Supernatural: Death Doesn’t Always Mean Goodbye

Photo Courtesy Of The CW
Photo Courtesy Of The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

If we have learned anything during the veteran CW series “Supernatural’s,” tenth season, it’s that no character from the show can ever be considered gone forever. We’ve witnessed the return of the prophet Chuck Shirley, visited Benny the vampire in purgatory and got to visit fan favorite, Bobby Singer in Heaven, just a few weeks ago.  Earlier this year, we spent some episodes with Claire Novak, daughter of the late Jimmy Novak, the man whose vessel our favorite trench-coat wearing Angel, Castiel now inhabits.

Although Castiel’s benefited humanity in numerous ways, while walking the earth these past few years, Claire only focuses on the fact that the Angel took her father from her as a girl. She watched her family fall apart in front of her, as her mother Amelia left her years earlier to search for her husband and Claire’s father. Claire went to live with her grandmother, but found herself alone again two years ago, when her grandmother passed.

The sweet and innocent grade school girl that we met earlier in the series, evolved into a tough and independent young woman, now schooled in the tricks that allows one to survive on the streets. Manipulated by a con-man that showed her kindness, Claire nearly became the personal plaything, of a loan-shark her supposed benefactor was deeply indebted to. Although she got saved from the situation by Cass and the Winchester’s, Claire became even more resentful, as Dean killed the man she considered her surrogate father. Though Cass felt an obligation to protect the girl, they went their separate ways a few months back, although the girl told the Angel that she wouldn’t mind hearing from him via the phone, every once in a while.

The latest episode entitled “Angel Heart,” not only featured Claire, but we found out the fate of her mother Amelia, whose been held captive by a supposed faith-healer, who goes by the name of Peter Holloway. Although Holloway can and has healed people, his true purpose is to take prisoners and steal a bit of their soul each day, over an extended period of time.

Our first image of the evening, is the living room of a nicely furnished home, when we see a man walk through the front door it’s Castiel, or at least we think it’s him at first. A woman walks down the stairway as the man enters the door, it’s Amelia Novak and she asks the man if he’s truly Jimmy Novak. It is Jimmy and he can’t apologize enough to his wife, for disrupting their lives by allowing Castiel to use his body.

Suddenly Amelia’s arm starts bleeding so heavily, that the sleeve of her blouse gets saturated quickly. She screams out, oh please, not again and tries showing the wound to Jimmy who just continues talking, seemingly oblivious to the problem with his wife’s arm. The scene morphs into Amelia strapped to a table, while a strange man’s sliced open her arm, she starts to scream and he quietly tells her to relax, that everything’s fine. She soon falls back to sleep, reliving seeing her dead husband returning home.

We head to a rustic bar, frequented by a motley crew of Good Ol’ Boys and a bunch of guys who look like they’re rejects from a biker gang. Claire Novak enters the place, walks up to the bar and the middle-aged woman behind the bar looks at her and says she’s got to be kidding. Claire tells her the next day’s her birthday and the woman asks if she turns twelve? Novak then places a fifty-dollar bill in front of the bartender and asks her to point out Ronnie Cartwright, a sleazy-looking middle-aged guy sitting alone in a booth.

Claire sits down across from Cartwright and shows him a picture of her mom and asks him if he recognizes her. Looking slightly uncomfortable, he denies ever seeing the woman, Claire tells him that Amelia’s last diary entry stated that she was to meet with him the following day and he’d introduce her to the miracle man. Ronnie laughs at the statement, saying if he knew a miracle man he wouldn’t be hanging out in this dive. He tells Novak he’s never seen the woman and tells her to get lost.

Later that evening, Ronnie’s in the parking lot and gets surprised by Claire, who once again asks what happened to her mother. Cartwright screams that he told her he doesn’t know Amelia Novak, causing the teen to smile. She says she never mentioned her mother’s last name. Ronnie panics and pushes her away, she slips and slams her head against a dumpster, then crumples to the ground. Cartwright thinks she’s dead at first, then feels for a pulse and calls 911 requesting an ambulance.

We see Castiel standing outside the hospital, when Sam and Dean drive up. Dean asks if it’s really a smart move getting him involved as Claire detests him for killing her surrogate father. Cas says he wants them both involved, they were troubled teens and the may connect with Novak. However Claire’s not thrilled to see any of them, she asks Castiel how he knew she was there, he replies she has him listed as an emergency contact.

The teen’s reticent at first to tell the trio what she’s up to, but eventually reveals that she’s searching for Amelia. The trail’s she’s followed ends up in the town they’re in and Cartwright was supposed to introduce her to a man that Amelia was excited to meet. But she then disappeared and Claire’s hoping to find out what happened to her.

Sam heads to the motel to hit the laptop and try to dig up some background on Ronnie Cartwright, while Dean and Cas head to the bar and tell Cartwright they’re with the FBI. When he’s slow to answer their questions, Dean starts slamming Cartwright’s head into the table in front of him.

Ronnie tells the pair that Amelia’s being held by Peter Holloway, an actual faith-healer who restored Cartwright’s sight. However, part of the price of getting his vision back was working for Holloway, who put him in charge of bringing him lost people, who would be missed if they suddenly vanished, Amelia was the last person he brought Holloway, he then saw some of Holloway’s victims and quit.

After Cas and Dean takeoff, Cartwright calls Holloway on his cellphone telling him of the conversation. Holloway suddenly appears in the parking lot and tells Ronnie that the men he talked to were Hunters, then he says Cartwright needs to be punished for his loose lips. Peter first takes away Cartwright’s vision, then rams a sword through his back that goes clean through to his stomach.

Sam teaches Claire how to hack credit card companies to get information and pulls up all Amelia’s purchases before she went missing, when Dean and Castiel return and inform the pair about Cartwright’s demise and about Peter Holloway. The brothers try to determine exactly what Holloway is, when Sam discovers that he owns a farmhouse about 40 miles away. They tell Claire and Dean that they’re being left behind, Claire to protect her from danger and Dean because they don’t want him going dark-side.

After a few minutes of bickering in the motel room, Dean tells Claire to grab her jacket and he takes her to play miniature golf. The game comes to a quick conclusion and Claire drops her putter into the last hole. Dean suddenly realizes that Cartwright wasn’t killed by a blade, was run through with a sword. The pair rush back to the motel, to do some research on what that could mean.

Winchester proves that his computer skills have vastly improved over the last few years, as he discovers that Holloway is a Gregory, also known as a Watcher Angel. They were amongst the first Angel’s sent to Earth, assigned to protect humanity. However they went rogue and most off them got destroyed as the Angels started feeding off humans, rather than guard them. Claire assumes Dean’s going to make her stay at the motel, but he surprises her by handing her a pistol, wishing her a happy birthday and asking that she doesn’t shoot him.

Sammy and Cas arrive at the farmhouse, Sam tells the Angel to search the barn while he checks out the house. Sam hears a noise, but he reacts too late as Holloway hits him on the head and knocks him out. Castiel finds Amelia, she’s unconscious and back in her home, but she can’t see Jimmy, suddenly she comes to and screams when she sees Castiel.

Cas attempts to heal her wounds, but his powers aren’t strong enough. Amelia stares intently at the Angel, then says that her husband isn’t with him anymore. He tells her she’s correct, that Jimmy’s now in Heaven. She tells Castiel, that she left Claire to search for her husband, thinking if she could get him back that all would go back to the happier days they used to have. She then starts sobbing uncontrollably as she tells Cas that she should never have left Claire.

Sam wakes up handcuffed to a chair and he sees Holloway entering the room. Winchester says you must be Peter Holloway and his captor responds he has been for the last 50-years or so, before he took that name he was a Jenkins and his name was Miller before that. He tells Sammy that he’s a Gregory, a Watcher Angel and the reason he takes human’s captive is to feed off their souls. He says that a human soul is filled with tiny bits of Heaven and can provide delicious meals for years and even decades if cared for properly. While he’s telling Sam about himself, the younger Winchester’s in the process of picking the lock on his handcuffs.

Dean and Claire enter the barn and Amelia sees her daughter and she’s overjoyed. Claire’s animosity vanishes in a heartbeat and the two embrace and each start crying. Cas and Dean watch the reunion, then head to the house to look for Sam. Dean sees the chair Sam was sitting on and the handcuffs on the floor, the two nearly clobber each other as they each turn the same corner at the same time.

Claire helps Amelia off of the table and she tries to help her mother leave the barn, but Amelia suddenly grows very weak. Peter appears and he says to Claire that she realizes her mother will never be well again. The teen empties the pistol into Holloway’s chest, but it doesn’t cause him to miss a step. He says she should have realized a mere gun couldn’t hurt an Angel Of The Lord, then starts to push his sword through her stomach, but Amelia steps in front of her daughter and takes the blade.

Cas, Dean and Sam enter the bar right then and the three of them try to take down Holloway, but he’s just too strong. As he wrestles with Dean, we see the light pour out of his eyes and mouth, then we see a blade poke through his stomach. Claire’s standing there when Holloway’s corpse hits the floor, unfortunately though Amelia’s gone as well, but there is a bright side.

We see Amelia’s home again, however this time she walks through the front door and Jimmy comes down stairs and hugs her tightly. She asks if they’re in Heaven and Jimmy tells her they are. He says that he’s waited so long for her to join him and that he’s missed her terribly. He then asks about Claire and Amelia tells him their daughter’s beautiful and very strong, then they hold each other as tightly as they can.

Sam’s arranged for Claire to stay with Jodi Mills until Claire can get back on her feet. He tells her that Jodi’s good people and the arrangement’s temporary. Dean goes to talk to her next, revealing he knows that she’s got Holloway’s sword in her duffel bag. He begs her not to take up the life of a Hunter, that it’s a terrible existence and most times leads to an early death.

Castiel’s nervous and struggles to find the words to convey his feelings, but Claire makes words unnecessary as she hugs the Angel as hard as she can, expressing everything she felt, without uttering a word. Claire’s seemingly found closure and now she can get on with a fresh start and a new life.

The Story Continues Next Wednesday Night at 9:00 pm on The CW.

Daredevil: Beyond Fisk, There Is A War Coming

Courtesy of Netflix
Courtesy of Netflix

Warning: Spoiler Alert

A man in a suit races down a building’s stairwell. He gets to an office and arms himself with a big handgun. He unloads his clip into the elevator. A voice speaks to the gunman in Japanese asking about the “Black Sky”. The gunman makes a move and the unidentified man slices off the hand holding the gun. The gunman gives up the destination of “Black Sky”. New York City.

In the office, Foggy makes his feelings known about this masked vigilante who is being blamed for the explosions around Hell’s Kitchen. It’s fun watching Matt try to deflect this negativity being directed at Daredevil.

Leland arrives at a rendezvous to meet with Nobu. The funds have been allocated and redistributed for its arrival. Leland takes this opportunity to create an alliance with Nobu. Who does not take to Leland’s rhetoric. Nobu drives away leaving Leland alone. Matt walks up behind Leland. When asked about who he works for, Leland sticks to his law firm answer. Matt starts in with what he wants when he hears the sound of a ‘stick’ on pavement. This distracts Matt just long enough for Leland to taze Matt.

The man with the stick is familiar. Flashback familiar. This man was brought in to help Matt deal with the transition of Matt’s new world. Matt and the orphanage staff believe he is getting worse. The old man knows better. He tosses his keys towards Matt’s face and Matt catches them as if he could see. The man’s approach is cold to be polite, but effective. It directs Matt’s attention. He is able to use a vanilla ice cream cone to illustrate that there is a difference between knowing what vanilla is and sensing (through taste and smell) of what the ingredients are and where they came from. Moments later, Matt is able to figure out small undisclosed details about people passing by.

Back to present day, the interaction between Matt and this man known as “Stick” is less than cordial. Stick is here to save Matt and all of the people of Hell’s Kitchen against what he refers to as ‘the war’.

Matt brings Stick back to his apartment, where Stick jumps right into the luxuries Matt surrounds himself with. Like women and furniture. The conversation is never pleasant, but when Stick takes a shot at Matt’s Dad, the time for politeness is through. This sends us into another flashback of Stick trying to (in his way) teach Matt how to control the rage. When Matt keeps losing, he breaks down blaming himself for the death of his father. Insert the typical Bruce Wayne like cry-fest blaming himself. Then snapped right back to reality, where Matt quickly breaks Stick’s hold. The hostility ends only long enough for Stick to insult Matt’s beer preference.

The War he speaks of now revolves around the Japanese. Stick is not interested in Nobu or Fisk. He’s interested in the ‘weapon’ Nobu is meeting at the docks. No killing seems to be the undertone of this segment of the conversation. Stick believes it’s a line Matt will have to cross. Matt believes it’s the one line that doesn’t need to be crossed.

Karen is still trying to make a connection from anything back to Allied Construction. Urich can’t make a case for his editor without a few connections. Mr. Tully (slumlord) has been moved, a vacation of sorts. No Tully, but Mrs. Cardenas does give Karen the description of a man with a patterned tattoo that went up his arm to his neck.

On her way out of the building, Karen picks up she’s being followed. Before she’s ready, she’s grabbed by the tattooed man. Out of nowhere, a baseball hits one of the men and he drops to the ground. It’s Foggy wielding a baseball bat. One of the guys tries to stand up and Karen hits him with mace. The other tries to get up and Foggy hits him with a full baseball swing. Aluminum bat to the face.

At the docs, Matt surveys the surrounding men and artillery. Matt is to thin the herd while Stick takes out the Black Sky. When Matt is no longer near Stick, Stick pulls out the weapon intended for something he swore to Matt he wouldn’t do. Inside the container delivered to the docks is a single figure. A lone child sitting in the middle of the container. Black Sky is a child. A very heavily chained child. Stick takes his shot with his collapsible bow and arrow. Matt immediately springs into action preventing the arrow from meeting its target.

In another flashback to training, young Matt is much further along. Stick is teaching him the connection between mind and body. He even suggests Matt should take up meditation as it will make his mind stronger and even allow him to heal faster. Then young Matt makes a mistake. He gives Stick a bracelet he made out of the ice cream wrapper from the cone Stick got him on the day they first met. Sentiment is something Stick cannot allow. He’s not there to be Matt’s father.

Stick makes an effort to leave Matt’s apartment on good terms. When Matt tells Stick he won’t let him kill that kid, Stick informs him that he already has. Then the blind vs blind apartment match ensues. I’d say they fought the good fight, but good is now how I’d describe it. Both men take a beating and Matt eventually wins out with a dramatic move that ends with Matt flipping Stick and landing on top of him on top of his bottom step. Then Stick leaves.

In the final scene Stick kneels before a muscularly large man with visible scars on his back. Stick is telling him that the Black Sky will no longer be an issue. And that Matt Murdock is as much a pain in the *** as he has ever been. Then the mysterious man says something perplexing. Something that might be the itch that won’t go away long passed the conclusion of this season.

Mystery Man: Will he be ready when the doors open?
Stick (after a very long pause): I have no idea.

Courtesy of Netflix
Courtesy of Netflix

Mad Men Episode 7.12 Preview: The Top 5 Developments Heading Into It

This is another of the ongoing episode previews for the final batch of Mad Men episodes, as always, focusing on the Top 5 developments coming out of the previous episode.

Person Of Interest: I Will Not Fail You Now

Photo Courtesy Of CBS
Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

We might be just a little over a week away from a brand new world, run by an Artificial Intelligence System named Samaritan, which will teach we lowly humans exactly what’s best for us. That is unless “The Machine,” can stop Samaritan from taking over the planet. This week’s episode of the CBS series “Person Of Interest,” set the table for a reckoning to occur next Tuesday night, during the finale for the show’s fourth season. The stakes are extremely high, putting the lives of the team in danger and “The Machine” itself could get destroyed by its rival, a system created without any moral code.

While that fire blazes, John Reese and Lionel Fusco are handling the double numbers given to the team. The numbers are familiar faces, Dominic the gang leader of The Brotherhood and Carl Elias the head of the Five Families and Crime Lord Supreme in New York City. A simmering feud heated to a boil, as Elias took out four of the Brotherhood’s soldiers and Dominic’s ready to take down Carl and take the title as the head of the Five Families.

Elias set up shop in a former bank, connected to the pneumatic tube system that still connects most of Manhattan. Elias’ men use the tubes to send weapons to locations, so they are at the ready when the men arrive. That’s the way Carl undermined the Brotherhood’s security system, getting the rival gang pretty steamed.

However, the episode opens farther down the East Coast, in the DC Metro area to be exact, as we watch a female school teacher driving to work, while talking to her husband on her cellphone. She goes to pump the brakes and find they aren’t working, she crashes into a cement embankment off the highway. Seconds after she crashes, a SUV pulls up, a man emerges and puts a black hood over the head of the teacher and transfers her into his vehicle. Suddenly we see United States Security official Control in the back seat of the SUV, she tells the man to grab the body and he takes a dead woman out of his car and puts her in the teacher’s vehicle along with a bomb. They drive off as the teacher’s car’s blown to bits.

She’s taken to a facility and strapped to a chair, before the bag’s removed from her head. Control asks the woman if she recognizes the man tied to another chair? Control claims that the man’s one of her agents, who also worked for Samaritan and claims the teacher’s his handler. The teacher replies she doesn’t know what Samaritan is, she says she’s a teacher and mother who just wants to get home to her kids. Control shows the teacher her future, if she fails to cooperate, as she puts a bullet between the eyes of her agent. She tells the teacher to talk, or soon she too will be just a spot on the wall.

We leave Washington for a New York City court building, the scene of the murder of the four Brotherhood soldiers. Reese and Fusco are at the scene and John tells Finch he found some sort of plastic canister in a garbage can. Harold informs Reese that it’s a pneumatic tube and tells John that Elias recently purchased the former bank. Reese and Fusco head to the bank to pay Carl a visit.

Just as Harold’s about to end his conversation with Reese, Root’s cellphone rings. Sameen Shaw’s on the other end of the line, she asks if Root’s there then says she’s in trouble and needs her help. The team’s assumed for the last few months that Shaw got killed by Samaritan operative Martine, but the viewers have been aware she was being held captive by Samaritan.

Root’s ecstatic and angry at the news Sameen’s alive, angry at herself, Harold and “The Machine, ” for believing Shaw was dead and that they stopped looking for her. Although she agrees with Finch that the phone call’s likely a trap, it doesn’t dampen her desire to rescue her friend and comrade. Her plan is to force “The Machine,” to reveal where Shaw’s held, by risking her life.

She leads Finch to the top of a skyscraper, then looks into a surveillance camera and tells “The Machine,” they’re going to play a game of “Chicken.” Root’s going to walk along the ledge of the roof with her eyes closed, until the Artificial Intelligence System reveals Shaw’s location, or Root falls to her death on the street below. Root’s gamble pays off, as she’s given the location.

John and Lionel get to the bank and Carl tells Reese, that he warned him not to interfere with his conflict with the Brotherhood. However the sound of gunfire above them, is enough to convince Elias to take off with Reese and Fusco. Their escape’s thwarted, as Dominic and his right hand man Link, along with some other soldiers stop them in their tracks.

Root and Finch are at Steiner Psychiatric Institute, which is where the call emanated from. Root tells Harold that a couple of months earlier, this second-rate facility acquired a fiber optics system, far too rich for their budget. The system’s Samaritan’s and Harold’s able to hack into the feed, before receiving a message on his laptop, reading all forces on alert, we will soon isolate “The Machine.” They quickly disconnect and head towards the facility.

John, Lionel and Elias are all tied to chairs with zip-ties. Turns out that Dominic’s hired himself someone with knowledge of the team, as our friend Harper Rose tells Lionel and John that the Brotherhood’s offer was too good to turn down.

Back in Washington, Control asks the teacher how a girl from Greenwich that went to a prep-school, ended up working for Samaritan. The teacher once again states she’s just a teacher and mother and wants to get home to her kids. Control smiles, saying that the teacher’s trying to gain the security official’s sympathy because Control lost her mother at a young age.

She then shows the teacher some surveillance photos of herself, one with the agent that just got shot and one in a coffee shop. The teacher says the pictures are just coincidences, Control then shows the woman a picture of herself, roaming the White House halls. The tears suddenly stop, the teacher’s face turns had and she tells Control, she has no idea what’s coming for her.

Root and Harold sneak into the Steiner Institute, by pretending Root’s a doctor and Finch a homeless schizoid. A doctor questions him and Harold says you’re not paranoid if they’re really coming after you. The doctor asks Finch whose after him, he says an Artificial Intelligence System, the government and a New York City gang for starters. Asked his name, Harold replies he goes by many names all derived from species of birds, that’s enough to convince to admit Harold for 72 hours of observation.

Once Finch gets checked in, he’s taken to the patients common area and he asks one of the patients to point out Lenny. The man points him to a bald giant of a man, Harold goes up to Lenny as he’s working on a puzzle and tells the man, that the two orderlies stole Lenny’s spaceman. Lenny goes after the two orderlies as if he were King Kong, Finch uses the distraction to sneak into an office and access a computer.

He tells Root that Shaw’s likely on the ninth floor, as that’s where they house the most dangerous patients. He then tells Root that a compact female Persian sociopath’s in room 914, that maybe the way they’ve labeled Shaw. Root sneaks in a door and then her mouth drops open. She tells Harold to evacuate immediately, the facilities Samaritan’s base of operations, they’re in the belly of the beast.

Dominic tells Elias that if the older man declares that Dominic’s now head of the Five Families, he’ll let Elias, the two detectives and Carl’s men live. But suddenly that deal’s put on the back burner, as Dominic gets informed that there’s evidence that one of the Brotherhood members actually works for Elias. Dominic gives Carl an option, reveal the mole, or the Brotherhood will wipe out all of Elias’ men.

Root sneaks into room 914, finds Shaw’s coat, but she sees Shaw’s outside being put into a car, she hears Martine’s voice saying that Root just missed her. The two women square off, just when it seems Root’s got the advantage, two male operatives overpower her. She’s strapped to a hospital bed as Harold’s brought in. John Greer greets Finch, telling him he’s just in time to see them cut Root’s head open. Samaritan has determined that the ear implant that Root received has “The Machine’s” location on it. Greer tells her that she’ll be brain-damaged as a result of the surgery, but she’ll still be able to dress and feed herself.

Dominic tells Elias his time’s up and he’s going to take out his men, Carl relents and gives his rival the bank routing number of the Brotherhood member that Elias pays. Seconds later Dominic’s phone rings and he ends the call with a troubled expression on his face. Link comes over to ask him who the mole is and Dominic replies that he needs Link’s advice in how to handle the situation. His right-hand man tells Dominic he knows what he needs to do, put the mole in the ground, then asks who it is. Dominic replies with his gun, pumping five shots into Link.

Carl starts laughing saying the rival gang leader may have his title, but he can’t hold onto it. He says you can’t trust anybody and now his man’s dead. Dominic starts calling Link a rat and Elias admits that he may have misled his rival. There wasn’t a mole in the Brotherhood, Carl just tricked Dominic into thinking there was one, Link was loyal to the end.

Back at the Steiner Institute, Samaritan’s operatives are about to dissect Root’s head. She says Finch shouldn’t have to witness the carnage. Martine offers to kill Harold first, Root says if she lays a hand on Finch she’ll kill Martine. The Samaritan operative leans close to Root and Root grabs the former blonde and kills her. When Martine hits the floor, Root says now she’s ready to surrender.

Greer tells the pair that Samaritan’s making a final offer to save “The Machine’s” human operatives. Root screams out to the Artificial Intelligence System that Harold was right, that each of them are interchangeable. She tells “The Machine,” that she has to live and it can find new human operatives. Suddenly the facility’s power goes out, then we see a computer screen flicker and “The Machine” sends Finch and Root a message.







Greer tells his operatives to release the pair. He then bids Finch farewell until the next time they meet. Root tells Harold that they have to get to The Machine before Samaritan does. He asks her if she knows where it’s at and she says she doesn’t but they need to find her.

The teacher tells Control that Samaritan’s planning a correction, Control looks through the woman’s day-planner and realizes the correction’s set for Wednesday, May 6. The teacher then talks of the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah and mentions Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt, for looking behind her as they fled the city.

She tells Control that she can survive the correction, by not impeding Samaritan’s plans. She says that Control’s good at closing her eyes to the truth, soon the planet will be on fire, so Control best look away. The teacher says that Samaritan’s creating a new age with the correction, Control tells the teacher it’s too bad she won’t be around to see it, then shoots her in the head.

The Season Finale Airs Next Tuesday Night at 10:00 pm on CBS.


The Flash: The Truth Is Out There Now

Courtesy of The CW
Courtesy of The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Tonight’s Flash opens up like it has never done before. Dropping bombshell after bombshell. Alright, maybe I’m being overly dramatic, but they are tying up loose ends on a number of minor details. Thus, bringing into focus some things the casual observer had not put together yet.

The newspaper article that Gideon provides (regularly throughout the series thus far) is dated April 25, 2024. Barry then ties in that when he and the Reverse Flash fought months ago, he said, “We’d be fighting for centuries”. If the paper is from the future, that has to mean that Wells (Thawne) is from the future. Even Cisco picks up on the suit changes that happen between now and then. I brighter red and white incorporated into the logo. The name on the by-line is, wait for it, “Iris West-Allen”. When Cisco suggests “Mazel tov…?”, it wakes up Gideon. Gideon presents herself and greets Barry Allen. She also informs Barry that he, at some point in the future, becomes Director of Central City Police-Cyber division. When Barry asks a very basic question, Gideon has a very blunt answer.

Barry: Why did Wells come here?
Gideon: To kill you.

Wells has entered the building. There is a mad dash to ask all of the questions and still slip out before Wells discovers they’ve discovered him and his braille room. Wells killed Nora Allen because he was angry Barry escaped. Then Cisco (in the waning moments) figures that Gideon might inform Wells of their most recent visitors. When erasing Gideon’s memory is not longer an option due to the futuristic science used to create her, Barry just asks her a favor. “Could you just not tell Wells about this?” She informs Barry that she will honor any command given by him. Why? Because Barry created her. Barry runs Cisco and Caitlin out of there in mere seconds before Wells arrives.

Eddie wanted to meet with Joe in private. So naturally, they meet at the only meeting place in all of Central City. CC Jitters, the coffee shop. Eddie, I imagine thinking this would play out in his favor, respectfully and traditionally asks for Joe’s blessing to purpose to Iris. Joe does not give his blessing. Almost from the start, there is this air about the moment suggesting that not only is Eddie not good enough, but maybe no one not named Barry Allen would be. Joe’s actually kind of cold about it.

The group meet in Joe’s living room. They tell he and Eddie that they found Wells’ Braille room. Which leads into time travel. Which leads into Barry telling them of a time when he did it. Separately from the big battle that’s yet to happen when he goes back 15 years to prevent the Reverse Flash from killing his mother. This corresponds with Cisco’s dreams where Wells kills him. But what if they aren’t dreams, but memories?

Flashback to Barry in a coma. Iris comes to visit and finds her Dad dosing off. “I’ll go home when Barry does”. Barry begins to convulse and the doctors force Joe and Iris out into the hallway. Where ironically (or not), a middle-aged man sits in a wheelchair. Wells gives Joe the hard sell on his ability to do what these doctors cannot. “Save your son”. It’s the ‘your son’ part that sells it I’m sure. The real irony is that had Joe just let Barry die, it would have prevented everything that happened since. Gotta love the space-time/continuum.

For some undefined reason that we missed out on due to the flashback sequence, Barry’s great idea is to access Cisco’s memories by getting Wells to confess to killing Nora Allen. If that’s a little confusing, you’re not alone.

Caitlin lays out a plan and prototype for a pair of special sunglasses that could help to access lucid dream information. That’s when Wells rolls in. Caitlin makes a lame excuse work and Wells jumps in to help. Even suggesting a frequency that may work to bring the middle brain and higher brain in together. Then he rolls away, looking very suspicious of this new project.

Eddie runs into Barry as Barry tries to escape Iris. Eddie tells Barry of his plans to purpose and how Joe did not grant his blessing. Repeatedly. Eddie wants Barry to find out why.

The good guys rig the dream treatment in Barry’s lab. It begins to work in seconds. After some Cisco like side tracking, he gets back on task. He sees the Reverse Flash in the super capacitors. The man in yellow that was supposedly trapped in place was just a hologram. That’s when dream Wells enters walking upright. Wells tells Cisco that his name is Eobart Thawne. That grabs Joe’s attention. They get what they wanted, at least in dream form. Which I’m sure is inadmissible. Wells/Thawne did not want to kill Nora. He wanted to kill Barry. Barry’s phone rings. It’s Wells with three words. Where are you?

Wells needs Barry to respond to a building fire. The very building where Captain Singh’s fiance works. There are too many people to save conventionally. He needs to rotate his arms very fast in order to vacuum and suck all of the air out of the room. No air, no fire. Afterwards Wells rolls into where Barry is changing his clothes. He gives the very fatherly speech about the only thing preventing you is you.

The new idea is to recreate the circumstances from the previous timeline shift. Have Wells walk in on Cisco figuring out the hologram. Then hopefully, Wells’ tendencies will play out. Everyone has their roles in this and Eddie’s role is to keep Iris safe if it all goes sideways. Which prompts Eddie to roll his eyes and leave.

Eddie (slightly condescending): I’ll always keep Iris safe, Joe.

Barry pulls Joe aside to do his part on Eddie’s behalf. Joe’s answer to why he refused his blessing is simple and logical. She’ll get caught up in the moment and say yes. Then down the road, she’ll wake up and realize she married the wrong man. But she’ll stay married because she made a promise. She has feelings for Barry, even if she doesn’t know how to deal with them know. Then Barry gets a 911 text from Iris.

Someone needs to explain to Iris the nature of the ‘911’ text. She simply turned over a folder of all the strange occurrences in Central City and how none of it predates the particle accelerator explosion. The awkwardness of the meeting was a head fake to Barry hoping this was the moment when Iris figures out her feelings for him. Not the case.

Flashback to the coma, again. Iris talks to coma-Barry. She tells him that she accepted a date with Eddie, something she probably would not have done if Barry was awake. She also tells him how despite the awful circumstances that lead to him living with them, he’s the reason they were able to be whole again. Something happened to Mrs. West that they are intentionally keeping from us. This is the second acknowledgement of that in as many episodes. Just as Iris tries to pull her hand way there is an electric shock. A small one, but a noticeable.

Wells enters the cortex and asks Caitlin where Cisco is. She tells him that Cisco thinks he’s figured out what went wrong at Christmas with the Reverse Flash. Wells takes the bait hook, line and sinker. The reality plays out just like the dream or memory. With one major exception. The tweak he put on the super capacitors didn’t work. It repelled Barry but Wells can walk right in. With Cisco in real danger Joe reveals himself and fires on Wells. Barry runs after the bullets but isn’t fast enough to catch them all. The capacitors repel him again, but let the bullet pass. Directly into Wells’ chest.

The moment that Caitlin announces he’s dead, Dr. Wells morphs back into the “everyman” a meta human that can take on the likeness of anyone. Then remotely we hear Wells’ voice.

Wells: I told you this before. I am always one step ahead.

It’s all out now. Wells will not give a confession, but everyone in the room now knows with absolute certainty that whoever Wells is, killed Nora Allen, is not Dr. Wells, has bigger plans for everyone involved and that he and Barry will meet again very soon. Cisco claims he’s in the Braille room, but it’s actually just the wheelchair. In the Braille room Gideon is showing a series of video feeds showing all the places where Barry and others thought they was working in secret. Barry’s lab, Iris’ job, Eddie’s bedroom, Joe’s living room,

Barry: It was all a set up. We thought we were setting a trap for him, but he’s was setting one for us.

Eddie is attempting to purpose to Iris. Doing a fair job at it until the Reverse Flash appears and tells him that now is not the time. Just then The Flash shows up. He head vibrating enough to maintain anonymity he vows to get Eddie back. Directs Iris to stay at home and not to talk to anyone. As The Flash departs her company the same little electric shock Iris felt in the hospital over a year ago, she experiences again. In this moment.

Iris: Barry…?

Once they’ve stopped running, Eddie suggests the man in yellow cease with the theatrics as he knows its Wells. Or whoever Wells is supposed to be. The man in yellow then removes his mask and introduces himself as Eobart Thawne. Further informs Eddie that they are indeed family. Eddie makes the natural but incorrect assumption that all of this has been about him. No, Eddie is simply insurance.

Flashback again. This time, Wells and Barry (still in a coma). Wells talks to him as if he’s listening about how easy it would be to kill him this way. Wells has been there the entire time. Like an estranged father watching in the distance because of a restraining order. “All those science fairs and soccer games”.

Wells: No hint. No sign of the man you will be one day. For whom I have nothing but hate. I’m going to be clear. Nothing is forgiven. There will be a reckoning. I promise you Barry Allen. Then you will die.

Courtesy of The CW
Courtesy of The CW

Agents of SHIELD: Cooperation Is A Necessary Evil

Courtesy of ABC
Courtesy of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Raina wakes up abruptly following a vision of Coulson, Ward, Skye, Lincoln and Hydra. Jiaying is sitting at her bedside. Lincoln being in this particular vision was specifically alarming. Then the sound of Gordon’s return is followed by Cal’s angry voice. Gordon departs again to retrieve Lincoln while Cal throws his hissy fit. Gordon returns moments later, this time with a fresh wound. “It was Hydra”.

Coulson waits patiently in the honeycomb holding cell. Gonzalez continues to play the “I can’t trust you” card, but Coulson wins out over the mutual goal of stopping Hydra. That and knowing that both men have their secrets, Gonzalez included. Coulson mentions one of those secrets, an enhanced person held on Gonzalez ship, and offers to open the Toolbox free and clear if Gonzalez helps.

Coulson’s team (Hunter, Fitz, WARD, and 33) are given permission to doc the Quinjet with the Bus. Agent May is not prepared for a face to face reunion with Grant Ward, and she’s not the only one. The ranking members of SHIELD on both sides, look on from Deathlock’s retinal feed as Hydra removes his eye. Ward isn’t concerned as he has Bakshi on the inside. A notion that doesn’t instill calm with the others in the room. Coulson sees this is a necessary evil. Gonzalez puts the op to a vote. Agent May is the swing vote, but she wants a moment alone with Coulson before casting her vote.

May is hurt (in her own way) that Coulson kept from her the use of Andrew (her ex-husband). It wasn’t for anything official Coulson used him as his personal therapist during the alien writing segment of this season. May is taking this very personal. Yet no one stopped to consider that May was the one that forced Coulson out, to keep him safe. In that episode, she didn’t care about any such secrets. She knew that it was necessary for the Director of SHIELD to keep secrets. But she chooses now to get on her soap box of trust. Or lack thereof.

Skye wants to attempt a rescue mission for Lincoln and is trying to get assistance or permission to do so. Gordon is against it, very possibly because Jiaying would be against it. Then Raina charges is with what she knows. “Skye can save Lincoln, I saw her do it”. Then Raina says something that brings Skye on board with her ‘gift’s’ plausibility. Why was Coulson working with Ward?

While making preparations for the mission, Fitz and Simmons chat. Simmons brings up a portable bomb that they’ve developed that will vaporize it’s victim. Fitz is intrigued by the prospect of vaporizing Ward, until he realizes she’s not joking.

The team gathers in the payload of the bus when they hear a sound (familiar to us). May and Coulson both and quickly aim their guns on Ward. Ward didn’t make the sound. Gordon did. Skye walks out onto the catwalk, alone.

Skye: Hey guys…
Ward: This is great. Finally got the whole team back together.

Coulson reluctantly turns their meeting over to Ward. He tries to do his part in this debriefing, but the tension is thick. He attempts to address the elephant in the room. And even makes a heartfelt show of contrition. Not an apology, but contrition. The idea being that not being shot, not betraying Skye, not dropping Fitz and Simmons in the ocean, but breaking up their ‘team’ is what he will regret forever.

Deep in the SHIELD base, Hunter walks in on Mack trying to set up a link to allow the rest of the team to observe the op. Hunter forgives Mack for what he and Bobbi did to him in an effort to keep the ‘new’ SHIELD from being identified before they were ready. It’s awkward but works out in the end. They may not be friends, but Hunter is willing to work towards that end.

List and Bakshi watch on monitors as their doctors experiment on enhanced subjects. Bakshi doesn’t believe they will survive past this level of the experimentation. Then List says something that should pique the interest of those anticipating Avengers: Age of Ultron. “No one’s past this point of our experiments. Well no one, except the twins”. The twins of course being a nod to Pietro and Wanda Maximoff. Or Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. A Hydra agent runs in to inform them a cloaked ship is on approach.

Being spotted was always part of the plan. Hydra does successfully hit the SHIELD plane (#661, not the bus). The Quinjet disconnects and May flies it in a manner that would suggest they are just falling debris. They descend on the Hydra base with minimal resistance. Bakshi leads Ward, Skye and Simmons to a room where they meet some actual resistance. List is moved out quickly.

Ward: Just like old times…?
Skye: Not exactly.

Skye moves out ahead, raises her hand, and sends out a pulse knocking out all of the Hydra agents in their path. They find Mike Peterson who shrugs off his own condition to get them focused on finding Lincoln, who is in much worse shape. Skye finds where they are working on Lincoln. It is significantly guarded. Skye neutralizes the entire room like a female Jason Bourne. Without the use of her ‘power’. Lincoln is flat lining. As time ticks, Skye focuses and uses her ability to restart his heart and hopefully nothing else.

Simmons tries to confront Ward but is intercepted by Bakshi. In the struggle she places the ‘bomb’ on Bakshi. He lunges again but before he can get there, he disintegrates to dust. What follows is a Ward like guilt trip that includes yet another person claiming Simmons has changed and ends with “I’m disappointed in you.”

Coulson has broken off and May finds him accessing a computer. May claims that this “wasn’t the plan”, Coulson looks up slowly, “or was it”? Shades of the ocean op in the beginning of Captain America: Winter Soldier where Romanoff was executing something that Cap didn’t feel was the mission at hand.

Once securely in the base, Coulson receives a phone call from Ward. Ward slipped out as to not spend any time afterward locked up or spending time in “T.A.H.I.T.I.” This call is about Kara (Agent 33). Ward is leaving Kara there, with SHIELD, like an orphan on the steps of a cathedral. She deserves better. She was a good agent for SHIELD before Hydra took everything from her. Ward lays it on thick. All of this while Kara is being informed that Ward is not coming back.

As it turns out, Gonzalez really only went along with this plan as a way to secure enhanced people including Skye. Bobbi wants to discuss Gonzalez’ plans for Skye as Coulson walks up. Gonzalez quickly transitions into Coulson honoring their agreement about the Toolbox. Coulson unlocks it and hands it over as promised.

Coulson: There you go. Unlocked and all yours. Go nuts. At least until Fury shows up and asks for it back.
(Gonzalez looks up in disbelief)
Coulson: Ooo. Spoiler alert.
(Coulson’s phone rings, he turns it over to show that it’s Maria Hill calling)
Coulson: I have to take this.

Jiaying visits Raina again in an attempt to slow her down. She’s not pleased that Raina provided the information necessary to ramp up Skye into leaving to save Lincoln. Then this is where Raina questions why exactly Jiaying is the one giving the orders. Then in mid-sentence, Raina is struck with a new vision. Loki’s scepter.

Maria Hill, via video call, appears to be sitting in a room that seems to share a view with Stark Tower (let that marinate for a moment). The intel Coulson was copying from the Hydra base was specs on Loki’s scepter. In Hydra’s hands, it could be catastrophic. It’s location is the same as ‘The Twins’, Segovia. Before the end of call, Hill asks about Theta Protocol and it’s readiness.

Coulson: Yes it is. Time to bring in The Avengers.

The scepter was not the only thing in this vision. Not be awful with the puns, but “The Vision” might have been the only thing she didn’t see in this obvious Age of Ultron foreshadowing.

Raina: I see…a scepter. Beautiful. Dangerous. It isn’t finished yet. So much destruction. It’s terrible. Consequences are upon us. Men made of metal. Tear our cities apart. And the world will be changed forever.

Courtesy of Marvel
Courtesy of Marvel

The Following: You Had To Know It Wouldn’t Be Easy To Kill Me

Photo Courtesy Of Giovanni Rufino/FOX
Photo Courtesy Of Giovanni Rufino/FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Even in death Joe Carroll gains another victory over Ryan Hardy. The FOX series “The  Following,” finally ended the game of cat and mouse that’s taken place between the psychotic serial-killer and the FBI Agent, committed to ending Carroll’s killings. However Hardy would not find himself rid of the disease that he stated the murderer infected him with, in an earlier episode, with Carroll’s execution. He instead realized more than ever the symbiotic relationship the pair shared, as Carroll forced Ryan to admit that Joe was indeed, the most important relationship in his life.

Carroll refused to go quietly into the night, staging one last escapade that cost at least two guards at the Virginia Correctional Facility to lose their lives. Joe used the sunglasses he stole from prison guard Gary Benson, in the previous episode, to take out the guards. He then locked the door of the facility, taking three hostages, including his attorney and the Governor of Virginia’s Chief Of Staff. He then informed the powers that be, that unless Hardy arrived at the prison within two-hours, he’d start killing his hostages.

Joe once again focuses the spotlight on himself, thus putting this season’s “Big Bad,” Theo Noble on a back burner, although he’d still figure into the episode. The first time we see him is in some junkie crash-pad, as he picks up a young woman from a mattress on the floor. The guy she’s sleeping with, objects and pulls a knife, he doesn’t put up much of a fight, before Theo kills him with his own knife.

The young woman’s Penny, Theo’s younger sister and the only person he has true feelings for. He’s kept them alive he says by being forceful and taking control, which he intends to do by taking down Hardy. He also shows Penny, Arthur Strauss’ codebook, it turns out Theo’s looking for a person that can get him his anonymity back. Penny says he better, as if they catch him she’ll soon be caught as well.

Ryan, Max and Mike fly down to the prison, Hardy gives up all his weapons, as he knows Joe will search him. Max tells her uncle that if he can kill Carroll, he needs to do it. He tells them if anything happens for them to take care of each other. He places a call to Gwen, to let her know he’s going in with Carroll. She says she needs to tell him something, he tells her to save it for later. He hangs up, so she doesn’t get to tell him she’s carrying his child.

Hardy arrives at the door of the room Joe’s holed up in, Carroll makes him remove his jacket and shirt, to prove he’s not carrying a weapon. Joe tells him to put on the handcuffs that are on the floor and cuff his hands behind his back. Ryan says he’ll do that if Carroll releases the hostages, Joe tells him he’s got no leverage. Hardy picks up his shirt and jacket and says have fun with the SWAT Team. Carroll agrees to release the doctor, Hardy puts on the cuffs and changes places with the doctor. Joe then jolts Ryan twice with the Taser unit he took from a guard, he says if Hardy accepted the invite to the execution, none of this would be necessary.

Ryan comes to a short time later as Joe’s now has a wire noose around the agent’s neck. He hoists him up from the floor with the noose, then tells him that Ryan will tell Carroll that their relationships the most important in his life, or the two hostages will start losing limbs. He then lets them both out of their nooses, then has the Governor’s Chief Of Staff tie the female attorney to the examining table.

The commander of the SWAT Team tells Mike and Max, that they’re being directed to break down the door to the room Joe’s taken the hostages in. Mike says that Ryan needs time to be able to negotiate with Carroll and to insure the hostages safety. He’s told that Hardy’s got ten minutes to work his magic.

Ryan tries to convince Joe that he’s nothing like him, that he’s tried to stop him. Carroll says that during that time he tried to stop him, he became Joe. He says Hardy’s his loyalist follower, that nobody else has the passion for Carroll that Ryan has. The agent tries to refute his point, but Joe loses patience and starts to go at the lawyer’s jaw with the scalpel he’s purloined.

Hardy screams for him to stop, then he tells Joe that he’s in Ryan’s dreams. Carroll asks what role he plays in the dreams, after threatening to cut the attorney again, Hardy says they’re friends in the dreams, they drink together and Joe teaches him how to kill.

Joe steps away from the examining table, he takes the wire from around Hardy’s neck. He asks the agent what he thinks the dreams mean? Ryan responds that Joe messed up his head, Joe says the dreams are telling him they are the same. He then asks Hardy the feeling he gets when he pulls the trigger, Ryan’s eyes tear up as he says satisfaction. He then admits that he is the same as Carroll, Joe takes off the handcuffs. After Hardy slugs Carroll in the gut, Joe offers his wrists to put the cuffs on him.

Right at that moment Theo hacks into the prison’s computer network, he tells Penny he can control everything, unlock any cell or close the place down. Just then Hardy Carroll and the two hostages leave the room, Penny releases the locks on all the cells on Death Row. Theo asks what she’s doing, she says she’s saving him from himself.

Hardy tries holding off the convicts with the Taser unit, but there are too  many and he’s soon overpowered. One of the convicts grabs Joe, four start kicking and beating on Hardy. Two more take the woman out to their yard and are about to have their way with her. Hardy somehow subdues all the inmates attacking him, then he saves the attorney.

He sees the convict strangling Carroll to death, he stands and stares realizing this guy could soon drain the life from Joe’s body. But he goes after the convict, whose far bigger than Hardy and soon he’s choking the agent. Carroll kicks the dude in the back and Hardy knocks him out.

When he’s reached safety he calls Gwen, he tells her he has to see things through at this point and will stay until Joe’s executed. A while later he goes to Carroll’s cell and asks him why. Joe tells him that Ryan’s his true legacy, once he admitted they were brothers, Carroll was ready for death. Ryan tells him they’re not delaying the execution, they will come for him in a few minutes.

This time the silence is deafening, nobody speaks until Joe’s asked if he has any last words. He says a quote from The Raven, Nevermore. They raise the window and some of his victim’s family members are in attendance along with Ryan. They start to pump the lethal toxins into Carroll’s body, his breathing becomes rapid and his face starts contorting and he has body seizures. He looks around helplessly, seemingly looking to say something but the words don’t come. His breathing starts to slow down, his eyes begin to glaze, he flat-lines on the monitor. The attending physician feels for a pulse, the warden announces the time of death as 12:11 am.

Hardy stops at a bar after he leaves the prison. He orders to shots of whiskey, the girl behind the bar pours the two shots, then says whoop it up. He pushes one of the shots to the next stool, then raises his glass and says here’s to you. Joe says no here’s to us, then Ryan realizes Joe’s just an apparition. He asks for another shot after he guzzles the first one.

The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 9:00 pm on FOX.

Gotham: Even Good Men Have Their Secrets

Photo Courtesy Of FOX
Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

There are many reasons why the FOX series “Gotham,” may evolve as the best network series ever based on comic-book characters, one of those reasons being the ability to juggle stories covering the present, the near-future and the long-term future of those characters. The latest episode “The Anvil Or The Hammer,” illustrated that point perfectly, as the GCPD attempted to apprehend a serial killer, Bruce Wayne had “The Talk” and the criminal element finally engaged in a long simmering war. Yes, this is the war Oswald Cobblepot predicted early in the season and it looks like his vision of the conflict was spot-on.

We also witnessed Edward Nygma losing his fear and starting to embrace his destiny as the Riddler, as he gets rid of GCPD Officer Tom Dougherty’s body in the GCPD lab. His logic’s that without a body there isn’t a crime and he learns that being dishonest with people, might serve him better than being direct.

Along with that we got our first meeting with another familiar and in this case friendly face, as Bruce Wayne got introduced to a man that will prove to be one of his most trusted allies, one day. Once again young Bruce’s bond with his guardian and family butler Alfred Pennyworth, showed to be unbreakable as the boy confessed to keeping secrets from Alfred. All and all, it made for another entertaining and fast paced hours.

The immediate issue that the show had to deal with, was the whereabouts of serial killer Jason Lennon, otherwise known as the Ogre. Detective Jim Gordon’s aware that his former fiancée Barbara Kean’s being held captive by Lennon, but the GCPD doesn’t have any information to help them track the killer, except for a sketch drawn by Lennon’s plastic surgeon.

It’s the morning after the Wayne Enterprises Charity Ball and Kean walks downstairs from Jason’s bedroom to his kitchen, as Lennon puts the finishing touches on the breakfast he prepared. She says she’ll skip breakfast and though he talked a great game at the ball, she knows he was pretending. He tells her he was pretending, but not the way she thinks he was. He tells her he was going to murder her the night he met her, until he discovered the real Barbara Kean. He tells her that she embodies everything he’s dreamed of in a woman. He then says he’s going to let her go, then they’ll have breakfast together. However she bolts for the door, which she can’t get out of. He puts a black bag over her head and carries her away, saying he’ll have to do this the hard-way.

Gordon’s at his desk at the precinct when Lee walks over with some breakfast but he refuses it. She tells him it’s not his fault that Barbara’s with the Ogre, but he responds that the serial-killer warned him. He says that if Barbara dies, her blood’s on his hands.

Ed enters the station dragging two steamer trunks and brings it into his lab. We watch him open one of the trunks, revealing Dougherty’s body cut up into pieces. His plan’s to use the GCPD facility to help him cover-up the murder he committed outside of Kristen Kringle’s home the night before.

Harvey walks in with a teenager whose been bragging on the streets that he knows who the Ogre is. They inform him that he’s got another intended victim in his grasp and she’s a good friend of theirs. The kid asks how much she’s worth, after Gordon scares the punk to death, he reveals that the Ogre was a regular at a traveling brothel, the Fox Club.

Our first visit of the evening to Wayne Manor, as Alfred delivers an envelope to Bruce, that came via a messenger. The boy puts it aside and continues reading the sheath of papers in front of him. Alfred says he’s off to identify the body of Reggie Payne, it just doesn’t make sense to him that his old mate’s dead. He tells Bruce he’s going to take care of the funeral arrangements and he won’t be back until the evening. As soon as Alfred leaves, Bruce opens the envelope containing the key to Sid Bunderslaw’s safe. There’s a note attached: Hope you find what you need. Be careful. Selina.

Butch Gilzean pays a visit to Lydia’s restaurant, the dump that Penguin recently became a silent partner in. This is the day that the hitman Connor, that Penguin hired will knock off Sal Maroni and all his gang-leaders. Gilzean plants a revolver under the bar and a machine-gun behind the jukebox. Their discussion ends as Gordon walks into the Umbrella.

Gordon says he needs the location and an invitation to the Fox Club, Cobblepot’s surprised at the request. Gordon asks if he can help him or not, Oswald says he enjoys their give and take relationship, but he seems to be the only giver in the tandem. Gordon grabs the Penguin by the lapels with one hand, and aims his pistol at Butch with the other. He says to Cobblepot, that he thinks he knows him, but he has no idea what Jim’s capable of. Cobblepot says this is a big day for him, so he’ll accommodate the detective’s request, but now Gordon owes him a huge favor. Jim smiles cruelly as he lets got of the Penguin’s jacket.

Bruce’s being guided around Wayne Enterprises by a public relations employee, when they get to the division that Bunderslaw runs. He excuses himself to use the restroom, but instead pulls the fire alarm. This is the chance for him to enter Bunderslaw’s office undetected and to find out what the executive keeps in his safe.

Jim tells Harvey that the Fox Club’s now in the old Klondike Building, he’s got one invitation and Bullock will pretend to be a John. He’ll bust them and then they’ll squeeze hard until someone gives up the Ogre.

Jason’s got Barbara hanging from the ceiling by her wrists and a gag around her mouth. He enters his playroom, apologizing that he’s left her alone for so long. However he says he wanted to give her time to realize the situation’s she’s in is real. He tells her the walls are sound proof, so don’t waste her lungs, she spits in his face instead. He unbinds her hands and lets her stand on the floor unchained, she slaps him in the face, once she feels her legs are recovering.

He says that she’s scared and that’s why she slapped him, she says Jim will rescue her and he slaps her in the face, her legs give way. He says the only time he’ll get angry is if she says Gordon’s name. He then calls her over to look at something, when she looks down he says you have to kiss a lot of frogs on the road to love. She sees the pictures of his victims, then asks if he killed them all there. He says yes and she crumbles to the ground, but her eyes remain open, he says he won’t kill her he’s going to set her free.

With the complex being evacuated due to the fire alarm, Bruce sneaks into Sid Bunderslaw’s office, finds the safe and opens it, to find the safe’s empty. Suddenly he hears Bunderslaw’s voice, saying he’s been expecting Bruce, since the boy’s friend borrowed Bunderslaw’s key. He then offers Bruce a cookie, saying when he was a boy he never turned down the offer of a cookie.

Wayne finds his voice and accuses the executive of trying to kill Alfred, Bunderslaw counters that he sent Bruce’s guardian’s comrade to the home to determine what Bruce knew. He says he never sanctioned anyone getting hurt. Bruce says that Wayne Enterprises is involved in criminal activity. Bunderslaw sounds somewhat jovial, when he responds Oh my yes. He says they’re a multinational corporation, that would usurp the laws of every nation if it could to make a profit.

He then says he told the board that Bruce was special and needed to have “The Talk” early on. He tells him when members of the Wayne family reach a certain age, they are sat down and informed of all the dealings of Wayne Enterprises. He says his father was just like Bruce at first, coming to Sid with his secret files. But Thomas Wayne as Bruce’s grandfather, eventually came to accept the criminal activities, as part of the price of doing business.

Just then, a younger man enters the room and he introduces Bruce to another Wayne Enterprises employee, Lucius Fox. The character portrayed in the Dark-Knight Trilogy by Morgan Freeman, is played by former cast member of The Newsroom, Chris Chalk. He tells Bunderslaw that the Public Relations employee’s looking frantically for the boy, Sid tells Fox to escort Bruce to her.

As they leave the office and head towards the lobby, Lucius says to Bruce try not to let your face react to what I’m about to tell you, as it will be picked up by all the security cameras I installed here. Fox tells Bruce that he was very close to Thomas and he knew things about his father that others in the company had no knowledge of. He says your father was a good man, a true stoic, that kept lots of important information secretive. They shake hands and go their separate ways.

Barbara’s asleep on Jason’s couch he kisses her on the forehead and rouses her awake, once reality sets in she starts crying uncontrollably. He puts her on his lap and tries to calm her, but she says he’s going to kill her. He asks her if she wants her to kill him and she cries no, he asks her whom he wants her to kill instead. He then says she’s wanted to kill someone forever, but never found the strength. She whispers into his ear who the person is.

Bullock’s busted the brothel, telling everybody to stay where they are. Gordon speaks to the Madam and asks her to identify the sketch. She says you might as well arrest me, because I don’t talk about clients. Jim tells her he’ll call the Gazette and have them send a reporter and photographer, then all her clients will get their pictures in the paper. She tells the detectives to talk to Sally.

Turns out Sally was Jason’s first victim, but he just scarred her face instead of killing her. She says his name’s Jason, he assaulted her nine years ago. She remembers he lived in midtown and there was a neon sign across the street from his loft, but she could only see the last four letters, O-Y-A-L. Bullock recognizes it’s the sign for the Gotham Royal Hotel, they thank Sally for her help. She asks Jim to promise to kill Jason instead of arrest him, he says alright.

Maroni’s holding a getting out of prison party for one of his men Tommy Bones over at Lydia’s, when Connor and his man enter the restaurant. He says that Falcone sent him over as a sign of respect and gives Sal a jug of his favorite wine. Maroni says that he appreciates the gesture, then invites Connor to have a drink with them. Connor says that there’s a message with the present, he says Falcone said it wasn’t easy to decide to kill Maroni, then the pair grab the guns. However neither work, the man with the machine gun goes down in a flurry of bullets. Maroni says now Connor’s going to deliver his message to Falcone, that Connor messed up and now Sal’s going after Falcone. Tommy Bones then shoots him dead.

Harvey and Jim arrive at Lennon’s loft, but both Jason and Barbara are gone. Suddenly the phone rings and Gordon picks it up. Jason’s on the other end as Bullock and Gordon triggered an alarm when they entered. Lennon tells Jim that Barbara’s safe as milk, much safer than she ever was with Gordon. He hangs up, but the two detectives determine that he was driving on a bridge, that had a train nearby. The only bridge that meets the parameters, heads to upstate which is where Barbara’s parents live.

We’re at Barbara’s parents’ house and Jason has his gun pointed at them while they sit side by side on the living room sofa. Mrs. Kean asks her daughter what’s going on? Jason replies that their little girl’s finally woken up. He then pulls out his knife and looks at them coldly.

The Umbrella’s packed to the rafters as Butch gets off the telephone and tells Penguin that Maroni’s alive. Cobblepot laughs and says he set Connor and his man up, by removing the firing pins from their weapons. His plan all along was to draw Maroni and Falcone into a war, hoping the situation works out well for Oswald after the shooting stops.

Harvey and Jim enter Barbara’s parents’ home and encounter the butler’s dead body sprawled across the foyer. Harvey stays at the entrance near the staircases, as Jim enters the living room and sees Barbara’s parents’ bodies sitting upright on the couch with blood covering each body. Bullock thinks he hears someone, but turns the wrong way and Lennon knocks him out, then Harvey tumbles down the stairs.

Barbara walks into the living room disoriented and asks Jim why he’s there, she says he’s not supposed to be there. Lennon charges Gordon with his knife but Gordon side steps him. The two battle on the floor for control of the knife, but then Jason gets up, grabs Barbara and puts the knife to her neck. Gordon aims his gun at Lennon’s head and tells him to put down the knife. Bullock comes up from behind, Jason turns and Gordon shoots him in the forehead. Barbara falls to the ground but she’s unhurt, Jim tells her everything will be okay.

Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce confesses to Alfred that Selina pushed Reggie out the window, when he threatened to tell Bunderslaw about what they were doing. He then tells Alfred about their meeting in Sid’s office, he says that Bunderslaw told him both his father and grandfather kept quiet about the criminal activities that Wayne Enterprises engage in. Alfred says that Bruce’s father was a good man, Bruce responds even good men have their secrets.

Maroni goes on the attack, starting with sending Don Falcone Connors head in a box. Captain Sarah Essen addresses her squad-room, telling them that all leave’s are cancelled for the foreseeable future. Three of Falcone’s businesses were shot up badly, reportedly by Sal Maroni and his men and Falcone should soon respond. She says we’ve got a shooting war people.

The Season Finale For Gotham Airs Next Monday Night at 8:00 pm on FOX.

Mad Men: The Rent Is Too Damn High

Mad Men Episode 7.11
Photo Courtesy of AMC Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Attention Mad Men fans: all of the chirping about how Matthew Weiner’s been overseeing a final stretch that doesn’t feel like the endgame – well, he heard you!  Episode 7.11, Time & Life, actually felt in many ways like a series finale – with three episodes behind it that didn’t carry much urgency and with three episodes still in front of it.  Give the creative crew credit, they’re going out with one very unique sense of pace.

However, the strongest sense that Weiner had anticipated the way that fans would feel going into the “pivot” episode of the final seven actually came right before the start of the show.  A Mad Men promo aired with the various actors talking about major plot points through the series and about how everything with the show always makes sense in retrospect.  It would take a voice even more cynical than the one found in this corner to accuse Weiner of putting words in his actors’ mouths even outside of the show, but it was an interesting touch, however mischievous it may have seemed.

To the actors’ points about show logic, the dominant storyline of 7.11 sowed a seed that was planted in the midseason finale and followed up on hints that were dropped in the first three episodes of this half-season – hints that were noted in this very corner, it must be (immodestly) noted.  Namely, the acquisition of Sterling Cooper & Partners by McCann Erickson in Episode 7.7, which was painted at the time as a panacea to block the machinations of Jim Cutler, was a disastrous miscalculation that would end up swallowing the vaunted agency whole.  Now, one might argue that the breadcrumbs that were sprinkled in Episodes 7.8-7.10 contradict the picture that was painted at the end of 7.7, when objections to the deal were cast aside decisively and Don was left to survive in his agency after the threat of being purged.  After all, weren’t Roger’s assurances of autonomy put in writing?  If so, McCann Erickson must have delved deep into their supply of invisible ink, because at this point Sterling Cooper is helpless against anything that their new evil overlords have planned for them.

The callback to last year’s final episode wasn’t the only one, however, as one of the all-time classics, the Season 3 finale came into play with the same kind of caper overtones: trying to get clients to protect them against their own business consequences.  But fittingly, for a show that’s about to go off the air permanently, the pattern wasn’t duplicated and the partners came up empty this time.

Everything starts when Roger learns that the lease for two floors at the Time-Life Building (hence, the episode name) has been allowed to expire in an apparent mistake.  But this is no miscue: McCann is planning to move them all in, ostensibly to save on the rent.  But the Sterling Cooper partners, who are trying half-heartedly to keep the secret (Pete clues in Peggy, who clues in Stan, while the secretaries are having their own little gossip circle about the matter), quickly realize the full implication: complete absorption into the corporate machine, the loss of their identity as a company and now being stuck completely under the thumb of their masters at McCann.

However, when Lou Avery’s goofy maneuvering actually lands Scout’s Honor a deal – in Tokyo, with the makers of Speed Racer, no less – that will take him away from the company’s West Coast office, Don spies an opportunity.  He eyeballed California hungrily at the end of Season 6 and only Ted’s pathetic last-minute begging spree dislodged his commitment to move (ironically, Ted’s intention of rescuing his marriage with the move did not work and Don’s decision to stay in New York doomed what was left of his marriage).  Now he sees another chance to make it work: if enough clients with McCann conflicts will “only agree to stay with a quasi-autonomous Sterling Cooper West Coast branch,” then McCann’s hand could conceivably be forced.

With Ken’s McCann conflict as a sticking point, Roger and Pete decide to see if their new tormentor will help them when push comes to shove.  Just as he seems to indicate that he will, he demurs and walks out on them, leaving them scrambling.  However, Pete’s 11th-hour arrangement with Secor Laxatives provides them with four accounts and $18 million in billings to plop down on the table during the fateful meeting.  Don’s fanciful presentation is short-circuited by McCann head Jim Hobart, unsurprisingly so.  How is a Don Draper pitch supposed to work on his peers in the advertising business, after all?  Hobart tells them, “You won,” name-dropping major clients like a Big Pharma firm, Buick, Nabisco and Coca-Cola.  And in terms of the level of business that they’ll be managing, the partners are all in the Big Time now (well, with the possible exception of Joan, who again wasn’t being given an indication of being taken seriously by McCann).  But it’s at the expense of their company name and their own professional identities, which are intertwined with the lineage of Sterling Cooper.

The post-meeting drinking session is anything but celebratory, because they’ve been sucked into the pit that they so narrowly avoided in December of ’63.  Oh, what a night, Don Draper.  He does learn, before setting off to renew his quest for Diana, that Roger and Marie are indeed an item and he puts aside his cynicism about his former mother-in-law and congratulates Roger on his age-appropriate happiness.  In searching for Diana, Don has little to go on, since she called his answering service twice and apparently thought better of leaving any contact information for him.  He shows up at her old apartment only to find it being occupied by two gay guys now living there.

Absorption into McCann is unsettling for Pete, who’s never worked anywhere but Sterling Cooper.  It accounts for a tremendous part of his identity, with his distant parents now gone and his ex-wife and daughter living in Connecticut.  Speaking of them, Pete is summoned to a meeting at Greenwich Country Day with Trudy, where it is made clear to them that their daughter Tammy will not get off of the waiting list.  Her test scores were low and, heartbreakingly, her absence of a real father figure manifested itself in an incomplete drawing that she furnished when asked to picture a man.  However, the real breaking point for Tammy was the ancient McDonald/Campbell feud – apparently, the WASP preppy version of the Hatfields and McCoys – and the presence of a McDonald in the decision-making role at the school.  Pete consoles himself by punching the jerk and later, Trudy confides that Tammy didn’t have a backup school because the man in charge of another one was hitting on her.  That apparently has been happening a lot, since Trudy is pretty hot, albeit haughty and bossy.

It’s apparent that this matter is weighing on Pete as he addresses the OTHER woman to bring a Lil’ Petey into the world, namely, Peggy.  He tells her about the McCann plan, figuring that she can get a start on job-searching, but her headhunter urges her to stick with McCann and she eventually seems inclined, as does Stan when she tells him.  As this is unfolding, Peggy is interacting with children who are auditioning for commercial parts at the agency and Stan notices her stiffness with them, remarking “You hate kids.”  But in the aftermath of a brutal argument between Peggy and the mother of one of the children about who was at fault when kiddo shot a staple into her hand, Peggy reveals to Stan the turmoil of putting Pete’s spawn up for adoption years earlier – although Pete’s name isn’t referenced.  Stan sees this woman, always trying so hard to come across as professional and sufficiently steely, in a new light.

Just as the episode featured callbacks to epic moments of the past, so too does the ending of it reference the beginning.  Inasmuch as the entire matter started with the questioning of company secretaries about why the rent wasn’t paid, worried chatter is running amok in their ranks and, predictably, Meredith is the one volatile enough to escalate into forcing a conversation with Don.  He confirms the matter to her and assures her that she still has a job with him, but she resists his urge to brush off the matter from there, sensing disaster in the partners’ futile determination to keep the situation under wraps.  For the first and probably only time in the series, Don recognizes Meredith as the adult voice of reason in a situation and he convinces Roger to convene all employees to unveil the move.

Roger’s announcement is an exact echo of the end of 7.7, when the acquisition by McCann was first put on the record.  But here again, the comparison to an earlier moment is subverted, as his initial words are drowned out by employee chatter about the implications.  Roger tries to regain their attention, to no avail.  Harry Crane shouts that everything is going to be fine and is ignored by everyone, to the surprise of only Harry Crane.  And then Don, the man who can command any room, calls out “This is the beginning of something, not the end!”  His inability to refocus the employees is emblematic of the meta-reality: we know that this very well IS the end of something, nay everything in this on-camera world, after three more episodes.  But at least now, everything is beginning to take shape.  Last week, Don was forced to acknowledge his existential quest and the need to fill the void within, symbolized by his empty apartment, dead marriages and part-time fathering.  This week, he found out that he actually did have one big thing left to lose, the company that he has essentially been the face of for well over a decade.  His whimsical question to Roger “What’s in a name?” after the disastrous McCann meeting was a nod to his Dick Whitman past, which is known by only Roger and a few others.  Don’s clearly pointed in a direction of big change as the final curtain readies to drop, but how he gets there in the final three episodes remains a massive mystery.  Matthew Weiner wouldn’t have it any other way.  But clearly, he also wants you to keep the faith that it’s all going to make sense.  Let’s hope that it does.


Once Upon A Time: The Right Thing Will Rip Your Heart Out

Photo Courtesy Of ABC
Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

As with last week’s installment, this week’s title, “Lily,” pretty much gives away what this episode is going to focus on. Maybe I would complain about spoilers in another show but there are so many damn possibilities about what could happen and be revealed about a new character in a soap opera about fairytales, that I ain’t even worried about it.

This week opens with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice conjuring The Sorcerer through a cauldron and pillar of smoke. The Sorcerer needs to be made aware of the terrible things The Author has done, and also of his punishment for his misdeeds. The Sorcerer doesn’t appear to be too fussed about the outcome of The Author’s meddling—the two girls’ fates have always been entwined. The important part now, is damage control. They must stay out of the way and allow events to unfold from this point on. And above all, The Author must never be permitted to alter another story.

Well, too bad that’s exactly what Gold is expecting him to do, even at Cruella’s burial. The two men stand graveside, but while Isaac wants to mourn Cruella, Gold reminds him that it all needed to happen to blacken The Savior’s heart. From just outside the graveyard, said Savior glares at the two.

Emma then storms into Granny’s, where the Storybrooke Magic Brain Trust has gathered to discuss recent events. Emma, now aware that she killed Cruella even though she wasn’t actually a threat, wants to seek out Gold and get to the bottom of his plans. Killian and her parents encourage her to proceed with caution, but she dismisses them. She is, indeed, being cautious. She regrets killing Cruella but it was an accident and she isn’t consumed by that. She just wants to get to the bottom of everything, she swears.

She’s interrupted as Maleficent (presumably no longer under Cruella’s sleeping enchantment, as Cruella is dead) strolls in and announces that she wants to get in on whatever they’re up to. She has no more allegiance to Gold—he resurrected her for his own needs, not to help her, and she won’t be his pawn any longer. Instead, she wants to enlist Emma’s services as a Lady Who Knows How To Get Things. And Maleficent really wants to find her daughter.

No one seems to think it’s a very good idea to leave town with so much going on and Gold shoving her towards darkness, but Maleficent disagrees. Keeping her away from Gold will be the best thing for her. She continues to divulge the history she’s learned from Gold, that her daughter was adopted in Minnesota, and her adopted parents named her Lilith.

Lilith. Lily. The name immediately triggers Emma’s memories of her long-ago friend (because names mean something. Also this might be the *only* useful, satisfying plot point from the entire Frozen debacle so eat this up, kiddies). Emma rushes to the sheriff’s station to pull a bunch of stuff on microfilm that might help her confirm or disprove her suspicious. She finds Lily’s birth announcement in a newspaper article, complete with a picture showing the star-shaped birth mark on her wrist.

Emma sits in front of the screen, stunned. “Ain’t fate a bitch,” Regina remarks, standing behind her. Emma isn’t amused. How is it even possible that Lily, her only friend from so long ago, was Maleficent’s

daughter, linked to her Enchanted Forest past all along? Regina assures Emma that some powers are beyond anyone’s understanding, and can’t help but add that it’s more likely considering that Emma’s parents messed with those powers so much. Emma becomes more despondent—her only friend wasn’t even her friend, she was just another part of Emma’s ridiculously complicated fate. Regina can sympathize, being that the child she adopted wound up being the son of The Savior and Rumpelstiltskin’s long-lost son. Fate pushes all of us, she explains as gently as someone who used to be The Evil Queen can. Maybe, she continues to suggest, it’s time to push fate back a little.

Emma isn’t sure they can, but Regina outlines the circumstances. Regina needs to get to New York to save Robin, and Emma knows New York. In addition, she can help Maleficent find her daughter, and maybe put to rights a little what Emma’s parents did on her behalf. Emma thinks this may be a good plan after all. The two begin planning what I am hoping to be a truly epic road trip.

Isaac and Gold watch the two explain their plans to their families from across the street. Isaac is incensed that Gold is allowing the two to leave, but Gold rebuffs him. It doesn’t matter where exactly The Savior turns dark, it just needs to happen. It just may be that this little road trip will turn her even faster than the two of them could if they tried. Gold sees Will and Belle walking along the street and excuses himself in the most menacing way possible.

Emma has pulled her Bug in front of the mayor’s office, waiting for Regina to finalize her preparations (i.e., locking up Belle’s heart good and tight in her office with Maleficent to stand guard against Rumpelstiltskin). She bids goodbye to Henry. Mary Margaret and David try to offer their encouragement, but she refuses to reply. Instead, she cozies up to Killian for a very cute reaffirmation of Emma’s status as a hero, and also how much they mean to each other. Oh, and a really adorable kiss. Should pirate-kisses be adorable? Oh well. Anyway. As they pull away, Emma receives information about Lily from one of her contacts. It’s an address, but it’s five years old. And, it’s also the same small town where Emma was living five years ago. Fate, indeed, is freaky. Deciding to investigate the old address first, the pair depart on their trip, complete with The Snow Queen’s scroll, which they’ll use to regain entrance into Storybrooke once Robin is rescued and Lily is recovered.

At the pawnshop, Belle is debriefing will on how to look after things. She has to go watch Neal for Mary Margaret and David, and should be back in a few hours. She kisses him goodbye, and before the door can jingle closed, the camera turns and we see Rumpelstiltskin’s figure in the background.

Will notices him, and begins to give the cheeky remarks a cockney thief would give to the man whose ex-wife he’s currently seducing. Rumpelstiltskin is enraged, but he also has bigger things to worry about. Will is too thick to notice, of course, but Belle’s heart has been taken by Regina, and Gold needs a thief to get it back. A thief like Will. Will isn’t interested, but Gold makes it abundantly clear that he won’t take no for an answer.

Back on the road with Regina and Emma, they’ve found the dump of an apartment building where Lily had lived. Regina is disgusted by the squalor, but Emma is more concerned that her former friend had lived somewhere so terrible. They knock on the apartment door, but a nosy, half-dressed neighbor dude staggers across the hall, asking them what they want. They inquire about Lily, and the man informs them

that she died a few years back, using as much tact and sensitivity as he would have if he’d informed them that she stepped out for a cheese sandwich. He goes on. Ain’t no surprise Lily’s dead. She was a terrible loser, made horrible decisions, could never get her life together, and he’d probably continue except Emma grabs him by the throat and shoves him against the wall. Regina talks her down, assuring Emma that getting her hands dirty with a puke like this guy won’t be worth it. Emma is reeling, but she agrees with Regina. There isn’t anything more for them there. She turns and leaves.

The two continue driving towards New York. Emma continues to agonize over Lily’s ill fate. Regina tries to reason with her, but Emma can’t let it go. She feels guilty now that Lily is dead after such a terrible life. Regina continues to argue with her when Emma sees an obstruction in the road ahead and swerves to miss it.

In swerving, Emma runs off the road, flattening one of the tires. Before Emma can even get out to assess the damage, she looks back to the obstruction that caused the accident. It’s not just an obstruction. It’s a wolf who appears to be completely unfussed despite the fact that it had nearly been run over. It looks in the eye as she gets out of the car before trotting off into the forest. Seem familiar? It should. It’s how Emma wound up spending her first night in Storybrooke in the drunk tank after dropping Henry off and accepting a cocktail from Regina. Emma muses over the déjà vu, but Regina isn’t sure this is fate. It’s more like a traffic accident. A serendipitous one, maybe, since they’re right next to a diner/gas and repair station. Regina orders Emma to go get them some coffees while she sees about getting Emma’s car repaired.

Emma sits at a table and orders two coffees to go, so dazed that she barely recognizes that the waitress she’s been making small talk with has the same star-shaped birthmark that Lily did. Emma sees the waitress’ nametag reads “Starla,” but Emma isn’t fooled. Regina sits down as Starla turns away, and Emma tells her earlier guess about fate’s actions had been wrong. The waitress is Lily, and she was supposed to meet her here.

Emma goes to confront the server, who is no longer wearing her uniform and waiting in a parking lot adjacent to the restaurant, staring at her phone. Emma approaches her and confesses that she knows “Starla’s” real identity, and identifies herself as her long lost friend.

Lily is a little disbelieving and overwhelmed, but the conversation continues and she knows that Emma is who she says she is. Emma begins to apologize for abandoning her all those years ago, but Lily assures her that there aren’t any apologies necessary. She admits her life was messed up for a while, but she was able to make a fresh start. She likes her life in her little town. She has a husband, and a daughter, and hasn’t even thought of Emma in years. A school bus pulls up, and Lily excuses herself so she can fetch her daughter and walk her home.

Emma watches Lily walk towards the children streaming from the bus. Safely out of earshot, she kneels before a little girl with dark hair. She smiles at the girl. “You know me from the diner, right?” she asks. The girl nods. “Well, free burgers for a week if you hold my hand and walk around the corner with me. You gotta decide right now, though,” she offers with a smile. The girl gives her a grin, and the two walk away.

Emma may not have been in earshot, but she always knows when someone is lying to her. She’s certain that Lily’s troubles have continued to follow her to her new life as Starla. She’s equally certain that she bears some responsibility for her terrible life. Why’s that exactly? Well, turns out, the last time we saw Emma and Lily together (when Lily’s father had come to fetch her from their lake house) wasn’t the last time the girls saw each other, even though Emma swore she never wanted to see Lily again.

Not so long ago, in a land not very far away (Minnesota, actually), Emma has finally landed with a good foster family. They’re absolutely gooey over each other, planning a family camping trip. Emma seems to be on top of the world, until she goes to the garage to fetch a sleeping bag and finds Lily hiding in there. Lily! What in the world is she doing here?! Before Lily can explain further than “I am in so much trouble for real,” the foster parents walk in. Lily immediately spins a nonsense story about knowing Emma from a group home and just moving to the neighborhood herself, and gets invited to stay for dinner.

As the evening progresses, it’s clear that Lily is still Bad News Bears, and Emma is panicked about her sudden presence in her otherwise-maybe-going-okay life. And Emma has every reason to be concerned. Turns out Lily is wanted in an armed robbery of a convenience store. Lily tries to explain that it all happened before she could stop it, and that it was her boyfriend’s idea and he made her do it, but Emma isn’t having it. She wants Lily gone immediately. Lily agrees, but begs Emma to retrieve her birth mother’s necklace from the place where she and her boyfriend have been squatting. Emma isn’t happy, but, assuming that it’s the fastest way to get Lily out of her life, agrees and goes to the flophouse to retrieve the necklace.

She returns home, expecting to find Lily, but instead, she finds her foster parents, and they are super mad. It seems that Lily broke into her foster dad’s desk and stole their vacation money. Upon finding both the money and the girls missing, they called Emma’s social worker and found out that Emma and Lily had been arrested together. Emma, realizing that everything has unraveled, grabs a pack next to the door and storms out.

She’s waiting at a bus stop when Lily approaches her. Emma is irate, but Lily tries to explain. She’s saved Emma from a really boring life, and with the money Lily’s just stolen the two of them can go anywhere. Emma won’t have it, but Lily pleads a little. Everything’s gotten so much worse for her since Emma came into and then left her life. No decisions work out. She can’t help but make terrible mistakes no matter how hard she tries not to. She wants to start over again with Emma. Emma, enraged that Lily has cost her another chance at happiness, presses her mother’s necklace into her hand and storms off, swearing she never wants to see her again.

So, Emma has to do something to help Lily, and she wants to start with tracking her down and reuniting her with her mother. She manages to get Lily’s address from her timecard at the diner, and she drags Regina off to investigate where she’s now living. They pull up to a run-down trailer that isn’t any better looking inside. There are no signs of a husband or a child inside, confirming Emma’s suspicions.

What neither woman can account for, though, is the bulletin boards all over the walls in a back room, outlining all the events from Regina’s curse-threat to Lilith’s banishment to this land without magic.


I can only assume that the writers are making up for the dumb, barely-existing plot twists in the Frozen arc. I also heartily approve of this.

Okay, so Lily knows everything and by the looks of her serial-killer bulletin-boarding she wants revenge against Snow White and Prince Charming for dooming her fate. And she’s been waiting for Emma and Regina to show up. And they’ve just walked right into her trap.

There’s a crash and tires squealing outside. Emma and Regina rush onto the porch just in time to see Lily take off in Emma’s Bug (which has Regina’s purse, which has the scroll that she can use to enter Storybrooke.)

Emma realizes that Lily has destroyed every chance of happiness she had as a child, and she’s not about to let her interfere with her family again. She grabs a wrench and hotwires an SS Chevelle that happens to be sitting in a neighbor’s parking space. Regina, horrified but unable to stop Emma’s dramatic response, hops in as they go tearing off after Lily. Emma drives exceedingly fast, determined to stop Lily before she can reach Storybrooke and hurt her parents. Regina pleads with her to think things through. Emma won’t have such advice coming from someone who was on her way to New York to rip her sister’s heart out if need be in order to save her boyfriend. It’s not about heroes and villains right now, she snaps. They’re in the real world where real people have real problems, and she’s gotta put a stop to Lily.

They catch up with her and, after engaging in a longer car chase than necessary when pitting a Chevy Chevelle against a Volkswagen Bug (seriously, between these two cars, Cruella’s Roadmaster, and Gold’s Cadillac, I’m only assuming that someone on the writer’s staff has a car thing going on. I heartily approve), Emma pulls ahead and beaches her car ahead of the Bug. The three women get out.

Emma demands to know if Lily knew about their fates when they were children. Lily learned later, she confesses, but what does it even matter now? Lily has exactly what she needs to get into Storybrooke and seek her revenge, and without magic there’s nothing The Savior can do to stop her!

The two women scuffle. Energy crackles and a headlight on the Bug bursts. The scuffle ends when Emma pulls out her gun and draws it on Lily, who’s kneeling before her.

Lily goads Emma. Lily’s whole life has been nothing but pain and mistakes, and no good can come of Emma allowing her to live, since she’s just going to go to Storybrooke to destroy her family. Emma, shaking, doesn’t respond, but keeps the gun trained on Lily as Regina again tries to act as the voice of reason. It’s a tense confrontation, but eventually Emma lowers her gun. Lily is too stunned to move or run away. The two women sit on some nearby discarded drainage pipes and try to process what’s happened.

How, indeed, did Lily know everything? After being abandoned by Emma with only her mother’s necklace and a wad of stolen cash, Lily hopped on a bus to get out of town and beat her armed robbery rap. She’s on a bus to Pittsburgh (which made my little heart sing, being a Pittsburgh native myself, and everyone knows everyone from , the Burgh gets excited when we’re on TV), staring at her mother’s

necklace, and maybe mourning her fate a little. Then, there’s a man beside her, calling her by name, offering to tell her all about her mother and her origins. It’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice! Because, lord knows that a teenage runaway girl will totally not be freaked out by a scraggly-bearded man confronting her on sketchy public transportation, especially if he claims to know everything about her. 100% normal. Well, maybe it would bother other girls, but Lily (even though she doesn’t know it) is the daughter of a dragon and a yet-unnamed probably-magical baby-daddy, who has crossed realms and had had destiny stacked against her since before she could even talk. She has seen some shit. She allows the man to continue. Maybe we’ll find out what happened in that conversation next episode?

Back in Storybrooke, Will has successfully stolen Belle’s heart from Maleficent (with the help of a diversion by Rumpelstiltskin). He doesn’t hand it over to Gold, but rather meets Belle in the shop with it. He shows it to her, and she’s overwhelmed. Before Will can finish explaining, Rumpel emerges from the back. She tenses, but he assures her he means her no harm. He again professes his love for her, but, even as he places her heart back in her chest, admits that he’s unworthy of her. He won’t continue to hurt her with his presence. If Belle wants a future with Will, he won’t stand in her way. And, for the fourth? Fifth? Millionth? time this series, Bobby Carlyle says, “Goodbye, Belle,” and breaks my heart into itty bitty pieces.

He walks out the front door, and Belle turns to watch him leave, clutching her chest. Will grabs for her hand. She doesn’t turn to look back at him.

So! Belle’s heart being back in her chest means that Regina has lost her leverage with Gold, and Maleficent calls Regina to let her know what’s happened. Lily and Emma were having a very soul-affirming conversation about bad things happening even when it’s nobody’s fault, but Regina insists that they leave to find Robin immediately.

And find him, they do. Marian happens to be at the store, which is perfect because now Regina can rapidly debrief him about Marian being dead all along, and Marian really being Zelena, and everything being a trick. Robin is overwhelmed, as one would probably be. Marian, of course, returns just as he gathers the words to tell Regina that he and Marian have started a new life together. Marian first proclaims to have no idea what Regina is talking about, but Zelena can’t ever keep a secret when she knows she can drop a bomb. She transforms into her true self before Robin’s very eyes.

Regina orders Robin to escape with her as soon as possible, but Robin can’t bring himself to move. He can’t leave. He just can’t. “Why?” Regina demands.

Zelena giggles and encourages Robin to share their happy news. She’s pregnant.