Supergirl Review Season 3, Episode 7 “Darkest Place”
Elizabeth and Gretchen are back for more Supergirl! Unfortunately, “The Darkest Place” had nothing to do with Thanksgiving dinner and Alex needing to drink lots of wine, though perhaps this is a blessing in disguise considering the grim episode title. We will have to push off the traditional awkward Danvers family Thanksgiving conversation until next week, which is also the start of the week-long crossover. It’s going to be a busy time for us.
Until then, we have another packed episode tonight with tons of great reveals and superb emotional beats. Tonight’s review also might be a bit rougher around the edges, as Gretchen is getting up early tomorrow morning to go to Disneyland (feel free to proclaim your jealousy, or boo her, whichever). Shall we begin?
We open with Hank(?) beating up Kara. Cut to 24 hours earlier: James, Winn, Kara, and Alex are in the bar watching news about the Guardian. Winn and James defend The Guardian from Kara’s and Alex’s skepticism. Maggie shows up to ask Alex about her keeping her distance. Mon El tries to break out of Cadmus but runs into who he thinks is J’onn/Hank. M’gann visits J’onn at the DEO, makes him some Martian comfort drink, and J’onn sees a vision of his family.
At CatCo, James sees video footage that seems to show The Guardian killing a suspect and Snapper calls him on having a bias for superheroes. Winn confronts James, who is determined to catch the guy who gave him a bad name. Kara talks with J’onn about him seeing visions of his family and letting M’gann be a part of his life without losing them. James confronts the other vigilante but Maggie shows up to arrest him.
Momma Luthor contacts Supergirl to tell her they have Mon El; when she arrives, she meets Real!Hank who Cadmus has been keeping alive to work for them as Cyborg Superman (CALLED IT). Terrible liar that he is, Winn is unable to keep the truth of James being The Guardian from Alex. Alex stands up for herself to Maggie about her feelings for her, and Maggie shutting her down. Oh and she tells Maggie to leave Guardian alone. J’onn almost shoots someone from the DEO that he hallucinates is a White Martian. Lillian Luthor, the head of Cadmus, threatens to kill Mon El with his lead allergy if Kara doesn’t ‘solar flare’ and make herself human for a while.
Cadmus goons drag a weakened Kara and strap her to a chair for Lillian to draw her blood. Winn figures out that the vigilante is killing criminals who get off on technicalities. Alex figures out what’s up with J’onn’s visions: M’gann’s blood. J’onn confronts M’gann about her being a White Martian, and she reveals she was the guard (saw that one too) and that she tried to release the Green Martians. Kara and Mon El bond in the Cadmus prisons. Just as Mon El is about to reveal
that he was really the Daxamite prince a secret, a hooded figure comes to free them: JEREMIAH DANVERS.
Jeremiah digs the bullet out of Mon El and lets Kara and Mon El escape (the feels, omg). J’onn attacks M’gann, intent on avenging his family by killing her. James defeats the vigilante and, true to Kara, tries to talk him down first. Maggie and Alex show up in time to capture the vigilante and let The Guardian get away. Kara tells Alex Jeremiah helped her escape and Alex goes to Cadmus only to find the warehouse empty. M’gann tells J’onn that her blood is turning him into a White Martian.
After all that, it’s pizza and potsticker time! Mon El all but admits he likes Kara to Winn and James. Maggie asks Alex to let her back in as a friend because she doesn’t care about many people, but she cares about Alex. Cyborg Superman goes to the Fortress of Solitude and asks Kalex about “Project Medusa” (which just so happens to be the name of next week’s episode).
Best Quote: “When I got to Earth I saw my parents everywhere. I was in my room one night and I remember looking up at the stars and feeling so alone. I started to cry. Eliza came in my room and I yelled at her to get out…Eliza refused to leave. She said my parents would want me to be loved. That nothing would replace them, that they were a part of who I am. That was the first time I let her really hug me, and that was the first time I didn’t feel alone anymore. Having M’gann in your life doesn’t mean losing your family, it means feeling whole again.”—Kara Danvers
Thoughts & Feelings
We’re happy to report that for now, last week’s pacing concerns were a one-off slip up. Unfortunately, the Guardian continues to be unimpressive. Can Winn and James get caught already? We’re over this plot. As much as we were looking forward to James as a superhero when the season started, we’re less than enthused with how that has come together. We’re tired of James’s self-righteous hypocrisy. Tonight, we got humble bragging and defensiveness to go along with it, and it’s exhausting. Just tell Kara already, bicker about being safe or whatever, then eventually Kara can call him on the toxic masculinity bullshit James has bought into.
Aside from the hypocrisy of James lying to Kara about something he actively tried to out her for (being a superhero) in a way that could have endangered her, his fixation with his ego and ‘proving himself’ strong enough as a superhero bothers us the most. Because James is the head of CatCo, a media empire. He could be using that position to fight against Cadmus, to advocate for alien rights and amnesty, to ask tough questions about why Cadmus goons were using high powered alien tech to rob humans. Instead, he’s running around punching people. He’s even using CatCo resources to plug himself, and CatCo time to focus on being a superhero instead of being the most influential black man in National City.
We can sort of understand what the purpose of the Guardian storyline is; James is walled off from the rest of the Super Friends over at CatCo, and making him a superhero helps connect him back to the core group. Unfortunately, this thread is really thin, and not particularly well-woven. James is starting to remind us a lot of the current Batman, and coming from us this is absolutely not a compliment. Not satisfied with the very real power he has through his job, power that could be used for the public good in ways that don’t involve violence, he instead misuses company resources and exploits/borderline blackmails his closest friend into helping him with his part-time vigilante hobby. This might work had he just been honest with the entire group of Super Friends about what he’s doing and why he’s doing it, but instead he chooses to go all Batman (for lack of a better term) about it.
There had better be a hail mary pass of a character redemption coming up within the next few episodes, because we’re starting to actively root for James to get written off the show. If they aren’t going to use his character in a meaningful way, or stop trying to turn him into Batman, then maybe it’s time to just admit that his character needs to leave. We don’t want to lose him, as an actor or as a character, but the show isn’t giving us a lot to like this season other than his kickass costume.
Mon El had a decent arc this episode, despite the fact that he continues to not grieve the destruction of his entire planet and culture other than to express mild survivor’s guilt. Anyway. He’s totally the Prince of Daxam. That’s what he was going to reveal to Kara, right? What else could it be? Honestly, it explains a lot about him: his lack of physical fighting ability, his privilege, his frat boy mentality, his defensiveness when Kara called the Prince of Daxam the “biggest frat boy in the galaxy.”
The only thing that irked us was the icky patriarchal undertones to his conversation with Winn and James at the end of the episode. We think they were going for romantic and adorable, but the whole “latched” thing felt like he was trying to stake a possessive claim over Kara. We did enjoy her delightful obliviousness to the whole thing. Is the fact that he was talking with Winn and James, two other members of the no-longer-Kara’s-love-interest club, significant? They should start a support group.
Now, it’s not that Mon El can’t necessarily be pushed in a good direction, and we begrudgingly admit that he actually might have a stronger position in the plot than James at the moment. But we need a bit… more from him. Both from the actor and the character.
When Kara is first thrown in the prison cell next to his at Cadmus, his affect and vocal inflection was really… flat? He certainly didn’t feel convincingly concerned or even necessarily aware of the danger they’re in. We actually briefly suspected he had been pod-personed or was a cyborg copy, because nothing about his reactions seemed on point until Momma Luther showed up and shot him in the leg. We get that ‘flippantly dismissive’ and ‘too cool for school’ is his thing, but we are far overdue for him to start outgrowing this as a character.
Hopefully the events of this episode were a big push in the right direction, even if that direction involves being soundly rejected by Kara during what is sure to be an epically cringeworthy confession of his feelings for her. As we’ve said before, it’s not that it can’t work. But as it stands, it’s not enough. And we’re not just saying that as Supercorp trash. We will fully admit to a bias, but we are open minded.
On a more positive note, let’s talk about the courage we got from the ladies tonight. Alex confronting Maggie took a lot of guts. She totally needed to get that off of her chest, we get it. With how the show has so excellently scripted Alex’s story thus far, we can see where Alex is coming from. She has, from her point of view, done everything that Maggie asked of her. It was all for her own personal benefit, of course, not just to ‘get the girl’, but you can understand Alex’s frustration. She only came to understand herself as a wlw because of Maggie. Not just because Maggie asked hard questions, but because Alex had feelings for Maggie that Maggie called her on and then helped her name.
It’s an experience that many women who come out as queer later in life understand, because frequently at an older age, the exploration of sexuality is directly related to feelings for a particular individual rather than as a category.
“Ultimately, I was proud to come out because it wasn’t just some concept, it was about my feelings for this amazing woman.”—Alex Danvers
On the other hand, it’s a lot of pressure to be putting on Maggie. It is unreasonable for Alex to put pressure on Maggie to date her just because Alex has feelings for her and was the reason Alex was able to understand herself as a wlw. Maggie is the object of Alex’s affection, but she’s not obligated to reciprocate or bear the burden of Alex’s coming out.
And then, THEN, after all that Maggie is willing to ask Alex to let her back into her life because she cares that much about her?
“I don’t meet many people that I care about, and I care about you…a lot.”—Maggie Sawyer
Probably the best part about this slow burn relationship is, as we touched on previously, that all of the foundation work is being shown on screen as opposed to existing solely in fanfiction. We are thrilled once again with the realism of the writing, especially the fights between Maggie and Alex. We are relieved that the fight didn’t resolve itself by them getting together, because it is way too soon and not nearly enough angst has been poured onto the eager audience.
In all seriousness, this is just further evidence that the writers took the scripting of this relationship very seriously, and they’re giving it Main Ship treatment with a fully developed relationship arc. Maggie and Alex started as friends, but they need to come back to being friends before any further relationship milestones can be reached. This also will hopefully mean that we’ll get some more development for Maggie as a character separate from Alex. We don’t necessarily need an entire flashback episode, but some further delving into Maggie’s life outside of work or her past will just be another solid layer of foundation to build this relationship off of.
In short, we like what they’ve done so far, so of course we are dying for more.
And M’gann, our precious cinnamon roll White Martian M’gann. Her conflicted relationship with J’onn continues to be our favorite side story this season (to the point where we wish we had less Mon El and James/Winn, but alas). Even in just the snippets we’ve gotten, her journey from diffidence to openness has been heartbreaking. She’s trying to break the cycle of violence and hatred in a hostile environment. She’s gone from fighting for her life to refusing to fight. She’s yearning for real connection with J’onn, and she represents a chance for hope and happiness for both of them.
Her arc tonight took courage. Confessing who she really is, revealing her White Martian form though it might have meant her death? She’s probably never shown her White Martian form to anyone since she came to Earth, and to show it to the one person whose opinion and acceptance matters most to her shows tremendous vulnerability. She’s moved beyond the stiff aloofness we first saw in her to a yearning for acceptance and love. She’s willing to be vulnerable with J’onn, even if it means he could hurt her (quite literally).
She let J’onn take his anger and grief out on her believing she deserves it for being a White Martian and only asking that he kill her in her human form. And that says everything about her; she’d rather die as a human, her ‘true’ form to her now rather than as a White Martian. We have only love for M’gann.
“This is who I want to be.”—M’gann M’orzz, choosing to die in her human form
And for J’onn, he overcame huge hurdles in not killing her, even if he’s still bitter and filled with hatred. We have no idea what will happen to him next, but our cinnamon roll space dad is breaking our hearts with his journey this season. Seriously, just think for a moment the amount of control it takes to not kill a member of the race that killed your entire family, one that you trusted and believed not just a friend, but a member of your own race. He might not be able to admit it yet, but he’s connected with M’gann despite her being a White Martian. His arc of overcoming his hatred fits nicely within this season’s theme of overcoming prejudice against aliens. It kicks you in the face, but in a good way.
On a completely different note, can we talk about how many people are lying to Kara this season? Her two best male friends have been lying about being superheroes. Her new friend/mentee Mon El has been lying about something. We don’t know yet if Lena has been lying about being involved with her mother in Cadmus (as we don’t know how far that connection goes). M’gann has been lying about being a White Martian. Even Alex isn’t being entirely honest with Kara right now, as she withholds the information about James being the Guardian. We appreciate her being the bigger person and the “I’m sure he will reveal himself soon” was a none too gentle shove in the right direction, but still. Kara was honest about Jeremiah even though she thought Alex would be furious with her for not getting him out. The least Alex can do is be honest about The Guardian.
Actually, on second thought, can we have a pointed conversation where Alex confronts James about how she was willing to keep his secret because it wasn’t hers to tell when he point blank asked Kara to out her to Lucy, even though it might put Kara’s life in danger? Please. Someone needs to confront James on his hypocrisy this season and Alex is primed and ready for it.
Finally, we have to point out that the emotional beats this episode were sharp and visceral. Kara’s immediate concern for Lena when she discovers her mother is the head of Cadmus, because if anyone understands having zealots for family members, it’s our girl Kara. Her concern for Alex upon seeing Jeremiah and what his not coming with them would do to her. The moment where Alex’s face dissolved when Kara told her she’d seen Jeremiah and knew where he was. Then her frustration when they were gone. The bereft look on Maggie’s face after Alex word vomited all over her.
Maggie’s guts in going back to talk to Alex. Alex’s grudging willingness to try. Ugh. This slow burn angst hurts so good. We love it. Give us more.
- Too much spinny camera work in the bar. Stop please. We’re going to vomit. And then the shaky cam. For those of us with visual input sensitivities, it’s really hard to watch.
- Kara made fun of Batman. We’re living. (“My cousin worked with a vigilante once. Lots of gadgets, tons of demons.”)
- “What’s the word for a male floozy?” “A Daxamite” HA!
- We like how Cadmus is drawing on the Greek mythos, very apropos for a Supervillain team.
- David Harewood is such a good actor. He plays Real!Hank, J’onn as Hank, and J’onn as J’onn as three distinct characters. Impressive.
- “Who are you to my daughter?” = All the Supercorp feels.
- Nice that Mon El remembered to call Kara “Supergirl” while in Cadmus instead of Kara.
- The lead allergy is a nice touch from the comics. We wonder if the rest of Mon El’s arc this season will play out similarly to the comics as well. If so, he could end up in the Phantom Zone dying from lead poisoning, perhaps to save Kara somehow?
- Alex threatening Winn with her index finger was…kind of hot (maybe more than kind of).
- We really love the diversity in locations that filming in Vancouver has opened up this season. We didn’t realize how claustrophobic the end of S1 felt until we got so many more locations.
- How does Maggie know where Kara lives?
- Someone get a blanket fort for Maggie and Kara to snuggle in. They’ve been through a lot.
- Everyone needs a hug.
The reveals tonight were excellent. Real!Hank back and living as Cyborg Superman? We may have called it but it was still excellently done. Then they topped it with Jeremiah Danvers and gave us all the feels. It’s too much to hope for a Danvers family reunion for Thanksgiving, but girls can dream, right?
If the article seems a bit thin this week, it’s not just because of Gretchen’s Disneyland trip. It’s that the show is consistently good, and this episode is consistently up to the level of quality we expect from Supergirl. It makes us feel like the most useless critics in the world to just say, “okay yes, just give us more”, but that’s sort of what it’s coming down to.
We try to avoid repeating ourselves too much, and a lot of the content in this episode has us doubling down on our opinions from the past few weeks, especially for Alex and Maggie, and for the Guardian plot. We’re certain we’ll have a lot more to say about the Danvers Thanksgiving
Disaster Dinner next week. Don’t take the shortened article length for a sign of indifference: we still love this show. But this episode felt a bit like the first climb up a hill of a roller coaster, and the crossover event will be the huge drop after the peak. We’re so ready for it.
And we have so many questions. Is Jeremiah human? Why is he cooperating with Cadmus? Is he working for them? Is he spying? Can J’onn be cured? Will the last Green Martian become a White Martian? What is J’onn going to do when he finds out Real!Hank is alive and hurting Kara? What is Medusa? Why was Real!Hank so willing to squander Kara’s blood by pouring it all over the floor when Cadmus could use it to develop a super serum or something? Will Mon El awkwardly try to propose to Kara in the middle of next week’s annual awkward Danvers family Thanksgiving?
Inquiring minds need to know.
Anyways, to all our American readers, Happy Thanksgiving! To all our international readers, Happy fourth week of November! See you next week!
Images courtesy of CW
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Should Let Rosa Date Gina
Google most non-canon LGBT ships, and you get results for various fanfiction sites, maybe an article or two about why they should be canon, why the show is clearly missing the opportunity of a lifetime. Google Rosa/Gina—dubbed Dianetti—and you get tweets from the two actresses involved.
Finally the truth is out
— Stephanie Beatriz (@iamstephbeatz) September 4, 2017
Though media has made huge strides in the past decade or so with LGBT relationships, there is still a lot to be done. Queerbaiting remains common, as does the bury your gays trope. Relationships—especially wlw ones—are still seen as less valid, less possible, than their straight counterparts; this is in part due to many writers, actors, and showrunners continuing to tease of F/F relationships. By creating a dynamic where two women are clearly not just friends (and, of course, never making that dynamic explicitly romantic either), they get the best of both worlds: LGBT viewers who crave representation with none of the potential backlash for so-called political correctness.
The Beauty of B99
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, however, has never fallen into that trap. Holt and Kevin may be the subject of many jokes, but they are never the butt of any. Similarly, topics like racial profiling and police corruption are taken seriously. It is a comedy show, but it is also a show that recognizes the power of its platform. Where another show would tease these topics and turn them into a punchline, Brooklyn Nine-Nine turns them into a discussion.
So, of every show on television, I know that Brooklyn Nine-Nine would treat Rosa and Gina well. That is an important part of the discussion that is oft forgotten: representation does not end when it begins. Instead, it is an ongoing process, most successful when the writers and showrunners make continued efforts to deepen and better their characters and relationships. When we ask for representation, we are asking for a commitment: at the very minimum, do not kill them. Because that is still often too much to ask, we never get to the next step: do not cheapen them, do not forget them. Do not let them be a checked box on a list of things a show needs to have.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine has proven they can do it. So why don’t they?
The Case For Dianetti
Over the past four seasons, we have seen Gina and Rosa flit in and out of various relationships. All the while, however, they have been there for each other.
Rosa is closed-off, awkward whenever the slightest hint of emotions are involved; Gina, on the other hand, is as open a book as she could possibly be. In the same way that Jake and Amy build on each other and make each other grow, Rosa and Gina could do the same.
In the past, the show has paired Rosa with men who are too different or too similar. Marcus was very openly emotional, and while the importance of having such a character cannot be understated, he was not right for Rosa. Adrien, then, had the opposite problem: he and Rosa never truly get to know each other during their relationship because both were content being unattached in that way.
Enter Gina. She is the perfect option, the perfect mix of emotional and independent; she is the one who can make Rosa consistently smile, the one who isn’t semi-scared of her at all times.
There are not many women on television that are like Rosa, and to give her a chance to find true, lasting love would be very valuable to many viewers. Having her and Gina both go through several unsuccessful relationships is good—it’s realistic and done well. But just as Jake and Amy found each other, just as Kevin and Holt found each other, I would like to see Rosa and Gina do the same.
In a world where F/F ships are punchlines to jokes that weren’t funny the first time, it is a rare and very special thing to see such an opportunity supported by both actresses involved. We have the support, and we have the chance; all that remains is for Brooklyn Nine-Nine to take the leap.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine consistently surprises me with the topics they are willing to tackle and the grace with which they do so. So, as it returns this month for its fifth season, I hope that they will tackle Rosa/Gina next.
Images courtesy of Fox
The Neighbors from Hell
This week’s episode of American Horror Story: Cult opens with a blonde woman, Rosie, speaking with Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) about how thanks to him she’s overcome her fear of being trapped in dark places. (Sidebar: why is Ally the only important woman without white/blonde hair in this show?) When Rosie and her husband Mark, return home, however, they are accosted by clowns and nailed into coffins. Rosie’s worst nightmare that she admitted to Dr. Vincent. It makes you wonder if the Doctor is part of the cult. Hmm…
Switching up the timeline of things (again), we return to where we left off after last week’s episode; the Mayfair-Richards household following Ally’s (Sarah Paulson) gun play. Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes) assures Ally that he doesn’t think charges will be pressed because the murder of Pedro was in self defense. Though Ivy (Allison Pill) knows it was accidental and not self defense, she agrees with the Detective and the power finally returns.
The next day, protestors gather outside the Butchery on Main, branding Ally as the “lesbian George Zimmerman,” and the news is there to broadcast the protest. Unable to show her face, Ally is forced to stay in the car while Ivy goes to work. Before Ally can go home, however, she is confronted by Kai (Evan Peters) who calls her brave. He tells her to never apologize and that he’ll take care of the mob for her. When Ally does arrive home, she receives a very different greeting from Meadow (Leslie Grossman) and Harrison (Billy Eichner). The couple, dressed in sombreros, condemn the accidental murder and accuse her of being a racist.
Ally and Ivy are unable to avoid the news of the protestors on television. The news finally moves on to announce the deaths of Rosie and Mark, who were found in coffins in their home with a smiley face symbol painted above them. The same symbol that was found on the Changs’s house.
Things turn to the strange (or stranger, anyway), the next day when Ivy and Ally find dozens of dead crows in their yard. It gets stranger yet when Winter accidentally lets an unknown man into the house. The man was responding to an ad on Craigslist that listed lesbians looking for pleasure from a man.
During a phone session, Dr. Vincent talks to Ally about the Craigslist ad. It’s in this scene that we get our first election reference of the episode, a record few this time. Dr. Vincent suggests Ally file a police report then asks for an emergency meeting to talk about an inpatient facility. Ally (obviously) disagrees with the doctor’s assessment and ends the call. When she reaches town, protestors accost her car, but with a single word Kai is able to get them to leave.
Returning home, Ally and Ivy find Oz and Winter playing with a guinea pig with a cisnormative name. They learn that the animal was a gift from Meadow. When Ally tells him that he cannot keep the pet, Oz lashes out and says that he wishes Ally wasn’t around. Ally then calls Harrison who is sitting with Meadow and Detective Samuels. Harrison states that he likes Oz but not Ally, and that Oz needs testosterone in the house. Angry, when Ally sees a truck spraying green mist, she chases the truck down to no avail.
Elsewhere, Meadow and Kai play the pinky game. When asked for her greatest fears, Meadow offers a superficial fear that Kai slaps her for. This is a revolution and he doesn’t want his time wasted. Kai calls her out as being afraid of never really being loved.
In a rare moment of levity and normalcy, the Mayfair-Richards family having a nice family dinner at the Butchery on Main. Oz apologizes for lashing out at Ally, and she decides to let Oz keep Mr. Guinea. When they arrive home, however, what was a good night takes a turn. smiley face is painted on the door, and Mr. Guinea blows up in the microwave.
Ally crosses the street and enters the neighbors house where she assaults Harrison. She accuses the couple of being responsible for all the wrong that has been done to them, but Meadow is genuinely scared when she hears about the smiley face. Ally escalates matters and threatens to kill them before leaving. Ivy finally reaches her breaking point with Ally, calling her out on her absurd reactions, when Oz points out that the same smiley face is on the side of the Wilton’s house. Instead of warning the couple, however, Ivy and Oz return home. Ally follows behind, only to find mysterious people spraying a green substance on her lawn. When she tries to reveal their faces, she finds smiley faces in the place of where real faces should be.
Meadow is not the only Wilton to play the pinky game with Kai. This time, Harrison plays, and does a better job telling the truth to Kai than his wife. He admits that he wishes Meadow were dead.
When Detective Samuels calls on the Mayfair-Richards home, Ally talks to him with crazy eyes about her conspiracy theory. She’s finally the one that seems to be making some sense and no one is listening. It makes her look even crazier to have make-up smeared down her face.
The conversation is halted by Oz’s scream. His mothers immediately head upstairs to find him closing his laptop. He admits that he got past Ivy’s parental controls as he saw her type in the password once, “Clownz”. Sorry Ivy, but you’re starting to look pretty suspicious here. Ivy and Ally finally convince Oz to reveal what’s on the computer. It is a video of Ally in the bath getting fingered by Winter. Whomp, there it is.
Ivy wastes no time retaliating once they bring their conversation to the hallway and punches Ally in the face. She starts yelling about Ally breaking their family, while Ally seems hung up on the fact that someone planted a camera in their bathroom. Both valid points.
Not willing to stay in the same house as her cheating wife, Ivy prepares Oz to leave with her. Just as they are about to leave, however, police arrive across the street. They exit the house to find Harrison is freaking out and upon seeing her, accuses Ally of murdering Meadow. He woke up covered in Meadow’s blood, Meadow nowhere to be found. While the adults were arguing, Oz returns to the house. His mothers run after him to find him staring at the walls. Walls that are now covered in blood with a bloody smiley symbol on the living room wall.
At this point, it seems as if the cult behind all the murders and strange happenings in this small Michigan town is larger than expected. In fact, it seems almost as if Ally and Oz are the only ones that aren’t part of the cult. With Meadow and Harrison both deferring to Kai, it appears that the blue-haired man might be one of the ring leaders. But then again, there’s also Dr. Vincent and Ivy to think about. Where do they fit? Are they secretly behind it all? And if Ivy is involved, what is it about Ally that makes her want to torture her so much?
With more questions raised in this episode, such as the questionable green substance, it’s easy to wonder where this cult is going, but perhaps the biggest question is; do we really care?
Images courtesy of FX
Outlander Slows Things Down for Episode 2
This week’s Outlander was much slower than last week’s, returning to the steady pace they set in the first few episodes of both seasons 1 and 2. Unlike other shows that use this tactic (*cough* The Walking Dead *cough*), it works in Outlander because of how invested I am in the characters, no matter what they’re doing.
Like last week, this week’s episode divided its time between Jamie in the 18th century and Claire in the 20th. Jamie is at Lallybroch with his family, but he’s a wanted man. The redcoats frequently harass Jenny and Ian, even randomly throwing Ian in the clink in the hopes that they’ll all decide to betray Jamie’s whereabouts. Since they don’t ever really do anything to him, and he seems largely friendly with the soldiers, it’s a fairly empty threat.
Still, it’s dangerous, because in the aftermath of Culloden, being a Scot in Scotland was essentially outlawed. By that I mean clans were no longer allowed to wear their tartans, bagpipes were banned, and Scots weren’t allowed weapons (except I guess what they had to have to have hunt, like a bow and arrow or a knife).
Jamie has gone full-on wild man of the woods, complete with giant beard and long hair. He doesn’t really speak, just brings offerings of excessively large game (seriously, it was huge) and makes crazy eyes at people. Fergus, my dear son, is still in his service, and for all that it’s been 6 years, he’s not that much taller or older. It’s like the Stark kids in reverse.
While Ian’s locked up, Jenny goes into labor a bit early, and her sons Robbie and Jamie see a raven perched on the gate. They tell Fergus that a raven’s bad luck and can mean the death of the baby. The boys found a pistol hidden in the dovecot, so of course they use it to shoot the bird. Because why not!? Pistols aren’t against the law or anything.
The redcoats hear the shot because black powder guns are LOUD, and of course the tenacious captain brings some of his boys around. Unfortunately Jamie chose that moment to come a-visiting, so he’s walking around the house carrying his new nephew when the English show up.
Jamie hides and Jenny tells them the baby died, and while the commander is being semi-respectful, his corporal, a Scot named MacGregor, is a real ass. Ultimately the maid shows up with the pistol and says it was her dead husband’s, and she shot at a raven to scare it away.
The commander says to leave her, she’s no threat, and the soldiers leave. Fergus is giving them the stink eye as they go, and apparently it gives the Scottish corporal the idea to follow him, thinking he’ll lead them to Jamie. He’s wise to their bumbling, however, and he leads them away from Jamie’s cave. He taunts them as Jamie, hiding in the woods, watches in horror.
The soldiers catch Fergus and the corporal, um…chops his hand off with a sword. Which wasn’t nearly as violent and/or bloody as it could have been, thank goodness, because my poor son! As soon as they’re gone, Jamie wraps his stump and carries him back to the house.
Fergus later tells Jamie he’s lucky, because when he first hired him, Jamie swore if Fergus was hurt while in his service, Jamie would keep him for the rest of his days. “With one blow I’ve become a man of leisure,” he says with a grin.
Fergus’s maiming causes Jamie to realize that hiding out isn’t helping anyone. He tells Jenny and Ian they have to turn him in, partly to get the hefty reward money, but also so that the soldiers know once and for all that Jenny’s loyal to the Crown. She isn’t happy about it AT ALL, but she agrees. She sends her maid out to Jamie’s cave with some food, and she helps him shave the beard and cut his hair.
She also takes her dress off and offers him some old-fashioned comfort, which he reluctantly (and tearfully) accepts.
Later Jamie shows up at Lallybroch acting all “Jenny, it’s me after all this time! I certainly haven’t been hiding in a cave in the woods for the past few years! What a random happenstance!” The soldiers are there, of course, and he’s carted off while Jenny watches, crying.
Meanwhile in the future (which is our past, but not AS past as Jamie’s time), Claire is trying to be a full time mom and housewife. If y’all learned anything about Claire the last 2 seasons, you should’ve learned that that would NEVER work. It starts with her fantasizing about Jamie while Frank sleeps next to her, then the two of them having sex while she thinks about Jamie. Poor Frank.
After a dinner party one night she seduces him in front of the fire, but when she won’t open her eyes to look at him, he stops and tells her that when they’re together, he’s with her, but she’s with Jamie. She doesn’t deny it, and after that they go back to being much more distant.
Later Claire enrolls in medical school, and all the little white boys in her class are Shook. But they’re even MORE shook when a Black man walks in. He sits next to Claire and introduces himself to her, and in that moment a beautiful friendship was born.
The episode ends with Claire and Frank crawling into bed to say goodnight. Claire turns off the light and lies down to sleep, and as the camera pulls back we see they’re now sleeping in twin beds. I guess their pretense of returning to their marriage has ended, and they’re staying together mostly for Bree’s sake.
Like I said, this was kind of a slow episode. Not a lot happened, really. It was mostly about Jamie and Claire trying to adjust to their new lives without each other. Jamie is essentially dead inside, a shell of himself, while Claire has Bree to think of.
They both tread water for a time, but eventually realize they have to figure out some way to keep going. Jamie turns himself in to the English because he knows he’s hurting his family and putting them at risk by being a fugitive. Even if they never find him hiding out on Fraser land, they’ll always suspect Jenny and Ian are sheltering him, and one day they may not be so congenial when they cart Ian off to jail.
If I have a criticism of the episode, it’s that Fergus losing his hand—a moment that shocked Jamie back to life, so to speak—lacked some of the punch it was clearly meant to have. Maybe I was just really tired, but my reaction was kinda like, “Oh no my son! Welp. Sucks for him.” I don’t know what they could’ve done differently with it. I certainly didn’t need it to be gorier. I guess it just seemed sort of…sudden? And possibly after Jack Randall’s antics, any old dastardly redcoat just doesn’t really compare. The whole thing was a little rushed in an episode that otherwise took its time.
I’m gonna admit it, y’all: I hate seeing Jamie with another woman! I can deal with Claire with Frank, but Jamie with the serving lady (who was very nice and very brave) had me seeing red. Like, duh he believes Claire’s gone forever, and it’s not like I’m mad at Jamie for seeking comfort with someone else—he needs to move on and get out of his emo phase. But STILL! Logic be damned!!!
I honestly love this show and these characters, so I really could watch them stare at their shoes for an hour, but having said that—I hope next week picks up the pace just a li’l bit. Just a smidge. Especially on Claire’s side, because while yeah I love seeing her make That Face She Makes when men are sexist jerks, I want her to have something more to do than miss Jamie. Medical school and her career should definitely help that issue.
All in all, this was a solid filler episode, and I was glad to see Jenny and my (now one-handed) son Fergus again. Next week we’ll re-meet Sir John Grey, so that should be interesting. Also I wanna see more baby Bree because that is a super cute baby. Like, wow.
Episode Grade: B. It wasn’t as good as last week, but it’s a great show, so it earns some generosity from me. Also all the emotional notes were spot-on.