This Week on TV, Nov. 5, 2016

Spoiler Alert!

This week was fairly packed and eventful, wasn’t it? Once Upon a Time was the mildest, I think, and they wrapped up an old loose thread with Hook. Then Gotham delivered a solid episode with much feels. Agents of Shield introduced the agents to the supernatural in the middle of a mess of developing plots. Arrow may be getting its stride back again. And The Vampire Diaries proceeded to gut-punch us again. Wow. This was a good week.

Once-upon-time-logoOnce Upon a Time

6.05 “Dark Waters”

They rescued Archie! Yay! 🙂

This week’s featured tale: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea!

This version of Captain Nemo apparently likes to collect souls lost on the rough seas of revenge and give them something better to live for. Hook was one he attempted to collect, but he had already collected his half-brother, Liam the Younger, so things got very badly complicated very fast. Liam tried to kill Hook, but Nemo took the blow instead, and only survived when they achieved the Land of Untold Stories. Which means Nemo had a fatal knife wound for a very long time, which would just suck, ya know? Then Hyde took Nemo and brought him to Storybrooke, bringing Liam and the crew close behind, looking for revenge on Hook. Fortunately someone found Nemo in the woods – the man clearly has the constitution of a roach, simply refusing to die – and saved his life.

This comes right when the Queen tries turning Henry against Hook, revealing his possession of the shears. Henry took the shears to the sea, followed by Hook, where they were captured and had some time for a heart to heart before Hook shoved him out to save his life. Henry might be having teenage-boy issues with having a new father around the house, but he wants his mother to be happy and doesn’t intend to just let Hook die. He goes back, and his arrival at a crucial moment makes Liam hesitate, so Hook wins the fight and they all go to the hospital together. Everyone is reunited in peace.

While there, Hook comes clean to Emma about the shears and why he kept them, though his experience with Henry helped him decide to follow through and actually drop the shears in the ocean. Emma understands that, quite well. Heck, she wanted the shears gone because she was tempted by them, so she can’t blame Hook for being tempted as well. She went to the Underworld for him, so it’s perfectly reasonable that he would keep the shears for her. They understand, and they kiss. 🙂

You know, it’s kind of nice having heroes who don’t do the double-standard thing, ya know?

Emma shared the truth of her temptation with Aladdin as well. He was running away from the idea of helping Jasmine with Agrabbah, running from being the Savior or a savior. She shared how she ran away too, many times, but turned around and made things right. Inspired, Aladdin follows her example… and learns that Agrabbah is apparently not there anymore. It’s just… gone.

…well, that is more than a minor detail, isn’t it?

Finally, Belle is debating, for some reason, how much she should include Rumple in their son’s life. My answer would be “as little as possible.” But she wants, and hopes, for her son and Rumple to have something better than they’ve all had thus far. So she drops off one of the ultrasound pictures. What she doesn’t know, though, is that the Queen is seducing Rumple to her side at that very moment. She kisses him, and gives him the shears he so dearly wants, that he might take his family back. In exchange, she wants him to help her get Snow White’s heart.

…villains unite.

I kind of wish I could believe Rumple might not do this, but we have long since passed those days.

gotham-logo-screencapGotham

3.07 “Red Queen”

The Mad Hatter just can’t stop blaming everyone else for Alice’s death, can he? First he blamed Gordon, now he blames Gotham. So what does he do? He puts together a cocktail of Alice’s blood and a powerful, lethal hallucinogen. He gives the first dose to Gordon, and prepares to give more to the city’s elite at an annual dinner.

Penguin is in attendance at that dinner, and there he meets a familiar lady from the Court of Owls. Her name is Catherine, and she expresses to Penguin that the Court has had their eye on Penguin for some time. She leaves, though, leaving him wondering, but then the Hatter comes crashing in, with guns and glasses of poisoned wine. The elite are powerful people, but they all know that a bullet can and will kill them instantly, while the wine remains an unknown. Perhaps they could survive it, or perhaps not. Difficult choice, but they’re all lifting the glasses… when the GCPD arrives.

Barnes has had enough of indulging Gordon, and so has Bullock, so he’s off the investigation. No argument there, as they’ve been very patient with him, yet he didn’t trust them. But they manage quite well, chasing leads, getting information from interrogation, putting the pieces together. They arrive just in the nick of time to save the Hatter’s latest targets and toss him and the befuddled Tweeds into Arkham.

This despite Barnes’ advancing symptoms of Alice’s blood virus. That has him so rattled that he actually puts together his last will and testament. What a victory that is, getting the guy behind it all, but still knowing that what he did could be killing you.

Gordon, meanwhile, was trapped in a world of his nightmares, with Alice’s blood turning it into a journey of self-discovery. Down, down, down he goes, further into the darkness that he’s allowed to consume him. It’s cost him a lot, including Lee, Valerie, even the fledgling friendship he might have had with Mario, and his relationship with the GCPD. He’s done things he never thought he would, he blames himself for the ruin and bloodshed left in his wake, and he has left himself completely and utterly alone. Down he goes, into darkness, deeper and deeper and deeper… until finally, right there are the bottom, he finds a light, deep and abiding within him, inherited from his father.

After Mario saves him – and what was with that suspicious band-aid on his neck? – Gordon goes and finds his father’s old family ring. It has an engraving in Latin, which translates to, “While we breathe, we shall defend.” Humbled, and exalted towards a purpose, Gordon joins the GCPD one more time. Barnes welcomes him back with open arms. After being lost for so long, afraid and alone in the dark, Jim Gordon has come home.

This really was a very strong episode for Gordon. And how true it is, the way we sometimes lose our way, and only find our way back when we remember what we were taught as children.

But it seems there are still yet more secrets for him to learn, as Catherine is reporting about Penguin to another member of the Court, perhaps a superior, who wears the same ring, with the same etching. Now what could that mean? What is the connection between the Gordons and the Court? And what is this “judgment” that they were talking about?

Finally, we have two romantic entanglements developing in this episode.

I must admit, I thought Nygma might have conjured Isabella as a delusion. But she is real. And she is most definitely crazy. She spent twelve hours straight with Nygma at their first meeting, then agreed to dinner the next night. Then she learned he was in Arkham from Penguin, a would-be saboteur of the relationship, and she read up on Nygma, everything she could find, and still she went to him. Not logical, as Nygma says, but she says love is not logical. True, but love isn’t so blind as people make it out to be. She loves the tragic love stories, Romeo and Juliette, Othello and Desdemona, Antony and Cleopatra, all doomed, fatal affairs, people who died for love. Now she sees Nygma, who murdered his last girlfriend, and sees someone who measures up. She’s afraid of him, and loves him.

…I’m starting to wonder if the people behind Gotham just saw a golden opportunity to pair a crazy, murderous Edward with a crazy Bella, a’la Twilight, and couldn’t pass it up.

Meanwhile, Bruce spent all day in the kitchen preparing a feast for his first date with Selina. But she arrives terribly late, just as Alfred is about to start putting the food away. Bruce is feeling a bit hurt, and doesn’t let Selina off the hook until she tells him the truth, not just that she “got busy.” So she does: it’s a bit weird for her, this thing with Bruce. To which Bruce smiles and admits that it’s weird for him too. They’re two people, doing something they never have before, and they’re both a little afraid. That’s normal. They can be afraid together. That’s what couples do. 🙂

Oh, and then there’s how Valerie breaks up with Gordon, after he got her shot to save Lee, which Mario and Lee both know too, though Gordon tried to deny it, because he still loves Lee. Complicated love lives, they have.

agentsofshieldseason3bannerAgents of Shield

4.06 “Good Samaritan”

Wow.

This was an exciting week!

Mace apparently decided to preserve his poll numbers by giving in to Nadeer’s demands. What she wanted included, at the very least, Jemma Simmons. Now, maybe Mace thinks he can quickly and quietly clean up the mess, remove the blackmail leverage, and then retrieve Simmons, but either way, he just threw her under the bus. No great wonder what Nadeer wants with Simmons, though: she wants her Inhuman expertise in dealing with her brother, stuck in a terrigenesis cocoon. I wonder how that little family reunion will go. Hopefully not so well for the senator.

Meanwhile, Coulson’s team is scrambling to stop Lucy. As part of that, they send Daisy to pick up Gabe and bring him safely to Robbie. As Mace arrives shortly after Gabe and Daisy, the three of them hide, futilely, in the pod. Daisy gets to listen in as the brothers compare notes about the accident. They were just going to a race, featuring Robbie in their uncle’s car, to live life a little. But the Fifth Street Locos ambushed them, targeting the car without regard for who was inside. That, by the way, was supposed to be Eli. He was the intended target, due to his activities at work, but we’ll get that in a bit.

Gabe remembers the car overturning, he was trapped and couldn’t move, and saw Robbie, dead. Then “the good Samaritan” came along on a bike. Johnny Blaze, no doubt. He pulled Gabe from the car, then went over to Robbie and brought him back to life.

Robbie remembers when the car overturned, as he sent out a plea to anyone who might hear for Gabe’s life to be spared. Then he died. And he heard a voice, more or less asking him to swear himself to the cause of avenging the innocent, which he did. He woke up, and saw the Ghost Rider kneeling over him, and assumed, as many would, that it was the Devil himself.

And the rest is blood-stained history.

I have to really admire Gabe here. He really doesn’t compromise his soul, not once throughout this entire ordeal. He’s crippled, but he does not believe that’s worth killing people over. If Robbie has been killing in his name, then he sees that as a fouling of his name, as well he should. Robbie does not get to cast that blood onto him just because he got hurt.

Interesting detail: Robbie says he was not the one who burned the Locos after that. I imagine he’s telling the truth, and Johnny did that instead.

Unfortunately, the brotherly drama look to be fairly moot when Mace effortlessly figures out where they’re hiding. He’s not giving Coulson any quarter either, which is especially bad at this crucial moment. See, Eli and Lucy have managed to procure everything they need to repeat the experiment that turned her and her coworkers into ghosts, and do it right this time, too. Fitz is so close to finding them, but Mace is in a temper, so he’s delaying the op at a time when every second counts. Fortunately, the impending confrontation and imprisonment brings the Rider out of Robbie, and while the others are still trying to handle on what the Rider is, he breaks out of the pod.

Fitz, I’m afraid it is possible. Because you’re dealing with things that don’t conform to the rules as you know them. Ha ha. 🙂

Mace gets a royal beat down, stopped only when Gabe calls Robbie back to the driver’s seat of his own body. That incident gives Coulson some leverage with which to convince Mace to let them proceed with the op.

Unfortunately, it’s just too little, just a little too late.

Things seem to be going well enough. May and Coulson find the Darkhold, and Coulson has May take it and hide it. Mac and Fitz are unable to just turn the power off, but they come up with a plan to use the EMP they took from the Watch Dogs to shut it down by force, which would certainly work. Robbie meets Lucy, who confirms it was her husband that sent the Locos after Eli, hurting him and Gabe instead. Then, as Robbie tells Lucy that she’s going to pay for the innocents she’s hurt, she turns it around on him, saying Eli is the one responsible for all of this. That’s the last thing she gets out before Robbie toasts her, the last ghost.

Coulson learns the truth just an instant too late, when Eli locks himself in the chamber, saying he’s finally achieved what he’s been after for so long.

Back near the end of the original project, that was when Eli learned about the book. He learned it could enable a man to imitate a god, creating matter, complex compounds, even life. He acted like he opposed it, but really, he just wanted the power for himself. And that is why he became so excited when he finally got hold of the book last episode, not because of the book itself, but because he wanted it. He wanted the power so much that, without any hesitation or remorse, he fed his coworkers into the machine, into the boxes, sacrificing them to his mad obsession.

For all the darkness they were working with, Lucy and the others were dreaming of things like ending world hunger, but they trusted the wrong man. They never guessed the Judas in their midst until it was too late. He took each one by surprise, failing each time. Then he tried to get the book, but the man who had it had hidden it already, and refused to give up the location even as he was beaten straight into a coma.

And now the traitor has returned, triumphant. Lucy intended to kill him once she was back to normal, but Robbie the Ghost Rider terminated that plan.

Which left no one to keep Eli out of the chamber, Coulson also being caught by surprise. The experiment finally reached its culmination.

A great and brilliant flash of strange energy, and stillness. Fitz, vanished. Coulson, vanished. Robbie, evidently vanished as well. The facility left empty just as May and Mac and a team of agents come swooping back in. Empty and silent.

Except for Eli, stepping out, and creating solid carbon out of thin air.

Cliffhanger.

Arrow-logo-header-Season-4Arrow

5.05 “Human Target”

Digs is back with the team! Yay! 🙂

And none too soon, it would seem!

With the kidnapping of Renee, the conflict with Tobias Church rises to a crescendo. Ollie and the team conduct a few none-too-gentle interrogations until someone gives up Church’s general location, near the docks. They get there a little too late, but pick up Church’s trail. After torturing Renee for information, Church has him digging his own grave, which, clearly the torture was not so brutal as it seemed, if he has the strength to do that, but that’s an aside. Ollie gets there in time to save him, and Renee was clever enough to use Church’s confidence against him, get a picture of the overall scheme: Church wants to build the biggest drug network ever seen in North America, using Star City’s docks for shipping in and out of the country.

Also good, Renee’s rescue gives him the chance to warn Ollie that he cracked under the torture and revealed his civilian identity to Church. Church’s interest in that is how he needs the Green Arrow gone if he wants to bring his plans together, but Prometheus won’t let him kill the Green Arrow, so he’ll kill Oliver Queen instead.

The advance warning is enough to make the difference, as Digs calls in an old friend of his, a master of disguise called the human target. He takes the bullets meant for Ollie, and survives. And, as a bonus, he channels Ollie’s personality to get Susan Williams to back off for about a month, and also to blackmail a member of the town council, a hypocrite who condemns crony capitalism while participating in it (…must… not… make… joke… about political affiliation…) thus getting the city to move forward with an affordable housing initiative.

Having avoided Ollie’s death, the team is able to let Church move forward, and then spring a trap on him. Small detail: they need to know Church’s plans first. For that, Digs has to take Renee on a little trip into his memories, so he can use something he overheard to tell where and when they need to strike. It’s a pretty powerful moment for both of these characters: Digs acting as the mentor figure, Renee learning to confront his many mistakes rather than wallow in them. It works well enough, and the entire team, Digs and the human target included, attack Church’s little drug-running summit, bringing down Church, his goons, several crime family heads from other cities, and at least one masked villain who they didn’t even bother identifying by name.

Now that is what we call a victory. 🙂

Ollie is able to come back from the dead, Team Arrow snagged a big win, and Church is on his way to jail.

Another detail, though: Prometheus. All those honest officers, which are getting fewer and fewer in number, were cut down like wheat. He went straight through the lot of them. And Church, trying to bargain for his life, revealed Ollie’s identity as the Green Arrow. It didn’t help his case, though. Prometheus killed him anyway. And if Prometheus didn’t know Ollie’s identity already, which he might have but it’s not commented on, he certainly does now. Not good. Not good at all.

Elsewhere, Billy Malone has been promoted to the ACU, which makes Felicity feel a bit awkward. But Ollie is happy for her, and wants her to be happy. Felicity’s real issue is that she doesn’t know if it’s “real,” and Ollie encourages her to find out. Of course there’s still their past romance, and that won’t ever be forgotten, but I’m hoping this means the permanent and irreversible end of Olicity. Seriously, I never liked that coupling.

And back in the flashbacks, Ollie is welcomed into the Bratva, only for one of the higher ups to try and have him killed. He’s spared due the intervention of the human target, at Anatoly’s direction. It would seem that Ollie has gotten himself unwittingly embroiled directly in the heart of some sort of conflict within the Bratva.

Oh, and back in the present, Susan uncovers Ollie’s past in Russia, disrupting the story of him being on the island for five years straight. That is very dangerous knowledge in the hands of a most unfriendly reporter, whom Ollie has barely a month to bring over to his side, and even if he does, she might run with it anyway for the sake of the ratings. Not good. Very not good. As if someone trying to kill Ollie weren’t bad enough, now there’s Susan, in a prime position and of prime temperament to ruin his good name.

vampirediarieslogoThe Vampire Diaries

8.03 “You Decided I Was Worth Saving”

I hate Sybil more and more with each mental violation she commits. First she enslaves Damon and Enzo, then she erases Elena from Damon’s memories, and now she overwrites his better memories with Bonnie. Oh, I hate that woman!

And that’s before we get to the meat of this episode!

Sybil has some sort of plan afoot, but in the short term, she simply can’t stand having any man exist who can be anything but her absolute slave. And it’s not just Enzo, but Damon too, not really giving his all to kill Bonnie when ordered to. So she concocts an elaborate setup, where she pits Damon and Enzo against each other, in order to force Bonnie to choose to save one of them. In the emotional twister that follows, Stefan tries to save both of them, but especially Damon, while Caroline tries to save Enzo for Bonnie. But they both get taken out, and Damon has Enzo on the ropes, when Bonnie chooses Enzo. So Sybil calls Damon off, but only so she can leverage Bonnie against Enzo, threatening to kill Enzo herself while Damon kills Bonnie… unless Enzo turns off his humanity switch and becomes hers completely. He concedes.

And Sybil, as expected, does not hold up her end of the bargain. Enzo turned it off in the hopes that Bonnie could bring him back, but Sybil won’t take that chance, and now that Enzo won’t protect her, Sybil is free to tie off that loose end. She has Damon do it, and Bonnie can only run so far before he catches up to her.

Fortunately, Alaric figured out how the fork thing works. It’s a tuning fork, and it makes a sound the cripples Sybil with pain. Interestingly, it also hurts his daughters. Hmmm. There may be something significant there. I mean, it didn’t hurt the vampires, only the siren and the little siphon girls.

So they lock Sybil up, and now they have Enzo too. Damon leaves, though they could and should have stopped him. Sybil’s not done with him yet. She’s just barely gotten started. Even imprisoned as she is, she still has a mental link to him, and she directs him to sever the ties to the people trying to save him, force them to give up. And how does a pair of homicidal maniacs go about persuading anyone of anything? By leaving bodies in their wake.

Enter Tyler Lockwood.

Haven’t seen him in awhile, and no idea what he’s been up to. But he tries to use the moment, the moment when Damon is there to kill him, to try and save him. It doesn’t work. The episode ends with Damon drinking him dry.

That’s the second old friend to die within the same number of episodes. I know they’re wrapping up the series, but, come on! Is this a pattern, now? Who’s next to come back and die? Matt? Jeremy? I know everybody dies on this show, but are they really going to have everyone else die too?

Heck of a Day One for Stefan and Caroline’s engagement.

Oh, and Georgie has officially found out about supernatural creatures being real. That should be an interesting conversation she has with Alaric.

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