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Elementary Has Good Ideas but Poor Execution in Fidelity

Veronica

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After Sherlock was dramatically arrested in last week’s twist ending, we find our hero in an ominous interrogation room. The mysterious red-haired villain, who has the appropriately evil sounding name of Anson Gephardt, shows up with the usual spiel of threats to warn Sherlock off investigating the deaths relating to the Kotite case. In a shocking twist, as soon as Sherlock is set free, he decides to – wait for it – continue investigating the case. Strap in, kids, because this week’s plot is positively labyrinthine.

A bit of investigation reveals that Gephardt is a member of a American intelligence agency with a grudge against the Iranian government. Going over the files from Kotite’s hit and run case reveals nothing of interest, so Sherlock theorizes instead that something happened in the area that would have made the jury members of interest to Gephardt. Perhaps they saw or overheard something in the court case that needs to be covered up. In order to find out more, Joan heads off to speak to the widow of Cy Durning, the prosecutor of Kotite’s case, while Kitty and Sherlock go to speak to Farrell and Putnam, the law firm that  Kotite’s defense attorney, Tom Saunders, worked for.

Sherlock and Kitty sit in awkward silence at the firm until Sherlock, god bless him, tells Kitty that her son was beautiful and that he’s happy for her. I’m so proud of him. Kitty accurately points out that Sherlock doesn’t exactly sound happy about it. Before they can discuss further, it’s time for them to talk to Sydney Garber, the managing partner of F&P. He refuses to give them access to the case files they request, but he does reveal one intriguing piece of information: Saunders had paranoid schizophrenia. Meanwhile, Cy Durning’s widow is more helpful. Durning was secretly recording all of his cases on cassette tape, including the Kotite case.

The team’s new discoveries come together when Joan finds a section of the tape in which Saunders breaks into a diatribe clearly influenced by paranoid delusions. He made several extreme claims about astronauts, a Venezuelan bomb, and buried gold. Joan believes one of Saunders’s delusions must have been actually true, and that everyone in the courtroom at the time was killed for hearing it.

Not only does Sherlock find this claim plausible, but he knows immediately which claim is true. A few days earlier, shortly before Kotite’s murder, a bomb was set off in a library restroom in Venezuela, killing dozens of people and nearly killing the president. The president then went on to win his re-election bid due to the sympathy vote earned by his apparent near assassination. Sherlock concludes that Gephardt, a rogue agent, orchestrated the bombing in order to help the Venezuelan president win. The connection to Saunders must be that his law firm, Farrell and Putnam,  has locations around the world, including Venezuela. Sherlock thinks that Gephardt must have used the law firm to get in contact with a Venezuelan corporation that helped him with the bombing. The question now is why, and who. Sherlock and Joan break into F&P’s offices to go through their files to try to find answers, and find an unexpected one.

A note on a file proves that Sydney Garber also knew about the Venezuelan bombing well before it happened. Gephardt wasn’t using the law firm to get in contact with Venezuelan companies; he was working with Garber and Saunders, and that’s how Saunders knew in advance about the bombing.

Joan and Kitty head back to the law firm to speak to Garber again. But before they can get anything out of him, a man on a motorcycle appears and attempts to gun them all down. Joan and Kitty narrowly save Garber’s life, through the heroic measure of Kitty kicking him in the groin to force him to dive to the ground.

Realizing that Gephardt has turned on him, Garber willingly talks, spinning them a tale of international intrigue spanning decades. Back in his university days, Garber was roommates with a man who went on to become the head of Venezuelan intelligence. Three years ago, Gephardt asked Garber to put him in contact with this man. Gephardt arranged a deal in which he would fake an assassination attempt on the president so he could be re-elected in exchange for something called the Fidel Files. The files are supposedly a collection of all the information that Fidel Castro shared with his communist allies over roughly fifty years. (Did you notice the episode title is “Fidelity”? Har har.) In order to prove his story, Garber hands over his own copy of the files.

Here’s where things get even weirder, and start to not quite make sense. Naturally, Detective Family assumes that this file must have been Gephardt’s ultimate goal all along. They dive into the files, trying to find just what it was that Gephardt was looking for. But before they can get very far, Gephardt uploads to the internet a video of himself confessing to his crimes. He also uploads a copy of the Fidel Files, but with one key difference; in his version of the files, there’s a film clip that seems to prove that the Iranian government has nuclear weapons. The team realizes that planting this clip must have been his goal all along.

So, quick summary, because I’m having a hard time following this myself: Gephardt, who considers the Iranian government a threat to U.S. safety, decided to engineer a video that would motivate the US to go to war with Iran. But he knew that if he simply put this video on the internet, people would be rightfully suspicious of its authenticity. He needed a context that would make the video seem believable. Thus, the Fidel Files. Because everything else in the Fidel Files is true, it would make Gephardt’s fake video clip seem believable too. But to get the files, he had to kill people in Venezuela. In order to cover that up, he murdered the handful of people that knew about the bombing in advance. Then, immediately after covering up his crimes, he…confesses to his crimes. Wait, what?

I follow everything else about this story. It’s a little over the top in how elaborate it is, but I can follow the chain of events. What I don’t understand is why Gephardt would go to such extreme ends to cover up a crime that he planned on confessing to the entire time. There was most likely only a slim chance that Kotite and the others would realize that a rant they heard three years ago from a delusional man was related to a current crime. And even if they did figure it out, Gephardt planned to confess anyway, so the truth would come out regardless.

Murdering those people was not only pointless, but made things more difficult for Gephardt. It drew the attention of Kitty, Sherlock, and law enforcement and triggered their investigation into him. If the police had arrested Gephardt before he received the Fidel Files or was able to post them, his plot would have failed. Why would a man as careful as Gephardt take an unnecessary risk like that? It simply doesn’t make sense. And considering Kotite and Durning’s murders was what kicked off this entire story, that’s disappointing.

Bell is that guy who hovers over the play button while watching a video

But anyway. The stress of trying to keep up with Gephardt at last prods Kitty into confronting Sherlock about his behavior to her. She angrily criticizes him for how cold he’s been to her since she told him about her baby, and accuses him of being angry with her because she’s quitting detective work. If being a detective is requisite to being Sherlock’s friend, then they’re over.

Sherlock counters that he isn’t angry with her for quitting; he’s angry because when she fled the country two years ago, she never contacted him again, not to let her know that she was okay…and not to let her know that she had a baby. He’s happy that she’s happy, but he had thought their friendship meant more than that.

I have to say, I felt pretty vindicated by this part, as I was also frustrated by the fact that Kitty just completely vanished after she left, with barely any mention of her ever again. But I have a ton of thoughts about how Kitty and Sherlock’s relationship was represented in this episode, so I’m going to save it for the end so as to not clutter things up.

Sherlock thinks that the only way to ease the nation’s rising paranoia about the supposed proof of Iranian nuclear weapons is to get Gephardt to confess to faking the video. But before he can get to Gephardt himself, governmental forces find and take him down. Sherlock’s chances seem lost, until Sherlock realizes that Gephardt’s home has all the proof he needs that the video was faked. He assembles his proof and passes it on to various governmental sources. And that, rather underwhelmingly, is how the Gephardt plot is wrapped up. It’s just…suddenly over.

The episode itself wraps up with Kitty asking Sherlock to come meet her in front of a church. She explains to him that when she returned to London, she expected to have a hard time alone and to need to dive in her work, only to discover that she felt fine and happy. The word she uses is “fixed.” She realized she didn’t need detective work anymore, and had been thinking of quitting even before her pregnancy. But knowing that Sherlock did not feel “fixed,” she didn’t feel comfortable contacting him and just kept putting it off. She admits that if it wasn’t for the Kotite case, she might have never contacted him again. But she knows he deserves better than that, and she promises to not do that again. To cement her promise, she invites Sherlock and Joan to Archie’s christening as his godfather, and promises that from now they are family.

This was a feel good ending, and it was definitely cute to see how surprised and happy Sherlock was, but overall, I don’t feel good about this ending or this episode.

First of all, the whole thing felt really rushed. I suspect that the writers had Kitty’s actor, Ophelia Lovibond (what a great name), available for only a few episodes and wanted to give her a satisfactory goodbye in this limited space. That’s an admirable goal, particularly because I was dissatisfied with how she was written off before, but I just don’t think two episodes was ever going to be enough. I mean, as I’m sure I’ve made clear, I love Kitty Winter, so I was probably never going to be totally happy anyway. But I just don’t think they could ever wrap up the complex feelings that Kitty and Sherlock’s relationship encoded in just two episodes. How do you explain why Kitty vanished for two years, prove that she’s happy now, give a believable reason for why she won’t be back permanently, deal with how Sherlock would feel about that, and provide an emotional conclusion to a powerful friendship, in just two episodes?

And they didn’t help themselves by coming up with such an over the top murder/conspiracy plot to go with it. Again, I think they were being ambitious with this plot, and ambition is to be applauded. But maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to put the super complicated plot in the same episodes as the super complicated friendship. Both stories ended up being rushed and full of holes, which is the inevitable result of trying to shove so much into less than two hours of television.

As well as being rushed, I’m also pretty uncomfortable with the way that Kitty and Sherlock’s relationship was treated. For me, Sherlock and Kitty’s relationship has always been highly symbolic. In season one and two, Sherlock still essentially considers himself as a one man island who does not need or want connections with other people. His partnership with Joan begins to break down this perception of himself, but to me, it was his friendship with Kitty that really proved to him that a) he is capable of connecting with people, and b) these connections actually are something he wants. Kitty is the person that proved Sherlock was capable of loving more people than Moriarty and Joan. That’s a big deal. How can a five minute conversation at the end of an episode possibly encapsulate all of that emotion? And to suggest that it can is a disservice to the significance of their relationship, even if you do say some sappy stuff about how their really family.

Even worse, I was really uncomfortable with the simplistic way that they talked about Kitty’s mental state. “Recovery” is such a complex idea. It’s an admirable goal, and there’s nothing wrong with striving to attain it. At the same time, it’s not possible for everyone, and that’s okay too. Elementary usually takes the stance that Sherlock probably will not ever attain a point of “recovery.” He will always be a recovering drug addict, and he’ll probably always be depressed. Normally, I really appreciate that. The idea that “recovery” is the be all end all goal of mental illness is a concept that can be used to harm mentally ill people and even suggest that their lives aren’t meaningful or worthwhile unless they can attain that. Seeing a flawed but ultimately admirable individual like Sherlock simply live with his mental illness is a wonderful thing.

They didn’t give Kitty the same kind of complexity when it came to this big question. Was that really an accurate representation of how recovery from trauma works? From Kitty’s description, she was just okay one day. Does that really happen? I felt that in order to reassure the watcher that Kitty was leaving the show happy, they just erased her emotional struggles and told you she’s all better now, and that rubs me wrong.

Even if the portrayal of her recovery is accurate, the language that they used was so simplistic that it made me really uncomfortable. Let me say again that they literally used the word “fixed.” “Recovery” is one thing. “Fixed” is something else, particularly since the opposite of fixed is “broken.” People who don’t or can’t obtain a state in which they feel they are now okay or recovered are not broken and it is hurtful to suggest otherwise.

To be fair, Sherlock does conceive of himself as being broken. He has said as much. And I know that many mentally ill people (including me!) feel that way at times. But it’s one thing to feel that way about yourself, and another thing for someone else – for one of your closest friends! – to indicate that she thinks of you as being broken too. I know that Kitty and the writers meant well, but I felt like the potential to interpret her words in a hurtful way is too high. And even if you didn’t take it that way, it’s still a really shallow explanation of Kitty’s behavior. It’s an injustice to Kitty and to trauma survivors, and it’s disappointing to see in a show that usually tries to portray mental illness in a nuanced way.  

Overall, my conclusion to this episode is something I have heard said on many a cooking competition show: the ideas were good, but the execution needed work. The conspiracy was a cool idea but it was too complicated and rushed, and that lead to plot holes. A proper farewell to Kitty is a lovely thought, but in order to wrap up a highly complex relationship and character in one episode, they ended up simplifying Kitty and Sherlock’s feelings in a disappointing way.


Images courtesy of CBS

Veronica is a recent English graduate who likes to spend her time reading way too deeply into science fiction, murder mysteries, and children's cartoons.

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Black Lightning Episode 1-5 In Review

Shahar

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

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

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

Consequences and Bad Guys

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

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

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

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

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

Ladies Loving Ladies

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

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

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

Pierce Family Passion

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

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

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

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

Grandpa Gambi

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

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

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

Political Statements

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

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

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

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

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

Book of Black Lightning

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

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

Last Thoughts

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

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


Image courtesy of The CW

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

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

Ronnie, never able to escape this corner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

HERE FOR IT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I-miss-my-dog face.

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


Images from The Chi Courtesy of Showtime

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Legends of Tomorrow Gets Stuck in a Time Loop

Matthew

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legends

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Images Courtesy of The CW.

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