“The Funeral to End All Funerals” | The Good Place
“This is the whole story. No one is beyond rehabilitation. Brent spent a year being an absolute diaper load of a human being, and the points total tells you that. But what that number can’t tell you is who he could have become tomorrow.”
The most unsurprising fact at this very moment is that throughout the final season of The Good Place, there have been far too many great scenes to choose from, and there was no shortage of great scenes in “The Funeral to End All Funerals.” Kristen Bell’s direction of the episode felt incredibly important for Eleanor because there’s not a single scene in the latest episode that didn’t feel like a punch in the gut in all the right ways. How this show manages to make me openly weep every single time is still so astonishing. For instance, Bell’s voice breaking while maintaining stoicism as Eleanor said “wake him up”, all the eulogies and how these merry band of misfits healed one another through the entirety of their journey? “The Funeral to End All Funerals” was a masterful episode, but we’re all still thinking about the scene right? You know the one, the one with all the Janets, another perfect performance by D’Arcy Carden and what it meant for humanity.
“Daisy” | Madam Secretary
Look at the gif above without crying, I dare you. It’s still hard to grasp that it’s the final season of Madam Secretary, but so far, the series has been delivering one strong episode after another, give or take a few minute mishaps. The second we learned that Elizabeth McCord was President of the United States, I couldn’t wait to see the moment where we’d see the reactions to her win. And it was the kind of moment undoubtedly well worth the wait. “Daisy” wasn’t an easy episode to watch, but without exaggeration, I openly wept from beginning to end, but absolutely lost it all during this final scene.
I don’t mean to turn this into a political post to discuss my own personal opinions — but this was the very reaction I’d expected a lot of us to have during the 2016 elections if we had elected the first female President of the United States. And perhaps that’s why I had such a visceral reaction to this episode because for a moment, it felt real, it felt hopeful, and it was executed with such heartfelt, palpable reactions you couldn’t help but choke up. The raw energy in the performances leaves much room for discussion, but simply put, it was remarkably moving in all the right ways.
“Episode 8” | Sanditon
We’re officially back in business with fall TV and so far, everything’s been utterly pleasing where this writer is concerned, but this week especially, I have not stopped thinking of the Sanditon finale since it’s aired and I’ve only rewatched it about 12 more times after that. (More, it’s definitely been more.)
First and foremost, I need you all to know that period dramas own my soul. That said, the slow but worthwhile progression of a Jane Austen love story is my absolute favorite because when it finally comes down to conversations between the pair we’re rooting for, it’s worth every pining moment — every dramatic event. There are plenty of moments throughout Sanditon’s finale that tug on the heartstrings, but I’m thinking blissfully about Sidney and Charlotte’s conversation on the balcony. And dare I say this might just be my favorite declaration after Mr. Knightley’s “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”
“I have never wanted to put myself in someone else’s power before. I have never wanted to care for anyone but myself.” is as profound a declaration of love as the three official words could say. If this is just the first season, I can’t even imagine what will follow, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not ready for the emotions it’ll put me through it. (Just kidding, I’m 364% ready. Bring it. Give me season two stat.) There’s a great deal to be said about the bravery the affirmation conveys because such vulnerability coming from a man as jaded as Sidney promises far more than any ring ever could. And that’s essentially what makes me so hopeful for what’s to come. While words without actions can be insignificant, there’s still great prominence when the choice to be unreservedly sincere is coming from a man who’d long before promised never to love again. Sidney Parker, detached, damaged, despondent, made the conscious choice to give love one more try because the woman who stands before him brought a sense of indescribable purity back into his life — innocence and eagerness. The yearning to live beyond his needs in order to ensure that the best version of himself is worthy of her time and adoration. Any and all declarations take courage, there’s no questioning that, but it’s what he means that screams beyond the words he speaks. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for Charlotte, no ocean he wouldn’t cross, no deal he wouldn’t make, no place he wouldn’t go. At the end of the day, it’s all for her. It’s all for her because his sole ability to love again is entirely due to her goodness, her innate curiosity, and the fearlessness in which she alone challenges him with.
“Oh my God, you don’t watch __________? But why? You have to! It’s right up your alley. It’s this, it’s that. Oh my God, but it’s a So and So film! They’re the best in filmmaking! Oh, so, is this just gonna be a happy story? Pass. Boring. I just don’t watch movies unless they’re Oscar contenders.”
As an avid consumer of TV, film, literature, music, it often gets daunting living in a time where our opinions could be shared so quickly and easily. Send tweet. Done. So now I suppose in order for this all to make sense, I should take you darling readers back to a few years ago. It’s fall 2013, I’m in my first ever creative writing class, it’s discussion time. When it comes to my piece, all I hear is things like “This is too happy”, “This growth is a cliche”, “May I suggest leaving at the character drowning without the rescue? The ambiguity will speak to readers more.” The thing is, I’m not a positive person by some miraculous genetic coding. In fact, if you ask anyone who’s known me as a kid, they might tell you that I always looked sad. I looked broken. That’s because for as long as I could remember, I’d been insecure. My mind has always raced too quickly for me to catch up with it and most of the time, I just let it.
Now, let’s take it back one more time to the ripe old age of 15 when I was clinically depressed but no one knew because no one was talking about mental health then. Why would a 15-year-old, perfectly healthy kid have trouble physically getting out of bed? Depression. And during that dark time where it felt like I was consistently drowning, unsure of how to even ask for help, I lost my father to a heart attack. Now if there’s one thing you absolutely need to know about me, it’s that I came from a loving, amazing family. I have and still am very close to my immediate family. Years of bullying and a whole lot of crap, immigration crisis with my mother at the age of 11. A tremendous health scare at 24. So yeah, my life has been anything but rainbows and butterflies, but at some point, I made the choice to look at this world through different lenses. I chose to look beyond my circumstances and I chose to imagine a world better than the one I was living in. Now if you ask me whether that’s the right way, I can tell you with 100% certainty that it is for me. Because that’s all we can really vouch for — ourselves. I can’t guarantee that this might work you, but I can speak with certainty that it worked for me.
The Act of Shipping and Civil Discourse
On this week’s episode of Marvelous Geeks, Morgan McNair and I (Gissane Sophia) are back to discuss the act of shipping and civil discourse when you don’t agree with another one’s choice. The conversation features different ships from shows like One Tree Hill, Jane the Virgin, Harry Potter, and more. We discuss what it means to be a fan and distinguishing between something that isn’t written well vs. something that doesn’t resonate with us. And finally, in the midst of all this conversation carries to note how much we dislike what’s happening with writing nowadays and the decision to subvert expectations. This is a podcast episode that could go on and on because the topics up to debate are ones that are constantly being had amongst all sorts of fandoms.
It’s a spectacular spectacular with all the confetti you could dream of, superlative performances featuring a remarkably gifted and diverse cast, a stunning, out-of-this-world set, and the kind of theatrical experience the world dreams of. Baz Luhrmahn’s Academy Award nominated Moulin Rouge is one of the most memorable films of its time, and Moulin Rouge: The Musical! is the Broadway experience you don’t want to miss. A story filled with colossal passion in every corner along with heart wrenching emotions that’ll leave you thinking for days to come — poignant, exquisitely captivating, and profoundly enduring. It’s worth every penny and more. To take you all behind the magic with as little spoilers as possible, there are a number of reasons as to why you should be making it a priority to watch Moulin Rouge: The Musical!
Spider-Man: Far From Home Review + SDCC 2019 Marvel Coverage ft. Morgan McNair and Leen Bernardo
On this week’s episode of Marvelous Geeks, I sit down with the darlings Morgan McNair and Leen Bernardo to discuss (more so squeal repeatedly) over what an absolute treasure Spider-Man: Far From Home was, the superlative performances, and the utter delight of the kids + their innocence. Join us in also celebrating the fact that Avengers: Endgame is now the number one grossing film worldwide! Ah! But on a serious note, Peter Parker’s superhero alias should be angel-man. There’s no child as pure and I could not love him more even if I tried. (I’ve said this before so let’s be real, it’s possible. I probably, most definitely could.) The conversations with Happy have a piece of my heart forever — we’ve come so far and it’s so precious to have witnessed this growth. The films lighthearted humor is a breath of fresh air amidst the darkness in fiction we’ve been exposed to lately. Peter and MJ are the sweetest duo and must be protected at all costs. They might just be my new favorite MCU couple since my original babies are retired somewhere in the 1940s. And one last thing, I still have no words for how good Tom Holland is at ming me full blown sob with the benevolent vulnerability he brings to this character. There’s so much heart in every word he breathes to life, he’s without question, the best Spider-Man we’ve ever and will ever have, and I’m a bit tired of this universe consistently making this kid cry. Let him live, Marvel! That’s the journey we love most for him. The moments of innocence and pure joy reflected in the time spent with his loved ones.
The Story of Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter
It’s been a long, long time since the world spoke favorably of a female, let alone a female agent, one they never wanted to believe deserved her rank solely on the basis of her sex. Margaret “Peggy” Carter wasn’t always catching bad guys on the streets of New York rocking 1946 “Red Velvet” lipstick, but it would appear as though she was often placed in situations where she needed to prove her worth. A task she managed to do so by believing in herself, fighting the good fight, and taking her wit where it was appreciated all while falling in love with a man who was seemingly destined to never be hers. Or so that’s how it would appear in one timeline. She became an exemplar for women everywhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when she authenticated the fact that the right to choose for ourselves could be the key to living a dignified life. You can be all. You can be as you want just as long as you learn your value.
“The story of Captain America is one of honor, bravery, and sacrifice.” A kid from Brooklyn, a hero — the story of a man who could never give up fighting. A man who’d tirelessly choose the selfless path in life. The path that’d lead others towards victory while often leaving him bruised, broken, and alone. This is the story of a hero who’s so good, it’s almost unbearable to think of his tale without the enveloping sadness that follows. Steve Rogers is a son, a friend, a soldier, an ally, a lost love, a hero — an Avenger. A man who’s always fought for a freedom he himself could never find. A man out of time. But what happens when the fight is over and you can finally choose for yourself? You get to do the one thing people have gotten tired of telling you, too — you get to live. And as cliché as it may be, you get to love.
Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter’s story is perhaps one of the most tragic arcs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the perseverance and the seemingly never-ending quest to stop bullies is what’s made them both so noble. And as it would appear, a story that’s been prophesied from the beginning, making it that much more riveting when reading between the lines — full circle if you will. “I might, even when this is all over, go dancing.” And that they did.
“The earth lost its best defender.” To requote Captain America — the world lost its best defender. And while death is difficult to discuss, it’s cathartic when mourning a tremendous loss. Tony Stark’s sacrificial death was one felt everywhere — a fictional loss that’ll be with us for years to come because so few before him have had such a poignant, profoundly colossal impact. He was the one in 14,000,605. It had to be him and his death served remarkable purpose. And where great storytelling is concerned, being able to put the greater good of the world before his own self-interest encompassed years of astounding character development. To mourn a legend like Anthony Edward Stark cannot be done alone, it demands a celebration. And that’s what we’re here to do today. We’re here to celebrate a friend, a father, a husband, a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist. We’re here to celebrate an Avenger. We’re here to celebrate a hero.
“I assure you, brother — the sun will shine on us again.” So few lines in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have hit me with as much force as the last thing Loki says to Thor in Avengers: Infinity War. And over the past year, it’s only become more prominent after re-watching Thor: Ragnarok for the millionth time then Infinity War for the 392th. Nevertheless, it’s fascinating how the story of Odin’s sons plays out and where they find themselves after the events of Thor: Ragnarok and Infinity War. The two of them have come so far since the boys we met in the very first film. “The sun will shine on us again” is a promise — it’s an ode to the future, promising that somehow, someway, they’re going to be alright, and their fight as brothers is the very reason for that. It may take some time after the battle against Thanos, but when it comes to pass, it’ll be beautiful.