When Shrill first set out to tell the narrative of a struggling young journalist whose greatest insecurity–weight–turns out to be her strength in building her career, there were times when it felt like Annie Eaton’s (Aidy Bryant) character was going to fall flat and too one-dimensional. Although the series progressed, the character development continued steadily, and Annie’s trajectory toward Season 3, its final season, felt like it was finally finding its footing only to be cut short in an abrupt close.
Shrill Season 3 begins after Annie’s much-needed good riddance to her ex-boyfriend Ryan. The man she had been holding onto out of pure fear she wouldn’t find someone else. Leaving her relationship baggage in the past of Season 2, Annie seems to finally be joining the dating scene she never felt she deserved.
However, with the disastrous reality of the dating world, Annie’s completely over it after her first date goes south. Instead, she finds herself crushing on Nick (Anthony Oberbeck), an office cutie (if you look past the thick pornstache.) Nick is tall, handsome, and thin, all of which seems to be Annie’s preference if she thought she could land a guy like that, being as “big” as she is, or so she thinks.
Things seem to be fun and flirtatious with Nick, and Annie is truly feeling herself. She uses that confidence to push for bigger pieces at The Thorn as she tries to break out of the fat-girl columnist mold that put her on the map as a writer. With that confidence, she feels invincible and seems to lose sight of anything she considers less than idyllic.
Her newfound confidence peaks when Amadi, her work husband, sets her up on a blind date with Will. Annie immediately writes him off when she arrives at the restaurant and sees that he’s plus-sized. The entire scene puts Annie’s characterization at its peak, and we’re finally able to see how far she’s truly come. Albeit, at the expense of Will’s feelings, as she judges him on the pure basis of his weight, the very thing she’s fought so hard to change through her writing.
Meanwhile, Fran’s (Lolly Adefope) relationship with her partner Em (E.R. Fightmaster) is heating up. Em gives Fran the stability that a Sagittarius rarely finds and the spotlight and attention she needs to survive. This is the first time Fran’s character is shown to be in an exclusive relationship for longer than a couple of episodes.
In the seasons preceding, Fran was either juggling a few girls or trying relationship celibacy. Her own self-growth over Season 2 really put her in a good place to pursue an honest and genuine relationship with Em. It’s the first time Fran lets her two worlds collide–the Nigerian culture she has compartmentalized and her current out and proud self.
As Fran and Em are having their big “I love you” moment, Annie is downstairs trying to progress things with Nick. Only to be told that he didn’t see her that way. Why is it that the good guys are always the heartbreakers?
Annie’s job at The Thorn has never been smooth sailing, as she’s continuously fought to be seen as a real writer by her boss Gabe. Finally overcoming that hurdle, she’s been dubbed the fat-girl writer. To write more serious pieces, she takes on the controversial coverage of a separatist community, a nicer name for a group of white supremacists.
Her article receives a ton of backlash, despite the fault, Annie tries to place on Gabe for changing the headline of her article in an attempt to increase views. Annie’s forced to confront her own privilege. The privilege she seems to have forgotten as she’s too busy wallowing in her own self-pity for being fat. The backlash she receives is far worse than the trolls she had before, and she finds herself isolated and turning to the open arms of her deadbeat ex, Ryan.
Making the mistake of sleeping with an already boo’d up Ryan, she finally arrives at her lowest of lows. While making her way out of her own purgatory, she runs into Will at Amadi’s birthday party. The awkwardness of their initial reunion can be felt through the screen, but by the end of the night, their chemistry is flowing.
A month into Annie and Will’s relationship, they go on a couple’s retreat with Fran and Em. Fran and Annie recount the genesis of their relationship. The beginning of a co-dependent friendship. Something that Em points out. Just as the two are talking about moving in together. Initially, the conversation of taking the next big step is good, but somewhere along the way, Fran’s fear of commitment kicks in.
In preparation for Fran’s move out, Annie’s fear of singledom trickles in, and she tries to rush her two-month relationship with Will. Since Will’s still legally married, and because he’s genuinely a thoughtful man, something Annie’s not used to, he lets Annie’s move-in proposal down, gently reminding her he still needs to consider his ex Mikayla’s feelings.
Annie isn’t satisfied with Will’s response and does some sleuthing and confronts Mikayla at her bakery. The idea that Will’s good-guy tendencies are nothing to be worried about sends Annie in a spiral. And while Will’s busy considering everyone else’s feelings, Annie’s only thinking about herself.
With so much uncertainty looming overhead, it feels like the show ended too early. But, we’re left with Annie and Fran finally realizing that to let others in, they’ll need to stop solely relying on each other. And though the unknown is tricky and terrifying, deep down, they know they’ll be ok. So we might as well pop a bottle of champagne alongside the duo to commemorate the “greatest love of all time.”
Dynasty Back-to-Back Episode Review – Affairs of State and Affairs of the Heart (4×20 and 4×21)
Ahead of the season finale, Dynasty delivered a supersized penultimate episode.
The back-to-back episodes raised the stakes, changed the game, and then flipped the narrative on its head.
Nothing was the same, and no one is coming out unscathed.
The most heartbreaking turn of events was the expected but unnecessary demise of Liam and Fallon.
Things between them were pretty bad this season when Fallon prioritized her career (and quite literally everything else) over her relationship with Liam, but the damage wasn’t irreversible.
It’s not the kind of stuff you want to see from newlyweds that are still supposed to be waist-deep in their honeymoon phase, but this is a primetime soap, so drama is par for the course.
Liam instituted a break, but not the Friends version of a break; all he really wanted was some time and space to figure things out.
Eventually, he did while talking it out in the Truth Tent.
Liam realized that he wasn’t just upset that Fallon was investing so much time in her career. He was projecting and taking his frustrations about himself out on her. In reality, he felt less than and inferior to his boss babe wife.
This was the very definition of “it’s not you, it’s me.”
Of course, Liam’s behavior up until now wasn’t excusable as he made Fallon feel guilty for being such a go-getter, but it made sense.
Marriage comes with its fair share of gray areas, but communication and over-communication are the keys to working it all out.
Sadly, Fallon broke the cardinal rule when she let her inhibitions go and slept with Colin.
Yes, I know she was being manipulated by Eva, but that doesn’t excuse Fallon’s behavior.
Regardless of how sad and lonely she was feeling about the possibility of Liam wanting a divorce (which was a lie planted by Eva), she knew better than to cheat.
She’s a grown woman who can clearly understand the consequences of her actions.
Plus, she was simply guided by assumptions rather than waiting for Liam to explain himself. Does she think so low of him that she thought he’d seek a divorce without even talking to her about it?
But most importantly, Fallon’s biggest mistake was allowing too many people into her relationship. She’s trusting, which is nice, but too many people had a hand in this demise that shouldn’t have even been involved.
Had it not been for Fallon’s deception, she and Liam would’ve found a way back to each other and likely stronger than ever.
Of course, Liam is also at fault because he allowed Eva into his life as well by being so friendly and kind.
Eva just jumped in and took advantage of it all.
Fallon and Liam’s crumbling marriage played exactly into Eva’s hand. Fallon confided in her, and she sold the supportive employee and act friend all too well while being a meddling menace in real life.
Sometimes the biggest villains look the sweetest.
Eva set her sights on Liam, and there was no stopping her. I wonder if she purposefully took the job with Fallon because she wanted Liam, or if she decided to pursue him after she got the gig.
You would think someone as obsessive would be sloppy, but her approach was pretty strategic and impressive.
Sadly, that delusional book will be her undoing. I just hope Fallon figures it out before Eva does any real damage since she’s a serious threat to Liam.
Liam might be hurting after what happened with Fallon, but I don’t think he’d just jump into bed with Eva as he considers her a friend.
And if he rejects her, I could see Eva snapping.
The biggest surprise with this storyline (aside from my disappointment in Fallon’s actions) is that Eva and Colin weren’t working together. Wouldn’t that have made so much sense?
Eva would’ve pursued Liam, while Colin could’ve taken over the company. I guess, in the end, Eva didn’t need anyone.
While those two weren’t in cahoots, Alexis and Brady surely are. I’m not sure what the connection between them is but considering Brady showed up shortly after Dom told Alexis about him, it’s not a surprising twist.
Though I was rooting for Brady to be a good guy, I realize there’s no fun in that!
Whenever a woman gets any bit of success, there’s always someone ready to bring her down and take it from her.
You would’ve hoped that Alexis would’ve learned her lesson by now as she’s already alienated most of her children.
Colby is losing it, which doesn’t bode well for any of his space race plans.
It’s unclear why he stopped taking his neurotoxicity medication, but it’s also a nice loop back to that storyline and a reminder that Adam Carrington was once a really dangerous man despite taming his ways and finding the light or whatever.
The writings of a mad man on the walls could either be a stroke of genius or something genuinely concerning.
Only time will tell.
Adam may not be poisoning people or stuffing their faces into the fire, but he’s not that innocent either.
He stole research from Dr. Larson, a former colleague, to inform his own drug anti-aging drug trial, which he fast-tracked in hopes of making millions and starting his own dynasty.
It’s strange that I find myself rooting for Adam in the Adam versus Amanda saga because it’s clear that Adam is in the wrong, but he’s turned into such a likable villain.
Amanda is hard to stomach, even if she is helping a man take back the research he’s entitled to.
Shouldn’t Amanda just be above all of this?
Adam was ruthless in his pursuit by calling in every “IOU” card.
Cristal and Sammy both came through for him, reluctantly.
You can say whatever you want about Adam, but at least he’s had both of their backs. He was there for Cristal during her brain tumor scare, and he helped Sammy eliminate Leo after he was hurting his business.
The Carrington family may be a lot of things, but they rarely turn their back on family.
Sammy learned just how much he mattered to the family when Cristal and Blake sold him out to the media to divert the negative attention away from Blake’s campaign.
While Sammy was hurt by their actions, Blake reminded him that it’s how the family treats each other.
However, Cristal really came through this episode and managed to right the wrongs and deliver on promises.
She convinced Blake to hold his campaign gala at the hotel as his support would restore La Mirage’s image.
And when Blake decided to pull out of the Senator race and disappoint Culhane, she found a way to play to Blake’s desire for more power in order to convince him to stay on the ticket.
Cristal is proving that she’s a real one, and it’s nice to see her finally get a strong storyline of her own.
She’s no longer Blake’s shiny accessory — she’s the brains behind. the operation. Blake’s motivations for running may be vain as all he really wants is the land for his airport, but Cristal wants to power to evoke real change, and she wants Culhane to also have that ability.
The two of them are doing it for charity and community. Culhane’s storyline is also a nice circle-back to his father’s death. The writers are embracing some continuity, and it makes the storylines that much stronger.
And then there’s Kirby. No one pays really notices her, but she’s the one that actually yields all the power.
Thanks to Anders’s burn book, she has the power to destroy the whole dynasty!
While it was noble of Culhane to suggest that they destroy it to keep her in check, I’m glad Kirby had copies stashed in her drawers.
Even if she never uses it, she’d be stupid to destroy that kind of leverage. Anders loved Blake beyond words and still wrote down all those secrets as collateral.
Kirby’s made some pretty stupid decisions but this wasn’t one of them.
And my guess is that the copies will come in handy one day when Blake finally crosses her.
Other Carrington Musings
- The scenes with the medium were pretty pointless but hilarious, nonetheless. Sammy is a scene-stealer, and it’s all because of his great chemistry with Fallon.
- Sammy and Kirby bring such a lightheartedness to the series — her quirky comments and his telenovela acting at the hospital were some of the best parts of the episodes.
- Seeing Liam cry made me really sad. He was so hurt and broken.
- Colby’s self-funded space mission is going to bankrupt him!
- The question isn’t whether Beto will sabotage Blake’s campaign, it’s how.
- Who would have thought we’d ever see Blake in plaid!
- I’m just waiting to see Blake and Fallon get revenge on those who wronged them; it’s going to be delicious.
What did you think of the two episodes — Dynasty Season 4 Episode 20 “You Vicious, Miserable Liar” and Dynasty Season 4 Episode 21 “Affairs of State, Affairs of the Heart.”
Big Brother Recap: Two Jokers and a King (23×35)
Azah, Derek, and Xavier. The final three that not everyone saw coming. One of them will walk away with $750,000.
But before we get there, we have to do an annual tradition: the recap filler episode.
This is the episode where the final three reflect on their time on the house, and we see them eating a very staged dinner, saying very scripted things about things that have happened in the season. This would transition into showing montages of these specific moments. However, I was kind of excited for this one, because this season was full of fantastic people, with outstanding personalities that made this season so memorable.
Before all of that started, the finalists reacted to Kyland’s controversial exit, and Xavier was commended for keeping his cool while Kyland went on and on about Xavier’s nephew. It was incredibly admirable that Xavier stayed strong and calm, despite the fact that he was about to punch Kyland in the face. It’s a move that is going to bite him in the butt after the game is over, and according to Ky, he doesn’t regret saying those things.
Kyland’s gone, so it’s way more important for the final three to celebrate! While they dined on steak and potatoes, they talked about some of the people who left the show early. The biggest topic being the farmer himself, Frenchie. We basically got the whole rundown of Frenchie’s Funhouse, where he made the super Slaughterhouse alliance, destroyed the Slaughterhouse, tried to recreate the Slaughterhouse six more times, and targeted basically everyone in the house. Oh yeah, and it was only week one. It was great to reflect on him, because he was the craziest player that the game has ever seen, and it was fun to reflect on his crazy two weeks in the house.
We got to see the cast’s failed attempts at cooking, with the nightmare scenario being Hannah putting beans on rice.
There was a segment of everyone playing jump scares on each other, where people jumped behind couches, from behind walls, or sneaking up to others and scaring them. They showed each scare twice: once in real time, and once in slow motion.
With this regular episode also showed two regular staples: Diary Room exclusives. Diary Room sessions give the viewers the chance to know the contestants thoughts during the game, but there’s so much that they have to give us for the sake of fitting everything into an hour, so this gives us some of the leftovers! There’s always a montage of crying, because let’s be real, if you don’t cry in the Diary Room, you haven’t played Big Brother! The second montage is always when the players come into the room to ask the people behind the cameras for food, clothes, or any other amenities that they might want. Like every year, there’s usually an infestation of ants somewhere in the house, and the most popular request was for ant spray or bug spray.
The final three also reflected on the Cookout, and the impact that it had on the season. We got to see a segment of the famous alliance talk about how their life experiences being a person of color has fueled their fire to come to the game and make a change. It further solidified that this alliance has worked so hard to get this message out, and put an end to all of the stereotypes and norms that this game has seen in its 23 seasons.
To give them one final push to the end of the game, they were treated to video messages from home. Derek’s mom, Xavier’s parents and younger brother, and Azah’s parents sent a video to them congratulating them and wishing them luck as they enter this final stage of the game.
Part one of the HOH competition will play out on Sunday, with Wednesday’s finale soon approaching!
Big Brother Recap: Eviction Night #13 (23×34)
Four became three tonight, as one more person was sent out the door, paving the way for the final three players to begin the battle for the final HOH competitions.
Tonight’s episode picked up where last night left off: the fallout of Xavier winning the Power of Veto, and trying to convince Derek to use his sole eviction vote to take a shot at Kyland. Derek has been conflicted about his personal relationship with Kyland as an excuse to not take him out, when Xavier and Azah will guarantee Derek a spot in the final two. It’s gotten to the point that Xavier has been thinking about using the Veto on Azah, because he knows that Azah would vote out Kyland.
There was also a lot more delusion than normal with Derek. He’s been thinking that he’s dragged Azah to the end, and “did more behind the scenes than any of us know about.” Does Derek know that we see everything he does on the live feeds? He’s been the one that’s been dragged through the game. He got into a fight with Azah about who’s done more in the game, and compared to Derek, Azah has done significantly more than Derek. She’s actually WON competitions. He’s been saying some very degrading things as well about Azah (as well as all of the women), which has been brutally awful to see both on the feeds, and on the edited episodes.
The jury continued to grow, and we watched Tiffany and Hannah join the jury house. Tiffany revealed the plot of The Cookout, exposing that she was behind it all, and the duo master plan that she set in tact. The jury absolutely loved her plan, even saying that they would’ve voted for her to win. It’s time for the campaign for Tiffany to win America’s Favorite Player!
Hannah arrived and showed the details of her quick eviction with how Azah’s gameplay wasn’t the way it really should’ve gone. Sarah Beth criticized Azah’s HOH reign too, saying that not taking the shot at Xavier or Kyland was not helpful to her overall game.
Julie then began the final Veto Meeting, where Xavier decided NOT to use the Veto, meaning Kyland and Azah had to pitch to Derek to keep them in the house.
Azah said she wanted to work to build the personal relationship with Derek, while Kyland said that he stayed committed to his deals, and hoped Derek did the same.
Derek then stood up, said that he needs to put game over personal feelings, and voted out Kyland with the sole eviction vote. Kyland was clearly upset and blindsided as he left the house. Before he left, he started trying to ask Xavier why he was voted out, and Xavier said that it’s the game.
Then the unthinkable happened. Kyland brought Xavier’s nephew into the conversation. Xavier has been looking out for his nephew and caring for him since his brother died. Kyland said that because of this, his nephew will grow up without a role model, and he’ll grow up learning to step away from challenges, and he won’t live up to his namesake (Xavier’s nephew is named after Kobe Bryant). Xavier looked like he was ready to sock Kyland in the face, telling him to stop talking about his nephew, but Kyland wouldn’t stop talking. It got to the point that Julie had to yell at Kyland to get out of the house before things got messy. Kyland tried to find other excuses to leave, but he wouldn’t, until Xavier merely said “Walk,” and Kyland left for the last time.
Julie did not discuss what happened during his exit, just asked him general questions about the game, that as per usual, he didn’t really answer well at all. Before signing off, Kyland exclaimed that he wants to play again, and wants to come back for a future season. I think after that exit, I highly doubt Kyland will step foot in that house again.
Now I have seen every episode of this show. I’ve seen all the fights, all the crazy blindsides, all the controversial people and moments that have gone in and out of those doors. But I have seen NOTHING like Kyland’s eviction. It’s one thing to leave the house bitter, or to try and find out why you were blindsided, so you don’t head to the jury bitter, but this was on a completely different level. Never have I seen someone bringing in a family member to try and destroy someone’s character in the game. That was absolutely disgraceful by Kyland, and I hope he never plays this game again. I’m sure he’ll regret saying that later on, but he’s got a lot of explaining to do once he’s out of the game. It’s completely unnecessary, and he better own up to it.
Back to the final three: Derek, Azah, and Xavier. One of them is walking away as the winner in next Wednesday’s finale. Over the next several days, they will do the first two parts of the final HOH competition, with those being shown to us over the coming days. We’re almost done. Stay tuned!
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