Wynonna Earp Season 2, Episode 1 Review “Steel Bars and Stone Walls”
Last night was the premiere of Syfy’s Wynonna Earp, and I gotta say. Hot damn. I could barely keep up with the live tweet (#WynonnaEarp #EarpWatch)! It was a lightning speed, whirlwind, dynamite of an episode. I’m still reeling, and I’ve already watched it twice.
For those who might not remember, here’s the DL for how last season ended: Dolls was arrested by Black Badge for treason, Waverly touched some goo and has smokey demon eyes, Wynonna had to kill Willa, and the Ghost River Triangle protections are now down so all manner of demons and beasties can get in and the revenants can get out. We ready? Hold onto your butts, folks!
Waverly and Doc run through the woods from a beastie with one heck of a mouth on it. Luckily Wynonna is there to save them, but not before the monster destroys Doc’s hat. Cue Wynonna hair clip and gun twirl. Meanwhile, Agent Lucado informs Dolls of his transfer to Black Rock prison, and Sheriff Nedley bullshits that Bobo was Wynonna’s jilted lover, so he poisoned everyone. Wynonna’s not happy about the implication, nor is she happy that Black Badge has arrived to take all of Doll’s things (after handing out the antidote, of course). Except his mug. Nedley kept that.
“Earp, you might be the hero that Purgatory deserves, you’re just not the one it needs right now.”—Sheriff Nedley
Wynonna picks locks at a motel until she finds Dolls’s room. She also finds a mysterious woman, with whom she immediately gets into a brawl that ends with both of them pointing guns in each others’ faces. Back at the homestead, Waverly tends to Nicole’s bruises, which lead to makey-outy times. Doc walks in (politely). Nicole leaves to feed her cat and Doc asks Waves how she’s doing after Willa’s death.
“I’ll have you know I’m kind of a big deal around here. I’m the Earp heir.”—Wynonna
In the motel, Wynonna snarks to mystery woman Eliza because she’s jealous worried about Dolls. She informs Eliza that Black Badge got him, to which Eliza replies that it’s gonna be bad if they don’t get him out soon. They decide to team up, reluctantly and with plenty of eye rolling. Dolls doesn’t look so good, probably going through withdrawal from his lizard juice. The rest of Team Earp meet Eliza and plan the rescue. Wynonna’s clearly on edge, so Waverly takes her aside to check on her. Wynonna says they have no time to grieve, they need to rescue Dolls. Eliza breaks into Dolls’s safe to find all his lizard eye juice gone; Doc says he has a vial and they break the news to Wynonna that Dolls isn’t entirely human. No time to ponder that, though, they have to break into the safe house to get Dolls!
“Christ, you smell like shit, rolled in shit.”—Black Badge Officer
Doc and Wynonna sneak into the safe house with the power of stink to find Eliza already inside. She and Wynonna exchange smirks and one liners. Back at the homestead, Waverly goes all demon eyes and just when it looks like she cut Nicole with an axe…she chopped off the monster’s head from the opening scene. (Goddamn it, Andras! You almost gave me a heart attack!) Doc, Eliza, and Wynonna get stuck in the tunnels because her security clearance was revoked. Thankfully, Waverly, ahem, “Liz Wallace Windsor, Scotland Yard” arrives with a demon head for ‘delivery’ to get her in the front door. ‘Agent’ Haught waits in the getaway car. Inside, Lucado taunts Dolls about his friends being trapped.
“Listen, I know the location of Black Badge safe house, I’ve a stonking great demon head stuffed into a wheelie bag, and I’m due back on a plane to London in three hours. It’d be one remarkably elaborate con, right chap?”—Waverly
Waverly finds the lab (filled with all kinds of monsters) and gets a call from Wynonna about a change of plans. Eliza tells Wynonna she came to Purgatory to help Dolls, and herself, find out what Black Badge turned them into. Waverly (tries to) flirt with the techie to get him to open the security doors. When she tries to knock him out, the smell of his blood makes one of the monsters go crazy. Waves then talks lab tech Jeremy into helping her save Dolls by opening all the security doors.
“You must be yankin’ my vajay.”—Wynonna
Doc then traps Eliza and Wynonna back in the hallway because he doesn’t want Wynonna to have to kill someone else she cares about should Dolls not “still be the raging asshole we know him to be”. God, I love Doc. The ladies head to the lab and kick some ass on the way there. Doc finds Dolls and Lucado; she pulls a gun on him, because she likes to break rules. Fortunately, Doc likes to break rules, too, because he’s packing dynamite. Old dynamite. Unstable dynamite. (This scene is pretty goddamn fantastic.) Dolls chokes out Lucado but Doc talks him down from killing her. In the lab, Waverly prevents the soul-devouring demon with the power of her smokey demon eyes just before Wynonna busts in to shoot it.
“Not today, Satan.”—Wynonna
Doc gives Dolls some lizard serum; Dolls gives Doc a message for Wynonna before running off. Lucado catches Wynonna, Waverly, Eliza, and Jeremy, and Doc, and threatens to shoot them all only to be interrupted by Moody, one of her superiors. He assigns Wynnona the task of patrolling the Ghost River Triangle for revenants on behalf of the Black Badge, then kills Eliza and threatens the rest if they don’t fall in line. They’re all expendable but Wynonna. They all sign a contract in blood, except Nicole, whom Waverly protects by lying about their being anyone else who knows about the plan. Moody claims he can help Wynonna break the Earp curse. When she overhears in the car, Nicole drives off. Doc lies about there being a message for Wynonna from Dolls.
“You can respectfully kiss my little white ass.”—Doc, to Moody
Wynonna drops a not-so-subtle “come up and fuck me” to Doc, who turns her down politely. Nicole brushes Waverly off because she’s upset that she didn’t a chance to ‘make it official’ and become a part of the team by signing the contract. Wynonna wanders aimlessly into Willa’s old room, crawls into her bed, wraps her arms around one of her stuffed animals, and cries. (Please excuse me while I go sob in the corner for a while). She sees a flash of light that leads her outside to find her necklace (which she’d dropped), and Dolls, who smiles and leaves. Wynonna and Waverly discuss sticking together and hunting demons. In a room somewhere else, we see a questing hand reach for, and find the dynamite Doc left behind. The episode ends with a literal bang.
Favorite One Liner: “Waverly, that is the worst British accent I’ve ever heard.”—Nicole
I Gotta Say…
Holy shit. That’s one way to start off a season. It hit the ground running (quote literally) and those literal—and metaphorical—hits kept coming. I’m still not entirely certain about what happened when Waverly shot the gun at the end of last season’s finale, but I don’t even care. This is how you do a premiere. The action beats followed swiftly on each other’s heels, yet it never felt hectic or over-stuffed. The dialogue had the perfect amount of humor and snark, the emotional moments the precise amount of weight and length that you engaged with them without the pace dragging.
Goddamn. This was one of the most perfect hours of television I’ve ever seen. And from what I’ve heard from Emily Andras’ Twitter, the season’s going to keep up this pace the whole way through. I’m quite literally on the edge of my seat waiting for next week.
I loved the new additions to the team, no matter how brief their stay. Rachel Skarsten killed it as Eliza.
Only Andras and her team can manage to have a whole fight scene between two women, one in her bra and panties, without it being male-gazey, catty, or exploitative at all. RIP Eliza. You will be missed. Varun Saranga is such an excellent addition to the cast. Can’t wait to see what he brings to the team this season. Also, he and Waverly are #TeamNerds forever. Moody likewise is a fascinating character. I’m not sure if he’s full or shit or not, but it’ll be fun to see what intrigues lie in Black Badge this season.
Okay, so, Nicole knowing something was up with Waves because she tastes different. How extra is that shit? I also love that we’re getting more from her psychologically. She so desperately wants to belong to the gang. To not just be on the sidelines; she calls herself an agent, which is clearly a fib, though I love Doc for playing along. Her anger at Waves keeping her out of the contract worked well and made sense given she has a very personal stake in the conflict. Not just because Waves is involved. Let’s not forget Willa shot Nicole. She’s ‘in’ it whether Waverly understands it or no.
At the same time, I appreciate that we can sympathize with Waverly’s perspective as well. She just lost her sister and almost lost Nicole. Of course she wants to protect her girlfriend! As a side note, I love how Waves pointedly calls Nicole her girlfriend when Wynonna hesitates. She’s having none of the hiding nonsense. Good. There are plenty of shows where discomfort or hedging around an LGBT relationship is a part of the storyline, which is fine. That’s a real life struggle for our community.
At the same time, it’s nice to see a show where it’s a simple fact without any fuss. Everybody’s cool with it. That’s a valid story, too, and one I like seeing. Besides, there’s not a lot of room to make a big deal out of it when there are demons running around. Plus, Waverly is part demon herself at the moment, so she has other things to deal with.
I appreciate the honesty with which this episode dealt with how each of the sisters responds to Willa’s death. Wynonna, who had always connected with and looked up to her older sister, is clearly the most affected on the surface. Not least because she was the one who dealt the final blow. The scene near the end where she cried broke me inside. Melanie Scrofano is an amazing actress. When she’s crying, I can’t help but tear up myself. When you add in all the other details, from the stuffed rabbit, to the fading, molding wallpaper and the dusty light, the tone is suffused with grief, decay, and death. It’s heart-wrenching.
Yet Waverly isn’t untouched herself. She’s honest about her feelings for Willa—“She sucked.”—and appears both cool and strong. However, underneath the bitterness (and the demon eyes), flashes of sorrow break through. One gets the impression that Waves draws on the demonic force within her to suppress the sadness, perhaps even the guilt, she feels over Willa’s death and how she feels about it.
On the other end of the spectrum, the camaraderie between Doc and Dolls this episode, hot damn. Doc being the one to save Dolls in the end was packed with so much meaning. They’ve been through a lot last season. They hated each other for a while and bickered over Wynonna. Yet here, we see they’ve found balance, friendship even. Doc was willing to blow himself up to save Dolls. And Dolls almost killed Lucado when she threatened Doc. Boy does this make my heart grow three sizes bigger.
Nevertheless, the relationship that drives the story forward is still that between Wynonna and Waverly. Their love for each other, mutual protective instinct, and deep-seated need to be with and stand by each other grounds everything. Because at it’s heart, this is a show about a family of two sisters against the world. They have their friends, their lovers, and their colleagues, but they’re the legs the story stands on. And let me tell you, these pillars stand tall. No matter what they face, they’ll face it together and bury their family’s demons and their personal ones. Because, like Wynonna said,
“It’s always demons.”—Wynonna
I see you, Andras
A tribute to all the little details I don’t have time to discuss in full.
- It took less than 5 minutes for us to get WayHaught kisses. #Bless
- All the jokes about Doc’s hat. It never got old.
- Wynonna is the queen of eyebrows and one-liners; Melanie Scrofano can do so many amazing things with her face and communicate so much without words. It’s a wonder to behold.
- “My Waverly”. UGH. WayHaught kills me in the best way.
- Dominique in that skirt, heels, glasses combo with the accent? I couldn’t breathe.
- Doc opening up his jacket to flash his boobs dynamite. A+
- I saw that Phoenician alphabet in the background of the storage room. Yay, Easter egg for me!
- Love the literal “ride or die” line.
- A+ stunt work. For real.
- WAVERLY. FUCKING. EARP. Dominique Provost-Chalkley is so, so amazing. All the little nuances, the slight facial differences that tell us she’s not ‘our Waverly’…and then she is. God. She’s amazing. Not that I’m biased because I met her and she called me “the real Waverly Earp” or anything.
See you next week for “Shed Your Skin”. Oh no, this is about Waverly isn’t it? Shit! Feel free to join me in the live tweet at 9pm CST/10pm EST! In the meantime, check out our store for Wynonna Earp merch and our forum for community discussions.
Images Courtesy of SyFy
Barbara Kean Proves She’s a Queen
Last time we were in Gotham, Barbara and her merry band of assassins were making themselves at home at Ra’s Al Ghul’s while Tabitha got kicked out because she tries to talk Barbara out of her new calling. Also, Barbara might be Ra’s reincarnated… wife? Oswald and Butch got their old duo back together and Lee and the Riddler’s relationship got more complicated.
The episode kicks off with Barbara getting attacked by her own assassins. It’s cool though, they were just testing to see if she unlocked the full potential of the Demon’s Head power, which includes seeing the past and future. She hasn’t, but she’s sure that she’ll be able to, given time.
Bruce, meanwhile, is taking his birthday gift out for a drive with Selina. He even shows off with it a little.
They’re meeting Tabitha who asked Bruce to come into the city. Things go sideways fast when Bruce and Selina realize it was a trap to get to him. Specifically to get his blood to bring Ra’s Al Ghul back from the dead.
Ra’s rises as a mummy/zombie hybrid and he isn’t happy about it. The being alive part that is. His feelings about being a zombie are up in the air. His death went exactly as he planned so he isn’t pleased with his men to find himself awake again. But they aren’t pleased with Barbara as their leader. They don’t think she can live up to the potential of being the Demon’s Head. Ra’s doesn’t automatically become the Demon’s Head again, he needs Barbara to give it back to him. Or he has to take it from her by force.
He goes himself to see if she’s made use of the powers and he isn’t impressed with her plan to rule Gotham. She refuses to give the power back, claiming it as her destiny. She points to the painting of her and Ra’s as proof. Ra’s write’s the woman in the painting off as just someone he used for entertainment until he killed her. He writes of Barbara as well, as nothing but a club owner with no real accomplishments to her name.
He tries to take the power from her, but Barbara’s assassin crew get in the way. They don’t fare very well against him, but Barbara does manage to escape when Bruce, Tabitha and Selina show up.
At Wayne Manor Barbara and Tabitha are hashing it out. Selina stops the argument to get their priorities straight. It doesn’t matter who hurt who when there’s a zombie assassin coming after all of them.
Bruce plans to kill Ra’s again, but Barbara wants to deal the killing blow, thinking it will unlock her full powers. Before they can decide who kills him, they’re going to need to get the knife that can kill first. Bruce donated the knife to the Nanda Parbat embassy, so they need to pull off a daylight robbery.
Alfred goes into the embassy with Tabitha, pretending they want the knife back. The ambassador grows suspicious so Alfred fakes a heart attack. In the chaos, Selina repels down to grab the knife, like any good cat burglar would.
With the knife in Selina’s hands, it becomes her decision on who to give the knife too. She hesitates but hands it to Barbara inevitability. The ladies leave Bruce and Alfred stranded, their need for them done. At the Sirens’ Club, Barbara’s plan is to wait for Ra’s before she goes all ‘stabby-stabby’. Selina isn’t excited that’s the extent of her strategy. She sided with them because she thought Barbara at least had a proper plan. Selina’s words cut a little close to home for Barbara and she makes Selina leave.
She airs her doubts with Tabitha. Tabitha doesn’t want to hear any of Barbara’s self-deprecation. The Barbara she knows is a lot of things, but someone who isn’t confident isn’t one of them.
After Barbara kicked her out, Selina, naturally, went back to Wayne Manor. Bruce was hurt she choose Barbara over him. But, as it turns out, she gave Barbara the dagger because she didn’t want Bruce to become a drunken brat again like he had when he killed Ra’s the first time. Now, Barbara and Tabitha need help and Selina’s tired of everyone trying to pick sides. As long as Ra’s is around they all have a common enemy.
Speaking of Ra’s, he and his men arrive at the Sirens’ Club. Barbara gets him talking to get close to him. She stabs him right in the heart, and he responds with a simple ‘ouch’. Things aren’t looking good for her, but Bruce shows up just in time to disrupt the fight.
And then Barbara gets stabbed in the back! Right through to her chest! But wait! She’s unlocked the Demon’s Head powers and is seeing into the future! She didn’t die!
But Ra’s grabs Tabitha, giving Barbara the choice between the powers and her. For a gut-wrenching second, it seems like Barbara chooses the power. But she’s seeing the future again and seeing Tabitha die because of her is something she doesn’t want. She gives up the Demon’s Head.
With the power returned to him, Ra’s is unzombie-fied. Bruce steps forward, thinking he’ll want to be killed by him again. But Ra’s doesn’t want to die this time. He breaks the knife, the only thing Bruce can kill him with.
After the fighting is done and all the assassins are gone Barbara’s cleaning up. Tabitha comes to her but doesn’t say anything. Her expression screams what she’s thinking though. Barbara only says, ‘you would have done the same for me.’ The scene would have been amazing if it had ended there. But then it gets even better when the ladies of the league return, pledging themselves to Barbara, Demon’s Head or not. She’s the leader they want.
In other parts of the city, Jim and Harvey have to deal with five bank robberies in one night. That kind flare has the Riddler written all over it. Jim goes to pay Lee a visit, but he isn’t the only one who’s in the Narrows for an audience with its queen. Oswald and Butch turn up playing the friends card with a side of threats to get a cut of their earnings. Lee is having none of it. She tells them in no uncertain terms to get lost, with the Riddler backing her up.
Oswald isn’t happy to see the Riddler is as in love with Lee as Ed was. He’s disappointed and maybe a little jealous. Maybe. Oswald pokes at just right spots to get under the Riddler’s skin, stirring up the doubts he already has about Lee’s intentions with him. So much so, the Riddler starts to talk to Ed in his reflection, only Ed’s the one taunting from the other side this time. Scared Ed could take over the Riddler goes to Oswald and Butch, telling them their plan for an even bigger score.
Jim makes the trip to Narrows, but Lee isn’t giving up the Riddler. Jim starts to suspect Lee’s in on it too. Back the GCPD he and Harvey talk to the bank owner, putting it together that the bank has a history of shady dealings. The owner lets it slip that majority of their branches’ assets were moved to one secure location because of everything that’s happened since the Arkham break out. That’s all Jim and Harvey need to hear to know that’s the Riddler’s real target.
Sure enough, Lee and the Riddler are knocking out all the guards at the bank. But the Riddler pulls a gun on Lee as Oswald and Butch make their appearance. Yet the twists for the evening for the evening aren’t over. Riddler wasn’t double-crossing Lee, he was double-crossing Oswald. With most of the money loaded up, he sets off the alarm, locking Oswald and Butch in the vault.
The gesture makes an impression on Lee. So much so, she takes the fall for the robbery to let the Riddler get away with the money.
After the chaos of another day in Gotham comes to a close, Bruce is of course already worrying about the chaos that will come with the new day. He’s already trying to find a way to repair the dagger. Selina’s there and she reminds him that he doesn’t owe Gotham is every waking moment.
Ra’s Al Ghul agrees with her. (Selina was right about Bruce’s security sucking.) But Ra’s isn’t there to fight. He offers an explanation why he didn’t want to die again. His rebirth brought with it a vision of Gotham burning and the event shaping Bruce into a ‘dark knight’.
Gotham never fails when its characters take the lead.
Another character heavy episode gave another great episode of Gotham. This episode was just filled to the brim with great character moments. Where do I even begin? I suppose I’ll start where the episode did, with Barbara. Barbara Kean, how far she’s come from Jim Gordon’s timid girlfriend. But at her core, she’s still a woman capable of loving deeply. That’s the part of her that shined here. She gave up the demon’s head for Tabitha! (Side note, even if their deaths weren’t real, still wasn’t fun watching Barbara getting stabbed through the back and Tabitha’s neck sliced open. Sara Lance almost dying three times a season more than fills my quota of wlw near-death experiences. I won’t be able to get the images of the two of them mortally wounded out of my head for at least a week)
This episode gives us Barbara’s entire character arc in a microcosm. At the start of Gotham, she has so little agency of her own. She’s clawed and fought to be where she is now, but even with everything she accomplished her insecurities still lie just below the surface. Power is her metric of success. The Demon’s Head was her ultimate victory. Proof that she deserved to stand among the very best in a city filled with extortionary people.
And she gave it up. For a person she loves. Even after she unlocks the Demon’s Head’s full potential. That’s the Barbara Kean I adore. Barbara keeps getting better and better. As does her relationship with Tabitha. They are so compelling to watch, regardless of their relationship status.
While we’re on the topic of relationship status lets talk about Lee and the Riddler. They are an… interesting pair. I don’t know what my feelings are on their romantic relationship are yet. But I’ll admit, the dynamic is compelling. I’m like the Riddler when it comes to Lee. I don’t know where she stands but I want to figure it out. Is she just stringing him along? Does she really care for the Ed Nygma hidden away under Riddler’s bowler cap?
Also, seeing Ed be the one taunting from inside the mirror brings another layer to the Riddler. It’s intriguing to explore how much he truly is in control and how much Ed is slipping out. This romance should be a bad idea, but Lee and the Riddler bring out a strange and interesting dynamic in each other so I’m willing to see where it goes.
Gotham is on a break next week, but its return will mark the beginning of the end of this season with only three episodes remaining. The promo doesn’t give much away beyond the promise of pure Gotham chaos™.
Images courtesy of Fox
Everything Goes Wrong on The Americans
We all have those times where literally nothing goes right. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your fault, either. Things entirely out of your control just refuse to go how they need to. One crucial thing doesn’t pan out. A woman vomits in the middle of the party, right before someone spills potentially valuable information. You know, your typical bad luck. There was a lot of bad luck this week for just about everyone on The Americans.
The Bullet’s Loaded in the Chamber…
If anyone had doubts about the bad places Philip and Elizabeth are in right now, “Mr. and Mrs. Teacup” drove it home. We’ve seen things go bad for Elizabeth all season. Just check her murder count (which increased by 3 this week). She’s overburdened, alone, and losing her edge. Both her missions this week fail. Despite the body count, she once again fails to get her hands on the radiation sensor. A pretty perfect opportunity arrives in the form of the World Series party, but she loses it when the sick woman she cares for empties her stomach in the middle of the party. Nothing went right for her. Really nothing has gone right yet for Elizabeth.
Philip isn’t much better off. His financial troubles hit fully this week, to the point he informed Henry about his inability to pay tuition to his school. He’s in much the same place as Elizabeth; alone, overburdened, and with nothing going right. This episode had a few moments where a character talks about themselves or a persona of Philip or Elizabeth that clearly described one of those two. When Kimmy describes “Jim” as stuck in place, it’s clear it applies to Philip’s life since retirement.
(While we’re on the subject, Kimmy remains the one spy-related assignment Philip is responsible for and even that goes bad this week.)
I think The Americans wants to make a clear point about the Jennings here. Philip and Elizabeth spent decades becoming probably the best Soviet spy assets in America because they were together. When one fell to a moment of weakness, the other was there. They shared burdens. They covered the other’s mistakes. Problems in their personal life were handled together.
Without each other, they stand alone to fail, both as people and in their missions.
While it was clear how distant the two were before now, this episode really drove it home. Philip and Elizabeth have separated their lives to the point they split parenting duty. The way Elizabeth says “Henry is your department” was just shockingly cold. You could already sense the truth of it in the previous three episodes. To have them flat out confirm it, like parenting has become a solo mission, disturbed the hell out of me.
They’ve never been as far apart as they are right now. Not even in those early years when their marriage was a sham. Back then, at least, they were taking on missions together and in tune professionally. Now they are professionally separate, personally separated, and suffering for it. Absolutely nothing is going right for them. They are both absolutely miserable. Even their one moment of attempted intimacy feels entirely forced and ends in rejection. Not one part of their life is happy or successful anymore.
They have absolutely no one who they can truly relate to anymore. Elizabeth has no one who really knows what she goes through. She goes on missions with Paige, but hides the full truth of them. She can speak some of her concerns to Claudia, but not all of them since full disclosure could have her labeled a concern to deal with. Without the spy work, Philip has become your typical American suburban dad, the kind Elizabeth despises and actively fights against. Obviously Philip can’t confide fully in her anymore. Paige has been turned, and Henry is still unaware of his parents’ espionage. So he can only confide in bits and pieces to a few select people like Elizabeth and Stan.
I talked about the divide established between Philip and Elizabeth back in my review for the premiere, and now that divide has crystalized. It’s more than an ideological conflict. Philip actively informed on Elizabeth to Oleg. They’re officially on opposing sides of a conflict. A conflict that could turn physically violent. When will they find out? How will they react?
Right now this might be the central question of the final season. What happens when Philip and Elizabeth find out just how far apart they are? What happens when their lives are at risk and they have to choose their futures? Do they reflect on their depression and find common ground? Do they turn on each other permanently? What about their kids? I can’t imagine they last much longer as is. It’s just too dark.
…But When Will The Americans Fire It?
“Mr. and Mrs. Teacup” certainly pushed us closer to that moment. It pushed a lot of things closer to the edge. I continue to be impressed by how closely tied the storylines remain this season. Everything plot point is feeding into the others in some way.
The thing is, when are they going to explode?
Conflict seems inevitable right now. Elizabeth has been tuned in to Gennady and Sofia and basically received orders to execute them if necessary. Stan remains the only confidante those two will trust or listen to. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Stan ends up tailing Oleg on his own, which could lead him to discovering Philip. And of course there’s the issue of Philip spying on Elizabeth and what happens when she finds out.
With the final season hitting the halfway point next week, I just hope The Americans stops loading rounds into the gun and fires the damn thing.
I’m not suggesting nothing happened this week. Certainly not. Paige sleeping with a potential source was an event big enough for an entire segment of this review; not just because of the effect on her psyche or Elizabeth’s rather explicit orders not to do it, but for what this moment represents for her character.
Think of how badly she reacted to her meager attempts to use her relationship with Matthew Beeman as a source of information. Sure, 3 years and a lot of training has happened since then, but this is also a much bigger step than dating the neighbor boy with mostly innocent intentions. Like she was told before, sex leads to emotions, and emotions lead to vulnerability. Vulnerability is dangerous in this line of work, which probably ranks as a key reason Elizabeth wants to groom Paige for something besides frontline spy work.
If Paige is going to take this step on her own, how will she handle it? Can she handle it? Whatever brainwashing Claudia has managed, Paige is still the same person she was last season. Can she handle the guilt of stringing someone innocent along in this manner? What does it say about her, her mother, and this whole training process if she can? Paige may be losing a vital part of her soul. Potentially even worse, that part of her soul may be yet another brick falling from the wall that tears life apart for her family.
That this was not immediately the biggest moment in the episode does speak to how much really happened. Between Elizabeth and Philip, Stan/Gennady/Sofi, the summit, spying on the diplomats involved, Paige, Henry, Kimmy, the murders, Oleg, the impending Soviet downfall…there’s so much going on. What’s more, any single one of the plotlines involving any of these characters can lead to the others falling apart. That’s how closely tied and precarious all these storylines are.
I just want to see all these juggling balls drop already. While I loved season 5, there is an element of expectation in my acceptance of it, that it was going to lead to more this season. And it has, to an extent. But we need THE moment. We need the gun to fire that breaks everything down. The moment where Hank realizes Walt was Heisenberg. We need that episode where Stan finds out about his neighbors. The time has to arrive where the cover is blown and the Jennings family finds itself on the run.
There’s also the issue of just how much further into this dark, depressing calm The Americans can go before it is unsustainable. Damn near everyone is steeped in hard times or will be soon. Philip and Elizabeth are the catalyst causing everything to fall apart, the cancer breaking down everything around them. Or rather, the conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States is the cancer, and with its end we’re seeing the death throes of people who only know this way of life and fight to maintain it.
Thing is, they can’t. And The Americans as a show cannot keep stringing them along like this, no more than the circumstances around them can. I think this was the episode making it clear to the characters and the audience that these people cannot continue as they always have. Change is coming. Now it’s time to see how everyone will react to it.
It’s time for The Americans to fire the gun.
- It just hit me during the “previously on” that the “you haven’t talked to anyone back home in 20 years, neither have you” exchange was after both had done so and formed their current beliefs on said conversations.
- I understand why the warehouse break-in was so dark, but I had no idea what was happening. The scene reminded me of Game of Thrones at its worst. You have to be able to see what’s happening in scenes like those. I didn’t know if Elizabeth succeeded or not in finding the sensor.
- If all these murders don’t come back to haunt Elizabeth, I will be disappointed. This is a lot of bodies. Important bodies, too. You can’t have dead generals and dead military guards so close to one another without a considerable investigation.
- I’m curious whether this final season will move far enough ahead in time for Henry to move back home. Assuming Philip doesn’t find a way to pay his tuition, that is.
- Interesting how Philip is the one who always thinks back on his life back home. Is this because Elizabeth typically doesn’t (because she’s not quite so conflicted about it) or because The Americans only wants to show these reflective moments for Philip?
Images courtesy of FX
Black Lightning Season Finale Lights Up
The first season finale of Black Lightning culminates in death and chaos and it’s pretty epic. I hate the ASA, and Tobias is too much! But he makes for a great adversary.
But first, the Psalm that this episode’s title refers to:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me…
(Thanks to GeeksOut’s Black Lightning reviewer for pointing this out to me as I hadn’t researched the title quite yet.)
As I mentioned in my “the show so far” piece, every title has had a religious reference to it, and next week I’ll talk about all of them combined. It’s appropriate then that the “final” showdown between the Lightnings and the ASA specifically references this Psalm, as the valley portion goes back to Jesus’ eternal life.
Black Jesus isn’t going anywhere.
Black Lightning Season Finale
After last week’s fight, the Pierces and Gambi went to his safe house so Gambi and Lynn could treat Jefferson. Jennifer is understandably freaked about the entire situation especially when Gambi realizes special ops are here to kill everyone.
Elsewhere, Khalil, I mean Painkiller, apologizes for killing Black Lightning, and Tobias tells him not to do that. He doesn’t care if they go against Martin since after all, he wants to take Martin down. Martin is trash and actually says MAGA after talking about how if the American flag is getting redder, it better be from the blood of his enemies. Totally a line I’m sure has been said but I’m over him too. Cannot wait until he’s dead.
Poor LaLa probably never signed up for this life, yet here he is getting beat by Tobias who spent a million dollars to “reanimate” LaLa. Bruh. All of LaLa’s murders will come back to haunt him and tattoo his body until no skin is left. I’m over it. Martin gets a hold of him but LaLa goes boom because of a bomb inside him. Or so we think.
Then, Jefferson finally wakes up! Without powers! Oh no! There’s no time to figure it out, though, because ASA found our favorite family! And Tobias sent Syonide and Painkiller to do the same.
Gambi has a plan though! It involves another safe area and Jefferson pretending to have powers so Anissa can take the ops out. Except! Jennifer lights up, hugs her dad, and bam, his powers are back. “It’s what we do.” Yay! Next season is going to be hard on her, but at least she’s not completely over the whole situation.
Everybody and their mom is going to North Freeland! ASA is already there, except Martin who is hanging out at command. Henderson and the police are going. Tobias, Syonide, and Painkiller are going. It is too much!
Lynn has a gun! She and Gambi protect themselves and Jennifer while one of the ops dudes attacks Anissa and almost packages her! Black Lightning saves her, and Jennifer saves mom and Gambi from another attacker, too!
We switch to Tobias, Syonide, and Painkiller taking out the ASA agents while Martin runs away like the coward he is. Too bad he couldn’t transfer the pods like he wanted. When he shows up at the pods, none of his people are there. Gambi and the Peirce family is there, though. But…turns out Martin’s entire operation is rogue, so they’re not going up against the ASA, just this asshole.
I LOVE GAMBI. He shot him twice and “will take care of the trash” while the others handle the pods. Gambi saying he’s a monster was so much. I need him and Jefferson to have another talk asap.
Another news segment articulates all of what the season is about. Illegal human experiments under the purview of the government and we know it’s happened before, happens now, and will sadly happen again. Then we get Jennifer’s voiceover while dad and daughters run and meet Lynn on the steps of their house!
The episode ends with Syonide bringing Tobias a bag with Martin’s thumbs so he can open his files and do whatever he wants with them. “Long live the King” of Freeland.
- How old is Jefferson? We saw Gambi and Grandpa Pierce talking thirty years ago and we also saw his funeral so in his 40s? We also find out that riots after a police shot a black teen is what causes Jefferson’s powers to manifest.
- Tobias Whale has the strength of three men from the serum he’s been taking!
- Syonide was in an orphange at eight and Tobias trained her. She’s got carbon fiber under her skin now. Damn.
- I loved all the Gambi telling the girls about their dad stories and explaining to the audience everything.
- Jefferson spends most of the episode asleep dreaming about his dad and we learn that all of his sayings and quotes are ones that dad said all the time. His final dream involves grown Jefferson talking to dad about whether all of this is worth it. “Only you can know if it’s worth it.”
I really liked the season finale! I think the first half was paced interestingly because there was a lot of explanations and reveals before the actual fighting, but like most Black Lightning episodes, the real meat of the episode happened right at the end. The finale answered a ton of questions I and others have asked throughout this first season, but left some things unanswered. Is LaLa dead? Who does Lynn know and plan on getting help from for the Stage 2 Pod Kids? Tobias definitely has plans to kill Black Lightning and Thunder.
Painkiller is…..a missed opportunity, but I’m hoping that by end of S2, Khalil can get out from under Tobias’ thumb. Gambi said that Khalil had a choice, so the young man we and Jennifer knew is very much not the same person we have now based on his circumstances. And right now, who knows if they end up planning redemption. The ASA too wasn’t actually super involved with the current iterations of Martin’s plans, so will we see them again? Is Fowdy taking on a bigger role because her boss is dead?
There’s a lot to think about, and the hiatus is long, but I’m excited to see what S2 brings us. Especially as Jennifer comes into her own and the family is more careful. Also, if that green glowing thing is what makes Greenlight happen….we’re all screwed.
Thoughts on the season finale?