TV Thursday 11/22/12

Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of TV Thursday.  November Sweeps are still in full swing and every show is putting it’s best on the air to try to garner viewers and ratings.  Some do so successfully.  Some do so poorly.  Some are an honest surprise.  Let’s see what happened this week.

Arrow #1×06 – “Legacies” – Diggle argues that Oliver’s mission shouldn’t just be going after the people on his list, but helping those who have been directly harmed by the actions of Oliver’s father.  He reluctantly agrees when he discovers a father who was fired when the Queen Steel Works was shut down, whose entire family turned to a life of crime.  In their most recent bank job, one of the sons killed an undercover cop in cold blood and now the  Green Arrow is determined to stop them, either by offering the father a way out of his criminal ways, or through whatever means is necessary.  On the flip side, the major contributor to Laurel’s non-profit legal firm goes under, leaving the pro-bono company in financial hot water.  When Tommy throws a fundraiser for the firm, in an attempt to prove to Laurel that he’s serious about wanting to be with her, it turns out to be Thea, Oliver’s sister that tries to hit on him.  Believe it or not, this is the first episode of Arrow that isn’t getting a 5-star rating.  It’s not that it was a bad story by any means, but being the first episode not to deal with one of the names in the book, or with any classic DC supervillains, it just felt a little lighter in comparison.  That’s not bad, it’s just not amazing.  I had to question the part where Oliver was on the island, burning pages out of the seemingly-empty book his father gave him.  Didn’t he ever question why it was blank?  And why did his father write all the names in lemon juice?  It seemed a little strange. 

Bones#8×07 – “The Bod in the Pod” – After a storm, the squints are called to the beach where a body in a peculiar plastic bubble washed up.  Hodgins immediately thinks it’s an alien, but it turns out to be a murdered crime scene cleaner, stuck in the middle of a heated competition with another company.  Who killed him?  Was it the jealous wife who found out he was cheating?  Her son who stood to take over the business?  A rival who might share a secret with the victim?  It really wasn’t that hard to figure out but the real treat wasn’t the murder, it was what happened behind the scenes.  After last week’s fantastic episode and the newfound respect I gained for Arastoo Vaziri, having him banter with Hodgins at the beginning, the revelation that he was an amateur poet that, due to his poetry, he was chased from his native land, and the fact that he and Cam were pursuing a relationship really were great points.  The problem with having so many interns is that you never get to see any of their lives in any great detail.  Most of them are shallow, two-dimensional characters that occasionally get some detail thrown out about their lives.  That’s why I’ve advocated for a long time cutting the squint-terns down to once or two that you can really focus on.  The only real problem I have with the relationship is that it came entirely out of nowhere, it’s never been hinted at before, just like Vaziri writing poetry.  No hints, just bam, in your face.  And when they were worrying about people getting them in trouble for their relationship, I was laughing, that’s what this show does!  Booth and Bones.  Hodgins and Angela.  Sweets and Daisy.  All of these people are dating, screwing or married to someone else at work.  So much for fraternization! 

Burn Notice #6×13 – “Over the Line” – We pick up just seconds after the end of the last episode with Sam confronting Michael over Card’s dead body and boy is he pissed and rightfully so.  It was, as Michael admits later, a wholly emotional reaction that he should not have acted on, but now he’s killed a CIA operative in cold blood and the chase is on.  In hot pursuit is Olivia Riley, hotshot agent that we’ve dealt with before, she’s every bit the spy that Michael is, but she’s filled with burning hate for Michael’s ass and nothing is going to make her stop hunting him.  Every trick Michael tried, she saw through, every feint he made, she was a step ahead.  It wasn’t until he realized that she was on his level and thinking far ahead that he was able to start countering her enough to get away.  You know how I was complaining about the opening credits last week, that he no longer had a burn notice?  I was wrong, to a certain degree, but this time, Michael has burned himself.  We spent the first couple of seasons while he hunted down the people who burned him, now he has no one to blame but himself, he can see the person who burned him when he looks in the mirror.  USA has renewed the show fora 7th season, plus there are still 5 episodes this season, I really have no idea where this is heading but wherever it is, I’m there.

Castle #5×08 – “After Hours” – After a dinner party with the parents goes awry, Castle and Beckett are happy to race off to a murder, which turns out to be a dead priest, presumably the victim of a mob hit.  However, it isn’t what it seems and when the target of the hit turns out not to be the priest, but the mob boss himself, who was planning on turning state’s evidence against organized crime in the city, Castle and Beckett are trapped with a witness, running from the killers through the worst ghettos in New York City.  This was a good episode, although not like the two most recent which were fun spoofs, this one had a lot of relationship work, now that Castle and Beckett being together is starting to sink in.  After seeing Castle’s mother and Beckett’s father arguing because they come from two different worlds, Beckett starts to wonder if the future holds the same for them.  However, once the two parents race to the precinct because no one can find Beckett and Castle, they become very close friends.  As they say, opposites attract.  Seeing them together makes Beckett reconsider her initial doubts.  I think she and Castle bring different things to the table and together, they make a good team.  That’s what’s made the show work for 5 years so far, it’s what makes their relationship together work. 

Elementary #1×07 – “One Way to Get Off” – Holmes and Watson fight and she storms off, leaving him to work on a robbery/murder case that bears an uncanny resemblance to a series of home-invasion murders that took place more than a decade before.  When the person that Captain <name> and his partner put away, back when they were detectives insists that he was innocent all along and wants a new trial, both Holmes and the Captain have to figure out how he pulled it off from behind bars, especially when it comes to light that the Captain’s ex-partner planted evidence to ensure the supposed murderer got convicted.  Watson goes searching for answers about Holmes’ past and returns to his drug treatment facility where she learns pretty much everyone hated his guts, except for the gardener, with whom he shared an interest in beekeeping.  He had left a pile of letters there from the mysterious “Irene” and eventually breaks down and tells Watson that Irene had died and he had not “reacted well”.  We know from the last episode that Holmes had arrived on the doorstep of his actor friend, wasted out of his mind, after some traumatic event, which we can now presume was the death of Irene, with whom he had a “close relationship”.  I must say again, please, can we just be done with the drug nonsense?  Okay, we want to know about his past.  Fine.  He’s off drugs, we don’t need to keep talking about drugs, although I’m sadly aware that there will be at least one “backsliding” episode to come, just to give Watson something to do.  It just isn’t that interesting, stop using it.  As for the mystery, it wasn’t horrible but I think it had some issues.  First off, why did the killer have the weird face paint at the beginning?  If it’s just a way for the imprisoned murderer’s son to make it seem like the killer is still on the loose, why bother?  Secondly, in the briefing, Holmes insisted there were only three possibilities.  Either the guy in prison is innocent and the real killer is still on the loose, it’s a copycat killer or he had a partner.  What about the possibility that actually turned out to be true?  I immediately thought “well, what if he either told someone about the crime in detail or he hired someone to commit the crimes to get him out of prison?”  It wasn’t bad, it should have been better.

Fringe #5×07 – “Five-Twenty-Ten” – Seriously, this is the absolutely last show we watch every week.  It sits in the queue and we pick anything and everything ahead of it.  Six more episodes.  Just six more.  The end can’t  come soon enough.  Now that Peter has inserted the Observer device into his brain, he finds that it comes with side effects, such as insomnia.  It gives Peter more time to work on ways to kill the Observers, he becomes obsessed with making them pay for Etta’s death.  He starts mapping out accurate timelines of everything the Observers do in a day, figures out their hierarchy, etc.  Once he thinks he knows where they will be and when, he replaces one of their briefcases with a bomb, hoping to kill several of them at once.  The first attempt fails.  The second attempt does not.  Later, he introduces the same biological agent that killed everyone on a plane in Fringe’s first episode.  Meanwhile, Walter finds yet another tape in the lab and this time, they’re off to find two beacons from William Bell’s lab, which required Bell’s hand-print.  Luckily, Walter had cut off Bell’s hand when he was released from amber in the first episode of the season.  Give yourself a hand, Walter.  They find the safe and Walter has trouble remembering the combination.  See the name of the episode.  Inside, they find a control mechanism and a picture of Nina Sharp.  Peter activates the mechanism, the two beacons rise from beneath the floor and everyone escapes.  Peter is losing his personality.  And his hair.  He tells Olivia what he’s done and shows her his timelines.  Finally, Walter goes to Nina and gives her the picture, showing that William Bell really did love her.  He begs her to remove the pieces of his brain that had been re-implanted, then goes back to his lab to listen to David Bowie.  Seriously people, is anyone at all surprised that Peter is turning into an Observer?  Anyone? 

Haven #3×09 – “Sarah” – Duke, trying to figure out the contents of his father’s diary, finds the old Mosely farm, Stuart Mosely is listed on the same day Duke’s grandfather died.  However, when he confronts Stuart, his trouble activates, sending Duke back to 1955.  Seriously guys… that’s Back to the Future.  In the past, Duke saves the life of a bartender and that’s when all hell breaks loose.  Back in the future, Nathan and Audrey start looking for Duke, but there are subtle changes in Haven that only Audrey notices.  The newspaper is gone, replaced with a comic shop.  In this Haven, Dave killed Vince 15 years ago. Audrey is a wanted woman for the death of Reverend Driscoll.  They stumble across Mosely and Stuart, recognizing Nathan, zaps him back to 1955 too.  He and Duke run across Sarah, Audrey’s former life, and discover that she is a nurse treating Mosely, whose platoon walked out of Europe 10 years after the end of WWII, not knowing how they got there.  Mosely is now convinced he’s going to die any minute.  Duke, who discovers that the bartender he mistakenly saved is his grandfather, tries to figure out how to change history so Sarah doesn’t kill him on that day, but in the end, Sarah shoots the grandfather, setting history right and Nathan, who just so happens to have a picture of Stuart Mosely in his pocket, shows it to him, proving he lives a long, happy life.  Overjoyed, Mosely zaps them back to the future (gotta stop saying that) and everything is fixed.  Honestly, it’s a tired old plot device, this is clearly a filler episode and nothing really happens.  It’s not done badly, it’s just… meh. 

The Mentalist – #5×08 – “Red Sails in the Sunset” – After his failure in the last episode to break Lorelei Martins out of prison, he enlists the help of Bret Stiles, who owed him a favor, to get her out.  Jane abandons his car and breaks the window to make it look like he was kidnapped, then picks Lorelei up in the desert.  He takes her to an empty beach where they talk, then fall asleep.  When Jane awakens, he’s surprised to find that she’s still there.  They encounter a park ranger who finds Jane’s behavior nervous and when he sees the missing person report, calls the CBI to report what he saw.  Meanwhile, Jane and Lorelei stay one step ahead of the police, he calls Lisbon to let her know he’s alright, still playing the kidnap victim part, and they share information about Lorelei’s previously unknown sister who was sold to another couple when she was 2 years old.  The sister, Miranda, had been reunited with Lorelei, but later brutally raped and murdered, leaving a single word at the murder scene, “Roy”.  Jane seizes upon this fact, that “Roy” was a name previously used by Red John and tries to convince Lorelei that Red John had killed her sister as a means to get to her.  Lorelei refuses to accept the idea but does drop the hint that Jane had shaken the hand of Red John in the past, meaning it’s someone he knows.  Jane tells her that once she realizes he’s right, to give him a call and he helps Lorelei to escape from the police pursuit while crashing a car into a tree to provide evidence that he really was kidnapped.  Everyone but Lisbon believes him but she can’t prove he had anything to do with the prison break.  As much, I suppose, as we needed a data-heavy mythology episode where we can learn a lot about Red John, about Lorelei’s backstory, even about Jane, this just seemed too convenient.  I’ve complained about various shows who have villains, and Red John is one of those villains, who are just too perfect, who virtually never make mistakes, Jane is really that kind of character here.  He knows how everyone is going to react, he lays out a path of clues that make people do what he wants them to do, which allows him to get away with a conspiracy to commit a prison break and he knows that nobody will ever catch him.  He pretty much tells Lisbon that at the end.  To be honest, if I was Lisbon, he’d be off the team immediately, terminated from the CBI no matter how many cases he’s solved.  Of course, that won’t happen here, even though she knows he’s guilty, it screws up the show.  If nothing else, there needs to be a lot more tension between Jane and Lisbon from here on out, at least until they finally catch Red John.  It’s one of those episodes where I know they had to do it, I just don’t like how they did it. 

Person of Interest #2×07 – “Critical” – Finch gets a number and it turns out to be the number they’ve seen before.  As Reese is trying to figure it out, Leon Tao comes flying out a window, having pissed off the Russian mob.  Reese takes him back to Finch’s place until they can figure out what to do with him and they go off to investigate another number, this time a well-respected doctor, Madeline Enright, about to do secret surgery on a wealthy CEO Oliver Veldt.  As she plans the surgery, she is contacted by an English guy who tells her that if she doesn’t kill Veldt during the surgery, he will have her wife shot  He gives her a very specific set of rules she must follow or snipers will murder her wife, Amy.  Finch, stuck at the hospital while Reese is out running down leads, gets Tao to start looking for likely assassins in Veldt’s background and eventually, he comes up with a stock short-sale scheme that would net them millions if the CEO were to die on the operating table.  Reese has to find a way to get Amy away from the multiple snipers before Dr. Enright does the wrong thing and kills Veldt to save her wife.  Meanwhile, Carter gets involved in a case where a dead man mysteriously has her business card in his pocket, yet she’s never met him.  She discovers a cryptic note on the back of the card and finds herself at Fujima Technitronics, just as people evacuate the building and security tells her there have been shots fired.  She sees former Agent Snow leave the building, dressed as a serviceman and follows him to an underground passage where his explosive vest cannot be set off by cell phone.  He tells her that things are not as she believes and “she” has bigger plans.  Just as Carter is questioning Snow, someone starts shooting at them and when Carter recovers, both are gone.  It was a fine episode, I just thought it would have been funnier and probably a lot easier if Finch had just told super-hacker Tao to reverse the short-sales of stock, then call up the English guy and tell him he’s stuck with the stocks and will take a bath if Veldt is actually killed.  There were also probably ways that Reese could have hacked the camera signal and triangulated the other shooters like he did the first one, thus getting Amy out sooner.  I’d like to have seen that explored because it seemed to obvious to me.  I think they’re setting Tao up as a regular on the show, which is a good thing because as I’ve said, they really need more allies than just Fusco and Carter.

Primeval: New World #1×04 = “Angry Birds” – When an anomaly appears in an abandoned railyard, site of a pot farm, the two farmers discover a young Terrorbird in their stash.  Unaware of what it will become, they play with it and feed it chicken.  Evan and Dylan show up and get captured by the pot farmers, thinking they’re there to turn them over to the police.  Toby wants to see an anomaly and heads out with Mac, thinking this will be a simple case but it turns out to be anything but.  Leeds, the government agent who wants to help with the operation, appears, just in time to save Evan’s life and ends up being pretty useful after all.  The final adult Terrorbird manages to kill the head pot farmer and Dylan ignites their stash, thus creating a noxious cloud of smoke that causes the bird to loose consciousness.  The team toss all of the Terrorbirds back through the anomaly, but Leeds tricks them and keeps the juvenile, throwing an empty box through.  Come on guys, if you’re going to name your episode “Angry Birds”, you have to have a pig in there somewhere!  Think!  Not a bad episode, we’re getting the whole team together nicely and we knew Leeds would eventually get involved, I do like the idea that he can’t be trusted and this will come back to haunt them later.  Sorry, my review, the lack of pig loses them points.

The Walking Dead #3×06 – “Hounded” – Immediately after the end of the previous episode when Rick picked up the telephone, the female voice on the other end tells him that she is part of a community that is safe from the zombies.  He tells her he wants to join her and she says she can’t do that, she has to ask the others and hangs up.  Back in Woodbury, Merle and three others go out to hunt down Michone.  She leaves them a “biter-gram”, body parts spelled out to say “go back” which was really clever.  When they don’t listen, Michone jumps in and kills two of the hunters and is pursued by Merle and an inexperienced companion.  Meanwhile, Andrea, feeling like a fifth wheel, volunteers for guard duty, but violates town rules when she jumps down outside the walls to take out a walker.  She’s called before the Governor, who admits he has feelings for her and they end up in bed.  Back in the woods, Merle’s companion says he won’t lie to the Governor about killing Michone and Merle takes him out.  He tracks Michone to a grocery store where Glenn and Maggie are scavenging and, with Michone hiding, takes them captive, hoping to find out the location of Daryl.  In the prison, Rick continues to get phone calls, the second sounds suspiciously like it comes from Woodbury, they use the same description that the Governor gave back at the beginning of the season, but as time goes on, it becomes clear that Rick is just hallucinating and he’s been talking to all of the people they had lost along the way, who were all now beyond the reach of the zombie hordes.  He makes his peace with Lori and rejoins the group, finally starting to bond with his newborn.  At the very end, he walks out into the prison yard and sees Michone outside the gates, covered with zombie guts, wanting to get in.  They actually had me going for a minute with the phone calls, especially when they were using all of the lines from Woodbury, but it turned out I was right all along and it was just Rick going out of his mind.  It does seem that a lot of the elements from the comic that I was wondering if they’d change are instead coming to fruition.  The Governor now has Glenn, Michone is with Rick and company and they will undoubtedly mount a rescue operation, bringing some of the more gruesome elements from this era in the comic closer. 

Best of the Week:  This week, it goes to Burn Notice, for giving us a renewed reason to really want to see the show.  After Michael’s burn notice was rescinded and he was cleaning up the last few details, I’ll admit the show lost a little something, but now that not only he, but Fiona, Jesse and Sam are all burned, and not only burned, they’re actively being hunted by the CIA, we’re in for a bumpy and exciting ride.  Even better, this is something they all did to themselves!

Worst of the Week:  We go back to the old standby this week, Fringe.  Seriously, how the mighty have fallen.  It went from a show most people couldn’t wait for, to one that most people can’t wait for it to end.  Of course, it’s not the only show ever to do that, NBC’s Heroes, a couple of years ago, had an amazing first season and it was clear that Tim Kring, the showrunner, had no clue what to do in the second season because he had never planned for the show to be a success.  I think the same applies to Fringe.  They didn’t expect it to be a big success so they never figured out where it was going.  Here we are in the last couple of episodes and… what was “the pattern” again?  What a waste.

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