Oh, I love weeks like this! Pretty much all the shows that have been on hiatus or skipping weeks are back! And there was much rejoicing!
“Heart of Gold”
You know those moments? The ones that make you utter your equivalent of “Oh Holy Mother of Crap?” That would be this episode.
Zalina is alive!
See, Rumpelstiltskin? When you tried to take revenge for your son, you unwittingly made it possible for Zalina to 1) escape custody completely unnoticed, 2) go back in time and alter things, and 3) murder poor, helpless Marian and take her place, all to interfere with Regina’s happy ending. Moral of the story: don’t take revenge!
Some things make more sense now, such as why the time travel portal activated when Zalina “died.” Also, many things are so much more heartbreaking, and bitterly ironic, such as how Robin never truly saw his beloved Marian again, how she did die all those years ago, and how Regina fought so hard to save Marian’s life from Ingrid the Snow Queen, but in reality she was unwittingly saving Zalina. Now poor Robin, unless he’s a very good poker player, has no idea that the woman he’s living with, and trusting with his son, is a monster, and one who already has his wife’s blood on her hands.
And the moment she makes herself known to Rumple, it is, of course, when she has the upper hand. She could have let him die, satisfied with gloating at him as he passed, but she did so much worse than that. She let him die momentarily until the hospital staff revived him. Then, as he was utterly helpless, she offered him the potion he so desperately needed, to save his own life, in exchange for two things: first, that he would find the Author and bend the man to his will, to write Zalina a happy ending as well, and second, that Rumple stop trying to kill her. Part of me wanted Rumple to curse Zalina with his dying breath, but better for him to live, and figure out a more roundabout way of eliminating her. Which, I truly hope he does.
If nothing else, revealing the truth to Regina will, at least, get someone else working on the problem. Unfortunately, he’s also using it to coerce Regina into doing his bidding, helping to darken Emma’s heart. Speaking of Emma, since she and August should still be able to come and go from Storybrooke as they please, there is a way for Regina to reach out, through them, to protect Robin and Roland. Zalina has no magic except that glamor pendant, after all, so they can easily take her out now. It’s just a matter of getting the drop on her, which involves doing so before Rumple can give her a phone call. Say, when Emma eventually goes to find Lily?
It’s going to be beyond heartbreaking for Robin when he finds out. We got to see the real Marian back in the flashbacks, and while she only played a minor part, she was a truly good woman. She fell in love with Robin when he was a thief, she stood by him (and rebuffed the sheriff’s advances) when he owned a tavern, and she fully supported him when he returned to being an outlaw.
Which decision, we see, was inspired by his adventure in Oz, when Rumple hired him to steal the Elixir of the Wounded Heart. Things did not go according to plan, though, as he had intended to steal one dose for Rumple, and one for Will Scarlet, whom he’d just met, but only managed the one before Zalina interrupted him. He escaped, as would have left Will without the elixir, but then he learned why Will wanted it: to heal his heart from the loss of his sister, that he might then give it, whole and full, to a woman. So Robin gave him the elixir, returning home empty-handed, and proceeded to steal from the rich and give to the poor.
And Marian was at his side, without complaint, only with words of love and support.
And he even showed her the pendant which Zalina now uses to pose as her, after murdering her.
Emma didn’t have much to do this episode, as we were mostly flashing between flashbacks, but she did show us how hurt she is by what her parents have done. True, they were manipulated by the Author, but she obviously doesn’t know how much. She is hurt, and not in a forgiving mood, because her parents altered her very soul, at the cost of someone else, though she doesn’t know just yet that it was Lily. When Emma learns the whole truth, she is going to be thunderously mad at the Author.
Who, Rumple now has working on his side, in simple exchange for a magical pen.
Anyone else thinking it’s a bad idea to give the Author his powers back, after all the crap he’s already pulled?
Back on the subject of Emma, I am suddenly remembering what one the trailers for this season was saying, about there being three ways to turn a hero to darkness. I’ve wondered what they are, but I have a tentative theory now: 1) destroy their faith, such as with the revelation of Snow and Charmin’s sins, though those sins were involuntary, 2) threaten what they hold most dear and would do anything to protect, such as next episode will apparently have Cruella doing, and 3) confront them with their own mistakes, such as Emma will have to face when she sees Lily again.
What do you think? Plausible?
“Beasts of Prey”
Fish’s plan finally reaches fruition. With a bit of creative deception, some sneaking, and some double-crossing, she makes her escape from that hellish island and the Dollmaker’s clutches. She sends some “stone-cold killers” to their unwitting demise, using them to draw away the guards, but then she turned back and actually got everyone else out too. She kept her word. Very good.
Not so good: as she’s flying the helicopter loaded with handicapped people off the island, the guard puts a bullet in her gut. The pilot of the helicopter, flying over frigid waters, is bleeding. Yeah, unless they can make a beeline to a safe landing spot, they’re in deep trouble.
Though that was a good moment, where the Dollmaker was at the mercy of his victims. Shame they just didn’t have the time to finish the job, but Fish kept them on task.
Back in Gotham, Gordon and Alfred both try to keep Bruce out of the task at hand, of finding Reggie, but Alfred just isn’t strong enough for it yet, and they’re keeping Gordon out if, and they have a fairly small window of time to work with. So Bruce goes alone, though Selina joins him along the way. She helps him find and interrogate Reggie, by holding his liquor hostage, dangling out a window. Reggie gives them the information they want, who hired him, but then he threatens to warn his former employers. Oh, and, being a drunk, he makes the mistake of leaning out the window, to retrieve his liquor, while threatening them.
After betraying and hurting Alfred, and helping the people who we can reason were behind the murder of his parents, and while threatening Bruce and Alfred, Bruce’s anger is understandable. He is so tempted… just one push… one push and the traitor threatening them dies… but he pulls back. He chooses not to take a life.
Selina, living in a world of kill or be killed, has no such restraint, and she does not hesitate to protect Bruce, pushing Reggie out the window, to his death.
I’m not sure about having the future Catwoman, and the best romantic interest Batman ever has, murder someone in cold blood as a teenager, even if it’s to protect him. Bruce is going to have a hard time dealing with this, methinks.
Speaking of fatalities, Penguin is making plans for one. He is very interested in a bar/pub owned by some lady, but she won’t let him in on her property. He’s so interested, in fact, that he offers her more than just money. It turns out, she’s one of those obsessive, controlling mothers, thinks her daughter is an angel, and any behavior which does not conform to her will and plans must be because of the girl’s boyfriend, a musician. So Penguin takes him off the streets and begins removing fingers, thus sending the daughter back to her mama, in tears, and allowing Penguin access to a piece of property which cannot be connected to him.
Why is is so intent on this? Because he means to kill Don Maroni, and now he has a location wherein to commit the murder.
Finally, Gordon gets handed a case by a young cop who supposedly wants to help the inspiring detective clean up the GCPD. That bit where he played to Gordon’s ego, even to his hope, had me thinking something was up, and it proved correct. The cop is apparently Loeb’s lackey, setting Gordon up to start hunting a serial killer who targets the loved ones of people who investigate him.
Gordon gets justifiably angry when he learns the Loeb, assuming the cop is being honest with him this time (not necessarily a guarantee, but well within the realm of possibility), is dragging Leigh into their feud. He tries to contact Leigh, but she doesn’t answer her phone (rather disconcerting… how would this serial killer already know Gordon is hunting him?), and a snarling Gordon warns Loeb that the moment “the Ogre” is caught, Loeb is next on Gordon’s list.
And Gordon doesn’t even know that Barbara is back in town, and I’d bet she’s in the same danger.
Was I the only one to think that Leigh knew a little more about the case from the get-go than she was letting on?
So, May said, “Yes.” She’s on the new Shield’s board, and she even takes command of the base. If Coulson calls, she intends to be the one to answer. Really, it’s the same job as always: working within Shield to support its Director.
At the same time, May’s been given a sucker punch to the gut. Even she can doubt Coulson at times, but she also trusts him completely. So when she hears about Coulson’s mysterious Theta Protocol, and doesn’t know what it is, she wants very much to find out. Morse, Mac, and the others believe – or, rather, they fear – that Coulson is using tremendous funds and resources to gather and train people with superpowers. Which is quite a leap, I’d say. He could just be starting a new academy to train new recruits, actually “rebuilding” Shield. But he kept it secret, and he also kept a few other secrets, such as when Simmons was working on a Deathlok upgrade without knowing about it.
After the Hydra debacle, it is somewhat understandable for Gonzales and the others to fear secrets and deception, but it’s also ridiculous. Fury’s secrets were the only thing that gave Captain America and Coulson, on their respective fronts, any chance at saving either Shield or the rest of the world, but they don’t see that. Coulson is tasked with rebuilding Shield, but they’re so fearful of his secrets that they took over. In a way, there is some justification for their actions, but they are letting their fears rule them! They are so much farther gone than they fear Coulson being, as evidenced by one of them shooting at Skye in cold blood, and the rest of them supporting the attempted murder.
Speaking of Skye, she is going through a lot. I almost forgot that she knows nothing about what’s going on in Shield, she only knows that, yet again, her home and family have been taken from her. While she makes great strides in using and controlling her power, the experience brings up some bad memories, which she shares with Ja-Ying… and then Ja-Ying confesses the truth of their relationship.
And finally, Skye begins to know her past. Where she came from, her real birthday… such basic things we take for granted, but which she has never known. Yet, Ja-Ying advises her to keep the truth a secret, because their people have some very strict rules, and experience with those who break them. And, though, they don’t know it, so does Shield. In particularly, Melinda May.
We finally see what happened to her in Bahrain, how she became known as “the Cavalry.” An Inhuman woman wanted her child to go through the mists, but Ja-Ying saw darkness in that little girl, so the mother stole crystals and changed her daughter. Said daughter promptly enthralled and leeched off of passersby, and the situation escalated into something more and more horrific. May thought it was the mother, as Coulson still does, and knew she had to be put down before more people got hurt. But the horror of discovering it was a child… and having to kill her, to save everyone else… that hurt something deep inside May’s soul, such that her recovery has scarcely begun, and she owes Coulson for helping her make it even this far. Thus, her loyalty to him.
And all this tragedy because one woman broke the rules, and Ja-Ying and Gordon were too slow in fixing the situation. This is why the Inhumans have their strict rules, and their absolute secrecy. Because when those rules are broken, people get hurt. And can you imagine an organization like Gonzales’ Shield learning the truth about Bahrain? They’d go even more super-phobic than they already are!
So, with Skye’s unique circumstances, some Inhumans are already afraid, and there is no doubt in my mind that they would crucify Ja-Ying for some supposed favoritism, some obscure connection to Skye’s transformation. And, in truth, considering how “ruthless” Ja-Ying and her husband were in searching for Skye in the first place (I think we now know who killed the Shield agents who protected Skye as an infant), there is some cause to suspect she might do something underhanded.
I think we can all guess how well that “secret” is going to be kept.
As for the other irregularity in the Inhuman world, Raina, Gordon has chosen to be her Guide. He feels very much for her, constantly in pain and plagued with dreams she hates. So he will take her everywhere across the world… which, I suspect, is what she wants: to escape. Of course, that will involve killing Gordon so he can’t take her back to Afterlife, but we all know she’s perfectly capable of murder. Which bodes ill for everyone in Afterlife, including Skye, whom Raina especially resents.
And Lincoln finally realizes what Raina’s real gift is: she has prophetic dreams.
Finally, Fitz opens Fury’s Toolbox, establishing contact with Coulson and Hunter. He wants to join up with them, but has a tail to shake first. So could they talk him through it, please?
“Flight of the Living Dead”
You know, one thing they hit hard with this show, is that these dead people are… people. We can’t forget this. That makes what happens to them all the more horrifying, and more important.
In this particular case, the corpse of an unfortunate skydiver, impaled on a tree, whom Liv and Ravi are jokingly comparing to food items… is a college friend of both Liv and her sister.
It’s easy to see why Liv might not want to eat her friend’s brain, but death doesn’t differentiate between the people we know the people we don’t, and neither does Liv. In fact, as she eats their brains and gets visions she needs to investigate their deaths, she views it not just as self-preservation, but as a service. She does it for strangers, and she owes it to her friend to do the same.
No one is “somebody else’s problem,” no matter how society or authority tries to make it otherwise.
Of course, this involves becoming a more physically active daredevil, which presents its own problems. But somewhat worth it, as they close in on the killer… but then the killer just vanishes, without only enough traces left to suggest that she didn’t plan to disappear. Which begs the question of who facilitated her involuntary, and total, vanishing act.
Clive is a real superstar in this episode. He has two open investigations, and he looks for Jerome himself, and he accepts Liv’s request to investigate what appears to be a perfect accident. He even gets raked over the coals a bit for it. Talk about going the extra mile! And when he realizes how many people have been disappearing off the streets (Blaine’s zombies have to eat, after all), he tries to bring more attention to it.
And wouldn’t you just know it? As Liv meets another zombie of the upper class, a rather charming fellow, there’s another zombie running Homicide. Blaine really has the system wired in his favor now, perfect for stifling investigations into the massive uptake in “missing persons” he’s hunted and butchered for their brains.
Sheesh, an outright zombie apocalypse almost sounds preferable to this quiet culling of humanity.
Meanwhile, Major accidentally plays with fire at gets burned, or, rather, beaten down, when he picks a fight with the zombie wearing Jerome’s shoes. He’s left lying on concrete, with the kids he’s trying to save skateboarding around him.
All while Liv gets twitterpated by her charming zombie friend. The possibility of romance again, of being, on some level more alive than she is, clouds her mind so much that she forgets two very important questions: 1) how and when was he turned, and 2) where is he getting his food?
She’s going to hate the answers to those questions.
I will admit, I was hoping for more than just two of the all-stars in this team-up, but ok.
Ray and Felicity come to town innocently enough, as Ray is looking for a fellow tech genius to help hi with his suit. His encounter with Olly, where he had the Arrow totally outgunned, yet easily lost, has illuminated his understanding: his suit has weaknesses. So, he gets a fresh perspective from Cisco, and they proceed to bond, as kindred spirits tend to.
Ah, us boys and our toys!
The team-up comes when a genius robotics expert crafts a swarm of deadly, mechanical bees. Barry gets stung several times, flat-lining from all the toxins in his blood, and when you can metabolize it super-fast, and it still kills you, that’s a lot of very dangerous poison. Fortunately, his friends installed a defibrillator in his suit. Not meant for repeated use, but it saves his life.
Thus, Ray’s suit of flying armor proves much more useful…
(I call bull crap! Barry can break the sound barrier and run on water! Bees, even robotic ones, should not be any threat to him!)
…more useful in combating the swarm of flying, toxic robotic insects, as it better protects him…
(assuming they don’t get at his face)
…protects him from their stings.
Felicity joins the fray (oh, she’s an all-star too!) bringing her hacking skills to bear in a virtual duel with the enemy. First she redirects the robot bees to target Ray, so he can draw them away from the intended victim and drown them in the river. Then she shuts down the remaining swarm, clearing Barry’s path to their “queen.”
But one bee remained operational just long enough to try and kill a de-suited Ray, failing only because Cisco, despite his fear of bees, automatically stepped in and took the blow for him. He, too, flat-lined, and only Barry’s quick thinking, using his speed to create a shock and get Cisco’s heart going again, saved his life.
That answered a doubt Barry and Joe were having to face. If “Wells” was a villain, then how could they be sure even Cisco and Caitlin weren’t on his side? Barry is really not handling it well, as he’s not a born liar, which is good for his soul, but bad from a tactical perspective. But with Cisco’s selfless act, they’re reminded that, no matter the mysteries around “Wells,” Cisco and Caitlin are open books, and good friends. So they bring them on board, sharing what they know and suspect.
As Caitlin defends “Wells,” saying it’s impossible (technically true since the real Wells is already dead), Cisco talks about visions he’s been having, like dreams. We know they’re memories from the day Barry altered, but Cisco is very confused by them. He knows that “Wells” is the Reverse-Flash, and he remembers when the man killed him. So now everyone knows.
Eddie adjusts very well to the revelation of Barry being the Flash. While he disagrees with the idea that keeping Iris in the dark will protect her, he does so. Unfortunately, Iris knows he’s keeping a secret now, and her fears lean in the direction of him cheating on her. Barry discounts that, and she accepts it. She even admits that his argument for why Eddie might keep a secret from her is logical, rational, well-founded… but this is just something she, herself, can’t take. So she gives Eddie an ultimatum: either tell her the truth, or their relationship is over.
I have to say, whether Iris could or couldn’t take the secrecy, there’s going to be critics of that. Some will advocate openness and honesty, and others will argue for patience and trust. The simple truth is this: either decision she could have made has it’s guiding virtues. Being a strong person, and a strong woman, doesn’t mean you have to respond to some unpleasant situation in the same way as anyone else would. There is more than one kind of strength, and I have to admire Iris for being honest and clear. This isn’t an easy decision for her, and I can’t fault her for it. It’s heartbreaking, but sometimes that is just the price of doing the right thing, and the best thing for you.
Finally, Barry gets a clue as to the truth behind “Wells,” when an old colleague of the real Wells thanks him for his part in saving her life. He asks about Wells, and she answers how they used to be close, thick as thieves, young scientists out to change the world. But after Tess died in the “accident,” he was a completely different person. (gee, I wonder why!)
Getting the part where these two episodes are connected out of the way: a metahuman comes from Central City to rob, murder, and terrorize. Once they take him down and lock him up in Star Labs, Cisco discovers something most disquieting: this villain was not in Central City on the night of the particle accelerator explosion. So how is he a metahuman?
In the process of taking this one down, as Olly can’t go out as the Arrow anymore, so he teams up with Ray, the Atom. Ray gets his butt kicked the first time, and learns about his biggest weakness from Olly: he keeps relying too much on his gadgets. These are his tools, but Ray himself should be the weapon, as is Olly’s practice. If he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll get himself killed.
So they join forces, allowing Olly to do the fighting once Ray has done the flying. It’s a good technique, but then the connection is severed, so Olly has to get Ray to finish the job, and after his failures, it was hard for Ray to get back up. But Olly helps him get his second wind with a pointed speech about the hero within Ray. He rises, and triumphs! Whoo!
Oh, and proving Olly’s point, Felicity actually managed to use her environment to protect herself from the metahuman, and she had neither armor nor training. Go Felicity! It’s easy to see why two heroes are in love with her.
But, as Ray is starting to realize, though he loves Felicity, her heart remains with Olly. Ray is a good man, and I hope they can at least end things well between them. And, honestly, I really hate how they’re making each season of Arrow revolve around which girl is his primary romantic interest! I mean, apart from turning these strong women into “this season’s girl,” which is a bit insulting to them, realistic relationships are not that neat!
But I digress.
The main meat of this episode was Roy taking the fall for Olly. Lance hates Olly all the more for it such that his friend tries to convince him to back down from his personal vendetta, Thea’s heart is breaking, and Olly’s attempts to take the fall back from Roy are blocked by all his friends.
Olly is a “broken arrow” in this episode. His soul is under assault, he can’t do anything to directly protect his city, and his entire alias as the Arrow looks to have been forcefully retired. He has to rely on everyone else, and it galls him. He doesn’t know who he is anymore.
Though Roy survives and is liberated from prison, he has to leave town, likely forever.
Oh, and Ra’s al’Ghul ends the episode by putting a blade through Thea.
Olly’s been a broken Arrow… but when he finds Thea like that, he will be a broken man.
Ra’s says something most interesting: “Protect me from your punishment on the day your servants are resurrected.” Given the qualities of the Lazarus Pit, and how we know the actress who plays Sara is coming back for a second spin-off series, making a trio alongside Arrow and The Flash, this makes me think I know his new plan. As he told Thea that Olly would “beg him,” I suspect the plan is to force Olly to accept the role Ra’s wants for him in exchange for reviving Thea and Sara, bringing them straight back from the dead.
Finally, back in the flashbacks, Olly makes to confront Waller, but she’s been held hostage all this time by Shrieve’s men. He intends to unleash the Alpha and Omega on Hong Kong, striking at an enemy of the United States, and murdering millions. But he has a vaccine, which Olly and the Yamashiros steal. There’s only enough for four people, but Olly intends to save Hong Kong itself, as he stole a phone with the pertinent details on it. Tatsu insists that she and her husband go with him, and while Maseo’s first thought is protecting his family, Tatsu talks him into it.
Three renegades vs. an army general, and we’re about to see what happened which tore the trio apart.
“Nobody Knows But Me”
It has taken me this long to realize, “DUH! Of course Teddy would steal the money he needs! He’s done it before!” Remember that whole thing with Peggy – another woman he had an illicit relationship with, much like that lawyer chick who cheated on Deacon with him – where they embezzled money and then quietly repaid it all later? Sheesh, women and money seem to be Teddy’s weaknesses, now that I think about it.
And now that he’s given Natasha half a million in cash, and while she was wearing a wire for the FBI (meaning the whole thing was a trap), he’s about to crash and burn for it. The only question is who he’ll take down with him, such as the finance director and Jeff Fordham.
Speaking of Jeff, we got a glimpse of his past in this episode. It turns out, there was a young and rising star who he helped on her way, and then she dropped him. That’s a bit of tough luck, and perhaps his faith in humanity was hurt, but that does not even come close to excusing his ill deeds. Rayna has it right when she calls him a bottom feeder, and she drives home the point that Jeff needs Layla, so he’d better pray she doesn’t find a good reason to fire him. Like, say, when she finds out he introduced Teddy to the prostitute who turned on him.
Yeah, that’s gonna burn.
Super kudos to Rayna for handling the news about Layla and Jeff with aplomb. She remains quite composed towards Layla, loosing her venom solely upon Jeff, who, I think we can agree, has thoroughly earned it.
Rayna did pretty good all around this episode. Maddie has been withdrawn of late, not communicating, and, in fact, has been lying and sneaking around with Colt, now officially her boyfriend. The lying and sneaking is just not acceptable, and they fight, Rayna grounds her, and so on. Interestingly, it’s when Maddie sits down with Deacon that they start working things out. Communication really is the key, but sometimes one just has to be ready for it, ya know? So, everyone makes nice.
Even Luke and Deacon, as Deacon lets him know why Maddie’s been hurting, because of his cancer, and Luke looks shakes his hand, looks him straight in the eye, and says, “You beat this thing, brother.” That’s a good moment. I like that moment. Two men don’t have to see eye to eye on everything, or even always like each other, to be brothers. In the face of death, we’re all the same, and that was a decent thing for Luke to say.
Now… could someone in this show think that maybe Maddie could save her father’s life? Please?! I’m going nuts here!
Ok, calming, calming…
Gunnar and Scarlett made the proverbial headlines with their duet. People see that sort of chemistry, they latch onto it, so when they get interviewed alongside Avery, they find Avery is kind of getting nudged to the side. Avery doesn’t like that, Scarlett doesn’t like that partially because she’s with Caleb and refusing to be coupled with Gunnar again, and Gunnar is trying to do right by both of them while trying to get closer to Scarlett. So, Gunnar proposes a party where they perform together, showing Avery has a real place beside them and getting more time with Scarlett. Rather sad, then, when Gunnar is the only one of the trio who is alone. Also, Avery says he has to quit the band.
Three weeks in, Juliette is not adjusting well to being a mother. Having gotten very little sleep, and seeing Avery busy outside his fatherly duties, Juliette is once again going nuts. She’s wanting out of the house, peace, an alcoholic beverage, and sleep. She’s wanting away from her daughter, Cadence. And everything piles up.
She makes a serious mistake, which I think she’ll only appreciate in hindsight. She doesn’t bail, but she does go halfway towards it: hiring a live-in nanny within minutes of deciding on it, without consulting Avery, and hopping on her private plane to go and present a song for that movie she’s in. At the end of this episode, I see the most selfish version of Juliette we have ever seen. And that’s a tragedy.
Thus, Avery’s decision to quite the band, after he comes home to find his daughter in the arms of a perfect stranger and then finds Juliette gone in the morning. Yeah, I can definitely understand his thinking. No telling how his band mates are about to react, but if anyone can understand, it had better be Gunnar. I mean, he turned down a shot at this band awhile ago, so he could be a better father for Micah. Here’s hoping he extends the same privilege to Avery! Though I’m fairly certain Scarlett could justifiably misinterpret that as a play to spend more time alone with her. Yeah, people and their relationships are very complex.
Finally, we see Will and Kevin finish their work together. But Will likes Kevin, so he tries to extend their time together a bit, accidentally insulting Kevin’s work. So he gives him a bottle of whiskey in apology and invites him to a party, trying to confess his gay status and ask Kevin out at the same time, which is kind of adorable to watch. Kevin arrives at the party, but seems to attach himself to another boy right away, so Will leaves in a huff. Finally, Kevin comes over to his place, where Will manages to mostly confess his status (without using the “G” word) and his feelings. They kiss. So, theirs is a chickflick featuring gays.
“Reversal of Fortune”
My knowledge of history is very much lacking, but I seem to recall Francis was supposed to die. Oh well, they decided he doesn’t die after all… at least not yet.
It couldn’t come at a worse time. While guarding the secret of Francis’ illness, Mary learns Scotland is threatened by an English-fueled Protestant uprising. Her brother is doing what he can, but he needs help, and Mary, as acting “king” intends to send two thousand French troops to his aid. She’s supported by Lola and Conde, but opposed by Catherine, with Narcisse’s support.
When Conde informs Mary that Narcisse has a private army, led by General Renaude, she confronts him. She’s imposing, but I think it was a mistake to remind Narcisse that she had his son killed, as he sides with Catherine. Then again, with Francis practically on his death bed, siding with Catherine was a rational choice as well, but one which quickly returns to bite him.
Unknown to Narcisse, Mary sends Kenna to find Bash, hopefully bring him back before Francis dies. They miss each other completely, and the man driving Kenna’s coach kicks the bucket while driving, so she’s left stranded in the countryside. Which is where she meets Renaude and his army, and he’s quite a decent fellow, when he’s not knifing people in back alleys. He takes Kenna under his protection, without taking any sort of advantage of her, and convinces her to return to the castle under his escort. When he gets Narcisse’s orders to not come to the castle after all, he even makes sure Kenna is sent safely on her way home.
So, when Mary learns Renaude is “two days away,” Kenna is able to expose the lie, and Mary has Narcisse dragged to the dungeons. And now that his private army is known, I doubt Francis will show him any mercy.
When Francis awakens, gets fresh knowledge of Mary’s betrayals, including her plans to go to Scotland with Conde and her intent to send French troops. Though his soul is badly stung by her treachery, especially after he himself covered for her infidelity, he keep’s France’s word to Scotland and sends the troops. He knows that people and nations are stronger when they keep their promises.
In the face of that, neverminding Catherine’s justified wrath, Mary cannot leave Francis and go to Scotland. Now, literally everything she has to offer a man who loves her, who chose her over the most powerful woman in Europe, is her heart. No Scotland. No freedom. Only her love… at the cost of an eternally illicit affair beneath her husband’s roof. I wouldn’t take a deal like that, and Conde is on the verge of refusing as well.
Speaking of deals, Bash pretty much makes one with the devil. Under Delphine’s care, he quickly recovers from being nearly murdered. In fact, he makes it to the town just in time to see the man who tried to kill him hanged for it. Further serendipity, he finds the villagers are about to hang Clarissa as well, for being a witch, which they prove just by the fact that her face is scarred, a farmer hit hard times in her general proximity, and a family says she robbed a family she served. Her version of the story involves them treating her like an animal because of her disfigurement, which is incredibly believable. Bash saves her, despite how she nearly murdered his little brothers, but then he returns to the castle and finds Francis dying. Certain that Francis is paying the price for Bash’s miraculous recovery, he is also certain that if Clarissa dies instead, that will satisfy the price and the prophecy of Nostradamus. So he give her poisoned wine. And just as she dies in his arms, Francis awakens, exactly when Mary is returning to him.
Delphine comforts him in the fact that she had much suffering ahead of her anyway.
Finally, Leith is pursuing a deal for annulling Greer’s marriage, serving the church official, collecting owed debts. In short, he’s being used as an enforcer, a common thug. And he does this while following Catherine’s orders to keep Claude out of the castle and away from knowledge of Francis’ condition. They say hunting two rabbits at once means you will lose both, and while Leith completes his task, he loses Claude for a moment. And, as it happens, she wanders into Greer’s new brothel, shaming some of the gentlemen “guests” into leaving, but Leith gets her out before she does too much damage.
And Claude wonders why everyone treats her like a child, to which Leith responds, “You tell me.” Claude has to face her mistakes, but she doesn’t seem to keen on changing her ways. Moral of that story: if you want to be treated like an adult, then act like one. Consistently. Over a long period of time.
It is some strange combination of “sad” and “impressive” that I recognized the title the moment I heard it. I blame my mother for getting my hooked on mythology when I was a kid. I’m nothing resembling one of those college professors, but I know a good bit about mythological creatures. To summarize what I know, a “mishipeshu” is an “underwater panther,” particularly of the Great Lakes area but also among the rivers surrounding them. Native American legends connect them strongly with death, the underworld, and, of course, other water creatures, and they tended to be the lords of such, like we call the lion, “the king of beasts.”
So, I can appreciate, at least from an academic perspective, the many clear nods towards the folklor surrounding this creature.
The mishipeshu of this episode seemed less a wesen and more some sort of mystical creature like Volcanis or that La Llorona ghost. It’s blue, transparent, lies within the water until summoned, at which point it possesses the host. It’s a sort feline that walks on two legs, with horns, and when possessed, one exhibits some decidedly feline behaviors. Oh, and an abundance “I rip your throat out!”
Now, one can easily argue that this week’s victims thoroughly earned it, as the three of them took a Native, a “Redskin” as they called him, and beat him to death in front of his five-year-old son. Now the boy is seventeen, and he goes on a vision quest to come to terms with his inner turmoil, and the mishipeshu comes, possesses him, and hunts down the three murderers. The last one, Nick and co. manage to save, exorcising the mishipeshu first from the boy, then from Hank, who it transfers to after the boy suffers an injury.
But then, afterward, we find the spirit found a new host and finished the job. As for who that host is, well, we met her once before. Deputy Ferris, from the episode where Nick got his Grimmhood back. She was kidnapped and nearly sacrificed by a cult of long-tongued snake-like wesen, making this at least her second encounter with the supernatural. She and Hank went dream-walking to find the possessed boy, but that apparently left them open to possession as well. She suddenly finds herself on the ground, in the woods, by some water, with blood around her mouth.
Can you say, “trauma?”
And we’ve no idea if the thing is even truly gone from her now. Which is great. Just what we need. Another character possessed by something they can’t control.
Which brings us to Juliette. She goes out on the town for a drink, entertains the flirtatious advances of a man, then woges and causes havoc. She’s arrested, which gives Nick a chance to talk to her. She’s losing more and more of herself, and certain that there’s no going back, so why bother trying? She has a point there, but she’s also trying to act like she likes the power of being a hexenbiest. That may be true, but I think she’s trying to like it more than simply liking it. So Nick leaves her locked up, safer for her. And, as Juliette says, safer for him too.
Rosalee and Munroe are determined to save Juliette (come on, people, think of using Trubel’s blood!), so they scour through the book and try to create a potion to “calm” the beast within Juliette. Renard warns them against trying anything on their own, and as he can’t get in touch with his mother, he has another friend (Henrietta, perhaps?) who can come and help them.
Renard’s having his own problems, though, and it’s getting worse every day. For instance, he sees a guy with a wallet thick with cash, and then, later, finds the wallet in his pocket, with no idea how it got there. So he’s having black outs now, too. This keeps going, I may have to start wondering if it wouldn’t have been better for Elizabeth to just let him stay dead.
And Wu gets a bit freaked out when Renard casually estimates that pretty much all crime is wesen-related. Cheery thought, that.