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Purgatory Without Wynonna is a Much Grimmer Place

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Wynonna Earp Season 2, Episode 11, “Gone as a Girl Can Get”

It’s the penultimate episode of this season, Earpers, and boy was it a rollercoaster ride. A rollercoaster filled with flaming booby-traps, Bobo del Rey, sexy boobs, and why the heck did I get on a boob thing? I think I may still be a bit drunk on excitement from getting not only a like from the glorious Dani Kind for one of my tweets (I love you, Dani!), but also getting the much coveted Emily Andras retweet (I’m still flailing).

Where was I? Oh, right. The episode. According to Emily Andras, this is what last night’s episode was about:

And one thing’s for sure, she’s not at all wrong.

OMG, what?

Shit’s going down on a revenant infested Earp homestead. Waverly—all gussied up in a wedding dress and pink flower crown—and Nicole run into the barn and find Jeremy. Just as Waverly claims she’s found ‘it’ and knows how to get Wynonna back, the barn explodes. After the credits roll, we’re back to Doc in the well, freaking out and screaming for Wynonna. He gets out with the help of Stevie, who takes him to the Earp Homestead, or should I say ‘Holliday Haus’. Seems in Wynonna’s absence, Doc is in charge of the revenants. And he’s shipping out the drugs Rosie cooks up for him. Doc frees Rosie from her imprisonment (at his previous orders), and heads over to find Dolls.

“No, we cannot die. I’ve only had sex one and a half times!”—Jeremy

At BBD, Dolls has the Widow Mercedes in containment, and he’s torturing her for information. She taunts him about Wynonna being missing and about raising Clootie. Doc busts in to enlist their help to find Wynonna. Nicole knocks him out before Dolls can shoot him (Doc really did eff things up in this universe didn’t he?). At the police station, a harried Nicole has to manage an incompetent rookie named Lonnie and the ‘coyotes’ plaguing the town; in this alternate universe (AU), Doc blew up Nedley, so she’s sheriff. Waverly brings her lunch from Shorty’s and even across timelines, the chemistry between them still crackles. But their simmering tension is interrupted when Waverly has to meet her groom-to-be outside.

“Are you gonna make a demand? Because if you’re going to make it, make it now before I shoot that compensating mustache off your smirking face.”—Dolls

Stuck in containment with the Widow Mercedes under Dolls’ orders, Doc reveals that he, like her, knows that the universe isn’t right. Outside, Waverly meets up with her fiancé…and thank god it isn’t Champ. It’s Perry, and he’s worried about her serial cold feet (3 called off weddings?? Dude, maybe she’s not that into you.) He admits he hired a private investigator to find the person who killed her dad and Willa. She goes to see Bobo, who’s been locked in a mental institution. He tells her there’s a spell and urges her to leave and find Wynonna. The Widow Beth tries to break the third seal herself, but the spell takes two.

“Because knowing something about me, before me is a total invasion of my privacy.”—Waverly

Waverly digs through a chest of her family’s things and finds her mother’s wedding dress. Meanwhile, the Widow Beth frees her sister from BBD, and Doc convinces Jeremy that they’re living in an alternate reality and needs his help to end the spell. Doc gives Jeremy his hat (!!!), then takes it back when Jeremy awkwardly asks Doc out :(. Clad in her mama’s wedding gown, Waverly storms in on Doc at Shorty’s. Dolls arrives, and a shootout between him and Doc ensues. Doc deals Dolls a fatal shot in the chest (thinking he had his body armor to protect him). While down, Dolls shoots Doc through the stomach, killing him. A dying Doc tells Waverly to find the Iron Witch and destroy the trophy; Dolls crawls away, apparently still alive.

“I do hate it when we argue.”—Doc, while dying

Nicole picks up Waverly and offers to take her to find the Iron Witch. Jeremy finds Dolls just in time for him to die in his arms, whispering Wynonna’s name. Nicole and Waverly find the Iron Witch, who explains the spell and that it was worthless, as her sister is still dead. She lifts the glamor for a few seconds for them to see what the world is truly like, and tells them where to find the trophy: the revenant infested homestead. Waverly then breaks Bobo out of the mental institution to help her get on the homestead. Jeremy meets Rosie to ‘complete the mission’ from Dolls. He convinces her that they’re in an alternate reality, that BBD is behind it, and recruits her help. Meanwhile, the Widows can’t seem to get their magic to work.

“I killed him; I killed Doc, but it felt empty…like he was my friend.”—Dolls, while dying

At the homestead, Bobo directs Nicole and Waverly to dig up the talisman to expel the demons. The Widows arrive, and Bobo flees to the homestead proper. Bobo’s arrival causes chaos and division, which Waverly and Nicole use as a cover to get to the barn. This brings us to the opening scene of the episode, and we now get to see the rest of the story from the barn to the bomb. Nicole and Waverly run into Jeremy and Rosie, attempting to dismantle BBD’s ‘operation’. The Widows catch up to Bobo and take him captive. Rosie tells them where to find the trophy, then runs out into the yard and dies. Waverly tells them if they blow up the barn, it will destroy the trophy and break the spell. All they have to do is trust that they’ll all survive.

“Listen [Perry,] I can’t really talk now, I’m in a barn wired to explode. Also I think I’m gay, call you later?”—Waverly

A bit sooty and disheveled, Jeremy, Nicole, and Waverly wake up back in their timeline and head out to look for Wynonna. Elsewhere, the Widows attempt to torture information out of Bobo. He admits to finding Clootie’s coffin when digging for the Stone Witch’s sons. He also breaks the third seal for them, because Clootie has the power to prevent him from going back to hell. Nearby, Wynonna wakes up and has one moment of peaceful contemplation with her baby before she sees Bobo with the Widows. She finds the broken seal in the grass and, of course, baby Earp picks just that time to start hinting that it’s time to come into the world.

Favorite One Liner: “My god, is this what we are without her?”—Doc

I Gotta Say…

I’m a bit speechless by how excellent this episode was. Once again, Alexandra Zarowny delivered a tense, romantic, poignant, and frightening episode all at once. Everybody dies to save the world, but not in the Rogue One way. We get noble sacrifice, but also survival for our faves; it’s a tough balance to pull off, but worked really well. The dramatic tension had weight to it, and the survival was a true catharsis rather than a cheap ‘given’. Though if Nedley, Doc, Rosie, or Dolls didn’t make it back, I’m rioting.

The dialogue lept to life from the screen and the direction was pure magic. Like the transition from the Widow’s discussion of the answer being in the rings to Bobo’s ring-clad hands. Then to cap it off with the pregnant (heh) imagery of the father of the Earp curse and the next Earp heir being birthed into the world at the same time? Absolute perfection. I love how it flips the script on the age-old trope of “as one life dies another comes into the world.”

I also appreciate how well the writing did with creating believable ‘echoes’ in the alternate universe. Like with Waverly overreacting to Perry’s well-intentioned invasion of her privacy with the PI. Or Nicole’s genuine surprise at wearing her own wedding ring. This timeline was both believable and also wrong at the same time. We could see how Purgatory could have ended up this way without Wynonna while at the same time seeing the cracks that lead the characters to perceive it’s lack of substance.

The one who never saw the cracks until the end. OW.

My big question after last week—other than how they’d get Wynonna back—was who was getting married. I’m quite pleased Andras and the writing team chose not to bring back Champ. He was probably who fans would have expected Waverly to be marrying, since they were together when the show started.

However, it intrigues me that she ended up with Perry. He’s the opposite of champ: sophisticated, ambitious, and, more importantly, based outside of Purgatory. See, without Wynonna, Waverly has a reason to follow through on her dreams to leave town. Looking back on S1, it’s pretty clear that part of Champ’s appeal, other than being high school sweethearts, was that he would keep her from leaving Purgatory. Even with Wynonna having left town prior to S1, Waverly couldn’t leave. There was a chance Wynonna might come back, and there was the Earp curse to research since Wynonna didn’t seem interested in her birthright.

Wynonna tied Waverly to Purgatory, both out of love and familial obligation. So Waverly chose someone who would not pressure her to leave town. Without Wynonna, Waverly’s ready to leave Purgatory as soon as possible. Yet the tug is still there, the feeling that there’s ‘something missing’ with Perry. Yeah, that might be a lack of spark because of her love for Nicole, but to my mind, the most significant meaning for that is that Wynonna isn’t there. The something ‘missing’ that prevents her from her dream of leaving town is her sister, the same reason she couldn’t leave in S1. Wynonna ties her there even in her absence.

Damn Earp sister feels. Can I also say that everyone telling Waverly to be a hero and save Wynonna (and the world) just kills me. The refrain of Wynonna’s name drummed into me, it got in my blood as I watched, just as it was getting into Waverly’s. Wynonna, Wynonna, Wynonna. Remember, Wynonna. Remember who she is. Bring her back. We need her.

Heck, even Bobo urged Waverly to ‘fly away and bring back Wynonna’, and there’s no love lost there. It was poignant, coming from him. Yet there’s a bitter, twisted irony in Bobo’s fixation on Wynonna’s death and destruction. Little does he know she’s the one who protected him in the past, who held onto him when he was dying and who he rescued in turn. She whispered Waverly’s name, but still, Wynonna is ‘his angel’ in the literal sense.

Yet Waverly has become a kind of talisman to Bobo, the one good thing in his life and the one person who he will neither cross nor hurt. She’s a sign that there is still goodness in him, and is in that sense, the ‘angel’ on his shoulder, compelling him to do good in spite of himself. It’s tragic, twisted, sad, and messy, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

Speaking of Bobo and Waverly, I’m not sure who was more uncomfortable in the scenes in the mental institution, me or Waverly. His invasion of her personal space makes sense since he thinks of her as his guardian angel. But still, it doesn’t diminish the creep factor. For all that she knows in this universe, he’s the guy who killed her family. He may think of her as a protector figure, but to Waverly, he’s a monster, and the disconnect there was palpable in their scenes together. My hats off to Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Michael Eklund, who played these scenes impeccably.

But let’s pause here for a second. What’s up with Bobo? Is it just me or is he even more erratic than he was in S1? Is the pain in his head purely from being in the AU? But then why isn’t anyone else affected the same way? What motivates him to want to help Waverly find Wynonna? Is he just crazy at this point? Delusional? Why would he care if his arch-enemy is missing? I mean, it’s excellent acting, and doesn’t take me out of the story too much, but still, I want to understand. That his ultimate goal is to escape returning to hell, there is no doubt, but some of his actions don’t quite fit. He has no reason to bring Wynonna back. And if the goal was to join forces with the Widows all along so that he could get Clootie’s help, why did he run?

At this point, he feels like a force of chaos, but one that can’t decide if he’s chaotic good (helping Waverly take down the homestead) or chaotic evil (crushing the final seal). Maybe that last trip to hell did more psychological damage to him than normal. I mean, he was a bit of a loose canon in S1, but now he just seems kind of unhinged, or at the very least highly unpredictable. Still, it’s in a highly compelling way. Michael Eklund acts his face off, and I can’t stop looking at Bobo. Hell, Bobo has the power to crush a seal with his motherfucking fist and blow the dust in the Widows faces. I’m so happy Bobo’s back, you guys. The dynamic between his sheer power and chaotic behavior, the Widow Mercedes’ gory doomsaying, and the Widow Beth’s chipper, sing-song-y destructiveness is a wonder to behold

Oh, and did you all catch the neat little verbal callback Waverly had to Bobo when she was talking about Doc?

“He’s violent and insane, a huge part of the reason why Purgatory went to shit, but when he died…have you ever met someone and instantly known in your heart that they meant something to you?”—Waverly

That’s about as nice a summary of Bobo’s place in her life as is possible. I love when the writers do this.

I have a lot of feelings about Bobo, okay?

Doc broke me in pieces. This episode showcased just how much of a changed man he is. He went the extra mile for Wynonna, but it was his wholehearted trust in Dolls that really kicked me in the feels. He believed in Dolls’ goodness at every step. Dolls wouldn’t put him in containment if there was real danger; Dolls wouldn’t hurt Jeremy; and of course, Dolls wouldn’t actually kill him. He was ultimately wrong because this wasn’t ‘his’ Dolls, yet that very mistake is heartbreaking. He so believes in and understands the ‘real’ Dolls now, which is a huge step for Doc.

Doc knows the real Dolls so well that he purposefully shot him where he ‘knew’ he would hit body armor. He believed he would be bruising Dolls, not killing him. And Doc would compliment Waverly on how beautiful she looks as he’s dying. Follow that up with him calling her baby girl and I think a piece of my soul died. Another piece died when Dolls said that killing Doc was a hollow victory because he’d killed his friend.

Through Doc, and Dolls, we see what Purgatory would be like without Wynonna. Without her, the men she loves kill each other instead of working together. Without her, Doc blows up Nedley, takes over the revenants, and becomes a drug-king and crime boss. There was no better way to showcase just how much Wynonna does to help people be their best selves than this episode.

Wynonna is also the only reason that people are brave enough to face the reality of demons in town. You almost want Wynonna to see what Purgatory was like without her. Because for all the weight she carries, seeing the good she does, how much light she brings to the world and helps her friends and loved ones choose their better angels, might just lighten it a little.

We almost get to see what that would look like in the field. She’s calm, happy, at peace with the world despite the grass in her thong. And then…Wynonna has never looked more vulnerable than the moment when she feels the baby coming and hears Clootie’s growl. Way to end the episode on a suckerpunch, Wynonna Earp.

I see you, Andras Zarowny

  • Even in an AU, WayHaught gets cockblocked. Can’t catch a break lmao.
  • DOC GAVE JEREMY HIS HAT. All I’m saying is it’s a good day for the small but devoted fans of the SS Doc/Jeremy.
  • This is the first time that the makeup isn’t really working for the Widow Mercedes’ head wound. It looks a bit…spinach-and-cheese-y.
  • I reaaaaally want to know why Mama Earp really left. Like. Desperately.
  • Waverly had a hamster named Pikachu and a fish named Spish.
  • I see you and that quote from Ruth (“Where you go, I will go.”) that’s used so much at wlw weddings!
  • I’m glad Greta explained why Doc remembered Wynonna when no one else did, but it would be nice to have an explanation for why Mercedes is so visibly rotting on her feet. Is it all because she was shot once by Peacemaker? I thought she told Wynonna that Peacemaker couldn’t kill her?

Look at this precious cinnamon roll and her pet cemetery.

See you all next week for the season finale, “I Hope You Dance.” I barely survived this episode, so I have no idea how I’m going to make it through next week!


Images Courtesy of SyFy

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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Emily Andras, Wynonna Earp, and the Unkillable Queer – The RaconteurGretchen EllisXanDanySuou no NioiThat Which Dreams Recent comment authors
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Lisa Powell
Guest
Lisa Powell

Even with all the Wayhaught and the excellent “I think I’m gay” Buffy callback, my favorite part of this episode was how the barn exploding moved seamlessly into the opening credits. Which goes to show how much of a “behind the camera” kind of nerd I am.

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

I noticed that on rewatch! The production team is top shelf.

That Which Dreams
Guest
That Which Dreams

– Nicole knows EXACTLY when Waverly comes to deliver her food.
– Waverly and that Sadie Hawkins outfit.
– If Bobo really is Waverly’s dad, then there was some real creepy incest vibes going on there.
– I’d really like to have some vanilla dipped doughnuts.
– The Earp sisters and doughnuts.

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

They really do have a thing for doughnuts don’t they? I think I need to get vanilla dipped doughnuts for the finale.

Suou no Nioi
Guest
Suou no Nioi

It was so nice to see Bobo again. He is a little muddled right now, but he seemed to get less so by the end of the episode, so I’m thinking maybe it was a combination of being freshly back from the dead and finding himself stuck in an AU. The combo would be disorienting to anyone, really. I found his breaking of the seal at the end to be odd, but I am holding out hope that he’s got something up his sleeve to help the Earps (or Waverly at least), because I just can’t imagine he would want… Read more »

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

Totally! I’m just curious if his headaches mean anything more than that, or if it really was, as you say, a combination of being back from the dead and stuck in an AU. Like you, I hope that there’s an internal conflict building for Bobo. It makes sense to me that when he’s not in direct contact with Waverly, at some level he reverts to his selfish impulse to escape hell. She’s the ‘angel’ on the shoulder without which he more likely than not will follow his inner demon. But I hope that seeing what he’s done by smashing the… Read more »

XanDany
Member
XanDany

This is a awesome combination of the Buffy episodes The Wish, Tabula Rasa, and Normal Again. I LOVED IT. They did a good job of showing just how different everyone would be without Wynonna in their lives. Doc was the most obvious, but even Dolls was much more like he was in episodes 1 and 2 of the 1st season. He didn’t trust anyone. OF COURSE Wayhaught is destined to be together in any universe- I love how there was no question about that, and I don’t know if Nicole is a hot gay mess or smooth as fuck. Probably… Read more »

Gretchen Ellis
Guest

Nicole is DEFINITELY both a hot gay mess and smooth as fuck. I just adore how she always has hearteyes for Waverly, no matter what universe she’s in. Excellent use of slo-mo to capture that feel. A+ Dolls for sure felt more like his Ep 1-2 self. It’s one of the few times where seeing what a male character would be like ‘without that one particular woman’ actually worked because Wynonna is the protagonist. She doesn’t exist for Dolls character development or growth, but we know that because she exists in his life, he’s become a better person. It’s the… Read more »

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[…] Andras still wasn’t done. In 2×11, Waverly, Nicole, and Jeremy (all canonically queer characters), detonate a bomb inside of the barn […]

Television

Honest Conversations and Unfortunate Insensitivity on Cloak and Dagger

Bo

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

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

cloak and dagger church

Time to Talk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Insensitivity and Stalling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Thoughts:

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

Images Courtesy of Freeform

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The Expanse Wanders Among The Wreckage

Barbara

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

Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


All images courtesy of SyFy

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Reverie Sows the Seeds of Doubt

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

From NBC/screenshot

Oliver Hill V. Onira-Tech

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

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

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

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

Episodic Woes

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

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

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

Conclusion

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


Images courtesy of NBC

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