Watch This: Teaser for S3 of Blue

The WIGS series includes many wonderful films. One of the best is Blue starring Julia Stiles. Catch up on the first two seasons of Blue and the other WIGS series, if you haven’t seen them. You’ll be hooked quickly.

Season 3 of Blue will be released March 28. Some back story if this teaser is news to you: Julia Stiles plays a prostitute / office worker. She has a teen aged son played by Uriah Shelton. Blue is smart, guarded, and full of secrets. Secrets have a way of trying to come out, don’t they? That and trying to hide her secret life from her son make for a lot of tension in Blue’s life.

Julia Stiles is absolutely fantastic in this series.

Learn more about WIGS in this post.

Random Thoughts from a Teeming TV Filled Brain

The TV is brewing a brain full of random ideas in me this week. It’s a mish-mash.

  • The Americans season 2 started last night on FX and it’s extra good. Don’t ask me why I care so much about Russian spies, but Kari Russell and Matthew Rhys make me care. The stakes are so high in this show, the situations so tense, and the drama so tight. I can’t tell from the first episode if Margo Martindale will be back in season 2, but they were talking about her as if she won’t. She’s off on another show now, and I’ll miss her here.
  • With so many shows, I have to record a bunch of them. When I play them back I fast forward through the ads. I really appreciate the shows that have a second or two of something recognizable before each new segment starts. That brief cue lets me stop in time to get the beginning of the action. For example, Person of Interest often shows cityscapes and camera locations just before the action starts. Could all shows please do something like this? Thank you.
  • Why do actresses decide to have a baby while they are on a hit show? Jennifer Beals and Lauren Holloman both did it on The L Word. Anna Silk did it on Lost Girl. Kerry Washington is having a baby soon with Scandal in the middle of astronomical popularity. There has to be some logic to this, but what is it?
  • Wow! Did Naya Rivera ever knock “Don’t Rain on My Parade” out off the ballpark on Glee this week! The Barbara Streisand franchise on Glee up to now belonged to Lea Michelle – as well it should, she’s got it locked – but Naya can belt, too. Indeed.
  • Can you tell Lady Mary’s (Michelle Dockery) two suitors apart on Downton Abbey? Me either.

Image Credit: Still from The Americans by Craig Blankenhorn via IMDB

Looking for More Diversity? A Consumer Can Help. UPDATED

Let’s start with this infographic from Where’s the Diversity, Hollywood? 85 Years of the Academy Awards from Lee and Low Books. This information is from a study of 85 years of awards and reveals the lack of diversity in the Oscar Awards.

We, as consumers, can do something about this lack of diversity. I’ll get to how in a minute.

Diversity in The Academy Awards
Diversity in the Academy Awards infographic from Lee and Low Books. Click for full size.

The article containing this infographic talks how independent films and filmmakers can bring about change in what we see in movies. Four independent filmmakers are interviewed in the article. They talk about what they are doing and how they use crowd sourced fundraising tools like Kickstarter to get films made.

The filmmakers interviewed also talk about watching films from other countries in languages other than English. Several people talked about rejecting attempts from directors and writers to create stereotypes rather than more realistic characters.

IndieWire picked up the infographic, as I did, and wrote about it The Diversity Gap in the Academy Awards in Infographic Form. This article emphasized that the box office drives which films get made.

The situation right now is that when a film with a female lead such as The Hunger Games or Bridesmaids takes the box office the Hollywood power structure is as surprised as Fox News was when President Obama was reelected in 2012. It shouldn’t be a surprise, it should be expected.

How Consumers Can Help

We, as consumers, are the ones spending the dollars at the box office. We, as consumers, are the ones choosing the channel on the TV or setting the DVR to record. What can we do to increase diversity?

Here are a few ideas.

  • Pay attention to Kickstarter or other fund raising campaigns for indie films and support them with a few bucks. It costs you $10 to go out to a movie, $20 if you buy a drink and some popcorn. Why not give that amount to a filmmaker who is struggling to create a film with a more diverse outlook and cast than what you’ll see at the local multiplex? For a while now, I’ve been promoting a Paper.li publication about Women Directors. Perhaps you’ve noticed links to it in my Twitter stream. Many times you’ll find links to fund raising campaigns mentioned in this publication. Start reading it.
  • Support indie filmmakers by watching their work. Sometimes you have to work a bit to find it. It might be shown as a web series or on Vimeo or in only one theater in your town that isn’t the biggest multiplex. Find it and go.
  • Look for stereotypes and stop supporting films and TV shows that support stereotypes. Talk about why you’re doing it on your blog or Twitter. Demand diversity.
  • Make your viewership for movies and TV shows and web series count. Make your eyeballs register numbers and stats in the places where diversity is done right.
  • Use Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu to watch foreign films of quality. There are plenty of them. You can read. Use that skill to read subtitles and you’ll see some amazing stories.

Lee and Low Books have done similar studies of The Tony Awards, The Emmy Awards, the children’s book industry, The New York Times Top 10 Bestseller List, and US politics. Thanks to them for organizing this information and making accessible visuals to help us understand the stats.

UPDATE

The Representation Blog published The Representation Test on 2/28/2014. This is a downloadable test that,

. . . gives films points for representations of people which avoid harmful and limiting stereotypes, as well as for having diversity behind-the-camera. There are 27 possible points in the test, but any film scoring 11 or above receives an “A” for representation.

Downloading and using this test, and talking about your scores in public places such as your blog and Twitter is another good way that you as a consumer can help change the status quo. You may want to to check back for new versions of the test from time to time, because the creators say it will evolve over time.

Image credit: Diversity Quilt via Flickr.

Watch This: Teaser Trailer for Tammy

Melissa McCarthy is coming our way again in July in Tammy. The teaser trailer is here now. Not only is McCarthy the star, she’s the writer.

Also starring in this extravaganza of funny are Susan Sarandon, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Dan Aykroyd and Kathy Bates. What a cast!

Ben Falcone directs. He’s Melissa McCarthy’s husband.

What do you think? I think it looks fabulous!

Reflections on House of Cards, season 2

Season 2 of House of Cards appeared on Netflix on Valentine’s Day. If it was meant to be a little billet-doux from Netflix to sweeten up our weekend, it failed the sweetness test. It more than made up for it in the drama department, however.

I want to share my reactions to this series without revealing any spoilers about season 2 while doing it. Overall, season 2 is even better than season 1 – and season 1 is exceptionally good. Here are a few reasons that House of Cards continues to get better.

  • There are fascinating plot twists that keep you on your toes in this story. Not one of the politicians in this tale does a single thing for the good of the country or the people – it’s all about self-interest. It feels realistic and unpleasantly like modern politics. Yes, it feels realistic in the telling, but if you really examine the plot it seems unlikely to ever be reality.
  • The performances by the lead actors Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as Frank and Claire Underwood are outstanding.
  • Supporting actors also do an outstanding job. It’s a big cast, because the story is involved.  Every character is important as a piece of the puzzle and every actor gives a credible performance.
  • The look, the mood, the writing, the pace: everything works, everything contributes.
  • A couple of episodes were directed by women, namely Jodie Foster and Robin Wright. A series always earns extra points with me when a woman directs.

The Master Manipulator

Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood
Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood

Frank Underwood continues to be ruthlessly ambitious, a manipulator who will do anything to get what he wants. He shares some of his plans and goals with us by talking directly to the camera as he did in season 1. We see a measure of his true self thanks to this device. Other than his wife, most of the people around him have no idea what he’s doing. He’s very convincing.

Robin Wright as Claire Underwood
Robin Wright as Claire Underwood

In season 1, Claire Underwood was off doing her own thing, but in season 2, this power couple are working more closely together to achieve their joint quest for power. We see deeper into their relationship. House of Cards would still be fascinating if the only plot involved the complex and murky interactions between this couple.

Shared time in a complex marriage
Shared time in a complex marriage

They understand each other, they support each other, and they are committed to getting what they want. They tolerate each other’s foibles and needs and build on each other’s strengths. In some ways it’s a political marriage based on shared ambitions and convenience, but in other ways they love and care about each other.

House of Cards is about much more than a marriage, however. There are themes of good an evil, about power and whether power corrupts, about the end justifying the means, about progress, the common good, the rule of the moneyed class. Mixed in with the big thematic elements there are human stories about the desire for love, the need for sex, and appetites of all kinds.

A Few Supporting Characters

The majority of the supporting characters are ambitious politicians. There are a few journalists, sex workers, security staff, double agents, or others who somehow know too much and could be a danger to the politicians.

These are the supporting players that I found particularly impressive.

Molly Parker as Jackie Sharp
Molly Parker as Jackie Sharp

Molly Parker as House Whip Jackie Sharp is terrific. She’s strong, devoted to her own political ambitions and willing to work with Frank Underwood even though she knows he’s a snake. Her story gets fairly well developed for a supporting part. She gets involved with Remy Denton as part of that development, a choice that might end badly.

Mahershala Ali as Remy Denton
Mahershala Ali as Remy Denton

Mahershala Ali as Remy Denton is someone who is not a politician, but does what he can to influence politics in various ways. He’s an employee of billionaire Raymond Tusk and sometimes is sent to do things he doesn’t really want to do.

Gerald McRaney as Raymond Tusk
Gerald McRaney as Raymond Tusk

Raymond Tusk is played by Gerald McRaney. I have been watching Gerald McRaney on TV for over 40 years, since the early 1970s. I have to admit I’m fond of him. He’s usually a good guy, but here he’s a power junkie with billions at his disposal. He’s fantastic as a villain!

Stamper and Rachel Brosnahan as Rachel Posner
Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper and Rachel Brosnahan as Rachel Posner

Michael Kelly is chilling as Frank Underwood’s chief of staff, Doug Stamper. One of his chores in season 1 was to get the sex worker Rachel Posner out of the view of journalists and make sure no one ever heard from her again. He’s an alcoholic with 14 years of sobriety, but he goes on a crazy “dry drunk” binge over this woman (played by Rachel Brosnahan) and spends his time obsessing about her and following her every move. Her storyline grows more interesting and important with each episode of season 2 as well.

There are many characters I haven’t mentioned because I’m trying not to reveal anything that happens in season 2 that will shock or surprise you. There’s plenty in season 2 that will do that.

Heading into Season 3

Season 3 is a go. As I look at what transpired in season 2 and think about what may happen in season 3, I can’t help but think about a book I read recently called Give and Take by Adam Grant. I reviewed this book briefly in a post on my other blog, Web Teacher. The Machiavellian Frank Underwood is a taker of the highest magnitude. He thinks he’s invulnerable, he thinks everything is in his control, but he makes mistakes. He trusts the wrong people, he does the wrong things, and his empire could topple like a – it must be said – house of cards.

Adam Grant’s premise in Give and Take is that takers eventually fail and fall. Will Frank Underwood?

Watch This: Trailer for Frankie & Alice

Frankie & Alice stars Halle Berry, Phylicia Rashad, and Stellan Skarsgard. It’s been finished since 2011 and is just now being released in the U.S. It will appear in theaters on April 4.

The film is based on a true story. Halle Berry plays a woman with multiple personality disorder. One of her personalities is racist.

The performance we see in this brief preview looks masterful and worthy of award nominations. This film looks like an exciting showcase for Halle Berry to show once again what a powerful actress she is. I’m not sure why it took so long to be released in the U.S., but it’s coming soon and it looks good.

Image credit of Halle Berry in Frankie & Alice © 2010 – Freestyle Releasing

Why Representation on TV Matters

Laverne Cox and CeCe McDonald were the guests on Democracy Now on Feb. 19, 2014. This is how Amy Goodman introduced the program and the two women. As background for this post, I’m going to quote the entire introduction.

After serving 19 months in prison, the African-American transgender activist CeCe McDonald is free. She was arrested after using deadly force to protect herself from a group of people who attacked her on the streets of Minneapolis. Her case helped turn a national spotlight on the violence and discrimination faced by transgender women of color. In 2011, McDonald and two friends were walking past a Minneapolis bar when they were reportedly accosted with homophobic, transphobic and racist slurs. McDonald was hit with a bar glass that cut open her face, requiring 11 stitches. A brawl ensued, and one of the people who had confronted McDonald and her friends, 47-year-old Dean Schmitz, was killed. Facing up to 80 years in prison for his death, McDonald took a plea deal that sentenced her to 41 months. In the eyes of her supporters, CeCe McDonald was jailed for defending herself against the bigotry and violence that transgender people so often face and that is so rarely punished. At the time of the attack, the murder rate for gay and transgender people in this country was at an all-time high. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs documented 30 hate-related murders of LGBT people in 2011; 40 percent of the victims were transgender women of color. Transgender teens have higher rates of homelessness, and nearly half of all African-American transgender people — 47 percent — have been incarcerated at some point.

McDonald joins us on her first trip to New York City. We are also joined by one of her supporters, Laverne Cox, a transgender actress, producer and activist who stars in the popular Netflix show, “Orange is the New Black.” She plays Sophia Burset, a transgender woman in prison for using credit card fraud to finance her transition. She is producing a documentary about McDonald called “Free CeCe.” We also speak to Alisha Williams, staff attorney with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.

“I very easily could have been CeCe,” Laverne Cox says. “Many times I’ve walked down the street of New York, and I’ve experienced harassment. I was kicked once on the street, and very easily that could have escalated into a situation that CeCe faced, and it’s a situation that too many transwomen of color face all over this country. The act of merely walking down the street is often a contested act, not only from the citizenry, but also from the police.”

Laverne Cox has been everywhere lately. She gave the keynote address to 2014 National Conference for LGBT Equality: Creating Change. Cox has also appeared on The Katie Couric Show. After the much criticized questions in the Katie Couric interview, Cox gave Salon this interview: The post-Katie Couric shift: Laverne Cox tells Salon why the media’s so clueless. (Related to bad interviews, this Democracy Now episode also talked about @JanetMock and her interview with Piers Morgan.)

Can a TV show change the world?

Laverne Cox has been an actress since 2000, but Orange is the New Black has given her an unexpected platform and visibility. OITNB has given transgender people in general an unexpected platform and visibility. Justice for transgender people, for trans women of color, is now a topic of conversation all across the country.

It isn’t so much about Laverne Cox, as that she’s suddenly been given this moment because of OITNB. She’s been given visibility, and she’s making good use of it.

Cox seized the opportunity to promote change, up the stakes in her activism, and be a voice to whom the media will listen. She’s wonderfully suited to be a leader and public voice for the trans community. She’s brainy, she’s articulate, and she’s charismatic.

You may say that change would come eventually, that demands for justice and equality from the transgender community would eventually be heard, but I think it would have been a longer time coming. It would have been a harder struggle.

A TV show about women in prison with a sympathetic and likeable transgender woman’s story as part of the ensemble has made change possible sooner. It has given activists like Laverne Cox an opportunity to be heard by a wide audience.

Giving representation to marginalized or minority parts of society on TV shows can change the world. What we see on TV matters. It matters to real people.

Watch This: Unbroken Olympics Preview

Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie, is based on the true story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini. The movie isn’t due out until December, but this preview emphasizes Zamperini’s Olympic career and was released during the Olympics.

I read the book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, on which the movie is based, and found it an inspiring and amazing story of courage, determination and survival. I’m looking forward to the movie.

Recap: Lost Girl S4 E13 Dark Horse

“Dark Horse,” the season 4 finale of Lost Girl takes us some places we’ve been longing to go, kicks us in the gut with a development we REALLY don’t want, and sets up the momentum for season 5.

The finale was written by Emily Andras. I’m glad she took the reins for the finale because there is a lot going on and a lot stitch together. She dropped a few stitches, but many things do get resolved.

We begin with Bo (Anna Silk) and Rainer (Kyle Schmid) arguing about Rosette’s betrayal, who Bo’s father is and how he manipulated them, and the mistakes and errors they made. Rainer and Bo vow to work together against evil.

It's his mark
It’s his mark

Bo clutches her chest and calls the mark there “his mark,” meaning her father. She’s gasping in pain.

Let's play the blame game
Let’s play the blame game

Rainer takes Bo to the Dal. Rainer and Trick (Rick Howland) argue about who to blame for their troubles as Trick discovers that Bo knows about the Pyrippus and that it might be her father.

Bo says she can feel her father close, trying to bring “her” out because he needs her. Rainer wants to know who she means, and Bo says, “Me.” She asks Trick to tell her everything he knows about her blood.

Massimo is cray-cray
Massimo is cray-cray

Massimo (Tim Rozon) has Lauren (Zoie Palmer) in his clutches. She’s strapped to a fence and he’s digging while spouting his crazy into the night. Lauren mentions that the power of the twig of Zamorra is diminishing now that he killed the last Zamorran heir. She taunts him for crying about his mommy and going prematurely grey. He thinks his mommy is finally going to be proud of him, especially when he takes her the head of the succubus on a platter.

Spill it, Trick
Spill it, Trick

Trick shares what little he knows about Bo’s father with Bo and Rainer. Trick talked about handing over Aife to the Dark to prove his blood laws were infallible. The blood of Bo’s father allows her to draw life from many victims and to transfer that life force to someone other than herself. She can raise the dead, as Rainer points out, but she can also enslave, as Trick points out. Bo tells them both that nobody is going to use her for anything. Bo wants to go to the Portal where Pyrippus is set to emerge from hel, when Massimo appears with a few nasty remarks about Lauren.

Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) is busy reading up on prophecies and mythology atop Evony’s bed. Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) bursts in asking her what’s going on. Kenzi says, “Her blood is everywhere. She was looking for something in the dark archives. Check this out.”

Check this out
Check this out

Kenzi holds up a painting. Dyson says, “Bo.” He asks where Lauren is, but Kenzi doesn’t know. Evony (Emmanuelle Vaugier) comes in. She grosses Kenzi out by talking about goosing Lauren’s sweet berries right where Kenzi is sitting. Evony complains about the temperature. First she’s too hot, then she’s too cold. Dyson takes a big sniff and realizes Evony is human.

Is that a human I smell?
Is that a human I smell?

Kenzi gives Evony a right hook to the jaw, just ’cause she can now that Evony is human. Dyson wants to know how it is that Evony is human. Evony says it was the good doctor and her miracle snatch.

I need Dr. Miracle Snatch
I need Dr. Miracle Snatch

Evony hasn’t incinerated Lauren yet because she needs her to fix her bad case of humanitis. She tells them Massimo is her son and where Massimo has taken Lauren.

At the Dal, Bo tells Massimo to get lost, she has real bad guys to deal with. He has power from eating the origin seed that make him able to steal powers from others and use them as his own. He tries downing Bo with a burst of energy from a thunder beast. He’s strong, he throws Bo around the room, smashes a chair across her back, picks her up and drops her on a table. Trick realizes Massimo stole the seed. Rainer attacks Massimo but he’s easily brought to his knees.

Tell the Valkyrie my soul is hers again
Tell the Valkyrie my soul is hers again

Rainer says, “Tell the Valkyrie my soul is hers again,” and Massimo snaps his neck. Rainer is dead. I’m glad it was Massimo who eliminated Rainer from the story – it would have been terrible if one of Bo’s friends/lovers/family did the deed.

No!
No!

Bo is too hurt to fight back. Massimo runs. When Bo next wakes up, she’s in the clubhouse with Tamsin (Rachel Skarsten) waiting on her to recover.

Bo is depressed, aching with broken bones. She couldn’t save anyone and Lauren is in Massimo’s hands. Tamsin tells her to suck it up and be a leader.

Heal me
Heal me

Bo grabs Tamsin and sucks it up. She says, “You taste different. Happy.” Tamsin doesn’t explain, but she and Dyson exchange an awful lot of meaningful glances in this episode – maybe that’s why. Or maybe it’s because she now has Rainer’s soul to take to Valhalla.

Dyson and Kenzi run in. Bo hugs Dyson. She looks at Kenzi, who stands near the door, says, “Hi.” Kenzi returns a quiet, “Hi,” but doesn’t approach.

Kenzi and Tamsin sit on the couch and talk. Tamsin wants Kenzi to forgive Bo. Kenzi says, “My boyfriend just died. Remember?” Tamsin says, “Rainer is also dead, which means I have a soul and a second chance to deliver it.”

Kenzi looks at a book, which she asks Tamsin to translate.

It's in Norwegian
It’s in Norwegian

Tamsin translates “Daughter. Heart.” As in, “The daughter’s heart will close the portal?” asks Kenzi. Kenzi doesn’t want to tell Bo what they read. She wants to get Lauren first. Tamsin heads off and Kenzi tears the page from the book and keeps it.

Bo is giving Dyson his battle orders. Lauren comes first. She also asks him to witness her tearing up the contract that makes her dark so she can get back to being who she is.

I don't belong to anyone
I don’t belong to anyone

Dyson asks if she’s all right. She says, “Rainer was my partner. Someone who wanted to end the tyranny between light and dark. He was a good man.”

I should have been searching for a Queen
I should have been searching for a Queen

Dyson says he searched for a King, but he should have searched for a Queen. He kneels before her and swears fealty, his life, his blood, his soul, his body. Bo tears up, hugs him. He says, “I love you.” She says, “That is why I need you to serve with me, not for me.”

Tamsin tells them they found out more about the portal. Bo and Dyson go to the rocking horse ranch at the spiritual center. No people are around, just broken horses and the glowing pyramid of light. Three revenants come out of the pyramid.

I am the Queen
I am the Queen

Bo sucks their chi and turns, blue eyed and evil looking, to Dyson. She talks in her all-powerful voice and says, “I am the Queen and my true army cometh.”

Take that
All you need is love

Dyson figures he wants the other Bo back and gets her back with a kiss. The healing kiss works once again. (What would happen to the world if somebody gave a big kiss to anyone who was behaving badly? Even rebellious teenagers? Let’s save the world with kissing!)

Evony and Trick are still trying to figure out how The Morrigan and the Acting Ash can pull off anything useful. Evony is humanly drunk and makes a pass at Trick. He’s not interested.

Are we just going to wait for chaos?
Are we just going to wait for chaos?

Evony tells him to think, quotes some French. Trick translates it as “Sometimes the smallest thing casts the longest shadow.” Trick grabs his trusty bowstaff and off they go. He probably thinks he is the smallest thing, but he’ll soon see it’s someone else.

Bo wants to process the kiss with Dyson. She says she feels awesome and powerful, but her father is near. Dyson thinks she’s channeling her father’s energy though the portal. He wants to know if she can control it. She wants to go get Lauren. She asks Dyson to stop any more dead warriors who come out of the portal with Tamsin’s help. She asks him to keep Kenzi safe.

Can you do all that?
Can you do all that?

Alone, Bo takes out the necklace she found at Lauren’s apartment and puts it on.

“For giving me the freedom to love. And I do.”
“For giving me the freedom to love. And I do.”

Tamsin and Kenzi come in. Kenzi looks at Bo, wordless. She hugs Bo hard.

No words needed
No words needed

Bo feels forgiven, but Kenzi has other things on her Shadow Thief mind. She gives Bo a sword and says, “You’re gonna be fine.” Kenzi is dead serious. Her eyes look like she’s been crying for a solid week. Bo looks worried as Kenzi and Tamsin leave.

Lauren struggles with chains holding her to a post. Massimo brags about burning alive for 7 days and killing Rainer.

You have Rainer's foresight.
You have Rainer’s foresight.

Massimo’s in pain. Lauren wants him to choke on it. Bo comes in waving her sword epi-pen to fight off his allergy to origin seeds. Lauren tells Bo, “You shouldn’t have come.”

“I always do,” says Bo.

“Thank Goddess,” says Lauren. (A lot of fans say that any time Anna Silk walks into a room. Lauren is expressing a universal hymn of praise with that line.)

Massimo talks about the Una Mens power to deflect the power of any Fae. As proof, he unleashes a siren whistle on Lauren and Bo from his killing of Hale.

Destiny. Booyaw.
Destiny. Booyah.

Kenzi rereads the book page about the daughter’s heart. She says, “Destiny. Booyah.” It isn’t a celebratory cheer.

Massimo throws Bo to the floor near when Lauren is chained up. He says he will kill Bo as soon as she watches him kill Lauren. Lauren tells Bo that’s she’s almost out of her cuffs, thanks to all she learned during Kenzi’s shadow thief training. It wasn’t all just panty removal.

Let's kill this mother lover.
Let’s kill this mother lover.

Bo does a giant chi suck on Massimo, but he manages to break it off. In walks Massimo’s mommie dearest. Bo promptly puts a big knife to her neck.

Evony objects. “This is not what Trick and I discussed.” Massimo throws a tantrum.

Dyson and Tamsin battle the revenants pouring out of the pyramid. Dyson’s impressed with Tamsin’s fighting skills and she smiles and the praise. Trick joins them.

Bo tricks Massimo into sucking a huge load of chi out of Evony.

She thinks you're a coward
She thinks you’re a coward

He can’t stop draining Evony. Bo explains that she could breathe power back into her, a power that Massimo doesn’t have. He finally manages to stop draining mommie dearest. Evony collapses. Massimo begs Bo to save her. She takes Massimo’s chi and gives it to Evony.

The tiny twig
The tiny twig

Meanwhile, Lauren frees herself and takes the Twig of Zamorra out of Massimo’s pocket. She crushes it into dust.

Bo gives Massimo twacks and kicks for Lauren, Rainer, and Hale. Then she runs her sword through him and says, “And that is for breaking Kenzi’s heart.” Without the twig, he finally dies. So long, Tim Rozon. You were one of my favorite villains.

It's okay. I got you.
It’s okay. I got you.

Bo staggers and sways. Lauren grabs her. Bo clings to her like a life line.

There’s another use of slow-motion (the first was Lauren walking across a field of grass toward Bo) as Kenzi strides through the battle in front of the pyramid. It’s beautifully done. Kenzi’s headed for the pyramid entrance. Dyson stops her.

The long walk
The long walk

She tells Dyson she can’t wait any longer. They are outnumbered and he’s injured. She’s calm, centered, certain. “We have to close the portal,” Kenzi says. She says, “I get it now. I do have a part to play.”

Dyson asks what she’s talking about and Trick says, “Destiny.”

Kenzi says, “It’s the only way to close the gateway to hel. Bo’s heart. And I’m it.”

Bo tells Lauren she was wrong about Rainer. Lauren nods her head. She says, “At least I was right about you.”

Bo says, “A human doctor who can turn the Fae mortal. They’re gonna be coming for you.”

Lauren says, “Let ’em try.” Bo thinks Lauren really is dark, but Lauren says, “No, Bo. I’m yours.”

Bo says they have to go, but Lauren is going to stay with Evony. Lauren will doctor to Evony, since she was the one who made her so vulnerable and helpless in the first place. I’m really happy about this, because there was so much discussion about Lauren’s ethics and moral values over turning Evony human. Lauren redeems herself with this gesture.

Lauren says, “Get out of here, succubus. Destiny’s calling.”

Can't leave just yet
Can’t leave just yet

Bo starts to leave but comes back for a kiss and some deep and meaningful eye contact. It seems like a promise, but maybe I just want it to be one.

Dyson argues with Kenzi about Bo’s heart. Kenzi says with the Fae it’s always a metaphor, a symbol. Kenzi says Bo needs her help. Dyson wants to go instead.

Kenzi says, “Dyson, she loves you. She loves Lauren. But you know it’s me.”

I'm her heart.
I’m her heart.

Kenzi says Rainer knew this had to happen. Now that Tamsin has his soul, the golden ticket to Valhalla, that’s where Tamsin will take her. That’s where she’ll wait. Kenzi wants to go out a warrior, in battle. And she’s thinking she may get to see Hale again if she does. She promises to wait for Bo in Valhalla.

There’s a burst of noise and energy. Bo clutches her chest and feels something in her pocket. It’s Kenzi’s – Kenzi slipped it there when she hugged her.

Kenzi smiles slightly, turns and walks through the battle in slo mo, into the mouth of the pyramid. Bo comes in and runs to stop her, just as Kenzi turns back for a last look. Dyson restrains Bo.

The warrior
The warrior’s sacrifice

Kenzi steps into the pyramid. There’s a huge flash of light. Kenzi falls. The battle stops. The revenants drop to the floor. Tamsin runs to be beside the fallen Kenzi.

Dyson whispers, “Valhalla,” to Bo as Tamsin spreads her wings.

No
No

Bo watches Tamsin preparing to take Kenzi. The only sound we hear is Bo sobbing.

Valhalla
Next stop, Valhalla

Tamsin bends and surrounds Kenzi with her wings. They vanish into the light.

Dyson finds Tamsin on the ground outside the gates to Valhalla. He helps her up.

Dyson brings Tamsin back
Dyson brings Tamsin back

Tamsin’s weak, crying. She says, “She’s gone.” Does this mean she’s not in Valhalla? Dyson says, “We’ll get her back.”

Tamsin says, “You can’t with the second hell shoe.” He has to carry her away.

The song “You” plays in the background for the rest of the episode. A perfect choice.

Bo drives to a cemetery. In a voice over she tells where Rainer is buried. Still in voice over, Bo talks about loss, about needing to be strong. She puts flowers in front of Kenzi’s grave. I don’t see why there’s a grave for Kenzi when the whole idea is to get her back from Valhalla.

Now more than ever
Now more than ever

“I miss you. I need your courage.” She has Kenzi’s ruby ring on a chain, which she wraps around her hand.

I am done crying
I am done crying

She stands in front of the grave and makes the speech which sets us up for season 5. Maybe this is why there’s a grave – to give Bo someplace to make these vows.

“I am done crying. I am done being scared. No one else will die on my watch. Whatever it takes, I will get you back. They want me to be afraid? It is them who should be afraid of me.”

Personal Thoughts

  • I approve of this season finale in many ways. The one contingency is that Bo better get Kenzi back very early in season 5!
  • I like that Rainer and Massimo are gone. I like that Rainer turned out to be a good guy and Bo’s judgement wasn’t wrong. I like that the evil was stopped by Kenzi. I liked that Bo and Lauren seem back together. I like that Dyson and Tamsin are developing a different connection or deeper relationship. I like that Lauren stayed to help with Evony because she was responsible for making her weak. I like that Bo is no longer acting like she’s in a fog, but is clear and determined and sure of her power to be what she wants. I like that the hell shoes came back to be a factor in season 5.
  • Even though we finally got to some satisfaction in terms of a number of ongoing plot lines from season 4, I still wish season 4 hadn’t been so full of unending arcs and misdirection. But even more, I wish the characters, particularly Bo, weren’t so confused through most of the season.
  • A few threads stayed unraveled. We still don’t really know anything about Bo’s father. We don’t know what the blue butterfly was about. We don’t know how Lauren (and presumably Crystal) got out of that holding cell. We don’t know who snatched Lauren in Crystal’s car. We don’t know what the oozing black goo in the first episode was all about.
  • It’s interesting that Trick and Evony as Acting Ash and Morrigan did almost nothing to help save the Fae. A human saved them. Kenzi is the key. Every moment since Bo and Kenzi met in episode 1 of the first season has been leading up to this.
  • I know this is an ensemble cast and every player is wonderful in it, but Ksenia Solo set the TV ablaze with talent through all of season 4. Can we have her back in episode 1 of season 5, please?
  • I hope Showcase puts us out of our misery soon by announcing season 5! [Note: Since I wrote this, season 5 was confirmed.]
  • A second to this tribute tweet from Emily Andras:

     

Watch This: Orange is the New Black Season 2 Teaser

It’s a mere 30 second teaser, but it came with the announcement that all 13 episodes of season 2 of Orange is the New Black will be released on June 6 on Netflix.

I’m ready right now.