TV Thursday 5/8/13

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Over the next several weeks, the network shows start ending for the season so this list will get much shorter over the summer as I’ll be left with only the cable shows.  It will start to pick up again toward the end of summer.

Thumbs UpArrow #1×21 – “The Undertaking” – As the first season winds down, all of the hints we’ve gotten along the way about Malcolm Merlyn’s “undertaking” are finally revealed.  Oliver and Felicity have spent their time in the background trying to find Walter and now it finally has positive results.  After the Hood takes down a key underworld accountant, Oliver and Felicity discover a huge money transfer on the day of Walter’s disappearance to an underworld thug who specializes in high profile kidnappings.  Oliver goes to “talk” to this thug and finds out that he did, indeed, kidnap Walter, but he says that Walter is dead, he even heard the gunshot.  Taking this unsubstantiated news, Oliver presents it to his mother and Thea.  Moira storms out and goes to see Malcolm to confront him, after all, he promised that Walter would be kept safe while he was in his “custody”.  Malcolm shows Moira live video of Walter and the Hood is waiting just outside, listening to the entire discussion.  He and Felicity hack into Malcolm’s phone records and trace his call to a surprisingly high-security tenement building in Bludhaven (damn, I want to see Nightwing in the show now!).  Oliver parachutes into the complex, kills a dozen guards in one of the best choreographed fight scenes in the show to date and rescues Walter.  As Walter recovers in the hospital, surrounded by family, Malcolm shows up and asks Oliver if Walter remembered anything about his captors.  If Oliver didn’t already know that Malcolm did it, that would be pretty damn suspicious.  Finally, Oliver meets up with Laurel and she’s still distraught that Tommy broke up with her.  She had talked to Tommy and he finally came clean, telling her that Oliver was still in love with her.  She asks Oliver to explain to Tommy that it’s not true, but he admits that he still loves her, leaving her wide-eyed.  Oliver then heads off to apologize to Diggle, not only for choosing Laurel over the promise he made to Diggle, but for doubting him with regard to his mother’s guilt.  Diggle has been dead on a lot this season and nobody believes him.  I’ve left this for the end because it’s the most important part of the episode.  Usually, they have flash-backs to the island where Oliver is learning how to be this super-heroic figure, but this time we go back farther, to the group of wealthy investors who are trying to “save” the Glades.  All of them have lost someone to the violence that goes on there and are determined to make it change, but Malcolm has lost hope, he wants to destroy the entire 12 block area and start over, causing thousands of deaths.  To that end, he’s bought up 1/3 of the land in the Glades and he’s bankrolling a weapon of some sort, that’s supposed to destroy large areas and look like natural causes.  Oliver’s father and Frank talk privately about how best to stop Malcolm’s machinations, since he’s just too powerful to publically oppose.  Oliver’s father says he’s going to take the Queen’s Gambit out and, under cover of a trade mission to China, try to stop the device from being perfected.  Frank sells out and plants the bomb that destroys the Queen’s Gambit, making Moira’s later double-cross that results in Frank’s death a case of poetic justice.  We also see what a prick Oliver used to be, while he’s talking about moving in with Laurel, he’s sneaking around with her sister Sara.  What a jerk.  In recent weeks, I haven’t talked much about comic influences in the show, but there are just too many this week to avoid.  As I already mentioned above, the inclusion of Bludhaven, home of Nightwing, the superhero that Dick Grayson became after he stopped being Robin.  The device that Malcolm is funding that causes earthquakes is called the Markov device, a reference to Brion Markov and his sister Tara, who was part of the Teen Titans and, in fact, betrayed the group in the famous story “The Judas Contract”.  Both Brion (Geo-Force) and Tara (Terra) had earth-moving powers.  In one of the flashbacks, Moira mentions a fundraiser for Ted Kord, who was the second Blue Beetle.  There’s supposedly a Blue Beetle TV series in the works, hopefully Ted will be a part of it.  And finally, at least as far as I saw, also in a flashback, Laurel told Ollie that their friends Ray and Jean had moved in together, this is a reference to Ray Palmer and Jean Loring.  Ray is the silver-age Atom and he was married to Jean Loring for a time.  Jean Loring is the one who went crazy, killed Elongated Man’s wife, Sue and started the Identity Crisis.  She also was responsible for hiring the villain that killed the father of Tim Drake, the third Robin.  Amazing how all of these things are connected, isn’t it?

Castle # 5×23 – “The Human Factor” – Castle starts off playing with a remote  control tank on his living room rug, he drives it into the bedroom where Beckett is getting dressed and he suggests that she can remain in that state, or less hopefully.  She calls him a pervert and the phone rings, announcing a car bombing.  This episode was written by David Amman, who has done a couple of others this season including “Target” and “After the Storm”, both of which involved cases high in government interference.  This is no exception, as the crime scene is crawling with government agents the moment they arrive.  The Feds immediately take over the case, denying Beckett’s team any access to the crime scene, the evidence or even any witnesses.  In fact, it looks like the Feds were watching the driver of the car even before the car exploded, two witnesses are identifed by Castle as Men In Black and they drive off, refusing to answer any questions.  If that kind of thing pisses you off like it pisses me off, get used to it, it happens throughout the episode.  However, not to be deterred, Beckett vows to solve the murder with or without Federal assistance.  The victim, Dale Turner, turns out to have been a lawyer with a curious hobby, he ran a whistleblower website that revealed the deepest, darkest secrets of the government and big business.   Dale’s wife says that her husband had tons of enemies, after all, he told everyone’s secrets, but lately he had been more cautious than usual.  Beckett realizes that  the bomb would have to be planted earlier and goes through surveillance footage of Dale’s garage, finding a motorcycle parked there.  It turns out to belong to Monica Lane, an employee of one of the companies Dale’s website discredited, but it turns out the two of them were having an affair and she wasn’t involved in the bombing.  Dale’s wife wasn’t to blame either, she had just found out about the affair.  It looked like the team was stuck, until CSU discovered that it wasn’t a bomb on the car, it was a bomb dropped from an aerial drone that blew up the car.  Now it looked like a government conspiracy and we all know how much Castle loves conspiracies.  Of course, the government is no help, even after agreeing to a meeting, the top brass tells them that everything is classified.  The only purpose of the meeting was to learn how far the police had gotten so that the Feds could swoop in and confiscate all of the evidence.  Beckett discovers that Dale had a partner, Omar Dixon, who did all of his tech support.  Omar was on the run and was being tailed everywhere by federal agents, in particular Agent Jared Stack, a special investigator with the Attorney General’s Office.  Unlike the rest of his government colleagues, Stack was more willing to help with Beckett’s investigation after the attorney  general “convinces” him to cooperate.  While Castle plays the “rise of the machines” angle, Stack reveals that it was a government drone that dropped the bomb, but it was not in the control of the government at the time, someone hacked the system and took over.  This worried Stack and his bosses.  The only person they knew who could do such a thing was a hacker named Warburg who had been in hiding for a year and they were unable to locate him.  Beckett and Castle have no such trouble and, after shooting down one of Warburg’s own drones, find that he did, indeed, have the software necessary to hijack the drones, he had been working with Dale to release the information to the world, thus shutting down the drone program.  He had given Dale a copy of the drone software and suspected someone had made a copy and was now using it.  Warburg was concerned because human drone pilots have a conscience and can over-ride orders, while the new software he had been working on before he went into hiding would have allowed autonomous drones with no human conscience behind them.  It turns out that Stack was just using Beckett’s sleuthing skills to track down Warburg, but he wasn’t the killer.  Attention next turned to Omar, who they caught trying to get to Beirut, but he wasn’t the killer either, he was just a scared kid trying to survive.  It turned out, in fact, to be Dale’s son who was also a hacker and was angry over his father’s affair.  With the only copies of the hijacking software out of the hands of the public, Stack pulls Beckett aside and says he was very impressed with her work and offers her a job as a special investigator for the Attorney General.  She turns him down but he tells her to think about it.  There are several interesting things in this episode that if you don’t look,  you’ll miss it.  In the past, Castle was afraid to answer Beckett’s phone because they were trying (badly) to keep their relationship secret.  Now that Gates knows they’re together, Castle has started to relax.  We also know that Beckett hasn’t completely moved in with Castle, she still has her own place, confirmed by the comment at the end “How about a glass of White Zinfandel when we get back to my place.”  We do know that she  spends much, if not most of her time at Castle’s apartment though and this is where things get a bit tricky.   You could see that she was taking Stack’s offer seriously but she was afraid to upset the status quo with Castle.  She’s not planning on leaving him by any means, but to switch jobs and move away, perhaps to Washington D.C., it’s a big move and how will Castle react?  I think, from a series perspective, it’s clear that we only have a show if Castle is able to follow Beckett around and I rather doubt that the attorney general is going to allow that, no matter who Castle knows.  So, does Beckett give up her big chance and stay in NYC with Castle?  Or is this their “out” for the series, where Beckett moves to Washington D.C., with or without Castle in tow, and they wrap the show?  I guess only time will tell.

Continuum #2×03 – “Second Thoughts” – This is a much slower, more introspective episode than the last couple and that’s not a bad thing.  There’s a new drug on the street called Flash, but according to Kiera, it shouldn’t exist for decades.  Clearly Liber8 is behind it and they’re using their new friends, the Coalition Kings, to spread the drug.  However, Travis is none too happy with this arrangement, he still thinks he ought to be running Liber8 and declares war on Sonya.  When she and Lucas meet with the Kings to finalize their arrangement, protection in exchange for Flash, Travis tries to assassinate Sonya, but kills a gang member instead.  He then tries to get all the rival gangs to join together to fight on his side, bringing along a box of former leader’s heads to convince them.  They seem to be convinced.  Alec gets into a car with his roommate and a couple of girls, all of whom have taken Flash.  Sorry Alec, I thought you were supposed to be the smart one.  The car crashes, seriously injuring everyone inside.  Kiera is worried about Alec, which is no surprise  because it’s revealed that Kiera’s sister Hannah killed herself in the future while on Flash.  Alec goes to see one of his friends in the hospital and asks her about the effects of Flash.  She says it made her feel like she was reliving a memory, but better than the actual experience had been.  He decides to use some to remember an half-remembered experience between his parents and a stranger who turns out to be Jason, the crazy time traveller friend of Kiera’s.  He’s been spinning stories for Kiera about “freelancers”, people from the future who travel through time and make selected changes here and there.  He claims that they’re after him because he knows of their existence.  I think Kiera is struggling to decide if he’s out of his mind or wise beyond her recognition.  Kiera and Carlos track an old gang contact, Gabriel, to a warehouse where they’re manufacturing Flash.  A firefight ensues and the gang is pretty much wiped out.  Sonya escapes, but vows to never again sink to criminal activity to further the aims of Liber8.  Lucas, who has been telling her that all along seems to be changing his tune.  Kiera is none too happy with Alec’s decision to work with Kellogg, warning Alec that he’s dangerous, but Alec wants to be able to shape the future and knows more than he’s letting on.  The war between Sonya and Travis continues… I find it funny how many people are fighting to protect Julian in prison.  His mother is bringing all kinds of research to him so he can prove a conspiracy and now that Travis is gone, all of the gangs are being hired by either Sonya or Travis to make him the safest person behind bars.  However, the gangs are actively killing each other so they’ll be the one that “has his back”.  It seems to me that there are so many protectors vying for top spot that Julian is now in more danger than he would have been otherwise, you never know when a knife fight is going to break out amongst his various gang security guards.  I really don’t know how much longer Carlos is going to put up with the “I have my secrets” nonsense that Kiera spouts.  Sooner or later she’s going to have to bring him in on her secret. 

Defiance #1×04 – “A Well Respected Man” – At least they’re filling in some of the back-story as they go along, we learn that the Earth Republic has offered to build a mag-rail “railroad” to Defiance, suggesting that the city has been cut off from the rest of the Republic, perhaps due to bad blood.  Opening up the world a bit, showing what’s happening outside the town, would certainly go a long way toward providing plotting possibilities, but we’re still trying to learn about the citizens and the new world after the alien terraforming so I hope they don’t move too quickly.  Much of the story this week is between Amanda and Kenya.  Amanda disapproves of Kenya’s lifestyle as a madam and prostitute, but when Kenya is kidnapped by the big blue bioman that we saw in the first episode, Amanda and Nolan will stop at nothing to find her.  Apparently, there’s an underground drug that requires the harvesting of enzymes from the human adrenal gland.   Funny, didn’t they do this same story in this week’s Continuum?  The bioman has been kidnapping people who wouldn’t be missed and bringing them to his partner, played by former Sanctuary star Robin Dunne (yes, all Syfy shows constantly trade actors, I bet it’s in their contracts).  Knowing that there’s only one bioman in town, Nolan head to ask Datak for help since the bioman works for him, but Datak refuses until his wife, Stahma intervenes, telling Amanda that Kenya was always very nice to her, that her gift is to know how to treat people.  This makes Amanda think a little better of her sister and when Stahma says that Datak only wants to be appreciated, that appreciation shown by giving him a seat on the city council, he agrees to help and they track down the bioman.  Meanwhile Kenya and her employee Tirra manage to escape and kill Robin Dunne, um… Miko.  The bioman hunts them down and is just about to kill them when Nolan arrives to save the day and kills the bioman, bringing the bioman population of Defiance to zero.  We find out about Amanda and Kenya’s childhood, their mother was a scavenger who was killed while abandoning her children and Amanda tells Kenya a story about Saint Finnegan, the name of the man whose body mom was robbing when she died.  They have an emotional reunion and everything is better between them.  On the McCawley side of town, Rafe had given his remaining son Quentin shaft L7 to mine however he wanted, but suddenly declares it off-limits for “safety concerns”.  Quentin gets pissed off and threatens to leave the company, until Rafe sits him down and tells him that he loves him and thinks that something in shaft L7 got his other son Luke killed.  Together they go down into the shaft and discover cave paintings.  If I had to guess, I’d say this is what the former mayor and her henchman were looking for in the first episode.  What does any of it mean?  We’ll have to wait and see.  This was really a story about learning to respect others, we saw it between Amanda and Kenya, between Datak and Amanda and between Kenya and Tirra.  We’ve seen a slow progression of the relationship between Datak and Rafe as well, two fathers who have slowly learned to face tragedy, who are driven by a desire for power and who really both want the best for their families.  If I had to draw a comparison, I’d say that Datak and Rafe are very similar to Londo and G’Kar of Babylon 5.  Lifelong enemies, they slowly evolved into having an incredibly close friendship.  We also see that the real power broker behind the Tarr family is Stahma, which Nolan finally recognizes at the end.  She’s steered Datak into his successes over and over and may be the character to watch.  It was a better episode than last week but I think this show still has a ways to go.

Doctor Who #7×11 – “The Crimson Horror” – Once again into the breech, my friends, we are reunited with Vastra, Jenny and Strax, who still really need their own series, in their late 1800s attempt to uncover the mystery of the Crimson Horror, a seeming disease that leaves it’s victims petrified with a red skin coloring.  Going from a popular myth, that the eyes hold the last image seen before death, they find a victim of the Crimson Horror whose last image was the Doctor.  They rush to Yorkshire where Jenny infiltrates Sweetville, a cult-like community run by Mrs. Gillyflower and the mysterious Mr. Sweet, who is a supposed recluse.  Mrs. Gillyflower is a dour old woman who preaches about the coming apocalypse, where only her followers will be saved.  She has a daughter, Ada, who was supposedly blinded by her former drunk husband, that she uses as an example of the evils of the outside world.  Once Jenny makes it inside the walls of Sweetville, she discovers that the Doctor has been held prisoner there, a victim of the Crimson Horror.  She breaks him out of his cell and he uses a nearby chamber to reverse the process.  Mrs. Gillyflower and Mr. Sweet intend to use the residents of Sweetville as guinea pigs, frozen in time and protected from the coming disaster.  Those found with the Crimson Horror are simply rejects from the program who didn’t freeze properly.  Of course, the Doctor isn’t human, therefore he contracted the condition.  They go off in search of Clara, who Jenny keeps reminding is dead.  She is found in a glass case and her condition is reversed the same way the Doctor’s was.  Apparently, the apocalypse isn’t just coming, Mrs. Gillyflower is going to cause it.  She has built a rocket and is going to poison all of London with a toxin generated by the salamander-like symbiote, Mr. Sweet.  Gillyflower manages to launch the rocket, but Vastra and Strax get the poison off, resulting in a harmless explosion.  Mrs. Gillyflower falls to her death and Mr. Sweet tries to scamper off, but is killed by Ada in retribution for turning her mother against her.  In the end, Ada says that it’s time for her to come out of the darkness and into the light and make something of herself.  The Doctor takes Clara home and there, she discovers that the children she cares for have made some discoveries on the Internet, pictures of Clara taken in several time periods.  They correctly conclude that she is a time-traveler and demand that she take them with her.  This episode was written by Mark Gatiss, who usually comes up with some good stories and this was no exception.  He’s also well versed in Doctor Who mythology, as we see in this episode.  At one point, the Doctor tells Clara that he once had to take a “gobby Australian” to Heathrow Airport, a reference to Teagan, who was a companion in the Tom Baker/Peter Davison era.  Unfortunately, I think it tried to do too many things and did none of them terribly successfully.  I was happy to hear we’d get another episode with Vastra/Jenny/Strax, but most of it centered around Jenny, while Vastra and Strax only had bit roles.  There was a terrific scene with Strax threatening his horse when it failed to take him where he wanted, but it left me wanting more.  The whole plot of wanting to kill everyone in London really meant nothing, it was never really explained, Mrs. Gillyflower just found a little red alien, stuck it on her chest and now… what?  It needed more explanation.  Of course, the mother/daughter dynamic was relatively well done, played by real-life mother and daughter Diana Rigg and Rachel Stirling, but the revelation that Ada’s blindness was caused by her being used as a guinea pig by her mother just didn’t ring true.  The high point, I think, was watching Jenny, who stripped off her Victorian clothes to a leather bodysuit, was kicking ass while the Doctor looked on.  I think sometimes we focus on Vastra and Strax and forget that Jenny is a part of the team for a reason other than just being Vastra’s wife.  Probably one of the better episodes of this half-series, but still, could have been better. 

Elementary #1×21 – “A Landmark Story” – A while back, the wonderful episode “M” introduced us to the concept of Moriarty.  Oh, we knew he was coming, after all, he’s the classic foil of Sherlock Holmes, how can he not be a part of the modern adaptation?  Nobody but Holmes believes that Moriarty is real, they see him as a boogieman that haunts Holmes’ dreams, but we get to meet him, or rather talk to him, in this episode.  We start off without Holmes or Watson, in the home of a city planning official who meets up with a man who causes his death after he reverses his vote on a controversial project.  Then we meet up with good old Moran, associate of the mysterious Moriarty, who is just as powerful in prison as he was on the outside.  Finally, we get to Holmes, who manages to dislocate his shoulder just as he receives a call from Gregson and Watson has to pop it back into place.  Gregson tells Holmes that Moran has new information on Moriarty, but he won’t tell anyone but Holmes.  Off Sherlock goes to the prison where Moran has just come out of solitary confinement.  He tells Holmes that the seemingly natural death of the councilman was, in fact, a murder, just before killing a guard to guarantee he ends up back in solitary again.  Nobody believes Holmes so he and Watson sneak into the morgue at night and perform a quick autopsy, revealing that the man’s pacemaker had electrocuted him.  Then, a second murder, this time a man gets an air conditioner dropped on his head.  Holmes does an experiment, throwing a similar machine off of his roof, proving that it’s possible to make a pinpoint accurate drop and thus, it could have been murder.  This victim, too, was a member of the city council committee.  Holmes and Watson find a third member, who is allergic to bee stings, being set up to be swarmed by africanized honey bees and they set up a sting to catch the man arranging all of these murders.  They capture Daniel Gottlieb, a serial killer with 31 victims on his resume and drag him back to Sherlock’s house.  They tell him that he can either tell them everything he knows about Moriarty or they’ll hand him over to the police with all of the evidence they have against him.  Sherlock texts Moriarty from Gottlieb’s phone and demands a meeting and gets a bunch of gibberish back, Moriarty communicates with his killers in code.  Gottleib agrees to help them, but has only met his employer once.  Gottleib’s boss shows up at the meeting place and then, frustrated that Gottleib never showed, takes off with Holmes and Watson tailing him.  He manages to lose them at a railroad crossing, but Sherlock manages to get a picture of him, which Gottlieb confirms is his employer.  However, it’s not Moriarty, it turns out to be another serial killer who starts to explain the plot to Sherlock, but ends up shot in the back.  Holmes receives another mysterious text and shows it to Gottlieb, who cannot translate it.  He then takes it to Moran, who asks to see what time he received it, then claims that he can’t read it either.  That night, Holmes solves the cipher and it is a message for Moran, telling him to kill himself if he wants his daughter to survive.  Holmes calls Gregson, just after Moran commits suicide by bashing his head into the wall.  This pisses Holmes off, he was a patsy, used to deliver that message.  Holmes then gets a phone call, it’s Moriarty, who says they’re overdue for a meeting.  Roll credits.  It’s funny how many people think that Moriarty is a major character in the Sherlock Holmes mythos.  I read all of the stories when I was very young, I remember getting a collected volume of all the Sherlock Holmes stories for my birthday when I was maybe 8-9 and I read them all over and over again.  Moriarty only appears in person in one story, “The Adventures of the Final Problem” and gets talked about in one other, “The Valley of Fear”.  While we’re talking about classic Holmes, the line Sherlock says to Watson, “10:17! Thank you, Watson. You know, some people without possessing genius have remarkable knack for stimulating it,” comes almost verbatim from “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”  It’s nice to see that the people writing the show have a functional knowledge of the original Arthur Conan Doyle novels.  Three more episodes this season, one more single and then a two-parter.  I can’t wait!

Mentalist #5×22 – “Red John’s Rules” – In the season 5 finale, we return to the Red John case and it’s perhaps the best episode we’ve seen on it in a long time.  When a woman is killed in a seedy motel and the Red John smiley-face is left on the wall, Jane is pulled back into the field.  He’s been spending a lot of time lately trying to figure out which of the thousands of men he’s shaken hands with might be Red John, but now he has his list down to seven names.  We find that the woman was someone he knew from his childhood and this leads them back to the carny town that he grew up in.  Red John is purposely focusing on Jane’s memories, he and Lisbon talk about Red John’s almost psychic ability to know what Jane is thinking and doing.  Of course, Red John isn’t directly involved, we even get some no-name agents at the beginning of the episode giving back-story about Red John, how he hasn’t directly killed anyone for a long time, he works through his followers, which was a big “pay attention” sign if ever I’ve seen one.  In this case, the accomplice was a child welfare worker who was willing to kill Jane’s childhood friend in order to steal her baby because she wanted a child.  Once she was caught though, she was very open about working with Red John, about the murder, etc.  She gives Jane a DVD from Red John containing a video of Lorelei Martins, clearly beaten up.  She says that in exchange for making this video, Red John has promised to kill her quickly, he’s none too happy that she dropped the little hint about shaking Red John’s hand.  She says that Red John knows the identity of all of Jane’s suspects and lists them one by one, right on every account.  We know that one of the people listed is Red John, there are no more red herrings.  The list includes Bret Stiles, Gale Bertram, Ray Haffner, Reede Smith, Bob Kirkland, Sheriff Thomas McAllister (who hasn’t appeared since early in the first season) and Brett Partridge.  One of those people is Red John.  However, because Jane has changed the rules, Red John is following suit and he’s going to become an active serial killer again and will continue to rack up the body count until Jane kills him.  A lot of the names on the list are expected so let’s look at them.  Bret Stiles is the head of the Visualize cult movement that Jane has butted heads with on several occasions.  He’s hinted that he has deeper knowledge of the Red John killings than he lets on.  I don’t think it’s him, although clearly he’s an associate of Red John.  Gale Bertram is the head of the CBI and has been directly antagonistic toward Jane.  Both Bertram and Red John seem fond of quoting poems by William Blake.  He certainly has some bizarre coincidences, being in the area of Red John killings, but I don’t think it’s him either.  He just doesn’t seem the type and we’ve seen that Red John is highly competent and Bertram doesn’t seem to be.  How about Ray Haffner?  He’s formerly Jane’s boss with the CBI, although he’s since left the agency to start his own detective agency.  We see him shaking Jane’s hand on camera, he certainly fits all of the necessary criteria, he’s been a high-ranking CBI agent, he is a member of the Visualize cult and, most importantly, it seems he could have been involved in the events of “The Red Barn”, perhaps the first Red John killing.  This is one to watch.  Then we get to Reede Smith, an FBI agent that butts heads with the CBI in the first episode of this season.  I don’t think there’s much evidence that it’s him, he doesn’t seem the type and he hasn’t been around long enough for it to make much sense.  Next, Bob Kirkland, who we’ve spoken about before.  He’s another character that only appeared in the fifth season so the longevity may be an issue.  It’s been played up in the show that Kirkland is looking into Jane’s involvement in the Red John killings, going so far as to break into Jane’s loft and take pictures of his evidence.  Still, they seem to be trying too hard to make him look like a suspect so maybe he’s not.  Sheriff Thomas McAllister, as I said, who has only appeared in one episode back in the first season.  I just don’t see that much of a continuing link to Jane, which I’m assuming is a requirement for Red John.  I’ll be really disappointed if Red John turns out to be a character that has walked through the background once or twice.  Finally, Brett Partridge, who started out in the series pilot and is a forensic investigator for the CBI.  He has a vast knowledge of Red John crimes and seems to have at least a little admiration for Red John.  He’s been found at several Red John copycat scenes.  Those times that we’ve heard Red John speak, his voice is virtually identical to Partridge’s.  Honestly, I know that Bruno Heller drops a lot of red herrings in this show, he wants people to theorize about Red John, but while I have my suspects, I don’t think I can do more than count out a couple of Jane’s list of seven.  We’ll have to wait and see what happens next season.

Thumbs UpPerson of Interest #2×21 – “Zero Day” – As we saw last episode, the Machine has been falling apart following the upload of the virus that Harold identified existed only to take the Machine out.  It’s heading for a hard reset and Harold programmed a fail-safe into it for just that eventuality.  Unfortunately, Decima Technologies, the authors of the virus, know that and are just waiting for that fail-safe, a phone call that the Machine makes to the outside world and whoever answers the phone becomes the Machine’s new administrator and has access to all of the data the Machine has accumulated for 24 hours.  Root returns, she’s concerned with the Machine’s well-being and she threatens to harm Finch’s love Grace if he doesn’t help her.  Shaw comes back and teams up with Reese on a similar mission.  We find that, while Harold was working on the Machine, it was adapting and evolving, developing new abilities and this had caused Harold, out of fear, to reset the Machine once every day, effectively killing that new evolution every 24 hours.  Root is horrified at this development and I don’t know that I blame her.  The Machine has invented an outside persona, Ernest Thornhill, who owns a data entry company, whose employees re-type all of the data that was erased from the Machine every day as the Machine fights to regain it’s memories.  Thornhill, while he doesn’t really exist, buys huge swaths of public telephones to use in the event of a system reset.  It’s clever that the Machine manages to send Finch the number for Thornhill as a means of saying “HELP!”  Through a series of flashbacks we see Harold at the time he developed the Machine, he was a much colder, more callous character whose uncaring exterior was only broken by his love of Grace.  We got to see him propose to Grace and she accepted.  Too bad they were never able to be together, I’m just hoping that by the end of the series, Harold and Grace get to be a couple finally.  We see Decima trying to control all of the public telephones in midtown New York City because they don’t know for sure which one the Machine is going to call.  Harold and Root end up at the library, which she says is an apropos spot and Harold routes the call to a phone so Root can become the new admin.  However, he double crosses her and sends the real call to another phone where Reese picks it up and becomes the new admin.  I guess it makes sense to give the guy with the least technical knowledge and least desire to use the Machine’s data for evil to become the new admin.  Carter spent the episode trying to find Beecher’s killer, which essentially got her out of the way with just a few scenes.  Fusco was mysteriously “uptown” working on a different case.  This is deep, deep mythology stuff and I’m glad we’re finally getting to the center of the mystery of the Machine.  Only one more episode until the end of the season and it’s sure to be amazing.

Psych #7×10 – “Santa Barbarian Candidate” – When Santa Barbara’s beloved mayor washes up on shore, the apparent victim of a surfing accident, the head of the city council is poised to take over but Shawn doesn’t trust him.  However, the only way to stop him from automatically being named the new mayor is to challenge him in an election, so that’s what Shawn does.  Shawn makes a really awful political candidate, as we can well imagine, but somehow, his smooth-talking style immediately makes him the front-running candidate.  Gus, since he has political experience (Dule Hill was a long-running actor on The West Wing and they make a joke to that effect), he takes over running Shawn’s political campaign.  To carry off his charade, he needs to be in a relationship and begs Jules to play along, to which she reluctantly agrees.  There’s a really touching scene where he wants to dance and she says she tried to get them to take a class together but he didn’t want to.  He reveals that he really went somewhere else, but felt so guilty that he took the class later without her.  She just sits down and says “why couldn’t you have been this sweet when we were together?”  Good question, Shawn!  It isn’t long until they discover that the city councilman isn’t guilty of killing the old mayor and Shawn has to find a way not to get elected but he can’t just drop out of the race so Gus takes over, making horrible TV commercials about him and it gets him to drop in the polls.  In the end, Shawn takes over  a city council meeting to reveal the killer and Jules tells him that the only way to have any chance of getting her back is for Shawn to admit that he’s not psychic to the chief.  He makes the speech I’ve been saying he should have made episodes ago, but goes into Chief Vick’s office to reveal the truth to her, stopped at the very last second by Jules who changed her mind.  She’s not quite ready to get back together, but she’s more willing than we’ve seen in a couple of episodes.  We still don’t know how it will play out and I’m more and more conflicted how I want next season to go.

Thumbs DownWarehouse 13 #4×12 – “Parks and Rehabilitation” – This is the unofficial finale to the Artie storyline that has gone on for most of the season.  In a series of flashbacks, we saw Artie pulled out of his self-induced coma where he was hiding from the reality of having killed Leena.  The Regents forgive Artie for what he’s done and tell him he can go back to work.  After all, he was under the influence of the astrolabe and would never have killed Leena otherwise.  However, Artie can’t forgive himself and spends much of the episode wandering around in an angsty haze.  Myka and Steve remain behind to help Artie sort out his issues whole Claudia and Pete head off to Oregon to investigate an artifact that can move the earth and a killer who is trying to wipe out a decade-old former eco-terrorist group.  Let’s look at this story first because it’s the least interesting.  We find that there was an eco-terrorist group that broke up ten years earlier when one member was sent to prison and ultimately died there, while refusing to give up his partners.  Now, those partners are being killed one by one by someone with an artifact that allows them to create holes, trenches and earthquakes.  It’s not a very good story to be honest and it suffers from the last-minute introduction of the real murderer, who turned out to be the brother of the guy who died in prison, who blames the rest of the group for not coming forward to share the blame with his brother.  There are some good parts here and there, but there’s far too much angst for my tastes, the scenes with Claudia and Autumn sitting around commiserating about how many bad things they’ve  done was a bit over the top.  They really wrote the scenes to bring Claudia and Artie back together at the end, but more on that in a minute.  Back in the A-storyline, Artie still hates himself for killing Leena, even if he wasn’t personally responsible.  He mopes around the Warehouse for a while, then sets off to do all of the jobs that Leena supposedly did, although I don’t remember if we ever actually saw her doing any of them.  It was her job to “balance” artifacts, to make sure they got put into specific aisles for maximum spiritual harmony or some new-agey bullshit like that.  Artie takes an artifact that’s been sitting around for a while into a room where he’s supposed to “sense” where it belongs.  However, because of his dark and gloomy emotional state, it keeps reading his own feelings, not the state of the artifact and therefore, wacky hi-jinks ensue.  However, once he realizes that it’s his own emotional state that’s causing problems and that they all ought to work together as a team to make up for the loss of Leena, he begins down the long road of self-forgiveness.  When Claudia, who had been avoiding him because of Leena’s death, returns from Oregon, they finally talk and she forgives him for killing her friend and he forgives her for stabbing him in the chest with a dagger.  Life is good.  Alright, it wasn’t a bad episode, it just wasn’t as good as it should have been and while I understand why they did it, I think it could have been better without the eco-happy B-story.  I’d rather have seen the entire team come together as a family to help Artie instead of having half the team out running around in the woods.  The scene between Artie and Claudia, while touching, didn’t have the impact it should have.  Instead of having two hurt people coming back together, you had two people who learned separate lessons and then applied them toward each other.  It could have been better.

Best of the Week:  This is really hard this week.  There were a lot of really good episodes that probably all deserve top billing but it can only go to one.  I can make a case for all of them getting top spot and because we’re getting to the end of the season, we’re getting into some of the best deep mythology stories of the season.  Damn, I’m going to break tradition (I’ve done it before) and award two top spots, Arrow and Person of Interest.

Worst of the Week:  Likewise, there wasn’t a stand-out awful episode, now that The Following and Bones are off the air.  Three of them, Defiance, Doctor Who and Warehoues 13, ranked lowest this week, but they were all average episodes, not stinkers.  I think I have to give it to Warehouse 13 though, not because it was horrible, but because so much of it seemed unnecessary and I think they could have had a better episode if they had cut the B-story.

Other Stuff I Watched:  Mythbusters 12×01, The Nerdist #2×05, Toy Hunter #2×05, Star Wars (May the 4th viewing)

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