A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2017, our panel of unabashed Super-Fans – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Jen, Kelsey, Allie, and Jeremy – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 12B (following the season finale) of Supernatural, including the brothers (and mother) Winchester, angel Castiel, demon Crowley, and the ongoing shenanigans of Lucifer. If you have not watched any of Supernatural, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!
Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “Supernatural” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW; this season, the show aired on Thursdays at 8:00 PM.
What: “Supernatural,” a drama depicting the tale of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively), who are “hunters” of all supernatural ilk, be they demons, monsters, or angels on high, in a quest to save the world from things that go bump in the night, things that cause apocalypses, and things that are generally just out to get them (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/supernatural/summary.html).
When: The Season 12 finale aired on May 18, 2017, at 8:00 PM on the CW.
Where: The show is set in no specific locale; the brothers ride all over the country in a 1967 Chevrolet Impala and live out of hotel rooms via fake identities and money scams, though the Winchesters are originally from Lawrence, Kansas, and have, as late, holed up in a bunker, somewhere near their home town, formerly run by the Men of Letters, an organization of which they are legacy members. The time is present day.
Why: Oh so many seasons ago now, Chief CP Kylie followed Jensen Ackles–a fine, fine man–from Smallville to his new gig, which, at the time, seemed like a different spin on the X-Files, with two brothers versus two sexually tense FBI agents. From the opening frames of the pilot, though, I knew that it was oh so much more or, at least, vastly dissimilar to the X-Files, and this show has surpassed so many expectations, including mustering the incredible ability to remain relevant and engaging long past the expiration of the initial story arc mapped out by creator Eric Kripke. For CPU!’s ever-expanding podcast coverage of a growing number of shows, several CPU! members, all familiar voices to the CPU! loyal, jumped up to participate on this panel, even though many of them also express fatigue with the show from time to time. How do they feel the show is faring nowadays, into its double digits’ worth of seasons? Take a listen below.
How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)
To catch up on our Super-coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):
Seasons Nine, Ten, and Eleven
Once again, our Super-CPU! panel – Nick, Jen, Allie, Kelsey, and Jeremy – hops into our ’67 Chevy Impala, ready to ride until we, or Supernatural, die(s), as we discuss major plot points from, and ruminate upon the success of, the second half of season twelve. While our panel’s particular devotion and/or brotherly bond continues to be sometimes tested in Supernatural’s later seasons, particularly this season, we still have lots to think and to talk about and to gush over whilst pining for the brothers and/or Cas (well, I don’t think Nick is pining…unless there’s something we don’t know). Give us a listen, with your salt guns and holy water on standby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.
This podcast was recorded in July 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of season twelve of this long-running series. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, and/or our Stitcher Radio channel to keep track of brand new episodes. In the meantime, let us know what you think! Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!
Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! In our next episode, our Sherlock Series panel returns to the Water Cooler for the second episode in that series to discuss, to deduce in diatribes, and to dissect Series 3 and 4 of the international smash hit series. Stay tuned!
1) REPEAT QUESTION: How many miles are on the Impala after all this time?
REPEAT ANSWER: Still unknown.
2) REPEAT QUESTION: Will they ever get their happy ending?
REPEAT ANSWER: While the panel is in no particular rush for a series finale, although maybe that’s less true nowadays, it’s likely the brothers will not find peace until they are done. That’s why Kansas tells them to Carry On, Wayward Sons. “Lay your weary head to rest; don’t you cry no more.”
3) REPEAT QUESTION: If Lucifer is out of the Cage, why can’t the archangel Michael, currently housed within long lost Winchester half brother Adam, escape from the Cage? Will we ever see Adam/Michael again?
REPEAT ANSWER: Still a question. I, personally, have to believe that, with Lucifer out of Hell’s Cage, archangel Michael (whether inside half-Winchester Adam or not), has some time to sort through his sanity. Here’s hoping he busts out. There’s a disturbing lack of archangels nowadays.
4) Will Mary ever get it together long enough to accept her new lease on life and her much older, adult sons? Her adjustment seems prolonged. Understandable but prolonged. What will be her purpose in the end? Will she continue hunting? Will she join #TeamWinchester? Or, will she be the footnote of yet another – and a repeat one at that – tragedy in the boys’ lives?
ANSWER: This answer is complicated, even loaded. First, Mary is willing to sacrifice herself to save both sons when the boys make a deal with Billie the Reaper to break them out of federal prison, as they were falsely accused of attacking the President of the United States who had been otherwise possessed by Lucifer, in exchange for one of the boys’ permanent deaths. Then, Mary continues hunting, despite the fact that she seems to rue it, because it’s kind of one of the only things she knows and remembers comfortably from her former life. Then, she secretly allies herself with the British Men of Letters for a time because their resources and drive are appealing to her, and she believes that they are capable of eliminating all monster threats, so that, as she explains to Sam, she can have the life she has always wanted with her sons. This arrangement naturally goes south, particularly when Lady Toni Bevell (Elizabeth Blackmore) returns for the sole purpose of “conditioning” Mary to act as a black operative for the Brits and as a mole, brainwashed to kill American hunters, who the Brits have deemed ineffectual. Dean achieves breaking through this conditioning with Lady Bevell’s help (and a switch in loyalties), and with one of his more impassioned monologues recapping everything that the brothers have been through in these twelve seasons, but Mary is only lucid long enough to help deliver Lucifer’s bastard Nephilim baby before an alternate parallel universe swallows her, with the Devil’s helpful hand pulling her into this wasted alterna-world with him. The producers and the cast have confirmed that Mary is still alive, and so, it’s not a typical Supernatural tragedy, but Mary’s purpose and presence on the show has become one big, convoluted question mark. Listen to the podcast episode for additional details and speculations.
5) Seriously, why should we care about the British Men of Letters at all? Why are they interfering? Why does their approach with sussing out the boys’ methods suck? Why can’t we abandon this piece of the story? Much of our panel feels that it’s not working, though some are still vaguely intrigued.
ANSWER: As it turns out, the Brits are essentially the “Big Bad” of the season. Sure, Lucifer is around and is after his child (more on that in a minute), but the Brits prove to be a formidable threat to American hunters nationwide, simply because they believe our uppity colonial butts cannot achieve results without efficiency and moral ambiguity. The Brits’ approach is par: kill all monsters, regardless of the shades of gray that the Winchesters have encountered over the years that have led them to become creative and merciful hunters. They generally find Sam and Dean to be reckless and ineffectual, the worst of the American hunter lot, really. So, this story line plays through until the end of the season, whether we want it to or not, though the Brits on this side of the pond do meet a grisly end. The podcast panelists express mixed reactions in response to the British Men of Letters segment on “This is our Supernatural life.” Listen to the episode for details.
6) Will Toni return? For what reason? Or, did the Brits put her in “time out?”
ANSWER: Toni returns. Apparently, she’s one of the Brits’ golden children, despite her strong opinions and querulous methods. She is not afraid to get her hands dirty and to experiment with sadistic measures of torture and corruption. Her latest exploit: brainwashing mother Mary into becoming the Brits’ assassin of American hunters, while Mary is helpless to fight against it and unaware of her own actions. Toni’s allegiance to the LetterMen only lasts for so long, though. Her apparent rivalry/sexual tension with Man of Letter Arthur Ketch results in his rash decision to trap her with the brothers in the bunker, without working air handlers or power, as part of the ongoing effort to eliminate American hunters (and as part of Ketch’s own ongoing beef with the boys). With her life in danger, and in lieu of a tenuous agreement with Dean to help reverse mother Mary’s conditioning in exchange for her freedom, Lady Bevell reverses her dirty deeds, only to meet her own grisly end at the hands of Ketch at the last.
7) Where did Lucifer go? Some of the panel thought that his angel essence was entrapped by the Men of Letters golden snitch, while some saw it go through a floor vent. Kylie predicts that Lucifer will most likely return to fetch his spawn. What will his spawn be? Will his spawn be the “anti-Christ?” Will his spawn be born? Will his spawn bring about the end of times…again?
ANSWER: Kylie won the round this time (it has to happen some time, people!). Lucifer, as it turns out, is drawn back to hell by Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard) and returned to his favorite vessel and ours, namely the one played by Mark Pellegrino. Indeed, Mark P. returns with his best devilish scene chewing in tow, aiming to break free of his Crowley induced chains to seek out his spawn, a Nephilim, a half-human/half-angel with potential unspeakable power and questionable moral compass, given who his daddy is. The spawn in question comes to term…his name is Jack, in fact; he has yellow eyes, is far larger and older than your standard baby, and he is the subject of many questions asked by the podcast panelists. Though we have seen one “anti-Christ” in a previous season, Jack may be the anti-Christ to beat all anti-Christs, initiating a much scarier apocalypse than we have yet seen. We don’t yet know for sure because Luci is trapped in the alternate universe with Mary, and the yellow eyes mean this kid could be much more than we ever bargained for, in the end, if the show’s meditation on “princes of hell” is any indication.
8) Will Sam, Lucifer’s predestined vessel, be forced to house Lucifer again, who burns through other human hosts quickly and destructively? There seems to be some hint at that possibility, though Sam has avoided it successfully so far.
ANSWER: Owing to a clever (?) side mention by the writers, as a result of Crowley’s magic, which revived the Mark P. vessel for Lucifer but also warded his insides so that the angelic essence of Lucifer is trapped in the self-same vessel, Luci tells the brothers that Sam is no longer needed to house Lucifer. The Mark P. vessel, in other words, is built to last by King of Hell magic. Crowley just makes things worse sometimes, doesn’t he? (For the boys, anyway…Mark P.’s return was most welcome to this set of Super fans.)
9) To that end, the “American Nightmare” episode hearkened back to and reminded the viewer that Sam was once one of demon Azazel’s children, with psychic abilities. In that episode, Sam encountered a strict religious family who demonized their daughter Magda for having psychic ability. In that episode, Sam told Magda that he once had similar abilities. When she asked if he still did, Sam answered that he “thought” they were gone. Will we be seeing a return of Sam’s psychic abilities? He’s always been highly intuitive; if they do return, what will be the context? What will be the purpose? What will he do with them? Will he be good or evil? The panel kind of wants to see this happen.
ANSWER: Still a question or questions without answer(s). While Sam’s potentially dormant demonic abilities remain just that – dormant – the show, the producers, and the cast have referred to them both in script and in press often enough that we think this possibility is even more possible at this stage. Plus, the show takes the time to explore the concept of the “Princes of Hell” this half season, of which the brothers learn that Azazel was one: Lucifer’s most entrusted demons, all of yellow eyes; his first demonic creations; his most loyal servants; and his most powerful allies. It should be noted that Jack the Nephilim also has yellow eyes. Moderator Kylie suspects that the yellow eyed princes of hell, the angels, Jack, and Sam are all going to be connected in expected or unexpected ways in the near future.
10) The John Winchester question remains a question: will we see him this season? And played by whom? And will he be alive or dead?
ANSWER: In the ultimate tease, and with much social media delight owing to Jensen’s Twitter exchange with JDM himself, Negan’s bat from The Walking Dead makes a cameo, after apparently hanging out in Baby’s trunk all this time and once being allegedly owned by John, but John himself does not show up in season 12, likely due to the fact that Jeffery Dean Morgan survives on TWD. I think the writers know how much his return is strongly desired, particularly given Mary’s return, though some of our panelists are against this idea on principle, feeling that John had a definite and poetic end that would be undermined by a resurrection, a common plot device used on Supernatural. To this panelist and moderator, though, I am a proponent of such a return…though it would likely be saved for a final season. Still, we’ll keep asking the question.
11) The Billie the Reaper question remains a question: is she aiming to be New Death? What is her true intention? Or, is she a dutiful bureaucrat, operating status quo in the absence of her boss? Will she be successful in reaping Mary’s newly returned soul? The brothers’?
ANSWERS: These questions are for naught now. Billie makes a return long enough to seek the boys’ permanent deaths, making the deal with the Winchesters that allows them to bust out of federal prison by killing them long enough for the authorities to accept their deaths, only to revive them in time for escaping, in exchange for one of the brother’s permanent deaths at the stroke of midnight. Castiel (Misha Collins) makes his presence known by getting the drop on Billie. He stabs her in the back with his angel blade just as Mary offers herself in sacrifice to save her sons, after Billie notes that breaking a deal with a reaper can have “cosmic consequences.” Billie’s ambitions, thus, have been cut short and are no longer enigmas worth our puzzling, while Cas courts cosmic consequences in the worst possible way. See below.
12) The angel question remains a question – Heaven seems disturbingly quiet…
ANSWERS: The angels are motivated to action with the impending birth of Jack the Nephilim. In fact, we meet Cas’ former squad, headed by human-hater (and secret human lover) Isham, leader of a heavenly task force assigned to eliminate nephilim the world over. We also meet Joshua, who concocts a plan with Cas to force baby-mama Kelly to cross through Heaven’s Gate in the Sandbox, exposing her unborn child to heaven’s (apparently fatal) light. Angel casualties are high this season, let’s just say.
13) Where did Rowena and Crowley go? Is Crowley back on his basement throne again? Will Rowena return to her witch-y ways, since her dreams of marrying her sugar daddy went bust and since she seems to have somewhat repaired her estrangement from her son?
ANSWER: Crowley returns to his throne in Hell, having trapped Lucifer for the seemingly sole purpose (or soul purpose?) of gloating. Really, as the podcast panelists note, with all of the stupid plans Crowley has had over the years, this one may have been the stupidest. Meanwhile, Rowena (Ruth Connell) kind of hangs out, does some magic, gets some revenge on her son, that old chestnut, and then, seemingly, gets herself burnt to a crisp by a freshly minted from hell Lucifer. Her death is treated as a vicious afterthought and without ceremony, despite the impression she made upon the CPU! segment of the Super viewing audience, leading most of our panelists to throw up in arms; however, Rowena’s fate, by virtue of learning of it only from a boastful Lucifer and a charred-beyond-recognition corpse, leads this panelist and moderator to believe that Rowena is not out for the count yet, even if Crowley is (more on that later).
14) Last we saw, Sam and Dean were taken into federal custody because once Lucifer was sucked out of the POTUS with the Golden demon essence sucking Snitch, it appeared as if Sam and Dean had hurt the President, causing the Secret Service and federal marshals to descend upon them and to arrest them. The panel feels confident that they will escape or be released; we just don’t know how. Will Castiel, vexed by losing Satan’s spawn, save them? Will Crowley? Will they break out themselves? Will they get off with presidential pardon? And then, where does the show go from here?
ANSWER: As described above, a deal with Billie allows the boys to break free from prison in exchange for one of their permanently reaped souls. Cas breaks that deal for them by literally stabbing Billie in the back, saving the brothers’ souls, as well as Mary’s, one more time. As for where the show goes, listen to the podcast or read above for details.
1) Let’s talk about cosmic consequences. At the end of the season, Castiel is stabbed in the back, in a karmic boomerang of epic proportion, by Lucifer, who uses Cas’ angel blade to get the drop on Cas, as Cas did on Billie the Reaper. We assume Cas will be back, even if his return is predictable and less impacting than it could be, given all of the deaths and rebirths on this show. We just do not know how or if he will be the same Cas. Will we meet our Castiel again, resurrected once more by some force unknown? Or, will we be watching an alternate universe version of him, since that universe has been blinked into existence by Jack the Nephilim? Or, will Jack, who seems connected to Cas thanks to his in utero interaction with the angel, revive Cas himself?
2) Lucifer and Mary are currently trapped in that alternate universe. Will we see them immediately in the next half season, or will we have to wait, as the producers and cast have confirmed that they live on in the world of a permanent war between angels and demons and mostly extinct humans? Will we get to see Lucifer and Mary, the “buddy cop” years? Will Mary punch Lucifer bunches, as panelist Kelsey wishes? Will they survive? What will happen to them?
3) Crowley is dead as well, sacrificing his own life in exchange for a spell cast in an attempt to trap Lucifer in the alternate universe – only with Crowley’s death, Mark A. Sheppard also announced his departure from the show, so it seems the King of Hell is permanently pushing up demonic daisies. Is this why Rowena is killed off? Is she, in fact, killed off? Or, did Rowena make a deal with the devil that allows her to survive? She’s been quite the survivor so far, after all.
4) Jack the Nephilim – is he good, or is he evil? Is he angel, or is he demon? Is he a yellow eyed demon? Is he a “prince of hell?” Is he the “anti-Christ?” What does it mean to be a prince of hell? We expect that Dean will want to lay him to waste immediately, while Sam will probably argue for the gray area and the possibility that he is not evil, given his angel grace and half humanness. Will Jack have an effect on Sam? Will Jack induce a return of Sam’s demonic abilities, originally imbued to him by a yellow eyed demon/Prince of Hell? How will Jack affect the world at large, given that mere contractions bringing him into the world ripped a hole in space and time?
5) Will Jack be next season’s Big Bad? Will Lucifer? If neither of them are, who will be?
6) The perennial question: will we see John Winchester this season? And played by whom? And will he be alive or dead?
7) How much of this alternate universe will we be dealing with, overall? Will we continue to see alterna-Bobby (Jim Beaver)? Will the apocalypse of that world spill into this one? Will it cause another apocalypse on this side of the space/time tear?
8) The Supernatural production team is currently in the process of creating another backdoor pilot and potential spin-off in the Wayward Sisters, featuring Jody the Sheriff as the lead character. How will the road to producing that show, provided that the network approves a full season order, affect current Super events?
9) What is the current status of the American hunter system? It seems that the Brits with mole mother Mary make efficient work of eliminating known hunters. Does this mean that Sam and Dean will have to pick up the pieces by recruiting new hunters? Training them? Are we about to see a hunter training montage? Speaking of picking up the pieces, how will Sam and Dean go on? Where will they be when the season premieres?
10) Panelist Jen asks again: where are God, aka Chuck the Prophet, and Amara, the Sister Darkness of God? How are they doing? Talk going well? Hashed out their deity problems much? Seeking some therapy? Panelist Allie votes for getting a glimpse of some family counseling session with Chuck and Amara.
11) A Prince of Hell named Ramiel held in his possession two intriguing items: Archangel Michael’s Spear or Lance and (wait for it) the Colt. The Colt is currently broken, snapped in two by another Prince of Hell named Dagon, who Cas later snuffed. Can the Colt be repaired? By Sam? How is the Colt powered? Didn’t the Colt have a fixed number of bullets once upon a time? More importantly, **where did the Colt go after Season 6?** How did Ramiel get a hold of it? Why has the show not addressed the continuity of this gun? Why was it brought back only to be broken? WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS THING?!
12) Also, the Spear/Lance is broken, I believe with Crowley’s help in that instance. Will it be repaired, since Dean pockets the fragments? Is it usable by anyone besides Michael? Dean is still a predestined Michael vessel – can he use it? We repeat – will we ever see Michael out of the Cage again?
13) The Vampire Alpha dies in this season, owing to some clever British Men of Letter work. Does this mean that all vampires die? I know this is not The Originals, but what happens to the rest of the vampires in the event of the death of their alpha?
Some doubts have not only resurfaced among the members of our Supernatural panel but have increased as the twelfth season wraps. Though we all remain committed until the end of the show, whenever that may be, and though, in many ways, Supernatural is still like a well-oiled machine – a quality program with a cultivated, passionate cult fan base, even if the quality is not necessarily consistent in its late life – the panel continues to struggle somewhat with the show after the choppy and somewhat disjointed twelfth season, even though some of our worse fears, including a disparate set of story lines failing to connect in a meaningful way, do not come to pass. Indeed, Season 12 still offers something to enjoy between mother Mary, the British Men of Letters, and Lucifer’s love child, not to mention the usual elements that keep Super fans coming back for more. In fact, the panel members all still agree that Supernatural could never be completely unwatchable, owing to the writing, acting, and quirks of the mythology (and the sheer beauty of its cast). Though we are in the acknowledged winter of the program’s longevity, there remains nothing like Supernatural on TV right now, and despite the panel members’ individual gripes, all members feel that the show is still entertaining, even this late in its lifetime. Carry On, Wayward Sons, as we prepare to move into Season 13!
Supernatural was renewed for a thirteenth season, which is slated to premiere on October 12, 2017. The Supernatural podcast panel will next reconvene following the thirteenth mid-season finale, which will likely air in or around December 2016. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional show coverage. Until then!
A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2017, our Once Upon a Time panel – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Eddie, Amie, Emily, and Micah – returns to the Water Cooler to discuss the second half of season six of Once Upon a Time, a half season courting allegedly “happy beginnings.” 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!
THIS EPISODE OF CPU! WAS SPONSORED BY: HERITAGE THEATRE GROUP
Check out HTG’s 2017 Season!
Opening Tomorrow: “The Importance of Being Earnest”
For more information, visit Heritage Theatre’s website!
CPU! Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “Once Upon a Time” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall/winter/spring Sundays (through the end of Season 6) 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 6 finale aired in two parts on Sunday, May 14, 2017, on ABC at 8:00 PM.
Where: The show is (currently) set in fictional Storybrooke, Maine, 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, before they were whisked away to Storybrooke via curse wrought by the Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parilla) and before they were made run-of-the-mill real world residents with serious bouts of amnesia.
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
This podcast was recorded in July 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the sixth 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 email@example.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes. In the meantime, let us know what you think! Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!
Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! In our next episode, our Supernatural panel returns to the Water Cooler to devil out the pesky details of the second half of the twelfth season of that long-running cult favorite. Stay tuned!
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
1) Is baby Neal magical like his sister? (This question will remain until answered!)
Answer: At this time, baby Neal’s “specialness,” if it exists, is still unknown.
2) 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!)
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.
3) 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!)
Answer: Like Will Scarlett, Maleficient and Lily have both disappeared without a trace or explanation.
4) 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!)
Answer: Will Scarlett is gone. Where or where has Will Scarlett gone?
5) Are we watching a Henry/Author rewrite in progress? This is Eddie’s meta-Matrix theory.
(NEW) ANSWER: If the events of this last half season are any indication, Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) has no power to rewrite the book. As the Author, he is beholden to record the events surrounding the Savior of the storybook at hand. To wit, when he shirks his responsibilities for a time, he starts going into trances and recording strange symbols foretelling the end of the story. Also, Fiona the Black Fairy burns the original “Once Upon a Time” storybook in an effort to stop Emma and to save her son, Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle). Thus, Henry is forced to hand-draw a new storybook to save the day (more below), so Henry, as the Author, must believe the story at hand and then write about it, or Destiny will do it for him – or put him in the position of having to write about it whether he wants to or not.
Bottom line: we’re deleting this question (finally).
6) 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!)
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?!
7) Emma and Regina encountered Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) in the Wish Realm. Can he be brought back to life from that realm? Or, does magic function there (and in the Regular Realm) like the genie’s rules in Aladdin, i.e. no one dead can be brought back to life because, you know, it’s unnatural and grisly? If we get an answer to this question, we may get our answer about Baelfire and Cora.
ANSWER: Funny thing about that Wish Realm. As panelist Micah predicted, when the Evil Queen (EQ) inadvertently wished the Wish Realm into existence, she created a permanent realm, which people can reach via Magic Bean Portal, Hat Portal, or Powerful Magic Smoke, such as of what Regina, the EQ, and Zelena (Rebecca Mader) are capable. In that realm, wished into existence, versions of our beloved characters were also wished into existence, apart from Emma, who was merely transported there from Storybrooke. Thus, those versions were “given life” through this wish. So, Robin was “brought back to life” while still in the Wish Realm; however, the Wish Robin is not the same as the Robin we formerly knew who passed away. He’s a bit more of a rogue. Instead of robbing from the rich to give to the poor, he robs from the rich to give to himself. He also seems to be ageless, since other Wish Realm versions of characters like Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Charming (Josh Dallas), and Hook (Colin O’Donaghue) all appear with gray hair and wrinkles.
If Baelfire and Cora were wished into a Wish Realm existence as a result of the EQ’s wishing, we don’t know. The possibility exists…if the show revisits this realm for any reason in future season(s).
8) Who is the Black Fairy really? Why have we never seen her before? Didn’t Rumpel have an adoptive mother who died, leaving him to be raised by his ne’er-do-well, absentee father, who turned into Peter Pan? Or, was that person the Black Fairy? Or, did she become the Black Fairy?
ANSWER: The Black Fairy, Fiona, is Rumpel’s bio mom, formerly married to the ne’er-do-well who would seek eternal youth and transform into Peter Pan. She became the Black Fairy when she learned (SPOILER! TWIST!) that her baby, Rumpelstiltskin as named by his begrudging father, is destined to be a Savior – not dark, as the status of Dark One seems to imply. Fiona, knowing that Saviors are meant to fight great battles and are at high risk of death as a result, decides to do everything in her motherly power to help Rumpel evade this destiny. First, she cons Rumpel’s/her fairy godmother, Red Fairy Tiger Lily, into exposing her to texts of fairy magic, which Fiona consumes voraciously, and into letting her transform into a fairy via use of a fairy magic wand and spell. Second, Fiona’s singular purpose causes her to want to protect Rumpel by whatever means necessary, and so, she rashly uses the Shears of Destiny to separate her son from his Savior fate, thereby steering him toward a dark path and marking herself as a prophesied evil from whence a dark force is born, defeating the savior in her son and turning him into the coward we came to know in earlier seasons. According to the show, shortly after Fiona Fairy turned black with her evil intentions, the Blue Fairy banished her to a prison realm, which was why the audience never met her before. While Chief CP Kylie vaguely remembers a meeting or some memory of a mother figure in Rumpel’s life, the panel insists that we’ve never met an alternative mother to the young, scarred Rumpel. The Black Fairy is the only mother we know, and we all agree that Rumpel has some messed up, Skywalker-like beginnings (if he was Anakin, that is).
9) The panelists still want to know where these characters went: Merida, Mulan, Aurora, Philip, and other members of the non-Wished Enchanted Forest?
ANSWER: Unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown…but for Ariel, who apparently hangs out in Agrabah for a bit.
10) What is Gideon’s endgame? Revenge on his father, Rumpel? Ultimate power like his dear old dad? Where does Gideon’s resentment against Rumpel come from if the Black Fairy raised him in another realm? Why does he ultimately attempt to kill Emma?
ANSWER: Gideon, a powerful magical being, is controlled as a young adult by his grandmother, the Black Fairy, who removes his heart. She aims to use him to defeat Savior Emma, so that Rumpel’s life, as the Dark One, would be spared and to help her break free from the prison realm. Gideon intends to defeat Emma for more altruistic aims: to prevent Grandma Fiona from torturing other children that she kidnapped and brought into the prison realm as part of her Black Fairy purpose. Gideon’s resentment against Rumpel can best be explained away by Fiona’s obsession with her son, which led to harm against Gideon, who was also mistreated by his grandma, what with the heart removal and all. Gideon does not want to kill Emma but sees it as a necessary means to an end, even if he ultimately holds no real choice or agency in the matter.
11) What did the Black Fairy do to Gideon while raising him in a parallel dimension with speedier time, and what is her agenda related to her son, Rumpel? Why are they returning to this realm now, other than convenient writing?
ANSWER: Fiona Black Fairy just wants to have a happy life with Rumpel, despite the fact that she undermines this long-nursed desire with her obsessive need to prevent him from realizing his Savior destiny. Otherwise, she uses Gideon against other prisoners and children she kidnapped who are trapped in the prison realm, including Gideon’s friends and other innocents, and breaks Gideon down psychologically with her manipulative wiles. Gideon manages to open a small crack of a portal from the prison realm with his magic to escape but, in so doing, paves the way for Fiona to do the same, which is what she wanted all along. She wants to seek revenge against the Blue Fairy and make a “happy” home with her son and grandson.
12) Is the Black Fairy related to the Never Land shadow at all?
ANSWER: As far as we know, no. She is married to the man who would be the boy Peter Pan, but we still don’t know how Pan and the Shadow in OUAT are related or came to be connected as they were, beyond the fact that the Shadow turned Rumpel’s dad into the immortal young scamp.
13) Gideon changed the EQ to a snake and caged EQ-as-snake. Does this endanger Regina? Will she and her other half ever reunite? Will Jafar return to make this happen? He’s kind of an expert in snakes himself. If not Jafar, then how will it happen?
ANSWER: Since the EQ is no slouch, she easily un-snake-ified herself and eventually reunites with Regina meeting-wise only. In fact, the EQ exists as a separate entity until she makes the ultimate sacrifice (listen to the podcast for details). Jafar returns, though his return is not related to the Regina/EQ story line.
14) How will Emma and Regina return from the Wish Realm? Will they return?
ANSWER: Emma finds the adult version of Pinocchio, as he is known in the Wish Realm, and commissions him to carve an equivalent of the magical Wardrobe Portal that his father Geppetto created for Snow and Charming to help Emma escape from the Enchanted Forest and Regina’s original evil curse. For a time, the magical tools used for such carving become useless, but good old Pinocchio, Emma’s friend in any realm, carves a workable door back into our world, through which Emma, Regina, and Wish Realm Robin return.
15) Do we care about Charming’s darker impulses, which make him fear turning into his twin brother, James, who was vanquished in the Underworld when his soul fell into the River of Souls?
ANSWER: The show did not seem to care about such impulses in this half season, so we ask: why should we?
16) Will Gideon be the “Big Bad” of the next half of the season?
ANSWER: Insofar as he is the extension of Fiona the Black Fairy, owing to the fact that she holds his heart, and is the party destined to fight the Savior in the Final Battle, the answer is yes. Arguably, however, the “Big Bad” is truly Fiona.
17) Is the Wish Realm now a real “nuts and bolts” realm, wished into existence with the genie’s powers? Is it permanent? How long will the show spend in this new realm?
ANSWER: Yes. The Wish Realm exists as one of many realms accessible by portal, permanent and available for visitation by the Portal Network of Magic Beans and Hats and possibly Wardrobes. The show, as panelist Amie predicted, spends all of “five minutes” there: one full episode (the episode returning from hiatus) and a few minutes of another in which the EQ reunites with Wish Robin, who returns to the Wish Realm after trying to make a go of it with Regina Prime. Regina Prime realizes that they are not the same couple as Regina Prime and original Robin. This Robin seems better suited for the EQ, so both the doppelgangers realize when the EQ transports to the Wish Realm to make a fresh start after Regina balances both of their hearts with elements of good and evil, effectively equalizing their true natures while in separate bodies.
18) Will Henry find some of his own adventures again? Will he remember that he’s the Author? Will his Author responsibilities help right these new wrongs? Why is the show so reluctant to develop this part of the story? Why does Henry sometimes feel like extra baggage?
ANSWER: Henry is forced to remember his Author-ly duties when trances take hold, and he starts writing pages of the storybook in symbols and ciphers he cannot translate and without memory of having done so. The Author, as former Author Isaac explains in a brief return to the show, is required to record the events surrounding the Savior of the Storybook; as the final battle draws near, this fated imperative will occur whether the Author chooses or not, hence trances. This revelation becomes material in the two-part season finale, when Henry’s status as Author in possession of the Heart of the Truest Believer becomes critical, as he must save his mother from the Black Fairy’s cursing influence, and may become even more material at the start of Season 7, when the story shifts to an adult Henry. So, all of these problems may be solved and holes may be filled in future season(s)…or not. Listen to the podcast for details, and, otherwise, stay tuned to OUAT for further developments, eh?
19) Will Emma ever learn to rely on her friends and family (and lover) in times of strife and tell them what’s bothering her or threatening her life? It’s been six years. We think your family has given you enough reason to trust them! Hook too, for that matter!
ANSWER: I think, in the end, she does. In fact, she is nothing but honest with Hook and is much chagrined when he is not the same with her. Plus, when Hook disappoints her with his large lies of omission, she immediately tells her dad. So, all in all, major improvements in Emma’s trust issues are evident this half season. To this, we can only shout: “S’about time!”
20) Will Emma really die? And if not, how does she escape Gideon? Or, is that really what she is seeing in her vision?
ANSWER: Emma is prepared for the ultimate sacrifice and does not, in fact, escape Gideon. She allows herself to be stabbed by Gideon with the Sword of Savior Death, as exposing her light magic is expected to defeat Gideon, which is what she sees in her vision without knowing why or the next events in the sequence. Indeed, at the same time (SPOILER), Rumpel finds Gideon’s heart, secreted away by his mom Fiona, who Rumpel sends to a mortal end just prior to this discovery. Rather than assume control of it, use it to defeat Emma, or otherwise harm his son, he does the right thing: he clears it of its darkness in defiance of his Dark nature. Because the most good being and the most evil being in this story choose to do right at the same moment, everyone gets a reset. Emma is brought back to life, Gideon returns to the baby he was before he was kidnapped by his willful grandmother, and everyone gets a second chance at a happy beginning, including Rumpel and Belle, who are free to raise Gideon as their own.
21) Where is August nowadays? The panel universally votes for his return.
ANSWER: We see a Wish Realm version of him and a This Realm version of him; in fact, he finds another lost page of the storybook revealing that Hook, “once upon a time,” murdered David’s father in a routine pirate raid, rather than King George as previously thought. August provides this page to Hook, presumably with the hope that Hook will come clean with David and Emma. He does, but it takes awhile.
22) Since the Wish Realm’s version of Snow and Charming have died, will Emma ascend to being Queen of the Wish Realm Enchanted Forest? Will she be a good queen or an evil queen, and how will she handle her queenly duties?
ANSWER: Unknown, since Emma did not stick around in the Wish Realm long enough to practice being queenly.
23) Will Snow and Charming escape the new sort-of-twisty-but-not-really sleeping curse affecting their shared heart?
ANSWER: They do! With the help of Emma, Regina, and the entire town of Storybrooke, as well as a song in Emma’s heart (musical episode homage!), everyone makes the sacrifice to take on part of the sleeping curse, diffusing its power enough so that both Snow and Charming can wake up. Everyone enjoys a cat nap, and then our favorite twue wuv couple is awake to fight, together and for their daughter, another day.
24) Will Hook sharpen his hook? He feels largely toothless but is just as yummy to look at as ever, according to 4/5 of the panel.
ANSWER: Er, um, yes? He gets feisty when Gideon whisks Hook out of Storybrooke and prevents his return, even as Hook needs to prove his love (and honesty) to Emma, so they can, like, get married or whatever. A trip to Neverland, a visit with Tiger Lily, and Shadow Magic get him home, but he has to be pirate-y a few times in this process (and in a few realms) before his return.
25) Why do we care about Zelena? Seriously. We need to know. Even the rare panelist that likes her.
ANSWER: Well, Zelena does cause some trouble, and it’s kind of irritating. Basically, she decides to confront the Black Fairy and Gideon by herself in an effort to show everyone that she is the wickedest, most powerful witch ever. This effort backfires for a minute; however, she also sacrifices her magic to undo the damage she causes. Plus, we get a comical moment when Regina spends time teaching Zelena to drive, knowledge that she uses for good measure to run over Fiona, momentarily slowing the Black Fairy in her tracks, so to speak. So…this is why we care. Momentarily.
26) Will the show get better, once and for all? Or, is it time for the executive producers and writers to consider the possibility that Once should depart, make for its sideways version of the Island, and get “lost?”
ANSWER: The show improves markedly in this half season, and it seems the producers were ready for the possible news of cancellation by crafting a season finale that feels much like a series finale. The network, however, renewed the show, and now we are heading into a “soft reboot,” where only three regular cast members are returning full time, and the story is shifting from Maine to Seattle, Washington, and from Emma to Henry as the focal point of savior-hood. What does all this mean? Despite the “sideways” feel of it all, it means we have more new questions this time around and no small amount of wariness as this new season approaches.
1) 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?
2) How does adult Henry 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?
3) 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?
4) Will Emma die, given that Jennifer Morrison is slated to appear in only one episode next season?
5) A teaser trailer shows Captain Hook wearing a police uniform, Regina standing in a bar, and Rumpel in unknown climes. How do they get where they are going? What is the back story for this time jump?
6) Is Henry the new Savior? Lucy says in the final seconds of the Season 6 finale that he has to save his family – to whom is she specifically referring?
7) 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?
8) 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?
9) 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?
10) 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?
11) Will Rumpel still be the Dark One?
12) 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)?
13) Did the propitious moment of Emma’s resurrection also mean that the Evil Queen, as a separate entity, came into being again?
14) Will Emma and Hook have or be able to have other children? Are they even interested in new children?
15) Who will be the villain(s) of Season 7?
16) Where did the rest of Storybrooke go? Is the town still there? Are Dr. Hopper and Granny and the Seven Dwarfs still around?
The podcast panelists reach some consensus, despite some variety of opinions, about the current progress of Once Upon a Time. All panelists regard the second half of season six as a marked improvement over the previous half season (and possibly the two full seasons before that), with some panelists enjoying it more and others enjoying it less. The panel universally agrees, however and with no hesitation, that #potential (#drink) contentment with the finale as a series finale episode would have been achieved if the show had officially stopped at the end of this season. As it is, the network saw fit to renew the show, and now we as panelists are presented with an interesting commitment quandary when it comes to staying loyal to Once.
While some panelists continue to foster hope and to devote faith to Once’s seemingly endless reservoir of #potential (#drink), the seventh season renewal and the impending so-called “soft reboot” is giving everyone, even the most faithful and most optimistic of us, some significant pause. The wariest panelists (your Chief CP included) feel that the producers, network, and parent company are spending a lot of time attempting to woo people back to the fold, when so many expressed skepticism if not outright outrage upon the departure of seven, i.e. more than half, of the regular cast, including Jennifer Morrison, who has played the show’s central figure, Emma Swan, the entire time. While reboots and spin-offs have existed in prior TV programs and incarnations of same, no show or network or producing team has attempted a “soft reboot” of this type so close to the original story and set of seasons that launched the premise; the Chief CP thinks the marketing team is avoiding the term “spin-off,” when that is essentially what we are about to watch. Many of the panelists, though curious and/or intrigued about what may come and committed to watching it for the sake of the CPU! Podcast, are also undermined by lack of trust for this producing team and their ability to capitalize upon #potential (#drink). Though Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, and the Once writing team have offered and toyed with new ideas, they plant seeds without fertilizing them organically. In fact, this panel directs several levels of suspicion toward the writing team’s ability to create something that will strike a balance between being totally new and different while retaining some of the spirit of the original story and the core/foundation of the characters we have grown to love and have remained loyal to for six seasons of varying quality in execution and in overall storytelling success. In other words, we’ll be watching, but there is a strong sense that, either through the act of shark jumping or through network experimentation without support – particularly in light of a move to a Friday night time slot never before thrust upon this program – days are numbered for the remaining longevity of the once-upon-a-time CPU! favorite, Once Upon a Time.
Once Upon a Time has been renewed for a seventh season, which is slated to premiere on ABC on Friday, October 6, 2017, at 8:00 PM. The Once Upon a Time podcast panel will next reconvene following the seventh mid-season finale of OUAT, which will likely air in or around December 2017. As always, CPU! will keep you abreast of happenings and special events in addition to all OUAT podcast coverage. Until next time!
A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in June 2017, our panel of staunch Batman and comic book enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Nick – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 3B, containing the end of arc “Mad City” as well as arc “Heroes Rise,” 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!
Episode sponsored by: Heritage Theatre Group
THIS EPISODE OF CPU! WAS SPONSORED BY: HERITAGE THEATRE GROUP
Check out HTG’s 2017 Season, opening July 13, 2017!
For more information, visit Heritage Theatre’s website!
CPU! 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, formerly Mondays at 8:00 PM on Fox, though the show is being moved to a similar time slot on Thursdays this fall.
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 (Maggie Geha), 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: The Season Three finale aired on Monday, June 5, 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:
Season 2B, The Wrath of the Villains
Our Gotham panel, now consisting of Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Nick, previously compared notes on the first half of the third season and spent time in so-called “Mad City,” with some trepidation and frustration as we considered the success or lack thereof of the following plot developments: the Bruce Wayne clone (we hated it), the Court of Owls (we were confused by it), Jim’s struggle with identity and with his love for an engaged Lee (Morena Baccarin; we hated it), Mayor Oswald Kabelput and his Chief of Staff Edward Nygma (we loved it), and the introduction of Jervis Tetch aka The Mad Hatter (Benedict Samuel; we struggled with it), as well as the aftermath following the villains’ so-called wrath in season two. We now discuss Gotham’s wrap up of “Mad City” as well as the “Heroes Rise” arc, in which we see the return of Joker-Not-Joker Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan), the Riddler come into his new name, the Court of Owls wreak diseased havoc on the city it has sworn to puppeteer, the Penguin implode, the introduction of Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig), and a number of character progressions that, somehow, did not feature Jim Gordon as much as it should have. How did the panel like this second half of the third season? Listen to the embedded link below to find out.
This podcast was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the third season and all episodes that have aired to date. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, we launch a five-part “Looking Back” retrospective, in this, the twentieth anniversary of the premiere, of CPU! favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, by rights, its spin-off Angel. The first episode will feature discussion about the first three seasons of “Buffy.” Stay tuned!
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
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 (Erin Richards) 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.
2) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Riddler’s riddles get more complex and mind-twisting?
4) 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…
5) REPEAT QUESTION: How will the Court of Owls be explained in the larger context?
7) 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.
19) The adventures of Ivy: will she stop killing the plants she professes to love?
ANSWER: She does not kill any of her pet plants in this third season back half, so that’s in the right direction on the road to progress? Maybe?
20) What is the crystal owl that Selina stole from the secure vault of the Court of Owls?
ANSWER: It is one of several crystal owls depicting a map of Gotham City, on which is marked the secret locations of Court bases. This map is only revealed if light is shined directly through the owls.
21) Why should we care to meet Selina’s mom?
ANSWER: Only to realize that Selina has mommy/abandonment issues. Mom is a plot device, appearing long enough to try to con/bribe Bruce Wayne into giving her and her bookie/possible lover money. Bruce does so only to protect Selina from her mother’s lies, despite knowing exactly what is happening, which pisses Selina off royally when she finds out the truth. She breaks up with Bruce (if they were labeled prior to the point) because she feels he is not honest with her; she also continues to despise her mom.
The CPU! Gotham panel reached a remarkable turning point with the show this half season: a wide variety of opinions traveling from higher highs to the lowest of lows. Panelist Nick finds the show entertaining and is less bothered by the adaptive story points, though he is more bothered by some of the writing choices and inconsistencies. Panelists Spencer, Kyle, and Kylie identify moments they truly love and moments they truly hate but 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. There is a sense that, perhaps, the writers took ours (and others’) advice of last time: the Joker-Not-Joker story thread was inspired by one of the more famous comic book story lines, for example, and there was sincere focus on some of the best aspects of the show, particularly surrounding Penguin and Riddler. The show survived to be renewed, at any rate, and none of the panel is ready to jump the shark, so in the “make it or break it” ultimatum of last time, Gotham ultimately made it. even somewhat convincingly.
The previous unrest among the panelists, however, 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 find this half of the third season to be the show’s new high point, even as it also 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.
Gotham has been renewed for Season 4, which is slated to premiere on Fox on Thursday, September 28, 2017, at 8:00 PM; in fact, Fox will be broadcasting the program on Thursday nights instead of Mondays this coming season. The Gotham podcast panel will next reconvene following the fourth mid-season finale, which will likely air in or around December 2017. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Gotham coverage. Until then!
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, another frequent panelist takes over moderating duties and the microphone to discuss the popular Shondaland show How to Get Away with Murder, which airs fall/winter Thursday nights on ABC. Moderator Eddie, Kristen, Krista, and Allie, a smaller version of the Keating Five (maybe they can be called the CPU! Four?), reconvened Around the Water Cooler to discuss and explore key plot developments from the third season. If you have not watched any of How to Get Away with Murder, 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!