Supernatural, Season 13A (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, we are down to half a panel, as one panelist departed CPU! for life’s greater journeys, and two panelists are taking personal “Supernatural” hiatuses until the end of season.  Thus, our (now half) panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, and Jen – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 13A (following the mid-season finale) of Supernatural, including the brothers (and mother) Winchester, angel Castiel, devil’s spawn Jack, 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!

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

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Supernatural” – The Season 13 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Supernatural” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW; this season, the show airs 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: Season 13 premiered on October 12, 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
Season 12B

Our Super-CPU! panel experienced some changes since its last meeting.  One panelist departed the podcast for life’s greater journeys, and two panelists are taking a temporary hiatus from this panel for personal reasons (what phase of the moon is it again?).  The remaining two panelists proved eager to talk about the first half of this unluckily numbered season and returned to the Water Cooler with gusto.  Thus, Nick and Jen, along with your trusty Chief CP and moderator, hop into our ’67 Chevy Impala, always ready to ride until we, or Supernatural, die(s), as we discuss major plot points from, and ruminate upon the success of, the first half of Season Thirteen.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or brotherly bond continues to be sometimes tested in Supernatural’s later seasons, 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 January 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of Season Thirteen 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), 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, our Once Upon a Time panel definitively returns to the Water Cooler to digest the first half of the “softly rebooted” seventh season. 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 (Mark Pelligrino) 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?

NEW ANSWER: Well…we see a version of Michael this season, namely the Michael from “Apocalypse World,” where the archangel offed his brother Lucifer and now leads all angels in a war against demons and humans.  Does this mean we will also see a return of Adam/Michael in this dimension?  Chances of this being a tease are high, but the introduction of this New Michael could foretell a convergence of some heavenly forces we have previously met in order to stay the zealous New Michael’s blood lust.

4) REPEAT QUESTION: 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’?

ANSWER: We repeat this question because we found out the answer this half season.  All along, the Reapers seem to have been acting as dutiful bureaucrats, operating without a marshal or a supervisor in the wake of the death of Death.  Yet, Billie, who returns this season after Castiel (Misha Collins) permanently ends her reaping duties to save the brothers and Mary Winchester in Season Twelve, informs a temporarily dead Dean (listen to the podcast episode for details) that the first Reaper to die following the death of Death becomes the New Death.  So, Billie is now Death, presumably the Horseman Of, and fully comprehends new and old truths about which she had only presumptions and opinions before.  One of those truths: the Winchesters are “important,” according to all lore collected by her predecessor.  In fact, Death has a whole library about the Winchesters.  What does it all mean?  Only time will tell.  In the meantime, Billie is committed to helping the Winchesters stay alive until their purpose, whatever that may be, is fulfilled.

5) 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 (Alexander Calvert)?  Or, will Jack, who seems connected to Cas thanks to his in utero interaction with the angel, revive Cas himself?

ANSWER: The third guess is the charm.  Jack resurrects the Castiel we know and love with the sheer force of his awesome nephilim abilities.  In fact, Sam mentions, almost in an off-handed manner during one episode, that he learns “in the lore” that nephilim can become more powerful than the angels that sire them.  And since Jack is Lucifer’s offspring, and since Lucifer is one of the four archangels, Jack is especially full of juice of an unknown, mysterious, and highly dangerous proportion and power.  While sometimes his unfathomable power is difficult for him to control and causes Jack to do unspeakable things as he attempts to suss out whatever part of him is human, it also allows him to accomplish great and somewhat miraculous feats.  One such feat: in an effort to please Dean, from whom Jack seems determined to gain his trust and approval (in fact, Dean becomes Jack’s surrogate father in some respects, though Dean wants none of that), Jack awakens Cas, whose angel remains reside, sleeping, in The Empty, i.e. the nothingness where angels and demons go to die and where their essences remain in eternal slumber.  Cas then encounters the Keeper of the Empty, who dresses up like a Muppet-sounding version of Cas and who is also very annoyed by the fact that one of his charges is awake.  Cas, however, is crafty enough to know that the Keeper has a short fuse and works to irk him just enough that the Keeper acquiesces and bounces Cas out of the Empty and back into the Normal World, much to the brothers’ relief.  To that end, for right now, Cas seems to be the Cas we all know and love.  Will his brush with the Empty change him long-term?  The (half) panel predicts that he will be too distracted by Lucifer to meditate existentially on his brush with Angel Death.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

6) 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?

ANSWER: We see glimpses of the “Lucifer and Mary: The Buddy Cop Years” show in Apocalypse World, almost immediately, until Lucifer and Mary encounter Apocalypse World’s version of Michael.  Lucifer has big plans to use Mary as leverage to bargain for his son, should he and Mary ever return to the land of the living, but Michael throws a wrench in that proceeding when Apocalypse World’s version of Prophet Kevin Tran, on Michael’s orders (and under duress), casts a heady prophet spell that siphons off much of Lucifer’s grace in order to reopen the rift between that world and Supernatural Prime world.  Lucifer, thinking quickly like the devil he is, jumps through the rift opening, which is available only temporarily, while Michael traps Mary in a body cage as he plans his next attempt at infiltrating this dimension.  Until fourth Prince of Hell Asmodeus interferes, Lucifer, on this side of the rift, appeals to Cas, talking tall tales of the new Michael, while Mary, still alive, remains trapped, at least until the mid-season finale cliffhanger.  Listen to the podcast episode for further details.

7) 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.

ANSWER: Based upon a sizable clue from the improbably still alive Arthur Ketch, former British Man of Letters, who informs Sam and Dean that he was able to cheat death using a spell of the erstwhile King of Hell’s mum, we expect to see Rowena’s return any day now – and without the aid of Lucifer, as it turns out.

8) 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?

ANSWER: The panel believes that Jack is Chaotic Neutral, a sponge ready to soak up the next good or evil influence he encounters.  Fortunately, his first alliance is with the Winchester brothers, and though Dean wants anything but to waste time chasing after Lucifer’s spawn, Sam sees Jack as a means to an end and is willing to put in the time to ensure that Jack remains a force for good.  As far as we know, Jack is a nephilim: half angel, half human.  He could be a prince of hell; he could be an anti-Christ.  We do not know the full extent or the answers to the mystery of what exactly Jack is other than an archangel-sired nephilim with the potential to be even more powerful than his dad.  We also do not know what whatever he is in the end might mean to all of our beloved characters.  The panel was previously correct about the brothers’ initial reactions: Dean wants to off Jack in the off, while Sam plays the old “he’s just a kid” chestnut – a kid with tremendous ability to destroy the world, probably, but not without the compass-aligning influence of the Winchesters themselves.  The only effect Jack seems to have on either brother is to divide, at least temporarily.  Jack has not magically or divinely influenced Sam or Dean directly, though he is using his considerable abilities to, first, revive Cas from permanent Angel Death and, second, to find Mary.  Also, so far, Jack’s effect on the rest of the world is to cause a lot of fire and brimstone; he cannot control his abilities, and sometimes, his influence leads to dire consequences, such as accidental death of innocent bystanders.  Jack is trying to understand his new surroundings, and Sam does his best to help him.  Dean reluctantly comes around, but the panel is convinced that we are only getting a taste of what this all might mean in the end.

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

ANSWER: The panel predicts that Apocalypse World Michael will be the leading Big Bad, should he break through the dimensional barrier(s), though Asmodeus and his quest to break the Shedim, “Hell’s darkest creatures,” out of the pits will serve as a nice runner-up B-villain in the meantime, resemblance to Colonel Sanders be damned.  For now, Lucifer is taking a hiatus from pure evil in an attempt to warn the world or, specifically, Castiel about Michael and in an attempt to find and to take back his son.

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

ANSWER: Perennially unanswered…

11) 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?

ANSWER: So far, we’ve seen little of it, but we expect that the alternate universe’s influence on the regular universe will be felt in due course, if Apocalypse World’s Michael has any success in executing his invasion plans.  We’ll call this “still a question” and revisit it at the end of the season.

12) 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?

ANSWER: Episode 10, entitled “Wayward Sisters,” is the backdoor pilot in question, and the show devotes a sizable portion of the first half of the season to introducing previously unknown characters to the Supernatural universe, characters who will be “Wayward Sisters” themselves.  The ham-fisted introduction of these characters spurred some measure of disgust from present panelists, but, for the most part, we are holding our considerably judgmental opinions until we view the spin-off pilot and evolution of its story thereafter.  We will judge (of course we will!) at that time.

13) 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?

ANSWER: Sam and Dean still hunt but also find themselves babysitting Jack – or bringing him for Baby ride-along missions.  They have not encountered many other hunters but for Sheriff Jody and maybe one other.  In fact, they seem less concerned about the fates of hunters right now, though Dean, when the season begins, is left shaken and numb following the presumed deaths of Castiel and mother Mary.  Dean, as Dean does, continues hunting because it is what he knows and is with what he feels comfortable.  Sam hunts to support Dean but also because the world continues to turn, threatened by monsters, demons, and angels.  Seriously, though, Jack takes up quite a bit of Sam and Dean’s time.  One does not encounter the child of the Devil every day.

14) 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.

ANSWER: Though Jen still holds these questions near and dear to her heart, she says (in the podcast episode) that she has resigned herself to the idea that she probably will not see revisits from Chuck/God and Amara until the show’s final season, whenever that may be.  

15) 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?!

ANSWER: All questions currently without answers, though the remnants of Michael’s spear/lance may come into play with the return of a version of Michael to the show, eh?

16) 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?

ANSWER: See answer #15.  These are all questions currently without answers – though the answers may be coming…

17) 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?

ANSWER: The panel assumes all vampires are dead; for the record, we have seen no vampires.  The only “old school” monsters the boys encounter this season are a shape-shifter, ghouls, ghosts, and witches.  We will call this “still a question,” though, because the show may later address the lack of vampires or other monster Alphas.  “May,” I said.

New Questions

1) Where is the “Bad Place?”  Are there really dinosaurs, Big-Feet, or Godzillas making footprints over there?  What made the giant lizard footprint in the mid-season finale?  How will Sam and Dean get back to the dimension/world they call home?  Will the “Wayward Sisters” have to be the ones to rescue them?

2) What side will Jack fall on in the end?  Will he defend the Winchesters until he cannot defend them anymore?  Or, will he align with his dad?  Or, will he align with a wild card third party, like Castiel, Apocalypse World Michael, or Asmodeus?

3) Just how much of the “Wayward Sisters” will we be watching on the parent show?  The panel votes, hopefully, not so much.

4) Is Michael from Apocalypse World truly the Big Bad of the season? Will he break through to this dimension?  Will he run up against Jack?  Will he break the “Shedim” out of hell?

5) Will Lucifer encounter his son?  Will Jack have to battle his dad? Will Jack be wooed by the lure of being with his actual father?  Or, will he remain true to Sam, Dean, and Cas?

6) What point or purpose does Prince of Hell Asmodeus really serve, if any at all?

7) Is the show trying to suggest that Jack might be Chuck/God’s successor, capable of creating other life, such as new angels, who are apparently becoming extinct?  How many angels, exactly, are left?  And why do they stupidly keep going after the Winchesters, Cas, or anyone else related to them?

8) Will Sam’s powers return?  He continues to obliquely reference them…

9) How will Jack return to this dimension, if at all?  Will he save mother Mary?  Will Mary keep him on the good side of “chaotic neutral?”  Will Sam and Dean reunite with their mother?  Will Mary survive all that Supernatural throws at her?

10) How much should we continue to care about the Empty?  Will it come back to haunt Castiel or any of the rest of our characters because Cas escaped?

11) How will Lucifer and Cas escape Asmodeus’ captivity – we assume they will?

12) Has Death, as in The Horseman Of, died before the Winchesters killed off the Death we knew and awoke the Darkness?  Is Billie the second “Death” or one of many?

13) Why are the Winchesters “important,” in the end and apart from what we already know, as Billie aka Death told Dean this half season?

14) When we will see Bobby and Rowena return (because, frankly, the question of “if” has been spoiled by the characters’ portraying actors)?

15) How are Jack and the previous “anti-Christ” who appeared in Season 5 related, if at all?  Is Jack truly an “anti-Christ?”

PARTING SHOTS

Our small but robust Supernatural half panel – i.e. those present in this latest episode, Nick and Jen – is encouraged by the mysteries, story threads, and new spins on some old horror tropes that we are viewing in Season Thirteen, after struggling with the show during what the panel deemed to be a choppy and somewhat disjointed twelfth season.  In fact, Season 13 offers enjoyable and even modestly fresh new aspects to this long-running story, including the interactions between mother Mary and Lucifer, the wild card that is Lucifer’s son Jack, and the return of a version of archangel Michael who, in no small way, resembles the Lucifer with which we have grown acquainted over eight or more seasons.  All of these fresh takes are then coupled with the usual elements that keep Super fans coming back for more; therefore, it seems that the show is rebounding from the lulls of Season 12 quite nicely.  As such, 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 and barbs about things that strike us as strange – even for such a strange world as we have been watching for thirteen seasons – 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 the second half of Season 13!

LOOKING AHEAD

Supernatural was automatically ordered for a full season upon renewal and returned from its mid-season hiatus on January 18, 2018. Will it be renewed for a fourteenth season?  The February sweeps will no doubt provide a clear answer to that question.  In the meantime, our Supernatural podcast panel (and hopefully the entire panel) will next reconvene following the thirteenth season finale, which will likely air in or around May 2018. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Supernatural coverage.  Stay tuned! Until then!

The Originals, Season 4 (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 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

 

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “The Originals” – The Season Four Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The Originals” currently airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, though the show is currently on hiatus and will remain on hiatus until, likely, spring 2018.

What: “The Originals,” a spin-off of supernatural drama “The Vampire Diaries,” centers on the Original (i.e. very first) vampires, the Mikaelsons, who initially appeared on the latter show.  The surviving siblings are hybrid werewolf/vampire Niklaus (Joseph Morgan), his older brother Elijah (the super hot Daniel Gillies), and baby sister Rebekah.

SYNOPSIS

In a backdoor pilot that aired during season 4 of The Vampire Diaries, the viewer learned that the Mikaelsons essentially helped to create New Orleans.  Klaus (Morgan), running from various personal dilemmas including his own ego and Mystic Falls in general, returned to New Orleans where he encountered one of his prodigal sires, specifically Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), who has taken control of the French Quarter and has declared war on other supernatural beings, including a local coven of witches.  Klaus covets Marcel’s power and hold over the city. Klaus’ brother Elijah (Gillies) follows Klaus to New Orleans, learning that a one-night stand that Klaus had with werewolf Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) has resulted in her being mysteriously pregnant, as vampires are not known to have children.  This program follows Klaus and the other Original siblings as they work to protect their family and this unborn and unlikely child from the clutches of egomaniac Marcel, Klaus’ prized pupil, and other forces who threaten her.

When:  Season Four aired from March 17, 2017, to June 23, 2017, on the CW.

Where: The show is set in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Why: This panel, feeling TVD to be a traditionally good show with some of the same creative influence, including Executive Producer Julie Plec as well as the charismatic Morgan and Gillies, saw no reason that The Originals could not be just as juicy and delicious as the show from whence it spun.  Also, have I mentioned…vampires?  The non-sparkly kind?  Played by ridiculously handsome men? With accents?  The members of this panel were helpless to resist.

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

Last year, our Originals panel helped to catch CPU! up on this program by discussing seasons one, two, and three in a first episode for this panel.  To hear our thoughts, listen to the embedded link below:

Seasons 1-3

Our small but continuously robust panel, including returning panelist Jen (S.) and new (to the panel, not to the podcast) panel member Jenn (K.), reconvened to discuss the siblings Mikaelson, including noble but repressed older brother Elijah, werewolf/vampire hybrid and narcissistic middle child Klaus, and the many supporting characters that hover in their orbit.  We cover major plot points from the fourth season, following a seven-year, in-show time jump, including the appearance of the Hollow, an unstoppable, soulless magical being; the emergence of now older but still young Hope, the daughter of Hayley (Tonkin) and Klaus; and the unending reaches to which the siblings will go, by any means necessary, for their family.  Our panel’s devotion to The Originals remains relatively devout and confirmed higher and more fervent than for The Vampire Diaries, as the panelists feel that the plot of this show is more sophisticated and the situations, therefore, more adult.  Give us a listen, with your precious piece of the White Oak nearby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in November 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points 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! Next week, our Orange is the New Black panel returns to the Water Cooler after over a year’s hiatus, ready to dive into discussion about the fifth season of the wildly successful Netflix drama. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: If werewolves in the bayou are connected to Klaus’ biological father, and some of those werewolves are Hayley’s family, does that mean there is the possibility that Klaus and Hayley are distant cousins, generations removed, as well as parents of a new kind of hybrid? Does this fact explain the possibility of the baby?

ANSWER: How Hope came about (and what she is) remains a key question, but the show does appear to answer the first part of our repeat question during Season Four.  The Hollow, a being without a soul, comes into existence during prehistoric times in this fictional universe.  When her tribe recognizes her curious but ultimately murderous tendencies, unfazed by moral dilemmas or community mores, they attempt to bind her via an ancient spell; however, she manages to reverse the curse and, in so doing, creates the first werewolves and, in turn, the initial progenitors of the five or six werewolf families.  Since all werewolves descend from The Hollow or from her relatives, Klaus and Hayley may, very well, be distant cousins several hundred times removed.

2) REPEAT OBSERVATION: Davina (Danielle Campbell) is annoying.  Please make her go away.

ANSWER: Well…Vincent (Yusuf Gatewood) brings her back to life when, at Elijah’s bidding, he magically reestablishes the New Orleans’ witches’ connections to the ancestors.  Through her power and the encroaching power of the Hollow, Davina crosses back over to the living side of the mortal coil.  This renders Kol Mikaelson exceedingly happy, and through events that cause the Mikaelson siblings to separate by the end of the fourth season, Davina and Kol drive off into the sunset.  Is her (or his) departure permanent?  Only Season Five can answer that question.  Listen to the podcast episode for further details.

3) REPEAT QUESTION: Have I mentioned that Tyler Lockwood, Klaus’ erstwhile hybrid sire from The Vampire Diaries, in a mission to defeat Klaus, stopped by the bayou – not without ending his sweet and saccharine relationship with Caroline Forbes on TVD? Except – he left again.  Where did he go? He hasn’t returned to Mystic Falls.  Why is this character a part-time character on either show at best?

ANSWER: Tyler (Michael Trevino) stops by Mystic Falls during the final season of The Vampire Diaries just long enough to confront Damon (Ian Somerhalder), who is under the spell of Devil Cade and without his emotion/humanity switch engaged.  Damon proceeds to off Tyler.  So, Tyler as a character seems pretty done-zo, unless some magical being wills him back into existence on this program.

4) Will baby Hope be the savior that helps her father Klaus (currently stabbed by Marcel to an incapacitated state with the knife of perpetual torment), and her uncles Elijah and Kol and aunt Rebekah, to survive their various fates, spelled away with the help of Freya (Riley Voelkel), after the machinations of Marcel (Davis) rendered them near death?

ANSWER: In actuality, the combined efforts of Hayley and Freya and even of little Hope restore each of the Mikaelsons from their various fates, either magical sleep to slow death or, in the case of Klaus, incapacity by the Bone of Torment (it’s not a knife, actually).  Hayley charges Freya to obtain venom from members of each of the major werewolf packs/families for a spell that awakens Elijah, Rebekah, and Kol, while Klaus fights for lucid consciousness and is eventually rescued by his siblings.

5) Are Cami and Davina (SPOILER) officially and permanently dead?  If they aren’t, how could they possibly come back?

ANSWER: Cami (Leah Pipes) is officially and permanently dead, so far.  She appears in this season only once, as a figment of Klaus’ starved imagination while under the influence of Marcel’s Bone of Torment.  Davina was dead, but Vincent magically resurrects her.

6) Will Kol and his portraying actor be made a series regular in season four?  The panel, particularly CPU! Chief Kylie, votes yes.

ANSWER: Nathaniel Buzolic, Kol’s portraying actor, was not made a series regular in Season Four.  He recurred.

7) Will there be a seven-year time jump, as Allie seems to have learned from some comic con panels?  If so, where will we find our characters after that time?

ANSWER: The foretold seven-year time jump starts off this season.  After seven years, Elijah, Rebekah, and Kol Mikaelson are still in a cursed sleep state.  Klaus is stabbed by the Bone of Torment and is confined to a salt circle underneath Cami’s former bar and Marcel’s watchful – and boastful – eye.  Marcel rules the city alone.  Hayley cares for Hope and seeks a cure for the slumbering siblings; Freya assists this process.

8) What is Hope really: a vampire, a werewolf, a witch, a hybrid, or a combination of any of the above?

ANSWER: She is at least a witch, confirmed via demonstration of her magical abilities in Season Four.  The rest of her constitution remains a mystery.

9) Will Hayley and Elijah just give into each other?  The smoldering sexual tension is sexy but head-scratching in how they work so hard to resist each other.

ANSWER: Temporarily, Hayley and Elijah couple in all senses of the word in the fourth season, until Elijah nearly loses his life in sacrifice for Vincent to magically stop the onslaught of the Hollow.  Though Freya saves Elijah’s soul using the amulet that once housed oldest Mikaelson brother Finn, the amulet shatters, and Elijah’s consciousness is broken among the amulet pieces.  Freya and Hope cast a spell that allows Hayley to enter Elijah’s broken mind, but she is frightened to discover that Elijah has sought refuge behind the infamous red door, the memory wall that exists to shield noble-aiming Elijah from his worst sins as an Original vampire.  This frightens Hayley so much that, even after Elijah is restored to life and regains full control of his faculties, Hayley cannot find her way back to feeling safe or comfortable around the traditionally safer Mikaelson brother, who does seem to come back to life with a bit more of a vicious edge about him.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

New Questions

1) Will the Mikaelson vampire siblings – now housing each of four Bones of Torment which are, in fact, the skeletal remains of the Hollow’s former vessel and are far separated, as a coming together of those Bones will reconstitute the Hollow to an unstoppable state – be reunited?  How?  Will Hope save them this time?

2) At Elijah’s request, Vincent casts a spell to remove the influence of the Mikaelson family motto, “Always and Forever,” from Elijah’s mind, which the eldest living Mikaelson brother has taken so seriously throughout his long, un-dead life, doing so has cost him his happiness and sense of independence from his family, as he is the sibling that runs most to save the others.  How will the absence of the influence of that trigger affect Elijah in the final season?  Will Klaus attempt to reach him to bring him back into the Mikaelson fold?

3) What is Hope?  How did Hayley even come to have her in the first place, since vampires do not often produce babies the old fashioned way (Klaus was a hybrid werewolf/vampire at the time of conception)?

4) Will the Mikaelsons have to fight the Hollow in the end?  Will Marcel, now forgiven by Klaus and reunited with Rebekah, join the fight?

5) Will Kol and Davina return?

6) Will the Originals survive their series?  Will they be forced to face the consequences of their millennium of vampire misdeeds?  Or, will they all find happy endings?

7) What will Klaus do to keep busy during this separation?  Will he visit Caroline Forbes (Candice King) from The Vampire Diaries in Mystic Falls and at Alaric’s new school for special children? Press releases have suggested that Caroline will appear in the final season of The Originals.  Will she recur or become a series regular?  Will she and Klaus actually, finally, get together?  The panel mostly supports this coupling, though not necessarily with tons of excitement.

8) How will Marcel and Rebekah live out their part of the separation?

9) What will Freya do to keep busy during this separation?  We suspect that she will most actively seek a spell to bring down the Hollow, with Vincent’s help, if such a spell should exist.

10) How will the series end?  Panelist Jenn K. reports that producers are forecasting another time jump, ten years into the future, to start the fifth season, in which the viewer will see a teenager version of Hope.  Who will play her, and what will Hope have become to Hayley and to everyone during that time?

11) Will Hayley have to sacrifice herself to save Hope, who may yet be threatened by the Hollow?  Will Klaus?  Will either Hayley or Klaus end up a single parent?

12) Will Hayley and Elijah end up together?

PARTING SHOTS

The Originals, though not the twisty soap opera characterizing its parent program, remains engaging, superior television, spinning an epic and seductive tale with increasingly engaging acting and beautiful actors doing the work.  The writers have created a steamy and sophisticated mix of horror, revenge fantasy, and romance, capitalizing on all of the best elements of vampire lore, while providing a considerably more adult direction for this spin-off of angst-driven The Vampire Diaries and an unusual spin on the usual vampire fantasy.  The story still does its best in being grand and twisty, though, and completely accessible to anyone who has not watched TVD.  The panel greets the final season of The Originals with some mixed feelings of sadness and relief, though all participating panelists believe that the show has become far better than The Vampire Diaries in fewer seasons, owing to the stellar portrayals of the family Mikaelson and the intriguing relationships between the familial characters on the series.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Originals was renewed for a fifth and final season; as of the date of the publication of this episode, no premiere date has yet been announced, though all signs point to a spring return.  The Originals podcast panel will next reconvene, a final time, following the series finale of this spin-off, which will likely air in or around June 2018.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Originals coverage.  Until then!

Looking Back at The Vampire Diaries (Part Two 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 October 2017, our smaller (again) but always robust panel – including moderator Kylie, Jen, and Kelsey – is Looking Back at The Vampire Diaries, in the second 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

PODCAST! – Looking Back at “The Vampire Diaries:” The Goodbye Series, Part 2 (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 show aired in its entirety on the CW from 2009 to 2017.

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 Much Do We Love this Show?!

Couch Potatoes Unite!’s Complete The Vampire Diaries Coverage

The Season 5 Premiere

Seasons 5-7A

Season 7B

Season 8A
 


Season 8B
 

Our ever small but ever robust Vampire Diaries panel – Jen and Kelsey – could not leave Vampire Diaries behind forever without spending some quality time saying a long and (somewhat) loving goodbye to this show, which has been in our lives for eight years. After our Season 8B discussion, we agreed to reconvene to discuss the show as a whole, including all of its ups and downs, for part two of our two-part CPU! series in which Couch Potatoes Unite! says goodbye to this fantastic, fantastical program. In this second part, our panelists reminisce about what we loved and what we did not like as much from TVD’s eight seasons and about whether we think this series will hold up over time or whether it was a bit of lightning in a bottle or as seemingly fleeting as the popularity of Twilight.
This second part of our two-part Vampire Diaries goodbye was recorded in October 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of all eight seasons of the series and give the brothers Salvatore, the doppelgangers who loved them, and all of the supporting characters their final, deserved due.  Give the new episode a listen, see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts, 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, and continuing our CW vampire trend, our Originals panel, of slightly new composition with a new member replacing a departing one, returns to the Water Cooler after over a year’s hiatus, diving into discussion about the fourth season, which is ultimately the show’s penultimate season, as Season 5 was announced to be the show’s last. Stay tuned!
RECOMMENDATION
The Couch Potatoes Unite! Vampire Diaries panel reluctantly and cautiously recommends TVD, particularly to fans of Ian Somerhalder, who remained the bright spot in the cast of this soapy supernatural drama for all eight seasons, as well as to fans of vampire fiction.  As a note to the latter population: on a sliding scale, though Vampire Diaries might be better than True Blood in terms of how it played out in the end and though TVD is certainly better than the Twilight series for any serious vampire enthusiast, there are still far better vampire properties in existence in which to sink one’s fangs.  In fact, our panelists generally felt that the show ran for too long, far past its prime, as it should have ended with Nina Dobrev’s abrupt sixth season departure, and some of our panelists felt that though the show began with an amazing story, full of twists and fast, engaging pacing, the show’s quality deteriorated enough that our panelists struggled in later seasons (though the Chief CP did not struggle as much).  In any event, all of our panelists would be hard pressed to recommend this program to anyone who is not at least a fan of the genre (teen/horror/supernatural/fantasy/drama), particularly since some of our panelists even felt that they “wasted time” or “hate watched” this series in the latter years of its life.  In fact, one panelist said, “I wish I had the feelings I had that came with watching the first few seasons…they can’t be felt again.” 
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.  Plus, given that the twists are known in this eventuality, when watching a second time, some of the impact would definitely be lost upon re-watch.  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 panelists directed toward this series for eight seasons.
The Vampire Diaries is currently available to stream on Netflix in its entirety.  Did you watch The Vampire Diaries?  Let us know in the comments, and tell us what you thought of any or all of its eight seasons!  And stay tuned!  Though our TVD coverage is primarily done, don’t be surprised if it makes an appearance or two in coming discussions, from time to time.  CPU! has some new plans to expand our panel formats in new and exciting ways. Details coming soon (as we work them out)! 🙂
In the meantime, from our TVD panel of devoted vampire diarists to you, thank you for listening to our ongoing The Vampire Diaries series, which now officially comes to a close.  To discover other shows discussed by CPU!, check here.  For now, we bid you adieu!
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One of the final frames – Stefan and Damon embrace in the “Afterlife Montage”

Panelists Jen and Kelsey!

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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