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The 100 Returns with Retcons, Er “Echoes”

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The 100 Season 4 Episode 1 Review, “Echoes”

Content warning: This review discusses attempted suicide as depicted on the show.

When last we left the krus, Clarke had (once again) saved the world by (once again) pulling a lever, but it didn’t really fix things because (once again) crisis looms on the horizon. Only this time it’s something new another nuclear apocalypse! Wait, wasn’t that the origin story for this entire series? Oh well. At least this time, Clarke Griffin is around to take all the blame save the day! Something different! Wait, never mind. That happens every season. Hmmmm, let’s pretend this season is a commentary on climate change. That was totes planned, right? Sure, whatever. Even though none of this makes any sense because there is no way that nuclear reactors would have survived the first nuclear apocalypse, much less 100 years with no humans to control them (except there’s a magical explanation for that! Just wait.).

Suspend your disbelief, Gretchen!

Fine, there. It’s suspended. Let’s get started.

What Happened

One recap later (including the information that they have 6 months to live), cut to Octavia climbing down the outside of Polis Tower to find Indra being taken down from her cross. Indra looks pretty bad. Seriously, is she dying? Either way, she seems glad Octavia killed Pike. Meanwhile, Clarke and Bellamy waltz out the front door of Polis Tower to gaze upon the moaning, lost looking people wandering around the city. They’re trying to decide whether to tell everyone the world is ending (while surrounded by people who could overhear them…).

Bellamy thinks ALIE might be lying, but that they shouldn’t tell people regardless. He’s pretty sure they can survive either way. Clarke thanks him for helping keep her alive, but just when she’s feeling safe, all the Grounders in Polis seem to know that she shut down the City of Light (hereafter CoL). They blame her for all the people who were there being either unconscious or dead (it’s not clear who ends up in which situation, but all the Skaikru peeps are fine).

In Arkadia, Jasper apologizes to Harper, who is totes okay with him smashing her into the wall and pistol whipping her. Raven is still doing her hacker thing and making sure the people from the CoL are okay. Raven is also fine with her pain now because it reminds her she’s alive. And Jasper is really jealous that ALIE ‘upgraded’ her brain but not his even though Raven was the one who literally hosted ALIE’s ‘consciousness’ for a while. Whatever.

Everyone else magically got down from Polis Tower and the adults (Abby and Kane) are worried about the Grounders turning on them. Raven contacts Bellamy to ask how everyone is doing (Good job remembering people Raven). Surprise! Roan is alive somehow. Echo attacks Clarke and seems to be the one in charge. She doesn’t want Abby to save Roan. She lets Clarke go (for some reason) and then blames Skaikru for everything bad that’s happened because she speaks for Azgeda now (for some reason). Oh and she’s apparently one of the queensguard, and claims Polis for Azgeda. Some of the Grounders try to stand up to her but get killed.

Jaha tries to help a Grounder and gets spit on. He seems hurt by it, but like, what did you expect dude? You were the literal villain last season. Murphy tells him to float himself (again, understandable). He resigns himself to clearing up dead bodies.

Pictured: Jaha at work.

Emori has to leave Polis because she’s Trikru, and we finally learn why she took the chip: Jaha promised to take her to Murphy. Murphy wants to take her to Arkadia. (Apparently this is the Grounder/Skaikru romance we’re supposed to care about this season; I actually don’t mind, they’re cute. Fingers crossed Emori doesn’t die.) She agrees to go with him. There’s definitely a way in/out of Polis Tower because Skaikru has now holed themselves up inside the temple. Kane and Abby (Kabby) gets a nice romantic beat. Clarke looks constipated? Confused? Resigned? I’m not sure.

Indra and Octavia show up to join Kabby and Clarke (why?). They all consider handing over the flame to Azgeda, but Clarke says it won’t help. Abby picks up on Clarke not telling them something and Clarke admits that the world is ending. Bellamy is still skeptical about ALIE; Clarke believes her. Clarke advises surrendering to the Grounders.

Cut to Jaha carrying a linen wrapped body he claims is Ontari to Echo, who has him beaten in thanks. In case we’d forgotten that all Grounders are inherently violent. Echo learns that Skaikru is surrendering and goes to meet with them, but will only talk to Bellamy. Jaha tells Kane that “it worked, she’s in” , and we see Octavia cutting open the linen cloth. She was the ‘dead body’! Ngl, that was actually a good con. She kills a bunch of Azgeda to let Clarke and Abby in to save Roan. It is roughly late afternoon outside, which you need to know because…

After the commercial break it’s suddenly pitch dark. Murphy/Emori are trying to sneak out of Polis. Finding out about Pike being killed must have revived her because Indra is looking none the worse for the wear and is helping Kane advise Bellamy how to talk to Echo. Kane says offer her anything to keep her occupied, Indra is more cautious. I will say it was super polite of Echo to wait literally hours to talk to Bellamy. Echo apologizes to Bellamy for betraying him by saying she was following orders, which he says won’t cut it.

According to Echo, the CoL was the only thing keeping them from fighting each other (and not, you know, their choices) because not that it’s gone, Skaikru and Azgeda simply must be at odds. Bellamy then gives her the terms: Skaikru surrenders and accepts Azgeda rule so long as Azgeda accepts Skaikru as 13th clan. They’ll even give Azgeda guns! Echo refuses them (why??? these are really reasonable terms???), but also claims “no one wants war” (??).

Back in Roan’s sickroom, Abby and Clarke finally dig out the bullet from Roan’s shoulder (it must have really been in there for it to take hours). In the name of not wanting war, Echo threatens to kill Bellamy if Skaikru doesn’t lay down their guns. Skaikru lays down their guns just as Grounders bust in to Roan’s sickroom. Echo starts to kill Clarke but Roan wakes up just in time to halt it! Whew! That was close. Good thing Clarke has all that Plot Armor to save her from dying at Echo’s hands twice in one day. Roan is supes worried about Ontari, but not so much that he lets Clarke fully explain that Jaha killed her under ALIE’s orders. He also magically forgets that Kane was under ALIE’s control when he shot him. His memory lapse allows him to be really mad at Clarke.

Meanwhile, in Arkadia: Harper/Monty sex! Raven walks in on them and tells them to meet her in engineering because they’re all gonna die (way to ruin the mood Raven). Cut to Jasper listening to sad music, looking at a painting of “The Starry Night”, and sticking a gun to his chin. Murphy knocks on the door, interrupting him, to summon him to engineering. Raven explains that all the nuclear plants in the world were specially built to withstand both a nuclear attack and last exactly 100 years (convenient). Raven also explains that Skaikru could survive yellow radiation levels (current) but they’d all die when it hits red, which is in 6 months. Also, there’s no way to stop it. Jasper laughs because now he doesn’t have to kill himself, the world is going to do it for him (like, this is really aggressive nihilism for an 18 year old).

Back in Polis, Echo offers to ride down all of Skaikru that’s not locked up and warns Roan about appearing weak for not doing so. He proves he’s not weak by pressing a red hot poker to his chest (he’s so hardcore, guys). Echo calls Roan a ‘bargaining chip’ when talking about his exile, which apparently hurt his mom to do. Good thing they established all that antagonist between Nia and Roan last season to make all the sense of this (I don’t know what’s happening). Echo then offers to help Roan rule and tells him how to do it: take out Trikru and Skaikru.

Speaking of Skaikru, they’re all in prison and Clarke is fiddling with the flame and crying. Abby asks her what’s wrong and Clarke tells her she loved Lexa. Abby says she knew (sure, why not). Echo and some Grounders take Clarke captive while Bellamy yells ineffectually. Clarke is taken to the throne room, and Roan is antagonistic for no reason. Clarke warns him another nuclear apocalypse is coming, and that Azgeda needs her help. People are shouting “jus drein, jus daun” outside. Roan says he won’t survive if he lets her live (he’s probably not wrong). She offers him the flame in exchange for her help and Skaikru’s safety. Roan takes it, and announces to everyone that he accepts Clarke’s terms and will keep the flame safe until another nightblood is old enough to become commander.

Echo delivers a cool looking amulet to Bellamy so that he can pass in Azgeda lands safely. She asks if they’ll be able to trust each other and when he says no, she looks sad? (WHY?) Kane tells Bellamy to ‘turn the page’ and move on. Clarke and Bellamy leave to go to Arkadia and help Raven save the world. In the final shot, a couple of Grounders with radiation poisoning wander through a desert in Egypt and are horrifyingly disintegrated by a wave of fire presumably from a nuclear facility melting down.

So……

 

Can we not have a suicide attempt right off the bat followed by a nihilism so aggressive that a teenager is actively happy he’s going to die a horrible death? This is a show aimed at teens ffs.

With that off my chest, on to things that make me less angry. Holy offscreen developments batman! Echo was queensgaurd all along! Roan was reinstated as heir! We know why Emori was chipped! Abby knew Clarke loved Lexa all along! There were Grounders in other countries all along!

It actually is.

It probably seems like I’m nitpicking right off the bat, but these are some really convenient plot points that we had no idea about at the end of last season. Echo being queensguard makes zero sense. Was she Nia’s queensguard? She has to be, because that’s the only Azgeda queen on the show. Ontari wasn’t the queen, she was the commander. But if Echo was Nia’s guard, how did she end up captured by Mt. Weather in S2? Were they poaching on Ice Nation land as well as on Trikru? If not, why wasn’t she guarding Nia? Why are we only hearing about this now? Oh, right, because it gives her the authority to speak for Azgeda and ‘advise’ Roan (i.e., tell him what to do).

Roan’s backstory confused me watching this, especially when Echo called him a “bargaining chip”. I had to go online to look it up and apparently in an interview last year, Rothenberg explained that Lexa made Roan’s banishment a condition of Nia and Azgeda joining the Coalition. Good thing they took the time to explain that on the show instead of just randomly referring to information given outside of show canon.

What makes even less sense is Echo’s utter resistance to making peace with Skaikru. I get it, they’re ‘bitter enemies’ or whatever, but she has the gall to say “No one wants war.” Honey, no. No one is making you fight bb. You could make this war go away if you decided not to fight with Skaikru. It’s that simple. Echo could just not kill Skaikru. Azgeda could let it go. If Echo didn’t want war, she could have literally accepted Skaikru’s super reasonable peace terms. Skaikru was surrendering, offered to acknowledge Azgeda’s rule and give them guns, and the only stipulation was basically “let us join you and don’t kill us”. What else did Echo want? She makes it sound like antagonism between Azgeda and Skaikru is this inevitable force that only the City of Light could stop. But it isn’t? Azgeda could just…I don’t know…not fight Skaikru?

That’s not even the first instance of someone making an inexplicable choice for Plot Reasons. Bellamy’s decision not to tell everyone the world was ending may have staved off panic, but it got them all thrown in jail and almost killed. Because keeping things to himself works out so well for him and his friends. Echo decides not to kill Clarke the first time because…she didn’t want to get her jacket bloody? But then she slits that other lady’s throat so…idk.

I also can’t get over the huge time jump from late afternoon to literally pitch dark. Like, it was at least four hours in between when Echo went to parlay with Skaikru and Kane/Indra sent Bellamy back to talk to her. I guess it took them that long to decide what to say? But it also means it took that long for Abby/Clarke to dig a single bullet out of Roan’s shoulder. They must be rusty with their field surgery? Or maybe Clarke is too busy having triggering flashbacks to the day her lover died. Seriously, who decided to send Clarke in there? And it isn’t as if she was actively helping Abby for all that time. She’s just standing behind her telling her to hurry up.

At least we got to enjoy the “there’s no way down from Polis Tower, it’s all completely blocked” retcon. For real. I couldn’t stop laughing. The first shot of the episode Octavia climbing down the outside of the tower, only for Clarke and Bellamy to waltz out the front door 2 seconds later. What? Why? Why did Octavia have to climb down? Did she just think it was more badass? And speaking of Octavia, I have no idea where this ‘dark assassin turn’ is going to come from. Because right now, she looks pretty cozy with the rest of Skaikru. She seems…not all that mad at Bellamy anymore either. Maybe they had a pep talk/reconciliation off screen.

Speaking of pep talks, it looks like the show really is going full scale “Bellamy is redeemed” with Kane’s “turn the page” moment. I mean, it’s nice that Kane and Bellamy are back to having a mentor/mentee relationships (I always liked that dynamic), but I still can’t get over the aggressive erasure and minimizing of Bellamy’s actions. In an interview just last week, Rothenberg had the gall to call Bellamy’s participation in genocide a “bad decision …he’s maybe made”. What utter bullshit. Let Bellamy feel the weight of what he did, let the show acknowledge it. That’s the only acceptable thing to do after an act that heinous. It’s why Bellamy’s self righteous response to Echo’s comment that she was “just following orders” when she betrayed him fell flat. Because Bellamy did far worse and he has yet to acknowledge and truly apologize for it. Much less seek true reconciliation.

Finally, I have to say that the explanation for the nuclear reactors exploding is the most absurd case of plot contrivance I have ever seen. There just happen to be specially made reactors that just happen to have been made to withstand a nuclear apocalypse and just happen to only last 100 years? You’re telling me all the nuclear reactors in the world just happen to have been replaced with these special new reactors three years before the last nuclear apocalypse? Because that’s the only way all of them just happen to be melting down at the exact same time 97 years later. Fuck you if you think I’m going to swallow that. It’s stupid.

Why would human beings ever design a nuclear reactor like this? If it can withstand a nuclear apocalypse, why design it with only a hundred year lifespan? Why not make it last indefinitely? It just feels like one of the writers realized there was a plot hole and decided to fill it with the most specific set of details possible. Rather than, say, the most reasonable. Like maybe that these are nuclear reactors that can last indefinitely, but one of them has malfunctioned and the chain reaction is going to cause all the rest of them to explode because they all just happen to be within blast radius distance. It’s still not perfect, but it makes more sense than this.

And if there are other nuclear reactors already exploding in other parts of the world (as we saw in the end), how do they still have 6 months left? That one would be leaking enough radiation to cause problems. Especially if there are other ones in Europe and Asia exploding as well, which we saw in ALIE’s simulation. There were at least four exploding already. 6 months seems remarkably lenient for this many reactors already melting down.

I don’t know what else to say but that it’s this giant game of idiot ball, retconning, and let’s pretend this never happened and the audience has forgotten the context. Very little of this makes sense unless you’re squinting really hard or don’t care about it making sense. Then again, this is from the producer who wants to be the next D&D, so what else can we expect?

I think he feels more about Clarke’s confession of love for Lexa than he does about the 300 Grounders he murdered.

Fine, I’ll say something nice. Clarke didn’t get yelled at! The only people who blamed her were Grounders! I did appreciate Clarke getting to confess to Abby that she loved Lexa…even if Abby ‘knowing’ makes no sense. It was a touching moment. I adore my Griffin ladies. They deserve better. And Bellamy’s face was priceless. Oh! And Kabby. I like Kabby. That was sweet. Also, I’m glad to see Raven is in decent psychological health. Protect Raven Reyes 2k5ever. Roan seems pretty cool; I liked him last season and hope he stays interesting. See? I have nice things to say.

Bits & Bobs

  • Saying ‘Lexa’ count: 6
  • Saying ‘the flame’ count: 4
  • “I want what’s best for my people, same as you” (or somesuch): 2
  • Where was Miller??
  • The whole “kill Wanheda to gain her power” thing is back. Yay for being back in the S3 premiere.
  • The sound was really weird, and it wasn’t just my TV. Certain dialogue was crisp but sometimes it was like they were mumbling. I had to turn closed captioning on.
  • Parts of the episode between commercial breaks were really short
  • “Grandfather’s crown” not “mother’s crown”? Way to erase a named female character on screen with some rando we’ve never met. Roan’s grandfather’s name is Theo, apparently, and he’s a big deal because Roan mentioned him in his motivational speech to Polis.
  • Raven’s knee hurts again now. I’m sad she has pain, but at least it’s more consistent.
  • Lexa had a name for the nuclear apocalypse? since when?
  • The name “Echoes” seems to be a reference to some visual echoes from last season: Abby re-bandaging Kane/Clarke re-bandaging Bellamy, Jaha carrying shrouded Octavia/Bellamy carrying shrouded Lincoln (does this mean Octavia is going to die?), Roan cauterizing his own wound in front of Echo/in front of Clarke, Clarke with a bag over her head led to the throne room to the leader of Polis: Lexa/Roan, the Wanheda reference. There may be more, too.

Working Theories

Could be Cool: Not sure yet where the dark Octavia is going to come from, but I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I’m tired of the female revenge is empowerment trope. On the other, I want her to go full Greek tragedy, ending with her killing/wounding Bellamy which leads to her seeing the error of her ways, but not before she’s doomed herself. I’m not sure Rothenberg has the chops for this, though.

Pretty Sure: If you haven’t seen yet, there are supposed ‘leaks’ out the other day that say SPOILERS

Click here to show/hide contents
Clarke dies while sending the rest of the team up to space in a rocket. Neither of these would surprise me, honestly. I’m actually willing to bet on it.

Total Crack: Octavia is secretly pregnant with Lincoln’s baby, who ends up being the next nightblood to inherit the flame.

So how about it, do you have any theories or predictions you want to share? If so, head on over to “The 100 S4 Theories” topic on the community page and start talking! All theories are welcome, whether serious or salty. Just make sure you tell us which it is 😉

See you all next week for “Heavy Lies the Crown”!


Images Courtesy of the CW

Bi, she/her. Gretchen is a Managing Editor for the Fandomentals. An unabashed nerdy fangirl and aspiring sci/fi and fantasy author, she has opinions about things like media, representation, and ethics in storytelling.

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Television

Black Lightning Episode 1-5 In Review

Shahar

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Black Lightning, Anissa, and Jennifer with the phrase Get Lit

This week, Black Lightning is on a hiatus so here are some thoughts on the show so far. New episodes return next week.

As a whole, Black Lightning is one of my favorite shows on TV right now, and of the 381 (I have a list) shows I’ve watched in my 24 years. It does so many things well, and what I don’t like is situated in a very specific context. For example, I love how the show hammers home that there are consequences to everything.

Consequences and Bad Guys

Last week’s episode ended with Jefferson as Black Lightning knocked out in the water when his suit gave him problems in a fight with Joey Toledo, Tobias’ right hand man. It was a bleak moment, but highlights how everything feels grounded! From the fights between Jefferson and various baddies, the deaths we’ve seen, and to Tobias doing anything, nothing is cartoonish. There are consequences to actions.

Sure dropping a lackey into a tank of piranhas is a bit much…but Tobias is terrible and terrifying and his traumatic childhood is not used as an excuse for his current actions. Rather they situate Tobias and Tori as adults (whose ages we don’t actually know) trying to control their world. I wonder if Tori has her own crime syndicate in Miami? Oh hey, that would be a cool webseries…

The dedication to showing consequences of people’s actions does have me worried with the portrayal of Khalil’s future arc. I understand the impetus behind his arc. Unless the writers flip the script, it’ll highlight how easy it is for people like Tobias and his lackeys to prey on young men without other options.

And I do not mean to simplify the many reasons why a young man may choose to deal drugs or why there is violence across so many American cities. But Khalil’s existence now for Tobias is as a scapegoat to turn BL into the bad guy. Again, disability in DCTV is merely a plot point for villains or temporary.

On the flip side, Anissa as an out and proud activist lesbian is awesome!

Ladies Loving Ladies

Once the season ends, I’ll write a full length piece on Anissa, Chenoa, and Grace. Even with only three episodes to really pull from, the writers established a lot about Anissa and Freeland. We saw in week 2 how she had a key for Chenoa’s place, and her parents knew her name, but that’s as far as that one year relationship had gone. Their sex was mindblowing, sure (which how incredible to finally see two Black woman make love as an affirmative thing), but Anissa wasn’t committed to Chenoa. Understandably she was pissed at the Ruby Red Lipstick Bar (I love that Freeland has a lesbian bar) and said some hurtful things to Anissa.

I wish we had (or maybe we will) seen Chenoa one last time, but the moment Anissa laid eyes on Grace, it was pretty clear we were getting the slow-burn there. And this is what’s so great about the show, by five episodes both Anissa and Grace have been affirmatively labeled by the show as a lesbian and bisexual woman. No need to assume and no need for obnoxious fandom labeling conversations.

However, with Grace as a super recurring character, who knows when we’ll see Chantal Thuy next and how she’ll factor into the next portion of Anissa’s development into Thunder. And if she receives a series regular promotion, whether or not she joins the Pierce family+Gambi shenanigans.

Pierce Family Passion

I LOVE ONE FAMILY. Look, representation is not revolutionary and won’t meet any of our material needs on a global scale. Instead, representation is required and our media should look like us. But I’d be remiss to say that centering a show on a Black man who loves his family isn’t a huge freaking deal!!!

Specifically because of the racist sentiment that Black fathers aren’t around for their kids. This doesn’t consider that a) 1.5 million Black men are “missing” or b) the Black men that are fathers, they are the most involved with their children of any other group of dads!

So watching Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce, completely in love with his ex-wife and two daughters is stunning and I am so glad the show is about the Pierce family now instead of Jefferson years ago. Their passion for their home and each other is one of the bigger successes of the show.

(Though I’d love a flashback of him first realizing his powers since it would have been in response to a very emotional moment).

Grandpa Gambi

Who is he? We know he and Alvin Pierce were super close, he’s Jefferson’s surrogate father, and from an interview that the girls think of him as a grandpa. Yet we’ve only seen him interact with JefferLynn and Tobias! And he knows Tori? I want to know everything about him and really hope the next eight episodes reveal more. As the only white guy the writers invite us to care about, Gambi is important. He’s got this amazing boutique and clearly knows his technology. (Is he making Anissa’s outfit?)

But he’s hiding more than Tobias from Jefferson, like what I assume is his understanding that Anissa was on camera in episode 3. Likely more secrets related to Alvin Pierce too. Plus just how does he afford all his tech? The show is so good with details that it seems suspect we’ve yet to see more of that aspect…

Otherwise, Gambi is a really interesting lens into the show’s statements about so many issues.

Political Statements

The show has effectively made multiple statements not just about police brutality, drugs, or violence. Even the brief mention of the Tuskeegee experiments is significant with Greenlight and its entry into Freeland. I think its usage of Gambi as BL’s greatest champion as a hero pulled out of “retirement” as compared to Anissa and soon Jennifer’s journeys is really compelling.

I honestly don’t have the expertise to write a lengthy piece on the show’s usage of Malcolm X, MLK Jr, or others like Harriet Tubman but I think Anissa’s Malcolm vs. Jefferson’s MLK Jr. vs Black Lightning’s Malcolm is clear just from the show’s dialogue.

The scene between Anissa, her parents, and the Henderson’s is a great example. Is Black Lightning a vigilante who is hurting the police attempt’s to fight the 100 gang or everything else? (How is Henderson actually feeling about his inability to stop the 100 gang long-term?) Or is he stepping in where no one else will and making a difference? Does nonviolence actually work, or nah? How do we meet the material needs of oppressed groups, here black people?

The latter questions are debated at length and I don’t think Black Lightning is trying to conclusively answer them. Though the former two are definitely at the core of the show.

The same goes for the writers’ strong use of religious imagery in implicit and explicit ways.

Book of Black Lightning

Abrahamic religion and their prophets are explicitly referenced from the episode titles to the show dialogue. Abrahamic religion is a huge part of the show. The titles all tell a story, even the non “Book of” titles like “Resurrection” and “Black Jesus” have their own. We even saw a Methodist church for Lawanda’s funeral! It makes sense because the Akils are actually Muslim. I hope we get some Black Muslims too in the show.

Jefferson is Black Jesus (resurrection), then Black Lightning is Moses (the latter was reluctant at first to lead). Obviously Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have differences in their telling of Moses’ story but it’s pretty apparent what’s happening here. Lady Eve is Pharaoh and I’m not quite sure on who Tobias is yet, but I’ll figure it out by season’s end when I’ll write a long article about everything else we get this season.

Last Thoughts

  • When will Syonide get to talk extensively? One Syonide in the comics has a girlfriend and I would love to see the show’s take on that.
  • Someone find the scripts for me because each episode feels like it’s cramming a usual script and a half’s worth of stuff into one 45 minute episode.
  • I hope this show doesn’t get 22 episodes this fall. I find it works better as a short season show.

What do y’all want answers to or have thoughts on? Next week, the show returns to Jefferson looking for Alvin’s murderer and so much more.


Image courtesy of The CW

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Rise and Fall: The Chi’s “Penetrate a Fraud” Is Joy, Heartbreak, and Fear

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Welcome back to Lena Waithe’s The Chi, where this week we see some characters start to rise from pain while others fall all the way into it.

Ronnie, never able to escape this corner.

Let’s start with Brandon, who hit a low point last week when Jerrika showed up to the block party with another guy. Then Brandon confronted Ronnie, telling him he hopes Coogie’s murder haunts him for the rest of his life before walking alone into the darkness. This week, things are looking a little better for our tender-hearted guy. A big reason for that is Sarah, his boss’s wife/all-around manager of things at the restaurant. There is a serious mutual crush happening, and in this episode she gives him an opportunity to prove himself: he’s going to be in charge of the food for a very large and fancy wedding anniversary catering gig. He pulls it off without a hitch and Sarah thanks him, saying the restaurant isn’t doing as well as everyone thinks and they really needed a good night like this one.

Side note, my parents ran a restaurant for more than 10 years, and it is so true that even popular upscale places are in a constant struggle to keep their heads above water. It is a very unforgiving industry, and this little corner of the storyline hit home for me. Plus, my mom was the Sarah, basically doing every little thing and never stopping, so I appreciate her as a character.

Anyway, the other immediate event in Brandon’s world is the revelation that his mother and Greavy got married at the courthouse without telling him. They’re planning a backyard barbecue celebration that night and were hoping he could do some of the food. Brandon is angry, still resentful of Greavy, and storms off. But Greavy goes after him and is a little softer toward him, saying that it would mean a lot to his mother if he were there, and also that he’ll do right by her.

In the end, Brandon, high off of a successful night that will likely mean a lot to his career, takes Sarah and the leftover catering food to his mom’s house. The joy Laverne feels that her son shows up is such a perfect illustration of how much mothers love their children. Brandon ends up making a really nice speech about the new couple, and it’s nice to see everyone in that string-lights-and-Heineken-filled backyard so full of smiles. Oh and then Brandon and Sarah kiss, so, that will be interesting next week.

!!!! This won’t end well but in the meantime, I’m happy for them.

Meanwhile, some other mothers are having an unexpectedly great day of their own. Ethel takes Jada to get their nails done as a thank you for patching up Ronnie’s gunshot wound/saving his life. They end up bonding and we learn that Jada has not been prioritizing dating or her sexual needs, since she has approximately 100 million other things on her plate. But after her conversation with Ethel, Jada comes home to an empty house, lights candles along the edge of the bathtub, and masturbates with the shower head. I am so here for Jada taking care of herself. Also I will always associate showerhead masturbation with that scene in The Runaways where Joan Jett—aka a still-not-publicly-out Kristin Stewart—tells her bandmate to think of Farrah Fawcett in order to get off. Iconic.

HERE FOR IT.

The reason Jada came home to an empty house is that Emmett has been extremely busy with his and Amir’s burgeoning shoe business. Amir “borrows” $5,000 from his uncle Habib, and he and Emmett follow a tip Emmett got about some rich white person who wanted to unload a shoe collection. Turns out it’s a day-drinking divorcee who wants to sell her husband’s garage full of sneakers. The two jump on it, thinking they’ve scored the shoes for half, if not less, of what they’re worth.

Emmett gets to work putting the word out to his network of sneakerheads and sets up the van full of shoes in an underpass, where he sells almost all of them. Until one guy rolls up, looks at the shoes, and tells Emmett they’re knockoffs (something to do with SKU numbers). Then he accuses Emmett of “penetrating a crime” on him and pulls a gun on him and Emmett Jr., who is in his arms. Emmett Jr. basically never stops crying; is that what real babies are like? Anyway, luckily the guy doesn’t actually shoot but Emmett is sufficiently freaked out. It remains to be seen how this will unfold with the “business partnership.”

As we continue down our path of characters’ best days to worst days, Ronnie is still halfway dead, stumbling around town bleeding through his clothes. He goes back to Common’s mosque, where he is told he’ll be welcome to come in and talk, but despite looking tempted, he doesn’t do it—yet. Ronnie is also trying to find someone who will unlock Jason’s phone. He finds Jason’s girlfriend. Ronnie didn’t know he had a girlfriend, or that she is pregnant, or that Jason knew she was pregnant and so did Tracey. Or that Tracey didn’t want Jason to see her, or that Jason wanted to quit basketball. There was a lot Ronnie didn’t know, but Jason’s girlfriend unlocked the phone for him, so now he can look through pictures.

But guess who else wants to look at the phone: Detective Cruz. He brings Ronnie in for questioning, and backhandedly proposes they help each other: Cruz won’t push too hard to pin Coogie’s murder to Ronnie, and Ronnie will give Cruz Jason’s phone. I guess so he can figure out what happened and get back in the department’s good graces before anyone exposes the fact that he’s the reason Ronnie knew about Coogie having robbed Jason’s body. Cruz doesn’t seem to find much on the phone—mostly a lot of selfies—but he sees that the last call made was to 911. So that’s interesting.

Lastly, we have the boiling-point tensions between Trice, Reg, and their crew and Q and his. Q stole Trice’s dog (the same one Coogie used to feed) and has been taunting him with her for weeks. Now, he uses her as a distraction, taunting Trice into conversation while Q’s two guys sneak into the house to see what Reg, Trice, and co. have in there. Trice tells Q to go back to Cuba, so we now know where he was before coming back to Chicago. Q points out to Trice that he never got back to him about who might have killed Jason and why. He’s clearly hung up on something with Tracey; maybe he’s Jason’s real father? I don’t know.

Regardless, Q’s guys report back on the specific kinds of military guns Reg and co. stole a lot of last week. And at the end of the episode, the three of them straight-up kill everyone in the house and steal the guns. I don’t know if Trice or Reg were there, but I’m concerned for Jake?!?!

I-miss-my-dog face.

That’s it for this week, let’s hope next week we get to see the kids and the lesbians again, because I miss them and this episode ended on an extremely dark note.


Images from The Chi Courtesy of Showtime

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Legends of Tomorrow Gets Stuck in a Time Loop

Matthew

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Starting off intensely, we see Zari racing against time to get Gideon to execute some simulation program that she wants to keep a secret from the team. Things don’t go as planned because the Legends come back from a mission that involved Napoleon Bonaparte and disco clothing. While Nate and Amaya leave the bridge to discuss the fact that they just had sex during a mission, Sara gets pissed at Zari when Gideon stops working and she finds out about Z’s secret simulation.

Taking the captain position hard, Sara argues with Zari about it, despite Ray’s concern about her mood given Constantine’s warning. Zari reveals that she wanted to find loopholes in history so she could exploit them to avoid the dark future she knows as 2042. As Zari goes to fix the ship, she is hit with some neon fluid from a tube. As she tries to see if Gideon is back online, the Waverider explodes…

…and we’re back to Zari arguing with Sara.

Zari tries to figure out what’s going on, first talking to Mick, then snooping on Nate and Amaya’s post intercourse conversation, and finally Ray to no avail. In the end, the ship explodes again and we’re back to Sara, who ends up twisting Zari’s arm by accident. She ends up being taken to the med bay where she gets sedated and thus back again with the day starting over. Her next move is to try to explain the whole thing to the crew, but it still doesn’t work for multiple attempts.

Until Nate believes her and tells Zari to talk to him again and quotes “Groundhog Day,” which leaves me wondering why pop culture can’t update its timeloop references. Say “Edge of Tomorrow” or even “Happy Death Day” if we want current. Nevertheless, as soon as she wakes up again, she goes to Nate. The two theorize that the explosion comes from within the ship instead of some outside force. Some other stuff happens, but in the end, the ship explodes.


Zari’s newest attempt starts with her teaming up with Nate to go after Rory. It takes a few other attempts, but they eventually figure out that, despite his initial suspicious behavior—doing his laundry—Mick’s was only hiding his novel. They go check on Ray, who ends up revealing, rather easily, that Constantine had told him to kill Sara when Mallus takes over. The duo decide to go after Sara now, fearing that she may be possessed and exploding the ship. Ray shrinks Zari and himself in order to spy on Sara.

What they find is rather the opposite: just a flirtatious facetime conversation with Ava — to quote the poet, “This is a gays only event, go home!”. The two talk about their own experiences being bossy and how Sara has faith in Zari, but she ends up dodging one of Ava’s attempts to go over to the ship and hang out. Sadly, Sara ends up crushing Ray and Zari, as she thought they were a fly.

Once again, Zari goes to Nate, but she’s feeling quite tired. Nate suggests they have fun with it given the lack of consequences, so cue the fun montage. Eventually, the fun runs out and Zari tries to kill herself, but fails. This time though, Sara manages to believe Zari’s story and enlists the whole team to look for bombs. The Legends try the trash compactor and find Gary, the Bureau agent. Mick takes a device from his hand and destroys it, thinking it was the bomb, but instead, it was what originated the time loop: Gary had boarded the Waverider because of an alert that the ship would explode so he had created the one-hour loop which would give enough time for the time to defuse the bomb. So now, the device is broken and the team has five minutes to find the bomb before they truly die.

Using the Chekhovian move, Sara finds the bomb inside a disc play. If I understant it correctly, Napoleon had gotten his hand on a CD player with ABBA’s “Waterloo” in it, which he had used to win the war? Something campy like that, for sure. Seeing as the bomb will explode, Zari locks herself with the bomb in a force field so she can say her last words to the team which, as expected, is mostly advice she picked up from her time during the time loop.

As the timer stops, Zari finds herself in the company of humanoid!Gideon, the same one that kissed Rip Hunter that one time (I’m glad they end up finding ways to bring Amy Pemberton on board!). Gideon tells her that, in real life, Zari is healing at the med bay, but her mind is with Gideon at her matrix. Turns out Zari’s simulator had not only worked but done all the job regarding the timeloops to show that Zari needs the Legends’ help in order to find the loophole to save 2042.

As she wakes up, Zari gets Ray to confess his secret to Sara so she can prove that she indeed was inside the matrix. As Sara and Zari have a chat, it circles between their will to save people and a nice little loophole that may just give Z a chance to spare her brother’s life.

Capping off the episode, we finally meet Firestorm’s replacement after the CW confirmed it a few weeks back: Rip Hunter tracks down Wally West in China to ask him for help to save the universe.


Images Courtesy of The CW.

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