The Guardians are back, adding Kurt Russell (he was Colonel Jack O’Neil in the first Stargate movie [before Richard Dean Anderson took over in the series], and opposite Goldie Hawn in Overboard) as Ego, with an appearance by Sylvester Stallone as Stakar.
The film opens in Missouri, 1980, where we meet Peter’s mother, as well as his father, though we should note that there is something alien in the field. Meredith is so pleased to find a spaceman. Quick jump to thirty-four years later, and Peter is on a job with the other Guardians, with their usual antics. Dancing baby Groot distracts us from the fight going on behind him. They technically complete the job, but Rocket steals something from their client, which sends a fleet of ships after the Guardians, who still bicker and now have Nebula with them as a prisoner. Rocket and Peter argue over who is the better pilot and they are only saved by the intervention of a new ship. They crash land onto Berhert, where the other ship lands as well and their savior introduces himself as Ego, Peter’s father. He invites Peter to his home planet to explain everything. Gamora and Drax go with Peter, while Rocket and Groot remain with Nebula to fix the ship.
Meanwhile, Yandu and his Ravengers are partying (well, Yandu isn’t partying as much), then he meets another Ravanger, Stakar, who calls Yandu out for some of his prior jobs, including kidnapping young Peter. He’s exiled, but manages to pick up another job, which is to find the Guardians of the Galaxy for their botched job. He finds Rocket, who handles the crew pretty well with a myriad of traps, but Nebula manages to get free and sides with the crew that mutinies against Yandu for going soft (he’s just smart enough to not kill the Guardians of the Galaxy). Nebula makes a deal with the new crew so she can hunt Gamora and kill her, then track down Thanos and kill him. Yandu, Rocket, and Groot manage to escape, aided by Kraglin and go after Peter.
Ego shows off his planet to Peter, Gamora, and Drax, and they meet his…companion Mantis, who uses her empathy to help Ego sleep. Peter already doesn’t trust Ego, but as Gamora puts it, “if he ends up being evil, we’ll just kill him.” But Ego’s planet is beautiful and full of life. Ego reveals he’s a Celestial; in essence, a god, small “g.” He doesn’t quite know where he came from, but he’s been around millions of years. He can control the molecules around him and in the planet and eventually formed himself into a human. He didn’t want to be alone in the universe and eventually met Meredith Quinn on Earth. When he discovered she had a son, he searched the galaxy for him, then heard of a human who could hold an Infinity Stone without dying and knew Peter must be part Celestial. He swears to Peter that he wanted to be a father; Peter is not a mistake. And he wants to teach Peter about the light. But Peter is still mad that Ego left and never came back. They partially make up when Peter is able to make a ball out of light and they play quintessential catch for a few minutes.
Peter is happy and even persuades Gamora to dance with him for a few minutes, then she ends up insisting that there is nothing between them. And Mantis is hiding something from the heroes. Nebula tracks down Gamora and they start fighting each other, then Nebula’s ship crashes and Gamora ends up saving Nebula. Nebula finally shouts at Gamora that all she wanted was a sister; it was Gamora who was focused on being better and the victor. During their argument, they find skeletons and have to make it back to the surface.
That’s where Ego is sharing his plan with Peter. Peter is immortal as long as the light lives in the planet. And Ego wants to spread throughout the galaxy. In this Expansion, he planted thousands of extensions of himself (that weird alien planet from the beginning) on thousands of planets, with the intention that they will cover all that exists. But one Celestial does not have enough power on their own. So he needs Peter. Mantis explains to our heroes that the bones the sisters found are Ego’s previous children, none of whom shared the Celestial gene; only Peter. And Peter’s initially taken by Ego and on board with the plan until Ego admits he was the one who put the tumor in Meredith. Peter is furious. He tries shooting Ego, but Ego just reforms and spears Peter in order to use him as a battery. One Earth, that plant bursts into a giant black wave that begins engulfing the town.
Yandu and the rest of the Guardians crash in. Yandu admits he couldn’t hand Peter over as a child after he heard about what happened to the others. Peter grudgingly forgives him and they focus on destroying Ego, meaning they have to strike at the center of the planet in order to kill him. Mantis helps the Guardians by putting Ego to sleep, which works for a few minutes. When he wakes up, he tries to crush Peter’s friends, continuing to insist that this is Peter’s purpose in life. But Peter fights back, remembering the good times he’s had with his friends (even a brief clip of Yandu teaching a young Peter something), and his friends are released. He continues to hold back Ego, growling that he shouldn’t have killed his mom. Groot sets a bomb, but it still looks hopeless for the Guardians, with the planet falling apart around them. Rocket gets everyone on the ship and takes off, without Yandu and Peter, saving his friends. They all demand to know about Peter. Peter is fine not being a god and watches Ego disintegrate. Yandu is there to save him, using the jetpack himself, but putting the protective bubble on Peter when they hit space. Yandu freezes, but Peter lives.
They hold a Ravanger funeral for Yandu, whom Peter finally admits was his dad. The life he was always looking for was right there. Gamora asks Nebula to stay and they even hug, admitting they will always be sisters. But Nebula wants to hunt down Thanos and leaves. The other Ravangers come for Yandu’s funeral and everyone is fairly content.
This movie is about family; yes, Peter finally solves the problem of who his biological father is, but he also accepts other people in his life as family. And the Guardians feel the same way, considering they demand to know where Peter is before they leave. And I like that Peter is a little more serious in this film. There are plenty of jokes cracked to keep the humor we know from this crew, but Peter doesn’t pass everything off as a joke. He honestly wants to know this man who calls himself Peter’s father, but is also smart enough to not immediately trust him. And he truly cares for Gamora and Gamora eventually returns his feelings. Everyone experiences character growth (which is what you want in a sequel).
I’m looking forward to Next Time, we have Spider-Man: Homecoming
The start of the prequel-ish series and brings in James McAvoy (I adore him in Becoming Jane and he’s Tumnus the Faun in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) to play Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender (he’s the reason I went to watch the Jane Eyre movie that came out around the same time and led me to actually reading the book [that sometimes works]) to play Erik Lensherr. Oliver Platt (Porthos in the 90’s Three Musketeers) is simply “Man in Black Suit,” though Kevin Bacon (star of Footloose) brings dimension to Sebastian Shaw. Jennifer Lawrence (this came out a year before the first Hunger Games film, where her fame skyrocketed. She has since won a Golden Globe for American Hustle and an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook [no, I have not watched those, but I love her in this role]) is Raven, while Nicholas Hoult (now you see him all the time for ads for The Great, and he’s remarkable in Tolkien) is Hank McCoy, and Lucas Till (the new MacGyver) is Alex Summers. A few older adults are familiar; Rade Serbedzija (Prince Kragin in the first Downton Abbey movie and Gregorvitch in Deathly Hallows, and Emile de Becque in the TV movie of South Pacific with Glenn Close) is the Russian general, Glenn Morshower (he shows up in a bunch of TV shows, usually as someone in charge) is General Hendry, and the senior William Stryker is played by Don Creech (yep, that’s Mr. Sweeney from Nickelodeon’s Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide).
The film begins the same as the first X-Men film, in Poland in 1944. But this time, we see someone watching young Erik Lensherr pull down the gates. This man is known as Klaus Schmidt and he’s very interested in discovering Erik’s abilities. The Nazis are only partially correct in their idea of genes unlocking a new age, but Schmidt is focused on latent abilities. He offers Erik chocolate to move a metal coin. When that fails, he brings in Erik’s mother and threatens to shoot her after the count of three, unless Erik can move the coin. Sadly, the teenager cannot move the coin, and Schmidt shoots Mrs. Lensherr. Erik goes on a rampage, destroying everything else metal in the room, to Schmidt’s great delight. As a “reward,” he gives Erik the coin at the end, noting that he can unlock the boy’s gift with rage and pain (that does not bode well). At the same time, in Westchester, New York, a young Charles Xavier discovers a young Raven in his kitchen. At first, she morphs into Mrs. Xavier, but Charles quickly realizes she’s a fake since his mother has never stepped foot in the kitchen and has never offered to make him hot chocolate. But when Charles realizes it’s another mutant, he’s excited, as is Raven.
Eighteen years later, in Geneva, Switzerland, Erik tracks down a former Nazi banker to make him give up the location of Klaus Schmidt. He’s sent to Argentina, where he notices a photo of Schmidt aboard a ship based out of Miami. Erik kills the men, after remarking that he is Frankenstein’s monster, and he’s looking for his creator [this sequence highlights Michael Fassbender’s talent with languages]. At the same time, Charles is finishing his degree at Oxford University and hitting on girls in pubs, while his “sister” Raven watches on. While Charles praises pretty girls for their “mutations,” such as two-colored eyes and brown hair, Raven has to hide her true form in order to fit in. She mocks a girl for saying “mutant and proud,” but the relationship between Charles and Raven is very sweet: Charles is very much a brother by saying that the overall concept of his sister dating is that “any man would be lucky to have you,” while the actual thought is, “you’re my sister, I don’t think of you that way.” And he genuinely fears Raven slipping up and what the consequences would be. [And excellent editing, playing Charles’ thesis over the scene where Erik walks into the bank, stating “the mutated human species meant the extinction of its less-evolved kin.”]
In the States, CIA agent Moira McTaggert is investigating the Hellfire Club in Las Vegas, discovering several officials and important people are all meeting, including General Hendry, so she sneaks in. And overhears Shaw pressuring the general to put nuclear missiles in Turkey, extremely close to Russia and almost certainly a declaration of war. But some of his mutant companions help sway the general. When her report is not believed, she sets out to find an expert in genetic mutation. Which leads her to Charles, who initially tries to flirt with her, until he discovers that there is something more interesting going on. So, Charles and Raven accompany Moira back to the CIA headquarters, where Charles gives his presentation, but isn’t taken seriously, until he uses his abilities. Of course, they think he’s a spy, until Raven transforms into Styrker. They’re still not trusted, so the man in the back ground [Oliver Platt] offers to house them in his facility, since it’s secure and off-premises. Then a lead comes in about Shaw’s whereabouts, and Charles persuades Moira to take him.
Erik has caught up to Shaw (who is in fact Klaus Schmidt) after Shaw has killed Hendry by demonstrating his mutant power: he absorbs energy and can redistribute it, which also keeps him young. Erik is knocked off the boat by Shaw’s associates, then uses the anchor to begin tearing the ship apart. Emma Frost and Shaw escape into their submarine, which Erik attempts to stop using his powers. But the U.S. Coast Guard is also on the scene, with Charles on board. Charles senses Erik in the water, after mentally running into Emma, who is also a telepath. Charles urges Erik to stop and let the sub go; he’ll drown. When the man doesn’t listen to him, Charles jumps into the water himself and calms the man down. “You’re not alone.”
Charles brings Erik back to the “Covert CIA Research Base,” where they investigate the application of paranormal powers in a military setting. Or as Charles jokingly calls them, the “mutant division.” They meet young Hank McCoy, who on top of being extremely intelligent, has abnormal feet. Charles accidentally outed Hank, but Raven is pleased to meet the young man. It’s someone else who has a physical mutation. Hank has developed a supersonic plane [looks an awful lot like the SR-71 Blackbird], (which appears in the other X-Men films). When the two teens talk afterwards, Hank wants some of Raven’s blood in order to develop a serum that will mask their physical mutations, but not their actual powers. Erik walks by in time to stop a kiss, but also points out they shouldn’t have to hide. Erik is still bent on revenge, but Charles stops him before he leaves. Charles wants to help Erik, and stresses that Erik has a chance to be a part of something bigger. Erik in fact, stays, but they find out that the missiles have been placed in Turkey and Shaw is on his way to Russia. He also has a helmet that blocks a telepath’s ability to read his mind.
It’s time for Charles and Erik to gather mutants of their own. Hank developed a transmitter, he calls Cerebro, that can amplify Charles’ brainwaves and abilities, so Charles can locate other mutants. Hank suggests shaving Charles so the helmet would fit closer, to which Charles definitively says “don’t touch my hair.” They first find a club dancer whose tattoos are actually wings; then there’s a cab driver, then Alex Summers who is in solitary confinement. Next, there’s a teenaged boy on a date, but he can drive fish away. They find Wolverine in a bar, but all he says is “go fuck yourself,” and they leave. The teens get to know one another and show off their powers and decide on nicknames. The club dancer is Angel, the cab driver is Darwin, because he adapts to survive. Raven becomes Mystique and the red-headed boy is Sean and he goes by Banshee because of his sonic blast. Alex becomes Havok due to his laser blasts. Erik and Charles are trying to plan their next step and are disappointed to find the kids having a party and goofing off (and destroying part of the building). Raven does manage to tell them their nicknames; Charles is Professor X and Erik is Magneto. The adults head off for Russia to hopefully head Shaw off, but he doesn’t show, Emma is leading the meeting with the Russian general. Erik is determined to take her instead, so Charles chases after him. Erik wraps Emma in metal hard enough to crack her diamond form, which allows Charles to read her mind for Shaw’s plan: place U.S. missiles in Turkey, place Russian missiles in Cuba and then make a nuclear war happen. “Radiation gave birth to mutants; what will kill the humans will only make us stronger,” and Shaw can take over the world.
Shaw, in the meantime, has discovered that Erik and Charles are recruiting, so he heads for Virginia to find them. His minions accompany him and start ripping the agents apart. The agents attempt to protect the kids, even though some of them were teasing them not too long ago. Until the last guy is very eager to hand the mutant teenagers over to the psychopath. Shaw only wants to make an offer to the kids, saying that the humans will eventually rise against the mutants and they need to pick their sides now: either wait to be enslaved, or rise up to rule. Angel willingly goes with Shaw. Darwin starts to go with Shaw, then signals for Alex to let loose a laser, hoping to take out the bad guy. Unfortunately, they did not realize that Shaw would absorb the power, then feed it to Darwin. Shaw, Angel, and his minions leave. When Erik and Charles return, Charles initially wants to send the kids home, but they point out it’s too late for that. Erik convinces Charles to train the teenagers. And Charles knows where.
At the mansion, Charles teaches each teenager that they need to control their powers, not let their powers control them (we see this lesson repeated in the previous trilogy). Seeing Sean learn to fly is humorous, just the way he falls into the bush, and then Erik simply pushing him when Charles tries to let him out of trying. It’s Erik who points out to Raven that she is splitting half of her attention in order to look normal. She wants society to accept her, but she won’t accept herself. And Charles and Erik work together, Charles showing Erik that he doesn’t need to use anger to fuel his power; that true focus lies between rage and serenity. Charles feels the good in Erik. Hank finishes the serum and shows Raven, but she’s realized the truth in Erik’s words and it doesn’t help that Hank calls the serum a cure. She’s finally mutant and proud. When Hank tries the serum, it initially works, but then goes the wrong way. Meanwhile, Erik and Charles are playing chess and discussing the mutant issue, fundamentally on opposing sides, but for the moment acting like gentlemen. Raven sneaks into Erik’s room to wait for him and even tries her older form, but he doesn’t say “perfection,” until she’s in her natural blue form. She confronts Charles afterwards and he struggles to see her point.
The team heads out to try to put an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis, using the plane that Hank developed. He’s now blue and furry, thanks to his serum, but he’s now become Beast. When they reach the embargo line, Charles makes the Russians fire on their own ship, so the Americans won’t have to fire and then start the war. They figure Shaw is nearby, perhaps underwater, so they use Sean as sonar (and he stays away from Erik, so he won’t get pushed out). Shaw is indeed on site and plans to become the weapon, draining the nuclear reactor of his sub. But Erik manages to lift the sub out of the water and crash it on the beach. The plan crashes shortly after. Erik heads for the sub, and Beast, Havok, and Banshee take on Angel, Riptide, and Azazel. Erik realizes that smashing the mirrored walls of the reactor will allow Charles telepathy to work, so he can freeze Shaw. Shaw attempts to win Erik over to his side, and Erik admits that Shaw made him into a weapon. Then Erik puts on the helmet so Charles can’t stop him from using the coin to pierce Shaw’s head in final retaliation for killing his mother. [Excellent editing, following the path of the coin and overlaying Charles’ face occasionally, indicating that he feels what Erik is doing.]
Stryker is causing problems and orders both sides to hit the mutants on the beach. This just adds fuel to Erik’s argument that the humans are against the mutants and they all need to band together. Charles still holds hope that there are some good humans out there. Erik manages to stop the missiles and turns them back to the ships, but Charles tackles him, breaking his concentration so the missiles start exploding in midair. The two men wrestle, then Moira starts shooting at Erik. He deflects the bullets, but one lands in Charles’ back. Erik retaliates by cradling his friend and strangling Moira. Charles points out this was Erik’s doing. He releases Moira, but pleads with Charles that he needs the man by his side; they’re brothers, they want the same thing. No, my friend, we do not (and we’re hit by James/Charles’ piercing blue eyes). Erik leaves Charles, makes one last plead to gain allies. Raven steps towards him, though she detours to her brother, who gives her permission. “Mutant and proud,” are her parting words. The rest of the team swarm their leader and Charles can only say he can’t feel his legs.
They’re back at the mansion, formalizing plans to make it a school. And Charles has to protect the anonymity of his students, so with a kiss, he wipes Moira’s memory. Erik breaks Emma Frost out of prison, now wearing the repainted helmet and a cape and going by Magneto.
This has become my favorite X-Men film, because it’s a story that can really stand on its own. They make it fit well into the Cuban Missile Crisis, so we wonder, could this really have happened? There’s also more energy to the movie. It’s nice to see older Charles and Erik get along on occasion, but it’s even better to see how they started. Yes, some continuity snarls show up, but since none of the movies were exactly planned out years in advance to fit together, it still works. And I probably allow much more leeway since I have never read the comics. It’s also not as dark as many of the previous movies were. Several mistakes were made by characters in complete innocence. The soundtrack also heightens the energy of the film, with the electric guitar and steady pace.
And yes, I totally subscribe to the theory that Charles and Erik are a couple. And utterly adore the new fact that Charles and Raven are siblings. These people need more hugs!
I love blueink3’s Rumor Has It, which picks up where this film left off and adds an unknown child of Charles’ to the mix.
I promise, I have not dropped off the face of the Earth! Life is just…hectic, chaotic, all those words. I most certainly will continue with my blogs on Star Wars (I want to share some of my favorite Extended Universe [now termed Legends; we’ll get into that later] novels). Sadly, those will most likely come after the new year. I don’t know what it is these past few months, but free time has floated by. I’m sure it’s a trait of adulthood, that when a day off rolls around, it gets filled with errands and chores and everything else; it’s just getting annoying.
On a happy note, I did accomplish some writing that made me happy…nothing publishable because my brain still refuses to concentrate on that work. Nevertheless, the stories have made me happy and a few plotlines are still floating about in my head. Heavily influenced by re-watching Disney XD’s show Lab Rats. [If adults can like Spongebob (I hated that show when it was out and I still don’t get it), then I can like Lab Rats 🙂 ] The show featured three bionic siblings who saved the world on missions. Adam, the eldest, had super strength, Bree, the middle child, had super speed, and Chase, the youngest, had super intelligence. The show ran for three years, and there was a half season of a spin off Lab Rats: Elite Force which added characters from another show, Mighty Med. The show was just getting interesting when it was cancelled. Chase is my favorite character; I like smart guys, though he could be egotistical at times and could probably use a smack upside the head.
I just needed something fluffy to occupy the time after work and before I fall asleep. It works.
If you happen to be interested in Lab Rats fanfiction, I can recommend: “A Slow Poison and a Final Straw” by WolfenM on AO3 and a whole slew of works by MoonlightMystery13.3 over on Fanfiction.net. 88keys has some good stories as well and “Because Family Matters” by Scribbler123 is worth a read.
I do want to thank everyone who has continued reading these blogs! And I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween! (One of my favorite holidays; I love dressing up in costumes, but kindly keep your gore and horror far away from me. You’re lucky I managed to watch Supernatural.)
The second of the new Star Trek movies, bringing back all of our favorite characters. Joining them is Peter Weller (popped up recently as Elliott Mason in MacGyver) as Admiral Marcus, and yes, that is Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith from Doctor Who) that briefly appears at the beginning of the film. And of course, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Smaug and the Necromancer in the Hobbit trilogy, Dr. Stephen Strange in the MCU, amongst a dozen other roles) as John Harrison.
The film opens on an alien planet, Nibiru, where McCoy and Kirk are being chased by the natives. This is a distraction so that Sulu and Uhura can drop Spock into a volcano and render it inert so it doesn’t destroy the planet and the entire civilization. Events, of course, do not go entirely to plan. Ash from the volcano forces Sulu and Uhura to head back to the Enterprise, leaving Spock in the volcano. The Enterprise is actually sitting on the bottom of the ocean at the moment, but Kirk sees no other way of rescuing Spock aside from rising out and showing themselves to the primitive natives, and violating the Prime Directive (prohibits members of Starfleet from interfering with the natural development of alien civilizations). So now, the Nibiruians worship the Enterprise.
In London, a couple visits their sick daughter until a man (Harrison) approaches the father, saying he can save her life. Back at Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco, Pike meets with Kirk and Spock to address their recent mission. Spock reported Kirk’s actions, which Kirk tried to hide his wrongdoing, considering he did it in order to save Spock. Starfleet command has voted to take the Enterprise from Kirk; he will be sent back to the Academy. Their argument, Pike points out, is that Kirk feels like the rules don’t apply to him. He’s been lucky and he uses that argument to support his actions. Pike finds Kirk again that evening and reveals he has managed to become the new captain of the Enterprise and has finagled Kirk to be his First Officer; Spock has been reassigned. “It’ll be okay, son.”
They get a call late in the evening, after the archives have been blown up in London (by the father we saw earlier. Harrison’s blood managed to save his daughter). Kirk wonders why Harrison, revealed to be part of Starfleet, targeted essentially a library. Then formulates that Harrison’s next target must be their very meeting. As soon as he shouts “clear the room,” a small craft appears outside the windows and open fires. Kirk manages to get alongside the craft and attempts to jam the engine. He succeeds, but Harrison warps out before it crashes. And Kirk sadly discovers that Christopher Pike was killed in the attack, his last moments watched by Spock (who even mind-melded with the man). [Wonderful acting on Chris Pine’s part; you can read his character’s devastation on his face] The next morning, Kirk approaches Admiral Marcus for permission to hunt Harrison down. He’s hidden on the homeworld of the Klingons, Kronos. Marcus gives Kirk permission to sit on the edge of the Neutral Zone and fire new photon torpedoes to take out Harrison.
On their way to the Enterprise, Spock argues with Kirk over the morality of simply executing Harrison without a trial. They are also joined by Carol Wallace, a Science Officer assigned to transfer the new torpedoes. The torpedoes that Scotty doesn’t want to allow on the Enterprise. He and Kirk get in an argument, Scotty uncomfortable with the militaristic nature of their endeavor. Scotty ends up resigning. Kirk then instructs Chekov to take over as Chief of Engineering, “go put on a red shirt.” (Chekov looks appropriately worried; red shirted crew members are notorious for dying on Star Trek) With a look to Spock, Kirk announces to the crew that they will covertly set down on Kronos in order to capture Harrison and bring him back for trial. Kirk leaves Sulu in charge…and oh boy, Bones is right, we should never piss off Sulu, that message was on point.
Before they head down to Kronos, Spock deduces that Carol Wallace is actually Carol Marcus, the Admiral’s daughter. She snuck aboard the Enterprise to take a look at the torpedoes. Kirk warns the away team that they cannot be tied back to Starfleet, then there’s a brief argument aboard the shuttle between Spock and Uhura over his willingness to die in the volcano; Spock reveals he chooses not to feel the fear of death again, which he experienced the day Vulcan was destroyed and when he melded with Pike. There’s a brief chase and Kirk makes them fit between two structures, Spock isn’t sure it counted, but they’re soon cornered. Uhrua asks that Kirk let her speak Klingon and tries to negotiate their way out. Until Harrison open fires, admittedly saving Uhura’s life, but everyone else begins firing. Harrison surrenders to Kirk when he demands how many torpedoes were aimed at him. Kirk accepts his surrender on behalf of Pike, then proceeds to beat Harrison until Uhura stops him.
Kirk’s questioning of Harrison doesn’t go quite according to plan; it raises more questions than answers. He calls Scotty and asks the man to investigate the coordinates Harrison gave them. And Carol and McCoy head to a deserted planetoid to open up the torpedoes. “When I dreamt about being stuck on a deserted planet with a gorgeous woman, there was no torpedo!” It’s all fun and games until McCoy gets his arm stuck in the torpedo as it’s about to detonate. Luckily, Carol disarms it by pulling out the wiring. And it’s not fuel inside the torpedoes; there are people locked in cyrotubes inside. They were Harrison’s crew and he hid them there after Marcus woke him up for his military mind. Admiral Marcus is preparing for a war and discovered a ship full of people genetically engineered to be superior in every way. And Harrison’s real name? Khan [which even a fairly Star Trek-illiterate person knew meant bad things]. Khan points out to Spock “you can’t even break a rule, how can you be expected to break bone?” Marcus needed Khan’s savagery. [Benedict’s performance is also excellent; precise and calm, which makes it all the more menacing]
A huge ship arrives, helmed by Admiral Marcus and he’s not pleased that Kirk didn’t do exactly as he was told, nor that he’s spoken to Khan. Marcus demands that Kirk hand Khan over, but Kirk has Chekov take them to warp drive. Marcus aboard the Vengeance is able to catch them and knock them out. And now he’s deemed them criminals and intends to fire on them. He beams his daughter out when she tries to protect her new friends and Kirk pleads for the lives of his crew. They were only following his orders. But Marcus will kill them all…until their system is rebooted. Guess what Scotty found?
Now Kirk has a new idea; he’ll use Khan to board the Vengeance and get Marcus to stand down. Kirk orders Spock to take command; the ship needs someone who knows what they’re doing in charge and Kirk is running on a gut feeling. [Interesting note, at this point, there is still an hour left in the movie, meaning a lot more is going to happen, including the bulk of conflict and action] While Kirk and Khan engage in a space jump, Spock calls his older counterpart. He vowed to never reveal the future to his younger counterpart; they must follow their own path. Nevertheless, Khan was the most dangerous adversary they ever faced and they only defeated him at great cost (reference to the second original movie I believe, I’ve only watched it once) Luckily, we have Scotty to throw in some humor during the tense situations and all three men fight their way to the bridge. Scotty stuns Khan and Kirk tries to get Marcus to step down. The Admiral will have none of it. “War is coming, and who is going to lead us? You? If I’m not in charge, our entire way of life is decimated.” While everyone is distracted, Khan strikes. He knocks out Scotty and breaks Carol’s leg. He knocks Kirk out of the way with a few extra punches then crushes Marcus’s head. “You should have let me sleep,” he hisses to the Admiral. Khan calls the Enterprise and is not concerned that Spock has discovered that Khan truly is a war criminal, banished for mass genocide on anyone deemed less superior. Khan makes it easy for Spock, give him the torpedoes of his crew and he’ll return Kirk. Vulcans do not lie, the torpedoes are aboard the Vengeance. Khan beams Kirk, Scotty, and Carol back to the Enterprise. “After all, no ship should go down without her captain.”
Chaos erupts. Khan fires on the Enterprise, then the torpedoes detonate aboard the Vengeance. Spock was not so cruel as to kill Khan’s crew; all seventy-two cryotubes are safe with Bones. But the Enterprise has sustained too much damage; the ship loses power and begins to fall. Scotty and Kirk race to Engineering, with some help from Chekov when gravity flips around. Spock orders everyone to abandon ship; he will stay behind and do what he can. The bridge crew refuses to leave. In Engineering, they discover the warp core is not aligned, meaning there’s no way to reboot power. Kirk knows of a way. He knocks Scotty out and opens the door to the core, which is filled with radiation. He climbs in and kicks the components back into alignment. The Enterprise is saved and rises out of the clouds (still awesome). Spock knows there is no such thing as a miracle and runs to Engineering when Scotty calls him.
A door separates Kirk and Spock, keeping the radiation from everyone else. Spock tells Kirk that he saved the ship, the crew is safe because of him. Kirk comments that the stunt with Khan was something he would have done; and entering the core room was something that Spock would have done (the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…and what happened in the second movie). Kirk admits he’s scared and asks Spock how to not feel. But Spock cannot control his emotions at this time. And he recognizes that Kirk rescued him from the volcano because he is Kirk’s friend. Kirk puts his hand to the glass and Spock mirrors him; their fingers move to the Vulcan greeting, then Kirk’s hand falls. Spock is silent for a moment, then yells “Khan!” in rage.
They’re not out of danger yet; the Vengeance falls past them and crashes into San Francisco Bay. Khan jumps into the ruins and Spock beams down to pursue him. Bones is devastated when Kirk is brought to him in a body bag. Then the tribble on his desk trills; the one that was dead that he injected Khan’s blood into. He orders Jim put in a cryotube, but he needs more of Khan’s blood. Uhura goes down to stop Spock from killing Khan, protecting her boyfriend from being crushed to death like Marcus. Spock manages to knock Khan down and proceeds to beat him…what was Khan saying about Spock not breaking bones? Uhura has to explain that the madman is the only way to save Kirk. A final uppercut knocks the psychopath out.
Over a black screen we hear bits of the first movie; George and Wionna naming Jim, Pike daring Jim to do better, and then Jim is awake. McCoy was able to transfuse Khan’s blood, but it’s taken its toll. Spock is there and Kirk thanks him for saving his life. A brief final scene takes place after we see that Khan and his crew have been put back to sleep. A memorial service for all the damage done the previous year and Kirk speaks to the crowd that there will always been those who mean to do us harm and we risk waking the same evil in ourselves trying to defeat them. But vengeance is not who we are. It is Chris Pine’s voice that gives us “Space, the final frontier.” The Enterprise is rechristened and will begin a five-year mission. We see the bridge crew preparing to depart, joined by Carol Marcus. Kirk is excited and ready for a long journey.
Of the three new movies that are currently out, this is my favorite (there are rumors of a fourth installment coming in 2023). It takes a bit for the story to truly get going, but the action all falls together at the end. Excellent performances by the whole cast. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Harrison fairly affable so you want to believe this strange man will help, while hiding his true identity…for those who didn’t guess early on; so it helps not being completely to speed on prior Star Trek lore. And this Khan is less creepy than the original for some people, which helps as well. I thought Kirk’s death was a strong, poignant moment and thought for a moment the first time through that they had actually killed off the main character. (And there is lots of fanfiction to delve into this moment and the developing friendship between Bones, Spock, and Kirk.)
Drowned Book starts with a flashback to the beginning of season one, when magic surges back through the ley lines. An older man summons a character from Sherlock Holmes; “I have need of your genius, sir.” Fast forward to present day, everyone ends up invited to the same New York museum, but on different cases. Eve suggests working together, but they’ve all gotten used to doing their own thing. A strange storm blows in and Eve and Flynn meet James Worth (played by the dashing David S. Lee; he’s been in episodes of Castle, NCIS and NCIS:LA), head of antiquities from Oxford. James charms Eve and can match Flynn for deducting. The three younger Librarians end up teaming up again to solve their problems and Flynn realizes that Worth is a fictional. His first guess is Sherlock Holmes (and he’s ever so excited), but Worth is actually Moriarty. But he’s not the true mastermind connecting all the artifacts. That would be Prospero, Shakespeare’s wizard from The Tempest. Prospero is a Fictional so powerful, he rose from his own tale. But he wants to control his own story, not be bound by what Shakespeare wrote. He and Moriarty manage to disappear, but the Librarians have to deal with the storm that is spiraling out of control. They end up using a sun from the Library to burn off the cold air and save New York. Flynn sulks that he liked being able to do things his way, but Eve points out that pooling information works just as well.
In Broken Staff, Flynn and Eve follow up clues to keep Prospero from regaining more of his power, while Prospero and Moriarty manage to make it into the Library. They hold Jenkins hostage for a bit, asking about the Heart of the Library, the Tree of Knowledge. Again, it takes all of the Librarians, including Flynn and Eve to defeat the traps Prospero has laid. Flynn burns a Tree to thwart Prospero (not actually the Tree of Knowledge, he hopes it wasn’t important). But the Library has also been re-arranging itself and sixteen artifacts are missing. Eve again suggests that Flynn carry on searching for the artifacts alone while she helps the other three Librarians settle the Library.
The three younger Librarians head to Jacob’s home state to solve a rift in the Earth in What Lies Beneath the Stone. Jacob’s not thrilled about returning home; he kept his academic life very secret at home and he’s been saying “family ain’t easy” for a while. He has strong disagreements with his father, but the Librarian job is more important. They pass Ezekiel off as the expert since Stone’s father is dismissive of him and eventually work out that it’s a Native American trickster who has been set free and causing chaos; feeding off lies. It looks like Jacob reconciles with his father for a moment, but it was the shapeshifter. Jacob fights him off and locks him away again. He still does not tell his father the truth, because he has realized that he doesn’t need his father’s approval. So he signs his own name to the academic paper he is writing. The team heads to Wexler University in Cost of Education, where people are strangely disappearing. Cassandra meets another girl who is tracking magic and linking it with science. A tentacle monster from another dimension is stealing people who are full of ego. Cassandra follows her new friend into the wormhole to rescue her, but is stopped for a brief moment by the ladies of the Lake Foundation, interested in combining science and math. Cassandra is content with being a Librarian, but the invitation stands. She disagrees with Jenkins on whether magic should be studied or not. Ezekiel sadly loses his new gargoyle friend, Stumpy.
In Hollow Men, Flynn pops back in to find the Eye of Zarathustra, which “is the key to the door of Lost Knowledge, the Staff summoned by Sun and Rue.” But he’s quickly separated from the rest of the Librarians, held by a strange man who somehow knows Flynn, but not really. Prospero is also after the staff and Moriarty still flirts with Eve. She ends up having to team up with the antagonist in order to find Flynn. And it turns out, Flynn is traveling with the intelligence of the Library. Meanwhile, the other three work with Jenkins to keep the Library from completely dying. Ray regains his memories, though Moriarty has to take the staff to save him. The Library is wholly restored. Baird visits an old friend in Infernal Contract; Sam Denning (Michael Trucco, he’s appeared in several TV shows, including Castle as a similarly named Detective Tom Demming that was interested in Kate) is running for mayor in a small town. But turns out that his opponent’s family has had a long running deal with a devil (played by John de Lancie, a few episodes of Charmed and Stargate SG-1, and Q in Star Trek); a bit like crossroad demons in Supernatural. Eve, Jenkins, and the Librarians manage to trick the devil and rescue Sam and the town. Jenkins sweetly takes care of the three ill Librarians at the end and points out that Eve’s job as Guardian is to save the Librarians’ souls.
The team gets to go clubbing in London in Image of Image, trying to figure out how people are mysteriously dying from something they weren’t doing. They’re all connected to Club Effigy, where pictures mark them as the next victim. There’s a charming Englishman who turns out to be Dorian Gray. Any of his vices are passed onto his victims, keeping him young and beautiful. Until Ezekiel and Cassandra turn the tables on him. Jenkins once again counsels Eve on the upcoming battle between good and evil. Jenkins goes to a Fae for information on Prospero at the beginning of Point of Salvation. The rest of the team gets stuck in a video game scenario at a DARPA lab. Ezekiel is the only one who remembers each pass and gets tired of seeing his friends die. He forces them to believe him and follow him, even sacrificing himself at the end. Jacob and Cassandra figure out a way to bring him back and now he doesn’t remember his heroic deeds [or does he?]. Prospero attacks in the final moments. He created a spell that wiped the memory of Eve, Cassandra, Ezekiel, and Jacob from Jenkins’ mind in Happily Ever After. Flynn heads off to find them and discovers they’re leading new, but similar lives together on a small island. Eve is the sheriff, dating Moriarty. Cassandra has been to the moon, Jacob teaches eleven different classes at the university, and Ezekiel is an FBI agent, but their home base seems to resemble a library. Flynn teams up with the sprite, Ariel [she is adorable] to bring his family’s memories back. Eve has to do the same for Flynn at the end because his perfect life is one puzzle after another that he solves by himself. But they’ve been under the spell for three weeks, Jenkins reports. The ley lines have been supercharged by Prospero; it means the end of the world.
A giant forest begins to cover the earth in Final Curtain. Due to a wet hand, Flynn and Eve finally realize the strange note they found in John Dee’s estate in Drowned Book was written by Flynn in his left hand. They use time travel to go back to when Shakespeare wrote The Tempest, but it breaks upon their departure. Now Jenkins and the other three Librarians have to follow the rest of the clues to stop Prospero in the present. Prospero has one final task for Moriarty and sends him back in time as well. But Moriarty wants vengeance on his taskmaster for holding him prisoner and decides the best way to do that is to try to kill Shakespeare. Obviously, that does not work out, but Flynn and Eve discover that Prospero is Shakespeare transformed. His quill is magical, part of the Tree of Knowledge gifted to him by John Dee. With it, Shakespeare transforms into the wizard so he can escape a failure in his career. Moriarty is swiftly dealt with by Prospero, and he almost drowns Eve. She rises out of the water, like the Lady of the Lake (aided by the ladies of the Lake), throwing Excalibur to Flynn to defeat Prospero. So it follows that old adage of King Arthur, that he who wields Excalibur will do so once more and save England. The other three turn Prospero back into Shakespeare in the present, using some of Shakespeare’s’ work to define themselves. A portal opens that can send Shakespeare back to his time, but Flynn and Eve cannot come forward. However, they figure out how to do time travel the long way round, leaving the notes they need for themselves and asking Shakespeare to use his magic quill one last time to make them into a statue that is delivered to the Library for safekeeping. The other three free them from their very long kiss and heck, even Cal is back.
It’s adorable how much this team continues to become a family. Since I am not fully versed in Shakespeare, I probably miss some of the nuisances of Prospero being the villain, but Moriarty is excellent; almost sympathetic at times. I’m glad that Flynn takes Eve with him to defeat Prospero, rather than leaving her behind and handling the mission on his own; and I’m even happier that they don’t stay stuck in Elizabethan England forever.
Flynn Carson is back, still protecting the world from dangerous magical artifacts (Noah Wyle is billed as “special guest star” since he couldn’t star in two television shows at the same time). He’s been doing the job, alone, for eleven years. Though it turns out that the Library wants to add to the team. It recruits Colonel Eve Baird (played by Rebecca Romijn, who was Mystique/Raven in the 2000’s X-Men trilogy), head of a NATO terrorist task force, to become Flynn’s Guardian. As Charlene points out, Flynn hasn’t had a proper Guardian since Nicole (in the first movie). We also find out that Judson passed away five years previous, though his spirit still speaks to Flynn in a mirror (and Flynn’s mother apparently had passed as well).
In The Crown of King Arthur, Eve helps Flynn solve the mystery of why experts are being killed; one professor had been trying to reach Flynn regarding a painting. The connection? He had been invited to interview at the Library the same day Flynn was hired; the professor was only a few people behind Flynn. There are a few top candidates left alive. Cassandra Cillian (played by Lindy Booth who has starred in a few Hallmark movies, including playing a librarian falling in back in love with a football star) is startlingly brilliant with math and science, but they sometimes get cross-wired with her other senses and a brain tumor pushes her death sooner rather than later. Ezekiel Jones (John Harlan Kim, he has appeared in a few episodes of NCIS: LA and Hawaii Five-0) is a master thief, and Jacob Stone (Christian Kane, previously starred in Leverage, and I absolutely loved his appearance as an old friend of Dean’s in Supernatural; complete with singing Good Ol’ Boys [one of my favorite scenes of the entire show]) is a genius art historian who hides out in his hometown. Yes, apparently ninjas do pop up in Oklahoma, sent by the Serpent Brotherhood.
Eve and Flynn bring the other three to the Library to keep them safe. One of them excitedly asks if vampires are real. Flynn answers yes to vampires, no to Dracula, because he killed him (call back to the third movie). Cassandra is glad to have lived long enough to find out magic is real, but Jacob wants to know why no one sees is. Response: it’s buried in ley lines. Long ago, the world was filled with magic, but it was drained off and stored in artifacts; which is why the Librarian travels the world to collect the artifacts and house them safely in the Library. As technology has risen, magic has faded away. Stone helps solve the mystery of the painting; it’s The Crown of King Arthur. The actual crown was apparently created by Merlin to allow Arthur to control the magic of Camelot in order to rule. Hence why the Serpent Brotherhood wants it; they want to release wild magic back into the world and create chaos; that they will rule.
Flynn catches up to Eve and the trio in Munich. The painting supports the Roman hypothesis of Arthur [we’ve seen that in a few of the prior Arthurian legend movies], but the painting is actually a fake, Stone points out. They quickly discover that the museum was built around the painting; it’s a clue (after arguing for a bit, it’s like the inside of Flynn’s mind has spilled out, but louder). It leads outside to a sundial, which leads to a henge in the German forest. All the while, trying to keep ahead of the Brotherhood, led by Lamia, a skilled female fighter. The good guys recover the crown with a bit of shenanigans.
Flynn intends to send the three newcomers home, but an alarm is set off. The Serpent Brotherhood has gotten inside the Library. But with the security upgrade, someone would have had to let them in. Sadly, it was Cassandra. The Brotherhood promised her magic would cure her brain tumor. Lamia gains the crown and calls Excalibur to her, though Flynn puts up a fight. He’s stabbed with Excalibur, and even though he takes a healing tonic, it cannot cure wounds dealt by a magical weapon. Flynn will die.
The adventure immediately picks up in Sword in the Stone. Judson and Charlene work together to protect the Library, meaning they lock it into its own pocket dimension. Flynn mourns the their loss and the loss of his home. Eve and the three men are met by an elderly gentleman who agrees to help them and takes them to the Library’s Annex. You can still access any of the books from the Library. Its’ caretaker is Jenkins (the veteran John Larroquette, got an early start with Black Sheep Squadron, then broke out in Night Court amongst his long career), who is eager to send them on their way so he can return to his peace and research. Jenkins encourages Eve to help Flynn; she gives him a pep talk so he will save the world one last time.
Meanwhile, Cassandra meets, Dulaque (Matt Frewer, who provided several animated voices to various series and appeared as Pestilence in Supernatural), the leader of the Serpent Brotherhood. Excalibur is the key to unlocking the Stone, which will release magic. And the stone is in London. Through a secret entrance in Buckingham Palace, the royal family has been guarding it for years. Cassandra helps the Brotherhood, until she discovers their true purpose and is then locked up for her troubles. She does aid her new friends; Flynn understands why she chose to initially help the Brotherhood, to save herself. Lamia places Excalibur back in the Stone, but distractions help Flynn gain the Crown and regain Excalibur. The Brotherhood runs off, but Flynn is still dying and now so is Excalibur. He offers the sword to heal Cassandra, it has that much magic left. With Judson and Charlene gone, and Cal dying, it’s Flynn’s time. Instead, Cassandra chooses to save Flynn.
Flynn feels it is safer for the three young adults to leave, but he vows to find the Library and bring it back. Though he begins thinking; if he’s in charge now, he can change the rules. There can be more than one Librarian. And they can train the Librarian instead of throwing them into sink or swim situations. He tells everyone to open their envelopes; there are new invitations inside. Flynn will go off by himself, he’s used to it, but Eve will stay and protect the new Librarians, with Jenkins’ help. He’s offering them a life a mystery and misery, of loneliness and adventure. A chance to save the world, twice before Friday. Flynn bids farewell to Eve who makes him promise not to die, and there is a parting kiss (squee!) [And I still totally want this job!]
The new crew continues their adventures in Horns of Dilemma, where they have to solve the labyrinth of the Minotaur and recover the twine. (Familiar face is Tricia Helfer, who has been in several Hallmark Channel movies). And yes, Santa Claus is real (and played by Bruce Campbell, who played Sam Axe in Burn Notice) in Santa’s Midnight Run. The Serpent Brotherhood plans to kill Santa and the Librarians must stop them. Eve ends up taking on the role of spreading goodwill back to the human race on Christmas Eve. She was in fact named “Eve,” for being born on that night.
Ezekiel and Jenkins have to team up and entertain a conclave of magical beings in Apple of Discord while Stone, Cassandra, Eve, and even Flynn shows up to retrieve the dragon’s pearl. Except hidden inside the pearl is the Apple of Discord, which brings out the worst in everyone. And Dulaque wants the conclave to vote to disband the Library. Of course, the heroes prevail and point out that the world needs the Library to protect it from harmful artifacts. Eve permanently transfers to the Library and sends Flynn back out to do his thing (of course, with a parting kiss). The Librarians’ next case is the Fables of Doom, where fairytales are coming to life in a small town. Eve does ask Ezekiel to not antagonize local law enforcement, though he argues it is fun. An old book, the Librus Fabula brings fairytales to life, but will re-write reality and sucks life from those trapped in its stories. The local librarian is using it on a young girl and our heroes slowly turn into archetypes: Jacob is the Huntsman, Cassandra is Prince Charming, and Eve is the Princess (their clothing and hairstyles change throughout the episode). Ezekiel is what he always is, the Lucky Thief and he helps the girl recover and rewrite the story so the good guys win.
They encounter magic occurring at a STEM fair in Rule of Three. Someone has created an app that doubles as a focusing spell, so when the students all imagine beating the leader, bad luck will befall them three times over. Cassandra gets to shine by combining science and magic. And they encounter a new foe; Morgan le Fay (played by Alicia Witt, another actress who has appeared in Hallmark Channel movies, and even an episode of Supernatural [I think I may have figured out why so many Hallmark stars are in Supernatural; they both film in Canada]). Jenkins is furious to encounter her (she calls him Galais) and warns Eve that there is a larger battle coming. The Librarians save the day, but hints are dropped that something bigger is coming.
Heart of Darkness reminds me of a Supernatural episode. There is a haunted house that traps people inside. Eve keeps trying to protect Cassandra, but it is ultimately Cassandra who faces off against Katie. The house is actually the House of Refuge, until a family of serial killers, the Bloody Benders, moved in [yep, really sounds like a Supernatural episode]. Jacob befriends the local archivist in City of Light. It is ultimately a town designed by Tesla, but the citizens got trapped between worlds and the streetlights are the only thing tying them to this world. They try to recreate Tesla’s plan to bring everyone back, but Cassandra works out that too much could go wrong and harm too many people. Mabel sacrifices herself to shut it off. Though there is a ray of hope at the end; Jenkins has Eve write down an appointment for future Librarians, so maybe there will be a way to bring them back.
The season ends with Loom of Fate. It begins with Flynn meeting the team at an Egyptian tomb; he has an idea on how to bring the Library back. The team helps out with the artifacts they have recovered throughout the year. But just when Flynn is about to succeed, Dulaque enters and kills Lamia so he can view the Loom of Fate. Eve and Flynn jump through and Dulaque cuts the Loom at the spot where Camelot fell. Eve and Flynn then bounce through different timelines, where Flynn did not become the Librarian. In each case, one of the junior Librarians took the job and they all lost Eve. In one case, it’s Jacob Stone and Eve who pair up, instead Flynn. In Cassandra’s case, she studied under Morgan and has a few more clues. Camelot was the height of magic and power, but with the Loom cut, time is fraying and it will require all three Librarians to get Eve and Flynn back to the Annex and then to the River of Time. Flynn reweaves the Loom with the labyrinth twine, while Jenkins faces off against a younger Dulaque…as in Lancelot du Lac (played by Jerry O’Connell, among his many television and movie roles, he does play Sheldon’s older brother in Big Bang Theory [Rebecca Romijn’s real-life husband]. Jenkins is actually Galahad [the son of Lancelot and Elaine of Corbenic] and argues against Lancelot wanting to return to Camelot; it wasn’t as great as Lancelot remembers and mortals have earned the right to rule themselves. Jenkins bests Lancelot and Flynn reverts to his usual self. They have to get Eve help; Lancelot stabbed her. But first, Flynn has to finish bringing back the Library. The Library holds the solution for curing Eve…the same potion Flynn took in Sword in the Stone will actually work on Eve’s wound, though it’s a close thing. Flynn refused to let Eve die like she had in all other timelines; he does not believe in Fate. But he’s glad to be home in his Library. They send the three young Librarians off on their own adventures, and Eve will accompany Flynn on his adventures.
I adore the show even more than I love the movies. With a television show, there is more time to develop characters and plot lines further. And of course, I love the integration of Arthurian legend into the story. Cassandra is a sweetheart, Jacob is the big brother, Ezekiel is the annoying little brother, and Eve just tries to keep them all together.
Yes, I said in the last post that I’d be taking a break for the holidays (because life gets nuts), but did you really expect that I wouldn’t say something about the end a beloved show? The heart wrenching finale aired last night and I will mark spoilers. (And yes, I had to do that title)
I never expected to become a Supernatural fan, or part of the SPNFamily. I did not watch it when it premiered; I probably wasn’t even aware it existed at that point. I was still in high school; getting into Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, so definitely into the fantasy genre, but not horror. I don’t do horror movies. I remember seeing the DVD covers at my cousin’s and thinking, “I will never watch that.” (Pretty sure it was the cover with a giant snake on Sam’s arm and thinking, “that must be a bad guy”…oh how wrong was I). I think my friend in college mentioned it and I still resisted. At that point I watched NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, and Castle. Mainstream shows.
2015 rolls around; I’m working two part-time jobs, life is a bit nuts (when is it not, but there are phases), and my friend begins suggesting that I would like Supernatural. My cousin chimes in (I should thank her for letting me borrow the series on DVD). A guy friend offers that if I don’t like the show, I can come back and punch him. So I give it a whirl…and I still don’t like the horror bits. Then, I get hooked. It becomes, how many episodes can I watch before I go to work? Oh, let’s watch one in the evening. Which then becomes, how many can I watch before I fall asleep? The eleventh season was getting ready to air and I only had up through season nine on disc. So I bought season ten to watch on Amazon, because I had to find out what happened. (And this was just about the point that “binge” watching was becoming a thing). I know my friend got numerous texts from me as I watched, usually like “What!!” or “this just happened!” I mean, it did take a little suspense away from the early seasons because hey, I knew they survived till season nine or whatever.
I utterly fell in love with Sam and Dean Winchester. I fell in love with brothers who would do anything for each other. They were tough guys, but they showed vulnerability around each other. I wanted to wrap them up in hugs. I also probably yelled at them for being stupid idiots.
And of course, I dived into the fandom and found it thriving. And I discovered Jared’s “Always Keep Fighting” campaign. And that helped. Because life it hard sometimes. I could look at Sam and Dean, and I could look at Jared and Jensen, and see strength, and see the love they have for each other. Finding out that Jared and Jensen are like brothers in real life is heartwarming. And if the Winchesters can face down death and demons and monsters, I can face down the dark thoughts in my head.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, as much as we wish this show could go on forever. And these wonderful men have their own families they want to be with. Even though I’ve never attended a convention, I’ve watched bits online and I think it is utterly wonderful that Jared and Jensen, and Misha, and all the rest have embraced the fandom so much. I’m grateful for what we’ve had from this show. And the fandom will never die. Heck, look at Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, all still going strong. And I will certainly continue to re-watch and re-watch this show.
*SPOILER ALERT* It didn’t really hit me that the show was ending until Castiel’s goodbye. There have been sacrifices throughout the show; John for Dean, Dean for Sam, Sam for Dean. But this was a final sacrifice. We know there won’t be any coming back. And Cas’s voice changes a bit. It’s now Misha. And he’s saying everything we know and feel about Dean. And I have tears pouring down my face. (I’m re-watching it and I still cry). Cas says “I love you,” to Dean…which could run from and include friendship love to romantic love…and I’m okay with that. Then Dean crying at the end of the episode, my heart breaks. I had to sit for a minute and process everything once it ended.
The penultimate episode went differently than I expected. I figured there would be a huge, bloody showdown. There was, a little…then Chuck is de-powered and Jack is the new God. And leaves the boys. I cry a little, for the boys. I felt it was a satisfying conclusion for Jack; in all, I think the finale was well thought and planned out. I know there are shows that just suddenly end, or the writers quickly have to come up with a way to conclude everything and it’s rushed and it shows. The montage at the end had me in tears and it almost wrapped up the series there.
I reiterate SPOILER ALERT: Going into the final episode, I had hope that maybe it would end happy; the boys live and have families, or just carry on doing their job. Originally, I figured the show would end bloody. And it had to be both boys going, together. And I kind of wanted Jody and Donna and all the other alive characters to gather to say goodbye to the boys. And all the ones in heaven to be gathered there to greet them. Starting the interview portion with the musical episode rendition of Carry On Wayward Son had me in tears early. Then the episode didn’t start with the original version and I was a bit confused. I’m glad Dean has a dog (especially since both Jared and Jensen have dogs). Masked bad guys are creepy, but we’re getting to the hunt a bit early. I don’t really remember that girl from the earlier season. Then Dean’s pinned. And it’s only halfway through…and I’m sobbing into a pillow (I’m crying again).
Because yes, Dean was always going to go out fighting. Saying he’s proud of Sam, oh, there’s a stab in my heart. Beautiful acting on Jensen’s part, the hitches in his breath. And they echo from the pilot “I can’t do this alone. … I don’t want to.” And Dean will always be with us, and he urges all of us to keep fighting. I’m just begging, “not without Sam.” Like I mentioned, I figured they both had to go at the same time. Dean just can’t leave Sam alone. There was the single man tear…and sobbing alongside Sam.
Heaven was beautiful (I think the crew took the opportunity to showcase Canadian scenery) and yes, it was nice to see Bobby again. And the car. Carry On Wayward Son finally plays and Dean’s smiling and driving. I’m still crying. Sam gets a life, like Dean always wanted for him (I kind of wonder who he married). Sam was weird looking as an old guy, and honestly, I expected him to pass in the car, though it was touching that his son told him it was okay. And of course I’m happy Sam is back with Dean, where he belongs. A final hug for us. I can see how there may be a short run sequel or movie or something…Dean and Sam’s Adventures in Heaven or something. So yes, satisfying. And so heart wrenching.
Let’s all take a breath… (Spoilers are finished)
I know both guys have projects coming up soon; they’ve already started teasers for Walker, and I’ll record it and watch it. Not sure I’ll try to get into The Boys, but I might find scenes with Jensen to watch. Not sure I’m ready to see these boys in something other than Supernatural, as characters other than Sam and Dean. I keep reminding myself of the Dr. Seuss quote that is very applicable now: Don’t cry because it’s over, Smile because it happened. I will be forever grateful to this wonderful show (and to my friend for introducing me). The fandom and the SPNFamily will live and carry on. I’m sure there will be dissenting views on the ending, but hey, that’s what fanfiction is for. A huge thank you to Jared and Jensen for these wonderful characters and all the cast and crew and writers for a show about love and family, even through dark times.
Probably my favorite musical of all time and I don’t even mind that it’s nearly three hours long. It’s a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic and the range is well suited to my voice; I’d love to perform it sometime. It too stars Julie Andrews and was released one year after Mary Poppins. It won Best Picture in 1965, and Julie was nominated for Best Actress. Julie is Maria, and the cast includes Christopher Plummer as Captain Von Trapp. It is based on the life of the Von Trapp family singers, who did escape Austria before war broke out. They traveled in the United States, singing, before they settled in Vermont, where they founded the Trapp Family Lodge (it reminded them of the mountains of Austria). But some aspects of their lives were changed for the film; their father was not as cold as he appeared and there were more children with different names.
The film opens on the mountains and Maria twirls around, “the hills are alive/ with the Sound of Music/ with songs they have sung/ for a thousand years.” Bells ring after the song and she has to run back to the abbey. The audience is treated to a little tour of Salzburg [ironically, the movie is not all that well known in Austria]. The other nuns in the abbey ask Mother Superior, “how do you solve a problem like Maria.” “How do you catch a cloud/ and pin it down…but how do you make her stay/ and listen to all you say/ how do you keep a wave/ upon the sand?” In the end, she’s a girl, not a demon nor a lamb. But Mother Superior does speak to Maria. The young woman can’t stop singing and she may not have been prepared for the kind of life that nuns lead. So Mother Superior will have her act as a governess to seven children, to see if she can really live the nun’s life. Maria is nervous at first, but finds I Have Confidence.
Her introduction to the Captain is not the best. He expects his home and his children to be run with discipline and calls for his children with a whistle; like one would on a ship [that never happened]. Maria refuses and admits she was trouble at the abbey [the truth]. Liesl is 16, Friedrich is 14, Louisa 13, Kurt 11, Brigitta 10, Marta 7, and Gretl 5. As many children are wont to do when someone new arrives and they’re trying to get attention, they play tricks on Maria. But she surprises them and takes them in stride, and I believe that is why some of the younger girls begin crying at dinner. Liesl sneaks out to meet the telegram boy, Rolf. She is Sixteen Going on Seventeen, while he is seventeen, so Liesl hopes Rolf will tell her how to act in a grown up world. They dance in the gazebo while it rains and at the end, Rolf pulls Liesl in for a kiss. She grins in joy later, then has to sneak in to Maria’s room.
Maria discovers from household gossip that Captain Von Trapp is considering marrying Baroness Schrader, but the Captain will not grant Maria’s request for play clothes for the children. She makes inroads with Liesl, so the young woman admits she may in fact still need a governess. Gretl runs into Maria’s room, scared of the thunder, quickly followed by the other girls. The boys join a minute later, to “make sure the girls weren’t scared.” Maria shares that she thinks of My Favorite Things when something scares or saddens her (I adore this song), “and then I don’t feel/ so bad.” The children begin laughing and they’re having a merry time, until the Captain appears. Maria covers for Liesl, but the Captain asks that Maria acquire discipline while he is gone. She gets an idea from her curtains as she finishes her song.
While the Captain is away, Maria makes new play clothes for the children from her old drapes, since new ones are to be made. They traipse about Salzburg and Maria takes them to her hill and teaches them to sing. “Let’s start at the very beginning/ a very good place to start/ when you read/ you begin with A B C/ when you sing / you being with Do Re Mi.” (This is a classic choir song and the solfeg is actually very helpful.) The Captain returns home with the Baroness, and Uncle Max. The Captain feels that the Baroness has brought meaning back into his life and she does not want to speak out of turn with Max. Though she admits that wedding bells may be ringing, but she’s very fond of the Captain. Max wants to keep the money between the two in the family. They are surprisingly joined by the children from the river, where they tip over the boat (the young actress playing Gretl couldn’t swim, so she was carried out of the water). The Captain sends his children in to change, but doesn’t want to discuss them with Maria. She stands up to the Captain, insisting they are children and all they want is love. A sound breaks their argument; the children singing. The Captain is surprised. Maria watches as he joins his children on The Sound of Music and the family hug afterwards. The Captain apologizes to Maria in the entryway and asks her to stay. She managed to bring music back into the house.
Life is merrier. The children show off a puppet show and The Lonely Goatherd to the other adults and Max wants to enter them into a local music festival. The Captain refuses; his children will not sing in public. They do ask their father to sing; he chooses Edelweiss (which is not actually an actual Austrian folk song or national anthem; in fact, it was the last song Hammerstein wrote). The Baroness notices the looks the Captain gives Maria and so suggests a party, so all of his friends can meet her.
Underlying the family storyline are the historical events of the end of the thirties. Hitler has begun his rise in Germany and wishes to annex Austria and join it to Germany, the Anschluss. Rolf has already mentioned it and Herr Zeller attends the party, noting the Austrian flag hanging in the Captain’s home. Captain Von Trapp was a hero of the Austrian navy in the first world war. Zeller butts heads with the Captain a little, but they keep it light since it is a party.
Maria starts to show the children an Austrian folk dance, but Kurt is too short. The Captain assists. Maria flushes. The Baroness witnesses. Then it is time for the children to say good night. The guests assemble for So Long, Farewell; Gretl is such a sweet child. Max insists to the Captain that Maria stay with adults for dinner and the Baroness offers to help Maria change. She mentions to Maria that the Captain has been noticing her; the Baroness can tell that Maria loves the Captain, and the Captain may even think he is in love with her. Maria decides to leave and the Baroness agrees.
Intermission. After the Entr’acte back through Salzburg, the children are despondent. They are not happy with the Baroness and she even remarks to Max that her solution to the children is boarding school. The children don’t even want to sing anymore. They venture to the abbey and ask to see Maria, but she’s in seclusion and not seeing anyone. Mother Superior calls her in to find out what happened with the Von Trapps. Maria was not mistreated, but she can’t face him again. Mother Superior asks her plainly, “are you in love with him?” “I don’t know!” Maria exclaims. Mother Superior counsels the young woman that she has a great capacity for love, but she must decide what she will do with it. Maria should return to the Von Trapps, face her problems, and discover the life she was born to live. Climb Ev’ry Mountain, Mother Superior counsels; “follow ev’ry rainbow/ ’till you find your dream/ a dream that will need/ all the love you can give/ ev’ry day of your life/ for as long as you live.”
Maria does return, as the children sing My Favorite Things to lift their spirits (after claiming to have eaten loads of berries and missing dinner). They’re thrilled, as is Maria, until she discovers the Captain’s engagement. She tells the Captain she will remain until a new governess is found. But the Baroness and Captain break off the engagement. The Captain admits he has not been fair to the Baroness, loving someone else. And the Baroness needs to be needed, or at least, need her money. The Captain goes to Maria that evening at the gazebo and kisses her. Something Good has come to their lives. Their wedding follows at the abbey, with the organ and choir reprising Maria.
Max has the children rehearse for the festival while Maria and the Captain are on their honeymoon. The Anschluss has occurred and Nazi flags drape the buildings [there were concerns with filming whether the people would dislike the flags so soon after the war, but it was better than using news film]. Zeller wishes to speak to the Captain, but he has not returned yet. He insists that “nothing in Austria has changed,” everything is still the same. The Captain and Maria have in fact returned home to find a Nazi flag on their house. There is a telegram delivered from Rolf via Liesl ordering the Captain to report for a position in the Third Reich. He decides the family must get out of Austria, tonight. The Germans are waiting for the family that evening when they try to sneak out (the butler was a Nazi-sympathizer). The family uses the festival as their excuse and in fact perform as a whole. It’s a rearrangement of Do Re Mi and the Captain follows by singing Edelweiss with the crowd. Max reveals the Third Reich’s plans for the Captain, causing the audience to mutter against the Nazi invasion; the family will perform a final encore, So Long, Farewell. When the winners of the festival are announced, the Von Trapp family is gone.
They take refuge at the abbey and Mother Superior hides them in the cemetery. There are always nerves as the Nazis shine their flashlight, searching for the family, even if it’s the dozen-th time I have watched the movie. Rolf hides and discovers the family as they start to get away. He pulls a gun on the Captain; it’s him the Nazis want, not the family. The Captain manages to get the gun and begs Rolf to come with them, he’s only a boy. But when he says that Rolf is not a Nazi, Rolf raises the alarm, just to prove that he is. The nuns have taken pieces of the Nazis cars to stop them from following the Von Trapps. The family hikes into the mountain and will cross into Switzerland on foot. A choir reprises the chorus of Climb Ev’ry Mountain as the family passes by [what actually happened is that they took a train into Italy, then made their way to England and ultimately the United States. If they had gone over the mountains, they would have ended up in Germany, near Hitler’s mountain retreat.]
The family storyline in the film is heartwarming; a father learning to reconnect with his children, especially through music. The music is superb; there’s a reason it is one of the best known musicals.
Agathe von Trapp: Memories Before and After The Sound of Music, written by the eldest von Trapp daughter and contains the actual history of the family. It’s a nice read; even though the family initially disliked the film since it portrays their father colder than reality, they recognize the impact it has had on moviegoers.
The Sound of Music Companion by Laurence Maslon and Julie Andrews, behind the scenes of filming and bringing the original stage production to life.
Julie Andrews also has two autobiographies out at this time, Home and Home Work
This film with the half dozen previous posts, made up a big portion of my childhood. Definitely danced around the living room to the soundtrack of Joseph. As already noted, my brother and I watched these on repeat as children. I still love to sing along to these soundtracks. 1776 was the influence of a paper I wrote in college; aided by a dozen of my mother’s books on John Adams.
Ah yes, by now I have watched Hamilton thanks to Disney +. I didn’t mind the middle part, but it started to drag on at the end. It’s a very cool concept, to mix American history with modern music and dance. But…I will always love 1776.
Up Next: I’ll start the action/adventure section. Posts might be spread out a bit more to give me a chance to truly analyze story and character aspects. It’ll definitely take us through Christmas. I begin with the Zorro movies.