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Medusa Serves Up Sanvers and Lena Luthor

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Supergirl Season 2 Reviews: Episode 8, “Medusa”

Finally. It’s here. “Medusa”, the Thanksgiving episode of Danvers’ family awkwardness in all its glory. Gretchen and Elizabeth have been waiting for this episode ever since clips of dinner came up, and we weren’t disappointed. James attempts to play on Kara’s kindness regarding keeping The Guardian secret, Mon El awkwardly tries to win over Eliza and hit on Kara, and Alex tipsily interrupts them all to come out but is interrupted. Poor Winn, he’s a champ for going not once, but twice. Will he have the courage to come back next year to the annual Danvers Family Thanksgiving Disaster Dinner? We can only hope.

And if that weren’t enough, the universe decided to send all wlw and Supergirl fans a neatly wrapped package of delightfulness, kick ass storytelling, and lady loving. With The Guardian subplot neatly shelved, we got more time to focus on J’onn’s illness, Kara’s continuing struggle with her parents’ mixed legacy, Sanvers, and Lena Luthor being awesome. What more could we ask for?

Quick Recap

Mon El brought literal stuffing to Thanksgiving. What a dork.

Mon El brought literal stuffing to Thanksgiving. What a dork.

Thanksgiving begins with Kara zapping the turkey while Winn and James argue about who ought to tell Kara about The Guardian. Alex warns them off, planning on coming out instead of them stealing the moment (she’s kind of tipsy at this point); Kara misinterprets Mon El’s intent to charm her mom with him hitting on Eliza (ewwwww). Kara’s not going for this “Mon El likes her” thing. The ‘thankfulness portion’ is as awkward as we could hope for but is interrupted by a rip in the space time continuum.

Kara plans to ‘sneakily’ interview Lena about Cadmus and Lillian. Lena opens up about how she is Asami Sato always falls short of her mother’s expectations. Mon El runs into Cyborg Superman at the bar as he is planting a bomb with an aerosolized virus to kill the aliens. Alex urges them to bring in Eliza to help determine how Cadmus was able to target only alien physiology. Lena proves she’s not working with her mother by asking her what she’s up to and threatening warning her about Kara sniffing around. Kara asks Mon El if he is interested in her (love the awkward, just not the ship), but he collapses due to the virus before they can finish the conversation. Eliza explains the virus is from Krypton, and Kara realizes they hacked into the Fortress of Solitude. At the Fortress Kara learns that her father created the virus to protect Krypton from potential invaders. Meanwhile, Eliza is super supportive of Alex being gay (excuse us while we go ugly cry in the corner for a while).

We're so glad he's okay. Now let's have a heart to heart with M'gann.

We’re so glad he’s okay. Now give him a heart to heart with M’gann.

Kara talks with J’onn about her struggles with her parents legacy and he exposes that M’gann’s blood has poisoned him. She then heads over to L-Corp to prevent Cadmus from getting their hands on an isotope that would make the virus capable of wiping out every alien in National City, only to meet Cyborg Superman. Kara saves Lena from Cyborg Superman, but Maggie is wounded in his escape. Kara agrees to ask Lena for help as Supergirl. Lena flinches at the accusation that her mother is behind Cadmus and sends Kara away.

Alex sews up Maggie; they have a heart to heart. Mon El kisses Kara, and she looks… confused? Back at L-Corp, Lena gives her mother isotope 454. Kara and J’onn confront the Luthors as Lena sets off the canon to prove she’s ‘really a Luthor’. Kara chases down the rocket as J’onn morphs into a White Martian to fight Cyborg Superman. The rocket explodes raining Medusa down on National City. Psych! Lena switched out the isotopes and Medusa was inert (THAT’S OUR GIRL). Eliza synthesizes a cure as well as healing J’onn. Mon El doesn’t remember kissing Kara so she pretends it never happened. Maggie brings over pizza to Alex, confesses she likes her, and they make out (*hearteyes*). Barry and Cisco pop into Kara’s apartment to ask for her help.

Best Quote: “Keeping a secret doesn’t agree with you sweetie…Does it have anything to do with Maggie? You mention her a lot. Oh my beautiful Alexandra, why is it so hard for you to tell me?…Why would your being gay ever let me down?…Alex, look at the life our family has led. Look at me, look at your sister. I don’t think you believe I ever expected you to have a regular life. You were always going to be different Alex, because you were always exceptional, and I love you however you are.”—Eliza Danvers

Thoughts & Feelings

So that was a goddamn gift. We could start anywhere, but we’ll start with Alex coming out to Eliza, as we’ve been eagerly awaiting this conversation for weeks.

Thank god it happened in private, when Alex didn’t have to cope with everyone staring at her drunk alongside the obvious anxiety she has about disappointing Eliza. Instead, we get the intimacy of Alex’s raw honesty about her fear of letting Eliza down. Just about every wlw has this fear at some point, that their love for women will disappoint their parents. That they won’t have a ‘normal life’ like their loved one’s wanted, and have to live knowing they’ve disappointed them. Eliza’s responded perfectly. She supported Alex as a person and acknowledged her fears without making the discussion about herself. We’ve seen shows turn moments like these around into the family member’s hurt that the queer person didn’t trust them, so we appreciate that Eliza stayed focused on validating Alex’s personhood and her love for her.

Eliza’s full, enthusiastic support for Alex functions as a foil to Lillian Luthor’s broken relationship with Lena, much like it did for Cat and Katherine Grant last season. Where Eliza supports Alex no matter what, Lillian bluntly tells Lena she liked her less than Lex, then turns around and tells her to get over it because no parent loves their children equally. Um, excuse you Lillian, have you met Eliza Danvers and J’onn J’onzz? Apparently not (pun intended).

The show continues to draw parallels between Lena and Kara, with Lena’s feelings about her mother mirroring Kara’s about her own parents. As Kara herself points out, she knows what it feels like to cope with parents who let you down. Kara also has experience with a villainous family member attempting to force her into joining their ideological campaign (Astra), so she can relate on multiple levels. Someone get these two girls a coffee date so they can have a thorough heart to heart.

Lena's ice cold take down of her own mother to help Team Supergirl? That's soulmate material.

Lena’s ice cold take down of her own mother to help Team Supergirl? That’s soulmate material.

On a related note, Kara learning that her father created a weaponized virus brought us back to last season when Kara struggled with realizing her mom was more than just a hero. She’s struggling with legacy and learning that parent’s aren’t always the black/white beings we believe them to be. It’s a poignant moment because Kara hasn’t thought as much about her father’s role as a scientist on Krypton, and we get the impression that Kara was much closer to her mother and aunt than she was to her father. Facing that his legacy is as mixed as her mother’s brings out just how complicated her heritage is.

At the same time, the scene elucidates Kara’s growth as a character since last season. Rather than rage and scream, she took time to think and integrate it into her self-perception. She’s clearly distraught, but she’s better equipped to cope with the revelation after having dealt with her mother and Astra last season. And she chose to talk with J’onn instead of let it build up inside, which is another really effective coping skill. We want to hug her because of the pain, but we’re so proud of her character growth. They followed up on that with Kara having the most gut wrenching moment of fear when the rocket exploded. That split second she thought all the aliens, including Space Dad J’onn, were going to die, broke us in pieces.

But then Lena happened. God. Damn. Lena Luthor is a fucking badass. Lets sit down and talk about how perfectly Lena Luthor saved the world. First off, they doubled (tripled?) down on the Asami Sato parallels with Lena Luthor. We’d gotten that vibe before, but the initial confirmation that Lena was not currently working with her mother in her sketchy Cadmus dealings and was actively suspicious brought the point home further. The visible antagonism set us up perfectly to believe Lena would never work with her mother. They followed up with Kara being the one person to stand up for Lena in the DEO. When her perceptions are seemingly undermined the very next scene with Lena and Lillian our souls hurt.

We were all set to bitch about lack of motivation to lead her this soon down the villain path and inconsistent characterization when she agreed to help her mother. After she turned the key, we were all set with pitchforks. Then. THEN. It was an elaborate ruse to save the city. Boom. We can overstate the importance of this moment.

Aside from the brilliant narrative set up this season, it encapsulates what we’d wanted for Lena since the premiere: Lena steps up as a hero for National City. Supergirl once again revisits the theme that one’s choices determine their hero/villain status, not their family (see Winn and Kara). More than that, Supergirl successfully aided a Luthor—the one everyone else believed was doomed to be a villain like her brother and mother—in choosing the light and becoming her own hero. The younger sister of one of the most notorious DC villains chose her better angels. Epic. Beautiful. Shipping and queer representation aside for the moment, this is the kind of storytelling we live for.

And now for what you’ve been waiting for: so much for slow burn Sanvers. We were 100% invested in slow burn Sanvers. We were so ready. And you know why? We wanted Alex’s coming out to be about her. We didn’t want to rush the ship because we wanted Alex to come out for her own sake, not for Maggie. The great thing is that the acceleration didn’t shortcut any of that.

“When you first suggested that I was gay, I denied it. Then I thought that it was just about you; I mean, how would I not like you? But you know, deep down, I think I wasn’t comfortable that that was my new normal. But it is my new normal, and I’m happy that it is. Because I, I don’t know, finally I get me. And now I realize that it wasn’t about you, but it’s about me living my life. So, thank you.”—Alex Danvers

Alex labeled herself gay. She accepted herself and being gay as her “new normal” (her phrasing, not ours). She’s happy about it. We’ll say that again: she’s accepted that she’s gay and is happy. Is it quicker than we expected? Yes. But we’re not complaining because Alex got her time, and she is certainly old enough to know the rest of herself well enough to adjust to her New Normal quickly. She got to come out to Kara and Eliza and be supported. She got to voice her frustration to Maggie and express her disappointment. And, she got her time to realize that coming out was more than Maggie. As with Maggie supporting Alex as a friend, Alex got to care for Maggie with no strings attached. She wasn’t expecting Maggie to change her mind or express her interest. She thanked Maggie just for being there to support her with no pressure for Maggie to change her mind.

Thankfully for us, Maggie did.

Our hearts exploded. Tumblr blew up. There was a massive disturbance in the wlw force, and we loved every second of it. Can we mention Alex stitching Maggie up? And how supportive and happy Maggie looks as Alex is talking? And then Maggie having the courage to go talk to Alex on her own? Seriously. Maggie has a pair on her. Alex basically gave her the equivalent of the “I’m trying to get over you” speech and she responds by bringing over pizza, complementing Alex on her ‘cute’ pj’s (we’re dying), and then telling her she likes her. If they’re going to torpedo the slow burn, this is the best way to do it.

“Life is too short, and we should be who we are. And kiss the girls we want to kiss.”—Maggie Sawyer

The torpedoing of the slow burn might be a disappointment to some who enjoy that trope, but we propose that Supergirl’s completed arc for Alex actually is the better direction to go in, especially considering the media landscape of the last year. There was something very heavily meta about Maggie taking a shot to the shoulder and realizing there’s no real compelling reason for her and Alex to delay a relationship if they both like each other. While the arc is short in a literal sense, that it occurred across a mere 4 episodes, it was complete, which is infinitely more important than the arc being long.

We know that the slow burn is probably the biggest trope of the femslash world, but its existence is deeply rooted in diminished or non-existent payoff. This was the core of Elizabeth’s jaded ambivalence to the Sanvers ship early on, despite always being on board with the idea of it being canon. Femslash ships often don’t sail out of the harbor as a complete package, but rather one plank at a time that the fandom has to assemble into a boat themselves somewhere else down river in the Kingdom of Fanfiction. When you say slow-burn, season(s) long queer coding with ambiguous payoff come to mind. What people often call a slow burn is often just a really thin breadcrumb trail, and the starving wlw fandom will absolutely eat up even the thinnest of offerings. We are so used to making due with the crumbs, we are often baffled when a television show offers us the actual cake instead.

What Supergirl has brought to the table is not so much a giant, polished, fancypants bakery cake with fondant icing and spun sugar accents, but a small and delicious homemade cake made with love from scratch. There is something uniquely organic about the way this ship was scripted, and the writers made choices with it that are clearly informed by real-life wlw experiences. The entirety of the final scene between Alex and Maggie, from the little “probably” to Alex point blank asking Maggie to confirm that she likes her, is something too specific and too pitch perfect to have been guessed at by an outsider. Like Cat Grant’s drunken anecdoting in Season 1’s “Red Faced”, Supergirl has a particular talent for weaving in female stories far too perfectly nuanced and accurate to have been pulled out of the ether of an outsider’s imagination. The show likes to demonstrate that it not only listens to the audience it actively courts, but it is specifically aiming to impress that audience and reflect the image of that audience.

Perhaps the most uplifting aftereffect of the night was the number of women on Tumblr saying, “This is what it feels like to have our stories told.” It is certainly a new and foreign feeling, but it is also finally starting to feel like a good one. And unlike pleasant wlw surprises San Junipero and Wynonna Earp, this season of Supergirl was not written and filmed prior to the brunt of the Spring Slaughter got underway; in some ways, it almost feels written in *response* to it. It’s sort of difficult to ignore, really: Maggie is wearing quite a visually obvious and hefty bullet proof vest, and explicitly survives a survivable gunshot wound. It is pleasant to have a gunshot launch a ship instead of sink it, for once. Maggie’s words to Alex were very difficult to view in any other lens than being direct meta commentary on life being too short to waste on slow burns and queer coding, just freaking kiss the girl.

The show made the decision to have Maggie and Alex’s conversation be the emotional finale to the episode, framing it is one of the most important plots to address and resolve prior to the mid season hiatus. Supergirl sees your mid season finale cliffhanger deaths, and tells them to get fucked take their business elsewhere.

In a television landscape of slow burns or thin storytelling, Supergirl actually breaks the mold by allowing the ship to move forward at a faster pace. In Elizabeth’s veteran wlw opinion, this pacing and arc is far more true to real life wlw relationships than the six season slow burn. There is a certain unspoken urgency to queer relationships of any nature, because the unfortunate reality is that the world stacks the deck against us. Because this struggle is the most outwardly demonstrative and easiest for The Straights to visualize, it is usually the viewpoint that gets expressed, often with a lack of understanding as to *why* queer relationships move so quickly. Even in the safest of havens in the most progressive of american Pacific Northwest cities, hate crimes can and do happen. We as queer individuals don’t tend to screw around with relationships, especially as we get older, because no matter how safe we feel, we are always acutely aware of how illusionary that safety can be.

While Supergirl has made the *very* deliberate decision to not make this the crux of its queer narrative (thank Rao), keeping that quick pacing makes the relationship really strike home without being a painful reminder of the reality we live in. Supergirl is the purest kind of escapist fiction; the kind that women rarely get to experience, let alone queer women. Like San Junipero, it stands alone not because it features a wlw romance: it stands alone because it is a piece of genre fiction that just so happens to feature a wlw romance. And also like San Junipero, Supergirl proves that you can include a coming out story without making the romance *about* coming out.

It’s well crafted, kind hearted, pure intentioned, and subversive in its realness. If you are part of the wlw community and have not jumped on board the good ship SS Sanvers, treat yo’self. It will warm your heart and put a smile on your face, we promise.

As much as we loved just about everything about this episode, we do have some nitpicks questions. First, the virus. If it is supposed to kill all non-Kryptonians, why doesn’t it kill humans? From a Kryptonian perspective, humans are alien invaders (or potential invaders), so it ought to have killed all the humans in the bar as well. We understand from a storytelling perspective this isn’t possible, as Cadmus needs a way to kill aliens but not humans. A dialogue tag explaining it had been altered to not harm humans would have gone a long way to making this work better.

Second, Cadmus itself. Lillian better be thankful that there is no UN equivalent setup to deal with anti-alien attacks. The kind of genocidal attack Lillian attempted to enact is an act of war. We know that the president is an alien, so Cadmus’ attack is at the very least an act of terrorism and treason against the US. They’re no longer thugs robbing banks; they’re a threat to national as well as global security. We wish Cat were here to ask the hard question of why the US is not cracking down on or disavowing this kind of terrorism to avoid retaliation from alien species’ who would not take kindly to casual genocide. Perhaps James needs to walk his handsome butt back into his office and get working on that, since he is the head of Catco now. He seems to have forgotten completely that he has a day job.

Finally, we must briefly address the awkward elephant in the room: the kiss between Kara and Mon El, and how hilariously perplexed Kara seemed by it. Her expression fell somewhere between politely disinterested and flat-out confusion; it is really hard to understate how utterly awkward this scene was. That was the most excruciatingly long, boring kiss we’ve seen this year. Though only a few seconds long, it felt like years. It was a feeling quite akin to the one you get when someone sits much too close to you on the bus and you have to stare out the window intensely like an awkward teen in an indie film. It was the perfect time to check our emails.

At the end of the episode, Kara makes an effort to talk to him about the kiss (which, sidenote: we love that Kara has learned to be emotionally assertive!) and he claims to not remember it. Kara looks… we want to say distraught, but it was still definitely in the ballpark of confused. We were a bit surprised at her choice to pretend it never happened, given her instant, but still polite, shut down of Winn in S1. While the writers could be trying to keep hope alive, it’s just as likely to us that Kara is trying to protect her friendship. Or maybe she’s asexual and having an epiphany of her own? One can dare to dream. This ship has all of the flair, flavor, and spice of Wonder Bread.

Random Thoughts

  • Alex came real close to saying ‘bullshit’ instead of ‘hijinks’
  • The response to Kara claiming she could be sneaky was perfection >>
  • We have always hated the “a mother always knows” line as a way to force a woman to acknowledge feelings for a man who she professes no interest in. If she says “there’s nothing there” why not just let it lie until she figures it out herself?
  • So much Supercorp feels. It’s got OTP soulmate material written all over it.
  • We are here for all the Kara/J’onn scenes. He’s such a good Space Dad.
  • We’re intrigued by the lady Darth Vaders looking for Mon El.
  • They confirmed English is Mon El’s second language, but we still don’t know when/how he learned it.
  • Space Dad kept trying to die and that upset us. Thankfully he’s all better now.
  • We really hope the show addresses Alex’s issues with alcohol. We get needing a drink for courage, but she was pretty drunk at dinner (a beer, a fifth of whiskey in the freezer, and a glass of wine?), and she’s had a couple of scenes drinking in the Maggie aftermath the past few weeks.
  • Three cheers for seeing Eliza Danvers in her scientific element!

In Conclusion

We had a lot to say. #sorrynotsorry. Granted, there was a lot to process in this episode. Like so many this season, it deserves a rewatch to even more fully appreciate the gift we were just handed. (We’d probably have even more to say.)

The characters continue to impress us with their depth and nuance, and it’s safe to say that not having The Guardian plot line gave more space for the other subplots to breathe. As much as we hate to say “we told you so” to the writers, we will. We were huge James fans in S1 and both of us were Karaolsen shippers, so our frustration with James comes from a place of love. The Guardian just isn’t working for us, and this episode proved that it’s not a necessary subplot this season. If ever there was a time when National City needed a strong, investigative mind asking the hard questions about Cadmus and their threat to the city, and the world, it’s now. Go do your job, James.

Cadmus’ “Earth is for the humans” is an on point villain stance given our current political climate. It’s a timely theme to be exploring as our society struggles with the increased visibility of hate and bigotry. We need Kara and team Supergirl to show us how to overcome hate with hope and xenophobia with love. We’re hoping that the rest of the season continues to ramp up the human/alien tension with Kara caught in the middle of the ideological war. What Cadmus did tonight could not be construed as anything other than an act of war and since we know the president is an alien, we expect a response from the US government at the very least. Perhaps Cat can come back to help James with messaging? (Though he actually deserves to be fired.) That would be nice.

We can’t end this review without mentioning Maggie being shot one more time. Not only did she survive without major injury, the scene led not to a death, to a romantic moment culminating in Alex getting the girl. Screenwriters take note, this is how you do midseason finale drama. No need to kill us queer ladies for Drama™ or for Shock™ or whatever. Kara’s moment of taking care of Maggie warmed our hearts too, because even if Maggie hurt Alex previously, whoever is important to Alex is important to Kara. Anyway, this officially means that both canonical queer ladies have been shot wearing bulletproof vests. If that’s not an enormous ‘fuck you’ to the BYG trope and the Spring Slaughter, we don’t know what is. Thank you Supergirl. Just thank you. For everything.

Next up, the crossover! Looking forward to what our other site authors have to say about The Flash, Arrow, and Legend of Tomorrow!


Images courtesy of CW

Bi, she/her. Gretchen is a Managing Editor for the Fandomentals. An unabashed nerdy fangirl and aspiring sci/fi and fantasy author, she has opinions about things like media, representation, and ethics in storytelling.

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine Should Let Rosa Date Gina

Megan

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Gina and Rosa

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.

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.

Holt and Kevin marry each other as quickly as possible.

(Source: tumblr)

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

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The Neighbors from Hell

Kristen Roche

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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.

Closing Thoughts

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

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Outlander Slows Things Down for Episode 2

Meg

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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.

Recap

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.

For real, Bran’s like 25 and Fergus is still just 14.

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.

Noooo, my wee angry son!!

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.

“YOU got into Harvard Medical School?”
“What, like it’s hard?”

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.

Review

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!!!

“No cage could compare to the one I’ve been living in!” *cues “Welcome to the Black Parade”*

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.


Images curtesy of Starz

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