The Official “The Rising Son” (13.02) Live Recap Thread


Little late again. Anyhoo, let’s get started.

The recap has me snorting in laughter right off. The recap starts with Ramiel (remember him? I had to look up his name, he was that forgettable) spouting off about how crossing the YEDs is BAD and they will come after you. Sure, except that three out of four of them are now toast thanks to TFW, so not exactly shaking in my sneaks, Show.

The recap also tells us (again) that the Brothers have lost a lot of people in the past couple of episodes (Crowley is not shown or mentioned) and we get Dean’s insistence again that he will eventually have to kill Jack. Considering Jack is a bunch of cheap walking plot cheats, Dean’s absolutely right.

Cut to Now and two demons in Crowley’s throne room. One of them is a Lucifer loyalist (I believe I’ve mentioned before that demons are stupid) who is convinced the Lord of Hell will return and “bring us out of chaos.” Suddenly, exit door bursts open in a flash of light and in walks Colonel Sanders–sorry, Asmodeus, the last surviving YED. You see, the show kept a spare for our sins.

Asmodeus introduces himself by sparing the loyalist and two other demons, then burning the others in their hosts. He intends to rule until Lucifer “and his son” return.

Cut to a car chat between the Brothers, with Jack asleep in the backseat. Sam wants to drive (because Dean has been driving all night) and also to talk about their losses/lick their wounds one more friggin’ time. If I were Dean, I’d pull over just to slap him.

Sam also wants to talk about what to do with Jack. Dean says if they knew how to kill Jack, he’d be dead, already, and that’s still the plan. Dean points out to Sam that alliances with bad people and giving bad people the benefit of the doubt have never worked out for them. Dean doesn’t add that Sam’s judgement flat-out sucks in this area. I mean, Sam is so self-centered that he actually thinks opening up the rift again to find Mary is a good idea.

Meanwhile, Lucifer and Mary are trying to find a way out in a dead world. Lucifer is monologuing to Mary that he intends to trade her for her sons when they get back to SPNverse Prime. Mary points out that Lucifer doesn’t have the first clue about raising a child, which makes Lucifer snippy. But before they can bicker some more, a fireball blasts into the hillside next to them and Mary disappears.

Meanwhile, in Crowley’s Throne Room, the loyalist is reporting that both Lucifer and Jack have disappeared, and taking notes. Asmodeus is philosophical about the first thing, rather more annoyed about the second. After smacking the loyalist around a bit for being presumptuous and pedantic, he explains how he got the scars on his face (demons have never manifested scars on their host before, but this is a Nepotism Duo episode, so it’s Ignore All Canon And Make Stuff Up Time). He then monologues some more (another boring Nep Duo specialty) about how he got them. He wanted to please Lucifer, so he freed some demons called the Shedim in order to train them. Lucifer was afraid of the Shedim, so he locked them back up and scarred Asmodeus. And that’s how you fail the Lord of Hell.

At a hotel, Dean is grumping that they should still be on the road. Sam points out that Dean was hallucinating about sheep. In the room, Jack starts to watch Scooby-Doo (obvious product placement foreshadowing is obvious). Dean sends him to the couch and gives him a Bible to read. Sam offers to let Jack sleep on a bed, but Jack says it’s okay. He starts reading the Bible.

Later, as they eat and Sam wards the room, Jack eats like … well … Dean and copies everything he does (which irritates Dean). Mind you, Jack doesn’t copy Sam at all.

Jack asks about Lucifer in the Bible (Lucifer is actually a very different thing in the Bible than he is post-biblically and is not Satan). The Brothers sort of fill him in and Jack says that hey, he’s God’s grandson (honey, everything in Creation is God’s children, so don’t get so excited).

Man, there is a lot of yakking in this episode.

They hear a noise at the door. The Brothers pull their weapons and Dean drags the intruder through the door. It’s Donatello. Remember him? He was a Prophet in season 11 and Amara ate his soul. He explains this to the Brothers and that he solves moral dilemmas by asking “What would Mister Rogers do?” And it appears that with God gone–again–he’s retired. Except that God was gone for a long time before he returned, so that makes no sense.

Anyhoo, he sensed Jack’s birth and followed him. The Brothers make introductions back and forth. And they get Jack tatted up and Dean points out to Sam that he’s fixated on the kid a bit too much. Meanwhile, Jack zaps the tattoo artist when he’s startled by the pain.

It’s no use. The tattoos just disappear. And afterward, they’re being watched by a possessed homeless woman.

Jack gets upset during the ensuing dull debate over Nature vs Nurture and teleports. So, that answers Dean’s previous question about that ability. Jack pretty much sprouts abilities as the writers feel like it, which is not a good sign for this character’s longevity.

Sam goes and talks to Jack. Meanwhile, Dean is talking to a sketchy barmaid with daddy issues. Probably possessed. Ah, nope. The real barmaid is dead with her throat cut behind the bar and it’s Asmodeus in disguise. Or something. While this power has been shown before (in Ben Edlund’s “The Mentalist”), it has only appeared once, presumably because it’s hard to write around how the Brothers can compete with a shapeshifting demon that can also teleport.

Also, the death count of female extras vs male extras is rather lopsided this episode. Another Nep Duo kinda thing.

Wow, we’re only halfway through? Ugh. This episode is endless.

The next morning, Sam and Donatello have a conversation about Jack and whether or not he can be Good. Sam insists that Kelly was a saint and that Jack has only the vaguest idea about baby daddy Lucifer, so Jack can be Good.

I have to say I am completely over the way the show tries to handwave its over-the-top and well-telegraphed fridging of her by posthumously whitewashing Kelly. Kelly was no saint. She was originally a high-powered White House staffer who was also using her position to engage in a sexual affair with her boss on the downlow. When she found out she was pregnant with the Devil’s child, she ran away and later tried to commit suicide, while pregnant. The Kelly who revived was, at best, brainwashed by her son and at worst just a resurrected womb. She was a deeply flawed woman who ended up in the situation she did in part through her own choices (which did not include intentionally getting knocked up by Satan). I don’t think she deserved what happened to her, but I also think it’s pretty gross how the show keeps banging away at her “heroic” sacrificial choice to die birthing her son when by that point she literally had no choice left in the matter. As soon as conception occurred, she was a dead woman walking. That is a nasty message to send to women. Stop it, show! Bad show! [bops showrunners on the nose with a virtual newspaper]

Back to Mary, who encounters a gun-toting Hunter. After he establishes she’s not an angel or demon, he tells her there are very few women left and even fewer female Hunters. Then he gets all creepy on her. She fights back. He knocks her down and goes to shoot her, but Lucifer puts a fist through his back. Yes, that’s right. The show set that up just so Lucifer could save her life.

Mary is not appropriately grateful, so Lucifer tortures her a bit.

Hard to believe this episode was co-written by a woman. It is all kinds of bad-touching with the female characters for no good reason. But what am I saying? We’re talking about Buck-Leming here.

Back at the hotel, Sam ONCE AGAIN tries to force a conversation with Dean over their recent losses. I get the show thinks this makes Sam look compassionate, but all I can think is that all this terrible shared trauma that Dean is supposed to open up about seems awfully academic to Sam. Remember “Everybody Loves a Clown” when Dean called Sam out on that? Yeah. Better writers that time.

Then Donatello walks in with breakfast and doesn’t know what Sam is talking about with that earlier conversation about Nature vs Nurture. Seems Asmodeus stole Jack right out from under Sam’s nose. I legit laughed at Sam for that.

So, Dean goes into a room and encounters a demon. He gets his ass kicked and Sam stabs the demon from behind.

GODDAMNIT, SHOW, CAN’T YOU LET DEAN HAVE EVEN ONE KILL, THESE DAYS?

In the hallway, Donatello, who can track Jack, gets attacked (see what I did there?) by a demon. Dean takes out said demon with a thrown angel blade. Still pretty salty about the show handing Sam Dean’s kills on a platter after Dean gets tossed around the room, though.

Out standing in some random field, Jack is being exhorted by fake Donatello to open up a hole to Hell and let something out. In the car on their way to stop him, Sam looks in John’s journal and discovers a reference to a Hell gate that opens up to terrible, unnameable creatures (i.e., the Shedim). Except that the Brothers have that journal memorized at this point and ought to have been aware of that passage, as well as the significance of being near Jasper, WY. Big fail, Show.

Jumping back to Mary and Lucifer (too many friggin’ storylines in this one), with Lucifer whinging some more about Mary’s failure to respect his authority. I don’t understand why Lucifer is just walking around with Mary tagging along when he could just pick her up and fly wherever he needed to go in nanoseconds. That’s lame.

Anyhoo, some angels show up. Inexplicably, they are wearing military fatigues because…well, they just are. They demand that Lucifer identify himself. He kills them and then another angel shows up. Lucifer doesn’t recognize him at first, but it turns out to be Michael. This is ridiculous. Angels can see each other’s true forms inside their vessels, just as demons can see each other’s true faces inside their hosts. That’s just dumb. Hell, the entire storyline involving the Nephilim includes angels being able to sense archangels from a goodly distance away.

Alt-Michael monologues a bit and has a conversation of sorts with Lucifer. Then they, uh, fist-fight (no, I am not kidding; there are actual fisticuffs) and Lucifer gets his ass kicked. But alt-Michael decides to spare Lucifer because he needs him for some reason. We are not told what because that would actually involve plot resolution.

Anyhoo, the Impala finally arrives where Jack is being snookered into allowing out creepy orange-arm creatures with black claws (that’s all we see of them). Asmodeus has to reveal himself when Dean shoots him and chokes out TFW. This cause Jack to go after him, so Asmodeus flees. I think.

Later, back at the Bunker, Sam tries, for the umpteenth time, to tell Dean that Jack can be Good because he “came through for us today.” Dean responds that it was just a reflex and goes to bed. On the way, he encounters Jack, who is passing the time stabbing himself, to no avail. Dean takes the knife from him. Jack worries he doesn’t have his powers under control and that “I will hurt someone.”

Dean’s cold comfort is that if Jack does lose control and have to be killed, “I will be the one to do it.”

Credits.

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I’ll also be simul-recapping on Wayward Children.

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Whispers, Spoilers & Speculation Corner: 10/19/17


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Paula’s latest Patreon entry was about Canada Day and horror westerns.

Heather will be on hiatus for a bit. We’ll let you know when she comes back.

You can access previous spoilers columns at Innsmouth Free Press here.


Supernatural (Thursday nights, 8pm, CW)
By Paula R. Stiles

Check out my Patreon page. Help me keep this column going, pay Heather, and start doing Supernatural reviews again.

I don’t currently have cable (though I do have reliable access to the show the next day), so I won’t be doing my live recaps until Friday at 8pm. My live recap and review for the season premiere are up.

Season 13 titles so far: “Lost and Found” (13.01), synopsis and photos, promo, preview, sneak peeks, and Shaving People, Punting Things, as well as live recap and review; “The Rising Son” (13.02) synopsis and photos and promo; “Patience” (the first spinoff set-up episode) (13.03) synopsis; “The Big Empty” (13.04) synopsis; “Advanced Thanatology” (13.05); “Tombstone” (13.06); “War of the Worlds” (13.07); “The Scorpion and the Frog” (13.08); “The Bad Place” (13.09); Christmas Break; “Wayward Sisters” (13.10, backdoor pilot for the spinoff); “The Midnight Train” (13.11); “Various and Sundry Villains” (13.12); “Breakdown” (13.13); “Devil’s Bargain” (13.14); “Only the Best Intentions” (13.15); “ScoobyNatural” (13.16, cartoon episode, appears in March).

Kittens! Kittens everywhere! This/last week’s Entertainment Weekly celebrates the show with multiple Halloween-themed covers, including one of Jensen Ackles with a super-cute black kitten and behind-the-scenes photos sure to warm the heart and chill the blood.

The shoot also included some interviews with Jared Padalecki (about Sam’s bonding with Jack) and Jensen Ackles (who talks about Dean’s “hopeless road” storyline in more detail), as well as video and spoilers (including the announced “return” of a Kevin Tran from alt-SPN and probable return of alt-Bobby, first seen in last season’s finale).

There were also articles about the spin-off and the upcoming Scooby-Doo episode, which confirmed that the Christmas break will occur after 13.09 and that the Scooby-Doo episode will air in March.

Jared Padalecki did an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The synopsis for “The Big Empty” (13.03) is up:

“The Big Empty” – (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) (TV-14, LV) (HDTV)

THE LONG WAY HOME – When multiple patients of grief counselor Mia Vallens (guest star Rukiya Bernard) turn up dead, Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Jack (Alexander Calvert) investigate the mystery surrounding the murders and, each inadvertently, are forced to deal with unresolved grief of their own. John Badham directed the episode written by Meredith Glynn (#1304). Original airdate 11/2/2017.

Mark Pellegrino is now being listed as a series regular and gave an interview about it to Variety. He confirmed that Mary will be around for a while. She and Lucifer will team up to get back to their universe. Lucifer also wants to keep Mary alive in order to trade her to her sons in exchange for Jack.

Warner Bros has announced details about the upcoming Wayward Sisters spin-off. As we already know, it will star Kim Rhodes (Jody Mills) and the rumor that Briana Buckmaster (Donna Hanscum) is in it was confirmed. Also starring will be Kathryn Newton (Claire Novak) and Alex Jones (Katherine Ramdeen), as well as new character Patience Turner (played by Clark Backo). Another new character, Kaia (Yadira Guevar-Prip), has been added to the main cast list. Kaia’s “gift” will be the ability to spirit travel.

The spin-off premise and new characters will be introduced via several episodes in season 13. Patience will be introduced in “Patience” (13.03), which also brings back season one character Missouri Moseley (who is Patience’s estranged grandmother and from whom Patience has inherited her psychic gift). The actual backdoor pilot will be “Wayward Sisters” (13.10).

Season 12 is out on Amazon.

The count for Supernatural calendars for 2018 is now four: a charity calendar called If I Could Tell You: The Women of Supernatural, taking orders now; two large calendars out on July 1 and two mini calendars on September 1.

The show returned reasonably strong in ratings for the season premiere with a 0.7/3 and 2.10 million, which put it third after The Flash and a resurgent Riverdale.


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Review: Supernatural: “Lost and Found” (13.01 – Season Premiere)


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[lots o’ spoilers ahead]


Well. That happened.

Where to start? I have to say that this episode, like the season 12 finale, was remarkably tedious. Okay, perhaps “remarkably” is the wrong adjective for a turgid mess of cold oatmeal. Still, I was very bored and if there’s one thing Supernatural generally isn’t, it’s boring. But Dabb as a showrunner and the Nepotism Duo in charge of the Writers Room seem capable of dousing even the sparkiest sparks.

There were a few big problems here. One was a complete lack of surprises in terms of pre-existing SPNverse elements, except where the show ignored canon for no damned good reason (as in ignoring the part where Kelly, at least, ought to be in Heaven, so why is Sam saying they hope she’s in a better place?), or simply forgot about it (as in the part where two angels were blown away by a banishing spell while another one in the next room wasn’t – um … what?).

I also didn’t like the lame attempt at generating suspense by jumping around in the episode’s timeline and saving a few bucks for the super-expensive Metallica song (“Nothing Else Matters”) in the season 12 recap by recycling a fair amount of footage from previous seasons. The use of super-expensive songs in an episode generally signals an attempt to perfume stinky writing as often as it accentuates a great scene. This was true even in season one (thinking of an episode like “Hook Man,” here, which has almost back-to-back rock songs and hasn’t held up so well over time).

The angels were tedious dicks, including the bitchy Millennial one who pretended to be a drunk girl so obviously that it became clear early on she was Up To No Good. Holy crap, was she annoying. Her death wasn’t nearly painful enough. She should have seen Jack not be hurt by her blade before she died.

Also, for all her sarcasm and ridiculous anger at Dean, she turned out to be all hot air and no threat, not to mention, frustratingly vague. I guess that’s why Sam was able to kill her when he’s never been able to kill an angel in the past. Yeah, that’s snarky, but really, Show? Enough with giving easy kills to Sam to “balance” out classic kills made by Dean. It risks diminishing both brothers and that’s the best I can say about that.

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Also, can the show please kill Lucifer, already? My God, am I over him and his perpetual adolescent whining. He’s how many billions of years old now? Grow up, dude.

But hey, at least we had confirmation Mary’s still alive. And kicking.

Second, let’s talk about the new characters, guest and recurring (since I guess we have to). About the only one who made any positive impression on me was the Sheriff. Okay, she’s no Jody Mills, and we’re not liable to see her ever again, but it was downright refreshing to see someone confronted with Dean blandly explaining about the Family Business at his most dissociated and disconnected, and just roll with it because they had already seen sufficient weird to perceive his spiel as reasonable.

This contrasted positively to Annoying Drunk Girl Angel (we’ll just call her ADGA for short) in that, for one thing, it was nice to see Dean lay it all out in such an IDGAF way that the world is bigger and creepier than most humans think, and the other person respond … well … appropriately for her own survival, but with ADGA, Dean didn’t even try to defend himself from her tired and lame accusations.

Now, the angel Ishim from “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets” hated Dean, too, but his anger made sense, albeit from his own twisted perspective. It was personal, focused. It reflected his own conflict with the episode’s resident Mary Sue.

In contrast, ADGA came off as spoiled and pissy, whining about Dean being a “Becky” roommate (apparently not the Becky of seasons five-to-seven) who “broke things” and didn’t care about other people. But come on. How many fans actually care about this, especially when there’s an alternate universe next door where the angels got exactly what they wanted and it sucks out loud for everyone else? Plus, it’s a place where the angels broke everything. Foreshadowing of a possible alliance between this ‘verse and that ‘verse’s angels was a little too obvious, so please, Show, edit the angel monologues way, way down from now on. They’re boring and hypocritical.

Then there’s Jack. I was somewhat relieved to see that the actor isn’t as bad as he appeared in the promos (he came across as very, very bad in them), and he even generated a little sympathy, but there’s little for him to work with here. Jack isn’t a character. He’s a walking deus ex machina, written as inconsistently as you’d expect from a character who not only has a faulty, weak conflict, he basically has none at all.

What, precisely, does Jack want? Well, it seems he wants to find his “father” (who turns out to be Castiel, not baby daddy Lucifer, in a not-terribly-surprising twist) and he wants to survive. Or something. Oh, and he has powers that are remarkably malleable (translation: They exist to give the writers a cheap and easy out for times they’ve written themselves into a corner), except, of course, when they conveniently don’t work. They are remarkably inconsistent, even within the context of his being only a day old. I get that the angel sigil didn’t entirely work on him (because he’s half-human. Or something), but the rest? Not so much.

For example, he can understand and speak English thanks to “being” his mother in the womb (so not a reassuring or non-sexist way of phrasing it, Dabb), but though he can hear angel voices and had also bonded with Castiel, he can’t understand them. He’s impervious to an angel blade, but Tasers knock him out. He can’t control his powers because he’s a baby, yet he’s capable of expressing and understanding complex ideas.

Also, the FX for his powers were a bit pants and looked really goofy.

As a character, he just doesn’t make any sense and even more, he doesn’t really have a journey except toward going EVOL and/or dying (as opposed to Amara, who had an atypical bond with Dean from the start and a legit beef with her brother), and he’s never going to fit well into the MOTW format. Yep, no reason to get attached to this character. He won’t be around for long.

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Another big problem is that the show keeps trying to bring in CW tropes, principally from the DC superhero shows, and they don’t work so well. I keep trying to remind myself that the show has always been meta, always been a commentary on what was going on in the genre. That’s what keeps it fresh. And it is on the CW, after all. The problem with going so CW, however, is that the tropes the show currently uses are so plastic, shallow and insincere that it’s hard to care about them. The show works best when it’s a bit rough around the edges and this season premiere was too flaky to evoke that.

Which leads us to the biggest problem of all – once again, as too often happened last year, the show was about everything and everyone but Sam and Dean, yet none of these subplots was compelling enough to make me care, let alone make me forget that Sam and Dean were once again being made guest stars in their own story. In the damned season premiere, no less.

This was especially bad for Sam, since the only part I actually enjoyed was Dean’s grief and rage and sense of abandonment. Perhaps “enjoyed” is not the right word, but at least I was interested, even as I wondered whether this storyline had been interrupted for too long and should have been pursued in last season’s premiere, rather than that idiotic LoL storyline that came out of left field. The angels’ jealousy of Dean (even dismissively referring to Sam as “the other one”), Dean’s half-admission that Chuck left him in charge rather than him and Sam, Dean’s anger and despair over being left with half-truths and no tools for actually running the world, all of these things are intriguing and could potentially be a big arc for Dean. But considering Dabb and Singer took a year-long break from them to pursue other storylines that were a lot dumber and more boring, I’m not hugely confident they’ll remember Dean even has this storyline longer than five episodes down the road. Enjoy it while you can, I guess.

Also frustrating is that Sam’s big plot this season appears to be babysitting Jack because Sam is convinced Jack is Good. Or potentially Good. Or something. Just like his mother Kelly, the walking, saintly, single-mom womb whom nobody watching actually liked or misses.

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Never mind that just a couple of seasons ago, Sam was convinced Dean having the MoC had to be stopped at all costs (even though Dean mostly had it under control, all things considered), to the point that Sam went behind Dean’s back and got the Darkness released. Then he became convinced right off the bat that Amara had to be destroyed and did some pretty stupid things to bring that about, too. Add to that the fact that never in the history of this show has Sam ever thought anyone supernaturally gray could be Good and had that turn out well – and that the first few moments were probably the best time they had to neutralize Jack should he turn out to be a threat – and Sam’s idea that Jack is Good looks ludicrous. Even Sam had to Tase the kid at one point to keep him from attacking Dean.

In light of all this, it was rather eye-rolling that the show wanted us to believe that Dean was the irrational one and Sam was being sensible and compassionate, when everything Dean was saying was actually pretty smart – look for Jack, find out his weaknesses, protect innocents from him, call and warn Jody, pray to Chuck (something that didn’t even occur to Sam until the very end of the episode). The show tried to reinforce this take of Irrational Angry Dean by having Jack act all cherub-like – aside from the odd sinister look, that is. Again, not buying it. This is a character who is far too powerful to exist on the show as-is, who entered the world by killing his own mother, and who brainwashed both her and Castiel while still in the womb. Even if he weren’t Lucifer’s son, I’d think there would be plenty of red flags here that negate any dewy-eyed boy-band appeal in Jack.

This week totally ignored the Hell aspect of the storyline. It seems we’ll get that next week when the incompetent Nepotism Duo turn in their first script of the season (God help us all). Crowley and his death got almost completely ignored this week (though Castiel did at least get kind of a send-off and a Viking funeral). We’ll see how much coverage the ex-King of Hell gets next week. Probably not much.

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You can find my live recap of the episode here.


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The Official “Lost and Found” (13.01 – Season Premiere) Live Recap Thread


Sorry, guys! Starting a little late. I had to do some chores ’cause I’m getting up early tomorrow for work.

Anyhoo, recap of season 12 to Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” that shows how poor season 12 was. Not the first time they’ve tried to hide terrible writing with an expensive song.

Cut to Now. Sam confronts Jack, who has glowing eyes and calls Sam “Father?” Sam, like a moron, says he’s not Jack’s father.

Cut to Dean kneeling beside Castiel, then getting up to go in the house and kill Jack. The shot doesn’t hurt Jack, who then responds with some showy sound FX and throws them into the wall. Expect that not to get repeated much. It looks really expensive.

Cue title cards, which are a glowing, Sauron-like eye.

Flashback to Mary attacking Lucifer, which segues into Mary burning on the ceiling in the Pilot. Dean wakes up (it’s a dream). He and Sam were knocked out until dawn. Dean storms out of the house, asking if Jack has wings. Sam says he doesn’t know.

Cut to Jack walking around naked and then two losers at a fish fry restaurant seeing him outside, naked, asking for his “Father.” They call the one slacker dude’s mom, who is a cop.

In the car, the Brothers argue over what to do with Jack. Dean is all about the holy oil and “hitting him with everything we got.” Sam is all about understanding him and figuring out if he’s EVOL or not. ‘Cause Sam was all about being understanding when the Darkness got unleashed–oh, wait. Sam does ask about whether Castiel really is dead, too. “You know he is,” Dean retorts.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff of North Cove (AKA Slacker’s Mom) is meeting Jack. She introduces herself as Christine Barker and says she’s “just here to help.” Jack smiles a very-much-not-nice smile.

Castiel’s body has been retrieved in record time and put on a table under a sheet in the cabin by two angels, one PoC male who is angry and obnoxious and “racist” about Kelly’s body, and one blonde female who claims to feel sorry for Castiel. Stay classy, show.

Cut to the police station, where Jack is one step away from a psych eval. He’s got clothes, now. Very unimpressed by him, so far. He’s basically a walking plot point.

The Sheriff asks him some questions that go rather poorly, while Slacker watches, mocking. Jack says Kelly is “in Heaven” (rather doubt that, dude) and is looking for his father.

Jack starts talking about “the bad woman” (Dagon) burning and “the universe screamed.” I’m glancing at the clock because damn, this is dull so far. Let’s get back to the Brothers, please, Show.

When she goes to check his fingerprints, Slacker asks him “how high are you?” Jack doesn’t understand his question. And realizes he is hungry.

Meanwhile, I’m discovering the exciting world of drying paint.

Back to Sam and Dean, pulling up (so coincidentally) to the fish fry joint where Jack appeared. Sam wants to go eat something. Dean wants to call Jody and get her to put out an APB on Jack. It’s a topsy-turvy world when Sam wants to eat fried food and Dean wants to work.

Inside, the other Slacker is dealing with an annoying drunk customer. Sam asks the guy if he saw anyone naked wandering around the guy says that why, yes, he did. Sam makes a call to the Sheriff, impersonating an officer, and she is shocked by Jack’s blank slate of fingerprints.

Outside the Pirate fish fry, Dean is walking back to the car with bloody knuckles when he’s accosted by Annoying Drunk Girl who was inside when Sam went in (dear God, woman, GO AWAY). She notices his bloody knuckles, but not that he is retrieving a flask of booze for a drink and to dump on his knuckles. She tells an annoying story about a college roommate called “Becky” (apparently, not Becky Rosen), while Dean coldly eyes her up over the roof of the Impala. Sam comes out why she’s still going on. Sam brings Dean up to speed and they leave while she smirks. Maybe she’s a demon. I don’t and don’t care. Hope she’s Monster Chow soon.

In the station, the lights start fritzing badly and the Sheriff can’t find anyone. Pulling out her gun, she enters the Locker Room, from whence comes creepy laughter. Inside, though, it’s just her son and Jack, eating food from the food dispenser. Jack is discovering nougat. Or something. The light-fritzing turns out to be Jack making the food dispenser operate with his mind. Then he hears angel voices. When the Sheriff tries to stop him leaving, he accidentally shoves her into the machine and bails.

As lights explode, he gets to the squad room and sees Dean, but gets Tased by Sam. The Sheriff, who was unconscious just a moment before, comes into the room, gun drawn, looking fine. Nice lack of continuity, there, Dabb.

I miss when this show didn’t bore me.

So, we need a third act, I guess, so Sam is tossed into a cell, while the Sheriff interrogates Dean. Dean tells her what’s up, the Family Business. Rather than get pissy, the Sheriff asks Dean what Jack is. Dean says he’s a Nephilim.

In the jail cell, Sam talks to Jack, who tells him about hearing the angel voices. Jack asks Sam to tell “them” that he’s “sorry.” Whatever, show.

Sam asks Jack how he knows English. Jack says he talked to her, “I *was* her.” (very much not reassuring). Sam then asks Jack how he got his powers and if he remembers opening the door to the other world. Jack doesn’t know. He says he has to find his father, that his father will protect him.

Sam says that Lucifer doesn’t protect people. Jack says no, his mom said that Castiel would protect him. Sam tells Jack that Castiel is dead.

Outside, Slacker is lighting a cigarette. He’s confronted by Annoying Drunk Girl and the two angels. So, is she an angel, or is she in league with them?

Inside, Dean is releasing Sam, saying the Sheriff believes them. Then they hear Slacker outside scream. As they and the Sheriff come out into the squad room, they see Annoying Drunk Girl with an angel blade to Slacker’s throat.

The Sheriff starts to raise her gun, but Dean warns her not to. Annoying Drunk Girl Angel/Demon wants the Sheriff to shoot Dean to let her son go. Sam is still in the cell.

But it’s mostly a distraction so the other two angels and come in and attack Sam and Jack. ADGA stabs Slacker, pretty much just for kicks, as soon as she hears they’re in. Sam gets his ass kicked and the other two angels take Jack as Dean gets the drop on ADGA. He interrogates her and she smacks him in the head then enters the cell. Sam has blasted the other two angels away with a sigil that almost blasts Jack away, too. She stabs Jack, and gets stabbed by Sam, but only Jack survives. So, that happened.

Outside, the Sheriff goes off with her son in the ambulance, while the Brothers have a talk about Jack. Dean agrees with Sam’s plan to bring Jack back to the Bunker, to minimize the damage and find a way to kill Jack.

Dean chooses to burn Castiel’s body. Sam says maybe they can ask Chuck. Dean says he already tried. That’s why his knuckles are bloody. He prayed to Chuck to bring all of them back and then smacked a restroom wall (repeatedly), and cried, when Chuck failed to answer.

Not sure why the show has decided to forget all about Amara. She might answer Dean’s prayer.

Anyhoo, Dean is now going to burn Castiel and nobody is stopping him: “God’s not listening. He doesn’t give a damn.”

Oh, they also burn Kelly, by the way. Let’s not speak of that drippy, nothingburger character again, Show.

Dean has a moment alone with Castiel to cry over him. Later, Sam talks Jack through a Hunter’s funeral. Dean says goodbye to them all, including Mary. Sam says she may not be dead, but Dean refuses to entertain what he sees as false hope.

Boring music for this. Not very Supernatural.

Over in Alt-Verse, Mary is getting stalked and chased by Lucifer, who is playing with his food. Mary says what, is Lucifer going to kill her now? Lucifer says maybe or maybe not. Maybe he needs her. Whatever, Lucie.

Credits.

Okeydoke, that’s it for tonight. Not the greatest of episodes. Pretty much pointless aside from Dean’s cold, hard turn at grieving.

Expect my review by Sunday night.

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I’ll also be simul-recapping on Wayward Children.

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Weird Middle Ages: Templars and the Origins of Friday the 13th


By Paula R. Stiles


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On this day in October 1307 (and yes, it was a Friday), almost every member in France of the military religious order the Knights Templar was arrested in a pre-dawn raid by agents of King Philippe IV, known as “Le Bel” (“The Fair,” mostly because he was blonde). Philippe claimed that the arrests had been motivated on the spur of the moment by distressing allegations that the Templars were devil-worshiping heretics. As the confessions piled up to include weird things like ritual kisses on the buttocks, spitting on the cross, and denying Christ, it appeared he was right.

Of course, all was not as it seemed. In fact, the raid had been carefully planned and the charges written up in detail a month before the arrests by Philippe’s sinister head minister and Keeper of the Keys, Guillaume de Nogaret. Guillaume was already pretty notorious for having beaten up a pope (the Templars’ boss) a few years before and had used the same charges with great success in 1306 against Jews and Lombard bankers, resulting in a mass expulsion of both groups and a general crash of the French economy.

At the same time he was trying the Templars, Nogaret was busy suppressing a harmless group of poor mendicants known as the Beguines and the Beghards, led by a woman whom the King had burned at the stake for heresy. Nogaret was also notorious for suing his poorer neighbors and (reputedly) engaging in a bit of black magic, himself. He was a thorough scoundrel.

All of this skullduggery was intended to gain the perpetually cash-strapped Philippe some money. Philippe was a stern, autocratic, unpopular fanatic, obsessed with power and avid for ready cash to fill the coffers depleted by his sainted grandfather Louis IX’s crusade. Though he was eventually able to force his new, hand-picked pope to suppress the Order in 1312, the landed property eventually went to the Templars’ sister order, the Hospitallers. It also turned out that the Templars themselves were cash poor.

Fate had not yet had the last laugh on Philippe. Months after having the last Grand Master of the Order burned as a relapsed heretic in 1314 (and in the middle of an adultery scandal centered on his daughters-in-law, no less), Philippe died, suddenly and in his prime, as did the Pope. Nogaret had mysteriously died the year before.

Philippe left three strong sons, but by 1328, after three centuries of an unbroken line of male succession in the French royal family, all three had died with no heirs. The royal Capetian line was extinct. Rumors abounded that the parties involved had been cursed by God, root and branch.

Philippe did have one grandson, who claimed the throne through his mother, Philippe’s daughter. Problem was, that grandson was already King of England. The scandalized French nobility decided to give the crown to Philippe’s brothers rather than become subjects of their traditional enemy across the Channel. The King of England objected. This resulted in the Hundred Years War, which devastated the French nobility and nearly destroyed France.

To add posthumous insult to fatal injury, in his famous Divine Comedy, Dante put Philippe in Hell for his crimes against the Templar Order and even stuck Philip’s ancestor Hugh Capet in Purgatory just for having been his forefather.

Moral of the story: Don’t be a royal creep on Friday the 13th.

Philippe_le_Bel_famille


Curious about the Knights Templar? Check out my book, Templar Convivencia: Templars and Their Associates in 12th and 13th Century Iberia, available on Amazon.


Whispers, Spoilers & Speculation Corner: 10/09/17: We’re baaaaaack


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Paula’s latest Patreon entry was about Canada Day and horror westerns.

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You can access previous spoilers columns at Innsmouth Free Press here.


Sci-fi Spoilerpalooza
By Heather S. Vina

For fans of ABC’s primetime lineup, Variety has up a list of premiere dates for several of their shows.

In a blast from the past, EW spoke with Tom Welling about his “suiting up” – or lack thereof – for Smallville.

In a lovely thank you video the cast and crew of Sense 8 thanked the fans for their devotion to the show and helping to bring it back.

It was revealed at the Television Critics Association event that there will be another four-way crossover between all of the CW superhero shows. The crossover will kick off Monday, November 27 with Supergirl, followed by Arrow (temporarily moving to Monday night for the event), and will finish on Tuesday, November 28 with The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow in their regular timeslots.

The 100: Comic-Con brought out some spoilers for the show and who is in the ship seen by Clarke at the end of last season.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Deadline is reporting that actor Jeff Ward (Manson’s Lost Girls) has been cast in a mysterious, recurring role for season five.

American Gods: TV Line has up an interview with Ricky Whittle on season two.

American Horror Story: EW has up some new promotional photos for the season. Variety has up some season details from showrunner Ryan Murphy. Lena Dunham (Girls) will be joining the show in a mysterious role.

TV Line has up the latest character-driven promotional posters for the new series. Emma Roberts will be back for the new season. Kathy Bates, however, will not be back.

Spoiler TV has up the latest promotional posters for the new season. Deadline has up some details on the new season from the show’s panel at the Television Critic’s Association event. Sarah Paulson revealed that her character and Alison Pill’s character will be a couple. The Hollywood Reporter is trying to decipher the clues of the new season.

Arrow: The show has cast actress Sydelle Noel ( GLOW) as Samanda Watson, an “FBI agent who will be investigating Oliver Queen’s connection to the Green Arrow.”

Black Lightning: The show has cast rapper Marvin “Krondon” Jones III as villain Tobias Whale. He will be a regular in the series.

Dark Matter: Spoiler TV has up an exclusive interview with Co-Creator/Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi.

The Defenders: EW has up some details from Sigourney Weaver on her villainous character, Alexandra. Variety has up a video interview from Comic-Con with Charlie Cox and Krysten Ritter. EW has up promotional photos for the new series. The Hollywood Reporter has up an interview with the cast at their New York premiere.

Doctor Who: BBC America has put up the entire Comic-Con panel on their YouTube channel. Anglophile has a good page worth of links to video interviews of the cast and writers are Comic-Con. The Blastr site put up video of their Comic-Con interview with the cast and crew.

The BBC site has up an interview with Jodie Whittaker on how she feels about being the new Doctor.

The Exorcist: TV Line has up some highlights from their cast video interview during Comic-Con.

The Expanse: Syfy’s Blastr site has up video interviews with the cast and crew from Comic-Con.

The Flash: Grant Gustin spoke with EW about Barry returning a changed man. The show has cast actor Hartley Sawyer ( Saving the Human Race) as the Elongated Man and actress Sugar Lyn Beard to play Rebecca Sharpe, AKA Hazard, a new villain.

Game of Thrones: EW has up an interview with Gemma Whelan on Yara’s tense situation. The Hollywood Reporter has up an interview with Indira Varma on Ellaria Sand’s fate. EW has up an interview with onscreen sisters Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner.

The Gifted: Showrunner Matt Nix spoke with TV Line about how Amy Acker’s character is more than just the Mom character.

Gotham: The season premiere date was Thursday, September 28.

The Inhumans: Scyfy Wire spoke to the cast at Comic-Con about their character’s powers. Deadline has up some details from the show’s TCA panel.

Killjoys: TV Goodness has up an interview with Thom Allison about the recent Pree-centric episode, as well as an interview with actress Mayko Nguyen about her character Delle Saya.

Legends of Tomorrow: Showrunner Phil Klemmer spoke with EW about new teammate Zari Adrianna Tomaz and the Team’s attempts to repair time. Deadline has up details and spoilers from the show’s appearance at the Television Critics Association event. TV Insider is reporting that actress Joy Richardson (Holby City) has been cast in an ironic role as an ancestor of her daughter Maisie Richardson’s character, Vixen! The show has also cast actress Jes Macallan ( Mistresses) in a recurring role as Special Agent Ava Sharpe, an agent for the Time Bureau.

Legion: The Hollywood Reporter has up some details on season two.

Midnight, Texas: TV Line has up an interview with the cast at Comic-Con. It’s a funny, cheesy show.

Once Upon A Time: EW has up a lot of new details from executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on the coming season. Carrying on their tradition, EW has put up a new “Hot Seat” with Horowitz and Kitsis. EW revealed that Emilie de Ravin will be making a return appearance to the show for at least one episode.

EW has up some season seven details on where Rump and Belle will be. EW is reporting that actor Giles Matthey will be back as Gideon next season. The show has cast actress Emma Booth (Underbelly) in a recurring role as “The Witch.”

IGN has up an interview with showrunners Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on the new “requel” show. TV Line has up some details from Adam Horowitz on the new season. Deadline has up some details from the show’s TCA panel. EW has up the latest promotional photos for the new season.

The Originals: With the show coming to an end this season, CW president Mark Pedowitz has admitted that there has been some talk of a spinoff centered around the character of Hope.

Orphan Black: TV Line has up an interview with actress Maria Doyle Kennedy. Tatiana Maslany spoke with TV Line about the end of the show. EW has up video of the cast saying goodbye to the show.

Outlander: TV Line has up some details from showrunner Ronald D. Moore on when Claire and Jamie will reunite. They also have up a breakdown of the new trailer.

The Runaways: IGN has up some details from Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb on how the show connects to the Marvel universe.

Star Trek Discovery: IGN spoke with the cast at Comic-Con about their characters. You can see the videos here, here and here. EW has up an interview with Bryan Fuller about his exit from the show. And don’t forget the big news that came out of Comic-Con: Lead character Michael Burnham is Spock’s adopted half-sister.

Variety has up an interview with executive producer Alex Kurtzman about the delays the show has gone through. EW has up promotional photos for the show.

Supergirl: The show has cast 24 alumnus Carlos Bernard to play Maggie’s father. TV Line has up an interview with producer Greg Berlanti on what Floriana Lima’s recurring status means for Alex and Maggie. EW has up their own version of his comments.

Teen Wolf: TV Line has up an interview with the cast from Comic-Con.

Van Helsing: There’s a new trailer out for season two. Syfy Wire has up video interviews with the cast from Comic-Con.

Timeless: Syfy has up some quotes from the show’s Comic-Con panel about its surprise cancellation reversal.

The Walking Dead: At the Television Critic’s Association press tour, executive producer Robert Kirkman spoke about the “old man Rick” scene in the new trailer.

Westworld: The show is adding three new cast members to season two: actors Gustaf Skarsgård (Vikings), Fares Fares (Tyrant), and Betty Gabriel (Get Out).

Wynonna Earp: EW has up an interview with showrunner Emily Andras about last week’s episode. EW has up an interview with showrunner Emily Andras on the latest episode.

The X-Files: Mitch Pileggi AKA Skinner will be returning for season 11. After the outcry over no women writers or directors, the show has added two female directors and writers to the staff. Directors Carol Banker and Holly Dale will be joining the show. In front of the camera, it’s being reported that Annabeth Gish will be returning for season 11, as well.

Over at EW, the Spoiler Room has spoilers on shows Supergirl, The Defenders, The Flash, Teen Wolf, The 100, Midnight, Texas and the Once Upon a Time.

At TV Line, Ask Ausiello has spoilers on shows The X-Files, Supergirl, Black Lightning, The Originals, The 100, Twin Peaks and Supernatural. Matt’s Inside Line has spoilers on shows Arrow, Lucifer, Supergirl and Once Upon a Time.

Over at EW, the Spoiler Room has spoilers on shows Legends of Tomorrow, Shadowhunters and Once Upon a Time.


Supernatural (Thursday nights, 8pm, CW)
By Paula R. Stiles

Check out my Patreon page. Help me keep this column going, pay Heather, and start doing Supernatural reviews again.

The show returns this Thursday night at 8pm.

Okeydoke. To be honest, I haven’t done spoilers columns since Comic-Con in July partly because I’ve been very busy, but partly it’s because they’ve been thin on the ground until recently and rather … awful.

Further, as it happens, I don’t currently have cable (though I do have reliable access to the show the next day), so I won’t be doing my live recaps until Friday at 8pm. I can do reviews probably by the end of the weekend.

Anyhoo, let’s do an overview of what we’ve got.

Season 13 so far: “Lost and Found” (13.01), synopsis and photos, promo, preview, and Shaving People, Punting Things; “The Rising Son” (13.02) synopsis and photos; “Patience” (the first spinoff set-up episode) (13.03) synopsis; “The Big Empty” (13.04); “Advanced Thanatology” (13.05); “Tombstone” (13.06); “War of the Worlds” (13.07); “The Scorpion and the Frog” (13.08); “The Bad Place” (13.09); “Wayward Sisters” (13.10); “The Midnight Train” (13.11); “Various and Sundry Villains” (13.12); “” (13.13); “Untitled” (13.14); “Untitled” (13.15); “ScoobyNatural” (13.16).

Alexander Calvert (Jack) is being listed as a regular for the season. Don’t get too excited – Lauren Cohan and Katie Cassidy were listed as regulars for season three, and see how that turned out. Being a regular Not Named Sam, Dean, or Castiel means pretty much nothing about one’s chances beyond the end of the season, let alone the number of episodes one gets. Bela didn’t even make it to the end of season three.

From what I’ve seen in the promos, I’m deeply underwhelmed by this character. The premise, of course, is pants. It’s basically Dabb trying a redo of Jesse (from season five’s “I Believe the Children Are Our Future”) with an adult actor, without understanding why the character didn’t work for anything more than a one-shot in the first place. Jesse – sorry, Jack – is far, far too powerful (ludicrously, unrealistically so) to generate any kind of decent drama in the MOTWs, so he’s basically like Castiel in season four in terms of “How do we fit this character into our story on a weekly basis?” Short answer: You don’t.

And don’t get me started on how often insta-grow, superpowerful Kid Trick characters don’t click with audiences.

It doesn’t help that every instance of Calvert in the promos indicates he will be going full robotic with the acting. As past examples like Gadriel indicate, this show’s audience really dislikes that sort of thing.

In random casting news, Chelsey Reist from The 100 will guest star on the show at some unspecified date.

Castiel won’t be back with TFW until 13.06 (though the title for “The Big Empty” (13.04) indicates we’ll see a good bit of him in that episode wherever he currently is). The showrunners keep saying he’ll come back changed. I’m sure that will go down well with the fans. [/extreme sarcasm]

The show is either totally BS-ing about bringing back Crowley to avoid the fandom backlash or they’re planning to recast him, especially since they’ve already written in a new ruler in Hell (confirmed by the episode synopsis for 13.02 as the last YED, Asmodeus). Either approach sounds … ill-advised. In the same TV Line article, Jensen Ackles gave some brief spoilers about “ScoobyNatural” (13.16). Basically, the Brothers will be animated and there will be a live-action frame to explain how they get into that ‘verse.

Mary appears prominently in the photos from 13.01 and 13.02. Her fate has officially been left up in the air, but I doubt she’ll be killed off or over in Fake-SPNverse for long.

The show keeps emphasizing that Dean’s emotional arc this season will be dark and depressing. It seems he will call on God for help in resurrecting everyone, will be ignored, will try to kill Jack, will fail at that, and then will become dark and cold. You know a season’s spoilers aren’t wowing you when you hope all of this will actually happen because the only remotely exciting and emotionally real thing coming out as a spoiler is the prospect of Jensen Ackles portraying Dean embarking on his 19th Nervous Breakdown and then going nuclear.

Oh, and Sam’s going to be … uh … helping raise Jack, which already has Sam fans less-than-thrilled (it’s almost as if they’ve watched this show before and know how vague a non-story that is). It’s possible this will turn into something more Sam-oriented (and that Dean’s “dark” arc will be forgotten, as that’s happened, too, in the past). But considering Sam’s craptastic track record in helping other kids with powers, and the near-certainty a superhuman character who manipulated his mother in the womb and then murdered her upon birth will turn out EVOL (and that this show continues to struggle with including superhuman characters in the week-to-week MOTW narrative), Jack’s chances of making it past the resolution of this season’s ending cliffhanger without getting killed off or otherwise summarily written out are super-low.

It doesn’t help that current showrunner Andrew Dabb thinks the Brothers actually had it easy last season and that it was necessary to take everything away from them for dramatic effect this season. Remember the last time the show did that? That was season seven. Remember how thoroughly loathed that season (and its showrunner Sera Gamble) was by many fans? Yeah. You’d think Dabb would remember that, too, seeing as how he’s been writing for the show since season four, but apparently, that’s part of his general amnesia about show canon.

More of a concern is the lack of showrunner interest in Sam and Dean – you know, the show’s actual protagonists. Mind you, after eight and a half seasons of SamSamSam every time we had a mytharc, I’m okay with Sam taking a backseat for that (especially after the lame attempts last season to hand him watered-down “epic” kills and hook him up with the LoL). But somebody’s gotta carry the mytharc in this duo and dear Lord, Show, half of season nine through the end of season eleven for a Dean mytharc is not even close to balance. Plus, the MoC plot was very popular and did very nice things to the show’s ratings.

It’s therefore quite annoying to see the Alt-Michael be cast with a black actor, notably because it has very Unfortunate Implications for ignoring the entire vessels premise for season five. It also ignores Dean’s entire season five storyline and it’s become a huge cliché to have the EVOL powerful bad guy get played by a PoC. Come on, show. You’ve already gone to that well enough times to contribute to making EVOL, Articulate Black Guy a cliché (yes, I know it was a lot fresher in season two, but that was a long time ago). Knock it off.

It’s non-news, but also an indication of how thoroughly the Brothers are being sidelined on their own show, that Dabb had to come out and tell us that no, they won’t be getting any new love interests any time soon.

Warner Bros has announced details about the upcoming Wayward Sisters spinoff. As we already know, it will star Kim Rhodes (Jody Mills) and the rumor that Briana Buckmaster (Donna Hanscum) is in it was confirmed. Also starring will be Kathryn Newton (Claire Novak) and Alex Jones (Katherine Ramdeen), as well as new character Patience Turner (played by Clark Backo). Another new character, Kaia (Yadira Guevar-Prip), has been added to the main cast list. Kaia’s “gift” will be the ability to spirit travel.

The spinoff premise and new characters will be introduced via several episodes in season 13. Patience will be introduced in “Patience” (13.03), which also brings back season one character Missouri Moseley (who is Patience’s estranged grandmother and from whom Patience has inherited her psychic gift). Reportedly, the actual backdoor pilot will be “Wayward Sisters” (13.10).

I’ll say up front that I want to like this spinoff. I really do. The idea of an all-woman spinoff headed by Jody and Donna sounds great, and it’s rather nice to see Dean pairing off with Jody to find Patience in 13.03 (though if they must bring back Missouri at this point, I hope Dean gives her a piece of his mind).

But watching the preview reel for the season, listening to the Nepotism Duo go on and on about the spinoff (making it clear they will be involved in it up to their hairlines), just has me cringing. How has no one at the network yet noticed that these two are astoundingly tone-deaf on the issues of race and gender, not to mention completely out of touch with the younger fanbase the network desperately wants to attract? Why, oh, why, is the network letting two writers who gave us a black woman in a dog collar who was romantically involved with her master (and who even turned into an actual dog) anywhere near a show with two teenage Women of Color in it? That just makes the signs this could all go horribly wrong (like, say, how Kaia sounds an awful lot like the stereotype of the Spicy Latina) that much scarier. And it’s not as though either Dabb or Singer are any better. Every storyline Dabb touches as a showrunner seems to turn to utter bilge.

So, yeah, definitely hanging fire on looking forward to that.

Season 12 is out on Amazon.

There will be three calendars for 2018: two large calendars out on July 1 and two mini calendars on September 1.

I’ll start doing ratings news again when the season starts up.


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Five Questions Everyone’s Asking Astronomers Like Me About the Great American Solar Eclipse


Check out my Facebook and Twitter all this month for tips and articles about eclipses. And feel free to join my Patreon or buy me a coffee if you enjoyed this article and would like to see more.


I work in a planetarium and am a lifelong amateur astronomer. We astronomy geeks have been eagerly anticipating the upcoming America-crossing solar eclipse on Monday for over a year, but most people (including the media) were blissfully unaware until very recently. Questions I’ve been fielding about it have skyrocketed since August 1 and super-novaed in the past week. And it turns out the media coverage still has a few holes.

So, here are my already-patented answers to the most common and important questions.


1. Will looking at the sun during the eclipse hurt me?

Yes, if you look too long, but no more or less than if you looked at the full sun. There is no special, mega-destructive radiation during an eclipse that will hurt your eyes more than other times. But your eyes may be fooled by the dimmer light into “thinking” that they’re safe. Your blink reflex may be reduced. You may not be consciously dazzled by a crescent as by a full disk of sun. But yes, that can still hurt your eyes. A lot.

It boils down to simple math. The sun is about 400,000 as bright as the full moon. Since the full moon is a bit dazzling but not harmful and the full sun obviously is, people understand that the full sun is dangerous to look at. Unfortunately, they then think that if the crescent moon is not dazzling or harmful, neither will be the sun. This is not so.

When even 1% of the sun is visible, that’s still 4,000 times as bright as the full moon. If it’s 6 or 7 times that, as it will be here in Eastern North Carolina, that’s about 25,000 times as bright. Obviously, thousands of times as bright as an object that’s dazzling, but not harmful, is pretty harmful. It won’t strike you stone-blind if it dazzles you as you’re putting down your sun visor while driving down the road toward it, but you still need to be careful.

Bottom line: The sun is only safe to view, for more than a quick glance, when it’s completely covered by the moon in the brief total eclipse phase.

Credit: Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel
Credit: Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

2. I can’t get solar eclipse glasses. What do I do now?

Welp, you’re probably out of luck with the glasses, sorry. I got some a couple of weeks ago, but I hear they’re completely sold out in my area as of this week. You can, however, view the eclipse quite safely in other ways.

The best way is to find a local science museum or library in your area that is doing an eclipse party. These are generally free. Yes, there will be crowds, but we’re pretty good at crowd control (all that experience with school groups), and most should have eclipse glasses and extra equipment like telescopes with filters for safe viewing.

DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN THROUGH AN UNFILTERED TELESCOPE OR BINOCULARS. EVER. NOT EVEN WITH SOLAR ECLIPSE GLASSES. THINK ‘A MAGNIFYING GLASS IN THE SUN AND YOU’RE THE BUG.’

I’ll be working the Eclipse at the Imperial Centre on Church Street in Rocky Mount, NC. Not only will we have three regular scopes with filters, but we’re breaking out the H-Alpha scope (you can see solar flares in it) and the Sun Spotter (which safely projects an image of the sun onto a piece of white paper).

If you can’t make it to one of those, the absolute easiest and safest way is to make a pinhole camera. The absolute easiest way to make one is to punch a small hole in a paper plate, aim the plate at the sun, and let the image fall on another paper plate through the hole. Pinhole cameras of this type are very easy to make and there are designs all over the Web. They are also completely safe as long as you project the image onto a non-reflective surface (no mirrors or glass) and don’t magnify it through a magnifying glass or unfiltered telescope (you might burn the paper and/or damage your telescope).


3. Is it worth seeing only a partial solar eclipse?

I cannot stress this enough – YES, IT IS. If you have any visible eclipse action going on at all in your area, you should check it out. Even though a solar eclipse is actually pretty common (about one ever 18 months somewhere on Earth), the area covered by either the umbra (total eclipse shadow) or the penumbra (partial eclipse shadow) is so narrow, and so often over an unpopulated area like the high Arctic or the ocean, that most people have never seen even a partial eclipse. For it to cross a heavily populated area like the United States is quite rare (and it’s going to happen again on April 8, 2024, which is even rarer). That’s why it’s predicted to be the most-viewed solar eclipse in history.

So, just for the historical event value alone, you should be checking it out. But in addition to all that, it’s actually worth seeing this throughout the viewing area. Which is pretty much all over the U.S. and in British Columbia.

Unfortunately, the science educators kinda dropped the ball on this one and have totally undersold the value of seeing a partial eclipse, even though there’s no way most people in the U.S. and Canada can get anywhere near the umbra AKA path of totality. Most of us did not anticipate how crazy and how early the activity of chasing totality would get. There’s already traffic gridlock in some states, so it turns out even leaving very early in the morning on Monday (the plan I would have followed if I weren’t working the eclipse) may not be a good or safe option. And it’s just not worth getting stuck in traffic or even getting hurt to see the up-to-two-minutes of totality you’d get if you managed to get into the umbra. A total eclipse is very much worth seeing – but it ain’t that worth it.

This is also underselling 99% of the eclipse experience, which is a partial eclipse wherever you are. I’ve read reputable science writers in astronomy guides telling people it’s not worth watching an exclipse unless it’s total. That’s dumb. This isn’t like a partial lunar eclipse, where you may not even notice the shadow if it’s small and faint enough. If the moon does more than graze the sun in your area, you will notice. The sun is just that bright and the new moon is just that dark.

Credit: Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel
Credit: Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

The thing is that the partial eclipse, whether it’s before and after the total, or partial is all you get in your area, is far more than just the experience of a few minutes of totality and lasts a lot longer. Three hours in my area, which gives you plenty of time to step outside and get a look, to check out what’s going on around you (it gets weird), and still have a look even if you’ve got heavy cloud cover much of the time.

Yes, you only get to see the moon-bright corona in the few minutes of totality. Yes, you only get to see phenomena like Bailey’s Beads then. Yes, it’s the only time you can look directly and safely at the sun (though, technically, you’re looking at the moon, which is blocking the sun).

But the real, and really weird, experience is watching the sun slowly disappear and reappear, and you will see this throughout the penumbral (partial eclipse) area. In the path of totality, it’s as straightforward as the moon’s phases from first to last quarter. Outside of that, you may see some odd shapes as the moon crosses part of the sun. And these will last longer than the total eclipse.

Also, while you won’t see a starry sky, you could still look for Venus to the west and Jupiter to the east of the sun. You can see these two planets in the sky even during daytime, if you know where to look. Depending on how total your partiality is, you can still find them.

In addition, you will get a lot of strange effects, such as a darkening (albeit still-blue) sky, weird shadows, and animals acting oddly (the birds may go to sleep). If you are near enough to the umbra, you may even be able to look in its direction and see the shadow.

I’ve seen two partial eclipses, including the New England Christmas Eclipse of 2000. It’s difficult to explain how unnerving it is having a big, black shadow cross the sun. It is not at all like overcast weather. I’m not at all surprised it creeped our ancestors out, even in cultures where they knew how to predict eclipses.


4. Speaking of weather, is it worth watching the eclipse if it’s partly cloudy?

Yes, absolutely! In fact, having a little weather may enhance your experience, especially in periods and areas of partial eclipse. The clouds will look different, for one. If it rains and you get a rainbow, it will also look different. An eclipse, total or partial, affects everything in the sky and how that light reaches the ground. And since a partial eclipse lasts much longer than the period of totality, you’ll have much longer to observe these conditions and it will be totally safe as long as you’re not looking directly at the sun.

If it’s totally socked in with rain, it will be a little more boring, but you should still notice that the sky will darken even more than usual at the height of the eclipse.


5. Are my solar eclipse glasses worth keeping?

Yes, absolutely! They make looking at the sun safe and other fun things happen with the sun besides eclipses, like planetary transits and sunspots. The next transit of Mercury across the sun won’t be until November 11, 2019, and the next transit of Venus won’t be until 2117, but sunspots are pretty common. And you can see any that are at least the size of Jupiter with solar eclipse glasses.

Do not, however, ever use solar eclipse glasses when looking through a telescope or binoculars. They will not protect your eyes from the magnified glare. To reiterate:

DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN THROUGH AN UNFILTERED TELESCOPE OR BINOCULARS. EVER. NOT EVEN WITH SOLAR ECLIPSE GLASSES. THINK ‘A MAGNIFYING GLASS IN THE SUN AND YOU’RE THE BUG.’

Here’s hoping everyone has a fun and safe eclipse. It won’t last very long, but at least you’ll know what a hundred-million-plus other people across the country will be doing at the same time!

https://eclipse.aas.org/sites/eclipse.aas.org/files/CrescentWindmills1-EvanZucker.jpg
Credit: Evan Zucker

Check out my Facebook and Twitter all this month for tips and articles about eclipses. And feel free to join my Patreon or buy me a coffee if you enjoyed this article and would like to see more.

You can find the photos I used in the article, and many more, right here. Credit for top photo of solar corona during totality: Jay Pasachoff / Allen Davis / Vojtech Rusin / Miloslav Druckmüller.


Whispers, Spoilers & Speculation Corner: 07/24/17: The San Diego Comic-Con Edition


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Sci-fi Spoilerpalooza
By Heather S. Vina

San Diego Comic-Con was this weekend. As usual, there are a LOT of news and spoilers out! Too much for me to gather everything, but hopefully, I hit the highlights for the genre shows!

You can check out YouTube for different highlights from different panels, including some panels in their entirety. A good place to start for highlights is the Flick and the City channel. Spoiler TV also has a page on their website for panel links. They gradually collect them all and add them to the page as they go, so check them out as well!

Several shows had some big news this weekend: Wynonna Earp has been renewed for a third season. Iron Fist has been renewed for season two. The Originals will be ending this season.

The 100: The Comic-Con panel showed a sizzle reel for the show. TV Line has up a video interview with the cast. TV Line has up some highlights from the show’s panel.

12 Monkeys: The show released a new trailer for their fourth and final season.

American Horror Story: Ryan Murphy revealed another clue for the new season on his Instagram. The show also has a premiere date: Tuesday, September 5.

Arrow: There’s a new trailer out for season six. TV Line has up some spoilers from the panel. The show also announced that actor Michael Emerson (Person of Interest) was joining the show in a recurring, mysterious role.

Black Lightning: There’s a new trailer out for the new superhero show. The show has added actors James Remar ( Dexter) and Damon Gupton (Bates Motel) to the show as series regulars. Remar will play Peter Gambi, the oldest friend of Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning and Gupton will play seasoned lawman Inspector Henderson.

Colony: TV Line has up a video interview with the cast.

The Defenders: There’s a new trailer out for the show. Deadline has up some details from the show’s Comic-Con panel. TV Line has up a video interview with the cast.

Dirk Gently: Syfy has up an interview with the cast on season two. There’s a sneak peek for season two on the show’s official Twitter account.

Doctor Who: The trailer is out for the Christmas special, “Twice Upon A Time.” Spoiler TV will have up the full panel of the gang at Comic-Con soon, but if you want to just see Peter’s ‘thank you’ speech, you can see it on Flicks and the City‘s YouTube channel. IMDb has up an interview with Peter on the best time to leave the show. EW has up the advice Peter gave to new Doctor Jodie Whittaker. Pearl and Michelle spoke with TV Line about their characters’ potential returns. Syfy has up a video interview with the ladies, too, as well Yahoo. EW has up the second official photo for the Christmas episode with Peter Capaldi and David Bradley. Steven Moffat spoke out against the idea of a backlash against a female Doctor.

The Exorcist: The show has added to its second season cast actress Zuleikha Robinson (Still Star-Crossed).

The Expanse: There’s a new trailer out for season three. The show has adde actress Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost) to the cast for season three.

Fear the Walking Dead: Deadline has up some highlights from the show’s Comic-Con panel. TV Line has up a video interview with the cast.

The Flash: There’s a new trailer out for season four. The show also announced some casting news. Actor Neil Sandilands (The 100, The Americans) has been cast as villain Clifford Devoe, AKA The Thinker. Danny Trejo (Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn) has been cast as Breacher, a feared bounty hunter from Earth-19 and the father of Gypsy. Kim Engelbrecht (Dominion, Eye in the Sky) has been cast as The Mechanic, a highly intelligent engineer who works for Devoe and is devoted to his cause. TV Line has up a video interview with the cast.

Game of Thrones: Deadline has up some highlights from the show’s Comic-Con panel. TV Line has up some video interviews with the cast on their favorite scenes. EW has up interviews with actress Jessica Henwick and actress Nathalie Emmanuel on this weekend’s episode.

The Gifted: There’s a new trailer out for the series. TV Addict has up interviews with the cast.

Gotham: There’s a new trailer out for season four. The show has cast actress Crystal Reed (Teen Wolf) as Sofia Falcone, the daughter of Don Falcone. TV Line has up a video interview with the cast.

Inhumans: There’s a new trailer out for the show. TV Line has up a video interview with the cast.

Ironfist: Along with the renewal news, the show is also getting a new showrunner in Raven Metzner.

iZombie: The show has upped Robert Knepper from recurring to series regular for season four. TV Line has up a video interview with the cast.

Legends of Tomorrow: There’s a new trailer out for season three. It was announced that actor Neal McDonough (Damien Darhk) has been promoted to series regular, while Arthur Darvill (Rip Hunter) and Wentworth Miller (Captain Cold) will be back in recurring status. TV Line has up some highlights from the panel.

Legion: EW has up the first page of the scriptfor season two’s opening episode. Deadline has up some highlights from the Comic-Con panel. Actor Saïd Taghmaoui (Wonder Woman) has been cast as Amahl Farouk AKA the Shadow King. TV Line has up a video interview with the cast.

Lucifer: There’s a new trailer out for season three. It was announced that actor Tom Welling (Smallville) would be joining the show as a rival for Lucifer.

Midnight, Texas: Deadline has up some highlights from the show’s Comic-Con panel.

Once Upon A Time: There’s a new trailer out for season seven. Deadline has up some details on the show’s Comic-Con panel, as well as the scene that they debuted there. TV Line has up their own set of highlights. TV Line has up a video interview with the cast.

The Originals: At Comic-Con, the panel showed a sizzle reel for the show. The cast also spoke to TV Line about the coming season. The show has recast the character of Hope with 17-year-old actress Danielle Rose Russell (The Last Tycoon), officially making her a teenager in a 5-year jump when the show returns. You can catch a glimpse of her from a scene they released at their panel. The show is also promoting recurring actor Steven Krueger (Josh) to series regular in season five.

Outlander: There’s a new trailer out for season three. Deadline has up some highlights from the Comic-Con panel. TV Line has up some highlights, as well as a video interview with the cast.

Preacher: The show has a new trailer out for season two.

The Runaways: The first teaser has come out on the show’s official Twitter account.

Shadowhunters: TV Line has up a video interview with the cast. It was announced at the panel that actress Alisha Wainwright (Maia) has been promoted to series regular.

The Shannara Chronicles: Spoiler TV has up the first promotional art for season two.

Star Trek Discovery: There’s a new trailer out for the show. TV Line has up some spoilers and highlights from the show’s panel at Comic-Con, as well as a video interview with the cast. The official Star Trek YouTube channel has up a lot of interviews with the cast. The official site also has up some highlights from the panel, as well as photos. EW has up an interview with showrunner Aaron Harberts on the differences with the Klingons in this series compared to the others. Syfy has up some interviews on the show.

Stranger Things: There’s a new trailer out for season two. The cast spoke with TV Line about season two.

Supergirl: There’s a new trailer out for season three. TV Line has up an interview with the cast from Comic-Con. Some casting news was announced at Comic-Con. Actor Adrian Pasdar (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) has been cast as villain Morgan Edge, a charismatic capitalist. Carl Lumbly (Alias) has been cast as M’yrnn J’onzz, father of J’onn J’onnz. Yael Grobglas (Jane the Virgin) has been cast as Psi, a psychic villain who uses people’s own minds against them. Emma Tremblay (Elysium) has been cast as Ruby, a fan of Supergirl. Calista Flockhart is set to return in the season premiere, as well as on tap to be recurring for season three.

Teen Wolf: Deadline has up a few quotes from the show’s Comic-Con panel. TV Line has up a video interview with the cast.

Timeless: The cast and crew spoke with TV Line at Comic-Con. Deadline has up some highlights from the show’s panel. TV Line has up some highlights from their panel as well.

The Walking Dead: EW has up a photo of Rick and Maggie, conspiring to overthrow Negan. After the tragedy of stuntman John Bernecker’s death during filming, the show pulled back from some of its Comic-Con festivities, but still did have their panel. Deadline has up some highlights from it.

Westworld: There’s a new trailer out for season two. The show has added to their cast actors Neil Jackson (Absentia) and Jonathan Tucker (Kingdom).


Supernatural (Thursday nights, 8pm, CW)
By Paula R. Stiles

Check out my Patreon page. Help me keep this column going, pay Heather, and start doing Supernatural reviews again.

Filming for season 13 has begun.

The show has switched its reruns to Wednesdays at 9pm (this week is “Family Feud”), but will still return to 8pm on Thursdays when the new season begins on October 12. Its lead-out will be Arrow. Thanks to Eva for the change in the reruns day.

Warner Bros has announced details about the upcoming Wayward Sisters spinoff. As we already know, it will star Kim Rhodes (Jody Mills) and the rumor that Briana Buckmaster (Donna Hanscum) is in it was confirmed. Also starring will be Kathryn Newton (Claire Novak) and Alex Jones (Katherine Ramdeen), as well as new character Patience Turner (played by Clark Backo).

Patience, the only character we haven’t met yet, is a high school nerd and the granddaughter of Missouri Moseley from season one (who, it was confirmed at the show’s Comic-Con panel will return, probably for the backdoor pilot in time to get killed off). Patience has inherited her estranged grandmother’s psychic gift. While I’ll readily admit to huge reservations about this writing team doing a premise like this right (especially an African American character like Patience after what they did to the Family Banes last season), I do like the cast. So, I’m pulling for this to be done right.

Expect some crossovers à la the superhero shows if the backdoor pilot this season is picked up to series.

So, let’s talk San Diego Comic-Con and that panel. The best I can say about the panel itself spoilers-wise is “Well, that happened.” There was no promo or gag reel, though the rock group Kansas did perform “Carry On, Wayward Son” live at the beginning, which was pretty cool. But musical stunts like that often are used to mask terrible storytelling.

Only the first half or so of the panel was devoted to spoilers and they were rather thin on the ground. The order in which the GoHs entered (after Kansas performed, and hosts Richard Speight Jr. and Rob Benedict came in) was rather interesting: Bob Singer and Jensen Ackles, then Jared Padalecki, then Andrew Dabb, and then, after a few minutes, Misha Collins. Very different from last season, when it was Singer, Dabb, Padalecki, Ackles, Collins, Mark Sheppard and Samantha Smith. Also, Dabb didn’t talk much this time round. Singer did most of the showrunner talking.

You can catch vids of Kansas and the three-screen room here, here and here.

Regarding spoilers:

Castiel is really dead (“more dead than usual“), but that won’t stick. In a recent Chicon panel, Ackles discussed a scene they were filming on July 14 in which Ackles played a prank on Collins while Collins was trying to play dead and Ackles was miming Dean checking for signs of life. The show wouldn’t have had Collins in that scene if Castiel were dead and not coming back (remember how in “Sympathy for the Devil,” the season five premiere, the Brothers were stuck in the room with Lucifer, but the dead bodies of Lilith and Ruby were nowhere to be seen? Like that).

Also, Misha Collins is still a regular on the show and was at the panel. He came in late and there was a running joke about his having been fired, but refusing to acknowledge it. Collins was also in other promotional events, signings at the WB Booth, and a goofy EW “dance party” (here and here ) with Ackles and Padalecki, and did a brief interview with them for TV Guide. Bob Singer also essentially admitted that Castiel will be back as Castiel. Somehow.

Mary is not dead and will be seen in the alternate universe. Apparently, Sam thinks she’s alive and wants to look for her. Dean thinks she’s gone for good and wants to concentrate on more pressing matters. This sounds waaaaayyy OOC for Dean, to be honest. Anyhoo, Mary is pretty obviously coming back as a regular recurring character, though Samantha Smith was not at the panel.

Crowley’s suicide was mentioned and discussed several times, so he’s dead. Rowena’s death was also mentioned, but nobody said that would necessarily stick. There was talk of bringing back alternate versions of long-dead characters, which pretty much guaranteed we’ll see Alt-Bobby again and possibly Alt-Gabriel. Assuming there are alternate versions of the archangels.

Sam and Dean will be in conflict over how to deal with Jack (I know! I was shocked, too!). Sam wants to see if Jack can be redeemed and turned to Good (Nurture). Dean feels there’s no need to let things play out to a grim conclusion with a high body count they both know is coming (Nature), and that they should just shoot Jack and be done with it. As Ackles sarcastically put it about seeing how it goes, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Padalecki noted that Sam would wonder, What if shooting Jack didn’t do the trick? Ackles said that Dean feels it would be better to know that up front. Considering that Dean’s instincts about characters like this are always right and Sam always puts his faith in the wrong powerful characters or groups (remember the LoL last season?), that’s pretty much admitting that Jack will turn out to be evil. Not to mention that Kelly’s death was brought up, as well as the possibility that Jack has some of her “goodness” in her, but no one said anything about Jack trying to save/resurrect his own mother. You’d think that would be the first thing he’d do if he had the capacity for love and goodness.

Andrew Dabb kept talking about how the Brothers started season 12 as “happiest” for them and in season 13, “we just murder.” I have no idea what season 12 Dabb is talking about, but it’s not the one I saw. Maybe it was in that alt-universe from the season finale.

There was much talk about a recent dream Ackles had about the end of the show and Sam dying in the last episode.

In his press room interview, Ackles said the show will pick up immediately upon the cliffhanger, with “Cas lying dead at Dean’s feet.” Overwhelmed, and filled with rage and grief (Ackles hopefully hinted the start of a major breakdown arc), Dean will ask God to resurrect all of the dead (including Crowley), though God will apparently not respond. Dean will then go after Jack with lethal force. Sam will try to stop Dean.

Ackles also talked about being asked by the group Kansas to perform up on stage with them. Struck with fannish stage fright, he declined, preferring to watch. Apparently, the group are fans of the show.

In response to a question about other Hunters on the show, Ackles said he’d like to see some, but it sounds as though none have shown up in the scripts he’s seen so far. About the animated Scooby-Doo episode, he said most of it would be animated, aside from a beginning and ending filmed in the “real world.” Ackles seemed quite perky about the episode.

In his press room interview, Jared Padalecki talked about Sam’s realization of how much he owes Dean and how much they are there for each other as brothers. He said that Sam and Dean are usually focused on some particular “task at hand” rather than emotional stuff. He also said that Sam will be identifying with Jack and obsessed with nurturing him into a good person, while trying to push down his own conflicting emotions about the deaths of last season: “We’ll see it all blow up eventually.”

Asked about how long the show may last, Padalecki ambiguously said it would end when the showrunners decided the quality could no longer continue. He actually gave fewer spoilers than Ackles.

Misha Collins first discussed DNRs (“Do Not Reveal”) and then went into a bit about what happens after Castiel’s death and the Brothers’ “grieving process.”  He says that Castiel, when he comes back, will at first be in a realm that has been talked about but never seen before on the show. He will be alone there save for another being, “played by a great actor,” who is very powerful (Michael? Gabriel? Someone else? Spec away). He also said this will be the last year he does GISHWHES.

Andrew Dabb talked a bit about the alt-verse and about how Sam and Dean are trying to get back to it to save Mary. He talked about how any old-new character who comes back has to “change” to justify their return and not be a cameo. He said the Banes twins won’t be in the spinoff, but may have their story resolved in the main show. He talked briefly, but vaguely, about the Scooby-Doo episode and hinted that Alt-Michael might be the character Castiel meets in the Other Place.

Writing is up to episode 11, already, and an episode similar to “The Vessel,” “but more ambitious,” is coming up in the first batch.

Bob Singer talked about how the Brothers respond to their grief, with the theme of last season being “family drawn together,” while this season is “family torn apart.” Oh, yay. Business as usual, then.

Singer said Sam wants to open up the alt-verse rift, even though Dean worries it’s too dangerous (in the panel, they talked about how Mary intentionally sacrificed herself going through the rift, so she may not be thrilled to find out Sam risked it all to rescue her). More blather like last season about going “smaller in scale” (I am really beginning to hate that phrase).

The spinoff will be a two-parter, 13.09 and 13.10. The Brothers will be strongly involved in 13.09 and barely in 13.10.

Season 12 is available for pre-order on Amazon and will come out on September 5.

There will be three calendars for 2018: two large calendars out on July 1 and two mini calendars on September 1.

I’ve moved my Official live recaps to this site and simul-recapping at Wayward Friends, with reviews to follow. I’m working on the review for the season finale now.

No repeats last week, so no ratings this week.


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Whispers, Spoilers & Speculation Corner: 07/21/17


We need your help!

Contribute monthly via Patreon (which includes perks), make a one-time donation through Paypal, or buy us a coffee.

Paula’s latest Patreon entry was about Canada Day and horror westerns.

You can access previous spoilers columns at Innsmouth Free Press here.


Sci-fi Spoilerpalooza
By Heather S. Vina

Big news: The new Doctor has been cast and it’s actress Jodie Whitaker  (Broadchurch). This makes it the first time the Doctor will be a woman, though not the first Time Lord who has changed into a Time Lady. The last couple of seasons has seen the Master turned into the Mistress (AKA Missy) played by Michelle Gomez. Jodie formerly worked with new showrunner Chris Cibnall on Broadchurch and had been rumored to be one of the front runners for the Doctor in the betting clubs for the past week.

BBC America has posted her intro video and short interview on their website.

Welcome to the world of Who, Jodie!

In some Comic-Con news, BBC is bringing Doctor Who to Hall H in Peter Capaldi’s last year as the Doctor. They are also bringing quirky show Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

Hall H will be busy, as AMC is also bringing their shows The Walking Dead, Fear The Walking Dead, and Preacher.

Outlander will be making an appearance at Comic-Con again this year. While HBO will be bringing Game of Thrones for another appearance, and Westworld in their first-ever appearance.

In fabulous news for fans of Netflix’s recently cancelled Sense 8, it was announced that Netflix will be bringing the show back for a two-hour wrap-up special.

San Diego Comic-Con is this week Marvel is bringing new shows The Defenders, The Gifted, and Inhumans, as well as freshman show Legion. Marvel will not, however, be bringing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Warner Brothers is bringing along veterans Supernatural, The Flash, Lucifer, Supergirl and Arrow, as well as new show Black Lightning.

EW has up a list of the movie and television show panels that have been announced so far.

12 Monkeys: The show has cast actor Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones) in a two-episode arc as a character named Bonham.

American Horror Story: Lady Gaga will not be returning for the coming season. Ryan Murphy on his Instagram announced the return of Twisty the Clown.

Arrow: Stephen Amell gave some hints about next season at a recent convention, including the news that Manu Bennett would return as Slade Wilson. EW has up an interview with actress Juliana Harkavy on playing the new Black Canary.

Black Lightning: EW has up an interview with executive producer Salim Akil.

The Defenders: EW has up a breakdown of the series. They also have up an interview with Sigourney Weaver on her villainous character.

Doctor Who: The final ratings came out for the episode, “The Eaters of Light.” The show was watched by 4.73 million viewers, making it the most-watched show for Saturday and the 26th most watched show for the week. The episode, “World Enough and Time,” has overnight ratings out, for a day that had low ratings for everyone that Saturday, the highest rating being four million. The episode had an Appreciation Index of 85. In the final ratings, the show was watched by 4.995 million viewers, making it the 2nd-highest-rated show for Saturday, the 21st-most-watched show of the week, and the 9th-highest-rated show on the BBC.

The finale has come and gone and the last season of Peter Capaldi’s Twelve is over. As revealed at the end of the finale, the First Doctor is making an appearance (albeit not with the original actor, William Hartnell, who passed away in 1975). The Daily Mirror is reporting that Jenna Coleman is set to make an appearance, but that is not confirmed yet. After the finale, the BBC put out a press release and a promotional photo of the Doctors for the Christmas special. The BBC America site has up “Ten Things You May Not Know About ‘The Doctor Falls.'” The episode received an Appreciation Index of 83 and was watched by 3.75 million viewers, a share of 25.3% of the total TV audience. Those numbers will go up in the final figures.

The Doctor Who news site has up the final breakdown of the Audience Reaction for season ten. There was a marked difference in reactions between age groups, but overall, no episode scored less than an 80 for the season. The final ratings are in for “The Doctor Falls.” The episode was watched by 5.295 million viewers, making it the highest-rated show for Saturday, the 16th-highest-rated show for the week and the 8th-highest-rated show on the BBC. According to the site, the average final rating for this series is 5.45 million viewers. Last year’s average was 6.03 million, leaving this season with a bit of a drop all together.

The Exorcist: Actor John Cho (Star Trek) is joining season two as a series regular. He will be playing Andrew Kim, a “former child psychologist who runs a group home for five at-risk foster children on a secluded private island off the coast of Seattle.” The show has also cast Deadpool actress Brianna Hildebrand as a new series regular for season two.

Fear the Walking Dead: Post the midseason finale, both EW and The Hollywood Reporter have up interviews with Dave Erickson.

The Flash: Candice Patton won a Saturn Award and gave an interview to With An Accent about Iris in season four. TV Line has up an article on the possible DC comics story the show could be modeling its fourth season after. Actress Britne Oldford will be appearing in the premiere as Peek-a-Boo. Spoiler TV has up character descriptions for three new characters.

Game of Thrones: EW has up a collection of the promotional photos for season seven. Variety has up an article with “seven things they know” about seasons seven and eight. Actor Aiden Gillen spoke with EW about what is coming up for Littlefinger.

TV Line has up the episode descriptions and titles for the first three episodes of the season. EW has up an interview with Kit Harington in which he lets slip that there will be some tension with Jon and sister Sansa. They also have up an interview with Pilou Asbaek on the “new” Euron Greyjoy and with Nathalie Emmanuel on Missandei’s romance.

EW has up the latest promotional photos for the new season. TV Line has up some photos from the premiere red carpet on their Instragram. Variety has up an interview with Sophie Turner on what is coming up for Sansa.

The Gifted: Superherohype website has up the latest moving posters of the characters.

iZombie: Comic Book.com has up an interview with Rob Thomas on season four.

The Inhumans: The show finally has a premiere date: September 1. It also has a new trailer.

Jessica Jones: The Krysten Ritter Twitter account has up some on set photos of Jessica with a new man. The show has cast actress Leah Gibson as a new series regular for season two. She will be playing Ingrid, described as “street-wise but who also has an education as a nurse.”

Killjoys: TVGoodness has up an interview with Aaron Ashmore on season three. EW also has one up with Johnny’s portrayer.

Legends of Tomorrow: Marc Guggenheim revealed on his Twitter account the title of the first episode, “Freakshow.”

Luke Cage: The show has added two new cast members for season two: Mustafa Shakir (The Deuce, The Night Of) and Gabrielle Dennis (Rosewood). From the Marvel website: “Shakir has been cast as ‘John McIver,’ a natural leader, brimming with charisma, whose mission is focused on Harlem and vengeance … Dennis will play the role of ‘Tilda Johnson’ who is a brilliant, holistic doctor with a complicated history in Harlem where, as much as she tries to stay far from trouble, it seems to always find her.” TV Line is reporting that actress Lucy Liu (Elementary) will direct the season two premiere.

Midnight, Texas: The Syfy site has up a breakdown of the new show based on Charlaine Harris’ book series.

Marvel’s New Warriors: The show has cast actors Milana Vayntrub (This Is Us) and Derek Theler (Baby Daddy) as Squirrel Girl and Mister Immortal.

Once Upon A Time: The show has added six new actresses to its reboot season. Gabrielle Anwar (Burn Notice), Dania Ramirez (Devious Maids), Adelaide Kane (Reign), Mekia Cox (Chicago Med), and English actress Rose Reynolds (Poldark). No word on who their characters will be yet, but reports say Anwar and Ramirez will be series regulars, while Kane, Cox and Reynolds are set to (initially) recur. EW has up a handy page of everything they know for season seven.

Adam Horowitz posted on his Twitter feed the title for the premiere: “Hyperion Heights.” A lot of spoilers came out from the Disney Fan Expo. TV Line and EW have up articles on them. Big reveal is that Henry’s wife and the mother of his little girl is another version of Cinderella, played by new regular Dania Ramirez.

Outlander: It’s being reported that writer Anne Kenney is leaving the show. The show also finally has a premiere date: Sunday, September 10. EW has up the first look at new character Lord John Grey.

Shadowhunters: TV Line has up an interview with Dominic Sherwood about Jace’s romantic troubles.

Stranger Things: The second season has a premiere date: Friday, October 27.

Supergirl: In cool recast news, Smallville‘s own Lois Lane, AKA Erica Durance, will be replacing the unavailable Laura Benanti as Kara’s mom Alura.

Teen Wolf: The second half of the final season finally has an air date: Sunday, July 30. TV Line has up an interview with Linden Ashby in which he states some dire news for some of the characters of the show. EW has up some photos of new Hellhound Halwyn, played by actor Casey Deidrick. There’s also a new trailer out for the final season, showing the returns of Derek and Stiles.

The Vampire Diaries: The show may be over, but TV Line has up an interview with Paul Wesley on Stefan’s ultimate end.

The Walking Dead: EW has up the latest promotional photos for season eight, featuring Carol and Daryl.

Westworld: The show has cast The Leftovers‘ Katja Herbers as a new series regular for season two.

Wynonna Earp: Variety has up an interview with lead Melanie Scrofano and showrunner Emily Andras on the latest show twists. EW has up an interview with showrunner Emily Andras on Wynonna’s pregnancy.

Over at EW, the Spoiler Room has spoilers on shows Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time, Shadowhunters, Midnight, Texas, and the Arrow-Flash-Supergirl-Legends of Tomorrow crossover. The latest Spoiler Room has spoilers on shows Teen Wolf, Shadowhunters and Arrow.

At TV Line, Matt’s Inside Line has spoilers on shows The Flash, Arrow, Once Upon a Time, The Strain and Lucifer. The latest Ask Ausiello has spoilers on shows Arrow, The Originals and iZombie.


Supernatural (Thursday nights, 8pm, CW)
By Paula R. Stiles

Check out my Patreon page. Help me keep this column going, pay Heather, and start doing Supernatural reviews again.

Filming for season 13 has begun.

We appear to be done for the summer with season 12 reruns. A summer show, Hooten and the Lady, is currently airing in their place.

This fall, the show will remain at 8pm on Thursdays and come back on October 12. Its lead-out will be Arrow.

San Diego Comic-Con runs July 20-23, starting yesterday. You can find info and pics about con swag here. Apparently, it also now merits actual network social media attention.

The show has another Comic-Con cover this year from TV Guide (you can find the interior articles here). The magazine also ran an article by show BNF S.E. Hinton in one of its regular issues (July 10-23).

The show is back in Hall H Sunday morning at 10:30 (PST). The panel will last an hour and will probably be on the Comic-Con HQ streaming channel, albeit not live. It’s also the last show event of the con. No word yet on guests.

Comic-Con put out its own official art for the show. Said art has a huge spoiler in it for a certain character’s survival. Sam, Dean and Castiel are all in it, though Crowley is not. There are glowing orbs in it and for some reason, Dean’s hand is also glowing. Let the crazy Hellatus spec begin.

Season 12 is available for pre-order on Amazon and will come out on September 5.

There will be three calendars for 2018: two large calendars out on July 1 and two mini calendars on September 1.

I’ve moved my Official live recaps to this site and simul-recapping at Wayward Friends, with reviews to follow. I’m working on the review for the season finale now.

Our latest (and probably last for the summer) ratings for the show’s repeats came in at 0.2/1 and 0.88 million and 0.3/1 and 0.81 million.


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Whispers, Spoilers & Speculation Corner: 06/29/17


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Sci-fi Spoilerpalooza
By Heather S. Vina

Hey, all! Sorry for the missing section last week! Have to move, so this summer might see a week here or there without anything from me. Hopefully, I will be settled in an awesome place by the end of August! Keep your fingers crossed!

For fans of the old TV show Lois and Clark, Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain reunited for a fun photo reunion!

Fox has announced its fall premiere dates. Gotham is set to air on Thursday, September 28, while Lucifer and new show The Gifted are set to premiere on Monday, October 2.

American Gods: Season one is over, but there are hints of what to come in season two starting to trickle out. EW has up a video interview with comments from actors Pablo Schreiber, Yetide Badaki, Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, author Neil Gaiman, and executive producers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. Deadline has up an interview with executive producer Michael Green and Bryan Fuller on season two’s tone. The Hollywood Reporter has up an interview with actress Yetide Badaki on Bilquis’ predicament.

American Horror Story: The show has cast former Arrow and Teen Wolf star Colton Haynes for an unknown new role.

Black Lightning: Idigitaltimes has up an interview with showrunner and co-creator Tony Isabella on the comic and the new CW series.

The Defenders: TV Line has up the latest promotional poster for the team-up series. It debuts Friday, August 18.

Doctor Who: Den of Geeks has a list of “easter eggs” for last weekend’s episode “The Eaters of Light.” The Royal Television website has up an interview with new showrunner Chris Chibnall on what he has planned for his first season as showrunner. The official ratings came out for “Empress of Mars.” The show was watched by 5.02 million viewers, making it 23rd-most-watched program of the week. It also had an Appreciation Index of 83. The official ratings for “Lie of the Land” also came out and the show was watched by 4.82 million viewers, making it the first time the show has officially fallen below five million viewers. Last weekend’s episode “The Eaters of Light” had an Appreciation Index of 81. It also had an overnight viewing figure of 2.89 million viewers. While that is the lowest the series has had so far, it was still a share of 22% of the total TV audience, as ratings for all series that night were down.

Game of Thrones: Deadline has up the latest promotional posters for each main character. There’s also some new footage out there for the new season.

Jessica Jones: Zimbio has up some season two set photos of Krysten Ritter and Rachel Taylor filming.

Legends of Tomorrow: The show has cast actor Billy Zane as P.T. Barnum, the famous circus man.

The Originals: The third season finale aired last week, and several outlets have some post-mortem interviews with exiting executive producer Michael Narducci. EW, TV Line and The Hollywood Reporter all have interviews up.

Preacher: TV Insider has up an interview with showrunner Sam Catlin on season two.

Star Trek Discovery: EW has up some details on how the new incarnation of show will be different from the previous incarnations in both storytelling and character writing. EW also has up the first look of Jason Issacs as Captain Lorca. And the show finally has an airdate! It will premiere on both CBS and CBS Access on Sunday, September 24.

Supergirl: The show has itself some new showrunners in the form of Jessica Queller and Robert Rovner. They will be “co-showrunners” alongside co-creator Andrew Kreisberg.

Wynonna Earp: EW has up an interview with showrunner Emily Andras on what’s going on with the characters in early season two.

Over at EW, the latest Spoiler Room has spoilers on shows Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow. And last week’s Spoiler Room column had Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spoilers.

At TV Line, the latest Ask Ausiello has spoilers on shows Fear the Walking Dead, Preacher, Supernatural and Stranger Things.


Supernatural (Thursday nights, 8pm, CW)
By Paula R. Stiles

Check out my Patreon page. Help me keep this column going, pay Heather, and start doing Supernatural reviews again.

Filming begins July 12.

The repeats of season 12 continue tonight with 12.11 and 12.12. They won’t have any repeats next week, according to the print edition of TV Guide, so we may be done for the summer with season 12 reruns.

This fall, the show will remain at 8pm on Thursdays and come back on October 12. Its lead-out will be Arrow.

San Diego Comic-Con, runs July 20-23. The show is back in Hall H Sunday morning at 10:30 (PST) and will last an hour. It’s also the last show event of the con. No word yet on guests.

Season 12 is available for pre-order on Amazon and will come out on September 5.

There will be three calendars for 2018: two large calendars out on July 1 and two mini calendars on September 1.

For those following the repeats or otherwise trying to catch up, here is the Season 12 line-up (23 episodes): “Keep Calm and Carry On” (12.01) official photos and press release; “Mamma Mia” (12.02) synopsis and photos; “The Foundry” (12.03) synopsis, official photos, sneak peek, and promo; “American Nightmare” (12.04) synopsis, official photos and promo; “The One You’ve Been Waiting For” (12.05) synopsis, promo and set photos; “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” (12.06) synopsis, photos and promo; “Rock Never Dies” (12.07) synopsis, photos and promo; “LOTUS” (12.08) synopsis, photos and promo; “First Blood” (12.09) synopsis, photos, promo and sneak peek, as well as an extended promo; “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets” (12.10) (this is the one with Alicia Witt) synopsis, photos and promo, and sneak peek; “Regarding Dean” (12.11) tech survey card, synopsis, set photo, promo and official photos; “Stuck in the Middle (With You)” (12.12) tech survey card, synopsis, preliminary photo (this one’s directed by Richard Speight Jr.), and official photos and promo; “Family Feud” (12.13) synopsis; “The Raid” (12.14) tech survey card, synopsis, and promo and official photos; “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” (12.15) tech survey card, synopsis, official photos and promo; “Ladies Drink Free” (12.16) tech survey card, synopsis, photos, sneak peeks, and promo; “The British Invasion” (12.17) synopsis, photos, mini-doc, promo and tech survey card; “The Memory Remains” (12.18) tech survey card, synopsis, photos, promo, sneak peek, and title; “The Future” (12.19) tech survey card and partial title card, showing the director is Amanda Tapping, and the writers are Robert Berens and Meredith Glynn, and synopsis and promo, sneak peek, and photos; “Twigs & Twine & Tasha Banes” (12.20) tech survey card, showing Richard Speight Jr. returning to direct and synopsis; “There’s Something About Mary” (12.21) synopsis, photos and promo, tech survey card, and directed by John Showalter; and “Who We Are” (12.22) and “All Along the Watchtower” (12.23 – season finale) synopsis, photos and promo, tech survey card, and directed by Robert Singer and written by Andrew Dabb.

The big news for last and this week was that they’re going to have another backdoor pilot for a spinoff, called “Wayward Sisters,” centered around Jody Mills. Briana Buckmaster (Donna) posted on Facebook that she was officially joining the spinoff, but then apparently deleted the post.

I like Jody and Donna a lot, but I’m skeptical about the official premise that Jody is going to start bringing in young girls who have been damaged by the supernatural world and train them to be crack Hunters. That’s a little too “Potentials on Buffy” for me and these particular showrunners can’t even make a decent premise work, let alone one as awful as the Potentials. They certainly don’t serve female characters well.

So, fingers and toes crossed on this one.

Show producer Jason Fischer reported on Twitter that everyone would start getting back to work on Wednesday (June 21).

I’ve moved my Official live recaps to this site and simul-recapping at Wayward Children, with reviews to follow. I’m working on the review for the season finale now.

Ratings for the repeats of 12.09 (“First Blood”) and 12.10 (“Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets”) “were even” at 0.2/1 in demo, and up a bit from last week to 0.73 and 0.83 million respectively.

For the year, Supernatural came in fifth in L+3 (average 0.9) and L+7 (1.0) demos, slightly behind the top four.

The show came in fourth (the link last week was too vague) on Netflix downloads for the year. The only other CW show in the top ten was Gilmore Girls, which was canceled a decade ago (though it did recently have a crowd-sourced miniseries revival).


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Blog for scifi writer and medieval historian Paula R. Stiles