Another week, another pile of shows, some good and some bad. We see the end of Sinbad and the mid-season finale of Dr. Who. I had thought, based on announcements on TV, that last week’s Top Gear U.S. was the end of the season, but it appears they’re too damn stupid to know the difference between a mid-season finale and a season finale, so the show still goes another 10 episodes, airing again sometime early next year. I really hate stupidity. Therefore I apologize for providing false information last week, it’s not my fault.
Bones – #8×02 – “The Partners in the Divorce” – We have a general return to the kind of Bones episodes I like, strange deaths, bizarre circumstances, red herrings, and Bones and Booth racing to find the truth. In this episode, a body is found burning under an overpass and even though they’re fighting, Bones and Booth search for clues to who murdered this divorce lawyer. There were some wonderful moments in this episode, including Angela’s animatic of the body falling end-over-end down the stairs, only to plummet over a cliff. It feels like people are getting back to normal after quite a number of really bad episodes, the characters feel like themselves again. Of course, the big problem with the series is still the Bones and Booth relationship, these two simply do not belong together, have never belonged together and will never belong together. They are just too diametrically opposed. However, here they are dealing with the fallout from 3 months of being apart while Bones was on the run. I do find a lot of that to be realistic, I can understand the anger and the resentment, even though I really don’t care for the relationship one bit. Damn Hart Hanson for giving in to the idiot ‘shippers.
Dr. Who #7×05 – “The Angels Take Manhattan” – Just when I thought Dr. who couldn’t get any worse, it disgusts me. The original weeping angels were fine, they were some of the scariest monsters in their first episode. Then they got over-used, as unfortunately, most decent monsters in Dr. Who do. Now, they’re laughable and absurd. We start off with the Doctor reading a cheesy detective novel, something we haven’t seen him do before, while having a picnic with Amy and Rory. Suddenly, real-life things start appearing in the book and it’s up to the Doctor to figure out why, especially when Rory, off to fetch some coffee, vanishes. He’s been transported back in time by the angels who, apparently, get their sustenance from sending people back to earlier times to die. Yes, it is stupid. It turns out that the person who wrote the novel is none other than River Song, in the guise of 30s gritty detective Melody Malone, hunting angels. The book itself represents a giant anomaly though, anything Amy and the Doctor read becomes a fixed point in history and they cannot change it. That is dumb. However, because the angels have taken over New York City and have been sending tons of people back in time, the entire year of 1932 is a giant temporal anomaly that the TARDIS can’t break through. Finally, Amy and the Doctor manage to show up in a manner never explained and they have to find a way to defeat the angels. It turns out that the only way is to cause a giant temporal anomaly, which supposedly will make the whole system reset and none of it would ever have happened. Rory had already seen his death as an old man in 1932, thus he runs up on the roof and he and Amy leap off, thus causing the angel’s plot to self-destruct. However, upon their return to the normal timeline, Rory happens across his tombstone and is zapped into the past by a conveniently surviving angel that just so happened to be standing right by the tombstone. Amy, unable to handle a life without Rory, allows the angel to zap her back into the past where she and Rory live out the rest of their lives and send a final heartfelt message to the Doctor. This episode is so bad, I don’t know where to begin. The appearance of the angels is bad enough, but to turn the Statue of Liberty into a giant weeping angel? Not only was it blatantly obvious, it was also unforgivable. It’s episodes like this, where the plots strain credulity to it’s breaking point and beyond, that make me hate how this series is going. If every stone statue is an angel, as it was in this case, then they win. Don’t bother trying to fight back. They win. There’s no way for humans to beat them. Give up. Any time you turn your back, they zap you into the past. But worse, since these things aren’t supposed to be able to move when you’re looking at them, are we supposed to believe that the freaking Statue of Liberty walked into downtown Manhattan without anyone noticing? Seriously? It would get about 50 feet before someone saw it and I can tell you, after that, nobody’s eyes would be off of it. Laughably unbelievable. Next, the whole idea that if you know something, it becomes a fixed point in time and can never be changed just throws the whole plot of Dr. Who out the window! The whole point of Dr. Who is that the Doctor runs around and changes things. There must be no historians in the Dr. Who universe! And finally, when Amy and Rory jumped off the roof, they were supposed to have undone the entire Manhattan invasion! As such, Rory could never have been sent back in time, he could never have died in 1932 and there would never have been a tombstone for him to see! So why was it there? Bad writing, that’s why!
Fringe #5×01 -“Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11” – I’ll be honest, I’m probably not going to like much going on in Fringe this season, they’re getting a 13-episode shot to finish up the show, but they’re going to be wasting it on a “Observers are evil” future that frankly just sucks. It was a fantastic show, probably in my top 3, when it premiered. It’s gone steadily downhill since season 3, when they decided to go wholly mythology and the mythology was just horrible. The episode starts with a leap to 2036, where the Observers have taken over the planet and are imposing their will on the world. They’re building pollution-spewing plants to dirty up the atmosphere, supposedly because they are used to a much dirtier planet in the future. Walter, Peter and Astrid discover that Olivia has been amber-napped and bought for use as a coffee table by a pervert. When thawed out, she has a piece of the puzzle that will allow Walter to remember the plan for defeating the Observers given to him by September, but before he can use it, he’s taken and tortured by the Observers. The resistance force mounts a rescue effort by using an experimental piece of technology that allows them to appear dead so they can get into the Observer’s base. They get Walter back, but his torture was too much and the plan has been lost forever. The whole premise is flawed and all of this Observer stuff really isn’t what Fringe’s popularity sprang from. It was a great monster-of-the-week show with a little interesting mythology to go along, then it morphed into a show about multiple dimensions and trans-dimensional wars. All the really cool stuff, like “the pattern” are just gone. I’ve seen people saying Fringe has reinvented itself and now it can do a season without trying to attract new viewers, just to make it’s existing fans happy. It’s not making this fan happy, let me tell you. It was after they stopped doing monster-of-the-week that ratings fell off dramatically. I don’t thing they’re making anyone else happy either. I don’t care about 2036, I don’t care about the Observers, they don’t seem to be all that powerful, bullets put them down just fine, why are they in charge again? This isn’t the Fringe finale I wanted. Like a lot of shows that peak and then struggle to the end, the last episode of this season is going to feel like putting an old dog out of it’s misery instead of a show going out at the height of it’s popularity.
Haven #3×02 – “Stay” – They never looked like barbarians to me, to be perfectly honest, they looked like dirty modern-day men. In Haven this week, dogs have started turning into people, spurred on by the trouble of a man who took his dog to be put down and who felt guilty about it. It was actually a pretty decent episode with a good ending, although the whole idea that the man-dogs were going to bury the guy’s kid to keep him safe was pretty silly. Better still, this episode started the “49 days until Audrey vanishes”, Duke tells her that “the Hunter”, which Audrey had written about in the casket of the missing Colorado Kid, wasn’t actually a person but a meteor shower that recurs every 70ish years and in each of her earlier incarnations, Audrey had vanished on that night. I’m hoping that this drives them to resolve a lot of the hanging plot threads. We don’t know if Haven will get a fourth season or not, no announcement has been made, but assuming the show is an ongoing concern, it would be nice to see a lot of things wrapped up, find out how they’ll keep her around beyond the meteor shower, and start fresh again on the other side. I’ve never been a big fan of this show, but I’m actually interested to see where it goes.
The Mentalist #5×01 – “The Crimson Ticket” – To be honest, I love the Mentalist, I’m just sick and tired of the whole Red John storyline. Just catch him already! He’s another one of those “wow, what an amazing genius that never makes mistakes” villain. He’s ahead of his competition, he’s got followers and supporters everywhere, there are people who are ready to die for him and who are just as smart as he is, right up until they make that one fatal mistake and get caught. Like so many other shows, he’s just too good at what he does. The reality is, he’s a serial killer. He’s not Albert Einstein. Anyhow, in this episode, the CBI and FBI clash as they fight over custody of Red John’s associate, captured at the end of last season. However, a double murder case comes up in which both sides must participate. In all honesty, I found the murder to be pretty weak and the conclusion ridiculously convenient and contrived. It might have been better had they just dropped the murder case and focused on getting to the bottom of the Red John case. It was painfully obvious that the associate was going to escape though, my wife and I were betting through the whole thing “dead or escaped?” Now I know that, supposedly, once they capture Red John, the series might as well end because Jane’s whole purpose in working with the CBI is to stay in the loop on the investigation, but as they’ve been together, I feel he’s formed a bond and a friendship with the team that ought to last long beyond the capture or death of Red John. I really wish they’d just finish it up once and for all, the perfection of Red John really gets on my nerves.
Person of Interest #2×01 – “The Contingency” – Last season, we were introduced to Reese and Finch and their mission, using a super-secret government computer meant to stop terrorist attacks, but which can tell when crimes are about to be committed. It was a very admirable effort and I love Jim Caviezel’s Reese, I was very much looking forward to it’s return. Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed. At the end of last season, Finch is kidnapped by a crazed genius named Root who wants to get ahold of the Machine. The season finale ended with Reese getting information from the Machine that is supposed to help him track down Finch. Unfortunately, the Machine has been instructed to keep feeding victims to Reese, this time, Leon Tao, who has extorted millions from a white supremacist group that is on his tail. While Reese keeps Carter and Fusco busy searching for Finch, he saves Tao and arrests the white supremacists as well. We find that Root wants to set the Machine free from it’s government “captors”, to what ends we don’t know yet. I think it was an admirable effort to be sure, but it has some problems. First off, the Machine, which can access every camera in the country, ought to be able to find Finch and Root in about 3 seconds, no matter where they go. They try to play it off in a flash-back where Finch tells the Machine it shouldn’t just protect him, but everyone. Okay, he’s part of everyone, therefore the Machine shouldn’t have a problem giving Reese the location. It’s another case of bad writing to get around a clear plot hole. Secondly, Root, like so many other TV baddies, is just too perfect. She doesn’t make mistakes. She sees 3 steps beyond everyone else. I hate villains like that. Instead of finding good, rational reasons why she’s currently winning, they try to make her perfect. She’s not perfect, she’s clearly insane. Insane people make mistakes. Still, I liked the episode, I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.
Sinbad #1×12 – “Land of the Dead” – I’ve been extremely critical of the whole series of Sinbad, it just hasn’t gone anywhere, but I kept thinking that they might just pull a hat trick at the end and accomplish something amazing. I was wrong. In fact, it ended up worse than I had anticipated. In the last episode, Sinbad and crew traveled to the Land of the Dead where they discovered that Taryn had hitched a ride in Tiger’s body. Apparently, Taryn had lost a daughter and like Sinbad, was here to retrieve her. Luckily, just about the only people they ran into just so happened to be Sinbad’s brother and Taryn’s daughter, so kudos to good luck. They also discovered that Sinbad’s life wasn’t as he had thought. Instead of his father being a deadbeat drunk who had run away from the family, it turns out he was a powerful wizard. Instead of Sinbad and Jamil being loving brothers, Sinbad’s mother had died in childbirth, taking him with her. It’s only through the magic of their absentee father that Sinbad had been saved from the underworld. Not that it seems to make much difference, it’s just one more thing for Sinbad to angst over. Anyhow, while trying to escape from the Land of the Dead, Sinbad’s brother Jamil sacrifices himself, so… all of this was a complete waste? Absolutely! Nothing in the entire series mattered! All the adventures, all of the risk, it didn’t make a damn bit of difference. The Goddess Kuji sets up this amazing adventure where Sinbad will need the strength of Anwar, yet that never happens. What a complete disappointment!
Warehouse 13 #4×09 – “The Ones You Love” – We finally get to an important point in the Astrolabe storyline and, believe it or not, I was totally wrong in what I thought would happen! In this episode, Brother Adrian sends dangerous artifacts to family members of the Warehouse agents, to take revenge on them for helping Artie all these years. Myka’s sister is driven into a murderous frenzy, Pete’s ex-wife is branded with an explosive tattoo and Claudia’s brother is encased in amber (shades of Fringe). While they are all resolving their individual troubles, Brother Adrian reveals he can get into the Warehouse using D.B. Cooper’s ripcord and Artie decides he’s going to stop him at any cost. See, back when this whole thing started at the end of last season, when Artie found out that if he used the Astrolabe to save the Warehouse, he’d release an evil that would haunt him, I thought that evil was Adrian and so did lots of others. However, it turns out it wasn’t Claudia (as they had set up in the show), it wasn’t Adrian, it was Artie himself! He had trapped the entire Brotherhood, including Adrian, in a picture months before and Artie had been hallucinating every appearance of the mad monk. I think that’s an excellent twist and one that I never saw coming, even though, in retrospect, I can think back through the preceding episodes and realize that nobody else ever directly saw Brother Adrian, they just saw the results of things he had supposedly done. Thumbs up to the Warehouse 13 crew, you pulled it off!