PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Once Upon a Time” – The Season 7 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for once upon a time season 7 title
Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie


Who: “Once Upon a Time” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall/winter/spring Fridays at 8:00 PM.

What: “Once Upon a Time,” a fantasy drama wherein storybook and fairy tale characters are not only real but are living in this world, away from their enchanted kingdoms and worlds beyond reality, and how they all interrelate (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/once_upon_a_time/summary.html).

When: The Season 7 premiere aired on Friday, October 6, 2017, at 8:00 PM on ABC.

Where: The show, in this season, engages in a “soft reboot” of its story premise and is (currently) set in Hyperion Heights, a fictional neighborhood deep within the heart of very real Seattle, Washington, as well as in “The Enchanted Forest,” the fairy tale kingdom from where most of the main characters originate. The action takes place primarily in present day, though there are flashbacks to the characters’ past lives and events.

Why: Two primary reasons: one, Chief Couch Potato Kylie loves fantasy and fairy tales, and the Disney network green-lit a live action serial television program about fairy tale characters that they would probably own the rights to, if the characters weren’t already public domain. Two, the creators are Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, two of the head writers of Lost. Whatever else may be said about the latter program, I don’t think anyone could argue that Lost wasn’t well written. All of our panel of enthusiastic Once fans finds love for this program via one or both of those reasons themselves.

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

To catch up on prior Once podcast episodes, click on the links embedded below:

Season 4A – Frozen

Season 4B – Queens of Darkness
Season 5A – Dark Swan
Season 5B – The Underworld
Season 6A
Season 6B
Our now bonded and totally cohesive and still full Once panel – namely Kristen, Eddie, Amie, Emily, and Micah – reconvene (ish) around the Water Cooler “once” again to discuss Season 7A of OUAT, in which we digest the much ballyhooed, so-called “soft reboot” of Season 7.  Unfortunately, because this also happens to be the episode that was being processed for publishing at the time of our now legendary equipment failure, this is a re-recording, using, for the first time, an all online format!  What’s more, because panelist Eddie could not make the scheduled recording but still wanted to provide his opinions (because, as regular listeners of this series know, he’s Eddie!), we recorded him separately. So, of course, CPU! and your Chief CP sprung “Newlywed” type hi-jinks on our panel. Because that’s what we do with passionate panelists otherwise separated by time, space, and lives behind the podcast.  In the meantime, the new season presents all new characters and holds over only four characters with whom we have grown acquainted and grown to love over the first six seasons.  The rest of the original cast departed but for agreed upon one-off appearances in this season’s first half.  What does it all mean for Once Upon a Time and for our panel? Is everyone still watching, despite the fact that Once seems to have become something of a whole new show, with a whole new storybook, under the umbrella of the old title?  Or, has anyone jumped the shark in lieu of all of this unprecedented change?  Listen to our newest chapter of CPU!’s ongoing Once Upon a Time podcast, during which we reflect on Season 7A and ruminate on the possibilities swirling around the #potential (#drink) of the current season.  Do you agree with us? Or, do you have your own thoughts? Comment below!

This podcast was (re)recorded in March 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the seventh 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 week, we will be publishing another re-run as we gear up for recording (and re-recording) more new episodes; the episode to be re-run will be our prior coverage of the first season of Stranger Things.  Also, we will be publishing our quarterly progress report covering new shows of the 2017-2018 season, now that February ratings sweeps have come and gone.  In the following week, a new panel will, schedule permitting, launch a new ongoing series covering existentially philosophical NBC sitcom The Good Place.  Don’t miss it!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
Old Questions
1) REPEAT QUESTION: Is baby Neal magical like his sister? (This question will remain until answered!)
SLIGHTLY NEW ANSWER: At this time, baby Neal’s “specialness,” if it exists, is still unknown.  Also, we presume baby Neal is no longer a baby by the time we see old characters settled into various new identities in this seventh season.
2) REPEAT QUESTION: How did Will Scarlett (Michael Socha), aka the Knave from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, end up in Storybrooke and without Anastasia (Emma Rigby), the former Red Queen? And how did he and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) decide to hook up? (This question will remain until answered!)
SLIGHTLY NEW ANSWER: Will Scarlett is gone.  Where he went is anyone’s guess.  Why he was even brought to the flagship show with so little explanation for his coming and going is the bigger mystery, though panelist Micah now theorizes that, perhaps, Will Scarlett visited Storybrooke before he ended up in Wonderland.  The bigger issue is that the writers/producers failed to truly spell that out in a way that satisfies.
3) REPEAT QUESTION: Where did Maleficient (Kristen Bauer von Straten) go? Will we see more of her? Will she reconnect with her daughter Lily in a more meaningful way? (This question will remain until answered!)
SLIGHTLY NEW ANSWER: Like Will Scarlett, Maleficient and Lily have both disappeared without a trace or explanation.  Though this new coven being teased could foretell the arrival of certain witchy personalities within the Disney universe and from prior Once episodes, and, apart from Snow White’s evil queen, who is the most evil witch of all?
4) REPEAT QUESTION: Will the Once writers/producers provide a better, more detailed explanation for why Will Scarlett was on the flagship series? Will they provide a more significant flashback to explain why he and Anastasia are not together anymore? Would Emma Rigby be available to reprise her role of Anastasia? (This question will remain until answered!)
REPEAT ANSWER: Will Scarlett is gone.  Where or where has Will Scarlett gone?
5) REPEAT QUESTION: Will Maleficient, Lily, August, Will Scarlett, or any of these disappearing characters reappear?  Will their disappearances, at least, be explained? (This question will remain until answered!)
REPEAT ANSWER: Not so far, and it seems irresponsible of the writers.  Maybe they will surprise us in the end.  Where oh where have they all gone?!
6) REPEAT QUESTION: The panelists still want to know where these characters went: Merida, Mulan, Aurora, Philip, Roland (Robin’s son), and other members of the non-Wished Enchanted Forest?
REPEAT ANSWER: Unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown…
7) The producers and show-runners have been releasing various teaser details to foreshadow the “soft reboot” fueling Season 7.  For example, five new actresses were cast to fill mysterious roles, though one of the actresses cast will play Henry’s lover/potential wife and Henry’s daughter Lucy’s mother (we saw Lucy in the sixth season finale), identified to be another version of Cinderella, somehow dissimilar from the Cinderella played by Jessy Schram in earlier seasons.  We also know that one of the new actresses will play Cinderella’s stepmother.  Who are the remaining actresses playing?
ANSWER: The new actresses cast are as follows:
Dania Ramirez as Jacinda aka Cinderella aka Ella
Gabrielle Anwar as Victoria Belfrey aka Lady Tremaine, the Evil Stepmother, aka (SPOILER) Rapunzel
Mekia Cox as Sabine aka Princess/Queen Tiana
Adelaide Kane as Ivy Belfrey aka Drizella, the Evil Stepsister
Rose Reynolds as Tilly aka Alice (of Wonderland)
8) How does Adult Henry (Andrew J. West) end up in the Enchanted Forest (or something like it…and what is it if not the Enchanted Forest) and then back in our realm, beset by amnesia, like his grandparents and Storybrooke friends were when the series started?
ANSWER: Adult Henry, as child/teenager Henry (Jared S. Gilmore), leaves mama Regina (Lana Parilla) to “seek his own story.”  He leaves, on a motorcycle, to go specifically to the Enchanted Forest for that story, and he accesses the realm of his ancestors via magic bean and, presumably, a motorcycle powered by a magically-never-empty gas tank (since we presume petrol does not exist in any version of the Enchanted Forest).  As for how Adult Henry returns to this realm – how else? By the casting of an evil curse.  For the record, it’s not his fault.
9) How will the show explain away the new Cinderella, given that this character was previously introduced, played by a different actress and well acquainted to the Snow White character?
ANSWER: By not explaining at all, apparently.  This will remain a question until answered, but, for now, the show is asking us to buy that there is more than one Cinderella – as well as more than one Alice of Wonderland, Anastasia of Evil Stepsister fame, and Jack of the Beanstalk fame – out there, and that all versions of these duplicated characters originated from the Enchanted Forest.  Your guess is as good as ours as to how this would be possible, even in the impossible world of OUAT.
10) Will Emma die, given that Jennifer Morrison is slated to appear in only one episode next season?
ANSWER: Emma survives.  In fact, she is pregnant again, with hubby Hook’s (Colin O’Donaghue) baby.  Listen to the podcast for details.
11) A teaser trailer shows Captain Hook wearing a police uniform, Regina standing in a bar, and Rumpel (Robert Carlyle) in unknown climes.  How do they get where they are going?  What is the back story for this time jump?
ANSWER: The time jump is explained twofold – Henry grows up while looking for his story, while Rumpel spends some time in the Edge of Realms, where time does not move at the same pace as in other realms.  Regina becomes bartender Roni, Captain Hook becomes Detective Rogers, and Rumpel becomes Detective Weaver in the newly formed mystical neighborhood of Hyperion Heights, wrought once again by an evil, memory-affecting curse.
12) Is Henry the new Savior?  Lucy (Alison Fernandez) says in the final seconds of the Season 6 finale that he has to save his family – to whom is she specifically referring?
ANSWER: While Henry has not been officially promoted to “Savior” status, like his bio mom Emma, as of yet, Lucy is referring to the need to save Henry’s wife, Cinderella (or Ella for short); her friend and Lucy’s honorary aunt, Tiana; his mother, Regina; his grandfather, Rumpel; his stepfather (sort of), Hook; and Lucy herself.
13) Will this new season and new version of the show truly be different from what we have been watching?  Or, will there be a rehashing of story lines and/or a recycling of plot points, only applied to new generations and/or new characters?
ANSWER: More the latter than the former.  Listen to the podcast episode for extensive discussion on this question.
14) Will we see any of the departing characters (besides Emma) with any sort of regularity or frequency, or is everyone leaving and gone?  How will they explain the departures and absences of so many of the main characters?
ANSWER: Zelena (Rebecca Mader) returns, possibly for a multi-episode arc but not until near the mid-season finale.  Belle (Emilie de Ravin) returns for one episode, where we see her live her life fully with Rumpel in the Edge of Realms.  She grows old and dies of old age, while Rumpel, age eternal because of his status as Dark One, seeks to end his immortality and bequeath the Dark One essence to the “Guardian,” whomever that might be (and we do not know yet who or what it is) in order to find his love in death.  We also see the appearance of Mr. Smee, but that is because this version of Hook, the Wish Realm version, made young again through magic, transfers ownership of the Jolly Roger to him when faced with the prospect of caring for his newborn baby daughter, Alice, also daughter of Mother Gothel (Emma Booth).  Otherwise, the show has provided no other insights into the characters that have left at this time.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.
15) Will we see an older Neal, who, as Emma’s brother, would be Henry’s uncle and Lucy’s great-uncle? If so, when, where, and how?
ANSWER: So far, no Neal appears.  The panel votes for an appearance, though.  We would also like to meet Henry’s new sibling.  The show may now be forced to bring about such happy endings, though…since it was announced that Season 7 would Once’s final season.
16) Will we see an older Gideon, who, as Baelfire’s brother, would be Henry’s uncle and Lucy’s great-uncle? If so, when, where, and how?
ANSWER: Older Gideon does return to visit his parents in the Edge of Realms and to help his father following the death of his mother.  This family lives a long and happy life there, and Older Gideon seeks to be learned in books and magic like his parents, so he eventually leaves to find his story too.
17) Will Rumpel still be the Dark One?
ANSWER: So far, though he is trying to change his circumstances in light of Belle’s passing, Rumpel is still the Dark One.
18) Will we see any of the long missing characters, or get any explanations for their whereabouts, in the new season (the ones listed in questions 1-5 above)?
ANSWER: So far, we do not see any of these characters or receive any such explanations.  While there might be opportunities for reappearances later this season, based upon the story progress, we also predict that the show’s writers/producers are just going to leave us hanging, as their collective track record up until this point is not great.  Not cool, team.  Not cool.
19) Did the propitious moment of Emma’s resurrection also mean that the Evil Queen, as a separate entity, came into being again?
ANSWER: So far, it seems that the Evil Queen, the separate entity who split from Regina Prime in Season 6, remains no longer in existence, owing to her sacrifice in Season 6, at least as of the present day point in the story.  On the other hand, Wish Realm Hook is visited by an Evil Queen, who we presume to be the Evil Queen that used to be with Regina Prime, who then became the Wish Realm Evil Queen.  Believe us, it’s confusing just typing this stuff.
20) Will Emma and Hook have or be able to have other children?  Are they even interested in new children?
ANSWER: Emma is with child as we speak.  Hooray for Happy Beginnings!
21) Who will be the villain(s) of Season 7?
ANSWER: At the start of the season, viewers are led to believe that Cinderella’s Stepmother, Lady Tremaine, is the villain of all villains in this soft reboot.  Through a twist, however, we then are convinced that her daughter Ivy, bent on revenge and spurred by a seeming lack of love on the part of her mother, could be the season’s mastermind.  In the end, though, the manipulator of all is Rapunzel’s Witch, namely Mother Gothel, posing as Eloise Gardner in The Land Without Magic.  She seeks to unite a Coven of Eight mysterious witches and does so through the exploitation of family rifts seeded by Lady Tremaine, who turns out to be the famous Rapunzel herself.  Listen to the podcast for details.
22) Where did the rest of Storybrooke go?  Is the town still there?  Are Dr. Hopper and Granny and the Seven Dwarfs still around?
ANSWER: Where or where did Storybrooke go?  We presume it’s still there, but we have seen no one specifically from Storybrooke around as of late, except all characters previously mentioned or cited above.
New Questions
1)  Who or what is “the Guardian,” to which Rumpel wants to pass the Dark One dagger and essence?  What is the Guardian guarding?  Is it Lucy?  Is it Rapunzel’s eldest daughter Anastasia?  Is it someone we know?  Is it something or someone we don’t know?
2) How do Drizella and Anastasia have magic in this version?  How does Rapunzel/Tremaine manifest magic?
3) Does Drizella truly love Adult Henry?  Or, was she just using him the whole time?
4) Will Alice encounter her mother, Mother Gothel?  Does Alice have magical powers like her mother?  Why is Alice cursed?  Did Mother Gothel curse Alice?  How is it that Alice occasionally awakens from her curse?  Someone explain Alice.
5) What is the timeline surrounding Wish Realm’s Hook procurement of the white elephant protection charm from Rumpel – and was that Rumpel Wish Realm Rumpel or Rumpel Prime?
6) Who are the Eight Witches or the Coven of Eight?  Are they real?  What is their purpose?  What are they trying to do?  Is Maleficent one of the witches?  Is Regina?  Is Zelena?  Is Emma?  Is Snow White/Prince Charming?  Are the Wish Realm versions of any of these characters eligible for membership?  Is there one?  Is there a “superior?”  Is that person Mother Gothel?  Is it Anastasia?  Is it Regina?
7) Will all of the characters survive?  If not, who will die?
8) What realm is this show’s Dr. Facilier from?  Is he from the Underworld?
9) Will the season – and now the series, as it was announced by ABC and by the creators that Once Upon a Time is ending after this season – end with the breaking of the newest curse?
10) Where is Mother Gothel from? What is her back story? Is she driven by vendetta?  Against whom? What are her motivations?
11) Did Drizella actually cast the curse against Alice/Tilly?  Why?
12) To whom is Zelena engaged?  Do we know her fiance and husband to be?
13) How does Henry’s motorcycle run in the Enchanted Forest?  Where are the gas stations in the Enchanted Forest?  How does Cinderella II learn to operate it so fast – is she really Anakin Skywalker?
14) Why are there duplicate versions of various characters, including Cinderella, her step-sisters, Alice (of Wonderland fame), Jack (of beanstalk fame), and so on?  How are all of the different versions from the same Enchanted Forest?  The panel universally agrees that the writers better take some time to explain this plot point beyond “there are different versions of the same story” because we do not understand how different versions can coexist within the same story.
15) Will the curse placed upon Henry and Lucy be broken?  How?  Is Cinderella II really Henry’s true love?  How?
16) The producers have teased potential returns of original characters in possible reunions convened in advance of the series finale.  Which characters will we revisit?  Will Jennifer Morrison aka Emma Swan ordain to exceed her contractually obligated one episode appearance and give a nice second episode sendoff for the fans?
In this episode, the podcast panelists reached some consensus, despite another wide variety of opinions, about the current progress of Once Upon a Time.  All panelists regard the first half of season seven as a surprisingly engaging soft reboot of the show, despite healthy skepticism from all panelists in advance of said reboot, which was explored in our previous Once episode. The panel still universally agrees, however, and with no hesitation, that #potential (#drink) contentment with the sixth season finale as a series finale episode would have been achieved if the show had officially stopped at the end of that season.  Though some panelists prove utterly won over by the unprecedented soft reboot and continue to foster hope and to devote faith to Once’s seemingly endless reservoir of #potential (#drink), the wariest panelists (your Chief CP included) feel that the producers, network, and parent company have a bumpy road to hoe going forward, now that the series finale has been announced, in order to wrap up not only loose threads from the original six seasons but also nearly all of the seeded plot points of Season Seven. After all, Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, and the Once writing team tend to plant seeds without fertilizing them organically, as evidence by their track record on this program thus far.  The entire panel will still be watching, but we believe that lack of network support – particularly in light of a move to a Friday night time slot never before thrust upon this program – numbered this series’ days, effectively dousing long-time strong ratings and quashing any hope of additional season renewals; most panelists, aside from Eddie and Chief CP Kylie, wanted at least one more season.  Unfortunately for them and for the remaining longevity of the once-upon-a-time CPU! favorite, Once Upon a Time, the next half season will be the show’s last and will be the subject of a final two episodes for our (currently) longest running panel.
Once Upon a Time returned from its mid-season seven hiatus on Friday, March 2, 2018, at 8:00 PM. In February 2018, however, OUAT was officially canceled by ABC.  As such,  the Once Upon a Time podcast panel will next reconvene – for the final time – following the seventh season and overall series finale of OUAT, which will likely air in or around May 2018, with a two-part goodbye series of podcast episodes.  The first of these episodes will review the show’s final half season; the second will look back at the show as a whole.   As always, even for the limited amount of time remaining, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional OUAT coverage.  Until then!  Stay tuned.

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

Image result for gotham season 3 title

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie


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


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!

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 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?


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.


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!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Supernatural” – The Season 13 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)


Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie


Who: “Supernatural” airs on network TV, specifically on the CW; this season, the show airs on Thursdays at 8:00 PM.

What: “Supernatural,” a drama depicting the tale of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively), who are “hunters” of all supernatural ilk, be they demons, monsters, or angels on high, in a quest to save the world from things that go bump in the night, things that cause apocalypses, and things that are generally just out to get them (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/supernatural/summary.html).

When: Season 13 premiered on October 12, 2017, at 8:00 PM on the CW.

Where: The show is set in no specific locale; the brothers ride all over the country in a 1967 Chevrolet Impala and live out of hotel rooms via fake identities and money scams, though the Winchesters are originally from Lawrence, Kansas, and have, as late, holed up in a bunker, somewhere near their home town, formerly run by the Men of Letters, an organization of which they are legacy members.  The time is present day.

Why:  Oh so many seasons ago now, Chief CP Kylie followed Jensen Ackles–a fine, fine man–from Smallville to his new gig, which, at the time, seemed like a different spin on the X-Files, with two brothers versus two sexually tense FBI agents.  From the opening frames of the pilot, though, I knew that it was oh so much more or, at least, vastly dissimilar to the X-Files, and this show has surpassed so many expectations, including mustering the incredible ability to remain relevant and engaging long past the expiration of the initial story arc mapped out by creator Eric Kripke.  For CPU!’s ever-expanding podcast coverage of a growing number of shows, several CPU! members, all familiar voices to the CPU! loyal, jumped up to participate on this panel, even though many of them also express fatigue with the show from time to time.  How do they feel the show is faring nowadays, into its double digits’ worth of seasons?  Take a listen below.

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

To catch up on our Super-coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

The Season 9 Premiere 

Seasons Nine, Ten, and Eleven

Season 12A
Season 12B

Our Super-CPU! panel experienced some changes since its last meeting.  One panelist departed the podcast for life’s greater journeys, and two panelists are taking a temporary hiatus from this panel for personal reasons (what phase of the moon is it again?).  The remaining two panelists proved eager to talk about the first half of this unluckily numbered season and returned to the Water Cooler with gusto.  Thus, Nick and Jen, along with your trusty Chief CP and moderator, hop into our ’67 Chevy Impala, always ready to ride until we, or Supernatural, die(s), as we discuss major plot points from, and ruminate upon the success of, the first half of Season Thirteen.  While our panel’s particular devotion and/or brotherly bond continues to be sometimes tested in Supernatural’s later seasons, we still have lots to think and to talk about and to gush over whilst pining for the brothers and/or Cas (well, I don’t think Nick is pining…unless there’s something we don’t know).  Give us a listen, with your salt guns and holy water on standby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in January 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of Season Thirteen of this long-running series. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), 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 Once Upon a Time panel definitively returns to the Water Cooler to digest the first half of the “softly rebooted” seventh season. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

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

REPEAT ANSWER: Still unknown.

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

REPEAT ANSWER: While the panel is in no particular rush for a series finale, although maybe that’s less true nowadays, it’s likely the brothers will not find peace until they are done.  That’s why Kansas tells them to Carry On, Wayward Sons.  “Lay your weary head to rest; don’t you cry no more.”

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

NEW ANSWER: Well…we see a version of Michael this season, namely the Michael from “Apocalypse World,” where the archangel offed his brother Lucifer and now leads all angels in a war against demons and humans.  Does this mean we will also see a return of Adam/Michael in this dimension?  Chances of this being a tease are high, but the introduction of this New Michael could foretell a convergence of some heavenly forces we have previously met in order to stay the zealous New Michael’s blood lust.

4) REPEAT QUESTION: The Billie the Reaper question remains a question: is she aiming to be New Death? What is her true intention?  Or, is she a dutiful bureaucrat, operating status quo in the absence of her boss? Will she be successful in reaping Mary’s newly returned soul?  The brothers’?

ANSWER: We repeat this question because we found out the answer this half season.  All along, the Reapers seem to have been acting as dutiful bureaucrats, operating without a marshal or a supervisor in the wake of the death of Death.  Yet, Billie, who returns this season after Castiel (Misha Collins) permanently ends her reaping duties to save the brothers and Mary Winchester in Season Twelve, informs a temporarily dead Dean (listen to the podcast episode for details) that the first Reaper to die following the death of Death becomes the New Death.  So, Billie is now Death, presumably the Horseman Of, and fully comprehends new and old truths about which she had only presumptions and opinions before.  One of those truths: the Winchesters are “important,” according to all lore collected by her predecessor.  In fact, Death has a whole library about the Winchesters.  What does it all mean?  Only time will tell.  In the meantime, Billie is committed to helping the Winchesters stay alive until their purpose, whatever that may be, is fulfilled.

5) Let’s talk about cosmic consequences.  At the end of the season, Castiel is stabbed in the back, in a karmic boomerang of epic proportion, by Lucifer, who uses Cas’ angel blade to get the drop on Cas, as Cas did on Billie the Reaper. We assume Cas will be back, even if his return is predictable and less impacting than it could be, given all of the deaths and rebirths on this show.  We just do not know how or if he will be the same Cas. Will we meet our Castiel again, resurrected once more by some force unknown?  Or, will we be watching an alternate universe version of him, since that universe has been blinked into existence by Jack the Nephilim (Alexander Calvert)?  Or, will Jack, who seems connected to Cas thanks to his in utero interaction with the angel, revive Cas himself?

ANSWER: The third guess is the charm.  Jack resurrects the Castiel we know and love with the sheer force of his awesome nephilim abilities.  In fact, Sam mentions, almost in an off-handed manner during one episode, that he learns “in the lore” that nephilim can become more powerful than the angels that sire them.  And since Jack is Lucifer’s offspring, and since Lucifer is one of the four archangels, Jack is especially full of juice of an unknown, mysterious, and highly dangerous proportion and power.  While sometimes his unfathomable power is difficult for him to control and causes Jack to do unspeakable things as he attempts to suss out whatever part of him is human, it also allows him to accomplish great and somewhat miraculous feats.  One such feat: in an effort to please Dean, from whom Jack seems determined to gain his trust and approval (in fact, Dean becomes Jack’s surrogate father in some respects, though Dean wants none of that), Jack awakens Cas, whose angel remains reside, sleeping, in The Empty, i.e. the nothingness where angels and demons go to die and where their essences remain in eternal slumber.  Cas then encounters the Keeper of the Empty, who dresses up like a Muppet-sounding version of Cas and who is also very annoyed by the fact that one of his charges is awake.  Cas, however, is crafty enough to know that the Keeper has a short fuse and works to irk him just enough that the Keeper acquiesces and bounces Cas out of the Empty and back into the Normal World, much to the brothers’ relief.  To that end, for right now, Cas seems to be the Cas we all know and love.  Will his brush with the Empty change him long-term?  The (half) panel predicts that he will be too distracted by Lucifer to meditate existentially on his brush with Angel Death.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

6) Lucifer and Mary are currently trapped in that alternate universe.  Will we see them immediately in the next half season, or will we have to wait, as the producers and cast have confirmed that they live on in the world of a permanent war between angels and demons and mostly extinct humans?  Will we get to see Lucifer and Mary, the “buddy cop” years?  Will Mary punch Lucifer bunches, as panelist Kelsey wishes?  Will they survive?  What will happen to them?

ANSWER: We see glimpses of the “Lucifer and Mary: The Buddy Cop Years” show in Apocalypse World, almost immediately, until Lucifer and Mary encounter Apocalypse World’s version of Michael.  Lucifer has big plans to use Mary as leverage to bargain for his son, should he and Mary ever return to the land of the living, but Michael throws a wrench in that proceeding when Apocalypse World’s version of Prophet Kevin Tran, on Michael’s orders (and under duress), casts a heady prophet spell that siphons off much of Lucifer’s grace in order to reopen the rift between that world and Supernatural Prime world.  Lucifer, thinking quickly like the devil he is, jumps through the rift opening, which is available only temporarily, while Michael traps Mary in a body cage as he plans his next attempt at infiltrating this dimension.  Until fourth Prince of Hell Asmodeus interferes, Lucifer, on this side of the rift, appeals to Cas, talking tall tales of the new Michael, while Mary, still alive, remains trapped, at least until the mid-season finale cliffhanger.  Listen to the podcast episode for further details.

7) Crowley is dead as well, sacrificing his own life in exchange for a spell cast in an attempt to trap Lucifer in the alternate universe – only with Crowley’s death, Mark A. Sheppard also announced his departure from the show, so it seems the King of Hell is permanently pushing up demonic daisies.  Is this why Rowena is killed off?  Is she, in fact, killed off?  Or, did Rowena make a deal with the devil that allows her to survive? She’s been quite the survivor so far, after all.

ANSWER: Based upon a sizable clue from the improbably still alive Arthur Ketch, former British Man of Letters, who informs Sam and Dean that he was able to cheat death using a spell of the erstwhile King of Hell’s mum, we expect to see Rowena’s return any day now – and without the aid of Lucifer, as it turns out.

8) Jack the Nephilim – is he good, or is he evil?  Is he angel, or is he demon?  Is he a yellow eyed demon?  Is he a “prince of hell?”  Is he the “anti-Christ?” What does it mean to be a prince of hell?  We expect that Dean will want to lay him to waste immediately, while Sam will probably argue for the gray area and the possibility that he is not evil, given his angel grace and half humanness.  Will Jack have an effect on Sam?  Will Jack induce a return of Sam’s demonic abilities, originally imbued to him by a yellow eyed demon/Prince of Hell?  How will Jack affect the world at large, given that mere contractions bringing him into the world ripped a hole in space and time?

ANSWER: The panel believes that Jack is Chaotic Neutral, a sponge ready to soak up the next good or evil influence he encounters.  Fortunately, his first alliance is with the Winchester brothers, and though Dean wants anything but to waste time chasing after Lucifer’s spawn, Sam sees Jack as a means to an end and is willing to put in the time to ensure that Jack remains a force for good.  As far as we know, Jack is a nephilim: half angel, half human.  He could be a prince of hell; he could be an anti-Christ.  We do not know the full extent or the answers to the mystery of what exactly Jack is other than an archangel-sired nephilim with the potential to be even more powerful than his dad.  We also do not know what whatever he is in the end might mean to all of our beloved characters.  The panel was previously correct about the brothers’ initial reactions: Dean wants to off Jack in the off, while Sam plays the old “he’s just a kid” chestnut – a kid with tremendous ability to destroy the world, probably, but not without the compass-aligning influence of the Winchesters themselves.  The only effect Jack seems to have on either brother is to divide, at least temporarily.  Jack has not magically or divinely influenced Sam or Dean directly, though he is using his considerable abilities to, first, revive Cas from permanent Angel Death and, second, to find Mary.  Also, so far, Jack’s effect on the rest of the world is to cause a lot of fire and brimstone; he cannot control his abilities, and sometimes, his influence leads to dire consequences, such as accidental death of innocent bystanders.  Jack is trying to understand his new surroundings, and Sam does his best to help him.  Dean reluctantly comes around, but the panel is convinced that we are only getting a taste of what this all might mean in the end.

9) Will Jack be next season’s Big Bad?  Will Lucifer?  If neither of them are, who will be?

ANSWER: The panel predicts that Apocalypse World Michael will be the leading Big Bad, should he break through the dimensional barrier(s), though Asmodeus and his quest to break the Shedim, “Hell’s darkest creatures,” out of the pits will serve as a nice runner-up B-villain in the meantime, resemblance to Colonel Sanders be damned.  For now, Lucifer is taking a hiatus from pure evil in an attempt to warn the world or, specifically, Castiel about Michael and in an attempt to find and to take back his son.

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

ANSWER: Perennially unanswered…

11) How much of this alternate universe will we be dealing with, overall?  Will we continue to see alterna-Bobby (Jim Beaver)?  Will the apocalypse of that world spill into this one?  Will it cause another apocalypse on this side of the space/time tear?

ANSWER: So far, we’ve seen little of it, but we expect that the alternate universe’s influence on the regular universe will be felt in due course, if Apocalypse World’s Michael has any success in executing his invasion plans.  We’ll call this “still a question” and revisit it at the end of the season.

12) The Supernatural production team is currently in the process of creating another backdoor pilot and potential spin-off in the Wayward Sisters, featuring Jody the Sheriff as the lead character.  How will the road to producing that show, provided that the network approves a full season order, affect current Super events?

ANSWER: Episode 10, entitled “Wayward Sisters,” is the backdoor pilot in question, and the show devotes a sizable portion of the first half of the season to introducing previously unknown characters to the Supernatural universe, characters who will be “Wayward Sisters” themselves.  The ham-fisted introduction of these characters spurred some measure of disgust from present panelists, but, for the most part, we are holding our considerably judgmental opinions until we view the spin-off pilot and evolution of its story thereafter.  We will judge (of course we will!) at that time.

13) What is the current status of the American hunter system?  It seems that the Brits with mole mother Mary make efficient work of eliminating known hunters.  Does this mean that Sam and Dean will have to pick up the pieces by recruiting new hunters?  Training them?  Are we about to see a hunter training montage? Speaking of picking up the pieces, how will Sam and Dean go on?  Where will they be when the season premieres?

ANSWER: Sam and Dean still hunt but also find themselves babysitting Jack – or bringing him for Baby ride-along missions.  They have not encountered many other hunters but for Sheriff Jody and maybe one other.  In fact, they seem less concerned about the fates of hunters right now, though Dean, when the season begins, is left shaken and numb following the presumed deaths of Castiel and mother Mary.  Dean, as Dean does, continues hunting because it is what he knows and is with what he feels comfortable.  Sam hunts to support Dean but also because the world continues to turn, threatened by monsters, demons, and angels.  Seriously, though, Jack takes up quite a bit of Sam and Dean’s time.  One does not encounter the child of the Devil every day.

14) Panelist Jen asks again: where are God, aka Chuck the Prophet, and Amara, the Sister Darkness of God?  How are they doing?  Talk going well?  Hashed out their deity problems much?  Seeking some therapy?  Panelist Allie votes for getting a glimpse of some family counseling session with Chuck and Amara.

ANSWER: Though Jen still holds these questions near and dear to her heart, she says (in the podcast episode) that she has resigned herself to the idea that she probably will not see revisits from Chuck/God and Amara until the show’s final season, whenever that may be.  

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

ANSWER: All questions currently without answers, though the remnants of Michael’s spear/lance may come into play with the return of a version of Michael to the show, eh?

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

ANSWER: See answer #15.  These are all questions currently without answers – though the answers may be coming…

17) The Vampire Alpha dies in this season, owing to some clever British Men of Letter work.  Does this mean that all vampires die?  I know this is not The Originals, but what happens to the rest of the vampires in the event of the death of their alpha?

ANSWER: The panel assumes all vampires are dead; for the record, we have seen no vampires.  The only “old school” monsters the boys encounter this season are a shape-shifter, ghouls, ghosts, and witches.  We will call this “still a question,” though, because the show may later address the lack of vampires or other monster Alphas.  “May,” I said.

New Questions

1) Where is the “Bad Place?”  Are there really dinosaurs, Big-Feet, or Godzillas making footprints over there?  What made the giant lizard footprint in the mid-season finale?  How will Sam and Dean get back to the dimension/world they call home?  Will the “Wayward Sisters” have to be the ones to rescue them?

2) What side will Jack fall on in the end?  Will he defend the Winchesters until he cannot defend them anymore?  Or, will he align with his dad?  Or, will he align with a wild card third party, like Castiel, Apocalypse World Michael, or Asmodeus?

3) Just how much of the “Wayward Sisters” will we be watching on the parent show?  The panel votes, hopefully, not so much.

4) Is Michael from Apocalypse World truly the Big Bad of the season? Will he break through to this dimension?  Will he run up against Jack?  Will he break the “Shedim” out of hell?

5) Will Lucifer encounter his son?  Will Jack have to battle his dad? Will Jack be wooed by the lure of being with his actual father?  Or, will he remain true to Sam, Dean, and Cas?

6) What point or purpose does Prince of Hell Asmodeus really serve, if any at all?

7) Is the show trying to suggest that Jack might be Chuck/God’s successor, capable of creating other life, such as new angels, who are apparently becoming extinct?  How many angels, exactly, are left?  And why do they stupidly keep going after the Winchesters, Cas, or anyone else related to them?

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

9) How will Jack return to this dimension, if at all?  Will he save mother Mary?  Will Mary keep him on the good side of “chaotic neutral?”  Will Sam and Dean reunite with their mother?  Will Mary survive all that Supernatural throws at her?

10) How much should we continue to care about the Empty?  Will it come back to haunt Castiel or any of the rest of our characters because Cas escaped?

11) How will Lucifer and Cas escape Asmodeus’ captivity – we assume they will?

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

13) Why are the Winchesters “important,” in the end and apart from what we already know, as Billie aka Death told Dean this half season?

14) When we will see Bobby and Rowena return (because, frankly, the question of “if” has been spoiled by the characters’ portraying actors)?

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


Our small but robust Supernatural half panel – i.e. those present in this latest episode, Nick and Jen – is encouraged by the mysteries, story threads, and new spins on some old horror tropes that we are viewing in Season Thirteen, after struggling with the show during what the panel deemed to be a choppy and somewhat disjointed twelfth season.  In fact, Season 13 offers enjoyable and even modestly fresh new aspects to this long-running story, including the interactions between mother Mary and Lucifer, the wild card that is Lucifer’s son Jack, and the return of a version of archangel Michael who, in no small way, resembles the Lucifer with which we have grown acquainted over eight or more seasons.  All of these fresh takes are then coupled with the usual elements that keep Super fans coming back for more; therefore, it seems that the show is rebounding from the lulls of Season 12 quite nicely.  As such, the panel members all still agree that Supernatural could never be completely unwatchable, owing to the writing, acting, and quirks of the mythology (and the sheer beauty of its cast). Though we are in the acknowledged winter of the program’s longevity, there remains nothing like Supernatural on TV right now, and despite the panel members’ individual gripes and barbs about things that strike us as strange – even for such a strange world as we have been watching for thirteen seasons – all members feel that the show is still entertaining, even this late in its lifetime. Carry On, Wayward Sons, as we prepare to move into the second half of Season 13!


Supernatural was automatically ordered for a full season upon renewal and returned from its mid-season hiatus on January 18, 2018. Will it be renewed for a fourteenth season?  The February sweeps will no doubt provide a clear answer to that question.  In the meantime, our Supernatural podcast panel (and hopefully the entire panel) will next reconvene following the thirteenth season finale, which will likely air in or around May 2018. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Supernatural coverage.  Stay tuned! Until then!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 12, the DCTU Panel’s Bonus “Crisis on Earth-X” Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Related image

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie


Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator.

What: “Crisis on Earth-X,” the four episode 2017 Arrowverse crossover event melding cast members from “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Supergirl,” the four shows that comprise the so-called “Arrowverse” on the CW, otherwise known as the DC (Comics) Television Universe or DCTU.

When: The “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover began on November 27, 2017, with Supergirl (8:00 PM) and Arrow (9:00 PM), and concluded on November 28, 2017, with The Flash (8:00 PM) and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (9:00 PM).

Where: The action is primarily set in the DC Comics Universe, specifically in Central City (The Flash), and on the Earth That Shall Not Be Named, the 53rd Earth otherwise known as “X.”

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full by clicking the floating box at the top right of our website header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers, to search for all of the prior DCTU series episodes.  As for why we are covering this crossover separately, read on!

How – as in How Was It?

The Specially Formulated For Your Viewing Pleasure “Crisis” Crossover rating scale:

***** – HOLY SMOKES! This is the BEST. CROSSVER. EVER!!!!!

**** – Intriguing.  Please make more, CW/Arrowverse producers.  You get better each time, though you’re not perfect yet.

*** – It was fine/okay.  Nothing special.  There were parts I liked and parts I didn’t.  Allow me to explain.

** – Meh.  I was bored.  Nice idea, but the execution left something to be desired.

* – Not your best, Arrowverse.  Stop trying!

Crisis on Earth-X = 4.8, by average of the podcast panel.


In “Crisis on Earth-X”, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West’s (Candice Patton) friends come to Central City for their wedding, only to be interrupted when villains from Earth-X disrupt the proceedings, led by Dark Arrow (spoiler…Stephen Amell), his Kryptonian wife Overgirl (spoiler…Melissa Benoist), and Prometheus.


This is the twelfth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Because we have reached double digits for this massive series, from here on out, we are only going to embed prior episodes from the immediately previous season at mid-season or only the previous episodes of the show in particular that we are covering if we are covering any of the series individually, which you can listen to for reference in advance of the current podcast episode.  All of our episodes, however, are searchable here at the website or, for audio-only types, you can find our page at our file host, the Internet Archive (archive.org), which has all of our episodes compiled in one handy menu.  It’s pretty nice, actually.  If you feel so inclined, please also donate to the Archive, so garage podcasts like your humble CPU! can continue to thrive.  For now, here are the DCTU series episodes since the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup:

DCTU Series, Episode 6, the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup

DCTU Series, Episode 7, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season Two

DCTU Series, Episode 8, “Supergirl,” Season Two

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

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

DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU 2018 Mid-Season Roundup

Our cheeky and feisty and full DCTU panel, particularly panelist Spencer, specially requested a separate episode to discuss the four episode mega-crossover Arrowverse event “Crisis on Earth-X,” as perhaps you surmised if you listened to our last episode.  Why, might you ask?  Well, we might answer.  The panel, by and large, LOVED this crossover event so much; it was so jam-packed with all of the nerdy, DC Universe goodness, plus a staggering number of Easter Eggs and pop culture references outside of comic books (DC or otherwise), the panel felt a separate recording was necessary to digest all of the wonderful everything that came out of this particular “Crisis.”  Thus, our DCTU panelists talk about their passionately positive assessment of the crossover of casts from Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.  Give us a listen below, and let us know if you agree or disagree with our thoughts!

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in January 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the current seasons of all four Arrowverse shows. 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, schedule permitting, our Supernatural panel will return to the Water Cooler to discuss the first half of Season 13, as the long-running show already returned from this year’s winter hell-atus in its devilish way (if scheduling does not permit, our Once Upon a Time panel will appear instead to digest the “soft reboot” of Season 7)!  Stay tuned!


Ultimately, our intrepid DCTU panel truly had very little bad to say about “Crisis on Earth-X.”  The general consensus was that this four episode event vastly improved over 2016’s multi-series crossover by finding better ways to incorporate main characters, by using the story to propel the plots of all four series forward, and by being so entertaining, well-paced, well-directed, well-written, and well-performed, watching it felt like watching a four-part film.  In fact, according to all panelists who saw Justice League in theaters this past fall, “Crisis” was everything “JL” should have been and was not – high praise for the TV event as well as a relatively harsh critique of the film that was supposed to help the DC film franchise continue the momentum of last summer’s hit, Wonder Woman.  I digress.

If any of our panelists, particularly Kristen and Hilary, found any flaws with this crossover awesomeness, it was in the rushed dual wedding that rounded out the end of the four episodes.  In fact, all of our panelists, your moderator and Chief CP included despite her deep and abiding love for the Green Arrow character as played by Stephen Amell, pretty much thought that Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) upstaging Barry and Iris’ second attempt at nuptials was a “dick move” no matter how the cookie crumbles.  Still, and aside from other extremely minor nitpicks, the panel cannot laud “Crisis” enough and highly recommends watching it to anyone who loves superhero/comic book adaptations, particularly from the DC universe, and to anyone who loves action television and cinema in general.  In addition, since the CW provides the opportunity to watch the four episodes separately from the four main series within which they aired, and since the episodes can largely be viewed and understood without needing to see episodes before or after them, the panel believes that anyone who has not watched the crossover and would want to watch it simply has no excuse or cause for delay, especially since the CW app is free to all. 


The four Arrowverse shows will return from their mid-season hiatuses as follows:

Supergirl: Monday, January 14, 2018, 8:00 PM
The Flash: Tuesday, January 15, 2018, 8:00 PM
Arrow: Thursday, January 18, 2018, 9:00 PM
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Monday, February 12, 2018, 8:00 PM (Black Lightning is premiering in “Legends’” regular time slot; “Legends” will finish out its season in Supergirl’s time slot, and Supergirl will go on a second hiatus during this shuffle).

No announcements regarding any series renewal/cancellation ahead of next season have yet been made, as the Arrowverse was, earlier this fall, rocked with scandal with the discharge of Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg in the wake of sexual harassment allegations levied against him.  Renewals for Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl are generally and confidently expected, while “Legends” was upgraded from bubble status recently and is earmarked as a “safe bet” for renewal.  In the meantime, the DCTU podcast panel will (truly) next convene around the CPU! water cooler at season’s end, releasing four new episodes throughout summer 2018, one for each show, to recap the current season in full.  Until then!  Stay tuned!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 11, the DCTU Panel’s 2017-2018 Mid-Season Roundup (MAJOR SPOILERS)


Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie


Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator.

What: “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Supergirl,” the four shows that comprise the so-called “Arrowverse” on the CW, otherwise known as the DC (Comics) Television Universe or DCTU.


  • Arrow airs Thursdays at 9:00 PM; Season Six premiered on October 12, 2017.
  • The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM; Season Four premiered on October 10, 2017.
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow aired Tuesdays at 9:00 PM (in 2017); Season Three premiered on October 10, 2017.
  • Supergirl airs Mondays at 8:00 PM; Season Three premiered on October 9, 2017.

Where: The action is primarily set in the DC Comics Universe, specifically in Star City (Arrow), Central City (The Flash), National City (Supergirl), and throughout space and time (“Legends”).

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full by clicking the floating box at the top right of our website header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers, to search for all of the prior DCTU series episodes.  As for why we are covering four shows at once (for now), read on!

How – as in How Busy Are We? – THOUGHTS

This is the eleventh episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Because we have reached double digits for this massive series, from here on out, we are only going to embed prior episodes from the immediately previous season at mid-season or only the previous episodes of the show in particular that we are covering if we covering any of the series individually, which you can listen to for reference in advance of the current podcast episode.  All of our episodes, however, are searchable here at the website or, for audio-only types, you can find our page at our file host, the Internet Archive (archive.org), which has all of our episodes compiled in one handy menu.  It’s pretty nice, actually.  If you feel so inclined, please also donate to the Archive, so garage podcasts like your humble CPU! can continue to thrive.  For now, here are the DCTU series episodes since the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup:

DCTU Series, Episode 6, the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup

DCTU Series, Episode 7, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season Two

DCTU Series, Episode 8, “Supergirl,” Season Two

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

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

In this episode, our cheeky and feisty and full and otherwise busy DCTU panel was subjected to (now for) something completely different – again – here at CPU!  We decided to check in with each other in advance of this season’s end, when we will visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show, by rounding up our thoughts so far about all of the Arrowverse shows, only this time we are talking together instead of separately and are not playing (exactly) our nerdy “Newlywed Game,” as we did last year.  We do play one game, and it reaches our usual level of spiciness and hi-jinks, but you know me – I don’t want to oversell it!!  Our panelists then, during this short mid-season hiatus, talk about their current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season Six of Arrow, Season Four of The Flash, and Season Three of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.  Give us a listen below, and let us know if you agree or disagree with our thoughts!

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in January 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the current seasons of all four Arrowverse shows. 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 week, our DCTU panel returns to the CPU! water cooler for a special, bonus, specially recorded, specially requested episode during which we discuss the Arrowverse’s mega crossover television movie event, “Crisis on Earth X,” for which we “saved” discussion about said crossover specifically for this specially special bonus episode, as you will hear advertised throughout tonight’s episode.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

(New Questions Only; All Questions, New and Old, Will Be Addressed End of Season)

1) What is Cayden James’ (Michael Emerson) end game on Arrow?

2) For how long will Roy Harper/Arsenal (Colton Haynes) be back on Arrow, since his return to the show was announced in the media?

3) Did Warner Brothers/DC truly retract Arrow’s ability to use the character of Deathstroke again due to the Justice League film?  Is Manu Bennett gone indefinitely again?

4) Will Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) end up having to stand trial for being the Green Arrow?

5) Will Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) 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?

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

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

8) For how long will John Constantine (Matt Ryan) be on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow?

9) The media spoiled the intention to have Wally West/Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) join “Legends,” at least temporarily, in the near future.  For how long?  What will be his purpose?

10) Why are the “Legends” writers exploring the Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) story line on “Legends,” in the way they are exploring it, when the animated version seems to parallel the live-action version, only with Amaya’s granddaughter Mari at the fore?

11) Will the baby Dominator that young Ray Palmer/The Atom (Brandon Routh) met as a child reappear as an adult and encounter adult Ray/the Legends again?

12) What is Damien Dahrk (Neal McDonough) trying to do on “Legends?”  How is he related to Mallus, the demonic presence?

13) Will Constantine and Dahrk have to square off?  Will Zari (Tala Ashe) and Amaya have to square off against Mallus?

14) What did the Time Bureau do with Rip (Arthur Darvill)?

15) Will Superman (Tyler Loechlin) have to help Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) fight off Reign (Odette Annable)?

16) Why is the show changing the Martian Manhunter (David Harewood) story so much?  Are the extra Martians real?  Where is the story involving Manhunter’s father going?

17) What will Reign do to National City and to Earth 38 now that she is “awake?”

18) Will we see anymore crossovers between the four shows (aside from Wally West) this season?

19) For how much longer will Captain/Citizen Cold (Wentworth Miller) hang out in the Arrowverse?


The panel universally agrees that The Flash has improved this season and remains the head of the pack of this multi-verse of four series, offering a far and away better quality superhero adaptation experience than the other three DC entries on the CW.  The show about the Scarlet Speedster boasts consistently entertaining humor, a tight ensemble cast that works well together, and a fun new (old) villain in The Thinker.  The panel wavered regarding how they feel about the other three shows.  Some panelists like Supergirl better, while others like “Legends,” and most of the panelists, with the notable exceptions of Chief CP Kylie and Spencer, pronounced and emphasized their individual struggles maintaining interest in Arrow.   The show about the Emerald Archer similarly struggles to find new ways to challenge Green Arrow and his team, as the Arrow series writers appear to continue to recycle story-lines and to squander story potential, given Team Arrow’s seemingly and relatively easy escape from the exploding island of Lian Yu.  In any event, the panel is generally enjoying the four shows’ current seasons (Arrow aside, more or less) and is looking forward to what the second halves of each of the series’ seasons might bring to our collective viewing experiences.


The four Arrowverse shows will return from their mid-season hiatuses as follows:

Supergirl: Monday, January 14, 2018, 8:00 PM
The Flash: Tuesday, January 15, 2018, 8:00 PM
Arrow: Thursday, January 18, 2018, 9:00 PM
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Monday, February 12, 2018, 8:00 PM (Black Lightning is premiering in “Legends'” regular time slot; “Legends” will finish out its season in Supergirl’s time slot, and Supergirl will go on a second hiatus during this shuffle).

No announcements regarding any series renewal/cancellation ahead of next season have yet been made, as the Arrowverse was, earlier this fall, rocked with scandal with the discharge of Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg in the wake of sexual harassment allegations levied against him.  Renewals for Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl are generally and confidently expected, while “Legends” hovers nearer to the cancellation bubble.  In the meantime, the DCTU podcast panel will next convene around the CPU! water cooler at season’s end, releasing four new episodes throughout summer 2018, one for each show, to recap the current season in full.  Until then!  Stay tuned!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: “Orange is the New Black,” The Season 5 Recap and Discussion (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie


Who: “Orange is the New Black” is available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What: “Orange is the New Black,” a comedy drama about a Manhattan woman whose past catches up to her and for which she must serve time in federal prison.


Taylor Schilling plays Piper Chapman, a seemingly run-of-the-mill woman and maker of homemade soaps. Unfortunately, Piper learns that she must serve a short sentence in federal prison after she is implicated in the bust of an international drug cartel, of which her former girlfriend, Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), was a member and who Piper aided and abetted. What’s more, Piper finds, at first, that she is wholly unequipped for prison. Though some, like unabashed, self-proclaimed “lesbian junkie” Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne), are kind and helpful to her, others show her no mercy. In addition, the guards, all men, are mostly drunk on their own power, the prison counselors play favorites and are easily offended, and the prison population is divided by race, unofficially but automatically, which offends Piper’s liberal sensibilities.  If all that weren’t complicated enough, Piper’s ex Alex is sent to the same prison, and Piper’s emotions are deeply conflicted, as she reasons that only Alex could have pointed the finger to get her in trouble in the first place, while at the same time, the old attractions between the two women remain undeniably present.

When: All 13 Season 5 episodes became available for viewing on June 9, 2017.

Where: The show is set in New York, though flashbacks for each of the prisoners who comprise the cast of characters sometimes venture away from New York.

Why: Many panelists saw the teaser trailers for the series while watching other programming on Netflix and also on network TV.  Listen to prior podcast episodes to discover how individual panelists found this show.

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

CPU! has been covering Orange is the New Black since its debut on Netflix’s ever growing streaming service.  You can read about the first season here and listen to podcast episodes about Seasons 2-4 below:

Orange is the New Black, Season Two

Orange is the New Black, Season Three, Part One

Orange is the New Black, Season Three, Part Two

Orange is the New Black, Season Four

Our OITNB Couch Potatoes and enthusiasts – namely moderator and Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Nick, Amanda, and Andrew – triumphantly return to the CPU! Water Cooler to talk all things Season Five of the wildly popular (and Orange) Netflix drama for this latest podcast episode.  We engaged in our usual heady and heavy discussion about some of the plot lines that we saw emerge in the tightly entertaining and engaging fifth season. What do you think?  Do you agree? Do you disagree? What are your hopes, fears, expectations, speculations, or predictions for the resolution of the fifth season’s cliffhangers going into season six?

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in October 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of OITNB Season Five. 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, schedule permitting, our DCTU/Arrowverse panel will return to the Water Cooler after a brief absence to round-up reactions to all four CW/Arrowverse shows so far this season, just in time for the end of the mid-season hiatus (if scheduling does not permit, our Once Upon a Time panel will appear instead to digest the “soft reboot” of Season 7)!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Predictions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Are the OITNB producers planning to end the show at the end of Piper’s sentence? (That will be a question for awhile).

ANSWER: Piper hasn’t been released yet, so…still a question.

2) Are we to assume that Suzanne’s (Uzo Aduba) flashback this season provided the back story related to the reason for her imprisonment: involuntary manslaughter of a child? Because her flashback episode was situated within the last three jam-packed episodes of the season, the panel assumed this to be the case but was not certain.

ANSWER: Unclear.  OITNB does not revisit Suzanne’s back story at any point during Season Five.

3) Where is the story in terms of Piper’s overall sentence, and how much longer does she have in prison?

ANSWER: Panelist Krista believes, if the source book on which the show is based still provides any kind of story framework, that Piper has two to three months maximum left to her original sentence; however, the show does not focus on time passing in Season Five, as it picks up right after the events of Season Four and transpires over the course of a few days.

4) Will we see Healy (Michael Harney) again?  Panelists Kristen and Kylie predict that we will, since he seems to have voluntarily checked himself into an institution (rather than being involuntarily committed).

ANSWER: Healy does not make an appearance in Season Five…will he appear in future seasons?  Unknown.

5) Will Laverne Cox/Sophia be in Season Five, given that Cox is part of a show that has been picked up by CBS for the new TV season?  How will the prison or the show deal with the controversy of leaving Sophia in solitary for her “protection.”

ANSWER: Well, Laverne’s CBS show (“Doubt”) was quickly canceled after only a couple of episodes; however, she appears in one episode this season.  Because she only appears in one episode, the show bypasses Sophia’s time in solitary and related controversy with little explanation regarding the experience’s effects on her.  Sophia returns to doing hair while the prisoners riot, as of the final moments of the Season Four finale and throughout Season Five.  Perhaps some of the rioters break Sophia out of solitary?  The show offers no explanation for her appearance, but she definitely looks worse for wear when she does appear.

6) Where will Season Five pick up given the end of the season?  Will it pick up right from the moment at which season four ended, or will time of any significance pass?

ANSWER: Season Five picks up at the literal second when Season Four ends.

7) Will Daya (Dascha Polanco) shoot Humps?  Or, will another prisoner intervene?  Or, if she does shoot him, will someone go to bat and take the fall for her?  Will Humps survive this riot?  If he does, will anyone find out about what he did to Maritza, Suzanne, and others?

ANSWER: Daya shoots Humps – in the leg.  She then proceeds to lose the gun for a while, and the only prisoner who seems to care about her welfare and the potential ramifications of her actions is surrogate mama Gloria (Selenis Levya).  Humps is taken to the infirmary to recover; however, Suzanne’s former paramour Maureen decides to exact revenge for his merciless treatment of the prisoners (and for him inciting said present riot) by blowing air bubbles into his breathing tubes.  As a result, Humps suffers a stroke and, subsequently and quietly, dies.  

8) Will Judy King (Blair Brown) make it out of prison?  Will she grab the gun from Daya? Will she be a casualty of that final riot?

ANSWER: Judy King makes it out of prison, with a little help from the white supremacists, who wear hoods, are caught on camera, and are mistaken for Muslim terrorists.  Ah, irony.  Judy then proceeds to try to sell her prison story in an exploitative way by appearing on a prime time news talk show hosted by Meredith Vieira (really?), without much thought about or consideration of the consequences or the potential effect her choices may have on others.  Judy King is kind of The Worst.

9) Will Litchfield continue to run after all of the chaos at the end of Season Four?  Will the prisoners be split up?  Or, is that a way the series might end?

ANSWER: “Continue to run” is a relative turn of phrase, considering that the prisoners are controlling the prison, and mass chaos not only continues but increases as Season Five progresses.  As for the prisoners splitting up…well, when SWAT units enter the building to regain control by force, Leanne and Angie, in a final blaze of glory, decide to burn the prisoner’s paper records and, as a result, start a fire in the prison offices.  As a result, Litchfield is engulfed in flames, and, while prisoners are brought to safety, outside and in the yard, by SWAT team units, two buses appear to ship prisoners, seemingly, to two different alternative prisons.  Where and how will we start Season Six given this information?  Stay tuned.

10) How will Soso and Taystee (Danielle Brooks) deal with their particular grief about Poussey?  Will they come to bond more?  Will Soso remain a part of P’s “family?”

ANSWER: Soso spends most of the season consumed by grief and depression in the wake of Poussey’s death, with minimal support from Poussey’s prison family (the African American girls), though Soso kind of becomes a de facto member of their group.  She does not regain some stability until she decides, in tribute to Poussey, to make an interactive, living, artistic tribute to P, with books from the library where P worked strung from the ceilings throughout the prisoner-controlled Litchfield halls.  In the meantime, Taystee, who is unimpressed by Soso’s methods of dealing with her loss, decides to take matters into her own hands to attempt to achieve justice for her best friend.  She forces Caputo (Nick Sandow) to record a video statement apologizing for Poussey’s death, which she proceeds to upload to the internet.  She also takes on the company allegedly overseeing the prison by entering into hostage negotiations with the company/with negotiator Fig, after the prisoners capture the remaining guards, declare them hostages, and cage them up in a locked guard booth, where many prisoners proceed to torture and to humiliate them.  Unfortunately, Taystee’s efforts are not always successful.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

11) Will Sister get out of solitary, or will she be left there?

ANSWER: The show, apparently (according to panelists Krista and Nick but escaping the notice of panelists Kylie and Kristen), explains that Sister contracted pneumonia while in solitary and was, therefore, given compassionate release from prison.  So, I guess Sister is gone for good, and at least two of us missed the explanation behind her departure!

12) Will Red (Kate Mulgrew) have a better story line next season?

ANSWER: If getting high on speed pills and becoming the sole object of dishonored guard Piscatella’s ire comprises a better story line, then I would say that Red does alright.

13) Do we still care about Piper and Alex as a couple?  Did Piper miss any of Alex’s written “confessions” that she hid around the prison in an effort to assuage her guilt?

ANSWER: Piper and Alex do everything they can to lay low this season; in fact, Alex makes it her own personal mission to stay out of the fray because she thinks that Piper often sticks her nose where it does not belong and, often, in sacrifice or to the detriment of the stability of their relationship, a subject of much conflict and debate between the two women this season.  Piper, probably for the first genuine time since the beginning of this show, obtains some self-awareness this season.  While she cannot promise Alex that she will always stay out of situations that seem to matter to her, because doing so is not in her nature, she at least promises that she will listen to Alex if Alex expresses unhappiness with Piper’s meddling and mischief.  Piper also proposes marriage to Alex, who accepts the proposal.  So, the panel believes we are sort of stuck caring about them for awhile longer.  As for Alex’s written confessions – either Piper found them all in Season Four or is too distracted to keep looking for them in Season Five, what with all the rioting and such.

14) How long will Nicky remain clean?  Have she and Tuckey (Taryn Manning) just become friends, given Tuckey’s willingness to nurse Nicky through a cold turkey withdrawal from heroin during the prison lock down?

ANSWER: Nicky, though tempted many times by an unguarded prison pharmacy and prisoners’ various stashes, manages to make it through the whole fifth season (which, in reality, transpires over about one to two weeks) without falling off the wagon.  Presumably, she and Tuckey have an understanding, but I would not characterize this understanding as friendship.  Tuckey, further, is distracted by other matters this season.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

15) Will we see the young, nice guard Bailey again?  Will the old Litchfield guards return in light of all that has happened?  And what exactly did Piscatella do to which Caputo hinted at the end of the season?

ANSWER: We see Bailey, and he is, rightfully, a mess.  Piper helps him escape the Litchfield prisoner regime, but he spends the entire season wracked with justifiable guilt over his involuntary manslaughter of Poussey; he also spends the entire season searching for some sort of redemption or forgiveness of his sin(s), even tracking down Poussey’s father, who can only tell Bailey that he will have to live with what he did to P for the rest of his life.  The old Litchfield guards mostly stay away, smartly, as the prison is overrun, but the show checks in with most of them.  As for Piscatella, it turns out that, at his prior prison job, he slaughtered another prisoner by scalding him in hot shower water after this prisoner brutally beat and killed a different prisoner with whom Piscatella was carrying on an inappropriate relationship in his position as a guard.  Piscatella was also exploring his newfound homosexuality in said relationship, so these dark incidents left Piscatella in a dark place, causing him to be the man we see in Seasons Four and Five.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

16) Will we see Lolly (Lori Petty) again now that she has been transferred to the psych ward?

ANSWER: Lolly does not emerge from the psych ward during the riots of Season Five.

New Questions

1) Where and when will Season 6 begin?  Will there be a time jump? Will the Litchfield inmates be in various other prisons?  Will they return to a rebuilt prison?  Will we see all of the inmates we saw at the end of Season 5?  Will the inmates hiding by the old swimming pool, including Piper, Alex, Red, Frieda, Blanca, and others, be subjected to more stringent punishment?  Will they all survive?  Will they be captured?

2) What will happen to the guards originally left in the prison and captured by the prisoners?  What fallout, if anything, will they receive?

3) Will Piper and Alex marry in prison, and will this proposed marriage make Piper a more likable character?  Is that even possible?

4) Is this the end of Litchfield?

5) What will the fallout of the Litchfield riots be related to the company, the state, and the figureheads?  Will the company be assessed any consequences for its incompetent management of Litchfield?

6) Will there be additional crossovers with other original Netflix series – or additional crossovers with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?  Some of the panelists support this idea; some are less enthused with both this concept and with the crossover that occurred in Season Five.

7) Are there any prisoners, especially prisoners that the viewer has known since the beginning, for which we have not seen flashback stories?  What flashback stories will see next season?

8) What was Freida’s crime that landed her in Litchfield/prison?

9) Will the company or anyone else discover Linda, the company woman playing prisoner who is also The Worst, among the prisoners?

10) Will Flaritza, i.e. Flaca (Jackie Cruz) and Maritza, be reunited?  Will Nicky and Morello (Yael Stone)?

11) Will Daya ever get to see her baby again?


Our Orange is the New Black panel proved much more enthusiastic about the fifth season than about some of the seasons preceding it.  Some panelists even labeled this season their favorite, or one of their favorites, indicative of a fine return to form for the show.  In fact, the entire panel was both favorable and complimentary about OITNB Season Five.  The panel also, ever so slightly, continued to warm to Piper, believing that she continues to learn lessons that her real-life counterpart never had to learn because Piper Chapman makes less intelligent choices than Piper Kerman.  All in all, though, the panel reached a rare consensus of opinion, in that all panelists noted that the story trajectory, aside from a slower season beginning that appeared to lose some of the tension marking the fourth season finale, remained successful and compelling and regained the seemingly lost tension to almost “horror movie” proportions by season’s end, despite the absence of a fan and panel favorite character in Poussey.  The entire panel plans to continue to watch the show and Season Six to find out what happens, particularly in the wake of the emptying of Litchfield and the two buses that arrived to separate our formerly (and mostly) rioting characters.  Of course, the panel continues to acknowledge that the writing remains dynamic and top-notch but suggests that this season’s direction and pacing allow for better binge-watching in Season Five than in Season Four.  The panel further continues to maintain high hopes and expectations that Season Six will continue the overarching, excellent quality of storytelling that has characterized Orange is the New Black since its premiere.


Orange is the New Black was renewed for a sixth (as well as a seventh) season, which is tentatively slated to premiere in June 2018.  Until then!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “The Originals” – The Season Four Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)


Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie


Who:  “The Originals” currently airs on network TV, specifically on the CW, though the show is currently on hiatus and will remain on hiatus until, likely, spring 2018.

What: “The Originals,” a spin-off of supernatural drama “The Vampire Diaries,” centers on the Original (i.e. very first) vampires, the Mikaelsons, who initially appeared on the latter show.  The surviving siblings are hybrid werewolf/vampire Niklaus (Joseph Morgan), his older brother Elijah (the super hot Daniel Gillies), and baby sister Rebekah.


In a backdoor pilot that aired during season 4 of The Vampire Diaries, the viewer learned that the Mikaelsons essentially helped to create New Orleans.  Klaus (Morgan), running from various personal dilemmas including his own ego and Mystic Falls in general, returned to New Orleans where he encountered one of his prodigal sires, specifically Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), who has taken control of the French Quarter and has declared war on other supernatural beings, including a local coven of witches.  Klaus covets Marcel’s power and hold over the city. Klaus’ brother Elijah (Gillies) follows Klaus to New Orleans, learning that a one-night stand that Klaus had with werewolf Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) has resulted in her being mysteriously pregnant, as vampires are not known to have children.  This program follows Klaus and the other Original siblings as they work to protect their family and this unborn and unlikely child from the clutches of egomaniac Marcel, Klaus’ prized pupil, and other forces who threaten her.

When:  Season Four aired from March 17, 2017, to June 23, 2017, on the CW.

Where: The show is set in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Why: This panel, feeling TVD to be a traditionally good show with some of the same creative influence, including Executive Producer Julie Plec as well as the charismatic Morgan and Gillies, saw no reason that The Originals could not be just as juicy and delicious as the show from whence it spun.  Also, have I mentioned…vampires?  The non-sparkly kind?  Played by ridiculously handsome men? With accents?  The members of this panel were helpless to resist.

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

Last year, our Originals panel helped to catch CPU! up on this program by discussing seasons one, two, and three in a first episode for this panel.  To hear our thoughts, listen to the embedded link below:

Seasons 1-3

Our small but continuously robust panel, including returning panelist Jen (S.) and new (to the panel, not to the podcast) panel member Jenn (K.), reconvened to discuss the siblings Mikaelson, including noble but repressed older brother Elijah, werewolf/vampire hybrid and narcissistic middle child Klaus, and the many supporting characters that hover in their orbit.  We cover major plot points from the fourth season, following a seven-year, in-show time jump, including the appearance of the Hollow, an unstoppable, soulless magical being; the emergence of now older but still young Hope, the daughter of Hayley (Tonkin) and Klaus; and the unending reaches to which the siblings will go, by any means necessary, for their family.  Our panel’s devotion to The Originals remains relatively devout and confirmed higher and more fervent than for The Vampire Diaries, as the panelists feel that the plot of this show is more sophisticated and the situations, therefore, more adult.  Give us a listen, with your precious piece of the White Oak nearby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in November 2017, 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 week, our Orange is the New Black panel returns to the Water Cooler after over a year’s hiatus, ready to dive into discussion about the fifth season of the wildly successful Netflix drama. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: If werewolves in the bayou are connected to Klaus’ biological father, and some of those werewolves are Hayley’s family, does that mean there is the possibility that Klaus and Hayley are distant cousins, generations removed, as well as parents of a new kind of hybrid? Does this fact explain the possibility of the baby?

ANSWER: How Hope came about (and what she is) remains a key question, but the show does appear to answer the first part of our repeat question during Season Four.  The Hollow, a being without a soul, comes into existence during prehistoric times in this fictional universe.  When her tribe recognizes her curious but ultimately murderous tendencies, unfazed by moral dilemmas or community mores, they attempt to bind her via an ancient spell; however, she manages to reverse the curse and, in so doing, creates the first werewolves and, in turn, the initial progenitors of the five or six werewolf families.  Since all werewolves descend from The Hollow or from her relatives, Klaus and Hayley may, very well, be distant cousins several hundred times removed.

2) REPEAT OBSERVATION: Davina (Danielle Campbell) is annoying.  Please make her go away.

ANSWER: Well…Vincent (Yusuf Gatewood) brings her back to life when, at Elijah’s bidding, he magically reestablishes the New Orleans’ witches’ connections to the ancestors.  Through her power and the encroaching power of the Hollow, Davina crosses back over to the living side of the mortal coil.  This renders Kol Mikaelson exceedingly happy, and through events that cause the Mikaelson siblings to separate by the end of the fourth season, Davina and Kol drive off into the sunset.  Is her (or his) departure permanent?  Only Season Five can answer that question.  Listen to the podcast episode for further details.

3) REPEAT QUESTION: Have I mentioned that Tyler Lockwood, Klaus’ erstwhile hybrid sire from The Vampire Diaries, in a mission to defeat Klaus, stopped by the bayou – not without ending his sweet and saccharine relationship with Caroline Forbes on TVD? Except – he left again.  Where did he go? He hasn’t returned to Mystic Falls.  Why is this character a part-time character on either show at best?

ANSWER: Tyler (Michael Trevino) stops by Mystic Falls during the final season of The Vampire Diaries just long enough to confront Damon (Ian Somerhalder), who is under the spell of Devil Cade and without his emotion/humanity switch engaged.  Damon proceeds to off Tyler.  So, Tyler as a character seems pretty done-zo, unless some magical being wills him back into existence on this program.

4) Will baby Hope be the savior that helps her father Klaus (currently stabbed by Marcel to an incapacitated state with the knife of perpetual torment), and her uncles Elijah and Kol and aunt Rebekah, to survive their various fates, spelled away with the help of Freya (Riley Voelkel), after the machinations of Marcel (Davis) rendered them near death?

ANSWER: In actuality, the combined efforts of Hayley and Freya and even of little Hope restore each of the Mikaelsons from their various fates, either magical sleep to slow death or, in the case of Klaus, incapacity by the Bone of Torment (it’s not a knife, actually).  Hayley charges Freya to obtain venom from members of each of the major werewolf packs/families for a spell that awakens Elijah, Rebekah, and Kol, while Klaus fights for lucid consciousness and is eventually rescued by his siblings.

5) Are Cami and Davina (SPOILER) officially and permanently dead?  If they aren’t, how could they possibly come back?

ANSWER: Cami (Leah Pipes) is officially and permanently dead, so far.  She appears in this season only once, as a figment of Klaus’ starved imagination while under the influence of Marcel’s Bone of Torment.  Davina was dead, but Vincent magically resurrects her.

6) Will Kol and his portraying actor be made a series regular in season four?  The panel, particularly CPU! Chief Kylie, votes yes.

ANSWER: Nathaniel Buzolic, Kol’s portraying actor, was not made a series regular in Season Four.  He recurred.

7) Will there be a seven-year time jump, as Allie seems to have learned from some comic con panels?  If so, where will we find our characters after that time?

ANSWER: The foretold seven-year time jump starts off this season.  After seven years, Elijah, Rebekah, and Kol Mikaelson are still in a cursed sleep state.  Klaus is stabbed by the Bone of Torment and is confined to a salt circle underneath Cami’s former bar and Marcel’s watchful – and boastful – eye.  Marcel rules the city alone.  Hayley cares for Hope and seeks a cure for the slumbering siblings; Freya assists this process.

8) What is Hope really: a vampire, a werewolf, a witch, a hybrid, or a combination of any of the above?

ANSWER: She is at least a witch, confirmed via demonstration of her magical abilities in Season Four.  The rest of her constitution remains a mystery.

9) Will Hayley and Elijah just give into each other?  The smoldering sexual tension is sexy but head-scratching in how they work so hard to resist each other.

ANSWER: Temporarily, Hayley and Elijah couple in all senses of the word in the fourth season, until Elijah nearly loses his life in sacrifice for Vincent to magically stop the onslaught of the Hollow.  Though Freya saves Elijah’s soul using the amulet that once housed oldest Mikaelson brother Finn, the amulet shatters, and Elijah’s consciousness is broken among the amulet pieces.  Freya and Hope cast a spell that allows Hayley to enter Elijah’s broken mind, but she is frightened to discover that Elijah has sought refuge behind the infamous red door, the memory wall that exists to shield noble-aiming Elijah from his worst sins as an Original vampire.  This frightens Hayley so much that, even after Elijah is restored to life and regains full control of his faculties, Hayley cannot find her way back to feeling safe or comfortable around the traditionally safer Mikaelson brother, who does seem to come back to life with a bit more of a vicious edge about him.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

New Questions

1) Will the Mikaelson vampire siblings – now housing each of four Bones of Torment which are, in fact, the skeletal remains of the Hollow’s former vessel and are far separated, as a coming together of those Bones will reconstitute the Hollow to an unstoppable state – be reunited?  How?  Will Hope save them this time?

2) At Elijah’s request, Vincent casts a spell to remove the influence of the Mikaelson family motto, “Always and Forever,” from Elijah’s mind, which the eldest living Mikaelson brother has taken so seriously throughout his long, un-dead life, doing so has cost him his happiness and sense of independence from his family, as he is the sibling that runs most to save the others.  How will the absence of the influence of that trigger affect Elijah in the final season?  Will Klaus attempt to reach him to bring him back into the Mikaelson fold?

3) What is Hope?  How did Hayley even come to have her in the first place, since vampires do not often produce babies the old fashioned way (Klaus was a hybrid werewolf/vampire at the time of conception)?

4) Will the Mikaelsons have to fight the Hollow in the end?  Will Marcel, now forgiven by Klaus and reunited with Rebekah, join the fight?

5) Will Kol and Davina return?

6) Will the Originals survive their series?  Will they be forced to face the consequences of their millennium of vampire misdeeds?  Or, will they all find happy endings?

7) What will Klaus do to keep busy during this separation?  Will he visit Caroline Forbes (Candice King) from The Vampire Diaries in Mystic Falls and at Alaric’s new school for special children? Press releases have suggested that Caroline will appear in the final season of The Originals.  Will she recur or become a series regular?  Will she and Klaus actually, finally, get together?  The panel mostly supports this coupling, though not necessarily with tons of excitement.

8) How will Marcel and Rebekah live out their part of the separation?

9) What will Freya do to keep busy during this separation?  We suspect that she will most actively seek a spell to bring down the Hollow, with Vincent’s help, if such a spell should exist.

10) How will the series end?  Panelist Jenn K. reports that producers are forecasting another time jump, ten years into the future, to start the fifth season, in which the viewer will see a teenager version of Hope.  Who will play her, and what will Hope have become to Hayley and to everyone during that time?

11) Will Hayley have to sacrifice herself to save Hope, who may yet be threatened by the Hollow?  Will Klaus?  Will either Hayley or Klaus end up a single parent?

12) Will Hayley and Elijah end up together?


The Originals, though not the twisty soap opera characterizing its parent program, remains engaging, superior television, spinning an epic and seductive tale with increasingly engaging acting and beautiful actors doing the work.  The writers have created a steamy and sophisticated mix of horror, revenge fantasy, and romance, capitalizing on all of the best elements of vampire lore, while providing a considerably more adult direction for this spin-off of angst-driven The Vampire Diaries and an unusual spin on the usual vampire fantasy.  The story still does its best in being grand and twisty, though, and completely accessible to anyone who has not watched TVD.  The panel greets the final season of The Originals with some mixed feelings of sadness and relief, though all participating panelists believe that the show has become far better than The Vampire Diaries in fewer seasons, owing to the stellar portrayals of the family Mikaelson and the intriguing relationships between the familial characters on the series.


The Originals was renewed for a fifth and final season; as of the date of the publication of this episode, no premiere date has yet been announced, though all signs point to a spring return.  The Originals podcast panel will next reconvene, a final time, following the series finale of this spin-off, which will likely air in or around June 2018.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional Originals coverage.  Until then!