Another week means another set of reviews. I meant to post this on Thursday, but alas, Mercury Retrograde (who I shall blame for all of this) seems to not want me to do anything electrical be it on the computer, on my phone, and has even destroyed my saved game on Batman: Arkham Knight, which literally threw me into a state of insanity... spoiler alert, don't download the GCPD Lockdown DLC, it'll ruin your save game so you can't return to "free roam."
In any event, we're back with another week of Tommy's DVR, which will include the season four finale of Total Divas as well as the season five premiere of Once Upon a Time, so let's jump right in, shall we?
ONCE UPON A TIME, 5X01 - THE DARK SWAN
I have been with this show since the very beginning. And I have to say, with all due honesty, my patience is running so thin. The stupidity of these characters is grating me worse than a block of cheese and I'm sure I'm not the only one in the fandom to feel this way. Why is it that the mega-awesome Evil Queen/Regina and Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin are the only ones in this town - at least as members of the main, core cast - with a fully-functional brain?
The episode picks up right where we left off from season four, with Emma Swan being sucked up into a dark vortex as the new "Dark One." Instantly, our heroes try to figure out a way to find Emma which will include them having to use a magical wand that only dark magic can activate. Well, since Mr. Gold is no longer the Dark One and is in a coma (or something) and Regina has been "redeemed," that means the only logical choice is to utilize Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West. The fairy tale Avengers find out about this wand from Merlin's Dumbledore-like apprentice, who hands over said wand. I thought this dude died last season... and not only that, but I wouldn't utilize anything this dude gave me considering all his actions have had some severely f***ed up consequences and he just seems like more trouble than he's worth.
But, in any event, instead of waiting to act on an actual intelligent plan, Captain Hook and Henry Mills - Regina's adopted son, Emma's birth son - formulate a plan to bust out Zelena from Regina's not-so-secret asylum to help find Emma. As you can imagine - because everyone in Storybrooke are incapable of rational thought - Zelena manages to escape and summons a portal (correction, a goddamn TWISTER) to transport her and her unborn child to Oz. Regina manages to nullify Zelena's magic and the whole gang decides to just hijack the twister and direct it to wherever the hell Emma may be. That's another thing that bothered me, Regina has the ability to teleport... right? After slapping on the magic-nullifying bracelet on Zelena, why didn't Regina teleport herself and Zelena back to the asylum, lock her in there, and then teleport back to Granny's where the twister was going to cart everyone away? Instead, the entire gang thinks it's a FABULOUS idea to tie up THE WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST and take her along for the ride to a destination they weren't sure of yet... and she's with child...
Upon reading what I just wrote, I take back what I said about Regina... apparently Mr. Gold is the only one with a brain in this dumb seaside town.
The twister takes everyone - David/Prince Charming, Mary Margaret/Snow White, Regina, Zelena and her unborn demon spawn, her baby daddy and Regina's "one twu luv" Robin Hood and Robin's son Roland, Granny, the Ambiguously Stupid Duo (Henry and Hook), Belle and her ridiculous "magic rose in a specimen jar," and three of the seven dwarves (Grumpy, Happy, and Doc, all of whom I could really do without) to Emma's location.
As it turns out, Emma manifests as the Dark One in the same realm as Camelot (WHAT LUCK!!!!) and is being haunted by the appearance of Rumplestiltskin who is kind of acting as a twisted Jiminy Cricket, urging her to give in to the power of being the Dark One. On her travels through this mysteriously realm - which isn't unlike the Enchanted Forest - Emma runs across Merida (because, DISNEY) when the two try to capture the same will-o'-the-wisp. Merida needs it to find her brothers who have been captured and Emma needs it to find Merlin so she can go back to her regular wardrobe and blowdry her hair (because being the Dark One means you must always look like you're sweating or going through a wicked hot flash).
The two form a quick bond out of necessity and Rumple's ghost-like appearances - and Emma's inability to ignore and not speak out loud to said appearances - causes Merida to understandably freak the hell out and try to kill Emma using a barrage of arrows, which Emma catches every one of before ripping out Merida's heart.
Before Emma can crush Merida's heart though, Hook and the rest of the gang interfere and talk Emma away from her dark impulses. Emma puts Merida's heart back and suddenly Merida is all understanding and it's - like - no big thing that Emma almost killed her. For a moment, I thought I was watching a Disney-fied Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
As my boredom reached a subdued climax, once the gang returns to Granny's which has been dumped in the middle of the forest, King Arthur (who could get it every day and twice on Sundays, weather permitting) and his knights arrive to greet the group and lead them to Camelot (WHAT LUCK!!!) because Melin's prophecy stated that they would be arriving. As the gang approaches this realm's version of White Castle or Medieval Times, we are greeted with a title card...
SIX WEEKS LATER.
And that's when I begin flailing on the couch, foaming at the mouth because the creators of this show live for time-jumping and another plot device that makes me rip out my hair... that's right, one of OUAT's signatures, the dreaded "memory-wipe curse." Our idio- eeer, "heroes, oh, and Zelena - are back in Granny's which has just dropped right back into the same spot it was in Storybrooke pre-twister (how convenient), but everyone is dressed in medieval attire and they don't remember what happened, naturally. Emma soon shows up like the Dark Phoenix of the fairy tale world, but with ashy, silver hair instead of red, flowing locks and cryptically informs everyone that they failed to save her from the darkness and that they were all about to be punished before "poofing" out of existence.
GRADE: C-... there was just too much stupidity from almost everyone, even more than usual, for my taste. The use of the tired-ass "we're cursed, we don't remember our memories!" schtick really brought this episode down too as it is going to be used merely to give us a lazy excuse for having flashbacks in every episode. I also didn't understand the need for Zelena being the one to use dark magic to cast the curse to find Emma when the fact is her ex-BFF Lily, MALEFICENT'S DAUGHTER, is supposed to be "dark-sided" and is in Storybrooke and obviously capable of magic... I think it would've been a lot better to have brought her along to flesh out her character and maybe really expand the complicated relationship between her and Emma, but what the hell do I know? You could have just kept Zelena in Storybrooke, running amok, and had Maleficent as her nemesis, protecting the town in the heroes' absence, which would have been an interesting storyline running parallel to whatever was going on in Camelot. But... whatevs...
MVP OF THE NIGHT: Zelena. She definitely had a brilliant plan to get out of the asylum and was by far the most intelligent person throughout this entire episode. Rumplestiltskin is a close runner-up because Robert Carlyle is so amazing at his portrayal of the character, he literally makes every scene he is in worth watching.
GO AWAY AND DON'T COME BACK: Merlin's Apprentice. Just f*** off and die already, will you? Everything he touches turns to shite... and while you're at it, take the Blue Fairy/Mother Superior with you. When Belle hesitates about leaving with the heroes in search of Emma, Blue convinces her to go by giving her a magical rose (ala Beauty and the Beast) and informs Belle that it'll warn her if Mr. Gold/Rumple is dying. What a phenomenal idea, give the librarian a giant glass jar to lug around everywhere... shady bitch...
GOTHAM, 2X02 - KNOCK, KNOCK
Thankfully, with this week's episode of Gotham, things that I complained about in regard's to the premiere were fixed, meaning Bruce Wayne is less of an unreasonable bitch and we actually get to learn more about the other criminals that escaped Arkham along with Jerome and Barbara.
Theo Galavan, this season's big bad, manages to get the Mayor to leave town under the misconception that he is leaving with a mistress and also instructs his loons to start making a name for themselves. In a lot of ways, Theo seems to be operating as some sort of agent for the criminally insane, and his minions take his instructions to heart, tossing civilians off of a building and onto the concrete below to spell out the name of their gang: the Maniax!
Jerome - the assumed inspiration for the Joker, as it has been suggested he may not be the actual Clown Prince of Crime - takes over the leadership role of the Maniax under Theo's control, resulting in the greatest scene in the history of the show thus far, where he plays Russian Roulette to establish his dominance. Aside from debuting their gang name in glorious fashion, the Maniax hijack a bus full of cheerleaders, dousing everyone in gasoline and attempting to set it ablaze until Jim Gordon and other GCPD officers arrive to try and stop them.
The Maniax abandon one of their own - who is revealed to be a rapist, so no great loss there - who is apprehended by Gordon after Gordon saves the bus from certain doom. Before the lone Maniac cane even divulge any details about who he is working for or their agenda, he is shot in the chest and the head by Tabitha with a sniper rifle. This is all just one giant prelude however as Jerome leads the remaining Maniax to the GCPD where they open fire on the entire staff. Edward Nygma gets grazed but manages to save his obsession, Miss Kringle, even though she probably deserved to get shot because all she did was stand there as people were firing off live rounds all around her while Lee Thompkins also survives because she has good enough sense to hide once shots were fired.
One person who doesn't survive the shoot-out is Commissioner Essen while Gordon is lured outside into an alley by crazy-ass Barbara, her Arkham bodyguard Aaron jumps him and beats him to a bloody pulp. Essen, meanwhile, has a staredown with Jerome and goes out with a good amount of sass before Jerome finally does her in, which I will admit... surprised me and kind of made me mad as I really liked her character. As a comic geek, however, I found it rather appropriate that the man who is responsible for inspiring the character that will become the Joker is the one killing Essen when, in comic canon, the Joker does kill Essen in the No Man's Land story arc.
Aside from all of that, Bruce briefly fires Alfred after Alfred destroys Thomas Wayne's personal computers containing data he compiled against Wayne Enterprises. Bruce obviously throws a huge tantrum - and rightfully so - and then fires Alfred's ass, again, rightfully so. Now it's going to take all season for us to solve something that could have been solved in a week. Bruce reinstates Alfred and the two make a deal that Alfred will help Bruce get justice but in exchange, Bruce must do everything Alfred says... and the arrangement also included Bruce returning to school (which I had completely forgotten that he hasn't been in school all this time, like, really?). Bruce also informs Alfred that he better get the computer fixed and that it's not "his" (Bruce's) problem. This leads Alfred to turn to Lucius Fox for help and the forging of Lucius' friendship with young Bruce.
GRADE: B+... I really enjoyed this episode and was really happy that we actually did get to learn a little bit more about the other Maniax, but then to have two of them die (the rapist and then the discount "Crazy Jack Black") in the span of one episode kind of makes me question just what the hell was the point of breaking them out? I also wish that Essen's death had been saved for later or maybe as a mid-season or season finale cliffhanger so it had more impact, but I'm assuming her death was necessary because she was "good guy" in the position of Commissioner.
MVP OF THE NIGHT: Jerome was amazing yet again having amazing scenes throughout the whole night, including the takeover of GCPD and his Russian Roulette scene.
GO AWAY AND DON'T COME BACK: Robert Greenwood - aka discount Crazy Jack Black - the character who lobbies for the position of leader of the Maniax but ultimately loses to Jerome winds up stealing Jerome's line, "There's nothing more contagious than laughter." This results in Greenwood - who murdered and ate a dozen women - being shot to death by Jerome. Thank God. Bye, Felicia.
TOTAL DIVAS, 4X13 - RETURN OF THE EX
I will admit, I've been kind of out of the loop in terms of Total Divas, I just kind of got tired of the same thing over and over again... kind of like WWE. Seriously, it just got tiresome, so to me, this episode felt like a breath of fresh air simply because I haven't watched since the premiere when everyone ganged up on Eva Marie and claimed she didn't want to be a WWE Diva because... um... she didn't post enough WWE things on her... Instagram.
See the stupidity? And most of the cast is in their early-thirties, which makes that kind of melodrama even more ridiculous.
In any event, the finale centers around then-Divas Champion Nikki Bella, Eva Marie, Nattie Neidhart, and Paige. Paige is engaged to a Kevin Skaff from A Day to Remember... who, when I researched how that came about, proposed to her in one of the cutest ways. Paige, being very young, is not ready for marriage but accepted anyway and is no trying to call it off but is afraid of losing Kevin (who is a major step-up from her last boyfriend on this show, and if she doesn't want him, she can just mail him my way). In any event, Paige doesn't tell Kevin she doesn't want to get married... which is stupid on her part because he's going to see this whole thing while the show is on break and probably be more hurt that she told everyone (including the cameras) before him.
Then there's Nattie, whose husband TJ (aka Tyson Kidd) gets injured in the ring. Landing wrong during a match, TJ injures his neck which devastates the notoriously emotional Nattie, who is also going through her own medical issues as doctors urge her to get her retina fixed before it detaches from her eye, scaring her even more by stating she shouldn't wrestle ever again. In an act of pure selflessness, Nattie refuses to get the surgery in order to focus on taking care of her husband and standing by his side as he deals with his career-threatening injury.
As for Nikki, she has to deal with the fact that her ex-boyfriend - mega-hot, mega-talented Nick Nemeth (aka Dolph Ziggler) - wants her back, admitting to having feelings for her and offering up everything that Nikki's boyfriend John Cena won't provide (including marriage and children). Nikki seems pretty adamant at the end of the episode - as Nick divulges his feelings to her - that it's disrespectful to John and that her relationship with Nick had too many up's and down's. The camera cuts off and the season finale concludes with Nick leaning in for a kiss and Nikki looking like she's turning away.
What I don't understand is Nikki's logic... when asked about her relationship with John, she doesn't say, "I love him" as an excuse for not wanting to get back with Nick... she states, "He treats me like a queen." Well, newsflash doll, women only become queens once they marry the king. Also, when she points out that her relationship with Nick was tumultuous, she fails to realize that the first two season of Total Divas saw her constantly being upset about John not wanting to get married ever again and her moving out of his house or breaking up with him or avoiding him completely...
Finally, Eva Marie - who has been training privately the whole season with Brian Kendrick - debuts in NXT, WWE's "developmental league," against Cassie, who E! doesn't even acknowledge with a nameplate or anything. Cassie, a talented wrestler having trained under Lance Storm, has a decent match with Eva (and you can clearly tell that Eva has improved but that she still has a ways to go) but the big issue is the fact that Eva states she only cares about getting a reaction from the crowd, even if that means the crowd chants "you can't wrestle." As an indie wrestler, I must counter that statement... no, bitch, you never want an audience chanting "you can't wrestle," that's not a compliment and isn't even a reflection on your work as a "heel" (aka wrestling bad guy), it's a reflection on your performance in the ring. It should be interesting to see what happens with her next season as WWE is allegedly placing Amanda - a finalist from this past season's Tough Enough - on the next Total Divas cast and Eva has allegedly injured her last opponent, Carmella, during a live event.
GRADE: C+... it was a nice escape for 45 minutes watching this show, but being an active wrestling fan, there's absolutely no suspense from any of these storylines as Nikki is still with John Cena, Nattie's husband is recovering from a successful surgery, and no news has broken about Kevin and Paige's relationship (which must mean they are still together, engaged or not). Considering that most of the storylines on this show aren't even utilized on WWE programming, there's really no point in even discussing what is or isn't scripted on this show either.
MVP OF THE NIGHT: Cassie. She was only in the episode for a few moments, used primarily as Eva's opponent, but she literally carried Eva through the entire match... and when you have that combined with a hostile crowd chanting that Eva can't wrestle, it takes a real professional to keep it together and make their opponent look better than they really are. Good job, Cass!
GO AWAY AND DON'T COME BACK: I'm over the Eva Experiment. I really am. I tried... I really did... but I don't think I can handle it, especially if the new girl Amanda is going to be anything like her. I don't have the will in me!
SCREAM QUEENS, 1X03 - CHAINSAW
I was dreading watching this show after the premiere, but I have to be honest with you, I was thoroughly entertained throughout! I think the premiere tried too hard, too fast to be "edgy" and "scathingly funny," but this was just the right amount. I will say this, the show is not "horror-comedy" as Ryan Murphy would like you to believe, it's a straight up comedy with blood at this point, so I'm kind of hoping for some actual "horror" as the show progresses.
While I was entertained by this episode, I'm really irritated that Murphy is living up to his M.O. of spoiling his own shows. Case in point, he revealed that only four members of this cast are going to survive and move onto season two. WHY would you spoil that for Christ's sake? Now, you've just deflated all of the suspense and drama from this show as we're going to expect everyone to die now. Ugh! Just, STAY AWAY FROM THE MEDIA, MURPHY.
Moving onto the actual episode, the opening shows Grace and Zayday attacking a guy in a Red Devil costume in the shadiest convenience store I have ever seen. Zayday takes the Devil down with a entire row of shelves while Grace tazes him in the nuts. The tazers were provided by Zayday's never-seen "grandmomma" (who I am kind of hoping makes an appearance in the future as Zayday always mentions her). The man in the Red Devil costume turns out to be a student in one of Zayday's classes, who apparently is the school mascot? Which is odd because didn't Pete say last episode that he wore the mascot costume during football games? Hmmm....
In any event, the Red Devil costume can apparently be found and obtained by anyone, so there's that. As a result of the string of murders (Boone's "death" last episode was ruled a suicide, which doesn't make sense and is actually stated as such by Chad), Dean Munsch hosts a Take Back the Night Rally - while Bone Thugs N' Harmony's Crossroads plays - where the students in attendance hold signs making it obvious that they aren't part of KKT so the Red Devil won't target them. Munsch unveils the new school mascot - as the old one is now tarnished thanks to the killer - and it's none other than the boy from the convenience store scene masquerading around in a damn ice cream cone outfit.
The new mascot does not last long as the Red Devil attacks him in his dorm room and saws him in half with a chainsaw... that apparently no one else in the dorm heard. The Dicky Dollar Scholars, Boone and Chad's fraternity, decides to do their own Take Back the Night and go in search of the killer with baseball bats. This is where the come to the realization that there are, indeed, two killers and Caulfield - one of the brothers - saves Chad from an attack and gets both of his arms sawed off as a result. Prior to this, Chad, Caulfield, Rodger, Dodger, and Earl Grey run around the street to the sound of The Backstreet Boys (wearing all white) and decide to bash a red fire hydrant and a red car with their bats.
All of this chainsaw usage makes Grace's father Wes - who is now working as a Film Analysis professor on campus, much to Grace's chagrin and Munsch's pleasure - a prime suspect as he exposes his students to a viewing of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and seems a little too lovelorn while watching it. After the viewing, Wes flirts with a visiting Gigi which insights the fury of Munsch who invites Gigi to a game of tennis, only to make it clear for the KKT National President to stay away from Wes. Munsch takes things to a hilarious new level when she crashes Gigi and Wes' "salad date" at the KKT house after convincing Gigi to move into the sorority house with her so they can keep an eye on all the girls.
As Wes gets involved in an awkward love triangle, Grace apologizes to Pete for accusing him of being the killer and the two set out to find one of the girls from the original KKT house party in 1995 that might be able to shed some light on what actually went down! Grace is kind of all over the place in this episode, traveling to and from various destinations as she - along with Denise and Zayday - go to Bel Air to see if Chanel #2 returned home to her parents. Hilariously enough, Chanel #2 - whose real name is revealed to be Sonya - has a rich mother being played by Charisma Carpenter, so for the entire scene I just imagined that her mother was Cordelia from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sonya's parents could give two shits if their daughter is alive, dead, or missing and basically reveal that she's been in-and-out of rehab and that if she has fallen off the wagon they want her sorority sisters to tell her not to come home. This is said after Cordelia reveals that Sonya had been dating Chad...
In fact, Chad was boning all of the Chanels - with both #3 and #5 revealing this tidbit just before the real Chanel arrives to unveil her Frankenstein's Creature, Chanel #6, Hester! Chanel #5 is beside herself with horror and you would probably feel bad for her if she didn't spend her first scene in the episode chastising and dressing down Chanel #1 and basically abandoning the leader of the sorority in the ultimate bitch maneuver while describing the fact that she was "Eiffel Towered" by twins Rodger and Dodger. Hester, as you can imagine, is over the moon about being the new Chanel.
Do you know who isn't happy this episode? Zayday, who gets cuffed - briefly - by Denise who claims to have evidence - no matter how far-fetched - that Zayday is the killer. In probably my favorite scene of the episode, Denise cites that Zayday has a CD bought at the same Best Buy her murdered friend Shondel was working security at and also mentions a tweet that Zayday sent out to Shonda Rhimes suggesting that if a character on How to Get Away With Murder really wanted to not get caught, she would get herself a partner ("Hashtag, cahoots!"). Finally, Denise pulled out the smoking gun- errr, the smoking chainsaw and revealed that she found it hidden under Zayday's bed. Once Zayday mentioned that her grandmomma sent her the chainsaw for protection, Denise uncuffed her and sent her on her way as if all was forgiven.
The episode not only revealed that Zayday has a chainsaw - which looks identical to the killers - and that Chad was sleeping with all of the Chanels, it also revealed that Chanel #3's real father is none other than Charles Manson, which she disclosed to Sam the "Predatory Lez" while initiating a bargain that the two would become "alibi buddies" in the event that more murders occurred on campus... because that's not suspicious... at all.
In the end, Gigi wound up sleeping on the couch at KKT because Munsch decided to "noise her out" with a white noise machine that had some truly horrible settings, which included distress whale calls, bamboo attacks, and, you guessed it, "slasher movie." While the slasher movie setting was on, Gigi was attacked by one Red Devil in the living room and just barely escaped certain death as Wes came in for the save, having been stationed outside in his jeep. The episode closed out with Wes accusing Munsch of being the killer while holding the Red Devil's dropped chainsaw (which had cut his arm upon his arrival).
GRADE: A... I really did enjoy this episode, and things seemed to flow a bit better in my opinion. The show also introduced the rest of the Dicky Dollar Scholars, giving us plenty of more victims for the remainder of this show. I also enjoyed the fact that the characters are actually aware in this show. Grace, Zayday, and Denise in particular as they note that Sonya keeps posting on Instagram (her body went missing from the fridge that the Chanels hid her in) and even go to her family's home to investigate. I found it especially hilarious that Sonya's body is being carted around somewhere like Weekend at Bernie's and being posed for pictures to throw off everyone about her death.
MVP OF THE NIGHT: Definitely Niecy Nash's Denise, who had the funniest scenes of the entire episode when she interrogated Zayday and also explained why she carries Luminol with her but can't carry a gun. I will say this, I will no longer look at Arby's the same way again (#cahoots).
GO AWAY AND DON'T COME BACK: Abigail Breslin's Chanel #5 is just getting on my last nerve; I think it's just her face that I don't like and I'll be happy when we finally see her go.
Did you watch any of these shows during the week of? If so, let me know what you thought in the comments below!