Infinity War: The Avengers We Will Lose

You’ve probably seen the epic second trailer for Marvel’s highly anticipated film Avengers: Infinity War by now. If not, here you go.

Once we get past the awesomeness of Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill/Starlord giving Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Ironman some sass, or the sweet adorableness of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker introducing himself to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange

“Oh, we’re using our made-up names? Then I’m Spider-Man.”

Could this baby Avenger be any cuter?

And let’s not forget the intensity of Chris Evan’s Steve Rogers/currently The Nomad screaming at Thanos while holding back the Titan’s guantleted hand. Excuse me while I go find some AC, cause it’s getting HOT in here!

Obviously we all have one, very dreadful question hanging over our heads right now….

….who are we going to lose?

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We have been teased by multiple Marvel people that this movie is gonna hurt, and once the dust settles we will never be the same. The Marvel movies after Avengers 3 will be a completely different direction than the one we have been heading for the last ten years.

We’ve also been told to prepare ourselves, cause some of our most beloved people are gonna die. 

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I don’t relish character deaths. They hurt like heck and leave me in a fog for days as I mourn the loss of someone I counted as an old friend (NEWT, WHY???). But I’m going to try and look at this from an analytical angle and keep my emotions out of it.

So, my theories on the chances of which Avengers we will be saying goodbye to.

Tony Stark

Tony Stark/Ironman 7/10 Chance of Death

Tony has been with us since the beginning. 3 solo Ironman films, 2 Avengers films, and 2 major appearances in both Captain America: Civil War and SpiderMan: Homecoming. He is like the father of Marvel as we know it, and we would not be here without him. Tony’s personal character arc is deeply intertwined with the overall MCU story. He’s gone from being a reckless weapons dealer/playboy, to leader and father figure. Tony has faced some pretty fierce demons, but he’s still standing.

Tony’s arc feels like it’s heading to a point of finality. Either he will make the ultimate sacrifice and end his story with a heroic death, or he will survive and move into retirement where he just keeps making toys for “the kids”. I WANT Tony to make it. I feel like he should get to come home to kiss Mrs. Pepper Stark *squeal*, pick their baby up out of a high-tech crib, and have Star Wars marathons with Dum E.

But what I want, and what may end up happening could be two very different things. One point of hope we might be able to cling to is that Tony almost did make the ultimate sacrifice in the original Avengers movie, so perhaps to repeat that scenario would be repetitive. It may be a fool’s hope, but it’s still a hope.

Nat trust

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow 1/10 Chance of Death

Given that it was recently announced that a Black Widow solo film was in the works, I highly doubt Natasha will be the Avenger to buy it. Not only is she a survivor, but Nat is a character with a lot more story to explore. Even though Nat’s arc has followed the typical pattern of making her a better character over time, her story is a reverse. She started out with her worst fears, there is almost nothing in her future that can compare to the terror and horror she endured as a young child/women in the Red Room. To Nat, fighting and potentially dying alongside people she loves and trusts is a gift, therefore, she has little to lose.

A character like Nat is deeply intriguing. We’ve literally watched her learn how to be human again. I believe that her film should focus on her future, rather than be a prequel film about her past. If I’m right about this prediction, our Nat is safe even with the Mad Titan roaming around. Which is good, since she’s my second favorite Avenger.

hawkeye

Clint Barton/Hawkeye 4/10 Chance of Death

We got a major fake-out foreshadow of Hawkeye’s death in Age of Ultron, only to be taken by surprise with Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver took the bullets for him. Hawkeye is the coolest Avenger. His ability to stay focused and on target #punfullyintended #yourewelcome shows his steady personality and grounded character. Hawkeye is also the happiest Avenger. He is the only member to have a settled home and family to return to. He only comes out of “retirement” when the other Avengers get extra unruly.

The only reason I have any fear for Hawkeye’s potential death is because he is so happy, I’m afraid the writers won’t leave him in peace. They had better leave him alone. The knowledge that the Barton farm and family exist have literally kept me going during the most upsetting Marvel moments. I need to know at least one of my Avengers is happy. And I am willing to bet he will get to stay that way.

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Bruce Banner/The Hulk Chance of Death 8/10

I hope you didn’t just choke on your drink. I’m gonna go out on a limb here with this one, so bear with me.

The Hulk is “unkillable”. He’s a powerful smashing machine who has survived death a hundred times and ways over. That’s exactly why I think The Hulk may be the one to go. Our MCU world is about to be turn upside down! It would shock everyone if the second-most powerful Avenger was the one to buy it well before his fellow Avengers did.

But shock value aside, here is another reason. I think Bruce Banner is nearing the end of his story. I don’t see much of a future in following MCU films for this character, and it feels as if his light might be fading. Banner is tired. He was just trapped as The Hulk in space for 2 years. Fun fact, I’m pretty sure that’s the vision that Scarlet Witch gave Banner back in Age of Ultron. His worst fear, being trapped as a smashing machine with no control. And that’s exactly what happened for two years.

Banner hasn’t really been a part of the continuing story on earth for a while now. He’s not as vital to our overall story as other characters, but his death would still punch us in the gut.

One final reason? I think Bruce would be okay with dying. As I said above, he’s tired. Other than his science sessions with Tony, and his feelings for Natasha, Bruce doesn’t feel he has a whole lot left to live for. I believe that dying for someone he loves would be perfectly okay with Bruce, I think he would almost welcome it.

Okay, okay, stop crying! I know *sniffs*, it’s so sad. But I can see it happening.

thor in arena

Thor/Himself 7/10 Chance of Death

Directly after Thor: Ragnarok I would not have thought that Thor’s chances of doom were so high. A whole new chapter had just been opened up for the prince, no, the King of Asgard. Despite the fact that he lost his father, and his planet, Thor’s character was given new life and purpose as he led his people into space in search of a new home.

However, that end scene in Ragnarok where we see the Asgardian ship come upon a oh-so-familiar hostile alien ship left me feeling very nervous. I got even more nervous when the first Infinity War trailer came out and showed Loki (who has chosen to stand by his brother in Ragnarok) holding the Tesseract/Space Stone, surrounded by dead Asgardians. Loki has had dealings with Thanos since Avengers, and Loki didn’t deliver his end of whatever bargain was made. Thanos is not one to forgive past grievances, as the dark scene on the Asgardian ship could mean that the Asgardian people are dead, thus freeing Thor up from the task of leading his people. Which means he’s now open for the kill.

Another reason Thor could be in danger is because Chris Hemsworth who has brought The Mighty Avenger to life recently announced he is thinking of retiring from acting for a while so he can watch his children grow up. An incredibly noble choice, one I applaud him for, even as my fan soul sinks a little.

One hope we may have is that like Tony, Thor has already sacrificed himself in his first movie Thor. He allowed himself to be killed so that Jane Foster and the small town in New Mexico would be saved from Loki’s wrath. Perhaps killing him again would also be repetitive.

Then again, maybe it just proves Thor is fully prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice.

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Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Vision Chances of Death 5/10

Again, I hope you didn’t just choke on your drink there. I know I must sound like a crazy person since Vision literally is a host for the Mind Stone, and we have seen Thanos attempting to remove this stone in one of the trailers while Vision screams gut-wrenchingly. Something has to have happened to Wanda for Thanos to have gotten that close to hurting the one she loves. And that “something” has to be drastic as Wanda is the most powerful Avenger, something she proved when she brought even the Hulk to his knees.

However, I am betting these two are safe for a couple of reasons.

One, they’re the new kids on the block. They haven’t had the years of tragic backstory and fighting to wear them down like the veteran Avengers have. They are new, fresh, and have a lot of story left to tell. Vision is just learning what it is to be human, to feel, to love someone. He is a puzzle of a character, and fans love a good puzzle.

Wanda is a beautiful character, she has come so far, and she has so much to learn. Her character, as well as her mind-blowing powers make her ripe for more movies, perhaps even a solo film in the future. She’s still got a lot more to give to the MCU, a fact that I think makes her very safe. Her brother has also already made the ultimate sacrifice, it seems like at least one of the Maximoff twins should remain standing.

Wanda and Vision being together as a couple also protects them from death-by-gauntlet. A love story creates this other, new angle that needs to be followed through and explored. Unless the writers are able to follow-through with this story and wrap it up properly in Infinity War, Wanda and Vision have plenty of time left!

Unless they pull a Romeo and Juliet on us. But that’s been done, let’s leave the one to Mr. Shakespeare.

And as a final bit of ammo for my argument, Paul Bettany was filming for Avengers 4So, while it could be a flashback, there is a good chance that Vision lives. And if Vision lives, I’m betting Wanda does as well.

dr strange

Dr. Stephen Strange/Dr. Strange Chances of Death 0/10

Dr. Strange is a fresh, unique new face that was recently added to the MCU with a great reception. He can venture into dimensions that other heroes cannot, which makes him extra powerful and gives him a way of survival.  He also has a great future and much more story to be told, as is confirmed by the fact that Dr. Strange 2 is a future MCU film on the docket for 2021. I believe Strange may get some bruises along the way, he is after all, the caretaker of the Soul Stone, so Thanos will be paying him a visit. But the Sorcerer Supreme (sounds like a knockout pizza) will survive.

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Bucky Barnes/White Wolf Chances of Death 0/10

Bucky has been to hell and back again. His worst fears have already come true. Bucky has recently been reborn and given a new purpose as well as a new superhero title after his healing in Wakanda. And dogon-it he deserves it! I am convinced if death even tried to send Bucky so much as a text a horde of rabid fans would arrive on scene and kill death on the spot!

On a more practical note, Sebastian Stan still has quite a few Marvel films left on his contract. Our boy is just getting started!

falcon war machine

Sam Wilson/The Falcon Chance of Death 3/10, James Rhodes/War Machine Chances of Death 5/10

Rhodey almost bought it in Captain America: Civil War. He’s back on his feet thanks to some snazzy Stark tech, and as we have seen from the trailers, he’s not only back in the fight, he’s fighting alongside Avengers that he formerly fought against in Civil War. This is a big deal, since in my opinion, Rhodey was the strongest supporter of the Accords. I think Rhodey could make for a lower impact death that kind of softens us up for a bigger character death. I could also see him walking away from the fight. (was that joke too soon?) I’m pretty much 50/50 on his chances.

Sam Wilson (who is my 3rd favorite Avenger) I believe, will survive. Sam is one of the most amazing and underrepresented characters in the MCU. The way he just calmly walked into Steve Rogers’ life and never left, come heck or high water, blows me away. Top that off with a smooth, oh so smooth, personality, and a combat skill-set from a normal guy that puts some super-powered individuals to shame? SAM WILSON FOR PRESIDENT!

Sam just has the feeling of a survivor. He’s a great character who I would love to see pulled out of the woodwork and given more limelight.

tchalla

King T’Challa/Black Panther. Chances of Death? Death asked Okoye for permission, very politely, and she stabbed Death to death. 0/10

The King isn’t really an Avenger, he’s his own thing. Wakanda is it’s own version of the Avengers. Not to mention that T’Challa and Black Panther is making massive waves in the world right now. He has a second movie coming, and like I said, Okoye said NO to death.

The King is safe!

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Scott Lang/Ant-Man Chances of Death 0/10

Look at this goober, he’s gonna be fine! Ant-man is a fresh new hero who brings a lot of heart, and a lot of laughs to the table. Even though his next movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place before the events of Infinity War, Scott has a long and happy future ahead of him. The potential for his character in the future MCU is huge, especially since Hope Pym/The Wasp is joining on as his lovelier co-star. There is a lot of untold story to look forward to, and we can’t wait to hear Luis narrate it!

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Peter Parker/Spider-Man Chances of Death….if you touch my baby Avenger I WILL END YOU! But for real, 0/10.

Look at this precious boy! I love him so much, I want to adopt him. Tom Holland has brought our friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man to life in such an endearing way, I know we have a long and happy future with this character. He’s young, he’s fresh, he’s energetic and because he is choosing (oh so maturely) to take his time and build up, he has a long runway ahead. Spider-Man, I believe, will be a key player in the future of the MCU once our Avengers’ chapter has been closed. God bless Peter Parker!

 

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The Guardians Chances of Death 1/10

If anyone buys it, it will be Nebula. And she will die doing something that hurts Thanos, perhaps even eventually destroys him. I hope she gets the killing stroke, she deserves it the most.

Our Guardians are pretty safe. They have a whole galaxy to keep worrying about, we already lost Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy, and Yondu in Vol. 2. Our Guardians also are a key part of the MCU after Phase 3 closes, and they have one more movie to go. I anticipate a happily-ever-after for them. After all of the chaos, the pain, the horrible backstories, it just feels right. This family has a future.

And you’re thinking, she’s missing someone very big.

No, I haven’t forgotten. I left him to the very last for a reason.

the nomad

Steve Rogers/Captain America/The Nomad Chances of Death 5/10

Really, you need to stop drinking your beverage right now, I don’t want to be responsible for you choking to death. Yes, I did just give Steve Rogers a 50% chance of surviving Infinity War. And no, I didn’t do it just because he’s my favorite Avenger, my main man, and one of the greatest characters to ever be created in the history of stories.

I say it, because everything is pointing at his death. He’s Steve Rogers, he’s the guy who throws himself on top of the grenade. He’s the guy that ditches the plane and is frozen in the ice for 70 years. He’s the guy who takes down Hydra and still lets his best-friend-now-assassin beat him almost to death because “you’re my friend”. He’s the guy who is willing to stand against an entire room in opposition against him and stay true to what he believes.

Yes, I saw the same trailer you did. I saw Thanos going one-on-one with Steve. I’ve seen Steve’s nightmares in Age of Ultron where he couldn’t be at peace. I’ve seen it all and been terrified the whole time.

But now I’m starting to wonder if it is all too obvious. Marvel is great at the big fake-outs. We expect one thing, and then the opposite happens. They do it over and over again, and we still don’t see it coming. Steve is the most glaringly obvious choice for a sacrificial character, which is exactly why it would be perfect for him to actually survive.

Clearly the Steve Rogers we will meet in Infinity War is a bit darker, a bit badder than our Rogers of the past. He’s been off with his two amigos, Nat and Sam (a triangle of perfection and my top 3) doing Secret Avenger stuff. I think he’s only grown stronger, more strategic, and more determined than ever. I wouldn’t count America’s golden boy out yet.

Chris Evans has said that he is open to more movies with Marvel. Whether they choose to head in that direction or not, I’m not believing that they have signed his death warrant. I think Steve may have just bought himself a happy ending after all, one where he finally gets some peace and can pass his shield on to a “younger” generation.

I’d love to see him get to settle down with the right partner. I don’t know if that will be Sharon, a resurrected Peggy (it’s Marvel, we know it can happen) or my personal choice, Natasha. But Steve is a man who will always have friends, and after the dust settles, I believe he will finally come home from the mission he set out on all the way back in the 1940s.

So, what do you think? Who is going to buy it in Infinity War? Are my predictions sound, or way off? What do you hope happens? Who do you hope survives?

Share and write your predictions!

 

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Timeless Season 2: The War to End All Wars

*warning, many spoilers a good amount of Lyatt gushing ahead*

Last night we rejoined our Time Team with a bang! The only episode in Season One that came even close to that level of intensity for me might have been Episode 11: The World’s Columbian Exposition. But even that episode could not compare to the intensity of last night’s Season 2 debut.

First we are given an epic recap of last season to the tune of Imagine Dragons “Believer”. Can you say chills?

As with all of our Timeless episodes, we are given a small taste of our historical destination for the episode. We see a soldier desperately searching for “Captain Allbright” among the fallen on a dusty, bloody battlefield. Dog fights are still happening in the skies above. The solider finds his captain still alive, but wounded, he hurries off to find a vehicle, leaving the captain behind. Captain Allbright pats his jacket, appears to panic, and searches the ground desperately for a fallen item. He finds a small pouch beneath the dead solider behind him, inside is a cellphone?!? Clearly there is something off about this scene.

Next we are dumped directly back into the center of the action. Wyatt and Rufus are rocking the 70’s duds, wondering where Lucy is. She wouldn’t miss this mission to get her sister back. A puzzled and slightly concerned Wyatt calls Lucy yet again, and we are shown a stomach churning image of her discarded phone ringing on the floor amidst the wreckage of some kind of altercation, next to a broken bottle and a puddle of blood. 

Before Wyatt and Rufus have time to even get further, Wyatt spots a very wrong looking canister, with a blinking red light. Everyone and their dog knows what that means. We zoom outside to see Mason Industries erupt in an orange fireball.

Fast forward 6 weeks.

We are at some post-apocalyptic looking bunker that has a very Rebel-base-on-Hoth-esque vibe. We see Wyatt’s bare shoulders covered with healing lacerations and burns, but thank heavens his face is intact! You can feel the weight of his anxiety, his anger, his grief, and his helplessness. The level of joy at the end of last season when he chose to stop living in his past, and embrace his future (potentially with Lucy) has now been transferred into an agonizing worry and fear of losing yet another woman he loves.

Wyatt is determined to track Lucy down, it’s his one and only thought. He’s chafing at every delay to repair the damaged Lifeboat.

Rufus seems to be dealing with the situation with a more surface level calm. He has an outlet where he can channel his concern into manually fixing the Lifeboat. But Rufus has deep fears and concerns of his own. His mother and brother think he is dead. Rittenhouse tried to kill him. His former benefactor and boss, Conner Mason is penniless and rather useless at the moment, another one of the fugitives. And while Rufus has the love of his life, Jiya, by his side helping him restore the Lifeboat, she’s regularly being attacked with strange headaches and seizures or visions that no one can seem to explain.

Agent Christopher is attacking the problem with her usual firmness. I would NOT want to cross this woman. She rubs Wyatt the wrong way many times as she appears calloused and uncaring regarding Lucy’s fate. But we all know that Agent Christopher is the Time Team’s link to the outside world, their supply line, and she does care.

Meanwhile, Lucy is trapped with Rittenhouse. We see her dressing herself in proper World War I vogue attire, as she stares at a newspaper article written about the explosion at Mason Industries and the deaths of 22 people. Her beloved guys are gone, she is trapped in Rittenhouse and about to be sent catapulting through history to rewrite the story according to Rittenhouses’ agenda. We sense a coldness in Lucy, a tense desperation.

Lucy, Carol Preston, and Emma (who is a devil woman and scares the living daylights out of me) go back to the Western front in 1918. Their mission? Track down a single wounded soldier, and heal him. Lucy wasn’t given all of the details.

It’s easy to be in the right place at the right time when you have the proper info. The soldier Rittenhouse wants saved is literally brought to the door of the cabin the ladies have been staying in near the Western Front. A concerned young soldier brings his battered and bloody friend in, desperate to find help for him. Emma and Carol get to work on saving the young man’s life, while Lucy pleasantly distracts his friend with conversation. She’s so good at this, kindly engaging on a personal level with new people.

The wounded man is crashing, Emma pulls out a modern defibrillator, and shocks the soldier, scaring his friend into thinking these women are trying to kill his buddy. Emma doesn’t have time for this, she pulls out a pistol and SHOOTS THE POOR MAN IN THE LEG! “You’re a better shot than that, Emma.” Carol Preston says dryly. Can you believe this woman actually raised a child? #cold #notmommymaterial

“I did it on purpose, I think Lucy should take care of this.” A cold Emma hands the soldier’s rifle to Lucy, who is staring at the scene in horror.

lucy and soldier

This moment of the show haunted me. I wanted Lucy to stand in front of the soldier, to shoot Emma instead, to come up with another plan, something, ANYTHING! What actually happened broke my heart, and I do not agree with it. But I also know Lucy was in an impossible situation and felt forced to make a horrible choice, and it’s one she will grieve over the rest of her life.

She picks up the rifle, and shoots the innocent soldier in order to prove her loyalty to Rittenhouse. She goes blank for a moment, the world drowning out around her, until the voice of her mother breaks in, “Are you okay?”

Like you care, Carol! You can prepare to be disappointed next Mother’s Day!

We know our Lucy. We know her big heart, we know something is very wrong for her to have just done this dark deed.

The soldier is full of shrapnel, an x-ray machine is needed. Lucky for our Rittenhouse ladies, Marie Curie and her daughter Irene are contemporaries of this era, and happen to be nearby with their portable x-ray machine. How serendipitous!

Meanwhile, back in 2018 the Lifeboat is working! And bad news, they have tracked the Mothership to the Western Front, where it has been for two days. The look of fear in Wyatt’s eyes rise, that area’s a bloodbath. Thank heavens the mission where we are missing our historian it happens to be one involving military history!

Wyatt and Rufus jump on the Lifeboat, “We are BRINGING Lucy home!” Wyatt declares as they shut the door and jump through time to rescue their girl.

Lucy and her mother, and their armed guard “Mac” have found Marie and Irene Curie. The shared moments of mother-daughter history nerding would be way cuter if Carol Preston wasn’t a sicko. Lucy fears dragging the Curie ladies into the crossfire. Her mask is starting to slip and we see the panic starting to take over. She manages to slip away into the military camp, and seek out a tent where she finds grenades. You can see a half-baked plan form in Lucy’s mind, but as she turns to leave the tent, a hand grabs her from behind.

She whips around to defend herself, only to be brought face to face with Wyatt. She cannot believe he is still alive, and throws herself at him where they have the most delicious hug. The peace and joy in Wyatt’s eyes that he found his girl, safe and well is just overwhelming. Rufus comes in behind him and Lucy eagerly embraces him. The guys want to get out of here, but Lucy is here to stop Rittenhouse. She shows them the grenades and outlines her plan to blow up the Mothership. She was going to do it on her own, but now that her guys are back they can help her out.

time team is back

A shadow falls on Wyatt’s face, “How were you going to get home?” Lucy quiets. “I wasn’t.” You see how that quiet little statement just shatters Wyatt’s heart. She was gonna be trapped in the past, alone and grieving for the rest of her life.

Lucy rushes off to join her mother, leaving the mission of destroying the Mothership in her guys’ hands. We see our old Wyatt spring back to life, he has a mission, his sense of humor is back. Lucy is alive and well, our boy is back!

Wyatt and Rufus attempt to steal a vehicle to drive to the Mothership’s location, only to be caught by “Mac”, and a man we recognize to be Captain Allbright. We feel a cold fear in our gut as our guys are led to a tent, where Wyatt assumes they will simply have to talk their way out of this situation, but Rufus spots Mac going for his gun. “Wyatt!”

The next few minutes are fast-paced and intense as Wyatt and Rufus tag-team a fight. The teamwork chemistry between these two is simply beautiful, and you feel their brotherhood. Together, they defeat the Rittenhouse agents, and find Allbright’s cellphone? What on earth is a WWI captain doing with a cellphone?

The guys finally get to steal their jeep, and share a little personal conversation on their way to destroy the Mothership.

“You’re in love with Lucy, just admit it!” Rufus, calling it like it is! We love you, man! Wyatt balks at this statement, but doesn’t deny it.

Lucy and Irene Curie share a neat conversation about having demanding mothers, but it is clear the Irene adores her mother and their depth of love is real. You can see the longing in Lucy’s eyes, she thought she had that with her mother. But she was so, so wrong.

The Curie ladies use their x-ray machine, but the picture is not very clear. Something is interfering with it. The Rittenhouse ladies give each other a knowing look, but then attempt to send the Curie ladies on their way.

Timeless - Season 2

Lucy’s grip on the situation is slipping. Emma has made it clear that she doesn’t trust “the princess”. Emma has worked her way up through the ranks of Rittenhouse, she “earned” her place, while Lucy rejects her royalty. Cry me a river, Emma. Your rags-to-riches story does nothing for me. Emma and Carol go outside for a private conversation, and Lucy is left alone with the soldier. This goes against every instinct she possesses, but she searches for a means to kill the soldier. If Rittenhouse wants him alive, she needs him dead in order to save thousands of others. Her mother comes in on her just as she is about to smother him with a pillow.

“I was hoping that Emma was wrong.” Carol is disappointed in her daughter, you have no right to be upset, Mother Gothel Rittenhouse! She gives Lucy some baloney about still loving her, being the same woman who kissed her skinned knees, but if Lucy doesn’t shape up she will no longer be able to protect her daughter. If you have a nice mother go hug her now on poor Lucy’s behalf.

She Rittenhouse bundles up their wounded soldier, and start to take him to the Mothership, which is still operational due to the unfortunate fact that Wyatt and Rufus ran out of gas and are running behind.

The Rittenhouse ladies arrive at the Mothership, only to find the Curie ladies on site.

“We wanted to see what was interfering with the machine.” These Curie ladies are too smart for their own good! Emma whips out a pistol, and prepares to murder the women where they stand.

“No!” Lucy pleads with both her mother and Emma, even throwing herself in front of the Curie women. Her mother stands behind Emma (a contrast to Marie Curie, is standing in front of her daughter protecting her, while Carol looks on as her daughter is in imminent danger). Emma has orders from even higher up than Carol, if Lucy interferes she is to be killed. The look of pleasure in Emma’s face is evil.

“Your mother can’t save you.”

“But I can.” Can we get some hero music playing? Wyatt is standing, his gun to the wounded soldier’s head, Rufus standing by at the ready. Lucy’s guys showed up in the nick of time. Emma has her gun to Lucy’s head, but clearly the wounded man is important, Wyatt negotiates, “Let’s both leave here with the people we came for.” He’s not losing this woman.

A tense standoff happens, then Emma releases Lucy who walks towards Rufus. In a last plea, she begs her mother to return with her.

“Come with us, be on the right side of history!” Her mother looks sadly at her daughter.

“Oh, Lucy, this is so much bigger than you or me.” Yeah yeah, *gag*.

Emma has to get one last dig in. She eyes Lucy triumphantly.

“Before you came, I went on a few missions. You are NEVER getting your sister back.” In agony Lucy lunges at the devil woman, but Rufus pulls her back. It’s time to cut our losses and make a run for it.

We go back to the bunker, where Jiya, Agent Christopher, and Conner Mason are waiting. The entire team comes out, quiet and shaken.

Later we see Lucy in sleeping quarters. Her surroundings are very spartan. She’s got her hair down and is wearing plain clothes. She looks so, lost. Wyatt comes in and makes some remarks about “it’s not what you were expecting to come home to”.

Lucy shares her grief over killing the innocent soldier. “If I hadn’t, Emma would have.” Wyatt understands, he doesn’t skip a beat. The weight of her losses and the past six weeks hits Lucy like a wrecking ball, and she bursts into gut-wrenching sobs,

“I’ve lost everything.”

Wyatt comes over and envelopes her in a huge. “You haven’t lost me.” He’s been in her place before, he knows the grief, and he is not going to leave her alone in it. It’s a deeply tender scene, full of deep love and compassion.

lyatt in bunker

Jiya (poor Jiya) walks in on them as we were about to get a #lyatt kiss, but she has important news.

The cellphone the guys found back in 1918 contains a Rittenhouse manifesto, and it’s no bueno. Also, the Mothership went back in time 10 times before the 1918 mission. They have planted sleeper cells throughout time, agents awaiting to be activated to bend history to Rittenhouse’s will. The cold terror of this reality seeps in on everyone present. A name comes up as the writer of the sick manifesto, it’s Nickolas. The soldier Carol and Co saved back in ’18. The soldier who came back in the Mothership.

 

The wounded soldier from WWI wakes up in a modern-day hotel room. Carol Preston is standing over him in current clothing.

“Where am I?” He asks, puzzled by his surroundings.

“You’re with Rittenhouse.” We discover this man, Nickolas, is an important member of Rittenhouse. He believed in the possibility of time travel. And….

“I’m your granddaughter.” Carol says with a smile. Nickolas smiles back, but it’s not a smile that made me feel good.

There is one person the Time Team can turn two who might have some answers. Agent Christopher goes to a top security facility, and enters a cell where we see a chained Garcia Flynn.

“We need to talk.” He gives her one of his signature side looks.

“I only talk to Lucy.”

 

This episode was possible because of all the character groundwork laid in Season 1. The writers took their time to develop our characters, to give them arcs that strengthened them to be able to withstand the heightened darkness and stakes brought in Season 2. They aren’t trying to wrap their heads around time travel and team work any more, that part is now instinctive. Now, it’s a battle for history.

To me, I think Wyatt (Matt Lanter) was the MVP of this episode when it comes to acting.

Timeless - Season 2

His facial expressions, the unspoken words his eyes communicated, and his ability to convey multiple feelings and histories in his scenes blew me away. My favorite moment was when he was comforting Lucy. This wasn’t just a chance to cuddle the lady who has had his heart for a while now, his heart broke for her pain, and he was able to be her rock in that moment because he has walked through that pain himself. His tenderness, compassion, and love in that moment was beautiful.

I cannot wait to see what we have in store, I am so glad to be here, writing about this episode now. Until next week!

Timeless airs on Sundays on NBC at 10/9c. Catch up on Season 2 now on NBC!

Timeless: What Sets it Apart

NBC’s Timeless made history last year after it was resurrected from the “cancelled” grave in less than a week and brought back to life by a vibrant fan base of #clockblockers that refused to let their beloved show be resigned to the TV history shelves.

Why do we love our little time travel show so much? It’s not like it is the first of it’s kind, time travel shows have come and gone throughout the decades (Dr. Who, you’re still here). What makes Timeless stand out? *spoilers ahead*

I’ll tell you why.

It’s not the amazing sets that put you right on the ground of New Jersey, 1937. Or Texas, 1836, or Chicago 1893. Sets that make you feel as if you can smell, taste, and feel the past. Nor is it the costumes that leave this history nerd salivating. It’s not even the incredibly engaging and terrifying plot involving “Rittenhouse” a secret organization who has been arranging history from behind the scenes for centuries.

All of these things are wonderful, but they would fall utterly short if it were not for the true, beating heart of Timeless. That heart is, the characters.

History is the story of humanity, from Day 1 until now. Our good, our bad, our hopes, our disappointments, our triumphs and our failures. Timeless steers it’s viewers through time using the lens of people that we connect with on a soul level. It teaches history the way it should be taught, as a story about people.

Characters are the heart of every story, be it fictional or real. Timeless tells us a magnificent story that brings both fiction and reality together in an unforgettable way. There is little to connect us, in 2018, to the people of past centuries if we only consult dusty history books full of dry narrative and facts. But put a face to those narratives, give me a heart struggle, questions all humanity has asked, and suddenly I cannot look away! Through these character elements, we discover that those of past centuries were people just like us, and their stories come alive in a whole new way that both breaks our hearts and raises our spirits.

Timeless kept their character list focused and simple. We were given 4 main characters who are very skilled, very imperfect and often weak people who were thrust into an unimaginable situation that likely none of us will ever experience. And yet, we were able to understand not only these fictional characters, but also the real life historical figures they bump into along the way.

How did this happen?

It happened when we felt their pain. Their fear. When they asked questions we have all asked. When they laughed, and when they cried. They touched our hearts and we reached out for more.

time team

Lucy Preston (Abigail Spenceris a brilliant historian, a loving daughter/sister, a kind soul and a beautiful woman. She’s not perfect. She makes mistakes, she’s afraid much of the time, and she doesn’t have all of the answers. The dragon that Lucy has to slay in Season 1 comes in the form of her family legacy. She was born into Rittenhouse, a pureblood princess of an evil organization bent upon controlling millions of people. Throughout the season we see both Rittenhouse, and Garcia Flynn whispering things in Lucy’s ear in a oh-so-Emperor-Palpantine way. “This is your destiny, you cannot deny it. This is who you were made to be.” Lucy asks the question, “Can I decide who I will become? Or am I forced to be who they say I am?”

How many of us have asked this question? “Do I have to become an alcoholic like my father?”, “I grew up on the wrong side of town with no guidance and a lot of anger, is this my lot in life?”, “People find me unlikable, am I worthless and destined to be alone?” We’ve all had our devils whispering in our ears, “This is who you are destined to be.” And those whispers paint a picture of someone we do NOT want to be. Lucy’s struggle tugs at my heart, as I am sure it did yours. Her fear is one that I too, have felt.

Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanterthe handsome, protective soldier with a huge dose of regret and survivor’s guilt. He’s a warrior in every inch of his body, strong and capable. But inside his heart is failing him. He sees the ghosts, the ghosts of his fellow soldiers he had to leave behind, the ghosts of “failure”, and the biggest ghost of all, his murdered wife Jessica. Wyatt regularly asks the question, “How can something like my murdered wife be meant to be?” He grieves over the evil in the world and how powerless he feels to stop it. He’s trapped in the past, and no, I am not speaking about being stranded in a past century. Wyatt is mired in the regrets and pain of his past.

Does this ring a bell for anyone else? Show of hands please! We all have ghosts, some bigger than others. It’s easy to become mired in the pain of the past, and we have all cried out, “Why???”

Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrettis a soft-spoken, gentle, shy genius with a crush on his cute coworker Jiya (Claudia Doumit). He also feels zero courage or words to express himself. He jumps at shadows, as well as real monsters. He regularly questions his ability to be the person his team needs him to be. He’s straight-up terrified, feels out of his element, and hears a voice in his head saying, “I’m not strong enough and I can’t do this.”

Ever felt that? *entire world raises hand* Hello, Insecurity! Hello, Fear! There is not a human being on earth that has remained untouched from these very human things.

Garcia Flynn (Goran Visinjica former NSA operative who stumbled upon Rittenhouse by accident, which caused the death of his family and sent him plunging through time to destroy Rittenhouse, by whatever means necessary. Flynn is drowning in grief, anger, and he is consumed by both revenge and a desire to save his family. He performs dark, dark deeds, believing that “The ends justify the means.” He’s a man in horrible pain, doing horrible things to try and relieve that pain.

Flynn is a very vivid, crimson image of us as human beings when we are in a place of raw grief and anger. Even as I rooted for our Time Team to stop Flynn, I still ached for his pain. My humanity cried out for his broken heart. Have you ever had a broken heart that hurt so bad, you wanted to do whatever it took to stop the pain?

These were our vessels, our “Lifeboats” that dropped us right into the middle of human experience. And then these vessels, these magnificent characters took us through time. We saw them experience those of past centuries and decades. And we saw the same humanity in Robert Todd Lincoln, Ian Flemming, Katherine Johnson, Harry Houdini, and so, so many more. We saw the people of history in brilliant colors.

By the end of Season 1, our characters were giants compared to the smaller versions of themselves that they began with.

Timeless - Season 1

Wyatt realized that he was “meant to be here, helping you and saving history”. He faced his grief, his regret, his fear. He’s not completely healed, healing can sometimes take a lifetime. But he is also no longer stuck in the past. He’s moving forward and opening himself up to something new….#LYATTFOREVER

Wyatt has found a hope and a future.

 

Lucy grows bolder. She questions less about what is right and wrong, she plants her feet upon what is right and leads her team forward. She also faces the truth, “I decide who I will be, and I will NOT be Rittenhouse.” She is taking her stand and speaking in the truth of her free will.

Rufus. I think I loved Rufus’ arc the most. He believed himself to be the man cowering in the corner. In his heart, Rufus often still feels this way. But we all, including Rufus, know the truth now. Rufus is a warrior! I triumphed with Rufus every single time he was scared and did the brave thing anyway. We watched the hero be called out of Rufus, and we felt our own spines straighten as we gained courage with him.

Timeless - Season 1

Flynn. No, the ends do NOT justify the means. Flynn came to the place where I believe he hated himself. His heart was now breaking for more than just the loss of his family, it was breaking over the monster he had become. But he did not see a way to change his course. He believed himself to be too far gone.

Lucy didn’t. Lucy slayed her dragon, owned her free will and her right to choose a path other than Rittenhouse. Through that place of strength, and through the honest lens of her own pain and humanity, she reached out a hand in grace and compassion to Flynn and said, “Come on, I’ll give you a second chance.” And he took it. It was beautiful.

Meant to be.

Free will.

We can be warriors.

Second chances are possible.

We are not alone in this world, we don’t have to stumble in the dark of random chance and bad luck. I for one, know Who is at work in my world, He is the Creator and Author, as well as my Friend. I believe in meant to be, and it gives me a hope and a future.

We get to choose to rise above our past pain, our dark legacies, our hopelessness. I loved how Timeless showed how meant to be and free will are not at odds with each other. Meant to be simply means, you’re not alone, and there is a plan. Free will is our ability as thinking, creative beings to make choices in our moment by moment. It’s when these two things align, our free will, and the plan, that amazing things happen. Amazing things, like #LYATT

Timeless - Season 1

We can be braver than we think, and rise to a new level of warriorhood. Can we have a round of applause here? The stories in history that have always inspired me the most are the stories of normal, scared people who had the hero called out of them because of their circumstances. They were faced with an evil, an injustice, an obstacle, and they overcame it. It gives me chills just thinking about it.

rufus

And second chances are real. There aren’t many people in our world who are willing to give second chances. We judge each other based on performances so often that many of us are blinded to the people who are crying out for help, crying out for grace. I believe in second chances, I believe in grace. I am so glad Flynn was given a second chance, and I can’t wait to see what he does in Season 2.

flynn timeless 2

All of the above is hit-you-in-the-gut humanity kind of stuff. And Timeless captured it all while giving us a funny, terrifying, beautiful ride through history. Timeless showed us the people of the past, the present, and what will still be true for our future as human beings. And we loved it.

If you have not already seen Timeless, might I suggest you give it a try? The clockblockers would be happy to welcome you with open arms. And if you are already a fellow Clockblocker, hello, Friend. I cannot wait to join you tonight for Season 2, Episode 1: The War to End All Wars

A review of tonight’s episode will be posted tomorrow. Until tonight, clockblockers! Keep being human!

timeless season 2

Timeless airs on Sundays on NBC at 10/9c 

If you liked this article, you may like this article on Timeless‘ NBC sister show, The Brave, and why we need more of it.

 

The Flash Vs. The Thinker

Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) in The CW’s The Flash is one of the clearest heroes on-screen today. A more straightforward “knight in shining red suit” than some hero characters on the sibling CW super shows, Barry Allen is a family-friendly hero who strives to stay true to himself and fight the good fight.

I have no problem with this, I wish more of today’s on screen heroes were less gray. It’s a common misconception that villains are more interesting because they are more “conflicted”. Wrong! Heroes deal with internal conflict on a regular basis, they just win the battle more than the villains do. We have seen Barry Allen go through hellish things and come out, not unscathed, but still true to who he is.

Barry’s strong moral compass and hopeful spirit have a huge impact on those around him. He collects friends and allies like some people collect stamps. He has a contagious spirit that rallies people to action and inspires a fierce loyalty and strength.

For every great hero’s story, it is important to have a strong contrast to your hero, otherwise everything comes out black and white. The creators of The Flash have come up with a perfect solution to this need: the villains are all a twisted reflection of Barry himself.

The scariest villains we meet are the ones we can see ourselves in. Ursula in The Little Mermaid is a dramatic and fabulous villain, but she fails to strike fear in us on a personal level. She never touches that part of your mind that says, “That could have been me…”

reverse flash

Eobard Thawne aka The Reverse Flash is the most obvious example. He began his journey trying to become another Flash, but he lacked the character and inner strength that Barry possesses. He personally attacks everything about Barry that he is the opposite of. His previous goal of becoming the Flash has twisted into becoming the dark alternative. And he’s really good at it.

zoom

Hunter Zolomon aka Zoom has an eerily similar childhood background to Barry, with a few very important exceptions. Barry was taken to a home filled with love and good people, Zolomon was kicked around from one miserable place to the other. Zoom is obsessed with speed, but his goal to become the universe’s fastest speedster stems from a self-glorified desire for power and people to fear him. Barry is constantly trying to get faster, but his desire stems from a desire to protect innocent people. Barry loves it when people feel safe because of his efforts.

savitar

Savitar aka the god of Speed is actually a time remnant of Barry, he’s essentially a clone. More than any of the other villains he starts from a place of being a mirror image to our Scarlet Speedster. But as we’ve seen in the cold cruelty of his heart, he is what Barry could have become had he not been loved, cared for, and chosen to do the right thing.

Barry has faced each one of these villains on a very personal level. They have either threatened, or actually taken his family, his health, his confidence, the love of his life, and so much more. And yet, he always overcomes. He picks up himself up after failure. He resolves himself to stay true to who he is, no matter what. He outruns every villain and their plan to destroy him.

devoe

Clifford DeVoe aka The Thinker is our first non-speedster villain. I was excited to have a new kind of villain this season, at the same time, I had to wonder how DeVoe would impact Barry on a personal level, what part of Barry he would attack.

He enters the picture as we were welcomed into a new era of The Flash and Barry Allen as we know them. Barry was reborn in Season 4, Episode 1 The Flash Reborn. He’s settled, he’s confident. He’s stupid fast. He’s faced Vader and the Emperor and come out the victor. He’s a Jedi Knight now.

Barry ties the knot with the love of his life, Iris West-Allen and together they are reigning as Central City’s heroic power couple.

west allen season 4

Clifford DeVoe begins as a deeply sympathetic character. He’s a kindly professor, quiet and intellectual. He is married to a gorgeous woman who is his perfect partner. They have a beautiful house and eat homemade macaroni and cheese together. At first glance DeVoe has little in common with Barry, nor does he pose a deep threat. I couldn’t find the connection between Barry and his villain.  In fact, for the first several episodes I actually LIKED the DeVoes and appreciate their devotion to one another. “Just like Barry and Iris.”

the devoes

And then it hit me. This villain isn’t a dark reflection of Barry, he’s his own version of Barry. This season isn’t about attacking some personal aspect of who Barry is, this isn’t about making the Flash better, faster, stronger. This is all about DeVoe and his own “origin story”.

Like West-Allen, the DeVoes start out as a power couple. Soul mates, best friends, practically inside of each other’s heads. Their love has stood the test of time. Like Barry, Clifford wanted to make a difference in the world. He started out with the best of intentions, and his adoring wife The Mechanic went into the trenches right alongside him. They were a team.

As the season has continued, we have begun to see the unraveling of Clifford DeVoe from his own hero to a villain. He began his journey with the desire for two things:

(1) To love and be with his wife

(2) To educate

evil devoe

Once DeVoe gained powers, he managed to hold onto these two goals for a time, but the power began to take over his priority list, along with fear as his body gave way. Desperation, bitterness, and anger took root in his heart, now he must rule. He must be the best. He must know everything. He must have power.

We have seen him go from a loving husband and decent citizen to a crazed maniac who keeps switching bodies on his poor wife. There is no greater indication of just how low DeVoe is sinking than to watch Mrs. DeVoe’s face as her husband sinks lower and lower into crazed villainy. He sees her doubts, her questions, the way she is looking at him with distaste. He no longer seeks to partner with her, she has now become another object he desires to control.

Barry has lost himself at times, but it was always remembering the PEOPLE he loved that brought him back around. He welcomes and builds up the strength of others, even if they surpass his own in some aspects. West-Allen is so powerful because both Barry and Iris know they are at their best when the other person is thriving and strong.

DeVoe has lost sight of all the people, even his most beloved person, Marlize DeVoe, in his desire for control. He is rotting from the inside out.

It is said that we are all “the heroes of our own story”. This rings incredibly true in this season of The Flash. This season isn’t about the villain changing Barry, it’s about showing the heart of Barry and what makes him different from other people with “good intentions”.

Barry Allen and DeVoe may share a few similarities, but in the end one will fall to ruin, and the other will rise even higher. Why? It’s simple, Barry has never been about the power, he’s always been about the people. And people last. Power does not.

Barry invests in the people around him, and that is why he will win, because he is not alone. DeVoe has invested so heavily in his power that it has destroyed the people around him and himself in the process.

I applaud The Flash writers for taking a different approach with their internal and external conflict this season. Even though I am sure we are not done with Barry evolving as a hero, or with speedster villains, it was nice to explore a different side of The Flash and his dark alternatives.

The CW’s “The Flash” series airs Tuesdays at 8/7 Central.

 

 

Black Panther, Mostly Spoiler-Free Review

Black Panther is unlike any other Marvel movie you have ever seen. It is a story that is in many ways self-contained, fantastical, a fairytale of sorts. And yet, it is grounded in the heart struggles and deep questions that our world has been wrestling with since the dawn of time. Wakanda may not be real, but the battles it fights most certainly are.

I was deeply drawn in to these characters. They are complex, beautiful, mysterious. They are unlike anyone you have ever met before, and yet they seem like familiar friends. They surprise you regularly. The past and the present are entirely intertwined in this story, and that is something the characters themselves struggle with.

T’Challa is a beautiful character. He’s kingly, regal, and a strong warrior. The greatest strength of his character, however, lies in his gentleness and compassion. He makes compassion look like the most macho thing ever, and he uses his power to heal. I could scream at the world with how delighted that message makes me.

Nakia, she’s magnificent. Passionate, constantly in motion, and so strong. You feel the life and the heartbeat in her every look and word. I found her character to be so beautifully balanced, she was T’Challa’s equal, his perfect match. She was beautiful and vital to this story. I especially loved how they highlighted her compassion, something that many women carry but rarely get credit for. Her compassion changed the course of this story as it influenced those around her. Can I get an amen?

Princess Shuri. Hilarious. Lovely. Intelligent. Full of surprises. The dynamic between her and her older brother warmed my heart. Shuri is magnetic, you could see her winning the hearts of nations by just being herself. She’s like the Phineas and Ferb of Wakanda, and she will knock the socks right off of the other “brains” of Marvel.

Okoye. I think she is the character that intrigues me the most. General of Wakanda, their greatest warrior. I wasn’t sure how layered they would make her, I didn’t know if we would stop at just making her a warrior. But she was more than a warrior, she was deep. I felt like she represented an aspect of tradition, and yet it didn’t hold her character hostage. She surprised me with a rare sense of humor, an almost motherly attitude, and my favorite moment in the film involved something most unexpected with her character. She was fully a woman, fully a warrior, fully a Wakandan. Beautiful in every way.

Everett Ross. Well, if Bilbo showed up in Wakanda, this is what would have happened. Martin Freeman has played the same character in everything I have ever seen him in, and not once have I been disappointed. I think Ross was an important aspect of this film. The Wakandans were mostly raised with an air of superiority over the rest of the world, they hold the secrets no one else has. And they’re smug about it. Ross carries himself in this movie with a quiet confidence that remains unshaken, his faithfulness and steadfast courage take the other characters by surprise. He has a job, and he will get it done. I think his presence also did much to change the course of the story.

Erik Killmonger. He’s one of the coldest Marvel villains I have ever come across. He’s so full of hatred and bitter darkness it terrifies you. But he represents the opposite side of the coin from T’Challa. They are meant to be opposites even as they reflect one another, the contrast is there to be a lesson. Killmonger’s story moved you to a place of compassion, even if you abhorred what he became.

I still believe this to be one of the most violent Marvel movies I have seen. This is for two reasons.

(1) The violence is deeply personal. It’s hand to hand combat with sharp weapons. It’s full of betrayal, a life and death struggle for a nation and a set of ideals. Former allies turn on each other, and they do actually kill. This isn’t the Avengers fighting Chatauri, or drones, or Ultron bots. This isn’t even the Avengers fighting each other where the injuries could all be healed. These people KILL each other, and it is heartbreaking.

(2) It’s deeply raw in the emotions, which makes the blades all the sharper. I shook for hours after watching this movie. During the end climax I heard muttering, and looked over to see my mom praying tensely under her breath. It’s so intense you forget it’s not real. She was praying for T’Challa because it’s that intense.

This Marvel movie is so worth it. It takes on some of the hugest issues we are struggling with as a nation, and as a world; beautifully, this movie ends with the truth. It doesn’t deny the pain of past tragedies, you ache with that pain during the entire movie. Pain can move you to hatred, or it can move you to compassion. Both results are shown in brilliant colors in this movie, but we end in the right place.

I am so proud of the people who made this movie. It’s life-changing. It’s honest. It’s heartwarming and funny. And it puts value on the right beliefs. Beliefs that if carried out, will change our world for the better.

Wakanda forever!

*Deeper article to come later.

black panther car scene

Why We Need More of NBC’s “The Brave”

In the fall of 2017, NBC put out a little show called “The Brave” starring Mike Vogel, Anne Heche, and a full cast of truly delightful people. The Brave follows a small military unit led by Adam Dalton (Vogel) that specializes in extractions, rescues, and yes, even the occasional assassination. They are overseen from D.C. by Patricia Campbell (Heche) and her brilliant staff.

The components I just listed are not that extraordinary in and of themselves. Many military dramas have had the same ingredients, and they never rose in rank above their peer shows. On paper, The Brave looks no different. So why is this show so great?

I believe what sets The Brave apart from other military shows is the heart.

The heart of this show IS the military men and women it seeks to represent. Our real life heroes are truly the stars of this show, even though the roles are portrayed by actors. Dean Georgaris (writer, creator), the cast, and the crew give every moment 110%, because their top priority is to honor and represent our real heroes. This heart of respect and passion shine through every moment, every line, every wounded look and new scar that is gained.

The Brave is character-centric, as a good story should be. Unlike many other action-heavy shows, The Brave does not rely on explosions, fancy gadgets, or trumped up inter-personal drama to bring viewers in. Does that mean its boring? Heck no! Each new episode brings a unique location, creative problem solving, and some straight up epic scenes that often do involve explosions. Not to mention humor that is natural and classy. These elements are all the better because they are not carrying the weight of the show, but rather highlighting the true pillar of this series, the characters.

The team is composed of imperfect, broken, beautiful people who have come together with a common purpose. They share a goal to protect freedom and innocent lives, even if it means giving their own. They laugh, they fight, and they cry together. No one is left behind. The Brave doesn’t use cheap and gratuitous sex, gore, or language for shock value like so many shows do. It showcases real people, who love each other, doing a very hard job. And it does it well.

The Brave addresses the male/female equality discussion brilliantly, it doesn’t talk about it. Talk is cheap, actions are not.

Deputy Director Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche) is a competent and strong leader. She evaluates, gives orders, and supports wherever, whenever she is needed. Her tactical and analyst teams, composed of men and women, trust and respect her without question. Hannah Archer (Sofia Pernas) and Noah Morganthau (Tate Ellington) have developed a brilliant rhythm where they play to each other’s strengths and use their different approaches to create a broader perspective.

Sergeant Jasmine “Jaz” Kahn (Natacha Karam) is the tactical team’s sniper, and one of the toughest women currently on TV. She’s had to work incredibly hard to be where she is, but she is valued and respected by the men she calls “my guys”. Even pretty boy medic, Sergeant Joseph J. “McG” McGuire (Noah Mills) carries himself with respect and compassion, which is not always the case for his character type.

The men of The Brave are fully men, the women are fully women. Together they are powerful. There is no “us” and “them”, no struggle for the spotlight. Each person, be they tactical, or analyst, know their strengths, and their weaknesses. They celebrate and lean on each other’s strengths, and support each other through their weaknesses, just as God intended.

This is the key to a good team, if only the rest of the world would quit spewing useless words and just start treating each other with the same value and respect.

The Brave represents the true heart of America. This is the show where a Muslim intelligence operative, Agent Amir Al-Raisani (Hadi Tabal), and a Christian family man, CPO Ezekiel “Preach” Carter (Demetrius Grosse) fight side by side as brothers and friends. They face evil as allies with a common cause.

That has been the heart of America, even through our biggest mistakes and worst moments, the goal of this country is freedom, life, and unity. We are made up of all colors, shapes, sizes, and religions. We come from different circumstances, we carry different baggage. But that isn’t something to fear, it’s something to celebrate and enjoy. The men and women of The Brave fight to protect these ideals, and to protect the brother or the sister beside them. The love these characters have for each other is so beautiful, so rich. It’s what America was meant to be, and it’s what I still believe in.

And now for my favorite part of The Brave.

Because I have watched this show, I feel like I better understand the hearts and minds of our service men and women.

I have not had the privilege of knowing many service men or women in my life, so my knowledge regarding their experience has been limited. Through watching The Brave and subsequently interacting on Twitter with service members, I have learned so much. In the most recent episode, Grounded, Dalton (Vogel) had a monologue describing something very personal, very emotional regarding his experiences in combat and how they have effected him. A gentleman on Twitter responded so powerfully.

@Mike_Vogel just told the story so many of us veterans have tried to get out into the world in that monologue in that final part of #thebrave

To which Mike Vogel replied….

It’s your story _________. We’re sorry the world is so slow to listen, but we thank you for answering the call and being part of it. We owe you guys everything.

Got chills yet? I know I do.

I believe the call of a storyteller is to tells stories that bring life, truth, and understanding. It is to delight an audience, to give them a good time, but to also instill in them a deeper understanding of something, or someone. It is to share an experience that the audience may have never had. It is to be a voice for someone who either can’t speak, or doesn’t know how. Or in this case, a voice for someone who has been yelling, but no one has heard.

It is to tell the people it represents, “I hear you, I see you, and you are NOT forgotten!” And to give the rest of the audience a chance to say, “We see you, and you are loved.”

Stories are meant to bridge experiences, to delight, to teach….to heal.

The Brave has accomplished all of this in a glorious, beautiful way. No, I am not just talking about the fact that this entire cast is almost too good-looking and charming for my TV screen to handle. Who needs explosives on hand when you have dynamite smiles to work with?

I have seen The Brave, and I have seen the people it is touching….

….and I see life.

Something this special is worth protecting. This show is worth renewing. Our team has more missions to go on and more stories to tell. NBC, we hope you are listening, ’cause you have a treasure right now, and we want more of it.

Part 1 of the Season 1 finale airs Jan. 22, at 10/9c on NBC. If you aren’t already watching, you will be before long. 

 

Real Women: Jyn Erso (Rogue One)

I imagine most of you have seen Rogue One by now. If not, do not read further as there will be spoilers included. And if you have, then welcome, Fellow Star Wars Fan. We are forever changed after seeing that film.

There is so much to say on the subject of Rogue One, I have several articles waiting in the wings, but for now, I would like to focus on the titular character of the movie:

Jyn Erso.

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) joined the annals of Star Wars history as yet another deserving Star Wars leading lady. She owned her role beautifully and brought a level of human authenticity to the Star Wars world that was unlike anything I have yet seen. Not to say that the other Star Wars leading ladies have failed, quite the contrary, but their stories and roles are drastically different from Jyn’s.

Rogue One was such a raw and personal movie that it was only going to succeed if it’s characters were equally raw and personal. Jyn had a brief, but fiercely important role to play in the timeline of Star Wars. And because she played that role so well, she will never be forgotten.

I want to share a few specific things I found deeply attractive about this character, and why I am adding her to my list of real women in cinema.

1. She was scared.

Based upon earlier trailers for Rogue One, I was not at all looking forward to Jyn’s character. To me, she came across as untouchable and sarcastic. In fact, before the re-shoots, I have a feeling that may be closer to Jyn’s original portrayal. But more on that another day.

When the final trailer came out I was delighted to see that she actually appeared to be far more human than I had first believed.

My secondary impression was correct. We first meet Jyn as an innocent child, yet another victim of the Empire’s cruelty that robs her of both her mother and father. She’s a sweet little girl with braids and a stuffed doll that she drops when fleeing the Storm troopers.

little-jyn

As a young woman, you can still see that haunted and frightened look of a child in her huge eyes. She doesn’t walk around with a chip on her shoulder and an exaggerated swagger (she’s no Solo after all). Instead she goes through life with her head down and keeps running. Even when she is “rescued” by the rebels she attempts to flee. Her fighting reactions are that of a cornered animal rather than a fierce warrior.

frightened-jyn

To me, this is far more accurate than if they had made Jyn some fierce and untouchable warrior. She has quite obviously gone through terrifying things, and she just wants to feel safe. She just wants her daddy back. Is there anything more human than that?

2. She was compassionate

One of my absolute favorite moments in this entire movie was when Jyn saves the little girl during the raid in Jedha. She looked at that child and saw herself, and despite the fact that she has a huge survivor’s instinct, her instinct to protect that baby was stronger. Cassian tries to call her back, but she ignores him and runs into the crossfire. She scoops up the terrified little lady and returns her safely to her mama.  As much as that moment frustrated Cassian, he was also deeply attracted to it. Compassion is a rare quality, but it’s also one of the most alluring.

Jyn’s compassion extended further when she learned the truth about the Death Star and was given the information about how to destroy it. Her earlier instinct to get in, get out, and survive is once more overridden by her desire to protect others. Jyn’s heart for others is even bigger than her beautiful eyes. These moments were a beautiful illumination of her true heart, and made her an unforgettable character.

3. She was hopeful

Hope, like compassion, is a rare quality. Jyn has a lot of reasons to stop hoping. She has been haunted and hunted by the Empire since childhood. They have taken everything from her and millions of others in the galaxy. She could just throw her hands up in despair, but instead, she chooses to grab onto hope and charge into battle with it.

Cassian was raised his entire life in this Rebellion. He’s used to sleepless nights, long odds, and big regrets. He doesn’t give up, and yet, even he seems to be awakened in a new way by Jyn’s hope and determination. Jyn’s sweet little quotation during the Rebel council,

“Rebellions are built on hope,”

was actually his original statement. And yet, Cassian’s reaction to her hopeful initiative is like someone coming alive again. It’s as if he is hearing that concept in a completely new, and reachable way. He is going into battle with a fresh countenance and renewed sense of purpose that only Jyn was able to awaken.

jyns-rallying-hope

Hopeful people heal and rally those around them. Hope is like an infectious disease, it cannot help but spread. Jyn’s hope was beautiful and rejuvenating. She rallied an entire organization, a group of incredible and effective individuals around her because of her hope and determination. I have a hard time believing a jaded and sarcastic character would have been nearly as effective.

4. She was beautiful and ladylike

Despite the fact that Jyn was in one, practical outfit, went through multiple battles, killed storm troopers, climbed towers, and did a million other “dirty” things, she was such a lady. Being termed a lady has nothing to do with keeping your clothes clean or staying out of harm’s way, it is an overall bearing and way of carrying yourself in any situation.

Jyn felt so feminine to me. She wasn’t seductive once, she didn’t try to gain attention for herself, she didn’t constantly have to advertise how smart and capable she was. And yet, by the end of the movie during that dreadful and wonderful beach scene, you could see in Cassian’s eyes how much he loved her.

She was not unnecessarily crass and she wasn’t hardened and bitter. She was strong and tender.

Jyn was so, so beautiful. Her beautiful heart and wonderful character came out and clothed her as brilliantly as if she had been a member of Princess Leia’s court. Her daddy’s sweet nick-name Stardust was perfect for this lovely girl, for she sparkled and cast light like a beautiful star.

jyns-face

*****

I loved the character work done with many of the characters in this beautiful and heartbreaking film, and Jyn was one of the finest. Gareth Edwards and Felicity Jones can be proud of what they accomplished with her, she was a wonderful character to grace the screen and I hope we have the privilege of seeing many more women like her in the future.

As I said above, I have more Rogue One articles waiting in the wings. I would love to hear from you all as well. What did you love about the movie? Did you love Jyn Erso as much as I did? What is one thing you thought they incredibly well?

Like Star Wars? Here are a few more articles you might find interesting.

5 Reasons Why Finn Is Still Going to Be a Jedi

6 Ways that StarWars: Rebels Differs From StarWars: The Clone Wars

Why Ezra Bridger Will Ultimately Choose the Light Side