Archives

All posts for the month December, 2015

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Not all soldiers contain the qualities to become Generals. In fact the skill sets of an exemplary soldier and an effective General likely couldn’t be more at odds with each other. A good soldier never questions orders and does what ever it takes to fulfill the mission even if it means sacrificing their life in the process. An effective General or leader of any kind needs to be able to react to changing conditions and adapt their plans accordingly. There’s too much knowledge and experience within a leader to sacrifice easily. Soldiers are easily replaceable, however wise veteran leaders aren’t.

If you’re a fan of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” you’ve seen this dynamic in place throughout the show’s third season. FBI Agent Donald Ressler got pressed into running the FBI Task Force, formerly lead by Harold Cooper and Ressler’s first mission’s been attempting to capture his former partner, former agent Elizabeth Keen. Before the series took it’s winter hiatus in November, Ressler took Lizzie into custody and likely put her life in great jeopardy.

Ressler believes that his former partner’s innocent and has gotten set-up by the Cabal, a shadow government that secretly pulls all the strings that have caused the greatest catastrophes of our lifetimes. The group’s made up of leaders of governments and industries across the planet and lead by the CIA Director Peter Kotsiopolus whose usually referred to as The Director. The Cabal’s infested the halls of power in the United States Government, with the President’s NSA Director Laurel Hitchin’s among their ranks. She executed Deputy Attorney General Reven Wright, after Wright revealed she knew some potentially incriminating information.

Meanwhile Ressler naïvely sits back thinking he’s winning Hitchin’s confidence and she’ll soon start taking his side over that of The Director’s. Donald Ressler’s a good man who truly wants to the right thing, however he’s way over his head right now in shark-infested waters. Because he’s been trained his entire career to think within certain parameters, he lacks the skills he needs to think outside-the-box and being able to adjust strategy as the situation changes. Those skills are absolutely essential to being a good leader, we shall see if Ressler takes advice either from Raymond Reddington or Harold Cooper once the series returns on January 7.

That failure to adapt to the situation and to realize that sometimes you have to deal with the lesser of two evils to salvage a situation, has led Donald to feel betrayed by his former boss Harold Cooper. Both share a severe dislike of the man they know as Tom Keen, however only Cooper was smart enough not to turn an asset away in time of need. After Tom approached Ressler in his apartment building about helping clearing Lizzie’s name and Ressler told him to leave immediately, Cooper sought Keen out. Tom’s completed his mission capturing the Russian spy Karakurt and forcing him to admit that he’s responsible for all the crimes Lizzie’s being charged with.

Meanwhile Cooper’s got to be feeling pretty betrayed himself right about now, as his wife Charlene decided that in the midst of trying to get Karakurt to the proper authorities that it was the perfect time to reveal to her husband that she had an affair a couple of years before. Was this her way of getting back at her husband for involving her in the dangerous situation they’re attempting to complete? Or did Charlene simply have a nervous breakdown due to the stress of the situation and that just tumbled out of her mouth?

When the series does return to TV on January 7, reports have surfaced that the first two episode will revolve around The Director Peter Kotsiopolus. David Strathairn who portrays The Director’s a first-rate actor that came to my attention in the late seventies and he’s added several amazing performances to his resume since then. Having Strathairn just appearing along the sidelines for about the last year’s like having a Porsche up on blocks in the garage. I can’t wait to see what he does with all the time allotted to him.

The Director decided to take a gamble in season two that backfired badly. He decided to chance that Raymond Reddington was bluffing when he claimed to have access to The Fulcrum, a blackmail file that if released would put many members of the Cabal in certain danger. Red obtained the file last season and flew in the planet’s most renowned Investigative-Journalists and gave them each a copy.

Kotsiopolus and other Cabal members have attempted to discredit the information revealed in those documents ever since and the Cabal’s not happy that The Director’s gamble failed so badly. Enter one Matias Solomon, the hitman/enforcer/messenger for the Cabal, Solomon just enjoys killing it doesn’t really matter to him who the victim is. He’d just as soon slit The Director’s throat as he would Raymond Reddington, just depends on which way the wind’s blowing.

Elizabeth Keen will get imprisoned in that same glass cell that Ressler and Red got locked in during the first season, until Raymond agreed to surrender to save Lizzie’s life. Ressler’s promised his former partner he’d protect her while in his custody. How much help will he need from this bizarre lineup that now comprises Team-Reddington?

We’re well aware that Raymond would without hesitation trade his life for Lizzie’s, we’re also well aware that The Blacklist recently inked a contract for a fourth season. Without Lizzie and or Raymond there’s no longer a series, so we know going in that they’ll both survive. However this show’s already displayed they’ll sacrifice a regular cast member if they consider it necessary. They ended the first season with the death of series regular Meera Malik, killed by Reddington’s foe Berlin.

Could Ressler, Samar Navabi, Aram or Harold Cooper be sacrificed this season? Or what about Ryan Eggold who portrays good-looking bad-buy Tom Keen? The happy ending that Liz told Red about earlier this season, about her accompanied by her husband and child walking serenely through some small town square will never happen if she stays with Tom/Jacob. Which means more to her, those dreams or her former husband? We’ll start getting answers to those and other questions in just over two-weeks.

The Story Continues January 7, at 9:00 pm on NBC.

Courtesy of ABC Family, Hallmark Channel and Lifetime

Courtesy of ABC Family, Hallmark Channel and Lifetime

ABC Family, Hallmark, and Lifetime Need To Refocus And Get Back
To Quality Christmas Movies Without Agenda.

 
This is the time of the calendar year when new, live television is hard to come by. My generally jovial disposition and affection for the holidays naturally lends itself to cranking out Holiday and television related articles. However, not every holiday season is created equal. Now sure, you put up a tree (or other specific decor) every year. You make and consume a fair amount of the same foods every year. There are even can’t miss traditions that happen every year. But each year is not created equal.

One of my many traditions is that I watch nothing but holiday/Christmas programming from the week of Thanksgiving through the end of December. Now there are shows that I cover for this website and as long as they put out new episodes, of course I will watch those. Outside of that, Christmas all the time. I don’t watch late night talk shows, documentaries, mini series’, news magazine shows, if it’s not scripted new episodes or Christmas tv/movies, it can wait until January. On top of that, I have a stable of Christmas movies and music loaded on my mobile devices. I really don’t have any need for anything else, but as I said, not all holiday seasons are created equal.

Every year you can count on Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, Scrooged, A Christmas Carol, and of course 24 hours of A Christmas Story. Those a great, literally. Those are first ballot Christmas Movie Hall of Famers. Television networks pay good money for the rights to air those. The question is, “What do you do with the other 90% of the Christmas viewing time?” You find other, non-classics, holiday movies on television to enjoy. Some of them are cheesy, some are heartwarming, some are cute and some are just flat-out bad. Over the years though, by and large, the made for TV holiday movies are pretty good on the whole.

2013 is a great example. In 2013 Hallmark Channel really began to separate itself from the Holiday network pack. In one season, Hallmark released A Very Merry Mix Up, Catch A Christmas Star, Fir Crazy, Hats Off To Christmas, Let It Snow, Snow Bride, The Christmas Ornament, and a personal favorite Window Wonderland. Window Wonderland I would put on any Christmas Movies list, regardless of status, budget or type. That same year ABC Family put out a couple new-made for TV movies but none to the level of what Hallmark was doing. Holidaze was cute. It’s a little Vice Versa, a little daytime soap, with a healthy sprinkling of It’s A Wonderful Life. Probably not even in the top half of made for TV Christmas movies of the last 15 years though. ABC Family also tried to maximize viewers coming off of the success of Glee and Pitch Perfect, the released The Mistle-Tones. A movie that combines group performance singing with Christmas themes. I don’t personally like it, but I understand why they thought they needed to make it.

2015 has been a complete snooze fest. On the surface, nothing seems out-of-place. Candace Cameron-Bure, Lacey Chabert (always fighting it out for Queen of Christmas movies), and even Danika McKellar (Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years) makes a couple of appearances. There is a Debbie Macomber presence, always welcomed. And there are a stable of movies starring someone you thought was too good to do made for tv movies. Brandon Routh doing the Nine Lives of Christmas last year (which was GREAT), for example. All the mainstays and typical details one tends to look for are there. A bad example is Judd Nelson playing Santa in the forgettable Cancel Christmas. Judd Nelson is too harsh to pull off a jolly St. Nick.
This year has been completely forgettable. Take away the classics that Networks run and what you’re left with is a not very compelling holiday lineup. With movies like Ice Sculpture Christmas, Christmas Incorporated, A Christmas Detour and I’m Not Ready For Christmas…I’m not ready to devote any of my free time to watching these movies. Now I love my Queens of Christmas. I will give anything with Lacey Chabert, Candace Cameron-Bure, and especially Danica McKellar a chance. But I just can’t do some of these. Attention Hallmark, ABC Family and Lifetime…How many ‘real American girl discovers her boyfriend is really a prince’ movies are we gonna make. A Princess for Christmas was great. A Royal Christmas was still really good. I can’t get through Crown For Christmas. I’m sure it’s not as bad as I’m making it seem, but seriously, how many times are we going to do the same movie? This is especially disheartening because Danica McKellar is a part of one of the best made for TV Christmas movies of all time, Love at the Christmas Table.

The saving grace is that I, like a lot of families, have a young one who is focusing on the classics…as he should. Rudolph, Frosty, Twas the Night Before Christmas (all the Rankin and Bass classics), all of the Claymation specials (Misfit Toys, Christmas without Santa, etc), the Grinch, and his personal favorite, The Polar Express. What can I say, my son is crazy for anything with trains. So generally speaking, I don’t have the time to give each new made for tv Christmas movie a chance. All I know is that the ones I have given a chance to, have been overwhelmingly disappointing.
The bigger issue is not that they have missed the mark, the bigger issue is why? I think I have a theory.

I am a Christmas degenerate. I jokingly tell people that Halloween is the speed bump preventing me from starting the Christmas ‘Holiday Season’ earlier. I can find joy and comfort in just about anything from November through December. Even these teens and single digit temps we’ve been having out here lately. There is one detail that prevents me from being any other viewer during this time. There is no amount of money you can throw at marketing, no video promo you can air, no hint you can drop that will even for a moment come close to turning me into a year-long viewer of networks like Hallmark, Lifetime or ABC Family. Hell even changing their name to Freeform (Jan. 12) will not bring me to the formerly known as ABC Family. It just isn’t going to happen. Hate to break it to you, I do not care in the least about Pretty Little Liars. I don’t care about Cedar Cove. And you can’t make me care about Dance Moms or the next man hating Lifetime original movie. It just is not going to happen. I honestly could not possibly care any less than I already do about those networks unless they are airing Christmas content.

In the past I’ve made a minor fuss about stuffing their non-holiday programming down our throats. Now I wish that’s all it was. Whether by design or a friendly coincidence, these networks have gone from trying to maximize new viewers by running their non-holiday promos during holiday programming to actually altering the way they make their holiday movies to resemble how they make their non-holiday shows and movies. My biggest fear is that ten years from now, we’ll look back and say, “Those were the good ole days, 1999-2013”. There is a reason why people like me don’t watch those networks for 10 months out of the year, but go binge crazy during the remaining 2 months. When they were making heartwarming, cute, clever holiday movies for the sole purpose of maximizing viewers during the Christmas/Holiday months, they made magic (considering budget, cast and other factors), maybe it was lightning in a bottle. Or maybe that’s no longer good enough and someone in a board room decided to use this window to maximize opportunity.

My theory is that winning Christmas is no longer good enough for the Christmas Big 3. Would it be nice if some preteen watching Elf saw a promo for The Fosters and decided to watch it when it started its new season after the Holidays? Or maybe a retired government employee decided to give Project Runway a real chance. What these networks need to understand is that the bulk of their Christmas/Holiday viewers are never, will never consider watching their networks the rest of the year. And for good reason. If we liked what they put out, the countdown to Christmas stuff would just be icing on the cake. I believe they are slowly changing the way the make these movies, how the characters react, the temperament of the movies and even the subject matter of these movies to resemble what they make for the other 10 months of the year.

ABC Family (Freeform), Hallmark and Lifetime…understand what you are. Maximize that and try not to bite off more than you can chew. There is nothing wrong with being a heavyweight ratings wise during the holiday season and being a featherweight the rest of the time. I am a scripted network fiction, sports, new release movie type of viewer most of the time. I am not your demographic most of the year. Unless you’re going to start airing some new Tuesday Night Football or plan on bringing back Constantine, there’s nothing you can do that will interest me come February.

My advice to our readers is to do what makes you happy this time of year. That and focus on the classics this year. Hopefully I’m wrong and this is an uncharacteristically bad year for made for TV Christmas/Holiday movies. Watch them if you want. I don’t mean to stop you. But if you’re time is limiting or you’ve been wondering why none of these seem to interest you, stick to the classics this year. A Christmas Story, Vacation, Home Alone, Polar Express, The Grinch and of course all of the musical and animated specials we all love so much. Stick to what we know to be great and try again next year, hoping for improved results.

Courtesy of CBS

Courtesy of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Paige walks in on Walter talking to no one but holding Ferret Bueller. A genius talking to himself would not be a first by any means, but it seems to concern Paige. Walter quickly asks about his ammonium nitrate. When Paige confirms its in the garage, Walter passes off Ferret Bueller and dons a bicycle helmet. Walter has ‘scienced’ his way to fake snow that doesn’t melt and plans to Clark W Griswold it down the stairs on a sled. Before Paige can shove Walter down the fake snow, Cabe comes in with a job, and to demand to know what Toby did to his SUV.

A fifty foot pine tree has fallen over and significantly damaged a power station. Toby feels like this is not a job for them, until the contact mentions how they need computer and engineers skill. Walter, while talking to himself, turns a very large blackboard around to reveal his plan. Toby decides to ride with Walter after Paige mentions that was the second time she saw him talking to himself.

The leaky roof of Walter’s car has been dripping on Toby’s leg. When Walter won’t open up about why he’s talking to himself post Megan’s death, Toby looks for napkins in the glove box. But instead he finds a not empty coffee can. Walter tells him not to touch it. Toby not only touches it, but also shakes it. When he sees Walter’s reaction he stops to look inside. Walter has not had time to spread Megan’s ashes yet.

The team scurry to execute Walter’s almost Wiley Coyote plan. This would include a tarp over the building in question, balloons and a massive inflated blue gorilla with the word ‘sale’ on it’s chest. Not so hectic that Toby didn’t have a moment to suck down some helium. Despite the look on Cabe’s face, he and then Happy follow suit, in order to execute a lovely piece of comic relief with their high-pitched helium voices.

Toby: Grandma got run over by a reindeer…
Cabe: Coming back from our house Christmas Eve…
Toby and Cabe together: People say there’s no such thing as Santa…
Happy: But as for me and Grandpa we believe…

Paige and Toby watch from the doorway as Walter runs through computations out loud. Toby’s diagnosis, the grief has forced his inner monologue outward. Toby also believes no progress can be made unless Walter wants it. Outside Walter inspects and is pleased with their structure. Just then a loud sound is heard. Happy confirms that it was a pressure crack in concrete about 15 feet thick. A nearby dam.

Right about the time Cabe breaks the bad news that there is no evacuating 100,000 people with no roads that have now been closed due to flash flooding, there is another crack in the dam. The dam is at 110% capacity and below are 100,000 people celebrating Christmas Eve that have no idea of the impending doom on the high side of the valley.

There is a new problem and an eventually problem. They need to somehow plug the crack. Walter thinks they can freeze just the water around the crack using the ammonia nitrate. That should buy Happy enough time to create a quick drying concrete patch, but someone will have to repel down 200 feet to do it. Toby is relieved to find Cabe has volunteered.

Walter has rigged a very long pvc pipe with a make shift trap door held by string. When it’s at the right depth, pull the string the chemical released, gets pulled towards the leak and instantly freezes. At that point Cabe who is in position just above the crack will use a back pack type rig that Happy’s constructed to apply the quick dry concrete. Everything works as planned until Cabe has to swing to reach the last portion of the crack. The cable frays and thinking quickly Walter tells Cabe to use the sprayer to create rock climbing like foot holds. He is able to do enough to get above the crack line and plans to walk up one step at a time.

New problem. The mudslide that caused all this in the first place is preventing the reservoir from draining. They have about 30 minutes before the concrete dam starts losing its structural integrity. That’s when Toby has an idea. The dam needs a colonoscopy. Happy of course has a schematic for just how to pull this off, but it will take everyone. By attaching an outboard boat motor propeller to a long metal hose which is connected to a car battery, the hope is that this will chew through whatever is clogging the drainage system.

The water pressure after relieving the clog is too strong. Happy and Cabe try to jump out of the water but the jumper cables to the car battery snag Happy and take her under water. They have 64 seconds to save her before she drowns or meets the turbines and certain death. Walter grabs orange highway netting and Sly grabs sand bags. They wait for her to make it to the next point where the water is exposed. They drop the net and sand bags and save Happy by catching her like a bass fish.

Next problem. Two of the three turbines have failed. With only one turbine there won’t be enough power to drain the reservoir in time. Walter is still talking to himself. Toby gets in his face and tells him of Paige’s resounding speech about people not statistics at stake. And if Walter is going to talk the computations out, he will fight his nature to talk it out to Toby. Which becomes the catalyst. The river feeding the reservoir needs to fight its nature. It needs to flow in the opposite direction.

Walter and Happy collaborate on a plan involving something called a Tsunami Bomb. By dropping this bomb at just the right point, it will hit bedrock and for almost half of the water volume back up river. They just didn’t factor in the newest crack that showed itself on the wall of their command center. Cabe and Sly use the rest of the concrete solution to patch the command center crack while Walter and Paige drive to a separate access point. During which Paige mentions all the Christmas lights. Walter immediately does the math, the Christmas lights will kill them all. Time to call Ralph.
Paige believe the emergency alert system is a smarter bet, but Walter has a plan for Ralph.

Walter has Ralph hack into the emergency alert system to send out a message to every cell phone, television or radio for all of the people to cut off their power. A little literary polish from Paige and it works. The entire valley cuts off everything using electricity. With power reverted they reverse the turbine. Meanwhile, Happy uses a laser pointer to give Toby a target for their Tsunami bomb encased in rock salt (the chemical needs to stay dry as it travels. The rock salt will slowly melt away in water). Toby is not as good at throwing a rock salt bomb as he may have thought, he misses the mark. Apparently not as bad a throw as he may have thought. It took a moment, but the bomb did its job, reverting half of the water back away from the dam.

With the crisis averted and the people saved, team Scorpion finally gets to settle in for some Christmas festivities. Walter checks their messages while the rest surround a gingerbread house. We won’t go into detail about Walter erasing a message from Drew and we’ll jump right into the message about the contest concerning Walter’s rocket research. Walter has been declared the winner of the 15 million dollar prize. But slow your excitement. Walter’s about to get really upset. The whole point of entering was to use the money to save Megan.

The team is excited for him, but you can see the emotion welling up behind his eyes. Then he notices Ferret Bueller is missing and his cage is open. Instead of reflecting on Megan or the money, Walter moves into panic mode over Ferret Bueller.

Toby: Bueller…?

Walter finds him moments later and returns him to his cage. He demands to know who left the cage open. This is where even the genius mind snaps. Paige tries to calm him down by claiming no harm no foul as the ferret is safe.

Walter: I closed the cage. I always close the cage.
Paige: Well its ok now, the ferret is safe.
Walter: WELL I COULD HAVE LOST HER. Don’t any of you comprehend that? I don’t want that! I didn’t want to lose her.
(Paige comes around to get closer to Walter)
Walter: I didn’t want to lose her. I didn’t want to lose my sister.
(Paige holds him close as the wall protecting his emotions comes crumbling down)
Walter: She was…I miss her so much. (He backs away from Paige) Oh I’m sorry this is unprofessional.

One by one, Walter’s friends walk over to embrace him in his moment of vulnerability. Then Walter gets an idea. Happy had been working on a launch pad on a nearby beach. Instead of taking the money, money that was intended to save Megan, Walter decides to send his ‘meal ticket’ into flight.

Happy after hearing Sylvester’s story about not wasting any time with Megan, decides to take that advice. She tells Toby that she doesn’t want to waste any time. Logic would be, if last year she kissed him and it didn’t work out, this time he should kiss her. Despite the lame logic, Toby doesn’t waste any time and goes right in. This time it may have actually worked.

Walter and Sylvester stand by the rocket. Walter mentions how she always loved the stars, so why not send her up to be with them. He then extends the can with her ashes. “Maybe the husband should do the honors”. Sylvester takes the can and places it in a lock box onboard.

Sylvester: We didn’t really talk about it, but technically when I married Megan, it made you and I brothers in law.
Walter: You know, I’ve always found that term to be antiquated. How about we just go with brothers?

The team watches as Megan’s ashes attached to a real rocket ascend the heavens. Walter as he watches the rocket mentions to Paige that he heard what she said about opening up and thinks maybe its time he fight his nature. Then Paige opens her hand in an inviting way, and this time Walter doesn’t run.

Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert:

According to the current story-arc on The CW Network series “Supernatural,” lots went down in the universe before the Book Of Genesis takes place. In fact according to the show, one could make a comparison between the first book of the Five Books Of Moses and chapter four of Star Wars: A New Hope. Turns out that everything started in a highly competitive relationship between a brother and sister, the sister known as “The Darkness” and the brother known as “The Light.” The sibling rivalry got out of control and the brother with the help of his sons the Arch-Angels defeated the sister and locked her away for eternity and her name never mentioned again.

The brother took on the title of God and created the universe, while the sister’s name became the source of scary bedtime stories told to Angels and demons when they were children to make them behave. She stayed imprisoned due to the force of The Mark Of Cain, a symbol bestowed on the son of Adam and Eve by Lucifer when he killed his younger brother Abel.

The Mark Of Cain kept it’s owner alive throughout history, until he transferred the mark to Dean Winchester two years ago. Dean needed the mark in order to destroy the demon Abaddon and keep her from taking over as Ruler of Hell. Winchester won the battle but The Mark Of Cain started taking control of Dean turning him into a demon. His brother Sam with the help of a witch named Rowena and an Angel named Castiel and Rowena’s son Crowley The King Of Hell cast a spell that removed The Mark Of Cain from Dean’s arm. However it released “The Darkness” in the process and now everybody’s running scared.

Now Dean feels a bond with Amara the physical embodiment of “The Darkness,” she was an infant in October and grew really fast as she appeared as a ravishing woman in her mid-thirties in tonight’s episode. (Emily Swallow takes over the role from Samantha Isler.) Sam’s been getting these visions that he believes God’s sending him instructing him that he needs to go back to Lucifer’s Cage and get Lucifer to help them defeat Amara.

The final episode of 2015 opens in a park in front of a cherub themed fountain as some self-anointed preacher speaks to his followers on a bullhorn and they respond with words of agreement. The adult Amara interrupts the preacher and asks if he’s talking about God and does he really believe that God’s listening? The man’s face turns stern and he proclaims that God’s always listening and always watching and judging. Only the righteous and just will go to Heaven while the rest will burn in Hell.

She laughs derisively and says that God’s not even around and believe her she’s been looking. The man gets even more stern and says you best repent sister and ask forgiveness from God. Only he can create the terrible plagues that torment us. Amara sneers and says you mean like this, raises her hands and the water from the fountain turns into blood. She then lifts her arms over her head  and the sky goes from clear and blue to dark and threatening.

The man stutters and asks is that you, are you testing us? Amara smiles and says she’s not God. However she says he’s not the only game in town. She then raises her hands again and lightning bolts come down and fry each of the people standing around her, then the fountain starts pumping water again and the sky turns beautiful once again. She looks up at the sky raises her arms and asks well?

Sam wakes up and finds himself in Lucifer’s cage with Lucifer standing next to him. Lucifer strokes Sam’s face and smiles and suddenly Sam’s standing in a park in the middle of the day and birds are chirping. He shouts out is this the only answer is this what you want and we hear the sound of flames and a bush combusts. It seems a little hokey for God but Sam takes it as proof God’s communicating with him.

Dean’s totally against the idea and says there’s got to be alternatives, Sammy says he’s open to any suggestions but that seems to be the only plan. If they’re going to be dealing with Lucifer then Dean decides they need somebody that knows the Prince Of Darkness better than anybody. They have a meeting with Crowley and the King Of Hell says he believes they might be able to arrange a meeting between Sam and Lucifer but they’d need the Book Of The Damned to accomplish it. So Crowley arranges two of his minions to capture his mother Rowena.

We’re now in a Catholic Church and we watch a middle-aged Priest talk to his congregants as he walks up the main aisle. Amara’s sitting in one of the pews and when the Priest greets her she says she’d like to set up a meeting with God in an actual room. The Priest chuckles and says she’s in the right place that this church’s his house. She asks how she contacts God and he says just like these other people start praying. Amara tries it for less than 30-seconds and tells the Priest it’s not working and he tells her it is that God heard her. She asks how he knows that and the Priest responds because he promised. She says then you’ve met him and the clergyman chuckles again and says nobody has. At least nobody alive and she asks that’s enough for billions of you to believe in? He responds that’s what faith’s all about, she says that the Priest doesn’t know him and he corrects her and says he certainly does. He says he’s the light that vanquishes the darkness.

Rowena’s led into Crowley’s chamber in manacles with her head covered with a black bag. As if she’s not upset enough dealing with her estranged son she goes over the edge when Sammy and Dean show themselves. She hisses to Crowley they’re the enemy and Dean says we can go back to trying to kill each other after we save the world. They then fill her in on “The Darkness.” After they tell her the plan she asks what guarantee does she have that she can walk away after this and Crowley coldly says you don’t it’s a Devil’s Bargain.

The Catholic Church’s filled with death and blood as Amara devours the Priest’s soul and then flings his body against a marble pedestal. We see bloody corpses all throughout the sanctuary. Suddenly Amara looks at the ceiling and screams look what I’ve done, I’ve killed all your favorites your most devoted followers. She then looses it and screams at the top of her lungs show yourself.

A group of rank and file Angels hold a meeting in an auto-shop and the guy who organized the meeting says they all have to band together and to get past their differences so they can defeat “The Darkness.” One of his buddies laughs derisively and says you’ve never lead anybody in your life. The first Angel responds he’s spot-on none of them have but what good are their leaders doing, they just play the factions off each other and promote discord. He tells them all to spread the word they need to unite and work together now.

Sam’s in the Men Of Letters building with Rowena so she can utilize the codex and Charlie’s code-breaker to decipher the Book Of The Damned. Dean’s wearing his FBI suit and he’s checking out the carnage at the church. He tells Sam not to do anything without contacting him first and that he’s heading back there now. However suddenly Dean starts feeling spacey and things seem distorted as he stands in the park. He turns around and Amara’s standing behind him and grinning she says he sensed her presence and that’s why he’s there. She then teleports the two of them to a secluded spot in the woods for them to talk.

Rowena’s figured out the spell and tells Sam to contact Crowley which he does. He also tries calling Dean but his brother’s too under Amara’s spell to answer the phone. The three of them leave for Hell so Sam can meet with Lucifer. Rowena tells Sammy they don’t have time to wait for Dean.

Dean says to Amara that she’s all grown-up now and she smiles and he asks her if she’s the finished product and she says for today. He then asks her what she’s doing why did she kill so many people in the church and the park? She says she’s got no beef with any of her brother’s creations she’s just trying to get his attention. She then starts talking about the propaganda campaign he’s still waging against her. That he demonized her and made himself into a savior. She says it doesn’t have to be this way. That human’s can live without prayer or pain and feel the bliss that Dean feels whenever they’re together. He asks what she’d get out of this and she says only what she deserves, he asks her what’s that and she replies everything.

Rowena prepares a cage in limbo that will be able to contain Lucifer and then she invokes some spells. The symbols she put on the cage light-up and flames start shooting up from the ground all around the cage. Suddenly a figure appears in the cage and doesn’t look human at first, sporting green-skin glowing red eyes and pointed ears almost resembling the Gollum. However he soon appears as our old friend Mark Pellegrino reprises his role as the Prince Of Darkness. He smiles when he sees the King Of Hell and says my old friend Crowley. Crowley responds he’s just a devoted acolyte carrying the torch. Lucifer responds that Crowley’s being too kind, to himself. Suddenly Lucifer smiles in earnest when he sees Sam. He whispers Sam Winchester my old roomie. Want to hug it out?

Lucifer asks Sam why he’s come to visit him and Sam tells him about “The Darkness” and that he’s come seeking his help. Lucifer says he remembers it was tough defeating her eons ago and doesn’t know if he could do it again. He then asks where’s God while all this is going on and Sammy says it appears that God’s split and left no forwarding address. However he’s been sending Sam visions that have sent him looking for help from Lucifer. Lucifer says he’s willing to help if Sam becomes his vessel. Sam says that means he’d disappear while Lucifer would take over his body and wreak havoc topside and Lucifer nods, Winchester says it’s not happening.

Dean somehow summons the strength to try to defeat Amara and he takes out his Angel Blade and tries stabbing her in the abdomen but the blade shatters like glass. She chuckles and says he must have realized that wasn’t going to work. She says she knows that he’s a warrior and his natural instincts to resist but he can’t resist her. She then looks as if she’s going to devour Dean’s soul but instead she kisses him and he kisses her back.

He asks her what just happened and she said that’s a preview of the future and the culmination of the feelings they’ve both had since they met. She says they’ll soon be together and he says she’s way off base. She replies that he can deny it all she wants but they soon shall be one. Suddenly three of the Angels from the meeting appear and they tell her that they’re taking her into custody. The leader then says that if she kills them that every Angel in Heaven will then fire a bolt at her at the exact same time and even she won’t be able to survive that. She looks at them with contempt and then quickly takes them out.

The sky grows dark and lightning starts to appear. Dean asked her what she did and he says they will smote you, she says maybe I’ll finally get my brother’s attention. She teleports him back to the park just before a shaft of white light comes down from the sky and envelops her.

Lucifer apologizes to Sam but says desperate times call for desperate measures and Winchester responds it’s not desperate it’s certifiable. Lucifer laughs and tells Sam that he and Dean are working with Crowley, they passed certifiable three exits ago. Sam once again says he won’t give into Lucifer and there needs to be another solution. Suddenly the symbols on the cage stop glowing and the fire goes out. Crowley asks Rowena what’s happened to the protection spell and she tells him that it’s time to leave.

Suddenly Sam finds himself in the cage with Lucifer, which means he’s trapped. Lucifer asks if he wants the top or bottom bunk or would he rather share. The screen goes black and the story returns on January 20.

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Secrets get revealed, partnerships form and a deal’s made with a demon, must be Christmas in Central City! All this and more took place in the final episode in 2015 of The CW hit series “The Flash,” as the show reshuffled the deck before heading on hiatus. Something to keep in mind though as the Scarlet Speedster and Team-Flash take a break for the holidays, it’s a lot easier to break a bond with a man who has no honor. Sometimes deals get made for no other reason than to buy time, as the party that’s coerced into the agreement attempts to think of a way of defeating their new-found ally.

The first image we see is Harrison Wells running from someone down some hallways. He grabs a weapon and attempts to fire it, however he finds himself with his feet dangling in the air as Zoom holds him by the throat. Wells tells the speedster to take his life but allow his daughter Jessie to go free and live. He says she’s innocent and he’ll gladly sacrifice his life to save hers. Zoom stays silent and doesn’t loosen his grip on Harrison’s throat, Wells tells the monster to kill him and finally Zoom speaks and says Merry Christmas.

Joe West and his daughter Iris are getting their final Christmas shopping done and sit down to get a bite to eat. Joe asks Iris what he should get Barry for Christmas and Iris suggests a really nice watch like Joe’s father gave him. Joe smiles and says his father had a message for his son when he gave him the watch, start arriving places on time. West says that when he was a kid he pledged if he ever had a son he’d give him fun gifts. Iris knowing that Joe does have a son that she hasn’t told him about gets a bit emotional.

Barry and Patty are making out at the station and she says they really should be acting more professional in case anyone comes in. Right then Iris comes in and Patty slaps Barry on the shoulder and says she’s got a 4:00 pm to midnight shift and she’ll see him around.

Iris then tells Barry about her brother that she’s kept hidden from Joe since she had contact with her mother earlier in the season. She says that she feels terrible about not telling him sooner and the news will kill him. Barry tells her he’ll handle it well and he’ll help break the news to Joe. Iris hugs him and thanks him then takes off.

Back at STAR Labs Jay Garrick and Caitlin are trying to come up with a way to close all the breaches to Earth-Two except for the one at STAR Labs. Snow tells Jay she truly appreciates him watching out for Barry and Garrick replies he’s not the only one whose welfare he’s concerned with. Cisco trying to rebound from a broken-heart plays the wise-guy and tells Jay to kiss her already then asks Caitlin how’s Wells doing? She says she believes he’s still asleep but as Ramon turns to go find him Harrison’s standing right behind him.

Barry and Iris noticed it started to snow as they finished their conversation earlier, turns out the white-stuff didn’t come from Mother Nature. The Weather Wizard shows up at Iron Heights Prison and breaks out Captain Cold and The Trickster. Leonard Snart, Captain Cold’s real name isn’t a fan of James Jesse/The Trickster and asks Mark Mardon/Weather Wizard why he broke them out. Mardon tells Leonard that they’re going to team-up to kill the Flash and with Weather Wizard’s powers, Captain Cold’s smarts and The Trickster’s flair for the dramatic they’ll be successful.

Joe and Barry meet up at Iron Heights and discuss the escape and West tells Barry this might set Patty off as Mardon killed her father. Patty arrives looking grim-faced and Barry tries to talk to her, but she blows him off saying he has no understanding of the situation. She tells him she cares for him but he’s over his head in this type of situation. Which leads me to my question of the goings on in Central City. In the last few weeks Barry’s told Linda Park and Kendra Saunders he’s the Flash, why hasn’t he told the woman he cares about Patty Spivot about his secret identity?

I’m not much of a “shipper” when it comes to shows and characters that I follow, however Patty Spivot’s pretty much a perfect match for Barry Allen. She’s truly adorable, they share he same interests and she’s crazy about him and her admiration would only increase for him if he told her he’s the Flash. I don’t want to see this relationship get dashed on the rocks because she finds out accidentally. He’s a lot closer with Patty than he was with Joe’s former partner Eddie Thawne and he knew Barry’s the Scarlet Speedster. Let’s get Patty in the loop as soon as possible when the show returns.

West comes home to find Iris and Barry sitting there waiting to talk to him and he knows something big is going down. Barry starts to take the lead but Iris cuts him off feeling it’s her responsibility to inform her father and tells Joe that he has a son and she has a brother named Wally West. Joe smiles saying that’s short for Wallace, which is what they planned to call Iris if she’d been a boy.

Joe’s obviously unsettled by the revelation and tells his daughter he needs time to process things and tells her to give him time to let things set. He then says he needs to get back to the station. Iris asks Barry if she thinks Joe’s going to be alright and Barry says that he’ll be fine. However Barry’s not fine when he discovers Captain Cold sitting in the easy-chair in the living room.

Barry pins Leonard against a wall and asks him if he’s insane coming to Allen’s house? Snart says this is a fine way to treat him when he shows up to give him his Christmas present. He then tells Barry that Weather Wizard and The Trickster are teaming up to defeat him, they asked him to join them but he’s decided against it. However he turns down Barry’s request to team up with him and help the Flash defeat the duo.

We find out Wells confrontation with Zoom actually took place in the opening scene and wasn’t a nightmare or a hallucination. The monster enters STAR Labs through the breach and asks Harrison if he’s made his decision and Wells says he needs more time. Zoom says he needs his decision immediately but Wells stays resolute that he needs more time before he gives the villain an answer. Zoom tells him he has one day then says he’ll say hello to his daughter for him and goes back through the breach.

The Trickster’s commandeered the airwaves and he’s on every TV station in Central City saying it’s going to be a very bloody Christmas. He says his stocking’s going to be filled with Flash parts and then laughs hysterically. As he finishes his address to the city, Caitlin notices an image reflected in Jesse’s iris. Wells recognizes it as a children’s toy he bought his daughter when she was in grade school. Cisco soon finds the distribution warehouse that the toys shipped from and the Flash heads there to try to catch The Trickster.

He arrives and he’s soon joined by Patty Spivot whose obsessed with finding Mardon and making him pay for her father’s death. They both soon realize that it’s a trap and neither of the criminals are there. However a videotape starts playing and an image of Jesse tells them that the dreidels that are heading for them from all sides are made from C-4 explosives. The Flash tells Spivot to wrap her arms around him and he rotates his hands fast enough to create an up-draft that takes them to safety.

Flash tells Spivot to let him handle this situation and for her to back off, he understands that Mardon murdered her father but says she’ll just get hurt. She confesses to Flash that she worked for her father before he got killed, but ditched work that day to hang with her friends. So her father got robbed by Mardon and killed for a few hundred bucks. She said it’s her fault her father died and she’s going to make Mardon pay.

Cisco creates a wand that will draw all the electricity out of the air where Mardon’s at making it impossible for him to access his powers. Cisco tracks down Weather Wizard and The Trickster to Central City Square where the city’s holding the tree lighting ceremony. Flash grabs the wand and speeds down there. Turns out Weather Wizard’s acquired the power of flight but Flash chases him down and zaps him with the wand causing Mardon to fall onto a rooftop.

Flash asks Weather Wizard if he truly thought he could beat him like that and Mardon says of course not, but Central City’s hero will allow Mardon to beat him now. He reveals that The Trickster posed as a department store Santa Claus and handed out 100 bombs to random children from all over the city. Unless Flash submits to Mardon’s beating 100 families will get blown up instantly, Flash agrees not to fight back.

Team-Flash monitoring Barry from STAR Labs hears what’s going on and Wells says if they can find one of the bombs reverse the polarity and send it into the breach all the other bombs will get sucked up with it. Garrick, Ramon and Wells get into a vehicle and find one of the homes with the bombs. Wells straps it to a drone and guides it through the breach and all the other bombs get sucked into the breach as well. Barry’s hanging on when Cisco tells him the bombs are gone he then quickly takes out Mardon and The Trickster.

Spivot shows up and uses Cisco’s invention to stop Meta-Humans the boot to keep Flash on the sidelines, then she grabs her service revolver and stands over Mardon and says this is for her father. Flash tells her if she does this her life’s over and she’ll lose everybody she cares about and she’ll be all alone once again. She decides to cuff Mardon instead and releases Flash and apologizes.

Everybody’s at Joe’s house for a Christmas Eve celebration. Patty arrives and tells Barry she wants to tell him what’s been going on and he says it’s the best Christmas present he could receive. Suddenly the door bell rings and a young man’s standing in the doorway he introduces himself as Wally West, Francine’s son. He says he sees Joe’s got company and says he’ll come back some other time, but Joe insists he come in and join the party.

Wells gets another visit from Zoom in the final scene and the speedster asks Harrison what’s his decision. Wells says he needs to see his daughter first and Zoom quickly gets her and puts her in front of Wells. The two embrace and she begs her father to save him. Zoom then snatches her back and leaves her back in her cage and asks Wells his decision. Wells tells Zoom that he’ll help him steal The Flash’s speed and the screen goes black.

The Story Returns Tuesday January 19, at 8:00 pm on The CW.

Courtesy of ABC/Marvel

Courtesy of ABC/Marvel

Warning: Spoiler Alert

On the alien planet searches feverishly for Will with Ward breathing down his neck the entire time. Fitz gets close and reaches for Ward’s gun. They tumble-down a sand dune. When Fitz gets up, Ward’s gun is not the only one pointed at him. The threat of Jemma dying a slow and painful death if Ward doesn’t return didn’t actually appear to be the disincentive Ward thinks it is. Regardless, Fitz complies. Just over the ridge, Ward’s men see something that brings them to their knees. The remains of what appear to be a statue or shrine with the Hydra octopus that seems larger than life.

Mack assembles the team he has at his disposal. May, Daisy, Lincoln, Bobbi, Hunter, and Joey. Using heat signatures, they can see Hydra is bringing in truckloads of something. Inhumans. Joey asks how this works. Lincoln, then Bobbi, then Daisy all give different answers. Mack interrupts them and lays out the plan. Extract their people, quietly.

Fitz gets far enough away from Ward to descend down Will’s bunker. Fitz finds Will quickly. Ward and his men follow. Ward puts Will in an execution position while Fitz screams that they need him. Outside the bunker Will and Fitz march ahead of Ward and his men. They speak quietly. Fitz explains that they are here to bring back the creature. Fitz also has a moment to get into pleasantries. Comparing this moment to the many scenario he ran through his head as to how this first meeting would go down. Reality as it turns out, its more bloody and stinky. Will even drops a “I see why Jemma loves you” line. Fitz mentions they need to lose Ward just before the extraction, Will is on board, telling Fitz to follow his lead.

At the castle, Jemma was able to free herself after Lincoln took out the power. Now in a dark compound, Jemma runs to avoid Hydra scouts. She runs past one of the containment units, Andrew’s containment unit. He pleads with her to let him out. They have a solid back and forth, Jemma resisting and Andrew leaning on his training to convince her to open the door. She does and Andrew takes out the two men searching for her.

Will is leading the convoy to the ‘no fly zone’, he suggests that Fitz stay close. A dust storm settles in. Ward is annoyed more than anything. This is a variable in the equation that they don’t have time for. In the cover of the dust storm, Will takes out two of Ward’s men. Ward eventually has enough, and decides to push through regardless of the storm. Ten feel later he finds his two dead men but no Will or Fit. They fan out to find them when three gun shots takes out the remaining men. These gunshots came from Coulson.

Daisy makes her way into a corner of the compound looking to see who or what Hydra has been delivering in. Then ‘Iron Chef’ appears to take her out. Joey sees it before she does. He yells out her name and runs over to take the bullets for her. His power and the rush of the moment actually melted the bullets mid fight. Then Lincoln takes out the Iron Chef.

The SHIELD team have barricaded themselves inside the portal room. Hydra will be bearing down on them momentarily. They try to brainstorm what exactly happens next. Lincoln is the only one thinking big picture. Despite their personal feelings, Fitz and Coulson are not more important than preventing this creature from crossing over. Putting the issue of what if that thing comes across first on the back burner, Daisy claims that they can’t leave over a dozen Inhumans there. May interjects, “Yes you can. They’re dead. Andrew or Lash, can’t really tell the difference anymore killed them all.”
Ward rambles on about his newfound purpose after seeing the Hydra statue. Coulson would clearly rather he keep his thoughts to himself. A distance further and Coulson stops short. He pulls out his binoculars to look across the distance to find Will and Fitz trudging forward.

Most of Mack’s team are content to stand over the portal guns drawn and take out anything that comes through that is not Coulson, Fitz or Will. Once again, Mack steps up as acting director. He even needs to follow-up his plan with the comment, “That’s an order” when he directs everyone except Daisy to head back to Zephyr 1.

Will and Fitz are almost at the extraction point when Fitz notices something in the distance. The remains, ruins even of what was once a thriving civilization. Something Jemma never saw. They push on and eventually Will collapses. Probably from the fact that he isn’t Will. Clearly this Will has Will’s memories and knowledge, but there is something very different. Calmer, less brash. Fitz kneels down to take a look at Will’s injured leg. I knew it. When Fitz gets down there, what he sees does not resemble the shin bone of a human. Will is not Will, that’s the creature.

Fitz: You’re not Will…
Creature: Will died saving Jemma…for me.

Fitz reaches for something but the creature kicks him down a sand dune. They slug it out. Fitz making an admirable effort considering what he’s fighting. As Fitz efforts start to fail him, Coulson and Ward emerge above them in time to see what looks like Will about to drop a very large rock on Fitz’ head. Coulson fires on the creature. It goes down but doesn’t stay down.

The creature rises and continues towards the now opened portal. Coulson and Ward continue fighting and Coulson gains the upper hand. The creature has now been shot about 6 times and he keeps getting up. That is until Fitz picks up a flare gun, takes aim and shoots the creature in the back. “Will” is immediately engulfed in flames then lies motionless.

The portal opens and yet again the frequency vibrations are giving Daisy some ‘issues’. Her and Mack stand together over the portal. Daisy looks over and says “we’re out of time” just as her eyes roll back in her head as she passes out.

With the creature neutralized and Ward down for the count, Fitz screams at Coulson to hurry before the portal closes. Coulson sees the image of Rosalind smiling back at him. It was then that Coulson knew what had to be done. Using his prosthetic hand, Coulson crushes Ward’s chest slowly. Then he removes the hand and drops it on Ward like the Kingpin and his rose. Just as Fitz and Coulson head for the portal, a snake-like tentacle can be seen leaving Will’s burning body.

Time has run out, May executes Mack’s order on time. Unleashing the Zephyr’s arsenal on the castle, if Coulson and Fitz aren’t out now, they aren’t getting out. As we watch the castle come crumbling down, a personal containment unit ascends towards the sky with Mack’s voice, “open the doors I’m bringing them in”. Everyone waits patiently in slow motion as each person exits the unit. Jemma stares inside of it as Fitz exits. There is no Will. Jemma’s emotions show through painfully, but she embraces Fitz regardless. Fitz and Coulson share an alarming stare. There is darkness behind Coulson’s eyes.

Malick’s vehicle speeds towards the airport when his driver slams on the brakes. There is a slow reveal to what looks like a zombie version of Grant Ward. It appears the creature found a new host. Hydra’s greatest agent. Grant Ward and the Hydra Creature as one entity, I guess you have to ask yourself…just how evil can Grant Ward get?

Courtesy of CBS

Courtesy of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Ralph has a ‘Time Capsule’ project for school and Walter is very unimpressed. Walter would rather Ralph only study math and science, or in Walter’s mind, the subjects that matter. In addition to that, is being very Walter about Megan’s passing. Sylvester on the other hand is taking as one might expect him to.

Sylvester: Hey Walter, I have a lovely picture of you and Megan for you…
Walter: No thanks, I know what we both look like.

Cabe walks in carrying an evidence box that looks rather heavy. Inside the box is the air tank that once belonged to Ray’s firefighter friend. Ray has always felt he was to blame for the death of his friend. Walter would like to take a stab at disproving that idea. Problem is that as Paige points out, Walter may be using this project for Ray as a means to compensate for the mourning he is not doing for Megan.

Cooper arrives with tonight’s mission. A while ago, Homeland received a ransom demand. It was a small amount of 20,000. They paid the ransom and this time need Scorpion as the new demand is 250 million or they will shut down the Federal Reserve. This news sends Sly into one of his typical rants about just how dangerous life is. This is a fire sale, in the computer savvy world. Shut down the fed and everything about our economy falls. Not just big business. Everything. Post apocalyptic barren version of ourselves.

Cooper: That’s why I need you to access the Fed’s server and kill this ransom-ware.
Walter: Well I’m already in and it’s not happening. Every time I try to break the code, it changes. As if it’s adapting.
Sylvester: Welp! Walter can’t get in. Should I start hoarding canned goods?

The next step is one that no one involved would be thrilled to take. Scorpion is going back to college. They’ve traced the point of upload to a student activity center. There were four groups that had the floor reserved. A wrestling team, a sorority, the Psych department, and a drama club gathering. Try to play the Match Game pairing each of those four groups with the Scorpion member expected to infiltrate said group.

Happy can build small pocket-sized devices that will pick up any nearby electronics and measure its specific omitting frequency. I one of them gets close to the computer that uploaded the ransom-ware, they’ll know it. Toby is the only genius excited about the prospect of going back to college. This time it will be different. Sylvester will try to get close as a college wrestler. Happy is going to pledge what I’m sure is a pink and frilly sorority. Toby will try to get hired into the college Psych department that is headed by his arch-enemy. And Walter will be a visiting Drama professor. Even Cabe will parade around as a new campus security rent-a-cop.

Even in their ‘costumes’ Toby and Sylvester find things on the campus event calendar they’d rather be doing. Toby’s motives are typically Toby while Sylvester is enthralled with the exhibit on campus of old space suits.

Sylvester is first up. In his large track suit, Sylvester tries to fit in with these jocks and it doesn’t take a genius to sense the Carrie moment that’s about to happen. Sylvester gets invited into the annual team photo on the front steps of the fraternity house. When a number of dirty jock straps fall on him from the second floor, Sylvester has had enough and leaves. No frequency readout.

Walter isn’t in character 10 seconds before two drama students get a little too uppity about the use of non-PC language and Walter is compelled to destroy them. He gets close enough but no frequency readout. The drama students (especially the woman) keep pushing. Walter doesn’t have to reach far to squash them with nothing more than a dictionary meaning of the term ‘you guys’ to represent a group of people, having nothing to do gender. He drops the proverbial hammer and makes his exit.

The most painful of all of these experiences might just go to Happy. Happy Quinn standing emotionless (not a surprise), wearing a pink plaid skirt, a pink hooded sweatshirt, hair down looking about as thrilled as she would be if she were learning to crochet. Later one of the pledges approaches Happy with an almost upsetting optimism. She makes an analogy to this sorority being her surrogate family when she’s away from hers. Her tone may have been annoying, but the wheels in Happy’s head are turning.

Toby complains to Paige all the way up to and including the waiting room for his ‘job interview’. He sits down and there is a large in stature man already seated. This person is very familiar. Took about 3.2 seconds to realize who. I looked over at my wife a demanded to know, “Why is Willie McGinest on my show?” For the uninitiated, Willie McGinest used to play professional football for the New England Patriots. I don’t know the purpose of this cameo and it serves as little to no help advancing the story.

Inside the meeting room, we have high noon at the OK Corral, battle of the behaviorist. Dr. Burkhead takes the first shot, Toby goes along for the ride momentarily then uses his understanding of the field to tell Burkhead exactly what he needs to in order to drop his defenses.

Cabe meets with his new boss/partner, Griggs. Griggs is not at all excited about the job. He had aspirations of being a police officer like his father. Even mentions what it would be like to take down real bad guys and slap on the cuffs. Then Paige informs Cabe they have a ping. The good (or bad depending on how you want to view it) Doctor. Whatever tripped the ping was unhelpful. The Doctor’s phone is clean, no trace of the ransom-ware at all.

Happy overhears a couple in other room arguing about code, the dead professor, and what to do next. Happy charges in uninvited. She clearly announces her intentions and the male advances. Poor decision. A shot to his Adam’s Apple and the couple is compliant. Quickly we discover that they were paid to write code. Not knowing or even really questioning why, they aided in this issue. That is not the bad news. The bad news is that the ransom-ware code has been uploaded to a ‘Quantum’. You can see Walter and Sylvester’s eyes begin screaming.

The Quantum is a super computer that utilizes lasers, much faster than the consumer tech available today. That’s why it kept adapting, it was just faster than Walter, a fact that he open accepts as irrefutable fact. If they can upload Walter’s code, it too could run as fast as the ransom-ware. The Quantum does not look like or act like something anyone can pick up at a big box store. This thing looks like an ice-cube inside of a much larger ice-cube. Incredible environmental and biological fail safes will trigger an explosion if done wrong. Too many things could trigger this thing to blow. Also, if they are to install Walter’s code, they need to get next to it without freezing to death in the -100 degree room its in. A great opportunity for Homeland to commandeer the old space suits exhibit that Sylvester was going to miss.

Sylvester struggles to keep his jitters or vital signs in check as he positions a small mirror to reflect one of the lasers back on itself. The theory is this should slow the Quantum’s speed long enough to allow Walter to upload his code. Then Sylvester freaks out thinking they are experiencing an earthquake. Instead, there is a block party starting up on the street above them. Cabe puts that to a halt by pushing the DJ out-of-the-way and proclaiming he is a DEA agent. All the students scatter.

Walter implores Paige to do something to calm Sylvester. She begins in with that calmly maternal voice of hers she uses when things get bad. Sly pushes back suggesting that this is not the time. All she has to do is mention a who that made him calm. Thinking about Megan put his mind at ease. The pep talk did the trick, now if Walter can only grab the flash drive he dropped with his big One Giant Leap for Mankind gloves. Enjoyably and predictably, he gets it just a time is about to run out. They all celebrate and Walter even apologizes for objecting to Paige’s pep talk. But they will get no response and the man behind the ransom has a gun pointed at her head

They have strict instructions to meet at the ‘Founders Fountain’ with the money or Paige dies. There is a strategic benefit for the bad guy by choosing this venue. He will see anyone coming. Cabe has a plan. Cabe reaches out to Griggs, presumably to let him live out his cop dream. Griggs approaches just being the friendly campus security guard. Rider (bad guy) gives a false story about this being their anniversary trying to shake Griggs. Griggs does an effective job buying time, even offered to take a picture of the couple. Hoping he would soon leave, Rider poses for the picture. Before it’s taken Cabe tackles Rider. Paige steps on his hand as he reaches for his gun. And most importantly, Cabe tosses his cuffs at Griggs who gleefully and awkwardly cuffs Rider.

With the mission well in hand, its time to say goodbye to their second college run. Toby is still very much distraught over the number of college experiences he missed today. Hacky-sac, naked racing, and the winter dance. Prospective eventual love interests pair up for the ride home. Walter and Paige walk through campus when Walter is met with verbal indifference. The drama club. The snotty lady drops a “those who can’t, teach” reference. Walter politely has had about enough of these drama kids and schools them in a way that even surprises me. Walter O’Brien played by Elyes Gabel, who is British delivers the Juliet death scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet but in his Americanized accent. And its one of the most brilliant things I’ve seen in a while.

Toby continues wallowing as they approach Happy’s truck. She tells him to wait. She opens the door turns the key and turns up the radio. She comes in close to Toby who is still standing in front of the truck. Happy wants Toby to mark off one thing from his college bucket list, and no it’s not streaking. Happy offers to slow dance with Toby. At first there is a safe distance. Even in the moment, Toby can’t help but ask what she’s doing. It won’t matter this time. Happy is letting down her shield (something the annoying sorority pledge said to her), which Toby was not about to question.

Walter and Paige return to find Ray sitting on a stool staring at the experiment tank that has his former partner’s oxygen tank in it. Ray is as ‘gone’ as we’ve ever seen him. The loss of Tuggle or more aptly Ray’s perceived notion that he was responsible for the loss of Tuggle has dictated near everything in his life since. Ray is calm when he hears Walter’s why. Even asks what would be present if the tank indeed was defective. Bubbles. The solution the tank is submerged in would reveal bubbles. No bubbles, Ray says as he walks away.

Not before Paige notices what Ray did not. Bubbles. Ray comes charging back. The existence of bubbles and his faith in Walter’s knowledge are enough to erase a decade of torment in a single moment. Ray doesn’t say anything at first, but instead lunges into Walter for a bro hug. This news is liberating for Ray. He finds a way to make a joke and referring to himself in the third person for good measure as he lets them know that it might be time to say hello to the world again.

Ray walks over to hug Paige and not call her by her correct name. When he leans in for the hug, he holds it. Not so much for the creepy embrace, but for him to impart some wisdom onto Paige. It seems that Ray’s purpose was much more important than comic relief or the ying to Walter’s yang. Much more significant.

Ray (whispering to Paige): You know how he feels about you. You need to go to him. He’s not able to do it on his own.

Paige doesn’t address that tidbit but does announce she needs to leave to pick up Ralph. She reiterates that she will have the time capsule out of the garage by Friday. She looks back and says that she knows there are things Walter cares about. When she’s gone, Walter picks up the picture of he and Megan that Sly was going to give him. Takes a look at the photo then places it in the time capsule.