We’re back for another TV recap post! Doctor Who started a new story arc as The Doctor and Clara find themselves “Under the Lake” in 2119. The Flash and Arrow premiered their new seasons (and new villains). On Once Upon a Time, the new Dark One’s curse and a sudden arrival of Camelot residents are the least of Regina’s problems as she tries to fill the role of “Savior.” The Mindy Project made some questionable decisions regarding feminism, and Agents of SHIELD welcomed back several characters missing from the premiere.
Doctor Who 9×03 “Under the Lake” (Caitlin)
In the second story arc of Series 9, the Doctor and Clara have moved on from their death-defying encounter on Skaro and have resumed their regular adventures. The TARDIS lands in an underwater base where the Time Lord and companion find themselves in midst of a mystery. It all started when the crew brought aboard an alien spaceship. They have no idea where it came from since the village built around the base was abandoned and intentionally flooded long ago. Soon after the commander is killed but is reanimated and appears almost like a ghost. By the time Clara and the Doctor arrive, the surviving crew has holed up in the Faraday Cage. If they leave the cage at night, their departed commander chases after them.
At first the Doctor refuses to believe in ghosts. But he is invested and wants to get to the bottom of the mystery. They manage to trap the ghosts in the cage where one of the crew members reads their lips and discovers they’ve been saying “the dark, the sword, the forsaken, the temple” over and over again. The Doctor realizes they must be coordinates referring to the village that was submerged underwater. He needs to visit the village before the flood happened to figure exactly what is going on. At the end of the episode there is an excellent cliffhanger that makes the wait for “Before the Flood” nearly impossible.
Once Upon a Time 5×02, “The Price” (Brianna)
In flashbacks, the Storybrooke gang discovers Merlin is imprisoned in a tree in Camelot. To keep Emma’s condition as The Dark One a secret, Regina pretends to be the savior prophesied to release the sorceror. Their identities are jeopardized when Sir Percival recognizes the former Evil Queen and tries to kill her. Robin receives the mortal wound instead, and Regina begs Emma to use her magic to save him. Emma does so, but refuses to collect the proper payment: Regina’s own life.
With the town still reeling from Emma’s transformation, Regina takes it upon herself to take up the mantle of “savior” and protect everyone from the latest curse. But can she pay the ultimate price when a fury comes to collect on the debt she incurred back in Camelot?
J.Mo as The Dark Swan continues to provide delicious antagonism and angst, but my favorite scenes this week were in the Camelot flashbacks. We were granted some overdue happy moments: Mary Margaret finally sharing the royal life she imagined for her daughter, David/Charming swooping in to advise Henry on his first crush, and a return to the Belle and Grumpy/Leroy friendship from Season One.
Castle 8×03, “PhDead” (Kayla)
Castle plans to get Beckett to fall back in love with him, by forcing his way on to her cases. This week’s victim was a frat boy in a prison jumpsuit impaled on a branch. Escaped convict? Early Halloween costume? Castle goes undercover at the victim’s university and gets some help from Alexis, Ryan, and Esposito. There are some truly wonderful moments between Rick and Alexis, as this is the first time they’ve seen each other in a college setting.
Undercover, Castle and Alexis follow clues of the victim’s possible affair with a professor. Instead, they uncover a recreation of the Stanford Prison Experiment, but the inmates are no longer there voluntarily. Castle performs a citizen’s arrest and brings the professor to Beckett at the precinct, like a dog bringing its owner a soggy newspaper. And the gesture goes over just as well. In the meantime, the experiment is cleaned out by whoever was funding it. Castle brings Beckett back to the “prison” to work the story from a new angle, and end up sharing a moment after Castle locks them both in the victim’s former prison cell.
They realize the victim couldn’t have escaped by himself. Another prisoner had helped him escape, murdered him, and then gone back to the prison, with no one the wiser. To no one’s surprise, it was the only “inmate” who had lines the first time Castle visited the “prison.” The team is able to get the confession they need, and get closure on the case. Meanwhile, Beckett is still pursuing the people loosely tied to her mother’s murder to seek justice. She has a moment of doubt, brought on by her love of Castle, but decides to keep pursuing this case anyway.
Agents of SHIELD 3×02, “Purpose in the Machine” (Meg)
Thankfully, this week’s Agents of SHIELD was a big improvement upon last week’s. We got to see what May has been up to recently (spending time with her dad in Arizona), and we got to see Ward’s progress with rebuilding HYDRA. Though Ward is my least favorite character by far, this week’s episode felt more balanced in terms of screen time for all of the different regulars. The main story this week, however, focused on the team’s attempts to rescue Jemma from the alien planet she was sent to via alien-rock-portal. What I really loved about this plot was that it involved the entire team except for the three characters previously mentioned. Skye and Fitz put forth the biggest efforts to save her (with Skye controlling the rock using her powers and Fitz travelling through the portal to retrieve Jemma), but they emphasized how it was a team effort. At the end of the episode, the show revealed that Jemma is clearly suffering from some sort of PTSD from her time in space. Though the past season indicates that they might bulldoze over Jemma’s character development in favor of FitzSimmons becoming canon, they have potential for a really rich story about trauma and strength. So fingers crossed that they get to focus on Jemma as an individual and don’t try to “cure PTSD with love” or something like that.
The Flash 2×01, “The Man Who Saved Central City” (Megan)
The singularity cliff-hanger from the season finale is quickly resolved in a number of flashbacks showing how Barry and Firestorm saved the city – but Ronnie was killed in the process. Wracked with guilt, Barry is eventually talked into making an appearance at the city’s Flash Day celebration, where a metahuman tries to kill him. And finally, at long last, Barry is able to free his father from prison with a recorded confession from Eobard Thawne left to Barry in his will. It was an episode that jumped around a lot, simultaneously trying to tie up loose ends from last season, and set things in motion for the new. So much was focused on plot that it felt like the characters were mostly there to keep things moving, without much character development for any of them.
The Mindy Project 4×04, “The Bitch is Back”
The Mindy Project took an unexpected turn this week as Mindy’s maternity leave ended and she tried (rather unsuccessfully) to return to work. On her first day back, Mindy butts heads with the doctor who replaced her while she was on leave, Jodie. He subscribed to a form of misogyny that believed in traditional gender roles, in a way that highlighted the differences between men and women without emphasizing the point that both were capable genders. Women were respected, as a gender, but in a way that limited their role in life. Jodie’s was also a definition of gender that was completely binary and ignorant of individuality and had no room for compromise or room for Mindy’s opinion. The main issue here is that the episode seemed to endorse Jodie’s seemingly non-threatening sexism, and in the end Danny got his way when Mindy consented to becoming a stay-at-home mom. Though I doubt this change will be permanent, it was still really frustrating to see feminism lose on so many grounds in just one episode.
Arrow 4×01, “Green Arrow” (Megan)
When city leadership is attacked, Thea and Laurel go behind Diggle’s back to bring Oliver and Felicity back from their happy domestic life (and interrupting the moment right before Oliver was going to propose to Felicity). Damien Darhk is the one terrorizing Star City with a group of “Ghosts” but Oliver and the team prevent them from blowing up the train station. Oliver sends out a video message proclaiming himself the Green Arrow, and a symbol of hope for the city. It’s also revealed that Captain Lance has gotten himself mixed up with Darhk, which made me sad because I used to like him so much. I enjoyed the setup for the new season, and the quieter moments like Diggle at home with Lyla, and the opening with happy Oliver and Felicity. I’m not jumping up and down with excitement for the new season, but I am cautiously excited to see this new Oliver/Green Arrow develop.
What did you watch this week, Geekettes?