Y’all, there’s a lot that happens in Fantastic Beasts that we need to talk about. There are quite a few ~big moments~ that we need to discuss now in the months and years ahead. Let’s get started

J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts herself, and despite it being her first time writing a movie, the witch’s work doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it’s bound to get the fandom excited about all things Harry Potter again.

Note: Be sure to check out our formal Fantastic Beasts review

‘Fantastic Beasts’ spoilers ahead!

Let’s recap and discuss five of the biggest Fantastic Beasts spoilers and shockers.

#1: Newt may’ve had romantic interests in a Lestrange

Leta Lestrange

Newt is somehow involved with a woman named Leta Lestrange. We and Queenie see a picture of her sitting in one of Newt’s workshops towards the end of the movie. As Queenie reminds Newt, the Lestrange family is… not the best family to get tied up with. But for whatever reason, Newt did, and the character is being played by actress Zoe Kravitz (Divergent).

The question is: How is he tied up with her? Is she a romantic interest? Are they good friends? Did the romance or the friendship go sour? Obviously something about it is bothering Newt, and I’m sure we’re going to get answers about it in future Fantastic Beasts films.

With the Lestrange family in the picture, there are now three iconic families from Harry Potter appearing in the Fantastic Beasts series: The Dumbledores, the Lestranges, and Grindelwald. Could Leta be on team Grindelwald in the long run? AHH.

For what it’s worth: A search of Harry Potter canon reveals no Leta in the Lestrange family tree. So this is a character Rowling has kept under wraps until now.

#2: Newt and Tina were sentenced to death

Fantastic Beasts Newt and Tina Dead

MACUSA is a pretty dark place. They have no problem sentencing witches and wizards to death for exposing the magical world to No-Majs (even though the exposure is quite easy to fix if you’ve got some potion and a Thunderbird who can make it rain).

The death room was really cool — it reminded me of something out of Divergent, with how sterile and simple the room was. Memories were extracted from one’s mind like they were being placed in a pensive, and these memories (happy ones, it seems) would be presented to you to draw you into death.

Still, a death sentence? It seems really harsh. It seems like a punishment that’ll eventually be tossed once Wizard/Muggle relations improve. We imagine Newt, Tina, Queenie, and Jacob will be trying to fix that issue.

#3: The Obscurus — A Definition

Fantastic Beasts Obscurus

Rowling introduced an element of magic we hadn’t heard of before: The Obscurus.

What do we know about the Obscurus and the Obscurial? It was a bit difficult to follow in the movie because a lot of information was being thrown at us for the first time. Unlike a book, you can’t go back a page and re-read. Luckily, we have official information… thanks to a book.

According to an official Fantastic Beasts companion book that I found at Target, here’s the Obscurus definition: “during the witch hunts in centuries past, young witches and wizards sometimes tried to suppress their magic to avoid persecution. The unused energy created an unstable, uncontrollable, dark force inside the child. Like a parasite, it would drain the child’s power and ultimately their life force.”

The Obscurus can kill the young witch or wizard. It “consumes so much energy that the host child typically doesn’t live to be more than ten years old.”

As we see in the movie, Newt knows the Obscurials are out there, and unlike MACUSA, he knows one when he sees one. According to the aforementioned book, Newt “encountered one recently in Sudan, Africa. He found a young girl who had been shut away by her tribe because she showed signs of magic. The Obscurus was taking her over, depleting her strength, and killing her. Newt was able to separate the Obscurus from the child just before she died. He trapped it inside a shimmering black box and put it inside his case so he could study it. Newt insists that without the host child, this Obscurus is harmless.”

We’re not sure how it gets separated from their bodies, but we do know it’s possible. When the Obscurus is still with the host it can fly around and wreak havoc, as we saw several times in Beasts with Credence’s.

The Obscurus can be eliminated, but there’s still a question as to what happens to the host’s body. Sure, Credence looked like he died, but did he really?

Harry Potter Obscurus

The definition of Obscurus makes us think the magic may tie in to Ariana Dumbledore’s story in future Fantastic Beasts films, if J.K. Rowling decides to take us backwards for a bit to show us Albus and Grindelwald’s earlier days as friends. Remember, Ariana “was attacked by Muggle boys who saw her practising magic, which left her traumatised to the point of rendering her magical abilities uncontrollable.” Ariana could very well be Grindelwald’s first encounter with an Obscurus, which might lead the villain to find another — like the one within Credence.

In fact, there are a few parallels between Ariana and Credence: They were both thought to be squibs. Both killed their Mothers with an outburst of magic. Both were “defeated/killed” during a duel.

#4: Jacob’s mind got wiped despite being the coolest Muggle ever

fantastic-beasts-jacob-dan-fogler

This was so. Not. Fair. Jacob was the Harry/Ron/Hermione of Fantastic Beasts — he was the kid who was discovering the Wizarding World for the first time. It was such a blast watching him experience the magic.

Given his tight relationship with his new wizard friends, you would’ve thought Newt, Tina, and Queenie would’ve spared him from having to lose so many new things that he loved. In fairness, they did hook him up with what he needed to get a loan for a bakery. What’s more, post-memory loss, Jacob still recognizes Queenie when she enters his bakery. And many of his baked goods were inspired by beasts. Obviously Jacob is going to somehow get back in the mix with the other three, and it doesn’t look like his memory was completely wiped, so we can’t wait to see how that plays out.

Still, I’m sad that they did wipe his memory after all. He deserved a pass.

#5: Graves is Grindelwald

Johnny Depp Graves Grindelwald

This is the biggest shocker of the movie, and one that is sure to cause gasps in movie theaters around the world. Yes, Graves (Colin Farrell) is actually Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) under cover. It all makes sense in hindsight: At the beginning of the movie we saw headlines revealing that Grindelwald had gone missing, and later we found out that Graves had been over in Europe for a period of time. Meanwhile, Graves was in possession of a Deathly Hallows necklace and used it as a phone, like Death Eaters did with the Dark Mark.

We should note the parallels between this twist and the one in the first Potter book: Both stories found the arch enemy hiding in someone else’s body. Kinda cool, right?

But how did Grindelwald hold the Graves transformation for so long? Was he slurping down Polyjuice Potion for a really long time? Is he using some really advanced form of magic? Hopefully @JK_Rowling will answer this for us in the near future and has a good explanation, because Newt’s successful use of “Revelio” was way too convenient.

Graves Grindelwald

Fun fact: At least one test screening of Fantastic Beasts earlier this year did not include Depp’s reveal at the end of the movie. Attendees just saw Colin Farrell’s Graves saying the same lines Depp does. It makes sense that they would shoot it this way — they may not have had Depp on set the same day Farrell was filming.

Thanks to Brittany and Cullen for their help with this article.

Note: This article previously spelled Leta’s name “Leda,” but the script book confirms it’s Leta.

Sherlock season 4, episode 3 is the last new material fans will see for a very long time. Was it a satisfying farewell to the series?

The Sherlock season 4 finale is a healthy mix of emotional highs and lows. But was it, as co-creators Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss describe, “television history?” No. It was not. It was not even the best episode of the Sherlock series.

However, it is what we have to left to unpack as we leave Holmes at Watson in 221B by the fire. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

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Sherlock season 4, episode 3 is the last new material fans will see for a very long time. Was it a satisfying farewell to the series?

The Sherlock season 4 finale is a healthy mix of emotional highs and lows. But was it, as co-creators Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss describe, “television history?” No. It was not. It was not even the best episode of the Sherlock series.

However, it is what we have to left to unpack as we leave Holmes at Watson in 221B by the fire. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

The final problem

The greatest flaw of Sherlock is when it gets stuck in its own heightened story telling. “The Final Problem” is the perfect example of retelling the past and not giving the audience any new information. It’s not hard to deduce. The episode does not suffer for this. Because it not about the game at all.

Eurus’ game is well-crafted, brutal, and unforgiving. She is a master. The episode goes above and beyond to prove that over and over. Eurus wants to understand the complexity of human empathy. The only way she can do that is to cut the people open and see what makes their muscles move.

watson

The maze she crafts tests the resolve of Sherlock, Mycroft, and John. One great example of this is the use of Molly Hooper. It should be noted that Molly Hooper deserves so much better.

Using her love for Sherlock as a weapon, Molly Hooper’s life shatters with three words. Unfortunately, all of this is in service to unravel Sherlock with no resolution on her end.

As he smashes the coffin with his bare hands, John and Mycroft are there to reel him back in. They lend a hand to rebuild the walls that are falling down around him. That is until they literally fall at the doorstep of his childhood home.

The final problem is how do you deliver human connection to someone who does not know how to receive it? That desire to feel that her brothers appreciate her for more than her brain. If Eurus’ favorite person, Sherlock, could just take a moment to play her game, everything can end.

The test, it turns out, is for Sherlock to leans heavily on his capacity for emotional connection throwing logic out of the equation. He makes room for John, Mary, Molly, even Greg in his life. Can he find a way to make room for Eurus in spite of everything he just found out?

“You were always the grown up,” says Mrs. Holmes near the end of the episode. Sherlock takes the family into the next chapter of their life. One where music bridges the gap between them and the entire Holmes family can sit together without words getting in the way.

‘I’m a pirate’

The biggest twist, if you didn’t already work it out for yourself, comes when John discovers the bones of “Redbeard” in the well. They are not dog bones, but the bones of Sherlock’s best childhood friend, Victor.

But the best appearance is by far the inclusion of Mycroft’s Christmas gift– Jim Moriarty.

sherlock season 4 moriarty

Moriarty’s obsession with Holmes begins well before Eurus calls him in for a meeting. But did he succumb to being one of her agents? Probably. But Jim likely steered his own course to Sherlock. But the game… well, the game now reeks of Eurus.

Mycroft Holmes

The Holmes brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock, have the most fascinating relationship on Sherlock. “The Final Problem” highlights the complexity of their past and the trajectory of their future.

The most moving scene in the entire episode arrives when Mycroft, John and Sherlock are contemplating the reality of what may be their final moments alive. Hearing that Sherlock appreciated a talent of his, one that is not based on their familial intellect, moves him to a smile. Well before Mycroft sacrifices himself for Sherlock’s partnership with John, he gets the validation that their relationship is full of mutual appreciation.

mycroft sherlock

The minds of the Holmes siblings may be capable of great feats, but no fortress is entirely secure.

Mycroft’s home at the start of the episode is infiltrated by the combination of Holmes and Watson. Later on, his mind’s security system fails. He is a strong, put together person. After years of arranging Sherlock’s safety behind the scenes, it’s time for Sherlock to step up and do the same.

Is there room for more?

Perhaps we will all meet again at Anemoi. In the credits letters it is typical for the editors to highlight certain letters. The final sequence produces just a single word– Anemoi, the meeting place of the four winds.

While the finale ties up loose ends, recreates the scars that affect the duo the most, it does feel more like a beginning than an ending.

Sherlock may or may not return.

Tags: bbc sherlock

American Horror Story season 7 has yet to begin even filming and the show has already been renewed through 2019. Eager fans (including myself) have started to speculate what the next three seasons of the horror anthology series by FX might look like.

‘American Horror Story: Antichrist’

Ryan Murphy has already stated a future season of AHS will feature a crossover between Murder House and Coven. How that crossover might actually play out is unknown as of now. Although, Murphy has stated that it will not be season seven. In the meantime there are many different ways these two worlds could collide.

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American Horror Story season 7 has yet to begin even filming and the show has already been renewed through 2019. Eager fans (including myself) have started to speculate what the next three seasons of the horror anthology series by FX might look like.

‘American Horror Story: Antichrist’

Ryan Murphy has already stated a future season of AHS will feature a crossover between Murder House and Coven. How that crossover might actually play out is unknown as of now. Although, Murphy has stated that it will not be season seven. In the meantime there are many different ways these two worlds could collide.

As the witches of New Orleans step into the Murder Hous a world of possible storylines could unfold: ghosts, séances, the afterlife, endless possibilities. However, for me the final moments of season one are what hold the clue to what the crossover season is all about.

Murder House ends with all of the Harmon family dead save for Michael, the third child of Vivian. Three years in the future shows the orphaned child being raised by Constance Langdon, previous owner of the Murder House. Most important of all however, it is revealed that this toddler has murdered his nanny. Such an act suggests there is more to this child than is of this life.

Meanwhile, the end of Coven showed the existence of witches going public. The supreme witch, Cordelia Goode, opened her academy for young witches all over the country. It seems that for now that there is peace with those possessing magical powers. Although, a child born of ghost and human might shake up that peace with powers to match that of the witches. Powers of darkness and a drive to use them for evil that with threaten the safety and security of witchkind. This conflict will ultimately lead up to a head-to-head confrontation between the child of the afterlife and the witches.

‘American Horror Story: Shipwreck’

AHS is no stranger to resorting to the use of supernatural forces as a form of horror. Every season except for Roanoke showed how the dead can walk among the living on Halloween night. Hotel brought us vampires and Coven showed the great and terrible power of voodoo. No season as of yet, however, has shown what horrors natural forces have in store for mankind.

In Shipwreck a luxurious Hawaiian cruise goes full-on Lost when a hurricane rips a passenger ship out of the sea. Crashing onto the shores of an uncharted island, families from all different backgrounds must come together to survive. Washed up with nothing connecting them to the civilized world, things can’t seem to get any worse. That is until trips into the dense jungle for sustenance show what horrors the island has in store.

Carnivorous primates, poisonous plants, flesh-eating bugs, and acid rain are just some of the terrors that passengers meet. Still, as days turn to weeks and time becomes an illusion the vacationers worst enemies become each other. A fight for survival turns into survival of the fittest and seemingly overnight the sandy beaches of this island are stained red. Allies shift into betrayal, families become strangers, and lovers descend into worst enemies. The island is reduced to a battleground with one clear goal: total sovereignty.

Who will become the last man standing, and will help arrive in time to stop complete annihilation of the island inhabitants?

‘American Horror Story: Virus’

Picture Grey’s Anatomy meets Contagion. Every season of AHS so far has been very localized and small scale, taking place in one central location. Roanoke set its roots at a farmhouse in North Carolina. Freak Show never left the small town of Jupiter, Florida. But in a not-so-distant future America, a virus begins taking the lives of unsuspecting citizens.

It starts in a hospital in New York City. A young man comes in presenting unusual symptoms; a fever, bloodshot eyes, a rash spreading quickly across his posterior. Without warning the rash metastasizes inward, eating his flesh from the outside in, killing him slowly and painfully. Across the country another case pops up in a hospital in California. Exact same instance. No warning, no explanation, no idea of where it came from. Soon the virus is nationwide and time is running out as top doctors are trying to find a cure and stop the spread of this viral infection.

Eventually a common denominator between some of the initial victims has shown up. Every single carrier was a survivor of a Hawaii-bound cruise that crashed on an uncharted island months previously. The passengers picked up the virus on the island and carried it to the mainland where it is spreading across the country like wildfire. Finding cure is the only thing left to do. However, with people dying across America by the second, chances of  a cure being constructed are becoming sparing.

At the midseason mark, after loss of hope, weeks of research, and the death of millions a cure is established. The antidote is distributed widely slowing down the spread so research on a preventative agent can begin. There is just one catch:

The dead are coming back to life.

‘American Horror Story: Incarceration’

Roanoke was the bloodiest American Horror Story season yet. Three characters had their innards yanked from their bodies, two hikers were burnt at the stake, and one character’s ear was cut off and pickled for eating. The fandom probably needs a break before the show goes back to using gore tactics as a source of terror.

Once the fans are ready for some more senseless and gruesome entertainment, AHS: Incarceration will be waiting to disturb them. At a penitentiary located in a middle American desert, miles from civilization a dire mistake is made. An innocent man is sent to a prison where the country’s most diabolical criminals are sentenced to live out the rest of their lives.

In this prison, however, there is a secret  that few know about and even fewer are willing to share. Every couple weeks a prisoner disappears. Everyone claims to have no clue where they have gone, no one will say if they have escaped or if they are even alive. Those who know the truth are the key to this innocent’s only chance at freedom. Prisoners are selected at random and are given the chance at participating in a series of tasks that if completed will grant them their freedom. Not a soul knows who offers this opportunity, not until they are chosen, until it is too late.

These tasks are gruesome. Inspired by the Saw franchise, the participant must torture themselves in a way similar to that of how they have hurt others in order to gain their liberation. No one has ever succeeded, every prisoner who has attempted the mission has met their demise in the process. Escape, so it seems, is impossible. Even so, the masked tormenter feeds off the human will to attain freedom in order to assemble new victims.

‘American Horror Story: Ghost Stories’

AHS has utilized children in different and interesting ways in the past. Hotel turned children into misunderstood and messy villains using the blood virus. Roanoke centralized them as the heart of the show through Flora and Priscilla in Roanoke. What if, alternatively, the children were the victims?

Not all is right at happy, sleep-away-camp in sunny and adventurous Colorado. Terrifyingly cheerful camp counselors, a bloodthirsty chef, and a chilling camp song set every child on edge. In the end, not one is surprised to hear something go bump in the night. Meanwhile, ghost stories around the campfire turn into a full-blown nightmare as children’s worst fears come to life.

Something is moving under the waters of the lake where campers swim and canoe. Children who misbehave come back from meetings with counselors acting strangely upbeat and vacant. At night a figure who looks different to each and every child who sees it, skulks in the woods. However, nothing can prepare camp goers for the day that one by one their friends start to go missing.

As events in the camp only become more disturbing the children start to suffer from nightmares that seem too realistic to be just dreams. Employees of the camp begin working even harder and harder to ease the minds of terrified guests. Meanwhile the children discover that there is more at work at camp that meets the eye. They must fight together against supernatural forces that take on the shape of the demons of their mind to save their friends and escape the camp that seeks to take their lives.

AHS: Ghost Stories will have you asking what really lurks in the forest at night?

What kind of storylines do you want to seen in future seasons of ‘AHS’?

We all know the names of these famous sci-fi novels, but have you actually read them? Ocean of Storms author Jeremy K. Brown tells us why we should.

About ‘Ocean of Storms’

In the near future, political tensions between the United States and China are at an all-time high. Then a catastrophic explosion on the moon cleaves a vast gash in the lunar surface, and the massive electromagnetic pulse it unleashes obliterates Earth’s electrical infrastructure. To plumb the depths of the newly created lunar fissure and excavate the source of the power surge, the feuding nations are forced to cooperate on a high-risk mission to return mankind to the moon.

Now, a diverse, highly skilled ensemble of astronauts — and a pair of maverick archaeologists plucked from the Peruvian jungle—will brave conspiracy on Earth and disaster in space to make a shocking discovery.

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We all know the names of these famous sci-fi novels, but have you actually read them? Ocean of Storms author Jeremy K. Brown tells us why we should.

About ‘Ocean of Storms’

In the near future, political tensions between the United States and China are at an all-time high. Then a catastrophic explosion on the moon cleaves a vast gash in the lunar surface, and the massive electromagnetic pulse it unleashes obliterates Earth’s electrical infrastructure. To plumb the depths of the newly created lunar fissure and excavate the source of the power surge, the feuding nations are forced to cooperate on a high-risk mission to return mankind to the moon.

Now, a diverse, highly skilled ensemble of astronauts — and a pair of maverick archaeologists plucked from the Peruvian jungle—will brave conspiracy on Earth and disaster in space to make a shocking discovery.

Ocean of Storms is an epic adventure that spans space and time as its heroes race to fulfill an ancient mission that may change the course of humanity’s future.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads

5 sci-fi/fantasy novels everyone pretends to have read (but actually should)

For many people, their knowledge of Dune doesn’t go much further than Sting in a metal Speedo. Time to put down the remote and delve into the original (and sometimes completely different) books that birthed these pop culture legends.

‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert

Herbert’s desert world of Arrakis (also known as Dune) is quite obviously the prototype for Star Wars’s Tatooine, and from sandworms to spice, Lucas clearly drew on the first three Dune novels while creating his galaxy far, far away. And who can blame him? Herbert’s galaxy-sprawling saga is stirring, invigorating and completely engrossing. The hero’s journey of Paul Atreides is only one thread in an infinite tapestry that encompasses six Herbert-authored novels and a slew of sequels penned by his son Brian and Kevin J. Anderson. This is world-building at its most epic.

‘Neuromancer’ by William Gibson

If all you know about cyberpunk is The Matrix, then you owe it to yourself to read this book and see where the term actually came from! Gibson put the genre on the map with this 1984 book that was light years ahead of its time, giving life to the concept of “cyberspace,” (a word actually coined by Gibson himself), creating an entire hacker culture and giving rise to legions of imitators. Plus, it has one of the best opening lines of any sci-fi book ever!

‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ by Philip K. Dick

It’s true that Blade Runner is a cooler-sounding title, but Dick’s novel is an even deeper and richer experience than the admittedly awesome (but somewhat loose) Ridley Scott adaptation. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic world in which owning an animal is a status symbol, Androids is a great meditation on finding empathy and humanity in an increasingly artificial world.

‘Earthsea’ by Ursula K. Le Guin

Sorry, J.K. Rowling, we love you, but when it comes to wizarding schools, Le Guin beat you to it. A story of a young boy learning to cope with his unimaginable powers (as well as defeat the shadowy creature they have wrought) is a fantastic, genre-bending coming of age story that instantly transports you to a world so complete and lived-in that you’d swear you were reading a true story.

‘Starship Troopers’ by Robert Heinlein

OK, let’s establish a few things first. Yes, Heinlein’s 1959 novel about Earth’s last stand against a race of arachnoid aliens is a little dated in terms of its politics. And yes, Paul Verhoven’s 1997 adaptation turns the book’s themes into a wicked satire of militarism, jingoism and just about every other “ism” you can think of. But, all that said, the book itself is a watershed piece of science fiction that influenced everything from Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War to James Cameron’s Aliens. Basically, any time you see a futuristic soldier in an exosuit, take a moment to thank Heinlein!

About Jeremy K. Brown

Jeremy K. Brown has authored several biographies for young readers, including books on Stevie Wonder and Ursula K. Le Guin. He has also contributed articles to numerous magazines and newspapers, including special issues for TV Guide and the Discovery Channel, and recently edited a collector’s issue on Pink Floyd for Newsweek. Jeremy published his first novel, Calling Off Christmas, in 2011 and is currently at work on another novel. He lives in New York with his wife and sons.