Finales, finales, finales! That’s we had this week: plenty of finales! Once Upon a Time, Castle, Agents of Shield, Arrow, Nashville, Reign, and Grimm all had their finales this week, plus Gotham last week and The Flash next week… sheesh, iZombie‘s going to have a couple of lonely weeks, isn’t it?
In this season finale, though Emma and the rest do try to stop Isaac, and release the Apprentice from the hat in the process, they’re just a little too late. And of one thing, I am very certain: Isaac really is a nasty, petty fellow.
The story he writes turns things around, twisting them to torment everyone he doesn’t like, and for such shallow, petty reasons, while giving himself a happy ending where he is a published author with a horde of adoring fans. In short, Isaac altered reality just so he’d be the popular one. He’s the adult who is still envious of the kids who were popular in high school, or in the workplace.
The only one spared from this rewriting of reality is Henry, because he was not born in any magical realm. With the page with a painting of a door and the key to it, Henry finds and confronts Isaac, threatening to lock him up again. When that proves useless, Henry enters Isaac’s book, dragging the author with him, and soon figures out that the key to putting everything right again involves just one happy ending. For instance: Regina kissing Robin, her true love.
Though Isaac keeps trying to kill Henry, and he has a distinct advantage as he knows everything that’s supposed to happen, he keeps getting caught in his own story, where Rumple the Light One defeats the ogre Isaac tried to sic on Henry, and then he’s caught by the dwarves. But then he’s taken to the evil queen, Snow White, and manages to convince her that they can work together.
Speaking of evil Snow, I’d bet that evil Regina could have taken her in a fight, as Regina would have all the same power but more control. However, while Regina is menacing, Snow is clearly crazy and downright terrifying. Evil Charming, enslaved by Snow who holds his heart literally in her hand, also has an aura of danger, like a saber toothed tiger just waiting to be let off its leash to go hunting.
While Isaac bumbles into securing the villains’ help, Henry finds the heroes. First, there’s Regina, who is now living the story she once made Snow White live. In the local community of bandits, Regina and Robin Hood are competitors, but Robin Hood, at least, is still a hero. However, he’s marrying Zalina so, even after he rescues Regina from Snow, and Regina feels a powerful connection, she doesn’t go for it.
Then there’s Emma, who Isaac wanted to write out of the story, but he couldn’t. Instead, she’s been rendered powerless and imprisoned, with Lily guarding her on a small, remote island.
To rescue her, Henry enlists Hook, who has been condemned as a deck hand under Blackbeard’s command. Henry handily bests Blackbeard and leads Hook to Emma, who is palpably relieved to see the both of them. All together, they make for land (How do you punch a dragon chasing you? With a canon ball.), set on helping Regina get her happy ending before Isaac’s story ends and they can no longer change anything.
Hook gives his life so Henry and Emma can continue on, which tears at Emma’s heart, making her instantly feel an overwhelming regret that she never once told him she loved him. With that, Emma convinces Regina to fight for Robin. They reach the wedding, only to find their path blocked by Rumple, whom Isaac has recruited into helping him. Regina makes it to the church, and Robin hesitates, but then she goes back and gives her life to protect Henry.
Isaac is gloating, so Emma punches him (YES!). And that is when Henry sees the pen… and feels it calling to him, as it once called to Isaac. He becomes the next Author when he picks it up, and uses it to undo Isaac’s work. Everything goes back to normal, everyone waking up from the nightmare.
Hook is alive again! And Emma is overjoyed! …she still hesitates to say those words, though.
Isaac, with his false glory stripped away, is caught and jailed, powerless to do anything but vent his unfounded malice, only to be met with something Snow has learned. We’re often fascinated with the villains of the story, but a darkening heart is not something to admire. It’s something to pity. And that, I think, stings Isaac more than anything else. He tried to raise himself up at the expense of others, and instead, he’s just become a base, useless creature.
Belle finds Rumple, intent on making sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else, but what she finds is a man on the brink of dying, and leaving behind only a vessel for the nameless darkness which is the real Dark One. In those moments, she tells him how she doesn’t love Will. She loves him, and regrets pushing him away, however well-founded that push may have been. She finally learns, from his mouth, why her love wasn’t enough, and it’s simply because he didn’t believe anyone could love him. As he falls unconscious, he tells Belle to run. Because he knows, the next time his eyes open, he won’t be the one driving, and everyone will be in terrible danger.
As Emma is forgiving her parents again, and Lily asks if she can stay and look for her mysterious father, Belle runs in on the party.
The Apprentice tries to banish the darkness into the Sorcerer’s Hat, which was apparently created as a prison for vile creatures originally. But though Rumple is purged from darkness, he is left barely alive, and the darkness soon escapes from the hat, trying to possess the Apprentice, but driven out by Emma, and fleeing into the night.
The Apprentice, very weak now, tells them they have to find the Sorcerer, the one who originally fought the Darkness long ago and bound it in a human who could be controlled by a magic dagger. Only the Sorcerer can help them now, and he is far, far away. They must find him. They must find Merlin. (ooooh!)
Unfortunately, the Darkness doesn’t go far before finding Regina. Not willing to let her be taken, Emma uses the dagger to take the Darkness into herself. Emma Swan, the Savior, becomes the Dark One.
So Rumple’s scheme to turn Emma may have been unsuccessful in every way, but it still happened: the Savior has gone Dark.
For this season’s finale, they went back to the beginning… no, even back before the beginning. This week’s murder took Castle straight back to that first horrific, terrifying experience he ever had with an unsolved murder.
He was eleven years old, and he was wandering around the woods as idiot kids tend to, when he saw someone who would become his first personal bogeyman: a figure, shrouded in a black hood and robe, wearing a mask. He investigated what that figure was leaving behind, and found it to be the body of a young woman, with crosses carved into her cheeks and forehead. Just as he touched the girl’s wrist, feeling how cold it was, the masked figure returned, putting a knife at his throat and warning him not to tell anyone. Of course, he ran, and he called the police, but nothing was ever found, not by the police back then, and not by Castle in all the intervening years since. In time, he began to wonder if it ever really happened at all.
But it did. And thirty years later, it’s still happening. This is the story, the first story Castle ever wrote about, the reason he became so fascinated with murder mysteries, because he wanted to understand why the masked murderer did as he did. Now, at last… he has the chance to finish it.
Following the trail of clues, Castle and the team learn that this long-active serial killer targets young women who are passing through. He offers them a ride, talks with them a bit, asks a few questions. Depending on their answers, he either maintains his good Samaritan facade or, if he’s convinced no one will miss them enough to search for them, takes them into the middle of nowhere, to kill them. But he made a mistake.
One of the girls he’s murdered was actually on her way to a friend’s place, to escape her boyfriend. He friend missed her, came looking, and got close enough to the truth that he killed her too, but she managed to get away just long enough to make it to the road. It wasn’t the best of timing, as a truck driver couldn’t stop in time to spare her, but if that driver had just passed her instead, her murderer was too close and too driven for her escape to be successful anyway. Instead, Castle and the NYPD were called in, and the rest, as they say, is history.
At first, they thought the murderer was this mentally unstable guy, as what scant evidence they could find all pointed to him, and he shot at them. But Castle remembers that masked figure so vividly that he’s even able to recognize the man’s voice thirty years later. It’s not the suspect, but his psychologist. There’s no physical evidence, and Beckett walks very close to the line in helping Castle investigate the man, but it pays off. It nearly costs Castle his life, as his foe gets the drop on him, locks Beckett out of the barn they’re in, and tackles Castle to the ground, trying very hard to slit his throat. But Castle manages to get Beckett’s gun through a hole at the bottom of the barn door, and shoot the psychopath full of bullets.
For having only one episode to work with, this was a rather terrifying and extremely personal villain for Castle to face, and it was a relief when he won.
In other news, it’s the tenth anniversary of Ryan and Esposito’s first case together, though time seems to have blurred those first memories a little, so that they’re arguing over what the case was. Alexis is feeling forlorn, not knowing what she wants to do with her life, even in her junior year of college, and Castle is able to offer sage advice and support, as he tells her how amazing she is. Martha is meeting a friend who’s father recently passed away, not only to offer support but also to see if she can claim the man’s rent-controlled apartment, thus vacating Castle’s home.
Beckett also took the Captain’s exam. And then she’s called in for a performance review. Which is not normal. She goes in, and quickly finds herself under verbal attack, striking at everything dear to her within a minute and a half. When she is dismissed, she pauses, and comes back swinging with the passion of her convictions. Which, it turns out, is exactly what her “reviewers” wanted: to see if, and how, she could defend herself. Some higher powers have had their eye on her for awhile, and now they want her to run for the New York State Senate.
It’s a big thing, and a big change if she accepts.
Finally, Castle is being honored with an award by his fellow writers, and his acceptance speech is touching and moving. He credits the people around him for his continued success, and thanks each of them for what they have given him. In the final scene of the season, this big family, Castle, Beckett, Martha, Alexis, Laney, Esposito, Ryan, Jenny, Gates, and Tori, is sitting around a table, discussing the future and what it may hold. Whatever happens, their bonds will remain.
And then there’s a murder for them to go investigate. Back to work. Life continues.
I know they didn’t know if Castle was going to be renewed for further seasons, and I know that they have been now, with a new show runner. To end a season, and to have potentially been the end of the series, and as a farewell to the previous show runner, this was a pretty decent episode, on all counts.
…you know, as much as I love them, there are also times when I really hate Marvel, because, like all the best storytellers, they do truly sadistic things to their characters, and vicariously to the audience as well.
This is what I say after the final moments of the “Agents of Shield” season finale.
The premiere of Season Three this fall had better resolve some things very quickly and effectively, or the fans may well murder the show runners. 😉
Going into a bit more detail…
Well, so much for my hope that Gordon might not be in on Ja-Ying’s scheme. She intended this all along, and never gave Shield a chance. With Gordon’s help, she makes it look like Shield attacked the Inhumans unprovoked, while also destroying the evidence of Ja-Ying murdering Gonzales. And at a vulnerable moment, takes the trouble to guilt-trip Skye into siding with them. She fights May, leading a confused Shield contingent, head-on, and while she’s good, she wasn’t that good, and had to use her power to knock her out.
Looking for answers, Skye goes to Raina, who knows she can’t just give them to her. Raina warns Skye about her mother, and tells her the things she has seen, but she also promises that Skye will see the truth, even in the darkness. As Ja-Ying tries to convert both Skye and Raina, Raina refuses, and a promise she made Skye, that they would never speak again, is fulfilled. Ja-Ying kills her in cold blood, without knowing Skye is witnessing the whole thing. Skye truly sees who her mother is for the first time, realizing the truth about Gonzales, and she stands against Ja-Ying. Unfortunately, her mother has loyal minions to assist her, and they bind Skye’s power and keep her locked up.
Raina was not a good person for most of her life, and I think she was only able to make her sacrifice by knowing that she was “the thorn protecting the daisy,” that she was “an angel,” which is “a protector and a herald.” She’s seen Skye’s future, as leader of their people, and for that future, she gives her life. She led a life of pain and left suffering and death in her wake, but there, at the end, she turned around, and faced the right direction. A villain… redeemed.
Cal went through something similar. Having overdosed on his drug, his mission is to take out as much of Shield as possible. It doesn’t properly kick in until after he’s been locked up, and the strain of Coulson forcing him to confront the truth, a truth which Coulson is only now realizing himself, is a terrible ordeal.
The truth is, Ja-Ying did not come back from her ordeal with Hydra unscathed. She came back broken inside, a monster, far worse than anything Cal could make himself to be. Ever since, he has been the one doing her dirty work, sacrificing people to her, hunting down everyone who could have known about Skye, and now, on the brink of death because she had him take so much of his drug, she’s throwing him away even while using him.
This resonates with the truth of Ja-Ying’s power. She doesn’t just stay the same age forever, she has to feed off someone else, take their strength as her own. She’s a leech, sucking life from others to maintain her own. A fair facade, hiding what has become the monster within.
When Cal becomes more stabilized, after going into cardiac arrest and being injected with adrenaline, Coulson is able to reason with him. Now risen from near-death as something more like the Mister Hide of the comics, Coulson helps him see and understand everything that’s happened to his wife, and his family. And now his wife is threatening their daughter, because Skye would never go along with Ja-Ying’s plans. Ja-Ying is an overwhelming threat to Skye, and all Coulson wants is to protect her. So… at last, Cal not only agrees to help, but even asks to help.
Meanwhile, Ja-Ying attacks the ship holding that Kree tablet which is an Inhuman off switch. With their various powers, including a redhead woman who multiplies herself, the fight is fierce, but brief. Gordon teleports everyone into position, then they strike from everywhere all at once, taking the ship, killing agents, securing the tablet, and tossing Skye into a cell, powerless.
The ships is almost completely under Inhuman control. But Mack manages to evade capture long enough to rescue Skye and throw some monkey wrenches into Ja-Ying’s plans. Her intention is to lure all of Shield onto the ship and kill them all at once, by dispersing the dust of shattered Diviner crystals throughout the ship while they’re all on it. But Skye, returning to basics, hacks into the Shield systems. They can’t do much but watch, but they manage to figure out what’s going on and create some hiccups. Skye works in disabling the distress call, and when that fails, she sends a message to Coulson, warning of the trap Shield is walking into, while Mack guards the crystals in the HVAC room.
Lincoln is all on board with Ja-Ying’s plan until he sees her commit cold-blooded murder, and he begins to doubt. When he gets the chance to talk to Skye, she convinces him of the truth, and he sides with her.
Meanwhile again, May and Hunter are searching for Morse, whom they guess is being held by Ward and Kara. Kara wants Morse to confess and apologize, supposedly so she can heal and move on, as Ward puts it. Closure, he calls it. But Morse is stronger than that, and while she made a tough call in letting Hydra know about the Shield safe house, it was better than sacrificing a full twenty or more agents. She does not apologize, and she does not break. Not even under some rather creative torture.
In fact, she gets loose, and nearly beats her way out of the situation. I believe she could have taken Kara, and possibly taken Ward, albeit by a very near margin, but the both of them, together? And exhausted, drugged, and in such pain as she was? The odds were just stacked against her. They bind her again, because Kara can’t take any pleasure in killing Morse, an agent who is willing to die and unwilling to break. But now, chained and gagged, they intend for her to see Hunter come running to her rescue, only to die by booby-trap.
When May, Hunter, and three others come to rescue Morse, Ward and Kara start taking them out, leaving only Hunter to fall into the trap. But May turns Kara’s own ability against her, calling for all available agents (there are no other available agents) to converge in such-and-such location, and not to let their guard down until they see her face. Kara, of course, wears May’s face to attack unwary agents, while Ward lies in wait for May, intent on killing her. He ends up killing Kara himself. She dies in his arms.
At the same time, Morse manages to take the bullet meant for Hunter, and very nearly dies in his arms, though they manage to get her medical attention (that has to be the fastest any Shield jet has ever flown, I’d wager). With the brutal knowledge, now reaffirmed, that two people who love each other and have complicated emotions and relationships with one another, can be ripped apart without warning, May calls her ex-husband, and Simmons tries to talk to Fitz about what he said at the bottom of the ocean, that he loved her, in the last season finale. Fitz is like, “You want to talk about this now?” As “now” is not the time, Simmons says they can talk about it later, provided Fitz comes home safe. Which intends to do. In fact, he proves crucial in fighting Gordon, with devices that can keep him from teleporting away.
Armed with a good-sized force, advanced tech, and Skye’s super-strong father on his side, Coulson leads the rescue mission. Then he has to tell most of that force to withdraw when he receives Skye’s message, and learns the nature of the trap.
Chaos reigns as the smaller Shield force fights to rescue their comrades. Mack fights Gordon, and does pretty well for being out-gunned, welcoming the reinforcements of Coulson and Fitz. Gordon rages about how impossible it is to contain him, which is the usual for people who think themselves above others. “It can’t be! I’m invincible!” Its some kind of cross of poetic, tragic, and morbidly hilarious that Gordon lost that fight just be accidentally teleporting where Fitz happened to be holding a pipe. He almost managed to kill them all anyway, a single crystal falling to the ground, but Coulson caught it. And then he started dying the exact same way Trip did. He’s only saved by Mack bringing his axe down without hesitation, cutting Coulson’s arm clean through near the elbow.
Skye fights the multiplier on the bridge, and puts up a pretty good fight, but only the arrival of May and Lincoln saves her life and ends the fight. He also releases her bindings, unleashing her power, and she goes after her mother. Cal tried to talk to her, but Gordon stashed him in another room he has to bust his way out of. When Skye catches up to Ja-Ying, her mother doesn’t hesitate to start leeching from her, killing her own daughter. Skye fights back in a contest of wills, and sends the jet with the remaining crystals to the bottom of the sea, but it’s a tough contest to win against a centuries-old leech whose gone insane. Then Cal arrives, and it seems like he’s telling Ja-Ying to stop… but he was talking to Skye. He tells her she shouldn’t live with the burden of what must be done… he will do that instead.
And with that, he takes the woman he loves in his arms, a woman he put back together piece by piece, and sacrificed everything, even his sanity, for… and crushes her to death.
Ja-Ying and Gordon are dead, leaving the Inhumans defeated, though at a high cost. Coulson recovers from his injuries, but he is maimed for life, though with Deathlok technology around, they’ll probably come up with some artificial limb for him. Cal goes through the Tahiti Protocol, and becomes a veterinarian named Dr. Winslow, whom “Daisy” will visit every so often. Ward, finding Hydra to be disintegrated in the wake of Age of Ultron, is out to put a team together and get some “closure” for the death of Kara. The cystals Skye sent to the bottom of the ocean are “leaking” and contaminating the world’s supply of fish, which is going to be terrible and kill unsuspecting people.
Mack stays with Shield, and is put in charge of the alien relics, as Coulson prefers someone cautious to have that job. May leaves Shield, at least for awhile, alongside her ex-husband whom she seems to be getting back together with. Coulson is putting Skye in charge of a team revolving around people with abilities. Morse is evidently alive and recovering, with Hunter constantly by her side, though she may be leaving Shield too. Fitz sort of asks Simmons out on a date in a roundabout way, and she accepts.
And there’s an accident, as Fitz accidentally opened the Kree tablet’s container, and when it liquefies and reforms, Simmons is pulled, screaming, into the Kree tablet.
…so, Skye was only spared killing or being killed by her own mother by the fact that her father did the deed instead, and his memories are rewritten so he doesn’t remember her, and this is the fate of the family she searched so hard and so long to find…
…Raina turns to good just in time to be murdered for it…
…Morse is tortured and barely survives taking a bullet for Hunter, who sees the woman he loves getting shot, and she is left so traumatized by the whole experience that she may leave Shield altogether…
…Mack hacks Coulson’s hand off to save his life, while Gordon accidentally kills himself…
…Ward is tricked into killing Kara, and he intends to avenge her…
…and just as Fitz-Simmons start moving forward, Simmons is eaten by the Kree tablet.
I say again: storytellers can be freaking sadistic.
Tactically, Blaine has the perfect defense against any zombie who wants to kill him in order to save lives. If he stops providing brains to the people he’s turned, they all go mad. Instant zombie apocalypse. So to kill Blaine without unleashing the end of the world, all the rest of the zombies have to go first, or all find some alternative source of food. However, Liv and Lowell (whose name I have been misspelling, apparently) aren’t thinking in terms of tactics.
The bright side is, Lowell didn’t really know, or allow himself to know, what was happening. And he’s not, as I feared the worst, Blaine’s agent to keep an eye on Liv. When Liv confronts Lowell, Lowell confronts the truth. As a zombie, he eats people. With Blaine delivering what he needed, he was a coward who didn’t ask questions. He stops running from the truth, and turns on Blaine, using himself as bait to draw him into a trap, so Liv can snipe him from a distance.
That skill comes from the brain of this week’s murder victim, a sniper suffering from PTSD. The man’s ex-wife and her new husband were trying to take his daughter away from him, and he was angry, even a bit violent. The new husband used his company connections to use a hovering drone to kill him while safe with a secure alibi, attending a meeting. But he didn’t count on Liv’s visions and Clive’s detective skills, so the murderer got caught.
With the sniper’s skills, Liv had a golden opportunity to kill Blaine, and unwittingly begin the aforementioned zombie apocalypse. But then, at the last moment, she backed out. She just couldn’t do it. Even with a traumatized sniper’s brain in her system, Liv is just not a killer. That moment is going to haunt her, though, because Lowell had a vision, the same one Liv saw when Blaine killed Jerome. With that fresh in his brain, he turns, looks towards Liv, and mouths the words, “I love you.” And then he makes to kill Blaine himself, but Blaine is too good, even caught by surprise. He shoots Lowell in the head.
And Liv is left screaming in horror.
Meanwhile, as Major investigates the wild, implausible lead of, maybe, someone using human brains to craft a bodybuilding drug, he’s more than a little clumsy, and he attracts attention. Word gets around, and Blaine’s minion, Julien, pays Major a visit. He wants Major to tell him who he’s told about the brains, and will break his fingers until he gets that information. But Major puts up a fight, including shooting him with that illegally obtained gun. Julien “dies,” meaning he plays dead and flees the scene when Major isn’t looking, while Major calls Clive, who, finding no body, has to start asking some unpleasant questions.
Finally, Ravi is afraid the zombie rat’s bite may be turning him, but, at least so far, it seems the zombie virus does not transmit across species. Small miracle, that, and most relieving as Ravi exhibits no symptoms. In fact, human brain still smells gross to him, instead of smelling appetizing. That being said, as this entire show is about the tragedy of zombies, I fear there is something more to Ravi being bitten by a zombie rat.
So, as Thawne manages to turn the particle accelerator on, his presence is revealed. It needs about thirty-six hours to power up, and he’s not keen on staying put in a place he can’t force his way out of, not to mention there being a certain danger an activating power source poses even to him. Barry, Joe, and Cisco go investigate, opening the door… and he’s out! He uses Peekaboo as a distraction, but that proves short-lived and Barry was hot on his heels anyway, albeit in vain. Still, if not for the lucky arrival of Iris on the scene, Caitlin would likely have been killed.
They find Eddie and bring him home. He’s rattled by what he’s just gone through, and his glimpse of the future has left him devastated. He has to face reality, the truth he hasn’t admitted to himself: Iris loves Barry, not him. He breaks up with her, even after she finds the ring he was going to propose to her with. She refuses to accept it, at first, but then he puts her in the one position she can’t wriggle out of: it’s over, so if she loves him, she’ll let it end. Heartbroken and crying, she agrees.
We knew it had to end sometime, somehow. I just like how honorable Eddie was about the whole thing. He didn’t get angry, or hurt anyone, or play games. Once he admitted the truth to himself, he acted on it with resolve and made a nice, clean break of it. It’s a difficult thing to do, but also the best and healthiest thing to do, I believe.
Back at Star Labs, Cisco finds that the activating particle accelerator wasn’t just a diversion, but it’s going to turn on, and he can’t stop it. Anyone in there when it was fully turned on: toast. It would be kind of like if you were small enough to walk around on the filament thread in a light bulb, and it suddenly got turned on. Which leaves the team with a problem: they have five metahumans illegally imprisoned in there, powerful and angry.
The only reason the prisoners don’t have more prison-mates is because the rest of them are already dead, with the sole exception of one escapee. Angry is the least thing that I would be, as the options seem limited to eternal imprisonment or death. Peekaboo is the only one who hasn’t actually killed anyone yet, and she just tried to kill Cait, because she’s just spent several months trapped in a box with no hope of escape, or even of a fair trial. So, dangerous group of killers, most of them with a number of dead bodies to their credit.
Yet, Barry can’t let them die. Though he’s not been fair to them, he’s only intended to contain them, to keep them from hurting others. He’s never wanted them dead. So he leads the team in an effort to transfer them from the particle accelerator to Olly’s Argus-built private prison on Lian Yu. (I think that’s how it’s spelled?) There’s the small detail of getting them from point A to point B, though, as transporting them through the city would be very dangerous and noticeable. Cisco’s able to jury-rig a contraption to suppress their powers, but that still leaves transportation, and guards for if things go wrong.
Joe is absolutely against this whole scheme, as he’s been against this illegal operation from the very beginning. If word ever got out and names were named, they’d all be locked up. Still, he has no viable options, so he asks the DA lady to assist the transport. She reacts as one might expect, warning Joe that this is not kosher and he should get as far away from the whole thing as he can. So, with nowhere else to turn, Barry turns to his enemy, Captain Cold.
Cold demands a high price, which Barry can’t pay, and then he demands another high price: the complete erasure of every trace of his history and record. A clean slate, with which to work much mischief. Barry agrees to the price and pays it all in advance.
FYI: never pay the whole amount before the labor, especially to a criminal.
Cold and his sister are in. She constantly flirts with and teases Cisco, and gets him to give her a nickname: Golden Glider. I’d have gone with Miss Fortune myself, but they didn’t really have a choice in this matter, as DC named the character ages ago. She likes it, and remarks how smarts are sexy too, referring to Cisco.
The criminals are gassed, loaded up, and taken to the airport, there to await an Argus plane to take them to Lian Yu. They bicker along the way, as they have nothing better to do and, let’s face it, this is the first human contact they’ve had for awhile. Frustrations are already high. As they argue, at least two of them eager to kill the rest… they suddenly find their powers are back.
A “malfunction” lets the metahuman criminals make a break for it. Weather Wizard brings down the Argus plane, albeit somewhat by luck, and the five of them break out, pointing their powers at their captors. Peekaboo just flees, but Mist tries to kill everyone. Fortunately, Flash knows how to take him down already, and does so in short order. Flash even makes back it in time to protect the others, though Weather Wizard and Deathbolt manage to overwhelm him and Prism makes Cait attack Cisco and Joe. Then Cold shoots an ice blast in Deathbolt’s face, taking him out. Prism and Weather Wizard are ready to continue, but Cold talks them down, and Golden Glider has her gold-gun at Prism’s head. Now, in exchange for not continuing the fight… Cold lets the two remaining prisoners go free.
Turns out, he sabotaged the rig, and now he has at least three or four metahumans out there, part of his Rogues gallery, and one more he’s settled a score with. Oh, and any one of them could spill the beans about what they’ve been doing at Star Labs and bring the legitimate law down on them at any time.
Barry made a desperate gamble… and he lost.
He’s sunken in despair, and confides in Joe that he was trying to be like Olly, the Arrow. Joe has to tell him that he’s not the Arrow, and that’s not the kind of hero he is. It’s a hard-learned lesson, but one which Barry takes to heart. For one thing: no more walks on the dark side! 😉 And heck, this fiasco even gave Barry an idea!
Thawne returns, as expected, and when expected. Barry faces him, but not alone. He has two friends with him: Firestorm and the Arrow! It’s a three-on-one, much like Barry was beaten when his foes teamed up. Barry goes first, but Thawne slows long enough, ramming Barry up against a wall, for Olly and Firestorm to get their shots in. Thawne sends Firestorm flying, and Barry has to go catch him, but Olly’s arrow delivers nanomachines, courtesy of Ray Palmer, emitting a sonic pulse to temporarily disable his speed. Olly has a clear advantage for a moment, but Thawne manages to overcome the nanomachines, and takes back the advantage, until Barry rams into him and they go running up to the roof, where Firestorm is waiting to hit him directly, sending him plummeting onto a car below, followed by another nano-machine arrow, and he falls unconscious.
Thawne is defeated. By the leads of three shows, the third of which is to air this fall! The trio’s first team-up is a success! And Barry finally has the man who murdered his mother!
…of course, that’s assuming Thawne didn’t throw the fight at all, in some master plan to get what he wants…
I’m also a little torn about the team-up. It was cool, but, much like the last two times Barry has interacted with the Arrow cast, I’m not quite sure where to place it. I mean, we know it has to be after Olly joined the League, so how is he able to break ranks and help Barry with Ray’s nanomachines and then return, still claiming that Oliver Queen is dead? Obviously, they couldn’t show that bit before they revealed Olly’s true intentions on Arrow, and they had to air this team-up before Barry showed up on Arrow again, as he does tomorrow.
Crossovers and team-ups are fine, and fun, and great… but there is such a thing as too much, ya know?
Back to the subject at hand… next week’s season finale should be good!
“My Name is Oliver Queen”
So, Barry repays the favor Olly did him in the fight against Thawne, by running to Nanda Parbat, taking down all of the assassins, and freeing all the prisoners. Who are alive, because Tatsu is just not killed yet and all the rest have been inoculated against the bioweapon, courtesy of Merlyn’s deus ex machina efforts. And then Barry runs back to Coast City to face Thawne instead of helping to save the whole of Starling City. Yeah, that wasn’t a noticeable wrinkle at all, was it?
Tatsu, similarly, simply withdraws back into her life of isolation, so Merlyn, Ray, Felicity, Laurel, and Digs head back to Starling City to deal with the bioweapon attack. As Merlyn puts it, they’re the backup plan, in case Olly’s original plan failed.
Which it did. And it turns out that plan involved crashing the plane he, Nyssa, and Ra’s were on, and he did not expect to survive. He intended to die. But as the sabotaged plane began falling out of the sky, and fighting broke out between Olly and Nyssa on one side and the League on the other, Ra’s was able to grab the bioweapon and flee with the only parachute. Why they would have only the one parachute on the plane, I have no idea, but it leaves Olly and Nyssa having to pilot the plane to the ground and survive.
They reunite with Team Arrow, sans Roy and Thea, and they are understandably angry with him. That was amusing, when Olly had to keep telling Nyssa to stand down even as Digs punches him in the face. He was definitely owed that punch, and it’s clear that the secrecy, the broken trust, has hurt them deeply. Olly doesn’t know how make things right, and he doesn’t have time to, but Felicity is further hurt by how Olly had planned to die stopping Ra’s.
With all hands on deck, they soon come across the reason for Ra’s haste in destroying the city, namely: Damien Darhk. His worst nemesis, leader of HIVE, is in town, and Ra’s is seizing the chance to kill him once and for all. Olly and the others quickly think to take Damien themselves and trade him for the city, but after they go through all the guards, Olly finds that Damien left awhile ago. In his place, learning that Ra’s had finally gotten a bead on my location, I’d do the same, and leave that location, really fast. Olly gets a call, Ra’s congratulating him on his scheme, and laying out his plan to disperse the virus in four locations around the city. Everyone goes hunting for the League, and Olly is drawn into another duel with Ra’s.
It turns out, Ra’s men, themselves, are the method of dispersal. You know, for how often Ra’s kills his men and has them sacrifice their lives for him, it’s amazing how he’s able to keep his ranks so full anyway. The team stops the attack, with Digs getting some Red Arrow help from Thea, Ray’s nanomachines disperse the cure to contain the outbreak, while Lance leads the cops in containing the panic, and Olly fights Ra’s again, but it’s different this time. Ra’s has taught him his own method of fighting, and Felicity has taught him to fight to live, as opposed to fighting to die. With the same movements Ra’s used to kill Olly the first time they fought, Olly kills Ra’s. He gets shot immediately after that, and Felicity has to fly the Atom suit to save him, which was pretty sweet.
Olly admits something he’s done plenty of. It’s his instinct to protect others by pushing them away, keeping them out of the line of fire, but his friends, particularly Laurel and Thea, have proven that he doesn’t need to. This goes back, I think to the sorts of things which have happened when he failed to protect the people he loved. Such as Akio, whose death broke each of his parents, and Olly, in some way. Olly has spent several years climbing out of the darkness, and I didn’t realize until now how the flashbacks must involve him falling into that darkness in the first place. Such as when he tortured Shrieve for hours, taking revenge for Akio. And then Maseo finished him off and walked away from his wife, to go to Nanda Parbat, setting himself on the path that would lead him to his death. Olly and Tatsu parted ways as well, Tatsu to go live in solitude at a shrine, and Olly… to just go somewhere… alone.
Back in the present, Olly announces that he is retiring from vigilantism for awhile and leaving the city (I think we all know how long that is going to last), because he can leave the city in capable hands. He and Felicity leave together, driving somewhere far away. I’ve never like the Olly-Felicity pairing, and I’m fairly certain it’ll crash and burn in time, as Green Arrow ends up with Black Canary, thank you very much. But, for now, they’re happy. And that’s all right.
Less “all right” is Merlyn ascending to the position of Ra’s al’Ghul, payment for helping Olly, which just strikes me as a bad idea, and a very high price to pay. Nyssa makes it clear that she will have her revenge for Sara, but in the meantime, she, and the rest of the League, bow to him. With the menace of HIVE coming into focus, I expect we’ll be seeing them again.
And what a time that will be. Olly and Thea no longer either need him or owe him anything. Merlyn and Thea have come to terms, but no one forgiving Merlyn for the things he’s done. The next time they meet, they could well be enemies fighting to the death.
Actually, forget the Starling city crowd. With Merlyn as the new Ra’s it’s, possible Damien returns to Nanda Parbat to take the title and the League from him, or just destroy the League outright. With Nyssa seeking vengeance, that is even more possible than usual, but any man who survived the previous Ra’s for two centuries is certainly very dangerous. I don’t much fancy Merlyn’s chances against him.
Digs may or may not keep up the fight, but if he does, Olly recommends concealing his identity better.
Thea and Laurel are the vigilantes now, though Ray as the Atom, is still up for helping out, though he needs to get a new vice-president and keep refining his suit. In fact, he’s experimenting with miniaturization… when he blows up the entire top floor of Palmer Technologies, with himself at ground zero. Ouch! (Fortunately, we know he just managed to shrink himself, rather than die, but that has not been established in the show yet)
All in all, for a finale, there was a lot of stuff happening just because. Kind of disappointing for that to happen in Arrow, ending on a lackluster note. And, of course, Olly’s speech about there being no shortage of heroes/masks is kind of defeated by him, Felicity, Nyssa, and Merlyn all departing, not to mention Roy, Tatsu, and Barry being absent, with Digs’ vigilantism status unknown, and Ray’s status completely unknown (*coughcough* and heading for Legends of Tomorrow when he comes back alive… and normal-sized). This just leaves Thea and Laurel, who no longer have either the club or Palmer Tech to hide their base of operations in.
I’m not sure they could end things on a more uncertain note if they tried.
I did like that moment when Olly and Ra’s were fighting, and Ra’s comments on the paradox of Olly’s will to live being stronger, yet he rejected the offer of a longer life. And Olly just responds that what Ra’s offered wasn’t really living. He’s come to understand what Ra’s does not: the living is more than just staying alive.
“Before You Go Make Sure You Know”
So, bright side, Beverly does not mean to extort more money from Rayna for doing the decent thing and saving her brother’s life. Turns out, she’s even more petty than that, which I did not think was possible. She’s just thinking of her reputation, of how people see her, and she resents Rayna for putting her in a position where she can’t escape doing the right thing without compromising said reputation. Talk about doing the right thing for the wrong reason! But at least Deacon has a shot at life now, so whatever. She can make herself miserable all she likes.
Deacon and Beverly are both justifiably nervous about going under the knife. Beverly is scared, though now she has Scarlett rooting for her, and Deacon’s having nightmares of dying, of being in the hospital, with certain things said and certain music playing, and then he’s dead. He’s becoming more and more certain that he won’t make it, and Rayna knows him well enough to see what’s going on. When he asks her to marry him right then and there in the hospital, she refuses, because he’s going to survive. Still she says the marriage vow, and so does he. And off he goes into surgery… where things start happening like he dreamed.
The episode ends with someone flat-lining, and Caleb has bad news for Rayna.
I notice something, though… there are two people in surgery, Deacon and Beverly, and they don’t show which one of them has flat-lined.
If that weren’t bad enough, Teddy finally mans up, protecting Rayna and his girls from the fallout of incriminating Tandy. He has reason to believe such would not only hurt his family on an emotional level, but Tandy may have been able to offer two million dollars to start up Highway 65 explicitly because of her corruption. So if Teddy keeps cooperating with the feds, it will likely destroy Rayna’s business, and devastate Maddie and Daphne. So, while knowing it won’t be easy for them, he takes the hit, and faces the consequences of his actions head on.
That’s when Teddy learns how merciless even supposed “friends” in the government can be. He’s arrested on the spot, even while begging for just a few days to get his affairs in order, to talk to his girls, and likely to tell Rayna what’s going on and why he’s taking the hit. But his friend, and his best man at his wedding, just has him cuffed and dragged out in front of cameras.
Rayna and the girls learn about that on the news, just as Caleb comes in with the bad news.
Not their best day ever.
Every bit as heartbreaking as this, Juliette just goes further and further off the deep end, such that by the end, Avery is calling her “sick.” She needs help, and she keeps refusing to get it, or let anyone help her. She fires Glenn and cuts ties with Highway 65, going to, of all people, Jeff Fordham, who gets her in with Luke Wheeler at his label. When Avery confronts her, Juliette tries to prove a point by taking Cadence from his arms, but Avery doesn’t allow it, so she screams and throws a snow globe at him while he’s holing Cadence. I’m not sure which of them was more horrified by that, but what else could they be?
Sometimes the only wake up call that gets through is when we do something absolutely inexcusable, unconscionable, and terrifying. So then, what happens we we don’t listen even to that? Answer: you lose everything. Avery takes Cadence away from Juliette, determined to keep her safe from her own mother. Juliette keeps saying she needs all of this stuff about her career, and Avery says, very simply, “More than you need us?” That’s what it’s really about. He’s tried, no one can dispute that, and he still hopes she’ll get some help. But to protect Cadence, he can’t let Juliette near her until she’s sorted herself out. And as Juliette is going on tour with Luke, I don’t see how that’s going to happen.
You know, I’ve really liked Juliette. But if she doesn’t get some help, that version of Juliette will become a ghost.
Luke has some problems to deal with too, and he only has Juliette join his tour because word about Will’s homosexuality gets out. Will is panicked and afraid of losing not only his career, but also his father… again. So he goes to Kevin and asks him to deny it, to lie about their relationship, say things are not as they appear to be in the tabloid pictures. Kevin loves Will enough that he does so, even though it’s hard for him, because it feels like “jumping back into the closet.”
So once again, Will fails to grab the bull by the horns…
…until he does.
Just after Kevin makes his statement, Will makes his, and changes it on the fly, after seeing the look in Kevin’s eye. He comes out of the closet. He’s gay, and not ashamed of it. His father leaves, disgusted. The media has a field day. The potential bad press has cost him a place on Luke’s tour. But Will is himself now, and he loves Kevin.
Good for him, I say.
Jeff continues to dominate Layla, including intercepting all phone calls, keeping her off the internet, and even nudging her towards losing weight, when she’s already skinny as spaghetti noodle. Reminds me of something I heard in Burn Notice, where you turn an agent to your side by, among other things, isolating them, cutting them off from everyone who could bring them back to the right path.
However, Layla manages to accidentally get one of Rayna’s messages, and begins to catch on. She looks herself up, sees good things, though also people talking about how she bit the hand that fed her, namely Jade’s. She looks at pictures, and sees Jeff holding her phone, when he posted that picture on Twitter. And she is furious! She takes a golf club to his car as he comes home, and nearly takes it to his head. And the man has the gall to say it, and the contract that’s given him even power of attorney (which she still doesn’t know), was all to make sure he didn’t lose her. And she falls into his arms.
Classic of a controlling, abusive boyfriend. Particularly since no one’s called her fat online, but he’s driving her towards anorexia. While he has power of attorney. Two plus two equals four, and this combination of behavior makes me suspect he’s trying to make her worth more just long enough to get rid of her and take all her money, leaving her rotting in a gutter somewhere. Perhaps I misjudge, but I am actually afraid for Layla now, especially since a whacked-out Juliette has signed with him now, and helped him worm his way into Luke’s Wheelin’ an’ Dealin’ again.
Sheesh, even in the best-case scenario, the man is harder to kill than a cockroach! I mean, he has the destruction of an entire label, a mainstay of the industry, to his name! That’s like having a boot come down on an ant! But Layla gave him an inch, and he’s taking more than a mile.
Scarlett and Gunnar try writing a song, and it doesn’t go so well. Gunnar figures that they always wrote about what was going on in their lives, but now they don’t talk about that sort of thing. So, she tells him she’s moving in with Caleb, who couldn’t be happier, as his place no feels like a home with her in it. Gunnar is planning to go to Texas with Kylie, to visit Micah and her parents. Micah proves ecstatic about that, and Kylie has finally learned that she went about things all wrong, looking for a guy to take care of her and Micah when she should have focused just on taking care of Micah. It’s possible she and Gunnar might become a real couple again, but they agree that Micah’s feelings come first, so they aren’t keen on rushing into things again.
Of course, then Scarlett has a burst of inspiration in the middle of the night (poor Caleb, in love with an artist!) and she sends the lyrics of a new song to Gunnar, who puts them to music and, before going to Texas, plays it with her singing it. It’s a tender, emotional moment between them. And they lean towards each other, lips coming close… then they stop… frozen in that moment, in everything they feel and want… and the episode ends.
So, someone in the hospital has flat-lined, Teddy is in custody, Scarlett and Gunnar may or may not be kissing, Juliette’s gone crazy, Avery’s taken Cadence from Juliette, Will is out of the closet, and Layla now knows Jeff has lied to and used her, yet she’s under his thumb. Did I miss anything?
And this is how they end the season finale.
Well, I was partially right about Mary. She did not lie and betray Francis and the others to save herself. But she was not pregnant after all. She lied to Conde, and used her wits to scatter his army out from under him. Greer and her whores saw to the panic, successfully faking an outbreak of the plague, which they were able to accomplish because Mary convinced Conde that Francis had canons, and thus lost a few hours bringing his own arms up from the rear. Mere moments before Conde’s forces could attack, they broke ranks in every direction, which chaos Francis took advantage of by leading an attack to drive them firmly away from the castle, while Mary put her dagger in Conde’s gut.
She made her choice, Francis, not Conde, and without any military power at her command, undermined the entire coup. Wily, she is.
Catherine is set on having Conde’s head removed from his body, but Francis is wiser and less fearful. In fact, he sees an opportunity to end the threat the Bourbon line poses to his family, by having them renounce all claim to the French throne in exchange for Conde’s life. He will end this mess with diplomacy, not force of arms. As Catherine gives up the argument, we see Narcisse noticing something about the situation which alarms him, as he reads between the lines.
Shortly afterward, Francis learns that Lola and his son were attacked by Conde’s men, set on exchanging prisoners, but things went wrong, and the baby died. Francis is enraged and racked with grief, and in his fury he condemns Conde to die. But Narcisse’s suspicions prove well-founded, as he goes, with Mary and Francis’ blessing, to find Lola. Not only does he find her, he finds the baby boy alive and well, and exposes Catherine as the one behind the “botched kidnapping” and the “death” of her grandson.
Mary and Catherine come to verbal blows over the matter, and then Francis delivers the most withering punishment he can muster for his own mother: he strips her of everything and exiles her, sending her far away where her words will no longer poison his ears. Catherine blames Mary for her exile, entirely certain that she will be the ruin of Francis and the entire royal family.
As Catherine is escorted out of court, she pauses long enough to spit on Narcisse, who has betrayed her. She completely misses how badly she hurt him by feeding him his dearest horse, and how she endangered her own grandson with her manipulations, and how she uses violence to solve her problems far too easily. This is, after all, the woman who poisoned Claude, thinking she was sparing her daughter a more painful death. She may have been mad from poison at the time, but there was already madness to spare, and that has certainly not diminished.
And for all her scheming, Catherine still failed to kill Conde. An English agent killed the executioner, then killed the guards around Conde, freeing him even at cost to his own life. Conde has fled, with even more reason than before to fear for his life. After all of this trouble, he’s right back where he started, a wanted man in hostile territory, and all he’s gained is a sure knowledge that Mary is lost to him.
And if only the army were the only danger to everyone in the castle. Claude’s specter makes another appearance, this time in Delphine’s rooms, terrifying a poor servant girl. With her and the boy Delphine seduced offering some well-founded suspicions on her, Delphine can hardly defend herself, and when the girl finds Delphine in her rooms, pressing her hands on the boy in some sort of trance (such as the healing trance) as he lay cut open and bleeding to death, and amid a pentagram, Delphine’s condemnation by the church is assured.
She pleads her innocence, and tells Bash that she was trying to heal him, that she felt his pain of being stabbed over and over, but it’s all in vain. She is taken away, begging not to be drowned of all things. Being burned is not much of a better way to die, but Delphine’s binding ritual apparently bound her and Bash together, and as she burns, she visits him in an amorous dream, waking him up. He feels the flames, and she becomes stronger, breaking free and fleeing into the darkness of the woods.
Bash just can’t seem to catch a break with his love life. First, he loved Mary, and that barely turned out all right. Then he felt for that peasant girl the darkness took and murdered to appease dark gods. Then he was married to Kenna, and they had an unexpectedly good marriage, but then they made mistakes and both of them strayed. Kenna reunites with Bash, proclaiming sorrow and love, but Delphine exposes that as a lie. She’s pregnant with Renaude’s child, and wanted to make him believe it was his. But he will have none of it, because of her underhanded methods. He sends her away. And now Delphine proves to be, in some capacity, a witch, and condemned to death, barely surviving in the woods, unable to return to him, yet bound to his very soul.
Not a great history, that.
Superstition may be running rampant, but someone certainly set Delphine up, and there is certainly some spectral figure walking the castle halls. Claude is certain of this, and she tries to convince Leith of it too, but, in fairness, he is occupied with siege at the time.
Kenna is never going to change. Mary manages to arrange, very quickly, for Kenna to go some distance away, have her child, and give it to a good family to raise. Her dishonest games with Bash have cost her greatly, but when she meets a young king on the ship, she immediately resumes playing, without missing a beat. If she can seduce her way into his heart, she can keep her baby and become a queen!
Some people never learn, do they?
Of course, she did just see her lover hang while breathing warnings of Elizabeth’s eternal desire to see Mary dead, so we might excuse a poor choice or two immediately afterward, but still, she always does this! She relies on lies and seduction, and it keeps coming back to bite her!
By contrast, Mary and Francis truly do reconcile with each other, in every way that means. They’ve gone astray down destructive paths, but finally, at along last, they are together again. They’re back on the same page.
Unfortunately, as Francis meets secretly with Nostradamus, we learn that he never truly recovered from nearly dying. He’s still dying. And his last, best hope for Mary is giving her a child.
While off in England, Catherine aligns with Elizabeth, for the sake of Mary’s destruction.
And let slip the dogs of war.
Were I to come home and find my mother’s head in a box in my living room, I have no idea if anything would be able to stop me from hunting and killing everyone involved. At least, not once I got past the initial shock.
And Nick has to get over that shock really fast, what with the Royals’ pet hounds coming for the heads of him and everyone with him. He puts a plan together pretty quick, using Adalind and last episode’s severed head to stage a police investigation into the Royals, gaining access to their information and having his police friends waiting to arrest Kenneth, whom Wu promptly delivers to a large empty building, where Nick is waiting. Kenneth, of course, is keen on fighting his way out, but as formidable as he is – and I note he only defeated Renard before because Renard was crippled by the Ripper’s possession – he is still no match for a vengeful Nick. Nick is, after all, very strong, even for a Grimm, who tend to already be very strong.
Bonus: with Kenneth’s dead body, Renard finds a suitable patsy for the Ripper killings.
But that’s just the first salvo. Once Wu follows the trail, by which I mean “pinging Juliette’s cell phone,” to a gated mansion, Nick mounts an attack, set on killing the Varrat, the King, even Juliette, once he figures out her treachery, and taking back Diana. Together, Nick, Trubel, Hank, Wu, and Munroe invade the mansion quickly and, as much as possible, quietly. That doesn’t last as long as they need it to, but they take down everyone with sole exception to the King and Juliette, who slip away with Diana in a helicopter.
It’s a pretty good blow to have struck, but as the King got away with what he wanted, it appears to be all for naught.
That is, until the pilot, who turns out to be Meisner, shoves the King out the helicopter (“You can’t do this! I’m the King!” You’re still human, and mortal, buddy-boy.) with Diana looking on, smiling. Methinks she does not like how the King had Kelly killed, and now the girl is with the Resistance.
Oh, Juliette never got on the chopper in the first place. She went back home, to wait for Nick.
I think I figured out Juliette a little. She used to love everyone, and herself, but now she loves no one, especially not herself. And she knows, now that Nick has seen his mother dead, he won’t stop until everyone who killed her is dead. Including Juliette. Which, I think, is what she wants now.
She didn’t resist when Nick was choking her, even welcoming it, encouraging him to kill her. When he doesn’t, she’s not satisfied, and tries to kill him. But Trubel arrives and puts two arrows straight into Juliette’s chest. By all appearances, Juliette dies in Nick’s arms, as he weeps for her.
You know how many times I have cheered when Juliette was kicking ass? When the ogre tried to kill Nick and she poured boiling water on him, when her friend’s boyfriend tried to take her Juliette kicked his ass, when Adalind came for her and Juliette threw her around the house… time and again, Juliette has proven, as Buddy says, perfect for Nick. To see her come to this end… even more, to see her, in some degree, choose this end… it’s heartbreaking.
In a final bit of news, Trubel has joined up with someone! Perhaps that fed, Chavez, and her group? Chavez does show up right at the end, with a few cars full of men. Either they’re after Trubel, or they’re here in support of Trubel, to deal with Juliette, though the abundance of guns strikes me as overkill in that case.
Which, I believe, makes this the first Grimm season finale where I’m not sure what’s going on in its final moments.