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

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

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

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

In Appreciation of the Everyday Heroine

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

Thursday, January 31, 2019

RENT Live: In Defense of FOX’s Intent to Represent Life for More Than One Generation [Contributor: Araceli Aviles]


The show must go on, and it did this past Sunday with FOX’s semi-live production of the Tony Award winning musical RENT. There are already scores of articles debating the choice to air pre-recorded footage of the musical due to cast member Brennin Hunt’s last-minute injury. Some were fine with the choice, while others called out the creative team for poor planning (Hunt did not have an understudy). The one thing everyone can agree on is that the decision to reunite the original Broadway cast with their 21st century counterparts for a finale tribute to RENT creator Jonathan Larson was truly fitting.

Larson never lived to see the musical’s first off-Broadway production, let alone the tsunami of success his work has wrought. Not only did the musical catapult the careers of its original cast, but it became one of the most recognizable and impactful musicals in modern history. RENT was Larson’s masterpiece and passion project. It was his way of giving a shouting voice to a generation being told to hide in the corner and be silent.

That was what it was in the 1990s, but what does it mean today?

To the Gen-X and early Millennial generations, RENT was the musical we needed to hear. It’s as ingrained in our memories as the rise of N.W.A., Green Day, and the Dawson’s Creek theme song. All contradictory phases in pop culture to be sure, but nevertheless, all important markers of the late 80s and 90s. Many of this generation are now parents themselves, some to teens and preteens who like to say things like, “Mom, that music is so old.” [Insert outraged emoji here.] But many of these comments come from a lack of understanding of where these artists and phenomenons came from. RENT specifically came out of a generation that was not only being stigmatized and discriminated against every day, but people who were quite literally staring death in the face. Gen Z has their own social issues to contend with, but in many ways, the coping mechanisms have changed.

Each generation has its own social issues, of course. For the Baby Boomers, they were the social justice fights of the 1960s and the Vietnam War. For Gen-X, it was the AIDS epidemic. For Gen-Z, it’s mass shootings. This might seem like a gross oversimplification of the progress and history of the late 20th and early 21st century of Western civilization (especially in the context of musicals), but bear with me for a moment.

Each struggle was tangled up in a fight against discrimination and bigotry, but the HIV/AIDS crisis had a deeper layer to it. Not only did it place an increased stigma specifically on the LGBT community because of years of ignorance about the virus, but HIV was quite literally a death sentence for a decade. It took years — and far too many lives lost — to create drugs capable of effectively combating the virus (a fact confirmed in RENT). It took far longer for those who survived to shed the false and bigoted labels that came with an HIV diagnosis. Larson knew that, and he knew how important it was to put specific words to the indescribably pain of many.

But what really made the first incarnation of RENT so indelible in our minds is a spirit of friendship — of hope in the face of the disenchantment with the establishment and, above all else, making the most of love. Live or not, I believe FOX’s version pulled that off. You could see it in the joy and charisma Valentina puts forth from that very first pose of “Today 4 U.” You can see it in the instant connection between Brennin Hunt and Tinashe’s Roger and Mimi, which was palpable in one of the only live scenes of the broadcast: “Your Eyes.” And don’t even get me started on the masterful complexity that was the work of Vanessa Hudgens, Jordan Fisher, and Brandon Victor Dixon — all of whom turned out performances that you could feel coming from the inside out. The mark of a great performance isn’t just in the strength and caliber of the performer, but whether the performers themselves could feel the power in the work they were tasked with. Every single RENT Live performer did that. You could tell they loved what they were doing, and took their place in this show very seriously.

One of the hallmarks of RENT that made the musical successful is that it was set in a time and place where there was no escape from the struggle, except in defiance. By defiance, I don’t mean rioting or protesting, although that certainly has its place in the story. Defiance in terms of refusing to accept the hand you have been dealt until you absolutely have to. Defiance in terms of not giving into despair and reveling in the things you do have — such as your individual power, willingness to accept vulnerability as a strength, forgiveness, and ultimately, your voice. In other words, the ability to embrace what is and what could be, instead of hiding in the shadows; or in the case of Gen-Z kids, technology and its many false escapisms.

So to anyone who wants to quibble over the power of live versus semi-live broadcasts, I ask you to put that question into the “What’s Done is Done” category, in favor of a more important question: Can a new generation learn from Larson’s work? Can they learn about that time, and apply Larson’s message to a new road forward? Can they be taught to stand tall together like RENT’s ensemble during “Seasons of Love,” instead of hiding in cyberspace? It certainly answers the question of how to explain the musical’s importance to today’s youth.

Because anyone who believes that the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been eradicated in the United States isn’t paying attention. Anyone who believes that racial discrimination, homophobia, and homelessness is another person’s problem has their head in the sand. Just because we have made progress in the last two decades does not mean that Larson’s work is finished, and that is why RENT Live was a necessary production that deserves commendation.

It’s also why, though many won’t be dissuaded from criticizing FOX’s production of this musical, the cast carried the bookends of this production with them during their performances. Reuniting the original cast at the end of the live show was a sweet gesture, but more poignant is Larson’s message at the beginning of the broadcast. Had he lived, he would have been all over this production trying to perfect it. But in the end, his message would have been the same:

“In these dangerous times where the world is ripping apart at the seams,
we can learn from those who stare death in the face every day.
By reaching out to each other and bonding as a community,
rather than hiding from the terrors of life.”

Grey’s Anatomy 15x10 Review: “Help, I’m Alive” (Coming to Terms with the Truth) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]


“Help, I’m Alive” 
Original Airdate: January 24, 2019

The midseason premiere of Grey’s Anatomy left all the characters’ dirty little secrets exposed, much to their chagrin. Most of the doctors have spent the season trying to avoid their problems, so it’s only natural that it is time for them to come to terms with their situations. “Help, I’m Alive” is a very character-centric episode that allows the viewers to take a deeper look at the characters’ lives.

SUPER LINK


The first of the many storylines gives Meredith and Link a better understanding of each other. Meredith is in a pretty bad mood all day after Alex has to bail on helping her with little Bailey’s fifth birthday party. To make matters worse, Catherine is back at Grey Sloan and fires Meredith from her surgical team for spilling the beans about her tumor. As a result, Meredith takes out her anger on Link for the remainder of the episode. She criticizes Link’s every decision, from nonchalantly waiting for an incoming trauma to not stabilizing their patient’s pelvis before going to the OR. Meredith’s displeasure is twofold: she is using Link as a punching bag for her own anger management, and she is trying to convince herself that she doesn’t like him.

Even though they don’t realize it yet, Meredith and Link do have a lot of similarities. They are only focused on their differences for the first half of the episode, which is made abundantly clear when they both separately ask Jo, within a matter of seconds, why she thought they would be perfect for each other. While Meredith, Link, Nico, Jo, Helm, and Parker operate on their patient, Jo decides that this is the perfect moment to cut the tension. She clearly wants Meredith and Link to work out their differences and get together, so she starts telling Meredith about Link’s past as a cancer survivor. Link is rightfully upset, as he feels that he should be the one to tell people his story.

Funny enough, Meredith doesn’t immediately lighten up and instead decides to question his medical judgement. Link, who is tired of Meredith’s judgement, goes into full detail of why he made the calls that he did and reveals that doing anything differently could have cost the patient her life. He goes on to say that he doesn’t need approval on his medical practice from Meredith, who is taken aback by his response and the fact that she didn’t catch what he did. After the surgery, Meredith freaks out about having a house full of 5-year-olds for a superhero-themed birthday party and isn’t happy that one of the superheroes that was set to make an appearance had to cancel on her.

Link offers his help after overhearing Meredith’s phone call. Meredith welcomes the help, and the two of them go back to her house to start setting up the party. Link’s knowledge of superheroes and willingness to stop everything to help makes Meredith realize that he’s not the person she thought he was. This is especially apparent when Bailey and his friends arrive to the party in full superhero costumes and ask Link if he is Thor. Of course, Link throws himself into the role and plays with the kids.

As the party winds down, Meredith gives herself a rare five minute break to sit down at the kitchen table to have a drink and piece of cake with Link. I love the conversation that the two have because it is the most honest and open they have been with each other. Link finally understands why Meredith can be uptight and stressed. He truly respects the fact that she is a single mother of three, works crazy hours as a surgeon, runs her own department, and still has time to win awards for medical innovations.

Meredith comes to understand Link’s laid back attitude more as the day goes on and learns more about his background. She admits that she doesn’t dislike Link, which is Meredith code for “I’m trying to suppress my growing feelings for you.” The two share an organic bonding moment, and it is clear how they could naturally become a great couple. Based on her actions in this episode, I can definitely see a future where Meredith actually opens up to Link and lets him into her life. She has always had a hard time being open, but he might be the man to change that.

FAMILY TURMOIL


It was only a matter of time before Catherine, Richard, and Jackson would be together again and chaos would erupt. The events of the episode slowly build up the pressure in the powder keg before it explodes in a heated family argument. Unfortunately, they spend most of the day avoiding the topic of Catherine’s illness by working on a case together. Catherine thinks that she can perform a revolutionary surgery on a patient with the help of Richard and Jackson. Everything is smooth in the family until the surgery takes a turn, and Catherine can’t complete the procedure.

After the surgery, the three of them convene in a room and things quickly get heated. Catherine accuses Jackson of questioning whether she was fit to do the surgery. Jackson and Richard get defensive and bring up the topic they have all been avoiding: they want to know why Catherine won’t talk to them and why they had to find out from someone other than her. Catherine is very upset that she didn’t tell them herself, but says she was waiting for the right time. This makes Richard and Jackson upset because they feel that she hasn’t been honest with her family. After some more shouting, Catherine finally breaks down and tells them that she didn’t want to talk about it because then it would be real. It’s easy to feel terrible for this family with all they have been going through lately.

FLYING SOLO


The third story of the episode deals with Owen, DeLuca, and Schmitt helping a woman with the flu. Owen, who has not been feeling well, decides to walk around the hospital and help patients while hooked up to an IV bag. This is definitely foreshadowing, as there is no way in which trying to be a doctor and a patient at the same time can end well. Owen and DeLuca realize that their patient’s colon is distended and take her up for surgery. While prepping for the surgery, the patient’s colon bursts, leaving her in great pain. Owen tells the anesthesiologist that they need to hurry up and start operating, so the anesthesiologist goes to give the patient a paralytic to stop the pain before putting her under. Only problem is that he mistakenly injects the paralytic into Owen’s IV instead of the patient.

Well, Owen drops to the floor like a sack of potatoes within a few seconds, leaving DeLuca to have to operate on his own. DeLuca jumps into action and tells Schmitt that he will have to take care of Owen. Schmitt is very nervous, having to intubate Owen before his airway completely closes. DeLuca walks Schmitt through the procedure like a seasoned pro, and Schmitt is proud of his accomplishment of doing his first intubation. DeLuca continues on with the surgery, and Alex comes in to check on him a little while later. Alex asks DeLuca to tell him the steps he has taken so far, and DeLuca rattles off the correct list. Alex then asks what else he still has to do, which stumps DeLuca. He says he doesn’t know what else he should do and asks Alex to tell him what is next since this is his first solo surgery.

Alex tells DeLuca that he has done everything right and that the only thing left to do is close up his patient. DeLuca stepped up at the right time and completed his first solo surgery with great success. This will definitely be a big confidence booster for DeLuca, but let’s hope this doesn’t go to his head. The episode ends with DeLuca sending a text to Meredith asking her if she wants to help him celebrate his first successful surgery, but she doesn’t see the message since she is enjoying her quality time with Link.

SELF HELP


A bunch of other characters have small side stories about taking steps forward in helping themselves. Bailey has finally started seeing a shrink and getting the therapy she desperately needs. We get to see that Bailey is making some progress, which is great news. She needs to continue helping herself before she has another breakdown. Richard also makes some strides by finding a new sponsor and taking advice from him. Richard is going to meetings more frequently and starts meditation and prayer again. With all that is going on with Catherine, Richard is going to need another support system, so it’s good to see him recognize that as well.

Schmitt gets a much-needed boost of self-confidence through taking care of the unconscious Owen. Teddy walks by the hospital room where Schmitt is watching after Owen and wants to know what happened. As she is freaking out, Schmitt calmly explains what happened. Teddy thanks him for helping Owen and says that she is respectfully going to stay and watch over Owen until he wakes up too. Schmitt is overjoyed to hear that someone respects him as a doctor and decides that he will no longer go by Glasses. He finds Nico and pulls him into an on-call room for a quick make out session to display his newfound confidence. Schmitt continues his transformation by having Parker and Helm help him get contacts, that way he can give up his clunky glasses and be a new person.

After Owen starts to recover from his rough day, he has a conversation with Teddy about whether she plans to stay in town. Teddy spent the day trying to get a job at Grey Sloan, but since Maggie is the head of cardiothoracic surgery and is Amelia’s sister, things haven’t been working out well. Teddy considers going back to Germany, but Owen doesn’t want her to leave. He decides to give Teddy his job as head of trauma and work for her to keep her and his unborn baby in Seattle. Owen is right in saying that he needs help in trauma because the hospital hasn’t hired someone to fill April’s position. Plus, with what the two of them accomplished in the elevator in the midseason premiere, they will make a great trauma team.

With Teddy definitely sticking around, we will have another fun romantic situation to watch play out. Owen wants to be with Amelia and have Teddy and his baby around, so I don’t know how he’s going to balance two lives. Amelia spends the day working with Tom Koracick to hopefully find a way to operate on Catherine’s tumor. Tom is interested in Teddy and decides to introduce himself to her at the end of the episode. It would be really interesting if Teddy and Tom become a thing because seeing Amelia and Owen’s reaction would be priceless. Plus, a love square might be kind of fun.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 6x03 Recap: “The Tattler” (Gina Follows Her Dreams) [Contributor: Alisa Williams]


“The Tattler”
Original Airdate: January 24, 2019

A few months after we learned that Brooklyn Nine-Nine had been dropped by Fox, and then picked up by NBC, Chelsea Peretti, who plays Gina Linetti, announced she was leaving the show. Fans were super bummed and left to wonder exactly how she’d be written out. Peretti hinted that this wasn’t the last we’d see of Gina, but she’d no longer be a series regular. Well, in the latest episode, we found out how it’s going down. Let’s recap.

Jake and Gina are super excited about their 20th high school reunion. It’s 90s themed, so they get to wear what they did back then, and their self-named “Dope Denim Crew” rides again. They parade out into the bullpen in oversized denim jackets, jeans, and truly terrible t-shirts to show the team. Jake tells them all about the long hair and gold earring he used to wear (a look he stole from Gina). Boyle is surprised that Jake wants to go back to his reunion after “Tattlegate.” No one else knows about this, so Jake fills them in.

In his junior year of high school, the popular kids finally started talking to him — especially the coolest kid, football player Brandon Bliss. Brandon even asked Jake to tag along to help steal Brandon’s parents’ van, and then go get drunk in the woods. Jake was ecstatic. But the day before it was supposed to go down, someone ratted Brandon out to the principal, who told his parents, and he got in big trouble. Everyone was convinced it was Jake, and for the rest of high school he was known as the Tattler, and any hope of being popular was completely dashed.

But, 20 years later, Jake says he’s totally over it and besides, he figures everyone’s forgotten about it. Jake, Gina, and Amy all head to the reunion and things are going great at first. Gina spins a new lie about her amazing life for each person she meets: she’s been writing the Thor movies, she designed the Freedom Tower, she came up with the term “apps.” Everyone’s eating it up.

Then things start to go downhill for Jake. An old high school buddy brings up the tattling incident and soon there’s a crowd gathered around laughing about how Jake tattled all those years ago. Jake shouts that he wasn’t the Tattler, but no one believes him, and he realizes he still does care that he was wrongly accused all those years ago. Amy devises a plan for them to track down who the real Tattler was so they can clear Jake’s name.

Gina’s too busy to help because she’s pitching an app idea to Quentin, a tech mogul from Silicon Valley. She tells him all about her app idea, Toddler. “Like Tinder, but for toddlers,” she says. Basically, it’s to help parents find and rate playdates for their kids. Quentin is interested, and as his interest grows, so do Gina’s lies about how she has a thriving business, a board of directors, and lots of bidders who all want in on the Toddler app. Quentin’s hooked and makes an offer.

Back at the precinct, Terry, Hitchcock, and Scully are in the break room listening to a radio show. Holt walks in and wants to know why they’re listening to a trashy FM station and Terry tells him how the show does a contest. They play a mystery sound and whichever caller guesses it correctly wins a cash prize. Holt thinks the whole thing is stupid and a waste of time and doesn’t understand how they can find this fun. Just then the mystery sound plays. It’s a crinkling of some sort and now they have to narrow it down and figure out what kind of crinkling it is.

While Terry, Hitchcock, and Scully go on a “crinkle hunt,” Rosa enlists Boyle to help her with a personal problem. It turns out she’s been dating two people who found out about each other and now she’s not sure what to do. She needs to decide between them but she likes them both and doesn’t know how to pick. Boyle says that as genetically indecisive people, the Boyles have created a sure-fire way to make decisions. He has Rosa take a 309-question survey that will help her decide who she should be with.

Unfortunately, after answering all the questions, it’s a dead tie between the two. Next, Boyle convinces her to hang upside down like a bat so all the blood flows to her head and aids her in decision-making. This does no good and by the time Rosa gives up, she gets a text from one of the women breaking up with her. Boyle declares that his method was a success after all, because Boyles don’t make decisions — they just wait it out until the universe is forced to make the decision for them. Rosa decides she’s happy with the outcome and will just go with the one woman who’s left.

Hitchcock, Scully, and Terry are still in the breakroom arguing over what made the crinkling noise. Holt walks back in and is exasperated that they’re still working on this. He starts crinkling everything in sight to make the point that they’re never going to figure it out. He crinkles paper, coffee bean bags, and then opens Terry’s yogurt — and the yogurt opening sounds just like the sound they heard! Suddenly, Holt is invested. Terry calls in to the radio show and tells them the sound is a yogurt being opened — but they’re wrong! It turns out it was just a bag of chips. Even though they didn’t win the prize, Holt realizes this was pretty fun after all.

Back at the reunion, Amy grills Jake about what he remembers from the day Brandon Bliss got in trouble. Jake remembers that everything was fine first period, but after third period Brandon was mad at him. Jake also remembers that he heard a fellow football player had told Brandon that it was Jake who ratted him out. Now they just have to figure out which football player took third period with Brandon. They break into the administration office and look at the old records and get the name: Danny Matthews.

They interrogate Danny and he admits he told Brandon that Jake was the Tattler because he knows that he was — he saw Jake talking to the principal that day. Danny recognized Jake’s long black hair, gold earring, and even the denim jacket he’s wearing right now. Jake realizes that the only other person who dressed like that, matching jacket and all, was his fellow member of the Dope Denim Crew: Gina. She was the Tattler!

Jake confronts Gina in the middle of her finalizing her app pitch with Quentin, and tells Quentin not to believe a word Gina says because she’s a liar. Quentin storms off and the deal’s a bust. Jake tells Gina he knows she’s the real Tattler and she admits the whole thing. She says she’s sorry she let Jake take the rap all these years for something he didn’t do, but also says it would have been way worse if she hadn’t ratted out Brandon to the principal. Brandon and his crew were bad news, and if Jake had gone through with stealing a van and got caught, he’d never be the great cop he is today. Plus, she didn’t want to lose her best friend to Brandon Bliss, who isn’t even at the reunion because he’s on parole for various other crimes.

Jake realizes Gina’s right — isn’t she always? — and tells her so. They track down Quentin so Jake can apologize for ruining Gina’s deal and convince Quentin to take a chance on her. Jake delivers a super inspiring speech, but Quentin takes a hard pass. Jake’s shocked, but then Quentin admits he’s been lying this whole time. He isn’t a tech mogul at all, he was just saying that to mess with people.

Jake tells Gina that even though Quentin was a fake, that doesn’t mean Gina’s idea isn’t great. He encourages her to pursue her dreams of starting her own business, of creating something awesome. Gina decides she will, but if she’s going to pursue her own ambitions, then she won’t have time to work at the Nine-Nine. She tells Jake she’s quitting.

It’ll be sad not having Gina’s weekly presence — and the squad definitely won’t be the same — but may all your dreams come true, Gina Linetti.

Bullets on the Bulletin Board:

  • “This is them. This is Marvel. They probably want to talk about Thor IV. Thor: More Thor
  • “Why learn to grow when you can fix the past?”
  • “So the lesson here is to listen to Hitchcock and Scully more?” “No, that can’t be possible.” “I don’t think we earned that today.”

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Flash 5x11 Review: "Seeing Red" (Rage Against the Dark Matter) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]


"Seeing Red"
Original Airdate: January 22, 2019 

Cicada and his awful Batman Voice is back in full focus this episode. Rumors online keep telling me he’s not the real villain of the season but they’re sure dragging his story out in a way that implies he’s the villain of the season. Anyway, “Seeing Red” — as the name would suggest — focuses a lot on the effects of anger, not only in Cicada and the people on his anti-meta side, but also in Barry.

Although it’s not as precisely balanced as episodes have been in the past and it lacks a certain “wow” factor (possibly due to the absence of Cisco through the whole thing), this isn’t a bad episode. It’s certainly a step up from the frustration-fest we dealt with last week, I’ll say that much.

HE’S A MANIAC, MANIAC!


Huh. So it turns out the Dr. Ambres, the doctor lady we’ve seen helping out Cicada since the beginning, is a lot more bloodthirsty than she originally seemed, since she directs him to go on his killing spree that sets off the plot of this episode. Between this and the somewhat heavy-handed planting of the “blame all the metahumans” idea she gave to Orlin in "O Come, All Ye Thankful," I’m wondering if maybe she’s the big villain of the season instead of (I assume, as the most logical alternative to Cicada) Eobard Thawne from the future. I really wouldn’t put it past this show.

After getting a list of meta targets from Dr. Ambres, Cicada hunts down a man named Bork (which just makes me think of the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show) and our old friend, Matthew “Snakeface McGee” Norvok. You remember Norvok, right? The guy with the snake in his face. Anyway, Cicada kills Bork Bork Bork and Norvok flees, to snakeface again another day.

Oh hey, Barry Allen doing his non-superhero job! Always a delight, especially when Nora gets to be his intern-slash-sidekick. At the Bork crime scene the next day, the two quickly realize that Bork’s injuries resemble those of past Cicada victims and determine that Bork was a meta. He’s also one of three victims of Cicada’s attack, which means Cicada is escalating after his little murder hiatus. As Team Flash is discussing this escalation later at S.T.A.R. Labs, an alarm goes off, indicating that Cicada’s striking again.

Cicada’s latest victim is seriously injured but still alive. In all the chaos, Cicada is able to attack Nora — she gets stabbed in the back, resulting in a broken spine, paralysis, and a temporary pause in her speed-healing. Even though the show dips into dramatic “what if Nora never gets better?” territory for, like, half a second, she definitely does get better. In this very episode in fact. Her injury is less of a catalyst for exploring Nora herself and more about exploring Barry’s attachment to Nora as his daughter. When he sees Nora hurt, Barry goes a little murder-y himself in his anger and that becomes a key beat of the episode.

The actual episode plot, however, is all about gathering up Cicada’s potential victims and getting them into protective custody. The show actually does a pretty good job mimicking some typical procedural stuff for this storyline, including getting Cecile to organize a safe house for the metas and hunt down the leak within CCPD that provided Cicada with the metahuman list in the first place. Spoiler: it was Officer Jones, the victim of meta-tech from the fourth episode of the season. He did it because he was angry. That’s a big motivator this episode.

See, for example: Barry almost killing Cicada in the climactic final battle, after our villain gets a tip-off from Officer Jones on where the metahumans are getting picked up for transfer to the safe location and shows up to kill ‘em all. Like I said, Barry’s anger over Nora’s injury made him contemplate more drastic measures for dealing with Cicada. I was actually surprised the episode never brought up Barry exploring his angry feelings during the crossover event, since it would have made a good connecting thread from that to this. There was also Barry’s rage when he traveled back in time and met up with Eobard Thawne. I’m not sure how much more of this season will be dedicated to Barry’s darker emotions, but it’s interesting how that subject keeps popping up.

With a little help from Killer Frost — the only meta unaffected by Cicada’s dagger — the team manages to get all the metas to safety and Barry doesn’t kill anyone, but Cicada does get away. Barry’s strong protective feelings over his daughter give him an idea to appeal to Cicada’s emotions using Grace, the comatose adoptive daughter of Orlin Dwyer. They just have to wake her up, and Orlin/Cicada’s killing spree will have no more purpose. Easy-peasy, right? Of course, we’re ignoring the fact that Orlin’s kill count is in the dozens at this point and he’s definitely going to jail, so he’d probably see no reason to just stop killing metas for an adoptive daughter he still won’t ever be allowed to see. And, in fact, he would probably continue blaming metas for sending him down the spiraling path of murder in the first place but... Yeah, wake the little girl up, Team Flash. It’s a good deed regardless.

OKAY, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT SHERLOQUE


A minor subplot of this episode is Sherloque investigating Nora, and I know that this is a significant thing simply because so much time is dedicated to it — but seriously, what is going on with this? Why was Sherloque suspicious of Nora from the start, and how is this going to play out? It’s probably the most frustrating mystery of the season, since I can’t figure out what the angle is supposed to be, or even what the bait-and-switch angle might be. Are we supposed to be thinking Nora is a villain? That she isn’t who she says she is? Or are we supposed to be thinking Sherloque is a villain and isn’t who he says he is? A lot about the way the show frames his investigation implies he knew from the start that Nora was a lying liar, but I really don’t know how he could have known.

But I don’t know, maybe his character is just that he notices stuff no one else does, he noticed Nora’s shiftiness, and he didn’t want to openly accuse her while no one on Team Flash even likes him. Iris certainly gave him a real talking-to in this episode (yet another anger motif, by the way) and Barry almost killed a guy for hurting Nora, so Sherloque should definitely be wary of crossing Team Flash where she’s concerned.

Other Things:

  • Norvok got a redemption arc, by the way. That was nice. He still has a snake in his face, though, so that’s a bummer.
  • The final scene of the episode was Orlin looking at pictures of Team Flash while making grimacing faces and I have no idea what it’s meant to convey.
  • I still really like the Caitlin and Killer Frost relationship development. It just didn’t fit into this review too well, since anger did not factor into their quarrel so much as fear did. Important, though: Killer Frost snatches some Cicada blood for Caitlin to use in the metahuman cure.
  • Next week: IF YOU DIE IN THE GAME, YOU DIE FOR REAL!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 6x02 Recap: “Hitchcock & Scully” (Meow!) [Contributor: Alisa Williams]


“Hitchcock & Scully”
Original Airdate: January 17, 2019

In the latest episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, we get to learn a little bit more about Hitchcock and Scully, circa 1986, at the height of their careers. The cold open is a young (and hot!) duo taking down a notorious crime boss named Gio Costa. The young Hitchcock and Scully are played effortlessly and hilariously by Wyatt Nash and Alan Ritchson. Mad props to NBC for casting the perfect pair, seriously. 

Flash forward to present day, and it turns out Internal Affairs is investigating this very case. Captain Holt is convinced Commissioner Kelly is behind this, seeking to wreak further havoc on the Nine-Nine for Holt complaining about him to the mayor. Holt decides he’s had enough. He’s going to go on TV and tell the city what the mayor is up to. He asks Jake and Boyle to look into the Costa case themselves so they’ll know what they’re up against with IA. Jake and Boyle sit down with Hitchcock and Scully to go over the facts. Looking through the old case file, they find a photo of the duo and are shocked to discover that Hitchcock and Scully were, well, super hot. Or, to borrow Boyle’s descriptor, “Meow!”

Jake asks them to go over what they remember about the case. Hitchcock and Scully tell him and Boyle that they got to Costa through a confidential informant on the inside. Jake asks who this CI was, but they say they don’t remember. It was a long time ago, after all. Jake moves on, asking why they think IA would investigate the case, but Hitchcock and Scully are as clueless as usual. Then, Jake spots a clue in the old photograph. The case file says Hitchcock and Scully recovered three bags of cash from the crime scene, and that’s how much was logged into evidence, but in the photo, reflected in a mirror behind Hitchcock and Scully, there’s clearly a fourth bag. When Jake presses about it, Hitchcock and Scully get defensive and storm out.

Meanwhile, Terry and Rosa are upset over the cramped quarters the Nine-Nine is now subjected to, since Commissioner Kelly indefinitely closed the precinct’s bottom floor for “renovations” and moved everyone up to the bullpen. The “downstairs people” — as Terry and Rosa call them — are gross and rude and ruining everything, from stinking up the elevator to leaving the kitchen and bathrooms a mess. They complain to Amy, who is sergeant downstairs, but she takes offense at their condescending view of the downstairs people and bickering ensues. Terry and Amy take their complaints to Captain Holt, but he has bigger problems to deal with, like preparing for the TV interview with Gina’s help.

Jake and Boyle have wrangled Hitchcock and Scully into an interrogation room, but if they thought it would be easy to break these two, they thought wrong. Scully informs Jake that they just ate a huge meal full of cheese and the interrogation room is a time bomb about to explode with farts. Jake and Boyle quickly move them out to the patio to continue the conversation, but Hitchcock and Scully are being unhelpful. They claim they never had the fourth bag of money, and produce their financials to prove that they’re not just poor, they’re “destitute.”

Jake looks over their credit card statements, but other than an unhealthy habit of frequent visits to Wing Slutz, nothing looks out of the ordinary, and they’re certainly not lying about being broke. But then, Jake spots a red flag. Hitchcock has a monthly charge for a parking spot, even though he doesn’t own a car. Jake and Boyle, with Hitchcock and Scully in tow, pay a visit to the parking garage. It turns out he owns a creepy van with the name “Beaver Trap” painted on its sides. While investigating the back of the Beaver Trap, Jake and Boyle find the fourth bag from the photo. It’s empty, but before they can question Hitchcock and Scully about it, the van doors slam and they’re trapped inside.

Jake uses a creepy mannequin leg to spring the latch on the Beaver Trap’s back door, and they jump out as fast as they can. But Hitchcock and Scully are long gone, and they’ve taken Jake’s car, with Jake’s phone inside. Boyle says not to worry, he has an app that can track Jake’s phone (of course he does), so they can see exactly where Hitchcock and Scully are. But in order to catch them, they’ll have to take the Beaver Trap.

Hitchcock and Scully didn’t go far. Jake and Boyle corner them at Wing Slutz, where they run into a surprise: the waitress is none other than Marisa Costa, Gio Costa’s wife, and the CI who helped Hitchcock and Scully take down Gio all those years ago. Now that that secret’s out, they confess everything. They did steal the fourth bag of money, but not for themselves — they gave it to Marisa so she could start a new life. As a CI, she was supposed to be paid for her help, but the captain at the time screwed her over and so she would have had nothing. Hitchcock and Scully helped set her up with her new life and new job at Wing Slutz, and they check in on her regularly to make sure she’s doing okay.

Back at the precinct, things have escalated between the upstairs and downstairs people. Rosa and Terry ban the microwave from the downstairs people after an unfortunate uncovered soup incident. While they and Amy argue about it, Holt and Gina prepare for the TV interview. Just then, Commissioner Kelly shows up. He’s heard about the interview and he tells Holt that if he goes through with it, he has all sorts of ideas that will “spice up” life at the Nine-Nine.

Things outside Holt’s office are just as tense. Amy pretends to declare a truce with Rosa and Terry, but it’s really a distraction so one of her fellow downstairs people can put a whole fish in the microwave. As if the smell wasn’t bad enough, the microwave then explodes. Holt comes out, upset about the disturbance in the midst of Kelly’s visit. Kelly pops out too, wondering about the smell and the commotion. Holt realizes the stress his team is under due to all that Kelly is doing to them and tells Kelly he’s had enough. From all of the Nine-Nine being forced into the bullpen, to Kelly reporting his officers to IA, it’s got to stop. But Kelly says he never reported any of the Nine-Nine officers to IA — though he thinks that’s a great idea.

But, if it wasn’t Kelly, then who called Hitchcock and Scully to tell them they were under investigation? Holt calls Jake with this update and Jake quickly deduces that it’s someone who was hoping they’d lead him straight to Marisa. It turns out, Gio Costa is out of jail and just as Jake is putting two and two together, Gio pulls up with his goons and heads into Wing Slutz. Jake and Boyle usher everyone into the kitchen and plan to head out the back, but they can’t be sure that way is clear either. Scully and Hitchcock concoct a ridiculous plan that involves strapping gallons of sauce to their chests and storming the bad guys. Jake and Boyle are against it, but Hitchcock and Scully will do anything to save Marisa.

They burst out the back door, only to find that the bad guys have all been apprehended by Captain Holt and the rest of the team who rushed to their rescue. Just then, Gio elbows the officer holding him and goes for a gun he had concealed at his ankle, aiming to shoot Marisa. Both Hitchcock and Scully jump in front of her, and take bullets to the chest.

... But they’re unhurt! The sauce was so thick that the bullets couldn’t penetrate it. Taking advantage of Gio’s surprise, Terry tackles him to the ground.

Back at the Nine-Nine, Holt confirms that Hitchcock and Scully will be punished for stealing that money. Their sentence? Desk duty for a year (they’re thrilled). Meanwhile, since Holt missed his TV interview, Gina did it instead. She tells the team the network has never received more complaints, which she’s fine with. She’s all about creating controversy.

With everyone safe again, and enjoying some down time at the bar, Jake and Boyle are left to ponder what happened to Hitchcock and Scully all those years ago that took them from being perfect police specimens to the washed up has-beens they are now. We flash back to a final scene with young Hitchcock and Scully, who are checking on Marisa at her new gig at Wing Slutz before they head off to the gym to lift weights. She tells them she likes her new job and offers them their first wings, on the house. One bite and they’re hooked. It was all downhill from there.

Bullets on the Bulletin Board:

  • “I’ve said ‘excuse me’ more times this morning than I have in my entire life. Twice!”
  • “Are you body shaming us?” “No, I’m personality shaming you!”
  • “You’re joining in the witchhunt!” “You’re fake news! Sad!” “Yep, that’s definitely the language of the innocent.” 
  • “I can’t believe we let Hitchcock and Scully get the drop on us. It’s like being outsmarted by a couple of tomatoes.” 
  • “Why are you smiling?” “Because he’s one of those friendly villains, like the Verizon guy who defected to Sprint.” 
  • “I don’t like your threats and I don’t like the cheery manner in which you’ve chosen to deliver them.” 

Grey’s Anatomy 15x09 Review: “Shelter from the Storm” (Three Elevators) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]


“Shelter from the Storm”
Original Airdate: January 17, 2019

It’s been a long two months, but the wait is finally over! Grey’s Anatomy is back with seventeen new episodes that are sure to contain even more OMG moments — starting with the midseason premiere’s continuation of the havoc a wind storm causes in Seattle on one fateful day. Unfortunately, we have to wait until March to find out how the crew of Station 19 fared, but it’s safe to say that no one at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital is going to forget this storm.

THE AWKWARD ELEVATOR


Thank goodness this episode starts right where it left off: the power in the hospital has gone out, leaving doctors and patients trapped and in need of some serious help. The backup generators come on quickly, yet they don’t have enough power to move the elevators. The first half of the episode focuses on the three occupied and unmoving elevator cars, causing the doctors to come face-to-face with the problems that they have been repressing this season. The first elevator becomes home to the most awkward pregnancy reveal of all time.

Owen, Teddy, and Amelia were transporting a dying patient when they were trapped in an elevator. Since they have nothing else to do, Teddy and Owen quickly start talking in code about Teddy’s situation, which Owen had just learned moments before. Being the smart cookie she is, Amelia quickly catches on that something isn’t right, and the cat is let out of the bag. The shocked Amelia literally doesn’t know what to say for once, while Owen yells at Teddy for not telling him the news sooner, especially given that she has been in town for weeks. Just as the three doctors really start getting into it, their patient crashes.

Unsure of what to do both medically and in the new situation she has been thrust into, Amelia struggles to help Owen and Teddy save the patient’s life. With minimal supplies and space, Owen and Teddy decide to get creative and perform impromptu trauma surgery in the elevator. I think we all should be as in awe of the situation as Amelia is as she watches her colleagues work. Granted, Amelia is also clearly contemplating her role in the ever-complicated relationship with Owen, given that his history with Teddy is on full display in front of her. While performing this very complex surgery, Owen and Teddy feel it is the appropriate time to continue discussing the pregnancy. Teddy finally admits that she didn’t tell Owen sooner because she saw how happy he was with Amelia and his new family and didn’t want to disrupt their life. She goes on to say that she is sixteen weeks pregnant, doesn’t know the gender yet, and plans on staying in Seattle permanently. Amelia barely lets Teddy’s apology get out of her mouth before another argument ensues, which ironically became the perfect moment for the elevator doors, and flood gates, to open.

THE BARELY-HOLDING-IT-TOGETHER ELEVATOR


Everything is tumultuous inside and outside the second elevator, which happens to be the only one anyone in the hospital seems concerned about fixing. Bailey, Helm, and the braindead patient — whose heart is supposed to be given to matchmaker Cece — occupy this claustrophobic elevator. Bailey and Helm have the same feelings about being trapped but show it very differently.

At first, Helm panics about not being able to get the patient to the OR in time to save Cece, while Bailey appears calm on the outside and snaps at Helm to get a grip. Bailey knows that showing signs of panic will not help their situation, but after a bit of time has passed, the tables turn. Helm winds up having to calm Bailey down after she goes into a spiral. Both doctors fight to stay emotionally okay, as help is on its way. But more on that later.

CHEMISTRY'S ELEVATOR


Finally, it's the elevator you have all been waiting for! There’s just something about those elevators at Grey Sloan that tend to send sparks flying, which is just what Meredith was trying to avoid. Unwilling to acknowledge that she has any romantic feelings toward anyone, Meredith is upset at her current situation — being stuck in an elevator with Andrew DeLuca, who is so head-over-heels in love with her that it hurts. While I personally don’t like the idea of DeLuca and Meredith having any sort of non-professional relationship, it was interesting to see how time in a shared space slowly started to break down Meredith’s walls. Poor DeLuca tries everything he can think of to get Meredith to realize that they have chemistry.

Meredith spends a majority of their shared time fending off DeLuca’s advances and attempting to keep her mind on getting out of the elevator and to the OR for Cece’s transplants. DeLuca’s charm starts getting to Meredith when he reveals he is a secret Doctor Who fan and says their situation is just like the T.A.R.D.I.S. — a magical place where the regular rules don’t apply. Much to his chagrin, Meredith puts the kibosh on that real quick.

Eventually, DeLuca decides to have a real conversation with Meredith and opens up about his past. He tells her about how he came to live in America and discusses his father for the first time. DeLuca reveals that his father was a famous surgeon in Italy but, like all of the characters’ backstories on this show, he made some pretty big mistakes. Feeling insecure — and not totally trusting Meredith — DeLuca proceeds to tell her his father’s story in his native Italian. Daddy DeLuca suffers from mental illness and went on a surgical manic craze, where he operated on seven patients straight with no breaks. Four of those patients died, and thanks to friends in high places and a big wad of cash, Daddy DeLuca was able to cover up what he had done. By the conclusion, DeLuca is happy that he told someone his story, and Meredith’s walls start to visibly crack.

Meredith realizes that she is beginning to have feelings and decides to distract herself by having DeLuca pick her up so she can see if there’s a way out through the vent in the elevator’s ceiling. DeLuca brings Meredith down and embraces her before she can say no. He asks again why they can’t date, so Meredith says she doesn’t want to make the same mistakes she has in the past. DeLuca smartly asks if her marriage and kids were a mistake, which puts Meredith on the defensive about her real reasons for not wanting to pursue him.

To get off the topic, Meredith asks DeLuca to talk to her in Italian again. Taking the language of love seriously, DeLuca starts saying that he wants to kiss Meredith and that she will eventually let him, which will lead him to never stop kissing her. With his profession of love on full display, Meredith responds in Italian, “Did I tell you I took three years of Italian in undergrad?” DeLuca is a bit surprised that Meredith knew everything he was saying, making everything just a bit steamier. The two continue to embrace, and — as DeLuca goes in for the kiss — Meredith decides that maybe it’s not such a bad idea. Just as their lips are about to meet, the elevator doors fling open.

The biggest tease of an elevator ride ends just as promptly as it started, but what happens in elevators might not stay in elevators...

ALEX TO THE RESCUE!


While everyone is still trapped, Alex and Jo are enjoying their time at home on their second honeymoon. Alex keeps getting texts about what is happening at the hospital and decides he is going to attempt to get there since everyone needs his help, leaving the very drunk Jo behind. The wind continues to whip around at the hospital so upon his arrival, Alex winds up finding shelter in the same ambulance that Nico and Schmitt have made into their love shack. All three are incredibly shocked, and Alex quickly leaves, telling the other two to get back inside and help out.

In the meantime, Jackson, Qadri, and Link have found the elevator that Bailey and Helm are in and try to open the doors with varying means of force. They all know that Cece is not doing well as she awaits surgery in the OR, where Maggie is keeping watch over her. As they try to beat the doors in, Jed, the hospital’s head of maintenance, shows up and helps bust the doors open. Alex arrives just in time to see that the elevator car is slightly below the floor, but there is enough room to get the all three occupants out. Link, Alex, and Jed help Bailey, Helm, and the patient get out of the elevator. Jed struggles to get out and refuses help. He pulls himself up and out of the elevator right as the power is fully restored and the elevator car starts to go down, which crushes his legs.

Alex and Link manage to get the elevator to come back up to free Jed, while Bailey and Helm have already rushed to the OR. After freeing Jed, Alex goes to the OR to inform Bailey what has happened. Still shaken from being trapped, Bailey decides to leave the OR and have Alex finish harvesting the new heart for Cece. Instead of going to help out in Jed’s surgery, Bailey returns to her former office for some privacy. In a moment of panic, she texts Ben to see if he is okay. As she tries to recover, Alex storms into the office and starts ranting about how Bailey can have the job back. Bailey says that she bailed on the surgery because she knew she was freaking out. Ben texts her back and says that he is fine, which causes Bailey to break down and use Alex for support. She tells him that she has been struggling and begs him not to quit because she needs time to fix herself. She asks for his help, and Alex sympathetically agrees.


THREE OR'S


Now that everyone is free, we can get back to our regularly scheduled surgeries. Teddy, Owen, and Amelia get their patient to the OR and quickly stabilize him. Amelia sees that her help is no longer needed, which can be taken two-fold, and leaves. The patient survives the surgery, which allows Owen and Teddy to finally take a breath and have a meaningful conversation while scrubbing out. Owen says that he really wants to be involved with the baby and is happy that Teddy is sticking around. It’s good to see the two of them on the same page about something this season. As they start to ponder what their new reality will look like, the excitement and nerves prove to be a bit much for Teddy, who starts crying. Owen comforts her by saying that they will figure it out.

Things are a bit more heated in the next OR, where Jackson and Link start operating on Jed. Nico and Schmitt show up a little while later. Link doesn’t think that Jed’s legs can be saved due to the extensive nerve and blood vessel damage. Jackson stops him from amputating by suggesting a way to potentially save them. He goes a little overboard in his presentation, which shows that he isn’t as focused on simply saving his patient as he is on mirroring his struggle to accept that his mother is sick and the fact that he might not be able to save her. Link agrees to try and save Jed’s legs, and Jackson’s methods work. The positive surgery leads Jed to keep his legs and have a (small) chance at walking again.

The third OR turns chaotic when Cece’s transplants don’t go the way everyone had hoped. Helm brings the harvested heart to the OR and stays to assist Maggie, Meredith, and DeLuca. The heart is transplanted successfully and beats on its own after being taken off bypass. The team moves on to the kidney transplant, but Cece crashes not long after. Everyone frantically tries to save Cece’s life, and Meredith even goes as far to beg her patient to hold on and keep fighting. In the end, Cece doesn’t make it through the surgery, leaving a room full of very upset doctors. Meredith stays behind to close Cece up and thanks her for all her help in a sweet parting monologue.

REALITY BITES


Elsewhere in the hospital, Richard has spent the day taking charge and trying to keep himself busy. He runs into Betty, who is roaming the halls, early in the episode. The two team up to find ways to help others in the hospital, but Betty eventually splits off from Richard to go back to the ER. Toward the end of the episode, Richard finds Betty frantically searching through cabinets in a room and asks her if she came back to the hospital to steal drugs. Betty pleads with Richard to not tell Amelia what she was doing, but Richard says he wouldn’t be a good doctor if he didn’t say anything.

On her way to find Betty and Richard, Amelia bumps into Owen, who apologizes for the mess he has made by getting Teddy pregnant. In a very sweet moment, Amelia tells Owen that she was the one who told him to go to Germany, so he’s not at fault. Owen says that they will figure things out, but he wants to stay with Amelia. Amelia tells Owen that he can’t commit to her when there’s another option on the table. She decides to give him some space to weigh his options and make a decision. Her speech feels more like a goodbye than an “I’ll wait for you,” but it was good to see Amelia move forward emotionally. However, she doesn’t tell Owen what Betty has been up to.

Amelia eventually finds her way to Betty and Richard, and tells Betty that she wants to put her in a rehab facility to give her the best chance possible at getting sober. Betty sadly agrees without arguing while a somber Richard looks on. On his way out of the room, Jackson and Maggie find Richard. Jackson asks him if he has heard from Catherine, which Richard has not. Jackson and Maggie proceed to pull Richard into another room to tell him about Catherine’s cancer.

The episode closes with Meredith coming out of an elevator as DeLuca walks down the hall. He stops to ask if she’s all right and says that they should go on a date that night... right as Link walks up to see if Meredith still wanted to get drinks. Meredith realizes the mess she’s gotten herself into and says that she is being haunted by Cece. She tells both that it has been a long day and she wants to go home to her kids. Meredith says she will see them both later, thus officially starting that long-awaited love triangle and leaving the two flabbergasted men behind.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Blindspot 4x10 Review: "The Big Reveal" (Good Me, Bad Me) [Contributor: Jen]


"The Big Reveal"
Original Airdate: January 18, 2019

After coming off such an incredibly strong episode last week, Blindspot's "The Big Reveal" is a big letdown.

CASE OF THE WEEK


Jane is officially Jane again, only now she's whole. She remembers everything from her life as Remi and even as Alice. This is fantastic news of course, but unfortunately she is still dying from Zip poisoning. Shepherd told Remi the last time she spoke to Roman, he said he was looking into someone named Kallisto.

Patterson and Rich get cracking! In Greek mythology Jupiter transformed Kallisto into a bear and, just before she was about to be killed, Zeus placed her into the heavens — thus forming the constellation Ursa Major. This constellation is part of the Big Dipper, and another name for the Big Dipper is The Plow. And that's the password to open Roman's final data cache. The mental gymnastics Blindspot uses to create these passwords and solve the tattoos will never make complete sense to me, but I've let that dream go.

The cache unveils the creator of Zip — Dr. Nora Lee Roga, who died two years ago. Dead end right? Nope, because Dr. Roga is played by Patricia Richardson (who was Jill Taylor on Home Improvement). Blindspot wouldn't cast Jill Taylor if she's playing a dead character. That's just fact.

Of course Nora Roga is alive. Zip began as a treatment for Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders, but when Nora discovered it was killing people, she demanded the project be terminated. Her employer, Christian Kearns, assured Nora all supplies were destroyed. Instead, Christian sold it to Sandstorm.

Kearns Pharmaceutical put a hit out on Nora and her partner after she found a document confirming the sale. Roman found Dr. Roga after her partner was killed, helped fake her own death and set her up with a lab so she could continue to find a cure for Zip. Roman was a seriously busy dude. The mind reels with all the travel, saving lives, murdering, hiding, buying lab supplies, mastering a double life to woo pretty girls, creating super complicated caches and puzzles to solve all while he's actively trying destroy his sister's life, while simultaneously trying to save it. I'm tired just thinking about it.

Of course, Dr. Roga has the cure for Zip because even if this is the last season, Blindspot isn't killing Jane. Nora had the cure for a while. It was ready to go; she was just waiting to hear from Roman... who was busy getting shot by his girlfriend and dying. Poor guy.

Nora's super secret hiding spot is blown by her son, who is understandably excited to hear his mother is alive, when he makes a phone call to his wife. Kearns had his phone tapped. If you are wondering how he brought a cell phone into the FBI AND MADE A PHONE CALL, then trust me you are not alone. How did the FBI not know his calls were being recorded?! See this is what happens when you start asking logical questions about Blindspot episodes.

Thus a great gun battle erupts and destroys the stem cells, which are the crucial ingredient to the Zip cure and extremely difficult to procure. Relax, kids. Jane still isn't dying. Team Blindspot will find the impossible to find stem cells in the nick of time.

TEAM BLINDSPOT


Zapata, you got some splainin' to do! Tasha gets perp walked right through the FBI and for about five minutes I was genuinely interested in hearing her explanation for all her shady and nefarious activities during season four.

... Right until the part when Blindspot started using flashbacks to explain everything away.

I hate when they do this. The flashback is a serious writing crutch on Blindspot. It's pretty much an epidemic. The writers are constantly filling in the plot holes with never before seen scenes which magically give all the answers and erase any responsibility for a character's actions. I don't know why I was expecting different, but I was.

I'm not even going to get into all the scenes that explain how Zapata is really a good guy pretending to be a bad all along. It's just so... boring. I was way more interested in Zapata actually choosing the dark side. Tasha Zapata is one of those characters who will cross any line if she believes the ends justify the means. This whole deep cover with the CIA really eliminates any shades of grey. She was just following orders. Heck, she even tried to wiggle out of it a couple times. Tasha wanted to loop in her team, particularly Reade, but was instructed not to by Blindspot's forever fall guy, Keaton.

What is Reade even mad about now? Tasha lied to him. Okay, well she was doing her job. Get over it. It's a little difficult to listen to Reade defend the moral high ground. Keaton wanted someone on the inside to deal with whoever took Crawford's place. He made Tasha burn all her bridges so Madeline would buy her story. SHE. WAS. LITERALLY. FOLLOWING. ORDERS.

Don't get me wrong: I would much prefer rogue!Zapata to undercover!Zapata. Then at least it makes Reade's anger more clean cut and his forgiveness a little more complicated. But now? Eh. He'll fume for a few episodes, Tasha will do something heroic or almost die or something to that effect, Reade will realize he still loves her, and TA-DA! Happy ending.

I'm not unhappy about a Reade and Tasha happy ending. I was just hoping the road getting there was slightly more interesting. Jamming an episode full of five or six scenes which conveniently fix all the problems is just lazy though. Hard pass. Tasha's entire storyline feels like a waste of time.

KURT AND JANE


Jane is feeling bad about being evil, particularly since Zapata was arrested for her nefarious activities while Jane got off scot-free. I mean... you aren't wrong, Jane! Kurt, however, explains all the hypocrisy away with, "Zapata chose her own path. You didn't."

Also true. The Jane side of her brain was benched while Remi wreaked havoc. Had the Jane side of her brain been active, like it is now, her conscience would have stopped the Remi side of her brain. Zapata doesn't have a split personality, which comes and goes because of a magic memory-erasing drug. Darn, Zip is handy at times.

I feel like "I was following orders" equates to "I became Remi again," and once the rest of the team gets the full story they will probably forgive Tasha just like Jane. At least Patterson, Rich, and Kurt will. Edgar is too busy moping over being a temporary one night stand.

However, Kurt's need to erase all of Remi's actions grates on me a little. Both Kurt and Patterson are adamant Jane is not Remi in "The Big Reveal." This is one of the few times I disagree with my faves. That was the entire point of "Check Your Ed." All of Jane's memories are back. She is as much Remi as she is Jane. The difference between then and now is Jane can make a fully informed choice with her free will. We all have a darker side to us, and Jane is no different. Hers is just magnified because she was raised by a terrorist. Remi isn't erased simply because Jane chooses to be good.

The only person who seems to understand this, and the struggle Jane is having with juggling all these returning memories, is Rich Dotcom: "You know, it's like you. I have certain things in my past that haunt me. I don't even have the 'good me, bad me' excuse to fall back on."

Rich acknowledges his past behavior, as much as Rich can, while also acknowledging he's been reformed with the help of the team. He even believes Remi could have been reformed if she'd stuck around long enough. I agree, but what is truly important in this exchange is Rich's willingness to acknowledge Remi as a part of Jane — a part who still exists to Jane more than ever before, because she can remember everything Remi said or did.

Unconditional love is not obstinately ignoring the less than pleasant aspects of our partner. Unconditional love is acknowledging the good and the bad. We don't have to accept the bad behavior. We can challenge our loved ones to be better, like the team has done for Rich, without being completely blind to their faults.

Kurt's blind spots with Jane change every season, but right now he's too focused on embracing all the good in Jane while willfully being blind to the bad. It's unfortunately because Kurt and Jane's love is more than simply all their positive aspects or all the good they've accomplished. They've had to claw their way back from a lot of bad, which includes choices each has made when supposedly being their best self.

Memory doesn't make us who we are; our free will does. Now that Jane has all her faculties back, she can focus on the one choice that separates good people and bad. It's why Rich's advice resonates so much with her. He's making the choice to be good every day just like Jane will — just like any of us do.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Remories. HAHAHA.
  • "Your fire is one of the things I love about you, but you need to control it." Kurt and Jane talking about what they love most in one another is like shipper catnip. We've been starved for so long.
  • Rich as the stenographer is hilarious.
  • "You can think whatever you want, but that was real." Did any of us really think Tasha didn't love Reade when she slept with him? No, but it was still nice to hear.
  • Rich yelling at Jane to get out of the van and "do some good" was really freaking awesome.
  • "It's easier to make good choices when you surround yourself with good people." This is true.
  • "You will never get close to me again." Sure, Jan.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Flash 5x10 Review: "The Flash & The Furious" (Crash and Burn) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]


"The Flash & The Furious"
Original Airdate: January 15, 2019 

Welcome to 2019, The Flash fans. I wish I could say the episode to start the new year is one of promise and indication of wonderful things to come, but... uh, well, let’s just assume they’re still getting their footing. It was a long hiatus! If I may use a holidays-specific metaphor, it’s like the show gorged on a lot of turkey and baked goods and now it’s gotta work off the lethargy of Christmas dinner before it gets back into the swing of things.

This week: Nora acts like a bratty teenager (again) and fails to understand that moral judgement can be varied on a case-by-case basis, Cisco and Caitlin have possibly discovered a metahuman cure and (inexplicably) Cisco would be okay with using it, and Barry is Sir Barely Appearing in This Episode. So, yeah — not the strongest midseason return the show has ever seen, but they can’t all be winners. Hopefully next week will be better.

BABY YOU CAN DRIVE MY CAR


The episode starts in 2049, with Nora confronting an imprisoned Eobard Thawne about what she learned regarding his role in Barry’s mom’s murder. Thawne whispers his way through the conversation, swearing that he’s a changed man who only wants Nora’s help in proving such, but Nora ain’t picking up what he’s putting down. She returns to her past, our present, with a grudge against all lawbreakers in equal measure.

This grudge comes into play when — and here’s a real rare moment, actually getting to see a villain of the week face trial — Barry, Iris, and Nora accompanying Cecile on her first trial back from maternity leave. The trial is for Joss Jackam, a.k.a. Weather Witch, and Cecile’s low-key psychic powers are picking up enough remorse from the defendant that she decides to go a little easier on her. Nora isn’t fond of this idea, so when Barry is taken out of commission and she replaces him as Cecile’s primary CSI witness, she practically orders the judge to put Joss before a firing squad immediately. According to Nora, criminals are irredeemable, soulless monsters who can never change, and all should be condemned forever, regardless of what they actually did. All law breaking is equal in her eyes. Murder? Rot in jail! Destruction of property? Rot in jail! Jaywalking? I hope you enjoyed that ill-timed stroll across the street because you won’t be strolling much as you rot in jail!

Yeah, this is my major gripe for the episode, and since it provides the emotional through-line of the plot, my irritation is renewed quite frequently. The villain of the week, Silver Ghost, is a car thief looking to branch out into bigger and better things. She sets her sights on Joss as a potential partner in crime and uses meta-tech to take over the prison transport vehicle Joss is riding in after her trial. The sudden disappearance of Weather Witch en route only feeds into Nora’s vendetta of the week, reinforcing her assumption that every criminal Team Flash ever deals with will be equally bad as the guy who killed her grandmother.

The thing is, Joss was kidnapped from the transport vehicle, not rescued, and she really does feel remorse over her actions as Weather Witch, and she takes the risk of luring Nora out in order to turn herself in. She hopes that Nora will back her up on the kidnapping thing so Joss’s crimes don’t look worse than they already are but, of course, Nora doesn’t. Which means the next time Silver Ghost stages a prison break for Joss, Joss goes willingly — if no one is going to believe she’s not a career criminal like her father, she figures she should just stop trying.

Joss and Silver Ghost break into ARGUS to steal a fancy prototype car full of fancy tech. Fancy! It’s a real pity the user interface of the car looks on par with a cheap Facebook game. Anyway, Nora chases after the criminal duo and, having gotten a little pep talk on the value of second chances from Team Flash, realizes her mistakes. She tries a pep talk of her own, hoping to get through to Joss, but it looks like she’s too late — until she realizes that a life-saving burst of ice hadn’t come from Killer Frost, as she’d originally assumed, but from Joss’s weather staff.

Unfortunately, Nora learns the worst possible lesson from all this and decides to go back to the future and hear Thawne out. Nora. Nora, darling, I am begging you to look up the word “nuance” in the dictionary.

GOIN’ CURE CRAZY


Caitlin performs some basic follow-up maintenance on the hand wounds Cisco got from Cicada’s dagger and he examines the shards she yanks from his palms, discovering that the dagger doesn’t just dampen dark matter abilities — it removes them completely. Cisco is inspired by this, explaining to Caitlin that the shards (or the dagger) could be the start of developing a permanent metahuman cure and undoing what the particle accelerator started all those years ago. They could actually stop their villains of the week on a more permanent basis without killing them. Cisco is thrilled; Caitlin is not.

Side note: I’m way more on Cisco’s side than Caitlin’s regarding the use of a metahuman cure on villains. On the one hand, you have shoving metahuman after metahuman into special prisons for an indefinite period of time. On the other, you could remove their powers, put them into regular prisons, and allow them to serve time and be released like any normal criminal. The latter sounds a heck of a lot better than the former, if you ask me.

What I’m not a fan of during this whole B-plot? Cisco’s sudden enthusiasm for normal life, which feels like it’s coming completely out of left field. Sure, they drop a couple lines about how Cisco thought being without powers was liberating and relaxing, but that doesn’t really gel with Cisco’s relationship with his meta-abilities up to this point. He’s always seemed proud about being Vibe, bordering on cocky; the show couldn’t have tried a little harder to lay some groundwork for this sudden change in perspective?

By the end of the episode, Cisco and Caitlin agree to develop the cure with the caveat that it would only be used on willing participants. Okay, I guess... still think you guys should probably use it on criminals, but fine. Do whatever.

Hey, I wonder if Cisco and Caitlin developing a cure for metas could mean solving the Cicada problem without any more bloodshe—oh. Nope. He’s going on a killing spree next episode. Cool. Cool, cool, cool.

Other Things:

  • I still haven’t figured out what the deal with Sherloque is. Does he just get wrapped up in mysteries? Does he know more than we think he knows about Nora? He was suspicious of her from the start. Why? How?
  • I usually enjoy episodes where Barry takes a backseat to all the action because they usually mean more room for all the other characters to grow and develop as independent entities, but this episode was really, really not that.
  • Why is Thawne wearing a Wells face? And why can’t he speak at a normal volume?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Blindspot 4x09 Review: "Check Your Ed" (A Whole Person) [Contributor: Jen]


"Check Your Ed"
Original Airdate: January 11, 2019

Just when I think I'm done with Blindspot, they churn out one of their best episodes ever, if not the best episode. I'm permanently Michael Corleone in the Godfather III with this show.


I'm not going to split the review into sections this time because "Check Your Ed" is all about Jane Doe. We start where we left off in "Screech, Thwack, Pow" with Remi and Weller charging each other like they are vying for Ultimate Fighting Champion. The battle gets more interesting and far less cheesy once Kurt and Remi start throwing punches. It feels very Buffy versus Angel from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. (I should have known then that Angel would go evil.) Anyway, the fight ends with Weller tranquilizing Remi, which is something Elena always did to Stefan on The Vampire Diaries. I'm starting to notice a pattern with my fictional romance choices.

Weller brings unconscious Jane to Patterson's lab and hooks her up to a lot of brain-scanning equipment. Apparently Patterson and Rich have gone through all of Roman's data cache and found the only doctor in the world who can cure Jane. I feel like I missed a step. We arrived at the magical cure very abruptly, given how much Blindspot has dragged their feet with it. I probably should have paid more attention to the midseason finale.

Rich, Patterson, and Random Doctor go through all the science that will cure Jane, which isn't really science at all, but we don't care. The bottom line is this: we're going to do a psychedelic deep dive into Jane's brain until she wakes up with her memories intact. Cool? Cool.

LIGHT VS. DARK


Blindspot is not the first show to explore the light and dark in their main character. This is familiar story telling territory for me. I love when there is a split between two selves and the main character struggles with his/her internal dichotomy.

It's the good versus evil, or devil versus angel trope. The darker/evil side of the character rises and the light/good side of the character must fight back. Angel lost his soul and became Angelus. Stefan shut off his emotions and became The Ripper. Jane regained her memories and became Remi.

The female character is the one struggling with the light and dark on Blindspot and the male character is the romantic touchstone, which is fun because typically it's the other way around. Remi has wreaked some havoc and the writers have wrung all they can out of her cat and mouse game with Weller. So I feel it's high time for Jane to return; Remi was growing stale.

Of course, the procedure is dangerous and Weller starts to freak out with Patterson in the hallway over the prospect of losing Jane. Kurt, my sweet man kitten, there's no way they are killing your wife. She's the show. However, all the applause to Sullivan Stapleton for selling Weller's fear and making me feel all the things.

An unconscious Jane is slowly but surely rebuilding her own mind... with help from the fake and nonsensical science. Every memory is another building block, and another piece to the puzzle. She has to remember Jane to stop Remi, but remember Remi to be a complete Jane. Try saying that sentence ten times.

Jane cannot do it without help. So the first piece to this puzzle is obvious. Kurt Weller helped Jane find herself back when she had no memories. Jane formed her new identity largely based on the love she had for Kurt. Shepherd buried all the goodness in Remi, but the Zip brought it back to the surface. Jane's compassion, selflessness and heroism is what comes to her naturally. However, it was Kurt who helped Jane hold on to what came naturally.


We begin where we started in the pilot — Jane touching Kurt's face. I never grow tired of watching these two do this. Blindspot could only be a show of Jaimie Alexander touching Sullivan Staptelton's face and I would watch week after week, completely riveted. I recognize this is a little unrealistic.
Unfortunately touching Kurt's face isn't enough to trigger Jane's flood of memories. It didn't work in the pilot and it's not working now. We're not getting off that easy.

Patterson reminds Kurt Jane isn't the only one who needs to fight. Kurt has to be who he's always been to Jane — the man who believes in her. Kurt saw Jane's good heart from the beginning. His belief in Jane gave her a place to start. Kurt's belief is what helped Jane believe in herself.


Patterson tells Kurt to man up and do his thing. He goes back into the room, takes his wife's hand, and tells Jane she can do this. It's important to connect the physical and the mental. Jane needs one foot in reality and the other in the psychedelic mind trip. She hears Kurt's real voice and it triggers the connection. And then she jumps him. Hahaha. Just kidding. ... Kind of.


Jane kisses Kurt and thus, the Jeller memory flashback montage commences! We see all the kisses and feel all the feelings once again. Quite frankly, I am good with Jane remembering Kurt and only Kurt, but I suppose we can include the rest of the cast in this rebuild too. Jane rebuilds her identity the same way she did in the pilot: coffee or tea? The answer is coffee, but Reade appears because the tea is his. I did not know Reade was a tea drinker and I feel a whole other level of kinship with him now. Jane remembers Patterson next, and then Rich. A core memory triggers each team member's appearance: Jane's first puzzle with Patterson. Her first op with Rich (the painting). And the gunshot wound from the time Zapata shot Jane that we never talk about.

The memories are like dominoes. One kicks off the next until Jane is given the key to solving the puzzle. And I'm not talking figuratively. She opens the FBI box from season three with Kurt and literally finds a key.

The team refuses to follow Jane to the next step for a variety of reasons. Zapata's is the most hilarious: "I really don't want to." Kurt goes with because he's ride or die, but there's some kind of monster and a little girl direct from The Ring chasing after them. Jane is terrified, which is exactly what Remi wants. Kurt puts Jane's hand on his chest and reminds her to breathe just as he did in in "Split The Law." Another core Jeller memory locks into place!


The elevator is the only way to Remi, but it requires a coin slot. At this point I start jumping up and down because my boy is coming back. The "monster" chasing Jane is Roman. YEAH! If Jane is processing memories and extreme emotional baggage, she can't do it without dealing with her baby brother.

FORGIVENESS. CAN YOU IMAGINE?


Seeing Roman triggers all Jane's memories of him, which is a decidedly less cheerful flashback than her memories of Kurt. Jane traps Roman in the interrogation room and demands he tell her how to get to Remi. Roman tells her: "You don't want to fight me. I always win." But Jane replies, "No. You don't."

The two begin to play their childhood game. Jane is confused about the choice of game because she only played it with Roman as Remi. Roman explains she'll never find Remi until she's finished with him. Jane isn't just searching for her memories. She's also searching for closure. Jane tells Roman all the things she never got the chance to say.
Jane: I'm sorry. 
Roman: For what? Not killing me yourself? 
Jane: For not protecting you. From our parents' death, from Crawford's orphanage, from Shepherd, from me.
What Jane wants is Roman's forgiveness. She always had the very best intentions when it came to her brother, but Jane understands injecting him with the Zip was a deep betrayal. Jane didn't know it was a death sentence at the time, but that's not the only thing she's sorry for. She took Roman's choices away when she injected the Zip.  It's not enough for Jane to remember the good. She has to make peace with the bad.

Jane rebuilding her brain is not merely a cognitive exercise. There's a spiritual element to it too. The last time Jane saw Roman, he was deeply sorry for all he had done and scared to die. He was sweet and gentle like the little boy she grew up with. He was the Roman before Shepherd, before Crawford, before Remi, and before Jane. That's the brother Jane sees now. I don't believe Roman is merely a memory or a compilation of synapses firing. This is Roman. He wants Jane to know he is at peace.

Guilt and shame are weights around our necks, and forgiveness is the only way we are freed from them. What's so beautiful is how freely Roman forgives Jane. He gives her his forgiveness without hesitation — just like Jane forgave him. What Jane really needs is to forgive herself. She needs to let Roman go. Jane says: "I miss you. You're the only one who really knows me. All of me." And then Roman replies, "No there's another."

This isn't a slam against Weller. Jane is not Taylor Shaw. She didn't grow up with Kurt. The only person who truly understands what she has gone through is Roman because he went through it all too. But he's right. There's one more person who knows all of Jane Doe.

The scene between Jane and Roman is probably one of the best in the episode. I was genuinely moved. Jaimie Alexander and Luke Mitchell knocked it out of the park. Jane and Roman had one of the most complex and layered relationships on Blindspot. This was an amazing final episode for Luke Mitchell and a proper goodbye to Roman.

THE ELEVATOR TO HELL


Roman gives Jane their coin and she slips it into the elevator. But instead of going up to Remi, it goes down to Shepherd. Jane's adoptive mother symbolically representing a descent into hell is probably the most accurate character description Blindspot has ever done when it comes to Shepherd.

Shepherd straps Jane to a chair and forces her to remember every terrible thing she's ever done as. It's like a hellish episode of This Is Your Life. The pain stems not just from memories of Remi, but from Jane too. We get her greatest hits too — holding a gun to Kurt, fighting Kurt, lying to Kurt, abandoning Kurt. It was a lot of Kurt. Oh! Mayfair's murder. There. I found one not about Kurt.

Fear has a major hold on Jane these past four years. As much as Jane wanted to remember who she was, she was also terrified of the answers. Jane has been running from Remi for a long time. This flood of painful memories is almost too much for her. But then Jane hears Roman's voice: "There's a place in your mind no one can get to. A place that only belongs to you. No matter what they say, no matter what they do, no one can reach you there. Pain is a dream." This advice helped Jane survive being tortured at the CIA black site. Roman trained Remi how to deal with pain.

Jane realizes she has a choice. She can't keep the pain out, but it doesn't control her either. Slowly the painful memories change to joyful ones on the television screens before Jane. It's a beautifully elegant way of showing Jane getting her memories back. In case you are wondering, the joyful memories are a lot of Kurt too. Screen after screen of kissing. Glorious. There is no hiding from pain. We all experience it because it's part of being human. Our painful experiences are often our best teachers in life though. At the very least, they make us appreciate moments of happiness. One informs the other. Pain and joy are two sides of the same coin.

Jane is ready to face Remi now that she remembers, but Remi keeps devising scenarios where Jane must save Kurt. It happens again and again until Jane realizes it's all a ruse to keep her trapped. So she chooses to let Kurt die. It's a devastating decision for Jane and us (as all Jeller fans yelled collectively), but it's the right one.

Kurt's love can only take Jane so far. At some point, Jane must do this on her own. She must do this for herself. I reject the idea that a woman can only be strong if she's not in a relationship. Love is a powerful force in all our lives and doesn't need to be shamed as weakness just so a female character can be considered a hero.

That said, it's important for a female character to have an identity outside of her relationship. Blindspot perfectly balances the Jeller romantic anchor and Jane's independent heroism in "Check Your Ed." The door to Remi requires a handprint scan to open. Jane has one final puzzle to solve. Unfortunately, the team is not there to help her solve the hand tattoo, so she goes through the procedural elements of Blindspot to figure it out. It's not meant to be funny, but I was laughing so hard. Jane can recite word for word what each character says and does every week. This may help some of you understand why I yawn my way through the "Case of the Week" section in the reviews.

Of course Patterson's words — "We'll always be here when you need us" — are the cipher to crack the tattoo description: Alice Through the Looking Glass. Patterson is the master of all even in Jane's memory, so we know some of the synapses are firing right.

Taylor Shaw's doll — the one Kurt found when he unearthed her grave — appears next to Jane on the table. But Jane isn't Taylor Shaw; she was Alice Krueger. A photograph of Alice, before Remi or Jane, appears on the screen when she uses "Alice" as the password. The creepy girl from The Ring now looks exactly like the sweet, happy girl in the photo. A sweet and decidedly less scary Alice Kruger takes Taylor Shaw's doll and leads Jane to the door. Alice scans her hand. The door opens and Jane can finally face Remi.

TIME TO FIGHT


We finally get our Jane versus Remi fight and it's AWESOME! Blindspot keeps the symbolism simple. Jane is in a white shirt while Remi is clothed in black. The stuntwork reminded me of the flawless fight between Elena and Katherine in the season four finale of The Vampire Diaries. Remi gets the upper hand quickly and tells Jane she's not a person, but a vessel, and she was here first.

But Remi was not here first. Alice Kruger was. Jane is not merging two personas, but three. Alice represents innocence, Remi represents darkness, and Jane represents light. However, we cannot categorize our humanity simply by good and evil terms. Humans are not that simple. We are nowhere near perfect enough to live in such black and white worlds. As Jane's memories have shown, Jane isn't entirely good and Remi isn't entirely evil. When Jane was Remi, she saved lives. She was unable to hurt or kill any members of the team. There was a lot more Jane in Remi than she wanted to admit. Kurt saw it too.

Ultimately, the blame lies with Shepherd. It was Shepherd who killed Alice Kruger — Remi and Jane's innocence. The real difference between Jane and Remi is Jane is not alone. She has people in her life who truly love her for who she is. If you didn't get choked up when Kurt, Roman, Reade, Patterson, Rich and Zapata each appeared on screen, their faces full of love and acceptance, then I can't help you.

But Roman is right. There is one more person who knows all of her: Remi.

Jane doesn't need to beat Remi or separate from her. This was never about choosing personas. It's about recognizing the dichotomy of her humanity. We are all two sides of the same coin. Jane needs to accept Remi and Remi must accept Jane. And the only way to acceptance is through forgiveness.

So Jane says," Whatever you did, whatever we did... I forgive you."

Jaimie Alexander gives a tour de force performance and I was legitimately crying during this scene. "Check Your Ed" is the culmination of everything Jane's been fighting for and against for the last four years. We've been waiting for Jane to merge her identities, forgive herself, and find self acceptance. The road has been bumpy, but it is finally here and Blindspot did not disappoint. This episode was worth the wait.

Jane and Remi literally merged bodies and I cackled with glee. Listen, I don't need my symbolism to be Maya Angelou-level all the time. Sometimes I want it delivered to me on a silver platter. Blindspot makes it easy and I appreciate that. And Jane says, "For the first time in my life I feel like a whole person."

Jane wakes up and tells everyone she's back and remembers everything. Jane momentarily freaks out when she remembers she broke her crazy mother out of a black site, but Kurt is nonplussed. There's more apologizing to Kurt for all the lies Jane told. Pfft. Girl, you actually have a legitimate medical reason you lied to him this time. This was nowhere near rock bottom for you two. They exchange "I love you's," smooch, and gaze at each other longingly. MY SHIP IS PERFECTION. Now go make me babies.


Patterson and Weller go the location Jane told them to find Shepherd, but she's not there. Patterson is momentarily concerned Jane is jerking them around, but Kurt is confident she's not. It's not that I'm questioning your unwavering belief in the Mrs. Kurt, but she was Remi for several months and you didn't figure it out, Kurt. Your track record is not great. However, I agree with you. We didn't do all that self-acceptance for nothing.

Kurt returns to the apartment expecting to see Jane, but instead is greeted by Shepherd. We all saw this coming a mile away. There must be a physical showdown to go with the mental showdown. Shepherd really kicks Kurt's butt though. It's a little embarrassing. Then Jane Doe — our Mrs. Kurt Weller — arrives and shoots Shepherd three times center mass. NICE. THAT'S MY GIRL! It takes an excruciatingly long time for Shepherd to die, given she has three bullet holes in her chest. It does give Jane the chance to get some closure and she tells Shepherd where to stick it. Shepherd says, "I love you in my own way," and blah blah blah I just wanted her to die already. You are the worst, lady. If God is a just and fair God, then Shepherd's death means the Sandstorm storyline is over for good.

Jane passes the barrage of medical and psychological tests and she's officially cleared for duty. I love that the FBI couldn't care less that Jane was momentarily a super secret double agent. What's that you say? Your brain was fried and you went all evil? No problem. Your turn to bring in bagels.

Kurt gives Jane her FBI ID back. It's a not so subtle way of saying Jane has finally found her identity — all of it. It's a moment of real peace and happiness for everyone. And then Reade walks in with Zapata in handcuffs. So much for one big, drama-free family!

"Check Your Ed" could serve is a series finale, which lends more evidence to my theory season four will be Blindspot's last. The writers are really putting all their cards on the table, so it's difficult to see where they can go next. The team needs Jane back so they can deal with super shady Zapata. Also, Jane is still dying apparently. This all feels like a ramp-up to a final ramp-down. I'm not holding my breath for a season five renewal. If we continue to get quality episodes like this week's, then I'll be completely fine with Blindspot ending. It's best for a show to go out on a high note.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Weller literally chucking Jane's entire body up in the air into a steel beam feels realistic. I think he has over 100 pounds on her.
  • Jane's dress, flowers, reception decor, and bridal party photos are all manifested in her brain because our girl will never forget her wedding day no matter how zipped her brain is. BIG MOOD.
  • Jane remembering Reade before she remembers Patterson? I think not.
  • The shot of Shepherd's reflection in Kurt and Jane's wedding photo is so cool and creepy
  • Kurt sends Rich in the ambulance with Jane, which tells us exactly how much Kurt loves and trusts Rich.
  • "I'm getting some very mixed signals from you lately." HAHAHA. Accurate, Shepherd.
  • When Jane is remembering all the people who love her and sees their faces on the television screen, there is a glitch when Zapata appears. I feel strongly this is Blindspot trying to fool us into thinking Zapata can't be saved, but I'm not buying it.