The Resistance Wore Sequins – SAG Fashion 2017

Posted by Maggie

It would be naive and offensive to pretend that the SAG Awards were the only or most important thing that happened this weekend. However, as depressing as it is to acknowledge, we’re in for a long four years. We need to pace ourselves when it comes to engaging and resisting so we don’t lose steam. So I was happy to end the weekend with the SAG Awards red carpet and ceremony, which turned out to be lit. I’ve always been fine with celebrities using their platform to discuss issues that matter to them, as long as it’s sincere and doesn’t feel exploitative.

Ahem.

So I loved that from Ashton Kutcher opening the ceremony all the way through to Taraji P. Henson’s acceptance speech for Hidden Figures at the end of the night, there were so many messages of unity and acceptance. For a couple of hours, I felt so much hope. And sure, it was terrible to wake up to the news cycle on Monday morning, but I felt a little more ready to face it.

SO LET’S JUDGE SOME DRESSES.

BEST

Sarah Paulson 

source: Vanity Fair

I adore this. Head to toe, she looks amazing. That cape jacket! It’s so perfectly dramatic.

source: E!

And even without the jacket, this is flawless: Dress. Earrings. Clutch. Red lip. Well done, Sarah.

Viola Davis 

source: CNN

GORGEOUS. Fit for the queen she is. My only nitpick is apparently I now want a red lip with absolutely everything, but even still.

Michelle Williams 

source: CNN

YAY SPARKLE STRIPES. We got a lot of stripes this time around and I, for one, am here for it. I think this is so elegant on her. The perfect shape to carry all that metallic. And I’m not going to lie, I like the little scarf and think it’s working here. (I can’t wait to see what she wears around her neck for the Oscars.)

My first complaint about E! for the night is that I did not see Busy on the red carpet but there is photographic evidence of Michelle’s bestie supporting her.

Yara Shahidi 

source: E!

What did I say about stripes? I’ve heard that Yara is a rising star but I think this is the first time I’ve really taken note. She looks sophisticated but youthful and vibrant.

source: E!

She’s having fun and so are we.

Evan Rachel Wood

Source: Wenner Media

Evan killed it again in this subtle blue custom menswear look. I love that she went for a fitted pant this time, and check out this open detail at the back:

source: E!

Right?

Naomie Harris

source: Wenner Media

My second complaint about E! for the night is that they didn’t show this look full length so I had no idea it was a jumpsuit at first. What the hell, man? Anyway. I’m really into this, it feels a little more runway than red carpet, but that’s an uneducated opinion. It’s unusual but very appealing, and I think it was a great choice for the SAGs.

Janelle Monae 

source: popsugar

Make no mistake, this look doesn’t work without her. On someone else, it might seem busy but she makes it chic. You really see the simple, classic foundation of the dress before taking in all the accoutrements.

source: popsugar

Even in closeup, she’s not getting lost in the details.

Millie Bobby Brown

Source: CNN

Full disclosure, I don’t like the headband, but I love everything else. Was anyone else wearing red? (Who cares?) This is stunning. The details at the shoulder are so cute, and that belt. I think she looks adorable and event appropriate, a combination she’s proven to be really good at.

Taraji P. Henson 

source: Wenner Media

Real talk, if you add a bow or two to your gown, you automatically double the chance that I will like it. I could do with a little more sparkle coverage on the bodice, but I really like how this is sexy and demure at the same time. She manages to be a little princessy without being twee (even with the bows!). Also, this color is beautiful on her.

Nicole Kidman

source: Vanity Fair

I know this was pretty universally hated and I might get a lot of heat, but I like it. Maybe Harry Styles has desensitized me to crazy fashion, maybe I just want to watch the world burn, I don’t know. But look at this! The fit: perfection. The color: GORGEOUS, and you know how picky I am about green. The sparkles: Yay! And it doesn’t look heavy, which it easily could have given the details at the sides. The neckline: to die for.

source: SMH

You want to talk about the parrots? Okay, let’s talk about the parrots. I don’t mind them! I feel kind of happy looking at them, and I’m not going to apologize for that.

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“What’s This? What’s Happening? What’s Going On?” – Sarah’s Top 20 Episodes of Will & Grace, Part One

Posted by Sarah

Will & Grace was never just a TV show to me, and it’s impossible to put into words how much it has meant to me over the years. It was my first positive exposure to gay representation. (I was born and raised in the suburban part of Amish Country, Pennsylvania…seeing that was a big deal.) It gave me something to laugh about during some of the worst times of my life. It was my first taste of fandom life, and that fandom was the first time I felt like I found my tribe. I made friends that became like family (in fact, two of my friends who met and fell in love because of the fandom eloped in Central Park this past March, and I was honored to be their witness), all because of four friends living and loving in Manhattan every Must-See Thursday night. The fact that the show was ridiculously funny is just a bonus. So when it ended in 2006, I was heartbroken but so thankful for everything it had given me. Since the series finale, I’ve followed the main cast pretty much wherever they went, from miniseries to stints hosting daytime TV to Broadway plays and, oh, Eric McCormack’s in a sci-fi thing now? Let’s watch all of that (it’s really great, by the way)! I always love it when there’s a mini reunion on one of their projects, but I never expected all four of them to be back on-screen together again.

But then, in September, the photos started appearing. The cast had taken to Twitter and Instagram to post pictures of what at first seemed like an innocuous little get-together. But as the get-together went on, the setting looked…oddly familiar. Like apartment 9C, Jack McFarland’s going to burst in any minute familiar. After letting me spiral into “WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!” territory for a few days, “Vote Honey” was bestowed unto us, that glorious ten-minute reunion that could. It quickly went viral, leading to constant buzz about a potential Will & Grace revival. And between Megan Mullally and Leslie Jordan getting my hopes WAY up, and Debra Messing and Eric McCormack warning everyone to slow their rolls, I was almost resigned to staying in “ARE THEY COMING BACK OR NOT?!” territory for the foreseeable future. That is, until NBC’s big announcement in January.

THEY’RE COMING BACK FOR REAL, YOU GUYS.

Ten new episodes of Will & Grace are coming our way next season! And while the smallest part of me is a little nervous about it—there IS a way to get around that last episode, right?—as Rosario said when Jack caught her in bed with Karen’s gardener, “The heart wants what it wants.” And my heart wants more. So now that we’re getting a ninth season (I can’t believe I get to say that), I thought it would be fun to take a trip back to Riverside Drive and look back on some of my all-time favorite episodes of the first eight years. I’ve compiled my top 20 (pared down from an original list of 70 episodes…why is this show so good?) to share with you, the episodes that I think highlight the brilliance of this series. Some are no-brainers, and some might surprise you. Some are hilarious throughout, and some of them get very real. But combined, this showcases some of the series’ best jokes, the true depth of each character, and an amazing ability to tell a story.

This is Will & Grace as I know and love it.

20.) Forbidden Fruit (8 x 12)

My only rule going into this was that the A-story and the B-story of any given episode had to be consistent in quality in order to be considered for top 20. Well…I already broke my rule with this one. Which is not to say that Will and Grace’s story isn’t good; in fact, I find it pretty entertaining. Inspired by Will working for the Coalition for Justice, Grace decides to volunteer to design a retirement home. That is, until Will’s old boss Margot (hi, Lily Tomlin!) offers her an unlimited budget to redesign the law firm. She secretly begins work for Margot so as not to look bad to Will, completely unaware that Will quit the Coalition in favor of his old job. It leads to some good laughs as they try to keep their secrets while Margot conspires to make them find each other out, and Lily Tomlin kills every line she has with that hilarious deadpan (“Hector, I’ve only got five minutes before I have to get back to the office. I want what I had yesterday. I don’t remember what it was, and you weren’t working, but I want it anyway.”). But this is not why we’re here.

Cards on the table: if an episode gives me a moment where Karen shows emotional depth, it automatically becomes one of my favorites. It’s part of the reason she’s my favorite character on the show; 95% of the time she’s over the top, doesn’t fully know what boundaries are, and her past is so vague that it’s actually fun to count the ways that her crazy personal stories contradict each other. But it’s that other five percent that shows you that she’s human, that things affect her, that despite her assertions to the contrary, she can feel. Let me just warn you now, this is going to come up a lot during this list, to the point where I kind of want to keep a tally throughout, just to see how invested I am in the sad parts of comedy. And by “kind of want to,” I mean I’m totally doing it, so without further ado…

Karen Walker Feels Things! Tally: 1

The story starts out fun enough; Jack is under the weather, prompting Karen to invite him to stay at the manse so she can take care of him. While I would have watched the crap out of a run-of-the-mill Jack/Karen slumber party (you know you would have, too), it takes a turn when Jack keeps prodding Karen to let him inside what she deems “The forbidden room.” He even tries to get Rosario to spill the goods, to no avail. A few moments of great physical comedy and a broken forbidden doorknob later, Jack stumbles into a fully furnished nursery, where things get incredibly real. This episode breaks you in doses during its third act. It starts with the reveal of the nursery itself, because if you know the show inside and out, you remember the false alarm during season one’s “The Unsinkable Mommy Adler.” Then Karen talks about the thought of her child playing with her makeup, and you start to feel your heart ache. And somewhere in the middle of her lamentations that she wouldn’t be a good mother even though she’s gone all maternal on Jack, it hits you: that false alarm was seven years ago. She’s had this room for SEVEN YEARS, never going inside, never getting rid of what might have been, never fully getting over it. You got a sense of her disappointment during “The Unsinkable Mommy Adler,” but it wasn’t explored much until this episode, and even then, you can see her trying to save face with Jack in the room. She thanks him for allowing her to let go, gives him a smile as he says that she should keep the room for a little while longer. It’s almost as if everything is going to go back to normal…until she takes one last look at the room in a moment that has been etched in my mind ever since it first aired.

There goes Megan Mullally, shattering the hell out of my heart.

Best line:

Jack: Wow. So dramatic. The forbidden room. Reminds me of my nickname at camp: Forbidden Fruit. Unless I was in a sleeping bag. Then it was Fruit Roll-Up.

19.) Dolls and Dolls (5 x 21)

What would Valley of the Dolls look like if it was set in 2003, only lasted three days, and had very minimal stakes? It would look like Will tripping over his clogs, spraining his ankle, and being prescribed painkillers to help him heal. It’s like if Neely O’Hara had zero competitive edge and neutral opinions on The King of Queens. A big part of the reason this episode made the list is because I find high Will so ridiculously entertaining. He’s the most chill he’s ever been, not letting anything phase him. He calls off work, spending his day in pajamas catching up on American Idol (I love his Paula Abdul comments; tell me Forever Your Girl isn’t a gem of an album, I dare you. You can’t). But when he suddenly needs a refill after only a couple of days, Grace knows she and Jack have to intervene. And the intervention is fantastic; I love that the thing that FINALLY gets through to Will is the realization that he called his mother back when he said he would. Maybe on a scale of one to Valley of the Dolls, it falls on the low end, but unless you wanted to turn this show into a melodrama, that’s where it had to be. Although, part of me is kind of curious to know what Will’s alley breakdown moment would have been.

Meanwhile, Karen decides she’s missing out on real life, and tries to fix that by getting a roommate (can we talk about the fact that Madonna is the one that’s supposed to show Karen how the middle-class lives? MADONNA). The over-the-top exaggerations on the knowledge Karen lacks work because she’s always been an over-the-top character. So of course she doesn’t know what a laundromat is, or how a soda can works. Of course she marvels at running errands and doesn’t know what the hell to do with a chore wheel. And for a little while, Karen and Liz bond over their independence (because, as we all know, “Guys just mess everything up…or get murdered”). It’s nuts how quickly the honeymoon phase ends, though; once they get into a pretty intense fight at the bar, Liz is all too ready to dump Karen as a roommate. When you think about it, this works perfectly with the storyline; Karen was simply looking for the experiences most people have, and having at least one shitty roommate story is basically a rite of passage (ask me about the roommate I had in the summer of 2014 sometime…I still rage about that one). Karen’s shitty roommate story, however, comes with some sweet, sweet vengeance; once she realizes she owns the building, she evicts Liz. “Dolls and Dolls” was great as a one-time story for Karen. It gets her outside of her comfort zone for the perfect amount of time before she ultimately pulls rank in the most glorious way.

Sometimes it helps to be the over-the-top one.

Best line:

Will: Look! TiVo saved all the American Idols for me. I love Paula Abdul. And I love that we live in a world that would give a Paula Abdul a second chance.

18.) Will on Ice (1 x 11)

I don’t know why Will’s birthday makes for a great jumping off point for an episode, but it really does (it happens in another episode coming up…I’ll let you guess which one). Up until now, he’s had bad luck with birthdays, relaying a story about how he desperately wanted a cowboy party when he turned eight, only to have his mom throw him a clown party. Grace is determined to give him a birthday celebration he can look back on with joy. But come on, you guys, you know it’s not going to go smoothly.

See, Jack and Grace don’t get along the way Will hopes, so bringing everyone together for a birthday dinner is a situation in and of itself. Never fear, though! During a rousing game of “Love Her/Hate Him,” they have the best bonding moment over ice skating. Which is all fine and good, until their bonding leads to Champions on Ice the same night as Will’s birthday dinner. I love Will for agreeing to go to this thing when clearly he would rather be anywhere else, but sacrificing your birthday just plain sucks (Karen’s less than thrilled about the Champions on Ice detour as well; the moment she shouts “SKATE FASTER, WE HAVE RESERVATIONS!” is one of the moments you know she’s a queen). But his loss is our gain, because Jack and Grace have some of the best interactions in this episode that they will ever have in the series. I don’t know much about ice skating, but the giddy way they rave about it is so relatable for anyone who has ever loved something with all their heart and found someone who loves it just as much as they do; these two are basically embodying fandom life here. It’s insanely delightful, even if Will and Karen don’t get it, and it builds a stronger connection between the two that the series can play off of in later seasons. Jack going home with Rudy Galindo is just the icing on the cake.

Editor’s Note: For the record, it’s huge that Rudy Galindo made this appearance, especially since a) it happened in the first season, before the show could be confirmed as a mainstream hit and b) it’s heavily suggested that he’s going to go have sex with Jack. Galindo was the first openly gay U.S. figure skating champion and has discussed how being out affected the way the US Figure Skating Association treated him. Ironically, the USFSA does NOT have a reputation for being very accepting (just ask Johnny Weir!), so Galindo’s insistence on living and speaking his truth is not to be taken lightly. -Sage, a former figure skater who also loves this episode. 

Speaking of cake: of course, Grace wants to make sure Will gets at least one thing he wants on his birthday. Once they come home, she pulls the long-coveted cowboy cake out of the fridge—”Happy birthday, partner”—to end the night on a high note. This is the kind of thing that makes Will and Grace’s relationship so wonderful, and so easy to get on board with. All either of them wants to do is make the other happy; it’s why Champions on Ice happened, and it’s why there’s a sheet cake with plastic cowboys stuck in it sitting on their dining room table. It’s a moment of pure love and friendship that makes your heart swell when you witness it. And isn’t that what this show is all about?

Best line:

Grace: Oh my god! The best! Surya Bonaly!
Will: Who?
Grace and Jack: Surya Bonaly!
Jack: She’s French.
Grace: She’s powerful.
Jack: She’s black.
Grace: She wears blue eyeshadow and does illegal backflips.
Jack: She scares me…I crave her.

17.) Von Trapped (8 x 10)

Even with all those references to The Sound of Music sing-a-long peppered throughout the series, I really wasn’t expecting them to make an episode out of it. But at the last minute, they came through, and it was everything I ever needed. Because you couldn’t simply have the gang go to this thing; the events had to emulate the plot of the movie in its own way. Grace, dressed as Maria, suddenly becomes the childcare service of the theater, watching over seven kids. (I love when Will finally makes it to the theater: “Wow. I didn’t realize your costume was going to be this elaborate.”) Karen’s the one to set off the events causing the theater to go on a manhunt for the group by throwing a flask off the balcony and hitting someone below. (Classic Karen, right?) Jack falls for Ralph, the concessions guy who ends up ratting them out to the theater. (He’s even wearing an armband with his uniform. Good job, wardrobe department!) Rosario, dressed as a nun, is the one to stow them away in the utility closet. The whole episode is so detailed and SO fulfilling if you know the movie. The dialogue plays off of movie references so often, but it never sounds forced; and while jokes are being made, it’s always in good spirit. It really is a loving tribute to The Sound of Music.

This episode is also extremely rude for introducing James (hi, Taye Diggs!) into the picture. Look, I love that Will ended up with Vince, because their dynamic was always so delightful to me. But I completely fell for the star-crossed lover storyline that started with “Von Trapped,” and I wanted it to work so much. They had chemistry that made for excellent TV. The fact that James wants to get to know Will despite his costume that is unsuitable for the 7:40 showing of Memoirs of a Geisha endeared me to him right away. And when he raced over to the other theater when his movie was done so he could see Will again? COME ON. It’s such a wonderful gesture, and it’s frustrating when they JUST miss each other. I was so happy when he popped up again in “I Love L. Gay,” because this episode made me root for them from the start. But savor these moments now, because in a few episodes, James becomes an upsetting dick who I’m pretty sure is part of the reason we can’t have nice things.

Best line:

Grace (trying to comfort the children): Everyone gather around. You know what I do when I feel scared?
Jack: Fart a little and then deny it?
Grace: NO…Well, after that…

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“Why are you here?” – This Is Us Recap – Three Sentences

source: bigthree.tumblr.com

This Is Us Season 1, Episode 13
“Three Sentences”
Posted by Shannon

The Pearsons are all about family traditions; be it big holidays or tiny annual celebrations, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to see just how much comfort the family takes in their unique customs. Now that we’ve fully experienced the day leading up to their birth, this week we get the chance to see how that day gets celebrated year after year. It’s been a while since we’ve seen formative childhood experiences reflecting in the lives of their adult counterparts, and their 10th birthday in particular echoed through the timelines. After all, it’s an important birthday.

Jack/Rebecca

source: bigthree.tumblr.com

That old handheld video recorder sure got a lot of use. Jack and Rebecca have taped every birthday the family has celebrated, and the opening montage runs through nine years’ worth of loving family parties. Year after year, it’s pin the tail on the donkey, three-layer cake, and wrapping paper fights. The celebrations are beloved and fun, but small; these birthday parties are a family affair, with no big, chaotic, packed parties to be seen. But for their 10th, Kevin and Kate have other ideas. The kids storm their parents bedroom with a list of demands: Kate insists on a Madonna party since she and her best friend Sophie are all about Madonna at the moment, and Kevin, a year older and infinitely braver than he was at 9, wants to celebrate with The Princess Bride.  Randall can’t really be bothered, but he can’t very well be the only Pearson kid without a birthday party, and the promise of a magician in attendance is enough to get him to agree.



source: bigthree.tumblr.com
 

Their mini-rebellion didn’t leave Jack and Rebecca with much time to plan. The parents have only a day’s notice to orchestrate three themed parties. They hop to, and Jack is hard at work bedazzling Madonna gloves while he revisits some of the old birthday party tapes. He’s lost in thought, and emotional at how quickly they all seem to be growing up. Jack takes the perceived loss of tradition hard; he can’t stand the thought that the kids don’t want to play pin the tail on the donkey anymore, and he can’t bear letting the celebration go. His ask to Rebecca to consider having another kid is genuine in the moment, but ultimately misguided, and she knows it. He doesn’t really want another kid; he wants them to stay locked in childhood, as cute as they were at five.

source: vxmchna.tumblr.com

Despite the herculean turnaround time, the parties are going off without a hitch. Kevin shows his first performance tendencies by channeling his inner Mandy Patinkin, and Kate is looking fierce as hell with her Madonna clan. Randall, relaxing outside with the magician, is the wildcard; most of the yard is empty, except for Yvette’s kids and a few friends. But Randall, even at 10, is already the most emotionally mature member of the Big Three. Knowing his parents would be more upset at this reality than he was, he hadn’t wanted to bother them with the fact that his social circle isn’t as big as that of his siblings. Worried that his new school is full of “racist bastards” and that Randall isn’t fitting in as well as they thought, Jack and Rebecca are beside themselves – just as Randall knew they would be. The thing is, Randall couldn’t be happier. He has his three really good friends (“That’s a lot!”) and as far as he’s concerned, the most important thing about his new school’s social dynamics is that he has a friend to sit with at lunch and make a book of mazes. Randall’s emotional awareness at such a young age is striking, but what’s more impressive to me is how little he’s changed as an adult. Randall’s needs are straightforward and clear. He doesn’t care how many people are around; what matters to him is that the ones who are around TRULY know him. It’s why he’s so distraught when his brother won’t let him in emotionally, and why his mother’s deceitfulness hit so hard. It’s already there, playing across his 10-year-old face.


source: bigthree.tumblr.com
 

Their son’s self-assuredness won’t stop Jack and Rebecca from trying to poach kids from the twins’ parties to fill in Randall’s. Their efforts are largely unsuccessful, but Kevin’s aren’t; most of the Madonnas have left Kate to join in on The Princess Bride party instead. Jack is determined to solve the defection, and while his efforts to cheer Kate up are valiant and adorable, they’re also not quite enough. Kate’s entering the most intense, most emotionally fragile years of girlhood, and not even her dad’s vogueing efforts can stop that. She just wants to be alone.

Jack is devastated, but he won’t give up; knowing that Kate doesn’t want him around right now, he goes to Kevin’s section of the party to see if he can coerce Sophie into spending more time with Kate instead. He and Rebecca are told off quickly and simply; Kevin can’t ask Sophie to go back to the Madonna party. After all, he loves her.



source: s-mokeclouds.tumblr.com
 

This is charming and precious and lovely, and Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia give master classes in subtle reactions while they listen to their son’s admission. But it’s also incredibly telling, and not just because of adult Kevin’s reveal at the end of the episode. Jack and Kate clearly have a special bond, as do Randall and Rebecca. Not to say that both parents don’t love all three of the kids; of course they do. But those two relationships are undeniably special; and it means Kevin was left out in the cold. It’s no wonder he felt insecure and second-best in adolescence. And my tendencies towards psychoanalysis are probably showing here, but I think it says a lot that Kevin imprinted on Sophie so quickly in his childhood. Even at 10, he’s looking for affection and attention, anywhere he can.

Once all the guests go home and the parties close down, Jack and Rebecca collapse together, recovering from the day. They’re emotional and exhausted, but they also both know that they weren’t actually interested in having another kid. Their emotional reaction was one that I’m told many parents feel; the desire to keep their kids frozen in time, at an age where they will never outgrow pin the tail on the donkey or ask for time alone, and certainly at an age where Jack’s talks will never falter. (“That’s like, my thing!”) And while the Big Three are getting older, they still haven’t outgrown their family traditions; downstairs, the kids kick off a wrapping paper fight. Jack and Rebecca can’t wait to join in.

source: bigthree.tumblr.com

Randall/William



source: bigthree.tumblr.com
 

Work never stops when family life is in chaos, and lest we forget that Randall is still holding down his day job trading weather, his boss has asked for an early morning meeting. It leaves Randall with no time for yogurt, much less the time to help William put music on Tess’s old iPod. William, who had just bounded into the kitchen with insurmountable energy and unbridled joy, is experiencing what Beth immediately identifies as a chemo boost. Beth is wary of the medical implications for William, but she still plays along with him while he jokes and dances his way through the morning, laughing about the differences between iPods and iPads. (“Let’s call the whole thing off!”)

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Don’t Fear the Reaper – Supernatural Recap – First Blood

source: ohmysupernatural.tumblr.com

Supernatural Season 12, Episode 9
“First Blood”
Posted by Dawn and Jaymee

The Road So Far: The last episode, “LOTUS,” saw the defeat* of Lucifer, we lost the human woman expecting Satan’s nephilim baby, and our boys were arrested by the Secret Service for trying to assassinate the “president.” Mary was still mostly M.I.A, Rowena and Crowley have done their patent disappearing act, and the British Men of Letters (BMoL) are always lurking in the background. And Castiel, well, he was left to pick up the pieces and deal with Sam and Dean going missing all on his own.

Dawn and Jay: *Defeat as in we think this is temporary and we will be seeing Lucifer again, soon.

First things first. 250 episodes. Two Hundred and Fifty Episodes!! What a 250th episode it was. “First Blood” was the episode we wanted, needed, the episode we didn’t even know we needed until it was there in front of us, demanding to be recognized for its brilliance. “First Blood” hit so many points we, and the entire fandom, have been waiting for. It pulled on our heart-strings, made us laugh in a way that only the pop culture sass of a Winchester can, and it reaffirmed the many, many reasons we have stayed with this show and supported its many twists, turns, transgressions, and redemptions for as long as we have. It made us once again thankful for the heart and soul the actors, directors, crew, and fans have put into making Supernatural reach a place very few other TV shows have gone, now 12 seasons strong.

Now with that out-of-the-way, let’s start: Blood and Family.

Blood: Dean and Sam

This episode showcased the brothers really taking control of their lives. No longer swept along in the turmoil of “destiny,” being pushed and pulled, torn apart and always reacting to what’s happening around them, they take charge. It’s also the first time we get some true and honest perspective on just how dangerous these brothers really are. You know, after breaking out of a top-secret, not on any map, military compound.



source: littlehobbit13.tumblr.com

For all of the times we have seen Sam and Dean go up against some mythical creature, god, demigod, demon, witch, King of Hell, angel, archangel, or, you know, Satan, we very rarely see them go up against plain old humans. We have spent seasons with them fighting huge, monumental, apocalypse-level threats, and because of this, it is incredibly easy to forget how truly, practically dangerous the Winchesters are. Our perspective of their abilities is skewed by all the supernatural threats, so it was both terrifying and refreshing to see them put their ample training and natural abilities up against their own kind.

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Sam and Dean are truly capable and absolutely terrifyingly dangerous to everyone, human or not. Their skills are shown in a stark light as they face off against some of the United States Government’s most highly trained soldiers. But there is something there besides the danger–there is mercy. Because while the boys make easy work of these soldiers, they do it without mortally wounding anyone. They hold back; they show restraint; they provide aid and assistance and ensure that everyone makes it out alive. They take found objects and Home Alone the crap out of these highly trained soldiers, because they do not want to kill, because they do not kill bystanders, because no matter what the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, or the local police say, they are not mindless serial killers. They hunt things. They save people. That is the family business.



source: supernaturaldaily.tumblr.com

And that’s another thing “First Blood” gave us. It gave us vindication, validation, verification! The Winchesters are heroes. They save people, all people. They saved the world multiple times. We know it, and it felt like finally, they know it, too. The hunter community knows it. The angels, demons, and Alphas know it, and it’s about Chuck damn time the humans knew it. This was monumental for Sam and Dean–to speak to someone outside of the hunter community about what they have done for the world.

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Family: Castiel and Mary Winchester

We take what Bobby said to heart, and “First Blood” really solidified it for us: “Family don’t end with blood.” And if you talk to either Dawn or Jay, the Winchesters are made up of four people: Dean, Sam, Mary, and Castiel. This episode made it clear just how much Castiel has become part of their family. The absolute turmoil he went through, the pain and confusion, the isolation; we wept, we cried, we cursed, and we broke down.

DAWN: And now, an appeal to the Academy for Television Arts & Sciences: Please give Misha Collins an Emmy. While all of the actors did an amazing job in this episode, it was our beloved Misha who took our breath away.

JAY:

We, the fans, were Castiel in this episode. Part of our family was missing. Who can we turn to? Who was left? Crowley flat out says no. Mary hasn’t quite lived up to the standard yet, and she had a hell of a nerve giving Castiel shit. We cheered when he stood up to her–she asked why he had left the boys, why he didn’t turn to her for help, and his response of “You were out” was everything we have been wanting someone to say to her. Castiel stepped up because Castiel always steps up, because that is what family does.

JAY: I really feel that Mary “scolding” Castiel for losing the boys was projection. She was angry with herself, for not being there, for leaving, for abandoning them when it was so obvious they needed her. She took that realization out on the one person who has always and will always be there for Sam and Dean, the one person who everyone always relies on. It was so powerful when Castiel showed her what she was doing, showed her why no one turned to her for help. I think this moment in the episode was pivotal for Mary. I think it woke something up inside of her, some missing piece slotted into place and finally it all clicked.

Mary’s struggles continue, but she is coming along. All her contacts may be dead or retired, but there’s a job to be done. She hunts what needs hunting while working with Castiel to find the boys, which somehow doesn’t seem to be hitting her as hard as it it hitting him. When Castiel reminds her exactly how long they have been gone–6 weeks, 2 days, and 10 hours–it’s like she finally realizes this is real. Her KIDS are MISSING. They are captive and missing. WAKE UP, MOM. It takes Castiel suggesting a return to tried and true methods of going to Crowley and Rowena in order to find them for Mary to really go all-in. Refusing to take the same routes the boys so oft do, she turns down the King of Hell and his mama.

JAY: Which honestly, thank goodness. I am so tired of a Winchester making a deal with a demon, reaper, Death himself, in order to sort out a problem. It always leaves me floundering as to what the consequences are, because nothing is free and often these types of solutions tend to exacerbate the problem.

DAWN: Well, yes, but I am not sure the people they DO make the deal with are the smarter option. In some ways, I feel like it’s far worse.

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“The view from here” – Scandal Gif-Cap – Survival of the Fittest

Scandal Season 6, Episode 1
“Survival of the Fittest”
Posted by Kim

Aaaaaaaaaaand we’re back. GOD IT HAS BEEN SO LONG.

When we last saw Scandal, Mellie had just won the Republican Nomination for President. Cyrus had pulled a fast one and gotten on the VP Ticket with Frankie Vargas. We were ready for a Battle Royale, where our fictional President would be either a woman or a Latino. It was a DREAM. And then Kerry Washington had to go and get pregnant again (CONGRATS) and our beloved Scandal was pushed to midseason, after the ACTUAL election that turned the world upside down. How will Scandal play out in this new reality we’re all living in? Let’s get to the gifs and see.

We open with Huckleberry Quinn traipsing through the woods on some sort of mission. Remember when they used to have hate sex? If I have to, so do you.

“He could have gotten to her.” How much time have we jumped? Who is he? WHO IS HER? GOD I MISSED THIS SHOW.

In typical Scandal fashion, the Cabin in the Woods explodes.

We flash back 24 hours and it’s Election Night. Team Mellie is gathered around the TV watching the returns come in. The map is an equal distribution between red and blue. Suddenly, Scandal has become a documentary and it’s TOO REAL. (Except Frankie Vargas has a moral compass.)

“I want ‘I voted’ stickers on everyone!!!”

It all comes down to California, which is hilarious because California hasn’t gone Republican since 1988. But it IS Mellie’s home state, so making it a battleground makes total sense. PS I always forget Mellie is a Republican.

 “Olivia’s Business Walk is my favorite thing.” – Sage

Olivia shoots back some whiskey after talking to Charlie who apparently works here now. She knows.

Frankie wins. I get that this makes better television, but DAMN SHONDA IF I DIDN’T NEED THIS. Why why why why.

“Obviously there has been voter tampering!” Mellie goes straight to denial.

“And make sure that the entire campaign staff is aware that this race is far from over.”

“Mellie needs you.” At least Fitz recognizes this is the most important relationship on the show.

“I NEED A MINUTE.” What Fitz isn’t getting is that this loss means as much, if not more, to Olivia as it does for Mellie. And she needs a minute to deal with that before she has to be the bastion of strength for her candidate.

DON’T SEEK COMFORT FROM HIM OLIVIA.

I forgot Will’s wife from Glee was here. She’s drowning her sorrows in booze, so she can stay.

“NO WE ARE STILL IN THIS!!!” WHY IS THIS HAPPENING.

“You have to make the call now, Mellie, before too much time goes by! You wait too long, the press out there is gonna say you’re ungracious. They’re gonna label you a sore loser.” I mean that’s actually what happened IRL, like I said, this show is now a documentary.

“And because you’re a woman, half of them are gonna call you a bitch, and half of them are gonna report that you cried.” AIN’T THAT THE TRUTH THOUGH.

“You don’t go down like that. We don’t go down like that.”

“Make the damn call.”

Olivia can’t even deal with this.

Mellie, my sad queen. Bellamy Young is SO GOOD, y’all. The way she lowers her voice as she speaks to Frankie is so brilliant. WHERE ARE HER EMMY NOMINATIONS?

Olivia giving Mellie prompts for the phone call.

Mellie drinking the victory champagne in the bathtub. Gurl, same.

Mellie and Liv passing the bottle back and forth. PLEASE BE BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.

“You know what gets me? Cyrus. Cyrus Beene was on the winning team. Cyrus Beene gets to hold public office. Can you believe?”

The way they laugh when they say “Vice President Beene” though.

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“Have fun with the muggle.” – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Recap – Josh Is the Man of My Dreams, Right?

Source: bunchofbloom

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2, Episode 11
“Josh Is the Man of My Dreams, Right?”
Posted by Sage

As if Rebecca Bunch needed further rationale for her misbehavior, the Santa Ana winds came to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend this week. The native Californians warn Rebecca that the weather phenomenon makes everyone act a little strange. Meanwhile, nothing that any of them do in the course of the hour is one step out of character. (Except perhaps for George, but that’s what happens when you push a man to the brink.) The winds don’t blow Rebecca into Nathaniel’s rather nice arms; her insecurity about her en-gaaahge-ment does the job just fine on its own.

Source: bunchofbloom

“Josh Is the Man of My Dreams, Right?” is a subversive take on that engagement honeymoon period and the imagery that’s associated with it. Rebecca shoves, sticks, and plants her ringed hand on the faces of her coworkers to shut them up about the speed with which she and Josh are moving. And finding the perfect wedding venue becomes synonymous with having the perfect marriage. Josh and Rebecca haven’t had one conversation about how their relationship will change or what their long-term plans are. Though Josh – bless his simple heart – does believe that they’ll be married “forever.” Of course some engaged couples go right into planning mode. But a coffee break conversation with Paula tells Rebecca that she’s missing the other half of this experience. She doesn’t feel any differently towards Josh knowing that they’re going to spend their lives together. He doesn’t give her goosebumps anymore.

As ever, Rebecca is more concerned with how their engagement will change how people perceive her. (Hopefully: together, sane, desirable.) She’s especially eager to clock Nathaniel’s response. He’s taken SUCH pleasure in putting Josh down to her face. If an engagement doesn’t convince him that this is real, then what will? But – shocker – Nathaniel isn’t one to get all moony over an engagement ring. As far as he’s concerned, an engaged person is just giving up on the fun stuff and taking themselves out of the game. (Guys think “the chase” is a lot more fun than girls do, wonder why.) He pushes Rebecca about it – how she’ll never be satisfied, how she’s only tying herself down – because he’s decided that he wants to see her break. It’s not a HEALTHY chemistry they have, but Nathaniel and Rebecca are both very determined to pull the other over to their way of thinking. One might say they’re a little obsessed.

Source: crazyexedits
 

The switch flicks for Nathaniel when the winds blow upon Rebecca’s top and he gets a load of her sacks of yellow fat. (They ARE glorious.) In another stroke of brilliance, the show anthropomorphizes the Santa Ana winds as a Frankie Valli-esque crooner. Rebecca imagines the West Covina weatherman (who WAS in Jersey Boys – I checked) creating opportunities for mischief and meddling in her love life. Really, Rebecca’s mistake happens because of her and Nathaniel’s combative sexual chemistry. It IS weird that they both had a sex dream about the other on the same night. (“Oh, girl who works for me.”) But really, they’ve been building towards a bad decision since Nathaniel got there.

Source: crazyexedits

Paula’s advice is cribbed straight from eight Reese Witherspoon movies and is thus incredibly sound. The sexual tension will blow over. Eventually Nathaniel will do something that repels Rebecca, and she and Josh will get their groove back. (“I’m im-bump-potent with him!”) All she has to do is avoid being stuck with him alone in a small space. (Was this always a thing or did rom-coms foretell a self-fulfilling prophecy?) Rebecca spends the whole day avoiding her boss, but the wind is a prankster (“tee hee heeeee”) and they end up alone in the elevator together at night. The running George joke finally pays off when the power goes, and he’s the only person left in the building to rescue him. But Nathaniel and Rebecca are too wrapped up in their own egos and problems to remember this poor guy’s name. Their forced intimacy is George’s revenge.

Source: bunchofbloom
 

“This guy is the embodiment of all my problems,” Kim said to me when we talked about the episode. And he really is the perfect expression of “the guy she tells you not to worry about” meme. What should be repulsing Rebecca – and all of us, when we’re treated this way – is instead issued as a challenge, an enticing opportunity to act out.

Source: crazyexedits
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“Soldiers today.” – Sherlock Recap – The Final Problem

Source: sherlockstuff

Sherlock, Season 4, Episode 3
“The Final Problem”
Posted by Sage

I considered breaking with our recap naming convention to call this post an “in defense of” piece. I can’t divorce my experience watching “The Final Problem” from the high rate of angry feels (and dearth of good feels) stirred up by the first two episodes of the season. So when the first few minutes of “The Final Problem” felt like a return to form for Sherlock – at least a return to the more madcap storytelling of season 3, which I loved – I produced my ticket, loaded up my luggage, and got on board. Did it make any sense? Barely. Was it a blatant attempt to have it all ship-wise? You better believe it. But this finale had all the nerve and zip I’ve come to expect from this show. I’ve been down enough on this season; I deserve to get a little enjoyment out of what might have been the last ever episode of Sherlock, in spite of its manifold problems. Sometimes nostalgia deserves the win.

The show’s primary concern has always been the humanization of Sherlock Holmes. Above all. And while I don’t believe that all antisocial people are created by a traumatic childhood incident, I believe the series was always determined to give us a REASON for the consulting detective. (“The roads we walk have demons beneath.”) If that weren’t the case, there would have been no job for Eurus Holmes, a lost sister drawn in the fashion of Hannibal Lecter. (And even he was allowed to have books.) Sherlock incorrectly diagnosed himself as a high-functioning sociopath – he’s just a big softy with an avoidance complex. Eurus is the only sociopath produced by her family. And while her empathy chip is busted, she can do virtually anything she sets her mind to. There’s always been a somewhat rational explanation for events on Sherlock (“It’s never twins.”), but Eurus breaks that mold. Mycroft and Sherlock’s sister introduces a supernatural element. Her brain has advanced to a state that’s beyond what we’d call possible. Her will is extraordinarily potent, as is her intellect. Eurus isn’t magic in this context – just an anomaly. But she may as well be a sorceress. Seeing her standing expressionless in her cell, hair hanging around her face, I couldn’t help thinking that Eurus is a grown-up Matilda Wormwood, if her story had gone very, very differently.

Source: shrlckholmes
 

Funny that Moffat and Gatiss were deadset on over-explaining Sherlock’s emotional state, yet let the entire episode run wild under the broad hand wave of Eurus’ powers. On the other hand, I was perfectly happy to set rationality aside for the 90 minutes. We’re asked to right at the beginning, when it comes to light that Eurus dressed up as Faith Smith, exchanged texts with John, and then pretended to be the grieving man’s therapist just to announce her presence to her big brother. (Bus Girl is the inexplicable piece and a transparent effort to persuade the audience to forgive John because it’s not REALLY cheating if you’re swapping emojis with the criminally insane. I RESIST.)

Look, it’s frustrating that – in a season where one female character was thrown in the fridge and another handed mostly recycled material – Eurus Holmes exists in order to make men REALIZE things about themselves. The narrative isn’t any kinder to her than it has been to Molly and Mary, and Mofftiss stepped WAY out of bounds with that unproductive conversation about Eurus’ deviant sexuality. But I could also argue that Eurus’ Saw murder spree happens as a direct result of one man deciding that he knows what’s best for her and another deciding that what’s best for HIM is to erase her existence entirely. She couldn’t be handled. They couldn’t burn the witch, so they locked her away. Then Mycroft USES her brilliant mind whenever it is convenient for him. Eurus is called upon to save people living lives she won’t get to have. Like, I know she’s remorseless, but I also get why she’s angry.

Source: cumberbatchlives

Eurus does succeed in dismantling the stories the three men in her web tell about themselves. His sister is Mycroft’s most fatal mistake. He’s one genius level under “telepath killer” and his claim to fame is that he’s always in complete control. But The British Government’s approach to the largest problem ever to plague his own family turns out to have been tremendously wrong. (“I’m not asking HOW you did it, Idiot Boy…”) John still believes he can be a “soldier today” when the situation calls for it, but his practicality stops right before the ability to execute a man to save another life. And Sherlock, as has been pounded into our heads by now, is not immune to sentiment at all. He feels things very deeply, even though he tried to force those emotions out of himself the first time they became too much to bare.

Does Sherlock’s sister know the difference between a game and a massacre? The show tries to have it both ways with Eurus. Sometimes she seems not to understand the full effect of what she’s doing. But in other moments she’s downright Moriarty-sinister. She’s the most interesting villain we’ve had all season, but the fuzziness of her character is set in high relief when that guy actually shows back up. Jim Moriarty is shoe-horned into this story to within an inch of his (ended) life. Just for fun. But that tracks, because fun is his number one reason for doing anything.

Source: majorlyobsessed

Sometimes you don’t know how starved you’ve been for a character until you openly weep at his five minute cameo. The flaws of this episode are many and dumb, but god, I could watch that helicopter entrance on a loop for the better part of a day. I might have, actually. The glasses. That suit. The soundtrack. His love of theater. I don’t buy that Eurus would send for Moriarty or that Mycroft would allow it, but I DO buy that Moriarty would show up to Sherringford practically panting with desire to find out what’s up. (“You’re a Christmas present.” “How do you want me?”)

“Do you like my boys?” Source: majorlyobsessed

(I did fear for one brief moment that Eurus had dominated Moriarty like she does everyone else and had been controlling him for the past five years. But I suppose she can turn it on and off and what she needed from Jimbo was his own personal expertise. It would have broken my heart if they’d erased everything about him.)

Moriarty didn’t live to see it or gain anything from it, but the booby-trapped haunted house he designs with Eurus does bring Sherlock’s carefully constructed facade crashing down. She’s obsessed with her brother’s deductive skills, which she must have noticed about him when they were children. What seems rather pointless while Mycroft, John, and Sherlock are racking their brains over Eurus’ puzzles is explained to some degree when we learn what she did to get herself locked away. Victor Trevor was the game. Young Eurus reasoned that if she took something away from Sherlock that he loved very much but left a trail for him, then he’d be playing with her while he followed it. But she overestimates her brother’s abilities and underestimates his emotional distress. She didn’t mind that Victor Trevor died, even if her original intent wasn’t necessarily to kill him. Either Sherlock would be enticed by her brilliance or she’d lose him forever. When her experiment failed, Eurus literally set her life on fire. There was nothing left.

Source: rominatrix
 

Johnlock fans who were hoping for something more definitive from this episode were disappointed. (Hey kids, death threats are what we might call an overreaction. Also illegal!) But all these connections between John and Sherlock’s “Redbeard” point to the arrival of John Watson in his life as the moment that Sherlock began to untangle himself from all those emotional security systems he put in place. He blocked out all memories of Eurus and turned Victor Trevor into a trusty dog because he couldn’t live with what had happened. That ought to have closed him off completely to someone in serious danger of getting as intimate with him as his childhood bestie.

 
 
Source: stephnstrnge
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“You’re going to have to take the good with the bad when it comes to me.” – This Is Us Recap – The Big Day

source: bigthree.tumblr.com

This Is Us Season 1, Episode 12
“The Big Day”
Posted by Shannon

As we learned in “The Game Plan,” the thesis statement for This Is Us rests on the interconnectivity of our lives. Generational impacts, along with smaller, everyday decisions, conversations, and meetings, all converge to make up a painting of human interaction. This week’s episode tests that thesis in a new way, breaking format away from the Pearsons at large and focusing on the day The Big Three enter Jack and Rebecca’s lives. We even spend some time with the ancillary men who helped bring the family together: Dr. K, whom we all know and love already, and Joe, the firefighter who discovered baby Randall and brought him to the hospital.

Joe/Samantha

Turns out, that red cigarette box from the pilot carried a lot more symbolism than we knew. For those of us who didn’t see the timeline switch coming (I certainly didn’t), Joe’s red cigarette box was the catalyst to the big reveal that Jack and Rebecca’s storyline was set in 1980, when smoking indoors at a hospital was just business as usual. For Joe himself, that box carried symbolism too: his marriage is deteriorating, and though he’s told his wife he quit smoking, he’s bought a new pack in secret. The purchase alone sent him to confession, asking the priest to save their marriage. It’s just a little miracle.

Joe and his wife Samantha met after they got into a fender bender, and while there must have been some good times in between, things are not going well in their home these days. Samantha is at her wit’s end, and is completely unmoved when Joe tells her what he asked of Father Williams. It’s unclear what got their relationship to this state, but it also doesn’t matter; Joe is moody and rash, Samantha is dismissive and frustrated, and their communication is non-existent. When Joe heads off to work at the fire station, it’s mere moments until he hears a baby crying outside. With young William hiding in the corner, watching to make sure someone came for his son, Joe picks up the baby and sees his miracle.

source: NBC

While the rest of the firehouse suggests bringing the baby to the precinct, Joe has other ideas, and takes the infant home to Samantha. She sees through this immediately: a baby won’t solve their problems or save their marriage. It would do exactly the opposite, especially with no time to decide on the adoption together. She insists that the baby be taken to the hospital, where Jack will ultimately find him and bring him home. And though the reality of adoption would have surely driven their marriage to an even more unstable place, the faith that Joe showed in their partnership might have been just the ticket. His gesture is a kind one, and while his confidence that they could make it work was misguided, it showed just how willing he was to continue fighting for their marriage. It’s enough to let Samantha re-set her emotional clock; the two start over, and Joe gets his miracle after all.

Joe and Samantha present a vignette of life in the community, and just like Jack and Rebecca, their timeline doesn’t matter. Their story could have just as easily been in the 60s, 90s, or present day. We’re meant to feel for the timelessness of their relationship, and I did, but the only real emotional connection for me here was what baby Randall came to represent. What would have become of him if Samantha had agreed to Joe’s initial plan? What would Randall have looked like without Jack’s steadfastness or Rebecca’s fierce protection? I’m not convinced that the show did this intentionally, but what kept me going through this storyline was not an emotional connection to Joe and Samantha. It was the constant debate of nature vs nurture, and its implications for baby Randall.

Jack/Rebecca


 
source: thisisusedits.tumblr.com

Back with the Pearsons, we first see Rebecca and Jack just after they’ve found out the babies are triplets. They’ve adjusted beautifully to the news. Rebecca is loving her pregnancy, and Jack is loving the excuse to dance to Stevie in the living room. Flash cut to just six weeks before the due date, and man, things have changed. Rebecca is physically and emotionally miserable; she can’t get up on her own, her hormones are in chaos, and she’s freaking out at the state of their new home. Six months between move-in and due date was ambitious to say the least, and while Jack got the house livable, it’s still covered in boxes. (I for one get anxious if I haven’t unpacked as soon as I get in the door from a trip, so I really felt for Rebecca here.)

Rebecca is in a state, and she just needs a day on her own, with some peace and quiet. Jack has been on a mission to get her out of the house – shoe shopping, or a double feature at the movies – but Rebecca is not having it, and kicks him out for the day. (“There are too many things in this house and I need you not to be one of them.”) Jack’s patience is running thin too, but he leaves her to it. Unfortunately, there was a reason behind his efforts to get her out of the house, besides his general standing as man of the year. It’s his birthday. Miguel had called to wish him well and offer a chance to get out of the house, and while Jack had turned him down at first, he ends up at the golf course after all.

source: bigthree.tumblr.com

Just a few moments after Jack drives away, desperate to learn how much longer she has until the triplets make their grand entrance, Rebecca checks the family calendar and realizes what she’s been missing. She’s beside herself, but with nothing in the kitchen and only one family car, she’s also low on options. After pulling together some fashionable DIY sandals using flip-flops and duct tape, she heads out to the only spot within walking distance: Liquor and More. (So where’s the more?)


source: thisisusedits.tumblr.com
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