“There is no redemption here.” – Scandal Gif-Cap – Till Death Do Us Part

Scandal Season 5, Episode 18
“Till Death Do Us Part”

Posted by Kim

This week on Scandal, we take a brief intermission from all this Election Drama to finally get to the root of Jake and Rowan’s plans. It is, to say the least, a DOOZY. Plus, we FINALLY get a deep dive into Jake Ballard and his past. To the gifs!

We open with a kid playing with his little army men listening to his parents having a violent argument. 

OMG FINALLY WE ARE GETTING JAKE’S ORIGIN STORY. 

“I’ve decided you are going to eat something today.” Liv is holed-up in her childhood bedroom post-murdering Andrew. She is not doing well, naturally.

“You’re going to want to do something with your hair. Have you looked in the mirror recently? It’s not pretty.” EXCUSE YOU JAKE.

“The only thing you should feel bad about is that you didn’t do it sooner.” I mean, Jake’s not wrong.

“She promised to do something with her hair, so we’re making progress.” I love how Jake and Rowan discuss Olivia like she isn’t even there.

THIS IS SUCH A WEIRD FAMILY. Like Rowan treats Jake like he’s his ACTUAL son and yet his son and daughter have had all the sex.

I have to take a moment to appreciate that teen Olivia loved Dead Poets Society

“We’ve moved up Jake and Vanessa’s wedding.” The Monica in me is like there is NO WAY you can move up a wedding that easily, especially one this high-profile, but OKAY Rowan. I’m sure B613 can call the caterer and let them know the change in plans.

“I know he’d love for you to be there.” Liv’s FACE. Jake’s wedding is the last place she wants to be.

“For a screw-up, you are very bright.” Jake and Rowan’s first meeting! And Jake is a troublemaker with a temper!

“This says Jake Ballard on it. My name’s Pete Harris.” MOM HOW MANY LIES HAVE I BEEN LIVING?

“I signed up to be a navy man not play make-believe with some black ops psychopaths.” Jake has Rowan’s number RIGHT AWAY, bless him.

“You’re just a loser with an anger problem.” 

“Option B makes you MY bitch.” Rowan’s whole life is about making people his bitches.

“I can turn you into somebody. A real soldier with a real future.” 

“What’s it going to be? Pete Harris or Jake Ballard? Their bitch or mine?” I’ll take option C. NO ONE’S BITCH.

“Were you followed?” “No, they are buying the entire act.” Olivia is PLAYING THEM and I am ALIVE.

“She is pretty basic.” I love Quinn’s solidarity in hating Vanessa.

“Why does Vanessa want such a big wedding? It’s not like it’s going to make Edison President.” OR IS IT?

“What’s his weakness?” “Me.” 

“Liv…talk to me.”  Olivia conveniently has a “meltdown” before Jake and Vanessa’s engagement party and Jake plays RIGHT INTO IT.

LIV’S TRIUMPH FACE WHEN HE DITCHES VANESSA TO TALK TO HER. 

“This is our wedding!” “And this is a friend!” FINALLY Vanessa sees the giant elephant in the room regarding Jake and Olivia and she calls him on it.

“I don’t know if moving up the wedding was a good idea…”

“You made a commitment, now you will follow through.” Rowan will NOT allow Jake to get cold feet.

“Shut your mouth, Charlie.” YOUNG CHARLIE YOUNG CHARLIE!

Rowan lays into Jake about his birth father and it’s HORRIBLE. “Is that the kind of dad you want?” YIKES.

“Nobody takes command, son.” Everybody take a drink!

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“You’re going to need a larger fan.” – Outlander Recap – Not in Scotland Anymore

Outlander Season 2, Episode 2
“Not in Scotland Anymore”
Posted by Kim

A LOT of harrowing shit went down in the first season of Outlander. Claire being attacked by Blackjack and the Red Coats immediately after time traveling. Jamie’s horrific flogging. Blackjack beating Claire (I feel like I actually felt it when he punched her in the stomach). Claire’s almost rape at the hands of Blackjack (“Take your hands off my wife.”). But by far the most harrowing and gut wrenching was Jamie’s rape and psychological torture at the hands of Blackjack Randall. Seriously…Jamie’s single tear as you literally see his mind leave his body is the definition of HAUNTING. What made Jamie’s trauma so awful was that despite everything he had been through, he was GOOD and he was pure-hearted. Blackjack took something that was BEAUTIFUL between him and Claire and he made it ugly. He took sex, something Jamie associated with love and Claire, and made it something dirty and painful. It was horrible and SHAME on awards bodies for not recognizing the sensitivity of Sam Heughan’s performance. It’s beautiful acting and it’s devastating and it’s IMPORTANT. I love Outlander for many reasons. The fact that they so boldly explored male sexual trauma is one of them because it’s something that we as a culture don’t really talk about. Jamie is (as Sage just said to me) a man who is the very picture of masculinity. You would never look at him and think that he’s a man who could be overpowered and violated in the way that he was. And that’s what it was…a violation. Trauma is trauma and it happens to both men and women and we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about the repercussions. As horrible as it was, one of my greatest hopes for season two was that they wouldn’t just let this story go and have Jamie back to being how he was before his rape. For victims of any violation of this sort, there is always the “before” and “after” aspects of their psyche. You can heal and you can move on and find that piece of yourself again, but you can never go back to before.

When “Not in Scotland Anymore” opened with Jamie and Claire in the throes of passion, I immediately knew something had to be not quite right in this whole scenario. It was too disconnected (despite their cries of pleasure) and hazily filmed to be anything but a dream. Sure enough, mid-thrust, Claire turns into Blackjack Randall beneath him. Jamie panics, even though his body keeps going (harkening back to the shame he felt that his own BODY betrayed him with Randall). Somehow Dream!Jamie gets a dagger and proceeds to slash into Blackjack with the skill of all the best horror movies, leaving them both covered in blood. (For a fleeting moment, I feared that Jamie ACTUALLY murdered Claire mid-sex but then I remembered Claire makes it back to the present very much alive. And then I got sad again.) Jamie wakes with a start and Claire immediately starts to soothe him, proving this has become their normal. (Ugh, fuck you Blackjack.) “He’s alive…in my head. I canna get him out,” Jamie despairs. Claire gently presses that he WILL get it out of his head in time but that’s little comfort to Jamie in this moment. He knows there will be no more sleep for him tonight and he leaves Claire alone in their bed. “See you in the morning, Sassenach.” Do they have shrinks in Pre-Revolutionary Paris?

Ah, Paris. Jamie and Claire have settled in the City of Light, so the episode is chock-full of character introductions as we meet the characters that will populate the season. There’s Master Raymond, an apothecary who Claire befriends when she stops in to try to find a 1745 version of Ambien for Jamie. Using her keen sense of smell, Claire calls bullshit on Raymond’s elixr with “crocodile blood”. (It’s pig’s blood, given that they are in France and crocodiles don’t live there.) Rather than being pissed off, Raymond is immediately endeared to Claire. They also have a mutual enemy in Comte St. Germain, the guy who had the small pox infested boat in the premiere. Raymond is cagey about the nature of his relationship with St. Germain, merely calling them rivals. “Since he’s your enemy as well, you must, in point of fact, be my friend,” Raymond says. I don’t know you guys. I’ve read enough Shakespeare to know that apothecaries should never be trusted.

Then we have Louise de Rohan, French socialite and all-around good time, and her shy young ward Mary Hawkins. I’m OBSESSED with Louise. Louise is bawdy and loud and frivolous. She has a pet monkey. She has no sense of shame as she flounces around her lounge half-naked as she gets her legs waxed. (Did they DO that back then? How long have we been enduring our battle with body hair, ladies? Also I live for the heaps of abuse Louise heaped upon her waxer.) Mary is everything Louise is not. She’s timid and is utterly shocked by Louise’s shamelessness (I mean…it IS shocking). Mary is pledged to marry a wealthy (and old and wart covered) Vicomte and is not at all happy about it. Claire feels an instant kinship and need to take care of her. There is also something that twinges in a corner of her memory regarding this girl, but Claire can’t put her finger on it. “I’m sure I’ve heard that name before somewhere,” Claire muses. “I don’t believe we met,” Mary replies. “Hmmm…well. It will come to me somehow.” FORESHADOWING. Before Claire can figure out just how she knows Mary, Louise sprawls on her chaise and spreads her legs. Time to introduce Claire to the latest craze sweeping Paris: Le Full Brazilian. Claire is definitely intrigued. More on that later.

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Okay, She Did That. – Scandal Gif-Cap – Thwack!


Scandal Season 5, Episode 17
“Thwack!”
Posted by Sage

Tonight, on a very special episode of Scandal, everything goes to hell and I scream for the last 10 minutes. But in retrospect, haven’t we been headed here for a long, long time? Let’s find out. To the gifs!

DUE TO ADULT CONTENT, VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Lillian Forrester is sported going into medical center. In a very fetching head scarf. Please tell me Fitz gave her an STD.

“You’re following her?” “You made that my job when you started dating her.” President’s jump-off gets a tail, dude. Them’s the rules.

“It’s actually worse, much worse.” Lillian isn’t pregnant, but she DOES have a secret.

Olivia wants Mellie to get Latinos behind her campaign.

“No, you never speak Spanish. Ever to anyone, please.”

Liv wants her to meet with a Cardinal Suarez to get his endorsement.

“Why are you meeting with a reporter from the Times?” Shit fuck shit fuck, it’s Andrew.

“I feel good too, being able to speak again. Especially when I have so much to say.” Andrew has been meeting with Lillian to feed her the West Angola story. You know the one. When Fitz started an actual war to rescue his mistress from her kidnappers?

“This time you’re not just up against Fitz and Cyrus and Mellie. You’re up against me: the bitch you left for dead.”

There’s a clandestine meeting in the White House kitchens. “Anyone care to cop to that?” Fitz asks about Andrew’s condition. Cyrus can’t stop giggling, because they’re all fucked. And he is not. laughing.

“Cyrus has immunity.” It was one of his conditions when he returned to Fitz’s side. He’s untouchable, and still an evil genius.

“We are not going to kill him.” “Why?” “Did you just say WHY?”

“If we kill Andrew, we’re no better than he is.” Abby, this isn’t about goodness any more.

“Mellie talks to Andrew.” “I’m sorry, is this your meeting now?” “Yes.” The next step is to destroy any paper or digital trail.

“Thank you. For coming when I called.” “You didn’t call, Abby did.” Take several seats, Fitz.

“Huck, it was you, right? You put Andrew in that coma.” Liv LOSES HER SHIT on Huck, (she’s terrified) and instructs him not to take him out now.

“What did I miss?” Oh, Marcus. You’re going to have to be a much worse person to gain entrance to this club.

“I don’t do it anymore.” “That’s what you said last time.” Lizzie corners Huck in the parking garage and gives him the file on Andrew’s whereabouts. He protests, but takes the folder anyway.

Alex shows Frankie a new ad that capitalizes on his hero moment at the state capital. Cyrus suggests they go low-key and use social media to spread it instead. Cyrus wins. Alex is not pleased.

Alex spots Tom in the news footage. But why would someone so nondescript catch his eye? FORESHADOWING.

“You want the truth, Andrew? You didn’t choose me. You chose him.” Mellie visits Andrew to try to reason with him.

She even tries to act like they’re getting back together someday.

“It still works, Mellie. Unless I disgust you.” He takes her hand and puts it under his blanket. HOW DID I NOT SEE HOW TERRIBLE HE WAS FROM THE FIRST MOMENT? I am slipping.

“The man wants to be Pope. Praising an adulteress is not how you move up in that organization.” If Andrew and Mellie’s affair gets out, she can kiss the support of any religious institutions and voters goodbye.

“MELLIE. SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP.” Liv will HANDLE THIS, GOD DAMN.

Olivia pops by Rowan’s house to ask them to watch Lillian for her. As per usual, Jake is happily munching away. “It’s nice having a friend in the NSA isn’t it?”

“Say ‘thank you.'” This dynamic is soooo weird.

“When it fails, you’ll be left for one option and one option only.” Rowan already knows what Liv is going to do, even if she can’t admit that she’s capable of it.

Huck comes into the medical center in the middle of the night and sticks Andrew with another needle.

“Is he dead? You said he wasn’t dead.”

“I never tried to kill you. I KNOW how to kill people.”

“How much will it take to get you to drop this story?” Abby and Liv kidnapped Andrew to the underground White House bunker to get the terms and conditions of his bribe.

“I’m writing a book.” “Nobody wants to read that book.” People want to hear about heroes, Liv says. And no matter how he tells this story, Andrew is not that.

“$10 million AND you represent me in the book deal.” Abby nods, giving Liv the okay to take this deal. I think the second part is more important to Andrew than the millions.

“Cardinal Suarez has been waiting for 25 minutes.” “Oh.” “Yeah…oh.” Marcus over here just trying to do his job.

Lillian has been through legal with the West Angola story. They’re good, and almost ready to publish.

“It’s the best bad idea we have.” Another kitchen clubhouse meeting. The implicated parties are agreeing to pay Andrew off.

“I’m in for my fair share,” Lizzie says. Then Cyrus pipes up, taking his wallet out of his pocket: “My fair share: $1.” Cyrus has misplaced all his fucks.

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“You have to let him go.” – Outlander Recap – Through a Glass, Darkly

Outlander Season 2, Episode 1
“Through a Glass, Darkly”

Posted by Kim

Welcome to Outlander, our second favorite show about time travel that features a strong-willed brunette heroine and a Scottish hunk of a man. It’s like Doctor Who but with less aliens and a hell of a lot more sex. (Sex that focuses on FEMALE pleasure to boot. What a concept.) While we have never read the books, Sage and I both binged season one in the build-up to last year’s San Diego Comic Con and we got to experience the delightfully whiskey-soaked panel that happened there.  Outlander has everything that we love in a good drama: a fiercely feminist heroine in Claire, time travel, Scotland, gorgeous costumes, fantastic acting, and a fantasy-fulfilling-oh-my-god-he-is-actually-carved-out-of-marble hero in Jamie Fraser. (And the fact that Sam Heughan is THAT pretty and THAT good of an actor? WHO ARE YOU AND WHERE DID YOU COME FROM, SIR?) Clearly you guys dig Outlander too given that Sam and Caitriona Balfe won Feelies in 2015.  So with us being down a show to recap (RIP Sleepy Hollow), we thought that Outlander recaps would be just the thing to soothe that loss. I’m excited.

A brief recap for Outlander Newbies: in 1945 Claire Randall and her husband Frank travel to Inverness, Scotland in an attempt to reconnect and reignite the spark after being separated during World War II. While there, Frank and Claire witness an early morning druid ritual at the stones of Craigh Na Dun, which is basically a Scottish Stonehenge. While Frank busies himself with researching his family line, Claire, a budding botanist, returns to the stones in search of a specific flower. She touches one of the stones, passes out, and then wakes up 200 years in the past. A panicked Claire encounters a group of Red Coats, including the notoriously vile Blackjack Randall, a direct ancestor of her husband who shares his face. (Awkward.) She is rescued by a group of men from the Clan MacKenzie, including Jamie Fraser, dream hunk (also has a price on his head). There is immediate sexual tension. Claire’s skills as a nurse immediately make her an asset to the clan and they refuse to let her leave, despite her desperation to get back to Craigh Na Dun so she can go home. During her time with the MacKenzies, Claire and Jamie have a LOT of eye sex and Claire also learns that Dougal MacKenzie is raising funds for the Jacobean Rebellion (which Claire knows is a losing battle and despite her tries, she is helpless to stop it without giving herself away). In a bid to get back to the stones, Claire tries to make a deal with BlackJack Randall but he brutally beats her because he suspects she is hiding something. To protect her, Dougal declares that Claire will marry Jamie. Jamie kills all of us by admitting to Claire that he’s a virgin and he hopes she doesn’t mind. They marry and we get a 35 minute sex scene as Claire schools Jamie in the ways of pleasing a woman. They fall deeply and passionately in love. Claire confesses to Jamie that she’s from the future and he BELIEVES her because he’s perfect. He takes her to the stones and gives her the option to go back but Claire chooses to stay because WHO WOULD LEAVE HIM HONESTLY. Jamie is captured by the Red Coats and then tortured, abused, and raped by Blackjack in a scene that is so harrowing that Sage said she saw it every time she closed her eyes for several days after. Claire and Dougal rescue Jamie and they flee to France. On the boat, they discuss trying to change the future and stopping the Jacobean Rebellion. Claire also tells him she’s pregnant. And that’s what you missed on Glee. On to season 2!

 
 
“I wished I were dead. And if I’d kept my eyes shut, I could have almost touched the edges of oblivion. But I’d made a promise and had to keep it. Even if it meant living a life I no longer wanted.”

I don’t know what I was expecting from the opening moments of “Through a Glass, Darkly” but it CERTAINLY wasn’t Claire waking up at Craigh Na Dun letting out a guttural scream that I felt in my TOES. It’s obvious something has gone terribly wrong, from the way Claire gropes around in a panic for Jamie’s ring to her voiceover that suggested that Jamie had Jack Dawson-ed her. (“You must do me this honor. Promise me that you’ll survive.” UGH.) How did they get from France back to the stones in Inverness? Did Jamie take her to the stones and force her to touch them because they were in danger and he wanted Claire to live? Did Claire go there having no other choice because Jamie was marching to his death? Whatever it was, it was clearly something awful because Claire never would have left Jamie otherwise. (“I made my choice a long time ago and I’m never going to leave you.”) A disoriented Claire wanders along the road and a man stops to see if she is okay. (I’m guessing seeing a woman in clothing from the 1700’s is not a normal occurrence.) She asks what year it is and you actually see her crumble when the man replies that it is 1948. “Who won the Battle of Culloden,” she demands desperately as the man wracks his brain for his Scottish History. “The British,” he finally stammers. “Cumberland and the British!” Claire collapses to the ground, sobbing. Everything she tried was for nothing. I think it would have been one thing for her to be in the present and to know that she had actually changed the past. But to learn that she not only lost Jamie but she lost him for nothing? Yeah. I can see why she wished that she was dead. Cue the theme song.

(Side note: I’m super sad that the second verse of the theme song is now in French to reflect Claire and Jamie’s time there. I miss the bagpipes that made me shout “SCOTLAND MOTHERFUCKERS” every single time.)

Frank arrives at the hospital to find Claire healthy, but a shell of her former self. It’s as if all the life has drained out of her…she’s alive, but it’s clear she takes no pleasure in being back in her time. (Her “So noisy here” BROKE ME. Cait is so good, you guys.) What I DO love is that Claire’s story or her sanity is never questioned. I mean…how can it be when the only clothes on her back are authentic to the 1700’s. Cosplay wouldn’t catch on for at least another 60 years, so what other explanation could there be other than the fact that she’s telling the truth? Frank and Claire’s reunion is as awkward as you would expect it to be. Claire is cold and Frank doesn’t quite know what to do to express his relief that she’s returned to him. He goes to touch her, but she shies away, only seeing the face of Blackjack Randall. It’s horrible because NONE of this is Frank’s fault and she KNOWS this in her heart but her BRAIN doesn’t recognize it. One thing that is constant, no matter what era it is, is the fact that the paparazzi in the UK is BRUTAL. A rogue photographer surprises them and takes Claire’s picture, prompting a mini-freakout from Frank. He tells Claire they can hide out with Reverend Wakefield while she recovers. Claire perks up at this because she can see Mrs. Graham again…after all, Mrs. Graham was the woman who read her tea leaves and KNEW this was going to happen to her. Perhaps there she can get answers, or at least a little understanding for what she’s been through.

 
 

To his credit, Frank doesn’t pressure Claire to talk once they get to Reverend Wakefield’s. I think it’s both because he knows she’ll share things with him when she’s ready and because he actually has no idea what to say to her. What do you say, after all, when your wife returns after 2 years saying she’s not only traveled through time but married another man in that time? What do you say to your husband who shares a face with the man who tormented both you and the man you loved? Claire just can’t stop loving Jamie overnight and that’s what Frank doesn’t understand. It may be fantastical to him but it was very real to HER and she needs time to grieve him. She can’t just step back into her old life. She spends her first week back pouring over Wakefield’s history books, trying to find any sort of clue regarding what happened to Jamie. She needs to KNOW. She can’t move on until she does. She may be in the present and he may have been dead for 200 years but to CLAIRE, she last saw him a week ago. Mrs. Graham is so gentle with her, it hurts me. She just lets Claire talk about him and share memories. (The way she laughs about “fucking sadist” though. I think that’s when I texted Sage with a simple “I AM IN PAIN”.) Mrs. Graham isn’t fazed by Claire’s sudden outbursts (“There’s always another fucking war.”) nor does she disregard Claire’s need to know what happened to him. What she DOES do is gently urge Claire to hold Jamie forever in her heart but also not close herself off to the life she is facing NOW. “You have had an extraordinary adventure, Claire. Extraordinary. One that few people could even imagine. Treasure it. Keep it safe and secure, tucked away in some special place in your heart, but… don’t spend the rest of your days chasing a ghost. Not when there’s a man, a real flesh and blood living man, who loves you still with all his heart.” It is this gentle urging that gives Claire the courage to finally talk to Frank.

Over some good whiskey, Claire and Frank talk by the fireplace. Before she begins her story, Frank tells her she doesn’t have to do this. “Whatever happened, wherever you’ve been..what really matters to me is, is that you’re back. I don’t really care about anything else,” he says and Tobias Menzies injects SUCH earnestness into this, I damn near believe him. I DO think Frank believes himself when he says this, but I also think that Frank actually doesn’t want to KNOW. There are two different ways of dealing with this: needing to know every single detail and outright ignoring it. I think Frank falls in the latter category and that’s where he and Claire are destined to fail, even from the beginning. Even after Claire is done with her story, Frank wants to sweep it all under the rug, basically insisting that it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that she is here NOW. But it DOES to Claire and she desperately just wants him to acknowledge that, which is why she keeps driving home the point that she MARRIED ANOTHER MAN. (Did she tell him that she CHOSE to stay with Jamie even when he gave her the chance to go back? Discuss.) “Claire, I admit it is hard to reconcile what you are saying with anything resembling logic, or even natural law,” Frank pleads. “But, Claire, I think we are beyond that. Truly, all that matters is that you’re back. You’re back.” Claire tells Frank that he doesn’t GET IT. She married another man and she didn’t just marry him, she LOVED him, mind, body, and soul. All Frank takes away from the story is that Claire didn’t CHOOSE to leave him (again DOES HE KNOW SHE CHOSE TO STAY?) and for him, that’s enough. But the thing is…he can’t even say Jamie’s name. That’s how much he wants to ignore this. The whole time he’s telling Claire he’s okay with the whole thing, it’s really like he’s trying to tell himself the same thing. “I can accept that you… that you did feel that way, that you had this… this experience with this man, and that leaving him broke your heart. I can accept it.?” SURE YOU CAN, FRANK. Again, I see Frank’s agony here and I truly believe that HE believes they can pick up where they left off. (Am I the only one who sees a LOT of parallels to Rose Tyler and Mickey Smith in “Aliens of London”? Mickey so desperately wants to reset their relationship but at the same time…he knows. He knows there is no going back for them even if he tries to ignore it.) On one hand, Frank is right. They CAN have a life together. It’s possible. But it’s not going to be possible unless he truly comes to terms with Claire’s love for Jamie.

 

 

 

I was totally on Frank’s side right up until his reaction to Claire’s pregnancy bombshell. He lunges to HIT HER. The ole Blackjack temper runs deep in the bloodline, clearly. And CLAIRE. Strong, determined, beautiful Claire barely flinches in the face of this physical threat. She’s faced much worse, after all. I love her for not being afraid. She’s not dropping this bomb to HURT Frank, she’s just trying to make him SEE that this is not going to be as easy as he thinks it is. And this news cuts Frank to his very core. He’s sterile, you see. So not only does Frank have to deal with the fact that his wife married another man, he has to see the physical manifestations of his masculine failures. (I’m not saying infertility is a failure, I am saying that FRANK views it as such.) “When Claire told me that she was pregnant, I was…I just…my first feeling was…was joy,” he confesses to Wakefield. “This flash of…of just happiness. It was almost hallucinatory in its intensity…I just… Because…somehow, suddenly, in that moment, I… I thought she meant we were having a child. God. Then I realized, of course…couldn’t be mine. Had to be his.” Look, it’s a shitty situation all around. Wakefield gamely tries to compare the situation to Mary and Joseph but Frank isn’t having it. “I am not Joseph! She is not Mary. And I am fairly certain that the father is not God Almighty. He was a man, a man who fucked my wife.” Yep. Still can’t say Jamie’s name and he still can’t acknowledge Claire’s MARRIAGE to him. He reduces Jamie to just a “man”. Yeah, this is going to end well. Wakefield gently reminds him that not all fathers are biological ones, using his relationship with his nephew Roger as an example. “A child without a father, and, and a man without a child have been given this chance to find one another.” Basically, he tells Frank to man the fuck up or continue on without Claire. There is no middle ground here.

(Also Roger clearly has some bigger role here, yes? Especially given his prominent placement at the end of the credit sequence. DON’T TELL ME.)

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“What is there for me in a world without you?” – The Sad Implosion Of Sleepy Hollow

abbie mills smile

Posted by Sage

RIP Head Over Feels and Sleepy Hollow: 2013-2016. With the fridging of Abbie Mills, one half of the show’s core Witness duo, we are completely done.

Sleepy Hollow may still return for a season four, even though the finale did the absolute most to set fire to anything the show ever had going for it. I refuse to do a full recap for that rushed, unfocused catastrophe, because it doesn’t deserve our established ranking system. (Let’s put it all under FU-HOLLOW and be done with it.) But as much as I may reject the narrative killing off Agent Grace Abigail Mills, I will not let her go un-mourned. (An epic “In Appreciation” post is coming soon.) Before we get to some of the many reasons why Nicole Beharie’s portrayal of Abbie will forever be one of our favorite leads in genre television (nay, general television) history, I’ve got some things to say about how this went down.

It’s almost unfathomable how Sleepy Hollow took a shockingly great thing and then slowly and methodically spoiled it. Sleepy Hollow season 1 is Jerry; the showrunners and writers are Andy; and tone-deaf treatment of minority characters is the pie. Tag yourself, I’m Jerry wincing as soon as he realizes he’s about to get it.

jerry pie andy

Look, I know I made excuses for this creative team last season. And for the most part, I’ve felt like the show recovered most of its verve in season 3. I didn’t see the pattern until it was all laid out behind me. But many fans did, because they’ve experienced this betrayal before. Those fans were mostly women of color, who supported this show in part because of Abbie and Jenny Mills, two bright spots in a TV landscape that’s still light years away from being realistically representational. Kim and I have both talked about fan entitlement and how frustrating it is on this blog, but there’s a big difference between entitlement (“If these two characters don’t kiss soon, I’m going to send hate to the writers.”) and being a viewer who is sensitive to ways that stories are twisted (over and over again) to serve one character over another based on some type of difference. I was firmly anti-Hawley and frustrated over the sidelining of Jenny and Frank in season 2. But from my vantage point, I couldn’t see what a dangerous path they were leading Abbie down or why it was so significant that Abbie never had a romantic relationship besides her toothless flirting with Crane. (Scully went on two dates in the whole series, I think.) That’s me, watching from my place of relative privilege. I own up to it, and fuck if the whole downward spiral isn’t clear now. Memo to certain showrunners: it’s freeing to accept that your intent doesn’t mean as much as a certain demographic of your audience’s interpretation of it does. In other words, dear white people: it’s not always about us.

abbie smol

did see that Nicole Beharie seemed to step back in many ways from the show. She stopped attending conventions and doing other press. She rarely tweeted about it. And in one Instagram post that ignited a fan revolt, she stated that she hadn’t been invited to participate in DVD commentaries. (The word from on high was that it was a misunderstanding. A pretty big one.) The reason given for Abbie’s death was that Nicole wanted to leave the show, and I have no doubt that that is true. But we need to talk about why she wanted to do that. Why, when she joined the cast of a network sci-fi drama as the lead, obviously aware that it could go on for several seasons? Why, when she and co-star Tom Mison seemed to have a respectful and rewarding working relationship? Why, when she has no immediate commitments lined up? And why, when her performance was universally praised? Take into consideration the relative silence from set this year, the canceling of their SDCC panel, Tom deleting his Twitter, and most tellingly, Orlando Jones’ exit. This from a show that came out of the gate so strong, endearing itself to critics and quickly building a fandom while being praised for employing a diverse cast with terrific chemistry. These should have been GLORY DAYS.

abbie coming back

You know what grinds my gears? When people simper at actors and call them “classy” for not being explicit about backstage issues in the press. Nicole Beharie has the absolute right to give whatever statement she likes and to keep any issues she may have had with her character and the production to those immediately involved. By no means do I begrudge her that privacy. But the “classy” compliment isn’t a compliment at all; it’s a warning. It implies that if Nicole HAD come out and said that she wasn’t happy and had sought the opportunity to move on that that would somehow be out of line. It’s another way of putting a black actress in her place, and I am viscerally disgusted by it.

nicole yikes

Either way, the writing is on the wall. Stars don’t leave shows if they’re content with the material they’re being given and with their treatment. Another spin that was put on this news (and part of Nicole’s statement) is that Abbie Mills had carried out her role and in fact, there was nothing more for her to do. There’s even a scene in the finale where Abbie tells August Corbin (who she meets in the “waiting room”) that, as far as she was concerned, her life was complete when she made up with her family and Danny (??) and saved Crane. So, not only did the writers kill Abbie when that wasn’t absolutely necessary, they literally TOOK AWAY HER WILL TO LIVE. What those same writers seem to not understand about this backlash is that the most heartbreaking aspect of this death is how it occurred and what it seemed to say about Abbie’s purpose all along. Abbie is young, gorgeous, whip-smart, and incredible at her job. She has a sister and a father with whom she still has to make up lost time. She’s got Danny and Crane both at her feet. And she has goals and dreams of her own that have nothing to do with any of those people. I know she does, even if the people who wrote her don’t. Don’t you dare try to tell me that Abbie Mills didn’t want to suck every moment out of her life.

trying hard

Could this have been handled any more poorly? Many, many leads have exited their shows and not had to do it via tombstone. (As Joe Adalian pointed out, “Shelley Long didn’t die on Cheers.” THANK GOD.) ESPECIALLY on a show that deals in the supernatural on the daily, there are places that Abbie could have gone, perhaps to return to a series finale. OR the show could have done the rational thing: make this season finale the series end – have Crane and Abbie triumph over Pandora, kiss, and walk off into the sunset to Witness some more. Instead, Abbie sacrifices herself to save the world and appears to Crane in a dream to tell him that her reason for existing was to help HIM on his journey. How blinded to your own privilege must you be to not see how patronizing and gross this is? In another scene that I can’t even believe was actually written and shot, Jenny consoles Crane about her own sister’s death, given no opportunity to mourn her herself. And I love me some Ichabod Crane, but in no universe do I want his story prioritized over his partner’s. And guess the fuck what? Neither does he. Not in four or four thousand centuries.

stop talking

Even in death, Abigail Mills got the shaft. SO MUCH was made of her family line, including Grace Dixon, whose journal helped them so many times along the way. Her whole life was shaped by the death of her mother and the temporary loss of her sister. And of course, it was lovely to see August and to see him reunited with his son (WAVES TO JOE); of course, we needed a final Abbie/Ichabod scene. But HOW HOW HOW does no one on the set of a major network drama see the problem in doing what this fantastic tweet describes? The ignorance is staggering. Pay their damn day rates and get those women on set. It’s the least Abbie deserves.

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“It’s the losses that wear me down.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap – Delaware

Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 17
“Delaware” 

Posted by Kim

(Note: I wrote a GOOD portion of this before that disaster of a series season finale. I’m letting what I previously wrote stand and I’m going to TRY and not let my rage color the rest of this, but I make no promises.)

I am not okay.

I may have been REALLY good about avoiding spoilers for this season of Sleepy Hollow but I am also not dumb. The minute Zach Appelman became the point person for all the press concerning “Delaware”, I knew my beloved Joey Corbin was doomed. I tried to convince myself otherwise. He brought too much to the show, I argued. He was an essential part of the gang. He was a tie to Abbie and Jenny’s roots. He brought a totally different type of masculine energy to Team Witness and served as a perfect counterpoint to Ichabod. He PROMISED Jenny he would be the one for her to tell all her crazy stories to when they were old and gray. He was CAPTAIN of the SS Ichabbie. JOEY CORBIN WAS ESSENTIAL. Of course, even as I argued with myself for all the reasons NOT to kill Joe, I realized they were actually all the reasons that OF COURSE they were going to kill Joe. Nobody likes Danny, so no one would bat an eyelash if he died. You CAN’T kill Sophie because she’s Ichabbie’s daughter from the future and time travel is REALLY hard to write about. So that left two options: Joe or Jenny. Considering the revelations about the Family Mills in this episode, it makes zero sense to off Jenny from a storytelling perspective. (Jenny may not be a Witness, but it’s clear to me that she has a bigger role in this story than even she realizes right now.) (Plus, I think Sleepy knows better than to fridge a woman of color at this point in time.) (AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA AND THEN THE FINALE HAPPENED, I WEEP FOR MY INNOCENCE AND FAITH IN THE SHOW.) Thus Joey Corbin, perfect cinnamon roll, too good and too pure for this world, had to meet his end and Sleepy Hollow wrenched my still beating heart out of my chest and did a tap dance on it.

I told you I wasn’t okay.

Look, I get that Sleepy Hollow is a show about the battle against the apocalypse and Gods and monsters and that sacrifices HAVE to be made along the way or the show would make less sense than it already does. (That’s a compliment. I LOVE your batshit nonsense, show.) And at least Joe’s death was treated with respect unlike other shows currently airing (*cough* THE 100 *cough* JUSTICE FOR LINCOLN *cough*) have done recently. But like Sage raged in her post on Beth Greene’s death on The Walking Dead , the problem that I have with the offing of Joey Corbin is not that it was done but that it was principally done to cause Jenny Mills pain. We’ve seen Jenny BLOSSOM over the course of this season as she’s opened herself up to trusting and loving Joe. It’s been fantastic watching her find solidarity in their relationship and seeing her loosen up on the tightly held grip of her personal life. I’ve seen comments from showrunner Clifton Collins that Joe’s death opens up an “interesting” storyline for Jenny. HA. JENNIFER MILLS IS PLENTY INTERESTING ON HER OWN WITHOUT KILLING OFF HER BOYFRIEND.

Also, I can tell you EXACTLY how this story is going to go. Jenny Mills is not going to be a person who looks at Joe’s death with a perspective of someone who is all “Well I found great love but he died but I FOUND it and I’m totally open to finding it again.” Jenny is going to be “I opened up to this man who promised he was never going to leave me and I allowed myself to love him and guess what? He fucking DIED. So thanks but no thanks but I don’t care for that yucky love stuff and I’m going to be even more closed off than I was before.” If I can predict EXACTLY how a character is going to react, that’s not interesting. It’s cheap. Killing Joe off was CHEAP, even if the WAY it happened was not. The very act of it was cheap. So I weep for the wasted potential of Joe Corbin. There was so much more to explore with him, both as an individual and in his relationship with Jenny and Team Witness. I weep for the interesting stories he still had to tell. (Sage: They had a REAL MONSTER ON THEIR TEAM. Their Angel, their Oz.) I get that the wasted potential is tragic, but it’s a tragedy we didn’t need to push this story forward. Selfishly, I weep that I don’t get to see Zach Appelman’s face every week. It didn’t have to be this way.

So let’s talk about the episode, shall we?

#CreepyHollow and #WHATTHEDAMNHELLHollow

After an Ichabbie scene that damn near killed me on the spot, we find Team Witness + Pandora in the archives hashing out their plan to take down The Hidden One. Joe and Jenny are both SUPER Anti-Pandora, pointing out that there is absolutely no way that Pandy isn’t going to screw them in the end. “She’s going to work really hard to gain our confidence and then screw us over again for her megalomaniac boyfriend.” (Agreed that she’s going to screw them over, but I think it’s going to be for her OWN gain because she’s sick of THO stealing her wind. She is her own windkeeper, after all.) I love that Pandora is SO BORED with this shit. “It matters very little if you trust me or not,” she deadpans. (True. Also, I just love Shannyn Sossamon’s performance SO MUCH. ) Just when the party couldn’t GET more lit, it does, because heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Danny, ready to join the mission because he thinks it will get him into Abbie’s pants. I LIVE for how Joe, Jenny, and Sophie all rolled their eyes at his arrival. Ain’t nobody got time for this. Danny and Abbie have a quick heart to heart about him joining the team where they spew cliches like “This is where I want to be” and “If anything happened to you, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself.” I’d believe it if Abbie hadn’t shown more delight at Crane’s cappuccino than she did at Danny’s promise to take them back to the Nicholas Sparks Cabin of Feelings. If you’re going to shove this pairing down my throat, the least you could do is have Abbie show a little enthusiasm. JUST SAYING.

Do not want.

Back to the mission. Apparently, Team Witness has a grand total of eight hours before the sands run out of the hourglass and THO possesses the total power of the pantheon of the Gods. The strategy is as follows: Abbie and Ichabod will go to the catacombs to restore Pandora’s box, whilst the others do everything they can to slow THO down. Danny’s been on the team for all of 5 minutes before he starts questioning everything. He questions the fact that they have so little intel on THO and he questions why BOTH Abbie and Ichabod need to go to the catacombs because his deposit on the Nicholas Sparks cabin is non-refundable, and let’s face it, he’s hoping Ichabod will end up trapped there anyway. Pandora insists that the job can only be done by the two witnesses (and because she ships them and knows they need some time together because she’s watched the past few episodes).  While I side with Jenny in her annoyance that Pandora is keeping herself out of harm’s way by not going WITH Ichabbie, I ALSO see her reasoning in staying behind. She does know THO the best, after all, and she’s the only one who has some sort of semblance of power that can stop him.  So it’s settled.  The Witnesses will cross the river to the catacombs while the rest of the team zeroes in on containing The Hidden One. According to Pandora, THO is on Bear Mountain, which sits on a focal point of ancient energy. According to good old Washington’s journal, the mountain is covered in a bunch of intersecting ley lines whose power can be channeled to fight the powers of the hourglass. “Into the woods, it’s time and so I must begin my journey…”

In the car on the way to the river, Ichabod reflects on his relationship with Betsy Ross. Betsy returned from the catacombs irrevocably changed. Abbie points out that she herself was changed when she returned but Ichabod insists this was different. She returned and completely cut off all communication with him despite their previous closeness. This, kids, is what we call foreshadowing. The Witnesses get their boat on the river and strive to recreate the mural of Washington crossing the Delaware, down to Crane wrapping himself in a blanket. He hands Abbie the flag with a grin. “Would you do the honors?” he smirks and I CAN’T EVEN EXPRESS how important it is to me that he cedes all power to Abbie in this moment. Every little thing that he’s done since it became clear they would have to go back to the catacombs has been done with respect to her agency. He KNOWS what the catacombs did to her and he knows how utterly brave and selfless it is of her to be willing to go back. He leaves it to ABBIE to hold the flag because it allows her the power to say no. What’s even more important is the fact that Abbie DOESN’T say no. She simply cracks a joke about how foolish they will look if this doesn’t work. (“If this doesn’t work, you DO realize that we’re just two people on a boat singing the anthem?”) Abbie unfurls the flag and starts to sing, tentatively at first, but she gains strength as she continues. The flag illuminates on the phrase “Bright Stars” and we’re not in Sleepy Hollow anymore, Toto. Welcome to the River Styx. I had no idea it was located in upstate New York.

After a heart to heart on the boat that I’ll definitely be discussing in the shippy section because MY GOD, Abbie and Ichabod reach the shore only to find that Washington’s original mission clearly went to shit. There are fragments of the boat and bodies ERRYWHERE. Ichabod finds a missive from Betsy on one of the bodies (HOW CONVENIENT) that details just exactly what went down. There was a traitor on the boat (courtesy of our buddy General Howe, REMEMBER HIM?) and he blew the boat up. Washington and Betsy were the sole survivors (because of course). Once again the witnesses discuss that Betsy came back from this mission a completely different person…going as far as to say that she was LITERALLY a different person, just in case we didn’t think we were being hit over the head with the fact that they are most definitely going to find her in the catacombs by the end of the episode.

Meanwhile, the remainder of Team Witness is following Pandora’s magical compass so they can drive stakes into all the ley lines of Bear Mountain. They’ve split up into the combos of Joenny and Danny, Sophie, and Pandora so they can cover ground faster and Danny’s barking out orders as if he’s in charge even though he LITERALLY joined this team ten minutes ago. (PANDORA joined this team before you, Danny, GTFO thinking you are in charge.) Suddenly we get a shot of a flock of birds converging over the mountain and Pandora says “He knows we’re here” and I had to make sure I was watching Sleepy Hollow and not Fellowship of the Ring.  THO conjures a storm and now Team Witness knows they have to go through the Mines of Moria instead of over the Mountain realizes they have GOT to get a move on. One problem though. The storm manages to damage Pandora’s compass and now they have no way of marking the ley lines. Their only hope is a map Jenny has back at her trailer but it will take too much time to retrieve it and bring it back to the mountain. Joey volunteers to go back and then text Jenny the correct coordinates. “Watch your back, babe.” This is me:

Back in the underworld, Abbie and Crane realize they are equally fucked. They have no map or ANYTHING to direct them on how to get to the catacombs. To make it worse, one of the soldiers springs back to life and attacks Crane because the one thing this episode was missing was zombies. Crane and Abbie take out the zombie together (kudos on the blood and guts, show) and Crane discovers a dark magic charm that Howe used to give its wearer eternal life. Really this has no significance to the overall plot except that it makes Crane look closer at Betsy’s missive. It’s encoded with directions to the gateway to the catacombs because Betsy Ross is the smartest person who ever existed, didn’t you know? Abbie and Ichabod stand outside the gateway and Ichabod STILL gives her the ultimate choice. He’s not going anywhere until she says it is okay. “I’m really going back there,” she breathes, steadying herself. “Only this time you’re not alone,” he gently reminds her. “And we have a way out.” In a BEAUTIFUL parallel to the Season One finale, Abbie and Ichabod link their hands (HER HAND IS SO SMALL IN HIS I CAN’T). “Shall we?” MY HEART.

I AM IN PAIN.

Danny is all “I don’t like being blindsided” to Pandora, who just responds with a withering glare because she has no idea how this guy ended up in charge. He sends Jenny out on Hidden One recon with strict orders that she’s not to engage with him (Ha, that’s going to go over well) while he, Sophie, and Pandora distribute the rest of the ley line spikes. Jenny gets in position and finds that she has a clear shot at THO and she wants to take it. Danny ORDERS her not to engage and Jenny’s all “Sorry I can’t hear you. You’re breaking up. AND WHO PUT YOU IN CHARGE?” because NO ONE tells Jenny Mills what to do. She moves into position to take her shot (she’s not throwing it away, y’all) when Joey comes through with the coordinates. GOOD JOB BOO.

Back at the trailer, Joey is locking up so he can rejoin the gang when out of NOWHERE Ezra Mills shows up and immediately things get shady as FUCK. Joey is immediately on edge and Ezra is all “Is this a bad time?” and unease permeates the ENTIRE scene because Ezra is just oozing faux-innocence. I am pretty sure Sage and I broke bones in each other’s hands in this moment because we were SO afraid that Ezra was a baddie in this moment. On the mountain, an unfortunate snapped twig gives away Jenny’s presence and THO knocks her over and drags her to him using his magic. “It almost impresses me,” THO sneers. “The insatiable mortal desire to fight what you cannot possibly conquer.” Jenny, precious and brave sunflower, refuses to be cowed. “I don’t know what I hate about you most: the way you talk or the way you treat women.” TEN POINTS TO GRYFFINDOR. It’s a glorious retort but it’s also a reckless one because it turns THO’s eyes on how best to torture Jenny. “I know well the value mortals place on love. Let me take yours and turn it into pain.” (This line also strengthens my point that what happens to Joe was done EXCLUSIVELY to cause Jenny pain over anything else.)

WHO ARE YOU EZRA MILLS?

At the trailer, Joey grimaces as a mystical light surrounds him. “You need to run,” he croaks at Ezra, his face contorted with pain. He turns into the Wendigo right in front of Ezra’s eyes. “It seems like you’re having a really bad day, son.” Ezra is AFRAID but he’s strangely NOT freaking out. HMMMMM. Ezra runs, because he’s no fool, but it is almost like he was expecting this to happen to Joe. Curiouser and curiouser.

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“Do you want to be a boss?” – Scandal Gif-Cap – The Miseducation of Susan Ross

Scandal Season 5, Episode 16
“The Miseducation of Susan Ross”

Posted by Kim

There is NOTHING like an election to revive a long-running political drama. Scandal is at its BEST right now and I am loving it. TO THE GIFS.

We pick up right where we left off last week…The Republican Debate. 

Susan, reeling from dumping David, just looks miserable up there. 

Mellie, on the other hand, is SLAYING.

“It’s a big problem. we need to do better.” Susan has completely shut down and can barely work out a response.

“This is very bad.” Thank you, Captain Obvious.

“If you were to lose the nomination…” “Not going to happen.” Mellie is poised and confident and *I* want to vote for her.

“Vice President Ross is a decent, hardworking public servant, and she would be worlds better and far more deserving of this office than the misogynist playboy to my left.” LADIES SUPPORTING LADIES.

“I can only imagine what your plans for Camp David would be.” 

“A lot like your ex-husband’s I’d expect.” Touche, Hollis.

“Listen, if all it takes to be presidential is to shake hands and give speeches and know which color lipstick to wear to the party, then go ahead on. Take your pick of one of these Bettys.” OH MY GOD.

“How presidential is it to have your ex-husband’s ex-mistress running your campaign?” 

“Susan? Having fun?” Fitz calls for a commercial break pep talk and I feel so strange for not hating him.

“You only need one moment. One punch. One good one is all it takes.”

“We’re in real trouble here because of YOU.” LizzyBear lets David have it and for once it’s merited.

“How do we know this Grant ain’t the same as the other one?” 

“Because it’s the 21st century. You can’t look at a man anymore and assume that his wife shares the same positions, nor can you hold the wife accountable for his actions.” MELLIE.

“We are not our husband’s keepers. We are our own women with our own beliefs.” 

“In case there is ANY doubt on where I stand with the President, you’ll notice he’s my ex-husband, not my husband.” 

“It IS a good line.” Bless Abby for not being afraid to admit when her opponent kills it.

Susan parrots Mellie’s line and it looks like all is lost. BUT THEN SHE ADDS “…but maybe we should be”. 

“I’m talking now.” YAS SUSAN HAS DECIDED TO SHOW UP.

“I bit my tongue because we are not our husband’s keepers.” DUDE. Susan launches into the story of how she lost her husband and she is NAILING it.

“I blamed myself. I had an opinion and I didn’t voice it.” This is BEAUTIFUL.

“No, we are not our husband’s keepers, but maybe we should be America’s. Next question.” And Susan just won this round.

“America HATES me.” Mellie’s loss sends her into a spiral of self-pity because she KNOWS she’s brilliant and doesn’t understand why she’s not connecting with the general public.

SO MANY MELLIVIA FEELINGS. ALL I HAVE WANTED FOR THREE SEASONS IS FOR THEM TO TEAM UP AND IT IS AS BEAUTIFUL AS I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE.

“Mellie, I will get you the Oval. Come hell or high water.” Like father, like daughter.

“BECAUSE HE’S NOT HER HUSBAND.” GASP. Susan just won the debate based on the story about her husband and he is NOT her husband???

“Susan Ross is a liar. And we’re going to find out why and we’re going to take her down.” SUSAN I TRUSTED YOU.

“America doesn’t care about you winning the debate. You won David.” This makes me sad because it’s true.

“What’s HE doing here?” I am LIVING for how much she hates him. Bless.

“You need to sell this love story.” Much like Hazza, Susan looks like she’d rather die than touch Taylor David.

“I want her to be President, I owe her that.” Honestly, it’s the least you can do.

“You need Quinn. You need Huck. But you don’t need me?” Can we get a good story for Marcus in season six?

“I need YOU to do your job.” And his job is to babysit Mellie while she makes an appearance on Kimmel. CROSS PROMOTION FTW.

Not only was Susan never married to John, her daughter is not his either. 

“You’re holding out on me.” Liv and Alex meet to follow-up on their respective dirt.

“You gave me a RUMOR.” Oh, come on, Alex. Do your homework. Rumors usually have truth to them.

Oh I kind of want Alex and Olivia to do it?

Susan’s baby daddy is in PRISON. 

“Your hand is dangerously close to the flame. Watch out kid.” Cyrus tries to warn Alex against going after Edison based on a rumor, but Alex won’t be deterred.

THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE MELLIE DO MEAN TWEETS.

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“Welcome to the club.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap – Dawn’s Early Light

height difference

Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 16
“Dawn’s Early Light”
Posted by Sage

That thing I really didn’t want to happen happened. But Crane met another in-law and fell all over himself to make a good impression, so I think it’s all going to be cool. Let’s look at the rankings to be sure.

#CreepyHollow/WHATTHEDAMNHELLHollow

eternal soldier eternal soldier 2
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Danny. Though, I’ve been in Monster Club long enough to know that your bullets are of no consequence for a colonial demon like the Eternal Soldier. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Sleepy Hollow went balls to the historical wall in “Dawn’s Early Light,” tying Betsy Ross’s flag, Francis Scott Key, and the crossing of the Delaware to the Sumerian catacombs and The Hidden One’s ancient agenda. I fear that this storyline is bringing us closer to welcoming Betsy Ross to the present, because I’m not feeling very welcoming at the moment. I’ll give her this though: the first time I really felt anything akin to…well, a feeling for Betsy was when she ruefully predicted to Crane that the clandestine nature of her heroic activities would mean that she’d likely be best remembered by history for sewing a piece of fabric while the men who relied on her would be remembered as heroes. Who lives, who dies, who tells your story, amirite?

Anyway, Pandora has taken on a pesky neighbor role in the Sleepy Scooby gang. Crane finds her rummaging through the Witnesses’ stuff in the masonic cell and they have a testy – though nonviolent – conversation. If Pandora wasn’t completely finished with being The Hidden One’s unpaid intern before, she certainly is after he compares her to “a house pet who comes to expect feasts instead of table scraps.” (Excuse you.) She tells Crane that all those times she unleashed demons on his neighbors, facilitated murders, and threatened the lives of everyone that he and Abbie love are all water under the bridge and could she have her box back, please? (I also love that Pandora was like, “Ask Abbie. Abbie knows,” like a kid who’s accustomed to playing both her parents. “But Daaaaaad, Mom already said I could go to the mall!”) Unfortunately for the mortal, the only place where Pandora can reconstruct her box isn’t exactly on the Sleepy Hollow historical walking tour. The Witnesses and Pandora need to find their way back to the catacombs, and they need to do it within 48 hours. Who knew gods operated within a modern concept of time? The Hidden One knows all, apparently, including the date of his season finale.

Crane breaks the news to Abbie that her former prison plays a big role in the saving of the world. He lets her be the one to decide if they go back (more on that in Shippy because oh my god); it’s sweet, but I think he already knows the answer. Now, to figure out how a couple of human beings can cruise over to the land of the gods without a deified expert. As with many of the Witnesses’ discoveries this season, Betsy Ross did it first. She retrieved the Eye of Providence for Paul Revere; her cutlass showed Abbie the way out of the catacombs. They know she was there. Crane remembers the last time he ever laid eyes on Betsy – while General Washington (rise up) was about to embark on his Christmas Day voyage across the Delaware River. Perturbed to not be invited, Crane sits with Betsy while the general prepares, and admires the flag she’s finishing. Betsy knows more than she’s willing to say to Crane, but she does beg him to consider the general’s real reasons for leaving him behind. Crane is too important to the future of the country and indeed, this plane of existence. Did Washington know Crane was a Witness and had responsibilities far beyond the Revolution? Whether he did or not, it’s still pretty sobering to think that Betsy was considered, in some ways, expendable.

Abbie, Jenny, and Joe don’t require much convincing to get on board with the best piece of Sleepy Hollow twistory in this half of the season. The trip across the Delaware was actually a trip to the Sumerian catacombs. (Abbie barely raises an eyebrow when she suggests the Delaware was blanketed with a “mystical fog ” that day.) Fortunately, a mural of that shining moment in this great American experiment is painted directly on the walls of the archives for easy research access. Crane notes that one of the men in the mural is wearing Betsy’s rabbit fur hat; Betsy was on that boat. (Pause for the bro moment where Joe tells Crane that Betsy probably didn’t tell him she was involved in the mission because she didn’t want him to worry. Boys looking out for other boys’ feelings, bless.) It’s a bit of a leap getting from the boat to the Orpheus myth, but Abbie reminds the room that the legend says the fabled figured used a lyre strung with golden thread to enter the underworld in pursuit of Eurydice. The same thread, she guesses, that Betsy used to make the stars in the stars and stripes “shimmer.” (The way Tom Mison says “shimmer” though. I felt that everywhere.)

crane joe

The flag is the key then, and Master Corbin knows exactly where they should look first. Crane remembers seeing the flag last with Paul Revere; Joey remembers going on a field trip to Paul Revere’s house in grammer school. (I’m surprised August didn’t pack a list of artifacts to steal – I mean “rescue” – in Joe’s bagged lunch.) Ichabbie use Abbie’s FBI privileges to get a private walk around the grounds, but no shimmering stars do they find. The flag has been replaced by one that’s both more drab and less supernaturally significant than Betsy’s. Their conversation about where the original could possibly be is interrupted by a cloud of smoke. The docent panics that someone turned on the smithy. Instead of leaving like he tells them to (please), Ichabbie go to the basement to check it out. The walls are of the room are hot to Abbie’s touch and for good reason. There’s a flaming zombie in the building and he is not happy that the Witnesses are poking around in his stuff. To be fair to Danny, Abbie also tries to shoot at the fiery demon, but to no avail. Crane and Abbie get thrown around like rag dolls for a bit, but they’re able to hold their attacker back long enough to make a break for it. They make it safely to their car; the demon melts into the pavement. That’s Ichabbie in a nutshell, isn’t it? They visit a historical landmark and leave it in flames. Can’t take them anywhere.

ichabbie running

Crane observes that the demon was wearing the uniform of the 8th Virginia regiment. Those troops were captured at the Battle of Monmouth (where Charles Lee shit the bed, as we all know); some soldiers “defied orders and escaped.” The Sisters of the Radiant Heart did the only reasonable thing they could think of: they tarred and bandaged the soldier they recovered with “infernal materials.” (Abbie’s expression at this says, “It took you HOW long to realize your wife was crazy?”) Crane identifies this demon as a guard of this place – and not a great one, since he once let someone get away with the original Betsy Ross flag. BUT WHO.

Back at the archives, Joenny study the photos Abbie sent over of the Revere House flag. That impostor is riddled with holes, but not the kind you’d expect from moths or burns. They’re almost symmetrical, and therefore probably there on purpose. “Why stripes?” Joey asks about our country’s first flag, and if the Doctor were there, he’d bestow a brilliant smile or at least an eyebrow raise for asking the right question. The stripes are the staff; the holes are the music notes. (“Wanna play ‘Name That Tune’?”) Joe and Jenny plot the song out, and discover that it’s an old favorite. “Oh say can you see,” Jenny intones, incredulous. AMERICA.

Ah, BUT: Francis Scott Key didn’t write the National Anthem until the War of 1812, long after Washington and Betsy crossed into the catacombs. That alone is a clue to the real flags whereabouts. Key was a mason, therefore aware of the supernatural threat to the young nation. He removed Betsy’s flag from Revere’s house for safekeeping when the British were ransacking important sites and left a hint to its whereabouts in the form of a song that would one day be warbled by Arianna Grande before the NBA All-Star Game. (I have no idea if this happened, but it just sounds right.) Ichabbie head out to Fort McHenry in Baltimore, where Key composed “The Star Spangled Banner”; Joenny stay behind to work on a weapon to use against the Eternal Soldier.

Abbie and Crane are waylaid in the carpark, first by Danny and then by the return of the demon. It’s Danny’s turn to wonder what the DAMN hell is going on, and this time right in front of his face. Also, it just so happens that this demon can THROW FIRE BALLS like he’s some kind of Sonic the Hedgehog level boss. Danny is all, “FBI, FREEZE” and the Eternal Soldier is like, “lol, right.” Again, the Witnesses (this time with Danny in tow) make it into their vehicle just in time to evade a hot and smokey death. That’s when Danny gets a rushed and overdue talk about the birds and the bees and the Revolutionary undead. “He’s a demon, a monster, a cursed spawn of hell,” Abbie summarizes. “Monsters are real and they’re here in Sleepy Hollow.” Danny, bless his heart, looks almost relieved. His best agent is a demon hunter. Her roommate is her partner. This answers almost all his questions. Still, he goes straight to Sophie once Ichabbie drop him off. (Mom and Dad have to go save humanity now, honey.) “I was wondering how you and Mills got so close so quickly,” Danny says. (Sophabbie shipper trash!) Sophie basically tells Danny to put his big girl panties on and deal with it. There’s no time to be scandalized by demons occupying Sleepy Hollow when there are DEMONS OCCUPYING SLEEPY HOLLOW. There are “responsibilities,” she says. “Consequences.” Get on board or get out of the way, basically. She says it nicer than I would have.

ichabbie flirting

Elsewhere in the colonies, Ichabbie approach Fort McHenry, tenderly bleeding the life out of me with their height difference. Abbie wonders aloud why the grounds of an American fortress would be home to a “42 foot statue of Orpheus.” Insert Keenan Thompson “You KNOW why” gif. (Because of Those Crazy Masons, coming to CBS this fall.) There’s a lyre carved into the base of the statue, with real moving pieces. Abbie presses on of the stone buttons and finds that it gives. She throws Crane an amused and triumphant look. “Any requests?” “You know the tune,” he answers. Is it Bruno Mars’ “Marry You”? Because it’s a beautiful night, and if you two are looking for something dumb to do, I can think of a few ideas. Instead, Abbie plays the first few bars of Key’s melody and an entrance opens. Betsy’s flag isn’t the only artifact inside the composer’s secret clubhouse, but it’s the one that the Witnesses AND the Eternal Soldier have come for. The creature corners Abbie and Crane just as Crane gets his hand on the fabric, and matters are looking grim. Miraculously, Jenny appears out of nowhere like and hoses the demon down with some liquid nitrogen. The Eternal Soldier freezes where it stands, leaving Joey free to enact the second phase of Team Joenny’s plan. He whacks the supernatural guard with a shovel and its tarred body shatters into pieces. “Science,” Joe announces to the group, just BARELY concealing a grin. I am going to miss him when he dies, and he is MOST CERTAINLY going to die. “You guys okay?” he follows up. Crane shakes out his coat, wholly unsurprised that the other half of this never-ending double date bailed him and his Biblical Life Partner out yet again. “A little singed.”

The Eternal Soldier is a cross between a ’90s video game villain and the Nicholas Cage movie Ghostrider, so not the scariest Sleepy Hollow monster we’ve ever seen. But I’m fully behind the theory that General Washington was leading a cavalry to the underworld like an utter boss. 5/10 Sandmen for Creepy, 7/10 Golems for WHATHEDAMNHELL.

#SassyHollow

The day has arrived. Birds are chirping, there’s not a cloud in the sky, and my skin is the clearest it’s ever been. Sleepy Hollow referenced Hamilton. We’ve been waiting in the wings for you.

The integration happened as organically as it could have. The historical society guide at the Revere House tells Ichabbie that attendance numbers have increased along with the public’s hunger for anything having to do with the A-L-E-X-A-N-D-E-R (we are, meant to be). Yes, Crane finally learns of the existence of an Alexander Hamilton stage phenomenon and he thinks the people who made it must be outta their GOD DAMN MINDS.

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Abbie’s face. She saw this coming as clearly and surely as the rest of us. Of course, the rest of us also know that Crane would be the most embarrassing piece of Hamiltrash on the planet if he ever got the chance to see the show. His passion for art and the written word were on full display in that gorgeous monologue he delivered last week, and Hamilton is a shining example of what vision, creativity, and sheer patriotism can produce. TELL me that Chris Jackson wouldn’t bring that sappy bastard to tears with “One Last Time.”

Ichabbie field trip to the Richard Rodgers in Season 4. I need to see Crane’s coif under that A.Ham hat. That’s reason enough to renew the show.

My head canon is that Crane went to soirees at the home of the Schuylers and would always make an effort to engage Peggy in conversation when she looked lonely and ignored. 7.5 Donut Holes for Sassiness. #YayHamlet

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