DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS, SPOILERS EVERYWHERE
Agents of SHIELD
“She had a good heart, Phil. It was just torn out.”
Agents of SHIELD has done a lot of completely awesome things this year, especially with Fitz, who — like Cisco in The Flash — has somehow made the jump from being my least favorite character to my absolute most favorite character. That being said, I did struggle quite a bit with May in the back half of the season. In theory, I like the idea of May feeling betrayed by Coulson (an obvious reversal from last season), but in actuality, I never really bought her fury with him, nor did I buy her distrust of Skye or the Inhumans in general. Even when they brought in her Bahrain backstory, I didn’t buy it, and I think it’s because I agree with my sister: May’s suspicion of powered people — suspicion bordering heavily on prejudice — doesn’t really feel like something she’s been carrying around since before the show. It feels like something that abruptly appeared in Season Two for maximum drama. So when May (who I usually like) turns into kind of an asshole, it comes across as both annoying and artificial.
That being said, May vs Skye and May vs Coulson? Thankfully not a huge part of this action-packed two hour finale, so I was free to enjoy all the other awesome things that happened. Like Mac cutting off Coulson’s hand, I mean, holy SHIT. That was huge. I really like the turn with Cal; more than that, I’m impressed with it. I didn’t think I’d buy any kind of redemption storyline, and then I did. I also liked the reveal with Jiaying — turning her into a full-fledged villain made her about 18 times more interesting. The fight scene between Ward and Bobbi was great; also, Bobbi getting herself shot to save Hunter, May tricking Ward into killing Agent 33, and the moment with Jemma at the end — yet another holy shit moment. I will confess that I don’t care about Jemma and Fitz going on a date because I don’t ship them even a little, but that ending . . . Marvel, you bastards.
Theories on what’s going to happen to Jemma? I want to hear them.
FINALE GRADE: A
SEASON GRADE: B+
“We both know it’s just a matter of time. So why not just cut to the chase?”
All this season, Elementary has been building to two likely possibilities: a) Sherlock relapsing, and b) Sherlock’s father coming to town. I wasn’t sure if the relapse was going to happen or not, but I was dead certain Sherlock’s father would appear, either in this episode or teased for the next. What I’m saying here is, ha ha, I’m awesome. Kudos for me. (Also, casting time — who do you want to see as Sherlock’s dad?)
I think I actually like that the relapse happens off screen, and I definitely like that it happens after Alfredo is found safe. It’s more of anti-climax, which works great because Elementary foreshadowed that shit way back in Episode 9. (I guess there is some debate whether it happened at all, but — yeah, I thought it was pretty clear.) I do wish Joan had a little more to do to wrap up her character arc this season, but I know it wouldn’t have fit well in the finale. (The penultimate episode, though, absolutely could have been hers.) The stomping scene, too, is pretty brutal, effectively bursting the quiet tension that had been building the whole episode.
I liked Season 2, but it did end on a down note for me — apparently, it did for a lot of people. Overall, I think I’ve enjoyed this season much more, especially with subplots that I didn’t think I’d get into (Kitty, namely — I was surprised by how much I liked her story and its resolution), and it definitely ended on a high note for me. There’s been a lot of focus on character, which I’ve really enjoyed, and I’m surprisingly excited to see how Season Four goes.
FINALE GRADE: A-
SEASON GRADE: A-
“Screw the future.”
Oh, The Flash. The Flash has done many things right — a fun, joyous tone, an arch-nemesis who’s amazeballs, excellent character relationships (well, for the most part), etc. Hell, I was even okay with the Grodd episode, and I was wildly not excited about bringing in a telepathic gorilla. (In general, I’m not excited about apes as villains. I have a hard time taking it seriously.)
But I’ve struggled a lot with The Flash too, and I feel like my geek squee for the show has suffered considerably as a result. Iris, of course, is the biggest problem. And yes, her story has finally gotten a little bit better — but I can’t help but feel like the writers don’t have any idea why she was so maddening in the first place, and that leads me to worry about where her story will go in the future. (Seriously, no one even came close to a reason to keep her out of the loop. And that line where Joe’s basically like, ‘I’m the boss of Iris, Eddie, until you marry her, and then you can be the boss of her?’ Ugh. The level of disgust some people are having for GoT right now is honestly the level of disgust I had for that line.)
And while it’s to a much lesser extent, I think Caitlin is another problem because a) I don’t entirely buy the actress and b) her storyline, such as it is, is boring as hell. When I mentioned the character relationships/dynamics I liked above . . . well, Joe and Barry are great. Barry and Wells are great. Cisco and Wells are great. To an extent, even Iris and Eddie are decent. . . but Caitlin? She has one scene I really like with Cisco, and beyond that, not much. Caitlin and Barry do little for me. (Especially with that whole ‘you’re a hero so you deserve my body’ line, UGH.) Caitlin and Wells do little for me. Caitlin and Ronnie do NOTHING for me. There are a lot of superhero shows on TV right now, but The Flash and Arrow seem to collectively have the worst female character representation problems. I’m tired of it.
But moving on. The finale itself was pretty enjoyable. I don’t know if I ever thought Barry would actually save his mother, but I’ll admit, I was kind of hoping there would be big timeline changes anyway, like Barry goes back to the future and all kinds of things are different, like the real Harrison Wells is still alive (Tom Cavanagh, I don’t want to lose you!) and Caitlin Snow is now a villain (because maybe then she’d be interesting). I’ll also admit that my brain just doesn’t understand time paradoxes at all, so while I understand that Ancestor Eddie shoots himself to write Reverse Flash out of time, I’m still a little lost on why writing Reverse Flash out of time doesn’t pretty much scrap the whole season too. Also . . . if Reverse Flash is from 120 years in the future and he hates Barry Allen for . . . Reasons . . . does that mean Barry Allen is also alive 120 years from now, or did Reverse Flash go back in time (without losing his speed force) to 2024 and that’s when he started hating Barry Allen for . . . Reasons. (Seriously. I know Reverse Flash is supposedly Super Dead now, but I kind of need these Reasons to eventually be explained, or I will consider it a Problem.)
Also of note:
A) CISCO IS A METAHUMAN. This is the best news ever. (I was seriously getting concerned they weren’t going to address why he remembered things when no one else did.)
B) Aw, poor Eddie. That was sad. I’ll miss your not-American rasp.
C) While I’m glad some people brought up opposition to The Big Plan . . . I wish someone had brought up stronger opposition. Like if I was there, I’d totally be the asshole bringing up the Butterfly Effect. “Yeah, it’s cool you can save your mom, Barry, but what if Nora Allen falls asleep at the wheel two years later, and I’m in the other car, and I DIE. Is it worth it THEN, Barry?” And seriously, when a world-eating black hole is a possible consequence to going back in time to save a woman who’s been dead, like, 15-20 years? Nope. Nope, it’s not worth it. Somebody needed to say that.
D) “Don’t Dream It’s Over” is a terrible wedding song. Didn’t you people watch The Stand? This is the “happy music” they play during the Apocalypse when pretty much everyone is dead. Why would we choose this as background music for Caitlin and Ronnie’s wedding? Was “Rains of Castamere” too optimistic?
FINALE GRADE: A-
SEASON GRADE: B+
Person of Interest
“I didn’t know how to win. I had to invent new rules.”
I think “YHWH” might have been one of Person of Interest’s weaker season finales — but that says more about the strength of the finales over the past four years than the weakness of this one particular episode. Actually, “YHWH” is a pretty solid episode that manages to, once again, find a new way to reboot the concept for next season. I will always admire how they do that, and wish more TV shows would do the same. But while the majority of the episode is good, I don’t know if I’d say it’s brilliant — until the last ten minutes or so anyway.
For me, “YHWH” is all about two moments: a) when Dominick and Elias (NOOOO, Elias!!!) are unceremoniously taken out by Samaritan, and b) the Machine finally talks directly to Finch, calling him Father and asking for forgiveness. Oh. Oh, that whole scene just hurt. STOP TRYING TO BREAK MY HEART, PERSON OF INTEREST.
(Also, it’d be great for my soul if someone would rescue Control. She doesn’t exactly deserve it, and I wasn’t at all surprised she completely got outfoxed by Samaritan, but — please, please don’t let that be the last we see of the amazing Camryn Manheim. She is the best. It’s enough that we lost Enrico Colantoni, isn’t it?)
PoI will have a shortened fifth season (thirteen episodes, I think) which almost certainly means there will be no sixth season. Honestly, I’m okay with that — as much as I love this show, I’m not sure it would naturally stretch past five seasons anyway. I don’t know where you go past Samaritan, and really, I’d rather end on a high note. I just hope they can get the balance right for the fifth season. My biggest criticism of Season Four is that things felt rushed at the end, and that Shaw’s sorta-return felt very unbalanced. I almost wish we hadn’t seen her at all after the gloriously heartbreaking “If-Then-Else,” because while the concept of Brainwashed Shaw is interesting, the execution really seemed off.
FINALE GRADE: B+
SEASON GRADE: A-
“I’ll be playing right into their hands.”
“You’re already in their hands. The only thing they haven’t done is close their fists.”
Oh, The Blacklist. At Mekaela’s urging, I started watching this show on Netflix, and it was, for some time, an enjoyable guilty pleasure. Right now, though, everything just seems to be on a downward spiral.
The best thing I can say about the season finale is that it at least sets up an interesting premise for third season: Red and Lizzie on the run, Ressler hunting them down, and Cooper — presumably — out of a job. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy half the stuff it took to get there. I haven’t been very impressed with the last handful of episodes — for starters, can you believe no one’s been in a car accident in months?! Months, I say. But more importantly, the Lizzie/Tom stuff hasn’t been working for me at all since he came back from playing Nazi — he’s suddenly become the most boring version of Fake Tom ever. How? How did this happen? I was promised a damaged, twisted relationship between two complex characters and got . . . this. As such, their maybe-we-should-sail-away-together bullshit obviously did nothing for me, particularly because it took up a 1/3 of the episode and seemed really inconsistent anyway. (We can just go! No, you can’t go! Wait, why are you going?)
Also: Samar and Aram had virtually nothing to do, the
extended car commercial chase scene was beyond lame, and Lizzie’s twitchy ‘I Look Like I’m About to Seize Out’ performance before killing Other, Not-Love-Interest Tom seemed like a strange acting choice. (And as much as Lizzie annoys me, I usually like Megan Boone.) The revelation that Lizzie killed her father was interesting — assuming it was even her father, or that he actually died from the gunshot would — but it was also pretty obvious from the second Red dramatically announced himself as a sin eater. I wish it could have been a bit more subtle. Which, admittedly, subtle is not The Blacklist’s bag. Still. I want better.
FINALE GRADE: C+
SEASON GRADE: B-
“That is remarkably ruthless and cold-blooded. I approve.”
And talk about your downward spirals.
Oh, Arrow. There are things about this season that I’ve really enjoyed: Roy’s fake-out death twist. The automatic hilarity of putting Oliver and Ray in the same scene. Thea finally finding out who the Arrow is — and her reaction when she does. Laurel’s response to Thea’s confession. In fact, Laurel was SO MUCH BETTER this season — I’m a long way from calling her my favorite character, but she had some good moments, and I actually enjoyed her relationship with Nyssa. (Why did Nyssa go back home again?) If only she hadn’t kept Sara’s death from her father because yeah. That was awful and took way, way too long to come to fruition.
But Arrow’s third season also had a lot of problems, and most of them have revolved around Felicity. Which sucks because I LOVE Felicity, or used to. Once they officially made her the Primary Love Interest, though, things went to hell, like the Arrow writers couldn’t possibly imagine how to portray a love interest who’s actually a person and has reasonable responses to things all at the same time. I want to be happy that Oliver and Felicity finally got together and drove off into the sunset, but I’ve just been so annoyed with their bullshit that I couldn’t even bring myself to care. Which, again, this sucks. Oliver and Felicity are my OTP. You have ruined my OTP for me, Arrow. I didn’t even know that was possible.
Other problems in the season: Ra’s failed to be an intimidating villain in any way, the flashbacks grew stale because they stretched out way too long, and I wanted to knock Diggle and Felicity’s heads together in the last few episodes. Particularly Diggle, actually, because as stupid as Oliver’s plan was, I didn’t buy Diggle’s betrayal. I think I might have bought it if Diggle hadn’t been immediately pissed when Supposedly Brainwashed Oliver kidnapped Lyla, like he blamed his friend for being brainwashed in the first place. I needed his anger, instead, to come from realizing he’d been manipulated by his best friend — although I also feel the need to point out that Lyla isn’t a civilian, wasn’t hurt, and Diggle and Felicity held important information back from Oliver too, like just a few episodes ago, and they absolutely didn’t need to. (Also, seriously, I don’t understand why everyone in “Al Sah-Him” was all like, “Oliver can’t get brainwashed! Brainwashing doesn’t exist!” when Roy killed a cop last season and Thea KILLED SARA. Seriously, WTF.) I found the tension between the three of them extremely artificial, and I hated it.
Let’s see, what else — I like Thea becoming Speedy, but I wish that whole subplot had actually been given some considerable time on screen. (And we better talk about her whole tainted soul thing next season, or I will call bullshit.) The Big Fight between Ra’s and Oliver was extremely underwhelming. The Flash cameo was funny but felt ridiculously rushed and kind of unnecessary. I guess I did predict Malcolm might become Ra’s, but come on – it’d have been way more awesome if Thea had become Ra’s instead, right? Right.
Basically, I feel like I need to write a whole Season Three fix-it fic, at this point. That makes me sad.
FINALE GRADE: C
SEASON GRADE: B-