Ted Lasso, Rom-Coms, and Emotional Vulnerability

Why is it important that a show about men who play soccer did a rom-com homage?

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.

Dickinson Behind-the-Scenes: An Interview With the Artisans

Meet the artists who brought the Apple TV+ series to life!

Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Flash 9x06 Review: "The Good, the Bad and the Lucky" (Just Can’t Win) [Contributor: Deborah M]

“The Good, the Bad and the Lucky”

Original Airdate: March 15, 2023

Welcome to the first of the filler weeks for this, the final season of The Flash! Well, I suppose calling this episode “filler” is a bit harsh. It’s nice every now and again to settle in and let the characters progress in their lives rather than focus on whatever looming threat might be holding Central City hostage. Plus, this episode is one of those ones where Barry is off screen most of the time and (as much as I like Barry) those are always a nice break from tradition.


For some bizarre reason, Becky Sharpe is narrating the beginning of this episode. This narration does not come back in any way for the rest of the hour and I have no clue why they went with this when there was plenty of opportunity to have Becky explain everything with flashbacks in linear scenes like a more typical episode. But yeah, sure, they went with a one-off voiceover at the beginning. To summarize: Becky was really lucky, her luck suddenly turned on her after she got engaged to her dream guy, and it all culminated in her fiancé getting knocked into a coma and Becky getting arrested for attempted murder.

Oh, also, Becky knows Crisis was a thing that happened, which doesn’t make sense because the Paragons from Crisis are supposed to be the only people who remember the multiverse. Gorilla Grodd and alternate-Ryan Wilder also knew about Crisis last week. I can’t figure out if the writers simply forgot that was a condition they set during the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover or if they’re hoping we forgot. If you stop and think about it for a second, it really doesn’t make sense that so many people remember Crisis because it implies everyone is living with two realities in their heads, which I feel would cause a lot more problems.

Anyway, Cecile is called in to help Becky out with the attempted murder charge and Allegra tags along. It’s apparently been a while since the last episode, since Joe has already moved into “the country” with Jenna and it’s been long enough that Cecile has already worked out a routine for visiting them. She’s also worked up a lot of anxiety about them being away, but we’ll get to that later. Right now, she wants to quickly solve Becky’s case so she can catch a train to Joe’s place in time for Jenna’s birthday.

When the evidence against Becky stacks up even further, she, Cecile, and Allegra go to the scene of the crime: Becky’s apartment. There, the only clue they find is a poker chip that Becky says belongs to her future brother-in-law, Tony. Despite Becky already saying that Tony is the gambler in the family, he claims her fiancé, Dom, is the one with huge gambling debts and a love for the slots. He says the poker chip is from O’Shaughnessy’s Bar, which holds a regular high stakes poker game for some reason.

They go to O'Shaughnessy's but before Cecile and Allegra can investigate further, two goons show up and try to kidnap Becky. Cecile’s powers are on the fritz, which they blame on Becky’s metahuman aura of bad luck. Regardless, Becky doesn’t get kidnapped — yet. When she later overhears Cecile complaining about how Becky’s case resulted in her missing her train to Jenna, Becky gets upset, walks out, and then gets kidnapped. When Cecile and Allegra try to stop the bad guys, one of them throws a device that causes their powers to backfire and they end up getting away with Becky.

Chester figures out that the device the kidnappers used reverses dark matter metahuman abilities with some kind of crystal, but it only works once. This leads to them figuring out that Becky’s engagement ring is made from the same crystal, and since Becky never takes the ring off it’s counted as “one” use ever since she got it. I... don’t think that makes sense, but that’s not a hill I’m willing to die on. Okay, cool. They just need to get Becky’s ring away from her and it’ll neutralize the effect of the crystal and she’ll be lucky again.

But before that can happen, we have to have a character bonding beat between Cecile and Allegra. Cecile is stressed out about Joe and Jenna being out of the city and is worried that she can’t be a good mom to Jenna when she’s living away from them. She also hates how quiet the house is without them and has been sleeping in her office instead. Allegra gives Cecile the exact sort of pep talk necessary for her to solve the problems of the episode, and they head to O’Shaughnessy’s to save Becky from Tony.

Tony is playing blackjack with Becky as the dealer (why did he make her put on the dealer uniform for this?) and only one of the kidnapper dudes as the witness in this small-time “casino” set up in a bar. Why is Becky even necessary in this scenario? Why is anyone necessary in this scenario? He could just say he wins and take all the chips to cash out, or he could hold a different dealer at gunpoint and have them declare him the winner of every hand. He could just flat-out rob the place if he wanted. It’s a tiny bar with, apparently, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash somewhere on the premises. Yeah, it’s never been more clear that the only reason why this scene is happening here is because they couldn’t afford a casino set. Which is pretty funny.

Cecile and Allegra arrive and Chester causes a distraction by shutting off the bar’s lights, giving the two of them time to run up and confront Becky and her kidnappers. Cecile uses her telekinesis to remove Becky’s ring, returning her luck to her and allowing her to swiftly overpower Tony and his goons. As it turns out, Cecile’s powers were never affected by Becky’s luck — the issues were because she was so tired and worried about her family, and Allegra’s pep talk sorted her out. Hurrah!

Allegra decides to move in with Cecile so that Cecile is less lonely. Becky’s fiancé wakes up from his coma and he and Becky presumably live happily ever after. 

Other Things:

  • I bet the bartender (owner?) at O’Shaughnessy’s Bar really hates how popular the place is with metahumans. Sorry you own a standing set on The Flash, buddy!
  • The montage of Chester and Mark trying to figure out Khione’s powers is cute. Jaunty music and everything. Khione is an unknown, by the way. Neither metahuman nor human.
  • I know they don’t want to interrupt Barry and Iris’ little vacation, but Cecile worrying about getting back to Joe seems silly. Not only is Barry a call and a zip away (he can’t zoom Iris around because she’s pregnant, but he can zoom other people just fine) but Allegra can teleport. This show sure wants us to forget a lot of stuff for the sake of plot.
  • Khione comforting Mark and making snow fall from the ceiling was pretty! Impossible, but pretty.
  • “Chester, I’m gonna ask you to do something that’s a little bit shady, but, Tony’s bank records, they would be confidential—” “Got ‘em.” Hee. I love the timing on that bit.
  • Mmm, yeah they’re making too big a deal about knowing Nora will be Barry and Iris’s first kid. Is this when they get twins instead? Like, even The Flash can’t possibly think a child conceived three months earlier than expected would turn out to be the same child. They have to understand biology enough to get that.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Great Expectations Review & Roundtable Interview [Contributor: Jenn]

(Photo credit: FX)

It’s a new twist on a classic tale — a coming-of-age story about an orphaned young boy who desperately wants to elevate his station in life and is given the chance to do so by an eccentric woman with seeming ulterior motives. It’s a story many of us had to read when we were in high school English class: Great Expectations.

As a quick aside, I did have to read Great Expectations in high school and have not revisited it since. Back then, in a rare English class moment, our teacher let my class vote on whether they wanted to read A Tale of Two Cities or Great Expectations. So while everyone else in the grade read the former, we read the latter option.

But whether you’ve read the book and/or seen the prior adaptations of the story, the new FX on Hulu take is one worth checking out. The miniseries kicks off on March 26, and I had the chance to watch the whole series as well as hear from its stars about the project at a press conference via Zoom. 

Below is a spoiler-free look into a world that Charles Dickens built over 150 years ago and one that remains relevant today.

(Photo credit: FX Networks)


This adaptation is led by Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk; Emily) who brings charm and likability to the adult version of Pip while also reminding us through his performance of the dangers of acquiring power and position. We see Pip willing and able to abandon his morals for the sake of money and status as a gentleman. But there’s always a cost to his actions, and there’s always a line that Pip is unwilling to cross. That is what ultimately makes him the character we can root for and hope will discover the error of his ways before it’s too late.

Of Pip’s struggles, Whitehead said: “The thing that resonated a lot with me with Pip was this thing of … being 18 and feeling like you have to do everything on your own. And that you have to sort of forge this path and not ask for help, and not need help, and kind of repress a lot of stuff … like emotions and everything else.” He then added: “I think that is sort of a universally relatable thing for a lot of young men.”

Whitehead made some conscious choices about his character’s progression from the nephew of a blacksmith into a refined, London gentleman. “One thing I was quite keen on carrying through,” he said, “was just trying to make sure that his background came through [in] the whole piece. … For me, it felt more important to have the sort of refined gentleman speak and that way of behaving to be more of an act … that he is putting on when he’s in London. And almost trying to convince himself that he is.”

I personally think that the FX series benefits from featuring a young Pip (Tom Sweet) for the first two episodes so that we get the chance to see his evolution from child to young man and then an adult. Viewers will get the chance to see the internal and external struggles Pip has: what he wants but, most importantly, why he wants it at all. Without spoiling anything, I appreciated that the series took the time for Pip to come to terms with the person he’d become when he allowed power, status, and wealth to consume his motivations. If he was willing to get whatever he wanted, no matter the cost, who would he become? And why, even, did he want those things?

Pip’s journey is relatable, even today: we all want to be recognized and acknowledged for who we are. We all have felt shame and embarrassment at our situations. And most of us have longed for something that’s just outside of our grasp. But that’s when you realize what truly mattered to you. And what matters to Pip is love, family, and remaining true to who he is.

(Photo credit: FX Networks)


The women of Great Expectations are complicated to say the least. Estella, played by Shalom Brune-Franklin (Our Girl; Line of Duty), is a cold, but not unfeeling, young woman who almost immediately becomes the object of Pip’s affections. In talking about how she approached the role, Brune-Franklin noted: “We really explored the idea of: you’ve been raised a certain way and told and made to believe a certain thing. But then when you start to go out into the world … for yourself, you start to see that it’s not all these things that you’ve been told. … I think there’s always sort of an internal battle of what [Estella] is feeling versus what she’s thinking she has to feel, if that makes sense.” 

Estella is portrayed with this exact delicate balance in the miniseries — you can see why she speaks and approaches Pip, specifically, the way that she does because with Miss Havisham as her mother, all she’s ever known is coldness and bluntness toward men and love. This is an era where women didn’t have a say in who they married or who they became: everything was determined by status and class advantage. Brune-Franklin pointed out: “I think for Estella … pleasing Miss Havisham is her main goal. … I think that’s obviously a really toxic and horrible relationship that she’s having to navigate and grow up in.”

While there are times where Estella breaks down (because again, this is a woman with deep feelings just like everyone else), she is also doing all she can to survive a world that was not made for her — a fact even more evident in this adaptation because Estella is a woman of color.

“I think there were clues in the script,” Brune-Franklin said, “to show that [Estella] was somebody who was really hurting inside. She was somebody who was incredibly confused, had sort of been led down a very specific path, and wanted to escape from that. 

“I think Miss Havisham … taught her that the colder you are and the less vulnerable you are, you’ll always have the upper hand in life. And so I think that’s how she goes to through the world. But at the same time, it’s those moments when nobody else is around [that] she allows herself to feel exactly how she’s feeling inside — which is just very, very confused.”

(Photo credit: FX Networks)


Miss Havisham, played by Olivia Colman (The Favourite; Broadchurch), meanwhile, is someone who does immense damage to those in her life because of her own pain. Her backstory is laid out clearly in the first few episodes: she was left at the altar on her wedding day and has never taken off her dress or adornments. On the costuming for Miss Havisham, Colman noted that their costume designer said: “I don’t see her as dusty; I see her as rotting from the inside.” And the costume, which is incredible, really reflects that. 

Colman said that she feels sad for Miss Havisham as a woman who is unable to let go of the past and see how her anger, bitterness, and pain are hurting Estella and shaping her into a weapon to hurt others too: “I didn’t necessarily find much personally to connect with [in the character] other than I knew — I know — what it’s like to love, and I know the pain she must’ve felt when that fell apart. But I mean, to keep [holding onto] it for so long …” Colman laughed: “I mean, if she’d have a good therapist, maybe she’d have a very different life.”

But Colman was also quick to remind us that women in those days didn’t have options apart from marriage; that was the only chance to survive. “Back in those days of the full-on patriarchy … [women] were stuck. They couldn’t work, couldn’t do anything. [So to survive] it was going to have to be marriage and [Miss Havisham’s] only insight into marriage was horrendous.”

Colman concluded: “So poor Estella was sort of screwed from the offset really.”

(Photo credit: FX Networks)


This isn’t series creator Steven Knight’s (Peaky Blinders) first stab at Dickens: in 2019, he created the miniseries A Christmas Carol, based on Dickens’ famous tale. It is also worth noting that Tom Hardy and Ridley Scott are credited as executive producers for this version of Great Expectations.

When asked about remaining true to the story while making it his own, Knight said that he set out “not to sort of deliberately … vandalize the thing in order to draw attention. Because that’s not the point. The story’s endured this long because it works. And the characters work.”

But, he also pointed out: “When Dickens was writing, he wasn’t able to write about certain things … because they were considered to be not the territory for fiction. And I wonder what Dickens would do if he had the liberty to write about the realities of what London was really like. I mean, he alludes to it in all his novels but he can never really actually go all the way into those dark places. So that’s what I tried to do.”

And this adaptation of Great Expectations goes dark, while taking some liberties (you’ll notice some cursing throughout the series that isn’t what you’d expect for a period piece!) with its source material. However, unlike shows that take liberties solely to shock their viewers, the changes made really enhance the storytelling. The settings become gritty, dark, claustrophobic at times. You’d be hard-pressed to find lots of hopeful sunlight in London scenes — and that’s sort of the point.

Jaggers, played by Ashley Thomas (Them: Covenant; Top Boy), echoed this about his interpretation of his character: “I think what Jaggers does is represent London.” He elaborated: “In the same way that London … and big cities, not just London, can be these cold places that people go to search and seek their dreams … you can still, in these big cities, meet people with kind hearts that love.”

Jaggers’ portrayal is so fascinating throughout this series as well. Externally calculating and ruthless, Jaggers does have a cold exterior typical of London. Pip is horrified by Jaggers’ frankness and decisions when the two first meet. But Jaggers does care — for Pip and others — and tries his best to set Pip on the right path.

(Photo credit: FX Networks)


In reflecting on the series, Knight noted: “I think that when you’re writing an adaptation, you have to walk a tightrope, and I think I’ve walked that tightrope in a way that does justice to the spirit of the story while at the same time reflecting, perhaps, the way things have changed since then.”

And to be honest, I fully agree. But to know how Great Expectations stacks up to other adaptations and to watch these incredible performances yourself, you’ll just have to check out the series when it begins streaming on FX on Hulu on March 26.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Grey’s Anatomy 19x09 Recap: “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” (Utter Chaos) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Love Don’t Cost a Thing”
Original Airdate: March 9, 2023

Teddy is now chief of surgery, Link is dealing with the fallout from a disastrous case, and Simone’s ex-fiancé Trey is back in town. Those are just the loose ends from the previous episode of Grey’s Anatomy that follow through to this week. The latest hour is a complete mess and is so all over the place that it is difficult to follow at times. It is the perfect metaphor for the current season: jumping all over the place, not being able to properly service the characters and stories being told, and ultimately not knowing what direction it is heading  — other than hoping repeating the past will yield positive results.


Quite honestly, I’m not sure which of the four larger plots of the episode is supposed to be the most important. Since most scenes were so short and the story kept jumping all over the place, it is easier to lump each plot together than talk about the episode chronologically. The most time is spent with a party that Mika, Lucas, and Simone are holding at their house. The episode opens with Simone and Trey loudly arguing in her bedroom about the end of their relationship. Mika and Lucas can hear them from the kitchen and can’t believe they have been arguing for the whole 24 hours since Trey arrived. Lucas looks quite sad, so Mika urges him to keep fighting for Simone and tell her how he feels before they drink a shot.

The next scene shows Simone and Trey continuing to argue. When he says she is still too competitive, they start laughing and lay down on the bed next to each other. Simone explains she was broken when she left him and is sorry that she disappeared. Trey says he should have chased after her and wanted to. He feels he might have waited too long and asks her if he did. Simone doesn’t answer and tries to dodge the question by suggesting they go to the party and try to have fun. Trey replies that he missed her, and Simone admits missing him too. The confession prompts a make out session.

Downstairs, Schmitt and Helm are both at the party. Helm wants to get her friend laid, but Schmitt is falling asleep standing up. Mika comes over and is happy that Helm came. The camera pans through the packed house and backyard, and I was left wondering how the interns know so many people in Seattle already. Lucas goes out back and spots Simone and Trey talking. Simone asks Trey to get them drinks, so Lucas goes over to ask her to talk. She’s not sure if now is the best time and apologizes for last night. Simone admits Trey coming back is unexpected, and Lucas asks if Trey knows about Simone and himself. She assures him that she isn’t going to tell Trey anything about it.

Later on, Simone and Trey are continuing to chat outside. He comments that he likes her housemates, but he doesn’t think they are her caliber. Simone gets very defensive and asks him to not judge her people. Trey tries to explain that she is top tier and was number one in every class, so he doesn’t think she belongs in Seattle in a residency program that is falling apart. He wants her back at the top with him and thinks she could return if she stays calm and collected. Trey’s comments rightfully set Simone off, and she walks away in a huff. Lucas witnesses the storm off and follows Simone inside.

Simone locks herself in her bedroom and thinks Trey is knocking on her door. She is surprised to find Lucas there instead. She admits to not being okay, and Lucas tells her that she always looks perfect to him no matter what mood she is in. He decides to go for it and tells Simone that he knows his timing isn’t great, but even when she is upset, he thinks she is perfect. He knows how smart she is and believes she is even smarter when she is angry and goes on a spiel about his observations of her. Simone walks over and kisses Lucas. They start making out against the closed bedroom door. She takes his shirt off and then takes her own shirt off. 

There’s another knock at the door, and this time it is Trey who wants to come in. Simone tells him to not come in. Trey, through the closed door, tells Simone that he loves her, and she asks if they can talk later. He continues to say that he can’t see his life with anyone else and that he will be better because she makes him better. Simone again says she will find him in a few minutes, which gets Trey to leave. Lucas dejectedly puts his shirt back on while Simone tries to explain that they were engaged and had a whole life together. Lucas asks Simone if she loves Trey, but she doesn’t answer. Lucas suggests that she talk to him and fight for him if she does love him. Simone thinks Lucas is pushing her towards Trey, but it’s not clear why she would care when she clearly still has feelings for her ex-fiancé. Lucas asks her the same question again, and when Simone still doesn’t say anything, he takes that as her answer. She tries to apologize, and he says they are good. Simone asks to make sure Trey isn’t in the hall before Lucas opens the door. When she looks, Trey is gone, so Lucas leaves. I feel terrible for Lucas, but there’s no way the sparks between him and Simone won’t bubble over at some point in the near future.

Simone comes downstairs and grabs a drink next to Mika and Helm, who are bonding over booze. Trey walks over, and Mika introduces Helm and Trey. Lucas is there too, being casual, and gets to hear more about Simone and Trey’s love story when Helm asks them how they met. Trey says he is from Baltimore and met Simone in physiology class in med school. Mika quips about hooking up with a girl in her physiology class too. Trey and Simone recall how Simone didn’t show up for class one day, so Trey brought some of his mom’s soup and notes from class to her apartment, which is when they started to fall for each other. Storytime ends with Simone and Trey going off to talk, Mika taking Helm to go see the hole in the roof, and Lucas winding up alone again. 

We then see Schmitt out on the front porch sulking and trying to stay awake. A traveling nurse named Carlos comes over to talk to him and says he is only in town for a few months. Schmitt admits to not being good at parties, people, or alcohol. Carlos brought his own beer, as he doesn’t want to drink the cheap alcohol the surgical interns bought since they can’t afford the good stuff. They wind up bonding over having dramatic mothers who interfere too much in their lives. Carlos asks Schmitt for his number and to go out on a date, which Schmitt quickly says yes to.

Out back, Trey tells Simone that he will move to Seattle if that is what it takes to be with her. Simone sarcastically says his family wouldn’t forgive him, and Trey agrees with her and admits his family is snobby. He gets serious again and wants to fight to be with her. Simone says her last residency program treated her like garbage and didn’t like that he suggested she brought it on herself. Trey tries to backtrack by repeating how he hates not having her around and misses her. Honestly, he is talking in circles at this point and isn’t giving any hard facts as to why they should get back together after several months and zero attempts at contact before now. Simone talks about how it was easy for her to leave the past behind, but she did wish for a long time that he would show up at her doorstep. Trey asks what changed, and Simone looks off at Lucas quickly before saying under her breath that nothing changed. Trey gets down on one knee and proposes to Simone again. He wants her to marry him for real this time. I was surprised that Simone immediately said yes. The crowd in the backyard cheered while Lucas, who watched the proposal, took another sip of his drink and took a deep breath.

Shortly after, the party starts winding down. Lucas is sadly drinking by himself inside. Mika and Helm pop into the living room, and the intern decides to put some music on to liven things up. She starts dancing with Helm and literally drags Lucas out of his chair to get him to dance with them too. If you didn’t think Grey’s Anatomy was trying too hard to recreate the past, you will now after seeing a rather forced “dance it out” scene that doesn’t have a fraction of the charm as its roots. Schmitt and Carlos are making out on the porch, so we will see if that develops into anything too.


The second story revolves around the most important medical case of the week. At the top of the episode, Schmitt gives Jules instructions for her overnight ICU shift before he leaves work. We see that Jules and Blue are stuck at Grey Sloan Memorial while everyone else gets to party. Blue brags about being on Maggie’s service and how he gets to scrub in on a big surgery in the morning. Richard and Maggie walk into the ICU, and Richard congratulates her on the partial heart transplant. He thinks if Maggie keeps up the impressive work, she could be a candidate for the Catherine Fox Award (formerly known as the Harper Avery Award). The interns go over to the attendings and talk over one another. Blue thanks Maggie for the upcoming opportunity, while Jules butts in that she knows all the complications of the case. Maggie tells Jules that she can also scrub in to observe the surgery if she isn’t too tired come morning.

The four doctors then go see their patient, Natalia, and her husband, Elliott, in her ICU room. Natalia has stage 2 esophageal cancer and is scheduled for a procedure to resect her esophagus. We learn that Natalia is an art teacher and has been selling her art on the side for extra money. She gets an alert that one of her paintings sold for $500, and the couple is elated at the news. Maggie explains the tests and workup that they will do that night in preparation for the surgery, and Natalia sort of protests. A few scenes later, right before Jules and Blue are about to do Natalia’s prep, the patient starts seizing. The doctors page for a neuro consult.

Richard, Maggie, Amelia, and Blue are awaiting images of Natalia’s brain. They discuss possible sudden onset seizure possibilities before seeing that the scans show a new tumor in Natalia’s brain, and it’s currently bleeding. The group talks to Natalia and Elliott in the ICU room after the scan, and Amelia explains that the brain tumor needs to be operated on immediately. Natalia and Elliott ask for a minute to talk, so the doctors exit the room. Maggie tells Richard to go home and rest, as she will stay at the hospital since she has nowhere else to be. Richard goes home for the night without complaint.

Jules and Blue go back to Natalia’s room a little while later with surgical consent forms for her to sign. Blue asks the couple how much debt they are in, as he has recognized money must be a problem for them. They explain both of their jobs cut them to part-time hours due to the pandemic, which stopped them from being able to afford health insurance. Natalia then got cancer, and they are now saddled with a mountain of medical debt. Blue suggests they consider getting a divorce to protect Elliott from inheriting the debt if Natalia dies. It might also help Natalia qualify for more aid from the state. It’s a bold statement and appears that Blue is overstepping his bounds, which is what Maggie thinks when she walks by and hears what he is pitching. After they leave the room, Maggie scolds Blue for telling them to get divorced. Blue tries to make Maggie understand that medical debt is crushing. Maggie still feels that Blue crossed a line and he should have asked her how to approach the topic first, as she could have gotten the hospital’s resources involved to help. She kicks Blue off the case for insubordination, much to his dismay.

Jules finds Elliott in a nearby waiting room and brings him a cup of coffee. Elliott tells her that Natalia asked him for a divorce, but he doesn’t want to go through with it even if it would help their situation because he takes his wedding vows seriously. Jules apologizes and can’t imagine how he must be feeling. Elliott recounts how his and Natalia’s relationship has always been easy and that they never fight. Jules says most people can only dream of having love like that. She tells Elliott that if he trusted Natalia enough to marry her, then he should trust her enough to divorce her because she is trying to protect him.

Elliott and Jules head back to Natalia’s ICU room, where Amelia and Maggie are waiting for them. Elliott brought some flowers with him, and a hospital lawyer is there too to help them file for divorce pro bono. He states he can immediately file overnight with the court. The moment is sweet enough that Natalia feels that she and Elliott are getting married again. She tells her husband that she promises to love him until her dying breath and that she is the luckiest girl in the world to be divorcing him. Elliott says their wedding vows then they both sign the divorce papers. Amelia whispers to Maggie that she has witnessed several hospital room weddings, but this is her first divorce. Natalia announces she is ready for her surgery, so the doctors wheel her away. Somehow, the divorce did feel like a wedding and was presented in a very emotionally pleasing manner.

Before the operation, Jules finds Blue and urges him to apologize to Maggie so he can scrub in. Blue refuses because he knows he wasn’t wrong, which I can’t blame him for. We get a quick montage of Natalia’s brain surgery, and it is a success. In the morning, Blue brings Natalia and Elliott some things and checks in on them. Elliott thanks Blue for his help. As he goes to leave the room, Maggie spots Blue and immediately starts yelling at him. Blue states he knows the couple's situation because he put himself through massive medical debt to save his mom, and he couldn’t see someone else go through that. Jules hears his confession from across the room and watches her friend storm off before Maggie can react. 

Richard walks up and asks Maggie if everything is okay. She replies that no one is okay because everyone is in pain. She asks Richard how he knew the difference between being in a rough patch with Catherine versus it being something more malignant. Richard says he and Catherine always still had love underneath all their issues. He very poignantly states that when love dries up, that’s when you have to reevaluate a relationship. He assures Maggie that she and Winston have a lot of love and can work through their issues, but the look on Maggie’s face says she thinks the opposite.

Jules follows Blue to the intern locker room and apologizes to him for not knowing his personal connection to medical debt. Blue storms out in a huff as Mika, Lucas, and Simone walk in to start their shifts. Simone shows Jules her engagement ring and tells her the news. Schmitt pops in and yells at the interns for being late for rounds in another attempt to recreate a classic Grey’s scene. Trying to reboot a show that doesn’t need to be rebooted almost always turns out disastrous, and this show won’t last if it keeps going down this route.


The third plot centers on a disastrous dinner party at Owen and Teddy’s house. Teddy arrives home after her first day as chief of surgery and starts complaining to Owen about budget deficits and dealing with the fallout of Tank’s death as soon as she opens the front door. She is a bit sorry that she invited Bailey and Ben to dinner and isn’t the mood for it anymore. Owen tells his wife that Allison bit Pru at daycare again. Teddy is not mad at her daughter, but rather her husband for not telling her sooner. As they argue, the scene cuts to Bailey and Ben getting ready to leave their house. Bailey is excited to bring an apple pie that she made, but Ben isn’t sure they should bring anything since it is a big problem that Allison has bit Pru twice in as many days. While she agrees it is a problem, Bailey asks Ben if he can remember the last time they had an adult dinner with other people and without kids around. Ben quickly grabs his coat and is ready to go.

The couples exchange some friendly banter as soon as Ben and Bailey arrive. Bailey gives Teddy the pie and asks the new chief to remember the clinic in the budget. Owen asks Ben about his recent fire calls, and Ben mentions that he sits out of the larger ones these days since he has a small child at home. Owen tells Bailey that Teddy can’t stand the job they both did for years after just one day, and Ben makes his own off-hand comment about wanting a bite to eat.

Things turn back to a friendly note when the adults sit down at the table and talk about their kids while eating. Ben carries on about Tuck spending 45 minutes in the bathroom to manscape, which Bailey adds Tuck is doing because he is trying out for swim team. Bailey then mentions that Pru keeps saying she wants a dog, so Ben takes another attempt to jab at his hosts by saying they don’t need a dog nipping at their fingers and toes. Owen wants to change the conversation to adult stuff only, so he asks Bailey how the clinic has been going. She responds that it has been very busy before politely asking Owen how his medical license reinstatement is going. Bailey picked the wrong topic, as it immediately sets off Teddy, who nastily says Owen still doesn’t have a medical license and goes off on a tangent. Ben suggests they go back to talking about their kids to keep the peace.

After things calm down, Bailey accidentally brings up the wrong topic again by asking Teddy if she looked over the resumes she gave her for the open chief of trauma spot. Owen is shocked because Teddy promised him his old job back the day prior. Teddy argues that she needs to consider her options if she has to wait awhile for him to get his license back. They argue and bicker, and Teddy throws the fact that he can barely practice medicine currently in his face. Owen claps back that the chief of surgery barely practices medicine too. Teddy wins the argument by saying she is making a business decision, so he needs to grow up and deal with it.

It’s amazing that Ben and Bailey haven’t left at this point and that Teddy and Owen are still married. The latter couple bickers while they eat, which includes quips like Teddy telling Owen the hospital went under with him in charge. Ben asks Bailey if she is having fun yet, which made me laugh. The conversation turns to the biting incidents when Teddy says Allison is biting kids because she takes after her dad’s tantrums. Owen says Allison can’t take after her mom because she’s not old enough to drink. Bailey yells, “Enough!” to get them to stop and sternly tells Teddy that she can’t be chief if she can’t even handle her own relationship. Bailey rightfully points out that Teddy’s rage will quickly infect the whole hospital, so she and Owen need to get some help if Teddy wants to keep her new job. Bailey tells Ben they are leaving, and Teddy tells Owen to bite her after he mockingly suggests they have people over more often.

As they walk to their car, Bailey mentions that she has been sensing resentment from Ben for a while. She doesn’t want to end up like Owen and Teddy, so she wants to know what is up. Ben admits that he resents his wife for going back to work, which he knows sounds bad. He has never parented a little girl and is worried that he isn’t doing it right. He also misses having his wife around more. Bailey knows starting up the clinic was a big undertaking, but she has been prioritizing her family. She doesn’t understand why that isn’t enough for Ben, but we don’t get an answer on that in this episode.


The final plot takes place at Grey Sloan Memorial. While it isn’t totally important for this hour, it does inch us a little closer to the inevitable future that has been teased for quite a long time at this point. We start with Amelia FaceTiming with Kai and apologizing that her new place is a work in progress. She is excited that Kai is coming to visit tomorrow and finishes the call. She finds Link and asks if he can take Scout since she was just paged for a consult, i.e. Natalia’s case. Link is happy to take Scout because the whole city hates him for Tank’s death and he can’t leave without getting egged. As Link goes to make another attempt at leaving, a pregnant woman named Whitney walks into the ER and shouts that she is in labor. She was hoping her lawyer wife would be back from her trial by now. Jo comes strolling in to take over, but Whitney grasps onto Link’s hand and refuses to let him leave. She says her anxiety is usually an 8 out of 10 when she isn’t in labor and forces Link to go with her and Jo. Of course, Scout joins them too.

They get to a private room where Jo examines Whitney, who is still holding onto Link’s hand with a death grip. Scout is sleeping in his stroller, unaware of the whole situation. Jo states Whitney is six inches dilated, which makes the almost new mom even more scared about having a baby. To make Whitney feel better, Link tells her about how he is in hiding because the entire city hates him, which does seem to help.

A little later on, Whitney doesn’t think she can handle having a baby. She still hasn’t let go of Link’s hand. Link agrees with her that the world is a bad place and that parents don’t get to choose their kids. However, when he looks at Scout, he has an overwhelming feeling of hopefulness that everything might be okay. Link continues to prove he might be one of the most perfect male characters ever, and it isn’t noticed by only the viewers this time. There is a montage of Whitney giving birth, and Link stays by her side the whole time. She finally lets go of his hand after the baby is born.

The story ends with Jo and Link watching Whitney make up with her wife from outside her room. Jo comments that Link’s haircut looks nice. Amelia walks up and is surprised to see Link and Scout still at the hospital, so Link tells his ex about their night. Link decides to attempt to slip out the back door and see if he can get home this time. After he leaves, Jo tells Amelia how great Link was taking care of her laboring patient for hours like it was his job and that he didn’t even worry about his own personal crisis once. Jo wants to know how Amelia let Link go because he is perfect. Amelia responds that he wasn’t perfect for her, but maybe he is perfect for Jo. Amelia takes Scout and FaceTimes with Kai again and leaves Jo to contemplate her confused feelings.

Monday, March 13, 2023

The Flash 9x05 Review: "The Mask of the Red Death, Part 2" (Rather Rushed) [Contributor: Deborah M]

“The Mask of the Red Death, Part 2”
Original Airdate: March 8, 2023

Welcome to the second part of this inexplicable two-parter, which wraps up what I thought could have been the season-long arc for the truncated final season of The Flash. If I needed any confirmation that this show’s pacing issues were alive and well, realizing they’re trying to fit their “Graphic Novel” split season storytelling technique (with interlude filler episodes and everything!) into thirteen episodes? Confirmation galore. I already complained last week about how they did a disservice to the Ryan character and deflated the whole Red Death storyline by not letting us get to know her first, so I’ll try to keep that to a minimum this time around.


The theme for this episode is “everyone matters,” which is a kind of spiritual sequel to last week’s episode theme of second chances. Everyone gets second chances because everyone matters, see? So while the episode begins with Red Death taking over the city with red lightning, the episode actually begins with Team Flash and the Team Flash Rogues arguing over whether or not to rescue Mark, who is found to be still alive and being held captive in Red Death’s warehouse.

Khione is the one who wins everyone over in favor of rescuing Mark, since she’s powerless and like, a month old but still brave enough to volunteer to go get him. That inspires everyone else and they head to Red Death’s hideout to find Mark in bad shape. Also, it’s a trap. Of course it is. They get Mark, but Red Death shows up to zap away the rest of Barry’s speed. She also reveals how she has the psychic power to create thousands of copies of her suit around the world. She’s using them to be “judge, jury, and executioner” for anyone who breaks the law.

Okay, I lied when I said I wouldn’t complain about the plotting around Ryan/Red Death during this review. I can’t help it. The way the show has laid out this storyline is absolutely baffling. She’s obsessed with getting rid of criminals — what drove her to this? She seemed to have been working with heroes in her own universe, did a switch just flip to make her okay with murdering people left and right? It’s a zero-to-sixty situation and a lot gets left at the starting line. I think the writers figured they could get away with it by making alt-Ryan crazy, but that’s such a bad shortcut for storytelling. I mean, kudos to Javicia Leslie for playing Crazy Ryan well, but a decent performance does not a compelling villain make. 

Sigh. It turns out Red Death is able to generate so many psychic copies of her suit to do her bidding because she’s partnered with Gorilla Grodd, who turned bitter toward Barry after Crisis erased his little superintelligent gorilla kingdom. What, is Barry supposed to check up on everyone he’s ever encountered to make sure the multiverse collapse didn’t negatively affect them? Barry has made many, many, many mistakes in his time as a superhero, but failing to predict how reality falls when it folds in on itself cannot be one of them. Yeah, maybe he should’ve zipped over to Africa to say hi to Grodd at some point during the last three years, but the dude’s been busy. Give him a break.

Team Flash and the Team Flash Rogues reconvene after this bombshell discovery of Grodd’s alliance and the Rogues all peace out in order to be with their loved ones while the world ends. Inexplicably, Barry takes this as a sign he was wrong to see the good in them, just as he was wrong to see the good in Grodd, and it takes a pep talk from Joe to get him thinking along more positive lines. Barry goes to talk to Grodd.

Grodd, I love that you’re making an appearance in The Flash’s final season because your existence is ridiculous and everything I adore about comics, but what are you doing, buddy? Red Death talks to you and you decide to help her take over the world with killer robots; Barry talks to you and you decide to stop helping her take over the world with killer robots. You’re the psychic gorilla version of Dean Pelton at the end of Community’s “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design” episode.

Barry gets his speed back from Grodd because, and I quote: “Three years ago I gave a spark of my Speed Force to a sentient gorilla, and it was still inside his mind this whole time.” Man, I love comic book content. Where else do you get sentences like that? He heads off to fight Red Death, who is winning until the Rogues show up to help him out again. I gotta say, while the bulk of this storyline was a mess, I do really like the Team Flash Rogues. They’re easily my favorite parts of these episodes and I hope we get to see them all again before the end. 

Anyway, the final person to show up and help in the fight is Ryan from this timeline, suited up as Batwoman. She’s pretty cool. It’s a shame we didn’t really get to know her within this show, but she does chat with Iris a bit so maybe they’ll become friends and she’ll show up again? Meanwhile, Red Death gets her armor taken away and she’s carted off to Iron Heights. Thankfully, this comic book universe knows how to legally handle duplicates from another timeline so the good Ryan is in the clear.

In the end, Joe decides he’s moving out of Central City (and “out to the country” that’s only a couple hours away — where is Central City supposed to be, again?) with Jenna and Cecile will visit on weekends, so they throw a going away party for him to say goodbye. It’s all very happy and the big finale is that Khione reveals that Iris is pregnant months earlier than she’s supposed to be. 

Everyone is very quick to accept Khione’s diagnosis of Iris’s pregnancy as fact. Hey, guys, as far as you all are aware, Khione has no meta powers and should not know anything about Iris being pregnant. Do you want to take a trip to the drugstore before you start celebrating, maybe? Ah, who am I kidding. The script says Iris is pregnant so she’s pregnant.

See you next time!

Other Things:

  • Goldface calls Mark “Chill-lame” and “Six-Pack Blondie” which only endears him to me further.
  • I encourage everyone to look up the comics version of Red Death. Much creepier, sadder backstory.
  • Actual Ryan: “Is it always this crazy?” All the Rogues, shrugging: “It’s a Wednesday!” Cue freeze frame. Audience applause. Tune in next week for more episodes of Team Flash: Roguin’. Filmed in front of a live studio audience.
  • Chester and Allegra finally get together. Great! Why did that take so many episodes?
  • If Iris is pregnant early, there’s technically no way their kid(s) are going to be the ones we know. We are all one-in-a-billion chances of existence and if timing is off by so much as a minute we cease to be, and become someone else entirely. Isn’t that interesting to think about?

Monday, March 6, 2023

The Flash 9x04 Review: "The Mask of the Red Death, Part 1" (New Villain, Old Problems) [Contributor: Deborah M]

“The Mask of the Red Death, Part 1”
Original Airdate: March 1, 2023

Is the title of this two-parter clever or predictable? It really rides the line. Just like this episode rides the line between interesting and frustrating. In “The Mask of the Red Death, Part 1” Team Flash learns a little bit more about Red Death while I start to realize that the pacing issues of this show are definitely going to last well into the eleventh hour. This one came like a thief in the night to steal my patience, let me tell you.


The episode begins with Red Death/Ryan Wilder intimidating her crew of criminals with more Batman quotes, calling them a “superstitious and cowardly lot” before going off and pulling in a random rogue to help her kidnap Barry. The new member of Team Red Death is Roy Bivolo, a.k.a Rainbow Raider, who overwhelms Barry with fear while Red Death causes a city-wide blackout. Credit to the show: the sequence of Red Death zapping out all the power in Central City is pretty cool looking.

Once nabbed, Barry gets a meta-dampening cuff and some chains to keep him in place while Red Death monologues. Barry finally learns that Red Death is female and also learns that Iris has a role to play in the scheming. Parallel to this scene of Barry and Red Death, Ryan Wilder shows up at the West-Allen apartment seeking Iris’s help with an injury she claims was caused by the EMP that knocked out Central City’s electronics. Just before the viewer can go, “Hey, wait a minute—” the Red Death talking to Barry is revealed to be a remote-controlled suit.

Okay, that’s a really neat idea, but wouldn’t it have been better if Ryan were introduced early on, making viewers doubt she was Red Death, and then doing a big reveal at an opportune moment? You could string viewer interest and intrigue along while also letting non-Batwoman fans get to know this character. Removing the mystery from Red Death right off the bat (no pun intended) deflates all the drama and tension from the plotline as a whole, and quickly ruins what would otherwise be a handful of compelling concepts. This is why there’s a general writing rule that your audience should not be a step ahead of your characters, which audiences of The Flash have been since pretty much the start of this season.

Anyway, Ryan tells Iris that she, too, was attacked by Red Death and had all her Batwoman gear stolen, conveniently explaining the Wayne technology Red Death has been handing out to low-tier villains. Iris, because she’s a smart cookie, is obviously suspicious and that suspicion only grows when Ryan starts walking around the apartment like she’s super familiar with it despite having never stepped foot in the place. Iris pulls a gun that looks like a Star Trek phaser on Ryan because her story is suspicious, and Ryan confesses she’s from another timeline where the Flash is “the world’s greatest villain”.

Ryan pleads her case, but her story is falling apart even as she’s telling it. Alternate-universe Iris and the Flash were a couple and Iris and Ryan were best friends, but the Flash went evil? But the Flash only went evil after Ryan started copying technology from heroes and villains alike? But Ryan was good the whole time even though she was playing with artificial speed forces and pre-arresting villains via time travel? Ryan was just an innocent victim of the Flash’s pointless rage and accidentally got spit out in this timeline when she tried to hide in the Speed Force but all she wants to do is return to her own timeline? Yeah, none of this is adding up and it’s no surprise that Iris doesn’t buy it.

The only thing Iris believes is that Ryan accidentally killed her timeline’s version of Iris, and when she lays out all the ways Ryan’s story is bunk, Ryan attacks and disarms her. Ryan calls her Red Death suit to her, the pieces flying in and assembling on her body one by one. I assume the show was hoping I’d be so wowed by those special effects that I wouldn’t question how the suit phased through walls to get inside the apartment. Sadly, that was not the case.

Iris gets dragged to the Red Death warehouse, where the completed cosmic treadmill is waiting for its power source: Barry, who will run himself to death and create a wormhole for Ryan to travel through. Ryan threatens Iris in order to incentivize Barry into running and if you’re wondering how they could precisely tune this cosmic treadmill to this particular Ryan’s timeline/reality, stop. Stop wondering that. Wondering things like that makes the writers uncomfortable so shhhh. Also off limits: thinking about how, if all Red Death’s crew needed was for Barry to run on a cosmic treadmill, and all they needed to do to make that happen was kidnap/threaten Iris, why did they bother building a completely new cosmic treadmill instead of using the one that already existed? 

Was it, perhaps, because... the plot needed it to happen? Heyo, one of my least favorite things to write in a The Flash review two episodes in a row! This final season is shaping up nicely, folks.

Thanks to a little pep talk about second chances earlier in the episode, Mark double-crosses the team he double-crossed Team Flash for and overloads the treadmill’s capacitors, throwing the energy at Ryan and knocking out her artificial speed/the Red Death suit. Team Flash’s rogues show up for… really no reason, since they have to escape again right away, leaving Mark behind to (presumably) be killed by Red Death’s crew. Is he actually dead? Unclear. Would I care if he was? A resounding no. Allegra uses her teleporting powers to get Team Flash back to STAR Labs, where they proceed with the kind of tense final recapping of events only a two-part episode can deliver. The gist is, Red Death will probably hate this Barry just as much as she hates her timeline’s Barry and they should be ready for everything to get worse.

And yeah, Ryan seems pretty darn angry at the Flash. She embraces her supervillain status and decides, since Barry ruined her chances of returning to her own world, it’s time to take over this one. As one does. Look, I don’t want to get in the way of a good villain world-conquering, but once again I must remind everyone that a cosmic treadmill still exists and she could totally try her scheme again if she really wanted. It gets put on freaking display in a public museum in 2049.

Other Things:

  • Note to self: add “hella awk” to my vocabulary. It’s just stupid enough to be fun.
  • It’s nice that so many Central City villains learned ASL so they could keep Murmur in the loop.
  • “Her suit’s recharging, we gotta go!” — Jaco, who literally just showed up, had no idea who Red Death was, and would not have realized the suit needed to recharge. Excellent writing, The Flash!
  • Khione to Goldface: “I do not like you.” Have him tell you about his book club, Khione. It’ll win you over.
  • Chester and Allegra continue to annoy me with their relationship waffling.
  • Well, that “Joe wants to leave Central City” plot went nowhere. Turns out they’re not moving after all.
  • How much do you want to bet the theme of second chances we got in this episode will circle back around?

Grey’s Anatomy 19x08 Recap: “All Star” (The Post-Meredith Saga Begins) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“All Star”
Original Airdate: March 2, 2023

It’s the first episode after Meredith’s departure for Boston, but don’t worry: you’ll still hear the titular character's voiceovers that traditionally open and close episodes. The hour tries to keep the audience interested in the other characters by continuing previously set up storylines. Will it be enough to keep the Grey’s Anatomy fans watching? Time will only tell.


The episode opens with the interns fixing up the damage caused to Mer’s house by the lightning storm. The montage includes some comical moments like Jules and Blue eating instead of helping Simone, Lucas, and Mika and the interns sleeping on the floor since they don’t have beds yet. Once the house is repaired, they start moving in their own furniture into the living room. Friendship bonds continue to also be strong for Jo and Link with the former making a large, protein-packed breakfast for the latter. Link has a big day ahead of him as is scheduled to operate on a member of the Seattle Seahawks. He wants to take his meal to go and get to work early because he is facing a lot of pressure. His patient is the Seahawks number one draft pick with his whole future ahead of him and needs ACL surgery. Link really wanted Nico’s help with the case, but his colleague is traveling. Jo gives him a solid pep talk and has some funny moments when she shows she knows nothing about sports.

Richard catches Teddy walking into work and asks if she is going to take the chief of surgery job. She knows she has until 6 p.m. to decide and plans to wait a few more hours. Richard has been filling in while trying to hire the next chief and urges Teddy to take it. Teddy looked over his offer and isn’t sure she wants the job anymore because all the past chiefs hated it. Richard tries to convince Teddy that both she and the hospital need this, but he doesn’t get an answer out of her.

While in a Grey Sloan Memorial elevator, Maggie shows Amelia a video that Mer sent her of Zola learning to play the cello. It’s quite squeaky, and the aunts laugh a bit. Winston gets in on the next floor, and the vibe is immediately awkward. After he gets off on the following floor, Amelia says she would rather listen to the bad cello playing than that awkward silence again. Maggie says she and Winston are planning on trying marriage therapy, but they couldn’t get an appointment for three weeks. In the meantime, they have decided on a cease fire until the first session.

Bailey, Owen, and Winston find Link right outside of the hospital to ask for a meet-and-greet with his patient, who has the great nickname of Tank. They are all fans of his, and even Schmitt bikes up and asks to assist on the surgery since he went to the same high school as the NFL player. Link doesn’t want any of them around because he doesn’t want all the attention. He goes back inside and brings the interns to do rounds on Tank. They are greeted by a journalist in Tank’s room who is planning on covering how the day unfolds. The group presents the case of Tank’s ACL tear and his prior surgical history for meniscus tears. Link asks the interns a series of questions and grants Simone and Blue rights to scrub in on the surgery for correct answers. The rest of the interns will spend the day with Schmitt, who is stalking from outside the room.

When the three remaining interns get to the ER, Mika says that everything is now a competition to see who can get the next surgery. She offers up a prime bedroom at Mer’s house to the winner, and no one seems to care that Lucas already has that room. Then a young man walks into the ER complaining of extreme constipation caused by a food challenge gone wrong five days prior. The group’s eyes dim a little because they don’t think they have a surgical case on their hands. They page Schmitt and present the patient to the chief resident. A nurse comes over looking for help, and Schmitt sends Jules with her. He then gives Mika and Lucas a list of things to try before a procedure will be necessary, and the literal scut work makes it look like their day won’t be much fun. Meanwhile, Jules goes into an exam room to check on a young mother, Sierra. She is pregnant with her third child and has been spotting for a few days. She has one of her youngsters with her, and Jules pages OB for a consult and to get an ultrasound to identify the cause of the bleed.


Upstairs, Bailey has made her way into Tank’s room to take photos with him while wearing a Seahawks scarf. She quips that she’ll text the photos to Ben to make him jealous. Blue is very excited to assist on the surgery and tells Tank about how big of a fan he is. The journalist likes Blue’s passion and wants to get quotes from him for his story. Simone waits quietly in the background for everyone else to leave the room before talking to Tank. She tells him how she had a few ACL tears and surgeries in college from ice skating. They bond over being student athletes, and Tank asks why she didn’t continue skating after recovering from surgery. Simone replies that she got into medical school and didn’t have time for it anymore.

Teddy and Owen get paged to daycare but they aren’t sure why. On the way there, Owen tries to sell Teddy on taking the chief of surgery position. Teddy sniffs out that Richard must have told her husband that he could be chief of trauma again if she took the higher position, which Owen admits is true. She can’t believe Owen’s mindset of only thinking of what would be best for him. They find Bailey also at daycare, and she tells them that Allison bit Pru. Owen thinks the incident is a one-parent job and leaves. Teddy apologizes to Bailey and doesn’t realize this is the exact person she needed to run into.

Jo does an ultrasound on Sierra and doesn’t find anything wrong. She suggests rest and avoiding strenuous activity, which doesn’t seem possible even though we don’t know much about Sierra. Jo orders fluids for her patient before she can be discharged. Sierra gets a phone call and seems even more stressed out, but she won’t confide her problems in Jules when the young doctor tries to be supportive.

Tank and Simone continue to hit it off. He says he didn’t know colleges had ice skating teams and talks about how he needs to kick it up a notch in the NFL for his family. He was scouted starting in sixth grade and had an offer to move to Seattle by himself at age eleven, which he took. Tank describes only seeing his family at Christmas each year and how he knows his new career is the chance he has wanted to get his family back together. He is worried his ACL can’t be repaired and that he won’t be able to play football again. He doesn’t know what he will do if that happens, and Simone counters with, “What if you can?”

Back in the ER, Mika and Lucas are trying to make a deal over who has to give their patient an enema. Mika eventually caves and does it because the patient is in a lot of pain. The comedy train continues with Bailey and Teddy walking and talking. Bailey asks Teddy if she thought about the chief position and rattles off a list of issues including not getting a substantial pay increase, dealing with too many complaints, and no one else wanting the job. She makes a great point by telling Teddy that she is in a great negotiating position and can ask for anything because the hospital needs her. Teddy goes right to Richard and regurgitates a list of demands that Bailey fed her: a full-time administrative assistant who is allowed to attend budget meetings in her place when she is busy, an additional three weeks of vacation, double the pay rate offered, and a research budget. Richard is taken aback by the speech and says he needs time to think it all over. As he walks away with a perplexed look on his face, Bailey pops up from behind a nearby counter and gives Teddy a big thumbs up of approval.


Amelia finds Maggie after a surgery to chat. Maggie is working on a case study for her and Winston’s surgery on baby Arlo. Amelia wants Maggie to break the cease fire with Winston. However, Maggie says she needs a victory, is failing at marriage, and hates failing, so she will stay neutral. Amelia warns her that hiding from the hard parts of relationships doesn’t make it less hard, it only makes things last a little longer.

Simone and Blue prep Tank for his surgery. The patient FaceTimes with his mom, who asks the interns to take care of her son. Jo goes into the OR scrub room to wish Link good luck before the surgery begins. He takes her well wishes and knows he needs to stay sharp since it has been awhile since he has been in a pressure cooker surgery. Jo tells him that he will be fine, and I honestly believed her when she said it.

Elsewhere, Richard brings Teddy into his office for a meeting after considering her offer. He goes on a ramble about how Grey Sloan Memorial is where legacies are built and how it is an honor to serve, but service requires sacrifice. The last part rubs Teddy the wrong way since she has literally served. Richard announces he is going to take the job himself, as it brings him joy and he is happy with the money already on the table. It’s not about the money for him, and Teddy exasperatedly agrees to drop the stipend from her list of demands, which gets Richard back into negotiating mode.

Winston, Owen, Lucas, and Jo are among the doctors in the packed OR gallery watching Tank’s surgery. Owen asks Winston how his home life is, and Winston says Owen’s advice blew up in his face. He reveals Maggie has been staying with Amelia for the past few weeks. He says he should have thought twice before taking Owen’s advice, which Owen knows is a fair point given his own relationship woes. Down below, Link explains the toll of football on Tank’s knees and how the average defender in the NFL lasts six years before their bodies give out.

Jules goes to check on Sierra and finds her patient in a sad state. Her kid threw all her stuff around the room. Jules tells Sierra that she understands what it is like to be completely overwhelmed. Sierra explains that she wasn’t trying to get pregnant and a condom broke. She loves her kids, but didn’t want another. Now she is scared that the post-partum depression she suffered twice before will come back again. After being diagnosed, she tried medication and therapy, but neither really worked and the depression lasted a long time. Jules asks if she tried to terminate the pregnancy, and Sierra replies no and asks how much an abortion costs. Jules explains how the clinic helps patients of all incomes on a sliding scale and asks if she wants an abortion. When Sierra nods her head, Jules agrees to call the clinic to help her. 

Back in the OR, Link finishes attaching Tank’s ACL, and the whole gallery applauds. Link asks everyone to respect Tank’s privacy and not go to his room for selfies. The scene changes to Mika waiting outside the bathroom for her patient to poop. Lucas can’t believe she is this invested. When the patient finishes and happily tells the doctors he pooped, he says he wants to immediately go back to the restaurant to finish the food challenge. Mika looks at Lucas and is convinced she will win the bedroom after all. 


Upstairs, Blue and Simone are in Tank’s room when he begins to crash. They go get Link, who is outside the room being interviewed by the journalist. Tank’s blood pressure is dropping, and Link knows they need to re-intubate him, so they page Winston for help. When Winston arrives, they do an endoscopy to figure out what is going on. They find that Tank has a large blood clot, which needs to immediately be addressed in the cath lab.

A quick comedy break shows Richard wheeling and dealing with Teddy over her demands. They are interrupted by Amelia coming into the office and asking to be considered for the chief of surgery position. Teddy drolly says, “You’ve got to be kidding me,” which sums up the whole situation. After the reprieve, Jo comes into Sierra’s room to explain how an abortion would work and says they can have someone watch her kid for her during the procedure. Sierra loves her kids and wants to be okay for them, so she agrees to the abortion. Jo asks Jules if she wants to assist, which the intern is happy about.

In the cath lab, the doctors find a large clot formed quickly after Tank’s surgery. Winston assures Link that there is nothing any of them could have done to prevent it when Link tries to blame himself. Tank starts crashing again, so they immediately begin compression and pair shocks with rounds of epinephrine. The scene cuts to Sierra’s abortion, where Jo explains every step of the procedure as she does it. She has Jules guide the ultrasound, and the whole thing lasts no more than ninety seconds. Even Sierra can’t believe how quickly it is over, and she is immediately relieved that she is fine.

We then see a montage of Link, Winston, Simone, and Blue performing CPR on Tank. After two hours, Winston tells Link they need to call it. Link is understandably angry, so Winston calls time of death. He wants to try to stall the press by walking out of the room first, but Link wants to take care of it himself. He knows the press only saw Tank as a football player, while Link saw him for the kid he was. He feels Tank’s death is on him and goes to deal with the press. Simone tears up as the show cuts to a well-timed commercial break.


After the abortion, Jo and Jules inform Sierra of potential side effects. Sierra thanks them, reunites with her kid, and goes home. Jo tells Jules that she did great work by talking and listening to the patient. Jules is excited because she hasn’t had anyone compliment her work before. She tells Jo about how growing up with hippie parents didn’t exactly pave the way to success for her. Jo says she didn’t have a conventional upbringing either, but that doesn’t mean anything. Jo is proud of Jules for staying and listening and that Sierra was better off for it. Jo gets paged and leaves Jules, who can’t stop grinning. I hope we get more Jo/Jules scenes, as their quirks actually pair well together.

We then see Amelia trying to convince Richard that she deserves the chiefdom over Teddy. Amelia wants twice the rate Richard is offering and unlimited travel to other labs. She also found out what Seattle Presbyterian pays their chief of surgery and says Richard should be ashamed of his offer as she slides him a piece of paper with their salary. Teddy quickly states that she doesn’t need to go anywhere in an attempt to keep herself in the running. Richard immediately decides he is unable to consider Amelia’s application because he already offered the job to Teddy. He turns to Teddy and agrees to pay her 75% above her current salary, to hire a full-time assistant, and give her a small stipend. Teddy happily agrees to the deal and shakes on it. Richard walks out, and Amelia is fast to say that Bailey sent her to help and that she didn’t want to be chief. The new chief of surgery is a little dumbfounded, yet happy for the help. Teddy smiles and takes a seat in her new office.

Simone is sitting on Tank’s bed looking rather sad when Blue walks by and sees her. He asks if she is okay, and Simone admits that she told Link she would call Tank’s mom and give her the bad news. Blue says that having to call a family member to tell them a loved one has passed away is sickening, impossible, and that there are no right words to say. Simone asks Blue to make the call with her, which Blue agrees to. They sit on the bed together and FaceTime Tank’s mom. Simone can’t get the words out, so Blue takes over the call.

Maggie finds Winston on a balcony and apologizes for his loss of Tank. She offers to send him the introduction to the paper she is working on as a distraction. Winston takes offense to the offer and says that Maggie buries herself in work to avoid feelings, which he doesn’t do. Maggie thinks Winston is avoiding her by switching specialties and clearly can’t understand why he wants to do so. Winston tells Maggie she is throwing it way out of proportion and believes that Maggie is willing to throw away their marriage for a change in jobs. Maggie tells Winston that he needs to use his gift to try and save as many people as he can, which I guess she thinks he can’t do in another position for whatever reason even though the line is a metaphor about their marriage as well. Winston exclaims that not everyone can be resuscitated and walks away. The once strong relationship seems like it may fully crack, so it will be interesting to watch the self-destruction continue.

Simone goes to leave the hospital for the day, and Lucas slides into the elevator with her. Being alone in an elevator together after a tough day gets the most of Simone, who passionately kisses Lucas. The pair make out the rest of the way down. In the lobby, Teddy finds Owen and the kids and wants to go out for a sushi dinner to celebrate her promotion, but Owen kills her vibe by revealing that the press is having a field day with Tank’s death. The media is saying that Link killed Tank, and Teddy immediately realizes that she is now chief and will have to deal with the fallout. Talk about a bad first assignment. The family is mobbed by journalists and TV cameras as they try to leave the hospital. Owen tries to press through and attempts to stop the bombardment of questions by repeatedly shouting, “No comment.”

The scene cuts to Link drinking on the couch at home with Jo sitting next to him. Link laments about losing his 22-year old patient and thinks that he did kill him. Jo assures her bestie that he did everything right and that a clot can happen to anyone. Jo gives him a hug, and Link tries to kiss her. Jo pulls away, and Link immediately apologizes. She understands he is drunk and sad, so she says it is okay and hugs him again.

Simone and Lucas arrive home at the intern house and appear to want to continue their makeout session. Their plans are immediately killed when they walk inside and find a man named Tre standing in the living room holding a bouquet of sunflowers. Simone is surprised to see Tre, and Mika says she let him in because he said he knew Simone. Tre gives Simone a big hug and tells her he should have come a long time ago. He asks who Lucas is, and Simone quickly says Lucas is her roommate. Lucas is just as confused as the audience at this point. The episode ends without further explanation. Could this be Simone’s supposedly ex-fiancé? Maybe he’s not an ex after all as she had led everyone to believe. We will all have to tune in next week to find out the truth about Tre.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Flash 9x03 Review: "Rogues of War" (Heist Hopes) [Contributor: Deborah M]

“Rogues of War”
Original Airdate: February 22, 2023

We’re diving deeper into the main storyline this week on The Flash, which puts us on a pretty fast pace toward the finish line. That makes sense considering the shortened final season, but this show has always had a problem with pacing so I can’t even be sure if things are going well or not. For what it’s worth, “Rogues of War” is a pretty good episode that sets up some potentially interesting stuff in the future — it’s just a matter of time to see if The Flash follows through.


Fiddler and Boomerang are thieving things again, this time aided by Murmur, the creepiest villain since that Ragdoll guy. Fewer crunchy sound effects, though, so Ragdoll’s still in the lead. This theft and the subsequent alarm interrupts Barry and Iris’s continuing pre-baby bucket list, sending them home from a cooking class in Paris to investigate the crime scene. There, Barry determines that the villains — and their mysterious benefactor — are stealing the components to a cosmic treadmill, which would allow them to unravel the timeline. Does anyone else remember when there were wraith things that went around stopping people from messing up timelines? And just, generally speaking, a lot of fate-based countermeasures in place to prevent people from unraveling the timeline? Did Barry just exhaust all that into non-existence with his (and his family’s) time travel shenanigans?

Based on what’s already been stolen, there’s one component missing for a cosmic treadmill: a vibration engine, currently under the protection of the DOD, whose leader won’t agree to hand it over for Team Flash to protect it. For good reason, too, since STAR Labs security is bypassed so frequently it’s comical. Still, Barry thinks the engine would be better in the hands of Team Flash and a surprising solution to the problem comes from Hartley Rathaway: just steal the engine before the others.

Thievery is a matter for non-heroes, so Barry and Hartley head off to recruit some non-heroes to help out. Jaco, the fire-based meta from last season whom Barry reunited with his estranged son, is working at Jitters and doesn’t hesitate to agree when Hartley asks him to lend a fiery hand. Mark is less enthusiastic, but he also joins the team. The final recruit is Goldface, my favorite well-read crime lord who — spoiler! — continues to be fantastic throughout this episode.

Unfortunately, getting a bunch of lone wolf criminal types to work together is a task easier said than done and everyone devolves into fighting over payment as soon as the plan is laid out. Barry decides they all need constant supervision if the plan is to succeed (which makes no sense because the plan requires each of them to be separated) and everyone turns against Barry for not “trusting” them and only seeing them as a bunch of criminals. You guys tried killing each other five minutes in! Duh-doy, Barry doesn’t think you’re trustworthy!

Because the plot needs it to happen, the four rogues go rogue and leave Barry behind to get the engine themselves. Add “writing ‘because the plot needs it to happen’” to the list of stuff I’m not going to miss about The Flash reviews. Barry’s issues are quickly solved by a heart-to-heart with Iris, he decides he needs to trust his ragtag crew, and he goes off to meet them for the heist. There, it’s revealed he’s the Flash — or, well, Goldface learns he’s the Flash when Jaco says he figured it out based on a shared Jitters order. As with basically every Barry-is-the-Flash reveal, it’s a complete non-event.

The heist goes smoothly and Barry manages to phase through the vault to grab the engine once everyone takes down the meta-dampener protecting the place. But then Mark double-crosses the crew and joins Team Red Death on the promise that they’ll help get Frost back. A villain-on-villain fight commences while Barry, having been knocked out by a blast from Mark, is unconscious. Jaco flirts a little with Fiddler, Murmur tries to entice Hartley over to their side, and Boomerang is vaguely impressed by Goldface’s skills.

Barry wakes up and pulls everyone together for another confrontation, but it’s interrupted by the arrival of Red Death, who zaps Barry’s speed with negative speed and intimidates everyone but doesn’t kill them. Why not? Because plot. Later, Barry, Iris, and the Team Flash Rogues recap the night’s events and how scary this new masked speedster is. Goldface, literature nerd that he is, quotes the final line of Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” while also giving us the first on-screen naming of our season villain: “And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.” Despite how terrifying this new villain is, the three recruited criminals agree to help Barry when he calls on them in the future.

When Barry says he recognized a bat symbol on Red Death’s costume, Iris tells him they need to talk to Chester, who reveals that Ryan Wilder — a.k.a., Batwoman — went missing on patrol a few weeks back. On top of that, the weapons used by the Red Death crew all appear to be bleeding-edge Wayne Industries technology. When asked what their next move should be, Barry says, “We find this new speedster, and we stop him.” Great plan, Barry! Absolutely thorough and entirely foolproof! There’s a reason why you’re the leader, pal! Also, many things are indicating that the pronoun you ended with is incorrect.

And right I am, as Mark confronts Red Death into an unmasking, revealing that it’s Ryan Wilder with a gray streak in her hair under all that armor. She gets real close and real scary, quoting the old Batman line, “I am vengeance.” As interesting as this is, I can’t help feeling like it would’ve had a lot more impact if Ryan Wilder had ever had an on-screen interaction with the Flash that wasn’t from an alternate timeline. But it’s definitely a change from the comic book version of the Red Death story and I’m curious to see where this goes.

Other Things:

  • Allegra and Chester are still awkward around each other and this has officially moved from cute to annoying. They like each other. There’s zero reason why they don’t just get together. It’s all just manufactured for drama, and as much as I like both these characters they’re simply not big enough for this drama to be worth it.
  • “Book Club will remain a safe space.” Seriously, Goldface is the best. I hope he shows up a lot more this season, but it’ll probably only be the finale or something.
  • Jaco to Hartley, out of nowhere: “Your bar plays terrible music! Disco is dead, dude.” Jaco is fun too. Actually, this whole villain team Barry set up is great.
  • “So the four of you will disable the generators while I use my CSI know-how to open the vault and grab the engine.” Good save, Barry.
  • Jaco: “Dude, even I figured it out. Barry Allen’s the Flash! They have the same Jitters order.” Goldface: “Oh, so the Chemist is — yeah, no. I see it now.” The joke that is Barry’s secret identity continues!
  • “Run, Barry. Run.” Hey, Mark: encouragingly or mockingly, you have not earned the right to say that line.
  • Shout-out to Murmur for mocking Mark’s stupid, stupid costume, signing, “Do you have a thing against t-shirts?” He has a thing against good taste, Murmur.