Teen Wolf delivered the seventh episode of its last half-season, “The Werewolves of London.” We’re steadily approaching the end, and so we are getting some answers—unfortunately, at the cost of the last shreds of realism.
We see Ethan in London, upset because it seems his boyfriend forgot about their anniversary. Then some Hunters break into his flat. They tie Jackson up with purple wolfsbane and shoot Ethan with a wolfsbane dart. However, he warns them that Jackson is part kanima, so purple wolfsbane doesn‘t work on him. Just then, Jackson breaks through his bonds and beats the two hunters up. He tells Ethan he would never forget about their anniversary.
After the opening credits, we find out that there wasn‘t just one person shot at the end of the previous episode, but several. Melissa—she was in most danger—Agent McCall, Lydia, and Mason. Everyone is going to be all right, though. Melissa tells Scott not to run, and that he should fight. The Sheriff assures him there will be deputies posted around the rooms, because that is clearly going to help against a group of people who successfully held up the entire Sheriff station. Scott realizes this perfectly well, too, and declares to Malia that they will need to build an army.
Scott and Malia meet up with Deucalion, who tells them he is done fighting. He does, however, offer them “guidance”, and advises them to lower their standards for allies. Jackson and Ethan are interrogating the Hunters they captured and find out they were sent by Gerard. They have also been killing werewolves on a large scale. Liam beats up one of Nolan’s friends in school because that’s the wisest course of action at this point. Theo stops Liam from killing him, and the boy tells them that there are “other bodies.”
The Sheriff demands that Tamora gives him the names of the people who shot up Scott’s house, airing all of Gerard’s dirtiest laundry in front of her in an attempt to get her to betray Gerard. She turns the conversation on him by saying he failed as a Sheriff when he didn’t manage to protect people from the supernatural.
Lydia has a vision of a frozen hospital with just one slot in the morgue red hot.
Scott and Malia follow Deucalion’s advice and meet with Peter. He has imprisoned a hunter and gives him a rifle in an attempt to provoke Scott into killing him. It fails, and Scott and Malia leave again, as Peter points out that this war can’t be won without killing and that if Scott won’t do it, he needs to find a Left Hand.
Tamora then takes control of the Sheriff station. I just…is this the Wild West now? Did we suddenly do a time skip?
Malia goes to speak to Peter alone, and lets him see her memories of the Anuk-ite. Peter freaks out. He realizes Malia’s plan is to put enough killers around Scott that they would do what he is too squeamish to. However, he declares a thing like that cannot be fought. He leaves after telling Malia he brought a luxury car for her. She throws the keys back at him. Malia then suggests to Scott they make use of an uncivilized pack called The Primals. Scott says he won’t work with them if they are murderers, which, again, Deucalion? Peter? Rings a bell?
Liam and Theo find the bodies that were eaten by ants and figure out this is the way the Anuk-ite looks for its other half. They also figure out Aaron is one part of the Fear demon.
Scott and Malia find the Primal pack dead—by Anuk-ite, though they don’t know that yet—and Lydia nearby. She was led there by the dead Hellhound, and now she is is looking for another body in the woods. They find two, skinned, and one of them belongs to the Primal pack. It seems they are the ones that Anuk-ite possessed.
Liam and Theo show them the bodies they found, and as they are trying to figure out what to do next, Peter shows up again. He claims he is now willing to fight because Gerard blew up his lovely car. Later when they are alone, Malia points out that he’s lying. We see that what actually convinced him was that Malia was in love with Scott. He warns her away from falling in love with Scott because he will likely die, but Malia says it’s “too late.”
The boy Liam has been interrogating speaks to Nolan and admits he shot up Scott’s house. He also admits to telling Tamora that Nolan did it to save his life. Apparently, Tamora was under the impression Nolan was about to chicken out and wanted to kill him.
Jackson and Ethan walk into Beacon Hills High like they own it, and the first person they speak to is Tamora. She prompty captures them—offscreen, somehow, in the middle of a school hallway—and then tortures them for information on the same rack we saw Theo tortured before.
Of course everyone is going to be okay after being present in a house that got shot up. Naturally. Was anyone expecting anything else? Don’t get me wrong. Like I’ve said before, I don’t actually want the characters to die. But the story requires it, and has required it for quite some time now.
It is true that when it is revealed that the shoot-up was organised by a random high school kid, it’s a little less unbelievable that everyone would survive. But it only begs more questions. Like how they managed to get close enough in the first place? Does Scott have no security measures at all? When he is in the middle of a war? And what exactly happened after the shooting ended? Did the attackers just drive away without making sure their victims were dead? Did the police stop them? If so, how come they don’t know who did it? Or was it simply that the kid was trying to save Nolan’s skin, rather than actually kill anyone? Yet it was a bit too lethal of an attack for that.
Speaking of the police, Scott was entirely right for once. The Sheriff’s declaration that he would find out who was behind the shooting was rather absurd, and so was the promise of protection. They all knew who did it. Not individually, but they knew which group was responsible. And we have known for several episodes now that the local police don’t have the power to stop the genocidal hunters. So the Sheriff’s declaration rang empty. Tamora had a point, too, when she told the Sheriff he’d failed. When you find out that you live in a supernatural hub, the answer is not “run your police force as if everything was normal.”
On the other hand, Tamora’s takeover of the police station was beyond absurd. It came entirely out of the blue, like Beacon Hills suddenly being empty of people last half-season. It seems that in a very Game of Thrones-like manner, the writers decided that the best way to deliver a shock was to let it be without any foreshadowing. But much like in GoT, it just makes for a a bad story.
Mere episodes ago, these people were willing to risk their lives on their Sheriff’s say-so, expecting to be shot by armed militia. No one even tried to clandestinely kill the two werewolves to save their lives. I read that as a proof of their loyalty to the Sheriff. Now, they are apparently listening to the woman who threatened to shoot them all very recently. How exactly are we meant to find this even remotely believable?
On the other side of the army camp, Scott is not doing much better. For one, he apparently already forgot that he himself tried to guide Deucalion into redemption. He is now very surprised that Deucalion doesn’t jump at the idea of killing Gerard. They even quote one of his sadistic killer lines at him and expect it to resonate. If that was your belief, why the hell did you let him go, Scott?
The show, on the other hand, tries to build him up as some sort of wise guide. Given his past, that is deeply upsetting. I want to believe in redemption, but it would take much longer than two years or so to take advice from a mass murderer who swears he is reformed.
I am also pissed that it is implied that Peter is worse than Deucalion. The things Deucalion did were much worse than anything Peter ever got up to. So is the difference now Deucalion’s redemption? As far as we know, Peter doesn’t go around just killing people anymore either. His storyline last half-season was supposed to be about him learning to sacrifice himself. Is it less worthy because he doesn’t spout vaguely Eastern sounding wisdom? Moreover, Peter already risked more than we ever saw Deucalion risk, so what makes him worse than Deucalion again?
Speaking of. Why are we forced to watch Peter’s will-he-or-won’t-he (join the righteous cause) again? We already did that last half-season. Even that wasn’t particularly well executed, but it doesn’t mean they should try the very same thing again. Especially when they do it equally bad, or, as the case may be, even worse. Peter was influenced by Malia being in love with Scott? Really? Why was he not influenced by her being in danger, something we already know he would risk his life for? There should not have even been any discussion. They should have called and he should have come, just with a little bit of sass thrown in. There are plenty of other areas of conflict they could have concentrated on instead.
Like the conflict about Scott’s insistence on keeping his hands clean. Yes, that could have been something more than it was. Especially if we were actually shown the price of this. If people on his side died because Scott had a chance to kill Gerard or Tamora and didn’t take it, it would finally show the complicated moral issue for what it is. Instead, we get a rehash of the same old thing as Scott is held up as some pinnacle of morality rather than a complicated human being.
And why did we have the scene with Scott saying “no more half-measures”? It sounded like he was finally driven to extremes, but then he did…nothing. All right then.
The one good thing about Peter’s storyline, I suppose, was that they did not go the “overprotective father” route. Maybe Peter feels that given he had already tried to kill Scott once, so he did his part?
But to end on a positive note, Jackson and Ethan are the best couple. I miss Danny, I do, but their combination is priceless. I was very happy to see them back on the screen.
All images courtesy of MTV
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Should Let Rosa Date Gina
Google most non-canon LGBT ships, and you get results for various fanfiction sites, maybe an article or two about why they should be canon, why the show is clearly missing the opportunity of a lifetime. Google Rosa/Gina—dubbed Dianetti—and you get tweets from the two actresses involved.
Finally the truth is out
— Stephanie Beatriz (@iamstephbeatz) September 4, 2017
Though media has made huge strides in the past decade or so with LGBT relationships, there is still a lot to be done. Queerbaiting remains common, as does the bury your gays trope. Relationships—especially wlw ones—are still seen as less valid, less possible, than their straight counterparts; this is in part due to many writers, actors, and showrunners continuing to tease of F/F relationships. By creating a dynamic where two women are clearly not just friends (and, of course, never making that dynamic explicitly romantic either), they get the best of both worlds: LGBT viewers who crave representation with none of the potential backlash for so-called political correctness.
The Beauty of B99
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, however, has never fallen into that trap. Holt and Kevin may be the subject of many jokes, but they are never the butt of any. Similarly, topics like racial profiling and police corruption are taken seriously. It is a comedy show, but it is also a show that recognizes the power of its platform. Where another show would tease these topics and turn them into a punchline, Brooklyn Nine-Nine turns them into a discussion.
So, of every show on television, I know that Brooklyn Nine-Nine would treat Rosa and Gina well. That is an important part of the discussion that is oft forgotten: representation does not end when it begins. Instead, it is an ongoing process, most successful when the writers and showrunners make continued efforts to deepen and better their characters and relationships. When we ask for representation, we are asking for a commitment: at the very minimum, do not kill them. Because that is still often too much to ask, we never get to the next step: do not cheapen them, do not forget them. Do not let them be a checked box on a list of things a show needs to have.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine has proven they can do it. So why don’t they?
The Case For Dianetti
Over the past four seasons, we have seen Gina and Rosa flit in and out of various relationships. All the while, however, they have been there for each other.
Rosa is closed-off, awkward whenever the slightest hint of emotions are involved; Gina, on the other hand, is as open a book as she could possibly be. In the same way that Jake and Amy build on each other and make each other grow, Rosa and Gina could do the same.
In the past, the show has paired Rosa with men who are too different or too similar. Marcus was very openly emotional, and while the importance of having such a character cannot be understated, he was not right for Rosa. Adrien, then, had the opposite problem: he and Rosa never truly get to know each other during their relationship because both were content being unattached in that way.
Enter Gina. She is the perfect option, the perfect mix of emotional and independent; she is the one who can make Rosa consistently smile, the one who isn’t semi-scared of her at all times.
There are not many women on television that are like Rosa, and to give her a chance to find true, lasting love would be very valuable to many viewers. Having her and Gina both go through several unsuccessful relationships is good—it’s realistic and done well. But just as Jake and Amy found each other, just as Kevin and Holt found each other, I would like to see Rosa and Gina do the same.
In a world where F/F ships are punchlines to jokes that weren’t funny the first time, it is a rare and very special thing to see such an opportunity supported by both actresses involved. We have the support, and we have the chance; all that remains is for Brooklyn Nine-Nine to take the leap.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine consistently surprises me with the topics they are willing to tackle and the grace with which they do so. So, as it returns this month for its fifth season, I hope that they will tackle Rosa/Gina next.
Images courtesy of Fox
The Neighbors from Hell
This week’s episode of American Horror Story: Cult opens with a blonde woman, Rosie, speaking with Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) about how thanks to him she’s overcome her fear of being trapped in dark places. (Sidebar: why is Ally the only important woman without white/blonde hair in this show?) When Rosie and her husband Mark, return home, however, they are accosted by clowns and nailed into coffins. Rosie’s worst nightmare that she admitted to Dr. Vincent. It makes you wonder if the Doctor is part of the cult. Hmm…
Switching up the timeline of things (again), we return to where we left off after last week’s episode; the Mayfair-Richards household following Ally’s (Sarah Paulson) gun play. Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes) assures Ally that he doesn’t think charges will be pressed because the murder of Pedro was in self defense. Though Ivy (Allison Pill) knows it was accidental and not self defense, she agrees with the Detective and the power finally returns.
The next day, protestors gather outside the Butchery on Main, branding Ally as the “lesbian George Zimmerman,” and the news is there to broadcast the protest. Unable to show her face, Ally is forced to stay in the car while Ivy goes to work. Before Ally can go home, however, she is confronted by Kai (Evan Peters) who calls her brave. He tells her to never apologize and that he’ll take care of the mob for her. When Ally does arrive home, she receives a very different greeting from Meadow (Leslie Grossman) and Harrison (Billy Eichner). The couple, dressed in sombreros, condemn the accidental murder and accuse her of being a racist.
Ally and Ivy are unable to avoid the news of the protestors on television. The news finally moves on to announce the deaths of Rosie and Mark, who were found in coffins in their home with a smiley face symbol painted above them. The same symbol that was found on the Changs’s house.
Things turn to the strange (or stranger, anyway), the next day when Ivy and Ally find dozens of dead crows in their yard. It gets stranger yet when Winter accidentally lets an unknown man into the house. The man was responding to an ad on Craigslist that listed lesbians looking for pleasure from a man.
During a phone session, Dr. Vincent talks to Ally about the Craigslist ad. It’s in this scene that we get our first election reference of the episode, a record few this time. Dr. Vincent suggests Ally file a police report then asks for an emergency meeting to talk about an inpatient facility. Ally (obviously) disagrees with the doctor’s assessment and ends the call. When she reaches town, protestors accost her car, but with a single word Kai is able to get them to leave.
Returning home, Ally and Ivy find Oz and Winter playing with a guinea pig with a cisnormative name. They learn that the animal was a gift from Meadow. When Ally tells him that he cannot keep the pet, Oz lashes out and says that he wishes Ally wasn’t around. Ally then calls Harrison who is sitting with Meadow and Detective Samuels. Harrison states that he likes Oz but not Ally, and that Oz needs testosterone in the house. Angry, when Ally sees a truck spraying green mist, she chases the truck down to no avail.
Elsewhere, Meadow and Kai play the pinky game. When asked for her greatest fears, Meadow offers a superficial fear that Kai slaps her for. This is a revolution and he doesn’t want his time wasted. Kai calls her out as being afraid of never really being loved.
In a rare moment of levity and normalcy, the Mayfair-Richards family having a nice family dinner at the Butchery on Main. Oz apologizes for lashing out at Ally, and she decides to let Oz keep Mr. Guinea. When they arrive home, however, what was a good night takes a turn. smiley face is painted on the door, and Mr. Guinea blows up in the microwave.
Ally crosses the street and enters the neighbors house where she assaults Harrison. She accuses the couple of being responsible for all the wrong that has been done to them, but Meadow is genuinely scared when she hears about the smiley face. Ally escalates matters and threatens to kill them before leaving. Ivy finally reaches her breaking point with Ally, calling her out on her absurd reactions, when Oz points out that the same smiley face is on the side of the Wilton’s house. Instead of warning the couple, however, Ivy and Oz return home. Ally follows behind, only to find mysterious people spraying a green substance on her lawn. When she tries to reveal their faces, she finds smiley faces in the place of where real faces should be.
Meadow is not the only Wilton to play the pinky game with Kai. This time, Harrison plays, and does a better job telling the truth to Kai than his wife. He admits that he wishes Meadow were dead.
When Detective Samuels calls on the Mayfair-Richards home, Ally talks to him with crazy eyes about her conspiracy theory. She’s finally the one that seems to be making some sense and no one is listening. It makes her look even crazier to have make-up smeared down her face.
The conversation is halted by Oz’s scream. His mothers immediately head upstairs to find him closing his laptop. He admits that he got past Ivy’s parental controls as he saw her type in the password once, “Clownz”. Sorry Ivy, but you’re starting to look pretty suspicious here. Ivy and Ally finally convince Oz to reveal what’s on the computer. It is a video of Ally in the bath getting fingered by Winter. Whomp, there it is.
Ivy wastes no time retaliating once they bring their conversation to the hallway and punches Ally in the face. She starts yelling about Ally breaking their family, while Ally seems hung up on the fact that someone planted a camera in their bathroom. Both valid points.
Not willing to stay in the same house as her cheating wife, Ivy prepares Oz to leave with her. Just as they are about to leave, however, police arrive across the street. They exit the house to find Harrison is freaking out and upon seeing her, accuses Ally of murdering Meadow. He woke up covered in Meadow’s blood, Meadow nowhere to be found. While the adults were arguing, Oz returns to the house. His mothers run after him to find him staring at the walls. Walls that are now covered in blood with a bloody smiley symbol on the living room wall.
At this point, it seems as if the cult behind all the murders and strange happenings in this small Michigan town is larger than expected. In fact, it seems almost as if Ally and Oz are the only ones that aren’t part of the cult. With Meadow and Harrison both deferring to Kai, it appears that the blue-haired man might be one of the ring leaders. But then again, there’s also Dr. Vincent and Ivy to think about. Where do they fit? Are they secretly behind it all? And if Ivy is involved, what is it about Ally that makes her want to torture her so much?
With more questions raised in this episode, such as the questionable green substance, it’s easy to wonder where this cult is going, but perhaps the biggest question is; do we really care?
Images courtesy of FX
Outlander Slows Things Down for Episode 2
This week’s Outlander was much slower than last week’s, returning to the steady pace they set in the first few episodes of both seasons 1 and 2. Unlike other shows that use this tactic (*cough* The Walking Dead *cough*), it works in Outlander because of how invested I am in the characters, no matter what they’re doing.
Like last week, this week’s episode divided its time between Jamie in the 18th century and Claire in the 20th. Jamie is at Lallybroch with his family, but he’s a wanted man. The redcoats frequently harass Jenny and Ian, even randomly throwing Ian in the clink in the hopes that they’ll all decide to betray Jamie’s whereabouts. Since they don’t ever really do anything to him, and he seems largely friendly with the soldiers, it’s a fairly empty threat.
Still, it’s dangerous, because in the aftermath of Culloden, being a Scot in Scotland was essentially outlawed. By that I mean clans were no longer allowed to wear their tartans, bagpipes were banned, and Scots weren’t allowed weapons (except I guess what they had to have to have hunt, like a bow and arrow or a knife).
Jamie has gone full-on wild man of the woods, complete with giant beard and long hair. He doesn’t really speak, just brings offerings of excessively large game (seriously, it was huge) and makes crazy eyes at people. Fergus, my dear son, is still in his service, and for all that it’s been 6 years, he’s not that much taller or older. It’s like the Stark kids in reverse.
While Ian’s locked up, Jenny goes into labor a bit early, and her sons Robbie and Jamie see a raven perched on the gate. They tell Fergus that a raven’s bad luck and can mean the death of the baby. The boys found a pistol hidden in the dovecot, so of course they use it to shoot the bird. Because why not!? Pistols aren’t against the law or anything.
The redcoats hear the shot because black powder guns are LOUD, and of course the tenacious captain brings some of his boys around. Unfortunately Jamie chose that moment to come a-visiting, so he’s walking around the house carrying his new nephew when the English show up.
Jamie hides and Jenny tells them the baby died, and while the commander is being semi-respectful, his corporal, a Scot named MacGregor, is a real ass. Ultimately the maid shows up with the pistol and says it was her dead husband’s, and she shot at a raven to scare it away.
The commander says to leave her, she’s no threat, and the soldiers leave. Fergus is giving them the stink eye as they go, and apparently it gives the Scottish corporal the idea to follow him, thinking he’ll lead them to Jamie. He’s wise to their bumbling, however, and he leads them away from Jamie’s cave. He taunts them as Jamie, hiding in the woods, watches in horror.
The soldiers catch Fergus and the corporal, um…chops his hand off with a sword. Which wasn’t nearly as violent and/or bloody as it could have been, thank goodness, because my poor son! As soon as they’re gone, Jamie wraps his stump and carries him back to the house.
Fergus later tells Jamie he’s lucky, because when he first hired him, Jamie swore if Fergus was hurt while in his service, Jamie would keep him for the rest of his days. “With one blow I’ve become a man of leisure,” he says with a grin.
Fergus’s maiming causes Jamie to realize that hiding out isn’t helping anyone. He tells Jenny and Ian they have to turn him in, partly to get the hefty reward money, but also so that the soldiers know once and for all that Jenny’s loyal to the Crown. She isn’t happy about it AT ALL, but she agrees. She sends her maid out to Jamie’s cave with some food, and she helps him shave the beard and cut his hair.
She also takes her dress off and offers him some old-fashioned comfort, which he reluctantly (and tearfully) accepts.
Later Jamie shows up at Lallybroch acting all “Jenny, it’s me after all this time! I certainly haven’t been hiding in a cave in the woods for the past few years! What a random happenstance!” The soldiers are there, of course, and he’s carted off while Jenny watches, crying.
Meanwhile in the future (which is our past, but not AS past as Jamie’s time), Claire is trying to be a full time mom and housewife. If y’all learned anything about Claire the last 2 seasons, you should’ve learned that that would NEVER work. It starts with her fantasizing about Jamie while Frank sleeps next to her, then the two of them having sex while she thinks about Jamie. Poor Frank.
After a dinner party one night she seduces him in front of the fire, but when she won’t open her eyes to look at him, he stops and tells her that when they’re together, he’s with her, but she’s with Jamie. She doesn’t deny it, and after that they go back to being much more distant.
Later Claire enrolls in medical school, and all the little white boys in her class are Shook. But they’re even MORE shook when a Black man walks in. He sits next to Claire and introduces himself to her, and in that moment a beautiful friendship was born.
The episode ends with Claire and Frank crawling into bed to say goodnight. Claire turns off the light and lies down to sleep, and as the camera pulls back we see they’re now sleeping in twin beds. I guess their pretense of returning to their marriage has ended, and they’re staying together mostly for Bree’s sake.
Like I said, this was kind of a slow episode. Not a lot happened, really. It was mostly about Jamie and Claire trying to adjust to their new lives without each other. Jamie is essentially dead inside, a shell of himself, while Claire has Bree to think of.
They both tread water for a time, but eventually realize they have to figure out some way to keep going. Jamie turns himself in to the English because he knows he’s hurting his family and putting them at risk by being a fugitive. Even if they never find him hiding out on Fraser land, they’ll always suspect Jenny and Ian are sheltering him, and one day they may not be so congenial when they cart Ian off to jail.
If I have a criticism of the episode, it’s that Fergus losing his hand—a moment that shocked Jamie back to life, so to speak—lacked some of the punch it was clearly meant to have. Maybe I was just really tired, but my reaction was kinda like, “Oh no my son! Welp. Sucks for him.” I don’t know what they could’ve done differently with it. I certainly didn’t need it to be gorier. I guess it just seemed sort of…sudden? And possibly after Jack Randall’s antics, any old dastardly redcoat just doesn’t really compare. The whole thing was a little rushed in an episode that otherwise took its time.
I’m gonna admit it, y’all: I hate seeing Jamie with another woman! I can deal with Claire with Frank, but Jamie with the serving lady (who was very nice and very brave) had me seeing red. Like, duh he believes Claire’s gone forever, and it’s not like I’m mad at Jamie for seeking comfort with someone else—he needs to move on and get out of his emo phase. But STILL! Logic be damned!!!
I honestly love this show and these characters, so I really could watch them stare at their shoes for an hour, but having said that—I hope next week picks up the pace just a li’l bit. Just a smidge. Especially on Claire’s side, because while yeah I love seeing her make That Face She Makes when men are sexist jerks, I want her to have something more to do than miss Jamie. Medical school and her career should definitely help that issue.
All in all, this was a solid filler episode, and I was glad to see Jenny and my (now one-handed) son Fergus again. Next week we’ll re-meet Sir John Grey, so that should be interesting. Also I wanna see more baby Bree because that is a super cute baby. Like, wow.
Episode Grade: B. It wasn’t as good as last week, but it’s a great show, so it earns some generosity from me. Also all the emotional notes were spot-on.