Welcome back, TV lovers. In Doctor Who, the Doctor is reeling from the loss of Clara, and is trapped in a nightmarish castle. In an episode with double the guest stars, The Librarians face Faustian deals with a devilish John de Lancie. On Once Upon a Time, Hook has literally gone to the dark side and Emma must stand against him. The Flash and Arrow had their epic crossover this week, and it was a story that successfully filled the two episodes with lots of excitement. Jane the Virgin was, sadly, off this week. Agents of SHIELD set the stage for what’s sure to be an explosive mid-season finale. And The Mindy Project revealed that Danny and Mindy’s relationship might actually be set to fail.
Doctor Who 9×11, “Heaven Sent” (Caitlin)
The entire episode of “Heaven Sent” is just the Twelfth Doctor dealing with his grief over Clara while trapped in a castle that can reset and move rooms around. He is chased by a manifestation of death, lurching around in a veil and groaning. The Time Lord discovers by accident that if he confesses something secret, the Veil will freeze and he is able to escape momentarily. But then the castle will reset and the whole ordeal will start all over again.
The whole time he is trapped he’s talking, either to himself, the audience or Clara. When he has to think, he visualizes himself in his TARDIS where he imagines Clara talking to him via a chalkboard. Eventually he discovers a way out of the castle labeled HOME in room 12, but it is behind a wall that is thicker than diamond. It’s a dead end, and the Veil comes for the Time Lord.
At which point the entire episode resets and The Doctor materializes from the teleporter all over again. He goes through the same path, finally discovering home, only to be captured by the Veil. Slowly he starts punching his way through the wall. It takes two billion years but he’s finally “home.” It’s not the TARDIS but Gallifrey! He tells a boy to run into the capital and let the Time Lords know the Doctor returned home “the long way around.”
Once Upon a Time 5×10, “Broken Heart” (Brianna)
OUaT was heavy on the Captain Swan this week, which was to be expected since we pick up right where “Birth” left off. In Camelot, fully dark Emma tries to help Killian battle his new darkness. They vacillate between I love you/I hate you so frequently I had emotional whiplash. Emma even gives Killian Excalibur, promising never to control him with it. Unfortunately, her faith in her pirate boyfriend is not justified by his subsequent actions. Hook enacts the curse that returned them all to Storybrooke by crushing Merlin’s heart. Cue some flimsy magic logic where Nimue is a part of all the Dark Ones, so it apparently counts as Hook “killing what you love most.”
Emma adjusts the curse, taking everyone’s memories to keep Hook’s Dark status a secret until she can save him. In the present, Hook embraces his power and takes a few of Emma’s recent memories so she can’t fill in the Heroes about his plan. She reunites with her family who still love her but no longer trust her. With a new lust for vengeance, Hook challenges Rumple to a duel to settle their centuries-long feud. Rumple manages to best him and take Excalibur, but he’s played right into the Dark One’s hands. With Rumple’s blood–the blood of a man who’s died and come back– Hook opens a portal to the underworld. Emma and her family get their memories back just in time for all the Dark Ones of ages past to arrive in Storybrooke.
The Librarians 2×06, “And the Infernal Contract” (Brianna)
The Clipping Book sends The Librarians to a small town where Baird is already meeting up with an old army friend (Michael Trucco). Sam Denning’s mayoral campaign is suffering since his intern disappeared under mysterious circumstances. When the team find her body, they determine Denning’s opponent has a contract with a devil to ensure political success. The intern came too close to discovering it and died as a result. When the team steals the contract, Denning takes it and makes his own deal to save his campaign. Eve and the Librarians are then forced to stop an impending tragedy by beating the devil (John de Lancie) at his own game.
This was a great episode, not just because of the wonderful antagonist, but also for characterization. We get insight into what each of the Librarians desires, and that Eve is already working wonders as a Guardian by helping them avoid magical temptation. I also loved that we got more of Jenkins working as part of the team, and it is his immortality that helps cinch Eve’s plan to nullify the contract.
Nerd Easter Egg for you: Just as Eve says goodbye to Denning, there is a large sign behind him that says “FRACK.” That’s the substitute swear word popularized by Battlestar Galactica, in which Michael Trucco starred.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×09, “Closure” (Meg)
Ohhhhhh holy misogyny. Or not misogyny, EXACTLY, but Agents of SHIELD’s willingness to CONTINUOUSLY kill off its women and people of color, particularly for the sake of the plot. So this week’s episode kicks off with Rosalind being murdered by Ward right in front of Coulson, who then is sent on a rampage for revenge. Nearly killing FitzSimmons, murdering dozens of civilians, and trying to rebuild HYDRA weren’t enough for Coulson to hate Ward, apparently, but killing one woman he’s been on two dates with is. Sure. Okay. In the meantime, Ward captures Fitz and Simmons in an effort to figure out how to get to the alien planet Simmons was once stranded on. After hearing Simmons being tortured in another room, Fitz is willing to give up the information that Ward wants, and the two (plus a few henchmen and, weirdly, Coulson at the last second) travel to said planet in an attempt to retrieve both Will and the Inhuman. As invested as I am in all of these characters, I’m just about DONE with how many strong female characters have been murdered while WARD IS STILL ALIVE. There’s a small chance he’ll be killed in the mid-season finale, but I’ve come to seriously lower my expectations for this show. So, like I said, we’ll see.
The Mindy Project 4×12, “The Parent Trap” (Meg)
This week’s episode of The Mindy Project pretty much picked up where the previous episode left off, with Danny consistently ignoring Mindy’s declarations that she loves her career and plans on continuing to kick ass as a working mother. When she continues working, despite his wishes for her to stay home, he comes up with a new plan: Get her pregnant again, and then with the added pressure of a second child she’ll have to give in and stay home. The main problem with this plan is that he’s trying to get her pregnant without her consent, by seducing her to the point that she’ll agree to have sex without contraception. Mindy figures this out, of course, and takes matters into her own hands by getting Jody to give her a prescription for birth control pills. In the middle of all of this, Mindy’s first pregnant client at her fertility clinic is on the verge of giving birth, about which Mindy is thrilled and Danny is completely ambivalent. Just before Mindy’s patient delivers, she and Danny have an explosive fight about their different wishes for their family, and while Mindy is still on a high from her first delivery with her new business, Danny tells her that he wants to postpone the wedding. And I’m left at the end trying to figure out when this show went from being one of my favorite sit-coms to a twenty-five minute-drama.
The Flash 2×08 Crossover Part 1, “Legends of Today” (Megan)
A man by the name of Vandal Savage appears in Central City trying to kill Kendra, and calling her “Priestess Shayera.” Barry decides that they need help from Team Arrow in order to protect her, until they figure out how to stop Savage (Merlyn also drops by and tells them that Savage is immortal, just to make things more difficult). Kendra is briefly captured by Carter Hall, who explains that he and Kendra are soulmates from ancient Egypt who have been hunted in all of their 206 lifetimes by Savage. Despite Barry and Oliver’s attempts to stop him, Savage gets the Staff of Horus, which will help him kill Kendra and Carter. While all of this is going on, Caitlin and Harrison Wells stay at S.T.A.R. Labs, trying to create a serum which will help boost Barry’s speed for his next encounter with Zoom.
Arrow 4×08 Crossover Part 2, “Legends of Tomorrow” (Megan)
Malcolm arranges a meeting with Savage, Barry, and Oliver, and Savage warns them that if they do not turn over Kendra and Carter, he will destroy both Central City and Star City. Oliver is distracted by discovering he has a son, so when the team comes up with their plan to take down Savage, it fails, and Barry runs back in time to the arranged meeting with Savage. He tells Oliver the truth, and tells him they need to do things differently, even if there might be consequences for changing things. This time, they bring the full team, and the fancy gauntlets Cisco built for Barry to use the Staff work, and the team defeats Savage. Kendra and Carter decide to go live as heroes in another city, and Oliver repeats his lie to Felicity about his son, but in this timeline she doesn’t find out. In the final shot, Malcolm returns to the scene of the fight and collects some of Savage’s ashes.