In Appreciation of Temperance Brennan

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Posted by Sage and Kim

She’s as intelligent as Dana Scully; as mission-driven as Buffy Summers; and as capable as Olivia Pope. The Jeffersonian Institute’s crown jewel and the world’s foremost forensic anthropologist should be as celebrated as any of those iconic characters. For the next chapter of Bones Week, we’re going what we two bloggers can to right this wrong. Let’s appreciate the hell out of Dr. Temperance Brennan.

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It wasn’t easy to keep this post to the top ten reasons that we love her. Brennan is a superhero, as far as we’re concerned. Her powers are her massive intellect and heart, and fools of all kinds are her Kryptonite. As played by the absurdly underrated Emily Deschanel, she’s also hard-luck case with a fierce resilient streak, funny as hell, and a somewhat unintentional bombshell. If all women on TV were written as well as Temperance Brennan, this world would be a better place. We’re going to miss her always, except for those four hours a day Bones reruns air on TNT. –Sage

1. LOOK AT HER

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It’s not the most interesting thing about her, but Temperance Brennan is beautiful. Breathtakingly so.

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It would feel wrong to talk about it if Brennan weren’t so aware of it herself. We get so offended as a culture if a woman who’s attractive dares acknowledge it, even if that’s the basis of her career. But Brennan knows from Western beauty standards and she’s well aware that she fits most of them. She’s collected empirical evidence of the way people respond to her. Her beauty is a fact, and facts shouldn’t be clouded with emotion. It’s never occurred to Brennan to be modest about her looks, though she also doesn’t want to trade in on them to the point where her accomplishments are diminished. (“I don’t want to be a sexy scientist.” “That’s like me saying I don’t want to be a sexy FBI agent. We can’t change who we are.”)

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I marathoned Bones HARD this year, and part of what kept me going is that I never got tired of looking at Emily Deschanel. Runway models would murder for that bone structure: the high cheekbones and strong jaw that any number of master portrait painters would like to get their hands on. That shiny, chestnut-brown hair looks good in even the most dated haircuts of the Brennan canon. Her striking blue eyes sparkle with intelligence and curiosity. And she rocks lab coats and hazmat suits as hard as she rocks a cocktail dress. No wonder Booth is always already looking at her when she tries to sneak a peek.

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Sometimes female characters are so stuffed, shellacked, and stifled into sex-object-as-defined-by-studio-exec territory that watching them feels like looking at beauty that’s behind glass. Brennan fits the bill of the gorgeous female lead, but everything about her is so ALIVE. She’s Elizabeth Bennet after she walks through the mud to be with her ill sister at the Bingleys’ and gets Darcy SHOOK. She’s Athena – the goddess of wisdom – wearing some hideous necklace she picked up her travels. It’s that spirit that goes along with her loveliness that makes people gravitate towards her, even though she’s “odd,” by certain social standards. Brennan lights up a room, even when it’s filled with dead bodies. –Sage

2. She’s an Actual Genius

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 Let me repeat that: Temperance Brennan is an ACTUAL genius.

When I sat down to reflect on just what has made Bones so damn special, I always came back to this point: the protagonist is a female genius, whose intellect stands unparalleled. Think about it. Mulder, with all his fancy Oxford degrees, was always on the same intellectual level as Scully. Cristina Yang is a genius (“Screw beautiful, I’m brilliant. If you want to appease me, compliment my brain!”) but Grey’s Anatomy was never HER story. From the very first time we see her in the pilot, Bones has always been Brennan’s story, with Booth serving as the interloper/catalyst for change. So often the role of the “Difficult and Misunderstood Genius” is assigned to male characters, especially in a procedural type of show, so Bones subverts the entire genre by casting Brennan in this role. (That’s not to say that Booth is stupid, because he’s not. His smarts lie elsewhere, and even he acknowledges that he’s ordinary standing next to her.)

Booth: It’s too early for math, Bones. It’s too early.
Brennan: It’s never too early for math.

Sage touches on this in our next point but the most important thing about Brennan’s genius is that she never apologizes for it or downplays it. Brennan RELISHES her genius. Being the smartest person in the room is a point of pride for her and she never lets anyone FORGET that she is that person. She always uses that beautiful brain of hers to her advantage, be it distracting some Men in Black with science jibber-jabber or clinging to her intellect as a shield against the high school bullies who didn’t understand her curious nature or desire to find something BEYOND the insular world she found herself in. In a world where so often women are told to downplay their intelligence as to not threaten The Men, Temperance Brennan stands tall like a tower of strength and for that I am so so so grateful. — Kim

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3. She Takes Up Space

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Nothing is more threatening to weak people than a woman who knows exactly how powerful and smart she is and is not afraid to own it. What can be confused for arrogance is trust, in Brennan’s case. She trusts that her colleagues, friends, and partner can handle it and that they will accept her for who she is. And Brennan isn’t just fearless and guileless with them. That’s how she goes through life, and it’s a damn inspiration.

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To my ladies reading this: pick a day to be really conscious of how many compliments you deflect, how many times you refuse to take credit, and how many unnecessary apologies you make just for existing. Then implant this filter into your head: What Would Brennan Do? She’ll say she’s sorry, but never for asking someone to do their job. She expects the best out of people who work with her because she’s damn sure giving hers. She doesn’t let impostor syndrome make her feel unworthy of being the boss. And her Squints love her for it, because her high expectations make them better. Modesty is fine. False modesty is not, and neither is culturally mandated negative self-talk.

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Booth: Hey, excuse me, you know what, you really need to learn how to speak to human beings.
Brennan: I speak six languages, two of which you’ve never even heard of.

Bones has stayed alive for so long because at its heart, it’s about how book smarts and emotional intelligence inform and complete each other. But everyone is stronger in one of those areas. Imagine how frustrating it must be to Brennan that, though she’s achieved everything she’s wanted to professionally, there are people (including Booth, on their first case) who will ignore those achievements and only focus on where she falls short. When that happens, can you blame her for asserting her extraordinary brilliance?

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Brennan’s femininity is so significant. You couldn’t gender swap this character and get the same impact. Booth is the heart and Brennan is the brains – we know this. And though rationality is often incorrectly labeled as a “male” trait, Brennan has never been painted as “one of the guys.” She’s proud to be a woman and never hesitates to bring up the matriarchal societies she’s encountered in her globetrotting, if they’re relevant to the conversation. Her life experience as a female scientist and crime novelist – fated to have to answer more interview questions about her plans to start a family than her work – is an intrinsic part of who she is.

But Brennan isn’t a one-note superwoman character who’s completely impervious to self-doubt. She has no fear in her professional life. The emotional obstacle that she sets up for herself is so poetically expressed in this exchange between Brennan and self-proclaimed psychic Avalon Harmonia from the Season 5 premiere, “Harbingers in a Fountain”:

Avalon: No, the riddle you can’t solve is how somebody can love you.
Brennan: *chuckles* Well, I’m beautiful and very intelligent.
Avalon: The answer to the question that you’re afraid to say out loud is yes. He knows the truth about you. And he is dazzled by that truth.

First of all, holy shit. Secondly, Avalon helps us mere mortals to understand why Brennan takes so long to make herself completely vulnerable with Booth and how much courage it must have cost her to finally do it. –Sage

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The Bones Yearbook

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Posted by Sage & Kim

After 12 seasons of romance, murders, and hard hard science, the doors are about to close on the Jeffersonian forensics department. (Or be blown up. Whatever.) Whether you’ve loved Bones from the beginning like Kim or crammed hundreds of episodes into a whirlwind binge like me, you’re probably as sad as we are to see this cast of characters go. We’re SO sad, in fact, that we’re honoring Booth, Brennan, and the rest of their family with a dedicated Bones WEEK. Let’s kick it off now with the Bones Yearbook, a concept we’re stealing from our own New Who Tenth Anniversary post. Because it’s just good fun to imagine that, in some universe, everyone from Max right on down to the Squinterns made up one wacky, BRILLIANT group of seniors. So here it is: the Bones graduating class of 2017….

–Sage

Prom Queen & King: Temperance Brennan & Seeley Booth

Valedictorian: Temperance Brennan

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Senior Quote: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” – Marie Curie

Activities: Chemistry Club, Biology Club, Physics Club, American Field Service, Krav Maga, Chorus, Peruvian Gourd Art Appreciation Society (Sole Member)

Most Popular: Seeley Booth

Senior Quote: “Let’s have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” – Abraham Lincoln

Activities: Starting Quarterback, Varsity Hockey, ROTC, Sharpshooters, Eagle Scouts, Ceramics, Chorus (because Brennan)

Homecoming King & Queen: Jack Hodgins & Angie Montenegro

Class Clown: Jack Hodgins

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Senior Quote: “When convention and science offer us no answers, might we not finally turn to the fantastic as a plausibility?” – Fox Mulder

Activities: Debate Team, Founder of the Conspiracy Society, Entomology Club, First Prize at the Science Fair (no matter what Zack says)

Most Talented: Angela Pearly-Gates Montenegro

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Senior Quote: “Maybe mistakes are what make our fate…without them what would shape our lives? Maybe if we had never veered off course we wouldn’t fall in love, have babies, or be who we are. After all, things change, so do cities, people come into your life and they go. But it’s comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart…and if you’re very lucky, a plane ride away.” – Sex and the City

Activities: Art Appreciation, Yearbook Photographer, Computer Science Club, ASPCA Volunteer, Varsity Football Water Girl

Most Likely to Succeed: Camille Saroyan

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Senior Quote: “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends.” – Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone

Activities: Governor of Youth Legislature, Model UN, National Honor Society, Youngest Morgue Intern Ever

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Most Dependable: Lance Sweets

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Senior Quote: “Every story, new or ancient/Bagatelle or work of art/All are tales of human failing/All are tales of love at heart” – Aida

Activities: Literary Magazine Editor, Yearbook Editor, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Mentor, School Death Metal Band Lead Guitarist

Mr. Congeniality: James Aubrey

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Senior Quote: “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

Activities: Competitive Eating Society, Home Economics, AV Club, Drama Club Spotlight Operator, Alternate for All Other Clubs

Favorite Faculty Member: Caroline Julian

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Senior Quote: “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Activities: Civics Teacher, Faculty Adviser for Mock Trial & Student Government, Always Knows Who’s Dating Whom

Biggest Case of Senioritis: Max Keenan

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Senior Quote: “I am warning you Javert/I’m a stronger man by far/There is power in me yet/My race is not yet run” – Les Miserables

Activities: Playing Hooky

Most Likely to be ID’ed When They’re 30: Zack Addy

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Senior Quote: “Why should I quote someone else to represent myself?” – Zack Addy

Activities: Physics Club, Biology Club, Chemistry Club, First Prize at the Science Fair (no matter what Hodgins says)

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“That would be some way to leave us.” – This Is Us Recap – Moonshadow

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This Is Us Season 1, Episode 18
“Moonshadow”
Posted by Shannon

The first season of This is Us had some near-perfect episodes. It also had some that stood on the importance of their character development, even when the plot or structure faltered, and some that worked despite sections with deeply problematic writing, but it hadn’t yet had an episode that just fell flat. So it’s especially unfortunate that the first episode to truly disappoint me was also the season finale. “Moonshadow” revelled almost exclusively in the show’s worst qualities, and while This is Us is secure in its unprecedented second and third season renewal, I for one hate that its first season went down like this. With barely a moment for the Big Three, no closure on Jack’s passing, and a lack-luster closing speech, we’re left with some lingering questions and a whole lot of plot devices to tide us over until season two.

Young Jack

 
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A Vietnam veteran, Jack has returned from the war and is living at home, working as a fix-it guy around the neighborhood. Mrs. Peabody, a widow who wants to set Jack up with her best friend’s granddaughter, opens the episode by offering him $5 for fixing up her car and chatting with him in the driveway. (Her car is immediately recognizable as the one Jack drives later on, so all that work on the engine will pay off in time.) Jack is trying to piece together his livelihood on odd jobs, and while he painstakingly saves every dollar he earns in a box with his dog tags, it’s slow going. Not only is he living in his parent’s attic, his horrible father is back and is taking every opportunity to berate Jack and his mother.

At least Jack has one friend to commiserate with; Daryl, with whom he wants to open up an auto shop. They even have a spot in mind, and they spend nights sitting outside of the garage, making plans and drinking beers. Jack and Daryl just aren’t saving up money fast enough, and Jack asks Daryl to get them into his cousin’s poker game in an attempt to move things along. It’s clearly misguided, but we’re still meant to see the origins of Jack’s best qualities in this conversation: against all odds, we’re told that he’s returned from Vietnam without any emotional or physical wounds, and he’s toiling away in a horrible family situation, working hard to pull himself and his mother out into safety. Instead, though, I found this characterization of Jack to be entitled and indignant. When he told Daryl that “we’re good guys, we deserve to make it,” for the first time it occurred to me that Rebecca was onto something when she called Jack out as only acting like the good guy to make himself feel better. Yes, motivation and drive are good qualities, but being a good person does NOT mean that good things will automatically happen to you, and even at this age, Jack doesn’t seem as naive as he’d need to be to believe otherwise.

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Once they get to the poker game, things are even more painful to watch. The set up is a cliché representation of a dive bar, just smoky enough to read as “bad” without actually feeling dangerous, and Jack plays the part of the fool, walking in and winning a pile of money on his first hand, only to bail on the rest of the game immediately afterwards. It’s a bad move in the best of circumstances, and of COURSE it means that he and Daryl get beat up outside the bar, with all their earnings stolen. Jack doesn’t see how foolish his behavior was, instead blaming it all on how unfair the world has been to punish him instead of his father, who’s always broken on the side of the morally bankrupt. He’s chosen to be the opposite of his father, to be “respectful to women, be a good man – look where it’s gotten me.”

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Jack is feeling angsty and angry, and ready to “take the life that I was supposed to have.” He intends to take that life by blatantly standing up his blind date and stealing his poker winnings out of the bar. Everything is going according to plan when Jack spots Rebecca singing an open mic, and stops short his life of crime. I’m not sure what it would have taken for me to find this plot line interesting, or more importantly, actually in character for Jack. Maybe if he’d seemed more genuinely angry or frightened by his life’s path, maybe if his entire character wasn’t now based in Rebecca as his salvation from petty thievery. Maybe if he hadn’t openly decided to stand up some poor unnamed woman, with never so much as a phone call or a thought to her well-being. It’s possible that this will all make more sense if we spend more time with young Jack, but with the context we’re given in “Moonshadow”, it just fell flat. Being a good person is not something to be done for a reward. You do good because it’s right, not because it will pay off in the end in some karmic display of gentle retribution. Before this episode, Jack had never seemed like the kind of person who acted singularly for ulterior motives, positive though they may be. And now that he’s been established as such, it’s that much harder for his words to ring true.

Young Rebecca

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Single Rebecca is, by contrast, living a pretty great life, despite friends who are on a constant mission to set her up. Rebecca is happy to sit alone, happy to focus on her career and to stand up for her individual goals. She’s busy and content, doing open mics and recording demos for a family member who works at a recording studio. Rebecca also manages to be confident in the face of two friends who seem dead-set on feeling bad for her, telling her that she needs to “diversify” her options by taking a date with a guy in finance so she won’t be doomed to go to a wedding alone.

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“Nobody owns me.” – Scandal Gif-Cap – Extinction

Scandal Season 6, Episode 6
“Extinction”
Posted by Kim

What I am loving about this season of Scandal so far is that every episode has focused around one character and the events that brought them towards Election night. We’re spending this week with Papa Pope and we were promised ANSWERS as to who was behind the Vargas assassination. Boy, did we get them…as well as many more questions. To the gifs!

We check in on Papa Pope 53 days before the election. I love that he makes himself breakfast on a tray every day.

A mysterious box is delivered to his door. Me, automatically: 

(It’s a toy dinosaur, btw)

Eli pops in on a college lecture given by Broadway’s Tonya Pinkins and looks endeared by her. 

“It’s the Predators who are the most vulnerable.” That’s not what the Jurassic Park movies taught me.

Eli regresses into his FULL SCIENCE NERD life when he banters with Sandra about Dinosaurs. 

“We are a long way from grad school…” OH THEY WERE A THING.

Sandra takes Eli to a lab that would make Frankenstein jealous. 

SO MUCH FLIRTING OVER SCIENCE AND DINOSAURS. 

“I could use a partner.” Yessssssss.

“This is the part where you’re supposed to give me some advice.” Olivia comes to her dad about the Mellie and Marcus situation which reminds me: FREE MELLICUS 2K17 AND LET THEM BE IN LOVE.

“You’re here, pretending you don’t already know what you have to do. You know. It’s clear.” 

“She wants it almost as badly as you do, but there is a difference. She is weak. She is undisciplined. She is soft.” Excuse me, SIR.

“She has never learned the hard way that love is a privilege reserved for the victor.”

“I raised a warrior!”

“Eyes on the prize, baby.” I mean even with all the Marcus Drama, Liv’s eyes have never LEFT the prize, she just has a modicum of a conscience.

“Don’t you ever get lonely?” Is that Scandal‘s version of “Don’t you think she looks tired?”

“There he is. The nerd I remember.” I feel like we’re getting a glance of the real Eli here and I am sad.

BUT WAIT THERE ARE HIDDEN CAMERAS IN THE LAB. 

“Anything you need, you just give me a holler.” Remember that lady who scared the bejeezus out of Eli last week? THAT’S HER.

That benefactor that’s paying for Sandra’s dinosaurs? Doesn’t exist. The whole thing is a lie.

“I’m surrounded by children! They don’t know who Marvin Gaye is!” Eli goes to Liv’s house under the guise of raiding her record collection for the lab.

“I don’t play them, I’m busy making a President!” No time for dance parties when you are Queen-making.

“Um how long has that car been out there?” Someone is getting paranoid and it’s Eli.

Eli shows up at the lab with booze and memories about his last dig with Sandra. 

“That’s not what I remember most about that trip.” Soooooo, she’s the one that got away.

“I don’t have a lot of regret in my life. I regret that.” Eli leads Sandra to a closet to make out and I totally buy that this is genuine…

UNTIL ELI PULLS A GUN ON HER IN THE CLOSET. 

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“Suck it up and run the world.” – Scandal Gif-Cap – They All Bow Down

Scandal Season 6, Episode 5
“They All Bow Down”
Posted by Sage

Hello again, Lovers of Liberty! It’s SO good to be with you again, since the gif-cap took a bye week on episode 4. To sum up “The Belt”: prison is NO place for a former Chief of Staff, and Tom admitted that he was paid by someone to say that Cyrus ordered the hit on Frankie Vargas. Our assassin is still out there and the country still doesn’t have an incoming president. So, shall we see what Jake Ballard’s been up to this whole time?

“Not since Christ stood among the lepers has there been such excitement.” InDecision 2016 is Sally Langston’s domain, and she is currently living. (When isn’t she?) She seems to be a proponent of Mellie and Jake, but we all know she’s a fickle bitch.

Vanessa: “I feel like Jackie O. or something.”
Jake: *rolls eyes* 

“America is not electing Olivia Pope. They are electing Mellie Grant and Jake Ballard.” Vanessa tells Jake not to get so grumpy about his “sister” (yikes) telling him what to do and instead to keep his eye on the prize. (Kim: “Every woman on this show is Lady Macbeth.”)

“He is after all…a murderer.” Sally is reveling in Cyrus’s bad luck.

She’s also teasing a sit-down interview with picture-perfect patriot couple, Jake and Vanessa. Who hate each other.

“That’s political money.” “It’s a political lie.” Jake is so done with this campaign and his fake marriage.

Quinn wants to help Cyrus, but Liv does not want to hear it right now.

“Huck found Vanessa.” Olivia spins some yarn to Sally about Vanessa having a vicious flu and being unable to make it out of bed for the interview.

“Lady, you are nuts.” “Maybe, but I ain’t sorry.” In reality, Vanessa is drunk and disorderly and just crashed her car into a tree with a himbo bartender in the front seat. She’s also defiant af.

“Did you wake up this morning knowing you were going to ruin our lives?” “Like you give a damn what I woke up thinking.” While the Gladiators erase all evidence that Vanessa’s little “accident” ever happened, Vanessa and Jake perform a modern revival of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

“You say dance, the monkey dances.” Jake’s version of “playing nice” is being faux-deferential to Olivia, insisting on calling her “boss” and “m’am” until she’s about to either slap him or do him on the desk. (Pick the second one, please, it’s been so long since we’ve had Jake/Olivia hate-sex!)

“Let’s get this over with because I am late for getting away from you.” Get Liv some ointment for that burn.

“I don’t want to win, I have to win. There has to be a point.” Olivia needs to win a “clean” election to redeem her shady dealings in Defiance during Fitz’s first run. She’s a good person, that’s her thing…

“Are you sleeping with her?” Vanessa isn’t an idiot. She senses the intensity between Jake and Liv and totally calls it. So, of course, Jake tells her she’s crazy. Then he fills up her glass, because no one will take a drunk, jilted woman seriously.

“There are places we can send you, nice places.” EVERYONE IS GASLIGHTING HER, THIS POOR WOMAN.

“Give me one more reason to LAY YOU OUT, RIGHT HERE, Vanessa…I am not here for it, not today.” Wow, Liv is only a champion for other women when it suits her, huh?

“I remember because it was when the redhead took my champagne away.” Someone was texting Jake on election night who wasn’t Olivia, according to V.

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“I like the way Sammy sings’” – Supernatural Recap – Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell

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Supernatural Season 12, Episode 15
“Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell”
Posted by Dawn and Erica

Oh, Davy Perez, you never let us down. Truth, lies, and some serious demonic mojo were the hallmarks of “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell,” and it was a terrific ride from start to finish. Also, there was no Mary, which was a really nice break, and family drama took a backseat to moving the season’s plot along. Fire up the Impala and let’s go.

Erica: Do you know, it says something about the fact that I really enjoyed this episode, and didn’t even realize that Mary wasn’t in it? Almost as if her presence really doesn’t matter. Yes, I went there.

Before we get to the meat of the recap, we have to give a shout-out to that scene. That short and glorious scene that everyone went nuts over. Lucille. For those of you living under a rock, Lucille is the barbed-wire-wrapped bat that Jeffrey Dean Morgan, once our own John Winchester, now wields with psychopathic glee as Negan on The Walking Dead.

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So well played. So perfect. Davy Perez, we love you forever.

You might notice the song lyric we used for this recap. It’s from BB King’s “Lucille,” so yeah, we did that, but also, it works. Because Sam Winchester gets an award for finally learning a lesson every single Winchester has failed repeatedly – Sammy told his brother the truth. Can you even? We could not even. Sam came clean about all the recent cases coming not from the program he somehow designed and put into his phone, but actually from the British Men of Letters.

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Dean’s reaction to this was…underwhelming, to be honest, and we’re hoping it’s because big brother is playing a few cards close to the vest. We know he doesn’t trust the BMoL. We are pretty sure he doesn’t trust his mother. And he has to know that his brother has a bad habit of making deals with the bad guys for what Sam thinks is the greater good. (A phrase that makes all of us shrink in horror every time it is uttered.) So please, writers, let us be right about that. That reaction was very not-Dean.

What was very Dean, what was very Winchester brothers and the reason we love this show as much as we do, was the easy banter between the two of them. It was very monster-of-the-week, very funny, and downright adorable. Like when Sam was pointing how exactly how covered in monster bits Dean was:

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Or their conversation outside Gwen’s (the “girl of the week”) door, and Dean’s little awesome comments about what they could say to her:

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Dean warning Sam about being careful with Baby and Sam being absolutely over it.

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It was adorable. It was perfect. It was them. We missed it. We love when we have that back.

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“It was enough time to know that I loved him.” – This Is Us Recap – What Now?

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This Is Us Season 1, Episode 17
“What Now?”
Posted by Shannon

After saying farewell to William last week, the penultimate episode of the season is full of complex themes. The Pearson clan has spent their recent days pondering legacy, blame, and forgiveness, and while some are making more concrete moves than others, each of them carry a hefty emotional weight. As we head into the season finale, Randall and Kevin share clarity and opportunity in their work and home lives, while the guilt and shame of Rebecca’s decision to lie to Randall is lifted and transposed to Kate. The legacy of the Hill-Pearson patriarchs is felt fully this week, and their children’s emotional connections to those legacies are not a simple matter. “What Now?” is rife with guilt and mourning, but there’s just as much joy to be found in those moments as there is sadness.  

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Jack/Rebecca

It’s time for Rebecca to head out on her two-week tour, and while she’s packing her best dresses, Jack is staying late at work for a retirement party. He’s under no obligation to stay, and he and Miguel don’t even like the guy they’re celebrating, but Jack is searching for any reason not to go home. While he hasn’t stopped Rebecca from going on tour, he’s determined to be as difficult about it as possible, making her wait until the last possible moments to say goodbye. Rebecca calls him out on this behavior as soon as he gets home, and the two bicker privately in the kitchen over schedule changes and getting the kids to a party. There’s a quiet sadness watching them like this, so disconnected, especially after their night in the old apartment was such a short time ago. They’re at least able to share a laugh over Kevin and Sophie, who are deep in the throes of teen romance and unable to keep their hands off each other, but even that doesn’t break their moods. Rebecca gives hugs to each of the kids, but Jack only offers a kiss on the cheek before she leaves for the van.

Kate sees right through her parents’ interactions, and from the moment Jack walks in the door, she knows something is wrong. She glares worriedly at Jack, urging him to give Rebecca a better farewell just with a quiet, muttered “….Dad….” Their connection is so strong (as is Rebecca and Randall’s) that she can feel every single one of her father’s moods, and she knows that he can do better than he’s doing right now.

 
 
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After Jack drops the kids off at a party, Kate lingers in the back seat, asking pointedly why he hasn’t made the relatively short two-hour drive to Cleveland to watch Rebecca’s show. This is SUCH a tough line for a kid to walk, and Jack does the right thing by assuring her that it shouldn’t be her problem. Her focus should be on “boys, and grades, and that band that sounds like they’re always kidding” – not on the ups and downs of her parents’ marriage. But Kate can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong, and while she does finally leave for the party, it’s only after making sure that her father won’t spend the whole night being sad and alone.

But that’s exactly what he does. After spending some time in front of the television with Chinese takeout, Jack grabs his keys and heads out the door – but it’s not for Rebecca’s show, it’s for his coworker’s after-party. Miguel is nowhere to be seen, but Heather is, and she promptly buys him a beer. She takes the opportunity to ask what’s been bothering Jack, and he opens up with one hell of a Freudian slip. (“She’s on tour with her Ben. Her band.”)  Heather tries to get Jack to admit that he’s having marriage troubles, but Jack isn’t having it. He’s a little too slow on the uptake, but once Heather puts her hand on his leg, he catches up quick, and shuts down her advances. Finally, after listening to his daughter’s fears, and defending Rebecca’s dreams to Heather, Jack knows that this has gone far enough. He calls the party and asks if the kids can stay the night, opening his schedule up to make the drive to Rebecca’s performance. Except he’s been drinking. A lot. After a final conversation with Kate, and after fumbling his keys, Jack gets behind the wheel and heads to Cleveland.

Randall/Beth

 
 
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It’s just been a few days since William’s passing, but Randall is already trying to make sense of the space William has left in his heart and in his home. The last time William was in Annie’s room, he was packing up for his final trip to Memphis, deciding what to take and what to leave. His instruments stayed; his poems were packed.  While Randall sits on the bed, trying to unravel the best way to honor his father’s legacy, (“Do I start wearing sweater vests?”) Beth spots a letter tucked underneath Annie’s pillow.

William rarely did anything without intention. Especially in the final weeks of his life, every single decision he made ensured that the people in his life knew how special they were to him. So of course, in his final letter to Tess and Annie, he knew just what to say. Rather than let Randall and Beth plan his memorial, he asks Tess and Annie to do it. After all, “adults make these things sad, and I want you two to make it fun.” The change in the girls from the beginning of the letter to the end is palpable. They take their mission so seriously, especially their grandfather’s request that it be joyful. Tess and Annie share mischievous smiles, and immediately scrap the plans Beth’s plans for catering and white doves. Randall asks just one thing of his girls: permission to deliver a eulogy. But eulogies are sad affairs, so it’s retitled a toast, and Tess and Annie agree.

 
 
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The Pearsons aren’t the only ones mourning William. I had wondered how Jesse would be included in the memorial, and his call to Randall is full of grace. Knowing himself and the danger of a potential relapse, Jesse has decided to stay in Chicago, but he wants to be sure that Randall knows how much William was loved by him and all of the people in their NA group. Jesse specifically passes along the well wishes of a gentleman named Sebastian, an athlete who started attending NA after an addiction to pain pills. Since no one at the group was into sports, William feigned an interest in football, hoping it would give Sebastian someone to connect with. Jesse and Randall’s conversation is painful and quiet and beautifully written. These two haven’t had the chance to get to know one another, and outside of William, they don’t have much of a connection. But William is enough, and they both feel the need to honor him, to share stories, to laugh when they can, to celebrate his memory. Randall won’t have many people in his life with which he can share those memories, and I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Jesse.

When the neighborhood mailman brings in a perishable box from Randall’s office, it gives him another opportunity to learn the extent to which William was  “a soft arm rest for weary souls to lean on.” After getting to know each other on his morning walks, the neighborhood mailman is devastated to hear of William’s passing. I was so moved to hear him say simply that “this neighborhood will miss him.” Immediately, I flashed to the first of William’s walks, when his mere presence was enough to make the neighbors call the cops. The subtle racism of the suburbs can’t be handled simply, but his impact on the neighborhood is felt in that one line alone.

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“Everybody’s Shouting, ‘Which Side Are You On?’” – Supernatural Recap – The Raid

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Supernatural Season 12, Episode 14
“The Raid”
Posted by Dawn and Erica

So, after the drastic disappointment that was “Family Feud” last week, we honestly were really, really hoping for something better – something to prove that last week was a one-off this season. Our prayers were answered, thank Chuck, with “The Raid.” There was so much to love about this episode, from the writing (by the always-amazing Robert Berens) to the cinematography to the absolute heart-wrenching feels the actors caused in us from minute one (Get ready for some Jensen Ackles love). Because there’s so much to love, let’s get right to it.

Let’s start with Dean. This episode started off exactly where the last one ended, and that was an excellent choice to make because it gave us Dean in the very moment we need him in, the one we wanted to see. Can we just talk about Jensen Ackles in this scene for a minute? Because hot damn. There aren’t enough adjectives in the English language for us to describe the FEELS during this first scene:

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We spend so much time watching Dean just be a hardass or the comic relief that sometimes we forget about the range that Jensen Ackles has as an actor. We were reminded of that this week.

Erica: This show always gives us some feels, but it’s rare to be legit crying in the first five minutes of an episode. The juxtaposition of Mary looking at her phone while being ignored, to jumping back in time watching the familial exchange play out – it felt, rightfully so, like a hardcore breakup scene. Dean was saying to Mary what we ALL have been thinking this season, and you could see just how much it cost him to be saying it. It felt, to me, like that breakup that you know had to happen because the other person just wasn’t feeling it. And you could put in all of the time and all of the effort, but if the other person wasn’t, then you’re just wasting your time and your love. We watched Dean struggle all season with feeling like he wasn’t good enough for his own mother. To have that feeling seemingly validated by Mary’s admission that she was working with the BMoL instead of her own boys meant that Dean was done, and Jensen Ackles did such an amazing job of almost forcing the audience to feel that same sense of defeat. We’ve all felt that way in relationships before, I think, and the writing and acting in this scene reminded us of what that felt like.
Dawn: Dean spoke for all of us, for everyone who is sick and tired of Mary’s bad decisions and lousy parenting and constant absences. Sam usually gets the emotional foreground when it comes to dialogue, and Jared Padalecki’s beautiful puppy-dog eyes may or may not have a lot to do with that. We don’t get a lot of Dean being the emotional backbone – it’s usually jokes or snark, all his normal deflections. But when we do get those moments -”Single Man Tear” jokes aside – they are incredible. This one should rightfully go down in show history.

On to Sam. Sammy, our precious naive moose. Sam is the one who falls for Mom’s text pleas. Sam is the one who goes with her to team up against vampires with the British Men of Letters (BMoL). And in the end, Sam is the one who sides with Mom and thinks that, given time, he can convince Dean to join Team Idiots. Our sweet Sammy ran the emotional gamut this episode, from his teary-eyed “You should go” to Mary (when he was rightfully agreeing with his brother) to eye-rolling (on his part, not ours) superiority when discovering just how stupid the BMoL really are to probably-going-to-be-dashed-very-soon-hopeful when he decides to go with Mary’s (really bad) plan. And let’s not forget his moments of BAMF vamp slaying – Sam is whupping ass like we haven’t seen since he was soulless, and it’s really glorious to behold. Sam has grown into himself as a hunter; he even tells Mary this when she brings up how she didn’t want that life for them. He chose this life, and we really hope that she can see how damn good he is at it. Sure, maybe he would have been just as good of a lawyer, but lawyers don’t stop the apocalypse (of course, they also don’t accidentally release Lucifer or cause angels to fall from heaven, but that’s not the point).

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Let’s move on to the complete cock-ups that are the British Men of Letters. I mean, for Chuck’s sake, guys. Who the hell doesn’t double check their intel? Or vet the people coming through the front door? It was helpful that they had a real hunter on their side (or so they thought) but seriously, we have no idea how they managed to clear the UK of monsters because if this episode was any indication, these people are idiots. Their recon sucked. They have precious little available weaponry. No one in their little headquarters had ever actually killed anything before, save the American hunters the recruited/are trying to recruit. They have no contingency plans. Their arrogance is so undeserved, as far as we can tell, because they are terrible at their jobs. Even Mick, that smooth MF, looked like someone slapped him in the face when their plan went south and the vamps attacked. Really? This is the best of the best? So good that Mary wants to side with them? This is what’s going to rid America of monsters? Please. They can’t even be bothered to set up stronger DOORS. The fact that they claim to have been watching the Winchesters and yet STILL think Mary is “the best Winchester” just goes to prove their incompetence. Team Free Will FTW, y’all. They have it all over these morons.

Ketch showing up at the Bunker was…interesting? Stupid? A teensy bit pointless? (Erica: It’s “How to get a distrustful hunter to let you in 101: bring good booze.” Don’t look at me that way – it’s been done before.) Don’t get us wrong. It was awesome to see Dean staring him down and snarking with barely-controlled disdain and outright murderous hatred. But the Dean and Ketch show kinda got lost amidst everything else that was going on, so perhaps it might have been better saved for a different episode. And also we’re not buying the nice guy act and also how DARE he even suggest that he and Dean are cut from the same cloth. Yes, Dean kills, and yes, he’s good at it, and yes, he knows it. Hell, he’s said it himself, especially when he used to talk about purgatory. Dean Winchester loves to kill him some monsters. But not people. And never without reason. That’s the difference. Because Ketch is a sociopath, pure and simple. If he wasn’t hunting monsters, he’d be one. And Dean knows it. Check that cold Blue Steel:

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