SDCC 2016 ‘Lucifer’: The Devil has a Mother

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

It just wouldn’t be a complete Comic-Con without a visit to Hell! Or rather, a re-visit with the Devil on vacation and his pals, both human and divine, as we dive into the panel for FOX’s Lucifer!

The panel included Tom Ellis (Lucifer), D.B. Woodside (Amenadiel), Tricia Helfer (Mom), Lesley-Ann Brandt (Maze), Aimee Garcia (Ella Lopez), and Executive Producers Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich.

For those of you who may not recall, season one of Lucifer ended with some feuding angelic brothers teaming up to take on some bad humans, a potential death and return from Hell, and, oh hey, the news that, someone escaped from Hell and Luci’s been tasked to go get them. Who escaped, you ask? The one person/entity/whatever that Lucifer, Amenadiel, even God himself apparently, is afraid of – Mom.

We all wondered, because at the end of season one, Henderson didn’t have an actress to play her: Someone who would end up with the previously unheard-of role of Mother of the Devil. Wonder no more, Comic-Con fans, for famed sci-fi maven, Tricia Helfer joined the cast of Lucifer on stage in role as Mom!

Helfer was gleeful and playful about her role, pointing out, “The ‘Mom’ chapter was left out of the Bible,” so the show had tons of wiggle-room to write that chapter themselves.

Lesley-Ann Brandt was eager to explain that her character, Maze, would have her own version of emancipation in season two, being forced to remain on Earth  with Lucifer more or less as she is now. And of course, there is no love lost between Maze and Mom, who know each other pretty well, since, “Mom was in Hell and Maze was a prime torturer there, so their meeting again up on Earth is … tense.”

Aimee Garcia plays a new character on the show, forensic scientist Ella Lopez, who inevitably gets involved with Lucifer and Decker’s crime fighting. Garcia related an amusing little story where she surprise-hugged Tom Ellis in their first real scene together on the show. “I’m a hugger in real life and, apparently, so is Lopez; I just gave Tom a big hug and he was like, ‘Hey, go with it!’”

The audience was assured that Lucifer is still in therapy in season two, which is great because his therapy sessions are arguably some of the best scenes on the show. Woodside, who plays Amenadiel, Lucifer’s brother on the show, related that it was important to continue that aspect of Lucifer’s journey, “It’s always interesting to see a character be fragile, especially this character.”

Henderson happily explained that season one of Lucifer had most of the characters establishing their own roles on the show, so season two will have a lot more of the characters playing off each other and being much more together. He also gleefully explained to curious fans that the very reason Chloe Decker affects Lucifer in that way, will be explained in season two as well.

Lucifer will be back to set our everything a-boiling September 19, 2016 on FOX @9:00 p.m./8:00 p.m., Central!

‘Powers’ Season Two Premiere: Who Really Killed Retro Girl?

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

Welcome back to the continuation of the finale from the previous season, the hunt for the killer of Retro Girl, already in progress. Powers is the show about people with extraordinary powers, their long-reaching consequences, and the ordinary folk trying to live with, and occasionally police, the powers among them!

Walker (Sharlto Copley) is still keeping very much himself, despite having just defeated the psychotic murderer, Wolf, and coming off seeing the throat-slit corpse of Retro Girl laid out in a glaring statement of hate – he curses, he rages, and he absolutely fucking refuses to sit still. The Captain, of course, wants Christian off the Retro Girl case right now, considering the FBI just walked in to breathe down his neck and Walker is far too close to her death. Walker’s partner, Pilgrim got assigned to the case with Kutter, which makes no one happy, but at least someone familiar is on it in some kind of official capacity.

Did I mention the FBI? Yeah. In walks Agents Lange (Tricia Helfer) and Schlag (Timothy Douglas Perez), a dynamic duo that are giant pain in the asses as far as Captain Cross is concerned. Schlag is very obviously some kind of Power, he looks like a walking piece of granite and never speaks. And Lange, well, she has the Helfer magic to give her that give-zero-fucks attitude, which, since she’s a season two regular apparently, is just going to piss everyone at Powers Division off.

Actually, how long the Powers Division will last in the wake of the death of Retro Girl, is debatable. I still don’t get how shutting down the PD is going to help catch the murderer, but when has logic ever held sway in this grand country of ours? Zora is still laid up in the hospital after her bout with Wolf, but when she gets wind of Retro Girl’s demise, she takes off determinedly out a window. Good thing she’d been practicing her powers quietly before trying that. Speaking of practicing, our dear little wannabe, Calista, is all grown up, mostly sorta kinda, and practicing her newborn powers out there in the desert. Where, presumably, she won’t kill anyone or flatten anything of importance, as she tries so very hard to fly like Iron Man and bench press a truck.

Everyone is trying to use the aftermath of RG’s death to push forward some kind of platform or statement. Even, amazingly, the former Cobalt Knight of the UNITY trio that Retro Girl formed to fight crime way back when; he’s now Senator Bailey Brown and is trying to put forth a bill that will make the use of any and all powers illegal and prosecutable. The last member of UNITY, SuperShock (Michael Madsen), just has to show up while Christian is taking a last walk of RG’s digs and declare for vengeance.

The re-emergence of SuperShock, or Patrick, as Christian sometimes calls him, out of a self-imposed 40-year retirement, is one of season two’s main plots and so far quite intriguing. We’re led to believe that something, or perhaps a series of somethings, horrific, led to Patrick’s ultimate retirement and swearing off the regulated cape and uniform, and indeed, as he speaks with Walker about the death of Retro Girl, even now he seems a broken man. I look forward to much rampant destruction as Madsen’s battered hero glomps his way towards the truth of her death.

Unfortunately for him, right now the only real suspect at the moment is Krispin Stockley (Max Fowler), given his known association with Khaotic Chic and general dislike for Powers folk, plus that whole wrong-place-wrong-time deal. Despite the real-seeming possibility that Krispin, his little wannabe-anarchist girlfriend, and their anti-powers radicals, I think it’s highly unlikely that all of them could pull such a thing off. If they did it, they’d have to have dubious help, and other suspects are already cropping up. Don’t miss Walker and Pilgrim and all their powers and human friends and enemies, battling them and each-other for supremacy and Retro Girl’s legacy in Powers Season Two!

Powers is being shown exclusively on the Playstation Network, but for everyone else who doesn’t have such a thing, you can catch new episodes on their website here!


‘Falling Skies’ Finale: We Will Never Surrender!

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

So here we are at the end of a five-season era, where the straggling remnants of the Second Mass. have banded together for one last shot at taking down the alien invaders of earth called Espheni!

I don’t know what I was quite expecting, but I don’t think it was this. The TNT channel gave us The Last Ship, Southland, The Librarians (both the TV movies and the show), and even Babylon 5, once upon a time. So we know they can do sci-fi drama damned well, given half the opportunity. What Robert Rodat and TNT created over five seasons of Falling Skies is a show with a ton of heart, showcasing the common struggles of humanity – the battle between the sexes, the power vacuum between parents and children, and the genuine desire for peace amidst so much violent death – parceled out piecemeal inside an alien invasion to take over earth!

We’ve come to know and love these characters: Tom Mason, former historian teacher, reluctantly embracing his leader role in the rebellion; Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood), the formerly fragile doctor who becomes Mason’s tough-as-nails wife; those wacky Mason kids, Hal (Drew Roy) with his girlfriend troubles, Ben (Connor Jessup) and his Skitter spikes, and Matt (Maxim Knight) in his tiny-soldier glory; Captain Weaver in his weary, duty-laden journey; that crazy, former biker, trouble-making anarchist, Pope, plus his former hottie turned bad-ass, Maggie; and, of course, never forget the friendly alien Volm ally whom Mason named Cochise (Doug Jones).

Now, I’ve been a fan of Falling Skies since it began, and have dutifully attended all sorts of panels at conventions for the show, and hoarded all kinds of swag: the fake light-up Skitter neckband, the Second Mass. leather and metal bracelet, the numerous Overlord and Falling Skies pins, the makeup, the set photos, the many posters, oh my! If it has to do with Falling Skies I’m all over it! But this particular article has mostly to do with the last season of FS, and not the entire series. With that in mind, onward we go!

Spoiler, Spoiler, Spoilers!

Hooooboy, how did we get here again? At the end of season four, no one expected to see Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) ever again, much less alive and apparently completely unharmed. He piloted the Beemer to the moon with Lexi’s help, and there were issues, but stuff did indeed go boom, more or less like it was supposed to. But then, hey, Tom’s back to lead the dregs of humanity in their last stand against the remainder of the Espheni! How did he get there? Well…

Sadly, FS kind of succumbed (once again) to their own sci-fi trope, and brought in yet another unheard-of alien race, who just happen to be ancient enemies with the Espheni of course, called the Dornia. Taking the physical-ish form of Tom’s former wife, who died, the Dornia saved him, and go on continuing to save the Mason patriarch throughout the season, like a plot-hole savior.

And the Espheni themselves, they’re preparing to welcome their Queen, their Godlike figure, the inevitable hive-mind mistress whose presence only occurs when the Espheni are sure of victory and shift from invasion to occupation of a planet. But the Dornia, like the Volm, are friendlies and want to aid humanity in the absolute destruction of the Espheni, so they brought Tom back to everyone, almost Jesus-style, to gather the last remnants of human resistance and make a last stand! But meanwhile…

The Second Mass. has never lacked for internal drama, so while Maggie (Sara Carter) is running around with spikes in her neck, lifted from Ben, that make her waffle between Ben and Hal Mason, Pope (Colin Cunningham) is absolutely losing his freaking mind when he loses the last woman he truly loved, Sara (and, yes, it was at least partially Tom’s fault). Weaver (Will Patton) gets his heart broken once again when the Second Mass. takes refuge with the Fourteenth Virginia, and his old flame, Captain Katie Marshall (Melora Hardin), who turns out to be a nasty, engineered clone of the original, working for the Espheni amongst the humans.

The Second Mass. — but mostly the Mason boys once again — being put on trial for crimes against humanity is a wonderfully ironic twist of fate, and would have afforded Tom the opportunity to do a grand speech all laden with historical quotes, like he did way back in season one, but not quite. Pope took an unstable Anthony (Mpho Koaho) with him and defected after Sara’s death, shaving his head very Breaking Bad style, and vowing vengeance on that pain in the ass, Tom Mason. Hal found a new girl, Isabella (Catalina Sandino Moreno), to chase while being held prisoner by Pope, mainly because Maggie’s over there being all chummy with Ben while they share Skitter spikes. Maggie’s decision near the end to have her spikes removed was a very human thing to do, despite the fact that it could’ve killed her and, really, they probably could’ve used a different source besides Ben for enemy information, but hey, none of that in the face of Maggie’s resolve!

Reports are starting to come in from all over the world, or at least the United States, of other militias wanting to join under the banner of Tom Mason and the Second Mass., to launch an all-out counter-offensive and destroy those damned aliens once and for all! But first, we have to find out where the Queen is, before we can gather everyone for that final showdown. And hey, it would help to have an alien catch-all weapon given to Tom by the Dornia, one that Anne and her pals can engineer to not slurp up humans, but that will destroy the Queen and, by dispersion, the rest of the Espheni — if only one can get close enough to her to do it!

So here we are in the final episode. We know the Queen is at the Lincoln monument in D.C. (of course she is!), the other militias are apparently converging on that spot, we have the working genocidal weapon, and the Second Mass. is moving out for the rumble-party. Amidst the falling monument rocks and killing aliens, Anne has one last surprise for Tom, and Hal picks right now to ask Maggie to marry him. Really?

Then comes separation and a final fatalistic talk with the Espheni Queen, who looks like a cross between Charlotte A. Cavatica and the Brainbug from Starship Troopers, and is voiced by an instantly recognizable Tricia Helfer. She informs Tom Mason that long ago, she sent her prized daughter-spider-thing to earth — to conquer, remember — and got all huffy when it turned out humanity was a lot stronger than she thought, and killed her baby. Oh, but not only did we kill our invader, we savage humans apparently consumed the spider-Queen’s offspring many millennia ago, too, so the Queen is going to reply by eating all of us, starting with Tom Mason. This kind of logic is very alien, and makes sense up to a certain point.

The glowy alien genocide weapon works like a charm, and Tom has one last demand for the Dornia: Save my wife, save Anne, the woman all the Mason boys love, basically the heart and soul of the Second Mass.: Save her!

But wait! We forgot about Pope! Actually, no, we didn’t. He was purported to have died in the previous episode’s explosion, and if you believe that, you don’t watch nearly as much TV as I do. But to tack on Pope and Tom’s final moments at the edge of the lake where Tom made his demand to the Dornia — with Pope ironically finally surrendering to Mason and actually being denied his own last request — it seemed unfair to a character we’ve grown to at least sympathize with. Pope seemed to embody the potential darkness and frustration in humanity in any stressful situation, and we need that, to remind us that the failings of humanity is still part of what makes us human.

Here we are at the Lincoln monument some time later — full circle, I guess — with a sweetly rounded Anne and a chagrined Tom Mason about to give a speech before the newly assembled United Nations equivalent. Everyone is wearing galaxy pins to symbolize their union with the Volm, which is nice. We see the remnants of the Second Massachusetts Militia Regiment: Matt is writing the history of the “Last of the World War,” and seems likely follow in his father’s historical footsteps; Hal and Maggie are together and apparently happy; Ben is hangin’ with the Volm delegation that, of course, includes Cochise; Anthony’s in a crisp uniform and Captain Weaver has forgiven him, looking proudly over his extended family like a wizened old uncle. Tom gives his speech, gets his heartfelt cheer, and the camera pans out to Orion’s Belt and the message, “We are not alone out there.” And that’s it.

You can’t have it both ways: Epic globe-spanning war and intimate home-schooled insurrection by a handful of people — it won’t work. At least, the final season of Falling Skies tried to make it that way, and about halfway succeeded. I think we’ll miss those small moments, the Second Mass. sitting around the fire with speeches and toasts before what is likely to be their final battle tomorrow, more than the awesomely epic Hollywood-never-runs-out-of-ammo, DIE! flying alien bug bits. But all in all, the Second Mass. and Falling Skies, for all its faults and humanity, will be genuinely missed.