The Vampire Diaries, Season 8B (Part One of the CPU! Goodbye to The Vampire Diaries, MAJOR SPOILERS)

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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 June 2017, our smaller (again) but always robust panel – including moderator Kylie, Jen, and Kelsey – is back Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 8B of The Vampire Diaries, including this show’s version of the “Devil” and two Salvatore brothers in full-on, emotionless vampire mode, in the first part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! says goodbye to this long-running, supernatural, fantasy-horror series. If you have not watched any of The Vampire Diaries, 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

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “The Vampire Diaries” – The Goodbye Series, Part 1: The Season 8 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “The Vampire Diaries” aired on network TV, specifically on the CW, for eight seasons, from 2009 to 2017.

What: “The Vampire Diaries,” a supernatural teen drama focused on a young woman, Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), who becomes entangled with two brothers who are vampires–-one a soulful, conflicted type who wants to repress his vampire urges to be more human; the other a sarcastic, ne’er-do-well who embraces the nature of his nocturnal condition, except for when his love for Elena interferes. In addition, these two vampire brothers were sired by Elena’s doppelganger, a vampire for the centuries named Katherine Pierce (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here:http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/vampire_diaries_the/summary.html).

When: The Season 8 finale – the series finale – aired on Friday, March 10, 2017, at 8:00 PM on the CW.

Where: The show is primarily set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia.

Why: Two reasons: vampires and Ian Somerhalder, formerly of Lost and Smallville fame. CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie loves non-sparkly vampire television, and Ian Somerhalder is too beautiful a man not to find an excuse to watch.  My fellow panelists found the show due to the vampires as well, and at least thirty-three percent of them stayed for Ian…

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

In 2016, our Vampire Diaries panel helped to catch CPU! up on this program by discussing seasons five, six, and the first half of season seven.  We also covered, in great detail, the second half of the seventh season in a second episode, and in a third episode, we talked about the first half of season eight.  To hear our thoughts, or to catch yourself up, listen to the embedded links below:

Seasons 5-7A

Season 7B

Season 8A
 

Our smaller (again) but continuously robust panel – our TVD “originals,” Jen and Kelsey – reconvened to discuss the dysfunctional but smoldering brothers Salvatore and the rest of the motley crew hailing from fictional Mystic Falls as our panel engaged in part one of a two-part CPU! series in which Couch Potatoes Unite! says our own protracted goodbye to The Vampire Diaries.  In the first part of this miniseries, our panelists delve deep into recapping TVD’s final half season, in which our characters battle the Devil named Cade, his siren servants, and the Salvatore brothers, no longer engaged with their “emotion” switches and, therefore, their innate humanity, as they go on vampire binges to harvest souls at Cade’s behest. The supporting characters, meanwhile, attempt to move on with life in their own ways, though no none in Mystic Falls can stay away from the Salvatores for long.

In the second part of our miniseries, which will publish next week, CPU!’s TVD panel will engage in one of our “Looking Back” discussions, during which we will reflect upon TVD as a whole and whether we think this series will hold up over time or whether it will age, wither, and decay like a staked vampire in Mystic Falls.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or sire bond were frequently tested in TVD’s later seasons, we still have lots to think and to talk about, particularly as we reflect upon the show’s ending moments.  Give this first episode a listen with your vampire super-hearing, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This first part of our two-part TVD goodbye was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the eighth and final season.  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, we will publish the second part of this two-part goodbye series, in which our TVD panel Looks Back at the show as a whole in one last chat, for this particular panel and for this particular show, around the water cooler. Stay tuned!

 

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) What is the artifact that Matt’s (Zach Roerig) dad had, and what does it do?  Who has it now?  Do we still care about it?

ANSWER: After wracking my brain and after searching Vampire Diaries wiki pages for the information, I do not have an answer for this question.  Damon (Somerhalder) “found” it in Peter Maxwell’s garage, but whether it was actually used, I am not sure.  Was it related to the Maxwell Bell?  Was it an amulet or talisman?  If you remember, let us know in the comments.  Considering that it was so unmemorable, though, we probably do not need to care about it anymore.

2) Will Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) return to The Vampire Diaries to see it off as one of the original cast members?

ANSWER: Jeremy made the briefest of cameo appearances in the series finale, without speaking lines, as an ending montage showed the viewer glimpses into each of the characters’ futures.  The panel felt that this appearance was both anticlimactic and probably unnecessary, considering that he did not even get to speak and did not even appear in the “heaven” part of the montage.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) So, Elena will return.  How?  Kylie predicts that, in order to save Damon, Bonnie (Kat Graham) will sacrifice herself, so that Elena might awaken from her coma and draw Damon away from the darkness of his emotional void once more.  Kelsey predicts that Enzo (Michael Malarkey) and Bonnie might snuff themselves together, in a fantastic Thelma and Louise or, perhaps, Romeo and Juliet type fashion.  Kylie further predicts that Stefan (Paul Wesley) might not survive the series – he may decide to remain the Ripper, and the other Mystic Falls residents, Caroline (Candice King) included, may be forced to stake him; or, the writers will cop out, and Stefan and Caroline will reunite for their happily ever after. What will happen?  How will it all end?

ANSWER: Kylie’s first prediction was half right.  Enzo emerges from the sirens’ grasp, and Bonnie, with his help, protects Elena’s magically comatose body by hiding her coffin in a bed and breakfast that Bonnie and Enzo purchased for this purpose alone.  Damon, fighting for his freedom from Cade and attempting to protect his epic love, wants to extract Elena’s blood to recycle the vampire Cure by using it on Cade, in an epic Hail Mary to end the Devil’s attacks on Mystic Falls and on innocent souls the world over.  Ripper Stefan, in service of Cade, susses out this plan and shows up to put a stop to it.  One way in which he derails it is by ripping out Enzo’s heart in front of Bonnie.  Bonnie immediately retaliates by injecting the newly extracted Elena’s-blood-infused Cure into Stefan. 

In the meantime, Bonnie’s magic, though largely dormant, along with her deep feeling and passion for Enzo, ensures that his soul/essence/consciousness is still around and still psychically linked to Bonnie after his unfortunate death. Katherine (also Dobrev), however, returns from hell to wreak her own brand of havoc and wants to ring the Maxwell Bell, a talisman and town historical artifact used to seal the gates of Hell by the Bennett witches when Mystic Falls was founded. Katherine, basically, seeks to unleash hell-fire on Mystic Falls.  Bonnie’s heartbreak over Enzo’s death is so palpable, he realizes that her love plus some element of her magic must be keeping him from moving on.  He ultimately encourages her to sacrifice their psychic link in order to restore her magic fully in an effort to stop Katherine.  Bonnie does so with aid from Enzo in the the almost-beyond, and this act serves also to break Kai Parker’s (Chris Wood) magic, responsible for trapping Elena within her magical coma since Season 6.  So, Bonnie sacrifices herself (not expecting to survive) and her link to Enzo to save Elena and everyone else, but she ultimately does survive, and Elena further awakens, human and alive.

Kelsey’s prediction – though it was probably more of a hope – was not correct.

Kylie’s prediction that Stefan would not survive the series was correct.  Katherine achieves the ringing of the Maxwell Bell via the cursed, hell-bound spirit of Vicki Donovan, Matt’s long-dead sister who is on earth due to the weakened barrier/gates between Hell and Earth, but Damon and Stefan concoct a plan to redirect the hell-fire through the magically imbued Armory tunnels (even though the Armory above is destroyed), so that Bonnie can use her magic to send the hell-fire back to Hell.  The catch?  Katherine has to be back in Hell also in order to be trapped there once the hell-fire is magically returned by Bonnie, as Hell’s gates will firmly close once more, meaning someone must sacrifice her/himself to stab Katherine, with a very handy knife, as hell-fire incinerates them both.  Damon initially volunteers, ever the older protective brother but, guilt-driven, also convinced that he must atone for his many sins and misdeeds; he attempts to compel Stefan, who has been human since Bonnie installed the Cure via retaliatory syringe in the wake of Ripper Stefan’s murder of Enzo, to leave the tunnels.  Stefan, however, has been ingesting vervain since reacquiring his humanity.  The compulsion, therefore, does not work, so the viewer discovers in a twisty reveal.  What is more, Stefan injects Damon with his blood, redirecting the vampire Cure to Damon and transforming the elder Salvatore vampire brother into a human in the end.  Stefan thereafter grabs Katherine, stabs her, and jumps into the path of the hell-fire flames, sacrificing his very human existence to save everyone else.  

Stefan, as of the end of The Vampire Diaries, is no more.

Cue montage.

4) Will the twins be factors in saving the brothers Salvatore from themselves or Alaric (Matt Davis)/Caroline/anyone else from Stefan and Damon?

ANSWER: The twins, though present and magical and siphon-y, do not really play any part in any events involving the Salvatores.  Bonnie saves Stefan by making him human; Stefan sacrifices himself to save Damon and everyone else, after curing Damon’s vampirism, which allows Damon to live a normal life until his death and until the brothers’ eventual reunion in the afterlife.

5) Damon ripped out Sybil’s heart on his way out of town with Stefan in the mid-season finale, but we know that Sybil can heal due to her magical deal to keep her immortality, which she made with Cade in exchange for selling out Stefan and Damon.  Will we still see Sybil, and how will she factor into the overall end?  Where did Seline go?  Are we done with the Siren Sisters?

ANSWER: Sybil and Seline return momentarily to lord their newfound freedom from Cade over Mystic Falls in their own special ways.  Sybil particularly, who retains her Siren powers to some extent, even attempts to mess with Damon and Stefan during their soul harvesting phase.  Anticlimactically, however, and though the sisters eventually agree to help the Mystic Falls Scoobies in their attempt to fend off Cade, because he is angered by their ultimate betrayal, Cade magically snaps their necks, simultaneously ending the reigns – and the long lives – of the Siren Sisters.

6) Who or what is Cade – really?  Who came first: him, the Originals, or the Witches? Will we see a mutual crossover with The Originals, the spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, this half season?  If so, can it be the whole cast and not merely an exchange of one character, like Klaus and Stefan, as happened last season?

ANSWER: Cade is, quite simply, the Devil in The Vampire Diaries universe.  He is the most evil being, determined to retaliate for his martyrdom by harvesting souls in order to grow his psychic prison, what the show deems to be “Hell.”  Because TVD aired before The Originals this past season, we do not get to see any crossovers on TVD, except by reference, as Klaus donates a sizable sum of money to Caroline and Alaric’s new Hogwarts school of Special Supernatural children, which is not its actual name but which is featured in the ending montage.  As far as who came first, Cade, the Originals, or the Witches, TVD does not answer that question.

7) What will Damon and Stefan do as Cade’s new soul harvesters?  How will their brotherly bond be affected?  Ripper Stefan is kind of a dick, but Damon also has his emotion switch off.  We’ve never seen both brothers with their emotion switch off at the same time except during flashbacks of their initial days as vampires.  How will this manifest, and what will they do?

ANSWER: The brothers mostly get along great, at least early on in their harvesting careers.  For the first time, both brothers are vampires without the governance of their emotion switches, and even though they occasionally disagree about tactics, this mutual state allows them to simultaneously enjoy the kill and each other’s company, at least for a time.  With Damon, though, we know his love for Elena and her general influence on him have ever changed him, and he quickly grows bored, particularly since Ripper Stefan, as was mentioned, is kind of a dick.  Damon’s boredom and wist for Elena, plus some helpful persuasion from Bonnie, ultimately spurs him to defect, even as Ripper Stefan takes his Ripper-ness to new heights in the second half of Season 8.

8) What will the Mystic Falls Scooby Gang, particularly Caroline, do to try to save the brothers from themselves?

ANSWER: Bonnie and Enzo attempt to help Damon and, for the most part, mutual forgiveness goes along way to help Damon reengage his emotion switch.  Caroline does not really participate in any saving of anyone; in fact, during Stefan’s latest Ripper phase, she throws her engagement ring back in his face.  It is not until Stefan becomes human, through Bonnie’s actions, that Stefan begins his short-lived road to recovery.

9) Why was Cade not introduced sooner, if he’s truly the “devil?”

ANSWER: Still a question.  The panel feels that he is an intriguing character that probably should have been flushed out over more of the series, rather than over one shortened season.

10) What is “Hell” truly?  How did the pre-devil version of Cade become psychic?

ANSWER: Questions without answers, actually.  Hell is a psychic prison but also, seemingly, a physical place.  The show never parsed out these metaphysical concepts in more detail, since they were introduced so late into the series’ life.

Lingering Questions

1) The chronology of who was created first: Witches/Originals or Cade.

2) Why Cade was not made a bigger Big Bad for a larger part of the series.

3) The true meaning of Hell.

4) Cade’s back story.

5) Exactly how Heaven worked and why Elena’s moments were with all of her family but not Jeremy – and why they were all the same ages as when they died.

6) How long each character lived before the dead characters died and appeared in the ending montage.

7) Why Stefan and Lexie were never a couple.  Oodles of chemistry but no payoff.

8) Whether or not Caroline and Klaus will end up together on The Originals. Stay tuned.

PARTING SHOTS

The panelists all agree: it was time for The Vampire Diaries to end.  While all three panelists (your Chief CP included) are relieved that the show ended, decked out and tied up, in neat, fan-pleasing bows, many convenient story shortcuts and continuity breakaways occurred before the show was able to achieve its clearly sought after happy ending.  Stefan’s end on the show felt the most real and the most earned, while Damon and Elena’s reunion lacked any semblance of emotional punch, owing much to the actors’ behind-the-scenes drama and interpersonal dynamics – and apparent lack of professionalism.  Bonnie and Matt surviving the series – and Matt without ever becoming supernatural like all of his friends – surprised and relieved our panelists, while the ending montage felt hokey and largely forced, with so little Jeremy or actual through-line that did not confuse, even as it tugged at heartstrings and made us all feel and cry.  Most if not all of the panelists are both happy and sad that The Vampire Diaries is done, and while some of us might re-watch the series in future, none of us will be quite ready to do so for some time – which is not to say the series is bad or lacks entertainment value as much as the series ending landed messily and without leaving any of us with much satisfaction at the last.  The panel believes that TVD became guilty pleasure TV that ultimately did not follow its own logic/story rules by the end, so much so that a lingering disappointment mars the engagement and devotion our panels directed toward this series for eight seasons.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Vampire Diaries has officially ended, but the CPU! TVD podcast panel is not quite finished!  We will publish a second part to this mini podcast series saying goodbye to TVD, in which we will Look Back at the series as a whole, next week! Stay tuned, subscribe, like, and follow to keep abreast of that publication, and tell us what you think in the comment forums.  What’s more, review us on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or YouTube, and check out our other podcast episodes related to a growing array of TV shows!  Until next week!  Stay tuned!

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4B (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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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 August 2017, our continuously small but newly more robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Jen, and new (to the panel, not to the podcast) panelist Micah–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 4B of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. focusing upon the “LMD” and “Agents of Hydra” arcs! If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, 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!

Episode sponsored by: Curious Arrow’s production of “Lucid”

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – The Season 4 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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THIS EPISODE OF CPU! WAS SPONSORED BY: CURIOUS ARROW

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And their inaugural production of “Lucid,” a performance of original short plays

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Opening Friday, September 15, 2017, at Dog Story Theater in Grand Rapids, Michigan!

For more information, visit Curious Arrow’s Facebook Page or buy tickets at http://www.eventbrite.com!

CPU! Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall to spring Tuesdays at 10:00 PM (as of this past season).

What: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” a serial television drama based on the comic/graphic novel and film universe of Marvel Comics.

SYNOPSIS

The mission of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D., is to monitor and collect rogue supernatural subjects, forces, and people and to control them.  The Division is kind of like the so-called Men in Black but is focused on any fringe element looking to create the next Tony Stark (Iron Man) or Captain America or Thor without the natural-born endowments (or the cool suit invented by a rich guy).  Of course, the mission has been complicated ten times over since the start of the series.

When: The Season 4 finale aired on ABC on May 16, 2017, at 10:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and closely follows the events of “The Avengers” films, previously directed by series creator Joss Whedon (along with brother Jed).

Why: Two reasons for most of the panel: Joss Whedon and Disney’s first television production of a Marvel-type nature.  It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

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

CPU! has covered Agents of SHIELD since the beginning, though in podcast format only starting last year.  If you would like to catch up on our SHIELD coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

Seasons 1-3A

Season 3A Mid-season

Season 3B (post-finale)

Season 4A Mid-season
Our SHIELD panel is back to talk about the heady second half of the fourth season, with two sections subtitled “LMD” and “Agents of Hydra,” respectively.  What’s especially exciting is that our SHIELD panel has experienced some growth of its own for the first time since its inception (which could bode well for the show…maybe…).  Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie are joined “around the water cooler” by an individual new to the panelist but not to the podcast, namely Micah, most recently heard as part of our ongoing Once Upon a Time panel.  Our newly, slightly more robust panel of SHIELD agents tackles talk of Season 4B as well as prognosticates upon possible future plot developments of the fifth season and speculates upon the likelihood that the show has moved markedly toward the bubble of cancellation, especially since the network is delaying the premiere of Season 5 until mid-season and is moving the show to a precarious Friday night time slot. Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in August 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the fourth season. 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! Our next podcast episode will stay in the MCU as a handful of familiar panelists gather around the water cooler to take a First Look while simultaneously Looking Back at the gone-too-soon but never-forgotten, girl power driven spin-off of the Captain America films, Marvel’s Agent Carter.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1)  Still a Question: Will we learn which planet it is (i.e .Hive’s home planet beyond Earth)?

ANSWER: We haven’t yet, and it’s one of the main questions of the podcast panel.

2) Still a Question: Will we find out about the “purpose” behind the Inhumans, as alluded to by Lincoln (RIP), and explore more of the mythology and connection between the Inhumans and the Cree?  Will we ever find out the true origin of the Planet?  Is the Planet important beyond being the place where Hive was exiled for millennia?

ANSWER: Still questions without answers. 

3) Still a question: Will we ever learn more about the Cree themselves?  Are they related to any of the individual Avengers?

ANSWER: As above, still questions without answers.

4) Is Ghost Rider (GR) gone for good?  Why was he even brought on the show to begin with? What IS GR?  Who was the GR before Robbie Reyes? Is Robbie the last GR, should he never return from where ever he landed with his Uncle Eli? Does GR reap souls from the living?  How was GR able to touch the physicists trapped within the dimensional rift? Where do the souls or people slayed or reaped by the GR go?  Do they go to hell?  Why was the GR mythology not flushed out more on this show if such care and attention to bring him on the show was necessary to the overall story?

ANSWER: Robbie/GR returned in the season finale, emerging from some sort of portal to a hell dimension, bent upon recapturing the Dark Hold.  His appearance also served to provide Coulson (Clark Gregg) a way to defeat the ultimate Big Bad of the season – the android Aida (Mallory Jansen), whose interaction with the Dark Hold motivated her to aspire to turning herself into a human and to bolster a virtual reality/artificial computer-based matrix created by Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah), nicknamed the Framework.  Further explanation of Ghost Rider and what his mythology is and how it relates to the MCU overall was not provided this half season, perhaps expecting some reliance on knowledge from the comics.

5) Is Nadir affiliated with Hydra?  Could Hydra be coming back – since it seems foolish to eliminate them from the MCU completely?

ANSWER: Nadir funds and protects (politically) the Watchdogs, the ranks of which contain some former Hydra agents.  Hydra as an actual entity – this side of the Framework, that is – has not, as of yet, returned or does not seem to exist. Yet, events of this season may signal the return of some growing heads of the many-headed enemy.  So speculates the podcast panel.

6) Aida, Radcliffe’s newest android creation, seems to have created a double for May (Ming-Na Wen).  Is the real May being held captive by Ada (we see a bloodied May in Ada’s storage closet)? Is the doubled May, back at SHIELD headquarters, an android? Or, is she some sort of inter-dimensional echo created by Ada with the knowledge from Dark Hold? Or, is double May an alien?  Because, when in doubt – aliens.

ANSWER: The real May is the captive May.  The doubled May, indeed an android version, breaks open the precious bottle of scotch that Coulson (Clark Gregg) and May were saving for the right time to drink.  This half of the season dealt heavily in the notion of androids, as Aida became more proficient in creating them alongside her creator, Radcliffe.

7) What was the Dark Hold book all along?  Some sort of window into Hell?  Is it alien?  Is it Cree?

ANSWER: It is a book of dark magic that permeates the Marvel Comics (listen to the podcast episode for Kristen’s research).  The show does not explain the book’s origins beyond its presumed mystical properties.

8) What happened to the Inhuman undergoing terra-genesis that Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) was blindfolded and squirreled away to help and, then, to abandon when the process was complete?

ANSWER: Unknown.  We never see this Inhuman again.

9) Is Mace (Jason O’Mara) going to remain SHIELD’s director?  Is he part of a new SHIELD Inhuman fighting force? What secrets is he hiding (since Simmons implied that there were secrets)? Will he be the “Big Bad” in the second half of the season as panelist Jen predicts?

ANSWER: Mace remains SHIELD’s director until he (spoiler) meets his heroic end in the Framework.  The only trouble is, as Jen predicted, Mace is hiding a shocking secret: his Inhuman powers are drug-induced and not actual Inhuman powers.  He is not an Inhuman but part of an experimental program spearheaded by General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar), in which humans injected with a super serum develop superhuman powers; however, if those in the program do not receive regular injections of the serum, they suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms and eventual loss of the enhancements initially provided by the drugs.  Mace, however, always has his heart in the right place.  He wants to help people, particularly, he confesses, after he was recognized for being a “hero” when he just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  The future of SHIELD, on the other hand, hangs in the balance.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

10) Is Coulson really attempting to position Daisy (Chloe Bennett) as a possible future SHIELD director?

ANSWER: It’s hard to see this eventuality as truly possible as of the end of this season, particularly since the Framework fallout cast a gray cloud over SHIELD as an agency once again in the eyes of the judging fictional public.  There’s no question that Coulson is fond of Daisy, though.

11) Are Mack (Henry Simmons) and “Yo-Yo” aka Alana Rodriguez going to make a legitimate romantic go of it?  What pain is Mack nursing?  The loss of his brother?

ANSWER: They are, and they do, make a legitimate attempt at coupling (in all the ways), and it’s a true connection, filled with simmering sexual tension and consummated and mutual romantic interest.  The audience, via Mack’s revelation to Yo-Yo, learns that Mack lost a child, a daughter named Hope, a few days after her birth.  He and his ex-wife, Hope’s mother, mourns this loss annually and privately, wondering what might have been had Hope lived.  This loss haunts Mack more than any others in his past.

12) Will we see any more Avengers or Avengers-related characters on the show?  The panel feels strongly that the show would benefit from an injection of movie-caliber quality, either in character appearances or in story reworking.

ANSWER: We haven’t so far, unless you count Framework Hydra…which does not really count…

13) Was Aida truly affected by the Dark Hold?  Does her creation of double May mean she is evil or an insane robot now?  Will SHE be the “Big Bad” in the season’s second half? Does Holden know or having any inkling of what his creation has become?

ANSWER: There is no question that Aida is consummately affected by the Dark Hold – it gives her knowledge, ambition, and desire far beyond her initial programming.  “Evil” and “insane” are strong qualifiers that do not quite fit the situation, though. Aida is ruthlessly efficient, incapable of considering collateral damage and human cost beyond the calculations she completes, first to help Radcliffe build LMD’s like her as well as build the Framework, and then to help herself in terms of completing Project Looking Glass, which enables her to become human through a merging of science and mysticism from the Dark Hold.  As such, Aida’s increasing observance of Radcliffe’s ambitions (fueled by an unmistakable God complex) matched against her own desire to be human and to be loved – specifically by Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) – positions her as the season’s Big Bad and the ultimate force that our heroes must defeat this go-round.  Radcliffe surely knows that Aida surpasses her own programming but is forced to catch up to the realization that Aida has loftier aims than merely creating a Framework, which Radcliffe builds to preserve the consciousness of his real life, ailing wife Agnes, the physical/bodily inspiration for Aida.

New Questions

1) Will we see Ghost Rider again?  Or, is he being limited to this season?  The podcast panel votes for a spin-off for this version of Ghost Rider, with frequent guest appearances by Daisy.  They have a certain chemistry, we think… And Ghost Rider and Quake together are kind of bad-ass.  At the very least, he should simply return from time to time, as long as he is not used as a method of convenient last minute escape (lest his appearances feel cheap).

2) Who captured the SHIELD agents during the season 4 epilogue?  Who are the shadowy figures really? Kristen predicts that the government is behind this abduction; Jen predicts Hydra is back and behind this abduction as does Kylie; Micah speculates that a group called “Sword” from the Marvel Comics or the Inhuman Royal Family or groups like “Raid” or “Aim” are all possibilities for the potential perpetrators.  Kylie also hopefully wonders if the Cree own the spaceship/space craft on which Coulson finds himself and if the audience will finally be given more answers around the mysterious alien race consistently referred to in the show’s earliest seasons.

3) Where is Coulson?  How did he end up in space?

4) Where is everyone else?  How did Coulson get separated from the team?

5) How much will Marvel’s Inhumans, premiering in fall, affect Agents of SHIELD, if at all?

6) Will there be lasting effects of the Framework on the team, especially Fitz and Simmons and Coulson and May?

7) Will there be another time jump?  If there is, dear writers, explain it!

8) Did Nadir’s brother Vijay start a second terra-genesis when he fell into the water, as Micah observed?  If so, what does this mean for Inhumans, for him, and for our team?

9) Will Coulson and May finally admit their obvious feelings for one another?  Will a romantic coupling between them feel weird?  They’re kind of like the mom and dad of the whole outfit.

10) Will SHIELD survive the move to Fridays?  We hope so!

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, our newly expanded podcast panel believes that Agents of SHIELD remarkably rallied in Season 4B, paying off the doldrums and missteps of Season 4A with some excellent action-fueled drama. In fact, all panelists find new excitement in anticipation of the show’s fifth season, after the execution of the excellent “LMD” and “Agents of Hydra” arcs, which rejuvenated the story, our enjoyment of the show, and possibly the performances of the acting ensemble, as the story and pacing felt more energized and more cohesive in the fourth season’s second half. The panelists are more willing than ever, even eager, to continue watching the program at this stage, given that several disjointed story choices have since been corrected, including reintegrating Daisy back into the SHIELD team (the panel continues to regard the season starting time jump as anticlimactic and seemingly unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, for the record). The panel now universally recommends tuning in to SHIELD, provided that would-be new viewers begin with the first season, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing, as the panel maintains that, despite a bumpy start and a rocky first half of the fourth season, Agents of SHIELD is entertaining and worth the watch, with these arcs and the third season “Hive” arc being the high points for this comic book adaptation.

LOOKING AHEAD

Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a fifth season by ABC, which is slated to premiere following the complete airing of Marvel’s Inhumans, on a new night and time, Fridays at 9:00 PM.  The Agents of SHIELD podcast panel will next and likely reconvene following the complete airing of Season 5 of SHIELD, depending upon how many episodes are produced and whether or not the show is interrupted by a significant hiatus during a reasonably lengthy mid-point (in other words, will CPU! have enough time to record a reaction panel at some point in the middle of SHIELD’s fifth season? Time will tell).  No official premiere date for this show has yet been announced as of the publication of this post. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional SHIELD coverage.  Until then!

Supernatural (Season 12B, MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

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 July 2017, our panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Jen, Kelsey, Allie, and Jeremy – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 12B (following the season finale) of Supernatural, including the brothers (and mother) Winchester, angel Castiel, demon Crowley, and the ongoing shenanigans of Lucifer. If you have not watched any of Supernatural, 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!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Supernatural” – The Season 12 End of Season Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for supernatural season 12 title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Supernatural” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW; this season, the show aired on Thursdays at 8:00 PM.

What: “Supernatural,” a drama depicting the tale of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively), who are “hunters” of all supernatural ilk, be they demons, monsters, or angels on high, in a quest to save the world from things that go bump in the night, things that cause apocalypses, and things that are generally just out to get them (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/supernatural/summary.html).

When: The Season 12 finale aired on May 18, 2017, at 8:00 PM on the CW.

Where: The show is set in no specific locale; the brothers ride all over the country in a 1967 Chevrolet Impala and live out of hotel rooms via fake identities and money scams, though the Winchesters are originally from Lawrence, Kansas, and have, as late, holed up in a bunker, somewhere near their home town, formerly run by the Men of Letters, an organization of which they are legacy members.  The time is present day.

Why:  Oh so many seasons ago now, Chief CP Kylie followed Jensen Ackles–a fine, fine man–from Smallville to his new gig, which, at the time, seemed like a different spin on the X-Files, with two brothers versus two sexually tense FBI agents.  From the opening frames of the pilot, though, I knew that it was oh so much more or, at least, vastly dissimilar to the X-Files, and this show has surpassed so many expectations, including mustering the incredible ability to remain relevant and engaging long past the expiration of the initial story arc mapped out by creator Eric Kripke.  For CPU!’s ever-expanding podcast coverage of a growing number of shows, several CPU! members, all familiar voices to the CPU! loyal, jumped up to participate on this panel, even though many of them also express fatigue with the show from time to time.  How do they feel the show is faring nowadays, into its double digits’ worth of seasons?  Take a listen below.

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

To catch up on our Super-coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

The Season 9 Premiere 

Seasons Nine, Ten, and Eleven

Season 12A

Once again, our Super-CPU! panel – Nick, Jen, Allie, Kelsey, and Jeremy – hops into our ’67 Chevy Impala, ready to ride until we, or Supernatural, die(s), as we discuss major plot points from, and ruminate upon the success of, the second half of season twelve.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or brotherly bond continues to be sometimes tested in Supernatural’s later seasons, particularly this season, we still have lots to think and to talk about and to gush over whilst pining for the brothers and/or Cas (well, I don’t think Nick is pining…unless there’s something we don’t know).  Give us a listen, with your salt guns and holy water on standby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in July 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of season twelve of this long-running series. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, and/or our Stitcher Radio channel 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, our Sherlock Series panel returns to the Water Cooler for the second episode in that series to discuss, to deduce in diatribes, and to dissect Series 3 and 4 of the international smash hit series. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: How many miles are on the Impala after all this time?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still unknown.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Will they ever get their happy ending?

REPEAT ANSWER: While the panel is in no particular rush for a series finale, although maybe that’s less true nowadays, it’s likely the brothers will not find peace until they are done.  That’s why Kansas tells them to Carry On, Wayward Sons.  “Lay your weary head to rest; don’t you cry no more.”

3) REPEAT QUESTION: If Lucifer is out of the Cage, why can’t the archangel Michael, currently housed within long lost Winchester half brother Adam, escape from the Cage? Will we ever see Adam/Michael again?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still a question.  I, personally, have to believe that, with Lucifer out of Hell’s Cage, archangel Michael (whether inside half-Winchester Adam or not), has some time to sort through his sanity.  Here’s hoping he busts out.  There’s a disturbing lack of archangels nowadays.

4) Will Mary ever get it together long enough to accept her new lease on life and her much older, adult sons?  Her adjustment seems prolonged.  Understandable but prolonged. What will be her purpose in the end?  Will she continue hunting?  Will she join #TeamWinchester? Or, will she be the footnote of yet another – and a repeat one at that – tragedy in the boys’ lives?

ANSWER: This answer is complicated, even loaded.  First, Mary is willing to sacrifice herself to save both sons when the boys make a deal with Billie the Reaper to break them out of federal prison, as they were falsely accused of attacking the President of the United States who had been otherwise possessed by Lucifer, in exchange for one of the boys’ permanent deaths. Then, Mary continues hunting, despite the fact that she seems to rue it, because it’s kind of one of the only things she knows and remembers comfortably from her former life.  Then, she secretly allies herself with the British Men of Letters for a time because their resources and drive are appealing to her, and she believes that they are capable of eliminating all monster threats, so that, as she explains to Sam, she can have the life she has always wanted with her sons. This arrangement naturally goes south, particularly when Lady Toni Bevell (Elizabeth Blackmore) returns for the sole purpose of “conditioning” Mary to act as a black operative for the Brits and as a mole, brainwashed to kill American hunters, who the Brits have deemed ineffectual. Dean achieves breaking through this conditioning with Lady Bevell’s help (and a switch in loyalties), and with one of his more impassioned monologues recapping everything that the brothers have been through in these twelve seasons, but Mary is only lucid long enough to help deliver Lucifer’s bastard Nephilim baby before an alternate parallel universe swallows her, with the Devil’s helpful hand pulling her into this wasted alterna-world with him.  The producers and the cast have confirmed that Mary is still alive, and so, it’s not a typical Supernatural tragedy, but Mary’s purpose and presence on the show has become one big, convoluted question mark. Listen to the podcast episode for additional details and speculations.

5) Seriously, why should we care about the British Men of Letters at all?  Why are they interfering?  Why does their approach with sussing out the boys’ methods suck?  Why can’t we abandon this piece of the story? Much of our panel feels that it’s not working, though some are still vaguely intrigued.

ANSWER: As it turns out, the Brits are essentially the “Big Bad” of the season.  Sure, Lucifer is around and is after his child (more on that in a minute), but the Brits prove to be a formidable threat to American hunters nationwide, simply because they believe our uppity colonial butts cannot achieve results without efficiency and moral ambiguity.  The Brits’ approach is par: kill all monsters, regardless of the shades of gray that the Winchesters have encountered over the years that have led them to become creative and merciful hunters.  They generally find Sam and Dean to be reckless and ineffectual, the worst of the American hunter lot, really.  So, this story line plays through until the end of the season, whether we want it to or not, though the Brits on this side of the pond do meet a grisly end.  The podcast panelists express mixed reactions in response to the British Men of Letters segment on “This is our Supernatural life.”  Listen to the episode for details. 

6) Will Toni return?  For what reason?  Or, did the Brits put her in “time out?”

ANSWER: Toni returns.  Apparently, she’s one of the Brits’ golden children, despite her strong opinions and querulous methods.  She is not afraid to get her hands dirty and to experiment with sadistic measures of torture and corruption.  Her latest exploit: brainwashing mother Mary into becoming the Brits’ assassin of American hunters, while Mary is helpless to fight against it and unaware of her own actions. Toni’s allegiance to the LetterMen only lasts for so long, though.  Her apparent rivalry/sexual tension with Man of Letter Arthur Ketch results in his rash decision to trap her with the brothers in the bunker, without working air handlers or power, as part of the ongoing effort to eliminate American hunters (and as part of Ketch’s own ongoing beef with the boys). With her life in danger, and in lieu of a tenuous agreement with Dean to help reverse mother Mary’s conditioning in exchange for her freedom, Lady Bevell reverses her dirty deeds, only to meet her own grisly end at the hands of Ketch at the last.

7) Where did Lucifer go?  Some of the panel thought that his angel essence was entrapped by the Men of Letters golden snitch, while some saw it go through a floor vent. Kylie predicts that Lucifer will most likely return to fetch his spawn.  What will his spawn be? Will his spawn be the “anti-Christ?”  Will his spawn be born?  Will his spawn bring about the end of times…again?

ANSWER: Kylie won the round this time (it has to happen some time, people!). Lucifer, as it turns out, is drawn back to hell by Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard) and returned to his favorite vessel and ours, namely the one played by Mark Pellegrino. Indeed, Mark P. returns with his best devilish scene chewing in tow, aiming to break free of his Crowley induced chains to seek out his spawn, a Nephilim, a half-human/half-angel with potential unspeakable power and questionable moral compass, given who his daddy is.  The spawn in question comes to term…his name is Jack, in fact; he has yellow eyes, is far larger and older than your standard baby, and he is the subject of many questions asked by the podcast panelists. Though we have seen one “anti-Christ” in a previous season, Jack may be the anti-Christ to beat all anti-Christs, initiating a much scarier apocalypse than we have yet seen.  We don’t yet know for sure because Luci is trapped in the alternate universe with Mary, and the yellow eyes mean this kid could be much more than we ever bargained for, in the end, if the show’s meditation on “princes of hell” is any indication.

8) Will Sam, Lucifer’s predestined vessel, be forced to house Lucifer again, who burns through other human hosts quickly and destructively?  There seems to be some hint at that possibility, though Sam has avoided it successfully so far.

ANSWER: Owing to a clever (?) side mention by the writers, as a result of Crowley’s magic, which revived the Mark P. vessel for Lucifer but also warded his insides so that the angelic essence of Lucifer is trapped in the self-same vessel, Luci tells the brothers that Sam is no longer needed to house Lucifer.  The Mark P. vessel, in other words, is built to last by King of Hell magic.  Crowley just makes things worse sometimes, doesn’t he? (For the boys, anyway…Mark P.’s return was most welcome to this set of Super fans.)

9) To that end, the “American Nightmare” episode hearkened back to and reminded the viewer that Sam was once one of demon Azazel’s children, with psychic abilities.  In that episode, Sam encountered a strict religious family who demonized their daughter Magda for having psychic ability.  In that episode, Sam told Magda that he once had similar abilities.  When she asked if he still did, Sam answered that he “thought” they were gone. Will we be seeing a return of Sam’s psychic abilities?  He’s always been highly intuitive; if they do return, what will be the context?  What will be the purpose?  What will he do with them?  Will he be good or evil? The panel kind of wants to see this happen.

ANSWER: Still a question or questions without answer(s).  While Sam’s potentially dormant demonic abilities remain just that – dormant – the show, the producers, and the cast have referred to them both in script and in press often enough that we think this possibility is even more possible at this stage.  Plus, the show takes the time to explore the concept of the “Princes of Hell” this half season, of which the brothers learn that Azazel was one: Lucifer’s most entrusted demons, all of yellow eyes; his first demonic creations; his most loyal servants; and his most powerful allies.  It should be noted that Jack the Nephilim also has yellow eyes.  Moderator Kylie suspects that the yellow eyed princes of hell, the angels, Jack, and Sam are all going to be connected in expected or unexpected ways in the near future.

10) The John Winchester question remains a question: will we see him this season?  And played by whom?  And will he be alive or dead?

ANSWER: In the ultimate tease, and with much social media delight owing to Jensen’s Twitter exchange with JDM himself, Negan’s bat from The Walking Dead makes a cameo, after apparently hanging out in Baby’s trunk all this time and once being allegedly owned by John, but John himself does not show up in season 12, likely due to the fact that Jeffery Dean Morgan survives on TWD.  I think the writers know how much his return is strongly desired, particularly given Mary’s return, though some of our panelists are against this idea on principle, feeling that John had a definite and poetic end that would be undermined by a resurrection, a common plot device used on Supernatural.  To this panelist and moderator, though, I am a proponent of such a return…though it would likely be saved for a final season. Still, we’ll keep asking the question.

11) The Billie the Reaper question remains a question: is she aiming to be New Death? What is her true intention?  Or, is she a dutiful bureaucrat, operating status quo in the absence of her boss? Will she be successful in reaping Mary’s newly returned soul?  The brothers’?

ANSWERS: These questions are for naught now.  Billie makes a return long enough to seek the boys’ permanent deaths, making the deal with the Winchesters that allows them to bust out of federal prison by killing them long enough for the authorities to accept their deaths, only to revive them in time for escaping, in exchange for one of the brother’s permanent deaths at the stroke of midnight. Castiel (Misha Collins) makes his presence known by getting the drop on Billie.  He stabs her in the back with his angel blade just as Mary offers herself in sacrifice to save her sons, after Billie notes that breaking a deal with a reaper can have “cosmic consequences.”  Billie’s ambitions, thus, have been cut short and are no longer enigmas worth our puzzling, while Cas courts cosmic consequences in the worst possible way. See below.

12) The angel question remains a question – Heaven seems disturbingly quiet…

ANSWERS: The angels are motivated to action with the impending birth of Jack the Nephilim.  In fact, we meet Cas’ former squad, headed by human-hater (and secret human lover) Isham, leader of a heavenly task force assigned to eliminate nephilim the world over. We also meet Joshua, who concocts a plan with Cas to force baby-mama Kelly to cross through Heaven’s Gate in the Sandbox, exposing her unborn child to heaven’s (apparently fatal) light.  Angel casualties are high this season, let’s just say.

13) Where did Rowena and Crowley go?  Is Crowley back on his basement throne again? Will Rowena return to her witch-y ways, since her dreams of marrying her sugar daddy went bust and since she seems to have somewhat repaired her estrangement from her son?

ANSWER: Crowley returns to his throne in Hell, having trapped Lucifer for the seemingly sole purpose (or soul purpose?) of gloating.  Really, as the podcast panelists note, with all of the stupid plans Crowley has had over the years, this one may have been the stupidest.  Meanwhile, Rowena (Ruth Connell) kind of hangs out, does some magic, gets some revenge on her son, that old chestnut, and then, seemingly, gets herself burnt to a crisp by a freshly minted from hell Lucifer.  Her death is treated as a vicious afterthought and without ceremony, despite the impression she made upon the CPU! segment of the Super viewing audience, leading most of our panelists to throw up in arms; however, Rowena’s fate, by virtue of learning of it only from a boastful Lucifer and a charred-beyond-recognition corpse, leads this panelist and moderator to believe that Rowena is not out for the count yet, even if Crowley is (more on that later).

14) Last we saw, Sam and Dean were taken into federal custody because once Lucifer was sucked out of the POTUS with the Golden demon essence sucking Snitch, it appeared as if Sam and Dean had hurt the President, causing the Secret Service and federal marshals to descend upon them and to arrest them.  The panel feels confident that they will escape or be released; we just don’t know how.  Will Castiel, vexed by losing Satan’s spawn, save them? Will Crowley?  Will they break out themselves? Will they get off with presidential pardon? And then, where does the show go from here?

ANSWER: As described above, a deal with Billie allows the boys to break free from prison in exchange for one of their permanently reaped souls.  Cas breaks that deal for them by literally stabbing Billie in the back, saving the brothers’ souls, as well as Mary’s, one more time.  As for where the show goes, listen to the podcast or read above for details.

New Questions

1) Let’s talk about cosmic consequences.  At the end of the season, Castiel is stabbed in the back, in a karmic boomerang of epic proportion, by Lucifer, who uses Cas’ angel blade to get the drop on Cas, as Cas did on Billie the Reaper. We assume Cas will be back, even if his return is predictable and less impacting than it could be, given all of the deaths and rebirths on this show.  We just do not know how or if he will be the same Cas. Will we meet our Castiel again, resurrected once more by some force unknown?  Or, will we be watching an alternate universe version of him, since that universe has been blinked into existence by Jack the Nephilim?  Or, will Jack, who seems connected to Cas thanks to his in utero interaction with the angel, revive Cas himself?

2) Lucifer and Mary are currently trapped in that alternate universe.  Will we see them immediately in the next half season, or will we have to wait, as the producers and cast have confirmed that they live on in the world of a permanent war between angels and demons and mostly extinct humans?  Will we get to see Lucifer and Mary, the “buddy cop” years?  Will Mary punch Lucifer bunches, as panelist Kelsey wishes?  Will they survive?  What will happen to them?

3) Crowley is dead as well, sacrificing his own life in exchange for a spell cast in an attempt to trap Lucifer in the alternate universe – only with Crowley’s death, Mark A. Sheppard also announced his departure from the show, so it seems the King of Hell is permanently pushing up demonic daisies.  Is this why Rowena is killed off?  Is she, in fact, killed off?  Or, did Rowena make a deal with the devil that allows her to survive? She’s been quite the survivor so far, after all.

4) Jack the Nephilim – is he good, or is he evil?  Is he angel, or is he demon?  Is he a yellow eyed demon?  Is he a “prince of hell?”  Is he the “anti-Christ?” What does it mean to be a prince of hell?  We expect that Dean will want to lay him to waste immediately, while Sam will probably argue for the gray area and the possibility that he is not evil, given his angel grace and half humanness.  Will Jack have an effect on Sam?  Will Jack induce a return of Sam’s demonic abilities, originally imbued to him by a yellow eyed demon/Prince of Hell?  How will Jack affect the world at large, given that mere contractions bringing him into the world ripped a hole in space and time?

5) Will Jack be next season’s Big Bad?  Will Lucifer?  If neither of them are, who will be?

6) The perennial question: will we see John Winchester this season?  And played by whom?  And will he be alive or dead?

7) How much of this alternate universe will we be dealing with, overall?  Will we continue to see alterna-Bobby (Jim Beaver)?  Will the apocalypse of that world spill into this one?  Will it cause another apocalypse on this side of the space/time tear?

8) The Supernatural production team is currently in the process of creating another backdoor pilot and potential spin-off in the Wayward Sisters, featuring Jody the Sheriff as the lead character.  How will the road to producing that show, provided that the network approves a full season order, affect current Super events?

9) What is the current status of the American hunter system?  It seems that the Brits with mole mother Mary make efficient work of eliminating known hunters.  Does this mean that Sam and Dean will have to pick up the pieces by recruiting new hunters?  Training them?  Are we about to see a hunter training montage? Speaking of picking up the pieces, how will Sam and Dean go on?  Where will they be when the season premieres?

10) Panelist Jen asks again: where are God, aka Chuck the Prophet, and Amara, the Sister Darkness of God?  How are they doing?  Talk going well?  Hashed out their deity problems much?  Seeking some therapy?  Panelist Allie votes for getting a glimpse of some family counseling session with Chuck and Amara.

11) A Prince of Hell named Ramiel held in his possession two intriguing items: Archangel Michael’s Spear or Lance and (wait for it) the Colt.  The Colt is currently broken, snapped in two by another Prince of Hell named Dagon, who Cas later snuffed.  Can the Colt be repaired?  By Sam?  How is the Colt powered?  Didn’t the Colt have a fixed number of bullets once upon a time?  More importantly, **where did the Colt go after Season 6?** How did Ramiel get a hold of it?  Why has the show not addressed the continuity of this gun?  Why was it brought back only to be broken?  WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS THING?!

12) Also, the Spear/Lance is broken, I believe with Crowley’s help in that instance.  Will it be repaired, since Dean pockets the fragments?  Is it usable by anyone besides Michael? Dean is still a predestined Michael vessel – can he use it?  We repeat – will we ever see Michael out of the Cage again?

13) The Vampire Alpha dies in this season, owing to some clever British Men of Letter work.  Does this mean that all vampires die?  I know this is not The Originals, but what happens to the rest of the vampires in the event of the death of their alpha?

PARTING SHOTS

Some doubts have not only resurfaced among the members of our Supernatural panel but have increased as the twelfth season wraps.  Though we all remain committed until the end of the show, whenever that may be, and though, in many ways, Supernatural is still like a well-oiled machine – a quality program with a cultivated, passionate cult fan base, even if the quality is not necessarily consistent in its late life – the panel continues to struggle somewhat with the show after the choppy and somewhat disjointed twelfth season, even though some of our worse fears, including a disparate set of story lines failing to connect in a meaningful way, do not come to pass. Indeed, Season 12 still offers something to enjoy between mother Mary, the British Men of Letters, and Lucifer’s love child, not to mention the usual elements that keep Super fans coming back for more. In fact, the panel members all still agree that Supernatural could never be completely unwatchable, owing to the writing, acting, and quirks of the mythology (and the sheer beauty of its cast).  Though we are in the acknowledged winter of the program’s longevity, there remains nothing like Supernatural on TV right now, and despite the panel members’ individual gripes, all members feel that the show is still entertaining, even this late in its lifetime. Carry On, Wayward Sons, as we prepare to move into Season 13!

LOOKING AHEAD

Supernatural was renewed for a thirteenth season, which is slated to premiere on October 12, 2017.  The Supernatural podcast panel will next reconvene following the thirteenth mid-season finale, which will likely air in or around December 2016. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional show coverage.  Until then!

Progress Report: End of Season Scorecard for Shows Covered By This Blog (Long-Running)

Based on reliable sources, including TVLine, the A.V. Club, Wikipedia, and TV.com, here are the current statuses of shows covered by this blog.  This list does not include up and coming shows to be reviewed from the new season pilots list or shows not listed on the “What I’m Currently Watching” page.

This particular list comprises the End of Season Scorecard for Long-Running shows covered by this blog, with current statuses, upcoming premiere dates (if known), and other helpful information.  Shows that ended this year or recently that we have already covered have been removed from the list (such as Grimm).

New this year: A complete list of network renewals and cancellations, some cable networks included, at the bottom.  If your show is not being covered by CPU!, and you want it to be, leave a comment or contact us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com (or via Facebook/Twitter).  We would probably find a way to make it happen!

Orange is the New Black (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Seasons 5-7.  Season 5 premiered on June 9, 2017.

Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (PODCAST) – ABC

Renewed for Season 5.

Supernatural (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 13.  Season 13 will premiere on October 12, 2017.

Gotham (PODCAST) – Fox

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 4 will premiere on September 21, 2017.

The Vampire Diaries (PODCAST) – CW

Ended 2017.  Season 8 was the show’s final season.  CPU! will be covering the show in a two-part goodbye series some time in the next few weeks.

Once Upon a Time (PODCAST) – ABC

Renewed for Season 7 (without Emma & half the original cast, but who’s counting?). Season 7 will premiere on October 6, 2017.

Marvel’s Luke Cage (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2.

Arrow (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 6.  Season 6 will premiere on October 12, 2017.

The Flash (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 4 will premiere on October 10, 2017.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 3.  Season 3 will premiere on October 10, 2017.

Supergirl (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 3.  Season 3 will premiere on October 9, 2017.

Stranger Things (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2. Season 2 will be released on October 27, 2017.

Doctor Who (PODCAST) – BBC America

Renewed for Series 11.  Doctor Who will return on Christmas Day 2017.

Marvel’s Iron Fist (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2.

13 Reasons Why (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2.

American Horror Story (PODCAST) – FX

Renewed for Seasons 7, 8, and 9.  Season 7 will premiere on September 5, 2017.

Fuller House (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 3 (and 18 episodes to be split into two parts).  The first half of Season 3 will be released on September 22, 2017.

How to Get Away with Murder (PODCAST) – ABC

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 4 will premiere on September 28, 2017.

Sense8 (Currently in Blog format; transitioning to a PODCAST) – Netflix

Canceled, but the network commissioned a finale two-hour movie to be released some time in 2018.  CPU! will be covering both of the show’s available seasons in podcast format some time in the next few weeks.

The X-Files (PODCAST) – Fox

Renewed for Season 11.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 2.

Marvel’s Daredevil (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 3.

New Girl (PODCAST) – Fox

Renewed for (an abbreviated, eight episode) Season 7, which will be the final season.

Game of Thrones (PODCAST) – HBO

Renewed for Seasons 7 and 8, the latter of which will be the final season.  Season 7 premiered on July 15, 2017.

The Originals (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 5, which will be the final season.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (PODCAST) – Netflix

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 3 premiered on May 19, 2017.

The 100 (PODCAST) – CW

Renewed for Season 5.

Fargo – FX

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 3 premiered on April 19, 2017.

The Mindy Project – Hulu

Renewed for Season 6, which will be the final season.

Sleepy Hollow – Fox

Canceled.  Season 4 was the show’s final season.  Review or podcast to come.

Madam Secretary – CBS

Renewed for Season 4.  Season 4 premieres on October 8, 2017.

Bones – Fox

Ended 2017.  Season 12 was the show’s final season.  CPU! will be covering this show in a future “Looking Back” podcast episode.

Broadchurch (PODCAST) – BBC America

Ended 2017.  Season 3 is the show’s final season.  Season 3 premiered in the United States on June 28, 2017.

Revenge – ABC

Ended 2015.  Review (either blog or podcast) to come.

Reign – CW

Canceled.  Season 4 was the show’s final season.  Review (either blog or podcast) to come.

About a Boy – NBC

Ended 2015.  Review (either blog or podcast) to come.

Sherlock (PODCAST) – PBS

Series 4 aired from January 1-January 15, 2017.  Though possibility of a fifth series is being contemplated, no announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

Network Shows and Other Shows Mentioned by CPU!ers

(does not include this year’s freshman series, currently covered shows, shows we’ve already covered and eliminated, or game and reality shows)

By Popular Demand

ABC

American Crime (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 3 is the show’s final season.

black-ish (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

The Catch (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Dr. Ken (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Fresh Off the Boat (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

The Goldbergs (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Seasons 5 & 6!

Grey’s Anatomy (CPU! jumped the shark)
Renewed for Season 14.

Last Man Standing (passed by CPU!)
Canceled. Season 6 is the show’s final season.

The Middle (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 9.

Mistresses (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 4 is the show’s final season.

Modern Family (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Seasons 9 & 10!

Quantico (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

The Real O’Neals (picked up CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Scandal (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 7, which will be the final season.

Secrets and Lies (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

CBS

2 Broke Girls (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 6 is the show’s final season.

American Gothic (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 1 is the show’s only season (why wasn’t this on the initial network list? I have no answers).

The Big Bang Theory (picked up by CPU! late)
Renewed for Seasons 11 & 12!

Blue Bloods (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 8.

BrainDead (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 1 is the show’s only season.  This also wasn’t on the initial network list. CBS!!!

Code Black (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

Criminal Minds (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 13.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Elementary (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 6.

The Good Fight (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 2.

Hawaii Five-O (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 8.

Life in Pieces (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

Mom (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 5.

NCIS (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 15.

NCIS: Los Angeles (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 9.

NCIS: New Orleans (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

The Odd Couple (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 3 is the show’s final season.

Ransom (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 1 is the show’s only season.  This also wasn’t on the initial network list. Maybe it’s TVLine’s fault?

Scorpion (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

Star Trek: Discovery (picked up by CPU!)
Premiering in fall 2017.

Superior Donuts (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 1 is the show’s only season.  I don’t have a complete CBS list.

Zoo (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 3.

FOX

Bob’s Burgers (animated)
Renewed for Season 8.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 5.

Empire (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

Family Guy (animated)
Renewed for Season 16.

The Last Man on Earth (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 4.

Lucifer (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

Rosewood (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Scream Queens (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

The Simpsons (animated)
Renewed for Seasons 29 & 30!

Wayward Pines (picked up by CPU!)
No announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

NBC

Aquarius (picked up by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

The Blacklist (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 5.

Blindspot (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

The Carmichael Show (passed by CPU!)
Canceled.  Season 2 is the show’s final season.

Chicago Fire (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 6.

Chicago Med (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

Chicago P.D. (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 5.

Law and Order: SVU (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 19.

The Night Shift (passed by CPU!)
No announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

Shades of Blue (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

Superstore (passed by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

The CW

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 3.

iZombie (picked up by CPU!)
Renewed for Season 4.

Jane the Virgin (added to the CPU! list)
Renewed for Season 4.

Current/Ongoing Shows Requested by CPU! Regulars for the Podcast

PBS

Call the Midwife
Renewed for Series 8 and 9!

BBC America

Orphan Black
Currently airing Season 5.  Season 5 is the show’s final season.

FXX

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Renewed for Seasons 13 and 14!

FX

The Americans
Renewed for Season 6, which will be the final season.

Feud
Renewed for Season 2

Netflix

The Crown
Renewed for Season 2

The OA
Renewed for Season 2

Peaky Blinders
Renewed for Series 4 and 5!

House of Cards
Renewed for Season 5

Anne with an E
Renewed for Season 2

Master of None
Season 2 premiered on May 12, 2017.  No announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

Showtime

Billions
Renewed for Season 3.  Season 3 will premiere on September 13, 2017.

Shameless
Renewed for Season 8

TNT

The Librarians
Renewed for Season 4

Will
Season 1 currently airing.  No announcement regarding renewal or cancellation has been made.

USA

Mr. Robot
Renewed for Season 3

A&E

Bates Motel
Ended.  Season 5 was the show’s final season.

Pop

Schitt’s Creek
Renewed for Season 4

Starz

Outlander
Renewed for Season 3.  Season 3 will premiere on September 10, 2017.

American Gods
Renewed for Season 2

AMC

Better Call Saul
Renewed for Season 4

The Walking Dead
Renewed for Season 8.  Season 8 will premiere on October 22, 2017.

SyFy

The Magicians
Renewed for Season 3

Wynonna Earp
Renewed for Season 3

Amazon

The Man in the High Castle
Renewed for Season 3

Hulu

The Handmaid’s Tale
Renewed for Season 2

That’s it, fellow Couch Potatoes!  Next up in the Progress Report series: the Fall Preview of 2017-2018 pilots.  My intention is to find a complete list, but if you’re interested in seeing what’s on the horizon for network TV, you’ll definitely want to Stay Tuned for our annual preview! 🙂