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, April 2, 2020

6 Educational Channels on YouTube for Every Subject During Your Quarantine [Contributor: Araceli Aviles]

File:Logo of YouTube (2015-2017).svg - Wikipedia

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to wreak havoc on our daily lives, parents are having to quickly reassess how to educate their kids at home amidst all of the other worries. And while it is important that kids remain aware of the significance of sheltering in place, it is just as important that they continue learning about the world around them. As the self-proclaimed “Aunt in Charge of Visual Content” I feel it is my duty in these dark times to spread the knowledge. And for those who want creative content at low cost, YouTube has you covered.

Science: “Amoeba Sisters”
YouTube’s resident bio-nerds give lessons in biology with tiny caricatures which represent various elements and concepts in the natural world. Each lesson is tailored to a particular concept you would learn in 9th grade Biology, similar to what a student would learn on a chapter-by-chapter basis. Not only do they do a great job of explaining basic biology, but they have already released a video about the importance of social distancing. This is a fantastic resource for middle and high-schooler students, particularly those who are visual learners.

Science: “Bill Nye the Science Guy”
Millennials rejoice! The man who taught us physics, biology, and basic chemistry in a practical setting is available with full episodes of his original series on YouTube. In fact, you could call Bill Nye one of the original YouTubers before the platform was invented, as he is the inspiration for so many other channels which show physics in real time. And if you’re interested in the upgraded Bill Nye, you can find his new show available on Netflix.

Math:  “Mathantics”
... Also known as the guy I wish I had looked up before I tried to do homework with my nieces. Seriously, I could have saved myself a lot of frustration. “Mathantics” is perfect for middle-school age lessons in math such as complex equations, as well as basic algebra and geometry. To all the parents who hate math, this one’s for you.

Physical Education
This one is a little more subjective, but will give your kids an opportunity to be creative with their workouts. Because many parks, pools, beaches, and tracks have been shut down, much of the outdoor activities which require particular open spaces will no longer do. Walking, jogging, and running are still very much in, but what if that’s not your kid’s cup of tea? Indoor practices such as stretching, yoga, Zumba, and many core exercises can be done from the comfort of your living room. Because there is no one right way to exercise, you can get so specific as to type in “Harry Potter Yoga.” There really is something for everyone!

Art: “Art for Kids Hub”
Here is another area where there is almost too much content to pinpoint a specific starting point. There are basic lessons in drawing from “Art for Kids Hub,” but if you’re dealing with a prodigy in your household, you might want to explore more complex sketching and art lessons, particularly if you have plenty of art materials in your house.

English: “Oxford Online English”
This one is a little tricky because ultimately the Language Arts subject comes down to being able to sit down and read, which is not easy right now with all the libraries closed. However, basic grammar still needs to be taught. The “Oxford Online English” channel walks kids through basic lessons in grammar and vocabulary, with both British and American teachers. This can be useful because many of the novels in the American English curriculum, especially for high-school students, contain many works by British authors. Having different teachers for these lessons bridges the cultural gap as it applies to reading and writing. Not to mention, there are a few cheeky lessons in there about cultural differences in general, like the difference between American and British football!

Different schools are going to have different systems of learning for the rest of the term, as it is unlikely that many districts, especially large ones, will resume in-person classes for the rest of the school year.

Hopefully these channels will be a great way to supplement your kid’s learning, and maybe inspire them to deep dive into subjects they otherwise wouldn’t have before!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist 1x07 Review: “Zoey’s Extraordinary Confession” (Max Knows) [Contributor: Jenn]


“Zoey’s Extraordinary Confession”
Original Airdate: March 22, 2020

Last week’s episode of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist set things on fire — literally. Simon’s fiancé, Jessica, discovered that Simon had visited Zoey late at night and things didn’t go well from there. While at Simon and Jessica’s engagement party, Zoey got a call from her mother; her dad fell and was going to the hospital. That led to what might be the best cover the show has done thus far, with Zoey hearing Max’s internal rendition of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” and making sure she was able to get to her family and be there for them. That kick-starts some complicated feelings for Zoey which play directly into this week’s episode.

Let’s talk about feelings, shall we?

ALL THE FEELS


We’re so used to seeing Zoey’s life as a musical that when Max breaks out into song and dance in the middle of a food court (singing “If I Can’t Have You”) nothing seems out of the ordinary. Until he responds to something that Zoey says. That’s new! But as soon as she begins to figure out what’s happening, we do too: it’s a flash mob! That Max organized! To tell Zoey how he felt!

And Zoey’s response is to run away and avoid him.

Given what we know to be true about Zoey up until this point in the series, I’m not entirely surprised she ran away but I am a bit disappointed about it. This trope is used all the time, and it feels like a little bit of a cop-out to have Zoey framed as a scientific, data-driven person who doesn’t understand feelings. While Zoey is our heroine and I adore her, this trope has been played out so many times: a girl’s best friend likes her, she doesn’t want to pursue the relationship because it would ruin their friendship, and she feels “conflicted.” I know that it’s a lot to ask of a freshman network show, but I still expect shows in 2020 to subvert tropes and traps like these.

Nevertheless, Jane Levy and Skylar Astin do a brilliant job with what they’re given, especially Astin who has the pained and pining best friend so well. But while Max confessing his feelings to Zoey is a big part of the episode, an even bigger revelation takes place: Zoey tells Max about her powers.

What’s fascinating to me is that Mo might have been momentarily skeptical but he immediately accepted the superpower and rules. Max, on the other hand, sees Zoey’s confession as a way out of talking about their relationship. And as someone who’s also working in the realm of data (whereas Mo is a creative), Max doesn’t get it. There’s no way that Zoey could know what’s going on in peoples’ heads, let alone bend the laws of time and physics to do so.

Zoey is earnest to prove him wrong, but it’s really a distraction (again, Mo points this out) from what she needs to do which is make a choice about how she feels about Max. As Zoey continues to avoid making hard choices about feelings, Max becomes increasingly doubtful about her “powers,” claiming that she conveniently hasn’t brought them up until this point. And then things between Max and Zoey come to a head when she tells him that she’s had these powers for a long time and she’s heard a lot of songs... including Max’s heart songs.

Max, with such utter sadness and disappointment, confronts Zoey. She’s known then, for as long as she’s had these powers, how he felt about her. But instead of facing those feelings, she shoved him away and set him up with Autumn. Max rightfully calls Zoey out on her behavior which, let’s be real, wasn’t great. Sure, there’s no way she probably could have explained her secret superpower (and as she points out very early on, it’s an invasion of privacy to form emotional connections based on things she shouldn’t know — hence the whole Simon issue) but Max didn’t deserve to be treated that way by her regardless.

It’s an easy out for Zoey to tell Max that she doesn’t know how she feels about their relationship. The problem is that not communicating her hesitations and fears upfront ultimately puts a strain between her and Max. Zoey wants to forget about Max’s confession and keep their relationship the same. But Max doesn’t want that; he can’t do that. He can’t just forget about what he professed and how he put his heart on the line. So he sets boundaries. They can’t hang out with each other the way they’ve started to again. Max can’t be close to someone who can’t or won’t reciprocate his feelings.

The person I feel for most in this scenario is Max, obviously. While Zoey might have thought she was protecting Max, the only person she really was protecting was herself. She’s so afraid of letting Max and others see her vulnerabilities and emotions that instead of addressing them, she buries them. She denies them. She deflects them. And that isn’t the healthy way forward. I’m glad Zoey faced some consequences for her actions, but I really do hope that she learns how to deal with her feelings in healthy ways! She deserves to be happy... if she allows herself the chance to be.

WANTS AND NEEDS


There’s a C-story in this episode that I really love focusing on Mitch’s healthcare. David and Maggie decide to look for an in-home care provider for Mitch and settle on a woman with immense experience and a strong work ethic. She’s by-the-book and she’s great at her job. But the problem is that her care lacks compassion; everything is technical and sterile. She wants to put a hospital bed in the family’s living room, and she refers to Mitch as “the patient” instead of by his name.

And then the caretaker asks if Maggie is going to give Mitch what he wants or needs. Maggie then realizes that even though the woman has three decades of caregiving experience, she doesn’t know Mitch. Maggie knows Mitch. She knows that even though chocolate shakes might make his blood sugar a bit high, he needs them. Healthcare is more than just keeping vital signs up: Mitch could have perfect blood sugar levels but be miserable and waste away. Maggie won’t have it.

Maggie decides to let that woman go and hire a chill caretaker who jokes around with Mitch and plays online poker with him. The man admits to Maggie that he doesn’t always make a good first impression but as he dumps ice cream into a blender for Mitch, he surprises her by also throwing in handfuls of spinach. Even though this caretaker is a bit more unorthodox, he prioritizes Mitch as a person while also caring for his health. I think he knew better than the other woman just how important seeing someone as a person, not a patient, first truly is.

AND NOW, AWKWARDNESS


The story intertwined with our A-story is that of Leif and Tobin’s friendship. Last week, Leif pitched an idea to Joan at Simon’s engagement party, and Joan (though drunk) really loved it. This week’s episode focuses on Leif blowing off hanging out with Tobin in order to work. They have a pretty genuine heart-to-heart near the end of the episode in which Leif bluntly tells Tobin that Tobin’s antics and partying are going to prevent him from moving up in the company. And Leif dreams of running the company with his best friend someday. Leif and Tobin mend their relationship but the end of the episode is truly the shocker: Leif makes a move on Joan. Turns out all the alone time with her might be budding into romance — or rebound — since Joan reciprocates.

Awkwardly, Zoey witnesses them kissing and now has to deal with the fact that she knows what’s going on in their lives... even more than usual.

What did you all think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Grey’s Anatomy 16x18 Recap: “Give a Little Bit” (Eruption) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]


“Give a Little Bit”
Original Airdate: March 19, 2020

It’s Meredith’s big pro bono surgery day at Grey Sloan Memorial. With 25 patients to operate on in 12 hours, what could possibly go wrong? There’s also a case of potential human trafficking. Or is one of the doctor’s losing his mind?

TOUGH SITUATIONS


The episode opens with Meredith calling and waking up a grumpy Jo at 5 a.m. because the latter is running late for pro bono surgery day. Mer is not happy that one of her doctors isn’t already at the hospital when they have 25 surgeries to complete in 12 hours. Jo is finally living at her apartment again after a week at Link’s, but she is sleeping on her couch because even looking at her bed is too much to deal with. Jo informs Mer that she isn’t going to go by Karev anymore, but doesn’t know what her name should be. After hanging up with Mer, Jo decides it’s time to take off her wedding band before getting ready to leave for work. Helm is Mer’s right hand woman/secretary for the day and has been tasked with keeping Mer and the entire surgical team on schedule. She tells Mer that she is a legend, but Mer prefers to think that public service doesn’t make her a legend. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we all agree with Helm on this one.

In the main hallway of the hospital, Maggie tracks down Richard to tell him some good news. She heard from her lawyer that Richard’s brother settled the lawsuit against her for the death of her cousin. This is actually very underwhelming to hear because the show made a big deal about bringing in Richard’s estranged family, killing one off, and suing Maggie for the death. Having the settlement occur off camera makes this larger storyline useless. Richard tells Maggie that he too had a call from a lawyer to inform him that Catherine is sending him separation papers. This has Richard in a bad mood, especially because Catherine is allowing him to keep his own house. He scowls when he says “allowing,” which made this conversation somewhat better. As Richard leaves Maggie, Mer literally hops over to talk to him about scrubbing in for a few easy general surgeries to help ease her pro bono schedule. Richard refuses to participate, which gives Mer an opportunity to guilt him by saying she doesn’t want to lose him. Richard assures her that they will always be friends, but he will not operate.

The somewhat awkward conversations continue when Amelia randomly pops into a lounge and announces to Jo, Teddy, and Owen that her baby’s father is Link. Jo says that Link already told her the news, while Teddy and Owen sort of stand there stunned and don’t really know how to react. Amelia is glad that everyone can move forward with their lives, but the looks on Teddy and Owen’s faces imply the opposite. Of course, the news makes Teddy freak out, as she has made some interesting decisions since thinking that her life with Owen could blow up from the Amelia situation. Funny enough, it was Teddy who blew things up this time, not Owen.

DeLuca has been relegated to clinic duty until Bailey decides to let him operate again, and he’s not too happy about it. Schmitt comes into the clinic looking for one of the pro bono patients, which makes DeLuca’s mood worse. DeLuca quickly finds a distraction when he starts examining a teenage girl with abdominal pain who came into the clinic accompanied by her aunt. The aunt informs DeLuca that she is the teen’s guardian and becomes more than a little overbearing when she starts answering all of DeLuca’s questions that he asks the teen. DeLuca is not pleased with the aunt, especially when she says that she wants to stay for the teen’s more thorough exam after telling him that she might have a UTI and that the girl has abandonment issues. DeLuca agrees to let her stay, but immediately starts to think that something is wrong with the situation.

Mer is ready to start the pro bono surgeries and rounds up her surgical group for a pep talk. Participating surgeons include Jo, Owen, Hayes, Helm, and Brody (one of the residents who was injured in the Joe’s Bar incident). One of the surgeons not participating is Teddy, who has a new patient in the ER. Teddy’s patient is Kyle, a military vet who was arrested on Station 19 for assault and attempting to blow up a store with a grenade. Kyle presents with chest pains and says that he has brain injuries, memory issues, and PTSD from his time overseas. Teddy is moved by his story and promises to help him. However, she is thrown for a loop when Kyle starts staring into space and she can’t get him to respond. Teddy pages Koracick for backup, thinking that her patient might be having a seizure.

REAL OR DELUSION?


DeLuca checks back with his patient, and once again, the aunt is doing all the talking and won’t let the teen talk. The aunt demands to know how long the tests will take because she has to get back to her other kids. DeLuca assures her that they will be out of there as soon as possible, then goes over to a nurse and asks for Bailey to be alerted that they might have a potential trafficking situation. He feels that the situation fits all the signs of trafficking and wants to contact the authorities immediately. He also tells the nurse to make sure the tests take as long as possible in order to delay the aunt and the teen from leaving. This is actually a really tricky situation that Grey’s Anatomy has laid out. At this point in the episode, there is no clear answer on whether DeLuca is right or whether he is having a manic episode. The girl and the aunt do look similar and could easily be related. The girl does not appear to be afraid of her aunt either. However, the warning signs of the aunt doing all the talking and not letting the teen speak, trying to rush things, and getting mad at DeLuca are very real. While watching the episode live, it was clear that no matter which way it wound up, things will not end well for DeLuca.

Mer is ready to take her first pro bono patient into surgery and goes to introduce herself. The patient’s daughter isn’t keen on Mer’s plan, as this is her mother’s fourth surgeon and the other three couldn’t help her. Mer tries to reassure the daughter that she is very confident that she can help her mother and that everything will work out. Koracick chooses this moment to tell Mer that one of the ORs is unavailable for the next hour because the wrong equipment was put in and now they need to get the right instruments and sanitize those. Mer is mad that things are being delayed when they don’t have any time to spare.

Elsewhere in the hospital, Amelia finds Link to tell him that she gave Owen and Teddy the news that Link is the father of her baby. Link reveals that he has received an offer from the Seattle Mariners MLB team to come back as their team doctor. He wants to turn down the offer because even though it would pay double what he previously made with them, he’s going to be a dad and doesn’t want a hectic traveling schedule again. He would rather be a present father than go back to his dream job, which shows just how committed he really is. Link decides to tell Nico about the opportunity and that he will put in a good word with the Mariners if he wants the job. Nico is ecstatic and really wants the job. Schmitt overhears their conversation and isn’t so sure about the position considering how it would affect their relationship. He asks Nico if they can talk about it, but Nico simply says that it would be dumb for him not to take his dream job if it was offered to him and walks away.

Back in the clinic, DeLuca’s patient asks to go to the bathroom, and the aunt quickly says that she will take her. DeLuca insists that a nurse should take her to the bathroom because he doesn’t trust that the aunt is really the girl’s aunt. The nurse comes back and informs DeLuca that Bailey is going into surgery and can’t come down for a consult. DeLuca isn’t happy, so he pleads with the nurse to take the teen to the bathroom in the event that this is a real trafficking situation. At least he gets the nurse to play along.

Amelia shows up to take a look at Teddy’s patient and Teddy is surprised that Koracick didn’t respond to her page. Amelia is actually the better doctor for the job in this case, and she winds up working really well with Teddy even though their personal situation is messy at the moment. Kyle starts getting violent when his girlfriend shows up. Teddy tells him that they had to alert her since she is his emergency contact, but Kyle doesn’t want her to see him like this. The police officers want to take Kyle to county jail after his outburst, but Teddy steps in to assure them that he needs medical treatment. She vows to keep Kyle in the hospital for as long as she can.

DeLuca hunts down Bailey as she walks out of an OR and immediately starts telling her that the teen’s aunt won’t let the girl out of her sight and that he can’t talk to his patient alone. He frantically presents the situation to Bailey, who immediately thinks that his trafficking theory is wrong. Bailey wants DeLuca to calm down and thinks they should reevaluate whether he’s ready to be back at work. DeLuca convinces her to at least take a look at the patient for his own sanity, so Bailey goes into the clinic alone to test the waters. She asks some standard questions about the teen and does a quick exam before leaving the clinic to angrily confront DeLuca. Bailey doesn’t think anything is wrong, even though DeLuca won’t stop talking about how he is right. Bailey decides to take DeLuca off the case and wants him to pass it along to another resident then go home, rest, and meet her in her office at 9 a.m. the next day. Even though DeLuca has had some mental difficulties lately, this is very unlike Bailey to ignore that a doctor thinks that there could be a very serious situation with a patient.

TRYING TO MAKE THINGS BETTER


Mer goes to check on her first patient again whose surgery keeps getting delayed. The daughter freaks out, and Mer asks them to wait a little longer. In the OR wing, things are going better for the other docs participating in the day’s event as they prepare for surgery. Jackson is trying to find someone to go to a basketball game with him later that night since he was supposed to go with Vic and they broke up. He wanted Ben to go with him, but he’s unavailable due to a fellow firefighter’s death. Jackson did spend some time ogling Ben’s new Physician Response Team rig, so there might be a possibility that Jackson considers changing shows. Jackson first asks Owen if he wants to go to the game, but he says no. Jackson turns to Jo, but she won’t go because she’s an afterthought. Maggie has been sitting behind them the whole time and chimes in to tell Jackson to go alone, but knows he won’t because he can’t do things alone. It’s a solid little jab, but it doesn’t seem to faze Jackson. Koracick walks up, but Jackson decides not to ask him, as they still don’t get along well.

Amelia does an exam on Kyle while Teddy talks with his girlfriend outside of his room. Kyle tells Amelia about his terrible headaches and short term memory problems. He reveals that he doesn’t like taking medicine, especially hardcore drugs, because he forgets how many he takes. He also talks about how he loses his temper daily and tries to avoid his girlfriend because she doesn’t deserve that. Amelia tells Kyle that he too doesn’t deserve what is happening to him and walks outside to update Teddy. The girlfriend tells Teddy and Amelia that going overseas changed Kyle and that she isn’t sure she can make it work if he doesn’t get better. The doctors assure her that they will figure out a way to help him.

In an OR, Link and Schmitt are working on a surgery together. Schmitt takes the opportunity to ask Link about what being a team doctor is like. He’s not too happy to hear about the travel load, but Link assures him that it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Link suggests that Schmitt should tell Nico how he feels about the opportunity, and Schmitt is grateful for the advice.

DeLuca is starting to become more manic with every passing minute. He goes back to talk with the teen and her aunt and tells them that Mer is going to give her a free surgery for her abdominal hernia as part of the pro bono surgery day. They have an opening in an hour, and he wants to take the teen up to the OR floor immediately. The aunt really wants to go with her, but DeLuca says that they will escort her up to the surgical floor, but she can’t go past the surgical line. This seems to be a fair compromise and the aunt and teen agree. The nurse pulls DeLuca to the side and tells him that Mer’s schedule is packed and that she can’t do the surgery. DeLuca doesn’t care and says that he will do the surgery himself if he has to. He will do anything to get the patient away from the aunt, even though it is still unclear if he is right or wrong about the trafficking.

KABOOM


Owen and Jo are ready to scrub in for an easy pro bono surgery, and Owen tries to offer Jo some comfort about Alex. Jo doesn’t want to talk about Alex during surgery, which Owen understands. He says if she needs a friend, he and Teddy will be there for her. Mer and Helm walk into the scrub room since Mer thought her surgery was in that OR, but it’s actually in another. Helm reveals that DeLuca told her that Mer wanted the schedule to be moved around to accommodate another patient. Mer doesn’t know what she is talking about and wants Helm to tell DeLuca that she wants him to stay away from her schedule and the OR floor before angrily leaving.

Koracick finds Teddy in the hall, and they go into a closet to talk. She tells Koracick that Amelia’s baby is Link’s and that fact doesn’t change the way she feels about him. Koracick feels there is a “but” coming, and Teddy’s thoughts are interrupted by a page that Kyle’s MRI results are in. She leaves before they can finish their conversation, which doesn’t get fully resolved by the end of this episode.

DeLuca is pushing his patient in a wheelchair and gets her alone for a brief second. He asks her if anything is bothering her and assures her that she can talk to him about anything and feel safe with him. She says that nothing is wrong at all and that she wants to go home. DeLuca spots Helm and runs over to talk to her. Helm wants DeLuca to go away and wants nothing to do with him after he got her in trouble with Mer. She walks away, so DeLuca quickly takes the teen away while the aunt isn’t looking.

Teddy meets with Amelia to look at Kyle’s scans. Amelia thinks that his brain injury might be fixable. She then gets philosophical and asks Teddy if relationships are only about sacrifices, and Teddy says that’s all relationships are. She then says that even hypothetical sacrifices have consequences and storms out. Teddy goes from fine to not in the span of one sentence. I’m just as worried about Teddy’s stability as I am about DeLuca at this point.

Mer’s day is also falling apart. The surgical prep floor is full of people waiting for their pro bono surgeries that are getting close to rioting after all the delays. Koracick tells Mer that he will pay for any overtime that she needs and to make all the surgeries happen. Mer questions why he’s having a change of heart, so Koracick reveals that last episode’s VIP patient gave them enough money for a few pro bono days a year. Mer quickly realizes that the VIP bought himself a diagnosis in the form of a generous donation to the hospital, and she isn’t happy that Koracick sold out. Their conversation is interrupted by a code violet call over the loudspeakers alerting them to an issue in the ER lobby. Mer and Koracick rush down to the ER lobby to see what is happening, as a code violet means that someone is getting physical with hospital staff.

No one should be surprised that DeLuca has triggered the code violet. He has cornered the teen in the ER and is keeping everyone away from them. He wants the aunt to be arrested for human trafficking and won’t stop shouting. The wild look in his eyes shows that he has totally lost it, but that doesn’t stop Mer from trying to talk him down. The aunt tries to tell the growing mass of people (including Bailey, Richard, Carina, Jo, Maggie, and Owen) that she can’t believe DeLuca is accusing her of trafficking and denies his claims by saying the teen is her niece. Bailey, Richard, and Carina all try their hand at getting DeLuca to stand down, but he screams at security to detain the aunt.

DeLuca continues to attempt to get the hospital staff to believe him and tells them that they need to form a human chain around the teen to protect her. Mer starts a chain, and the main cast in attendance follow suit. However, they circle around DeLuca instead of the teen, which troubles DeLuca. The teen runs over to her aunt and hugs her, as she is now quite upset by the whole situation. Bailey wants security to escort DeLuca to her office. DeLuca jumps up onto a small table that is within the circle and pleads with the doctors to believe him about the trafficking situation through sobs. Bailey tells him that if he ever wants to step foot in the hospital again as a doctor he needs to go with security to her office immediately. DeLuca continues to cry and asks them to stop. He says they are all blind and allows security and Carina to escort him to Bailey’s office.

Quick sidebar: Does anyone else think it is weird that not one of the seven doctors in attendance to DeLuca’s meltdown even considered for a second that he might be right? It goes against all of these characters’ values to not take a situation seriously. If any other doctor in that hospital had reported that there was a potential human trafficking situation, would they have been shrugged off? The answer is no. The fact that no one can look past DeLuca’s mental breakdown to even question if there is any legitimacy to his claim is unreal. Sure, he didn’t handle the situation the best, but that’s because he is sick and needs help. It’s terrible that none of the doctors made an attempt at believing DeLuca.

THE TRUTH HURTS


The code violet officially ends, and Schmitt and Nico take a moment to talk. Schmitt asks if they can talk later without any distractions, which annoys Nico. Schmitt isn’t mad, but thinks they should talk about the Mariners job and how it could potentially affect their relationship. He talks about how relationships take sacrifice and compromise and feels he is the only one doing either. He’s tired of saying that he wants more and Nico not responding. Nico tells Schmitt that he hopes he will find someone who will give that to him and ends their relationship. The writing was on the wall for these two for weeks, so their break up doesn’t come as a surprise.

Hayes and Jackson finish up a surgery and have missed all the commotion with DeLuca. Jackson asks Hayes if he would like to go with him to the game tonight. Hayes thinks that Jackson has tickets for a football game and goes on a classic European rant about how American football is dumb and that soccer is the real football. Jackson tells him it’s actually a basketball game, but Hayes doesn’t like basketball and turns him down.

DeLuca storms out of Bailey’s office as Mer approaches and tells her that he quit. Bailey and Mer both want to help him, but he’s tired of being judged and called crazy. Mer follows him to the stairwell as he tries to leave and forces him to talk to her. DeLuca says that he doesn’t love her anymore, but Mer says that she loves him. She talks about how he went to jail for her and saved her from herself. She can’t let him walk away like this and asks him to take a suspension and reconsider. DeLuca says that he will take the suspension if Mer can get Bailey to call the human trafficking hotline and have the aunt investigated, just to be safe. Mer and DeLuca agree to the terms.

Mer goes back to the surgical prep floor, where a room full of people is still waiting. Amelia comes over to Mer and asks for a pro bono spot for her patient. Mer agrees after hearing Kyle’s story, but the daughter of Mer’s first patient is enraged that her mother has to continue waiting when Mer is giving up spots to other patients. Mer apologizes to the daughter and tells her that she is sorry that she has to advocate and fight so hard for her mother. Mer tells the entire room about how messed up the healthcare system is and that the hospital has a donor that will cover all the pro bono surgeries. She assures them that everyone will get the help they need, including Amelia and Teddy’s patient. Mer decides on the spot that the hospital will have a pro bono surgery day every month, much to the shock and surprise of Koracick. This is a classic Meredith fighting the system moment, which shows just how legendary this character really is. It’s also funny to see how Mer single-handedly decided to turn Koracick’s bad situation into one for good. Hayes looks very pleased with Mer’s announcement, as he was there watching too.

Teddy and Amelia go tell Kyle and his girlfriend that they can fix him and will do a pro bono surgery for him today. They also plan on testifying for him in court that his condition was caused by a brain injury, which should stop him from getting any jail time. Kyle and his girlfriend are super excited at the news, and Teddy and Amelia are happy that they came through on their promise. We then see the teen and her aunt leaving the hospital. The aunt snippily asks the teen what she said to DeLuca. The teen tries to convince the aunt that she didn’t say anything and that her stomach really did hurt. This chilling moment makes it appear that DeLuca was in fact correct about the situation, and no one can help the girl now that she is leaving the hospital.

Maggie and Jackson are talking while walking through the hospital, and Maggie reveals that Richard is stepping down from surgery. Jackson didn’t know and says that he hasn’t talked to Richard since his marriage with Catherine blew up. Richard walks by, so Jackson runs over to say hi and see if he has any plans for the night. Richard immediately thinks that Jackson is a spy for Catherine, which Jackson denies. He invites Richard to go to the basketball game, and massive basketball fan Richard is very happy to go to the game.

Jo walks into Joe’s Bar and sits down next to Schmitt, who tells her that he got dumped. He doesn’t know what to do now because he still hasn’t found his own apartment and is now homeless. Jo offers to let him stay with her for the time being. She says that her apartment is too empty and sad. She doesn’t want to leave, but needs something to change. Schmitt accepts her offer and says that they can be super sad together.

Amelia successfully operates on Kyle, and Teddy watches from the gallery. After the surgery, Koracick walks into the gallery to talk to her. He tells her that he has slept with tons of women but has a code and draws the line at married women. Koracick says that he doesn’t care for Owen, but doesn’t want to be the guy that sleeps with another man’s wife. He says he loves Teddy and wants to make it easy for her since she will soon be married. He tells her to go home and plan her wedding. He says he will be fine, but Teddy cries when he leaves.

We then see Link and Amelia in bed together. Amelia thinks that they can make his dream job work, but Link assures her that he doesn’t want it because there are new things in his life that he loves more now. Link is just the sweetest man. Amelia thinks it’s weird that everything will be put on hold for their kid and wants her and Link to hold onto their dreams and not let them slip away after the baby is born. Back at Grey Sloan Memorial, Owen finds Teddy crying outside of the hospital. Owen asks her what is wrong, and she says that she is what’s wrong. Instead of telling him the truth, she says that she had a rough patient who has been through a lot. Owen is sure that Teddy helped him, and they hug as Teddy continues to cry. It’s obvious that Teddy doesn’t know who she wants or what she should do because she is clearly in love with two men. It should be interesting to see how this triangle fully plays out.

Bailey finds Mer in an office and tells her that she called the human trafficking hotline. They told her not to scare the suspect away, but Bailey knows the teen and aunt already left. She asks what if DeLuca was right before walking out, but doesn’t seem to actually consider that he could have been right. Hayes walks into the office with coffee for Mer and tells her that he sees the twistedness that Cristina referred to. He seems quite pleased with himself and with Mer, who thanks him for his help with the pro bono surgeries.

The episode ends with a shot of DeLuca riding his motorcycle and going over 100 miles an hour on an empty road. If this doesn’t scream massive red flags, then I don’t know what does. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of DeLuca, I’m very concerned for his safety at this point. His reckless behavior isn’t going to end well.

The Flash 6x15 Review: "The Exorcism of Nash Wells" (A Thawne Infestation) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]


“The Exorcism of Nash Wells”
Original Airdate: March 17, 2020

The Flash kind of, sort of, focuses on Nash Wells’ inner Thawne problem this week while also having a completely unnecessary metahuman of the week plot. Why would the show throw in a generic meta villain when it’s got some Eobard Thawne drama to get on with? I personally think it was to further distract the audience from the fact that no one can adequately explain why Eobard Thawne has anything at all to do with the multiverse of Wellses.

THE POWER OF PLOT CONVENIENCE COMPELS YOU


To open the episode, we see that Kamilla has a mirror double but we don’t actually know what happened to the real Kamilla. Why didn’t the show just pull her into the mirrorverse like with Iris? Why make that a mystery? The world beyond the mirror is just as big as the real world — they could’ve said Kamilla got transported to an empty Mirror Australia or something, thus explaining why she can’t team up with Iris immediately. That dismissiveness of real Kamilla’s fate just bugs me. Anyway, Eva shows the doubles a copy of a “prismatic refractor” and orders her two mirror minions to get their hands on the real life version.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of learning that Barry’s speed is now limited with the Speed Force dead, Caitlin and Cisco have already worked out a color-coded way to gauge Barry’s speed use via a smartwatch. It’s a helpful reminder for Barry to not use all his powers willy-nilly, and a helpful reminder for the audience of the dramatic stakes underlying every lightning-streaked zip and zoom from now until this plotline is resolved.

Oh hey, another example of the show being infuriatingly dismissive of plot elements for the sake of easier writing this episode: while discussing what to do about the Thawne/Nash situation and all the Wellses living in Nash’s head, Barry brings up the fact that Eobard Thawne is not a Wells, then the show promptly glosses over that and never mentions it again. Seriously. Barry’s like, “It’s weird that Nash has been seeing his doppelgangers because of the Wells connection, but Thawne isn’t a Wells — he’s just a dude who stole a Wells face,” and gets no response or follow-up. It’s almost comical. Does the show think acknowledging a plot hole exists is as good as fixing it? Because it’s not. I want answers, show! Answers!

During an effort to separate Thawne’s tachyons from Nash’s body, Thawne reveals himself to be in control and makes a run for it, heading for the time sphere in order to get away from Team Flash and fully meld with Nash’s body. The only way Thawne can get his speedster powers back and kill Barry is by essentially kicking Nash out of his own body, but Thawne can’t do that without weakening Nash. The team catches up with Thawne before he can time travel (Barry’s speed goes in the red on his speed gauge watch) and they knock him out.

With Cecile around to monitor Nash’s emotions, it’s revealed what’s really going on in Nash’s head: he’s being overwhelmed by negativity, which powers Thawne’s, uh, powers and helps him gain control over Nash’s body. The way Thawne is doing so is by trapping Thawne in a terrible memory of when he lost Maya, his Earth’s doppelganger of Allegra. In short, Nash was a really bad mentor in Indian Jones-style treasure hunting, teaching Maya that “the prize” was worth more than anything, including her own life. She ended up dying trying to get an artifact from a dangerous place, and Nash’s guilt kept him from admitting how much her death was his fault.

Outside Nash’s brain, Barry is trying to cope with the impending battle against Thawne without having his powers to back him up, and Mirror Iris is being remarkably supportive of her not-husband while also being sketchy and trying to steal the prismatic refractor. Really, the advice she offers Barry — that metahumans are the ones with limitations, not regular humans, because metas always have “a weakness” — is so good I, again, question what the morality/thought processes of this double could actually be. How much free will do the mirror copies have? How much emotional intelligence do they have? How much awareness? Are they people? Are they alive? When the time of their inevitable defeat comes, will I feel bad if any of the good guys kills them? There is so much here and I can’t help feeling like the show isn’t pushing this idea to its full potential.

Barry’s talk with Iris helps out both the Nash/Thawne situation and the metahuman of the week, Sunshine. In the case of the latter, Barry realizes a sun-powered meta probably wouldn’t be much of a threat if you just lured her into a dark room (really, Barry? You needed a eureka moment to figure that one out?) so that’s what he does, allowing her to get cuffed and hauled away by CCPD while Iris managed to get the prismatic reflector both she and Sunshine were after. For the former, Cecile helps Barry and Cisco enter Nash’s mind and Barry blocks Thawne from getting to the breakdown-suffering Nash by declaring the limitlessness of humanity.

Cisco talks Nash into facing his terrible memory and the faults of his own actions and Team Flash manages to expel Thawne out of Nash, sending his tachyons into the atmosphere until he can find another person to possess. Inspired by the mention of Nora when in Nash’s mind, Barry realizes that he can not only use his daughter’s notes as Thawne’s former apprentice of the Negative Speed Force to figure out how to make one of their own, but he can power it with the power of love. Someone notify Huey Lewis & The News that he was right all along.

Other Things:
  • I feel bad for that actor who plays the real Eobard Thawne. Poor dude’s just been erased from canon by sup-par writing.
  • Joe is definitely catching on to Mirror Iris’s weird behavior now. I expect this plot to pick up a lot more steam very soon.
  • Man, the CGI budget really took a hit this season, huh? The green screen background Maya gets for the fall to her death was so bad it completely removed any emotional weight to the scene.
  • Also a killer for emotional weight: those glowy brainwave triangles everyone was wearing when they left Nash’s brain. Doesn’t matter how good an actor is, they cannot hold pathos wearing glowy triangles on their foreheads.
  • I wanted to subtitle this review “A Thawne-ting” like, “A Haunting,” y’know? But I didn’t know if it would track. Sometimes puns are hard.

Monday, March 16, 2020

20 Shows to Watch While You Social Distance [Contributor: Jenn]

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With the world in an upheaval because of coronavirus, a lot of companies have decided to have their employees work remotely to prevent the spread of the virus. People are practicing social distancing — staying away from crowds and public spaces in order to protect themselves and others from the spread of the virus. But with social distancing can come loneliness. Even introverts are used to leaving their homes and taking quick trips to grocery stores, gyms, shopping malls, movie theaters, or theme parks every once in a while.

With all of your free time confined to an apartment or house, you might be looking for something to binge-watch and pass the next two or more weeks’ worth of time. I have 20 different shows that might just do the trick for you. They’re varying lengths and available to watch on different streaming platforms, but all are shows that I’ve found to be fun and might brighten your spirits during your isolation.

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20. Galavant (Netflix)


Of all of the shows on this list, Galavant is perhaps the most underrated. This short-lived ABC meta musical comedy only got two seasons but it made the most of its time on the air. It’s a show set in medieval times with references to present pop culture and hilariously subtle jokes. The music is wonderful (composer Alan Menken and Christopher Lennertz produced the music), the guest stars are fantastic (JOHN STAMOS APPEARS), and the stories are unexpected in the best way. You’ll be able to finish this one pretty quickly so I recommend moving right into the next show on our list!

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19. Psych (Amazon Prime)


Psych is one of my absolute favorite shows. Not only is it hilariously meta, but it’s also such a good example of a show that mixed comedy, drama, and procedural into one. James Roday and Dule Hill are absolute stars. They have the chance to do really hilarious physical comedy, deliver snappy one-liners, and also really punch you in the heart with feels. The rest of the cast is just as stellar: Timothy Omundson is also in this show as Detective Lassiter, and Detective Juliet O’Hara is played beautifully by Maggie Lawson. Psych is just such a wonderful, charming, engaging series that proves you can do character development, comedy, and romance well while also still having “case of the week”-style episodes.

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18. Community (Hulu)


I love this show so much that I started a podcast about it! Though Community has been off the air for years now, the show is actually going to be moving to Netflix soon (and hopefully fulfilling the in-show prophesy of “six seasons and a movie”). Community is a series about a group of lovable misfits who attend Greendale Community College and form a Spanish study group. But one thing this former NBC sitcom was known for is its risk-taking. This series features claymation episodes, homages to famous films, and even a few musical episodes. It’s a series that, at its best, could turn itself into anything and still ultimately make sense. The ensemble is led by the always-charismatic and snarky Joel McHale, and if you haven’t watched this show yet, you certainly should. I doubt you’ll regret it!

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17. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Hulu)


I chose a bunch of shows from the Mike Schur universe to include in this list because they’re all incredible! Brooklyn Nine-Nine took a few tries to hook me, but once it did, I never looked back. Centered around the 99th precinct in New York, this cop-centric ensemble comedy is an absolute gem. The characters all have the chance to get fleshed out over the seasons, and recurring jokes are a part of this show’s DNA. It’s hard to put into words exactly what makes Brooklyn Nine-Nine special, but I’ll say this: it’s genuine. It’s got a wonderful heart and soul and it doesn’t waver from that for the sake of an easy joke. It’s authentic and it’s fun. And you need to start watching it ASAP if you have not already.

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16. Good Girls (Netflix/NBC)


This might be the darkest show I’ve recommended, but I think you’ll find it as addicting as I did. I could not watch a next episode fast enough. Good Girls features a wonderful trio of women: Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman. Each brings their own brand of dark humor and intensity to their roles. And at its core, Good Girls is about the relationship between these women and the question: “How far would you go?” How far would you go to provide for your family? What would you do if you got hooked and couldn’t stop? Can you justify bad behavior for a worthy cause? And when is the cause suddenly not even a factor anymore? This NBC series is still on the air so you can use Netflix and Hulu to watch the show’s first few seasons and most recent episodes. Just a warning: this stuff does get a bit dark. Maybe break it up with some cheesy fun shows!

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15. Single Parents (Hulu/ABC)


I’ve talked extensively about Single Parents, and I could do so for the next few years. But for those of you who haven’t heard my loving pitch yet: this is a show from women who worked on New Girl (creator Liz Meriwether and EP J.J. Philbin helm this show) and writers who also worked on the show. So if you enjoyed New Girl, Single Parents has a very similar feel in tone and storytelling. It’s a show about a group of, you guessed it, single parents (played by Taran Killam, Leighton Meester, Kimrie Lewis, Brad Garrett, and Jake Choi) raising young kids. Shenanigans ensue, of course, but this beautiful ensemble comedy doesn’t relegate kids to the background — they are integral to the stories! And they’re FUNNY! There’s a sweetness to this show that not many network comedies have, so please check it out. It’s endearing and fun and wonderfully delightful.

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14. Happy Endings (Hulu)


When people discuss unjust cancellations of television shows, Happy Endings typically makes it onto lists. I love this series (and might do my yearly rewatch in the next few weeks...) and think it’s one of the silliest, most meta, fun comedies out there. The show focuses on a group of six friends (Eliza Coupe, Damon Wayans, Jr., Adam Pally, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, and Casey Wilson) that are splintered in the pilot because one of the women leaves one of the guys at the altar. I assumed that Happy Endings was just going to be a re-imagining of Friends, but it’s not. This show is wonderfully unexpected because the humor and comedy is often so zany. I love it. And I think you’re going to love it too.

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13. GLOW (Netflix)


GLOW is a show about women. That’s the selling point (or at least it should be). It focused over the years on things like female empowerment, motherhood, love, purpose and connection, race, etc. Though the show is primarily about wrestling, one of the most important things the show focuses is on is women’s complexities. People aren’t black-and-white heroes or villains. They’re not defined by one thing or characteristic or choice. People are complex, especially women. And what’s incredibly refreshing (in addition to the fact that GLOW features examples of diversity and representation) is that the show doesn’t attempt to reduce any of its female characters to just one thing. Ruth (Alison Brie) could easily be perceived as the villain given the choices she makes. Betty Gilpin’s Debbie could easily be victimized or demonized but she’s not. While GLOW has its ups and downs over the seasons, it’s definitely worth checking out!

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12. Love is Blind (Netflix)


Let me tell you a story: on Valentine’s Day, my roommate and I got addicted to Netflix’s reality dating show, Love is Blind. It’s the very definition of addicting television. The premise is this: women and men are separated from one another and sent to “pods” — essentially rooms connected by doors so participants can hear each other but not see one another. The hypothesis of the experiment is the show’s title: “Is love really blind?” The participants choose who they want to be with, without ever seeing them. They propose, and then spend the next few weeks before their weddings (!!!), seeing whether their physical connection in the outside world matches the emotional one they formed in the pods. Not everyone makes it down the aisle, and even if they do, not everyone chooses to marry the person they chose in the pod. Mix a few cute couples you can genuinely root for with a whole lot of hot messes and you have a recipe for the best binge-watch during your social distancing. Be warned: you’ll probably yell at the television multiple times.

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11. Superstore (Hulu/NBC)


Are you a fan of wacky workplace comedies? Then Superstore is the show for you! Anchored (for now, as she’s set to depart next season) by the lovely and talented America Ferrera, this is a show about a fictional workplace called Cloud 9 and its employees. Of course, shenanigans ensue all the time. There are genuinely sweet and heartbreaking moments as the series progresses, and we get the chance to know these workers as more than just employees. We see them evolve, fall in love, fight, and suffer. It’s a perfect show for you to binge-watch!

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10. The Good Place (Netflix)


If you haven’t checked out The Good Place yet, you need to do so as soon as possible! Not only is this a show that manages to make you laugh and cry, but it does so while focusing on a lot of really deep topics like philosophy, morality, and what it means to love each other well. The Good Place is also one of the only shows on television that manages to consistently reinvent itself in the best ways. By the end of the first season, you’ll be ready to hit “play” on season two. In addition to the tight writing, extensive callbacks, and jokes, the cast is astounding. Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, D’Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto, William Jackson Harper, and Jameela Jamil are stellar. They will make you laugh until you cry and cry until you cry harder.

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9. Dollface (Hulu)


I wrote a bit about why this new Hulu original is worth your time! It’s a quick watch (I finished season one faster than I thought I would) and absolutely adored it. It has three fantastic women: Kat Dennings, Shay Mitchell, and Brenda Song. The premise is that a woman who’s been in a long-term relationship (Dennings) suddenly finds herself broken up with, and realizes she distanced herself for years from her female friends because she had a boyfriend. The show is a look into female friendships and millennial women. It has silly, absurd comedy mixed in with genuinely real topics and conversations that women have. It featured a brilliant Wizard of Oz homage too! And it’s a show I think you all will enjoy if you add it to your queue.

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8. mixedish (Hulu/ABC)


I’d recommend that you also watch blackish because it’s a fantastic show. The currently-airing mixedish (which is a spin-off of the other ABC series) has a sweetness to it that is fresh and fun. It follows narrator Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross) as she recounts her life growing up in the 1980s as a mixed-race child. Arica Hammel plays the young Rainbow (or “Bow”) who is absolutely endearing and sweet. The rest of the kids in the cast — Ethan William and Mykal-Michelle Harris — are equally as enjoyable. Rounding out the cast are the fantastic Tika Sumpter and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, plus Gary Cole. mixedish is the kind of show that makes you feel warm and fuzzy; it teaches you moral lessons without being so overt about them, and it focuses on its characters over plot. It’s a sweet coming-of-age comedy that you should catch up on.

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7. The Bold Type (Hulu/Freeform)


The Bold Type is your Sex and the City-esque fix without having to watch Sex and the City. It’s a Freeform series which means that it’s focused on a younger generation of women trying to make it through life, love, and their careers at a magazine. The Bold Type is the kind of show that features some fun, fluffy storylines alongside some really deep and meaningful ones (like about Kat struggling with her racial identity or Jane dealing with medical issues). Plus it stars the talented Melora Hardin as a strong, powerful, sensitive, caring boss. She gets to shine in a lot of stories, but none more powerful than “Carry the Weight”: an episode that will make you emotional. Check out the show!

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6. Schitt’s Creek (Netflix/POP TV)


What could possibly be said about Schitt’s Creek that hasn’t already been written (or that I haven’t already written)? The show is a wonderful example of an ensemble comedy that’s character-driven. From season one to the current season, characters experience so much growth and development. The storylines are funny, iconic, Tweetable, but they’re also just real. They’re funny because of the amazing cast (Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Annie Murphy, and Emily Hampshire) and the tight writing. If you’re looking for a show that’s surprising in how quiet but enjoyable it is, check this one out. It’s a critical darling for a reason!

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5. Parks and Recreation (Netflix)


If you haven’t watched Parks and Recreation up until this point, I have a lot of questions. First off: “Why not?!” Parks and Rec is one of the most heartwarming shows — about politicians and government figures no less. It’s where a number of pop culture references come from (#treatyoself), but most importantly, the writing and acting in the show is so solid. There’s a reason that Leslie Knope has become a hero among so many of us, and it’s because she’s a character who exemplifies love, leadership, honesty and integrity, and a sense of humor. The characters on this show love each other so deeply and so well. They learn from each other and grow. Parks and Rec is also a rare show in which once the writers decided to commit to romantic couples, they didn’t look back. A lot of shows continue to draw out tension or relationships, but not Parks and Rec. It’s a show about friendship and joy, and I’ll probably rewatch it. Again.

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4. The Mandalorian (Disney+)


Okay this is probably one you’ve already watched. But even if you’re not into Star Wars lore, The Mandalorian is a fun romp into the universe without asking much from you in return. It features an array of amazing diverse writers and directors, and it’s self-contained so you don’t need to know a whole lot about Star Wars to understand it. But let’s be real here: the true reason you should watch it is because of baby Yoda (or “The Child” if you want to get specific to the show). Just watch for the adorableness alone and sooner or later, you’ll forget that you’ve been social distancing for a week.

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3. Younger (Hulu/TV Land)


In the same vein of The Bold Type, Younger is another Sex and the City-esque series focusing on young women in the book publishing industry (New York-set television shows sure do love their publishing jobs). Liza (played by the talented Sutton Foster) is a 40-something woman who decides to pose as a millennial in order to get hired at a publishing company. Of course, the longer the series goes on, the more people discover Liza’s secret (she has an ex-husband and a college-age daughter after all). But the most fun is Liza’s interaction with her coworker Kelsey (Hilary Duff). Younger is an addicting romp through some soapy comedy, so check it out!

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2. One Day At A Time (Netflix/POP TV)


I can’t promote this show enough. It’s smart, heartbreaking at times, incredibly poignant and relevant, funny, and just so dang likable. One Day At A Time boasts a fabulous cast: Rita Moreno and Justina Machado are absolute stars. The comedy follows the Alvarez family during all of their ups and downs. The storylines cover everything from depression to addiction to immigration to coming out and family conflicts. It’s a show about family and found family. It is beautiful. It is important. It is so very special. And it is more than worth your time. Please watch it as soon as possible!

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1. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Netflix)


Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is one of my favorite shows. It is so smartly written, the humor is on point, and the musical numbers are perfection. This is a show that somehow manages to tackle things as dark and difficult as suicide and mental health without being “Very Special Episode” about it. Rachel Bloom is absolutely worthy of all the awards as the incredibly complex Rebecca Bunch. You won’t always root for Rebecca. In fact, there’s a very meta song early in the show’s run that is all about how Rebecca realizes she may, in fact, be the villain in her own story. But she is worth your time and development. And the supporting cast in this show is just as important as Rebecca (especially the relationships between the female characters on the show). Honestly this CW comedy is one of the most thought-provoking shows in the last few years, so give it a shot. You won’t regret it.

Even while you’re practicing social distancing, take some breaks from television and step outside onto your front porch or take a lap around the neighborhood. Remind yourself of the goodness and beauty in life. Take a break from your screens! But when you decide to binge-watch shows, be sure to keep the ones on this list in mind!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Grey’s Anatomy 16x17 Recap: “Life on Mars?” (How Low Can You Go?) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]


“Life on Mars?”
Original Airdate: March 12, 2020

After last week’s goodbye to Alex Karev, life is getting back to normal for the central docs at Grey Sloan Memorial. However, not everyone is ready to move on to their next chapter. It seems like a few ongoing storylines are coming to a head, so expect an overload of drama over the next few weeks.

LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS


The episode begins with our favorite BFFs Link and Jo at a train station ready to commute to work. Jo has been staying at Link’s place for the past week, as her apartment reminds her of Alex. A young couple displaying their love for each other with lots of PDA irks Jo, who doesn’t want any reminders of love or happiness. Over at Grey Sloan, Meredith has just told Amelia about Alex’s departure while on an elevator ride. While walking through the halls, the sisters are at odds over what to talk about because Meredith won’t share her feelings about Alex leaving and Amelia refuses to talk about, or to, Link unless he decides he loves her no matter who the father of her baby is.

Life is even worse for Teddy, who isn’t very interested in Owen’s attempts to start planning their wedding. He has enlisted his mother’s help in planning, but Teddy doesn’t want to deal with him. Things get worse for her when they get into a packed elevator that includes Koracick and Maggie. Koracick decides to be overly friendly to both Teddy and Owen, which makes things a bit awkward. His weird small talk reveals he will be treating a VIP patient today. Koracick, Teddy, and Maggie leave the elevator on the same floor, and Teddy pulls Koracick to the side to talk. She fears that his weirdness will tip off Owen about their dalliance, which she clearly didn’t tell her fiancé about. Teddy also tells Koracick that she doesn’t think sleeping with him means anything, but we all know that’s probably not true. Koracick walks off, and Maggie decides to tell Teddy that the elevator ride was very uncomfortable. Maggie believes something is up, so Teddy admits to sleeping with Koracick.

Outside, Vic meets Jackson at a coffee cart. Jackson is none too pleased that Vic moved into his place after losing her apartment without telling him. She apologizes and tells Jackson that she is going to move in with fellow firefighter and bestie Dean, who is a newly single father to a newborn. Jackson isn’t sure how he feels about that, but Vic says he has nothing to worry about... which makes Jackson even more uncomfortable.

Back inside, Richard is very mad that his furniture from his Pac-North office is being delivered to his current office. Bailey approaches to find out what the commotion is about as Richard declares he doesn’t want any of the furniture. She doesn’t know what his problem is, even though we know he is struggling with the idea of giving up surgery. Down in the ER, Meredith and Schmitt examine a woman, Noelle, who fell off a ladder after feeling dizzy while painting a house. Noelle reveals she is a Type-1 diabetic and has been rationing her insulin injections because she can’t afford them. This deeply upsets Mer, who admits her patient after finding fluid in her abdomen.

Koracick finally meets his VIP patient, who is taking selfies with a nurse. The patient is the CEO of a big tech company and just so happens to be the guy responsible for the failed rocket launch that caused a massive fire on last week’s Station 19. The VIP thinks he must have a brain tumor or a neurological condition because he couldn’t possibly have miscalculated anything with the rocket. It’s a typical case of a rich, smart guy thinking that he is perfect and can’t make mistakes, so logically, he must be sick.

Back in the ER, Jo and Link are waiting for an ambulance to arrive, so Jo takes the opportunity to tell Link that he should talk to Amelia and work things out. Of course, he is being as stubborn as Amelia and doesn’t want to talk to her. The ambulance arrives, and Jo and Link find that their new patient is one half of the pair they saw at the train station making out earlier. His girlfriend explains that he fell onto the tracks on top of his guitar and they didn’t hear the train coming. The guy is in pretty rough shape. Severe burns on his arms are causing compartment syndrome, which needs to be taken care of immediately. Amelia joins Link and Jo just in time to help save the patient’s limbs by cutting his arms with a scalpel in an attempt to relieve the pressure.

NOT ACCEPTING REALITY


In what has easily been the biggest powder keg situation of the past few weeks, DeLuca is in mandatory therapy and can’t operate or treat patients until he is cleared by his therapist. He doesn’t know why he is in therapy and explains to his therapist that he was simply passionate about his last case. He once again denies having any symptoms of mania and feels that he’s had a few stressful weeks and that’s it. I wish we had seen a shot of the therapist rolling her eyes at that comment.

Now back to our current awkward situation that is very likely to blow up in everyone’s face: Teddy has been attempting to avoid Owen, but her fiancé finds her and pulls her into a stairwell to talk. Teddy decides that this is the perfect moment to blurt out that Amelia’s baby might be Owen’s, and she isn’t sure whether Amelia knows who the father is yet. Owen doesn’t believe he could be the father, but now understands Jo’s previous comments in a recent surgery. Teddy wants to know what it would mean for their relationship if the baby is his, but Owen doesn’t answer because he is in shock.

Koracick decides to bring Meredith in for a consult on his VIP patient, which isn’t the best idea considering Mer is currently fuming about the state of healthcare. The VIP tells Mer that he read her infamous listicle about hospital issues, and Mer is so not impressed. She is actually furious that the VIP called Catherine for a favor and has a whole wing to himself when there are plenty of sick people that need the rooms. Mer gets a page that Noelle is in CT, so she tries to duck out of the consult. Koracick wants her to focus on the VIP, so Mer hands him off to Jackson. Mer thinks the VIP should be Jackson’s problem because Catherine is his mother and caused the mess.

Jo, Link, and Amelia update their patient’s girlfriend on his status, which includes a brain injury and the need for immediate surgery. Over in CT Owen and Schmitt are checking Noelle’s scans. Owen doesn’t know what to do with himself, so he is chilling in the CT room. Mer walks in and starts complaining about the VIP patient, but Owen is too out of it to listen. He snaps out of it when Noelle starts crashing in the middle of the scan. The three docs rush to help her and decide she needs immediate surgery.

Back to the Richard situation, Bailey pages Richard to his office to talk and surprises him by having all of his old furniture arranged in his current office. This sets Richard off big time, and he starts yelling at Bailey and says he wants an empty room. Bailey says she will fix it and starts to realize that something is up, but Richard doesn’t tell her about his shaky hands. He prefers to be self-destructive and throw some furniture around instead of talking about his problems. Bailey gets a page that Koracick is ruining the hospital and leaves.

Elsewhere in the hospital, Vic meets up with Jackson again to talk, but Jackson urges her to leave and enjoy her day off. He would rather stop by Dean’s house later to talk, but Vic feels that Jackson has a problem he’s not telling her. Jackson explains that he understands Dean is her best friend, but feels that Dean has a crush on Vic. He also doesn’t like that Dean has hit on Maggie before and that Vic would be helping to raise Dean’s baby when she hasn’t even met his own kid. Why the Dean hitting on Maggie thing bothers Jackson is beyond me considering their nasty break up. Jackson would prefer to finish the conversation later, but Vic wants to know where they are in their relationship. Jackson says he needs to process everything and stops the conversation.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS


In the OR, Link, Jo, and Amelia are saving their patient’s life. They think they will need Jackson to clean up the sutures on the patient’s arms later so they don’t leave nasty scars. Things start to get awkward between Link and Amelia, so Amelia leaves Link and Jo to dress the wounds. In another part of the hospital, DeLuca is trying to help handle the overflow of patients. He sees Bailey and asks her to let him treat patients. He reveals that Richard has passed off his entire service, so there are a lot of people who need to be seen. Bailey wasn’t informed that Richard isn’t seeing patients and is not happy about learning that info.

Things are also going bad for Noelle, who is bleeding out in the OR. Mer and Owen are frantically trying to save her, while Mer rants about how this never should have happened. She hates the fact that Noelle is in bad shape because she couldn’t afford her insulin. It appears that Mer is back on the health care reform kick, so expect more of this going forward. Teddy’s bad day also continues when she decides to talk to Maggie again. Maggie is literally the worst person to be confiding in about anything. Teddy tells her that she told Owen about Amelia’s situation and starts to bad mouth Amelia, which doesn’t sit well with her sister. Maggie says before Teddy judges Amelia, she should judge herself for sleeping with Koracick and not telling Owen when she herself was pregnant. This brings Teddy back to reality and makes her realize she is going to have to pull herself together and face the truth.

Koracick has his own crisis when the VIP patient doesn’t believe that he and Jackson have found nothing wrong with him. The patient can’t accept that he must have made a mistake and suggests to Koracick that he could have missed something and have a serious condition. He feels that he will go to jail without a diagnosis and offers to give Grey Sloan Memorial a massive sum of money in exchange for a diagnosis. The VIP asks Koracick to take a look at the scans again and see if anything was overlooked. Koracick isn’t sure what to do, so he seeks out resident rule-breaker Meredith’s advice. He finds her and Owen leaving the OR and learns that Noelle died, which has left Mer in an even worse mood. Koracick asks Mer what she would do if she had the kind of money that the VIP has, and Mer starts listing off all sorts of healthcare reforms. Koracick asks Mer how she decides which rules to break when so many people need help. Mer says that she goes with her gut and hopes what she does improves the mess of the world by a little bit, which inspires Koracick.

Link and Jo tell their patient’s girlfriend that he is out of the woods, but will have a long recovery and be in the hospital for a long time. The girlfriend doesn’t want to stick around for him even though he left his dream behind for her. Link finally agrees with Jo that all love sucks eventually, but Jo decides to take back her previous comment. She says that she can’t hate Alex when so many things remind her of his love. She is mad and hurt, but also knows Alex is the reason she will rise again and make him a fool for leaving her. Jo continues to say that Alex changed her for the best and made her feel worthy of love. She tells Link not to blow it with Amelia because he has the choice that she didn’t get. In just one week, Jo appears to have gotten over her husband leaving her.

Bailey confronts Richard for a third time and asks him why he gave up his service. Richard says he has had a bad temper lately and apologizes. He says he didn’t arrive at the decision easily, but he is stepping away from surgery indefinitely. Bailey doesn’t want him to step down, and Richard asks for her support in his next journey. Bailey feels that the hospital still needs him, but Richard would rather step away at the top of his game. The office reminds him of his old life and he needs to move forward, which is why he freaked out about the furniture.

After talking to Mer, Koracick goes to speak with the VIP patient. Koracick says that he took another look at the scans and thinks he has an aneurysm that could influence judgement. It could resolve on its own or need surgery down the road. The patient wants to know when he will know if he “needs” surgery, so Koracick replies that he will know when Grey Sloan Memorial sees the size of the check. Koracick shakes hands with the devil, and even though he thinks he is doing a good thing, there’s no way this won’t come back to bite him in the end.

At the end of the night, Jackson finds Vic waiting for him outside the hospital. Jackson says that things don’t feel right and that he’s past the point in his life for messing around. He wants to take some time to get to know Vic better, but Vic decides breaking up is the better option since Jackson can’t accept her new living situation, which he wanted in the first place. Bailey and Mer aren’t having the best of days either and they talk in one of the lounges. Mer is missing Alex and says he would make her laugh on bad days like this. Bailey starts a speech about how she dreamed of being the last one left in her class, but it felt extremely weird when it actually happened. She tells Mer that at some point, it will feel normal. Mer isn’t sure how to handle life without Alex, and Bailey thinks that’s a good time to tell her that Richard is stepping down from surgery. As if Mer needed one more thing to worry about or deal with.

THE SPIRAL CONTINUES


Teddy goes to Koracick and apologizes for using and hurting him. Koracick is not in the mood for this conversation, but Teddy continues, talking about how she feels Owen might choose another woman again. She hates that she keeps hurting Koracick when he makes her laugh and feel good. Koracick doesn’t think he is a good guy, especially after making a deal with the VIP; but Teddy shows him that she feels the opposite by making out with him. Koracick locks the door to his office, and they presumably sleep together again.

DeLuca appears to have had a bit too much to drink when Jo sits down next to him at Joe’s Bar. He’s drunk and tells Jo that he wants to hook up with her. She rightly throws her drink in his face and tells him that he is not okay and is not himself. She urges him to get help before it is too late, but I don’t think there is any way to help DeLuca now. Teddy’s day also continues to be wacky when she arrives home and finds Owen cooking dinner for her. Owen tells Teddy that she isn’t a replacement for anyone and they will figure things out as it happens. Owen declares his love for her again and apologizes. Teddy is crying and can’t believe how great Owen is.

AND THE FATHER IS...


In the moment we have been waiting several months for, Link shows up with a guitar in the rain on Amelia’s front porch. He debates knocking, but Amelia sees him through the window and opens the door before he commits. He says that he wanted to write her a song, but needed to tell her he doesn’t want to live without her. He was in pain, which doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her. He then declares his love for Amelia and gives a passionate speech about how he doesn’t care whose baby it is. He fell in love with her and the baby and is in no matter what. Amelia is extremely happy to hear what Link has to say and kisses him. She says she needed to hear that, especially because the paternity test results came in and show that Link is the baby’s father! She also wants him to write her that love song now that things appear to have worked themselves out. Link is beyond thrilled that he will indeed be a father, and the episode ends with them reuniting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Flash 6x14 Review: "Death of the Speed Force" (Not So Happy Returns) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]


“Death of the Speed Force”
Original Airdate: March 10, 2020

We have an episode of returns this week: the show returns from a brief hiatus, Cisco returns from his travels around the newly created Earth Prime, Wally returns from wherever he’s been since we last saw him in season five, and Barry returns to his natural state of screwing everything up and feeling really bad about it, then coming up with a stupid plan that’ll probably make it all worse somehow. We love a speedy idiot.

WELCOME BACK. WE’RE IN TROUBLE.


The episode opens with a crashing helicopter. Why? Unclear. All we know is there’s a helicopter, it’s crashing, and Team Flash spots a speedster on radar, rushing to its aid. They assume it’s Barry, but it turns out it’s Wally, who is back in Central City and full of zen.

Cisco also returns from his travels, accidentally crashing Wally’s welcome party. No hard feelings, though. It saves Team Flash from having to throw a second party, so everyone’s happy! Well, except for Iris — who is still behind the mirror, missing out on seeing her brother again for the first time in years. I’m not sure how much the show intends the Mirror Iris story to be pathos and how much they want it to be intriguing mystery, but the pathos is winning out for me while the mystery is merely frustrating. Just like Iris missing that real connection with Barry during the Valentine’s Day episode, her not actually getting a reunion with Wally is such a miserable missed opportunity.

After the party, Barry and Wally offer to put their speedster powers to use in cleaning up the mess. While zipping around, Barry seems to lose his powers and trips, adding that little “hiccup” to a growing list of similar events he’s been experiencing (but not telling anyone about) since the end of Crisis. Wally confronts Barry and confesses that he didn’t just show up in Central City to reconnect with his family; he wanted to talk to Barry about the issues he’s been sensing in the Speed Force.

Meanwhile, the lady from the helicopter crash at the beginning is being rude to a Jitters barista. I would generally be intrigued by why a person might get targeted by a metahuman villain, but being rude to service workers? Yeah, that’s all I need. This lady can get mummified. Which is exactly what happens, when a meta in green shows up, freezes time, and in a flash of green power, Russian Lady is dead on the floor, having aged about eighty years in a second.

When CCPD (and Cisco) arrive on the scene, it’s Cisco’s new post-Crisis anomaly knowledge that gives them a culprit. Jumping off the pre-existing meta named Turtle, Cisco names this one “Turtle 2.” It’s really not his best work. This plotline is also not all that compelling when you’ve got another storyline going on that (if stuck to) could potentially alter how this show’s universe works completely. So, suffice to say, Turtle 2 gets apprehended by the end of the episode and that’s all you need to know.

Wally thinks he’s just having a conversation with his sister, but Mirror Iris clearly sees an opportunity to sow a little discord and subtly hints that the Speed Force problems may stem from Barry’s confrontation with it while under Bloodwork’s control. Kamilla comes in and takes a picture of the two of them together, but Mirror Iris tells Kamilla she should delete it for “security” reasons. Both Wally and Kamilla exit their conversations with Iris feeling like something is off about her.

Using his ability to mentally project into the Speed Force, Wally pulls Barry in with him and they end up in the copy of Barry’s childhood home — the last form the Speed Force took with Barry. The representation of the Speed Force still looks like Barry’s mom, too, and she’s dying. Well, that’s gotta be awkward. After the Speed Force says they’re dying because of something Barry did, Wally and Barry return to reality.

Wally is furious, and for good reason. Barry, in his usual “if I ignore it it’ll be fine” fashion, has known something was wrong with his powers (and the Speed Force, by extension) for months but didn’t tell Wally, even though he would also be affected. Actually, every speedster is affected — all the way down the line, well into the future. Wally’s projections into the Speed Force gave him visions of his children and his children’s children all having speedster powers, but when the Speed Force started acting up, that line of speedsters ended.

To a small amount of credit, Barry tries to right his wrong as soon as he realizes the full scale of what he might’ve done. He goes back into the Speed Force via a tachyon enhancer and apologizes to it, but it turns out that the Bloodwork situation wasn’t the cause. For a moment, Barry thinks he might be off the hook. Then the Speed Force clarifies that it was during Crisis, when Barry took some energy from Spectre. So... yeah, Barry. Still your fault. Oops.

The Speed Force, still wearing the form of Barry’s mother and essentially acting like his mother, dies. Yep. That is indeed very awkward, and sad, and I know I call Barry an idiot and a screwup a lot but the dude really doesn’t deserve to watch his mom die multiple times in one life.

In the aftermath of the Speed Force’s death, Barry and Wally have a finite amount of speedster power before it’s all gone forever. On the one hand, I guess it’s a bit of a challenge for the writers to slip into every episode — on the other, it’s going to severely diminish all the fun the show can have with Barry zipping around, doing stuff. But then again, maybe this dramatic element won’t last very long at all: when Nash is revealed to be possessed by Eobard Thawne and the necessity for speedster powers becomes even more necessary with his “I’m going to kill you and everyone you know” threats, Barry gets the bright idea to model an artificial Speed Force after Thawne’s Negative Speed Force. Oh, taking inspiration from your arch nemesis, Barry? No way that’ll end poorly.

Finally, Kamilla is in the Citizen offices looking at the photos on her camera. She notices the one Mirror Iris told her to delete is still on there, throwing some alert that causes the image to shift and reveal Mirror Iris’s mirror-ness. Somehow, Mirror Iris knows the picture Kamilla is looking at is the one that tells her secret, and she shoots Kamilla with the mirror gun she got a few episodes ago.

Other Things:
  • We’ve all accepted that Cisco is filthy rich, right? There’s no other logical explanation for how he could finance his trip around the world. The breaching device they used to use to get places doesn’t work anymore and Cisco had his powers removed again after Crisis was done, so no free travel there.
  • So, Mirror Iris has all Iris’s memories and can tap into her emotions for any given scenario, doesn’t have a complete connection with Eva but is physically affected by what Eva does, and she doesn’t appear to have any personal motivation for anything. I am very confused about... everything to do with her. Fingers crossed the show actually clarifies things.
  • Still don’t get why Eobard Thawne has anything to do with the multiverse of Wellses. He shouldn’t be possessing Nash. That doesn’t make any sense.