Supernatural, Season 14A (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 our website: couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in January 2019, our newly consistent panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Jen S, Kelsey, Jeremy, and Jenn K – is back Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 14A (following the mid-season finale) of Supernatural, including the brothers (and mother) Winchester, angel Castiel, devil’s spawn Jack, and the looming threat of Apocalypse World Archangel Michael. If you have not watched any of Supernatural, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

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

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Supernatural” – The Season 14 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, 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 14 premiered on October 11, 2018, 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 9, 10, and 11

Season 12A

Season 12B

Season 13A

Season 13B

Our Super-CPU! panel has happily remained constant since its last meeting, and all panelists proved ready and raring as ever to talk about the first half of Season 14 with the force of an army of archangel-grace enhanced monsters.  Thus, Nick, Jen (S), Kelsey, Jeremy, and Jenn (K), along with your trusty Chief CP and moderator, hop into our ’67 Chevy Impala, always ready to ride until we, or Supernatural, die(s), and find ourselves at the CPU! Water Cooler, and/or the nearest purveyor of homemade pies, animatedly discussing major plot points from, and ruminating upon the success of, the first half of Season 14.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or brotherly bond continues to be sometimes tested in Supernatural’s later seasons, though probably less so for some of our panelists nowadays (listen to the episode for details), we still have lots to think and to talk about and to gush over in this latest season.  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 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of Season 14 of Supernatural. 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 Wednesday, schedule permitting, our DCTU Series panel speedily returns to the Water Cooler with its annual Mid-Season Roundup of the four Arrowverse shows, Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl. 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(ISH) ANSWER: Apocalypse World (AW) Michael is running around this dimension, and there is a potential if chancy return for Lucifer prognosticated, given that his second-favorite vessel Nick (Pelligrino) survives and prays to Lucifer’s sleeping essence in the Empty, which improbably seems to awaken our favorite Evil Archangel. As such, the chances seem to be growing and quite necessary for a return of this dimension’s Michael as well as the actor who played Adam, given the fact that Michael Prime is still lounging in a slightly mind-addled Adam in the Cage. After all, the introduction of AW Michael could foretell a convergence of some heavenly forces we have previously met in order to stay his anti-human agenda…

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

NEW (BEYOND EXCITED AND TOTALLY UNFETTERED) ANSWER: YES! YES! YES! It has been widely confirmed in the press that Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the original (and breathlessly handsome) face of John Winchester, will be making a grand return to Supernatural in Season 14 in the upcoming and much ballyhooed 300th episode, airing on February 9! I do not think we can undersell the panel’s magnitude of excitement for this news.  The speculation runs wild in the panel’s discussion. Listen to the podcast episode for details!

5) REPEAT QUESTION: 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?!

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: All questions currently without answers, including those about the Spear/Lance.  Though our panel, particularly panelist Jeremy, has a few theories about the Spear (listen to the podcast episode for details).

6) REPEAT QUESTION: 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?

REPEAT ANSWER: Though the Spear/Lance remains broken, and though Supernatural Prime world’s Michael is still housed in half-brother Adam in Hell’s Cage, it may yet come to play…which panelist Jeremy supports (listen to the episode)…

7) REPEAT QUESTION: 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?

NEW (FINAL) ANSWER (FOR NOW): We have decided that these questions do not matter much anymore.  Vampires seem to continue to exist, and with AW Michael feeding trace amounts of his grace to monsters for the purpose of “super-charging” them, thereby making them stronger and harder to eliminate by Prime World’s hunter forces, the concept of any Monster Alpha being important in the grand scheme seems moot.  So, unless the show revisits this concept in a meaningful way at a later time, we are content to let this one go. Don’t say we never give you anything, Supernatural writers!

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

REPEAT ANSWER: So far, Sam has not tapped into the allegedly dormant powers he received from Prince of Hell Azazel, but, with the current progress of AW Michael’s efforts, he might need to think outside of the box and use those powers for the good of the entire universe in the coming season(s).

9) REPEAT QUESTION: How much should we continue to care about the Empty?  Will it come back to haunt Castiel (Misha Collins) or any of the rest of our characters because Cas escaped?

NEW ANSWER: The Empty is back, and s/he/it is super pissed – still – that Castiel is awake and out of his/her/its clutches.  Plus, when Jack (Alexander Calvert) temporarily loses his life in this half season (listen to the podcast episode for details), and his soul first appears in Heaven, the Empty barges into the largely unguarded ethereal plane, given the near extinction of available angels to monitor its sterile white corridors and dreamy memory locations, looking to claim Jack’s soul due to his nephilim status.  Cas, however, offers himself back to the Empty in exchange for the Empty releasing its clutches on Jack. The Empty agrees to this deal but notes that the entity will return for Cas only when he is truly happy and would be truly hurt by the Empty’s act of returning Cas to the abyss. So, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “we do not care about the Empty in the slightest,” to 10 being “we must care because we know the Empty is about to start some next-level stuff,” we are probably at an 8.5 in the “caring about the Empty” spectrum.

10) REPEAT QUESTION: 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?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still questions that are without answers at this time.

11) REPEAT QUESTION: Why are the Winchesters “important,” in the end and apart from what we already know, as Billie aka Death told Dean in the first half of the season?

REPEAT ANSWER: We have a feeling that this answer is ultimately part of the endgame for the series, and that we will not know said answer until the show is about to be done.

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

REPEAT ANSWER: Still questions without answers.

13) SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER….At the end of the thirteenth season, Dean offers himself, as Michael’s Sword, his true vessel, to AW Michael in order to have strength enough to defeat Lucifer, souped up on Jack’s grace, which he steals from his confused and betrayed son.  Despite a tenuous deal with the archangel, wherein Dean would retain control of his body and mind, AW Michael double crosses him and takes over his vessel fully, meaning as we start Season 14, the Dean we know and love is sublimated by AW Michael, who, at last check, was very interested in ending humans’ existence in Supernatural Prime World.  Is this still his plan?  What will he do first? How long will we see Dean as AW Michael?  Will Dean fight AW Michael, in an epic internal battle for his soul?

ANSWER: Yes, AW Michael is still Heaven-bent upon eradicating humans from existence, and he sees Prime World as a second chance to enact this grand vision, since he was not able to see his plan to a satisfactory completion in the AW.  While in Dean as his vessel, AW Michael starts Season 14 by using trace amounts of his own grace; mixing it with monster blood and venom from vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, djinns, and so on; and feeding this concoction to existing monsters, thereby super-charging their abilities and strengthening their resistances to the usual methods of elimination, such as silver for werewolves or wooden bullets for vampires.  In so doing, he effectively creates an army of Super-Monsters, which he plans to unleash first on Kansas City, Missouri (or is it Kansas City, Kansas?), kick-starting the next Apocalypse in this dimension, which our panel calculates to be the third since the show began.

So far this season, Dean has been occupied by AW Michael for three episodes: in Episodes 1 and 2, AW Michael stays in Dean and begins his grand master monster plan; however, as he explains later to Sam in Episode 9, AW Michael leaves Dean for a time after Dark Kaia, from The Bad Place, equipped with a spear that can hurt AW Michael, fends off Michael during his first attempt to steal this seemingly important spear from Dark Kaia by piercing him, inside Dean, in the arm.  In addition, Dean apparently struggles hard against allowing Michael full control of his meat suit, so the archangel temporarily vacates Dean, allowing the elder Winchester some time with his brother, mother, foster son, and angel best friend, before AW Michael reoccupies him in Episode 9, when Sam, Cas, Dean, and Jack walk into a trap set by Michael and are signed, sealed, and delivered via this trap by an ineffective spy, Hunter Turned Werewolf Garth. Thus, we presume Dean is going to try to fight Michael again from deep inside his own mind and soul – eventually – though Michael deals Team Free Will a pretty solid blow in that mid-season finale, which he reasons will be quite demoralizing for Dean. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

14) Dean as AW Michael also seems to definitively defeat Lucifer, his wings torched and all.  Is the Devil truly dead?  How can that be possible?

ANSWER: We think the Devil is truly dead – currently.  The clue comes from Lucifer’s former vessel, Nick, who prays to Lucifer, pining for his return, after he commits a bunch of murder and realizes that he enjoys this pastime, likely due to his prolonged former bond with his possessing erstwhile archangel.  Following this earnest prayer, a set of red eyes emerge from the rolling black abyss of the Empty. So, Lucifer may be where angels go to die, but our panel shares a universal and unanimous hunch: if Cas can find a way out, so too can that tricksy fallen archangel.

15) Sam is Lucifer’s true vessel and now does not have that option to defeat Michael. What can he do to save his brother?  Will he have to tap his Azazel powers? Can Rowena resurrect an archangel?  Will Sam lead the Angel Resistance on this side of the rift?  How will he get his brother back?

ANSWER: The answers to these questions seem to be unfolding with the progression of this season.  Dean is temporarily vacated by Michael, but Michael returns. Plus, the golden egg generator thing that the Winchesters used on Lucifer in Season 12 and Dark Kaia’s spear are both broken by a wily Michael.  The Winchesters may have to resort to other means of defeating this formidable foe. Sam could take on a newly resurrected Lucifer or call forth his dormant demonic powers. One thing we know for certain is that Sam is leading the Angel Resistance and scant hunter forces on this side of the rift from the bunker, forming an ad hoc Men of Letters organization in its own right, a role that seems to impress Mary, AW Bobby (sometimes), and Dean (reluctantly).  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

16) Is Jack powerless?  Will he regain his grace?  How?  Will his power be enough to save Dean? To save this world? To save Heaven?

ANSWER: Jack is currently powerless, but AW Michael assures him in the one scene that they have together that his grace will regenerate over time.  Of course, as the panelists discuss at some length, how long does it take for a nephilim to regain lost grace? Especially since nephilim are, according to a remark of Sam’s in Season 13, stronger than the angels (arch or otherwise) that sire them. After all, Jack would be a key player in the fight against Michael if he was able to get his groove back.

17) Are Mary and AW Bobby flirting?  Are they going to be a romantic item in future? Is that wise?

ANSWER: Since Mary suggests to Sam this season that “something might be going on” with AW Bobby, the panel assumes that a) yes, they are flirting; b) yes, they are going to be a romantic item in the future; and c) wise or not, it’s weird.  Also, when John Winchester returns for the 300th episode, will he find out about this new coupling, and will he bless it? We expect at least some conversation between the two about this new development, in any event.

18) Is the Shedim an abandoned concept, with the quick death of Asmodeus?

ANSWER: The panel votes that the writers forgot about the Shedim.  Of course, panelist Nick noted that the Shedim might be a tool in the tool box when it comes to battling Michael.  Still, we will keep asking the question until the writers track back to this tidbit of Asmodeus-inspired information.

19) Will they break this world’s Michael, still stuck in Adam the half brother and locked in Hell’s Cage, out of his prison?  Even though Lucifer drove him mad?

ANSWER: The answer to this question remains to be seen, though the panel is hopeful that Adam might make even a small cameo in the 300th episode.

20) Will the remaining angels join a fight for or against AW Michael?  Will AW Michael snuff out the rest of the angels?

ANSWER: So far, according to Naomi, the few remaining angels are having a hell of a time keeping unwanted beings and souls from entering Heaven, so if they join a fight on either side of AW Michael right now, they would probably end up extinct.  Still, we do not know Michael’s current company policy on angels lesser than himself, except for Cas, as the latter has aligned himself with the Winchesters. Thus, these answers remain to be seen.

21) Will we see Heaven collapse next season?

ANSWER: Heaven really seems to be in trouble, with open doors and few angels to guard those doors.  The panel is prepared to watch the unfolding season for many reasons, including to see whether or not Heaven itself survives the latest oncoming Apocalypse.

22) Will the show actually be able to convince Jeffrey Dean Morgan (JDM) to return, either in the event that we’re barreling toward the end of the show and/or if Heaven collapses, since he’s supposed to be up there somewhere?

ANSWER: Yes!  JDM is thoroughly convinced and will be returning in the twelfth episode of Season 14!  How? Well, there have been hints and allegations in the entertainment press, but most of the story structure is being kept pretty close to those flannel shirt pockets presumably worn by the series’ writers.

23) Without Princes of Hell, Crowley, or Lucifer, who’s in charge downstairs?

ANSWER: Though a demon named Kip tries hard to make a play for the Throne of Hell, he proves woefully incompetent in the art of negotiation with Sam, Cas, Jack, and some of their fellow AW hunters.  As a result, Sam declares that no one will be in charge of Hell. Of course, how often do demons listen to the Winchester brothers? The answer is: almost never. Also, demons fighting to be in charge of Hell feels pretty distracting when an archangel is poised to destroy both Heaven and the Earth.

24) How will they be able to defeat a super-charged AW Michael, made stronger by his perfect vessel, Dean?

ANSWER: This is a question with what we presume is an answer unfolding this season.

25) Will Chuck/God return to help arbiter these extra-worldly conflicts? He might have to return to create more angels, to resurrect any that have been lost, and/or to help quell the conflict with AW Michael.  Will Amara/the Darkness return with him?

ANSWER: The panel predicts that Chuck/God is going to be needed to help stop the madness, but, so far, no sign of Chuck or Amara has yet emerged.  Where exactly did they go, anyway?

26) Will the show explain how it is that nephilim are stronger than the angels (or archangels, in some circumstances) that sire them?

ANSWER: So far, the show has provided no further explanation surrounding Sam’s Season 13 research findings concerning nephilim.  The panel expects, however, that nephilim biology will become more important as AW Michael’s Apocalypse plans press forward.

27) Will we see any of the Wayward Sisters again, aside from Sheriff Jody and Sheriff Donna, i.e. Claire, Kaia, Patience, etc., despite the fact that the proposed spin-off was not picked up?

ANSWER: Dark Kaia finds her way to Prime World from The Bad Place in Season 14, and she is carrying a suspicious spear capable of hurting AW Michael, which she uses frequently on monsters, super-charged and otherwise, and on Michael himself.  News of Dark Kaia’s presence reaches Sheriff Jody’s radar, and it is she who calls the boys in – after AW Michael vacates Dean for a time – to help navigate the news of the existence of Dark Kaia. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

New Questions

1) The panel predicts that Lucifer’s return is all but guaranteed. How will this resourceful archangel emerge? Did he escape when the Empty’s back was turned, while the Empty was making deals with Cas in Heaven in exchange for Jack’s soul? Or, will he take a page from Cas’ book and piss off the Empty enough to convince the grumpy being to eject him as the Empty did Castiel? Or, are Nick and Lucifer connected in unexpected ways, given that Nick was possessed by Lucifer so many different times and for so long? Does Jack get his powers back quickly enough to help his expired father exit the deep dark? The possibilities as to the how feel endless, even if the panel sees Lucifer’s return as a foregone conclusion.

2) When will Sam be forced to end Rowena’s life, as Billie the Reaper aka the New Death prophesied in Season 13? Will we see this eventuality this season?

3) What does Naomi mean when she indicates that Heaven’s gates are open, including those closed in Season 9 via the Winchesters’ efforts? How many gates are there, and what function do they serve? Does this signal Heaven’s collapse, after all? Will human souls escape? Will monsters and/or demons try to get inside? Will Lucifer? Will AW Michael?

4) When Lily Sunder (played by Veronica Cartwright this season) casts the spell to resurrect Jack, we know the magic draws from her own soul. When she decided, in the end, to cast the spell, though she was reluctant to do so at first, did she need to use any part of Jack’s soul for the spell after all? This remains a point of confusion for our panel or, at least, for your main moderator and Chief CP.

5) Will the Empty come to claim Cas by the end of Season 14? What could make Cas so happy in that amount of time as to entice the Empty’s sense of vengeance against his nemesis, Castiel?

6) We know John Winchester will be talking to the boys and to Mary in the 300th episode, as this has been widely reported by the entertainment news media, which is devoting a fair amount of coverage to the landmark episode. Will John encounter any of the other typical characters, such as AW Bobby?

7) We also know that Angel Zachariah, as played by Kurt Fuller, will be making a return appearance in the 300th episode. What other long-gone characters might we see, then or at any other point in the season?

8) If AW Michael’s armies envelop the Earth, what will the demons do? Will they need a leader to do it? Will they elect one?

9) Will the Empty be destroyed? Will any other angels and demons escape? Will the Empty change to something else?

10) Will the Empty’s creation and/or manifestation as a being be explained?

11) Will Heaven be stabilized if it does not collapse?

12) How did Chuck/God and Amara/the Darkness come to exist? Will Supernatural tackle this divine subject?

13) Is Dark Kaia’s Spear the Spear of Destiny? Or, is the Spear the equivalent of Michael’s Spear that was broken in Prime World, as we learned in Season 12?

14) Is the Empty a version of Purgatory for angels and demons? Somebody needs to provide a better explanation for the Empty.

15) Does the AW or The Bad Place have an Empty? Or, is the Empty the same for all dimensions?

16) Seriously, what was The Bad Place?

PARTING SHOTS

Our Supernatural panel continues to present an increasingly diverse range of opinions about the most recent SPN half season.  The mysteries, story threads, and new spins on old horror tropes offered by the first half of Season 14 further divide our panel.  Some panelists find this season highly enjoyable so far, given Jensen Ackles’ opportunity to spread his proverbial wings and his acting range via his portrayal of AW Michael as well as the ongoing integration into the cast of Alexander Calvert’s Jack, both of which feel like modestly fresh new aspects to this long-running story.  Some continue to watch the series motivated by the curiosity that comes with needing to complete what was started, more than thirteen years ago.  Still others, particularly the Chief CP, are filled with a renewed excitement by the prospect of what’s to come, feeling that Dean’s specific Season 13 end of season fate became a true “game changer” designed to steer the series toward an epic conclusion, which is likely nearer than we would want or expect, though perhaps not as close as we initially predicted.  In any event, the fresh takes introduced this season, coupled with the usual elements that keep Super fans coming back for more, helped our panel to, on average, become newly invested in the show, even if reluctantly.  As such, the panel members continue to find compelling reasons to stick with the series, ups and downs aside, 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 all this time – all panel members feel that the show is still entertaining, even this late in its lifetime. Carry On, Wayward Sons, as we move into the second half of Season 14!

LOOKING AHEAD

Supernatural was automatically ordered for a full season upon renewal, though notably for only 20 episodes for Season 14, and returned from its mid-season hiatus on January 17, 2019. Will it be renewed for a fifteenth season?  The February sweeps will no doubt provide a clear answer to that question, though chances seem pretty good, especially since the 300th episode will be airing during sweeps.  In the meantime, our Supernatural podcast panel will next reconvene following the fourteenth season finale, which will likely air in or around May 2019. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Supernatural coverage.  Stay tuned! Until then!

The Originals, Season 5 and Looking Back Series Review (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 September 2018, our panel of true CPU! originals and vampire enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Jen (S.), and Jenn (K.) – is back Around the Water Cooler and discussing the final season, Season 5, of The Originals, including another seven-year, in-show time jump; the ongoing threat of the Hollow; the thoughts, feelings, and hopes of a now teenage 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. We also Look Back at the now ended series as a whole and say goodbye to this spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, one ultimately beloved by this panel, despite mixed reactions of the panelists to the series finale. 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
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington



PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: The CPU! Goodbye to “The Originals” – The Season 5 Recap and Review + Looking Back at Seasons 1-5 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The Originals” aired on the CW for five total seasons from 2013-2018.

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 (Daniel Gillies), and baby sister Rebekah (Claire Holt).

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 had taken control of the French Quarter and had 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, including vampire/werewolf hybrids, are not known to have children. This series 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 5 aired from April 18, 2018, to August 1, 2018, 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)

In 2016, our Originals panel helped to catch CPU! up on this program by discussing Seasons 1, 2, and 3 in a first episode for this panel, which was followed by a second episode devoted to Season 4.  To hear our thoughts, listen to the embedded links below:

Seasons 1-3

Season 4

Our small but continuously robust and truly original Originals panel, including returning panelists Jen (S.) and Jenn (K.), reconvened to discuss the siblings Mikaelson, including noble but repressed – and amnesiac, to start this season – 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 fifth and final season following another seven-year, in-show time jump, including the angst of an even older, teenage Hope (Danielle Rose Russell), the daughter of Hayley (Tonkin) and Klaus, pining for her unsurprisingly absent father; the precarious peace in NOLA monitored by Hayley and representatives of each of the city factions, supernatural and otherwise; and the unending reaches to which the siblings will go, by any means necessary, for their family, even when they are supposed to remain apart in order to prevent world destruction, owing to the unstoppable magic of the Hollow.  Our panel’s devotion to The Originals remains mostly devout and still higher (more or less) and more fervent than for The Vampire Diaries, as the panelists feel that the plot of this show continues to be more sophisticated and the situations, therefore, more adult.  Give us a listen, with your secreted last piece of the White Oak nearby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in September 2018, 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 A Series of Unfortunate Events panel returns to the Water Cooler, just in time for Netflix to drop the third and final season of that series on January 1, 2019, with the panel being (unfortunately) ready to dive into discussion about the second season of the faithful adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s novels. Stay tuned!

Lingering Questions

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?

NEW ANSWER ADDENDUM: To answer the first question, the Hollow, a being without a soul, comes into existence during prehistoric times in this fictional universe, as explained in Season 4.  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. The show explains, in Season 5 and in an almost tragically off-handed way, that Klaus, at one point, ingested a serum that would allow him to be a father, despite also being a vampire/werewolf hybrid.  Frankly, this off-the-cuff and rushed explanation fails to satisfy in any kind of meaningful way, at least insofar as suggesting that Hope (Russell) is more special than the average magical werewolf/hybrid offspring, since, at last check, she is the only offspring of that kind.

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

NEW ANSWER: Though Kol and Davina ride off into a romantic, love-filled sunset at the end of Season 4, Davina marries Kol in these intervening seven years, rendering their departures temporary at best, since they return, as family should, for all important family reunions, like weddings and funerals…

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

NEW ANSWER: The show confirms that she is a “teenage tri-brid:” a witch and a vampire/werewolf hybrid just like her father, though she exhibits no obvious signs of being a vampire, which her father can manifest quite readily.  As for any potential werewolf tendencies that Hope might display, listen to the podcast episode for details.

4) 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?

ANSWER: It all starts with Hope.  Hope begins the season by giving her blood to a vampire at the magical Mystic Falls school run by Alaric (Matt Davis) and Caroline (Candice King), two alumna from The Vampire Diaries, that Hope attends. She thereby transforms her vampire classmate into a hybrid and catches the attention of her doting but fearful (and feared) father, which was all part of her plan and conspiracy with her vampire friend, who wants to become a hybrid, to begin with.  A chain of events is then set into motion, which eventually leads to a family reunion. Hope ultimately casts a “chambre de chasse” spell, bringing the surviving Mikaelson siblings together into a magical representation of the family compound in New Orleans, so that she can, very much against her father’s wishes, draw the Hollow magic out of each of them and into herself, allowing them to coexist in the same city together without endangering the world.  Hope cannot, however, long term, control this magic, since the Hollow always sought to inhabit the powerful Hope; the magic begins to endanger her life, and someone else is needed to save her.  Listen to the podcast episode for details – or just keep reading.

5) 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, though 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?

ANSWER: We see an Elijah, free of the burden of his family, playing jazz piano in a club in the south of France and falling in love with a vampire named Antoinette (Jaime Murray), who teaches Elijah to reconnect with the more carnal and positive pleasures of being a vampire, even though she figures out quickly that he is one of the Original vampires. Klaus and Rebekah each, separately, risk visiting their brother from time to time, missing his wisdom and counsel and appreciating his overall happiness, though the visits are short, due to the magical influence of the Hollow bones coming back within proximity of each other.  Fortunately or unfortunately, in order for the siblings to escape the aforementioned chambre de chasse spell, in the spell’s representational way, each sibling is required to locate a key that will unlock a door to their conscious selves.  Elijah’s key, as it turns out, is housed where all of his other secrets are housed: behind the infamous red door of his consciousness, along with the rest of his memories, both good and bad.  In order for Elijah to retrieve this key, he must force himself to trust Klaus, the brother he does not remember and about whom he has heard only horrible things in his amnesiac state, and to see the need to save Hope; Elijah is convinced to bust through this door by his brother Klaus, who promises to go through it with him.  The act of entering this door not only awakens the sleeping Mikaelson siblings but also awakens Elijah’s memories, locked away by the magical removal of the “Always and Forever” family motto pull.  

6) 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)?

ANSWER: Hope is a “tri-brid” – a vampire/werewolf hybrid like her father and a genetic witch like all of the other Mikaelsons, though she is not motivated by fangs, blood lust, and night-prone immortality like typical vampires.  As for her conception, the show suggests that Klaus at one time ingested a serum, presumably a magical one, that would allow him to conceive a child.  Did we ever see him take this serum, either on this show or when the Original vampires were on The Vampire Diaries?  Our panel certainly does not recall seeing this.

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

ANSWER: In a manner of speaking, yes.  Klaus ultimately decides to take on the Hollow magic to save Hope, but not even he can hold the powerful magic at bay.  His decision to save his child is cataclysmic: he decides to stake himself with one remaining White Oak stake, which he confesses to Alaric and Caroline he secreted away at some point in case he needed it. (SPOILER) He makes good on this decision, even if the appearance of this stake feels a bit contrived and deus ex machina in the endNeither Marcel and Rebekah nor Kol nor Elijah try to stop Klaus; they admire his choice, and (SPOILER) Elijah even decides to join him in this final sacrificial act.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

8) Will Kol and Davina return?

ANSWER: Kol is drawn into the chambre de chasse, he is present (along with his now wife Davina) for Freya (Riley Voelkel) and Keelin’s wedding, and he is present for Klaus and Elijah’s final goodbyes.

9) 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?

ANSWER: Klaus decides to stake himself to save his family, Hope included; Elijah decides to stake himself with part of Klaus’ secreted away White Oak stake, as he always saw his life’s purpose, at least after a time, to be his brother’s redemption.  Elijah, in fact, sees Klaus’ final noble act as proof that he achieved his purpose, and since (SPOILER) Hayley also dies this season, he feels that without either of them, he has nothing particularly to live for after such a long life and an immortality of which he tires.  Klaus and Elijah, therefore, stake each other in the show’s final scene. Rebekah survives; as Klaus’ final gift to her, he informs her that Caroline has the vampire cure in Mystic Falls.  He blesses her use of the cure and wishes her and Marcel a long and happy, if ultimately, mortal life together.  Kol returns to Davina; Freya and Keelin vow to live a happy life together as well.  Thus, in the end, Klaus ultimately accepts responsibility for his sins and repents through his personal sacrifice to save his family, particularly his daughter.  Elijah does the same, seeing Klaus’ redemption as his own.  The remaining Mikaelsons find happy endings.

10) 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.

ANSWER: Klaus roams the world, stewing over the separation from his daughter and processing the unconditional love he has for her, an achievement he has never unlocked until his very existence endangered that of his child.  He does visit Caroline briefly, and Caroline also visits him.  Caroline recurs in Season 5 by appearing in four episodes, including the season premiere and the series finale.  Caroline and Klaus do not become a romantic coupling; she confesses that he turned her head for a time, but she also notes that her life and her sense of self changed in the intervening years, and that these changes prevent her from connecting to Klaus in a more formal way.  Still, she also tells him, particularly as he readies to end his own after-life, that she has always cared for him, and she gives him a heartfelt kiss goodbye, both as a kindness but also as a sense of closure, since Klaus’ head never stopped turning for her.

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

ANSWER: Marcel and Rebekah finally enjoy their whirlwind, century-long romance by touring the world.  In fact, in the season premiere, Marcel pops the question to Rebekah.  Unfortunately, goings-on back in New Orleans complicate the proposal.

12) 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.

ANSWER: The panel was right.  Freya spends most of the intervening seven years searching for a way to quell the Hollow’s magic, to allow her family to reconvene.  Vincent reluctantly helps Freya, on occasion, though he is just as happy to keep the Mikaelsons away from New Orleans, as the city is quite peaceful in their absence.  Freya also enjoys a happy romance with Keelin for most of those years.

13) 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?

ANSWER: Danielle Rose Russell plays fifteen-year-old Hope.  Hope is still the apple of her mother’s eye.  She is also close to her aunt Freya, who mentors her in the ways of magic, and to her aunt Rebekah, though we do not see Hope and Rebekah together much, since Rebekah houses one of the Hollow bones.  The series ends with Klaus and Elijah staking each other, to end the Hollow’s magical threat and in a noble agreement to face the “true” death together; Marcel and Rebekah vow to marry, with Rebekah deciding to take the vampire cure; Kol and Davina and Freya and Keelin enjoy new love-filled chapters; and Hope returns to her school in Mystic Falls and to a second spin-off of this universe, Legacies, which premiered this fall on the CW.

14) 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?

ANSWER: Hayley does, in fact, sacrifice herself to save Hope, though the Hollow is not the threat that causes her to engage in this sacrifice at the time. Instead, leaders of a so-called vampire cult, with a vendetta against Klaus, capture Hayley and Hope.  After Hayley’s werewolf side is magically removed by a witch in the cult leaders’ employ, Hope’s life hangs in the balance as Klaus and Caroline enter the scene.  To prevent further harm to Klaus or to Hope, and because Elijah, who also arrives on the scene, does not remember her due to the magical lobotomy of “Always and Forever” that he previously underwent, and makes no move to help her, much to her stark realization and dashed hope, Hayley wrestles the cult leader into the sunlight, causing Hayley, now only a vampire, and her foe to burn, as vampires do, in the sun.  

As noted above, Klaus also sacrifices himself for Hope, taking on the Hollow’s magic to save her and then staking himself to save his family, her included.  Sadly, this one-two punch of Hayley and Klaus’ deaths leaves Hope an orphan, though she has her extended family.  Klaus does try to care for Hope following Hayley’s shocking end, but his future is short-lived, given the omnipresent threat of the Hollow’s curse.

15) Will Hayley and Elijah end up together?

ANSWER: With Hayley’s death and Elijah’s agreement to go into the void with Klaus, these two lovers become the epitome of star-crossed, destined never to be each other’s enduring soulmate.

Lingering Unanswered Questions

1) With Elijah’s decision to stake himself, does not this mean that all of the vampires in his sire-line are now gone?  As of the end of Season 3, Elijah was still connected to his sire-line, correct?  It feels like we should have seen something more definitive regarding the elimination of his sire-line, given all of the hoopla in Season 3 revolving around the idea of the sire-lines themselves (fortunately, Klaus was separated from his sire-line by Davina in Season 3, and all of the Mystic Falls vampires, including Caroline, are in his sire-line).

2) None of us understand, still, what exactly Marcel was – a hybrid, sure, but it seems the magical white oak barbs or thorns from Season 3 rendered him more powerful and more special, as evidenced by the vampire cult’s desire to drain his particular venom.  The panel feels that Marcel’s new state of being was never quite satisfactorily explained within the show.

PARTING SHOTS

The Originals, though not the twisty soap opera characterizing its parent program, remained engaging, superior television in the end, spinning an epic and seductive tale with increasingly engaging acting and beautiful actors doing the work, even if not all of the story satisfied all of our panelists.  The writers 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.  While our panelists disagreed about the overall success of the final season, we still, at least, agreed in the end that the over-arching story was best when it was grand and twisty, and the panelists, some more than others, regard The Originals as completely accessible to anyone who has not watched TVD.  Two panelists, your Chief CP included, feel a sense of profound sadness upon reaching the end of this program, believing that the show was prevented from mining a trove of unexplored history and potential in our millennium-old characters, while the third panelist sees this final season as more disappointing than satisfying. All participating panelists believe, more or less, that the show became 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.  Though the panel does not enjoy universal consensus about the show’s end, our panelists at least believe that the writers did their best with a shorter episode order in this last season and with this talented cast of performers and the characters they portray, even if the end felt decidedly rushed and, therefore, not as satisfying as it could have been – though panelist Jenn K. really struggled with the “Twilight-esque fluttery stuff” in the end.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Canceled/ended! The Originals was canceled by the CW after five seasons. The series is available to stream on Netflix and available for purchase at the usual sites.  The panel, ultimately, universally recommends The Originals now that the series has ended.  Though both panelists Jen S. and Jenn K. feel that watching TVD is necessary to enjoy this show, Chief CP and moderator Kylie believes that The Originals can be watched and enjoyed on its own, with the caveat that watching at least the first four seasons of The Vampire Diaries, when the Original family first appears, would definitely make the watch experience of the spin-off much richer. All in all, our panelists mourn the end of the show, with Kylie and Jen S. perhaps mourning it more readily than Jenn K, and will miss the show in the end.  All of us love Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gillies, however, and are eager to follow them to other projects; Kylie and Jen S. particularly fan-girl for Daniel Gillies (hearts hearts hearts), while Jenn K. describes her affection for Nathaniel Buzolic (Kol) and her willingness to watch him in other vehicles.  So, if nothing else, if you love attractive men, especially men who wear suits well, and vampires, you will, at least, be moderately pleased with The Originals.

An image from the series finale of The Originals – Elijah (Daniel Gillies, left) informs his brother Niklaus aka Klaus (Joseph Morgan, right) that he is willing to die alongside his brother, and that they can face the unknown as they always have – together. The brothers subsequently each bury a halved piece of the remaining White Oak stake into each other’s hearts.
Our truly original The Originals panel: Jen S. (left) and Jenn K. (right).

 

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 5 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in September 2018, our small and slightly less robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Jen, and Micah–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 5 of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (we previously recapped prior seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with panelist Kristen, who has since declared that she has jumped the shark). 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!

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

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – the Season 5 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for agents of shield season 5 title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, though it is currently on hiatus.

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: Season 5 aired from December 1, 2017, to May 18, 2018, on ABC.

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 in 2016.  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

Season 3B 

Season 4A

Season 4B

Our SHIELD panel is back to talk about all of Season 5, given the unusual airing schedule for this season, what with ABC’s attempt to precede it with a dose of Marvel’s Inhumans, which was subsequently canceled by the Alphabet network.  With the delayed start and unusual airing schedule, in addition to a new Friday time slot, the break between half seasons was not long enough or in a logical span of time that would allow our panel to check in at mid-season (which fell somewhere around March), so here, we offer a longer-than-usual, and perhaps slightly more intense, dissection of Season 5.

Additionally, since last time, we have had a personnel change on our Agents of SHIELD panel.  The panel wishes to wave a fond goodbye to panelist Kristen, one of the panel’s original members, who left it because she “jumped the shark” watching SHIELD and was frustrated enough not to want to watch or discuss it further.  That’s how it rolls from time to time at CPU!  Don’t worry!  If you’re a Kristen fan, you can still hear her voice on many of our active panels, as she is currently our most involved panelist!

Our SHIELD panel then, now consisting of Jen and Micah, tackles talk of Season 5, including the SHIELD agents’ adventures to space, to the future, and through a time loop, as well as prognosticates upon possible future plot developments of the surprisingly renewed sixth season while speculating upon the likelihood that the show is facing its last hurrah, especially since the events of Season 5 led our panelists to believe that the show’s writers and producers expected Season 5 to be the literal and living end for the series. Listen to the podcast episode below, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in September 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the fifth 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, schedule permitting, our Marvel’s Defenders Series panel returns to the Water Cooler to discuss Marvel’s Luke Cage, Season TwoSweet Christmas!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

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

NEW ANSWER: We haven’t yet, and it’s one of the lingering questions of the podcast panel (at least for Jen and for Kylie). We also may never know now, as the monolith that accesses that planet, which is apparently stored deep within the recesses of a SHIELD station called the Lighthouse – which is literally under a lighthouse – is destroyed. A device, planted by a ragtag group of people calling themselves Hydra and confiscated by SHIELD, explodes and destroys the Hive planet monolith along with two other space and time bending monoliths also stored there, creating a rift to a so-called #feardimension.  Please note: this is the show’s name for it, not ours. Listen to the podcast episode for details

2) REPEAT 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 Kree?  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?

NEW ANSWER: The Planet information may be impossible to know at this point, given the destruction of the monolith that accessed it.  The purpose of the Inhumans has not (yet) been addressed by the show, if it ever will be at all.

3) REPEAT QUESTION: Will we ever learn more about the Kree themselves?  Are they related to any of the individual Avengers?

NEW ANSWER: This season, we meet actual Kree leaders, including Kasius and his father as well as soldiers and generals that report to Kasius.  While we do not learn much information about the Kree’s history and why they take such an interest in Earth, especially after, in the future, Earth is destroyed by the so-called “Destroyer of Worlds,” we do learn that Kasius rules over the remainder of Earth’s scattered population, housed aboard the Lighthouse station, which, in the future, floats as part of the debris evidence of Earth’s destruction in space.  There, he breeds Inhumans by exposing humans under his control to terra-genesis, trains them to use their newfound abilities, and sells them as slaves and generals to the highest alien bidders seeking soldiers with powers.  What we can also say, definitively, is that no Kree are related to the Avengers – at least, as far as we know.

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

NEW ANSWER: Though Nadir is not a factor for this season, as our panel predicted when discussing the end of Season Four, Hydra as an actual entity returns via one flailing, growing head of the many-headed enemy.  Hydra is not at the strength of its heyday, but one should never count out Hydra.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

5) REPEAT QUESTION: 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?

REPEAT ANSWER: Unknown.  We may never see this Inhuman again.

6) REPEAT QUESTION: Is Coulson (Clark Gregg) really attempting to position Daisy (Chloe Bennett) as a possible future SHIELD director?

NEW ANSWER: Though at the end of last season, it was hard to see this eventuality as truly possible, Coulson successfully advocates for Daisy’s leadership of SHIELD, with May’s (Ming-Na Wen) support, this season. At one point, Coulson abdicates his own position as leader and asks Daisy to lead the agents in his absence, as he leaves to confront what is left of Hydra, much to May’s chagrin.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

7) REPEAT QUESTION: 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.

REPEAT (ISH) ANSWER: We have not seen show appearances of Avenger-type proportions so far, aside from Hydra as an abstract concept, though at one point, there is an oblique mention of Thanos’ invasion in Avengers: Infinity War, which was kind of surprising, as earlier in the year, it was rumored that Marvel Entertainment had disowned Agents of SHIELD, with much of Season 5 set in the future and in space, a departure for these characters from the comics.  I guess that’s why they call them rumors, though.

8) 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).

ANSWER: Ghost Rider does not appear in Season 5 in any way, except by mention of Coulson, who believes he is dying because of his deal with the Rider at the end of Season 4.  We do not know what Coulson means by this declaration; all of the panelists continue to ‘ship Daisy and Robbie, though.

9) 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 Kree 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.

ANSWER: We learn that in the Season 4 epilogue, an alien robot entity known as Enoch exposes all of the agents but Fitz (Iain de Castecker) to a monolith, which opens a portal and propels them toward the future, the year 2091 to be exact, when the Earth has been destroyed.  The shadowy figures are Agents of Hydra, as Jen and Kylie predicted.  They abduct Fitz and take him to an unmarked Hydra facility, where their leader (a spoiler covered in the podcast episode) attempts to shake Fitz down in order to suss out the location of Fitz’s teammates.

The Kree do not own the Lighthouse station, on which Coulson finds himself at the end of Season 4, but the Kree do control it and the remnants of Earth’s population inside it.  The audience, however, is not given much more information about the Kree beyond their sense of ruthlessness and materialism, their technology, and some of their cultural norms.

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

ANSWER: Coulson is aboard the Lighthouse station, still standing on a chunk of Earth broken away from the core planet after the Earth is destroyed in this bleak future.  Coulson finds himself there, and in space, because of Enoch’s endeavor to bring SHIELD and its agents into this future to help save the world and the past/timeline.

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

ANSWER: Everyone but Fitz finds themselves in this spacey future with Coulson.  They all eventually find each other, 

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

ANSWER: Unknown.  None of the panel watched Inhumans, at least prior to watching Season 5 of SHIELD and recording this podcast episode.  And then the network canceled it. So….I guess that’s all she wrote.

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

ANSWER: As for lasting effects –

Coulson: no.

May: no.

Simmons: no, except as it relates to Fitz (see below). 

Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley): no, except as it relates to Mack (see below).

Daisy: no.

Mack (Henry Simmons): yes, because raising an actual version of his lost daughter Hope in the Framework and losing her again is, according to him, more painful than if he had never raised her at all, which he confesses to Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) this season. 

Fitz: yes.  He experiences mass amounts of guilt and self-doubt, living with the specter of his shadowy Framework self, the evil, ruthlessly scientific Leopold known as “The Doctor.”  His focus on not repeating the mistakes of the Framework version of himself somewhat results in a self-fulfilling prophecy, however, when he suffers a psychotic break in the second half of the season and begins seeing what amounts to a hallucination of Leo the Doctor, his Framework self dressed in a suit, which influences Fitz to embrace his most ruthless and least compassionate instincts in a crucial moment.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

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

ANSWER: If being temporarily thrust into future time counts as a time jump, the answer is yes, though, fortunately, the writers do a great job of explaining it (more or less).

15) 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?

ANSWER: Vijay does not return this season, and panelist Micah does not seem as bothered by what he believed he observed last season.  Who knows what the future will bring, though?

16) 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.

ANSWER: Yes. No. And, mom and dad or not, you want to see your parents together and happy.  Plus, Coulson plants a kiss on May that is, frankly, kind of hot.  And the panelists rejoiced.  Yay (waving suddenly appearing flags).

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

ANSWER: If being renewed for a sixth season counts as survival, SHIELD defied the odds this year!

New Questions

1) Is General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) actually, once and for all, dead?

2) What really causes Coulson to begin dying?  Is it because he was exposed to the Kree substance odium when fighting Kasius’ trainer (who had consumed odium himself)?  Or, alternatively, does Coulson’s alleged deal with the Ghost Rider demon in Season 4, which he references in the latter half of this season, cause him to be in danger of dying because, as panelist Micah surmises, the Ghost Rider manages to undo the Kree resurrection technology that allowed Coulson to come back from Loki’s fatal stabbing at the beginning of the series, thereby righting the natural balance and duality of life and death in this universe?

3) Will Coulson remain dead, if he, in fact, dies off screen, since it is heavily implied at the end of the season that he will live out the rest of his days in the real Tahiti with the company of May, with whom he has mutually acknowledged and reciprocated romantic feelings (it’s about time they admitted it)?

4) If the SHIELD agents broke the time loop causality that leads to the repeated destruction of Earth and SHIELD’s trips through time and space to begin with, does any element of that future still exist?  For example, does Deke Shaw (Jeff Ward) still exist?  Are there parallel timelines running against each other? Did breaking the time loop cause a different paradox?  Time travel in science fiction: the riskiest of all storytelling devices.

5) Will Simmons find the frozen Fitz, floating in space?  How will she do that? She’s not known for building spaceships.  That was Fitz’s job (and, no, I’m not crying…now). If Simmons does find Fitz, will they have to be remarried, since frozen Fitz was frozen before future Fitz married present Simmons in the past?

6) What will SHIELD’s primary mission be, with Mack at its head, now that SHIELD has saved the world from this ominous, apocalyptic future?

7) Will the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 affect the events of Agents of SHIELD, Season 6?

8) If Daisy injected herself with all-healing Centipede Serum, does this mean that she is now invincible, as well as quake-y?

9) Since General Hale was destroyed by Talbot, empowered by the infusion of gravitonium, is there anything left of Hydra after all?

10) Though May and Deke successfully redirect missiles at Confederacy member Qovas’ ship, what is left of the Confederacy alien alliance, and will the SHIELD agents meet this alliance again?

11) Will the Agents meet the Kree again, either Kasius or his father, but in a different context?

12) If Coulson does die, what will May do then?

13) Are Mack and Yo-Yo okay as a couple, given the revelations and behaviors that occurred in Season 5 to complicate their relationship?

14) Is there an ending for SHIELD now that could possibly be as good as the fifth season finale?  The panelists are at a loss to predict what such an ending might look like.

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, our smaller again,  yet always robust, podcast panel believes that Agents of SHIELD took a gigantic risk in Season 5, one that courted the ire of the production company and fans alike, but one that also, ultimately, paid off in storytelling spades in the end, as it seems that the writers and producers, like so many of the rest of us, believed Season 5 to be the last of the series.  As a result, Season 5 offers some excellent action-fueled drama and emotionally resonant character moments that left our panelists feeling satisfied – so satisfied, the three of us cannot possibly guess where SHIELD might travel next season, except to possibly rescue the frozen, floating Fitz in space, if he is, in fact, still out there.  While the season presented some continuity and logic flaws, given the “bold move” (as panelist Micah called it) of engaging in time travel and time loops, all panelists also enjoyed the season heartily and plan to keep watching, even if the fifth season finale felt more final than other season finales preceding it.  The panel, however, is split as far as whether or not individual members would recommend tuning in to SHIELD at this point, and those that do suggest doing so advise 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. Still and all, the panel regards Agents of SHIELD as entertaining and worth the watch, though the panelists, your Chief CP included, find themselves apprehensive about what Season 6 might bring in the wake of the apparent (SPOILER) deaths of two major characters.  Of course, to be fair, few really stay dead in the MCU in the end – whether or not the two characters to which I am referring do, all panelists hope beyond measure that any element of the new season’s story, including potential reintegration of seemingly lost characters, be as competently engaging as most of the first four seasons have proven themselves to be.

LOOKING AHEAD

Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a sixth season by ABC, which is not expected to premiere until Summer 2019.  The Agents of SHIELD podcast panel will next and likely reconvene following the complete airing of Season 6 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 sixth 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 13B (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 2018, our newly full panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Jen (S), Kelsey, Jeremy, and a panelist new to the panel, but not to the podcast, Jenn (K) – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 13B (following the season finale) of Supernatural, including the brothers (and mother) Winchester, angel Castiel, the ongoing shenanigans of Lucifer, and his son, nephilim Jack. 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!

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