This Week on TV, Dec. 13, 2014

Major Spoiler Alert!

Once Upon a Time

Well, that was unexpected!

I think this is the first time we’ve had our villain come to such a sudden reawakening. Ingrid the Snow Queen suddenly has her “shattered sight” repaired, seeing the truth of her deeds, and doing exactly what it takes to make it right. She even lays down her life for it.

And it’s so brilliant, how she said, “We romanticize the good and forget the bad.” She intended to use that to bring Emma and Elsa to her side, but instead it was used, unwittingly by her deceased sister, to bring her back to the right side. Simple, yet effective.

I do wish we could have seen Ingrid and Gold really square off against each other, though, especially since 1) Rumplestiltskin has gone off the deep end of villainy and 2) she did have the power of Emma and Elsa to add to her own in a confrontation with the Dark One. It would have been very cool.

Speaking of the villainous Rumple, it looks like he will be a major villain to contend with, and very soon. He says something about “tomorrow night” if I heard right. That is the time when the stars will align perfectly and he will able to conduct the ritual to be free of the dagger, including sacrificing Hook and, I assume, everyone the hat has sucked up. That’s a lot of people with potent magic to simply sacrifice. Some were probably villains, but others, we know, were heroic.

Whatever they’re doing, I suspect the people behind the show may be looking to change their game a bit. They’ve made intimations about Rumple’s designs for the world, and there are at least three incoming villains: Cruella, Ursula, and Maleficent. (honestly, Cruella seems like a weak link there, but ok, whatever, I’m sure they’ll do something brilliant)

Other tidbits and treats this episode: Regina seems to be so far removed from her evil deeds that her “shattered sight” self is more like a completely different personality, not even remembering that she sealed herself in her vault; Snow White and Charming may be under a spell, but even then, they love their baby; it is a grand revelation when Elsa and Anna learn that their parents died trying to tell them they were wrong about Elsa’s powers, which gives them their next quest (to take back Arendelle and restore the people’s memories of Ingrid and Helga); Hook falls for a “Home Alone” move when he tries to abduct Henry; the Knave is really not much a fighter; and what happened to Marian and Robin? We didn’t see them at all in this episode.

Agents of Shield

That. Was. Heartbreaking.

One of my friends once described the best episodes of a TV show being the ones where they put all the characters inside a shrinking box. They certainly did that on this mid-season finale, as Shield races to keep Hydra from the hidden city. Fitz, Simmons, Morse, Hunter, May, Coulson, and the Koenig brothers all have their tasks, and things go haywire with most of it. Morse is still keeping a secret, and Coulson tells the Koenigs to enact “the Theta Protocol” if things go catastrophically bad.

Unfortunately, Hydra has intel provided by Skye’s father, taking them straight to the finish line of this little race. Also unfortunate: Whitehall is not an idiot, and proceeds to detain Ward, Skye, and Skye’s father before they can ruin his plans and kill him.

I love how Whitehall, this magnificent villain, this figure of old evil come again, who is happy to just shoot Skye’s father when his plans for elaborately tormenting the man fall through, just gets shot in the back by Coulson. Of course, part of me was thinking, “Really? It was that easy?” But then there was the small detail of an enraged man who really wanted to kill Whitehall himself and held it against Coulson, trying to kill him. Likely would have succeeded if Skye had not intervened.

Speaking of father and daughter, Skye had an interesting first conversation with her father. She had questions, he had answers. It was awkward, and the man is obviously quite insane, but he was also right about one thing, at least: Skye is special.

Unfortunately, the way Skye is special is not the way any of the other Shield agents are. Mac was turned into an enslaved sentinel in the darkness (technical question, why did that not happen to anyone else, particularly when they did not have any suits on?), though he is fortunately released from this in this episode’s final moments. Coulson didn’t make it to the temple, but that turned out to be good. Trip was heroic to the last, and still sweet on Jemma Simmons, but now, unless something extremely miraculous happens, we won’t be seeing him again.

For Skye, to undergo that transformation alongside Raina, and then to wake up and the first thing she sees is Trip’s crumbling corpse, a statue looking straight at her… I can’t even imagine what that would feel like. In a word: heartbreaking. Her heart and her world have been cracked, and something is happening with the city. Is it rising? Crumbling? What?

And who and what was that eyeless man with another Diviner, talking to someone who has yet another Diviner? Is he an enemy or a very weird friend? We’ll have to wait awhile to find out, of course, because not only do we have a couple weeks, but we’re watching Agent Carter for another month or two.

I can definitely appreciate Marvel’s tactic here: instead of just leaving us hanging for weeks and months on end with a stop-and-go broadcasting schedule, they give us something entertaining to watch between the seasonal halves.

Castle

Santa Claus and the mob.

Particularly the mob.

The mob has its own strange ways, some of which make being adopted in as a blood brother of the family head not necessarily a good thing. Castle looked a bit like he’d just been sentenced to death. So now he has a mob boss blood brother, a father who is an espionage agent the likes of which would terrify Jason Bourne, and a wife who is a police detective and has arrested a corrupt senator live on national television. This is getting to be a fairly complicated family tree, but at least we know Alexis will never be short on protectors. Between mobsters, secret agents, and police officers, she’ll be pretty well covered.

Oh, and one of the family head’s daughters is Juliette to a rival family’s Romeo. More complications.

While Castle gets a tour around mobster central, Laney and Javier get a lesson in honesty being the best policy. Oh, Laney! You don’t just lie to your parents about being engaged! And poor Javier, loving her so much that he just goes along with it! Bravo to him, by the way, for thinking ahead and sticking to his guns. And thank God for Ryan, saving the day at the first meeting! You know he’s the best friend you will ever have when he pulls your butt, and your girl’s butt, out of the fire by creating a proposal story on the spot!

But then… come on! You don’t just compare yourself to three couples who have advanced through levels you simply have not reached yet, and then say, “we’re not like them” and break up! Sheesh! Talk about sideswiping the audience!

And then, immediately following the break-up, they yank Castle’s authorization to work with the NYPD out of the blue! Sure, it’s understandable, they don’t want a public figure with a rather tenuous connection to their department being also connected to the mob, but that just means they’ve made such a solid case for suddenly booting Castle from the department that we have no idea how they can possibly recover from this one!

The Flash

More “characters in a shrinking box” formula.

Cait finds out Ronnie’s still alive, and a metahuman. He’s not yet accustomed to his new self, though, not even knowing who “Ronnie Raymond” is. He doesn’t hurt anyone, that we see, but he’s got a very intimidating power involving pyrotechnics. Fortunately, he manages to save Barry’s life, and we haven’t seen him actually hurt someone, so we can hope he doesn’t go through a crazy villain phase. That said, to see Caitlin’s heartache is gut-wrenching.

Barry gives Iris a very good present, and so does Eddie. Eddie can clearly see how Barry loves Iris, though Iris doesn’t and Barry denies it at first. But then he honestly confesses his feelings, yet without trying to break Eddie and Iris apart. In fact, he says he’s happy for them. He just wanted, at this moment of emotional and psychological tumult, to be honest with her, for once.

This is a particularly strenuous episode for Barry because he comes face to face with “the Man in the Yellow Suit.” And he loses twice in a row. Against his personal bogeyman, bigger and faster than the Flash himself, he’s not even a challenge. He’s just sport. Mystery surrounds the enigmatic villain, but we are getting some answers at last, though Barry isn’t.

We know Wells is a speedster, likely from the future, and he we can guess that he staged the whole incident between him and the Reverse Flash with his advanced technology. We know he has a yellow suit, and the tachyon device which would allow a speedster to travel through time.

What we do not know is if he’s the only yellow-suited speedster. I mean, Eddie, who was freaking out but trying to stay calm, was spared for a reason. It could be as simple as “killing your past self is a bad idea.” Which would mean we get to see Eddie go bad at some point.

Of course, all of this is probably going to be one of those confusing time travel paradoxes. Comic book physics, ya know.

Arrow

More the shrinking box formula, and I am loving it!

I had been wondering how this season’s flash backs tied into the main storyline. Turns out we don’t need to worry about Maseo (thought it was “Haseo” for awhile) dying. But, as he is now a member of the League of Assassins, I fear we’ll see the demise of his wife and son instead. Of course, they went straight for that, showing White China threatening Akio and taking Tatsu. But they also left it with a cliffhanger, not showing, just yet, what happened five years ago. Considering Maseo went to the League and became something as empty and dead as “Phantom,” I fear we’ve yet to see both of his loved ones die.

Back in the present, secrets come out. Thea learns Sara is dead, as does Sara’s mother, who urges Laurel on in her quest for justice. Olly learns Thea was with Merlin and learning how to fight. Felicity learns that Ray lost his fiance, Anna, to Slade’s mirakuru goons. (which explains why he’s trying to become a superhero, to be stronger, to help people… though I have yet to see how becoming smaller will accomplish this, if they are still going with that in this incarnation of the story)

Love Felicity, right after Ray recruits her as he is becoming the Atom, “Why does this keep happening to me?” Well, Felicity, it’s because you are a smart, capable, tough, strong woman (and sexy too!), so you’re just too good for heroes to not notice you and want your help. 😉

Small moment of foreboding, when the ATOM suit’s original name is OMAC. Anyone familiar with DC comic lore knows that is not a good thing.

And Olly learns that Merlin did, in fact, murder Sara, using a drug-hypnotized Thea as his weapon, all to convince Olly to kill Ra’s, so Merlin can be free from the League’s hunt for his life.

I really, really, really hate Malcom Merlin. He slaughters innocents, including his own son, in the name of his beloved wife, whom he cheated on, and then hides like a coward behind his daughter’s life, even drugging her to accomplish his ends, using her to murder one of her friends, and all while swearing upon her life, which he professes to value most in all the world, that he is innocent.

Martha Queen was definitely right to sic the League on Merlin, but in hindsight, she may have preferred not to.

It also makes sense, what Sara said, as she did know her killer, and was killed because she was taken completely by surprise.

I think they decided to take “cliffhanger” a bit literally, but with the twist that Olly isn’t actually hanging from a cliff so much as falling after being kicked over the edge. Yeah, there was no way he’d best Ra’s in a straight up fight like that, but Ra’s didn’t stab Olly through the heart, which intrigues me. Was it just part of the ceremony of his death? Or does Ra’s, who, I suspect, sees through Olly’s coerced lie, have a little plan in place?

One thing that annoys me just a bit: we are thus far able to define the seasons of Arrow based on which girl Olly is having a complicated, tumultuous romantic relationship with. Season 1: Laurel. Season 2: Sara. Season 3: Felicity. And we know it’ll come back around to Laurel sometime.

Oh, and Ra’s is far too brutal with his sparring partners. How does he even manage to keep his ranks filled when he goes through them like that?

Nashville

Nashville does the shrinking box pretty much every week, though sometimes more than others.

I have to cheer for Avery and Juliette, as Avery introspects and decides he can’t just be friends with Juliette. He proposes to her, she says yes, they get married. WAHOOOOO!!!

(though he certainly gave Juliette and the audience a little scare there at first!)

Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the only good thing to happen this week.

The least complicated bit of crap hitting this particular fan is Sadie Stone. More accurately, Sadie’s ex-husband showing up, demanding half the money for her success using songs he helped write long ago. Ehen he shows up at her doorstep, he doesn’t leave before hitting her in the face, near her left eye. Stone cold. No rage, no alcohol, no remorse, no reason. He’s dangerous.

Michah’s grandparents show up, and completely ignoring how good a father Gunnar is, how he has a stable life, a good business, he makes Micah smile, they are set on taking Micah away. They have firmly held in their minds the image of when they first saw him, in the back of a police car, and completely ignored everything else. As Kylie’s last words to Gunnar were how she wants someone to take care of her, I can’t help but think that, while Kylie alone is responsible for her choices, her parent’s choice to take her away from Gunnar, who would have cared for her, created an extreme amount of stress for her. To make matters worse, as Gunnar readies to take them to court, a paternity test proves that Micah is not his son. Kylie cheated with Gunnar’s brother, Jason. Not only is his case blown out of the water, but the center of his life, which he has been building around, has been shattered. And dang it, he’s a really good father too!

Luke and Deacon come to a tacit cease-fire as Luke’s tour ends. Scarlett keeps her uncle company, to keep him from descending into Mopeville. Not an easy task when Rayna’s wedding is on the news everywhere, poor guy. The good news is, he did not give in and drink again (yay, Deacon!). But Scarlett fears the worst when she finds him unconscious in the hotel and rushes him to the hospital. Where she learns she did not fear the worst, because there’s something still worse than what she feared. Namely: cancer. Deacon is dying of cancer.

Gunnar stumbles into Scarlett’s home right after Deacon tells her he doesn’t want anyone to know about it and shuts the door in her face. She’s really got her work cut out for her.

Jeff fulfills my expectations fully, as he just wanted a one-time thing with Layla, and even that just to avoid having her have a thing with a stranger he can’t control, who could blab to the press about Will being gay. Even worse, as he ends things with her, telling her to go on tour with a husband who does not want her, physically, who is, at that moment, bedding a columnist just to quell the (true) rumors concerning his sexual orientation, Jeff gives Layla some drugs. In her state, that was practically begging her to overdose, which she does, and then Will finds Layla face-down in the pool, spurring Jeff to call Mayor Teddy Conrad (instead of 911), who has just broken up with the prostitute Jeff introduced him to because he’s realized how messed up his life is, for help dealing with the fallout.

So while Will’s first reflex is to save Layla, Jeff’s first reflex upon seeing Layla either dead or dying is to cover his ass. I say again: despicable. And since he knows about Teddy’s relationship with the aforementioned prostitute, I’d say blackmail is a definite possibility.

And to top off all the crap, Rayna make the colossal mistake of backing out of the wedding at the last minute. I don’t even really understand why. Luke’s not perfect, and he really should push the media out of his life a bit, but he’s a good guy, generally reasonable, humble when he realizes he’s made a mistake, and good with her daughters. Sure, things weren’t as Rayna was imagining, as her daughters mention boarding school (so she feels like they’re slipping out of her life), and her wedding had far too many strangers in attendance, but she told Deacon to move on, saying she had, yet somehow she’s still hung up on him.

Could someone please explain to me what’s going through Rayna’s head? Because I have just lost a tremendous amount of respect for her character. If it was about the media and the strangers entering her life and her daughters seeming to slip away from her, she could have just talked to Luke honestly about it.

Reign

So, Mary is suffering the effects of her trauma, with only a few close confidantes to support her. To make matters worse, as Francis confesses how and why his actions have contributed to the circumstances which led to her violation. Even when Mary, with Conde’s help, takes her revenge on petty, pathetic creatures which hurt her, she can’t simply move past it. Revenge does not bring peace and healing.

Meanwhile, Francis is properly infuriated, as any man would be, and there are few things more dangerous than a rghteously angry man with power. While men are hanged, tortured, or left to freeze overnight, Narcisse’s only salvation is in his potential usefulness. Francis has become a man to be feared, but while that works in the short term, it often proves self-destructive in the end. As Mary withdraws from him, and love leaves his life, what is left for him except the drive to rule in fearful power?

And, once again, things center around Mary’s love life, as she learns, accidentally, that Conde is in love with her. This is why he does anything she asks, including hunting and killing her attackers in cold blood, though we learn his brother sent him to the court of King Francis as a spy.

(love the moment when he says, “Mary, you’re not even armed-” she produces a good-sized knife “Good Lord!”)

Greer and Castleroy have a disagreement over his continuing association with the Protestants, as she fears it is too dangerous for him, particularly with the “witch hunt” in progress. (those idiots who tried to assassinate the king didn’t really consider the aftermath, did they?) And the love triangle begins to come back again as Leith Bayard displays a great amount of nobility. First he warns Greer to take her husband and flee the country, then he calls in that favor Francis owes him to get grateful Castleroy out of the dungeons, and warns them again to flee France. Greer sends her husband away, but remains behind. How much you want to bet she and Leith reenact their side of the triangle?

Though, can I just comment on how not only is it poetic for Leith to be dressed all in black while convincing Francis to show mercy, but also, he’s kinda rocking that look, isn’t he?

And Catherine has gone insane. She is convinced the ghosts of her twin daughters are set on killing Claude slowly. So she does the deed herself, spoon-feeding her daughter poisoned tea, supposedly to spare her pain, though she’s still dying slowly the next day. And then she sees the ghost of old King Henry in her bed. This is what we call “really, really bad!

Claude isn’t quite dead yet, but one can only have a faint hope at this point.

Though the scene where Bash picks her up to take her to a physician and Kenna sees and is likely misunderstanding felt like they were really reaching. I mean, wouldn’t Bash call out for help? And it’s not like they were kissing or anything, so why wouldn’t Kenna say anything? Kind of pointless drama, in a show that is generally better than that.

White Collar

Whew! So, the leader of the Panthers is sure that Neal is not the mole! And he’s certain he can trust Neal completely, once he refuses to be a rat. And that’s within the first minute of this episode!

Peter is looking forward to being a father, and putting some serious effort to it. He misses an important moment, though, due to the fatal chaos which erupts this episode, and he beats himself up over it. Elle makes things clear, she expects better of him, and he is dedicated to delivering. (they are going to be such great parents!)

Speaking of the fatal chaos, as Woodford, leader of the Pink Panthers, look for their mole, Keller leads his handler astray. Neal’s done the same countless times to people intent on killing him, but Keller used the tactic to sow discord and lead Luke to his death. Luke’s made mistakes, but he doesn’t deserve his fate. Keller manages to dodge the mole hunt and get free from Interpol at the same time. All he had to do was kill Luke, take his phone, cut the tracker out of his arm, and plant it on the unsuspecting Panther Number Two, who Woodford promptly kills.

As the Pink Panthers are gearing up for war, Neal, Mozzie, and Peter put together an alternative caper. Mozzie learns how to manipulate the algorithm, Peter figures out the exit plan, and Neal sells it to the Panthers. Some brilliant talking by Neal, and he works his way into the Panthers as a whole. Some more, and he brings in Peter to pose as a criminal. Woodford, very antsy, does not like this and points a gun at Peter, demanding answers. (cliffhanger)

And to add to mess, Neal is plotting something else, without even Mozzie in the loop. I don’t think it’ll be so bad as everyone imagines, but we’ll see.

For that matter, what will Mozzie and Neal’s relationship be once things end?

With only one, final episode to go, I am rather excited, but it’s also bittersweet. White Collar has been an incredible show, very well done. I’ve enjoyed the ride. They’ve kept up the humor to the very end, too! Mozzie was entirely unwilling to do manual labor until it was learned that the room was filled with hot women doing yoga, proving that any man can be inspired to great deeds of physical power far outside the norm, at least when there are women involved. LOL.

It’s sad to see a good show end, but all things must.

And how are they going to end it?! It’s clear that Peter will think it’s too dangerous and argue with Neal, who wants his freedom, so much that he might even give his life for it. What will happen to Mozzie in the end? Who will be in that ambulance we saw in the preview?

Oh, I love and hate quality storytelling! 😉

Grimm

The more I think about it, the more I realize they actually did justice to Trubel’s character by letting her leave. I certainly hope we’ll see her again, but she learned and grew so much in a fairly short amount of time on the show. Grow too fast, need bigger clothes, and bigger back yard. So they let her leave before she, and we, started feeling things squeeze too tight. Well done, I say.

That said, they could probably use their machete-wielding friend right about now.

This has to be the single most heart-breaking episode of the series, or at least one of them, and this says something.

For our freak-of-the-week, we have a good man, a doctor, a humanitarian, who contracts a disease and begins attacking everyone in his path, including his neighbor while he’s walking his dog, his best friend and coworker, strangers and passersby, little old ladies, and his beloved wife. That has to be the ultimate suffering, to condemn a good, selfless man to lose control of his body and mind so much that he inflicts suffering and death on all who cross his path. And his very last act, when they have a cure for his disease, is to use the one dose they have to cure his wife, saving her instead of himself. And then they have to put him down like a rabid beast, before his wife’s very eyes.

Wu has been circling around the truth of the world, the truth of monsters, and it’s driving him nuts again. Now the truth hits him in the face, and he loses his calm. Just as Nick and Hank were bringing him into the loop, to help him, a crisis erupts, and they miss their chance. They have to save lives, but before they can save Wu, he falls back into madness, lashing out at invisible monsters, and gets locked up overnight.

Munroe and Rosalee are set to go on their honeymoon, in perfect defiance of the Secundum Naturae Ordinem Wesen (why do they not use the shorter name of Wesenrein?), who are quite unhappy, and make a direct threat on Rosalee’s life. With Nick and Hank for friends, it’s easy to get a cop to sit on their house for the night before their honeymoon (“Don’t jinx it!” LOL). Unfortunately, the cop turns out, in the final moments of the episode, to be a mask-wearing Wesenrein. (We suspected it was someone Munroe and Rosalee knew, we did not realize it could be someone Nick knew… and I believe that mask is identical to the one Trubel got off that thug last episode, thus confirming that they are not just an overgrown frat) Munroe is hit on the back of the head, with Rosalee unsuspecting inside.

Finally, we now know Juliette is not pregnant. But there is a residual effect from undoing the Adalind’s elaborate curse. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we share her horror at looking in the mirror and seeing the rotted face of a hexenbiest. That… is reallynot good!

So a good man dies with the knowledge that he hurt innocent people, Wu goes crazy and gets locked up, Munroe and Rosalee are under imminent physical threat, and Juliette has become part hexenbiest. Nick and Hank really have a lot on their plate, yes? Sort of makes you wish for a certain machete-wielding friend, doesn’t it?

Oh, and Adalind is cooperating with Viktor to find her baby, while Captain Renard meets a Resistance leader who also wants the child, but whose organization has clearly been penetrated.

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2 Responses to This Week on TV, Dec. 13, 2014

  1. in Agents of Shield, nobody else was affected because when they entered the city without the suits on, Raina was already inside carrying the Diviner, so they weren’t outsiders anymore…

    Like

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