash! You know what that means: an okay episode vaguely hinting at the season’s main plot arc, with a shocking final five minutes that lead into weeks of hiatus. This episode, “Don’t Run,” fits that formula to a T and leaves us with the run-up to a comics-inspired storyline that the show has been hinting at since the first season’s finale.

I, for one, was just impressed by the implication that the writers actually plan stuff that far ahead.

THE START


As usual, the big crossover event is largely ignored when things go back to normal. All we get as hints to the happenings of “Crisis on Earth-X” is references to Barry and Iris’s honeymoon in Bali, the newlyweds opening wedding gifts, and one line from Iris about how her wedding kinda got sidelined twice — once by alternate-Earth crossover shenanigans, and a second time by a last-second interruption by Felicity and Oliver jumping on the bandwagon for wedded bliss.

The gift unwrapping scene drops a couple foreshadowing clues: first, Barry and Iris get a fancy knife set from someone, missing one knife and with no card. Second, Iris notices that Barry isn’t speed-cleaning the wrapping debris and comments on it, and Barry replies that he doesn’t feel like he “needs” his powers anymore. He’s more at peace now and doesn’t need the speed to make all his problems disappear like he used to. It’s kind of interesting how this simple, light little scene ends up establishing two versions of the old Chekhov’s Gun dramatic principle: one that’s very direct (the knife), and another that’s more philosophical or emotional (the running).

When Barry and Iris are coming back from exchanging some of their unwanted gifts at the store, they run into DeVoe (or, more accurately, The Thinker, since he’s in his fancy villain chair). The couple is separated and Barry is swiped, leaving Iris to deal with the aftermath. It wouldn’t be such a problem, if not for the fact that Caitlin gets swiped as well, by Amunet Black. So Team Flash is down two members, both kidnapped, and Iris has to get them both back. Unfortunately, Iris asks Cisco to use his Vibe powers to find Barry and Cisco gets blasted by whatever protections DeVoe has put around his new prisoner, sending Cisco out of commission. If he’d tried finding Caitlin first, he probably would have — and Iris wouldn’t have needed to tax their resources by looking for both of them or, ultimately, making the decision on who to focus on.

CAITLIN


During the kidnapping, Amunet stuck a dampening cuff on her and confirms, once they arrive at an abandoned hospital, that she doesn’t need Killer Frost — she needs Dr. Caitlin Snow. Even though I don’t think Caitlin has ever been a surgeon, Amunet expects Caitlin to perform a delicate surgery on a metahuman she shot in the head and she tells Caitlin that if she doesn’t do it, or if her patient dies, Caitlin will be killed.

Caitlin’s storyline has a couple nice moments in it, though it initially seems like pointless distraction from Barry dealing with DeVoe. First off, it’s interesting that what drove Caitlin out of the lab is learning that everyone loves Killer Frost. Her friends have inside jokes with Killer Frost. Killer Frost has her own drink at Jitters. Killer Frost is cool and funny and helped fight alternate-Earth Nazis with everyone. The in-universe favoritism of Killer Frost over Caitlin Snow sounds like what The Flash fans online have been saying about favoring Killer Frost over Caitlin Snow, so I wonder if that was the inspiration for this character beat, taking Caitlin’s relationship with her alter-ego from fear to jealousy.

When she’s kidnapped and the metahuman she’s meant to be operating on, Dominic, shares his story with her, he and Caitlin have some charming moments of connection, which is another little thing I liked about Caitlin’s story. Dominic’s just a regular TSA agent who got caught on that bus with all the other metas created after Barry’s exit from the Speed Force, but the power he received — the ability to read the thoughts of the people around him — is a commodity, and one that Amunet already has a buyer for.

Dominic has a piece of metal wedged near the base of his skull, but he says it doesn’t hurt. I’ve watched the episode twice and I can’t figure out why he’s not in pain, or if it’s important that he’s not in pain. Still, Caitlin says that the piece of metal has to go, and that removing it might be beyond her abilities. This is where the third interesting thing in Caitlin’s plot comes along: a pep talk from the villain, of all people. Amunet shows that she does genuinely acknowledge how bright, resourceful, and resilient Caitlin is, telling her captive exactly what she needs to hear after being surrounded by Killer Frost fandom.

Caitlin takes that pep talk to heart, removes the hunk of metal from Dominic’s head, and devises a plan to escape Amunet by faking a medical emergency. Also, the surgery took about five seconds, so... not as difficult as Caitlin made it out to be, I guess. Caitlin knocks the evildoers out with anesthetic, team members arrive to help in their escape, Dominic gets invited to the office Christmas party, and Caitlin feels better about herself — and she made a new friend! But wait...!

BARRY


Barry wakes up in the Thinker’s sanctuary, surrounded by an invisible barrier that he can’t phase through. Most of Barry’s part of the episode is spent with him listening to Thinker’s nefarious plotting, quipping at everything the guy says, and trying to figure out what, exactly, he wants. Since we got earlier scenes of Mr. and Mrs. DeVoe talking about Clifford eventually not saying things with his own voice, the audience is led to believe that DeVoe’s plan is to transfer his consciousness into Barry’s body, but Barry assumes DeVoe wants his powers. Barry, the man is in a wheelchair and speedster powers — despite what three years of supervillains might have made you think — aren’t even that cool.

Inspired by something said by DeVoe’s wife, Barry learns how to make himself invisible and escape from his cell. That’s neat. DeVoe teleports them both hundreds of feet above the city, then accidentally blows up his own hover chair trying to get rid of Barry. Barry lands in the river, but is saved by the floatation device Cisco re-installed in his suit. DeVoe is lost, but of course no one believes he’s really gone forever.

At the Christmas party later, Dominic shows up and gets introduced to the rest of the team. Barry gets a call telling him the alarm’s going off in his and Iris’s apartment, so he goes to check it out. Once there, he gets a phone call — from Dominic, who is actually DeVoe. It wasn’t Barry’s body he wanted to transfer his consciousness into at all, it was Dominic’s, and DeVoe was the client Amunet had lined up to buy his metahuman ability.

But the most shocking thing is also the fulfillment of the Chekhov’s Gun trope set up at the beginning of the episode. Barry finds DeVoe’s old body on the floor of the apartment, stabbed with the missing knife of the mysterious set he and Iris received as a wedding gift. When he hears the police battering down his door and he gets the chance to run, Barry remembers what he told Iris, probably assumes that being on the run for murder would ruin that peace he’d developed and make him look super guilty, and he stays still instead.

Other Things:
  • I adore how the only thing that can pull Harry out of his general snarkiness is giving pep talks to team members. His little chat with Caitlin was genuinely cute.
  • Hey, Barry? DeVoe ain’t wrong about that whole “learning humility” thing.
  • Joe calling Barry his son is still my favorite thing.
  • •“Are you a time traveler? Because those white girl dreads came straight from the ‘90s.” Hee. Cisco.
  • “This house is...” “Bitchin’?” Tell. Me. What. It. Meeeeans.

Once Upon A Time 7x09 Recap: “One Little Tear” (Hidden Identity) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]


“One Little Tear”
Original Airdate: December 8, 2017

It’s surprising, but we finally have an episode worthy of the Once Upon A Time name. This season has been very bumpy and hasn’t even come close to being on the same level as the rest of the series. However, it seems that after eight mediocre episodes, the writers have finally woken up and delivered a classic OUAT-style episode that might just save the dwindling series. With some shocking discoveries and backstories, this was the episode that probably no one saw coming. Yes, the content is very random and definitely should have been revealed earlier in the season — but let’s just take a week to enjoy that the show might just be back.

SURPRISE!


Once Upon A Time has always been really good at one thing: setting up characters and then making shocking reveals about their true identities. The way the series played off of hidden identities, particularly in its first two seasons, made it one of the most unique shows on television. I have spent most of this season bashing the show’s inability to reboot itself in new ways, since it mainly is a worse copy of the first season. For the first time, I can truly applaud the use of one of the staples from early on in the series.

I don’t have any doubts that almost all of the show’s audience didn’t think that the new characters were anyone other than who they said they were. There have been no indications that these characters had hidden identities, whereas the original characters weren’t always so open with who they were (think that awesome Pinocchio reveal). So, it was rather shocking to find out the true reason why Rapunzel has randomly popped up in the middle of the season. You wouldn’t recognize her, but that awful Victoria Belfrey is actually a hardened, burdened, and older Rapunzel (cue the gasps).

This was a particularly great reveal because everything that has been shown with Belfrey/Lady Tremaine in the fairy tale realm and in Seattle has shown her as the rotten stepmother from Cinderella. For me, this is a classic OUAT pull-the-rug-out-from-under-you moment and a great way to mesh two stories together. Through a perfect amount of useful flashbacks, Rapunzel’s story plays out in a surprising fashion and shows what went wrong for the former Disney princess.

The flashbacks revealed that Rapunzel and her family were dirt poor when she strikes a deal with Gothel to give her family happiness. This family includes sick husband, Marcus, and Rapunzel’s two small kids: Anastasia and Drizella. In typical sketchy witch fashion, this means that Rapunzel will be locked in a tower forever while her family gets a new life. After six years of solitude, Rapunzel escapes the tower on her first attempt and magically finds her family, who appear to be living pretty close to the tower. While that part was quite dumb, the family reunion was very interesting. Now young tweens, Anastasia welcomes Rapunzel back with open arms, while Drizella is distant and doesn’t feel Rapunzel is her mother.

The best reveal comes when Marcus reveals that he has remarried and has a step-daughter who, of course, is (Cinder)Ella. All three kids appear to be the best of friends and are happy together, yet Rapunzel feels betrayed that her husband found happiness without her. Rapunzel starts her journey toward darkness when Gothel appears and gives her a poison mushroom from Wonderland to make Ella’s mother, Cecilia, and Rapunzel’s problems, go away. Interestingly, Rapunzel refuses the offer for a while, yet is driven to the breaking point when Drizella calls Cecilia her mother.

The mushroom gets rid of Cecilia, and Rapunzel has her perfect family back. She “kindly” allows Ella to continue living with them, but the resentment starts soon after. Thankfully, the flashbacks address what happened to Anastasia, which is the real reason why Rapunzel turned into the bitter Tremaine/Belfrey that we have known. The kids are playing on a frozen pond when Anastasia and Ella fall through the ice. Marcus tries to save them both, but can only save Ella. Obviously, Rapunzel is enraged and can’t believe that Marcus wouldn’t save their child. While the story doesn’t continue much past there, it’s safe to assume that Rapunzel continued down her dark path from there. Her development into an evil person is still up in the air and will hopefully be discussed as the season progresses.


RUMPLE'S REVEAL


Back in Seattle, Rumple gets himself into a sticky situation when he visits Belfrey in prison. Like the snake she is, Belfrey eventually pushes enough buttons to get Rumple to admit that he is awake and knows what’s really going on. Surprisingly, Rumple agrees to a deal that will allow Belfrey to walk free, and in exchange, she will tell Rumple who “The Guardian” is. Well, I’m still not completely sure what “The Guardian” is, but more on this in a bit. Belfrey and Rumple then go on an afternoon escapade, yet Rumple doesn’t realize what he is getting himself into.

Of course, Belfrey decides that now is the time to finally crush Lucy and wake up Anastasia. Rumple doesn’t realize how Belfrey plans to wake up her daughter until Gothel of all people tells him what he has gotten himself into. Rumple has shown minimal emotions in Seattle and has not appeared to be the changed man that he was with Belle. However, once he realizes that his great-great granddaughter is in trouble, he stops everything and will do anything to save her. He even gets Hook involved, who still hasn’t woken up, and tells him a bit of the truth. It was odd that Rumple tells Hook some of his backstory, but hasn’t woken him up yet. There’s no reason for Hook to still be in the dark, so hopefully he regains his memories soon.

WHAT'S COMING NEXT


After Rumple shows some emotion, we learn that he is too late, as Belfrey has told Lucy the truth only to crush her tiny spirit. Anastasia has been clinging to life in a nearby hospital the whole time, thanks to Gothel saving her last breath in a flashback to the fairy tale realm. A single tear from Lucy is all it takes for Belfrey to wake up Anastasia, which sends Lucy into a similar coma that Henry was in when he ate the poison apple in season one.

With Regina and Henry out of town, there’s no doubt that Henry is going to have to come back to Seattle to save Lucy with true love’s kiss, thus more than likely breaking the curse. With Anastasia coming back to the living, it’s hard to say what Belfrey will do next. Drizella clearly wants her sister’s magic, but we still don’t know how they have magic or what Anastasia’s powers may be.
There is also this “Guardian” business that needs to be settled. In the flashback where Gothel “saves” Anastasia, Gothel makes a speech about how she thought Rapunzel could have been “The Guardian” and that maybe Anastasia could be since she was wrong about Rapuzel.

While there isn’t much revealed about what “The Guardian” is, it is clear that Anastasia might fit the bill. Rumple is also supposedly searching for “The Guardian,” probably because this is the only person who could take his darkness and free him from being the Dark One. This was a very interesting episode that didn’t go anything like I thought it would. The season has taken a sharp turn, so let’s hope that it can continue to keep getting better.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Supergirl 3x09 Review: "Reign" (Merry Christmas, Your World is Doomed!) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]


“Reign”
Original Airdate: December 4, 2017 

Previously on Supergirl: A crossover event happened, but we’re mostly ignoring that, as we are wont to do. Previously previously on Supergirl, Mon-El returned, bearded and more boring than ever, and Kara was sad about the fact that he’s married to some lady now. Sam Arias discovered her evil Worldkiller destiny in a desert Fortress of Solitude, and became “Reign,” which is the title of this episode so I assume she’s gonna have a big part in it all. That’s it, let’s get this midseason finale over with!


NOT IN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT


Sam wakes up without her Reign powers and Ruby runs into her bedroom, saying that she heard her mother scream. The conversation Sam has with Ruby tells us that not only does Sam not remember finding her Fortress of Solitude and gaining evil superpowers, but she doesn’t even remember going on her little self-discovery trip into the desert at all. We don’t get any clarification of what she remembers from visiting her adoptive mother but I assume she has no memory of seeing the spaceship or even getting shot and wanting to find answers in the first place.

Meanwhile, Mon-El is telling the DEO about what life in the 31st century is like. Technology is super advanced, but it’s used for the same stuff we use it for: communication, entertainment, and killing. I also learn that Imra is just as boring and bland as her husband. Judging by these two alone, I suspect that technology in the 31st century is used for something other than communication, entertainment, and killing, and that “something” is sapping the charm from every living thing on Earth.

Mon-El and Imra are part of a future peacekeeping group called the Legion, modeled after Supergirl’s history of morality and goodness. Side note: in several versions of Superman lore, Superman doesn’t die of natural causes — he just lives forever; does the same not happen for Supergirl? Or did Future Kara die of unnatural causes, and was forgotten during the thousand years between now and Imra’s future? According to Mon-El, the future is full of “bad things” (what a wordsmith) and Imra says “the darkness” (yikes, these poets deserve each other) that the Legion fights against is spreading.

While on one of their missions, their ship got knocked into a wormhole and thrown 12,000 years into the past. Since the time travel was accidental, they couldn’t just go home, so they did what I always do when faced with a difficult task that might take a while to finish: they went to sleep. Mon-El woke up early and we know what happened after that. Now that we’re all caught up, the meeting adjourns and the DEO promises to help Mon-El and Imra get back to their time. Kara awkwardly invites them to her Christmas party, which they decline.

During said Christmas party, cute stuff happens: J’onn extolls the virtues of Hall and Oates and Empire Strikes Back, Kara and Alex have a moment of mutual self-pity, and Alex chats with Ruby about the time she dove backwards off a building during a shootout and Supergirl caught her. Less cute, more confusing stuff happens as well, such as the ongoing flirtation between Lena and James (why?) and Kara calling Sam, a woman she only recently had a full on-screen conversation with, her “best friend” along with Lena. I know I keep harping on this in my reviews, but jeez does this show not know how to write friendships well.

Festivities are cut short when J’onn informs Kara that Supergirl is needed. They have the fiery equivalent of a crop circle which, when Supergirl flies up to get a bird’s-eye view, takes the shape of what we know to be the symbol that was on the uniform of the lady who gave Sam her powers. The same symbol shows up throughout the city but, though she knows it’s something to do with Krypton’s ancient history, Kara doesn’t know what it means.

James and Lena go see Morgan Edge, since they think the symbols are another one of his scare tactics. Kara and Winn go to the alien bar to ask around about the symbols, but they run into Mon-El and Imra flirting via... chicken wings? What is wrong with these two? More awkwardness ensues. Kara is saved by a call from jail, and she goes to meet with that crazy cult leader from a few episodes back.

He’s reciting verses, but not from the Book of Rao. He mentions “Worldkiller” and the end of days, a prophecy from before the Book of Rao that speaks of a “dark god” whose symbol is the one showing up everywhere. He knows all this because he went around the world finding Kryptonian artifacts, and I guess one of the things he found was the script to this episode. Is this show seriously trying to say that the AI with all the accumulated knowledge of Kryptonian history didn’t know about the ancient, world-ending devil of their mythology, but some random Fort Rozz priestess could fill some random crazy human in on it all? I ain’t picking up what you’re putting down, Supergirl. Also, the extreme close-ups in this scene are really weird.

Lena and James still think Edge has something to do with the symbols, and while following a potential lead they get attacked by a guy with a laser gun. James saves them with his Guardian shield; they both assume the attack was an assassination attempt on Lena. This scene clumsily cuts directly to a gang drug deal going down, and all the gang members getting attacked by an unseen force.

After checking in on Lena and James, Sam hears the report of the gang attack on the news. She goes into a sort of trance and walks away, opening her shirt to reveal the Reign symbol on a uniform underneath. I know she forgets what she does as Reign, but how did Sam not notice she was wearing a shirt under her shirt?

The gang attack confirms, by the use of heat vision, that the person creating the symbols and killing people is Kryptonian. Kara doesn’t buy into the idea of this person being a world-ending dark god, however, and simply vows to beat her down like any other opponent she’s ever had. When Reign attacks Morgan Edge, Kara decides it’s time to deal with this Kryptonian threat on her opponent’s terms, rather than continuing their fruitless search. Kara heat-visions her “S” symbol into the roof of the CatCo building. Uh... okay, but what if Reign doesn’t fly over the CatCo building, Kara? Couldn’t you just do a press conference instead? It probably would’ve helped to curb the smear campaign Morgan Edge begins immediately after the attack, hinting that it was Supergirl who tried to kill him.

But Reign does answer Kara’s call. A huge fight happens, sending the two Kryptonians smashing through the city as citizens look on in wonder/terror. Although Kara puts up a valiant effort, it’s evident — through the appearance of actual wounds and signs of exhaustion on Kara, but very little on Reign — that she is losing the battle. She continues to fight for as long as she can, but after a series of blows in the street, Reign and Kara end up on the roof of another building. This time, Kara is too worn out to fight against Reign, who tosses her off the building. She falls hundreds of feet, to land in a broken heap on the concrete below, surrounded by people who are probably having a really bad Christmas Eve, considering they just witnessed the apparent murder of their city’s sworn hero.

Kara isn’t dead, though. She’s taken to the DEO and Alex fights to save her, but still. Things aren’t looking too good.

The final scene of the episode is at Sam’s house. Ruby wakes on Christmas morning and finds her mom standing strangely, facing away from her. She turns around, but the episode ends before we can see whether the person with Ruby is Sam, or Reign.

Other Things:
  • “Jimmy, I get the feeling your dislike for me is more than just purely professional.” “You get feelings?” Heh.
  • Sam says the Supergirl/Superman “S” symbol means “stronger together” but... no? I’m pretty sure the “S” symbol in Supergirl canon is a sign for her family crest and might also mean hope, but I don’t think “stronger together” was ever established.
  • Lena and James are a thing now, I guess.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 5x09 Recap: “99” (Roadtrip!) [Contributor: Alisa Williams]


“99” 
Original Airdate: December 5, 2017

It was the 99th episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and the stellar cast and crew did not disappoint! Secrets were revealed, a bevy of beige Boyles saved the day, and the Diehard references were flying. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

The team heads to Los Angeles for the funeral of their old CO. While at the service, Amy is looking through old photos of the squad and realizes that under the old CO everyone else looks like they were having the time of their lives while she looks uptight. She decides from now on, she’s going to be super chill instead.

Meanwhile, Boyle encourages Rosa to hit on someone at the funeral. It’s been awhile since she broke up with Pimento and according to Boyle, a funeral is a perfect place to find someone because “crying is a powerful aphrodisiac.” Alright then. Rosa, however, tells him the she’s already seeing someone. Boyle is, of course, instantly intrigued and begins hounding Rosa with questions, but she refuses to share any details.

Holt learns some exciting news as well: the NYPD police commissioner is retiring and Holt is on the short list to replace him. He has an interview scheduled for next week. The team is super excited for Holt because this has always been his dream, but he is even more reserved than usual about the whole thing.

On the way to the airport after the funeral, Holt is driving along when Jake suddenly screams for them to stop. He’s just spotted Nakatomi Plaza, the building from Diehard, and begs Holt to let them go inside. Surprisingly, Holt agrees. Amy starts to protest because they only have 3.5 hours before their flight, but then she remembers she’s super chill now and rolls with it.

Six hundred photos later, Jake declares he’s good and they should head to the airport now. Again, Holt seems even more chill than Amy and says they actually have more time and can stay a bit longer. Jake says no, really, he’s good. But when he tries the door, which the guard had left propped open for them, it’s closed and locked. They’re trapped! Terry’s the only one really freaking out though. He cashed in his miles for a first class seat and wants more than anything to get to the airport and experience the comfort of first class for the first time.

Two hours later, the guard comes back and lets them out, but it’s too late — they’ve missed their flight. Poor Terry isn’t even allowed in the first class lounge. He was able to snag a first class mint and run out before they stopped him. He christens it “Mr. Mint” but it brings him little comfort. Making matters worse, every other possible flight out is grounded due to heavy storms in the Midwest. The earliest flight isn’t until Monday. Holt’s interview is on Monday morning so the team decides they’ll just have to drive back and hope they make it in time. Holt checks, but there are no rental cars available. Jake won’t give up that easily, though. He buys a broken-down RV named “The American Creeper” and they start their road trip back to New York.

After 21 hours, they’ve only made it as far as Dallas. It turns out that the speedometer is broken and they were going much slower than they thought. Jake floors it but after a little while Holt tells him to pull over because he smells smoke. Jake doesn’t believe him but they pull over anyway and it’s a good thing they do because once they’ve all exited the RV, it explodes.

With no other options, they decide to find a place to sleep for the night. Fortunately, there are Boyle cousins in every state, and Boyle’s Texas cousins are only 30 minutes away. The Texas Boyles run a “cow insemination farm” so with a very loud cow orgy in the background, the team gets ready for bed.

Boyle walks in on Rosa talking to her significant other and immediately starts peppering her with more questions, wanting to know who the “mystery hunk” is. Just then, he hears through the phone a distinctly woman’s voice. Boyle presses and Rosa admits she’s bi and is dating a woman! Boyle is, of course, super supportive but Rosa says she doesn’t want to talk about it and stalks off.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just want to note that Twitter went absolutely wild at this announcement and the fact that the show actually used the term bi instead of watering it down like what usually happens. Even though we all suspected Rosa was secretly bi, the show finally wrote it in and made it an actual conversation and gave her an actual relationship, and it was super exciting to watch.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Later that night, Holt and Jake can’t sleep and so stay up talking. Holt says he’s resigned himself to the fact that he will never be commissioner but Jake won’t let it go. After the rest of the team falls asleep, Jake does some research and finds out there’s a regional airport nearby. They can hitch a ride on a cargo plane that will get them to Philadelphia.

He wakes the team up bright and early and tells them. Rosa reminds him that they’ve been wearing the same clothes since Friday and all smell disgusting. The Boyle cousins lend them an assortment of beige and khaki outfits (the only colors Boyles wear) and they head out in the Boyles’ cattle trailer. But before they make it very far, they’re pulled over. The local cops received a tip that drugs were being moved in a “grey bovine transport unit.”

Jake realizes that the only person who would call a cattle trailer a “bovine transport unit” is Holt. He called in the tip! Suddenly it clicks, and Jake realizes their whole disastrous weekend makes sense — Holt has been sabotaging them from the beginning! Holt drove by Nakatomi Plaza on purpose, knowing Jake would insist they stop. Then he kicked the door prop out so they’d be trapped. There were actually hundreds of rental cars available at the airport, but Holt lied and said there weren’t any. He broke the speedometer and blew up the RV — though he claims he only meant for it to break down, not explode.

But why? Holt finally comes clean. He tells them about the deal he made with Seamus Murphy of the Irish Mob. Holt had to make a deal with him to get the intel he needed to get Jake and Rosa out of jail. Now, Holt’s afraid of what Murphy will blackmail him to do if he becomes commissioner. Jake realizes Holt risked his entire career to save him and Rosa.

Holt says he didn’t want any of them entangled in this, but Jake reminds him that the first lesson Holt taught him was that the 99 is a team, and that means they have each other’s backs. Always. Holt appreciates that but reminds Jake it’s too late. They’ve missed the cargo plane and won’t be able to make his interview in time.

Jake has one more trick up his sleeve, though. He turns to Amy and tells her to snap out of chill mode and do what she does best. She works out an airtight plan involving an ambulance ride, crop duster, train, and taxi, and gets them there with five minutes to spare. Before he walks in, Terry even gives Holt his first class mint so he’ll have fresh breath for his interview.

The rest of the team then heads to the bar to celebrate. While there, Rosa tells Boyle that she didn’t tell anyone about being bi because she doesn’t think it’s anyone’s business and she didn’t want anything to change. But, she adds that it felt really good to finally tell someone on the squad and is glad that person was Boyle.

Holt joins them all soon after and tells them his hat is officially in the ring for the commissioner job. He’s still not sure how they’re going to handle the Murphy situation, but Jake says not to worry. They’ll figure it out — together. NINE NINE!

Bullets on the Bulletin Board:

  • “But, it’s like, what is time even? Hashtag legalize it.” 
  • “We’re going to miss our flight! I should be sitting next to a semi-famous person that I can’t quite place right now.” 
  • “I tried everything. I begged, I pleaded, I even told them that Scully was a Make-A-Wish kid with a rare disease that makes him look like a giant old baby.” “Did you call it Scullyosis?” “Rosa, that is really good and completely useless to me right now.”
  • “So what are you going to do when you’re Comish? I think you should focus on inter-agency communication and intel sharing. Also, laser jails.”  
  • “I only have one dream a year. Always on tax day. In it, I must file an extension. So, yes, it is best not to have dreams.”
  • “I don’t know how this happened. Perhaps it was a bottom dial.” 
  • “Don’t tell me what to do, saboteur! How dare you make me this upset while I’m wearing this outfit.” 
  • “Now we go back to never ever talking about my love life again.” “Uh, request denied. Is her name Anne? Meredith? Kim? Erica? Moana?” 

Legends of Tomorrow 3x09 Recap: "Beebo the God of War" (Home for the Holidays) [Contributor: Marilyn]


"Beebo the God of War"
Original Airdate: December 5, 2017

The midseason finale of Legends of Tomorrow begins with a younger Martin Stein in line at a toy store, wanting to purchase a Beebo doll (which is apparently the hottest toy that holiday season). He wants to get it for Lily for Hanukkah. He gets his hands on the last Beebo in the store and is chased by a hoard of angry parents when... he’s zapped out of the toy store and into the past, where he’s now being chased by angry Vikings. Yikes!

Leo Snart is on board the Waverider which is lovely and I want him to stay forever. We see this different, “cuddlier” Snart talking with the Legends via a Martin Stein puppet — a way of dealing with their feelings about losing their friend. Jax isn’t in the mood for puppets or anything, really. He blames himself for Martin’s death. They then get interrupted by a new anachronism which is the young Martin Stein running afoul of the Vikings in the “new world” (a.k.a., America). The anachronism is so bad that in this version of time, the Vikings stay in America and it’s called New Vahalla.

The Legends travel back to see what causes Leif Eriksen to decide to stay in the new world, rather than going back to Greenland. They discover the anachronism is Martin and believe the Vikings used his genius to conquer the new world. They save Martin and want to get out of there but he tells them about Beebo. He tries to tell them the toy is what changes history, but they’re not listening. It’s true, though — the Vikings are worshiping the talking Beebo doll. Because of course they are. I love this show.

Back on the Waverider, Martin explains to the Legends what happened. Beebo is what kept the Vikings from killing him when they chased him in the forest. Apparently, Leif’s sister is the ringleader in this new “cult,” using the doll to assert her own power and influence. The young Martin, meanwhile, wants to know where his older self is and they lie to him, telling him he’s home with his family for the holidays. Nate and Jax are concerned that they keep running into themselves in the past. Jax wonders if this means they should try to change and improve things. Ray and Amaya caution him against thinking that way but he doesn't want to hear it.

Mick is outraged to discover that Leo has turned the Waverider into a “dry” ship — no booze on board. He wants his friend to try sobriety for a change. Mick is unsure of that. Meanwhile, the rest of the Legends are coming up with a plan on how to deal with the Vikings when they get a transmission from Agent Sharp. She and Sara banter a bit (I am detecting chemistry there) before Sharp expresses her condolences for Martin. Sara learns that Christmas is now called Beebo Day. Sara tells Sharp that Beebo Day is part of the anachronism. Then she asks for Sharp’s help.

The Legends dress up as Vikings and go meet up with the other Vikings. All they had to do was show up with booze and they were welcomed like old friends. Mick and Leo have a disagreement over booze — which Leif’s sister overhears — so she finds Mick as he’s about to bring Beebo back to the Waverider and takes him prisoner.

The Vikings set Mick up to be judged by Beebo. The little blue doll says he’s hungry so, clearly, Mick must be burnt on the pyre. Before they can light Mick on fire, Leo puts out the flames with his cold gun. Sharp, thinking quick, declares it a sign that Beebo doesn’t want their clansman to be burned. The doll speaks, saying he loves them, and a fight breaks out between the Legends and the Vikings, lead by Leif’s crazy sister. Over on the Waverider, Zari is trying to distract Jax by playing video games with him. He still wants to warn Martin, however, and Zari understands. She thinks he should do what he wants. When young Martin asks to be taken back to his proper time, Jax realizes he has a chance to save his friend.

The battle with the Vikings is fierce. In the uproar, Nate grabs Beebo. He tosses it to Ray, who gets tackled and the doll goes flying. Then Mick melts it with his fire gun. The Vikings see Beebo for what he is, at last: a false god. Sharp says the Legends saved Odin Day. Apparently, the anachronism wasn’t fixed after all. At that moment, Odin arrives and it’s... Damien Darhk. Of course! The Legends retreat to the Waverider because they can’t really fight Darhk right now. But in the temporal zone, the time quakes are getting worse as the anachronism grows.

Jax is taking young Martin back to Central City via a shuttle. Jax tries to pull a Back to the Future and give Martin a letter to open in the future — to warn him. But Martin won’t do it. He knows the team was lying about him being okay in the future. He doesn’t want to mess with time. Jax pleads with him and he takes the letter when he sees how much it means to his future partner. Mick and Leo tussle some more about the lack of booze on the ship and Leo tries to tell his doppelganger friend that he came on board to deal with his own issues about losing his friend. They argue and the two of these guys are legit amazing. I want to keep them like this. Can we?

Sharp tells Sara that Rip is in trouble with the Bureau, but Darhk is a bigger threat. She tells her that Grodd survived Vietnam and is traveling through time, messing things up left and right. Sara wants Sharp to stay on the Waverider and help them, but she can’t. She warns her to pick her battles before she leaves. Sara gathers the Legends for a meeting and tells them that they have no back-up when it comes to confronting Darhk, and she doesn’t want to lose anyone else. Sara wants them to take the Waverider and go — to leave her alone with the Vikings. She has a plan but the team doesn’t like it. They run through several scenarios and realize they need to do this together or not at all.

So they go in, just as they planned, but this time they have a secret weapon. It’s Beebo! Well, it looks like Beebo at least, but a mini Ray Palmer is inside controlling him and making him fly and speak. When the Vikings are distracted by that, Leo and Mick take on Nora Darhk and knock her out. The Vikings and the Legends go into battle and Darhk, upset about his daughter, takes her and is about to heal her when Sara claps a hand on his shoulder. She’s instantly transported to a strange plane of existence where an evil voice (Mollus, the evil that was mentioned back in the premiere) speaks to her about how her world is going to end. Sharp pulls her out and she sees the Vikings are defeated, Darhk is gone, and the anachronism is fixed.

On the Waverider, Sara tells Sharp what happened in that strange plane — how it was completely devoid of happiness and love and anything good. Sharp leaves to tell the Bureau and Rip what happened and Gideon confirms that everything is fixed... for now. Jax, however, is upset to learn that Stein still dies in 2017. Zari tells him that Martin must not have read the letter. So Jax goes back to 1992 to see him (and to bring Lily a Beebo). Martin tells Jax that he burnt the letter. He tells him that he’ll be 67 years old in 2017 — having lived a full life and seen his daughter grow. Martin wants Jax to let him go. He says he has no regrets for his life, and thinks he has a full one with plenty of adventure. Martin then tells Jax to live his life, and have all the happiness he deserves. Jax is upset, but understands, and he shakes Martin’s hand before returning to the Waverider.

Jax goes to see Sara, tells her he wasn’t able to change Martin’s fate. He also tells her that he has to leave the Waverider and the Legends. She’s incredulous. She doesn’t want him to leave because he’s a part of the team. He says that right now, he has to do this. He needs a different kind of adventure but it sounds like he might be back at some point. They hug and Sara promises not to tell the others he’s gone until after he’s left. Regretfully, she watches him go.

Before he goes, he stops by Martin’s lab to say goodbye and the team surprises him. They’re not going to let him go without a goodbye and they insist on celebrating the holidays with him before he leaves. Leo even lets Mick drink alcohol again. They have a big meal together and Jax tells the rest of the Legends that they help him not feel so broken anymore, and that they’re a family. He’ll always have them. They toast and that is that. Sara drops Jax off in 2017 and it’s a tearful goodbye. I hope he comes back soon. On the Waverider, Sara is surprised by Constantine. He has a request for her — he needs her help with a demon that’s possessing a little girl. And the demon knows her name. Would that be Mollus?

I’m sad the show won’t be back until February. I gotta say, I love me some Legends of Tomorrow. It’s a beautiful balance of humor and heart with great characters and even greater chemistry. Jax said this rag-tag team felt like his family and I know just what he means. Again, if you haven’t watched this show lately, give it a try while it’s on this long break. You might be surprised by what you see!