“The Affair” 1×10 – Episode 10

Grade: A

I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas gift this year.

The Affair has been one hell of a rollercoaster, but not in the sense that it had its ups and downs in terms of quality and material—but in the fact that it has taken us on an emotionally engaging, mind-blowing ride (this is where Ellis Grey would say “the carousel never stops turning”), and the season-one finale was no exception.

From the opening moments with Noah swimming at the indoor pool (similarly to how the first episode began), I had a sense this was going to be a game-changing hour. We immediately get an understanding of the resolution to last episode’s cliffhanger as we see Noah banging every woman that walks or breathes in front of him. We soon realize that it’s been four months since Noah, Alison and Cole stood in front of a train with surprising faces, and since then Noah hasn’t changed: i.e. he’s still an asshole that’s hard to care for.

I did, however, love the montage of him writing his book in detention. It was a surprising well-tuned sequence that’s very different from the show’s tone, and I loved it. Even if it ended with Noah receiving a note that said “you are my hero”. Similarly entertaining is what Alison had been doing for four months: meditation. It’s a nice change of pace for a character that was having random frustrating sex with Oscar once, and obsessing about Noah at other times.

In fact, the whole episode was fully compelling and entertaining (minus Whitney’s annoying appearances), but it was only the final few minutes where the biggest bombshell was delivered, confirming our fears of Noah and Alison being together in the future and having a child and even hiding something about Scotty’s murder. The beauty (and equally frustrating thing) about that scene is that we had no time to process all of it because Detective Jeffries spoiled their fun night at home by barging in and arresting Noah.

It’s a surprising move by The Affair not to accurately reveal Scotty’s real murderer in the season finale, but telling us that Noah and Alison are together in the flash-forwards is so maddening and similarly astonishing that it makes Scotty’s murder feel less interesting than Noah and Alison’s relationship for once. No one really came to this show looking for an intriguing murder-mystery but I did become invested in that story as the show progressed and the clues became harder, so that’s why I’m glad the shift has now been turned to Noah and Alison and how we’re going to get to where they are in the flash-forward (and who that damn baby is). I can’t possibly tell how the next season will take off and where it will take us, and that’s a good thing.

There’s no other way I would have loved this season to end. It had a good amount of answers (even if less than expected) and a captivating new story to look forward to in the next season. This has been an incredible first season to one of the year’s best shows, and season two can’t come soon enough.

Unfaithful Flings & Bits

-If there’s one thing I didn’t like about the episode, it’s how different the two points of view were when it came to Cole pointing a gun at them. It didn’t make the hour any less amazing, but it did boggle my mind and made little to sense at all.

-I found Whitney extremely irritating (I’ve come to hate her just as much as I hated Dana from Homeland, the character that made me stop watching mid-season 3). Her only good line here was when she retaliated to Noah about sleeping with Alison.

-I love how happy Noah seemed about seeing his book for half a million dollars, especially since we know that the detective will use that book to uncover clues for the murder in the future.

-So the detective is actually gay? He is one confusing fella.

-Alison and Cole blaming each other for their son’s death was so heart-breaking yet beautiful to watch. It’s sadly too late to root for these two.

-Noah choosing to stay with Alison rather than going with his wife and daughter (after they were all held at gunpoint) really bothered me. Let’s conclude he won’t be winning any Father Of The Year awards anytime soon.

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“Jane The Virgin” 1×09 – Chapter Nine

Grade: A

It seems that all my favorite shows this year are planning on leaving me shocked and breathless for the winter hiatus.

Jane The Virgin is no exception (yes, I’m officially calling it one of “favorite shows” now, hooray!). It’s no surprise the show got recognized for two Golden-Globe nominations (one for Jane The Virgin and another for Gina Rodriguez) because it’s been one hell of a first season.

On the midseason finale, so many things happened. In fact, it was perhaps the most cramped and busiest episode of the show, tackling various seemingly-unrelated plots only to leave us hanging with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger.

We all had our suspicions regarding Magda’s wheelchair and Chapter Nine finally confirmed them: crazy bitch can walk! Similarly to The Flash’s Harrison Wells (which ironically also airs on The CW), Magda has a bit of a mysterious side. This week, we saw some of that (as well as her villainous side) when she pushed Alba down the stairs. I literally screamed NOOOO during that moment because Alba is such a delightful little thing, it’ll be sad to see her go. However, nothing is certain yet: it does seem like Alba will be alive when the show returns (right?!).

Other than that shocking twist, Jane The Virgin finally brought Petra and Jane back together in one scene. It’s one of my favorite scenes ever because seeing Petra being manipulative and at the same time emotionally unstable is the most enchanting and amusing thing about the show (other than everything Jane-related). Petra is literally the “perfect bad guy” and while everyone is busy trying to guess who Sin Rostro is, I’m enjoying staring at Jane interact with Petra and fall for her scheming little gems.

Speaking of this Sin Rostro dude, the episode did a truly wonderful job in making us doubt Rafael. I think it’s a bit obvious at this point to assume he’s the ultimate Big Bad (especially on a telenova like this), but so far it’s been ridiculously amusing to see Michael dig deeper and deeper into Rafael’s “business”. And with that weird, totally-ludicrous underground tunnel he’s discovered, it seems like the brilliant narrator is right: the drama is just beginning.

The drama surrounding Jane and Rafael, though, felt a bit forced for me. The fact is, giving these two people (who are literally perfect for each other) a relationship-obstacle in each episode, only to have it resolved by episode’s end seems too rushed for me. I love fast-paced television, but I would rather see it be more fleshed out in a lighthearted comedy like Jane The Virgin as opposed to how effortlessly the trouble disappears (similarly in last week’s episode during the paid-hooker incident).

Regardless of that tiny detail though, this is still a highly entertaining and well-written episode. Rogelio’s little hashtags are absolutely hysterical, and I love how he paid a well-known singer to motivate Xio. His actions, while seemingly controlling, are well-intended.

I can’t wait for the second half of this season.

***NOTES**

-#GoRO, #RogelioMyBrogelio, #VivaDeLaVega. Phenomenal.

-Loving the narrator each week a little bit more! “Okaaay, that seems a little dramatic. It was only five years ago.”

-“She puts the ‘loose’ in Lucy” or “Xio the hoe”? Which one is your favorite new catchphrase?

-Next episode: January 19 ! How can I possibly survive that long?

“The Affair” 1×09 – Episode 9

Grade: B+

This show’s strongest suit has always been the way it messes with our heads by how unreliable Alison and Noah’s stories are, but Episode 9 established that it could also be its weakest link.

I say weakest because last week, Helen said some horrible things to Noah about how she never expected someone like him to cheat on her because he seemed “safe”. This week, as the two dealt with their daughter’s pregnancy, Noah assures her it’s not her fault, where Helen responds with a cold “I know”, as if blaming Noah’s infidelity indirectly, especially since his mistress’s brother-in-law is the one who “did this” to Whitney. It’s moments like these that make me question whether Helen is really just condescending and wants to blame her husband for the world’s problems, or whether this is merely Noah’s perception of his under-appreciating wife and increasing my belief that Helen and Cole deserve much, much better partners.

But the show takes risks, as evident in this penultimate episode. There were a lot of plot developments this week and some of them were a bit silly for a show like The Affair. It wasn’t just reckless of Alison and Noah to have sex in Noah’s bed or for Alison to lose her bra or wear Helen’s clothes, it was just hideously disturbing and it’s become nearly impossible to love or care for either of these people. Noah is an asshole in his perspective as well as in Alison’s, whereas Alison herself is spiteful (emptying Helen’s expensive shampoo bottle, WTF?) and simply unwilling to give her marriage a second chance.

This isn’t a shortcoming from the writers’ room though; this is simply the reality of the show’s main characters. Even if it is the hardest thing in the world to believe, Noah is sure that Alison is the love of his life. And even if it only complicates everything and makes no sense whatsoever, Alison has no trouble sleeping with Oscar in one of the most unsettling scenes on television. But on top of all that, Noah telling Helen that he’s in love with someone else after witnessing a shocking suicide jump from a building made this episode messier and messier.

The performances are still the best thing about The Affair at this point, and I wish Maura Tierney would get recognized for her raw reaction to Noah’s confession. When she found Alison’s underwear in Noah’s belongings and uttered the phrase “was she here?”, I felt all kinds of frightening chills crawling down my spine. Absolutely brilliant scene, down to her tossing Noah’s things at him and kicking him out of the house before slamming the door shut a bunch of times. Chilling and beautiful.

But while Noah hasn’t been really given a reasonable reason for acting the way he’s been acting (seriously, who does that to his partner after discovering they have a pregnant teenage daughter?), I’m more worried about the writers trying to explain Alison’s outrageousness by saying that she’s simply grieving. I loved her scene with the doctor where she replays the events leading up to her son’s death and the surprising twist about him dying by secondary drowning, especially the way she starts screaming and thinking she’s actually gone back to that period of time, but it’s in no way a justification for some of the bizarre things she did in this hour.

This is still a fantastic show, no doubt there. I was impressed by the intense cliffhanger where the two perspectives finally collide, and what it means for Alison to get on the train (alone?). But are we justifying all the messy plots and characters’ irresponsible actions by saying the narrators are simply unreliable, or should the unreliability be strictly for little details like who found the pregnancy test or what they discussed during sex?

I hope the finale leaves us with more answers and a mind-blowing sendoff.

Unfaithful Flings & Bits

-Cherry assured me that she is the devil this week. Her scene blaming Alison for Gabriel’s death was brutal. I don’t know whether to loathe her or praise Mare Winningham’s stunning performance.

-Alison viewed Noah’s home as too perfect, clean and organized. It really drew my attention for some reason.

-I loved Max and Noah’s honest scene at the office. Max is really starting to grow on me.

-Spectacular music and camerawork during Alison’s scene in the water. Seeing that mother and son waving at her from the beach was a nice, emotional touch.

-More on why Alison is awful: she was waiting to get her half of the ranch money, divorce Cole and take off.

-Whitney acting weird when her parents confronted her about the pregnancy test really had me thinking perhaps it was Alison who was pregnant. Turned out, Whitney is just simply weird.

-Scotty is run down by a car (in the future). But I’m more intrigued by how creepily mysterious the detective is, mind-fucking with Noah about his kids and everything. Will the finale next week give us a definitive clue to who killed Scotty?

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“Cristela” 1×09 – It’s Not About The Tamales

Grade: A

A truly delightful holiday episode from Cristela this week.

Everything was charming and enchanting, from a very cute Cristela/Josh pairing to a hilarious family dinner at the Alonzo residence to that spectacular ending.

I’m surprised the writers are further developing this Cristela/Josh dynamic. The characters and actors portraying them both have immense chemistry together, it’s hard not to smile when they’re having one of their fast, delightful conversations. But so far we’ve seen them be cute and flirtatious (and also a bit competitive, thanks to a daring Cristela) only at the office. And as Cristela pointed out, it was nice seeing Josh outside that work area. It also gave Alberto a chance to see that he’s got some real competition here.

Speaking of Alberto, was he not hilarious here? I mentioned last week that Alberto was my least favorite character on this show, but he’s been delivering truly clever (more or less) one-liners that are hard not to laugh at. This week, he wrapped Cristela’s Christmas presents to be helpful and forgot to put the name tags on them. The look on his face when he realizes the idiocy of that move is truly priceless.

It was a bold move bringing Josh to Cristela’s home at 4 am on Christmas, but it was a move that proved to be incredibly effective. In one of those rare bubble episodes, Cristela managed to prove that its characters are already fleshed out and developed enough, and it’s ready to make risky game-changing tactics such as colliding Crisetela’s two vastly different worlds. And that’s pure entertainment. I really hope Cristela never goes off the air because it’s been so pleasant and enjoyable.

We also meet a new member of the Alonzo family: Eddie. I’ll admit, the anticipation the show had built up in the first few minutes of the episode was high. This Eddie person seemed perfect in Natalia’s point of view and annoying in Daniela and Cristela’s, so I was very intrigued about meeting him. Perhaps the introduction felt a bit underwhelming and weak compared to all the other subplots that were taking place in the episode, but it was still a highly entertaining B-plot that ended up having a sentimental meaning.

The hug shared by Cristela, Daniela and Natalia was very touching. I wasn’t expecting, I’ll say with complete caution, this “silly” storyline to be about something so big and meaningful, so I’m very impressed. I do wish Eddie’s introduction wasn’t overshadowed by the fact that the Josh/Cristela dynamic was happening, but I hope Eddie returns soon and can have an episode mostly dedicated for him. He came off as a bit forced and uninteresting here, but I’m sure I can come to care about him more in the future.

***NOTES***

For two weeks in a row, the show delivered A-quality episodes. Very impressive for a debut season. Hooray!

-Natalia: “What are you two doing, besides ruining everything?”

-Alberto: “Hey, check it out. I’m gonna take an elfie.”

-Natalia: “Who needs Christmas lights when Eddie’s smile lights up the room?”

-Cristela: “I get it. I mean, he shows up, I’m in third place. Thank God we don’t have a pet.”

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” 2×11 – Stakeout

Grade: A

The best thing about this show being only in its sophomore year is that it’s developing its characters in a brilliant and effective way.

This was one of those episodes that truly worked on every level. All three subplots were magnificent because the pairings were top-notch and exactly why I watch this series.

Undoubtedly, Jake and Boyle’s friendship is one of the most important assets of Brooklyn 99 so I was psyched by their storyline which involved them having to stay together during a stakeout for several days. In my head, I kept saying “man, think of all the possibilities!” and yet I was still truly amused by what the writers delivered regarding this arc.

The “no-no list” was absolutely hilarious. I found myself laughing out-loud several times, something sitcoms rarely do nowadays. Jake and Boyle’s relationship has always been taken to a level a bit crazier than normal, and seeing them talk about what makes them angry with the other person was very delightful and in-sync with the kind of emotional saga the show tends to follow sometimes. Sure, the “breakup” of their friendship was a bit predictable and common among sitcom tropes, but the reconciliation was still very heartwarming and true to the characters’ developments. This made the episode end on an extremely high note, so kudos to that.

Gina and Amy never really get the chance to share scenes together, and I appreciate the show’s efforts in involving them in the same subplot. Gina continues to be my favorite character of Brooklyn Nine-Nine with her witty remarks and snarky comments, even after realizing that Terry views her as a bit “bitchy”. The storyline ending with Amy pushing herself to become a better and stronger person in contrast to Gina realizing that she’s perfect just the way she is made that story much more stunning. Loved every little bit of it.

I was, however, a bit unsure of Diaz and Holt’s pairing. The appearance of Marcus (the surprise guest-star Nick Cannon), Captain Holt’s nephew, made little to no sense at all to me. He was briefly introduced then it seemed like the story was actually going somewhere, but the entire plot was pushed to the background that it felt completely unnecessary. It does look like Marcus will be returning to 99 soon (and possibly with Diaz as a girlfriend), but his appearance here felt a bit off. Diaz and Holt’s final interaction, though, did not disappoint at all. That two-second pause of silence before Diaz grabs the paper bag from Holt’s hands is excellent. These two seemingly cold-hearted, strong characters are delightful to watch together and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of their awkward interactions in the future now that they have Marcus as a common thread between them.

***NOTES***

-“Amy, we need to be the change we want to see in the elevator!”

-“If you hadn’t stopped the elevator, you could’ve walked off after your great speech. Now we all gotta sit in it.”

-“The Drop House. Perfect name for a port-a-potty company. As soon as we get out of here, I’m taking that straight to Shark Tank.”

-Holt’s remark during the cold opener was hysterical! More of funny Holt, please.

“The Big Bang Theory” 8×11 – The Clean Room Infiltration

Grade: A-

One of the best episodes of the season.

The Big Bang Theory delivered a lighthearted, sweet Christmas installment that proved the show still has good stories to tell, even after 8 years.

Perhaps my favorite part of this week’s episode was Sheldon’s storyline. The fact that he wanted to get Amy a gift this year even though the two had agreed not to share presents was fantastic enough. And his reasoning being to make her feel guilty for it: icing on the cake. Sheldon is still without a doubt the best character on this show, regardless of how insensitive and out-of-the-world he may seem at times. And while you can argue it was a bit predictable that Amy would be getting him something too, I loved the closing sentiment behind that last scene where Sheldon truly appreciates Amy in his life. At least for this week.

The other subplot involving Leonard and Howard contaminating the “clean room” at the university was also a complete hoot. I loved their ongoing banter, especially when it involved continuity bits regarding the Mars rover. Do you remember that hilarious storyline from season 2?

I was surprised to see Raj’s father arrive to Los Angeles and join the gang for Christmas, and while I had my initial doubts about his divorce jokes, he did manage to make me smile later when he and Penny were worried about Amy’s uproarious games and gems. It’s rare for me to enjoy every single subplot of The Big Bang Theory nowadays, I actually feel like it’s been quite some time that I found the entire half-hour amusing and entertaining from beginning to end.

I’m grateful that a Chuck Lorre show can still make me laugh and love its characters. Less can be said about his other shows (Mom and Two and a Half Men, for example, which are two shows I can’t stand) and while TBBT has proved in the past that it resets every single development it’s ever made (the season 8 premiere, for example), it’s amusing to know that the show is actually going somewhere. Baby steps? Yes. Extremely slow baby steps? Hell yeah. And yet, I’m still intrigued as hell to see how we get there.

***NOTES***

-Leonard: What about when you flipped the Mars Rover or lost Koothrappali’s dog, or almost drove off with that baby?
Howard: Again, it looked like my car, and the baby didn’t even cry until his mother punched me with her keys.

-“If you pop him, I will vomit.” Hilarious Raj!

-Bernadette: Wow, you really do love her.
Sheldon: I do. Now let’s find the kind of gift that makes her feel small and worthless.

“The McCarthys” 1×07 – Arthur and Marjorie’s Night Apart

Grade: D+

Sadly, I’m starting to feel a bit maddened by The McCarthys.

I’m still on my word that the show had a few good moments a bit after its Pilot, but for the past couple of weeks it has been a complete disaster.

This week in particular was horrendous.

I have no problem with multi-cam sitcoms that build a unique universe that’s impossible to fathom in the real world. But when a show tries to convince me that a 50-something year-old father breaks his ankle trying to miserably make a cheese sandwich—then there’s a line crossed here. This was just completely inexplicable and I refuse to let storylines as ridiculous as that slip by without feeling disrespected. Maybe I would have been okay with it if it was even slightly funny, but that was not the case here.

In fact, there was rarely a funny moment in this episode. The twin brothers are still really delightful when interacting with one another, but the dumb, clueless jokes are bound to get boring real soon. Jackie is STILL the most annoying thing, but I could hardly blame the actress because she’s only working with what she’s getting (and sadly, the script is terrible).

Another thing that just isn’t working for this comedy is the flashbacks. It does them so poorly, and more often than not they’re absolutely pointless and predictable, that I hope they cut them off completely in future episodes if they hope to ever work on improving the show. They serve no purpose, and I don’t know if they’re trying to have a How I Met Your Mother or Grounded For Life feeling to it or something, but those scenes either need to be longer or damn-it FUNNY (if the writers insist on keeping the flashbacks as part of the show’s premise).

With all my complaints though, I’m still watching this show (for some reason). I always prefer multi-cam comedies over single-camera ones (even if Cougar Town, a single-cam, is one my all-time favorites), but that sense of old-school laugh-track-induced comedy doesn’t annoy me at all, compared to many people today. So when a single-camera comedy like Marry Me fails to wow me on a regular basis, it’s easier for me to give up on it than when The McCarthys does, despite the logical explanation that perhaps the latter is doing much worse than the former. It’s probably just me, but I’m still waiting for this show to do WELL sooner tha later.

Call it wishful thinking, I guess.

“Ground Floor” 2×01 – Unforgiven

Grade: B

This is my first review of Ground Floor. I only discovered this show two days ago, and during those 2 days I binge-watched all 10 episodes of Season 1 and the Season 2 premiere “Unforgiven“.

To say Ground Floor is groundbreaking is a stretch. But it’s a brilliant office-comedy slash romance that is funnier than so many sitcoms on the air right now. It has a feeling delightful charm that’s missing from television nowadays.

The cast is stunning, especially the two leads Skylar Astin (Brody) and Briga Heelan (Jenny) as well as the epic John C. McGinley (Mr. Mansfield). They all have great chemistry together, it’s always delightful to see these people on the screen. But the show is a bit more than just about the cast. It has some seriously great music that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in sitcoms. It’s a rare thing for me to acknowledge (and love) the transitional music that sitcoms make when moving from one scene to another (and thus showing us skyscrapers and buildings), but Ground Floor is absolutely wonderful to the ears. And that’s something very intriguing.

Another thing I love about the show is the plot. I didn’t fall in love with the characters until perhaps the 3rd of 4th episode, but the story I found interesting ever since the Pilot. In a way, the top floor/ground floor arc reminds me of Less Than Perfect, which was more than perfect (horrible pun intended) during its early seasons. And because Bill Lawrence is the creative mastermind behind Ground Floor, I couldn’t help but notice the clever writing. After all, he’s brought us Scrubs and one my all-time favorite comedies, Cougar Town.

Now, back to season 2 episode 1.

Out of all 10 episodes of its debut season, I think I might have enjoyed the hour-long season finale the least (didn’t see that comin’, did ya?). What initially attracted me to this show was how it tried so hard to steer away from old sitcom tropes and ploys. It wasn’t exactly the most original or refreshing of ideas, but it had a sense of creativity in how it dealt with problems and romance (sometimes with a song, for example). So that’s why I found last season’s sendoff The Decision, Parts I and II quite lacking in so many ways (if I was writing an entire review about that episode, it would probably get a C).

We had seen this kind of sitcom trope done so many times before, so that’s why I didn’t enjoy the season finale. The whole thing was extremely rushed and predictable, down to the second that Mansfield fired Brody. I called it, from the beginning.

So what I particularly enjoyed about Unforgiven is that the writers knew we would come to expect a predictable sitcom premiere, where Brody spends 20 minutes kissing Mansfield’s ass and begging him to give him his job back which would ultimately happen in the episode’s closing moments (heck, this is what The Big Bang Theory would do, and I’m a big fan of that show). I’m glad this wasn’t the case here. I’m glad Brody wasn’t hired back (YET). I’m glad the show is taking risks, as any television series SHOULD in order to keep its audience invested.

I feel more respected now that Brody’s work-problems weren’t fixed by episode’s end. It makes me realize that these characters are developing, and that’s the key to a successful sitcom. One-liners and goofy jokes don’t get you anywhere if you have underwhelming characters. Even Harvard, who was exceptional in season 1 and my favorite character on the show, realizes he needs to “become a better person”, regardless of how he decides to do that (thank you for firing Tori, btw). So thank you, show, really. You have earned my respect.

It will be an interesting ride for Ground Floor. Brody is literally going to be working all the way back up from the bottom to earn his father-figure’s trust back, and it’s going to be amusing to see how Jenny will counter into that. Her role in the first season was “getting in Brody’s way”, as Mansfield would probably put it (gently, that is), so I’m excited to see what the writers have in store for her this time. Briga has been the light of this show so far, delivering exceptional performances week after week.

If you have not yet caught up on this show, I hope you do. It’s worthy of your time, trust me.

***NOTES***

-While I mostly discussed positive points regarding the premiere, it still only gets a B because it wasn’t as funny as any of the previous episodes (last year). There wasn’t a big LOL moment (which, surprisingly, this show delivers constantly by the way).

-I don’t know why Alexis Knapp (Tori) is not returning for season 2, but I’m a little disappointed. She didn’t have much material in the first season, but she sometimes had truly hilarious one-liners.

-Did I forget to mention that James Earl is one of the brilliant actors on this show? Are you convinced you must watch it now?

-I’ll be reviewing this show episode by episode, for sure. I recommend you give it a try, folks, and not just give up on the first show.

“Arrow” 3×09 – The Climb

Grade: A-

Well, that was jaw-dropping.

In more ways than one, the final moments of Arrow’s grim midseason finale reminded me of Grey’s Anatomy’s latest outing. One of our favorite characters seemingly departing…flashbacks to earlier seasons…and then BAMN—jaw dropped.

The difference, of course, is that Derek didn’t get punched in the throat, stabbed in the abdomen and pushed off a cliffy mountain to die. In simpler words: what in the hell just happened?

My initial reaction to watching Oliver getting stabbed was immediate shock. I literally covered my mouth with my two hands, opened my eyes as wide as I could and screamed. It’s a reaction I rarely have when watching television nowadays simply because (and I mean this in the most non-douchey way possible) I’m very hard to surprise and impress. So, for that, I applaud the Arrow writers.

My second reaction came when all those flashbacks started coming through, and the horribly casted Ra’s started talking about death and sacrifice (or something; who could focus after the stabbing?). Flashbacks always tug at my heartstrings (not the ones Arrow gives us every week…those seem pointless now), but seeing Moira Queen hugging Season One Oliver made my heart melt. So in other words, it was effective: those final few minutes were poignant and downright gut-wrenching.

Now that I had a few moments to sit back and comprehend what really happened, I find myself tricked into believing The Arrow won’t make it. I mean, how can anyone survive that? And while the writers are trying so hard to make its supporting characters more likable (Roy, Thea and Laurel for example), this is still Oliver Queen’s show so it’s hard to imagine coming back on January 21st without him. It would be the ultimate game-changing tactic that could breathe some life (no pun intended) into a show that’s become victim of its own complex storylines three seasons later, but it would be impossible to imagine it surviving without its lead. Theories surrounding the Lazarus Pit started circling around the internet the minute that cliffhanger (more like cliff-dropper; sorry, I had to) took place. That would definitely be a welcoming change and perhaps an equally satisfying explanation to how Oliver can possibly survive. Either way, all I’m asking for, regarding the resolution to Oliver’s fate, is that we get treated with respect, and for me to be able to accept Oliver dying is a big testament to how much I need the show to improve in its second half of this so-far dull season.

But other things happened in this winter finale, like discovering who Sara’s killer really is. The truth is, the list of suspects was really small and back when we were led to believe it was Roy, I cheered. I wanted this character to have a bit more depth and importance. So the reveal that it was actually Thea seemed a bit underwhelming, especially that she doesn’t even remember killing her. The drug/mind manipulation ploy is as old as Ra’s Al Ghul (which, by the way, kind of hinted at a Lazarus Pit storyline). I would have preferred Thea to be a Big Bad and merciless enough to kill Sara simply because she’s on the Merlyn side now.

It’s hard to discuss the other subplots that went on in this episode after those two heavy bombshells but if anyone cares, Ray Palmer became the ultimate creep when he decided to stalk Felicity and tell her about his plan to save the city, and Laurel’s mother dropped by and practically encouraged her daughter to avenge Sara’s death. Sorry, kids, but not nearly as exciting as Oliver and Ra’s fighting sequence.

The fight, which surprisingly didn’t take place until the final 2 minutes of the episode, was done beautifully. I’ve read multiple reviews criticizing the “simplicity” of the fight, saying it was poorly choreographed and dull. On the contrary, I found the absence of background music (except for the swords clashing) to be exhilarating. It should have been a bit longer (but maybe that was the point, that Oliver can’t stand a chance against Ra’s) and perhaps Ra’s could have been a bit more intimidating, but nevertheless it was simply PERFECT and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Despite my criticism of the B-subplots and anxiousness of where the writers are taking Oliver Queen next, this was Arrow’s best hour since the beginning of the season. And waiting a whole month for the second half is going to be brutal.

***NOTES***

-Didn’t expect to see Maseo (Oliver’s Hong Kong friend) in the present-time with the League of Assassins. It wasn’t exactly as shocking as when Sara and Slade turned out to be alive in season 2 (yes, I actually avoided all the casting spoilers and was therefore shocked), but I always love it when people from Oliver’s flashbacks come to life in the present.

-I wanted so bad to avoid watching the promos for next episode, but I couldn’t resist. Luckily, it doesn’t really give away much.

-I’m not an Olicity fan, let me just clear that out, but I loved their tear-jerking goodbye that ended with him kissing her on her forehead. And telling her he loves her! Wow.

-The Arrow and Thea’s fight was a bit unbelievable, no? If she’s strong enough to escape from him, then maybe she should’ve gone and fought Ra’s herself. I guess Oliver was just shocked by her capabilities?

-First, The Flash gave us an emotional Christmas episode. And then this. Somebody give me Greg Berlanti’s address.

“The Flash” 1×09 – The Man In The Yellow Suit

Grade: A-

The Flash packed a heavy midseason finale this week with big twists and reveals regarding The Man In The Yellow Suit, and a shocking cliffhanger that will keep us guessing for over a month.

It’s not like we didn’t expect Harrison Wells to be a bit mysterious: the guy has proven in the past 9 episodes that he’s keeping all kinds of secrets, and his creepiness and straight answers always seem baffling. But that ending opened up all kinds of answers: is he really Reverse Flash or is his possession of the damn yellow suit (and the Flash ring!) misleading? If time-travel really is playing a part here and it was Harrison who was in the suit, can we take a moment and concede how borderline insane this guy is for practically beating himself up? And if it’s actually Eddie all along (which would explain why he would hurt everyone in the room except for himself), is too subtle?

Those puzzling questions weren’t the only things I enjoyed about the finale though. The episode was emotional, stuffing unexpected poignant and heartbreaking scenes one after t he other. Almost all of our favorite characters had a breakdown, and they were all so exceptional at it. Caitlin falling apart in front of Cisco after realizing Ronnie is still alive (and now likes to go by the name Firestorm) was one of the most gut-wrenching moments of this show. Danielle Panabaker has been my favorite part of The Flash as she often plays the voice of logic in S.T.A.R. labs, but seeing her outside the lab and watching her break down in front of her friend was more powerful than anything else Iris has done so far. I’m secretly rooting for a Barry/Caitlin romance in the future.

But at least Iris now knows how clueless she’s been about Barry’s feelings. I’m glad this was finally put to rest, and while I still have big issues with this Iris person I found their scene to be a true tear-jerker. Who would’ve thought this show would load up so many emotional moments, like when Barry confronted his father in prison and told him he’s lost the battle against yellow suit dude (is what I’m calling him), or the touching conversation between Joe and Barry about their long-lasting father/son relationship?

Other than tugging at our heartstrings, the episode also delivered a brilliant chase scene between The Flash and yellow suit dude (although all the colors and special effects did make my eyes a bit dizzy). Their fight sequence in the middle of the court was the second most amusing thing this show has ever produced, the first being the Flash/Arrow extravaganza in last week’s crossover. I’m really shocked at how quickly the show turned into this year’s biggest and most entertaining series.

Is it January 20th already?

Speedy Bits

-Kudos to Tom Cavanagh for playing a truly exceptional Harrison Wells. I can’t think of a better actor to play such a snarky villain like him.

-Very amusing flashback of young Barry’s mother telling him he’s not afraid of the dark but of being alone in the dark.

-Caitlin telling Cisco she just wished Ronnie died that night was gut-punching.

-I’m glad Eddie is more aware of the metahumans thing now. I’ve been starting to like this character ever since he bonded with Barry a couple of episodes back.

-Now that the first half of season 1 is over, can we give Grant Gustin a round of applause for being outstanding in his role of Barry Allen/The Flash?

Also posted on NadsReviews