This Week on TV, Apr. 23, 2016

Spoiler Alert!

We had some good ones and we had some less-good ones this week! No Arrow, apparently. Once Upon a Time felt fairly weak, but far weaker were The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. But Castle, Gotham, Agents of Shield, and Grimm were all pretty good in my opinion!

And, of course, most of these are now thrusting the action and suspense towards the heights of their season finales! 🙂 Just a couple more weeks, and the fireworks will erupt in the usual frenzy of conclusion! 😀 It’s going to be a bit sad, having several months without this running commentary of mine, especially when you just know that some of these shows will leave us with intolerable cliffhangers! I say that with my eye on Grimm and Castle, especially. But I digress. The point is: Spoilers lie ahead! 😀

Once-upon-time-logoOnce Upon a Time

“Ruby Slippers”

Ok, seriously, they’re not even trying with their love stories anymore. Hercules and Meg meet, die, spend half a century in the Underworld, meet again, triumph, head off to Olympus. We have Hades and Zelena, who fall for each other, whatever Zelena’s resistance to it, within a single bike ride. And now we have Dorothy and Red meeting and falling into true love within moments.

…you know, when Snow and Charming met, they had an entire adventure together first before they started really liking each other. Emma’s romances with Neal and Hook were much longer and more involved as well. As was Regina’s thing with Robin. And Rumple and Belle. But this season? It’s all rush, rush, rush! They need to learn to take their time again! You know my favorite arc of the show? Neverland. They spent, like, two entire seasons building up to it, and it was magnificent! Then they started this nonsense dividing the seasons into two arcs each, introducing new villains and heroes and such and having to craft some brief, quick explanations of things that happen just because. The entire show has suffered for that, and the love stories of late are no exception to this rule.

Red came down to the Underworld looking for Zelena, who has the silver slippers she took from Dorothy when she cast a sleeping curse on her. They got the slippers and Red went back to give true love’s kiss to Dorothy, and then dropped Snow off back in Storybrooke.

That was a very good and well-done part of this episode, when Charming and Hook were sharing the burden of this entire adventure. Snow and Charming have been away from their son for too long, and now Snow fears their son and home could be in danger, so she means to send Charming home with Red. However, the men create an alternate plan, taking advantage of how Hades enchanted his hook to carve names into those tombstones. Charming takes Snow’s place and sends her home instead.

Now that is being a proper male role model! 🙂

Hades gets nastier and nastier. He turns Dorothy’s Auntie Em into water and adds her to the River of Lost Souls just so he can cow the rest of his subjects and do harm to someone Zelena hates. Of course, Red is able to go and save Dorothy herself, so we can still point and laugh, but, still… having seen Mila, Gaston, and now Auntie Em get added to that River, I’m thinking the heroes need to find a way to free everyone trapped within it. Hades seems to get stronger with each new soul swallowed by those waters, so I’m guessing freeing them will severely weaken him to the point of helplessness. If they can manage that, they win the day.

And who better to figure that out, and free Mila, than the Dark One who killed her and put her in it in the first place? He’s certainly got the incentive. Once Belle panics in realization that Hades could speed up her pregnancy and take her baby any time he likes, Zelena gives her a sleeping curse. She gives Rumple some clear instructions, involving saving everyone, fixing everything, and taking her to her father to get a true love’s kiss, as Emma and Regina each once gave to Henry.

castle titleCastle

“Backstabber”

Oooh! A Hayley-centric episode! Cooool!

Hayley just helped an old friend on a freelancing job, and suddenly things went very, very wrong. Her partner was found dead the next morning, and her old friend told her to cut and run. She nearly did, but Alexis’ timely arrival interrupted her, and instead of running, she stood her ground and fought for the life she’s been making since her debut in the series.

It looked like someone was setting her up as a patsy for several murders, a power outage in London, and the theft of twenty millions dollars, half of which showed up her bank account. The truth was so much more tragic than that.

She once had a partner, and they were fiercely loyal to each other. But a mission went sideways when they were escaping, and the higher ups left him behind to die. He was tortured and tortured and tortured until he finally made his escape. All he had to cling to was a ridiculous plan he and Hayley fantasized about, where they’d retire with ten million each. He put that plan into motion, and got his revenge on those who betrayed him, and even set Hayley up so 1) he’d know she wouldn’t capitulate to the authorities and 2) she’d be on the run with him. Basically, he’d gone mad. He went so mad that when Hayley tried to bring him to justice, he made to kill her. She was only saved by her friends’ arrival, and then she had to stop him… even though that meant killing him.

That, right there, is what they call, “Hell.” The passage through which may often be required to achieve Heaven. Hayley’s place on Castle has been pretty tenuous, but now, I’d say, she’s actually managed to make her niche among the team fairly solid. She’s put down roots. She has a home now.

Over on the main cast side of things, they kind of just opened a door for Beckett to leave. Castle restored an old motorcycle of hers, and is encouraging her to go on a road trip across the country, like she’s always wanted. It’s a very good gift, but it bums me out that Stana Katic is apparently leaving the show. How can you possibly have Castle without Beckett? It’s like Watson without Holmes, only even more so! They are married! How, exactly, are they writing her out? They better not be killing her off!

gotham-logo-screencapGotham

“Pinewood”

And at last, mysteries are solved, and knowledge is revealed.

Barbara helps Gordon find and interrogate the Lady, by taking him captive and just getting the Lady to talk. She names the man who ordered the hit on the Waynes “the Philosopher.” While Gordon is glad for the help, he still can’t forgive Barbara for trying to kill Thompkins, which drives her, weeping, to Tabitha and Butch.

Meanwhile, Bruce – who is already going into all-night detective mode while Alfred tries to keep him fed – and Alfred find an old friend of his father’s, a woman named Karen Jennings. She knows something about “Pinewood,” which seems to be a Wayne Enterprises exercise in experimentation, a’la Indian Hill. When they find her, she has a bird’s limb for a hand. Freaky. And oh so familiar.

She’s hesitant at first, reluctant, but she eventually spills everything: Thomas Wayne started Pinewood to help people, but the man in charge, the Philosopher, took advantage of him and turned it into a house of nightmares. Wayne shut it down and helped the survivors. He was like a father to Karen for years, until he got wind that things had started up again and came to talk to her about it. But the Philosopher had him and his wife killed before he could interfere again.

That last, they manage to figure out with Gordon’s help. He helps them break Karen out of custody after she’s arrested, which earns them some enmity from the GCPD. Unfortunately, they were intercepted by Mr. Freeze before they got far. His survival is revealed to Gordon, which tells me Strange did not think through the ramifications of sending him after Karen. To protect them, Karen simply lets herself be killed. Thomas saved her, so she died protecting his son.

However, with the assembled information, Lucius is able to obtain a picture, and Gordon names Strange as the Philosopher. Seeing him look like a friends beside his father just makes Bruce even angrier. There’s a reason why we deal harshly with traitors and envision them in the deepest circle of Hell, and that is, quite simply, because human civilization and relationships are based upon trust. To betray a trust is to go against everything that makes humanity function as a species, and we do not take kindly to that.

Still, though they know who their enemy is, Strange is in a very strong position straddling the public world of Arkham Asylum and the hidden domain of Indian Hill, with connections galore running throughout Wayne Enterprises.

Oh, and he’s succeeded in reanimating Galavan’s corpse. He comes back, a raving madman of tremendous physical strength, shouting the name Azrael.

agentsofshieldseason3bannerAgents of Shield

“The Team”

The rescue went far faster than I expected. Daisy and Lincoln just rounded up Joey and Elena, literally dropped in on the enemy base, stormed through it, and rescued everyone in the nick of time. Bonus: they even grabbed Malick on the way out.

Not bonus: one of them got infected by It.

Now, at last, they’ve started calling It, “Hive.” Which is a relief for me because capitalizing “It” so often can be fairly confusing for a writer. “No, that one’s capitalized… no, wait, maybe It’s… er, it’s not… or is it It after all… uh… can I just commit seppuku?” 😛

Malick informs Coulson of his daughter’s death and how he’s learned the true nature of the Hive: it doesn’t care about them, and even takes pleasure in their pain. He wasn’t serving a god, he was serving a devil. How appropriate for the God of Hydra: uncaring, traitorous, sadistic, ravenous, compulsory, evil.

Warned of the Hive’s ability to infect and sway Inhumans, Coulson tries to handle things quietly. If there were some sort of obvious cue, then they could neutralize the double agent without breaking their friends’ trust. But that backfired, big time. Instead, is just made things worse. It would have been better, I think, to face the problem head-on. Yeah, it involves tipping his hand, his knowledge, which is reflexively repellant to a master of spies, but it may have gone much better if the Inhumans weren’t left questioning everything on their own, having to create their own explanations.

At the beginning of this episode, Joey came to help his friends in their time of need, Elena did the same and obviously she and Mack have a thing for each other, Lincoln had a place, Daisy was a strong leader, and the team was whole. By the end, everyone distrusted and blamed everyone else. The breaking of a trust is a serious wound to the mind, heart, and soul, such that it can make people physically sick. Joey doesn’t want to be in Shield anymore, and Elena is cold towards Mack. Lincoln gets billed as a patsy and locked up, and… of all things, Daisy was the one infected. She threw Lincoln under the bus by framing him, stole the artifact and the terrigen crystals, and walked out of the base, using an earthquake to bury it behind her.

There’s a reason the Inhumans needed normal humans to help them defeat the Hive. The normal humans may have been fodder, but the Hive could not control them as it could the Inhumans. That partnership, also, involves trust. Trust was broken, and there’s no guarantees of reforging it, though one can hope.

Shield and the Inhumans are all buried… and, it occurs to me, is Lash down there with them? If he is and he gets loose, there are three other Inhumans there for him to kill, and he will. They can’t stop him, not alone and not even all three of them together. But you know who can stop him? A small army of human agents devoted to protecting them. I think that might restore some bonds, wouldn’t it? I mean, hey, things only got so bad because the Inhumans felt betrayed right after saving their human friends, so, why not put things right by having the humans save them in return?

Flash-TV-Show-Teaser-TrailerThe Flash

“Versus Zoom”

It started out pretty satisfying, and then it all went to crap.

With a tachyon enhancer flooding his cells with Speed Force, Barry can move much faster, as fast or faster than Zoom, even. So now they have a weapon. They just need to open a Breach and Barry can fight Zoom on even ground for once.

Cisco’s powers are in order to deal with that. Though Wells staunchly opposes this now that he and his daughter are finally safe, he eventually decides to help, to give Barry the best chance against Zoom. So he modifies the goggles and Cisco’s able to open the cosmic can of worms again.

Before they do that, though, they get some intel from Cait about his double being named Hunter Zolomon. That gives Wells the info he needs for them to actually tailor their strategy to the enemy: his world’s Hunter Zolomon is a serial killer. His father killed his mother in front of him when he was a boy, and he grew up in the system. Then he killed at least twenty-three people, was committed, and was being exposed to electroshock therapy when the particle accelerator exploded and he became his world’s speedster.

The combination of technology and the trap works brilliantly, and Barry is able to literally push Zoom around. But, unfortunately, he went half-measures, using only one restraint, whereas I would have used, like, a dozen. He gets loose, kidnaps Wally just as the boy is moving in with his father and Barry, and holds him captive. The ransom: Barry’s speed.

Barry chooses to yield. As Zoom gloats about his grand plans, how he used a time remnant of himself to pose as Jay Garrick, and refuses to tell them who the masked captive is, Barry simply relents and gives him his speed. Instead of, say, doing anything at all to fight Zoom once Wally was returned, they just give the unholy terror of a serial killer the power of two speedsters all at once. And he promptly holds Barry by the neck, then kidnaps Caitlin.

…have I mentioned this one started out strong and then went to crap? Come on! Zoom has given us every indication that he is heartless, yet he apparently had something with Cait after all? They craft a brilliant strategy to stop him, yet don’t finish the job properly, and don’t try and stop him from gaining Barry’s speed. The great mystery surrounding Zoom and Jay and such… really didn’t feel very satisfying, ya know?

Now, there are two things of promise. One is how Zoom escaped the trap when he seemed to lose cogency to fear, and then a darkness took him over, like it possessed him out of nowhere. It seemed foreign in some way and turned his eyes black. It smells like there might be something big and important there.

Then there’s the masked captive. I still think it’s the real Jay Garrick, the one who inspired the fake Jay’s choice of name. I no longer have any clue how that might work but… for lack of other options, I call that one the most likely, and Barry needs to rescue him.

…first thing’s first, however: getting his speed back.

Legends-of-Tomorrow-LogoLegends of Tomorrow

“Last Refuge”

“The Pilgrim, the Time Masters’ single deadliest assassin who completes the mission by targeting her targets’ helpless younger selves, is after us! We must selectively find each and every moment where she will target our younger selves, defeat her, and grab our younger selves to take them onto a time ship to keep them safe! And when that gets too complicated, we’ll just abduct our baby selves!”

…or, having just gotten the drop on the Pilgrim on her very first target, and having hit her straight in the face/chest with a solid light beam, and having her outnumbered and outgunned, perhaps you could just grab the Pilgrim herself, quick and clean and simple and intelligent?

…or when they saved younger Sara and Heatwave fireballed her?

…or when they sent her out a window?

nah!

Good grief, I know I said I’d hang in with this show until its first season finale at least, but this is freaking ridiculous!

I will admit, that exchange between the younger Lances was hilarious, but even Sara Lance has only so much ability to draw me in and make me sit through an hour of what gets to be increasing moronic idiocy.

Though, I will admit, the Pilgrim does seem impressive in a way. Ray easily defeated her when she targeted Heatwave, but then she went toe to toe with Sara and held her own, and then she held Firestorm at bay. And then she held all of them at bay… except, of course, she overlooked and underestimated the little one, Rip Hunter’s younger self. And then she was reduced to ashes.

Lots of high stakes, lots of complications, lots of drama, lots of things-go-bad, lots of everything being personal in some way (did anyone else find it weird that Ray and Kendra got engaged while Anna was literally in the next room?), blah blah blah. But it does bring things to a head, again, going into the finale, where they hope to finally kill Vandal Savage, for the last time, by challenging him directly at the height of his power.

…or they could just go back where they know he was and… ugh, I can’t even bother anymore.

One more week! One more episode! I can last that long!

grimm_title_cardGrimm

“Good to the Bone”

And I thought the insect wesen were brutal! Mind you, I think they still take the cake, but a carrion wesen that runs people over twice to pulverize their insides, then draw them out through the mouth while they’re still alive?

…you know, with the horrific things we storytellers dream up, it’s a wonder we aren’t all committed.

I have a hard time feeling for the victim, considering he was a drunk, a drunk driver, and kept being a drunk driver despite having a “vehicular manslaughter charge” to his credit, which is the technical way of saying he killed someone by driving drunk. A human being is dead because he wanted to have a good time. And still he kept driving drunk. To Hell with such people, I say.

All the same, it’s not mine to pass judgment, not mine to do harm. As poetic as it was for him to be run over twice, vehicular manslaughter and all, having his bones pulled straight out of him sounds like a particularly agonizing way to go, which… yeah, quick and clean, that’s my thing.

And, in typical Grimm style, they gave us more than one victim, at least one of which we could feel for. He might have been a drunk pothead, but I didn’t see any evidence he ever hurt anyone, and he helped the cops too, when they were investigating the first victim’s death. And I note they showed us less of his death than the first one.

I also don’t feel much for the killer. Yeah, it’s his parents he’s keeping alive like this, but there have got to be better ways to get bones. If there isn’t… well, the hard truth is, sometimes, no matter what you are trying to preserve… the price is just too high. Not only in human life, but in one’s humanity as well. And that’s without how much he resents taking care of them.

Then again, I do feel for him in at least one way: his parents used him, completely, eating him up from the inside in a metaphorical way, and then they did so literally after he died.

Wu’s progression into a lycanthrope continues. He woke up pulling globs of hair out of his throat, so I’m thinking he’s made at least one kill so far. We can only hope it’s not human, but the way he semi-woged and went after a dog like that, I’m thinking there aren’t any good options for where it came from. It’s clearly affecting him more and more. Something needs to be done about that. Like, say, if Wu were to simply tell his friends what’s going on.

Communication is rather lacking these days. Adalind hasn’t told Nick about her reversion to being a hexenbiest, though she has apparently been trying to work up the nerve. She also finally revealed that Renard contacted her, said the Resistance had Diana. No longer, though, which Eve seems to be finding out now. Black Claw got her and apparently killed whoever was keeping her. Nick tells Adalind about Renard’s connection to Black Claw, advising her to tell him if Renard contacts her again. He does, and she doesn’t tell Nick, and goes to meet him, leaving Kelly with Rosalee for the moment, and he promptly abducts her and takes her to Diana. Mother and daughter, reunited at last.

Now, with the season finale coming up in a couple week’s I have to wonder… just what is going to happen?

We have Eve acting like Juliette in defense of Nick, which may not be entirely good. We have Adalind back to her old hexen-self, but not the old version of herself just yet. We have Wu turning into a werewolf. We have secrets and mysteries abounding. We have Black Claw on the cusp of a great victory in Portland. And we have Diana returning, being reunited with her parents. Lots happening.

Oh, and, it’s been more than fifty episodes, and now they bring back Hank’s potential wesen love interest? Good grief! Still, they seem to do well enough for a first date after her prolonged absence. We shall see what we shall see. I am a touch suspicious, but that’s more because trust is in spare supply these days than out of any real reason to distrust her.

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