‘Glee’ recap: 4×07 ‘Dynamic Duets’

11:15 am EDT, November 24, 2012

This week’s Glee, which aired on Thanksgiving, is not the show’s actual Thanksgiving episode. No, that’s next week, because it’s Glee. If you are concerned about erratic air dates, this is not the show for you. In this episode, “Dynamic Duets,” it’s Finn’s first day on the job as a superhero craze sweeps McKinley, the Jake/Marley/Ryder love triangle gets more annoyingly triangular, and Blaine receives a tempting offer wrapped in navy and red. Read our full recap below:

The Secret Society of Superheroes convenes in an abandoned classroom. Their leader: Blaine Anderson. His super-power: hiding control-freak tendencies within a tensely pleasant exterior. Actually, Nightbird, the Nocturnal Avenger, would have had me excommunicated for revealing his civilian identity just then. As the club inducts new members – Brittany “Human Brain” Pierce, Becky “Queen Bee” Jackson, and Artie “I really hope you’re not trying to pass yourself off as a certain telepathic leader of a certain group of superhuman mutants because that would be a copyright violation.” “Er, I’m… Doctor Y?” Abrams – they’re interrupted by Histrionic Freshman Dottie “Chai Tea” Kazatori, who sounds the alarm. After some dramatic shots of our heroes running down hallways and twirling capes, they discover that New Directions’ Nationals trophy has been stolen. On the laptop left in its place, a video of a mysterious figure with face blurred and voice distorted plays. He’s wearing a very familiar blazer – a member of the Dalton Academy Warblers. Nightbird narrows his eyes.

The new kids are too cool to play at superheroes – well, Jake’s too cool, Marley thinks she’s too fat. Since neither of them have to stop the Joker from poisoning Lima’s water supply this Friday, he tries to ask her out. She squirms awkwardly as Ryder struts up to announce that Marley has plans – he’s asked her to come to an away game with him. Jake and Ryder hurl insults at each other, and when Ryder challenges Jake’s badassery, things get physical. Marley stands there ineffectually chirping “Oh guys. Stop!” as they start hitting each other right in her face. Finn catches them and pulls them apart, exuding authority in his new sweater-vest.

Finn’s teacherly confidence fades fast when he tries to start his first glee rehearsal. The kids – especially the ones who started glee with him – don’t respect him as their teacher, he can’t operate the whiteboard, and his Sectionals idea sucks. Nightbird, Nocturnal Perfectionist, cannot handle Finn’s lack of professionalism and he swoops out, off to go rescue their trophy from Dalton. “The one you haven’t even noticed is missing?” he snarks at Finn, mouth all soft and sneery the way it always does when Blaine is at his most condescending and bitchy. “Oh, crap,” Finn exclaims, registering the space where their trophy used to be.

Finn asks his old friend Coach Beiste for some teaching advice. She’s dressed in superhero garb, too – “I’m the Beiste-Master. I’m from the planet Testoestrogen.” Why? “Blaine said I couldn’t be faculty advisor unless I dressed up once a week.” I cannot even, with that statement, I’m dead from the adorableness of Blaine being so persistently anal-retentive and Beiste wanting to be their advisor enough to go along with him. Finn finds McKinley’s new cosplay craze bizarre, and Beiste explains the appeal – that it gives people the same freedom and escape as being on stage.

They address Finn’s problem – that the glee club doesn’t see him as an adult. “Ugh, God, is that what coffee tastes like? How do people drink people drink that?” he splutters, dribbling into his cup in the teacher’s lounge. Coach Beiste suggests that he get in on the costume craze, and use a superhero identity to inspire the group.

Blaine – for the first time in so very long – walks down the mirrored spiral staircase at Dalton. A hundred thousand Warbler fangirls immediately burst into tears. Lingering at the foot of the stairs is everyone’s favorite smarmy meerkat-faced teen gay, Sebastian Smythe. “Of course it was you,” Blaine sighs. “No, it wasn’t,” Sebastian smiles like a ray of sunshine, and reminds Blaine that he’s changed for the better. “That must be boring for you,” Blaine says dryly. “Yeah, it is. Being nice sucks.” I think I might actually finally ship these two, because this was hysterical. They stride through the beautiful halls together as Sebastian sedately tells Blaine that the person he’s there to see – the captain of the Warblers – awaits him. “I thought you were the captain of the Warblers?” asks Blaine, confused. “I thought the Warblers had an elected council, a group of three upperclassmen voted to lead the group?” asks everyone who saw season 2, confused.

Hunter Clarington is the new head Warbler, and he was such a brilliant glee captain at his old military academy that Dalton poached him from them on a full scholarship. He’s “not even remotely bi-curious” and is identifiable as a bad guy because he has a Bond villain cat. The trophy-theft, it seems, was a ruse to get Blaine back on Dalton grounds. Hunter’s heard about the legend that was Blaine Anderson, and since he is determined to lead the Warblers to victory, he attempts to lure Blaine back to his old school. “Why would I ever leave McKinley?” Blaine asks. “Why would you stay?” Hunter replies, which is a valid point, and he goes on to make some more extremely valid points about Blaine’s transfer. “In fact, I hear they even call you ‘Blaine Warbler.’ They know you don’t belong there, so why don’t you?” This is so over-dramatically done, a classic cheesy face-off, but oh, my feels, because it’s true, it’s so very true.

The other Warblers file in as Sebastian claims that they know the real Blaine, that he’s ambitious, driven – a Dalton boy. They present him with a new blazer. “That’s not going to work on me,” he tells them, and Hunter says, if that’s the case, he shouldn’t be afraid to try it on. Blaine does, the fireplace explodes in flames, the cat screeches, and yet another hundred thousand fangirls burst into tears seeing Blaine clad in uniform again, that face above the sharp line of the shoulders of the jacket.

Hunter takes him on a little walk-and-talk, and taps into some of Blaine’s current insecurities about New Directions – that their last Nationals win was a fluke, and that the Warblers will beat them at Sectionals. Hunter doesn’t want to see a Dalton legend like Blaine sidelined in his senior year. The Warbers want him back with them, back on the winning side. Blaine remains impassive, but Sebastian was right – he is driven, in such a structured way, and that’s exactly why he’s so frustrated with Finn. As Blaine mulls this over, Sebastian quips – and I swear this is word for word – “Hey, you know what goes great with a new Dalton blazer? An impromptu song.”

Blaine tries to brush them off, but as they start up their a capella harmonies, he gets caught up and starts to sing. The song is Kelly Clarkson’s “Dark Side,” and as he crosses his arms, looking at his old friends with a nervous smile, you can tell that he’s forgotten what it feels like to be so accepted and encouraged. At McKinley, he’s idolised and used, in the harshest sense of the word, for his talent, yet ridiculed or dismissed for his personality – they treat him as something both more and less than human. Hunter’s motives may be ambitious, but it doesn’t change the fact that he is one of them. The lyrics of the song are very telling, and when he finally gets excited and buttons the blazer hurriedly, I cry. When he jumps on a table, I cry. I pause the TV and I cry and cry.

I miss this so much – not just Warblers numbers, but Blaine’s personality – all his confidence, traditionalism, and silliness. Everything about him that works for Dalton makes life difficult for him at McKinley, and the result is an uptight, depressed young man who fakes polite until his fuse blows. His transfer to McKinley never made sense, for the character. I still do not believe, to this day, that this was a smart move, either plot-wise or business-wise. Glee‘s ratings have never been on such a consistent high as they were during mid season 2.

I am not saying the show should focus on Dalton as an A-plot, because Glee tends to ruin things by over-kill, but I think that the Warblers, including Blaine and his story, would have been more powerful as a treat to pull out every few episodes. The transfer was stupid. Blaine being at McKinley is stupid. And this performance reminded me, once again, of all of that. Blaine looks and feels right here, down to the way he holds himself. This is who this character is, and who he should have always stayed. They finish the number and Blaine hands back the blazer, but Hunter instructs him to keep it, and think about it.

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The Harry Potter play Cursed Child opens in a week, and we’ve just got our first look at Ginny Potter née Weasley. But not everyone is impressed.

Harry Potter fans have long ago resigned themselves to the fact that Ginny Weasley, badass Quidditch superstar and Voldemort possession survivor, is doomed to exist on the fringes of the story.

Despite her undiluted badassery, Ginny floated on the edge of canon throughout the Harry Potter book series, and for this reason, there are unfortunately many fans who simply don’t see Ginny as anything other than Harry’s only heterosexual ticket into the OBHWF.

But while Hermione Granger (rightfully) takes up most of the spotlight as far as female representation is concerned, J.K. Rowling actually created an equally important female character in Ginny Weasley, despite — or maybe because — of her absence from Harry’s part of the story.

Related: 9 reasons why Ginny Weasley’s cooler than the movies give her credit for

Reading the book saga closely will reveal that Ginny Weasley was actually better than everyone (and she knew it). And the fact that she got to be such a quietly confident BAMF, without Harry ever being consciously aware of it (though clearly it made an impression!), definitely meant a lot to me as a young girl growing up Potter.

Ginny may not have been the Chosen One, or the Chosen One’s best friend, but she kicked ass — and continued to kick ass — whether or not anyone gave her credit for it.

Let’s recap the awesomeness of Ginny Weasley:

  • Ron may have been Harry’s best friend, but his little sister was the seventh Weasley child and the first girl in seven generations. Talk about your magic number!
  • By all accounts, she was an immensely powerful witch: Growing up with six brothers made her resilient and hard-working, and she seemed to have the same extraordinary raw talent as Fred and George (but she applied herself more).
  • She was possessed by Voldemort in her first year at Hogwarts, literally making her the only person even remotely qualified to understand what Harry was going through. This came to a head in Order of the Phoenix, when it was Ginny of all people who stood up to Harry and told him that he was being stupid.
  • She overcame her crush on Harry and went on to have a rich and interesting social life which didn’t involve him. When Harry finally noticed and fell in love with her, she didn’t let that slow her down.
  • She stood up for both Neville and Luna, clearly cool and self-confident enough not to care what anyone thought of her companions (unlike Harry, who was far more judgemental towards both Luna and Neville).
  • She was a professional Quidditch player, even taking Harry’s place as Seeker for a while before landing a spot as Chaser while still at Hogwarts.

For all this, Ginny never really amounted to the ‘fourth member of the trio’ fans might have hoped for ahead of Deathly Hallows. She didn’t join Harry, Ron and Hermione on the Horcrux hunt (solely because Harry wanted to ‘protect’ her), and yet her badassery continued to assert itself behind the scenes, as she joined Dumbledore’s Army at Hogwarts and fought in the ensuing battle.

To me, it always felt like the essence of Ginny, the soul of this character, simply would not be repressed no matter how much J.K. Rowling tried to bench her (and the benching in itself was not an issue; Ginny was never meant to be a main character, and as laid out above, it actually worked to her benefit).

Ginny Harry 2

But unfortunately, the Harry Potter movies have done a lot to undo the subtle ways in which Rowling empowered Ginny between the lines. With Ginny’s value in the story mostly inferred rather than expressly stated, it clearly became as easy of a subplot to trim away as Nearly Headless Nick’s deathday party.

Ginny had hardly any presence in the movies at all, peaking in Chamber of Secrets (because they couldn’t completely ignore her in that one) and otherwise having only a few scattered, out-of-context moments of empowerment that still paled in comparison to the material given to characters like Fred and George, Draco, Luna, and Neville. Heck, even made-up character Nigel had more of a presence in the movies than Ginny did.

And of course it didn’t help that Bonnie Wright (who is a talented actress — check out After the Dark and see for yourself) had no chemistry with Dan Radcliffe, and that they gave the best Harry/Ginny moment of the series to Ron/Lavender for some inexplicable reason.

But still she married Harry, and still they had three kids (all of whom were named after people important to Harry, but alright). The One Big Happy Weasley Family prophecy came true, and all was well…

Until now. (Dun dun dunnn.)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opens for previews in London next week, and everyone’s excited for the trio and their kids to return. Once again Ginny is getting second billing, not being announced as part of the main cast, but rather revealed a week before the show opens, along with a photograph of Poppy Miller in character:

ginny_potter_poppy_miller

There’s also a family portrait of Ginny, Harry and their son Albus, with Ginny holding on to her youngest son protectively (there’s that mother’s love again), kicking us in the feels because it’s pretty much exactly what Harry saw when he looked into the Mirror of Erised:

l-r Harry Potter (Jamie Parker), Albus Potter (Sam Clemmett), Ginny Potter (Poppy Miller)

And I actually love this. I love that Ginny is included (especially since, um, Harry’s other two kids are nowhere to be seen), front and center by Harry’s side.

As far as her clothes go, no, I’m not a fan. They remind me too much of movie-Ginny’s getup in the epilogue, and it’s just not what I’d imagine she’d wear. But it’s just an outfit; it doesn’t actually tell us anything about Ginny’s role in the play, so I’m not too worried about that.

What I am worried about is the fact that she’d be revealed here as part of Harry’s Erised fantasy. It’s doubtless we’ll see more character reveals over the coming days, and Harry will likely factor into more constellations (notably the Ron-Hermione-Harry group photo we’re all waiting for). Ginny probably won’t.

I’m worried that Ginny’s role in this story will amount to being Harry’s wife and Albus’ mom. Not that J.K. Rowling hasn’t full well established that The Power of Motherhood pretty much overrules everything else, but that’s not what Ginny is — or, rather, that’s not all she is. As much as I love Molly Weasley, Ginny represented a different kind of female character. I hope the play stays true to that.

ginny

As a long-time Ginny fan used to everyone overlooking and under-utilizing this fantastic character, I’m just desperately hoping now that the eighth Harry Potter story will give us the Ginny we know from the books, rather than her inferior on-screen counterpart. While Cursed Child isn’t and shouldn’t be about her, I’m hoping this is Ginny’s chance to reclaim some of the agency the movies robbed her of.

And call me an optimist, but I’m hopeful that this is exactly what Cursed Child is gonna give us. I trust that J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany don’t let the movies’ depiction of Ginny influence what is supposed to be the next installment of the book series.

In J.K. Rowling’s own words on Pottermore, Poppy Miller’s Ginny will be, “Kind and cool, exactly as I imagined her.” It’s not the bat-bogey hexing firecracker we know and love, but hey, everyone grows up, right? So even if we get just a couple of scenes with Ginny, let’s presume she’ll be her badass, Quidditch player self, and that she’ll be given space to exist in her own right, rather than as a prop in Harry’s perfect family.

She may not have been the most important character in Harry Potter, but she was my favorite, and Cursed Child has an opportunity to undo the damage the movies did to this fantastic, empowering heroine. Let’s hope they take it.

Are you looking forward to seeing Ginny Potter in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’?

Ever since ABC canceled Agent Carter, fans have been fighting to bring it back. Now, Hayley Atwell has joined the fight as well.

Agent Carter‘s cancellation left its fans devastated, but — just like Peggy Carter herself — they’re not about to give up without a fight.

ABC’s decision to cut ties with the ailing show, as well as choosing not to pick up Marvel’s Most Wanted, allegedly came as part of a programming overhaul led by new entertainment chief Channing Dungey. According to ScreenRant, Dungey wants to move away from serialized programming in favor of “close-ended episodic procedurals.”

But Agent Carter doesn’t need ABC. Agent Carter needs fan support, a new home, and some goodwill from Marvel.

It’s definitely got plenty of fans fighting for its renewal, with the Change.org petition Save Agent Carter having amassed over 110,000 signatures to date, and many other fan projects in the works to spread awareness for the show.

And, during a panel at MegaCon in Orlando over the weekend, star Hayley Atwell confirmed that she’d be down to reprise her role if the opportunity arose.

“YES. 100%. I love Peggy. I love the people working on this project. [It would be] a privilege and an honor to bring her back to the fans,” said Atwell, as quoted on Twitter. “I’d shoot on the weekends. Blue serum. Whatever it takes.”

Atwell isn’t the only star lending their voice to the movement. Bridget Regan (Dottie Underwood) RT’d the aforementioned petition on Twitter, and also wrote this short but important message:

Meanwhile Lotte Verbeek (Anna Jarvis) and Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark) both attended the MCM London Comic-Con, and both had heartening words for Agent Carter fans.

Via Comic Book Resources, Verbeek told panel attendees, “You guys were just amazing supporting it and I’m sorry it got canceled. I feel like we’re kinda letting you guys down — but it wasn’t my decision, unfortunately.”

Cooper, arguably the most ‘unavailable’ of the bunch, has also confirmed that not only would he be down to reprise his role as Howard Stark, but he also sees “hope” for the cancelled series.

“There may be more story to tell, and what’s wonderful about streaming sites is that while it may have been the end of the road, now there’s hope that it might not be,” Cooper said during MCM (as quoted by CBR).

“I know James [D’Arcy] and Hayley, the fact that people have gotten behind it and want to see it return means a huge amount to them … I’m well up for doing more Howard Stark and I know they’re up for doing more of their characters, so fingers crossed.”

Related: Thank you, Agent Carter

But actor goodwill aside, the question still remains: Will a streaming site, whether it be Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime, actually pick up Agent Carter?

It seems to us that, if nothing else, a one-off special (similar to the 2013 short that landed Peggy her TV series in the first place) or a limited series wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility — if Marvel actually acknowledges Peggy’s continued importance to the MCU, even after her canonical death in Captain America: Civil War.

Saving Agent Carer would be fan service in the most positive sense of the words, giving us the wrap-up Peggy’s story deserves and proving that Marvel, if not ABC, knows her value.

Here’s to more Agent Carter! Make it happen, TPTB!

Dan Aykroyd loves the new ‘Ghostbusters’ movie

As the "originator of the original," let's listen to him.

6:31 am EDT, May 31, 2016

Dan Aykroyd, star and creator of the original Ghostbusters, has seen the 2016 reboot. And he liked it.

“As originator of the original: Saw test screening of new movie. Apart from brilliant, genuine performances from the cast both female and male, it has more laughs and more scares than the first 2 films plus Bill Murray is in it! As one of millions of man-fans and Ray Stantz, I’m paying to see that and bringing all my friends!”

This is what Dan Aykroyd wrote on his Facebook page. Evidently, he is very pleased with Paul Feig’s re-imagining of his 1980s comedy classic.

And this isn’t the first time he’s offered endorsement of the contentious reboot (which Aykroyd is also producing and cameoing in). Earlier this year, he wrote on Twitter:

Despite everyone and their father already having made up their minds about this particular reboot, all we’ve actually had to go on so far have been a few trailers, Paul Feig and the cast’s infectious enthusiasm, and generalized opinions about Hollywood reboots/the cast.

But now that test screenings are beginning to roll out, we can finally begin to get a real sense of what this movie is actually gonna be like.

And if anyone’s opinion should hold some clout, it’s Dan Aykroyd’s. He not only starred as one of the original Ghostbusters, but came up with the concept and co-wrote both of the previous films.

Of course his comments haven’t gone over well with everyone. When he says it has “more laughs and more scares” than Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 combined, many people have taken that to mean that he thinks the new one is better than the original — but it’s worth noting that that’s not actually what he said.

Related: New Ghostbusters trailer updates the title to Ghostbusters: Answer the Call

The original Ghostbusters (if not its sequel) was a masterpiece, and Aykroyd isn’t suggesting anything different. He’s merely suggesting that there’s a higher quantity of funny and scary scenes in the reboot. Which, knowing Paul Feig (who blew us away with Bridesmaids and Spy), makes a lot of sense.

The important takeaway here is that Aykroyd seems to genuinely enjoy the new Ghostbusters movie. Regardless of your feelings on the original, the new one can still be fantastic, and if anyone would know, it’d be Aykroyd.

At the end of the day, the new movie really is a win-win for fans — it’s an excuse to dust off our old merchandise, and we’ll get to see an exciting new team take on the iconic monsters. July can’t come soon enough!

‘Ghostbusters’ premieres July 15, 2016