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Sabrina: Something Wicked #1

It’s new comic book day! Yes, there are new comics… they’re just digital! What comics are you getting? What are you excited for? Sound off in the comments below! While you contemplate that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

The Beat – Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is being adapted into a manga series – Nice!

The Inquisitr News – Netflix Cancels ‘V Wars’ & ‘October Faction,’ Renews ‘Locke & Key’ – Two IDW properties down and one continues.

Newsarama – Original Art for Flash Gordon’s First Appearance Sells for Record-Setting Price – Ooooo. Want.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Social Distancing is required – Free comics!

Review

Newsarama – Sabrina: Something Wicked #1

Review: October Faction “The October Faction” S1E10

October Faction

Alice has put some kind of soul transferring ring of fire spell around the Gate Night Carnival, Presidio is on the move, in town trying to retrieve the “monster” that Samuel was keeping in the back yard and Viv and Geoff are about to have to choose sides when the town is in danger from both ends and they might be its only hope. With body-snatching Harlow residents abound, inhabiting the teenage bodies of friends and foes.

WHAT I LOVED: Alice’s husband trying to talk some sense into her in his new body. Finding out why and how Alice ended up in the bottom of the lake. Edith getting what she deserved for being a human supremacist. The twins figuring out who they are and what they want and determining their own path and definition of family. Fred and  Omari (Daddy Warlock) in purgatory trying to sort out how to save their kids.

Deloris and Alice join forces to save their kids and takedown Edith for all the pain she has caused to both of their families, it was beautiful and poetic. I also liked that they left things kind of open with what happens to everyone and how life would go on after the town came face to face with real monsters, human and magical and won.

FINAL THOUGHTS: So much to unpack here, I’m not sure where to start. This finale was an emotional roller coaster filled with revelations, closure, understandings, and love.  While this episode wrapped things up nicely, overall it was a consistent slow burn that really found its stride around episode five when the secrets started falling out of the Allen closet and didn’t stop until the final frame in the Presidio dungeon with an eerie feeling reunion of sorts. After episode five, the episodes work pretty well as stand-alone episodes but, I would suggest binge-watching all the way to the end because when everything is said and done it comes off as a really good mini-movie and a great way to spend a rainy, or lazy, afternoon.

SIDE NOTE: I also really liked the thumping in the house signaling that Grandpa Samuel was working on something even bigger in his mad scientist lab and I am hungry for season two!

BEST LINE(s): 

“Do you think I want to hang out with you?” – Omari to Fred in the ghost realm, explaining what he needs to do.

BEST MOMENT: Three-way tie for sure!

Gina giving Moshe the nod in the car before he attacks the Presidio agent by his car window and she shoots the two on her side of the car. BADASS!

Phillip going full quarterback baddie to help Geoff escape to rescue Viv and save their friends.

To the townspeople jumping the Presidio soldiers and taking back the mansion.

EPISODE’S MVP: This finale is all about the ladies, kind of like the end of X-Men Apocalypse where all the women join forces and defeat him. And, while Alice coming to her senses and selflessly doing the right thing and joining forces  Delores to save their kids and avenge their husbands and Cat giving Viv a pep talk and being ride or die to save the town. But, the MVP was  Gina, the sheriff, is the definition of a badass! She checks herself out of the hospital, calls bullshit on Presidio being the FBI, heads to the carnival, meets Moshe, doesn’t freak out when he vamps in front of her and heads out to take her town back! I’m not saying she’s a superhero but, I am saying someone should get her a cape.

Overall: 9.8 

Review: October Faction “Bonds of Blood” S1E9

October Faction

We’re one episode away from the season finale and Bonds of Blood finds Deloris and Fred being held captive by Alice, who has revealed to Viv and Geoff the truth of their lineage while Presidio agents close in for the kill. If that wasn’t enough to process with few episodes to go, we learn the secret behind Viv’s mystery man and how he came to roam the Allen family mansion and we find out where Grandma Margaret’s loyalty lies.

WHAT WORKED: This episode dealt with identity, nature versus nurture, what constitutes family, revenge, anger, and guilt. Bonds of Blood begins to explore the difference between what we know about the characters and what we thought we knew by showing everyone at their most vulnerable and hopeless as they try and figure out where they fit in and how they can assimilate or grow.

I like the little seeds that they planted throughout the season about the main character’s motivation and desires. Everyone is trying to find out where they fit in and how they fit themselves into spaces that they’re not sure they belong in or even want to be in. It was an emotional episode with heartbreak and not understanding that things don’t always get fixed in the end, the way you want.

REDEMPTION SONG: Geoff expecting everything to go the way he wanted when he wanted it. I understand that he was in a hard place and trying to sort out who he was and what his whole identity was but, expecting Phillip to upend his life and existence because he needed to feel like he belonged somewhere, was low key selfish. I thought I was in for a let down when Geoff started to tell all of the high school townies secrets but, he came around and realized that his problems weren’t the only ones that mattered and everyone was fighting an internal battle.

BEST MOMENT: Phillip telling Geoff how it is and calling him on his shit and being a little shit, while simultaneously coming out to the school at the bonfire. I got the feels.

EPISODE’S MVP: Actor Praneet Akilla laid out all of his acting chops in his portrayal of Phillip. He plays his character so well that I forgot that these weren’t real people and I was watching a show. I know that this show is supposed to be about the Allen family but, Akilla’s performance of Phillip and everything going on with him stole the show so much that in the midst of a bunch of family drama and a  whole supernatural showdown , I wanted to know if Phillip was OK and how he was handling everything. It turns out, he was handling it, just fine as he worked through everything in his own way. Phillip earns this episode MVP for being real, I’m proud of him for coming out to his friends but, that’s not what makes him the MVP. He’s the MVP because he kept his journey, timing and fears real AF. He stood up to Geoff and let him know that he wasn’t ready and he did what he felt he had to do. The writers made Phillip have a real reaction to his situation and portrayed him as someone who took his time, in contrast to Geoff’s all here and all-out attitude. It isn’t always easy for teens to come out and their fears are valid, even if they are out at home they might not be ready to be out to everyone else and that’s okay. Phillip went through his journey and his way was no less valid than Geoff’s or anyone else. So Phillip is the MVP for brave enough to set his boundaries, live by them and shift to new boundaries on his clock, and not on Geoff’s or his parents, so he didn’t just come out, he found himself and his voice, in his time and I’m here for it.

Overall: 8.7

Review: October Faction “Alice” S1E8

October Faction

At the end of the last episode, Grandma Margaret discovers that Grandpa Samuel is alive and kicking in a Presidio Guantanamo and Viv and Geoff have turned to the dark side and are in league with Alice. This episode gives us more info on Alice’s back story and how she became what she became and what the Allen family legacy and Presidio have to do with her pain.

WHAT WORKED: The progression of the story and the inter-cutting of Alice’s past and evolution with the twins confronting their parents is done with precision, realism, and grace. I loved the way it was written with such authenticity and compassion.

WHAT BROKE MY HEART: When Alice was betrayed because she trusted humans and wanted to help one who couldn’t be trusted started the break but, when she gave birth while she was linked psychically to her husband as he was being murdered, tore it in half.

BEST LINE(s): Not a line so much as  Alice’s whole monologue that ran along with this episode. It was powerful and well written.

BEST MOMENT: The speech that Alice’s husband gives about fear and knowing that monsters are real because he has lived his life as a black man and a warlock. It was powerful potent and rang true.

EPISODE’S MVP: Alice,  Maxim Roy ‘s portrayal of the innocent, happy to start a family warlock who grows to hate and distrust humans as she watches them slaughter her entire town while she tries to save some all while going through labor is heartbreaking. And, watching her call out to her husband and hear his death telepathically while she’s trying to give birth and knowing what happened after that was brilliant and beautiful and if she doesn’t get an award of some kind for making me feel real emotions, tears and all, for an imaginary character, I don’t know what’s wrong with the world.

Overall: 9.8

Review: October Faction “Nadir” S1E7

October Faction

We finally find out what happened to Seth, Fred’s brother, and he comes face to face with the man who killed him, a “monster” named Moshe who teams up with him and Deloris to find the kids and kill the warlock. Margaret is “rescued” by a Presidio strike team led by Fred’s mistress and the twins find themselves being treated way too kindly by the warlock Alice who is trying to turn them on their parents and explain to them who & what they really are.

WHAT WORKED: For a show set in the supernatural most of the interactions seem realistic and genuine. Each character has a motive and a mission statement that runs in line with who they are and in this episode the storylines and teams are pretty much laid out and make sense. The parents seem to be switching sides after coming to the realization of what Presidio really is, plus meeting Moshe made it so they are seeing that maybe the “monsters” aren’t the only monsters in this situation. I like that this revelation didn’t come without resistance nor was it covered in cliches, it wasn’t an I was racist until I met… moment but, more of a let’s work together for a mutual good and we can sort it out later and then they learn to trust each other along the way.

WTF: Presidio has been running a monster Auschwitz in Ithaca and Seth was a whole serial killer who had it coming!

BEST LINE(s): 

When Fred comes face to safe with the “monster” who killed his brother in that bathroom in New York, in the woods after both of their teams were destroyed by Alice, and Moshe explains his side of the story:

“Why didn’t you kill me?” – Fred

“I’m not a monster” – Moshe

“Neither am I!” – Fred

BEST MOMENT: Wonder Twins said WHAT! In the woods, while Viv and Geoff try and make sense of all of the things that Alice told them before she let them go, they get ambushed by a team of Presidio agents who attempt to detain them. At first, they stay calm and try to reason with their wood be captors but, when it becomes obvious that they aren’t listening to these minority kids in the woods and are going to use force and take them in and not home, they lock eyes and send out an electric wave that disables the men and it is awesome!

EPISODE’S MVP: Alice. Hear me out, yes I know she’s full-on evil and she sets her phasers to kill when she could just set them to stun but, since Presidio is all about indiscriminate monster murder, experimentation and holding them captive can you blame her? She’s kind of the “monster” Magneto to Moshe’s Professor X. So, yeah she likes to get a little dirty with her handiwork but, she’s tired of running and hiding and being mistreated and she’s fighting back. Can you blame her?

Overall: 8.2 

Review: October Faction “Open Your Eyes” S1E6

October Faction

Deloris gets saved from Alice by a rogue group of Camo’d up, armed to the teeth, mixed species monsters and warns Fred while she tries to keep Sheriff Gina alive. Viv is keeping her maybe monster/ cyborg protector “safe” by hiding him in her closet while Phillip and Geoff get closer.

WHAT WORKED: The story as a whole. The writing is still solid and now they’ve done away with the useless side stories and are focusing on the meat of the main characters, it’s easy to fall all in. The framing, the color palette, the direction, and the acting are all pretty good and in this episode, the show has really hit its stride.

WHAT WAS OFF: It didn’t detract from the story, it wasn’t even that it was inconceivable or wrong but, it kind of threw me off that with all of the emotional maturity that Geoff showed with Phillip, that he got upset that his newly out boyfriend wanted to wait two weeks until after his dad’s election was over.  It was kind of disconcerting to see him return back to his old spoiled , aloof ways.

BEST LINE(s): 

When Viv is trying to hide her new “friend” from her grandma and thinks she’s going to get caught –

“Are you hiding a boy in your closet” – Grandma

“No, that’s more Geoff’s style.” – Viv

Not only was this cool because she really was hiding a maybe boy in her closet but, by saying it’s more “Geoff’s style” shows how accepted he is and I love families that love and accept their kids as they are.

BEST MOMENT: When Viv follows the mystery may be a monster, definitely cyborg, to Seth’s room and he lets her know through his LED eye that there are some weird cult drawings under the rug and that this is where he came from. Her shift in thinking about her parents and grandparents gives her a bit of an aha moment and, she seems to start to grow.

EPISODE’S MVP: Deloris. I’ve always been a fan of Tamara Taylor but, in Open Your Eyes she showed everyone else why they should be. Deloris really went through it in this episode, from having to save her friends life, in a way that was sort of similar to the way her dad died (down to the uniform), to having to steal evidence from her dying friends locked office, to her coming home to find her mother -in- law dying on the floor of her home, a swat team with their throats slit and her kids missing it was too much. So, when she lets out that broken scream as the scream faded to black and the credits rolled, my heart went with her. The sheer emotion and realistic nature of her performance and the writing and direction of it all made Deloris, no contest, the MVP

Overall: 9 

Review: October Faction “Truth and Consequences” S1E5

October Faction

Fred enlists his mothers’ help in figuring out what was stolen from his dad’s archive vault, Viv and Geoff are giving their parents the silent treatment and feeling kind of lucky that their secret house party got a free pass because their parents secret trumped theirs. Viv gets suspended from school for defending herself against her would-be rapist and he threatens to press charges if she doesn’t apologize. Deloris’ old friend Gina, the town sheriff, has a lead on the murders of the butcher and the vamps that link back to her and Fred and a string of unsolved murders all over the world.

WHAT WORKED: Viv’s desire to humanize the monsters is a nice touch and it poses a very valid grey area question.  Geoff choosing not to out Phillip but, asking him to accept who he is so it doesn’t end up killing him, or making him want to kill himself, granted that doesn’t always work and the odds of Phillip coming out in their small town is unlikely, it was nice to hear on TV.

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WHAT DIDN’T: There wasn’t much to find fault within this episode, it was pretty well written, beautifully acted, and I can’t think of one flaw.

BEST LINE (s):

“I broke a nail” – Fred’s Mom as she gives him the finger, she’s sassy and I love it.

BEST MOMENT: Viv in the principals’ office for the win. It was the realness of the audacity of her would-be rapist blaming her for him getting hurt and the sheer hubris of him gaslighting her and saying, “she had problems” and he has no idea why she would ever attack him. Watching Viv’s reaction to being called into the principal’s office and accused of assaulting her almost rapist was realistic and caused me to have a visceral reaction and uneasiness towards the whole situation. There’s a myriad of ways thing could have played out in this scene and not every woman reacts the same way so, her reaction was super valid and plausible and shuts down this antiquated idea that the way to tell if a woman has been assaulted, or almost assaulted, is how she reacts afterward. It was interesting to see these events play out in a show where the end didn’t come off as being exploitative or put in for shock value.

EPISODE’S MVP: Viv all the way! From her being sick of all the lies, to having to deal with a gaslighting rapist and an unconcerned principal to trying to save her monster rescuer from her dad’s traps, Viv was put through it in this episode and she came through like a champ. Her reactions were realistic and really helped to push this story along and I look forward to seeing how her character progresses throughout the rest of the season especially with the smooth, thoughtful, reflective, badass way that Taveeta Szymanowicz portrays her.

Overall: 9.0

Review: October Faction “Soirees of Future Past” S1E4

October Faction

While mom and dad are away on a mission, Viv and Geoff have the run of the house and Geoff, in an attempt to win friends, influence people, and rebuild his rep, leads him to throw a party at the mansion. Deloris and Fred head to a Presidio outpost where everyone is on high alert because something wicked is coming and the kids try to ignore their visions and sixth sense.

WHAT WORKED: The reveals, the writing (except for Madison, see below), the acting, the visuals, it was all pretty damn good. Each episode seems to build upon the last almost flawlessly and when it comes to the family they are well drawn out and feel like real people in an unreal situation, which makes them interesting and draws you into their world.

The realistic portrayal of the almost rape scene with Viv (except for the “cyborg” rescue) it showcased a “nice guy” who wasn’t bad looking and the girl who went off with him. Before they went out Cat shared that he had been with half of the girls in their class and she suggests that she, Viv, should be smarter than that, which shows the stigma that the onus is on the girl and even the usually levelheaded Cat could fall prey to society’s blinders when it comes to the sexuality of women. Cat stopped short of slut-shaming the other girls but, her mentioning that the guy had a rep didn’t take into account that maybe not all of those girls wanted to be with him and might have been too afraid to say anything about it. In that small scene on the grass we see that rape isn’t about sex or need or desire, it is about power and when Viv rejected him he sought out to show her a lesson and it didn’t matter what she was wearing, doing, saying (besides NO and STOP) he was going to put her in her place. I commend the writers for exploring these nuances, not letting us have to see Viv or anyone, get raped to push forward the storyline and for being careful and respectful of the subject matter.

WHAT DIDN’T: I am not understanding why Madison is featured in every episode, what her issue is with Viv and why she is taking up any screen time. Her character isn’t central to the story and it doesn’t move the series onward so, having her show up and spend two minutes talking smack about Viv and then going off into the moonlight is becoming repetitive and annoying. We get it, she’s a “queen bee” , “bitch” type but, we kind of got that memo in the first episode and there have been no new developments or even the hint of a character arc. At least with Phillip there was method and depth to his madness and jerkiness and layers were revealed in every episode that made us care about him but, with Madison, she’s just coming off as a stereotypical, cliched mean girl which would be fine is she was entertaining (think: Regina George or Cheryl Blossom) but, she isn’t so, I find the 2-5 minutes devoted to her antics each episode a waste of screen time.

BEST MOMENT: When the October Faction secret comes out of the bag and Viv and Geoff catch their parents red-handed when an alarm goes off and security protocols are engaged while their parents are in the middle of scolding them after catching them cleaning up after a party and lecturing the kids about trust.

EPISODE’S MVP: Geoff. For one of the most real, most heartfelt “it gets better” speeches on the rooftop to save his nemesis, the closeted Phillip, from jumping.  Gabriel Darku gave one hell of a performance and, I’ve been sleeping on his talent, this episode showcased not only his ability but the depth of his character.

Overall: 8.1

Review: October Faction – The Horror Out of Time S1E3

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In the first 15 minutes of The Horror Out of Time, we get transported back to 1990 and see Deloris and Fred get married in a super-secret, cult-like ceremony a scene that is undercut with scenes of them killing monsters in a simulation/ Presidio graduation.

This flashback would have been touching and romantic except we flash forward to a hotel room in the present where Fred is alone with another Presidio agent and it’s clear that there was a whole different type of debriefing going on but, the real heartbreak comes when the next cut shows us Deloris reminiscing over an album of their life together. Viv talks to her mom about the new friend she made and school and Geoff and his boyfriend break up over video chat because Asia is a bit too far for a long-distance teenage love affair.

A biker vampire gang catches up with Deloris outside of the local bar and she ends up hiding out in the house tending to her wounds while newly returned hubby gets the kids ready for school where Geoff plots to overthrow the reigning king of the school, Phillip and Viv reveals to Geoff (and eventually Cathy) that she drew the bus crash before it happened. If that has your interest piqued, you’d be happy to know that the next 28 minutes were just as interesting and entertaining.

WHAT WORKED: I’m really feeling the flashback cuts scenes and the way they introduce you to the story and characters allowing you a way to get into the story, whether or not you’ve seen any of the previous episodes. I still think the writing is solid, the acting is on point and the cinematography is beautiful to look at. I also like the flow and contradictions in the parent’s timeline and story, it really adds a nice layer to the story. There are so many moving parts and side stories going on and the writing, for the most part, makes it easy to get immersed in the October Faction universe.

WHAT DIDN’T: I wasn’t a fan of the way that Cathy cracked, it didn’t seem to be in character, she didn’t seem the type to let peer pressure get to her and letting Viv’s secret slip out to Madison just because she asked a couple of times. I get that the writers need to propel the story forward but, having a character act this far out of characters is a push and unnecessary when every other aspect of the story is compelling or believable. While Geoff being “tricked” by Ghost Steve was a believable way to push him further to the outside of the school hierarchy,  there were other options to push Viv further outside the circle so, having her only friend act out of her established character and betray her seems a bit unnecessary and a reach.

BEST LINE(s): 

“There are a lot of narrow-minded people who will use what makes you different to bash you into submission”

– Cathy (to Viv) about keeping her dark precognitive art journal entries to herself.

Cathy said that and I felt it.

BEST MOMENT:  When Deloris is rebuffed by Baz after saving him in the bar and goes to sit in the car to sort things out emotionally ends up getting attacked by the gang of Vamps. Here’s the thing, we all know that she can take care of herself and we know that she’s had to for years and physically she’s a badass but, in this vulnerable moment right before the Vamp gang smashes her window and yank her out of the car she’s feeling the hopelessness and sadness that comes from losing a true friend. At that moment the writing and the directing and camera work all work together seamlessly, she is settling in a moment of realization that sometime you can’t fix things and it is so well-acted that it’s like a gut punch, it is tender and it is real.

EPISODE’S MVP: Steve the Ghost Jock! When “the quiet one” that Geoff tries to recruit to rise up in the ranks and depose reigning school king Phillip gives Geoff a message to give Phillip, he is more than happy to oblige. Unfortunately, Steve is dead and he died in a car accident so, delivering that message nearly gets him beaten to death by the team. Here’s the thing, Geoff’s plan was kind of stupid and it needed to be wrecked so, Steve turned out to be a ghost was not only a nice way to introduce Geoff’s special ability but, Steve ending up being dead and setting him up like that was kind of next-level good for the storyline, making him this episodes MVP.

Overall: 8.1 

Review: October Faction – No Country for Old Vamps S1E2

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No Country for Old Vamps” takes us back to October 1987 when Fred and Deloris are high school students, Deloris dealing with the death of her dad at the hands of a monster and Fred dealing with the death of his brother, at his hands. We see what will become the loving couple as youngsters out on their first kill, they started out hunting solo but, when Fred finds himself in a bit of a jam and face to face with a monster and Deloris killing the beast with her to save him. Then, in a twisted act of romance Fred reaches into the monster’s stomach and pulls out Deloris’s father’s badge and hands it to her, which in my opinion was way better than flowers for such an unconventional first date.

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We then get transported back to the future as the Allen family works out the details of staying in Barrington for the twins senor year and Fred’s mother moving in with them and get to meet this seasons big bad who is the newly released from the water female monster we met at the end of the first episode who seems to be just fine and hunting down Presidio agents and headed straight for the Harlow House where they’re staying. The kids are working at fitting in at their new high school and adjusting to spending their senior year in a Tim Burton town.

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WHAT WORKED: The family and high school dynamics are realistic and rung true, everything about the family was authentic and well thought out, including the callbacks to Deloris and Fred’s past and the way that they each chose to deal with it. The kids come off as bratty but, also respectful and loved and they’re acting age-appropriate without resorting to the one-dimensional teen archetype formula that most shows use as a statement of fact.

I also really liked the humanization of the “monsters” that was a continuation from the pilot episode where the Ad Vamp tried to appeal to Fred’s humanity. In a world where Presidio kills all monsters, you have to believe that just like when it comes to humans, not all of them are evil and some of them might just be trying to survive. This humanization continued in this episode as we are introduced to Alice Harlow, the lady from the lake, and while we don’t have the full story we can see the pain on her face which makes me wonder if Presidio created the monsters that they hunt by treating them all the same.

WHAT DIDN’T: The “outing” in the lunchroom. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that small towns are notorious for this type of thing, calling someone a “homo” and having it be a sting but, in this instance, it was a weird jump to go from him knowing personal stuff about a teacher having an affair to calling him gay in the cafeteria. Those two don’t mesh and there is no line straight, jagged, curved or circular that would lead to that happening in that way. I kind of felt like the writers wanted to drive home Geoff’s gay reveal that they slid in the pilot and chose the sloppiest and laziest way to do it and if that wasn’t their intention the alternative logic is worse because that would mean they used his sexuality to add tension to the story which is lazy and offensive. While I acknowledge small-town prejudices, I can’t accept that that was what made Geoff an outcast like his social awkward sister when there was no lead up to anyone appearing to care about his sexuality. I also didn’t get why a video of Geoff being called a skin peeling monster would end up on the internet and why it would upset him.

BEST MOMENT: (There’s a spoiler in between the two pictures so if you haven’t seen the episode yet, you might want to scroll down)

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The big reveal that dear old dad/grandpa Sam is ALIVE and being held at a Presidio Guantanamo until they can find out more details of what he was hiding in Seth’s room and what is coming to kill them all!

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EPISODE’S MVP: This episode introduced a new character named Cathy (“Cat”) and she is EVERYTHING. She’s an awkward nerd girl who alternates between spouting super nerdy references and philosophical observations and I am all the way here for it. She acts as a high school sensei for Viv and helps her find a “fortress of solitude” in an abandoned room where they can hang out and start, for lack of a better word, coven on students who are done with the high school hierarchy. She is headstrong, smart, quirky and her true self at all times and she’s written in a way that makes her seem real and authentic. They didn’t make her the cliched nerdy best friend or comic relief, she’s a well fleshed out character who holds her own and is something for all the “weird” girls to believe in so, while she wasn’t a monster slayer or a badass in the traditional sense of the world in this kind of show, she was a treat and a welcome addition to the cast.

Overall: 8.7

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