This Week on TV, Jan. 21, 2017

Spoiler Alert!

This week was fun! Gotham returned at last, combining personal drama with intrigue and the imminent threat of violence, as usual. Agents of Shield dropped an explosive revelation on us. Vampire Diaries provided a single, very small spark of hope amidst all the crap they’ve got going on. And Grimm brought the collision between Nick and Renard to a crescendo. Very fun!

gotham-logo-screencapGotham

3.12 “Ghosts”

And we’re back!

As has become the usual, we have three fronts in this episode: Bruce, Penguin, and Gordon.

Gordon’s front is obviously front and center. After killing Mario, which, indeed, Mario is dead, Gordon not only has a heartbroken Lee howling for his blood, but he has to watch his back with Zasz, dispatched by Falcone, coming after him. He wins the first round, and might have won the second, though Bullock might have been dead at that point, but it would never have stopped. Lee is only convinced of the danger Mario posed to her after she visits Barnes, who is madly declaring that he shall execute all the guilty in the city, starting with Gordon. Terrified, and realizing the truth, she’s not able to deny her own lingering feelings for Gordon, and begs Falcone to call off the hit. He does, just in time.

This is while Gordon and Bullock are investigating the case of a woman who temporarily came back from the dead. They follow the morgue attendant to find that he leads a cult of madness, dedicated to Jerome. Oh, and he used to work at Indian Hill. Three guesses what he’s after, but you’ll only need one: he means to bring Jerome back to life. They still have his body, preserved like Fish’s was.

Meanwhile on the Penguin front, Nygma has begun his war against his former friend. He wages a psychological attack, stealing his father’s remains, having the clay-faced Indian Hill inmate impersonate the man’s ghost, manipulating Penguin into killing his new chief of staff moments before going live on national television, where he proceeds to lose it in front of the entire country. His reputation is shattered, and the mess he made in the office is already cleaned up, leaving his sanity, what there ever was, failing. And that is only Nygma’s opening blow. He intends to demolish everything Penguin has, everything he is, reducing him to solitary agony, before finally killing him.

I doubt that will go so smoothly. It’s one reason I advocate getting things done quick and clean, so the beast you torment can’t turn around and bite your throat out.

Finally, on Bruce’s front, he and Alfred are wondering about this owl statue. They don’t see it, but it apparently reveals something when the light hits it just right. They get distracted from the mystery, though, by Selina and her mother. Selina’s mother is reaching out, and one can’t blame Selina for refusing her. But Bruce knows that, whatever the past, and whatever the risk, this could be the last chance Selina has to forgive her mother, or she’ll carry that weight around for the rest of her life. So, he helps them reconcile, which Selina is willing to after seeing the box of keepsakes, all to do with her, that her mother kept with her all these years. So, they have a moment of happiness, with both women picking Alfred’s pocket and everyone laughing, until they drop the girls off at her mother’s hotel. That’s where they find a man, out for money, it would seem, threatening them, and now off to go see and rob Bruce and Alfred.

Something suspicious there, of course. Not sure if Selina’s mother has any connection to the Court of Owls, but something about that man being so aggressive with her felt a little contrived. She could be conning them, of course, which is my first bet.

Something else, though. Who is Selina’s father?

Just a shot in the dark, based on how they can play with comic lore, and how it could come into play in the plot, but I’m guessing Selina’s father is… Carmine Falcone. Just think of it, he just lost his son, how would it be for him to suddenly gain a daughter, eh?

agentsofshieldseason3bannerAgents of Shield

4.10 “Patriot”

They say that to fool your enemies, you must first fool your friends. There may be some truth to that, but it’s ultimately foolish. Friends must trust each other, reveal and know each others’ strengths and weaknesses, all so they can rely on one another in a crisis. If your enemy sees through your deception, or just gets plain lucky, and strikes at your weakness while your friends continue to believe the lie, and thus rely on strength that isn’t actually there, then you and they are both at great risk.

Mace is not an Inhuman. The people behind the Patriot project, the US military, needed to create a substitute for Captain America, some enhanced individual to lead Shield. They simply used the Inhuman phenomenon as a cloak to hide the truth. Mace is an enhanced super soldier, and a highly imperfect one at that. His strength is temporary. It relies entirely on continued injections of some sort of cheap excuse for super serum, apparently based on the formula used by Daisy’s father back in season two.

Mace is a fake, a fraud.

Mace has always been saying that a team that trusts is a team that triumphs. But his team has been trusting in a lie, which very nearly got them, and him, killed.

This all comes to light when the Watch Dogs attempt to assassinate him. A simple sniper, in broad daylight, with agents everywhere, including Daisy. No way it would work, and it wasn’t meant to. The Dogs are clever, and use Shield’s own protocols against them. The know any such attempt would result in Mace getting whisked away in a jet, and they know where that jet will be going. Smells like they have someone on the inside, no?

Either way, it works. While Shield takes their sniper into custody, and then realizes they’ve lost their Director, the Dogs hit the jet, jamming communications, and laying a false trail for Shield to follow. The pilot and the PR guy, McAfferty and Burroughs, respectively (if I am spelling their names right), don’t survive the crash. Between them and the agent that the sniper took out getting into position, that’s three dead Shield agents in the Watch Dogs’ opening assault, and they get pretty close to taking out Mace. Burroughs had a case, one which he always keeps near Mace, and it went out the jet door with him. Mace’s serum was inside that case, and as Mace was just coming off the last dose of it, he was left weak as any other human, and not even very good in a fight.

Mack, Coulson, and Fitz-Simmons are all extremely irritated as they each learn the truth. Daisy’s reaction has not been shown, but I doubt she’s happy either.

So, while Coulson, Mack, and Mace struggle to survive, Daisy and May’s LMD double lead the search team, while Talbot, Fitz, and Simmons work on interrogating the sniper. He’s former KGB and former Hydra, so he doesn’t break easily. That is… not until they package Aida’s head, removed from her body last episode, as if it came from a real person, and pass if off as having belonged to “the last Hydra operative they captured.” Hah! Clever, scary, and it did the trick! He was very cooperative after that!

Daisy and LMD May come crashing onto the scene just in time. With the fraud revealed, Coulson decides to take the deception even further, to buy Mac some time at destroying the device the Dogs used to jam their distress call. Mace, displaying nerves of titanium, acts like he is still strong, and keeps the Dogs’ attention on him until Mac is done. Then Coulson jumps in front of him, using his shield, and everyone takes cover and exchanges fire. Mace and Coulson are ready to take their stand, when Daisy comes in, demolishing most of the Dogs, while LMD May goes and takes out their leader alongside Mac.

In the aftermath, Mace is deflated, while Coulson and Talbot argue about the situation. Mace confesses to Coulson that he’s even more a fraud than that. He didn’t actually shield that woman in Vienna. He was just trying to find the exit and tripped. He tried to deflect the praise, but the media just said he as being modest. His heroism and his strength are both lies forced on him by others. A sobering thought, that.

Mace says he’ll resign, and that is arguably the right thing to do. But, then again, maybe not. The fraud around Mace was crafted basically as a decision for the US Military and Shield to side decisively with the Inhumans. Mace truly believes they should have exactly the same rights and freedoms as anyone else, and he put his body where his mouth was. Having no real powers at all, he put a bulls-eye on his own back for their sake. He told the lie, told it well, and told it even when he had guns pointed at him. That’s not nothing. It may not be the best idea ever, but it’s not nothing. And I’m kind of hoping Daisy sees that he was ready to put himself between the Dogs and her people.

Coulson, however, doesn’t let Mace resign. Things are going to be different now, of course. In effect, Shield’s leadership will be a partnership between them. Mace will stay on as the public face, keep the title, defend Shield to the public, handle the politics, etc. Coulson, however, will be in charge of operations now. A good call, I’d say.

Also in the aftermath: LMD May notices she has metal beneath her skin. She doesn’t know she’s an LMD, but she knows she’s not human now.

Speaking of, Radcliffe and Aida 2.0 are having some difficulties. Not only is it difficult wielding an android with only computer language for a brain, but May regains consciousness, ripping her way out of the “calming” simulation she was trapped in. She’s a fighter, and Radcliffe overlooked that. Now, however, he realizes that keeping her docile in the real world means creating a scenario where she can keep fighting without actually escaping.

Also, while Simmons wants Fitz to lock away Aida’s head and forget about it, Fitz has already copied her data. He can look through it, slowly and carefully, and if he does so without Radcliffe realizing it, he can discover the truth about Aida’s maverick behavior and Radcliffe’s duplicity. Here’s hoping!

vampirediarieslogoThe Vampire Diaries

8.09 “The Simple Intimacy of the Near Touch”

Something has just occurred to me. If Cade gets all the wicked souls, or, at least, the souls that condemn themselves to Hell, whenever they die… then why did he want/need servants to go around killing people? He chose the siren sisters, and then he chose the Salvaores when Sybil offered them up as “two of history’s most prodigious killers.” And this enticed Cade. He wants more killing, and he wants Stefan, especially, to corrupt the innocent as well. Why?

I could see needing someone for the corruption bit, but why the killing, if he gets them all in the end anyway?

Does he just get hungry without a steady supply? But that doesn’t make sense, because people, good and bad alike, die in massive numbers every day. Could they get away from him if they live long enough to find redemption, forgive themselves, find peace, like Lexi did? She kept herself out of Cade’s grip, we know, so it’s possible, but still, surely enough people die anyway that some few who find peace would be a drop in the bucket to him… if they really do automatically come to him, that is.

…what if he doesn’t just get them, just because? What if they need to be “offered” somehow? Supernatural creatures, for instance, like with the Other Side. People who die violent deaths. People his servants, especially, kill for him. If there is some criteria that needs to be met, then Cade would want that criteria filled as much as possible, which would motivate him to use living people to send more victims his way.

Not sure how important that detail is, but it could easily come into play at some point. It might offer a potential weakness to exploit in Hell’s destruction, which I am waiting for someone on the show to think of.

But either way, I digress.

In this episode… I notice that we keep going back to the beginning of things. Last episode, it was the hundred witches. Before that, the first meeting between Stefan and Elena. This episode: Miss Mystic Falls.

Back in the sixth season, I think it was, we saw the moment when Elena first had feelings for Damon, when he did something moderately selfless for once. For Damon, who always wanted Elena, it was the pageant, when he saw she could feel attraction for him, and knew there might be some sort of chance. So, when Sybil calls Damon and Stefan back to Mystic Falls, looking for the iron ball she had him take from Matt’s father, it becomes a crucial moment where he can break free of her meddling in his subconscious.

Sheesh. Sworn to Cade, tied onto Sybil’s puppet strings, dealing with Stefan the Ripper again… Damon sure has it rough! Not nearly as rough as the people he’s brutally murdered, of course, but, not an idle life for him.

Sybil and Seline are both a bit frantic at this stage of the game. Sybil is trying to keep the Founders’ Bell from being assembled, and to that end, she wants the ball from Damon. Seline already has the bell, though Matt liberates it soon enough. When Bonnie and Enzo come back from Paris, they give the fork to the the Armory duo, and Dorian happily uses it on Seline, interrogating her. He believes her when she says she wants to kill Sybil with the bell, which it can do, but there’s more to it. He senses her manipulation, and she manages to convince him to work with her, for the moment, at least partially by revealing that the assembled bell (bell, fork, and ball) has a fourth component. Only one family can ring it: Matt’s. Which make him and his dad very important right now. If they die, no one can ring the bell.

So. If Seline can have someone use the bell to kill Sybil without dying herself in the process, and if she then kills Matt and his father, will there be anything left that can kill her? She’d get her payback on Sybil for cutting her out of the deal with Cade, and suddenly have “forever” to stay alive and well and out of Cade’s grip. How much do you want to bet that’s her real plan?

Bonnie and Enzo are mostly in the background, but their relationship has gone to a new level. In particular, he’s given her a necklace with some of his blood in it. Bonnie and Caroline think he hopes she’ll become a vampire, and they can truly have forever together. Bonnie and Enzo talk about it, and Bonnie makes herself clear: she doesn’t want to ever be a vampire, but she would, for him, if she only had herself to think about. But she doesn’t. She still has Elena to consider, and she won’t risk leaving her friend forever in magic slumber.

Enzo, for his part, accepts her decision, and makes himself clear, as the danger mounts, that he gave her his blood in a vial specifically so it might save her life if ever he can’t do it himself. He’s fine with having only her lifetime, though he does not look forward to anything after, but he’s not fine with her going into danger now that she’s no longer a witch. Which is fairly reasonable, I think, if also a bit overbearing at times.

Bonnie likes that. And she has an idea: what if Enzo took the cure and stopped being a vampire? They could have the rest of their lives together, then. I mean, it could get complicated, having to find Elena, drink her blood, grow old with Bonnie, then let Damon drink Enzo’s blood shortly before death, becoming human, in close timing with Bonnie’s death, so Elena could wake up and be with Damon, though why Elena would still want that after everything Damon has done, I do not know.

I can at least see why Caroline would still want to be with Stefan. They were friends for years, they care for each other, and Stefan, when he’s good, is one of the best of them. She’s also seen the worst of him… or at least she thought she had. She’s never seen him as a full-fledged ripper, and today was a relatively tame day for him. He tormented, he manipulated, he pushed his brother against Sybil to try and drive out the last humanizing influence of Elena, and, oh, he made to turn all the pageant contestants into vampires. He managed one before Caroline “killed” him, knowing he’d come back to life soon enough.

The girl, I don’t even know her name yet, takes us back yet again, to when Caroline first turned. Everything she’s done since, not all of it has been good. She has innocent blood on her hands too. Stefan has a point: vampirism is a one-way ticket to damnation. Not if Caroline has a say, though. She’s learned to deal, usually, and now her experience is turned, appropriately, towards helping the next generation. Of course, they don’t have a witch anymore, so there’s no way to make a daylight ring for her. Still, Caroline is determined to keep hope alive, even while Stefan, the inhumane ripper, and Damon are both drowning in despair.

Speaking of Damon, he finally manages to snap back towards his Sybil-free self. She pushes too hard, and he pushes back, letting Elena back in. He even lays her out with the iron ball and chains her up, a prisoner to be tormented. He manages to get right under skin within the first minute, but he also earns her special wrath: she reaches in one more time and shoves his humanity back in, overwhelming him and knocking him out.

That should be interesting! The worst Hell is a perfect knowledge of everything we’ve done wrong, so, unlike that idiotic Phoenix Stone that tries to teach the condemned these complicated lessons through the use of vivid scenarios, this will probably be more direct and much more agonizing. It might even be effective at getting Damon to get his act together, at long last.

grimm_title_cardGrimm

6.03 “Oh Captain, My Captain”

Nick and company are in hiding, with a police captain, soon to be the mayor, pursuing them by all available means. Renard is walking on air right now: vindicated for Rachel’s murder, free from keeping his word, poised to destroy his enemies and possess anything and everything he wants, including Adalind, whom he now has a position of superiority over.

Renard really should know, in the words of Indiana Jones, when you are only one step away from your treasure, that’s when the ground usually falls out from under your feet.

Nick gets a crazy idea. The only one who can give him and his friends what they want is Renard. So, he decides to impersonate Renard with that shape-shifting spell that Adalind used to impersonate Juliette and which Eve used to impersonate Renard. They need some of his hair, in particular, which Adalind manages to get to them through Munroe, also saving Munroe’s butt when Renard comes home, and keeping Renard busy long enough for Nick to implement his plan.

This happens while Renard is dealing with a blackmailer, a friend of Rachel’s who believes Renard killed her. He takes care of that easily enough, using a wesen officer to kill the man in exchange for promising him the soon-to-be-vacated position as captain of the precinct. With that done, he intends to go back to work, but Adalind keeps him busy with the one subject he can’t still brush off: Diana. That is one job he can’t just foist onto Adalind, so he’s locked into a discussion with her until Nick pulls off his plan.

The spell goes a bit haywire, possibly because Nick is a Grimm, possibly for other reasons as well. He doesn’t just appear to be Sean Renard, he becomes a full-on zauberbiest. It’s a bloody, painful process. And then he doesn’t change back when the spell wears off. He’s stuck as Renard. Which, considering it wore off while he was in Renard’s office, is a very good thing. Suddenly being Nick again would have been awkward, to say the least, especially right after he announces to the press, wearing Renard’s face, that he is abdicating the office of mayor because he can’t abandon his officers in their moment of need, right after the North Precinct massacre. He also clears his name and fully reinstates himself.

Renard is suddenly between a rock and a hard place. If he pushes on, Nick can undermine him completely, with the public seeing a man who always contradicts himself and might be insane enough to lock up. If he backs off, he loses the battle, but if he doesn’t, he loses the war. So he and Nick slug it out for awhile, evenly matched, before coming to terms. Renard is not the mayor, he is the captain, and everything goes back as it was before, including Hank and Wu being welcomed back to the precinct. They can’t trust each other anymore, but they can at least keep it down to a cold war. As for the kids, Nick will raise his son, and Renard will raise Diana. Renard lets Adalind go too, so they’ll have to share custody of Diana or something.

Nick returns to the spice shop, where everyone is working frantically to change him back to himself. Diana takes care of that, seeing through the disguise and getting angry at the lie, flinging him back, and returning him to normal. Adalind is so happy and relieved she hugs Nick right there. With Diana looking on. Angry.

…yeah. Houston? Problem. Big problem.

And one more: Renard gets home, and see Meisner again.

So either Meisner is the immortal leader of Black Claw, or Renard is hallucinating again, and has gone full-on insane. I’m not even sure which one of those is more plausible anymore. 😉

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