Welcome back, TV Lovers–and welcome to Winter Finales! Doctor Who ended its series 9 run with “Hell Bent.” Once Upon a Time wrapped up its Dark Swan arc and set the stage for a rescue mission in the Undeworld. Meanwhile, The Librarians confront the idea of appearance while investigating at an elite club. Agents of SHIELD actually killed off a major character, and The Mindy Project seemed headed towards a huge break-up for its main couple. The Flash and Arrow ended their holiday-themed winter finales on very different notes.
Doctor Who 9×12 “Hell Bent” (Caitlin)
After breaking out of the confession dial, the Doctor finds himself on Gallifrey. The President wants to arrest him, but the rest of the TIme Lords view the Doctor as a war hero and refuse to comply. They exile the President instead, leaving the Doctor the de facto ruler of Gallifrey once again. When asked for more information about the Hybrid, the Doctor instead demands they extract Clara from right before her death to rescue her.
The Time Lords comply, thinking they’ll get more information about the hybrid from Clara. Right before the Raven comes for Clara, a rift opens in the Trap Street and she stumbles onto Gallifrey. As a side effect of her extraction right before her death, Clara doesn’t have a heartbeat. Once the Doctor is reunited with his companion, he steals the General’s gun, forces him to regenerate and runs down into the Cloisters to escape.
There is a secret escape hatch in the Cloisters that the Doctor discovered when he was still on Gallifrey. He steals another TARDIS, this one with a console room just like the First Doctor’s, and takes Clara to the end of the universe. Waiting for him is Ashildr, still immortal after all these years. She suggests that Clara and the Doctor together are the Hybrid. Which is why the Time Lord is determined to erase Clara’s memory of him so she can live in peace. Clara refuses to go along with the Doctor’s plan. In a twist, it is the Doctor that loses his memory of her. In the end, Clara and Ashildr travel in the 1960s TARDIS while the Doctor moves on, alone.
Once Upon a Time 5×11, “Swan Song” (Brianna)
I supplied a full recap earlier in the week, but here’s a highlights version: we finally see the roots of Hook’s daddy issues and a related secret. Before Evil Queen Regina sent Hook to kill Cora, she tested Killian’s resolve by reuniting him with his father. In the present, Emma is prepared to sacrifice herself to save her family from the Underworld. Hook ends up the martyr instead, extinguishing the darkness with Emma’s help. Unfortunately, Rumple played them all and now he’s the most powerful Dark One ever. Can’t wait to see how he screws everyone over when the show returns in March 2016.
The Librarians 2×07, “And the Image of Image”
A popular English nightclub is the focus of this week’s investigation: people in its vicinity are experiencing overdoses, intoxication, etc., without having participated in any sinful activities. The root of the magic is Dorian Gray, using selfies and the cloud to keep himself young and healthy while innocent people suffer the harmful effects. The team manages to turn the spell back on the narcissist and save the day, but it leaves the team members evaluating their own mortality. I liked that they made a point to indicate that Dorian is not a Fictional like Prospero or Moriary. He’s a real person who Oscar Wilde tried to warn the world against through his book.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×10, “Maveth” (Meg)
FREAKING FINALLY AGENTS OF SHIELD MANAGED TO CUT SOME OF THE SHOW’S FAT! By which I mean both killing off an effectively useless character and writing out a storyline, which will hopefully lead to some leaner, more focused storytelling in the second half of the season. So, most of the midseason finale focused on HYDRA trying to reclaim the “commander” inhuman from the alien planet, while Fitz and Coulson tried to prevent them from returning to earth. Fitz did manage to find Will, and after Will “accidentally” off-ed the non-Ward HYDRA members, Fitz and Will pretty much stick together, with Coulson and Ward following behind, all four trying to hash out their issues in the meantime. In the end, it turns out that Will had died and then become possessed with the evil inhuman, leading Fitz to kill him (via rocket launcher). Coulson then, in a blind, Rosalind-induced rage, crushes Ward’s chest. Thankfully, both Fitz and Coulson are able to get back through the portal by the episode’s end. When they return, however, they learn that in the meantime Jemma had released Andrew/Lash in an effort to save her own life, and he ended up murdering all of the inhumans that HYDRA had in custody. So…while HYDRA is far from over (since the evil, alien inhuman is now inhabiting Ward’s body and is back on Earth), they’re definitely back to the drawing board in terms of starting a war against SHIELD.
The Mindy Project 4×13, “When Mindy Met Danny” (Meg)
As this season has gone on, The Mindy Project has become increasingly serialized. Every episode pursues the ongoing theme of Mindy seeking a balance between her work life and home life while also dealing with Mindy and Danny’s constant relationship struggles. As this week’s episode was the mid-season finale, things had to come to a head, but the show made sure we knew where things were headed when they showed us flashbacks from Danny and Mindy’s first week of working together. Tensions are especially high between the two in the present-day of this week’s episode, with the two constantly fighting, and seemingly not even TRYING to understand each other. In the flashbacks, we find out that Mindy was hired completely on accident, and that partly because of this Danny spent her first week trying to get her fired. The two end up becoming friends (after Mindy proves her worth as a skilled doctor), though the issues between them are not completely resolved. At the end of the episode, realizing that there’s a chance Danny will never truly accept who she is and love her with her flaws, rather than in spite of them, we see her contemplating moving back into her old apartment with Leo.
The Flash 2×09, “Running to Stand Still” (Megan)
Mark Mardon returns to town and breaks Captain Cold and the Trickster out of prison to help him kill the Flash. Snart bows out, and warns Barry in return for him having saved his sister. Mardon and the Trickster hide bombs disguised as presents throughout the city and tell Barry to turn himself over but Wells, Cisco, and Jay come up with a way to get rid of the bombs through the dimensional breaches. Barry goes and takes down the villains, only to have Patty show up threatening to kill Mardon for killing her father. Barry (as the Flash, so she doesn’t know it’s him) talks her down. Wells agrees to help Zoom with his plan to make Barry faster in exchange for Zoom not hurting his daughter. As everyone gathers at Joe’s house to celebrate the holidays, his son Wally West that he has never met shows up on the doorstep. It was a fun episode in preparation for the holidays, although I was groaning as Wells agreed to work with Zoom. I’m excited to watch Wally West join the cast, and curious about how much longer Patty is going to be kept in the dark about Barry being the Flash, because while it was funny this week, it seems like it is going to get old fast.
Arrow 4×09, “Dark Waters” (Megan)
Darhk sends a drone to shoot at one of Oliver’s campaign events, and so Oliver decides to out Darhk as the leader of the Ghosts who have been terrorizing the city. For revenge, Darhk captures Diggle, Felicity, and Thea at Oliver’s campaign holiday party. Oliver offers to exchange himself for them, with Malcolm (dressed as the Green Arrow) and Laurel coming in for backup, just in time to stop Darhk from killing his prisoners in front of Oliver. Later, Oliver proposes to Felicity at a Christmas tree lighting, and as they drive off in a limo, armed men appear, and Felicity is shot. And nobody cares what happened on the island flashbacks, so I’m not even going to mention it. This was a very dark holiday episode, which isn’t surprising for Arrow, but it made a very stark contrast with the happy surprise ending of The Flash.