Welcome back TV Lovers! The first stand alone episode of Series 9 find the Doctor and Clara in a found footage story. Once Upon a Time had a lot of death and birth in their back-to-back episodes, while The Librarians investigate a college that inspired H.P. Lovecraft. Jane the Virgin presents us with the show’s first major time jump (and handles it beautifully). FITZSIMMONS FINALLY KISS FOR THE FIRST TIME on Agents of SHIELD, though The Mindy Project signals the beginning of some real problems for Mindy and Danny. The Flash dealt with the emotional impact of Barry and Zoom’s fight, while also bringing back Gorilla Grodd. Arrow continued Diggle’s investigation of his brother’s past, and the team’s fight against H.I.V.E.
Doctor Who 9×09 “Sleep No More” (Caitlin)
“Sleep No More” opens in media res with a group of soldiers traveling to a space station to investigate why it went dead 24 hours ago. Once on board they discover the Doctor and Clara. Together they try to figure out what happened to the crew as they are hunted by mysterious sand monsters.
The episode is set in a future where a machine can change electrical signals in the brain to allow people to work for a whole month without sleeping. Unfortunately the machine is also responsible for cannibalizing the crew and creating the sand monsters. This is one of the rare episodes that the Doctor doesn’t manage to make it right by the end of the story, and it’s the first stand alone episode of the season.
Once Upon a Time 5×08, “Birth” and 5×09, “The Bear King” (Brianna)
We got two hours of OUaT this week. “Birth” was the more intense episode, with a lot of Captain Swan moments and a pleasant cameo from Dr. Whale who delivered Zelena and Robin’s baby. This wasn’t the only “birth” in the episode, as Emma saved Hook from death in Camelot by turning him into a new dark one. In “The Bear King” we got a team-up of Merida, Mulan, and Ruby/Red Riding Hood (remember her?) for an enchanted helm that Arthur wants for nefarious purposes. While these were good episodes, I had a few problems with suspension of disbelief. You can read my complete thoughts on them here.
The Librarians 2×04, “And the Cost of Education” (Brianna)
Disappearances at a historically weird college are more than The Librarians bargained for. The case is weighty for Cassandra, who never had the chance to go to college. A Cthulu-like monster attracted to pride abducts Cassie’s newfound friend, so she ventures into an alternate dimension at the risk of her own life to save another’s. Cassie is saved by Beth Riesgraf (of Leverage fame), one of three mysterious ladies of the lake. They offer Cassie the chance to join them, which she politely declines in favor of being a Librarian. However, it seems to set up a possible schism between Cassie and Jenkins, as she thinks maybe the Lake people have the right idea, balancing science and magic in the real world.
Jane the Virgin 2×06, “Chapter Twenty-Eight” (Meg)
This week’s Jane the Virgin finally caught up with the present so that it’s now being told in real time. Instead of just a single flash-forward, they accomplished it in a way much more suited to the show, in that the story was told through six different vignettes, each occurring one month apart. The story primarily focused on Jane trying to juggle life as a mother with the beginning of her time in grad school. Though the show has definitely done this before, they haven’t really shown Jane’s performance as a mother or as a student suffer as much as it does here. None of this is Jane’s fault, of course, and the show makes that clear. But the “best” part is how real this all feels, and that as viewers we really ache for Jane as she adjusts to the new rhythm of her life. Meanwhile, Petra learns that she’s having twins (and becomes a nicer person in the process?), Rogelio struggles to deal with life post-Santos, and Michael begins working to take down Sin Rostro. I wasn’t thrilled with how the show chose to, essentially, skip the emotional process of getting over Michael, but I’m hoping that in defeating Sin Rostro he and Jane can actually come closer together and AT LEAST become friends.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×08, “Many Heads, One Tale” (Meg)
AT LONG LAST, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. FEELS LIKE ONE SHOW INSTEAD OF FOUR OR FIVE SEPARATE ONES! Lincoln has officially joined the team, making his existence on the show at least SOMEWHAT relevant to the rest of the show. After “connecting” with Rosalind on a deeper level, Coulson decides to finally figure out what the ATCU’s intentions are once and for all. The entire team works together to get inside the organization and figure out how much of what Rosalind has told them is accurate. While the team (and Rosalind, actually) realize that the ATCU is really being controlled by Rosalind’s partner (and secret HYDRA head), Ward learns more about HYDRA’s history from the man. Turns out that the entire point of HYDRA from the very beginning was about retrieving their inhuman overlord from the mysterious planet that Jemma was previously stuck on. WHICH BRINGS US TO FITZSIMMONS. WHO HAD A WONDERFUL EPISODE WHERE THEY BOTH VENTED ALL OF THEIR EMOTIONS FROM THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS (God I love the attention they’re starting to get) AND ACTUALLY KISSED FOR THE FIRST TIME. SO THAT WAS EXCITING. And, yes, very impatient for the show to return in a couple weeks!
The Mindy Project 4×10, “The Departed” (Meg)
Oh, okay, so apparently Chris Messina is shooting a movie. Can’t blame him for that…but the show is really suffering from his absence. So is Mindy, funnily enough. In her loneliness, she ends up joining a support group for people whose spouses have died. It works fairly well, for the most part, and definitely helps her cope with being alone at a time when she really needs the support. This works really well…until the truth comes out (when a widower at the group tries to make a move on her). Tragically, we also must say goodbye to Mindy’s completely enviable apartment, as she’s really not using it any more. But at the end of this, Peter confronts Mindy by showing her how much she’s really giving up just for the sake of making things work with Danny. Which, of course, is a totally valid point. Part of a healthy relationship is making sacrifices, but Peter is totally right in telling Mindy to start making compromises with Danny, rather than compromising herself. Also, surprise surprise, it turns out that Tamra is an underground blues singer where she sings hilarious songs about her history with Morgan. And thankfully, the episode concludes with Danny’s epic return!
The Flash 2×07, “Gorilla Warfare” (Megan)
Barry’s body recovers from his fight with Zoom, but the team can tell that he’s not okay because of the trauma of being defeated in front of the whole city. Grodd returns and kidnaps Caitlin, and the team tricks him into releasing her by dressing Earth-2 Wells up as the Reverse Flash. After some encouragement from his father and Joe, Barry feels well enough for to lure Grodd to a dimensional breach which Wells explains will send him to a sanctuary on Earth-2 for other gorillas who have been experimented on. Cisco also attempts to go on a date with Kendra Saunders and keeps getting vibes of a winged figure (yay Hawkgirl!). I enjoyed seeing Barry struggle with the emotional toll of his encounter with Zoom in a very realistic way, and I appreciated that it was Iris who called his father to come and help Barry. I’m also glad that the Grodd storyline finally got a proper conclusion (though that gorilla sanctuary was giving me major Planet of the Apes vibes). Next week doesn’t have new Flash, but when it returns December 1st it is for part one of the Flash/Arrow crossover!
Arrow 4×07, “Brotherhood” (Megan)
After Diggle reveals the truth about his brother’s criminal activity to Oliver, they discover that Andy may in fact still be alive, and working for H.I.V.E. The team tries to be supportive of Diggle, and discover that H.I.V.E. is using mind control, but Diggle still sees his brother as nothing more than a traitor. With some help from Ray in his A.T.O.M. suit, the team extracts Andy from H.I.V.E., and he confirms that everything in the file Diggle was given is true. During the rescue Thea encounters Darhk, and finds her blood lust momentarily gone because of some power he has. She tells Malcolm Merlyn that she want to use Darhk to find a cure for the blood lust (and hopefully share that cure with Sara Lance if she does find it, because that would only be fair). Ollie also continues his mayoral campaign and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if Darhk knew yet that Ollie is the Green Arrow, but I couldn’t come to any conclusion on that front. I felt like the team was struggling a lot in this episode, which makes sense when you consider what some of them are going through, but it felt like some of the ensemble energy was also missing as a result. Just like The Flash, Arrow will not have a new episode next week, but it will be back December 2nd!