…particularly when seasons are entering their concluding phases!
So, plenty of juicy stuff happened this week! Including, I apparently missed an episode of Reign last week, but that has since been corrected, so twice the juice on that front. And, of course, everyone’s moving towards their various conclusions for their respective seasons. Some more than others, of course.
“Enter the Dragon”
Regina goes undercover with the Queens, and that is an interesting experience. Her history with Maleficent begins to be elaborated upon, including how the one, as a fledgling student witch-queen, helped the other, a crippled witch-queen of former deadly power, regain her fire. Talk about creating the monster you have to deal with now.
Regina’s undercover assignment has her falling back towards old habits, and it’s taking all of her fragile self-control to maintain her better nature, which she has had to earn. Emma is rightfully afraid for her friend, and everyone in the collective path of the dark queens. But Regina manages to insinuate herself into the heart of their scheming. Including when they kidnap Pinnochio and take him to Rumplestiltskin, who turns him back into August.
Speaking of Rumple, it was fairly obvious that it was him disguised as Hook, taking Belle to find his dagger. Personally, in Belle’s place, I’d have kept it on my person at all times. I’m not sure Rumple will ever hurt her, but that protection, and that limit on Rumple’s power, would come in very handy anyway. For one thing, Rumple would not have been able, I think, to bring August back.
As for what dastardly plans the villains have, they apparently are something along the lines of “starting a war in Storybrooke.” At the moment, it’s just Rumple and the Three Queens, and Regina acting as a mole, but Rumple seems to be expecting people to choose sides… as in, some will come to their side instead of the Charmings.
From what I can tell from the previews for this part of the season, Rumple certainly seems to think he might sway Emma, of all people, to his side, against the Author.
Speaking of, Regina is guarding Snow’s secret, even giving Emma the slip and going in without backup. Now knowing her enemy, Regina knows she can’t just fight her way out now. When it was just the the Three Queens, that might have been an option. But now? Not so much.
“Hong Kong Hustle”
Now here’s something I didn’t think we’d ever see! Beckett, jealous!
She has a serious case of hero envy with a Chinese woman, Jong, a capable law enforcement officer who has trotted the globe, done a lot of good work, and even has a husband and two kids. This comes exactly when she’s comparing herself to her old friends, people she thinks are doing better.
Now, granted, Jong is able to swipe Ryan and Espo’s guns straight out of their hands with the speed and accuracy of viper, and with Espo already holding his gun to her head. Also, she is able to beat down an entire gym full of thugs. So this woman is plenty formidable. But Beckett has to learn that she’s misjudged Jong, who has her own problems, including being separated from her husband and guilt for failing her children, not to mention failing her childhood friend, this week’s murdered victim.
Speaking of, the victim, Henry, apparently had a number of bad connections, thanks to a shady past. But they did not kill him. He also had a new shady connection, but they didn’t kill him either. He was simply in love, and did something questionable, justified to himself, to get his love out from under the heel of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And who killed him? Well, the woman he loved had a dear friend, that dear friend wanted to keep her.
People who have lost everything are very dangerous when what little they have left is at risk.
Also, if I might just give kudos again to Castle and Beckett. He is there for her as she is feeling insecure. When she starts thinking about changing what she does with her life (what new directions can they take Castle in?), he supports her. When she worries about making Jong’s mistake, of leaving behind what’s most important, he simply says, “You cannot leave behind what is always at your side.”
For just making it up, that’s pretty dang good!
Beckett certainly appreciates it!
“One of Us”
This was something of a bland episode, with a side of bleak.
Mister Hyde returns, with his promised gang of freakish thugs. They didn’t seem that formidable, though. Hyde apparently has a drug that he injects to make himself stronger, and he’s clearly off his rocker. There’s a lady with blades grafted to her fingers like claws, a super-steroid thug, an amoral hacker, and, this is the worst one, a fellow who makes things die with the sound of his voice.
Considering how these people all committed crimes, killing people, I’d say Shield’s treatment of them was really quite lenient. The hacker was barred from tech, the claw-lady had her claws sheathed, the thug was jailed, and the screamer was muzzled. They didn’t even object to Hyde’s plan, which involved murdering dozens of teenagers. The only objection, raised by claw-lady, was how she didn’t want to risk challenging Shield. For a good reason.
And still, despite everything they do, Shield doesn’t kill them, merely subdues them. That’s an amazing amount of restraint.
Granted, part of that was thanks to Gordon the Eyeless Teleporter popping and taking Hyde away mid-ramble. The Inhumans, which Hyde is pathetically trying to imitate, are most displeased with his actions, and how he’s drawing attention to them. Hyde knows Skye needs them, all the greater is his anger that they aren’t helping her, but he has some authority figure(s) to face now.
Skye is trying to get a hold on her power. She’s containing it, yes, but she misunderstands how. She thinks she’s suppressing it, but really, she’s directing it inwards harming herself. At the beginning, she was her usual, resilient self. But at the end, she’s terribly lost.
Simmons, at least, seems to be coming around to feeling more for Skye. She crafts vibration-absorbing gloves for her. Somewhat reminiscent of claw-lady’s sheathes, but without any blood yet on her hands.
Fitz and Simmons are not speaking to each other, for the most part. Though they, like Skye, are able to connect over May’s relationship with her ex-husband, whom they bring in to evaluate Skye. That doesn’t go over so well at first, as Skye has far too much experience with shrinks, but she can’t resist learning about May as an actual human being. As for Fitz-Simmons, they had some much needed fun gossiping about their friends’ relationship. Completely blind to the similarities between the couple they are talking about, and themselves.
Simmons mentions to Morse how a betrayal of trust can change everything, which is poetic for Morse to be hearing right now. Mac is holding Hunter hostage, and Morse calls an extraction team for them. In the end, Mac reveals that he and Morse, and now Hunter, are associating with “Shied. The real Shield.” They even have the logo, but pointier. Which bodes not so well.
Have to admit, when Mac said that, he was very scary. He is, after all, a large, strong man with deep convictions, and there’s not much scarier than a gentle giant who stops being gentle.
Personal fan-theory: what if Coulson has a suspicions of this “real Shield,” and sent Hunter in as a mole? Wouldn’t be the first time, but maybe that’s asking too much?
“Out of Time”
Ok, you know all the stuff they do in season finales? Like reveal the truth of the villain, reveal how the romantic interest loves the hero, reveal to hero’s true identity to said romantic interest, bring friends low. kill sidekicks, and leave things at the cataclysmic cliffhanger? Yeah, they just did that. Only Barry manages to accidentally send himself, or at least his consciousness, back in time, back to the beginning of the episode. So all of these incredible things have happened… without actually happening. Barry is aware, but no one else is. And that’s when the episode ends. What the heck is he going to do now?
Oh, I noticed something I saw in Smallville once, when Clark sent himself back to the beginning of the episode: like Clark, Barry manages to go back in time just before he would have learned the truth of his enemy’s secrets. I wanted to scream when they did that!
I mean, come on! They had a powerful moment where Cisco learned the truth from Wells, before Wells killed him! And they don’t let Barry know about Wells being evil before going back? How’s he supposed to save Cisco now?
Hmmm… probably has something to do with the evidence that reporter fellow has locked away somewhere, which he told Barry about, but now has not told Barry about, so he won’t suspect Barry if he steals it… time travel can be confusing, ya know?
So, we now know Wells is descended from Eddie Thawne (explains why he was careful not to kill him) and he came back in time to kill Barry the Flash (or so he says), but failed and killed Barry’s mother instead. Something about all of that left Wells trapped in our time, and he’s been protecting and nurturing Barry’s speed and power so as to create the means of returning home. Exactly how that will work, we don’t know yet.
If that weren’t enough, Barry has to deal with the Weather Wizard now. The first episode’s twister-creating villain, Tempest, had a brother, who has similar abilities, but much more focused and powerful. With these, he tortures and kills the coroner for the identity of his brother’s killed, Joe West. He also invades the precinct, laying the cops low and putting their captain in the hospital with slim chance of recovery. He even kidnaps Joe and lures Iris and Wally to the coastline, just as he creates a tsunami.
Now, Barry already knows what his enemy wants, will do, and how to defeat them, so he has a definite advantage. This time, he can save everyone. But I doubt it will be that easy, because it never is. And we know the Wizard has to get that wand, the one thing which can stop him, somehow.
Oh, and Barry just barely learned, from Iris’ confession, that she loves him.
Which, considering how they were walking into the Wizard’s trap, had to be the single campiest moment for them to confess their secrets to each other. As the romances on Arrow seem to grow more, in accordance with some plan, Barry and Iris have always seemed all the more campy and force and worthy of eye rolling.
So, Ra’s offers Olly his seat. Not only is Olly strong and capable, but there’s a prophecy, that the man who survives Ra’s blade will become the next one. It’s a compelling offer, though Olly is not interested at first. Ra’s uses a salesman’s tactic, showing Olly the disadvantages of his current path and elaborating on the advantages of the new one Ra’s is presenting. He will command great resources, become a force to aid his crusade across the world itself, and he can even command the League to stop killing. Heady offer, that.
Ra’s does not seem to be putting any pressure on Olly, even letting him, Digs, and even Merlyn go back to Starling City, free and clear, never to be bothered again. But he prophesies that Olly shall be left along, abandoned by the woman he loves, betrayed by the city he has fought for, and hunted down by even his closest allies in the police department.
That prophecy seems to be coming true already. Felicity is with Ray Palmer now, and Captain Lance severs connections to the Arrow because he feels betrayed by how the Arrow concealed Sara’s death from him. That was more Laurel’s doing, but Olly does not try and defend himself, holding himself accountable even as Lance is accusing him of not having to carry the weight of his decisions. He clearly knows nothing of how Olly carries those decisions with him every day. And because Lance stops taking their calls, he leaves the precinct vulnerable to an all-out assault.
Lance is just doing what he did before, now. He’s blaming others and holding grudges. Very sad, seeing his loss make him revert back to the man he was at the beginning of the series. It’s understandable, of course, but tragic.
So, Olly finds himself considering Ra’s offer. In his moment of doubt, it’s Felicity who helps him find clarity. She tells him how each of the others had to find a new reason to continue the fight after Olly “died,” and now it’s apparently his turn. He does, and so he refuses Ra’s offer. Which is the right thing to do, I think, but not the best of all ideas. Ra’s is rather set on Olly taking up his throne.
When Nyissa goes home, she misinterprets everything. Ra’s is right about how her feelings for Sara are clouding her mind, but he pretty much exiles her for defying of his will. She turns, of all places, to Laurel for some comfort. They’re forming a surprising connection, but they do both love Sara, even now, so perhaps it’s not so surprising.
At the other end of the spectrum, Thea is struggling with the powerful and well-justified urge to kill Merlyn, and Merlyn actually encourages her, thinking it’s his way of supporting her, after everything he’s done to her. In the midst of her pain, Thea looks for strength with someone she’s already had a strong bond with: Roy Harper. Makes a good deal of sense, as he has been supporting and comforting her all this time.
Unfortunately, Ra’s is not going let them all have the time they need to work things out. Team Arrow is a complicated mess, perhaps more than ever now, but that’s a rather audacious claim, all things considered. He offered no pressure, but when the master of a world-spanning order of assassins does not put visible pressure on you, that’s just fading into the darkness, to come at you from where you least expect it.
As Olly is refusing to take up Ra’s name, Ra’s steals the Arrow’s name. He ends the episode by killing some murderous street thugs, dressed in Arrow garb, and makes sure everyone will know it. With Lance holding a new grudge, the manhunt will begin again, and Ray Palmer, a flying knight, will join the hunt, breaking Felicity’s heart.
There is only one good thing I can see in all of this. Merlyn said Olly had been trained to bring arrows to a sword fight, but now Ra’s is bringing his sword-training to an arrow fight, and arrows are Olly’s weapon of choice. He may finally have a proper chance at winning.
But then, as Olly refuses, he may have to face Maseo as an earnest enemy, though he remains grateful for everything Olly did for his family.
And I noticed that Maseo said Olly meant something to his son Akio. Meant. As in, past-tense. Oh, I am still very afraid of what we will see of Akio’s fate, and all the more now.
“Tasting Revenge” & “Tempting Fate”
So… one thing I’ve appreciated with Reign is how they treat the supernatural. True, there are reasonable explanations for everything, but there are so many coincidences that it can be hard to hold to such reason. As everything in this plot tends to revolve around the turmoil of unpredictable, human emotions, it makes perfect sense for the mysteries of the occult to enter in and influence things just as much. And, like death, it can do so without warning.
Kenna seriously entertains Antoine’s offer, but suspects him of deception, so she invites his wife to visit court, that the truth of her “illness” might be disclosed. To the contrary, she is only very pregnant. Thus, Kenna reveals Antoine’s lies to herself, sees past his flattery, and spurns his offers. But when the truth of her temptation is revealed to Bash, he is deeply hurt. He leaves court for a time, going north to deliver justice to those deserving of it. He strips a corrupt officer of his title and frees the man’s woman to take shelter in the castle, but the officer gets the drop on him later, stabbing him through the gut. For a moment, it looks like he is going to die, but then the mysterious healing woman, dark of hair, who was only impersonating a nun, helps him to linger, just long enough to beg for his life, even knowing there would be a cost. What he failed to remember is how the life of a boy was given at cost to the boy’s brother.
At virtually that very instant, Francis collapses, struck with the ear infection which, we can reason, is about to end his life, in harmony with the history books.
Catherine is capable and cunning as ever. She thinks to promote Leith Bayard to be Claude’s babysitter, to keep her activities to a minimum. Leith is reluctant, but Claude is willing to put up with it because Leith is very easy on her eyes. Then Narcisse comes to her with proof of Mary’s intention to leave France and retake Scotland, with Conde at her side. She already suspected Mary of infidelity, not knowing Francis gave his blessing for such, with a promise to protect both Mary and Conde as best he can, but Mary’s plans shock her to the core. Yet, she shows restraint, not wanting to destroy Mary, she turns to Francis to dissuade her instead, but this is most ill-timed, as this is when Francis collapses. Catherine falls to pieces, certain that Francis is about to die, and, ever the opportunist, Narcisse gives her support and comfort.
Francis’ impending death is going to throw everything straight to Hell. Not only will Narcisse pounce on the rising opportunity, but Lola and her child will suddenly be without protection. Bash and Kenna may likewise be so imperiled, and with Bash missing and Kenna alone, that may prove most dangerous, but not nearly so badly as Lola. And just when Francis was starting to move towards her, albeit with a tryst with Narcisse’s niece along the way. To say nothing of the position Mary, Conde, and Scotland will be left in.
Mary and Conde are moving forward with their plans to go to Scotland, and they’ve learned that they were at risk, not knowing that they still are at risk. I highly suspect that one of their men is, in fact, a traitor, bought and paid for. But that’s not even the worst of their worries, as Narcisse, who hates Mary, knows her secret. The plan is set back again when Conde confesses to playing both sides, encouraging Elizabeth’s envoy, courting him to be king-consort of England. They’re able to use this connection to learn where they might make safe landing in Scotland, with a little ruse, but their trust in each other needs repairing. No great surprise, as this is, I believe, the first time we’ve seen Conde turn his duplicity on Mary, and because his brother planted doubt in his heart. But, they are set to go, now, and be together in Scotland.
Except for the part where Francis is about to die and throw their plans and Mary’s heart into confusion again.
Leith, whose romance with Greer has, indeed, been resurrected, has discovered Greer’s position as a madame, but he doesn’t care, even going to far as to seek an annulment on her behalf. He wants to marry her, and her husband, Castleroy, is languishing in prison, likely for the rest of his days. It’s easy for him to justify himself, and his connection to King Francis may give him the opening he needs.
Except, Francis is about to die, so, that, too, is falling apart.
Really, I don’t think anyone we like is going to avoid a terrible consequence resulting from Francis’ death.
“Hello Crap, let me introduce you to Fan-going-at-full-power…”
Finally! They made us wait a full month to see Nick’s reaction to Juliette’s new hexen-status. Granted, she could have said something about how what they did changed her first, but details do tend to slip through the cracks when revealing something as major as “I’m a hexenbiest now.” That said, I honestly did not predict the obvious reaction: Nick assumes, at first, that Juliette is actually Adalind in disguise. This involves a drawn gun and some very quick explanations.
So, his initial reaction could have been better.
Nick is a smart man, and he takes responsibility for his actions, so he quickly puts it together, how it all happened, when they made him a Grimm again, and he feels the weight of it. He has to go for a walk, leaving Juliette alone, just to think. When Juliette’s appearance changes, you know at least part of his reaction is because he blames himself. But he doesn’t just have the gut reaction to a hexenbiest‘s rotted appearance, but he’s come to mostly hate such creatures in general. He has a lot to think about, and he can’t help but remember all the trauma his relationship with Juliette has been through. Another thing about Nick: he does not give up. Not on Juliette, not on their relationship.
So, he goes to see Henrietta, and she rather seductively illustrates how she knows what she’s talking about. She simply advises him to either kill her or accept her, and keep his distance in the meantime. Lest one or both of them end of dead.
As for Juliette, she, too, has a lot to reflect on. She wants to be with Nick forever, and she knows he’s wanted the same. But now there’s something new and dangerous and ugly in their lives. She’s angry, justifiably so. She loves Nick, and the way he looks at her is different now. She can’t stand it, nor would most anyone in her place. So she leaves, gets some distance.
And speaking of all things unfair, this week’s freak is a double-header, of both victim and villain. The rabbit-like wesen is considered so sacred and lucky that they are freely hunted and murdered (somehow not how I imagine treating something sacred) to steal their left feet, and their accompanying luck, for use in helping couples get pregnant. Yeah, that is so romantic, wanting so much to have a baby (instead of, say, adopting) that they try and build their family by stealing innocent lives. Hey, I suppose it’s poetic, in a way, starting an innocent life by ending another! It’s just so they can have a child! That makes murder all right, right?
Rosalee isn’t the only one who “gets started” on things like that. I can hardly think of anyone more deserving of a shotgun blast to the chest than the one who hunts down these rabbit people, or anyone more worthy of the wesen Council’s wrath than the monsters who whisper sweet lovelies to each other over their dismembered feet.
Speaking of, kudos to that rabbit-girl, Chloe! She maintained her nerve even when she was scared, crying, and angry. She kept level-headed, got out of her restraints when she had the chance, and she laid the smack-down on her would-be-murderer, even hobbling his left foot. Granted, she made an amateur’s mistake when she stayed within arm’s reach after impaling said foot, so she has a few things to learn, but overall, I’m like, “You go, girl!”
We got a little peak at the parents Rosalee and Munroe would/will one day make. In short: excellent!
Adalind talks to Renard, asking for his help in protecting their child from Viktor. Considering how Adalind only fell into Viktor’s pocket because she wanted to protect her child, and how she knows full well how merciless Viktor is, I’m inclined to believe that she does mean what she says. She’s the sort that plays the game, looks for every advantage, it’s a great portion of what makes her so dangerous, so her story is fully believable. But, then again, that doesn’t mean anyone should trust her. She does, after all, play the game.
Oh, and she discovers, when Henrietta tells her, that she’s pregnant again. And unlike last time, there’s only one possible father this time. And that would be: Nick.
And I thought things were already complicated!