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‘Shrill’ Comes to an Abrupt Close in Season 3

Annie Eaton and Fran sit together on a bench in Shrill's Season 3 finale

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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.

Anthony Oberbeck as Nick and Aidy Bryant as Annie in Shrill. Photo credit: Allyson Riggs/Hulu.

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.

Annie and Fran sitting on their couch drinking wine. Courtesy of Hulu.

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.

Lolly Adefope as Fran and E.R. Fightmaster as Em on Shrill. Courtesy of Hulu.

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.”


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Inga is an avid TV watcher and critic, focusing a majority of her articles around LGBTQ+ representation in the media.

Loki

Loki Recap – The God with a Desk Job (1×02)

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Loki The Variant Review

Okay, so the second episode of Loki dropped, and we actually get to see what Dangerous Loki looks like. Let’s get into it!

It seems like Loki is fitting right in at his TVA desk job. Mobius has him watching annoying training videos like every other corporate job. Miss Minutes, sort of a recording but also sort of alive, does seem like she would be a little more interesting than the usual cheesy videos.

But soon enough it’s time for him to get out into the field.

There’s been an attack. In good old 1985 Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Seems like Dangerous Loki has struck again. But this time when the Minutemen showed up, he took one as a hostage! Not great.

Mobius and the gang show up to reset the timeline. This is Loki’s moment to display what he’s learned in his training, and prove that he can be trusted! He fails. Of course, he’s more concerned with trying to bargain his way to an audience with The Time-Keepers.

Ok, but I can’t even get mad at Loki for this. He’s facing total destruction! Obviously, he’s going to try to find a way out of it. Anyone would do what they need to do to survive.

But Mobius is pretty perceptive. I think he manages to see Loki very clearly. Whether it’s his motivations for his actions, or just when he’s trying to get away with something.

Anyway, Wisconsin was a bust.

Mobius has to appeal to Judge Ravonna Renslayer, and convince her why using Loki to find the other Loki is still a good idea. He does manage to placate her for the time being, but did you guys catch what I did?

She has quite an impressive office, including life-size statues of the three Time-Keepers. There are also larger statues elsewhere in the TVA. It strikes me as interesting that these Time-Keepers seem to be ever-present, and yet completely absent. Mobius also mentions that he’s never met them. Coupled with the conversation he has with Loki about believing in the reality of the Time-Keepers, I wonder if everything is 100% legit at the TVA.

But those are answers we’ll have to wait for.

Because it’s time to hit the books once again. Mobius has Loki in a library-like place doing some serious variant research. Even though Loki would like to learn about the small things–like the creation of the TVA, and the beginning and end of time–those are classified. He’ll have to settle for files only about himself. Tough.

Except! He makes a crucial discovery in those files. Loki learns about the annihilation of Asgard that happened in Thor: Ragnarock (yes, boohoo, very sad) and comes up with an important hypothesis.

If apocalypse events destroy everything and everyone, then whatever you do before one doesn’t matter. The perfect place for Dangerous Loki to hide.

He and Mobius go rogue for a moment to do what anyone with a hypothesis should do. They test it out in 79AD, right before the city of Pompeii gets buried in ash.

Now I don’t know about you, but I was thinking about their actions potentially causing someone to prematurely run and escape. It didn’t happen, but again time is a very delicate and complex thing.

But Mobius said there was zero variance energy created, so we’re all good!

All they have to do is narrow down all similar apocalypse events between 2047 and 2051. This is the period that has the candy Dangerous Loki gave to the small girl in 1549 from episode 1.

After the Judge gives her approval, a team is deployed to a fatal storm in 2050 Alabama.

This is where things get interesting.

Head Minuteman, Hunter B-15 insists on keeping Loki under her command. Everyone fans out, looking for Bad Loki. While the others find the Minuteman originally taken hostage, Loki and B-15 run into the Loki they’re searching for.

Of course, he doesn’t look like Loki.

Trickery abounds! Dangerous Loki can mirror and control other people while he does other important things (what a great way to multi-task). Unfortunately, this involves taking over Hunter B-15 as well. Don’t worry, not for too long. Bad Loki likes to body hop.

Now after some classic Loki banter where he reveals he wants to take over the TVA and some rowdy fisticuffs, Dangerous Loki finally reveals themselves. Who do we have…?

Well no one immediately recognizable or anything, but she’s a blonde Lady Loki! With a great green outfit complete with some golden horns (or horn, as one seems to be broken).

Although Loki seems reasonably shocked like the rest of us, he remembers we’ve got a situation.

It seems Lady Loki appreciated the time Loki sucked up because her plan was already in motion.

All those reset charges she stole were set up and rigged to blow! Blow as in she transported them throughout the Sacred Timeline, setting off a lot of Nexus events at the same time.

Does the TVA have the resources to handle all these events simultaneously? Because what happens if just one reaches that red line? Is the entire universe sent into chaos immediately? Well, they have to leave some answers for upcoming episodes I guess.

Another pressing issue? Well, after Lady Loki conjures a portal to disappear, Loki escapes the TVA’s custody by using that same portal.

Mobius was even calling after him, but of course, he chose the classic Loki move of betrayal. A bit heartbreaking. This is not going to go down well with Judge Renslayer and everyone who was warning Mobius this EXACT thing would happen.

It seems like Loki is still The God of Mischief at heart. Maybe his evolution wasn’t as complete as the last episode made it appear. But who knows, perhaps Loki is just going after Lady Loki to later bring her to justice? Maybe?

I guess we’ll have to tune in next week to figure it all out. What do you guys think will happen with the Sacred Timeline? Where do you think Loki is going to pop up? And do you guys think there’s anything fishy with the TVA?


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Superman & Lois

Superman & Lois Review – O Mother, Where Art Thou? (1×10)

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Superman & Lois Review  O Mother, Where Art Thou? Season 1 Episode 10

All I’m going to say is… Lois Lane tried to warn y’all. 

But no one wanted to listen to the critically acclaimed journalist. 

Thankfully, Superman’s sacrifice was willing to save the day, but the trouble isn’t over just yet for Smallville. 

On Superman Season 1 Episode 10, Morgan Edge, who was revealed to be Kal-El’s brother from another father, Tal-Rho, set his plan for the small town in motion. 

Edge gave Superman a chance to join his Kryptonian’s as they essentially colonized the planet to further their heritage. 

And while the idea of having your own people around you again was enticing, it wasn’t enough to convince Superman to ditch his humanity and embrace a dark side. 

Superman didn’t need a new family from his planet because he already had one of his own on this new planet. 

John Henry didn’t know this world’s Superman in the slightest. 

Tal-Rho even tried to lure Superman with the idea of getting his Kryptonian mother back, which didn’t work. 

Though, Kal-El was able to reconnect with Lara Lor-Van thanks to Lana, who stepped as a host and allowed Lara’s consciousness to be put inside her so that they could figure out a way to reverse what Edge had been doing. 

Lara admitted that resurrection was her life’s work but not at the cost of humans. 

Therefore, she wasn’t supportive of her other son’s ventures. 

It was great that Kal-El got to reconnect with his birth mother and reassure her that he was happy on Earth with his own family, including two sons, but I’m glad Lara didn’t overstay her welcome. The storyline had the potential to drag out unnecessarily. 

Instead, the reunion convinced Kal-El that he was doing the right thing by standing up to his brother, and he put himself in the crossfire to protect all the innocent humans that have been put through The Eradicator by creating a solar flare. 

Edge clearly underestimated his brother. But despite putting a dent in his plan, he still had another plan. 

His attempt to enslave the inhabitants of Smallville isn’t over yet. 

At this point, everyone seems to be aware of the fact that aliens exist including Sarah. 

Sarah was going through a tough time as she thought her father was turning into a drunk, which is when Jon jumped in and told her the truth that Kyle had been body-snatched

Superman & Lois Review  O Mother, Where Art Thou? Season 1 Episode 10

Superman & Lois — “O Mother, Where Art Thou?” — Image Number: SML110a_0077r.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Alexander Garfin as Jordan Kent and Jordan Elsass as Jonathan Kent — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss

I don’t know why everyone thinks Sarah can’t handle the truth. She’s one of the strongest characters on the show and deserves a little bit more credit.

It’s also slightly upsetting that it was Jon who decided she didn’t deserve to be lied to again. I feel like the decision should’ve come from Jordan, but instead, we’re getting this odd love triangle. 

Why did I find myself rooting for Jon when she’s unofficially Jordan’s girl?

Jon was motivated by the simple fact that he’s done with everyone lying to him in order to “protect him.”

Sarah might not be able to know the truth about Superman or Jordan’s newfound powers, but when it comes to her family, she should know what’s happening rather than writing her dad off as some kind of horrible person. 

I’ve watched Supergirl, and I know that the glasses as a brilliant disguise, but I still can’t get over the fact that Lana didn’t recognize that Clark is Superman!

And I love how much she geeked out over seeing Superman in person when she quite literally talks to him every day. 

The episode showed us the power our experiences have over us. 

After arriving on Earth, Kal-El was welcomed with open arms into a loving home, which made him want to protect humans from harm, while Tal-Rho was hunted and experimented on, which made him hungry for revenge. 

Their vastly different experiences morphed them into the men they are today, so it’s going to be difficult to get them to see eye-to-eye.

And this means Superman is going to have a hard time convincing his brother to pick a new fight as it’s been his life’s mission to repopulate a new planet. 

What do you think Edge has up his sleeve?

Is all this too much for Jordan and Jon? How will Smallville cope with the attack? Will Kyle apologize to Lois?


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Cruel Summer

Cruel Summer Season Finale Review – Hostile Witness (1×10)

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Cruel Summer Season Finale Review Hostile Witness Season 1 Episode 10

And we finally have the truth. 

Though the truth is pretty dark no matter how you look at it. 

Cruel Summer wrapped up its freshman run by providing all the answers along with plenty of jaw-dropping twists.

As the Turner vs. Wallis case kicked off in 1995, Jeanette and Kate came face-to-face — and almost to blows — both in the courtroom and outside of it. 

After Jeanette’s lawyers revealed a private convo between Kate and Ashley (she didn’t know it was her step-sister until after the printouts were submitted into evidence), Kate was forced to confess that she lied about her kidnapping and the fact that she destroyed an innocent girl’s reputation. 

Jeanette was hounded by the media and painted as a monster on the basis of the narrative that Kate sold to protect herself.

Kate was scared of what people would think if they knew she went to Martin’s willingly. 

This led to a heart-to-heart between Kate and Jeanette during which they figured out that this whole thing was just a misunderstanding. 

Both of the girls were defending the truth… the only truth they knew.

Kate thought Jeanette saw her since she snuck into the house, while Jeanette knew she wasn’t guilty of what she was being accused of. 

Turns out, the person that did actually see Kate was none other than Mallory. While it may have seemed like we were right not to trust her this whole time, Mallory had her reasons.

While her friendship with Kate was a result of misplaced guilt, eventually, the two did actually become good friends. 

The finale made it very clear that everyone was harboring secrets and lies in order to protect themselves.

Once Kate confronted Mallory, she learned that she didn’t say anything because she knew that in telling the public what she saw, she would be ratting out Kate as the reality of what she saw didn’t match the narrative Kate was selling. In a twisted way, she was protecting her friend, who she knew wasn’t being held against her will — at least not physically — when she saw her. 

She was there for Kate before they were even tight, which speaks volumes to who Mallory is as a person. 

I was sure the two of them were going to kiss when Kate confronted Mallory and asked her to stay, so I was thrilled when the smooch finally happened in the end. 

There was a chemistry between them that lent itself to more than friendship.

Mallory may have betrayed Kate, but despite it, she was one of the only people who had a genuine connection with her and understood her for who she was. 

The real villain was Jeanette all along. 

After Kate realized she wrongly accused Jeanette, she immediately cleared her name and made things right.

However, there was something genuinely off about Jeanette. They say when someone shows you who they are, you should believe them. 

The first suggestion that Jeanette may be a sociopath came when she was trying to learn how to make people feel sorry for her in the courtroom. 

Things also took a weird turn on the Marsha Bailey show as she was wearing the same exact outfit that Kate wore the first time she accused her right down to the pearls and headband. 

She also forgave Kate in the same way Kate accused her initially. 

Mallory was right — there was something truly off about Jeanette’s appearance. 

And it turns out, Jeanette was lying the whole time. She may not have seen Kate on Christmas, which is when she was accused, but Jeanette did sneak into the house in 1994 when Kate was already locked in the basement. She heard Kate begging for help and never reported it because she was at peak popularity. She weighed her options and decided that it wasn’t in her best interest to help Kate, which is deeply concerning. 

Everything the media said about Jeanette being a monster was absolutely on point. 

Cruel Summer Season Finale Review Hostile Witness Season 1 Episode 10

CRUEL SUMMER – “Hostile Witness” – Kate and Jeanette’s worlds collide as the court date arrives, finally forcing the two young women to answer the question on everyone’s mind, but the answer comes with a price that not everyone can pay. The season finale of “Cruel Summer” airs Tuesday, June 15 at 10:00 p.m. on Freeform. (Freeform/Bill Matlock)
CHIARA AURELIA

Worst of all — it always some sick game to her. She got the same thrill from it that she did from breaking into Martin’s house. She never truly felt remorse for what she did and how she contributed to Kate’s destruction. 

While it’s an unexpected twist and likely included for shock facotr, I think I would have preferred the storyline where Kate and Jeanette remained friends and bonded over their shared trauma. Jeanette may have always been driven by this desire to be beautiful and popular, but I would think this experience would have changed her and given her a new outlook on life, especially since she was vindicated and ended up getting the guy. 

There was even a great setup for the two to remain friends who could lean on each other and heal together. Kate said she wanted someone to understand what she was going through, and though Jeanette’s experience was wildly different, they kind of saw eye-to-eye at the moment at Martin’s house.

It was nice to see them work together to figure out what really happened. As Kate shared her experience of being locked in a basement, it was as though Jeanette genuinely felt sorry for Kate.

It would’ve been a great way to wrap up their story arc as two young girls who were wronged. 

Jeanette even helped Kate remember who Anabelle was, and for those that figured it was a gun — you were correct. 

Kate revealed that the day before her rescue, Martin seemed to have run out of options and found himself oddly at peace right before turning the gun on himself.

Martin was plagued with guilt after what he’d done, which seems to prove that he didn’t fully think his plan through and kept trying to wing it.

However, he also looked pretty conflicted about how to handle the situation. Going from wanting to kill yourself to screaming at the top of your lungs to begging Kate not to shoot you and convincing her you love her kind of screams bi-polar to me. 

While Martin couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger, Kate, however, didn’t have that problem and shot him when he was at his most vulnerable. 

It was a huge and heavy decision for Kate, but she was brave enough to finally save herself. 

It was a warranted shot that finally put an end to her misery, but the aftermath left her conflicted as she loved her captor while also hating him. 

It wouldn’t do the situation justice if Martin died in a police shootout, but having Kate pull the trigger sort of paralleled all the pain he caused her while keeping her.

Hopefully, Kate took the time to work through all of that in therapy because it’s a lot. 

I’m slightly disappointed that Angela didn’t have more to do with the storyline as I was convinced she was going to have some kind of connection to Martin. Also, Jeanette’s own mother didn’t even come to the trial. 

Also, where was Jamie, who Jeanette seemed to be dating at the end of everything! 

The resolution between Vince and Ben also felt a little weak, but I’m glad they’re going to work through things and hope they end up together as they deserve a bit of happiness. 

Jeanette also ended up with Jamie, so I guess it was all worth it since she got what she wanted after all.

What did you think of the finale? Are you happy that we were given all the answers we were promised?

Leave your comments below, and we’ll see you for season 2 on Freeform


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