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Does Magicians Understand Ramifications for Assault Survivors?

Shailyn

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Content Warning: this review discusses spoilers, character death,  and themes of sexual assault as depicted on the show

Killing Reynard? Bringing Alice back to life? Everything we’ve been waiting for this season is happening in “Ramifications” (02×12). But, they just might massacre a character or two in order to do it. Figuratively. Also, literally.

Recap

So, with Alice’s Shade trapped in Julia’s big, soulless chesthole, she and Quentin travel to Antarctica to visit an old friend. Help me Obi-Wan Mayakovsky. You’re my only hope. He’s the only magician powerful enough to work the spell it would take to splice Niffin Alice back with her Shade. Guilt tripping the man about his indirect involvement in Alice’s death doesn’t hurt either. They get Niffin Alice into a cage, they do the hokey-pokey and they turn themselves about (not really), and then BOOM! Naked, but very much alive Alice is reborn! Also, she’s a grump. Apparently she’s peeved at Quentin for cutting her magical Niffin adventures short.

For the remainder of this episode, you shall see Alice darting about Mayakovsky’s halls, hunching over stacks of papers as though she were on to the next incandescent lightbulb.

Meanwhile, Penny and Sylvia are playing Mission: Impossible over at the Library of the Neitherlands. Sylvia found the back door to the Poison Room. Turns out its just another magic portal fountain somewhere in the Neitherlands.

Using Penny’s Traveller skills, they find it in a hop, skip, and a jump. Sylvia’s raring to jump in, but it’s not for the reason you think. Apparently, Sylvia stumbled onto a big secret the Librarians are trying to keep hush-hush. The books of anyone who is currently alive are all missing their last twenty pages. Their endings are missing, and the Librarians don’t know why. Just that whatever causes it, it’s coming. And soon.

With Eliot banished back to Earth and Margo running amok in fairyland trying to find Fen, Castle Whitespire has turned into stoner central. That’s right, with the Brakebills gang gone, that leaves Josh as the last remaining Child of Earth. Which makes him High King. Doesn’t take long for things to get real. Margo appears to Josh while he’s magically stoned and demands he get her the fuck out of fairyland.

One small catch. Prince S turns up, and he’s none to happy that his father’s disappeared without explanation. Doesn’t help to be told that his father’s actually just a rat now. The Lorians slit a bunch of guards’ throats, while Josh and the advisers run for cover. Guess Josh decides now is as good a time as ever, because he up and drinks the magic potion and poofs out of existence and into the fairy realm to save Margo and Fen. And leave his advisers to die, probably. Very heroic.

Now that Alice is taken care of, Julia and Kady reunite forces to take Reynard the fuck down. They have Senator Gaines (aka John) now on their side, but demigod though he may be, John’s going to need a bit of training before he can take on Reynard. His training montage gets, eh, a little cut short though. Upon returning to his office, he bumps into Reynard, who has a little gift for him. How pretty! It’s his wife’s ear.

Guess Reynard has known this whole time about John teaming up with the Brakebills gang. And yeah, this is more of a Se7en situation. What you see in the box is what you get. Devastated, John decides enough is enough. He’s not waiting any longer. He brainwashes Kady into killing him and performing a ritual that will harness his powers so she and Julia can use them to off Reynard. No pressure.

Meanwhile Eliot’s tracked down Quentin only to find out, whoops! Quentin and Julia traded in the Fillory button to the magic sewer dragon for tickets to the Underworld. Now they’re out of a ride back to Fillory. Only, not all hope may be lost. Magical sewer dragon lady said there was still one portal left to Fillory they could use. The first one. Aka, the very Narnian-esque grandfather clock the Chatwins used to travel to Fillory in the first Fillory and Further book. They track down the clock to the home of an avid Fillory collector, only to find it’s none other than fucking Umber himself. He’s been hiding out in Vancouver ever since the Beast scared him off from Fillory, the coward.

After a lot of talk, Quentin and Eliot aren’t able to convince Umber to come back and fix Fillory, the world he created. But they do get him to give them the clock. They’ve got their ticket to fantasy land back. But if Umber’s not coming back, and his brother Ember seems intent on fucking the place up purely for his own entertainment… what are they going to do to fix it?

Back in the Poison Room, turns out everything is — you guessed it — poison. Penny and Sylvia have very limited time to find what they’re looking for before they evolve into a mass of talking boils. Penny grabs the god-killing book, but Sylvia won’t come with. She’s found her book, and read to the end of it. She doesn’t make it out of the Poison Room. And if Penny stays to save her, he dies too. Looks like he’s got no choice but to Apparate his ass out of there, where he promptly collapses on the Brakebills clubhouse floor.

Julia forges a magic bullet out of John’s demigod juices, and she and Kady conjure up a plan to lure Reynard to them. Turns out what Reynard has really been after this whole time? Our Lady Underground, aka Persephone. Some shit went down between them, and now whenever some poor saps like Julia, Kady, and the Freetraders try to summon her, Reynard crashes the party and “punishes” them. Trying to get her attention. Charming. They whip up a storm system big enough to look like Persephone is ascending from the Underworld. Sure enough, Reynard takes the bait. Julia’s got the god-killing gun leveled at his head, when, guess who else decides to show up. Our Lady Underground. In the flesh.

She pleads with Julia to spare Reynard’s life. He is her son, and that’s why he’s been “lashing out” — if it deserves to be called that — all these years. Plus, she’s been aware of his raping and pillaging this whole time, apparently. Because she abandoned him on Earth. Reynard and Kady are both frozen, so they get no say in the matter. But Persephone persuades Julia to spare Reynard’s life, then promptly whisks his ass away to the Underworld.

Julia’s pittance? Her Shade. I guess Our Lady Underground feels a soul is due compensation for taking away her justice.

Review

Two HUGE bombs have just been dropped on our heads. 1) Alice is alive. 2) We got our “showdown” with Reynard. So, why does none of that feel satisfying?

Strangely, every single interaction with every other iteration of Alice in the last season has felt more genuine and powerful than getting Alice back “for real”. We’ve been working how hard towards this, for an entire season? Just to get a naked, super angsty real Alice pop into existence five minutes into the episode?

It feels undeserved. I supposed you could claim this whole season has been a build up to the moment, but this is the kind of shit you end on. Instead, we watch Quentin and grumpy Alice dance around each other the entire episode. What was the point of getting rid of Niffin Alice if we’re not really getting rid of Niffin Alice? Not that I was expecting Alice to be head over heels for Quentin after getting ripped apart by magic, or even slightly in the realm of “okay”. But… minus the possible bloodthirst and ungodly amounts of magical power… what’s changed, exactly?

As for the Reynard situation. Don’t get me started.

First of all, John’s death? Wow. Out of left field. One second, the guy’s wife is dead. The next, he’s using his god-juices to brainwash Kady into killing him? I guess the takeaway here is supposed to be that his motive was revenge. That he was willing to do anything to get back at Reynard for murdering his wife. But he couldn’t have stuck out the magic practice just a little bit longer?

In terms of character development, I don’t feel we were really at a place yet to justify that kind of rash decision making. Before her severed ear was being presented to John in a cute little box, we had literally only seen him and his wife together once before. It was when he accidentally god-brainwashed her. Don’t get me wrong. I feel for the guy. But forgive me if I wasn’t really seeing the train of motivation there.

Also, let’s talk about the fact that The Magicians writers didn’t flinch away from depicting Julia’s assault, but suddenly when gutstabbing John is on the table, they decide to pull the Hitchcock method out of their toolkit? We seem to be backpedaling here.

It only gets better. Can you guess why? It’s all for naught. Julia and Kady get their shot to kill Reynard, and what does Julia do? She flubs it?! Because suddenly Persephone decided to show her ass and claim Reynard as her son?

This move is all kinds of wrong, and it feels… just so ignorant. For Julia to have lost so much, even with the lack of a Shade, I do not buy that she just gives Reynard mercy. Of course Reynard has a mother. All rapists have mothers. That doesn’t make them, oh, I don’t know. Not rapists?

It might be another story if Persephone had stepped in and been like, “Whoa there. Honey, you’ve done enough. He’s my responsibility, let me punish him.” Nope. Persephone isn’t dragging him down to the River Styx to wash his mouth out with soap. She’s literally just giving Reynard what he’s apparently wanted this entire time. She’s taking him home.

Yet we’re meant to believe that Julia is content with all this.

This is a massive injustice to her character. What’s worse, it takes what I had hoped to be a beautiful arc that addressed sexual assault, trauma, and recovery in a very real and nuanced way and completely fucks it. To me, without any further context, this scene literally represents what is wrong with the way sexual assault and its survivors are understood by society today. If Persephone knew Reynard was going around raping women to try and “get her attention”, that’s when she should have stepped in. When Reynard was raping Julia.Not when Julia had the barrel of a gun trained at Reynard’s head.

The only thing Persephone could have done to even try to rectify this cruelty was to tear him limb to limb herself. That would be true justice. Although Julia might deserve the revenge, it would keep her soul clean. Persephone would pay the price for permitting her son to rape and murder, and claim that responsibility finally. And Reynard would be out of the picture.

I’m not sure how The Magicians recovers from this. Setting aside the disappointment with Alice and the bizarrely anticlimactic death of John, as it stands, this is nothing more nor less than character massacre.

“Ramifications” ends with Eliot asking Quentin, “What’s next?” before the Fillory clock. And indeed, I’d like to ask the show writers that very same question.

What’s next?


Images Courtesy of SyFy

Shailyn Cotten is a New York-based novelist, screenwriter, and undergraduate studying film at the School of Visual Arts. If you can’t find her perusing used bookstores, or buying up games in a Steam sale that she likely won’t ever play, you might be able to find her doing something productive, like writing articles for The Fandomentals, creating content for her YouTube channel Shai, or writing blog posts for her website, shailyncotten.com.

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Television

Honest Conversations and Unfortunate Insensitivity on Cloak and Dagger

Bo

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Content Warning: This review discusses suicidal ideation and attempted suicide, as depicted on the show. 

Last week’s episode of Cloak and Dagger ended with Tyrone and Tandy together and finally ready to discuss why exactly they have new superpowers insistent on bringing the two of them together.  Both their lives have been tossed upside down, and the only consistent thing in the tragedies of both their lives is each other. Maybe it’s time to sit down and talk about it? That’s exactly what “Call/Response” did this week. Unfortunately, to mixed results.

cloak and dagger church

Time to Talk

“Call/Response” continued Cloak and Dagger’s attempts at interesting episode structure by weaving together forward plot momentum in and out of the previously mentioned conversation between its heroes. This conversation lasted through the entire episode as Tandy and Tyrone hashed out what their powers are, what they do, how they experience them, and what their dreams from last week meant for each of them. These two had a lot to talk about.

For a good 90% of this conversation, I liked the direction of it. The honest and open-ended nature was refreshing. For the first time since they acquired their new powers, they held nothing back regarding what had changed, what they were going through, and how it affected them.

It moved both characters appreciatively forward. Even better, you could see how the conversation positively affected both in the scenes from the next day, when both acted on everything they discussed. Cloak and Dagger thus did a good job timing subjects of conversation with next-day action. Like you’d expect, these scenes were not exactly subtle about it, but so long as the point is made what does that matter?

Through their conversation, Tyrone and Tandy finally started acting against their instincts. They challenged their perceptions of the world. Tandy made an honest effort to learn about her mother’s boyfriend Greg and found out he was genuinely interested in her mother and trying to help. She made an effort to embrace the hope she always rejected before. Her experiences have shaped her towards cynicism in everything. Life is a giant scam where everyone uses everyone else to get ahead, and you see this in her own method of making money. For her to open her mind to the possibility of Greg proving her wrong was a significant step forward.

Tyrone faced his own challenged perceptions, naturally based around his brother’s murder and murderer. He considered Tandy’s argument about his place in the world and where his privilege truly stands, as well as the destructive path his actions led him down. The failed trip to the police station was one important step, but the truly important moment was his field trip with his father to Otis’s old Mardi Gras Indians stomping ground.

(By the way, add another cool twist on New Orleans culture to Cloak and Dagger’s credit.)

Through this trip, Tyrone found new perspective on his father and brother, as well as his own anger. His father stressed the importance of finding a channel for his anger. And he might have found his way via the suits the Mardi Gras Indians create, and the taking on of his brother’s unfinished suit. Tyrone needs this outlet and focus for his anger. He struggled with it throughout the first three episodes, even to the point of trying to shoot Detective Connors.

Even better, all this character development provided the biggest plot movement yet.  Tandy’s determination to get along with Greg led to direct involvement in the Roxxon lawsuit he represented her mother in. It also led to Roxxon killing Greg for presumably getting too close. There should be no escaping the consequences of Greg’s death. Tandy’s mother will suffer. Who knows whether her determination to take the corporation down will wax or wane. Tandy herself visited the burned office to retrieve documents from Greg’s safe, so she certainly won’t let this go.

Tyrone’s plot movement was not so direct, but still meant something. He learned of his brother’s training to be a “Spy Boy” for the Redhawks, a role in Mardi Gras parades involving moving ahead of the Big Chief but was described in this episode as someone responsible for scouting the unknown to seek oncoming trouble. The unfinished suit Tyrone adopted also largely resembles the signature look of Cloak in the comics.

And of course now you also have to wonder if Roxxon will involve themselves with the Redhawks.

There was definitely a lot of good content in this episode. At this point Cloak and Dagger is close to establishing a base quality that this episode certainly matched. Unfortunately, the end of the episode left a real sour taste in my mouth. One reason due to plot, and another for some poor handling of a very sensitive subject.

Insensitivity and Stalling

You saw the content warning, so let’s dive right in. The episode-long conversation between Tandy and Tyrone breaks down at the very end, when conversations about privilege turn into insults and eventually lead to Tandy admitting to suicidal thoughts. In his anger, Tyrone tells her that if she wants to die so badly, she should just do it.

The next day, in the aftermath of Greg’s murder, Tandy restrains her hands and feet and jumps into the ocean, clearly planning on killing herself. She eventually resurfaces when her powers trigger and she cuts the ropes binding her hands.

I will say this: my final judgment will depend on how this is handled moving forward. Right now it feels like a really cheap use of suicide. There are some things you must always take care to portray responsibly when telling your story, and this did not feel like a particularly responsible way to handle Tandy’s thoughts of ending her life. I worry this was nothing more than an attempt to end the episode with high drama, and that the distasteful implications are unrecognized.

Now, we do need to see where it goes from here. If Tyrone recognizes the terribleness of what he said and apologizes for it, and there’s a genuine effort to understand the mistake he made, this can pass by without issue. And it’s not like the idea that Tandy might have suicidal thoughts came from nowhere. Considering her immense survivor’s guilt and lack of connection, I can certainly understand how thoughts of suicide enter her mind. Thing is, I don’t think you can just throw it out there, have a main character yell at her to just go ahead and kill herself, have said character try, and then move on from it. It all happened so quick and dirty that I can’t help but feel like it may have just been there for drama.

I hope it’s needless to say that using suicide just for drama is an awful idea.

Cloak and Dagger needs to follow up respectfully on Tandy’s attempt. Suicidal tendencies are a serious concern that must be handled delicately and with a purpose. And unfortunately, this is an easy fallback too many shows rely on without the proper care needed. I hope Cloak and Dagger doesn’t.

My second, lesser, and plot-related concern is the argument that led to Tyrone’s insensitive words. Namely that, to me, it came completely out of nowhere. The two of them spent the entire episode having  a calm, respectful discussion. Even sensitive subjects between the two caused little drama. Then all of a sudden a piece of genuine advice blows it all up and leads to an unnatural argument over privilege. Which leads to Tandy mentioning her suicidal thoughts and Tyrone’s comment.

This development renewed my worry from last week over these two being kept apart too long. It seems clear that the real, ground-shaking forward movement on Cloak and Dagger won’t take place until Tandy and Tyrone unite. “Call/Response” spent 90% of its runtime heading in this direction. Then it all fell apart.

I certainly understand how a conversation over privilege could lead to heated tensions, especially with backgrounds like Tandy and Tyrone have. Still, this felt so artificial. It almost felt like Cloak and Dagger attempting a superficial, ham-fisted discussion of privilege without any real meat. The main goal seems to be keeping the two main characters apart. It’s the absolute worst attempt the show has made regarding the privilege debate. Scenes like Tyrone walking into the police station and looking around, only to find a sea of white faces, speak volumes more than this conversation did.

While we’re certainly not back where we were at the end of the second episode, we’re a little too close for comfort. Both characters seem like they will tackle the plot alone. And you know they will tackle it ineffectively. The whole idea (at least to me) is that they won’t truly make progress until they team up. I’m also reaching a point where I will start to distrust the moments where they appear ready to team up if this goes on for too long.

In one moment, they undid a great deal of the work the 40 minutes before hand strove hard for.

I’m all for character development, but here’s hoping Cloak and Dagger avoids this mistake in the future. And here’s hoping Tandy’s suicide ends up as more than a way to create drama feeding this mistake.

Other Thoughts:

  • I was delighted when Greg turned out to be a good guy. Damn shame they killed him in the same episode he turned out as such.
  • Tandy’s mother is seriously tragic. I worry we’re heading in a self-harm direction with her as well.
  • I also loved learning more about Tyrone’s father, Otis. He seems to harbor a lot of the same barely repressed anger that his son does. I hope we get more of him and his history with the Redhawks.
  • Roxxon is still paying for the rights to the plot of ocean with the collapsed rig. This suggests to me that whatever gave Tyrone and Tandy powers still slumbers beneath the water.
  • Sometimes Tandy and Tyrone have some really good banter…and then sometimes I wonder how it can be so off.

Images Courtesy of Freeform

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The Expanse Wanders Among The Wreckage

Barbara

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The Expanse is on its penultimate week, and with an episode called “Fallen World,” showed us the aftermath of a disaster.

Recap

When the episode starts, Holden is unconscious, so Bobbie picks him up and they head towards their shuttle. However, she realizes the speed limit might have decreased after her commanding officer threw the grenade last episode, and tests it. Turns out she is right. They get out and stabilize Holden. However, many Martians and Earthers are both dead on their ship, as the quick deceleration was a massive shock.

Naomi survived, but her skiff is no longer able to move, so she abandons it and steps into space. Drummer and her first officer are both pinned by heavy machinery, and have to cooperate to get out of the situation. Anna wakes up and goes through her ship, watching the scores of dead people. Those who are bleeding severely are lost as well, since in zero gravity, there is apparently no way for the blood to drain. One would expect they’d have some sort of vacuum pumps for that, being a space-faring civilization, but whatever. Anna is horrified and offers her help, being a trained nurse.

Holden’s brain scans show frenetic activity, but he’s not waking up. A MCRN soldiers feels like Bobbie is more loyal to him than to them, and suggests she kills him, because dying might be the best fate for him right now.

Drummer and her first have now gotten to the point of sharing life stories and singing together, since they are out of viable solutions for their situation.

When Clarissa wakes up, she think she successfully killed Tilly. But as Anna is helping fix her broken arm, Tilly contacts Anna on her hand terminal. Anna goes to find her, and Tilly tells her what happened before she dies. Clarissa, meanwhile, escapes the ship just as Anna catches up with her. She is left screaming that, “she cannot escape, only beg for mercy.”

Naomi arrives at the Roci and finds Alex, mostly all right, and Amos, who was hit in the head with a heavy tool and so is less alright. Drummer’s first starts coughing blood from his punctured lungs. For some mysterious reason, Drummer decides that means she should sacrifice herself, even though from what we have heard, doing so gives him a really low chances of survival. Still, she moves the machine back onto herself, freeing him, and he calls for help.

Clarissa reaches the Roci and manages to get inside. Naomi hears the impact and goes to check what is wrong. Clarissa tries to kill her—of course she does—but Anna, who apparently followed Clarissa, saves Naomi.

Drummer’s first, after hearing about the large number of wounded they have, gives the order to spin the drum of the ship, creating artificial gravity. They are unsure it will work, but they manage successfully. The first, who is not the captain, then opens a channel to other ships around them and invites everyone to transport their wounded to their ship.

MCRN seems to have more stupid ideas about how bad it is they are being saved by the “skinners,” apparently a name for the Belters. Bobbie effectively tells him he is an idiot and goes to see Holden, who woke up, and now tells her he had a vision of the end of everything.

Review

Overall, this was another good episode with solid pacing and clear progress forward. But there were still plenty enough things left that bother me.

First and foremost among them would be the storyline happening aboard the Martian shuttle. For one, the MCRN marine was acting completely ridiculous. The Expanse has always had trouble with depicting the less open-minded military types with any nuance, but this might be a new low. In particular, I am talking about handing Bobbie the gun to shoot Holden.

It made no sense at all in context: their orders were to bring Holden in. I don’t expect MCRN tortures their prisoners, so the argument with “might be the best for him” hardly made sense. Most of all, it felt like a test for Bobbie, but if so, it was a test of a kind I’d expect to see in Star Trek Discovery‘s Mirror Universe, not among the Martians. The Expanse show adaptation has always depicted the Martians worse than the books do, and this continues in the same vein. Bobbie is gaining the very uncomfortable overtones of being the “one good apple.”

On the other hand, Bobbie’s own role here was scarcely better, particularly her strange obsession with Holden. She is acting like they became best friends in the first half of this season, which is definitely not something I noticed. No matter how ridiculous the marine’s desire to have Holden shot was, he was perfectly right that it looked like Holden was controlling the protomolecule. We know it was because Miller was controlling it for him, but Bobbie doesn’t.

At the same time, it doesn’t follow she would immediately jump to the conclusion that Holden is a villain. He could be controlled by the protomolecule. In fact, he was, to a degree. Or, he could have simply gone insane. Once again, he had in a way. There are many possible explanations that don’t lead to wanting to have Holden executed, but which at the same time don’t lead to Bobbie insisting to her marine crew that, “Holden wouldn’t do anything wrong.”

It is doubly irritating because this is Holden of all people, everyone’s personal favorite white boy. Of course she would be all up in arms about him. Meanwhile, women of color were in danger or outright killed left and right this episode.

Speaking of which, Drummer. On one hand, when we first saw the situation she was in, I was worried it would develop into a mutual attempt at killing the other and saving themselves. I am truly, deeply grateful it didn’t. And even the idea of her sacrifice could have been a brilliant one, really, in the right circumstances. The way it played out here, however? Just after it is implied her first has a low chances of survival, without any particular indication that she is in serious trouble herself? It just feels very much like, “all right, the brown chick was the captain for a bit too long, time to give it to a white guy.”

The scene between them was acted excellently though, I have to grant them that much. Naomi was very good this episode as well, and were her Rocinante boys.

The one character who continues to be a disappointment is Anna. Her very last intervention was badass to be sure, but it’s not the kind of strength I expect from Anna. She’s not there to beat people over their heads. And until that moment, she was as insufferable as before. The most ridiculous moment was shouting after Clarissa. I understand she was meant to be upset, but it just looked stupid. Tilly repeating Anna was “very good at this,” meaning her pastoral duties, only made me roll my eyes once more. Show, don’t tell, please. At this point, such assertions about Anna are about as convincing as all the characters telling Tyrion he was clever on Game of Thrones.

The season finale next week is a double episode. At this point, I feel like it can go in many different directions, and I am all impatience to see which one it goes for.


All images courtesy of SyFy

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Reverie Sows the Seeds of Doubt

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Last week’s episode of Reverie ended on a cliffhanger. Mara realized that she wasn’t actually at her late sister’s house, talking to her late niece (she was actually pretty sure on that last one). This leads to an obvious question: where was Mara, really. Unfortunately for her, she was in the middle of a road, with a car on its way. Before the car runs her over, Mara is saved by a mysterious man who knows her name. Turns out Mara’s savior is Oliver Hill, who claims to be suffering from de-realization as well. Hill has been following Mara, out of supposed worry. Before Oliver was a concerned stalker, he was a founding partner of Onira-Tech. He has something to explain to her, but he needs food first.

From NBC/screenshot

Oliver Hill V. Onira-Tech

Reverie spends about half of the episode providing two arguments for what’s really going on. Oliver argues that Reverie 2.0 is inherently flawed. He claims that he and Mara, being the two people who have spent the most time in Reverie 2.0, will be representative of the general population. In his version, Charlie is Onira-Tech’s unthinking bodyguard who hates Oliver. The medication that Mara has been given is supposedly useless (which is not a great message, especially when paired with Mara’s previous trashing of her meds). Oliver tells Mara not to tell Onira-Tech about their conversation, but that lasts for about 3 minutes. Mara is scared and she needs answers, and she tries to test Oliver’s claims against Onira-Tech’s personnel.

On the other hand, Onira-Tech claims that Oliver Hill was unstable. Charlie claims that Oliver is dangerous. Paul shows Mara Oliver’s brain activity, explaining that he had issues before Reverie 2.0. Alexis tells Mara that her partnership with Oliver was founded in a romantic relationship. That relationship went badly, and Alexis doesn’t want to be defined by that failure, hence his erasure from the company. 

By the end of the episode, Mara agrees with the latter form of events. She seems to be finally persuaded by Alexis’ detailing of her and Oliver’s romantic partnership. However, it’s not clear that the narrative agrees with Mara. Mara doesn’t know where to turn, and Reverie loves drawing tension from that. It thrives off of Mara’s (and the viewer’s) disorientation.

It’s certainly clear that Oliver has other plans, since he offers to buy a Reverie system at the end of the episode.

Episodic Woes

This episode also included a client of the week. Part of the reason the Onira-Tech team started out the episode on edge was a theft within the building. Someone stole a copy of Reverie, and modified it into a form of “Dark Reverie.” The “Dark” version doesn’t have restrictions. Our client of the week, Glenn, is using it to plan a heist. Since last week’s episode involved a bank robber, it’s likely Glenn needed the jailbroken version for the detailed specifications.

Glenn is a man with a stereotypical form of OCD. He avoids daylight, and hates the color blue. In a twist that should not surprise the viewer, Glenn doesn’t want to commit the heist for himself. He’s been watching the single mother and son across the street. The son has a rare disease, and Glenn wants to save his life with a trial drug. Despite mostly living inside, Glenn’s motivation is that he feels like part of the pair’s family. This entire plot feels like a math problem. Sick kid + adult with stereotypical OCD + moral heist = episodic plot.

Glenn offers to sell out “Dark Reverie” sellers and give his system back on one condition: help him do the heist. Mara complies, but Charlie and Monica have other ideas. Instead of letting Glenn steal the medication, they make a deal with the medicine company CEO. The heist goes through, but is spinned as a test of the company’s security system. Glenn gets the meds for the kid, and doesn’t get a felony on his record. Smiles all around.

Conclusion

Reverie‘s season arc plot wildly outstrips its episodic plots. This week’s episodic plot was probably the worst so far. However, the arc’s plot twists easily, without feeling gimmicky.


Images courtesy of NBC

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