This Week on TV, Feb. 13, 2016

Spoiler Alert!

Yay! Castle is back! At last! 🙂

Agent Carter, Arrow, The Flash, and Grimm all continue to deliver the goods of a heightening plot with high stakes. Legends of Tomorrow, however, doesn’t seem to be improving itself any. Honestly, I’m starting to feel disappointed with that one. Unfortunate.

castle titleCastle

“Tone Dead”

So, the creativity continues! Not only can the creep us out as great as ever (the scene with Castle and Alexis invading the abandoned mall, getting scared stiff at the weird shadows darting in every corner) but they also picked a new and most unexpected source of inspiration: the acapella music community! Complete with Pitch Perfect inspired riff off! Way cool! 🙂

Seriously, something profound happens when the human voice is transformed into a musical instrument. I love the orchestra, vast and varied and limitless as it is, but there is a potent, primal beauty to be found within a simple voice. That is the most basic element of our music, after all, the foundation of all our songs. Strip away the orchestra, steal away all the shiny toys, leave us barren, and not only can we survive, but we thrive. We can shine. That’s what it’s like for me when I listen to acapella music.

So, not only did I enjoy this little homage to acapella music in general and Pitch Perfect in particular, but I found it lent itself to a worthy theme for this episode.

We had something very basic: when our mothers are traumatized, we do what it takes to remedy the situation. Mind you, the three backup singers were the ones doused in blood, but Martha was the one to carry the emotional weight of finding the victim’s body. Not only did she ask Castle to see to her case personally, but she saw it through to the end herself. She didn’t hesitate one moment to give the girl’s friends, her acapella group, every ounce of strength she could offer them, just with some genuine empathy, and sincere words of encouragement.

That’s where the theme really came in, with the AcaCons. They’re a group of young women, five one-time offenders and one repeat offender, looking for redemption. Their leader was murdered because she pursued the truth behind her own imprisonment, and with everything they were feeling, you know they had to be thinking, “We can’t do this without her.” And then Martha comes in and pulls them back together, to sing and shine and rise above their sorrow, to overcome their crappy pasts, for their friend. Everything has been stripped away from them, and they are left bare, with nothing… except their voices.

I say again, I love this episode! 🙂

By the way, Castle, after you’ve sent a distress signal because you got spooked and then found that it was a false alarm, it would be a good idea to send another message, say, with the words “False alarm,” to the police buddies you just called for help. Poor kids, just having fun, and a bunch of cops come storming in!

As for the ongoing plot, Castle and Beckett are working together now, maintaining the cover of their separation by having public fights, and then sneaking around together. So convincing is their act, apparently, that Ryan and Espo confront Castle, believing he must have done something, like say, seeing someone else. Under pressure, Castle spits out a Russian-ish name, “Svetlana.” When Beckett hears about this, she comes up with a fictitious Dr. Livingstone for her to date. Thus, they have a continuing cover for their romantic activities. In the end, it turned out to be clever, but it sure didn’t start that way! I think I almost busted a rib laughing at everything Castle endured from Ryan and Espo!

Speaking of, I love Ryan and Esposito! How can you not? They are clever, they are loyal, they feed off each others’ energy. They side squarely with Beckett in this little conflict, not knowing it’s just an illusion. I kind of hope they already know what’s going on and are just milking it for all its worth, ya know?

And… Espo can sing? …wow. Cool. 🙂

Agent_Carter_Series_LogoAgent Carter

“The Atomic Job”

Well that’s not an ominous title at all, is it?

Who can steal the corpse first? Who can steal the A-Bombs first?

It occurs to me that part of the thrill of Agent Carter is seeing Carter and a handful of friends with limited resources in the 1940’s dealing with exotic dangers the likes of which even our modern-day Shield agents, with all their superior technology, manpower, and scientific knowledge, would be hard-pressed to contain. Zero matter definitely qualifies as an “exotic danger.”

As does Whitney Frost, who is not only filled to the brim with zero matter, but is freaking nuts as well. Some of that is probably enhanced by the aforementioned extra-dimensional material of the void saturating her flesh and influencing her mind, but I don’t think she was particularly stable to begin with. She’s driven to obey it, finding that woman’s stolen corpse and absorbing the zero matter from within it, then immediately contriving to replicate the incident of its discover, complete with atomic bombs. Yeah, no way that could go wrong!

As both Frost and Wilkes describe the effects of the zero matter as something which calls them, something that wants something, I can’t help wondering if this stuff has some sort of intelligence directing it. That could certainly explain how both of its living vessels are alive instead of dead, if it purposefully refrained from killing them in order to infest them. Either way, it’s clearly something that endlessly consumes matter and energy.

Frost’s husband, Chadwick, isn’t sure what else to do besides go along with his terrifying wife. It is somewhat disturbing that she, not her Hydra husband, is the one with connections to the criminal underworld, and one who is also crazy, beating a man into a stain on the floor just for looking at Frost. How, exactly, did that relationship happen, I wonder? But I digress. Chadwick is very much afraid, and at the same time, he is serving his ambitions. Unfortunately, all he’s managed to do by the end of this episode is put himself in a most unenviable position. I almost pity him, being trapped between his wife, her mob boss friend, and the Council. “Almost” being a key word there. By the end of this episode’s fiasco, he’s decided to call the Council to an emergency meeting, and I doubt he’s interested in anything but saving his own scaly hide.

Meanwhile, Wilkes has made an interesting discovery. The sample of zero matter they still have is drawn towards the zero matter of his own form. When he absorbs it, he suddenly knows where a certain corpse is, and sends Carter and Jarvis after it. They’re just a little too late, but just in time to witness Frost absorbing the zero matter and talking about A-bombs. They figure out her plan, to make more zero matter by replicating the circumstances surrounding its discovery, and they know where she’ll go for them.

What follows is a hilarious escapade as the two sides compete to commit the burglary first. Not much comedy on Frost’s side, mind you, but plenty on Carter’s! Between Jarvis being afraid of spiders in the vent, Carter stealing Hugh Jones’ key (I believe I counted six zaps with the memory wiper?), recruiting Rose (who is highly capable and not to be trifled with) and Samberly (the lab guy, who turns out to be a regular first-generation Fitz!), and all the interplay between the characters (Sousa talking Jarvis through disarming two nukes while Samberly opens the door he accidentally locked while Carter and Rose take out the henchmen… hmmm, interesting reversal of typical gender roles, especially for that day and age), I couldn’t stop laughing!

And, awwww, Samberly’s sweet on Rose! Rose, you little vixen! 🙂

Speaking of sweetness, Sousa proposes to his nurse friend, Violet. It’s not as he planned, as the ring has gone missing, but they were so cute! I was very wary of Violet at first, but between saving Carter’s life and calling Sousa out on his feelings for Carter, I’m thinking I was being paranoid.

That whole life-saving thing would be because Carter went toe-to-toe with Frost, nearly got herself killed. She got away, but was at such an extreme disadvantage that this involved falling a number of feet onto concrete and re-bar. She’s out of commission for now, but she’s still alive and kicking, resting in bed. Frankly, I’m just hoping that her exposure to the zero matter, at Frost’s hands, didn’t have any lasting effects.

Oh, and also that Wilkes didn’t just get consumed by the zero matter and die. He was just comforting Carter at the end of the episode when he suddenly vanished, leaving her screaming his name.

Flash-TV-Show-Teaser-TrailerThe Flash

“Welcome to Earth-2”

So, Team Flash closes all the breaches. Then Barry and Cisco go to Earth-2 with Wells to find and rescue Jesse. Between the passage between universes and everything on this other Earth… there are so many interesting things!

Limitless. Easter Eggs.

Glimpse of Supergirl (really? Really? Puh-leeze!). Jonah Hex, soon to show up on Legends. A different Green Arrow. Legion Flight Ring. And a bit from a previous Flash show, which “Henry Allen” starred in as the Flash! 🙂 And that’s just in transit.

The Captain’s a criminal. Deadshot is alive, and a cop, and not a good shot. Iris is the detective (saw that one coming a mile away!). And she’s Barry’s wife. (huh, some things are constant across the multiverse…) Barry’s mom is alive,which isn’t just a gut punch, it’s a guts-tearing-out. Joe is a lounge club singer, and hates Barry.

Less Easer-Eggy and more plot-significant:

Zoom is the ruler of Central City. Cait is Killer Frost and Zoom’s minion. As is the Ronnie Raymond version of Firestorm, aka Deathstorm, who keeps Stein locked up inside. Oh, and Cisco’s double is also evil. And ambitious. And scary. And calls himself Reverb.

Needless to say, a lot of things are getting personal.

Wells is finally on the brink of rescuing his daughter. Small wonder he snaps at Cisco for wasting time looking for himself and worrying about Barry when he doesn’t come back.

Cisco gets a glimpse of the power he can command, such that he can put Killer Frost, of all people, in her place with only a warning. That is some serious mojo.

Just have to say, parading around as your double is a terrible idea. Not only did Barry put himself through the wringer needlessly, but he was there for Iris when her father died, depriving his double of that chance. Oh, and as Killer Frost and Deathstorm were only there to look for him, he is responsible for what happened to Joe. The mess snowballs and Cisco is dragged into it, and all while the clock is ticking until Zoom finds out about their incursion and kills Jesse as a result. So, no, not a good idea.

Iris, bent on revenge, goes after the metahumans, and it does not go well. Deadshot is badly hurt, and Barry is unable to fight both Reverb and Deathstorm. However, as Reverb and Deathstorm disobey Zoom’s orders, he summarily kills them both. Killer Frost is spared because she tried to stop them, to avoid Zoom’s wrath. She’s in shock by the loss of her boyfriend, and runs off, leaving him behind. And Zoom kidnaps Barry.

Well, they do find Jesse. By being captured. By someone who knows how to keep a speedster contained. Not ideal. Now it’s up to Cisco, Wells, and, likely, Iris to find and save the lot of them. They have one day left before their time limit to return runs out.

Though, considering how the speed cannon was destroyed by their departure, which they don’t know about, returning may not work so well anyway. Small detail, that.

And there’s a metahuman attack on Earth-1. When the Flash is not there.

That calls for confession time. Ah! So not only did Zoom steal a bit of Jay’s speed, but most of it was lost to his own use of Velocity-6. Kind of like most drugs, it takes you up (or makes you go faster, in this case) and then takes you down, eating away at your body, mind, and soul (like suppressing your speed and killing you, in this case). But, with Cait’s assistance, he’s able to make Velocity-7, a quick patch job so he can fight Earth-1’s Geomancer. …for about five seconds, before he collapses. Velocity-8 is in the works, but if Joe hadn’t been there to just shoot Geomancer, that would be a moot point.

So, for the moment, Earth-1 has not died. Now, a few questions:

How are they all going to get out of this? …oh, right, Cisco now has Reverb’s glasses, so he can vibe and find out where Barry and Jesse are. But what about after that?

If Hunter Zolomon is on Earth-1, then who is Zoom on Earth-2?

Who’s the guy in the mask, tapping on the glass?

What did Wally want with his dad before Geomancer attacked?

Arrow-logo-header-Season-4Arrow

“Sins of the Father”

No great wonder who this particular father is/ and what his sins are. It’s a very long list.

Though, bonus, we have two fathers to work with here! It should have been “Sins of the Fathers.”

Felicity is faced with the terrible truth of who her father really is. He reveals his identity as the Calculator to her, and in the same breath reveals his knowledge of her involvement with Team Arrow. He tries to worm his way into her life, spinning a few lies and half-truths, all to steal from Palmer Tech. That last gets revealed when Felicity tests him, letting him have unrestricted access for a few minutes. Her mother warned her, and she trusts her mother, but she’s verified it with her own eyes now. So, next time she sees him, she turns him into the cops. It’s an awful choice, and one that will weigh on her for quite some time, but it’s the right choice.

Could we ever expect anything else from Felicity?

A more complicated situation revolves around the contest between Nyssa and Merlyn, and the resulting civil war amongst the League.

Ollie does not react happily when Nyssa asks him to kill Merlyn. He tries to take the moral high ground, but in defending Merlyn’s life, there is precious little of that. However, he conceives a compromise, where Merlyn lives and surrenders the ring, the role of Ra’s al’Ghul, to Nyssa. Merlyn flat-out refuses, not believing Nyssa’s claims, but when her words are proven, he agrees to a meeting. Which, of course, was just so he could kill Nyssa and her followers and steal the Lotus.

Nyssa did drop the ball in not preparing more carefully for Merlyn’s betrayal, but Ollie, Laurel, and Digs get super props for aiding their escape. And to think that Merlyn tried to profess his love for Thea at that very moment. It’s sickening. He turned to murder after the death of his wife. He plotted for decades to murder people who had nothing with her death. By his actions, he killed Tommy, his own son. He beguiled and brainwashed his own daughter into killing her friend in order to force her brother to fight his battle for him! He’s a coward and a killer, quick to turn to violence, and, oh, yes, instead of making the exchange to save his daughter’s life, after everything he has done to her, he turns to violence again. And without considering the consequences! Like, “The elixir could be destroyed in the fighting.” Sheesh, in every possible way I can think of, he is entirely unworthy of being Ra’s!

He justifies himself by saying the League has been a force for change for centuries, and is very powerful, and does much good. Yeah, right. Have any example there, Merlyn? If the League is a force for “change,” then what changes have they made, hmmm? Even when they helped save Starling City, they did so only at Nyssa’s command and only for Sara, and it was not change. And let’s not forget how he’s helped Vandal Savage revive and reign destruction across the world within a couple centuries.

Still, I guess only time will tell if Merlyn was right or wrong about the League. If nothing else, I imagine they made the lives of several shadowy forces, like the Ghosts, very interesting. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

As the erupting League civil war is causing much collateral damage and leaving many civilian bystanders dead, Ollie is forced to find a final, third option. It involves a couple crazy ideas. As trying to take out the generals didn’t work, though he did snag Nyssa, he then councils Merlyn to challenge Nyssa to a trial by combat. In which he takes Nyssa’s place. And defeats Merlyn. And cuts off his hand instead of killing him. He gives the ring to Nyssa and takes the Lotus in return. The League bows to the new Ra’s.

For about five seconds.

Nyssa has been awakened to herself. Laurel helped her see that she was still prisoner to her father, and Ollie helped her see that she need not be so, when he defended her life. So she frees all of her father’s former-slaves. She disbands the League and destroys the ring, right in front of Merlyn’s eyes. Nyssa walks away, free and dignified.

While Merlyn rages at Ollie, promising to repay a debt that calls for something much worse than death.

There really are some people who, having met them as enemies, should not be spared when opportunity has ripened. It was for his sister’s sake, but even that can only extend so far.

So, even as Ollie suggests to Felicity that they get married pretty much right now, as the League is gone, Damien is quiet, and Thea is recovered (yay!), Merlyn goes straight to Damien and tells him about his illegitimate son, William.

No. Oh, no. I really don’t want my theory of William being the one in that grave to be true! Really!

Meanwhile, back in the past, Taiana reacts as one might expect, turning on Ollie and trying to bargain for her freedom. Reiter does not do things that way, taking the stone Shado gave Ollie in his vision, and forcing he to nurture Ollie back to health. He’s found a location, and now he means to dig to some sort of heaven. Ollie and Taiana manage to find a sort of balance again, as he reveals his own losses. So Taiana demands the world of him. He must become whole again, to be the man his father died to create, to find himself. Then he can free Tayana and all the rest from Reiter and the Shadowspire soldiers.

Uphill, both ways. Things going to pot.

Legends-of-Tomorrow-LogoLegends of Tomorrow

“White Knights”

You know, I’m actually becoming less impressed with Legends. I appreciate the “personal” quality of things, but they keep making tremendously stupid mistakes.

Why did they not just have Ray shrink down and steal the file from the Pentagon? No, instead they have a thievery that goes predictably awry, and at a time of severe international tensions, the final height of the Cold War, with both sides having their fingers hovering just above the button that launches nukes. At least the Pentagon apparently prefers to look the other way instead of risk reducing the world to ash. They don’t play so nicely in the USSR.

While the guys go out a-dealing with the present threat, Sara and Kendra are pushed together to train. They both need to control their blood-lusting ferocity, one by embracing it, the other by embracing her humanity. So, they train. An interesting take on girl time, and quite the way to address the friction between them.

Ray’s got moves. Not very good moves, but moves. But he doesn’t have the right moves to charm a Soviet scientist in Savage’s employ. Cold, however, does. Ray wears his heart on his sleeves, while Cold keeps his reserved for special occasions. Ray thinks this lady scientist doesn’t know what she’s doing and for whom, but Cold suspects otherwise. Ray has Cold waylay said scientist at her top secret facility before she can get herself killed, but that just reduces the mission to rubble. He has to abandon his own people, something which is squarely against his code, in order to escape with the bare-minimum objective, in no small part thanks to Ray’s softhearted nature.

Rip is approached by his old mentor, Time Master Druce (I think it was), who offers an olive branch. Rip is weighed down by his failures, his mistakes, and the offer to come home, to give up, always has a certain appeal to it. But as Heatwave knows, it’s a trap to kill them all. And as for the Firestorm duo of Jacks and Stein, they weigh the potential dangers of continuing with those of surrendering, and they’re not keen on dying. So they all err on the side of caution, knowing that an olive branch offered to quickly and easily, and by the organization that is resolved to stop them and has already demonstrated a severe lack of concern over who they kill in service to their ends, is likely a trap. And so it is, but they come out of it all right.

Still, Jacks gets badly hurt, and ever more friction is brought out in their unusual partnership. Stein is still devastated from the loss of Ronnie Raymond, so he pushes Jacks very hard in an effort to keep him alive. At the very least, he gets the chance to put his body where his mouth is. When Stein finds that Savage is trying to recreate his own Firestorm, he does not hesitate to put himself in the line of fire, even as Jacks tries to talk him down. As a result, Cold is able to escape with the goods, but Stein, Ray, and Heatwave are all captured.

For which, Cold is not happy, and neither are Jacks, Sara, and Kendra. Nor is Rip, but now, at least, they still have half the team free and able to liberate their comrades. From a Russian gulag.

Joy.

No Firestorm, no Atom, no Heatwave, no Carter. I’m sure everything will be just fine. With no complications or screw-ups whatsoever.

Right.

grimm_title_cardGrimm

“Star-Crossed”

Hang on, something just occurred to me… if Hadrian’s Wall is not the Resistance, then why and how did Meisner kill the king in last season’s finale?

…huh.

Lot of unknowns about HW. Nick and the others are aware of that, and suitably wary of signing up with them. They want to know more about HW, but as they are a super-secret organization fighting a secret war, fat chance of that happening. Trust is a powerful thing, and the HW is asking exactly that without offering much in return.

Still, they can’t afford to wait. Trubel and the others have identified one of Black Claw’s higher-ups, a nameless man who happens to be in certain cities just before bad things happen to people who are an inconvenience to Black Claw, not to mention innocent bystanders. This person of interest is in Portland, and while Trubel, Meisner, and Eve are able to raid a Black Claw hideout and capture one of them alive for interrogation, their still one step behind. The war is getting worse and they need all the help they can get, especially now HW knows one of Black Claw’s bigwigs is in town. So, it’s decision time for Nick and his friends, who are none too keen to jump in blind.

Rosalee and Munroe get a phone call from her old “friend.” She makes it clear she doesn’t want to hear from him again, and Munroe tries threatening him but the man hangs up first. Hmm, how much do you want to bet this fellow happens to be the Black Claw messenger that the HW is hunting? Maybe, maybe not. I’m leaning more towards “maybe.”

Nick, who can’t seem to open that mysterious door at the end of the secret tunnel beneath his house, finds himself dealing with a ritualistic serial killer in this episode. There’s a drought going, and some old, old ritual involves sacrificing seven regular humans to the Big Dipper, called the Plow in old Ireland, to bring back the rain. It’s been centuries since it was last performed, courtesy of the Grimms annihilating every last member of every last family which practiced it. Grimms have had a lot of innocent blood on their hands, but they did do some significant good. Three guesses how this ritual got revived.

Yep, Black Claw. They have a recruiter active in Portland, and he’s getting quite a zealous following. One of their followers, who has easy access to lumber, revives the old practice of human sacrifice. Wesenism at work, everybody.

Of course, the serial killer would overjoyed that his ritual seems to have worked, despite not having completed his final sacrifice. Which, even if he were right, would just mean he’d have committed a seventh murder unnecessarily, which would suggest that the other six were also unnecessary. Then again, he was the seventh body, but if his death and blood were all that was necessary, then why the elaborate ritual? Nope. Not buying it.

As a final note, yep, Renard is having intimate relations with that redhead who coached him through his endorsement. Something’s very fishy about her. She charmed her way in with him too easily, he didn’t seem thrilled to be alone with her last episode, and now she’s whispering in his ear about how great he is. I could be jumping at ghosts, but I really don’t trust her.

Oh, and Adalind, as a hexenbiest has an impressive knowledge of ancient rituals! Very cool! She helped him this episode!

Oh, and Trubel was so cute with the baby like that! Awww!

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