The Critical Myth Crew merges with Mad Men (spoilers through 6.6), explores friendly terrorism with Warehouse 13 (spoilers through 4.12), shows some skin with Defiance (spoilers through 1.5), and runs through a slew of Quick Hits! Recorded 11 May 2013.
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Contributor: John Keegan
Written by Caroline Dries and Julie Plec
Directed by Chris Grismer
I did a terrible job of reading the tea leaves when it came to the season finales of Arrow and Supernatural, so I’m a little thankful that I was able to see where they were going with a few of the bigger moments of this finale. The Vampire Diaries has always known how to deliver a solid season ender, and while this doesn’t hit the same high notes as the third season finale, it’s still a great way to set the next story arc in motion.
Oddly enough, all three of the characters in this picture are technically dead.
I was hoping that they would allow Elena to remain a vampire, but held little hope that my dream of having a “cured” Katherine would actually come to pass. And yet, that’s where they went with it! Not only does it imply that we will have twice the sexiness out of Nina Dobrev next season, but it pushes both characters into somewhat unexpected territory.
Contributor: John Keegan
Written by Jeremy Carver
Directed by Phil Sgriccia
Not only does this episode share a title with the season finale of Arrow, but it also follows roughly the same pattern. After spending a great deal of the finale more or less maintaining the apparent course of the season arc and all the foreshadowing throughout recent episodes, the writers take a left turn into a very different direction. Things on Supernatural look like they could be very different in the ninth season.
This is actually what Sam looks like when he’s happy now.
Jeremy Carver has been preparing for the long game, and without a doubt, this is going to be an interesting situation. While the expulsion of all the angels from Heaven sounds like it would necessitate a huge budget, in actuality, it will allow the story to branch out while staying grounded (no pun intended). It’s unclear if all the angels lost their grace or not, but being cast to Earth is going to have a negative effect, to say the least.
Written by Shelley Eriksen
Directed by William Waring
The previous episode spent time reinforcing a lot of the relationships and dynamics between the main characters, but rather than diving headlong into the action again, “Second Skin” digs into how the main characters relate to other people, outside the sphere of craziness that is Liber8 and time travel. After all, despite the importance of the main story, these characters have some semblance of lives outside the battle against Liber8, but exploring those lives doesn’t make for a slow or uninteresting episode. It’s a chance for the actors to play something different, and broadens our appreciation for the heroes of this story.
Pretty much every geek’s fantasy
A spike in high-profile violence has the VPD scrambling to stop Travis from spreading Liber8′s message any further, but Kiera is distracted by news from Alec that his instruments have detected the activation of another CPS Protector suit. Hoping this means that someone else has arrived from the future, Kiera tracks down the source of the readings and discovers an old friend from her past. Meanwhile, the suit itself has fallen into the hands of a kind-hearted civilian, but while he discovers the special properties of his new outfit, the factions of Liber8 attempt to acquire the dangerous piece of future-tech for themselves.
Written by Steve Boyum
Directed by Anne Cofell Saunders
I would really like to spend more time talking about the actual episode in question, but at this point I’m weary of addressing a show that seems like a giant game of mad gab and telephone, where it gets passed off between writers who only hear the last episode and fill in the blanks of the scripts with words picked at random from a dictionary. While JJ Abrams’ name has had a lot of the shine taken off of it in recent years, I think that pretty much anyone who heard him and Erik Kripke were teaming up for a show that took place after an event that shut off the power everywhere expected a lot more than most of the hot steaming mess that has been on the screen.
“Please…let me die…I want to get on a better show…”
The last two episodes had succeeded in frittering away pretty much any goodwill that the writers had sustained from the early part of the second half of the season. The leaps in logic, while not insignificant at the best of times, in the last three episodes have been demanding complete suspension of disbelief bordering on enforced idiocy of the viewer. One of the most egregious examples in this episode is after the attack on the rebel camp is when President Foster says she will surrender if Miles doesn’t come up with a plan. After less than 300 soldiers are killed. That moment undermines any sort of credibility in the larger world that Revolution had built up; as soon as I heard the line I knew I would have to pretty much forget the line or I would throw something at my television.
Contributor: John Keegan
Written by Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, and Greg Berlanti
Directed by David Barrett
I love it when a season finale seems to be bringing the story arc to the predictable conclusion, and things take a surprising turn. In this case, I was expecting Oliver and Malcolm Merlyn to fight to the death, while Oliver’s allies prevented “The Undertaking”. And for a while, that’s what seemed like would happen. And then I was pleasantly surprised.
Super-villain devices are always so damn flashy
Oliver and Laurel are destined to get together sooner or later, but for a while, it seemed that it would be undermined for a while by her father’s death. With Oliver’s family so deeply implicated, it would be logical for Laurel to want some distance, perhaps even leaving the door open for Tommy again. Just before that prospect was ready to fill the audience with despair, as if Arrow was going to repeat the sins of Smallville and the Clark/Lana endless cycle, things changed.
Contributor: John Keegan
Written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt
Directed by Steven DePaul
This really should have been aired along with the season finale as a two-hour wrap-up, considering that so much of what happens in this episode is essentially prelude and setup. It makes it hard for the episode to stand on its own, but some elements really shine, even as others don’t quite hit the mark.
“Well, it’s a good thing this dead guy won’t be getting up and causing problems…wait, what…?”
A voodoo Wesen (for lack of a better term) arrives in Portland and starts raising folks from the apparent dead. Whatever sludge he spits on people puts them in a death-like state, in which they animate and act according to his will. This Wesen, in turn, is working for Sean Renard’s brother, who is also in town, looking to start some trouble.
Contributor: Henry T.
Written by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle
Directed by Omar Madha
This episode was a mixed bag, I thought. The division of both subplots makes that opinion possible. There is little in terms of connective tissue between the both of them so in a sense they could play as separate parts of a whole. On the one hand, there is a lot of time spent filling out part of Irisa’s backstory. It plays out during an interrogation of a Castithan who wanders into Defiance out of the blue. The man functions purely as a plot device more than a fleshed-out character, and his revelations towards the end of the episode should be taken with a large grain of salt. On the other hand, there is the much more interesting subplot that has Nolan and Amanda escorting Rynn to prison on a transport bus with a mysterious ambassador. That subplot shows how Defiance continues its world building outside of the city. This is playing in its early stages so there isn’t a clear idea of where it’s going to go, but it is still a very promising development.
Nope…totally not checking out the super-hot alien. Nope…
A couple of episodes ago, I was worried about what would happen if Nolan left Irisa on her own without his direct supervision. It comes to pass in this episode, pretty much as soon as Nolan leaves Defiance on the land bus that arrives in town every two weeks. She sees a Castithan who comes to Defiance on the land bus and immediately tags him as the man who tortured her when she was a child. Initially, he claims innocence and a case of mistaken identity. He has a normal life: a job, wife, and child, and isn’t the evil man who did all these horrible things Irisa claims he did.
Contributor: Gregg Wright
Written by George R. R. Martin
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
I may not have read George R. R. Martin’s books, but I’ve always appreciated the fact that he’s been so heavily involved in the production of this show. The two episodes that he’s written for the show in seasons 1 and 2 were both solid efforts, with the second one being my favorite episode of the show thus far. In both cases, the episode marked a dramatic turning point in the story. So it’s a bit surprising that “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” could be described as a “transitional” episode.
“I know what you’re staring at. So does my dragon…”
The term doesn’t bear nearly as much weight here as it once did, in shows more confined to episodic structure, but this is about as close as any episode of Game of Thrones ever gets to being a transitional episode. Most of the episode is dedicated to building toward later climaxes, like the expected battles at Castle Black and Casterly Rock, as well as the big royal wedding. Naturally, Tyrion and Sansa are both greatly displeased about it. Sansa is comforted by Margaery, and Bronn, oddly enough, attempts to do the same thing for Tyrion, in his own way.
Contributor: Andy Spencer
Written by Sheila Callaghan
Directed by David Semel
Hemlock Grove has certainly not lived up to its full potential (or even its half potential). Instead, it has been content to introduce characters and plot points at a breakneck pace in the first pair of episodes, and then do almost nothing with the third. My reviews have averaged this introductory phase of the series as 5.3/10, not good by many standards. When I began the fourth episode (which wisely chooses to start forging ahead with existing plot threads rather than dangling new ones), my expectations were fairly low. And that’s being a bit generous.
“Hey, I think I found what’s left of the plot…”
So try to imagine how shocked I was when I was halfway through “In Poor Taste,” and I found myself actually enjoying the damn thing. The performances seem to be improving across the board, the writing is sharper, and the striking aesthetic of the pilot returns. It’s very strange to juxtapose this fine episode next to the crappy previous one. Interestingly, this is the first episode not written by the author of the original novel. It might not mean anything, but it might be that fresh blood is exactly what this series needed.