“Sacrifice” was an appropriate title for the Arrow season finale since it was definitely the central theme of the episode. That, and dramatic lighting cues. (More on that later.) Oliver’s father sacrificing his life so his son could live; Oliver sacrificing his love life to help save Starling City; Detective Lance sacrificing his safety to try to save the Glades; and of course, the incomparable Tommy Merlyn, whose sacrifice marked the single saddest moment of the show to date—including that time Yao Fei made Oliver kill a chicken. (RIP Clucky.) I have to say, I was pretty shocked by the ending, but it was a sufficiently climactic finale, due in large part to the aforementioned dramatic lighting.
I think this is a good time to mention that I have signed up for an intro to archery class, which may prove to be a fatal exercise in misdirected fanaticism for all things Hunger Games, Hawkeye, and Green Arrow related. So wish me luck! (I’ll need it, given my track record with pointy objects.) I was hoping that watching Shado try to teach Oliver how to shoot would prepare me for my own lesson, but the two of them seemed to be practicing something other than archery…unless I’m doing it wrong. I didn’t think archery involved that much tongue. But I’m getting ahead of myself… This week’s episode of Arrow had a lot going on: breakups, man feelings, Whedon alumni, orphans, and two shirtless scenes. All in all, a fairly well rounded episode, though it could have used more Felicity Smoak, if you ask me. Let’s begin at the beginning…
If you’ve ever read any of my Fringe photo recaps, I think you all know what’s going to be the central theme of this recap. No, it’s not the chemistry between Slade and Shado, or the fact that Laurel’s role seems to have been reduced to nothing more than convenient legal advisor and perpetual middlewoman in various conflicts between her loved ones. No, this episode’s most important feature was the return of a very special guest star, the one and only SETH MOTHER-EFFING GABEL. You may know him from Fringe, Dirty Sexy Money, or from my dreams. Fortunately for everyone (and particularly my dignity), I’ve moved past the point where just seeing his face is enough to send me into a fit of sobs while clawing at the wall screaming, “LINCOOOOOLN!!!” but I still can’t look at him without hearing Phil Collins’ “You’ll Be in My Heart” playing in my head. So yeah… Baby steps.
Seth was back this week as the super-psycho drug dealer known as “The Count,” but you might as well just call him “Unfinished Business,” since that’s what he was to Oliver, who has a personal vendetta against the Count since his dangerous club drug Vertigo almost cost Thea her life. Speaking of Thea, she was conspicuously absent this episode, which was disappointing considering it meant we didn’t get to see any of her adorable beau and his glorious torso charming personality. It’s very possible that Colton Haynes and Felicity have become my favorite parts of this show. Also, Oliver and Dig’s bromance, which was on the rocks this episode. In the end, though, they were there for each other when it mattered most—because THAT’S WHAT LOVE IS.
Anyway, back to admiring Seth Gabel’s crazy-eyes…
This week’s episode of Arrow was chock-full of chase scenes, broken-down doors, and unresolved family trauma. It might not have been as consistent and well put-together as last week’s gem of an episode, but it was still pretty solid. Thumbs-up: Colton Haynes’ puppy dog eyes, Laurel’s wishbone necklace, shirtless pull-ups. Thumbs-down: Laurel’s mom (even though Alex Kingston is a goddess), Moira and Frank Chen’s Double Indemnity subplot. (RIP Frank.) But back to the part about shirtless pull-ups…
Okay, so it’s been two months since Fringe ended, and there’s still a Fringe-shaped hole in my soul, but just because it’s over doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to go on with our lives. And in case you hadn’t noticed, my life basically consists of lots of television. (And also cake.) After some really supportive feedback from you guys on Twitter, I decided to try my hand at photo recapping another show. So here goes… Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…my first Arrow photo recap! (Bear with me; it’s been a while since I did this…)
Welcome to my first ever photo precap! Rather than recapping an episode of a TV show, I’m going to use some of the promotional images from Joel Wyman’s new movie Dead Man Down (in theaters Friday, March 8th, AKA tomorrow) to give you a little preview of the film. Don’t be fooled by my ludicrous captions—the movie isn’t really about office parkour gone awry, or Colin Farrell and Dominic Cooper getting brunch together (but if it was, it would still be awesome). Enjoy this little teaser before you go see Dead Man Down in theaters. (And watch the actual trailer to get an idea of what the movie is really about.)
Fringe is over.
I still haven’t quite processed all the emotions that go along with that fact, but I imagine this feeling is something akin to how Wile E. Coyote felt when he ran off a cliff chasing the Roadrunner, pausing for a second in midair, at which point the Roadrunner handed him an anvil, causing him to plummet to the ground. Only, in this scenario, the anvil is our hearts, and the cliff is five seasons of heartbreaking, soul-crushing, blood-pumping, life-affirming Fringe. I never thought heartbreak could feel so good. I guess this is what John Mellencamp was talking about when he sang “Hurts So Good.”
I’m going to be honest—I’m pretty sure I started crying every time Lincoln came on screen. I don’t even know why; it was like this visceral reaction to having him back for those few precious minutes. If you had played a drinking game where you took a shot every time I started crying during the final episode of Fringe, you would have been passed out by the end of act I. Now, I’m not a crier in everyday life, but once fictional characters become involved, the tear ducts start flowing like a Champagne fountain at Beyoncé’s baby shower. The Fringe finale was like The Notebook + The Lion King x Brokeback Mountain to the power of Life Is Beautiful. Fortunately for everyone, the brilliant writers saw fit to inject enough humor and heart into the final chapter of Fringe that it made you smile almost as often as it made you weep. Whether or not I can recap this episode without my laptop suffering extensive water damage from my tears remains to be seen, but let’s see how it goes…
For five seasons, Fringe has been weaving all these different stories, each one spinning off into its own tassel (or, fringe, if you will), and now, finally all these threads are coming together and being woven into a beautiful, multi-colored tapestry, which we, the fandom, can use to dry our tears, keep us warm, and to cocoon ourselves in while we try to find a way to go on with our lives after Fringe ends. Although it sometimes may feel as though this tapestry (which I guess is really more like a blanket or a shawl if we’re using it to cover ourselves with) is wrapped so tightly around us that we can’t breathe—either from excitement or emotional distress—that’s just part of being a Fringe fan, and I think most of us are used to it by now. As we near the end of the series, these various threads are finally being tied together, as we saw in this week’s penultimate chapter. “The Boy Must Live” brought together several pieces of Fringe history, including the origin of the Observers, September (AKA Donald), his message to Walter when he saved Peter from the lake, Michael, the Master Plan, and the ever-important theme of snow globes. This episode also paid tribute to past seasons by harkening back on some Fringe classics, like the theme of fathers protecting their sons at all costs, the white tulip, the sensory deprivation tank, and, of course, Walter in the nude. In short, it was one of the best episodes of the season, and it set the stage perfectly for next week’s finale. [Pause for sobbing.] Before I think about the finale too much and become further incapacitated by my weeping, let’s get started on reviewing this fabulous episode.
Well I think you guys all know what I’m going to say… No, it’s not how glad I am that Anil wasn’t in this episode. (Although that’s true too.) It’s that I can’t believe how awesome it is that we got another montage in this episode!!! I mean, I already got most of the things on my Christmas list: a Fringe montage, Peter and Olivia back together, Peter with his shirt off, a scene that I could somehow work George Michael into… All that’s left on my wish list is the demise of Anil, and seeing Lincoln Lee one more time (preferably Alt-Lincoln, but I’d take either one). I don’t really see that happening, but you never know. If anyone could pull it off, it’s Santa Joel Wyman. Speaking of Santa, let’s get started so I can go wrap the pile of Fringe DVDs I’m giving to everyone I’ve ever met. I’ll be sure to attach a note that says, “You’re welcome in advance—and I’m sorry for the emotional turbulence that you are about to endure.”
This episode was not what I expected. Then again, Fringe pretty much makes a habit of taking your expectations and chewing them up and spitting them back in your face like a llama.
But in a good way. “Black Blotter” was less of a fun drug-fueled romp á la “Brown Betty” and “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide,” and more of a somber rumination on Walter’s guilt and his regression to his old self…but with green fairies. It reminded of A Christmas Carol, minus the Muppets and the singing. (My only knowledge of A Christmas Carol comes from watching A Muppet Christmas Carol every year for the past twenty years. Were there Muppets in Dickens’ original story?) Walter’s blonde ghost lady was almost as creepy as the little girl ghost in A Muppet Christmas Carol, and she was totally distracting and not helpful at all. The whole episode was basically Walter tripping while everyone else was trying to get sh*t done. They were like, “Walter, let’s track this radio signal and find Donald,” and Walter was just kind of like, “…I’ve done terrible things…Oh look a fairy!” It wasn’t nearly as fun as when they were all on LSD together back in season 3. (Remember Broyles on acid? Probably one of the all-time best Fringe moments ever. By the way, where the eff is Broyles???) But it’s the final season and there are only a few episodes left (cue sobbing), so we can’t afford to waste time tripping on Walter’s homemade LSD. No time to spare! Let’s break down this hallucinogenic episode.