Duchess Norvine

See! I told you I was back.

Meet Duchess Anya Norvine. She’s a straight talking older lady in tradition of The Dowager Countess Of Grantham on Downton Abbey.

The Marina Chronicle

I awoke a few days later, happily in my comfortable green and blue hued bedchamber in my apartment. The Grand Apartment. The bed alone was almost the size of my chamber in Pantona, and that wasn’t a small room. I stretched and rolled over.

It still felt strange, waking in the morning without Tristan there. Since we’d arrived he’d been quiet and withdrawn. Athena tried to make up for it by constantly chatting, but it doesn’t work. I miss him, I want him and I know I can’t have him anymore. They all tried to warn me. I sighed and pulled on a dressing gown and walked out into the parlor. Athena was already there of course.

I’m convinced that she doesn’t sleep at all.

“Good morning,” she said and poured me a cup of coffee.

“Morning,” I grumbled.

“Duchess Norvine came last night,” Athena smiled, “you’ll like her, I…

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Crisis Management: Black Lightning & The Flash Week 7, Arrow Week 6

We’re so close now. This is a light week. (No Supergirl or Batwoman.) I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving! Let’s get into it.

Black Lightning: Season 3: Episode 7: “The Book Of Resistance: Henderson’s Opus”

Police Chief Henderson is an interesting character for Black Lightning, because he’s not an antagonist, he’s not on a parallel track and yet he compliments Jefferson Pierce and Black Lightning so well. These are two men with history, and Cress Williams and Damon Gupton do exceptional work walking the line between resentment and friendship whenever they interact and the explosion of that int his episode is something to behold.

Henderson plants a car bomb that he intends to detenate on the ASA after he smuggles out some teenage metas. The bomb is then diffused by Black Lightning. He confronts Jeff about it and they trade MLK quotes and decide they have to go their separate ways. It’s breathtaking.

Jen and New Kid (who is as I noted last week, is disappointingly not Virgil Hawkins. PULL THAT TRIGGER YOU COWARDS) realize their powers are complimentary and it’s really cool. They’re still in a will they or won’t they fight pattern, but I like them together, if only Jen weren’t still hung up on…

Khalil. Poor, brainwashed, absolutely terrifying Khalil. Lynn and Gambi find him at The Pit and Lynn decides she needs to save him. She learns all of his memories are still there she just needs to access them. (Reenie’s “Worried About Jen and Khalil Meter This Week Is a Solid 7, they both seem physically safe at the moment, but they’re in tough spots)

Anissa is still healing, so she asks he father to take over her escort duties on The Underground Railroad. This includes smuggling Grace, who is stuck in her terrified teen persona. They say their goodbyes and by completing the mission Black Lightning has regained some of the trust of the community. Yay!

The Flash: Season 6: Episode 7: “The Last Temptation Of Barry Allen: Part 1”

This is an exceptionally good and creepy episode of The Flash. After being attacked by Bloodwork last week, Ralph is needs a transfusion of Speed Force blood, so Barry donates. It seems to work, but then Barry winds up in a coma.

Barry comas are great. While in the coma, he communes with The Speed Force in it’s Barry’s Mom form, he is also tempted by “The Devil” who looks a lot like Ramsey Russo. There’s a terrifying Thanksgiving meal with a bloody Lasagna. Seriously this scene is creepy and gross and AMAZING. Next Ramsey shows Barry all the people who have died because he’s the Flash, ending with himself, and then the life he could have if (when) he survives the Crisis. It’s a good life. Life with Iris and Nora, his friends happy. Ramsey says he can give him this.

Barry doesn’t waver until the Speed Force pops up again, then he loses it on her. Tells her he hates his random fate, he’s done. Look, I’m a Catholic with a literature degree. I attended Religious instruction my entire life and Catholic High School and Jesuit University. I love a good biblical allusion in my fiction. (emphasis on good. There are plenty of bad ones) This episode is named for one of the BEST literary depictions of Jesus’s humanity of all time, in my opinion. Last Temptation is controversial but it’s also beautiful and faith affirming. Even if I didn’t know that movie inside and out, the nature of my education and personal experience means I can spot Christology metaphors a mile away. Barry’s, “Let this cup pass me,” moment is perfectly in line with his journey on this particular tropey axis. It’s about his life, the people he loves and in acceptance, about his fate as The Flash. I liked this scene a lot. “Not as I will, but as you will.”

Anyway, Barry wakes up and it turns out, he was infected by Bloodwork, OH NOES! But this is part 1, we’ll see what happens in Part 2.

Arrow Season 8 Episode 6: “

This was a good episode. I was happy to see Paul Blackthorne again. I’m always happy to see Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance. But let’s be honest, The Arrowverse shouldn’t touch the Groundhog Day concept again since they perfected it on Legends with the insanely good, “Here I Go Again.”

Oliver and Laurel have to learn a lesson about how fate is unavoidable. So, The Monitor sticks them in a time loop alternate universe where Quentin lived and they try to save him one last time, over and over again. When they learn that they just can’t, they can’t save everyone, Lyla on The Monitor’s behalf let’s them out.

It’s a straightforward episode that absolutely made me cry. (Because Paul Blackthorn) but nothing really special, and again, the Arrowverse already perfected the Groundhog day episode.

When Laurel and Ollie accept the inevitable, they exit a tent and it turns out the whole team is on Lian-Yu….YESSSSSSSS!

I hope everyone is having a nice Thanksgiving. I’m probably at my Aunt Mary’s house while your reading this and my brother, cousin and I are likely arguing about how Watchmen is going to turn out.

 

Thanksgiving Prep – TV Time

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, Y’all! Since tomorrow, despite the holiday, is still going to be Crisis Management and Marina day, (Have you noticed The Marina Chronicle is back! Because it is! Hooray for beating writers block!) I decided today would be when I chronicle my favorite pre Thanksgiving tradition.

I watch my favorite Thanksgving episodes of TV shows that I love.

The West Wing – “Shibboleth”

This is the single greatest 45 minutes of Thanksgiving content to ever air on TV. Ever. President Bartlett has to pardon a Turkey, but also a bunch of Chinese refugees who fled claiming they are persecuted Christians.  It’s stunningly good TV, and I watch it every year. (I also usually watch the Season 3 Thanksgiving episode “The Indians In the Lobby,” but it’s less essential and this list has gotten long.) (I did watch it though)

Friends – “The One With All The Thanksgivings”

The episode where they flashback to those college Thanksgiving in the Gellar household that point towards the inevitability of Chandler and Monica. Aside from being hilarious and featuring several characters putting a Turkey on their head, I’ll never love Friends more than these seasons, where Chandler and Monica were falling in love.

Gossip Girl – “Blair Waldorf Must Pie”

This episode is Gossip Girl’s greatest hits all in one. Revelations of secrets in the past. Blair having angnst about her parents, and Chuck, and Nate. Nate and Serena looking at each other longingly. Dan and Jenny trying to preserve their bohemian Brooklyn roots while fitting in with their new friends. Lily and Rufus drama. Everything. It was also the first episode I ever watched, so it holds a special place in my heart.

The OC – “The Homecoming”

Ryan goes back to Chino for Thanksgiving to visit Trey in jail. Trey asks him to return a stolen car. He and Marissa get in a car chase and we meet Theresa! Meanwhile, back in Newport, Sandy and Seth try to keep Kirsten from cooking, Kirsten tries to set Jimmy up with Sandy’s coworker. It’s a fun episode that again, like the Gossip Girl on this list is everything the show does well. (It’s not the top Holiday episode of Season 1, which is of course “Chrismakkuh”)

New Girl – “Parents”

Jess “Parent Traps” her parents, played by Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis. It works, in that they definitely bang but do not get back together. Meanwhile, Nick and Jess’s dad bond, Scmidt and Cece do some stuff, and Winston continues his march into total madness.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend – “My First Thanksgiving With Josh”

Oh boy, I love this episode. It’s not my favorite Crazy Ex, but it’s up there. Including all time great songs, “I Give Good Parent” and “What’ll It Be” plus some excellent bathroom humor and Valencia realness.

Brooklyn 99 – “Two Turkeys”

There are a few great Brooklyn 99 Thanksgiving episodes, but this is my favorite, when Jake and Amy try to bring their parents together for the Holiday. It doesn’t go well, but it’s really fun anyway. Plus it’s a low level West Wing reunion. (Bradley Witford and Jimmy Smits) and a low level Sons Of Anarchy reunion (Katey Sagal and Jimmy Smits) Also, you know, Jimmy Smits!

How I Met Your Mother – “Slapsgiving”

“Slapsgiving” is not only on my list of great Thanksgiving episodes. It’s also on my list of perfect episodes of television and probably my second favorite “HIMYM” episodes (after “The Pineapple Incident”) it uses the show’s conceit about storytelling and unreliable narrators perfectly and introduces the “General Knowledge” bit, includes the Slap Bet and the song “You Just Got Slapped”enters the proceedings.

Happy Turkey Day, dear friends. I love you and am Thankful for each and every one of you. We’ve got a crowded December. (Last burst of movie season! Favorites Lists! The Fangirl Airing of Grievances!)

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandolorian Chapter 3: “The Sin”

This show is not what I thought it was when I first watched it. It’s not what I thought it was going to be either.

It’s not just Baby Yoda, although, like, we all love Baby Yoda, you guys. SO much. I love Baby Yoda. You love Baby Yoda. The world loves Baby Yoda. Werner Herzog has described Baby Yoda as “Heartbreakingly Beautiful.” We’re all on board with the greatness that is Baby Yoda.

What shocked me, going into this was how going out of Chapter 1, I understood that this show as going to be good, it probably wasn’t for me. I already had Firefly and even if I wanted that feeling with a Star Wars skin, I had Rebels. Chapter 2, with Baby Yoda using The Force, opened things up a little bit more, and now Chapter 3, I’m fully all in.

Our Mando drops the Baby with The Client and Doctor, wary. He accepts his payment, the steel that builds Mandolorian armor, and he returns it to his clan. Turns out, our dude is not super popular among his own people. He’s called a coward and a failure. He realizes he is, but not for the reason his clan thinks. He needs to save The Child.

So he goes back to the Bounty Hunter Guild and gets a lot of, “Forget it, Mando, it’s Bounty Hunting,” from his brothers in arms. But he goes into the fortress, kills some storm troopers and saves Baby Yoda, but he’s pursued by the other Bounty Hunters, and now he has a price on his head.

He’s bailed out at least once, when the rest of his clan comes out of hiding to fight for him. I gasped with joy at this. That feeling, that clan, friends and family who have your back against all the odds. That’s one of the many many things I love about Star Wars, it’s why I fell for Finn and Rey so quickly, because that connection is so perfectly and quickly articulated between them.

It’s a theme I can’t get enough of. Anyway, now our Mandolorian is an outlaw, with a baby to protect, but the respect and honor of his Mandolorian clan. And we don’t know what’s next. I expected this to be the season finale, but we still have five episodes. (Again, there’s a another Mandolorian running around the edges of things in this time frame. She’s really into neon and also needs to find a young force user…).

I’m really into the show, I hope it develops well. Of course on twitter it was pointed out that there’s only been one woman who talks. My friend Cha nodded, “yup, it’s a bummer. But! We got a new Black Guy!” We say all of this tongue firmly in cheek, knowing how much more work there is to do for representation, I hope the show rights itself as we go forward.

Still on Helmet Removal Watch, but Pedro’s starting to sell the character even without the face. Still, want to see the face. We’ll see you next week, we’re off into the unknown.

Crisis Management: Batwoman & Supergirl Week 7; Black Lightning, The Flash Week 6 & Arrow Week 5

The Crisis looms closer and closer now, you guys. Let’s get into it.

Batwoman: Season 1: Episode 7: “Tell Me The Truth”

“Batman trusts no one,” is my least favorite characterization of the caped crusader.

Really? No one? What about Alfred Pennyworth? Or Jim Gordon? Or Dick Grayson? Or Lucious Fox? Or Barbara Gordon? Or Jason Todd? Or Tim Drake? Or Damian Wayne? (OK, maybe he doesn’t trust Jason on Damian…) Or Clark Kent? Or, or, or? The list goes on. Batman trusts a lot of people, so Kate’s insistence, that he doesn’t trust anyone feels off. (I will grant it seems we’re sans Gordon and Robins in this universe.) (Which feels off, where the hell is Jim Gordon?)

Anyway, we’re going with it, and we learn form Julia Pennyworth (Yay!) that Kate pushed people away and we soon learn why. Back when they were going to be expelled Kate and Sophie decided to stand together, but it was Jake who talked Sophie out of it. OH NO! Anyway, Kate now distrusts her father even more, and she and Sophie are beginning to mend their fences. It helps that Julia poses as Batwoman to fool Sophie.

This is great, btw, and one of my favorite old school Batfamily shenanigans.

Anyway, Julia is in town tracking an assassin who Alice hired to kill the scientists that made the bullets that can pierce bat armor. Turns out they both have orders from someone higher up. We shall see how that leads up.

Mary is freaking out about their parents divorcing and Kate is like, ‘yeah, it’s nuts, but I’m totally NOT Batwoman I just have 0 time for this.” Poor Mary.

Supergirl; Season 5: Episode 7: “Tremors”

MITCH PILLEGGI! How have we gone this long on a show about a secret government agency that works with Aliens that’s shot in Vancouver, without getting Director Skinner up in this bitch? Pilleggi plays an ancient Alien who after a crash landing was tasked with keeping Earth safe.

Like literally the planet, not the people of earth like Kara and Clark. People are in the way of that. Also he’s got a colleague who wants to use tech to do it, which leads me to beleive she’ll be hooking up with Lena really soon. Anyway, he fights Kara, which is fun. (Also, there’s a reference to the biblical Leviathans, but then my CSD brain just went, “NO NO NO, He fought LILITH! The Leviathans were a DIFFERENT season.”) And after the fight, which takes place at the Fortress of Solitude, where Kara takes Lena, looking for a weapon to beat Pileggi alien.

After the fight Lena finally turns on Kara, which, it’s early in the season for that. Kara is floored. And while I absolutely see Lena’s side of this, I’m just not sold on it as anything other than villainous motivation. Kara is clearly contrite about the secret keeping, she feels awful. Has felt awful. And now she’s locked in an ice prison.

Alex and Kelly talk about Kelly’s feelings around Alex’s very dangerous job. Alex is the best girlfriend. Kelly is fine. We don’t do much with Brainy this week, no Nia at all, no Andrea or William either.

J’onn on the other hand has a conversation with his father regarding what to do about Malaf’a’ak. I’m thrilled by this because David Harewood and Carl Lumby always do such wonderful work. Phil Lamarr is great too. Anyway, J’onn learns that Lena is holding his brother and goes to apologize/rescue him. We’ll see how this goes, but once again, the Supergirl ethos of leading with compassion comes through here. It’s a good story.

Black Lightning: Season 3: Episode 6: “The Book Of Resistance: Chapter 1: Pale Horse”

Anissa is dying, so that’s great for my stress level. While fighting the ASA or Markovians? who even knows anymore, she was hit by a dart that contained an anti meta poison, so she can’t heal and it’s killing her. Whoops! She doesn’t tell anyone and makes Gambi promise not to, because they’re GOING TO CURE HER DAMNIT. She gets in a fight with Jeff and she is not the only one.

Lynn is spending more and more time at the ASA experimenting on and talking to Tobias and this is really really fucking with her head. He’s doing the whole, “we’re not so different, you and I,” thing and she’s all,”EXCUSE ME?” and then when Jeff goes out as Black Lighting again she freaks out at him and moves out of the house. Lynn, you’ve got to get your head on straight.

Also! Black Lightning’s back! Hooray! So in response to Tavon’s death, Jeff decides he’s done taking things sitting down and fights a bunch of ASA agents. Odelll threatens to take the girls and Jeff is all, “What are you going to do? Kidnap my children and NOT have me fry your ass?” It’s awesome.

So, New Kid with the good hair is not Virgil Hawkins. (WHY DO I KEEP HOPING? WHY DO YOU KEEP LETTING ME DOWN SHOW? Also I know that if Static were to show up, it would be reasonably big news in the nerd community) He is teaming up with Jen to avenge his mother. Oh, Jen

The Flash: Season 6: Episode 6: “License To Elongate”

This is the kind of episode of The Flash that I really really love. It’s silly comic book fun where Barry and one of his teammates go on a side mission where they work together and get shit done.

This time, it’s Ralph. Barry has decided to give Ralph the mantle of Central City’s main hero, but before he can tell him, Ralph gets a break on searching for Sue Dearbon (who’s been cast! HALLELUJAH!) and isn’t going to be around for the big announcement. So Barry goes to help him.

What follows is a delightful spy adventure where Ralph and Barry bluff their way into a high stakes poker game and stop a death ray. It doesn’t matter so much, but it’s pure delight. Ralph accepts his role as the hero of Central City and gets another clue towards finding his future wife.

Meanwhile, Nash and Iris’s former criminal intern, Allegra work on getting into The Monitor’s cave. Tom Cavanaugh looks very good as this version. Like, I’m into it. I was not expecting it. Anyway, they fail, and he looks at her longingly annnddd she’s defintely someone’s doppelganger on his earth.

Cecile helps New Guy, Chester ask his crush out and it’s adorable. Cecile has low key become my favorite character. I’m not sure when it happened, but she’s just great.

Anyway…

Arrow Season 8: Episode 5: “Prochnost”

Oliver’s back in Russia! Yay! Anatoly meets William and Mia! Super yay! Dig pulls Roy out of his normal life and they blow stuff up! BEST EPISODE EVER! (At least back half speaking.) Oliver brings his kids to Russia to get what they need to stop the monitor. (God, Oliver and Barry need to have a chat) Anyway, in order to get their bomb plans, Oliver has to reenter the Bratva fight club. Mia suggests that she do it instead which frankly might have been a better plan.

Anyway, they get caught, Laurel and Anatoly get them out, they fight again for the plans. Which Laurel has agreed to give to Lyla and The Monitor. Obviously Laurel doesn’t do that because she’s a good guy now, or whatever. She tells Lyla to come clean but Lyla doesn’t and Dig finds out anyway.

Also Roy decides to stick around. HOORAY! ROY! (I still love that Roy’s fake normal person name is Jason.) (Also, give Dig a Green Lantern Ring Already You Cowards! And put him on The Waverider. This is my grownup Christmas list.)

Next week Supergirl and Batwoman have the week off. Which is nice for me, as this weekend I’ve got family stuff all over the place. (Sister is getting married! VERY FUN!) But we’re so close to the end here, to Crisis.  Two weeks. Also, when the new year stars, we’ve got a fun watch project ahead of us! We’ll talk about it soon!

A bunch of Crisis pictures came out this week, including Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne, and my brain’s been on overdrive and I can’t process it yet.

In The Palace

New character! Also we’re closing in on coronation time. YAY!

The Marina Chronicle

I was exhausted. The ride back to the city, the decision to imprison Brayton instead of execute him, and I still feel as though someone punched a hole in my chest and ripped my heart out over Caleb.

I want to go to bed, but as Olivia pointed out we even have to argue and decide over where that would be.

“Where do you all sleep?” I asked. She smiled.

“At Bano House,” she explained. I wrinkled me forehead. “The house my father left me, Lisette. Caleb and I never stayed in the palace, at least not once my father died.”

“Oh,” I sighed, “I can’t stay there?”

“No,” she said, “I suppose until it’s sorted our where in the palace you’ll live you could stay with your uncle and cousin.”

“I don’t want to impose on them,” I muttered, “where did my parents stay?”

“The reigning king stays in…

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Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandolorian Season 1, “Chapters 1 & 2”

OK, we’re doubling up on The Mandolorian recaps this week, and moving “Fangirl Loves Star Wars” back to it’s rightful place on Mondays. “Crisis Management” will now move to Thursdays so that I can watch all the shows and lose the lag between weeks on Batwoman and Supergirl. (As we saw last week!)

So, I was looking forward to The Mandolorian, although, it’s not the main reason I signed on for Disney+. (Those Disney Channel Sitcoms of my adolescence aren’t gonna watch themselves!) (Seriously though, I am so excited to watch Even Stevens again.) But I was still looking forward to it. I loved the casting announcements and a Mandolorian, I think Jon Favreau is deeply underrated as a director and the concept is strong.

The concept is indeed strong. I love a space western and The Mandolorian is undoubtably that. Pedro Pascal plays the titual bounty hunter with nearly wordless physicality. I hope we see his pretty face eventually, because he’s a very expressive actor in addition to being quite attractive, but I like what he’s doing. The Mandolorian has a code, he’s true to his culture’s odd mix of mercenary ideals and thoughts about community.

Also, in the end it turns out his prey was a baby Yoda. I went looking for a species name and no such name exists. Which, cool. Also cool, me bouncing up and down on my couch going “Lone Wolf And Cub! Lone Wolf And Cub! Lone Wolf And Cub! AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH” (I may be misusing the word “cool” here, I’m prone to that)

It was fun to see Werner Herzog (who I assume is an exiled Imperial, due to his costuming and Storm Trooper guards) and Brian Poeshen, and Taiki Waititi. Also, there’s a little bit of where did the money go ($15 million!) but I think it’s mostly in design and creature work; all of which is stunning. This show looks expensive.

Chapter 2

This episode is called “The Child,” and it’s amazing. The world has Baby Yoda Fever and I’m right along with them. That thing is dang adorable, and it using the force in concert with our Mando’s fighting style is really cool. (And began the repeating, “Lone Wolf And Cub” chant in my mind.)

I enjoyed Chapter 2 much more than Chapter 1, as it gave us a bit more insight into our lead. We still aren’t seeing a face. Some internet chatter is saying Mandolorians don’t remove their helmets in front of people ever. But, I mean, I know Sabine was a bit of a rule breaker, I don’t think that’s a rule we’re going to have to keep to. Again, if only because Pedro Pascal is nice to look at, but also because it limits a level of connection to the performance. He’s doing well, vocally and physically, but I’d like to also see his face.

Anyway, my specific prediliction for seeing beautiful actors aside. I simply found this a better episode of TV. The use of the Jawas was great, as was Nick Nolte’s performance. It lacked Herzog, but one can’t ask for everything. And we know Herzog will be back. A few conversations this weekend made me hope that the struggle between Herzog’s The Client and Baby Yoda has something to do with the rise of Snoke and The First Order.

Anyway, all that out of the way, let’s focus on that baby Yoda, shall we?

He’s goddamned adorable and the fact that the plushes haven’t been released yet, is either a stroke of negligence or brilliance on Disney/Lucasfilm’s part. Negligence if it didn’t happen because they were worried about it not selling. Brilliance for spoiler protective purposes and Tickle Me Elmo levels of hysteria if he does get released before Christmas. That baby is FRIGGING ADORABLE.

BABY YODA SO CUTE

He is precious. I shall call him TEENY CUTE and I shall love him always

Anyway, this development does change my approach to the show, which I was initially nervous about not having any Mystical Force Woo Woo.

I should have trusted Dave Filoni’s influence on the show more. The man who gave us Mallus, and Meditating to time travel, and Dume was never going to let this show be completely free of Jedi influence. It’s just not in him.

Next week, more Herzog? More Baby Yoda? Who knows! I’m excited to see where it goes and we’ll talk then. May The Force Be With You!