Supergirl Season 2 Reviews: Episode 11, “The Martian Chronicles”
Last week was the Martian forgiveness episode that gave us all the feels. This week, we get the climax to that arc when the White Martians come to Earth in search of M’gann. It’s a fast-paced thriller of an episode, one of the tightest this season, if not ever, and we had such a great time watching. Though we might need to go cry some more about our favorite Martians. At least we got some nerdy t-shirts and Kara x food fluff alongside the heavy-hitting emotional arc that is “The Martian Chronicles.”
Guess what? Tonight is also officially halfway through the season. *cue Bon Jovi*
At the alien bar, Kara confronts Mon-El directly about their conversation and confirms they’re “not a good match.” She basically says, “It’s not you, no wait it is you.” Whew, now that’s over. Mon-El leaves and Alex joins her, at which point Kara gushes about what she wants to do for her “Earth Birthday” (the anniversary of her arrival on Earth). But, Maggie surprised Alex with concert tickets to Barenaked Ladies (?!), and she wants to go. Supportive Kara is supportive and tells Alex to go have fun. M’gann takes out the trash and calls out J’onn for following her around. J’onn warns against the White Martians (hereafter, WM) and just as M’gann says they’re NBD, one shows up. Kara joins the fight, but the WM gets away.
WM show up at M’gann’s work, and we learn it’s her former hubby that she thought she’d killed. Hubby threatens her friends unless she turns herself over. J’onn confronts her again in the alley to tell her to let him and Team Super protect her (*cue crying*). Maggie wants Alex to be honest about her feelings and tells her to talk to Kara before the concert. Alex and Kara both apologize to each other at the DEO. M’gann shows up to apologize to J’onn, then another M’gann shows up to apologize to J’onn. This means WM is in the DEO! He attacks J’onn and the lights go out, allowing WM to disappear. J’onn puts the DEO on lockdown to trap WM, but WM is a shape-shifter and can look like any of them. And he can read minds. Cue everyone shouting and pointing guns. (Yay! Vasquez is back!)
J’onn can’t find the WM through mind reading because there’s psychic interference. J’onn tells them that fire reveals the WM skin, so they take turns holding their hands up to a lit Bunsen burner. Turns out WM is Winn, and he attacks everyone. Also, WM sabotaged the reactor that powers the building; it’s gonna blow and take out a chunk of the city with it. They need to find the real Winn to shut it all down, so they split up. Alex and Kara have a heart to heart about communicating better and are more honest. J’onn tells M’gann how much he cares about her. They find Winn attached to the ceiling with webs. They also find another body on the far wall: Alex. Turns out there are two WMs! Kara and WM!Alex duke it out. J’onn takes Winn to shut it down the reactor while M’gann stays with Alex.
J’onn dukes it out with WM!Hubby until M’gann joins him. While Winn hacks them all to safety, Kara knocks out WM #2, and M’gann kills her former hubby, for good this time. When WM #2 wakes up, Alex shoots it with her snazzy gun from Maaldoria. Alex checks in with Maggie. M’gann tells J’onn she’s going back to Mars to find other WMs like herself who want to break the cycle. Alex shows up with a cupcake at Kara’s door, and they have a heart to heart for realsies this time. M’gann admits she cares for J’onn and they share a Martian moment of intimacy with the mind meld before she leaves for her former hubby’s ship to go back to Mars (NO!! DON’T GO!!). Kara runs into Mon-El at Catco heading out to lunch with Miss Tessmacher, and she seems disappointed that he’s moved on so quickly.
Best quote: “We’re the monsters Armek, this skin is beautiful.”—M’gann M’orzz
Thoughts & Feelings
Boy, this one didn’t sit well with a good chunk of the fandom, did it? We’d like to start off by making a small suggestion to the writing staff: if a significant chunk of your viewing audience could have an otherwise excellent episode ruined by the last five minutes, perhaps it’s time to abandon this course?
Now, obviously we run in the queer circles on social media, but we both saw almost nothing about the incredible rising tension of the episode, J’onn and M’gann’s amazeballs scenes, or even just the great fights between the White Martians and our heroes. Almost everyone from our Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook feedback sampling was talking about how awful Alex’s suggestion to Kara was, and how equally abysmal Kara’s reaction to it was. Elizabeth has been through the episode twice, and despite the fact that she consciously knows that 90% of it was good, she’s having trouble articulating that because fuck Mon-El.
Alright, let’s start with some good, like Kara and Alex continuing to inch their way into some very necessary conversations. We’re also glad Alex is getting caught up in her relationship with Maggie because it shines a spotlight on how overly involved Kara and Alex are in each other’s lives sometimes. Alex blowing off Kara’s Earth Birthday is not a nice thing, but it’s not entirely surprising that this is something that would happen. We would like to emphasize that while Alex’s actions are hurtful and selfish, Alex is allowed to be an imperfect character. It should also be pointed out that Alex apologized later in the episode, and while Kara is clearly going through some… things… Alex is still there for her, if not necessarily on call 24/7. And this is a development that needs to happen because Kara really needs to start addressing her abandonment issues.
Though Alex reassures Kara that she’s not going anywhere, it’s pretty clear that Kara doesn’t entirely believe that. Considering how often this season Kara appears in a specifically framed shot all alone, this is building up to something big within the narrative. We despise that Mon-El might play an integral part in this development, however, we do like the potential directions it could take. The thing is, we can’t fairly make a judgment call on this plot until we actually see it.
Believe us; we’re just as frustrated as you. But the show does have a tendency to take a hard left when you expect it to go right. Alex and Kara’s relationship has always been the emotional center of the show, and we suggest that this relationship is being deliberately tested. We’re only halfway through the season; there’s still time for this to go in an epic direction. Patience is a virtue, after all. Especially with Supergirl.
A quick pause to take an aside to talk about how supportive Maggie is. For all the haters out there who have ragged on Maggie, we’re not here for that. At every step of Alex’s journey, she has listened, understood, and respected her. Last night, she proved once again that she understands Alex really well. Not only did she gently call Alex out for repressing her feelings, she knew Alex needed to talk to Kara to work it out and encouraged her to so. She also understood Alex’s situation with the DEO and the alien attack. It’s exactly what we would expect from two people in the police force/DEO. We’re glad they didn’t make this into drama. Plus, Maggie bought Alex concert tickets so they could go to a concert together. *cough* another fanfic trope *cough*
Now let’s talk about something not so good. We’re going to call BS on Kara’s “Every time I put myself out there it backfires.” Citation needed Supergirl. In the history of this show, Kara’s had exactly two official relationships, both of which ended with her doing the breaking up. Winn doesn’t count since it was one-sided. Girl, I get you’re frustrated with life right now, but if you’re the one telling the boy to pack up that’s not “it backfiring.”
Also, new love triangle, alert; this time, it’s whiter! Watch two blonde white girls in love/lust with an annoying jerkwad who fucked Miss Tessmacher and then never called her back until now! Yay! Sheesh, Mon-El does not deserve either one of these ladies, much less both. Neither of us is buying into Kara’s ‘pining’ when all their interactions have been either awkward, one-sided (on his side), or platonic.
We’ll admit he’s grown up a bit. We liked the moment where he commented on toxic masculinity and the limitations on men expressing their emotions. Moving on instead of pining was mature, especially after Kara’s foot-in-mouth “it’s you” at the beginning of the episode. And at least Kara didn’t find them in the supply room again. Still. There’s a huge gap between “he’s grown a bit” and “he’s established a pattern of being a decent human being rather than an entitled tool who treats women like servants.”
Anyway, we would be far less fussed about it if the show had bothered to truly establish any strong romantic feelings on Kara’s part for Mon-El. Her repeated and consistent reaction has been “I don’t like him that way.” She said it point blank earlier in the same freaking episode. For her to ‘suddenly’ feel that way now feels very unearned. We’re supposed to believe that one conversation with Alex turned “never you” into “pining”? When all she’s ever said is that she doesn’t like him that way? It smacks of lazy storytelling intent on ‘tricking’ the audience by revealing her feelings at an appropriately Dramatic moment (like when you want to start a love triangle). We admit that sometimes people don’t know the depth of their feelings for someone. Life gets complicated; we get overwhelmed by other things. It happens.
At the same time, the “she doesn’t know her feelings until she almost loses it” is such an over-used trope we’re sick of it. And all too frequently, it is used to reward entitled Nice Guys for being ‘persistent.’ Basically, Mon-El is being rewarded for being an entitled asshole to Kara, never accepting her ‘no,’ refusing to respect her agency and personhood, and valuing his feelings above hers. It sends the message that if a woman tells a man multiple times she’s not interested, all he has to do is wait around, and she will be. Because saying “I don’t like you” secretly means “I do like you.” And we’ve had our fair share of that bullshit growing up watching teenage romcoms in the 90s tyvm.
The show may not have intended this to be the message. Maybe it’s an accidental side effect of Benoist’s/Wood’s lack of on-screen chemistry and mishandled ‘growth’ arc for Mon-El. If he hadn’t been quite so entitled at the start or had been a bit less sexist and a bit more awkward. If he hadn’t treated Miss Tessmacher as if she existed for his pleasure and to make his life easier (so…a slave, given what we know of Daxam). Maybe if Mon-El had been goofier and less gross, we might not have resisted this so much. Maybe if they had bothered to have her verbally express some kind of ambivalence about him rather than relying entirely on subtextual clues that were clearly muddied since so many watchers were not invested in it.
Alright, we’ve said enough about it by now. We don’t want to spend the whole time talking about this maybe relationship because we’re not invested in it. But we are in other things! Like M’gann and J’onn. We loved the hints about White Martian culture – the arranged marriages, less tender home life – and wanted more (though we’ll probably have to wait to get it). And we got some pretty awesome fight scenes tonight; the choreography and cinematography for them were on point.
More than anything, J’onn’s and M’gann’s relationship drove this episode in an organic way after last week. J’onn’s forgiveness of M’gann was the most poignant moment last week, and we weren’t disappointed with where it led this episode. J’onn tailing M’gann to keep an eye on her is exactly what we would expect from our favorite grumpy Martian space dad. He may not open up quickly, but once he’s accepted someone entirely, he’s 100% loyal. Like, Kara, he holds on fiercely to what little family he has. It’s what tragedies like genocide and surviving a planetary explosion can do.
Don’t underestimate the importance of his willingness to admit he cares about her, has made a place in his heart for her. It isn’t just that he wants to protect her. He all but admitted he loves her. J’onn lost everything to the White Martians: his wife, his children, his culture, his entire race. He has every reason to hate them. The last episode he forgave her, this episode, he opened his heart to her. He hasn’t just found a woman to admire, respect, and care about; he chose to love a White Martian. (This is some epic Hatfields/McCoys type good shit here, folks.) And? He’s willing to let her make her own choices, even if it means losing her.
J’onn reached out to her when she was afraid and asked her to trust him. He knows what it felt like to live on the run and in hiding. He spent centuries not trusting anybody. It took Jeremiah Danvers protecting him for J’onn to regain his trust in others. But J’onn hasn’t fully needed to offer that trust to anyone since then. He hasn’t had to ask someone to trust him as Jeremiah asked him, someone, who could reject him. At that moment, he was asking M’gann to let him be for her the person that he needed for centuries and found in the Danvers. That’s huge growth for J’onn.
Speaking of growth, M’gann herself. When attacked by the WM, she instinctively chose Green Martian form, despite the WM form being both larger and probably more physically powerful. And she chose to do so in front of her people. It’s yet one more moment showcasing her breaking ranks and rejecting her culture’s history of violence. And also a giant ‘fuck you’ to the WMs.
As if she couldn’t get any more amazing, we learn she tried to (and believed she had) kill her husband Armek as part of her escape from Mars. She was willing not just to turn her back on her people, but on her mate. She’s willing to stand her ground and, when faced with the possibility, call her own people out for their violence, bigotry, and genocide. Doesn’t get much more badass than that, people.
It’s worth pointing out that her interactions with Armek were coded as a woman escaping from domestic violence. He doesn’t refer to her by name, but rather by her status as a possession: wife. He treats her as belonging to him and wayward for leaving. Then, he threatens her life and takes pleasure in telling her he’s going to hurt her, kill her, and then desecrate her body. When she doesn’t back down, he threatens her friends and demands she turn herself over to him.
These are all classic tactics of an abusive husband seeking to intimidate a spouse into returning home. And she responds in similarly coded ways. She stands her ground and shows her allegiance to her new way of life. Only when her loved ones are threatened does she show any sign of fear, but it is on their behalf. Rather than endanger them, she plans to draw him away, preferring to potentially bear his wrath alone than see people she cares about hurt. When we find out that she physically injured him in her escape, we can’t avoid the implication that he is one of the ones she was directly defying the order to kill the child.
He embodies everything she left behind. As she put it, “he’s the worst of her kind.” After being on the run for centuries and hiding from WM culture and history, she comes face to face with the worst possible reminder of it. And she doesn’t fucking flinch. She wholeheartedly chooses the Greens and never looks back. She stands by J’onn’s side and wholeheartedly supports him when he’s afraid of the fire knowing that her former husband is in the room watching and hating.
When she fought and killed Armek as a Green alongside J’onn, we were cheering. It stands for every step of her growth. It’s the climax of her choice to break ranks and the cycle of violence. We can’t help but see it as a symbol of her killing every single murderous, racist (species-ist?), bigoted thought and belief she was raised on. And then she makes the choices to go back and try to inspire others to have the courage the way J’onn inspired her to have courage. This is Supergirl “choose your better angels” at it’s finest.
There’s a reason we chose her comment on the Green Martian body as our favorite. She was raised to believe herself better than the Greens, but she chose to be one and calls them beautiful. And she’s a black coded character saying this, a black coded female character no less, which adds even more depth and meaning. Just…we have no words. It’s one of the most poignant arcs we’ve ever seen on this show.
We’ll miss her, but by god, we love her and can’t say enough good things about her presence on this show. We only wish we had more and that we get to see her again! Please let this not be the end of Miss Martian!
- Vasquez is back!! Her hair is freaking amazing.
- Alex likes Barenaked Ladies. Girl, why? FINE. She’s a child of the 90s.
- Maggie has a periodic table Barenaked Ladies shirt. OMG, what a nerd. We love her.
- Why did Alex change into her DEO uniform just to apologize to Kara?
- We’re so here for Kara sassing J’onn about lining the DEO with lead.
- Heh, Winn complimenting himself. Dork.
- Kara’s “Power to the Girls” shirt is adorbs. We want one. Apparently, they’re from H&M and already sold out online.
- Kara eats her cupcake with a fork and knife. We love her.
- How does Mon-El know about Tinder enough to make a “swipe right” joke? This is the guy who didn’t know what club soda was.
- Would have been nice to know who the second WM was.
- Jeremy Jordan killed it with his acting tonight.
- OMG, did you all catch the shot of Lex Luthor’s war suit in the promo for next week??
This was a roller coaster of an episode, mostly in a good way. We’d argue it is the most cohesive, tense, and thrilling episode this season regarding danger and plot tension. The WMs are a real, tangible threat even to the superpowered Kara, M’gann, and J’onn, so there is real dramatic tension. The villain motivations both made sense and created a compelling arc. The Winn as WM reveal was excellent, and the second WM being Alex was even better. M’gann finally actually killing her brutal former husband was also really satisfying. Her development over the season, especially after the last episode, heightened the catharsis of seeing her choose Green Martian form, call it beautiful, and eventually decide to go home and find other White Martians who want a new, different way of life.
Trouble had been brewing between the Danvers sisters or at least the need for a heart to heart, and we’re so glad they didn’t let it build even further. Setting aside the unfortunate derailing to talk about Mon-El, the conversation needed to be had. It touches on wounds and worries they’ve both needed to talk about. Alex’s desire to have something for herself and not feel guilty for being happy after spending much of her life focusing on Kara. Kara’s fear of abandonment and isolation after the destruction of her planet and uncovering her parents’ mixed legacy. Their honesty and vulnerability were very much in line with what we saw in S1, and we’re thankful.
This is the third episode in a row that we’ve gotten a shot of Kara on screen alone with no one else. There’s no way this is an accident. Something’s brewing on that score, and we’re not entirely sure what. Abandonment and isolation are themes this season thus far, especially for Kara. Alex touched on that wound in Episode 2 when she mentioned Kal abandoning Kara with the Danvers family. Kara has been increasingly isolated from all her closest friends and family, each of whom has something/one in their life they’re more focused on Alex/Maggie, James and Winn/Guardian, J’onn/M’gann. We sense some kind of crisis for Kara on the horizon and look forward to seeing it unfold. We’re hoping the end result isn’t a fresh, new take on Injustice. Just sayin’.
Images Courtesy of The CW
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.