Highly Recommended

I have done my best to keep this review spoiler-free and will tag any potential spoilers with **. 

When the lights first dimmed, and the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away appeared” and then the theme music began, the audience cheered. We were excited, albeit a bit nervous, to see the newest episode in a film series that has, arguably, defined generations. Speaking for myself, I’ve been waiting for ten years and six months, almost to the minute, for new Star Wars.

And new, it is.

Banner by the Collected Mutineer
Banner by the Collected Mutineer

Episode 11×04 AKA “The One About Baby”

For those of you that noticed that I did not post a SPN review for 11×03, this was intentional. I do not support the work of the SPN writers who are responsible for “Dark Dynasty“, and also wrote last week’s episode. In a culture where media is ruled over by ratings, I refuse to give them publicity. Give Charlie the tribute she deserved, and I’ll reconsider.

So, on to “Baby”, written by Robbie Thompson, a precious sunbeam in my world.  Warning there be spoilers ahead.

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Highly Recommended

The Oscars are less than two weeks off, and the Collected Mutineer has reviewed three of the Best Picture nominations so far. When we were deciding who would review which film, I pushed men, women, and children aside in my eagerness to claim Boyhood. Why? Well, let’s talk about what the film is about.

The film follows the life of Mason from the age of five until the age of eighteen. It is the brainchild of Richard Linklater, who both wrote and directed the film over a period of twelve years, allowing for the actors to age at the same rate as their characters. The plot may seem simple, but as the film tries to maintain a stance of realism, we come to understand that “real life” is rarely simple. This is not Leave it to Beaver; grittiness and heartbreak mark the milestones of Mason’s life as much as love and laughter. 

There’s a show I don’t blog about nearly as much as I should: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Over the years, I’ve dragged a few people down the rabbit hole, and the most recent is the Collected Mutineer. She’s been power-watching season three and I’m just so damn proud.

via giphy
via giphy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is, in my humble opinion, the best show to ever grace the silver screen.

For me, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was my childhood in a way that most people my age had Friends or Dawson’s Creek. As the daughter of divorced parents who relocated several times in my childhood, Buffy’s troubles with fitting in at her high school echoed my own. Except, you know, there were more demons and stuff (but I totally had a 6-foot tall dark and handsome brooding over me while I slept).

Choosing only five episodes of this show was possible the most difficult decision I’ve ever made, but I felt like writing about all 145 might be overkill (and please never read Buzzfeed’s article ranking the episodes).

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Episode 10×05 or “It’s a Matter of Interpretation”

I came to the 200th episode of Supernatural from a week-long hiatus in which I had written for five straight days, or approximately 120 hours.

What was I writing? Fan fiction.

The irony is not lost on me that I completed my final major revisions of my 35,000 word DCBB fic a few hours before the episode “Fan Fiction” premiered. To say that I was a bit emotionally fraught would be to say that Alistair was ‘just a bit misunderstood.’

The 200th episode has been described as a “love letter to fans” so, without further ado, allow me to meta some meta.

A (Very) Brief Synopsis

Property of the CW
Property of the CW

Dean’s jonesing for a case. He seemingly pulls one out of thin air and convinces Sam to help him investigate the disappearance of a drama teacher at an all-girls high school. The school is putting on a play: Supernatural the Musical, a “transformative work” penned by a high school girl as an homage to Carver Edlund’s works.

Sam and Dean are not thrilled.

Turns out the goddess of epic poetry, Calliope, has a taste for the supernatural and wants to devour the writer of the play. So the show must go on, and Sam and Dean must kill a goddess to protect the girls.

Break a leg, boys.

We here at the Collective love our fanfiction. I first delved into the fanfiction world almost ten years ago, when I was a quiet and introverted freshman at uni. As college progressed, I didn’t have the time to read like I once did, but once I finished grad school, I jumped right back in only to realize the fanfic ‘verse is MUCH bigger than it was 8 years ago. It’s a bit overwhelming if you’re new to it, especially if you don’t know the lingo, so here is my quick and dirty guide to fanfiction for the newbie.

Choosing the ‘verse

As I’ve said before, the beauty of fanfiction is that it showcases how incredibly creative and talented we fans can be. But, fanfiction is like a drug, and you’ve got to pick the right one that does it for you. Now, before we go any further, if you’ve been to the three biggest fanfiction websites–fanfiction.net (FFN) or archiveofourown.org (AO3) or Wattpad–you’ve probably noticed the excessive use of the exclamation point (!) in the tags. The exclamation point denotes an emphasized characteristic of a character or of the universe in which the fanfiction is set, i.e. Possessive!Draco or Omega!verse. So when it comes to choosing the ‘verse you want to read, be aware that tags with the exclamation point are pretty much the road signs–they’ll take you where you want to go or warn you away from things you don’t want to read.

Some common terms about fanfiction ‘verses:

AU–Alternative Universe. This could be as simple as the story taking place in a coffee shop (a popular setting) or it could be one of the author’s own imagining. Either way, AU means it is not set in the canon.

This is what we call an AU.

The Canon–This term encompasses everything that defines the particular work(s) on which a fandom is based. In other words, everything created by the original author/creators. If it’s in the show/book/movie, it’s canon. Fics are usually labelled as canon or non-canon compliant. (If it’s AU, it’s pretty certain to be non-canon. Most of the time.)

This week, I’m once again abandoning my weekly recap formula. Sorry, I’m not sorry, but I have some things to say about this week’s episode, and it’s just not going to fit into the layout that I do every week.

So, to begin with, let’s talk about what I like in S09 E08: “Rock and a Hard Place.”

….not much.

What I Liked About “Rock and a Hard Place”

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  1. Sheriff Mills returned, and she kicked some ass.
  2. Jared Padalecki is killing it this season. His portrayal of Sam is my new reason to watch the show every week.
  3. Sam’s hair is glorious. (No, seriously, I saw it in person at BurCon last weekend…it really is the stuff of legend.)
  4. Dean’s monologue (you know which one I mean)
  5. The end scene with Sam & Dean…man, that kicked me in the feels. It was honest, and raw, and we see the guilt in every line of Dean’s face. It was brutal and angsty and if it’s a glimpse of what’s to come…ouch. But really, boys, well done. Actually, that was pretty much par for the episode: the only scenes worth watching were the ones between the Winchesters. Scratch that, that’s how I feel about this entire season. I feel like the writing team has forgotten what the show is really about. Let me make it simple for you: it’s about the Winchesters kicking ass and taking names. Forget the other characters for a minute and focus on the important shit. Yes, I love Castiel and Crowley and Kevin and Charlie, but why do I watch the show? For Sam and Dean. Every scene with just J2 in it is spectacular; even if the writers have forgotten what the show is about, the two lead actors sure haven’t. They’ve been at this so long that becoming the Winchesters is like tying their shoes in the morning–it’s habitual and it shows. Sorry, writer of last night’s episode whose name I refuse to commit to memory–if you want to f**k up the character development, you’re going to have to murder the actors. (But really, nice try at sending Dean back to the character development from season 1).

Since it appears that I’ve already begun my ranting, let’s move on to what I didn’t like about this week’s episode. 

bad boys 2

Episode 09×07 AKA the Episode with Winchester Feels

This week I’m struggling to write about this episode. Not because I didn’t like it, on the contrary, but because the episode hit a little too close to home. So forgive me for stilted angsty writing this week; I’ll be back to my snarky self next week.

Synopsis

The writers made a brilliant choice this week in keeping the plot simple. Dean receives a phone call from a man named “Sonny,” who is revealed to be the man in charge of a boys’ home. Dean reveals to Sam that he spent two months there when he was sixteen, and that John Winchester had lied to Sam about it. Dean plays it off nonchalantly, like it wasn’t important, when in fact, it may have been the most significant two months of his childhood. But more on that later.

Sonny calls Dean because of a death on the farm–a man has been skewered by a forklift that no one was driving. Definitely a case for the Winchesters.

As the boys investigate the mysterious death, Dean has flashbacks to his time in the group home. Sixteen-year-old Dean (played by Dylan Everett) is still a smart ass and still following in John Winchester’s footsteps. We see that Dean was not miserable in the group home; Sonny gave him the support, encouragement, and paternal guidance that John Winchester couldn’t; Dean fell in love with a girl named Robin. Sam slowly pieces together what Dean’s life was like on the farm, solving the case of Dean Winchester while Dean hunts down the ghost.

After Ruth, a woman who lives/works on the farm , is killed in a bathtub, and a young boy is injured by the lawnmower, the Winchesters realize that they’re dealing with a rather vengeful ghost who is very protective of one little boy, Timmy.

The ghost is Timmy’s mother, and in one heartbreaking moment, Dean and Sam realize that the ghost isn’t tied to an object. The ghost is connected to Timmy, and Timmy has to let go of his mother so that she can move on into the afterlife and he can move on with his own. 

Bad Boys