Stranger Things Season 1 Chapter 4: The Body Recap


Everything begins to change in this episode, the midpoint of the season, as even most of the pragmatists among the main characters realize that something mysterious and sinister is going on. We’re starting to reach the meat of the story, with more clues about the lab and cover up being revealed, and the characters beginning to work together. This show is so well done that, while it seems obvious how some of it will play out, I have no idea where they’re going to go with other aspects. Will the stock characters and situations stay that way, become modern clichés instead, or evolve into something totally original?

This episode picks up not long after the end of episode 3. Joyce has told Hopper her story, ans Hopper has told Joyce and Jonathan that Will’s body has been found. Joyce refuses to believe that Will is gone. Hopper at least does a cursory inspection of the house, rather than dismissing Joyce completely, but he also mainly talks to her as one grief-stricken parent to another. Any outsider would logically think she’s hallucinating, and he’s crushed by his own depression that’s been dredged up again full force.

Hopper goes out to his truck to drive away, but thinks better of it and settles in to spend the night sleeping outside of the Byers’ house. Joyce resolutely goes to the shed and gets an axe, then sits back down in her living room to stand watch, in case Will or the monster come back. Jonathan tries to pretend things are somewhere near normal so that he can get some sleep.

Song that plays at end of opening sequence as Hopper goes to his truck, Joyce gets the axe, and Jonathan puts on his headphones: Atmosphere by Joy Division. Joyce is like a Viking warrior goddess with her axe, ready to take on all comers to protect her home and family.

Is Hopper on suicide watch?

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Stranger Things Chapter 3: Holly, Jolly Recap


We get two of my favorite things this episode, an epic amount of Christmas lights and new information. The show is done with pleasant introductions, and ready to dive in deep, starting with wherever Barb is- possibly a metaphysical mirror image of the pool she was sitting next to, possibly the monster’s lair. Either way, she doesn’t seem to get out alive. Barb fighting for her life, as she screams for Nancy to help her, is intercut with Nancy and Douchey Steve getting to second base. It’s disturbing on several levels.

Nancy hesitates with Steve a few times, as if she might almost hear Nancy, or she could just be having second thoughts about what she’s doing with Steve. Steve continues to be a douche, and falls asleep when they’re done. Nancy is left to walk home alone in the dark through the neighborhood with the missing kid. At least she’s not a babysitter, or she’d surely never make it back to her house alive, given the horror movie tropes we’re working with. But she does make it home alive, and is met by her very worried mother.

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Dear Evan Hansen Rants: Evan and His Mom

Evan and Heidi

Ooohkay, I have a lot of thoughts on this show, which is funny because I have a lot of issues with it but I also have a lot of meta about it. Who knows how many parts to this there will be. Whichever part comes first will have a hint of some other parts of my analysis, because no piece is complete without the rest, but I’d have to publish a novel to do it all at once. To start, here’s my analysis of one of the most crucial relationships in the show – Evan and his mom, Heidi.

When the world sees Evan’s “Dear Evan Hansen” note*, thinking it was Connor’s suicide note, they’re horrified by how badly it implies Connor’s parents treated him. But those were Evan’s words. What does that say about Heidi? Heidi is the only one, besides the Murphys, who knows it was Evan. And it makes her realize how distant she’s been. She has the same reaction that the rest of the world had towards Connor’s family, but towards herself. As the “you are not alone” line from You Will Be Found plays after Alana shares the note, images of the letter and people’s reactions to it swirl around, and Heidi is briefly in the center of it, looking up at the images. We’re seeing her react to it, really seeing her son for the first time since his father left. She’s being confronted with how far she’s wandered from being the parent she’d intended to be, and how much that’s hurt Evan.

A person’s childhood and parenting shape who they are. Examining Evan’s mother and father, it’s clear how he ended up with the issues he has. Heidi is so exhausted and overextended from working hard just to keep herself and her son afloat and trying to get them a better life by going to school that she doesn’t have anything left for Evan emotionally. Understandably, she needs him to be okay so that she can focus on work and school. In many ways, he is her whole world. Everything she does, from spending so much time at work, to going to school, to looking for ways to get Evan into college, is for him. She is trying. When she hears about Connor’s suicide, she’s concerned about Evan’s reaction to it and tries to reach out to him. She asks him regularly if he still has enough pills and reminds him and encourages him to do the assignments his therapist gives him. She loves him dearly and is doing the best she can, and it’s not her fault that she’s only human and can’t be everything Evan needs.

That said, she also isn’t doing as well as she could. She hasn’t set aside a regular night, perhaps every Saturday or Sunday night, for them to have dinner together. Instead, as Evan points out, she randomly takes nights off without asking him or letting him know about it beforehand and expects him to drop everything and spend time with her.

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Stranger Things Season 1 Chapter 2: The Weirdo on Maple Street Recap


The plot thickens in episode two of Stranger Things, with Hawkins becoming a dangerous town for the first time in its history, at least according to Jim Hopper. Some of the kids who’ve clearly been perpetually bullied at school might feel differently about it. It’s a bad time to be a scientist, a good Samaritan, or a best friend in Hawkins, we know that much so far.

Mike and company have brought 11 back to Mike’s basement, and all three boys are talking at her while she tries to cope with being wet, cold, and in a strange environment during a thunderstorm. Dustin adds to the fun by making a loud noise to test his theory that she’s stayed silent because she’s deaf. Mike gets her some sweats to put on. 11 rubs them against her face like she’s never felt anything so soft.

The boys reaction to 11 getting ready to strip so that she can change her clothes is worth the price of admission, possibly the whole Netflix subscription. Mike quickly leads her to the bathroom, but she won’t let him close the door. “No” is clearly a very important word to 11.

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Stranger Things Season 1 Chapter 1: The Vanishing of Will Byers Recap


Okay, let’s do Stranger Things! I’m way late to the party with this, but, I figure, what the heck, maybe there are a few other people who want to watch in time for season 2. My first impression, as episode 1 starts, is omg, this is so 80s! Are those bikes going to take off like ET’s? The filmmakers got the look of an 80s show exactly right. Something made by Steven Spielberg, in particular, maybe The Goonies. Oops, Steven King just weighed in. Of course there’s an adorable dog and a little sister. Drew Barrymore might be able to look into copyright infringement here.

We begin on November 6th, 1983, in Hawkins, Indiana, at the Hawkins National Laboratory, run by the US Dept of Energy. This was the Reagan Era and the height of the Cold War. I’m sure a sweet old man like Ronnie wouldn’t have approved of any illegal experiments on children that could go wrong and terrorize a small midwestern town. Or maybe they were actually approved by Tricky Dick, and just continued by Ronnie.

Something is definitely going wrong, if the camera work and sound effects are anything to go by. Sure enough, one of the mad scientists runs by and gets attacked by something mysterious in the elevator.

Meanwhile, in a suburban basement, four preteen boys are playing the most exciting and intense game of Dungeons and Dragons ever, until Mike’s Mom breaks up the game because she totally doesn’t get the importance of fun and conquest. Will, Lucas and Dustin take off on their bikes toward their own houses. Lucas, the man of action, reaches his house quickly, then Dustin, the adorable mascot of the group, challenges Will, the sweet honest one, to a race. Will shows he’s not completely pure by taking off immediately, leaving Dustin in the, well, dust.

Lights have been flickering on and off around town. Will’s bike light flickers as he’s cutting through the grounds of the laboratory. He sees a figure in the shadows and falls off his bike, then runs home. He’s still spooked at home, and goes to the family’s shed to get a gun. The shed light brightens, and Will is gone.

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The Women of Riverdale: Character Analysis


Penelope Blossom

Penelope is cunning, devious, calculating, and cruel, a true Blossom through and through. She also was a loving mother toward Jason and a loyal wife to Clifford, as far as we can tell, until he was revealed as the murderer. Even then, she seemed to have divided loyalties between Jason and Clifford.

Jason’s death broke her, but was she broken before that? Why is she so abusive toward Cheryl? Projected self-hatred? Why didn’t she suspect Clifford of Jason’s murder? Did she know about the drugs? It would seem that she did, because she knew that Cliff arranged for Hiram’s arrest.

Cheryl is the only family member she completely despises, which suggests that Cheryl may not actually be her child. The possibility remains that one or both twins were born using a surrogate’s eggs, with Mary Andrews being the most likely candidate. Alternatively, Cheryl may be Clifford’s child from an affair, born around the same time as Jason, and brought home by Cliff to be raised with Jason as his twin. That would explain Penelope’s hatred.

I’m still half convinced that everyone in town is a distant Blossom relation. It would explain a lot. Only the favored branches still own a piece of the syrup/drug business, and there are resentments about old and new slights all over the place. Given that the Blossom men do seem to be cursed to early deaths, the women have to be the ones in the family with the real power. That would leave Penelope at the center of that extended family web, as the new head of the syrup business. I suspect that she has some connection to every Blossom feud, curse, and scandal ever.

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Sense8 Season 2 Episode 3: Obligate Mutualisms Recap


The world of the sensates is broadening rapidly this season, and within this episode. Will finally breaks through the barrier of Whispers to reach a BPO executive and manages a meeting with Jonas, both of which prove very informative. Wolfgang meets a sensate from outside the cluster. But the new information comes with new dangers, and traps within traps are a major theme for this season.

Will and Whispers/Gibbons/Milton/Matheson/Brandt (How many aliases does this guy have?) are meeting in the nondescript room in London that they’ve talked in before. Whispers concedes that Will has compromised him, and tries to convince Will that they have more in common as two Homo sensorium than Will thinks. Will doesn’t buy the ruse. He wants to talk to Croome, the BPO executive in charge. Nomi feeds Will Croome’s personal information until Croome comes into the room. Whispers starts out relaying Will’s demands for a meeting, but balks when Will says that he wants Whispers out of his head. Nomi texts the message to Croome’s personal number, and also asks for a meeting with Jonas. Croome calls in guards who inject Whispers with a drug that renders him unconscious, and Will is finally free from Whispers’ surveillance.

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Sense8 Season 2 Episode 2: Who Am I? Recap


The sensates are back, and the wait has been as hard for them as it has for us. Will’s heroin addiction is reaching a critical state as he and Riley continue to hide from Whispers. Nomi and Amanita are also still in hiding from Whispers’ people. Lito is facing new consequences of coming out, while Sun, Wolfgang, Capheus and Jonas all continue to be threatened by forces similar to those that threatened them last season. The difference this season is that they’ve learned to quickly jump in and give support, or take over to help each other, which makes them an effective team. But Whispers is relentless, and knows what he’s doing.

We open on Will and Riley asleep in their latest squat, a church somewhere in Europe, by the looks of it. Angelica, their cluster mother, sits nearby and watches Will. He transitions into “visiting” with Whispers as Whispers controls the mind of another sensate. Whispers sends the man to murder someone else, as a demonstration for others who stand in the room and watch. The mind-controlled sensate has had a neural graft procedure performed on his brain which Angelica helped to develop, working with Whispers. Will’s also experiencing Angelica’s memory of Whispers tricking her about the purpose of the procedure, then he experiences the murder itself as if he’s the perpetrator.  Whispers and Angelica were a couple in her memory. Angelica is filled with guilt in the present day. She tells Will he has to stop it.

Will startles awake, terrified that he’s actually killed someone. Riley comforts him back into reality.

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Riverdale Season 1 Analysis and Review and Season 2 Speculation


Overall, this has been a great season on Riverdale, with a complex overarching plot and characters. I’ve enjoyed recapping it and keeping up with all of the literary references, which added a fun depth to the show. I now jump every time someone makes a reference on any show I watch, and assume it will have importance that spans the rest of the season. This doesn’t always pan out.

The cast are all amazing, especially Lili Reinhart, Cole Sprouse, Mädchen Amick, Skeet Ulrich, Madeleine Petsch, Marisol Nichols, and Luke Perry. They all dominate the scenes they are in. Even though Fred Andrews is one of my least favorite characters, Luke Perry is still a great actor. All of these actors, and many of the others, have given their characters mystery and nuance, even if they didn’t necessarily get much screen time, in the case of some that I didn’t list, like Ashleigh Murray, the actress who plays Josie McCoy.

The Gothic strand of the show’s story seems to be over, but I hope they keep the Noir aspect for the entirety of their run, and add in other genres to explore. This show would be so much less interesting if it was just about a group of small town high school kids. The creepy otherworldly atmosphere, the dark, seedy Noir lighting, Jughead’s voiceovers, read as if from a murder mystery novel that’s steeped in his existential alienation, and the costumes and sets that seem to be from someplace frozen in time, are all what make this show feel so unique.

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The 100 Season 4 Episode 13: Praimfaya Recap Plus Season 4 Review and Season 5 Speculation


What’s that in the sky? Not a bird, and not Superman, that’s for sure. It could be several other things, depending on where we are in this week’s season finale of The 100. Maybe it’s Clarke playing with a satellite dish, maybe it’s Becca’s rocket, maybe it’s a mysterious prison transport ship or maybe it’s the Death Wave. The 100 ends a chapter with this episode, and sets up its next era. Our babies are growing up.

Bellamy gets his goodbye with Octavia, finally, as they talk over the radio between Becca’s lab and the bunker. He shores up her confidence so that she can face leading Oneclan for the next five years, and she tells him that she loves him. The radio dies before he can say it back, and before Clarke gets to say goodbye to Abby, but Octavia knows how Bellamy feels, and Abby made sure that she and Clarke said goodbye before Clarke left for the island. Octavia and Bellamy were the ones who needed to talk, and he needed to hear that he’s forgiven and still loved. Bellamy’s reference to Octavia as Prometheus is disturbing, since, as she points out, Prometheus ends up being punished and living in perpetual torment until he’s rescued by Hercules. Foreshadowing?

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