This week was… interesting. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes not.
Gotham brought back a fan-favorite villain, and plunged the city into black madness. Agents of Shield delivered majorly, knocking the agents back in a resounding defeat. Arrow finally returned, but may have just gone irretrievably off the deep end. Vampire Diaries kicked things up another notch. And Grimm, for being in its last stretch, seems to be taking its time bringing things to a slow boil.
All in all, a fun week, but with some disappointments.
3.13 “Smile Like You Mean It”
…there are some moments where the only appropriate response is, “…oh s***!”
The end of this episode counts as one of those moments.
Dwight’s little Jerome cult is apparently not so small, and has people everywhere. They easily steal Jerome’s corpse, and Dwight tries to bring him back to life. He doesn’t appear to have immediately succeeded, so he takes Jerome’s face and wears it like a mask to rally his cult, and narrowly avoid getting lynched by them. He tells them that they are all Jerome, in spirit, and can do whatever they like. Then he leads them into a news station to broadcast the message to the whole city, and fiery chaos sprouts up, dotting the city.
But Dwight is a pale shadow of Jerome. A pretender, and a pretty pathetic one at that. His cult might scare the city and frustrate Gordon and Bullock, and even drive Lee towards a certain ruthlessness – in part due to her grieving Mario and the strained relationship she has with Gordon, who now feels overprotective of her life and her soul – but they still take them down pretty easily, and after that it’s just a matter of putting out the fires, metaphorical and literal.
Unfortunately, Jerome wakes up. He was just a little slower to rise than others who were brought back from the dead. He kills a cop and takes his uniform, and gets information out of Lee, who manages to remain pretty calm and composed as she faces the most delightful of madmen. I wonder exactly what it is that makes us love certain insane villains so much, but whatever it is, Jerome’s got it. He’s the very epitome of his kind.
He steals Dwight from the cops, broadcasts a message of his return, and blows up both Dwight and the power station.
I believe that may give new definition to coming back with a bang.
“There are no rules in the dark,” he says. And turns the lights off. At night.
Dwight lit a few candles of chaos across the city. This will sweep the whole city in a flood, an eruption, of chaos in every corner.
And while all of that is going on, Penguin is losing his mind and his empire. He falls straight into Nygma’s next trap, which is to quickly convince him that his abysmal performance on national television has instantaneously convinced all five families to rebel. He nearly saw through it, which was just another part of the trap, but then they made it seem like Nygma himself was kidnapped, and Penguin’s reason went straight out the window. Not that there was much left, as he’s been going mad over the supposed ghost of his father and moping over Nygma like a teenaged girl – in fairness, this is his first time falling in love with someone – and now he goes mad, destroying his own criminal kingdom. What few bridges are left to him, he’s burning, and isolating himself in the process.
It’s the ultimate way to destroy a kingdom: turn the king himself against it. Soon he’ll have no more loyal subjects left to defend him.
And now, Nygma’s piece de resistance: he’s luring Penguin to Cain Chemicals. Penguin thinks he’s rescuing Nygma, but he’s unwittingly walking into a showdown, completely unprepared.
All of which is just adding to the chaos of a city gone mad.
Finally, Bruce, Alfred, and Selina are divided on what they should do, faced with the extortionist threatening Maria Kyle. Selina believes it’s a mistake to pay him off, and she’s right. To Bruce, though, it’s just money, which he has an overabundance of. But then, predictably, it turns out Maria and said extortionist were running a scam together. She only ever came back to use her own daughter to get a payday. That is just petty and disgusting.
It’s hard to say what hits Selina harder: her mother’s new betrayal, or Bruce’s. Probably Bruce’s. He knew Maria was conning them, and didn’t say anything. He paid off her partner, hoping to keep Maria around, for Selina’s sake. But he was still dishonest, and he hurt Selina badly with this. Oh, and Selina partially blames Bruce for her pain, as it was her relationship with him that drew her mother back to Gotham in the first place.
Very messy situation, that, though it somewhat pales in comparison to the city-wide chaos.
4.11 “Wake Up”
I. Hate. Radcliffe.
He’s not just betrayed Shield now, he’s fully defected to their enemies. They gave him every chance, and he’s turned against them. And, even worse, he’s thrown May into her own personal Hell, then caged her in the illusion that she’s finally free of it.
It was pretty obvious that, when May was “escaping,” it was just a simulation. But when she got to the end and was sent back to the beginning, she didn’t falter for a second. She kept fighting. But then Radcliffe got another idea: he took her back to Bahrain, the worst moment of her life… and made it seem like she won. Like she saved the child she had to kill. In the illusion, the child is safe and Andrew Garner is alive. She’s trapped in the lie she’s desperately wished was true.
Low blow, Radcliffe. Low blow.
In the real world, the agents are scheming to get a line on the Watch Dogs by spying on Senator Nadeer. Small detail: this will be a direct violation of the Sokovia Accords. Further proof of how calamitous the Accords are, since you need UN approval spy on someone, and you need to spy on someone to gather the evidence to get UN approval to spy on them. It perfectly protects the enemy.
Talbot points out how bad of an idea this is, but Coulson, who has now effectively turned Mace into a figurehead, overrules him and moves ahead with the op. While Mace and Daisy endure Nadeer’s agenda-driven interrogation in public, Coulson and Yo-Yo sneak into Nadeer’s office to plant some bugs. But they walk into a trap and get caught, putting all of Shield under a microscope and at risk. The agents realize there’s a leak on their side, but the damage is done.
Talbot is rather justifiably angry. He’s become Shield’s greatest ally, and it’s brought him nothing but trouble. He’s been ignored and overruled at every turn, with Coulson going off to do whatever he likes at every turn. And now he’s the first one Coulson suspects of being the leak. That would insult any man’s honor. The bridge between him and Coulson is burning now, and Coulson fails to douse the fire.
Oh, I really hope we’re not witnessing Talbot turning against Shield now. Coulson has kinda treated him like crap, honestly, despite how he’s pulled through time and time again, but I really hope Talbot can stay true to his honor through all of this. It would suck if he went to wrong side now.
The upside is, they find the leak pretty quickly.
As Fitz and Simmons argue about Fitz refusing to stop investigating why Aida turned on them, LMD May realizes that she’s been Radcliffe’s eyes and ears. She confronts him, and learns the truth, including how she is programmed to neither hurt him nor reveal the truth to Coulson. The other agents come swarming in soon after, and they arrest Radcliffe… or, they think they do. Fitz figures out he’s another LMD.
The real Radcliffe is with Nadeer and the Dogs, offering them the LMD technology and all the high-level intel they could want from LMD May in exchange for protecting him from Shield. They’d be fools not to take him up on that.
So now the Watch Dogs have publicly exposed Shield’s illicit deeds, brought an investigation down on them, vindicated their most public sponsor, gained sole ownership of a powerful new technology, and they have a mole right in the heart of Shield. All in one day.
Yeah. The Dogs definitely won this round.
Finally, we learned a bit about Mack. He was going to be in a support role earlier, but had to take an impromptu personal day. Yo-Yo was a little off-put by that, and Coulson advised her to simply ask Mack about it. She misinterpreted at first, when he said his ex called and he answered, but he’s not the sort to be unfaithful like that. No, he went to his ex because… they had a baby daughter named Hope, and she died mere days after being born. Come that time of year, Hope’s birthday, his ex has a rough time, as does he, so he helps her through it.
The Ghost Rider was certainly right: Mack does have a lot of pain.
Fortunately, he has Yo-Yo now.
Though, to end on, I have to say… I’m not really loving how Shield’s later time slot has encouraged them to be a bit more… ummm… a bit racier with their content. Yes, we know, Daisy, Aida, Yo-Yo, the women of the show have sexy bodies. We don’t need to be shown them to know that so explicitly. We have perfectly functioning eyeballs and libidos. Shield was fine without all that, ya know? They didn’t need to add that in.
5.10 “Who Are You?”
Ya know… I’m kinda pissed at the people behind Arrow now.
I mean, first they bring in Sara as the Canary. Then they turn Laurel into the Black Canary. Then they have Evelyn try to take the mantel for an episode after Laurel is killed. THEN they bring Black Siren in to tease us with her obvious connection to Lauren. And NOW, halfway through this season, they’re bringing in some other woman, completely independent of all the previous canaries, to be the next Black Canary? Come on! Make up your minds, people!
Although, considering the usual romantic connection between Green Arrow and Black Canary, will this new woman be Ollie’s ultimate love interest? …hmmm.
Anyway, so, this episode saw the guest appearance of Laurel’s Earth-2 doppelganger, the Black Siren, whose abilities much more resemble those of the genuine Black Canary from the comics than did any of the Canaries before her. She shows up, claiming to be their Laurel, saved through the magic of time travel and medical technology by Sara and the Legends.
Speaking of, apparently Prometheus even knows about the Legends. That seems like a bit much for him to know about, but whatever.
Whatever game Prometheus is playing, it doesn’t last very long. Felicity throws a party to welcome “Laurel” back, even while they still mourn Billy Malone. But the party was just a ruse to collect her DNA and see if she was who she said she was. Then Felicity realized this was Siren, not Laurel, and Siren kicked their butts. Without killing them.
Ok, I admit, he old Laurel wasn’t so inspiring, and became less so as the series progressed, but now they’ve dampened down Black Siren to something that Prometheus can threaten and Team Arrow won’t simply be killed by. Seriously, she nearly demolished the Flash with ease, and now she’s only a minor threat? No! Just… no!
And they made it look as if she could have become Team Arrow’s ally! She could have been the next Black Canary, and better than the first! But no, they hobbled her development, kept her a villain, and had her easily defeated.
And Felicity really needs to stop taking command behind Ollie’s back. If she can’t follow orders once they are given, then she needs to leave the team, plain and simple.
Curtis had a miniature arc, dealing with Paul leaving him and how he keeps getting his butt kicked, but Rene, of all people, helps him bounce back and builds him up again. He’s not helpless, but he’s not a fighter, not really. He’s a tinkerer, in the vein of Cisco, and a hacker, in the vein of Felicity. Still, as personal as this was for Curtis… I dunno, it just didn’t seem to be done very well. Sort of like the first season on Legends of Tomorrow, where everything was personal, but campy.
DC has really failed to make their CW lineup anything remotely resembling “varied.”
Diggle is arrested, and knows he’s on the verge of being killed if he’s turned over to the military, but he’s still determined to fight the trumped-up charges with everything he’s got. A surprising ally in this fight is Adrian Chase, who pulls every legal trick he’s got, and finds them lacking. So he has Diggle punch him in the face, giving him a pretext to keep Digs in Star City, out of military custody. Narrow thing, but it works, for the moment.
Finally, back in the past, Ollie is getting beaten down by his Bratva captain, the one who made a deal with Kovar and now wants to break Ollie to his will. It does not go as he wants. The beat-down is crashed by none other than Talia al’Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s.
So, it would seem that “woman in Russia” Ollie mentioned, who oversaw the last leg of his journey towards become the Hood at the beginning of the show, was none other than than she.
8.10 “Nostalgia’s a Bitch”
Right, so, Caroline dropped the ball with the newbie vamp, Violet. She dropped it big time. She should have kept Violet right there next to her, helping her through the first stages of vampirism. Instead, she went to moping over Stefan, letting Violet go off, kill people, and get killed by Stefan, one more offering to Cade. And that’s just the beginning of this episode.
Matt has the absolute right of things. So many innocent people die, and still everyone runs around trying to save Stefan and Damon, the mass-killing Salvatore Brothers. Matt himself did that back when he turned on the Huntress, and look how that turned out. Sybil turned Damon’s humanity on, and Damon is frying in his own brain specifically because of his own sins, so Bonnie and Caroline automatically try and save him. Compassionate, yes, but not exactly smart at this point. Heck, stepping into Damon’s brain, we are once against taken back to the beginning of the series with the appearance of Vicki Donovan, Matt’s own sister, who Damon killed and turned into a vampire for fun.
I’m with Matt and his dad on this one: let Damon suffer.
Damon would seem to agree, actually. The inside of his mind is a version of Mystic Falls where he died back in the Civil War, and the town is left in tranquil peace. …well, mostly, because vampires still exist and the Founders’ Council still fights them on behalf of the town. Unfortunately, that means Damon’s subconscious can bring the memory of Caroline’s own mother to its defense.
But Bonnie and Caroline have to try and save Damon anyway. They make a deal with Sybil, who wants the Maxwell Bell in exchange. Stefan, on orders from Cade, wants to get Damon on his feet, helping out with the work of offering people to Cade. So it looks like my theory that Cade can’t just claim people himself might be right. So while Bonne and Caroline are looking for Damon inside his own head, Stefan goes to get the bell, where he meets Seline, who is ready to make a counter-offer. It’s a manipulation showdown between the siren sisters!
And the odds actually favor Seline, not Sybil. See, she wants the bell to be used, to kill Sybil. But, small detail, it also kills everyone else with hellfire. Cade’s Hell is just a psychic imprint of the moment he died, burned at the stake, which means it’s all fire. The bell disrupts the signal, cracks the barrier between Hell and the mortal world, which spews fire everywhere, and everyone in the area dies. Which explains why the Founders did not want the bell rung, and burned a hundred witches at the stake for trying, and outcast the Maxwell family for nearly killing them all.
What all that means right now: a couple thousand souls, aka all of Mystic Falls, sent straight to Cade, regardless of whether they deserve it or not, in exchange for Stefan betraying Sybil.
…that’s a pretty fat offer, I’d say, for someone like Stefan, and he takes her up on it. He compels Matt to ring the bell, specifically unless he can forgive Damon for murdering Vicki, thus leaving Matt an element of choice, marking him for Cade as well. Matt can’t avoid ringing the bell, then, unless his father steps up and stops him. He fails, not about to kill his own son, not for any reason.
As Caroline gets tortured by her own mother, we start seeing some of the good things Damon has done. He was there for Sheriff Forbes, after all, all through her sickness, and her death. It’s not like he hasn’t done any good. But the question is: does the good he’s done outweigh the evil, the many murders he has committed?
Or is the question, does it matter? Caroline forgave him not for the good, but because he understood her pain. Which is ironic, considering all the pain he has inflicted.
As for Bonnie, she gets to see her grandmother again. They do a locator spell so Bonnie can find Damon, at the family crypt. And as Damon’s last defense is the memory of Tyler Lockwood, their good friend, who Damon murdered. Vicki at one end of the series and Tyler at the other, it can’t be denied, Damon is a monster, and he’s hurt his friends worst of all. So of course he imagines what it would be like if he never became a vampire. He believes everyone he loves would be safe then.
But, as usual, a few words from Bonnie, and Damon is back to his usual self. Surprisingly, that begins not with forgiving himself, but with forgiving Stefan, who turned him into this monster in the first place. Angry at being put on the receiving end of love, angry at being the lesser man, Stefan growls out how he intends to destroy Mystic Falls, and he’s only there trying to help Damon because he has a flickering spark of guilt over leaving him to die with the rest of the town. And that does the trick.
As Stefan stands against Sybil, Caroline, and Bonnie, Damon hits him from behind, giving the girls a familiar smirk that we haven’t seen awhile. Damon Salvatore is finally back.
…small detail: the bell is already ringing. And burning. And glowing. It needs to be rung twelve times, and Damon gets there just after the eleventh, and just before Matt’s dad breaks his neck. It’s a very emotionally-intense moment.
And then comes the fallout, as Damon and Matt come to terms, Caroline locks Stefan up and declares that she will get him back not matter what, Damon speaks the letter he wrote to Bonnie and apologizes…
And the siren sisters do exactly the opposite of reconcile, but it doesn’t much matter because Cade comes walking in, courtesy of the eleventh bell strike letting him visit Earth, and burns the both of them, drinking coffee, with a smile, as they scream.
All of the scheming, manipulating, betrayal, and murder, and it ultimately benefits the sirens nothing. Why? Because they served a master who did not love them. He only hates, and he hates everyone, including “his children.”
…they really need to find a way to destroy Hell and kill Cade.
4.06 “El Cuegle”
If you know the future, how responsible are you for it?
If you could stop a person from becoming a monster, if you could save everyone they would hurt, if you could prevent their evil deeds… should you?
The obvious answer is yes. I mean, when you see a grown man committing a crime, hurting someone, you step in and stop them and protect their victim, right? If you know, for a fact, that he intends to keep hurting people, then you stop them, right?
But doing so beforehand is a messy business. You cannot rationally punish someone for something they haven’t yet done. You just can’t.
And you certainly can’t justify eating a baby.
But the el cuegle gets visions, finds babies who will grow up to do bad things, kidnaps them, divines the future, and eats them.
That is some pretty sick and twisted crap, that.
The baby in question has parents who… well, you wonder how, exactly, they managed to get married. They are so blatantly incompatible, and it doesn’t seem like either one submits to the other, but there they are, fighting each other even during the crisis of their son’s kidnapping.
Nick and company manage to find them soon enough, rescue the baby, and arrest the kidnapper, but he escapes and tries again, only stopping when he’s killed. In his wake, he leaves the prophecy that the boy will murder his parents. And there’s nothing Nick can do about it.
Meanwhile, Nick, Adalind, and Renard are working towards a gradual, unorthodox balance, especially where Diana is concerned. Diana sees that her mother and Nick love each other, and her mother and father don’t love each other. She doesn’t seem to be going the way of killing Nick, but if he ever hurts Adalind, he’ll be in serious trouble. Also, she prefers living with Renard, where she can have her own room, to living in the loft, where there aren’t any rooms.
Diana is a pretty powerful girl. She sees that Rosalee is pregnant, and with more than one child, and she gives them a certain look that has unknown meaning. Then she notices how people died in the loft. She makes water boil so she can make pasta. She can do all sorts of things. Nick and Adalind are determined to protect her, while Renard is still getting a read on her. She’s scary, but there’s hope for her to become more well-adjusted in time.
Renard, on the other hand, is in dire mental straits right now. He’s flat-out talking to and even arguing with his hallucination of Meisner. He even chews out Black Claw’s leader on the phone. Safe to say that relationship has soured. After everything Black Claw poured into Portland, they gained nothing from it and lost a great deal. That promises to come back to them all severely, very soon.
It better be very soon! They have, what, nine episodes left to work with and wrap everything up in? Tall order, that!
Eve is largely absent this episode. She sneaks into the tunnels, has an emotional reaction to Nick telling Adalind how he was losing his mind without her, sits next to the holy stick of doom all night and well into the next day, then tries holding it, and it reacts defensively, cutting a symbol into her hand, and leaves her scratching symbols into the wall for the rest of the episode. She’s not having a very good day.
Just what the heck is that stick, and why is is so connected to Nick? Sure, it saved him, but is it because he’s a Grimm that it latched on to him?
Finally, the most touching part of the episode: Munroe and Rosalee. Rosalee is entertaining the idea of leaving Portland, raising their offspring away from all the danger. But the danger is actually everywhere, and what would they be going into? Munroe says it much better, telling her about where the expression, “Waiting for the other shoe to drop” comes from. It’s a fascinating lesson, and illustrates the point while calming her down. They can’t live in fear, with eyes closed and hands over their ears. The world won’t let them. They can only face the world together, and they have good friends in Portland to face the world alongside them.
That’s certainly worth sticking around for, eh? 🙂
Have I mentioned how much I love Munroe and Rosalee? 🙂