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Once Upon a Time: 7×01 Thoughts and 7×02 Predictions!

I promise I’ll get back to non-Once Upon a Time/TV-related content eventually, but there’s just too much stuff to think about, and I want to write it down for posterity!

Last week we talked about the new season of Once Upon a Time and how it was a reboot and a new beginning for the show. (Queue tears for the loss of Jennifer Morrison on the show, but excitement for new stories!)

But basically, we’ve known very little about what actually is going to take place this season or how Emma exits the show (Death? Break-up? No!) But between the first episode of season 7 and the preview images and promo for episode 2 (the one-off episode that Jennifer Morrison agreed to return for), I think I’m getting a better idea of what’s happening, and I’m FREAKING STOKED!

First, let’s talk about the first episode of this season. My first thoughts post-watch were mixed and confusing. It was Once Upon a Time, the show I love. But for a show in it’s seventh season, it had a lot of exposition for a season opener.

But that’s when it hit me that this is a pilot episode. It’s a pilot for this new world and new story and new characters. It’s definitely based in our original OUAT mythology, but this episode is setting up more than a season. It’s essentially establishing a nearly new TV show. Same mythology, but mostly different characters and slightly different execution.

I can understand why this might totally turn off some fans. It’s like getting a spinoff or sequel series labeled as the original series. If you weren’t expecting it, I could see it being jarring. But from what I’ve been observing on social media since season 6 ended, is that people are in two significant camps. They either love the show for it’s unique take on fairytales and will follow it wherever it goes (I’m here!) or they have a very narrow view of the way the show should function (mainly with respect to its seasons 1-6 main characters and the state of their happy endings) and had abandoned ship with the announcement of Jennifer Morrison leaving the show. They might have decided to watch the first few episodes to see where it goes, but I think with the pilot-like feel of episode 1 and what I suspect is going to happen in episode 2, they may not be returning.

And honestly, that’s okay. I think (although I certainly don’t know at this point with only one episode under our belt) that the OUAT creators are going to honor the journey we went through in seasons 1-6 and season 7 is very much a new, slightly unrelated journey.

I will say that I’m excited for this new and untraditional Cinderella. She definitely captured my heart as soon as she knocked out Henry and commandeered his motorcycle! Also, the new adult Henry played by Andrew J. West was a pleasant surprise. While I feel like we’re going to have reintroduce ourselves to this adult Henry a bit, I feel like in the first episode he navigated the line between likable hero and irritating, clueless grownup who doesn’t believe in fairytales that harkened back to Emma in the pilot. (Especially with his “Really?” at the troll under the bridge. Like mother, like son!) Also, a standout is Alison Fernandez as Lucy, Henry and Jacinda’s daughter, who’s taken over the “little kid who remembers, but everyone just thinks she believes too hard in fairy tales” mantel from Henry. She has been amazing on Jane the Virgin as young Jane, and she’s just as innocent and beautiful on OUAT but with a much larger role! So I’m excited to see where she’ll go!

Now for what I think might happen in episode 2 and how Emma’s absence will be explained. First take a look at this picture:

OH MY GOODNESS DOES THAT HAND TO BELLY MEAN WHAT I THINK IT MEANS?!?!?

So I’ve been torn about Emma/Jenn leaving the show. On the one hand, I’m actually glad to put Emma’s story to rest (because she has been through A LOT!), but on the other, I’ve been afraid that in order to explain her absence in this time jump, they were going to have to kill her off or have she and Hook break up so that he could be caught up in the curse because there’s just no way that if Henry were in trouble that she wouldn’t be out looking for him and certainly wouldn’t be separated from her true love in a curse!

But with the promo suggesting that there are somehow TWO Killians and this photo suggesting that she and Hook are expecting a baby, I think I’m getting a clearer picture of what’s going on. We were introduced last season to alternate universes as Regina’s Evil Queen half had Emma sent to a Wish Realm where the Dark Curse had never been enacted. We met AU Robin there who Regina brought back with them, though later it turned out he wasn’t quite the original Robin and not really fit for this world. Eventually, when Regina accepted her Evil Queen side and gave her some of her good heart, and eventually sent she  her to live in that Wish Realm. So essentially, we know that alternate universes exist in OUAT mythology and there can be multiple versions of the same person. I don’t know if it’s a Wish Realm or perhaps Killian is the only Captain Hook in the different storybooks, but I think they’re going to introduce an AU Hook and he’ll be the one left in the Cursed World with Henry and the others. And Emma and original universe Hook will return to Storybrooke (or wherever!), have a baby, and continue living their “happy beginning.” I imagine there will be some conversation between Emma and Henry along the lines of, “It’s my story/journey now” and the torch shall be passed.

From a show writer’s perspective, I think this makes sense. We don’t destroy the true love story that was built over several seasons, and we now have a new single Killian Jones to pair off with someone because if we’re being honest here, there was no way they were going to continue with Colin O’Donoghue on the show and somehow keep him single. This is primetime TV we’re talking about and romance sells.

So…these are just my hunches (and maybe a little bit of hopes because I don’t want Emma to die!), but I think we’ve been given enough clues that I’m on the right track. This does open up the question of whether the Regina and Gold in Hyperion Heights are also AU versions of themselves. We know Regina already has a doppelganger in the Wish Realm so could it be the Evil Queen running Roni’s instead? As for Mr. Gold, while it seems unlikely that Rumple would actually let himself get caught by a curse, it’s also just as difficult to imagine there being any other Rumple, but Rumple himself.

Whatever it turns it out to be, we’ll just have to wait and see!

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Once Upon a Time: New Season, New Storybook!

If you haven’t seen it already, you need to check out my Emma Swan cosplay from yesterday’s new video. I am in high excited gear for the new season of Once Upon a Time premiering tonight on ABC at 8 PM! So excited that I felt like this was the perfect time (and maybe the last time it would be relevant) to finally realize my dream of cosplaying Emma Swan.

OUAT’s season 7 will begin with a big absence as it’s main character for the last 6 seasons is leaving the show. Emma has always been my favorite character, and I’m sad to see her go (and admittedly, curious as to how they’ll explain her exit from the show), but I’m also incredibly excited for this “reboot” as we now recenter with adult Henry as the hero of a new storybook world and curse!

OUAT has been in need of a good reboot in my opinion. At first it was always exciting to go to a new “land” every season (e.g. Neverland, Oz, Camelot), but I suppose, the gimmick got old especially when it stopped seeming as important to the story. I love exploring new Fairytale lands and characters, but if you look at season 6 and the introduction of the “Land of Untold Stories,” we were actually there for such a short period of time and it seemed like more of a device to throw in some extra characters for one off stories rather than full arcs. Things just started to feel rushed, I guess. I like diving into the backstories of characters, but it started to feel somewhat disingenuous, especially since new fairytale characters only seemed to be brought on to somehow further the story of the main cast (i.e. Emma, Snow and Charming, Regina, Hook, Gold, etc). One and done style, basically.

But that’s enough negativity! Because despite my gripes with the show, I still love it. And I have hope that maybe a reboot with new characters will lead to deeper character exploration and more interesting (or rather, less convoluted) stories!

So What Do We Know So Far?

We’re jumping into the future when Henry’s older (29, perhaps?) and has experienced new storybook worlds on his own, but somehow has fallen prey to a curse that wiped his memory.

And it’s up to his daughter Lucy, much like Henry’s original mission with Emma in season 1, to make him believe again!

We’re in a new land with new versions of characters we’ve seen before: Cinderella, Alice, Tiana from the Princess and the Frog so that gives me hope for even more takes on those fairytales.

Also, no more Storybrooke, Maine! We’re now in Hyperion Heights, Washington, just outside of Seattle. We find our characters under a new curse, seemingly instituted by Cinderella’s evil stepmother and somehow Regina, Hook, and Gold have been caught up in the magic too!

Also, Henry drives a (August’s?) motorcycle and it’s AMAZING. (I love this picture of Cinderella in her big, poofy ball gown on the back it with Henry!)

Should You Be Excited or Scared?

I saw a lot of super negative comments when it was announced that OUAT wasn’t ending after season 6, but instead rebooting itself after Jennifer Morrison’s exit. “Once Upon a Time is done for me after season 6!” “How can you get rid of the main character and expect people to keep watching!?” And yes, it’s extremely sad to see Emma/Jenn go, but the great thing about a show like OUAT with an ensemble cast and based on fairy tales, is that it’s completely possible and logical for a new hero to take center stage. As long as the show doesn’t negate any of the journey we’ve been on for the last 6 seasons in doing so (i.e. breaking up Captain Swan when they were supposed to be true love; killing Emma without any sense of a happy ending, etc), I feel like change is good!  I feel like there are definitely still stories to be told. (That’s one reason I’m super excited that Zelena got added back to the cast since I feel like there’s still some sister bonding that Regina and Zelena need to do!) And while sad to see some of our favorite characters go (i.e. Charming and Snow, Belle), I think it will give the show more room to breathe and develop new characters and stories!

OUAT has had so many great characters they let fall to the wayside because I think they’d overextended themselves story-wise and focused too heavily on side stories for the main cast. (Some of my favorites were Mulan, Aurora, Ruby/Red Riding Hood, and Ariel! Plus whatever happened to the rest of Camelot’s townspeople?) But hopefully with a pared down cast, new characters, and a new curse and set of main heroes, I think we have the possibility of finding a new OUAT groove!

But then, it also might not work at all. And that will be sad, but okay too. I’m just excited that we get more OUAT and to explore new worlds. So here’s to another season of magic and mayhem!

I really hope this hand to hook action from a sneak peek photo means that Killian and Emma are still going strong!

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Fall 2017 TV Show Round-Up!

Somehow the summer has slipped away from me, and it’s fall again. Even though I’m sad to see the warm weather and beach days replaced by cooler temperatures and Halloween candy, fall does bring one of my favorite parts of the year: new seasons for my favorite TV shows! I’m always excited to see what creative minds have cooked up for my favorite characters and worlds. So let’s dive into some of my favorite shows (and shows I’m considering trying out this season) and see where we left off!

The Mindy Project

Tuesdays on Hulu starting Sept. 12

I’m such a fan of The Mindy Project. And I’m sad to see it in it’s final season, but I’m so glad it didn’t get canceled without any kind of closure. Last season was an interesting one with a lot of changes and the deeply felt absence of Danny. But I think the show did a great job of moving past that absence and onto more interesting topics and development of characters. Basically, I don’t know what to expect from the Mindy Project anymore and that’s the best part!

We ended last season with Mindy getting engaged to Ben (seemingly the “Happily Ever After” she’s always been pining for) and open this season with her already married and living that “Happily Ever After” that turns out to not be all that fun. The Ever After part isn’t what makes an interesting story, so where does a show about typical romance stories go from here? I have nothing but high hopes for this final season!

The Good Place

Tuesdays on NBC starting Sept. 20

Okay, if you’re not watching The Good Place then you are MISSING OUT! Kristen Bell. Ted Danson. Lots of death jokes. A healthy dose of cynicism. Absurd happenings. And it’s about the good side of the afterlife…right?

I haven’t felt a connection to a comedy show like this in a long time.  It’s a show about morality and good deeds, but it is SO MUCH MORE. And hilarious. And weird. And like The Mindy Project, I don’t know what to expect around each corner, which is what I really enjoy in a TV show.

I won’t give you a rundown of how season 1 ended just in case you haven’t seen it yet. (If not, go binge it on Netflix now!) If you have seen season 1, then you’re probably just as excited for what season 2 has in store for us!

(NOTE: Between writing this blog and posting it, I got to watch the season 2 premiere and it is EVERY bit as amazing as I had hoped. I am SO excited for this season!)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Tuesdays on FOX starting Sept. 26

Last season ended with the OMG moment of Jake and Rosa actually being (wrongfully) convicted and sentenced to prison! We’ve had dire season finale’s before (like when Jake and Holt had to go into the witness protection program last year), but there always seemed to be an obvious resolution (aka “Catch the Bad Guy”). But this particular ending feels much more out of their hands since they did their best detective work and still got outsmarted. And now they’re in jail.  So it looks like it might be up to the rest of the team to figure out how to right this wrong and bring them home!

While I have pretty good faith that the Nine-Nine team is up for the task and Rosa and Jake won’t be spending too long in prison (I imagine, 3 or 4 episodes? I think that’s how long Jake and Holt were in Florida.) I do think it could give the show an opportunity to breathe and highlight the rest of the cast. One of the biggest issues I’ve had with Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the last season or so is that Charles Boyle’s character has become something of a caricature of his original self. He offers a lot more than physical comedy gags and being the butt of every joke. Can we bring back a little more heroic Charles, please?

This is Us

Tuesdays on NBC starting Sept. 26

Bring on the feels (and the tears) people! I am so ready for this! From the moment I saw the trailer for season 1 last year, I knew something special was happening. And not a single episode disappointed me. (In fact, I’m not sure if there was a single episode I didn’t cry in!) This is Us is a masterful show of emotion. I’m so invested in all the characters and what their stories have revealed so far. I’m afraid for what’s going to happen to Jack (because Milo Ventimiglia! *swoons*) I’m excited for anything and everything that involves Randall/Sterling K. Brown because he is a powerhouse on that show! And I love Kate like a sister, like myself. I connect with her insecurities on an intense level.

Basically I am SO READY for season 2!

Once Upon a Time

Fridays on ABC starting Oct. 6

Since OUAT season 6 wrapped up the main storyline with Emma Swan and we’re now jumping forward in time AND getting a new main character and storybook characters, I thought I’d save all my thoughts for its own dedicated blog post. Just know that while I’m sad to see so many of my favorite characters go, I’m excited for a new storybook and a revamp on the formula!

Riverdale

Wednesdays on The CW starting Oct. 11

So I waited until Riverdale was on Netflix over the summer to watch it, and OH MY GOSH I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS SHOW! It’s full of beautiful people and a sexy darkness without the supernatural element that was so customary for The Vampire Diaries. There’s murder and intrigue and mystery and plucky heroines trying to investigate and save the day. Basically it’s amazing, and Fred Andrews better not be dead! But whether he is or not, we’re definitely in for another amazing season.

I do worry about it falling into a sophomore slump like many shows do, but from everything I’ve seen so far, I have nothing but high hopes for higher stakes and more interesting stories. 

Jane the Virgin

Fridays on The CW starting Oct. 13

Jane the Virgin has a special place in my heart. I’ve loved it since the beginning and this last season was a rollercoaster. Jane and Michael got married! Michael got shot before they had sex! Michael didn’t die and Jane eventually got to lose her virginity! But Michael died from complications of that original gunshot wound. And it broke all our hearts. Even those who weren’t particular Jane and Michael shippers, I think we all knew the importance and sweetness of their relationship.

Then with a three year time jump, a fling with a sexy boy toy, and questioning whether she still had feelings for Rafael, I was actually a bit exhausted by the end of the season.  I enjoyed the time jump (it was needed!) But it also felt like something that should have happened between seasons and not midseason. Ultimately, it left the second half of the season feeling oddly disjointed for me as some episodes felt like filler while others were incredibly poignant.

I still have high hopes for this season though. Though the new promo leaves a bit to be desired in terms of what’s actually going to happen this season, I love Jane the Virgin for its wittiness and snark and telenovela charm.

 

What about NEW shows coming to your TV/streaming service this fall?

Also if you’re interested in NEW shows this 2017-2018 season, here’s what has caught my eye! (Though honestly, I already consume a fair amount of content. It’s probably going to have to turn out to be a breakout hit for me to add something else to my roster!)

The Good Doctor (Mondays on ABC starting Sept. 25) →  I’m a sucker for Freddie Highmore. He’ll always be the amazing musical prodigy from August Rush for me and so the idea of him being another savant/genius makes me especially intrigued. I also don’t have anymore medical dramas right now since I gave up on Grey’s Anatomy a few seasons back. I never really forgave them for killing Lexi and Mark. And after Derrick died…my heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

The Bold Type (Available on the Freeform app and Hulu) → So technically this was a summer breakout hit, but I wasn’t quite convinced at the outset to watch it, but after seeing several previews and reading about the buzz it was creating, it’s left me wanting to get on The Bold Type train. Since there are only 10 episodes, I’ll probably binge it sometime this fall in hopes of a second season!

The Gifted (Mondays on FOX starting Oct. 2) and Marvel’s Runaways (Tuesdays on Hulu starting Nov. 21) → So I have a thing for kids with superpowers stories. (I blame Disney’s Sky High and Static Shock honestly). Both of these shows have the kids with power premise although they seem like entirely different shows. The Gifted has the mythology behind X-Men and political allegories while still being a family drama. Marvel’s The Runaways seems ensemble and friendship-focused.  I’ll be interested to see how they’re received and whether it would be worthwhile to watch an episode or two and see if I like it!

Kevin (Probably) Saves The World (Tuesdays on ABC starting Oct. 3) → For some reason, I’ve always been intrigued by shows that explore Christian mythology. Joan of Arcadia and The Returned are a few that come to mind. Kevin (Probably) Saves The World has gotten my attention for this reason too as Kevin touches a meteor and then finds himself being able to see an angel who tasks him with learning to be selfless in order to save the world (or something along those lines.) I might give it a chance if I have some free time. We shall see!

The Shannara Chronicles (Wednesdays on Spike starting Oct. 11) → So technically this show isn’t new this season. But I did think it was dead since it premiered in 2015 for one season on MTV and then went on a weird year long hiatus but was never officially canceled. And yet, here we are! It’s now got a new lease on life for at least a season on Spike. I love a good fantasy show and though Shannara is by no means perfect, it intrigued me enough to stick through the whole first season. So I am excited to try out season 2 and see what a new network has to offer!


Any new shows this fall that have you hyped? Something you think I should check out? Let me know in the comments! I might just watch it and review it on my YouTube channel!

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Stitchers Season 3 Finale Reactions and Hopes for the Future!

Hello my fellow Stitchers friends (or maybe you’re wondering what this whole “Stitchers” thing is about)! We’ve come to the close of another season of Stitchers on Freeform. It’s always gut-wrenching (because the Stitchers writers can be merciless with their cliffhangers!) as well as sad (because no more Stitchers for who knows how long!?) This season was a culmination of much of the mystery behind the Stitchers program, Kirsten’s fractured family, and the romance writhing under the surface for #Camsten.

So how did everything turn out? And where might it go if Freeform renews this beloved show for another season? (#RenewStitchers4 on social media, peeps. Shout it from the rooftops!) Let’s find out!

Ivy is good!

About two-thirds of the way through the season, they dropped the bombshell that Ivy was the one who created and ran the anomaly that trapped Kirsten inside of her own mind at the end of season 2. Everyone dealt with the news in their own way, but it dealt particularly hard blows to Kirsten (who felt betrayed by a sister) and Linus (who felt like his affection for her had been abused). Considering that Ivy hadn’t even known Kirsten that long at the time of the anomaly and we see that Stinger kept showing up and demanding her help, she seemed like a lost cause!

However, Maggie knew what she was doing and had Ivy double cross Stinger which ultimately led to his arrest. Hooray! Kirsten and Ivy get a chance to form a sisterly bond, and Linus FINALLY gets that date with her.

Camille is working on those trust issues!

One of the first revelations of the finale is that Camille and Amanda (now back together, yay!) are going to move in together! And even more surprising, Camille is actually 100% down for it, show a big step for her in terms of personal growth and opening up to trust again.

While I’m not sure I’m as 100% down with this idea as she is (I love Amanda, but it seems so fast and reckless! Like I know you want to learn to trust more, but girl, there are steps between 0 and 100!), I do wonder how this will play out. I think Camille has a lot of baggage from her past that she needs to deal with before any long-term relationship is going to work. Maybe Amanda will be someone who can help with this? But I could also see it taking a toll on their relationship as they try to move forward.

Who picks the stitches? Kirsten’s brain!

In a lot of science-y explanation, we learn that Kirsten and her mom both have nanobots installed at the base of their brain stem. According to Stinger it was how the Stitchers technology was originally designed to work (and what caused the “reflection” that Cameron’s mom saw in Kirsten’s brain scans). But through a bit of sleuthing in Denise Nichols’ memory (a NASA mathematician they learn has been somehow involved in choosing the cases to Stitch into), they realize that the nanobots in Kirsten’s brain have actually been exchanging information with Denise’s supercomputer, but it was ultimately Kirsten’s brain that picked the cases based on what parts of the brain were left to map. Whoa! Talk about the unconscious mind, right!

All the Stingers are now alive and awake!

The episode ends with Kirsten and the team being able to successfully wake up Jacqueline from her stitch-induced coma by firing Kirsten’s emotional energy from the corpse cassette toward her mother in the stitch tank. And in a beautiful scene of all white and light where Jacqueline and Kirsten meet for the first time in years, their theory proves successful. Sleeping beauty is awake and Prince Charmless (aka Stinger) is there to gather her up in his arms and promise he’ll never leave her. (Which, on the one hand, is a great callback to season 2’s finale when Cameron promised Kirsten he’d never leave her, but also proves that Stinger’s one and only priority has always been Jacqueline and not either of his daughters).

Camsten finally got to be together! (For a little while…)

#Camsten finally became a real thing this season! And with Linus’ genius work on an oxytocin filter, by the end of the season, they got to be together physically as well. So the finale begins with culmination of their romantic relationship, and you just knew it was too good to be true. Midway through the episode I was afraid that during the ultimate stitch, Kirsten would revert back to her emotionless, temporal dysplasia problem. (It seemed fitting because it was Kirsten’s initial stitch into her unconscious but still alive mother as a child that gave her temporal dysplasia in the first place.)

So while I was relieved that the consequences of the ultimate stitch weren’t a loss of her emotions, I wasn’t expecting the gut-punch that was her losing her memories.  On the one side, you’ve got Cameron freaking out and blaming himself because he allowed her to stitch when he knew it wasn’t safe. But on the other side, you have their friends trying to remain positive and not place blame because it’s out of their control now anyway, right?

Lost memory or covert mission?

But did Kirsten actually lose her memory? It seems heartbreakingly so until the final moment of the finale when a shadowy figure approaches Kirsten and she says, “I will never forgive you for what you’re making me do to him.” Which, of course, had all the Stitchers fans like:

So what might season 4 hold for the Stitchers crew?

We’re, of course, all asking, “Who’s Kirsten talking to?” and I think that will be at the forefront of our minds if (when!) we get a season 4. My prediction is that it’s actually Jacqueline. Most things I’ve seen have suggested Maggie or Stinger, but when did Kirsten have time to coordinate with someone her “memory loss” post stitch. No one, except for her mother, who via the nanobots they both have implanted in their brains, could potentially communicate with one another, especially when they were connected in the stitch.

As for motivation, that’s a little bit harder. We’ve only ever seen positive memories and affection shown for Jacqueline. Though she hasn’t played much of a role on-screen so far, the IDEA of her has permeated the show and Kirsten’s motivations since season 1. Essentially, while she’s been implied to be a “good guy” on the show, there’s actually no evidence to prove this. And who knows what happened to her while she was in a stitch-induced coma for years? Basically, I think Jacqueline might be next season’s new antagonist. What she’s actually working towards and whether it’s for the good or bad of our beloved characters, I’m not quite sure about yet, but I think if she is the one Kirsten was talking to, she’s definitely going to be causing some trouble!

If you love Stitchers as much as I do be sure to use the hashtag #RenewStitchers4 to spread your love and sign the petition for season 4 here!

 

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The Case for Jess In Gilmore Girls

Sometimes I don’t understand how there are people who still haven’t watched Gilmore Girls (but then, there are also people who haven’t read Harry Potter, including my boyfriend *gasp*). One of my favorite creators, Tessa Violet, is one of them, and I noticed that she’s been tweeting about her experience watching the series recently and made this declaration:

Which prompted her to post this poll because the proverbial question of Gilmore Girls (despite the show’s actual intentions) was always “Who does Rory belong with?”

While the general consensus of the poll was that they were all terrible boyfriends (which, YES), Tessa was more concerned that Logan even got a few votes.

I’m like Tessa and have never quite understood so many people’s fascination with Logan Huntzberger. While the revival made it pretty clear that Logan was Rory’s Christopher, how can anyone think that’s actually a good thing when we’ve seen all the chaos Christopher has wrought in the lives of Gilmore women?

But I’m not really here to talk about Logan because there are plenty of defenders and naysayers. Instead, I wanted to address why I voted for Jess, because while I know “Team Jess” has a strong following, and again, the revival made clear the parallels of Jess and Rory to Luke and Lorelei, there are just as many (if not more) Jess haters.

First though, let me give you a little bit of background. I was in high school when Gilmore Girls was still on the air, and I found myself living the “Rory Gilmore Love Life” as my first boyfriend was rather Dean-esque in his saccharine exterior (he’s the perfect boyfriend!) with an underbelly of possessive and controlling behavior. I eventually broke up with him and ended up dating a Jess-like unstable and selfish guy. When that relationship ultimately ended in tears because he just STOPPED ACKNOWLEDGING ME, I fled back to the Dean-esque “First Love” which ultimately ended in him being rather emotionally abusive. My boyfriends during college and later weren’t quite so Gilmore Girls inspired fortunately, and as far as I can tell, I don’t think I’ve dated a Logan. (And I like to think that this is due in part to being a smart and self-respecting young woman. But boys like that can sneak up on you, no matter how Rory-Gilmore-Smart you are).

Now far removed from all this high school relationship drama, I sometimes look back and see the uncanny parallels and wonder WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME? Because I was watching the show and I knew that the way Rory was being treated was wrong, but I went back to my daily life where I was basically living the IRL version. (Fortunately, there was no cheating with the high school sweetheart which I consider Rory’s first real low point).

But I always held a soft spot for Jess, even if high school Jess and my own IRL Jess were pretty dumpy boyfriends in hindsight. So I have to say that standard arguments from Jess hates are actually pretty sound.  He was selfish, unstable, and abandoned Rory several times during the course of their relationship. And it’s pretty easy (even for a Jess lover like me) to come to the conclusion that he’s absolutely NOT high school boyfriend material for Rory.

But the thing is, Jess didn’t grow up to be a selfish and unstable person. And while he wasn’t the boyfriend Rory deserved when she was 16, he was at least a driving force for good in her adult life. (e.g. Telling her to go back to Yale and stop living in her grandparents’ pool house because that’s not the Rory we know and love!)

And this idea of Jess being the “responsible and down-to-earth” guy continued in the 2016 Netflix revival despite his minimal screen time because again, he was the one to give Rory the idea to write a book about her life story. Essentially, adult Jess has his life together and functions as an encourager for Rory. While I’m not entirely sure that the self-involved and snobbish Rory we saw in the revival (or even really the later seasons of the original Gilmore Girls run) deserves to be with Jess, I think he’s plenty worthy of being considered “boyfriend material.”

But also, yeah, Logan sucks.  😜

Are you Team Jess, Dean, Logan, or All of Them Suck? Tell me why in the comments!

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I Cried in Wonder Woman (But Not For Why You Might Think)

So I’m a little late on the Wonder Woman train. I had been excited to see it because it looked epic (!), but I’d also been apprehensive that it would continue the train wreck that is D.C. superhero movies right now. Like I wanted to like Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad (and generally, I found them enjoyable), but they just haven’t had the addictive quality that Marvel films over the last few years have been achieving in my opinion.  

But then early reviews started coming out, and they were super positive! And once it premiered, many of my friends were able to go see it opening weekend, and they thought it was amazing! And so while I’ve spent the last few weeks uber busy with traveling and work and YouTube, I’ve felt like I was missing out on a special shared cultural moment.

Fast forward to the July 4th holiday when I finally had a bit of a break, I made it out to a movie theater and got to witness Wonder Woman in all its glory! And yes, it was glorious!

I could be really picky and talk about how I felt the special effects in the final battle got a bit too CGI-heavy or some of the suspension-of-disbelief issues I had with Diana’s wardrobe changes (and choices). But I think if THAT’S what you focus on after seeing this movie, then you’re being just that–picky. It blows Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad out of the water in terms of an interesting (and easy to follow) story and compelling characters. And I think runs in a similar vein to Marvel’s Thor (also one of my favorite Marvel films and also dealing with gods in the human world). It was funny when it needed to be funny. It was action-packed when it needed to action-packed. It was gritty when it needed to be gritty. (This is a story about war after all).

I also came away with two film moments that will forever be seared into my mind as things I aspire to create: the scene where Diana first watches the Amazons training and later the big and beautiful beach battle scene between the Amazons and German soldiers. Those two moments legitimately made me tear up watching them because they were the kinds of scenes of epic female badassery that I had always imagined creating myself because I’d never seen them before.

But I’ve also had the niggling fear of embracing the idea of epic women fighting because I’ve been consistently bombarded with the message that “women can’t fight realistically” or “women are too weak to fight.” Et cetera, et cetera. These messages came from commenters on YouTube videos (like when I made the ill-advised decision to talk about female action heroes once) and even my own boyfriend, who may be a big supporter of badass heroines, but is, in my opinion, a bit extra critical when it comes to how easily the suspension of disbelief can be broken for him. I mean, yes, I know that Wonder Woman taking her hair DOWN to fight is impractical, but it’s also 1.) an iconic part of the character and 2.) kind of irrelevant since I think a demigoddess should have the magical ability to fight AND have magically flowing perfect locks. I mean, if I was a demigoddess/superhero, that’s definitely what I would want!

And then there’s also the fact that there are plenty of examples of movies and TV shows that use action sequences with female characters poorly. One scene that always comes to mind is from Pretty Little Liars where Aria had learned kickboxing (or some defensive sport from her temporary-boyfriend-who-was-not-Ezra) and “takes down” Red Coat. It was laughable, poorly choreographed, and poorly executed. Aria is literally the smallest of all the Liars and they chose her to be the fighter? At least Emily was somewhat convincing when she had more physical scenes since they’d established her as the “sporty one.”

But there are times when women steal the show and can hold their own in a male dominated action world. Furiosa from Mad Max is one of my all-time favorites. And now the Amazons from Wonder Woman have entered my personal hall of fame as well. These are beautiful moments in cinema as well as for the women who dreamed as little girls not of being just princesses, but of being badass, dragon-riding warrior-princesses.  You don’t see that too much on the screen so when something like Wonder Woman comes along, it’s a moment to be celebrated, emulated, and encouraged.

(The kind of princess I imagined myself to be as a kid.)

Storm Rider by IronShod

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Was the Pretty Little Liars Endgame Satisfying?

It’s been a few days, and I’ve been able to process the series finale of Pretty Little Liars a little more. If you’re interested in my in-the-moment squeals and gasps, you should check out my latest video here.  But otherwise, I thought I’d lay out some of my in depth thoughts on that crazy A.D. reveal and how the series tied itself up.

Also…SPOILERS GALORE

First, somewhere around mid season I saw a theory that Spencer had a twin, and I really started to believe it after the scene in the airport with Ezra, Wren, and “Spencer.” When Spencer visits Toby at his cabin and has sex with him, I also felt like this was a pretty disingenuous Spencer moment and it strengthened my belief in the “Twincer” theory. So when it was actually revealed about midway through the finale through that awesome mirror scene that Spencer actually DOES have a twin (aka Alex Drake), I was both gasping with shock (because WHOA!) and internally delighted that for once the subtle clues had actually lead to a plausible “A” reveal. (As opposed to the Charles/CeCe reveal which while somewhat expected because we’d run out of suspects, felt weird and half-thought out.) There didn’t feel like there were actually many clues that CeCe was Charles was A or how she stole the game. (Hence why there needed to be an entire episode of flashbacks and explanation).

So was this ending satisfying? Yes and no.

Yes, because there were actually a few deliberate clues to lead you to this A.D. reveal. But also no, because it feels like a big missed opportunity that got shoved into the last half of the final episode.

 

One of the initial intrigues of Pretty Little Liars was that it’s such a mystery. A’s identity is always hidden and masked behind manipulated minions. And it became a bit of a trope for the show to not make any kind of “bad guy” reveal until a season finale. While I think this really worked for the reveal of the initial A (aka Mona) because she was so unexpected, but also completely suspicious if you rewatch those first two seasons, it’s become a bit of a detriment to the show’s story in later seasons.

And I think that formula may have finally run itself into the ground in this final season. The major complaint I’ve seen in comments in the run up to and during this season is that people want answers. On a show that’s known for its twists, there have been quite a few plot holes over the years, and I think many diehard fans were hoping for answers in the A.D. reveal that cleared up at least a few of them. But while this season was touted as the “Season of Answers” and a few questions were put to bed (e.g. Who was Charlotte’s father? Who killed Mrs. Dilaurentis?), I think overall we were still left with many unanswered questions and plot holes (e.g. What happened to Nicole? Did Alison ever get her money back? Was the full story of Bethany Young ever fully told? Did Mary Drake actually care for Spencer?)

 

The “Spencer has an evil twin” reveal was interesting in my opinion, and had a lot of potential to clear up many of those plot holes if it had been more fully formed and introduced earlier in the season. The one regret I really have from this finale is that I wish Spencer being captured and Alex Drake taking over her life had happened earlier in the season. I know that wouldn’t have given us the quintessential last-minute “A” reveal, but I think for the story as a whole it would have been more compelling. We had to learn everything about Alex Drake in the last hour of the show, and I just don’t think it was enough time. (Hence why there are still so many questions and plot holes). I would have loved to see more of Alex impersonating Spencer (with context it makes it incredibly creepy like when she’s holding one of Emily and Alison’s twins). And I think it would have been more compelling to see the girls figure out that Spencer isn’t Spencer organically and not just Jenna noticing a different perfume, and in a move completely out of character, Toby and the girls actually believing her. (Wouldn’t it have been incredible to see Jenna figure it out but no one listened to her and actually seeing her work toward helping someone for once?)

I guess what I really wanted was more time understanding A.D. and for it to connect better with the original storyline of CeCe (and even Mona!) as A. Why couldn’t Alex have been there all along? Why couldn’t CeCe have been protecting her and not wanted her to get involved with the game until it became necessary because Alex wanted revenge on Charlotte’s murderer and the girls for taking her sister away from her for five years?

I know the answer is: no one in the writer’s room really thought that far ahead. And also: non-series regulars have time constraints which contributed to the lack of Wren’s presence this season (all his scenes were shot in one day!) despite his character being central to the A.D. storyline. But sometimes I just want MORE from a show! If you’re going to commit to seven seasons, then really COMMIT! It hurts as a fan to see the show’s hard work thrown away with weird replacement storylines because actors couldn’t show up or the fans were too good and guessed the villain early or you want to drag out the suspense and therefore don’t leave time for the payoff and explanation.

All in all, I think I’m just happy that it’s over. (NO MORE A MYSTERY!) While I love the show, I also recognize that it was pretty ridiculous at times. But I’m glad that I actually stuck with it to see the eventual (and final) reveal! It feels like something I can check off my bucket list. And hey! We’re not old ladies in the retirement home when we finally figured it out!


So what do you think about the A.D. reveal and the Pretty Little Liars finale! Let me know in the comments!