A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 3 & “Goodbye”/Looking Back 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 May 2019, our panel of veteran CPU! panelists and Unfortunate TV fans – including moderator Nick, Kristen, Kelsey, Jenn, Selene, and Kylie – is Around the Water Cooler, Streaming Originals, and chatting for the last time as a panel about the third and final season of Unfortunate hit and Netflix original program A Series of Unfortunate Events. If you have not watched any of said Unfortunate Events, 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!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

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

Theme Song: 
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Rezmer
Keyboard: Kelsey Rezmer
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: The CPU! Goodbye to “A Series of Unfortunate Events” – The Season 3 Recap and Review + Looking Back at Seasons 1-3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderated by: Nick

THE SPECS:

Who: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is an American black comedy-drama television series developed by Mark Hudis and Barry Sonnenfeld, which is based upon the children’s novel series of the same name authored by Lemony Snicket and which is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” adapts the books of Lemony Snicket’s series of novels. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, K. Todd Freeman, and Presley Smith.

SYNOPSIS

When a mysterious fire kills their parents, the Baudelaire children are placed into the care of their distant relative Count Olaf (Harris), an actor who is determined to claim the family fortune for himself. Following Olaf’s initial failed attempt to do so, the Baudelaires set out to elude Olaf and to uncover the mystery behind a secret society from their parents’ past.

When: Season 3 was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on January 1, 2019, with a total of 7 episodes.

Where: The action takes place in various fictional locales, not always specifically named.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode covering Season 1 via the link below.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

Couch Potatoes Unite! has been reviewing and recapping this series from the beginning! If you need to catch up with us, listen to the prior episodes of this series via the embedded links below:

Season 1

Season 2

Frequent contributor and panelist Nick abounds in passion and, therefore, perseveres in his moderation duties while discussing the latest (and final) season of Netflix Streaming Original A Series of Unfortunate Events, in this latest chapter of CPU!’s podcast episodes about this #Unfortunate series. In this final season’s recap and review, yours truly, the Chief CP, again participates as a regular old panelist to remark upon the unfortunate-ness of the whole affair. Nick and I are, in turn, joined by returning CPU! and ASOUE panelists Kristen, Kelsey, Selene, and Jenn for this final probing, passionate, and, at times, pithy discussion about the Baudelaires and their trials and tribulations.

This podcast was recorded in May 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the third and final season of A Series of Unfortunate Events. 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, our regularly scheduled review episodes will return to a brief hiatus (as spring moves into summer), so CPU! will continue the “On the Couch With…” feature with Associate Producer of Marketing and frequent panelist Krista interviewing Associate Producer of Special Projects and frequent panelist Selene.  Stay tuned until next week for more casual one-on-one, get-to-know hilarity!

Lingering Questions

1) Will the Baudelaire children survive their trials and tribulations? Will they get a happy ending? Will they reunite with the caring Justice Strauss (Joan Cusack) from Season 1? Will they find a happy home anywhere? Or, will they be marginally miserable but, at least, always together?

ANSWERS: (SPOILERS!!!) The Baudelaires survive and become quite self-sufficient in the end, needing no guardian, which might be the happiest ending that they could have expected or for which we, the viewers, could have hoped. They also reunite, briefly, with Justice Strauss, who the viewer learns has been searching for them for the length of the entire series, ever since the children were separated from the kind judge in the first season. Unfortunately, Justice Strauss is forced to preside over a trial during which the Baudelaires must answer for questionable, entirely inadvertent crime(s). The Baudelaires, as a result of a rigged system overseen by nefarious High Court adjudicators that Justice Strauss naively trusts, choose to run from the trial, particularly given some arson-related circumstances affecting the trial’s location, and find themselves on the ocean and sailing toward a mysterious island, surprisingly with Count Olaf and without Justice Strauss. After these wily children deal with Count Olaf on this removed island oasis, they make a temporary home for themselves in an abode, the interior of an apple tree, previously occupied by their parents; the island itself provides a very specific tidal window through which to sail that can only be accessed once per year. The Baudelaires, then, after a year of waiting for the turn in the tide, return to the mainland, together, where they presumably live out the rest of their days. Listen to the podcast episode for further details.

2) Will Count Olaf get his well-deserved comeuppance?

ANSWER: Well…Count Olaf does find himself on the receiving end of a poisonous fungus and a harpoon, which (SPOILER!!!) ultimately cause his death. Whether that ending feels satisfying as a proverbial “comeuppance” is debatable. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) What is the SUGAR BOWL? Why should we care about the sugar bowl? Is it Beatrice’s sugar bowl? Why does Esme Squalor (Lucy Punch) want it so badly?

ANSWER: The SUGAR BOWL is just a sugar bowl, as it turns out, though it becomes an important vessel for the VFD’s secret formula for a weaponized poisonous fungus called the Medusoid Mycelium, as well as the sugar-like form of the antidote to said poisonous fungus. Esme wants the bowl so badly because the SUGAR BOWL was originally her sugar bowl, part of a tea set that was very “in” for her when it was whole. Listen to the podcast episode for further analysis.

4) Who is Beatrice? Is she dead? If not, where is she?

ANSWER: The podcast panel believes that Beatrice, i.e. the subject of Lemony Snicket’s (Warburton) notes at the top of each pair of episodes, is the Baudelaires’ mother, played by Morena Baccarin, who is confirmed to be dead. Yet, Beatrice could also refer to Lemony’s niece, Beatrice Baudelaire II, who the Baudelaire siblings care for following the death of Beatrice II’s mom, and Lemony’s sister, Kit Snicket. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

5) Are the Baudelaires’ parents really dead? If not, will we see them again?

ANSWER: Yes. The Baudelaires’ parents are really dead, though we are treated to a glimpse of them in a series finale flashback.

6) If Lemony Snicket is telling the story, does he know the end?

ANSWER: No. Lemony does not know the end, and he makes a point of saying that readers/viewers are not meant to know all the answers to all the questions, either. In fact, the series finish is rather open-ended. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

7) Are the Quagmires’ (Avi Lake and Dylan Kingwell) parents officially dead?

ANSWER: Yes. The Quagmires’ parents are officially dead.

8) Who is Jacqueline (Sara Canning) – what is her goal?

ANSWER: Unknown. Jacqueline apparently leaves to be the new Duchess of Winnipeg, according to Mr. Poe (Freeman). We presume Jacqueline fulfilled her VFD duties in ensuring, sloppily, the protection of the Baudelaire children, but her disappearance ultimately feels forced and unsatisfying. Of course, maybe we are not supposed to care about whether or not Jacqueline has goals, since we are also not sure if they have been fulfilled. Anyway, we’ll never know the answer, unless Lemony Snicket writes more books focused on any of the other characters besides the Baudelaire siblings. Of course, panelist Jenn reveals in this episode, after some cursory research, that Jacqueline is not a character in the books. In conclusion, none of the panelists appear to be too broken up about the lack of Jacqueline information. Let us know what you think.

9) Will the Quagmire triplets return?

ANSWER: We do not see the original two triplets, at least not until the last episode, but we do learn that Quigley, the third, presumably dead, triplet is actually alive. Listen to the podcast episodes for details.

10) What is the VFD already? And why did Count Olaf “look away” from them at the start? Why do they have standard disguise kits?

ANSWER: The VFD is a super-secret spy organization established to put out the world’s fires, both literal and proverbial. We learn in this season that Count Olaf is wooed away from the stability and safety of the VFD because, first, Beatrice I inadvertently kills Olaf’s beloved father via a freak opera-house accident, and because, second, two nefarious characters with absolutely no back story – the Man with a Beard and No Hair and the Woman with Hair and No Beard – see fit to cause the oft-mentioned VFD schism by preying upon the easily manipulated but grieving Olaf. The disguises, we presume, are part of spying. Except where Olaf is concerned, when disguises and costumes are either part of ACTING or NEFARIOUS SCHEMES TO STEAL CHILDREN’S FORTUNES. Anyway, the panel believes that the VFD might be officially defunct as of the end of ASOUE, unless there are other VFD agents out in the world that we have not yet met. We’re not betting our opiate-laced coconut milk on it, though.

New Questions Without Answers

1) Who are the Man With a Beard and No Hair and the Woman with Hair and No Beard, and why do they have such beef with the VFD? Why were they introduced so late in the series?

2) How could the Baudelaire children remain on the mainland without an official guardian, and why isn’t the viewer at least somewhat entitled to know the minimum information about the world in which the Baudelaires reside vis-a-vis wards of the state?

3) What exactly is the nature of the relationship between Count Olaf and Kit Snicket, and why does the show not take more time to develop it?

4) Are all three of the triplets at the Hotel Denouement, as played by Max Greenfield, truly good and/or truly evil? Why would Kit Snicket align herself with the allegedly evil one if she was really good? For that matter, is Count Olaf truly evil or simply greedy and nefarious?

5) Why don’t the Baudelaires seek Lemony Snicket out sooner than the series finale, when Beatrice II seems to be preteen adjacent?

6) Whatever happened to Fernald and Fiona Widdershins? Whatever happened to their stepfather?

7) Did Ishmael (Peter MacNicol) create the mysterious series-ending island? Why is the island shaped like the VFD insignia tattooed on all of its agents?

8) Why didn’t Nathan Fillion appear in the flashback scene with Morena Baccarin or, earlier in Season 2, with Neil Patrick Harris in what could have been fourth-wall shattering actor reunions between Joss Whedon series alumni?

9) Whatever happened to the pirates?

10) Whatever happened to the orphans on Count Olaf’s submarine?

PARTING SHOTS

The ASOUE panel’s review of Season 3 is decidedly mixed among the various panelists. Some panelists, particularly the Chief CP and Jenn, expressed experiencing a mingled sense of apathy, frustration, and boredom about where the series ended, as they regard the repetition off-putting even as the ending felt rushed; other panelists, like Kelsey and Kristen, find themselves relieved that the ending was, ultimately, a bit more fortunate for the unfortunate Baudelaires. Remaining panelists Nick and Selene report possession of an overall sense of enthusiasm about the series, now that all is said and done, but acknowledge the obvious narrative flaws, which they discuss in this episode.

Yet, the panelists continue to unanimously praise the visual presentation and technical aspects of the show, even as they offer wide-ranging reactions to the overall direction and story flow. To that end, all panelists find reason to enjoy the show’s overall pastiche, with the script’s whimsical wordplay, the over the top characters, and the absurdly unfortunate situations guiding the overarching plot. The panelists also laud the use of tongue-in-cheek breakage of the fourth wall and some sly references to popular culture, though such references may or may not date this story over time. Ultimately, however, many of the panelists struggle with the scattered and somewhat tonally flat final season’s end, feeling that the show does not so much earn its sprint across its artificially constructed fictional finish line, despite all of its ham-fisted attempts to subvert typical fantasy tropes and in light of the anticlimactic and somewhat unsatisfying story conclusion. Still, all panelists, even the skeptics like the Chief CP, find enough good to say about A Series of Unfortunate Events to recommend it in the end, which is kind of fortunate, if you think about it. Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it – you can always “look away.”

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Ended! A Series of Unfortunate Events ended with this third and final season after ultimately adapting all of the Lemony Snicket novels in the original book series via the three available seasons of this Netflix original program. All ASOUE seasons are, therefore, available to stream on Netflix, as that is the network that produced it. 

At the last, despite the fluctuations of panelist opinions between the first two seasons and between those seasons and the third, A Series of Unfortunate Events continues to be recommended by all of our panelists, especially to fans of the original book series; of the 2004 film adaptation of same; of Neil Patrick Harris and of Patrick Warburton, who portray Count Olaf and Mr. Snicket, respectively, and who do so with flourish and aplomb; to fans of the type of dark, sardonic humor offered by the likes of Tim Burton or Barry Sonnenfeld, the latter of whom is credited as a creator and an executive producer of this series; and to fans of generally wicked wordplay.  Panelists Kelsey and Selene recommend this program for family viewing along with younger children, though they expressed more concern about the uptick in darkness and death prevalent in the second and third seasons and about how their seven-year-old daughter might react to this new intensity. Chief CP Kylie, the only true member of Gen X on this panel, continues to caution that the series may be more palatable to Millennials and to younger generations, who had a chance to grow up with the original series of children’s books and who might relate to the program more easily, despite the fact that the erstwhile Doogie Howser MD plays a lead character.  Yet, in the end, no panelist regards the viewing of this delightfully original if adapted series to be a waste of one’s time, which might not chalk up to be a fortunately ringing endorsement but can be construed as a CPU! Official Endorsement ™, nevertheless.

In addition, while our ASOUE coverage is primarily done, don’t be surprised if it makes an appearance or two in coming discussions, from time to time. In the meantime, from our Unfortunate panel of Cake-Sniffers to you, thank you for listening to our ongoing reviews of A Series of Unfortunate Events, which now officially come to a close.  To discover other shows discussed by CPU!, check here.  For now, we bid you adieu!

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Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton, right) meets Beatrice II over root beer floats in “The End” of ASOUE, Season 3
Who can tell what’s more Unfortunate? The Series of Unfortunate Events or our panel, having to say goodbye to you all (unfortunately).
Our ASOUE panel: Nick (left, moderator); Kelsey (top); Selene (right); Kristen (center); Jenn (on the laptop, being technical, and featuring her vocal cat, Duke)

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

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!

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 2 (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 December 2018, our panel of veteran CPU! panelists and Unfortunate TV fans – including moderator Nick, Kristen, Kelsey, Jenn, Selene, and Kylie – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 2 of Unfortunate hit and Netflix original program A Series of Unfortunate Events. If you have not watched any of said Unfortunate Events, 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! – Streaming Originals & Around the Water Cooler: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” – The Season 2 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderated by: Nick

THE SPECS:

Who: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is an American black comedy-drama television series developed by Mark Hudis and Barry Sonnenfeld, which is based upon the children’s novel series of the same name authored by Lemony Snicket.

What: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” adapts the books of Lemony Snicket’s series of novels. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, K. Todd Freeman, and Presley Smith.

SYNOPSIS

When a mysterious fire kills their parents, the Baudelaire children are placed into the care of their distant relative Count Olaf (Harris), an actor who is determined to claim the family fortune for himself. Following Olaf’s initial failed attempt to do so, the Baudelaires set out to elude Olaf and to uncover the mystery behind a secret society from their parents’ past.

When: Season 2 was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on March 30, 2018, with a total of 10 episodes.

Where: The action takes place in various fictional locales, not always specifically named, but always housing the Baudelaire children’s (Weissman, Hynes, and Smith) “closest, living relatives.” Geographically speaking, that is.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode covering Season 1 via the link below.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

In 2017, CPU! reviewed and recapped the first season of this series! If you need to catch up with us, listen to that episode via the embedded link below:

Season 1

Frequent contributor and panelist Nick abounds in passion and, therefore, continues moderation duties while discussing the newest telling of Netflix Streaming Original A Series of Unfortunate Events, in this latest chapter of CPU!’s podcast episodes about this #Unfortunate series, which represents our Season 2 recap and review. Yours truly, the Chief CP, again participates as a regular old panelist to remark upon the unfortunate-ness of the whole affair. Nick and I are, in turn, joined by returning CPU! and ASOUE panelists Kristen, Kelsey, Selene, and Jenn for this all new probing, passionate, and, at times, pithy discussion about the Baudelaires and their trials and tribulations.

This podcast was recorded in December 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the second season of A Series of Unfortunate Events. 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!  For the next two weeks, Couch Potatoes Unite! is going on holiday break, but we won’t leave you hanging without gifts of good cheer to tide you over until 2019. Next week, there will be a bonus mini-episode with greetings from some of CPU!’s finest. The week following, we will publish the Mid-Season Progress Report of new shows in the 2018-2019 TV viewing season. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) Will the Baudelaire children survive their trials and tribulations? Will they get a happy ending? Will they reunite with the caring Justice Strauss (Joan Cusack) from Season 1? Will they find a happy home anywhere? Or, will they be marginally miserable but, at least, always together?

2) Will Count Olaf get his well-deserved comeuppance?

3) What is the SUGAR BOWL? Why should we care about the sugar bowl? Is it Beatrice’s sugar bowl? Why does Esme Squalor (Lucy Punch) want it so badly?

4) Who is Beatrice? Is she dead? If not, where is she?

5) Are the Baudelaires’ parents really dead? If not, will we see them again?

6) If Lemony Snicket (Warburton) is telling the story, does he know the end?

7) Are the Quagmires’ parents (Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders) officially dead?

8) Who is Jacqueline – what is her goal?

9) Will the Quagmire triplets (Avi Lake and Dylan Kingwell) return?

10) What is the VFD already? And why did Count Olaf “look away” from them at the start? Why do they have standard disguise kits?

PARTING SHOTS

The panel’s consensus around A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 2 is that most of us liked the second season quite a bit better; Chief CP Kylie now finds herself invested beyond initial estimates, while panelist Kristen was less impressed by Season 2 compared to Season 1. Ultimately, despite the fluctuations of opinions between the first two seasons, A Series of Unfortunate Events continues to be universally recommended by all of our panelists, especially to fans of the original book series; of the 2004 film adaptation of same; of Neil Patrick Harris and of Patrick Warburton, who portray Count Olaf and Mr. Snicket, respectively, and do so with flourish and aplomb; and to fans of the type of dark, sardonic humor offered by the likes of Tim Burton or Barry Sonnenfeld, the latter of whom is credited as a creator and an executive producer of this series.  Panelists Kelsey and Selene recommend this program for family viewing along with younger children, though they expressed more concern about the uptick in darkness and death prevalent in the second season and how their six-year-old daughter might react to this new intensity. Chief CP Kylie, the only true member of Gen X on this panel, continues to caution that the series may be more palatable to Millennials and to younger generations, who had a chance to grow up with the original series of children’s books and who might relate to the program more easily, despite the fact that the erstwhile Doogie Howser MD plays a lead character.  The panelists continue to universally praise the visual presentation and technical aspects of the show, even as they offer wide-ranging reactions to the overall direction.  Still, all panelists look forward to what the final season might bring in terms of solving mysteries, answering unanswered questions, sparkling appearances of new guest stars (or the return of old and beloved ones, such as Joan Cusack or Nathan Fillion), and whether the Baudelaires’ ending at the last is truly happy or truly unfortunate for all of their lifetimes. Of course, the panelists and viewers like you will find out soon enough, squarely on the first of the year.

LOOKING AHEAD

A Series of Unfortunate Events was quickly renewed by streaming giant Netflix for a third and final season, which is set to be released by the service on January 1, 2019.  Our ASOUE panel will, naturally, reconvene Around the Water Cooler sometime after the New Year to discuss that final season and to briefly Look Back at the entire series and its overall success. 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