Once Upon a Time, Season 7A (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, (re)recorded in March 2018, our Once Upon a Time panel – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Eddie, Amie, Emily, and Micah – returns to the Water Cooler to discuss the first half of season seven of Once Upon a Time, recently announced to be in its final season and following the so-called seventh season soft reboot of both premise and main cast.  And, of course, because of harried scheduling logistics involving our now infamous equipment failure/replacement, panelist Eddie proved unable to join the primary recording but was determined to have his seat at the water cooler nevertheless.  And, in CPU! land, such funky scheduling leads inevitably to wacky hi-jinks, always in the style of “The Newlywed Game.”  It’s a happy beginning for all, eh?  As always, if you are not caught up on Once, 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: “Once Upon a Time” – The Season 7 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie


Who: “Once Upon a Time” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall/winter/spring Fridays at 8:00 PM.

What: “Once Upon a Time,” a fantasy drama wherein storybook and fairy tale characters are not only real but are living in this world, away from their enchanted kingdoms and worlds beyond reality, and how they all interrelate (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/once_upon_a_time/summary.html).

When: The Season 7 premiere aired on Friday, October 6, 2017, at 8:00 PM on ABC.

Where: The show, in this season, engages in a “soft reboot” of its story premise and is (currently) set in Hyperion Heights, a fictional neighborhood deep within the heart of very real Seattle, Washington, as well as in “The Enchanted Forest,” the fairy tale kingdom from where most of the main characters originate. The action takes place primarily in present day, though there are flashbacks to the characters’ past lives and events.

Why: Two primary reasons: one, Chief Couch Potato Kylie loves fantasy and fairy tales, and the Disney network green-lit a live action serial television program about fairy tale characters that they would probably own the rights to, if the characters weren’t already public domain. Two, the creators are Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, two of the head writers of Lost. Whatever else may be said about the latter program, I don’t think anyone could argue that Lost wasn’t well written. All of our panel of enthusiastic Once fans finds love for this program via one or both of those reasons themselves.

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

To catch up on prior Once podcast episodes, click on the links embedded below:

Season 4A – Frozen

Season 4B – Queens of Darkness
Season 5A – Dark Swan
Season 5B – The Underworld
Season 6A
Season 6B
Our now bonded and totally cohesive and still full Once panel – namely Kristen, Eddie, Amie, Emily, and Micah – reconvene (ish) around the Water Cooler “once” again to discuss Season 7A of OUAT, in which we digest the much ballyhooed, so-called “soft reboot” of Season 7.  Unfortunately, because this also happens to be the episode that was being processed for publishing at the time of our now legendary equipment failure, this is a re-recording, using, for the first time, an all online format!  What’s more, because panelist Eddie could not make the scheduled recording but still wanted to provide his opinions (because, as regular listeners of this series know, he’s Eddie!), we recorded him separately. So, of course, CPU! and your Chief CP sprung “Newlywed” type hi-jinks on our panel. Because that’s what we do with passionate panelists otherwise separated by time, space, and lives behind the podcast.  In the meantime, the new season presents all new characters and holds over only four characters with whom we have grown acquainted and grown to love over the first six seasons.  The rest of the original cast departed but for agreed upon one-off appearances in this season’s first half.  What does it all mean for Once Upon a Time and for our panel? Is everyone still watching, despite the fact that Once seems to have become something of a whole new show, with a whole new storybook, under the umbrella of the old title?  Or, has anyone jumped the shark in lieu of all of this unprecedented change?  Listen to our newest chapter of CPU!’s ongoing Once Upon a Time podcast, during which we reflect on Season 7A and ruminate on the possibilities swirling around the #potential (#drink) of the current season.  Do you agree with us? Or, do you have your own thoughts? Comment below!

This podcast was (re)recorded in March 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the seventh season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next week, we will be publishing another re-run as we gear up for recording (and re-recording) more new episodes; the episode to be re-run will be our prior coverage of the first season of Stranger Things.  Also, we will be publishing our quarterly progress report covering new shows of the 2017-2018 season, now that February ratings sweeps have come and gone.  In the following week, a new panel will, schedule permitting, launch a new ongoing series covering existentially philosophical NBC sitcom The Good Place.  Don’t miss it!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
Old Questions
1) REPEAT QUESTION: Is baby Neal magical like his sister? (This question will remain until answered!)
SLIGHTLY NEW ANSWER: At this time, baby Neal’s “specialness,” if it exists, is still unknown.  Also, we presume baby Neal is no longer a baby by the time we see old characters settled into various new identities in this seventh season.
2) REPEAT QUESTION: How did Will Scarlett (Michael Socha), aka the Knave from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, end up in Storybrooke and without Anastasia (Emma Rigby), the former Red Queen? And how did he and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) decide to hook up? (This question will remain until answered!)
SLIGHTLY NEW ANSWER: Will Scarlett is gone.  Where he went is anyone’s guess.  Why he was even brought to the flagship show with so little explanation for his coming and going is the bigger mystery, though panelist Micah now theorizes that, perhaps, Will Scarlett visited Storybrooke before he ended up in Wonderland.  The bigger issue is that the writers/producers failed to truly spell that out in a way that satisfies.
3) REPEAT QUESTION: Where did Maleficient (Kristen Bauer von Straten) go? Will we see more of her? Will she reconnect with her daughter Lily in a more meaningful way? (This question will remain until answered!)
SLIGHTLY NEW ANSWER: Like Will Scarlett, Maleficient and Lily have both disappeared without a trace or explanation.  Though this new coven being teased could foretell the arrival of certain witchy personalities within the Disney universe and from prior Once episodes, and, apart from Snow White’s evil queen, who is the most evil witch of all?
4) REPEAT QUESTION: Will the Once writers/producers provide a better, more detailed explanation for why Will Scarlett was on the flagship series? Will they provide a more significant flashback to explain why he and Anastasia are not together anymore? Would Emma Rigby be available to reprise her role of Anastasia? (This question will remain until answered!)
REPEAT ANSWER: Will Scarlett is gone.  Where or where has Will Scarlett gone?
5) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Maleficient, Lily, August, Will Scarlett, or any of these disappearing characters reappear?  Will their disappearances, at least, be explained? (This question will remain until answered!)
REPEAT ANSWER: Not so far, and it seems irresponsible of the writers.  Maybe they will surprise us in the end.  Where oh where have they all gone?!
6) REPEAT QUESTION: The panelists still want to know where these characters went: Merida, Mulan, Aurora, Philip, Roland (Robin’s son), and other members of the non-Wished Enchanted Forest?
REPEAT ANSWER: Unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown…
7) The producers and show-runners have been releasing various teaser details to foreshadow the “soft reboot” fueling Season 7.  For example, five new actresses were cast to fill mysterious roles, though one of the actresses cast will play Henry’s lover/potential wife and Henry’s daughter Lucy’s mother (we saw Lucy in the sixth season finale), identified to be another version of Cinderella, somehow dissimilar from the Cinderella played by Jessy Schram in earlier seasons.  We also know that one of the new actresses will play Cinderella’s stepmother.  Who are the remaining actresses playing?
ANSWER: The new actresses cast are as follows:
Dania Ramirez as Jacinda aka Cinderella aka Ella
Gabrielle Anwar as Victoria Belfrey aka Lady Tremaine, the Evil Stepmother, aka (SPOILER) Rapunzel
Mekia Cox as Sabine aka Princess/Queen Tiana
Adelaide Kane as Ivy Belfrey aka Drizella, the Evil Stepsister
Rose Reynolds as Tilly aka Alice (of Wonderland)
8) How does Adult Henry (Andrew J. West) end up in the Enchanted Forest (or something like it…and what is it if not the Enchanted Forest) and then back in our realm, beset by amnesia, like his grandparents and Storybrooke friends were when the series started?
ANSWER: Adult Henry, as child/teenager Henry (Jared S. Gilmore), leaves mama Regina (Lana Parilla) to “seek his own story.”  He leaves, on a motorcycle, to go specifically to the Enchanted Forest for that story, and he accesses the realm of his ancestors via magic bean and, presumably, a motorcycle powered by a magically-never-empty gas tank (since we presume petrol does not exist in any version of the Enchanted Forest).  As for how Adult Henry returns to this realm – how else? By the casting of an evil curse.  For the record, it’s not his fault.
9) How will the show explain away the new Cinderella, given that this character was previously introduced, played by a different actress and well acquainted to the Snow White character?
ANSWER: By not explaining at all, apparently.  This will remain a question until answered, but, for now, the show is asking us to buy that there is more than one Cinderella – as well as more than one Alice of Wonderland, Anastasia of Evil Stepsister fame, and Jack of the Beanstalk fame – out there, and that all versions of these duplicated characters originated from the Enchanted Forest.  Your guess is as good as ours as to how this would be possible, even in the impossible world of OUAT.
10) Will Emma die, given that Jennifer Morrison is slated to appear in only one episode next season?
ANSWER: Emma survives.  In fact, she is pregnant again, with hubby Hook’s (Colin O’Donaghue) baby.  Listen to the podcast for details.
11) A teaser trailer shows Captain Hook wearing a police uniform, Regina standing in a bar, and Rumpel (Robert Carlyle) in unknown climes.  How do they get where they are going?  What is the back story for this time jump?
ANSWER: The time jump is explained twofold – Henry grows up while looking for his story, while Rumpel spends some time in the Edge of Realms, where time does not move at the same pace as in other realms.  Regina becomes bartender Roni, Captain Hook becomes Detective Rogers, and Rumpel becomes Detective Weaver in the newly formed mystical neighborhood of Hyperion Heights, wrought once again by an evil, memory-affecting curse.
12) Is Henry the new Savior?  Lucy (Alison Fernandez) says in the final seconds of the Season 6 finale that he has to save his family – to whom is she specifically referring?
ANSWER: While Henry has not been officially promoted to “Savior” status, like his bio mom Emma, as of yet, Lucy is referring to the need to save Henry’s wife, Cinderella (or Ella for short); her friend and Lucy’s honorary aunt, Tiana; his mother, Regina; his grandfather, Rumpel; his stepfather (sort of), Hook; and Lucy herself.
13) Will this new season and new version of the show truly be different from what we have been watching?  Or, will there be a rehashing of story lines and/or a recycling of plot points, only applied to new generations and/or new characters?
ANSWER: More the latter than the former.  Listen to the podcast episode for extensive discussion on this question.
14) Will we see any of the departing characters (besides Emma) with any sort of regularity or frequency, or is everyone leaving and gone?  How will they explain the departures and absences of so many of the main characters?
ANSWER: Zelena (Rebecca Mader) returns, possibly for a multi-episode arc but not until near the mid-season finale.  Belle (Emilie de Ravin) returns for one episode, where we see her live her life fully with Rumpel in the Edge of Realms.  She grows old and dies of old age, while Rumpel, age eternal because of his status as Dark One, seeks to end his immortality and bequeath the Dark One essence to the “Guardian,” whomever that might be (and we do not know yet who or what it is) in order to find his love in death.  We also see the appearance of Mr. Smee, but that is because this version of Hook, the Wish Realm version, made young again through magic, transfers ownership of the Jolly Roger to him when faced with the prospect of caring for his newborn baby daughter, Alice, also daughter of Mother Gothel (Emma Booth).  Otherwise, the show has provided no other insights into the characters that have left at this time.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.
15) Will we see an older Neal, who, as Emma’s brother, would be Henry’s uncle and Lucy’s great-uncle? If so, when, where, and how?
ANSWER: So far, no Neal appears.  The panel votes for an appearance, though.  We would also like to meet Henry’s new sibling.  The show may now be forced to bring about such happy endings, though…since it was announced that Season 7 would Once’s final season.
16) Will we see an older Gideon, who, as Baelfire’s brother, would be Henry’s uncle and Lucy’s great-uncle? If so, when, where, and how?
ANSWER: Older Gideon does return to visit his parents in the Edge of Realms and to help his father following the death of his mother.  This family lives a long and happy life there, and Older Gideon seeks to be learned in books and magic like his parents, so he eventually leaves to find his story too.
17) Will Rumpel still be the Dark One?
ANSWER: So far, though he is trying to change his circumstances in light of Belle’s passing, Rumpel is still the Dark One.
18) Will we see any of the long missing characters, or get any explanations for their whereabouts, in the new season (the ones listed in questions 1-5 above)?
ANSWER: So far, we do not see any of these characters or receive any such explanations.  While there might be opportunities for reappearances later this season, based upon the story progress, we also predict that the show’s writers/producers are just going to leave us hanging, as their collective track record up until this point is not great.  Not cool, team.  Not cool.
19) Did the propitious moment of Emma’s resurrection also mean that the Evil Queen, as a separate entity, came into being again?
ANSWER: So far, it seems that the Evil Queen, the separate entity who split from Regina Prime in Season 6, remains no longer in existence, owing to her sacrifice in Season 6, at least as of the present day point in the story.  On the other hand, Wish Realm Hook is visited by an Evil Queen, who we presume to be the Evil Queen that used to be with Regina Prime, who then became the Wish Realm Evil Queen.  Believe us, it’s confusing just typing this stuff.
20) Will Emma and Hook have or be able to have other children?  Are they even interested in new children?
ANSWER: Emma is with child as we speak.  Hooray for Happy Beginnings!
21) Who will be the villain(s) of Season 7?
ANSWER: At the start of the season, viewers are led to believe that Cinderella’s Stepmother, Lady Tremaine, is the villain of all villains in this soft reboot.  Through a twist, however, we then are convinced that her daughter Ivy, bent on revenge and spurred by a seeming lack of love on the part of her mother, could be the season’s mastermind.  In the end, though, the manipulator of all is Rapunzel’s Witch, namely Mother Gothel, posing as Eloise Gardner in The Land Without Magic.  She seeks to unite a Coven of Eight mysterious witches and does so through the exploitation of family rifts seeded by Lady Tremaine, who turns out to be the famous Rapunzel herself.  Listen to the podcast for details.
22) Where did the rest of Storybrooke go?  Is the town still there?  Are Dr. Hopper and Granny and the Seven Dwarfs still around?
ANSWER: Where or where did Storybrooke go?  We presume it’s still there, but we have seen no one specifically from Storybrooke around as of late, except all characters previously mentioned or cited above.
New Questions
1)  Who or what is “the Guardian,” to which Rumpel wants to pass the Dark One dagger and essence?  What is the Guardian guarding?  Is it Lucy?  Is it Rapunzel’s eldest daughter Anastasia?  Is it someone we know?  Is it something or someone we don’t know?
2) How do Drizella and Anastasia have magic in this version?  How does Rapunzel/Tremaine manifest magic?
3) Does Drizella truly love Adult Henry?  Or, was she just using him the whole time?
4) Will Alice encounter her mother, Mother Gothel?  Does Alice have magical powers like her mother?  Why is Alice cursed?  Did Mother Gothel curse Alice?  How is it that Alice occasionally awakens from her curse?  Someone explain Alice.
5) What is the timeline surrounding Wish Realm’s Hook procurement of the white elephant protection charm from Rumpel – and was that Rumpel Wish Realm Rumpel or Rumpel Prime?
6) Who are the Eight Witches or the Coven of Eight?  Are they real?  What is their purpose?  What are they trying to do?  Is Maleficent one of the witches?  Is Regina?  Is Zelena?  Is Emma?  Is Snow White/Prince Charming?  Are the Wish Realm versions of any of these characters eligible for membership?  Is there one?  Is there a “superior?”  Is that person Mother Gothel?  Is it Anastasia?  Is it Regina?
7) Will all of the characters survive?  If not, who will die?
8) What realm is this show’s Dr. Facilier from?  Is he from the Underworld?
9) Will the season – and now the series, as it was announced by ABC and by the creators that Once Upon a Time is ending after this season – end with the breaking of the newest curse?
10) Where is Mother Gothel from? What is her back story? Is she driven by vendetta?  Against whom? What are her motivations?
11) Did Drizella actually cast the curse against Alice/Tilly?  Why?
12) To whom is Zelena engaged?  Do we know her fiance and husband to be?
13) How does Henry’s motorcycle run in the Enchanted Forest?  Where are the gas stations in the Enchanted Forest?  How does Cinderella II learn to operate it so fast – is she really Anakin Skywalker?
14) Why are there duplicate versions of various characters, including Cinderella, her step-sisters, Alice (of Wonderland fame), Jack (of beanstalk fame), and so on?  How are all of the different versions from the same Enchanted Forest?  The panel universally agrees that the writers better take some time to explain this plot point beyond “there are different versions of the same story” because we do not understand how different versions can coexist within the same story.
15) Will the curse placed upon Henry and Lucy be broken?  How?  Is Cinderella II really Henry’s true love?  How?
16) The producers have teased potential returns of original characters in possible reunions convened in advance of the series finale.  Which characters will we revisit?  Will Jennifer Morrison aka Emma Swan ordain to exceed her contractually obligated one episode appearance and give a nice second episode sendoff for the fans?
In this episode, the podcast panelists reached some consensus, despite another wide variety of opinions, about the current progress of Once Upon a Time.  All panelists regard the first half of season seven as a surprisingly engaging soft reboot of the show, despite healthy skepticism from all panelists in advance of said reboot, which was explored in our previous Once episode. The panel still universally agrees, however, and with no hesitation, that #potential (#drink) contentment with the sixth season finale as a series finale episode would have been achieved if the show had officially stopped at the end of that season.  Though some panelists prove utterly won over by the unprecedented soft reboot and continue to foster hope and to devote faith to Once’s seemingly endless reservoir of #potential (#drink), the wariest panelists (your Chief CP included) feel that the producers, network, and parent company have a bumpy road to hoe going forward, now that the series finale has been announced, in order to wrap up not only loose threads from the original six seasons but also nearly all of the seeded plot points of Season Seven. After all, Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, and the Once writing team tend to plant seeds without fertilizing them organically, as evidence by their track record on this program thus far.  The entire panel will still be watching, but we believe that lack of network support – particularly in light of a move to a Friday night time slot never before thrust upon this program – numbered this series’ days, effectively dousing long-time strong ratings and quashing any hope of additional season renewals; most panelists, aside from Eddie and Chief CP Kylie, wanted at least one more season.  Unfortunately for them and for the remaining longevity of the once-upon-a-time CPU! favorite, Once Upon a Time, the next half season will be the show’s last and will be the subject of a final two episodes for our (currently) longest running panel.
Once Upon a Time returned from its mid-season seven hiatus on Friday, March 2, 2018, at 8:00 PM. In February 2018, however, OUAT was officially canceled by ABC.  As such,  the Once Upon a Time podcast panel will next reconvene – for the final time – following the seventh season and overall series finale of OUAT, which will likely air in or around May 2018, with a two-part goodbye series of podcast episodes.  The first of these episodes will review the show’s final half season; the second will look back at the show as a whole.   As always, even for the limited amount of time remaining, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional OUAT coverage.  Until then!  Stay tuned.

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Seven, Marvel’s The Punisher, Season One (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, (re)recorded in March 2018, our enthusiastic panel of comic book and superhero enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer – is back Around the Water Cooler as the Marvel’s Defenders Series panel discusses Season 1 of The Punisher, the first spin-off of the Marvel’s Defender solo series. If you have not watched any of The Punisher (or any of the other Defenders series: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders crossover miniseries), 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 & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode 7, “Marvel’s The Punisher” – The Season One Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie


Who: “Marvel’s The Punisher” is a web television series based upon the Marvel Comics character of the same name.  It is also a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What:  “Marvel’s The Punisher,” created by Steve Lightfoot, is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise. The series revolves around Frank Castle, who uses lethal methods to fight crime as the vigilante “The Punisher,” with Jon Bernthal reprising the role from Marvel’s Daredevil. Ben Barnes, Amber Rose Revah, Jason R. Moore, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Daniel Webber, Paul Schulze, Michael Nathanson, Jaime Ray Newman, and Deborah Ann Woll also star.

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on November 17, 2017, with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in New York City, New York, as depicted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below – though I will say that all of the panelists are fans of the Netflix original library and/or superhero/comic book based shows in their own right and have found themselves eagerly anticipating new entries in Netflix’s “Defenders” series of releases, including this first spin-off the series!  As a result, they’re committed to a CPU! series about same!

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:


**** – Well, it certainly seems intriguing. I’m going to keep watching, but I see possible pitfalls in the premise.

*** – I will give it six episodes and see what happens. There are things I like, and things I don’t. We’ll see which “things” are allowed to flourish.

** – I will give it three episodes. Chances are, I’m mainly bored, but there is some intrigue or fascination that could hold it together. No matter how unlikely.

* – Pass on this one, guys. It’s a snoozer/not funny/not interesting/not my cup of tea… there are too many options to waste time on this one.

Marvel’s The Punisher = 4.2, by average of the podcast panel.


Frank Castle (Bernthal), known throughout New York City as “the Punisher” after exacting revenge on those responsible for the deaths of his wife and children, uncovers a larger conspiracy beyond what was done to him and his family.


As long-time listeners should know by now, CPU! is chock full of panelists with a proclivity for comic book and superhero TV shows and films, including your Chief CP. Our Marvel’s Defenders Series was born of this proclivity, as we have already covered the two available seasons of Daredevil, the first season of Jessica Jones, the one available season of Luke Cage, the one available season of Iron Fist, and the one available season of the crossover event miniseries, The Defenders.  Listen to the links below:

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode One, “Daredevil,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Two, “Jessica Jones,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Three, “Daredevil,” Season 2

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Four, “Luke Cage,” Season 1
Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Five, “Iron Fist,” Season 1

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Six, “The Defenders,” Season 1

As such, it was only right that we cover the first spin-off series of this universe, now the sixth in Netflix’s series of Marvel-centered shows. Thus, we bring you our first ever Punisher podcast episode – and the seventh episode of our Marvel’s Defenders Series – featuring Defenders panelists Nick, Kristen, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer.

Our panel is, for the most part, highly complimentary of The Punisher solo series, though some panelists like this spin-off effort more than others.  Generally, all panelists love Bernthal and his charismatic portrayal of Marvel’s consummate antihero as well as Barnes’ version of prenatal villain Billy Russo and Bachrach’s performance as Frank’s undercover partner Micro.  Yet, most of us also found the show to suffer from a slow start, though this start was markedly offset by a speedy and powerful crescendo in action and suspense, as well as an off-putting supporting character in Agent Dinah Madani (Revah), on whom the panelists felt the story focused too much when she added so little to the overall pacing and relevance of the plot in the end.  To hear us hash out these opinions further, listen to our discussion via the embedded link below.

This podcast was (re)recorded in March 2018 as one of our lost episodes, erased via the much ballyhooed equipment failure previously advertised, though we think we recovered nicely.  Also, there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the first season of The Punisher.  Do you agree or disagree?  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, at long last, our Once Upon a Time panel returns to the Water Cooler, also affected by the aforementioned equipment failure, and will offer a re-recorded dissection of Season 7A in one of our twisty mid-season formats, which will include some of our “Newlywed Game” type hi-jinks to add spice to our already spicy group.  This recording follows the ABC network announcement that Once Upon a Time will end after this seventh season, and so this recording is one of the last three times our lively Once panel will gather together as a group.  As such, stay tuned for this funky and somewhat bittersweet “lost” episode!


The Punisher is recommended overall by our CPU! panel to fans of comic books, particularly from the Marvel universe; fans of the various Defenders series; and fans of the Punisher character.  The panel cautions that to truly appreciate what The Punisher offers as a program, it is best viewed after all solo Defender series/seasons released prior to the release of this series have also been viewed, particularly Marvel’s Daredevil Seasons 1 and 2, as the Punisher’s back story is primarily established in “Daredevil” Season 2 (which does not make sense without viewing that series’ first season).  The panel also cautions that The Punisher is highly graphic and gory, featuring much violence and blood as befits a gun-toting antihero on a vendetta, so if you are an easily squeamish viewer, begin watching while prepared that you will see much in the way of blood and guts.  The panel also generally and universally agrees that The Punisher is well-performed, well-written, and well-directed but for some qualms from some panelists about pacing and about Revah’s Madani character, which failed to connect to any of our six panelists, your Chief CP included.  In any event, and despite the critiques described above, the panel almost universally had great fun watching this series and believes that anyone who considers themselves a fan of any or all of the individual Defenders would have fun watching it too.


The Punisher was automatically renewed by Netflix for a second season, though no tentative release date has yet been announced by the streaming giant, as the producers of the series are currently vetting scripts, according to panelist Kyle.  As always, CPU! will be following all Defenders series, solo and crossover and related spin-offs, throughout all of the series’ runs as part of CPU!’s Marvel’s Defenders Series, so we will definitely return to podcast about Season Two following its release.  In addition, the CPU! Marvel’s Defenders panel will return very soon to review Marvel’s Jessica JonesSeason 2, which was released to Netflix today!  Until then, stay tuned!

Gotham: Season 4A, “A Dark Knight” (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 February 2018, our panel of staunch Batman and comic book enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Nick – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 4A, covering the arc entitled “A Dark Night,” of Gotham. If you have not watched any of Gotham, 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: “Gotham,” the Season 4 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie


Who:  “Gotham” is a crime drama centered on events and characters inspired by the Batman franchise/DC Comic Universe, which airs fall through spring, currently on Thursdays at 8:00 PM on Fox.

What: “Gotham,” a crime series developed by Bruno Heller and primarily based upon the characters of to-be Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), the real life identity of Batman. As originally conceived, the series would have served as a straightforward story of Gordon’s early days on the Gotham City Police Department. The idea evolved not only to include the Wayne character but also to tell the origin stories of several Batman villains, including the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), Poison Ivy, Two-Face, the Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Hugo Strange, and the Joker.


A new recruit in the Gotham City Police Department named James Gordon (McKenzie) is paired with veteran detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) to solve one of Gotham City’s highest-profile cases: the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne. During his investigation, Gordon meets the Waynes’ son Bruce (Mazouz), who is now in the care of his butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). Eventually, Gordon is forced to form an unlikely friendship with Bruce, one that will help shape the boy’s future in becoming Batman.

When: Season Four premiered on Thursday, September 21, 2017, at 8:00 PM.

Where: The action is set in the fictional metropolis of Gotham City, the primary setting of the Batman franchise.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episodes embedded below!

As for CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie, I picked up this show when shopping for pilots during the 2014-2015 TV season (a yearly ritual for this viewer and this blog, no matter how far behind I am).  I said:

“This is one of the most anticipated pilots of the new season, by critics, fans, and this blogger.  First, as a DC girl, Batman is my second favorite of their properties, after Superman, of course. Second, picking up the story from this prequel point is potentially brilliant; this could be must-see TV for a long time to come, folding in a Smallville like examination of the rise of Batman and the foes he fights, all from the perception of to-be Commissioner Gordon.  I’m super excited for this one and can’t wait to see a full episode.

I asked some fellow panelists to join me in evaluating how effective Gotham is in its storytelling muster and how successful it has been serving as the “prequel” it has become. Scroll down, and take a listen!

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

If you haven’t caught up on CPU!’s Gotham coverage, which we’ve been covering (more or less) since its auspicious beginnings, listen via the embedded links below:

Seasons 1-2A

Season 2B, The Wrath of the Villains

Season 3A, Mad City

Season 3B, Mad City/Heroes Rise

Our Gotham panel, now consisting of Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Nick, previously compared notes on the second half of the third season and spent time in so-called “Mad City” as well as ruminated upon the “Heroes Rise” arc, with various levels of trepidation and frustration, as we considered the success or lack thereof of the following plot developments: the return of Jerome Valeska, the Joker-Not-Joker (we loved it); the Riddler’s embrace of his Riddler identity (we loved it); the Court of Owls releasing the Tetch virus in gaseous form over Gotham City (we hated it); the implosion of the Penguin (we always love him); the introduction of Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig; we were confused by it); and the continued stagnation of the Jim Gordon character, given all of these other distractions (we struggled with it).  We now discuss the first half of Gotham’s fourth season, encompassing the arc entitled “A Dark Knight,” which introduces Sofia Falcone (Crystal Reed), daughter of Carmine Falcone, as a new player vying for control of Gotham City’s criminal underworld, currently under Penguin’s thumb and under the thumb of his “Pax Penguina,” a plan that forces the police to look away from criminals under Penguin’s “official” licenses; the Riddler’s perceived loss of his intellectual sharpness after being melted from the ice in Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge; Bruce Wayne’s dabbling in vigilantism and subsequent spiral into darkness, despite Alfred’s struggle to prevent otherwise; the plots of Ra’s al Ghul, presumably preparing Bruce to be his successor; the new criminal alliance between Selina Kyle, Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas), and Barbara Kean (Erin Richards); Harvey Bullock’s (Donal Logue) fall from grace and Jim Gordon’s ascension to captain of the central office of the GCPD; Lee Thompkins’ (Morena Baccarin) new role as gang boss who also happens to treat her charges medically; the introduction of Solomon Grundy, formerly Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell); and the appearance of new criminal sociopath Professor Pyg (Michael Cerveris).  How did the panel like this first half of the fourth season?  Listen to the embedded link below to find out

This podcast was recorded in February 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the fourth season and all episodes that have aired to date. 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 Thursday (as we work to return our equipment troubles to peak form), we launch a new panel ready to laugh about the Netflix situation comedy concerning septuagenarians and reluctant friends facing drastic new life changes in Grace and Frankie.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions/Predictions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Penguin and Riddler have a falling out, which motivates them toward their most sociopathically driven selves?

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 2: Surprisingly, Penguin and Riddler stayed friends, supporting each other on occasion in this half of the season.  Penguin ended up in Arkham after confessing to the murder of Galavan to cover for Jim. Strange brainwashed him (if you want to call it that) into submission; Penguin ended up finding his real dad (played by Paul Reubens), who had fallen victim to a gold-digging former waitress and her sociopathic children. When the presence of a biological son emerged, the new wife poisoned Penguin’s father, who seemed to understand Penguin as no other could.  This murder, once discovered by Oswald, brought out the old Penguin, rather suddenly and menacingly. In the meantime, when Lee began to ask questions about the deceased Miss Kringle not picking up her paychecks, making Jim aware that there was a possible crime to solve, Nygma embraced his most Riddler-esque tendencies and staged riddle-filled capers and committed more murders before Jim finally caught him, clearing Jim’s name and landing Nygma in Arkham.  The moral is: Penguin and Riddler found their psychoses independently of one another, which is a shame because they are infinitely watchable together.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 3: Well…it seems their mutual affection and cordial friendship have taken a controversial turn.  Penguin, as it turns out, develops a romantic devotion to Edward after Ed offers Penguin some admiration and validation for achieving victory in running for mayor despite being a well-known criminal mastermind, enthralled as Ed is by Penguin’s ability to manipulate the people of Gotham.  In the meantime, Ed only has eyes for women, specifically any and all women who bear more than a passing resemblance to Miss Kringle, the GCPD employee with an affinity for poodle skirts that he strangled in season 2. When Barbara Kean informs Ed of Penguin’s misplaced devotion in an effort to start trouble, a devotion which causes Penguin to order a hit on the Kringle doppelganger Isabella, who could very well have been Ed’s sociopath soulmate, Edward vows to destroy good old Oswald in revenge.  I imagine Ed’s penchant for riddles and a war with Penguin are going to get him where he needs to go to be the fully realized Riddler, while Penguin is pretty much Penguin, angling for power and acceptance but struggling to attain and keep it, the thematic undercurrent of this particular antagonist. The panel hopes that a war between these future arch-villains would be great, but we’re more than a little worried about the ability of this show’s writers to capitalize upon their own potential.

ANSWER AS OF END OF SEASON 3: Ed’s gone full-on Riddler, and the two arch-villains’ enmity has peaked.  The show allowed the war: Ed works with Barbara, Tabitha Galavan, and Butch Gilzean to try to take down Penguin. Ed eventually gives up on those yokels and shoots Penguin, leaving him for dead, which gives him enough guilt, reluctant confidence, and logic loops to ascend? descend? toward adopting the official moniker of “The Riddler.”  Penguin, nursed back to health and the world of the living by a surprisingly botanical Ivy, declares his revenge, complicated by his love and devotion for Ed. Penguin manipulates Ed’s slavish devotion to completeness and detail – and his ego – such that Penguin freezes Ed, with the help of Mr. Freeze, noting that the chunk of ice known as “The Riddler” would feature prominently as a centerpiece in his to-be-opened Iceberg Lounge.  The podcast panel generally approves of most of this story-line and can’t wait to see “The Riddler” get out of the ice and cause his puzzling and enigmatic mayhem, with Penguin, Gotham City, and everyone.

ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 4: Ed’s number one fan, Myrtle, manages to unfreeze him from the titular iceberg in the Iceberg Lounge, but the effect of being flash frozen leaves Ed somewhat brain-addled himself.  He loses his sharpness of wit and intellect, at least temporarily, and cannot seem to evoke muscle memory related to the formulation, remembering, and/or deduction of the answers to the most basic, child-inspired riddles.  While Myrtle patiently nurses Ed back to some semblance of health (and pays for her devotion at the end of the barrel of one of Victor Zsasz’s well-aimed guns), Penguin, who reunites with a vengeful Ed fleetingly, decides not to kill him, figuring Ed’s apparent lack of smarts and presumed ensuing suffering, as he grapples with losing what made him arguably exceptional, to be the greater revenge than Ed’s out and out murder.  So, I guess that’s something.  Also, I think Penguin and Riddler are now, finally and officially, enemies or, at least, competitors… Thus, it may be time to abandon this question.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Riddler’s riddles get more complex and mind-twisting?

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 2: Riddler’s caper riddles, as he began to frame Jim for the murder of a police officer, were potentially more complex.  Mind-twisting? Eh.  Marginally more mind-twisting, perhaps.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 3: Though Ed told fewer riddles in this half season, his ire has been irked (see above).  We can only imagine what a provoked and forlorn Ed might riddle when the riddles finally and continuously come.

ANSWER AS OF END OF SEASON 3: He got there!  He just needed a worthy adversary…which he finds in “Foxy” Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) and secondarily in Penguin.  Now, if only Batman was around…

NOT SO FAST!  ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 4: As stated above, Ed suffers a minor cognitive setback as a result of being frozen by Mr. Freeze’s icy weaponry.  Lee informs Edward, however, that there is nothing physically wrong with his brain, and that his condition is presumably psychological, a fact made evident by the reemergence of Edward’s schizophrenic struggle with his Riddler identity, who returns to talk to him from the other side of the mirror again.  The panel expects a full return of the Riddler any day now, as long as he is able to sort out his feelings for Lee, even if she sorts them out for him.

3) REPEAT QUESTION: Are the writers going to treat the nascent Ivy character (who the podcast panel presumes will be Poison Ivy) better?

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 2: Well…this answer is in the eye of the beholder.  Ivy was starting to grow plants in this half of the season and helped Selina and Bruce in some of their escapades, but the pundits have announced that the show is recasting the part. Ivy will apparently be older and sexier, like the Poison Ivy most people know.  The panel is at a loss as to how this could be rendered believable in the story, especially as the writers are not batting at any kind of decent percentage right now in terms of consistency with the source material or, even, with following any of the rules they set up for themselves in this version of the Batman mythology.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 3: Is making her randomly grow into an awkward, teenage sexpot via the touch of an Indian Hill escapee with the power to make things rapidly age and to drain life constitute treating her better?  Listen to the podcast episode for our panel’s verdict.

ANSWER AS OF END OF SEASON 3: Ivy’s on the struggle bus; she’s strange, awkward, and not especially better as a teenage sexpot.  The panel struggles still…

NOT SO FAST!  ANSWER AS OF MID-SEASON 4: Ivy tries to help Penguin in the face of competitors who challenge his position, as the one and only crime boss in Gotham City, and of wavering police involvement, but he mistreats her, owing to the fact that she is kind of needy and not that bright.  As a result, Ivy decides to ally with a gang who tries to take down Penguin’s “Pax Penguina” license scheme by taking Penguin down himself and robs some sort of potion store or apothecary, in which the audience sees her drinking some of the inventory.  Plus, the producers have announced, through the typical TV pundits, that the part of Ivy is again being recast and will soon be played by Peyton List (Frequency, The Tomorrow People), a dire prospect for this Chief CP.  Moreover, panelist Spencer believes that the first episode returning from the mid-season hiatus will address Ivy’s newest transformation.  What the hell is going on with this character, you ask?  We ask the same question, repeatedly apparently.  Sadly, we also currently have no answer, so this particularly question and answer section grows and grows – in confusion and in length – and presumably like Ivy’s plants, if she ever gets that botanically savvy in the end.

5) REPEAT QUESTION: When will Bruce have his inspiration to be Batman?  And how will that happen if he didn’t see bats when he fell into the cave?

ANSWER: Still waiting… And it’s concerning.  Bruce, after his trials with the Shaman and Ra’s (and his League of Shadows) in Season 3, starts Season 4 by dipping his baby toes into vigilante crime fighting – with billowing black trench coat, balaclava, and the ability to quickly climb sides of buildings to boot – and, with a little help from Lucius Fox, who creates some conveniently fashioned bulletproof armor to protect Bruce’s adolescent bod.  Unfortunately, however, Ra’s distracts Bruce via his own side plot to ensure that Bruce will inherit the embalming knife of Demon’s Head status, thereby rendering Bruce Ra’s’ successor.  Thus, via manipulation and threat against another adolescent only trying to help and, in so doing, to befriend Bruce, Bruce ends up stabbing Ra’s with the knife, and it seems the seemingly immortal character of Ra’s wastes away into dust and ash as a result of the knife piercing his flesh.  Bruce takes his decision to murder Ra’s, even in an attempt to protect his friend (who Ra’s kills anyway), hard and descends into a dark void of guilt, self-pity, and belated grief for his dead parents, replete with hard partying and spoiled billionaire brat behavior. All the while, the young Mr. Wayne turns his back on his initial attempts at vigilantism and all while still seeing no bats, much to the chagrin of the podcast panel (listen to the episode for details…and rants).

6) REPEAT QUESTION: When will Selina have her inspiration to be Catwoman?  She can wait awhile, but since everyone is finding themselves much sooner than they should be, the writers might as well give Selina the idea to be a cat. Maybe she’ll take whatever drug Ivy’s got going on and get all sexy feline on us.

ANSWER: Still waiting… but she continues to learn whipping skills from Tabitha and is quite the prodigy with this unusual weapon.  Also, she displays cat-like reflexes while walking the edges of rooftops and seems to be significantly smarter than gal pals and partners in crime, Tabitha and Barbara.  Yet, inspiration is fleeting for all of our junior Gotham characters so far, and this fleetingness disturbs the CPU! Gotham panel greatly.

7) Is Joker-Not-Joker Jerome really Proto-Joker, and will we see him again in Season 4?

ANSWER: This question forms the subject of some significant debate in this podcast episode.  Panelists Kyle and Spencer wholeheartedly believe that the producers, as well as Cameron Monaghan, the portraying actor behind Jerome Valeska, have gone on record to say that Jerome is not the actual Joker, and that the audience is slated to see the character and individual who would become the Joker in the coming half season.  Panelist Hilary, with some hesitant agreement by Nick and Kylie, feels that the rumored protesting of Jerome-as-Joker is a red herring or deflection from the fact that he really is the Joker or some early version of him, given the fact that Mr. Monaghan is really one of the best almost-Jokers (and real Jokers) our panel of Batman fans has ever watched.  In short, this is still a question, but we will see Jerome in Season 4B because we saw him in Season 4A talking to Penguin through the wall joining their adjacent cells in Arkham.

8) Will Riddler escape his freezing cage?  (All panelists predict yes…or there will be hell to pay.)

ANSWER: Owing to the efforts of the so-called “Riddlerette,” Edward’s numero-uno fan Myrtle, the madly-in-love devotee melts the Iceberg ice and breaks Edward free from his frozen entrapment, though the side effects are plentiful, and the risk to Myrtle’s short-lived life astronomically high.  In short, Ed’s back in the land of the non-frozen, and Myrtle is pushing up daisies, on order from Penguin to the delightedly homicidal Victor Zsasz.

9) Will Bruce finally see freaking bats already?

ANSWER: As we answer above…no.  Not yet.  Apparently not ever.  We are wondering if the Gotham people realize they are supposed to be making a Batman prequel…

10) Will Ra’s al Ghul be the “Big Bad” of Season 4?  What is the prophecy to which he referred, and what does it mean for Bruce?

ANSWER: If there is a Big Bad, or a character who can earn such a moniker, in Season 4, it is most likely Sofia Falcone, who manages to manipulate just about everyone she meets, leading her to steal the reigns of the criminal underworld right out from the volatile clutches of crafty but helplessly lonely Oswald Cobblepot.  The aforementioned prophecy, we presume, is one which forecasts Bruce, somehow, as the successor of Ra’s al Ghul, an individual somehow fit to inherit immortality and the powers of the Lazarus Pit from whomever holds the ancient embalming knife.  Yet, the word “prophecy” is not mentioned once in this season, and we are not even sure if Ra’s al Ghul is here or gone, so this question may be moot or simply no longer applicable in the end.

11) Will Selina go full on Catgirl in Season 4?

ANSWER: She has not so far, but she has made progress.  She’s got ambition, she’s got whip skills, and she’s got brains and survival instinct more finely honed than the brains and instincts of her partners, Babs and Tabby.  Except, now the Twisted Sisters are working for Sofia, so who knows what this alliance might mean to Selina’s progress toward feline felon.

12) Is Fish dead once and for all?  Is Barbara?  Or, are they going to do the detestably unthinkable and change Barbara into Harley Quinn, despite not being named Harleen Quinzell and despite not being a psychiatrist at Arkham (though Joker-Not-Joker Jerome is in Arkham right now…hm…)?

ANSWER: Panelist Spencer remains unconvinced, given Fish’s proclivity for resurrection in prior seasons, that Fish is for good and all dead.  Chief CP Kylie’s money is on Fish’s permanent death, rendered final by Jim Gordon in Season 3.  In related news, Barbara benefits from an unspoken alliance with Ra’s al Ghul and the almighty Lazarus Pit, which brings her back from the brink after Tabitha electrocutes Babs in Season 3.  There was previously a heavily floated rumor that the show was going to introduce a proto-Harley, but so far, the producers and writers have steered clear of such an introduction, likely due to the fact that DC parent company Warner Brothers is developing a film devoted solely to the character of Harley Quinn.  The panel breathes heavy sighs of relief and praises Warner Brothers’ interference for once – Gotham does not need nor would it benefit from the skewed introduction-for-the-sake-of-it of Harley Quinn.

13) Where did Hugo Strange end up nowadays?

ANSWER: In the wind, presumably, as he has not appeared so far in Season 4.

14) Is the Court of Owls truly defunct?  Or, are they the DC equivalent of Hydra in the Marvel universe?

ANSWER: It was established in Season 3 that Ra’s al Ghul somehow formed the Court.  Ra’s now appears to also be defunct, so if there is anyone carrying on the work of the Court of Owls currently, the audience does not know it.

15) If Butch is really Cyrus Gold, how Solomon Grundy will we see him get in the coming season?

ANSWER: We will seem become 100% Solomon Grundy, in fact.  Those who found Butch aka Cyrus shot in the head dump him into Slaughter Swamp, a polluted pond forever altered by waste from Indian Hill.  When he emerges, he is fully zombie Solomon and later overhears the song that inspires the adoption of his name.  Butch is so Solomon, it turns out, that he occasionally experiences flashes of cogent Butch-ness, at least following a few good blows to the head.  Tabby discovers this potential pitfall when pitted against Solomon Grundy in what would become Lee’s underground fighting ring and later attempts to test this discovery and return Butch to full Butch flavor by beating Solomon over the head with a few choice solid objects.  In fact, when we last see Solomon, he seems to be Butch again and calling after the spent “Tabby,” despite his Solomon Grundy appearance, after she attempts to beat Butch back to the forefront of Grundy’s mind.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

16) What will it mean for Gotham when Penguin opens the Iceberg Lounge?

ANSWER: Mostly, the Lounge provides safe haven for Penguin’s lieutenants and those criminals registered under Penguin’s licenses as well as Penguin’s staunchest allies, chief among them Harvey Bullock.  The Lounge is still standing and still flourishing, at least so far, though Penguin is thrown into Arkham during the mid-season finale, and Sofia’s reward for Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina’s alliance is to give her back the Lounge, which was under Babs’ control in Season 3.  Barbara essentially sucks at running businesses, though, legitimate or otherwise, so it’s not looking good for the Lounge these days.

17) Is Bruce Clone Batman’s Bizarro equivalent, Batzarro?  Or, will he die?  Did he die? The panel is universally against crossing DC comic concepts when just the Batman franchise seems difficult for this writing and producing team to wrangle.

ANSWER: Still a question and one we hope never finds an answer.  The panel is happy and excited by the prospect of never having to watch Bruce Clone again.

18) Generally speaking, and notably, our Gotham panel is loathe to ask further questions or to make predictions because the writers, in their quest to be unpredictable and “non-canon,” have taken the story to wild places with little satisfying payoff for the viewer in the end.  Everyone is sort of bracing themselves for the coming season while cherishing the few truly enjoyable nuggets about this show, mainly in character/performances.

ANSWER: This is still true.  Though the panel feels that Season 4A improves upon and corrects for several of the ills of many of Gotham’s past half seasons, the writers and producers have also proven themselves to be less than adept at capitalizing upon story momentum or developments that offer some sense of logic and/or dovetailing with the Batman canon, even as the show and its creators profess to be off canon.  This creates strong feelings in our panelists and makes for consistently spicy discussion.  Panelist Spencer offers a whole gas tank analogy in the latest podcast episode…

New Questions

1) Where is Scarecrow?  Jonathan Crane achieves his full transition in this most recent half season, but what happened to him?  Was he caught and returned to Arkham Asylum?  Is he at large?  Where did he go?  Especially since the producers are also re-casting this part.  What the hell is going on with the Scarecrow character?

2) How long will it take for Bruce to realize that he is spiraling and circling the drain known as rock bottom.  How much time must the audience wait for Bruce to find Alfred again?

3) Will Jim Gordon be able to maintain his position as captain of the Central GCPD without betraying his secret alliance and/or dalliance with the plotting Sofia Falcone?

4) Will we see Fish Mooney again?  The panel votes no and hopes she is dead for good and for real.

5) What is Sofia Falcone’s endgame, and how long will she hang onto to her position as leader of the underworld?  Will we watch her become her comic-inspired identity, The Hangman?

6) Is Ra’s al Ghul actually dead?  What was with his interchange with Barbara in prison?  Why did her hand glow?  Is his essence in the embalming knife?  Is it in Barbara’s hand?  Is it actually in Bruce, a reflection of his current darkness?  Has Bruce achieved the status of “successor to the Demon’s Head?”

7) Will the Riddler persona reemerge from the vexed and confused Edward Nygma?  Soon?

8) Is Jerome Valeska actually the Joker?  Or, is he the model for a watchful new individual who will be inspired by and who will adopt a Jerome-esque version of the Joker persona?  What will Penguin and Jerome do together after joining forces in Arkham?  Will they involve other well-known inmates in their plot(s)?

9) Will Lee and Jim reunite, and how?  Will Barbara Gordon be conceived on this show, and who will be her mother – Barbara Kean, even though she is crazy in this show, or Lee?

10) Will Ed make a play for Lee?  Will her (inevitable, one would hope) rejection of him lead to the reemergence of the Riddler identity?

11) Is Professor Pyg actually dead?  Alternatively, the producers have allegedly said that Michael Cerveris’ Pyg is not the true Pyg.  If he is not, who is, and will we see him?

12) What happened to the young orphan cared for by Penguin, the boy known as Martin?  Will he become a factor in the future, assuming Victor Zsasz hid him as promised and as requested by Penguin?

13) Will we see Tommy Elliott, Bruce’s old/new friend, show some indication of his future Hush persona?

14) Did Tabitha succeed in jogging what is left of Butch out of Solomon Grundy’s addled brain?

15) Will Jim succeed in bringing Harvey back to the fold?


The CPU! Gotham panel and all of its panelists continue to identify moments truly loved and moments truly hated while watching and while discussing the first half of Season 4 in this latest podcast episode, though the panel also universally feels that the show and its story progression improved dramatically in this season’s first half compared to what emerged from the third season.  Most panelists, in fact, continue to enjoy watching the show, even if reacting to the show in these podcast episodes has repeatedly proven to be the very definition of “cautionary tale.” Panelist Hilary continues to mostly hate the direction of the show but likes to talk about it, so she persists without jumping the shark, reluctantly, and has resolved (finally) to change her mindset, preferring to focus on the moments that giver her positive “Batman” feels.  Simultaneously, other panelists, like panelist Nick, grow more impatient with the show’s “two steps forward, four steps back” approach to character progression, an approach which proves more frustrating than titillating or, minimally, entertaining.  Still, all panelists persevere, finding our discussions about the controlled disorder of Gotham endlessly engaging, even when the show itself is not, and if we do say so ourselves.

Further, the previous unrest among the panelists, given the writers’ track record to date, still produces a variety of emotions and trust issues, preventing most if not all panel members from being able to recommend watching the show, in good conscience, to anyone, at least for now.  The panel is still open to a story that seems to follow a consistent set of rules, no matter how much of a deviation it might be from the Batman comics or franchise proper, as long as the writers do not continue to change the direction of the show to compensate for “Twitter reaction.”  In fact, most of the panel finds this half of the fourth season to be the show’s new high point, even as it, still, contained some low points. The panelists, as such, continue to advise the writers to revisit not only the Batman comics but also their original blueprint for the show and to adhere to a structure and story continuity for the show that rightly capitalizes upon the amazing – and the strongest – performances of the cast, which the panel universally agrees are good if not phenomenal.  Also, the writers should continue to track their own continuity and not turn what is one of the tightest and most enjoyed (and most widely known) comic book properties into an absurdist’s take on the story, or they will alienate viewers and, thereafter, cause declining ratings and waning network support.  Finally, the panelists encourage the writers/producers not to squander the story momentum of the first half of Season 4 – or the goodwill the story’s better direction earned with many of the show’s loyal viewers.  After all, there is something to be said for retaining a loyal and devoted audience in this competitive age of a saturated entertainment complex, on big and on small screens alike, and the Gotham writers and producers would do well to keep these concepts in mind when writing for the next go-round – particularly considering the core base of Batman fans no doubt following the show’s progress.


Gotham returns from mid-Season 4 hiatus on March 1, 2018. The Gotham podcast panel will next reconvene following the fourth season finale, which will likely air in or around May 2018. The network’s decision about whether or not Gotham will be renewed has not yet been announced as of the publication of this post, but pundits see a 50/50 chance for renewal (and rightly so) based upon current ratings and show progress.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Gotham coverage. Until then!

Supernatural, Season 13A (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in January 2018, we are down to half a panel, as one panelist departed CPU! for life’s greater journeys, and two panelists are taking personal “Supernatural” hiatuses until the end of season.  Thus, our (now half) panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, and Jen – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 13A (following the mid-season finale) of Supernatural, including the brothers (and mother) Winchester, angel Castiel, devil’s spawn Jack, and the ongoing shenanigans of Lucifer. If you have not watched any of Supernatural, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

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