A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 7×01 (The cover I thought I’d never hear)

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Welcome back, Sons! (Full spoilers await)

It’s still surreal thinking about how season 06 wrapped its explosive season up. Yet, here we are watching season 7’s credits missing Ron P. and Maggie S. in the fold. For everyone else its been 273 agonizingly long days of waiting. For Jax and crew, a mere week and a half. And here we are, riding through this world, one more time, one final time.

There’s a staunch reckoning looming in the air as Jax displayed his hard-earned revenge against a nameless character that Gemma was only too quick to finger as Tara’s murderer. The audience is given barely a glimpse into this character’s calm, loyal personality before the mother of all turkey forks is jammed into his skull, complete with the kind of ear-crunching you’d expect from a full-on vengeance stab.

Right away, I glimpsed the fiery dominoes splattering off the path all because of Gemma’s need to tie up her choices from last season. It’s easy to prophesize that the blood from here on out will return to her at some point, but that’s a simple plot, and SOA is anything but “simple” these days.

As we’re treated to a lengthy premiere, Jax reintroduces his more subtle approach to getting his club in order. He plays nice with Lin, Alveraz, The Grim Bastards, and even the current head of the Irish group in town, Connor. All are a means to his end, which for now, is about saving his club. He’s abandoned any pure thoughts of pulling his club to safety as his father JT once tried to do. He’s now fully immersed himself as a tragic character waiting for the final chime of the clock to strike. And that finale is coming and coming soon. With all the ties to Hamlet back in season 01, will season 07 cast it’s final moments imitating centuries’ old Shakespeare? Couldn’t say this far out, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Our secondary plot simmers as Juice hides out in Wendy’s home. From the back and forth he shared with Gemma and Wendy, it’s Wayne who proactively seeks out a peculiar bag in Wendy’s closet and finds Juice staring at him with a gun. Two elements struck me as odd for Wayne. He was the only one seen at Tara’s grave in the entire episode which made me feel like he was the only person left who had the time to reflect on the unsavory situation caused in the finale. In a way it’s ironic since he was the closest to a grave yet he’s survived so many other deaths on the show. It also mirrored a bit of Quinn’s rainy stare when the bodies of the pastors were put into a larger grave toward the end of the episode.

I also wasn’t sure if I bought Wayne’s super sleuth motives. Sneaking suspicion aside, why go back to the apt that night to uncover the bag’s contents? Wayne, last time I checked, wasn’t on retainer to find Juice. It just seemed odd. The only scene that corroborates it is his conversation with Patterson about becoming a consultant to the new incoming Sheriff. He hesitates on the job with putting it behind him, yet Patterson was firm that he’d give it a shot. Did that somehow spark the days of old, making him more attentive to the strange environment in Wendy’s house? Who knows.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I try not to count the montages as best moments, because they serve different purposes and even though the Bohemian cover was an added bonus to the slaughter of the innocent member of Lin’s group, I still wouldn’t rank it as the best scene.

What stood out to me was the set up before the fall. Gemma had a casual conversation with a man nobody knew and for reasons we didn’t know. She felt genuine even though her words were dubious in nature, but within the pity she had in that slight moment, she still did what she felt she had to do which was sell him out to Jax and crew for Tara’s murder. Once again, she’ll do anything she has to “save” her family.

 

CHARACTER MVP

This one also goes out to Gemma. I wanted to give it to Jax but he held back all of his rage and tears and even in the end, all we got was a stiff moment of gory torture while we were introduced to that in the beginning when he cut up the inmate. They already showed us his vicious nature, making his moment at the end a bit deflated. What I found the most interesting was how Gemma wrapped herself up in the thread she thinks she is in keeping the family together. The worst part is, I almost believe her. Other than that, it’s just another day at the office for her. Covering for Wendy, helping Juice continue to hide, blaming others for her wrongdoings, and trying to be genuine to Jax about their family. It’s when she was talking to “Tara” in the kitchen that sold me on her performance this round. I wasn’t expecting that from her. I wouldn’t quite call it guilt, but there’s something there psychologically that has to pass for what guilt may be to her. It made it eerie because she was having that conversation with Lin’s man tied up behind her, but she carried on like Tara was there talking about how Wendy will work with the kids for now. I wouldn’t mind this becoming a thing for Gemma to do, but more than twice could be pushing past sanity and she’s not in the realm of losing it quite yet. Not with Nero returned to her loving embrace.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

The pastor murders could be a one-off, just another strange moment implanted in an episode to keep it “on edge”. Or it could lead to a scandal which wouldn’t serve the overall plot much good.

If Wayne survives the next 2 to 3 episodes then he’s surviving all the way to the end. Fans and I have often said that he’s the true villain of the show as a joke and that he’ll outlive everyone in the end.

Juice could still find a way to make this right with Jax. I’m not saying he’ll rat out Gemma as Tara’s killer, but I don’t see him taking a bullet from the club until all the skeletons get released. He’s more desperate in this premiere than crazy as Wayne is very much still alive and not in the same position as Eli was.

Barosky was mentioned which means he’ll be lending his appearance soon on the show, but with an allegiance that we can hopefully figure out this time. The Mayans know he’s greedy, and Jax has seen it first hand.

 

OVERALL SCORE

I give this episode a 7 out of 10. We got to see subtle rage from Jax at the end and it was bittersweet because it doesn’t technically count. He’ll subside and return to his last love, the club, until Tara’s death comes back to fully haunt him when the truth is sprouted. Jax’s monologue at the club meeting was sad to hear because of how much he wanted to do the right thing. Now that the club is all he has left, he’ll dive down whatever dark path he has to. He’s not lost, he just doesn’t see two paths anymore.

I understand the need to pin a quick bullseye on someone else for Tara’s death, but the episode didn’t grab me by the hair and fling me around with crazy moments I’ll not soon forget. Maybe I’m desensitized, but last season’s premiere was the example of “What the fas;dkfja;dj just happened?” Pacing and plot flowed like a normal episode with a couple of surprising moments.

The final season is one episode less to its last. How will it end? Like the Sopranos? Like Dexter? Like *shudders* True Blood? Or like The Shield? Let’s aim for that one ^__^. Thanks for reading, all!

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 9×23 (Open your eyes)

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Sam and Dean’s climactic tale settles into season 9’s finale, “Do You Believe in Miracles?” Never to stray away from leaving the audience hanging, season ten promises to begin with a new perspective on how a favored character will exist…as a demon.

Unbeknownst to my original theory, Sam and Dean were not thrust into a brother versus brother battle to stamp the end of the show. Instead, Sam and Dean manage to set aside their woes and frustrations and deal with Metatron as they intended. While the new direction of the show leaves me excited at the development, I can’t help but wonder if my expectations for an angelic finale was raised too high. Let’s quickly recap.

Sam and Castiel force Dean into a holding cell at HQ and then search for Gadriel who fled after Dean’s vicious attack. Dean summons Crowley to break him out and steal the first blade. Meanwhile, Metatron tells his new angel followers that he’s going on a trip and will explain himself when he returns. He travels to Indiana and ressurects a woman who was hit by a truck. Everyone nearby witnesses the miracle and a video catching the moment is uploaded online.

Sam and Cas find Gadriel and heal him. Afterward they devise a plan to find and destroy the angel tablet which is giving Metatron his strength. Sam finds Dean in Indiana and the two track down Metatron, leaving aside their differences for the moment.

Gadriel pretends to capture Cas and is allowed entry into Metatron’s domain but are both soon captured and placed in an angelic prison. Cas tries to reason with Ingrid who has sided with Metatron, but she won’t trust him. Gadriel submits to his fate and carves a sign on his chest and then stabs himself. He ignites and destroys the prison, allowing Cas to escape. Gadriel’s sacrifice convinces Ingrid to ally with Cas again.

Dean and Sam prepare to face Metatron but then Dean knocks his brother out saying it’s not his fight. Dean finds Metatron, who is protected by homeless people who have seen his miraculous acts. They allow him entry and he finds Metatron sitting alone. After Metatron fails to get through to Dean about how God didn’t care about humanity, the two battle. Metatron easily has the upper hand while Cas searches Metatron’s office for the angel tablet. Sam recovers and searches for Dean, and only finds him just as Metatron stabs Dean in the chest with an angel knife.

Metatron returns to his office and finds Castiel and the broken tablet. Cas goads Metatron into revealing his agenda which the angels overhear. Together they capture Metatron and put him in the angel prison.

Sam tries to carry Dean away, but Dean is mortally wounded. He tells Sam that he’s proud of “us” and then collapses into Sam, who hugs and cries over the death of his brother. After returning Dean back to HQ, Sam summons Crowley to force him to save Dean. Crowley appears in Dean’s room and reveals that he kept a specific story about Cain from Dean. Cain killed himself with the first blade and became a demon because of the mark. He then places the blade in Dean’s hand and tells him to wake up. Dean’s eyes open and they are black.

 

All it took was seeing Crowley appear in Dean’s room and I understood what the last frame of the episode would be. It’s a fascinating idea to turn Dean into a demon. I’m not certain if this was speculated by the fanbase, but kudos to any who called it early. My money had always been on a brotherly fight, one to settle an age old problem. Considering the amount of hellish changes Sam has gone through over the years, I’d say it was high time Dean received more of that “special” treatment. In some ways I can see Dean having a new sense of fun with his transformation. But the priority question is, will he still be “Dean” Dean? Becoming a demon is no picnic and from dozens of examples in the past, humans that become demons rarely maintain any form of humanity. I like this new concept, it’s fresh and offers a new layer of Sam and Dean relationship SNAFU.

The finale’s plot, as a whole, wasn’t as impressive as I had imagined. I thought big and wanted epic, but realistically I can understand the scale would have been too much for a show like this to tell meaningfully. It was always meant to be Metatron versus Dean, one on one. It was no Samifer versus Dean (and by versus I mean Dean getting repeatedly punched in the face several times) but it was a nice throwback. Dean can really sell desperation when he’s being pummeled to a bloody pulp. As for Metatron, he talked big for a little guy and never had the “ultimate” plan that should have made everyone blink twice at being played. It turns out Metatron was played by Castiel and now suffers in prison because of it. Maybe that’s where I feel the biggest let down was. It could spring several topical debates about how Metatron inserted himself into humanity to show and gain their trust. He was his own mouthpiece believing the tune he sang about blaming God for how humanity turned out. In the end, he was an idealist who served his own means to establish a new monarchy in heaven. He believes in a good story, but wasn’t smart enough to make his own come true.

Gadriel’s sendoff felt appropriate given the context we’ve been given for his character throughout season 9. He was Metatron’s instrument and a shadow from Lucifer’s past. He was probably the last truly recognizable angel the audience could identify with after destroying so many others from our historical knowledge. He died wanting to be remembered for something better other than what he was always known for. Letting the devil in. It was noble and fitting, even if he’s still a jerk for killing Kevin.

Is Castiel on borrowed time? It’s a puzzling question because Castiel needs angelic grace to remain alive. If any other rogue angel messes with him, then you’d think it’s an easy solution, but realistically, Castiel isn’t that kind of desperate angel. He’ll try to find other ways and if not, he’ll quietly accept his fate. He said it himself, he just wants to be an angel, not a leader. We’ve been given a hint that season ten will also focus on Castiel’s dilemma. It could be a simple episode or a seasonal arc. Either way, I doubt he’ll meet any kind of true end.

My favorite scene was the final one. I hung on each of Crowley’s words as he mysteriously explained his hidden story to Dean about Cain’s suicide. Crowley is best when he’s living in passive moments like these. He can battle and crack jokes like the best of the bunch, but when he’s relaxed and serious, his scenes can shine. And it was good there was no music to get in the way of the scene, it added more and more revelation to the plot as Crowley neared Dean’s body. And when Dean’s blackened eyes open the scene is complete. I enjoyed the moment. Not because of the cruel twist of fate on Dean’s soul, but because it makes perfect sense. There was never any hint that Dean was going to try and get rid of the mark once Metatron and Abaddon were killed. Nobody even questioned the possibility of Dean dissolving the mark or passing it along to another. Cain never reappeared wanting the mark back. The only logical course was to complete his transformation into what Cain was and that meant becoming a demon. I’m hoping Dean’s new state will be a season wide arc and not a quick “Let’s get everything back to normal” during the premiere. This deserves to be fleshed out. Sam survived many arcs in awkward and imbalanced situations like Dean’s and could create many new creative outlets for new stories as the brothers face another challenge.

On a side note, there’s a slight sense of circular play at work here. In the beginning of the season Sam is turned into a vessel for an angel, while at the end, Dean becomes the form of a demon. It’s opposite but also strangely mirror-like. Just an observation.

Overall, the episode had a less than stellar plot, but a very strong finish. The angel plot had to be the one to settle in the finale, though I believe Abaddon was a stronger villain in general over Metatron. As charismatic as Metatron tried to be, I just never truly believed he had the ability to follow through with his plan. He tried to act smarter with his storytelling techniques but fell for his own ego. Sam and Dean hit on their usual beats and at the end you saw once more that in the veil of death, Sam and Dean are truly brothers and neither wants to see the other die. It’s Sam’s turn to try and save Dean, also adding to the circular dynamic introduced at the beginning when Dean saved Sam. I believe Sam will try and understand Dean’s new change but also try and undo it with any and every spell he can think of. All we have to go on is Crowley’s humanity and a loose way to purge a demon of it’s demony-ness. Let’s not rush to that quite yet, I want to see how Dean reacts. Will be become evil and sinister? Will Crowley try and manipulate Dean into his cause? How will Castiel treat Dean after this? I like the questions and the uncertainty. As a whole, season 9 was on par with season 7, but no better. Some stand-alone plots really shined, but the over arcing angel story was less interesting than the demon tales. Keep the demons coming, and put the angels on the backburner for season 10. We’ll carry on until this fall. Thanks for reading, everyone!

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 5×22 (173 years on this earth)

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“Home” provides the vampire family with some of the more unexpected retcons in death while presumably trading Salvatore’s as the final chapter for the Travelers has been laid to rest. Like the end of season 5 of Lost, the final image is of the show’s logo only inverted with a white background. Is there light at the end of this tunnel for two of our major characters? Or is it time for them to exist in a new place called home?

There’s a remarkable sense of masochism with how much Elena and her closely knit family have to endure in the repeated loss of some characters. While the rule of permanent death is somewhat foggy when witches are around, one has to wonder how dreadfully destroyed Elena must be having to suffer loss over loss, sometimes with the same person. How will those who remain survive after what’s happened in Mystic Falls? With season 6 detailed as the (possible) final diary entry, let’s look at how we caught up.

Elena and Damon find Caroline back at the house where Stefan has been placed. Upset, Damon goes to Bonnie and nearly threatens her to find a way to bring him back. Enzo appears and tells Bonnie he has a plan and that they’ll need to find a witch.

Elena and Caroline capture Liv and Luke who try to leave the city. Caroline kills Luke in order to coerce Liv into helping them and bring everyone back from the other side. Meanwhile, Marcos has Julian taken outside the city’s magic zone where he loses his werewolf and vampire abilities and succumbs to Tyler’s original death. Caroline’s mother, Liz is watching in horror.

On the other side, Stefan is saved from being pulled away by Lexi. Together they search for Alaric. Bonnie is later confronted by her grandmother who refuses to return to life and says she’s proud of who Bonnie became and that she’s made her peace what the choice she made to help Bonnie, who doesn’t understand. They hug and her grandmother leaves.

Enzo reveals Silas to Bonnie, who helps teach her the Traveler spell in exchange for returning to life. Meanwhile, Damon prepares a plan to lure the Travelers to the bar and has Matt and Jeremy go underground and open the gas line. He intends to trigger the explosion which Elena protests against him doing. He assures her that he’ll return and that it’s his choice.

That night, Damon prepares to drive into the city as Elena joins him saying it’s her choice too. Together they drive into the city as their lives slowly begin to fade. He races his car into the bar as the entire place explodes, killing all of the Travelers, who were lured there by Liz.

Elena wakes up on the other side and is greeted by Alaric, who tells her he’ll find Damon but that she has to go and return to Bonnie. She leaves as Damon wakes up. Together they rescue Liz and track down Bonnie’s location.

As the group from the other side meet Bonnie, Luke returns first and attempts to force Liv to stop the spell. She won’t and continues chanting. Enzo passes next and then Tyler. Caroline and Tyler hug and he realizes, after cutting himself, that he’s no longer a hybrid. Stefan urges Lexi to return, but she won’t as Elena arrives. She won’t leave without Damon and Bonnie grabs Elena to force her return. After she stumbles, Stefan touches her and accidentally returns, realizing he left Lexi, Alaric, and Damon behind.

Bonnie can’t hold on much longer and tells Lexi to pass through her, but she won’t trade her chance for Damon’s. Marcos suddenly appears and attacks Lexi, who fights him off as the wind pulls Marcos away. Lexi then passes away peacefully.

Damon and Alaric arrive and Alaric returns leaving only Damon. Luke then forces Liv to stop the spell preventing Damon from returning. Elena and Bonnie find Luke and Liv are gone and realize they can’t save Damon. Elena is crushed as Damon’s spirit tries to say goodbye to her, saying Elena was the happiest part of his entire life. Elena can’t hear or see him but begs him not to go. Damon has no choice and is okay with saying goodbye.

Stefan mourns with Caroline over Damon’s death as Bonnie calls and tells Jeremy that she won’t survive once the other side vanishes. Jeremy can’t accept that and rushes to her. The others hear Jeremy’s screams for Bonnie and together they see Bonnie disappear to the other side. Once there, she and Damon hold hands and prepare as a growing white light envelops them.

 

I will say it’s difficult to lament a character’s passing when a loophole is staring at me with laser precision. Bonnie’s grandmother clearly insinuated that she did something to help Bonnie. My guess is that Bonnie will be able to survive wherever she and Damon went at the end of the season and this will lead to their return for season six. As I’m convinced those two are not done for the show, it just remains to be seen how long will season six sustain without them? In last week’s review, I mentioned that Stefan was the wiser choice of the two if one brother had to go. I stick to my guns, but it was good to see Damon’s acceptance of his fate, much like Stefan did when he passed through. There’s growth there, albeit a little because his true goodness is still roped around Elena and her charming sadness. Elena is sold that Damon is truly gone and there’s enough tears there between Bonnie, Jeremy, and now Damon to fill a small lagoon. Stefan will of course offer support, but their ship has sailed in the war of love. For once and final, Damon won that battle.

From a plot’s perspective, things moved very quickly. Liz barely needed to convince Marcos to gather the Travelers at the bar and Matt and Jeremy ran into no trouble busting the gas line. In truth, everything worked too well. It needed to if the last fifteen minutes were to concentrate on how to shuffle dead souls back to the living. Does this mean that Elena’s smoldering corpse just disappears as Elena and the other appear whole at the cemetery? Not much for needing to answer those logistics I suppose. As glad as I am to have Alaric back on the right side of existence, I really wanted Lexi to return and would have easily chosen her over him. Lexi’s cameo gave us the chance to witness her love for Stefan shine as she battled Marcos and stayed behind to leave peacefully of her own will. I believe her departure means we’ve seen the last of her. I appreciate that Stefan realized what Lexi likely did to help them and I’ll miss their interactions together. I also enjoyed how Lexi tried to explain to Stefan his attraction to Caroline. Stefan understands, but he’s still too introverted to admit how he feels. This is a basic bullseye that in season six, Caroline and Stefan will hook up. It’s a done deal, it’s happening. They’re the new “let’s get these two together” like Damon and Elena were for the last 4 seasons.

I also think I understand why Tyler lost his hybrid ability. It was bugging me at first, but then I remembered that Every vampire who died and came back, Stefan, Elena, Enzo, died when they became vampires, while Tyler died as a werewolf and only recieved his vampire half later one. This means only the vampire side of Tyler should be gone and his werewolf gene should still be active to turn him…once he kills again I’m guessing. I only think that because if his werewolf gene was still activated, he’d heal from his cut he showed to Caroline. We’ll find out next season I’m certain.

Not much else stuck out as phenomenal or really noteworthy. Elena’s breakdown at the end with losing Damon continues to show how Nina can push her character into new depths of worn grief. It’s an old jacket that she keeps putting on and the tears flow, and the lips quiver. As powerful as she can be at feeling loss, I felt more for her when Jeremy “originally” died and Damon was forced to tell her to turn her emotions off to survive. Elena didn’t go through a moment like that. It does mean she’s learning how to deal with loss even if someone like Damon is leaving her life. It was a good performance nonetheless.

I’m certain we’ll see Luke and Liv again. There’s an entire coven that watched from a distance and that coven could easily be a force in the next season as well as new characters who either predate the Travelers who are something entirely different than what we’ve faced thus far. I also wasn’t too terribly surprised that Silas was the Traveler that helped Bonnie with the spell. It made sense and I was glad to see his cameo remain one as Bonnie left him to be pulled away. One thing I wonder is whether being yanked away truly means those characters are destroyed. I still can’t shake the feeling that Katherine exists, which would mean Marcos, Vicki, Silas, and several (including one other Original vampire) others would exist too. I’m game for that if they decide to go that route.

Overall, the finale was satisfactory. I’m truly not convinced we’ve seen the last of Bonnie and Damon, and expect a semi-quick resolution to their situation for season six. Caroline will do her best to put everyone’s foot forward and some old characters will get fresh starts like Tyler and Alaric, who will no doubt help Elena any way he can. Enzo will likely peek around when it’s convenient, but with his emotions turned off, I’m not going to expect anything more than a watered-down Damon who has no plot to offer except mischief and mayhem. Jeremy and Matt will remain bro’s as he deals with Bonnie’s loss in his own way. I’m guessing it won’t take long for Stefan to handle how he needs to ad progress with his next chapter. It’s possible he could grow obsessed with finding Damon, but at the same time, I can see him passively letting his brother go. Maybe the writers will do something different. In al fairness, they should. If season six is the final one, they need to truly shake things up. Until 6×01 begins this fall, thanks for reading my reviews and I’ll be there again at the next Mystic Falls daily, weekly, annual, bimonthly, tri-special occasion, gift basket reason, party!

 

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“And this one time…on Lost, at the end of season 5, we did this white background thing and I—”

“Shut up Boone.”

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 9×22 (Home alone trap trumps the ‘Breath of God’?)

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Metatron’s machinations have spelled the lowest point for our heroes, Sam and Dean as Castiel’s army of angels switch sides in light of Metatron’s dark scheme. There’s a bit of unsavory residue lingering on the both Dean’s bloodthirsty attitude and Metatron’s manipulating tactics. Our good-natured team is falling apart at the seams with captain crazy holding the one knife to rule them all. Is Gadriel the latest victim of Dean’s surrealistic psychosis? Only one more episode left to deal everyone’s fate card.

After a loyal angel of Cas is found dead, Sam, Dean, and the other angels discover that the angel, Orin, and others, have been sacrificing themselves to destroy Metatron’s follwers in the name of Cas. Castiel denies involvement as Sam tracks the mole of the group, Josiah. Dean sends Sam with Cas to investigate while he interrogates an angel, Flagstaff about Orin’s allies. Flagstaff mentions Constantine and Tessa, the reaper who once helped Dean in the past. Dean tracks her down and brings her to Cas’s HQ for questioning.

Meanwhile, Sam and Cas discover an abandoned structure in Montana and search it. Inside they find a room laughingly pictured as a heaven and are fooled by one of Metatron’s notes left for Cas. They find Josiah who is badly burned but conscious enough to declare he just wants to die and go home. After he dies, Sam and Cas return to his HQ.

Tessa tells Dean that she couldn’t stand hearing the screams of all the lost souls trapped outside of heaven and agreed to be a sacrifice for Castiel. When Dean threatens her with the first blade, she impales herself and thanks him before dying. Hannah and other angels blame Dean for murder and tie him up. When Sam and Cas return, Sam argues with Dean about secretly keeping the blade close as Cas receives a video call from Metatron, explaining that he survived one of Cas’s sacrificial angel bombings and offers Cas’s angels amnesty if they switch sides. He also tells them that Cas has stolen grace.

Hannah attempts to let Cas prove himself to his angels and tells him to punish Dean, but Cas refuses and all the angels leave to join Metatron. Gadriel then confronts Metatron about his dark plan, which Metatron explains as necessary. Back at the Men of Letters HQ, Gadriel goes to the team and offers his help, but Dean decides to slash Gadriel’s chest with the first blade as Cas and Sam attempt to hold him back.

Playing into the episode’s abrupt end, I can see Gadriel’s on borrowed time unless Cas expels more of his grace to heal that wound. Coming from the first blade, I’m not sure that’s a doable option, but never underestimate Cas’s ability to give what he owns for the greater good.

This episode brought to light a constant theme for the angels, in that they inevitably have to follow something or someone to maintain their existence. Metatron exposed this to a large degree. There is a bit of consistency issues in this type of story, only in that angels, like Castiel, Gabriel, and a few others, can dislodge from the mainframe of Heaven’s ideals. They can attain free will, even if it’s quirky will. Choices remain for any characters who at least appear human. In the long run, you can have a few interesting angelic characters, but not all the angels can be interesting. It’s time to wrap this angel season up and move on to more illogical constancies.

True to form, Dean places his emotions and gut instincts into his own plan and has made himself the permanent stick in the mud. I feel bad for Sam. Even when he was forced to tell Dean that their status as brothers was a low ball moment, Dean’s treatment of his brother as of late had been rather staunchly rude and unfair. Sam’s always going to be the more sensible of the two given reason and determination. Dean was called out by an angel over his violent methods, and Dean only grinned as he does in knowing, his violence is necessary in the world they live in. I’m not proud with what Dean has become and what he’ll turn into if he falls further. Killing Metatron only serves to push Dean deeper down the hole, unless Cain or Cas or some other character can remove that mark. Since Supernatural tends to offer cliffhangers as the seasonal prize for watching, I don’t expect a truly happy ending for anyone.

What’s missing, and I’ve stated it before, is a ransack of angels and demons vying for control. What better way to fool Metatron and his colossal writing ability than to have Sam and Dean ally with Crowley and his demons to ruin Metatron in exchange for whatever demons want nowadays. There’s plenty of bait and switch opportunities here and it gives Crowley reason to be in the finale. Maybe if there wasn’t a greenlight for season 10, an angel demon war to end all wars would have been a fine setting for a real finale. Aw well, until next year.

Let’s discuss Tessa for a bit. Her death, very much mirrored the death of Meg, in that, it completely felt unnecessary and pointless. Meg, I’m certain had a bigger fan base, but there wasn’t any reason to involve Tessa in this mess. The first blade must be amazingly strong if it can ruin a reaper. Hannah should have been more angry at Dean killing someone like Flagstaff and not Tessa. The effect, seems to be that Metatron has influence and can affect more than just angels. If that’s the case, he should have dome more with that and I’m certain Tessa’s death is just a one off considering the circumstances. Still, I liked Tessa for the few episodes she guest starred in, just like I enjoyed Meg’s character. More and more major and minor characters are being removed. As long as they never take out Death himself, then we’ll be good.

Overall, “Stairway to Heaven” wasn’t played to be a mystery. We knew that Metatron was playing Cas the entire time. We didn’t even need a scene of Metatron wearing a coat like Cas to seal that connection. It was just painfully obvious. Did that make this an inefficient episode? Not quite. Angel characters in abundance are boring, plain and simple. Cas is quirky and unintentionally funny, but droves of angels lack a certain resonance that continue to shape poorly. There aren’t any notable angels left to introduce. Gadriel was clever because his role was important, even if he himself wasn’t. That’s the only reason why I think the angel plot needs to end. There are still demon stories to tell and demons are what drove the show the first three seasons before angels started appearing. At least they made an impact then.

Sam and Dean need to get their act together. Dean is falling off of the map big time, and killing Metatron won’t put him back in order. Something else needs to be done and fast or Sam is going to end up the final sacrifice and put Dean in the darkest place he’s ever been. They’ve both been to hell and back. There’s no reason to make it a roundtrip for either one.

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 1×22 (Klaus Wars: Episode 22 – A new Hope)

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Our first season about the oldest vampires draws to a close in The Originals climactic finale “From a Cradle to a Grave”. Wounded hearts and forgiving spirits race to ensure the safety of Hayley’s child as she is brought into the world and in instant danger from all who would harm her.

The finale foreshadowed coming full circle with the plot of Klaus and his family, including his parents, who want an end to their kind. It does a prophetic job at closing off all loose ends of the past arc and promises a more condensed thread that’s much more familiar for those who remember Klaus’s escapades on TVD. Many rich decisions were made and few pleasant ones to add. This finale drew on appropriate emotions and subtle teases with what’s to come as season two has already been greenlit for the fall.

Klaus is forced to watch while being bound by the witches as Hayley gives birth to her daughter. Monique slits Hayley’s throat and break Klaus’s neck then leave with the baby with a finite time to sacrifice her in the cemetery. Elijah finds Klaus with Hayley as the two leave to find and stop Genevieve.

Davina uses her abilities to siphon Klaus’s blood from the area where he and Marcel fought. With only enough to save one vampire from werewolf venom, Marcel tells Davina to save Josh. Afterward, Camille shows him and Hayley Kieran’s hidden room with relics to help stop and bleed Klaus including an object called ‘The Devil’s Star’.

Elijah and Klaus reach the cemetery but are stuck in an illusion-like maze. Meanwhile, Hayley reawakens in a transition state having her daughter’s blood inside her before death. She finds the brothers and together they seek after the witches.

Davina takes several relics and uses them to resurrect Mikael who is eventually brought back to life. At the cemetery, Genevieve, Monique, and the other harvest girl attempt to keep Klaus, Elijah, and Hayley at bay. Elijah disarms Genevieve and Klaus impales one of the harvest girls. A Monique attempts to kill the child, Marcel arrives and uses the star to kill Monique. He then steals the child and returns to the compound. Klaus catches up with him but they realize that all the bitten vampires are dead (killed earlier by Mikael) Even though Klaus realizes that Marcel was going to use the baby to leverage his blood, he thanks Marcel for saving his daughter and offers his blood anyway.

Davina reveals to Mikael that she is in control of him and will punish Klaus when she’s ready. Hayley, Klaus, and Elijah later realize that the baby will always be in danger as long as everyone knows she’s alive and will be hunted if they stay or run. Hayley offers a third option and Klaus agrees with the plan and sets in motion events to make everyone believe that the child didn’t survive. Marcel plants evidence suggesting that Oliver killed the baby and Hayley ingests a tiny amount of her daughter’s blood to sustain her transition into a hybrid. Klaus then takes his daughter to a remote location where Rebekah arrives and takes the child. Klaus names his daughter hope and tells Rebekah to find a witch who can perform a cloaking spell and to be happy.

In the final scene, Cassie, the final harvest girl is seen ressurrected and walking through the cemetery. She goes to a grave and is met by an unkown male who refers to her as “mother”. The grave is Esther’s thus revealing that Cassie is risen as Esther and the male is her son, “Finn”, one of the originals.

I applaud this show’s tenacity and perseverance with providing it’s own approach to telling the vampire, werewolf, and witch story that exists in the realm of The Vampire Diaries. With New Orleans an ever existing background of rich history and gothic allure, Klaus, Elijah, Marcel, Rebekah and Hayley have made this series an enjoyable one. The finale drew in remarkable emotions at exactly the right times. If there’s one constant, it’s the chain that tightens and loosens its hold on Klaus and his growth with accepting family as a means to do good things. Those good things will always remain self-centered, but it’s a step in the right direction. He and those close to him will have to keep their biggest secret and contend with powerful and destructive parents. But before we get ahead of ourselves let’s review our strong points.

Klaus and Hayley pushed their performances in high gear. Every piece of anger, fear, and passionate pain flowed their cores and felt real. Klaus doesn’t need to holler and swear pain to get his anger across. He can roar with the best of him and his helplessness help really sell that burden with watching Hayley die, initially. I admit, I was caught a bit off guard by Hayley’s apparent death and tried to imagine the rest of the show without her…and then they brought her back. Normally, I’m very against these “get out of death free” cards, but in Hayley’s case, she didn’t need to be sacrificed for the finale’s sake. Just watching her break down at the situation toward the end while holding her daughter made enduring her character for the past 22 episodes worth it. That kind of tearful outburst was the kind of overload necessary to truly add life to her personality, something I think had been lacking since day one. She’s driven now, and will do anything to se that Hope can come back to their city, just like Klaus promised. I enjoyed how these two interacted during the flashback as well. It was a little campy and fluttery, but we need to be reminded that Klaus does care, he just can’t be around anyone else to show it.

For those that didn’t make it through the finale, I can’t say I’m surprised by those events. Monique never had the right characterization and was barely balanced out by Genevieve desperation to stay alive. Their deaths, put an end a revolving issue with the witch plots that never seem to find the right focus with good characters. I like Genevieve a lot, but she couldn’t gauge her choices effectively and was driven to do cruel things at the end. She wasn’t powerful any longer and likely wouldn’t be if she remained on the show. Witches can have an afterlife presence, so maybe we can see Genevieve again some day. But not Monique. Leave her with Sophie and never bring them back.

Elijah was a bit of a miss on this finale. I felt more for Klaus’s plight then I did for Elijah and for one brief instance we got to see a bit of his vulnerability when he told Klaus how he opened up to Hayley. I like that, but it was a one shot scene. There wasn’t any chance to build or recreate that kind of moment with him because of the scenes that followed. They didn’t get to share in their harmony together due to horrific circumstances and that made Elijah suffer a little in the finale. He remains stalwart and driven to protect his immediate family so he didn’t falter his original course at all, he just didn’t expand on those emotions like Hayley and Klaus did, or at least enough.

Even though Klaus has forgiven Marcel and is part of the baby hiding plan, I still think he’s a bit of a wild card in this. He can still be persuaded because he has an ego and a love for the city that can make him a dangerous ally. I expect him to continue secretly plotting, even if its for the good for Klaus and company.

Another thing they did right was not oversell Klaus’s feelings toward Camille. They didn’t jump into each other’s arms and she’s not a part of the Hope’s hiding. These are good moves. It allows breathing space and a tease that he’ll pursue her again when the time is right. Now, in all fairness, the time will never be right for them. This was a repeat conversation they’ve had several times this season and this situation was very different. Camille and Marcel have unfinished business and I’m certain Klaus remembers this. In any case, they’ll be the next season’s “will they won’t they” as season one was mainly dedicated to Hayley and Elijah with “will they? yup.”

That leaves two elements left, The evil parents, and the room of ancient relics. Esther’s return is fantastic. I prefer the original actress, but Cassie may be fine. I’m hoping she doesn’t body swap a lot, that will just get confusing. Introducing Finn with her was interesting as well. OF all the Originals, Finn is the least interesting, but with new actors and come new life, so we’ll see where they take this. Is Esther hell bent on Klaus’s destruction or will she resume her original plan and eliminate all supernaturals from existence?

Keeping Mikael out of Klaus’s line of sight was also a tactical move on the writer’s part. I was thoroughly convinced he’d be the finale’s main villain, but this turn out makes vastly more sense. Keep him hidden and them unleash him for season 2. Being bound to Davina is also a gutsy but bold move. She’s always stressed about finding a way to kill Klaus and now she has the ultimate weapon to do so. How will Esther and Mikael react to one another when they meet again. And they will, they have to. I’m looking forward to finding out.

Kieran’s supply closet of ancient relics is also an acceptable addition to the plot. Let’s just hope they don’t use to too frequently and have a arsenal of obnoxious “This object totally fits with the problem of this episode and character” motif. I expect them to have fun but to also not overdo it. It still strikes me as odd that he’d leave that room for Camille to discover.

Overall, I was very satisfied with the finale. Hayley’s is now a hybrid and Klaus has a resurgence of good intentions. They expelled the necessary characters and reintroduced some more fan favorites. I hope Rebekah’s role isn’t downgraded to a camero every ten episodes. It would be funny if she took residence in Mystic Falls, but I’m not counting on the world being that small. She deserves more screen time and I’m glad she and Klaus buried their negative feelings and have moved forward in their lives. Him giving her and Hope his old wooden toy was precious and added to the heartfelt moment. My only cringe was the name of the child. Hope is very common when the child is more a symbol then a person. It’s cliche, but since Klaus named her (presumably) it works for him, because he needs a symbol to believe in and hope should do the trick for the time being. I’m uncertain if TO will continue into third season territory if VD ends after six seasons. Spin-Off shows have grown past their predecessors in the past and TO is looking to stay strong which is an excellent sign. Thanks for reading my season one reviews, we’ll return this fall when season two begins.

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 5×21 (Caroline’s face says it all)

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Action speak louder than words, or so the old adage goes. On the eve of VD’s season finale, the group finds themselves at the mercy of the Travelers and their return to power over all magic. Some logic is thrown a little out of faze as several factors lead to the possibility of a major character death. Start holding your breath, because one Salvatore brother may not be returning after this season.

After Marcos bleeds Stefan and Elena of much of their blood, Maria frees them and later takes them back to Mystic Falls in the hopes of reuniting with Julian. Damon gain Matt and Jeremy’s help in taking all the Traveler’s original bodies back to the mansion to lure Marcos. The plan succeeds and Marcos arrives but states that even if the Traveler’s bodies are destroyed, it wont matter for his plan to work. Julian communicates a plan to Damon as he sneaks Julian the key to escape. Julian attacks Marcos but by that time all the Travelers in the city have begun the chant to their final spell which eliminates all spirit magic from the world.

Liv and Luke confront Elena and Stefan in the street with no choice but to kill one of them. They murder Maria and attempt to kill Stefan and Elena but their power begins to fade as Elena and Stefan’s rings no longer function in the daylight. They escape underground with Matt but then feel the effects of their first deaths. Their only hope is to flee from town before the spell spirals outward and catches them. Julian and Damon are forced to leave as well.

Bonnie believes she might be able to reenact Marcos’s ressurrection spell but needs Maria’s help. Enzo locates her on the other side but she is pulled away by the wind. Enzo tells Bonnie he lost her. Damon and Elena leave town together as Jeremy and Matt return to town. Julian finds Caroline and Stefan asking where Maria is. Stefan tells him that Maria was killed and Julian gets angry. Caroline tries to break Julian’s neck but he lashes out. Stefan tries to stop him but Julian rips Stefan’s heart out and leaves with Caroline screaming over Stefan’s death.

Stefan’s spirit finds Bonnie but she says her plan failed. With no recourse, Stefan passes through Bonnie and disappears.

I’ll start with the most obvious development and it’s the sudden death of Stefan Salvatore. It was a rugged and unexpected outcome that left Caroline sobbing uncontrollably and Bonnie deflated of any hope. It’s definitely a shock, but it’s more suspecting shock. Vampire Diaries is the kind of show that can play with death in several ways and one would think that killing Stefan for all time is a bold but negatively impacting move to both the show and the fans. I’ll say this much. Stefan was quick to accept his fate the moment Bonnie broke the news to him. I respect that for his character. I think Damon might have shown the same face only less stoic and more blazingly annoyed, but the fact is Stefan’s heart has been removed and Julian may be the only Traveler left who can shed any light on Marcos’s spell.

My theory for this segment is that there’s enough Travelers to bring either Enzo or Stefan back with the spell, but not both. It’s not that I don’t accept that Stefan’s dead/dead, but that there’s always a loophole and Stefan deserves a more fitting end than a random tantrum from a character we barely know inside the body of a character that doesn’t fit the description of a Stefan killer.

The next point I need to go over are the compiling amount of flaws that are introduced with this pure magic unraveling spell. Firstly, if the spell negates any objects created by spiritual magic, than wouldn’t it be more likely that Jeremy and Matt suffer the effects of their deaths now that the immortality ring they both once wore won’t work any longer? Maybe in this case it doesn’t apply because their human, but in a sense Jeremy is somewhat supernatural as he’s a Hunter. It’s a little bit a nitpick, but their heading back into the city and just seemed like something to bring up. Secondly, how will any of them get back into the city if the spell continues to grow? I know that’s better left for the finale to explain, but it’s worth noting now as a possible problem. And lastly, if Stefan’s dead, is it too late to negate the Traveler’s spell? I’m fairly certain Luke and Liv needed to kill either Elena or Stefan “before” the spell ran it’s course, but maybe there’s some kind of after effect that might come in handy. Probably reaching too much at this point.

Mikael from TO will have to be resurrected soon or else he’ll suffer the same fate as every other spirit locked in spiritual torment. Gotta keep with the continuity there.

There also didn’t seem to be a lot of reason for Julian to veer away from Marcos’s plan. I understand Maria’s perspective and the two want to be together, but there’s nothing suggesting Marcos’s plan would dissolve their ability to be together or maybe I’m just missing their neutral stance on the plan as a whole. Tyler doesn’t deserve to that kind of fizzled out end too, so I imagine the finale will have a lot of holes to fill before the next major cliffhanger strikes.

Another awkwardly place segment was Pam and her husband. It’s been established that the Travelers do what they have to to preserve themselves and Marcos’s plan, but that murder was entirely unnecessary given she could have easily walked away and none would be the wiser. The only effect it had later was to establish that her character was dead after the chanting ceased. It was an odd scene to throw in for a throwaway character of no importance.

Luke and Liv’s usefulness is also playing out. Their moment at the diner solidified that the coven they are a part of have a presence and can effect their lives if they don’t follow through with their desperate plan. In the finale, I’m not expecting much out of these two except a few woeful “sorry’s” and maybe an idea that could help stop the Travelers, but without their powers at close distance they’ll have to help from far away. That coven would surely be helpful right about now.

Could we be seeing the last of the Salvatore house in the finale? After several moments of admiration by Marcos and Damon’s longing stare before leaving the house with a gunshot wound from a few hundred years ago, this could be the foreshadowing of it’s ultimate destruction. It’s been his sanctuary and Stefan’s since episode one, and had housed it’s fair share of many debacles over the seasons. All of it could come crashing down in the midst of a Traveler massacre or uprising, however one would look at it.

Overall, the “will they-won’t they die” throughout the last few seasons has desensitized me a bit over Stefan’s ‘apparent’ death. They sold me on Jeremy until he was inexplicably brought back, then they duped me again with Bonnie’s. Now Stefan’s up for the trifecta of “Not sure if dead, or just trolling the fanbase.” This could have some repercussions between Stefan fans and Damon fans and which brother should be the one to die first. I’m not saying such an act is inevitable, but debate is debate and surely if a brother had to die, who would you choose? I think the writer’s made the right call. Unless There’s a romance in store between Stefan and Caroline, there’s honestly not much left for Stefan to do on the show unless he truly wants Elena back and he made it clear to her earlier in this episode that if she wants Damon then to just be with him.

I also peeked at the finale promo and I must say, it is edited in the most awful manner possible. Hot off the heels of Stefan’s demise and the promo treats the finale like some kind of Home Alone comedy montage. I don’t normally watch the promos so I’m not sure if those kinds of themes are rampant at the end of each episode, but this didn’t make any sense for tone at all. The episode got serious very fast and is not pulling any punches, thus far on killing long lasting characters. Will Stefan’s death be a fake-out for someone else? That’s happened in the past. Wait and see if this truly is Stefan’s last stand.

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 9×21 (Anyone else feel that “Empire Strikes Back” vibe with Dean and the blade?)

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They say a gut stabbing is the sincerest form of fatality. Dean has finally performed at peak level and put to end one of the stronger demonic characters on the show. When a character dies in slow-motion, you know it’s a bit significant. Abaddon will be missed, until the next badass demon shows up.

Abaddon forces Crowley’s help by kidnapping his human son from 1723 Scotland and bringing him to the present. Crowley agrees to help to save his son from torture and lures Sam and Dean to the blade and then to the hotel where they are located. Meanwhile, Castiel meets with Gadriel and convinces him to at the very least, report on Metatron updates so they can put a stop to the angel on angel killings. Crowley is able to warn Dean about the trap set for them and makes sure Sam isn’t there when he finds Abaddon. As he does, Abaddon tries to subdue him but through the mark of Cain, Dean is able to battle through it and stabs Abaddon forever killing her. Afterward, Crowley takes his son away and let’s him live in the present as he was destined to die in a ship wreck. Later, Sam confronts Dean about what the blade may be doing to him and suggests locking it away for the time being. Dean simply answers “No.”

There’s a tab bit of disappointment at the way everything was handled, only in that it didn’t involve a shred of Angel vs. Demon battles. I understand for story purposes and budget reasons to add that such a feat would have probably been too much to ask for. It’s a shame, but I wish the Demon and Angel plot were so separate that they couldn’t have been linked together in some way toward the finale. That’s not to say it can’t still happen, but it definitely won’t be happening with Abaddon out of the picture. She had lofty goals for the most part and it would have been an interesting twist if she had plans to release Lucifer. There’s your underlying tie between both factions. I’m starting to think Lucifer will never play a part in this series ever again. Another shame.

For the Angel plot, I give Castiel credit. He got feedback from Sam to help peer into Gadriel’s senses regarding his involvement with Metatron. At first I thought for sure that Castiel set up the angel attack to help convince Gadriel to join his cause, but it’s a pretty risky move for Castiel to use since he’s trying to convince Gadriel that Metatron is the one deceiving him. Still, either way, it did the job and if Castiel’s hands are clean then Metatron is jumping the gun sending his own angels after his opposition, especially since he’s parading that he “knows the end” to the story. Is it a ploy, or does he hold a piece of omniscience? It’s also tough to come down on the fence on whether Gadriel is a redeemable character or not. His only real crime, that we know of, is his murder of Kevin. That’s something Sam and Dean won’t forgive easily. Castiel can, because he has an agenda and as a “commander” must make harder decisions than normal to get the results he needs to. If that means allying with Gadriel then so be it. My guess is that someone’s playing with Gadriel and it’s more likely that Metatron is. There’s no way he doesn’t know and understand what’s happening in this episode.

There was also a buoyant pleasantness with seeing Crowley interact on a ‘father to son’ level with his son. For the first time, his lasting emotions and human feelings actually have merit and point with this episode as he tries to reconcile with his failures as a father. Leaving Gavin in the present was the smart move. That kind of result has been done before, “Star Trek – Borg PC game” comes to mind, but all in all, it was the right call. I can’t imagine how weird a scene would go when Sam tries to convince the king of hell not to mettle with time, but it worked and now we can endure Crowley’s antics for a bit longer.

Now there’s the ever growing dissention between brothers. In our time-tested bumper, Dean finally admits how the blade has been affecting him. In small sips, you can see how Dean wants to explain it as a loving brother would be with keeping Sam safe, but instead, due in part to Sam’s past confessions on their status as family, Dean recoils and secures his need to make sure the job gets done without interference. He even flat out denies Sam’s request to hide the blade should they need it again. Dean is now dishing out a little of his own brand and Sam has no choice but to settle with it until the next crisis causes their further divergence or brotherly camaraderie. In the strongest sense, Dean knows he’s affected and doesn’t care and furthermore won’t listen to Sam’s suggestion. Castiel may need to step in and offer more of his personal guidance if anything’s going to be set right. I’m not so easily convinced that Sam and Dean are destined to recycle the tale of Cain and Abel, but considering we only have the angel plot left to deal with, it would fit the most in that realm.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy the separate tale between angels and demons, I wanted them to converge in a bigger showdown. Crowley can easily still get his demons involved but I doubt it will mean as much since he needs to tend to his own before rationalizing taking on heaven itself. It doesn’t fit with his motis operandi. I enjoyed the Crowley and son bonding and I think it stood as the highlight of the episode. Dean still maintains larger fragments of control but with each kill on that blade comes more and more violent turbulence. He’s holding his own but for how much longer. Does the mark get to be transferred to someone else after it’s all said and done? Will or can Cain take it back if necessary? And for some reason that jacket Dean wore seemed off, maybe too bright than normal. Maybe too clean. I miss Abaddon, she’ll be missed. Until next week.

 

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