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Marvel Monday :: our thoughts on season 5 of Agents of SHIELD

21 May

This season of Agents of SHIELD had the great advantage of airing after Inhumans, which would make most anything look good. This season of Agents of SHIELD was good in and of itself, although incredibly draining and at times almost overwhelmingly dark in ways that attacked us, personally, but it’s sort of like how watching Infinity War like a week after we finally watched Justice League helped matters significantly.

So, our usual breakdown shall ensue.

  • Daisy (Chloe Bennet) sort of got her own arc this season! Which is to say, she got the destruction of the world pinned on her because of her powers and she had to fight her way out of a network of creepy blue aliens who used spoopy tech and Ben Wa balls instead of fighting fair. And she also gracefully stepped down from the role that Coulson was encouraging her towards, Director of SHIELD, which is good because even though my girl would be a great Director, she also needs a break really badly.
  • Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) really needs to only go to space when she wants to from now on because she also needs a break. Said creepy blue aliens literally had her enslaved for a few episodes, not to mention deafened to all but the leader’s voice by said spoopy tech, and that was viscerally horrifying (the aliens enslaved people for general reasons and also Inhumans for low-rate gladiatorial purposes, and all of this was horrifying) but she got to do sort of a Princess Leia move and that was good. Then came the compulsory heterosexuality, which was not good. It was not good because romantic FitzSimmons is one of our least favorite things here, and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) himself was literally the worst (again regarding Daisy), and it took up way too much of Jemma’s screentime in the back half of the season especially. Also, you can’t just establish that Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) can pop out of exile to help Fitz with a mission and then not invite him and Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) to the abruptly rushed terrible FitzSimmons wedding (honestly our thoughts about episode 100 are not favorable in general but the wedding is cringeworthy), except they did and I call bullshit.
  • Melinda (Ming-Na Wen) kicked her usual amount of ass, had more than her usual amount of UST with Coulson (Clark Gregg), and also had a subplot where she got to be a mom. I am not into the idea of every woman having to be a mother, but we know it’s something Melinda at least used to really want and since Bahrain doubted her capabilities for, so watching her act as a mom to Robin (Lexy Kolker, Ava Kolker, and Willow Hale at respective ages) in the somewhat hypothetical future timeline was unexpectedly heartwrenching. And I guess she and Coulson are finally gonna BOOOOOONE, but hey, we don’t have to watch it, so I’m okay.
  • Elena (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) spent her time in the future mostly working and helping a couple of sad space kids named Flint (Coy Stewart) and Tess (Eve Harlow) and being in love with Mack (Henry Simmons). Then in the midseason finale we found out that a future version of her had been captured by the creepy blue aliens and at some point lost her arms and knew what would happen and gave warnings. Thus, the second half of the season, once they were back in the present, was mostly devoted to trying to get the team to follow her future self’s warnings. And also dealing with the fact that she did in fact get her arms cut off (horrifyingly) and replaced with robot prosthetics (which created some drama but ultimately were useful and good). She and Mack also had a lot of debates about, essentially, morality, which was interesting. They’re very good and gay together.
  • In the first half of the season, our villains were the aforementioned creepy blue aliens. They’re Kree and they all majorly sucked, and sometimes it was funny (like the fact that Sinara [Florence Faivre] literally fought with magical Ben Wa balls, that was funny) and sometimes it was horrifying (Kasius [Dominic Rains] was basically blue Joffrey who didn’t like to get his hands dirty and when he was injured and later murdered I cheered). But they paled in comparison to…
  • In the second half of the season, we were introduced to Ruby (Dove Cameron), who was basically a baby Hydra super soldier, or if you prefer, female Kylo Ren. Her mother, General Hale (played by Catherine Dent – the character doesn’t get a first name because MCU mothers don’t matter I guess), was impregnated with dubious consent by some super creepy Hydra higher-ups and basically Ruby was raised to be the perfect soldier. Except they forgot that when you do that you basically get Kylo Ren, who has zero control over their emotions or interest in being at all reasonable or adhering to anything but their own moral code. Great job, guys. Anyway, she’s basically like if you crossed a snake and Regina George and then gave this creature sharp weapons or maybe like if you actually found one of those lizard aliens and tried to tell them how humans act? It’s an incredible performance, because Cameron is…humanoid but not quite human. There’s weird little head and eye movements she does, weird facial expressions, that make her seem just the slightest bit off. I have no idea if this was intentional or not, but having now seen her also act in Disney’s Descendants series, I have to think it must have been? She is also hilarious because she’s basically Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way from “My Immortal” except slightly more articulate and with more murder.
  • This season also included the most annoying character, Deke (JJ Ward) who we eventually find out is FitzSimmons’ grandson from the hypothetical future they travel to. When he finally tells Daisy this fact her response is, “That makes so much sense! You and Fitz are both such… special people.” Which, same. Deke is a self-serving ass. He sells Daisy into slavery and then thinks that deciding to help the others makes up for it. He also ends up in the present day through a quirk of science fiction nonsense and… just pretty much sucks all the time. The scene where he gets drunk for the first time would be hilarious if it was literally any other character, but alas. He also develops a crush on Daisy and expresses this by leaving a pile of lemons on her bed, because in the future giving people lemons was apparently a prime seduction technique. Daisy, however, wants none of his lemons and repeatedly makes this clear, which is great. Deke also spends a lot of the back half of the season trying to preserve parts of the timeline so FitzSimmons still procreate and produce his mother and therefore she produces him, because he’s afraid that if something goes wrong he’ll just go poof. And then guess what? HE DOES. A Thing happens and we just literally never see him again, with no explanation. It’s kind of a shame because JJ Ward seems like a cool enough dude, but the character just sucked.
  • And hey, remember how we mentioned that Fitz was literally being The Worst? He was. He awkwardly married Jemma literally just at the prompting of a dying Coulson (turns out Ghost Rider made his Tahiti magic go away, or whatever) and it made me think of nothing more than the terrible Jessica/Hoyt wedding at the end of True Blood, which should explain to you why it is bad. Then his evil Framework self resurfaced and did some unforgivable shit to Daisy, and then there was a lot of narrative bullshit where people were willing to brush past it (ugh), and he kind of tried to do better except he kind of just complained all the time and watched Jemma do things. And then… well. Justice has been served.
  • SPACE

–your fangirl heroines.

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Marvel Monday :: our thoughts on Agents of SHIELD season 4

23 May

Bullet-pointed for… something.

  • So, Daisy’s arc sort of got shoved to the side for most of this season, which. Alright. But she did have some great scenes with Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna), including the scene where they fight and she begs him to kill her (the spirit refuses, as it only kills those who have done things worthy of punishment). Daisy and Robbie had great chemistry together, and watching them work together in the season finale was a real treat. She also (along with Jemma [Elizabeth Henstridge]) was spared the uploading into the Framework (more on this in a minute), and together they worked to break everyone out. Some jackass decided Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) should come back in the Framework, and though she made it clear she wanted nothing to do with Ward anymore, the one misstep in her character development was when she said something OOC about how she “didn’t fully understand” the real Ward. Frustrating, but my only huge issue with her this season. They’re heading towards making her director of SHIELD, which I really hope is how the show ends.
  • Ultimately the main antagonist of this season was AIDA/Madame Hydra (Mallory Jansen). Yeah, it threw me for a loop when they announced that she’d be taking that role on in the Framework, but ultimately it made sense (more on this in a minute) and damn if Mallory Jansen is not just the most fun to watch. Over the course of the season she goes from being an amiable, if sometimes unnerving, android created by Radcliffe (John Hannah) for the purpose of protecting and defending agents (allegedly), so in effect a bulletproof lab assistant, to a thoroughly deranged character in the Framework, to a gosh darn real girl with all sorts of anger issues and raging hormones for Fitz. Who’s also got, thanks to the Framework and the Darkhold and other sinister things, most of the superpowers we’ve seen now-gone characters on the show have. She also adopts the name “Ophelia,” which I read too much into like a smarty, and turns on her creator for “demeaning” her by treating her like a robot. There kept being interesting little threads of possibility with her, some of which were followed through on and some of which were too damn meta for a television show to touch, but the true joy of this arc is Mallory Jansen’s performance. Part of me misses the bulletproof lab assistant because robot girls are fun, but also, AIDA was the most delightful antagonist we’ve seen thus far and also contributed to the undoing of… well.
  • Leopold James Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) – James, because there weren’t already twenty of those in the MCU – is on a downward trajectory. That’s putting it mildly. The beginning of the season saw Fitz lying to everyone and helping Radcliffe to build and program AIDA, despite a two-minute flash of conscience in the season premiere where he pointed out that after things like, y’know, Ultron, it probably wouldn’t be a great idea for a criminal scientist already in hot water to build a freaking robot. But all it took was a calm, pleasant explanation from AIDA and suddenly he was all aboard the robot train. As the season develops, he does such super-awesome things as guilt Daisy about her running away from SHIELD, expect his girlfriend Jemma to shoulder the burden of all of his emotional problems, save the decapitated head of the first AIDA model despite everyone including Jemma saying to destroy it but he thinks he can do something to help… and then in the Framework, he’s a sadistic torturing Nazi who happens to be fucking the same robot he’s gotten into so much trouble with already, but it’s okay because there she’s real, and using Darkhold tech he makes her a real body, which I don’t think I have to explain is the worst possible idea.
  • The Framework, as designed by Radcliffe and implemented by AIDA (the degree to which the design was modified by AIDA is somewhat unclear), was based on the premise that everyone whose consciousnesses were originally plugged in deserved to live in a nice happy digital computer world where their greatest regret was taken away. Or what Radcliffe perceived as their greatest regret. Some of these were totally reasonable – May (Ming-Na Wen) still regretting Bahrain, Mack (Henry Simmons) regretting that his daughter didn’t live past infancy, Mace (Jason O’Mara) regretting that he lied about being an Inhuman – and some were… something else. Coulson (Clark Gregg) regretted not living a “normal life” (since when was this a thing of his? Since about the episode before the Framework was revealed) and Fitz regretted… not growing up with his father. These daddy issues entered into play this season as well, and I’d previously been under the impression that he was content to have grown up with his mother, especially since according to exposition from Jemma his father was at the very least verbally abusive, but apparently not. And apparently growing up and remaining very close with his father, a class-A douchebag, led to Fitz… being a sadistic torturing Nazi. One who was nicknamed “the Doctor” no less, because that’s totally not sinister in this context. “I’m just like Ward,” he said after exiting the Framework, reflecting on the situation. Yes, yes you are, my ex-buddy, and here is why: not only did his daddy issues then shape the entire Framework into a totalitarian fascist hellscape where Inhumans were hunted and SHIELD, having been successfully taken over by Hydra, was a scrappy band of underground resistance fighters, but he…
    • Tortured (avatars of) Inhumans, several of which he later realized he’d known IRL.
    • Shot Agnes, who was the RL woman Sandwiches had modeled AIDA’s likeness on and whose consciousness and life, after she passed away IRL from a brain tumor, was uploaded to the Framework – ergo, he killed a woman.
    • Tortured Daisy, which didn’t actually harm Daisy’s RL body but if he had killed her it would in fact kill RL her because if your consciousness was plugged into the Framework if you died there you died IRL, so that was a near miss.
    • Ordered an op that ultimately killed Jeffrey Mace.
    • (As mentioned) plotted to build and then did build tech using the Darkhold, the spoopiest book of all time, to create an actual human body in the real world that would also be endowed with superpowers from all the Inhumans he’d tortured to death, so she could in effect take over the world that had done her wrong. (Even now I’m not entirely clear on how much of what ~Ophelia did in the Framework was actually AIDA and how much was a program, but either way – not great.)
    • After Jemma shot (the avatar of) his father in self-defense after trying to get him to cooperate with their goal of rescuing everyone from the Framework, Fitz tracked Jemma down and despite her screaming that IRL they were together and blah blah love blah blah he shot her (avatar) in the leg and very nearly shot her in the head and killed her. Would have likely done had Radcliffe’s avatar not intervened.
    • Oh, and I forgot to mention: while Daisy had been doing the non-terrigenesis’d totalitarian equivalent of what she does now in the Framework, Jemma was literally dead to begin with. When she awoke in the Framework she clawed her way out of a shallow mass grave. In the Framework, she and Fitz had never known each other. Despite the way that a robot version of Fitz tried to consentingly lure Jemma into the Framework with promises of happiness and marriage.
    • And the real kicker of this is: while the other people plugged into the Framework had grand revelations that either it was not a real place (Coulson) or their actions there were bad (May) or some other knowing moment of oh, shit… Fitz did not. Multiple times Fitz was given a chance to go oh, shit and repent. He did not. Also, several other characters had moments of ~knowing each other~ from RL contexts despite not knowing each other (Coulson remembered Daisy, May remembered Coulson, there was an implied flash of deja vu between Mack and Elena [Natalia Cordova-Buckley]) but Fitz looked Jemma in the eye and said that she meant nothing to him.
  • Ask us about our anti-Fitz feminist agendas.
  • In happier news, there were very good moments for the other members of the team! Coulson was a giant nerd in the Framework, which was sort of endearing; Trip (B.J. Britt) was still alive in the Framework and I miss him already; despite being the first to be replaced with a robot and hooked into the Framework, May still kicked some ass and was good; Mack and Elena are actually completely adorable together even though we all thought Mack was probably gay and we can’t even be mad that he too got roped into heterosexuality because they’re actually wonderful together; Mack was adorable and tragic with his daughter Hope (Jordan Rivera) in the Framework, even though they named her Hope when there’s already two different other Hopes in the MCU; Elena and Agent Piper (Briana Venskus) were precious and capable protecting Jemma and Daisy while they were in the Framework; Jemma my beloved was forced to sit through a lot of compulsive heterosexuality but nonetheless she was strong and badass and very good at what she needed to do.
  • But romantic FitzSimmons is dead. It needs to be dead. It needed to be dead before it even began, but it especially needs to be dead now. If any time is expended on any of the women, but especially Jemma, assuaging Fitz’s guilt complex next season, I will scream. He deserves to be guilty because he Did A Bad and while he seems perfectly capable of admitting IRL that he Did A Bad and that he was responsible for AIDA’s less than stellar changes, he never once said “I’m sorry.” He did say “I think I’m a bad person” and that’s pretty accurate. Sorry, ex-buddy.
  • The finale ended with everybody being arrested in a diner because everyone thinks SHIELD are bad guys again. And then it flashed forward an indeterminate amount of time to show Coulson on what appeared to be a spaceship, looking out at the vastness of space before getting up and “getting to work” in what seemed to be some kind of prison. I’ve seen buzz that this is leading up to SWORD, basically the intergalactic version of SHIELD, but nobody’s confirmed that one way or the other. We also have no idea if what Coulson is seeing is actually real or if he’s been put back into some kind of virtual reality or simulation to serve his punishment in. And we don’t know where anyone else is either. (We have awhile to think about it, since the show won’t be back until January 2018. Because ABC and Marvel are still trying to make Inhumans happen. It’s not going to happen.)

–your fangirl heroines.

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Television Tuesday :: 2016 and the No Trope Bingo cards

27 Dec

Ah, our old friends.

Disclaimer: I have watched maybe like… eight different shows this year because I literally can’t be bothered to undertake a lot of things that people tell me I should because I know they’ll fail me eventually and I’ll be sad.

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Bechdel fail: Agent Carter was again 100% on this, of course. (This season was far from perfect, but I’m still going to miss you, my Peggy my darling.) Agents of SHIELD‘s 2015 efforts put them above 90%, including a couple episodes that were just “smack the Bechdel test in the face,” so that’s pretty damn good; Game of Thrones also stepped it up this year, coming in around 70% I believe (the document I was keeping track in, very scientifically, got lost when I switched phones this week, oops). At least in my shows, this year did better at this than other categories.

disregarded logic: I mean, The Librarians always disregards logic. That’s kind of its thing. But again, I did not do too much screaming at my television going “THIS MAKES NO SENSE,” unlike years prior.

underused/invisible POC: Agent Carter… managed a whole one POC character this year, Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin), so that was still not great but one is at least better than none. Game of Thrones did not know what the hell to do with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) this year, which was annoying, nor did it give the Sand Snakes a lot to do although what little they did was still, in my opinion, delicious. Penny Dreadful racebent Dr. Jekyll and Dracula, so that was kind of cool? And then meanwhile Agents of SHIELD ran a glorious parade of POC characters and killed two white guys, while Luke Cage was beautifully black all the time and deal with it if you don’t like it. I feel like statistically this is a decent picture of television at large. A lot of things not really succeeding, a few standing much farther out.

dead family manpain: the Tower of Joy, which only halfway counts. Dead daughters came up sometimes, but usually from women. I’ve managed to cut most of the dead family manpain out of my television life, I hope.

invisible lesbians: no, this year was just full of dead lesbians and Sapphic ladies, in outstanding number but mostly not on my own shows. Game of Thrones instead gave us Yara Gayjoy (let’s be real, probably more like Yara Female-Leaning-But-Pan-joy, but the pun is too good) and let her shine. Penny Dreadful had a Sapphic army. And all the women of SHIELD continue to be outstandingly queer together, though it goes unsaid, but it’s not like it’s been said and it’s not being shown. It’s just implicit and I have a lot of feelings about it (also, Jemma Simmons is in the narrative closet and I will passionately argue this point based on my own real life experience).

vicious female rivalry: the demon possessing Kate (Madison Davenport) and Kisa (Eiza Gonzalez) got pretty scrappy. But considering that the paradigm of this category is Cersei vs. Margaery, it’s not quite the same thing. Cersei (Lena Headey) did in fact get way too vicious on Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and I mourn but also, narratively, at least we finally got Feast for Crows Cersei.

ho-yay: there’s none I’m explicitly recalling, which means if there was any it at least wasn’t overall detrimental.

infectious diseases: thank the gods, no.

dead prostitutes: there was a passel of them on Preacher, but Tulip (Ruth Negga) made her opinions abundantly clear and that was sort of justice for them. On the other hand, Lily (Billie Piper) led the above-mentioned army of prostitutes who murdered men for abusing them, and though poor Justine (Jessica Barden) willfully went to her end, they took revenge and it was beautiful.

dead little girls: see above re: families. Again, nothing egregious, thank the gods.

sexualized violence: eh. There’s a fine fine line, which is always tread by television and film. Nothing egregious, but also could be avoided more.

Madonna/whore: there was a bit of a play with this with Margaery’s religious conversion, but it wasn’t narratively sanctioned so much as acknowledged as a game she was playing.

Oedipal undertones: Cersei’s always a little cesty with her family members, including baby Tommen (Dean Charles Chapman), but with Cersei it kind of just is what it is and you move on.

fridging: aside from the 10001 dead Sapphic women, many of whom I cannot speak to personally, and beloved Barb (Shanon Purser), poor Margaery passed, but I don’t know it was a traditional fridge; Vanessa (Eva Green) met her end but it was of her volition; Emily (Lucy Griffiths) was among the dead of Preacher but, eh, that was a whole town, it could be worse; Candace (Deborah Ayorinde) was more vaulted than fridged; but Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell) died in a literal fire and took the corpse of Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) with him and that was justice.

gratuitous sex: I mean, nobody needed to see Grand Maester Pycelle all postcoitus but at least he died and it was also justice. A lot of sex scenes were awkward but not singularly space-fillers.

inappropriate male attention: as I cast disapproving eyes on Hive. As I cast disapproving eyes on anyone who ever looked at Nancy Wheeler, ever. As I cast disapproving eyes on Uncle Asshat Greyjoy. As I cast disapproving eyes on Dracula. Etc. This will be a problem for all eternity.

pedophilic Stockholm: mm, Sansa (Sophie Turner) basically told Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) to fuck off in the most ladylike way possible so that was satisfying.

infidelity: see also, the Tower of Joy. Etc.

custody battles: no, thank the gods.

conscious irresponsibility: Jesse (Dominic Cooper) was irresponsible, but he was also possessed, so that kind of makes up for it. Etc.

narrative neglect: see above re: Missandei, Grey Worm, and the Sand Snakes. That would be my largest complaint.

uneven f :: m ratio: technically, this is true basically everywhere. SHIELD‘s main/main supporting cast is fairly even, and Agent Carter‘s wasn’t bad; overall, more ladies, though.

narratively excused sociopathy: plenty of sociopaths but the narrative fully knew how they were sociopaths and said it.

love triangles: eh. Ehhhh.

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window dressing: mm, not in any particularly gratuitous circumsance.

narratively excused intolerance: see also: Preacher is set in a small town in Texas. It’s excused, but also it’s a picture of just that things are bad.

lack of POC: see above.

general male brooding: the only thing Lincoln Campbell did before he died, really.

lack of queer people: much much. I will observe that apparently Supergirl (which I’m still not watching, I admit) has done some cool coming-out stuff so that’s nice to hear.

narratively enforced gender policing: what of it I’ve seen has mostly been called out.

compulsive heteroeroticism: see also, romantic FitzSimmons. Jeepers.

crazy inbred hillbillies: none of those I’ve dealt with this year.

slut shaming: I’m sure there’s been but aside from the Margaery situation I’m blanking.

children as plot devices: Tommen is a plot device but honestly, that’s just how it is. Most of the kids this year were human props.

police brutality: requisite “I hate the Sokovia Accords and everything that comes from them even though a lot of it isn’t even on the TV shows” mention. Also, Luke Cage, but that was calling that out.

love interest syndrome: ah, my poor Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge). It’ll be nice when this mess is over with. For example.

pseudo-incest: hm. I could have done without Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). That’s kind of in this category.

vaulting: see above re: Candace, for the biggest example.

gratuitous consequenceless substance abuse: mm, nah, I think there were pretty well consequences.

excused unwanted overtures: and most of these were unexcused, at least.

forgive your abusers: one interesting thing about the unfortunate Hive situation was, at least, Daisy’s (Chloe Bennet) stages of grief regarding her abuse, so that was the opposite of this… but then, this is another reason I’ll drag romantic FitzSimmons, though it’s obviously to a lesser degree. So.

compulsive motherhood: not really?

“don’t do the brave thing”: a fair amount of “I am doing a brave thing but you should not because you don’t deserve to get hurt,” which isn’t the same.

(evil) white guy redemption arc: mm hey, remember how Grant Ward died twice?

narrative double standard: catchall because always, often in critical reactions.

women as plot devices: again. Sort of always.

narratively excused non-con: this year was much better.

past non-con as cheap plot device: also better.

I’m less angry this year, but I watched fewer things. So.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Marvel Monday :: on season 3 of Agents of SHIELD

23 May

So.  This is a list of our favorite things about Agents of SHIELD season 3, because this is an important list for us to make always.

5. Skimmons.
Honestly, we can sum it all up in “you can call me whatever you want.”  Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) continue to be wonderful, although their interactions are sparse.  But consider:

  • Daisy keeping the portal open for Jemma in 3.02 despite risking her own health and waiting until she saw Jemma was out to sit down
  • Daisy bringing Jemma daisies and telling her “do whatever you need to get better. We need you.”
  • The way Jemma’s pleased about getting Daisy’s name right and then later in that same conversation Daisy says “thank you Jemma”
  • Daisy hugging Jemma immediately upon Jemma’s return from being kidnapped by Nazis (again)
  • Jemma looking so emotional when she caught Daisy and Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) sexy-sparring
  • Jemma literally masterminding a mission to Romania in hopes of saving Daisy
  • Jemma and Daisy’s insanely fraught conversation in the penultimate episode

4. Language stuff.
Namely:

  • Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Melinda (Ming-Na Wen) doing the “I totally don’t speak your language, random person!” -> “completely comprehends and talks smack on the random in a different language” trick in Chinese
  • Joey (Juan Pablo Raba) and Elena (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) speaking Spanish together, and in some cases when non-Spanish speakers were in the room. I saw a lot of Spanish speakers being really excited about this on Twitter, and I know that Juan Pablo Raba mostly tweets in Spanish, so I’m sure that was really great for him to use his native lanugage.
  • Bobbi proceeding to get indignant that nobody else could apparently speak Russian, then reminding Daisy she could totally figure out a Cyrillic keyboard and calling her “sestra” later, to which Daisy replied “da”

3. My weird-ass sense of humor is here!
As I’ve said before, I have a very Tumblrish sense of humor, which not everyone (my dad) recognizes as a sense of humor at all.  It’s predicated on a few basic tenets, including humor about names and accents and language that isn’t bigoted, dry sarcasm, and things reminding me of other things.  Most of these happen sometimes, but I have never once in my life seen a television show make a name-related joke of my kind before but BOY HOWDY.

  • Hunter (Nick Blood) getting on Fitz’s (Iain de Caestecker) case for spelling it “Katelin,” which is definitely not one of the normal ways to spell that name (I verified this today by mentioning that spelling to someone with that name spelled otherwise and she made a face, so yes, it’s weird)
  • Hunter and his acquaintance having that conversation in extremely slangy British that was so thick it had to be subtitled
  • Hunter wearing camera glasses and hacking a computer because Daisy was telling him what to do, all the while Bobbi was just throwing mad shade
  • Coulson (Clark Gregg) letting Rosalind (Constance Zimmer) boss him around because he obviously missed Melinda bossing him around
  • This was only funny if you’ve seen Arrested Development, but when Lincoln started whining about how he was a MONSTERRRRRRRR all I could see was this clip of Buster Bluth with his hook-hand.

2. Ladies.
Well.

    • I’m still processing how I feel about Daisy’s arc this season (I don’t think it’s a particularly positive feeling), but some things I liked:
      • She has total control over her powers now and it is awesome. My favorite scenes were the one where she threw Hive all over the room, or when she saved her stepmom Rosalind (not really, but I thought of the joke and it made me laugh).
      • I like that she got her own team to work with, and I think that was really good for her. What we saw of them together involved her being a leader, which was pretty cool.
      • I like that she’s literally the fucking Avatar now and basically everyone exists to either keep her safe or do what she says. I hope all the people who hate her are very upset and stopped watching.
      • Also if Chloe doesn’t get any awards for the finale, so help me god.
    • Guess who has two thumbs and doesn’t believe in romantic FitzSimmons it’s THIS GIRL, so a large chunk of my feelings about Jemma’s scenes this season were uncomfortable embarrassment, but I still love her and she’s still brilliant and she’s still criminally underappreciated both in canon and on the internet.
    • Melinda continues to be a character whose most memorable moments are still largely with others, acting and reacting, so here:
      • The episode with her dad giving interesting, non-tragic backstory elements
      • Teaming up with Hunter and being much better at her job than him (and then kicking all those guys’ asses)
      • Teaming up with Bobbi and having meaningful conversations with her and kicking asses in tandem
      • Teaming up with Jemma to do things at the base and sharing some of their intense guilt and having conversations that were painful but cathartic
      • That emotional conversation she had with Daisy in the finale

 

  • Bobbi Morse come back to us.  I literally cried during her exit scene, literal tears that made my dad look at me funny, but I just love her so much and miss her and I could (and will eventually) write an essay about her batons and the way she sciences but is too restless for the lab and the fact that Mack called her brain weird and she knows a billion languages and she has no time for bullshit and she had a small but visible recovery arc and I just need her back yesterday.
  • I’m not even sure if we were actually supposed to like Rosalind or if I just have hilariously dramatic reactions to scary mean women with short hair, but I kind of loved her. Coulson became instantly bearable in every scene with her! And she was so morally ambiguous and interesting! Also everyone else’s reactions to her as the evil stepmom were weirdly hilarious to me. (I also started watching unREAL after she died, which I highly recommend, because it’s basically the same character.)
  • I want Elena to stay forever and ever and be second-best friends with Daisy (because Jemma has to be first-best it’s important) and make fun of everyone in Spanish with Joey and I guess she and Mack can date that’s okay. I love her.
  • We had really intensely strong feelings about Agent Piper (Briana Venksus) despite her only being in one episode.  She was clearly important and her first name is obviously Tegan.

 

1. Grant Ward dies twice.
I have been waiting for 966 days (I haven’t been counting, just did the math online) for Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) to die and/or leave the show. The midseason finale cruelly dangled this in front of my face by killing him, and then had his body get possessed by an Inhuman. So close. But I knew he would die for real, and I waited. And then I made a cake.

–your fangirl heroine.

distrust

Sundry Sunday :: 10 gifts that 2015 gave me

3 Jan

10. Inside Out
I wound up seeing this twice, actually, and it was just a delight.  Psychology: the animated movie!  I’m all about that.  I’m also all about cartoons that aren’t cloying, and this definitely wasn’t.

9. Jupiter Ascending
This is glorious trash and that is all there is to it.

8. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
If this had come out earlier in the year it would be higher up on the list, but I haven’t had time to crest the wave of buzz yet.  I’ve seen it twice and loved the hell out of it both times.  I love the babies, I can definitely feel my five-year-old self’s adoration for Leia swelling again.  It’s not exactly an unpredictable film but it’s so pleasant.

7. Badlands
I didn’t actually review this album here, but I absolutely love it.  Evey single song is solid gold (although I admit that “Colors” makes me giggle now because of a tumblr post pertaining to SHIELD 3.05 and “Castle,” while being one of my favorite tracks, makes me giggle now because of the Huntsman trailer).  Also, Halsey seems like a super cool person.

6. Daredevil + Jessica Jones
So I haven’t actually finished Daredevil yet but we marathoned Jessica Jones for the new year and I am in love.  I mean, I’m in love with both of these shows.  They’re ~dark and gritty~ but I’m fine with that because they’re also compelling and mostly populated by characters that I actually give a damn about.  There are really important platonic (“platonic”) relationships and hetero romances that don’t annoy me and wonderful casts that do an A+ job and it’s just so important.  Also, blowback of trauma and pulling no punches regarding it.

5. After It All
I haven’t been pre-hyped for an album like I was for this in a very long time, and it holds up so well.

 

4. lady relationships in SHIELD
Not all of the discussion here is pertinent to 2015, and there’s more to it than was written in that pre-season 3 post, so let me add also: Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) are still so important and still love each other look they hugged again finally, Jemma and Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) are so important too watch Bobbi still be one of the only people Jemma can actually talk to about things watch Bobbi have such emotion in her eyes when she sees Jemma returned from her brief kidnapping, Bobbi and Melinda (Ming-Na Wen) are so important watch Melinda test Bobbi watch Bobbi support Melinda watch them be undercover together and kicking ass together and amazing together.  Etcetera.

3. Every Open Eye
What beauty this album is.  What perfection.

2. Agent Carter
Peggy has always been my girl because vintage, but she’s also this feminine but lethal powerhouse of danger and beauty and cunning and I have a lot of emotions.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road
What a beautiful and important piece of cinema and I hope it is recognized for the masterpiece it is always.

–your fangirl heroine.

true20starry20eyes

 

 

Television Tuesday :: 10 shows and their ladies in 2015

30 Dec

So this is what I think about positivity-wise in television anymore.  Some entries by my drift partner.

10. From Dusk Till Dawn
Despite flaws (which, you know, everything has, and I’m wary of what’s going on with poor Kate [Madison Davenport] but y’know) season two of this show was essentially a 10-episode revenge arc for blessed Santanico (Eiza Gonzalez).

9. Penny Dreadful
I’m not entirely done with watching through season two of this but I continue to at least be glad about how absolutely pivotal Vanessa (Eva Green) is.  Also the episode with her and the Cut-Wife (Patti LuPone) that was basically just smashing the Bechdel test in the face and giving an origin story and the fact that our s2 big bad is Helen McCrory.

8. Game of Thrones
This show mistreats… virtually all of its women ranging from neglect to misuse to horrible crimes against their humanity to actual murder, but that doesn’t mean that the women itself aren’t incredibly fabulous.  I’ve sneaked feelings into all of my fashion posts with them, but suffice to say I have them and I love everyone, except I still have problems with Selyse [Tara Fitzgerald] and Myranda [Charlotte Hope] was horrible and the opposite of the completely separate Myranda from the books and there are other characters that I love as characters but not as people, but mostly I love everyone and hope it gets better from here and they all get a chance to do murder to asshole men.

7. The Librarians
This show continues to be hilariously silly but Cassandra (Lindy Booth) flirts with girls on accident and Eve (Rebecca Romijn) basically fills the role that would normally be a dude and there’s support and it’s sweet.  Also Cassandra is just adorable and I love her.

6. Supergirl
As well as being the first superhero television show centered around a female protagonist in more than a decade (Birds of Prey on The WB aired for a season in 2002), this show also features a great deal of relationships between women. Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) has a foster sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), who she has been close to since her arrival on Earth as a teenager, and a foster mother (Helen Slater). Her boss, Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), is dismissive of her but possessive of Supergirl, and there are frequent appearances from both her mother’s hologram and from her Aunt Astra (Laura Benanti), the latter being the villain of the piece. Episodes smash the Bechdel Test and the emotional core of the show is centered around Kara and Alex.

7. Flash
This show is…confused about what to do with its female characters on a good day, but they themselves are pretty delightful. Iris West (Candice Patton) had a plotline about her allegedly dead mother (Vanessa A. Williams) reappearing and announcing first her degenerative disease, and then the existence of Iris’ little brother, Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale), as well as dealing with the sacrificial death of her fiance, Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett). Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) also lost her fiance Ronnie (Robbie Amell), and now works for Mercury Labs while growing closer to the Earth-2 version of Flash, Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears). Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten) came on as Joe’s new partner, and was involved in a revenge plot involving her dead father (as well as being Barry’s new love interest, because these writers are still pretending Barry and Iris aren’t in love). Kendra Shaw (Ciara Renée) appears as Cisco’s new love interest, but it turns out she is actually the reincarnation of Chay-Ra, or Hawkgirl, and she will be part of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

 

5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) finally got together with Jake (Andy Samberg), completely owned the entire precinct on Halloween, and found out six-drink Amy is the least fun person ever. Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) tried out the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, broke up with her boyfriend, and came face-to-face with her old dance teacher again. Gina (Chelsea Linetti) followed Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) out of the Nine-Nine and into the PR department, egged six-drink Amy on, and passed her astronomy final.

4. Jessica Jones
This show debuted about a month after Supergirl, to a great deal of fanfare, but also skepticism. After all, Jessica Jones was a D-list character at best, nowhere near a household name, and while Daredevil had gone over very well, that character at least had the 2003 movie to give him some notoriety. Marvel’s Alias was 10 years old, semi-obscure, and the character hadn’t had a significant appearance in years. Fortunately, the showrunner chose to tell a story about abuse, survival, personal strength, and male entitlement that was disguised as a gritty superhero show. Jessica (Krysten Ritter) is a beautiful unapologetic asshole, and her friend Trish Walker (Rachael Wilson) has been the one constant in her life for years. Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) is an attorney friend – or “friend” – of Jessica’s, who sometimes works with her on cases. Hope Shlottman (Erin Moriarty) is another victim of the villain Kilgrave (David Tennant), although her ending is less happy than Jessica’s. There is also a sideplot about Jeri’s ex-wife Wendy (Robin Weigert) and her new lover Pam (Susie Ambromeit).

3. Daredevil
Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) got hired at Nelson & Murdock, as well as helping to uncover the Kingpin’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) secret hold over Hell’s Kitchen. Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) dealt with Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) stumbling into her life continuously and bleeding all over her furniture (as well as making a guest appearance on Jessica Jones, where she dealt with different bleeding superheroes stumbling into her life). Vanessa Mariana (Ayelet Zurer) stepped into her place as the female partner to Fisk’s criminal enterprise. Elena Cardenas (Judith Delgado) enlisted the help of Nelson & Murdock to try to save her apartment complex.

2. Agent Carter
Angie Martinelli (Lyndsy Fonseca) was a beautiful ray of sunshine and a constant, enthusiastic support for Peggy (Hayley Atwell) no matter whether she knew all of the details of the situation or not, because she trusted Peggy and it was beautiful.  Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan) was part of crafting an important female legacy in the overarching canon and created a compelling antagonist and equal.  And Peggy Carter is one of the most important women on television.

1. Agents of SHIELD
But Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) may arguably be one of the most important women in the entirety of media.  Daisy, previously known as Skye, is an absolute force of nature (slight pun intended) and no matter whether she’s hacking, doing social justice, supporting her people, or using her kickass Inhuman powers, she’s absolutely remarkable.  Also, Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) had both a compelling backstory and a beautifully compelling if often overtaxing current storyline, the likes of which is rarely granted to female characters.  Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) actually had screen time devoted to both her physical and emotional healing after a traumatic experience and that’s pretty damn cool.  Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) survived outer space and while there have been some minor clusterfucks in her current line she continues to be unbreakable (although it would be A+ if they stopped trying to break her so much).  Rosalind (Constance Zimmer) was the most delightfully terrifying dominatrix girlfriend known.  And let’s not forget about all of our friends from 2b, who have been previously mentioned in varying depth (fascinating Jiaying [Dichen Lachman], beautiful poignant tragic brilliant Raina [Ruth Negga], heartbreaking Kara [Maya Stojan], and Anne [Christine Adams] who I’m convinced is still involved with SHIELD but had to nope out of the Playground upon realizing that its director was going to be a doucheface about the Simmons In Space Situation and knowing that there was nothing she could do).  I feel more about this show than about other shows pretty unequivocally and I will acknowledge its flaws but I will fight you about its positive points.

–your fangirl heroines.

hug20hug20hug

Marvel Monday :: three, nearly four weeks in.

19 Oct

We’re not doing this one in our usual pros/cons giant ramble format.  I personally have several reasons why: one, there are a lot of things that haven’t been conclusively established enough to analyze yet; two, I don’t want to analyze things prematurely and have to redact my statements later; three, there are a few things I desperately want for different reasons and saying them out loud on the internet might jinx it.  So here is a list of some thinking in no particular order.

10. Daisy (Chloe Bennet) has been correcting the hell out of anyone but told Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) that “[she] can call [her] whatever [she] wants.”
This is unbelievably important.  I’ve been practicing the art of Incredibly Low Standards and my Incredibly Low Standard for last week was that Daisy and Jemma would talk to each other.  Oh, did they talk.  Oh, was it important.  This following Daisy legitimately actually saving Jemma’s life in a way that nobody else could have done.  They continue to be everything.

9.  Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) is the biggest idiot.
This is self-explanatory.

8.  Lincoln aka Pikachu (Luke Mitchell) is also somewhat of an idiot.
Why is he screaming about I’M A MONSTER only now? Shouldn’t he a) have had a better grasp of his powers and b) already gone through the I’M A MONSTER stage of Inhuman development? Unless he was talking out his ass in Afterlife, which is entirely possible.

7.  Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) is the actual worst ever.
Also self-explanatory, but I will still add that I’ve seen posts on tumblr referencing him as being very dark comedy in many ways and I agree.  He’s so outrageously full of shit that sometimes I can’t help but laugh very nervously.  His entire being and organization and premise and existence is so outlandishly awful it’s almost hilarious.  In a strange way.

6.  I have a lot of feelings about the narrative weight of trauma recovery.
Jemma’s, which is only just being explored; Bobbi’s (Adrianne Palicki) which is fascinating to me from the flip side of the brain injury stuff with Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) last year because hey, I’ve been there, rehab really is the worst, it’s interesting she’s so interesting; the work that Daisy was trying to do with Joey (Juan Pablo Raba) as a representation of what she’s trying to do with Inhumans in general; the way that Coulson (Clark Gregg) has so incredibly been an ass about projecting his own trauma (which I do not dispute would be traumatic) on everyone else’s as if he’s trying to prove he won the trauma lottery; etcetera.

5.  Daisy and Mack (Henry Simmons) being buddies is the actual most important thing.
Both from just a friendship standpoint and a teammate standpoint and a “look at these awesome folks” standpoint and just every standpoint.

4.  Let’s just take a moment to make approving noises in the general direction of Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen).
We’ve all done this, yes?  Okay.  Good.  This needs doing.

3.  Coulson and Rosalind (Constance Zimmer) is… a thing.
It sure is.  This is not to say that I actually have emotional reactions to it, but my goodness.  It’s the most obvious foe-yay.

2.  Jemma.
How many ways did the first episodes go out of the way to point out that the hell planet she was stuck on was death to all and had yielded no survivors.  But there is my girl there she is being traumatized but surviving and making it out and don’t give Fitz all the credit because maybe he put the puzzle together but Jemma kept herself alive for months and that’s incredible and I’m so proud of her.

1. Daisy.
It’s really interesting to see how far she’s come since the pilot, when she was on her own and not really interested in trusting anybody for longer than she needed to. And now she has her family and she’s working on trying to help others find theirs and it’s just…really nice.

–your fangirl heroines.