“Truly your better half.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap – One Life

Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 9
“One Life”

Posted by Kim

WELCOME BACK, SLEEPYHEADS!!!!!!! It’s been an interminable hiatus but we are STILL here. “One Life” picks up with our heroes one month after the events of the winter finale. Where were we exactly? Oh, yes. Joe and Jenny kissed. It was revealed that the whole time Pandora’s actions were motivated by her need to bring her lover, The Hidden One, back to this mortal plane. (I can’t be the only one who is a little furious that this awesome female villain was doing it all for a man, can I?) Betsy Ross is still boring AF. Sophie Foster was revealed to be an Undercover FBI agent. Abbie handed in her badge and then sacrificed herself to save her sister, vanishing into Pandora’s tree with the Shard of Anubis bomb, leaving behind a devastated Ichabod. WHERE IS ABBIE? How is Ichabod coping with the loss of his Biblical life partner? Let’s get to the ratings to find out.

#CreepyHollow

Like I said, we pick up a month after Abbie sacrificed herself to the Tree of Wonders (Behold this Diamond in the Rough). Crane is…not doing well, to put it lightly. He’s a man possessed by a singular mission. AbbieAbbieAbbieAbbieAbbie. His tunnel vision has made him reckless as he pursues artifacts that could be used to summon Abbie from whence she vanished. (His current state of mind is foreshadowed by Flashback!Crane telling Nathan Hale “You have but one life. Do not indulge in recklessness. That’s…really the only point of the flashbacks. Well, that and fulfilling Nikki Reed’s episode order.) I’m glad to see that Crane kept that motorbike from last season because MAN that shot of him taking off his helmet and shaking out his hair made me feel all sorts of things in my special places.

 
Back at the archives, Ichabod shows Joe and Jenny his latest find: the jug that Orpheus apparently used to find Euridyce in the underworld. He’s convinced that its powers will help him find Abbie. (Um, you know how that story turned out, right Ichaboo?) Joe and Jenny approach Crane like they would a startled and scared puppy…very carefully. Jenny tells him that he is grasping at straws, but Ichabod is having none of it. “It is up to ME to find her,” he exclaims, forgetting that he is talking to Abbie’s flesh and BLOOD, the sister she sacrificed herself for.  Jenny firmly (but lovingly) reminds him that it’s up to THEM to find her and that he’s no good to her, Joe, or Abbie if he goes on this way. (It’s a very sister-in-law thing for her to do.) She needs him to keep his eye on the prize: find Pandora and the Hidden One, (hopefully) find Abbie. She and Joe pursue a lead on an artifact she thinks will lead them to Pandora, whilst Crane spends some solitary time with the Tree of Wonders and the Orpheus vase.

 
 
At the tree, Crane does some incantations and the vase briefly glows red but then nothing else happens and he kicks it aside in a fit of rage. I think he would have had himself a good cry had Sophie not interrupted him. It turns out that Crane is a person of interest in Abbie’s disappearance (Danny even has a Crane mood board) and Sophie has been charged with tailing him. Despite her actions earlier in the season though, Sophie is a good egg. She just wants to know the truth about what happened, but Crane doesn’t give his trust away so easily anymore. (PS whatever happened to Zoe? Did I miss something? Shouldn’t she be simpering around here?) (Now that I’ve gone and brought it up, she’s gonna show up again. SORRY.) The way Crane replies “If they wish to formally charge me with a crime, please be my guest. Until then, leave me alone.” KILLS me because the Crane I know would have gone on a rant about his constitutional rights, not just say STFU. This is how we know JUST how bad it is for him. Crane storms off, with Sophie not far behind. The Orpheus Jar vibrates red again, with the sparkle spreading up the Tree of Wonders (“WHO DISTURBS MY SLUMBER?”). A bark face presses out of the tree. ABBIE?

In the meantime, Joey and Jenny go about tracking down the map. I’ll discuss this more in #ShippyHollow, but it’s clear to me that they HAVEN’T been boning since the time we saw them last and Jenny has put some distance between them, which Joey (though confused) is respecting. Jenny’s dealer says he doesn’t have the map…but her nemesis Randall DOES. Considering the last time she saw him resulted in Randall being handcuffed in a shower, that’s going to go really well. Danny, on the other hand, remains singularly focused on Crane in his search for Abbie, ordering a tap on his phone. (Um, don’t you need more probable cause for that other than “they hang out a lot”/jealousy?) Sophie orders him to get away to his Nicholas Sparks cabin so he can de-stress and get some perspective on the situation, further proving that she’s on Crane’s side in this, despite her misgivings. Points for her there. More points for her “I’m a complex person” comment because I can really get on board with a Sophie/Han Solo parallel.

 
 
Later that night, all alone in Abbie’s house, Crane hears a bump in the night. After finding Abbie’s camisole on the stairs (OKAY but did it just appear there or does Crane sometimes hold it and cry? DISCUSS.), He runs up to investigate, calling for Abbie thinking that she has returned to him because that’s the only LOGICAL reason one wouldn’t go running in the opposite directions when they hear strange noises in their house. The bedroom window is open and Crane turns to the mirror…and the words “HELP ME CRANE” appear. He leans into the mirror and a hand bursts out, grabbing him (cue me screaming). A strange-looking brand appears on his arm. Cut to an undisclosed amount of time later where Crane has LITERALLY fallen asleep against the mirror because this show knows how to hurt me. (Speaking of mirrors, everyone should watch this video and cry.) Sophie calls Crane, demanding to see him. “HELP ME CRANE” is carved into her apartment floor and Sophie is pissed, wondering if he is punking her (“I have no earthly idea what you are saying, in more ways than one.” = the closest we got to sass the entire episode).  Sophie has the same brand on HER forearm, except it is the mirror image of the one Crane has.  When they line up their arms, the brand burns red. The lights go out. An apparition that looks vaguely familiar appears and then crashes into Crane’s chest Clara Oswald in “Face the Raven” style. He SEES flashes of Abbie and when he comes to, he gasps out that Abbie is dying. NONE OF THIS IS GOOD.

At the archives, Sophie begins to prove her worth as an ally in this cause. She deduces that their brand is a Shinto symbol for “gateway” and that a tribe in New Guinea highly values the mystical powers of mirrors as gateways to other worlds. If that truly IS Abbie trying to reach them, the only solution is to build a gateway by using a mirror. They build their gateway in the Masonic Cell because it is the best place to try to concentrate all the mystical energies. I have to give Sophie credit for taking all this mysticism in stride, only mildly reacting to the ridiculousness of the situation. She expresses her nerves via quips (“Buy a girl a drink first” when Crane says she has to anchor him) and I swear to GOD if I didn’t bleed for Ichabbie, I could totally ship these two. Sophie apologizes for being nervous and Crane picks up his “What Would Abbie Mills Do?” manual to comfort her. Grace Abigail Mills may not physically BE in this episode, but her presence looms large the entire time, thanks to Crane. It’s almost like he loves her or something.

 
 
Crane and Sophie put their brands together and the mirror goes all liquidy. Crane jumps in without even hesitating (he may as well have said “GERONIMO!”) and the rope goes taut. For a moment, I was scared that Sophie would lose her grip, but I should know better than to doubt her status as a bad ass. (I started typing out BAMF and then I got sad because I miss Frank Irving.) Crane bursts back through the mirror clutching a body. It is not Abbie but a demon who looks like an adult version of the girl from The Ring and she is PISSED. She tries to strangle Crane, but they beat her off, so she goes running off into the night. “We were supposed to be rescuing Mills, not facing down living nightmares,” Sophie declares over some much-needed post-Demon encounter whiskey. “Evil engages us when we least expect it,” Crane shrugs, which sets off alarm bells. It turns out that Crane KNEW they were risking the chance of bringing other demons into the world and he just didn’t give a fuck. Sophie barely knows Ichabod, but even she can see that his behavior is reckless and she calls him out on it. “I took a CHANCE,” he spits. “Working with the supernatural is not an unequivocal science, and if the Lieutenant were here she would tell you…” “SHE’S NOT HERE, I AM. And I don’t need to be Abbie Mills to know that you are pushing too hard.” I need a fluffy pillow.

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“Who speaks for them?” – The X-Files Recap – Home Again

hi mom

The X-Files Season 10, Episode 4
“Home Again”
Posted by Sage

With apologies to the Peacock family and Johnny Mathis, the fourth episode of The X-Files revival is not a sequel to “Home,” the season 4 episode that shortened the lifespan of 9 of 10 Fox censors. At least not in the traditional sense. “Home Again” does happen to be set in Pennsylvania like the inbred horror show it shares half its name with, but far from the rural tranquility that murder spree interrupted. This episode brings Special Agents Mulder and Scully to West Philadelphia – thanks to Will Smith, known to all the world as an urban area with a high crime rate and a low average income. The disenfranchised are right there on every corner instead of tucked away in a crumbling farm house, out of sight and mind. The villains in this episode are the opportunists who make use of their plight, even if they’re not aware they’re doing it.

“Home Again” is a Glen Morgan story, and he directed it too. He’s another familiar name for fans, and comes to the revival with a heavy-hitting list of original series credits: “Never Again,” “Squeeze”/”Tooms,” “The Field Where I Died,” and yes, “Home” are among his greatest hits. His episodes run the gamut from tense, locked door thrillers (“Ice”) to some of the show’s most emotional hours so far (“One Breath.”) He does duty in a couple of genres in “Home Again”: A killer is targeting the scumbags behind a controversial homeless relocation program, and that has to be dealt with. Margaret Scully is also dying, and that has to be accepted.

okay okay 2
Man, I knew it was coming. I knew Maggie Scully was going to go to the lord this season, but I was not prepared. And neither was Dana. She gets the call from Bill (guess what, STILL A DICK) about her mother’s heart attack while she and Mulder are investigating the scene of the murder of one Joseph Cutler (Allessandro Juliani, also Sinclair from The 100!), the first known victim of the killer soon to be dubbed “The Trash Man.” The two stories play out concurrently: the race to catch the murderer before he kills again runs alongside Scully’s desperate bid to save her mother, and if she can’t, to understand her fully before she goes. Do these plots inform each other? Is there some symbolism in the Trash Man murders that’s mirrored in Maggie’s death? I don’t think the comparison is direct, but who ever promised that every tragedy of one’s life could be instantly understood and imbued with meaning? (Note: In his EW interview with our girl Kelly, Glen says that he would have liked to have had the room to do Maggie’s death and the Trash Man as separate episodes.)

This is one of those episodes where you can’t tell the bad guys apart without a program. Sinclair is a soulless vampire and probably an avid Trump supporter. (Prove me wrong.) When he cowers in fear to see the looming shadow outside of his dark office, he’s earned it. When the gargantuan killer rips him in half with his bare hands, it’s almost satisfying. Without knowing who the killer is or where he comes from, we know that this is not a random attack but some kind of vigilante justice. Mulder and Scully aren’t welcomed by the local police with open arms (“Wouldn’t be Philadelphia without a certain degree of confrontation.”), but it’s lucky for them that Fox Mulder sees the clues that no one else would notice. He takes note of the ominous mural of a tall, bald man on the building opposite Sinclair’s window. A review of the building’s security tapes shows that it wasn’t there before Cutler was killed. Are we in the middle of an X-Files/Don’t Eat The Pictures crossover? Because sign me the fuck up.

While Mulder is waiting for the local police to get him access to the roof of the mural building, he walks into an argument that seems ever so slightly inappropriate considering the head in the trashcan upstairs. Two suited individuals, a man and a woman, are tossing barbs at each other, both with the conviction of the righteous. “Whoa, you two married?” the agent asks. (Mulder, STOP.) This is Daryl Landry, one of Cutler’s colleagues and thus another businessman who wants the homeless hauled off and tucked away so the rest of the city can go on pretending they don’t exist. And this is Nancy Huff, school board president and, in her mind, comparatively Mother Theresa, since she puts a hairnet over her $200 haircut once a year to serve the homeless Thanksgiving dinner. (Mulder: “Oh! Buuuuutttt….” GOD LOVE HIM.) Mulder doesn’t have any friends besides Scully because the Lone Gunmen are dead (or are they?) and because he has a talent for cutting through people’s bullshit and confronting them with the exact thing they don’t want to hear. “I hear you speaking for them, but really speaking for yourself. And I hear you speaking for them, but really speaking for yourself. What I don’t hear is who speaks for them.” Truth bomb dropped, Mulder turns his attention to a cryptic fellow leaning against a dumpster opposite them. The Band-Aid Nose Man speaks for them, the fellow says. Mulder thinks of the band-aid he found on the sole on his shoe outside Cutler’s office. And the hangman mural is gone.

Meanwhile, saint, queen, angel-among-us Dana Scully is alone at her mother’s bedside in DC. A nurse tells her that Maggie became cognizant for a few moments; all she asked for was Charlie, her estranged son. (The why and the since when, we don’t find out. Charlie was never much of a presence on the show, nor was a rift presented in the first nine seasons.) Scully is baffled. Like I mentioned above, Glen Morgan also penned “One Breath” – the conclusion of the Gillian Anderson maternity leave Dana Scully abduction arc. Maggie and Dana’s roles are reversed now. It’s Dana who holds her mother’s hand and speaks to her, with the benefit of knowing firsthand that her words can reach the plane where Maggie now resides.”I’m here. I’ve been where you are. I know Ahab is there. And Melissa. And Mom, I’m here. Bill Jr.’s here, and William. William’s here. And Charlie is here. Please Mom, don’t go home yet. I need you.” The “William is here” killed me, because it shows that Scully has never and will never give up hope of finding her son. And the sheer possibility of that should beckon Maggie back too.

As if the parallels weren’t already raw enough for Philes like me, Glen actually gives us a “One Breath” flashback. Scully remembers how Mulder chose to be with her over possibly taking down the men who put her in that condition in the first place. (And who most certainly could have led him to more of the answers he was looking for.) It’s a huge relationship moment for them, and she remembers it as the first proof that she means more to Mulder than unraveling any conspiracy. “I feel, Scully, that you believe you’re not ready to go,” he’d said. “And you’ve always had the strength of your beliefs.” Scully is confident that she knows what her mother is feeling as well. Maggie had told Dana after her abduction that she did not want to be taken off life support should she end up in a similar state. But her faith starts to crack when she finds an unfamiliar quarter on a chain among her mother’s things. What meaning does it hold? Why hasn’t Scully seen it before? She watches the patient in the next bed code, die, and be bagged by orderlies. The nurse returns to tell Scully that her mother signed a Do-Not-Resuscitate order the previous year, and the document was witnessed by two former naval officers. Everything Scully knows about her mother tells her that this can’t be right, but yet it is. What happened? What changed her mother’s heart so completely? The idea that Scully will never know – that Maggie didn’t choose to share this with her – scares her to death.

Mulder has one urgent task to take care of before he can go emotionally support his wife. The lab tech who tests the band-aid from Mulder’s shoe is perplexed by the results. There’s no inorganic or organic material on it, even though it looks like it’s been used, and heavily. Meanwhile, the mural didn’t disappear into thin air as we supposed. It was stolen by two street art thieves, who think they’re sooooo tricky. The men hijack art that’s meant for public consumption, turning it over to an establishment that upholds the elitism of the industry. “We should go to Sotheby’s on this,” one says to the other. When he returns from listing the piece, he finds a blank wall (well, almost blank – there’s the blood) and his colleague in the same condition as Sinclair. He meets his fate too. This time, the artist (or art itself) signs the piece before dragging his trophies out to his waiting garbage truck: “Trash Man.”

im here im here 2
Isn’t exactly like Mulder to show up just in time? He calls from outside the ward as Scully’s having one of the worst conversations of her life: discussing Maggie’s extubation with her doctor. She’s been handling this on her own like a champ, and she looks so relieved to see him. Scully has always been strong, but she learned over the course of the series that it’s not weakness to let someone tend to her emotional needs. Mulder isn’t going to know what Maggie was thinking. He’s not going to fix everything just by being there. But he’ll sit with Scully and listen, and hold her when she needs to cry. He even says at one point that he should probably leave, because there’s still an arm-ripping mutant out there. But then he doesn’t. How can he? (RIP Nancy Huff with her stupidly opulent Bucks County house, her K-Cup trolley, and her probiotic yogurt.)

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“This is how I like my Mulder.” – The X-Files Recap – Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster

The X-Files Season 10, Episode 3
“Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” 

Posted by Kim

When The X-Files revival was initially announced, I was beside myself with excitement (naturally). When the news broke that Darin Morgan would be returning to pen an episode, I sat straight up and said “Oh, they are SERIOUS about this.” It’s funny how large Darin’s presence looms over the early years of The X-Files, especially when you consider the fact that he only wrote four episodes (and acted in two). But WHAT a four episodes though! All of them are beloved. There’s “Humbug”, which was the first time the show expanded into dark comedy (Scully eating a grasshopper and Mulder’s Adonis shot forever remain favorite moments). “War of the Coprophages” is a personal favorite of mine, from Mulder and Scully’s late night phone banter to the way it pokes fun at mass hysteria.  But the two episodes he’s best known for are the wickedly satirical “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” and the witty but beautifully melancholic “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”, which won him an Emmy. (It also earned him the #4 slot on our Best X-Files Episodes of all time, which is the bigger honor, TBH.) “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” combines the satire and meta of “Jose Chung” with the melancholic exploration of the human condition of “Clyde” and adds a dash of the wicked humor of Vince Gilligan’s (whose style Darin definitely influenced) “Bad Blood”. It’s a love letter to The X-Files, littered with Easter Eggs for long time Philes. Basically, it’s perfect.  As Alan Sepinwall said in his review, the rest of the revival could suck and it would be okay because we got this episode.

(I mean…I would not be okay with the rest of the revival sucking, but I understand Alan’s point.)

In her recap of “Founder’s Mutation”, Sage talked about how The X-Files pioneered the use of the cold open and I have to agree with her (shocker). What I love about the cold opens is that they IMMEDIATELY set the tone for the episode and you knew what you were going to get. Shady men doing shady things? Mythology episode Midnight in the woods with ordinary people? Monster episode. My cold open notes for “Were-Monster went a little like this: “Bad blood bad blood bad blood BAD BLOOD.” In our opinion (and Gillian Anderson’s), “Bad Blood” is the single greatest standalone episode of the series, so seeing parallels made me giddy. A pair of stoners (the SAME stoners from “Quagmire”, which Darin did uncredited work on. OH THE THINGS THESE TWO HAVE SEEN.) are huffing spray paint in the woods, because where else would you go? They share some deep thoughts under the full moon. Naturally they encounter what appears to be a monster when they stumble upon Kumail Nanjiani (living every Phile’s DREAM) wrestling with a lizard man who appears to be chomping at his neck. There’s already one dead body. “Dude!” the stoners exclaim. They may as well have said “Oh Shiiiiiiiiiiii….”. Let’s get it started, Mark Snow.

Then we get a classic Mulder/Scully office scene that speaks WAY more to Mulder’s current head space than “My Struggle” could have ever dreamed to. (No, I will not stop shading the characterizations in that episode.) Mulder is feeling disillusioned but it’s a real and relatable kind of disillusionment this time. He’s feeling old and he’s feeling irrelevant in the age where the internet debunks the conspiracies he spent years taking apart in a matter of minutes. (God, someone direct Mulder to Tumblr and the way the Larries debunk things in a matter of seconds. His head would explode…and then he would become one of them.) He’s questioning his life’s work and the monsters he’s always believed in. “I’m a middle-aged man, Scully.  It’s time to put away childish things,” he declares, throwing pencils into Scully’s shiny new “I want to believe” poster. (It’s okay to believe in monsters, Mulder. I’m a 30-something obsessed with boy band conspiracies. We all have our crosses to bear.) And what of Scully? I love how SHE is the one who bought the poster. (The way she says “What are you doing to MY poster?” gives me life.) SHE is the one who lovingly recreates their office, even though it’s 2016 and somehow that still doesn’t merit her having her own desk or a nameplate. (OKAY.) “We’ve been given another case, Mulder,” she says with a glorious smirk. “It has a monster in it.” I love the role reversal here. Normally, it would be Mulder cajoling a reluctant Scully to join him on yet another monster case (“I hope you brought your cowboy boots.”) but now it’s Scully.  I think it’s important to note here that Scully doesn’t suddenly believe in monsters. She makes that very clear later on in the episode. What she wants is for MULDER to believe in them.  She subtly (and not subtly) eggs him on both in the office and when they are investigating the crime scene in the woods and it’s so LOVING it physically hurts me. All she wants is for him to be happy and excited about life again. Everything she does in this episode undermines the whole “Scully leaves Mulder because of depression” story, but that’s none of my business.

The trail of the Were-Monster leads Mulder and Scully to an all night truck stop where a Transgender Hooker (because of course) narrowly avoided an attack by wielding her pocketbook (again because of course). Naturally, her description doesn’t match the drawing they have, lending further credence to Mulder’s “NONE OF THIS IS REAL” attitude. What I love about Darin Morgan’s stories is that he populates his universe with outlandish characters (the hooker, the shady hotel owner, the psychiatrist) that are silly on the surface but when combined they fully flesh out the world that he’s envisioned. (The “They think I’m on crack.” “Are you?” “YEAH.” exchange = comic gold.) Never ones to walk away from a scene, our heroes comb the truck stop hoping that the monster is still lurking about. They stumble upon Kumail’s Animal Control Officer (that’s two places he’s been where the monster was. FORESHADOWING.) and join forces with him casing the joint. (I imagine the moment Kumail got the script went something like this: *sees that he gets scenes with David and Gillian* “I need a moment.” *freaks out Laura Linney in Love Actually style* “Okay, I’m ready.”) They find a body with the same bite marks at the neck that previous victims had. Scully stays behind to examine the body whilst Mulder and Kumail pursue the monster. (Me: Of COURSE you stay behind, Scully. You’re going to miss it JUST LIKE ALWAYS.) Mulder tries to work a new camera app on his phone but can’t, proving he is old and out of touch. The camera keeps going off like Mulder is some sort of one man paparazzi and BOOM the monster crashes into them, knocking them to the ground as Mulder desperately tries to snap a picture. Kumail is like “Fuck this shit, I’m out.” as Scully gives Mulder the once-over, finding that he is covered in blood. Mulder declares (almost giddily) that it’s not his. The monster seemingly takes refuge in a port-a-potty but when Mulder and Scully bust the door open, they find an outraged New Zealander just trying to take a poop in peace. Of course, not all is what it seems, as we see horns popping out of the back of his head as Mulder and Scully walk away. We’ve got a shapeshifter on our hands, ladies and gents.

God, I loved everything about this autopsy scene. I love the way Mulder crowded Scully’s personal space and the way Scully allowed it. I love how Mulder pushed the phone into her face like a small child. I love the way Scully feigned annoyance with him while she barely surpressed her fondness. I love how Mulder tries to drop some science knowledge on Dana “What about the Science?” Scully. I love “Mulder, the internet is not good for you.” (Truer words have never been spoken.) I love how they bantered about the fact that the victim’s bite marks appeared to be human. (“So we’re looking for a man-sized horned lizard with human teeth?”) But what I loved the most about this scene was how it felt like Mulder and Scully were getting on the same page again, easily falling back into roles that they thought were long forgotten. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you,” Mulder asks her with a sense of wonder. “Yeah, I am,” Scully replies simply. “I forgot how much fun these cases can be.” I LOVE how Scully lets that moment hang between them before she shoos Mulder off, telling him to go back to the hotel. (“Aaaaaahhhooooooo…we had some good times, didn’t we?” RIP ME.) It’s like she’s saying “Remember this? We can have this again if only you would let it happen.” I AM FINE, I SWEAR.

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“This is a really volcanic ensemble you’re wearing.” – SAG Awards 2016 Fashion

Posted by Maggie

Bless the SAG Awards for being on a Saturday this year, my awards show hangover is much easier to deal with on a Sunday, thank you very much. This was kind of an off night in the season; not a lot of wow moments, l could only come up with seven Best looks when we usually include ten. There were lots of sleeves and textures and patterns, which was interesting, but the night was kind of whelming overall? Let’s take a look and then let me know what you thought in the comments!

BEST

Emilia Clarke

I don’t know if we’ve talked about Emilia much before but I’ve noticed she tends to go for let’s say “mature” looks on the red carpet that I don’t think always do her justice, so I basically started seal clapping when I saw her in this. I die for this bold pink and, as you may remember from the Golden Globes coverage, this neckline and skirt shape are right up my alley. Her accessories are subtle, letting the dress do most of the work, and I think the soft wavy hairstyle looks amazing. She looks age appropriate finally, and elegant and fun at the same time.

Marisa Tomei

Easily the best long-sleeved gown of the night. This style and shade of green are so flattering on her and you know I love sparkles. The belt detail really pulled it all together for me.

Amy Poehler

Look at our ginger queen, you guys. This is so good on her, it’s dramatic and yet she looks perfectly at ease and like herself. Amy can be kind of hit or miss on the red carpet but I think she knocked this one out of the park. (Apparently this was my night for subtle accessories and lowkey hairdos.)

Laura Prepon

I know, I don’t think the waist is exactly right either, but I am still here for this poetic noble land mermaid. That bodice completes me and I love the way the skirt of the dress hangs when she’s standing still or flows around her as she twirls. (We call that a ter-wully dress in my family, although I’m not sure of the spelling? due to an adorable mispronunciation of ‘twirl’ by my sister when she was four.)

Anna Faris

Am I crazy or is this so different for her? I love how sleek and elegant she looks, the short sleeves are adorable, and did you see the deep vee in the back? I’m not wild about the slit, but I’m also not really mad at it.

Naomi Watts

There were a lot of textured fabrics on the red carpet and this one was my fave. The blue is gorgeous with her complexion and I love the simplicity of the black belt. Obviously I’m into the bold lip, but I think the hair was not perfectly on point?

Helen Mirren

Take notes, ladies, this is how it’s done. She’s sparkly, sexy and classy all at the same time.

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Live Blogging the 2016 SAG Awards and Red Carpet

Posted by Kim and Sage

Welcome to the 2016 SAG Awards everyone! Join us for all the fashion, celebs, and awards. Will Kate and Leo walk away winners? Will Spotlight take home the Best Ensemble Award? Will SAG ever learn that there is a difference between a leading performance and a supporting one on Television? Join us to find out.

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“A mother never forgets.” – The X-Files Recap – Founder’s Mutation

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The X-Files Season 10, Episode 2
“Founder’s Mutation”
Posted by Sage

The critical buzz on The X-Files revival was mostly of the opinion that the quality jumped up several notches after the premiere. Not wanting to spoil the chance to watch brand new episodes live with friends and fandom, I ignored screener access to wait for broadcast, and put my faith in reviewers I trust. Kim’s reflections on “My Struggle” are almost identical to my own opinion, so I won’t bother reiterating them much beyond this: what a hot damn mess. But Fox scheduling did the revival a massive favor by putting the first two episodes on back-to-back nights. Best that the majority of the viewing public didn’t have a week to marinate on the shortfalls of the pilot, but were thrown right into a honest-to-god X-File. “Founder’s Mutation” turned me into a hyped-up NBA commentator, basically. “THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT,” I believe I yelled at one point.

founders

“Founder’s Mutation” skipped past the paperwork and basement office renovations and caught up with a fully re-installed FBI Special Agents Mulder and Scully. But first, the cold open – a device that The X-Files was among the first network dramas to use efficiently and creatively. A Dr. Sanjay walks through the security check-point in the lobby of his workplace, Nugenics Technology. Things are not okay. There’s a piercing, dog-whistle sound in his ears and his eyes are bloodshot. He sits at the head of a boardroom table while a bland but reproachful middle-manager reams out Sanjay and the rest of his colleagues. “He sent a message this morning: do-over,” the man says. The message comes from a man usually referred to as “the founder” – a little theatrical for someone who claims to want his anonymity, but that’s just me. Sanjay looks over his shoulder out into the lawn outside the office park and sees that it’s nearly covered by gathering crows. (A murder of crows, if you will.) He stumbles abruptly out of the meeting and into a room lined with servers. Sanjay initiates a data transfer behind a locked door, but he never finishes it. While his colleagues bang on the glass separating him and them and the piercing noise still envelopes him, he falls to the ground, picks up a letter opener, and shoves it into his own brain. HIT IT, MARK SNOW.

Dr. Sanjay’s death is one of those cases that Mulder and Scully are assigned to by pure happy accident. No immediate X-File in the instance of the reclusive man with the high-stress job who had a breakdown and then killed himself. The FBI are investigating instead of the police because they have the security clearance, and Nugenics is in bed with the Department Of Defense. That clearance doesn’t get them permission to bag Sanjay’s hard drive and take it as evidence, nor are they afforded the chance to speak to Dr. Augustus Goldman aka the Founder aka Dr. Moreau. (That last one is mine.) But the good cop/kindergarten cop routine is still in Mulder and Scully’s repertoire, and watching Mulder slyly pocket Sanjay’s smartphone makes it feel like old times. Well, old times plus Siri.

old school

“He isn’t a victim, he killed himself.” “Then I’m sure he won’t mind me talking to some of his friends.”

A quick scan of Sanjay’s call history introduces a contact saved as Gupta; leading up to his breakdown, Sanjay was calling him nightly. Mulder arranges a meeting with the mystery man in a wood-paneled DC bar. It’s Vik Sahay from Chuck. (Rock on, Jeffster.) What follows is a Mulder snafu I’d be more apt to expect from Darin Morgan, a writer who (hopefully still) loves to poke fun at Fox’s outsider status. Informant-speak is vague and suggestive; it’s actually shocking that Mulder’s intent hasn’t been misconstrued before. The X-Files hasn’t always been the most sensitive or progressive show, but the joke is absolutely on Mulder here. Even when Gupta realizes that Mulder isn’t actually cruising him, he’s not embarrassed. (“When it comes down to it, you’re all repressed.” Ain’t it the truth, Gupta?)

the truth is in here

“Yeah, I’ve heard something like that.”

Gupta and Sanjay had had an ongoing sexual relationship that mellowed into a friendship. Basically, because Sanjay was living a closeted life in more ways than one, Gupta was the only witness to Sanjay’s downward spiral. He fielded phone calls from Sanjay where he fretted about “his kids,” an intriguing choice of words since the deceased was single and childless. Let’s take a moment to appreciate Gupta as a friend, though. He doesn’t make a star witness because he didn’t press Sanjay for information, just tried to listen. This brief look into the relationship between two people brings some much-needed humanity into this episode. So put that in your pocket, because it gets even rougher from here on out.

Meanwhile, Scully is back at home with her stiffs, doing an autopsy on Sanjay. She notices that there are words written on the corpse’s palm. She tells Mulder later that she had to break his fingers to be able to read them. And we get a nice visual of it, because these are the details that make The X-Files the nauseating horror-show that we love. The reminder or message is “Founder’s Mutation,” and that’s not the only strange piece of evidence Scully gathers from the body. An x-ray of Sanjay’s skull shows that the letter opener almost changed trajectory inside of his brain, plunging upwards and into his auditory cortex. About that ringing, then.

x-ray

The Special Agents drive their shiny new Ford (RIP Taurus) over to Sanjay’s secret residence, a spot that only Gupta knew about. Unlike his “antiseptic” public apartment, this one is a scrapbook of Sanjay’s project and secret obsession. One wall is wallpapered with photos of children with extreme physical abnormalities: his “kids.” Before Mulder and Scully can dig much deeper, the police arrive. Scully endeavors to prove the legitimacy of their presence to the responding officer, but Mulder is incapacitated. The same ringing that Sanjay heard sends him crumpling to the floor. He watches Scully and the officer talk, but the words he hears aren’t theirs. “Find her,” someone says. “Help me,” someone else answers.

scully protective

LOOK AT THE FEAR IN HER EYES. MSR isn’t dead, just limping a little.

When Mitch Pileggi announced his involvement in the revival on Twitter, he expressed his excitement at Skinner being back in the lives of “his two wayward kids.” If that isn’t the dynamic, though. So little has changed. The Assistant Director can still aim a withering glare across his desk to his two most troublesome reports. Mulder and Scully, both in their 50s, can look just as sheepish and defiant as they ever have. And there’s even a new shadowy figure serving as an unwelcome audience. The unnamed man – a minion of the DOD – snidely delivers the news that the Eugenics files that the agents took from Sanjay’s apartment are classified and cannot be used as evidence. Skinner backs him up; the case is officially closed….until the snooty DOD man leaves the room. (Hasn’t word gotten around Washington yet that Skinner is always, always on his favorite agents’ side? I guess that page got lost on the Hill.) “I assume you made copies,” Skinner offers. Of course they did. Scully isn’t convinced yet that Sanjay’s death was anything but a suicide, but these sinister genetic experiments must be scrutinized. Skin Man’s got their back. “The bureaucracy of the FBI has become increasingly complex and inefficient,” he explains, needlessly. “It might take days for your incident report in order to close the investigation to make it through the proper channels. Welcome back, you two.” #OT3Goals, as always.

The only lead left to follow lies with the elusive Augustus Goldman. Scully tells Mulder that she might have a way to get to the Founder, an understatement since he funds research at the same hospital where she worked for the past six years. A. Why is this just coming up now? B. Catholics are shady. The agents walk the halls of Our Lady Of Sorrows with a sketchy nun (Scully is deferential, Mulder is unimpressed), who talks about Goldman as if he’s the second coming of Christ himself. “A true champion of the unborn,” Sister Whatever The Fuck calls him, a descriptor usually aimed at 900-year-old Southern senators who think of birth control as Satan’s candy. The public facing side of Goldman’s research has him providing prenatal care to women whose fetuses have or will develop a deformity. Curiously, all of these women are alone; no baby daddies or family around to provide support. No population is more at risk in the world of The X-Files than mothers-to-be, and this ward stinks to high heaven of exploitation. Sketchy Nun buys Scully’s story about wanting to give Goldman a warning about being the target of an upcoming federal investigation (Mulder: “Obamacare.”), and goes to retrieve his contact information. Agnes, a wild-eyed waif of a pregnant girl (Abigail from Hannibal, always in danger), takes the opportunity to get the agents attention and begs for them to get her out. They ask if there’s something wrong with her baby, and she looks confused. “My baby?” She regrets her decision, she says, and Dr. Goldman is not “right.” A harsh look from returned Sketchy Nun silences her, but Mulder slips Agnes her card. “Men and their lies…no offense,” Sketchy Nun glances at Mulder. “Desire is the devil’s pitchfork.” Now is that a sensational name for a fic archive, or what?

hospital hospital 2
There’s some dark comedy in Sketchy Nun’s austere religiousness, but it also shows something fundamentally important about the setting Dr. Goldman (presumably Jewish, though we don’t know) chose for his research. The “ruined woman” is simultaneously a victim of male desire and weak and sinful due to her own. The Madonna/whore complex at work in this Catholic institution dehumanizes the women (girls, really) in the study just enough so that no one – until now – has bothered to looked closely at what’s happening to them. Goldman and his superiors are banking on them being completely forgotten.

In the parking lot of the hospital, Mulder and Scully reflect on what they’ve just seen. In typical bulldozing Mulder fashion, he begins to go off on the violation these women are experiencing, too keyed up to consider the feelings of the person in front of him.

Mulder:“The women are the incubators.”
Scully: “Is this what you believe happened to me 15 years ago? When I got pregnant? When I had my baby? Was I just an incubator?”

I AM REVIVED

I AM REVIVED

If this series is going to end with Mulder and Scully back together as a couple – and I believe it will – it will happen by way of them dealing with their baggage, together. William would be 15 years old now, Scully reminds Mulder, and you know that she tracks every single birthday he’s celebrating without her. (“A mother never forgets.”) She asks Mulder if he ever thinks about their son, and I had to sit with his answer for a while to make sense of it. “Yes, of course I do,” he says, “but I feel like I’ve had to put that behind me.” Well what a fucking LUXURY, Fox Mulder. Must be nice to compartmentalize your life like that. Fortunately for him, this BTS interview with writer James Wong came along right in time to save Mulder (at least a little) from my wrath.

Wong says that David actually added the “of course I do” to the line, to soften that dismissal. And the rest of his response? It’s self-preservation. Mulder knows where Scully is headed in her mind, and it’s straight to questioning herself and her love for her child. (Imagine how many times they had this same conversation in their little house.) The last few seasons of the original series had so much value that’s been overlooked over the years. The way that Mulder reacts to Scully’s decision to give William up is as moving as anything that’s ever happened on the show. Mulder loves his son as desperately as Scully does (let those fantasy sequences be proof for the doubters), but there was never any danger of him resenting her for what she did. He doesn’t even need to know the details that led to that choice. He trusts Scully always; he especially trusts his heart with her, and that’s what William is. Selfless as ever, Scully put their child before herself. She’s the one left with the most pain, and Mulder doesn’t want to see her adding incertitude to the constant agony of just missing him. It’s not fair.

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“Someone has to stop these sons of bitches.” – The X-Files Recap – My Struggle

The X-Files Season 10 (!!!!!!!!!!!), Episode 1
“My Struggle” 

Posted by Kim

Confession time. The first time I saw “My Struggle”, I was in a room with several thousand X-Philes at New York Comic Con. The energy in the room was ELECTRIC. It was Day Three of the Con and everyone was slightly delirious thanks to the combination of very little sleep, pop culture over-stimulation, and the fact that OMG WE WERE SEEING AN ACTUAL NEW EPISODE OF THE X-FILES AND GETTING TO TALK TO CHRIS CARTER, DAVID DUCHOVNY, AND MITCH PILEGGI AFTERWARDS. It was insane and I will NEVER forget that emotional high.  Between that high and the fact that my expectations for “My Struggle” had been drastically lowered thanks to the response from the TCAs, I walked away from the screening having thoroughly enjoyed the episode. Now that I have some distance, I can see “My Struggle” for what it is: a poorly written mess that banks on you being too excited to see Fox Mulder and Dana Scully on your screen to really care.

Don’t get me wrong. When the voiceover began with “My name is Fox Mulder…”, I got chills.  When the theme song and the original credits (with the deserved addition of Mitch Pileggi) rolled, I had tears of joy in my eyes. As a fandom, we have waited SO LONG for this. But we can’t let our joy cloud our judgement and this episode was sloppy as hell. Look, I am forever grateful to Chris Carter for the world he created. But like George Lucas, his genius is often best left to ideas rather than execution. The writing of “My Struggle” was awkward and overly expositioned at its best and downright awful at its worst. The porch scene between Mulder and Scully was like bad fan fiction. Did you really have to insert all those catchphrases? I worship at the altar of Gillian Anderson’s acting but even she couldn’t make that scene work. David and Gillian were so disconnected in that scene and it just felt like they were spouting lines at maximum intensity rather than believing in their words. And the whole new conspiracy? To borrow from Sage’s tweets, it felt like Carter just went to Wikipedia and searched for conspiracies for the basis of the plot. Basically, the government is shady as fuck, using alien technology to fuel a planned and calculated Armageddon. People (women mainly) have been repeatedly abducted to be part of experiments and MAYBE their DNA has been fused with aliens for whatever reason. Any proof vanishes when it’s needed most. It’s really a means to an end and that end is getting The X-Files re-opened, because there is no way this arc can be resolved in less than 6 episodes.  Alrighty? So let’s just talk about what “My Struggle” did with our beloved characters, shall we? Because really…that’s why we are all here.

Another similarity between George Lucas and Chris Carter is that they both like to rewrite history. Lucas does it by adding Jabba the Hut into A New Hope and Hayden Christensen into Return of the Jedi, both of which are insulting to the original films. Chris Carter does it by ignoring character growth and regressing relationships to a point that is insulting to long time fans. Carter is/was notoriously against the Mulder/Scully romance, despite accidentally writing the greatest and deepest love story of all time, so I’m not SURPRISED that they are broken up. I’m just disappointed. Not that I expected/wanted everything to be puppies and rainbows with Mulder and Scully. They’ve been through and seen too much for that. But what I did expect was for them to be a united front. They are each other’s constants, they are each other’s touchstones. That is CANON. Hell, even at the end of I Want To Believe we had them choosing each other, once again. The movie ended with them LITERALLY sailing off into the sunset. So this “estrangement” nonsense is just that. It’s nonsense. It’s insulting to the characters he created. Are you really telling me that after EVERYTHING they have been through that Scully’s self-diagnosis of Mulder’s depression is the straw that broke their relationship? Sure, Jan.

(Also, I SEE YOU trolling with that “for better, for worse” line, Chris Carter. I don’t appreciate it.)

Look. When you look at it objectively, Scully has every reason to walk away from Mulder. He’s no picnic even without the weight of a massive global conspiracy bringing him down. Scully has lost so much thanks to the fact that on a dreary night in Oregon, she chose to trust Fox Mulder. She’s lost her sister. She’s lost TWO children. She’s lost her fertility. (Yeah, I know those contradict each other BUT THIS IS THE SHOW.) She’s become estranged from siblings, she’s had her career in shambles, and she’s had her personal faith tested. It’s too much for any person to bear. But this is what I love about Dana Katherine Scully. In the face of all of that, time and time again she charged into the darkness after Mulder. She’s ALWAYS chosen him and she’s always chosen the fight that they were in together. Having her estranged from him now is an insult to the character’s legacy. To quote Scully herself, SHE WOULDN’T CHANGE A DAY OF HER RELATIONSHIP WITH MULDER. Except for Flukeman. Again, that’s CANON. So why all of a sudden has Scully decided it’s all too much for her?

Don’t get me started on the Scully/Tad O’Malley dynamic. First of all, Joel McHale, ILYSM but I would love for you to talk to your agent about playing a non-smarmy character for once. It’s a good performance but it basically felt like Jeff Winger in one of his Goldblummy meltdowns. Secondly, are you really telling me that Dana Scully, who can make men wilt with a single arch of her eyebrow, would fall prey to Tad’s “charms” and insincere flattery? Okay. Everything about Scully and Tad is off from the very beginning. He goes straight to calling her Dana as opposed to maintaining a professional distance (Mulder’s FACE though. And I love how he mocks her for that later in the episode). He shows up AT HER WORK just to chat because he wants to see her again and he somehow gets Scully to join him in his car for Champagne. THEN he goes off about her wonderful (I mean it is wonderful, but still) work at the hospital for no apparent reason.  It’s all SO WEIRD. The Scully *I* know would have just given him a bitch face from the very first “Dana” and wouldn’t have let him get near her. So I really don’t get what Carter was going for here. Do they have a past? Does Scully DATE? Why are you doing this?

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