This Week on TV, Nov. 19, 2016

Spoiler Alert!

I didn’t realize until this week that someone, somewhere apparently decided not to just have Agents of Shield skip election week, but to make it skip three weeks in a row. That might be better than, say, skipping every other week, but still! What the heck?! Four weeks, basically an entire month, just waiting for a cliffhanger’s resolution. Come on!

Ah, well, life continues.

As for what did happen this week… we had a miniature confrontation between heroes and villains in Once Upon a Time, a thickening plot in Gotham, another masked man joined the ranks on Arrow, with a surprise at the end, and we had further gut-punches on Vampire Diaries.

Not much is going to happen this upcoming week, I believe, what with Thanksgiving and all, but we certainly have quite a bit to look forward to next week! 🙂

Once-upon-time-logoOnce Upon a Time

6.08 “I’ll Be Your Mirror”

The Storybrooke crew is officially in trouble.

Snow and Charming are cursed, and though they are determined to endure, they are still suffering terribly. I can’t think of much worse than being so close to the one you love, yet unable to interact in any way. They can’t talk to each other except through written notes. They can’t hear each others’ voice. They can’t look into each others’ eyes, even for a moment. They can’t hug, or kiss with passion, or anything else that pretty much every couple can normally do.

And still they manage to work together. Even forced apart, they can still hold on to each other. It’s both inspiring and heart-breaking, ya know? It is amazing how often those two straits coincide, to quote Captain Jack Sparrow.

With Snow and Charming firmly down for the count, it falls to Emma and Regina to take on the Queen. At this point, Regina’s ready to sacrifice herself if that’s what it takes, and Emma only talks her out of it by sharing how she’s only able to face her impending doom because she knows, if she falls, Henry will still have his adopted mother. For Henry, the two mothers are willing to do almost anything.

Speaking of, it is time for Henry to take his fair young girlfriend, Violet, to a dance. He’s having some doubts, though, because she seems to be losing interest in him. Really, she’s just having a difficult time adjusting to life in Storybrooke, including high school. Where does she fit in? With jocks or nerds or what? Henry is not only relieved when he learns she still likes him, but he’s pretty awesome when he listens to her and reassures her. Heh, I love how he takes a lesson from Sixteen Candles! Not that I know anything about taking life lessons from our entertainment. 😉

Before that, though, Henry and his mothers have a Queen to deal with. Regina’s plan to trap the Queen in the mirrors, as she once did to Sidney Glass, backfires perfectly. The Queen is the more devious of them, so she saw that idea a mile away and took the mirror Regina enchanted, sending her and Emma into the mirror world instead. Then she impersonated Regina to get close to Henry – exactly how she thought to explain away Emma’s absence long-term is anyone’s guess, but long-term strategy is not evil’s greatest strength anyway – but didn’t fool him for very long. Not only was she dismissive of Violet, and she apparently had this idea where she could turn Henry into a prince/king under her guidance, but when she commented on his posture, that’s when Henry saw through her.

In the mirror world, Emma and Regina were trying everything they could think of, but it wasn’t working. Then they met the Dragon – ah, so that’s where the Queen put him after ripping out his heart – and he showed them a back door he’d found. Sidney had been crafting it, putting a shattered mirror together to create a means of escape, which the heroes could not use, once they finished it. Unfortunately, the Queen still has the Dragon’s heart, and with Henry not falling for her tricks, she reverted to her backup plan: darken Henry’s heart, just a little at first, by making him do something terrible to save his mothers. She commanded the Dragon, who is, in fact, a dragon, to kill Emma and Regina. They were clever, but they had no magic, and were basically helpless.

The only way Regina thought Henry could save them was to smash the Dragon’s heart with the Hammer of Hephaestus. Henry, however, smashed the mirror instead, which the Dragon’s fire-breath then hit on the other side, expelling the women back into Storybrooke. Oh, and Henry snatched the Dragon’s heart during the confusion. Yay! The good guys survive!

Wonderful thing about being a good guy: you have people who will help and protect you no matter what. Villains don’t have that. They have alliances of convenience only. That’s the difference between Regina and the Queen: the Queen has to bargain and trick and coerce others into helping her, while Regina has friends and family who help her out of love. And that is the answer to the old question, “Is it better to be feared or loved?” It is better to be loved by your people, for then they will go above and beyond for you. Fear is only useful when dealing with your enemies. The Queen does not understand this, and that is why she is, ultimately, alone.

Elsewhere in this episode, Belle and Zelena are actually working together to get out of Storybrooke. Zelena can manage it with a certain wand we’ve seen before, but Rumple has it in his shop, so they have to steal it from him. Meaning, they need Aladdin, overriding Jasmine’s objections, to break in and get it, which he does. Rumple was aware of him, but wanted to see who he was stealing for, and then he confronted the two women and took the wand back. Belle is still determined to leave, and she warns Rumple that she will succeed. Zelena’s posturing was much more convincing, what with the whole deal they made where he can’t kill her, but he is the master of loopholes, so he just demands that the Queen kill her instead.

…well, that has to be awkward for her, doesn’t it?

Now, we can be reasonably certain that Regina would not kill Zelena, but we have no such assurances about the Queen. Still, Hyde ironically turned out to be the better half of Jekyll, so it’s possible that the Queen won’t do it. She might come up with some way around it. She wants to keep her family, or at least Henry. But, then again… she is the side of Regina that has so much blood on her hands. Who can say what she’s going to do?

Lastly, an interesting note: Aladdin has the lamp now, stolen from Rumple. And it’s familiar to him, and to Jasmine. He says his “old pal has moved on,” and he’s happy for the genie’s freedom. I wonder, are they talking about Sidney, or a genie from the spin-off, or what? Either way, there’s still someone in this lamp right now, and they’re hopeful that whoever it is can help them find and save Agrabah. Whoo! Good guys ruled in this episode!

One more last thing: I can’t help but notice that the Dragon is the third dragon we’ve seen, the other two being Maleficent and her daughter Lily. So I can’t help but wonder… who is Lily’s father? And where is Lily anyway?

gotham-logo-screencapGotham

3.09 “The Executioner”

So, Ivy makes her official comeback. Her exterior may have changed into that of a voluptuous woman, but she’s still a teenager inside. It’s kind of hilarious to see this fine woman with so many gaps in her knowledge. She’s still so giddy about how guys will come up to her and be nice and give her stuff, which she takes and leaves them with nothing in return. She also has very low estimates for high-values. When she said, “One thousand dollars,” I couldn’t help but flash back to Dr. Evil in Austin Powers. (“One million dollars!” Pinky-to-mouth gesture) She may have grown, but she still has much to learn! She is still a genius when it comes to plants, though, and she’s fashioned a prototype perfume that puts people under her sway, for a moment at least.

Ivy’s return comes on the heels of a clumsy theft, one where she stole a large, green jewel that someone really wants back. She goes to Selina, who calls Bruce, and while they’re adjusting to the new Ivy, goons with crossbows come crashing in. Not the usual weapon of choice for thugs, but it would be quieter than a gun, wouldn’t it? After escaping, Bruce decides to buy the amulet off Ivy and return it to its previous owner, but when they get there, the man is dead, courtesy of an arrow through the eye. Ivy and Selina are justifiably scared, while Bruce ponders what this jewel is, until Selina literally tosses it, and it breaks. It was made of glass, and it held a key inside.

So now they have more mystery to solve, and how much do you want to bet it’ll take them right back to the Court of Owls?

Oh, and Bruce and Selina are having issues as a teenaged couple, of course. Heh! Always amusing!

Oh, and Selina kept the news article about Bruce’s parents, which the goons find. So now they know where to look for our intrepid young heroes, and it’ll look like they never stopped investigating the Owls, not that they Owls ever intended to keep their word anyway, so, same difference, I guess.

Elsewhere, Nygma is shattered by the news of Isabella’s death, just as Penguin guessed he would be. She was absolutely crazy, and they only knew each other briefly, but Nygma was hers and she was his. So when Penguin tells him needs to heal and move on, so soon after her death, Nygma decides to go to where she died, to say good-bye. While there, his suspicions become aroused, and a blind, homeless man tells him he heard her screaming for help. Nygma investigates the car, and finds the brake lines were cut. Knowing the GCPD should have caught something like that, no matter how inept they can sometimes be, he guesses that they must have been paid off by someone with power and influence. He’s right, and he gets pretty close to the mark, but he’s wrong about the motive. He thinks her murder was meant to hurt him, so he doesn’t see any motive for Penguin to kill her. No, he assumes it’s Butch, in retaliation for their last encounter.

Penguin, having gotten his competition out of the way, now has a convenient scapegoat too. He’s riding on top of the world right now, complete with a painting of himself as mayor, and he included Nygma in the background. And with Nygma now out for Butch’s blood, Penguin is able to express solidarity, that they will find Butch and make him pay.

The poetry: Butch was exposed for what he did do, and coerced to do what he would not have done, and now he’s on the hook for something he did not do.

The question now is how, exactly, will Nygma learn the truth?

Finally, in center stage, we have Gordon vs. Barnes. The prodigal returns just in time to see the angel’s fall.

Gordon believes the murderer-doctor’s last words, and he’s felt something about Barnes has been off lately, but he doesn’t have proof. He shares his suspicions with Barnes, who doesn’t believe it, but they investigate, looking, first and foremost, for the truth. But Barnes is no longer of a mind to turn himself in. Quite the contrary, he’s stepping things up, hanging three criminals, shooting another, and trying to recruit Gordon to his cause. Gordon refuses, and puts it together: Barnes was infected with Alice’s virus.

Unfortunately, that comes after Barnes has him at gunpoint. It’s only serendipity that someone else interrupts, giving Gordon a chance to escape, and flee for dear life while calling Bullock for help. Barnes was one step ahead, though, calling in the entire GCPD, framing Gordon for the latest murder. Bullock has no chance, and no choice, but to play a desperate card: asking Lee for help in convincing the rest of the cops about Barnes’ infection. It works, but Gordon still has to stay alive long enough for help to reach him.

This was a very pointed confrontation between Barnes and Gordon, I have to say. It wasn’t just Gordon facing down an enemy, it was him facing down the darkness within himself, a darkness he once fell to, and it cost him dearly. Even just the regret for his mistakes nearly killed Gordon. But now he’s back on his feet, and can only hope to save Barnes as well.

Even so, even taking Barnes in alive, the cost is still high: the GCPD has just lost another captain, barely a year after losing the last one. Now one of their most valiant warriors is strapped up in Arkham, screaming “Guilty” over and over.

Arrow-logo-header-Season-4Arrow

5.07 “Vigilante”

Dagnabbit! I was right about Adrian Chase having some extra-legal activities, but I was so far off when I thought he was Prometheus! In my defense, I know next to nothing about the character Vigilante. I only know I liked him in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. 🙂

This version looks decidedly more dangerous and lethal! Just where did he get all that hardware, I wonder?

Vigilante makes his debut in Arrow by slaughtering the members of two gangs as they haggle the price of some poor, drugged-up woman in chains. The woman, he unchains and lets go. The gangsters, he kills. Then he takes out part of a bank robbing crew, which, unless they have homicides under their belt, seems a bit extreme to me. And then he goes after his intended target with single-minded focus, and doesn’t do anything to prevent innocent lives being lost in the crossfire. Collateral damage, he calls them. Thing is, for what he’s trying to accomplish, collateral damage is simply unacceptable.

Even when I can’t really argue with his choice of victims – I am thinking of the human traffickers, here – I have to admit: simply slaughtering people doesn’t accomplish that much. There will always be someone else, a new gang, new criminals, someone looking to take advantage, etc. The more people you kill, the further you push them to extremes. This might be a war, as he says, but it’s not one with any clear end in sight. It’s not against a single enemy force, but many, so many, and there will always be another one. You can’t kill them all. You can’t just tear them down and think that will stop it. You have to build something up, something that can repel the enemy without you. A single man cannot save the world alone.

These are lessons that Ollie has learned, over the years. Absolutes are not always absolute. That’s a lesson he learned back in Russia, from Kovar. He got his latest quest from Taiana, but now he finds that Taiana’s mother, Kalina, is a florist, working for Kovar with a smile. Then he learns that the man he killed for the Bratva, he killed so they could take his business. Now the Bratva also have a black market website under their control too. Oh, and they’ve made a deal with Kovar now, ending hostilities in a mutually-beneficial exchange. They’ve been using Ollie, a fact which is made clear when the boss Bratva shows up and refers to their deal. But he also protects Ollie’s life. The Bratva may be using him, but that doesn’t mean they just abandon him.

Truth may be inflexible, but our perspective of it can be quite fluid.

Ollie knows Vigilante’s bloody approach is directly because what he has been doing has not worked. Things have just gotten worse and worse, no matter how hard he’s fought and who he’s defeated. Vigilante wants to get the job done, and in his misguided zealotry, he is willing to leave the bodies of guilty and innocent alike in his wake.

Faced with that, Ollie has to ask himself some questions. He’s doubting himself and his approach. But then he finds some reassurance from a most unusual source: Susan Williams, the reporter who’s been crucifying him in the media, and who has a juicy piece of information on him. She invites him out for a drink, and we see a different side of her. I can’t help but fear that she’s being her usual manipulative self, but she tells Ollie something she doesn’t have to: that he’s all the city has, so whatever he does, he needs to keep doing it the right way. I wonder if she’s simply using a change of tactics, trying to get close to Ollie emotionally, seducing him in a way, in order to find out his secrets. That sounds right up her alley, doesn’t it?

Either way, Ollie gets his nerve back and faces Vigilante head-on, nearly taking him down… until he tries to take the mask off and some rather explosive security measures prevent that from happening. Vigilante has lost the first round, but he’s out there, and not about to stop.

The team, it should be noted, had some doubts about going against Vigilante, just as Ollie himself did. Taking down criminals, putting a number of them in the ground, fighting for the city… wouldn’t that put them on the same side? True, they might do similar things for similar reasons, but the team has a line they don’t cross, and Vigilane doesn’t. It was the “collateral damage” that convinced them.

Elsewhere, Lance turns in his resignation, which he knows Thea will try to talk him out of, and when she stops by, he tells her not only how badly he feels about lying to her so much, but, more to the point, he tells her about his blackouts, lost time, and waking up wounded with blood on his hands and a throwing star by his side. So, either he’s gone nuts and is Prometheus, or Prometheus is targeting him.

Either way, Thea gets him into rehab, where he can get off the booze and deal with his grief.

And she tells Ollie pretty quickly about Lance’s situation. The realization there is that, if Prometheus is targeting Lance, then he must know Ollie is the Green Arrow.

The episode ends with Evelyn meeting with Prometheus, revealing she’s his double agent.

what?! Seriously? Does she really still blame Ollie for her parents’ deaths so much that she signed up to be Prometheus’ insider? Come on!

EDIT: One happy, tender moment I completely forgot to mention:

Digs, being a fugitive, was unable to go to his son’s birthday party, giving rise an anger that ate at him throughout the episode. So Renee and Lyla arranged for some birthday celebrations to come to him instead! 😀 Awwww! I love when our characters can be happy!

vampirediarieslogoThe Vampire Diaries

8.05 “Coming Home Was a Mistake”

Things regularly go to crap on this show, and they really went to crap in this episode.

The gang gathers to give Tyler a funeral, everyone heartbroken, when Damon shows up and threatens them all. Then he goes to see Sybil, behaving rather emotionally, and she sends him off to see what his humanity will gain him if he lets it break through. Stefan nearly manages to get through to him that time, but Damon goes off and only gets put down by Caroline, with a number of vervaine shots in his back. And so Damon is chained up in a coffin, nice and out of the way, until the gang can deal with the sirens.

Which is much easier said than done.

Matt inherits something from Tyler: a quest. Shockingly, he was actually tracking Seline, had her picture and everything. He was helping Virginia with that, apparently, though what happened to Virginia between that and when she tried to kill the twins, I have no idea. It makes less and less sense the more I think about it. Did Sybil send her, or did Seline, or was she somehow just crazy? Matt certainly has quite a mess on his hands, and his dad can only do so much to help him stand up under the weight of it all. Still, he does.

Meanwhile, with Alaric preoccupied with mourning Tyler, researching the sirens, and tormenting Sybil, Seline has the twins all to herself. She takes them to the carnival, gets them a dead goldfish for a prize despite not winning at the competition, and begins teaching them magic. Perversely, they set fire to the little goldfish’s pyre, which sets fire to Georgie’s pyre. Based on that and the girls’ drawings, it seems Seline’s plan is, at least partially, to steal them from their parents, make them hers and Cade’s.

It’s only chance that Matt is able to recognize Seline in one of Caroline’s pictures of her children. Now, me, knowing that there was someone like Seline with the kids, I’d take the entire crew with me back home. As is, though, Alaric and Caroline rush home… just a little too late. Seline is gone. And she’s taken their daughters.

Bonus: leaving Georgie’s burnt remains to be discovered indirectly draws Alaric’s intern, also the unwitting guard manning the Armory, away from his post. Meaning Sybil is left free of torment long enough to break out, take the pitch fork, their only weapon against her and Seline, and then she goes and frees Damon, who has now chosen evil.

The gang took two steps forward, and now they’ve been shoved five steps back.

About the only really good thing to happen today, outside a truly touching memorial for Tyler that brought tears to my eyes, is Bonnie’s success with Enzo. Enzo couldn’t just be tortured into turning his humanity back on, but Caroline provided some insight, that she was brought back when she was forced to face her worst and deepest fears. So Bonnie lit the cabin on fire and stayed with Enzo while it burned around them, determined not to leave him, not ever.

That did the trick. Enzo has come back, and this time I can actually see a place for him with the rest of the gang. Never saw that in previous seasons, ya know?

Speaking about that memorial for a moment, though… it was different from others that they’ve had in this show. For one thing, the person they are mourning is definitely and absolutely dead this time, not likely to be seen again. For another, they are not at all present for the memorial themselves, as Bonnie and Alaric both were for theirs. And what they said, so simple and brief, was to the point, and captured who Tyler Lockwood was, and what strength they take from his memory. It really was sad, and beautiful, and powerful.

So, they have six members of the gang left, not counting Jeremy, wherever he is, and they are facing Seline, who has Lizzie and Josie, as well as Sybil and Damon, and Cade somewhere behind all of them.

I’m calling it: they need to destroy “Hell.”

They need to undo it, like the Other Side was, free everyone trapped within, and thus remove the source of Cade’s power. That is how they can take him down, once and for all, ending his reign of terror and ending the sirens, and ending Damon’s motivation to be evil. Not that he doesn’t deserve Hell, mind you, but it would certainly make it easier to deal with him if what he’s fighting to keep out of isn’t there anymore and he has no one else pulling his strings.

…so how, exactly, do they do this? How do they undo Hell?

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