‘Lucifer’ Finale: You’re Smarming, Darling

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), the fallen angel from Biblical old testament times himself, thought, “Screw this noise,” and popped off from Hell for a vacation here on earth. He just had to get involved with the one woman he simply can’t charm and coerce, who happens to be a police officer, Chloe Decker (Lauren German), and now, somehow, the Devil incarnate is the equivalent of a police-attache CI. Of course, there’s various dramas with the people around Chloe to contend with, too – mainly her ex, Dan Espinoza (Kevin Alejandro); also a cop and the father of her child Trixie; and the brought-back-from-the-dead fellow officer, Malcolm (Kevin Rankin), who turns out to be a psycho pawn to be used against Lucifer. Our Devil there runs his bar with the help of Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt), “call me Maze for short”: A sexy demon, deadly with her knives that he brought out of Hell with him. Luci (don’t look at me — that’s what his brother calls him) also has to contend with Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), a brother Angel here on earth, determined to stop at nothing to send our weary Devil back to Hell where he belongs, damn it.

I think I may have figured out at least one of the secrets to Lucifer’s appeal, despite his many many failings – somehow, a lot like Jack Sparrow, if one thinks about it, he manages to be both smarmy and charming at the same time. Thu,s I give you the newly coined, just for FOX’s version of Lucifer, description: smarming. Lucifer’s flippant accent and attitude just adds another layer of smarming, because we all know Brits make the best bad guys. But that’s just it – in this adaptation of the ultimate Fallen One, Lucifer Morningstar is an under-the-radar nightclub owner who thinks he can use bad to do good, coaxing the truth under all those desires from evil-doers and only really resorting to the bedroom red-eyed cloven-hoofed monstrosity on those who really deserve it. There are a few moments when he goes Beast Leviathan 666 monster on people who really did deserve it, and the fact that it happens so rarely is somehow all part of his infernally charming package. This is a much more humane version of Lucifer and when he realizes it, the Devil does something very human – he gets a therapist.

Lucifer Morningstar’s therapy sessions with Linda Martin are some of the very high points of the show, whether the sessions are between the sheets or on a couch in her office. Because of course Lucifer sleeps with his therapist, at least for a while, in the beginning, and he’s obviously smarming enough outside the boudoir to let Martin deal professionally with his insistent metaphors about Angels and God and whatnot. Owed in no small part to the wonderful performance from Rachael Harris as Dr. Martin, we watch and are delighted by Lucifer’s therapy, the way Linda deals with his idiosyncrasies make us all wish we could have a therapist like that.

Lord Lucifer is all kinds of used to reading the minds of us humans, with our darkest desires easily brought to the surface and all, and smarming his way into the pants of every single woman he meets, just about. So, when he meets Officer Chloe Decker and is simply unable to convince her to sleep with him or float her darkest desires to the top, he is, of course, simply fascinated, darling, and determined to stick to her like tar to find out why. Lucifer discovers, to his chagrin, that Decker’s presence seems to humanize him instead, making him both literally and figuratively vulnerable to the frailties of being human. One would think that discovering hanging out around a human woman, a cop no less, makes Lucifer susceptible to things like bullet wounds, would deter him from her presence forever, but no. This version of the Devil delights in squiggly naughty things and thumbing his nose in Dad’s general direction without ever actually committing what we would consider true soul-crushing evil. In fact, Lucifer discovers he enjoys punishing bad guys so much, he tells Amenadiel to stuff it when his brother comes a-calling, demanding Lucifer return to his rightful place in Hell.

So what’s an Angelic brother to do? Amenadiel has been shadowing Lucifer throughout this entire season, watching our Devil fumble with his humanity versus his accursed divinity, and patience apparently isn’t his strong suit. So Amenadiel brought Malcolm back from the dead (I didn’t know Angels could do that), out of Hell and into his service, with one clear goal in mind – frame and then kill Lucifer Morningstar. What Amenadiel didn’t count on is the sheer surprises in life, including learning to actually care about Maze after he sleeps with her. She is after all a demon. And he didn’t expect Malcolm to go bugshit nuts trying to keep his butt from being sent back to the Hot Place. It’s all come down to this finale episode, where Lucifer has been successfully framed for murder, Decker’s trying to arrest him, Amenadiel has finally come round to start helping Lucifer, and we just know there will be all sorts of confrontations involved, including one completely unexpected.

The bad guys doing a couple of bare-knuckle rounds with a pair of pissed-off Seraphim amazed me – if you believe the hype as far as the highest Choir of Angels goes, you could strap a backpack nuke to a Seraph and he/it probably wouldn’t even sneeze, nevermind attempting straight fisticuffs. (But perhaps I watched a little too much Dominion and Legion.) We got treated to an adorable double therapy session when both Luci and Amenadiel went to see Dr. Martin, and now everyone’s on the hunt for Malcolm! But we can’t forget that Decker’s presence makes Lucifer vulnerable, so when he takes some gunshots, we fear this could be the end of at least Lucifer’s human body. Not so, Ellis fans, for Lucifer Morningstar rises to save the day most improbably and drops something even more surprising later, when he and Amenadiel are celebrating coming through this mess – Dad, that Divine parental absentee landlord that Lucifer’s been ranting at this entire time, not only spoke to Lucifer at the moment of his proposed death, He sent Luci back to earth with a mission. Find the one important person who escaped Hell’s clutches and send them back to the Pit. And who is the one person that could actually terrify Amenadiel, Lucifer, and even Dad? Well. Lucifer calls her, “Mum.”

It also bears noting that the soundtrack for the show is really great and worth looking into, not just yet more repetitions of “Sympathy for the Devil.” The finale out-tro confirmed that Lucifer has been renewed for a season two on Fox, so let the mother of the Devil speculation begin!

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‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E12: Hot Pilgrim Versus The World

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

Spoilers ahead!

Remember the ethical conundrum of going back in time and killing baby Hitler? Well, it’s an ethical dilemma for good guys. But what if bad guys had the power to go back in time and kill their enemies as babies, wouldn’t they be doing that all the time? We explore that theme in the latest episode of Legends of Tomorrow.

Last episode, we were ominously introduced to The Pilgrim, a rather sexy-but-evil time-traveling assassin the Time Masters employ to eliminate troublesome people when they were defenseless children, because the Time Masters are jerks. She has a cool black coat, so I’m giving her points for style, even if she is a meanie. We first see her in the introduction, going back in time, presumably to baby-murder a man judged to be guilty of “time piracy in the first degree” (seriously, what IS that?) by the Time Masters. We don’t see her do it, but we do see him writhe in pain and disappear from reality in a puff in the future. Nasty.

Then, the Time Masters give her a hit list of our favorite heroes, except Kendra (who can reincarnate) and Captain Hunter (who is too important to the timestream to be removed from history). The first person who gets attacked is Rory, during a fire at his home when he was a child (that litle pyromaniac). Teen Rory is saved by Ray, and then is abducted onto the Waverider. Next on the list is Sara, who was also targeted as a teenager, but also saved, by her future self, and put on the Waverider. At that point, the team decides to be pro-active and abduct all of their selves as babies to ensure the Pilgrim never has a chance to target any of them. They are successful at this, and watching the Pilgrim fail over and over at killing makes her seem less badass than she was made out to be.

Still, the point of the episode wasn’t so much the confrontation with the Pilgrim; it’s the characters confronting people from their pasts (including their younger selves). Time travelers get a unique opportunity to make peace with their past demons, and to fix past regrets. For Jax, it was getting a chance to talk to a father he never knew, because he was killed in action right after Jax was born. For Rory, it was to tell his younger self that burning down the house was a dumb thing to do, but he was just a kid. And finally, putting all these kids in a safe place was Rip Hunter, whose younger self and foster mother we also meet. We then learn young Rip isn’t as helpless as we thought he was, and shines a new light on his character.

I expected more of a Terminator-like episode (the movie is even quoted by Ray), where our heroes have to stop a relentless and efficient time-traveling killer, but they only got the relentless part right: The Pilgrim isn’t at all efficient. The episode, however, wasn’t about her, it was about the main characters. We get to know them a bit more, and thus we love them a bit more.

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‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season 3 Finale: The Hidden One Should’ve Stayed Hidden

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Spoilers in the shadows!

Okay, hold up a minute here. You mean to tell me that Fox took a uniquely premised show with an established fanbase, and gambled on it? Did someone threaten to not renew the show for another season, and the Fox folk went, “Then we’ll go out swingin’!”? I’m leaning towards the second option, personally – it seems like the finale was deliberately made to generate fan response, for good or ill, perhaps to prove that Sleepy Hollow still has quite a fanbase to the people holding the axe. And I don’t mean the Headless Horseman from the show, though he does make a remarkable appearance in the finale.

So, it can be summed up fairly easily, if you’ve been paying attention – our Witnesses and their teammates, for they are several now, have to band together with freaking Pandora (Shannyn Sossamon) and her box, to take out her godly husband the Hidden One (Peter Mensah), the guy who’s been this season’s big bad. The wraparound story that is the whole Hidden One thing is a bit flimsy and mildly desperate. But these offshoot storylines you get from the wraparound, especially the ones involving National Treasure-like hunts led by Ichabod freaking Crane (Tom Mison) and his fearless sidekick Lieutenant Abby Mills, are what make the show unique and special, and I daresay still popular with the Fox viewing public. So nyah, nay-sayers.

We learned to care about Jennie Mills (Lyndie Greenwood) and Corbin’s son Joe (Zach Appelman), we saw Ichabod grow into a layer of skin here in the modern world, we even saw a rather fine bit of acting from Nicole Beharie as Abby Mills, when now-Agent Mills is sent to the catacombs of the underworld and lost for nearly a year. Denied food or rest, Mills made us believe we were there with her, even for a second, and that sold her PTSD when Crane and pals brought her back.

Far too often now, it’s Pandora just showing up — poof — whenever she feels like it, to make demands or commands, depending on the whim, usually concerning her infernal box. She unleashed the Hidden One on the world and now she’s waffling as to whether or not that really was the best idea. Pandora flits between reluctantly helping her demanding husband to meeting with the Witnesses in secret to plead for aid and back again. It gets mildly tedious after a while. The Hidden One can’t do his Armageddon on the world until he’s at full strength and that has something to do with an hourglass that accumulates power and yadda yadda. Neither Pandora nor the Hidden One compare to the mini storylines that show Betsy Ross (Nikki Reed) weaving her finest American flag ever, that has a hidden route in it to get to the underworld, or Joe fighting as the Wendigo, or even the startling return of the Mills sisters’ father, Ezra (James McDaniel).

So after all this funnery of trying to get the pieces of Pandora’s box finally back together, more of General Washington’s machinations against the supernatural that reach from the past into the fighting present and the threat of yet another evil god taking out the world with Sleepy Hollow as a base, Abbie Mills, the practical half of the Witnesses souls, chooses to offer her own life to stop the Hidden One. This actually happens, her voluntary real death that is, in the first half of the season three final episode, like in the first fifteen minutes, even.

A good deal of the rest of the episode is spent insisting that Abbie’s soul can be brought back, to somehow force Pandora into letting her out of that infernal box, and all will be set right with the world. Or will it? We’ve far-too-easily defeated the Hidden One and, of course, now have to deal with Pandora having far too much power to be left to run unchecked. This end scene where Pandora bites it is one of the few high spots of the episode, because Crane brilliantly brings in his old nemesis, the Headless Horseman, to do battle with Pandora, and it works.

After that, the rest of the episode is pathetically spent trying to accept the deaths of Joe Corbin and Abbie Mills, while their spirits hang out in the equivalent of a purgatory diner, so they both can get a last talk in with Corbin Sr. before moving on to whatever. *le sigh* The very end finds Ezra Mills giving Crane a new assignment in the graveyard, because of course General Washington was actually making a supernatural agency and intended Crane to run it, and of course Ezra Mills and Corbin Sr. were all part of it. Crane gets reassured that there will always be two Witnesses and that some offshoot of Abbie’s bloodline will inherit the Witness part of her soul, to be reborn again. And, right about then, some shady folk claiming to be the FBI show up and insist Crane come with them, to the closing strains of – what else? – “Sympathy for the Devil.”

There was an almost immediate fan displeasure reaction when the season finale came out and Sleepy Hollow still hasn’t been picked up for a fourth season, as yet. Nicole Beharie in particular received an outpouring of love for her portrayal of an incredibly strong black female character in a very different supernatural series. Everyone wants to know who the new Witness will be, if there will be one at all, and yes about Crane’s exciting new job as the head of the Sleepy Hollow Supernatural Agency, but to do it without Abbie? You may have just drowned your own shark. The people at Fox will have to come up with something extra special and unique for an already standalone show, for me to continue watching. We’ll miss you Abbie!

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‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E11: Welcome to a Town Called Salvation

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Sharp-shootin’ spoilers a-comin’!

Ah, yes. Here we are hiding in the Old West, away from the Hunters the Time Masters sent after our Legends, and of course the town is called Salvation. Ray is immediately fan-boying the whole old west scene and Sarah wants to take a look around outside, so everyone gets ship-made, era-appropriate clothing and some pistols and away we go!

The entrance of our Legends in their various western-style getups with that slo-mo gangster walk and the heroic cowboy music into the town of Salvation is a hoot and a holler and looks fun and laughably ridiculous. Sarah and Rory immediately begin a drinking binge with alcohol that could take the paint off your walls, Stein surprisingly gets to gambling with Snart, and Kendra has an unexpected encounter in the saloon over (what else?) a disagreement on how to treat ladies, even saloon ladies. Next thing you know, Snart’s killed a bad guy and started a bar brawl. It’s the old west right? But things are almost immediately stopped by a smart figure in a very old uniform with a uniquely scarred face, the bounty hunter extraordinaire of the cowboy-inspired part of DC comics, Jonah Hex!

Of course, idiot Ray, with his penchant for modern history names like the highly original “John Wayne,” wants to save the town of Salvation from the tyranny of the Stillwater gang and insists the crew stay to do so. Never mind that Ray finds himself the new Sheriff and really has not a bit of experience with pistols,  he is good at planning and strategizing. So, when the Stillwater gang comes in for their first confrontation, they get an invitation to go packing from the carefully placed sharp-shooter Legends arranged about the town square!

Not a bit of this impresses Jonah Hex (Jonathon Schaech), however, who reminds our Legends that whenever they do decide to leave Salvation with the Stillwater gang matter unresolved, the same thing that happened to Calvert will happen here. What is Calvert, we ask? Gideon explains it was a town in Oklahoma a few years before their current time-location that was destroyed in the aftermath of a younger Rip Hunter and Jonah Hex feeling their oats and regrets. Yes, our Captain knew Jonah Hex from before; the show even implies that Hunter’s murdered son in the future, Jonas, is named in Hex’s honor.

Stein, meanwhile, is very taken with the kind woman with the dying son from the original bar brawl. He has the consumption, you see, and his mother wanted him to see the west and ride that stagecoach he always wanted to, before tuberculosis takes him down completely. Stein, with his large heart and science-y brain, absolutely refuses to sit by and let this happen, insisting on the Waverider synthesizing a cure as close to old western medicine as he can manage, and giving it to the boy.

Sarah and Kendra have gone off riding into the woods to go looking for the woman Kendra encountered at the saloon, who, of course, offers them a lead-lined greeting when they find her. Turns out, this older, hardened woman who lives bitterly alone is actually a former incarnation of Kendra herself, the aging Hawkgirl who endures in obscurity because in this time period, there isn’t any Carter to comfort her. She claims, in sorrow and regret, that Kendra will never love another person the way she loves Carter, that trying to love anyone else always ends in tears, that the two hawk folk are fated to be together forever and ever. Which, considering the original mission of our Legends bucking future fate and all, doesn’t go down well for Kendra.

So, the boys mistakenly went to go confront the Stillwater gang and end up with a bad guy in their med bay and down a teammate; Jax gets himself taken. Much arguing later, we’re going to have High Noon from Captain Hunter in town square and inevitably it’s not that simple – right about then is when the Hunters decide to show up, and main street of Salvation is suddenly filled with flying fire guys and laser beam future-pistol shots!

The showdown on main street is actually pretty cool. Hawkgirl is doing dive-bombs, Jax and Stein are fire-bombing their way up and down the street, Jonah Hex is firing the future pistol he borrowed from Captain Hunter, Ray’s in his A.T.O.M. suit doing damage, and the criminal twins and their assassin friend are shooting and stomping their way through the villains!

The Hunters just have to get in the last word before defeat, telling Rory that the Timemasters have sent the Pilgrim after our Legends, which can’t be good. Stein gets the most astonishing information when he goes to say goodbye to the young boy he saved from tuberculosis, who happens to not-so-coincidentally bear his father’s surname, Wells. Herbert George Wells, as a matter of fact. Absolutely adorkable. Sarah and Kendra are back from their walkabout, and it’s time to have a talk with Ray, sadly. And now it’s time for one final talk with everyone around the planning table, because the Timemasters have sent the Pilgrim, their deadliest assassin, into everyones previous timelines, to stop all our Legends from becoming thus long before they could do anything about it!

Catch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Thursdays on the CW at 8:00 p.m./7:00 p.m., Central!

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E10 : Teach Your Children Well

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

All the Spoilers!

When we last left our intrepid Legends, things had gotten all shook up! The real identity of Chronos has been revealed, Rory is back aboard the Waverider, and the next time jump is intended for the future!

The Kasnian Conglomerate is the main corporation in charge of things here in the future, where we’re now attempting to hunt down Vandal Savage at a stockholders meeting approximately five years before the destruction of Captain Hunter’s future world. After some adorable sleight of eye, our Legends get an earful of the untenable situation for those outside the Kasnian borders, living in squalor and misery as they are. Predictably, Vandal Savage, who is sitting at the stockholders’ table, is all in favor of a culling, which is exactly what it sounds like. He’s also a tutor to Per Degaton, son of his main opposition on the council, the kid Captain Hunter equates to the Adolf Hitler of his own time. This information leads to a very frank discussion around the planning table, bringing up one of the great philosophical questions of any generation: If you had a time machine, would you go back and kill Adolf Hitler? Or the LoT equivalent, which, in this case, means killing Per Degaton.

Everyone on the team has an opinion about this plan, ranging from outraged at infanticide to the “I volunteer as tribute already,” drawl of Snart. So, instead, our well-meaning heroes graduate from infanticide to child abduction, thinking this is somehow better, and figuring they’ll decide what to do with Little Lord Fauntleroy after they’ve nabbed him. The team’s actual method of kidnapping the mini-goose-stepper are fairly clever and fun.

Meanwhile, Ray and Stein and Jax have all gone to check out the robotics department of the place that made the autonomous robots based on Palmer’s A.T.O.M. design. What do they find? A very merry sci-fi alum, in the form of Jewel Staite as Doctor Rachel Turner, purportedly the great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Palmer himself. So yes, Ray gets to have his own internal mini-crisis, at the idea that his ghosted girlfriend back in 2016, who never got a name mind you, potentially had his child. And, you know, that his family would be responsible for the bots Savage uses in the future in his massive despotic takeover.

Elsewhere, Kendra is dealing with visions of her past lives, in particular the life with Carter that led to the birth of the Boardmans and their son. The flashback scenes are in sepia Oz-style tones, which is fine, I suppose, but I’d like to see some other lives, too. How about a Victorian Hawkgirl, or a Renaissance Hawkman? Well, the idea they seem to be trying to get across is that, in this particular life, Kendra will make her own choices, and right now, she chooses Ray. For a while, anyway.

Also in the midst of this funnery, people are visiting the clear cage Rory is being kept in, each speaking with him in their own way, from their own point of view. Sarah’s scene in particular, how she speaks so bluntly from a position of absolute calm and without any fear, about the bond between Rory and Snart, is a gorgeous little piece of writing. Only Sarah could somehow get Snart to finally go to his adopted brother, his partner, the heat to his cold, honestly the other part of his soul. So much for being a soulless League of Assassins killer; we heart you Sarah.

So, Captain Hunter is off with mini-Hitler in tow, to learn once again the simple lesson that we’re supposed to be a team, and you really shouldn’t be trying to do these time-changing moments alone. Because, hey, Savage and the future-time military police are headed for our Legends, to steal back Per Degaton at any cost! Time for lots of fighting, some harsh Palmer family truths, and a final exchange of he-who-could-become-Hitler and Sarah with the enemy!

None of this sits well with Captain Hunter, especially since the current-future timeline shows Per Degaton taking out his competition and Savage’s rise to sudden power. Ray and Kendra have come to an understanding and that’s fine, for now. The best part of the last segment is the fight between Rory and Snart, where the two of them finally hash it all out with their fists, after which a healthy serving of nasty truth is served up to the entire team, and a new mission of sorts is given: run.

Next episode, our Legends are headed to the Old West and the introduction of another epic DC character, Jonah Hex!

Catch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Thursdays on the CW at 8:00 p.m./7:00 p.m., Central!

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‘Legends of Tomorrow’ S1E9: It’s All Fun and Games till Someone Loses a Hand

by Agent Nur Hussein (a.k.a. The Robot Whisperer)

Spoilers ahead!

Chronos has attacked the Waverider, and it’s disappeared through time! Sarah, Kendra, and Ray arrive at the ship, but do not get to board it before it winks out of time after Chronos kidnaps Snart — curiously, just him. The Waverider spirals out of control in the time warp, as it was sabotaged by Chronos, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride through time before Captain Hunter can stabilize the ship and find their friends again.

Meanwhile, as Captain Hunter and the remaining crewmembers try and regain control of the ship, Sarah, Kendra and Ray wait in vain for the return of their comrades. Ray proposes that they only need to wait a few minutes for their friends to arrive, because they have a time machine and can land precisely when they left. When the Waverider doesn’t arrive, Sara is the first to suggest the crew is dead and they need to just live out the rest of their days in the ’50s. The trio rent an apartment in Hub City, and though Ray continues to try and contact the Waverider via homemade homing beacons, a frustrated Sara gives up and heads off to join the League of Assassins.

Two years later, Ray is a professor and Kendra is a librarian, and they’ve built a life together as a happy couple. Just as Ray was about to propose to Kendra after a romantic picnic, the Waverider shows up again to rescue them, homing in on Ray’s beacon. Kendra is estatic but Ray isn’t happy, as he is quite fond of his new life. However, there are more pressing issues at hand; they need to find Sara. Luckily, the Waverider computer has records of the names of every single member of the League of Assassins since the invention of writing. Gideon pulls up a list of names and dates written in Arabic. The computer finds a record of “Ta-er Al-Sahfer” which was Sara’s name in the League. As an aside, the entry indicated on the computer is just a random jumble of disconnected Arabic letters (real Arabic words are written by connecting the letters) and it doesn’t even remotely spell “Ta-er Al-Sahfer,” although the date 1958 is written correctly in Arabic numerals. Honestly, they couldn’t afford a language consultant?

So, now the team has to go get Sara back from the League of Assassins: Right in the secret base of Ra’s Al-Ghul! They set a course for Nanda Parbat and sneak into Ra’s Al-Ghul’s palace, only to find Sara totally devoted to the cause and getting her friends captured. The penalty for trespassing is execution, and Sara doesn’t seem to care at all. Captain Hunter says being stranded in a foreign time causes one’s mind to go astray, and it’s up to the team to get her to snap out of it before it all ends badly.

On the Waverider, Snart finds himself being confronted by Chronos, and a shocking revelation awaits him as he sits bound by handcuffs to a metal railing. Chronos tracks the rest of the team to Tibet, and when he leaves Snart on the ship to capture them, Snart frees himself by grabbing his nearby freeze gun, freezing his hand and actually shattering it to pieces! That’s brave, buddy, but couldn’t you have frozen the railing instead?

The final confrontation is one epic showdown in the lair of Ra’s Al-Ghul, and it’s our team versus ninjas versus Chronos, and by the end of the episode the show’s characters have a brand new dynamic. We’ll see where that goes in the following weeks. Stay tuned!

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‘Allegiant’: Always Another Wall to Get Over

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

We’ve been waiting for two whole movies to find out what’s beyond the surrounding wall of post-apocalyptic Chicago, and it’s finally here! The first film, Divergent, set the stage for the world in which post-devastation Chicago lives under the yoke of the factions that divide them from each other, and the legend of the mold-breaker Divergent haunts the city leaders. In the sequel, Insurgent, Tris Prior has been labeled a fabled Divergent and, as the factions break down in Chicago and people are chasing her for their own ends, prophecy comes to light about what’s really beyond the walls of the city. Now, here we are with a third film in which, immediately, Tris and crew are dead-set on scaling those walls and finding out what’s really in the great beyond, so let’s get into this!

The spoilers, they never end!

Those improbable Dauntless climbing rigs really are cool; I think you all should’ve kept them once you made it over the wall. And, yes, it’s a shame Tori (Maggie Q) only made it to the top of the wall before getting killed, but hey, it was farther than she ever got in her Divergent-helping life. Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James), along with the ever-insistent Peter (Miles Teller) and Tris’ forgiven brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort), are out there traversing the pink, pock-marked wasteland in despair while the bad guys from Chicago are trying to chase them down. Is this really all there is beyond the wall — say it’s not so — there has to be something else out here besides a bleeding sky and dead building skeletons and – wait, what’s that? It’s another wall.

But, hey, once you get past that wall and the unexpected super future-science soldiers show up, saving us from the bad guys who chased us all the way past Chicago’s wall, it’s not so bad. Time to get placed in a transport bubble, taken to the cleanest decontamination process you’ve ever had ever, and dosed with a heaping helping of future-truth from the guy in charge, Director Call-me-David (Jeff Daniels).

The present-future is still rather hampered by the past, where we humans did all manner of fuckery to ourselves with genetic modification and the like. This is not explained all that clearly; basically, what we’re left with is the revelation that Chicago itself is a giant petri dish experiment, struggling to bring about the natural selection of the Pure amongst the Damaged. Tris, being a Divergent, is, of course, the very first Pure to be brought out of Chicago, and David wants to take her to the nearby city of Providence, before the Council, to prove their experimentations actually worked and change the face of the world forever!

Whew! Meanwhile, Four has been assigned to the Dauntless-sneering futuristic military operations of the Bureau, and Caleb and Peter have been remanded to the amazing surveillance system, to keep tabs on the war brewing in the faction-less aftermath of Chicago. The experimental city is bent on tearing itself apart in the wake of former leader-villain Evelyn’s death, and the factions are re-forming as they prepare to go to war. Inevitably, what was Amity now announces its new name, Allegiant (there’s your fourth wall broken), and is determined to go to war with the other factionless, who are staging executions as part of the newly discovered freedom of what to do with POWs there in Chicago. Four got himself assigned to what ultimately turns out to be a raid — of children, no less — kidlings living out in the badlands to be stolen from their parents on David’s own orders and sent to be raised as brainwashed soldiers for the Bureau. Four tries to warn Tris that David is a bad man but Tris figures she’s got this and goes off in the flying bubble with David to Providence to state their case before the Council.

But it’s all happening more or less simultaneously – Chicago’s about to go to Armageddon-like war, Tris screwed David and the Council over pretty hardcore, Peter’s made his choice to help the bad guys of the Bureau – the metaphorical and real walls are caving in everywhere! David’s son Matthew, whom you might recognize as Bill Skarsgard, has decided to help Tris and company escape the Bureau however he might, and there is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it easter egg when Tris uses his key card to get out and the card announces Matthew as Pure, as well. The orange forget-me-not gas is being let out everywhere, people are panicking, and only Tris and her friends can save the day! The movie draws to a somewhat climactic close with Tris and her pals, except the raging, kept-out Peter, of course, preparing to bring down yet another wall and stop the war brewing inside Chicago, and the present-day battles revving up on the outside!

I’ve long been a fan of the Divergent movie series, far over The Hunger Games or pretty much any other dystopian future films based on a YA book series. This latest installment film doesn’t disappoint. In both tone and scope, keeping the same faction and breakout elements that made the book series so enjoyable to begin with, but also introducing a breath of fresh air in the form of sci-fi elements to the over-arcing storyline.

All the kids we met in the first movie have grown immeasurably, some into heroes and some into misled villains, and, for the most part, we approve of what they’re doing without the yoke of adult regret. Not yet, anyway. As always, Tris Prior is made to stand out, both when she’s a Divergent among the beleaguered of Chicago and when she’s among the Damaged of the Bureau, where she wears all-white amongst the fighting-practice blacks of everyone else. At least she has a much better haircut this time. The many walls of the Divergent world are constantly coming up and being broken down, both metaphorically and literally, often, and the films remind the up-and-coming generations to break free of their own walls with grace and gusto!

XXX