This Week on TV, Oct. 10, 2015

Spoiler Alert!

FYI, I have officially taken Nashville, Reign, and iZombie from this lineup. They’re very good shows, and I will continue to follow them, but here endeth my commentary on them. Nashville just has too much drama-fest, Reign has worn through my patience of having everything hinge on the love lives of four women, and iZombie… is very emotionally intense with the constant, imminent threat of a zombie apocalypse, ya know? 😉

Once-upon-time-logoOnce Upon a Time

“The Price”

Who is the Savior when the Savior goes dark? The former Evil Queen, of course, the villain she helped reform. Not that Regina slides easily into the role, being plagued by doubt both in the present and in the Camelot flashbacks, where she took on the role to protect Emma from the need to use magic. She manages to do it, though, through selflessness, through love, and in the act of potentially laying down her own life for Robin’s, she rallies her friends to follow her. Very well done.

Speaking of Camelot, Arthur and his people are now Storybrooke’s newest residents, also missing the last six weeks of their memories. One of his knights, Percival, tried to kill Regina in revenge for destroying his village, but that mistake cost him his life, and nearly cost Robin his, and forced Emma to use magic. Yet, despite kissing Hook immediately after, her transformation into the Dark One continues.

And speaking of darkness, Arthur has not been entirely forthcoming either. He and Guinevere are hoping to get the Dark One’s dagger, to restore Excalibur. If they don’t apparently everything they’ve worked for will be lost. And that’s without counting how Merlin got himself trapped inside a tree, which… isn’t it a little funny that leaving Storybrooke now comes with being turned into a tree? Hmmm.

Emma is descending into darkness, despite Henry trying to pull her back up. She says he’s the only one who did not fail her in Camelot, but, still… she’s the Dark One now, and has Excalibur in her basement. I can see the need for those defenses around it which killed Sir Kaye, as repelling the Dark One requires some stringent protection. If she gets it out of the stone, where I’m guessing it was put in order to keep it from her, she can put the blade back together and use it to destroy that one thing the Darkness fears: the Light.

I just want to say, I like how they showed “the Light” which seeks the Dark One as the pull of the family, the friendships they had before, and the love that never gives up. Not to mention the magic which undoes the Dark One’s worst deeds, and performed by Regina, no less! 🙂

…but, then again, in that context, what is “the price” Emma will have to pay in order to free the sword?

Oh… and Henry’s getting a girlfriend! One he’s courting twice, both here and in Camelot! Ah, they grow up so fast! 😉

Of course I can say that now… just wait ’till I have kids that are growing up… and going on dates… I am so going to put my daughters’ potential boyfriends through the ringer! They will know that if they treat by daughter badly, then either they will live to regret it, or their bodies will never be found! Mwahahah! 😉

castle titleCastle

“PhDead”

So, back at the beginning of the show, though they did not spell it out quite like this, Castle attached himself to the NYPD and helped solve murder mysteries in order to pursue Beckett. Now, in order to pursue Beckett again, believing she left because she no longer loves him, Castle attempts to recreate that scenario.

And what a scenario they got! They delve into college this time, as the murder victim was a student. Castle buys a temporary teaching position, and Alexis infiltrates the student body. What they help Beckett, Ryan, and Espo discover: 1) the victim was into bondage and having an affair with the dean, 2) he was part of a psychological experiment involving imprisoned students, but 3) was demoted from head guard to prisoner because he was too nice, and 4) he escaped with the aid of another prisoner, who then snapped from the psychological trauma, triggered by the realization that he had stolen her scholarship by sleeping with the dean.

If that little side-trip down Depravity Lane wasn’t enough, Beckett is still set on finding the mole within the CIA, or wherever they are now. She has Vikram, who keeps encouraging her to turn back and go home to Castle, find an old friend who offers some sage advice, one piece of which she actually listens to. There’s something to be both admired and feared in her choice: refusing to let evil stand is a good thing, but any virtue taken too far becomes a vice, and in vices lie madness. One could easily argue Beckett is going mad, now that she’s found a new target, after bringing her mother’s murderer to justice.

I’m not entirely sure what choice I would make in Beckett’s place, but I can respect that she’s sticking to her guns, her standards, her morals, and simply paying the price she needs to in order to protect Castle from her actions.

On a much happier note, Castle and his daughter Alexis seem to be growing into more of an equal partnership. He is wise, she is mature, and both are clever. There were plenty of little tidbits that show she’s not the little girl anymore. And I just love that moment at the end, where they have a drink and blow bubbles out of toy cigars together. 🙂

gotham-logo-screencapGotham

“The Last Laugh”

Gotham had a very rough start, but it’s improved dramatically. However, there is one thing which is debatable in how good or bad it is.

This episode saw Jerome as the Joker in all but name… but he died at the end of it. He was used and thrown aside, after helping to clean up some loose ends. But his madness lives on, his laugh lives on, and his malevolence lives on, inherited by those for whom that laugh was the straw which broke the back of their sanity. The Joker is out there, somewhere.

This sort of “inheritance” is actually a running theme, I find. Bruce Wayne has inherited his father’s quest, and Jonathan Crane inherited his father’s mad obsession with fear last season. Now the spirit which will give rise to the Joker is out there, among the people, twisting some unknown soul into its own image. On the one hand, that makes the future Joker a copycat, really, and that sort of cheapens him. Still, it runs in the same vein as other threads. The show is sort of a “patient zero” story, where the epidemic of crime and madness truly begins.

Interesting, Theo Gallivan seems to madly desire that inheritance, believing all of Gotham belongs to him by right, built up by his family and having thrown them out. He’s one of those guys who presents a refined, elegant face to the public, but in private becomes a raving madman, barely holding it together. His sister doesn’t seem to even keep up the facade, which gives her some common ground with Barbara now, and the two of them have quickly become close. Of course, that may blow up in someone’s face as said sister sees Barbara and Theo getting cozy too.

Mind you, as Barbara just saw Theo kill Jerome, whom he whispered such glorious promises to, I would actually be very worried, were I in her place. But that doesn’t seem to be something which has crossed her mind. She’s too wrapped up in herself, such as how she thinks Leigh will be out of the picture soon and she and Gordon will be together again. Yeah, not very grounded in reality anymore, is she?

Selina makes an appearance, mostly arguing with Bruce as she picks pockets as a charity event. When the gunfire starts, she gets out, which is fortunate, because she’s able to get Gordon back in. Still, she’s left hiding in the shadows, watching Bruce and Alfred banter after the crisis, wherein Bruce, Alfred, and Gordon all saved each other’s lives. Unfortunately, Selina isn’t part of that warm circle, as her contribution was unwilling and unwitting. Still… she still cares for Bruce, obviously.

Finally, Bullock makes his presence felt as he visits Penguin and puts the little umbrella boy in his place. He certainly makes it clear, if Penguin ever wants to tangle with Gordon, he’ll be tangling with Bullock too, and Bullock not only owes him for Fish, but he doesn’t fear Penguin as the King of Gotham. There is still at least one person who sees Penguin as nothing more than Fish’s limping umbrella boy. The line is drawn. Cross it at your own peril.

That scene was easily my favorite this episode. Let Theo fool the public all he wants, Bullock is a hundred times the man Theo will ever be.

agentsofshieldseason3bannerAgents of Shield

“Purpose in the Machine”

You know, it used to be that Agents of Shield followed a single thread, even as it split up a bit. That went out the window by the time we reached Season Two. Now, in Season Three, we just have multiple threads going from the start, and the show is doing a pretty good job of juggling them. Coulson, as Director of Shield, has plenty of juggling to do too: fighting (and finding) Hydra and killing Ward, dealing with the Inhumans and the ATCU, getting a team of super-powered people up and running, etc.

Among the “etc.” part of that: Fitz figures out the Monolith! Everyone pulls him away from the thing in a panic, and just in the nick of time as it liquifies. Right then, Fitx discovers… sand? Alien sand, older than the Earth itself, proof that it’s a portal, and everyone’s instantly back on board with figuring it out so they can get Simmons back. They turn to Professore Randolph, an old Asgardian friend from Season One, and he helps them follow the Monolith’s history to a chamber that was apparently built to activate the portal on demand, via vibrations. Cue Daisy “Quake” Johnson, the Inhuman key to the portal. Fitz dives in without telling anyone, finds Simmons, who had followed a flare they sent through earlier, and they just barely manage to bring her back. Shield and Inhumans for the win, hurrah! 🙂

Still, Simmons has obviously been through several months of unending trauma. She has Fitz, though, and for now, that should suffice.

…hang on, the Inhumans knew about this Monolith and called it something that could be used to destroy them, as I recall. How does a portal destroy an entire artificially-created sub-species of humanity? Hmmm.

And how does Randolph know the Inhumans? It’s entirely believable that they’ve crossed paths before, but that look on his face tells me he is quite familiar with them.

In other news, Hunter manages to convince May, whose been looking after her father, to join his hunt for Ward. It was really neat to see where May comes from, meeting her father and learning more about her mother through him. She seems to want a normal life, but her father points out that “normal” is one word which does not apply to her life. So, she joins Hunter, who is ecstatic as she tells him of Simmons’ return. And rightly so!

May’s ex-husband, Garner, has some sage advice for Daisy (they get us used to calling her Skye for two seasons, and then they change it!), who is now becoming a leader. He’s concerned about Coulson, who, as Director, may be getting desperate for a win amidst the various crises he is juggling. He has a point, and Daisy seems to be taking it to heart. She’ll make a fine leader, I believe.

Unfortunately, Ward has been busy too. He’s putting Hydra back together, reassembling the disparate pieces, reforging it into something far more dangerous and deadly. He is becoming the Head of Hydra. And he’s recruited the son of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, Werner, into his ranks. And placed him in Garner’s psychology class. Yeah, that’s not good!

Flash-TV-Show-Teaser-TrailerThe Flash

“The Man Who Saved Central City”

So, the singularity was stopped and the city was saved, but at a cost: the apparent death of Ronnie Raymond. Of course, we know he’s still alive and due to appear in Legends of Tomorrow, but an event like that, especially combined with Eddie’s death, is a severe blow to a team that was already devastated by the truth that their mentor wasn’t the man they thought he was. That’s three losses in fairly rapid succession. So, they scattered, and Barry did not help by pushing them all away because he felt guilty.

The team has to come back together, though, as the mysterious figure “Zoom” begins bringing metahumans from other universes into theirs, all to kill the Flash. Barry loses the fight to Atom Smasher twice before he gets his head on straight, partially because his friends stop taking no for an answer.

In the public, though, the Flash is simply a hero, the man who saved them. He’s becoming the public figure familiar from the comics. He’s inspiring people, and inspiring hope. And a little bit of that hope comes back home to him at long last.

He does to see Cait at her new job, and they’re able to share the sorrow of their loss, which is what friends are for. Cait blames herself, not Barry, for Ronnie’s death, because if she’d just gone with him, left Central City, who knows? He could still be alive. True, in a way, but, then again, Wells would have likely been able to leave their universe anyway, leaving the planet to that singularity, and Ronnie would likely still be dead, and actually dead this time, along with a lot of other people, so… not her fault, I’d say.

With Cait, Barry is able to watch Eobard’s living will as Harrison Wells. He already left Star Labs to Barry, and now he makes a public confession that he killed Nora Allen, which gets Barry’s father out of jail. It’s a happy, happy party they have together, with Dr. Stein giving a good, short speech about moving forward.

Unfortunately, Henry Allen knows that if he stays in Central City, he can only hold Barry back from being the Flash. So he means to leave, go make his way elsewhere. It’s very bittersweet, but at least Barry knows his father is finally free. Not a bad prize, that.

Arrow-logo-header-Season-4Arrow

“Green Arrow”

Like the Flash crew, Team Arrow scattered a bit, with Olly settling down into civilian life and loving it. Perhaps a little too much, I can’t help but think he was barely hanging in there, and he finds out Felicity was helping their friends behind his back too. Heh, I find it hilarious that he was finally the one on the receiving end of a few secrets! Not so great, is it, Olly? Hahahah!

I find it very telling that Felicity is just not content with a purely civilian life. She is just too good to turn her back on her friends and a city in need, ya know? And this is while she’s running Palmer Tech in absentia. Some people just aren’t meant to be idle.

So, they come fully out of retirement again. Olly meant only to help them this one time, but facing a threat like Damien and his HIVE puts things into perspective. Now Olly faces his greatest challenge: to be a hero without dancing with his darkness, standing in, and sharing, the light of hope. That is why he becomes the Green Arrow, at long last, and it’s pretty awesome.

Thea is having some issues, though. When her adrenaline gets pumping, she gets a bit crazy, savage, uncontrolled. Olly tries talking to her about it, but Thea deflects him at every turn. I suspect the team is going to have to deal with that crazy streak soon enough, and it’s going to be both brutal and heart-breaking.

Diggle still holds a grudge for Olly’s activities last season. I can’t really blame him as sometimes it is harder to forgive what was done to your loved ones than what was done to you yourself, and certainly it’s easier for Lyla to forgive Olly than for Diggle. Still, he steps up, and works with Olly to save lives.

Laurel is mostly dealing with her dad this episode, who has some complications coming his way. Damien took out the city’s leadership, leaving only Captain Lance, who appears to be in his pocket. I’ve been debating that with some friends, and my best guess is that Lance has been put into an untenable position, perhaps by threats about Laurel, and has gone to the dark side in order to try and undermine HIVE from within. If so, good luck to him, he’ll need it. But otherwise, his grudge with Olly still stands.

And speaking of Damien: he uses magic. Real magic. He sucks the life out of people, stops Olly’s arrows in the air, is physically strong and dominant in a fight, etc. I suspect that idol he was giving his blood to may be a significant source of his powers.

Interesting detail: this is the first time Arrow has introduced us to this season’s villain in the first episode. We waited several episodes in Season One to meet Merlyn, we didn’t see Slade as Season Two’s villain for several episodes, and it took time for Ra’s al’Ghul to become the villain of Season Three. But Damien, we’re meeting right off the bat. Which makes me wonder: is this a decoy? A red herring? A ruse? A trick? Hardly anything has been as it seemed at first glance in Arrow, so why should this be any different? Hmmmmm!

Also interesting: whose grave is that at the end? Barry shows up after a funeral, as Olly is mourning someone. Who? Who is it? Everyone’s debating it, and it’s completely up in the air! Every argument for one candidate can be countered with arguments against, so, in my mind, pretty much everyone is an equal candidate.

And on that rather morbid note, I can’t stress this enough: Olicity. Must. End. That is a terrible romance which cheapens Felicity and every other girl he’s been with on the show. They should have just been very good friends, and that’s it. No romance! 😉

heroes-rebornHeroes Reborn

“The Needs of the Many”

Curiouser and curiouser.

We have one Evo, Malina, who has been hunted, and protected, since her first birthday. I haven’t figured out what her power is yet, but whatever it is, some very powerful people seem very interested in her. Why?

We have Tommy, whose mother has a rare blood type, and which he does not share. He manages to procure some blood, with the support of the girl he likes (sorry, I’ve forgotten her name), but now pops up on a federal database, and they intercept him before he can teleport out. Now I am wondering if his mom really is his mom, or if she was just looking after him, as Malina’s friend has done for her.

Miko and Ren fly to America, with Ren taking to social media to provide cover for Miko, to get to the front door undetected amidst a sea of cosplayers. Still, she was uneasy during the flight. Not only is her father’s fate in her hands, but she’s wondering what Harris meant when he said she was dead, or not alive, or whatever it was he said. We know Miko can enter video games with Hiro’s sword, though there are indicators that she’s the only one the sword works with, or perhaps not. Her father may have the same power, and he created a girl like Miko in his comics and game… or perhaps Miko comes from that creative realm originally, and is a copy of the daughter? Hmmm.

Luke finally starts to realize, “Hey, these people I’ve been murdering are people, not monsters.” An uncomfortable epiphany for one with so much innocent blood on his hands. He finally comes out to his wife, showing her he’s a walking solar panel and burning the list of people she means to kill. She spares him, but only this once, I think. You know, Luke, it should have told you something when killing an innocent person made you throw up all night, and made her sleep so peacefully. That’s what we call a sign of someone who is unhinged.

Carlos gets a bit inspired by his nephew Jose, and alters his brother’s suit a bit to even the playing field between him and his enemies. He also fixes up an old car to serve his purposes, but as he’s taking it out for a test run, Jose stumbles onto his father’s secrets. The boy is so excited he takes the mask out and shows the priest his ability… just in time for a certain corrupt captain to come and capture the both of them.

Finally, Noah and his sidekick convince Taylor to question her mother Erica. After that, she helps them get into Renautus and find the Evos, all of whom, including her boyfriend Francis, are hooked up as “processors.” Molly, the latest addition, manages to come awake long enough to give out a few cryptic hints, about hiding something from Erica, forgetting the past to save the future, and finally, the one least cryptic thing she says, “I won’t help her kill seven billion people.” …so, the entire human race, eh? Or perhaps Erica is actually an Evo, and a supremacist bent on killing all the normal people? Malina’s guardian did say something about their enemies hunting Malina with only death on their minds. Either way, Molly kills herself in order to protect whatever it is she’s protecting.

Granted, that could have been avoided if she’d just gone with Noah last episode, but whatever.

Most curious.

Doctor-Who-logoDoctor Who

“Before the Flood”

So, the alien Fisher King “died,” then came back, wrote the message, killed his undertaker, and began the process of making people see the message and die to become transmitters. Why? To bring his armada to Earth.

…though, really, why not skip all of that and just bring the armada yourself? Seems a touch convoluted. But nothing compared to the Doctor’s scheme, where he reverse-engineered his own strategy from the clues that strategy left behind. It’s a bootstrap paradox theory, where a time traveler takes something from the future and is the one to introduce it into the past, so where did it come from in the first place? It’s one of those things.

Yet the Doctor’s strategy was fairly simple. He saved everyone he could (we had only two casualties this episode, one of which was already dead at the beginning of last episode… and time travel is weird like that). He tricked the Fisher King into dying outside the stasis pod (even that monster couldn’t withstand an entire lake coming down on him), which the Doctor himself hijacked. The Ghost Doctor was a hologram, with a bit of AI spliced in, to protect Clara and the others, and trap the real ghosts. It’s implied that they’ll eventually be able to fade away, once they’re taken out of the atmosphere.

The Doctor not only went above and beyond to protect Clara, but as he sees it, violating the rules of life and death, turning people into ghosts, and using those ghosts as transmitters, is far worse than playing with the rules of time. Robbing people of their lives is bad enough, but robbing them of their deaths, their posthumous peace in the grave, is even worse. So, he pulled no punches, fought dirty, and risked a great deal of potential destruction, to save Clara, and to protect the balance of life and death.

Small wonder the Tardis took the Doctor straight towards this abominable thing, and wouldn’t let him leave without resolving it.

Though, really, I’d say last season pretty well established Missy as one who also plays with life and death, and even worse than the Fisher King, but the Doctor has yet to deal with her. I’m guessing this will be addressed later in the season.

This was a fair episode, but I still think the Capaldi version of Doctor Who is missing something. And not just the sonic screwdriver. Speaking of, I will not lie, I hate those sunglasses, and whoever had the idea of replacing the screwdriver with sunglasses should be shot! Not fatally, mind you, or even cripplingly, but shot. Like, in the foot, or something.

Honestly, I found the Fisher King more intriguing than the Doctor, if only for his nefarious scheming and his view of the Time Lords.

Still, they did raise an interesting moral dilemma. The Doctor found Davros as a child, in need of saving, and he abandoned him. Then he went back and saved him. Now, he’s interacting with the past, before people die. And he does nothing to save them. Because, in the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey way of things suddenly being set in stone for a time traveler, they are already dead. We did see, way back in Eccleston’s tenure, what happens when time travel and life saving are misused, but it hasn’t come up that much since, and the Doctor has saved everyone he could, even in defiance of “the rules.” But not this time. This time, he believes there is nothing he can do for certain people, so he does nothing.

It’s times like this where the Doctor is really just full of it. He acted to save Clara, after all, and also to punish the Fisher King for his crimes. But he failed to save others, particularly O’Donnell.

About the only thing good to come out of this was a lesson: act now, tell the person you care for how you feel, don’t waste time, because one day, you’ll find you’ve run out of it. They didn’t really do justice to that, either, but it was a very cute scene with the romance at the end.

I have a deaf sister, so I am somewhat biased on the count of deaf people getting romance and happy endings. And yes, feeling the vibrations through the ground is a real thing. 🙂

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