Gilmore Girls Retrospective: 1.13 & 1.14

This week, we’re exploring two episodes with throwback themes — The Bangles and that damn Donna Reed.

1.13 “Concert Interruptus”

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I have to admit that this episode is not one of my favorites. I know it’s kind of iconic in its own way — the concert in New York, the Chilton girls coming to Stars Hollow for the first time, Paris finally being vulnerable and human to Rory — but every time I rewatch it, I feel like it gets bogged down in the Bangles of it all. I don’t hate the Bangles, I even like some of their music, but along with other key WB/CW shows, it seems like they were contractually obligated to donate x amount of screentime to the featured band. It also never seemed plausible to me that Madeline and Louise, with all of their money and rich worldliness, would really be all that interested in a Bangles concert. For that year… Backstreet Boys, maybe? Britney?

It’s rooted in a very Stars Hollow-esque storyline of a rummage sale that Lorelai, in her very Lorelai-esque way, volunteered to organize. She’d soon come to regret it, as her house is filled with donations including two bags from Luke, who is finally participating in a dumb town thing. Presumably it’s because he saw an opportunity to get rid of some of his old stuff, but we also like to think it has something to do with the organizer. Rory herself even thinks Lorelai had a bit of influence, since Luke allowed her to hang a sign in his diner. Oh, Luke.

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He goes nuts, of course, when packrat Lorelai turns up at the diner wearing an assortment of terrible donations, including a rhinestoned jacket that turns out to have belonged to Luke’s ex-girlfriend, Rachel. Lorelai is unnerved by Luke’s extreme reaction, and she’s even more shaken later when Miss Patty and Sookie recount the sad tale of the Luke and Rachel saga. Not only was Lorelai unaware of Luke’s past, but she seems to be the only one in town who didn’t know about her!

After ruminating on it all weekend, Lorelai finds Luke at the rummage sale and gives him the sweater back, saying she doesn’t think he’s ready to let it go. He gruffly thanks her, but makes sure she knows he’s not pining — he’s just remembering. There’s a difference. And he wants Lorelai to know that.

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At school, Rory gets grouped with the three meanies on a group project, and because of circumstances, they have to work in Stars Hollow. Louise finds Lorelai “fascinating,” they all question Rory’s relationship with her and whether she regrets having a baby at sixteen. Lorelai recognizes that they’re doing some bonding, so she suggests giving her ninth-row Bangles tickets to the girls while she and Sookie buy nosebleed tickets.

Madeline and Louise find boys to flirt with (including — ugh — Brandon Routh, who I guess I shouldn’t hate on principal, but Ray Palmer) which sends Rory on a spiral when they leave the concert with the strange boys. Paris, on the other hand, is very zen about it all. When a school deadline isn’t being threatened, Paris can be remarkably laid back.

She and Rory end up bonding even further, talking about Tristan (with Rory dropping heavy hints that she thinks Paris can do better — so sweet) and Paris’ home life as Lorelai rampages around the city, knocking down doors until she finds those two idiots. She worries that she may have messed up Rory’s chances of making friends at school, but Rory reports that Paris let her split the debate time — which basically means they’re BFFs now.

Other notable quotes and moments:

– When we later meet Rachel, the ugly rhinestone jacket doesn’t make a lot of sense. Miss Patty and Sookie seemed to paint her as a bit of an eccentric with a wanderlust, but Actual Rachel seems to be more utilitarian with a wanderlust. She wears corduroy and turtleneck sweaters, she carries old worn leather camera bags, she’s beautiful but she’s not, as we believe here, Luke’s Original Lorelai.

“So… she was Wonder Woman?” “She was to Luke.” Again, when we finally meet Rachel, we will see that things have changed… that he no longer looks at Rachel as Wonder Woman…

– Sookie and Lorelai are so fun to watch in the nosebleed section of the concert as they giggle at how bad their seats are.

– Lorelai finds herself thinking about Luke (and Rachel) during “Eternal Flame.”

“I never pictured Luke with an Elle MacPherson-kind of pretty?” “No? Pictured him more with a Lorelai Gilmore-kind of pretty?” Sookie: the first Luke/Lorelai shipper.

“I wonder if I went missing, if my mom would come looking for me like that?” “Paris, you know she would.” “Yeah. Or at least she’d send somebody.”

– Lorelai calling Brandon Routh “Skippy” gives me perverse joy.

gg113_03- Paris, after Lorelai rips Madeline and Louise new ones: “You know what? I think this is the best night I’ve ever had.”

– They got Lane a Bangles tour shirt! Aww!


1.14 That Damn Donna Reed

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Dean Forester doesn’t know who Donna Reed is. That’s okay — not everyone could grow up with Lorelai Gilmore (or my dad and his love for old TV shows) — but he makes the mistake of saying that he thinks the Donna Reed premise of being a doting wife seems “nice.” He might make some good (albeit clumsy) points about how some women might like doing that sort of stuff, but he makes those points to Lorelai and Rory. You’d think he’d know better by now.

Rory fixates on the fact that Dean thinks the Donna Reed lifestyle is appealing. He’s more into the idea of a wife cooking for her husband, but Rory takes it a little more literally. Dean’s realizing it’s a TV show, an aggrandized version of that kind of life, but that the concept seems nice, while Rory is talking about the real women that the show represented. He accuses her of having strong views only because her of her mother, and her response is pretty genius: If she has no opinions of her own, she must be the ideal woman to Dean.

Babette asks Rory to housesit for her since she and Morey got a brand new kitten, and Rory takes the opportunity to dress up like Donna Reed and cook dinner for Dean. She’d done a bunch of research on the real Donna Reed, who (and I knew this before I ever saw this episode — again, thanks Dad!) was actually pretty kickass and feminist. She dons pearls and a Donna Reed dress and cooks for Dean, who is amazed and happy but very clear that he never wanted Rory to be Donna Reed. This might be Dean’s best moment of the series.

Lorelai gets it into her head that the diner needs painting. A “spruce,” if you will. She’s aided and abetted by Taylor, which shouldn’t help her case, but such is the influence of Lorelai Gilmore that Luke somehow still agrees to it. She runs through a bunch of color schemes and ideas before settling on an actual spruce — the same existing colors, but a little richer. This pleases Luke. He ends up talking to Lorelai about his dad and how he was the last one to paint the place, which impresses upon Lorelai the importance of this decision. He even shows her a section of wall where his dad took a phone order when he ran out of paper, and Lorelai suggests that they leave that section unpainted.

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They have a very charged moment, grinning and glowing at each other, but they’re interrupted by the town council knocking at the door. They hide behind the counter, and they have another moment where Luke thanks her in very close proximity, and she scurries out of the diner. But she gets home and realizes that Rory’s homework — a tiny chick that Lorelai’s named “Stella” — has escaped from her cage. She calls Luke in a panic to come help her, but when Luke gets there and hears the chirping, he says, “Wow, you really do have a chick loose in here.” He breaks a lamp and runs around the house after the chick, finally capturing it, but Lorelai is bothered by that statement, and Luke doesn’t do a very good job of stammering his way out of it.

Luke and Dean run into each other as they take out the trash, which brings out Lorelai and Donna Reed-Rory, which earns some guffaws from her mother. “Oh my God. I just saw the pearls.”

When she recounts the night’s events to Sookie the next day, Lorelai gets agitated, like really angry, when Sookie makes the point that Luke probably thought it was… a booty call. Later, when Rory is telling Emily and Richard about the chick and lets it slip that Luke found her, Emily fixates on the same thing: that Lorelai had called Luke in the first place. She pushes in her very Emily way to get Lorelai to finally admit that she might have feelings for Luke. For one breathless moment, Emily looks happy to finally have the truth… Then her expression hardens and she says, “Now we can discuss what on earth you could possibly be thinking!”

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The episode ends with Lorelai helping Luke unload the paint supplies in preparation for painting on Friday night after her Friday night dinner. She and Rory go shopping at the market, but they pause when a loud motorcycle speeds through the square. They humor Taylor’s rant about it until the biker stops and calls to Lorelai, “Nice shirt. Take it off.” He takes off his helmet with a grin and she mutters, “Christopher.” Rory’s happy to see her dad, Lorelai’s not as thrilled, especially as she watches her daughter speed off with the stunt man standing in for Christopher on the motorcycle. Thus we finally meet the polarizing character of Christopher Hayden.

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Other notable quotes and moments:

“You come bearing pizza?” “I’m not an idiot.”

- “Grab your brush and grab your rollers, all you kids and all you… bowlers! We’re going painting today!” I still sing this when I paint, and I hate that about myself.

“Mmm. Kickass wine.” “How poetic.” “It’s got a nice smell. Earthy. Vibrant. You can taste the Italian’s feet.”

– The grandparents always go to the Vineyard in the spring, but they didn’t secure their rental, so they’re stuck in their boring mansion. I feel so bad for them, those poor rich people. (It’s okay — they secure a rental from a dead guy at the end of the episode. Those crazy kids.)

“You know Mom, when I go off to college, I’m gonna be gone every night. What will you do then?” “Well. I’ll go with you. I will sleep on the floor in your dorm, next to your bed.” Remember this for the beginning of season 4.

– I still get a kick out of seeing giant Dean in Babette’s house.

– Sookie refuses to make Michel an egg white omelet, citing her culinary artistry, but after he’s gone, Lorelai says Sookie makes a good egg white omelet. Sookie: “I know.”

Next week: the Christopher of it all, plus Rory and Dean’s relationship hits the skids. Spoiler alert?

Gilmore Girls Retrospective: 1.11 & 1.12

Welcome back! This week, we deal with breakups, double-dates, groundings, and Proust! All the makings of a rollicking party.

1.11 Paris is Burning

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Things are going really well between Lorelai and Max. They spend a fun night together eating leftovers, flirting, making out, and loaning out Prousts, and when she gets home at one in the morning, Rory tells Lorelai that she looks happy. “I am, kid.” She says it a little hesitantly, like she isn’t unhappy, but she’s not totally sure how she feels.

Rory gets upset when she has to let Max into the house on his next date with Lorelai, but Max works to make it less awkward, offering to let Rory call him “Max” when they’re not in school, but she’s weirded out by that, too. That’s when Max has the adorable idea to have them call each other different, non-Chilton names. He says he’ll call her “Rebecca,” then prompts, “And you’ll call me…?” and all she can think of is “Norman,” which breaks the ice as Max teeters between amusement and feeling insulted.

Sookie and Jackson come into the diner the next day arguing over squash blossoms, it’s cute because Jackson wants her to use his genetically-altered zucchini and Sookie just wants her squash, and eventually Jackson has to relent. When Lorelai comes in with her rusted and dull ice skates, Luke immediately offers to clean them and sharpen them for her, prompting Sookie to remark, “You get really good service here!”

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Lorelai starts wigging out when Rory says they should invite Max to go skating with them. She doesn’t like that Rory’s calling him by his first name, that she’s okay with him being around, and that she wants him to accompany them on fun outings. She expresses these concerns to a well-meaning Sookie, who points out that Lorelai usually bails on relationships around the two-month mark. Lorelai goes on the defensive, and after Sookie continues to tease her gently, Lorelai lashes out, “When did you become a relationship expert? You haven’t been in a relationship in years.”

She immediately apologizes and says she should never talk to Sookie like that, and Sookie is such a sweetheart that she takes the hit with grace. She even concedes that Lorelai is right, she hasn’t been in a relationship for a while, and it strengthens her resolve to ask out Jackson at the end of the episode! Aww! Sookie and Jackson!

Rory’s doing better at school lately — she even scores some friendly “hello”s from Madeline and Louise. But after Max mentions that he hasn’t seen her mother in a while, plus Lorelai trying to return the Proust through Rory, she gets upset that Lorelai is breaking up with Max. Lorelai, with every intention of breaking up with Max, ends up making out with him, and Paris spots them.

Paris, whose parents’ divorce is fodder for the gossip mill at school, gleefully spreads the rumor to take the heat off of herself. Rory explodes at her mother, but she also turns some of her righteous anger at Paris herself, lambasting her for bringing down the reputation of a teacher who has done nothing but support and encourage her. Paris looks properly chagrined, and the ice between her and Rory seems to be melting ever so slightly.

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Emily Gilmore finds out, of course, because she’s besties with Biddy Charleston, wife of the headmaster, and Lorelai ends up crying over her broken heart and her conflicted feelings over breaking up with Max.

The episode ends with Max deciding that maybe they should take some time apart after all, since he isn’t thinking straight. Lorelai puts on a brave face, but she’s crushed, and Rory finds her crying in her bed that evening. This is one of only two instances that Lorelai takes to her bed after a breakup. It’s telling.

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Other notable quotes and moments:

– This is the episode where we learn that Lorelai is not great at pet ownership. Luke warns the pet seller that she shouldn’t sell to Lorelai, and Rory agrees. Don’t worry — Lorelai gets better at owning a pet later in the series.

“I tell you what, he’s cute, but this punctuality thing has knocked ten points off the Dream Guy Quotient!”

“What are we, in high school?… Well I know we are in high school…”

“Can you figure it out before French class? Because I’d rather you didn’t make out with Mrs. Collins!” “Hey, no promises until I see what she looks like!”

“Kissing a teacher? In a classroom? On parents day?!” “Well, they wanted us to get more involved with the school!”


1.12 Double Date

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I love this episode. I pretty much love any episode that features Sookie, and this one is a true gem.

It starts out with a weird morning routine montage involving bowl-sized coffee cups, barely-toasted Pop Tarts, and a tacky hair clip, but after the credits, Lorelai is struggling to study for her business school class while Lane asks Rory to ask Dean if they can double-date with his friend Todd. Lane is in looooove and she’s determined because Todd is perfect… except he turns out to be not so perfect. He’s actually kind of a dud. And things get worse for Lane when her mother discovers that she’d lied about her evening plans, so she ends up grounded for a date that wasn’t even worth the lie.

Things are weird between Sookie and Jackson, thanks to Sookie’s open-ended invitation to date and Jackson’s failure to actually act on it. Lorelai encourages — nay, forces — Sookie to make a concrete plan with Jackson, but it backfires a bit. In her flustered state, Sookie accidentally ropes Lorelai into a double date with Jackson’s cousin, Rune. Rune is terrible, to the point that it’s hilarious, and he hates Lorelai on sight. There’s something about the idea of a man looking at Lauren Graham and being absolutely disgusted that cracks me up, because HOW? He’s mostly freaked out by how tall she is, but he is awful to her the whole night, which just adds to the awkwardness between Sookie and Jackson as they fail to break the ice.

This is Rune, and this is the face Rune makes at Lorelai all night. Tell me that's not hilarious.

This is Rune, and this is the face Rune makes at Lorelai all night. Tell me that’s not hilarious.

Sookie finally confesses that she’s too nervous and uncomfortable with the restaurant, her updo, her hair, and the whole situation, so Lorelai suggests a change of hairstyle and venue. And where do they go? Lukes! He’s always fun to diffuse an already awkward situation, right?

Luke is amazed that Rune is grossed out by Lorelai’s height. “Doesn’t he understand how great that is? You can get all the stuff from the top shelf!” Rune has an outburst about being on the double date and begs Jackson to go bowling. Jackson hesitates and looks at Sookie, and she tells him to stay since they haven’t even really started their date. Jackson finally tells off Rune, and Lorelai opts to hang out at the counter with Luke, who engages her in a card game with stars in his eyes.

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They talk about how great new relationships are, and Lorelai says she really misses that, and Luke seems to finally be coming around to maybe vaguely asking her out, and she has just enough time to look like she knows exactly what he’s about to ask when Mrs. Kim busts into the diner, demanding to know where Lane and Rory are. Busted. Luke looks a little dejected when Lorelai goes running after Mrs. Kim. He gets a chance to ask again a couple of mornings later, but he loses his nerve and it ends with a sort of half-hearted “Maybe we can do it again sometime.” This time, Lorelai looks a little dejected.

There’s also a great mother-to-mother scene at the end of the episode where Lorelai apologizes to Mrs. Kim and says that she hopes she will still allow Lane to come to their house. Lorelai tries to give Mrs. Kim some perspective about growing up in an oppressive household, and they both end up agreeing that they don’t want their daughters to end up like Lorelai, hehe. As a result, Mrs. Kim loosens the reins ever so slightly by allowing Lane into the yard.

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Other notable quotes and moments:

“Where did the Ruckers come from?” “Judging from their clothing, a town where high rubber boots and spittoons would be considered formalwear.” Oh Michel, never change.

“I’m a sexual harrasser!” “Well then, you need some false eyelashes.”

– In a nice little nod to the episode’s theme of tall women, the kids are going to watch “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.”

“First I gotta watch a man walk out on you, then I gotta watch you eat alone? Nope, too pathetic.” “I’m not alone. You’re here.” Awwwww!

“If [Sookie] tells me the story of how Jackson cultivates his own mealworms to fertilize his plants one more time, I’m gonna Romeo and Juliet them both.”

Next week features two very different pop culture throwbacks: The Bangles and Donna Reed! See you then!

“I keep my promises, kid.”

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**This post contains spoilers for episode 3.14 of Arrow, “The Return.”**

I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that, Malcolm Merlyn aside, much of the present-day stuff in this week’s Arrow was almost up to par. There were familiar faces, island scenery, a ridiculous booby trap, and some much-needed truth-telling from Oliver. Unfortunately, there were also flashbacks… and the only good things about the flashbacks were Andy Diggle and the incredible Tommy Merlyn. (Sorry, Felicity fans, but you might want to skip this post. I promise this will hurt me more than it will hurt you.)

I couldn’t even write about last week’s episode, aka the Oliver Steals Everyone’s Agency Episode. He was downright awful to Laurel, and he even did it to Roy! It was all just bad, and I think it was a misuse of Caity Lotz when there is still so much of Sara’s story that we don’t know. I will say that Katie Cassidy knocked that one out of the park, but I couldn’t bring myself to write an entire post slamming the episode and then have one paragraph that said “At least Katie was awesome! Go Laurel!” So I’m saying it now: Katie was awesome. Go Laurel!

The only reason I had any sort of hope for this week’s episode can be summed up in two words: Slade Wilson. I don’t even know why I held out hope for him — whether it’s because his season 2 storyline was so great that his face just reminds me of why I loved this show, or whether it’s because Manu Bennett just seems to elevate the show indescribably — but he was definitely a sight for sore eyes. And his scenes with Oliver and Thea brought back a lot of the frenetic action that’s been sorely lacking this season. People like Malcolm and Ray Palmer, they’re calculated and precise, to the point that they get boring. Malcolm Merlyn is boring, his particular brand of psychopath is no longer intriguing because we spent all of season 1 exploring that. There was no outcry when he was gone, because the character arc stopped being interesting the moment Oliver thwarted him.

Slade Wilson’s brand of psychotic is still refreshing, somehow. It helps that his vendetta is focused solely on Oliver, and everyone else is just collateral damage. He’s not acting out of selfishness or self-preservation, he’s still reacting to the love he lost, and he’s willing to die or trade his freedom just to watch Oliver suffer. Malcolm is not that intriguing — selfish characters are not that interesting. Show me a selfish lead character on a show that is fun to watch or is beloved! There aren’t any, that’s why the Bad Boys with a Heart of Gold is even a trope, because people want to believe that selfish people are actually acting out of love. Malcolm isn’t doing that, he’s never done that, even the Undertaking wasn’t really about his wife, it was about control at first, and eventually it became about power.

 

Slade, on the other hand, has never exclusively wanted power. Power, via his Mirakuru army and Sebastian Blood, was a means to an end. Power was what would enable him to torture Oliver Queen. He’s acting out of love, not just for Shado, but for the betrayal he felt from his brother-in-arms. He even said it in this episode: “Maybe if you’d told me what really happened with Shado, your mother would still be alive.” In this respect, Slade is the killer counterpart to Moira Queen. Everything Moira did, she did out of love for her kids. In a way, and I say this grudgingly, it’s kind of poetic that she died by Slade’s hand.

(Sidenote: Did the writers ever think about that aspect of Sara’s death? That Oliver chose Sara over Shado on that island all those years ago, sealing his fate with Slade and leading to the events of season 2, only to have Sara die for no reason by Malcolm Merlyn? It actually cheapens Shado’s sacrifice. And if and when Slade finds out about Sara’s demise… there will be hell to pay.)

So I was hoping Slade’s presence would bring back some of the energy and pace of the second season, especially in regards to people finding out certain secrets, and it worked for the most part. Thea freaks out when Oliver finds out that Malcolm had freed Slade just to turn them into murderers, and it eventually forces Oliver to tell her the truth about Sara’s death: that Malcolm had drugged and manipulated Thea into doing it.

 

They have a fantastic tag-team fight to take down Slade, who holds his own even without Mirakuru now, and Thea has him at gunpoint when Oliver stops her and talks her down. Together, they manage to overcome Malcolm’s ministrations and continue to honor Oliver’s promise to Tommy after he died. That, of course, means nothing to Malcolm. And just when you think this episode is going to fix the fundamental problems with the show… Oliver and Thea go and agree to continue working with Malcolm, because they need him so badly. You know. For the mess he created. Sigh.

I’m sad to see Slade go, but I’m happy that he’s still alive, and I loved his interactions with Thea (he seemed to grow to respect her over the course of their encounters; she’s not the same girl he kidnapped only eight or so months ago) and his last conversation with Oliver.

Slade: “She’s lost, your sister.”
Oliver: “No, she’s not.”
Slade: “You can see it in her eyes. She’s been touched by darkness. Was it Merlyn? He’s an interesting man, to do that to his own daughter. So now you’ve lost your father, your mother, and now your little sister. How’s the girl in the glasses? What’s her name? Felicity. How many people can Oliver Queen lose before there is no more Oliver Queen?”

 

I’ve got news for you, Slade: there already is no more Oliver Queen. This guy is not the same Oliver we saw for the last two seasons, or the Oliver we see in flashbacks. This guy is just a travesty… and Felicity is the least of his problems. (I like how Oliver immediately says Thea isn’t lost, like just by saying it, it must be true.)

Nonetheless, the Slade fan in me appreciates how he can just cut right to the core of Oliver, and I think if Oliver weren’t so wrapped up in his League of Assassins stuff, he’d realize that that was, and still is, Slade’s intention all along: to turn Oliver into himself. Slade lost all the people in his life, so he’s no longer Slade Wilson. And from what he’s seen, the last link to humanity lies in Felicity Smoak, which is why he says her name like a threat.

Which goes to show that even Slade Wilson underestimates the importance of John Diggle in Oliver’s life.

 

Hey! Speaking of Diggle — we met Andy this week! We only saw him for a minute, just long enough to establish that Andy got Diggle the Rich Kid Bodyguard gig, and that he thinks Diggle was a fool to divorce Lyla, to which Diggle dryly replies, “Thank you, Andy, I appreciate that.” Heh.

 

Tommy also appeared as an overbearing but good-hearted big brother figure (nice that he turns out to actually be her big brother) to Thea, who was already getting into drugs and acting out. She still goes to talk to Oliver at his gravestone, which is sweet until her drug dealer meets her there. Oliver, who is back in Starling this week for really dumb lampshaded reasons, watches appreciatively from afar as Tommy intervenes. Tommy also flirts adorably with a radiant Laurel, and I had honestly forgotten how delightful they were together until now.

If I could choose one other person to be in flashbacks, it would be Moira. I feel like that deserved a long, resounding DUH after that statement, but unfortunately, this show decided to cater to the lowest common denominator and have Oliver have a near-brush with… Felicity. Who talks to a terrifying picture of him… and calls him “cute” even though he’s dead. It was painful and weird and bad and I hate when shows retcon and rewrite history to have people crossing paths in contrived ways, but the shippers are eating it up. The cynic in me thinks this crew really knows how to manipulate the fanbase.

Oliver kills Thea’s drug dealer, probably causing a lot of emotional and mental harm to his little sister along with the fact that he kind of ruined Tommy’s party, then throws a fit when Waller won’t let him stay in Starling. The only reason Oliver even survived this season of flashbacks is because Maseo is repeatedly sticking guns in his back to keep him from doing stupid things.

They end up capturing China White and turning her over to military custody, with a particularly villainous looking Army guy telling Oliver that he will be debriefed in China before they drop him off wherever he wants to go. Oliver doesn’t seem to notice that Waller seems scared of the Army guy, but we do know that China White somehow makes it out of custody and that Oliver never makes it back to Starling City until the day he’s rescued. Presumably.

The only good thing to come out of the flashbacks is the video Oliver found of his father, Robert, telling him about the list. So that’s one mystery solved, clumsily, but solved nonetheless. I appreciate the casting for Oliver’s father, when he talks, he has a lot of the same mannerisms and facial tics as Stephen Amell, and that’s when the resemblance really comes through.

Quentin was awful in the flashbacks, but in a realistic way. He was deep into booze and blaming the world for his troubles, and it played painfully but accurately; it shows the tremendous growth he’s made since then. Unfortunately, present-day Quentin is really mad at Laurel, not for donning the mask or becoming the Black Canary, but for lying to him for months. He tells her she broke the bond between them, and he leaves for a separate AA meeting from hers. And I’ll just end with this observation: This is the same sort of secret and breach of trust that created the Slade Wilson we know and love today.

Next week: It looks like everyone takes a field trip to Nanda Parbat. Hopefully this ends with Malcolm Merlyn’s demise. Also — ugh — ATOM stuff.

The Pleasure Was All Mine

*Warning: This post contains spoilers for CBS’s Elementary Episode 3.14 “The Female of the Species.”*

Ever since last week’s episode I have been fangirling over Sherlock’s progression this past year. Elementary has become one of the very few shows I can still rely on to give me solid episodes. This week Sherlock had a new companion to help with his mystery solving, Marcus Bell. It was an utter delight to see the two of them working together. It also made me realize Sherlock indeed cannot work a case on his own anymore. He needs a sound board, and with Joan out of commision this week he seeks Bell’s company while he is on mandatory vacation. This is one similarity the two of them have. They can not sit still and relax. Bell was forced to take vacation, and Sherlock has never been known to stay still for long. He is always doing something even if only it appears to be is sitting. Sherlock knows Bell is probably restless, and so he enlists in his help to find two zeh-bras (zebras).

Bell and Sherlock have worked together before, but they have never worked together alone before. It is interesting to see how Sherlock treats Bell at the beginning of the episode with calling Bell “Detective Bell” and having him get his lunch without ordering for two compared to the end of the episode. At the end of the episode, Sherlock lets Bell sleep in while he does all the work dealing with the police to catch the zebra-napper and orders Bell breakfast before he even arrives at the diner. The most beautiful thing about this partnership was when Bell tells Sherlock it was a pleasure, Sherlock replies, “No, the pleasure was mine and mine alone, Marcus.” This sentence holds so much significance. There was one a time Sherlock probably would have replied he sure it was Bell’s pleasure. Sherlock has become somewhat humble over the past couple of years. He still has his quirks, but you can also see a part of humanity in him. He finally addresses Bell as Marcus. Bell wanted Sherlock to call him that at the beginning of the episode, but Sherlock kept being proper by calling him Detective Bell. There is now more of a sense of familiarity between the two of them at the end of the episode.

Bell also helps Sherlock where Joan is concerned. He tells Sherlock he needs to be with Joan and help her get through this time, and Sherlock does follow Bell’s advice. He visits Joan throughout the episode, cooks for her, gets her mail, and actually waits for her to let him into her apartment. While the episode showed a new closeness between Bell and Sherlock the closest relationship of the episode is still Sherlock’s and Joan’s. Sherlock is there for Joan in her time of need. It is no longer the take relationship it was at the beginning of season one. Sherlock has now learned how to give as well.

One of my disappointments with the episode is Elana March is now dead. I was hoping Joan’s nemesis would last a bit longer, but Jamie Moriarty had other plans. I had a feeling Moriarty would somehow get involved because Joan bested her in season one. Moriarty has this appreciation for Joan, and now considers her a great adversary in the chess game she and Sherlock are playing. Moriarty saw Elana as a threat, and therefore Moriarty had to get rid of her.

My greatest disappointment is with Joan’s speech to Sherlock at the end of the episode. In some ways I’m glad she is moving back in with Sherlock because it will lead to shenanigans. However, her speech left me unsettled. A part of me thought she was giving up some of her humanity with it. Only time will tell, and I hope this unsettling feeling is nothing.

I Need a Hero

*Warning: This post contains spoilers to CW’s Arrow Episode 3.13 “Canaries.”

Last week, was one of the first weeks I did not loath Laurel. At the beginning of the episode, we saw Laurel taking out a bad guy Oliver and Roy were going after. Oliver confronts Laurel, and tell her what she is doing is selfish. Laurel replies that it is not selfish and “it’s what a hero would do.” This leads to the problem I have with the show. For some reason the show believes Laurel needed to lose her boyfriend and gain a drug habit so she could find her path to being a hero. Here’s the thing. Before Laurel’s part became mostly a love interest in season one, she was a hero. She fought for justice, and she didn’t have to wear a mask to do it. The people she brought justice to thought she was a hero. You don’t need to wear a mask and prowl through the night finding criminals to fight in order to be a hero. If that was the case, Felicity would not be considered a hero.

During the episode, Laurel gets stabbed with Vertigo by The Count (these are the times I miss Lincoln Lee Seth Gabel as The Count). Her nightmare is revealed as Sara, but in reality it is her doubt in ever becoming a hero like her sister. Illusionary Sara names all of Laurel’s flaws, tells her she will never be a hero, and asks why Laurel is trying to take her place. When Laurel comes to Felicity is there, and Laurel tells Felicity, “I was crazy to think I was fit to wear Sara’s jacket. So much as follow in her footsteps.” Felicity agrees with Laurel’s statement, and the reaction on Laurel’s face is priceless. She wasn’t expecting Felicity to agree. Felicity agreed because she knows Laurel does not face the demons Sara faced. Sara didn’t just wear the mask to hide her identity, but more to hide from who she thought she was. Laurel may have seen her sister as this hero, but Sara did not see herself in that way. Heroes generally do not see themselves as heroes. It what makes them a hero. For them it is a job. Oliver is seen as a hero, but he doesn’t recognize himself being one. He recognizes being Arrow as his job, and Sara was the same. They use fighting because that is what those five years being away taught them. Both of them lost so much of their humanity with those five years. They are/were slowly gaining part of their humanity back, but the demons will always be present.

The last vision Laurel sees from her second dose of Vertigo is Sara without her Canary outfit. The two sisters may not have always been on the best of terms, but Sara would never have been like the illusion Laurel saw and Laurel knows that.

What I do wonder is if Laurel went to see her dad the same night or not because Oliver must have taken her to get the second dosage of vertigo flushed out. She did seem to have all her faculties with her when she finally told Quentin the truth about Sara. Both actors gave their best performances with the scene and it was very moving. I do wonder if Laurel had not seen Lance accusing her of not telling him and Sara’s death, how much longer Laurel would have kept the secret. I guess we can thank Vertigo for something, but will we see any ramifications of nobody telling Lance the truth?

The episode had a couple of other revelations. The DJ was revealed to Thea as a member of the League of Assassins. I’m glad they didn’t bring out the story with him. By revealing who he was, then killing him shortly after made me see a glimpse of the second season where everything was fast paced. Stories don’t need to be drawn out, or visit points Q, M, and Z when going from A to B. The DJ served his purpose, and then killed himself. His purpose was to show Thea that Ra’s al Ghul was a real threat and she needed to be prepared.

The other revelation for Thea was Oliver being Arrow. The show did right with Merlyn in this episode compared to his his “redemption” story a couple of episodes ago. He was there when Roy and Thea couldn’t handle the DJ alone, and he was the one who told Oliver (what the audience has been screaming for a very long time) he needed to tell Thea about Arrow. Of course Thea also finds out Malcolm has known about Oliver for a while now, and whatever trust Malcolm was gaining with Thea is lost. The show uses Oliver’s voice when he tells Thea he is partnering with Malcom because it is the better of two evils. However, If Oliver does not also reveal to Thea what Malcolm did to her at the beginning of this season he may also lose her trust.

Oliver may have revealed to Thea he’s Arrow, but he is still trying to hide part of it from her when he tells her to leave the basement. Roy is the one who stands up to him, and tells him Thea should not be kept out anymore. When Oliver made the decision to tell Thea about Arrow he invited her into all of it. Oliver cannot comprehend his team not jumping when he tries to enforce Thea leaving, and Felicity drops another truth bomb. They all have their own voices, and the mission became even more theirs when they thought he had died. There’s no way they are going back to the way things were before Oliver left. Now Arrow is becoming more of a partnership than ever before. Oliver considered them partners before, but he still was the leader. He is able to understand the teams reasoning when Diggle lays it out for him. Felicity may drop truth bombs, but Diggle is the guru of understanding Oliver’s way of thinking and explaining how things are to him.

Nothing really happened in the flashback front. Maseo told Oliver to get back home before Waller could find him, but Waller found him and Maseo came back for Oliver. One of the last scenes we saw of the three was them entering Starling City. Home Sweet Home. A time where Tommy was still alive. This week will hopefully be a good week with Tommy and Slade appearances.

Gilmore Girls Retrospective: 1.09 & 1.10

Things are about to get dramatic! Broken curfew! Angina! Santa Burgers! It’s beginning to feel a lot like a Gilmore Christmas.

1.09 “Rory’s Dance”

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Emily, that crafty old broad, has read her Chilton Newsletter which is how she knows that Chilton is holding a formal dance. Rory tells her grandmother that she’s not going to attend, because dances are lame, and this greatly disappoints Emily. On the ride home, Lorelai shows some selfless parenting when she advises Rory to consider attending her first Chilton formal dance. She leaves aside her personal feelings on dances and formals and wonders if Rory is abstaining from the dance because she’s too afraid to ask Dean or face the mean kids at school. She even offers to make Rory a dress, which just means Rory has to stress about asking Dean.

Dean “I’m not a big joiner” Forester reluctantly decides to accompany her. And when I say “reluctantly,” I mean reluctantly. Rory practically has to beg him, but to her credit, she uses the perfect amount of Rory-face to get the job done. Dean doesn’t even want to dress up for it, but it’s sweet that he wants to make Rory happy, so that counts for something. And because he’s three hundred feet tall, it’s hard to remember that he’s sixteen, and sixteen-year-old boys aren’t usually that jazzed about formals.

Tristan cutely (I guess?) asks Rory out to the dance. It’s cute because he actually means it, but his methods are pretty gross as he tries to shame her for buying her own tickets and even hints that she doesn’t really have a date. When she soundly shuts him down, he gets downright acerbic, and this makes Paris angry in turn because she knows Tristan likes Rory, and she’d give anything to be someone Tristan would like. Poor Paris. These first two seasons are tough for her, romantically.

Lorelai throws out her back as she makes Rory’s dress, and when Emily displays joy at the fact that Rory’s actually going to the dance, Lorelai invites her mother to come see her off. Emily imposes her will on the event, asking Lorelai why she’s not moving and demanding that Rory wait inside until Dean comes to the door, because ladies don’t run out to cars as soon as they start honking. I gotta side with Emily on this one — of all the weird things for Dean to have a hang-up over regarding the dance, coming to the door at the beginning of the night shouldn’t be one of them.

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Emily decides to stay with Lorelai for the night since she can’t move, which really puts a crimp in all the sitting around that Lorelai had planned. It ends up being a very sweet storyline, with Lorelai and Emily finally bonding over disgusting mashed-banana toast and Barbara Stanwyck, and it ends with a rare compliment: “You did a lovely job, with Rory and the dress.”

At the dance, Dean is pretty great to Rory, dancing with her and even letting her take off her shoes and rest her feet on his legs, but when he goes to retrieve their coats, he encounters Tristan. It’s not explicit whether Tristan’s been drinking or if he’s just that overcome with jealousy over Rory’s dating life, but he picks a fight with Dean. Dean correctly and succinctly pegs Tristan as having a crush on Rory, then he loses like seventeen Cool Guy points when he calls him “Dristan!” like it’s some kind of insult, and really, this is when you realize that Dean never stood a chance against the Jesses and Logans of the world.

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Tristan loses points too when he insinuates that Dean — who is from Chicago — is some kind of hillbilly. In all, it’s actually just a really lame verbal match that doesn’t escalate until Tristan blocks Rory’s path, prompting Dean to shove him away, but he refuses to fight Tristan because “it would be like fighting an accountant” and “because I’d kill you, you idiot!” It causes quite a stir, and arguably, this is what really puts Rory on the social map at that school.

She and Dean wander around Stars Hollow with coffees and chat about whether they’re boyfriend and girlfriend (they decide that they are) before they fall asleep at Miss Patty’s. They don’t wake up until 5:30 in the morning, and Rory panics and runs home, where she encounters Emily and Lorelai in the middle of a loud fight about teenage pregnancy, Lorelai’s suffocated childhood, and Emily’s deep disappointment in her daughter. They’d both freaked out when they realized Rory wasn’t home, and Miss Patty’s phone call had only marginally calmed them both before Emily went off the rails. As great as their evening and night had gone, this fight more than undoes all of that progress.

After Emily storms out, Rory thanks Lorelai for defending her, but it turns a different kind of ugly when Lorelai rounds her anger on her daughter and tells her she’s going on the pill. She’s speaking out of abject terror and frustration that her mother was there to witness the entire thing. Rory volleys all of this back to her, and the episode ends with both of them feeling crappy.

Other notable quotes and moments:

“He’s not my boyfriend. He’s just my… gentleman caller.” “Okay, Blanche.”

“‘We’re in here’? That’s how you answer the door?” “Well, I was all out of Saran Wrap, so…”

“Hey Dean. Meet my mother, Emily Post.”

– No Luke in this episode. It felt weird.

– Louise about Dean: “He’s not of the manor borne, that’s for sure.”

– Louise also employs the most common pickup line that women use for men of a certain height: “How tall are you?” Dean, to his credit, plays it off masterfully.

– The Chilton formal is held in the same place as Rory’s debutante ball in the second season. The staircase is distinctive.

– Paris accidentally announces to the entire dance that she brought her cousin as a date.

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– Miss Patty is sweet to Rory when she finds her, but when Dean asks what time it is, her voice gets deep and dangerous when she tells him, “It’s five-thirty in the morning!”


1.10 “Forgiveness and Stuff”

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If you were upset about the lack of Luke in the previous episode, he more than makes up for his lost screentime in this episode. This is a particulalry powerful one, dealing with the fallout from Rory’s first dance as well as a health scare regarding Richard.

The episode begins with Lorelai and Rory barely speaking to each other, and we see Rory choosing to confide in Lane instead. Things get even worse when Emily uninvites Lorelai from her annual Christmas party, saying she’s tired of always forcing Lorelai to do things she doesn’t want to do. Lorelai is hurt, more hurt than she’s willing to admit, and it’s only partially because she’s missing out on those amazing apple tarts.

After an accidental encounter with Dean at Rory’s bedroom window, Lorelai ends up hoofing it to Luke’s, out of boredom and mostly out of hunger. Luke gives her a hard time about letting Rory continue to date Dean, but he eases off when Lorelai confides that she’s upset about being uninvited from the party. She should’ve just asked Luke to make apple tarts — I bet he can. Instead, he makes her the most disgusting and adorable Santa burger, complete with cream cheese, and Lorelai is touched. Unfortunately, that’s when her phone rings.

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Richard spends the party getting angry about an injustice happening at work. They’re laying the groundwork early for this, because as we find out next season, Richard has been getting “phased out” at his company, meaning they’re slowly replacing him with a younger guy. Richard is agitated tonight because he recognizes the early stages, but to Emily, the other partygoers, and even the viewers, it seems more like he’s overreacting — and then he collapses.

When Lorelai gets the voicemail from Rory, she panics and tries to call a cab since Rory took the Jeep, but Luke closes down the diner immediately and insists on driving her to the hospital. One of the greatest moments of the whole series is when Lorelai stops, choked with tears, and says, “Luke, I’m…” and he just nods and tells her, “I know.”

He keeps her calm on the drive, bearing all of her jabs and insults that she hurls out of fear and panic, and he’s patient as she talks to him about her dad and how she feels about him being in the hospital.

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Having managed to convince herself that Lorelai doesn’t care about her father’s fate, Emily faces off against Nurse Jane Lynch, and she’s shocked when Lorelai appears with Luke in tow. She even asks if they’re on a date, and when Lorelai blurts, “No, it’s Luke!” he clarifies that she means they weren’t on a date. She later tries to send him home, but he opts to stay and offer his support. He ends up watching as Lorelai finds excuses not to go in and see her father, and he calls her out on it in his gruff way. During her attempts to avoid her father, Lorelai makes up with Rory by the broken coffee machine.

She finally goes in to see her father, and she starts crying at the sight of him asleep in the bed. He opens his eyes and sees her, but neither of them can find words before they’re interrupted by Emily, Rory, and the doctor coming in, which is when we find out that Richard has angina. That scene proves that despite what Lorelai believes, Richard truly loves his daughter more than words can express.

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She runs into Luke in the hallway and finally breaks down and lets her defenses down. I’m so glad it was Luke there to see it, and that she was brave enough to let it happen, even if she put her walls back up as quickly as possible. It’s such a great moment for them, and for Lorelai especially. She just learned that she can depend on Luke.

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In one of the most touching and heartbreaking scenes of the whole series, Richard tries to talk to Emily about what she should do if things didn’t go well. She gets belligerent and refuses to talk to him about it, demanding to die first, and Richard graciously grants her that right. It’s sweet and sad and a wonderful glimpse of the inner workings of their relationship.

As a thank you, Lorelai gives Luke a Christmas gift at the end of the episode, even though Christmas still isn’t for two weeks. It turns out to be the iconic blue baseball hat that Luke would go on to wear for the rest of the series… until season 7, anyway.

Other notable quotes and moments:

– Dean’s new nickname is “Narcolepsy Boy.”

– Michel tortures a poor Christmas tree decorator who can’t tell a fairy from Little Bo Peep.

– Lorelai holds grudges because it burns more calories. “How do you think your grandma got those legs of hers? She’s not exactly a stairmaster kind of gal.”

– Luke: “I can’t imagine anyone seeing you as a disappointment.” If she weren’t so paralyzed with fear, Lorelai might have actually registered what he said in that simple statement.

– Luke doesn’t like hospitals.

– Rory confides to Luke that she doesn’t want Richard to die, and he sweetly says that she should tell him that as soon as he wakes up.

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– Emily and Luke have a great scene in the hallway outside of Richard’s room, where they actually treat each other like equals. Emily tells him, “I don’t know what Lorelai’s told you about her father, I can certainly imagine, but he’s a very good man. He always did the right thing for his family.” Luke truthfully replies, “That’s what she told me.”

– Lorelai’s answering machine message: “We’re not here. Speak if you must.”

Next week: Max returns, Sookie gets brave, and there’s some great Paris material coming up in “Paris is Burning” and “Double Date.”

Happy Galentine’s Day: 2015 Edition

Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. (Leslie Knope)

Happy Galentine’s Day! It is time to tell the ladies in your life that you love them. Celebrate their accomplishments, and let them know you appreciate them. This year, I decided to talk about the top five TV shows who love and appreciate the ladies on their show.

1. Jane the Virgin

The Villanuevas have this beautiful relationship. Three generations of women living together with men generally being on the sidelines.

These women all have different personalities, but they support each other through thick and thin. They are family, and have been the only ones for a long time. I love the family is so loving of each other even when they may not always agree.

Then there are the other ladies of the show. This show is predominantly a female cast, and it is beautiful for this reason. Not only does the show have women as protagonists, but they also have them as morally gray and antagonists. Sin Rostro was finally revealed to be Rose, who is not a person to be messed with. They have done amazing casting for the show, and Bridget Regan makes an excellent villain.

2. Agent Carter

Bridget Regan makes such an excellent villain she also plays one on Agent Carter. While she may play a villain on both shows, they are two completely different types of characters. Dottie is an artifact from Russia. She is an example of who Natasha Romanoff used to be. They were both brainwashed as little girls to be assassins.

The show takes place in a man’s world. The women are not treated equally, but prove time and time again they more than capable of handling themselves. Throughout the season, Peggy has been able to get the job done. She still may not have the acceptance or the equality she wishes for, but the men in her life are slowly learning she is not someone to be messed with. She was shown holding her own with the famous Howling Commandos, and already has their respect. Peggy is not someone who should be messed with.

The show also has Angie. Angie is not skilled in combat like Peggy or Dottie, but she is still a strong woman. She is her own person. Angie is amazing and will stick with you, if you treat her right.

3. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

It is important to treat someone right. Grant Ward suffered the ramifications of being a misogynist by the hands of women. Melinda May kicked his butt, Skye shot him, and Jemma Simmons threatened to kill him. The ladies on this show should not be messed with. They have their own set of skills, and are the best of the best with them. What is my favorite thing about the ladies is they each have their own personality, but they will protect each other at all costs. The core team is a family, and the ladies are there for each other through thick and thin.

Then there are the guest characters who are their own. Bobbi Morse like Melinda May is one who can kick serious butt.

Raina is the type of person who is out for their own benefit. She goes after what she wants while wearing a flower dress. The show has also had appearances from Lady Sif and Maria Hill. Lady Sif is a strong warrior and shows a great loyalty. Maria Hill is one of the most competent women I have met, and it is clear to see why Fury chose her as his second.

ABC has been running a promo for the show celebrating the ladies during Agent Carter to show how awesome the ladies are and I get giddy every time I watch it.

4. Elementary

There is only one lady who is a regular on the show, but Joan Watson is queen. She does not allow anyone to control her, and has gained the respect as well as friendship from the men in her life. At the beginning of the series, Joan was a sober companion for Sherlock, but she didn’t let him control her. Watson gained Sherlock’s respect. He also considers Watson as a true friend and partner.

The only other person who came close to being Sherlock’s partner is Kitty Winter. As much as he saved her in London, she also saved him. Kitty is another person not to be messed with. She is still growing into the person she wants to be after suffering a traumatic rape. Kitty finally got justice with them man who raped her, and he will not be forgetting her anytime soon after what she did to him. Kitty is a survivor, and I hope she will somehow appear on the show again.

The show also knows how to make impeccable villains. There is Watson’s own nemesis, Elana March, who is the boss of a mostly female ran crime ring. She reappeared last night after the female assassin she hired failed to murder Joan. By the end of the show, the assassin was murdered by the number one villain of the show, Moriarty. Natalie Dormer wins at all things, and her Irene Adler/Moriarty is flawless. She is Sherlock’s equal, and the only one who was able to read her was Watson. While there may not be that women on this show, the ones they have are so intricate. It is fascinating to see them work.

5. Parks and Recreation

The reason why I even celebrate Galentine’s Day is because of this show. The ladies are versatile, and do not let men control them. Leslie, April, and Donna are all married now, but the most beautiful thing about their marriages is they are equal partners.

This week’s episode was an excellent example of what feminism stands for and how it truly works. The show has these amazing ladies, and the support and confidence they have for each other is empowering.

These ladies have control over their lives, and are there for each other. They celebrate each other all throughout the year, but still have Galentine’s Day in order to recognize each other over breakfast food.

It is so powerful to see ladies supporting other ladies instead of degrading one another. Today is Galentine’s Day, but this doesn’t mean you should stop celebrating the ladies in your life or stop telling them how much you appreciate them any other day.