TV Review: Jane the Virgin

The next TV show you’re going to binge on.

Chances are, if you clicked on this link to check out this article, it’s probably for the following reasons:

  1. You heard about the TV show from a friend, and seeing the name pop up yet again made you want to figure out what the heck the hype is about.
  2. The word “virgin” caught your attention. (It’s okay, be honest.)
  3. You know someone named Jane?

Whatever the reason may be, I welcome you into this article and the world of Jane the Virgin, since it’s a TV show you certainly won’t want to miss.

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(The CW)

Jane the Virgin is a semi-new TV show from The CW network. An interesting feature to note is that the cast is almost entirely PoC (people of color), causing the show to receive a lot of attention for the unique characteristic to take on. (There is literally only 2 main white characters in the entire show.)

Uh oh. (The CW)
Uh oh. (The CW)

The story follows Jane Villanueva, a 23 year old who’s had her life meticulously planned and followed for as long as she can remember. But after one unfortunate visit to the clinic, she is accidentally, artificially inseminated by Rafael Solano, major hotel owner and Jane’s boss. The pregnancy is confirmed and Jane, a virgin, is forced to keep her life together and on track as much as she possibly can.

There is definitely a lot more that goes into the story, and the 22-episode season is full of drama and witty dialogue. But what stands out the most about this TV show is that focuses on family. Most shows from The CW are scandalous romance stories about cheating (Gossip Girl), vampires (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals), or some magic-supernatural subject (Supernatural). And while Jane the Virgin definitely does have its fair share of telenovela-worthy drama, at the end of each episode is the moral that family, no matter how large or small, is what always has your back, no matter the choice you make.

Family comes first, no matter what. (The CW)
Family comes first, no matter what. (The CW)

Moving out of all that cuteness, Jane the Virgin also has some seriously hot male leads. Or really, just one in particular, and he plays Jane’s beau Rafael Solano, super-rich, entitled hotel owner.

 

OMG x100000 (janegifs, Tumblr)
OMG x100000 (janegifs, Tumblr)
OMG x10000 (janegifs, Tumblr)
OMG x10000 (janegifs, Tumblr)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The narrator is also hilariously funny, and really one of the main reasons why I watch the show. His sass is unreal, but it’s something you need to watch episode-by-episode to get the best snippets and fully appreciate them. Here is a short snippet of a scene that perfectly captures this entire show, but remember, it really does get better.

Finally (although I already touched up on this before), it’s the new portrayal of a Latin American culture in a TV show that makes this so intriguing. Although I wish I can say this is a common scene on the American TV-screen, it’s not, despite the astonishing fact that there are over 54 million hispanics living in the United States. This fresh view reminds us of other new POV shows like Fresh Off The Boat, told from an Asian family’s perspective. With Jane the Virgin, you get a glimpse at a hispanic culture and family, while learning a bit of Spanish along the way. It’s the best of all worlds, and you need to go and watch the first episode, right now. (But after you finish all your homework.)

 

– Faith Choi (’16)

The Return of Game Of Thrones

Your favorite TV show is back, and it’s better than ever.

After the leak of almost half of its new season before the season premiere (remember, true fans stay loyal–don’t spoil it for yourself and watch all four leaked episodes!), Game of Thrones still returns to HBO with its usual blood and nudity for its fifth season on Sunday with 8 million views–just as much (or more) views as it would have even without the leak.

This episode is everything any fan would have hoped for, with some serious, major plot points. As usual, my expectations were met not even within twenty minutes into the episode. The plotlines were entirely compelling, which is what makes us come back for more each episode.

Here’s a quick recap on what went down:

The episode opens with a flashback of little Cersei and her friend visiting a supposed witch in the woods. Cersei, no different than she is now, shows no mercy or fear for the witch and demands her fortune or it’d be the last time the witch would open her eyes. The witch obliges to the fiery little Cersei and tells her that she will be queen until a younger, more beautiful queen casts her down; and although the king will have 20 children, Cersei will have three. Well, the two obvious candidates for this younger queen are Margaery Tyrell and Daenarys Tagaryen but we know for sure Cersei will be keeping a good eye on Margaery.

Back to the present, Cersei keeps busy as usual; blaming Jamie for her father’s death, she becomes warier of Margaery and laughs off her cousin Lancel’s efforts to convert her to a strange religious group he is now a part of. We can clearly tell this introduction to a new group of beings is a start to a new conflict. Lancel may look like a typical harmless believer of religion in his plain clothes and short hair, but he sure seems sinister and too pure to be true.

Margaery then walks in on her brother, Ser Loras, engaged in some kinky swordplay with a man named Oliver, in the bedroom. The two siblings bemusedly discuss whether Tywin’s death means his engagement to Cersei is off and Loras plants the idea that Margaery would be stuck in King’s Landing with Cersei, the monster-in-law. Cunning, plotting Margaery, we all know she would deal with this with her conniving ways, and she does, by manipulating her new husband, the new King. Is it just me or is this war between Cersei and Margaery strongly in Margaery’s favor? Cersei is being cautious and clearly needs to step up her game. I didn’t feel her dominance and control over herself and the ones around her as much as I expected.

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(HBO)

Meanwhile, our favorite Lannister finally rolls out of a box and wastes no time in getting back to his favorite hobby- drinking and being pessimistic. However, Varys has other plans for Tyrion Lannister- he wants to take Tyrion to Meereen to meet Daenerys and see if it’s worth fighting for. Hallelujah, finally! The moment I’ve been waiting for. Finally, some sort of crossover between these storylines take a turn for the better and we’re hoping that Tyrion won’t be stubborn about it and thank goodness he isn’t. Instead, this news has Tyrion interested. Let the voyage begin!

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(HBO)

In Meereen, Daenerys is encountering problems of her own as her men are being targeted by the Sons of the Harpy, a group of men who have been going around murdering their targets in gold masks. Daenarys simply orders for their deaths. She deals with the fact that the freed slaves want their fighting pits back in a similar way- by shutting them down and ticking them off. Daario, her new love interest who has returned, suggests that Daenarys use her dragons to their full potential, “A dragon queen without dragons is not a queen.” Daenarys admits that she can’t control her dragons anymore as proved by the scene of her unsuccessful, terrifying visit to her two dragons who try to flambe her. Uh oh poor Dany, someone needs to find solution soon.

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(HBO)

In the free folk storyline, Stannis summons Jon Snow as Stannis wants to take Winterfell back. But he needs the wildlings that Jon is fond of to help him, and they’ll never do that unless Mance Rayder pledges his loyalty to Stannis. Let’s also not forget that awkward elevator scene between Snow and Melisandre… Mance, who refuses, ends up dead as Mance takes a direct hit in the chest by Snow’s arrow. No surprise there.

Elsewhere, Littlefinger is taking Sansa to a place “so far away from here, even Cersei Lannister can’t get her hands on you.” During their voyage in their carriage, they unknowingly pass by Brienne and Pod, who are having their own squabbles. Did anyone else want to scream at Brienne in that scene that Sansa is in that carriage and that they should just take her into their care right then and there?

 

I can’t wait for next week’s episode. A number of rich plotlines hit throughout this episode, yet so many questions waiting to be answered. Is Jon going to get away with what he’s done? Where is Arya Stark? What tricks does Margaery have up her sleeve? Will Tyrion get to Daenarys without trouble?

 

– Hyun Jung Choi (‘16)

Header: HBO

5 Reasons Why “How To Get Away With Murder” is the Best Show Ever

Everyone needs a little bit of How To Get Away With Murder in their lives, guaranteed.

Need a little spark in the mundane spin of high school life? How to Get Away With Murder is, literally, the perfect combination of thrill and romance you need to turn your life upside down.

 

Before we proceed, here’s a convenient snippet of HTGAWM for you (no spoilers, I promise):
The series takes place in Middleton University in Philadelphia, one America’s most prestigious law schools. Here, 5 law students – Wes Gibbons (Alfred Enoch), Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King), Asher Millstone (Matt McGory), and Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) (aka the Keating 5) – are hand-picked by the infamous defense attorney and a criminal justice professor Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) to work under her. The murder of Lila Stangard, a psychology student in Middleton University, drags the Keating Five, Professor Keating herself, and her two employees – Frank and Bonnie – into a gruesome murder case(s).

The cast of HTGAWM in all their perfection. (people.com)
The cast of HTGAWM in all their perfection. (People)

Phew! Now that the synopsis is out of the way, here are 5 reasons why you should start watching HTGAWM:

5. Twist that Plot!

“How To Get Away with Murder is constantly full of suspense and has so many interesting plot twists that its really hard not to get hooked. I can’t wait for season two to air!” – Hannah Byun (‘15)

“You want to try and put all the pieces together but right when you think you’ve figured everything out something new and crazy happens.” – Sara Drake (‘15)

Wow, can I just say that the plot development is AMAZING, PERFECT, SUBLIME??? In the beginning, the bits and pieces of information may seem arbitrary, but as you get deeper and deeper into the series, every details start to congregate to one masterpiece – like a mosaic. HTGAWM continues to build on the already-close-to-perfect plot with the most jaw-dropping and bone-chilling twists, making it impossible to press pause.

 

4. Great Camera Techniques

The setup of the series is quite unique. There is an ever-present back-and-forths between the present and the flashbacks (you’ll have to find out what kind of flashbacks they are 😉 ), which sustains the zest of HTGAWM. Even as a non-cinematic enthusiast, the transitions, the cliffhangers, and the overall aesthetics of each episode are impressive and eye-catching. A perfect example of visuals enhancing the storyline!

3. Sentimental Character Development

Contrary to the heartless theme of murder, the episodes reveal important secrets and personal conflicts of each characters, bringing cohesiveness to the entire cast and, surprisingly, arousing sympathy – an unexpected emotion to get out of a criminal series.

 

2. Become a Great Storyteller

Aside from the one underlying foundational murder case that the entire series is based on, each episode features cameos of various, head-twisting criminal cases – from monetary complications and drug cases to tabooed stories of adultery and parental abuse – all of which you can chip in as conversation-continuers!

 

1. Smokin’ Men and Women

How can you say no to this gorgeousness?

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Seriously. Look at that face. I think I need a moment. (ABC)

And to this familiar and beautiful face from Harry Potter?

This kid has seriously Neville-LongBottomed. Big time. (Buzzfeed)
This kid has seriously Neville-LongBottomed. Big time. (Buzzfeed)

Remember Paris from Gilmore Girls? Well, she’s Keating’s employee now.

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Talk about a throwback. (ABC)

Any film with Viola Davis, you know you can bet your money on – her acting is above and beyond phenomenal.

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You see this? This is the face of someone who knows she’s good at what she does. (ABC)

Days of reblogging photos of Kendall Jenner and “aesthetics” are gone! Lovers of Tumblr, stock your blog posts with these fine-lookin’ ladies.

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Hot dang. (ABC)
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Hot dang part 2. (ABC)

Personally, I would give this series a 4.5 out of 5. A soft-hearted person that I am (cough cough), I was surprised to find myself actually enjoying a murder series. This was only possible because, visually, the crime scenes are obscure, which I (and a lot of you) can appreciate a ton. However, there is one downfall, and it’s the fact that there are one too many sexuals scenes. But if you’re into murder and sex appeal, go right ahead, this is the perfect show for you.

 

– Lina Oh (’16)
Header: ABC
Captions: Faith Choi (’16)

Suits Finale: Recap & Thoughts

It’s the season finale that left its fans sobbing and screaming.

“You know I love you, Donna.”

These six words drove us nuts on the second to last episode of Suits Season 4. What did we get in return?

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#TBT: A youthful Harvey and Donna have their first encounter after the first major success for Harvey. The chemistry that we have seen the past four seasons between these two is very much prevalent here. (USA)

A sexy flashback to Donna and Harvey’s first meeting. An all-knowing Donna approaches Harvey at a bar with the intention to work for him which he remarks back by saying, “You’re not just a pretty face, are you?” This is also where we see infamous dangerous banker, Charles Forstman, shooting a devilish look at Harvey.

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The Stench of Desperation: Without keeping in touch with Harvey for at least three months, Sean Cahill approaches the lawyer with a panic we didn’t see from him the last time he was around. (USA)

Back to present time, Cahill visits Pearson Specter Litt to ask for Harvey’s help to make his case against Woodall and Forstman. Mike and Rachel work together to find Cahill’s money and save him. The couple figures out that Harvey’s troublesome brother probably has something to do with the missing money as the flashback shows Harvey’s brother asking Harvey for money to start his life afresh by setting up a restaurant. But when Jessica turns down Harvey to loan him the money, Harvey runs to Forstman and takes on his offer despite Jessica’s warnings.

In the meantime, Donna helps Louis through tough times as he says goodbye to his late secretary, Norma (who we’ve never seen but heard so much about!). As Louis is at a loss, he offers Donna Norma’s position and we see Donna turning down the offer. However, she does have second thoughts as she confronts Harvey about the night before when he told her that he loved her. Harvey, being the man he is, is afraid to confront his feelings up straight and ends up saying the worst thing possible, “I did that because I wanted to make you feel better.” Donna then accuses him of not taking chances and not letting his true feelings out and storms off.

Back in the flashback, we find out that Forstman had offered Harvey $1 million to come work for him but when he decided to back off from the deal, he finds out that Forstman had already given Harvey’s brother the loan amount he needed for his restaurant. Harvey chews out Forstman for making a stock move based on something he told Forstman the night before in confidence, which made him realize that he was simply manipulated for inside information and can’t go after Forstman without putting both himself and Marcus in a world of hurt.

As we return once again to the present, Forstman has come to talk to Harvey to remind him about their deal made 12 years ago. He argues that Forstman only blackmailed him into the deal. Forstman then tells Harvey that it’s unfortunate that he won’t hear him confess to the crime. A smart man like Forstman never caught on that Harvey was in fact wearing a wire all along, with Cahill listening at the other end of it. This calls for a celebration!

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Cue the Fangirling: FINALLY!!!! THE MOMENT WE HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!!!! AND SHE SAID YES!!!!! (USA)

Mike returns home and to find Rachel having prepared a romantic dinner to celebrate but Mike turns the whole night around by finally popping the question. It’s probably one of the most emotional scenes in a good way of all time in Suits as Mike Ross says the sweetest compliments possible to a girl and gets down on one knee with his grandmother’s ring in his hands. No doubt was it a tear shedding moment!

Unfortunately, there’s still time to throw some wrenches. Donna comes back to see Harvey, this time, telling him that she’s leaving him for good- that she is going to work for Louis. Harvey tells her not to go, but Donna still leaves, telling him that she loves him. You had your chance Harvey!

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Goodbye For Good?: One can argue that Donna was too flustered with the recent events she had been through, but honestly, props to her for finally taking initiative and doing what she feels is best. You should’ve seen that coming, Harvey. (USA)

We listen in to a final phone call as Harvey phones his brother and we hear that he’s doing great with a wife and kids. That was a satisfying moment because we know the money in the end was worth it and Harvey not giving up on his brother paid off. A truly touching moment there especially since Harvey was broken down by Donna’s departure- hearing how well his brother was doing probably brought some warmth to his broken heart.

Well so much for Darvey (Donna+Harvey)! We couldn’t have been more wrong about their relationship turning romantic and Mike’s proposal sure threw a curveball at us! At this point, Mike and Rachel have gone as far as they can. What will be of the other characters? Will Donna ever come back to Harvey? Will Harvey fight for Donna? Will Mike and Rachel’s engagement last? Who will be Harvey’s new secretary? What changes will this Donna situation in Louis?

The writers sure have to take every step very carefully from now on, because if they screw this up, it’ll be a terrible injustice to years of great script writing! I can’t wait for the summer premiere of a whole new season!

 

What were some of your thoughts on the Season 4 finale of Suits?

 

“I died, as always. I was in shock when Donna left Harvey but anything Donna does, I support cuz she’s ****** flawless!” – Sohee Yu (‘16)

 

– Hyun Jung Choi (‘16)

Header: USA
Captions: Faith Choi (’16)