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Ugly Sobbing (and a Bit of Griping) About The Martian Chronicles

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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*

Quick Recap

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.

She’s so excited for this concert, guys. Like, really, really excited.

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.

Elizabeth is not doing so well on her “no swearing” resolution. Oops.

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*

What a good girlfriend. No seriously. Where’s ours?

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.

We don’t know, Winn. We really don’t know.

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!

Randomness

  • 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??

In Conclusion

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’.

One more. For our favorite Martians.


Images Courtesy of The CW

When not working on her degree or at her actual job, Elizabeth pursues her true passion of complaining at great length about pop culture on the internet. She serves as a Managing Editor for The Fandomentals. You can find her on Tumblr, Twitter and Steam @ohemgeelizabeth

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Black Lightning Episode 1-5 In Review

Shahar

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Black Lightning, Anissa, and Jennifer with the phrase Get Lit

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).

Grandpa Gambi

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.

Political Statements

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.

Last Thoughts

  • 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

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Rise and Fall: The Chi’s “Penetrate a Fraud” Is Joy, Heartbreak, and Fear

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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.

Ronnie, never able to escape this corner.

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.

!!!! This won’t end well but in the meantime, I’m happy for them.

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.

HERE FOR IT.

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?!?!

I-miss-my-dog face.

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

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Legends of Tomorrow Gets Stuck in a Time Loop

Matthew

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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.


Images Courtesy of The CW.

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