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.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Grey’s Anatomy 14x09 Recap: “1-800-799-7233” (The Showdown) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]


“1-800-799-7233”
Original Airdate: January 18, 2018

It’s been a long two months since the winter finale dropped shocker after shocker, but the midseason premiere of Grey’s Anatomy was worth the wait. The last time we saw our favorite TV docs, every storyline was on a tipping point with no clear ending in sight due to the hospital’s mainframe being hacked. Meredith and intern Schmitt — a.k.a. “Glasses” — were stuck in an operating room without access to the blood bank as their patient was bleeding out on the table. Jackson and Maggie were stuck in a medivac, covered in their patient’s blood after a tube from his ECMO machine came loose. Alex and Amelia didn’t know which medication to give their young patient and were awaiting the word from Jo, who got stopped by a surprise visit from her soon-to-be ex-husband, Paul Stadler.


THE MONSTER


The biggest cliffhanger was the arrival of Paul. Grey’s Anatomy has been setting up the inevitable reunion of Jo (whose real name is Brooke Stadler) and her abusive ex (played by the talented Matthew Morrison), and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Jo is rightfully taken aback and shaken by Paul’s sudden appearance with his fiancĂ©e, Jenny. After a brief moment of confusion and hysteria, Jo tries to get away from the situation only to be stopped by Arizona and Richard gawking over Paul’s visit to the hospital. To be fair, neither knew about Jo’s past with Paul prior to the events of this episode.

As Jo tries to run away and hide, Paul decides to help out around the hospital before getting Jo to sign the divorce papers. He winds up in the operating room with Meredith, who knows exactly who this mystery man is when he says his name. Meredith’s immediate disapproval and harshness towards Paul was like a mama bear protecting her cub. Alex becomes just as protective as Meredith when he learns that the man he would like to kill is running around the hospital.

Paul is a pretty good manipulator, which gets showcased several times over the course of the episode. First, he tries to lie to Meredith about his relationship with Jo. He essentially said that Jo used to be a drunk, was flat-out crazy, and made up anything she said about him. However, his mistake was saying that whatever she said about him was false. How would he know what Meredith knows about him? Meredith didn’t say a word about what she knew about Jo’s past, so for anyone that was questioning whether Paul or Jo was the real monster, this was the dead giveaway.

Later on in the episode, we learn that Jo is still afraid to even be near Paul. Meredith goes with her to a conference room to meet Paul and sign the divorce papers. Jo flinches every time that Paul even moves slightly toward her, which is another sign that the worst did happen to Jo. We don’t know everything that happened to Jo, but she paints a clearer picture toward the end of the episode.

SOLIDARITY


With such a heavy and timely storyline, it is hard to find something to feel good about within it. But the acts of solidarity the characters showed Jo throughout this episode were fantastic. To see both Alex and Meredith immediately drop everything to protect her was a testament not only to how much Jo means to them, but also how much they believe her. While they acted more like her overprotective parents in the scene where the three of them were in the operating room gallery, it was sweet to see everything they did to stop Paul from getting any alone time with Jo.

Also, seeing the interns and then Arizona blindly help Jo without knowing anything about her situation was extra special. Jo’s storyline truly reflects the changing times the country is currently facing regarding domestic and sexual abuse. Seeing the outpouring support from her coworkers, including some who didn’t know about the situation, was a great way to tell audiences that we all need to see victims and support them.

An even bigger testament to how well the theme of the episode was dispayed is when Jo uses Arizona to distract Paul so she can have a quick conversation with Jenny. Jo tries to get Jenny to tell her whether Paul is still abusive or not. While Jenny doesn’t say anything, her body language conveys a different story. Jo decides to tell an awful anecdote about Paul’s jealousy, anger, and abuse to let Jenny know that she shouldn’t be afraid to leave him. Jo goes so far as to offer Jenny her number so she can get Jo’s help getting away from Paul anytime.

It’s great to see Jo trying to help another potential victim. And while we don’t know the specifics of how, Paul figured out that he was being tricked and made Jenny confess that she talked to Jo. Paul hunts down Jo, who is in a lounge with Meredith, and threatens her. He also says that he now knows where she is, can stalk her, and will hold onto her phone number just to torture her. Meredith gets Paul to leave by fake calling (since the phones are still down) security.

But Paul will be back for this story to come to a head in the next episode, where he is the victim of a hit-and-run.

IT'S GETTING HOT IN HERE


Other than a powerful domestic abuse storyline, the midseason premiere featured a few other plotlines that will definitely play out over the rest of the season. While the temperature in the hospital was literally increasing due to the hackers, romance is also heating up. Jackson and Maggie share quite a few awkward and revealing moments, and they honestly need to just get a room and figure themselves out already. Though Jackson finally makes a move at the end, Maggie has come to the conclusion that they have a complicated relationship, considering that they are technically step-siblings. After several months of pining over Jackson, Maggie suddenly has a problem when he asks her out for a drink?! It would be weird for them to never get together at this point, so I’m still betting on it working out.

Andrew and his ex, new intern Sam, are also in a rough place. After being caught together in a closet in the winter finale, Sam has decided that she can’t keep having relations with Andrew anymore. Richard keeps trying to push them together though, and it’s only a matter of time before they wind up in the same place again. While their past has yet to be fully told, I bet their future holds a lot of hot and heavy action.

B-TEAM


Lastly, two of the other interns play a big role in the episode. Schmitt saves his and Meredith’s patient in the operating room by giving his blood to her. The patient later deems him her hero, even though he practically threw up in her open abdominal cavity. Casey is the bigger hero, as he winds up saving the day by stopping the hackers. After revealing to Bailey that he once hacked a federal server, Casey uses several techniques to find the hackers via their IP address and force them out of Grey Sloan’s systems. He then drops the bombshell — he hacked a DMV server because they refused to change his gender on his license from female to male. Casey becomes the first major transgender character on Grey’s Anatomy, which should lead to some more great storylines down the road. However, I was surprised that he mentioned this so quickly, as if in passing. It will be interesting to see how some of these interns continue to impact the larger stories in the remainder of the season.

Arrow 6x10 Recap: "Divided" (OTA vs. Newbies) [Contributor: Marilyn]


"Divided"
Original Airdate: January 17, 2018

We open this episode with Helena Bertinelli’s cousin doing some business dealings — shady or otherwise. Cayden and his crew show up, offering to buy his port and he declines. Black Siren does her thing on him and they tell him he has 24 hours to reconsider. Threats are made. Meanwhile, the OTA is chilling in the bunker being, you know, the OTA. Oliver is making arrows and Felicity is in need of coffee, which Dig kindly supplies for her. Curtis is coming over to help Felicity work on Dig’s arm implant and Oliver isn’t going home to take care of William (who doesn’t know his dad is back on Green Arrow duty) because he’s determined to bring down Cayden James and can’t really relax until he does.

At City Hall, Quentin and Thea reconnect and she tells him she’d like to be his new assistant since Rene Ramirez is, obviously, not working there anymore. Thea gets why Rene was let go but she’s concerned that it’ll look like retaliation against a “whistle-blower.” Quentin is fine letting Oliver worry about that and... oh, he already hired an assistant. But he can use a chief of staff!

While Felicity and Curtis are working on Dig’s chip, they get some weird feedback. But it goes away and so they get back to work. Except... the chip still isn’t working. Dig is getting frustrated, understandably. There’s some interference again and Felicity figures out that it’s signal interference — they’re being bugged. Vince drops by the precinct to visit Dinah, which she thinks is dangerous considering he’s currently wanted for vigilante activities. He wants to meet with her at the pier the next day after her shift ends. She’s a little hesitant but agrees.

Felicity and Dig meet up with Oliver and they tell him about the bug. They realize Black Siren put it there when she broke into the bunker months ago. But for the moment, Cayden doesn’t know that OTA knows. Oliver rushes off to confront who he thinks is Cayden James, but is actually Jerry Bertinelli. Jerry tells the Green Arrow about the visit from the baddies and the threats made against him. And since Jerry’s technically the enemy of his enemy, then maybe they’re allies. Oliver brings the information to Felicity and there’s cute and witty banter about getting in bed with the Bertinellis that I enjoy a lot more than I probably should.

Elsewhere, Rene is bonding with his daughter and because she is perceptive, she wonders why he’s not going to work. Rene doesn’t know what to tell her, but he does promise that no one will take her away from him again. Curtis stops by and Rene asks him to help with the evidence that Watson has against him. He wants to be able to recant his testimony. Rene doesn’t feel great about how he betrayed Oliver, and Curtis says he’ll work on it.

Dinah meets Vince for her date and she’s having a great time — walking along memory lane, and sharing some funny and embarrassing stories. Vince is charmed but he warns her that this thing with them is complicated. She’s used to it but she’s not the Black Canary at the moment and she’s okay being with him just for now. They nearly kiss but are interrupted by Vince receiving a text. He tells her its from an informant but it’s actually from Cayden James.

Oliver and Thea have a bit of a moment in the mayor’s office when she tells him that she wishes she could be more help to him and the team — but she’s just not there yet. Oliver says she will always be his Speedy. Felicity calls, informing Oliver that they tracked Cayden. Dig warns him against rushing in unprepared but there’s nothing stopping Oliver now. He discovers not only Cayden James but Black Siren as well.

Oh. And also an enormous bomb. Cayden has some of Curtis’ T-spheres, which he tries to use against Oliver. But Oliver has an arrow for that! Cayden brings in reinforcements and blocks out Felicity on the comms so Oliver is truly alone in the field against everyone — including the Vigilante. That’s not great. But for whatever reason, Cayden lets Oliver go, saying it’s not the time to kill him.

Dig and Felicity are horrified to hear about Cayden’s posse. Dig says they need a team of their own but Oliver refuses to bring the newbies back in. He can’t go into the field with people he cannot trust. Felicity suggests a sort of compromise — Oliver does not have to go into the field with them, but should share information with them at least. After all, Dinah deserves to know the truth about Vince. Quentin tells Thea that he’s conflicted about Black Siren and thinks he might have seen Laurel in her eyes. He doesn’t know what to think but really wants to find a way to get through to her. Thea cautions him against going down this road because he could get killed if he does.

Felicity invites the old team over to the loft — neutral ground, I suppose. Dig tells the newbies that Black Siren had the bunker bugged and Dinah is upset they didn’t tell them their identities were compromised sooner. Then, the OTA tells Dinah that Vince is working with Cayden. She doesn’t believe them, naturally. So once again we return to the storyline of "the newbies reach another impasse with OTA." In my opinion, the newbies come off poorly in the exchange.

Oliver meets with Bertinelli again, just as he’s leaving town, for fear that Cayden will target his daughter. But Oliver wants him to make a final stand — he’s confident they can end Cayden together. Meanwhile, Dinah meets with Vince... and punches him. Fair. Turns out she believes Oliver a little more than she let on. Vince doesn’t deny his involvement, and Dinah’s furious and feeling betrayed (understandable). She tries to arrest him but he gives her the slip.

Oliver is sure that Dig, he, and Felicity can handle whatever comes their way — without the newbies. But Dig is less sure. Curtis, meanwhile, tries to help Rene learn what Watson has on him. He finds an audio recording and it’s likely the evidence that Watson has. And it was likely leaked to her by Cayden via the bug in the bunker. Dinah shows up and tells them about Vince. They catch her up on what they found out and they wonder why Watson went after Rene and not the rest of them. They want to take on Cayden James and his super posse, forming their own team outside of Team Arrow.

Felicity tells Dig and Oliver that the Bertinellis are bringing in the Red Lions — a death squad from Chechnya. Cayden, who is watching, isn’t concerned and plans to ambush them. Of course it’s a trap set by OTA because they wanted Cayden to overhear them. Bertinelli shows up as anticipated and is met with Richard Dragon and his goons. Oliver is there and there’s all kinds of fighting hijinks but Black Siren blasts Oliver into a wall and Felicity warns Oliver to get out. Oliver is overpowered by Anatoly and Vigilante, while Cayden stops Bertinelli from escaping. He gives him a choice, and Bertinelli is about to side to with Cayden and shoot the Green Arrow when he triggers an explosion which allows him to escape. Bertinelli offers Cayden the port and he’s thanked for that but is shot and killed anyway. That’s bad etiquette.

Felicity gives Oliver a pep talk, and Oliver admits he can’t be out in the field alone against a group of baddies. It’s just not smart. The group meets again with the newbies, trying to bury the hatchet. Oliver tells Rene he understands why he did what he did, but it also meant taking Oliver away from his son he reacted angrily. An olive branch is offered but Oliver says they don’t have time for grudges; they need to work together.

Curtis can’t go back to the way things were though. Rene and Dinah back him up and reveal that they plan to work together and try to help the city — but they’re not going to work with OTA again. Felicity says Cayden wants to split them up and they are playing right into his hand. Oliver tries to warn them about what they’re up against with Cayden, and wishes them luck. Before the newbies leave, Curtis gives Dig the new chip and believes he solved the problem.

At City Hall, Quentin comes across pictures of Laurel and Thea apologizes for telling Quentin that Laurel/Black Siren couldn’t change. After all, Malcolm did (... did he though?) and maybe she can too. She offers to help him try to break through to Black Siren. Or Laurel. That is a terrible idea. Meanwhile, the newbies set up shop in the old Helix headquarters. They toast to “partners they can trust,” and I want to throw multiple things at their heads.

Cayden confronts Vince about his concerns — he worries about his relationship with Dinah. But Vince doesn’t think it will be an issue. After all, he knows how to play her. Meanwhile, Felicity puts the new chip in Dig’s hand and breaths are held while waiting to see if it works. It does! Dig is back in business! 

Final thoughts: 

  • I love to see OTA together again, interacting with each other and relying on each other like the well-oiled machine we always knew they are. 
  • Still, it was super frustrating to see Dig sidelined by his bum arm/hand the whole episode. 
  • Black Siren is useless as always. Yawnsville. 
  • Dinah was frustrating this episode. She tells Oliver she doesn’t believe him, but she actually does? And her reasoning for maintaining anger with OTA was flimsy as heck. 
  • (Honestly, in a battle of loyalty, I’m always going to side with OTA.)
  • Cayden James was sufficiently creepy this episode. Bringing ALL the baddies together like that felt like a legitimate threat, so good job there. 
  • The fight sequences in the warehouse were very clearly directed by Bamford, but I mean that in a good way. The way he likes to maintain the camera on Oliver and just show brutal hit after hit feels really claustrophobic and tense and I feel works really well in a scene like that. 
  • There was not nearly enough Olicity in this episode. Not a single "Mr./Mrs." joke or anything. Fix that in the future, show. 

That’s it! Arrow is back and not a moment too soon. Next week we get an episode where it sounds like William is in a bit of danger, thanks to Cayden James.

The Flash 4x10 Review: "The Trial of the Flash" (Barry’s Only Real Crime is Stupidity) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]


"The Trial of the Flash"
Original Airdate: January 16, 2018 

Aaaaand we’re back! If only the return to The Flash were a happy one — but alas, our titular hero (or, at the very least, his civilian alter-ego) has been charged with the murder of Clifford DeVoe. As we all know, Clifford DeVoe self-murdered and framed Barry for the crime after stealing the body of a nice metahuman named Dominic Lanse. Since Barry spent a whole episode being a paranoid idiot, he set himself up as the perfect patsy — all part of Clifford “The Thinker” DeVoe’s nefarious, genius plan! — so now the Flash is going behind bars.


THE TRIAL


Barry has been charged and released on house arrest until his trial date. Everyone is worried about Barry and wondering how it could all come to this, but Cisco plays post-Speed Force Bonkers Barry’s rambling dialogue — specifically, the part where he says “Your honor, I’m innocent. I didn’t do this. I didn’t kill anyone.” We’ve got some kind of time loop on our hands, folks! What isn’t clear is how DeVoe managed to orchestrate so much of what has happened this season, and why. Was it all just a way for him to get a new body? If so, why torment Barry once that goal is achieved?

Regarding Barry’s impending imprisonment, Cisco states that, obviously, no regular prison will be able to hold the Flash. But Barry insists that he won’t be using his powers to escape if he’s sentenced. The stance is an understandable one, since escaping from prison would mean Barry’s whole life would be over while he lives as a wanted man. It’s the same reason why he didn’t run from the police in the first place (though, having seen the rest of the episode and the arguments the prosecution uses against Barry, it probably would have been a lot smarter if he hadn’t been found at the scene of the crime) and it’s not the most irrational decision Barry makes this week — but more on that later.

Trial time! Mentally insert a Law & Order [doink, doink] here, if you please. The prosecutor for the case has a very persuasive opening statement that makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to Barry Allen “wearing a mask” and how heinous a crime it was for a man employed to uphold the law as a crime scene technician to use a knife given as a wedding gift to kill an innocent man. Thanks to Barry’s fit of paranoid crazy a couple episodes back, the prosecution has the DeVoes’ restraining order against Barry on record, which doesn’t look good. I will note, however, that the prosecuting attorney’s main argument rests on the idea of Barry Allen, criminal genius, using his skills and knowledge as a CSI to stalk and murder DeVoe... but also says that the obvious crime scene, and Barry’s presence there, means he’s definitely the murderer.

So Barry used his CSI skills expertly up until the point where it mattered — the actual crime scene — and then forgot everything he knew, allowed the body to be found with his skin cells under the fingernails, used his own apartment as the murder location, and used a knife that could easily be traced back to him as the murder weapon. Yeah. Solid argument there, lawyer dude.

If only Cecile, who’s representing Barry for the case, managed to catch on to those obvious leaps in logic. Unfortunately, Cecile’s defense of Barry is a lackluster one made worse by the Widow DeVoe’s excellent acting skills. Even Dibney using his experience as a low-down PI and capturing some photos of Marlize and Clifford-in-Dominic’s-Body kissing, which they pull out in court for the old “new lover murdered the husband” play, doesn’t do much in Barry’s favor. Marlize brings up her husband’s ailing health, saying that Clifford wanted her to move on and find new love when he was gone. Foiled again, Cecile closes her cross-examination. Weak.

Iris wants to pull the ultimate gambit by telling the court that Barry Allen is the Flash and, as the city’s primary hero, it’s unlikely that he would be a murderer. After a heated argument with Marlize in the hall (which Iris really should have been recording — where are your gadgets when we need them, Cisco?) she bursts back into the courtroom, ready to blurt out Barry’s least secret secret, but then Barry stops her by zipping over and slowing down time? Or pulling Iris into a different time stream? It’s unclear, and Barry admits that he doesn’t know how he does it, so I take that to mean that the writers don’t have an explanation and would really prefer if we, the viewers, wouldn’t question it.

And here’s where we’re introduced to some of Barry’s special brand of stupid: Barry doesn’t want Iris telling the world he’s the Flash because it would mean putting a target on everyone Barry loves. Great reasoning, Barry! Except that everyone you love, including your wife, is on your crime fighting team. They already have targets on them, just by associating with the Flash — and Iris, though she spends most of her time in S.T.A.R. Labs directing things, doesn’t even wear a mask! If anyone who knows you, or them, (or just notices the people who come in and out of S.T.A.R. Labs) has any skills in observation whatsoever, they’re going to put two and two together and come up with “Barry Allen is the Flash.” You’re sacrificing your freedom, life with your soulmate, life with your family, and everyone in the city who might need the Flash’s help — all to prevent something that is already happening.

So, yeah. Barry talks Iris down and she listens to him, fleeing back to the audience seats after an awkward excuse for her outburst, and they allow the trial to continue. In the meantime, Joe is desperate to save a second member of the Allen family from being wrongly accused (hey, so, I think the legal system in Central City might be a little messed up?) and has decided to plant carpet fibers from the West-Allen loft in the DeVoe house, to frame Marlize for framing Barry. Shockingly, Ralph Dibney delivers an extremely good speech about the inevitable downfall Joe would face if he were to go through with his plan, doubtlessly picking from his own experiences. Joe decides not to go through with it.

Since no one will let the Wests do what needs to be done to keep Barry out of jail, he’s found guilty. The judge even goes through this huge tirade against Barry, painting him as a moustache-twirling villain who kicks puppies in his free time and probably gets his jollies from telling kids there’s no Santa. This whole speech is intercut with Captain Singh making his own speech, awarding the Flash for his acts of selfless bravery during the fight with this episode’s weekly bus meta. It’s cheesy, but this show does cheesy well.

At his sentencing, Barry tells the court, “Your honor, I’m innocent. I didn’t do this. I didn’t kill anyone.” Thus completing that particular Speed Force time loop, Barry is then delivered to his prison cell.

You know, I actually thought the show would stretch the period of time for Barry’s trial out a lot more than one episode, since now the options for the rest of the season are either a) Barry is in jail and can’t fight crime; very limited storylines available, or b) Barry is in jail for like an episode and then gets found not guilty, which would probably be the worst bit of narrative pacing I have ever seen on a television program in all my years of watching way too many television programs. That said, The Flash hasn’t exactly been stellar at narrative pacing in the past, so completely fumbling this interesting plot line would definitely be on brand for them.

Other Things:

  • Yeah, I assume that the reason why Wally isn’t immediately getting a starring role as the sole speedster for Central City while Barry is incarcerated is because of actor contracts or something mundane like that, but I’m pretty sure Wally isn’t coming back in the next couple episodes that’s a pretty glaring oversight in-universe.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Supergirl 3x10 Review: "Legion of Super-Heroes" (This Title is False) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]


“Legion of Super-Heroes”
Original Airdate: January 15, 2018 

Important stuff to know from the previous half of Supergirl’s third season: Kara made a new instant BFF in Sam, who has a daughter named Ruby and is nice, I guess? This show’s not the best at developing character relationships. Anyway, Kara’s also been struggling with her connection to humanity, brought about by the ultra-tragic breakup she had with Mon-El, a humanoid simulacrum made from saltine dust and Pantone’s full spectrum of beige hues. The human/alien dichotomy is the closest the season gets to a truly interesting idea, but it only glances off the surface before falling back into more standard villain-of-the-week fare mixed up with the aforementioned fumbled relationship development.

Episodes just before the winter hiatus graced us with the return of Mon-El, blander than ever and married to an equally bland woman from the future whose name I find physically impossible to remember for longer than fifteen seconds. In addition to this, new BFF Sam has claimed her evil Kryptonian birthright and has become Reign, a Worldkiller bent on dispensing justice and cleansing the Earth.

SERIOUSLY THOUGH WHY IS THIS EPISODE CALLED THIS


It’s been a few days in-universe since Reign won her fight against Supergirl, and Kara’s been in a coma the whole time. We get this news via a new character, Brainiac 5, who is able to enter Kara’s dream state (which looks like her apartment) and guide her toward awareness. This episode is called “Legion of Super-Heroes,” but Brainiac 5 is literally the only new member of the Legion we’re introduced to, so clearly Supergirl has no idea what the word “legion” means.

While Kara is stuck in her own head and her body is stuck in a healing pod, Reign is reigning over National City. Although the characters hint that she’d been lying low a bit after the fight, she makes a pretty spectacular re-emergence by foiling a robbery and dumping the would-be thief's unconscious body in the middle of the CatCo office. She tells one of the nearby reporters to start broadcasting, then declares her mission statement to cleanse the Earth of villainy and apathy alike on live TV.

“Apathy is the greatest sin of all” isn’t terrible maxim, exactly, but Reign is using a violent totalitarianism approach to dispensing justice, which isn’t great for National City. But she is, strangely, dispensing justice. She clearly knows the difference between right and wrong, even if that perspective is overly strict, since she targets a thief and a prison as her first examples. Is this the intended mission of a Worldkiller? The previous episode implied less actual justice and a more wholesale burning Earth to the ground, but now we’re getting a mission of righteousness — violent righteousness, yes, but still righteousness.

Also of confusing note: Sam still exists. We see her playing with Ruby at the beginning of the episode, before she’s called to Worldkiller business. Again, the continued awareness of Sam wasn’t clarified in the previous episode and it isn’t exactly clarified now, either. Does the Evil Fortress of Solitude AI get to decide when Sam turns into Reign? In the previous episode she seemed pretty unambiguously against Sam returning to her normal life as Ruby’s mother, so once the Reign powers took hold, why did she let Sam go back? Does Sam remember anything about being Reign or finding the Fortress or talking to the AI? How does she brush away what has to be a good handful of hours where, presumably, her memories are just blank?

See, these questions could have been answered over a longer period of time, but Supergirl decided to cram absolutely everything, from the introduction of Sam to the introduction of her Reign alter-ego, into ten episodes. The result is a plot that grows more and more holes the more you think about it. And no, most viewers probably aren’t dissecting episodes of Supergirl like I — a person who writes a weekly review of the show — might, but there is probably a subconscious awareness of things not lining up or being obviously glanced over, even for the most passive viewers.

Back in her mind-apartment, Brainiac 5 declares Kara physically healed enough to wake up and resume her normal life, but when she tries opening the door, which symbolizes waking, she’s unable to do so. Kara freaks out, trying to use her Kryptonian strength and powers against the door, but it doesn’t budge and she can’t figure out why her brain seems to have locked her inside itself.

And in the waking world, Brainiac 5 informs Kara’s friends and family that she’s for real locked in there, and he — a super intelligent robo-person — can’t decisively say why. Meanwhile, Reign’s been making quick work of wrongdoers in National City, destroying a meth house and targeting a prison. Her approach to justice is a tad imprecise, which means that the inmates of the prison and all the guards are in trouble. After a failed attempt to stop one of Reign’s attacks led to Alex breaking her tibia and the realization that kryptonite is not nearly as potent on Worldkillers as they would hope, the city and the DEO could really use a Supergirl.

While Kara is cleaning up after her temper tantrum, she finds a picture of herself holding a pet cat named Streaky. Reminiscing about the stray cat, Kara tells Brainiac 5 about how she used to slowly work up the courage to pet Streaky, waiting until she knew she could be careful enough to touch him, and how his acceptance of her made her feel human and at home on Earth.

From the Streaky story, we learn Kara’s careful approach to being gentle, clearly a parallel with her learning to fit in on Earth with all those fragile humans. Once again, the human/alien dichotomy returns, perhaps in its most fully-formed capacity. Kara realizes that the safe space her subconscious dropped her into was not some Kryptonian Fortress of Solitude, but the comfortable loft of Kara Danvers, where she is surrounded by Kara’s things and Kara’s important memories about stray cats with terrible names. This realization tells her that her humanity is just as much a part of her as her Kryptonian nature, and it’s not the sheer strength and abilities of Supergirl that allows Kara to escape from her coma, but a normal, human key. Like with Streaky the Cat, gentleness grants Kara freedom and self-assuredness.

Kara has accepted the human side of her nature and wakes up from her coma, but she still has business to do as Supergirl. She goes off to fight Reign. The Legion of Superheroes has already prepared for battle, but they’re no match against a Kryptonian Worldkiller because — I must emphasize — there are only three of them and that is not a freaking legion. Kara puts the DEO plan to inject Reign with kryptonite in action, getting the jump on her and stabbing some krypto-goo directly into her jugular. Gross. Reign still escapes, though, and she just shakes off the effects of the kryptonite... so that was kinda pointless.

Back in her Fortress of Eviltude, Reign meets up with the Evil AI and — oh look! She brought a friend! It’s that Rao cult leader guy from a few episodes back, whom she freed (unintentionally?) during her attack on the prison. He’s her new devoted follower. Why would Reign care, exactly? She’s been doing fine on her own without some nutbar cult leader hanging around. But it doesn’t really matter, since more Worldkillers are coming! Hurray!

Wait. That’s bad. Un-hurray.

Other Things:
  • I can’t yet tell if Brainiac 5 is endearing or annoying.
  • “I thought you were dead.” “I got better.” Very Monty Python and the Holy Grail of you, Kara.
  • I’m sure Melissa Benoist was having fun imitating David Harewood's J'onn J'onzz, but that scene made Lena look like a complete idiot so I’m not fond of it. Isn’t Lena supposed to be a genius?
  • P.S. the Legion of Super-Heroes hid the secret to stopping the onslaught of world-ending aliens called the Blight in their DNA and that’s very important, but it still doesn’t explain why the episode is named after them.

The Bachelor 22x02 Roundtable: Can I Steal Him for a Moment? [Contributors: Chelsea, Rebecca, and Alisa]


The dates have begun! This week we got to meet the girls a bit more while traversing across some odd dates. Some girls are closer to winning his heart while others need to start packing their bags. Here’s where we stand so far with the gang.

This week changed things up and gave us two different one-on-one dates with Becca K. and Krystal, and a ridiculously large group date with 15 of the girls. Which of the three dates was your favorite? Do you have bumper car PTSD? 


Rebecca: Becca’s date gave me major sugar daddy vibes, and not in a good way. Krystal’s date was flat-out weird — sorry, but no sane person wants to meet their boyfriend-who-is-also-dating-20-other-women’s family on the first date. The demolition derby date was so fun! I thought it was a good way for the girls to let out some suppressed anger and show off their creativity. I hate to make fun of someone’s feelings, but... bumper car trauma...

Alisa: BUMPER CAR TRAUMA. That was new and unexpected in this tired season (that’s just begun). I was surprised that the gigantic group date actually turned out pretty well. I think it was just what the girls needed to let off a little steam and have some fun after being cooped up in that mansion for however long.

Both one-on-one dates were the absolute worst though. I feel like Arie politely listened to producers’ date suggestions, then lit them on fire and proceeded down his own path of desperation and drama. Not that Becca isn’t deserving of all the good things in the world, but that date was ridiculous and creepy. And taking Krystal to meet his parents in the SECOND EPISODE? Waves of desperation are just rolling off Arie and it’s not a good look. Also, speaking of looks, did anyone else catch that Arie’s mom looks EXACTLY LIKE KRYSTAL but you know, like 40 years in the future?

Chelsea: Who knew the bumper car trauma would be the most fun of all the dates? We got to see more personality from a bunch of the girls and it was the perfect amount of cheese you’d hope from this show. Krystal’s date just stressed me out. You know meeting the family on the second episode isn’t going to lead to great things. You’re not Raven. And while I really like Becca K., that date was really just him buying her affection. You didn’t learn much about either of the girls or Arie, and we were robbed of seeing his dog. And what is even the point of visiting his home if we don’t see a dog?


This week brought the drama fast, with Bibiana confronting Krystal about stealing Arie twice when she already had a rose. Whose side are you on? Will they be the first two-on-one date? 


Rebecca: I HOPE they are the two-on-one date. That would just be solid, entertaining TV. I can’t really choose a side because I get both of their perspectives. Bibiana is right — Krystal is being selfish and making it harder for the other girls to get to know Arie when she already is guaranteed another week in the mansion; plus she had hours to spend with him one-on-one. On the other hand, Krystal is also right: she’s just playing the game. At the end of the day, it’s a competition, and she’s just being competitive. The other girls knew time-stealing would be an issue, so they shouldn’t be surprised.

Alisa: I can’t stand either of them, so I am all in favor of them going on a two-on-one and both getting sent home at the end of it. Like Rebecca said, Krystal is selfish but she’s also just playing the game and she’s certainly not the first (nor will she be the last) contestant to steal time when she already has a rose. And Bibiana acts like she’s never seen this show before. Like, girl, I get being mad at Krystal and her ridiculousness. But the fact that Bibiana yelled at Krystal in front of all the other girls is going to make it back to Arie eventually, and it’s only going to reflect badly on Bibiana. Krystal deserved pretty much everything she said, but we all know the confronter on this show is ALWAYS the one that gets burned, not the confrontee.

Chelsea: Bibiana was completely reasonable with her feelings about Krystal’s behavior and taking extra time. Somebody has to be the person that calls out others on disrespecting the unspoken bond of sisterhood and taking turns. Sure, she isn’t somebody I’m cheering for but I love that she brings the simple drama. Krystal gives me weird vibes — like I should be worried about her but that she could also snap at any moment. I want a big two-on-one for them but I could easily see one of them leaving the show earlier. Probably Bibiana since she hasn’t had time to make a bigger impression.

Sizing up who is left, who are you loving so far? Who needs to go? Are we all in awe of Jenny’s exit when she declared she was sad about leaving her new friends, but not Arie? 


Rebecca: I love Bekah, even though she’s a literal baby. She’s fun and cute and has really good energy. I feel like she’s here to make friends and not get involved in the drama, which I can always appreciate. I also really like other Becca; I picked her in my fantasy league to get the final rose. I’m sensing a trend here. Perhaps I’m a little biased, since we all share a name.

Alisa: Eh. The only girl I even remotely like is Seinne who is way too smart for this show and should be the next Bachelorette. But she’s gotten barely any screentime so I bet she goes home soon. Tia and Bekah are both energetic and fun and will probably go far, but personally they grate on my nerves. Krystal and Chelsea are clearly the blonde villains this year, and I’m over them already. Becca seems like a genuinely good person so she’ll probably come in second, get her heart broken, and go on to live her best life sans Arie.

As for Jenny, she was just one in a sea of blondes until she said “I’m not sad about you,” and now she’s my new hero.

Chelsea: I’m fans of Bekah and Becca K., even though their names confuse the heck outta me. I see them both going far, and Becca K. has winner or Bachelorette potential (I don’t wanna curse her to a life with Arie). Taxidermy girl cracks me up with her weirdness, and I want her to stick around just for the end-of-episode bumpers. I like Tia but she needs to dial up the sass if she’s gonna be our Raven this year. Krystal and Not Me are solid villains so far but we really need more time with some of these ladies. Too many of them look alike and I cannot remember their names. Like I had just learned Jenny’s name when she dropped that iconic line on her way out. Mad respect, girl.

And here are the Bachelor Fantasy League Standings, as of this week:


  1. Chelsea (60 points) 
  2. Rebecca (60 points)
  3. Alisa (30 points) 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Blindspot 3x09 Review: "Hot Burning Flames" (Hot Mess) [Contributor: Jen]


"Hot Burning Flames"
Original Airdate: January 12, 2018

I desperately wanted to enjoy the emotional and angst-filled fallout from Kurt's: "I killed your daughter" confession, but the plot line in "Hot Burning Flames" is a disaster zone. I found myself screaming in frustration rather than crying. Instead of forging a new and interesting path for Kurt and Jane, Blindspot doubles down on the tired, old, and cliched fear of the Moonlighting Curse.

CASE OF THE WEEK


We aren't going to spend too much time on the Case of the Week because the writers recycled the storyline from another episode. And I mean that literally. A nuke gets stolen (AGAIN) and New York is under threat of annihilation (AGAIN). The woman responsible is Lana "Svetlana" Stepulov. She is the sister of Anton "The Architect of Death" Stepulov — the former number two of the Dabbur Zann. She's trying to finish what her brother started.

Sigh. Is this the third nuclear threat this season? I think you can dig a little deeper, Blindspot. Anton was an interesting villain in season two's "Droll Autumn, Unmutual Lord." He had a sick son and gave the CIA intel on an impending attack in exchange for a heart transplant. Then he double crossed them when his son died. However, Lana is just hokey.

It culminates with Kurt facing off with Lana in an airplane. She arms the nuke via a wristwatch mid-fight. It wasn't supposed to be funny, but I laughed out loud. Then, Kurt skydives after her to disarm it. Yes, you read that right. Think Point Break, but without the awesomeness of Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Kurt saves millions of lives (again), but in the cheesiest way possible so I'm only giving him partial credit.

Despite saving New York, it doesn't do a darn thing to get him out of trouble with Jane. Kurt left her daughter for dead, so from Jane's perspective, there aren't enough lives in the world for Kurt to save that will erase the blood in his ledger.

But sure, maybe couple's therapy?

TEAM BLINDSPOT


Team Blindspot is stressed about their ship imploding. It's excellent audience perspective representation. They spend 95% of the episode wondering where Kurt and Jane are, and then the other 5% freaking Kurt and Jane are breaking up. Zapata and Reade play marriage counselors. Reade is there for Kurt and Zapata is there for Jane, but really what can you say one of your best friends killed your other best friend's kid?

Reade gives a touching speech about being there for Kurt because he was there for him. But when Weller fesses up, Edgar just awkwards his way through it with a bunch of silence.


Zapata does a little better. She offers a whole bunch of "I'm sorry" to Jane and asks what her daughter's name was (Avery). It's a nice moment between the women, but it's clear the team won't be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again any time soon.

And why? Because Kurt and Jane are idiots. Primarily Kurt, but Jane isn't too far behind.

KURT AND JANE


I consider myself a patient TV viewer, but there is only two words I came away with after watching "Hot Burning Flames."


Jamie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton did a beautiful job acting in the emotional scenes. It's probably some of their best work, but I had difficulty getting invested in the scenes because THIS ENTIRE PLOT IS SO RIDICULOUS I CANNOT EVEN.


In order to make this fly, Kurt Weller has become the dumbest oak tree to ever live. But not in a sweet or even mildly entertaining way. In a pull-my-hair-out-bang-my-head-up-against-the-way-convinced-he's-been-body-snatched-by-aliens way.


Let's run through it shall we? Kurt explains to Jane how he killed her daughter Avery. They met, Avery tells Kurt she is Jane Doe's daughter, she produces a birth certificate and Kurt Weller — former Assistant Director of the FBI — glances at it and basically says, "Looks legit. Allow me to tell you everything I know about your mother, me, and our super secret FBI lives."


Uhhh... WHAT? At least Jane is operating with some logic (at the moment) and asks Kurt how he can be sure that this girl was really her daughter. Did he get a DNA test? HA! Silly rabbit. No, he did not! Because why would Kurt, a man who believed Jane was an entirely different person for over a year, want to confirm Avery's identity with actual SCIENCE? Honestly Kurt, your father was a freaking pedophile, murdered your childhood best friend, and lied about it for years. You had to dig up Taylor Shaw's grave to find out the truth. WHERE ARE YOUR TRUST ISSUES?

Oh... it gets worse. Kurt's reasoning is that since Avery looks and acts like Jane then she must be her kid! She has the same fire, y'all. It has to be her. MYSTERY SOLVED. Take that, Sherlock. Kurt Weller is on the case.

I'm sorry, but no amount of Sullivan Stapleton's beautiful tears could keep me from screaming at the television. I'm not seeing the visual resemblance between the actresses, but that's television for you so I'll let that one pass. But mannerisms and personality can be coached. I wonder if there's someone hell bent on destroying Kurt and Jane's marriage, who knows Jane inside and out, and could set up this entire encounter up to make Weller believe he killed Jane's daughter.


In Kurt and Jane's defense, it's not like Roman has been threatening to break them up for months on end. Oh wait a second. HE HAS.


Let's set aside identity for a moment. Let's just pretend this kid really Jane's daughter, because she probably is. If Kurt is absolutely convinced that he killed Jane's daughter, enough to lie to her about it for months on end, risk their entire marriage and do absolutely zero investigative work about it, then I would assume he actually confirmed she was, ya know... DEAD.

Nah.

Weller was headed to find Max Koehler, a German gangster Jane was seen talking to in the hotel lobby just a day prior. Jane lost her go bag and Max was giving her new passports. Avery wanted to come too, but Kurt knew meeting this man was dangerous. So he instructed Avery to stay behind. Weller is ambushed when he arrives at the dry cleaner Max operates in.

Jane asked what happened and Kurt said, "I don't know. I went in there... and it was like they were expecting me."

Is this his first day out of the academy? Who are you right now, Kurt Weller? Of course they were expecting you because ROMAN SET YOU UP.


Kurt ends up in a gun battle and he fires at someone standing behind a hanging sheet. It's Avery. She's bleeding out from the gunshot wound and unconscious, but Kurt can't stay with her because he's still under attack. Thereby, leaving the door open for her to magically be alive in 6-8 episodes.

Kurt: If I had stayed any longer I would have died too. 
Jane: Then you should have stayed.
Ouch. It's safe to say flowers, chocolates, and jewelry aren't going to fix this with Mrs. Weller. Kurt checks Avery's pulse and she has that vacant dead body stare, so that's enough for him to be convinced. Let's list a couple ways Avery could survive: 1) She was faking and Kurt can't take a pulse to save his life. 2) She was faking and took some kind of Blindspot drug to slow her heart rate. (It's important to remember this show is based on a fantasy drug.) 3) She was not faking and someone saved her via CPR because they know she's a valuable asset.

I'd be less irritated with Kurt's accept-everything-at-face-value attitude if he circled back and tried to collect the body. Or at least attempted to investigate where the body is. Or continued to follow Max's gangsters. But he did none of the above. Kurt headed to the Himalayas to find Jane.

Jane doesn't apply any of her investigative skills here though either. She simply accepts all of this as true and doesn't consider, for even a second, that Roman could be behind any of it. Blindspot does an about face on her position when it comes to Avery's adoption. For weeks, we've seen Jane grapple with the guilt that she let Shepherd take Avery away and didn't fight harder for her. However, when she hears Avery believed Jane didn't love her, this is the reaction: "I didn't give her up. Shepherd stole her from me and sent her away. I fought for her."

Umm... when? I'm not saying Jane didn't love her daughter. Of course she does. Shepherd did take the baby, but Jane didn't look for her kid. She enlisted in the army. Then, she signed up to get her memory zipped and take down the American government with the same woman who stole her child. Even after Jane remembered Avery's existence, she decided not to look for her. She literally just changed her mind last week! How does Jane equate all of this to a life spent fighting for her daughter? I'm having plot line whiplash.

The scene where Kurt explains to Avery how Jane would walk to the ends of the earth to find her if she knew about her are very touching, even if it didn't turn out to be entirely factual. Kurt has absolutely no idea what happened in Jane's past or why Avery was given up, but he knows his wife. There's really only one person qualified to explain to Avery who Jane Doe is and how much she loves her daughter: Kurt.

Kurt's reassurance to Jane that Avery knew her mother loved her in the end was equally heartbreaking because she cannot believe anything he says. Not after all the lies. And that's really what this boils down to — the lying. This is the part of "Hot Burning Flames" that delivers because this is where the real breakdown between Kurt and Jane is: trust.
Jane: If it was a mistake, then why didn't you tell me sooner? 
Kurt: Because I was trying to protect you. 
Jane: You were trying to protect yourself. 
Kurt: Why hear about a daughter that you didn't even know that you had? Only to find out that she was dead. And your own husband killed her. 
Jane: Every chance you had to tell me, you lied. 
Kurt: What would it change? 
Jane: Us. It would change us.
Kurt's actions and reasoning, no matter how misguided, are understandable. However, his choices are still wrong. Especially when Jane did remember she had a daughter. And of course Roman was going to make sure she did remember, Kurt. Do the math!

Trust is the foundation of any relationship, but particularly a marriage. And when is broken, it is very difficult to repair. What's even more maddening is Kurt and Jane have lied time and again to one another. They both know the damage it can do and yet there is a continual refusal to learn that lesson. One of them always chooses to lie again. It's the same mistake over and over again. That's not interesting character development.

Weller automatically assumes that Jane will not forgive him and he will lose her. And yes, maybe that would have been true — but we'll never know. The lies compound everything and make it ten times worse. And it was already pretty bad to start with, Weller. Jane is distraught over Kurt killing her daughter but she is equally (if not more) angry about the lying. Even if Avery really was dead, it was obviously a mistake. Kurt didn't mean to shoot her, but he never gave Jane an opportunity to come to that conclusion without further injuring her with all the deceit. This shows a lack of faith in Jane's love for him and her ability to forgive. Kurt essentially damned himself with these lies. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Jane leaves Kurt. She takes off the ring, puts it on the counter and grabs a bag. Oh, Blindspot. You were doing so well thumbing your nose at the Moonlighting Curse, but now you've reverted to the old standby. It would be so much more interesting if Jane stayed. It would be so much more interesting watching Kurt and Jane remain married without any idea how to do that. It would be so much more interesting watching them fight in this box you put them in. It would be so much more interesting to use the last three years of relationship development and put them to a real test. One that neither of them run away from. LIKE A REAL MARRIAGE.

Instead, Blindspot falls back on "break up" to create drama. It's just so very tired. Kurt infantilizes Jane with his need to "protect" and Jane cuts and runs at the first sign of trouble. We've seen all this before. 


We don't even make it 6-8 episodes before we find out Avery is alive. The reveal is the episode conclusion. It all feels like a big waste of time. If Kurt or Jane used any of their investigative skills, basic common sense, or maintained any of their character development from the last three years we could avoid this entire break up. However, that would expose the plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon and Blindspot wants to play this ridiculousness out. Admittedly, I had a few margaritas before I watched the episode but there isn't enough booze in the world to get me to buy this nonsense.


Stray Thoughts:

  • Sure, Jane. Get shot. That'll show Kurt! 
  • There's nothing cooler than Patterson explaining math. Intelligent woman are entertaiment gold!
  • Team Blindspot suddenly figuring out Hank Crawford's connection to all the tattoos currently solved is another plot contrivance in an episode full of them.
  • Am I supposed to be pro-Crawford and anti-Roman? Because I'm totally pro-Roman right now.
  • I would like a show entirely of Luke Mitchell being secret agent-y and beating people up. Do me right, 2018. Make it happen.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Scorpion 4x12 Review: "A Christmas Car-Roll" (I’m Not Married to Big Bird) [Guest Contributor: Yasmine]


"A Christmas Car-Roll"
Original Airdate: December 18, 2017

It’s Scorpion’s version of A Christmas Carol and, of course, who other than Walter O’Brien can be Scrooge in this situation? The episode is in its entirety a huge lesson and an opportunity of major growth for a Walter. This season has been an important one for Walter, who — through his new relationship with Paige — is having to learn so much, and this episode comes to give him a more advanced lesson than he’s ever had.

Without taking into consideration the others’ Christmas Eve plans, Walter agrees to a job on the day. He’s dismissive and rude to the team’s feelings and concerns, even Paige and Ralph’s, and when they all refuse to work, he lets them know that he can do it on his own anyway, and that he does not need them.

With the team leaving him alone at the garage, Walter prepares for the job. As he steps down the stairs, he trips and falls, hitting his head badly. With no one left at the garage, Walter lies unconscious and bleeding for a while before his next-door-nemesis-turned-somewhat-friendly neighbor stops by with her Christmas gift. She immediately calls the team, and one by one they come back to the garage. Fortunately for Walter, the first to arrive is Toby with his medical expertise, and he immediately gets to working on saving Walter while they wait for the ambulance. The team then all manage to return one by one, as Walter’s condition goes from bad to worse and they do their best to keep him alive.

But the episode’s story is actually in Walter’s head, as he’s stuck while he lies unconscious in the garage. Walter “wakes up” in an alternate universe where nothing is familiar, but also everything is extremely familiar. In this world, Walter never founded Scorpion and the team is not together. Not only that, none of them know each other and they all live their own seemingly happy and successful lives, without Walter being a part of it. Walter is a university professor and he is married to Flo! Yes, the chemist from next door who he can barely stand!

Stepping out of the garage, Walter starts to realize that this world that does not have Scorpion has suffered some major tragedies — tragedies that in the real-world, the team had managed to stop. And just around the corner, Walter finds another tragedy ready to happen: a horrific car crash that has a person stuck inside a car, just a short time away from being crushed by a truck. The person inside the car? It’s Walter.

With Ray suddenly showing up to help, Walter realizes that the only people who can save this man — who can save him — are the members of Scorpion, and it is up to him to find them and convince them to work together and help him. But the problem is, they are all happy and successful in this world in Walter’s head, the world where he is not a part of their lives. Or so they think. It is up to Walter to reach deep into his “training” to figure out how to talk to each of them, how to reach them on a personal level and convince them to help. What doesn’t help is the fact that Ray is invisible to everyone else, which makes Walter look like a crazy person, and the fact that the parameters of the accident keep on changing, throwing new challenges into their path as they try to figure out how to rescue the Walter stuck inside the car.

One of the running jokes in this episode is that Sly’s real-world intern, Patty, is literally everywhere. The first time we meet her, she’s a police Sergeant to Cabe’s Chief of Police. Upon first meeting Walter, who’s talking nonsense and disturbing the peace, Cabe is not a huge fan of him, willing to have his sergeant stun him. But this is Walter’s first test, and he has to convince a Cabe, who has little faith in his skill sets and talents, that there can be no other man, or better man, to help his rescue the man in the car accident.

After Cabe, Walter needs Happy, who in this world has her own podcast on cars and mechanics and it’s quite popular. And of course, her assistant is Patty. Once again, Walter is faced by a version of his friend who is successful and has no intention of helping him. His crazy ramblings and talk of a parallel world are not helping either. Walter needs to get personal with Happy. He shows her that he truly knows her, proves to her that they’re friends and shows her that he knows that what she truly wants in life is a real human connection and that she hates being alone. He reminds her that all she wants is a family, and promises her that he can introduce her to the man who is the love of her life, Toby.

Next, while Toby and Happy in the real world are drilling through his skull, Walter needs to find Sylvester in the imaginary world and get him on board as well. In this world, Sylvester is an extremely successful video game designer and kind of a douchebag as well. After having disregarded his work on the video game as childish, Walter really has to dig deep and apologize to this Sly in order to get him to join them. Walter praises Sylvester’s view on life and his refusal to let go of the wonderment of childhood as his true brilliance. Walter also offers Sylvester a fix to the glitch in his game and that gets Sly on board. And yes, his receptionist in this world is also Patty.

As Walter’s condition, both the one unconscious in the garage and the one stuck in the car accident gets worse, it’s time to call on Toby, who in this world is a successful motivational speaker who seems to have the answer to the question of finding true happiness. After getting chastised by his assistant, Patty, for interrupting Toby’s rehearsal, Walter gets a chance to talk to Toby, but what truly happens is that Toby and Happy meet for the first time. And the spark they share in the real world is just as strong in this one. Their connection is immediate and with a little push from Walter, the two, in their own Quintis way, agree to a date and Toby agrees to help.

Back at the site of the accident, Walter, Cabe, Toby, Happy and Sylvester are trying to rescue the Walter in the car, but things are not going well at all. Yes, these geniuses have the skill set to fix the situation, but their egos get in the way. They are unable to work together or to communicate, and of course, this requires the unparalleled skill set of one person: Paige Dineen.

The team shows up at the diner where they assume she works as a waitress, but instead Paige actually owns the diner. After a slight altercation with one of her waitresses, Patty, Walter finally gets a chance to talk to her. Once again, Walter sounds like a crazy person for a moment before he figures out just how to get to her. And of course, it’s through Ralph. Instead of being the highly functioning young genius he is in the real world, thanks to being a part of team Scorpion, Ralph is who we met all the way back in the Pilot. He’s sitting at the counter “making a mess.” Walter talks to Paige about Ralph, the most important thing in the world to her, and how every night she prays that he finds someone like him, who can help him and make him feel like he belongs. Like in the Pilot, Walter plays chess with Ralph and proves to Paige he knows what he is talking about, and that convinces Paige to join. (One fun detail was that the IT guy fixing the router at the diner this time around is Richard Elia.)

Back at the site of the accident, Paige takes charge, whipping the geniuses into shape so that they can rescue the Walter in the car.

When Walter finally wakes up in the hospital, he is surrounded by his team, his family — including Ray. Walter tells the team about his dream and how in that world they all had what seem like awesome lives that Walter was not a part of. He admits that even though he had said he didn’t need them, the truth is that they would do better without him. Toby, of course, is the voice of reason and helps Walter realize that they all need each other, that they all are all better together and think so highly of each other.

The episode is a lesson for Walter in humility and importance of other people. He is not alone and he could never accomplish any of this alone. But also, they are all better together, no mater what perfect world they thought they had, being a family is their greatest strength and source of biggest happiness and peace and belonging. They all make each other better and they all need each other. None of them can be the people they are today without each other. No one owes anyone anything and they all owe each other everything.

If that had been all, it would have been the perfect Christmas episode, but that’s not all. There is a small detail I’ve been avoiding and it’s time to bring it up, I suppose: the detail of Flo. In Walter’s dream, Flo was his wife. She was the one in the real world who called 911 and the reason he didn’t die. And in the end, when she shows up at the hospital to check in on him, Walter and Flo share a look. I don’t know where this is going, but it certainly looks like they’re trying to set up a possible love triangle here between Walter, Florence, and Paige. I really hope they don’t. The Waige storyline does not need a triangle to make it harder or to test it. They’ve already been through a lot and the nature of their relationship as it is is already challenging enough.

Like I said, I don’t know where this is going, but I really hope they don’t fall into the triangle trap.