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.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

iZombie 4x05 Review: “Goon Struck” (A Step in the Right Direction) [Guest Poster: Chloe]


“Goon Struck” 
Original Airdate: March 26, 2018

The first few episodes of iZombie season four primarily existed to establish the tone and direction that the season would be going in. These episodes were largely frustrating for me to watch because they established a lot in a very short amount of time without taking the time to delve into some of the more complex aspects of the narrative, or providing insight into how anything would be resolved.

However, I should just remind myself every once in a while to be more patient with the creators and writers of the show. These episodes ultimately proved necessary because they have set things up for a more focused middle third of the season. “Goon Struck” exemplifies what iZombie can be when all of its narrative components work well together. It is an episode that works because it is not trying to be overly ambitious with its plot. The episode does still have a lot of moving parts, but they are a lot better integrated so it no longer feels overwhelming to keep up with individual components.

The primary murder victim this week is an aggressive hockey player. Watching Rose McIver immerse herself in this particular role was a lot of fun to watch because she makes the transition between last week's “rom-com” brain to “hockey punk” look seamless. This particular brain gives Ravi, Clive, and Liv an opportunity to have a lot of fun with each other. It showcases why they work so well as a team, and watching them bond over bad hockey puns — and their hatred of haughty French detectives — is a beautiful thing to witness. The show works best when it balances humor with the more dark and sinister elements of the plot, and that balance is displayed so well in “Goon Struck.”

The case of the week is ultimately significant for more than just its humor. It is used as a means of connecting the Renegade/Mama Leoni storyline to everything we have seen so far this season. At the end of last week’s episode, it was unclear what Chase was planning on doing with Renegade — although killing her was the likely outcome. However before we reached that inevitable conclusion, Chase surprised me. He initially decides to put Renegade in “zombie jail” (also known as a deep freezer) in order to preserve her for future use.

While all of this is happening, Liv gets a vision of Blaine killing our hockey player. It then becomes apparent how this plot element fits in with the rest of the story. The murdered hockey player was working with Renegade in pursuit of doing the “right” thing, and got murdered for being in the way. The way that the show integrates these storylines is both logical and effective. Now our characters are more or less aware of each other’s motivations. Blaine is his usual evil self and is more interested in looking out for his own needs than anyone else’s. Major continues to make morally questionable decisions, all while masquerading himself as “just” and “good.” Chase is struggling to maintain order in the complex system he has created in New Seattle. And Liv continues to be most interested in being on the side of justice, which is why she makes a very big decision at the end of the episode.

By the end of the episode, Chase decides to publicly execute Renegade to serve as an example to the citizens of Seattle — her actions were not tolerated and will not be tolerated. So of course Liv decides to team up with our new character, Levon, (who we don’t know that much about yet but sure welcome to the show, Daniel Bonjour) and “pick up where Mama Leoni left off.” It may seem like a more subtle shift in tone than some of the other changes that have happened this season, but it will likely have a much bigger impact. The possible uprising that I theorized about a few weeks ago could be the result of Liv’s decision. Now that she is more aware of what is really happening in her city and the kind of leader Chase Graves has solidified himself as, she is going to be more determined to undermine the whole system. I am really excited to see how this unfolds, and I am just grateful that this season has indeed been building to something special. I hope that the next few episodes continue to develop the ideas that have been fleshed out in this episode and that we slowly build to the most emotionally satisfying finale to date.

The sub-plot with Major and Don E initially seems out of place with the rest of the episode, but ultimately ends up working well when we discover what they are really doing outside of Seattle. At first it appears as if they have kidnapped a woman for no reason, but when she turns out to be the daughter of an influential army general (the same general who wants to bomb Seattle and put everyone out of their misery), the choice makes sense. It then becomes clear that Chase wants to use the woman as a weak attempt at gaining leverage in order to insure that his plans for New Seattle stay intact. Apart from that, the plotline is generally unimportant. It does give us some funny Don E one-liners, but mostly the plotline is used to fully cement where Major’s allegiances are.

Major is Fillmore Graves to the core and is willing to do anything it takes to maintain the notion that he is on the “right” side of history. However as I have mentioned before, Major is a mess of contradictions. He preaches about the importance of creating harmony and safety within New Seattle, but looks the other way when immoral things happen. He can watch someone get publicly executed for turning zombies, but when he scratches someone in the same episode, it is treated differently because he is part of Fillmore Graves. The only time his morality ever gets checked is when he is around Liv. At the end of the episode when Liv gives him a disapproving look, his expression falters for a moment because he knows what he just participated in was wrong. The question now is what is he going to do about it? He has had numerous opportunities recently to make better choices and he still refuses to listen to reason. If Liv ultimately turns her back on Major, I question whether he will be able to morally course-correct on his own, or if he will even want to. It is apparent by the end of the episode, that despite their romantic history and their friendship, Liv and Major are officially on opposing sides as the plot moves forward. 

Elsewhere in the episode, Peyton actually gets something to do! (Sort of.) Even though it is part of the B-plot, it still manages to be well-integrated with the rest of the story. When bus patrons come to the mayor’s office with complaints about their zombie bus driver, Peyton take it upon herself to alleviate their concerns while also attempting to help the malnourished driver. He is one of hundreds of underfed zombies living in New Seattle — which again speaks to the food shortage and “image” problems facing Fillmore Graves and New Seattle in general. The main problem with this is that despite Peyton’s desire to maintain harmony between non-zombies and zombies, she has no actual control over what happens in New Seattle — including the food supply. So promising to take care of one starving bus driver backfires tremendously for her.

When the driver gives his new rations to his family, he is left still starving, passes out at the wheel, crashes and ends up eating the brains of two passengers before getting shot and killed. It is evident that while her job of helping people used to be meaningful, Peyton no longer has the capacity to make a difference for the citizens of New Seattle. She works for a zombie mayor, but when Fillmore Graves controls almost everything, does her job as a staff member mean anything? Ultimately this storyline with Peyton delivers a message about futility and hopelessness. If the mayor’s office cannot help meet the needs of Seattle’s citizens, and Fillmore Graves isn’t meeting needs either, then who is going to? (And no, joining Angus’s church/cult isn’t going to be the solution.)

This storyline again speaks to a much bigger problem for the city as a whole because it shows how little facets of everyday life are being impacted as the result of problems at the top. Fillmore Graves has restructured Seattle to be a military state, but it is becoming increasingly clear that they are losing control over their own citizens. It is mostly the result of neglect, which speaks to poor leadership rather than ill-intent. While I used to think that having the wall, the soldiers, and the minuscule rations were a way for Fillmore Graves to control the citizens of New Seattle (and to an extent that is still partially true), now I see them used as a desperate attempt to maintain order in a city that — from an outsiders perspective — is in ruin. Chase Graves, while once seen as a strong-arm, now seems ill-equipped to oversee the aftermath of his own creation; and he seems scared of what will happen if he cannot fix the mounting problems facing his city.

Perhaps the most satisfying part of “Goon Struck” is getting to see more of Chase Graves and getting a better understanding of his motivations. While Chase is a person who would like to be seen as a ruthless and aggressive leader (and he succeeds in doing that most of the time), he has also always been characterized as a little sheepish and vulnerable. We saw some of that in the finale last season, making it clear that his vision for New Seattle came out of necessity rather than an actual true desire to be evil. I am certainly not saying that he doesn’t possess the ability to be evil; rather it doesn’t come as easily as he would like people to think. That is what makes him an interesting antagonist to pair alongside Blaine. For Blaine, being ruthless and calculating is just who he is. His motivations have always been crystal clear. Chase was thrust into Seattle and forced to make some tough calls in order to push the notion of a “new world order” forward. His behavior is not always a reflection of his true values, but something he has ultimately decided to do out of fear. He is afraid of the world that exists outside the walls of New Seattle, and what the people of that world could do to its citizens if he cannot maintain order. 

He is afraid that if he shows weakness, everyone who is under his control will turn on him, and he will be left in ruin. His motivations and actions in this episode align perfectly with a fear-based mentality. He doesn’t want to have to make an example out of Renegade, but does so because the fear of losing control over the system he has created is much greater than his desire to be good. He publicly executes Renegade not because he truly wants to, but because he needs to convince himself that he is still strong and in control.

However, Chase has not anticipated what the aftermath of his actions will be. He incorrectly assumes that this action, along with kidnapping an army generals daughter, will be provide him with the time and leverage needed to negotiate and “fix” his broken city. Little does he know that it is about to make things a whole lot worse. The rise of Angus’s church and Liv’s decision to carry on Renegade/Mama Leoni’s legacy are just two components of many that will lead to Chase’s downfall. I fully expect that Chase will get thrown out of power or killed before the end of the season.

Ultimately, “Goon Struck” is a simple but good episode that showcases what iZombie can accomplish when it focuses on one thing at a time. The writers have developed such an intricate world, but sometimes it is nice to just explore and develop one facet of it at a time, before building to bigger ideas. The episode exemplifies why all of these characters (even the antagonists) matter, and that sometimes taking the time to explore character rather than plot, works better for the show. It gives us a more compelling reason to empathize with their struggles, so that when things do reach their inevitable breaking point, we will be emotionally ready.

There won’t be a new episode of iZombie next week, but I will be back in two weeks with my coverage of “My Really Fair Lady,” guest-starring Rachel Bloom!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Life Sentence 1x02 Recap: “Re-Inventing the Abbotts” (And the House That Holds Them Together) [Guest Poster: Ashvini]


"Re-Inventing the Abbotts"
Original Airdate: March 14, 2018

Stella just wants to help her family gain back a semblance of the sanity they lost when they sacrificed everything to care for her during her struggles with cancer. That’s quite a laborious task to take on, especially considering that it’s only been a week since she was declared cancer-free. But she’s determined — and apparently when Stella Abbott is determined, absolutely nothing can get in between her and finishing the task at hand.

I would classify this as the main plot and underneath this umbrella are a few key subplots: namely a tension-ridden war between Stella’s parents, Ida and Paul, and that Stella and Wes’s marriage is threatened by bureaucracy. Basically, they didn’t get a legitimate marriage license for their shotgun wedding because they thought Stella was going to die, so a U.S. immigration agent wants answers.

And finally, this episode answered the question of, “Why doesn’t Ida Abbott seem to care that her family is falling apart?” Well, we find out it’s because everything in the past — Stella’s cancer and the secrets that lead to the downfall of her marriage with Paul — causes her a tremendous amount pain, which is pain she’d much rather avoid. Anyone in her position would feel the same. That’s why she hides out with Poppy: Because each crevice and corner of the Abbott family house holds a memory of the cancer that brought turmoil to this family. Yes, they had happy, wonderful memories, but the miserable ones are somehow embedded into the foundation of their home.

Ever read Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher? This situation is very loosely like that story; their family home is an allegory for the fall of their family. Ida wants to tear the house down. If she tears the house down (literally, because she tried to ax one of their walls), then the family and the mess they have become can be torn down with it. It’s interesting storytelling logic, but it’s a little too Gothic for The CW’s tastes.

So Ida settles for selling the house, and they do get an offer — an offer however that Paul cannot agree with. Paul considers their home to be worth so much more than a price tag and insists that they wait for a better offer, or even keep the house (which Ida is vehemently against). All the while, Stella tries and fails to mediate. She ends up siding with her dad because of the anger she feels toward her mom walking away from her childhood home. But she’s unable to truly understand the motives behind her mother’s actions. I initially took Paul’s side as well, since the audience was kept in the dark about Ida’s reasoning and behavior, which made her confession toward the end of the episode a vulnerable one.

Meanwhile due to their marriage being under investigation, Wes and Stella face the possibility of Wes being deported back to the U.K. He implores Stella to come with him, but she hesitates. Leaving home would mean leaving her family — and her family comes first. This is something that even Wes realizes: Stella’s family gave her their lives for nine years, and Stella was only just starting to do the same for them. So leaving now would be a disservice to her family and herself, as much as she loves Wes.

At the end of the episode, Stella tells Wes that she would have gone back with him if she had to. However, the audience is left to consider that she probably wouldn’t have. She’s too grounded in her role as a daughter and sister, and I think she considers those roles to be her most vital; she sees them as her drive to live again.

Wes is another drive, but not her main one, and I think that prioritization is refreshing. I mean, how often do we see characters prioritize their families over their romantic partners — on-screen and in real life?

And what’s just as refreshing is the change in the stereotypical parental dynamic: Instead of Paul or the dad being the one out of the house with a new life, ready to move on, it’s Ida or the mom we get to see function in this aspect. I’ve often observed that in popular media it’s the mom and not the dad in these situations who is a victim, struggling to fight their way back to stasis. But that isn’t the case here and it makes for a wholly engaging story. Frankly, it’s such a fascinating dynamic between the parents, and between them and their children and sons-in-law. I’m excited to see what other role reversals the writers forge.

As for the other other two minor storylines, Aiden struggles with talking with Marlene — the married woman he got pregnant. He finally does, after almost losing Stella’s confidence. Yes, talking to her would create even more of a mess, but at least he’s being honest. And honesty looks good on Aiden, a seemingly-silly character who has surprised me with his earnestness.

Lastly, Stella convinces Lizzie to invest in herself and pursue writing. So she helps her re-enroll in the relevant coursework. This sends Lizzie away from her family. But Stella promises Diego (Lizzie’s husband) that she will help him and Lizzie’s kids (Fiona and Frank), and that it’ll be no problem. I foresee that it’ll in fact be a huge problem, but hey, Stella is strong and motivated by her own intuition of goodness. She’ll figure it out how to do this balancing act if it’s for her family.

I just genuinely hope she finds time to reflect on herself. It seems that she doesn’t yet recognize that she went through her own personal turmoil. Though, perhaps lending her family her cosmic strength is one way of recognizing this, by acknowledging and understanding the trail of memories, both good and bad, that her cancer left behind, she will heal along the way.

Beyond any doubt, I believe that the Abbott family house isn’t what holds them together like Paul thought, or what tore them apart like Ida thought. It’s not the house at all that does anything for this family’s fortitude. It’s simply their love for each other that keeps them still and standing strong despite every terrible thing that’s happened to them.

Their love appears to be a powerhouse.

Stream of Consciousness: 
  • Wes has a law degree? Something in finance? Also, thanks for the brief glimpse into his backstory, writers room.
  • Would an immigration agent knock on your door in 2018 to legitimize a marriage license? They would likely email or call. But for the sake of drama, I guess it makes sense.
  • Stella overshares so much.
  • “Not even the United States government is gonna come between us.” Okay, but they might though.
  • “Leave your drama at the door. Work is for work — not socializing!” I like Stella’s boss.
  • I’m enjoying the narration. It’s cute!
  • Okay, the clothing and makeup departments did a great job of making Lucy Hale look like a teenager. 
  • Aiden walking around with noise-cancelling headphones and a robe on is a Look™
  • Lucy Hale’s British accent is so dorky and I love it.
  • I like the dynamic between the three siblings.
  • Aiden sounded really familiar to me during the pilot and I finally realized that he sounds exactly like my stoner station manager of the radio I used to intern at during my sophomore year of college.
  • Stella saying, “I feel like a sad raisin” after her bath? I’m cackling.
  • The forced laughter after they unearth their dead cat Baboo... I was cringing
  • This was such an emotional episode, but it’s chicken soup for the soul, I swear.

Legends of Tomorrow 3x16 Recap: "I, Ava" (Totems and Avas) [Contributor: Marilyn]


"I, Ava"
Original Airdate: March 26, 2018

Sara needs a personal day. Given how the last episode ended, with her breaking things off with Ava, I’m not surprised. She names Amaya as interim captain and takes off. The team is doing what they usually do (including Mick testing out his new totem by using it to cook food) when they get an alert for a new anomaly: Amaya’s granddaughter, Mari, is in the hospital, injured because she never received her spirit totem from Amaya. Ray calls Sara back and that’s about when Gary shows up to tell them that Ava has gone missing.

Sara, Ray, and Gary go to Ava’s office and find that all her personnel files have been erased from the Time Bureau’s system. And at the hospital where Mari is, Kuasa shows up and when Wally and Nate catch up with her, they learn she’s there to protect Mari — not hurt her. So she wasn’t the one who put her there.

At Ava’s parents house, Sara, Ray, and Gary discover that her parents haven't seen Ava in months... and are super fishy about it. When Sara threatens the mother, they reveal that they aren’t Ava’s parents after all. They were hired by someone to pose as her parents.

Back on the Waverider, Mick and Zari are sitting out the adventures because Zari has been tasked with teaching Mick how to use his new totem. Sara, Gary, and Ray meanwhile go to the Bureau and are surprised to find Ava there. She’s acting strangely and when pressed, says she was in Fresno visiting her parents — which they of course know is a lie. Sara wants to know what’s going on.

Kuasa takes Nate and Wally to Mari’s gym and they get her to agree to help them find the spirit totem for Mari — since she’d rather her sister have it than the Darhks — even though the evil duo frightens her. At the Bureau, the team learns that Ava went to Vancouver in 2213, which is a “no fly zone.” So Ava is clearly hiding something there; is she an anachronism herself? To find out, the trio steals the Bureau’s mothership and flies to 2213... where there are Avas everywhere. Sara thinks this place is hell, clearly. As it turns out, Ava is a clone, created by the Ava (Advanced Variant Automation) Corporation.

Meanwhile Nate, Wally, and Kuasa are trying to plan how to get the totem from the Darhks. Kuasa rules out an ambush, wanting to instead lure the Darhks to them. Amaya checks in with Nate, wanting to know what’s going on with Mari. He gives her an update, but leaves out that they’re working with Kuasa. They don’t want anything to happen to Amaya (thus winking Kuasa and Mari out of existence) so Wally is tasked with keeping her safe.

At the Ava Corporation, Ray, Sara, and Gary sneak in and do some investigating. Sara feels that what she had with Ava isn’t real now. One of the newly-made clones wakes up and declares they have no clearance to be there. She fights the group and Sara knocks her out, so they tie her up.

With Nate as bait, the Darhks show up. Kuasa requests the spirit totem in exchange for Nate, and Nora is happy to hand it over. Nate expects he’ll be freed now but Kuasa changes her mind, seeing Nate as a threat to her existence. So she gives Nate over to the Darhks and leaves with the totem.

In 2213, the “real” Ava shows up, having tracked Ray, Sara, and Gary and it becomes clear that she has no idea she’s a clone. Learning that she is causes her to pass out. Meanwhile, Nora threatens Nate. When she leaves, Damien reveals that he’s uncomfortable with the influence that Mollus has over his daughter. The closer he gets to escaping, the worse things are for Nora. Damien is so upset by all of this that he doesn’t even want to torture Nate.

Ava wakes up and she’s forgotten she’s a clone. Ray thinks they should tell her, but Sara isn’t so sure. Before they can decide what to do, they realize the clone Ava they knocked out has escaped. Back on the Waverider, Zari is getting frustrated with Mick and they get into a fight which — to be fair — he had coming. Kuasa, meanwhile, shows up with the totem and Amaya learns that Wally has been hiding what’s really been going on (and that Nate is being held hostage). Kuasa gives her a guilt trip over not saving her village and getting involved with Nate. Amaya tells her granddaughter that she’s beyond redemption.

Ava tells Sara that she regrets them not being together, but the situation can’t be dealt with at the moment because an army of Avas have arrived to take them out. This leads to the real Ava having a bit of an identity crisis, questioning if she’s real or not. Sara tells her she believes in her — she’s real to her. So the real Ava poses as one of the clones and tells the army that she’ll take the “intruders” outside and dispose of them. Before they can get away, however, the clone Ava that the team had tied up interrupts them, calling out this Ava as a “fake.” Together, the four fight all the Avas, including the army, and eventually knock all of them out.

In 2018, Damien is pretending to torture Nate until Nora figures out what is happening and knocks her father out. Amaya and Wally arrive to save Nate but Nora takes away Wally’s speed. Amaya uses the spirit totem she got from Kuasa to break Nora’s magical hold and Kuasa shows up to free Nate. Wally gets his powers back, as does Nate, and they all team up with Kuasa to try to defeat Nora. Kuasa stands up to her, trying to appeal to the human beneath Mollus’ influence. It doesn’t work, however: Nora rips the water totem away from Kuasa and it kills her. Nora gets away, taking her father with her.

Everyone returns to the Waverider and Ray mind-wipes Gary so he won’t recall 2213 (and the clone thing). Nate tries to comfort Amaya about Kuasa and apologize for keeping things from her but she pushes him away, saying she doesn’t want to have anything more to do with him. She blames her attachment to him for the troubles her family has faced. Zari and Mick make up, something made easier by her fast being over so they share a meal together. They both felt Kuasa die and it sobered them, making them realize these totems connect them all. Sara and Ava have a drink together and realize that Rip is the one who recruited her so maybe he is the one who erased Ava’s files at the Bureau and Sara wants to get to the bottom of why he would do that. Amaya takes a shuttle and sets off to go back in time to Zambezi in 1992 to save Kuasa.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Scorpion 4x19 Review: "Gator Done” (Stupid Behavior + Stupid Behavior = More Stupidity) [Guest Contributor: Yasmine]


"Gator Done"
Original Airdate: March 19, 2018

I’m sad to say that the case is just so ridiculous — and not in the fun way — that it puts this episode as one of my least favorites. The plot development tools are too dumbed down, contrived, avoidable and forced. It is not like when the team typically digs themselves deeper because something goes wrong while they are being smart, no, things in this episode, at least when it comes to the case, were just stupid.

To stop a Zika-like virus from spreading, they have to release sterile mosquitoes into the atmosphere. Of course, it’s very time-sensitive and half the team travels to New Orleans to perform the job themselves. Toby’s focus isn’t completely on the job as he is seeing this as his last adventure in New Orleans before he becomes a dad, and that is the entire premise of why the job goes wrong. They have a limited number of mosquitoes to release and as they “sail” over the bayou toward the most appropriate location to release them, Toby’s beads get caught in the fan of the boat — a makeshift flotation device — and it jostles weirdly, which causes the canister that holds the mosquitoes to fall into the water. And if that alone isn’t too contrived, an alligator pops up and swallow the canister.
 
There are many ways they could have written for this case or job to go wrong, but they chose a series of events that just feels too lame. Yes, there it is. It has happened a lot of times that the team or someone from the team does something and it sends things into a downward spiral, but usually it’s when they are actively trying to solve things. Things always go wrong, yes, and they usually do end up making things harder for themselves before they make it easy, but this whole setup just felt too forced and too slapstick for these geniuses. I know I’ve said that I love how Scorpion has embraced some of its ridiculous elements and made them very enjoyable, but I honestly felt this episode failed at that. It was just roll-your-eyes stupid.

And after the alligator swallows the canister — why was Waler holding it in his lap and not securing it properly somewhere knowing how valuable it is? — things just keep getting more and more out of control. It’s not in the fun way, either, but again, forced and contrived and lazy, in my opinion. They find the alligator and decide the best way to get the canister is by Toby performing surgery. They try to put it down but Walter shoots Cabe with the tranquilizer gun instead of the alligator because the boat is shaking. Why didn’t he step out of the boat and stand on solid ground? I don’t know. So with Cabe out of commission and in a state of “he needs the antidote or h will die,” the team splits up. Walter and Paige continue after the gator and Toby has to take Cabe to meet with the guy who has the antidote.

Toby and Cabe end up drowning in quicksand and have to let it take them so they can swim under it, towards a nearby puddle. On the other hand, Walter and Paige find a way to get the canister out of the alligator, and that is by getting it to eat a chicken — yes, there are a lot of raw chickens on the boat — that they stuff with a plant that causes vomiting. They succeed in doing that, but then Paige ends up in the water and is in danger of becoming alligator lunch until Walter revs the engine of the boat and pulls her out.

And yes, they do end up releasing the mosquitoes. And yes, Toby gets Cabe the antidote in time.

Fortunately, the B-plot managed to salvage the episode with a story that was emotionally touching, pure, and at the heart of what this show is. Patty shows up to help Sly and Ralph promote Sly’s water filter and she is not herself. She admits that she had gotten her first tardy as a result of being bullied by a group of popular girls who did not appreciate her asking a popular boy to the dance. As if the embarrassment of rejection was not enough, they had tampered with her bicycle and left a mean note and she ended up late to school for the first time in her life.

Sylvester and Ralph both decide to take it upon themselves to right this injustice, even though Patty asks them not to. Sly, ever the pacifist and the diplomat, resorts to going to the principal to plead Patty’s case. On the other hand, Ralph — with his crush on Patty — decides to take more drastic measures. He ends up locking all the girls’ bicycles together. No real harm done, except that they have to try an impossible number of combinations to unlock them. Unfortunately for Ralph, this does put him in hot water with his mother and does not get him the recognition from Patty. Although I don’t think that he did it for that. He genuinely did want to get revenge on these girls, whether Patty found out it was him or not.

Sly’s successful endeavors do lead up to a beautiful scene between him and Patty where they talk about the hardships of high school and how important their friendship is to both of them. This genuinely sweet and tender moment was the highlight of the episode.

Another shining moment in the episode is the growth that both Toby and Happy portray. These two are about to start the scariest journey in their lives and this episode is an eye opener for both. Happy recognizes that her life-long commitment to being in control is going to come to an end. Having a child and becoming a mother means accepting that she cannot control everything anymore, and as terrifying as the thought is, she is learning how to do it. Her husband, on the other hand, also comes to an awakening, and it is that becoming a father is not just about having a baby, it is about taking care of them. And to do that, Toby admits he has to let go of his man-child persona and approach to life.

Unfortunately, there’s another genius in a serious relationship and that one is really struggling with a lot of things. The start of the season had Walter really trying hard to become a better man and to grow and learn, but the past few episodes have seen him regress. While he does come to personal realization at the end of the episode, it is really frustrating watching as he actively refuses to accept his mistakes every single week until that one moment in the end where he shows he’s made an improvement... only for the next episode to come and show Walter either regressing or just not growing — again.

This week, Walter struggles with white lies. He fails to understand the concept of lying to someone as to not hurt their feelings, and very much like how the case came together, it just felt too contrived and forced and I got the feeling that we have dealt with this with Walter at some point previously. He’s come too far along to have to struggle with this and, throughout the episode, he just comes off as an insensitive jerk. Until the end, where he suddenly figures out how it’s done and uses a white lie to get Paige out of going with him to a lecture she was too polite to tell him she did not want to attend.

So Walter lies to her and tells her it has been canceled. However, instead of this going down as a sweet moment, it only opens up a door that I don’t think anyone wants to be opened. Walter — out of options as to who to ask with him to the lecture — ends up calling Flo. Earlier in the episode, Sly had tried to ask her out but chickened out, and we once again find ourselves having to swallow yet another development in the inevitably disappointing love quadrangle plot.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Timeless 2x03 Review: "Hollywoodland" (So Is This Happening? Is It Happening?) [Contributor: Jenn]


“Hollywoodland”
Original Airdate: March 25, 2018

Romance. Drama. Action.

I could be talking about Hollywood, circa the 1940s. Or I could be talking about this week’s episode of Timeless, aptly titled “Hollywoodland.” Television shows often fall into traps — they try to do too much or surprise us with twists and turns that make no sense, narratively. But the best shows know what works — what’s always worked — and find ways to remind us of why we’re drawn to those stories in the first place. They present archetypal characters and flip them on their heads. They give us romance, but add in the angst we know will come (because we’ve watched television before, of course) and still manage to capture our hearts. Great television doesn’t need to constantly reinvent the wheel; it just needs to know how to tell a story well and engage us in the process.

On the Wyatt/Lucy side of things in “Hollywoodland” (which we’ll talk a lot about, don’t worry), there’s a familiarity and predictability in the way their story plays out — like a choreographed dance that we know all the steps to, but still mesmerizes us. Meanwhile, Rittenhouse continues their evil plan, we actually focus a little more on Flynn, and a shocking ending brings one character back into our lives. Let’s dive in!


THE PLOT STUFF


Rittenhouse sent a young agent back to the mid-1920s and — of all people — his dad dropped him off there. Flash-forward to our present and the Time Team gets word that the Mothership has landed in 1941. Turns out that the dear old dad from the beginning of the episode has returned to pay his Rittenhouse son/agent a visit and update him on Nicholas’ grand vision. So with stolen clothes, our heroes travel back to the 1940s and discover that Rittenhouse is working at Paramount Pictures where they’ve stolen a copy — the only copy at that point, since the movie is still being worked on — of Citizen Kane.

Meanwhile an interesting subplot is that Rittenhouse Son tries to convince Rittenhouse Dad to stay in the past. I told y’all last week that I’d love to see more glimpses of this: of Rittenhouse agents struggling to leave the lives they built in the pasts and this episode touched briefly on Lucas’ desire to stay in an era in which he has things pretty good for himself — a nice mansion, beautiful women, and a career. Still, I hope we see more of these agents and their stories in the future too.

William Randolph Hearst is who the Time Team suspects is behind the theft, and they presume he is either working with Rittenhouse or is one of the members. They discover that Lucas Calhoon is the actual sleeper agent and what’s he doing, you ask? Well, he’s using Hearst’s paper and desire to see Citizen Kane destroyed as leverage — Lucas will turn over the film to Hearst and in return, Hearst will allow Rittenhouse to publish one column in his newspaper each week: no questions asked. It’s a stealthy way for Rittenhouse to control the media and information, which is even more important given the era they’re in. With Rittenhouse in control of information and propaganda, there is no telling what they could do.

The team manages to stop this from happening of course (Wyatt kills Lucas, and the team gets some much-needed help from the brilliant Hedy Lamarr), and the day is saved! Furthermore, history is safe. Like we had any doubt it would be.

LOGAN AND PRESTON


When Timeless chooses to have Lucy stand on a stage and sing “You Made Me Love You” to Wyatt, you know the episode can only go one way — and that way is straight to ripping our hearts in two.

Before we get to the angst, let’s talk about how the Wyatt/Lucy story has progressed throughout the first season and first few episodes of this one. Wyatt and Lucy have always had a really interesting relationship — she’s the heart of the group and has, in many ways, worn her emotions on her sleeve. But there’s still this fear that Lucy has that holds her back from making decisions fully and letting others in. We see this in “Hollywoodland” when she steps onto stage after having not sung in years. She has kept walls up for a long time, worried that if she let herself feel vulnerable again, something unexpected would shake her resolve.

Something unexpected did shake her resolve — Wyatt. And the best part? She shook his resolve too. But they found safe places with each other, even though they didn’t believe it was possible to feel safe again in the unknown. Wyatt admits to Lucy in the episode that he took the time travel assignment because it was dangerous. After Jessica’s death, he was reckless. He didn’t care what happened to him and much like people turn to substances or people to numb their pain, Wyatt turned to adventure. If he was galavanting around space and time, fighting and on autopilot, he wouldn’t have to think about the reality of Jessica’s death. He wouldn’t have to feel anything. He could be reckless without consequence.

But then Wyatt and Lucy found each other, and it was at places in their lives where they most needed each other. Wyatt needed someone to live for (sorry, I had to steal that great bit of dialogue from Arrow) and Lucy needed someone to remind her that the unknown is worth fighting for, just as much as the known is. Lucy is cautious and hesitant — and I think no scenes best exemplify that than the ones in “Hollywoodland.” But when Lucy takes risks, she’s fully alive. Wyatt tells her, at the end of the episode, that he loved seeing her on stage because he loved seeing her happy for once. The fear of failure or the potential for failure or personal disappointment usually prevents Lucy from leaping. But Wyatt pushes her into the uncomfortable because he knows amazing things await her there.

And then there’s the fact that Wyatt looks at Lucy like she’s his whole world. Revel in the scene with her singing a very on-point “You Made Me Love You.” At first, she’s timid and misses notes and awkwardly glances around the room. But then she looks at Wyatt. And he steadies her. She has FUN on stage, reveling in the performance of it all. But at the end of the performance, she begins to get slightly emotional as she looks at Wyatt and sings her feelings, essentially. Wyatt’s face is a mixture of emotions — realization dawning on him that this is the woman he wants and she’s the woman who’s saved him. How funny that Lucy saved Wyatt and Wyatt saved Lucy, right? (And by “funny,” I mean “perfect.”)

When Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus end up at Hedy Lamarr’s house, the hostess calls Wyatt and Lucy “lovebirds” — accurate — and leaves them alone for the remainder of the evening. It’s around Hedy’s pool that Wyatt talks about Lucy’s beauty and brains, the two discuss what they were like in high school (Lucy, a nerd and Wyatt, a rebel), and then both admit that they’ve felt lost before. Not anymore though.

After weeks of almost-kisses and confined spaces, Wyatt and Lucy finally take that plunge — and more. But let’s back up a moment and discuss the kiss. Lucy spends the episode a little hesitant. After last week’s near-kiss in the car, we’d be safe to assume that she’s eager to confront her feelings for Wyatt. But even in the midst of him pursuing her, she’s still timid. Why? Because Lucy has been through so much pain and heartache in her life that she wants one sure thing to rely on, and it scares her that it’s Wyatt. She wants to be what Wyatt wants — the way she asks twice if their night together was okay solidifies the fact that she’s struggling with confidence in that area a little. Let’s be clear: Lucy isn’t hesitating because she’s not sure if she wants Wyatt; of that, there is no doubt. She just doesn’t know if she’s what he wants. (A fact, since she expresses just a scene earlier that she doesn’t see herself as beautiful, even though Wyatt does.)

And yet right in the midst of that timidity, Wyatt answers Lucy’s own unspoken questions. He gently squeezes her arm and spins her around so that she’s facing him. Every bit of doubt melts away the closer Wyatt gets to her. It’s the gentle, loving, intentional way that Wyatt pursues Lucy — even in this moment — that proves why these two are so right for each other. And it also proves why Lucy’s response to Wyatt’s initial kiss is eager reciprocation. She feels safe. She knows she’s wanted. And she can sense every ounce of love that Wyatt has for her in that moment. And it’s really beautiful.

Because I do believe Wyatt is in love with Lucy. Desperately and deeply, and that he’s never really connected with someone else the way he connects with her. I also believe Lucy is in love with Wyatt. She is herself with him, and she is cared for. She can be a nerd and he doesn’t balk, and she can express her fears and doubts about life and he rushes to her side with an arm around her shoulder. He’s her steady place, and she’s his lifeline. No wonder the kiss ends up as something more than that. The two are so happy that it does though.

The next morning, hilariously, Rufus walks in on the two and I’m pretty sure Malcolm Barrett deserves an MVP award for her performance in this episode — especially that scene. The Time Team heads back to the present-day, where Flynn is waiting in the bunker because they broke him out of prison, and Lucy has a mini-DTR with Wyatt. The two agree that their night together was pretty amazing, and they’re already living together so there’s nowhere to go but down in the relationship department.

But “Hollywoodland” ends with a bit of a shocker (okay, but we all really did see that coming... right?) and blow to the recent Wyatt/Lucy happiness: Wyatt gets a text and abruptly escapes the bunker. He walks into a bar, scanning the crowd of people, before he sees a woman who he addresses as Jessica. That’s right — somehow, Jessica is alive again. We know it was Rittenhouse, right?

And just like that, a wrench is thrown in all of our beautiful, happy little Time Team and our beautiful, happy little Wyatt/Lucy romance.

Timey-wimey bits:
  • “... Do you have ANY ability to do this on your own?” I cackled at that line because... well, do they? Can’t you just Google what was happening around January 2, 1941 and see what pops up before going to visit Flynn? No? Okay.
  • “Maybe Rittenhouse gave up their plans for world domination to pursue show business.”
  • Honestly as much as I enjoyed the whole Wyatt/Lucy of it all, Rufus playing Langston Hughes is probably the episode’s highlight. Especially when he just starts quoting the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • “Hamilton? As a musical?” AND THEN I DIED LAUGHING. Hamilton jokes never get old, no matter what people might say.
  • Dang, the actress they cast to play Hedy Lamarr looks stunningly like her. Also can Hedy just make a return appearance at some point? I loved learning about her and I loved how intelligent she was and I loved that Rufus righted some wrongs that had originally been in her story.
  • Rufus and Lucy’s shock about Wyatt never seeing Citizen Kane is perfect.
  • I think it’s hilarious that Lucy says “spoiler alert,” and Hedy asks what a spoiler is. It’s easy to forget that so much of our slang has come into use in the last few years.
  • I didn’t know Abigail Spencer sang, but she did a lovely job! Also, the little smiles Wyatt gives Lucy during the performance are absolutely adorable and sweet.
  • “Some men find a beautiful woman with brains intimidating.”
  • “You saved my life, you know?” “Which time?”
  • I could re-watch that kiss scene a few times. Hot dang.
  • Oh hey, guess what? The team broke Flynn out of prison. This definitely won’t backfire on them anytime in the near future. Meanwhile, Jiya’s still having “visions,” but apparently time travel has cured her of a heart murmur and there’s no evidence that she’s got anything wrong with her brain. So that’ll be an ongoing mystery, I guess.
What did you all think of “Hollywoodland”? What’s going to happen to Wyatt and Lucy now? And do you really think Jiya is okay? Will Flynn remain loyal to the Time Team? Sound off in the comments below!

Once Upon A Time 7x14 Review: “The Girl in the Tower” (The Start of Something New) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]


“The Girl in the Tower”
Original Airdate: March 23, 2018

It’s been a while since adult Tilly/Alice has been prominently featured in an episode, which is quite a shame given that she is one of the more intriguing characters and offers almost endless potential stories. Her “origin” story is in full swing in this episode, which does a great job at bridging the past and the present. Between the Easter eggs, the coming of a new Robin Hood, a witch killer on the loose, and Dr. Facilier’s hidden agenda, we actually have an episode of Once Upon A Time that is worth watching.

FINALLY FREE


About 90% of this episode is dedicated to Tilly/Alice’s dueling storylines. Oddly enough, it appears that the flashbacks showing Alice in whatever fairytale realm the show has taken place in this season might actually have a bigger impact on the main plots going forward than her present-day counterpart. The last episode showed a younger Alice trapped in the tower while Hook frantically tried everything to save her. Roughly another ten years has passed between episodes, giving us a grown-up Alice whose only friends are inanimate objects that she talks to in the tower. Her actions plus her classic costume give some original Alice in Wonderland vibes right from the get-go.

On her birthday, Alice wishes to be freed from the tower, and her wish is granted in the form of a big friendly troll ripping the roof off and whisking Alice away. Several more years later, Alice is lurking in the forest watching Hook, Henry, and baby Lucy. She is found by the new Robin Hood (Zelena’s daughter, who has been MIA for a few weeks), thus starting their journey together. The two girls get acquainted and get into trouble when they happen upon a mob of villagers that want to go after a monster that has been destroying villages. Alice realizes that her friend, the troll, is back and tells the group that he is harmless. Robin also wants to fulfill her father’s legacy by taking down the troll and proving herself to the villagers.

The villagers decide the girls aren’t worth the trouble and throw them into a prison. Robin tells Alice about her life in Storybrooke and how she came here to prove herself and live the life she always wanted. However, we have some massive timeline issues because Robin mentions that she grew up in Storybrooke and even stole Emma’s car once. If Robin grew up in Storybrooke, how is she the only character that has aged? Also, I’m pretty sure there is no electricity in the middle of the forest, so how does her smart phone still have a charge? After some nice bonding time, Robin escapes and leaves Alice locked up. Robin rejoins the mob and goes for the kill when they find the troll in the woods. Alice comes out of nowhere and makes Robin miss the shot to save the troll. Well, the mob is very unhappy and decides that they should just kill the girls.

Alice makes another wish and Emma’s yellow VW bug comes out of nowhere to give the girl’s a safe escape. Once they are away from the mob, Robin realizes that Alice has magic and explains how she must have created both the troll and the car. Alice having magic could be huge down the road for many reasons. It is likely that it is not known that she could have magic, plus Alice has never had magic in any other version of her story. My bet is that Alice/Tilly will be the key to fixing everything in Seattle by the end of the season.

INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY


Back in Seattle, Hook is trying furiously to prove Tilly’s innocence in the murders of the two people at the hospital. He enlists Henry’s help in tracking down any sort of alibi to exonerate Tilly. Interestingly, Tilly doesn’t remember what had happened the previous day at first and says that she feels as if she is two different people. She is the only character to be stuck in between real and fake memories, which makes her a very important and intriguing character.

Hook and Henry go searching for clues, while Tilly wracks her brain to remember where she was at the time of the murder. No one remembers her wherever she goes, which made me think that there is some magic in Seattle after all. Tilly winds up going to the troll statue at the bridge for comfort, thinking that there is nothing else she can do. As she talks out loud to herself, she notices that one of the troll’s eyes has a blinking red light. Hook arrives to take Tilly to the police station, and they realize that the security camera could prove her innocence.

Hook pulls up the footage from the camera at the time of the murder, and sure enough, Tilly is standing in front of the statue. So, Tilly is slightly less crazy than everyone thinks and is set free. She bumps into Robin, who has just come back to town, making it likely that their story will play out before the series ends. Tilly’s story closes with Hook going to her home and offering to let her stay with him until the murderer is found. Tilly accepts, and this could be what Hook needs to wake up.

CAUGHT RED HANDED


The non-Alice/Tilly related story of the week focuses on Regina and Lucy beginning Operation Hyacinth. Regina convinces Facilier to go on a date with her and tapes his door lock so Lucy can sneak into his apartment while he is gone. Lucy is on recon duty and only finds one thing pointing to what Facilier is up to: On his table, there are a bunch of cards laid out in weird patterns. Lucy is concerned when she sees a death card and takes a picture of it.

While Regina and Facilier are out and about, Zelena runs into them at the worst possible time. Not only does Zelena break up the date; she ends the distraction. She now knows that Regina has been lying to her about Facilier being asleep. After a short quarrel, Zelena understands the mission and the sisters make up. Regina tries to warn Lucy that Facilier is coming back, but Lucy doesn’t see her message.

Lucy is almost caught and leaves when Facilier goes upstairs. Later that day, Facilier visits Regina to return Lucy’s hat. Facilier knows that Lucy was snooping around his place and tells Regina she could have just asked him what his plans were. He also reveals that he is in town to kill Rumple and take his dagger to become the Dark One. Regina is more torn about this than she should be because Rumple is her oldest friend, but she now has feelings for Facilier. Let’s hope Regina comes to her senses and is still a hero so she can stop evil in its tracks.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 5x12 Recap: “Safe House” (Keeping Kevin Safe) [Contributor: Alisa Williams]


“Safe House” 
Original Airdate: March 18, 2018

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is finally back from its winter hiatus. We left off with Seamus Murphy threatening Captain Holt’s husband, Kevin. So now that we’re back, the team is working hard to keep Kevin safe. After an elaborate undercover operation to sneak him out of the university where he works, they stow him in a safe house. The organized crime unit says they’ll need about two months before they have enough evidence to go after Murphy, so Jake will watch Kevin until the FBI is ready for the take down.

As soon as Jake arrives at the safe house, Holt confiscates his cell phone lest someone track him. Under Holt’s orders they also aren’t allowed internet access so streaming videos is out, but Jake’s brought his DVD collection. Unfortunately, his collection consists of the entirety of Nicholas Cage’s body of work and Kevin is completely disinterested in such lowbrow films. With nothing else to do, however, he eventually breaks down and watches them all.

After about a month, Holt shows up to tell Jake and Kevin that the organized crime unit is ready to move on Murphy now. Jake’s so excited he invites the whole team over to the safe house where he’ll be streaming a live feed of the raid. Unfortunately, the raid is a bust. Murphy’s house is empty, which means Kevin is still in danger.

The latest intel is that Murphy may be hiding out at his mistress’s place. She’s a hairdresser so Rosa reluctantly goes undercover as a new client, hoping to get her to talk. Rosa’s mission is to gossip about her love life and hope Nikki will do the same. Rosa’s not much of a talker, so Gina sits in the surveillance van outside and talks to Rosa through an inconspicuous earpiece. Just as Nikki’s finally about to open up, she tells Rosa her hair is done and they’ll have to chat next time. Desperate to keep Nikki talking, Rosa asks to go blonde, ensuring a few more hours in the salon.

Meanwhile, Amy found the place that provides shredding services for all of Murphy’s companies and subpoenaed those shredded documents. She enlists Terry’s help to piece them back together. An entire room has been filled to shoulder height with all the shreds, and after hours of work, they’ve only managed to find three pieces that go together. Hitchcock and Scully venture in, wanting to know if Amy and Terry have created a napping nest. Amy explains and Scully offers to help, saying he’s great at jigsaw puzzles. Amy’s dubious but within a matter of seconds, Scully has a whole page pieced back together.

Things are not going well at the safe house. Kevin and Holt are fighting in the low key, super polite way they do. Kevin feels stifled under Holt’s tedious, over-the-top rules, and wants out for just a couple hours so he can go to a library and work on his research. Holt refuses. Kevin persists and Holt says he’s just concerned with keeping his husband safe. Kevin replies that Holt may not have a husband when all this is over. Holt assures Kevin he’s not going to die at the hands of Murphy, but Kevin says that’s not what he meant. Holt storms out.

Not wanting to see Holt and Kevin’s relationship deteriorate, Jake decides to sneak Kevin out to the library for a couple hours while Holt is busy in meetings. They disguise themselves as “weird perverts” to better fit in with the other library patrons. They get so into their roles, they manage to scare everyone else out of the library. But then Jake hears a noise. When he goes to investigate, Holt jumps out and reminds Jake that had he been Murphy, both Jake and Kevin would be dead right now. Holt is furious that Jake disobeyed his orders and put Kevin in danger, and demands they head back to the safe house immediately.

Back at the beauty salon, Rosa’s gone platinum blonde and learned from Nikki that Murphy skipped town a couple weeks ago and she hasn’t seen him. Before they can chat about where he might be hiding, Nikki says Rosa’s all done. Panicking, Gina tells Rosa to ask for a perm next to keep Nikki talking. Rosa’s clearly horrified by the thought but does what she must.

Meanwhile, Holt, Kevin, and Jake take the bus back to the safe house. They all sit separately so they draw less attention. Holt texts Jake to let him know a man who was at the library is on the bus. He tells Jake to grab Kevin and make a hasty exit at the next stop. They do, and the man tries to follow but Holt intercepts him. He pulls a gun on Holt and tells him to stay on the bus. It pulls away, Kevin and Jake safely on the sidewalk and Holt stuck on the bus with the gunman.

Jake calls the team. Rosa’s just gotten done with her perm and tells them Nikki thinks Murphy is staying up at a place he has in Rhinebeck, New York. Scully was able to piece together some shredding with a Rhinebeck address. Jake and Kevin get there and Kevin says he’s going in with Jake to look for Holt. Jake tells him absolutely not. Kevin is to take the car back to the safe house and wait.

After Kevin drives off, Jake circles the old factory building and sees Holt is being held inside. Unfortunately, the gunman from the bus sneaks up and captures him, too. Now both Jake and Holt are tied up. Holt demands to know where Kevin is but Jake says not to worry because Kevin is headed back to the safe house right now. Except he’s not! Just as Murphy is threatening to kill both Holt and Jake, Kevin crashes the car through the building. Kevin jumps out and punches Murphy in the throat.
Thanks to Murphy kidnapping them, the FBI now has enough to put him and his entire organization away for good. Kevin is safe, his and Holt’s relationship is saved, and he now has a new appreciation for Nicholas Cage.

Bullets on the Bulletin Board:
  • “I broke down and watched one of Peralta’s action films. I’m lying. I watched them all.”
  • “How am I not a cop, Terry? Because I don’t have a badge? Being a cop is a state of mind.” “It’s definitely not.” 
  • “Sorry, I couldn’t bring myself to call him a ‘dirt bag.’” “And why would you? A dirt bag is a very useful part of a vacuum. It’s a compliment.”

Grey’s Anatomy 14x16 Recap: “Caught Somewhere in Time” (Fixing the Future) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]


“Caught Somewhere in Time”
Original Airdate: March 22, 2018

With family drama in the forefront this week, there’s plenty happening with all the major characters on Grey’s Anatomy. Thankfully, it’s not all dramatics, which gives some wiggle room for a few moments of laughter. It is about time that a lot of these issues are being hashed out because some of them have been dangling over the season like a guillotine waiting to fall. Plus, these stories pave the way for greater character arcs in the remaining back half of the season.

FAMILY DRAMA


The core of the episode is family drama, and there is plenty of it to go around. The Webber-Avery family seems to have the biggest issues at the moment and throughout the episode. The episode opens with Jackson and Maggie making out in a supply closet, only to be caught by their smiling parents. Catherine’s face is way more shocked than Richard’s, but both of their expressions are downright hilarious.

Catherine appears to be the only person impacted by her son and step-daughter dating, but her reasoning is a bit selfish. She feels that if things end badly between Jackson and Maggie, it will affect her marriage with Richard. This hidden conflict almost ruins the family’s planned groundbreaking surgery on Michelle for the Surgical Innovation Contest. Thankfully, they get their business in order and manage to pull off the surgery. It’s too bad that we weren’t privy to the results in this episode, but it seems that they are the first team to actually make solid progress in terms of the contest.

It might not seem as jarringly obvious, but the storyline with Arizona and Sofia is just as important as the Webber-Avery conflict. Sofia starts the episode being a bit sad, mainly because she doesn’t like being alone in Seattle without her friends or Callie. Arizona is upset that she hasn’t been able to spend as much time with Sofia as she would like, so she brings Sofia to work with her. After a stressful storyline that includes a mother with complications during her second pregnancy and Amelia and Alex diagnosing her young boy with seizures caused by a benign brain tumor, it was clear that Arizona’s current job is taking a huge toll on her.

Being able to even spend a little time with Sofia seemed like a relief for Arizona, and her small crying session at the end of the episode pretty much confirms the way in which she will be leaving the show. Arizona can’t stand being away from Sofia and also wants to make her as happy as possible. The only feasible solution is for Arizona to move out to New York to be close to Callie and Sofia. The framework has been laid, and I can’t imagine any other scenario in which Arizona leaves.

TRAUMA CERTIFICATION


Family drama also gets unexpectedly real throughout the course of Owen’s trauma certification exercises for the interns. April finds out and forces her way in to help “train” the interns. Instead of helping, April makes the day a living hell for them by creating unrealistic scenarios and randomly killing off their dummies whenever she felt like it. The whole thing turns into a dictatorship with April at the helm, causing Owen to keep fleeing the scene. This is also the comedic relief of the episode, and it really works well.

Owen and Amelia are still sleeping with each other and decide that they are happy with their no-strings-attached relationship. However once they say it aloud, all they can do is focus on emotions. Owen keeps running off from the trauma certification to deal with his issues with Amelia, mostly the whole Teddy thing since Amelia randomly brought it up. These two still have a lot of issues to resolve because Amelia keeps blaming the tumor for everything and Owen can’t get past his own feelings. They either need to make up or never talk to each other again because their antics are getting a little old. At the end, Owen gets in a cab to go to the airport, presumably to go see Teddy, so maybe we will get some answers on where he is at emotionally soon.

Back to the training, April goes so crazy that one of the interns points out how much she is acting out. That causes April to totally lose it and have a breakdown in front of everyone. April is spiraling very fast and is almost at the point of being a danger to herself. Jackson sees her wandering around the hospital’s halls looking half-crazed and tries to calm her down. But April is so out of control that she kisses Jackson because she clearly never got over him. Jackson pushes her away and doesn’t allow it to go any further because he is a classy guy and respects Maggie. April needs some serious help, and I really hope that someone forces her to get some before she goes too far.

THE TRAILBLAZER


The nicest moment of the episode is when Bailey learns that the patient she is treating with Jo is a former astronaut and one of her childhood idols. The patient is being treated for crush wounds, and she appears to be a little off when talking about her time travel theories. Being the nerds that they are, Maggie and Bailey are elated to be talking about wormholes and time travel — much to Jo’s dismay — when they are all in the operating room together.

While the surgery wasn’t successful, two good things did come from the astronaut’s death. First, Jo suggests that Bailey name her colonoscopy device for the Surgical Innovation Contest after her fallen idol, and Bailey decides to call it The Trailblazer. Second, Jo and Maggie get inspiration during the surgery to convince Meredith not to throw in the towel on her Surgical Innovation Contest project. Maggie feels that Ellis probably did cut Marie out of their shared work, so Jo tells Meredith that she can’t let what her mom did affect what they are working on now. Jo’s plea to continue is enough to get Meredith fired up again about their project, so the search for a new polymer is on.

While there may be more Ellis and Marie drama to be dug up soon, at least Maggie, Jo, and Meredith seem to be coming to terms with everything involved.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Blindspot 3x16 Review: "Artful Dodge" (Fallout) [Contributer: Jen)


"Artful Dodge"
Original Airdate: March 23, 2018

We finally find out what this dragonfly case is all about and why Zapata is hiding it from the team in "Artful Dodge." Blindspot has been hit and miss with their shockers this season, but this one legitimately surprised me.

CASE OF THE WEEK


The dragonfly tattoo led Rich Dotcom to an empty message board between Dragonfly164 and Atlantic17. The board has suddenly lit up again with messages. Dragonfly164 is planning an attack and is communicating important details to Atlantic17. Rich and Patterson start getting excited because they believe they can track down the identities of these two people.

This is when Tasha fesses up. Borden is Dragonfly164 and she is Atlantic17.


The director of this episode was sure to leave time for close-ups and a minute of deafening silence for this bomb drop. Understandably, Patterson is somewhere between shock and horror Reade is calm, stern, and wants details. Weller asks Zapata why she didn't tell the team. Really, Kurt? Killed anybody's kid and lied about it lately? Jane "I Had an Affair" Doe wisely zips it.

Tasha rattles off the details quickly — mostly because I think she was trying to keep Patterson from crying. Borden survived the explosion, but half of his body was badly burned. I suppose I should have more sympathy for Borden being lit up like a torch, but he tortured Patterson. So I'm okay with Borden peeling burnt flesh from a third of his body over a 46-hour period. Karma can be a vengeful judge.

The CIA gets word that Borden is alive a year later. Tasha wants to hand him over to the FBI for prosecution, but Keaton has other plans for him. Keaton wants to cut Borden a deal. Goran Gorovich  committed one the worst genocides in human history and now he's planning an attack on the U.S. Keaton wants Borden to infiltrate one of Gorovich's cells and determine the location of the attack. The CIA offers him immunity if he agrees.

Initially, Borden refuses. He basically wants to die, he's in so much pain and doesn't give a crap about anyone other than himself. Zapata, however, uses the memory of his dead wife to convince Borden to agree to the deal. Whether you like her methods or not, Tasha is extremely good at turning criminals into CIA assets.

When he joined the task force, Borden was given a new handler. Unfortunately, he shows up dead. Team Blindspot initially believes Borden killed his handler and is now working for Gorovich. But that's not exactly what happened. The CIA handler was the man being tortured by electrocution at the beginning of the episode. One of Borden's jobs was to keep prisoners alive while they were being tortured. Borden put his handler out of his misery. He tried to play it off like a mistake, but showing mercy gave him away. Gorovich's men were after him now.

Team Blindspot captures both Borden and Gorovich's men after a meet with Zapata goes wrong. Kurt takes a great deal of pleasure in slapping hand cuffs on Borden: "Something I should have done the day you walked into the FBI. Nigel Thorton, you are under arrest."

I love that Kurt refuses to call him Robert Borden. Every time Kurt says his real name, he is throwing Borden's lie back in his face. It's fantastic. I also love that Patterson figures out Gorovich's plan without any help from Borden. You know what the plan is because it's always the plan on this show. Say it all together now: BOMBS!

Weller and Reade take out Gorovich, while Jane and Zapata disarm Gorovich's dead man's switch bomb. The moment is supposed to be a nail biter, but they aren't going to blow up 90% of the cast. Although a show of just Patterson and Roman sounds like a real winner to me.

TEAM BLINDSPOT


The emotional fallout in "Artful Dodge" is of course Patterson and Zapata. Tasha desperately tries to explain to Patterson how difficult this secret was to keep, and that she was only doing her job. Patterson refuses to accept Tasha's explanation. What she wanted more than anything was to put Borden in prison. Tasha stole Patterson's second chance.

Patterson tells her: "You're my best friend. Whatever it cost you to say no, you should have cared about me more."

I'm fairly split on this. I understand Tasha was in between a rock and a hard place. Her intentions were good — she wanted to protect Patterson. Borden's intel did help avoid another attack, but it was the FBI who stopped Gorovich, not the CIA. Also, the tattoo was going to lead the team directly to Borden and Zapata anyway. Tasha knew that, so keeping the FBI out of the loop seemed pointless. Should Tasha have refused to be Borden's handler? Yes. It's a clear conflict of interest. Should Tasha have told Patterson Borden was alive? Yes, and then let Reade fight the bureaucratic war with Keaton. If Tasha had chosen to do any of this, it would have mitigated a lot of the damage to her friendship with Patterson.

And the friendship is damaged. Patterson can only have a professional relationship with Tasha now.  Interestingly enough, Patterson doesn't believe Zapata made a mistake. "I think you're just someone who can see things objectively without friendships or emotions getting in the way. The CIA is lucky to have you."

Tasha is very good at her job, but that means she not particularly good at friendship as a result. There is a cost to Tasha walking the darker side of justice and this is it. Patterson has a right to feel betrayed and angry, but I believe she will eventually forgive Tasha. Will their friendship ever be the same? Not if Tasha stays at the CIA.

I absolutely love how Patterson refuses to see Borden no matter how many times he demands it. The guilt over Patterson is weighing on Borden and he wants to make amends. But this is a classic tactic by abusers. Even the apology is all about the abuser and is another way to control. Jane believes Patterson could find some closure talking to Borden, but she doesn't agree. Patterson doesn't believe there's a need for closure. Jane is constantly in search of why, but for Patterson there is no why. It just happened. There is nothing Borden can offer her future. He is just an awful part of her past and she's ready to move on. She doesn't need to find any deeper meaning, because she won't let Borden have that much power over her life anymore. We all could learn something from Patterson — including Jane. Sometimes there is no why. Sometimes there are no answers for us in this life. Accepting that is part of letting go and moving on.

Zapata is off drowning her sorrows at a bar where Reade finds her. Patterson's burn over Tasha's ability to be objective without friendships or emotions getting in the way has driven her right to the shot glass. Tasha fears she's cold, unfeeling, and detached. She's afraid doing her job well means being incapable of having real relationships. Tasha is drawn to the darker side of the law, but it could cost her everything else that matters.

Reade is being his usual supportive self. He believes Zapata was protecting Patterson the only way she knew how and chose to be Borden's handler to keep her eye on him. I don't disagree with any of this at all. However, Tasha could have done all of this and still have been honest with Patterson.

Reade tells her: "You still got me. Everything's gonna be okay."

Tasha doubles down on blowing up her relationships and decides now is the time to tell Reade she's in love with him. It goes about as well as we expected — which is to say not well at all. They rehash the kiss two years ago and Zapata shooting Reade down. Tasha reminds Reade that he said the kiss was the painkillers and oh good grief, this is like watching two junior-high kids. News alert Zapata: Reade meant the kiss two years ago, and you know it. You were in love with him then, but too afraid of a relationship. News alert Reade: You are in love with Zapata, which is why her confession angers you so much — because now you have to dump your very nice fiance.

Moving on: Does it feel like Roman is on his own show to anyone else? I'm so in favor of a spin-off. Back on Roman's World, he's being drugged by Crawford. I don't have any actual proof Crawford drugged Roman, but we all know he did. Crawford steals Roman's phone, which conveniently contains a super-encrypted invitation for Jane to some big Crawford takedown gala.

The manipulation game changed direction on Roman this week. Crawford was manipulating Roman instead of the other way around. The two share a nice heart-to-heart after Roman regains consciousness and Crawford has a battery of tests run on him. Gulp. Of course the nurse finds traces of Zip in Roman's system. I guess Zip is a commonly known drug now? When did that happen? Roman make up a quick and effective lie about his therapist giving him Zip to help treat his PTSD. Crawford astutely points out that Roman's anger dates back before the war. Roman acknowledges that and tells Crawford he was raised in a family who valued loyalty above everything. In the end, Roman was the only one who was loyal.

Crawford talks about his abusive step-father too. He encourages Roman to let go of the anger and start over, because that's what Crawford has done. He wants Roman to be part of the new world order he envisions: a peacekeeping force that's greater than all the world's military and their one objective is to stop violence. Crawford is convinced it would be the end of war and... he seems to be convincing Roman too. "Anger makes terrible fuel. It can't build anything. It can only help you destroy."

Roman is still that lost orphaned child at heart. There is a part of him that is drawn to Crawford's father-like image. There is a part of him that wants to be accepted by Crawford. Yet, there is another part of Roman that wants to burn everything and everyone to the ground. Roman needs to focus his need to connect on the right people. That's not Crawford. It's Blake and Jane.

KURT AND JANE


Is it me, or have Kurt and Jane become the least interesting part of their own show? Any time Blindspot wants to circle back to how their marriage is healing from the nonsense drama of season three would be fine with me. I guess were just supposed to accept that everything is fine without Blindspot putting any real time or energy into rebuilding Jeller's relationship. Awesome. I love when this show glazes over problematic storylines with quick fixes or pretending they never happened.

Stray Thoughts:

  • It was nice how the team wrote letters of support so Rich Dotcom could stay. He's the best addition to the show! We have to keep him.
  • Reade is under review next. Yikes. Methinks his drug abuse is going to bite him in the butt.
  • "It is not her responsibility to help you sleep at night." I really wanted Kurt to tear off Borden's head with his bare hands.
  • "You are quoting JFK to me? He was sluttier than I am!" HAHAHA TRUE, RICH.
  • At least Zapata killed Borden's deal and he's going to rot in prison for the rest of his life.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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


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

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


EXTORTION 


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

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

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


FINDING FAITH


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

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

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


START OF SOMETHING NEW


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

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

FINALLY!


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

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

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