"1989" Album Review

I reviewed Taylor Swift's new album track-by-track and talked in-depth about the beautiful vulnerability and rawness that separates this album from any of her prior albums. See if you agree with any of my opinions!

The Strong Women Series

Here, you'll find a collection of posts from my talented female friends, each defending the women in their favorite television series. These posts contain some of the most intelligent discussions ever featured on this website. I highly recommend that you read them all.

Jenn's Pick: My Top 15 Episodes of 'Psych'

Do you like meta humor? Movie references? Pineapples? If you do, you were probably also a fan of USA's hit comedy 'Psych.' In this post, I count down my fifteen favorite episodes of the series. Do your favorites make the cut? And, bonus: Can you find the pineapple in my post?

Character Appreciation Post: Felicity Smoak ('Arrow')

Felicity Meghan Smoak is one of the most captivating, optimistic, endearing characters on The CW's smash hit 'Arrow.' And in this post, I list all of the reasons why she is. Read, dear friends, and fall a little bit more in love with our blonde hacker.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

New Girl 4x09 "Thanksgiving IV" (Uninhibited for the Holidays)

"Thanksgiving IV"
Original Airdate: November 25, 2014

My friends -- my really good friends -- are the kind of people who will do just about anything to protect you and make you happy if you're a part of their circle. I love them for that. I love that we have holiday parties and three-hour deep conversations about life and occasionally do things like hang out on New Year's Eve and make goofy videos while watching 90's cartoons. I love my friends because I know them and they know me so well that when I'm having a rough day, they know how to best approach me. When I'm struggling to make a decision, they know why and they know exactly what to say in order to help. But even my best friends get it wrong sometimes. In "Thanksgiving IV," Schmidt gets it wrong. He thinks that what everyone in the loft needs to find a bed buddy in order to be happy (and be happy for the holidays). His intentions are great, honestly. Occasionally Schmidt can act like a lovable, self-centered douchebag, but in this episode, he honestly just wants everyone in the loft to have a good and happy holiday and the best way to do so is to find each friend a partner that they are compatible with.

New Girl holiday episodes have always been heavy on the shenanigans and have typically introduced outsiders into the group's dynamic (Paul, Jess's parents, etc.). This is always especially welcome and hilarious because it reminds us that these six individuals are weird. Like, really weird. Like, collectively-adjourn-to-the-roof-and-leave-their-dates-awkwardly-downstairs weird. And while this series has been quick to remind us that Jess is awkward when she tries to be sexy and that Winston is awkward with small talk and Coach is insecure and Nick and Schmidt are just awkward sometimes, it has been even quicker to remind us that they are also real people who want to find happiness and are having a difficult time doing so because life has a way of messing with your best laid plans.

"Thanksgiving IV" was a stellar episode written by Dave Feeney (who also penned "Coach" as well as "Prince" with Rob Rosell) because it was New Girl at its best: a show about a weird group of friends trying to find  happiness with other people and encouraging each other to do so while encountering obstacles along the way. The final montage in the episode may be one of the best the show has ever done (though I am really partial to the dance montage at the end of "See Ya," too) and more than just garnering a lot of laughter from me, this holiday episode drove home some pretty stellar heart between -- you guessed it -- the heart of the show: Nick and Jess.

Let's talk about turkeys and Bangsgiving (which sounds like something Barney Stinson would have penned, right?) below the cut, shall we?

In Defense of Rafael Solano [Contributor: Ann]

It is 1:30 in the morning as I’m writing this, and I kind of feel like an enamored teenager writing about an unrequited love. Like in my diary or something. “Dear Diary, Rafael is sooooo great. I don’t understand why Mommy and Daddy don’t like him!”

But here’s the thing—I am a frickin’ goofball when it comes to TV, but I am also someone who watches TV very critically (critical in the sense of “attentive analysis” but probably also in my nebbiness). Surprisingly I have a hard time doing that with Jane the Virgin, because SO MUCH HAPPENS that I am literally just trying to stay afloat in the plot.

However, I wanted to write this because I wanted to express how frickin’ much I love Rafael. There, I said it. In a show where most of the characters are scheming, conniving, or selfish, Rafael is one of the few moral centers—so it kind of surprises me, really, that so many people distrust him.

I am in a weird minority when it comes to Rafael; supporters tend to think he is MEANT TO BE with Jane and dissenters think that the MEANT TO BE ideology is dangerous. For me, somehow, both of those are true, but Rafael ends up on top anyway.

Let me dissect what I mean one point at a time. First off: “Why Rafael is Better Candidate for Jane than Michael.”
  1. Rafael is honest with Jane — think of the Latin Lover Narrator. Where he is describing Michael as “the man [Jane] thought she knew so well,” he is describing Rafael’s wrongdoings as having occurred in the past, rather than the present. We are given no reason to distrust Rafael because, like Jane, he puts his cards forward (the state of his marriage, his feelings for her) when it’s not the easiest thing to do.
  2. Rafael puts Jane’s best interests at stake — Michael was going to send the baby over to Rafael and Petra just because he didn’t want to deal with it, and when she asked him (repeatedly) to be honest with her he didn’t reveal much about himself. (Also, I feel like there is so much we do not know about Michael…) Rafael, on the other hand, omits information about his company’s financial entanglement with Luisa because he thinks Jane, for her best interests, should sue. Which is selfless!
  3. Rafael and Jane have more than a spark —I think what bothers me about Team Michael is the idea that Rafael and Jane’s relationship is built entirely on the Meant to Be idea. Which isn’t true—their first night together (in episode seven) was them talking, which is my favorite trope of all time, ever. I mean, in so many romantic comedies (Twilight Twilight Twilight—is this a romantic comedy? Whatever. Jenn's Note: It's most definitely a comedy. There's no reason you can include the line "Hold on tight, spidermonkey" and not actually be a comedy), the two leads hardly talk and when they do talk it’s about the love they have for each other. I’m not saying Michael lacks this quality, but Jane and Rafael’s conversation is comprehensive and demonstrates that Rafael really wants to get to know her, not just get in her pants.
  4. Rafael has changed! — Really, he has! That is why he and Petra are not compatible anymore. They began seeing each other when he was at his worst. Again, there is sympathy for Petra here, and I do buy her speech that she never stopped loving Rafael, but there has come a time —I don't know, sometime before she faked assault — where it is just obvious that it is not in Petra or Rafael’s best interests to continue seeing each other. While she is continuing to do reprehensible things (sleep with his best friend, for instance, or SECRETLY BE NAMED NATALIA), he is trying to reform—he wants the kid as more than a power play. He wants the kid, he wants to settle down, and in order for him to pursue that change to its fullest potential, he has to ditch the dead weight. 
  5. Jane has changed too! — Think of the youth-friendly pastor—commitment is a long road, and there are bumps in the road. What makes a relationship lasting is the willingness on both sides to commit to how hard marriage can be. And while the pregnancy certainly isn’t Michael’s fault, how he has handled it, in between his apologies to Jane, is pretty awful, or at least not compatible with how she handled it. He tells Jane in the most recent episode that she is not who he thinks she is. He is right! Neither of them are who the other thinks they are, which is why I am AMPED for Jane to find out about Michael and Nadine.
  6. But the thing is, Jane and Rafael have changed in a way that suits each other! — It’s been five years, and Jane and Rafael are still having the deep conversations they had the first time they really connected. Even when Rafael was a playboy, he was drawn into conversation, real conversation, with Jane. That his first meeting with her mirrors the first night they spend together in episode seven proves that while circumstances can change, an enduring love can get through pretty much anything.
  7. Rafael is the only person who calls Jane a writer (!!!) — Which is a huge deal, because writing is such a part of her identity. Writing is her dream, and Rafael’s acceptance of her dreams is incredibly important.
With all that in mind, how can the IT’S MEANT TO BE idea be dangerous…in a good way?
  1. Rafael and Jane need to grow!
This is the only reason. I mean, these two hooked up in episode six—I love that there is something inherently wrong with their understanding of what a true, deep relationship is. It’s what I’ve always wanted to see a TV show do. I think so many TV shows focus on the “getting together” part of a relationship that they don’t devote enough time to how different one month in a relationship is than five months in it. In other shows, that difference would be “the sex isn’t good anymore!” or something like that.

With this show, it’s about growing up. It’s about confronting your fears that the ideal fairy tale doesn’t exist, and that’s not the foundation love is actually built on. That’s why — for how cinematic the kiss between Rafael and Jane was — it was not my favorite scene. (Though I did love it, obviously.) My favorite scene of them is when they are talking—about pretty much anything, you know? They have a chemistry that isn’t purely sexual, though to be honest Gina Rodriguez has chemistry with everyone else on the show. The dialogue just feels so natural. They have fun talking to each other, and when (inevitably) their vision of romance and the “perfect family” crumbles, they will grow from it and find each other again.

In so many romantic comedies, what divides the man and the woman is a dumb understanding—think How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or 27 Dresses. If Jane the Virgin does what I think it’s going to do, it will actually indicate that these characters DEVELOP from each other. That they fight for real reasons instead of contrived ones (which the series has done really, really well).

Look. I love every character on Jane the Virgin, and I admit—I love so much the scene in the dress shop with Michael and Jane. And I will admit I think that Rafael and Jane are rushing into things. But at the end of the day, I have to defend him. He is a character who is looking to change and looking to grow, he’s not perfect, but he’s irresistible in his acknowledgement of that fact and in how he manifests that mission in acts of kindness towards others, especially Jane. And I love Jane and Rafael together. Maybe not now, because it doesn’t make the most sense, and it is so dangerous to hang so much on the “meant to be” idea—but just because they are not meant to be doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be. It just means that they will have to work at it first. And given what I know of Rafael and of Jane, that shouldn’t be a problem.

(Also — like, Nadine and Michael was super hot, right?)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Mindy Project 3x08 "Diary of a Mad Indian Woman" [Contributor: Ann]

"Diary of a Mad Indian Woman"
Original Airdate: November 18, 2014

Before I begin—my deepest, deepest apologies for my lateness. This past week has been CRAMMED with paper-writing; unfortunately, while I will soon go home for Thanksgiving (!!!), I am only 2 weeks away from finals, which also have the potential to affect my posting schedule. This apology is especially for Jenn, who has been so accommodating of this stressful period in my life. Thank you very much for having me (as always).

[Jenn's Note: Thank YOU, Ann, for being a part of my team. It may be late, but you're always worth the wait. /cheeseball]

Whew. That kind of sounded like a diary entry, didn’t it? Which leads me to this episode, “Diary of a Mad Indian Woman,” one of the best and most ambitious episodes of this season.

"Ambitious" has not been a word I've used to describe this season very much. What makes the episode ambitious, and why is that quality so important in my enjoyment of a TV show?

Quick summary of the episode (because by this point it has been a week since it aired): the A-plot involved Mindy teaching the students at the hospital, a welcome foray into her professional life (and the introduction of Candace and TJ), and the B-plot involved Danny finding the titular diary, reading it, and other shenanigans.

Ambitious point number one: the seamless introduction and integration of St. Brendan’s. If my memory serves me, there has not been a "professional life" plot involving the politics of the hospital. There have been plots involving the midwives and plots about the politics of Schulman and Associates and plots about the dynamic between Jean and Schulman and Associates—but this episode's plot mostly took place in St. Brendan’s and focused on the operations of St. Brendan’s.

We’ve had St. Brendan’s since the pilot, and to see a little more of Mindy’s professional life was refreshing to me. In the recent SAG conversation with The Mindy Project cast, Adam Pally pointed out the breadth of the universe Mindy had created, how really any character could walk in, walk out, and then walk in again. While I wish the show would stick to this—make the A/B plots Mindy and Danny instead of trying to warm me to ensemble characters who won’t last—this plot makes me see the best in this sort of format. The same conversation compared Mindy’s use of this to The Simpsons, which I love for two reasons: these characters on the fringe are not static, and these characters on the fringe can often be used for insight for the two main characters (see: Danny in almost every episode this year).

TJ and Candace were awesome because they taught Mindy something. I don’t need to care about them, and if I do, I only need to care about them enough so that I can believe they would have any impact on Mindy. The strong personalities of Candace and TJ make them instantly endearing to the audience—as is the case with so many recurring roles—so that when TJ teaches Mindy something, it expands the universe while adding depth to the core of the show. Ambitious.

While on the subject of the show’s universe, this episode FINALLY injected stakes into the relationship of Mindy and Danny. I am curious to see what happens on Christmas, and it has been a while since this show has made me curious.

These aren’t just real stakes—they are real stakes that have been foreshadowed at for some time. Danny being anxious about going into marriage may seem to counter his “all in” remarks on top of the Empire State Building, but I don’t think they are the same battle. Just because Danny is “all in” with his heart doesn’t necessarily mean he has forgotten the past; you can see the difference between these two ideas in his conversation with Annette. This 40-year-old man literally needs his mom’s advice, but when his mom suggests he break it off with Mindy if he is so afraid, he doesn’t consider that option for a second. Same with the episode’s (brilliant) ending. Danny’s afraid enough to want to leave, but in love enough that he wants to stay. The fact that dichotomy has not reached a resolution—yet—makes Christmas all the more interesting. Will he suck it up and move forward (instead of sideways), or will his fear make him hesitate—and then it’s too late?

And Mindy, sweet Mindy. While I don’t think the writers’ treatment of Mindy’s feelings towards Danny is a quarter as good as their treatment of Danny’s feelings towards Mindy, I understand completely where Mindy is coming from. She didn’t want to rush the first relationship because she didn’t want to mess things up. Now, in this all-in relationship, she’s been equally patient, but she cannot wait forever for Danny. All her favorite romantic comedies end with the wedding, and Mindy is not wrong to ask for something more, because Danny is not being fully open with her. Marriage is so much more than an institution; it is a symbol of commitment, trust, companionship. Though it’s obvious they love each other, Danny and Mindy have had trust issues in this season, and Danny’s reluctance to propose hints at the larger problem: the cold and icy exterior might have melted, but Mindy has not yet attained the whole of Danny’s heart, because he’s so shackled to the past. Ambitious.

While we’re on the subject of Mindy’s character, I want to laud the show for doing such a great job this episode. I don’t know if I have ever liked Mindy more, and I wish we could see this side of her more often. In this episode, Mindy was as dramatic, narcissistic, offensive, and pop-culture crazed as she has always been—but she was also shown being a hard worker and a teacher. She was genuinely exasperated (her treatment of Candace), genuinely exhausted (when was the last time Mindy Lahiri didn’t sleep for two days because of work?), and genuinely heartbroken (by Danny’s fauxposal). This is how you write Mindy Lahiri—she deserves to be written as well as Danny. Danny and Mindy are alike in that they both have outrageous personality traits: Danny’s red glasses or the bomber jacket, or Mindy’s thinking “sexist” was actually “sexy.” I know that. But whereas Danny’s character has always been fleshed out with his tragic backstory, Mindy has always lagged. It has always been easier to talk about Danny’s emotional turmoil because Mindy’s has never been fleshed out enough.
I expressed my frustration at Mindy Kaling calling Mindy Lahiri a Michael Scott character because it felt like a lie. The frustration behind Mindy Lahiri isn’t in her offensive comments, because to me the line “Have you seen Black-ish? I think you’d like it” would be just as funny coming out of her mouth as it would out of Michael’s. The frustration is that Michael Scott, for all his (hilarious) flaws, had a tragic and beautiful heart. He was wrong so often, but you wanted him to find love. Mindy Lahiri is too often a mouthpiece for funny one-liners than she is a multifaceted character, and this episode showed me that the writers and Mindy Kaling (who has become an incredible actress!) have the capabilities to make that happen. For the first time, the treatment of Mindy Lahiri was ambitious, and I want to see more of that, both in her professional and personal life.

I have one quip about the episode, and it is that the diary—other than being a MacGuffin for Christmas—was not really interesting. With so much of the episode doing A+ work on the character of Mindy Lahiri, it shouldn’t bother me that the diary was mostly filled with things we already knew. I’m sure there were killer time constraints on this episode. However, I wish that the diary gave us some real insight into Mindy’s feelings prior to the kiss, and I wish that the diary’s contents were given more time (in place, possibly, of the wine spilling on the diary, which really only was needed so we could spend time with our ensemble*.)

Otherwise, though, this episode was great, and demonstrated how much potential this show has when it’s at its best, whether that’s through the revolving-door cast and universe or the two characters at the center of it all. Let’s hope it builds on this momentum and continues to deliver.

* If Jeremy, Peter, or Morgan’s involvement is important in the Christmas episode, I would like to revise my comments to include this:  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Other Notes:
  • I liked the bangs, but whatever.
  • Beverly was aces, and I am so happy the show has found out what to do with her.
  • "She gone, Danny! And I think Ben Affleck did it."
  • Again, aces on the final scene. So much palpable emotion and subtext in that scene. Every episode this season, if I’m not mistaken, has ended with Mindy and Danny at one of their houses, and this is the only one—with the half-exception of the first episode’s fire escape talk (if you remembered it over the striptease)—where things were not goofy or butterflies and roses.
  • I said this in the review, but I will say it again: Mindy Kaling has become an actress on par with Chris Messina. These two can do so much if given the chance!
  • Re: Adam Pally’s impending departure. Maybe this will teach the writers to stop having boring B-plots that the audience invests in for really no good reason?
  • Watch the SAG conversation if you haven’t yet. It’s fascinating once you hear past Ike and Adam.
  • I don’t even care—I loved TJ. Candace was way too unprofessional in her final scene of the epi. I’m sorry, if you’re not paying attention anywhere, you deserve to get berated.
  • I am also loving Niecy Nash’s role in the show. I love when two characters don’t get along (conflict brings out the best in characters) and I love that she challenges Mindy and forces Mindy to grow up a little bit.
  • Happy Turkey Day! Remember how sexy potatoes are.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jenn's Pick: Top 10 TV Characters I'm Thankful for in 2014

Gobble gobble, lovely readers! 

Grab your pregnancy pants because it's getting close to that time of year. You know the one -- where you gather around the table with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and piles of pies in order to celebrate being blessed and fortunate. As it's approaching Thanksgiving, I thought I would dedicate another blog post to some television characters I'm thankful for in 2014! Last year I made a post about some television characters I was thankful for, so you should check it out if you're inclined. I'm resurrecting the tradition (and will hopefully continue it for years to come).

I've been really blessed this year with my health, my friends, my family, my job (even if it's not what I want to be doing, it's still a job that pays me money), my accomplishments, my church, my living situation, etc. etc. Sometimes I think we take our blessings for granted -- I know that I have the tendency to do this and complain about things that are privileges, rather than rights -- and I'm so glad that we get to spend this time of year together thinking about all of the things we can be thankful for.

It may seem trivial and silly, but I'm thankful for this blog. I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to express myself in words -- something I've always loved doing -- and that so many amazing, thoughtful, and smart people have been dropped into my life because of it. You guys are, quite simply, the best. And I'm thankful for you! I'm also thankful for television because without it, I wouldn't have this job. ;)

So let's talk about some of the television characters I'm most thankful exist this year! Drop your own suggestions and comments below and keep adding to the list.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Arrow 3x07 "Draw Back Your Bow" (Love Is A Dangerous Game)

"Draw Back Your Bow"
Original Airdate: November 19, 2014


Isn't it interesting that a four-letter word has such an impact on us as individuals? Love means something different to every single person on this planet; it looks different to every person, too. There are different categories of love and different scales. We say that we love cheese fries but then we also say that we love our husbands or our families or a television show. It's the same word, though, each time. The fact of the matter is that we love to love and we love to be loved and gosh darnit, we just love the IDEA of love so much that it infiltrates every piece of our lives whether we recognize it or not.

I'm not a stranger to unrequited love, by any means. In fact, unrequited love and I are kind of BFFs. In high school, I was in love with a guy for four years. The moment I finally got over him, we ended up slow-dancing at prom together (to Alicia Keys' "Fallin'" because the universe is cruel and ironic) and then BAM. I was hit again with those feelings. You know the ones: nervousness and giddiness and fear. I was in love with him for so many years and he never saw me the same way. I eventually moved forward with my life and now I look back on that love as a nostalgic twenty-five year old woman. But it sucks, let's be honest, to feel something for someone so deeply and know that they don't feel the same about you. Unrequited love can make us self-conscious. It can fuel depression or anxiety. Conversely, it can motivate us to be stronger, more self-aware, more confident.

Or, in the case of Carrie Cutter, it can cause us to do some crazy things. I think love is one of the most powerful weapons we've been given -- it can do so much good or bad in the world; people do some crazy things in the name of it, after all. But I don't think there's any love quite as dangerous as the unrequited kind. Oliver and Team Arrow learn this in "Draw Back Your Bow" when The Arrow's number one fan shows up. She's head-over-heels in love with him and she has a great way of showing it (that was inflection: she shows it by killing people). Love is as much of a theme in this week's episode as guilt was in last week's, so let's talk about that little four letter word as it pertains to Oliver, Ray, Felicity, and Cupid, shall we?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Girl 4x08 "Teachers" (This Far, No Further)

Original Airdate: November 18, 2014

I've always been a rule-follower. I blame it on my birth order, as I'm the oldest of my siblings and was always terrified of disappointing my parents. But it wasn't just at home that I followed the rules. I was a goody two-shoes at school, too. I never talked out of turn. I always turned in my homework on time. I never goofed off. I was (and still am, even as I approach my twenty-sixth year of life) a "good girl." Being a rule-follower doesn't seem like it would present any actual drawbacks, but in the case of Jessica Day, it does. "Teachers" finds our favorite vice principal struggling to avoid spending any quality or alone time with Ryan (who she has a crush on) during a retreat because her principal forbids any romantic relationships between administration and teachers. Jess has always self-identified as a rule-follower and a "good girl." And we have always known this to be true of her. She has a very healthy fear of authority and a commitment to both her job and to the promises she makes to others. What is so great about this episode though was that we got the opportunity to see Jess take a risk and not a reckless one. Not really, anyway. We, instead, see her take a very bold and brave risk not against her boss but FOR herself and for her heart. Season four of New Girl finds Jess back in the dating game, but more importantly, it finds her back in the realm of possibilities -- it finds her in an exhilarating and scary place. And Jess is not the type of woman who openly embraces those places. She's more likely to run away from her feelings than run toward them. But in "Teachers," we find Jessica Day learning what it truly means to be vulnerable with someone again. And it was lovely.

Elsewhere in the episode, the theme of identity is also prominent. With Coach and Jess out of town on a retreat, Winston, Schmidt, and Nick are left at home to have a boys weekend (which hilariously goes slightly awry) where they have the opportunity to teach each other things and really be vulnerable with one another too. This story wasn't just hilarious; it was also extremely insightful and really touching. Meanwhile, at the retreat, we learn more about Coach's fears and insecurities as a teacher (wow, the theme of identity and vulnerability really WAS prominent, wasn't it?) and though a lot of the story is played for laughs, as is typical with New Girl, nothing is ever quite as shallow or cut-and-dry as it seems.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Once Upon A Time 4x08 "Smash the Mirror" (And Scatter the Wreckage)

"Smash the Mirror"
Original Airdate: November 16, 2014

I've always been ordinary. And ordinary is pretty good, actually. I've always been smart, but never too smart. I wasn't valedictorian or a high-scorer on standardized tests. I've always been talented, but never exceptionally so. I've had my poems published in journals but I've never been nationally recognized or seen my work in The New Yorker (yet). I'm ordinary and ordinary is, actually, what most people are. There are a few people who become extraordinary in their lifetimes -- a few Hollywood success stories for the thousands that graduate with degrees in theatre; a few recording contracts for those who spend their lives making YouTube videos and singing their hearts out; a few million dollar book and movie deals for the countless others that spend their lives trying to get their work accepted by a publisher.

Emma Swan has -- up until very recently -- been rather ordinary. Even when she first entered Storybrooke and became the savior of the town, she was still an ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances, dealing with the seemingly impossible. But then Emma's powers came into play and suddenly, she's on par with Regina and Rumple in town. Everyone else is a fairytale character, right? They've done the impossible: fought giants and survived, battled magical creatures, traveled to exotic locations and seen amazing sights. But they've never had the kind of power that Emma currently possesses in Once Upon A Time. And when Emma can harness that light magic within her, amazing things happen.

But when she cannot -- when she begins to lose control of her emotions and herself -- people, people she loved and trust, begin to fear her. "Smash the Mirror" is a huge, two-hour episode that deals with a lot of themes (ordinary vs. extraordinary; hope vs. hopelessness; predestination vs. free will; seclusion vs. invitation; lies vs. truth; love vs. self-love, etc.) and I'll try to tackle the most important ones as they relate to our characters throughout this episode. So let's begin, shall we?