The week, as I predicted, was still a bit slow, although it held some surprisingly good episodes, but I have included a near-series-ending review for the Japanese tokusatsu series Go-Busters. We should be nearly back to normal next week though.
Bones #8×10 – “The Diamond in the Rough” – Bones and Booth go undercover in the wild world of competitive ballroom dancing after a competitor is found dead and coated in crystals, they need to find out who killed her before the judges make their final decision. Honestly, the returning intern Wendell does not impress me at all. Most of the interns can rattle off obscure facts like nobody’s business, Wendell spent the episode stumbling around, unable to come up with the most basic facts and he broke the corpse twice. He really had no saving grace, I wondered why he showed up at all. I’m often critical of the interns but at least they bring knowledge and skill to the table. Wendell brought neither. We also got another week of “My Life Sucks Theater” starring Angela. She’s been doing that a lot lately and the writers have been pushing the whole “she’s an artist, she hates what she does” line pretty heavily this season. I don’t know if the actress is getting tired of the show or if she wants a break or what. I say give it to her. It’s better than whining.
Bones #8×11 – “The Archaeologist in the Cocoon” - We had a double episode of Bones this week, even more to review! When a cocooned body of an archaeologist is found in a tree, we find that he’s made a monumental discovery and managed to piss people off as well. First, the archaeologist, who has become a laughing stock for shoddy money-grubbing pseudo-science, has been selling his discoveries to a fundamentalist Christian who runs a creationist museum in exchange for funding, the fundie just buries all of the discoveries and gets really pissed off when the archaeologist refuses to sell him his latest find. That find, a family of apparent mixed homo sapiens/neanderthal origins, brings Clark back into the picture to take charge of the secondary examination, but Bones doesn’t want to let go and spends half the episode fighting over who should get to work on the paleolithic discovery. Back on the murder front, while they try to spin the idiot fundie as a potential suspect, he never really pans out, it turns out that the former publisher who was jealous of being cut out of the archaeologist’s newfound interest in legitimacy. I really found the whole creationist nutball to be a pointless space-waster, he had a few minutes on screen during which everyone laughed at him, then he was gone. What’s the point? I also find the whole “let’s tell a nice story about the corpses” thing at the end to be useless as well. Real anthropologists don’t emotionalize the dead bodies. I think this episode was almost as weak as the first one.
Castle #5×11 – “Under the Influence” – At a release party for a pair of musical divas, their hired DJ suddenly takes off, chasing after someone in a hoodie and turns up dead, the victim of a shooting. Forensics makes two discoveries, that she was killed near a Chinese food restaurant and that she was wrapped in a tarp in the trunk of a luxury car. They also discover that at seven parties that the DJ, named Holly, played at in the previous year, there were high-end jewelry robberies. Suspicions immediately turn to Holly, who had a string of run-ins with the law in her past but they find a more likely culprit in the person of 15-year old Joey, a kid from the streets that sometimes helped out Holly set up her equipment and, coincidentally, was present at every single robbery. However, at this party, there was no reported robbery and the kid has an alibi for the murder. Enter Shane, criminal mastermind who uses kids to commit crimes for him. In the past, Holly used to be one of his crew, he still has influence over her and that’s why he uses her to get his juvenile delinquents into big-name parties. Holly, however, was not aware of what really went on with her “assistant” and when she found out, she threatened to blow the whistle on Shane. He’s the obvious suspect for the shooter but he has an alibi, he couldn’t have done it. It comes down to battling divas and an ex-criminal turning over a new leaf, with Castle, Beckett and Esposito figuring it out in the end. To be honest, the mystery wasn’t all that hot, I predicted in the first minute or so of the episode that it was going to be one of the divas, they were just too obvious, but the mystery came together in the end and it was an enjoyable view. Esposito really came through in this episode, he did a fantastic job in his scenes with Joey and the fact is, he and Ryan really don’t get the kind of exposure they deserve most of the time. We get to see some of his back-story, we get to see a little empathy, I’d like to see that more often.
Elementary #1×12 – “M.” – When a bizarre murder leaves Sherlock shaken, he realizes it’s because it fits the M.O. of a serial killer in England, one that he’s convinced murdered his girlfriend, Irene Adler. He goes on the warpath, telling Watson that his addiction got in the way of catching the killer before but he won’t allow it to happen again, but in reality, Holmes has no intention in turning the perp over to the authorities, he’s going to torture and kill him as revenge for his loss. When the killer invades Holmes’ house to leave a note, it sets him on the path to retribution, but it turns out not to be what he thinks it is. The killer is, in reality, a hit man, hired by a mysterious boss that Holmes fans would obviously know, Moriarty, who has been sending the letters to the police, signed simply “M.” Now Holmes has a new enemy to pursue. We also start to deal with the problem I’ve been seeing for many episodes now, what happens when Watson is supposed to leave to find a new client. Everyone tells her to stay, working with Holmes has drastically improved her life, both she and Holmes admit they don’t want to lose each other and in the end, she sends an e-mail to his father asking for permission to stay a little longer. Unfortunately, he says no and the e-mail is signed “M. Holmes”. Is this finally the appearance of Mycroft that we’ve all been expecting? We just don’t know. This does, however, bring up a dilemma in the series. Presumably, Holmes’ wealthy father has been financing his lifestyle as well as paying Watson for her companion services. We know that Holmes makes no money from his consulting gig with the police. If Watson is going to stay and, especially after this episode, Holmes position with the police is a bit shaky, they’re going to need to find a way to monetize what they do, either start charging the police or go into a private detective business on their own. It’s a shame that we have to wait until after the StupidBowl to see where it goes next.
Fringe #5×11 – “The Boy Must Live” – The series is almost through and they really haven’t accomplished much in this final season so it’s time for a serious infodump. Take one episode and spend most of it explaining what the hell is supposed to be going on. Walter has seen something amazing, a vision given to him by the mini-Observer Michael and goes into the isolation tank to explore it. There, he sees Donald’s apartment, at least the apartment that Michael had seen in the past and they all rush off to find it. There, they meet up with Donald who is still living there and he breaks the whole thing down to our clueless cast. As I feared, the plan is revealed and it’s downright stupid. Donald, who is really September, fathers a child in the future who is an aberration, an observer who has superior knowledge yet retains all of his emotions. They plan on sending him into the future to the time in 2067 where a Swedish researcher first gets the idea of creating the Observer strain, demonstrating that there is another way through the bald, mute kid, and thus the Observers are never created at all. Except the second the Observers cease to exist, so does the kid! In sending him into the future, you create a time paradox that breaks the space/time continuum. Good plan there, Walter! Worse yet, since it has been established that Donald, as September, saved Peter as a boy, will Peter now be dead? But, since Walter initially missed the cure for Peter because he was interrupted by September in his lab, does that mean Walter never develops cross-dimensional travel and the whole series becomes irrelevant? Now it wasn’t all bad, it seems they’ve decided to fix Walter by the end and, as a result of his vision, he suddenly has a rosy view of the world. It’s all about family and happy thoughts, he’s spent too much time thinking about science, now he can just let go and admit that he loves Peter and just wants to have a happy family. Yeah, it was too much, too fast, but I suppose it’s touching. The same for Olivia’s belief that once the Observers vanish, Etta will be returned to them. Hell, I don’t even remember her anymore but I suppose it’s a worthwhile sentiment, except if the Observers never existed, then September never existed and never saved Peter, meaning there was never an Etta to begin with. Granted, it is ironic that, now that Walter finally has his memories back and can stop being grumpy, Donald tells him that he volunteered to die in order for the plan to succeed. Walter, please die. Please? Do these people realize that their big plan can potentially invalidate the entire series and make Fringe watchers realize they’ve wasted 5 years of their lives on this show? Oh well, next week is a 2-hour series finale. One way or the other, this pig is toast.
Mentalist #5×12 – “Little Red Corvette” – Hopefully, this is the end of the Tommy Volker saga and, as I predicted, it went down pretty much like I thought it would. An incredible genius, always a step ahead of the police, always having contingency plans in place for every conceivable outcome, he ends up making a stupid mistake, something no criminal worth their salt would make and gets caught. I hate these super-criminals. In the episode, a young boy sees the murder of a geologist who knew that Tommy Volker had ordered the mass murder of a primitive Brazilian tribe because they were blocking his oil expedition. Tommy orders a henchman to kill the boy, but instead, the henchman hides the boy with a family member and apparently, the kid never bothers to tell anyone he’s been kidnapped. When the CBI eventually finds the murdered geologist, they also find the boy’s toy car and Jane surmises that he must have seen the whole thing. They go off in search of the missing boy, tipping Volker off along the way. Volker orders one of his hitmen to do away with the kid, but he says no, he “didn’t sign up for this”. Therefore, Volker makes his stupid mistake and goes off to do the job himself. Worse yet, he goes out into the middle of a public zoo, with lots of people around and grabs the kid by the arm, hauling him away with the kid screaming bloody murder. Of course, none of the bystanders pay a bit of attention to it, leaving the way clear for Lisbon to chase after them and put a bullet in Volker’s shoulder. Now they have Volker on kidnapping charges, plus a witness to the murder of the geologist. Tommy Volker is apparently going down. I don’t know that I’ll hold my breath because, like Elias in Person of Interest and Yang in Psych, just being in prison won’t stop them from being a threat.
Person of Interest #2×12 – “Prisoner’s Dilemma” – We continue with the search for the “man in the suit”, with Carter interrogating the four suspects and Donnely getting more and more paranoid. Seriously, there has to be a point in time where the warden of the prison says “this guy is nuts” and calls his superiors, I think they passed that line several times in this episode. Finch spends his time trying to manufacture data to corroborate Reese’s story faster than Donnely can check his story out and that leaves Fusco on his own in a wonderfully understated but hilarious series of segments where he’s assigned to protect supermodel Karolina Korkova and nobody has the time to help him out. It just gets more and more ridiculous, with Fusco and the supermodel running through the streets, chased by foreign nationals, ending with a scene where they’re trapped behind a bullet-ridden car and Fusco standing up, guns blazing, to protect Korkova. It’s all played for laughs but it really works, right down to the very end of the episode where Korkova gives Fusco a kiss, tells him he’s wonderful and wants him to call her. Anyhow, back to the meat of the episode. Carter goes between the four suspects, trying to get one of them to break and admit to being the “man in the suit”. Obviously, she doesn’t want Reese to be caught so she softballs his questions, but we find out a lot of background about his life, some of which we’ve seen in previous episodes and some which we haven’t. We revisit Reese’s first partner as an assassin, a woman that he clearly has feelings for, up until they finish a mission and have both been instructed to take each other out. He cannot kill her, she has no such problems, but when the building is blown up, he assumes her dead. Eventually though, Carter forces a confession from one of the mafia crew and Reese is released, at least temporarily until Donnely catches him and Carter talking openly about the truth. He handcuffs them both and is taking them to a “safehouse” when Finch discovers a new danger. He tries to warn Donnely, just as a truck rams his car, Reese’s old partner comes walking out of the fog, puts a couple of rounds in Donnely’s head and drugs Reese. It’s a great episode, we learn a ton about Reese’s background that we’ve desperately needed to know and now, they’ve jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Donnely is dead and presumably, Reese’s secret died with him, but now what’s happening with Reese’s ex? We’ll find out next week.
Best of the Week: This week, Person of Interest sews it up nicely with a surprisingly well-done interrogation story and a fantastically funny backup with Fusco, super-agent. We also get rid of Donnely, who was getting on my nerves as an agent who ignores the law for his own personal agenda. Lots of points to go around here.
Worst of the Week: Fringe once again, no surprise. Honestly, I’m not sure which pisses me off more, the idea that the writers of Fringe are so damn stupid that they don’t see the incredible number of paradoxes and problems that their “plan” creates, or that they do see it all, they think it’s clever and they’re going to piss their entire viewing audience off when they go through with it.
Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters – 1-45 – Thirteen years ago, the computer controlling a new energy source, Enetron, was infected by a virus, causing it to go crazy and create a persona called Messiah, which was bent on world domination and the creation of a world built for machines. It was sent through subspace, along with the laboratory and all of the scientists, to protect the world, with the exception of three children who managed to escape, but who developed amazing powers. Because of this event, the Energy Management Center’s Special Ops Unit was created to fight the forces of Messiah. It’s warriors are the three children, Hiromu Sakurada, Ryuji Iwasaki and Yoko Usami, now grown, who constantly battle Messiah’s attempts to collect enough energy to break through the subspace barrier and take over the world.
At first, it sounds like pretty typical tokusatsu fare and at the beginning, it was. However, it soon started to slide and has become one of the worst rated Super Sentai series of all time. The reasons for this, unfortunately, are many. Since Super Sentai shows are largely aimed at kids and toy-based, you’d think that by now, they’d have the toy angle down pat but this time, they didn’t. Most other recent Super Sentai shows have had something they chased after. Go-Onger had Engine Souls. Gokaiger had Rider Keys. These were things that kids would bug their parents to buy, thus increasing Bandai’s toy revenue. Go-Busters had none of that, unless you count the remainder Rider Keys that were held over due to the popularity of the previous series. In fact, toy-wise, Go-Busters had relatively little which led to very disappointing toy revenue. In most shows, there are quite a few different robots to buy, usually so many that fans complain because they have to shell out a lot of money to own them all. In Go-Busters though, there are very few auxiliary robots, there just wasn’t much to buy.
Add to that the fact that the story was very slow moving and without something new to introduce every couple of episodes, it just got downright boring for a lot of people, myself included. I just couldn’t maintain any kind of interest, I’d watch a couple of episodes and just not go any farther for a couple of months, then force myself through a couple more. Go-Buster was a bit darker than some of the most recent Super Sentai series but it really didn’t have an even keel. You’d have robots out shooting people and destroying the city, then you’d have the main characters with really stupid quirks, the Red Ranger would freeze in place whenever he saw a chicken, for example, it was just dumb. Unfortunately, while the series might have worked as a more serious piece, as soon as the ratings started to plummet, they started rebooting the series, to the point that by the end, they were just throwing stuff at the screen and it was clear they were just marking time until the new series, Kyoryuuger, to be honest, they pretty much cleared up the season in the middle of the year and everything that has come after has been a waste.
The series hasn’t officially ended but for me, it wrapped up a long time ago. The problem is, it could have been a lot better if they had just tried to make it more fun, more exciting and more interesting. I think Go-Busters earned it’s low ratings and low sales.
Hopefully, when Kyoryuuger premieres in February, it’ll be a better show.