Saturday, November 25, 2017

Reign Review: 4x16 "All It Cost Her..." (i.e. the Series Finale)

It took five months, but here's the post I wrote right after watching Reign's finale, which now feels like a million years ago.

Reign is now over for good, and I say that with a massive amount of relief. The finale confirmed for me that the series should have stayed about Mary and Francis' relationship and ended after season two. If that weren't the case, they wouldn't have felt the need to bring Francis back in the final scene like they did.

Bothwell's insistence that he and Mary were meant for each other also looks rather ridiculous once you make it to the finale (if it didn't already). The show never has them get married like they did in real life, and on top of that, it's Francis she's with in the afterlife, with no mention of Bothwell at all. It makes me wonder why they handled Mary's relationship with Bothwell like they did since it wasn't really needed (anything it added could have easily been done without any implied romance between them) and came to nothing in the end.

The witch stuff... What was that? There's nothing else to say about it other than that it was weird, and I have no idea why that was there considering nothing panned out from it either. So much of this show has just left me confused.

Elizabeth's story in this episode was the only part I enjoyed at all. It felt like watching Elizabeth come into the role she was meant to have, which was nice.

Mary, on the other hand, had a much worse story this episode, which sucks considering she's the main character and should have had the best ending.

I was never expecting a time skip, and frankly, I don't understand why we got one. It wasn't something I wanted, seeing Mary's death portrayed. I haven't been a fan of Reign's constant time jumps as they try to tell Mary's entire life (especially as they highlight what I said earlier about how the show should have ended after season two), but I figured they would end the series with Darnley's death, not Mary's. (It also feels weird that they didn't attempt to age Mary to appear decades older except by putting her hair up.)

The only nice part of that was getting to see James as an adult, but what I think would have been really nice would have been seeing a short clip of him being crowned king of England, showing that he accomplished what Mary had been after earlier in the series. That would have been fitting I think, but it's not what we got, despite seeing him talk to Elizabeth.

Mary's death just didn't feel necessary to the show. The sudden time jump felt out of place, and we got nothing more than a rushed explanation for why Mary got put to death, which had nothing to do with anything else that had happened in the series. (I also wonder if the reason for the execution was clear to anyone who didn't already know what happened, since the show didn't put much effort into explaining why she was being executed.)

The show would have been much better off ending the episode with Mary fleeing to England at least. We didn't need anything that came after that.

As I mentioned before, the addition of Mary in the afterlife with Francis was even more ridiculous. It felt too cheesy and out of place, and all it did for me was illustrate what's been wrong with the show for the past two seasons.

So, yeah, the finale of Reign was disappointing to me, which sucks as I was hoping to at least feel pretty good about this one episode after hating the previous episodes more and more. I should have known not to get my hopes up since I haven't been optimistic about an episode of Reign since the very beginning of season three.

I'm glad it's over. Reign deserved to have its finale years ago.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Shadowhunters Review: 2x12 "You Are Not Your Own"

Pretend like it hasn't been a month since I last posted. Here's a Shadowhunters review that I actually wrote months ago. There's another one coming soon.

When we learned that Imogen Herondale would return in season 2b, I figured that Jace would learn he was a Herondale before the end of the season. I wasn't expecting it to happen this early in the second half though. I was thinking it would be more like season one when he was told he's a Morgenstern at the very end of the season.

I'm excited to see Jace deal with being a Herondale and suddenly having a last name that carries weight among Shadowhunters. It can't be easy to suddenly learn that you have a grandmother and she's actually one of the most important people in your society.

Which brings me to an interesting aspect of the show that differs from the books, Jace is getting to know his grandmother while knowing she's his grandmother. In the books, she dies before Jace figures it out. The fact that she's still alive opens up many interesting possibilities. Jace now has a grandmother that he never knew he had, but she's, to put it lightly, not the greatest person. While everyone's flawed, I'd be willing to wager that Imogen Herondale is one of the clearest examples of how corrupt the Clave is who we've encountered (though she has some peers). She's not just someone who trumpets what the Clave says, though. She's one of its two most important people. She's the one enforcing the Clave's laws, just or unjust.

Jace coming to terms with being a Herondale when all the other Herondales are dead is one thing. Him having to do so while his grandmother is alive and stressing the importance of the family name and loyalty to the Clave is something else, and I can't wait to see what the show does with that.

Moving on to the other huge part of this episode: Magnus and Valentine switching bodies.

I was quite nervous about how this would be handled, largely because Valentine being in Magnus' body and Magnus being forced to be in Valentine's body made me very uncomfortable (not in a "this is bad storytelling" way but in a way that I think was intended). Watching Magnus while imprisoned was heartbreaking, especially when he's trying to convince Alec that he's Magnus and Alec thinks Valentine is trying to manipulate him.

That scene almost broke me. I felt extremely frustrated that Alec didn't trust Magnus especially when he realized that "Magnus" had been acting strangely earlier. It was difficult to watch.

One moment to come out of that situation that I loved, though, came after Magnus was back in his own body when Alec asked him to tell him what to do because he didn't know how to help. That was such a nice, simple scene.

Of course, I can't not mention the Sizzy in this episode when it's been so long since we've gotten much (or any?) interaction between Simon and Isabelle. Even if there's not currently anything romantic happening between them, I greatly appreciate seeing their friendship, and I'm hoping we get more of it over the course of the season.

The fact that Simon is immediately worried over the fact that Jace isn't Clary's brother hints at a continuing problem in his and Clary's relationship, and while I don't ship Clary and Simon together, I do feel frustrated that this isn't something they're talking about when it seems critical that they do. I think it's clear that they're not because they both know what the result would be. I just wonder how long it will take us to get there. I have to admit that their relationship is lasting longer than I expected it to.

I'm not sure what the point was in having Clary lose her rune power except for it giving us a somewhat disturbing scene with Clary and Sebastian that hints that there's more to Sebastian than has been revealed.

Speaking of Sebastian, he asks Clary out in this episode. Since I don't want to give any spoilers, I won't say much else about that, but yep...

Their decision to have Izzy go to a mundane group for addicts was an interesting one, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with that in the future. I'm glad that she's getting better.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Television Review: Shadowhunters 2x18 "A Dark Reflection"

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Reign Review: 4x15 "Blood in the Water"

Of course Mary would start being much kinder to Darnley after discovering he's sick despite everything he's done to her. It felt like a very Mary thing to do. When Lady Lennox claims that she is really trying to get him out of the way, though, it doesn't seem like that far-fetched of a fear for someone like her to have. It's what most people would probably try to do.

Lady Lennox's continued push to get Darnley more power started to feel unbelievable around this episode though. I get that she wants power, but she knows that Darnley is hallucinating. After this episode, it seemed obvious that she saw his hallucinations as an asset because she could tell him to do what she wanted, but that's clearly not the case. In reality, it just made Darnley more unpredictable, and he was probably harder for her to control than he was before. Imagine if she'd let him get treatment and, once he was better, work on getting more power. Imagine how much better that might have worked out for the both of them.

Baby James is finally born, which I had been waiting for. It was exciting largely because of his place in history. The show had been so focused on Elizabeth and Mary both vying for England (though that was remarkably a smaller focus throughout season four), which made James' birth towards the end of the show felt fitting, though I'm still not sure how I feel about all of the timeline twisting to make it happen. (This season really cemented for me that Reign was meant to end at Francis' death and just be the story of their marriage, not Mary's life afterward.)

The possibility that Jane was working for Narcisse never occurred to me, and it felt as if it were almost out of nowhere. Working for Narcisse is honestly the worst idea.

I'm not as confident as some of the characters on the show that Henry would be a better king than Charles. For all the rash decisions that Charles makes, Henry never proved himself to be any better. Any advantages he had seemed to be entirely based on the idea that he looked "healthier", which leaves me frustrated that anyone would make him king for that reason alone. Honestly, I'd forgotten why Spain wanted him as king over Charles by this episode. Was there even a reason beyond the looks thing?

For a little bit, I was hoping Leith would come back, but nope, we learned that he was getting married after a courtship that happened entirely off screen. I know I said that I wanted to know that Leith was happy, but I don't think this did that for me. We never saw the girl or heard how Leith feels. For all we know, she could be purely a rebound. If anything, I would have preferred to never hear about Leith again than get the small mention that we did. I'm incredibly frustrated with how the end of his story was handled. Actually, I think it would have been best if he had actually died and hadn't come back in season four.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reign Review: 4x14 "A Bride. A Box. A Body."

I have to admit that every episode of Reign I watched during this season made me happier that that the show was coming to an end. While I feel a sense of allegiance to the show that comes from watching it from the very beginning, watching each new episode felt like a chore that I had to convince myself to do. The closer we got to the end, the more I felt that way.

Of course, when we see the first semblance of hope for Darnley being halfway decent, it quickly disappears. Now, though, when something is clearly wrong with him, I don't feel angry with him as I did in the past. I just feel exhausted. At this point, it's like everything with Darnley keeps going in circles, with the same thing happening again and again.

Bothwell is supposed to be a character that people like, I think, but I find him annoying. There's something in his overall demeanor and relationship with Mary that irks me. I think it's the fact that he's convinced they're soulmates despite there not being anything in the show that's convinced me that they're even compatible. If the show wants me to believe what Bothwell does, I feel like we should have seen something that shows they actually know each other. As it stands, most of the scenes with them together are centered around some huge potential scandal that they're trying to control. How much did we get of them getting to know each other? They're always focused on something else. It makes Bothwell come off as naive to me (and a little conceited).

Narcisse in this episode... Wow. I don't have much else to say about that part. Thing is, I loathed Narcisse when he first came onto the show, but more recently, I my feelings towards him were far more muted, with me not caring one way or the other. This was around the point where I started to feel much more negatively about him again, which I guess could be seen as a good or a bad thing since it echoes the Narcisse from earlier in the show.

This episode was also the point where it started to feel like all of the sympathetic characters were going to get the worst endings of the show. Leith disappeared early on in really upsetting circumstances, and Gideon dies in this episode. If nothing else, that would make me question why I'm still watching this show. The only answer I have for why I didn't is that it was almost over anyway.

Oh, I almost forgot to talk about Henry even though that was what I most wanted to mention immediately after watching the episode.

Reign's decision to have Henry be a crossdresser is an interesting one. As far as I can tell, there is no talk about the historical Henry possibly having crossdressed. There were rumors that he was gay in his own lifetime, but I've never read anything about crossdressing. Because of the rumors about his sexuality, I wondered if this was going to be Reign introducing Henry as gay in the show (despite the two things not being the same thing), but after seeing how that scene played out, I really had no idea what they were going to do. (And after seeing the entire season, I'm confused as to why this was dropped into the show so abruptly at all.)

When Henry went to see Nicole in that scene I do believe that he meant to call of their relationship, and whether he did or not, it seems obvious that he didn't feel anything real for her before that moment.

After seeing that scene, I couldn't tell if he felt anything for her or not. He did seem genuinely grateful when she accepted him, but I couldn't tell if that was out of relief (because he never thought he'd find someone who would be with him and keep the secret, which means he wants to keep her around as he might never find someone else) or because he was so touched that it created actual feelings in him for her.

Honestly, this was the only story line on the show that had me actively curious at the end of this episode, and it didn't really pan out much in the following episodes.