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Tasya Teles on Echo’s Backstory and Future on The 100

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Tasya Teles as Echo kom Azgeda in The 100 4x05 "The Tinder Box"

Spoiler warning for season 4 of The 100.

From The 100 and The Handmaid’s Tale to Wynonna Earp and Orphan Black, many of the science fiction genre’s more successful television shows of late feature female protagonists and a litany of badass female characters. Many also employ female writers and directors, infusing a woman’s worldview into our media narratives. Though we are definitely making strides in queer female representation in the genre as well, I am disappointed there are no shows to list featuring female protagonists of color. But it is worth celebrating the victories we have achieved, and here at The Fandomentals we are starting a Ladies of Sci-Fi interview series to pay homage to womankind’s triumphs.

This month’s guest is actor Tasya Teles, who plays the fierce but aloof Echo kom Azgeda on apocalyptic drama The 100. There could not be a more perfect choice for the first instalment of this interview series. Teles was recently promoted to a series regular for season 5, which begins 6 years after a second nuclear apocalypse forces the characters underground or (in Echo’s case) into space.

It’s no secret that Echo is a favorite of mine and a character I enjoy analyzing, and I took this opportunity to dig into Echo’s psyche. Teles was kind enough to provide thoughtful answers that allow us some rare and valuable access into the taciturn warrior’s head. Read on to hear her dish on Echo’s backstory and her mindset during some big moments in season 4, as well as tease at what we may see from Echo next season.

The following interview was conducted via email;* it has been lightly edited for clarity, but any redundancy in questions is due to that format.

Lisa P: First of all, congrats on your promotion to the main cast! You said in another interview that you were jumping up and down when you got the news, a perfectly rational response in my opinion. What is your favourite part of being involved with this show?

Tasya Teles: Aww, thank you so much! I couldn’t be happier. I really fell in love with Echo, and I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to develop her story further. There’s so much I love about the show, where do I begin? The writing is surprising and ruthless, the characters are strong and complex, and I adore the cast and crew. Everyone is challenged to the highest degree, and this shared dedication to storytelling makes every day rewarding, crazy, and fun. Another thing I love about being involved with the show is getting to meet all the fans. Sachin Sahel and I were just talking about how much we love going to conventions. It allows us to get to know the fans, and hear from them face-to-face. The show means so much to many people, so it’s truly an honor to be a part of The 100 family.

Tasya Teles, photographed by Liz Rosa

Image Courtesy of Liz Rosa

LP: I know that fan reactions to Echo have not always been overwhelmingly positive. How much do you feel that’s changed this past year, now that fans have gotten to see more of both you and your character?

TT: I felt that people started seeing her differently this past year. Some saw beyond the warrior mask right away, and others are still warming up to her. Throughout season four, her armor starts to break, and beneath it is this vulnerable child who’s lost everything. She has to rebuild her world all over again, and deal with the trauma of the past.

At the end of the day, Echo isn’t inherently evil, she was trained to do one thing: protect Azgeda. Azgeda is a pretty brutal clan, so to survive, Echo cuts emotion out and focuses solely on strategy and execution (no pun intended). Part of humanizing Echo, as villainous as she was at the top of the season, was trying to figure out who she would be in today’s society. Along with my coach, we began looking at child soldiers and young terrorists. The stories of these kids really break my heart. Many were stolen from their families, and conditioned to behave a certain way. Finding Echo’s broken heart, and understanding that she must have been brutalized as a child, helped me bring her adult story to life.

Hopefully season five invites the audience to get to know a different side of Echo. But like they say, you can take the girl outta Azgeda, but you can’t take the Azgeda out of the girl. She’ll definitely retain her badass side that makes me love her so much.

LP: You’ve mostly worked with Bob Morley, Marie Avgeropoulos, and Zach McGowan in the previous three seasons. Heading into filming this season, who are you most excited to work with more?

TT: Bob, Marie, and Zach. Just kidding. But it would be amazing to work with Zach again! Maybe we can figure out another way to bring him back from the dead (hint hint writers)! I would love to work more with Adina Porter. She has a coolness and strength to her that is so mesmerizing. I think an Echo/Indra face off would be brilliant. But I love everybody on the team, I’m happy any way you slice it.

LP: Right now Echo’s backstory is a pretty blank slate. Do you have any theories or headcanons about her history that you use to help develop or understand her more fully?

TT: One thing I do think about a lot is where she came from. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve looked at child soldiers, modern day pirates, spies, and secret agents. Like child soldiers, spies are often people with no family, and nothing to lose, which is what makes them great spies. Using the idea of Echo as an orphan, or being kidnapped from her family, is where I started to build her backstory.

Growing up without a family in a ruthless environment, Echo was put into training almost immediately. She lost her childhood to combat training, which hardened her, but it also cultivated this cool, capable badass we met in season four, and saw a glimpse of in season two. Azgeda would be a scary place for any orphan, even those who were training as assassins. Little Echo was conditioned to be ruthless. She had to protect herself from a variety of threats at every corner, never having a safe haven to call home. So it follows that she latched on to Queen Nia pretty tightly when Nia noticed her. By promoting Echo into the royal guard, Echo suddenly had status, protection, and a purpose. That was the closest thing to a family she ever knew. How sad is that? But her fear of abandonment, and her incapacity to trust others easily, are scars from her childhood that never leave her, which we see her struggle with in season four. She’s terrified of losing her “family,” and will go to great lengths to protect her kin.

LP: You said at SDCC that what you most like about Echo is her strength and loyalty and how she always protects her clan first. That draws some interesting comparisons to Clarke, given the respective massacres they were involved in at Mount Weather and the underhanded things they both did in 4×10.

In 4×12 they have that moment where Echo asks if her actions were so wrong and Clarke seems to empathize and reflect on herself. She then gives up her own helmet to save Echo, which suggests she thinks Echo is no worse than her, or at the very least is worth saving. Do you think that’s a fair comparison, that Echo and Clarke are actually quite similar but Clarke just so happens to be our protagonist and belong to a (slightly) less brutal clan?

TT: I think that’s a fair comparison. There are parallels between Clarke and Echo, and maybe if the story was told from an Azgeda perspective, then Clarke may be seen as an antagonist to the main plotline. But yes, I think they do share similarities. Leading up to that moment, we saw them both cheating in the final conclave, and we’ve seen that they both won’t hesitate to put their own lives at risk for the safety of their clans.

Tasya Teles as Echo kom Azgeda in The 100 4x10

Cheater, cheater. (source)

LP: Bellamy and Echo’s relationship has been quite rocky so far because they have both done some awful things for their clans, clans that were often at war with each other. It has been teased that alliances will have shifted in the six years since the second Praimfaya. Is it safe to assume that those characters’ fierce loyalty will now be working for rather than against that relationship?

TT: I think that time is a great healer. I also think that in times of survival, with only a few people on the ship, there isn’t much room for lingering grudges or hatred. Both characters have lost so much including their best friends, and families. At a certain point you have to ask yourself, is it really worth it? So yes, it’s likely that some new loyalties have been formed among them. Whether these loyalties work for or against them sets up a really interesting problem in season five if everyone reunites. Seeing these new relationships under intense pressure will definitely make for some great drama.

LP: Trust has been a major theme for Becho in the past three seasons. After all that’s happened between them, how do you think Echo will have gone about trying to regain Bellamy’s trust?

TT: Echo has never known a life where she isn’t constantly faced with the threat of war and all the dangers associated with it. I would say that for the first time, Echo is in a place where she can be herself. Part of her transformation is learning how to trust others, and Bellamy and her have a lot of ground to cover. I do think she will eventually try to regain Bellamy’s trust, but how does she do it? I don’t know. Maybe she makes him a giant ‘I’m Sorry’ paper maché two headed teddy bear. Six years is a long time to be stuck in space, I’m sure they’ll get sick of board games pretty quickly.

LP: Octavia and Echo have had a pretty tumultuous relationship too. Last time they saw each other, Octavia kicked Echo out of the bunker and left her to die. What will happen if Echo ever sees Octavia again, now that she will be closely allied with Bellamy? That sounds like the most awkward family reunion ever. Does Octavia even know Echo is alive and was on that ship?

TT: If your assumption is that Echo and Bellamy become close allies, then yeah, that’s a Thanksgiving dinner I would skip. I don’t think Octavia knows that Echo is alive, and certainly not that she’s in space with her brother. Even Echo didn’t know that she was headed for space. Reuniting with the ground is troubling for Echo. Octavia greatly threatens Echo’s assumed trust in her new ‘space family’. Loyalties will be tested once again at this terrifyingly awkward family reunion. How much Bellamy decides to trust or defend Echo is up to the writers. My hope is that Echo has finally found a home, and some friends. Otherwise she might regress into being a lone soldier once again, which is a scary, but interesting, idea. If Echo goes rogue, nobody is safe. She’s definitely a warrior you want to have on your side.

LP: You’ve said previously that Echo was devastated when Octavia fell off the cliff and she thought she’d killed her, because she had both failed Roan and hurt Bellamy. But she looked downright miserable in that scene where she had to tell Bellamy his sister was dead and then watch him mourn. What was going through her head in that moment?

TT: Echo was miserable. Confronted with the repercussions of what happened on that cliff was the beginning of Echo’s unraveling. It was also a really emotional day on set for me. It was such a shameful moment for Echo, I think her head was spinning. Whether she wanted to admit it to herself or not, Echo respected Bellamy enough to not want to hurt him. She was ashamed, devastated, and remorseful, leading to another tiny crack in her foundation. For me, that’s the first time she ever questioned her Azgeda principles and belief system, “Why am I affected by this? This is war. People die all the time. It wasn’t my fault. It was Octavia who wouldn’t come. Why am I so tormented by this?!” She didn’t want to be there. She wanted to just disappear altogether, and she almost got away leaving the prison cell without having to confront her mistake, until Bellamy called out, “My sister will stop you. She’ll warn the others.” It was difficult for Echo, and there was lots happening in her head at the time, but she pushed all the emotion down so she could do her job.

LP: She really meant it when she said she was glad Bellamy would get a chance to see Octavia again, didn’t she? That was one of the few moments before her banishment where she seemed to drop her walls.

TT: Absolutely. That came straight from the soul. Echo isn’t someone who holds grudges, or politics around too much, and she rarely drops her walls. The nature of her job forces Echo to remove herself emotionally from much of what she does. The audience only gets these little peaks of who she really is behind the mask, so I loved that she snuck that in there, and she meant it.

LP: Personally, I’m totally Team Becho. But if Echo was to get involved with any other character on The 100, who do you think it would be and why?

TT: That’s a wonderful question, and I love your enthusiasm (laughs)! I think that there’s an endless world of shipping possibilities. For the group that’s stuck in space, it’s highly possible that they all dated each other at one point or another. Maybe all at the same time! No, that would be weird. But it would be really hilarious if out of nowhere Octavia and Echo became a thing. Talk about a plot twist.

Tasya Teles as Echo kom Azgeda in The 100 4x13 "Praimfaya"

LP: Echo’s clan was obviously very important to her, and after she was banished we saw her fall apart over the course of a few episodes, culminating in the ritual suicide scene where she lamented, “I belong nowhere.” How much of a treat was it to finally peel back the layers of this strong badass and show her vulnerability, now that she was in the midst of both an identity crisis and the apocalypse?

TT: Oh my gosh, such a treat! When I read that I thought, “FINALLY!” I had been playing her as a very controlled, and very disciplined warrior, and I really wanted to see Echo lose her mind. In the Seppuku scene, she finally broke. Her world was turned completely upside-down. The obscure idea of living in space, with no family, no Roan, no Azgeda, no purpose, and surrounded by this weird techno-world, reminiscent of Mount Weather, was too much for her to handle. Everything came tumbling down on her, and for the first time we saw this staggeringly deep emotional body that she had been hiding for who knows how long. Playing this stoic badass was incredible, but the release was even better.

LP: I must say, I loved how Echo just ripped that panel off the wall and was so willing to help Harper once they were on the Ark, and how desperately she crawled over to Bellamy to pull his helmet off and give him some air. Do you see her easily integrating into the group who went to space now that they are relying on each other, or do you think that old Azgeda loyalty will make it take a little longer for her to trust them? Or for them to trust her, for that matter?

TT: Yes! I absolutely love the moment when she scrambles to Bellamy. It actually wasn’t in the script. Bob and I brought the idea to our director, and he loved it. It made perfect sense that Echo would be the one to rip off Bellamy’s helmet at the last second, as Bellamy had just saved her life moments before, an exchange they’ve made a few times now. But Spacekru should be more nervous about Echo pressing a wrong button, than worrying about Echo’s previous loyalties. At this stage, survival becomes the immediate daily focus. Loyalties will be tested if they make it back to the ground, and that’s where things can become dangerous for her.

LP: What role do you see Echo playing for Spacekru? She’s a natural leader, but she’s the outsider on the Ark and Bellamy is already the de facto leader. Other than that, her talents are mostly combative, so how will she find a way to contribute during those six years in space?

TT: Décor. The space station is definitely in need of some new curtains and complimentary pillow cushions. She also makes a killer flambé! No, I don’t see her being good with décor, or cuisine, but who knows maybe there’s an underlying passion just waiting to be unleashed. She’s so mysterious, that Echo, you just never know.

Echo is a natural leader, when necessary, but she’s a better accomplice, strategist, and spy. I don’t think there will be any sort of power struggle. Echo is pragmatic, economical, and gets straight to the point. She doesn’t sugarcoat, or waste time tiptoeing around an issue. So she definitely became the space therapist. Richard Harmon and I have this long running joke about what therapy sessions with Echo would look like. She’s also an amazing PE teacher. I would say her specialty is mainly sword fighting, but perhaps a bit of bo staff lessons too, just to spice things up.

In Closing

Thanks so much to Tasya Teles for taking the time to answer all my burning questions about Echo during this busy filming season. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter to stay connected, until we meet again. The 100 season 5 is due to premiere in early 2018 on The CW. January can’t come soon enough!


*Editors note: clarification regarding the method of the interview was added on 10/01/17.

Images Courtesy of The CW (unless otherwise specified)

Lisa is a gay(ish) writer and stand-up comedian from Canada's west coast. A longtime fanfic author who recently made the jump to journalism, she is prone to gush ad nauseum about her OTPs. Stubbornly Watsonian and literal, she can't stand characterization and continuity errors.

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[…] asks what they’re going to be now, he reassures her nothing will change and they kiss. (Turns out Tasya Teles’ hints that Becho would be a thing weren’t just hype!) She worries that Octavia will freak out; he […]

Television

Netflix Is Resurrecting Avatar: The Last Air Bender…In Live Action

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Water…Earth…Fire. Long ago, the three books lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when Shyamalan adapted. Only the Bryke, masters of the franchise, could stop him. But when the world needed them most, they vanished. Ten years passed, and the fans discovered the new Avatar: The Last Airbender, from a streaming service called Netflix. And although their hype generating skills are great, they still have a lot of budgeting before it’s ready to adapt.

It’s been a solid decade since Avatar: The Last Airbender, considered by some to be the best children’s cartoon of all time, aired for the final time. Since then it’s lived on in comics and novels (there is no movie in Ba Sing Se). The sequel series, Legend of Korra,  which definitely didn’t  affect the writers on this site at all, also wrapped in that time but joins its parent show in the pages of comics, for better or for worse. But now, 10 years after our last on-screen adventure with the “Gaang,” Netflix announced via Twitter that they would be resurrecting the iconic series, with the original creators, and begin production. Not only that, but it would move from the world of animation into the flesh and blood world of live action.

Since the show and its successor wrapped, Bryke (a.k.a Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino) and company have kept themselves busy. Konietzko has been busy working on his Threadworld series of science fiction graphic novels while Dimartino released his debut novel Rebel Genius. Netflix has taken several veterans of the Avatar into the show. For example Aaron Ehaz, the Emmy-nominated head writer from ATLA, recently debuted his own series, The Dragon Prince, for Netflix; and veterans of both ATLA and LoK Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos are the showrunners on Voltron: Legendary Defender.

Master Playwright Pu-on Tim, however, has yet to top his magnum opus

The new show, according to the scant information we have, will be a remake of the original show but not a direct translation. According to Bryke, who will be executive producers and showrunners, the new Avatar: The Last Airbender will “build upon everyone’s great work on the original animated series and go even deeper into the characters, story, action, and world-building.” While the core story of the show will likely not change, it’s clear that Netflix is allowing a great deal of freedom to alter the show as they see fit, with the benefit of a decade of hindsight and story changes. They also remain committed to a “culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast” for the program, most likely a response to previous (similarly named but definitely not related to the show) live-action programs that may or may not have turned Tibetan and Inuit coded characters white.

The only glimpse we have at the new show depicts Aang and Appa on the frozen wastes of the South Pole

The new show will be a partnership between Netflix and Nickelodeon as a part of Netflix’s lineup of shows aimed at children and families. It will enter production early next year. Keep an eye out here on the Fandomentals for news and, eventually, dissection of every little thing we learn when we learn it.

Are YOU excited for a new Avatar: The Last Airbender show? What are some things you want them to change? Is there anything they should leave alone? Sound off in the comments.


All Images courtesy of Nickelodeon and Netflix

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Sherlock Sacrifices For Love In Elementary Finale

Veronica

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Finale time! Will my wild theories turn out absolutely right or tragically wrong? Who knows! But wrong. Definitely completely I was wrong.

Last episode ended with the dramatic revelation that the season baddie, Michael the Vaguely Creepy Serial Killer, was beaten to death. The lead suspect is Joan. The episode begins with FBI Agent Mallick interviewing Joan. She hasn’t been arrested yet, but the FBI has questions.

Joan doesn’t have a reliable alibi. That would be too easy. She was alone with her mom, who has dementia. Mallick thinks that Joan fixated on Michael. She wanted revenge on him for the way that Michael hurt Sherlock, his victims, and Joan herself. But Mallick has more than just motive to back up her suspicions.

The FBI has a tape. Michael called his friend from the last episode, Bazemore, to try and explain his actions. That puzzled me, because last episode, Michael said that Bazemore ODed. I assumed that Bazemore died and that was why Michael attacked Joan rather than continuing the cat-and-mouse game. I can’t figure out whether this was a continuity error, my misunderstanding, or somewhere in between.

Anyway. Michael called Bazemore and they have it on tape. As he’s talking, he’s interrupted mid-sentence. He says Joan’s name, and then there’s the sound of a beating. That sure sounds suspicious. Joan can’t explain it.

So back at the brownstone, she and Sherlock meet with a defense lawyer. She warns them that Mallick is a dangerous opponent. Then she literally doesn’t show up again for the rest of the episode, making the whole scene supremely unnecessary.

Alone at last, Sherlock asks Joan if she killed Michael. If she did, he’ll help her get away with it. But Joan insists she didn’t and in turn asks Sherlock if he did. Also no. Thus, they are left with finding the real killer. They can’t expect much, if any, help from the police, who will be under pressure from the FBI.

Nonetheless, Sherlock asks Gregson for the files on Michael’s murder. Gregson refuses. He says that if Joan is innocent, the evidence will prove it.

Sherlock isn’t willing to wait for that. He breaks into the morgue and steals the autopsy report on Michael. He also performs his own autopsy and takes pictures of the corpse to show to Joan.

There’s severe head wounds caused by a blunt object. That could explain why he said Joan’s name on the tape; maybe he was just confused. Also of note is that someone neatly stitched up his stab wound from Joan. Joan doesn’t think it was done in a hospital. It reminds her of emergency medicine of the kind that would have been performed in the Vietnam War. Wow, that’s a really specific thing to just know off the top of your head, but okay. It gives Sherlock an idea.

He goes to an NA meeting and sidles up to an older man named Denny. They met before at a meeting. Denny was a combat medic in the Vietnam War and he too knew Michael. When Sherlock starts asking questions, the guy gets shifty, but with some pressure he agrees to talk to Sherlock privately.

Denny hadn’t known that Michael was a killer. Michael had simply shown up on his doorstep, bleeding, with a story about an altercation with a drug dealer. Denny obligingly stitched Michael up and let him crash on the couch. He was still there in the morning, gone by the evening, and shortly later Denny heard on the news that Michael was a) dead and b) a serial killer. He was scared of getting in trouble himself so he didn’t go to the police. Sherlock promises to keep him out of trouble if he’ll just help Sherlock in return.

The dynamic duo investigates Denny’s house. It’s the last place Michael was alive…and maybe dead too. Sherlock finds traces of a lot of blood that was cleaned up in a hurry. This could be the scene of the murder. When they spray Luminol they find traces of footprints. A woman’s footprints, the same size as Joan’s shoes.

So now they know where Michael was killed. But once again, the clues point to Joan. How did the killer even know where to find Michael? Sherlock proposes a theory. Agent Mallick is the real murderer. Perhaps she was afraid that she would never catch Michael. Killing him was the only way of stopping him. Now she’s pinning it all on Joan. That would mean that our two detectives can’t go to the FBI with this new crime scene. It would only be used to further frame Joan.

That is, if the crime scene was even still there. But it isn’t. Sherlock persuaded Denny to burn his house down and gave him money in exchange. Joan is furious but Sherlock angrily stands his ground. He’ll do what he has to in order to protect her.

Meanwhile, the FBI is still chasing Joan. Mallick and some other agents interview Bell. He staunchly defends his friend, even when Mallick threatens to use the case to torpedo his chances with the Marshals.

Bell doesn’t like to be threatened. Shortly after the interview, he meets with Sherlock privately and hands over the police’s files on Michael. The two men share a tense moment of friendship and wordlessly shake hands.

Michael’s body was lying in a pile of trash. When murder victims are found in landfills or dumpsters, the trash around their body is cataloged for clues. In Michael’s case, that trash is interesting. Joan and Sherlock know the murder was in Queens. Yet, his body was among trash from Harlem. How does that happen?

Joan and Sherlock check out a facility for garbage trucks and chat with a particular sanitation worker there. When the two first began investigating Michael’s case, you may remember that they discovered a man who had been convicted of one of Michael’s murder. With Sherlock and Joan’s help, he went free. This sanitation worker, a mechanic for the trucks, is the father of that man.

Sherlock thinks that fact is important. Obviously the mechanic has no reason to be fond of Michael. Maybe Michael’s killer recruited his help in disposing of the body. The mechanic could have stolen one of the trucks, driven out to Queens, picked up the body, then dumped it. That could explain why the trash was from Harlem.

The mechanic angrily denies it. First of all, the truck facility is guarded and all the trucks are GPS tracked. There’s no way that anyone could steal one. Secondly, if someone did kill Michael, he thinks that person is a hero. He isn’t going to help anyone, even the people that saved his son, catch Michael’s killer.

As the detectives continue to explore the facility, Joan wonders if maybe it was the other way around. Rather than taking a truck to Michael, maybe the killer brought Michael to the truck. It would be easier to sneak a body in than a truck out. If so, there facility has security footage. Her face would be on camera.

But nothing’s ever that easy. When Sherlock and Joan ask the guards for the security footage, they discover someone beat them to it. A law enforcement officer came to the facility and took the tapes, leaving behind no copies. Sherlock suspiciously asks if the agent was Mallick.

But it wasn’t Mallick. The cop was a man named Gregson. Are you thinking, “ohh nooo” yet?

Captain Gregson returns to his home to find it tossed. Sherlock is waiting in the dining room. He was looking for the tape but couldn’t find a copy. Gregson must have destroyed it.

Why would he do that? For one simple reason. Hannah killed Michael. After all, he killed her roommate, her best friend. In the time since then, she became fixated on revenge. She investigated his life, learned who all his friends were, so she knew he’d go to Denny after Joan hurt him.

It was never supposed to be pinned on Joan. Hannah didn’t even know that Michael was recording when she killed him, nor did she hear him say Joan’s name. (As for why he did that, we never really get an explanation.) She disposed of his body.

Gregson never knew of any of it until afterward. But eventually she came clean to him and he realized that her one vulnerability would be the security footage at the sanitation facility. She’s his daughter. He did what he had to in order to protect her.

Now they’re at an impasse. Sherlock demands he come clean to the FBI. Gregson refuses. He insists it will all blow over and the lack of evidence will vindicate Joan. Sherlock points out that regardless, her career and reputation will suffer. Gregson blames Sherlock for Michael’s involvement in their lives in the first place.

It’s Gregson’s daughter. It’s Sherlock’s best friend. Neither is willing to budge and they part in anger.

Sherlock returns to the brownstone and updates Joan. He thinks that they should tell the FBI anyway. They don’t have proof, but if the FBI is doing their due diligence, they should at least investigate the Gregsons. That could be enough.

But Joan understands why Hannah did what she did. She doesn’t want Hannah to go to jail or for the captain to get in trouble. She agrees with Gregson; maybe it’ll just blow over. They should wait things out. It could make her adoption chances harder, maybe impossible. But she’s willing to take that risk. Sherlock still wants to protect her, but Joan says that if he’s her partner, he should support her.

At this point, Sherlock does what he always does. He takes things into his own hands and goes to meet with Hannah Gregson herself. She too never wanted Joan to be a suspect. Sherlock tells her to confess, to admit where the murder weapon is.

The FBI come for Joan. But not to arrest her. Mallick has news for her. She’s no longer a suspect. Someone else confessed to the murder of Michael and even provided the murder weapon. But it wasn’t Hannah. It was Sherlock.

Well, not Sherlock himself. He turned himself over to the British consulate, struck up some sort of deal with MI6, and they sent a messenger with Sherlock’s confession. Britain is refusing to extradite him to the US and if Sherlock ever steps foot in the US again, he’ll be arrested.

Joan returns home in shock and finds Sherlock there. He’s not supposed to be in the country anymore, but he had to see her before he left. This was the only way he could think of to extract all of them from this situation without anyone going to jail for it. Joan is angry he didn’t try harder to fight, but for him it was worth it to protect Joan. She saved his life and taught him his life was worth saving. They emotionally say good-bye and finally admit they aren’t just partners; they love each other.

For the final scene, we see Sherlock in England, in the famous 221B, consulting with a client. But he isn’t really paying attention to the man’s story of a runaway bride. His neighbor next door is distracting him with a tremendous noise. He storms next door and knocks. The door opens to reveal, of course, Joan.

They walk down the street together. They have work to do.

Thoughts:

  • I predicted that Moriarty killed Michael. Hoo boy, I was wrong! I absolutely did not see it coming that Hannah was the killer! That was a deft twist. It made sense but surprised me.
  • That being said, why was there so much storyline this season about Moriarty if she wasn’t going to actually do anything?
  • The scene where Sherlock and Joan said goodbye was very emotional and touching but a little silly considering that obviously they weren’t going to really part. I was sitting there tearful, but also thinking to myself, “But why doesn’t Joan just move to England too.” And she did! I was worried, though, that the line about them loving each other was going to lead into a kiss or something, especially with all that romantic crap a few episodes ago. I’m very glad it didn’t.
  • It’s intriguing that the shots of them in England felt like a natural end to the show. Except…season 7 is already in the works. Hm.
  • So wait, is this the last we’re going to see of the rest of the American cast? No more Bell? We know he’s going to the Marshals, so he’ll be okay, but no goodbye scene? That’s sad. Farewell, Bell. I’ll miss you!
  • This is our season finale, so see you all next season!

Images courtesy of CBS

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The End Arrives for Jimmy and Kim on Better Call Saul

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better call saul season 4 featured

Surely this comes as no surprise. After all, the previous two episodes of Better Call Saul made it rather clear how different their goals had become. Jimmy and Kim are two very different people on a fundamental, moral level, and however they may have fun together, the relationship was unsustainable. They simply disagree too strongly about life. I love them both, but I’m not sad to see it end here. Mainly because Kim needs to get away from Jimmy before it’s too late.

Unfortunately, she looks to be in for one last caper, and I hope she avoids running everything in the process.

Slow Death

For the third straight week, Better Call Saul started with a brilliant opening scene perfectly setting the table for the episode to come. It’s been clear since Jimmy’s blank, unfeeling reaction to Chuck’s death that his relationship with Kim would end. As the season went on it became clear the end would likely occur this season.

Most people likely expected a big blowout argument. Jimmy’s friendly relationship with Chuck ended with one. Considering Jimmy’s current side business, I assume most expected Kim to find out and lash into him about it. Or perhaps Jimmy would push further or do something “for” Kim that triggered the confrontation. It felt like a short fuse was lit between them and the explosion was inevitable.

Instead the opening scene showed us something worse; the slow, cruel death of communication and love between two people who just slowly drifted apart over the long months spanning Jimmy’s suspension. Two people who gradually stopped talking to each other, who lost the easy synchronization they once had. Two people who barely even see each other despite living in the same apartment.

It genuinely hurt to see just how distant they were in this episode. The company party at Schweikart and Cokely was every bit the equivalent of Walt’s infamous drunken rants or the horrible gym speech he gives after season 2’s plane collision. You could tell how cold and distant things had become between Jimmy and Kim. Jimmy’s escalating humiliation of himself and the genuinely nice company trip ideas Schweikart put forth was a clear misreading of the room and perhaps even an intentional one. It felt to me like he thought embarrassing Kim’s boss would somehow convince Kim of something.

By the end of the episode, they spoke to each other like old acquaintances rather than romantic partners. They barely sounded like friends. However Jimmy thought Kim would react to his ideas for Huell’s legal defense, she clearly did not react that way. Instead you had two people with very different ideas.

When Kim found out about Jimmy’s side business, she barely reacted. She clearly gave up long before then. Why bother reacting emotionally when she gave up that emotional detachment long ago?

And yet, this is Kim Wexler. She does not give up. She puts in the effort no matter how hard it looks. I don’t know what plan she wants to put in motion to end the episode, but it’s clear she’s trying one more time to rediscover what she and Jimmy lost. This stubborn refusal to give up is what worries people about Kim’s fate. She sure worries me. As Jimmy keeps moving further and further into the criminal world, will he drag a stubborn Kim along with him? Can she cut him off in time?

I think she will. I think this new scheme is a last ditch “have a baby for the marriage” kind of move, whatever it is. In the end, it won’t work. By the end of the season the relationship will be over and they’ll convince themselves they’ll stay friends. This “friendship” will consist of a few shared words at the courthouse when Jimmy’s defending drug dealers and Kim’s doing PD work. By some point next season it will be over for good.

But first we have the latest Jimmy/Kim caper.

Magic Markers

Let’s be clear about one thing; Kim’s not involving herself in anything illegal. Let’s kill that notion. If this episode made anything clear, it’s that Kim is not willing to put her law career in any serious jeopardy for Jimmy. Especially not for Jimmy’s bodyguard.

So what exactly is her plan? I’ve seen a few good theories, but by far the most compelling one to me was protesting. She’s planning to make a racial issue of the prosecution’s insistence of a max sentence for Huell. This is Kim’s Atticus Finch moment. She sees a chance to make a real name for herself using a real case striking at a larger societal issue. It’s everything the judge told her should would never get earlier this season.

Would that  work? I suppose Kim would have reason to think so or she wouldn’t do it. Saul Goodman would do this, but not Kim. So why did it come to mind? Did she notice that all the reduced sentences she mentioned to the prosecutor involved white people? Did she find some questionable history in the cop’s record? I guess we’ll find out.

Then again, maybe that’s not her plan at all. I’m curious what others think her plan will be. Considering how many markers she bought, some kind of public demonstration must be involved. Why else would she buy all that?

Whatever her idea, I imagine it will be a huge stretch. Huell attacked a cop and has a criminal record. This cop specifically arrested him before. This is a loser case with a ton of downside. Kim’s good, but is she that good? I assume that no matter her plan, she does have ideas of making a name off of it. But will that name be good?

I suppose knowing the inevitable destination of Jimmy’s life makes me nervous to see Kim partner with him one more time. We’ve seen time and again how Jimmy causes destruction for those closest to him. Has Kim’s loyalty pushed her into something she thinks will make her famous but will instead make her infamous? Is it possible this ruins her new gig at Schweikart and Cokely?

Kim’s idealism is one of her most admirable traits, yet I worry it will cost her dearly now. Or maybe not. Maybe this will be the kind of landmark case like Chuck has. After all, it seemed to have been Chuck’s death and eulogy that inspired her towards this new direction in her law career. It’s possible she now sees a chance to make her name just like she hoped, and to truly become a champion of the greater Albuquerque community now. That lure may be enough to override her common sense regarding Jimmy and his schemes.

If there’s one thing I’m sure about, it’s that Jimmy will take an immoral, possibly illegal slant to Kim’s plan. No matter how she protests, he’ll do it. And when it blows up in his face, he’ll learn nothing.

Other Thoughts:

  • Gus discontinuing Hector’s treatment so that he’ll stay in his current state of disability is the most cold-blooded thing anyone on Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad has ever done. Honestly, it’s borderline if not outright cartoonish. I’m not sure I actually like this development at all.
  • To be honest, there’s something a bit sick and exploitative about the Hector subplot at this point. Gus’s need for revenge is fine, it’s not like anyone considers him a good guy in the story, but there’s no counterbalance for Hector’s mindset here. He’s the equivalent of an overly abused voodoo doll at this point, and it’s getting problematic.
  • Don’t mind me, I’m just stuck over here in season 2 when Jimmy and Kim brushing their teeth together was the most adorable scene on the show.
  • Mesa Verde opened a Nebraska branch. I wonder if it will come into play for the Gene subplot.
  • Jimmy’s Saul Goodman cards are quite similar to his eventual lawyer cards. It’s a nice touch.

Images courtesy of AMC

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