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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Earn Tries and Fails to Stunt in Atlanta
At this point, anyone who watches Atlanta is used to Earn being treated a bit unfairly. He doesn’t ever really fit in anywhere. People treat him as lesser and take advantage of him. We saw it happen last week with Tracy. He’s a bit of a pushover and people constantly take advantage to crap all over him. Poor Earn. This week, Earn tries to use an influx of cash to stunt on people the way others stunt on him. Let’s just say it doesn’t go very well.
Failed Adventures in Stunting
Through a very upset white mom – who repeats some offensive lyrics she’s upset about right in front of her daughter, despite being upset her daughter heard them to begin with – we learn that Paper Boi has a new single. This new single gives Alfred and Earn a nice pay day. Time to celebrate.
Only Earn decides he’s going to celebrate by throwing money around to come off as a bigger deal than he is. He decides to do this basically only because of a Paper Boi fan stunting on him at the beginning of the episode.
It’s not very often that Earn comes off as a complete idiot, but he does here and then some. I get it; he faces so much shit so often that he saw a chance to dish it back out. Problem is he just isn’t someone capable of faking to make it. He tries to buy VIP tickets at a theater with a hundred-dollar bill, only to be told they don’t take bills that large, then sees an older white guy buy a ticket with one of his own. The usher just walks right over him. He goes to a club and tries to use another hundred (maybe the same one?), only to have the owner call it fake and kick him out. Desperately, Earn rents a limo and heads to the strip club with Alfred and Darius, only to have the DJ call him out and the club snatch his money away with every charge they possibly can.
To cap the night, he finds Michael Vick racing people outside the club and foolishly bets some money of his own on beating Vick.
It’s one thing to see Earn go through hard times as a product of circumstances at least partly out of his control. It’s another to see him inflict the hard times himself. Everything that goes wrong for Earn here happens because he chooses to be a prideful moron. He reeked of toxic masculinity throughout this episode, which is not normal for Earn. One guy hurt his feelings and he wanted to restore them. You can really see it in the way he refuses to let Van pay for the movie tickets instead.
He decided to value his worth based on the money he had on him and ended up looking even more like a fool than usual. You can see how he ends up bouncing back and forth between Van’s house and homelessness. Earn always came off a bit too smart for his circumstances in season 1. Atlanta’s making his failures a bit clearer this season.
Damn if it wasn’t fun in an awkward, cringing kind of way, though. The Michael Vick “race” might be a contender for Atlanta’s best ending scene.
All about That Paper Boi
Meanwhile, Alfred has a better, calmer day that seeded the possibility of even worse news for Earn; the possibility of Paper Boi getting a new manager. Along the way we got another look at Atlanta’s wonderful ability to blend different tones into a scene without anything feeling out of place.
Alfred’s time in the studio with Clark County showed him a different side of the rap game he hasn’t been a part of yet. One with connections to sponsorships, professionalism, and success. I know I mentioned last week how Paper Boi doesn’t appear to be into this for the attention, but the subtitle for this season is “Robbin’ Season”. What better way to live up to that title than having another manager steal Paper Boi from Earn?
I don’t think it is coincidence that Earn looked like such a fool in an episode where Alfred gets a look at proper management. Specifically, Earn looked like a fool trying to fake one image he can’t pull off. Just like he doesn’t seem to have any of the connections or sway to actually manage Paper Boi. He can get him some crappy gigs at radio stations. A better manager would have him raking in more dough for more enjoyable work. I can’t help but think Alfred will realize that soon enough.
Alfred even seemed to deliver a warning like this at the end to Earn. He sees how inadequate Earn currently is and how badly he failed at playing the big shot. Earn had the money to play the big shot but no idea how to actually do it. He dressed in a crappy sport coat with a crappy Coca-Cola shirt and let everyone step all over him. He looked like someone trying to play a role rather than someone who actually belonged in the role.
I can’t imagine Alfred will let Earn slide for much longer. Not when he sees how others conduct business. Earn’s only hope is that Alfred’s distaste for the consequences of greater fame win out over whatever ambitions he has.
It might also help when he sees how scary and fake Clark County and his crew were. Seriously, how does Atlanta manage to be so funny, dramatic, and terrifying, and often from line to line without skipping a beat? I can simultaneously believe that Alfred and Darius both thought of Clark County as a fake and a joke while also thinking he was completely terrifying. I just hope his entourage didn’t actually beat the hell out of that producer.
This season has a couple clear themes so far. One revolves around the growing fame of Paper Boi. He and Earn have more money, more fame, and more success than they did last season. However, it’s not playing out like they thought. Earn had money to throw around like he’s never had yet he still didn’t matter. He’s still an awkward dude struggling just to have a life with the mother of his child. Alfred has begun to matter in the Atlanta rap scene, yet it’s bringing him little more than unwanted attention from unwanted people.
Both are stuck in this awkward transition between fame and irrelevancy that so many possibly rappers never move past. It’s why I can’t help but think Earn will lose his job. He can’t take Paper Boi higher, and Paper Boi will need to go higher if he wants to remain relevant. It’s one thing to have a dream, and another to see the reality of the dream. Atlanta has tried to show those downsides a bit.
Of course, the other running theme has been about robbin’ season. Whether it’s literal theft like the season’s opening scene or Earn’s own self-inflicted theft of his newfound managing wealth, Atlanta has managed a clearer, more consistent feel to its second season. I loved the self-contained feel of the first season, but so often interesting things would happen and then be forgotten. The first season was more of a loosely collected series of stories than a connected narrative.
The second season so far has managed to have the entertaining, isolated adventures while also managing a stronger running timeline and set of events. Even if I have questions about how long Earn has suddenly been back in Van’s house. I hope Donald Glover and company keep this up. Atlanta has been really great through three episodes.
Images courtesy of FX
Gotham Reunites its Dynamic Duos
Last time we were in Gotham, Ed’s murderous side was making a return, Bruce seemed ready to give up his drunken nights, and Sophia was having tea with Lee.
We learn this week Sophia doesn’t just want to make good with her sister-in-law. She wants the Narrows to submit, along with a tax. Lee’s willing to kiss the ring, but she knows the people in the Narrows can’t afford a tax. Sophia gives her until the end of the day to give an answer.
Bruce has made his way into the city to reconnect with Alfred, asking him for help. But Alfred doesn’t want anything to do with Bruce. He’s still hurting from being fired like he was just the help.
Elsewhere in the city, Ivy attacks the bar Harvey’s working. He’s not there, but that doesn’t change the fate of the patrons that are there. Jim realizes that Harvey was the target because he was the one to kill her father. They find him at his apartment, but even the threat of Ivy isn’t enough to convince Harvey to work Jim again. He heads off on his own to find her. Using the footage from tapes Ivy sent to news outlets, Jim figures out where Ivy’s been staying. There, he runs into Selina. She was hoping to talk Ivy down. Jim warns her not to engage with her, which means Selina is certainly going to engage with her before the end of the episode.
Lee and Ed are brainstorming to figure out their Sophia problem. Lee’s willing to submit to her, but Ed doesn’t want to give in so easily. He knows there’s something Sophia must want from Lee and they just need to figure out what that is. So he enlists a crackpot team of Gotham’s finest spies, i.e. a bunch of street kids.
Bruce goes to the Siren’s club looking for Selina. After Alfred’s rejection he needs someone to talk to. Selina doesn’t have the time for him, as she’s too busy worrying about Ivy. But she does give him the signature ‘Selina Kyle’ kick in the behind he needs to pull his head out his ass.
Harvey calls Jim with a lead on Ivy, which isn’t suspicious at all considering how resistant he’d been to working with Jim only a short time before. Sure enough, it’s a trap. Ivy has Harvey under her control. She orders Harvey to kill Jim, then himself before she leaves to attend to her other plans.
Jim manages to stall Harvey long enough with some low blow comments to get close enough to knock him out. When he awakes, the toxin has worn off. He remembers enough of what she said to figure out she’s targeting Gotham’s wealthy at an event. Back at the GCPD, they learn the Wayne foundation is having an event that evening. Jim gears up with his force, but Harvey stays behind, still raw from Ivy controlling him.
At the event, Bruce is giving the opening remarks when Alfred walks in. Bruce stops reading the prepared speech in front of him and starts speaking from the heart. His speech becomes one to Alfred, an apology and admittance to what he means to him. It’s the start of a reconciliation. But when he speaks to Alfred directly, he reminds Bruce he’s more than the darkness he sees in himself. It’s still not the thing Bruce is ready to hear and he walks off, leaving Alfred. As he does, Ivy takes the stage with some armed thugs under her control in tow. Alfred, ever the hero, tries to take her out, but he gets knocked out instead.
Jim arrives just moments after she’s taken her first victim. He and the GCPD get into a firefight with Ivy’s intoxicated thugs. Bruce sees Alfred in danger and grabs the tactical gear of a passed out thug to get to him. When Bruce gets to him Alfred implores him, he can do more than just help him.
Bruce does dispatch some of the attackers, but he and Jim cross paths. He’s wearing the gear of Ivy’s men and he has a gun he just took from an attacker. Jim takes the small leap to assume he’s with the others and shoots him. The bullet hits his bulletproof vest and Bruce flees from Gordon, vanishing by the time Jim gets to the rooftop.
Back at Ivy’s, Selina has been waiting for her. She’s not there to reason anymore. Selina destroys the last of the Lazarus water. Their fight comes to a stalemate with Selina ready to kill Ivy if she tries to kill her. Ivy cuts her losses and leaves with one last warning to Selina, don’t get in the way again.
While trying to deal their Sophia problem, Ed’s also been getting more visits from the Riddler. His hallucinations have progressed outside his reflections. The Riddler now follows him around, taunting him with Lee’s death. He almost tells Lee at one point, but instead, he tries to deal with it himself. The only way he knows how to silence the Riddler is by silencing himself, permanently. He gets as far as having a noose around his neck before the Riddler offers an alternative that doesn’t involve them dying. So, he turns himself over to Arkham, preferring being imprisoned there than risk hurting Lee. But the Riddler has one more riddle for Ed. The real reason he wanted to end up in Arkham was to get close to Oswald. He calls Ed ‘Riddler’ and it’s enough to bring the personality to the surface.
Sophia and Lee meet in the Narrows. Lee tries to bargain with the dirt she has on Jim but Sophia isn’t having it. They aren’t having a meeting; it’s an ambush. Sophia’s men kill Lee’s and Sophia smashes Lee’s hand with a hammer herself. Sophia’s now the uncontested Queen of all of Gotham.
Back at the manor, Alfred is treating Bruce’s wounds, just like old times. Bruce’s actions at the fundraiser proved what his words couldn’t. He has changed and he is truly ready for help. And Alfred’s back to stay.
At the GCPD Jim does the thing he’s been trying to do for weeks. He comes clean to Harvey. He admits Sophia used him and she’s behind the Pyg. He’s also resolved to take her down.
All the Dynamic Duos are Back
Reunion brings back some of Gotham’s best pairings while establishing new rivalries. Bruce and Alfred reconciling was enviable. But I do appreciate Bruce still had a little bit of resistance in him when Alfred told him he was more than his darkness. Bruce has been trying to drown himself for the best part of the season. One fever induced future vision quest isn’t going to completely rid him the trauma of killing Ra’s Al Ghul. It was ultimately his own actions that proved Alfred’s words. Bruce chooses to put himself in danger for the sake of protecting others. It didn’t erase his darkness, just proved he could still move forward in spite of it.
Jim and Harvey’s reunion is a wake-up call for both men. Harvey realizes his lone wolf act will get him killed faster than anything else. Jim, on the other hand finally admits he betrayed Harvey for the position of Captain.
The Riddler and the Penguin’s reunion may have been the briefest of the episode but it holds so much promise. Their partnership the first time around was one of the most interesting times for both characters. They’ve always played off each other better as allies than enemies.
In a reverse of Ed and Oswald, Ivy and Selina facing off against each other as former friends brought out interesting dynamics for them both. Ivy’s villainy still feels a bit generic compared to what I’m used to on Gotham. Killing Gotham’s wealthy because they’re not eco-friendly is a bit hard to get behind. Gotham, in general, doesn’t seem like the greenest city so where is she going to stop? But her encounter with Selina did give me shades of what I’ve been wanting from her. A reconnection to her former self, even if they’re enemies now.
It also shows Selina’s genuinely good heart. She cares deeply, even if she has a coarse way of showing it. She’s been a dealt a shit hand by the city most of her life, but she destroys the Lazarus water because it’s too dangerous.
It’s clear at this point Sophia has become Jim’s opponent for this season. It feels like she could be the main antagonist for the season, but Ivy and Jerome prevent that from being a certainty right now. She was horrifically ruthless this episode, and this is after she orchestrated the murder of her father. It was hard seeing Lee get knocked down so far. Especially after she’d come into her own as the leader of Narrows. She tried to play by Gotham’s rules, just a little too late.
Next time promises more fun with duos, a Cat and Bat team up, some antics with the Riddler and Penguin, and a Jim and Sophia confrontation.
Images courtesy of Fox
Faith, Trust, Pixie Dust
Quentin and gang are off to find the Sixth Key, leaving Julia and Fen to fuck around with the fairies. But what if the fairies are the “key” to everything after all?
Quentin and Alice are still fighting over what happened in the Library. Alice insists that she is still on their side. Frustrated, Quentin relents and gives Alice the Quest Book. It turns out the sixth key is in Castle Whitespire. You know, where Eliot and Margot just got overthrown? Quentin, Alice, and Josh — Kady has gone MIA — all cross over to Fillory, onto the now flying Muntjac. Eliot and Margot are still a little bit in denial over the whole dethroning fiasco. Desperate to take Fillory back, they let the others take the lead on the whole questing bit. But they drop Q and gang off at Castle Whitespire, so that’s nice. The quest to getting the next key? Some sort of puzzle involving Fillory’s two half moons. But Josh is only able to solve it by smoking some weed.
Meanwhile, Julia and Fen are still on their saving fairies bent. Julia wants to stage a full-scale revolt, but Sky has been unable to convince the other slave fairies that they actually have magic. Even if she could, there’s still a huge catch: as long as the fairies have their collars on them, they cannot do magic without dying. Hoping to get to the bottom of it, Julia reveals to Irene McAllister that she knows about the McAllister fairies. But with the twist that Julia actually wants to catch a fairy of her own. Irene agrees to give Julia one of the collars, if Julia will bring her a fairy.
Penny is ready to contrive a new escape plan. He learns from Sylvia that there’s a weird room in the library where those who are about to “move on” from the Underworld go to spill all the secrets they never told anyone. Penny corners one of these patrons when they get, convincing them that what lies on the otherside is actually a fate worse than hell. They gives up his MetoCard to “Beyond”, just so Penny can swoop it up. Until Hades makes an appearance. You know, Hades. God of the Underworld? He and Penny have a little chat. In the end, Penny hears him out, and decides to give his sentence to the Underworld Library a shot. He gives the MetroCard to Sylvia instead.
Eliot and Margot bring the Floater Queen and King Idri on board the Muntjac to bargain for their help in retaking Fillory. They’re not having it. Turns out Loria and the Floaters are marching full-out war on Fillory. So Eliot and Margot play the last card they have: magic. Once they complete the quest, they promise to teach the gifted of the Floating Island and Loria magic. Making them just as powerful as Fillorians.
Julia and Fen zip on over to Fillory to chat with the Fairy Queen. Turns out long ago, magicians hunted down fairies on Earth into extinction. Only a few, like the Fairy Queen’s mother, escaped into Fillory to build a new world. They convince her to help them free the enslaved fairies. The McAllisters clap a collar on the Fairy Queen, and put her where the hold the rest of the slaves. But as Julia and Fen search the mansion for the machine, the McAllisters claim removes the collars, they discover it is in fact only a guillotine. The magic, which binds the collars to the fairies, is a fairy deal. A deal which can’t be broken. Except by the Fairy Queen.
As the McAllisters prepare to decapitate all their slaves for their magic essence, the Fairy Queen breaks down and ends the deal. She and the fairy slaves massacre the McAllister family. Only Irene escapes. In repayment for her help, the Fairy Queen thanks Juliet. But she also warns her: the next Key is in the Fairy Realm. And it is the only thing keeping the realm intact. The fairies will not give it to them.
The pacing of this episode was wonky. I mean, more wonky than usual. It seems like a day or two surely must have passed, between Julia’s storyline and Eliot and Margot’s. Are we expected to believe that Quentin, Alice, and Josh have been slaving over the sixth Quest puzzle for a day and a night, in secret? I liked the storyline with Julia and the Fairy Queen fine, but there were just way too much fairies in this episode.
Not to mention, I seem to have missed the part where someone screamed, “Beam me up Scotty!” Because the level of convenient teleportation in this episode was insane. How was everyone getting in between Fillory and Earth with such ease? The Quest Keys? The Fillory clock? It doesn’t even matter, because the rule established in previous episodes until now has indicated that every method of world-jumping is imprecise. It’s based on Narnia, for Christ’s sake. You might find a way to cross over, but you never know when or where you will cross over. Who decided to throw that out the window?
While I enjoyed Alice’s monologue at Quentin over his double standards, it still did ring of too little too late. Yet again. I agree. Why should Quentin get to be surly or indecisive while Alice doesn’t get a pass? Because he’s the protagonist or something?
This hearkens back a bit to the original core of The Magicians as a story. A commentary on fantasy versus expectation. And the dangers of seeing yourself as the protagonist in your world. The effect that has on those you love. Except we haven’t been on that train of thought for, what, like a season? That’s my main issue with every semblance of a character arc which has been crammed in this season. Without the context, without the time put in to these characters, these character moments just crop up like classroom motivational posters. All prose and no impact.
The Magicians is burning the candle from both ends, rushing to get to the end of the Quest. Just as they rushed to defeat the Beast. To defeat Reynard. But what they could really use is a good, slow burn.