DC Television Universe (DCTU) Series, Episode Twelve, “Crisis on Earth-X” Bonus Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in January 2018, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the twelfth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  After specially requesting a separate recording to discuss (read: laud) the four episode mega-crossover Arrowverse event “Crisis on Earth-X,” our panel herein provides said bonus review and recap of the 2017 crossover of casts from CW series Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.  If you have not watched any of the DCTU/Arrowverse to date, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 12, the DCTU Panel’s Bonus “Crisis on Earth-X” Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator.

What: “Crisis on Earth-X,” the four episode 2017 Arrowverse crossover event melding cast members from “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Supergirl,” the four shows that comprise the so-called “Arrowverse” on the CW, otherwise known as the DC (Comics) Television Universe or DCTU.

When: The “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover began on November 27, 2017, with Supergirl (8:00 PM) and Arrow (9:00 PM), and concluded on November 28, 2017, with The Flash (8:00 PM) and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (9:00 PM).

Where: The action is primarily set in the DC Comics Universe, specifically in Central City (The Flash), and on the Earth That Shall Not Be Named, the 53rd Earth otherwise known as “X.”

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full by clicking the floating box at the top right of our website header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers, to search for all of the prior DCTU series episodes.  As for why we are covering this crossover separately, read on!

How – as in How Was It?

The Specially Formulated For Your Viewing Pleasure “Crisis” Crossover rating scale:

***** – HOLY SMOKES! This is the BEST. CROSSVER. EVER!!!!!

**** – Intriguing.  Please make more, CW/Arrowverse producers.  You get better each time, though you’re not perfect yet.

*** – It was fine/okay.  Nothing special.  There were parts I liked and parts I didn’t.  Allow me to explain.

** – Meh.  I was bored.  Nice idea, but the execution left something to be desired.

* – Not your best, Arrowverse.  Stop trying!

Crisis on Earth-X = 4.8, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

In “Crisis on Earth-X”, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West’s (Candice Patton) friends come to Central City for their wedding, only to be interrupted when villains from Earth-X disrupt the proceedings, led by Dark Arrow (spoiler…Stephen Amell), his Kryptonian wife Overgirl (spoiler…Melissa Benoist), and Prometheus.

THOUGHTS

This is the twelfth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Because we have reached double digits for this massive series, from here on out, we are only going to embed prior episodes from the immediately previous season at mid-season or only the previous episodes of the show in particular that we are covering if we are covering any of the series individually, which you can listen to for reference in advance of the current podcast episode.  All of our episodes, however, are searchable here at the website or, for audio-only types, you can find our page at our file host, the Internet Archive (archive.org), which has all of our episodes compiled in one handy menu.  It’s pretty nice, actually.  If you feel so inclined, please also donate to the Archive, so garage podcasts like your humble CPU! can continue to thrive.  For now, here are the DCTU series episodes since the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup:

DCTU Series, Episode 6, the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup

DCTU Series, Episode 7, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season Two

DCTU Series, Episode 8, “Supergirl,” Season Two

DCTU Series, Episode 9, “The Flash,” Season Three

DCTU Series, Episode 10, “Arrow,” Season Five

DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU 2018 Mid-Season Roundup

Our cheeky and feisty and full DCTU panel, particularly panelist Spencer, specially requested a separate episode to discuss the four episode mega-crossover Arrowverse event “Crisis on Earth-X,” as perhaps you surmised if you listened to our last episode.  Why, might you ask?  Well, we might answer.  The panel, by and large, LOVED this crossover event so much; it was so jam-packed with all of the nerdy, DC Universe goodness, plus a staggering number of Easter Eggs and pop culture references outside of comic books (DC or otherwise), the panel felt a separate recording was necessary to digest all of the wonderful everything that came out of this particular “Crisis.”  Thus, our DCTU panelists talk about their passionately positive assessment of the crossover of casts from Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.  Give us a listen below, and let us know if you agree or disagree with our thoughts!

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in January 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the current seasons of all four Arrowverse shows. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! In our next episode, schedule permitting, our Supernatural panel will return to the Water Cooler to discuss the first half of Season 13, as the long-running show already returned from this year’s winter hell-atus in its devilish way (if scheduling does not permit, our Once Upon a Time panel will appear instead to digest the “soft reboot” of Season 7)!  Stay tuned!

PARTING SHOTS

Ultimately, our intrepid DCTU panel truly had very little bad to say about “Crisis on Earth-X.”  The general consensus was that this four episode event vastly improved over 2016’s multi-series crossover by finding better ways to incorporate main characters, by using the story to propel the plots of all four series forward, and by being so entertaining, well-paced, well-directed, well-written, and well-performed, watching it felt like watching a four-part film.  In fact, according to all panelists who saw Justice League in theaters this past fall, “Crisis” was everything “JL” should have been and was not – high praise for the TV event as well as a relatively harsh critique of the film that was supposed to help the DC film franchise continue the momentum of last summer’s hit, Wonder Woman.  I digress.

If any of our panelists, particularly Kristen and Hilary, found any flaws with this crossover awesomeness, it was in the rushed dual wedding that rounded out the end of the four episodes.  In fact, all of our panelists, your moderator and Chief CP included despite her deep and abiding love for the Green Arrow character as played by Stephen Amell, pretty much thought that Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) upstaging Barry and Iris’ second attempt at nuptials was a “dick move” no matter how the cookie crumbles.  Still, and aside from other extremely minor nitpicks, the panel cannot laud “Crisis” enough and highly recommends watching it to anyone who loves superhero/comic book adaptations, particularly from the DC universe, and to anyone who loves action television and cinema in general.  In addition, since the CW provides the opportunity to watch the four episodes separately from the four main series within which they aired, and since the episodes can largely be viewed and understood without needing to see episodes before or after them, the panel believes that anyone who has not watched the crossover and would want to watch it simply has no excuse or cause for delay, especially since the CW app is free to all. 

LOOKING AHEAD

The four Arrowverse shows will return from their mid-season hiatuses as follows:

Supergirl: Monday, January 14, 2018, 8:00 PM
The Flash: Tuesday, January 15, 2018, 8:00 PM
Arrow: Thursday, January 18, 2018, 9:00 PM
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Monday, February 12, 2018, 8:00 PM (Black Lightning is premiering in “Legends’” regular time slot; “Legends” will finish out its season in Supergirl’s time slot, and Supergirl will go on a second hiatus during this shuffle).

No announcements regarding any series renewal/cancellation ahead of next season have yet been made, as the Arrowverse was, earlier this fall, rocked with scandal with the discharge of Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg in the wake of sexual harassment allegations levied against him.  Renewals for Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl are generally and confidently expected, while “Legends” was upgraded from bubble status recently and is earmarked as a “safe bet” for renewal.  In the meantime, the DCTU podcast panel will (truly) next convene around the CPU! water cooler at season’s end, releasing four new episodes throughout summer 2018, one for each show, to recap the current season in full.  Until then!  Stay tuned!

DC Television Universe (DCTU) Series, Episode Eleven, 2017-2018 Mid-Season Roundup of “Arrow,” Season Six; “The Flash,” Season Four; “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season Three; and “Supergirl,” Season Three (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in January 2018, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the eleventh episode of our DCTU ongoing series. The panel was also subjected to (now for) something completely different – again – here at CPU!  We decided to check in with each other in advance of this season’s end, when we will visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show, by rounding up our thoughts so far about all of the Arrowverse shows, only this time we are talking together instead of separately and are not playing (exactly) our nerdy “Newlywed Game,” as we did last year.  We do play one game, and it reaches our usual level of spiciness and hi-jinks, without overselling it, of course!  Our panelists then, during this short mid-season hiatus, talk about their current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season Six of Arrow, Season Four of The Flash, and Season Three of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. If you have not watched any of the DCTU/Arrowverse to date, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 11, the DCTU Panel’s 2017-2018 Mid-Season Roundup (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator.

What: “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Supergirl,” the four shows that comprise the so-called “Arrowverse” on the CW, otherwise known as the DC (Comics) Television Universe or DCTU.

When: 

  • Arrow airs Thursdays at 9:00 PM; Season Six premiered on October 12, 2017.
  • The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM; Season Four premiered on October 10, 2017.
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow aired Tuesdays at 9:00 PM (in 2017); Season Three premiered on October 10, 2017.
  • Supergirl airs Mondays at 8:00 PM; Season Three premiered on October 9, 2017.

Where: The action is primarily set in the DC Comics Universe, specifically in Star City (Arrow), Central City (The Flash), National City (Supergirl), and throughout space and time (“Legends”).

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full by clicking the floating box at the top right of our website header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers, to search for all of the prior DCTU series episodes.  As for why we are covering four shows at once (for now), read on!

How – as in How Busy Are We? – THOUGHTS

This is the eleventh episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Because we have reached double digits for this massive series, from here on out, we are only going to embed prior episodes from the immediately previous season at mid-season or only the previous episodes of the show in particular that we are covering if we covering any of the series individually, which you can listen to for reference in advance of the current podcast episode.  All of our episodes, however, are searchable here at the website or, for audio-only types, you can find our page at our file host, the Internet Archive (archive.org), which has all of our episodes compiled in one handy menu.  It’s pretty nice, actually.  If you feel so inclined, please also donate to the Archive, so garage podcasts like your humble CPU! can continue to thrive.  For now, here are the DCTU series episodes since the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup:

DCTU Series, Episode 6, the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup

DCTU Series, Episode 7, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season Two

DCTU Series, Episode 8, “Supergirl,” Season Two

DCTU Series, Episode 9, “The Flash,” Season Three

DCTU Series, Episode 10, “Arrow,” Season Five

In this episode, our cheeky and feisty and full and otherwise busy DCTU panel was subjected to (now for) something completely different – again – here at CPU!  We decided to check in with each other in advance of this season’s end, when we will visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show, by rounding up our thoughts so far about all of the Arrowverse shows, only this time we are talking together instead of separately and are not playing (exactly) our nerdy “Newlywed Game,” as we did last year.  We do play one game, and it reaches our usual level of spiciness and hi-jinks, but you know me – I don’t want to oversell it!!  Our panelists then, during this short mid-season hiatus, talk about their current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season Six of Arrow, Season Four of The Flash, and Season Three of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.  Give us a listen below, and let us know if you agree or disagree with our thoughts!

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in January 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the current seasons of all four Arrowverse shows. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next week, our DCTU panel returns to the CPU! water cooler for a special, bonus, specially recorded, specially requested episode during which we discuss the Arrowverse’s mega crossover television movie event, “Crisis on Earth X,” for which we “saved” discussion about said crossover specifically for this specially special bonus episode, as you will hear advertised throughout tonight’s episode.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

(New Questions Only; All Questions, New and Old, Will Be Addressed End of Season)

1) What is Cayden James’ (Michael Emerson) end game on Arrow?

2) For how long will Roy Harper/Arsenal (Colton Haynes) be back on Arrow, since his return to the show was announced in the media?

3) Did Warner Brothers/DC truly retract Arrow’s ability to use the character of Deathstroke again due to the Justice League film?  Is Manu Bennett gone indefinitely again?

4) Will Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) end up having to stand trial for being the Green Arrow?

5) Will Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) emerge from his framing for murder by The Thinker unscathed?  The panel believes that he will end up in the ARGUS/Iron Heights facility for some time as the Thinker originally seemed to intend, but what is The Thinker trying to do?

6) Why does Amunet (Katee Sackhoff) matter at all?  The panel finds her somewhat lame, and panelist Spencer takes special issue with her accent.

7) Will Harry Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) have to square off against The Thinker in his new, BrainStorm meta-body?

8) For how long will John Constantine (Matt Ryan) be on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow?

9) The media spoiled the intention to have Wally West/Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) join “Legends,” at least temporarily, in the near future.  For how long?  What will be his purpose?

10) Why are the “Legends” writers exploring the Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) story line on “Legends,” in the way they are exploring it, when the animated version seems to parallel the live-action version, only with Amaya’s granddaughter Mari at the fore?

11) Will the baby Dominator that young Ray Palmer/The Atom (Brandon Routh) met as a child reappear as an adult and encounter adult Ray/the Legends again?

12) What is Damien Dahrk (Neal McDonough) trying to do on “Legends?”  How is he related to Mallus, the demonic presence?

13) Will Constantine and Dahrk have to square off?  Will Zari (Tala Ashe) and Amaya have to square off against Mallus?

14) What did the Time Bureau do with Rip (Arthur Darvill)?

15) Will Superman (Tyler Loechlin) have to help Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) fight off Reign (Odette Annable)?

16) Why is the show changing the Martian Manhunter (David Harewood) story so much?  Are the extra Martians real?  Where is the story involving Manhunter’s father going?

17) What will Reign do to National City and to Earth 38 now that she is “awake?”

18) Will we see anymore crossovers between the four shows (aside from Wally West) this season?

19) For how much longer will Captain/Citizen Cold (Wentworth Miller) hang out in the Arrowverse?

PARTING SHOTS 

The panel universally agrees that The Flash has improved this season and remains the head of the pack of this multi-verse of four series, offering a far and away better quality superhero adaptation experience than the other three DC entries on the CW.  The show about the Scarlet Speedster boasts consistently entertaining humor, a tight ensemble cast that works well together, and a fun new (old) villain in The Thinker.  The panel wavered regarding how they feel about the other three shows.  Some panelists like Supergirl better, while others like “Legends,” and most of the panelists, with the notable exceptions of Chief CP Kylie and Spencer, pronounced and emphasized their individual struggles maintaining interest in Arrow.   The show about the Emerald Archer similarly struggles to find new ways to challenge Green Arrow and his team, as the Arrow series writers appear to continue to recycle story-lines and to squander story potential, given Team Arrow’s seemingly and relatively easy escape from the exploding island of Lian Yu.  In any event, the panel is generally enjoying the four shows’ current seasons (Arrow aside, more or less) and is looking forward to what the second halves of each of the series’ seasons might bring to our collective viewing experiences.

LOOKING AHEAD

The four Arrowverse shows will return from their mid-season hiatuses as follows:

Supergirl: Monday, January 14, 2018, 8:00 PM
The Flash: Tuesday, January 15, 2018, 8:00 PM
Arrow: Thursday, January 18, 2018, 9:00 PM
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Monday, February 12, 2018, 8:00 PM (Black Lightning is premiering in “Legends'” regular time slot; “Legends” will finish out its season in Supergirl’s time slot, and Supergirl will go on a second hiatus during this shuffle).

No announcements regarding any series renewal/cancellation ahead of next season have yet been made, as the Arrowverse was, earlier this fall, rocked with scandal with the discharge of Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg in the wake of sexual harassment allegations levied against him.  Renewals for Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl are generally and confidently expected, while “Legends” hovers nearer to the cancellation bubble.  In the meantime, the DCTU podcast panel will next convene around the CPU! water cooler at season’s end, releasing four new episodes throughout summer 2018, one for each show, to recap the current season in full.  Until then!  Stay tuned!

Orange is the New Black, Season 5 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel–including moderator Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Krista, Amanda, and Andrew–is Around the Water Cooler and Streaming Originals as we discuss and recap Season 5 of Orange is the New Black.  This episode was recorded in October 2017, and if you haven’t seen OITNB through the fifth season, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format.  Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog/podcast covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: “Orange is the New Black,” The Season 5 Recap and Discussion (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Orange is the New Black” is available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What: “Orange is the New Black,” a comedy drama about a Manhattan woman whose past catches up to her and for which she must serve time in federal prison.

SYNOPSIS

Taylor Schilling plays Piper Chapman, a seemingly run-of-the-mill woman and maker of homemade soaps. Unfortunately, Piper learns that she must serve a short sentence in federal prison after she is implicated in the bust of an international drug cartel, of which her former girlfriend, Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), was a member and who Piper aided and abetted. What’s more, Piper finds, at first, that she is wholly unequipped for prison. Though some, like unabashed, self-proclaimed “lesbian junkie” Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne), are kind and helpful to her, others show her no mercy. In addition, the guards, all men, are mostly drunk on their own power, the prison counselors play favorites and are easily offended, and the prison population is divided by race, unofficially but automatically, which offends Piper’s liberal sensibilities.  If all that weren’t complicated enough, Piper’s ex Alex is sent to the same prison, and Piper’s emotions are deeply conflicted, as she reasons that only Alex could have pointed the finger to get her in trouble in the first place, while at the same time, the old attractions between the two women remain undeniably present.

When: All 13 Season 5 episodes became available for viewing on June 9, 2017.

Where: The show is set in New York, though flashbacks for each of the prisoners who comprise the cast of characters sometimes venture away from New York.

Why: Many panelists saw the teaser trailers for the series while watching other programming on Netflix and also on network TV.  Listen to prior podcast episodes to discover how individual panelists found this show.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

CPU! has been covering Orange is the New Black since its debut on Netflix’s ever growing streaming service.  You can read about the first season here and listen to podcast episodes about Seasons 2-4 below:

Orange is the New Black, Season Two

Orange is the New Black, Season Three, Part One

Orange is the New Black, Season Three, Part Two

Orange is the New Black, Season Four

Our OITNB Couch Potatoes and enthusiasts – namely moderator and Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Nick, Amanda, and Andrew – triumphantly return to the CPU! Water Cooler to talk all things Season Five of the wildly popular (and Orange) Netflix drama for this latest podcast episode.  We engaged in our usual heady and heavy discussion about some of the plot lines that we saw emerge in the tightly entertaining and engaging fifth season. What do you think?  Do you agree? Do you disagree? What are your hopes, fears, expectations, speculations, or predictions for the resolution of the fifth season’s cliffhangers going into season six?

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in October 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of OITNB Season Five. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! In our next episode, schedule permitting, our DCTU/Arrowverse panel will return to the Water Cooler after a brief absence to round-up reactions to all four CW/Arrowverse shows so far this season, just in time for the end of the mid-season hiatus (if scheduling does not permit, our Once Upon a Time panel will appear instead to digest the “soft reboot” of Season 7)!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Predictions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Are the OITNB producers planning to end the show at the end of Piper’s sentence? (That will be a question for awhile).

ANSWER: Piper hasn’t been released yet, so…still a question.

2) Are we to assume that Suzanne’s (Uzo Aduba) flashback this season provided the back story related to the reason for her imprisonment: involuntary manslaughter of a child? Because her flashback episode was situated within the last three jam-packed episodes of the season, the panel assumed this to be the case but was not certain.

ANSWER: Unclear.  OITNB does not revisit Suzanne’s back story at any point during Season Five.

3) Where is the story in terms of Piper’s overall sentence, and how much longer does she have in prison?

ANSWER: Panelist Krista believes, if the source book on which the show is based still provides any kind of story framework, that Piper has two to three months maximum left to her original sentence; however, the show does not focus on time passing in Season Five, as it picks up right after the events of Season Four and transpires over the course of a few days.

4) Will we see Healy (Michael Harney) again?  Panelists Kristen and Kylie predict that we will, since he seems to have voluntarily checked himself into an institution (rather than being involuntarily committed).

ANSWER: Healy does not make an appearance in Season Five…will he appear in future seasons?  Unknown.

5) Will Laverne Cox/Sophia be in Season Five, given that Cox is part of a show that has been picked up by CBS for the new TV season?  How will the prison or the show deal with the controversy of leaving Sophia in solitary for her “protection.”

ANSWER: Well, Laverne’s CBS show (“Doubt”) was quickly canceled after only a couple of episodes; however, she appears in one episode this season.  Because she only appears in one episode, the show bypasses Sophia’s time in solitary and related controversy with little explanation regarding the experience’s effects on her.  Sophia returns to doing hair while the prisoners riot, as of the final moments of the Season Four finale and throughout Season Five.  Perhaps some of the rioters break Sophia out of solitary?  The show offers no explanation for her appearance, but she definitely looks worse for wear when she does appear.

6) Where will Season Five pick up given the end of the season?  Will it pick up right from the moment at which season four ended, or will time of any significance pass?

ANSWER: Season Five picks up at the literal second when Season Four ends.

7) Will Daya (Dascha Polanco) shoot Humps?  Or, will another prisoner intervene?  Or, if she does shoot him, will someone go to bat and take the fall for her?  Will Humps survive this riot?  If he does, will anyone find out about what he did to Maritza, Suzanne, and others?

ANSWER: Daya shoots Humps – in the leg.  She then proceeds to lose the gun for a while, and the only prisoner who seems to care about her welfare and the potential ramifications of her actions is surrogate mama Gloria (Selenis Levya).  Humps is taken to the infirmary to recover; however, Suzanne’s former paramour Maureen decides to exact revenge for his merciless treatment of the prisoners (and for him inciting said present riot) by blowing air bubbles into his breathing tubes.  As a result, Humps suffers a stroke and, subsequently and quietly, dies.  

8) Will Judy King (Blair Brown) make it out of prison?  Will she grab the gun from Daya? Will she be a casualty of that final riot?

ANSWER: Judy King makes it out of prison, with a little help from the white supremacists, who wear hoods, are caught on camera, and are mistaken for Muslim terrorists.  Ah, irony.  Judy then proceeds to try to sell her prison story in an exploitative way by appearing on a prime time news talk show hosted by Meredith Vieira (really?), without much thought about or consideration of the consequences or the potential effect her choices may have on others.  Judy King is kind of The Worst.

9) Will Litchfield continue to run after all of the chaos at the end of Season Four?  Will the prisoners be split up?  Or, is that a way the series might end?

ANSWER: “Continue to run” is a relative turn of phrase, considering that the prisoners are controlling the prison, and mass chaos not only continues but increases as Season Five progresses.  As for the prisoners splitting up…well, when SWAT units enter the building to regain control by force, Leanne and Angie, in a final blaze of glory, decide to burn the prisoner’s paper records and, as a result, start a fire in the prison offices.  As a result, Litchfield is engulfed in flames, and, while prisoners are brought to safety, outside and in the yard, by SWAT team units, two buses appear to ship prisoners, seemingly, to two different alternative prisons.  Where and how will we start Season Six given this information?  Stay tuned.

10) How will Soso and Taystee (Danielle Brooks) deal with their particular grief about Poussey?  Will they come to bond more?  Will Soso remain a part of P’s “family?”

ANSWER: Soso spends most of the season consumed by grief and depression in the wake of Poussey’s death, with minimal support from Poussey’s prison family (the African American girls), though Soso kind of becomes a de facto member of their group.  She does not regain some stability until she decides, in tribute to Poussey, to make an interactive, living, artistic tribute to P, with books from the library where P worked strung from the ceilings throughout the prisoner-controlled Litchfield halls.  In the meantime, Taystee, who is unimpressed by Soso’s methods of dealing with her loss, decides to take matters into her own hands to attempt to achieve justice for her best friend.  She forces Caputo (Nick Sandow) to record a video statement apologizing for Poussey’s death, which she proceeds to upload to the internet.  She also takes on the company allegedly overseeing the prison by entering into hostage negotiations with the company/with negotiator Fig, after the prisoners capture the remaining guards, declare them hostages, and cage them up in a locked guard booth, where many prisoners proceed to torture and to humiliate them.  Unfortunately, Taystee’s efforts are not always successful.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

11) Will Sister get out of solitary, or will she be left there?

ANSWER: The show, apparently (according to panelists Krista and Nick but escaping the notice of panelists Kylie and Kristen), explains that Sister contracted pneumonia while in solitary and was, therefore, given compassionate release from prison.  So, I guess Sister is gone for good, and at least two of us missed the explanation behind her departure!

12) Will Red (Kate Mulgrew) have a better story line next season?

ANSWER: If getting high on speed pills and becoming the sole object of dishonored guard Piscatella’s ire comprises a better story line, then I would say that Red does alright.

13) Do we still care about Piper and Alex as a couple?  Did Piper miss any of Alex’s written “confessions” that she hid around the prison in an effort to assuage her guilt?

ANSWER: Piper and Alex do everything they can to lay low this season; in fact, Alex makes it her own personal mission to stay out of the fray because she thinks that Piper often sticks her nose where it does not belong and, often, in sacrifice or to the detriment of the stability of their relationship, a subject of much conflict and debate between the two women this season.  Piper, probably for the first genuine time since the beginning of this show, obtains some self-awareness this season.  While she cannot promise Alex that she will always stay out of situations that seem to matter to her, because doing so is not in her nature, she at least promises that she will listen to Alex if Alex expresses unhappiness with Piper’s meddling and mischief.  Piper also proposes marriage to Alex, who accepts the proposal.  So, the panel believes we are sort of stuck caring about them for awhile longer.  As for Alex’s written confessions – either Piper found them all in Season Four or is too distracted to keep looking for them in Season Five, what with all the rioting and such.

14) How long will Nicky remain clean?  Have she and Tuckey (Taryn Manning) just become friends, given Tuckey’s willingness to nurse Nicky through a cold turkey withdrawal from heroin during the prison lock down?

ANSWER: Nicky, though tempted many times by an unguarded prison pharmacy and prisoners’ various stashes, manages to make it through the whole fifth season (which, in reality, transpires over about one to two weeks) without falling off the wagon.  Presumably, she and Tuckey have an understanding, but I would not characterize this understanding as friendship.  Tuckey, further, is distracted by other matters this season.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

15) Will we see the young, nice guard Bailey again?  Will the old Litchfield guards return in light of all that has happened?  And what exactly did Piscatella do to which Caputo hinted at the end of the season?

ANSWER: We see Bailey, and he is, rightfully, a mess.  Piper helps him escape the Litchfield prisoner regime, but he spends the entire season wracked with justifiable guilt over his involuntary manslaughter of Poussey; he also spends the entire season searching for some sort of redemption or forgiveness of his sin(s), even tracking down Poussey’s father, who can only tell Bailey that he will have to live with what he did to P for the rest of his life.  The old Litchfield guards mostly stay away, smartly, as the prison is overrun, but the show checks in with most of them.  As for Piscatella, it turns out that, at his prior prison job, he slaughtered another prisoner by scalding him in hot shower water after this prisoner brutally beat and killed a different prisoner with whom Piscatella was carrying on an inappropriate relationship in his position as a guard.  Piscatella was also exploring his newfound homosexuality in said relationship, so these dark incidents left Piscatella in a dark place, causing him to be the man we see in Seasons Four and Five.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

16) Will we see Lolly (Lori Petty) again now that she has been transferred to the psych ward?

ANSWER: Lolly does not emerge from the psych ward during the riots of Season Five.

New Questions

1) Where and when will Season 6 begin?  Will there be a time jump? Will the Litchfield inmates be in various other prisons?  Will they return to a rebuilt prison?  Will we see all of the inmates we saw at the end of Season 5?  Will the inmates hiding by the old swimming pool, including Piper, Alex, Red, Frieda, Blanca, and others, be subjected to more stringent punishment?  Will they all survive?  Will they be captured?

2) What will happen to the guards originally left in the prison and captured by the prisoners?  What fallout, if anything, will they receive?

3) Will Piper and Alex marry in prison, and will this proposed marriage make Piper a more likable character?  Is that even possible?

4) Is this the end of Litchfield?

5) What will the fallout of the Litchfield riots be related to the company, the state, and the figureheads?  Will the company be assessed any consequences for its incompetent management of Litchfield?

6) Will there be additional crossovers with other original Netflix series – or additional crossovers with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?  Some of the panelists support this idea; some are less enthused with both this concept and with the crossover that occurred in Season Five.

7) Are there any prisoners, especially prisoners that the viewer has known since the beginning, for which we have not seen flashback stories?  What flashback stories will see next season?

8) What was Freida’s crime that landed her in Litchfield/prison?

9) Will the company or anyone else discover Linda, the company woman playing prisoner who is also The Worst, among the prisoners?

10) Will Flaritza, i.e. Flaca (Jackie Cruz) and Maritza, be reunited?  Will Nicky and Morello (Yael Stone)?

11) Will Daya ever get to see her baby again?

PARTING SHOTS

Our Orange is the New Black panel proved much more enthusiastic about the fifth season than about some of the seasons preceding it.  Some panelists even labeled this season their favorite, or one of their favorites, indicative of a fine return to form for the show.  In fact, the entire panel was both favorable and complimentary about OITNB Season Five.  The panel also, ever so slightly, continued to warm to Piper, believing that she continues to learn lessons that her real-life counterpart never had to learn because Piper Chapman makes less intelligent choices than Piper Kerman.  All in all, though, the panel reached a rare consensus of opinion, in that all panelists noted that the story trajectory, aside from a slower season beginning that appeared to lose some of the tension marking the fourth season finale, remained successful and compelling and regained the seemingly lost tension to almost “horror movie” proportions by season’s end, despite the absence of a fan and panel favorite character in Poussey.  The entire panel plans to continue to watch the show and Season Six to find out what happens, particularly in the wake of the emptying of Litchfield and the two buses that arrived to separate our formerly (and mostly) rioting characters.  Of course, the panel continues to acknowledge that the writing remains dynamic and top-notch but suggests that this season’s direction and pacing allow for better binge-watching in Season Five than in Season Four.  The panel further continues to maintain high hopes and expectations that Season Six will continue the overarching, excellent quality of storytelling that has characterized Orange is the New Black since its premiere.

LOOKING AHEAD

Orange is the New Black was renewed for a sixth (as well as a seventh) season, which is tentatively slated to premiere in June 2018.  Until then!

The Originals, Season 4 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in November 2017, our panel of true CPU! originals and vampire enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Jen (S.), and new (to the panel not to the podcast) panelist Jenn (K.) – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 4 of The Originals, including the seven-year, in-show time jump; the appearance of the Hollow, an unstoppable, soulless magical being; the emergence of now older but still young Hope, the daughter of Hayley and Klaus; and the unending reaches to which the Mikaelson siblings will go, by any means necessary, for their family. If you have not watched any of The Originals, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace