Tribute to HTGAWM

In the beginning,i have to say I found pretty much all the leads hard to root for as everyone seemed unsympathetic. But I wanted to give the show a little more wiggle room to catch me, because back then and even now i know it can be hard for shows focusing on dark-skinned black women to get made.

Now at the end,i am glad i gave the show some time. Examining those characters now,it is clear there unsympathetic qualities mostly came from them dealing with unresolved trauma. And when these trauma’s started to leak through,and they had to start facing them in a more head-on direction,it gave them the vulnerability needed to move me.

These trauma’s would also sometimes bring them closer or put characters at odds. And sometimes it would lead to them showing great kindness or lead them to making horribly selfish decisions. And regarding those selfish decisions while you generally understood why they did it, it never felt like the show let them off the hook for those decisions. And in regards to the racial diversity of the show it managed to make some strong points about how unfair and prejudiced the criminal justice system without making all the POC saints. They struggled with traumas, guilt, and all the other messy parts of a well-defined character. But they also had there moments of vulnerability and kindness for others.

The plot got more complicated as it went on,leading to some twisty moments that left me in shock. And when talking about the show with my dad,he would often jokingly ask if they got away with the murder yet. But looking back i think a major theme of the show is that while you may sometimes be able to get away with something horrible legally, dealing with guilt is a whole other matter. The leads all manage to get away with some seemingly heinous acts legally,but the compounding trauma stemming from those incidents still linger. And that to emotionally move forward in life,you have to find a way to make peace with any residual guilt and trauma from those incidents.

A good illustration of this is the ultimate fates of Connor and Michaela. While Michaela managed to legally get away scot-free her friendship with Olivier and Laurel is clearly left damaged. And while she seemingly got to pursue her legal career, her lack of presence at the funeral of Annalise implies those friendships were never repaired. Because her childhood left her so scared of legal consequences, she lost the friendships she made.

Connor however decides he to face his guilt head-on,and accept legal consequences rather then further it by leaving Annalise out to dry. It does seem like he is sacrificing his marriage, but him and Olivier’s presence at the Annalises funeral at the end implies they get back together again after he served his sentence or at least managed to keep on good terms.

The other characters fate’s all revolve around this same theme. Nate decides to stop solely blaming Annalise for there affair, and on the stand even though he has the moral high ground to implicate Annalise for framing him before instead he decides to say what he knows about the FBI knowing it will weaken there case and he will lose out on there financial offer. And later we see him start a center for men that have been hurt by the system like his father. By seeing her humanity and refusing to compromise his morals when it would have benefited him the most, he won out in the end just like Connor.

Annalise takes responsibility for dubious actions she has taken up to the point in a confession to the jury.  She is able to live a full life with a healthy,loving relationship by owning up to her past. And in a meta-sense, i think that scene challenges the audience to look at themselves and there own actions in a more critical light, and to take responsibility for people we may have hurt in our own lives. And to not run away from our past and trauma’s we may carry,but to face them so they don’t end up turning us into a lesser version of ourselves.

One major complaint i had in the first season,was how the show handled one of Michaela’s love interest having had a past hook-up with Connor. As a bisexual it left a extremely bad taste in my mouth. But later with the introduction of Eve i felt they rectified that, and hearing Annalise taking on the label of bisexual in the courtroom scene touched me on a deeper level.

For those reasons, HTGAWM will stay with me as a personally important show.

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Tribute to The Magicians

Coming into this show,i was a bit wary of it leaning too heavily on the whole “Harry Potter but edgy” shtick the marketing for the show has been leaning on. But something about it also grabbed my curiosity,and i have to say after its conclusion i’m happy i gave it a chance.

The show does like to fit in some pop references every now and again,and most of the characters do fit certain archetypes. But as the show went on, it used its setting to explore some heavy material in a way that felt surprisingly deft. I distinctly remember when it first broached the subject of sexual assault, mentally i was just like “no this can’t be happening.” But through its various seasons it has managed to plunge some real emotional depths without it feeling exploitative and still giving the audience some fun,snappy moments.

In particular, one of the themes the final season focused on was grief. And in early February this theme became closer to me then i ever anticipated,  when a close friend of my oldest brother committed suicide. And i particular remember one specific scene where Alice talked to a new character about handling grief,and if it gets easier. It took on a deeper more intense feeling,mirroring my own emotional journey.

Plot-wise, it felt like the writers had more they could have gone on. But knowing the circumstances of what they had to do,i feel as a series finale it felt as good as the audience was going to get. This show i’m sure would have held a special place ion my heart even without without those emotional circumstances. But it did end up being a unexpected comfort in helping me through my own grief, and for that i will be thankful for. So instead of focusing on what more i could have got, i will appreciate the show for what it did manage.

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Witcher Season 1 Review

A fun fantasy, with some deeper themes hidden underneath. One of these themes seemed to be the classic ‘Man is the real Monster” trappings. In almost all of the monster of the week style episodes, it turned out said monster either was human or the monster was reacting to humans being terrible.

And most of the named human characters don’t come off too well, but there are some who you end up rooting for more then others. And the lore of the show is slowly revealed to seemingly be a cycle of conquest. The action is well done, and the performances are great across the board.

My only gripe is that the the way the show goes back and forth in the timeline gets really confusing at certain points,and i’m not sure it made things better. But overall i would recommend this.

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The Farewell

A exploration of clashing social values, the film manages to show differing views on handling imminent loss of a loved one without vilifying either viewpoint. And while i haven’t been faced with this particular situation,i think anyone who has come from immigrants can relate to experiencing culture clashes within a family. And the relationship between grandmother and granddaughter made me think of my own grandmother,who i was close with. The film has a mostly somber tone, but it does manage to weave in moments of levity that make the serious moments pop out even more. There are a lot of close-ups and the cuts are slight,giving the film a intimate feel.

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End of a Era

In the season finale of Arrow, Diggle says this in reference to Oliver leaving Star City. But for me,it took on a meaning outside of the plot itself. A major theme of the episode was legacies, and i would definitely say the show has had a big impact on my life. When the show started,i was 22. So it has been around for most of my adult life,when my tastes in cinema and television had started to solidify itself.

Throughout its run i would sometimes talk about particular moments that struck out to me with my dad and oldest brother. And while they never watched it, i still enjoyed those discussions. So in a way the show had become part of the family. I’ve gone through many changes and tribulations since the show started, but one thing that never changed was my love for the show.

This doesn’t mean i thought it was perfect. There were plotlines and moments that didn’t jive with me. But the lows never outweighed the highs, and the show provided me with more then enough memories to keep me invested. A example of that is when they had Felicity’s mom talk about wanting a Jewish wedding,and since my dad is Jewish i felt i had to share it with him.

There is still one season to go, which i am, eagerly anticipating. The show will always hold a special place in my heart, both as a creative influence and just something that became a big part of my life.

 

 

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Pose, and my own mother

I watch a lot of TV shows, and so due to that and a few other factors i have to go through shows slowly. Pose recently had its season finale,but i am still slowly catching up. I had gotten to the Mothers Day episode,which i had rad about being quite emotional. But even with that,i wasn’t prepared for how hard the storyline with Blanca and her mom would hit me.

Those who know me,know ever since coming out to my mom things have been difficult. Not to say things were perfect between us before, but things definitely went to a whole different level after that. Initially things got pretty bad, and while things have calmed down a little it still isn’t back to the way it was. Evey so often i’ll be reminded she truly doesn’t accept me being bi yet.

In the storyline with Blanca,through dialogue and a flashback we learn Blanca’s mom never accepted her being trans,and that Blanca was never able to reconcile with her mother before she died. And i couldn’t help but think of me and my own mom,and my fear that i won’t be able to find peace with her regarding my sexuality.

Another factor in this is that professionally i’ve hit something of a stumbling block. While i currently do have a movie theater job, i’ve been trying to get into production assistant work on films sets and such. Unfortunately i’ve been rather unsuccessful, and while i am trying to keep at it i keep feeling like im trying to push through a brick wall. Add to this my hair routine ended up being more costly then i anticipated, and i’ve dealt with some stressful financial problems.

And i keep feeling like this lack of professional progress just makes things with my mom worse. And i just keep getting scared that i won’t ever be able to get my mom to feel truly proud of me. And that episode just brought that out of me,and i had to stop myself from crying during certain points in the episode

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Symbolism

The DC CW-verse had there second crossover recently,using Earth-X as a way to to do a “what if our heroes were Nazi’s type”  type plotline. This is not a new one,as various shows and movies have touched upon this idea from time to time. However,i think in this particular run had a grounding to it that most takes on this don’t have. Those come from two main moments.

One of them involves’ Felicity standing her ground against the Zani version of Green Arrow. For those unfamiliar, Felicity  is specifically jewish,which gets referenced every now and again in Arrow. Now she has become a divisive character in the fandom mainly due to the handling of her will they/wont they with Olivier. And when the promo for the crossover was released with a small bit of this some thought she was a odd character choice for a scene like this. But after watching it in the show,i think it was a perfect decision.

The other scene had to do with Sara Lance, who’s father in the alternative universe ended up a Nazi. The father mentions her fitting the Nazi ideal, when she proudly claims her identity as a bisexual women. Then it is revealed the father killed the Sara in the  alternative universe because of that.

These two scenes gave it’s take on the “what if they were Nazi’s” shtick a grounding i didn’t expect. It reminded you this was a real ideology and not just a plot device. Now this is still a superhero crossover with time travel,but i think the use of specifically  marginalized characters fighting back gave the whole thing a bit more impact then if it was just a bunch of straight white dudes fighting dimensional nazis.

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