Stranger Things, Season Two (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in May 2018, our “stranger” panel of frequent CPU! panelists and TV fans – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, and Michael; subtracting Chelsea and Rob, who departed the panel for busy lives behind the podcast; but adding panelists new to the panel but not to the podcast in Sarah and Jeremy – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 2 of runaway hit and Netflix original Stranger Things. If you have not watched any of Stranger Things, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

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

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PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Around the Water Cooler: “Stranger Things” – The Season Two Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Related imageModerator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Stranger Things” is a science fiction-horror web television Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “Stranger Things,” created, written, directed and co-executive produced by the Duffer Brothers, stars (in Season Two) Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Noah Schnapp, Joe Keery, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery, Sean Astin, and Paul Reiser.

SYNOPSIS

The Hawkins, Indiana, National Laboratory ostensibly performs scientific research for the US Department of Energy but secretly conducts experiments into the paranormal and supernatural, including those that involve human test subjects, which start to affect the unknowing residents of Hawkins in calamitous ways.  The first season focuses on the investigation into the disappearance of a young boy by his friends, older brother, and traumatized mother, as well as the local police chief, amid supernatural events occurring around the town, including the appearance of a psychokinetic girl who helps the missing boy’s friends in their own search.  The second season is set a year later, starting in October 1984.  The boy, Will (Schapp), has been rescued, but few know of the details of the events. When it is discovered that Will is still being influenced by entities from another dimension, his friends and family learn that there is a larger threat to their universe from that other dimension.

When: The second season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on October 27, 2017.

Where: The action is set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, during the 1980s.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the links below – though it bears mentioning that Stranger Things may very well be the most popular and most requested panel/show to discuss since the inception of this humble little podcast.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

CPU!, naturally, covered the first season of this “stranger” series.  To listen to that prior podcast episode, click the embedded link below:

Season One

Stranger Things was a runaway hit with the CPU! core, just as it was with the nationwide water cooler that is America when it first premiered in summer 2016, and we have a deep bench of eager panelists ready to be called up for their chance to talk about all the Stranger Things.  Because, really, what’s not to love?  If you grew up in the 1980s, this show appeals to your sense of nostalgia.  If you are older, this show and its youngest characters remind you of your adult children when they were young.  If you are younger, the child stars and characters of the series are easy to relate to because they are timeless archetypes, amalgamations of similar characters that appear throughout the pop culture of the past thirty or forty years.  In fact, the Duffer Brothers deftly pay homage to the atmosphere of the decade; the influences of auteurs on this scifi/horror drama such as Speilberg, Lucas, Scott, Carpenter, Craven, and others; and the appeal of the vintage and the tactile to an increasingly expanding group of disaffected post-millennials, who see bits of themselves in the Dungeons and Dragons playing boys or the quiet and scared yet powerful Eleven (Brown).

Going into our Season 2 discussion around the water cooler, our panel experienced somewhat of an “upside down” changeover itself.  Panelists Hilary, Kyle, and Michael return, eager to dissect and share their thoughts and feelings on the second Stranger season.  Joining them for the first time are two panelists new to the panel, but not to the podcast, specifically Sarah – who has been on a hodgepodge of panels too many to list but including American Horror Story, Doctor Who, and our Buffy-Verse retrospective – and Jeremy, who is on our Supernatural and 13 Reasons Why panels and who Looked Back at Six Feet Under.  Former panelists Chelsea and Rob (two of our Game of Thrones panelists) departed the panel for now in favor of busy lives behind the podcast, though they join the ranks of on the wait list folks who can barely wait to discuss their supreme love for this program.

As it turns out, the panel, new in composition though it was, found itself slightly more divided when discussing Season Two, with some panelists commenting on the hasty and superficial introduction of new characters like Billy (Montgomery), though they regarded other new introductions like Bob (Astin) and Dr. Owens (Reiser) as better handled, even if intermittently short-lived.  Still, the majority of the panel spent most of the chat gushing about this series’ latest season. Again, there was little bad or negative to say because everyone universally agreed that the creators and show-runners continued to nurture a character-driven, nostalgia-rooted story that appeals to our basic fears and nightmares, though most panelists also struggled with the controversial seventh episode of the season, exploring Eleven’s quest to root out her own origins.  In any event, most of the panelists still find the story to be tightly woven with an organic and logical flow, a perfect visual presence from art direction to cinematography to visual effects, and stellar if stranger performances all around.  If you are part of the Stranger Things fan club, this discussion will only continue to serve to validate your commonly held adoration for this unlikely sleeper hit.  Have I convinced you to listen via the embedded link below?

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our How to Get Away with Murder panel returns to the Water Cooler – sort of – but, I should warn you, gentle listener: the jug of water sort of broke, and a faint lilt of the Jaws theme started underscoring the drama of the spill.  That’s right, folks. Our HTGAWM panel very much tried on some water skis and scaled some predatory fish in their path.  Stay tuned for the reasons why the three HTGAWM panelists have become members of “Shark Jumpers Anonymous!”

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) What is Will’s connection to the Upside Down beyond his ability to seemingly straddle the inter-dimensional barrier – is it more than a lucky connection?  In other words, was his initial disappearance into the Upside Down truly random?  How was Will able to survive for so long there?  Is he special or immune to the Upside Down?  Is he something more than just the dimension’s first victim?  Was Joyce (Ryder) part of the drug trial that Eleven’s bio mom was part of, causing Eleven’s special abilities?

2) Will we see other psychic kids, akin to Kali/Eight and Jane/Eleven, such as some of the other numbered test subjects in the drug trials?  Did any others actually survive?

3) Is Dr. Martin Brenner still alive, as was stated in the seventh episode of the season by the man who electrically fried Eleven’s bio-mom’s brain at Brenner’s behest?

4) Will the show explore the lab/facility more where Eleven was housed, either in the past with Kali and/or the one, if the same, in Hawkins?

5) Will we see other dimensions beyond the Upside Down?  Are there others?  Does Eleven have the power to open up pockets or rifts to those other places?

6) Does Billy serve a larger purpose to the show other than being an on-the-nose homage to all of the teen bully characters of ’80s films?

7) Will the female characters intermingle more, as panelist Michael wishes?

8) Will Joyce find love again – and will it be with Hopper (Harbour), as the show seems to be seeding?

9) How much in-school experiences, with Eleven in attendance and interacting with Mike (Wolfhard), Dustin (Matarazzo), and Lucas (McLaughlin) as well as Max (Sink), will we see in the next season?

10) What does the Mind Flayer really want?  Is it trying to destroy this world?  Occupy and conquer it?  Possess psychic children?  Reveal itself to be the Man in Black?

11) What is the Upside Down, really, beyond an alternate dimension?

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! Stranger Things podcast panel essentially recommends this show to anyone who breathes – or, at least, who watches and enjoys television.  Period.  The general consensus among the panelists is that this well crafted, well written, well directed, and well performed piece offers “something for everyone” and can appeal to young and old, man and woman, people who like science fiction and horror and people who do not, and everyone and everything in between.  The panel also generally agrees, even though one or two panelists struggled more in season two than in season one with the story while others preferred the second season overall, that the basic yarn is a riveting one, told with largely fanciful ideas and seamlessly crafted dialogue; in fact, the panel universally agrees that the story and the show will especially connect to those born before or during the Reagan era.  The only caution the panel would offer is that the program succeeds in providing some legitimate scares and moments of the disturbed or moments designed to unsettle the viewer, though, largely, without being “too scary,” even for the most squeamish of our intrepid panelists.  Those panelists also agree, though, that with proper forewarning, even the most sensitive or the most overactive imaginations among the viewing audience can find something to enjoy in this perfect nosh of creepy nostalgia.

LOOKING AHEAD

Stranger Things was (readily) renewed for a third season, which is expected to be released to the Netflix streaming library in 2019, though no official release date has yet been announced.  Our Stranger Things panel will, subsequently, reconvene some time thereafter to dissect Season Three, in or out of the Upside Down. As always, CPU! will stay abreast of and report all material Stranger Things coverage.  Until then!

Game of Thrones, Season Seven (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 April 2018 as one of our “lost” episodes after the much ballyhooed equipment failure of earlier this year, our panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Amanda, Jay, Chelsea, and Rob–is back Around the Water Cooler and discussing the continuously, indisputably epic Season 7 of Game of Thrones. If you are not caught up on Thrones, 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: “Game of Thrones,” the Season 7 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Game of Thrones,” airs on premium cable TV, specifically on HBO, though it is currently on hiatus.

What: “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy drama based on the series of novels entitled A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, which tells the tale of the land of Westeros and the various families and factions vying for the Iron Throne, i.e. rule of all of the seven kingdoms in a world of magic, dragons, swordplay, and death (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here).

When: The Season Seven finale aired on HBO on Sunday, August 27, 2017, at 9:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in the fictional land of Westeros, a world that could be Europe, could be Middle Earth, or could be most fantasy/epic realms.  Westeros is divided into Seven Kingdoms, but rule of all kingdoms hails from the Iron Throne, in King’s Landing. The show follows key characters across most realms.

Why: A friend basically said the Chief CP had to watch it and for good reason (other panelists received similar recommendations).  I, personally, gravitate toward fantasy and science fiction most frequently; fantasy is also my favorite genre to read.  I haven’t read Martin’s currently-in-progress series, as some of the panelists have, which has become something of a cultural watershed not unlike the Harry Potter novels, though I plan to do so.  Our resident book readers laud the show about as highly as they do the novels; thus, with this solid foundation, an obsession with Game of Thrones was born, for all of our (returning) panelists.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

For a recap of season 4, read here.

CPU! also previously published podcast episodes reviewing and recapping Seasons 5 and 6.  To catch up, click the embedded links below:

Season 5

Season 6

This year, with the explosive and epic and (SPOILER) zombie-dragon laden seventh season behind us, CPU!’s noble group of Game of Thrones panelists – Kristen, Amanda, Jay, Chelsea, and Rob – returns to the Water Cooler with one of our “lost” episodes to discuss what many of us find to be our favorite show, including the goings-on of the penultimate seventh season.  Plus, many of panelist Kristen’s so-called dominoes continued to fall this season in spectacular and satisfying ways, so our panel was only too excited to spend time gushing, a few times owing to equipment failures and such, about what was ultimately another thrilling Thrones season.

In this episode, then, our panel of GoT obsessed chats and theorizes all things Season Seven as well as speculates about what Season Eight – the finale season – might look like, especially since the show has, permanently, surpassed the books in terms of plot propulsion. Our scholarly bunch does not disappoint with their effusive opinions; as usual, we cover quite a bit of territory, revisiting three-headed dragon theories, the continued consequences of incest, and hopes and wishes for the ensuing war to come.  We can only salivate and speculate about possible future developments.

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

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite)0, Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our Broadchurch panel will finally return to the Water Cooler after a two-year (!) hiatus to discuss and to digest the third and final series of the acclaimed British drama and to look back at the success of the program as a whole.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Is the Azor A’hai the same as the Prince of Promise?  Is the Azor A’hai one person? If so, is it Jon (Kit Harington) or Danaerys (Emilia Clarke) or someone else?  Or, is it the combination of three people who can ride Dany’s dragons?  And who are those three people…? Jon? Dany? Tyrion (Peter Dinklage)? Anyone else?

REPEAT ANSWER: The Azor A’hai and the Prince Who Was Promised are two names for the same basic concept.  As above, however, the question of who or what that is remains unanswered.  We also do not know if the Three-Headed Dragon theory and the Prince Who Was Promised theory/prophecy are linked.

2) Will we see “Clegane-bowl,” i.e. the Hound (Rory McCann) v. the Mountain in hand-to-hand combat in the war to come?

ANSWER: Much to panelist Kristen’s dismay, “Clegane-bowl” has not yet manifested on Game of Thrones. Though Sandor and Gregor experience a brief reunion near the end of the season, when various forces meet at King’s Landing in council to discuss the coming threat of the White Walkers, neither brother, living nor undead, seem feisty enough to fight, each other or anyone else.  Yet.

3) Will Dany reach Westeros and aim specifically for King’s Landing and Cersei (Lena Headey)?

ANSWER: Yes and yes.  Dany reaches Dragonstone, the Targaryen ancestral home, in the first episode of the season, and it is a magical and wonderful landing, full of awe and wistfulness on the part of the intrepid Khaleesi.  Once she collects herself from reveling in this accomplishment, she almost immediately turns her sights toward King’s Landing on the advice of her hand, Tyrion Lannister, Cersei’s much estranged younger brother.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

4) Will Arya (Maisie Williams) or Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) find their siblings/return to Winterfell?  Or, will Bran go North, and Arya go South?

ANSWER: In a surprisingly happy season for the Starks, Arya and Bran both returned home to Winterfell.  Arya learns from some passing travelers/Lannister soldiers (one played by Maisie Williams’ favorite singer, Ed Sheeran) that Jon Snow is currently serving as King in the North, and so she turns her attention away from her revenge list and heads home.  Bran, in the meantime, in an awkwardly antisocial, if not catatonic, Three-Eyed Raven state, also returns home, anticipating a reunion with his brother (but really his cousin) Jon.  Unfortunately, when Bran arrives at his childhood home, Jon had already left Winterfell to visit Dragonstone to entreat Dany to an alliance against the White Walkers and/or to mine the palace’s dragon-glass to use against them.  Listen to the episode for details.

5) Who will Arya aim for next, now that she has the backing of the Many Faced God and the skills taught to her by the House of Black and White?

ANSWER: Her first name to check off her list: Walder Frey.  We see her master ninja superhero revenge plan in an extended sequence in the season premiere, inclusive of some pie filled with parts of Freys, ingested by Walder before Arya ruthlessly slits his throat.  She clearly intends to aim for Lannister necks next, particularly Cersei’s, but a chance encounter with her lost direwolf, Nymeria, and the aforementioned Ed Sheeran convinces her to go north instead, which is well and good for our intrepid Girl, as Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) becomes her next target through the machinations of an elaborate con orchestrated by Arya and her sister Sansa (Sophie Turner).  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

6) Will Sansa make a play to be Queen of the North?  Will she finally be seduced by Littlefinger’s romantic advances and plan for their future?

ANSWER: Sansa never finds herself in the position of having to “make a play.”  Though she rarely agrees with Jon’s direction while he wears the proverbial Winterfell crown, Jon ultimately leaves Sansa as steward of Winterfell when he departs to go talk to Dany down south.  Sansa also staves off heavy attempts at seduction by Lord Baelish, to which he devotes his best college try in an effort to manipulate Sansa to work against her suspicious ninja sister and brooding brother/secret cousin one last time.  Sansa, however, first tells Littlefinger off for leaving her in the custody of Ramsey, only to be raped and brutally tortured by the sadistic but expired so-called bastard.  Later, she executes a brilliantly mapped out scheme, in which Sansa and Arya act as if Baelish is playing each sister off one another, for the purpose of exposing the manipulator for his traitorous actions, which, among other dire results, led to an assassination attempt on Bran, the death of Ned, Sansa’s sham marriage to Ramsey, and other crimes against House Stark.  As a result, by the end of the season, Sansa orders Littlefinger’s execution, carried out by none other than her Needle-wielding sister, Arya.  RIP Littlefinger.  Your ample game is finished.

7) Will Jon Snow stay parked at Winterfell?  Will he find out about his true parentage? Will he be forced to engage the White Walkers in the next season, or will he be forced to enter a battle in the South between Lannisters and Targaryens?

ANSWER: Jon does not stay parked for long.  As a result, he also narrowly misses the opportunity to learn his true parentage from his brother/cousin Bran, who returns to Winterfell this season, or from Sam Tarly (John Bradley), who leaves Oldtown having learned the same juicy information, later confirmed for Sam by Bran when Sam and Gilly (Hannah Murray) arrive (in record time) at Winterfell.  Jon, meanwhile, picks a fight with the Walkers when he decides to lead a somewhat suicidal expedition, staffed by Thoros of the Brotherhood, Gendry Baratheon (Joe Dempsie, out from being in hiding as a blacksmith in King’s Landing for several seasons, apparently), Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), the Hound, Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), and a few others, north of the Wall to capture a wight, in order that they might bring it south to King’s Landing to convince Cersei to ally with Houses Stark and Targaryen against the coming of White Walker Winter.  This expedition results in extreme casualties (we don’t even want to say but do below and in the episode).  Though the Lannisters and Targaryens, or, namely, Dany definitely do battle among themselves, Jon does not involve himself or the armies of the North in the fight.

8) Will we see more Lyanna Mormont?  The panel votes yes.

ANSWER: We see the Little Bear briefly.  She is around early in the season to question Jon’s decision to appeal to Dany, as northerners do not trust southerners, especially Targaryens, very much.  In the end, she supports him, though, and convinces the other Northern heads of houses to do the same.

9) Will we see the emergence of Lady Stoneheart?  Will she be in the form described by the books, or will one of the Stark daughters take on her story lines?

ANSWER: We suspect that the possibility of encountering Lady Stoneheart is probably a non-starter at this point.  If there was an opportunity to see a return of Catelyn Stark in partial zombie form, it is likely that said opportunity has passed.

10) How will Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) react to Cersei’s new power?  Will he be the younger brother that fulfills Maggy the Frog’s prophecy, or will it be Tyrion, now that he’s on his way back home at the side of Dany?

ANSWER: Jaime, it is apparent, is not loving Cersei’s new look.  She is as ruthless, cold, and mad as her father Tywin, certainly, or possibly even as much as the Mad King Aerys, who was slain by Jaime before the events of the series started (and who might quite possibly be the secret, illegitimate father of any or all of the Lannister children, if abounding theories are correct).  As for Maggy the Frog’s prophecy, we are still anticipating its ultimate fruition.  The panelists continue to hold strong hope that Jaime will be the younger (twin) brother in question who finally gets sane and ends his sister’s life and, therefore, their twincest relationship once and for all.  He has taken a hopeful step in that direction as of the end of the season.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

11) How will King’s Landing react to Cersei’s rule, in the absence of the strength of the High Sparrow and the new religion?

ANSWER: Most of King’s Landing subjects react either in fear toward Cersei or in awe and allegiance because they trust the evil they know, even one as ruthless as Cersei, over the Targaryen princess who recently returned to Westeros, despite being the last (known) survivor of her line.  Yet, Cersei struggles all season with being financially indebted to the Bank of Westeros and with gathering enough might to prepare for Dany’s inevitable attacks.  Early in the season, Jaime lays siege to Highgarden and the last of House Tyrell, the richest house on the continent, in order to take their money and land at Cersei’s order.  Of course, that decision does not come without several disappointing consequences and delicious comeuppances all around and in their own right. Listen to the episode already!

12) Will we see the emergence of more dragon riders?  Will the Three-Headed Dragon prophecy/theory come true this season?

ANSWER: Other than Dany, no one’s mounting dragons yet…though Jon Snow does experience a curious connection with Drogon when he visits Dragonstone…  The panelists, your Chief CP included, still hold out hope for this theory in the end, though events of the season make us question whether the hope we have is that of the fool.

13) House Bolton is out of the Game of Thrones with the death of Ramsey.  Will Euron Greyjoy and his bid for the Iron Islands and the Iron Throne render him the new sadistic villain of the series, as panelist Rob predicts?

ANSWER: Euron turns out to be a B-villain at best.  Though his strongest gambit for the Throne is to propose marriage to Cersei, she is unimpressed and rejects his proposal.  He then attacks the Sand Snakes and their forces, thereafter bringing his queen two surviving Snakes of the original four: Ellaria (Indira Varma) and one of her daughters.  Cersei subsequently exacts ruthless revenge against Ellaria by poisoning her remaining daughter with the same substance used by Ellaria to eliminate Cersei’s daughter Myrcella.  She then leaves Ellaria alive, in chains, to watch her daughter die and decompose until she wastes away herself.  Despite this poetic but stone cold revenge, Cersei still does not acquiesce to Euron’s questionable charms, and when the madder Greyjoy learns of the approach of the White Walkers, he kind of flees back to the Iron Islands, only to encounter a feistier Theon (Alfie Allen) and sister Yara, who Theon rescues from Euron’s clutches.  The panel, though, groans when discussing this House and wonders how much we should still care.  Seriously, they are kind of tedious.

14) Where is Jon’s direwolf Ghost and Arya’s direwolf Nymeria?  Will they survive the series?

ANSWER: We have not seen Ghost this season, though we presume he is kicking it, direwolf-style, in Winterfell while Jon is off meeting and eventually romancing (secret aunt) Dany.  Arya reunites briefly with Nymeria, but her direwolf has grown wild, independent, and has taken on a new life as leader of a roaming wolf pack.  Arya, talking with her former companion, realizes that she and Nymeria are leading the same existence, as the youngest Stark daughter has also grown wild, independent, and leads her own new life, filled with super Many Faced God powers and ninja-like fighting reflexes and skills.  Arya, then, looks on as Nymeria returns to her new life, while Arya grabs hold of her own and heads toward Winterfell.

15) Will the White Walkers breech the Wall next season?

ANSWER: I almost do not want to type this answer!  YES.  Yes, they breech the Wall.  How, you ask?  Well, remember when Jon takes his small party north to go get a wight?  That does not go so well.  They capture a wight, sure, but end up surrounded by the Armies of the Dead, with the Night King looking on from a nearby cliff overhead.  Thoros is wounded and freezes to death.  Gendry is able to (somehow) run away and to (somehow) send the fastest raven in this fantastical world to Dany, who, also in record time, finds Jon and company north of the Wall on the back of her beloved Drogon.  Unfortunately, the trouble is, she also brings the other two dragons, not knowing about the Night King’s considerable javelin-throwing skills, mimicking the best ballista Qyburn can construct.  With zombie power and strength, our favorite blue eyed zombie demon tosses his weapon and pierces the neck of Viserion (the green one, I believe).  Viserion, beloved dragon child of Dany, falls through the ice of the frozen lake that nearly becomes the burial ground – or zombie-making waters – of Jon and his group.  Though Dany manages to save Jon and most of the others, and flies away narrowly unscathed, we watch as Viserion emerges from the ice, A WHITE WALKER DRAGON ZOMBIE WHO SHOOTS BLUE FIRE.  We do not know what this blue fire is.  We do know that it is ultimately capable of – you guessed it – taking out the Wall.  The last shot of the season shows the Armies of the Dead, advancing over the rubble of what was formerly the Wall into the Northern countryside below.  Winter is fricking here, man, and it’s terrifying.  And the Three-Headed Dragon theory?  Well, that fan favorite speculation, and panel favorite too, teeters precariously in the balance.  The panel’s only hope is that Jon, being sort of undead himself what with his previous resurrection and all, might be able to ride Viserion in his current state.  Or, maybe Bran, the Three-Eyed Raven, now much like a zombie himself, will warg into and take control of Viserion’s zombified brain.  WE JUST DON’T KNOW!!  This is the biggest question going into Season Eight: will Viserion be saved?  Or, will he help the Walkers decimate their opposition in their march south?  Or a little of both?  We’re hoping both, though we definitely expect the latter.

16) Is there something in the Wall other than protective magic, as panelist Kristen has theorized?

ANSWER: Unless something comes out of the rubble next season, panelist Kristen’s theory does not so much pan out.  A Wall is, sometimes, just a wall.  Like a Girl is, sometimes, just a Girl.

New Questions

1) The panelists predict 6 to 1 that Cersei will meet her maker next season: will it be Jaime (as we hope) who ultimately ends her life? Will it be Tyrion, though he is not one for getting his hands dirty and though he tries to make amends with his rotten older sister at the end of Season Seven? Or, will it be Arya, wearing the face of Jaime after offing him first and then using the power of the Many Faced God to complete her list?  Or, will it be the alleged baby that Cersei is now purportedly pregnant with, as she informs her brother that it is his, of course, what with all of their twincesting, at the end of the season?  Although, the baby would be her other children’s younger brother, and is that idea really within the purview of the prophecy?  Panelist Kristen also surmises that Cersei could die in childbirth, like her mother; could have a miscarriage; or could end her pregnancy, though the panel determined that neither of these ends really satisfy as much as the first three proposals.  What we know is that we are agreed: Cersei will die.  It’s just a question of when and how.

2) Now that Jon Snow and Dany have fallen in love, not knowing their true relationship – i.e. that Dany is Jon’s secret aunt – will Dany become pregnant with a human baby?  Will that baby be, in fact, the Prince Who Was Promised?  The Song of Ice and Fire?  The Azor Ahai?  The Savior of All?  Will the show finally answer the question of that mystical entity’s identity: Jon, Dany, or the offspring of Ice and Fire, respectively?  How much ice and how much fire does one story possibly need?! (Okay, we agree…a lot, when it’s called A Song of Ice and Fire).

3) The panel universally predicts and agrees that there are two major battles left.  One: fighting to fend off Winter, i.e. the White Walkers.  Two: the fight for the Iron Throne.  Which will come first?  Will the White Walkers be beaten back?  Will the Iron Throne remain standing after all is said and done?

4) Will both Jon and Dany survive the series?  Panelist Rob predicts that Jon will nobly sacrifice himself for the good of all.  The rest of the panel, panelist Amanda most reluctantly, feels that Dany’s tragic death, after all of her struggle to be ruler of Westeros, is the more likely scenario.  We expect her to sacrifice herself for the good of all, including her dragons, her Jon, and her country.  Of course, everyone hopes everyone will survive, but the show already took out a dragon, and after seven seasons, we know that nothing is safe, even as Jon Snow knows nothing.  Still.

5) Will Tyrion survive?  What was with his suspicious look when he saw Jon and Dany enter a room together, making googly eyes at each other, about to do some unbeknownst-to-them incest??  Panelist Kylie predicts that Tyrion will survive and will be the character who provides the end commentary about the future fates of Westeros.

6) Will Sansa end up being Queen in the North?  Will Winterfell survive?  Or, will the Walkers lay waste to the north, resulting in the Starks abandoning their ancestral home, as panelist Jay predicts?  Will Sansa be around to help rebuild?  Or, will she fall in defense of the North that she loves?

7) Will Arya survive?  Will she do something awesome in battle, like take out some White Walkers?  Will she kill Jaime?  Will she kill Cersei?  If she does survive, what will be her life’s purpose, should her vendetta list no longer apply?  Will she at least get to see Jon before too long?  They’re each other’s favorite not-quite-sibling.  It would be nice.

8) Why should we bother or care about House Greyjoy at this point?  Seriously, though, show.  Several panelists, Amanda most of all, predict that Theon and Yara might have some redemption deed to do in one or both of the upcoming battles.  Most of us just find it hard to care more about them than other characters still in the game.

9) Will anyone save Viserion the Dragon?  Will the other dragons, Rhaegal and Drogon, survive?  WILL THERE BE A THREE-HEADED DRAGON RIDING SITUATION IN THE END?  PLEASE?

10) Are the Lannisters, any of them, secretly Targaryen offspring?  Kylie’s money is still on Tyrion, but how would we even know that now?  Would it matter, except for the purpose of fulfilling the Three-Headed Dragon theory, that may or may not come to pass, on account of zombified Viserion flying around the unfriendly skies?

11) Will Bran or Sam finally tell Jon who his real parents are?  And if either of them do, what difference will that information make, other than to prove that Jon has, currently, the most legitimate claim to the Iron Throne, given that Rhaegar, his biological father, legitimately but secretly married to Jon’s mother, Lyanna Stark, at the time of his death, was the true heir to the throne prior to Robert’s Rebellion?

12) What is Bran’s ultimate purpose as the Three-Eyed Raven?  Will he be the magic that keeps the White Walkers at bay in the end, as panelist Jay predicts? Will he warg into direwolves or zombie dragons to save the day, as panelist Chelsea predicts?  Where will Bran end up?  Of course, several panelists estimate that he’ll just live out his days creepily telling everyone that he is the Three-Eyed Raven, no matter what happens in this Game of Thrones.

13) Did Tormund Giantsbane, who was on the parapets of the Wall at the time that zombie Viserion blue-fired it into ash, survive this onslaught?  Many of the panel, with the somewhat strong exception of Jay, wish for Tormund and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) to have gigantic babies, which necessarily requires that he stay alive.

14) Or, is Brienne finally going to get requited admiration from Jaime, who decides to ride North, away from his selfish sister, when she refuses to form an alliance with Houses Stark and Targaryen to defeat the White Walkers?

15) What will Sam and Gilly do once – and if – they share the information they learned from Oldtown with Jon Snow?

PARTING SHOTS

Game of Thrones continues to be, and is still possibly more than ever, simply one of the most exciting programs on television right now, bolstered by the fact that, when in season, it is one of the primary water cooler shows on television today.  The fact that the show has caught up with and has now surpassed the timeline of the books is admirable in and of itself.  The pacing quickened this season, which left some of the CPU! panelists struggling to adjust to the new sense of time passing, as the story revved up toward its inevitable conclusion in this penultimate season without benefit of book-based foundation.  Yet, nearly all of the episodes remained fraught with tension and grand spectacle, with excellent visual effects, stellar writing, and some of the most superb acting currently on the small screen.  The panelists, again with mostly positive regard of Season Seven, remain generally quite obsessed with the show and its current trajectory and are quivering with anticipation as we await, anxiously and for an extra long time, the show’s final six extra long episodes, slated to premiere in 2019.  As always, the panelists discuss many theories and observations in this podcast episode, but all are unequivocally excited for the final eighth season and to watch the end of this epic tale unfold!

LOOKING AHEAD

Game of Thrones was renewed for an eighth and final season, which is not slated to premiere on HBO until 2019; a premiere date has not yet, in fact, been announced. The CPU! Game of Thrones podcast panel will next reconvene following the eighth season and overall series finale of GoT with a two-part goodbye series of podcast episodes. The first of these episodes will review the show’s final 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 Thrones coverage.  Until then, Game of Thrones fans, remember: you play, or you die.

Full/er House Series, Episode Four: Fuller House, Season Three (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new 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 April 2018, our even more less “fuller” panel of fans of all things Tanner/Tanner-Fuller–including moderator Kristen, Andrew, and Leslie – gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to discuss the third season of revival Netflix sequel series Fuller House in the fourth episode of CPU!’s Full/er House series (we previously looked back at original series Full House in episode one and recapped prior seasons of Fuller House with panelists Amie and Jenn, who have since declared that they have jumped the shark).  If you have not watched any of Full House OR Fuller House, 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!

Do you want to be a part of our “Full/er House” series on the podcast?  We currently have three openings.  If so, volunteer to be a panelist!  We are a podcast by the people for the people, or, for specifically the Couch Potatoes who wish to unite with us.  If you would like to join this panel, message us via Facebook or Twitter, via our website (couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com), or via email at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com.  Where ever you may be in the world, we are able to connect with you – via video conferencing or phone conferencing – or, if you want to submit a written review of the show, send it along!

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

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: “Fuller House” – Season Three, the Full/er House Panel’s Review and Recap (Full/er House Series, Episode Four; MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Kristen

THE SPECS:

Who: “Fuller House,”an American family situation comedy and sequel to Full House, airing on the Netflix streaming service as an original series, which means, for the record, that it is available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What:  The series centers around DJ Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure), a veterinarian and widowed mother of three sons, whose sister and best friend—the mother to a teenage daughter—provide support in her sons’ upbringings by moving in with her and into DJ and her sister’s childhood home.

SYNOPSIS

After the sudden death of DJ Tanner-Fuller’s (Bure) husband, Tommy, who was fulfilling his hazardous duties as a firefighter, DJ accepts the help of her sister, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and her best friend, Kimmy (Andrea Barber), as they move in to take part in raising DJ’s three sons: 13-year-old Jackson (Michael Campion), 7-year-old Max (Elias Harger), and baby Tommy Jr. (Dashiell and Fox Messitt). Kimmy’s teenage daughter, Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas), also moves in with DJ, Stephanie, Kimmy, and DJ’s children.  Most of the Full House ensemble cast reprise their roles on Fuller House, either as regular cast members or in guest appearances, with the exception of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who alternated in the role of Michelle Tanner on Full House.

When: Season Three was released to streaming service Netflix in two parts: nine episodes on September 22, 2017, and nine episodes on December 22, 2017, with a combined grand total of eighteen episodes on the season.

Where: The show is set in San Francisco, California.

Why: Listen to the podcast series for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Fuller House.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

So many CPU! regulars, including frequent CPU! contributor and panelist Kristen, love Full House and were particular excited, at least initially, by the Netflix revival of this long dormant sitcom, creating a brand new chapter for the series, which the streaming channel calls Fuller House. In fact, Kristen saw an opportunity for a new CPU! podcast series in which CPU! panelists look back at the program that started it all while looking forward “around the water cooler” as new seasons of the reboot are released. Thus, herein we offer the fourth episode of our series covering the various versions of this sitcom, which we at CPU! are calling our “Full/er House” series.  Listen to our previous episodes in this series, in which we Look Back at Full House and review and recap previous seasons of Fuller House, via embedded links below:

Full/er House Series, Episode One: Looking Back at “Full House”

Full/er House Series, Episode Two: “Fuller House,” Season One

Full/er House Series, Episode Three: “Fuller House,” Season Two

In addition, lacking the ability to fully appreciate Full House (and Fuller House) age-wise by a few years, the Chief CP steps aside from the moderating microphone once again, so that Kristen may serve as main moderator with the kind of enthusiasm this juggernaut of nostalgia deserves. Kristen is, in turn, rejoined by her fellow series panelists – however, sharks are beginning to circle this intrepid panel, as former panelists Amie and Jenn departed this group, deeming the series no longer watchable or a priority in their television-watching schedules – which does not bode well for our series or for Fuller House, in general.  On the other hand, panelists Andrew and Leslie proved game to return for this fourth episode of our “Full/er House” series, in which we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments from the third season of the reboot.  In sum, the panel generally felt that Season Three was a vast deterioration from previous seasons, as remaining panelists cite many more low-lights than high from this expanded, two-part, anniversary year set of episodes (the original series pilot aired on September 22, 1987; thirty years ago).  Take a listen to the podcast episode if you have watched the full season and gauge whether you agree or disagree.

This podcast was recorded in April 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points and comedic situations portrayed in the third season of Fuller House. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our Game of Thrones panel FINALLY returns to the Water Cooler after over a year’s hiatus to gush (mostly) about the penultimate Season 7 of the HBO fantasy/ratings/water cooler juggernaut.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Will Michelle, aka Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, ever return to the show? (And why are they so snooty about it…it launched their careers, and the ability they had to start alleged fashion empire?)

ANSWER: Still a question, likely with a “no” answer, even as our panelists remain twelve percent hopeful. Yet, our panelists report that, at least, the show does not continue the off-putting jokes addressed to a broken fourth wall to call out the twins’ (and Michelle’s) absence.

2) Will we see any of Michelle’s friends?

ANSWER: Still a question, but without Michelle, why would anyone care about her friends?

3) Will the show tackle any issues, like teen suicide, LGBT+ acceptance, or other contemporary hot button issues in the future?

ANSWER: The show tackles surrogacy this season, as Stephanie (Sweetin) explores options for having children.  Kimmy (Barber) volunteers to be her surrogate, and the “baby daddy” and “sperm donor” is Kimmy’s brother Jimmy (Adam Hagenbuch).  The panel generally praised this story line as the best on the season because it was the most real.

4) Why did DJ become annoying, according to the panel?

ANSWER: I am not sure the panel sees an answer or even still considers this a question.  They described the DJ character as “weird” this season, as the general campy atmosphere of the show seemed to be in a caricature-laden overdrive state in Season Three, as noted by panelist Andrew.

5) Will New Kids on the Block return every season?

ANSWER: They do not return this season.  So, no.

6) Will we see any other past characters, like Vicki, Danny’s former girlfriend?  For that matter, will we ever see the character’s actual wife again?

ANSWER: Vicki (Gayle Edwards) returns!  Apparently.  And Danny’s (Bob Saget) marriage seems to be on the rocks.  Do that math, and the answer probably lurks in algebra step 2.

7) Will DJ end up with either Matt (Josh Brotherton) or Steve (Scott Weinger)?

ANSWER: It looks like Steve is going for a third try with his on again/off again soulmate.  Maybe the third try will be the charm.

New Questions

1) Will Stephanie and Jimmy get engaged?

2) Will everyone REALLY be moving back into the house – Danny, Jesse (John Stamos), Becky (Lori Loughlin), Joey (Dave Coulier), and all of their various offspring included?  Will everyone REALLY be shuffled back into their old quarters in this San Francisco house that seems to become more like a TARDIS as time passes (it’s bigger on the inside)?

3) Will DJ and Steve finally stick?

4) Why are the Gibblers so weird?

5) Since there were three viable embryos from Stephanie’s surrogacy journey, will Kimmy be bearing multiple children for her?

6) Will the show get better?  The panel feels that it fell far this year…what do you think, listener?  And if you want to join our panel, contact us – we have three openings currently. 🙂

PARTING SHOTS

Fuller House is much more cautiously – and more reticently – recommended by the Full/er House panel; to the extent that they do recommend the show, they do so mainly for the nostalgic appeal and “turn your brain off” level of entertainment resulting from the perennially saccharine premise of this well-loved cast and the tongue-in-cheek presentation of its “aw, shucks” humor. Most of the panelists would hesitate to recommend the show to anyone who has not seen the original Full House series, though the panelists also believe that the core audience of Fuller House has been established and will likely not grow, given the show’s specific oeuvre and vastly uneven quality.  In fact, the remaining panelists were much less impressed by the longer, divided third season, and with a change in show runners coming due to the discharge of original creator (of both Full House and Fuller House) Jeff Franklin, they question the long-term viability of the sequel.  Still, our panelists estimate that a better environment on set will improve the product, which was described as “shaky,” “painful,” and “cringe-worthy” at various points during the panel’s discussion.  They also feel that this sequel series and its ham and cheese on rye quality of humor remains easily binged and easily digested, with minimal heartburn or regret, even given its less well-received moments. As such, our panelists hope for an improved season four but are hard pressed to see a potential measure of recovery after the so-called “mess” of this third season.

LOOKING AHEAD

Netflix renewed Fuller House for a fourth season of thirteen episodes, though no release date has yet been announced by the streaming service giant.  CPU!’s next Full/er House episode, which will focus on this fourth seasonwill likely record and publish some time after the fourth season drops.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the blog, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes in the Full/er House podcast series as well as of new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review (give us stars – many of them!). Thank you!🙂

PODCAST! – Shark Jumpers Anonymous: “The 100” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Interviewer and Commentator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The 100″ is currently on hiatus; Season 5 of the series will premiere on the CW on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at 9:00 PM.

What: “The 100,” a science fiction drama set nearly 100 years into the future.  According to the preliminary season one voice-over, in the fictional near future, Earth is ravaged by nuclear warfare, irradiating the planet’s surface. Survivors flee to space stations orbiting the Earth; 100 years into the future, the lives of the mere thousands of the survivors’ descendants aboard the “Ark” are threatened again, as the oxygen and life support reserves dwindle, and the machinery aboard the conglomeration of space stations degrades.  The only hope for the human race centers on the heartiness of 100 adolescent prisoners, chosen for their penchant for breaking the rules, who are sent to the planet’s surface to sniff out whether humanity can return to its original home and persevere. The 100 are a mixture of society’s elite and its most oppressed; the resulting stew becomes something very similar to Lord of the Flies – except, as the 100 accept and embrace their new-found freedom, they realize they are not alone.

SYNOPSIS

Humanity survives a nuclear holocaust in the fictional near future that irradiates the planet’s surface, sending what remains of the human race into space to fend for their lives aboard several international space stations, which are eventually joined together to become the “Ark.” One hundred years into the future, humanity is in danger once again, as the century-old machinery fails, and oxygen supplies dwindle.  The society aboard the Ark is run under strict rules and laws, including population control and discouragement of defiance of the ruling council and its decrees in any way.  The Council is comprised of, among others, Chancellor Thelonius Jaha (Isaiah Washington) and his Vice Chancellor Marcus Kane (Henry Ian Cusick).  They and the chief medical officer, Dr. Abigail Griffin (Paige Turco), decide to send 100 involuntary participants deemed criminals – adolescents incarcerated for various crimes, including illegal space walks and being an unauthorized second child – in order to test the viability of the planet’s surface to sustain human life. Unfortunately, some of the 100 include the chief medical officer’s daughter and the chancellor’s son, among others.  In addition, once the 100 reach the Earth’s surface, despite the fact that they wear bracelets monitoring their health and vital signs, most of them see their situation as a new lease on life and freedom and remove their bracelets in the hopes that the Ark will leave them for dead.  Only Abby’s daughter, Clarke (Eliza Taylor), fights to communicate with the Ark, while others are content to run wild in a new, anarchic society. These two schools of thought are at odds, even as the 100 confront unexpected inhabitants of the new old world.

When: Season Four aired from February 1, 2017, to May 24, 2017, on the CW.

Where: The action is set in two locations at the outset of the series: in space, aboard the fictitious space station amalgamation known as the “Ark,” and on Earth, in an unknown location at an unidentified crash site.  The adults eventually travel to Earth, foregoing the dying Ark, and set up a settlement, first called “Camp Jaha” and then “Arkadia.”

Why: The Chief CP is always on the hunt for good science fiction; this show offers less science and more fiction.  The podcast panelists who remain (for now) all found this program in diverse ways.  Listen to the episode for details.

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

CPU! last covered The 100 in 2017, just prior to the premiere of Season 4, by recapping the first three seasons to get our resident Couch Potatoes caught up on the show.  If you need to get caught up too, listen to the embedded link below:

The 100, Seasons 1-3

Unfortunately, coverage of The 100 on the podcast is about to go the way of the dodo.  The remaining panelists, Kelsey and Selene, find themselves at a Fonzie-inspired crossroads: an inability and sheer lack of desire to proceed forward in watching this latest entry in teen dystopian science fiction.  As such, though they fleetingly visited the Water Cooler in the past to talk about a show they once loved, they now inaugurate a new interview-style feature on CPU! entitled “Shark Jumpers Anonymous,” in which panelists – and about to be former-panelists – explain why they are making leaps and bounds over predatory fish (or like trees and leaving).  Answering a script of questions, the two panelists explain why they have stopped watching the show, while Chief CP Kylie justifies why she has continued to watch – and to modestly like – The 100, including a babbling, poorly recollected recap of major plot points from the fourth season.  Hey!  It’s hard when you’re out there, doing it on your own.

If you feel sorry for me – and love this show to boot – never fear.  You can join CPU! as a panelist, for this and for other shows.  Scroll down to “Looking Ahead” for the details!

In the meantime, give this latest CPU! episode a listen, with an ear to the ground and an eye toward the sky, and see if you agree or disagree with our spicy thoughts.  The interviews were recorded in March and in April 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of all seasons of The 100. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! In our next episode, our “Full/er House Series” panel returns to the Water Cooler – smaller and also with sharks circling their vociferous but tenacious group – to recap Season 3 (both parts). Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Is Lexa’s essence, as preserved in ALIE’s construct known as the “City of Light,” truly gone?  Or, did she escape the oncoming onslaught of hostile and devoted chipped humans within the construct? If so, where did she go?

ANSWER: As Lexa did not appear in Season 4, it is presumed she is truly gone – though the Flame, which holds the remaining ALIE construct (and is the chip by which the Grounders choose a clan Commander) remains with Gaia, Indra’s daughter.  Could Lexa’s essence still be rolling around in that chip?  Considering that the actress moved on to appear in Fear of the Walking Dead, it is unlikely we will know the answer to that question any time soon.

2) Is the entire fourth season going to be centered on a hunt for decaying nuclear power plants?  How can Clarke (Taylor) and company possibly solve the conundrum described by ALIE’s creator, who posed that the nuclear power plants would implode within six months?

ANSWER: Fortunately, Clarke and the others realize quickly that there are too many reactors decaying and about to create “praimfaya,” or catastrophic destruction, to consider traversing the world or to hope to save everyone from annihilation.  Clarke and her mother (Turco) concentrate on a crazy plan to change regular human blood to radiation-resistant night-blood; Raven (Lindsey Morgan) concentrates on booting a dormant spaceship housed in one of the facilities formerly run by Becca, ALIE’s creator, in a crazy plan to use the ship to get to space as a plan Z for escaping the nuclear meltdown; and Clark and Jaha (Washington) concentrate on a crazy plan to find a bunker created by Earth’s previous civilization to withstand the nuclear catastrophe that occurred 100 years in the past.  The bunker can only house and sustain – with agroponic farming – 1200 occupants.  These three plot lines guide the season.

3) Are there human survivors in other parts of the former USA?  Other parts of the world? Will we meet any of them in this season?  Are there other Grounder clans (aside from Ice Nation, Treekru, etc.)?  Will we meet them?

ANSWER: We will never know for sure about survivors elsewhere in the world because praimfaya comes and goes.  Now, we can only know if there are on-surface survivors of the latest nuclear holocaust, in addition to a small group that flies in Raven’s space shuttle to space and to the 1200 representatives of the remaining clans, Skaikru included, led by Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos) in the bunker.

4) Why should we care that the Earth is dying, given all of the violence and poor judgment of so many characters on this show?  The writers and producers have to convince several members of our panel to keep watching by giving us a reason to care.

ANSWER: The Chief CP ultimately sees the story being told as one of humanity’s perseverance and tenacity in the face of extinction, and perhaps, this main idea is the emotional connection that the writers are seeking to make with the viewing audience.  Yet, the death toll is so high on this show and so much more catastrophic (so far) compared to contemporaneous TV, like the superior Game of Thrones, it’s really, really hard to care or to be invested in any one or set of characters.  Everyone’s lives – and the fate of the planet – are always at stake, and that’s a lot of high octane tension that begins to wear on the viewer’s psyche after a time.

5) Will other characters die?  Will they all die?  Will they survive?  Will they have to go back to space to escape the failing nuclear power plants?

ANSWER: Other characters die in Season 4 (SPOILER: Jasper Jordan, played by Devon Bostick; Roan, played by Zach McGowan).  As of the Season 4 finale, Clarke is the only confirmed survivor.  And only a fraction of people, including Raven, Bellamy (Bob Morley), and Monty (Christopher Larkin) take the small shuttle found by Raven to space to escape the power reactors.

6) Does this show possibly have a fifth season in it?  Our panel votes not so much.

ANSWER: The network and the show’s producers disagree: Season 5 premieres this coming Tuesday.  But Chief CP Kylie is hard pressed to believe this show will survive to a Season 6.  Of course, this season’s renewal also surprised me, so what do I know?

New Questions

1) Who is in the spaceship that Clarke sees in the last five minutes in the Season 4 finale?

2) What kind of leader/Commander is Octavia?  Have all of the bunker inhabitants survived so far?  Will we see flashbacks to show us how everyone managed it?

3) Did our space flight group survive on the Ark remnant (was there enough oxygen for all that)?

4) Who is the little kid with Clarke?  Are there other on-surface survivors/night-bloods that emerged from praimfaya?

5) What is the show’s endgame?  Really?

6) Is it worth it to “ship” anyone anymore?

PARTING SHOTS

As we discussed last time we covered this show, The 100 seems to have burned bright and fast only to fizzle into wisps of smoke and ash, confronted as it is by a myriad of puzzling writing decisions that may have painted the show into a corner without chance for entertaining recovery.  Season 4 does fare better than Season 3, though this is only confirmed by Chief CP Kylie, as the other panelists jumped sharks. Panelists Kelsey and Selene cite many reasons for foregoing additional viewing, including a rocky foundation, relying on minimal and lacking character development as the writers and executive producer, Jason Rothenberg, drive quickly toward the main plot arcs without taking time to lay essential character groundwork.  All panelists recall a faltering third season, as several plot threads and character decisions remiss of logic established by the first two seasons create an impossible situation facing our characters as the season ends, with uneven pacing and egregious violence adding to the mess.  Our departing panelists lauded an original premise, even as the remaining panelist continues to struggle with its derivative influences.  Yet, as the Chief CP notes, the writers did – somewhat, though certainly not completely – absolve the show’s weaker aspects in Season 4 by focusing upon three, linear plot threads all aimed at the survival of the known populations of the human race, with an interesting season ending time jump that provided enough intrigue without testing the boundaries of suspension of disbelief.  Unfortunately, only Kylie is left standing as the show heads into Season 5…unless new panelists join.  Care to be one of them?

LOOKING AHEAD

The 100 was renewed for a fifth season, which is slated to premiere on the CW on April 24, 2018, at 9:00 PM.  Because the entire panel “jumped the shark” but for the Chief CP, CPU! will not return to the Water Cooler to discuss The 100 again, though Kylie, should she remain the last of the Couch Potatoes interested in the show, will provide a Moderator Post-Mortem following the series end.

Do you want CPU! to continue covering The 100 on the podcast?  If so, volunteer to be a panelist!  We are a podcast by the people for the people, or, for specifically the Couch Potatoes who wish to unite with us.  If you would like to join this panel (and bring a friend, as we need at least two to revive it), message us via Facebook or Twitter, via our website (couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com), or via email at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com.  Where ever you may be in the world, we are able to connect with you – via video conferencing or phone conferencing – or, if you want to submit a written review of the show, send it along!  In the meantime, CPU! will maintain surface coverage of goings-on in The 100’s universe, including reporting renewals or cancellations, until the series ends.  Stay tuned!