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Consent is Far Sexier Than Spiders on Wynonna Earp

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Wynonna Earp Season 2, Episode 2 Review, “Shed Your Skin”

Another week, another smashing episode of Wynonna Earp. I continue to be impressed, but not at all surprised, at how much the Earp team can pack into a single episode in terms of action, emotional weight, and sexiness. It’s the best damn hour of television I watch all week, hands down.

I’ll warn you, though, there are spiders this week. Remember Indiana Jones with snakes? That’s how I feel about spiders. It is a gesture of how much I love this show that I’m willing to watch it.

OMG, what?

Smoking in the shower, Doc? Really?

We begin with sexy music, twin shower heads, and suggestive banter from Doc and Wynonna as they wash off monster goo in a decontamination shower. Lucado creeps on them is in a tizzy about the lack of monster body (and having to stay in Purgatory). She thinks Wynonna helped Willa bring down the wall around the Ghost River Triangle. Elsewhere, a dude in a porta-potty at a construction site hears skittering noises and his buddy opens the door to gooey webs. Just another day in Purgatory.

“One last time, never touch the goo.”—Lucado

At the police station, Waverly really enjoys watching Nicole do police work. Nicole’s not super happy about the flirting at her place of work, and about not being an official member of the Black Badge Division (BBD) gang. At Purgatory’s BBD headquarters, Lucado’s busting everyone’s butt. Wynonna decides to go demon hunting “the old fashioned way,” Jeremy’s trying (unsuccessfully) to use math against demons, and Doc is acting shifty. Wynonna goes to the aforementioned construction site and finds Mercedes Gardner, an old friend. Mercedes flirts then explains she’s buying up the cheap real estate in town. Inside the building, Wynonna runs into revenant Earl, then a creepy lady in black who smells like “Shalidelle”, then an egg sac/what remains of a missing construction worker.

“In other news, I found Jesus.”—Wynonna

Wynonna cuts into the egg sac and finds goo. It’s a theme this episode, goo. She then smells “Shalidelle” again and says Willa’s name, only to turn around and find Waverly. Doc’s still acting shifty as he stares at lab equipment and mentions needing a cook. He then meets with Nedley, who wants him to buy Shorty’s. The Earp Sisters sport matching lab coats as Waverly dissects the egg sac and Wynonna struggles with feeling like the team is falling apart without Dolls. A demon spider (*hrrk*) jumps out of the egg sac and attacks. After a scuffle, Wynonna shoots it. Next stop: getting the gang back together Meanwhile, Doc meets with his prospective cook Rosita and offers her protection in exchange for work.

“ What’s this annoying positivity thing? Always been there or just a side effect of banging a hot redhead?”—Wynonna

Wynonna comes downstairs after her real shower to find Jeremy waiting for the gang’s ‘symposium’. When he leaves to find Doc, she once again reflects on Dolls absence and Willa’s death. Upstairs, Waverly reads from Willa’s diary and confides in Nicole that she may not be an Earp. Nicole comforts her, leading to kissing that’s abruptly cockblocked by Wynonna. Nicole leaves. Wynonna tells Waves she thinks Willa is haunting her; Waves suggests an exorcism of Willa by burning all of her things. Downstairs, Jeremy dissects the spider while Doc offers his own brand of snarky wisdom. Jeremy totally flirts, only to be gently turned down. The Earp sisters start the fire while over at the construction site, Mercedes gets a visit from the lady in black.

“Hey look, you are the Earpiest Earp of them all.”—Nicole, to Waverly

Wynonna’s all boozy inside from the fire and whiskey. So, she opens up to Doc about feeling inadequate to lead the team in Dolls’ absence; Doc tells her it’s okay to miss him. The discussion then turns to her feelings about him, and how she would never have pursued Dolls if she knew Doc was alive. She tries to kiss him; he turns away. She yells at him for turning off his feelings and not being loyal to the team. He defends his other pursuits, but does not explain. They part in anger; Wynonna close to tears. Jeremy then explains to the Earp Sisters that the spider was one of many just as Wynonna gets a call from Mercedes that the many are attacking her.

“I didn’t know when we rescued Dolls we wouldn’t get to keep him.”—Wynonna

Ready to smash the patriarchy, and some demon spider eggs.

Wynonna goes hunting for Earl. They discuss the emotional struggle of living under the curse (with Wynonna’s signature snark). Wynonna asks to see what remains of the original school the condo is being built on. At BBD, Lucado finds her floor safe empty. Earl shows Wynonna the chapel and she knocks him out when he gets protective. Waves shows up with a tire iron and they bust in. At the bar, Lucado shows up to confront Doc about the safe; he asks for cash in exchange for incriminating documents from the safe. She tries to hit on him; he turns her down.

“Oh, and Jeanie? This is what I bring to the team.”—Doc

The Earp sisters go all smashy on the egg nest, then strut the halls covered in goo but with swagger. As they leave, we see the lady in black is not alone; there are two of them. At BBD, Wynonna debriefs Lucado, but she’s distracted. Jeremy asks about the demon eggs and they realize that the school is a new Hellmouth hub for demon activity. Doc meets with Rosita, who has agreed to be his cook. Waverly and Wynonna discover what looks to be a gateway underneath the former spider eggs. For what? Nothing good, I’m sure.

“Did smashing the demon eggs make you wet?”—Jeremy

Nicole finds Waverly redecorating Willa’s former room. They discuss how normal (and awful) fighting is. Nicole offers Waverly a packet of forms she can use to prove she’s an Earp (or not). Nicole also offers to stand by Waverly no matter what. Cue sexy music, making out, and sexy times, but not without each of them confirming that this is what the other wants. (*fans self*). Fade to Shorty’s saloon, where Doc and Wynonna share a drink. Doc warns Wynonna not to underestimate Lucado. Wynonna starts to open up about her fears that something is coming, but Doc cuts her short to meet with Rosie about their home lab.

“I know that going down this road is really important to you. And as long as you want me, I will be by your side.”—Nicole

Back at the homestead, Wynonna admits she wants the lady in black to be Willa, as it might offer her some hope that she could save Willa even if she wasn’t able to do so when they were children. Or a few days ago when she had to shoot her. Waverly shows little regret. When Wynonna asks for her company/comfort, Waverly begs off due to Nicole being upstairs. Wynonna tells her to go get some (more). Waves encourages Wynonna to rest alone, then chows down on the spider carcass sitting on the table once Wynonna leaves. *hrrk* Good thing she had dessert first.

Favorite One Liner: “This may be a shitshow, but it’s our shitshow.”—Wynonna, summarizing the Wynonna Earp fandom complaining about Lucado

I Gotta Say…

“Shed Your Skin” more than lived up to the high bar set with last week’s episode. Alexandra Zarowny, who wrote this weeks episode, did an amazing job with the script. The dialogue was on point, equally funny, heartbreaking, and resonant in turn. All the beats were earned. The action kept up the lightning speed of last week without sacrificing depth or characterization. Tamara Duarte (Rosita) and Dani Kind (Mercedes) are excellent additions to the cast, and Varun Saranga as Jeremy continues to be delightful. I want to hug him.

The ability to create space for emotional resonance within such quick beats astounds me. Every time we stop to breathe from the action, we dive headfirst into the hearts of each of the characters. If the plot is the skeleton—and a mighty fine one it is—and the dialogue is the meat, the characters’ thoughts and feelings are the blood that gives this whole creature life.

Nicole’s persistent support for Waverly, be it supporting her quest to find out her history or calling out Bobo, is the soul of this season. She’s truly the moral center and compass that will guide this passionate, determined, and frequently dysfunctional team safely home. Not that it comes at the expense of her character or personal growth. The narrative allows her the freedom to feel hurt by Waverly as well as disappointed in her thwarted ambitions at her job. Yet it does so in a way that is both true to her characterization and mature; the drama never feels manufactured or driven by plot necessity.

While I’m on Nicole, kudos to Nicole (and the writers!) for calling out Bobo a “gaslighting sociopath”. I’m so glad she didn’t mince words about his character after what he did to Willa.

That WayHaught scene near the end, though. Holy crap. First off, good for the Earp team that they resolved that particular disagreement so quickly. Do I think Nicole needs to be a bit more honest about her ambition and why what Waverly did hurt her? Sure. At the same time, I’d rather they not drag it out another episode, so I’m willing to take an off screen heart-to-heart in exchange for resolution (or on screen, since it still could come up). Second of all, that was…that was some good stuff right there. Haught dayum. They had sex guys. We now know that WayHaught has had sex. #Blessed

I’ll say it again: Haught damn.

What stands out to me most is the dynamic between them. As has been true of their physical relationship since last season, Nicole is more than willing to let Waverly take the driver’s seat. It’s a refreshing, and undoubtedly intentional, subversion of the “Predatory Lesbian” trope that’s much needed on our screens. At the same time, Nicole never masks or hides her own matching desire for Waverly. In that moment where Nicole takes a step back and asks if Waverly is okay, I can’t help but see a call back to Wynonna and Doc’s conversation. Doc puts the brakes on Wynonna because he doesn’t want it; Nicole calls a time out to check in, then proceeds passionately forward, no holds barred. It’s authentic, beautiful, and damn sexy.

Speaking of, I appreciated the moment between Doc and Wynonna in the barn. In his signature gentlemanly way, he reminds Wynonna, “you are free to kiss whoever you want…only if they want you to.” I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after this scene, because I could not believe what I’d just heard. This is probably one of the best explanations of consent and sex positivity I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s masterful.

We’re seeing a much more honest and vulnerable dynamic between Doc and Wynonna this season, especially on Wynonna’s side, and I have to say, I love it. Wynonna’s so vulnerable in that scene, kneeling in front of Doc. It took a lot of courage (much of it liquid) for Wynonna to admit that she misses both Dolls and Doc. In one stroke she admitted to having feelings for both of them, complicated feelings, and sought a way to find reconciliation with Doc. Perhaps not in the most mature way, but this is Wynonna. The fact that she chose emotional vulnerability at all is a step.

Which is another thing we’ve gotten more of this season. Melanie Scrofano’s face can go on so many journey’s in the span of a minute, someone should give her frequent flyer miles. Or an Oscar. Or both. She brings such life to Wynonna’s feelings I can’t always breathe while I’m watching. Rubbing her face with the bear, heck, saving the bear in the first place. She’s so vulnerable this season, so fragile. We’re starting to see how much hurt, insecurity, and grief lie behind the snark and booze. It breaks my heart, but in the best way. There’s so much there to dive into, depth we all knew existed, but now seeing since her inner foundations are beginning to crumble. This independent rebel is losing her loved ones and isn’t sure how to swim on her own.

There are definitely lingering questions after this episode, though. We’re still only 2 episodes in, so it only makes sense. Who are the women in black? What are their intentions? Did they come through the demon portal or something else? What precisely is the goo inside Waverly and why does it only come and go? What the hell is Doc up to? Well, that last one I think I can speak to. His comment, “This is for a friend” gave it away. My bet? He’s cooking up serum for Dolls. I’m so sure of it, I’ll bet you a hundred dollars. And by that I mean purely hypothetical hundred dollars because I can’t pay you real money. Not that I’m wrong.

I see you, Andras Zarowny

  • Nice The Price is Right shout out with the See-doo line.
  • There is so much flirting going on. Jeremy with Doc, Mercedes with Wynonna, Lucado with Doc, Wynonna with Doc. Don’t stop, my multi-shipping heart craves all of it.
  • Doc really isn’t into anything more than flirting right now, is he?
  • I saw the look of horror on Jeremy’s face when he realized the innuendo he made to Wynonna and Waverly. He’s totally not straight. (I mean, he did flirt with Doc, too)
  • “Nevermind, itty bitty titty.”
  • That thing Nicole does with her finger when she lifts Waverly’s chin, amirite? *swoons*
  • Speaking of swooing, the Earp sisters in lab coats.

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If you want more ways to get engaged with the show and it’s world, there’s a fun little site online called the “Purgatory Case Files” where you can follow cases from the town and help Nicole solve them. Right now, Officer Haught is investigating a break in that may or may not be as it seems! Oh, and there chats between Nicole and Waves 😉 The Twitter feed updates regularly when new clues are available, so check back with it often if you’re interested.

Tune in next week for “Gonna Getcha Good”, which feels like a personal attack since it’s the episode with the infamous cheerleading outfit. You are gonna get me good, Wynonna Earp. Damn you.

Don’t forget to enter the Wynonna Earp giveaway!


Images Courtesy of SyFy. Special thanks to Emily Andras for the inspiration for this article title. 

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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Joseph PayneLisa PowellSuou no NioiGretchen EllisThat Which Dreams Recent comment authors
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Suou no Nioi
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Suou no Nioi

It was nice seeing Nicole and Waverly make up, but I can’t imagine that’s the end of it. Waverly’s behavior has me really uneasy. She keeps saying she needs to protect Nicole, but Nicole is a fully functioning adult capable of making her own decisions. And Waverly is, as far as I can see, doing this not so much because she is worried for Nicole’s own sake, but because Waverly herself would be emotionally destroyed by Nicole’s involvement. It just isn’t sitting well with me right now and I really do believe it will need to be addressed at some… Read more »

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

I agree with you about Waverly and that her fierce need to protect Nicole out of self-preservation needs to be addressed at some point. From a character perspective, it’s interesting to see how Waverly has responded to Willa’s death. While she may not be outwardly grieving, and indeed is pretty honest about how much she disliked her older sister, she’s reacting in a way very consistent with grief. She’s projecting her loss onto a need to protect the ones she loves, namely Nicole, but also Wynonna to an extent, and Dolls. And lets not forget that Willa shot and would… Read more »

Suou no Nioi
Guest
Suou no Nioi

I agree that Waverly’s behavior makes sense. It absolutely does given everything she’s been through, and you are spot on with your assessment of her being strong. I’m not meaning to imply that her behavior is inherently abnormal given the craziness of Willa and the end of the season, but it is uncomfortable in its own right. I really can’t help but think they’ll swing around back to it, and my guess is it will factor into both Waverly’s and Nicole’s character arcs for the season. That just feels like the current trajectory with them individually and as a couple.… Read more »

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

I think you’re right about them swinging back around to it. This dynamic has been set up as a major complication in their relationship, so you’re probably right that it will get addressed.

YES. Totally agree about Doc! He wants to be her choice, but he wants to be her CHOICE, not the default, as you so aptly put it. He doesn’t want to lose to the ‘law man’ like he’s done in the past. But, he wants to know that he’s who Wynonna truly wants and not just a convenience. Excellent analysis!

Suou no Nioi
Guest
Suou no Nioi

Doc is just this emotionally vulnerable mess in general, and he doesn’t appear to want to wade into any more drama or entanglements. It’s why he makes himself so emotionally distant (or at least gives the appearance of it). It just breaks my heart thinking about how hurt he was the even his curse wasn’t about him in the end. He’s clearly been hurt before, likely more than once, and he really doesn’t want to go down that road again.

Lisa Powell
Guest
Lisa Powell

Haught damn is right. Omg.

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

HONESTLY. If Andras ever gives us a 10/10, I will probably stop breathing.

Lisa Powell
Guest
Lisa Powell

What’s a 10/10?

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

Andras said that this episode’s sexy gay factor was 7/10. So, just imagine a 10/10.

Lisa Powell
Guest
Lisa Powell

Oh god, like maybe an *actual* sex scene? I would stop breathing too, or at the very least I would swoon. I was already fanning myself (down there).

That Which Dreams
Guest
That Which Dreams

– “I don’t know if I should be frightened or jealous.” Emily, did you really just do a bukkake joke?
– I wonder if Gooverly is actually about the goo, or whether it awakened something in her. Willa did say that there was something wrong with her.
– The veiled lady reminds Wynonna of Willa because they wear the same perfume, but Willa wore the perfume because it was their mother’s. Are the veiled ladies actually connected to Wynonna’s mom?

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

I have…theories…about Gooverly. Specifically that the goo didn’t make her a demon, but merely awoke a side of her that’s always been there. I think it likely she IS an Earp, but also a demon (rather than not an Earp at all), e.g., that Earp is her father and her mother was a demon. I have a whole page written on how it all worked, but I think it would fit thematically for her to be half demon, half Earp. It could mean she’s the one meant to break the curse, the one who fits into both worlds so can… Read more »

Lisa Powell
Guest
Lisa Powell

Oooo I like that Gooverly theory!

JoPayne
Member
JoPayne

This theory regarding Waverly makes so much sense it’s creepy. She definitely doesn’t seem to be possessed so much as she’s battling two different sides of herself. Even when the goo-eyes are in full force, she still obviously loves and cares for Nicole, which a demonic possession shouldn’t be capable of simulating.

And can we please take a moment to formally recognize the fact that not only did Nicole and Waverly have loving, consenting, heart-tugging sexytimes, but NO ONE HAD TO DIE AS A RESULT.

God, I love this show.

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[…] more torn about WayHaught. Given Nicole’s wholehearted support of Waverly finding answers earlier this season (she brought Waverly the paperwork for heaven’s sake), hiding the DNA test results seemed out […]

Television

Star Wars Resistance: Episode 11, “Bibo”

Angelina

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Star Wars: Resistance

So…Star Wars: Resistance is back from its winter hiatus! Should we celebrate? Not yet, I’d say, because “Bibo” is more like a filler/breather episode meant to tune the audience in after holiday break. It has nothing substantial to add to series’ lore or to its overarching plot, yet it still manages to entertain and to help us dive back into familiar Colossus atmosphere.

Spoilers ahead!

Recap: Neeku Finds a Pet

So, we’re back at The Colossus, where Synara presents Kaz with a chance to loot a salvaged Clone Wars-era fighter for repair parts. All nice and good, until they find a small, cute but awfully stinky creature stowed away inside the rusty husk. And until Neeku decides this small critter would be his pet from now on.

Actually, Bibo is really cute

A bit of slapstick ensues, as Neeku tries (without any success) to teach his pet some obedience. It turns out the newly christened Bibo can (and actually will, if no one stops him) eat literally anything. Especially if it has something to do with starships.

By the by, Synara has a call from her pirate leader, who informs her about Kaz and Poe’s Resistance affiliation. The call is of course interrupted by Kaz appearing to ask for another repair part…or, rather, to spend some time around Synara. Who masterfully pretends not to see his advances, and I can’t really blame her for that.

They go on a salvage dive together, hoping to find other fighters from the same squadron as the first.

As Bibo continues to wreak small-scale havoc in Yeager’s garage, it turns out Neeku really loves his new pet dearly—so much so he’s ready to leave Yeager’s service if he insists on his “no pets”rule. Neeku’s devotion is so strong, Tam asks to cut Bibo some slack. And even goes on to support Neeku after he loses Bibo in the station’s maze of corridors.

And while Kaz is busy fighting sea sickness and Synara’s too pointed questions about his real identity, a big tentacled monster is leading its way to The Colossus, and of course it’s looking for Neeku’s pet. And, well, we learn the aptly named children from Tehar might be Force-sensitive, as the girl, Eila, turns out to have profetic dreams.

Meaning, she dreamt something like this, poor soul!

All that results in Neeku having to choose between his pet and station’s safety, and of course he makes the right choice. however hard it is for him.

Review: On Caring for Each Other

While the episode doesn’t advance the story in any way, it managed to checklist/remind the viewer of all the plot-relevant details, while telling a cohesive self-contained story.

We have Synara playing an important role in the story, which reminds us she’s the primary Chekhov’s gunwoman of this show. Seeing her really care for the station and really enjoying her new work as a salvager, it’s obvious she will be made to choose between her allegiances very soon. On the one hand she has people who actually care–be it about each other or about common causes–and on the other hand she has her (high enough) place in pirate crew and a lifestyle she’s accustomed to…

I just hope Kaz with his inept wooing wouldn’t do anything with her decision.

Speaking about Kaz, this episode also reminds us both of his strengths and weaknesses. He’s still not good in either social interactions or actually not tripping on things, while still brilliant in flying and able to think and act quickly in a stress situation. Also it’s kinda sweet that he doesn’t really bother Synara with his feelings, trying to do something good for her instead. Well, “trying” is a key word here, but still: seeing a guy not forcing his niceguying down a lady’s throat is always a treat.

Also this episode went a long way to show us Tam Ryvora’s caring and friendly side. Which I really liked, and especially I liked that it was not treated as something special or unusual. She just is really a caring person who would look after her co-workers and help them any way she can. But when those co-workers act as jerks…well, she will call them out on it.

All the plot lines, in the end, converge on the main idea of the episode, which is: to love is to care for those we love. Which is actually quite close to being the idea of the whole series.

Neeku being ready to protect his “smallest friend” even at the whole station’s cost is equally ready to give it back to its mom even though his heart(s) is/are really breaking. Because he sees the critter really is better with his mom, not with him. All the while whole Team Fireball is ready to set aside their discomfort if their friend—Neeku—needs his pet so much. Even Yeager, the one most annoyed at Bibo’s existence, is ready to help Neeku find it.

Because he cares. Because they all care.

Thoughts, Moments, Theory Fuel

  • Neeku harboring so strong feelings for his just-found pet makes sense if we remember he has no close friends and is mostly isolated because of his quirky behaviour.
  • Tam Ryvora calling Yeager out for making such a fuss about Neeku’s pet while never really reacting with due severity on Kaz’s (much more destructive) mistakes was great.
  • The girl from Tehar, Eila, having profetic dreams must be a Chekhov’s gun. I look forward to see how it goes off!
  • Will the tentacled creature return in the series finale, like the wolves and the space whales did? We’ll see!
  • Synara now knows how to set the alarm on.
  • The Are you trying to incite panic? – Yes! Exactly! Everyone needs to panic right now! moment was really funny.

Images courtesy of Disney

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Teaser Really Wants to be Meaningful

Kylie

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2018 was a magical, Throne-less year, even if it officially won its Season 7 Emmy for Outstanding Drama in September. I’ll admit—I may have taken it for granted. Because here we are, less than a fortnight into 2019, and HBO has decided to grace us with the news that the biggest critical darling (for reasons still unexplained) is going to be back on our screens April 14th. April 14th. That’s basically 4 minutes from now.

Of course, HBO didn’t simply tell us the date; no no, we needed a Teaser Trailer of Extreme Significance to accompany it. And this one is…special. Look, I may not have been amazed at the three-second exchange between Dany and Sansa from the Golden Globes teaser, but at least that involved what was obviously an actual clip from the new season! In fairness, it’s not exactly unheard of for season release dates to be dropped in some kind of weird CGI ice and fire video featuring old dialogue. But this one was clearly planned and staged, it features three main actors, and the budget is certainly better than that of “people sit in chairs” from last year. Here, just check it out for yourself:

There’s a little here we can talk about, though I’m guaranteeing you the millions of hot takes that are currently clogging up Twitter will place far too much significance on this. “Oh my god, does that mean the Starks are all going to die?!” Probably not. There’s a reason I picked the Hall of Faces promotional picture for this piece—sometimes showrunners Benioff and Weiss just like to play up the idea that anyone can die, before shrouding Jon in plot armor so thick that he can survive plunging into freezing cold waters in full furs whilst surrounded by the army of the dead without an eye-blink.

They’ll probably be fine.

I do feel like I’m being uncharitable. In concept, this is not a bad teaser. Jon walks by the statue of Lyanna, and we hear a Lyanna quote. Good stuff, seeing as that’s his mom, which I’m assuming Bran will get around to telling him at some point (even if he never passed that on to his sisters). Jon also gets the last walk-by quote when looking at the Sean Bean statue, about how he’s still a Stark since he has the blood. Relevant, I think.

Sansa and Arya, meanwhile, are both shown walking past Cat’s statue with her voice-over, and here’s where my eyes began rolling to the ceiling. For one, it’s a little odd that Cat has a place in the Winterfell crypts at all, but you know…small potatoes. Then, the one Cat quote they picked was her awful, self-flagellating monologue she gave to the walking anachronism. There was a bit more to her character than not being instantly welcoming of the child that bore a significant political risk to her own children! A thing that bothers me too is that Sansa and Arya are shown in association with this quote. I guess they’re both girls, so manly, slow-clapping Ned couldn’t possibly have said something that stuck to them. But Cat’s quote had diddly squat to do with them (these are actually all about Jon), and it’s only going to further push the ridiculous notion that Sansa is somehow struggling with her loyalty and support of Jon. Hopefully Arya’s presence neutralizes that reading a bit, but I know this fandom pretty well.

Finally, the Starks meet up together in the crypts—which is nice and reminds me of that time Sansa, Bran, and Arya had happy bonding and trial-planning times together completely off-screen—only to see statues of themselves! Lost twist ending confirmed! This is purgatory!

Or, I don’t know, something about danger and stakes and “no one is safe on this show” (except everyone who clearly is).

Then the trailer just gets unabashedly Weathertop-esque as what’s likely to be the Army of the Dead approach. Maybe Uncle Benjen can be a last-minute Strider for the third time in a row. But you know, it’s more or less the same thing as Cheryl‘s minty-fresh breath from that trailer for Season 7. There’s a bigger threat, and every teaser is going to end with it.

All in all, I’m not particularly over or under-whelmed. This was a very expected trailer, and probably a long day for Sophie Turner, Kit Harrington, and Maisie Williams. I love that Bran was excluded for ~reasons~ that I’m sure are as difficult to explain as his three-eyed crow nature. But frankly, can we take that alone as proof that Season 8 is not, in any way, going to have the “same ending” as A Song of Ice and Fire? This show is going to do what it wants, as it sees creatively fit to do so. Which is why any “meaning” to be found in it falls flat. It’s conceptually fine and technically lovely. But as has been the case, if a plot point needs to happen, even for something like a Stark death, it just will. If they need to randomly prosper instead, then they will.

And now we have only three months to prepare ourselves for the millions of articles on why that makes for the most compelling TV possible.


Media courtesy of HBO

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It’s the Beginning of the End for Gotham

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Gotham’s final season is here. The city connections to the outside world have been sundered. The land carved up by gangs. The first moments of episode one open more than a year after the city has been turned into ‘No Man’s Land’. The Riddler and Penguin putting on their best threads join Jim, Harvey and the rest of the GCPD in an all-out gun battle.

This is a just glimpse into the future, as we’re taken back to day 81. The government is offering no help to Jim.  When the bridges to the city blew, not everyone had been evacuated. The GCPD took in any civilians who didn’t escape. With people to protect and not enough food or ammo to do that they’re running out of options quickly.

Meanwhile, everyone else has been adjusting to life in the new Gotham. Penguin has made City Hall his seat of power and with a factory in his area is the only person producing more bullets. The Siren’s Club has become a safe haven for women, with men only allowed in if they bring information of worth to Barbara. Scarecrow, Firefly, Mr. Freeze, Zsasz and some other gangs have all claimed their own territories. The Riddler is alive and has been suffering from blackouts in his memory.  He’s sure it’s the softer Ed who’s been taking control again. Still unaccounted for are Hugo Strange, Lee Thompkins and the enigma that is Jeremiah Valeska.

Selina wasn’t evacuated because of the bombs. Instead, she’s been at a clinic in the zone protected by the GCPD, paralyzed after her gunshot.  Bruce and Alfred have been at her side. Even with surgery, Selina has no chance to walk again. For someone like her, defined by her independence and mobility, its soul-crushing. So much so she’s willing to kill herself. One nurse whispers to Bruce that doctors aren’t going to help Selina, but ‘the Witch’ can.

Scarecrow and his gang raid the GCPD and clinic for food and medicine, drastically cutting down their rations. With supplies in desperate need, Bruce makes his own arrangements for a drop. But the helicopter is a huge signal flare for everyone in the city. Within moments of entering the city limits, it’s shot down by an RPG. Penguin and his gang try to claim the supplies, but Tabitha still devastated over Oswald killing Butch shows up, looking for revenge. Oswald, however, turns her own blade back on her, stabbing her in the heart.

Jim and the GCPD are also trying to take the supplies. Bruce, having made his own way there, steals bullets from Penguin’s men giving the GCPD the extra firepower they need to turn the fight in their favour. They claim the supplies, buying themselves a few more weeks’ worth of time.

Fresh from the victory, Jim gets some more good news, in the form of a mysterious radio message from the mainland. They don’t say much beyond they are allies and help will be coming soon. The moment is uncut when he finds graffiti, a message from Jeremiah, on his desk.

Jim is still arguing with the government on the mainland as the second episode begins. He doesn’t have time to listen to their bureaucracy because he has to save kids from enslavement. After learning about a gang using kids for free labour, he goes to Barbara for transport. She’s raw after losing Tabitha, but she still gives Jim the vehicles he needs.

Their rescue goes well, until one of the vehicles gets a flat tire in the crossfire, forcing Jim, Harvey and three kids to escape on foot. They find refuge in an abandoned hotel. Their rest doesn’t last long when Jim and Harvey encounter a child and a strange masked woman, (aka Mother and Orphan who were teased in the season four finale). The streets aren’t safer since there’s a bounty on Jim’s head. Just when it seems like Jim and Harvey are outgunned, Barbara rides in on a four-wheeler like a vicious angle of death. Her good deeds aren’t out of the goodness of her heart. She’ll need allies if she’s going to take Penguin down. She wants Jim to be one of those allies.

The Riddler hasn’t figured out to stop his other half from taking over. His nightly escapades this time included kidnapping a biker. The Riddler beats the information his alter ego wanted from the biker the night before. The information, the location of the gang’s headquarters, leads Ed to find the gang leader slaughtered with the blame pointing to Penguin. He’s not sure what his alter ego end goal is yet, but it seems like he’s trying to start a gang war.

Meanwhile, Bruce, following the lead on ‘the witch’ finds her being guarded by men who are waiting on backup to kill this witch. The Witch is actually Ivy, who’s been residing in a park since the city was cut off from the world. Bruce convinces the men to let him talk to ‘the Witch’ with a lie about a missing brother.

He lets Ivy out and she kills the men, threatening to do the same to Bruce. He reveals he needs help for Selina. She’s reluctant to help at first. The last time she’d seen Selina, she’s destroyed the Lazarus water Ivy was using to enhance her plants. But Bruce convinces her to help. She gives him a seed that should heal Selina, but, she warns that taking it could change Selina.

He returns to the clinic. The seed sends Selina into a shock, but hours later she’s walking again. But, as Bruce hugs her, her eyes shift colour and shape to become more catlike.

Review

Two episodes in, the final season is gearing up for an explosive ending. Gotham turned into this empty war zone takes the city to new lows. Gotham, both setting and show have always been defined by the criminals. ‘No Man’s Land’ creates the perfect opportunity for those criminals to wreak havoc to the full. But also creates the ideal conditions to give birth to the hero the city needs. Be that Bruce, or Jim, both men have grown into their roles as the city’s protectors. For Jim, that means being the face the people trust and respect. For Bruce, it’s being the one who works in the shadows without need or want for praise.

As for the criminals, the tease of the Riddler and Penguin months down the line is tantalizing. What draws them all together again? Jeremiah’s tease, though not as substantial still leaves one wanting more. Losing Tabitha was a devastating blow to establish to the stakes for the season. Gotham does have a tendency to bring characters back to life so I hope that tradition carries on at least one more time. Her death has pushed Barbara into action. Who’s to say where her character will stand when the smoke finally clears. She’s the one character I’m most curious to see since she’s the one major player in Gotham who doesn’t have a major legacy in the comics. I’m glad Selina’s recovery wasn’t drawn out. It was heart-breaking to see her so depressed and broken. But now she can join the final fight, as a fully realized Catwoman.

Mother and Orphan, on the other hand, didn’t have much of a presence. They were there and then the plot moved on. It seemed like it was going to be a compelling start to the characters, with a flash of Mother in the background of a shot that would make most horror movies jealous. It turned out to be underwhelming as Jim and Harvey escape before the pair could truly feel threatening.

But, there are still many things lurking the depths of Gotham, waiting for their moment to strike. These final episodes promise to be filling with new faces and old favourites as the series moves to its final curtain call.


Images courtesy of Fox

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