All four shows in this week’s lineup delivered pretty well. Agents of Shield may have been the best, showing the agents’ struggle against the androids invading their base, but it gets some good competition from The Vampire Diaries, as the the heroes’ fight against “the Devil” reaches its climax. Grimm is finally bringing its overarching plot to a boil with its last few episodes. And Arrow may have been the weakest of these four this week, but was still pretty good, dealing with the heavy emotional weight of sin and personal responsibility. All in all, a good week! 🙂
4.15 “Self Control”
Madness runs rampant, bedlam erupts, and it is freaking epic! 🙂
They pulled a fast one on us last episode, but I was still fairly right. Fitz is such a big threat to the LMDs that of course they were absolutely certain to replace him. It’s Simmons and Daisy who are the high-ranking agents which escaped unscathed. That is established fairly early when Simmons tries testing Fitz, only to be outwitted and overcome, but she turns the tables, by dropping an engine on LMD Fitz and stabbing him in the chest and neck, and escapes with her life before her brain gets scanned.
Daisy is being used to advance Ivanov’s plan of exterminating the Inhumans. The LMDs intend to call the entire population under Shield’s protection, tell them they’re in danger and being brought in, only to be killed by an LMD of their most trusted friend and protector. Luckily, as Daisy is seeing to the accommodations – because she, you know, cares about her people – she finds a small army of LMDs of herself, dormant. LMD Mack comes in after her, but she manages to outwit him, escape, and hide.
As the LMDs of Mack, Mace, and Coulson strategize, in a robotic parallel to the originals, Daisy and Simmons find each other. They’re both understandably freaking out, and only when Daisy manages to grab Simmons and embrace her, using her powers to both demonstrate her own humanity and confirm Simmons’, are they able to let go of their emotions, their fears and despair. It’s a human thing, emotions, and a simple hug can be surprisingly potent. It lets us know we aren’t alone, which is exactly what Daisy and Simmons needed most in that moment. Through letting go, through letting themselves break down for a moment in each others’ arms, they’re able to pull themselves together… and bring it to their emotionless enemies! 🙂
The first thing they do is firmly establish who’s an LMD and who’s not, by simple virtue of flooding the entire base with sleeping gas. The humans go to sleep, the LMDs do not. Then Daisy takes them on in combat, taking down LMD Mace, shattering LMD Mack into pieces, and blowing LMD Coulson into another room. Very good timing on that, as Simmons dosed three other agents with the antidote to the sleeping gas, forcing them to transport the gear they need to the Zephyr, and one nearly knifed Simmons, stopping only when LMD Mack’s robot head came spilling out into the hallway right in front of them. The three other agents get their unconscious people away from the fire and head for the Zephyr, while Simmons and a wounded Daisy get the gear onto it.
…but first they have to get past LMD May.
Which brings a critical part of this episode’s emotional weight to bear.
Unlike the others, LMD May didn’t know she was a robot. She had the capacity to feel, to desire, and to know regret, much like a human. LMD Coulson completely lacks that ability: to feel. It sets him apart from the real Coulson, which negates the echo of May’s desire to protect Coulson, because this isn’t actually Coulson. LMD May sees through the convoluted deception, sees that they aren’t the real May and the real Coulson, and there’s enough of May herself left in her that she chooses to cover the agents’ escape… by blowing herself and LMD Coulson to smithereens.
That just leaves LMD Fitz, if he survived, which is likely, and the Daisy LMDs to contend with. But that’s if LMD Fitz can catch up to them in the Zephyr.
More problematic are Aida and Ivanov.
Aida, a being of absolute logic, finds humans to lack reason in their emotions. Radcliffe confirms this, citing how much happier people are with their great regrets undone in the Framework. He doesn’t realize how this might affect the behavior of his creation, how unstable Aida is. She finds herself with competing directives: to protect the Framework and to protect Radcliffe. The issue is that if Radcliffe, under the sway of illogical emotions, ever regrets creating the Framework, he would be a threat to it, so, logically, it is better to destroy him. He argues that this is not logical either, because he’s making people happy. Yet, their bodies are dying while their minds are in the Framework, says Aida. But Radcliffe stupidly says that their bodies do not matter. It is perception that matters. To perceive something as real is to make it real, which is why everyone is happier without that great regret of theirs.
He’s wrong, of course. Perception is not what makes something real, and the body matters every bit as much as the mind. However, with this flaw not introduced into Aida’s awareness, she fulfills both directives at once: she slits Radcliffe’s wrists and binds him to the Framework, where he can “perceive” a long, happy life, while he is actually dying within a handful of minutes.
Harsh. But if anyone can be said to have crafted their own doom, it’s Radcliffe. Every circumstance surrounding his demise is exactly of his own making.
Aida’s malfunctioning madness, however, manifests in ways even stronger than killing her own creator. She has been acting more and more independently, and now she’s running the show, making drastic decisions on her own. She saved Ivanov’s life, and did so without turning him into a robotic LMD like herself or the doubles that Daisy and Simmons were dealing with. She took him apart, removed his head, and put it in a case. From there, from his own mind, Ivanov controls a robot body. He was broken down significantly last episode, and now he is rebuilt: a machine body guided by a human mind, with human emotions… which Aida wants to feel.
A robot that wants to feel is dangerous indeed, all the more now that she has an equal in the form of Ivanov. She needs his strength to protect the Framework, and he needs her to keep him functioning and alive now.
So… Shield just took an absolute drubbing from a handful of LMDs, and didn’t even manage to kill them all, and they’re still lacking their people, their leaders. Daisy did pretty well, and Simmons pulled through thanks to Daisy, but the ragtag army is standing on a precipice here, and they need the rest of their commanders back.
So Daisy and Simmons hack the Framework and send their minds in, with Yo-Yo and the rest of the agents that escaped with them standing guard over their bodies on the Zephyr. The idea is to go in, find out where they’re being held, then rescue them in real life. Here’s hoping!
And the inside of the Framework is the great, ideal paradise of holy-crap-this-place-is-ape-shit-crazy! It’s the land of perversely-granted wishes, which, among other things, will provide excellent fodder for the question, “Are the lives we live worth the cost of our great regrets?” Where would a different choice have led us?
We already know May’s great regret, killing the child in Bahrain, and we learn Coulson’s regret, where he wonders if it would have been better if he’d never joined Shield and remained a civilian. Whatever regrets Mack, Mace, and Fitz have, Aida independently altered the Framework to compensate for each of them, and the world within is an entirely different place for it.
Daisy, possibly still answering to Sky in this alternate world, is living with her boyfriend… Grant Ward. Of course, she first thinks, when she finds herself in the tub, getting a text, and learning that she’s living with a significant other, that it must be Lincoln she’s living with, which is going to be… very interesting.
Coulson seems to be a professor, either high school or college, lecturing his students on the terror of Inhumans. So, he never joined Shield and had his civilian life, apparently, and is all the worse for it.
Mack is at home, happy, likely with his wife (who is his ex in real life) and daughter, Hope. Which makes perfect sense. Nothing a father regrets more than losing his daughter.
Fitz is some sort of big-to-do public figure, complete with security guards and a limo… it looks to be either religious or at some sort of university, not sure which. And he has a woman with him. No idea who she is…
…because Simmons is apparently dead and in her grave, which is a horrific thing to suddenly find yourself in. Just what was Fitz’s regret? Or is her death tied to something else?
No sign of Mace anywhere.
And May is standing in the Triskelion, with the mark of Hydra stamped on it. So, whatever else has happened in this false reality, Hydra won the fight, and May is one of them.
Just how much insanity is there in all of that?! The episode ends on a very emotionally-intense cliffhanger!
…aaaaaand they’re skipping March. Next episode is on April 4. Why? I have no idea. (grrrrr!)
5.14 “The Sin-Eater”
The title apparently refers to some cultural custom where they would take a dead person to some fellow that lived on the outskirts of town, place fruit on the body, and the semi-outcast would eat them, take away their sins, let them go to Heaven, that sort of thing.
So it’s about some people, the heroes, who tend to take on other people’s sins, carry the blame. Which makes for an interesting contrast, as the villains continually blame everyone else for their own sins.
Highlighting this: Ollie goes to visit Prometheus’ mother. He only asks for her son’s name, but she refuses to give it. Sure, her son is murdering innocent people, but it’s just because he’s in pain, because someone else put an arrow into his father. Who does that to another person?
…ummm, you’re son, for one. Sorry, but being “hurt and scared” does not give you the right to inflict similar pain on others. It just doesn’t.
So, yes, Ollie killed the man’s father, because he killed children, and now Prometheus is killing innocent people too. Like father, like son.
She doesn’t know Ollie is carrying a device that steals data from anything it gets in close proximity to. Interestingly, Ollie returns with over a petabyte (which is huge) of such data for Felicity to comb through.
In response, Prometheus surreptitiously outs the Green Arrow for killing Billy Malone. Of course, it was actually Prometheus who did that, but it didn’t help when Ollie chose to put killing back on the table, and the fact that it was a manipulation… well, try explaining that to an angry police department. One their own is dead, and they’ve been stonewalled from getting justice long enough. The Anti-Crime Unit jumps into action, targeting the Green Arrow.
The timing of this was lousy, as three old female enemies come back. China White, Cupid, and that corrupt cop from last season break out together and come to Star City looking for Tobias Church’s rainy day fund. They collide with Ollie, of course, but the ACU crashes the party, letting the women go in favor of trying to take in Green Arrow. He escapes, but life just got a bit more difficult.
It doesn’t help that Ollie feels responsible for Billy’s death. Sure he was set up, but now that he’s being hunted for it, the weight of it comes down on him with renewed force, and he nearly sends his Green Arrow identity into hiding. With a bit of support from Lance, though, and he takes a different approach. He comes clean to Pyke down at the precinct, revealing that he knew the truth about Billy’s death, and asks Pyke to consider what makes more sense: that the leader of their “auxiliary law enforcement” suddenly became a cop-killer, or that he was tricked by the serial killer that’s had them all running in circles for months. It’s an easy guess, and the next time the ACU crashes the vigilante party, they’re taking down the trio of murderous escapees.
Which, the entire team is fighting them this time. Lance, having his protege blame her new misdeeds on Lance’s coerced service to Damien, helps take her down. Curtis is back in the field alongside Rene and Digs, and Dinah officially dons Laurel’s old Black Canary mask. It’s fitting, as others deal with either taking sins on or pushing sins onto others, for Dinah to be wrestling instead with filling Laurel’s slot on the team. Everyone’s been getting pushed down, but she’s rising up, bit by bit. Studio apartment, joining the SCPD, now taking on a hero’s mantel… one step at a time, she’s being established as her own character.
If nothing else, this season has been doing a fair job of developing some of the newer characters. Rory, Rene, Curtis, Dinah, and they’re breathing new life into Felicity’s character as well, and giving Ollie a new dimension as mayor. Digs, Evelyn, and arguably Prometheus seem to be the only ones left out for the moment. Digs seems to be backsliding into an angry thug, Evelyn went postal and we haven’t seen or heard anything from the villains’ side of things for awhile now. I really want to see them in action again, ya know?
More immediately, though, it looks like Ollie is facing some legal repercussions for the Malone murder cover-up. He’s due to be impeached for that, and it seems Vigilante will be after his head… which suddenly makes me wonder if Adrian really is Vigilante, but more on that next week.
Finally, things with Susan take an unexpected turn.
I am honestly surprised that a woman so obviously opportunistic as she is hesitated at all in outing Ollie as the Green Arrow, but she was showing some surprising feeling when she asked Ollie about it. He denied it, of course, and then mentioned it to Thea, who went to Felicity for help. Seeing what Susan has on her computer, and seeing that she has an outside source, they’re in a panic. I would be too, and there are very few things I would not do to protect my family… but that is not the same as being willing to do anything. Thea’s options were limited by practicality, not morality or legality, which is very dangerous ground to stand on.
If they erased the files from Susan’s computer, she could just get them again, and pursue the case with renewed zeal. They couldn’t threaten her, lest they galvanize her resolve, and they couldn’t hurt her, both for the obvious reasons and also because it would turn her into a martyr, her materials possibly published after her death anyway. There was still the option of talking to her, but Thea’s been burned by that approach already, and it’s why nobody besides Ollie likes her. So, Thea discredits her and destroys her career. It’s very Martha Queen of her, having Felicity plant files to incriminate Susan on her own computer, framing her for plagiarism. It is cold and ruthless and done in the name of protecting someone she loves. Very much like her mother, which is a chilling comparison.
Susan is, of course, devastated, heartbroken, and believes Ollie to be responsible. She did refrain from exposing him, after all, and this is the thanks she gets? Her life has just been destroyed. And Thea, much as she squirms under Ollie’s scrutiny, is very much responsible. She know what she was doing, and she made a deliberate choice.
Now, in Thea’s place, if that had truly been the only option I could come up with, it would only have been the first part of my plan. I would have discredited Susan, yes, but after she’d felt it and stewed for a bit, I would discreetly approach her, possibly not in person, and offer to exonerate her. Now that she has felt a taste of what she’d be doing to Ollie, and what she has doubtless done to others, perhaps she could understand his sister resorting to extreme measures in his protection. But, in exchange for destroying the material she’s collected herself and dropping the story forever, I would anonymously inform her boss that she had been framed and get her job back for her.
That might be stupid of me, perhaps, but I do believe in showing mercy and restraint, even if it can come back to bite me.
Thea crossed a significant line in this episode, and I’m certain it will come back to bite her much worse.
Oh, one more thing… back in the past, while Ollie and Anatoly are plotting their move against Gregor, Gregor comes to them, traps them in the hospital’s basement. Ollie emerges from hiding supposedly to surrender and takes down Gregor’s thugs, but the last we see in this episode is Gregor standing over Anatoly, with a gun pointed at his head. I’m guessing Ollie kills him next episode, but we shall see.
8.14 “It’s Been a Hell of a Ride”
The Devil, they do set out to kill, and kill the Devil they do!
What better parallel is there to the struggle for redemption and happiness?
Just as Damon is about to die, he gets a visit from Cade. Cade, ever the one who sees and knows everything, knows that they know about the dagger that can kill him. He tipped his hand with that nonsense about the journal, and now he’s cleaning up the mess. He wants Damon to get it and give it to him. Damon is about to make the sacrifice and go to Hell instead of helping him… but, surprise, surprise, he has leverage.
Malachi, ever set on his own preservation, instantly made a deal with the Devil when the Devil came a-calling for his soul: he gave Cade the coffin that still holds Elena helpless within. So, either Damon gets the dagger, or Elena dies.
It’s not even a question what Damon would do for Elena: anything at all.
Stefan is just making his good-bye apology tour, mostly consisting of a rightfully unforgiving Bonnie, when Damon comes to him for help. They snag Malachi by simple virtue of putting Stefan in front of him. He tries to siphon him, but can’t. He can plunge the dagger into Stefan’s flesh, though, but Damon comes in from behind and knocks him out. And thus they take him to the Armory…
…where Alaric and Caroline are trying to figure out what to do about the girls turning violent and witchy simultaneously. They have no idea what to do or who to ask, so Caroline’s first theory is that maybe the girls are acting out in response to everything their parents have put them through: splitting up, moving, the whole Seline ordeal, and now the wedding going on indefinite delay, etc. I’d say that might be possible, but unlikely.
So, when the Salvatore Brothers bring Alaric’s very worst enemy – which, I admit, I had not thought of, and now it makes much more sense why they gave Malachi an additional appearance on the show – to the Armory to lock him up… well, it’s not exactly “good” timing. And then Malachi actually says he can help with the girls, as the chaos is somewhat based on their siphoning talent running amok… well, that is very rich. Of course, that all turns out to just be Malachi’s way of manipulating the situation so he can time things and taunt Caroline and Alaric as he drains magic out of the Armory walls and tries to kill the girls.
The worst part is the timing of Malachi’s homicidal escape. Once the brothers have dealt with Cade, they intend to let Alaric do the honors of killing Malachi again, but Malachi’s escape disrupts that. See, Stefan already knows they have a massive weapon that can hurt Cade: the Founders’ Bell. That’s an angle I’d not thought of, thinking they’d have to destroy Hell first in order to kill Cade, but the Bell was a better idea. Much simpler to ring a bell than to destroy Hell. The problem is, if Matt or his father ring it, Hell opens up and destroys Mystic Falls. So… they have Alaric ring it instead.
Stefan faces Cade, a being more powerful and dangerous than any he has ever encountered… but crippled by the toll of the Bell. And Stefan gets pretty close to finishing Cade himself, but then Malachi escapes and the girls call Alaric. Now, no father I know could possibly do anything but rush back to save his daughters, but it does leave Stefan in a bit of a pinch, as Cade’s power returns, and he’s a helpless human at the Devil’s mercy. Not good!
Damon, momentarily sedated by Stefan, comes in, begging and offering anything. Cade, who is surprisingly menacing in a physical sense now that he’s gotten his hands dirty with Stefan’s blood, lights Elena’s coffin on fire. With Stefan bleeding and Elena burning, Cade offers Damon one soul, but he must choose between them.
And here… here was Damon’s triumphal moment. Though he’s risked his life for his dearest loved ones many times, he’s always, ultimately, been selfish, and the pain and death he has caused is overwhelming. So when he chooses to sacrifice himself in place of both Stefan and Elena… that was the moment he was finally somewhat redeemed in my eyes. It only took them eight seasons, but they finally made me see something truly good in Damon’s twisted, stunted soul. And he doesn’t just die, he himself shoves the stake into his own heart.
The victory of Damon’s soul is found within his death.
And he’s not even done yet.
Bonnie, sensing the danger to Elena, barges in on Cade as he’s pulling Damon’s soul into Hell, and she is having none of it. She’s a psychic now, of similar talent to Cade and of formidable strength. She’s outclassed, though, and already holding Enzo’s soul close to her, so she’s doomed to fail, and the strain will shatter her mind, maybe kill her, and for nothing. Damon, still sacrificing himself, is ready to let go, to protect her. Cade very nearly wins…
…until Stefan plunges the dagger into his heart.
Cade really should have paid attention to the details. Like a mortal, living, angry human whom he left in the same cavern as the dagger. So occupied with tormenting Damon and Bonnie, so exultant in his own otherworldly powers, he forgot, mere moments after being wounded and savoring physical violence, that he was still standing in the physical world, where violence could reach him.
The Devil is killed, and psychic blast sends Damon back into his body, so the good guys win!
In a similarly triumphal moment, Alaric lures Malachi into close quarters, and gives him a richly deserved and long overdue beat down. Oh, I was absolutely cheering at that! 🙂 Malachi managed to make a comeback, but, again, details: Caroline came up behind him and snapped his neck.
After that, Bonnie used a little mojo to trap Malachi in a new prison dimension, courtesy of the girls helping her out. He is now chained to a chair in an empty karaoke lounge, playing the one song he most hates over and over and over again, for all eternity, and without any sort of escape hatch this time around. He is left screaming.
Double whoop! The good guys are ruling this episode! They imprisoned an old enemy forever and they even killed the Devil!
…there really shouldn’t be anything worse than that, right?
…weeeeelllll…um, technically, there is at least one very strong contender.
Katherine! Oh, I was disappointed enough when they brought Malachi back, but to do that, and to tease Elena’s return… I would actually have been a bit disappointed if they didn’t bring back Katherine, ya know?
So, it seems that the last of the “beginnings” they’ll go back to just before the finale will be the very first of their overarching antagonists, their very worst enemy, who dominated all her screen time and was a force to be reckoned with from the first season to the fifth, right there alongside Klaus, the Originals, Silas, the Travelers… and now she’s a peer of Malachi too, back for her last hurrah!
6.8 “The Son Also Rises”
I had a moment during this episode, where I went, “…oh, my goodness… it’s a Frankenstein episode! And I can’t seem to recall another such in Grimm, so… it’s their final season, and they did a freaking Frankenstein episode! They are having fun with this, aren’t they?”
A scientist and three of his friends tried to bring his son back from the dead. They harvested body parts to transplant in place of the ruined originals, sewed them all together, and brought the boy back. But the parts they used were wesen, and the freak they created attacked them. They should have destroyed him, in fact they should not have meddled with life and death in the first place. But the man they trusted couldn’t do it. He couldn’t let go, and he couldn’t see his son dead a second time. So his son, in terrible pain and anger, hunted them down and killed them.
Or, at least, two of them. Hank and Wu proved an effective team in figuring out what was going on and they got there first. They fought the cobbled-together man, and saw the father finally put his son out of his misery. A tragic tale, all around.
Nick mostly sat the case out. Eve decided to stop burdening Nick, Adalind, and Diana, and Munroe and Rosalee let her stay in the spice shop’s basement. As she was finishing up, she looked in the mirror, asking herself who she used to be, and who she is now. Then the mirror did the window thing that happened at Nick’s place, and the skull face with green eyes reached out to grab her throat. She managed to get loose and bite it – so it obviously feels pain and can be injured, at least – but it left her unconscious for the entire next day. Nick sat at her side the whole time, the past running through his mind.
It’s certainly been a long, torturous road they’ve traveled. His Aunt Marie told her to leave Juliette, then his mother told him not to, then she turned crazy evil and betrayed his mother to her death, then she nearly killed him before Trubel – they’d better let Trubel come back for the finale, by the way – killed her instead… and that’s not even recalling her resurrection as Eve, her exposure to the healing stick, and her renewed emotions. Or how he’s with Adalind now, raising his son.
Sheesh! Complicated much? 😉
Eve wakes, and tells him what happened. The last thing in the episode is her fear that something is coming, and they don’t have much time left before it gets there.
Renard happens to be investigating the same thing. He shares Diana’s drawings with a friend in Russia, who is only able to say that something major is happening. It could be the fulfillment of some ancient prophecy, and if Diana can see the symbols, she is likely connected to it. She tells Renard to watch her, closely.
Finally, Munroe has a nightmare about something a little more mundane: his impending fatherhood. He dreams that Rosalee is suddenly huge with child and giving birth right there in their bed… and there’s more than three. There’s four… five… six… seven… and still more coming, before the real Rosalee wakes him up. Heh, I think the nervousness is starting to get to him! 🙂