While the mention of former Jedi Ahoska Tano will certainly have viewers on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next sign of this popular character from the Star Wars animated series, this week The Mandalorian takes a minor detour to visit some old friends, deal with some old enemies, and give Apollo Creed the chance to play in the Star Wars sandbox.

Penny’s finally tied the knot with Raven, her dragon suitor, and returned to Lloegyr, but life can’t ever stay calm for the world-hopping vicar.  Sue Harkness continues to lean into her anger against the alternate world, and anyone tied to Penny may be at risk.  To make matters worse, fellow clergy may be helping with Harkness’ plans to make Daer’s denizens pay for her maternal neglect, and the Rat Kings definitely are willing to broker deals with England at the expense of other species.  Penny needs to come up with a solution for the refugees stuck in both worlds, but when one world is secret from the other, it’s a tall order.  Is humanity ready for the truth about mythical creatures?  Penny may have to take the gamble of her life and hope that faith is enough to save everyone.

Quick recap: Things got decidedly messy in the last arc. Sometimes, mucking through the mess is how you get to a clean start, or at least a cleaner slate to begin. Having dispatched not just Beowulf but also Grendel and his mother, the McGuires seem to be in a better place now. Meanwhile, Mary/Elaine/Nimue is out there playing Merlin’s game. Oh… and Duncan and Rose are maybe an item?

Quick recap: With the bloom of Abhainn behind her, Willow is now forced to confront the less-than-savory stuff that’s going on in Abhainn. Too bad, it seems like her crush may be in the center of the whole mess.

Quick recap: Blue Sun has its new generation of law enforcers that look and kind of sound like Mal. It’s probably worth pointing out that a private army to protect corporate interests seems like an awful idea. While these robots may look like Mal and sound like him, they’re clearly not acting like him at all.

We’ve reached a point in this chess game where every move is devastating, and Tynion IV and Dell’edera are not holding back. This is what it means for a character to have their back pinned against a wall. Erica Slaugher showed up in this small, “nothing ever happens here but bigotry” towns to save all of the children from monsters. She is a monster hunter that seems a bit out of her mind. I supposed I would be, too, if I hunted monsters. She has been joined by some of the people of the town who are willing to listen, to help as they may, which does not bode well for the House of Slaughter, or as we now know they are called The Order of St. George. Monster hunters that are more concerned about people knowing there are monsters and will do anything to stop the news from spreading.

Black Hammer’s epic, multi-year storyline started with an incredibly strong premise: What if Golden-Age superheroes were trapped on a Twilight Zone-like farm where they couldn’t leave? Then, it became about this family unit; the intoxicating characters were the most important aspect of the narrative, as the storyline sort of diminished and became secondary. Then, it became about stories. What do stories mean, why do they matter, where do they come from? And in its immensity, while the main series had a conclusion in that they overcame an adversary, it never quite felt final, because they didn’t all overcome their own problems, and thematic elements were just too big to tangle with.

With the final days of this year's virtual HollyShorts Film Festival upon us, it's time to take a look at the top films of the year, as decided by the festival's judges. This is not a comprehensive list of the entire festival, as opinion is subjective, but these were some of the most praised and beloved films of the year. Before I get to the winners category, I want to highlight a few of the films I thought were truly special this year. While many of these films have been mentioned in previous coverage, since it's awards time, I want to give my own awards, too.

There's a lot to love about this year's HollyShorts festival, even in light of its virtual setting. One of the more interesting blocks of this year's festival takes things just a bit further, with multi-genre entries from all over the world. My personal favorites from this block of stunning films will be listed first, with the other entries listed after. All entries were excellent and worth a look.

This year's HollyShorts film festival is massive, with over four hundred entries. In a time when the pandemic is preventing in-person film viewings, the digital festival has something to offer all moviegoers. This year's Thriller block is full of suspense, drama, and plenty of incredible films from all over the globe. As with all of my coverage of the festival, my personal favorites of this block will be listed first, with the others listed bleow. Every film here is worth a look, but my personal favorites really spoke to me in one way or another.

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