Most Interesting Upcoming Shows

One of my favorite parts about upfronts is the trailers for new shows are usually released. It helps give a glimpse of what they will be about, and some have the ability to actually gain genuine interest. There are a few new shows that make me excited for the later part of this year.

 

Galavant (ABC)

The one trailer that made me super excited was Galavant. I have already seen so many articles describing it as The Princess Bride meets Spamalot, and from the trailer it seems to be an accurate description. What makes this beautiful is it is meant to be campy. Once Upon a Time is already full of campiness, but the majority of it is unintentional. For me this trailer is beautiful, and I want to hold and love it. Especially since Timothy Omundson is playing the bad guy.

I loved him so much in Psych, and I’m so glad he is going to be back on my TV so quickly. Plus Luke Youngblood, who plays Magnitude on Community, is going to be in it. It will be interesting to see him play a character that says more than “Pop! Pop!” for the majority of his dialogue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPNVhGbw_Sg

 

The Flash (CW)

Barry Allen was introduced during the mid-season of Arrow, and quickly won a place in my heart. After seeing how well Arrow has been handled, I think it is safe to think The Flash will be amazing as well. The trailer looked amazing, and I can’t wait to see Barry in action.

I can’t wait to see the Arrow and Flash crossovers because it was great seeing Barry interact with Team Arrow, and now we will hopefully see more of the Arrow cast (besides Oliver) interact with this new group, like Felicity. I really want to see Felicity on this show at some point. Plus Tom Cavanagh is in this show, and I usually enjoy his work.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj0l7iGKh8g

 

 

Agent Carter (ABC)

As soon as there was talk about giving Agent Peggy Carter her own show I was all for it. I have only become a bigger fan of Marvel as time has gone on, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has proven itself with becoming a great show. I enjoyed Hayley Atwell playing Carter in Captain America, and I’m glad they are going to explore her character more. It will be interesting to see her life after Steve Rogers. Plus it will be interesting if they include Howard Stark at all, or show anything about Hydra.

 

 

Selfie (ABC)

While the trailer wasn’t my absolute favorite it has aspects I really love. The first being it is a modern adaptation of My Fair Lady. I immensely enjoy adaptations of classics if they are done right. Having John Cho play Henry Higgins part is perfection. I have never thought about him playing this role before, but now that I have seen it the casting makes perfect sense.

Another plus with the show is Karen Gillan starring as Eliza in this series. Finally, the creator of the show is Emily Kapnek, the creator of Suburgatory (RIP). I’m willing to give the trailer some leeway due to me not being the biggest fan of Suburgatory’s trailer when it first came out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qJAPLypDnE

The Resurrection of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Warning this post contains spoilers from the part of Season One of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

I went to see Captain America: Winter Soldier on opening night, and while I enjoyed the movie immensely it left me wondering what would happen to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  The wait for the new episode was sheer torture because I wanted to know what would happen to Coulson and his team. The show did not disappoint me, and I believe it was finally able to grow stronger with Hydra finally being revealed. The wait finally paid off, and the last episodes felt like a never ending roller coaster.

The characters were amazing, and it felt like they finally found their place. It all started to sync up including Ward’s and Skye’s characters. For me they threw off the balance of the team due to suggestions of them possibly getting together in the future. It never made sense. Ward’s character worked best when he was with Fitz or Simmons. Of course I think most anybody works great when they are with them. Those two would even have chemistry with a rock.

 

The major reveal of Ward being Hydra was one of the best things to happen to this show. We got to see a new personality with his character, and it worked well. He is a very believable bad guy, and made the show more enjoyable. The fact there was a bad guy in the midst of the group made for an interesting story, especially since they all trusted him.

 

What made the show even better is there was no redemption for Ward at the end of the season. I enjoy certain characters being redeemable, but as soon as Ward’s tally of kills went up, the less I wanted him to be redeemed. The final nail was when he made the sexist comments to Maria Hill. Ward is a sexist pig who has several people probably wanting to have a go at him. As soon as he said something against both Maria and Natasha I could see those two plus Coulson, Nick Fury, Pepper Potts, and the rest of The Avengers wanting to have a go at him. You say something against one of them, you face them all.

It was truly beautiful to see both Skye and Melinda against him. In the last episode, his attitude was very rapey towards both of them, but neither one let him get the better of them.

In fact, as soon as Skye found out Ward was Hydra she did her best to get away from him, and not let him get the information he wanted. There was no point where Skye had a “Ward can be redeemed” storyline. She knew what Hydra was, and how bad they truly were. Skye became a better character within the past episodes.

Of course the idea of Ward being able to redeem himself was addressed through Fitz character. For me Fitz is the baby of the group. He is not infantile, but the innocence and belief he has had makes him seem so much younger. It seems like he is slowly leaving his adolescence behind. It will be interesting to see if his character changes at all after he wakes up from his coma.

As for Jemma, she seemed to be at the point some hit in their twenties where they have no idea what to do now. She is a very goal oriented person, and came to S.H.I.E.L.D. young. She knew what she wanted and achieved it all the while dragging Fitz right along with her. The whole Hydra reveal shook her very identity because S.H.I.E.L.D.  has been a major part of her late teenage and adult life. It felt like she was the second most impacted by the revelation because she no longer knew what she was going to do. Jemma is a planner.

 

Melinda was the one who handled the new storyline the best. This is the type who rolls with the punches. She accepts the situation and finds a way to conquer. Hydra did not affect her as much as Coulson no longer trusting her. This is where I see a bit of Natasha Romanoff in Melinda. While regimes fall Melinda still holds onto her friendship with Coulson. This is why she calls her mother to help her find Maria. She knows that Maria can help Coulson, and hopes Coulson will be able to trust her again.

Then there is Agent Phil Coulson himself. Clark Gregg did an amazing job with his performance. I like to believe Coulson wanted to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. ever since he was a little kid with his Captain America card collection. Steve Rogers and his ideals made a great impact with Coulson, and who he is today. Coulson’s life revolved around S.H.I.E.L.D., and it impacted him the most when the truth came out. The life that he had known no longer existed. He was already having issues with T.A.H.I.T.I., but finding out about Hydra and Melinda is what hit him the hardest. However, Coulson is a trooper. He was able to get his retribution against Hydra for destroying what S.H.I.E.L.D. meant. Fury was right by calling Coulson an Avenger because this man will fight to the finish for what he believes in.

Finally, there was the incorporation of Triplett into the group. This was one of my most favorite parts that happened at the end of season one.  He had to earn his way into the group due to the revelation of Garrett being both Hydra and the Clairvoyant. The only one who really trusted him when he joined was Jemma, but that was only because of what happened to them when Hydra took over S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

While he was earning the trust of the rest of the group we got to learn more about the man himself, and his past. One of the things that really helped define his character was finding out his grandfather was a Howler, but he never boasted about it due to him wanting to make a name for himself. It then opened up to him and Coulson being able to fanboy over his grandfather’s old gear, and helping seal the fact he was now a member of the team. In quite a few ways Triplett is like Coulson with the belief of being part of S.H.I.E.L.D. to make the world a better place. However, he was impacted by his grandfather instead of Captain America.

His grandfather and Steve fought side by side, and were able to take down Hydra. This is one of the reasons why Triplett is so gung-ho in taking them down, and probably the reason why Garrett never revealed he was Hydra to Triplett because he knew Triplett would take him down on the spot.


I really want Triplett to be a regular in season two because the whole team worked so great together with him. This is what I wanted with the team since the beginning, but it still always felt a little off in most episodes. Now they have a better harmony together, and Triplett fits in so well.

Arrow vs. Deathstroke 2: Back in the Habit

**This post contains spoilers for the season 2 finale of Arrow, 2.23 “Unthinkable.”**

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Well, there’s no way around it: everyone’s talking about that scene. You know the one. If you don’t know the one, then this is your warning to avert your eyes. Maybe go watch this video. Have a croissant.

Yes, the unthinkable actually happened: Oliver declared his love for Felicity. Try to contain yourselves. I know it’s all very exciting, but have some dignity!

Oliver couldn’t get close enough to Slade to administer the Miracure, so after Felicity persuaded Oliver to come up with a plan to outsmart Slade (rather than killing him outright) he arrived at a pretty simple one: let Slade take Felicity, armed with the cure, hostage.

He took her into the foyer of the darkened (and undisturbed) Queen Mansion, which he knew was still bugged by Slade. He told her he needed her to stay, and that it wasn’t a request, and when she protested, he said, “Slade took Laurel because he wants to kill the woman I love.” Felicity knew that — she went to MIT, after all — and adds, “So?”

 

He stares right into her eyes as the words hang between them, which is so unlike him when he’s telling lies — and he’s really bad at telling lies. He’s so bad at lying! He’s good at lying to people who aren’t looking for lies — Thea, Moira for the first season, Lance, Laurel — but the people who look for lies, people like Diggle, Sara, and Felicity, they can always tell.

He didn’t warn Felicity about this plan because he needed it to be believable, he needed her reaction to be genuine, to really sell the story to an ever-watching Slade. What he didn’t realize was that he need to put all of his real feelings on the line in order to sell the story himself. He had to look right at her as he said the words, no usual evasive tactics, no mask, and mean them. And how many times has Felicity called him out on his lies? It’s kind of the crux of their relationship: she sees him for who he really is.

She didn’t see any lies this time.

 

It’s not until he presses the Miracure into her hand and asks, “Do you understand?” that she realizes. And she’s remarkably quick on the uptake, she probably figures it all out before he leaves the foyer. The viewers don’t realize it’s a ruse until much later, when Felicity stabs Slade in the neck with the Miracure.

Once you get over the sleight of hand by the writers, you can kind of appreciate the deep trust that Oliver and Felicity must have in each other. She had no idea of his plan when he confessed his feelings to her, but he trusted that she would figure it out. He trusted that she would go along with it. He trusted that she would sit in that dark mansion and wait to get taken hostage. He trusted that when it mattered, when she needed her strength and her wits, that she would stab Slade with that syringe. He trusted that she would make Slade underestimate her, just as Moira and countless others once underestimated her, to their great detriment.

Felicity trusted that Oliver would come for her. She trusted that his plan was good. She trusted that he was right. She trusted him even as Slade monologued, “When her body lies at your feet, her blood wet against your skin, then you will know how I feel!” Even after Oliver probably shattered her heart into a million pieces by placing that syringe in her hand, she still trusted him. Have you ever seen anything like this on television? Even if I didn’t like them romantically, I would still be all fluttery over their deep and beautiful partnership.

She gives him an out later, on the island, with the ocean as yet another light-filled metaphor as their backdrop: “When you told me you loved me, you had me fooled, for a second. I thought maybe you might have meant it… what you said. You really sold it.” Once again, he never breaks eye contact with her, and he sweetly smiles and replies, “We both did.” It reads as a bittersweet moment for me, because I think they reached some kind of unspoken understanding; they both know how they feel, but they’re not going to talk about it. And that’s okay. Slow burns are good for the soul.

Believe it or not, Oliver and Felicity’s relationship is not the only thing that happened in this episode. It was a grand and intense season finale, and I’m pleased to say that our prayer circle for Sara worked! She survived the episode and frolicked off to rejoin the League of Assassins and, you know, become a contract killer again. So that’s fun!

Not only did Nyssa and the League show up to fight on Oliver’s behalf, but Diggle and Lyla (who is pregnant, aww!) broke Lawton and the rest of the inmates out of ARGUS prison in order to confront Amanda Waller, who ordered a drone strike on Starling City. Malcolm Merlyn is also still alive and kicking (he cutely tells Thea, “It’s called ‘kevlar’” after he miraculously survives the shots she took at center mass, because no one takes head shots anymore) so basically, it’s like a guest star party in this episode!

 

The only significant death that occurred was Isabel Rochev’s, who died at Nyssa’s hand after Oliver stopped Sara from killing her. On the one hand, I would’ve liked to see Isabel die at Sara or Felicity’s hand, but on the other, Nyssa was the only one dropping bodies at the time. The poetry of the moment is significantly undermined by the fact that Sara rejoined the League at the end of the episode, but hey, what can you do?

 

Roy recovered from his Miracure and snake venom cocktail with no memory of his roid-rampage through the city a while back. That’s a tough truth someone’s going to have to break to him eventually. He calls Thea, who is still facing off against her father, and asks her to meet him at his house. Thea tells Malcolm in no uncertain terms that she wants nothing to do with him, and she and Roy share a tearful and touching reunion after she realizes he’s been cured. Unfortunately, he lies about having any knowledge of the Arrow, so when she later finds his bow and quiver under his bed, she takes this as base treachery and peaces out. She leaves behind a bitter note, which Roy tearfully reads as we watch her get into a limo belonging to Malcolm. She’s not anyone’s innocent anymore — in fact, Thea looks as dark, angry, and betrayed as Laurel looked at the beginning of this season. She vows never to come back to Starling City.

Speaking of Laurel, she’s tranquilized by Nyssa (rude!) and is left facedown and unconscious in the police precinct. She’s later found by Lance, who has only barely revived her when they’re attacked by more masked men. Lance is thrown across the room and Laurel is taken hostage, because Slade believes her to be the woman Oliver loves the most. (I won’t debate that point, because my biases are clear and they also don’t matter. But I will point out that it was Laurel’s picture that Slade often saw Oliver staring at during those long nights on the island. I was wrong about Slade seeing this as an eye-for-an-eye situation, but that also makes it a bit worse in his mind: Oliver cared for Shado so little that he saved the life of a woman he only loves second-most in the world over hers.)

Laurel is freed when Felicity stabs Slade with the Miracure, at which point Sara and Nyssa come in like wrecking balls and get Felicity and Laurel to safety. Later, as Sara says goodbye, she hands over the iconic leather jacket and tells Laurel she thinks it’ll look good on her. They smile and hug and then Sara leaves. Unlike last year, Laurel seems to have come out of this finale unscathed — until Detective Lance collapses on the docks, coughing up blood and struggling to breathe. That’s when Laurel realizes he’s sustained severe internal injuries to his torso, and she frantically calls an ambulance. Things are looking grim for Lance as we zoom out from his unconscious form.

As for Slade, he thinks he’s got Oliver over a barrel, having taken Felicity. He recaps for the audience, how he’s going to kill the woman Oliver loves.

Oliver: “Like you loved Shado.”
Slade: “Yes.”
Oliver: “You see her, don’t you? What does she look like in your madness, Slade? What does she say to you? I remember her being beautiful, young, kind… and she would be horrified by what you’ve done in her name.”

Slade fights even after he’s Miracured, because “The Mirakuru isn’t what made me hate you.” The entire fight sequence is spliced with their fight sequence from five years ago, inside the flooding Amazo. It’s incredibly well done, with most of the shots matching into seamless transitions between past and present. The stunt choreography, direction, and editing are some of the best I’ve seen.

In the past, Sara is swept away into the whirlpool of the sinking Amazo, which is the last time Oliver sees her alive. Slade is trapped by fallen metal scrap and goads him, asking if he’s going to kill him or cure him, then adds, “It doesn’t matter. I’ll take away everything and everyone you love! Sara was only the first!” Oliver decides in an instant, gripping an arrow in one hand and the cure in the other, and it really could have gone either way, but he stabs Slade in the eye with the arrow and believes him to be dead.

In the present, Oliver manages to get Slade tied to a pillar, and Slade whisper-growls, “You can kill me, or not. Either way, I win.” Oliver hands Slade over to ARGUS, who imprisons him in a cell on Lian Yu. Oliver visits him at the end of the episode, battered and bruised, and they exchange final words.

Slade: “You’re a killer. I know. I created you. You’ve killed plenty.”
Oliver: “Yes, I have. You helped turn me into a killer when I needed to be one. And I’m alive today because of you. I made it home because of you. And I got to see my family again. But over the past year, I’ve needed to be more, and I faltered. But then I stopped you without killing. You helped me become a hero, Slade. Thank you.”

Slade has tears in his eye as he looks at Oliver askance, and I think that exchange is so beautiful and tragic at the same time. They were brothers once, they went into battle together, taught each other, relied on each other. In many ways, Oliver’s pre-Mirakuru relationship with Slade mirrors his current relationship with Diggle. The tragic thing is, Slade could’ve been a hero, too. If he hadn’t been overcome with bitterness, jealousy, and hate, he could’ve survived that island with Oliver, had a lifelong friendship, and become a hero in his own right. Instead, all he’s known is darkness, anger, and hatred, and now he’s staring at his antithesis through bars as he faces a future of being trapped. What Oliver is saying, he says from the heart; but they’re taunts to Slade’s ears, they’re barbs and insults. They’ll never be the same again.

Slade: “I keep my promises, kid! I keep my promises!”

The episode ends on a flashback: Oliver, waking up in Hong Kong and meeting Amanda Waller for the first time. Season 3’s flashbacks are gonna be crazy!

Next season: Don’t forget to tune in for The Flash, which ran a promo during Arrow’s season finale. It looks fantastic! Now let’s join in a summer hiatus prayer circle for Detective Lance.

“You’re an angel in a devil’s body!”

Please enjoy this Trophy Wife post from guestblogger Mary.

**This post contains spoilers for episode 1.21 of Trophy Wife, “Back to School”**

Pete’s preparing for a college visit for Warren and science camp for Hillary, and consequently a night away from home with Diane, which Kate taunts him about:

Kate: “Adjoining hotel rooms . . . suddenly in the middle of the night the door cracks open-”
Pete: “Stop, you know I hate scary stories.”
Kate: “Diane’s standing there in her stiff monogrammed cotton pajamas, telling you that you’re brushing your teeth wrong-“

Kate’s cut off again, this time by Hillary honking the car horn from outside, eager to get on the road. Spoiler alert: Hillary is SUPER JAZZED for science camp! Warren is also super jazzed, in a more Warren way:

 

Diane wanders in, promptly commandeering Pete’s abandoned travel mug of coffee, which he was very excited about before he went to help Warren pack, and busies herself dumping it out and pouring a fresh cup while kindly offering that Kate should come with them so she can see a real live college campus (ouch.) Kate reminds Diane that she did in fact go to college and has a degree, so Diane decides to brag about going to Stanford by bragging to Kate about how she went to Stanford. It came up organically.

Diane: “If there’s one thing Stanford taught me it’s that Stanford grads always have that famous Stanford humility.”

But that’s not Diane bragging, because if she was bragging she’d bring up how she woke up at 4:15 that morning to do knee surgery on an obese man (“Obese knees are the hardest.”). It all just came up organically and Marcia’s hair is looking much more Diane-ish again (that also came up organically).

Once she reminds Pete to “potty” before they leave, they’re ready to go! Kate has the same plans as most of us would: bralessness, Netflix, popcorn, and beer. Of course that’s when Jackie shows up, letting Kate know when Kate asks that she’s been there long enough to take off her bra too:

Jackie: “Just kidding, I never wear a bra!”

As it turns out, Jackie’s going to her high school reunion that night and needs a plus one since Sad Steve’s mom fell into a really deep coma which is super tragic for Jackie since it leaves her dateless. After much hinting, attempted ducking, and a quick reassignment of Bert duties to Meg and Tevin, Kate agrees.

Jackie: “You’re an angel in a devil’s body I love you!”

As Kate’s getting ready to leave, Tevin explores the Harrison pantry, amazed by their variety of spices and scandalized by one in particular’s name:

Meg: “Tevin, it’s pronounced ‘cumin.'”

(I’m just horrified by the lack of organization in that pantry.)

Kate wisely leaves Bert in charge and deuces out (“Oh, the things that you do for your husband’s second ex-wife.”) and Meg and Tevin immediately start hunting for booze.

Meanwhile on the road:

 

 

Is it just me, or did B. Whits deliver that snotty Jim-face directly into the camera?

And excuse you, Diane, but the greatest college in the history of everything has been advertising on late night since the 80’s! –Kerry

And in a car across town (I’m assuming), Kate’s excited to meet Jackie’s friends, but Jackie’s more concerned about this one girl named Marcy:

Jackie: “Whew! She and I used to give each other the stuff.”
Kate: “Ooh, like drugs?”
Jackie: “No! No! The business! Y’know? The cheese! The old back and forth! I’d zig, she’d zag, we’d be at it all day.”
Kate: “Yeah, I get it . . . drugs.”

No Kate, you really don’t. *whispers* SHE MEANS LESBIANS (I think. Right? That’s my read on it.)

Ahem. Carry on.

They start to snark about Diane but then Jackie startles and swerves.

Jackie: “Hitting a squirrel is good luck, right?”

Tevin and Meg are creepily role playing as Pete and Kate:

Tevin, wearing one of Pete’s suits: “Look at me, I’m Pete, I’m a grown up!”
Meg: “Look at me, I’m Kate. Pete, have your way with me before you die.”
Tevin: “We’re so good at this. . . let’s have a kid!”

They decide to get started like right that minute but are quickly interrupted by a little blonde cutie named Adele whom Bert explains is his “second-best friend.” I would so be Bert’s second best friend if that weren’t weird. After some friendly alphabet-in-other-languages competition (Adele: Korean, Tevin: burps), Meg decides to bust out sodas (AKA pop) for everyone, which Bert assures her Kate said was fine.

Meanwhile at “Lofton College”:

Warren: “When you said ‘let’s go visit the bookstore’ I got nervous, but all that place sold was candy and sweatshirts!”

Oh man. You guys. It’s just so so so true.

Pete prompts Warren about how “magical” college campuses are, but apparently had something in mind other than the guys in the cafeteria who were “mixing like five different cereals into one bowl! And that other guy who put chocolate milk into his frosty flakes?!” (Anybody else picturing Abed and Troy, or Abed and Jeff circa Home Economics? *openly weeps*)

Pete: “Did anything non-cereal-based capture your imagination?”

Not mine.

Pete’s determined, but Warren’s logic that he already has the clothes and has discovered the chocolate milk in cereal trick, thus making college irrelevant, is pretty convincing. Pete makes a last ditch effort, mentioning “the ladies” Warren could meet, and Warren cheerfully agrees that they should go find Hillary and Diane!

Pouring one chocolate milk out for Warren right now, I’m sorry guys I’m trying to stay chipper but it’s too hard not to be sad about this sweet beautiful show.

Hillary’s at her science camp orientation with Diane and when prompted to go around the room and introduce themselves with an academic achievement, Diane pops up to share one of her own before being informed this is actually an exercise for the campers. Hillary mentions a poem (“Seasons”) she had published in her school’s literary magazine. The poindexter next to her was also recently published . . . in the Journal of the American Medical Association! The next girl demures that they probably already know her from her TEDTalk and Hillary pops back up when she’s done to change her fact and launches into French that she . . . did something to do with Madame Bovary? I . . . took three years of highschool French. Sorry, Mlle Todd, it stuck for a while!

Also smarter than me, in a different way, is the next kid who jumps in that Hillary’s lucky she learned French:

“I was only allowed to learn languages of the future! Mandarin, Arabic, HTML, Java, Unix…”

Hillary “excusez-moi“s herself, overwhelmed.

At the reunion, Kate’s name tag has Jackie’s last name on it, but Jackie says they shouldn’t bother to have it fixed. Just then Marcy pops up in a dress that is either unflattering on a non-pregnant woman or flattering on a pregnant one and I can’t decide which it is. She greets Jackie and congratulates the two of them before slipping away, leaving Kate to exclaim over how sweet she seemed and wonder why she congratulated them. Turns out Jackie told everyone (how did she have time though? Did she send out a mass text? Were the name tags done last minute? Has she been planning this for weeks? IS SAD STEVE’S MOM REALLY IN A COMA?) that she and Kate are married! Halloween callback!

Jackie tries to usher Kate into the party with a hand on her butt, and when Kate diverts her a few times, Jackie snaps: “Let me land or I’m moving to the front,” which is frankly pretty creepy.

Kate’s understandably put out that Jackie didn’t even tell her on the 6-hour car ride about this stunt (Jackie: “We were picking out dream license plates!”), but Jackie tries to explain how hard high school was for her:

Jackie: “I had to eat outside by myself! Which I know sounds like a picnic, but it really wasn’t.” (She gestures to a perfectly-timed photo of her with a picnic for one in a big screen slide show being projected nearby)

Then it turns into a Marcy-rant where Jackie describes her as a billy goat, donkey, and a cow before Kate snips, “can you just pick an animal and finish the story?” Turns out Marcy and her friends made fun of Jackie for being a boyfriendless mouthbreather, so eventually Jackie came out. Kate’s not sure how that was a solution.

Jackie: “Because it was the early 90’s; it was a great time to pretend to be gay!”

They turn to the slide show just then to see Jackie in one of her prom photos, and for someone who was supposedly bullied a lot, there sure is a lot of Jackie on this slide show. Jackie launches into more Marcy-related spazzing and Kate suddenly decides to go along with the whole wife thing, “just clear your crazy with me first next time, okay?”

Warren and Pete are auditing a class: “From Rambo to Bambi, welcome to Violence in Cinema” which totally helps Warren get over being rudely yanked from his cereal studies with Abed and Troy in the cafeteria.

At Chez Harrison, the kids and Tevin are enjoying some sodas (Bert, elated: “I feel like my teeth are getting smaller!”) while Meg preps dinner (“Mac & cheese orange, mac & cheese white, dino nuggets, chicken n’ stars. Oh, and fruit!” she plunks a jaw of maraschino cherries on the table before dragging Tevin away to pop come nice wine and get weird. But Tevin’s more interested in hanging out with the 8 year olds since they’re always hanging out with Meg’s friends.

Kate and Jackie are really bad at improv storytelling so Kate excuses herself to the restroom and runs into Marcy on the way. Marcy gushes about how great it is that Jackie has someone to share her successful pickle business with and Kate corrects her: “Pickle Me This is more of an empire.” Marcy lets Kate know that Jackie explained how sweet a deal marriage is for Kate since Jackie makes the money and Kate just stays home to “keep it right and tight” (ew.) Kate, horrified, insists that Jackie was joking and she herself is an orthopedic surgeon who went to Stanford and also must be getting to the restroom:

Kate: “When I hold it in, people diiiiie.”

Warren is now super excited (with finger guns) to do whatever it takes to get to college, even if it means studying five hours a week!

Pete: “Make sure and schedule some ‘me time’.”
Warren: “I’ll always have time for you.”

Warren wanders off with a “WHOO! COLLEGE!” and Pete brags to Diane and Hillary in the lunch line about how great he’s doing at being a dad. Hillary has three baskets of fries because who even cares about anything when nobody at Science Camp appreciates Madame Bovary? She almost runs into a pole in her dramatic spin and stalk away, which is pretty adorable, and leaves Pete to ask Diane:

Pete: “How do I put this, is Aunt Period in town?”

That’s not how you put that, Pete, but nice try. Diane explains that she could do nothing to help Hillary during her existential crisis since the only failure she could draw on was her inability to orgasm during the latter part of her marriage to Pete, which, she adds, was really more his fault anyway.

Pete: “I never had a chance, you kept sliding my hand away saying “What’s your plan? You have no plan!”

Jackie’s regaling other reunion-goers with tales of Pickle Me This (pickled beets are starting to sound amazing to me, help) when Kate hauls her off, upset that she’s been describing Kate as mere arm candy and leaving Kate to lie to Marcy about being a surgeon. Jackie’s a little worried about that since it doesn’t jive with the stories she’s been telling about Kate in the mean time:

Jackie: “I don’t know too many doctors that would slap a toll booth operator.”

Kate presses the issue, asking if Jackie didn’t think people would believe Kate as a career woman, but Jackie tries to brush it off (“Hey girl, when I go to your reunion I’ll be any kinda wife you want!”) so Kate leaves in a huff, Jackie trailing after her.

Jackie: “Kate, I’m sorry! I’ll tell everyone that you’re a doctor! Ooh! That you were voted hottest surgeon in Good Doctor Magazine!”

Kate kind of bursts out that the problem IS that she’s not a doctor, that all she feels she does is go to yoga (“and sometimes I still have Bert make me dinner!”), and finally that she was lying that morning when she told Diane she had a degree. Kate never finished college. Jackie doesn’t think this is as big a deal as her own; not only did she tell everyone Kate was her wife, she also invited 10 people to tour her pickle factory. Kate doesn’t want to lie, she wants to actually do things, like Jackie actually has. Maybe Pickle Me This isn’t an empire per se, but it IS a real business. Jackie takes this to heart:

Jackie: “You’re right! I am amazing! I’m a great straight single lady with a boutique pickle business that fits right in my trunk!”

She adds a little sadly that it was fun being the cool girl at the party for once, but Kate reassures her (“You are way cooler than you give yourself credit for J-bird.”) and then quickly refuses Jackie’s lean in for a kiss (“You have just been sending me mixed signals all night.”)

We cut over to Warren, mid-sentence, comforting Hillary as she dejectedly picks at her fries.

Warren: “Let me tell you about a girl I know. That girl could do anything she puts her mind to. That girl is brilliant although she might not always realize it. That girl is my hero.”
Hillary: “Thanks Warren.”
Warren: “Oh, don’t interrupt me. That girl won the Hunger Games.”
Hillary: “Wait, Katniss?!”

He knew her name started with a K!

Pete and Diane watch from the background before heading over to give the kids permission to go to a Kill Bill screening at the student center, and Warren and Hillary take off with their Failure Fries in a flurry of validation and excitement.

Diane, sweetly: “We’ve got good kids.”
Pete: “We do. Wish they’d left the fries, this is my cheat day.”

Tevin and Bert are pillow fighting while Adele asks Meg about the Cosmo quiz she’s taking (Meg: “All signs point to . . . oh, that’s a grown up word.”). Bert calls a time out and pulls Meg aside to tell her to get rid of Tevin:

Bert: “It was fun when he burped the first ten times but now the whole house smells like white cheddar popcorn.”

Meg objects that she’s always the bad guy and tells Bert it’s on him to give Tevin (who we see OWNING Adele in their pillow fight in the background) a talking-to.

At the reunion Marcy flags Kate down to take a look at her knee which clicks when she plays tennis. Kate asks Marcy what she does for a living instead (IT Project Manager) and awesomely shuts her down:

Kate: “Ugh, well, I wouldn’t ask you to project manage my IT at a party, so, I don’t think so! And plus, stop flirting with me okay? I’m taken.”

Jackie comes over and is about to admit her lie to Marcy but Kate interrupts and pulls her out onto the dance floor. Jackie questions her, but Kate explains simply:

Kate: “Marcy’s a donkey and I wanna dance with the cool girl at the party.”

We go into a music-backed voiceover of this lovely speech from Bert over scenes of Pete and Diane companionably looking at pictures on their phones of Warren and Hillary as kids, Warren covering Hillary’s eyes for her during Kill Bill, and Jackie and Kate at the reunion:

 

“There are so many stages in life. Kid, older kid, grown up. Each one is special. It’s fun to look back on the person you were. And remember who you wanted to be. But you have to look forward to because most of the time you don’t even realize you’re ready to move on to the next chapter until you’re already there.”

Bert: “I guess what I’m saying is, I think you need to find friends your own age.”
Tevin: “Fine! Whatever! You suck at burping!”

Tevin DROPKICKS Beary White and leaves Bert’s room in a huff, and Bert sighs to Adele that, “it’s 9:15. I am gonna be useless tomorrow.”

Me too, kiddo.

Mary is a military wife, mother, and certifiably pathological fangirl. Though she’s written before, this is her first foray into blogging. Her interests include livetweeting, cooking, baking, buying, and – most importantly – eating food, puns, and deciphering her toddler’s attempts to speak English. Follow her #mamatweets, #wifepeopleproblems, and #islandproblems (it’s not all complaining, honest) on Twitter at @maryarrr.

Goodbye, Trophy Wife

News of Trophy Wife’s premature cancellation at the end of its first season hit Twitter (and my email inbox) as I was rewatching the latest episode, “Back To School,” to take notes for when I would sit down and write my blog post about it. Coming at the end of an episode where Kate, Jackie, and Hillary bare their insecurities about their accomplishments and Kate hints at going back to college to finish her degree, the timing felt particularly cruel.

Reading back over my first post about the show, which I started covering four episodes into the season, I have to say the writers delivered on everything I hoped to see for the characters and then some.

I’d hoped that we’d get to see Kate do more than make breakfast and do laundry, and she did. Not only were her relationships with her husband, stepkids, and Jackie and Diane explored, but we saw her attempting to branch out and make more mom friends (which sadly didn’t seem to work out, but she has a big family to fall back on now too). She even briefly tried starting a business with Jackie, which turned out like many of Jackie’s businesses seem to, but I did appreciate seeing Kate’s real business acumen. And as mentioned earlier, we got to see the beginnings of what Kate would have dove into in a second season, like going back to school or perhaps going back to work. Malin Akerman gave Kate the heart, humor, and wit that subverted every negative trope about trophy wives.

Pete’s Judicial Erotica (“it’s not Legal Porn!”) was mentioned more than once, and Bradley Whitford always brought his best dimple game, so color me pleased. Whitford is legitimately a joy to watch. Pete’s freak flag flew highest perhaps in the episode where Bert lost a tooth and Pete then misplaced it and went off the deep end over the whole thing. My favorite Pete arc is undoubtedly the one leading up to The Wedding. The scene where he proposes to Kate in the garage was just beautiful and demonstrated exactly why Kate/Pete work at the center of this circus of a family.

Diane proved to be more of a gem than I even realized at the beginnig, and I think Marcia Gay Harden had a lot to do with that. An episode where she and Hillary host a group of Hillary’s friends for a sleepover, and Diane’s charcuterie and movie choices aren’t appreciated, ended in a sweet quiet moment where Diane affirms that the night was for Hillary and her friends, not for herself. And her admission to Kate when her secret relationship with RussBradleyMorrison is revealed that: “I succeed at everything I do. I have one failure, my marriage,” showed exactly how vulnerable she is under her fabulously icy exterior. (Also my dream of Diane and Meg stuck in an elevator was more than realized when they played beer pong and kind of flirted like crazy a little bit.)

Jackie. Oh, Jackie. Spirit animal, light of my heart. Michaela Watkins’ delivery of Jackie’s relentless warmth, lack of boundaries, and zany individuality have been a thing of beauty. What kept Jackie from becoming a grating cartoon character were moments like her capable and loving mothering of Hillary when helping her with an art project, and her vulnerability to the grown up mean girl moms of Bert’s soccer team (and in this week’s episode when she encounters a high school bully at her reunion). I loved seeng her and Diane work together, whether it was to catch Kate and Pete playing hooky with a fake couples therapy cover, or to find a birthday present for Pete from the kids. Jackie was, is, and ever shall be a bright star, and it’s because of who she is, not because of the boutique pickle business she runs out of her trunk.

Hillary was a bit of a pill for a good chunk of this season but by no means was she without redeeming qualities. Bailee Madison really was great as Diane’s hyper-achieving daughter and I absolutely adored her in last week’s episode especially. Aside from her hilarious barb-trading runner with Meg, Hillary’s highlights were when she was owning her type-A traits, like when she told a former teacher who called her a suck-up: “What you call a suck-up I call a go-getter. So I am going to keep go-getting, and it is going to go-get me places.”

Ryan Lee’s Warren was just a delight through and through, from his spot-on Ellen Degeneres Halloween costume to his excitement at getting a new best friend when the girl he was crushing on told him she was gay. Warren and Bert’s boyish shenanigans were always good for C-plot cuteness, and Warren and Kate had a really interesting cool-girl-nerdy-guy dynamic that ended on a great note with Kate’s support of Warren joining his school’s all girls field hockey team when she thought he needed to make more friends.

Albert Tsai will certainly be snapped up next pilot season if not before, and I hope he enjoys every minute of his time working on camera as much as viewers enjoy his fresh easy delivery. His storylines with Diane and Pete brought out both characters’ much needed sweetness and his carefree quirkiness made perfect sense with Jackie as a mother.

I’ll leave you with Bert’s lovely voiceover from this week’s episode, all the more poignant as we say goodbye to a show that could have flourished through many more chapters with the Harrison-Buckley-Fishers:

“There are so many stages in life: kid, older kid, grown up. Each one is special. It’s fun to look back on the person you were and remember who you wanted to be. But you have to look forward too because most of the time you don’t even realize you’re ready to move on to the next chapter until you’re already there.”

Mary is a military wife, mother, and certifiably pathological fangirl. Though she’s written before, this is her first foray into blogging. Her interests include livetweeting, cooking, baking, buying, and – most importantly – eating food, puns, and deciphering her toddler’s attempts to speak English. Follow her #mamatweets, #wifepeopleproblems, and #islandproblems (it’s not all complaining, honest) on Twitter at @maryarrr. We here at WWFTP would like to thank Mary for her weekly contributions to our blog. 

“You are not alone, and I believe in you.”

Apologies for not reviewing 2.21 “City of Blood” last week. I was on vacation and underestimated my free time, whoops! So just for a quick recap to set the scene for this episode: last week had Thea trying to leave Starling, Laurel unofficially joining Team Arrow, a Mirakuvasion, and Diggle coming face-to-face with a Mirakuru-ed Isabel Rochev (which is why you should always take the head shot, kids, now go to bed). This episode, titled “Streets of Fire,” takes all of the intensity of The Undertaking and cranks it up to about a billion.

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**This post contains spoilers for episode 2.22 of Arrow, “Streets of Fire.”**

There were four major storylines happening in this episode: Team Arrow trying to procure the Miracure, Team Slade trying to ravage the city, Thea coming face to face with a zombie, and Laurel and Sara setting up the big Black Canary switcheroo. (Okay, that last one is just a theory of mine.) Since the episode was jam-packed with so much action (how does this show do it on a CW budget?!) and covered a lot of ground, it’s easiest for me to cover the storylines separately.

After Oliver successfully instructs Laurel on shooting her way out of her concrete trap (I’m not glossing over that scene, I’m going to talk about it when I cover Laurel’s storyline) they meet up with Diggle and Felicity, the latter of whom just ran over Isabel Rochev with a van. Only seconds earlier, Isabel had been snarling to Digg about how badly she’s wanted to shoot Felicity in the face, which I think is worth exploring from a character point of view. When Felicity tells Oliver that a courier had been on his way into the city with the Miracure, Laurel insists he go with his team, that she will make her way downtown, walking fast to her father’s precinct on her own. Oliver’s reluctant to let her go, but it’s a big moment for Laurel (which, again, I will cover later).

Unfortunately, the courier is in an overturned car, and both of his legs are broken. Team Arrow scrambles to get to him, but they’re cut off by some Mirakusoldiers, and Diggle ends up overturning their van. The shot from inside the van is nothing short of spectacular; it reminds me a lot of the in-cab shot from The Avengers, as it’s flipped over during the Chautari invasion, except this is Arrow on the CW, so that’s an insane comparison! In the shot, we see all three characters get jerked around as the van flips, and then we see Felicity go flying from the passengers seat to the driver’s side.

After a stressful commercial break, Felicity is unconscious on Diggle’s shoulder. Oliver anxiously asks if she’s breathing (affirmative) then entreats Diggle to get her out of the van. After Diggle kicks out the windshield and drags Felicity out of the van like an action hero, Oliver uses an explosive arrow to stave off the soldiers before scooping up Felicity and walking away from the wreck. Diggle carries his bow. Why Diggle couldn’t carry Felicity, the world will never know.

She’s able to walk by the time they get to the bridge, but the Miracure is stolen by two Mirakusoldiers, which sends Team Arrow to the Canary’s roost at the top of the clock tower. They’re at a dead end — there’s no way out of it. They’d need a Miracle to get out of this one. Diggle goes to the Foundry, which has been compromised, to rescue Roy and bring his unconscious form back to the clock tower (Colton Haynes had a cush shooting schedule for a couple of weeks, didn’t he?) and that’s when Felicity starts crying.

Oliver keeps his back to her — you get the feeling that he doesn’t actually hear her crying, but he can sense her pain — and starts his confession.

Oliver: “I didn’t know, Felicity. Five years ago, I was a completely different person, and I had no idea that something like this was even possible. I couldn’t have imagined. When you and Diggle brought me back to Starling City, I made a vow that I would never let anything like the Undertaking happen again.”
Felicity, in a tear-choked voice: “What’s happening now is not your fault.”
Oliver: “Yes it is. I have failed this city. Yao Fei. Shado. Tommy. My father. My mother. All that I have ever wanted to do is honor those people.”
Felicity: “You honor the dead by fighting. And you are not done fighting! Malcolm Merlyn? The Count? The Clock King? The Triad? Everyone who has tried to hurt this city, you’ve stopped them! And you will stop Slade.”
Oliver: “I don’t know how.”
Felicity: “Neither do I, but I do know two things: You are not alone, and I believe in you.”

 

She hugs him, and he takes a moment to hug her back. Someone on Tumblr pointed out that the shot of his hand wrapping around her back is filled with light from a nearby helicopter, perhaps some symbolism for the light that Sara wanted someone to harness in Oliver.

But this scene means a lot for the narrative of the show itself. This season has gone to some dark places, and in this moment, Oliver’s outlook is bleak. At best, he will survive this invasion an escape with his life, and hopefully the lives of as many of his loved ones as possible. At worst, he dies alongside everyone else in the city that he loves so much. The cure is gone and he doesn’t have any other arrows in his metaphorical quiver. This is his lowest moment, as Rome burns around him and Slade plays the fiddle up in the QC tower.

But instead of resorting to anger and rash actions, he turns to his trusted advisor, the voice in his head, the one person who keeps this team on some semblance of a moral compass. He confesses to her in the eleventh hour, as if he’s heading into death, but Felicity responds with the anger that he doesn’t feel. She stands up to him, she believes in him, and for once, Oliver just stands there and looks at her. The intimacy of the scene is palpable, they’re both raw and scared, but they’re meeting in the middle. And Felicity hugs him and transfers some of that unique strength she possesses, and Oliver allows it. He hugs her back as the light shines in, because when he’s at his lowest moment, all he needs to know is that his team believes in him.

After Diggle returns with Roy, Oliver gets the Miracle phone call that he needs: Sebastian Blood has stolen the Miracure from Slade and wants to arrange a meeting to give it to Oliver. They leave Felicity with Roy, but not before Oliver admits that they might be heading into a trap. Sebastian monologues about his childhood and his nightmare mask (seriously, the guy is nuttier than a Snickers bar) before he hands over the Miracure. They do have this illuminating exchange:

Oliver: “I won’t be so easy to kill once we level the playing field.”
Sebastian: “He’s not interested in killing you. Not until he’s taken away everything and everyone you love.”
Oliver: “After he murdered my mother, he said one more person had to die.”
Sebastian: “Whoever you love the most.”

Sebastian is under the delusion that he will continue being Mayor after Oliver saves the city, and even goes as far as threatening to reveal the Arrow’s identity if Oliver reveals his. Oliver’s basically like “You do you, bro” which really overlooks the nuance of the scene: The only reason Sebastian is mayor is because Slade killed Moira. Oliver would never be able to get past that.

They get back to the clock tower and prepare to inject Roy with the terrifying neon blue serum (Felicity: “Whatever happened to good ol’ fashioned clear?”) to see if it works, but that’s when Felicity, Moral Compass, stops to question whether they’re doing the right thing. “What if it doesn’t work? What if it kills him? What if he wakes up and kills us?” Oliver’s made this mistake before: So desperate to save his dying friend, he injected the Mirakuru into Slade and created his own biggest demon. He knows the stakes, but he also knows that it’s impractical to start shooting the jackbooted thugs willy-nilly with the cure without knowing the consequences. It’s not a question of quality of life for Roy, either; how is it better to keep him sedated (with venom) for days on end?

When it comes time for injection, Oliver can’t do it. It’s not until he’s had a conversation with Amanda Waller, who is invading the city with A.R.G.U.S. forces, that he’s compelled to inject Roy and wait for the consequences. The episode ends with the needle going in.

Team Slade, meanwhile, is coming to the conclusion that they don’t actually know their boss very well. Slade smirks and whisper-talks about how he understands why Nero sang as Rome burned (he was emperor, though… the metaphor would only apply if Sebastian was singing as Starling burned) then adds, “If only Shado were here to witness this.” Isabel glances at Slade askance and asks, “Who’s Shado?” Oh, honey.

[It does make me wonder what will happen if/when Slade is injected with the cure. He’s been living with these hallucinations of a vengeful Shado for five years, will those just go away, or will he still be strong in his convictions? The soft side of me wants to see a final scene between Oliver and Slade where they’re hermanos once more as Slade dies, but psychologically, I’m just not sure that’s possible. We’ll see how Roy recovers from his relatively short stint as a Mirakuru Man, and whether some of his anger toward his hallucinated version of Thea still remains.]

 

Sebastian comes stomping in, upset that literally everyone in his office was just killed by Slade’s army (including D.A. Spencer, who didn’t even get to prove herself competent before her neck was snapped) and that’s when Slade lays it out for them. Yes, he IS an insane person, and yes, he IS wiping out an entire city just to get back at Oliver Queen. Sebastian can’t believe his boss, who has always acted so sanely in the past (not) has turned out to be cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!

When Slade’s not looking, Sebastian sneaks off with the Miracure and makes it all the way to his office, through a monologue and an exchange with Oliver, and is pouring himself four fingers of scotch before Isabel finally shows up. Slade only confirms that the Miracure is gone before Isabel runs Sebastian through with her swords. He insists with his dying breath that he loves this city, and his mask falls to the ground. Bye, Blood! We hardly knew ye. Well, no. We knew you pretty well. I’m sad you died, but I wasn’t too eager to see your idea of restitution, either. It probably won’t take long for Slade to figure out where Oliver’s hiding out with the Miracure next week.

Thea, arguably, has the least to do in this episode, but her scenes packed the biggest emotional punches. She’s at the train station when the riots start, and she’s cornered by a masked man and is about to meet her maker when she’s saved by a familiar figure: a black cloaked man in a mask. DAD?!

 

*sings* Zombies, zombies, zombiiiies….

She goes running and hides from Malcolm, who still has the crazy eyes and talks about wanting to protect her. Thea’s like a caged animal, distrusting and wild, and she goes absolutely feral when he calls her his daughter: “I am not your daughter! You’re nothing to me, and I want nothing from you!” He pleads for her to go with him and holds out his hand, but Thea’s not buying it. He takes out another masked man, which only frightens Thea more, so she grabs a discarded handgun and points it at him. He helpfully tells her to click off the safety if she’s going to use that (who was running around in this mess with their safety on?!) and she does, never wavering.

Malcolm: “I can see it in your eyes. My eyes. They’re just like mine. Both of them filled with pain and anger, because those we loved were ripped from us. I lost my name, my wife… Tommy.”
Thea:Shut up!
Malcolm: “You’re all I have left in this world, and you’ve lost everything, too, Thea. But you still have a father. You still have –”

 

That’s when Thea shoots three times, and the episode ends on that shot. We hear a body fall and we see Thea’s horrified face. There’s a chance she shot a man who was coming up behind Malcolm, or maybe she shot him in the chest, where he was wearing protection, or perhaps he has regenerative abilities, but either way — the innocence that Moira, Robert, and Oliver tried so hard to protect in Thea is now gone. She’s been forced to take a life, and if she really did shoot her father, then she’s spilled her own blood. That’s huge, and it will change her forever.

As for the Lance sisters’ storyline, I’m pretty convinced that Sara won’t last the finale. The episode starts out with an iconic moment for Oliver and Laurel: he instructs her on how to shoot his bow, and she succeeds. It’s not so much that it was hard to do — Oliver even tells her that the bow practically shoots itself — but it means something that Laurel’s taken up that mantle and proven herself capable. Her voluntary split-off from Team Arrow also symbolizes the sacrifice she’s willing to make for the city, it’s the most unselfish thing she’s done in a while. (Remember when her selflessness was a cornerstone of her characterization? I miss those days! That’s why this scene was so nice.)

Sara returns unexpectedly, saving Laurel from a masked man, but Laurel’s over masks and secret identities and says Sara’s name as she hugs her. Historically, on this show, when people find out secret identities, they either join forces or they die. (See: Tommy, temporarily Malcolm, Moira, Sebastian.) It’s no wonder Detective Lance works so hard to lie to himself about it. But I think Laurel learning Sara’s identity is not a death knell for Laurel, but it is for Sara. Comic book fans have been screaming for Laurel to become the Black Canary, and while this show takes liberties with the comics, things tend to eventually circle back to canon. Dinah Lance is the Black Canary in the comics, and the only way she can take over for Sara is if Sara dies.

 

Sara’s still going through her existential crisis about whether or not she’s irredeemable, and Laurel insists that Sara is a hero. Sara doesn’t believe her, because Laurel simply doesn’t know about the terrible things Sara has done for the League of Assassins. After Sara rescues a child from a burning building, the street buzzes with the heroism of the blonde masked woman, and Laurel whispers, “That’s the Canary” with a proud smile. The role looks uncomfortable for Sara, who will probably always believe she is irredeemable, but it’s a good step for her.

Unfortunately, I also think this redemption is more foreshadowing. Sara’s story has come full-circle, she has no place in Oliver’s life or in Starling, and she’s starting to be seen as a hero. If she dies, Laurel will be compelled to don the leather suit, mask, and wig in Sara’s honor and keep up the persona of the Canary as a hero. It’s rather beautiful in theory, even if I’m still dubious about Katie Cassidy living up to Caity Lotz’s action chops.

There is also Slade’s promise to kill one more person before this is over: the person Oliver loves most. Oliver might love other people more, but Slade will always believe Oliver loves Sara the most, because Sara is the person he chose over Shado. It will be symmetry for him, a sense of poetic justice, to take Sara’s life for Shado’s. Even if there are fake outs of Slade holding Laurel, Diggle, or Felicity at gunpoint, I still believe the season will ultimately end with Sara’s death.

The final nail in the coffin is the island flashbacks, because I think the finale is where Oliver will believe Sara to be dead. If she’s “dead” in the flashbacks, it makes sense to have her “dead” in the present, too. I really, truly hope I am wrong about this. I love Sara as the Canary, and I also love her as Sara Lance, but I don’t see how this group dynamic can continue.

The other, minor storyline involved Beat Cop Lance encouraging his superior to side with The Arrow and against the municipality. Lance also gets his detective shield back (so I can no longer call him Beat Cop Lance, sigh!) and in the wake of the chief’s death and Amanda Waller’s A.R.G.U.S. invasion, I’m hoping next season is more of a political thriller, with Oliver positioning himself against an all-too-powerful intelligence community. But we’ll see. We have a heart-stopping finale to get through, first.

Next week: the season finale! It looks like some League of Assassins members are joining the fight (I won’t spoil you on which ones) and I spotted an unmistakable red hoodie during that marching shot in the promo, too! Who will live? Who will die? Will Felicity hit Isabel with a car again? Tune in next week to find out!

“You love me until you don’t.”

Originally, I had no plans to write about The Mindy Project’s Season 2 finale, titled “Danny and Mindy.” The show took a marked turn for me when Danny broke up with Mindy, not because of the breakup itself (it was played very realistically and contained emotional nuance that had come to define this show) but because of the fallout — or rather, the lack thereof. The subsequent episodes found Danny and Mindy acting largely unaffected by their failed romance, which seemed incongruent with the relationship as it blossomed. Danny kissed her, and Mindy immediately admitted that she’s had deep and long-standing feelings for him. When the relationship ended, I expected to see the battle scars from that. What we got was Danny chasing Peter’s sister and Mindy wandering around listlessly, swearing off men and essentially letting Danny off the hook for breaking her heart.

 

I could handle the story at that point, because Danny is gun shy about relationships and Mindy is not a vengeful person. Sure, I would’ve liked to have seen her hold Danny accountable, especially when he had the gall to expect her to fall back into their old friendship, but this is the same Mindy who took it upon herself to ruin Josh’s wedding even after he was horrible to her. She’s the same Mindy who scrambled to fly back to New York after Cliff dumped her for a lame reason.

Then we met Charlie, the sweet and handsome single father of one of her patients. Just like in any good romcom, Mindy and Charlie butted heads, but they grudgingly came to like each other and eventually dated. Charlie ran a narrative that we really haven’t seen for Mindy yet: He encouraged her to have self-respect and self-esteem. He didn’t do it condescendingly, as if he saw Mindy as a poor helpless woman who needed a man to pick her up. Instead, he saw her as a beautiful, smart, and perfectly capable woman who, for whatever reason, tends to get down on herself. His incredulity that she gets the men she’s dating to do her housework was followed with a comment about his daughter: “I wouldn’t want my Jenny waiting around for some guy to do something she could do herself.” There are exceptions, of course, like when Mindy asks Charlie to kill a spider for her, but it’s the first time Mindy seems to consider that she’s capable of doing more than she thinks.

 

Charlie later forces Mindy to put out an oven fire on her own, and she glows with the triumph, only to be interrupted by Danny. The scene ends with Charlie magnanimously excusing himself, because he doesn’t want to get in the middle of any romantic entanglements. He correctly read the situation and tried to bow out, but Mindy (possibly growing to like the way Charlie made her feel empowered) calls him for a real date. And that was when Danny tried to kiss her and win her back.

That scene is one of the best from this show, and one of the reasons I get so upset about how the finale turned out. Mindy rightfully points out that Danny only wants her back now because she’s about to go on a date, and Danny insists that’s not true. Honestly, for Danny, it’s probably not true. Sure, her impending date with Charlie gives him a deadline, but he’s been coming to the realization for two months that he’s made a big mistake. For Mindy, it’s all about bad timing and poorly-concealed jealousy, but for Danny, it was about his last chance. The scene is played perfectly between the two actors, but unfortunately, due to the inconsistent writing for Danny (he went from loving Mindy to relentlessly and unapologetically pursuing Sally, Peter’s sister, in one episode) the scene ended with him coming off as the jerk in this situation.

All of this is important to cover before I talk about the finale because the characterization has been lacking. For Danny, it’s been lacking since the breakup. One second he’s morose and standoffish, the next he’s happily dating a new woman and seems to have forgotten about Mindy, and then in another episode he’s missing her friendship and acting like a kicked puppy when Mindy doesn’t have time for him. It reeks of Danny expecting Mindy to wait for him, and again, it’s important to remember that he was the one who ended things because he got scared.

Mindy was more consistent, because we got to see her grieving process. She swore off men and tried to embrace singlehood, and then Charlie just sort of happened. He was refreshing and nice, and as a fan of Mindy, I found myself wanting him to stick around longer. When the season finale opened with Mindy exchanging flirtatious emails with a stranger she’d met on the subway, I was a bit disgruntled. Luckily for all of us, Charlie let Mindy off the hook pretty easily; he was never in love with her, and just like Mindy, he never really saw a future with them. (“And I’m pretty sure you took $20 off my nightstand.” “I believe I earned that money back, with the stuff I did to you later that night.” “You’re describing yourself as a prostitute again, you’ve gotta stop that.” “I know, I know.”) It was a respectable end, but it wasn’t great to watch Mindy be emotionally unfaithful to Charlie. As someone who has been cheated on in the past, I would’ve expected Mindy to be a little more considerate in that position.

In the finale, a lot of the bad character choices stemmed from the show’s quest to fit in as many romcom homages as possible. I’m a big fan of romcoms, so I was excited to see what this show would do. What I didn’t expect was three specific romcoms, which were twisted and bent until they fit perfectly into three acts. The problem isn’t the romcoms themselves — romcoms actually track very well on this show, remember Jamie and Lucy? — but the fact that this episode tried so hard to in the romcoms so specifically that it came at the expense of its characters.

Take the first act, for example. The strangers exchanging emails and finding common ground was an obvious homage to You’ve Got Mail, the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan classic from the dial-up modem age. The scenes were shot similarly, the voiceovers were the same, and the score made it feel like you were living in that sequence where Joe Fox says, “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.” I love You’ve Got Mail, probably as much as Mindy loves it. It definitely ranks as one of my all-time favorite romcoms, and it’s one of the few movies my dad will watch, so my siblings and I all know most of it by heart.

Unfortunately, The Mindy Project twisted the narrative of this romcom too much for it to work. At the end of the first act, it’s revealed that Danny is actually catfishing Mindy. He placed the ad and has been emailing Mindy as the handsome stranger, Andy, using his intimate knowledge of her as a way of getting her to fall back in love with him. In You’ve Got Mail, Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly spend the majority of their correspondence in total ignorance of the other’s real identity. Later, when Joe realizes just who Kathleen is, he panics and stands her up, both because of how much he dislikes her and because she would have done the same thing to him. He only starts emailing her back later when he realizes that she’s not such a bad person, but none of it is done in blatant manipulation of her feelings.

Danny makes himself sound so appealing that Mindy feels compelled to break up with Charlie and pursue a romance with a stranger. He purposefully sprinkles in some of her cliches, anecdotes, and various rants so that she is convinced he is The One for her. When Morgan figures out Danny’s nasty secret, Danny begs Morgan not to spill, even as he admits that he has no real endgame. Morgan, who is not the sharpest tool in the shed, doesn’t think to question that part of the plan.

If You’ve Got Mail had gone anything like how The Mindy Project portrayed it, it would not be one of the most enduring romcoms of the last 30 years. It would’ve flailed in the cesspool of The Ugly Truth and Something Borrowed and all of the other lackluster so-called romcoms that have descended on us since the early aughts. Watching Tom Hanks catfish Meg Ryan? That sounds like a Lifetime movie, not a romantic comedy. The show would’ve been better off trying to homage You’ve Got Mail by having Danny and Mindy unknowingly corresponding with each other for a few weeks. It’s not a ridiculous premise: online dating sites are the perfect platform to set such a scenario.

The second act had Mindy dumping Charlie and then telling Danny (as he got dressed up as Bradley Cooper, twenty-piece suit and all) that she thinks he was right about them: they don’t belong together.

 

“You said that guys don’t break up with girls they secretly want to be with. And then I knew, for certain, that you didn’t want me. It was fine, though, because I learned in time that you weren’t right for me, either. We are who we are, and that won’t change.”

Danny is so shaken by this speech (a speech that he brought on himself by dumping her) that he proceeds to stand her up, as Andy, at the Empire State Building that night. Mindy isn’t destroyed by it, but she does get sick, because she stood up there all night in the freezing rain waiting for him.

He brings her soup (okay, zuppa) and offers to watch a romcom with her, and that’s when the episode flows from You’ve Got Mail to When Harry Met Sally. It includes a gorgeous montage of Mindy and Danny visiting “every place Meg Ryan ever laugh-cried,” but it also included the unfortunate omission that Danny did, in fact, catfish Mindy. It’s a jarring admission in an otherwise sweet montage, and though it did get a laugh from me, it was more of an uncomfortable chuckle than my usual loud, obnoxious laugh. Danny’s voiceover continues, “Until one day, Andy was a distant memory.” Mindy’s gazing at Danny adoringly, and it would’ve been very sweet and swoon-worthy if it hadn’t been born out of Danny’s manipulation of her feelings.

 

Then Mindy spots not-Andy on the train and attacks him for standing her up at the Empire State Building. Danny is forced to come clean about the whole thing, and it goes about as poorly as any sane non-Castellano would expect.

“You-slash-Andy made me break up with Charlie! And then you stood me up, at my favorite place in the entire world!”
“I didn’t want to tell you, because I knew this would happen. I knew it would push you away. I love you. Mindy, I love you. I want to be with you. Look at me, I want to be with you.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Yes you do!”
“I don’t.”
“Why?”
“Because you love me until you don’t, okay. I’m not gonna do that anymore. I want something real, Danny.”
“This is real. It’s real. I can prove it to you. Tonight, eight o’clock, meet me at the top of the Empire State Building. I don’t care if you say no, I will wait all night for you. Please, please, please, just give me another chance.”
“I can’t go.”
“Why?”
“Because I have plans.”
“To do what?”
“To not be the stupidest person in the world.”

 

That scene was hands-down the best scene of the entire episode, and it’s the only one that doesn’t derive straight from a romcom. It’s one of the few scenes that just lets the characters be themselves, and the emotion is raw and real. We could feel Mindy shutting down, her pain and humiliation as she yelled at Danny, and we could feel Danny’s regret and earnest pleas for another chance. This is the sort of scene that deserves to be followed up with a grand, romantic gesture, it deserved a good resolution, but instead, we got more twisted romcom plots that resulted in both of these characters being shortchanged.

The third act was definitely the Sleepless in Seattle act, which even casual fans should’ve expected. Mindy has repeatedly referenced that movie, plus it’s just a Meg Ryan sort of episode (and Innerspace doesn’t fit with the other films). Danny set the scene perfectly: he would wait there all night for her, just as she waited for him, and they would meet at the top and embrace and kiss and go on to live happily ever after.

Except remember in Sleepless in Seattle where Rita Wilson starts sobbing about An Affair to Remember? Deborah Kerr is on her way to the Empire State Building when she’s hit by a taxi, and she’s not able to make it. Meg Ryan and Rosie O’Donnell start crying about it, too, “God, I love that movie,” while the men are bemused by the tears. It’s an important moment in that movie, because it sets up the whole meet-at-the-top-of-the-Empire State Building scenario.

After waiting only an hour (during which Mindy is literally dragged by her hair into Danny’s office, where Peter shows her some of her earrings which means Danny loves her — because the catfishing and Danny’s open declarations of love weren’t enough to convince her, but the earrings somehow were?) Danny goes for a piece of pizza. Yes, that’s right, after only one grueling, humiliating hour of waiting, Danny gives up on Mindy for the second time in this episode, and the third time overall, and decides to go order a savory slice. This is the part where I seriously asked myself why I was even cheering for these two. If Danny’s going to be so quick to pull the cord at the slightest setback, won’t that have Mindy on constant pins and needles, waiting for the next time he tries to bail? Will they have any staying power?

His incredulous coworkers, who had just stumped for him despite their varying degrees of misgivings, tell him that Mindy’s on her way to the Empire State Building right now. Flustered, he starts running… and he’s hit by a taxi. That’s right: the only reason the storyline dictated that Danny leave the Empire State Building and abandon his second chance is so that they could get in the obligatory hit-by-a-taxi bit. And sure, it was funny (he runs away with a bloody nose and a “Show’s over!”) but was it worth the commentary that it puts on this relationship?

Consider how long Mindy stood on that same roof waiting for her dream guy. She waited all night, her heart breaking just a little more with each passing minute, but she stayed because she believed in true love. That’s what Danny broke in her by not showing up. She gave up the practical, comfortable life she could’ve had with Charlie to chase the sort of romance that she thought she’d lost when she broke up with Danny. She was allowing herself to believe again, so she chased it, one last time. Danny destroyed that hope twice over, first by not showing up, then by revealing that he was posing as Andy. It’s all too much for Mindy, and understandably so: the breakup, the distance, the jealousy when she starts dating again, and now the catfishing, it’s more than any single person should be able to endure.

The least, the absolute least Danny could’ve done, was to stand on that roof all night, too.

Instead, he comes off as a coward, or a weakling. He couldn’t endure waiting up there all night, knowing with each passing moment that Hey, you blew it, bro, or let the stark reality settle in on him. Mindy was the brave one, she waited, and Danny didn’t. That doesn’t sit well with me. I love these characters, and it just doesn’t jive for me that Danny, stubborn and opinionated Danny who confessed his love for Mindy mere hours earlier, would give up so easily. The only reason for it is the writing: they needed their romcom moment. They needed him running full-tilt through the streets as “Dancing in the Dark” plays, and for him to get hit by a taxi. They thought that would be the ultimate romantic sendoff, but instead, the entire scene is undermined by the fact that he’s even down in the streets in the first place. He should’ve been upstairs, stone-faced and full of dread, counting down the minutes until the observation deck closes and his fate is sealed.

What makes this even worse is the sheer work Mindy still had to put in to get there. First she had to make the unbelievable leap that Danny staring at her diamond earrings is a good enough reason to believe he loves her. That’s taking for granted that he won’t bail this time, that’s even taking for granted that he stayed up there all night. But since they had to get Danny back to the roof before Mindy got there, they decided she needed to climb the stairs — all 104 floors. Mindy climbed all those stairs to get to Danny, who couldn’t even wait for her up there. She’s wheezing and laying on her back when Danny finds her, and even though Chris Messina does some of his best face work in that final scene — even though Mindy looks radiant and gloriously happy as she smiles at Danny — the scene still doesn’t feel earned.

 

I really, truly understand what they were trying to do with this episode. I respect the attempt, and I appreciate the fact that this show is stomping so hard for romcoms. It’s a category that has been maligned (or worse, misinterpreted) for the last decade or so, and it’d be nice to see this sort of second-wave attempt at taking back the genre. I just think that this episode was a victim of the central problem with recent romcoms: They focused on the story and the trope rather than the characters. When your characters don’t make sense, that’s when a romcom becomes a dud. They were aiming for the ranks of While You Were Sleeping and You’ve Got Mail, but they ended up among such mediocre fare as The Bounty Hunter and 27 Dresses.

A Danny Castellano that waits at the top of the Empire State Building is something worth watching. Mindy running through the streets to “Dancing in the Dark” would have worked, too. What you need at the center of all romcoms is a couple to cheer for, and when we saw Danny sitting at that pizzeria, not looking nearly as devastated as he should’ve looked, he stopped being part of that couple. Tom Hanks would never leave after only an hour.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch You’ve Got Mail.