What’s On Tonight: The Drop Dead Diva Finale

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We’re only a few hours away from the end of Drop Dead Diva. And I have to admit, I don’t know what’s going to happen.

It’s funny. You’d think that’d be the case for most series finales. And while you may not know exactly what’s going to happen in a given series finale, you might generally have a sense. For example, you kinda knew where Rory was headed in the series finale of Gilmore Girls, and you could guess that they’d try to wrap things up for Luke and Lorelai. At the end of Buffy and Angel, you knew that our favorite characters were headed toward one hell of a battle (pardon the puns), and you could generally guess that the world wouldn’t end (though in retrospect, I suppose Joss Whedon has made that choice before).

But with Drop Dead Diva, I really don’t know what’s going to happen. I imagine something uplifting (it is Drop Dead Diva, after all). I bet that Stacy will have her babies. I bet that Ian and Jane are going to end up together in some way. But I don’t know where Jane’s going to go in regards to her job or the law firm. I don’t know what Ian’s going to do in the future. Really, there just seems to be a lot to be covered in one hour that’s left. My guess is that a lot is going to be left to the imagination.

It’s been an interesting season, though. While I wasn’t too surprised what happened with Grayson (the moment he was shot, I was sure he’d be killed and brought back in one way or another), I suppose they had to do something to make their relationship interesting after they got together. (The beginning of the season, by the way, was a little annoying in regards to the will-they-won’t-they factor after Grayson found out about Jane/Deb. I got very tired of Grayson’s intense earnest face.)

What I’ve really enjoyed, though, was the character development of the side characters. Stacy and Owen have been adorable. Paul has finally become an actual person, which is especially nice since I wasn’t sold on him last season. But I’ve been especially in love with Kim’s development. You always hear that your life changes after having a baby (and hey, as a new mom, I can say that’s true), and it’d been amazing to see the hard-as-nails Kim become a kind, compassionate person now that she’s a mother. I wish we saw that more in television shows. And I’m glad we’re going to be left with an uplifting note with Kim, after so many years in a love-hate relationship with her (fortunately, I tended to fall on the “love” side of the equation, even if she did tick me off from time to time).

Anyway, it looks like we’ve got a lot to discover in tonight’s series finale. And I’m sure I’m not the only one that will miss Jane, Deb, and the team after it’s gone. I can’t complain too much; the show was already given a second life after being cancelled once — we’re already living on borrowed time. Deb and Grayson would be pleased.

Orange Is the New Black: My Thoughts on Season 2

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If you haven’t seen the second season of Orange Is the New Black, I’d recommend watching and then coming back here to avoid any potential spoilers.

As many other reviewers and TV writers alike would admit, Orange Is the New Black took me surprise last year. It’s not the type of series I’d normally watch. I’m not one for nudity, for one, and the subject matter — a woman in jail for drug trafficking — isn’t exactly on my list of “hey, I’d like to see more on…”

But as JC and I sped through episode after episode (and proceeded to rewatch it in January, while introducing it to my brother-in-law on a three-day weekend), I realized that this show was not only great and full of potential but creative and different from anything else that I’d really seen. I could rave about everything that made it unique, but there have already been a number of people who have talked about that, so let’s move on to season two.

I had one issue with this new season of Orange: my one-year-old son. Apparently, a one-year-old doesn’t sleep all day, which meant I couldn’t binge watch the entire series in a weekend. I had to wait until he went to bed and then gulp down three episodes at a time, so it took me about a week to complete. Now, 13 episodes in a week is still rather speedy, but it still meant that every day I found myself craving more episodes until the final one. And let’s be honest: I’m still disappointed I have to wait for another season.

What I found incredibly interesting about this season is that, unlike the last, it wasn’t a show about Piper. The show had always balanced Piper’s story with revelations of side characters’ backstories and how they ended up in prison. But in the end, it was really the story of Piper and what happened to her with some B-stories here and there. But after her incident with Pensatucky that landed her in the SHU, Piper learned a thing or two, and Litchfield suddenly wasn’t about her. She started to blend into the background, and those B-stories suddenly came into the forefront.

Red wasn’t running things anymore. And a new (but old) face appeared at the prison: Vee. I actually loved having Vee arrive (though I can’t say I loved Vee). Suddenly, the entire prison became a question of who really ran it. Red? The cooks? Vee? It became a turf war, which I just found absolutely fascinating.

More so, we got to see who really tried to fight those “in charge.” Poussey’s development as a character was in full force as she fought against Vee tooth and nail. It was impressive and unexpected. And in the end, she really won (partially because Vee’s own threats and power turned her “family” against her).

But then there were the other storylines. Seeing Rosa’s backstory (though I must admit; her younger self was probably the only one that I just felt didn’t match the older character we were watching) and her development as she became only weeks away from left. Discovering the truth about Lorna and her fiancee. Seeing how kind and compassionate Tasty was versus Vee’s two-faced cruelty.

On top of that, we had the COs. As much as I hated Healy last season, I suddenly felt bad for him as he desperately tried to make a difference. Poor Caputo did everything he could to do right by the prison — even (hilariously) bringing Fig down in the process — but I doubt we’ll see him in a permanent promotion, given the events in the final episode. And even Pornstache was interesting; oddly enough, the time away from the series made me forget how big of a jerk he was, making his arrest somewhat bittersweet. You actually felt kinda bad that he was going to jail for something he didn’t exactly do.

Probably the only part of the season I didn’t love was Larry and Polly. It just felt forced and somewhat unrealistic. Would they really just sleep together once and then get together — ending a marriage that just had a newborn child — because they were “in love”? Eh…

Nonetheless, it was an interesting season. For so many shows, the second year ends up becoming a sophomore slump, taking a hit with viewers because it just doesn’t stand up to the previous season in quality. But Orange knew what it was doing — and succeeded at that. So kudos, Orange, but do I really have to wait another year?

The Vampire Diaries: Home

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THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: 5.22 “Home”

I felt it only fair to come back here and share some more lucid thoughts on the heartbreaking season five finale of The Vampire Diaries. If you haven’t already, you can hop over to the post I wrote last night, which was very reactionary, very emotional, and very OMGOMGOMGWHATJUSTHAPPENED.

But now that it’s been 24 hours, I wanted to come back and share some comments that I’ve actually processed. Did Damon die? Is he coming back? Did Bonnie die? Is she gone forever? I don’t have the answers to these questions. But I do have some thoughts.

Let’s start with Bonnie. The struggle with Bonnie is that there’s really nothing left for her. And it’s been like this for a couple seasons now. There’s a reason that we’ve tried killing her off before. Bonnie is one badass witch — but we’ve sort-of run out of stories for her. I love Bonnie. I love seeing her and Jeremy together especially. There’s just not much left to do with her. So when the Other Side collapsed, taking her with it, there really was nothing left for her. I don’t see what could bring her back, other than loyalty to her friends. And while I would love to see the character again, it almost feels like an abuse. She really shouldn’t come back. She’s gone full circle, and I don’t know what they’d do with her.

And I think the writers might just know that. She said it herself: she’s been on borrowed time. And so has the character. So I think she might just be dead. And that’s it. Elena just lost her best friend. And Jeremy her love. (And by the way, the way that everyone realized Bonnie’s loss was just fantastic. Jeremy’s desperate screams of her name, while everyone overhears it — you can almost see the lightbulbs go off in their heads. They know what’s about to happen. It made for a highly intense and emotional scene.)

Now for more intense emotion: Damon. First of all, his good-bye to Elena was just unbelievable — and I must commend both actors on that scene. Elena was pleading with him not to leave her, while Damon just accepted what was about to happen: “Please…please come back to me.” “I love you. Good-bye.” (If you want to remember exactly what Damon said in his speech — and break your heart again — just read it all here.)

Here’s my problem with this scene. It was a good-bye speech. Damon himself said that he peaked. And when you peak…what’s left? Damon said his good-bye. He explained how his life was complete. And when that happens…what’s left for you?

Now, as a TVD fan, I naturally want to argue that, of course, Damon still has stuff to do. He’s not with Elena yet. He’s still got an opportunity for redemption. He still adds a lot to the show! But as someone who has watched a lot of series that kill characters off, particularly shows that understand when a character has, well, peaked — that might not make sense. As I said in my reactionary post, supernatural shows hate happy characters. Damon did find the love of his life and ended up with her in the end. Elena and Damon, in their own way, got back together. We got to see them tell each other what they mean to each other and prove it to each other. Damon made peace with his brother a long time ago — and again after he got together with Elena. And in blowing up the Travelers and Sheriff Forbes, he’s redeemed himself as a good person. He sacrificed himself for his brother and for the town. He really did go full circle. What’s really left for him?

Logically, I’m trying to understand how this show would continue without Damon, if that were to in fact happen. It seems impossible. Somerhalder has an amazing fanbase (not including eyes that pop off a promotional poster). But we just added two new series regulars: Alaric and Enzo. Could we have just traded one guy for two others?

Ultimately, I hypothesize that Damon will somehow make his way back, but Bonnie won’t. We may see Bonnie again, briefly, somehow, long enough to explain why she’s gone for good. But I do think that she’s gone. There’s just nothing left for her, and as someone who’s more in tune with the ways of life, death, and nature, I can see her accepting her fate more than Damon, who does have that love of Elena to cling on to. How we’d get Damon back? I don’t know. But I just feel like somehow that’s going to happen.

Either way, I have to admit that they did an amazing job with that finale. Just seeing that screen turn white with the TVD logo dripping (almost like a tear this time, not blood) while the two said that they were happy to be going into the next stage of the afterlife (or oblivion) together — the fear they had and the unexpected cutoff of Damon’s final line — it all just hit close to home with our own fears of what’s going to happen next. And generally not knowing. Plus, in cutting them off, we didn’t even get the solace of taking a breath and accepting what was happening. It just happened.

To read more, with comments based on an EW interview with EP Julie Plec, read after the jump below. Potential hints and/or spoilers included.

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The Vampire Diaries: Did That Really Happen?

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Season 5 for The Vampire Diaries was a bit of a whirlwind. In case you haven’t been keeping track, let’s look at all the major things that happened: Silas threw Stefan into a watery grave and took over his identity, causing a killing spree around town. Damon and Elena has a fun summer of love. Bonnie dies. The girls go to college. The team tracks down Silas’ long lost love. Stefan is found and loses his memory. Bonnie comes back to life and becomes the anchor. Katherine becomes human, finds her daughter (or her daughter finds her), and grows old. Travelers are explained. Katherine takes over Elena’s body. Katherine dies. Damon is kidnapped, and his history of torture in the 1950s is revealed. Damon and Elena both get a disease where they want to kill other vampires. Damon and Elena break up. Major baddie traveler escapes the Other Side. Travelers take over Mystic Falls. Caroline sleeps with Klaus. Tyler comes back. Tyler become Julian. The Other Side starts to unravel and sucks people into oblivion. Witch baddies get involved. A lot of people died. And some people were brought back to life.

Of course, that’s in no particular order. And if you need visuals, this can help you out. But that’s a lot, is it not?

But who really cares, at this point, what happened earlier this season. Because the season finale was just…killer.

I have to admit, I was handling this episode pretty well. I’ve watched enough supernatural story arcs to discover when someone seems just a little too happy or might’ve gone full circle. Because supernatural TV hates happiness. Happiness must die, and those who are happy must die, too.

So it crossed my mind that TVD might do something ballsy like kill off one of the major characters. In fact, I had heard from a little bird that three people were going to die for good by the end of the season. So basically, I was watching, desperately trying to figure out which three people that would be. Sadly, it wasn’t Tyler (boo). And really, we saw more than three people kick the bucket, supposedly for good. Besides the many travelers, we’ve said good-bye to Silas and Markos as baddies, and supposedly Grams and Lexie, too.

And then, there’s Bonnie and Damon. Bonnie, we’ve been leading up to for a while. Damon, well, he was more of a surprise. But like I said, the supernatural stories hate happy characters, and Damon seemed to have come full circle, finally becoming a good guy and finding his love in Elena. See, I was handling this remarkably well.

But I did start to get anxious, knowing something bad was going to happen. Damon didn’t make it out, and Elena had that horribly heartbreaking scene, sobbing and ugly crying while Damon professed his final good-byes and loving messages to her, while stroking her hair. We can see his studying expressions and broke looks, while Elena is blind and unseeing to the ghost in front of her.

And then we have Jeremy, running, desperately calling out Bonnie’s name before her final moments.

Ok, it was getting rougher. I don’t know what I thought we’d see next. Them being sucked into oblivion? The group just standing in front of Bonnie and watch her disappear?

Nope, we saw something that launched me over the edge. Just…white. We had at least 10 minutes of the episode to realize what was happening and to really say good-bye to both of these characters. But then, what happens? “Do you think it’ll hurt?” “I don’t kno—“

They get cut off. We didn’t even get to see them finish. It was just…white.

Well done, TVD. Sure, I’m wrecked. Having just seen that and saying good-bye to two of my favorite characters from the show. And while I thought it was a neat little spoiler to know that three characters would be gone for good at the end of the episode, I’m now left at the end of the season wondering if these two people are now gone for good or if there will be some magical loophole that brings the two back to us next season. And are we going to see where that white light takes them? And what did Grams mean about helping Bonnie find her peace? Does that mean that they both found peace, and they’re going to a good place? But if it’s a good place, they probably are gone! Does this mean I really want them to be in oblivion for the small chance that they’ll come back?!

Ok, I might still be a bit emotional from this episode. And I might not me making too much sense. Perhaps I need a little more distance. So for now, I’m clinging to whatever good might be in store for next season: Alaric is back (and his real life doppelganger is officially a season regular next season). Tyler isn’t a hybrid anymore, so hopefully he’ll be less obnoxious. And I guess there’s a chance for a Stefan/Caroline story, as if you didn’t see that one coming a mile away. So there is something ahead, I suppose.

But I’m still stuck on a blank white screen, waiting to hear Damon’s final syllable. Did that happen? Did we just say good-bye? Jesus, TVD, you do this to us every year — killer finales that break us to pieces and leave us hanging. When will we ever learn?

To read more of my thoughts about the episode — with comments based on an EW interview with EP Julie Plec — go here.

Tonight: Emily Osment and Paul Johansson in ‘A Daughter’s Nightmare’

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Well, you One Tree Hill fans can rejoice. One of our favorite people we love to hate is back on the small screen. Paul Johansson is starring alongside Hannah Montana alum Emily Osment in Lifetime’s newest movie, A Daughter’s Nightmare, premiering tonight at 8 pm.

Soon after her father’s death, college freshman Ariel (Osment) meets Adam (Johansson) and his step-son Ben (Gregg Sulkin, Wizards of Waverly Place). Having recently dealt with their death in the family, Adam and Ben naturally feel like a good pair to confide in. But when Adam starts spending an unusual amount of time with Ariel’s mother and her health begins to suffer, Ariel needs to discover the truth about Adam’s past.

So does this mean Dan Scott is up to his old tricks?

Well, you’ll have to watch to find out. I had the opportunity to check out the movie early, and like most Lifetime movies, it has just the right amount of compelling plot points to keep you watching to see how it all unfolds. Sure, some of the events may be a bit predictable. But they do a good job keeping you guessing who is who (and who is not what they seem) at the start. Here are a few things that grabbed me:

  • I’m familiar with most of the cast, which I like. It’s even got Al from Home Improvement. Talk about a blast from the past.
  • It’s got a perfect Lifetime movie title.
  • They reference the South, which always gets my vote. Too bad most of it is when discussing grits.
  • Osment’s eye makeup is fabulous.
  • You’re left spending most of the movie trying to answer one question: Does Sulkin have an accent, or not?
  • They have a suspenseful finish — a necessity for any Lifetime movie, from what I can tell.
  • It contains what I’d define as a perfect “Soup-worthy moment” — my own necessity for any Lifetime movie.

Sure, it’s not going to be on any nomination ballots, but as a fan of the cast, it’s entertaining. If you find yourself looking for something to watch tonight — particularly if you’re an OTH fan — flip it on. Then come back here and let me know what you think about Dan Scott, er, Adam in the end.

*image courtesy of Lifetime

Game of Thrones: Oathkeeper

GAME OF THRONES: 4.4 “Oathkeeper”

When considering this episode of Game of Thrones, I think I’ll start at the end. As I said in my preview to this season, I was very excited about the possibility of the writers adding in some more complicated non-book material, and… wow, we sure got some changes in this episode. Bran and his little party have been kidnapped by the fallen Night’s Watch brothers brutally occupying Craster’s keep, while at the same time Jon Snow leads a party north to eliminate the traitors before Mance Rayder’s army catches them. None of this happened in the books, and it seems likely Jon (and the under-cover Locke, hunting down Starks on behalf of the Boltons) will encounter his brother at some point, which is something I’ve hoped for in the books but have yet to see. A brief reunion between brothers would bring some light to what has been a very dark show, so I hope to see it. Either way, this new material is exciting, and I can’t wait to see more. We also got to see another new thing: the fate of Craster’s sons, all of whom were apparently carried off to some snowy Stonehenge and converted into monsters. It was a horrific scene, something very difficult for me, as a relatively new father, to watch. But it was really interesting because we get a bit of lore that hasn’t been revealed in the books. I’m fairly certain I’ve said it before, but I’m not bothered by the changes. I welcome them, in fact. Novels and television are two different mediums. Stuff that works on the page doesn’t work on the screen. As long as the show sticks to the general structure and theme of the books, I say bring on more changes, more new stuff.

As for the rest of the episode, there was a good bit of tablesetting. Things are still very cold between Cersei and Jaime, even though what happened in the sept last week isn’t explicitly mentioned, but it seems clear that their relationship is probably over. Later, in an almost touching scene, Jaime gifts his new sword to Brienne, charging her with finding and protecting Sansa from Cersei. I was very pleased to see Pod, the greatest squire ever, tagging along; he looked quite pleased to be of use again. I see a knighthood in that boy’s future.

The episode actually began far to the East, when Dany sends Grey Worm and some of his soldiers, laden with weapons, into Meereen where they convince the oppressed slaves of that city to rise up and rebel against their masters. The plan works, the slaves open the gates, and Dany marches her army in, adding a third city to her list of conquests. Ser Barristan councils mercy, but Dany demands justice by crucifying one slave master for every dead child she found on her march to the city. She watches from atop the tallest pyramid in the city, a huge black and red Targaryen banner flapping in the breeze behind her. It’s a bit of a chilling scene; we’re supposed to be pleased with her freeing slaves, but to me, her brand of justice seemed pretty harsh, and potentially foreshadowing of how bad things could get if she keeps demanding an eye for an eye. Sure, the slave masters were awful people, but as we’ve learned from experience a cycle of constant violence can quickly spin out of control.

Game of Thrones: Two Swords and Lion and the Rose

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GAME OF THRONES: 4.1 “Two Swords”
GAME OF THRONES: 4.2 “The Lion and the Rose”

Game of Thrones came back with a bang, didn’t it? Personal life has forced me to consider both of the first two episodes back to back, and they were mighty entertaining. Between the two, we’ve caught up with pretty much everyone, and there were plenty of great scenes, but I keep thinking about the Arya/Hound scene that closed out the first episode. It’s always fun when the show decides to linger a bit longer on one particular event, and Arya and the Hound arriving at the inn begins as buddy comedy, moves into an exquisitely tense standoff, and ends in an abrupt spasm of violence. As satisfying as it was to see her reclaim her sword, and by extension her connection with her lost family, I felt a little sad that it was only earned back through the loss of her innocence as she killed Polliver in cold blood. And from the look of contentment on her face as she rode away from the inn with the Hound, it’s easy to surmise that she enjoyed the experience. Arya’s road ahead will be dark, I suspect, and likely littered with more of her “victims;” I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before she takes out someone who doesn’t deserve it.

And speaking of extended scenes, the wedding we’ve all been waiting for wrapped up episode two. It was a great example of slowly building tension. Joffrey was at his most petulant, evil, cruel, hurtful worst, so it was perhaps a bit of a relief to see him finally taken down by an anonymous poisoner in such a painful fashion. But like Arya, I wonder if we as an audience shouldn’t celebrate his demise with such gusto. Yes, Joffrey was a monstrously cruel sociopath who was a horrible ruler and only would have become worse as he grew in age and power, but if there’s one thing that Game of Thrones has taught us, it’s that violence begets revenge and greater violence in an ever widening, destructive cyclone that eventually spins out of control. Jaime’s simple yet careless act of pushing Bran out the window of a tower spawned a brutally destructive civil war, leading to countless deaths and, on a more personal level for the Kingslayer, the loss of his son and his sword arm. As we can tell from Cersei’s look at the end of the episode, Joffrey’s demise is likely to cause a great deal of trouble for Tyrion, whether he was involved in it or not. And what greater chaos will erupt now that another king is dead? How will the ripples that spread out from Arya’s quest for revenge affect the world? Will she leave behind a traumatized child who turns into a killer, or something worse?