Gotham: Season 4B, “A Dark Knight,” Part 2 (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 October 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 4B, covering the second half of the arc entitled “A Dark Knight,” 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
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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Gotham,” the Season 4 End of Season Recap and Review (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 on Fox, though it is currently on hiatus.

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 in 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: The Season 4 finale aired on Thursday, May 17, 2018, 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

Season 4A, A Dark Knight, Part 1

Earlier this year, our Gotham panel, consisting of Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, and Nick, compared notes on the first half of the fourth season, encompassing the first half of the arc entitled “A Dark Knight.” The season’s first half introduces Sofia Falcone (Crystal Reed), daughter of Carmine Falcone, as a new player vying for control of Gotham City’s criminal underworld; Penguin’s “Pax Penguina;” 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 (Alexander Siddig), 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.  The second half of this season continues the “Dark Knight” arc by exploring Bruce’s redemption with Alfred and his rekindled friendship with Selina; Jim’s struggle to maintain order in the GCPD; Barbara’s hold over “The Demon’s Head” power; the reemergence of Butch’s consciousness from the Grundy shell; Edward Nygma’s ongoing struggle to master his “Riddler” half while pining for Lee Thompkins; and Jerome Valeska’s break from Arkham, with Penguin, Mad Hatter, and Scarecrow in tow, ready to cause Joker-Not-Joker chaos all over the streets of Gotham City. How did the panel regard the second half of the fourth season, given Gotham’s track record for lack of continuity and highly uneven storytelling?  Listen to the embedded link below to find out.

This podcast was recorded in October 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 Wednesday, we finally launch a new panel – one which we’ve been advertising for over a year, though the panel’s recording luck has been about as robust as the luck of the show we’ll be discussing – when we Look Back at high-concept Netflix science fiction vehicle Sense8. 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.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 4:  Though Ed visits Penguin in Arkham, primarily to gloat about the fact that Ed successfully (in his mind) sublimated his Riddler side after falling in love with Lee, while Penguin remains incarcerated and tortured, somewhat, by his Arkham cell neighbor Jerome, Penguin sees signs of the more ruthless and calculating Riddler during this brief visit.  As a result, he sends Ed a note with an embedded riddle, which helps to evoke both the Riddler persona, back-seating the more benign Edward, but also Riddler’s loyalty to Penguin, such as it is.  Riddler, thus, breaks Penguin out of Arkham, and they seem to be friendly again – at least, until Penguin tries to manipulate Ed into double-crossing Lee; however, Ed/Riddler, two personalities in love with one woman, leaves Penguin vulnerable to arrest while robbing a bank originally targeted by new crime boss Lee, who is acting like a sort of Robin Hood by committing burglary to distribute wealth to the poorer residents of the Narrows in Gotham.  Where does this friendship land by the end of the season?  That answer is unknown, since Riddler finds himself highly obsessed with Lee, and Penguin’s fate intertwines with the chaotic and maniacal Jerome.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

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.

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 4: Once Riddler sublimates Edward Nygma, allowing his sociopath half free reign, he tells better riddles than the recently-frozen-now-thawed version of Ed, whose brain was affected by the flash-freezing process of Mr. Freeze’s freeze gun.  The panelists, however, still find Riddler’s riddles quite lackluster compared to riddles voiced by other versions of the Riddler that we have watched in the past.

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 robust 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.

ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 4: Peyton List plays a more adult, more “developed” version of Ivy, who, after ingesting all of the apothecary’s chemicals at mid-season, permanently alters her body chemistry, such that her kiss – and even the scent of her pheromones – are literal poison to anyone to whom she offers a smooch or a whiff of her natural scent.  Plus, Ivy, on a vendetta to avenge every put-upon plant in the concrete jungle that is Gotham City, grabs hold of a sample of Lazarus Pit water on hold and under experiment at Wayne Enterprises and uses it to create a lethal plant that she unleashes on a benefit dinner hosted by the Wayne Foundation.  Unfortunately, though her antics draw the focus of the GCPD and of a Bruce Wayne still contemplating life as a vigilante, the show does not make clear what happens to her after this ploy to let loose killer plants among Gotham’s elite.  The panel assumes she has been arrested and is probably subsequently thrown into Arkham, but this is not confirmed, and, frankly, the bigger infraction is the show’s continued interpretation of this character as some sort of plant-obsessed mutant with questionable sex appeal and very little brain.  Listen to the podcast episode for additional ranting.

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).

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 4: Though Bruce’s vision does not seem to clearly indicate that he should later assume the persona of a crime-fighting man dressed as a bat, Bruce finally – FINALLY – sees bats this half season.  This alleged epiphany occurs after Bruce’s exposure to a duplicitous Ivy and her chemically altered physique, who visits Bruce (and Selina) at Wayne Manor for the purpose of obtaining access to Wayne Enterprises and to the aforementioned Lazarus water or, more accurately, to the division housing the project that just happens to be working with that water sample.  Bruce does not, however, seem to immediately process this vision of a swarm of bats and a hooded, dark figure, blurred by the effects of Ivy’s poison, beyond believing that he sees a shadowy, seemingly unaffected glimpse of his future.  Thus, it is quite unclear as to whether Bruce has connected the dots, especially since our panelists and discerning viewers are not clear that the dots have been connected for the audience.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

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.

REPEAT 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.

NOT SO FAST! ANSWER AS OF THE END OF SEASON 4: Jerome Valeska, after escaping from Arkham Asylum, initiates a grand-scale caper, fueled by a sense of anarchy and a tinge of revenge, with the intention of harming Bruce Wayne and his (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) surprisingly sane-seeming secret twin brother, Jeremiah Valeska (also played by Monaghan).  Jerome even goes to the effort of kidnapping city officials and wiring them with bombs, which, when triggered, explodes only their skulls.  He then places these hostages on display on the stage of a well-attended music festival in Gotham City, while demanding from Jim Gordon that he produce Bruce and Jeremiah.  Jim and officers of the GCPD pursue Jerome, however, and Jerome flees.  Jim chases him to a rooftop’s edge; Jerome topples over the edge and, before plummeting to his apparent death, tells Jim that he will not be forgotten because his antics planted a seed, an idea, that will live on in the dark alleys and mean streets of Gotham City. Plus, though Gotham’s producers recently claimed that Jerome is not the Joker, they pretended for a time that Jeremiah was, even styling Jeremiah after a cross between Jack Nicholson’s Joker from the 1989 Batman film and a comic version in which the Joker’s personality is inexorably altered after Batman falls into a long-term coma, which is somehow mirrored by Joker.  Now, the producers are proclaiming that Jeremiah is not the Joker either, though Jeremiah survives the season.  Thus, Jerome is dead, Jeremiah is crazy but allegedly not the Joker, and Gotham City is besieged by darkness and anarchy following Jeremiah’s efforts to destroy Gotham.  Where does that leave the prospect of an actual Joker appearing on Gotham?  Your guess is as good as ours.

8) Will Bruce finally see freaking bats already?

NEW ANSWER: Yes, Bruce finally sees the freaking bats this season.  Now – does he understand what the bats mean to him and his future in the end?  That answer is very unclear and very unknown.

9) 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?

NEW ANSWER: Though Ra’s makes his presence known, both in life and in alleged death, the arguable “Big Bads” of Season 4 are the Valeska twins, as their plans, schemes, and insanity dominate the second half of Season 4.

The prophecy, however, remains unexplained, though Ra’s al Ghul, who does come back to life temporarily owing to the mystical and magical efforts of his League of Shadows, repeatedly suggests that Bruce will become a “Dark Knight of Gotham,” and that it is the mission of Ra’s, with help from a doting Jeremiah, to help Bruce realize this destiny.  Unfortunately, Barbara, through her piece of this disjointed story, manages to manipulate Bruce into taking Ra’s al Ghul’s life again, so if this prophecy is to be explained, it is doubtful that the explanation will come directly from him any time soon.  Unless he is resurrected a second time in Season 5.

10) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Selina go full on Catgirl in Season 4?

SOMEWHAT REPEAT 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.  

11) REPEAT QUESTION: Where did Hugo Strange end up nowadays?

NEW ANSWER: Hugo was in the wind, but Penguin quickly tracks him down and appeals to him to help change a more conscious Butch from a Solomon-looking Butch to a Butch-looking Butch.  He appears in one episode in the latter half of Season 4.

12) 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 improved 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 – a trend that returns with a vengeance in Season 4B.  This decline, again, stirs strong feelings in our panelists and makes for consistently spicy discussion.  

13) 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?

ANSWER: Scarecrow, as it turns out, was caught and returned to Arkham as of the mid-season hiatus. In addition, as it turns out, Scarecrow is fully Scarecrow, obsessed with creating gasses and liquids that produce the gamut of mind-altering effects, often punctuated by fear and/or impulses of insanity.  He does not have a huge part in this second half of the fourth season, but he does give Jerome Valeska a 100 percent guaranteed, Scarecrow-endorsed gas that Jerome tries to release, via a blimp, onto the city but for the in-the-moment heroics of Penguin.

14) 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?

ANSWER: Not long.  Bruce snaps out of his spoiled brat phase after about three episodes and tries to reach out to Alfred, though Alfred is reluctant to forgive his then-former master at first.  The panel cannot truly blame Alfred.  Bruce’s “wild child” phase was tedious.

15) 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?

ANSWER: He manages to not only remain GCPD Central Captain, but he also keeps his “relationship” to Sofia largely secret, though he does inform Harvey Bullock of the morally questionable manner in which he obtained said captaincy.  Yet, it is Harvey, who is understandably somewhat resentful of Jim in light of his own fall from grace and loss of respect in the eyes of his fellow GCPD officers, who convinces Jim to keep it all a secret and to “live with it,” so that it will motivate Jim to do better; to do right by the GCPD force, which works hard to maintain tenuous order in Gotham City; and to make amends for all of the rash decisions that this version of the Jim character has made prior to this point.  Jim, wishing for Harvey to stay un-retired/un-resigned, follows his friend’s advice.

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

ANSWER: So far, Fish’s current iteration of death seems permanent.  Let’s hope it stays that way.

17) 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?

ANSWER: Ultimately, Sofia wants what all of Gotham’s various crime syndicates and crime bosses want: control of the power and the wealth (such as it is) of the City.  Unfortunately, her hold on Gotham is brief.  When she decides to go after Lee and her claim as “Doc” to the Narrows, manipulating their relationship as brief sisters-in-law until Lee’s fingers are broken while Sofia forcibly takes the Narrows from her, Lee enacts revenge, particularly when Sofia threatens to off Jim, by shooting Sofia in the head, which apparently puts her in a coma without killing her. If Sofia is destined to become her comic book persona, the Hangman, we have not yet seen this transition.

18) 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?”

ANSWER: Yes, at the start of the second half of Season 4, Ra’s is actually dead, though in a very mystical sense.  As it turns out, Ra’s did voluntarily offer the “power of the Demon’s Head” to Barbara while in prison in the first half of the season.  This means that though the essence of Ra’s al Ghul may be tied to the embalming knife, the “Demon’s Head” in Gotham’s vision is a manifestation of mystical power, not a translation of Ra’s al Ghul’s actual name.  We do not know if Bruce lives up to be Ra’s al Ghul’s professed successor or if he holds some of the darkness of the Demon’s Head close to his own heart; we do know that the League of Shadows resurrects Ra’s al Ghul for the purpose of retrieving the Demon’s Head power from Barbara, who does not know how to use it and who does not actually inspire confidence in her band of would-be ninja followers.  Imagine that.

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

ANSWER: Yes, Penguin is able to coax the Riddler half of Edward Nygma to the forefront relatively quickly, within the first three episodes of the second half of Season 4.  Ed is still experiencing a psychological tug-of-war between these two distinct sides of himself, but the Riddler definitely has a claim to some of the territory of the shell housing both halves of this troubled but intelligent mind.

20) 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)?

ANSWER: Since Jerome seems to have met his likely permanent end, and since he delivers a speech that addresses this very issue before meeting that grisly, permanent end, and since Jeremiah does not channel Jerome’s more maniacal and chaotic traits, the panelists believe that Jerome is most likely meant to be a model for some watchful individual, waiting to be inspired by his frenetic brand of hullabaloo.  Penguin and Jerome form an uneasy alliance after Jerome essentially tortures Penguin for fun while in Arkham, though he claims that he is testing Penguin to see if he is anything more than “boring.”  Though they ultimately have some well-timed help from Riddler, with Penguin’s prodding, both Penguin and Jerome break out of Arkham, along with Mad Hatter and Scarecrow.  Subsequently, Jerome forms a “Legion of Horribles,” of which Mr. Freeze and Firefly are also members.  This Legion of Horribles plans to assist Jerome in his attack on the City and in his quest of vengeance against his twin brother and against Bruce Wayne, after the latter’s confrontation with Jerome in the House of Mirrors in Season 3.  Fortunately or unfortunately, however, Penguin musters enough moral fortitude to narc on NotJoker; Jerome’s comrades, chiefly the Hatter, suss this duplicity out, and Penguin is thrown onto the blimp meant to crash land into the streets of Gotham with Scarecrow’s poison gas.  Yet, a quick thinking Jim gets cowardly Penguin to do the right thing in the end, though with Jerome’s apparent death, their friendship and alliance seems decidedly ended as well.

21) 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?

ANSWER: Lee and Jim do not reunite romantically, though both confess to each other how much they care for the other in this broken relationship. Unfortunately, for now, Edward Nygma obsesses over Lee, a fire which Lee only seems too happy to stoke, at least as long as it serves her sudden purpose of crime sprees and villainy.

So far, Barbara Gordon does not seem to be the speck of an iota of a concept on this show, at present.

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

ANSWER: Yes, Ed makes a grand romantic move toward Lee after she impresses him by solving some of his riddles, when he hosts a sadistic sort of game show in the Narrows called the Riddle Factory, which often ends up in the contestants’ maiming or death.  Unfortunately – and somewhat revoltingly – Lee does not outright reject Ed, at least not at first.  She confesses that she does not love him, and though she later proposes that they run away from Gotham City together, as Jim once proposed to her, she changes her mind about that proposal, much to Edward’s stabbing chagrin.  As in, he literally stabs her and she him.  They do not die, however, but, instead, end up on tables in front of a salivating Hugo Strange.  The panelists are not happy or optimistic about this particular plot development.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

23) 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?

ANSWER: So far, the Pyg, fake or not, is gone from Gotham. Will we see Pyg, either the version we have come to know or the alleged “real” version, before the end of the series?  Time will tell.  Maybe.

24) 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?

ANSWER: Sofia Falcone imprisons Martin with some of her goons; however, with help from a newly reemerged Riddler on top of his game, Penguin is able to steal Martin back from Sofia’s clutches and to stow him in an allegedly safe place, the viewer knows not where.

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

ANSWER: Tommy Elliott does not appear in the second half of Season 4.  Will we see Tommy take on a “Hush” like visage before the end of the series?  Time will tell.

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

ANSWER: Yes, Tabby beat Butch right out of Solomon’s head.  Butch is lucid at the start of the second half of Season 4, though he is very much itching to be cured of his Solomon malady from a physical perspective.

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

ANSWER: Yes, Jim is able to convince Harvey, who temporarily works as a bartender during his temporary resignation from the force, to return to the police department when Jerome Valeska lets loose on Gotham City.  Harvey is not exactly happy about it, though he seems to come around by the end of the season.

New Questions

1) Panelist Kyle indicates in our podcast episode that Season 5 will, largely, be based upon the series of Batman comics known as “No Man’s Land,” which tells the story of Gotham City in an anarchic state not regulated by a present Batman.  The main villain of this story, at least as inspired by the films directed by Christopher Nolan, is Bane, who will now be played by Shane West.  How can this story make sense when Batman has not yet been part of Gotham? How will Bane’s existence make sense?

2) Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina’s club, a redo of Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge, is called the “Sirens.”  At the end of the season, Barbara, leading the female half of the League of Shadows and with a newfound angst against men, declares war on men as the “Sirens.” Is this meant to be an Easter egg or homage to the Sirens of the comics – or do the producers intend to go through with the previously rumored transition of making Barbara some version of Harley Quinn?  How can the Sirens be the Sirens without an accurate (or free) version of Poison Ivy or a fully realized Catwoman?

3) Will we see Bruce Wayne become Batman in this coming season?  Panelist Kyle has learned that by the end of the season, the show will jump ahead ten years.  What will finally inspire Bruce to take that step toward the shadowy figure of his vision?

4) Will we see a third potential Joker (Not Joker) this season?  Who will it be?  Is Jeremiah Valeska gone for good?

5) What in blazes is Hugo Strange going to do to Lee and Ed?  PLEASE, DO NOT TURN THEM INTO SOME SORT OF SIAMESE TWIN/JOINED AT THE HIP MUTANT EXPERIMENT!

6) Will we see Sofia Falcone again?  Will she become the Hangman this half season?

7) Jeremiah Valeska shoots Selina near the end of the season.  Will this motivate Selina to become Catwoman to preserve her remaining eight lives (in homage to Batman Returns)?

8) Is Butch Gilzean/Solomon Grundy actually dead?  If so, does Gotham not know anything about the Solomon Grundy character?  Chief CP Kylie predicts that Butch/Solomon cannot possibly be dead, and that we will see him again before the end of the series.

9) Is Ra’s al Ghul permanently dead?

10) How can a small, ragtag group of cops led by Jim Gordon, and a nascent Batman/Bruce Wayne, possibly take on a city overrun with enterprising super-villains and otherwise unruly, unsavory anarchists?

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 second half of Season 4 in this latest podcast episode, though the panel also universally feels that the show’s writers and producers once again failed to capitalize on positive momentum created by the first half of the season. As the panel discussion demonstrates, none of the panelists reacted positively to the second half of Season 4 overall, though some panelists responded better to certain moments, such as a larger role for Cameron Monaghan’s many versions of Joker/NotJoker, Bruce Wayne’s relationships with Alfred and with Selina Kyle, and Harvey Bullock’s personal redemption.  In fact, finally, all panelists have unanimously reached the point of hating the direction of the show and of being 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, especially 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 low point, even as it, still, contained some engaging moments of entertainment. 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.  The panelists implore Gotham’s writers to end on the best moment possible, and one safely based in the canon, while maintaining continuity with the paths already explored on this series, so as to provide at least our viewers and panelists with some sense that this exercise of watching five grossly uneven seasons, in terms of writing and direction, is all worth something in the end.

LOOKING AHEAD

Gotham has been renewed for a fifth and final season, albeit a shorter one at thirteen episodes, which is slated to premiere on Fox on Thursday, January 3, 2019, at 8:00 PM. The Gotham podcast panel will next reconvene following the series finale, at which time we will also Look Back at the show as a whole and offer our final, post-mortem ruminations related to the five tempestuously uneven seasons of this Batman prequel – which, unfortunately, could ultimately become a roast, if the show does not significantly and convincingly rebound in these up and coming, remaining thirteen episodes.  Stay tuned!

NEXT CPU! LIVE!

CPU! is going live again!!!  CPU! will next be LIVE at Grand Rapids Comic-Con. for our third annual appearance at the Con, on November 10, 2018, at 7:00 PM!  In that live podcast (also streamed to our Facebook page), a brand new panel will gather together to debate the multifaceted, multi-generational universe behind Star Trek. This panel will also seed a new ongoing series panel for the podcast!  Like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep abreast of all the details, but here’s the art for it for now!  Stay tuned!

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DC Television Universe, Episode Fourteen: The Flash, Season Four (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 October 2018, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the fourteenth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 4 of the Arrowverse’s first spin-off, The Flash. If you have not watched any of The Flash, 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: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 14, “The Flash” – Season Four, 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 currently 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 4 aired on the CW from October 10, 2017, to May 22, 2018.

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 fourteenth 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 11, the DCTU Mid-Season Roundup, 2017
In our last DCTU episode, our cheeky and feisty DCTU panel – namely Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – continued 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 sixth season of Arrow.  Tonight’s episode finds the panel returning to the Water Cooler to talk the fourth season of The Flash in the fourteenth episode of our DCTU series.  The discussion herein considers the success of Golden Age villain “The Thinker” (Neil Sandilands), the introduction of Ralph Dibney aka Elongated Man, the continued dual nature of Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker), 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 began 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 Arrowverse shows.

This particular episode was recorded in October 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of Season 4 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 DCTU panel returns a final time (for now) to the proverbial Water Cooler to discuss Season 3 of Supergirl, as our Arrowverse revisits continue.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) How; when, particularly within our timeline; and where on Earth Prime will Barry return from his journey into the Speed Force following the events of Season 3?

ANSWER: Barry returns to Central City six months after entering into the Speed Force, roughly equal to our timeline but, perhaps, a bit ahead of the game, considering the pop culture references that Cisco (Carlos Valdes) frequently makes. Barry emerges from the Speed Force with help from Team Flash, against Iris’ (Candice Patton) orders as Team Captain, as she tries to hold to Barry’s instructions not to rescue him prior to his entry into the Speed Force. The Team decides to extract Barry from the Speed Force when Cisco and Wally aka Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) realize that they are struggling to keep the evil meta-humans in Central City at bay without The Flash. So, with the help of an item that Cisco calls a “Quark Sphere,” the Team liberates Barry; though they are on the Central City outskirts to execute this metaphysical disruption, Barry emerges mid-downtown.  Barry is not cognizant of his surroundings for quite some time; only when Iris is in danger does he regain his faculties and sense of the normal passage of time.  What’s more, the opening of the Speed Force causes a release of dark matter to affect a bus of ordinary citizens just trying to live their ordinary lives – until they are made extraordinary by this exposure. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

2) How much time will have passed while Barry is gone, and what will have happened to the other characters left in Central City, particularly Iris, Wally West aka Kid Flash, Joe, and Cisco Ramon aka Vibe?

ANSWER: Six months pass while Barry is in the Speed Force.  Iris has been elevated to captain/commander of Team Flash while trying to soldier on without Barry.  Kid Flash and Vibe try to lead the superhero brigade in Central City with occasional help from a less enthusiastic Killer Frost, who emerges every so often when an emotional reaction is triggered for Caitlin.  Joe, in the meantime, marries Cecile and prepares to have a child, as Cecile is quite pregnant at the start of this season.

3) Is Caitlin Snow, in fact, fully transitioned to Killer Frost?  Does this mean she will be Barry’s enemy permanently?  What is she involved in while Barry is away?

ANSWER: No, Caitlin is not permanently Killer Frost – or vice versa.  Caitlin and Killer Frost are two separate, disassociated personalities within the body of one woman.  Neither personality has a hold over when she emerges or disappears into that woman’s body.  In any visage, though, both Caitlin and Killer Frost act as friend/ally or reluctant ally (respectively) to Barry and to Team Flash.  We learn later in the season, however, that Caitlin seeks help in suppressing Killer Frost, and/or Killer Frost seeks help in not being suppressed, with the help of a meta-human called Amunet aka the Blacksmith, played by Katee Sackhoff.  Let’s just say that “Cait” walks on her wilder side and lives to regret some of her decision-making – and by her, I mean both Caitlin and Killer Frost.

4) Will we see another dimensional doppelganger of Harrison Wells?  Or, will Earth 2’s Harry return for a long-term visit, since his daughter, otherwise known as Jessie Quick, is currently on Earth 3 in Jay Garrick’s stead?

ANSWER: Harry Wells, the Earth 2 version of Harrison Wells, stays for the length of Season 4; however, he returns to Earth 2 at the end of the season for reasons discussed below.

5) Is Julian gone for good?  Will we ever see Doctor Alchemy again?

ANSWER: We have not seen either Julian or Doctor Alchemy again (yet).  We have not even seen Draco Malfoy!  We would be happy to see any version of him, as long as the face is still Tom Felton’s.

6) It has been announced that Wentworth Miller, who plays Leonard Snart aka Captain Cold in the Arrowverse, is filming his last episodes for the CW DC universe.  Will he appear on The Flash, and how will his final appearance take shape?

ANSWER: Yes, Wentworth Miller appears on The Flash one final time as Leo Snart, the Earth X version of Mr. Snart, to whom we are first introduced in the Crisis on Earth X crossover event that aired in December 2017.  Leo is a happier, gay version of Leonard – he is marrying The Ray, after all – and finds time to counsel Barry through a period of grief, when Barry believes that Ralph Dibney is the latest fatality of the Thinker’s serial murders of the bus meta-humans.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

7) Who will be the season-arching villain for Season 4?  Which of Flash’s rogues will appear and/or return in the fourth season?  Will they appear together, as panelist Kyle would like to see?

ANSWER: The season-arching villain of Season 4 is Golden Age “Flash” baddie Clifford DeVoe aka The Thinker, who is determined to be the smartest man on Earth Prime.  The Thinker, however, does not work well with others, so we do not see him join forces with any other big “Flash” villains.  Gorilla Grodd, however, returns for a visit in Season 4, and the panel is always happy (and impressed) when they see him.

8) Will Barry and Iris finally get married?

ANSWER: Yes.  In the mid-season crossover, Crisis on Earth X, Barry and Iris finally chuck it all and tie the knot – and then get upstaged by Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) in what the panel has deemed to be the biggest “dick” move of Ollie’s career, which we have discussed in prior DCTU episodes.

9) Will Barry Allen/The Flash emerge from his framing for murder by The Thinker unscathed?  The panel believes that he will end up in the ARGUS/Iron Heights facility for some time as the Thinker originally seemed to intend, but what is The Thinker trying to do?

ANSWER: Ultimately, yes, Barry succeeds in un-framing himself but not without a tidy prison sentence thanks to the Thinker in the meantime.  Barry is saved at his appeal by a shape-shifting Elongated Man, who morphs into the initial version of Clifford DeVoe in order to show the presiding judge that the murder/DeVoe’s death are fake.  Barry spends about three episodes in Iron Heights before achieving absolution.  As for what the Thinker is trying to do, it appears that each step in his nefarious master scheme, including ejecting Barry from the Speed Force, creating a bus full of meta-humans, framing Barry for his not-murder, and subsequent events, was designed to position Barry to be a host for Clifford’s consciousness while simultaneously rendering the world catatonic with some brain-busting satellites under control of STAR Labs as part of what DeVoe labels an Enlightenment Machine.  The panel is not certain that the show executed the best possible storytelling while making use of the Thinker as a villain, but Barry’s framing occurs due to DeVoe’s master manipulation, or so he asserts during the season.  Does it all make sense?  The panel spends considerable time discussing the conceivable answers to this question in the podcast episode.

10) Why does Amunet (Katee Sackhoff) matter at all?  The panel finds her somewhat lame, and panelist Spencer takes special issue with her accent.

ANSWER: Well, as far as we can guess, Amunet really only matters because she is able to fashion a “bomb” out of some metal she has to carry around in a bucket in order to use her special ability.  Panelist Kyle calls her “Discount Magneto.”  Panelist Spencer remains offended by her accent.  The rest of the panel continues to cry “lame” at the very thought of her.  Sorry, Katee.

11) Will Harry Wells have to square off against The Thinker in his new, BrainStorm meta-body?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, Harry never gets the chance to go up against the Thinker meaningfully by himself and, certainly, not while the Thinker is occupying BrainStorm’s body.  Harry sets out on a quest to become as smart and as quick-thinking as the Thinker by inventing a “thinking cap,” which does not look dissimilar to the contraption that Doctor Emmett Brown fashions in 1955 in Back to the Future. Harry, as he expands the programming of the device, becomes addicted to it, so much so that he asks Gideon, in the white room, to enhance the cap so that he might be able to stop the Thinker.  Despite Gideon’s protests and warnings, Harry forces the artificial intelligence to go forward with the enhancement process; however, it backfires as she originally estimated and fries Harry’s synapses.  He spends the remainder of the season trying to rewire his brain back to some semblance of intelligence, so that he does not lose thoughts, memories, and sense of self, though even he recognizes that he will never be the stellar mind he once was upon regaining some normalcy of cognition.  It is for this reason that he returns to Earth 2 and to his daughter Jessie.  

New Questions

1) Will Gorilla Grodd return?

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?

3) Will Ralph become a permanent member of Team Flash?

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

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?

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.

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?

8) Was Cecile’s 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?

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?

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?

11) Will we learn more of what happened to Barry while he was 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?

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

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?

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 now some of the panel’s members are growing more restless with The Flash and what they consider to be two weaker 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 and the general direction of the show, though, with the publication of this episode, 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 4 surpasses Season 3 in quality, in lieu of the stumbling around the “Flashpoint” story line in the last 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, remains overall appreciative of 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 over the film version played by Ezra Miller, which the panelists spend some time discussing yet again, vis-a-vis network and corporate interference with regard to the Arrowverse.  As always, take a listen and see if you agree with the panel’s general thoughts on these controversial matters.

LOOKING AHEAD

The fifth season premiere of The Flash aired last night, on October 9, 2018, and while it is too early in the season to hear about renewal announcements, The Flash is expected to be a network mainstay for some years.  CPU!’s next DCTU episode will focus on the third season of Supergirl and 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!🙂

NEXT CPU! LIVE!

CPU! is going live again!!!  CPU! will next be LIVE at Grand Rapids Comic-Con. for our third annual appearance at the Con, on November 10, 2018, at 7:00 PM!  In that live podcast (also streamed to our Facebook page), a brand new panel will gather together to debate the multifaceted, multi-generational universe behind Star Trek. This panel will also seed a new ongoing series panel for the podcast!  Like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep abreast of all the details!  Stay tuned!

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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

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!