Dickinson Behind-the-Scenes: An Interview With the Artisans

Meet the artists who bring this Apple TV+ series to life!

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.

Jenn's Pick: Top 15 Jeff/Annie Moments

In 2013, Jenn put together a list of the 15 best Jeff/Annie moments. Revisit and discover those memories!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Resident 5x23 Review: “Neon Moon” (Poignant Farewell) [Contributor: Justine]


“Neon Moon”
Original Airdate: May 17, 2022

The Resident returns to wrap up its final season, and it’s an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. With the chaos of the season, it was calming to have the finale be a poignant reflection of these characters' journeys so far. This episode is very nearly everything a season finale should be, while leaving the door open for plenty more stories to come. 

Of course, the main draw of this episode is the return of Emily VanCamp, reprising her role as Nic Nevin. In a season that’s been dedicated to chronicling grief and loss, it was so appropriate that Conrad (Matt Czuchry) revisits his wife in flashbacks and is able to process his grief and say goodbye.

Nic’s return was also closure, in that it gave fans a chance to actually see her as a mother. With VanCamp appearing primarily by phone in the first part of this season after Gigi’s birth, we never got to see her be the mom she wanted to be so much. It was adorable seeing her fuss over leaving Gigi at home with a babysitter for the first time. It will always be sad fans only got to see this tiny glimpse of this part of her character. It was cathartic for fans as well. Nic’s death shook The Resident to its core. She was such an integral part of the show for the first four seasons, and she’s been missed all season long. While it may have made sense from a story perspective, the time jump still left a massive hole that only Nic could fill. 

Although these last few episodes, in particular, have been setting up Conrad and Cade (Kaley Ronayne), the way this finale left their story was ingenious. It’s clear Conrad hasn’t made a choice between Cade or Billie (Jessica Lucas). This is actually very wise. It was also a nice touch to show these two women bonding without Conrad. Perhaps there’s hope for this love triangle yet.

Although KitBell shippers didn’t get a wedding, there’s plenty of content to swoon over in this season finale. Kit (Jane Leeves) and Bell (Bruce Greenwood) have more than proven this season why they’re the definitive couple to cheer for in this series. Although the finale lacked a KitBell wedding, the truth is it will probably be that much more satisfying when they finally say “I do”... next season, hopefully!

It turns out that Devon (Manish Dayal) leaving was a fake-out. While I can get behind a good fake goodbye, I’m left asking... what was the reason? Was it so that we can appreciate what a great character he is? Truthfully, this hasn’t been Devon’s strongest season. While he’s always been a dynamic character, this season hasn’t given him as many chances to shine. 

Regardless, it looks like there is in fact still hope for Devon and Leela (Anuja Joshi). The surrogate baby storyline seems to have worked itself out in the end after causing so much chaos. Hopefully if Devon and Leela are back together in earnest, they can be honest with each other and open about their dreams for the future. This storyline also gave Padma (Aneesha Joshi) the chance to actually be the voice of reason, which was a nice change. And A.J. (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) being a father is what he deserves, and he’s going to absolutely nail it.

Cade was arguably at her most relatable in this episode. Whether it’s seeing her contrasted with her father Ian (Andrew McCarthy) or seeing her bond with Billie, she was actually quite endearing. Her worry for her father, despite their tumultuous relationship, speaks volumes about her character.

Speaking of Ian, this episode left him in a very interesting position. I am curious to see how much more Dr. Ian Sullivan we get as the show continues into season six. He’s certainly made a strong case for how he would mix up the dynamic at Chastain Memorial. Perhaps he’s worth a closer look.

The Resident managed to pull together a season filled with change and chaos together with a touching finale. Although so much of this episode is bittersweet, it was ultimately a worthy send-off to Nic, in particular, and a new beginning for so many characters we’ve come to know and love. The stage has been set for season six and the countdown to the fall begins. 

Other Things:

  • Winston (Stephen Wallem) is BACK! Seriously, The Resident needs more Winston always.
  • That "Neon Moon" cover by Charly Reynolds? Transcendent. Seriously, there are no words. Is it the best version of that song? Very possibly.
  • This show also needs more Jessica (Jessica Miesel). In real life, she’s such a fantastic advocate on social media for actors. Definitely worth a follow. 
  • “You guys broke up way too fast. It's kind of a pattern with you. You're a relationship wrecking ball.”
  • "Why are you getting dressed?" "I'm discharging myself." "You can't be your own doctor." "Oh, wow. The apple fell directly under the tree."
  • “Maybe you shouldn't fight these memories. Maybe they're trying to tell you something. The past doesn't go away, if you don't deny it, you learn something from it.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Flash 8x14 Review: "Funeral for a Friend" (Many Mourners Mourning) [Contributor: Deborah M]


“Funeral for a Friend”
Original Airdate: May 11, 2022

This week on The Flash, the team mourns the loss of Frost in their own particular ways while a metahuman of the week scenario happens in the background. Breaking up the episode into focused mini-storylines that just barely brush against each other was a clever way to do an episode like this, which is more focused on character and less on a binding plot device like a villain. Fingers crossed that the events toward the very end don’t undermine everything “Funeral for a Friend” managed to accomplish.

DISTRACTED HEROING

As with any post-character-death episode, this one opens with a sad montage of people staring into the middle distance or looking at significant items around them while they mourn the lost loved one. The montage is interrupted when Team Flash has to stop a robbery in progress, but the mourning continues. Everyone is so distracted by their grief that they completely botch the heroics, allowing the robber — Blockbuster — to get away.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry calls a meeting with everyone and tells them they still have to be able to protect the city even though they’re in mourning, so get it together already. Caitlin shows up in the middle of the meeting just to tell everyone she’s not going to Frost’s funeral, then leaves. The writers definitely could’ve come up with a way to make dropping that plot point a little less clunky.

When Caitlin leaves, Joe dives in with the saddest of pep talks, saying they all need to find ways to honor Frost so that they can heal as a family. This is the jumping off point for the split storytelling format the episode follows until the funeral scene at the end.

IRIS

Iris is talking with Cecile about what they’re going to do to honor Frost. Cecile has decided to take on more pro-bono work helping metahumans but Iris hasn’t figured hers out yet. She wants to do an obituary but writing from a personal perspective on Frost would reveal her as a member of Team Flash. Considering that neither Allegra nor Cecile wear costumes or masks while in the field as Team Flash members and Iris associates with both of them, I think those dots are going to be connected regardless.

Iris pawns the obituary off on a CCC staff member, but when she takes it to Carla Tannhauser for review she concludes that it’s too impersonal. Iris confesses to Frost’s kinda-mom that she didn’t think she really knew Frost well, so she couldn’t find a way into writing the obituary. Carla thinks the obituary isn’t what Frost would’ve cared about anyway and Frost was more concerned with saving people, which gives Iris an idea to instead do a series of interviews with people Frost has saved.

CHESTER & ALLEGRA

This slice of the story is probably the weakest of the bunch, with Chester and Allegra mostly just bickering the entire time. It does introduce the running beat of Mark Blaine being the unlikely voice of reason, though. Basically, they have to go haul a drunken and grieving Mark away from trashing Central City’s only bar, O’Shaughnessy’s, and he tells them their arguments aren’t really arguments. They’re just showing each other how they view the world differently, like Frost used to do for him.

Then he passes out. After dumping Mark on a bed in the medlab back at S.T.A.R. Labs, the two of them decide to honor Frost by hanging her jacket from her first superhero costume up for display.

BARRY

After making a brief cameo dressed for kayaking during Chester and Allegra’s story, I assumed Barry’s was going to be weird. Turns out, he’s crossing off items on Frost’s bucket list. We see him building a snowman on top of Mount Everest, sculpting a snowflake out of ice, zipping in to hang one of Frost’s paintings on a wall in the Louvre, and winning a hotdog eating contest that CCPD is inexplicably holding in the department lobby. Frost sure did have a wide array of interests, huh?

Mark wakes up in the lab and interrupts Barry watching the scanner for Blockbuster. He can apparently provide enlightenment just as well hungover as he can while drunk, because after a short conversation during which Barry admits that crossing things off Frost’s bucket list doesn’t really feel complete, Barry suddenly gets what he needs to do.

CAITLIN

Caitlin’s story starts where we last saw her snapping that she wasn’t going to Frost’s funeral. Then we see her packing away Frost’s things from her apartment, including the painting Frost hung, photographs, and a coffee mug with a Frost-lips-colored lipstick stain. So she really did wear blue lipstick all the time? Her powers just... applied lipstick to her face? The implications of this are mind-bending. When she’s finished packing Frost away, Caitlin appears to sit on her couch all night until morning breaks and Barry knocks on her door.

After insisting again that she’s not going to the funeral, Caitlin lets Barry inside her apartment because he says he wants to apologize about what she overheard the previous day. Caitlin snaps at Barry a bit more, but then Barry asks her what Frost would have wanted her to do and that’s what gets through to her. She admits that she doesn’t want to go to the funeral because she thinks that seeing Frost in the casket will mean she’s really gone, and it’ll be too much after living her life with Frost always there for her. Even before she had a name, Frost was the voice in Caitlin’s head making her braver, and Barry tells her that voice won’t be gone. In fact, always keeping it with her is the way for Caitlin to honor Frost.

Of course Caitlin does show up at the funeral. She gives a touching eulogy about keeping the good parts of Frost — like her selflessness and unique outlook and love for her friends and family — alive to honor her. After the funeral, the whole team has gathered at Joe and Cecile’s house to share fun stories about Frost but they’re interrupted by alerts about Blockbuster and have to go be heroes. Caitlin stays behind with Joe, but when he leaves to get them both some coffee she turns all shifty and makes a call.

The person she called was apparently Mark. She’s stolen a genome sequencer from somewhere and recreated laboratory conditions in the middle of her apartment, and she wants Mark’s help in her mission to bring Frost back to life. 

Okay, first of all: when did she have the time to move all this stuff? Two: has she learned nothing from the “bringing her fiancé back from the dead” fiasco that led to Frost’s demise in the first place? And three: I swear, if this show pulls this bait and switch again I’m going to be furious. It was bad enough when they made a huge deal out of Frost going to jail forever, only to break her out a couple episodes later. 

No offense to Frost, I like her, but when you’ve dedicated a whole episode to her death, this character better freaking stay dead.

Other Things:

  • Cecile is in the action team now? And neither she nor Allegra have costumes? Iris had powers for about a day and got a fully designed hero costume, but these two don’t get anything?
  • Speaking of which: the mean CCC staff member who hates Allegra wants to “investigate” these new Team Flash members. What investigation? They literally wear street clothes and no masks, you could run a Google image search on them and probably find their social media accounts.
  • Green sparkles strike again: Iris has disappeared. Mean staff member basically witnesses this and shrugs it off. They only hire the best investigative journalists at the Central City Citizen!

Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Resident 5x22 Review: “The Proof is in the Pudding” (Falling Hard. Literally) [Contributor: Justine]


“The Proof is in the Pudding”
Original Airdate: May 10, 2022

The penultimate episode of The Resident is here and we have questions. This episode was another wildly uneven one, full of uneven storytelling punctuated with moments of heart. This entire season of Fox’s beloved medical drama has been filled with even more chaos than usual, which is saying something. Through it all, the team at Chastain Memorial can’t seem to stop getting into situations that are often of their own making. 

The newest addition to Chastain, Andrew McCarthy as Dr. Ian Sullivan, is the worst in the best possible way. The parallels between him and Bell (Bruce Greenwood) are immediately obvious. He’s seen as a god among patients, but only a select few close to him know the truth: he’s a danger to those he’s supposed to be caring for. Unfortunately, this story seems like it’s an accelerated version of what could have been a much longer, satisfying arc.

Cade (Kaley Ronayne) was in focus again this episode, recovering from a shooting. It’s still clear though that much of her character development has happened off-screen. The Resident seems committed to investing in a budding romance between her and Conrad (Matt Czuchry). Ronayne and Czuchry are trying their best with the story they’ve been given. It’s too bad the show hasn’t spent more time developing Cade as a character. She’s only been shown in relation to Conrad and her father. It’s a disservice to restrict her like this.

Devon (Manish Dayal) is also put in the spotlight this episode, perhaps for the purposes of saying goodbye? His obvious success with clinical trials, not to mention his development of a successful rabies protocol, puts him in a stellar position career-wise. Kit (Jane Leeves) and Bell are clearly Devon’s parents, trying to convince him to stay. Honestly, he deserves this. 

Devon’s talk with Conrad this episode kind of read like closure on this relationship. There’s even a callback to Conrad’s advice about being a doctor (that if it was easy, everyone would be one). Is this the end for Devon’s career at Chastain and his relationship with Conrad which started this whole series? So much of this episode read as a goodbye. With no official announcement at time I am writing this review, the future of this character remains unclear. 

KitBell shippers had a lot to love this episode, and perhaps a lot to get emotional over. These two have essentially become parents to the entire hospital, not just Devon. The fact that Kit sees through the new Dr. Sullivan is so on brand for the woman who takes no one’s nonsense. Poor Bell is clearly struggling. This show has so far done a commendable job emphasizing the unpredictability of MS in so many patients. 

One team-up that is was great to see again was Billie (Jessica Lucas) and AJ (Malcolm-Jamal Warner). As two of Chastain’s best surgeons, it’s a shame these two don’t get a chance to work together more often. The two of them give off the sweetest friendship vibes when they’re together. This episode, they’re given a chance to be open and vulnerable with each other. It’s further proof that they deserve more screentime together. 

On this note, though, why does the show keep doing Billie so dirty like this? The show has insisted on setting up Conrad and Cade, and now Billie has to jump in to create a love triangle and set herself up for rejection? This character deserves so much better, especially after all the trauma she’s been through. Maybe Devon’s not the only one who should be thinking of leaving Chastain. 

Relatedly, another incredible character who’s been stunted the last few episodes is Leela (Anuja Joshi). When did this character get so vicious and vindictive? In this episode, she’s just mean to Devon. It’s a far cry from the dynamic, career-driven character we’ve been introduced to. I’m unsure if it was the baby storyline that derailed this character, but her development has been disappointing to say the least. 

With all of this said, The Resident has set fans up for an explosive finale. Fates hang in the balance and plenty of stories need resolutions. Hopefully, everything can all come together in the end. If fans are lucky, we’ll get KitBell wedding bells/elopement in some form before we say goodbye to the Chastain for another season. 

Other Things:

  • Bell’s podcast appearance on a show about unaccountable doctors is source material reference! (The Resident is based on the book “Unaccountable” by Marty Makary)
  • With all of the physical falls this episode, we can only hope no one has a significant head injury. I know intellectually that it would grind the story to a halt, but could we not at least mention worrying about concussions?
  • Gigi continues to be such a precious baby. I would defend her with my life. Seeing her here is just a reminder that Emily VanCamp is coming back for the finale, and are we ready for that emotionally? Unknown but unlikely. 
  • “We've got four marriages between us, do we really need a ceremony?”
  • “We have plenty of great surgeons. Your daughter needs you.”
  • "Now I'm going to say something selfish." "Okay." "Don't break up the team."

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Grey’s Anatomy 18x16 Recap: “Should I Stay or Should I Go” (Commitmentphobes) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]


“Should I Stay or Should I Go”
Original Airdate: May 5, 2022

Can’t the good doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial catch a break? It feels like they have all been struggling more than normal for the past two seasons, and it doesn’t look like the tough times are going to get any easier any time soon. Here’s hoping the super stressed out characters catch a break by the end of this season’s finale, because they have earned it!

MORE DIFFICULT EVERY DAY

Every day seems to be worse than the last in Seattle, and this episode is no exception. The hour starts in the morning with Bailey waiting for a smoothie outside the hospital. She’s depressed about work and is not thrilled when Wright shows up. Bailey tells the resident off and wants him to leave her alone, which is made worse by Catherine seeing their exchange. Catherine is already upset about the residency program’s probation and is about to show Bailey just how unhappy she is.

Owen and Teddy arrive at the hospital with their kids, and Owen is finally walking on his own again without crutches. It’s his first full day back at work and he knows he is moving a little slow, but he is excited to be back. Leo has his hair longer than normal and is wearing a cowgirl costume. Pretty much out of nowhere, he announces to his parents that he is a girl. Teddy tells Leo that he is a boy, and it’s clear from the expression on his face that Owen doesn’t agree with Teddy’s parenting choice.

We then see Helm and Schmitt sharing an elevator ride on Schmitt’s first day back as a resident. He is still wearing his glasses, which indicates his confidence isn’t fully back. Helm is worried about the residency program going under, but things are much worse for Schmitt when the elevator stops on another floor and Nico gets in. No one says a word during the awkward situation, and Nico exits on the following floor. 

In Bailey’s office, Catherine chews out Richard and Bailey about how she doesn’t want her legacy tainted by the residency program debacle. She announces that over twenty of the Fox Foundation hospitals are being checked in on after Grey Sloan Memorial was placed on probation. Meredith walks by outside and finds her sisters eavesdropping on the conversation. Amelia and Maggie say that Catherine has been chewing Bailey and Richard out for ten minutes without letting either of them get a word in. Maggie complains that her cardio fellow quit and urges Mer to stay. Mer stands her ground by saying she is still leaving and made up her mind before stuff hit the fan. She insists she’s not leaving just for Nick, and Amelia backs her up since she too is pro-Minnesota. With perfect timing, Addison Montgomery walks up to the sisters and wants to know what they did to the hospital. Amelia hugs Addison and comments on how her friend knows how to make a great entrance. Addison is easily the highlight of this episode, and it would be great to have her stick around a little longer.

Winston’s brother, Wendell, is still in town and is pitching a cutting-edge piece of technology to the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial. He gives a presentation on a patch that shows heart stats through an app to allow doctors to monitor their patients from anywhere all day. Wendell tells Maggie and Winston afterwards that he is going to pitch the device to two other hospitals in the afternoon. Naturally, Maggie jumps on the chance to try something new and help Wendell out and asks for some samples to try on her patients. Winston is less convinced, but he doesn’t go against his wife.

Elsewhere, Todd surprises Jo in the hall by showing up unannounced with cookies. He heard about the residency program shutting down and wants to know how that affects her. Jo assures him that it’s just the surgical program that is in trouble and that nothing changes for her. He has to go to a meeting and can’t stay, but he’s happy that they are going out on a date later that evening. The camera pans to Link, who is standing in the background and overhearing the whole conversation. Jo sees him afterward, and Link tells her that he didn’t know she was still hanging out with Todd. Link thinks she’s trying too hard to like Todd, which is a bit of a low blow.

BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE

Owen is working down in the ER, and Teddy finds him to talk about what happened with Leo earlier. Teddy thinks their son is confused and needs a therapist. Owen is about to disagree, but he is interrupted by a woman helping a bloody man walking into the ER. The man’s arm was cut off by a conveyor belt at their workplace, the woman brought the arm with her and promptly faints after the doctors help get the man to a trauma room. Link hops in to help Owen with the man. They know that their patient is going to need a marathon surgery to reattach his arm, and Link asks Owen if he is up for it, so Owen assures him that he wants in. Teddy and Wright help the lady who fainted. She saw the accident happen and was horrified. She feels faint again as she explains what occurred.

Addison is back at Grey Sloan Memorial with Tovah, the patient she successfully transplanted a uterus in earlier this season. Tovah is eleven weeks pregnant with the last of her deceased husband’s sperm, but something seems to be wrong, which is why they returned to Seattle. Addison wants Mer’s help and asks her how much Hamilton offered her. Mer is surprised the offer is public knowledge and says she has pissed too many people off for entertaining the offer. Addison doesn’t miss a beat by saying it’s like she never left, since Mer is still annoying everyone.

Back in Bailey’s office, Catherine is now talking to just the chief of surgery. She wants Bailey to focus on keeping the surgical residents and save the program. Bailey thinks the best way to get the program back on track is to hire more attendings to ease the short staff struggles, but Catherine doesn’t want any outside surgeons hired until the residents commit to staying and giving good reviews to the accreditation board. Catherine wants Bailey to talk to all the residents that day while she watches, which Bailey is not thrilled about.

In the OR, Owen is excited for his first career arm reattachment surgery. Amelia shows up to help, and Link is excited to get started. Their patient starts to crash before they even begin, and Owen immediately starts CPR. He knows the hospital has a blood shortage, but they are going to need more blood if their patient is to survive. They get him back, but he’s too unstable to operate. The doctors are discouraged that they can’t save both the patient and his arm.

We then check in on Addison, who has Schmitt on her service. An ultrasound on Tovah shows diminished blood flow to her uterus. Addison and Schmitt realize that there must be a blood clot and assure Tovah that the baby is fine even though they need more scans. Schmitt picked a heck of a case for his first day back and isn’t thrilled when Addison asks him to page both Richard and Mer. Schmitt tries to tell her that they aren’t exactly on good terms, but Addison doesn’t care one bit if they are at odds or not.

IMPRESSIVE SAVES

Owen and Link’s patient is in the ICU on a ventilator. Teddy and Owen bring his coworker to see him, and Owen tells her about the complication and why he isn’t stable enough for the reattachment surgery. He also informs her that the arm won’t survive much longer and they will probably lose it. The woman feels the accident was her fault because she saw the conveyor belt not working properly the day before and didn’t say anything. After she goes into the room to see her friend, Teddy reminds a distraught Owen about the military veterans they have seen lose limbs and go on to live good lives. Owen doesn’t want to accept that it is over and decides to attempt to save the arm.

Mer arrives in the scan room where Addison and Richard are waiting for Tovah’s scans to process. Addison is worried about losing the fetus and the uterus and wants Mer and Richard to get along. It’s clear Richard has no intention of playing nice with Mer, as he still feels betrayed. The three doctors start brainstorming ideas to save Tovah’s baby and uterus. When things get a little snippy, Addison says she needs both of them to help and act like adults because she won’t let her patient burn with the hospital.

In another part of the hospital, Bailey sneaks up on Jo and scares the younger doctor. Bailey has come up with a plan to save the surgical residency program and it hinges on Jo. She explains to Jo that she is desperate and in need while reminding the resident how good the hospital has been to her when she too was in need. Bailey tells Jo she needs her to be a surgical attending again and wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t urgent. Jo doesn’t want to throw her OB residency down the drain, so Bailey assures her that she can return to OB when things get better and the program is back on track. Bailey doesn’t want to beg, but she isn’t above strong-arming Jo into doing what she wants. The conversation ends with Jo unsure of what just happened or what to do.

In a patient room, Maggie and Winston try the first heart patch sample on one of their patients. As they explain the benefits of the medical device, the patient states that he doesn’t believe in it. The patch immediately glitches and shows that the patient is dead when he is very much alive. Winston removes the patch and places it on his own arm, yet the software thinks he is dead too. 

In an OR, Owen has created a new circulatory system to save his patient’s arm. Link and Amelia are incredibly impressed, and Teddy arrives when they leave. Teddy sees what Owen is working on and reminds him that he is doing a military procedure that hasn’t been approved for civilian use. She doesn’t want the army to have attention on them given Owen’s recent extracurricular activities. Teddy also apologizes for the way she handled things with Leo. She wants to create a plan to help him, but Owen only wants to focus on their patient for now.

WHY CAN'T WE BE FRIENDS?

Addison, Richard, Mer, and Schmitt scrub in together to operate on Tovah, and Richard starts reminiscing about his former students. Mer tries to stop him immediately because she doesn’t want to hear his loyalty speech, so he decides to talk romantically about Addison’s residency instead. Seems like he will do anything to annoy Mer. We then see Winston and Maggie testing another patch in an on-call room. Winston isn’t surprised the patches don’t work, but Maggie is more optimistic than him. The second patch works immediately, so Maggie decides to increase Winston’s heart rate to see if the technology will work. He starts kissing her neck, and the software shows that he is flatlining. Instead of trying another patch, they decide to have sex. 

Link finds Jo in a lounge and apologizes for his earlier behavior. Jo tells him about Bailey wanting her to save the program. She doesn’t know what to do and wants to have dinner with Link to talk it over. She knows Todd doesn’t know how to talk about medical stuff, so Jo decides to ask Link to join her and Todd at Joe’s Bar after work. Link agrees to third wheel their date night, and it’s pretty big of him to want to be in that awkward situation.

Maggie and Winston leave the on-call room and want to find Wendell to tell him the patches don’t work. Lucky for them, Wendell is walking down the hall and comes over to ask for a review on his product. Winston flat out tells his brother that it didn’t work. Wendell thinks he must have given them the beta discontinued model and will give them the FDA approved consumer model next. Maggie says they can try the other model and gets Winston to agree too.

Back in the OR, the dream team is implanting a stent in Tovah’s vein to free the blood clot. Mer wants to know why doctors have to owe the hospital that they did their residency in. She feels the hospital broke from COVID-19 and wants to move on. Addison counters that the hospital broke without Meredith, especially since she is Grey Sloan Memorial’s mascot. She continues to say that Mer was never just Richard’s student, which is why he is so upset at her betrayal. Before they can discuss the topic any further, a complication arises when the vessel over clots. Addison thinks they will have to remove the uterus and fetus, but Mer thinks they can try something else first. They decided to switch to an open surgery to try to save Tovah’s pregnancy.

MAKE IT OR BREAK IT

Bailey and Catherine are back in the former’s office, and Bailey lovingly looks at photos of Pru on her phone. Wright comes into the office, and Catherine tells him she has heard good things about him. Bailey asks him why he draws before surgery, and Wright explains that drawing tells him that the body is worth his time and taking a closer look at. He feels the body is a work of art. Bailey gives Wright a stack of papers and asks him to sign forms that will transfer him back to his original residency in Minnesota. She states that they haven’t filled his spot, but Wright doesn’t understand why Bailey wants him to leave. Catherine is incredibly mad, so Bailey explains that Wright is one of the best residents, which is why he needs to leave. She knows she might fail to save the surgical residency program and doesn’t want to orphan the residents. She wants to protect his future and begs Wright to go back to Minnesota before it is too late. She quips that he can even learn from Mer there to lighten the heartbreaking moment.

Back in Tovah’s surgery, the entire team is working well together with no ribbing. Schmitt is even handling himself well, and Mer and Richard are back in sync for the time being. The surgeons remove part of Tovah’s vein, remove the blood clot, and then reattach it. The blood flow immediately looks good and there are no leaks. However, there isn’t a fetal heartbeat and the hard work was in vain because it was too late to save the baby. Addison is understandably incredibly upset, and Mer tries to comfort her.

Winston goes with Wendell to his brother’s car to look at the other patches. When they get there, Wendell admits that there isn’t another model. He got a loan and bought the patches after seeing a presentation about them online. He didn’t know they didn’t work and thought he could make a lot of money off them. Winston is mad that Wendell lied to him and knew he shouldn’t have trusted him. Wendell continues to say that he is out $10,000 and put all his money into the patches. He will need Winston’s help to pay back the loan, but Winston doesn’t seem to want anything to do with his brother after the lies are revealed.

Back in the arm’s OR, Owen’s procedure worked, and the arm is alive and well. Teddy is still with him, so Owen tells her that he thought this might happen with Leo for a while and will listen to what Leo wants. Teddy thought Leo was just playing dress up. Owen feels they should follow Leo’s lead, even though Teddy isn’t completely on board yet.

Down the hall, Catherine busts into the scrub room after Tovah’s surgery and starts yelling at Mer about her leaving. Apparently, Catherine wasn’t aware of Mer’s decision until Bailey told Wright he can learn from Mer in Minnesota. Considering how upset Richard is at Mer, it’s incredibly surprising he didn’t mention it to Catherine. Mer doesn’t want to have a screaming match now and would rather talk about it another time. Addison asks them to stop because a woman just fought and lost a pregnancy and they need to take a moment to honor her. She storms out, and her emotional plea does the trick. Elsewhere, Owen’s patient’s wife has arrived at the hospital. He tells her that they will be able to do the reattachment surgery in the morning, so at least this episode has one happy ending.

Next, Addison tells Tovah about the baby and apologizes after her patient wakes up. Tovah cries while Addison assures her they will try again as soon as they can. Schmitt chimes in and takes charge by telling Tovah that when his grandfather died, he learned the Kaddish prayer from a rabbi. It helped him with his loss, so he pulls a chair up next to the hospital bed and sits and says the prayer in Yiddish. Schmitt holds Tovah’s hand while she cries, while Addison watches from outside the room. 

Richard walks up, and Addison tells him that she feels like she failed Tovah. Richard asks why she doesn’t remember her residency fondly, so she truthfully states she only remembers the bad parts. Addison knows she couldn’t complain about anything because she would lose her spot. She acknowledges that that used to be the culture. Addison tells Richard that he is trying to save an old version of a broken program and that he needs to find a new way to train surgeons. She urges him to try again. 

Later that evening, Todd, Jo, and Link have dinner together at Joe’s Bar. They discuss Jo’s options, and Todd thinks about it in science terms. He thinks she should consider doing both by moonlighting as a general surgeon even though it would be more work. It would give her the best of both worlds and still make Bailey happy, and Link agrees that she should go for it. Jo isn’t sure since she has a tiny human at home, so Link kindly offers to help with Luna. Todd offers too, and then rescinds his offer when he realizes he knows nothing about babies. Link is clearly uncomfortable as the third wheel, and it will be interesting to see if this becomes a full blown love triangle or not.

We then see Owen sitting outside the hospital on a bench at night. Teddy walks out and sits down next to him. She wants Leo to be happy and doesn’t want to mess parenting up given that there are a million ways to get it wrong. She doesn’t think either of them knows how to handle it and doesn’t feel going all in right away seems right. Owen reminds her to simply love Leo and listen. He understands it is complicated and thinks they should get a therapist for themselves, so she agrees to therapy to help them process everything.

Back inside Grey Sloan Memorial, Nico and Schmitt find themselves in the same elevator once again. Schmitt tells his ex that he was in pain and knows what he did, but he did continue to show up when Nico was in pain. Nico says that is the difference between them and walks out on the next floor without another word. It’s clear Nico is still hurting from Schmitt unceremoniously dumping him, and he has every right to not want to make it right at this moment.

In Bailey’s office, Catherine comments that she has arranged for a phone call with a consultant to help come up with a better plan to save the residency program. Bailey has had enough and decides to take an impromptu vacation to spend time with her kids because they need her. Catherine counters that the hospital needs her more, but Bailey is done being the superhero. She thinks she can leave if Mer is allowed to leave. Bailey tells Catherine that she respects her and wants her to hear her when she says she isn’t quitting or taking a leave. She just wants to take a vacation day or two because she isn’t any good to the hospital in her current burnt out state of mind. Round of applause for Bailey for finally taking care of herself!

Mer gets home after a long day to find Nick waiting for her. She wasn’t expecting him, and he came prepared with a speech. Nick asks Mer to stay in Seattle because he doesn’t want her to resent him for her leaving Seattle when Grey Sloan Memorial is in a bad state. He also needs the kids to get used to him before they all live in Minnesota. He has decided to take a few months of vacation time and move to Seattle, where he will get his own place and will temporarily work at the hospital. Nick’s offer is incredibly nice and well thought out, yet Mer is very upset with him. She feels she has the right to leave because she did everything that was expected of her. She doesn’t understand why, if she wants to leave, she is considered disloyal when everyone else from her residency class left. Mer feels it is her decision, has made up her mind, and thinks Nick’s speech is patronizing. Nick explains that he wasn’t suggesting they stay in Seattle forever, rather long enough to save Grey Sloan Memorial’s residency program. Then, they can go wherever they want. Mer is still a bit upset, so Nick tells her that her angry side is slightly scary. In the end, Mer agrees to stay, but just for a little while. Here’s to hoping this new life in Seattle with Nick will be the push she needs to never leave!

Monday, May 9, 2022

The Resident 5x21 Review: “Risk” (Difficult Truths) [Contributor: Justine]


“Risk”
Original Air Date: May 3, 2022

With two episodes left until the season finale, The Resident has its work cut out for it with wrapping up the remaining stories we’ve seen so far. Featuring a late introduction to a new character, the chaos in this episode is truly unmatched. So many characters have choices to make and the clock is ticking.

Devon (Manish Dayal) starts the episode off by getting real with himself, and it’s honestly the character growth he’s been missing for a lot of this season. His friendship with Conrad (Matt Czuchry) hasn’t been shown as much since this season’s three-year time jump. It was nice to see them have a sweet moment, with Conrad supporting Devon through his recent breakup.

Of course, as the preview tried to warn us, the main focus of this episode is Cade (Kaley Ronayne). As talented as Ronayne is, it’s been difficult to get a read on this character since she was introduced. Here, she’s up against the ropes and we’re asked to care deeply about her. Although there’s plenty of drama in the Medicaid fraud she’s gotten caught up in, we’ve hardly gotten to know her as a person. It’s sad that Cade hasn’t really been able to interact with other members of the Chastain Memorial family. Cade clearly has great chemistry with Feldman (Tasso Feldman) and Hundley (Denitra Isler). This hasn’t been shown nearly enough, however, and you can’t help but wonder if the majority of Cade’s character development has happened off-screen. 

Relatedly, Cade’s supposed romance with Conrad is still giving me questionable vibes; it feels less than genuine. The way even the dialogue is written, it’s as if the romantic elements of this story also have happened off-screen. While that may be true, it makes for less effective storytelling. Although it was weird choice to have Conrad deny being triggered by this after an entire season of him processing his grief, it actually made sense. This entire season has made a point of addressing the non-linear nature of grief. In reality, it’s completely understandable that a person in Conrad’s position probably would feel that initial denial. Every subsequent loss, or being faced with a loss, calls to mind all previous losses. Conrad is clearly experiencing this. 

The anti-vax podcast host storyline is infuriating because it is true to life. The smugness of the wife is almost too much to watch. It also doesn’t make sense that she wasn’t even the one with the anti-vax beliefs, and that she just allowed herself and her children to remain unvaccinated because of... a man? The fact that this patient was actually vaccinated, though, was perfect storytelling and a sign of the times. It’s a testament to the dishonesty that so many people are willing to embrace in the name of a tiny slice of fame. This entire storyline gave AJ (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) a chance to prove what a boss he is. 

It’s seems like the show is struggling with Leela’s (Anuja Joshi) character. Why set her up to be amazing surgeon who’s trying to pursue two surgical specialties, and... she can’t find a spleen? This episode also provided some strange hints that either Joshi or Dayal are going to be leaving the show. It will be interesting to see if Devon and Leela can come to an understanding that allows them to work together, even if a romantic reunion isn’t in the cards. 

Finally, Andrew McCarthy debuts perfectly as Cade’s father, Dr. Ian Sullivan. It’s already clear McCarthy is perfect for this role, as terrible as the character might turn out to be. I, for one, am along for the ride and welcome the weird, waxy absent father sure to cause even more chaos before this season of The Resident is over.

With two episodes left in the season, The Resident is in an interesting position. So many characters have unresolved arcs. It will be a tall order to wrap everything up in such a short amount of time. Hopefully Fox will confirm soon whether we can expect to see the Chastain Memorial family back for another season. At this point, we can only hope they will be. 

Other Things:

  • Cade’s right about one thing: Devon’s hair is always too perfect. 
  • Please don’t insult Devon by implying he’s comparable in any way to a certain TV grifter selling unregulated supplements and dreams.
  • The KitBell moments in this episode? Swoons and heart eyes all around! It’s sad that there weren’t more, but they’re busy planning a wedding. Hopefully we’ll get to see it before the season comes to a close. 
  • Two episodes left before the season finale, and still no Trevor (Miles Fowler). Seriously, where is he and what’s he getting up to?
  • "Were you going to say goodbye?" "Of course, I was."
  • “Donated organs cannot be wasted on patients who will not live to enjoy them.” -AJ, telling it like it is to his supposedly unvaccinated patient. 
  • “I'm very worried about Cade, but I'm also worried about you.” 

The Flash 8x13 Review: "Death Falls" (Grief Ghosts) [Contributor: Deborah M]


“Death Falls”
Original Airdate: May 4, 2022

This week, The Flash’s Deathstorm storyline comes to an end, as one would suspect with that episode title. “Death Falls” has a lot working for it, not the least of which being the fact that all the characters are finally involved in the same storyline. It’s also got some psychological horror elements that make certain scenes adequately creepy and a fairly straightforward plan that avoids the meandering plot contrivances that this show tends to use as episode padding. 

We’re going to ignore the part where knowing the title of the next episode, again, spoils what happens in this one a little bit. Hey, The Flash writers, you know you guys release these episode titles well ahead of air time, right? So maybe stop giving away the game in them?

OH HEY THE HAUNTING THEME CONTINUES!

Starting where we left off last episode: Eddie’s back! Eddie, Ronnie — anyone else with a double-consonant-y name gonna make a return from the dead? Anyway, this not-really-Eddie is creepy and can heat a tea kettle with his hands and if you thought this might’ve been a result of Iris’s time sickness playing with her past, surprise! It’s actually a Deathstorm trick, finally pulling Iris into the main storyline she’s been apart from since it started.

All of Team Flash is getting Deathstorm ghosts. Chester’s dad reappears, Allegra is paid a visit by Esperanza, and Barry gets a visit from his mother. Frost is the only one who gets the actual Deathstorm instead, and he tells her the reason why she has no grief ghost is because she’s not a real person and can’t feel actual emotions, only echoes of Caitlin’s emotions. I can’t quite figure out the logic of him doing this, because if it’s to make her fall into despair and stop fighting him it fails as soon as it works. I guess the writers just needed her to have an arc for the episode, which makes sense, considering.

Chester and Allegra escape their ghosts by running into Chester’s lab. The door seals behind them, trapping them together in a room with a titanium door and a rapidly rising temperature that could kill them both. Barry, who was visiting the Time Vault when his ghost-mom appeared, also gets trapped inside. Iris and Sue’s attempt at escape is immediately thwarted by a door that’s too hot to touch, so they’re trapped as well.

Wobbly-zoomy camera movements play with our sense of reality and stability as Barry is confronted by his ghost-mom on all the ways his family ends in tragedy. She’s really harping on Iris dying, adding a little “your children will never exist” into the mix to spice things up, and tells Barry his true legacy isn’t heroism, it’s heartbreak. Barry isn’t buying what ghost-mom is selling, though, so after an impassioned speech about how his heartbreak keeps him fighting, the Deathstorm apparition just crams his head full of tragic images until he screams.

Ghost-Eddie is taking a more creepy approach with Iris, lamenting the fact that real Eddie’s death was rendered meaningless by the writers’ fixation on beating the dead horse that is Eobard Thawne. Eddie’s declaration that Iris’s death will also be pointless gets interrupted when he senses happiness coming off Sue, who had managed to hit a panic button earlier that called Joe, who arrives and shoots the false Eddie. Their upper hand lasts about a second before Joe and Sue are hit with grief ghosts we don’t get to see, making them the final two sources of grief Deathstorm needed to turn Caitlin into his bride. If he just needed two more people, why’d they have to be people from Team Flash? Couldn’t he have picked any two randos in the city?

Even after Frost’s boyfriend Mark (with the awful nickname of Chillblaine, which I don’t want to use but can’t help mentioning because “Mark” is too generic for anyone to remember) helps prep the MAC for turning Frost into an anti-Deathstorm, the transformation seems to fail. Frost thinks it’s because she’s not really alive and the MAC only works on living people with real emotions. Mark disagrees, insisting that Frost is guarded because she feels so much — especially for Caitlin. 

Then he gets an idea for fixing the transformation by having Frost talk to the catatonic Caitlin about how she’s feeling. Faced with the idea of potentially losing Caitlin, that grief triggers Frost’s transformation into Hellfrost. Her new color scheme is black. Cool.

Meanwhile, everyone else is being tormented by Deathstorm ghosts. Chester and Allegra are succumbing to the heat in the room, and Chester’s ghost-dad taunts him by saying he and Allegra are going to watch each other die. Barry is losing the fight against the barrage of tragedy his ghost-mom is inflicting on him. At the West-Allen loft, the creepy Eddie develops a gunshot wound, and then Iris develops a gunshot wound, and he talks about her future dying with her. These scenes with the grief ghosts are getting quick descriptions, but they’re actually pretty good — the stuff with Iris and Eddie especially, which is a refreshing change from all Iris’s scenes being so hard to care about during this whole Deathstorm arc. Without her being a participant in the plotline literally everyone else is involved in, it just looked like the writers forgot she was a part of the show and had to tack on a quick “Iris has time sickness!” scene to make up for it. Those never made up for anything, but the Iris scenes in this episode kind of do.

It seems like Deathstorm is winning until Frost/Hellfrost blasts away all the ghosts with her new cryo-flame powers. Team Flash (minus Iris still) reconvenes at S.T.A.R. Labs to enact the last effort against Deathstorm, with newly-created Hellfrost being the primary offense and Barry remaining ready for backup. Mark learns that Barry is the Flash and is actually pretty endearing in how cool he finds the whole Team Flash setup. Barry just does a cute little shrug when Mark connects the dots, because he’s learning that the “secret” part of his secret identity is merely a façade.

Deathstorm shows up to make a creepy speech at Caitlin, but it’s not Caitlin — it’s Frost, taking Caitlin’s form with that face-changer device we haven’t seen in a few seasons. Way to go on remembering convenient tech, show writers. Frost grabs Deathstorm and they have a fast CGI fire battle in the sky for a bit before landing on the ground, where Frost yanks off Deathstorm’s quantum splicer then sucks up all his energy.

It’s all post-victory smiles until Frost collapses, apparently overwhelmed by the power she got from Deathstorm. Caitlin stabilizes Frost just long enough for Frost’s normal look to return, but then she crashes and she can’t bring her back. Frost is gone. The show does a weird thing where we see Frost die, but then it cuts to everyone on the team not knowing Frost is dead yet, which I think slightly undercuts the emotional impact of the audience learning that she’s gone. Maybe it’s the world’s most depressing attempt at situational irony?

Caitlin and Barry deliver the news of Frost’s death and everyone comforts each other, with Caitlin and Mark crying the hardest. It’s an effective scene, especially when Cecile — the empath — realizes that Caitlin is crying alone and runs over to hold her.

Other Things:

  • I get it was probably a thing with staging, but it’s weird that neither Iris nor Sue were sleeping in the bed that presumably exists in the West-Allen loft and were instead sleeping on the least comfortable looking living room furniture ever. 
  • Rick Cosnett was uniquely creepy as ghost-Eddie in this episode. Great job, dude.
  • Chester and Allegra being trapped together in a boiling room, about to die and comforting each other in their last moments would’ve been a perfect time for those two to finally kiss and we got nothin’. It’s like these writers have never read a fanfic before.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Resident 5x20 Review: “Fork in the Road” (Cautious Hope) [Contributor: Justine]


“Fork in the Road”
Original Airdate: April 26, 2022

With so few episodes left before the season finale, The Resident seems intent on dialing up the chaos to the maximum. Before the season comes to a close, the challenge has been set to wrap everything up with a nice bow. Can The Resident do it? Only time will tell. 

KitBell shippers had a lot to celebrate this episode, and they may have been the only ones. Finally, after being the romantic center of the show for much of this season, they’ve decided to make it official and get engaged! Everything about this was perfect, from Bell’s (Bruce Greenwood) deference to his fiance’s wishes to Kit’s (Jane Leeves) sweet restaurant proposal, complete with getting down on one knee. If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of KitBell shippers everywhere still swooning. 

AJ (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) once again took his place as the emotional heart of the episode, following up his spectacular performance last week. Seeing him receive all the love and support from his friends and colleagues at his mother’s funeral was further proof that at their best, the staff at Chastain Memorial Hospital are family. This was another opportunity for AJ’s chosen family to show their total support and the character deserves nothing less. 

The Cade (Kaley Ronayne) and Conrad (Matt Czuchry) story is getting less interesting every time it’s given the spotlight. There’s barely any romantic chemistry between these two characters, although they generally work well together as colleagues. We already know that Emily VanCamp will be reprising her role as Nic in a flashback in the season finale. Hopefully this won’t be some sort of torch-passing. What Conrad and Nic had was special. It’s more than fine to explore Conrad moving on romantically but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the story itself.

Another part of this episode that mostly fell flat was the Medicaid fraud storyline. Although it was helpful context to see exactly how the mechanics of this fraud plays out, this episode made an arguably questionable point about American healthcare. There’s a stereotype of greedy people simply taking advantage of the system, and that this a far more common occurrence than it actually is. In the end, the patient caught up in it all was portrayed as an otherwise good person who fell on hard times and needed to survive. The shift in tone read as too little too late however. 

The sperm donor story went completely off the rails this episode, and that’s saying something considering it was always a little chaotic. While Devon (Manish Dayal) actually came out looking very much in the right, this episode was basically proof that it was unsustainable as a storyline all along. If there was any benefit, it was seeing AJ open up and be vulnerable with Padma (Aneesha Joshi). 

Finally, this episode was a tough one for Leela (Anuja Joshi) fans. It’s such a shame to see her character going in this direction since she’s been set up as such a confident and dynamic character. In this episode, she’s reduced to fighting with and ultimately breaking up with her boyfriend about something he was actually right about. While it may have been an interesting direction to explore the fact that this character can’t possibly do it all, including specializing in two surgical specialities, this episode made her storyline falter.

Ultimately, the fact that Devon and Leela are no longer together may be for the best. Although these two are undeniably compelling characters individually, they’ve struggled since they’ve been together. They’re clearly on different paths in life. Better to realize it and acknowledge it now than to wait until it’s too late. 

This was a surprisingly uneven episode for The Resident, since the second half of this season has generally featured strong storylines and character development. At least KitBell fans have a wedding to look forward to. With the season finale rapidly approaching, The Resident certainly has a massive undertaking ahead to wrap up everyone’s arcs. 

Other Things:

  • We’re that much closer to the season finale and still no Trevor (Miles Fowler). Nothing good can be coming.
  • Did Cade not realize the mob boss also saw Conrad? Why would she not suggest just running away together if she wanted to skip town? This is another reason why logistically these two just don’t work as a couple.
  • The second half of this season hasn’t featured nearly enough of Nurse Hundley (Denitra Isler). Seriously, she’s the boss. 
  • "So this is the way you ask me? No fancy dinner, no ring, just didn't even get down on one knee." "I love you to the moon and back, but I kneel for no man."
  • “Look, I don't know anything. I'm a nobody. I'm a little cog in a very big machine. I can end up in the bottom of my lake with my feet in concrete.”
  • "You're so lucky to have had such a wonderful mom." "Not everyone gets that." "Yeah, I'm holding onto that."

The Flash 8x12 Review: "Death Rises" (For Now) [Contributor: Deborah M]


“Death Rises”
Original Airdate: April 27, 2022

After a short break, The Flash is back with the continuation of that little “accidentally provided a physical body to a murderous sentient fire” issue from last episode. Many people die. Caitlin, for grand evil plan reasons, is not one of them. Is the tension of this episode undercut by knowing that the next episode is titled “Death Falls”?

GOT A REAL ‘BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN’ SITUATION HERE

The episode begins with Caitlin getting totally engulfed in black flames, but looking unharmed in the aftermath. Caitlin explains Deathstorm to the others and how he said he was never Ronnie, but Ronnie gave him life. And even though Deathstorm isn’t Ronnie, it still seems to have some kind of fixation on Caitlin, which means Frost puts herself on guard duty while the rest of the team tries to figure out Deathstorm’s plan and how to stop it.

We see Deathstorm kill an old man waiting alone at night at a bus stop with a bouquet of flowers. Aw, that’s some poignant storytelling with very limited cues. Good job, writers. Also great storytelling, from the other side of the tragedy-comedy spectrum: a bunch of CCPD officers are, absolutely straight-faced, taking calls about various attacks from “a skull-faced guy” and “a living skeleton” killing people around town. The deaths aren’t funny, of course, but just the idea that these sorts of reports are the day-to-day for these officers is hilarious. What’s the police training like for CCPD officers in this post-metahuman emergence world? Do they have to take courses in how to recognize actual reports of metahuman attacks vs. the drunken ramblings of people on street corners?

Kramer is struggling with the “weird stuff” aspect of being Chief of Police in Central City, but Joe and Barry reassure her that she’s capable of handling everything and they’re around to help. Her debriefing to CCPD includes a warning that if anyone is currently grieving a recent loss they could be a potential target, even though we established last time that the grief doesn’t have to be all that recent and could happen to people who have largely accepted it and moved on.

Team Flash is on the Deathstorm search and failing miserably because the new physical body ol’ Deathstorm got means he can’t be tracked the same way he was when he was just a lot of fire. When Cecile comes in and mentions how Caitlin is still emotionally hurt, Barry has a little eureka moment and realizes that Cecile’s powers could help because Deathstorm absorbs grief and grief is an emotion Cecile can trace. You know, on paper I would not expect the empath character to be anything more than the standard therapist archetype, but it seems like Team Flash’s plans very frequently rely on Cecile.

I guess Frost and Caitlin are sequestered from the rest of the team for Caitlin’s safety. Caitlin is beating herself up over accidentally setting Deathstorm free and she’s also hurting because experiencing the hope and happiness of getting Ronnie back only to realize he was never back is like losing him all over again. Frost tries to comfort her. Dangerous time to be feeling so much, what with a grief-eating fire demon running amok, but we’ve already established that Deathstorm has a fixation on Caitlin so I guess it’s just redundant.

Chester hooks Cecile up to a monitoring thing so they can use her to find Deathstorm by getting her to focus on “large pockets of grief.” I guess that makes sense to an empath. Not even a minute in, things start to go wrong. Cecile is possessed by Deathstorm, who still wants Caitlin and won’t let a little thing like Team Flash stop him from getting her.

Our primary hero is at a loss for what to do next and we’re in the last third of the episode, which means it’s time for a pep talk! Classic recipe this time: Joe West pep talking Barry out of his “we have no way to stop this murderous fire-skeleton” funk. Joe lists all the terrible big bads Barry has fought and won against over the years, tells him to trust himself, so on and so forth. I wonder if the writers have a quick key for this section of the script.

Deathstorm finds Caitlin, knocks Frost out, and flies away with her. We get a very brief action sequence set to Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning” where Barry, well, rides some lightning. Or at least uses lightning as a staircase into the sky, where Deathstorm and an unconscious Caitlin escape through a portal. The Flash has really cut down on their needle drop action sequences this season, perhaps because news came out last year that the CW is phenomenally in debt. Anyway, Deathstorm and Caitlin re-emerge at a carnival, where Deathstorm wipes out four of the visitors and then declares that Caitlin will be his bride.

When Barry finds Caitlin at the carnival, her eyes glow with that Deathstorm silver-black fire and she relays Deathstorm’s message that she’s “not ready yet.” Back at S.T.A.R Labs, Caitlin has run tests on herself. She’s not aging anymore, she’s stronger, and she’s chock full of grief that isn’t hers. She tells the others what Deathstorm said about traveling across the stars for her, they all realize that her not being “ready” means he’s going to kill more people and like... inject grief into Caitlin, I guess? To transform her? I will say this is probably the most weird villain the show’s had in a while.

Barry thinks the portal Deathstorm goes through is a singularity and realizes that Deathstorm and Ronnie really are connected; Ronnie created Deathstorm with grief and science fiction nonsense and Deathstorm has taken seven years from the point in space where he was created to get back to Earth and Caitlin. Chester wants to use the MAC device from his introductory episode as a weapon against Deathstorm. They just need someone to serve as the “anti-Deathstorm” and Frost quickly volunteers. Yay, a new plan! How long will this one last?

IRIS UPDATE

A brief update on Iris’s time sickness situation, which is so disconnected from what everyone else is doing that it feels pointless even though I know it has to be a big deal later: When Iris was sucked into the Still Force after Tinya’s retaliation, she could see her past and her present but not her own future, implying she doesn’t have one. She calls on Deon, who is late showing up and comes with the bad news that the time sickness is infecting the Still Force. Deon installs a metaphysical tracker in Iris in case she disappears somewhere again, but I’m not sure how much that’s going to help because then Deon bursts into a cloud of green sparkles and vanishes.

At the end of the episode, Iris wakes up from sleeping in an incredibly uncomfortable-looking chair to find Eddie Thawne standing in the dark. He says it’s good to see her. I tell myself I should’ve predicted this when he showed up earlier this season because The CW wouldn’t waste hiring an actor back for only a single episode.

Other Things:

  • Special mention to the writing of the scene where Iris almost disappears from time sickness: Sue’s ability to go from joking about buying a castle to being an emotional anchor for Iris without seeming disjointed or inconsistent is pretty impressive. That’s a really good character, there.
  • Will Esperanza showing up to fight Allegra mean anything? Unclear. Maybe it’s connected to the Eddie thing.
  • “Trans-dimensional particles!” “Okay, now you’re just making stuff up.” Allegra, is that really your breaking point for the technobabble Chester spouts?

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The Resident 5x19 Review: “All We Have Is Now” (Love and Loss) [Contributor: Justine]


“All We Have Is Now”
Original Airdate: April 19, 2022

The Resident is back with one of the most emotionally devastating episodes this season. This is certainly saying something, considering that this season has almost exclusively consisted of stories designed to inflict the maximum amount of emotional damage on viewers. We knew this episode was coming and yet it made it no less devastating. It was a testament to the talent to all involved that the story was enthralling right to the end. 

The focus on Carol was just so poignant, sweet, and a lovely tribute to a supporting character who has been among the best. Denise Dowse is such a star, and the depth of love she’s brought to this character is astounding. The way that this show made a point to portray palliative care, something that is still seen as scary and unknown, is great. At its best, it’s an approach to care that fully centers the patient and allows them to live life to the fullest. Carol deserved nothing less, and it was so touching to see her final days surrounded by so much love.  

The dual focus on AJ (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) and his grief was what elevated this episode to another level. Warner is an absolute star, and you can’t help but feel so deeply for what his character has gone through. The show didn’t really go deep into the loss of AJ’s father. He was given an opportunity to grieve this loss and it was beyond heartbreaking to watch. This particular story was such an honest portrayal of grief from beginning to end.

Elsewhere, Devon (Manish Dayal) and Conrad (Matt Czuchry) were making medical miracles happen by teaming up together again, something this season has focused less on. Their mission was to save a patient from rabies after... connecting with the Earth didn’t exactly go according to plan. This story was a perfect venue for these two to show off their diagnostic prowess. Janice (Mick Szal) was the resident who got the spotlight and for a while, it was unclear if she’d be able to prove herself. She managed to rally and we love to see it. 

Bell (Bruce Greenwood) continued his crusade for medical justice, and upped the ante in his advocacy for one patient who was the victim of one terrible doctor. Though the decision ultimately cost him his coveted seat on the Georgia State Medical Board, it was so satisfying to see Bell choose to do the right thing. He rightly called out physicians who take advantage of the blind trust of the public they’re often given. As a side note, it was great seeing Bell back on TV, using his image for good rather than promoting snake oil salesmen. There will no doubt be consequences for his actions here, but right now Bell doesn’t seem to care (in the best possible way).

If this episode had any weakness, it was the continuation of the sperm donor story. It was great to see Devon finally supporting Leela (Anuja Joshi), even if it was ultimately misguided. It was a shame we’ve only gotten to see Leela recently in the context of this story, rather than on her making her goals a reality. A balance can surely be found somewhere. Padma (Aneesha Joshi) was the voice of reason, and her advice to simply trust the universe to provide ultimately proved to be right. If anything, this episode gave somewhat of a resolution: AJ had a moment of clarity and would only agree to be the sperm donor if he could be a present father.

The Resident has not disappointed yet with the second half of this season. So many characters have gotten a chance to go on deep, meaningful journeys that so many viewers will be able to relate to. The emotional devastation we’ve seen so far has never veered into emotional theatrics. Instead, we’ve been gifted with a venue see emotions and the human experience mirrored back at us. Hopefully this trend continues. 

Other Things:

  • We now know that Emily VanCamp will be returning for this season’s finale. This is just further proof that this season isn’t finished taking viewers on an emotional rollercoaster.
  • The less Trevor I see, the more nervous I get about what he’s getting up to off screen. It can’t be anything good, and it will likely be a massive bombshell.
  • “All doctors benefit from the shield the white coat provides. I have too. Malpractice breaks our oath to do no harm, but it also destroys the public trust in even the best doctors. And the bad ones are few. They need to be weeded out, and the guard dogs need to be reminded of who they're meant to protect.”
  • “I realize I don't like being alone. So if we're going to do this, I don't want to just be a donor. I gotta help you raise this kid. I want to be a father.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Flash 8x11 Review: "Resurrection" (Ronnie’s Return?) [Contributor: Deborah M]


“Resurrection”
Original Airdate: April 13, 2022

We’ve got a Caitlin-centric episode of The Flash this week, something I don’t think we’ve had for quite a while. Unfortunately, slightly sloppy writing undercuts any tension early on and we’re left with some bad circumstances we saw coming from a mile away. Meanwhile, not really appearing in this review: Iris’s time sickness is getting worse. Green sparkles everywhere!

THINK TWICE BEFORE RAISING THE DEAD

It’s flashback time! Wow, the show is flashing back to season one quite a bit these days, huh? Well, I guess technically the flashback we get to Caitlin meeting Ronnie for the first time is pre-season one. Anyway, it’s a pretty cute little scene between the two of them and, since they’ve been seeding the idea of her finally moving on from Ronnie this season, it’s good to remind everyone what she’d be moving on from.

Back in the present, Caitlin is chatting with the killer black flames. In Ronnie’s voice, the flames ask her to join them in order to save them, then say something about “memories in the snow.” That’s nicely cryptic, well done. Later, when Team Flash is discussing their black flame problem and find out there are possible victims that predate the O'Shaughnessy's Bar victims this plotline started with, Caitlin sweeps in with a fully-formed theory on why she thinks the black flames are actually Ronnie. The theory is backed up by the fact that Caitlin recognizes all the victims, including the newly surfaced ones.

Basically, Caitlin matched the radiation of the black flames to that of a singularity, which is what Ronnie died in. She theorizes that, since energy can only be changed and not destroyed, Ronnie could have been transformed into the black flames when he died. When Barry mentions the whole “killing people” hobby the black flames have but Ronnie certainly did not, Caitlin just dismisses it as Ronnie being confused and full of a grief hormone at his time of death. The grief hormone reacted with the singularity and resulted in a being that feeds off the same hormone in others — i.e., a being that eats grief like the black flames do.

After dismissing Barry’s idea that the flames could just be messing with her like they did with Chester (I almost thought the show had forgotten about that bit), Caitlin says she thinks Ronnie wants them to save him with the quantum splicer that allowed him to be Firestorm years ago. She even punches a few keys and pulls a blueprint of the quantum splicer up on a monitor to jog everyone’s memory. I swear only a few hours, tops, could have passed between Caitlin’s scene with Ronnie-Flames and this one, so how in the world did she manage to put this whole theory together, complete with visual aids ready to go on the Team Flash command center computers? I bet Caitlin was a dream to have on team projects back in school. 

While the rest of the team is on board for this plan to essentially bring Ronnie back to life, Barry is wary and — since this episode is not about Barry learning a lesson — we know from the start that Caitlin’s plan is a bad one. Basically announcing that this whole thing is going to fail or backfire in some way by depicting Barry as so completely against it kind of ruins the story, in my opinion. We’ll get more into that later on, though.

Even if I couldn’t predict bad things to come by the way Barry resists Caitlin’s plan, I’d still probably consider her breaking up with her new boyfriend jumping the gun a bit. Without waiting to see if Ronnie can actually be saved, Caitlin meets up with Marcus, tells him everything that’s going on (including her side job helping the Flash, although if Marcus could meet Frost and not assume Caitlin’s got some connection with the Flash he’d be pretty dim) and then they break up. He seems to take it well, though he’s certainly weirded out by the fact that his relationship is being ruined by a resurrection, and leaves her with a poignant Plato quote about tending to one’s heart like a plant or something.

Because he’s the correct one in this situation, Barry is double-checking that the modifications to the Fusion Sphere are complete and ready as everyone’s backup plan. He raises some good questions to Frost when she finds him, such as why Ronnie took seven years to show up again if he turned into the black flames as soon as he died. Even more questions are raised when Cecile gets bombarded by Ronnie’s voice and the undeniable feeling that Ronnie doesn’t want to be saved; he wants to die.

This splits the possible plans of action in two: either follow Caitlin’s heart toward rescuing Ronnie, or follow Cecile’s powers and destroy the black flames, freeing Ronnie from his torment. Since we really need an either/or situation for the drama, it’s also revealed that using the quantum splicer on an unwilling participant will cause an explosion. The team seems to fall in with Barry and Cecile while Caitlin and, later, Frost, decide to work alone and save Ronnie.

There are a couple more flashbacks to moments during Caitlin and Ronnie’s relationship, including one where the two of them have gotten their car stuck in snow on the way to a romantic bed and breakfast. Caitlin is especially upset because she planned to propose, but a romantic little conversation with Ronnie has her kneeling in the snow and proposing anyway, only to have him present her with an engagement ring. It’s a really cute little scene and, combined with the earlier quote about “memories in snow,” tells Caitlin where she’ll find Ronnie next.

The Flash finds Ronnie first, though. Barry uses the Fusion Sphere and successfully captures Ronnie, but Frost shows up and freezes the sphere, releasing him. Caitlin approaches the black flames, has a few more flashbacks (some of which were actually on the show) and places the quantum splicer on him, regaining his body.

Even though everyone is all smiles and “we can’t wait to get to know Ronnie” after, Caitlin’s happiness is cut short when she finds Ronnie staring creepily out the window. When he turns around, he reveals that he’s not actually Ronnie — Ronnie is really dead — and that he calls himself Death Storm.

Okay, here’s the thing: the show has established this pattern of Barry being right all the time and the audience gauging how they’re meant to feel off Barry except for episodes where it is patently obvious that Barry is wrong and needs to be wrong in order to win a lesson. This means that, for anyone who watches this show regularly, we all knew less than ten minutes into the episode that Caitlin/Ronnie wasn’t going to work out. It’s incredibly frustrating that the writers would completely deflate the tension in what would otherwise have been a pretty intriguing episode, and a rare spotlight episode for Caitlin to boot.

Anyway, in other news: Iris has gotten disappeared by Tinya in revenge for Iris disappearing Tinya’s mom.

Other Things:

  • Paused to read Chester’s livestream chat again. Poor Techluver5898 is still mourning the drone killed by their cat.
  • Caitlin and Ronnie after simultaneously proposing to each other: “My answer’s yes, by the way.” “So’s mine.” Genuinely really cute.
  • Joe’s joke-gasp when Allegra calls him “grandpa” was the funniest thing in this episode.

The Resident 5x18 Review: “Ride or Die” (We Are Family) [Contributor: Justine]


“Ride or Die”
Original Airdate: April 12, 2022

The Resident continues to make a valiant effort at wrapping up all of the stories that have been introduced in its fifth season. This season has essentially been unrelenting when it has come to putting characters through some of the most significant challenges they’ve ever faced. This episode featured the beginnings of the ends of stories fans we’ve followed in the second half of the season. Some characters were put center stage after a long time in the background, and others didn’t get nearly enough screen time. 

The first story that seemed to be on hiatus, if not discontinued entirely, was the mob story. In many ways, this story was, up until now, confined to the abstract. This episode dispelled any doubts of the dangers of the mob. The danger of those committing medicare fraud, and manufacturing fake prescriptions in Conrad’s (Matt Czuchry) name is never in doubt. After being in a supporting role for most of this season, Conrad was in a starring role as more of a detective. It suited him. 

For Cade (Kaley Ronayne) and Conrad, it was back to the beginning of when they first met. Since Cade’s been introduced, it’s sometimes been confusing to get a firm sense of where this relationship is supposed to go. Were they meant to be good friends? Lovers? It’s been murky. However, this episode gave viewers more clarity: Conrad realizes that Cade is just a version of him. That’s why their dynamic works so well sometimes, but falls flat at others. The show is simply trying to recreate a character that we’ve already come to know and love.  

After making a big impact in episode 17,  Zach (Alan Aisenberg) faced a trial by fire. He’s so imperfectly human, and one can’t help feel sorry for him. The teamup between Zach and AJ (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) wasn’t one we thought we needed, and yet it was played to perfection. AJ was a vintage version of The Raptor this episode, and it’s been far too long since we’ve seen him in action. He’s always been a fantastic mentor, if his teaching methods are slightly unorthodox. He shows he actually cares about patients and the resident doctors under his charge by demanding excellence from himself and those he mentors.

On a more heartbreaking note, AJ’s mom, Carol (Denise Dowse), in the final stretch of the her illness. It’s been a long and winding rode for her and her palliative care journey. The Resident deserves so much credit for not only shining a spotlight, but portraying positively an aspect of healthcare that is still so misunderstood and made taboo. The essence of palliative care is living life to the fullest, and distilling what is really important to patients in the midst of their illness. It’s in these moments that the staff at Chastain prove how much of a family they have become. AJ is in excellent hands, being loved and supported by those around him as he loves and supports his mother who is approaching the end of her life. 

On a happier note, this episode unlocked a new character that is already so lovable. New anesthesiologist Jayci (Jeena Yi) is completely whacky in the best possible way. She proved her chops as a physician working overnight. Only the best healthcare providers prefer the nightshifts. It takes a special person to have that kind of commitment. Jayci is for sure going to be an excellent addition to the family. 

Finally, KitBell shippers got a lot of content this episode. Bell (Bruce Greenwood) is still clearly getting used to navigating his professional life with a disability. It was so admirable to see Kit (Jane Leeves) insist on the love of her life being accommodated so he was still able to perform surgery. Seeing these two work together is always such a joy, and the two of them opting for the night shift when they’re such senior staff gives them a whole new level of respectability. 

One of the challenges The Resident has is having just so many compelling characters who can realistically be the focus of an episode that some things get lost. This episode was no exception. Other equally compelling characters were left on the sidelines, while their just as enthralling co-stars had the limelight. It’s always a tough balance to strike. As a benefit, fans can certainly look forward to more character-driven storytelling from this very deep talent pool. The final episodes of the season are shaping up to be a wild ride. 

Other Things:

  • Devon (Manish Dayal) again proved he does in fact still have a bedside manner. Is it just his girlfriend he feels the need to put down?
  • On that note, this episode didn’t have nearly enough Leela (Anuja Joshi). We’ve had so much setup to watch her change the world. It’s a shame these last couple of episodes haven’t let her character grow and shine.
  • Still no Trevor (Miles Fowler). Every episode he isn’t in, I get more nervous when I think about what he could possibly be up to. I have a distinct feeling they’re saving this story for the big finale. 
  • “I got this Boss Voss. Oh, no, there goes my snow bunnies. They're brand new!”
  • “You need my help. Prescription drug scams are favored by the mob. They kill people who threaten their revenue stream. That's why we handed this over to the FBI.”
  • “My mother and I want to thank you for the exceptional care that you provided. You've been nothing but remarkable. You've helped with some really tough decisions ... and I just want you to know that it means a lot. It makes all the difference in the world. I know my mother will hold all of you in her heart for the time that she has left.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The Flash 8x10 Review: "Reckless" (Slapdash Storytelling) [Contributor: Deborah M]


“Reckless”
Original Airdate: April 6, 2022

This week on The Flash: Frost is targeted by the black flames. Caitlin and Frost’s mom returns, significantly nicer than she was in previous appearances. Iris is infected with green time sparkles that steal stuff. People decide things and then decide the opposite thing in a matter of moments. I am bored and slightly confused by what the writers are doing.

IT’S A FLASH CHARACTER’S PREROGATIVE TO CHANGE THEIR MIND

We start where we left off last episode, which is Iris getting the bad news from Deon about her time sickness. They’ve been using illness language to describe what’s been happening to Iris, but actually something’s coming for Iris and affecting time as it goes. I get the feeling the writers didn’t quite know what they wanted time sickness to be before they set this plot up and now they’ve realized that temporal tuberculosis isn’t quite as narratively compelling as an enemy the team could possibly fight in a pre-hiatus finale episode.

Iris’ plotline, while doubtlessly going to fuel future episodes, is a series of almost-nothing-scenes in an episode of almost-nothing-scenes so I’ll just summarize it up top before we get into the A-plot: Iris has to stay in Coast City so Deon can stabilize her, which is fine on her end because she still wants to hunt down angry teenager stereotype Tinya’s mom. They find the mom, but clearly Iris wasn’t as stabilized as Deon led her to believe, because she ends up disappearing a whole room full of stuff and then Tinya’s mom via green time sparkles. Oops!

Meanwhile, in Central City, I think the writers wanted to go for a mother-daughter connection between the parallel plotlines because Caitlin and Frost’s mom, Dr. Carla Tannhauser, is brought in to help the team find a way to capture the black flames. Like the ghost connection between the Central City plot and the Coast City plot last week, this connection is so fragile that there’s a chance I’m making it up on my own in a desperate attempt to find cohesion in the episode. Regardless, Frost has brought her mom into the fold because the black flames have decided to target her, but they only burned her instead of outright killing her like previous victims and her scientist mom has insight.

Team Flash knows the flames target grief but don’t know what kind of grief or if there’s an extra element to who it picks. For a moment, they think Frost has that extra element and they could figure it out via her — but Carla nixes that idea by proposing that the cold fusion flames actually wanted Frost for fuel supplied by her cryo-kinetic powers. With this in mind, Frost wants to use herself as bait to capture the black flames.

The plan seems smart and doable, but Barry’s against the idea of putting Frost in danger and vetoes it outright. Y’know. Even though Frost is a superhero who puts herself in danger every time she goes out into the field. Even more senseless for the narrative, it takes one brief conversation in the next scene for Frost to convince Barry to let her be bait anyways. It’s the first of several bizarre about-faces in this episode.

Because we’re not even halfway through the episode yet, the initial plan does not work and Frost gets knocked out by the black flames when they try. She wakes up later to a worried Caitlin berating her for endangering herself. Both Frost and Carla think the plan is still a solid one; they just need to make Frost seem tastier to the flames so they’ll go right for her instead of hesitating again. Caitlin is mad that Frost has no self-preservation and is mad at Carla for enabling it, accusing her mom of seeing Frost more as a science experiment than a daughter.

Before leaving, Caitlin basically tells Carla that if Frost dies, Caitlin won’t ever speak to Carla again. The dynamic between Frost, Carla, and Caitlin is genuinely interesting, which makes it doubly frustrating that this episode does nothing with any of it. The scenes throughout “Reckless” just seem like scenes that needed to be there to fill time and hit story beats. There’s no emotional weight to most of them and, in cases where a little kernel of a good concept exists, nothing is explored enough to be engaging or fulfilling.

Case in point: Carla finding Frost after getting yelled at by Caitlin, the two having a heart-to-heart, and Frost essentially saying she thinks her whole reason for existing is to protect Caitlin because she was manufactured by their father. It’s an interesting insight into Frost’s sense of self that the episode really does nothing with and it could’ve been the foundation of a whole episode exploring Frost’s relationship with Caitlin as well as her relationship with Carla and the trio’s connection as a family.

Anyway, we also get an obligatory pep talk scene between Barry and Joe, then the mission is back on track because Caitlin has done a one-eighty and decided she’ll let Frost be bait after all. This is, I think, the third time this happens in the episode. The second time was when Carla agreed with Caitlin not to help Frost endanger herself with the plan and then, in the same conversation, decided she would help Frost endanger herself with the plan after all. These people are making me dizzy.

Turns out, Carla has a latent cryo-power gene they could use to double up Frost’s energy and better entice the black flames for capture. Does everyone have latent superpower genes in this universe now? Also, anyone want to take bets on when the show will do a “supervillain plans to tap into everyone on Earth’s latent meta gene to devalue the specialness of metas” plot, a la The Incredibles? They have to eventually do something with this idea, right? It can’t just be a convenient way to make metas outside of the particle accelerator explosion, right? Right?

Frost and Carla are strapped in next to the Spencer-Gifts-looking Fusion Sphere. They have a little moment, hold hands, and get frosty enough to attract the black flames. It seems to work, with the flames getting sucked into the sphere, but then the flames start fighting back and Carla goes into cardiac arrest. She says it’s worth it if she dies and they capture the flames, which is just heavy-handed enough to give Frost a moment of realization before she tackles her mom out of range of the Fusion Sphere and thus lets the flames go free.

After, Joe is initially mad that Team Flash let the black flames go, then changes his mind when he realizes it was to save Carla’s life. It’s almost comical at this point. Were the writers just bored? Was this their little game during the writing process? There’s no way they didn’t realize what they were doing.

Once again, an episode ends with the black flames still on the loose and Team Flash only slightly closer to being able to stop them. This time, they theorize that they’ll be able to come up with an artificial cryo-kinetic signature that could attract the flames without needing Frost or Carla there to act as bait. So why didn’t anyone mention that at any point during this episode, in which the primary tension was centered entirely around Frost being bait? Don’t know! Stop asking questions!

But one last scene before we go: Caitlin is visited by the black flames, and they quote something Ronnie said to her in the past. Ooh, intriguing.

Other Things:

  • Yes, the mother-daughter moments between Frost and Carla and between Tinya and her mom were touching. No, they weren’t touching enough to make up for this haphazard episode.
  • Sue uses her Rich People Connections to get the adoption agency to override a no-contact order on Tinya’s case, which seems all kinds of illegal but... rich people, y’know?
  • I’m not even going to touch the various paradox-related questions that arise around Iris’s time sickness erasing things and people from the timeline.