The moment has come, one both dreaded and looked forward to. Across a period of 25 years we hadn’t only waited for the narrative’s return – we have also held our breath for a sense of finality. On a grand scope, the waiting game led to this two-part finale, wherein we could finally experience some atonement for the grief and hurt of the series’ cancellation. And that may just be the keyword in matters of intent and dynamic: Atonement. Is some redemption due for Cooper’s uncertain fate in the Black Lodge, for the executive interference that stunted the original run? Yes, there is. But now that David Lynch and Mark Frost are at freedom to do their art as they will it, they also get to choose the means and delivery. Here is the cue for controversy to rear its controversial head.
These days, it seems there are two variants within the Twin Peaks‘ fandom. Such is my observation, anyway. Those who look on the series with nostalgia, and those who do not. Considering the former, one may ask, what precisely did these people love from the original series? Was it the quirks, the coffee and cherry pie – notably absent (for the most part) in The Return? Was it the darkness and the horror – still alive and well? Whatever the case, some have proven blind to one fact: the creators have matured across these 25 years; especially David Lynch, having directed some of his darkest work, notably Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire, in this period. Expecting a catering to the past from Lynch and Frost is misguided, if not truly asinine.
Therefore, reception on The Return has been a dichotomy. But at no point may it prove as divisive as the spectrum of thoughts about The Finale proper. Some are quick to decry it; others praise it. Though I belong in the latter, I can clearly see a sensible reasoning to the controversy, as it highlights both the creators’ strengths and weaknesses. Nonetheless, one this is for sure: people will be talking about this for a while. In terms of dynamic, it’s all surprisingly succinct. But there is far more to say on what it suggests.
The first part opens, unfortunately, with a weakness on part of the creators. Though Frost and Lynch are efficient storytellers (we wouldn’t be here if they weren’t), pacing escapes their dominion a few times. Far be it from me to say I, or anyone, could have done better, but nobody likes exposition. COLE reveals some information to Albert (and Tammy by proximity) which he’d withheld. Namely a plan created by Coop, Major Briggs and he to track and defeat an evil entity called “Jowday”, who eventually ended being called Judy. No wonder Jeffries didn’t want to talk about ‘her’ back in Fire Walk With Me. Therefore, this mysterious name that had accompanied us for a while reveals itself as the villain on a greater scope than either BOB or Coopelganger. We may get flashbacks from Part 8 and Part 14, with BOB’s ‘mother’ and the thing possessing Sarah Palmer, respectively.
After hearing Cooper’s message from last episode (and finding that Dougie Jones is Dale Cooper), the FBI folks take off towards Twin Peaks. Evil Cooper is also on the way, which spells a dreadful event to unfold; Naido herself is particularly restless, as she senses his approach. He finally arrives at Jack Rabbit’s Palace/White Lodge, where the Fireman transports him outside of the Sheriff’s Department. Cue intense foreboding at the danger this being represents for the likes of Harry, Lucy, Hawk, etc. Although Mr. C keeps the harmless facade of being Cooper, Andy is quick to pick up that this is not Cooper by the fact he refused a cup of coffee. From here on, the tempo is going to pick up dangerously with several events preceding the ‘boss fight’ at Sheriff Truman’s office.
First, Chad breaks out and holds Andy at gunpoint while he goes to free Naido from the cell. This leads Freddie to bust out as well in order to save Andy’s life and knock Chad out in the process. Meanwhile, Sheriff Truman receives a call from the real Cooper, who’s on the way, making for a tense silence as Booper reaches for his gun to kill Frank. An unlikely hero makes the save in the nick of time, though. Of all people to take out Mr. C, once and for all, it’s Lucy who shoots Evil Coop. Dale arrives shortly after, and everybody gathers in the Sheriff’s office to witness the Woodsmen’s gig, after which, BOB’s spirit emerges from the body. After a gruelling battle, Freddie fulfills his destiny by destroying BOB forever.
Dale putting the Owl Ring on his doppelganger’s finger seals the deal, effectively banishing him for good and giving us that resolution we so anxiously needed. There have been mixed views on the fact Freddie got to do the actual showdown rather than Cooper himself. But we ought to remember, this is not Hollywood. In face of what is to take place, it’s reasonable for a new, strapping young hero to do the physical dimension of the fray. This doesn’t remove the focus from Coop at all, because his work is just about to begin. COLE and the FBI arrive in time to see him through to the first steps.
No Way Back
Here is where things get a little complex. There is a definite sense of fatefulness, seeing all these characters gathered here, all united by two factors. They’re good people, and they’re all confused as fuck – there is plenty they don’t know. Some visual cues, like Cooper’s face as an ephemeral overlay over the scene lead the viewers to think they’re still in the dark about some things. Only Cooper himself seems to be in the know of the whole picture. Naido approaches him, and her facade crumbles to reveal her real self: she is the true Diane. Afterwards, Coop, Diane and COLE (The Lynchian trio par excellence) are transported to the Great Northern Hotel’s boiler room. Here be the source of that humming sound that mystified Ben, Beverly, James and Freddie.
Dale uses the hotel room key he got from Truman (originally facilitated by Jade) to open that door. After saying his farewells to both Diane and COLE, he crosses over into the dark unknown. Here, he meets MIKE, who once more speaks his “Fire Walk With Me” poem. His delivery is still as chilling as the first time, if not more so, and it sets the tone for the next encounter: Cooper meeting Jeffries. He will transport him to the place where he’ll find Judy, who apparently is the symbol represented on both the Owl Ring and Evil Coop’s card. Now, it’s not actually a place, but a date – February 23, 1989. The last night of Laura Palmer’s life. The scene is a black and white rendition of Laura riding with James in Fire Walk With Me.
As opposed to usual feeling of loneliness and tragedy that comes with “Laura Palmer’s theme”, seeing Cooper here, preventing her from meeting Leo and Jacques, imbues it with hope. This is especially true considering she’d seen him in a dream, facilitated by the painting she got from Mrs. Tremond/Chalfont. The colours seep into the scene at the moment she grabs his hand. As a consequence her death is erased from time. So when Peter Martell goes to the shore that morning, he’ll find nothing dead, wrapped in plastic. The tragedy is averted, but something occurs as a consequence. No, I don’t mean a time paradox. In response to Cooper’s intervention, a scorned Sarah Palmer throws a fit, stabbing Laura’s homecoming portrait.
Laura disappears out of existence with a scream as Cooper leads her out of the woods. This won’t be nearly as easy as we thought, will it? This episode comes to a close with Julee Cruise singing “The World Spins“, which we may ruefully remember from Season 2, Episode 9: Maddy Ferguson’s death. That was a tragic failure to prevent a death. Will this prove different?
All throughout this final episode, there is a strong sense of inescapability. This is first highlighted by the tulpa MIKE creates in the Black Lodge, which ends up filling the gap in Janey-E and Sonny Jim’s lives after Cooper left. This is one end tied for good. After Laura’s disappearance, Cooper finds himself back in the Black Lodge where he has some brief and cryptic encounters with MIKE, the Arm, and Leland – who urges him to find Laura. Dale comes out of the Lodge into the woods, and finds Diane who asks if it’s really him. This question first come off as surprise giving in to relief. However, we’ll notice that from here on out, there’s something different about Cooper. While he is good at heart, he does exhibit some traits from his doppelganger, namely a disposition for violence and a distant tone while speaking.
Together, Cooper and Diane embark on a very special road trip. Their destination is not a place they actually know, rather they’re following the Fireman’s reminders from Part 1. Dale stops the car precisely on mile 430, after which, there won’t be any chance to come back. Diane’s silent anxiety prior to this moment is an ominous hint on what they’re heading into. The sensation is further enhanced by Lynch’s long takes, which help build up tension, and then some. After ‘crossing over’, we find Cooper driving a lonely road at night; unnerving seeing as how closely we’ve associated the image with his evil couterpart. Eventually they stop at a motel for some rest and love making. Here is where things get heavier.
Motion-wise, sexual intercourse between Cooper and Diane is no different to that of willing people who crave each other. But closer attention on Diane’s body language and expression makes all the difference. There doesn’t seem to be any actual pleasure as she rides him; it’s mostly momentum. In the process, she covers his face with her hands, and her anguished face is looking straight at the ceiling. This is not an act of lust, but a desperate act of healing. Diane is desperately trying to reconcile the experience of her rape at the hands of her lover’s doppelganger. The fact that “A Prayer” by The Platters is playing on the background only adds to the contrast of act and mood. If not for the fact this song featured on Part 8 just before the Woodsmen’s mantra, it would fit perfectly for some fucking.
But we can no longer dissociate both song and event in this series. In a similar way, Diane struggles to dissociate Cooper and Mr. C as two separate individuals. As Cooper wakes up alone the next day, it seems the pain of the trauma was too much, so Diane leaves the journey, leaving him a farewell note. In this note, she acknowledges him as Richard and herself as Linda. Thus we got the second reminder from the Fireman. Remember Richard and Linda. This proves Richard Horne a red herring to the theory there was a second Booper kid running around by the name of Linda. But more importantly, it’s a hint that in this ‘world’ or ‘continuity’ sans Laura’s murder, they’re different people. Regardless, Cooper has to go on by himself.
Dale Cooper drives through Odessa, Texas on the lookout for something. Soon enough, he finds a clue on a Coffee Shop: Judy’s, of course. His demeanour, actions and speech are all a disturbingly strong shade of Mr. C in this place. After telling off three cowboy dudebros harassing the waitress (Francesca Eastwood), he disarms them all with scary-vicious competence, a tint darker than ‘Dougie’ disarming The Spike. He then basically holds EVERYONE at gun point, while demanding the waitress give him the address of the other waitress, who hasn’t come to work lately. I swear, this kinda sounds like the Terminator looking for Sarah Connor. Still, he kills nobody; Coop’s still Coop – he’s anti-hero Coop.
So, ‘C-800’ arrives at the address. The visual cue of the paramount importance to this place is the Utility Pole number 6, which we’ve seen several times during The Return and in Fire Walk With Me. There is audible electricity crackling in case we didn’t remember the appearances above. And who’s that at the door, if not Laura Palmer, having aged as she would have, had she not been murdered? Except, she is not Laura Palmer – her name is Carrie Page, which falls in line with ‘Richard’ and ‘Linda’ instead of ‘Dale’ and ‘Diane’. Cooper doesn’t go Kyle Reese with the whole “come with me if you want to live”, but he does tell her he needs to take her to Twin Peaks as he believes Carrie is truly Laura Palmer.
Carrie acknowledges that she’d tell him to leave, if not for the fact that she’s in a pickle, needing to get out of Texas quick. Yes, a dead body in her living room seems a sensible reason to skip work and put some distance from her current location. So, Dale and Carrie embark on the second bit of the road trip – a lengthy drive up north. Upon arrival, Coop locates the Palmers’ house, but finds that Carrie doesn’t recognise the house, and the Palmers don’t live here. In fact, the house’s new occupants have never heard of anyone of the Palmer family. There is no link whatsoever with the narrative of Twin Peaks here, much to Cooper’s confusion. None, except for one. It was a Mrs. Chalfont who sold the house to the current owner, Alice Tremond (Mary Reber).
Fealing defeated, Cooper wonders aloud what year is this. You can tell the desperation in his voice. Carrie then hears Sarah Palmer’s voice calling for her from within the house, thus bringing the memories of all the horror back into her mind. As Carrie screams in terror, the lights on the house shut down, and the scene fades to black, bringing The Return to an end, and a flood of questions as immediate reaction for the viewer. There is no performance on the Roadhouse to nurse our feelings as the credits roll. Only a dismal melody with an opaque image of Laura whispering on Cooper’s ear.
It’s an ending, but what kind of an ending is this? Happy? tragic? good? bad? uncertain? gratuitously confusing? lazy? astounding? I’ve heard arguments for all these adjectives. My personal input: brilliant. I need not justify my opinion (I’ve gotten shit because of it by some zealous fans on Facebook groups) but I’ll give my personal thoughts.
What was my personal reaction at seeing the finale for the first time? Bewilderment, and I’m sure I’m not alone on this. I knew it would be naîve to go in expecting nothing but a wholesome triumph for the good guys, and a suitable comeuppance for the evildoers. In a way, we did get that (at a huge price) – but the setting had never been (even in the original run) a mold for a traditonal story of good vs. evil. It could never be that simple; it’s not Game of Thrones, for fuck’s sakes: there’s no plot armour, there’s no guy gets girl (though it’s incest, which is okay now, for some reason). Thus I was prepared to acknowledge my essentially humble position as a viewer. For I don’t hold the cards, the creators do.
I dared to feel surprised, which is precisely what defined my experience of the original run. Not even on second watch, but merely on actually reflecting upon what I watched, I got a sense of clarity on the Finale. The mood was bleak, but there is plenty in there to read triumph in Cooper’s journey. Then, I reasoned that Cooper was the Magican from MIKE’s monologue. Braving a broken temporality, a duality of worlds, he longed to see the way to defeat evil, to defeat Judy. Therefore, he fire-walked through peril and doom for this purpose. That’s what I extrapolated then, and my understanding only got more nuanced, more open to explore new interpretations.
I understood that, at its core, the narrative of Twin Peaks is not about eating donuts with coffee; it’s about carrying a light into some of the darkest depths of human existence. Outside of it, the constant subversion to expectations on entertainment back in the early nineties, and now in the 21st century are whole delight of its own. Thus, Twin Peaks: The Return expanded upon the mechanisms of storytelling, explored new depths and altogether, did more than replicate the experience of those magical first seasons. It surpassed it. Now, one would be hard pressed to find a series with no narrative faults, and The Return isn’t one such series. It does have its flaws in narrative and pacing, and unexploited imagery and characters (What the fuck happened with Audrey?). But the graces definitely outshine the flaws.
Now, many series give the viewer a tightly packed outcome on the final episode. But not many leave enough room for either a new season that might or not happen, and could still hold on its own if it didn’t. And few still engage the audience’s imagination and reasoning like Twin Peaks did across the entire run. Across the series, film and books’ length, Lynch and Frost have given us the hints, the motifs and cues to generate discussion and theorise. Therefore, we can partake of the discourse in a far more active way than we may with an air-tight finale. Encouraging this kind of communcation with the medium is something that has been attributed to the likes of George Lucas (when his reputation was worth something). Thusly, we can expect fan theories and fanfics galore. Here’s a personal favourite.
Regardless of the polarity of opinion, this will be in the tongue and head of the viewers for a while. It’s the kind of thing that invites you to rewatch. Not merely to experience it again, but to rethink it, and discover new things beneath the image. Through intent, delivery and aftermath, Twin Peaks: The Return has proved exceptionally ambitious. Having reached the ending, was it worth it, all those 25 years? Of course it was.
Thank you for reading.
Twin Peaks: The Return – Parts 17 & 18 Credits
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Mark Frost and David Lynch
In loving memory of Jack Nance
All images are courtesy of Showtime
Black Lightning Episode 1-5 In Review
This week, Black Lightning is on a hiatus so here are some thoughts on the show so far. New episodes return next week.
As a whole, Black Lightning is one of my favorite shows on TV right now, and of the 381 (I have a list) shows I’ve watched in my 24 years. It does so many things well, and what I don’t like is situated in a very specific context. For example, I love how the show hammers home that there are consequences to everything.
Consequences and Bad Guys
Last week’s episode ended with Jefferson as Black Lightning knocked out in the water when his suit gave him problems in a fight with Joey Toledo, Tobias’ right hand man. It was a bleak moment, but highlights how everything feels grounded! From the fights between Jefferson and various baddies, the deaths we’ve seen, and to Tobias doing anything, nothing is cartoonish. There are consequences to actions.
Sure dropping a lackey into a tank of piranhas is a bit much…but Tobias is terrible and terrifying and his traumatic childhood is not used as an excuse for his current actions. Rather they situate Tobias and Tori as adults (whose ages we don’t actually know) trying to control their world. I wonder if Tori has her own crime syndicate in Miami? Oh hey, that would be a cool webseries…
The dedication to showing consequences of people’s actions does have me worried with the portrayal of Khalil’s future arc. I understand the impetus behind his arc. Unless the writers flip the script, it’ll highlight how easy it is for people like Tobias and his lackeys to prey on young men without other options.
And I do not mean to simplify the many reasons why a young man may choose to deal drugs or why there is violence across so many American cities. But Khalil’s existence now for Tobias is as a scapegoat to turn BL into the bad guy. Again, disability in DCTV is merely a plot point for villains or temporary.
On the flip side, Anissa as an out and proud activist lesbian is awesome!
Ladies Loving Ladies
Once the season ends, I’ll write a full length piece on Anissa, Chenoa, and Grace. Even with only three episodes to really pull from, the writers established a lot about Anissa and Freeland. We saw in week 2 how she had a key for Chenoa’s place, and her parents knew her name, but that’s as far as that one year relationship had gone. Their sex was mindblowing, sure (which how incredible to finally see two Black woman make love as an affirmative thing), but Anissa wasn’t committed to Chenoa. Understandably she was pissed at the Ruby Red Lipstick Bar (I love that Freeland has a lesbian bar) and said some hurtful things to Anissa.
I wish we had (or maybe we will) seen Chenoa one last time, but the moment Anissa laid eyes on Grace, it was pretty clear we were getting the slow-burn there. And this is what’s so great about the show, by five episodes both Anissa and Grace have been affirmatively labeled by the show as a lesbian and bisexual woman. No need to assume and no need for obnoxious fandom labeling conversations.
However, with Grace as a super recurring character, who knows when we’ll see Chantal Thuy next and how she’ll factor into the next portion of Anissa’s development into Thunder. And if she receives a series regular promotion, whether or not she joins the Pierce family+Gambi shenanigans.
Pierce Family Passion
I LOVE ONE FAMILY. Look, representation is not revolutionary and won’t meet any of our material needs on a global scale. Instead, representation is required and our media should look like us. But I’d be remiss to say that centering a show on a Black man who loves his family isn’t a huge freaking deal!!!
Specifically because of the racist sentiment that Black fathers aren’t around for their kids. This doesn’t consider that a) 1.5 million Black men are “missing” or b) the Black men that are fathers, they are the most involved with their children of any other group of dads!
So watching Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce, completely in love with his ex-wife and two daughters is stunning and I am so glad the show is about the Pierce family now instead of Jefferson years ago. Their passion for their home and each other is one of the bigger successes of the show.
(Though I’d love a flashback of him first realizing his powers since it would have been in response to a very emotional moment).
Who is he? We know he and Alvin Pierce were super close, he’s Jefferson’s surrogate father, and from an interview that the girls think of him as a grandpa. Yet we’ve only seen him interact with JefferLynn and Tobias! And he knows Tori? I want to know everything about him and really hope the next eight episodes reveal more. As the only white guy the writers invite us to care about, Gambi is important. He’s got this amazing boutique and clearly knows his technology. (Is he making Anissa’s outfit?)
But he’s hiding more than Tobias from Jefferson, like what I assume is his understanding that Anissa was on camera in episode 3. Likely more secrets related to Alvin Pierce too. Plus just how does he afford all his tech? The show is so good with details that it seems suspect we’ve yet to see more of that aspect…
Otherwise, Gambi is a really interesting lens into the show’s statements about so many issues.
The show has effectively made multiple statements not just about police brutality, drugs, or violence. Even the brief mention of the Tuskeegee experiments is significant with Greenlight and its entry into Freeland. I think its usage of Gambi as BL’s greatest champion as a hero pulled out of “retirement” as compared to Anissa and soon Jennifer’s journeys is really compelling.
I honestly don’t have the expertise to write a lengthy piece on the show’s usage of Malcolm X, MLK Jr, or others like Harriet Tubman but I think Anissa’s Malcolm vs. Jefferson’s MLK Jr. vs Black Lightning’s Malcolm is clear just from the show’s dialogue.
The scene between Anissa, her parents, and the Henderson’s is a great example. Is Black Lightning a vigilante who is hurting the police attempt’s to fight the 100 gang or everything else? (How is Henderson actually feeling about his inability to stop the 100 gang long-term?) Or is he stepping in where no one else will and making a difference? Does nonviolence actually work, or nah? How do we meet the material needs of oppressed groups, here black people?
The latter questions are debated at length and I don’t think Black Lightning is trying to conclusively answer them. Though the former two are definitely at the core of the show.
The same goes for the writers’ strong use of religious imagery in implicit and explicit ways.
Book of Black Lightning
Abrahamic religion and their prophets are explicitly referenced from the episode titles to the show dialogue. Abrahamic religion is a huge part of the show. The titles all tell a story, even the non “Book of” titles like “Resurrection” and “Black Jesus” have their own. We even saw a Methodist church for Lawanda’s funeral! It makes sense because the Akils are actually Muslim. I hope we get some Black Muslims too in the show.
Jefferson is Black Jesus (resurrection), then Black Lightning is Moses (the latter was reluctant at first to lead). Obviously Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have differences in their telling of Moses’ story but it’s pretty apparent what’s happening here. Lady Eve is Pharaoh and I’m not quite sure on who Tobias is yet, but I’ll figure it out by season’s end when I’ll write a long article about everything else we get this season.
- When will Syonide get to talk extensively? One Syonide in the comics has a girlfriend and I would love to see the show’s take on that.
- Someone find the scripts for me because each episode feels like it’s cramming a usual script and a half’s worth of stuff into one 45 minute episode.
- I hope this show doesn’t get 22 episodes this fall. I find it works better as a short season show.
What do y’all want answers to or have thoughts on? Next week, the show returns to Jefferson looking for Alvin’s murderer and so much more.
Image courtesy of The CW
Rise and Fall: The Chi’s “Penetrate a Fraud” Is Joy, Heartbreak, and Fear
Welcome back to Lena Waithe’s The Chi, where this week we see some characters start to rise from pain while others fall all the way into it.
Let’s start with Brandon, who hit a low point last week when Jerrika showed up to the block party with another guy. Then Brandon confronted Ronnie, telling him he hopes Coogie’s murder haunts him for the rest of his life before walking alone into the darkness. This week, things are looking a little better for our tender-hearted guy. A big reason for that is Sarah, his boss’s wife/all-around manager of things at the restaurant. There is a serious mutual crush happening, and in this episode she gives him an opportunity to prove himself: he’s going to be in charge of the food for a very large and fancy wedding anniversary catering gig. He pulls it off without a hitch and Sarah thanks him, saying the restaurant isn’t doing as well as everyone thinks and they really needed a good night like this one.
Side note, my parents ran a restaurant for more than 10 years, and it is so true that even popular upscale places are in a constant struggle to keep their heads above water. It is a very unforgiving industry, and this little corner of the storyline hit home for me. Plus, my mom was the Sarah, basically doing every little thing and never stopping, so I appreciate her as a character.
Anyway, the other immediate event in Brandon’s world is the revelation that his mother and Greavy got married at the courthouse without telling him. They’re planning a backyard barbecue celebration that night and were hoping he could do some of the food. Brandon is angry, still resentful of Greavy, and storms off. But Greavy goes after him and is a little softer toward him, saying that it would mean a lot to his mother if he were there, and also that he’ll do right by her.
In the end, Brandon, high off of a successful night that will likely mean a lot to his career, takes Sarah and the leftover catering food to his mom’s house. The joy Laverne feels that her son shows up is such a perfect illustration of how much mothers love their children. Brandon ends up making a really nice speech about the new couple, and it’s nice to see everyone in that string-lights-and-Heineken-filled backyard so full of smiles. Oh and then Brandon and Sarah kiss, so, that will be interesting next week.
Meanwhile, some other mothers are having an unexpectedly great day of their own. Ethel takes Jada to get their nails done as a thank you for patching up Ronnie’s gunshot wound/saving his life. They end up bonding and we learn that Jada has not been prioritizing dating or her sexual needs, since she has approximately 100 million other things on her plate. But after her conversation with Ethel, Jada comes home to an empty house, lights candles along the edge of the bathtub, and masturbates with the shower head. I am so here for Jada taking care of herself. Also I will always associate showerhead masturbation with that scene in The Runaways where Joan Jett—aka a still-not-publicly-out Kristin Stewart—tells her bandmate to think of Farrah Fawcett in order to get off. Iconic.
The reason Jada came home to an empty house is that Emmett has been extremely busy with his and Amir’s burgeoning shoe business. Amir “borrows” $5,000 from his uncle Habib, and he and Emmett follow a tip Emmett got about some rich white person who wanted to unload a shoe collection. Turns out it’s a day-drinking divorcee who wants to sell her husband’s garage full of sneakers. The two jump on it, thinking they’ve scored the shoes for half, if not less, of what they’re worth.
Emmett gets to work putting the word out to his network of sneakerheads and sets up the van full of shoes in an underpass, where he sells almost all of them. Until one guy rolls up, looks at the shoes, and tells Emmett they’re knockoffs (something to do with SKU numbers). Then he accuses Emmett of “penetrating a crime” on him and pulls a gun on him and Emmett Jr., who is in his arms. Emmett Jr. basically never stops crying; is that what real babies are like? Anyway, luckily the guy doesn’t actually shoot but Emmett is sufficiently freaked out. It remains to be seen how this will unfold with the “business partnership.”
As we continue down our path of characters’ best days to worst days, Ronnie is still halfway dead, stumbling around town bleeding through his clothes. He goes back to Common’s mosque, where he is told he’ll be welcome to come in and talk, but despite looking tempted, he doesn’t do it—yet. Ronnie is also trying to find someone who will unlock Jason’s phone. He finds Jason’s girlfriend. Ronnie didn’t know he had a girlfriend, or that she is pregnant, or that Jason knew she was pregnant and so did Tracey. Or that Tracey didn’t want Jason to see her, or that Jason wanted to quit basketball. There was a lot Ronnie didn’t know, but Jason’s girlfriend unlocked the phone for him, so now he can look through pictures.
But guess who else wants to look at the phone: Detective Cruz. He brings Ronnie in for questioning, and backhandedly proposes they help each other: Cruz won’t push too hard to pin Coogie’s murder to Ronnie, and Ronnie will give Cruz Jason’s phone. I guess so he can figure out what happened and get back in the department’s good graces before anyone exposes the fact that he’s the reason Ronnie knew about Coogie having robbed Jason’s body. Cruz doesn’t seem to find much on the phone—mostly a lot of selfies—but he sees that the last call made was to 911. So that’s interesting.
Lastly, we have the boiling-point tensions between Trice, Reg, and their crew and Q and his. Q stole Trice’s dog (the same one Coogie used to feed) and has been taunting him with her for weeks. Now, he uses her as a distraction, taunting Trice into conversation while Q’s two guys sneak into the house to see what Reg, Trice, and co. have in there. Trice tells Q to go back to Cuba, so we now know where he was before coming back to Chicago. Q points out to Trice that he never got back to him about who might have killed Jason and why. He’s clearly hung up on something with Tracey; maybe he’s Jason’s real father? I don’t know.
Regardless, Q’s guys report back on the specific kinds of military guns Reg and co. stole a lot of last week. And at the end of the episode, the three of them straight-up kill everyone in the house and steal the guns. I don’t know if Trice or Reg were there, but I’m concerned for Jake?!?!
That’s it for this week, let’s hope next week we get to see the kids and the lesbians again, because I miss them and this episode ended on an extremely dark note.
Images from The Chi Courtesy of Showtime
Legends of Tomorrow Gets Stuck in a Time Loop
Starting off intensely, we see Zari racing against time to get Gideon to execute some simulation program that she wants to keep a secret from the team. Things don’t go as planned because the Legends come back from a mission that involved Napoleon Bonaparte and disco clothing. While Nate and Amaya leave the bridge to discuss the fact that they just had sex during a mission, Sara gets pissed at Zari when Gideon stops working and she finds out about Z’s secret simulation.
Taking the captain position hard, Sara argues with Zari about it, despite Ray’s concern about her mood given Constantine’s warning. Zari reveals that she wanted to find loopholes in history so she could exploit them to avoid the dark future she knows as 2042. As Zari goes to fix the ship, she is hit with some neon fluid from a tube. As she tries to see if Gideon is back online, the Waverider explodes…
…and we’re back to Zari arguing with Sara.
Zari tries to figure out what’s going on, first talking to Mick, then snooping on Nate and Amaya’s post intercourse conversation, and finally Ray to no avail. In the end, the ship explodes again and we’re back to Sara, who ends up twisting Zari’s arm by accident. She ends up being taken to the med bay where she gets sedated and thus back again with the day starting over. Her next move is to try to explain the whole thing to the crew, but it still doesn’t work for multiple attempts.
Until Nate believes her and tells Zari to talk to him again and quotes “Groundhog Day,” which leaves me wondering why pop culture can’t update its timeloop references. Say “Edge of Tomorrow” or even “Happy Death Day” if we want current. Nevertheless, as soon as she wakes up again, she goes to Nate. The two theorize that the explosion comes from within the ship instead of some outside force. Some other stuff happens, but in the end, the ship explodes.
Zari’s newest attempt starts with her teaming up with Nate to go after Rory. It takes a few other attempts, but they eventually figure out that, despite his initial suspicious behavior—doing his laundry—Mick’s was only hiding his novel. They go check on Ray, who ends up revealing, rather easily, that Constantine had told him to kill Sara when Mallus takes over. The duo decide to go after Sara now, fearing that she may be possessed and exploding the ship. Ray shrinks Zari and himself in order to spy on Sara.
What they find is rather the opposite: just a flirtatious facetime conversation with Ava — to quote the poet, “This is a gays only event, go home!”. The two talk about their own experiences being bossy and how Sara has faith in Zari, but she ends up dodging one of Ava’s attempts to go over to the ship and hang out. Sadly, Sara ends up crushing Ray and Zari, as she thought they were a fly.
Once again, Zari goes to Nate, but she’s feeling quite tired. Nate suggests they have fun with it given the lack of consequences, so cue the fun montage. Eventually, the fun runs out and Zari tries to kill herself, but fails. This time though, Sara manages to believe Zari’s story and enlists the whole team to look for bombs. The Legends try the trash compactor and find Gary, the Bureau agent. Mick takes a device from his hand and destroys it, thinking it was the bomb, but instead, it was what originated the time loop: Gary had boarded the Waverider because of an alert that the ship would explode so he had created the one-hour loop which would give enough time for the time to defuse the bomb. So now, the device is broken and the team has five minutes to find the bomb before they truly die.
Using the Chekhovian move, Sara finds the bomb inside a disc play. If I understant it correctly, Napoleon had gotten his hand on a CD player with ABBA’s “Waterloo” in it, which he had used to win the war? Something campy like that, for sure. Seeing as the bomb will explode, Zari locks herself with the bomb in a force field so she can say her last words to the team which, as expected, is mostly advice she picked up from her time during the time loop.
As the timer stops, Zari finds herself in the company of humanoid!Gideon, the same one that kissed Rip Hunter that one time (I’m glad they end up finding ways to bring Amy Pemberton on board!). Gideon tells her that, in real life, Zari is healing at the med bay, but her mind is with Gideon at her matrix. Turns out Zari’s simulator had not only worked but done all the job regarding the timeloops to show that Zari needs the Legends’ help in order to find the loophole to save 2042.
As she wakes up, Zari gets Ray to confess his secret to Sara so she can prove that she indeed was inside the matrix. As Sara and Zari have a chat, it circles between their will to save people and a nice little loophole that may just give Z a chance to spare her brother’s life.
Capping off the episode, we finally meet Firestorm’s replacement after the CW confirmed it a few weeks back: Rip Hunter tracks down Wally West in China to ask him for help to save the universe.