Supernatural, Season 14B (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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

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

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

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

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Supernatural” – The Season 14 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Supernatural” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, fall to spring Thursdays at 8:00 PM, though it is currently on hiatus.

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 14 finale aired on April 25, 2019, 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 of 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/Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

The Season 9 Premiere 

Seasons 9, 10, and 11

Season 12A

Season 12B

Season 13A

Season 13B

Season 14A

Our Super-CPU! panel has happily remained constant since its last meeting, and all panelists proved ready and raring as ever to talk about the second half of Season 14 with the force of hell unleashed upon earth.  Thus, panelists Nick, Jen (S), Kelsey, Jeremy, and Jenn (K), along with your trusty Chief CP and moderator, hop into our ’67 Chevy Impala, always ready to ride until we, or Supernatural, die(s), and find ourselves at the CPU! Water Cooler, and/or the nearest purveyor of homemade pies, animatedly discussing major plot points from, and ruminating upon the success of, the second half of Season 14.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or brotherly bond continues to be sometimes tested in Supernatural’s later seasons, particularly in this latest half season, we still have lots to think and to talk about in this latest chatty analysis.  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 September 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of Season 14 of Supernatural. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, our “Star Trek 50+ Series” panel returns to the Water Cooler to wrap up its discussion of The Original Series by parsing through the third and final season of the show that started it all, in addition to each of the panelists offering their personal “best of” and “worst of” episode lists of that series. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: How many miles are on the Impala after all this time?

REPEAT ANSWER: Still unknown.

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Will they ever get their happy ending?

NEW ANSWER: I guess we will find out in less than one year’s time! *tear* And I’m sure Kansas will remind them to Carry On, Wayward Sons.  “Lay your weary head to rest; don’t you cry no more.”

3) REPEAT QUESTION: If Lucifer (Mark Pelligrino) is out of the Cage, why can’t the archangel Michael, currently housed within long lost Winchester half brother Adam, escape from the Cage? Will we ever see Adam/Michael again?

NEW(ISH) ANSWER: Apocalypse World (AW) Michael runs around this dimension for awhile, and there was a potential if chancy return for Lucifer prognosticated, given that his second-favorite vessel Nick survives for a time and prays to Lucifer’s sleeping essence in the Empty, which improbably seems to awaken our favorite Evil Archangel. To date, however, the return of this dimension’s Michael as well as the actor who played Adam, given the fact that Michael Prime is still lounging in a slightly mind-addled Adam in the Cage, has not yet occurred. Plus, AW Michael is no more, owing to a certain saucy nephilim who decides to burn off what is left of his human soul to save the world. Listen to the podcast episode for the spicy details.

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

NEW (BEYOND EXCITED AND TOTALLY UNFETTERED) ANSWER: YES! YES! YES! Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the original (and breathlessly handsome) face of John Winchester, makes a grand return to Supernatural in Season 14, Episode Thirteen, the 300th episode entitled “Lebanon!” Listen to the podcast episode for details! Oh, and I guess we can finally remove this question from the list, eh?

5) REPEAT QUESTION: A Prince of Hell named Ramiel held in his possession two intriguing items: Archangel Michael’s Spear or Lance and (wait for it) the Colt.  The Colt is currently broken, snapped in two by another Prince of Hell named Dagon, who Cas later snuffed.  Can the Colt be repaired?  By Sam?  How is the Colt powered?  Didn’t the Colt have a fixed number of bullets once upon a time?  More importantly, **where did the Colt go after Season 6?** How did Ramiel get a hold of it?  Why has the show not addressed the continuity of this gun?  Why was it brought back only to be broken?  WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS THING?!

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: All questions currently without answers, including those about the Spear/Lance.  Last episode’s theories fell by the wayside because Season 14 does not return to the concept of a Spear/Lance.

6) REPEAT QUESTION: Also, the Spear/Lance is broken, I believe with Crowley’s help in that instance.  Will it be repaired, since Dean pockets the fragments?  Is it usable by anyone besides Michael? Dean is still a predestined Michael vessel – can he use it?  We repeat – will we ever see Michael out of the Cage again?

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: The Spear/Lance remains broken, Supernatural Prime world’s Michael is still housed in half-brother Adam in Hell’s Cage, and AW Michael seems to forget about his spear. So, should we care about the Spear/Lance anymore? Eh, Supernatural writers? Bueller?

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

REPEAT ANSWER: So far, Sam has not tapped into the allegedly dormant powers he received from Prince of Hell Azazel.

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

NEW ANSWER: The Empty is back, and s/he/it is super pissed – still – that Castiel is awake and out of his/her/its clutches.  Plus, when Jack (Alexander Calvert) temporarily loses his life in the first half of this season (listen to the podcast episode about 14A for details), and his soul first appears in Heaven, the Empty barges into the largely unguarded ethereal plane, given the near extinction of available angels to monitor its sterile white corridors and dreamy memory locations, looking to claim Jack’s soul due to his nephilim status.  Cas, however, offers himself back to the Empty in exchange for the Empty releasing its clutches on Jack. The Empty agrees to this deal but notes that the entity will return for Cas only when he is truly happy and would be truly hurt by the Empty’s act of returning Cas to the abyss. So, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “we do not care about the Empty in the slightest,” to 10 being “we must care because we know the Empty is about to start some next-level stuff,” we are probably at an 8.5 in the “caring about the Empty” spectrum.

Plus, at the end of the series finale (SPOILER), Jack (who is snuffed from existence by Chuck/God); Billie the Reaper; and the shadow that we theorize is either Lucifer or the Empty Nothing-Man himself, is standing in the Empty’s void, ultimately fulfilling the Empty’s early-season wish. Something tells us this is all going to come to a head in Season 15, and that the payoff will be anything but Empty in the end, but this eventuality does leave Cas’ deal with the Empty Nothing-Man somewhat moot, now, doesn’t it?

9) REPEAT QUESTION: Has Death, as in The Horseman Of, died before the Winchesters killed off the Death we knew and awoke the Darkness?  Is Billie the second “Death” or one of many?

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

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

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

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

REPEAT ANSWER: Still questions without answers.

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

NEW ANSWER: Dean is temporarily vacated by Michael, but Michael returns. In the end, it is Jack, who sacrifices what remains of his human soul to be able to access his angelic powers, that effectively annihilates AW Michael, particularly after Michael vacates Dean again and heads straight for nearby, powerful witch Rowena. Our panel has strong feelings about this turn of events; listen to the podcast episode for details.

In addition, Sam leads the Angel Resistance and scant hunter forces on this side of the rift from the bunker for a time, forming an ad hoc Men of Letters organization in its own right, until AW Michael eradicates most of them (other than Mary and Bobby and a few others). This act, in fact, is what prompts Jack to sacrifice his soul for the greater good, though our panel struggles with Jack’s character arc progression and decision-making skills at this moment and thereafter. You should really listen to the episode.

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

NEW ANSWER: Jack finally regains his power when he burns off the portion of his human soul that allowed him to return from the dead with Lily’s angelic spell. The result leaves him mostly soulless angel, full of grace, and his newly reinstated power allows him to save Dean from AW Michael and to temporarily save the world – that is, until Jack, with his unmatched power, starts messing with the world order himself and attempts to create new angels. Listen to the podcast episode for the panel’s diverse reactions to this plot progression.

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

NEW ANSWER: The answer to the first two questions is a definite “yes,” right down to the romantic relationship. As far as the wisdom in this decision, while the boys support this new development, the end result is not a happy one, at least for AW Bobby. To write what it is here would be a most major spoiler, so you know what to do. Of course, you could also just keep reading.

15) REPEAT QUESTION: Is the Shedim an abandoned concept, with the quick death of Asmodeus?

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: The panel voted in the Season 14A episode that the writers forgot about the Shedim.  Still, we will keep asking the question until the writers track back to this tidbit of Asmodeus-inspired information.

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

REPEAT-ISH ANSWER: The answer to this question remains to be seen, though the producers have hinted in the press that this eventuality might finally play out in the final season.

17) REPEAT QUESTION: Will the remaining angels join a fight for or against AW Michael?  Will AW Michael snuff out the rest of the angels?

NEW ANSWER: The short answer to both questions is “no.” The slightly longer answer to both questions is that there are currently not enough angels to risk themselves in an off-brand Michael’s version of a holy war, and AW Michael seems to be at least somewhat sympathetic, or at least apathetic, to the plight of his brethren in this dimension.

18) REPEAT QUESTION: Will we see Heaven collapse next season?

NEW ANSWER: No, but we do see the unleashing of hell on earth. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

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

NEW ANSWER: The short answer is: Jack. See above for additional details.

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

NEW ANSWER: Chuck/God (guest: Rob Benedict) returns in the fourteenth season finale, except he does not appear to be acting totally like himself or, at least, the “himself” we have come to sort of know over the course of the series. Chuck states a clear aim to stop Jack in his tracks (some grandfather he is), who upsets the world order by forcing everyone in it to tell the truth, regardless of the consequences, which causes an imbalance that threatens to unravel the world’s very existence. Chuck/God appears, then, somewhat late to the party since Castiel tried to pray for him to return in a previous episode; solves the problem by smiting Jack when he is unable to convince Sam or Dean to do it for him; and then gets really upset that Sam and Dean get really upset by Chuck/God’s whims and actions. In the end, Chuck decides to destroy the world he created by starting his own apocalypse, complete with the literal uncorking of hell.

What’s more, Chuck/God reports that his sister, Amara aka The Darkness, returns with him, but that she’s hanging out in Reno. He says it so dismissively that our panel actually comes to believe that the Chuck/God we see in the fourteenth season finale is not the actual Chuck/God but either Amara in a mean if somewhat foolproof disguise, hellbent on causing the world’s destruction once more, or quite possibly a wily Lucifer, who has somehow pulled a switcheroo with his absentee dad, sending Chuck/God to the Empty and giving Lucifer a chance to be what he always wanted to be anyway (which is never good, according to most of the things we have read). Listen to the podcast episode, as the panel discusses extensive theories about the final shots of the season and what we predict might happen in Season 15 around these developments.

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

REPEAT ANSWER: So far, the show has provided no further explanation surrounding Sam’s Season 13 research findings concerning nephilim.  

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

ANSWER: Well, maybe this answer is not as foregone as we thought. Though we suspect that Lucifer reaches for his soulless son in the back quarter of this season, as a portal from the Empty opens and as the red-eyed shadowy figure seems to outstretch toward Jack, the shadow is not actually successful in breaking away from the vacuum of said portal. Thus, by the end of Season 14, Lucifer (we think, unless one of our Chuck/God theories pans out) is still in the Empty…and if the shadow we see in the season finale is, in fact, the same shadow we suspect to be Lucifer, he is joined by his son, newly smote by his grandfather Chuck/God, and Billie the Reaper, for purposes and potential plans unknown. Listen to the podcast episode for all the theories and details.

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

ANSWER: We do not see this eventuality come to pass in Season 14, and now there is only one season left. So…we guess it is likely to happen in Season 15. Though the panel seems friendlier to Rowena overall, except for panelist Jen S, nowadays, the panel does not want Rowena’s death to be a rushed affair, however it goes down and if it does go down at all in Season 15.

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

ANSWER: All answers without questions, since Naomi is missing in action this season, her fate largely a question at least to our panel, as the number of angels continues to dwindle. Also, given the events of the season finale, we suspect that Heaven is as much fair game to what Chuck/God releases from the depths of the netherworld as Earth is. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

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

ANSWER: Yes, part of Jack’s soul is used but so is Lily’s soul, if we understand what Jack has left at the start of this half of the season to be correct. The Chief CP believes that the confusion arose from the fact that Lily’s soul and Jack’s soul are tied together, but you can help clarify this for us further, gentle listener.

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

ANSWER: No. So far, the Empty has not come a-calling for Cas. Plus, Jack is actually in the Empty’s void in the season finale. Therefore, how can the Empty insist upon the fulfillment of Cas’ sacrificial promise as made in the first half of the season? There is one more season left to answer this question, we surmise.

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

ANSWER: No. John spends time only with his core family in the bunker in Lawrence, Kansas. And really, that was enough, as the 300th episode is, undeniably, the best episode of the season (and possibly one of the best of the series).

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

ANSWER: Other than Chuck/God, Zachariah, and John, we see no other familiar faces in Season 14. Season 15, however, proves to be a potential stomping ground for the greatest hits of Supernatural’s long litany of guest stars and characters, at least as hinted at in the press by the show’s producers and with Chuck/God’s literal uncorking of hell’s depths. Listen to the podcast episode for our predictions.

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

ANSWER: This question is moot. AW Michael does not get far enough along in his plans for the armies to envelop the Earth before Jack decides to smite his not-quite-uncle. So, the demons’ reactions are, you know, not a thing.

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

ANSWER: The Empty still exists, quite pointedly, at the end of Season 14. As for whether the Empty will change to something else or whether any of its captured ethereal beings escape its clutches…well, methinks an apocalyptic portent is brewing, and that Jack, Billie, and the unidentified shadow will light the match to set the whole thing ablaze. Listen to the podcast episode for predictions.

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

ANSWER: So far, no joy.

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

ANSWER: So far, Heaven is still functioning but is more vulnerable than ever, since there are even less original angels to protect it, aside from some problematic creations of Jack’s that have not yet emerged from their perch on high; we do not know if these human-turned-angel attempts on Jack’s part are, as such, working models or not, and the panel is kind of leery about the whole situation. Listen to the podcast episode for our reactions.

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

ANSWER: Not this season.

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

ANSWERS: Still questions without answers.

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

ANSWER: So far, no one has.

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

ANSWER: Unknown, and we probably will not find out the answer to this question at this point, since AW Michael no longer exists.

37) Seriously, what was The Bad Place?

ANSWER: Probably the most robust answer we will get is this: Chuck/God attempted to write a bunch of different versions of Earth. He only likes this dimension’s version. So, the Bad Place is a bad rough draft in the realm of his/His many creations. Beyond that, we do not know what it is, and we do not think that Chuck/God will be forthcoming with the answers in Season 15, whatever happens and wherever he may end up.

New Questions

1) Many of our remaining questions are covered in the old questions. The few new ones begin with this: is the Chuck/God we see in the fourteenth season finale really Chuck/God or someone wearing his face, such as Amara or Lucifer?

2) How will Sam and Dean escape the onslaught of converging demons we see in the fourteenth season finale?

3) What is Billie doing in the Empty?

4) Who is the shadow in the Empty really?

5) Will we see the return of demonic favorites, such as Azazel, the Yellow-Eyed Demon? Or Crowley even?

6) Will John Winchester return a final time?

7) Mary (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) is killed by an overreaching and angelically charged Jack near the end of the season. Is she really gone for good?

8) How will it all end? Will Sam and Dean survive, or will they die? Together? Separately? Will Baby survive? Will Cas?

9) Will Heaven and Hell still exist by the end of the series?

10) Can Jared and Jensen go shirtless at least once in the final season? Kthxbai.

PARTING SHOTS

Our Supernatural panel continues to traverse somewhat wildly through a diverse range of vacillating individual and group opinions about the most recent SPN half season in this latest episode.  Some panelists regard this overall season as enjoyable at points, given Jensen Ackles’ opportunity to spread his proverbial wings and his acting range via his portrayal of AW Michael as well as the ongoing integration into the cast of Alexander Calvert’s Jack, both of which feel like modestly fresh new aspects to this long-running story.  Others continue to watch the series because they are motivated by the curiosity that comes with needing to complete what was started, fourteen years ago. 

Ultimately, however, most if not all of the panelists expressed some disappointment about the way the fourteenth season unfolded in the back half, especially its end, given the fact that the limited monster-of-the-week episodes were largely forgettable (though the decreased number of them was, by and large, welcomed by the panelists) and given the, at times, shocking and, at other times, seemingly unearned turns of some of the characters. What is more, the panelists proved particularly struck by the anticlimactic feel of some of these twists, specifically the quick eradication of AW Michael, Jack’s general progression toward the end of season, and the shocking death of Mary, which, to the panel, felt premature and, at its base, off, given everything that had been set up by the show’s writers prior to the point. Your friendly neighborhood Chief CP, in fact, effused some notable disappointment about the thudded landing of the AW Michael story line, as the purported “game changer” touted by the show’s cast preseason felt like the same old game on a different day by the end of the story line’s quick and unsatisfying telling.

Still, the panel members continue to find compelling reasons to stick with the series, ups and downs aside, owing to some good writing moments, the consistent acting, and the natural and long nurtured quirks of the mythology (and the sheer beauty of its cast). In this way, in the end and despite the panel members’ individual gripes and barbs about things that strike us as strange – even for such a strange world as we have been watching all this time – all panel members feel that the show is still entertaining, even this late in its lifetime. Carry On, Wayward Sons, as we move into the fifteenth and final season! (The Heavens will truly weep on the day of this specific series finale, I can tell you.)

LOOKING AHEAD

Supernatural was automatically renewed for a full (and final) season of 20 episodes. Season 15 premieres Thursday, October 10, 2019, at 8:00 PM on the CW. In the meantime, our Supernatural podcast panel will next reconvene following the fifteenth mid-season finale, likely sometime in or around January 2020. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Supernatural coverage.  Stay tuned! Until then!

DCTU Series, Episode 20: The Flash, Season 5 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in August 2019, our DC Television Universe or DCTU Series panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the twentieth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 5 of the Arrowverse’s first spin-off, The Flash. If you have not watched any of Arrow, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

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

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

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

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 20, “The Flash” – Season 5, the DCTU Panel’s Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The Flash” is a superhero/action/mystery drama centered on events and characters inspired by The Flash franchise of the DC Comic Universe, which airs on the CW, fall to spring Tuesdays at 8:00 PM.

What: “The Flash,” a series developed by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Geoff Johns, based on the DC Comics character Barry Allen / The Flash, a costumed superhero crime-fighter with the power to move at superhuman speeds. This series is considered a spin-off from Arrow. The series follows Allen (Grant Gustin), a crime scene investigator who gains super-human speed, which he uses to fight criminals, including others who have also gained superhuman abilities.

SYNOPSIS

After witnessing his mother’s supernatural murder and his father’s wrongful conviction for the crime, Barry Allen (Gustin) is taken in by Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and his family. Allen becomes a brilliant but socially awkward crime scene investigator for the Central City Police Department. His obsession with his tragic past causes him to become an outcast among his peers; he investigates cold cases, paranormal occurrences, and cutting-edge scientific advancements that may shed light on his mother’s murder. No one believes his description of the crime—that a ball of lightning with the face of a man invaded their home that night—and Allen is fiercely driven to vindicate himself and to clear his father’s name. Fourteen years after his mother’s death, an advanced particle accelerator malfunctions during its public unveiling, bathing the city center with a previously unknown form of radiation during a severe thunderstorm. Allen is struck by lightning from the storm and doused with chemicals in his lab. Awakening after a nine-month coma, he discovers he has the ability to move at superhuman speeds. Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh), the disgraced designer of the failed particle accelerator, describes Barry’s special nature as “meta-human.” Allen soon discovers that he is not the only one who was changed by the radiation. Allen vows to use his gifts to protect Central City from the escalating violence of meta-human and other criminals. He is aided by a few close friends and associates who guard his secrets.

When: Season 5 aired on the CW from October 9, 2018, to May 14, 2019, with a total of 22 episodes.

Where: The action is set in fictional Central City, one of the primary settings of The Flash franchise.  The action does branch out in the occasional crossover with Arrow to Star City (formerly Starling City) and, occasionally, to other dimensions in a “multi-verse.”

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the first Flash podcast episode via the embedded link below! It should be noted that CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie previously picked up this show during the 2014 Fall Preview, noting:

The DC comics universe is attempting some major expansions now that Marvel is push and shove proliferating on big and small screens everywhere.  The Flash is a classic hero; he was given an appearance on Smallville, and there is some crossover with Arrow, which I’ve decided to catch up on, since the CW is offering DC Comics a chance to implement those crossovers. Also, I like the choice for the title role. The Flash is a non-flashy guy, almost DC’s equivalent of Spider Man, given an extraordinary ability, as opposed to several.  It could be an engaging new take on an old superhero story.

How – as in How’s It Going? – THOUGHTS

This is the twentieth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Here are only the prior The Flash episodes in the series; as we flush out seasons of all Arrowverse shows, older episodes will be searchable via the website – click the upper right dialog box in the header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers. Listen to each episode here:

DCTU Series, Episode 3, “The Flash,” Seasons 1-2

DCTU Series, Episode 9, “The Flash,” Season 3

DCTU Series, Episode 15, “The Flash,” Season 4

DCTU Series, Episode 17, the DCTU Mid-Season Roundup, 2018-2019

In our last DCTU episode, our cheeky and feisty DCTU panel – namely Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – began addressing the most recent full seasons of each of the four “Arrowverse” series in order of the airing of each season finale by discussing the seventh season of Arrow.  Tonight’s episode finds the panel returning to the Water Cooler to talk the fifth season of The Flash in the twentieth episode of our DCTU series.  The discussion herein considers the success of Modern Age villain “Cicada” (Chris Klein); the introduction of Barry and Iris’ daughter, back in time from the future, Nora West-Allen aka “XS” (she is also a speedster, played by Jessica Parker Kennedy); the continued dual nature of Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker); the return of Eobard Thawne aka Reverse Flash (played by Cavanaugh in this iteration); and how the Central City section of the Arrowverse is faring as a whole.  In fact, the panelists’ typically unanimous and stalwart support of The Flash as the best of the CW’s DC Universe offerings continued to wane a little this time, with some of the panelists expressing dissatisfaction with repetitive story-telling and questionable character decisions, while other panelists still see The Flash as the most consistent and, therefore, most enjoyable property of the four (current) Arrowverse shows.

This particular episode was recorded in August 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of Season 5 of The Flash. 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 Supernatural panel returns to the Water Cooler to discuss Season 14B, now the penultimate season (we can’t even believe it!), of the long-running fantasy/horror series.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Will Gorilla Grodd return?

ANSWER: Yes! Grodd returns in Episode 15, and he faces off against King Shark in one of the best episodes of the season! Listen to the podcast episode for details.

2) With the appearance of Nora, Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future, how much time will she spend on the show, and which comic story are they trying to channel?  Is it Flashpoint Redux or something else?

ANSWER: Nora lasts the whole season, and the writers seem to be drawing upon a few DC/Flash story lines to weave this particular tale, while also planting seeds for the upcoming and much ballyhooed Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event. It is not Flashpoint Redux, owing to the return of The Flash’s arch nemesis, the Reverse Flash. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) Will Ralph aka Elongated Man (Hartley Sawyer) become a permanent member of Team Flash?

ANSWER: Yes! Hartley Sawyer, portraying actor of Ralph Dibny aka Elongated Man, was promoted to series regular in Season 5 and becomes a permanent member of Team Flash.

4) Will the Trickster, as played by Mark Hamill, ever return?

ANSWER: Unknown. Luke Skywalker is still being Luke, and occasionally the Joker, and other stuff that makes him famous, so he is quite busy.

5) Will we see other Barry/Iris future generations, such as Nora’s son Bart Allen, who becomes another incarnation/version of Flash in the comics?

ANSWER: Not in Season 5.

6) Will the show return to more of a classic format: strong villain, an advisory version of Harrison Wells, and Barry being the primary speedster? The panel votes yes; some panelists hope profoundly that the Nora character will not be overused or become too omnipresent in Season 5, though those panelists might be facing profound disappointment as a result.

ANSWER: Yes! Barry is the primary speedster, though he is often accompanied by his daughter from the future, Nora. Harrison “Sherloque” Wells is the adviser of the season, sent to Team Flash by the Council of Wells. He is French and particularly particular about the way his name is pronounced. Meanwhile, the two primary villains of Season 5 were Cicada (and his niece, who takes up the Cicada mantle) and Reverse Flash, who, of course, masterminds everything we see. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

7) What is the writing that Barry uses when he emerges from the Speed Force, and that Nora is using near the end of the season?  Does it mean something?  Is it important? Is it Kryptonian? Is it something else?

ANSWER: It is Speed Force/Time language and does, in fact, signify something very important: the code to the Multi-Verse. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

8) Was Cecile’s (Danielle Nicolet) meta-ability of being able to read minds exclusive to just her pregnancy, as Caitlin initially theorizes, or is Cecile some lingering type of meta herself?  Alternatively, will her baby daughter one day be a meta?

ANSWER: Cecile’s meta ability persists throughout Season 5, despite having had her and Joe’s new baby daughter. As to baby’s potential meta-ness…that remains to be seen.

9) Who is the new female speedster that Jay Garrick said he was training as he transitions into retirement from being Earth 3’s Flash?

ANSWER: Unknown/still a question. The answer to this question was not clarified, unless Jay was suggesting that he was training Nora.

10) The show is seeding the idea that Caitlin might have always had Killer Frost in her, and that her disassociated personality might not have been caused by the particle accelerator explosion in Season 1.  What did cause that split in Caitlin’s past?  How is she able to manifest freezing powers because of it?

ANSWER: It seems that Caitlin’s father, Thomas Snow, a scientist like her mother, experimented with gene therapy and cryo-freezing processes when Caitlin was a child in an attempt to create a cure for devastating illnesses, like ALS, of which Thomas is diagnosed early in Caitlin’s history. He then, somewhat unethically this CP would espouse, tries these therapies on himself as well as on Caitlin as a child subject, which produces early side effects of being able to manipulate ice and cold moisture. Unfortunately, the side effects also produce a type of schizophrenia in both Caitlin and in, later, Thomas, as his experimentation on himself results in a dark personality that he ultimately names “Icicle.” Listen to the podcast episode for further details.

11) Will we learn more of what happened to Barry while he was in the Speed Force in Season 5?

ANSWER: No. We do not learn more about Barry’s time in the Speed Force in Season 5.

12) What is Nora’s “big, big mistake?”  Helping her future dad in the past? Or something else?

ANSWER: Unclear. Was Nora helping her father to foil the Thinker’s satellite-related mega-plans the mistake, as doing so paved the way for the creation of meta-tech and, therefore, the means by which Cicada comes to power? At first, Nora might be referring to this decision as her big mistake; more likely, however, she is referring to her choice to ally herself with Eobard Thawne aka Reverse Flash, as it is his advice that spurs her to make the decision to go back in time and to try to save her father, an event that presents far-reaching consequences on the future timeline. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

13) Will we get to see Eobard Thawne aka Reverse Flash next season (with a plausible explanation as to how and why)?

ANSWER: Yes! And yes! Just listen to the podcast episode already, as we spend some time discussing the clever machinations of Mr. Thawne.

14) Who will be the season-arching villain for Season 5?  Which of Flash’s rogues will appear and/or return in the fifth season?  Will they appear together, as panelist Kyle would like to see?

ANSWER: Cicada, with aiding and abetting by Reverse Flash, constitute the season-arching villains for the fifth season. Other than them, we also are entreated to appearances by Rag Doll, Gorilla Grodd, King Shark, Godspeed, and Bug-Eyed Bandit as rogues rooted in the actual Flash comics. We also meet a host of new villains, who come to power when the Thinker’s satellite of Season 4 is destroyed, creating dark matter-infused technology that Cisco (Carlos Valdes) deems “meta-tech.” To answer panelist Kyle’s wish, Grodd actually faces off against King Shark, who is on the brink of receiving a cure for his metahuman/animal hybrid condition, but who chooses to revert to his shark form to be able to muster the strength to defeat Grodd, in one of the best episodes of the season. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

15) What is Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash’s (currently played by Tom Cavanaugh) plan on The Flash? Why is he using Nora West-Allen aka XS, Barry Allen and Iris West’s daughter from the future, for his evil? Or, is she working for him and why?

ANSWER: (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) Eobard Thawne is in custody in the future because, well, he’s kind of evil and villainous. How is he held there? By the power dampening strengths of Cicada’s dagger, which has somehow become available to future authorities for power dampening purposes and which is plastered to Eobard’s chest, preventing his escape. Nora seeks out Eobard in prison under the guise of seeking further information about her father, who she learns during her early adulthood is, to her surprise and excitement, the Flash. In turn, Eobard, from prison, manipulates Nora’s wistfulness over not having a life with her father, Barry Allen/the Flash, by convincing her to run back in time and to reconnect with her dad, which then leads her to interfere with history by helping her dad against the Thinker, which then leads her to remain behind to get to know him and her mother while devoting effort to correcting history, every so often returning to Eobard in prison in this not-so-distant future to accept his device and direction related to what she should do next. In Nora’s mind, she believes that Eobard is helping her of his own accord because he has no other choice and possibly because he has genuine affection for her (which Iris, played by Candice Patton, also believes to be the case when she follows Nora into the future later in the season). In addition, Eobard provides fatherly advice to the “Little Runner,” particularly with relation to learning how to use her speedster abilities, which had been suppressed through a device employed by the future incarnation of her mother, Iris, throughout her childhood in an effort to avoid repeating what ultimately happens to Barry in this potential future: namely, his disappearance, as forecast by the future newspaper headline in the Time Vault, which most everyone on Team Flash has come to believe is caused by a confrontation with Cicada. It’s twisty, it’s turny, it’s quintessentially a trademark Reverse Flash mastermind ™ – because it’s all done with his own self-preservation in mind. Listen to the podcast episode for further details.

16) What is the little journal, containing presumably Speed Force writing, that Nora is carrying around with her?

ANSWER: The journal contains Time Language recorded in Eobard Thawne’s handwriting. The Time Language contains (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) a cipher for what represents the DC Multiverse.

17) How much longer will Orlin Dwyer aka Cicada (Chris Klein) be a factor? The panel has some decidedly mixed reactions to him.

ANSWER: Though an angry, future, and decidedly adult version of Orlin’s niece takes up the mantle of Cicada and ends up murdering her uncle during a quixotic set of violent decisions, she also hallucinates visions of her devoted uncle as she wrestles with the effects of time travel, an apparent connection to Nora fostered by a trip into Grace’s consciousness, and the long-term exposure to dark matter shrapnel lodged in her prefrontal cortex. In essence, Cicada is around for the whole season, whether as Orlin Dwyer or as Grace Dwyer, until young Grace accepts taking a meta-human cure developed by Cisco and Caitlin, which removes the power-creating effects of the shrapnel in Grace’s brain.

New Questions

1) How much of Season 6 will be devoted to setting up the mid-season crossover mega-event Crisis on Infinite Earths? Some of the panel wants a balance of setup and routine Flash shenanigans; some of the panel wants this show particularly to exclusively work toward that setup, since the Flash is central to that story.

2) Where in time is the version of Eobard Thawne that we watch in Season 5? Is he pre-Season 1? Post Crisis on Earth X? A time remnant? Or something else?

3) How much will the show explore the Negative Speed Force in Season 6? Will we see Eobard Thawne again, in his Season 5 incarnation, next season?

4) Panelist Kyle proved giddy in light of the appearance of Godspeed in Season 5. Will we see him again? Will he become a season “big bad?”

5) How will Cisco function and/or be in Season 6 without being Vibe? Will he make the adjustment well? Will he still be with Kamilla at the start of Season 6? Will he be truly at peace with his situation or jealous of all of his super-friends? Or something in the middle?

6) Will Barry and Iris try to have kids now, knowing that Nora once existed?

7) Will we see Caitlin’s mother’s full transformation to meta-human in Season 6? Will Caitlin/Killer Frost have to help her adjust? Will Caitlin’s mother also take on a “dark personality,” like her erstwhile husband and daughter?

8) With Captain Singh’s promotion to police chief and his admitted knowledge that Barry is the Flash, will we see him again? How will Joe adjust to life as precinct captain?

9) What will trigger the now moved-up headline (new date: 2019) in the Time Vault foreshadowing Barry’s disappearance and/or Crisis on Infinite Earths? Will Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) have to sacrifice himself to save Barry from his prognosticated fate, as the Arrow scene tag from Elseworlds, shown in Arrow’s season finale, seems to indicate?

10) Which version of Harrison Wells will we meet in Season 6? Tom Cavanaugh: our panel salutes you, sir!

11) Will we at least get to see if Sherloque (Cavanaugh) and Renee Adler live happily ever after?

12) If Crisis on Infinite Earths foretells the collapse of the multiverse, as proffered by the comics, which version of Harrison Wells will be Harrison Prime?!

13) The show toyed with the idea of Caitlin and Ralph getting together, though they, as in the characters themselves, poo-pooed the very notion in Season 5. Still: the chemistry is undeniable. Will Caitlin and Ralph reconsider? They seem to have a special rapport.

14) Alternatively, will Ralph find a romantic relationship that sustains beyond twelve steps (or however many steps there are in Ralph’s various self-authored self-help guides)?

15) Will we see any first-half-of-season crossovers on The Flash, in spite of the mega mid-season crossover on the horizon?

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! DCTU panel continues to universally recommend The Flash to fans of comic books, particularly from the DC universe, and of the Flash franchise, though some of the panel’s members remain more restless with The Flash generally in these later seasons compared to the show’s strong two first seasons.  Still, most if not all of the panel continues to believe, generally, that even casual comic book/superhero fans will find something to love in what the panel primarily regards to be the Arrowverse’s most consistent if not best series.  The panel also continues to universally praise the ensemble cast as the series’ most solid feature as well as the general direction of the show, though there are some panelists who quibble with writing decisions, particularly around the third season’s main villain, Savitar, and the fourth season’s villain, the Thinker.  As several panelists note in tonight’s episode, however, even though this season might not be as mesmerizing as Seasons 1 and 2 (though the panel unanimously agrees that Season 5 surpasses Season 3 in quality and might equate to Season 4 on the same terms, in lieu of the stumbling around the “Flashpoint” story line in the third season), the weakest seasons of The Flash still surpass the strongest seasons of many other series, including at least one of the other Arrowverse series.  The panel, though, continues to appreciate, overall, the faithful and loving adaptation of a hero who may not have received the same star treatment as his Justice League compatriots and co-founders, Batman and Superman, at least in modern memory.  Further, the panel will always laud Grant Gustin’s portrayal of Barry Allen, readily and enthusiastically.  As always, take a listen and see if you agree with the panel’s general thoughts on these matters.

LOOKING AHEAD

The sixth season of The Flash is slated to premiere on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, at 8:00 PM on the CW.  CPU!’s next DCTU episode, which will focus on the fourth season of Supergirl, will publish in October!  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 DCTU 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.  Thank you! ⚡

DCTU Series, Episode Nineteen: Arrow, Season 7 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cpu-final-01large.jpg

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in August 2019, our DC Television Universe or DCTU Series panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the nineteenth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 7, now the penultimate season, of the Arrowverse’s namesake, Arrow. If you have not watched any of Arrow, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

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

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

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

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 19, “Arrow” – Season 7, the DCTU Panel’s Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for arrow season 7 title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Arrow” is a superhero/action/crime drama centered on events and characters inspired by the Green Arrow franchise/DC Comic Universe, which airs on the CW.

What: “Arrow,” a series developed by writer/producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg that is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, a costumed crime-fighter created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp. The series follows billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), who, five years after being stranded on a hostile island, returns home to fight crime and corruption as a secret vigilante whose weapon of choice is a bow and arrow.

SYNOPSIS

The series follows Oliver Queen (Amell), billionaire playboy of Starling City (now Star City), who spends five years shipwrecked on the mysterious island of Lian Yu. Upon his return to the city, he is reunited with his family, including his sister, and friends. Oliver awkwardly survives his days back in the city by rekindling his relationships, while he spends his nights hunting down and sometimes killing wealthy criminals as a hooded vigilante. John “Dig” Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) assist Oliver in his crusade as does his ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy Rodgers); flashbacks show how Oliver spent his time and gained the skill-set that he uses as (now) the Green Arrow.

When: Season 7 aired on the CW from October 15, 2018, to May 13, 2019, with a total of 22 episodes.

Where: The action is set in the fictional metropolis of Starling City, the primary setting of the Green Arrow franchise – though as of Season 4, the city was finally re-branded to be Star City like in the comic books.  The action does branch out in flashbacks to international locales, including Hong Kong, the Middle East, Russia, and a fictional island called Lian Yu. In Season 7, some scenes occur in Star City twenty years into the future – though which future is the essential question ending the seventh season.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the first DCTU podcast episode, where our panel covers the first two seasons of Arrow, via the embedded link below!  It should be noted that CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie was hesitant to watch it, feeling somewhat loyal to Justin Hartley’s portrayal of the Green Arrow on Smallville, which ended in 2011, while Arrow premiered in 2012.  Also, the Chief CP is pretty leery of character fatigue in comic book properties of late, which may be the subject of a separate podcast or blog entry.  So, what finally convinced me to watch it? Other than a few good recommendations from viewers like you, listen to that first podcast episode to find out the reasons why I finally picked up the show in the end.

How – as in How’s It Going? – THOUGHTS

This is the nineteenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Here are only the prior Arrow episodes in the series (as we flush out seasons of all Arrowverse shows, though, older episodes will only be searchable via the website – click the upper right dialog box in the header). Listen to each episode here:

DCTU Series, Episode 1, “Arrow,” Seasons 1 and 2

DCTU Series, Episode 2, “Arrow,” Seasons 3 and 4

DCTU Series, Episode 10, “Arrow,” Season 5

DCTU Series, Episode 14, “Arrow,” Season 6

DCTU Series, Episode 17, the DCTU Mid-Season Roundup, 2018-2019

In our last episode, our cheeky and feisty DCTU panel – namely Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – met at mid-season “Around the Water Cooler” to discuss the progress of the four Arrowverse shows to date as well as to talk the awesome three show crossover event, “Elseworlds.”  Now, we begin addressing the most recent full seasons of each of the four “Arrowverse” programs in order of the airing of each season finale, beginning with the seventh – and penultimate – season of Arrow.  Thus, tonight’s episode finds the panel returning to the Water Cooler to talk TV universe progenitor Arrow following another rocky, inconsistent, and bloated Season 7 in, this, the nineteenth episode of our DCTU series. 

The discussion herein evaluates the success of the Green Arrow’s season nemeses, specifically the return of Ricardo “The Dragon” Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) and Oliver’s (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) secret, vendetta-seeking half-sister, Emiko Queen (Sea Shimooka); the tedious number of (sometime) Green Arrow sidekicks; Oliver’s stint in Slabside Penitentiary in the first half of the season after turning himself in to the vigilante-hunting authorities in the Season 6 finale; Oliver’s subsequent release from prison and his service, along with the rest of Team Arrow, to the Star City Police Department as an unmasked vigilante and as part of a “legitimate” crime-fighting task force; the projecting “flash forwards” to Future Star City and the goings-on of Oliver’s and other team members’ children in that later decade; and a season ending that, essentially, services not so much Arrow’s core story as it does set up the highly anticipated, highly marketed next DC Universe crossover event, the television adaptation of seminal Universe tale “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”  What’s more, officially, as of this episode, for the entire panel, the assignment to watch Arrow as part of this podcast series has become nothing more than “begrudging,” as the panelists unanimously struggle with Arrow, and with their waning affinity for it, more than with any of the other Arrowverse entries. Unlike last season, however, the panel apprehensively hopes that the writers will find a way to leave viewers with a smile by the series finale, given the remaining, shortened eighth and final season consisting of only ten episodes. Many of our panelists are not optimistic that these writers, which have accomplished little to evolve most of these characters in seven seasons, can achieve that feat, especially given the departure of key cast members, most notably Rickards, whose last episode as Arrow’s Felicity and as a series regular was the Season 7 finale.

This particular episode was recorded in August 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of Season 7 of Arrow. 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 DCTU panel returns again to the proverbial Water Cooler to discuss Season 5 of The Flash, as our Arrowverse revisits continue.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) The panel members, largely bereft of hope for improvement of the overall quality of Arrow, did not ruminate upon many questions going into Season 7.  The biggest question on several panelists’ brains centers on why Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) returns to Star City and how he reintegrates into the new team.

ANSWER: This season, Roy first appears in the premiere, in a Flash Forward to Future Star City (FSC), a setting twenty years forward from the present Star City that we have become accustomed to watching. Roy also returns to present-day Star City in Episode 20, after Team Arrow recruits him as Arsenal to help with an operation designed to prevent the season’s overarching villainous organization, the Ninth Circle, from proliferating and activating a biological weapon. The panel, by and large, feels strongly that Roy and, therefore, Haynes is wasted this season on the FSC conceit and via his brief return to Star City’s version of the present. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

2) How will the show survive without Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne)?  Quentin dies at the end of Season 6 after he takes a bullet for the team; his portraying actor left Arrow and joined the cast of a new show on NBC called The Inbetween. The panel reacted negatively to his departure, believing Mr. Blackthorne to be one of the most consistently engaging parts of the show throughout its lifespan, other than Oliver/Stephen Amell.

ANSWER: Though the panel no doubt misses Quentin in theory, the panelists do not mention Quentin’s absence or their opinions regarding the effect(s) that his absence presents to the show’s seventh season in the instant podcast episode. Of course, we will always wish Mr. Blackthorne well, and The Inbetween was picked up by CPU! during the 2018-2019 pilot preview, to be consumed when we somehow find the time to watch it amidst other requested and picked up podcast candidates.

3) Oliver, in Iron Man fashion, announces to the Star City public in the Season 6 finale that he is the Green Arrow as part of a deal he makes with the FBI in order to guarantee the agency’s help in defeating the Dragon, in exchange for Ollie’s confession of illegal vigilante activity.  The last few moments of the finale find Ollie in federal prison.  Panelist Kyle has read that the first episodes of Season 7 will feature the “Longbow Hunters” and a widely panned story line from the comics called “Supermax.”  How long will the audience be forced to watch Oliver in prison?  What effect will these so-called “Hunters” present to Star City?

ANSWER: Oliver remains in prison for precisely seven episodes. During that time, the Longbow Hunters act upon order of Ricardo Diaz/the Dragon to menace Felicity, William, and Team Arrow, as Diaz is dead set on making Oliver pay for interfering with his and his cohorts’ plans in Season 6. The presence of the Hunters is largely regarded as anticlimactic and boring by our panelists, though we discuss this reaction more thorough in Episode 17, our 2018-2019 Mid-Season Round-Up (see above).

4) Will Dig take up the Green Arrow mantle once more while Oliver is in prison?

ANSWER: No. The Team lays low, with Anti-Vigilante law in full effect while Oliver is stuck in Slabside. Yet, another (fake) Green Arrow appears, apparently intent upon carrying on Oliver’s/the Green Arrow’s legacy. Of course, this Green Arrow is not all that he – or she – seems. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

5) Will William follow the trajectory of Connor Hawke in the comics?  What is William’s purpose on the show, except to complicate Oliver’s life (and presuming he has a purpose)?

ANSWER: No. Connor Hawke is a separate character, who we first meet as an adult in FSC. William, as an adult, also appears in FSC, though he never picks up a bow and arrow. Instead, he joins forces with other familiar and not-so-familiar faces, Connor included, to save the city in this future world and to help carry on the legacy of Star City’s vigilante tradition, started by Team Arrow. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

6) Will Earth 2 Laurel Lance aka Black Siren (Cassidy Rodgers) return in Season 7?  In what capacity?  Why would she care to do so if her almost family and almost father no longer exist?

ANSWER: Yes. Laurel aka Black Siren returns in Season 7 to serve as Star City’s District Attorney, as she poses as the version of Laurel that died in Season 5. She also becomes better friends with Felicity and is determined to work toward redemption, since Black Siren is somewhat murderous and crime-prone when we first meet her. She cares, as it turns out, because she sees Quentin, the Earth 1 version, as the father she lost all over again. In addition, she seems to yearn for respect and validation from Oliver, Felicity, and perhaps even from Dinah (Juliana Harkavy), particularly for attempting to be a good person again. As a result, this version of Laurel and her character progression were regarded more warmly by our panel than other aspects of the show’s seventh season. Listen to the podcast episode for the panel’s reactions to Black Siren’s Season 7 arc.

7) Diaz survives his most recent encounter with Oliver and escapes; he even watches Oliver’s city-wide proclamation that he is the Green Arrow on television through gritted teeth.  It seems as though Diaz is tougher than the average crook, which is fueled by some precedent set by the comics-version of the Dragon.  Will Diaz return in Season 7?  How will he affect Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow?  Will he somehow affiliate with the Longbow Hunters; will he make another attempt on Oliver’s life?  Or, is his character finished on Arrow?

ANSWER: Yes. Diaz returns in Season 7. He spends the first part of the season hellbent on making Oliver pay while in Slabside as well as by making Felicity and William suffer at the hands of the Longbow Hunters and other paid hit-men on the outside. This causes Felicity to “go dark” in an attempt to take Diaz out of the equation, which prompts her to seek help from Diaz’s former ally, Earth 2 Laurel, which is how they become close. This also prompts other members of Team Arrow, particularly Dig and Curtis (Echo Kellum), to respond with concern as Felicity becomes increasingly paranoid and obsessed with the idea, even if rightly, that she is not safe until Diaz is captured and jailed or even killed and even if said killing is by Felicity’s own hand. Diaz employs the Longbow Hunters for his purposes and makes several attempts on Oliver’s life, viewing him as a sitting duck while in prison and inciting inside allies to make Oliver’s life a living hell. Diaz, in fact, appears throughout most of the season, though in Episode 14, he meets a most grisly and anticlimactic end. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

8) Where does Anatoly go in the end?

ANSWER: Anatoly aka KGBeast reunites with the Bratva, though he also becomes one of Diaz’s targets in Season 7. Diaz captures and tortures Anatoly until Team Arrow rescues him. Where he goes after that, we are not absolutely sure, though we presume that he has finally returned to Russia. After all, his friendship with Oliver remains somewhat icy.

9) Will we see more crossovers with the other Arrowverse properties – apart from mid-season – next season?

ANSWER: Other than the “Elseworlds” crossover, covered in Episode 18 of our DCTU Series of podcast episodes, the only other character crossovers this season occurred in Episode 12, when Grant Gustin appears as Barry Allen to provide an interview for a documentary entitled “The Hood and the Rise of Vigilantes,” and Episode 18, when Caity Lotz appears as Sara Lance aka White Canary in an episode homage to the Birds of Prey. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

10) Will any of Green Arrow’s other traditional rogues return, including Count Vertigo, Clock King, etc. (panelist Kyle has all but lost hope)?

ANSWER: No. Panelist Kyle is sad.

New Questions

1) Where does the Monitor take Oliver Queen in the series finale? Does Oliver help the Monitor to save other Earths in the multiverse, as panelist Kristen predicts?

2) Will any of Season 8 focus specifically upon tying up Arrow’s story, to the extent that it needs tying up, or will these final episodes particularly propel Arrow toward its segment within the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover?

3) Will Emily Bett Rickards at least return for the crossover and/or the series finale, since she is no longer a series regular?

4) Where will Season 8 begin in the Star City/Earth 1 timeline, considering that Katherine McNamara, who plays Mia Smoak, was promoted to series regular for Season 8? Will Season 8 continue to focus, exclusively or intermittently, upon Future Star City? Will it be FSC before, during, or after the Crisis on Infinite Earths?

5) If Colin Donnell is returning to the show as a version of “Tommy that we have never seen before,” as panelist Kristen reports, will he appear as the official Merlyn, the villain as depicted in the “Green Arrow” comics, as panelist Kyle hopes? Or, will Oliver encounter Tommy, in addition to John Barrowman’s Malcolm Merlyn and Susanna Thompson’s Moira Queen, as other versions of themselves in other Earths of the DC multiverse?

6) What is the “place of no return” to which the Monitor refers when taking future Felicity to meet future Oliver in the season finale?

7) Will Oliver die in “Crisis on Infinite Earths?” More importantly, if he does die, and if the infinite earths collapse into one shared universe as the comic book story goes, will Oliver be resurrected and/or will he be an element or aspect of the new version of Earth that we presume will result from the “Crisis?”

8) Have Colton Haynes and Katie Cassidy Rodgers permanently left the show? Panelist Kyle reports that a “Birds of Prey” spin-off was pitched to the network, which would be led by the Black Siren character, as portrayed by Cassidy Rodgers.

9) What effect will the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” have on each of the Arrowverse shows, Arrow included, since the cross-over is Episode 9 of Season 8, and Episode 10 is the series finale?

10) How will Arrow end? Will it satisfy? Will it match the high quality of the first two seasons or be more of the same? And what will our DCTU panel’s reactions be in the end?

PARTING SHOTS

Our DCTU panel universally agrees that Arrow Season 7 fared somewhat better than Season 6 in terms of storytelling quality, while cynically believing that overall show quality is likely irredeemable for the eighth and final season, with only ten episodes remaining by which to effect any such redemption, if such redemption is possible.  The panelists opined that the seventh season’s pacing and writing remained choppy and disjointed, though our panelists experienced surprise in discovering that the season’s first half, which Oliver spent much of in prison, proved to be better than the season’s second half.

Still, many of the panelists continue to describe Arrow and the obligation to watch it as a “slog.”  To wit, the panel universally hated both Emiko Queen as one of the season’s “villains” as well as the Future Star City story line, feeling that particularly the latter element seemed to be a complete waste of time in light of the impending crossover event, with the panel’s collective knowledge of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” story informing individual panelists’ opinions.  The panel additionally continues to offer mixed reviews regarding the Green Arrow’s sidekicks, with all panelists struggling to understand the purpose of each of them, even as the team seemed to work together more cohesively this season in the face of their many external threats, specifically Emiko, the Ninth Circle, Diaz, and the Mayor’s as well as Star City’s general anti-vigilante sentiments.

Moreover, the panel members now fully agree that Arrow continues to suffer from sloppy story mapping; an appalling lack of character evolution, particularly for the title character himself; and a repetitive story structure utilizing a formula that the writers do not seem to want to abandon or scrap for any reason, even when the formula does not work – which has ultimately been true for three to four seasons and apart from the Slabside arc starting Season 7. Still, whatever might happen in the final season, the panel hopes beyond hope that the writers can pull out a satisfying conclusion befitting the story, which the panel strongly feels that the steady (and handsome) portrayal of the Green Arrow by Stephen Amell, as well as the superb production values marking the Star City based quadrant of the multiverse for these past seven years, deserve. In addition, like the troopers they are and for the sake of the podcast and our DCTU Series, the panelists are prepared to strap in for the Arrowverse’s namesake program’s final ten episodes. Thus, to the Arrow writing and production team, we only say this: don’t fail this city – or this property and this character that you have now serviced for almost eight seasons.

LOOKING AHEAD

The eighth and final season of Arrow is slated to premiere on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, at 9:00 PM on the CW.  CPU!’s next DCTU episode, which will focus on the fifth season of The Flash, will publish next week!  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 DCTU 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.  Thank you! 🏹

Grace and Frankie, Season 5 (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 July 2019, our panel of CPU! veterans – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Amie, and Samantha – reconvenes around the CPU! Water Cooler to discuss Season 5 of the quirky Netflix comedy about growing old (and growing up) gracefully, Grace and Frankie.  As always, if you have not watched any of Grace and Frankie, be aware that there are, most definitely, MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

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

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

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