iZombie, Season 4: Part Two of the “Catching Up on iZombie” Miniseries (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 June 2018, our panel of CPU! veterans and all-around brainy chicks – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Jen S., and Jenn K. – returns to the CPU! Water Cooler to discuss the fourth and most recent season of quirky comedy-drama iZombie, in this, Part Two of our two-part “Catching Up on iZombie” Miniseries.  As always, if you have not watched any of iZombie, be aware that there are, most definitely, 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! – Around the Water Cooler: “iZombie” – The Season 4 Recap; Part Two of CPU!’s “Catching Up on iZombie” Miniseries (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “iZombie” is a horror, crime/procedural, comedy-drama series that airs on the CW, typically during the spring.

What:  “iZombie,” developed by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright, is a loose adaptation of the comic book series of the same name created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred and published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint.

SYNOPSIS

Seattle medical resident Olivia “Liv” Moore (Rose McIver) is turned into a zombie while attending a boat party. She abandons her career and breaks up with her fiance, much to the disappointment and puzzlement of her family. She discovers that if she does not periodically satisfy her new appetite for brains, she starts turning into a stereotypical zombie, stupid and homicidal. Instead of feeding by killing innocent people, Liv decides to take a job at the King County morgue and to eat the brains of the corpses she autopsies. Her secret is guessed by her boss, Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli). Ravi soon becomes Liv’s friend and confidant, and as a scientist, he is intrigued by her condition.

Liv finds out that whenever she eats a dead person’s brain, she temporarily inherits some of their personality traits and skills, and she experiences flashbacks of that person’s life. Those visions are generally triggered by sights (events or objects) or sounds (repeated sentences). In the case of murder victims, the flashbacks offer clues about the killer. Liv decides to use this new ability to help Police Detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) solve crimes. Though she initially passes herself off as a psychic, Clive eventually learns the truth about her and zombies. Meanwhile, Ravi works to develop a cure for Liv’s affliction in the hope that one day she will be able to resume her former life.

When: Season Four aired on the CW from February 26, 2018, to May 28, 2018, with a total of 13 episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in Seattle, Washington – present day.

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

During the annual Fall TV Preview for the 2014-2015 season, CPU! Chief Kylie picked up this show for CPU!’s review.  When I picked it up, I said:

Okay, the name of the show is on the level of ridiculously stupid, and the rash of zombie-related fare is as overdone as vampires (though I enjoy vampires so much more than zombies). Also, this could cross heavily into procedural territory.  Yet, there is an interesting twist wherein the main character absorbs memories from brains she eats.  I have a feeling it might be better than the name lets on…then again…

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

To listen to Part One of this miniseries, covering the first three seasons of iZombie, click the link embedded below:

Seasons 1-3

By semi-popular request, notably by brave and brainy CPU! regular panelists ready to get scratched and slightly gourmet for this cult favorite comic book adaptation, iZombie has become a new show panel at the CPU! Water Cooler. Tonight’s episode is the second part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! gets caught up on this show, which premiered on the CW in 2015.

Ultimately, our CPU! faithful group of zombie acolytes, namely Kristen, Jen S., and Jenn K., continues to regard iZombie as a unique, quirky, and fresh comedy-drama addition to the annals of burgeoning zombie fiction, even if it is nothing like fare in the vein of The Walking Dead.  In this episode, the second of a catch-up miniseries in which we chat about this show, our panel reflects on and recaps the fourth and most recent season of iZombie, reacting to the various quirky characters and the seemingly impossible situations in which they find themselves, including Liv’s ongoing ingestion of “brains of the week,” though in this most recent season, the procedural element is happily intertwined with an overarching story line that, somewhat surprisingly, delivers an unexpected but profound emotional punch (even if some of the story remains on-the-nose in the writers’ apparent attempt to be allegorical to these, our modern times).

This episode was recorded in June 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the fourth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, schedule permitting, our American Horror Story series panel returns to the Water Cooler after a year’s hiatus to talk the most recent season – joining the “Cult,” one might say – with your Chief CP back at the moderating microphone, per usual, in our AHS panel’s rotating cadre of moderators.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) Will Season 5 start with another time jump, however long, or will the writers pick the story up from the end moment of the Season 4 finale?

2) Will Liv be cured of being a zombie by the end of the series?  Will Major (Robert Buckley)?  Will the whole of Seattle’s zombie population?

3) Did Agent Dale Bozzio eat the entirety of Isobel’s brain, as Ravi suggested to Liv, to return to her human self?  Or, did she figure out that just part of it would cure her, since she ate whatever portion of this brain off-screen?

4) Will Liv, Major, and Blaine (David Anders) truly work together to ensure that Seattle’s zombies will not starve, with the government ban on continued importation of brains into (New) Seattle, as Major envisions?  What would that look like?  Or, more probably, will there be conflict between all three of them?

5) Without a cure, will zombies and humans learn to co-exist?  Is this how the show might end?  Would such an ending satisfy?

6) Will the US government declare war on Seattle and try to bomb it as they have threatened to do? Will the US Army be forced to intervene now that Liv is the new, permanent “Renegade?”

7) Will Liv and Major get back together once and for all, now that Clive and Dale are married, and Ravi and Peyton (Aly Michalka) are back together?

8) If a cure is produced, will there be zombies who resist taking the cure, such as Blaine, who seems very reluctant to remain human?

9) Are any of Brother Love’s/Angus’ (Robert Knepper) disciples still around or any who did not try to cross the Seattle perimeter surrounded by US military, only to be exterminated in the end?  If so, what effect will they have, if any, on our characters and/or the Seattle zombie population going forward?

10) Will we see Ravi on more brains of the week?  Additionally, can Liv, Ravi, and Major all be on different brains at the same time?  The panel votes the latter with gusto.

PARTING SHOTS

iZombie is recommended overall by our CPU! panel to fans of zombie fiction with some crossover appeal who are not afraid to laugh, keeping in mind properties like Shaun of the Dead; to fans of genre fare like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which readily exploit nerd-core and offer pop culture winks and nods in happy ways; and to procedural TV with a twist, such as Bones, especially those that offer a heaping dose of dark comedy.  One panelist cautioned that if a zombie enthusiast is not willing to laugh at their beloved zombies in question, this show would likely not appeal to said enthusiast, particularly if said zombie fan remains purist to zombie fiction’s general horror roots.  Chief CP Kylie also compared the humor of Arrested Development to that of this show, in that iZombie is laden with innuendo and meta references and is self-aware without taking itself too seriously, which renders the show all the more charming   Further, the panel generally praises the performances of the main cast, particularly McIver, with her different affects signifying zombie brains of the week, and Kohli (Ravi is, unanimously, the panel’s favorite character) as well as the generally inventive writing.  Especially after the fourth season, our panel confidently opined that we universally had and have great fun watching this series and believe that most with an open and slightly nerdy sense of humor will have fun watching it too.

LOOKING AHEAD

The CW renewed iZombie for a fifth and final season, which is expected to premiere in spring 2019 (no tentative premiere date has yet been announced), which is when our CPU! iZombie panel will likely return to the Water Cooler to chat about Season 5 and to offer one final, brief, Look Back at the entire series.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding iZombie as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  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!

Grace and Frankie, Seasons 3-4: Part Two of the “Catching Up on Grace and Frankie” Miniseries (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 March 2018, our panel of CPU! veterans – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Amie, and Samantha – convenes for the second time around the CPU! Water Cooler to discuss the third and fourth seasons of a quirky comedy about growing old (and growing up) gracefully, i.e. Grace and Frankie, in this, Part Two of our two-part “Catching Up on Grace and Frankie” Miniseries.  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 in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

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

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Around the Water Cooler: “Grace and Frankie” – Recapping Seasons 3 and 4; Part Two of CPU!’s “Catching Up on Grace and Frankie” Miniseries (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Grace and Frankie” is a comedy-drama web television and Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What:  “Grace and Frankie,” created by Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the title roles of Grace and Frankie, two unlikely friends who are brought together after their husbands announce that they are in love and plan to get married. Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael, and Baron Vaughn co-star in supporting roles.

SYNOPSIS

The series follows Grace (Fonda), a retired cosmetics mogul, and Frankie (Tomlin), a hippie art teacher, whose husbands, Robert (Sheen) and Sol (Waterston), are successful divorce lawyers in San Diego.  Grace and Frankie’s lives are turned upside down when Robert and Sol announce that they are in love with each other and are leaving their wives. Now, the women, who have never particularly liked each other, are forced to live together and must learn to unite and to cope with difficulties in their new lives as 70-something divorcees.

When: The third season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on March 24, 2017, and the fourth season was released in its entirety to Netflix on January 19, 2018, each with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in San Diego, California, and surrounding communities.

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

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

To listen to Part One of this miniseries, covering the first two seasons of Grace and Frankie, click on the link embedded below:

Grace and Frankie, Seasons 1 and 2

By popular request, though notably by frequent CPU! panelists and viewers unlikely to be in the intended target audience for this quirky comedy-drama, Grace and Frankie has become a new show panel at the CPU! Water Cooler. Tonight’s episode is the second part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! gets caught up on this show, which premiered on Netflix in 2015.

Ultimately, our requesting CPU! faithful continue to regard Grace and Frankie as a charming comedy about growing old gracefully – but also about growing up gracefully – in these, our modern times.  In this episode, our panelists – Kristen, Krista, Amie, and Samantha – reflect on and recap the third and fourth seasons of Grace and Frankie, reacting to the growing cadre of quirky characters and the seemingly impossible situations in which they find themselves.  From new loves to new heartaches, from death to birth, from yam lube to vibrators, our panel reacts to it all.

This episode was recorded in March 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the third and fourth seasons. 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 The 100 panel returns to the Water Cooler, though, unfortunately for fans of the show, not with good news, as CPU! launches the pilot episode of its “Shark Jumpers Anonymous” series.  What does it mean if a show is featured as part of that series?  Well…we’ll leave you to guess for now, but the title reference…’tis no good, people, ’tis no good.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) Did Nick (Peter Gallagher) buy the beach house?  If he did not buy the beach house, who did?
2) Will Grace and Frankie get the beach house back?
3) What will the fallout be with the kids, since they all conspired against the women, their mothers?  What was Robert and Sol’s reaction – or what will it be – when they found/find out?
4) Where did Nick go?  Does he know that Grace checked into a retirement community?
5) Will Brianna save Say Grace and gain some of her mother’s approval, as panelist Krista predicts?

6) Will Jacob (Ernie Hudson) return to Frankie somehow, as many of the panelists hope

7) Why does Mallory continue to allow Coyote to park his tiny home in front of her house?  Will Mallory and Coyote couple up?  Will the show offer up more back story for this troubled pair other than Coyote’s drunken blackout night?

8) What will RuPaul’s new character, who panelist Kristen describes in the episode, mean to the story next season?

RECOMMENDATION

Grace and Frankie is recommended overall by our CPU! panel to fans of the actors in the cast, particularly of Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston, and to people who sincerely like to laugh.  Some of the panel cautions, however, that with frank discussion about lube (and later vibrators) as well as some salty language coming from these septuagenarians, not every potential viewer might find the show funny or be copacetic with the vernacular utilized therein.   Also, the panel generally praises the comedic performances of the four main actors and the writing while agreeing that there are better episodes than others; in fact, the panel voices a variety of reactions to the supporting characters, namely the four actors playing the grown up children of the couples in question.  It’s important to note, though, that the panel almost universally believed that the show improves each season, meaning that the third and fourth seasons were considered better than the first two.  In any event, our panel universally had great fun watching this series and believes that most with an open sense of humor will have fun watching it too.

LOOKING AHEAD

Netflix released the fourth season of Grace and Frankie on January 19, 2018, and has renewed the show for a fifth season, though no tentative release date has yet been announced by the streaming giant.  Most pundits expect the show to return in 2019, in keeping with its traditional once per year release pattern, which is when our CPU! Grace and Frankie panel will also, most likely, return to the Water Cooler for the purpose of chatting about Season Five.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding Grace and Frankie as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  Thank you! 🙂

Gotham: Season 4A, “A Dark Knight” (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 February 2018, our panel of staunch Batman and comic book enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Nick – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 4A, covering the arc entitled “A Dark Night,” of Gotham. If you have not watched any of Gotham, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

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

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Gotham,” the Season 4 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

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

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

SYNOPSIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

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

Seasons 1-2A

Season 2B, The Wrath of the Villains

Season 3A, Mad City

Season 3B, Mad City/Heroes Rise

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

This podcast was recorded in February 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the fourth season and all episodes that have aired to date. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Thursday (as we work to return our equipment troubles to peak form), we launch a new panel ready to laugh about the Netflix situation comedy concerning septuagenarians and reluctant friends facing drastic new life changes in Grace and Frankie.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions/Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9) Will Bruce finally see freaking bats already?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13) Where did Hugo Strange end up nowadays?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PARTING SHOTS

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

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

LOOKING AHEAD

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