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.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

iZombie 4x04 Review: “Brainless in Seattle, Part 2” (The Second Act) [Guest Poster: Chloe]

“Brainless in Seattle, Part 2” 
Original Airdate: March 19, 2018

Last week I was left feeling frustrated and unfulfilled by “Brainless in Seattle, Part 1” because to me, it existed merely as a placeholder for things to come. Thankfully “Brainless in Seattle, Part 2” does a better job of providing resolution to some of the most significant narrative threads of the season thus far. Even though the episode does not accomplish everything, it does give the audience a clearer idea of what the rest of the season might entail. It also uses its hour to more effectively integrate stories that previously lacked focus.

Since this episode is the conclusion of a two episode arc, my commentary this week is going to be in pretty direct response to the observations I made in my post last week. Essentially, like the episode itself, this post is really just a continuation of my thoughts.

“Brainless in Seattle, Part 2” picks up pretty seamlessly where last week left off and immediately finds ways to integrate the five central plot components of season four. Those central plot threads include: 1) Fillmore Graves being an oppressive and violent force that has set New Seattle up like a prison. 2) Angus and his zombie church/cult growing stronger and more dangerous as they hunt and kill humans “in the name of God.” 3) Investigating Renegade, a coyote who scratches sick people, and helps people escape Seattle, all in the name of “helping.” 4) Blaine running a criminal operation that involves killing people and buying brains on the black market. 5) A serial killer who is murdering wealthy people that are looking to leave or enter Seattle.

And that doesn’t even include all of the more minor narrative components of the season. Does that sound a little narratively ambitious to anyone else but me, considering we got all of this new information in just three episodes? It is ambitious, which is why I have been feeling so frustrated with the season so far. I wasn’t sure how or if any of these components would start to integrate, so I am pleased that this episode starts to do that a little bit.

In this episode, we finally get a better understanding of what Angus and his church have planned for the future. We are reintroduced to this particular plot point when Tucker (the anti-zombie who was scratched and turned into a zombie by a Fillmore Graves soldier in episode two) finds his way into the church. He is depressed with his new condition and none of his friends or family wants anything to do with him, so the extremeness of the church and its rhetoric start to appeal to Tucker. He has nothing left to lose and he sees Fillmore Graves as the enemy — which is why he has no issue with completely giving in to the messages Angus preaches. It is only when Major shows up at the church in search of Tucker that these two narrative threads start to come together.

In a scene that it truly disturbing, Angus both commends Major for his work as a “liberator” when he was The Chaos “Killer” but also threatens him. He makes it explicitly clear that Fillmore Graves is the enemy of the people and that if Major shows up at the church in uniform again, he will “smack [his] head clean off [his] body.” It is a line that is so ominous that it really should serve as a wake-up call for Major. While Angus is just a different kind of evil force, it does not take away from all of the oppression that Major is perpetuating as a Fillmore Graves employee. I still don’t think that he sees his actions as morally wrong, but maybe this will serve as a reminder that there will eventually be consequences for his decisions and actions.

While I was initially skeptical of this particular storyline, I am now very interested to see how this unfolds throughout the rest of the season. It feels just as high stakes as the Max Rager plot from season two, but twice as harrowing because it involves more than one evil force. It has been a relatively slow build to this point because it has been mixed in with so many other narrative components. However, this plot is evident that the show is building to some type of grand conclusion that will undoubtedly alter the structure and course of the series yet again. I don’t currently feel like I am in a good place to speculate on the specifics of that resolution because I am not even sure what I want from this storyline. But the show has always found ways to surprise me with its resolutions before, so I trust the writers to do a good job of surprising me this season too.

The other central component of this episode explores the connection between Renegade and Blaine. In last week’s episode, Chase tasked Blaine with finding Renegade so that she could be eliminated. As a result, we get to see Blaine on “loose lips” brain while he waits for a vision that can help him track her down. This is a particularly great brain for Blaine to be on. Even though he is already very transparent about how evil he is, he becomes so honest to everyone about his motivations (even customers at his restaurant), that it is treated very comically. This is the Blaine content that I am here for! He was so sidelined as a character last season that I am just grateful that the writers decided to return him to his rightful place as one of the central antagonists of the series. 

Before Blaine is able to find Renegade, we get a really important conversation between her and Liv. We find out that like Liv, she is one of Seattle’s original zombies. She was one of many early zombies who were subsisting off of the brains of murdered teens (which if you don’t remember, was part of Blaine’s M.O. in season one).

When she realized that no one cared to listen to her concerns, Renegade decided to start helping people in any way that she could. In New Seattle, that now involves scratching the sick and helping families over the city wall, like we saw in episode two. She is presented as a truly compassionate and honest person, so it devastating when Blaine finally finds and brings her to Chase Graves. I don’t yet know what plans Chase might have for Renegade beyond killing her, but the look he gives her is chilling. She is either going to be used as part of some evil plan or she has been getting in the way of whatever Chase has planned next. It will undoubtedly involve coming to blows with Angus’s church/cult or with Liv, and I am excited to watch it unfold. Again, I feel like a bad fan for not having some of the foresight to be able to predict what is going to happen next, but I am also okay with not knowing.

The last component of “Brainless in Seattle, Part 2” is arguably also the least important. While the revelation that there was a serial killer in Seattle felt important last week, it doesn’t feel as important now. Additionally, we see Liv continue on “rom-com” brain even though there is no compelling reason for her to still be on it other than wanting to find her “soulmate” Tim. It does provide Rose McIver with the opportunity to play someone over-the-top and whimsical (she can truly play any character convincingly) which is funny to watch, but does little else for the narrative. However, I do appreciate that starting with last week’s episode we are getting the return of the introspective voice overs from Liv. It is a vital part of how we see and understand Liv’s perspective and motivations, so I appreciated having it back. It also gave the episode a lighter tone, despite all of the harrowing aspects of the rest of the plot. That combined with Ravi’s undercover persona and seeing Major on “macho wrestler” brain allowed the episode to feel less sinister.

The serial killer storyline ends up feeling a little lackluster in comparison to everything else the episode does well. They catch the bad guy in the same way they would with any other case, and that is it. There is no further exploration of the killer’s motives, and the episode concludes the arc without commenting on its significance at all. It was a nice idea to explore in theory, and maybe it will still be integrated with another element of the story, but for now it feels like wasted space. In a season that has so many other components to it, the show cannot afford to waste time on elements that won’t serve the rest of the story in a significant way.

“Brainless in Seattle, Part 2” manages to address almost every loose thread of the season thus far and while not all elements have been concluded satisfactorily, (at least to me) it does provide satisfying answers for some plot points. In an episode filled with other great moments, the conversation that Liv and Clive have about his relationship with Dale was the most satisfying for me to watch. In last week’s episode, we saw Dale kiss another man, and it raised questions about whether she was cheating on Clive. Instead of communicating her concerns in a mature way, Liv decides to badmouth Dale and attempts to set Clive up with a new co-worker. We see her do this more aggressively in “Part 2” and thankfully Clive is not having any of it. He finally calls Liv out on all of her problematic behavior by arguing that “what makes this worse is that it’s not just coming from the brain you are on; I think it is coming from you.” It is only after this conversation that Liv decides to tell Clive the truth. As I speculated last week, Dale and Clive have indeed agreed to open up their relationship, so technically what Liv saw wasn’t cheating.

But the news is still devastating for Clive because of course it isn’t really something he wants, but rather something he is trying to do because “when you love someone you will do anything to try to make it work.” It is a heartbreaking moment but also one that brings Liv and Clive closer. It is vital that they are both so hard on each other about their various life choices because it holds them more accountable for their actions. This conversation is ultimately so important because it is a rare moment of vulnerability for Clive. As frustrated as he gets with Liv, he still trusts her with the most important aspects of his life which allows their friendship to flourish.

Ultimately “Brainless in Seattle, Part 2” serves as an adequate conclusion to some of the most important developments from last week’s episode. We are now a third of the way through season four, and this episode definitely feels like the conclusion of “Act 1.” If the first act exists to establish all of the important facets of the season, act two will show a more substantial build in the narrative. What it will entail is for us to speculate, but whatever the next part of the season brings, I know that it will be a lot of fun to watch. Join me next week for my coverage of “Goon Struck.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Grey’s Anatomy 14x15 Recap: “Old Scars, Future Hearts” (Happy Morning After) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Old Scars, Future Hearts”
Original Airdate: March 15, 2018

When we last saw our favorite TV doctors, most of them were getting down and dirty in surprising pairs. The fallout of the new relationships, plus the impending continuation or death of Meredith and Jo’s Surgical Innovation Contest project, are the major plot points of the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. With Richard revealing that Meredith’s Aunt Marie might have ulterior motives, it’s time to clear up the truth about yet another rocky past relationship, while plenty of other relationships are blossoming. The moments get bigger as the episode goes on, so it is definitely one that you will want to watch until the very end.


Meredith doesn’t have a big role in this episode, but her plot is very important for the future. For those of you who didn't notice, Meredith’s lesser screen time is equated to Ellen Pompeo directing this episode. Pompeo does a wonderful job of capturing all of the characters’ emotions in every scene, which is a very important aspect in directing. When you have an episode like this one — where there are incredibly important reactions from multiple people in every scene — it is imperative to capture every angle. For only her second time directing, Pompeo’s style shines and is immediately recognizable.

Back to Meredith: We learned at the end of the last episode that Aunt Marie had a falling out with Ellis Grey a long time ago, which could affect her reasoning. According to Marie, the surgical procedure dubbed the “Grey Procedure” that won Ellis her second Harper Avery Award was actually based on the work that both Ellis and Marie did together. Marie argues that Ellis flat-out stole her work and that if Meredith wants to buy the patent for the polymer, she must publicly announce that the procedure’s name be changed to reflect both doctors’ contributions.

I do agree with Meredith’s reason of not destroying her late mother’s legacy since she cannot get her side of the story. It makes a lot of sense, but what comes next is downright petty. Marie threatens that she will keep her polymer and Meredith’s science and continue with Meredith’s experiments herself if her name isn’t added to Ellis’ procedure. Extortion is a bit low for someone who claims to be your aunt. This is also the definition of being stuck between a rock and a hard place. There is no way for Meredith to win, so it will be interesting to see what she decides.


Another subplot occurs between April and Tom after their surprising night together. Tom brings up the fact that April is not the same person he met a few months back when he was at Grey Sloan to remove Amelia’s tumor. Since he is too smart for everyone, Tom starts listing all the possibilities for April’s change and gets his answer when April tells him to stop after his long list ends with a crisis in faith.

I wouldn’t think that Tom is a character who has a strong religious faith due to the way he acts, talks, and holds himself. He is too self-righteous for anyone to suspect that he is anything other than an arrogant narcissist. However, as partially suspected, that is all a front to hide the pain that the real Tom deals with on a daily basis. Through a very telling conversation, we actually get to learn who Tom really is: a divorced man living with the pain that his young son was killed in a freak baseball accident.

Tom reveals that he grew up a Catholic and had a similar crisis in faith when his son died. His story seemed to strike a real chord with April, who didn’t explain herself on camera. This might be the wake-up call that she needs and could lead to a potential deeper relationship with Tom. I would never suspect that these two characters would have anything in common or would even match up well, but Tom’s reveal actually makes them sort of good for each other at the moment.


The other pairing that everyone has been waiting to couple up starts heating up even more this week. Maggie and Jackson finally kissed the previous night, and now they can’t even function properly without thinking of the other. In this episode, they are more like a teenage couple who can’t stop flirting. Oddly, Maggie’s teen patient brings the two together when Jackson assists with a sternal reconstruction after a heart transplant. Some flashbacks let us see a young Maggie, Alex, and Jo experiencing their first loves thanks to the love story their teen patient experiencing.

Maggie is explaining her dorky past to Alex and Jo, and doesn’t realize that Jackson is in the room and had heard the whole thing. When she does realize he is there, she is embarrassed. After blowing off a dinner date with him twice, Maggie runs into Jackson at the bar later that night and sort of turns that into their first date. She tells Jackson all about her nerdy tendencies and that she has plenty of baggage, but there is more good than bad with her. Mr. Smooth then tells her the same thing, which brings them together physically (according to the very funny trailer for the next episode). So the Maggie and Jackson ship is sailing, and I can’t wait to see where it’s going.


In my opinion, the biggest story of the episode occurs between Alex and Jo. Alex spends a majority of the episode sulking because Jo is looking to apply for fellowships around the country. Time has flown, and it is crazy to think that Jo is eligible to be an attending next season. Jo doesn’t understand why Alex is so upset until he says that he didn’t realize that Paul was the only thing keeping her in Seattle. While they both spend a day sad and not sure what to do with the other, we get some nice insight into their teenage years. This also marks the first time we get to see Alex’s mother, who appears to be much more mentally ill and unstable than we knew.

In flashbacks, Alex gets his heart broken by a girl who thinks he will be just as crazy as his mom. Even as a teenager Alex had poor taste in women and couldn’t catch a break. Jo was the opposite and actually broke the heart of what appeared to be a perfect teenage boy who took her in when she was living in her car. If these flashbacks prove anything, it is that Jo and Alex are so messed up that they are beyond perfect for each other. While Alex has always thought this, Jo finally catches up and realizes that she can’t go on without Alex.

At the end of the episode, Alex arrives home to a beautiful speech about love from Jo. As he goes to find the ring he has been saving for ages, Jo proposes to Alex in the sweetest moment of the season. The couple will most certainly be staying in Seattle, and this is the happy ending that we all needed this year. These two deserve that happiness after all they have gone through over the years, particularly with Paul. Hopefully everyone can ride the love train a little longer so this upward emotional stretch of episodes continues.

Legends of Tomorrow 3x15 Recap: "Necromancing the Stone" (The Death Totem) [Contributor: Marilyn]

"Necromancing the Stone"
Original Airdate: March 19, 2018

In this episode, Sara wakes up from a nightmare featuring a creepy little girl who looks like Nora from the asylum. Ava tries to comfort Sara, but she doesn’t want to talk about the nightmare. Apparently, however, Sara called out John’s name while asleep and Ava is feeling a bit jealous. Sara explains Constantine and his role in her life, and Ava’s ego is soothed when Sara calls her her girlfriend. Gideon son calls Sara to the bridge, and Ava jets off to rejoin the Bureau.

Mollus is doubling down on anachronisms so the Legends need to split into teams to deal with it. Amaya and Zari team up, while Nate and Wally form another team. Mick opts to stay behind and help Ray with the fire totem. That leaves Sara on her own to sort out some mess with Einstein. Before Sara can get anywhere though, she notices something strange: the death totem is making an awful racket in her mind. She goes to it and sees a vision of her former self as the Canary — the first Canary in Arrow — telling her that the totem has chosen her and she needs to pick it up. I mean, it makes sense. Sara has died... how many times now? If anyone on the team should wield the death totem, it’s probably her.

Amaya and Zari return after their mission and find Mick asleep, Ray beat to a pulp in his lab, and someone on board, sabotaging the ship and its crew. Zari sticks with Ray in the med bay while Mick and Amaya go off in search of what’s wrong. They find it in the galley: Sara is wearing the death totem but she’s clearly not well. Has Mollus come to play again? She looks like a zombie ninja warrior goddess. Amaya and Mick are no match for her, and Amaya tries to appeal to the Sara that’s still inside. Sara can hear Amaya while Mollus taunts her — that this is exactly what she feared would happen. Wally saves Mick and Amaya from getting totaled by Death!Sara. Zari realizes they need Constantine’s help, since it sounds like Mollus is definitely in the driver's seat of Sara's body. Ava calls and is alarmed, to say the least so the team fills her in on what’s happened with Sara.

Sara has activated the “Nostromo Sequence,” which has the team trapped on the Waverider with locked doors and no power. Wally tries to help subdue Sara so they can get the Waverider working again. She taunts Wally with a vision of Jesse, which distracts him long enough for her to take him out with a freeze ray. In the present-day, Gary and Ava are hunting down Constantine in New York City and find him chasing a chicken as a part of a ritual to get his neighbor’s son married. Don’t ask. John knows that Sara has been taken over by Mollus. Ava tells him that the death totem is involved, and that changes things. Apparently there’s some connection between the death totem, Mollus, and Zambezi. Maybe Sara has something to do with it.

John is tickled to learn Ava has slept with Sara too, and she insists on joining him to the realm of Mollus to save Sara. Mollus isn’t too happy about that, of course. Meanwhile on the Waverider, the team is looking for Sara and Wally, and Nate finds the latter. Wally’s okay but he needs the med bay. Zari is about to take a wrench to Gideon’s inner workings so they can escape on a shuttle when she’s interrupted by a vision of her brother as a young boy. She regretfully turns her back on him but Gideon knocks her back and then Death!Sara attacks. Zari repels her at first with wind, but Sara isn’t that easy to knock down. Zari pleads with Sara to fight Mollus and gets through to her for a moment.

Constantine is searching for another way to get to Sara and there’s a delightful reference to Beebo, whom everyone but Ava seems to love. John says Ava is wound a bit tight, which is putting it lightly. Ava is, however, and she’s stressing about her relationship with Sara in the midst of all of this. John tells her that Sara is worth the trouble. Gary, meanwhile, has an idea borrowed from a Dungeons and Dragons campaign from the previous year, which is strangely fitting for their current situation. Yay, Gary! Apparently, they need another totem to fight Sara. Someone needs to wield the earth totem, so Nate volunteers.

The Legends can do this as long as they don’t split up! Of course, they split up because that’s what Sara wants them to do. Meanwhile in Sara’s mind, Nora Darhk is telling Sara she can’t fight Mollus. Nora blames her path on Oliver killing Damien, but Sara tells her that her path was a choice. Then, Nora shows Sara the things she has done on her own path, including killing a father for the League. Once a killer, always a killer? Nora tries to get Sara to embrace her past and join the Darhks, telling her that this is her destiny.

Nate finds the earth totem and picks it up but has a hard time connecting with it. Death!Sara finds him. So now the fire totem is their last chance to stop Death!Sara. Zari and Amaya are weakened, so clearly Mick should be the one to wield it. It seems fitting, right? Constantine, Gary, and Ava arrive at the Waverider and interrupt Sara from beating up Nate. Constantine tries to expel Mollus from inside Sara, but Death!Sara tries to trip him up the same way she has the rest of the team. But he gets Sara to take his hand and tries to free her.

Mick, wielding the totem, distracts Death!Sara and she lets John go, running off to confront the other totem bearer. They face off, power against power, and Mick overwhelms her. Nora continues to try to get Sara to join with her and Damien, and Ava begs Sara to fight back. Sara can hear Ava and feel her and it gives her the impetus to fight back against Nora. She doesn’t want a life without pain and regret — she doesn’t want to be a demon’s lackey; Sara wants to do better than she has in the past. She fights back and returns, with Death!Sara no more.

John and Sara commiserate over their lives, and he admits that is why he likes to work alone. But he also tells Sara that Ava is a good one. Sara apologizes to Ray and the rest of the team, believing that Mollus uses each of their deepest fears against them... which freaks the team out a bit. Sara tells Ava they need to talk, with Sara believing that she really is death — it will always be a part of her. Ava argues; she doesn’t care about Sara's past. But Sara says that she should. She breaks up with Ava, leaving them both miserable.

I get why Sara feels she needs to push Ava away. I really do. We saw the same thing with Oliver and Felicity on Arrow's third, fourth, and fifth seasons. Sara isn’t comfortable with the darkest part of herself and she’s scared to death that it will hurt those she loves. She has a hard enough time letting her team in and being vulnerable with them. But someone even closer than that? Someone to share her heart with? It’s a tall order for our Captain Lance.

On the totem front, Mick bonding with the fire totem makes so much sense; I don't know why I didn’t think of that sooner. And the same goes for Sara and the death totem, though I imagine she’ll be understandably hesitant to wield it again anytime soon. But who should wield the earth totem? Nate didn’t seem to have the touch. Will it be Ray? Wally? Someone else altogether? I have some questions.

Once Upon A Time 7x13 Review: “Knightfall” (It’s All Real) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

Original Airdate: March 16, 2018 

Confusing timelines, silly Easter eggs, and a surprising ending are the best descriptors of the latest episode of Once Upon A Time. While you may think that this episode gets away from some of the crazier, useless storylines that have been plaguing the back half of the season, it is a little hard to get past the one of the two main plots simply because the timelines don’t match up. Other than that mistake, the episode is pretty decent and probably has my favorite ending this season.


A vast majority of the episode focuses on parallel Hook-themed stories in the past and present. In the past, we see Hook trying to free young Alice from the tower that Gothel has her magically trapped in. This seems all fine and dandy until Hook decides that there is one option he hasn’t tried yet and goes to find Rumplestiltskin in the old cavernous cage prison. I got pretty confused here because all of the timelines pretty much were flushed down the toilet in one scene. Maybe I can’t figure out what realm they are supposed to be in, but if we are still supposed to be following clone Hook around, shouldn’t he be in the same realm as everyone else?

The whole “Rumple being the Dark One and locked away in the magical prison Snow White and Prince Charming kept him” thing is what threw me off. At this point in the series, I try not to overthink these things because no matter how much I do, they never make sense. Time clearly moves at varying rates in this realm. However, it’s so great to finally get a few real Rumple scenes! Robert Carlyle has always been one of the highlights of the show and he is just brilliant at bringing the true fairytale Rumple to life. The creepy, sinister Rumple is just what this show needed — even if it is just for one episode.

Hook goes to Rumple to see if he can help him save Alice. Rumple sends him on a quest to find Captain Ahab (snore) who is in possession of Maui’s magical fishhook. Yes, that’s right: Once Upon A Time totally pulled a Moana reference and Colin O’Donoghue (Hook) is practically rolling his eyes while saying the line that mentions it. I had the same reaction, except I was also laughing at how O’Donoghue was presenting the scene. Ahab is useless and just a weird character to introduce. He is young, cocky, and a really terrible character. His only purpose was to try and get under Hook’s skin by calling him soft, to try and pull the old pirate Hook out from the depths of new and improved Hook’s mind. It was all pretty boring but in the end, Gothel prevails over Hook with a poison bullet, steals the fishhook, and leaves Alice trapped in the tower.

Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, Hook’s present timeline is starting to heat up. Hook and Rumple are hot on the case of trying to find the person who is killing members of the coven of witches run by Gothel. Of course, Hook still doesn’t know the whole truth, but this is about to change. Gothel comes by the station to “help” — which obviously is something that will only benefit her. It’s a win-win for her to give a helping hand because they might be able to stop her witch friends from dying and she can manipulate Hook a bit more. The mind games she plays are clearly to try and trigger Hook’s memories hidden by the curse. He doesn’t make much progress, but it seems that Gothel intends for a slow burn wake-up call.

The end of Rumple and Hook’s story-of-the-week is a bit confusing. They find Tilly (Seattle Alice) at a fresh crime scene with two dead bodies and a bloody scalpel in her hand. While it is not clear if Tilly killed the people or just showed up afterward, she is suffering from another mental breakdown. Unfortunately, we aren’t given the privileged information of whether she is off her meds again, which would indicate that she knows what is going on and is actually trying to take out the coven for a good reason. Tilly runs away, so Hook and Rumple go to her home to see if she is there. They uncover a slab of rock with the coven’s symbol on it, and two of the spokes are crossed out with red paint. Tilly is either killing witches or is being framed, so this could be an interesting case to watch.


Another surprising turn of events shows that Drizella might not be totally evil after all. Drizella has spent the week since her mother died trying to figure out who she is without hating her mother — who also secretly loved her. The good news is that it looks like Drizella might be changing for the better. She asks the only good person she knows to help her out with her existential crisis, which might have changed her worldview. Henry is, naturally, a gentleman and tells her all about how to grieve. She tries to make a pass at him, but he rejects her.

At the end of the episode, Drizella brings a peace offering of sushi over to Henry’s apartment to thank him for his help. A funny Easter egg shows up here with the number on Henry’s door: 815. She tells Henry that she wants to make up for past mistakes and that it has to start with him. Is this an indicator that she is going to try and fix/break the curse without killing him? Drizella has seemed to have a soft spot for Henry in the Seattle timeline, so maybe there is a happy ending for all in sight after all.


If Drizella’s turn toward potential goodness surprised you, then the very end of the episode will be downright shocking. I don’t think anyone saw this one coming but in hindsight, it does make a lot of sense to end the series in a way that pays the ultimate homage to the original concept of the first season. Lucy struggles throughout the episode with the idea that Henry will die if he ever kisses her mom. She is so distraught that she tells Jacinda she doesn’t believe in fairytales anymore and that she doesn’t want her to see Henry ever again. Lucy goes to see Regina at the end of the episode to pick her brain about the stories and the page that magically appeared.

Regina pulls the ultimate surprise and tells Lucy that the stories are all real and that she is awake. Lucy is shocked to hear that Regina knows the truth and who she really is, then realizes that Henry is her father — making Regina her grandmother. This is a pretty big character reveal, especially for Lucy. Regina decides that the best way to fix the whole curse situation is to use a blast from the past and pull Lucy onto her side. She starts a new operation with Lucy to save everyone and break the curse. Operation Hyacinth is a go, which means classic Once Upon A Time might be back.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Timeless 2x02 Review: "The Darlington 500" (A New Threat and a Lot of Cuddling) [Contributor: Jenn]

“The Darlington 500”
Original Airdate: March 18, 2018

They always say that history has a way of repeating itself. But often, not in the ways we expect. I feel like it’s better to say that history mirrors itself — we will find people whose stories resonate with ours that it’s almost as if we were separated across time and space. In this week’s episode of Timeless, Wyatt Logan meets Wendell Scott and the two connect over their love of cars, but also over their similar experiences with their fathers. Really, this episode focuses on the importance of people in history, and the fight against time. We get to know a Rittenhouse agent more and sense his struggle, and we get to see Wendell’s view of his present circumstances and his hope for the future. Elsewhere in the episode, Carol has difficulty wrangling Nicholas and we might have seen a slight shift in her perspective about this whole Rittenhouse ordeal. Just a little.


We’re traveling back to 1955 this week, but our Time Team really has no idea what Rittenhouse is up to. The Mothership landed there, but nothing significant happened in the town of Darlington, South Carolina. But Wyatt has a thought — what if Rittenhouse isn’t interfering in current important historical events? What if they’re anticipating the moments before events happen? Since he’s the only NASCAR nerd on the team, Wyatt informs the rest of the gang that there’s a significant NASCAR driver who gets his start at the Darlington 500. So the team travels back to 1955 with a few jackets from Old Navy because budget cuts, man.

You’ll imagine the team’s surprise and ours as the viewers when we realize that the driver who the Time Team thought they were rescuing from being murdered by Rittenhouse is actually a Rittenhouse agent himself. See, Rittenhouse’s plot was a bit more convoluted than Wyatt gave them credit for — the evil organization planted Ryan back in time and have been leveraging his influence in order to get to the Darlington 500 and then take control of the car companies in attendance.

It all sounds very Rittenhouse-y, but here’s where I actually really enjoyed the plot — Ryan Millerson actually liked his life in the 1950s. He got married. He has a child on the way. He might have been an agent from 2018, but he fell in love with his life in the 1950s. The plot twist this season of Rittenhouse agents being scattered across space and time (okay, mostly just time because I watch too much Doctor Who) lends itself to some really good stories like this week’s. It begs the question of what happens when you live in an entirely different era. Will some of these agents forgo their mission (like Ryan was tempted to and — I believe — probably would have) in order to hold onto the reality of the life they’ve built? Will some agents lose themselves in the past, desperate to return to 2018?

Will the mission mean anything to them anymore?

While Emma is your pretty cut-and-dry villain (complete with a strut, threats of death, and sarcasm), I like that — for however briefly — we got the chance to examine the fact that not everyone in Rittenhouse is like Emma; these are people who have made choices (bad choices) but when push comes to shove, might not always align with the Rittenhouse code of conduct.

Regardless, Ryan ends up dead — along with another Rittenhouse agent, thanks to Wyatt — and Emma is a bit concerned about the fact that Carol seems to be making no progress with Nicholas. If you’ll recall, the team picked him up and dropped him into 2018, but all Nicholas wants is pickled eggs and to paint. Carol is a little frustrated that Nicholas isn’t this great, genius mind that she was hoping for (and promised everyone else) who would lead Rittenhouse into the future (or… past? This is weird with time-travel shows).

Carol gets her wish when Nicholas essentially paints a manifesto on the wall. We’ll get to that later on, but suffice it to say that Emma is thrilled. Carol doesn’t seem to be as much.


Wyatt is the kind of character who heavily guards his past. It’s been used to hurt him and it, itself, has hurt him. This week, we got to learn a little bit more about Wyatt’s abusive, drunk father as he and Wendell share stories. Wyatt, while helping Wendell fix his car, talks about how he used to fix up cars with his father. But it wasn’t a father/son bonding experience. Whenever Wyatt mouthed off, his dad would throw him in the back of the car and drive it around until something broke. It was Wyatt’s job, then, to fix whatever was wrong with the car. And he wasn’t allowed to come home until he did. But when he turned 15, Wyatt left — he stole his father’s car, drove it until the pistons blew, and then drove it straight into a lake.

So you’re probably wondering how Wyatt became the soldier and protector we all know and love him to be. It’s interesting because loyalty is one of Wyatt’s defining characteristics. He’s stubborn in his loyalty to the people he cares about, but he’s often intensely guarded emotionally all the same. Learning more about his past, it makes sense: Wyatt will never be his father. He’ll never harm the people he’s supposed to love, and he’ll never abandon them. But because Wyatt experienced abuse and trauma, he’s hesitant to share the depth of his life with someone. When he and Lucy have an intimate conversation later about what he confessed, she’s half-amused, half-concerned that Wyatt can just turn his emotions on and off like a tap. One minute he’s sharing stories about his dad, and the next, he’s silent.

I think Wyatt’s complexities stem from this dichotomy, really — this desire to be vulnerable, but the fear of intimacy with people who could hurt him, emotionally. There’s something so lovely about the fact that Wyatt and Lucy balance one another out in that way, and are able to share so much about their lives without fear of judgment or condemnation. There’s hesitancy, of course, because vulnerability is scary. But both Wyatt and Lucy find comfort and safety in each other, which is so crucial because that stability is what they both crave.

Additionally (in a more comedic scene), we learn that Wyatt was a bootlegger (of sorts... more so the implication is that he was a drug runner) when he was a teenager. When Rufus and Lucy look at him, stunned, as he explains what he did, we — the audience — realize we don’t know much about Wyatt Logan. As he points out, I guess we never asked.


I mean, did Wyatt and Lucy REALLY need to be thrown into the secret hatch of the trunk together? Probably not. But they were! And because they were, I’m going to talk about the growing intimacy between these two characters. I’ve shipped them from the beginning of the show and I’m still shipping them now. There’s a beauty in their relationship — Lucy is so trusting, while Wyatt is a bit more guarded; Lucy is the emotional bedrock of the group while Wyatt provides the strategy and logic. And in this episode, the two commiserate over their terrible parents together.

While in the back of the car, the pair gets super duper cozy (cuddly and all), but also emotionally cozy — there’s an irony in the sense that Lucy believes Wyatt didn’t care about his dad or admire him because he was an abusive alcoholic. Wyatt gently corrects her because of course he still looked up to his dad; it was his DAD, after all. Lucy is still struggling because the woman she admired most in the world and loved immensely turned out to be a monster — or, at the very least, in the den of monsters. I love that these two are being more and more intricately bonded this season. Last year, they went through hell and back together. This year, they’re not only facing the emotional and literal consequences of Rittenhouse, but also tethering themselves to each other in the process. Every obstacle brings them closer, and every battle they fight proves they’re on each others’ sides.

Plus, they’re real cute together.

“The Darlington 500” ends with something pretty interesting. Carol and Emma meet with Nicholas, who unveils a painting to the rest of Rittenhouse. “We few will save the world,” he says as he declares how Rittenhouse can start the world over — the right way. If you listen closely (or even if you don’t listen closely) you’ll notice how rather genocide-y that sounds. Nicholas tells Rittenhouse that their job is to take the best of history, and slough off the worst of it. Time is theirs to do with as they please, so why not sculpt away at the human race until it “reaches perfection everlasting”? Emma thinks this is the greatest idea since sliced bread, but when we pan to Carol’s face, her hesitancy and reminder of Lucy’s “be on the right side of history” warning seems to be etched across her face.

As irony would have it though, “we few will save the world” is actually the slogan for the good guys, too. The Time Team will always continue to fight for justice and do what’s right — regardless of who they’re fighting against. The question is: will Carol choose to fight with Rittenhouse or will what semblance of a conscience she has left choose her to do otherwise?

Timey-wimey bits:
  • Ah, so Wyatt and Lucy aren’t rooming together in the bunker. That makes sense from a logical perspective, but my shipper goggles had hopes.
  • Some minor stories I did not talk about earlier: Jiya is still having what appear to be flashes of other timelines. Except... maybe they actually are premonitions of the future. At the beginning of the episode, Jiya freaks out because she imagines seeing a burn on Rufus’ arm. It is not real, of course... until the end of the episode in which Rufus returns from the 1950s with a burn on his arm. Meanwhile, Agent Christopher essentially has to force Connor from speaking at a symposium.
  • My favorite thing in the episode is when Wyatt rattles off names of NASCAR drivers and everyone looks at him with a mix of confusion and hilarious disinterest.
  • I had wondered why Michael Rady looked so familiar and then I realized he was in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
  • Can we all appreciate the running joke of Rufus giving Wendell “the nod”?
  • “Y’all really cops?” “... Yup.” “Uh, yeah, I’m the chief!”
  • Lucy confiscating moonshine from Wyatt is hilarious.
  • “Come on, fanboy.”
  • The show should just be renamed “The Prodigal Princess and Her Boy Toys.”
  • “Okay, this is simultaneously giving me a headache AND a panic attack.”
  • Did you notice Wyatt gave Lucy his jacket? Too cute.
What did you think of this week’s Timeless? How badly do you want Wyatt and Lucy to kiss? What’s really going on with Jiya? Sound off in the comments below!

Why Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Was One of the Most Important Shows of 2017-2018 [Contributors: Jenn and Anne]

Ever since its debut, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has been a boundary-pushing, raucous, wonderful comedy — a gem on The CW and critical darling. As the show has grown and evolved, its shed preconceived notions and embraced discussion of stigmas. This season, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend took a few darker twists and turns which made the show more nuanced, layered, and poignant than ever before. Because the series has been so important to us (and actually Anne is the one who pushed me to try comedies that had polarizing names), Anne and I decided to combine our forces and describe the ups and downs of this season on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Rebecca Bunch is such a complex character — on the one hand, occasionally we will root for her, but often we root against her. This year, we saw quite an evolution of her character. By the finale, how did you feel about her arc?

Anne: I think that Rebecca still has a long way to go. I am a tremendous fan of this show — it is comfort television on weekends and comfort music on weekdays. Rewatching and re-listening so often has helped me to fully appreciate how ambitious the creators’ plan was for the character, to where each conflict Rebecca faced — whether unfairly or as a result of her own actions — made perfect sense within her emotional arc. If it were done, it would hardly be as ambitious. So I imagine there’s still a lot Rebecca has to learn, and that the arc isn’t concluded.

I wanted to mention the (presumably four-season) arc as a whole before answering what you were asking, about this season in particular. I thought the breakdown in season three made perfect sense and was necessary. For how strongly Rebecca reacted against Robert, with whom she was not even exclusively involved, it makes sense that Josh Chan — who, for the entire show, has been a bedrock of her happiness and hope — leaving her would cause such a downward spiral. And I think it has been important, as more people become involved in her life, that the artificiality of her moving to West Covina is shed. It makes the show darker and realer, and makes her decision in the finale justifiable (at least from an emotional standpoint).

Jenn: I’ve always enjoyed the fact that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a meta, raucous series. But I think that season three really helped elevate it from a smart comedy to a poignant one. This year saw darker twists and turns, but yet they never felt excessive or out of place. Rebecca is such an interesting character. We spent so much of our time in the series trying to decide whether or not her actions are justifiable. In season three, Rebecca Bunch became more self-aware, and we got the opportunity to see her realization that her actions have consequences and there are some lines that, once crossed, cannot be un-crossed.

Rebecca’s arc makes sense to me — she’s grown and progressed and has finally come to the point in which she’s willing and able to take responsibility and change, even if it’s difficult. In spite of the rocky road it took to get her there, Rebecca’s willingness to sacrifice (time, freedom, convenience) has allowed her to become a more well-developed character and also a more complex one. Rebecca still makes mistakes. We still disagree with some of the decisions she makes. She still takes two steps forward and one back. But that’s humanity in the show and in Rebecca.

Let’s talk about how Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was unafraid to go really dark this year. Why was that important for the show and its evolution?

Anne: I think it was important in the interest of blowing up the idea of “crazy ex-girlfriend.” Despite how many interviews the creators give and how concerning Rebecca was so often, I think that there is a huge chunk of people who miss season one Rebecca’s “quirky adventures,” and that’s not the story this show is interested in telling. I’m personally happy it’s not. I had a much harder time enjoying the back half of this season than the first — trying to watch Rebecca do the same antics with Nathaniel as she did with Josh. The first half of the season ruined forever the sanctuary of ignorance that Rebecca, and us viewers, could stay in. There’s nothing quirky about Rebecca’s behavior anymore; there never really was. Her actions have real consequences.

Now that we have seen with our eyes the consequences of Rebecca not receiving the treatment she needs, we know that that’s the endgame we need to be rooting for — not about the guys! That’s an idea that Rebecca hasn’t committed to (despite “Buttload of Cats,” ha) and an idea we’re not used to, either. My pea brain sees a guy like Scott Michael Foster and wants him to kiss anyone on screen at all times, okay, not necessarily watch Rebecca fill out therapy workbooks. A part of me has to wonder if our resistance to this idea is because we’re not used to a woman anti-hero character. Walter White didn’t end up with anyone. Don Draper didn’t end up with anyone. Dexter didn’t end up with anyone. (Actually, don’t get me started on Dexter...) Why is it essential that Rebecca does? Is it because the show is sold as a deconstruction of rom-coms, or is it that romantic love is seen as the only ending a woman has?

Jenn: I totally agree, Anne — especially in regards to the fact that the series now wants to remind us that Rebecca’s actions have genuine consequences and we should see her not as a quirky heroine but as a broken, messed-up woman who we can root for, not to find love but to find herself and healing.

I feel like the topic of mental health including this season’s reality of Rebecca’s attempted suicide is important in the show’s progression. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a misnomer — the show is not about love or ex-love. Those are integral elements that propel plot and characterization. At its core, this is a show about what it means to struggle to deal with life and heal. Everyone in the series has their own coping mechanism for when life gets difficult and most of them are toxic — denial, deflection, dependency, regression — but the series does a great job this year in pointing those things out and naming them as toxic behaviors. Rebecca’s diagnosis was the first step in her healing (emotionally, mentally, and physically) in order to have better, healthier relationships with her friends, co-workers, family, and loved ones.

I think the show knew that it was so easy to romanticize Rebecca’s unhealthy behaviors (because we see them, on a smaller scale, so easily romanticized in rom-coms — come on, jealousy? Light snooping? Sabotage? All things that female characters do on some small scale in romantic movies in order to propel themselves closer to the person they’re attracted to), so they completely demolished our perception of that this year by allowing us to see exactly how self-destruction works. Rebecca’s arc is the show — and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend reminded us that just because she’s the main character doesn’t mean she’s always right. The darkness of this season will help Rebecca and the show’s characters become more fully-realized human beings who become better through mistakes and triumphs.

Not many shows can successfully do time-jumps, but toward the end of this season, we got one on the show. How effective was it? What did you like/dislike about jumping a bit into the future?

Anne: I thought that episode was sorely needed. I mentioned that the back half of the season was not as enjoyable for me as the first — and I mean, that’s for a lot of reasons. But this episode helped to propel a lot of the action that could have lingered for too long, and gave Rebecca sufficient time to find a “new normal” that was just as threatening to her happiness as the quest for Josh Chan.

So I liked the movement and slight changes to status quo. I liked that it skipped past the pregnancy. I liked Dog Josh! And I did think, after a front half that was so, so jam-packed with plot propulsion, that time needed to stretch a little bit to fit it all, if that makes sense. It’s not required that shows follow the same timeline as ours, but let’s be real — it’s hard to make sense of it in our brains when shows play with time too much. Ask How I Met Your Mother (actually, don’t get me started on How I Met Your Mother...).

I did not like Mona’s place in the eight months (made no sense she’d stay that long), and I wish that Valencia-being-bisexual was touched upon more in advance. For a fan theory that was so popular to be true was awesome, but it felt dismissive of the character to not give it more time — although what’s new with Valencia? Same with Josh, to be honest.

Jenn: I just loved the way the episode framed the time jump itself, panning to the different characters at different periods in time. It was smart, from a directing standpoint, and visually appealing. Ultimately, I’m a fan of time jumps when they make sense — and this one did. We needed to see our characters change (or not change) in that eight-ish month time frame and to flash forward a little bit gave, like Anne said, that sense of relief that time is still moving forward. Because yes, the front half of the season was dark and great but also because of how heavy it was, narratively, it was slower — literally, it took up less time. Moving forward, I loved that we got to see very pregnant Heather. I’m in agreement with the Valencia decision: even if it was fan canon, it still didn’t quite feel earned.

While the emphasis this year was more on Rebecca’s personal journey and dealing with a lot of darkness in her life, we still focused a bit on romance — especially the romance between Nathaniel and Rebecca. What are your hopes for these two moving into next season?

Anne: I have never believed that Rebecca loved Nathaniel the way that Nathaniel loves Rebecca. They have bonkers chemistry, and I love both the actors’ jobs in portraying both, but I think with so much going on in Rebecca’s life, Nathaniel felt jam-packed in as a serious viable romantic candidate in a way that Greg did not.

I still don’t think Nathaniel understands Rebecca beyond “manic pixie dream girl,” which makes his unconditional acceptance of her implausible, and his inability to criticize her actions in the way that she needs is a huge problem for their relationship to develop honestly. I also think it’s scummy to have a girlfriend and a long-term mistress in a way that I don’t think can be forgiven. Not to mention poor Lolo. So... I don’t know. I think they had done such a great job with introducing that initial attraction budding into something more from Nathaniel’s side, but (and maybe intentionally?) they never did that with Rebecca in a convincing way. I guess the answer to your question, though, is “kissing.” Scott Michael Foster has great arms.

Jenn: Give me more of Scott Michael Foster always, honestly. Sometimes I forget that he wasn’t always a part of this series but he’s so, so great and talented and elevates everything. He’s got the whole “puppy in love” look nailed down. I definitely think Nathaniel romanticizes and oversimplifies Rebecca as a person and character (we see that in the finale a bit), but I don’t think it comes from a place of malice or anything. It’s weird because Nathaniel isn’t asking Rebecca to change who she is at all, and essentially he tells her that he loves her as she is. But that’s kind of problematic, right? Because Rebecca NEEDS to change and grow, and Nathaniel’s acceptance is (ironically) just as bad as if he would force Rebecca to change everything about herself.

I’m interested to see how this romance plays out. I think Rachel Bloom and Scott Michael Foster have excellent chemistry, but I’m curious to know what exactly they would glean from a real relationship with each other. Nathaniel is becoming a better version of himself around Rebecca (he’s more vulnerable and caring and thoughtful) because he loves her, but is Rebecca the best version of herself around Nathaniel? Or is she more content to remain who she is because that’s the way he loves her? It’s just so interesting to ponder.

Also, all feelings about Scott Michael Foster aside, I truly do miss Greg. I know that Greg and Rebecca had so many issues together but darn if I don’t still miss him a tiny bit.

Josh was once such a focal point of the series, but kind of faded into the background by the end of this year. What do you think of him now, compared to what you used to think?

Anne: I always respected Josh as a character because he was believable in a way that Heather, Valencia, Nathaniel, even Paula are not... I’ve met type-B “chill” guys who were afraid to confront uncomfortable situations, and have definitely had overkill crushes, so he always kind of hit home for me. I also think that Vincent Rodriguez III is just the greatest at being a fully realized character with flaws and strengths.

A huge disappointment I have had with this season is the lack of focus on him, actually. I always thought this was Rebecca and Josh’s story — after all, in order to be a “crazy ex-girlfriend,” you have to have an “ex-boyfriend,” right? I wish that in the back half of the season instead of focusing on Trent in such a plot-important way, they had focused on Rebecca and Josh. The conversation they had near the end of the season (where Josh thanks Rebecca for changing his perspective) is one I think should have happened in season four. Josh has one of the most incomplete arcs of the ensemble, and more time should be spent on him next year.

Jenn: Yeah, it’s weird because I never really cared for Josh. I never shipped him and Rebecca, because he was just such a man child (in a way that, while Greg had his serious flaws, never truly was), that it seemed implausible to me that Rebecca would even find him remotely attractive. But that’s probably because I’ve met so many type-B guys in my life who I immediately find unattractive for the whole aforementioned man-childness that I’m projecting onto Josh.

ANYWHO, Josh’s lack of any significance or purpose toward the back half of the season did feel like a misstep on the part of the show. I get that he’s no longer the crucial character he once was to the plot, but we had more of White Josh character development than Josh character development and though I’m a fan of some White Josh, something about that felt off. As much as I’ve never cared for Josh, the show almost dropped him off in the background — which is only startling because of how integral he once was to the show. I think there’s a way to gradually fade him into obscurity and I’m not sure that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend did that well.

Let’s talk about the importance of the series’ supporting characters! Which of their stories resonated with you this year? Who and what do you hope we see more of next season?

Anne: I am not the right person to ask this question to — I have never liked much a majority of the supporting characters. Ummm, I did love Father Brah playing poker. And the story with Tim and his poor, poor wife. As far as resonance, I thought the Naomi story in “I Never Want to See Josh Again.” was very emotional.

Here’s what I’ll say: a part of my apathy toward the supporting characters is because of Rebecca’s apathy toward them. I was driven nuts by how many conversations Paula, Valencia, Heather, even Rebecca’s therapy group that Rebecca would not listen to. She’d just steamroll and we’d move onto the next scene. I don’t know how that problem is fixed fully next year and it’s a shame because I love the supporting cast so much. But a baby? A pregnancy? I guess Paula’s still in law school? A job I don’t understand? A girlfriend who was introduced two minutes ago? So?

Jenn: I literally just want all of the Hector/Heather stories, and more of White Josh/Nathaniel scenes. In the back half of the season, those were some of my absolute favorite scenes. They provided levity but also actual depth. I actually have cared less for Paula this year than I did in the past two seasons, which makes me sad. It seems like she really serves no purpose apart from being Rebecca’s partner-in-crime and supposed rock (and again, the dizzying amount of circles the two women went in with conversations about what Rebecca should/should not do was really tiresome). And Darryl has always just kind of been present to me. I could do without the rest of the characters at the firm (especially because the one girl now has a show on Freeform), since they never really added much value, IMO.

Valencia’s character development into a really well-liked, but still flawed now-background protagonist has probably been my favorite development of the series. I like that she’s still got the personality that makes her irritating to other characters, but she still is able to learn and grow and change as a result and that makes her likable. Plus, putting the three women together in a house was one of the show’s best decisions.

I also totally agree with you, Anne, about Naomi’s story in “I Never Want to See Josh Again.” This show doesn’t make me cry often, but that whole episode left me feeling like the wind had been knocked out of me — and part of that was just the complexity of Naomi as a character and mother, and her relationship with Rebecca.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Jenn: I love this show, and I think that it continues to find ways to improve itself. Rachel Bloom deserves awards for the way she’s played this incredibly difficult-to-like, yet ultimately redeemable anti-heroine. And I will always commend Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for being unafraid to tackle the really difficult, really messy, really taboo stuff in a way that no other show on television — in my opinion — can with grace, hilarity, and poignancy.

Anne: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is one of my favorite shows. Rachel Bloom is transcendent. The songs were amazing this season. And although I have much to say about this season on top of what I’ve already said, I agree with this title of this article: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was important this year. It was raw where it mattered and moved fearlessly along. I hope we get our renewal; I will be excited, I think, to say the same next year.

What did you all think of this season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend? Sound off in the comments below!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Timeless 2x01 Review: "The War to End All Wars" (Welcome Back, Time Team!) [Contributor: Jenn]

“The War to End All Wars”
Original Airdate: March 11, 2018

Last year, Timeless was one of my favorite shows. It had everything I could possibly want: traipsing through space and time, an ongoing mystery, morally ambiguous villains, cliffhangers, and slow-burn romances. So when it was announced that the NBC darling was cancelled and then promptly uncancelled a few days later, you can imagine my emotional rollercoaster. Thankfully, Timeless is back — in all of its splendor — for a few episodes, and if “The War to End All Wars” is any indication, we’re in for a fun ride.


Six weeks has passed since the finale. Rufus, Wyatt, Agent Christopher, Jiya, and Connor Mason are alive, but secured in a bunker after Mason Industries was blown up — along with all of the other employees. Wyatt is going stir-crazy in the bunker because he’s desperate to search for Lucy. Our heroine, meanwhile, has chosen to play double agent with her Rittenhouse mother and Emma — the woman who has nothing but shifty eyes for Lucy. With Rittenhouse seemingly in control of time and space and history and all that fun stuff, it’s Lucy’s personal mission to destroy them; and Lucy is willing to sacrifice herself to do so.

At the bunker, the team snaps at each other because nothing will make you more irritated than the inability to figure out how to make the Lifeboat functional again, a lack of proper showers, and the dingy, dark walls of a bunker. Even Rufus is a bit darker. Still, the team does — of course — manage to get the ship off the ground and into the past, where Wyatt and Rufus are fully prepared to rescue Lucy, no matter the cost.

Lucy’s focus is on maintaining her cover as a Rittenhouse fangirl, especially because Emma is so suspect of the woman’s motives. So when the Lucy, her mom Carol, and Emma find the target they need (a man named Nicholas, injured in the war and being aided by his friend and fellow soldier) and Emma essentially gives a Voldemort-esque “kill the spare” directive to Lucy... the woman shoots and kills the innocent soldier. When Emma realizes that Nicholas is more gravely injured than she suspected initially, the three women head out to find Marie Curie to procure her “petites Curies” — a mobile X-ray machine. Unfortunately, when Marie Curie and her daughter accidentally stumble across the Mothership, Emma decides it’s time for a historical rewrite and aims to kill both pioneering women. Lucy stops her, standing in front of the women, but it’s Wyatt who ends up rescuing Lucy in the nick of time by threatening to end Nicholas’ life if Emma doesn’t let Lucy go.

Meanwhile Lucy’s mother makes no real earnest moves to save her daughter (there’s a small attempt in there somewhere), and Lucy realizes she can’t even rely on the redemption of her mother from Rittenhouse’s clutches anymore.

The biggest plot takeaway though is integral to the season — Wyatt and Rufus, while getting into a scuffle with soldiers, discover an iPhone on one of them. As it turns out, Rittenhouse has decided to plant covert agents in time who live their lives in history and wait for Rittenhouse’s instructions. Oh, and Nicholas? Yeah, he’s important to Rittenhouse. More importantly, he’s important to Carol Preston — he’s her grandfather.


Lucy’s storyline is the most heartbreaking for obvious reasons: she’s killed an innocent man, and even though Wyatt tells her that it wasn’t her fault and she was forced to, Lucy tells him that it’s not true. She had a choice; she chose her cover. Lucy also reveals that her plan was never to return to the present-day. She was fully prepared to blow up the Mothership and herself with it. It’s really dark, but it’s obvious that Lucy felt she had no other choice left. And it’s so hard to watch this usually optimistic, hopeful woman hit the point in the story where she believes all her friends to be dead, Rittenhouse to be winning, and her options to be nonexistent.

As if this wasn’t enough to deal with, Carol Preston abandons her daughter in favor of Rittenhouse. When Lucy tries to tell Wyatt, later, that her mother would never have let Emma kill her, Wyatt questions that statement. And then in a moment of profound brokenness and overwhelming grief, Lucy admits she doesn’t even believe her own statement. Wyatt holds her close as she cries and tells her that even though she’s lost everything else, she has not lost him.

Lucy will never lose Wyatt. This man will go through hell or high water or any time period in order to get Lucy — his Lucy — back. When Rufus tells Wyatt that he’s in love with Lucy (in the most hilarious, “DUH!” way), Wyatt hesitates to confirm that. But Rufus is about one schmoopy look away from smacking Wyatt upside the head. The truth is that Wyatt and Lucy have every reason to be guarded around each other: they work in a very dangerous adventure game where their lives are on the line constantly. Wyatt’s already lost one woman he loves; he doesn’t need to bat two for two.

But it’s telling that Wyatt and Lucy are totally vulnerable with each other. They confide in one another. They support one another. And they love one another. That final Wyatt/Lucy scene would be proof enough, but then there’s the fact that without Lucy, Wyatt is a lost and angry puppy dog. He needed her, he couldn’t find her, and he was ready to chew out every person who suggested she was dead when he knew — in his heart of hearts — she still had to be alive. 

Wyatt/Lucy is a focus of Timeless’ second season, with good reason, but I honestly just loved seeing the Time Team back together again. Reunited, they naturally fell into their roles -- Lucy as the heart, Wyatt as the protector, and Rufus as the navigator and voice of reason. (Also the comedic relief because I missed Rufus’ little comments.) We’ve added Agent Christopher, Jiya, and Connor Mason to the bunker which is sure to be fun. 

Timeless has always been a show about the humanity behind history, and I love that it’s continuing to embrace what made it so great. I’m looking forward to a new season of adventures and our favorite characters saving the world. How about you?

Timey-wimey bits:
  • I’m 100000% on board for Wyatt/Lucy this season. I know angst in this show is inevitable, but I want all of the scenes with Wyatt cuddling Lucy please and thank you.
  • Apparently Emma ensured that Lucy’s sister could never return in any timeline. I’m really not sure how that’s even possible, but apparently this chick went to great lengths (at the approval of Carol, by the way) to secure that inevitability.
  • I love Susanna Thompson playing a shady mom. She is so, so great at it. I miss Moira Queen.
  • Guess who’s back again? Flynn! Because of course.
  • “You can’t smell history in books.” “... ‘cause who would want to?”
  • Emma, to Carol regarding Lucy: “You can’t protect her anymore.” Wyatt: “I can.” Can we just take a moment and appreciate how desperately he cares for her?
Who’s ready for more of Timeless this year? Sound off in the comments below with your favorite moments from the premiere!