I mean, seriously, we’re in the final episodes of the season for pretty much every show here, so SPOILER ALERT!
Heh, I so can’t wait for Avengers: Age of Ultron to hit American theaters! I have been anticipating it for years, and craving it for eight months now, and in just one more week, I will, at long last, see it! Yes! Look forward to that review!
Now, with that out of the way, what we saw this week…
“Sympathy for the De Vil”
At first, I was surprised that they actually had one villain who was never once good.
Cruella was murderously insane even as a child, poisoning her own father, and then her two step-fathers in succession. Her mother’s only protection, the means by which she was able to keep Cruella leashed and caged, was her dogs. She was skilled at training and commanding them, and Cruella couldn’t get past them… at least, not until she tricked the Author into helping her. He fell for her charm, her wiles, her apparent love for life, and especially for her sob story. He wanted to keep her safe, so he gave her the power to command animals however she liked. The first thing Cruella did was command her mother’s dogs to kill her. And then she turned the dogs into her coat.
The Author, named Isaac, was both horrified and angry when he learned the truth, and with just a moment, he was able to lay a binding on Cruella: he took away her ability to kill. While that may have served a good purpose, his motives were impure. He wasn’t interested in justice or protecting people from her, he simply saw that she enjoyed killing people, so he took it away. It was all about revenge.
While Cruella was left “defenseless,” and I use the term lightly because there are plenty of ways to defend oneself and even to hurt people without turning them into a corpse, she also wanted Isaac dead. She couldn’t do it herself, so she kidnapped Henry, to force Emma and Regina to do it in her stead.
Yes, that’s a great idea! Let’s kidnap the son of the two most dangerous women at hand, one of whom already has plenty of blood on her hand, and threaten to kill him unless they kill someone! There’s no way that could possibly backfire!
Needless to say, it backfires. And now it all makes sense: they didn’t want the Savior to kill anyone who had ever been good! Instead of having Emma come under fire for killing someone who was more like Regina or Zalina, the focus is simple on the fact that she killed a person, and someone who literally could not kill Henry. Cruella was “defenseless,” much like Lily was Snow and Charming used her as they did, which Emma was angry about earlier this episode.
That’s supposed to darken Emma’s soul, despite how, to the best of her knowledge, Cruella was going to kill Henry at any moment. True, no life should be taken lightly, but I don’t think Emma could have done anything differently, and she acted in defense of her son. While that will haunt her, I doubt it would really darken a soul.
At least… not all on its own. But Emma’s had her faith shattered and had her loved ones threatened, the latter of which has spurred her to take a life, for the very first time. If my theory holds true, there’s one more thing needed to darken the Savior, and that will happen when she meets Lily again.
Speaking of going out into the world, my initial thought of Regina sending Emma to save Robin is clearly a bust. But Regina was much more clever and ruthless than that! She’s going herself, out into a world where she will have no magic. I’d say it’s a mistake to go alone, but the only one who could really be of help is Emma, and she has her hands very much full right now.
As for keeping Rumple from calling Zalina before she gets there: Belle gives Regina her heart, literally placing her life in the palm of Regina’s hand. If anything happens to Robin before Regina finds him, she threatens to kill Belle, and Rumple will not risk that.
I’m sure he’s not so reluctant to let Regina go after Zalina, but now his bases are covered.
Finally, we also learn what Rumple is truly after: he means to darken Emma’s heart, so Isaac can access his powers as the Author again… so the Author can purify and brighten Rumple’s heart, before the very last light goes out, and he is unable to love at all.
The line between incredible and insane can get very thin and blurry at times.
Castle has been dreaming about the two months he lost. Pieces, glimpses, faces, places, things which make no sense on their own, and twined together are a massively confusing mess. His restlessness at night, and the whimpering sounds he makes in his sleep, concern Beckett so much that she convinces Castle to go see her old therapist.
At this therapist, Castle is able to clearly remember the bits and pieces. The problem is, those bits and pieces make no sense. In fact, considering Castle’s love of action movies and his storytelling mind, a good argument can be made that he’s just imagined the whole thing, and as his interest begins to spin into obsession, it seems he’s gone loco.
Then they find one of the figures from his dreams, dead in his apartment. There’s still so many unlikely things, but when the Chuck Norris lookalike with a military tattoo turns out to be real, complete with the same strain of dengue fever Castle suffered during his missing months, one gives even wacky visions some wiggle room.
Revisiting the dreams, Castle’s therapist guides him to the day before the dreams began. Tracing the beginning of his dreams, and his headaches, to something on the television, Castle finds a figure straight out of nightmares: a Russian assassin for hire. He’s in town, and they learn his identity at the same time they confirm he killed the Chuck Norris figure.
Following a lead, Castle finds yet another figure from his dreams: a man who had been shot and who Castle was trying to save. He’s able to give Castle the cliff notes version of their story:
His name is Imam (I think?) and he and Castle were friends in prep school. They even won a debate trophy (which Castle saw in his dream) in a tie. In the intervening years, Imam “lost his way,” and joined Al-Qaeda, and that was his life for many years. But recently, he defected back to America, having grown sick of the monstrosities he helped perpetuate. In exchange for some desperately-needed information, which saved tens of thousands of lives, Imam asked for a new life, and he chose to bus tables, in penance for his misdeeds. But his handler was killed, and Imam needed someone he knew, someone he trusted, and someone prominent enough that they couldn’t just make them disappear, and Castle was the only option.
So, with a ticking clock hanging over their heads, Jenkins and the CIA forcibly recruited him and sent him in to pick up Imam. Things got hairy on the way out, and Imam nearly died, but Castle helped save his life, and many more.
It’s possible Castle had his memory erased to prevent him from saying anything about Imam if he was interrogated, but I suspect there was more to it than that. Either way, when Castle saw the Russian on the television, his subconscious warned him of the danger, and considering how close behind Castle the Russian was, I’d say he just saved Imam again.
We’ve only begun to unravel an entire two months’ worth of time. Many questions remain.
But the most important one, of why Castle didn’t make it to his wedding with Beckett, has been answered: he was saving the world.
Not a bad thing, I’d say!
“Under the Knife”
Called it! While Gordon is fearing for Lezley, the Ogre goes after Barbara! But, in the most serendipitous self-pity trip of all time, she convinces him that hurting her will not hurt Gordon… or, at least, not as badly as he wants.
And after Gordon takes the Ogre’s warning and shoves it in his face, by outing him to the media, ooooh he really wants to hurt Gordon! So much, that he goes back to Barbara, meeting her at the Wayne Charity Ball. He does a pretty good job of seducing her, worming his way through the weak spots she showed him at their first meeting. He takes her to his lair, where he has murdered at least thirteen women.
Just as Gordon, who has been fearing for Lezley, realizes the Ogre would know about Barbara, and rushes to her place, it’s just in time for Selina to confirm that the Ogre has her. The episode ends as we see Barbara step into the dungeon, the monster right behind.
Barbara is probably thinking he’s just into that sort of thing. What she doesn’t know is that the man at her side took all the money he has from a rich woman who employed his father. She doted on her servant’s son, so much that he came to believe she was his real mother. When he confronted her, she laughed, said it was just a game, that no one would ever love him. He killed her, and has been on a quest for a twisted definition of “love” ever since. Judging by all the dead women he seduced, it’s apparently very difficult to meet his expectations.
Love seems to be a rather predominant theme in this episode. The Ogre seeks it. Gordon fights to protect it. And everyone else seems to be orbiting around it.
Bruce introduces Selina into his extremely upper class world, when he takes her to the Ball. Their still arguing about whether it was right or wrong for her to kill Reggie, but they need to get into the safe belonging to Bruce’s enemy. As it has a key lock, they need the key, so Bruce gets Selina close enough to pick his pocket, and the deed is done. Now, they just need to figure out how to get to the safe in question.
I suppose this counts as a date of sorts, and an eerie reflection of all their future dates as Batman and Catwoman, where there’s always “business” to take care of. Certainly, the young Bruce is impressed by how Selina cleans up, and presents and even prettier picture than usual.
That was a great moment. As was Barbara’s surprise when Selina mentioned she was going to the Ball with Bruce Wayne. A little surprised at the street urchin’s social circle, Barbara?
Meanwhile, Penguin is moving quickly forward with his plans to kill Maroni and all of his lieutenants. He persuades a killer for hire to bring his crew into the fray. His scheming is waylaid, though, when Maroni drops by, and is entertains himself by harassing Penguin… and his mother. He outs Penguin to her, and she collapses from the strain. He takes her home, the one person he loves, and lies to her. And we see her heart breaking.
If nothing else, Maroni just made Penguin so thundering mad that he is much more likely to get sloppy. In fact, he murders the next person to cross his path, an innocent deliveryman just bringing flowers from Sal Maroni.
I believe the art of war includes something about making your enemy lose his rational cool.
Finally, Nigma discovers his crush is being abused by her cop boyfriend, Dougherty, the man who ridicules him. Nigma confronts him twice. The first time, he has only his words. The second time, in the street in front of her home, Nigma has a knife as well as his words. So when Dougherty starts beating him down, Nigma stabs him. It’s practically an accident, at first, but then he keeps stabbing and stabbing and stabbing. And something finally breaks within Nigma. He may be horrified for a moment… but then he is filled with the glee of triumph, the primal, visceral power of physically killing his enemy… and even as he is in shock… he laughs.
“I can start a war, or end one. I can give you the strength of heroes, or leave you powerless. I can be snared with a glance, but no force can compel me to stay. What am I? Love.”
Nigma’s mind was just torn in multiple directions with his emotions, his love for a woman who barely acknowledges him, his anger towards an abusive man, his fear of the brute attacking him, his horror at what he’s done, his pleasure in one speck of physical power, and his glee at winning. Love makes us all mad, but Nigma had plenty more going for him. The Riddler is being born.
Oh, and nothing on Fish and her fellow escapees.
“Frenemy of My Enemy”
That can of worms just keeps getting more and more gaping, wide open.
Coulson’s team welcomes Fitz to their little club, then uses the Toolbox to expedite the search for Ward and Kara. Once found, they make a deal: Coulson’s offer is to put Ward through the Tahiti Protocol and wipe his memories, and then let him go, free and clear, in exchange for Wards’ services in infiltrating Hydra. Neither side has any intention of honoring the deal, but it moves everyone’s plans forward, so they work together. And how do they get into Hydra again? They use a brainwashed Bakshi. Bakshi’s silver tongue gets them in the front door, and just in the nick of time.
Hydra can track where Gordon lands, every time he drops someone off. Ethan, who we just briefly met last episode, was taken by Hydra while he was out hiking, experimented on, and killed. And he’s not the only “potential superhuman” they’ve gotten their mitts on. The Inhumans are being hunted, and Gordon is inadvertently taking each one of them to their deaths in turn. He and Ja-Ying are only becoming aware that something is happening just as all Hell breaks loose… again.
In this particular instance, Gordon dropped off Skye and her father, Cal, and Lincoln, to keep an eye on them. Cal is being put out to pasture, and Skye is ostensibly softening the blow, but she calls May, not knowing anything about what’s going on with Shield, to take him in before he kills people. Just as the truth is coming out and Cal is blowing his top, Hydra storms the building. Cal holds them off on one front, but Lincoln attacks doesn’t believe Deathlok is Skye’s friend and attacks him. Deathlok doesn’t hurt him, just takes the voltage until Lincoln is worn out. As he directs Coulson towards Skye, Bakshi comes in and takes down both Deathlok and Lincoln with a stun grenade. Two friends, one from Shield and one from the Inhumans, are down.
With Bakshi intending to give Deathlok a “compliance upgrade.” Which means they need to rescue him, and the super-powered Lincoln, really fast!
Oh, and Gordon takes Skye away just before she’s able to catch up with Coulson. So she’s still in the dark about the “real Shield” coup.
Even worse, as May sent Morse and a team after Skye and Cal, the desperately-needed reinforcements may arrive just in time to arrest Coulson’s motley team. Which, as May and Simmons, still defending Coulson, finds out, includes Ward, a known Hydra fugitive. Yeah, Gonzales and the others are going to grow even more certain that Coulson is an enemy, even while May and Simmons are suffering from their own doubts.
That had to be the worst possible timing for Simmons to hack Deathlok’s eye. Which is further proof that storytellers are the worst of all sadists, for everything we put our characters through.
It just goes to show, even when you have great intel, even when you can see straight out of another man’s eyes, it means nothing without context. They think they know what’s going on, but they aren’t there! Even the people who are there have their doubts!
The silver lining here is how Morse and Mack are apparently having their own doubts about which side they signed onto.
The episode ends with Coulson in a very bad situation: Hydra invading the building, Deathlok down, Hunter wounded, super-people in the mix, and only Fitz in the quinjet. In his place, I’d go for the jet and use it to rescue Deathlok and Lincoln posthaste. But it’ll never be that easy.
The suspense is killing me!
Oh, and Hydra now has a third head back in with List and Strucker. Just perfect! The Gonzales faction is going to be so happy about that!
And Simmons confessed the truth about the Toolbox to May, who then threw Fitz to the wolves and said Simmons was only covering for him, which made Simmons very angry.
And Ward and Kara are such a cute couple of psychos! We’ll see soon enough if there is even an ounce of sincerity in Ward’s affection this time. I’m not holding my breath, but I must admit the possibility intrigues me.
“Virtual Reality Bites”
It was established in episode one that Liv gets the neurotic ticks of the people whose brains she consumes. She was able to be witty and wonder about why she absolutely had to have these things she was stealing, suffering from kleptomania. This brain, that of a slobbish hermit who worked as an internet troll and hacker, apparently had much… simpler compulsions.
“MUST. HAVE. DONUTS.”
Hmmm, ADD moment: when a zombie, who has virtually no metabolic process, goes on a junk food binge, is there really a chance of her gaining weight? I’m guessing not, because without the full processing of the junk food, there is no separation of the fats from the rest. Which is a good thing for Liv, because this particular compulsion was right up there with a zombie’s need for brains.
Which actually segues into Jackie the trend spotter, suffering from ravenous hunger, killing Blaine’s delivery boy for his brain. She’s sloppy in the cleanup, though, and the cops have the boy’s body within mere hours. Led by Ravi’s analysis of the boy’s stomach contents, Clive stops by Blaine’s butcher shop looking for answers. He doesn’t know it, but he barely escapes being added to the menu.
Blaine is very charming, of course, and uses reverse psychology to dissuade Clive from investigating further at the moment, by inviting him to investigate, just with a little warning of it not being pretty back there. Clive is reluctant, but turns away particularly after Liv calls him about their current investigation. After which, Blaine visits Jackie and takes a drill to her head. And then he puts up a sign that they’re hiring a new delivery boy.
Meanwhile, Major keeps pursuing “the candy man” who hands out drugs and invites unsuspecting people, many of them kids, back to his van to be murdered for their brains. He scours through hours and hours of skateboarding videos on YouTube until he finally gets a clear shot of the man, and sends it to Ravi, who recognizes Blaine, who informs Liv. And the awful, horrible truth dawns on them. No way Liv can let Blaine get away with it, but we have to wait, to see what she will do.
Not like she was lacking anything in glimpsing the worst of humanity in this episode. The murder victim was so petty and vindictive that he left lives ruined in his wake. Among them was that of a young woman, just working a customer service line, who wasn’t able to make the universe revolve around his very existence. He ruined that poor woman’s life in ways that I could not begin to conceive, so much that she committed suicide, all from the safety of his computer den. But her brother worked obsessively to find him, and then sent him a card on his sister’s birthday, complete with a song, and confetti laced with peanut oil.
Death by birthday card. Harsh. And the brother’s life is ruined. But he says it was worth it. His sister is avenged, and the troll will ruin no more lives.
It’s that sort of thing which makes it clear to me, we should strive to do no harm, not only because it’s decent, but because it can come back to bite us.
Also, revenge is a game where everyone loses.
Which is a rather somber note when one remembers that Liv has good reason to deal with Blaine in a permanent fashion. Unfortunately, I think I can see how he’ll argue for his defense: there are a lot of zombies out there, and when they lose their supply of brains, a lot of people will get hurt. Instant zombie apocalypse.
On a better note, Liv has her first date with Loel, though he has to bring it to her when the brain she eats suffered from agoraphobia. Loel shares how he became a zombie, and he gets his brains from a funeral home. Not sure how much of that I believe, particularly with how sadistic we storytellers can be towards our characters, but for now we will take it at face value, and pray Loel is not one of Blaine’s customers. It would really suck for Liv’s new romance to be either evil or a pawn. At the very least, it looks like he’s taking measures to avoid eating living people, because he gave up playing for a live audience, lest the adrenaline rush send him into full-on zombie rage mode.
Ooooh, here’s hoping! We need something good to happen to Liz, ya know?
“Who Is Harrison Wells”
Ok, so my fears about Thawne taking Eddie’s place as he took Wells’ seem to be unfounded for the moment. Turns out, the clip from the trailers that featured “Eddie” killing two cops was actually that of this week’s freak. This one can shape-shift into anyone they touch, carrying a thousand perfect disguises right within his genetic code. He commits crimes, and every time he gets “caught,” he’s just framing an innocent bystander, leaving so many lives ruined in his wake.
Particularly relevant example: wearing Eddie’s face while shooting two cops, then wearing Barry’s face as well. And kissing Cait. And circling around Cait and Iris while they investigate him. And turning into a little girl and screaming “help me” like a kidnap victim while the girls were taking him in. This guy is quick on his feet, isn’t he? Fortunately, he can’t copy superpowers, so when he turns into the Flash, he doesn’t even slow Barry down. He gets tossed into the private prison beneath Star Labs, like all the rest.
So, Eddie and Iris reunite, with Iris ready to come home to him. He holds back on that, though, just long enough to tell her.. part of the truth: he’s been working with the Flash. He holds back on everything else, but that much is enough, for now, for Iris to trust him. And major kudos to Eddie for showing such trust in Barry! Convincing Barry to put him back in custody, trusting him completely to exonerate his name, while helping him see that he’s reacting partially because of his issues with his father being locked up? That is majorly awesome!
Meanwhile, Joe and Cisco head to Starling City to investigate the “accident” where Thawne murdered Tess Morgan and Harrison Wells, taking the latter’s place. Cisco has a fanboy moment when Laurel reveals her identity as the Black Canary, and he helps craft a sonic device for Laurel to use in her nightly activities. Thus, the Canary Cry comes into being… without turning her into a metahuman. Should be pretty neat, and any new addition to her arsenal should prove useful.
Joe and Cisco, with Lance’s help, find the body of the real Wells, and take it back to Barry’s lab. Caitlin was the last one to disbelieve the truth about “Wells,” and psychologically, it makes sense. She just doesn’t want to believe that everything she’s done for the past several years has been in service to a lie. She’s so concerned about it that Barry was only just barely able to keep her from confronting Thawne, but when she is shown the real Wells’ body… well, that’s plenty of the proof she’s been demanding.
Finally, as Cisco resumes his investigation of what happened to make the particle accelerator explode, he, Cait, and Barry discover Thawne’s hidden room, complete with his Reverse-Flash costume and both the technology and newspapers from the future.
So. As Felicity says, “That happened.”
Ra’s certainly knew where to strike. First he turned the city against the Arrow, stripping that from Olly, and then he struck at the very heart of “Oliver Queen,” putting a sword straight through Thea. With his sister on the brink of death, Olly was completely broken, and he understood the exchange Ra’s had in mind: join the League and become the next Ra’s al’Ghul, or his sister dies. As that was not merely a threat but a guarantee now, Olly’s usual response to that, that he would protect Thea, would be utterly useless. With nowhere else to turn to instead of the League, Olly submits, totally and completely.
So, they fly Thea to Nanda Parbat and dip her into the waters of the Lazarus Pit. It’s a near enough thing that Merlyn’s fears of Thea coming back a completely different person seem to be unfounded. Granted, at first, Thea doesn’t even know what’s going on (returning from the dead leaves one a bit disoriented), but she recovers within a few days. And though she walks away all but unscathed, physically, after her dip in the Pit, she is devastated by what she has now lost.
Olly’s friends were not willing to give him up to the League, even if they had to ignore his will in the matter. Felicity burns with rage at the very thought, and all but declares war on Ra’s to his face. In a rare moment of feeling, Ra’s shares a piece of his past, how he was torn from his family without a chance to say good-bye, and advises Felicity to make her peace with what is happening, and say her own good-byes to Olly.
With emotions running so high, it’s no surprise she and Olly finally made love (still don’t like it, personally), but that may have been, at least in part, a ruse so she could drug him and smuggle him out of Nanda Parbat. Digs carries him, while Merlyn guides them, and brings Thea. Maseo makes an appearance, being reminded by Digs that there are things one must do or be empty inside, like the Phantom which is his name. He slays three assassins and points them in the right direction. But it’s all for naught. Olly, unsteady as he is, still regains consciousness just in time to order his friends to go, and the League to let them go, while he stays behind.
Oliver Queen has joined the League.
He is branded with the symbol of an arrow, receiving the name of Al Sah-him, the Arrow. We’ve seen his struggle to be both Olly and the Arrow, and we’ve had just a glimpse of Olly without the Arrow, but what is the Arrow without Olly? Nothing good, I can tell you that. The Arrow was the weapon, but Olly was the soul. And now that is “purged.”
Ra’s forgives Maseo, or the Phantom, for his betrayal. What he says makes it seem like Ra’s views one’s “past lives,” before the League, as something akin to ghosts which can possess the body they once owned, for a time. The Phantom is too important to sacrifice, but only so long as “Maseo” does not rise from the dead again.
We have some confirmed knowledge, now, of what happened to turn Maseo into the Phantom. He tells Digs that his son, Akio, died in his arms. Olly and the Yamashiros, we saw tried very hard to contain the bio-weapon Alpha and Omega, but in the fight, the container broke. Now, as there doesn’t seem to have been a tragedy in Hong Kong in this universe, and as all three are still with us, I suspect that may have been a fake. Which makes me wonder where the real weapon is. Which, considering Akio’s impending death, makes my mind go straight to the worst, most absurd of scenarios, that the “antidote” they rush to give to Akio is, in fact, the actual bio-weapon. I have no idea why that would possibly be, but everything else suddenly makes more sense if that’s the case. Oh, I’m hoping I’m wrong about that one!
On a brighter (sort of) note, Ray is a mature, understanding grown up about Felicity’s love for Olly. He ends things with her, and accepts her apology for hurting him. It really sucks. I easily prefer her being with Ray instead of Olly. But the heart wants what it wants. And Ray really does take it very well, all things considered.
“The Storm Has Just Begun”
First things first: Daphne was so adorable singing “Have a Little Faith,” it was heartbreaking! Oh, who could look at that and not think, “I want one!” Soooo cuuuuuute!
Second: They once again fail to say, “Hey, Maddie is Deacon’s daughter, perhaps she has a compatible liver.” FOR FRIGGIN’ REAL?! They had Deacon, Rayna, Maddie, Scarlett, and Caleb all at the hospital, waiting for a potential liver, with Gunnar dropping by for a moment, and not one of them saw the prize literally walking around in front of them!
Rayna ends the episode with a prayer, and I’m hoping God throws a lightning bolt into her brain to jog some activity, so she can see the obvious solution.
As Rayna is praying, we also see Juliette, who, like Rayna, has a man and a daughter depending on her, and she doesn’t know what she needs. She feels so alone.
Now, in Juliette’s case, she’s not been reacting very well to that inner solitude. While Rayna reaches out, to be strong for others, Juliette seems to withdraw inward, and tends to put on a smile while her emotions roil beneath. It makes her much more… venomous. But that venom tends to come back at her, and she wonders what she did wrong.
For instance, though she and Layla have grown and developed tremendously since the last time they met, they don’t miss a beat when it comes to slinging verbal barbs at each other. And this is after Layla tried to be friendly, but Juliette’s general negativity and seeing Layla has Jeff as her manager, undermined that particular attempt in a heartbeat. When pop star, and country star wannabe, Jade St. John took Layla’s side, after arriving to the Note by Note Charity Fundraiser alongside Luke, Juliette unloaded her venom in full. She’ll be embarrassed later, I think/hope, but she was really out line, and has been for at least three episodes now.
Speaking of, she’s never been very good at apologies, but I really hope she starts practicing. It would be very good for her, and for everyone she insulted, and I am really wanting to see the better side of Juliette come out again… like, now.
Avery is frustrated with Juliette and how she’s making big decisions unilaterally, and acting out, very badly. He has his first priority right, but his mother offers some sage advice which brings things into better focus for him and us: he can either place blame or fix the problem. Personally, I’d forgotten how we can’t just devote everything to one thing alone and expect everything to turn out right. There must be balance, and this includes a couple caring for their child and each other. So he swallows his pride, and he’s there for Juliette, and he talks with her, shares what he thinks and feels, including his frustration that she is not communicating with him. He calls her to task for her bad behavior towards Jade, but most of all, he wants to be on the same side as her.
Finally, Juliette reveals that, besides the stress, she is afraid of becoming irrelevant, of fading into the background as a nobody again, a “nothing.” Which makes perfect sense, then, with how she told Jade she had no place in Nashville, and how she’s angry about Layla signing onto Highway 65. Everywhere she looks, it seems new, young, fresh faces are popping up to challenge her, while she’s fallen out of the spotlight, and can’t seem to fight her way back in, a further reason she’s angry at Jade for winning an auction that put Layla on the stage instead of allowing Juliette to make her comeback.
I can understand a bit of what Juliette is afraid of, but that still doesn’t excuse her behavior earlier. I say again, she needs to make some apologies.
And Juliette’s little barb went surprisingly deep into Jade, it seems. She and Luke connect on a few levels, and he takes her to the Bluebird to sing some country music. She does pretty good, and likes it. After being her knight in shining armor, Luke walks her to her room, and as his princess is going in, he kisses her, and goes in with her.
Meanwhile, Jeff tries to warn Layla away from Jade, believing she will use and discard Layla, while Will tries to warn Layla away from Jeff, believing he’s just using her as his meal ticket. As Layla sees Jeff is willing to not make money on something, she keeps him as her manager, and even resumes the more physical part of their relationship. But she still intends to go on tour with Jade, which, methinks, could be one way Jade begins her official transition to country music, singing with Layla.
Will’s new relationship with Kevin is made a little awkward as Will has yet to come out and Kevin already has a date to the charity event. Will likes that idea even less than he thought he would, and so he stops by to talk to Kevin and their relationship moves into the area of exclusivity.
Speaking of such relationships, Scarlett’s triangle with Gunnar and Caleb gets awkward as well. Scarlett has no intention of renewing a relationship with Gunnar, so she wants to scrap the band altogether. But Gunnar is a good guy, and Scarlett gets some advice from Rayna and Deacon, so she decides to keep making music. As for Caleb, she got understandably upset when Deacon’s operation kept falling through, and before she knew what she was doing, she was pressuring Caleb to do something he wasn’t supposed to. He held firm, though, and when she came to her senses later, she apologized, and he accepted. And, though hope has been raised and then cruelly snatched away for her family, all is well between Scarlett and her men.
See, Juliette? Apologies are a good thing!
Teddy apologized, after a fashion, to Rayna for everything he’s put her and his girls through of late. He promises that things will be better now. He has no idea the sharks that are about to come up for him from below. Even as he has one glorious night as a father and a mayor, there remains that tension, that knowledge that he’s about to lose it all. Honestly, I was afraid they’d burst into the charity event, which would have been absolutely terrible. Now, I’m afraid they’ll burst into his home and arrest him in front of his daughter.
So, Conde apparently left court for a few weeks after Mary jilted him, and he returns just in time to be set up. Mary wants to be with him, he wants to be with Mary, but others would prefer Conde be “gone” for good. Catherine and Narcisse are foremost in that category, the latter of them scheming to use a terrible crisis to sow the seeds of Conde’s doom.
A group of suicide-bomber Protestants invades a church, killing guards and monks, and making to kill all of the children there as well, along with themselves. As terrorist acts go, it makes for a grim tragedy. When their intentions become clear, Bash leads a group of guards in a rescue attempt, but that goes badly, as Bash predicted, because these guardsmen are just not the right sort for such a mission. With nowhere else to turn, Francis calls upon Narcisse to call on his friend, Renaude, and an accompanying band of mercenaries. And they are good at their job. They infiltrate the church, kill all two dozen terrorists, rescue all but two of the hostages, and lose only one man. Those last three bodies are still too high a price to enjoy paying, but one cannot argue with results. Renaude is hailed as a hero by the parents of the children he helped to save.
Renaude is definitely a mercenary, as he prioritized the children of the rich over the children of the poor, but he has his own flavor of honor. It doesn’t really compare to Bash’s, as Kenna sees, and perhaps she’s finally coming to appreciate such. Still, things are apparently over between Bash and Kenna, which is an absolute tragedy. Renaude makes it clear that he wants Kenna, but his own honor is at least such that he would not take her if she belonged to another man. However, as Bash has been spending a great deal of time in the forest, apparently with Delphine, it seems there is no hope for Kenna and Bash at all. So, though she’s not yet divorced, Renaude intends to pursue her, as she belongs to no one.
Lola and Kenna were more than a little surprised to find Greer living so comfortably. As she confesses her status as a madame, which she honestly did just stumble into, Kenna is willing to forget what anyone else thinks. After all, a madame, a future divorcee, and an unwed mother make fair company for one another. Toss in Mary the unfaithful queen, Catherine’s various exploits, and Claude’s cavalier love life, and we have an entire female cast which seems bound to their sexuality. Which suddenly leaves an ill taste in my mouth.
Moving on, as Lola is leaving Greer’s new home, she encounters Narcisse passing by. He advises her to distance herself from Greer and her new reputation, before it rubs off and affects Lola in a bad way, as she’s gone through a great deal to gain her current standing. Unaware of his involvement with Catherine, Lola asks him why he even cares, and he replies that he does not know. It seems his interest in her has not been utterly silenced. As it happens, that particular encounter is witnessed by one of Catherine’s spies, who reports back to her, and she is quite angry, hopefully at the double-dealing Narcisse more than the innocently unaware Lola.
And speaking of the schemers, we return to Conde’s predicament. Narcisse arranged to insinuate Conde’s involvement with the terrorists, and the prince is rightfully afraid for his life. Mary’s protection was sufficient back when Conde had other friends at court, but now he is alone, afraid for his life. He means to flee, and so the affair with Mary is ended, but she has relied on him so much – Lola has a point that Mary may be confusing love and gratitude with each other – she cannot abandon him. Francis listens to her one more time, pledging to protect Conde, but before Conde receives this reassurance, a new avenue appears to open up.
Conde is approached by an Englishman, who give Conde the alternative of marrying Elizabeth by proxy that very hour, then setting out for England in the morning. Such a union would give the Queen of England a foothold in French court and politics. She could theoretically invade France and take over completely, and, if I may say, there is something wrong with a system where all you have to do to legally take over is literally kill everyone with a better claim. Conde is desperate, so he consents, and he is “married,” and becomes King of England.
That is, until the next morning, when some mysterious, unknown party kills the young girl who was Elizabeth’s proxy, and the priest who performed the ceremony, and burns the documents verifying the marriage, along with the building they were in. Conde is more than willing to maintain course and adapt to changing circumstances, but Elizabeth’s envoy is not. In fact, he seems quite cold about the whole affair.
Soon, everyone is whispering about the “secret marriage,” all evidence of which has been destroyed. There is uncertainty, and the world is a more dangerous place than ever for Conde, as no one even knows whether he is or isn’t the King of England anymore. And who did it? Who erased all the evidence? Catherine and Narcisse seem to suspect each other, but there are other parties. Francis and Bash, for instance, who would certainly have motive to keep such a union from materializing while also sparing Conde’s life, and Bash’s whereabouts at the time of the fire are unknown. Or Elizabeth herself, looking to destabilize France and burn the man who spurned her interests in favor of an illicit relationship with Mary. Hell hath no fury, after all, like a woman scorned.
If there is one thing, out of many things, which I did not like about the Star Wars prequel movies, it’s how they handled the “fall” of Anakin Skywalker, to become Darth Vader. The original trilogy mentioned, in Return of the Jedi, “Anakin was seduced by the dark side of the force.” Seduce. That’s the key word, and a very tricky word. It’s that whisper we want to listen to, the one that takes our desires, and our pain, and tells us we are owed something, if only because we are already damned.
Juliette has been seduced by the dark side… or, more specifically, by Kenneth. To get the child they seek, he bails Juliette out of jail, and tells her Adalind is having Nick’s baby. Of course, when he says that Nick can’t be blamed, that is precisely what he is encouraging, and he has no compunction about betraying Adalind, if that’s what it takes to get Juliette to betray Nick. And it works.
Juliette comes this close to killing Adalind where she stands, but, at the moment, that happens to be behind Nick. Knowing he’s the only one who can stop her, Adalind went to him and told him everything, and begged for his protection. She made him touch her womb with their “son” kicking around inside, inspiring his protective instinct. And if that wasn’t enough, she offered to make a potion that can suppress the hexen side of Juliette, though it’s not guaranteed to work, and it requires a bit of long-dead hexenbiest, which Adalind points out can be provided by her deceased mother.
Ruthless and manipulative. Adalind in a nutshell.
Dang, I guess that means Trubel won’t be coming back to save the day. (sigh) I really like Trubel. She’s cool.
Rosalee handles the news with as much aplomb as can be expected (meaning: none) while Munroe helps Nick, Hank, and Wu look for a serial killer. They suspect a father-son pair of wesen who help boys and their fathers experience the freedom and power of their inner beasts, but in a controlled setting, to teach them to control themselves. Munroe, it turns out, has been talked about, as a wesen who has killed, and reformed, and now works alongside a Grimm. He accepts an invitation to join the suspects on their next campout, but everyone is surprised when they learn it’s the girl of the family who has been hunting people. Her father and brother have their hearts broken, not only by her actions, but also because the prey she picks out is able to stick a knife in her gut. She dies in her father’s arms, all because she couldn’t control her killer instincts.
Juliette hasn’t killed anyone yet, but she’s gone pretty far in her losing struggle. She finally tells Nick that she’s in Hell, and she’s hurt that he’s “choosing Adalind over her.” It’s not like that at all, of course, as Nick is just protecting an unborn child, his child, and pursuing the only path he knows of to help Juliette, but she’s lost in her own pain, not listening, even twisting everything around to make it hurt worse. Perhaps that’s just so she can feel something, but she is at her lowest and weakest right now, which is often when one is most dangerous.
Looking for any port in a storm, Juliette is ripe for Kenneth’s offer. It’s lies and crap, most likely, as he has got to be the single least trustworthy Royal we’ve yet met, but he’s got his hooks in her. He offers a place to belong, with people who would welcome and appreciate her. As he puts it, her choice now is one of being either a pawn or a queen. He’s offering her “control” over her life and circumstances, which, obviously, she believes she does not have. All she has to do is put Nick in a dangerous situation so his mother comes out of hiding, and leads the Royals to Diana.
The episode ends with Juliette torching Nick’s trailer, and everything inside. All the books, potions, weapons, all the knowledge and power he used to help and protect people, everything his ancestors built and left for him, all of it: gone.It’s like Lois Lane destroying Superman’s fortress of solitude for Lex Luthor!
Oh, and Renard’s blackouts are getting even worse. Now, he has reasonable confirmation that, when he seemed to go from his room to somewhere on the streets within moments, he outright attacked an innocent passerby. A police captain is going nuts and attacking the general populace at random. Really not good!
If Kenneth’s plan works, and Nick’s mother comes back, it would be most serendipitous for Elizabeth to come back with her and fix whatever’s wrong with her son.