These past few weeks on TV…
Once Upon a Time 6×08,“I’ll be Your Mirror”
Emma and Regina’s plan to trap the Evil Queen gets turned back on them. While they struggle to find a way out of the world behind the mirror, EQ impersonates Regina to get close to Henry. Emma and Regina discuss their fears regarding their own impending deaths, as well as raising Henry alone. They also find The Dragon being held prisoner in the mirror world. He points them to a possible way out, but it isn’t until Henry smashes the mirror on the other side that they break free. Meanwhile, Belle asks for Zelena’s help in escaping from Rumple. They employ Aladdin to sneak into the pawn shop and steal the sorcerer wand that opens portals. The Dark One retaliates, magically shackling Belle with a bracelet so he can trace her movements. Aladdin manages a prize of his own: a genie lamp, which he intends to use in helping Jasmine find out what happened to Agrabah.
The episode had a few good moments, but I wasn’t feeling it quite as much as others this season. Rumbelle seems to be a sinking ship, delving deeper into unhealthy behaviors. Snow and Charming’s “new normal” thanks to their sleeping curse tugged at the heart-strings, but really Henry came out shining in this episode.
The Librarians 3×01, “..And the Rise of Chaos”
Glory glory hallelujah, The Librarians marches ooooon! Season three kicks off with Eve training Stone, Ezekiel, and Cassandra harder than ever. She confesses to Flynn that she feels like they need to be prepared for something big coming. The clippings book bursts into flames, and Eve ought to just look into the camera like it’s The Office. Listen to the Guardian, folks. She knows what’s up.
Apep, an Egyptian god of chaos that was sealed away by The First Librarian, returns. Team Librarian tracks him to the Boston Science Museum, where he obtains a key that will help him unlock Pure Evil. Apep’s power to initiate discord with people makes for some funny moments, but there’s nothing more hilarious than how the team beats him. The opposite of chaos is harmony, so they literally sing him to defeat. But he’s not the only force the team will reckon with this season: along the way they run afoul of the Department of Statistical Anomalies. DOSA is an amateur government agency tasked with exploring the unusual events often linked to Library artifacts. Apep gets away, and Jenkins ominously tells Flynn that the ultimate battle between Good and Evil isn’t coming…it’s already started.
Once Upon a Time 6×09, “Changelings”
In the present, Gold/Rumple makes it clear that he’s willing to use dark magic to speed up Belle’s pregnancy. Emma and Killian help Belle research anything to stop him. Another dreamscape encounter with her unborn son leads Belle to some dried squid ink. Killian and Emma use it to temporarily incapacitate Rumple while they search his shop. Emma is taken aback by the sudden vision of her death, with new details. Rumple makes a beeline for Belle at the library, and after a fearful confrontation she convinces him not to use magic on their son.
In flashbacks, Rumplestiltskin tells his maid Belle to watch a baby he’s stolen. Fearful for the child’s fate, Belle sneaks into the library to find out what he’s using the baby for. She comes across a fairy incantation and translates it, just as Rumple planned. He locks Belle in the tower and uses the baby as bait to summon The Black Fairy, played by Jaime Murray. The Blue Fairy helps Belle escape, and she overhears the confrontation between The Dark One and the mother who abandoned him.
Yeah. That’s right, folks. We now know Rumple’s full parentage, as if the family tree wasn’t wacky enough already. Jaime Murray’s role in the episode was short and the mama drama came out of left field, but I still bought her as Rumple’s issue-ridden mother.
Back in the present, Snow encourages Jasmine to use the genie lamp and find Agrabah. Unfortunately, when they rub the lamp, all that comes out are two magical shackles. No genie, no magic wishes. Aladdin becomes the new genie before Jasmine can stop him. A sweet gesture, but it’s totally going to screw them over next episode. Elsewhere, EQ takes Rumple’s suggestion to heart and tries to kill Zelena, but Regina intervenes. She calls out her evil half for desperately trying to fulfill the emptiness in her heart, and then airs her grievances with her sister about Robin’s death.
Meanwhile, Belle’s stomach suddenly swells at Granny’s: her tea has been doused with dark magic. She goes into labor with Mother Superior/Blue, Emma, and Killian at her side. One more dreamscape meeting convinces Belle to make the choice she’s been running from: giving up her son to keep him from his father. She names Blue as his fairy godmother, and asks her to take Gideon—named after the main character of her favorite book—someplace safe. Rumple arrives too late to meet his son, or even learn his name.
He takes out his anger on in the pawn shop, where a smug Evil Queen awaits. She gloats that no one will believe she tampered the tea and not Rumple. Later, Emma and Killian return to the pawn shop to find what triggered Emma’s vision: the sword that will kill her.
The Librarians 3×02, “…And the Fangs of Death”
Flynn has a foreboding dream about the Ultimate Battle, prompting him to seek out Charlene for answers. He and Eve find her taking an emotional vacation in an Incan temple. I could’ve used more explanation as to where Charlene’s been, but at least we finally get on-screen confirmation of facts that the showrunners had to cut from Season One: Charlene is more than the Library’s accountant, she was the first Guardian and Judson was the first Librarian.
The temple is attacked by Apep before Charlene can leave with Flynn and Eve. Seemingly gone (again) without a trace, Flynn tinkers with The Doorway to find Charlene. He and the LITs end up at a supercollider facility in Canada that’s now under lockdown because the crew is turning into werewolves. Apep appears to have possessed Charlene and triggered the explosion responsible for the “infection.” The whole thing was a trap for the Librarians, and Apep’s brought the Egyptian god Anubis to take out his enemies with a werewolf army.
Ezekiel gets infected, and has a limited amount of time to help the team send Anubis back through the supercollider. Flynn believes Charlene to be dead and blames himself for not recognizing Apep’s trap sooner. After defeating the two gods, Flynn finds evidence that Charlene is alive and leaves on his own to find her.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×09, “Deals with our Devils”
THANK GOODNESS this show is back. Melinda, Mack, Daisy, and Director Mace are baffled as to the sudden disappearance of their teammates. Little do they know they’re among friends, literally. The explosion shifted Fitz, Coulson, and Robbie to another plane of existence identical to our own. They see and hear the team talking about their “deaths”, though Daisy refuses to believe it. Brilliantly directed and filmed, we see certain scenes from two points of view: those still on our plane, and those on the ghostly plane. I think this other realm was a tie-in to Doctor Strange, but I’m not 100% sure.
Robbie begins to suffer in the other realm as the Ghost Rider fights to escape. He abandons Robbie and possesses Mack (!!!) to go after Eli. Uncertain as to what’s literally under Mack’s skin, Daisy goes after him in Robbie’s hellcharger, unaware that Robbie’s beside her the whole way. Meanwhile, it’s Coulson who’s at Melinda’s side. The usually stoic Agent May is willing to risk hell to bring Coulson back. She brings The Darkhold to Dr. Radcliffe, saying it has the answers they need. Radcliffe takes one look and says it’s too much for a human mind to handle.
Well isn’t it fortunate that you’ve been working on a secret android, doctor?
Elsewhere, Jemma is at an undisclosed location due to Mace’s arrangement with Senator Nadeer. She’s presented with an Inhuman still in their terrigenesis cocoon: the audience already knows it’s the senator’s brother, who’s been gestating for several months. Through the sheer power of being Jemma Simmons, she calms the man’s heart rate and piece-by-piece, breaks him from the shell. Before he can introduce himself, Jemma is black-bagged again and sent back to S.H.I.E.L.D. AIDA pulls Fitz and Coulson back into our reality. Happy ending….mostly.
Robbie offers a new deal to the Rider: if he releases Mack and helps Robbie settle the score with Eli, then Robbie will help the Rider settle his own scores. The rider takes the deal, but the whole scenario leaves us wondering: what’s going on with Mack? What pain is he hiding that allowed the Rider to possess him? Who or what is the hope that he lost? And, as we all anticipated the minute AIDA came into existence, there may be some Ultron-esque actions on the horizon. After her experience with the Darkhold, we glimpse her building what looks like a brain.
TV Shout-out of the Week(s):
I AM SO HERE FOR SUPERHEROES AS PEOPLE OF COLOR. Cases in point: James Olsen as Guardian on Supergirl, Alphonso Mackenzie as Ghost Rider, and alternate-reality John Diggle as The Hood in Arrow‘s 100th episode.