“We need the mayflies.” – Doctor Who Recap

Doctor Who Series 9, Episode 6
“The Woman Who Lived”
Posted by Kim

It’s fitting that “The Woman Who Lived” fell to me because I’m currently in the midst of watching Torchwood for the first time (I KNOW) and therefore spending a lot of time with the immortal Captain Jack Harkness.  Catherine Tregenna wrote four episodes of Torchwood, so it’s very interesting to me that she made her Doctor Who debut writing a beautiful character study on another immortal, the woman formerly known as Ashildr, now simply known as Me.  Jack and Me are two sides of the same coin.  Jack may have his moments of darkness regarding the burden of immortality (I have wept multiple times on the treadmill as I stream Torchwood during my workouts) but he has always clung to the good.  He has always surrounded himself with people, even though he knows he will outlive them and deal with the pain of losing them.  The pain is worth it to him because he has the memories of the good.  Me, on the other hand, after lifetime upon lifetime of loss, rejects human connection as a means of protecting herself.  Better to be alone than to hurt all the time, right?

The plot of “The Woman Who Lived” is a  bit thin (thank GOD because my brain still hurts from “Before the Flood”) but it’s heavy on insight into immortality, the fleeting nature of human life, and the ramifications of the Doctor’s adventures through time and space. In “The Girl Who Died”, Clara called the Doctor a tidal wave.  What do tidal waves do?  They leave a trail of destruction in their wake.  It’s rare that the Doctor revisits those he’s had an impact on (Ten’s farewell tour not withstanding).  He meets people, changes their lives, and moves on to the next adventure, not giving a second thought to how those lives change (for better or for worse).  With Me, he comes face to face with what his tidal wave has wrought.  Does he like what he sees?  Well, that’s the very point, so let’s get on with it, shall we?

 

The episode opens with a horseman chasing down a carriage on a foggy night and for a second I’m worried that I’m accidentally watching Sleepy Hollow when I’m supposed to be watching Doctor Who.  A bandit known only as “The Nightmare” is attempting to rob a couple (the woman totally looked like Reinette, no?) when the Doctor (who is flying solo because Clara has taken the Year Sevens for taekwondo) interrupts the shenanigans.  He claims to only be passing through like fish ships in the night (YOU KEEP PASSING ME BYYYYYYYYY) but it’s clear that he and the Nightmare are after the same object.  As the Nightmare and the Doctor bicker, the carriage speeds off.  Once they are alone, the Nightmare’s voice switches from male to female and she calls him “Doctor” and the Doctor’s face changes instantly because he KNOWS.  It’s like he’s been preparing himself for this moment ever since he brought a dead Viking girl back to life.  “It is Me,” she says (introducing herself?). “What took you so long, Old Man?” She has been waiting too, you see.

“The last time I saw you, you were founding a leper colony,” the Doctor says.  “I was so proud.” So the Doctor HAS been checking in on her from afar unbeknownst to her.  “And you left me there?” she says, with a flash of resentment on her face. The Doctor tries to play off THIS encounter as a coincidence (though surely the TARDIS led him to her, right?) and her face falls even further.  “You mean you haven’t COME for me?”  Surely the Doctor can’t be surprised by this reaction…this must be what EVERYONE who has ever encountered him thinks, right?  Every single person, be it long time companion or the briefest of encounters waits to hear that wheezing groaning sound that brings hope where ever it goes again, don’t they?  (I wait for it EVERY DAY.) The Doctor should KNOW this…yet he seems surprised and even embarrassed that she has been WAITING for him.  Oh Doctor…for someone your age, you certainly can be daft.

“Oh, Ashildr.  I’m sorry.”  I GENUINELY believe he means it too.  Sage pointed out last week that the Doctor knew he was being cowardly when he ran away without telling Ashildr just what he had done to her.  The Ninth Doctor had the excuse of a little thing called regeneration when it came to Jack Harkness, but Twelve?  He just didn’t want to face the consequences of what he had done. TIDAL WAVE. The Doctor gets his first taste of the damage he’s done when not only does she not recognize the name Ashildr, but she has no memory of the village she loved  so much that she DIED saving it.  “You loved that village,” the Doctor says with a stricken expression.  “If you say so,” she shrugs.  She’s so detached from EVERYTHING.  Ashildr was so vibrant and alive…this woman is a shell of what she was.  When the Doctor asked what she calls herself now, her simple answer is “Me”.  “All the other names I chose died with whoever knew me. Me is who I am now. No one’s mother, daughter, wife. My own companion. Singular. Unattached. Alone.”  It sounds SO MUCH like the Ninth Doctor, it physically hurts.  What I loved about this episode is the way that the Doctor’s role was flipped. The role of caring often falls to the companion (“She’s my carer, she cares so I don’t have to.”) and Me’s extreme emotional detachment forces the Doctor into the role of carer.  It’s like he’s seeing himself through the eyes of all of his companions, learning everything about Me AND himself at the same time.  But sure, this is just a children’s show.

 

Back at her massive estate (where someone/something watches from the hedges), Me fills the Doctor in on what she’s been up to for the past 800 years.  “I’ve had 800 years of adventure,” she says and it’s true.  She was a queen, a soldier, a healer, and an accused witch.  But still she tells the Doctor all of her stories with a sense of detachment, as if she was just recounting a story she was told once rather than sharing things that she actually lived through.  She keeps referring the Doctor to her journals because she can’t actually remember all the details on her own, so she writes them down. “That’s the trouble with an infinite life and a normal size memory.”  So…she’s still a storyteller.  Some things are so ingrained into your DNA that 800 years of adventure and pain can’t even erase that.  The Doctor is SO TENTATIVE as he says that it couldn’t have been easy for her, outliving everyone she knows.  She shrugs and says that according to her journals, losing people was hell and it’s so chilling the way she states that plainly, with no evidence of the actual hell she went through.  All the Doctor can say to that is that he’s sorry because really what else is there to say?  “You’ll have to remind me, what’s sorrow like? It all just runs out, Doctor. I’m just what’s left. In fact, I’ve done all I can here. I look up to the sky and wonder what it’s like out there. Please, take me with you. All these people here, they’re like smoke, they blow away in a moment. You don’t know what it’s like.” BUT HE DOES.  The Doctor knows more than anyone else what it’s like to soldier on.  But this is what makes the Doctor (and Jack) different from Me: even with all their losses, they continue to connect with others, even though they know it will hurt. Because the connection and the companionship, when you have it, is worth the pain.

 

It is important to note that Me wasn’t always like this.  The Doctor reads her journals and learns that she fell in love.  She had children.  But she lost all of it.  There are pages ripped out, there are pages stained with her tears.  It’s a life full of pain and loss and the Doctor’s FACE as he realizes the enormity of her pain is heartbreaking.  No wonder she turned her back on connection.  No wonder she decides that “from now on it’s me against the world”.  Albert Einstein said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  After centuries of always losing, Me has learned that the only sane thing to do is to stop caring.  It’s the only way she can get by.  Does this mean the Doctor is INSANE because he continues to seek out companions that will inevitably leave him?  Sure.  But we knew that already.

While the Doctor spends some quality time in the library, Me sneaks out and speaks to the creature in the hedge. She assures it that the Doctor has no idea about what their plans for the artifact they are both seeking are. Ruh roh.

 

The Doctor confronts Me about the missing pages to which she simply says that when things get too bad she tears out the pages.  (I totally feel her on this because I intentionally leave things or people out of my scrapbooks when I don’t remember them.)  The entries about the children, however, remain to serve as a reminder not to do it again.  “I’ve left you alone too long,” he says.  HM.  WHERE HAVE I HEARD THAT BEFORE?

Donna: Just promise me one thing. Find someone
The Doctor: I don’t need anyone. 
Donna: Yes you do. Because sometimes I think you need someone to stop you. 

THANKS I REALLY NEED MORE DONNA NOBLE FEELS AFTER LAST WEEK SHOW.

In all seriousness, if there is one thing the Doctor has learned in his travels, it’s the importance of having someone to ground him.  Without a companion, he goes all Time Lord Victorious and forgets who he really is. It’s no way to live, being desensitized to the world.  It’s WHY the Doctor continues to call her Ashildr, even when she rejects the name.  “I remember who you used to be.  She’s still in there.” Me is having none of it though and her rage here is totally justified because she KNOWS that the Doctor is doing this (somewhat) to assuage his guilt. “So you intend to fix me? Make me feel again, then run away?”  She’s forcing the Doctor to face everything he hates about himself because it’s true.  He’s the man who runs away.  Sure, he saves people but what happens AFTER he saves them?  He’s on to the next person to save.  He runs.  He always runs…it’s HIS coping mechanism.

The Doctor and Me set out to steal the artifact from the Fenshawes but the robbery is secondary to continuing their heart to heart.  The Doctor asks the million dollar question…why is Me still alone?  Why hasn’t she used the other immortality charge so she could have a partner?  That was, after all, what he intended for her to do. “No one’s good enough,” she scoffs. REALLY?  The man she fell in love with wasn’t good enough? Later, as they scurry up the fireplace to hide from Fenshawe (having retrieved the artifact, which is an amulet called the Eyes of Hades), Me tosses the question back to the Doctor.  What about Clara? The Doctor is surprised that she remembers Clara but Me just replies that she takes particular note of anyone’s weaknesses. (UM. NO.) So why HASN’T The Doctor made Clara immortal if she’s so important to him?  He tries to brush it off with a joke (“Well look how you turned out.”) but the question does stand.  Why hasn’t the Doctor made Clara (or Rose or Martha or Sarah Jane or any of them) immortal?  Because the Doctor knows that it would be selfish of him to do so.  He would be doing it purely to comfort himself and he would be robbing the companions of their right to live and their right to die.  He loves them too much to do that to them. He would rather suffer their deaths than curse them with immortality. My heart hurts. “She’ll die on you, you know,” Me taunts.  (OBJECTION THAT’S RUDE.) “How many have you lost? How many Claras?” The Doctor thought about every single one of them in that moment, I know he did.  All of them so important.  Clara is the here and now but his love for her doesn’t lessen the love he had for any of the others.  He carries them all with him in his hearts.

 

 

Having escaped the Fenshawes, Me and the Doctor make their way back to her estate on foot.  They encounter a bandit named Sam Swift and initially all the scene was to me was an opportunity for banter and for Peter Capaldi to be delightfully grumpy.  The scene takes on weight when Me threatens to kill Sam Swift.  “Kill him and you make an enemy out of me.”  There will be no killing for the hell of it, not while the Doctor is around.  “I know their lives are short, I understand,” he explains to Me.  “But those lives DO matter.” (In 900 years he never met someone who wasn’t important. I’m fine.) Me is not here for life lessons.  She’s so past that and nothing the Doctor tries to teach her matters to her.  Why is this episode trying to murder me with feels?

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“No evil can ever change that.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap

sleepy hollow sadistic sense

Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 4
“The Sisters Mills”

Posted by Sage

How’d you sleep on Thursday night, friends? I considered dumping my change on my bed before I turned the lights on, just in cases. Let’s get to the rankings.

#WHATTHEDAMNHELLHOLLOW

Little Saffron isn’t the only lady in this town with a “sadistic sense of humor.” The monster that Pandora conjured this week was pure nightmare fuel, both in intent and design. The case of the Tooth Fairy blended twistory and myth, and though the Betsy Ross integration was clunky as always, I’ll never long for the days where every threat had to be tied back to Crane’s “death” and Moloch. Anyway, let’s talk about that creature, eh? Unless you’d prefer to forget it…

You never want to see kids first thing on Sleepy Hollow. It means some scurry shit is about to go down. In the cold open, a dad tucks his two young girls into their side-by-side twin beds, then leaves them along together in the darkness of their pink and purple princess room. One of the girls turns to see what causes her sister’s immediate shriek, and is met by the sight of a man-sized monster lying on top of the girl, its snake-like tongue slithering out towards her face. What in the damn hell…?

Little Joey Corbin’s ears perk up when he hears the word “monster” – he was one of the first responders to the call – and alerts the witnesses to the child who’s now in a freak coma and her sister, who maintains that she saw something that no adult wants to consider. Jenny and Abbie approach Saffron gently as she clutches her baby sister’s doll, and ohhhh, there are going to be some emotional Mills Sisters moments in this one, aren’t there? (As the title would suggest, derp.) “We wanted to tell you that we think you’re very brave,” Jenny tells the kid. And she also tells her that she knows from experience how frustrated and small it makes a tiny person feel to be dismissed by the adults who are supposed to protect her. It’s a start.

The Scoobies gain Saffron’s trust further when Crane visits her in her treehouse hideout. (More about his comedy act to come in the #Sassy section.) He skips over words and asks for the visual. Saffron draws a picture of the monster that she saw, and this mother looks piss-your-pants frightening even in crayon. I flinched at Abbie’s question to Saffron, because how is this child supposed to know what the monster actually is? But the plot servicing dialogue served as set-up for an act-ending kicker: Saffron knows her sister’s attacker as the tooth fairy. Sleep tight, children of Sleepy Hollow.

Ain't nobody fuckin' with my clique.

Ain’t nobody fuckin’ with my clique.

Crane isn’t as surprised at the melding of G-rated childhood traditions and pitch-dark dangers as the ladies are. Most fairy tales had to be heavily sanitized by Disney before getting slapped with a soundtrack and making it to the library of Fine Family Entertainment.TM (Hans Christian Andersen needed therapy and a hot bath. Reblog if you agree.) Crane recalls that the loss of a baby tooth was no cause for celebration during the time of a strange and unexplainable plague that swept through the children of his community back in the colonial days. In between sword-fighting lessons and being the worst flirt of the 1770s, Betsy Ross nursed her beloved niece, who was struck with the illness. Paul Revere, DDS showed up to consult, but Crane was dismissed from the room with no fanfare before he could see what treatment entailed. Betsy’s niece recovered in full, and the plague was ended. Archive research turns up knowledge of a Syrian demon called the Abyzou; it craves children’s souls, and an open wound (like the cavity left from a lost tooth) serves as a “beacon” to draw the demon in. Crane reads that silver is the Abyzou’s only known weakness remembers Revere giving Betsy’s niece a coin. (This is why it became customary for parents to place change under their kids’ pillows when they lost their baby teeth.) The accounts say that the Abyzou is an invisible creature, but the accounts were all written by adults. What if, the Witnesses posit, it only reveals itself to children?

I know I wish I could unsee this.

I know I wish I could unsee this.

This Abyzou is still at work and about to prey on another child with a clueless parent. Just like the ominously innocent scene that opened the episode, the “there’s no monster in your closet/under your bed/outside of the window” foreshadowing never works out well for the kid involved. After his useless mother leaves the room, an achingly adorable little boy opens his closet to check for monster he’s certain he saw there before. It’s behind him instead, and I jumped roughly a foot and a half into the air. The effects and make-up department did a tremendous job with the Tooth Fairy, but it was the casting of a contortionist to play the demon that really threw it over the top. If I saw that thing crab-walking on my ceiling, I’d get on a plane and trade in Sleepy Hollow for the Amazon rainforest, where the only thing of that size crawling towards me is a scorpion or some shit. Jenny gifts little Gregory with a silver coin when she and Crane make their reconnaissance visit to his elementary school (getting to it), but the metal is just a stop gap. Team Scooby stakes out Gregory’s home, where a useless mom has been traded in for a distracted babysitter. The Mills sisters are damn crusaders, so they don’t think twice about going after a deadly monster that they can’t see. They see flashes of the Abyzou when it runs through the path of the lawn sprinkler, but it’s still no good. The Abyzou knocks both of them out and retreats back into the forest.

While Abbie recovers at the hospital, Crane and Jenny continue digging into the past to find the Revere method for taking out the Abyzou. Crane looks through the man’s dentist bag, griping about how he was “too clever by half” and nuts about codes and ciphers. He stalls on the phrase “more than the sum of its parts” and slides two of the medical instruments together. All combined, the tools become a weapon, with silver nitrate as the ammo. Jenny remembers that silver nitrate was used in the dawn of photography. It creates a flash of light. The Abyzou has a weak spot; Revere used the silver nitrate to find it and take the shot.

Crane and Jenny set a trap for the Abyzou with Saffron as the bait. In any other town, this might be an ethical no-no, but this child had a right to be involved in the saving of her sister. She’s already there in the darkness with them, and she’s in danger along with the rest of the town’s youngins until the monster is vanquished. The Abyzou shows up right on schedule, and Crane KICKS IT IN THE FACE and out of the treehouse. He and Jenny give chase as it seeks refuge in the trees, but the silver nitrate is working. The creature is fast, and substance wears out before they make the kill shot. Crane throws the rest of the particles at it in a last-ditch effort; Jenny runs the Abyzou through with a poker, and it disintegrates. Team Jen-Bod FTW.

Also relevant to this section: Jenny tracks down the name of the lady drifter from episode 3 who suspiciously knew all of August Corbin’s signature moves. Sophie Foster is her name, but a mysterious personage called Atticus Nevins is the one paying the artifact hunter’s way. This means nothing to anyone now, but his identity has to be linked to the purpose of the Shard of Anubis that everyone is so hot for. What’s the connection between Atticus Nevins and August Corbin? And could it be possible that the two men are one and the same? WHAT IF AUGUST CORBIN ISN’T REALLY DEAD?

Good god, that monster is chilling. And it kills wee babes. That’s a solid 9/10 Golems. (If August is still alive, this scale will BREAK.)

#ShippyHollow

each other all that matters

We have no ranking system for the level of Mills Sisters bond-age that’s happening at any given moment, but #ShippyHollow serves as an all purpose feels-meter. It’s no coincidence that the first victim of the modern-day Abyzou is a little sister; the Jenny and Abbie parallels are obvious from the very beginning. Jenny is so well-adjusted and resilient, her institutionalization seems like a distant memory. But the hell she’s been through comes screaming back when she meets Saffron, whose bravery was rewarded with the adult brush-off. At least that was all she got; Jenny was locked up and declared insane.

But the younger Mills doesn’t hold that part of her life against her sister anymore. Life is too short, she well knows, and she only gets one Abbie. Crane gives the elder Mills that honor, but I think Abbie would argue that Jenny is the strongest person that either of them know. Think what she’s been through and the kindness she’s been able to retain. It’s a testament to the deep friendship she and Abbie forged as children, and to the unconditional support of her second father, August Corbin. (Seriously, if he’s alive, I’m going to not be able to watch Jenny find it out.) It’s so meaningful that Jenny can be the spokesperson for Tessa, the younger sibling who will never stop looking up to Saffron, no matter what. “You and I,” Jenny tells the girl, “we’re going to have many more happy years together with our sisters. I promise.”

jenny jenny 2
jenny 3 jenny 4
Hopefully the days of Sleepy Hollow dropping story arcs left and right are over; the reemergence of Abbie and Jenny’s father is still a factor this week. When Crane asks Abbie about her progress in sharing the news with her sister, Abbie deflects, as is her way. She begs off by saying that Jenny is “in a good place” and that she doesn’t want to disturb that. But obviously the Tooth Fairy case stirs up some long-forgotten memories for the sisters, memories about (for Abbie) the good times before their father walked out, and for both of them, a time before they were tasked with defending this world from the darkness that lies beyond. Abbie and Jenny Mills had a heavy load dumped on their shoulders before they were prepared to understand it; they dealt with it in two different ways at the time. And they continue to handle their business differently, though they’re back to doing it side by side. Abbie floats a mention of their dad and gets a wave of bitterness back from Jenny. (“He certainly took his own advice.”) Later she comes completely clean about her search and gets a revelation of her own: Jenny has known where their father is for a solid five years. (How? Did August help her?) Jenny tells Abbie that she thought opening that wound back up would upset her sister, but I think that, once they were reunited, Jenny didn’t want to rock their broken family boat by re-introducing an old element. She’s still no fan of her dad’s, but at least the secret is out and they can at least support each other through the choices they need to individually make about him. For now, Abbie is leaving him be. He has a new family and a life, and she doesn’t want to blow that up “for anyone.” My question is: what purpose does Daddy Mills serve beyond supplying some emotional resonance in the sister storyline? He could be the only member of the family to not have run into the demonic side of Sleepy Hollow, but I doubt that immensely. He’s an unknown in this equation, and I don’t see this show wasting an opportunity to throw another wrench into the lives of Team Witness. WHO ARE YOU, DADDY MILLS?

hospital hospital 2
There was no want for actual shippiness in this episode, though any time spent on the Mills sisters’ relationship is a welcome trade for QT with Ichabbie. Anyway, Crane and Abbie’s roommate status means that some element of mystery is indeed gone. (“We share a roof, Crane. I know a lot of things I cannot un-know.) The exasperated eyebrow raise and the flirty ribbing are outweighing the deep emotional beats so far this season, but only by a hair. Put one of these two in a hospital bed (or their couch at home, big ups to last week) and here come the vows of unconditional loyalty. Though I’m sure that Jenny appreciates that Crane reined in the mushy celebration at hearing that Abbie is back up and about, for her sake. (“I am pleased you’re back to your old form, Lieutenant.”)

complicated

No advancements on the Joe/Jenny front, though we did find out that Jenny has been trying to set her friend and artifact hunting protege up. (The Mills sisters are great at killing monsters, but their true passions lie in matchmaking.”) Does Jenny know other women? I don’t think she’s the type to join up with the Sleepy Hollow Ladies Auxiliary. The only explanation I can string together is that she meets them at Mabie’s, and then tells them all about her hot EMT bro who isn’t a wendigo anymore. It’s an awfully girlish hobby for these two badasses, no? Regardless, we finally got the Crane/Joe bro time we were promised at NYCC, when they’re teamed up for the Tooth Fairy stakeout. Like everyone else in his life, Joe has an opinion about Crane’s text-flirting with Zoe, and his classifies both the frequency and the content of their correspondence as very un-tutor-like. Crane seems determined to keep his professional life and love life separate, (Would that he had been so adamant about this when Katrina was being shoved down our throats.) but Joe knows that that kind of compartmentalization is impractical, and more trouble than its worth. I believe that we’re supposed to think of Betsy when Crane cites his “experience” on mixing business with pleasure, and I’m sure we’ll see where that whole disaster goes even more wrong. But his “as is my way” suggests a perpetual struggle with finding the line, and we all know that he hasn’t known Zoe long enough for that to apply. To reiterate: Crane knows he spends too much time pondering the nature of an ongoing working relationship and the “auxiliary feelings” it provokes. HM.

Whoever could you be talking about right now, Crane? Your failed attempt at being coy gets this episode 7/10 Fist Bumps for Shippiness.

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“A criminal, a whore, an idiot, and a liar.” – Scandal Gif-Cap

Scandal Season 5, Episode 5
“You Got Served”

Posted by Kim

FITZ MAY BE IMPEACHED!!!! Is our long (fictional) national nightmare finally over?  Let’s get right to the gifs to find out.

Cyrus is in his jammies, surrounded by booze and junk food, watching telly.  Basically living my dream life.

To remind us that he still exist, Michael appears, looking as handsome as ever.  He tries not to judge Cyrus’ coach potatoness by saying he knows this is his Super Bowl.

“The Super Bowl happens every year. This is the moon landing!”

“This is the day the Lord has made…he’s made it for me!”

Footage of Fitz and Liv waltzing around together is intercut with the Judiciary Committee announcing their investigation. 

“I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG!!” Reminder that Fitz is a CHILD.

“Do you know what an impeachable offense is? You don’t need to spend time thinking about that because you don’t.”  David has no time for this shit.

“This isn’t a normal trial, Mr. President, it’s a political trial.” 

“It won’t just cost you your presidency, they will put you in jail.” 

Liv calls Abby, who can’t talk to her about anything.  “I need a loan.” Say what?

HI LEO I MISSED YOU!!!!

“Thing 1 and Thing 2 and a new addition to the bestiary!” Can we start a petition for Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce to be canceled so Paul Adelstein can join this show full-time because I LOVE HIM.

“You’re his Monica, his Marilyn.”

“We are going to spin it into the greatest romance ever told.” Well…second greatest. #LarryIsReal

Liv, however, refuses to sell her romance.  “What else you got, Leo?”

Olivia Pope, Woman of the People.

“That’s the thing about the great ones, they perform no matter what utter crap they are dealt.” 

Leo goes thru Liv’s wardrobe. “If you cannot buy it from the mall, you can’t wear it out of the house.”

“Where’s all her food?” “You mean her wine and popcorn?” Huck has been so on point this season.

“Of course not you’re too busy getting your freak on with the prez.” 

Leo sends Liv out to the grocery store in schlubby clothes. 

“They need to be told by someone, someone they respect, that you are in fact human.” 

“WEIRDOS! FOCUS!” 

HI EDISON HOW YOU LIVIN’? Remember when he and Liv were a thing? 

“You look uncomfortable.” “Coming here was not easy.” 

“Should I feel sorry for you?”

“A criminal, a whore, an idiot and a liar.” That sounds like the beginning of a very good joke.

“You implied that I was clinically insane for suggesting that you were screwing the President.” 

“If you want me to help you, you’re going to be honest with me.” 

“You tried to make a fool of me for seeing you exactly as you are.” 

“I pray for her.” Edison, God love him, sells the CRAP out of this.

Cyrus LAUGHING with popcorn at the interview.

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“Dying is an ability, believe me.” – Doctor Who Recap

sick of losing people

Doctor Who Series 9, Episode 5
“The Girl Who Died”

Posted by Sage

Five episodes of the already terrific ninth series of New Who are out in the world, and I’m prepared at this moment to pin at least one major theme to the top of the Doctor’s timeline. (That Twitter-styles “timeline,” not time-styles).  Series 8 showed us a Doctor who was struggling for self-identification, and sought clues in his enemies and companions, his inclinations and drives. In “Death In Heaven,” the Doctor accurately labeled himself “an idiot,” and that was that as far as that one particular personal crisis was concerned. Since that very moment, this regeneration got comfortable in areas that he wasn’t sure he had clearance for, like gentle humor and open affection. Now Twelve is looking outward; all the self-diagnosing that went on last year didn’t leave time to dissect every action that affected people in his path. This series of the show sees the Doctor exploring what he can do, and why exactly he should or shouldn’t do it.

Every Doctor struggles with the vast scope of his abilities, of course. To push the button or not; to punish or be merciful; to indulge friends or stick to the path – all of these questions are well-worn Doctor Who territory. The show’s lifeblood is the way it drops a god – a vengeful and a compassionate one – into the lives and problems of mortals to see what he’ll do. Philosophizing this out won’t ever get old, because there’s no set of guidelines to reference. “What’s the one thing that gods never do?” the Doctor asks the Vikings. “Gods never actually show up.”

In “The Girl Who Died,” the Doctor and Clara have to make an emergency spider-related landing, and find themselves captives of a Viking hunting party. They return to the village along with the warriors, and attempt to strategize their escape while their jailers accept their heroes’ welcome. The tactic the Doctor decides on is “toys from the 1950s,” and Clara’s reaction to his sad and unconvincing yo-yo display wouldn’t be out of place on a girl watching her drunk boyfriend attempt the Cha-Cha Slide at a wedding. She’s mortified. He is very much not Odin.

But Odin’s ears must have been burning, because he takes that opportunity to show up in the sky. And the Teletubbies sun baby must have been living rough since the ’90s. The big face (also v. Monty Python in nature) declares that the most skilled and bravest warriors will feast with him in Valhalla that evening. (Or die historic on the Fury Road? Maybe.) If Valhalla were real, the Doctor would know it (and the Promised Land certainly turned out to be a crock), so he underlines their directive to Clara: don’t get chosen. Passivity isn’t Clara’s thing, so she races to Ashildr, the Viking girl who caught the Doctor’s attention as they were led into town. She asks Ashildr to put one half of the Doctor’s broken shades to her face (RIP sonic sunglasses; some of us weren’t boring pissbabies and actually liked you), look at Clara’s shackles, and think “open.” The medieval robot warriors who were just beamed down into their midst won’t be kept waiting, and Clara and Ashildr are transported away along with the returned men.

The women and warriors re-materialize in a corridor of what’s obviously a space craft. Ashildr and Clara are instantly cautious, but their concerns are brushed off. “There’s is nothing to fear!” one of the men shouts. “We are Odin’s chosen!” Then he’s obliterated by a few dozen laser beams. One of the walls begins moving with an intent to push the rest of the men into the kill zone. Ashildr and Clara run to the opposite door and try to pull it open. The remaining warriors meet the same fate as their brother, and the women make it into Odin’s inner sanctuary.

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When threatened, Clara slides easily into “be the Doctor” mode. She puffs herself out, adopts an air of amused derision, and lists off her various advantages. This usually gets the bad guy talking, as it does the second False Odin we’ve met in this hour. The face from the sun isn’t a man, but has adopted a man’s face. He wanted the warriors of this village so that their testosterone could be distilled into his daily multi-vitamin  And, as Clara points out, he’s done that. So False Odin should fuck off to other galaxies to drain their fighters dry. “The universe is full of testosterone,” she reasons. “Trust me, it’s unbearable.” And that’s a t-shirt coming soon to a Head Over Feels shop near you.

But little Ashildr won’t be so easily satisfied, and this was guest star Maisie Williams’ first chance to shine in the episode. The Viking girl has been raised on honor and family, and doesn’t have the distance that Clara and the Doctor’s experience and rootlessness allows them to have. She wants revenge. In her emotional moment, she rages at False Odin. “We will crush you in the field of battle,” she promises, and that’s a check that the cleaned out little village just can’t cash. False Odin dumps Clara and Ashildr back where he got them with a promise to return the next day with ten of his foot soldiers. Ashildr’s father sweeps her up into a hug, and the Doctor tries very, very hard to stay cool about losing “someone who matters” to him. (You know how it is: rockin’ and rollin’ and whatnot.) He fails in every possible way.


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He’s so relieved to see her face, and so very proud that she did exactly what he would have wanted her to do: sent the enemy on their way. His 2,000 year diary tells him that the False Odin is actually one of the Mire, one of the most fearsome warrior races in the galaxy. (Strax, somewhere: “???!!”) And I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think there’s a real life parallel somewhere in Doctor Who’s depiction of a species that wars to feed its own masculinity which just makes it want to war some more. (*looks into camera like on The Office*)

Still, there’s an Easy Button for this problem: get the hell out of there. The Doctor advises the Vikings to use their day grace period to leave their village. But even though they’ll be able to return to it once the Mire are really and truly gone, that self-sacrificing honor thing can’t be talked out of them in one town meeting. Lost causes are only lost causes if they’re the last possible solution. This stubbornness, the Doctor tells the townspeople, is just stupid. Especially since the Mire have already harvested the villagers who could actually put up a fight.

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The Doctor meets the Vikings’ pep rally cheers with logic. Honorable deaths are well and good for those that can choose them. “Do babies die with honor?” the Doctor asks when he hears one crying, and the villagers look solemn. “I told you to run. That’s all the help you need.”

Put me in the ground.

Put me in the ground.

Admire me, for I got this far into the recap without melting into Whouffaldi trash juice, which is what I am. This episode is teeming with shippiness; none of us are safe. This two-parter is another Who credit for “Mummy on the Orient Express” and “Flatline” writer Jamie Mathieson. And though by virtue of the freelance style of British television, he wrote most of those two scripts before he was aware of what the Doctor and Clara’s relationship would look like in Series 8, he did observe during a live commentary of “Mummy” at Gallifrey One that the chemistry between them in the hallway scene is “sizzling.” Meaning he has eyes. Also: honorary Ship Captain. Anyway, Mathieson was just announced as a guest at the con again this year, and I’m looking forward to asking him how much of the Clara/12 dialogue was his own this time around. I digress.

Clara Oswald is a divisive companion because of the space she dares to take up. And sometimes her outspokenness is interpreted as a dominance over the Doctor. Which, first of all: if it is, what’s wrong with that? Secondly: he’s a GOD. This scene shows that Clara can hold her judgement in when she knows that the Doctor needs to make a decision on his own. But she will hold his hand (or his face) while he makes it. She knows what he’s going to do anyway. Even after Series 8, she still knows him better than he knows himself. To help him get there, Clara asks the Doctor to keep translating the Viking baby’s cries for her. He does. “Mother I hear thunder, Mother I hear shouting. You are my world, but I hear other worlds now. Beyond the unfolding of your smile, is there other kindness? I’m afraid, will they be kind?” The Doctor’s grasp of Baby was played for laughs in “Closing Time,” when Stormmageddon dubbed every other adult but his mother a “peasant.” But in the universe of Doctor Who where language and ideas are the best weapons at anyone’s disposal, Twelve is a Doctor who has twice spoken for creatures who can’t otherwise make themselves understood. The dinosaur in “Deep Breath” and the Viking baby in this episode are both alienated by their inability to communicate. He is a voice for the voiceless. The Doctor pauses in his translation, and Clara lays her hand on his cheek. “You just decided to stay.” And here comes the “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” montage!

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“We are, after all, the Witnesses.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap

Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 3
“Blood and Fear” 

Posted by Kim

Back when Lost was on the air, I remember it went through quite a creative dry spell.  Not that the show wasn’t GOOD, I just remember watching it every week and willing it to be as good as it was in Season One (which I still view to be one of the most perfect seasons of a drama ever).  Then Season Three’s “The Man from Tallahassee” aired and my reaction was “Oh THERE YOU ARE SHOW!”.  Sure, Lost may have had some clunkers after that point, but they were fewer and far between, and the show was much more tightly focused after that episode.  Why am I talking about this?  Because I had the same “OH THERE YOU ARE SHOW” reaction after “Blood and Fear” aired.

A big section of the fandom loves to talk about how horrible season two was.  I don’t think it was HORRIBLE (there are some VERY good episodes in there, y’all, let’s not get bogged down in the problems), I just think it was lacking the spark of season one.  Genre shows live or die depending on how they creatively rebound from sophomore slumps.  Basically, you can be Lost or you can be Heroes.  After three VERY strong episodes for season three, it looks like Sleepy Hollow is trending towards the former.  I couldn’t be happier.  To the rankings!

#CreepyHollow

 

The well of Men’s fears must have some POWERFUL fertilizer in it, because Pandora’s tree is HUGE now.  “There’s so many of you!” she coos to the buds and it’s all very creepy and fills me with a sense of dread.  Then she turns to her box to unleash the evil of the week.  Unlike previous episodes, however, this evil is a much more pointed one, literally and figuratively.  “Make the fear of the Witnesses mine to reveal,” she commands…and then out floats a weird ass knife.  This is the first time she has called something to target Abbie and Ichabod DIRECTLY and this is all starting to feel a little personal.  Ruh roh.

Meanwhile, at a nondescript company in Sleepy Hollow, a shy (but really, he’s TOTALLY NICE) office worker named Nelson gazes upon the object of his affection, the lovely office blonde named Emily.  Nelson finally works up courage to talk to Emily in the elevator, inviting her to get some Korean BBQ at a nearby food truck (yum).  She starts talking about how everyone is going somewhere else to celebrate a birthday and Nelson gets all hopeful because it looks like he scored an invite.  Then, she hangs up on her bluetooth call, dashing Nelson’s hopes and proving the bluetooth is one of the most nefarious devices known to man.  Later that night, Nelson drowns his sorrows at the local club and mournfully watches Emily getting all up on the resident office hottie.  Cue Pandora arriving, sporting a saucy new short do because she always likes to match her hair to the demon of the week.  “You’re not going to let that guy get in the way are you?” she asks, pulling him onto the dance floor. They dance and the whole vibe is very much like that episode of Torchwood where an alien picks people up in clubs only to fuck them until they literally explode.  (For everyone who followed our live tweets of the episode, you’ll notice that Sage and I tweeted that at the exact same time, proving (once again) how much we share a brain.) The next morning, Nelson is not sexed to death, but he IS in possession of a shiny new knife.  On the elevator, he overhears Office Hottie gossiping about how he’s totally going to bang Emily.  Nelson gets a manic glint in his eye and it is sayonara Office Hottie.

 

Abbie and Ichabod arrive at the scene and Ich recognizes the state of the corpse immediately because of COURSE this is something he’s encountered before.  “We are dealing with a terror from my childhood,” he says.  “You might know him as Jack the Ripper.”  It turns out that while attending Eton (of course he went to Eton, he’s so posh.), Ichabod’s best friend was murdered and his corpse (which was completely drained of blood) looked exactly like Office Hottie.  Considering Ichabod’s time at Eton and the Ripper murders were separated by a century, it’s a bit hard for Abbie to wrap her head around that. (Gurl, same.) They trace back reports of similar corpses dating back as far as 900 years, so clearly Jack the Ripper is some sort of supernatural being.  Abbie, thanks to her access to FBI forensics, is able to reconstruct the murder weapon.  (She’s SO going to love the technology at the Jeffersonian when they crossover with Bones.)  The knife, they determine, makes the user overcome with blood lust, turning them into Rippers.  Basically, it’s the Elder Wand.  And now they have to find it.

Meanwhile, Nelson is having a bit of a panic attack in his car, having just committed a gruesome murder and all.  Pandora suddenly appears in the back of the car and she’s quite pleased with herself.  Nelson is reasonably freaked out and tries to throw the knife away, only to find that he can’t…because it’s become a part of his hand.  As Pandora dresses him in the long leather coat that she grabbed at Rippers-R-Us, she tells him that he can join “an ancient and grand history”.  Well, considering the knife is LITERALLY his hand now, it’s not like Nelson has much of a choice, so he might as well embrace it.  “Abandon all hesitation, mercy, and doubt,” Pandora coos, and then she orders him to go after the Witnesses.  Like I said, she’s making it personal now.

The Witnesses arrive at Nelson’s apartment building to question him.  Just as Ichabod posits that the second Tribulation should be easier to deal with than the first, a giant knife burst through the door, nearly running him through.  Well.  This escalated quickly.  They see Nelson, who has gone full ripper.  They warn him that the blade is manipulating him, but Nelson just scoffs.  “Go back to the guy I was before? Invisible?”  Cue me seal clapping on my couch because I am 100% here for Sleepy Hollow using Jack the Ripper as a metaphor for what happens to men when they feel like they’ve been “friend zoned”.  Abbie shoots Nelson, partly because her solution is always shooting the monsters and partly out of solidarity for all women who have zero patience for this “but I’m a nice guy, just give me a chance” crap.  I COULD be projecting on that second bit.  Nelson goes out the window, landing on a car and provoking quite possibly my favorite Abbie Mills reaction of ALL TIME.

 
 

The question is…if several gun shots and a multi-story fall out a window won’t kill Nelson, what WILL? What stopped all the other Rippers over the course of the years? They finally realize that since the knife literally feeds off the blood of its kills, the only thing that stops it is disease.  They also find that Nelson’s hard drive is full of pictures of Emily, taking him from a guy with a crush to a guy with an obsession and a DEFINITE next target.  Abbie and Ichabod procure 2 vials of tainted blood that Ichabod will be responsible for shooting Nelson with. (“I thought you were supposed to be hot stuff with a musket.” Abbit flirting, even in times of crisis, I love it.)  When the backup assigned to protect Emily doesn’t answer the phone, Abbie knows Nelson has gotten to them.  They arrive at the Parking Garage where the officers were meant to pick her up and find both of them dead.  The knife has fed again.

And of course, Nelson now has Emily and is threatening to kill her because she didn’t pay any attention to him and thus deserves it.  “How will harming her make you ANY less of an outcast?”  I don’t know if Sleepy Hollow meant this line to be viewed as social commentary on the whole “She deserved it because she didn’t like me” phenomenon, but I am choosing to believe they did, because it’s so perfectly accurate.  Honestly, I expected nothing less from Ichabod Crane, Feminist.  Emily doesn’t owe Nelson a damn thing, so he can take his Korean BBQ and shove it.  Anyway, Abbie gets Emily away from him and Ichy takes his shot, but PLOT TWIST, the knife creates an armor to protect Nelson from the point of impact, leaving Ichabod with one chance to take him down.  They engage in some hand to hand combat as Ichabod desperately tries to reload the rifle. (But really HOW did they do this under pressure before automated weapons? A moment of respect for our Founding Fathers, please.) Nelson saws off the head of the rifle and Ichabod is truly screwed.  Nelson stabs him in the gut and starts to drain the life from him (Me at the TV: WHAT?).  But something is different this time.  “What did you DO?” Nelson cries as the knife falls from his hand.  “Ended this,” Ichabod replies triumphantly (well as triumphantly as he can considering he’s bleeding out), the empty vial of blood falling to the floor.  I’ll cover the rest in shippy because MY GOD.

Yes, ALL WOMEN.  7/10 Sandmen. 

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“She’ll be a household name, mark my words.” – Scandal Gif-Cap

what are you doing scandal

Scandal Season 5, Episode 4
“Dog-Whistle Politics”
Posted by Sage

The White House is still in fallout mode after Olivia admitted publicly to her affair with the President. Shonda Rhimes uses this plot to expose media tactics and coded language used to draw lines in the sand and prod the American people to choose sides, get angry, and (mostly) keep watching. Scandal is at is best when it’s imitating life, so let’s get to the gifs!

“Who are you working with?…What happened at the Louvre was Larzarus 1?” You mean this, Jake? I think it could have been planned a smidge better.

“He once told a colleague that he was on a quest to do the impossible: to raise an African American girl who felt fully entitled to own the world as much as any white man.” Can’t fault Papa Pope’s intentions, can you?

“It’s as if you’ve learned nothing from me. I think I’ve failed with you.” Papa is playing the disappointed father role with Jake, but Jake is unmoved.

“Is Olivia Pope still seeking to fulfill her father’s dream?” Some ho is telling Olivia’s life story on TV and it’s all such condescending yellow journalism, I want to reach into my TV and then into Olivia’s TV and pull her hair.

“Boy, I am always free. No one will ever cage me.” Demon!

“But you don’t have a date with Layla, Marcus, you have a date with me.” I mean, finally. The Pope & Associates offices were looking deserted.

“You won’t just be some corporate spinner, you’ll be one of us.” You may remember Marcus from such scandals as boning the mayor’s wife. He’s also a friend of Clarence Parker’s and helped the family push the Brandon Bill.

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“And I am not crazy. I’m a gladiator in a suit…Do you want to be a gladiator in a suit?” “…No.” Marcus knows a lost cause when he sees it.

“Liv’s blindfolded on her knees in front of a firing squad and we’re doing nothing.” Fitz tries to fire Abby AGAIN, but Lizzy Bear won’t let him.

“I’m not asking you to work for free, I’m asking you to work for your life.” And for a salary, hopefully?

“Did you just call me an idiot?” You want to hear how women really feel about you, Fitz, give me a call.

“I do not need to be rescued. I find it offensive.” Why are they having this personal conversation in front of all of Fitz’s advisers though?

“My dream job? The White House. I want to work there.” The TV documentary includes a clip of Olivia as a young woman, setting her sights on some lofty goals. Then it implies she slept her way there.

“I know the drill.” Huck and Quinn help Liv go into hiding, going so far as to rent the apartment across from hers so that no one can monitor her from there again.

“Whatever’s going down, you two should be able to handle it. Understood?” Liv doesn’t want any rookies joining the team in her absence. Huckleberry Quinn have got to de-weird themselves enough to keep the client list happy.

“She’s got more kills than you and me put together. She’s legend. Oh, and she’s hot. Like, sexy hot. I’ve been working on her for years.” Jake and Charlie are on a man-trip to Paris to meet their European contact, Elise. Well, now she’s Elise.

“Jake? That’s what you’re calling yourself? Well, Jake. Deal is off.” She knows Jake, and shuts down the second she sees his face. What happened?

“This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats. This is about peckers. Too many peckers.” This lady for president.

“They wanna impeach them. All the women of the Senate.”

“They wanna impeach a man because all they ever hear is that women are controlled by their hormones but what is more hormonal than a man who can’t keep it in his damn pants? They wanna impeach a man because he broke his vows and disturbed the office of the presidency with his libido and the only person who gets raked over the coals is the woman he screwed.”

“This is it. Your chance. Either you go after your husband now and claim the White House for your own or you do nothing and be that sad, well-meaning freshmen senator sitting on that do-nothing sub-committee…” YES, Cyrus. I don’t care if this is for your own selfish vendetta, you get your boss heated enough to take Fitz down.

“Cream? Where do you guys keep the cream?” Marcus reconsidered the offer and is now on board at OPA as their media mouthpiece. Get the man some cream.

“Eventually we both know you’re going to let me in because you always let me in.” Jake shows up to Elise’s door. They keep up use of their new codes names, even when they’re alone.

“I was late but I was there.” “I waited.” Some time in the past, they were supposed to meet each other at Grand Central to escape their lives, but Elise didn’t show up. The nightmare. The exquisite tragedy. The Susan Heyward of it all.”

“I thought you were dead…I thought…I grieved…I really loved being married to you.” Mar-wha?

Senator Gibson is a Republican who wants Fitz to meet with a group from the party to answer some questions about the affair and how it affected his service.

“How do we lose a whole boy?” Fitz puts his human mask on to play with Teddy, one of those kids who never once factored in to the decisions he’s made.

“If you don’t hurt me, I won’t hurt you. Okay?” Mellie softens to see them together; she won’t be the one to destroy the father of her children. This time.

“Keep an eye on her. She’ll be a household name. Mark my words.” Past Cyrus praises Olivia, and do you think Kerry Washington and Jeff Perry will get a scene together this season?

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“The greatest scam on earth.” – The Mindy Project Recap

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The Mindy Project Season 4, Episodes 4 & 5
“The Bitch Is Back
” & “Stay At Home MILF”
Posted by Sage

A few years ago, a friend of mine was fretting to me about not being ready to take care of her first child. “Are you kidding me?” I asked. “Do you know how many idiots have raised kids and managed not to kill them? Trust me, you’re going to be fine.” Anyway: Mindy and Danny.

Little Leo has joined the family, and neither of his idiot parents are having any trouble bonding with the little guy. In “The Bitch Is Back,” Mindy is relishing the last days of her maternity leave, marathoning Dora (“Thanks for turning me on to this show, Leo.”) and looking beatific while she shames grown men into giving up cabs for her. Leo is set to meet his weird aunts and uncles who, to be clear, should never be left alone with him, during his first visit to Schulman & Associates. Over breakfast, Danny tells Mindy that she may not have to give up her time with the only person in the world she loves more than him (“And I was like ‘Danny? Who dat?'”); she can decide to be a mom full-time, and let Danny be the breadwinner for the both of them. We all saw this coming.

Leo gets a little peckish on their way into the office, so Mindy discreetly starts to breast feed him on the train. A scandalized Southern gentleman played by Raising Hope‘s Garret Dillahunt shames her for it, so unappreciative he is of a mother’s duty to care for her child and how lucky he is to be exposed to his fellow commuter’s “beautiful cans.” His reaction offends Mindy deeply, because she doesn’t fuck with the idea of strange men policing women’s bodies, but also because she’s used to doing whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Face it, ladies, she’d fight just as hard for her train buddy’s right to clip his toenails on a rush hour trip. This is why we love her.

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Southern train prude turns out to be Jody Kimball-Kinnery, Jeremerrry’s childhood playmate and the new doctor at S&A. He’s been hired along with his nurse sister Collette Kimball-Kinney to fill the gaps left by Mindy and Adrian (who?). Jody prides himself on upholding traditional gender roles, meaning that he prefers the ladies in his company to be ladies. This partiality does not bode well for his working relationship with Mindy, who was apparently the sole reason for the sheer bulk of the practice’s monthly toilet paper order. He’s charmed everyone else, however, leaving Mindy to rage at Danny about how Jody is the one-man opposition to all her personal beliefs. (“Like the right to hate-watch other people’s wedding videos?” “No. Women’s rights, or whatever.”) Danny takes advantage of Mindy’s discomfort with the new guy by lightly suggesting that maybe, just maybe, she’d be better off avoiding him completely and staying at home with Leo. He does this while making a tiny model of New York City, so that wins him back 1/2 a point on the “Danny Needs To Step Off” Index Of Control.

The new dad may share some of Jody’s stone-age parenting ideals, but lucky for Mindy, “The Today Show and Big Bracelet” have sold Danny on the idea of the “push present.” Beverly and Tamra look on in disgust as he tries and fails to come up with an adequate thank you for what his fiance did to bring his kid into the world. Attempt #1 is a another choreographed dance, hilariously now a hackneyed blow-off gift when it comes from Danny. And attempt #2 is a “luxurious cranberry turtleneck sweater” from a mom gift guide that Mindy mistakes for trash and gives to Morgan. (“If you saw the garment, you’d understand.”) Tamra takes pity on Dr. C mainly to save her the secondhand embarrassment of his terrible ideas; she takes him jewelry shopping and learns the real purpose of the diamond baby ring he’s about to buy for Mindy. He wants her to choose to be a stay-at-home mom, but he’s subtly trying to push her into it so she’ll remember it as her idea. It makes fiscal sense, he argues. And she misses Leo when she’s not with him. Tamra is not buying it. But Danny may be buying her silence.

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Mindy is on the case for another solution to the Jody problem; she’s looking for a reason for Jeremy to fire him. But if the boss isn’t sufficiently embarrassed by reminders of all his “coward’s forfeits” in the family’s pre-supper wrastling bouts to kick Jody out of the practice, the forced confessions of Mindy’s patients aren’t going to do it. Though she is able to round up some pretty damning evidence. Mr. Morrison wasn’t permitted to watch his child’s birth so that his memories of his wife’s lady parts wouldn’t be tainted. Mindy’s horrified reaction to this is the most wonderful (“Your vagina’s not supposed to be a mystery!”); I bet she made Danny get in there with a magnifying glass after Leo came out, just so he could see exactly what he did to her. Mrs. Morrison insists that Jodi was otherwise “the perfect gentleman,” and won’t be further part of Mindy’s coup. Get it together, Mrs. Morrison.

Mindy confronts the office with this new information; it’s an intervention that leads to her accidentally squirting breast milk into Jody’s face. Before that though, Jody gives an impassioned defense of his self-diagnosed sexism – the patronizing, man-trashing version that’s supposed to make women feel good about being considered other. Men come out worse in Dr. Kimball-Kenny’s scenario, he insists, so Mindy and her sisters should be happy not to be lumped in with them. Mindy knows that it’s condescending bullshit, but everyone else seems to buy it. (Beverly: “Do racism next!”) Jeremy demands she apologize to Jody, but Mindy Lahiri doesn’t take anything she did back except the unintentional super-soaking. She quits the practice, reasoning that she doesn’t fit in there any more. (I.E. She’s no longer the strongest personality in the room. Also Jody is most definitely a dick.)

Danny can’t help himself; he’s so thrilled that Mindy’s decided to be with their son all day, even though Mindy came to that choice under extenuating circumstances. He’s still projecting the pain of his childhood onto her. But Danny does take some of Tamra’s aggressive lecturing to heart. And he takes it quite literally. I die. And yet, I can’t help but feel cheated of the preceding scene. Danny crying about his all-consuming love for his firstborn child while a bored Brooklynite inks him? DVD extras, please.

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“You bent the rules of life and death.” – Doctor Who Recap

Doctor Who Series 9, Episode 4
“Before the Flood” 

Posted by Kim

In all my years watching Doctor Who and Back to the Future and Lost and reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I’ve learned that the rules of time travel are simple and finite.

  1. Whatever happened, happened.
  2. Meddling in past events can erase you from existence.
  3. Interacting with your past self can fry your brain.
  4. You can’t change a fixed point in time. See rule #1.

Of course, all of these rules go out the window when the life of one Clara Oswald is at stake. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Much like Series 8’s “Listen”, “Before the Flood” opens with the Doctor breaking the fourth wall and addressing the audience directly.  He tells a story of going to meet Beethoven, but Beethoven didn’t exist until the Doctor GAVE him the music for his 5th symphony.  So who then is responsible for writing Beethoven’s music?  Time travel is REALLY hard to write about. This is an example of the Bootstrap Paradox, which occurs when a future event is the cause of a past event, which in turn is the cause of the future event. Both events then exist in spacetime, but their origin cannot be determined.  (Yes, Doctor, I did google it.)  What this story does is inform us that we’re in for a bit of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey in this episode, so basically we need to prepare to have our brains wrinkled.  The Doctor then proceeds to bust out his electric guitar and play the opening of the 5th Symphony (and THEN the Who theme), with a sly look on his face because Peter Capaldi just won’t LET ME LIVE.

“Under the Lake” ended with our heroes being divided into two groups, Bennett and O’Donnell with the Doctor (and the TARDIS) and Cass and Lunn trapped in the base with Clara.  The TARDIS takes O’Donnell, Bennett, and the Doctor back to before the town flooded, right when the spaceship first landed.  O’Donnell outs herself as a MASSIVE Doctor fangirl when she comments that she doubts that Rose, Martha, or Amy got sick in their first TARDIS trip.  (Okay, but Donna Noble though.  MOST IMPORTANT WOMAN IN THE UNIVERSE AND NO ONE KNOWS AND LEAVE ME HERE TO DIE.)  With a delighted “It’s bigger on the inside” fangasm to Bennett, we KNOW that O’Donnell is marked for death because all Doctor fangirls die in the Moffat-verse.  RIP Osgood.

 
Our trio finds the spaceship which houses a shroud, so really, it’s a space hearse.  There are no markings on the wall (The Doctor: “Yet.”).  Then they meet the “undertaker”, a mousey looking creature named Prentis, who is sporting a very familiar looking top hat.  Prentis says this is the body of the Fisher King  and he’s brought him to this desolate planet to be buried. Suspicious.  The Doctor then heards Bennett and O’Donnell back to the TARDIS to call Clara because he hasn’t told her he loved her in seven hours, which is a SCANDAL.

 
Back at the base, Clara, Cass, and Lunn have little to do but stare at Ghost!Doctor and hope that real!Doctor somehow comes through for them.  Lunn can tell that Clara is scared.  He does his best to comfort her by asking what she has said to others when she’s been in situations like this before.  It’s such a lovely moment both because Lunn is so empathetic (but also asking for comfort at the same time) and Clara has the chance to reassert her faith in the Doctor. In “Deep Breath”, Clara expressed her belief in the Doctor by saying “I know where he will be. Where he will always be. If the Doctor is still the Doctor, he will have my back.” She says “The Doctor will save us” with the same confidence she had back then.  In fact, given the slightly manic expression in her eyes, she is MORE certain that he will come through for her.  In Clara’s mind, there simply is no other outcome than the Doctor saving the day, even if she is staring at his ghost.  Speaking of the ghost, Cass (thanks to her lip-reading skillz) realizes that he is saying different words than the others.  He’s rattling off a list of their names over and over again.  “Moran, Pritchard, Prentis, O’Donnell, Clara, Doctor, Bennett, Cass.” But WHY?

Clara’s phone rings and her relief at seeing the Doctor (god bless Facetime) alive is palpable.  If she can tell the Doctor about his ghost, surely he can change his fate, right?  However, the Doctor doesn’t take this little revelation as a fate he can avoid. “It means I die,” he says, and you actually SEE him deflate.  “It’s already happened.”  Like Harry Potter realizing what he has to do to stop Voldemort, the Doctor accepts his fate immediately, even if he doesn’t like it.  “I have to die.” (His FACE though. Even though he cracks a joke about this regeneration being a mix-up, you can TELL he’s not ready to let go yet.) Clara, however, is having none of it.  Just because the Doctor so readily accepts his end (fuck that though), doesn’t mean she has to. I’ve read a fair amount of criticism with the way Clara handled this situation, that she was selfish and that she lorded the Doctor’s love for her over him.  Listen, people.  If Sage ever called me and said she was going to do something that would likely result in her death, I would react the exact same way. (As I said to her last night, even if it was something as trivial as potentially moving away, I would shout “IF YOU LOVED ME YOU WOULDN’T DO THIS”, so get on my level.)  Honestly, who WOULDN’T lose their shit in this situation?  How can you expect Clara to be above being selfish in this moment of panic?  Honestly, if she had been calm, I would have been yelling “WTF is wrong with you” at the telly.  There are times to be rational and “do whatever you want” but your best friend/great love potentially dying is not one of them.  Clara is not using the Doctor’s love as a bargaining chip, she’s using it as a means to get him to fight (the future).

(Not to mention there’s the whole layer of Danny Pink’s death still being a very raw wound for her, so the last thing Clara needs right now is to lose ANOTHER man that she loves.  The series so far has made a VERY obvious point that Clara is a bit unhinged at the moment, so again, her reaction to potentially losing the Doctor is completely valid and HUMAN.)

 
 
 
 
I can NOT with the way the Doctor keels over the TARDIS console like he’s in physical pain over leaving Clara.  He knows what this is doing to her (the “essential to me” bit though!) and he just HURTS.  It’s terrible.  He makes up his mind then and there that he will NOT go quietly into that good night, even if he has to go.  So he starts gathering information, wanting to know if there are any visual difference between him and the ghost (his jacket is torn, there’s a start).  Then Ghost!Doctor changes the game.  He materializes into the base and approaches Clara and the others.  “Why am I not trying to kill you?” he posits. That’s the second story in a row where that question has been asked, so it’s clearly going to be a running theme for the series and I swear to GOD if Clara’s death somehow comes at the hand of the Doctor, y’all are gonna need to fund a kickstarter so I can fly to Cardiff and murder Steven Moffat with my own two hands because I am poor and have no money to fund myself.  Ghost!Doctor opens the Faraday cage and releases the other ghosts.  His message also changes.  “The chamber will open tonight.” (Enemies of the Heir beware?) The Doctor urges Clara to not let her phone out of her sight (as it has to be placed outside the Faraday Cage cause Verizon just can’t get service in there), so he can reach her at all times.  “I’ll come back for you. I swear.”

Subtext: I love you, Clara.

The Doctor and Bennett try to convince O’Donnell to stay behind in the TARDIS (just in case Clara calls) but with a “Have you two MET me?”, she joins them as they go back out to the spaceship.  The Fisher King, having risen, cuts off their direct path, forcing them into a warehouse to hide.  Here, we get our first glance of the Fisher King and he looks like one of the bad guys from The Dark Crystal, so I am immediately terrified.  Naturally, our band of heroes gets separated, and if you didn’t think O’Donnell was doomed because she was a fangirl, you DEFINITELY know she is when she gets isolated.  Having claimed another victim, The Fisher King retreats (he needs to digest?) and Bennett and the Doctor find O’Donnell close to death.  Bennett cradles her body to him, because there really isn’t anything else he can do in that moment except be there for her. (“Don’t you fret, Monsieur Marius. I don’t feel any pain.”) The Doctor watches grimly and Bennett puts it together.  The names on the list?  That’s the order they are going to die.  O’Donnell’s name was next and Bennett knows that the Doctor knew that and was testing a theory.  “Who’s next?” he accuses, even though he knows the answer.

Clara’s next.  And that just won’t do.

Is it completely shitty that the Doctor didn’t do anything to save O’Donnell? Is it shitty that her life meant nothing but the moment Clara’s life is on the line he refuses to accept her fate? OF COURSE IT IS.  No one ever said the Doctor can’t be a completely shitty person.  But THIS IS WHY WE WATCH.  Or at least, this is why *I* watch…give me shitty people making selfish choices ANY DAY.  It’s much more compelling than watching perfect people making rational choices.  What’s funny is that Bennett accuses the Doctor of taking action because it’s one step closer to him losing his own life.  HA.  As if the Doctor gave a shit about his own life.  “This isn’t about saving me, I’m a dead man walking.  I’m changing history to save Clara.”  At least he’s upfront about it.

Back in the future, Ghost!O’Donnell appears and she takes the phone, which has been placed juuuuuust outside the Faraday cage.  Now the ghosts aren’t playing fair and Clara, Cass, and Lunn are in a world of trouble.

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