Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandolorian“Chapter 8: Redemption”

I’m assuming that Mando is off to find Luke Skywalker (although the ending of this episode is something else)

Let’s go back. After learning that Moff Gideon’s Storm Troopers Jason Sudekis and Adam Pally (!) are guarding Baby Yoda, Mando, Cara, Griff and IG-85 go to get the baby. Moff Gideon knows who they all are, and it’s really creepy, also, Cara notes that he was supposed to have been executed for war crimes so what’s happening there?

Anyway, they fight him and flee, Mando is wounded and IG-85 heals him which is the work around we get for him to remove his helmet. He can’t remove it in front of a living being, IG reminds him that he’s not a living being. So he gets healed, and we see Pedro Pascal’s beautiful wonderful face. HOORAY!

After looking for the Mandolorians, and learning they were slaughtered by the client, Mando has a conversation with the armorer, who tells him that Baby Yoda needs to be returned to his people. Mando is skeptical before being told that this is the way, he agrees.

I present a hypothetical scene that happened in my head:

Me: So I guess they’re going to be looking for Luke’s new Jedi academy. If we learn that Kylo Ren killed Baby Yoda I will find Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau and slap them across the face.

The Mandolorian: Reenie, you seem to have forgotten something, there are other Jedi at this point in history besides Luke and Leia.

*Moff Gideon Emerges from his ship with The Dark Saber*

Me: AHSOKA AND EZRA! FILONI YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN YOU BEAUTIFUL BASTARD.

End Scene

Look, I’m all for finding the home planet of the Yodas. I will be very into that, if that’s where we’re going. But I think, by adding such a specific detail from Mandalore, as the Dark Saber, which was so important to Clone Wars and Rebels and the stories of this culture, when you’re looking for Jedi in order to surrender the baby, perhaps it could be to a young Jedi who disappeared into the unknown regions on a Space Whale, and one Not A Jedi who has reached Force Nirvana via time travel and confronting her evil former master.

What I’m saying is, I think Mando should hand Baby Yoda over to Ahsoka and Ezra and then he and Sabine can argue Mandolorian code adhearance like a couple of Rabbis.

I’m still not sure about the overall storytelling of The Mandolorian, I appreciated almost everything it did, but I don’t know that 8 episodes works for what they were doing. Twelve would have been better. My two favorite episodes, Episode 2 & Episode 7 were both directed by Deborah Chow, which I think is pretty important for me personally, since she’s going to be running Obi-Wan and I like what she does. Hooray!

That said, we won’t know this for over a year. We know season 2 is coming next fall, in the meantime, I’m not leaving this world behind. The past six months have given me so much and I’m not ready to move along. The next Fangirl Loves Star Wars will be in a few weeks, where we’ll talk about The Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig.

 

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandolorian: Chapter 6: “The Prisoner”

“The Prisoner” is what I personally wanted The Mandolorian to be from the beginning, because as I’ve noted a thousand times, I love a heist. I love getting a crew together, I love the conflicting goals, I love the way they tend to twist and turn. And also, this had some fun cameos. Bill Burr! Natalia Tea! (Tonks/Asha) Clancy Brown! Matt Lantner (The Voice of Anakin from Clone Wars!) Mark Boone (Bobby Elvis from Sons Of Anarchy!) Dave Filoni himself!

Mando goes to get the Razor Crest repaired and finds himself sucked in when old friend Ran recruits him with a bunch of other scum to break a prisoner out of a new republic prison cruiser, one of them X’ian and Mando have clearly fucked and it’s awesome. Anyway, the team gets aboard the chip they break in and things go sideways. They betray Mando. (SHOCKED, Shocked I tell you!) and he strikes back. (Your winnings, sir?)

Shocked.gif

It’s a Casablanca joke. Watch a movie

Anyway, after returning to base with the titular prisoner, Mando also leaves his tracking fob with those who would have seen him blown up and a crew of X-Wings show up and blow up the place and Mando and Baby Yoda fly away home.

Seriously, it’s all pretty rote. The show in general had been pretty rote but well executed. I’d rather well executed rote-ness than poorly executed vision. (I mean I’d rather both, but I’ve got Watchmen so I can’t ask too much of genre TV at moment.) (Speaking of HOLY CRAP Y’ALL! HOW GOOD WAS WATCHMEN?) I’m sure on rewatch I’ll have more to say. But I wish that things would have congealed a bit by now. I know we’re getting a season two, and while I love that we’re also getting a good episodic Sci-Fi show with a premiere budget, I’d like a bit more of an arc. When Arrow has more thematic cohesion in it’s eighth and final than your $15 million per episode, billion dollar IP, I don’t see all being well.

While we were getting dressed for Mary’s wedding, Cha, Joanna and I discussed the show and what we’re looking for from Star Wars. We landed on a Rogue One/The Last Jedi, Solo/The Force Awakens divide, and we all land squarely on the Solo/TFA side. The Mandolorian, for as great as it is, and it’s very good, is much  more on the Rogue One/The Last Jedi side. With the exception of LBY it’s done very little that touches my heart. In case the past six months haven’t made it clear, I want Star Wars to be in my heart.

On Friday, we’ll talk about the end of the Skywalker Saga with The Rise Of Skywalker. I’m hopeful and excited for the movie, it looks spectacular and I’ll take spectacle in heaps from my Star Wars. I have tickets for Thursday Night and Saturday afternoon, so one Friday we’ll do the Movie Season review and Monday’s Fangirl Loves Star Wars will cover both Mandolorian and The Rise Of Skywalker.

May The Force Be With You.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandolorian “Chapter 5: The Gunslinger”

Oh sure, set me up for failure episode. That is failure at ever being able to offer analysis this time around.

It’s called “The Gunslinger,” takes place on Tatooine, centers around Mando and Bobby Canavale’s son (who looks just like his dad) hunting for a dangerous sniper played by Ming-Na Wen, while Amy Sedaris and a bunch of pit droids baby sit LBY.

Of course that title just got me meditating, is Mando a Gunslinger? I don’t think he is. Ming-Na’s character is the gunslinger in question, but she’s not A Gunslinger in the Dark Tower way. And as I go back and for Mando, after all, “This is the way,” is not too far off from, “I shoot with my heart.”

This is not a sane line of thought to go down, and yet here we are. Turtles, all the way down. (Fuck that turtle though)

I love this episode. I have no other way to explain it. I thought it was wonderful, the changes in Mos Eisley since A New Hope (it’s been a decade and the ruling Mob family was blown up after all!) were fun to see. Mando’s familiarity with the planet was also neat.

And Amy Sedaris! And Ming-Na! OMG! It’s just too much goodness. The Canavale kid is good too. In terms of development, this episode didn’t do much, but it did provide us with a fun side adventure. I’m cool with this being an adventure of the week type show. We don’t get enough of them that are this good in the current landscape.

I know this post is relatively short for how these have been going, but this was a straightforward episode that I liked a lot and I doubt you all want to hear me ramble about unrelated Stephen King content, since that’s all I can think about when I think about the episode.

Also Amy Sedaris.

And pit droids.

And Ming-Na Wen.

We’re drawing closer and closer to opening weekend of The Rise Of Skywalker and I’m deeply ready for it. I’ve also decided to continue with Fangirl Loves Star Wars in some capacity as we move forwared. Season 2 of Resistance, whatever’s going on on Disney+, (New Clone Wars! I haven’t forgotten!) I’m going to do some reading of the novels. It won’t be a regular thing, but like Nerd Homework, I’ll check in occasionally!

Crisis Management: Batwoman, Supergirl, Black Lightning & The Flash Week 8; Arrow Week 7

Batwoman: Season 1: Episode 8: “A Mad Tea Party”

Things have come to a head between Kate, Jake and Alice this episode. Kate has to finally accept a few things about her sister and in the process they lose something that while strained was probably precious to them.

Alice declares she’s about to have her greatest tea party, while torturing Jake, Mouse is impersonating Jake at the moment and there’s a big fancy Gotham Gala about to hit which is honoring Katherine. Kate is refusing to go, despite Mary’s urging that they’re still a family.

Poor Mary.

ANYWAY, Alice captures Mary and Katherine at the gala and forces them to drink poisoned champagne which leads to Katherine’s death after confessing that she was trying to spare Kate and Jake pain, by faking Beth’s death confirmation. Mary is devesated, and through Mouse’s machinations, Jake is imprisoned. Kate assures her father that she’s done believing in Alice. Beth is gone, in her place just a monster.

Batwoman kick copious ass in this episode, but it’s not a real Kate focused one. Sophie and her bland husband who’s gonna die anyway (he can hang out with Tommy and Eddie, it’ll be fine) come to an understanding that Sophie needs to decide where she stands re: Kate before they can move forward.

I’m grateful that they seem to be coding Sophie as bi or pan, rather than a closeted lesbian. It’s a frankly refreshing take on a pretty bland love triangle. (Revenge also did this well.) (Watch Revenge) I am otherwise unenthused by anything involving Sophie and hope once the universes consolidate Kate and Alex Danvers can get something going. Or Kate and Nyssa Al-Ghul. Or Kate and Ava. Or Kate and Sara. Look, there are tons of badass AWESOME queer ladies to pair with Kate in this universe is my point. We don’t need Sophie who’s kinda blech.

Supergirl: Season 5: Episode 8: “The Wrath of Rama Khan”

Rama Khan (Mitch Pileggi) is ready to use the alignment of the planets to create a new Pompei. Kara needs to stop him. Meanwhile, Lena is going to use Myriad to do something? Stop people from being evil? I’m really not sure what Lena’s plan here is. But whatever, Kara stops both of them.

Alex, being the voice of reason, explains to Kara that Lena’s being a bit of a hypocrite here. Lena didn’t tell them about Reign, Lena didn’t tell them about any of her work. She keeps secrets too. I’m with Alex. The Lena/Team Supes trust loop has never really existed. Kara however, still wants to help her friend. She does, but Lena just takes it as an L.

Helping defeat Lena, is Mala’fa’ak. He uses his ability to incept to cancel out Myriad. It works! J’onn sends him back to Mars to help M’gann in the fight. The brothers part as friends. THEN! The monitor shows up and tells J’onn he passed his test. Hooray! J’onn is basically like “DAFUQ?” But understands something is about to happen. The Monitor walks into a pocket dimension where he is keeping Lex, who he assures him will soon be a hero!

I’m SO GODDAMNED excited for more of Jon Cryer’s Lex, who surprised me so much last year. He’s not Michael Rosenbaum who is my favorite, but he’s quite good. Also Rama Khan is killed by his partner and Andrea dies to I think? Anyway, that’s where we’ll pick up in January.

Black Lightning: Season 3: Episode 8: “The Book of Resistance: Chapter 3: Pale Horse”

Lynn falls.

She’s agreed to help Tobias to take down the ASA. While I get why she’s doing it, her marriage with Jeff already being strained, I don’t know how it will survive this. She agrees to give him more powers to help him escape. Terrible plan Lynn.

Jeff, Henderson and Anissa take a stand trying to keep the apartment building where Jeff and Henderson grew up from becoming the ASA’s quarters for soldiers. Seeing Black Lightning and Thunder standing together again really warmed my heart. They win, and push back the ASA, but there will undoubtably be consequences here.

Jen and Brandon do some research into Doctor Jace, finding out she’s no longer in Freeland. Brandon is furious and nearly explodes them. Jen agrees to help him get a read on his powers, explaining that they have to funnel their anger rather than simply lash out, as she did in her grief for Khalil. (Metaphors abound on this show but that’s a pretty clear one for anger to justice conversion.)

Speaking of Khalil, he’s deployed against Anissa and it throws her. This Week’s Worrying About Jen & Khalil meter is about a 6. They’re status quo right now, still in danger, they’re always in danger but nothing new. In fact, Anissa knowing about Khalil lowers my worry about him meter significantly.

Gambi and a pod kid who’s a technopath and goes by T.C. use an old radio station to blast out the message to the general public what’s actually going on in Freeland. We shall see in the new year what that means.

The Flash: Season 6: Episode 8: “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen Part 2”

Ramsey reveals his plan to “Cure” all of hummanity using the particle accelerator and The Flash as his crux. Meanwhile the whole team decides they need to get Barry back so he can die properly. Or something.

Look, there’s a lot of running around in this episode a lot of “who’s really talking here?” And, well, Nash finds his way to The Monitor’s lair. Or something. I think Nash might actually be chasing the Anti-Monitor, thinking that it’s the Monitor, but I could be wrong.

The fact is, after how great “Part 1” was, this was kind of a let down. I love that the team is still refusing to give in to Barry’s death. Again, because Barry ain’t gonna die. Oliver is. Probably.

Arrow: Season 8: Episode 7: “Purgatory”

Oh boy! Oh boy you guys! Chrissy and I used to joke about Lian-Yu being The Island from Lost, because we thought it was funny. (Also, you can’t tell me that Arrow’s flashback structure wasn’t a straight rip off!) And oh boy, did this episode feel a lot like an episode of Lost, but in a good way.

Oliver has to come to grips with what Lian-Yu did to him and for him for the zillionth time, but again, this season being the victory lap and having the added zip of Mia and William makes it all hit harder. I really am all in for Green Arrow And The Canaries especially if William is going to be around.

Oliver makes Diggle promise to keep Mia and William together after he’s gone so that’s really nice. Also he finally lets Oliver go, knowing he can’t always be by his side. Roy loses an arm and notes that it was worth it, because he feels connected to something again. think it’s worth it because even if it’s only for a few episodes I am here for Roy Harper’s Robot Arm.

Digg and Lyla are having a bit of a time. Their marriage has always been an interesting balance given their work. Now that she’s gone all in on The Monitor, he’s not so into the way things are going. I don’t really blame him for that. Lyla eventually disappears and comes back as Harbinger.

I actually think that she’s an excellent pick for this role and I can’t wait for next week.

YOU GUYS NEXT WEEK IS CRISIS (PART 1) I’m so excited! Are you excited? Get excited! Kevin Conroy! The return of Routh and Welling! OOOHHHH BOY!

In The Shadow Of Adaptation: His Dark Materials

I didn’t read His Dark Materials as a kid or teenager. It’s not likely because it wasn’t allowed, as a lot of people have assumed, when the movie came along my mom was warned about it and when parents asked her she shrugged and said, “if your kids and their faith can’t accept some philosophical challenge brought on by some fantasy fiction I’m not doing my job right.”

I’ve mentioned my specific and peculiar theological education before, stemming from my mother’s faith, my family’s legacy of Jesuit instruction and philosophical bent, my progressive all girl’s Catholic high school and reading constantly. So that’s the background that I brought to His Darks Materials when I read it in my 20’s. I loved the books, diving headlong into Lyra’s world like I did with most fantasy fiction.

At the time I was much more devout so the heresy felt more shocking and I’m sure in my even more devout than that I would have dismissed the whole thing outright. Reading the books again now, where I use Catholicism still as my main barometer of the divine, that is, it’s the way I know how to interpret God, The Universe or Whatever, so it’s the tool set that I use, I find the books a beautiful exploration of another way.

Philip Pullman would hate that of course, he’s a strident outspoken atheist of the “anyone who believes in the divine in a ninkompoop” stripe, but you know, that’s fine. If I weren’t a Catholic, Secular Humanism would be the philosophy that makes the most sense to me. To articulate it as Joss Whedon did, “If nothing we do matters, the only thing that matters is what we do.”

Anyway, the books are amazing and I’m glad I revisited them. HBO & The BBC’s joint venture on adapting them has yet to fully win me over. I get what they’re doing and like the approach. Rather than the pretty glittering world of the reasonably awful film The Golden Compass (an impeccably cast but misguided movie) His Dark Materials feels lived in and old, a little dreary in some ways, but mysterious and beautiful in others. I like the cast, Ruth Wilson is appropriately terrifying and mesmerizing as Mrs. Coulter, and Daphne Keene was pretty much born to play Lyra. (My favorite aspects of the story, world hopping and angels don’t enter the proceedings until book 2 which means I’m a year out from the things I like best in the series, including Will Parry, my favorite character.) Note: I wrote this before I watched last night’s episode. Obviously, we now have Will. HOORAY!

I’m looking forward to seeing how the show moves forward. We’ve finally met Iorek Byninson and Lee Scorcesby. (LIN MANUEL MIRANDA!) That really gets the story moving a bit more. There is a lot of world building in this series that has to get out of the way but it felt endlesss.

My difficulties with a lot of atheist material is certainty. Again, Jesuits, we don’t like certainty. Life is questions, unending questions, meant to be answered through study, meditation, prayer, discussion and debate. What I love about His Dark Materials is that Pullman is championing those very things, he reached different conclusions than I have in my life. And that’s deeply worthwhile.

I’ll probably do one more “In The Shadow Of Adaptation” this year. I bet you can guess what is. But for the moment, I’m finishing up the last five books in my Goodreads Challenge. Love you all!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandolorian “Chapter 4: Sanctuary”

If there is a single individual artist that we should thank for inspiring George Lucas to create Star Wars is it probably Akira Kurosawa. I mean, we shouldn’t because it was a whole world of things that contributed to the building of our beloved galaxy far far away, but to subtract The Lost Fortress from the DNA would be taking out a lot.

So I kind of figured a Seven Samurai homage was likely in The Mandolorian, since the show is playing with Western Tropes and it’s been remade (TWICE) as The Magnificent Seven. Our Mando touches down on a planet, hoping to wait out some of the heat on him and Baby Yoda (I’ve been listening to Bingeworthy’s Star Wars series and they’re calling him LBY, we’re adopting that same nomenclature.) go into town and find Cara Dune, a former Shock Trooper who’s abandoned the New Republic and is trying to wait out some heat on her own. Mando concedes they both probably shouldn’t do that and prepares to move along.

However, some villagers ask him for help, they’re krill farmers and some imperial tech is ravaging their village. Mando agrees to help and recruits Cara as well. They train the villagers, they beat the bad guy and Mando has a broody flirtation with a pretty young widow. Also, the village children all obsess about LBY. Mando makes up his mind to leave LBY to grow up peacefully in the village, but as we must remember, The Heat Is On. A bounty hunter finds them and he realizes the closest to safe for The Kid is with him. AWWW.

Anyway, they’re off on an adventure again. LBY remains a wonderful beautiful pure presence on my TV. Pedro Pascal is doing really excellent work as The Mandolorian, and Gina Carrano made a really cool addition as Cara Dune.

So hey, we got more women with lines this week. That’s good. Also, Bryce Dallas Howard directed this episode. That’s super good. Last week’s episode was directed bed Deborah Chow, who will be running the Obi-Wan show. Since last week’s episode was my favorite so far, that bodes well.

I liked this episode, and I like what the show is doing.

Also, I will continue to lobby for a Baby Yoda plushie until I am holding one as I write these reviews.

Now seems as good a time as any to talk about what is going to go into this slot in 2020! Hooray!

We’re going to keep going with Disney+ and I’m going to watch all of the Disney Animation Studios Films, in order. So, Snow White to Frozen 2. (Which I’ll be reviewing this week.) I’m excited for this project. There’s some stuff in the 70s and 80s which I don’t think I’ve seen at all, and certainly not since I was a kid. But we’re still a few weeks from getting that going!

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!)