TV Thursday 4/25/13

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Bones #8×23 – “The Pathos in the Pathogens” – It was something different this week, the team is dressed in blue air-tight suits when a potential bio-terrorist threat sends them scrambling to identify what killed their victim.  The CDC sends in one of their top men and together, they all work to identify the woman, who has largely decomposed, before there’s a full scale outbreak.  In their rush, squintern Arastoo gets pricked by the needle that was used on the victim and is infected by the disease.  Now it’s a race against time, not only to solve the crime, but to find a cure for Cam’s boyfriend.  They kept identifying potential killers and disqualifying them just as quickly.  It wasn’t her boyfriend who found out she was cheating on him, it wasn’t the man she was sleeping with for a story, it wasn’t her source who had gotten terminated from a previous job for stealing cultures, it ended up being the guy who fired the above source, he had instead stolen the cultures himself and was planning on releasing the disease himself so he could turn around and come up with a cure and be rich.  Seriously, the second he started denying he had the cure, I was saying “stab him with the needle”.  I knew that’s how it had to end and that’s exactly what happened.  How Bones gets out of an attempted murder charge, or at the very least an aggravated assault charge, is beyond me.  It was a touching episode and for a while,  I didn’t know if Arastoo was going to survive at all.  Arastoo isn’t as obnoxious as most of the squintern, but to be honest, I’d like to see them cull the herd a bit.  Maybe go around and inject all of the really pointless ones?  Probably too much to ask.  I guess I’m glad that he survived, not really for him, but for Cam.  Damn, that woman needs some luck in love.

Castle #5×21 – “The Squab and the Quail” – We open with Castle playing video games on the couch and Beckett trying to lure him into the bedroom.  I’m sorry pal, but when the woman you love wants you, you go.  They are interrupted by a case though, a rich investment banker is poisoned in a posh restaurant, while having dinner with the super-rich playboy Eric Vaughn, played by Mr. Fantastic actor Ioan Gruffudd.  He’s so good looking and absurdly rich that he automatically makes every man in his presence feel inferior.  This is especially true of Castle when Vaughn takes a liking to Beckett, insisting that she be his bodyguard after it turns out that he was the real target of the poisoning.  Beckett kept finding herself in potentially compromising situations with Vaughn while Castle, frantic  to get her away from him, pushes everyone hard to find the killer.  Castle is funny when he’s jealous or scared and he was both in this episode and I think it was good for him.  Unfortunately, and I don’t know if this was on purpose or not, Eric Vaughn just wasn’t that interesting of a character.  They spent so much time talking about how interesting he was, they forgot to actually make him that way.  He came off as positively self-absorbed and annoying, anyone who would want to be with him must be the epitome of shallowness.  Luckily, Beckett isn’t that shallow and she mostly remained a professional.  They even tried, for a moment, to cast Vaughn as the bad guy, but instead it turned out to be his financial manager who had made some bad financial decisions, had invented a clean energy company in Mexico to funnel millions into, and figured killing Vaughn before he found out was a good idea.  Not so much.  I liked the end bit where Beckett wants to know where their relationship is going and Castle misses her point entirely.  We know that Castle is a bit scatterbrained and according to his ex-wife, isn’t terribly forthcoming, I’m wondering how much longer Beckett is going to hang out without needing the relationship to go deeper?

Continuum #2×01 – “Second Chances” – I loved this series in it’s first season, I watched it over 3 days in a marathon and couldn’t wait for more.  Luckily, I don’t have to wait for the idiotic Syfy channel to show it, I go straight to the Canadian source.  This first episode didn’t disappoint.  After the typical “previously on Continuum,” we first see Kiera in the future, waking up in pain, her CMR glitching as future Alec Sadler uploads the message for his younger self.  This is important.  Next, we start about 10 days after the big cliffhanger at the end of the last season.  Alec is avoiding Kiera, he’s even moved in with a friend and has stopped his experiments.  Whatever his future self told him has freaked him out.  Meanwhile, Kiera has gone “rogue” from the police department, she’s no longer reporting in and she’s performing her own investigations.  When the mayor of Vancouver is shot and killed at a speech, she goes off to try to find out who did it and why all of the evidence points straight at a street gang that has been working against Liber8, but it all seems too easy.  For a few minutes, it looks like a rival gang might be setting up Liber8 to take the fall, but she realizes that Liber8’s plans must include infiltrating business and politics and by offing the mayor, they have the opportunity to place someone sympathetic to their goals in power.  That’s exactly what they’re doing, now that Sonya is in charge.  However, not everything is going well in Liber8-land, Travis didn’t like the idea of her taking over so she emptied her gun into his chest.  He survived the attack, using future tech of some sort, and lands in prison with Julian and they hunker down to make plans.  Kiera meets up with Carlos and the police crew and convinces them that she needs to stay an outsider, where they have plausible deniability if she does something crazy.  She agrees to keep them in the loop, so long as they give her private access to their resources.  In the future, we see Alec Sadler recording a new message for his younger self, telling him that he feels responsible for the state of the future and seeks his younger self’s help in changing it.  He then uploads the message to Kiera’s CMR, resulting in another headache. I loved the part where Kiera just laid it out for Gardner, telling him exactly who she was and where she came from and it was so unbelievable that he ignored it.  I think they tried to do an awful lot in this episode, so much of the story was seemingly wrapped up at the end of last season, they had to introduce a lot of brand new plot elements, many of which had callbacks to what happened previously, but now we understand them in context.  I love stuff like that, where  you see something, you think it means one thing, but you find out later that it really means something completely different.  I’m so glad this show is back, it’s great.

Defiance #1×03 – “Down In The Ground Where The Dead Men Go” – While I still have a lot of problems with the look of the human-with-latex-forehead aliens, I must say  that this episode was quite good.  It deals in large part with the differences between different cultures on several different levels.  We have the continuing story of the young star-crossed lovers who have to fight the biases and money-grubbing of their parents and the Castithan ritual to punish the young man who ran away in battle last episode.  Nolan and Irisa are sickened by this open torture, but are forced to accept that these aliens have their own culture and they all need to live together.  We also have Ben, the Indogene who sold out Defiance last episode and let the Volge in, escaping from jail with a little help and being sent down into the McCawley mines with a load of explosives, presumably to cause mayhem.  Nolan rounds up a posse and they head underground to stop him, finding that old St. Louis still existed beneath their feet, although in pretty rough condition.  Along the way, they rationalize that if he set off his explosives in the old nuclear power plant, he could kill everyone on the surface.  They trap him near the plant and disarm him, but Rafe wants revenge because Ben killed his son… who apparently was working with the Volge too.  Gee, thanks son.  Nolan talks him out of killing Ben in cold blood, then Ben forces Rafe to shoot him in the chest, sort of suicide by cop.  In the end, Irisa and the deputy forcibly stop the Castithans from torturing their victim and take him back to the police station.  Datak Tarr shows up with a gang and wants him back, but Mayor Amanda arrives and says if he wants the boy, he’s going to have to go through her.  He realizes what a bad idea that would be and apologizes, taking the boy back to his family.  Later that night, he goes to get the boy, kills him and leaves his body at the door of the police station as a sign not to mess in the affairs of the Castithan.  At the very end, the town comes out to bury the 41 dead that lost their lives in the Volge attack last episode, to the tune of a cover of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are”.  Oh joy, Nirvana has gone elevator music.

Doctor Who #7×09 – “Hide” – I’ve been pretty critical of the quality of shows they’ve had since the return from hiatus, I don’t find the story of Clara to be compelling, or frankly even interesting, and I think Matt Smith’s Doctor has been bordering on the insane, not something I want to see from a wise, nearly 1000-year old Timelord.  However, “Hide” was an improvement over recent weeks in that it’s gone largely back to form: Doctor and companion solving weird shit.  It’s not about showing Clara the universe, she’s a companion, not a passenger.  War hero Alec Palmer and his assistant empath Emma are investigating a long-term haunting, somewhat  reminiscent of the Ghost Hunter-type shows, without the stupid camera tricks.  Onto the scene pop The Doctor and Clara to help, whether anyone wants them to or not.  They are all seeking a screaming spirit that has haunted the house, but this episode is about a lot more.  Clara notes to The Doctor that all living things must seem like ghosts to him since he can easily move from one end of time to the other and everyone he’s ever known is dead, at least to some aspect of The Doctor.  It sort of made me think of Rory and Amy, who were taken by the Weeping Angels and the next thing The Doctor knew, he was reading a letter from them, long after they had died.  I am really sort of disturbed by The Doctor’s response that Clara is the only mystery worth solving though, I am honestly terrified that they’re setting this up to be another romantic relationship, like they did with Rose, and I will absolutely stop watching the show if they do.  I’ve made my feelings clear on that before.  It’s a show-killer.  Anyhow, the “ghost” turns out to be a time-traveler named Hila who had gotten trapped in a pocket universe, but due to time dilation, the three minutes she had been trapped there translated to billions of years in our universe.  Of course, The Doctor has a plan and hooks psychic Emma up to a machine that allows her to open a wormhole to the pocket universe.  He jumps through to save Hila from a seeming monster that is chasing her, but while he’s able to shove Hila back through the portal, Emma is unable to keep it open any longer and he’s apparently trapped.  Well, if not for the Tardis, of course.  Earlier, The Doctor said that jumping into the pocket universe would drain the heart of the Tardis of power in 4 seconds, yet when Clara hijacks the Tardis to go and rescue him, it lasts a lot longer than 4 seconds, flying around in the pocket universe, not only once but twice.  Granted, the Tardis entered and exited through the wormhole created by Emma, but The Doctor didn’t say the Tardis would use up all of it’s power getting to the pocket universe, but that it would lose all of it’s power in 4 seconds by being there.  Regardless, they saved the time-traveler, but now they have to go back and save the monster, who was just a star-crossed lover whose mate had become trapped in our universe.  The Doctor transports them off to some other planet or something where they could live in peace and then die as a species because, since the pocket universe’s 3 minutes had represented billions of years in our universe, whatever species they had come from is almost certainly long extinct.  How charming.  At the end, it’s revealed that The Doctor didn’t come to find a ghost, but to consult with Emma on Clara.  He’s disappointed that she doesn’t sense anything unusual about her.  Maybe that’s the problem, there isn’t anything unusual about her.  This run of Doctor Who has had comparative bad ratings in the UK.  A lot of it is the terrible scripts they’re working with, but it seems that nobody really likes Clara.  She’s a framework of a character, she’s not fleshed out and maybe that’s Steven Moffat’s plan, but he’d better do something quick because all of the good graces he’s won from previous work is quickly evaporating.  Doctor Who deserves better than this.

Thumbs DownFollowing #1×14 – “The End is Near” – One more.  That’s all I have to say.  Just one more.  I really think that if I had to watch any more of this awful show, I might stab myself in the eye.  Joey gave the team a detailed description of Joe’s cult home away from home and they start checking out all of the houses meeting that description.  Good thing that’s not all they do since Roderick altered the records so the house doesn’t show up.  Too bad he can’t do the same thing to alter satellite images because they find the place pretty easily.  However, Joe and crew are gone.  Joe is still having a really awful day.  Being stabbed in the gut doesn’t agree with him and even though he says it was sewed up, he still bleeds profusely on every conveniently light-colored shirt he’s got.  Meanwhile, Ryan hangs around in front of the police station, conveniently timed so he sees one of Joe’s followers stab a reporter.  They take her into custody so she can pass along a coded message to Ryan, letting him know about Joe’s new plan.  It’s a doozy of a plan too, he sends most of his cult members to the evacuation center where they’re keeping all the civilians, just in case Joe’s minions go out and start killing people.  Of course, nobody bothers to check the people coming into the evacuation center for weapons, you know, just in case Joe’s minions go out and start killing people.  This gives Joe and Claire, along with Emma and Jacob, time to get away and they hit up the house of Phil and Vicki where they’re going to hide out until nightfall.  Claire keeps trying to convince Joe not to kill the couple but Joe is having none of it.  He spends a lot of time telling them how he’s going to kill Claire.  This upsets them for some reason.  Joe unties Claire long enough for her to open a bottle of champagne and she takes that opportunity to stab him with a fork, right into that convenient hole he already has in his gut.  I guess someone needs to sew that up again, don’t they?  Claire, Phil and Vicki escape into the woods, ignoring the perfectly good police car sitting outside with the lights flashing and the police radio blaring.  Joe sends Emma and Jacob to hunt her down.  Claire and company run out into the middle of the road and try to flag down a passing car.  Who is driving?  Three guesses.  At least Phil and Vicki get away.  Back at the evacuation center, Ryan finally figures out what’s going on and takes a huge number of FBI agents and cops to the scene.  They say there are 100 people inside and he has at least 40-50 cops, yet when the shit starts hitting the fan, there are maybe 10 of Joe’s followers in there causing mayhem and they’re kicking the shit out of the cops.  The lights go out, but apparently the flashlights that cops carry on their belts magically vanished because they all go stumbling around in the dark.   This leads to more bloodshed.  Two of Joe’s goons capture Agent Parker, I’m not sure why.  I wish they had stabbed her, she’s a waste anyhow.  Joe and Claire are reunited on the docks and he takes her onto a boat to make good their escape.  Jacob begs Emma to come away with him.  She slits his throat.  He was a whiny bitch anyhow.  Finally, the two goons drag Agent Parker out into the woods, past all of the FBI agents, and bury her alive in a shallow grave.  Am I supposed to feel sorry for her?  The show continues it’s record of idiocy.  Let’s see, the two cops who show up at Phil and Vicki’s door, recognize Emma and don’t even go for their guns, they just stand there looking at each other until she finally shoots them.  And Jacob is surprised she killed them?  She’s in a murder cult, you idiot, of course she killed them!  And when are the FBI going to rename themselves the Keystone Cops?  It’s more apropos.  I just keep telling myself… only one more…

Mentalist #5×20 – “Red Velvet Cupcakes” – There’s a murder, but Jane is far too busy in his Red John investigation so he has Cho and Rigsby describe the murder scene to him.  I kept wondering why they didn’t just send him pictures?  However, he correctly surmises that the husband, who is supposed to be out of town on a river rafting team-building trip at work, is busy doing something else.  Red herrings abound in this episode, did the husband do it?  The husband’s mistress?  We just don’t know.  However, we find that the woman and her husband had been on a popular radio relationship counseling show and something doesn’t quite match up there.  It turns out that the radio psychologist is actually a foot fetishist and he’s been cheating on his with with women who have beautiful feet.  Jane sends Rigsby and Van Pelt in to pose as troubled lovers and Rigsby ends up announcing his love for Van Pelt on the air.  After the broadcast, our psycho psychologist makes a play for Van Pelt, but his wife comes in with a gun and threatens to kill them both, just like she did with the last woman he cheated on her with.  Nope, Jane didn’t see that coming and it’s good to see him surprised now and then.  However, they catch the killer and all is well.  Later that night, Van Pelt shows up on Rigsby’s doorstep and decides that she still loves him.  Her “friend” that we met last week really wasn’t that kind of friend after all.  I really hate the on-again, off-again romances in most of these shows, they have to put two clear candidates for love in an endless array of situations that keep them apart and if they’re ever allowed to get together, something invariably happens to tear them apart again.  I wasn’t terribly heartbroken when they broke up a couple of seasons ago, they weren’t permitted by non-fraternization policies and I think it gets silly when nobody pays attention to the clear and open relationships that happen between co-workers.  Castle has had this problem and so has Mentalist.  I get tired of all the sneaking around, hopefully this will be handled better this time.  That said, I got a little nervous this week when Jane tells Lisbon he’ll do anything for her.  Where I can handle the Castle/Beckett relationship on Castle, I don’t want to see Jane in a relationship with anyone, ever, on Mentalist.  He’s seriously messed up in the head and any woman that ends up with him is in for some trouble.  They’ve never really shown Jane and Lisbon getting closer or being attracted to each other and that’s a good thing.  They need to keep it that way.

Psych #7×08 – “Right Turn or Left for Dead” – This is a departure in  style for Psych.  After last episode’s shocking discovery by Jules that Shawn isn’t really a psychic (although I still think she has to be an idiot not to know), we find that Shawn’s path is split into two, designated by a left turn or a right turn in a taxi, and we get to see what might have happened down both paths.  If he hadn’t given Jules his jacket and she hadn’t found the evidence that he was a fraud, what different path might they have followed?  It also follows a case that Shawn stumbles into on his way home and the two different ways he might have solved it, depending on how his life worked out.  The SBPD investigates a series of mysterious deaths linked to a Swedish woman.  In one timeline, she’s alive, having been rescued by a despondent Shawn in the middle of the road, and in the other dead, since he and Jules took a different way home.  The two paths are very different in tone and are differentiated by different lighting and camera tricks.  In the “happy” timeline, Shawn, Jules and Gus give Lassiter a puppy, hopefully to help him realize new wife Marlowe’s desire for children.  Lassiter goes from hating the puppy to adoring it along the way, which was fantastic.  In the “sad” timeline, Shawn is morose throughout and he hardly speaks to Jules, it’s clear in the deliberate placement of the characters on-screen how much pain there is between Shawn and Jules.  As we see the case through both paths, it eventually collapses into a resolution, but that’s not really what we’re here to watch.  Shawn gives Jules a poignant apology and she understands, calling him a great detective who had to lie in order to be able to use his skills.  Then he wakes up and we replay that scene in the real world, yet instead of learning from it, Shawn asserts that his only mistake was giving Jules his jacket, making her mad.  Yes, I can understand why she’s upset, but she’s not looking at things from his perspective, any more than he’s looking at them from hers.  It is a fact that, had Shawn not played the psychic detective bit, he wouldn’t have gotten to work with the SBPD and he wouldn’t have solved a hundred murders.  It’s also true that he owed her the truth, at least once they got together, although I can certainly understand his reluctance to admit to the woman he loves that he’s a fraud.  We still don’t know about Maggie Lawson’s possible new series (she’s just done a pilot, it hasn’t been picked up yet) and Psych series creator Steve Franks says they have a plan, should she leave, “We have one thing we’re going to try to do this year that I don’t think any show has ever done before. So I’ll be pretty excited if we pull it off.”  As much as I’d love to see what they have in mind, I don’t want to see Jules leave the show either.  I’m sure all of this is just a set up, just in case she goes.

Thumbs UpZombieland #1×01 – “Pilot” – As much as I hate zombies as a “monster”, I loves me a good zombie comedy.  Maybe we should call that a zombedy.  Movies like Shaun of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead Part 2 and C.H.U.D. 2 are hysterical and when I saw Zombieland, back in the day, I thought it was fucking amazing.  Unfortunately, I had never heard of the FOX-produced TV series that is being premiered on the Amazon Streaming Network and if I had, I would have been terribly conflicted.  Movies that become series have a terrible track record, you just don’t have the budget, nor the tight scripting, to do it justice over the long haul.  I might have even thought about not watching the series at all, for fear of massive disappointment.  I would have been wrong.  We open up with a couple of office drones talking about their yuppie day, totally oblivious to the mayhem going on just outside of their window.  Enter the catering guy who brings them their lunches, just as a zombie launches himself through the window and eats the whiny idiot Ainsley, only to be taken out by the TV version of Tallahassee, played in the movie by Woody Harrelson.  Since all of the movie characters are now being played by “cheaper” actors, it’s unrealistic to think that big box office stars like Harrelson and Emma Stone would stoop to doing television duty, but amazingly, I think that all of the actors they picked worked out just fine and the same chemistry that made the movie great seems to have translated over to the small screen.  The foursome realize that they really want to find more people and a community to call home.  They call the resident OnStar agent, which I thought was a truly inspired idea, and together go hunting for the few un-undead left in Los Angeles.  The problem is, they’re really bad at keeping them alive and as accidents claim the lives of their would-be community, they eventually run out of potential members.  This is just a half-hour long, there’s no excuse not to go watch it and make sure you rate it up, I really want to see this series made.  Here’s the trailer, get going!

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Best of the Week:  I liked Continuum.  Hell, I loved Continuum, but I loved the Zombieland premiere even more.  It wins!  Just make more!

Worst of the Week:  Seriously?  Don’t make me stab you with a fork.

Other Stuff I Watched:  The Apple (Rifftrax), Kamen Rider Wizard 21-26, Kyouryuuger 1-7, The Nerdist #2×04


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