Mark Watches ‘Wonderfalls’: Episode 9 – Safety Canary

In the ninth episode of Wonderfalls, Jaye is tasked with saving a pair of endangered parrots, only to learn that her mission might have another meaning. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Wonderfalls.


  • This show is so clever. I like that! I like that I can look at it, appreciate it for its whimsy, and then unwrap every level of subtext and parallel story line that the writers give us, and it’s just so rewarding.
  • “Save the lovebirds.” OH MY GOD, THIS COULD APPLY TO SIX SEPARATE PAIRINGS IN ONE EPISODE. It’s slightly frustrating that we never actually find out who the animals were referring to, but that’s sort of the point. They provide the catalyst for change in Jaye’s life, and in this case, things end positively for everyone but Jaye. Well, at least for now, that is. It’s entirely possible that we’ll see a much different end for Jaye/Eric by the conclusion of the show; their relationship has been the most serialized element of the show.
  • First of all, Rufus/Penelope. Like I just said, there’s an obvious story for everyone here, and then there’s something below the surface that’s fun to untangle and analyze. For these two, Jaye helps Penelope realize that she’s been using her work with the birds to shut herself off from the outside world. Which isn’t necessarily bad in and of itself, you know, especially since what Penelope tries to do here is incredibly important for the survival of this particular species. And even when Rufus and Penelope do find comfort, the writers don’t force them together just out of convenience. Rufus respects Penelope and her dedication to animals, and so their first date is all about animals. I JUST FIND IT REALLY ROMANTIC AND AWESOME THAT THEY ESSENTIALLY BROKE A TON OF LAWS TO GO HANG OUT WITH AN ELEPHANT. Fuck, that is awesome. That is way better than the time my friends and I broke into the Trees of Mystery park during the off-season, filmed the whole thing (because it’s always a smart idea to film yourself violating federal law), and then had to run out of the place when we realized that the park rangers still lived on the grounds during the late-winter season and were carrying shotguns around. Whoops.
  • Anyway, even Jaye realizes that her own rejection of Eric is based on her inability to deal with things that take her out of her comfort zone. She wants familiarity, and she’s terrified of the possibility that Eric will make her feel the opposite of that.
  • Though I totally agree with Mahandra’s statement on Jaye’s outlook. As someone who hasn’t ever been pursued by anyone I’ve found attractive and wasn’t a stalker, it’s hard for me to understand or empathize with what she goes through here. I’ve never sabotaged a relationship on purpose because I can barely get them to begin with.
  • Oh, let’s just do it. Mahandra/Aaron. WHO KNEW? WHO KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO BE A THING? Well, y’all did, okay. That’s true. I DIDN’T SEE IT COMING UNTIL AARON HIT ON MAHANDRA ON THE COUCH. Sweet babies, IT’S GREAT. And it really represents what so many of these characters couldn’t do: They took a risk just for the sake of it. They shed their fears and anxieties, and they just went with it.
  • DAMN. MY TWO FAVORITE ACTORS ON THE SHOW MAKING OUT. It’s too much. I am but one man, my friends. It is too much.
  • Beth/Sharon. I actually didn’t know that Sharon and Beth were still seeing one another! Granted, it’s not like the show told me that. This whole time, I assumed Sharon was completely single. Anyway, Sharon still has the exact same hang-up about Beth, that her bisexuality makes her somehow less desirable or less queer. Which… BOO. BOOOOOOO. And the whole peanut butter argument is a perfect demonstration of just how absurd this argument is. I am a chunky peanut butter man myself, but that doesn’t mean that smooth peanut butter cannot be eaten!
  • Wait, okay, that analogy got away from me real quickly. It’s more like this: What if my enjoyment of chunky peanut butter was contingent on whether or not you had creamy peanut butter before me or after me? Once you spell it out that way, it’s fucking weird. Sharon’s interest in Beth is based on the fact that she might have a physical or romantic relationship with a man. In the future. Which won’t even matter if they’re actually compatible! So… what?
  • However, Sharon might experience what her sister is going through: She might have waited too long to realize what she’d done wrong. As she rushed to Beth’s house, she had no idea Thomas was already there. What was Beth trying to tell her? That she’d gotten back with Thomas? That she was done with Thomas? NO FAIR, WHY DID YOU CLIFFHANGER THIS? I WANTED TO KNOW MORE.
  • THE BIRDS. I may have taken a while to write this review, which means I’ve now forgotten the birds’ names. Google is absolutely zero help, and y’all know I don’t Google shit while watching a show aside from actor/actress names. I learned long ago that a simple Google is the gateway to Satan in terms of spoilers, so I don’t do it. BUT I REALLY COULDN’T REMEMBER THEIR NAMES!!!
  • Anyway, I suppose that’s not needed to make this point. Aside from existing to provide a conflict in the narrative, the birds’ relationship manages to be a metaphor for what many of these characters are going through. Mahandra refuses to engage a sexual relationship with Aaron until she’s in the right environment. Sharon thinks that she lacks aggression with Beth and this will help her overcome her issues around Beth’s bisexuality. Jaye projects the imagined hurt she thinks Eric will feel all over these birds. And they provide the catalyst for Rufus and Penelope getting together!
  • Eric/Jaye. Oh my god. THEY WERE SO CLOSE. THEY WERE SO CLOSE. While I may not fully understand Jaye in an empathetic sense, I get that she’s unable to commit to Eric in any meaningful way. It doesn’t help that the animals seem to be conspiring against her along the way. But her own issues with trusting another guy are exacerbated when she realizes she does trust Eric. That’s why his angry rebuttal of her attempt to do what’s best for him stings so much. She’s not doing this to help him at all. If anything, she’s hurting him more.
  • Which is why the end of this episode hurts so much. OH MY GOD, WHO ARE THE ANIMALS TALKING ABOUT? Was this all a plan to get Eric and Heidi together??? But… but that will make Jaye super sad! That’s not good! OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK.
  • I’m excited about Jewel Staite because it’s Jewel Staite but now she’s in the way of Eric and Jaye.

The video commission for this episode is now archived on for just $0.99!

Mark Links Stuff

The Mark Does Stuff Summer Tour is happening soon! Check out the posted dates, suggest new ones, help bring me to YOUR TOWN.
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
- Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
- Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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