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

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

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

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

In Appreciation of the Everyday Heroine

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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


"Irreconcilable Differences"
Original Airdate: December 7, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

THE START


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

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

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

CAITLIN


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

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

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

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

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

BARRY


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

SURPRISE!


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

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

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

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

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

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


RUMPLE'S REVEAL


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

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

WHAT'S COMING NEXT


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

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

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

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


“Reign”
Original Airdate: December 4, 2017 

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


NOT IN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


“99” 
Original Airdate: December 5, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bullets on the Bulletin Board:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 8, 2017

Series: Superhero of the Week -- Week 3 [Contributor: Jen]


The giant Arrowverse crossover, "Crisis on Earth-X," brought nearly all of the superheroes from across the universe into a four-night extravaganza. Everyone teams up to stop Earth-X Nazis when they crash Barry and Iris’ wedding and nearly every character has more than one stand-out moment. However, there is only one who truly shone more than all the rest...

SUPERHERO OF THE WEEK: Martin Stein (Legends of Tomorrow)




It is Stein who makes the ultimate hero’s sacrifice: he gives up his life to save another. He is shot when he charges into gunfire to turn on a console crucial to getting all the heroes home. His injuries are so severe that the only way to keep him alive and get him home is for Jackson to merge with him as Firestorm. Once aboard the Waverider, Jackson’s body is affected by Stein’s injury and he begins to die as well.

Professor Stein tells Jefferson that it’s time to let him go. It is the most moving scene in the entire crossover and one of the most devastating deaths in the DCTV universe. Professor Stein touched many of the heroes' lives, particularly those on The Flash, but he was universally liked and respected. No one felt his death more than the Legends and no one was more devastated than Jefferson Jackson.

Professor Stein uses his last moments to impart some final wisdom on Jefferson and us all. Stein does not want to die. He very much wants to retire from the hero business and live out the rest of his days with his wife, daughter, and new grandson. He was, in fact, on the impetus of this retirement and the battle with the Nazis was his final mission. However, Stein also recognizes he has lived a long, full, and happy life. In the years they were Firestorm together, Jackson and Professor Stein formed a father and son bond. Stein simply wants to ensure that his son has the same chance for the long life he has enjoyed. It is a wondrous act of heroism, and a simple act of fatherhood. No real father would do any less for their child.

Stein tells Jackson to live for today because life is gone in a blink. He wishes him love and joy. Stein also thanks Jackson “for the adventure of a lifetime.” He goes peacefully, with Jackson holding his hand.

Professor’s Stein’s final words are also the impetus for the impromptu wedding of both Barry and Iris, and Oliver and Felicity. These two couples take to heart that they’ve just come from the funeral of a fallen friend who lived his life for the fullest and decide not to waste another moment of their own. They are inspired to live their lives full of love, joy and adventure. Together.

And that’s the very essence of a superhero. They inspire us all to live our best life.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dystopia Now: The Death of Diversity and Freedom Under the New FCC [Contributor: Melanie]

Image result for net neutrality gif

“This is for everyone.” — Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Internet

You sit down at the computer your parents bought you on refurb for Christmas (because they like helping our their impressive college graduate who finally got their own apartment at the age of 28). You open your browser and watch that little spinning wheel turn and turn. You’re connected to WiFi, and the signal’s fine. But you’re drumming your fingers on the counter. You’re staring at the wall, waiting. You’re a newly minted grad student with a job just slightly above minimum wage — because that’s the going rate for over 20 years of education — and you couldn’t afford the premium broadband package from your providers.

When you finally do get the Internet working, you go straight to your email and then log off. You haven’t been able to get on Netflix in months because the streaming fee to the providers is just too steep for your budget. In addition to being way behind in your binge-watching of Mindhunter, you also couldn’t watch that amazing documentary on poverty that all the people who can afford streaming services are talking about. You had that idea for a start-up you floated in college. But there’s no way you can afford the bandwidth fee the providers require for average access to a website. Your telemetry monitoring app will just never see the light of day and that promise you made to your grandma after her heart attack was just an irresponsible pipe dream you couldn’t afford. You really should be grateful for that retail job and weekend job as a bike courier. You’ll get over not having the Internet and get over not being able to take more online classes to finally get your teaching certificate.

This is not the distant year of 2049 where the ozone is gone and resources are depleted. This is 2018. And you are every single person living in the United States.

If this sounds dystopian, that’s because it is. This is the very real future waiting for us on the other side of that New Year’s ball drop unless we make a lot of noise. The current FCC chair, Ajit Pai (a former lawyer for Verizon), has taken unprecedented actions toward the repeal of net neutrality. While a reclassification of broadband providers from Title II common carriers to Title I information services was expected, what Mr. Pai proposes is a carte blanche for ISP (Internet service providers) across the Internet where they can essentially do whatever they want (block content, charge for any services, require websites to pay fees to even be seen by users) as long as they disclose this in their contracts and to the FCC.

Image result for net neutrality gif

Why does this matter to you, reader? Well let’s say your favorite blog suddenly goes dark because they can’t afford to the fees required to ALL the providers their users might possible utilize in order to be seen. Are you a freelancer? There goes the ability to get your Internet-based portfolio seen because your website suddenly won’t load for potential clients unless you shell out more money. Let’s say you are a single parent, trying to get a degree online so you can actually afford to feed your kids. Suddenly, that ability could be gone. There are a million other real-life scenarios that show just how detrimental this will be. But, you know, it’s gonna make some guy in a big office really rich and keep you really poor so you can never do something about it.

There are a lot of scenarios I could go into regarding net neutrality. But this is an entertainment journalism website, so let’s talk about how this affects that. It seems frivolous, right? Talking about how this hurts our ability to watch TV and movies online. And, yes, it is very much a “first world problem” but it’s also a very, very real one. We’re in the golden age of digital content. Anyone can film something, put it on YouTube for free, and watch it flourish. The result is a boom in entertainment media — unchecked and unhindered by rules and regulations and censorship. The 2012 webseries The Lizzie Bennet Diaries changed the way content creators could use YouTube and users could interact with it, earning the first Emmy ever for a web-based show. The quick, 4-minute segments utilizing just a single camera and Jane Austen source material was completely innovative and spawned an entire network and more of web-based shows on the YouTube platform.

One such show that owes its vitality to Lizzie Bennet is the rabidly popular 2015 webseries Carmilla, a modern updating of the 19th century novella of the same name. Now this one’s important because this is a show that would never see funding on network TV and, if it did, would likely tank into a non-renewal due to ratings. That’s not because it’s bad. In fact, it won a Canadian Screen Award, has 70 million views on YouTube, and its team produced a feature-length film after the series’ conclusion. But soccer moms complaining about Starbucks holiday cups aren’t exactly the target audience for a YA television series about lesbians and non-binary people. This was born to become digital content and had a niche in YouTube’s open channels. Carmilla essentially a ready audience waiting on the Internet — where society had forced virtually all members of the LGBTQ community to go in order to express themselves.

So what could the future of Carmilla look like in a non-net neutrality world? Maybe Verizon doesn’t like the series. Maybe there’s one or several complainers who decide they want to block access to Carmilla’s website for U.S. Internet users. Well they can’t stop the show’s YouTube stream, since Goolge owns that. But maybe they decide that the idea of streaming webseries on unrestricted websites needs to be discouraged. So they hike prices in order to discourage fans from viewing it and discourage creators from producing it, or series like it. Suddenly the Internet has been censored.

Another show with an even deeper entrenchment into LGBTQ culture is Sense8, a Netflix-owned action, sci-fi drama with a cult following from the same siblings that brought you The Matrix. This show has it all: the Gays™, queer people of color, transgender characters, polyamorous relationships, etc. You know, the stuff that our current VP absolutely loves.

So maybe in this brave new world, it is decided that this needs to shut down too. Maybe Netflix suddenly has to pay an arm and a leg to get accessed by users. That show already faced some difficulty in even getting a second season, only to be canceled before a third... until the outcry of fans earned a wrap-up of the story. That hard-earned victory for those individuals who see themselves in the characters on Sense8 will vanish too.

Over on Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale — the incredibly popular and well-received adaptation of the dystopian novel of the same name — gets some red tape because it too goes through a streaming service. And we can’t have a show about a totalitarian society under the yoke of the elite when that’s exactly what is being done, right? The Handmaid’s Tale has been an inflammatory piece of media, inspiring protesters to utilize its world and message as a way to put a concrete face on a looming and dark world. Perhaps providers don’t like the show’s iconic imagery and ability to exactly pinpoint the problems of society and how they escalate. So maybe they throttle service there too until users just stop trying to access it and creators just stop trying to get heard.

Okay, that’s an extreme example, but a valid one. Net neutrality could turn into the new book burning if people are not careful (and they won’t be). Information has changed and the ideas surrounding it have not. Just because it’s not bound in a book, doesn’t mean it’s not a piece of education. There’s a fundamental flaw in the way providers and the FCC define the Internet. It’s not just a playground that we should pay the toll for — it’s a school, a counselor’s room, and a safe space for expression too. And it’s one of the few places where it can be all those things and completely free at the same time. The Internet is a place where information is stored and shared, available to all. We’re not just talking about long-distance poker games and Facebook; we’re talking about data repositories, the Google Book project, academic blogging, literary and film content relevant to our culture, expression and places of discourse for those without a community of their own. Under this repeal, it will all come under the control and the domain of Internet providers with money signs in their eyes.

The fact of the matter is, Carmilla was offered freely. The teenager looking for validation in the media has a free three seasons of show to consume. And when Shaftesbury crowdsourced their film based on the series, all it required was a $15 donation that went right toward the production budget and not anyone’s pocket. Sense8 goes through a network that operates on a small monthly fee of about $9-11 in exchange for unlimited access to its plethora of original and licensed content. Hulu sits at just $7.99 a month for a subscription. Add in the brave new world of no net neutrality protecting those websites? You get higher prices and content that won’t be as freely available. Maybe it stops completely.

And then there are the public libraries operating on a barely-there budget that can’t afford to get good bandwidth for their digital collections. There’s the start-up that can’t get off the ground and suddenly the entire concept of the American Dream is gone (a.k.a. exposed as the elitist lie it is, but whatever). There’s a parent who can’t get an education so they can get a better job so they can take care of their kids.

Even my ability — or the ability of any of the other contributors on this site — to share thoughts and analysis on entertainment media will suddenly be challenged. The ability of private bloggers to continue getting their work seen, the ability of free writing on the Internet might go away entirely if sites like Just About Write can’t continue to flourish because our editor is suddenly being asked to fork out a lot more money just to be accessible to our loyal and fairly substantial following that was built over years of hard work.

Now, will all of this despair come to pass? Probably not. But we all also said Donald Trump probably wouldn’t be elected president and yet, here we are. The odds this time are lot less sure. The FCC is Republican-controlled, and that is a party with a history of transphobic, homophobic, and one-percent favoring legislation. Now that they intend to hand over the keys to information freedom, what’s to stop them from shutting down websites dedicated to the exact opposite of their belief systems? It’s a scary world of Dystopia Now. All we know for sure is that, if passed, this will change the way we interact with information and the Internet forever.

So, what can you do? Well, for starters, call your senator. This isn’t a congressional decision, though the FCC will have to answer to Congress after their vote. And for those of you who don’t have to deal with the reclusive coward that is Pat Toomey, you have a shot of actually getting in contact with your legislators! Don’t know who they are? Use this site to input your address, find out your rep’s contact information, and get cracking. Want to get even louder? Join the nationwide protest December 7th, using this to find your nearest protest.

And honestly? Just talk about it. Ignore that one great-aunt this holiday season who is always yelling at you for bringing up politics. Talk about this. Whether or not you care about some diverse TV shows getting knocked off the face of the Internet or some indie review sites losing their ability to express themselves, or the your neighbor who might not be able to afford the Internet and all the education it provides, you at least have to care about your own ability to get online without discrimination.

So do something about this. We didn’t take Trump seriously; take this seriously.

“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could put your finger on.” — Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Scorpion 4x10 Review: " Crime Every Mountain" (So Much for Boring and Uneventful) [Guest Contributor: Yasmine]


"Crime Every Mountain"
Original Airdate: November 27, 2017

In this episode of Scorpion, hilariously titled “Crime Every Mountain,” no one is having a good day at the garage. Tensions are high and everyone is stressed out because of Cabe’s approaching court date. Everyone is trying to deal with it in their own way while they all try to help with the mock trial. However, Walter’s way of dealing with it is anything but helpful, or healthy for that matter. He’s regressing to his old self and his old ways by pushing people away — especially Cabe, being harsh and antagonistic towards him to prevent himself from the pain of possibly losing him. Walter’s attitude only gets worse throughout the day, causing everyone to feel attacked and uncomfortable around him, not just Cabe.

Eventually, Paige has enough of his attitude and talks to him, in the way that only Paige can talk to Walter. She reminds him that instead of pushing him away, he should be savoring the possible last moments with him. Finally, Walter admits he cannot process the thought of losing Cabe. Paige shares something from her past, when her mother left, and tells him that pain is the price of love and urges him not to push Cabe away because if the worst happens he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself.

Walter’s attitude is not the only reason the mock trial is not going well. Cabe wants to take the stand but Sylvester does not think it’s a good idea. Cabe is not performing well in the mock version — especially not when Walter confronts him and is extremely hostile in his questioning. But in general, Cabe is not handling being questioned or the case against him well at all. And things only get worse as the day progresses.

While Happy, Toby, Paige and Walter head out on a job — for once something that is not about Team Scorpion trying to save the world — Sly and Cabe stay back to work on the trial. But their prep is cut short when the Collins tracking software Sly and Walter had secretly been working on, the C.L.A.M, gives them a lead. The software is an elaborate one that is more or less illegal in some of what it does, but it helps them track any activity that can be related to Collins. The clue they get has Sylvester excited, as it might lead them directly to him when they find out a pawn shop has just bought very advanced radio equipment that only someone like Collins could have, and another clue leads them to believe Collins may be taking his grandmother to a retirement home that same day.

But after a wild goose chase around the city, they realize that Collins had been stringing them along. And worse of all is, by the end of the day, they realize that Collins had deposited a large amount of money in a bank account under Cabe’s name, making it look like the Homeland Security agent had taken a bribe to help Collins escape, making Cabe’s legal situation that much worse.

In the meantime, the others had arrived to test Happy’s new winch, hoping to sell it to Search and Rescue in New Mexico, but their client never shows. Instead, a small plane crashes nearby, and the four find themselves trying to save its passengers — a father and daughter.

While the father makes it out of the crash unscathed, the daughter suffers a broken leg. Happy and Toby stay with the daughter, Jessie, to fix her leg while Walter and Paige go with the father to help him find his son, who he says had jumped out of the plane with a parachute just before they crashed. However, it does not take long for them to realize that it is all a scam. The “son” is actually three bags of cash that the father and daughter crime team need to pay to a drug cartel. Unable to carry the bags alone, the father enlists Paige and Walter — at gunpoint — to assist him while Jessie also holds Toby and Happy hostage in the plane. For once there is no actual case for the team to solve beyond trying to survive and outsmart these two criminals, which offers a nice change of pace for the show. It is fun to watch how each couple uses all their skills and their superior intellect to outsmart their captors.

And while they are way smarter than them, this doesn’t mean that they don’t manage to find themselves in uncomfortable situations. Paige and Walter manage to escape by throwing themselves off a cliff, but that only leads them to be caught in a cave in. Luckily for them, Happy and Toby have also managed to outwit Jessie and, using the walkie talkie that fell with them off the cliff, they make contact. While Toby goes off to rescue their holed-up friends, Happy stays back to set up the next step of the plan.

I have to admit, that next step was surprisingly dark for a show like Scorpion. When Jessie gets locked in the car and it starts to roll off with no brakes toward the edge of the cliff, I was really shocked. A part of me knew that nothing would happen to her — that the show wouldn’t have these four killing a teenager — I still felt a little uneasy that the risk was even taken by them.

Finally back at the garage, Happy voices the concern that had been bothering her all day.  As if the pressures and anxieties of trying to get pregnant are not enough, Happy and Toby had been made more so by a comment from Walter about their pasts, both having dabbled in some illegal things. Happy is worried that their child will end up being a criminal because that would be ingrained in their DNA, and during their ordeal while held hostage, Happy had gotten to talk to Jessie about how she’d so easily joined her father in the criminal life.

Happy opens up to Toby about her fears, and what he tells her to ease her concerns is probably one of the most beautiful things ever said on this show and the most perfect testimony to this family and how close they all are and how strong they are together – and I hope it is foreshadowing what will happen in Cabe’s storyline. Toby tells her, “Sweetheart, it's nature vs. nurture. Jessie was nurtured by a sociopath. Our children will be nurtured by you and me... We're gonna be great. I mean, all parents do suck, sometimes. But when we do, we got Super-Mom Paige to watch out for us. And Walter's already reading up on early-stage neurological development. Sly's gonna give that kid a daily sanitizer dip. And Cabe will put his foot up our ass if we so much as miss a violin recital. If anything, we got to worry about them screwing up our kid. We're gonna be fine.”

Once again, the doc knocks it out of the park with his husbanding skills. Who thought when we first met him that Toby was going to end up being such an understanding and attentive husband? I am not going to lie, the way the writers are writing this marriage and this relationship can serve as a lesson to any writers.

Finally, as the events of the day — especially what Collins had put them through — take their toll on him, Cabe breaks down in the most emotional, most vulnerable and the most raw moment we have ever seen. He finally opens up, expressing everything he has been holding in — his anger and frustration — and it so painful to watch him like this. And yet what Sly sees is something positive. He tells Cabe that this is what he has to bring to court. That this kind of brutal honesty is what the judge needs to see.

All this is leading up to a huge emotional showdown with Collins, and while I have faith in this family and their ability to support each other, I must confess that I am very worried about Cabe.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 5x08 Recap: “Return to Skyfire” (The Case of the Missing Manuscripts) [Contributor: Alisa Williams]


“Return to Skyfire”
Original Airdate: November 28, 2017

On this week’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Terry’s favorite author, DC Parlov, is back and in need of the team’s help. You may remember Parlov and his 12-book series Skyfire Cycle — which changed Terry’s life forever — from last season. If not, you can read all about it in my recap of that episode.

This time, Parlov is in town for LegendCon and his latest manuscript has been stolen. Even though he turned out to be a big jerk last year, Terry admits they’ve kept in touch over the months and Parlov is actually quite nice. Jake is also now a huge fan, having read all 12 books while he was in prison and declaring them the greatest books ever written.

They convince an extremely skeptical Rosa to come with them to LegendCon to track down leads. Their first stop is the “Diversity in Fantasy Writing” panel Parlov is on... along with four other white guys. While they stand in the back waiting, Terry admits to Jake and Rosa that he’s been writing a novel. Jake encourages Terry to show it to Parlov and get his feedback, but Terry’s afraid it isn’t any good and doesn’t want to be embarrassed. Of course, as soon as Parlov approaches, Jake tells him about Terry’s book. Parlov says he’d love to read it, but first he has to show them why he called them in.

Parlov’s laptop, which contained the manuscript for the 13th book in the Skyfire series, was stolen and the thief left a ransom note demanding $500,000. If the ransom’s not paid, the book will be leaked online. To show they’re serious, the first five chapters have already been posted. Parlov tells them that those chapters have been downloaded 85,000 times.

Naturally, Jake’s first instinct is to go online and read the chapters to search for “clues,” but Rosa steers him back on course. Parlov tells them he knows who stole the book — it was Landon Lawson, a fellow panelist who has a book coming out the same time Parlov does. (Terry informs the team that Lawson’s Shadowbringer saga is garbage.) Parlov and Lawson have a bet on whose book will sell better, and if Skyfire is leaked online, his sales are sure to drop. Even worse, it will be the end of the Skyfire series, Parlov tells them. That lights a fire for Jake and Terry who immediately speed off to interrogate Lawson.

But things won’t be simple. When they arrive at Lawson’s hotel room he informs them that his manuscript has been stolen and he knows who the culprit is: DC Parlov. It turns out both Parlov and Lawson received identical ransom notes. This seems to indicate neither of them is the culprit, but they can’t think of any enemies they have besides each other.

Back at the precinct, Holt, Amy, and Boyle are super excited about a forensic sciences course being hosted by the precinct. It’s being taught by Dr. Ronald Yee (played by the hilarious Reggie Lee from Grimm), who revolutionized the field of forensic entomology. Boyle tells Holt and Amy that he’d like to sign up but they’re hesitant. Apparently, Boyle has a tendency of derailing presentations with personal stories and this particular presentation is extremely important. If the precinct does well with Yee’s course, they will receive board certification, making them eligible to receive a grant to open a field lab, so a lot is riding on this. Boyle promises he’ll behave and Holt and Amy agree he can sign up. Unfortunately, as soon as Yee arrives, the Boyle derailing begins.

The next day, they’re learning about plaster casting. Yee informs them that one person from each group will have a plaster model made of his or her head. They immediately vote for Boyle to be that person since he won’t be able to speak while the plaster is on and they’ll have a few minutes of peace.

In their eagerness to silence Boyle, they overlook one crucial step in creating the plaster cast. They were supposed to lubricate his face with Vaseline first so that the cast can be easily removed. When it comes time to remove it they realize their mistake and ask Yee (hypothetically, of course) what would happen if a person’s face wasn’t properly lubricated. Yee tells them that the plaster becomes impossible to remove without tearing the person’s skin right off, and they would have to instead wait five days for the plaster to slough off naturally. He then relays a story about the time a lab tech did that and was fired for his incompetence. Holt and Amy panic. They lead a plaster-headed Boyle into a supply closet where they inform him Hitchcock and Scully will babysit him and he’ll be out of view until the class is over, since if Yee sees him they’ll lose their chance at certification.

Boyle seems pretty upset about it but honestly it’s hard to tell because his only means of communication are the two straws up his nostrils allowing him to breathe and the incoherent mumbling he’s able to produce. Amy’s worried, but Holt draws a smiley face on the plaster to ease her mind, and they had back to class.

Meanwhile, Terry and Jake have stayed up all night working the case and are eager to fill Rosa in on what they’ve uncovered. It turns out Parlov and Lawson do share a common enemy: a fellow writer named Miles Moorgil. It seems they both slept with his wife, so he has some valid reasons for wanting revenge. They decide to head back out and talk to Moorgil, but before they do Jake quietly confides in Rosa that he read Terry’s book last night and it was awful. Now he’s worried Parlov will tear it apart and crush Terry’s hopes and dreams. Terry’s been riding high since Parlov agreed to read it and is already convinced a publisher will call any minute. Jake’s not sure what to do.

While Jake wrestles with that decision, he and Terry confront Moorgil. It turns out that Moorgil had no idea his wife had slept with either Parlov or Lawson until Jake mentioned it. A big fight ensues, complete with the Moorgils’ young son asking Jake and Terry repeatedly if his parents are getting divorced. Jake things the child looks suspiciously like Parlov and they extricate themselves from the room as quickly as possible.

As they leave, Jake makes an off-handed reference to something from Terry’s book and Terry realizes Jake read it and hadn’t said anything. Terry deduces that Jake hated it and Jake can’t manage to lie convincingly. Terry’s upset but they have to go meet Rosa. With no other leads, Lawson and Parlov have decided to pay the ransoms. They’re supposed to leave the money behind a potted plant in the lobby.

Terry tells Parlov and Lawson that if they see anyone take the bag of cash, they’ll swoop in and intercept him/her. Jake and Terry will be disguised as characters from Skyfire, naturally. Rosa says that won’t work for her because she doesn’t own a nerd costume. Terry tells her that’s no problem because she naturally dresses like the female bounty hunter in every steampunk novel ever written. Sure enough, in the lobby they encounter several Rosa lookalikes, much to her disgust.

Over at the precinct, Dr. Yee has become suspicious about Boyle’s absence. Holt and Amy manage to convince him that after they successfully removed Boyle’s plaster face cast, he then had to leave to go save some kidnapped children. Yee buys it, but just then Scully and Hitchcock come in and pull Holt and Amy away. It turns out that while they were both in the bathroom, Boyle wandered off and they have no idea where he is.

They look everywhere but can’t find him. Just then, they hear a huge crash and run out of the breakroom to find a very confused and scared Boyle at the bottom of the stairs. His plaster cast has cracked slightly so now he can at least speak to them, but the rest of his face and head is still covered. He tells them he was trying to help by going to the showers in the hopes of steaming the mask off, but he got turned around and ended up falling down the stairs. Holt and Amy feel terrible for the way they treated him and tell him the certification isn’t as important as he is.

They lead Boyle back to the presentation and come clean to Yee about the fact they failed to listen to his instructions about applying lubricant. Holt says he hopes his honesty will mean that certification is still on the table but Yee says no, they have definitely failed. Holt understands and with nothing left to lose, allows Boyle to derail the rest of the presentation with a personal story involving a Boyle cousin who has a genetic disorder called “bird mouth.”

Back at LegendCon, things are not going very well. Terry, Rosa, and Jake observe someone dressed as the Skyfire character Ka’lar — who Jake also happens to be dressed as — grab the ransom, but when they round the corner to intercept him/her, there are dozens of Ka’lars. It turns out a Ka’lar costume contest just ended, which is why the person waited until now to steal the bag. Terry thinks he spots him and Jake tells him to take him down, but then Terry tackles Jake, and it’s obvious he had eyes on the wrong Ka’lar after all.

Lawson is super angry at them for losing him $500,000 and storms off in a huff. Parlov is less concerned, saying his insurance will cover it and he’ll get it all back. More importantly, while he was waiting he had the chance to read Terry’s manuscript. Parlov says he absolutely loved it and sent it along to his publishers. Terry is so excited he runs off to call his wife. After Terry and Parlov leave, Jake tells Rosa that Parlov’s lying and he thinks it’s because Parlov and Lawson conspired to steal their own manuscripts and are now just trying to butter Terry up so he doesn’t realize it was them.

Jake thinks they leaked their first few chapters to generate excitement over the books, then staged the ransom to raise the hype even more. Parlov has been sending Terry presents and winning him over for a year now, and knew he’d be easy to manipulate. When Jake and Rosa go to break it to Terry, he’s already figured it out. Not only that, but he already got a warrant for Parlov’s browser history, found the evidence, arrested Parlov and Lawson, and even got a confession.

Jake then tells Terry not to give up on his dream of being a writer. Just because his first novel was awful and everyone hated it doesn’t mean that he can’t get better if he works at it. And now that Jake and Terry have made up, they head off to the evidence room to read the 13th Skyfire novel on Parlov’s confiscated laptop.

Bullets on the Bulletin Board:

  • “I know you think it’s dumb but Skyfire is actually very smart and dark and adult. It’s not for nerds at all. Oh! On our way there, should we sing the Elvish hunting song?”
  • “What is it that you do in your free time that is soooo cool?” “Fix up old cars and sell them to celebrities. That’s why I’m friends with Tom Hardy.” “Right, so, we agree that we’re all equally cool.”
  • “I’m not sure Barbra Streisand counts as a rock star, sir.” “She sings in English. That’s rock music.”
  • “Send it over to me and I’m going to stay up all night reading it.” “It’s only 150 pages.” “I’m going to stay up all the next three nights reading it.”
  • “What? Terry, no! I didn’t hate it. I liked tons of parts.” “Name one. Name one part you liked, Jake.” “The map?” “I didn’t draw that! It was a map of the Chesapeake Bay with the name slightly changed.” “Sarge, I’m sorry! I didn’t just like the map. I also liked... the spaces between the words!”
  • “Why would you leave that windowless supply closet we locked you in? ... Ah, yes. Hearing it, I understand why.”
  • “I started reading it because the character looks like me. I kept reading it because it’s SO GOOD.” “Rosa! You did get hooked, you big nerd!” “This heroine is my heroin.”

DCTV Crossover Roundtable: "Crisis on Earth-X, Parts 1-4" (How Many People Are in This Again?) [Contributors: Deb and Marilyn]


“Crisis on Earth-X, Parts 1-4”
Original Airdates: November 27 and 28, 2017

Since this crossover was such a massive event — practically a four-hour movie, when you think about it — we've broken the review down by show, rather than trying to shove all of this “crisis” into one linear recap. Based on the shows, we're quickly describing how characters might be affected in the future and their biggest contributions to the plot.

SUPERGIRL


Alex and Kara are in a mutual love life funk, so they make a sudden decision to skip over to another Earth, forget about life for a while, and attend Barry and Iris’s wedding. They chit-chat with their pals, dine on fancy rehearsal dinner food, listen to some lovely speeches, and at the end of the evening, Alex gets drunk and has a one-night stand with Sara from Legends of Tomorrow. Oops!

Alex sort of freaks out about it, but I think Sara is probably the best one-night stand option for her. She’s cool, all about the no-strings-attached, and lives on a different Earth. Perfect rebound, Alex.

During Barry and Iris’s wedding, Kara is the one singing Iris down the aisle, which is a pretty charming reference to the musical episode from last season. Unfortunately, once Kara’s song is finished, Nazis attack the ceremony. Yes. Nazis. That’s a thing that is happening. Since the church is full of superheroes, everyone does an admirable job fighting them off, but two definite leaders — a masked archer and a flying blonde woman — get away.

These two are, of course, doppelgängers of Oliver and Kara, who are a married couple and leaders in Earth-X’s Nazi government. (We’ll call them Oliver-X and Overgirl, for future reference.)

The whole reason why they attacked Earth-X is because they knew, through Earth-1’s Eobard Thawne (who joined Earth-X’s team because he’s evil and I guess he likes being in evil clubs), that it was the Westallen wedding and Supergirl was going to be there. They needed Supergirl because the Earth-X version — Overgirl — has radiation poisoning and needs a heart transplant. Supergirl hearts? Rather difficult to come by, I imagine. But by the end of the crossover, Overgirl explodes. Womp womp!

Kara and Alex learn to put their problems into a little perspective and that everything has a chance of turning out okay, as long as they have each other. It’s a pretty nice lesson for the both of them, but I think they managed to get out of “Crisis on Earth-X” without a whole lot of long-term change... compared to the other shows’ characters.

ARROW


The major players from Arrow in “Crisis on Earth-X” were Oliver and Felicity and their arc had a lot to do with the state of their relationship. From the scene at the nail shop with Iris and the other girls, to the tux fitting with Oliver and Barry, through the rehearsal dinner and even under the threat of evil doppelgängers from another Earth, the question was: What’s next for Oliver and Felicity’s relationship? Both Iris and Barry both nudge the two toward one another, with Barry outright telling Oliver to “put a ring on her.”

The problem is that Felicity has some residual issues leftover from their last engagement. She tells Oliver it’s because she was shot five minutes after he proposed. But later, she admits to Iris that her problem is really that she’s afraid to rock the boat with Oliver. Things are good for them right now — really good. The last time they were going to get married, that was the beginning of the end for them. She doesn’t want to lose him again.

Oliver agrees, rather reluctantly, to respect Felicity’s wishes not to get married. But then the two are separated: Oliver on Earth-X with a load of other heroes, having to deal with all the Nazi nonsense there. Felicity is in S.T.A.R. Labs with Iris when Earth-X’s “Oliver” comes with his soldiers and Thawne, attempting to kill Kara to save Overgirl’s life. Iris and Felicity fight the good fight (and call in the Legends) as long as they can, and Oliver does the same over on Earth-X. One of the most poignant moments of the crossover came when Oliver posed as Oliver-X to gain access to a gate that could return them to Earth-1, and encountered Earth-X’s Felicity. She was a prisoner of the concentration camp, pulled out for giving starving children food. Oliver could no more kill her than he could his own Felicity.

Oliver and Felicity reunite back on Earth-1, just happy to be together now — married or not. But when Felicity watches Barry and Iris pour their hearts out to one another with some seriously swoon-worthy vows during their impromptu wedding, she changes her mind and asks Dig to marry her and Oliver as well. He’s only too happy to oblige and we end with both couples getting hitched on the spot.

THE FLASH


The biggest long-term development for Team Flash is what set the whole crossover off in the first place: the marriage of Barry Allen and Iris West. Their nuptials are what brings everyone together, as all the hero teams do last-second RSVPs and then show up to a rehearsal dinner that definitely should not have been adequately prepared for the final number of guests. Seriously, all Barry and Iris’s super-friends are rude with those super-late RSVPs.

Unfortunately, the Westallen wedding is interrupted by the main plot and The Flash’s favorite couple spends most of the crossover separated. Iris pairs up with Felicity as the overlooked good guys left in Earth-1’s S.T.A.R Labs, making them the only ones capable of thwarting Oliver-X and Overgirl’s evil plans to steal Supergirl’s heart. Barry is transported to Earth-X along with Oliver, Alex, Sara, Professor Stein, and Jax, and they have to fight their way to the portal that can get them home. Once home, everyone has a role to play in the final battle against Oliver-X, Overgirl, and Eobard Thawne. Barry’s critical role is to return to his idiot ways, apparently, because he lets Eobard Thawne go rather than kill him. You couldn’t have speed-scrambled his legs a bit, Barry? Thrown him in jail? Literally anything else?

When all’s said and done, all the heroes go their separate ways and Barry and Iris get a last-minute wedding officiated by none other than John Diggle, who wasn’t invited to the original wedding for some reason that probably has to do with the season and a half of Arrow I haven’t watched. Barry and Iris are adorable and their vows are beautiful and it would have been nice if they got to get married in front of their friends and family, rather than just Oliver and Felicity, but comic book plots, man.

LEGENDS OF TOMORROW


Sara, Mick, Stein, and Jax all head to Barry and Iris’ wedding while the remaining Legends continue cavorting around in time and space. Sara has a one-night stand with Alex before the wedding and Mick, well, Mick is just there for the food. And the beer. The real emotional crux came from Jax and Stein, who are still working on how to separate Firestorm. They finally have an answer — thanks to some help from S.T.A.R. Labs — and Stein plans to take the formula that will finally separate them after the wedding. Jax is feeling less certain about the impending event: What will become of him when he’s no longer part of Firestorm? Can he even continue being a Legend?

There’s an emotional moment where Jax finally admits his concerns to Stein and the older man tries to reassure Jax and let him know that he is important. In fact, Stein thinks of him as a son. It’s truly touching, amidst all the horror of the Nazis.

The rest of the Legends show up when Felicity and Iris call them in. Ray appears at the perfect moment, saving Kara’s life from Eobard’s scalpel. The moment the rest of the Legends arrive is one of the most joyful of the crossover, in my opinion. It’s wonderful to see all my faves show up to help save the day.

The joy is undercut by grief when Stein is shot by Nazis on Earth-X. He uses the last of his strength to open the gate back to Earth-1 and Jax is able to merge with him, keeping him alive. But eventually, Jax starts to suffer from the effects of the shooting as well. The reality is that they will both die unless Firestorm separates.

Stein wants to take the formula and save Jax’s life which leads one of the saddest scenes I’ve ever seen in the Arrowverse. Stein tells Jax how he loves him as a son and will gladly sacrifice his life so that Jax can have a life filled with love, just like he has. After their tearful goodbye, Stein dies. The Legends are distraught, but determined to fight and repel the Nazis from Earth-1 in his honor. Stein would have been proud. After the battle, the team and the rest of the heroes pay their respects at an emotional funeral for Stein and it’s a reminder that things on board the Waverider are changed now, forever.

OUR THOUGHTS


DEB

THE GOOD: The reason why the DCTV episode reviews for this event have been condensed into one large review is also the best thing about this crossover, and that is the near-seamless integration of all the shows. Previous crossovers have attempted delineation between shows, either by having each episode mostly self-contained (see: the Invasion! plot, in which episodes had a clear beginning, middle, and end, even though they bled into each other) or going back to basics and simply having some characters hang out with some other characters for an hour or two. But as the Arrowverse has gotten bigger and the writers have gotten more adept at writing for the multiverse, they’ve managed to figure out a way to blend every show together in a genuine event that reflects the comic book specials on which these crossovers are based.

The characters always, always work well together and they’re a joy to watch interacting on screen, so that’s always a highlight. Barry offering up some smart relationship advice to Oliver (“People like us are always going to be getting into trouble. Having someone we love by our side just makes getting out of that trouble that much easier.”) or Felicity and Iris bravely stepping up to protect Supergirl, of all people, from threats — I think these little moments, rather than big fight scenes, make the crossovers worthwhile. Since the writers have been good about progressing these characters’ friendships, I assume it’s only going to get better as time goes on.

In addition to great character moments and perfect cross-show integration, there was also some snazzy graphics (the introductions of each show/team at the beginning of “Crisis on Earth-X” was probably one of my favorite things the Arrowverse has done) and, of course, cool action scenes.

THE BAD: Uh... Earth-X is run by Nazis. Which is an extremely problematic alternate universe for this show to explore, even considering comic books’ long history of World War II-era storylines. Opening an episode of a stupid comic book show with a swastika flag? Uncomfortable, to say the least, and that level of discomfort doesn’t exactly diminish as the crossover sends a chunk of our heroes to Earth-X itself, to be held captive in a concentration camp.

The imagery the show (and the comic it’s based on, we’re not letting them off the hook) exploits for shock value is nauseating and unnecessary. There was nothing stopping them from making this big crossover about some evil Earth-N, where the world/America is ruled by a totalitarian regime, without pulling Nazis into the mix and unearthing painful associations — especially since the “Nazi” factor of the crossover event is not utilized in any meaningful way. Like I said: it’s done for shock. I would say that it was also done as an easy way to differentiate good from evil, but they kind of fail at that by making the Nazi alternatives to Oliver and Kara married. Comic books usually treat stories like these as black and white, but genuine love adds a moral gray area that we really do not need when we’re dealing with a Nazi storyline.

So the biggest — maybe the only — fault of this crossover is its framing device. Otherwise, this would have been the best crossover in the history of the Arrowverse, hands down.

MARILYN

THE BAD: I agree with Deb — the worst thing about the crossover is the Nazis. I understand that it’s a comic book story. As satisfying as it is to see our heroes beating the crap out of Nazis, the way the subject is introduced and then shown to us throughout the crossover is crass, at best. They could have done nearly the same exact story but with a fictional evil regime. The same themes would be in place without real-world associations.

Nazis aside, I didn’t care for the Overgirl/Oliver-X romance, and not just because I’m a faithful Olicity shipper. It felt very disturbing and pointed — like they were trying to show a more “sensitive” side to actual Nazis. I think there were ways to get the lessons that the characters needed to learn across without that nonsense.

THE GOOD: The relationships! I loved seeing the most important relationships from each of the four shows highlighted and explored. There was real character development taking place and because of that, it felt like there were genuine stakes to the events in the crossover. This wasn’t just a one-off event, as the crossovers often are, but something that would have repercussions and effects felt throughout the rest of the seasons of each show.

I also liked how connected “Crisis on Earth-X” was. It truly felt like one bit movie, spread across two nights. It didn’t even really matter that I’m not very familiar with Supergirl or The Flash; I was able to understand and appreciate what was happening with those characters regardless. It all felt very cohesive and the cast truly did feel like one big family. I generally don’t care for the crossovers; but this time, I found myself really enjoying it as I watched. Shoot, if all crossovers could be like this one, I could maybe find myself looking forward to the next one!

What did you all think of “Crisis on Earth-X”? Sound off in the comments below!