“Little black dress just walked into the room.” – Oscar Fashion 2016

Posted by Maggie

It’s the Super Bowl of Red Carpets! Who scored a touchdown? Who fumbled at the 1 yard line? Who made a two point conversion? Who missed an easy field goal? How many more sports metaphors do you need? Let’s get to Maggie’s picks for best and worst of the night!

BEST

Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse slayed, you guys. The dress is to die for. Her hair was perfect. I even liked the mismatched earrings! She is a smoking hot, classy, emerald-green mermaid and I for one am delighted.

The very definition of tasteful side boob. Also paging Niall Horan, this is your future wife.

Jennifer Garner

Listen, I think we all know who the phoenix is and who the ashes is, okay? Jen looks flawless here, down to every detail. The beading and the swoosh of fabric (I know, we’re getting super technical here) could have easily tipped toward too much but this is simply elegant and if you try to tell me different, I will take umbrage.

WORK.

Cate Blanchett


My personal feelings are she’s Cate fucking Blanchett, she can wear what she wants, but friend of HOF Shannon put it more eloquently, “she looks like Venus emerging from sea foam, I am all about it.” SAME.

Charlize Theron

I am not strictly crazy about the straps, but it’s a minor nitpick. Charlize is wearing the hell out of this dress and I love the necklace.

Bonus Emily Blunt preciousness.

Daisy Ridley

I think her hair is too severe and I’m not sure about the detail in the middle, but I am in love with this overall look. I think the metallic is so lovely on her and the length, you guys. This is just so refreshing, I can’t wait to see more from her.

Margot Robbie

Here’s what I love about Margot: she knows how to look like a grownup without looking matronly. She’s not afraid of a long sleeve and she can really pull it off. I’m super attracted to shiny things, so of course I’m really into the gold, and that CLUTCH. I know the hair could be better, but honestly I don’t even care.

Naomi Watts

At first I wasn’t sure about the kind of 80s accent colors in the dress but the sparkles won me over, as they always do. I think this dress is so flattering on her, and she’s styled to perfection. The soft waves and bold lip really pull the look together.

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Secret Diary Of A First Lady – Scandal Gif-Cap – The Candidate

first wives don't get mad

Scandal Season 5, Episode 11
“The Candidate”
Posted by Sage

I’m not saying it was putting Olivia and Fitz back together that sent Scandal ratings down, but it was putting Olivia and Fitz back together that sent Scandal ratings down. Fortunately, we’re all clear now that the show’s true OTP is Mellie and Olivia, or Ollie. They’re about to burn everything down, and it’s my esteemed privilege to watch them do it. Tally fucking ho.

Cyrus remembers his years with Fitz, not all fondly.

joey friends lied

“Sir, I have to go.” He says with extra strength hidden meaning because he can’t with Fitz’s drama queen personality anymore. Fitz doesn’t pick up what Cyrus is putting down.

rick and morty shit together

“That means you can cut chapter 2 and replace it with a chapter on why you stayed.” Olivia is cracking the whip on Mellie’s pre-candidacy autobiography.

wuss friends monica

Also, Mellie’s walking around OPA in her bare feet, and the familiarity is making me feel things.

“When Fitz was screwing another woman, you didn’t seem to care and we want to know why.” “Wow, you really can compartmentalize like nobody’s business.” That’s why she’s the queen, boo.

rihanna wink

Mellie eats all the snacks in the break room and then asks for more. My kind of woman.

brooklyn nine nine coffee

“It’s called multi-tasking.” Huck supposed to be fact-checking the book, but he’s watching soccer and blowing off Marcus instead.

work and drink mad men

93% of a sample think Susan is a viable Presidential candidate. “It’s a wake-up call,” Lizzie tells her. Susan’s polling strong like bull.

harry one direction strong

“If you turn your back on this, if you don’t even explore the option, you will regret it every day for the rest of your life.” Susan says no, but Lizzie isn’t letting the conversation drop. Whyever could she be so invested? I thought she didn’t even like Susan.

misfits i sense fuckery

“A profile like this is fine, when you’re out of office.” A “loaded gun” journalist wants to do an intensive article on the President and all his advisers give it the hell no. Fitz wants to do it, of course.

taraji haters

“It’s none of their business.” “You can’t SAY that.” Olivia is struggling to help Mellie understand that writing a softball memoir is worse than not writing one at all.

liam payne no

“You don’t know, do you?” “Well, do you know why you left?” Why don’t all of us forget Fitz ever happened?

no memtory gandalf

Annabeth Gish is Lillian Forrester, our intrepid writer. Here, Annabeth, have some whale songs.

whale calls the x-files

“We’re calling this our Year of Achievement.” “Year of Achievement? Catchy!”

tori kelly bored

“Mr. President, did you just compare yourself to Putin?” He actually fucking SMIRKS.

get out hot fuzz

“I want a conversation with a man. A meaningful one.” And the meaning is: I want to see you naked.

desire x-files

Mellie and Liv destroy a bunch of Chinese food, kick off their shoes, and lay around talking. “It’s nice, right?” Ladies, you’ve got work to do.

x-files checkers

“Is that the kind of reverse psychology crap you learn from your therapist?” “I don’t have a therapist.” Mellie’s FACE.

jane the virgin why are you laughing

Mellie knows about Vermont, lol.

genie jaw drop

“As far as real relationships go, you were just a blip on his radar.” Fitz can’t have a real relationship because his COLD DEAD HEART cannot feel love.

colbert oh snap

“So what’s on the agenda today?” “Down, boy.” Rosen gets on his hands and knees VERY quickly. This is not his first time.

right in the butt broad city

“That woman is my shot at the Oval!” Apparently that can wait. Lizzie is at David’s office to Lysistrata him in to convincing Susan to run. For Lizzie’s own personal gain, of course.

friday shoo

“Because that muppet is in love with you! Do some convincing, give her what she wants.” NO, DAVID. NO.

one direction no

“I wanted to see if you’d like to get out of here.” Susan is all lit up. She’s so flattered and proud to have his time. SHE IS SO PURE AND THESE MONSTERS ARE GOING TO BREAK HER.

star trek kiss

“Have you been to the top of the Washington monument?” “No. Yes.” Susan Ross is a better American than you.

creed the office us

FINALLY. GETTYSBURGER. Why hasn’t some enterprising Washington DC burger chef opened a real one yet?
how i met your mother robin burger

“Now that comes with Freedom Fries, but you’re also gonna want Union Rings.” “I thought I had to choose.” “No, Union and Freedom go together!”

brooklyn nine nine the man knows me

“You’re gonna miss it. The worst. The fights.” Cyrus won’t sit idly by while Fitz wastes the final days of his presidency. This isn’t the man he thought he was getting elected.

pretty woman mistake

“Are we done?” “I believe so, sir.” You’ve served through disaster after disaster, Cyrus. Save yourself.

liz lemon what fresh hell

Olivia comes home. Jake silently follows her to her bedroom. They’re both taking clothes off while they walk. God, I love this hate-sex arrangement.

nicki minaj wink

“This isn’t happening again.” “Yes, it is.” 

the 100 i'm in charge

And I guess we’re not mentioning the NSA thing for the time being? Not in the bedroom, at least.

Cyrus makes his move on the other grant, joining Mellie’s bitter-table-for-one. “I already have an eye on someone to run my campaign.” “Right.”

the flash joe feeling so attacked

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“Please, let this be real.” – Sleepy Hollow Recap – Incident at Stone Manor

leftenant hand

Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 10
“Incident at Stone Manor”
Posted by Sage

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but it is GOING DOWN AT SLEEPY HOLLOW. Instead of throwing everything at us in its mid-season premiere, the show established a new, sorrowful normal and then waited until the next episode to fully unleash. Sure, the monster-of-the-week is a guy in horns and gray body paint (Fox Mulder, somewhere, smugly: “It’s pronounced ‘gar-goo-eeee.'”), but this. This episode right here is all about Grace Abigail Mills, queen of our hearts and minds, and her escape from yet another metaphysical prison. Tangentially, it’s also about her Biblical life partner, because they’re too co-dependent for even solitary confinement in Sumerian God Jail to keep them apart. The UST is literally burning a hole in my hand right now, so let’s get to the rankings.

#ShippyHollow

i heard i heard 2
You’re damn right this section comes first for once. Kim wrote beautifully last week about Crane’s increasing desperation in his partner’s absence, accurately describing him as “a man possessed by a singular mission.” That mission? GET ABBIE BACK ALIVE. And though Sophie helped him to gain SOME perspective on keeping up with his other duties, Crane clearly hasn’t lost any of his fervor to retrieve his beloved lieutenant, if the speed with which he constructed that spirit cabinet is any indication. He hangs every last one of this hopes on each method that he tries, so certain that their journey together couldn’t possibly be over. The next tactic is as sane an idea as anything else that’s worked so far on Sleepy Hollow: astral projection. Since Crane has no idea where Abbie might be and thus no way to physically go to her, he and Joenny research a way to loosen the tether between his soul and his body so that the former can go in search of its mate. (See what I did there?)

To assist his soul in finding Abbie’s (as if that thirsty motherfucker needs the help), Jenny has stocked the cabinet with three totems from the Mills family. It’s sort of like giving a police dog a whiff of clothing to get a scent, only much more woo-woo. The items are Grace Dixon’s journal, a necklace that belonged to their mother and then to Jenny, and a lighter that Jenny lifted from their father’s house. I expect that Ezra Mills will appear again before the season is out and in a much more significant way, but Joenny’s light B&E made for an unexpected introduction to the man who left their family. Anyway, the job is just another excuse for Joe and Jenny to do some sexy scheming. With her stealthy fearlessness and his deceivingly boy-next-door handsomeness, they could run this town. They already DO. (P.S. Joey, I’d totally vote for you for the Hot Good Neighbor award or whatever the fuck. In a second.)

Jenny offers to do the ritual instead of Crane, but she’s well aware she’ll be rejected. Crane believes that Miss Jenny could move mountains if she wanted to, but this isn’t about ability. They are the Witnesses. He is responsible. And this is his job. The team lights a candle in the cabinet for his lifeline; once it’s burned completely down, Crane’s soul will be called back. Jenny reads the incantation (“Spirit to its target race…”) and Crane’s head slumps forward. Joe finds a weak but steady pulse, and they leave him to his work.

"Stick with it, okay?" "You try and stop me."

“Stick with it, okay?” “You try and stop me.”

JOENNY SIDE-BAR: I love this dynamic. I love that Jenny keeps trying to push Joey away, and that Joey’s response is always “lolokay.” I love that she challenges him to be scared of her and looks pleased when he’s not. I love that he’s as much of an adrenaline junkie as she is and not turned off by her moodiness. They’re good for each other. And, friendly reminder, also very hot.

abbie 3

MEANWHILE in god knows where (like literally, the Hidden One knows where), Abbie is having her Jemma Simmons moment. It’s remarkable how much “Incident at Stone Manor” resembles “4,722 Hours,” the SHIELD episode from this season that finally showed fans what Simmons endured while trapped in the monolith. Unlike Simmons, Abbie doesn’t have to hunt for strange food or find water or even rest. She’s not at risk of starvation or dehydration, but she has no pleasures either. It’s a prison of loneliness. Abbie’s enemy in this place is her own madness. She staves it off by collecting data, exploring the area and mapping it on her wall. And she staves it off by talking to Crane, the person whose responses she can most clearly hear in her head. (Hey! It’s finally a good thing that he never shuts up.) In the SHIELD episode, Simmons recorded messages on her phone to her platonic partner-pal who she definitely doesn’t want to kiss ever, Fitz. AND THEN THEY KISSED. Because if sci-fi television has taught me one thing (also, hello Doctor Who‘s “Hell Bent”), it’s that it can sometimes take the universe’s involvement to get your main characters to realize some shit.

Abbie perks up when she begins to hear Crane’s real voice, not just her approximation of it. He’s almost there, but he needs her to remember their bond and hold it in her mind. (She’s like, bitch, what do you think I’ve been doing for ten months?) Finally, he appears, and Abbie looks like a drowning person who just set eyes on dry land. “Please be real, please be real,” she whispers to herself. She charges forward to throw her arms around his neck, and stumbles through the ether. He’s just a projection, quite literally there in spirit. All the tenth Doctor vibes. Did we trip and fall into Bad Wolf Bay? (“I’m still just an image, no touch.”)

So Crane can’t give her the colonial bear hug her heart needs, but he can put some of his translation skills to work. The hieroglyphs on the walls of Abbie’s prison are ancient Sumerian. He begins to read them, but not before Abbie can make him understand how key her faith in him was for her survival. “Thank you, Crane. For never giving up on me,” she says.  He won’t take the praise, turning back to the icons and saying, “I only did as I knew you would had our roles been reversed.” She admits that she imagined speaking with him, and that they even played chess. “Don’t worry, I haven’t completely lost it.” He looks down at her intently, both worried about how long she can hold out on her sanity if they can’t immediately free her and a little flabbergasted at her words.

Pausing on the shippiness for a moment, can I give some love to Nicole Beharie? This is her episode, and she owns it. If genre shows were still viable award contenders, I’d tell her to submit this piece and wait for the trophies to be thrown in her direction. This is such a challenging performance to pull off. Abbie is on the brink of something terrible, but so very trained and determined. If Nicole had held back too much or played it too manic, it would have been a disaster. If anyone who belongs to the voting body of anything, I beg you: DO NOT SLEEP on genre shows, even network ones. There’s work like this being done on them, and attention outside the fandom must be paid. Also, memo to Nicole and the Hair/Make-Up department: keep the natural hair for Abbie, it’s BANGING.

eye eye 2

The walls say that the Eye of Providence is the way out of that place, and great, Abbie has kept it safe. It’s deactivated though, now a dull clear instead of glowing red. Before the Witnesses can begin to work out how to wake it up again, Pandora arrives, having used the pathway that Crane’s soul cleared for her. If they give her the Eye, Pandora offers in trade, she’ll let them come back. She should be aware by now just who the fuck she’s dealing with; no sale, say the witnesses. Pandora is a projection as well and can’t physically threaten Abbie. However. “I can’t touch you,” she says, “but i can touch him.” She takes the cutlass Abbie found out in the wilderness and severs Crane’s tether. His soul is lost, floating free. “There are fates worse than death, Abbie,” Pandora coos. “How long will you be able to stand the solitude?” Abbie can’t help it; she’s crying, all hope seemingly lost, the one person who could find her in this place gone. She makes like she’s going to hand over the Eye, and then smashes it with a rock. Like a boss. “In chess, we call that move a sacrifice. On the face it presents a loss, but in the end, it gives tactical superiority.” Pandora is PISSED, and visibly afraid of going back to face her lov-ah empy-handed. She assures Abbie that she’ll rot, and then she’s gone.

always with always 2
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“Where were we? Ah…power.” – Scandal Gif-Cap “It’s Hard Out Here for a General”

Scandal Season 5, Episode 10
“It’s Hard Out Here for a General.”

Posted by Kim

WELCOME BACK GLADIATORS! After an eternal winter hiatus, Scandal has come back to us. Where were we? Oh, yes. Liv dumped Fitz’s sorry ass. That’s really all you need to know. “It’s Hard Out Here for General” picks up six months after the events of the midseason finale. Let’s get right to the gifs, shall we?

“Lovers of Liberty, we are back. Where were we? Ah…power. The enormous teat off of which this town suckles.” I love how Sally Langston is the official narrator of Scandal now.

Liv is at a family dinner with Rowan and nearby diners are sneaking pictures of her. Has she become more popular since dumping Fitz’s ass? That’s an America I can get behind.

LIV IN RED. I DIE.

“My baby had the Oval. You were running the place and he was clueless.” Rowan may be the devil but he is always ON POINT re: Fitzgerald Grant.

“He tried to make me into a First Lady.” Which, no.

“No one can ever cage me unless I let them.” And Fitz caged her for such a long long time. BRING ON LIBERATED OLIVIA POPE MY BODY IS READY.

“Jake has come home. So should you.”

“I don’t like waiting.” “Then don’t.” Are Liv and Jake fucking again???? Say yes.

OH YES THEY ARE. 

The whole thing is a power struggle. In the elevator. Against the door. On the table. Oral going BOTH ways. They are fighting to see who can get who off faster and I AM ALIVE. GOD BLESS.

Meanwhile, since he has no friends, Fitz decides to call Abby at 2 AM. 

Fitz asks Abby to accompany him to a dinner. Um. IS HE TRYING TO DATE HER? Back the fuck away.

Abby has the same “STAY AWAY DEMON” response. She lies and says Leo is sick in bed next to her. Fitz says he’ll send some soup. WHAT? Also I miss Leo.

Huck shows up at Liv’s door in the wee hours of the morning with a new client but she won’t open the door because she has a very naked Jake in her apartment.

The client is the Director of the NSA (who happens to be a woman because Shonda Rhimes). Liv promptly kicks Jake out. Thanks for the sex, Boo.

“She’s a total…” “Bad ass.” “I was going to say trailblazer but bad ass works!” Diane Peters is a GENERAL of the Air Force AND she’s the Head of the NSA, so yeah, I’d say trailblazing bad ass.

Diane’s home computer is being hacked and it’s coming from an Inside Job. Of course she has a lot of sensitive files, including a LOT about a “Project Mercury”. 

The prime suspect of the hack is her partner Billy, who is a programmer. He has also conveniently vanished.

Diane refuses to believe he had anything to do with this. She says he drops off the grid all the time and that she did extensive checks on him when they got together. “HE CHECKED OUT,” she insists.

Is Diane’s boyfriend a spy or a whistleblower? That is the question.

*Jake watches Liv drink some post-coital water* “Can I have some?” *Liv looks at him.* “No.” 

“Abby’s still a bestie right?” Cyrus calls Liv in the middle of the night to discuss our favorite ginger.

“You think she’s got it in her? Work wife? Can she handle it?” Ah, so THAT’S what Fitz is doing. He needs a new wife. And Abby is really the only option.

“Yes. Abby can handle it.” Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

“Mellie Grant is in your office.” I love how Huck always delivers this kind of news and how he looks terrified. ALSO HI MELLIE MY QUEEN.

Mellie wrote a book and she wants Liv to read it and give her thoughts. “Call it a favor.”

A reporter for the Post asks Abby about Project Mercury. She shuts him down but you see the panic in her eyes.

Abby leaves the press room and goes on a tirade. “WHAT IS PROJECT MERCURY?”

Abby’s call to Liv about the Post makes her realize that Billy is a whistleblower.

Jake meeting Fitz on the balcony. Oh green screen, I missed you.

“You think you’d find me drunk and playing Russian roulette with the nuclear codes?” Well yes, that’s what children in power do when they are pouting.

“Abby says I’m all cylinders. Whatever that means.”  STOP WITH HER.

Fitz asks Jake to look into the Project Mercury leaks. “I need someone I trust.” HOW DO THEY STILL TRUST EACH OTHER?

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

Sleepy Hollow Season 3, Episode 9
“One Life”

Posted by Kim

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

#CreepyHollow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hi mom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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