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TV Thursday – 6/20/13

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This is where the real summer doldrums kick in, most shows are over for the season and there are only a few to keep watching.  Within the next couple of weeks, the list will shrink still further, as Warehouse 13 wraps up for the season on July 8 and Continuum has only 5 more episodes.  Only Burn Notice and Defiance will run through the summer, when we’ll start picking up new seasons in early fall.  This list might get real thin, folks.

Burn Notice #7×02 – “Forget Me Not” – There’s a point I’ve made for a number of years now, the opening  credits just do not match the show anymore.  It isn’t a show about being burned.  Michael Westen hasn’t been a burned spy for at least 2-3 years, yet they have never changed the opening which still describes him that way and that’s always bugged me.  Now, it’s even worse as this season opens up with him working for the CIA in the Dominican Republic, not the Miami that the opening describes.  I guess if they’ve never cared enough to change the opening in the past, they’re sure not going to do it for this last season, but its something that’s always bugged me.  However. Michael and Agent Strong come back to Miami, looking for the guy who was trying to hunt him down last episode.  We first fine out that Madeline has been making inquiries to the government trying to find out if Michael is alive and getting nowhere, so now she’s going to go to the CIA in person.  On the way there, she’s intercepted by Michael who tells her to stop blowing his cover.  Then, Michael and Strong covertly follow Jesse, Sam, Fiona and Carlos as they try to hunt down Dexter Gamble.  Michael covers their back as best he can without being seen and this sets up a series of flashbacks to the days when he and Fiona first met.  First, the group goes to an abandoned gas station and gets ambushed.  They’re only saved when Michael, with a sniper rifle, takes out the last gunman before they can do something stupid.  There, they are able, with the help of Fiona’s hacker contact Dixon, to find out the base of Gamble’s operations.  As Michael races to get ahead of them so he can take up a sniper position, the rest of the gang arrives and waits for Gamble to get home, but he’s already there, playing gardener, and takes Fiona captive to find out what they know and to force her to make contact with Michael.  Jesse, Sam and Carlos try to figure out their next move, but Michael and Strong are ahead of them, they’ve found the escape vehicle, abandoned and burned.  Strong orders Michael not to reveal himself to the others, but Michael steals a car and heads the others off, forcing both teams to join up.  When Gamble learns that Fiona honestly has no idea where Michael is, he calls Sam with Fiona’s cell phone and gives him one chance to give Michael up before he kills her.  Sam offers to deliver a secure satellite phone, used for “emergencies” so that Gamble can talk to Michael, who Sam says isn’t in the country and Gamble agrees.  However, Michael comes up with a plan, using information we see in more flashbacks, to reason that a certain phrase from Fiona’s past will make her react a certain way.  He arrives at the warehouse where Gamble and Fiona are hidden and calls Fiona’s cell phone.  He insists on talking to Fiona and when he uses that phrase, she hits the deck and Jesse, Carlos and Sam open up on the warehouse from outside with machine guns, killing Gamble.  Fiona is saved, but when she comes out, she kisses Carlos and ignores Michael.  We see a final flashback to the past where Fiona kisses her ex-boyfriend, the guy she dumps to take up with Michael, and Michael identifies it as a kiss you give someone when it’s over.  Afterwards, as Michael is getting ready to go back undercover, Jesse and Sam are supportive, but Fiona clearly is not and she gives him that kiss, the one that says goodbye.  Now I had only a couple of very minor issues with this episode.  First off, Dexter Gamble came off as a very competent and intelligent agent last episode and most of this one, but he started to lose it when he had Fiona captive.  He said he wanted to trade Michael’s whereabouts for his freedom and I suppose that isn’t a bad idea, but considering how quickly Michael took out his boss last episode, described as “less than ten minutes after he learned Michael was working for the CIA”, he sure fell for an obvious trap at the end.  He should have been suspicious, especially when Michael ended up right outside his door.  If it had been me, I would have kept Fiona between myself and any potential ambush.  Secondly, I’m getting a bit sick of Strong being such a douche.  By the end of the episode, he’s sort of listening to Michael, but he still shoots down some of his best ideas.  Now I know Michael is low on the totem pole, that he’s essentially slave labor, but they picked him because of his particular skill set, then they ignore most of his suggestions?  Kind of stupid.  Finally, Carlos survived another week.  He can’t last too much longer, after all, they have to do something to get Michael and Fiona back together and they can hardly do that with Carlos still breathing.  Since he was running with the crew this week, I thought he might get it, but alas, he’s still breathing.  It really kind of sucks because Carlos seems to make Fiona happy, he seems to be a pretty decent guy and the longer he’s around, the more attached people will get to him.  This was the 100th episode for Burn Notice and it did a pretty good job, the only real bad part were the horrible Irish accents in the flashbacks, but I suppose I can forgive them for that.  Something is going to have to happen to get the team working together full time again, especially with the abbreviated schedule this season, they can’t afford to mess around, keeping them apart, and it was far too jarring telling different stories, just to have everyone in an episode like they did in this season’s first episode.  I just don’t want to see them pick up next week like nothing ever happened either, they need to be clever about how they do it.  We’ll see how they do.

Continuum #2×08 – “Second Listen” – We start, as usual, in the future, where a skanked-out Garza comes to see future Alec, with a suspicious Kiera working security.  We will flash back to this encounter several times in the episode.  Back in the modern day, Kiera and Gardiner, who have been working together, identify two guys who stole and transported Elena’s body.  They tell them where they took it but know nothing more.  Arriving at the drop location, Kiera and Gardiner find dry ice but no body and decide to “get their people on it”.  Kiera goes to Alec and asks him to reactivate Elena’s CMR so they can get a location.  He cannot get a GPS signal, but apparently he can see through her eyes.  I wonder how, since her eyes are almost certainly closed and I’m sure that rigor mortis has set in.  How would a CMR be able to open the eyes of a dead body, especially one that was stiff as a board?  They get some unclear images, but nothing more.  Alec is working with Jason on the time machine and frankly, Jason is kind of a dick.  So is Kellogg, which is hardly a surprise, he comes in and orders Jason out of the lab, telling Alec that he set ground rules for a reason.  This will not end well.  Alec goes back home and sees Emily and they talk about the challenges of Alec’s life.  He tells Emily about the flashback he got when he tried that drug a couple of episodes ago.  Kiera calls Alec and asks him to help her on the body snatcher case, which, of course, he does.  Kiera goes to the courthouse to see the arraignment of the two body snatchers they arrested earlier and both of them drop dead on the stairs.  She looks through the video footage and identifies the guy she saw earlier driving the truck that took away the bodies of Jaworski and Chen, claiming to be Section 6.  Back at the lab, Alec and Jason are working and Alec suspects that Jason might be his biological father so he covertly takes a DNA sample.  Kiera goes to visit Escher and accuses him of employing the black guy that killed the body snatchers.  He denies it and says that they’re part of a group of rogue time travelers.  They have secret tattoos between their fingers to identify them.  Kiera goes back to the morgue and checks the bodies for similar tattoos and finds a couple that have come in that way.  The tattoos are some sort of code and at the precinct, Betty finds more bodies that have the same kind of tattoos.  Alec gets a phone call from his roommate saying he’s having problems with his computer, would Alec come home and fix it?  It smells like a trap, but Alec goes and finds everyone in the house dead, except Garza, who kidnaps him and takes him to a dark warehouse where they talk.  Kiera, using her future tech, identifies Garza’s fingerprint at the apartment and goes to find them, but first, she has the police hold Emily as a suspicious person, which she is because we know she works for Escher.  Kiera goes back to the lab and she and Jason, along with the time travel slice, locate Alec and Garza.  We see Alec and Garza talking, apparently his future self told her to go back in time and kill him, so that the future wouldn’t turn out the way that it did.  Kiera arrives and tries to keep Garza from killing Alec, but it’s really Alec who convinces Garza not to kill him, that his future self sent her back because she could look at the situation objectively from the outside and make her own decisions.  Garza escapes and Kiera saves Alec.  Alec is reunited with Emily and tells her that he’s working with the police to stop Liber8 and she promises to help in any way she can.  Emily and Kiera make up and decide to start over.  Meanwhile, Gardiner has been searching for records at the courthouse when the guy that they saw through Elena’s eyes comes in and puts a bullet in his head, killing him.  Bye bye, Agent Gardiner.  However, after he’s dead, Kiera receives a call from his phone, but no one is there.  Is that the murderer calling or the phone?  We’ll find out next episode, I’m sure.  There will be a couple of weeks hiatus, I’m not sure if there’s a holiday or they’re just letting the Syfy version catch up, but there are only five more episodes left in the season anyhow.  Now my question is, just how many time travelers are there?  We know about Liber8 and Kiera.  We know about Jason and Elena.  We know that Escher is almost certainly a time traveler.  Now we have the freelancers?  Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that there was only the one device that went off, sending Liber8 and Kiera back.  Elena was supposedly caught in the fireworks, but sent back farther because she was farther from the device.  So where did all these other people get the ability to go back in time?  Did they go back after Liber8?  Did future Alec make a bunch of these devices?  After all, there was supposedly only the one to start with.  They need to explain this.  It really seems like they’re trying to defuse Liber8 from being the terrorists of the first season who wanted to destroy the modern world and keep the corporations from taking over the future, to being part of some elaborate plan set up by future Alec Sadler.  Liber8, while they’ve been around this season, seem to be taking a back seat to Escher and his crew, and now to the freelancers.  Will Liber8 end up being redeemed and friends to Kiera and Carlos?  If anything, I’d say they’ve stuffed too much into the second season and haven’t really answered many questions.  What about Jason?  Is he Alec’s real father?  What about Emily?  Has she developed real feelings for Alec?  It’s getting difficult to keep it all straight in my head.

Defiance #1×09 – “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” – At the end of last episode, Doc Yewll declared that there was an outbreak of plague and it’s ravaging the town.  Irathients are immune to the disease, although they are carriers and everyone fears them because they could be infecting those around them without showing any sign.  Castithans are neither carriers nor infected, they’re just dicks and they spend a lot of the episode picking on the Irathients.  The town council debates what to do.  The disease can only be passed on by direct contact so they decide to quarantine the Irathients, using the excuse that it’s done for their protection.  Irisa takes this badly and fights against Rafe, who has been tasked with rounding up the Irathients, but is eventually captured.  It was done very similar to the Japanese roundup during WWII, with much the same reaction.  The humans who were guarding the Irathient are very hateful, disrupting their religious ceremony, resulting in the death of an Irathient who jumps their attacker.  I guess it’s not all that clear who was in the wrong at the very end, the human who kicked over their religious display, or the Irathient who got pissed off and jumped her.  In the end, it doesn’t matter because he’s dead.  Doc Yewll informs everyone that there was a similar outbreak of plague outside of San Francisco not long ago and one of her friends discovered a cure.  She sends word to her friend and they launch an ICBM with vials of the cure to Defiance.  Now wait a minute, last episode they said that nobody could fly higher than 400 feet because of the alien junk, yet now they’re launching missiles?  Besides, you never see anything in the sky when people are looking around, surely you can see up to the 400 foot level.  It makes no sense.  Anyhow, Nolan and Amanda find Connor Lang, who has become the spokesperson for the Earth Republic inside of Defiance and convince him that they need his help to get the medicine, which has landed a couple of clicks out of town.  See, the Earth Republic has shown up and quarantined the town to keep the disease from spreading to the East Coast.  Lang is the only one who they’ll pay any attention to so he and Nolan head out to the quarantine line.  Along the way, Nolan learns that Connor and Amanda were not only close, they were very, very close.  Nolan got Amanda pregnant but she had an abortion without his knowledge and he’s never forgiven her for that.  Once they get to the quarantine, they convince them to let them pass, so long as they can be blown up at any time, and they go to get the drugs.  Meanwhile, the disease spreads and Amanda is too sick to govern so Datak Tarr steps in to save the day, at the behest of Stahma.  By the time Nolan and Connor get back, Nolan is clearly not doing well and they are ambushed by a group of Irathients who take them hostage at the precinct.  They demand that the rest of the Irathients be let go and that the leader’s brother be brought to him.  Unfortunately, the brother is the one who was killed earlier so things don’t work out so well.  Datak heads off to the precinct and convinces the Irathients that he’s on their side, that the humans deserve to die and they should destroy the medicine.  Nizar, leader of the Irathients, goes outside to light the gasoline Datak poured on the first box of medicine and is shot in the head.  Datak then goes back inside and kills the rest of the Irathients in cold blood, he’s especially cruel to an Irathient woman who gets the best of him, shooting her and spitting on her repeatedly.  He then puts a bullet into Connor Lang, killing him, since he saw too much.  It wouldn’t look good for both humans to die so he saves Nolan, who was unconscious at the time anhyow.  The medicine gets back to the hospital and most people are saved.  Some time later, Amanda and Datak are on the local radio show, she thanks him for his bravery and his son unplugs her mic so that Datak can talk uninterrupted.  He says that while he would never care about the town before, his wife has talked him into adopting the community and he wants to run for mayor against Amanda, who finally gets a word in edgewise and says she welcomes the challenge.  Also during the episode, Quentin meets up with Nicolette and she tells him that his mother is in Modesto, having been send there after her sickness caused her to almost kill Quentin and Luke.  Quentin gives her the gold piece and says he’s going to go look for her.  Later, Nicki meets up with Doc Yewll, who is clearly part of the plot, and tries to talk her into joining her since Birch is now dead and she’s too old and frail to do it herself.  It was a really good episode, one of the best of the season to date, it answered a lot of questions that we’ve had, although it didn’t tell us too much.  We now know more about Amanda’s past and she’s clearly still very attached to Connor, even though she doesn’t admit it and he’s dead now so it doesn’t really matter.  We’ve seen how Stahma has pushed Datak to become powerful and influential and where that’s leading.  We’ve seen, bit by bit, how the plot of Nicolette has advanced, from the attack of the Volge, to the new machinations with the golden device and the fact that Yewll, while she isn’t in charge of the plot, seems more connected than we ever knew.  We also see Nolan and Irisa mend some fences that were damaged after the death of Sukar.  All in all, a good episode.

Warehouse 13 #4×17 – “What Matters Most” – In Ohio, District Attorney Terry Graham goes out to get his mail and drops dead, the victim of an apparent death penalty cocktail.  Artie sends Pete and Myka to check it out.  He wants to send Claudia and Steve on another case, but Steve is trying to move his belongings into the boarding house so Artie goes with Claudia instead, leaving Steve and Abigail to clean the pipes in the goo room.  This is yet another episode where they have multiple storylines going on, mostly because none of them are exciting enough to make it on their own.  This has been a problem in recent episodes, I’d much rather have the team all stay together instead of going off in their little cliques.  So, let’s go through the cases one at a time.  It’s physical time at the warehouse, everyone has to have their yearly checkups.  Pete is clearly not happy about his, the doctor told him that his testosterone is a little low.  Boo fucking hoo.  Pete and Myka end up in gated community hell, where everyone is far too interested in making everyone else follow the rules.  I’d never, ever, ever, ever live in such an anal place and the first person they ran into, Colonel Arnold Cassel, President of the Board, I’d just punch in the face.  I hate people like that.  They can’t find an artifact that caused Graham’s death, but then another attack happens next door where one of the local wives and her teenage lover get grafted together.  Finally, they find the woman’s husband, who they thought was responsible since his wife was cheating on him and he had been fired by Graham, but he bursts into green flames, a third victim with a third set of symptoms.  Pete and Myka are stumped, thinking there are multiple artifacts, finally decide that these people are being punished for their sins.  This is further confirmed when they find Cassel choking on a red mist in his house and he reveals that his company gassed a village in Kuwait that was harboring terrorists.  They call Steve and Abigail, who think that there may be artifacts from Sodom and Gomorrah that punish the wicked and Myka realizes that there were chocolate chip cookies at every violent scene.  The artifact must be salt-related, baked into the cookies and taking revenge for sinful behavior.  They find Janice, just about to feed her sinful cookies to the last of the board members.  Pete gets thrown out a window and breaks his legs.  Myka bags the salt, but Pete has to confess his sins to become healed, he tells the story of driving drunk and breaking his friend’s legs in a crash.  Next, Claudia and Artie.  They go to New York City, where a teenage boy has a seizure and starts writing advanced mathematics on a wall.  They find out that the teenager, Nick, is living on the streets, he can’t possibly know the math.  Every time he has a seizure, he gets closer to death.  Artie works out that the work points to quantitative analysis that banks use.  Nick has another seizure and they get him to describe the visions he’s getting of the office the artifact-user is working in.  They identify the bank office and Artie goes in, finding an employee wearing Orville Wright’s aviator goggles, which he’s using to hijack Nick’s brain to increase his computing power.  Artie goos the goggles and Nick is saved.  Claudia invites Nick back to the warehouse, wanting to give him a better opportunity than she had.  Finally, we turn to Steve and Abigail.  Steve is clearly unhappy, especially after he gets goo in his face.  He and Abigail talk and he’s unhappy because nobody has found their “one” that they can tell about their work with the warehouse.  Abigail suggests that maybe they’re one big happy family and don’t need anyone outside.  That seems to satisfy Steve.  In fact, he makes lasagna for everyone when they come back from their missions.  Claudia shows Nick to his room and he texts someone that they don’t suspect anything, he’s in.  Finally, we see Myka’s medical examination where the doctor confirms that she has ovarian cancer.  Okay… so what?  They have the warehouse!  They had something that brought Steve back to life, cancer should be a piece of cake!  That’s the problem with this show, they’ve built the warehouse up into a panacea, there’s really nothing it can’t do, so all of the problems they have aren’t really problems.  Big deal.  The bit with Nick, while I didn’t see it coming, certainly fits.  After all, it’s only been an episode or two since Claudia was identified as the target and it would be hard to come up with a better person to appeal to Claudia than Nick.  We’ll have to see where that leads.  The rest of the stories were… boring.  That’s why I hate these 3-in-1 episodes, it’s just cheap, weak, gimmicky stories that aren’t good enough on their own to make an episode.  Personally, I would have let all of the shallow, stupid people in Pete and Myka’s community die, they were all a waste of space anyhow.  Nick wasn’t all that worthwhile either, and the idea that some broker somewhere is just borrowing another brain for more calculating power is stupid.  Nobody ever heard of a computer?  And letting Steve and Abigail bond… not all that interesting either.  Yes, Steve has been through a lot, but he comes off as pretty weak most of the time.  He should be stronger.  The line about his doctor telling him he was gay wasn’t all that necessary either.  It was an average episode and they only have 3 more this season.  They’d better get their asses in gear.

Best of the Week:  While it only got a 4 (mainly because I couldn’t give it a 4.5 because of the rating system), Defiance wins this week.  We finally get some answers to some of the question that have been developing all season.

Worst of the Week:  It falls to Warehouse 13, not because it was bad, but because it was just blah.  It  could have been better, it should have been better, it was just weak all around.

Other Stuff I Watched:  Bones 1×13-1×22, Mythbusters #11×08

TV Thursday – 6/13/13

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Burn Notice rejoins the list for it’s final season.  I was going to put Falling Skies back on as well, but after watching the first episode of the 2-part season opener and realizing that I have no reason to enjoy or watch the show, a show I’ve been highly critical of since it first started, we decided to drop it entirely.  You can see why in previous reviews I’ve done.

Burn Notice #7×01 – “New Deal” – This is the last season of Burn Notice, which is a sad thing, but I will admit that it makes me a little nervous.  There are far too many series out there that are given a final season before cancellation and ruin it because they just don’t care.  Fringe failed miserably in their last season, for instance.  This is especially worrying when they had an excellent series finale at the end of the last season and they have to find something to go do with themselves for a paycheck.  Last season, Michael and company were out from under the burn notice, they got all of the people who had burned him, they escaped from the crazy CIA stalker, life could have been good, even if they ended, as they did, with Michael cutting a deal to get his friends released, placing him back where he used to be, as one of the CIA’s top spies.  That could have been it.  Now, however, they have to figure out what to do for 13 episodes and I’m really not sure if the first episode fills me with confidence.  Michael has been “adopted” by a CIA agent named Strong, played by Jack Coleman, who I really like.  He’s been put into deep cover for 9 months, playing an alcoholic ex-spy in Santa Domingo, hoping to make it into a criminal enterprise run by also former-Heroes alum Adrian Pasdar.  Everyone else has moved on.  Fiona has a new job and a new boyfriend, Jesse works for a security firm, Sam… well, he’s Sam, still milking the ladies and Michael’s mother has finally stopped smoking (yay!) and is trying to adopt Nate’s son Charlie, it seems like most of them are doing pretty well for themselves, except for Michael, who is fighting for money by day and drinking himself into oblivion by night.  Finally, he’s approached by Burke (Pasdar) who wants to try Michael out on a job that he refuses to tell him anything about.  Michael and his handler are sent into a building to set an explosive charge and while it doesn’t go exactly as planned, the mission is generally successful.  However, there are people back in Miami that are trying to get the old gang to talk about what Michael is up to and finally, Maddie cracks and spills the fact that he’s doing a secret op for the CIA.  I really hate how dumb Maddie was in this episode, you’d think that for someone who has been in the unofficial spy-biz for years, she’d at least think before she opens her mouth.  This gets radioed down to Santa Domingo and Michael’s handler tries to kill him because he’s a spy.  However, in running from the authorities, Michael manages to get his handler killed and can spin another story to Burke, who apparently buys it.  Back in Miami though, they “circle the wagons” and try to decide how they can help Michael when they don’t even know where he is.  Burke decides they need to head back to Miami to figure some things out, which clearly is going to be our cue to get the old gang back together.  I think it’s obvious that we’re going to be back to the Burn Notice we know and love very quickly, including Fiona dumping her new fling, Carlos, to be with Michael.  That relationship has been such an integral part of the series that I find it unbelievable to think they won’t be firmly attached at the hip by the end of the series.  However, we just don’t know a thing about Burke’s plans yet, we just know that Michael blew up a computer center.  One other thing that I noticed, Michael finally learned Spanish, which he hadn’t known in previous seasons, although he has been able to speak other languages quite well.  It always seemed strange that he grew up in Florida, he lived in Florida for years while burned, yet he couldn’t speak Spanish?  Seriously?  Another issue, are we really supposed to think that Child Protective Services is going to allow a child into Madeline’s house?  Her house has been blown up multiple times in the last 6 years, it’s been the site of multiple gun battles, she’s been arrested many times with various outcomes, they’re going to put a child into that situation?  I’d hope not, but then again, this is CPS we’re talking about, as long as she stops smoking, that’s probably all they care about.  I’d like to be optimistic about this season, I can see how it can go very right, but I can also see how it can to horribly wrong.  I guess I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed and hope that they’ve got the right stuff for this last foray.

Continuum #2×07 – “Second Degree” – We flash forward to 2077 where we see an adult Julian in prison, apparently for crimes against humanity.  He’s now called Theseus and is guilty of the deaths of millions of people.  Alec must be so proud.  Zip back to the  present where Julian is on trial for shooting Carlos and his mother is all-too-happy to lie under oath to get her son off.  Alec is shocked, he can’t believe she’d lie on the stand and tells her she’s put him in a very difficult position, he either lies to protect her from perjury charges or he tells the truth and sees both her and Julian go to prison.  Kiera and Carlos are visiting Elena’s grave and Kiera realizes that her body is missing, presumably because they know she’s a time traveler.  They rush back to the precinct and find that someone from “Section 6” signed out the bodies of 2 Liber8 members, clearly for the same reason.  Kiera is pissed and when Gardiner confronts her, she sets him on the trail of the body snatchers, just to keep him off her tail for a little while.  Kiera and Carlos head off to the courthouse for Julian’s trial, but while there, she sees Sonya and gives chase, only to lose her.  Carlos is getting grilled on the stand when a bunch of people in the audience stand up and chant to save Julian, causing the judge to clear the courtroom.  Kiera detects one of the jury members has an elevated heartrate and concludes that Sonya was present to do a little jury tampering.  Since the jury is sequestered, they look at the last things they were allowed to do beforehand and, with Alec’s help, Kiera hacks into his e-mail and finds that his family has been kidnapped and is being held on a boat.  The jury member has to vote to acquit in order to see them alive again.  Of course, there are lots of boats in Vancouver and Alec’s system isn’t powerful enough to search them all so he hooks Kiera’s CMR up to the fragment of the time travel device and together, they complete the search in mere seconds.  Jim Martin, mayoral hopeful, meets up with Travis, who desperately wants him to become mayor so he’ll have direct access to city government.  It would seem to me that the easiest way to get out from under Travis’ thumb is just to lose the election, but that’s just me.  Alec and Emily are in bed together, I guess they can finally go back to his apartment after the big to-do last episode.  Alec leaves to testify in Julian’s trial, but after he’s gone, someone breaks into the apartment and tries to drug her in order to get information.  She kicks his ass, then calls for a clean up team, revealing that she’s working for Escher.  Alec gets on the stand and demolishes his mother’s story, but apparently, nobody else notices and nobody arrests her for contempt.  Kiera and Carlos find the boat and Kiera uses her inviso-powers to defeat the guards and rescue the jurist’s family.  Back at the courtroom, they apologize to the judge for keeping it from him, pointing out that if they hadn’t, the family would likely have been killed and the judge says it’s okay, he’ll just dismisses the jury and makes the decision on his own.  We see in both cases, this one and the one in 2077, that Julian, aka Theseus, is declared not guilty.  In the future, it’s Alec’s intervention that saves him, it’s clear that in the present that someone interfered but we’re not sure who.  Julian returns to jail to finish out his existing sentence and the cops are all pissed off that he got away with shooting a cop.  Kiera realizes that this was Sonya’s plan all along and they all fell for it.  Gardiner calls Kiera and tells her that he found the guy who stole the bodies and they agree to a temporary truce and partnership while they work on it.  Honestly, I don’t know how they’re going to explain all of the clear time paradoxes in this show.  Sometime in the future, an older Alec builds the time travel device that allows Liber8 to escape, but the younger Alec ends up with a piece of it which he backwards engineers to learn how to build a time travel device?  The show runners have already mentioned it in a roundabout way so it’s clear they know it’s a problem, I just want to know how they plan on getting out of it.  Is anyone else confused about the conversation that Carlos and Kiera had last episode where she admitted to being from the future, but he apparently knows nothing about her technology or abilities this week?  She told him where she’s from but never mentioned the abilities of her suit or CMR?  Seriously?  Maybe he just needs to take it really, really, really slow.  And I have no idea how Canadian law works, but in the U.S., that would never fly.  A mistrial would have been called, which is fine because the juror’s family was already safe, but to have a judge just weigh in from the bench?  Never.  I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt though, this is Canada after all. 

Thumbs UpDefiance #1×08 – “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” – Nolan and Tommy head out to investigate the ark section that crashed near Defiance last episode and inside, they find not only human clothing and artifacts, they find a survivor, Gregory McClintock, who was thought to have died in 2013.  He’s a legend, the astronaut in charge of the International Space Station when the Votan arrived.  The station was destroyed and all hands presumed lost, but here he is, kept in suspended animation for decades and now awakened once again.  They take him back to Defiance and he’s checked out by Doc Yewll, who declares him surprisingly healthy.  He’s immediately swarmed by the inhabitants of Defiance seeking autographs and Nolan realizes that the only safe place for him is out at the distant McCawley farm.  Rafe is happy to take him in, being a big fan, and Rafe, Gregory, Nolan and Amanda spend an evening talking about the space program and unfortunate movie casting.  They all get some sleep but Gregory wakes up in the middle of the night having flashbacks and tries to kill Amanda.  When Nolan knocks him off of her, he’s injured an bleeds silver blood, the same color as Indogene blood.  They go back to Yewll who admits she knew what he was but was afraid that it would cast doubts on her activity during the Pale Wars.  Doc Yewll reveals that several humans were captured during the early days of the war and their memories were transferred into artificial Indogene lifeforms to act as sleeper agents.  Clearly, with her use of pronouns like “we” and “our”, she was intimately involved in this process.  Gregory, with most of the memories of the original McClintock, but without the humanity, doesn’t know what to do.  He wonders about McClintock’s wife, who would be about 65 now, but while he looks like her husband, really isn’t him.  He and Rafe meet up in the mines and Gregory says that there’s nothing left for him, he might as well throw himself into the pit than to have no meaningful existence in the modern world.  Rafe tells him that he also lost his wife and son and felt the same way, only to decide that life was too precious to waste it mourning the past.  We’re left to wonder what happens after that, but Rafe meets with Nolan and tells him that Gregory plunged into the pit in a fit of despair and Nolan looks skeptical.  We do find out later that Gregory went south to Arkansas to find McClintock’s wife.  We also have a short bit where Connor Lang returns to Defiance to offer Amanda a promotion to regional governor in New York.  The two were long-lost lovers and he claims that he misses her, but in the end, he tells her that the Earth Republic wants to get it’s fingers into Defiance and they will stop at nothing, including her death, to get their way.  She turns down the job but it’s clear that this will be an important issue as the show goes on.  We also get a bit more development to the Kenya/Stahma story from last week, where Datak goes to be “serviced” by Kenya but she refuses, insulting him in the process.  This makes him suspicious and when Kenya and Stahma are together again later, we’re reminded that if Datak even suspects that they’ve been intimate, he’ll kill them both.  Of course, Stahma knows that Datak is repeatedly unfaithful to her, I suspect we’re headed for a major upset in the Tarr family coming up very soon.  There were a lot of themes this week of love and loss and relationships new and old.  It wasn’t as action packed as some previous episodes, but we did learn more about Defiance and a tad more about the history of the Pale Wars so I guess it all balances out. 

Warehouse 13 #4×16 – “Runaway” – Myka, Pete and Steve head out to a prison in Arkansas when two prisoners escape with the help of a lava-producing artifact.  They meet up with the local U.S. Marshall, Liam, who just so happens to be Steve’s ex-boyfriend.  Cue a lot of uncomfortable silences.  Of course, they can’t let Liam in on the gag so they spend a lot of time whispering among themselves and Pete gets really interested in Liam and Steve’s relationship, pushing them to get back together.  Frankly, it’s a little annoying, like Pete is trying way too hard.  Meanwhile, our escapees are ex-gang members and everyone assumes that they’re going after the money they stole and hid before being convicted, but when they find out where the loot was stashed and realize that one of the escapees murdered the other one with the lava artifact, leaving the money behind, they realize something else is going on.  When more people end up buried in lava and they’re all part of the same gang, this sets them on the right path.  It seems that the criminal was involved with a waitress named Christina and together they had a son, Kyle.  Kyle has been trying to get into the same gang and the escapee got out of prison to keep his son safe and gang-free.  They all meet up in an underground garage where the gang is trying to make Kyle kill a guard.  His father arrives and tries to get Kyle to safety, but ends up catching a bullet and dropping the artifact, sending lava filling the garage.  While Kyle and his father hang perilously from a ladder, Pete and Myka and Liam and Steve leap across a line of rapidly melting cars to bag the artifact and save everyone.  They do, just in time, making all of the lava disappear.  Later, Pete encourages Kyle to reconcile with his father, after all, he took a bullet for him and broke out of prison to save his life.  There were several scenes where Steve and Liam tried to work things out, we’ve never really seen much of Steve’s backstory, we only knew he was gay and relationship-shy, this explained a lot.    Steve’s been established to have the ability to tell when someone is lying, I suppose I can understand how annoying that can be for those around you, especially if they’re trying to protect your feelings by telling you little white lies.  They do eventually reconcile and, apparently, have a night together before saying “goodbye”  Along the way though, Claudia and Artie are having their own adventure.  Artie has secretly been preparing a 21st birthday party for Claudia, but is involved in an artifact accident with Beethoven’s radio and starts having Beethoven symphonies ringing in his ears.  They realize that the radio is not complete, there is a piece missing and therefore, they can’t just bag it.  Claudia locates the missing piece in an auction house, but before they can get there, it’s sold to an old woman whose grandson decides he doesn’t want to hand over the artifact.  He tries to run upstairs with it, only to find that all the doors are locked and Claudia kicks the crap out of him before bagging the piece, saving Artie’s hearing in the process.  They all get back just in time for the party and Artie surprises her with a special guest, Cherie Currie.  They sing “Cherry Bomb” together and Artie reveals that he saved Cherie’s life back in 1979.  Okay… now I vaguely had a recollection about Currie from her time in the 1970s-era band “The Runaways”, but to be honest, there were a lot better artists to come out of that band like Lita Ford and Joan Jett.  Now maybe Syfy can’t afford anything better and hey, maybe Currie’s drug problem screwed up her voice, but geez, she can’t sing anymore, the song was absolutely painful to listen to.  I’m left wondering why this was such a special thing to her because I don’t remember her ever making a big deal about 70s girl bands or anything.  This episode gets a higher rating, more for the Liam/Steve revelations than anything else. 

Best of the Week:  To be honest, there wasn’t a really great episode this week, although with only four to choose from, that’s hardly surprising.  I’m giving it to Defiance, surprisingly, because they actually moved the story ahead in what I’m hoping is a meaningful fashion.  We know that the Earth Republic is coming, probably guns blazing (why haven’t they fixed the shields that were destroyed in the first episode yet?), we know more about the aliens, although I’m wondering why we’re not seeing higher technology in Defiance unless the aliens just aren’t sharing.  Any group that can create an identical copy of a human, complete with almost all of their memories, should be doing better than playing doctor in a hick town.  I hope they have an actual explanation for it.

Worst of the Week:  Honestly, even though it’s not on the list, I’m giving the worst spot of the week to the first hour of Falling Skies that I was forced to endure before deciding the show had taken up more time in my life than it deserved to.  They drop you 9 months after the end of the last season, where good old dad has become President of the United States, or whatever you want to call it, there are good aliens helping with the fight and dad’s girlfriend is about to have a baby.  They can un-harness kids with magic alien technology and apparently, the aliens, still as inscrutable as always, are going down fighting.  I have no interest in any of the characters, I have no attachment to them, I don’t care who lives or who dies and the possessed baby schtick is just stupid.  I have no idea why I wasted a moment of my time on this stupid show.

Other Things I Watched: Bones #1×01-1×12, Mythbusters #11×07

Bad News:  The Zombieland pilot I raved about a couple of weeks ago was not picked up for series.  This is mostly due to fanatical movie fans who wanted the original actors or nobody at all.  Fuck you people.

Looking Back:  Since there wasn’t that much to watch this week, we decided to throw in the first season of Bones.  Wow, I forgot how good the show used to be, especially seeing how bad it is today.  It was a story about the crimes, about the forensics, not about who was fucking who.  Now maybe this isn’t something that can be maintained over the long term, I don’t know.  After all, Bones has been on the air for 8 seasons now, character development probably requires that  something change beyond the initial situation, but they’ve made all the worst decisions possible, mostly to appeal to an idiotic fanbase.  So let’s look at some of the things they’ve done horribly wrong.  First off, while my wife thinks that making Zack Addy a psychopathic serial killer was a bad thing, I’m not so sure.  It was a good story and I always support good stories, so as much as I like Zack, I can’t say he should have had script immunity.  However, where I think they went entirely wrong is not introducing another singular, well-defined assistant to Bones.  Instead, they threw in a whole shitpile of really awful interns that have stupid quirks and aren’t on the show enough to really make anyone care about them.  Outside of Finn, I wouldn’t mind seeing them all die in a fire.  I’d even toss in the match.  Had they just replaced Zack with another strong character, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but we not only lost a likeable character, we lost an entire position on the cast that was desperately needed to maintain the balance.  Huge mistake.  The biggest, of course, was throwing in all of the relationships, which is almost always the death knell of a good show.  Angela and Hodgins, while I don’t think they were the best idea, certainly weren’t the worst.  I certainly don’t think the Jeffersonian would have allowed them to continue working together though and certainly they would never have allowed Bones and Booth to keep working together after they got together, especially not in the field where the FBI should have had a strict non-fraternization policy in place.  All in all, I think Bones is an excellent example of what happens when you allow TV series to go on too long.  It started out as a great show, then it started to go downhill when they thought they had to make changes to keep stringing the viewers along and worst of all, they started listening to the viewers.  There’s a big group of largely female fans who want everyone in every show to be in some relationship, whether it makes sense or not.  Sometimes, it’s a good idea.  Sometimes it’s not.  In the case of Bones, it was an awful idea.  I think that it killed the show, at least for me.

TV Thursday – 6/6/13

TV Thursday Header

The schedule continues to change, this week we finish off two more series and look forward to some new ones returning next week.  Orphan Black completes it’s freshman season and Psych takes a break until Christmas while we wait for the 2-part season finale.  Plus, I throw in a review of the first half of the second season of Akibaranger!  Read on in this week’s TV Thursday!

Thumbs UpContinuum #2×06 – “Second Truths” – I usually don’t talk much about the flash forward segments of the show, mostly because they’re not that important, they just set up the week’s opportunity to learn something.  This time is a bit different.  In the future, Kiera, as a young recruit, is called in as a second set of eyes on a serial killer case.  She finds that the 2077 case is very similar to a series of 38 murders that occurred between 2009-2018.  Bam, back to the present and she finds herself at a murder scene that she had studied in the future, except she just can’t quite remember all the details since she worked on it before she got her CMR.  She only remembers that there were 38 murders, the killer cut off their victims’ eyelids, used a specific drug to immobilize them and suffocated them with an unknown object that left a toxic residue.  Now, Kiera and Carlos are at murder 8 in the sequence and she wants to catch the killer and save the other 30 victims.  Kiera initially identifies the daughter of the most recent victim, who doesn’t seem to care if her father is dead or not, and Kiera asks, out of the blue, if her father abused children.  Later, at the morgue, she asks the medical examiner some very specific questions about the cause of death which eventually turn out to be true.  Carlos can’t figure out how she’s thinking to ask these questions and how she keeps coming up correct.  He eventually gets so upset with her, that she’s clearly keeping secrets from him, that he threatens to end their partnership.  Kellogg meets with Todd Sanchez, a brilliant researcher who has come up with a system to both generate energy and produce clean water at the same time.  Kellogg offers to fund his research, knowing it will become a big thing in the future, but Kellogg is understandably creepy and Sanchez says he’ll get back to him.  Meanwhile, Alec and Emily are on a date and share a kiss, but can’t, for various reasons, go back to each other’s apartments.  Emily suggests that Alec take her to his lab, but he says he’s not allowed and she leaves disappointed.  They see each other for lunch and Alec says he’s always had to hide behind a monitor and lie to people.  He offers to invite Emily to his lab so he can cook her a meal and she agrees.  Dillon, fired in the last episode, calls Kiera to meet him at his new place of employment, Piron Industries, run by the mysterious Escher who says they’re on the same team.  Kiera is convinced that Escher is also a time traveler but he neither confirms nor denies it.  Back at the precinct, all of Kiera’s predictions come true, leaving everyone wondering how she did it.  Kiera tells Carlos that she’s from the future but he blows it off as a ridiculous idea.  She convinces him to take a closer look at the daughter of the most recent victim, but while they’re visiting, Carlos demands Kiera stay in the car.  She sees a man dragging a heavy case and putting it into his trunk and she suddenly remembers that the daughter turned up dead in the case she worked on in the future.  She uses her future gun to stop the car, Carlos shows up to arrest the driver, a man named Eldridge, and they recover the daughter from the trunk, relatively unharmed.  Eldridge freely admits that he’s the serial killer, he works with abused children and he’s killing sex offenders to keep them from offending again.  However, Eldridge has advanced cancer and only has a few months to live, leaving Kiera to conclude he has a partner, since Eldridge certainly cannot kill from beyond the grave.    Kiera visits one of the people working at Eldridge’s clinic, Mike Venables and when she says Eldridge might have an accomplice, he runs.  She chases him but he overpowers her and the next we see Kiera, she’s strapped to a chair, drugged and ready to have her eyelids sliced off.  She tricks Mike into picking up her future gun and it’s security system shocks him into unconsciousness, just as Carlos arrives to save her.  Kiera cries that she might die in the past, essentially never having lived at all, and Carlos sees her gun doing it’s transforming bit, believes her.  They sit down and talk about her entire story, off camera of course.  Kellogg ambushes Sanchez again and wonders why he hasn’t signed the contract, Sanchez says he signed with someone else, a man named Escher from Piron Industries, leaving Kellogg standing in the street.  Finally, Alec and Emily meet at the lab for dinner, only to be interrupted by Kellogg who throws Emily out.  Alec isn’t supposed to have any visitors, the lab is supposed to be secret.  As Alec lets her out and apologizes, she gets on her phone and tells a mysterious someone that she’s in.  Finally, the secret is out!  I’ve been pushing for Kiera to tell Carlos since last season, she’s just spent a lot of time driving him away.  I just have to wonder why, when they were having the fight, if she was going to tell him she was from the future, why she couldn’t just show him?  She’s always wearing the suit, why can’t she just go invisible?  Makes no sense to me.  The revelation alone makes this a fantastic episode, that leaves 4 more episodes this season to see how it impacts their relationship.  I feel bad for Alec, his girlfriend is a spy, although we knew that from day one, but he’s such a nice kid, he really does deserve someone special.  Kiera keeps changing the future, has she given up trying to get home?   Finally, who is Escher?  Is he really a time traveler?  There seem to be so many of them now, do we need to keep adding them?  Where does he fit into all of this? 

Defiance #1×07 – “Good Bye Blue Sky” – Defiance comes under assault from a razor-storm, metallic space debris raining down from orbit, which threatens to wipe out the town.  We start out with Sukar and the Spirit Riders trying to outrun a localized razor-storm.  When Sukar leaps out of his roller to help a fallen comrade, he is fatally wounded by falling debris.  Irisa has a vision that Sukar is in danger and she and Nolan head out into the badlands to warn him, but he’s already dead.  Nolan races back to Defiance to warn the town of the impending storm while Irisa stays behind to attend the Irathient floating ceremony, where they place a body into acid to eat away all the flesh, then leave the bones behind where they were killed.  That’s all well and good, except it doesn’t work that way, Sukar comes up out of the acid alive, healing as fast as the acid can eat his flesh.  This is a new one on everyone.  Sukar says he’s been sent back by the Irathient god Irzu and he has a mission to perform.  He and Irisa head back to Defiance where he breaks into a supply shed for supplies.  The owner is none to happy and shoots Sukar in the chest but it heals immediately.  The owner, hit by a knife, is not as lucky.  Nolan calls the Defiance radio station, operated by Alak Tarr and located in the top of the arch and announces to the town what’s coming.  Alak and Christie are arguing in the radio station, she doesn’t want to perform an alien ritual that calls for all members of the family to bathe together and is upset that Alak isn’t seeing her side of it.  Faced with losing his fiancee and family dishonor, he tells her that he’ll talk to his father and get her out of it.  Meanwhile, Stahma Tarr goes to Kenya and asks her to educate Alak about the female human anatomy.  Kenya refuses but talks to Stahma, who says that everything she’s done, she does for her family and never for herself.  Kenya suggests that Stahma needs to think about her own needs once in a while and they end up in bed together.  The razor-storm hits Defiance and Tommy is badly injured protecting an idiot who thinks his armor suit will protect him from the debris.  Nolan finds him coming into town and takes him to Doc Yewell, who had been hurt by Sukar when he took some of her advanced alien gear.  She manages to save Tommy and they all realize that the technology that Sukar took can be hooked up to the radio station to contact some of the space junk in orbit.  Apparently, Sukar has contacted what’s left of an alien ark and has told it to come crashing down on the town.  Nolan empties his gun into Sukar and he falls out of the arch.  They then realize that the alien ark isn’t landing on Defiance, it is what has caused the razor-rain to happen and Sukar has crashed it nearby to keep it from doing it again.  The shrapnel that had hit Sukar infected him with alien nanobots which sustained him and gave him the knowledge to get rid of the ark.  With his job done, the nanobots go inactive, leaving Sukar in a brain-dead coma.  Since he will never awaken this time, the Irathient finish their floating ceremony.  Hopefully Doc Yewell actually euthanized him first.  The other story had to do with ex-mayor Nicolette who comes to the McCawley farm to locate Mr. Birch, who Quentin killed last episode.  She makes an excuse to stay the night, then makes accusations toward Rafe and his family.  Rafe confronts Quentin who admits that he killed Mr. Birch and dumped the body, but in the end, Rafe tries to take credit for it, after all, Birch broke into the house and nobody would blame him for killing the intruder.  Nicolette yells to Quentin that she knows how his mother died and leaves, presumably to take her revenge later.  It was a pretty decent episode, we’re still learning about the characters and the characters are learning about each other, but to be honest, I was less than impressed with the whole razor-rain thing.  Yes, it’s certainly plausible that these massive arks in orbit are nudging metallic debris into the atmosphere and, from time to time, it’ll all come crashing down to Earth.  I buy that.  It’s just that the effects weren’t that good, Syfy probably isn’t paying enough per episode to really make a high quality sci-fi epic.  The idea of Sukar coming back from the dead was interesting, but it was really just a magical McGuffin, alien nanobots that reanimated his corpse in order to crash a ship?  Couldn’t Sukar just as easily have moved the ship farther out of orbit, or sent it blasting out to the edge of the solar system?  The whole “it’s coming right at us!” thing was very unconvincing.  I also didn’t really buy into the Alak and Christie story because it seems old.  She’s rejected Casthithan rituals before, why should this be any different?  She came off as weak and gutless.  Likewise, the whole bit with Nicolette seemed rather forced too.  Yes, she wants whatever secrets are down in the mine, although we still have no idea what those are, but sending her henchman to break into the house and steal the key, then getting upset because her henchman ended up dead is a bit much.  Not too impressed, sorry.  The part that I really did like was between Stahma and Kenya and frankly I didn’t see it coming.  Oh, the two women who really didn’t like each other but became friends, that was obvious, I just didn’t see them ending up in bed together.  We’ve always thought Stahma was the scheming bitch of the show, and she really is, but we’re now seeing a more sensitive side that I really like.  Nobody is quite what they seem in Defiance and so far, that’s a good thing. 

Orphan Black #1×09 – “Unconscious Selection” – After Kira was hit by a car at the end of the last episode, she is rushed to the hospital and after a bit of hand-wringing, the doctor makes a surprised announcement, she’s not badly injured at all.  Immediately, that has me thinking “something in her genes” and the last two episodes do focus on that to some degree.  Meanwhile, Cosima and Delphine get into a fight, Cosima knows that Delphine is her watcher and Delphine doesn’t deny it,  She does tell Cosima that she didn’t tell Dr. Leekie about Kira and that even though she hasn’t ever been with a woman before, she’s falling for Cosima.  Turning to Allison, she’s been staying with Felix and cleans up his place, something that  doesn’t make him happy.  She begs him to come back to her place so she can pack a few things and she’ll try to find an apartment of her own.  Felix does, but finds the whole neighborhood camped out in Allison’s living room, trying to do an intervention.  It doesn’t go well because Allison realizes she can’t trust any of them, especially Aynesley, and reveals that Aynesley gave a blowjob to a contractor and Donnie decides to kick everyone out and the two say they’re going to try to work things out.  Finally, the biggest part of the episode deals with Sarah and Art.  She and Art meet in the middle of an abandoned parking lot and she denies knowing who Felix is.  They decide they won’t work together again and Art goes to review the footage of the train accident that killed Beth, although he still doesn’t know that.  The footage clearly shows Beth killing herself and Sarah stealing her purse, finally proving to Art that Beth is dead and she’s being impersonated by Sarah.  Back at the station, they’re about to throw Art off the team because he’s been keeping information to himself, they decide to put out an APB on Beth, but Art shows up and says Beth is dead, the person they ought to be looking for is Sarah Manning.  Helena’s handler throws her into a cage for failing to capture Kira in the previous episode and Helena does the only thing she can think of, she calls Sarah to come rescue her.  Sarah arrives and lets her go and the two admit they feel a certain kinship.  Helena’s handler,  Tomas, shows up and she almost kills him before Sarah knocks both of them out.  She stuffs the handler in the cage and ties Helena up and dumps her in the trunk of her car.  Just then, Mrs. S. calls and tells Sarah to come home immediately, there’s something important she has to tell her.  Sarah arrives, Helena still in the trunk, although she’s planning to turn her over to Dr. Leekie, and comes face to face with her birth mother.  It’s a great episode, all of the plot threads continue to knit themselves together.  Maybe the only thing I really have a problem with is the whole concept of the neolutionists.  It doesn’t really seem all that necessary to the plot IMO.  You have these semi-credible scientsts who are doing some sort of cloning procedure, why does Leekie have to be a cult-leader, preaching weird body-mod?  I haven’t seen any reason for it yet.  Maybe we’re supposed to hate him because he’s a strange cult figure?  Who knows. 

Orphan Black #1×10 – “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” – Following the last-minute revelation at the end of the last episode, we pick up with Sarah picking her jaw up off of the floor.  Her birth mother is a black woman from South Africa who decided to rush right over to tell Sarah that she had twins.  Yes, Sarah and Helena are actually twin sisters.  Um, sorry, don’t buy it.  See, we’ve been playing this whole series with the blatantly unscientific belief that everyone is an absolutely identical clone, their fingerprints are the same, their DNA is the same, everything about them is perfectly identical, but in reality, that’s not how it works.  Even identical twins are not identical, they have different DNA, different fingerprints, etc.  However, we know that they’ve matched Helena’s blood, which she conveniently left all over some kid’s bathroom, to be identical to Katja and Sarah and Beth, etc.  Yet it doesn’t work that way.  Even cloned animals are distinctly different.  Yes, I’m sure the show is written for people who have no clue about the actual science behind cloning, but I hate when it’s painfully clear that the writers don’t have a clue, they’re doing things for plot convenience.  Even if we assume that there is some super-magical cloning process that produces identical Xerox copies, that’s blown out of the water if we’re supposed to think that Sarah and Helena are actually twin sisters.  Yeah, yeah, I know, I’ll shut up now.  Anyhow, Helena gets tied up in the basement so her bio-mom, Amelia, can go have a chat with her.  However, at the same time, Art and his team break into the house and arrest Sarah.  They also take down Felix.  Helena uses the confusion to escape.  At the station, Art tries to get Sarah to tell him the whole story, but Leekie and his real boss, the person behind the whole thing, apparently, Rachel Duncan, send in a high-powered lawyer to get her out.  While that’s going on, let’s turn to Cosima, who is coughing up blood, just like Katja was.  She’s at Felix’s loft and Delphine shows up.  They make up and together start piecing together the genetic puzzle.  There’s a code in their DNA and she needs to crack it.  Leekie shows up at Allison’s place and offers her a deal.  So long as she’ll voluntarily come in for semi-annual inspections, he’ll make sure her family is left alone and unmonitored.  He says he’s already arranged for her monitor to leave and when she goes outside, she sees that Aynesley’s house has been sold.  She goes inside to have it out one last time with Aynesley and her scarf gets caught in the garbage disposal.  Even though Allison can turn it off and save her, she lets Aynesley die.  Like a good neighbor and all that stuff.  Sarah meets with Rachel Duncan, another clone, who promises to leave Kira alone if Sarah agrees to her terms.  Sarah leaves to think about it.  Art picks up Vic and they discover  that there are other identical versions of Beth out there, which he already should have known.  Meanwhile, Helena dresses up as Sarah and takes Amelia back to Beth’s apartment, where she stabs her birth mother.  Sarah finds Amelia just as she’s dying and she is given a photo of Mrs. S., who isn’t what she seems.  Amelia, her job done, drops dead.  Sarah and Helena fight and Sarah puts a bullet in Helena.  About damn time.  Cosima and Delphine figure out what the code in the genes is, it’s a copyright.  Sarah and all the other clones have had their entire genetic code copyrighted by Duncan and her group.  Um… right.  Cosima calls to stop Sarah from signing the contract, but Allison has already signed and faxed it over.  She sees the police at Anyesley’s house across the street and Donnie goes out for a job.  We see him get into a limo with Leekie, he was the watcher after all.  Sarah sends Duncan a nasty text and Duncan orders someone to pick her up.  She gets home and finds that the house is trashed and Mrs. S. and Kira are gone.  To be continued next season.  I was fine with this right up until we got the silly coded copyright notice.  Come on guys, you cannot copyright a human, no court on the planet would respect that claim.  It doesn’t really make any sense to clone at least 10 unrealistically identical women, release them into the “wild” for more than 30 years… for what?  And what does the coded copyright notice get them?  Certainly nobody would be looking for it and even if they stumbled across it, they wouldn’t know how to read it and they certainly would never respect it.  I don’t know how I feel about the clones falling apart at the same time either.  Helena’s insanity, mostly spurred by her religious fanaticism, but it’s referred to as  a genetic problem.  Both Katja and Cosima developing some bug at nearly the same time?  Seems mighty convenient to me.  I think Tatiana Maslany has done a phenomenal job on this show and I really look forward to seeing her next season, I just get the feeling that a lot of things were changed at the last minute once they knew they were getting a new season and maybe things moved a bit too fast at the end and they didn’t have time to thoroughly think through the plot.  I hope so, there’s another season coming and I hope that they can rethink what they’re doing before 2014 when the next season will air.  Great show, I should have been watching from the beginning, but a few really grating problems that I think they need to correct. 

Thumbs DownPsych #7×14 – “No Trout About It” – This isn’t really the end of the season, there’s a 2-part musical episode that they decided, for some  reason, to hold back until year end, so this is all there is for the moment.  After a car chase gone wrong, police efficiency expert Harris Trout is called in to trim the Santa Barbara Police Department down as he tries, in his really bad scenery-chewing style, to get the back story out of Shawn and the rest of the loonies.  It seems that a client, Leo Quinn, comes to the Psych office and asks that the guys find the person who killed him.  You see, Leo has been poisoned and he only has a couple of days to live.  He’s been given a mysterious substance called Compound 1080.  Shawn and Gus take him to the hospital and Gus refuses to touch him, even though everyone tells him that poison isn’t communicable.  We keep flashing back to Chief Vick’s office, with Trout bitching at his mother on the phone, throwing away donuts, etc.  He’s going overboard to prove to everyone that he’s a dick.  In just a few seconds, Trout finds out all about everyone’s dirty laundry, which seems rather stupid when you think about it.  Why didn’t he call Woody in to talk about sexual deviancy while he was at it?  Back to the story.  Shawn and Gus go to the airport to pick up Leo’s wife, she’s a latina bombshell and both of them are convinced she’s too good for Leo.  This is confirmed at the hospital, when she doesn’t seem to want Leo to touch her.  This makes Shawn and Gus suspicious and they concoct a story that she only married Leo for legal status and now wants to kill him.  This seems to be confirmed by a call to her family in Mexico, which says they haven’t seen her in 2 years, even though she was supposedly coming back from visiting them.  However, when they go to question her, she’s dead on the floor with her luggage strewn around the house.  They find a burner cell with a suspicious voice mail from “Chuck”.  They break the news to Leo, who says nothing strange ever happens in his life, except for the break in at his office just a couple of days before.  They go to investigate and find that a safe deposit key is missing from a wealthy client’s file.  That leads them to the bank and an empty safe deposit key, $10 million in diamonds are missing.  After reviewing the bank security videos, they identify Victor Mannis, a fake customer who had a box next to the stolen box, and a former bank employee, Charles Sax, presumably the “Chuck” from the voice mail.  Shawn and Gus track down a hotel room under the name of Victor Mannis, but instead find Charles Sax in the room.  He volunteers to tell them about his partner but is shot on the balcony, leaving them without any more leads.  They take Leo back to the hospital, but in the morning, he’s dead.  Leo is cremated and his last wishes are to have Shawn and Gus spread his ashes and find his killer.  He also left them a note to check out a former client, Curtis Stanzen, and they meet Lassiter and Jules there.  Curtis makes a run for it on a motorcycle, bringing us back to the beginning of the episode, but he crashes and they find he’s dead, poisoned by the same Compound 1080 that supposedly killed Leo, but Shawn notices that Leo had none of the symptoms shown by Curtis, thus concluding that Leo is still alive and Shawn knows where he is.  Trout suspends everyone for not following police procedures, but they all go anyhow, capturing Leo and recovering the diamonds.  When they return, they find that Trout has suspended Chief Vick for 6 months and is taking her place.  He fires McNab for stripping on the side, declares the SBPD will no longer work with psychics and strips Lassiter of his head detective spot.  Could things get any worse?  To be honest, I didn’t really feel the love in this episode.  The Trout character, even though he was played by Anthony Michael Hall, was never believable and everything he does feels forced.  If he’s really an efficiency expert, he can’t make his own decisions, he can only give recommendations to the police board, yet here we see him just firing people for the hell of it.  Maybe my biggest problem with it is that, as a season finale, it just doesn’t feel that exceptional.  Lots of huge things happened this season, Henry reconciles with his ex-wife, Juliette finally finds out Shawn’s secret and forgives him, Gus is involved in a long-term relationship, all of these things have happened and the finale is… this?  They should have done much better.  In fact, I was thinking that the best thing they could have done at the end of the episode was have Shawn propose to Juliette just before it faded to black.  However, they didn’t and if Chief Vick is just suspended for 6 months, by the time the show rolls around again next year, that’ll be gone and the whole Trout thing seems pointless.  Compare  this season finale to some they did at the beginning, especially their Mr. Yang annual finale story and this just doesn’t come off looking all that hot.  Sorry guys, you should have done better.

Warehouse 13 #4×15 – “Instinct” – When they start having earthquakes in the Warehouse, Artie, Claudia, Steve and Abigail try to figure out what’s going on while Pete and Myka head off to Wisconsin after H.G. Wells appears on the scene again and asks for help with a case.  Apparently, Helena, now going by Emily, has a family and is trying not to let the Warehouse back into her life, but she finds an artifact that causes extreme fear and needs help.  These are really different stories so let’s handle them separately.  In the second, the artifact turns out to be a cursed hyena jawbone that triggers an extreme fight-or-flight response in it’s victims.  Because hyenas hunt in packs, there are actually two people using the jawbone and after Pete and Myka bag the bone, they kidnap Helena, I mean Emily’s step-daughter-of-sorts, leaving Myka to try and trade the bone for the kid, backed up by Pete and Helena and her freaked out boyfriend who doesn’t know what’s going on.  At the end, they capture the bad guys, who turn out to be cops who are scaring criminals into turning themselves in and confessing to crimes.  They rescue Adelaide and reunite her with her father and a Helena who doesn’t know if she’s cost herself everything.  It really is a nice end to the H.G. Wells saga, at least hopefully.  She’s done her bit for Warehouse and country, she deserves to find happiness and what makes her happy is finding a nice normal life and a family and a daughter to take the place of her long-dead one.  I just wish that after we saw Pete and Myka drive away, we had seen Helena go back inside to try to explain to Nate and Adelaide, we’re really left not knowing if she’s going to succeed in winning them back or if she’s just going to walk down the street and out of their lives forever.  The other story was a bit more interesting, if a bit less heartwarming.  It seems that the Warehouse has an automatic expansion system which makes the building get larger as they get more artifacts.  Funny nobody ever brought this up before.  Claudia gets zapped in the ass a lot at the beginning, she assumes the Warehouse is mad at her for her part in the whole Leena debacle.  They all find that the expansion system is jammed by a railroad spike that “brings things together” and Claudia and Steve modify a rocket launcher to shoot goo, a “goozooka”.  The first shot misses and when Steve tries to get up on top of something for a better shot, the ladder breaks and he falls, injuring Artie and leaving Claudia, poor, poor, electrified in the ass Claudia, to fire the only remaining rocket.  Abigail tells Claudia that maybe the Warehouse isn’t mad at her but has been trying to get her attention.  We know that Claudia is being groomed to be the next Warehouse guardian after Artie… leaves, it’s not hard to imagine that the Warehouse knows that and is reacting to her special affinity for it.  She takes the “goozooka”, goes through the energy curtain around the affected area and effortlessly fires the rocket into the anomaly, shutting the whole thing down.  Warehouse saved.  In appreciation, the warehouse produces the scent of apples for Claudia.  Both sub-plots were nice in this episode and both moved the overall plot along a little.  H.G., who we haven’t seen in a while, finally gets, at least we guess, what she wanted all along and I wish her well.  I’d really like to see that story end and H.G. permanently retire from the show.  We just don’t need to ever see her back, even though I like the character.  Claudia gets closer to her destiny as Warehouse guardian, something she’s finally starting to admit that she’d like to be.  Neither story was amazingly good, but both had some feel-good elements to be taken away.  One thing I wish they had worked into the plot somewhere was a callback to last episode’s “Claudia is the target” bit, even if it was someone watching Claudia through binoculars while they were outside messing with their invisible UFO thing.  I’m guessing that’s going to be the major plot point for the end of the season, they shouldn’t miss an opportunity to play it for all it’s worth.  There are only 5 more episodes this season and the show is cancelled after an abbreviated 5th season, so they can’t afford to mess around.

Best of the Week: I’m having some difficulty deciding between this week’s Continuum and the penultimate episode of Orphan Black because both were excellent and both for the same reason.  In both, there were revelations that were a long time overdue, Kiera’s admission of the truth to Carlos and Sarah’s being honest with Helena, but I think that between the two, it has to go to Continuum, just because they really, really needed to let the cat out of the bag for Kiera’s partner.  It was just getting more and more painful to watch their partnership fall apart and now they can get back to working together without secrets… although I’m sure there will still be some secrets to be had.

Worst of the Week:  As much as it pains me to say so, this week’s Psych wasn’t that good, especially for a season finale.  It came off like a generic, run-of-the-mill episode, where most of the show-changing stuff is going to occur off-camera between seasons.  It also felt so utterly arbitrary, the Psych crew have done a lot worse in their 7 year run, to have a disciplinary expert show up after something so relatively minor seems silly.  We already know that none of it is going to matter, the Psych team will be back working with the police, Lassiter will get his top job back and Vick, after her short vacation, will be back in her office.  I’m also taking off points for moving the 2-part musical episode until Christmas. What the hell, USA?  What the hell.

Other Stuff I Watched:  Akibaranger S2 1-7, Mythbusters #11×05, Toy Hunter #2×09, The Nerdist #2×09

Special Review:  Akibaranger Season 2 – Last year, I wrote some pretty glowing reviews for the first season of Akibaranger.  I thought it was a fantastic series, aimed at adult fans of not only the Super Sentai concept, but for adult geeks everywhere.  However, I was very critical of Akibaranger getting a second season, I thought they had done everything they set out to do in the first and didn’t really see any way that they could top what they had already done.  I was wrong.  The second season is amazing so far.  I’ve seen just over half the series and they’ve gone in directions that don’t really interfere with the first season, they enhance it.  However, it isn’t your father’s Akibaranger, there have been some changes.  In what they claim is evidence of script tampering by Saburo Hatte, the collective Toei pen-name, a few things are different from last season.  The biggest is that it wasn’t Nobuo who went to work for the Pentagon at the end of the season, but Mitsuki.  I suspect this is because the actress had other things to do and couldn’t return, but they do find a replacement Akiba-Blue.  Their criteria are simple.  She must be prone to delusion and she must have the kanji for “blue” in her name.  They find this in the person of Luna Iwashimizu, an aspiring actress who thinks that being on a Super Sentai show will boost her career. It should be noted that the helmets used by Akiba-Blue and Akiba-Yellow are different this time around, reportedly because the ones used in the first season cracked under the heavy usage and had to be redesigned to withstand the abuse.  Due to the short 13-episode format that they have, they clearly cannot tell the kinds of in-depth stories or investigate the various characters in detail that we see in regular sentai shows and that’s largely what they’re focusing on in the second season.  We’re seeing what goes on internally with the characters and how that impacts their delusional sentai lives.  We find out that since the last season, Yumeria has gotten married and initially has to hide her geek-nature from her mother-in-law, who is convinced that it will injure the family name.  We find out that Nobuo has a strange fetish that comes into play.  There’s an episode where Nobuo’s delusion that he wants to be in an official sentai show comes true and Akibaranger replaces Dairanger in the official lineup.  There have been some other changes too.  Malseena is back and she’s joined another criminal organization after the evil salarymen were defeated.  Now, she’s part of  the Neo Dimensional Brain Reconstructive Underground True Empire of Baros, also known as LOL.  The head of the organization, General Tsu, builds dolls which turn into monsters, usually tech-related, unlike season 1’s Tokyo geography-named bosses.  He makes Malseena a version of the Akibaranger MMZ-01, which allows her to transform into a senti-esque warrior herself.  That’s one thing you’ll see a lot more of this season, Malseena spends a lot of time nude.  Not much of a surprise, I guess, since she is played by Honoka, a former Japanese porn star, but they seem to be trying to push the boundaries.  Every time she transforms into her sentai guise, all of her clothes fly off and are slowly replaced with black latex.  You figure it out.  We’re also seeing more classic Super Sentai heroes showing up.  In the first season, we only really saw characters from Boukenger, Dekaranger and Jetman, but already, we’ve seen Dairanger, Zyuranger, Hurricanger and Goraiger show up.  We even see a new Akibaranger make the scene, something they didn’t have time for the first time around.  This show really is a love letter to the whole Super Sentai series and that’s a good thing.  I really do recommend that if you like the tokusatsu genre, you go find yourself a copy of the second season of Akibaranger, or even the first season if you missed it.  It’s a ton of silly fun that all sentai fans owe it to themselves to see. 

TV Thursday – 5/30/13

TV Thursday Header

This is going to be a short week because most of the shows are off for the summer and others are skipping a week for the holiday, therefore it’s a good thing I have a bunch of Orphan Black episodes to review!

Continuum #2×05 – “Second Opinion” – Kiera and Alec are trying to find Mr. Escher, who is supposed to be a big wig in the future, but today, hasn’t made any impact.  Alec notes that Kiera is a bit off today and she tells him that today would be her son’s birthday, if she was back in the future.  Carlos tries to get her to talk about it but she refuses, she wants to get Travis and his side of Liber8 tracked, she’s sure something major is going to happen.  Meanwhile, Alec meets up with Kellogg and together, they officially start Sadtech, with Alec as CEO and supposedly in control of all the technology.  I wonder how long that will last?  All of a sudden, Dillion is removed from his position as chief of police, replaced by Inspector Harris who is convinced that there is a traitor in the station house.  She and IA lock down the station, force everyone to turn in their cell phones and tells everyone they can’t leave.  Of course, Kiera ignores her and heads out with Dillon, offering her help.  Why did nobody stop her?  Did she slip out before they announced no one could leave?  Who knows.  Harris tags Carlos as above reproach and forces him to help her search the precinct. Kiera wants to know what’s going on, but apparently Harris doesn’t trust her and pulls her into an interrogation.  During the interrogation, they try to force her to give up information on Section 6 and her family but she refuses, eventually suffering an emotional break where she attacks Agent Gardiner, triggering a safeguard in her CMR.  A holographic psychiatrist, played by Alessandro Juliani appears and shuts down her CMR until it can be satisfied that she’s fit for work.  Alec meets up with Jason who gives him the blueprints for the time machine that Alec will build in the future.  Time paradox much?  Kiera manages to escape from the meeting and has it out with the hologram, eventually getting it to re-establish contact with Alec, who is trying to set up a fake identity for her.  While Kiera is arguing with her CMR in the bathroom, Carlos gets his turn and they want to know how Kiera seems to know everything before he does, they are convinced that she’s working with Liber8 and Section 6 is just a front.  Kiera tells the psych program that Sam hasn’t been born yet and it’s convinced that she’s suffering some kind of psychotic episode.  You know, for a program that has not only access, but the ability to erase her memories, it doesn’t seem to be up on current events.  Betty comes in and tells Kiera that Dillon had her doing some under-the-table surveillance and the IA techs are going to break through her firewalls and find all of the evidence against Kiera.  She also tells her that Dillon had her attend a Liber8 meeting and they’ll think she’s the mole.  She asks Kiera to implant a virus that will wipe it all out, but Kiera needs access to her suit’s cloaking technology to do it and the robo-psych won’t allow it.  They argue some more until Betty ends up being interrogated and they find that she went to the meeting.  They can find no record that Dillon sent her so they become convinced that she’s the mole.  Kiera gets to an empty office and finally opens up to the hologram, admitting she feels very guilty over abandoning Sam.  He makes a holographic version of Sam and tells her to apologize.  Sorry, but it wasn’t like she made a conscious decision to leave Sam, she was sucked into the past as a part of her job, she had no idea that she might never see him again.  I can understand the emotion, it was just played up too much.  With her admission of guilt, she gets her suit controls back and goes to erase the damaging files on Betty’s computer.  However, they’re already gone and Alec finds a trojan horse, left by Liber8, to frame Betty.  She tells Alec to let the IA techs find the trojan horse, which they do, thus freeing Betty.  Harris tells Kiera that she still wants to know about Section 6 and her family, but Kiera responds that she doesn’t work for the police department and either Harris backs off or she walks and the people in the police department would much rather she stays.  Harris reluctantly agrees.  At the end of the episode, we see Betty getting into a car with Lucas and we realize that she is, indeed, the mole everyone is looking for.  That was totally unexpected, but I suppose in retrospect not surprising.  After all, there were only four people in the loop on Section 6, Kiera, Carlos, Dillon and Betty.  It had to be one of them, Betty seems to be the most likely.  She never has a lot of lines, but she’s always hanging out in the background.  That leaves me wondering about Dillon, who is now without a job, but doesn’t seem the type to take it lying down.  Either Harris had something on him, or she’s dirty, hopefully he won’t stay gone for long.  As for Harris, I don’t know what to think.  On the one hand, she’s just trying to do her job, but there’s something that doesn’t quite jive with her.  Kiera physically assaulted and threatened to kill a police officer , yet she got off without any kind of reprimand, how are we supposed to feel about that?

Orphan Black #1×05 – “Conditions of Existence” – Helena, as we saw last week, was picked up by a man in a van and we see this week, not only does she survive, but she’s healing nicely.  Allison and Sarah talk via Skype about Beth leaving the police and Sarah thanks Allison for stepping in to see Kira.  Paul sneaks up on Beth and they have sex in the shower, afterwards he asks her to fly away with him to Rio, but she can’t just leave the clones.  We see in the night, images of doctors examining Sarah while she sleeps beside Paul and in the morning, she finds a square electrode adhesive pad in her mouth, left over by the examination.  Apparently, all of the clones have handlers who keep an eye on them and get them regular evaluations.  Paul is clearly Beth’s handler and Allison thinks her husband is watching over her.  She decides to search for evidence and finds a locked box in the garage, but before she can open it, her husband finds her and takes the box away.  Meanwhile, Cosima, seemingly without a handler, meets up with a French exchange student who she thinks might have been assigned to keep an eye on her so she makes plans to get closer to Delphine, figuring she can learn something about the operation since Delphine cannot suspect that she knows.  Allison goes to get some spy equipment to observe her husband, but Vic sees her and assumes she’s Sarah.  Vic had gotten a finger chopped off because Sarah had stolen his cocaine and he’s none to happy about it.  Allison pepper sprays him and escapes, but now that he thinks Sarah is still alive, he goes to Felix’s pad where both Sarah and Felix are making plans.  Sarah gives him $20k that Allison had provided to get rid of him.  Allison sees the surveillance footage of her husband, but it conveniently runs out just before anything happens.  She goes to look at his secret box and finds it stuffed full of porn.  We see him in the woods burning some kind of paperwork and it looks very suspicious.  Sarah decides she needs to kill Paul, but Allison and Cosima convince her not to.  It’s okay because Paul knows that Sarah is not Beth, Beth had a scar that Sarah does not.  Sarah breaks down and tells Paul some of what’s going on, that she wanted to clean out Beth’s bank accounts, that she knows that Paul is Beth’s handler and Paul says he’s being forced to comply, he has no idea why they’re watching her.  See, Beth really was in love with Paul, but Paul thought Beth was a cold fish, she was nothing more than a job to him, but with Sarah on the table, no pun intended, Paul has developed feelings, not for Beth, but for Sarah.  Unfortunately, he can’t just walk away from his job, he’s being blackmailed so he has to keep pretending that Sarah is Beth and that everything is copacetic.  It can’t be long until Paul’s employers figure out the deception though.

Orphan Black #1×06 – “Variations Under Domestication” – Allison is convinced that her husband Donnie is spying on her and, in a fit of insanity, whacks him in the back of the head with a golf club.  We then find Donnie tied up in Allison’s basement while she tortures him with a hot glue gun to force him to admit the truth.  Paul wants to be open with Sarah, but Sarah doesn’t trust him.  She escapes through a bathroom window and runs over to Allison’s house where she finds the torture scene.  Sarah pretends to be Allison to get to the truth but it seems like Donnie doesn’t really know anything.  However, Allison forgot the monthly neighborhood pot luck and all of their friends show up.  Allison goes upstairs to keep the neighborhood busy while Allison keeps working on Donnie.  Sarah calls up Felix to come over and tend bar because the situation is quickly unraveling.  Meanwhile, Paul meets with Olivier and tells him that Beth is not doing well, she might even kill herself because she’s dealing with a lot of stuff.  Paul wonders if it would be his fault if she did something unfortunate, pointing out that he wouldn’t be of any use to the program if the person he’s assigned to watch ends up dying.  Cosima goes to a lecture with Delphine, while trying to keep an eye on her watcher.  The lecturer ends up being Dr. Aldous Leekie, a futurist who believes that man has the ability and indeed, the duty, to force self-evolution.  At the same time, Vic breaks into Felix’s apartment, finds Allison’s address and decides to figure out what’s going on.  He breaks into Allison’s place while the pot luck is going on.  Allison, with too much to drink, collapses on a couch in the basement.  Paul finds Beth’s car near the pot luck and deduces that must be where everyone is.  So first, we have Vic, who finds Sarah and they have it out in the bedroom.  He can’t believe all that he’s seeing, he wants to know why she faked her death and why she has a new scam in the suburbs.  Then Paul shows up and finds Allison asleep on the couch.  Allison’s neighbor, Aynesley gets Allison into bed, but almost immediately runs into Sarah, wearing different clothes, in the basement with Vic and Paul.  Paul ends up threatening Vic and tells him if he ever comes around again, he’s dead.  Vic takes it seriously this time.  After the party, Aynesley catches Sarah and Paul in the garage and they pretend they have something going on.  Later that night, Allison and Donnie get into bed and he admits that he had been hiding something from her, he had an affair with an old college flame, before they got married, and found out that she had a terminal illness and he had been keeping some correspondence hidden.  They agree that they need some help keeping their marriage together.  Back at Beth’s apartment, Paul had set up a bottle of poison, thinking that killing Beth might be his only way out.  Sarah finally comes clean with Paul and he switches to another non-poisoned bottle of wine.  I think this episode was great.  What would really happen if there were a couple of absolutely identical people living in close proximity who got together regularly?  This is exactly what would happen and it was fun to watch.  Also, I think that keeping the secret for long would be difficult, if not impossible.  What happens when people known to one clone started seeing another clone around town?  This episode shows the inevitable and I love series that acknowledge the potential reality behind their premises.  If we didn’t see this sooner or later, it would seem strange, might as well get it out of the way now.

Thumbs UpOrphan Black #1×07 – “Parts Developed in an Unusual Manner” – We see Cosima get closer to Delphine and the seemingly ever-present Dr. Leekie, he seems to always be around.  I don’t mind, he’s played by the always wonderful Matt Frewer, once Max Headroom and more recently, Taggart on Eureka.  Cosima and Delphine have dinner together and Leekie shows up to join them, offering Cosima a job at his foundation.  She says she’ll think about it.  Cosima and Delphine go back to her place and Cosima tries to kiss her.  Delphine isn’t sure about this turn of development and excuses herself.  Back at the police station, Art and his new partner start to realize that Beth isn’t what they thought she was.  They first discover that the DNA of the blood left behind by Helena and the body of Katja were identical.  When they realize that Beth’s paperwork is uncharacteristically wrong, they rework the whole case and get new fingerprints from the dismembered hand of Katja.  Her prints come up in the system as identical to Sarah Manning, who looks exactly like Beth.  Something is going on here!  Finally, we turn to Paul, who meets with Olivier and learns that they know Beth is not Beth.  This information comes from Dr. Leekie, but how they know is not revealed.  Cosima finds out about a Neo-Evolution club that caters to followers of Dr. Leekie and Sarah and Felix head over there to check it out.  Knowing that Sarah can’t be seen there, Felix goes in.  The next day, Helena forces Sarah to take her out for lunch and they talk.  Helena wants the names of all of the clones, presumably so she can kill them.  Someone needs to teach Helena some table manners.  Sarah refuses and Helena gives her a deadline, after which she’s coming after Sarah.  Later that night, Sarah is visiting with Kira and Paul calls her and tells her to escape, they’re coming for her.  He tries to get away himself but fails.  Sarah heads back to the Neo-Evolution club, which is owned by Olivier, reasoning that’s where he’d be holding Paul.  First, though, she calls Helena and lets her know about Olivier as part of her plan.  Sarah leaves Felix in the car with instructions to call Art if she isn’t back in 15 minutes, then she goes in to rescue Paul.  Meanwhile, Helena arrives at the club, abducts Olivier, and cuts off his tail, he’s a big body modification fanatic.  Sarah and Paul escape, just as Felix is making his call to Art, he cuts off the call when he sees them but Art has already heard his voice.  Helena dances in the club, swinging Olivier’s tail around and Art, confused by all of the developments in the case, decides he needs to find out who Sarah Manning really is.  This is probably one of the best episodes in the series, just about all of the disparate  stories get some development and they start to merge into a cohesive whole, which is good because I was wondering how they’d ever come to any kind of conclusion by the end of this 10-episode season.  We also start to see that Helena, crazy, religious wingnut Helena, is starting to doubt what she’s being told by her handlers and while I don’t know that she’s really siding with the rest of the clones, she’s at least realizing that there’s more than one perspective at work here.  Very slowly, we’re starting to uncover Sarah’s past, Mrs. S. has an old scrapbook with whatever information she could glean about Sarah and the news that she came from an underground railroad of sorts, filled with children who needed help, but about whom not too many questions should be asked, is interesting.  I wonder how it ties in with the rest of the clones?

Thumbs DownOrphan Black #1×08 – “Entangled Bank” – We open up with Sarah and Paul cuddling in Felix’ bed, they can’t go back to his place, they can’t go back to Beth’s place, so they’re bunking with the only other person they really know who understand the situation.  I love his line about them screwing in his bed, there’s a distaste in his voice that’s priceless.  My problem is that I don’t see it being much, if any safer hiding at Felix’ place when he’s tied to one of the clones and this comes up later in the episode.  Meanwhile, Allison comes home from her marriage counseling trip early, announcing that she’s divorcing Donnie.  She knows that he isn’t her watcher, but she knows who is, that meddlesome Aynesley from across the street, who has a key to the house and a penchant for going through her mail and asking a lot of questions.  They have a fight where Allison demands the return of her house keys and almost throws Aynesley out the door.  Of course, when Allison goes to coach her daughter’s ice skating class, fighting again with Aynesley who says she’s in no condition to teach, Allison goes out in the parking lot and screws Aynesley’s husband in the back of his SUV.  It shouldn’t be much of a surprise since he’s been hitting on Allison the whole series and Aynesley has been very open with Allison about his indiscretions, but she gets pissed and they have it out in the middle of the street.  Sarah, realizing that Art and the police department are getting closer and all of the pieces are falling into place, takes on the Beth persona once again to see what they know, while feigning ignorance of everything they’re talking about.  Art and his partner have been questioning all the people in Sarah’s life, including Mrs. S., who knows something is up, but isn’t about to disclose anything to the police, and when they show up at Felix’ door while Sarah is inside, she has to scamper out the window in a hurry.  Like I said, hanging out at his place is not the brightest move they could make.  It seems like Felix does fine, until they leave and Art realizes he’s heard that voice before, a short phone call he received from Felix while waiting for Sarah and Paul in the last episode.  Now, they have reason to suspect Felix, even though he doesn’t realize it yet.  Cosima and Delphine end up in bed together and while Cosima is out getting ice cream, Delphine searches through her research. She calls Leekie and confirms that Cosima knows about the clones, but for some reason doesn’t tell him about Kira.  I think Delphine is starting to realize she’s in over her head.  We see Olivier in the hospital after his tail amputation and he meets with Paul, who threatens him that he’d better not say anything about any of the clones except Helena, and then Dr. Leekie, who comforts him and then, obviously, has him killed.  At the very end of the episode, Sarah brings Allison over to Mrs. S’s house and decides she needs to know the whole truth.  While they’re talking about the situation, Helena arrives and convinces Kira to open the door.  Okay, serious problem with this episode.  First off, we have a scene earlier where Mrs. S. tells Kira never to open the door if they haven’t invited anyone over.  We’re led to believe that this is an ongoing policy in the house, yet when Helena arrives, Kira just opens the door and goes with her.  On the one hand, we’re meant to think this is an intelligent girl, that there might even be something special about her, yet she does some really stupid stuff.  Secondly, Helena tells Kira she’s taking her to meet someone, they walk down the street and Kira clearly knows Helena isn’t her mother, then they turn into an alley where Helena collapses, presumably from her earlier injuries, yet we’ve seen her do plenty of more strenuous things and not suffer any disability.  All the time, Sarah is screaming for Kira, but when the camera is on Kira and Helena, you never hear a thing.  Finally, Kira says she’d better go home and Helena  agrees.  I thought they were going to meet someone!  Then, Kira turns and walks out into the middle of a street, right in front of a truck!  I know she’s only 7, but my kids sure knew better than to cross streets by themselves at that age, here’s that smart, special kid doing yet another really idiotic thing and getting run over for it.  Make up your minds, people!

Psych #7×13 – “Nip and Suck It” – We start off with Henry in the woods with a bunch of older bird watchers, but when his phone goes off, he moves along so he won’t bother the rest of the group.  Along the way, he notices a discarded bracelet and when he puts together a number of clues, he finds the body of a young woman.  This really excites him and he wants to solve the case, even though he’s officially retired (twice) from the Santa Barbara Police Department.  This sets up a competition between Henry and Shawn to see who can solve the case first.  It turns out that the victim is Shelley Aaronson, a woman addicted to plastic surgery, who had  a large amount of botulism toxin in her bloodstream.  Shawn reasons that the only plastic surgeon who could have done this is Dr. Joan Diamond, an old flame of Henry’s, who he’s already on the way to visit.  Joan wants to rekindle the flame with Henry, but so long as she’s a suspect in the murder, he can’t.  Shawn, meanwhile, goes to talk to Shelley’s husband and finds they had been together for 2 weeks when she died.  He remembers that Shelley was supposed to meet someone at a cafe the day she died and they go question a waiter who remembers that she was there with another woman who looked a lot like her.  It turns out Shelley was “borrowing” the other woman’s nose for her plastic surgery, but the other woman was getting liposuctioned at the time and couldn’t have done it.    Out of ideas, Shawn and Gus follow Henry and he cons them, escaping while they’re buying something from a food truck.  However, Shawn calls Joan and pretends to be Henry to get the address he’s heading to.  They beat him there to find Dr. Ted Lomax having a party to promote his plastic surgery business.  However, he’s not really a plastic surgeon and the police arrive to arrest him for practicing medicine without a license.  This disturbs Gus  because he’d just let Lomax inject him and his face swells up.  Everyone asks him what happened to his face for the rest of the episode.  Shawn meets Lacey there, a technician who is about to go to work for Joan and she tells him that  she saw a red Aston Martin at Shelley’s house the day she died, casting suspicion on Joan.  They tell Henry that Joan is the real killer, but Henry has a date with Joan that night and finds a syringe and the same toxin that killed Shelley in her purse.  Joan claims it was planted, she’s never seen it before and she whallops him with a fish to make her escape.  Henry gives up, clearly it must be Joan who is guilty and Shawn wins, but Shawn discovers that it’s an index finger print on the syringe and no qualified medical practitioner would give a shot that way.  Joan leaves a note in Henry’s mailbox saying she was framed and Shawn believes her.  They go back over their list of suspects and decide to look at Shelley’s husband Brad again.  They had a prenup so Shawn had thought he had no motive, but didn’t take into account the life insurance policy.  However, Brad turns up dead, killed the same way that Shelley was, but Shawn realizes that Brad and Lacey were from the same small town, there has to be a connection.  It turns out that Brad and Lacey were once in a relationship and they had scammed people in their small town.  When they came to Santa Barbara together, they decided to scam Shelley, but Brad fell in love with Shelley and signed a prenup so Lacey was out in the cold.  She killed Shelley, framed Dr. Joan and when Brad told her that he was going to turn her in, she killed him as well.  Everything is wrapped up nicely, but it couldn’t have been done without the cooperation of Henry and Shawn.  Afterwards, Shawn shows up at the Psych office and tells Gus that he’s back together with Jules.  Henry and Joan show up and Henry asks if he should open his own detective agency.  Shawn announces that he and Gus wrote a book about being detectives, which really is an actual book that they plugged on the air.  A messenger arrives with a basket of cookies for Gus and a note from Rachel and he’s convinced she wants to break up with him.  Good.  I hope so.  One of the things that always makes Psych enjoyable is the fact that they never forget the past.  Lots of their jokes are references to previous episodes and if you’ve seen the whole show, you start to recognize things that have happened previously, that are recalled over and over again.  Take this episode for instance.  They said “come on, son” or some variation all the way through the episode, a clear reference to the episode “Late Night Gus” and Ed Lover, rapper, actor, radio personality and former MTV VJ, whose signature line was “come on, son!”  Shawn and Gus have used it sporadically ever since.  I loved Henry not knowing how to change his ringtone, which Shawn had set to “I’m Mr. Bootyman”.  The sad part is that next week is the official season finale, with the 2-part musical episode that I’ve been looking forward to moved to a special in the fall.  At least next season, which had initially been announced as 8 episodes, has been expanded to 13, but that’s still short of the regular 16-episode seasons that USA has been known for, hopefully it’ll get an even bigger order as time goes on.

Best of the Week:  The best has to go to episode #1×07 of Orphan Black as we start to see all of these disparate plot lines start to come together.  It was nice to see Helena used as something other than a Silas clone… um, probably not the best word for it.

Worst of the Week:  Then I’m going to turn around and give the worst episode to #1×08 of Orphan Black, not because it was really bad, but because of how they treated Kira throughout.  Come on guys, make up your mind!  Is she smart?  Is she dumb?  Pick one!

Other Stuff I Watched:  Mythbusters #11×04, Toy Hunter #7×07-7×08, Dr. Who and the Daleks (Rifftrax), Weird or What? #1×03-1×04 (Shatner Version)

TV Thursday – 5/23/13

TV Thursday Header

You gain a few, you lose a few.  On this week’s TV Thursday, Arrow, Elementary and Doctor Who all go off until next season, but I decided to take a look at Orphan Black, something that came on with the return of Doctor Who a couple of weeks ago, and I actually like it so I’ve run through most of the first season.  However, unlike what I did with the first season of Continuum, I’m not going to review the whole thing in a week.  I’ll look at the first four episodes this week, the next four next week and get back on track the week thereafter.  It’ll give me something to write about now that all the regular TV shows are through.

Thumbs UpArrow #1×23 – “Sacrifice” – There are some things I was right about and some that I wasn’t in my guesses last week.  Let’s get right to work.  We open with Ollie hanging in Malcolm’s “dungeon”, he tells Malcolm that he’s responsible for everything that Oliver has become.  “Sorry about that,” says Malcolm, explaining that the reason Oliver can never beat him is that doesn’t know what he’s willing to sacrifice to win the fight.  That word gets used a lot in this episode, at least 7 times that I can recall, and, of course, there are lots of sacrifices made by lots of characters.  We leap back to the island, just as Fyers is about to shoot down the plane.  Oliver cuts the ropes with the knife that the now-dead Yao Fei gave him, leaps up and stabs the missile operator.  So much for Oliver not being a capable fighter.  Fyers launches the missile, but while Slade fights off Fyers’ men, Oliver and Shado jump on the launcher and try to turn the missile around.  Shado, who seems to have a lot of technical knowledge for a lawyer, gets thrown from the launcher, leaving Oliver to redirect the missile.  It falls on Fyers’ camp, killing just about everyone in it.  Funny how nobody on the plane seems to have ever noticed they were being fired upon, nor did they see the giant explosion when the missile hit the ground again.  They never reported any of it because nobody ever came to the island to check it out, Oliver was stranded for years afterwards.  We’re supposed to assume that Slade and Shado were killed in the blast, but of course, they survived, although were injured.  Fyers grabs Shado and tells Oliver he doesn’t have the guts, to do what it takes to save her.  Oliver puts an arrow in Fyers’ chest.  I guess he was wrong!  Back in Starling City, Oliver tries to escape but is cornered by a guard.  Diggle comes in to save the day, saying he bugged Oliver’s shoe.  Back at the lair, Oliver calls Detective Lance and tells him about the bomb in the Glades.  Lance tells his superiors that he’s had contact with the Hood for a while and gets suspended.  Apparently, nobody takes the threat seriously until Moira calls a press conference and admits that she’s been a part of the conspiracy and that everyone had better get out of the Glades because the bomb is going to go off soon.  Tommy meets up with his father and is told about the Undertaking.  Tommy thinks his father is crazy.  Big surprise there.  Felicity figures out where the bomb has to be, but since Oliver and Diggle have to hunt down Malcolm, they call on Detective Lance to go defuse the bomb with Felicity’s help.  There is a wonderful scene where he calls Laurel and tells her that he’s not going to make it out of this, I actually started to think that he was going to die, even though plot-wise, losing their only “in” with the police department makes no sense.  I’m glad he didn’t die, I really like Paul Blackthorne’s acting.  I will say that the earthquake devices weren’t that impressive, as I was looking at them, all I could think of was “knock it over and it’s harmless”.  As the people in the Glades run for safety, Thea races to rescue Roy, because apparently she thinks he’s too deaf or stupid to figure it out when the police on megaphones start telling everyone to evacuate.  Together, they steal a truck, but as they are making good their escape, someone stops them and demands that Roy help rescue a bus-load of people.  He tells Thea to go on without him.  Oliver and Diggle fight Malcolm, but he’s kicking their asses.  Eventually, Oliver decides to jam an arrow through his own chest and into Malcolm, saying that he’s finally realized what he’s willing to sacrifice to win.  It was kind of stupid because he could have easily stabbed Malcolm without impaling himself.  Self-sacrifice for the sake of self-sacrifice isn’t all that impressive.  However, Oliver realizes that there is a second bomb and that Detective Lance has only defused one of them and time is running out.  Laurel is being an idiot and hanging around her legal office in the Glades.  She tries to get out but is buried under a pile of rubble.  Oliver races to save her but Tommy gets there first, setting her free but getting a piece of rebar through his chest for his trouble.  Oliver finally arrives and finds Tommy dying.  He apologizes for everything he’s done wrong and Tommy keels over.  Okay, it was a great episode, don’t get me wrong, but I think that some of my guesses would have been better than what actually happened.  The reason I didn’t pick Tommy as a potential corpse is because his role in the story was essentially done.  His father was in custody, the company was kaput, his relationship with Laurel was over, there was really no reason to keep him around anymore.  Therefore, any real emotional impact to losing the character was going to be minimal.  I suppose it would have been the same if they had killed Walter, he was already walking off the show, I just felt that there would have been more impact to the death of a character who was blameless and innocent and Tommy really was neither.   I will say that we’ve not seen the fate of either Roy or Thea, although we know Roy got signed as a series regular for next season, along with Felicity Smoak, so we know they’re safe.  I’m still convinced it should have been Thea who died, it would have driven not only Oliver but Roy to fight crime in the city a lot more than Tommy’s death could.  Tommy and Walter should have been written out of the show, but I suppose that if we want to drive Laurel toward her eventual destiny as Black Canary, the death of Tommy could fulfill that role.  I guess we’ll have to see where it all ends up when the next season of Arrow starts in October.

Defiance #1×06 – “Brothers In Arms” – Nolan meets up with an old military buddy, Eddie, who is tracking down a crazed Castithan genius, Pol Madis.  Madis was responsible for designing explosive devices that killed many people in the war, including half of Nolan and Eddie’s squadron, and Eddie wants to bring him to justice.  Or does he?  The second they started talking about bringing him to the Earth Republic, I knew they wanted him alive so they could exploit his skills.  Come on, all of these shows have an evil government entity that exists only to screw people over.  Why none of the characters aren’t painfully aware of it, I’ll never know.  Nolan puts Madis in jail and he takes Eddie down to the bar/whorehouse where they meet up with Kenya.  Eddie says he doesn’t want to take Nolan’s girl, but Kenya says nonsense and drags Eddie to a room, but has second thoughts and gives him a threesome instead, on the house.  Alright, this whole relationship thing is really getting on my nerves.  Maybe it’s my inherently conservative values, but the whole “she loves him but she wants to keep screwing other guys” thing really bugs me.  I don’t care if it is her job, I don’t care if it is something she loves to do, if you meet someone that you want to be with, as is the clear case with Nolan and Kenya, you don’t keep rubbing it in their face, which is exactly what she does constantly.  Nolan goes to Amanda and tries to talk her into giving Madis to Eddie, but Amanda has already called the sleazy Earth Republic and is going to turn Madis over to them.  In walks Connor Lang, an old “friend” of Amanda’s, now a high muckety-muck with the Republic and makes some vague threats to her, but she demands that the only way he’s getting Madis is if Defiance gets an irrevocable right to a mag-lev train.  He never agrees one way or the other.  Irina and Tommy flirt a little more, which means Tommy tries to get Irina into bed and she ignores him.  I know she’s not human, but what a bitch!  Meanwhile, Madis gets a “present” that helps him escape from his cell.  Seriously, the Defiance jail is so ridiculously insecure, I’m surprised the locks on the cells work.  They cell is so small though, I have no idea how Madis survived the explosion, there’s really nowhere to hide.  Madis takes off to Datak Tarr’s house and uses a bit of his technological prowess to “encourage” his cooperation. but Datak hints to Nolan that something is up and they get followed.  After re-capturing Madis, it’s revealed that the Earth Republic wants him alive so he can continue his destructive work, although Madis would much rather go to the Votanis Collective in Brazil where he’ll get a better shake.  Instead, Nolan puts a bullet in his head to keep his research from going to anyone else, just as the Earth Republic guys show up.  They claim that Nolan is a murderer, but let’s be honest, Madis was an escaping prisoner, a murder charge would never stick.  At best, Nolan would just disappear into the bowels of the Earth Republic, he does have a quarter million dollar bounty on his head after all, but Eddie takes the fall for it and heads off to the Vegas prison with the Earth Republic goons.  Sorry, but Defiance doesn’t have a good record of criminals they send to Vegas actually getting there.  This isn’t going to be any different as it’s revealed that he’s got the same kind of explosive that released Madis hidden in his boot.  What is it with the authorities that they can’t search prisoners well?  We also see more of the McCawley saga, former-mayor Nicky and her creepy henchman Mr. Birch meet up with Quentin while he’s reading the book they found hidden in Luke’s room.  He’s been deciphering the glyphs, but isn’t it a bit dangerous to be doing in the open?  After all, they know that Luke was killed because he knew about the secret room in the mines, but the room isn’t that secret as Nicky reveals she’s been there and knows all about the glyphs.  How is that, if I remember right, Rafe and Quentin only found the chamber a couple of episodes ago!  Rafe wants Quentin to get rid of the book and the “key”, but Quentin refuses.  After all, isn’t that the secret to finding out about Luke’s death?  Isn’t that the whole reason the Volge attacked in the first episode?  Destroying it seems a bit silly.  Later, though, Mr. Birch breaks into the McCawley house and he ransacks Quentin’s room, looking for the “key”, only to be surprised by Quentin’s unexpected return.  Quentin has apparently been seeing or hearing his dead brother and in the ensuing battle, murders Mr. Birch.  No, I don’t mean accidentally kills, I mean he chokes the life out of him at the direction of his “vision” of Luke.  How is this going to affect Nicky’s search for these secrets?  She doesn’t seem to be the kind of person who can get things done on her own.  Finally, Nolan meets up with Kenya, who dumps him because he’s “not her type”.  Funny, her type seems to be anyone with a dick.  She is right though, she can’t really dump him because that implies they’re officially together, something that’s just not true.  Someone sends Amanda flowers too but we’re not sure who.  And the kicker, we see Datak Tarr going to Doctor Yewll to get Madis’ little “present” removed, he rolls over uncomfortably while she holds what looks like a big enema tube.  Can’t say I feel too sorry for him.  So this raises a couple of questions.  First, we’ve never really thought of Datak Tarr as a loyal, caring Defiance citizen, but apparently, that’s how he thinks of himself.  We know that he’s been giving money to the Voltanis Collective, but I suspect Madis is correct, he does it out of guilt, not because he really supports them.  He’s got a good thing going in Defiance.  Secondly, we don’t know if Quentin is crazy or what, but I suspect he’s not.  I think that the “key” is a piece of alien technology that is affecting his mind and probably did the same to Luke before him.  I wish they’d get deeper into this mystery, the symbols in the mine are supposed to have been there for a long time, probably since at least the early 1800s, it has to have some deeper meaning, perhaps it holds the secret of the entire Voltan “invasion”.  And lastly for this week, what’s going on with Doc Yewll?  Madis said he was a fan of her work during the Pale Wars, so clearly she’s not all happiness and light like we’ve been led to believe.  There’s something dark lurking in her past, I wonder what it is?  This is one of the best episodes of Defiance to date and although it’s taking a week off, I’ll be back to keep watching.

Thumbs DownDoctor Who #7×13 – “The Name of the Doctor” – Before I get going on this review of the season finale, I just realized that this last group of episodes with Clara reminds me a lot of season 5 of Fringe.  It’s just shit.  I can’t help but remain convinced of this after seeing the opening to this episode where Clara is revealed to only exist to save the Doctor.  Granted, it was fantastic seeing all of the former Doctors wandering around, but seriously?  I know that so much of this is just set-up for the 50th anniversary celebration near the end of the year but it left me shaking my head.  We start off with a psychic meeting between Vastra, Jenny, Strax, Clara and River Song, who are concerned by a death-row inmate’s knowledge of the Doctor’s most deeply held secret.  During the meeting, Whispermen arrive and murder Jenny in cold blood and take Vastra and Strax hostage.  The Doctor learns of this from Clara and faces his worst nightmare, the one place that a time traveler can never ever go, his own grave.  Well… why not?  It’s not explained very well.  It’s not like a time paradox will occur, after all, we’ve seen episodes where the Doctor has run into his past or future selves, if that’s not bigger paradox material, I don’t know what is.  Of course, the Doctor goes off to Trenzalore anyhow and encounters the Tardis, which is breaking down and has leaked it’s larger inside to it’s outside, making it huge.  Ghostly River Song shows up, supposedly only visible to Clara through their psychic link and everyone winds up inside the massive Tardis with the Great Intelligence, who vows to step into the temporal rift, which is all that’s left of the Doctor after he dies, and utterly destroy everything the Doctor has ever done or will ever do, at the cost of his own life.  He leaps through the rift, followed by Clara, who realizes she has no reason to exist other than to save the Doctor.  After saving the Doctor throughout history, she’s left dumped in his personal time vortex where she meets a Doctor she’s never seen before, played by John Hurt, who has supposedly done something so horrible that the Doctor has to keep it a secret forever and take it to his grave.  Um… okay.  Now there are a lot of problems with this episode, problems that really make no sense.  Take River Song, for instance.  We know that she and the Doctor have been moving through time in opposite directions.  We know that she died in the first meeting with the Doctor, the excellent (and frankly the only worthwhile appearance) in the Forest of the Dead.  I’m just wondering when and where River and the Doctor actually got married since it seems we’ve seen most of their time together and it’s never happened.  I’ve honestly hated the whole River/Doctor thing, I wish that she, like so many other Moffat creations, had never been brought back past their initial incarnation.  She was great in that first story, not really at any time since.  The weeping angels were amazing the first time out, horrible in every subsequent appearance.  So are we supposed to think that River Song, immediately after the end of The Angels Take Manhattan, went to the Library and died and that’s why she’s now a “ghost”?  While I suppose it’s nice enough to see the final goodbye of the character, when everyone involved can travel through time, why should there ever be a final goodbye, especially when we’re told that there’s a huge chunk of time that we’ve never, and will probably never, seen?  And then there’s Clara.  I suppose that it’s marginally clever that the reason the Doctor keeps running into her is because she’s scattered throughout his history, saving his life over and over and over, but that brings up some problems.  We see in this episode that she helps the first Doctor, William Hartnell, pick the correct Tardis before going on his first trek.  That’s sort of clever, I guess, but it makes me wonder why the 11th Doctor didn’t remember that happening?  She said that most Doctors didn’t even realize she was there, but we know that there are some instances where he absolutely did notice her, but I guess he didn’t bother realizing she was around until the last Christmas special?  It all came off far too Forrest Gump for me.  Now on to the final issue, John Hurt is revealed to be an incarnation of the Doctor, who was not actually the Doctor, but has broken “the promise” and done something so horrible that Matt Smith’s Doctor won’t recognize him.  So where does he fit in?  Is he an incarnation later on down the road or is he an incarnation from the past that people don’t count?  It doesn’t seem to make much sense that he’s a future Doctor-without-the-name since it’s widely regarded that the Doctor only gets 13 regenerations and then he dies, placing Hurt in the future means that there is only one regeneration we don’t know about left.  My personal feeling is that Hurt represents the time where the Doctor-without-the-name ended the Time War that fell between Paul McGann’s movie version and Christopher Eccleston’s rebooted TV version.  The 9th Doctor seemed genuinely haunted by what happened in the Time War, leading me to conclude that whatever happened there could not have been considered a “Doctor” moment.  If you look at what he’s wearing, it seems to be both the waistcoat of Paul McGann and the leather jacket of Christopher Eccleston, pointing to a mid-way point between the two. The other possibility that was raised is a point between the 12th and 13th regenerations, explained in the 1980s story “The Trial Of A Time Lord,” where the Master says the Doctor was known as the Valeyard, “an amalgamation of the darker side of the Doctor’s nature… your penultimate reincarnation… Somewhere between your twelfth and thirteenth regeneration.” While the Valeyard is mentioned in this episode again, I sort of have a problem with “predicting” a future story that won’t be told for several years, long after not only Matt Smith leaves the show, but whoever plays the next Doctor leaves as well.  It seems a bit dubious.  It also seems to me that this is a call back to a line several yars ago in “Beast Below” where the Doctor says if he lobotomizes the star whale, he’ll have to call himself something other than the Doctor, this really seems to resonate with the thought that the Doctor-without-the-name would be something in the past, not something in the future.   The Great Intelligence doesn’t seem to be such a fantastic villain, although the idea of going through history, totally destroying all the good work the Doctor has done and ultimately wiping him from history, he’s certainly a dick.  Yet he’s hardly the only villain who wants to wipe the Doctor from history in revenge for all of the plots the Doctor has foiled.  I was a bit critical of all of the Doctor Who baddies trying to lock the Doctor away in the Pandorica, this seems like a step down to me.  And is it just me, or are the WhisperMen just a take-off on the Gentlemen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer?  In the end, while it wasn’t a horrible episode, I think the past half-season has been mighty disappointing.  I don’t much care about all the secrets of the Doctor, I’d rather see him traveling through time, solving problems and having a good time.  That’s really the essence of what Doctor Who has always been and something I think we’ve gotten away from in recent years.  I don’t want to see a romance, I don’t want to see a mental breakdown, I want to have a fun ride.  Can we get back to that please?

Elementary #1×23-1×24 – “The Woman/Heroine” – It’s a two-hour season finale so expect this to be a very lengthy review!  As we found out last week, Moriarty is real and is obsessed with Sherlock, even though Sherlock is convinced that Moriarty is smarter and more clever than him.  At the end of the last episode, Sherlock and Watson found Irene Adler, Holmes’ former girlfriend who he thought was dead, but had instead been apparently held hostage for more than two years of psychological torture by Moriarty.  Well, they surmised it was Moriarty, the only person Irene ever saw was a man in a mask that called himself Mr. Stapleton.  Of course, Mr. Stapleton is a clear reference to a character in the original Holmes story “The Hound of the Baskervilles“.  We spend much of the first episode in flashbacks, experiencing how Irene and Sherlock first met and how their relationship progressed.  Frankly, I’m not all that impressed with past-Irene, she seems to be someone I would never like or respect, but considering what comes later, that’s not really surprising.  She seems to be a bit sociopathic, treating Sherlock not as an individual, but as an experience to be savored and cataloged.  Holmes, however, feels that what happened to her is his fault and he recuses himself from the present-day case to spend all of his time caring for Irene.  He sends Watson on to help Gregson and Bell solve the mystery though and, while she’s initially hesitant, ends up being just as good as Holmes at detecting clues and teasing out facts.  I love how smart she’s written, she’s not Holmes’ student, she’s every bit as good as he is.  Watson’s clues lead to Isaac Proctor, a man with a double life that even his family doesn’t know about.  Proctor escapes and is revealed to be an associate of Moriarty, who agrees to smuggle him out of the country if he’ll do one last job.  However, Proctor goes rogue and decides he’d rather kill Holmes so he invades the house and shoots Holmes in the shoulder and is just about to finish the job when he’s shot from behind by Irene… but it isn’t just Irene, she’s actually Moriarty!  She reveals that in England, Holmes had foiled several of her plots and that made her curious, so curious in fact that she wanted to get to know and study Holmes close up.  I guess this is why she was so “off” in Holmes’ past, she never really cared about him, she was just playing a role.  Clearly, Moriarty is psychotic, she’s unable to care about anyone but herself and while she’s a genius, I think her inability to understand or emulate emotions is one of her weaknesses.  She reminded me a little of Dexter Morgan in the first couple seasons of Dexter.  I want to pause here and reflect on just the first episode, if I may.  Irene turning out to be Moriarty was a real surprise, I hadn’t even considered it as a possibility, although in retrospect, I should have.  In the original Holmes novels, Irene Adler appeared once in “A Scandal in Bohemia“, although in other unofficial works, she is mentioned in passing as a possible love interest of Holmes.  Holmes mentions her as the only woman ever to beat him.  Given that they’ve already done some gender-bending in the show, with Watson being cast as a female, the idea of a female Moriarty is hardly unprecedented.  We move on to the last episode now, as Watson finds Holmes lying shot on the floor and he insists that she remove the bullet and refuses any pain killers, insisting that he is a former addict and he needs to keep his head clear.  He spends the rest of the episode in pain, with his arm in a sling.  He forces himself to focus on capturing Moriarty, although he isn’t very successful as she’s able to successfully carry out her plot to kill two people by blackmailing a former international criminal into committing the murders, thus earning herself a billion dollars.  Unable to deal with his failure, Sherlock apparently relapses and overdoses on heroin.  Moriarty, confused by the act, comes to see Sherlock in the hospital and admits, on hidden tape recorder, that she was responsible for not only the murders, but for driving Sherlock into his addiction in the first place.  However, Sherlock never really took drugs, it was just a ploy by himself and Watson to lure her into a confession.  She is arrested by Gregson and the evidence is turned over to the police.  In the end, Sherlock, to show his admiration for Watson, names a new species of bee after her.  He is emotionally inept so I guess that’s the best she can hope for, but it was great to see such a touching moment, especially since they don’t talk about his bees all that often these days.  So now Moriarty is in prison and Holmes is a bit disappointed, having foiled the mastermind genius in such short order and to be honest, I’m a bit disappointed as well.  Surely, she’ll escape from prison and return to being Sherlock’s foil in the future, but I wasn’t expecting to even find out who Moriarty was this season, much less have the cat let completely out of the bag.  Still, since Moriarty in the original books wasn’t that big a deal, maybe getting it out of the way right off the bat is a good thing.  Holmes fans were expecting Moriarty, Elementary gave them a damn good story about Moriarty, now they can get on to other things, with the expectation that sometime in the future, she can come back.  I don’t know how Holmes will deal with the emotional trauma of learning that the only woman he ever loved, not only didn’t love him back, but was just using him to further her criminal undertakings.  Is this something we’ll see him deal with next season or will it be dropped entirely?  I hope for the former. 

Orphan Black #1×01 – “Natural Selection” – The story begins with Sarah, a drug-dealing loser who has a boyfriend that beats her up and a daughter that she can’t take care of.  When she runs away from her boyfriend, she encounters another woman, Beth, on a train platform.  Beth looks exactly like her, but is apparently troubled as instants later, she throws herself in front of an oncoming train.  This is just the kind of lucky break Sarah was looking for, she steals the dead woman’s purse and decides to become Beth in order to clear out her bank account.  Unfortunately for Sarah, Beth’s life isn’t as easy as she had hoped, Beth is a cop with a drug problem who has just been involved in a civilian shooting and is facing an internal review board.  Initially, Sarah-turned-Beth has no idea what to do so she drinks soap which causes her to vomit and her hearing gets postponed.  Beth’s partner, Art, won’t let her go that easily though, he was protecting her when she shot the civilian and he cleaned up the drugs and put a cell phone in the victim’s hand and now  stands to lose just as much as she  does if his involvement comes to light.  He “borrows” all of the money that Sarah had stolen from Beth’s bank account and holds it hostage, pending her clearing the tribunal.  At the same time, Sarah’s ex-boyfriend, Vic, comes looking for her and she and her foster-brother Felix, who is the only one who knows what’s happened, use Beth’s death as a way to clean up the mess.  Felix goes to the morgue and identifies Beth as Sarah and a grieving Vic forces Felix to hold a memorial service for Sarah.  Unfortunately, in the confusion, somehow Sarah’s daughter Kira finds out that she’s supposed to be dead and she sends Felix to let Kira’s caretaker, Mrs. S., in on the “secret” that Sarah had faked her own death to get away from Vic.  Meanwhile, Beth’s boyfriend, Paul, comes home to find Sarah and she ends up jumping him to keep him from asking too many questions.  It turns out there’s more to Beth than there seems, she’s got birth certificates for multiple women, several cell phones and there’s more to this whole situation than meets the eye.  One of the woman she has a birth certificate for, Katja, starts texting her on the pink phone and eventually they meet, but it’s like looking in a mirror, they are more identical than identical twins.  As Katja starts to explain things, a sniper puts a bullet in her head.  Just as Sarah is escaping from the sniper, Katja’s phone rings and Sarah answers it, leaving us until the next episode to see what happens.  All right, first off, let’s be straight about something.  Sarah is a fucking slimeball.  She’s not just morally ambiguous, she’s immoral.  She’ll screw anyone over for a buck or for convenience.  She is a horrible absentee mother.  I cannot stand Sarah at all, but luckily, after she spends a little time in Beth’s skin, she starts to adopt a lot of Beth’s mannerisms.  Now Beth isn’t that great either, she’s a drug addict (although luckily, Sarah doesn’t adopt that habit) and she doesn’t seem to be the greatest girlfriend in the world, although certainly she’s better than Sarah.  The interesting bit and the hook of the series is that Sarah and Beth and at least a couple of others are identical clones.  Who cloned them, why they were cloned and what’s going to happen to them is the point of the storyline.  Clearly, Sarah has no idea she’s a clone at the beginning of the story, but it seems like all of the other identical women we’ll meet over the next couple of episodes are aware and she has to race to catch up.  This might be difficult considering Beth was supposed to know a lot about the clones and now Sarah, playing the part of Beth, can’t seem to not understand it all.  Even though, so far, both Sarah and Beth are less-than-likeable characters, Tatiana Maslany has been doing a  truly amazing job keeping all of the different personalities separate.

Orphan Black #1×02 – “Instinct” – We jump into the second episode with Sarah driving around with the dead Katja in the back seat.  She answers Katja’s phone as Beth and discovers that it’s yet another clone.  She tells them that Katja is dead and is told to dump the body, get a skin and hair sample and retrieve her briefcase which has information that the clones need.  She buries Katja in a shallow grave, hoses all the blood out of her car and goes back to Katja’s hotel where someone has tossed the room.  After putting the cost of the repairs on Katja’s credit card, she retrieves the briefcase which she had in the hotel safe.  Sarah, in her Beth guise, meets up with Art, who is none too happy with her.  He gives her the files on the Chen shooting and tells her to memorize her story so they can go back into the review board and get her back on active duty.  She takes them home that night for a cram session, then threatens the police psychologist, when she tries to restrict Beth’s return to duty, with prescribing too many drugs and the psychologist relents.  Beth goes into a second review board and aces it, almost certainly getting returned to active duty.  Sarah looks in the briefcase and finds files and blood samples for several other clones, including one that is local named Allison.  Sarah tracks her down and finds she’s a soccer mom.  When she  confronts Allison at a soccer game, Allison is understandably pissed off and insists they meet later in Allison’s basement.  Sarah brings Felix, who really hates suburbia, and meets with Allison and Cosima, yet another clone.  They’re none too happy that she broke the first rule of Clone Club, but end up accepting Felix into their little group.  So far, we know of five clones, Sarah, Beth, Katja, Allison and Cosima, but clearly there are more.  Someone is out to kill them all, but nobody knows where the clones came from, who is responsible, or who is after them.  Other than learning that there are a bunch of clones, we don’t really learn anything special in this episode, which is fine, we need to let Sarah settle into her new role as Beth, who has a very complicated life to deal with.

Orphan Black #1×03 – “Variation Under Nature” – There are reasons we don’t let idiots bury bodies, the police located the body of Katja within a couple of days of Sarah dumping her, but luckily it got chewed up by mining equipment so nobody notices that Katja looks just like Beth.  However, Sarah is an inept cop and Art tells her that she’s grounded until he can be sure she’s running at full capacity.  She’s never fired a gun before but Art wants to see her performance at the firing range so Allison gives her a quick training session, having been taught by the real Beth, and Sarah impresses Art enough to get back into his good graces.  Felix babysits Allison’s kids and teaches them how to crossdress.  It’s hard to imagine a more flamboyant gay character on TV right now.  Allison tells Sarah that she, Beth and Cosima teamed up for mutual protection and that she’s the one who gave Beth the $75k that Sarah, and later Art absconded with.  Sarah meets up with Cosima in a bar to give her the briefcase and learns that nobody knows who created the clones or why someone wants them dead, but it started in Europe about six months before.  They know of nearly a dozen clones, several now dead, but who knows how many there actually are.  Worried that fingerprints from Katja will match Beth/Sarah, she sneaks into the lab and erases the results.  Yeah, because nobody ever has backups of e-mail?  Sarah, as Beth, learns that there were motorcycle tracks at the scene of the shooting and this leads to a stolen motorcycle that may or may not belong to the killer.  She and Art go to check it out and are ambushed by the killer.  Sarah leaps to protect Art, but he is shot in the neck and Sarah chases after the sniper, only to get blindsided by yet another clone, this one from the Ukraine.  The new clone, who Sarah learns later is named Helena, thinks Sarah is really Beth and threatens to kill her, only to pause when Sarah tells her that she’s not Beth long enough for Sarah to plunge a piece of rebar into her side.  Helena drops her sacrificial knife and stumbles off.  Art is thankful that Beth saved his life and gives back her money.  We also find out that Helena’s body is covered in scars as she pulls the rebar out and patches her up.  As soon as I saw that, I was thinking about Silas, the albino monk character in The DaVinci Code and predicted some kind of religious fanaticism.  There were a lot of problems in this episode to be honest.  The idea that Sarah, even though it was dark, completely failed to notice the massive quarry next door to her body-dumping site is a bit ridiculous.  Worse, the idea that Helena rode a stolen motorcycle to her assassination spot, then parked it at her apartment for all to see, is absurd.  I find the idea that Beth was driven to suicide because of the stress she  encountered trying to protect the clones to be silly as well, after all, she’s a cop and cops are supposed to deal with stress every day.  There has to be some reason why she offed herself that we haven’t seen yet.  Please, come up with a better reason!

Orphan Black #1×04 – “Effects of External Conditions” – We start off at the point we left the last episode, with the assassin clone Helena performing a bit of surgery on herself, but we find it’s in a random family’s house and she’s discovered by a young boy.  She doesn’t harm him but she does leave a bloody mess in the bathroom.  Via Skype, Cosima, Sarah and Felix figure out that the knife retrieved by Sarah has special carvings on it.  Cosima suspects that the killer is a religious fanatic, something I said about the last episode, didn’t I?  Sarah as Beth and Art investigate the family home and the boy identifies the killer as female by pointing to Sarah.  He also gives her a paper toy she had created, covered in her blood.  This leads them to the shooter’s lair, which is filled with religious symbolism.  Meanwhile, the shooter sneaks into the police station, disguised as Beth, and re-arranges their crime board.  She also leaves some clues for Sarah, calls Paul and tells him to come pick her up, etc.  Paul is painfully slow, I must say.  He doesn’t arrive until Helena leaves and Sarah gets back, which seems like a couple of hours.  This causes a couple of events to occur.  First, Paul shows up and is confused that Beth doesn’t really want to go with him.  Honestly, just get rid of this guy, his entire purpose in the show seems to be to show up at random for sex.  The real Beth was going to break up with him anyhow, ditch the moron.  Secondly. the message that Helena left for Sarah was a video, recorded at her desk, that claimed that Beth had murdered Maggie Chen on purpose.  She starts the video, it’s absurdly loud and she never tries to pause it or turn down the volume, she just looks around like she doesn’t want anyone to hear.  Third, Helena tells Sarah where she is, in the apartment of Maggie Chen.  Sarah writes it down on a pad of paper, then leaves the pad sitting in the middle of her desk where Art can find and decipher it easily.  So anyhow, Sarah goes off to meet with Helena, who has been hanging out in Maggie Chen’s apartment cutting herself with a razor.  Of course, this is the same night that Sarah is supposed to be meeting with her daughter Kira, the only chance Mrs. S. is giving her.  Sarah could easily have just gone over there and seen her daughter, but instead has Felix recruit Allison to pretend to be her at the meeting, something that Kira sees through immediately.  Allison swears her to secrecy and promises to come see Kira the next day.  Wonder who might actually show up this time?  Anyhow, Sarah finds Helena in the apartment and it seems like Helena really wants Sarah to shoot her in the head, but when Art shows up and bangs on the door, Sarah lets Helena escape rather than let her partner find two of them in the room together.  Helena does tell Sarah that Beth’s shooting of Maggie Chen wasn’t an accident, Chen knew something about the clones and Beth killed her to protect the secret.  Helena, bleeding badly, collapses in an alley, right in front of a man who had apparently been waiting for her, he puts her into his van and drives away.  Sarah calls a meeting with the police chief and Art and resigns from the force.  Why?  We don’t know.  After all, Sarah had agreed to keep pretending to be Beth because they needed the resources of the police department.  Has this suddenly changed?  I liked the bit with Allison playing Sarah and having to learn to be less refined, I think Allison has a stick up her ass and she needed to learn how to relax.  The speech that Felix gave about Sarah risking her life to save the clones and their children and not deserving to lose her own child because of it was great and it clearly impacted Allison.  I think Allison really got attached to Kira in the short amount of time that they were together, mostly because we’re supposed to think that the clones can’t have children of their own, after all, Allison’s two kids are adopted and this marks Sarah as the special one of the bunch.  As I’ve already said, I think they need to jettison Paul, they haven’t proven him to be anything special or mysterious, he’s just a random fuck partner for Beth, I see him as just an excuse for a little raunchy action.  One problem that I have though is that the police department seems to be pretty incompetent.  Nobody has any clue that Art and Sarah’s assailant is female, but she sure left a lot of blood at the scene and it’s not that difficult to tell gender from a blood sample.  It sure isn’t going to take a week to get the results back, crime labs aren’t that slow today.  They should have known almost immediately what the gender, and in fact a lot of details, about the shooter from the pool of blood she left at the scene.  And seriously, did we really need to see Felix painting in the almost-buff?  Seriously?  And finally, while I called the whole religious cutting thing last episode, we got a very good look at Helena’s body this episode and they didn’t really plan it very well.  We see that she cuts herself with a razor blade but there’s no way she can make most of those cuts on her back that way.  They’re also not flagellation wounds like we saw in DaVinci Code.  I’m sure it was done for effect, but lots of people, myself included, want a bit of realism in our science fiction. 

Psych #7×12 – “Dead Air” – We start off with a flashback to 2009, where Shawn and Gus are on a radio show hosted by Crock Daniels, a radio personality that essentially makes fun of them.  Leap forward to the present where Shawn’s father is having a cookout for Shawn, Jules, Gus and Rachel and they turn on the radio to listen to Crock’s show.  Suddenly, they hear Crock getting shot to death on the air and they race to the radio station.  Gus and Shawn run into Miranda, the station’s owner, who is more upset about lost revenue than in Crock being shot on the air.  Now she needs someone to take over so Shawn volunteers and has perhaps the worst radio show of all time.  Miranda develops a thing for Gus though and she replaces Shawn with the “Player Named Gus” show.  In fact, Miranda spends most of the episode trying to hook up with Gus and Gus spends his time being true to Rachel.  Shawn and Gus interview the rest of the staff at the radio station and it’s suggested that Miranda lost a ton of money because her deal to sell the station to Clear Channel fell through and she didn’t have the funds to keep paying Crock’s exorbitant salary, but that turns out to be false, Miranda is a multi-millionaire who could easily afford it and Crock was the best investment she had made on the station.  When someone tries to kill Gus in the parking lot, Shawn realizes that there are common callers between Crock’s show and Gus’s show, maybe one of them did it.  They meet up with Laura, a crazed fan who was president of Crock’s fan club and has now developed a crush on Gus and think there’s a guy named Bob who is stalking Laura and killing off his competition.  They  try to lure out Bob while Jules stays with Laura, but Shawn comes to think that Laura, who is more than a little crazy, is actually Bob in disguise, he has her arrested and they all think things are back to normal.  Unfortunately for Gus, the real Bob comes to kill him and while he panics and eventually mans up by smashing a bottle of champagne over Bob’s head, giving Lassie a chance to tackle him, they finally catch the real killer.  Rachel and Gus talk and she reveals that she has to go back to England for 6 months because she’s only here on a tourist visa.  Once she’s gone, Gus talks to her and realizes she’s with Max’s father and that things between them won’t ever be the same.  It’s a sad ending but I don’t really find myself caring if Rachel ever comes back, a bit part of me hopes she never does.  I was initially pretty supportive of the relationship, after all, Gus usually dates psychos or has to deal with being a third wheel around Shawn and Jules, so I thought he deserved a bit of happiness of his own.  However, when she brought Max into the picture, I turned against her and she has been a genuine buzz-kill for the show in every episode she’s on.  Gus deserves better.  I’d be happier if he could be with Miranda, the sex-crazy millionaire radio station owner than with Rachel.  Still, it’s the interaction between Shawn and Gus that makes the show work so well, no matter what romantic relationship either of them are in, it can’t get in the way of the Shawn/Gus dynamic or it kills the show.

Warehouse 13 #4×14 – “The Sky’s the Limit” – Now that Artie is back, it’s clear that he’s not doing well.  We saw last episode that Steve has been spying for the Regents and they’re going to do something but we don’t know what.  Artie almost has a breakdown while trying to water Leena’s plants and tells Claudia and Steve to get the hell out of his sight, and oh yeah, go to England and find an artifact that is causing long-shot horses to win races while putting their jockeys into the hospital.  Pete and Myka are sent off to Vegas to investigate the deaths of several people who apparently fell from a great height.  Neither case was all that interesting, I’m afraid.  Claudia and Steve stumble their way around England, flashing badges that mean nothing whatsoever and are somewhat surprised when nobody cares.  The only link between the horses is that they had all gotten medical attention for abusive treatment just before their races.  Now you’d think that the vet would have reported her suspicions to someone, but apparently not.  It was a horse-lover who was using an artifact on the horses to get back at the jockeys for their treatment, but he gave up far too easily.  Didn’t he know what he was doing or the potential ramifications of his actions?  He put people in the hospital in critical condition for crying out loud!  Back in Las Vegas though, Pete and Myka were having a moderately more interesting case.  They were trying to find an artifact that allowed levitation and this led them to Monty the Magnificent who claims he can levitate people without using magic.  Monty is an old-school Vegas magician who is on his way out when he comes up with this new trick.  Another magician, the seriously dickish Val Preston, tries to steal his secret and ends up dead.  Good riddance, he was a complete jerk anyhow.  However, it seems like there’s a downside to this gimmick, anyone who is levitated once will, under the right conditions, simply take to the skies again and will end up street pizza.  Pete ends up taking a flight and then, when Monty and his granddaughter take over a performance that was supposed to feature the now-dead Preston, Pete starts heading for the sky for the second and last time.  Monty’s granddaughter has a gold medallion belonging to Saint Cupertino which lets her do the levitating, Monty is totally in the dark, he thinks it’s really magic, but Pete convinces her that she’s killing people and she lets Myka bag the medallion.  Monty is devastated, he’s lived his entire professional life trying to find real magic so they take him to the Warehouse and show him real magic.  I guess we’re supposed to think he pocketed an artifact on the way out, but come on, they can’t be *THAT* lax on their security, can they?  Well, maybe they can, after all, they pretty much let anyone into the Warehouse these days.  The Regents hired someone to take over Leena’s boarding house and keep an eye on Artie.  Abigail Cho is actually a psychologist who wants to help Artie get over the trauma of his murder of Leena, but he immediately gets upset and she starts suggesting the use of artifacts to control his anger.  She should get the boot at that point, I’d never pay a psychiatrist who wants to drug a client into oblivion rather than solve the underlying problem and that’s essentially what she wants to do, just with “artifact drugs”.  However, Artie finally relents and agrees to talk to her, which I suppose is a good  thing.  Finally, we see the return of Charlotte Duprix, who we last saw in the episode “The Living and the Dead” where she was revealed to be the wife of Count St. Germain, several hundred years out of time.  She scopes out the Warehouse, saying she has a plan for getting inside, then we see her again in England, following Claudia and Steve around.  She takes a picture of Claudia and sends it to someone, saying “this is your target”.  There was an underlying message in this episode that artifacts, no matter how noble the intentions of the user, are dangerous.  The boy who was trying to stop horse abuse ended up harming the riders.  Rose, the granddaughter of Monty the Magnificent, only wanted to make her grandfather happy but ended up killing people.  Even Abigail, in wanting to medicate Artie with an artifact, ran the risk of causing additional harm.  Artifacts are dangerous, no matter how they are used, Abigail called it when she said that Artie had a tremendously difficult job keeping track of the Warehouse.  With great power comes great responsibility and all that. 

Best of the Week:  It’s going to go to Arrow.  I had two choices this week, Arrow and Elementary, but in the end, I thought Elementary dropped the ball when it resolved the Moriarty storyline too quickly.  Arrow wasn’t perfect, but I think it posed enough questions to keep me looking forward to next season so it’s going to get the nod.

Worst of the Week:  The worst for the week has to go to Doctor Who, which has struggled through this half-series with a genuinely uninspired “impossible girl” storyline.  The idea that Clara is everywhere in the Doctor’s past, protecting and saving him, but he just never noticed it seems a bit absurd and where the Great Intelligence had a lot of potential, I found it squandered in this cheap suicide plot.  About the only saving grace was the revelation of John Hurt as a Doctor-not-the-Doctor, at least it’s something interesting to think about, I just hope that when the series returns next year (ignoring the 50th anniversary stuff for the moment), I’m not terribly disappointed by how it’s resolved.

Other Stuff I Watched:  Mythbusters #11×03, The Nerdist #2×06

Okay, I wanted to get this off my chest… I’m really starting to hate The Nerdist.  I’ve never been a big fan of Chris Hardwick, he strikes me as a geeky used car salesman, but at least when the show was a half-hour long, it was fun, they’d have people on and talk for a couple of minutes and that was it.  Now, it’s like watching a geek version of the Tonight Show.  Seriously, it’s a talk show, they put people on I don’t care about, they play a stupid trivia game, they have on a truly awful comedian and they do some really stupid crap with Matt and Jonah.  It’s just not funny anymore, it’s annoying.

TV Thursday – 5/16/13

TV Thursday Header

 

This week on TV Thursday, we bid adieu to a number of programs that have shown their season finales.  Castle and Person of Interest both leave our weekly countdown this week and Arrow, Elementary and Doctor Who go away next week.  Luckily, all of these shows have been renewed for another season.  Fair warning though, because this is the end, or nearly the end, of the season for a lot of these shows, some of my reviews won’t only contain reviews, but a lot of speculation on major mysteries and hypotheses for next season!  You have been warned.

Arrow #1×22 – “Darkness on the Edge of Town” – Stephen Amell said he was worried that this penultimate episode felt so much like a season finale that he was afraid nobody would tune in again next week.  As we found out last week, the earthquake device that Malcolm Merlyn had been developing was being delivered to Starling City.  Oliver found out that his mother was involved with The Undertaking and it was all coming down to the wire.  Now that Walter was home, things should be better in the Queen household, right?  Not so much.  Oliver really has no idea how to get the information he needs, going after Merlyn won’t work, he’s far too much of a badass (sorry, John Barrowman just isn’t a badass) and the last time the Hood confronted his mother, he ended up taking a bullet.  He and Diggle work out a plan whereby the “Hood” kidnaps both Moira and Oliver and force her confession when Diggle smacks the crap out of Oliver.  It works wonderfully and she lays out The Undertaking in detail, claiming that her involvement was only to protect her company and her family.  She gets home just in time for Walter to give her divorce papers.  Roy tells Thea why he wants to find the Hood, he wants to be his sidekick and learn how to kick ass with the best, to keep from failing to protect those he loves again.  Well, Speedy is supposed to be Green Arrow’s partner, it’s nice to see everything come around again.  Oliver and Felicity get into Merlyn Global so she can hack his computer, but she’s not as good as she thinks and leaves clues that the police find.  Oliver essentially tells Tommy to grow a pair, but he and Laurel end up in bed together, leaving Tommy with a broken heart again.  Come on, Tommy really is a complete putz throughout the season, he’s afraid to actually do anything, he ends up a complete poppa’s boy.  That leaves me wondering how his comics connection works into this.  In the New 52 line, Tommy is introduced in the Arrow comic as Oliver’s best friend, but was involved in a hostage crisis and presumed dead.  He shows up again in Batman Incorporated #4, working for Talia al Ghul, daughter of Batman rogue Ras al Ghul.  Now while we haven’t seen Ras al Ghul in Arrow yet, I suspect that something along these lines will happen and he’ll end up teaming up with a major villain next season.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  At the end of the episode, Oliver goes after Malcolm Merlyn, but gets his ass handed to him, his bow broken and Malcolm learns his identity.  I find it a bit bizarre that Malcolm stares down at Oliver’s unconscious body and cries “Nooooo!” since why should it matter to him?  He’s already proven he’s willing to take out all of his best friends, he had Oliver’s father killed, he’s willing to murder thousands of people in cold blood in the Glades, what’s one more?  Now I will say that Oliver’s realization that ending The Undertaking was what his father really intended him to do was interesting, after all, it’s a bit more epic than just hunting people down in a book, but assuming that he manages that in the real season finale, what then?  Clearly he won’t stop being the Hood, as he suggested here, there has to be something bigger that will keep him going, we just don’t know what yet.  In a flashback to the island, we learn that Fyers has intended to use Yao Fei as a patsy the whole time.  They are going to use their missile launcher to take out a commercial airliner flying into China, with the goal of disrupting air travel ala 9/11 and they need a revolutionary to hang the attack on, that being Yao Fei.  Yes, they do contact a commercial jet, owned by Ferris Air, as their first target.  Carol Ferris, as people may remember, is the long-time girlfriend of Hal Jordan, the first human Green Lantern, as well as the occasional superhero known as Star Sapphire.  Fyers starts shooting people to convince Yao Fei to dress up in a costume and make a video admission of guilt, after which, he puts a bullet in Yao Fei’s head.  That, I will admit, was surprising, I thought certain that Yao Fei would make an appearance in the modern world, but I guess not.  Hopefully they will keep Shado around.  Her comic origins really are no help here, in the comics, she’s a Japanese assassin working for the Yakuza.  There is a point where Green Arrow and Shado get “involved” and together, they have a son named Robert.  In the TV series, she’s a Chinese lawyer and weapons expert and daughter of a Chinese revolutionary.  I’m not really counting on a kid here.  So where does this leave us?  If, as I assume, Oliver stops The Undertaking next episode and therefore stops being the Hood, what’s going to bring him back.  The obvious answer is personal tragedy and our top two candidates are Thea and Moira.  Moira would be the obvious choice, but she’s already guilty and flawed, killing her would almost seem like justice and maybe that’s too simple a fate for her.  It could be Thea though.  The actress has made numerous tweets saying goodbye to the Vancouver sunset and previews for next week show her racing into the Glades to warn Roy of danger.  She also said in an interview to Zap2it that Roy will have a bit of a dark edge to him at the beginning of the next season, could that be because she dies?  Of course, I was also thinking that Walter might die, he’s the only one truly blameless in all of this and he’s almost freed himself of the corruption of the Queen family, what if he gets popped on the way out?  That would be sad on just about every level I can imagine.  Next, we know that there is a faceless female behind Fyers’ plan but we don’t know who it might be.  Some have suggested Moira but that makes no sense whatsoever, if it was her, she’d have known Oliver’s whereabouts the whole time and that doesn’t seem to be the case.  No, I think we have to look deeper into the comics mythology to a little-known group called the League of Assassins and their enigmatic leader, Lady Shiva.  I think this is likely because the storyline behind Lady Shiva rings very familiar with some of the story in Arrow, especially the death of Sara and the long-term disappearance of Laurel’s mother.  We’ll see where this goes as well and look forward to the real finale next week. 

Thumbs UpCastle #5×24 – “Watershed” – In a case of TV definitely imitating reality, the case this week deals with a woman found dead in a seedy hotel’s rooftop water tank.  In reality, 21-year old Elisa Lam was found dead in the water tank of the cheap Los Angeles Cecil Hotel in late January.  Here, a university student, Erika Albrook, who was living in the hotel under the name Crystal Skye.  She dressed and acted like a prostitute, to the point of playing loud sex soundtracks, but in reality, she was a computer student trying to discover how her best friend died by hacking into the law firm she suspects is covering up the incident.  Unfortunately for her, someone with money and power doesn’t like it and she ends up dead, but she managed to hide her laptop and thus the evidence before she gets whacked.  However, she had help, a former employee of the law firm who ended up dead a day before our killer took out Erika.  Now we have two murders to solve and their prime suspect, a wealthy and influential politician who has an ironclad alibi.  Of course, as Beckett realizes, he’d never get his hands dirty, he’d hire someone to do it for him but who?  His brother, the black sheep of the family, of course!  In order to gain respectability, the younger brother agreed to clean up the mess of his famous sibling, who had crashed a car and killed Erika’s friend, then made it look like she had been driving alone.  Given a choice between cooperating with the police and spending the rest of his life in prison, our black sheep brother confesses and implicates the mastermind behind the whole thing.  It wasn’t a very difficult case to be sure but this episode wasn’t about the murder.  As I said last week, Beckett had been recommended for a high level job with the Justice Department and we started this episode with her formal interview.  She didn’t tell anyone about it, not only because she doesn’t think she’ll get the job, but because she’s afraid to admit to herself what might happen with her relationship with Castle if she does move  to Washington D.C.  I still think it’s kind of an absurd fear, Castle can and certainly will move to Washington D.C. to be with her, the idea that there was ever even the slightest amount of doubt was silly.  However, when Castle finds out, he gets upset with her for keeping such a monumental moment in her life a secret from him.  She does open up to Laney about it and I suspect that even Laney thought she was over-reacting.  Ryan finally tells Esposito that Jenny is pregnant, even though the audience knew a couple of episodes ago.  I’m really not sure why he wouldn’t have been at work the next day bragging about it, was there a reason this was a secret?  It doesn’t make any sense.  The fact is, everyone tells Beckett to take the job and stop worrying about Castle, yet she spends all of her time afraid of what will happen when he finds out.  At the end of the episode, after having not spoken all day, they meet at the same playground where so many firsts have happened in their relationship and Castle, in a moment that displays Nathan Fillion’s great acting ability, asks her to marry him.  Whatever happens in their lives, he wants to be with her.  It was a wonderful moment and the fact that it was just Castle, a ring and an empty park made it all the more meaningful.  Come on, this is Castle here, he’d make into a giant production if he could, but instead, it’s about as raw as you can get.  Now the question is, will Beckett say yes?  Of course she will, but when?  And what about the job?  It’s what she wants most, can she turn it down?  But there are other things to consider.  If she doesn’t turn it down, she and Castle can still be together but what about the rest of the cast?  No more Ryan?  No more Esposito?  No more Lanie?  That’s a hard possibility to swallow.  Therefore, it seems clear that the job will fall through in some way, possibly related to her mother’s murder, but that seems a bit cheap too.  They’re right, she is better than just a homicide detective, she deserves to move up and she deserves to have Castle (not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, I can see him getting really annoying in the long run).  I guess we have to wait until September to find out.

Continuum #2×04 – “Second Skin” –  Now that we’re into the second season, Kiera is starting to realize that getting back home, to a time that she recognizes, may be a much more remote possibility than she thought.  When Alec detects a signal from a second bodysuit, Kiera discovers that one of her friends from the future, Elena, was thrown back in time farther than she was and has been living in the “present” since 1975.  Elena is in the hospital, old and her memory is failing, but as soon as she sees Kiera, all of that goes away and she’s as intelligent and animated as she ever was.  This gave her a perspective on what life might be for her if she just stayed in the present.  Of course, Liber8 is after Elena’s old suit.  Elena’s son had sold the unused suit at a garage sale to a couple of cosplaying geeks and when Rex, the nerdy dry cleaner discovers it’s abilities, he sees it as a means to be more valuable to his adoring girlfriend who really doesn’t seem to keep him to be any more impressive than he is.  Travis has come up with a new tactic, one that seems far too intelligent for him.  He’s blowing up gasoline tanker trucks and  using social media to gather a following.  By attacking industries that are already widely hated, he and Garza are making Liber8, at least his side of Liber8, look good, something that disturbs Kiera and Carlos.  Kiera has Elena activate the suit so they can track it, but this brings Liber8 out of the woodwork too and they all fight over the suit with Rex in the middle.  Rex is injured in a fight with Travis and Kiera shows up to get the suit back.  Rex tells his girlfriend that he wanted the suit because he wanted to be a hero to her.  She tells him that he doesn’t need a suit for that.  Elena asks Kiera to bring her partner next time she comes to see her, but when Kiera returns with Carlos, Elena had passed away, after being visited by all of her extended family.  Kiera cries on Carlos’ shoulder and mourns the loss of her friend.  Also during this episode, Alec meets up with Emily, who we saw briefly in the previous episode and they agree to go on a date.  This can be a good thing or a bad thing, naturally.  Alec certainly does need more of a social life, Kiera rides him pretty hard, acting like he has to be as dedicated to her cause as she is, but in reality, he’s just an 18 year old kid, he might be a super-genius but he also wants to have a life beyond Kiera’s mission.  Emily could either be exactly what she seems or she could be a trap, she’s being set up to look like both.  The whole time travel thing continues to get more and more confusing.  Apparently, lots of people in the execution chamber got sent back in time, but they all got sent back to different times.  We’ve now seen Elena, who was sent back 35 years farther, we know that Jason was sent back to a time before Kiera and Liber8 arrived, how many other people are we going to discover went back in the explosion?  Things are just  getting more and more complicated for Kiera anyhow, her story about Section 6 is falling apart, Carlos doubts her, Agent Gardiner doubts her, probably Inspector Dillon doubts her, Alec is getting a life and doesn’t feel like being her full-time errand boy, there has to be a time when she opens up to someone, most likely Carlos, but where does that leave her?  Next episode, she’s supposed to have a mental breakdown, not that I blame her, maybe that’s a good time to spill the beans to Carlos. 

Defiance #1×05 – “The Serpent’s Egg” – Wow, I guess there is a world outside of Defiance!  We just don’t see it very often.  After the events of the last episode, Nolan and Amanda are transporting Rynn to the Las Vegas Prison where she’ll serve 2 years for her crimes.  Didn’t she kill a bunch of people?  Seems like a light sentence.  Along for the ride is Earth Republic Ambassador Olfin Tennety who has been trying to convince Amanda to sign on with the Republic.  Remember last episode, Amanda was less than enthusiastic to take Republic money and allow a mag-train into town?  Considering how slimy Olfin is, I don’t blame Amanda for trying to duck her e-mails.  Since this show is a post-apocalyptic western, it’s not really surprising that they were essentially traveling in a stagecoach.  I’m really not sure what the whole polygamous thing was all about, nor the discussion of Amanda wanting to be part of a group marriage.  It all seemed out of place, like the show was saying “oooh, we’re so advanced now!”  Whatever.  Anyhow, the traveling preacher pulls a gun and with some outside help, hijacks the coach.  The reverend wants the money that’s secretly being transported on the coach and kidnaps Olfin to get it.  Olfin turns out to be a really cold bitch who doesn’t care about anyone, she just wants money and power.  Nolan and Amanda kill the hijackers and arrest Olfin for planning on ripping off  the Republic and harming their interests.  Once they get back to Defiance, they put her back on the next transport out for trial, but don’t know that she’s almost immediately released by her underlings.  In the b-story, Irisa, who has stayed behind in Defiance, meets up with a Castithan that she is convinced had kidnapped and tortured her in her youth.  In a flashback we see that Nolan had rescued her from a Castithan cult and that’s how he came to adopt her.  According to the cult, Irisa is the chosen one, the destroyer of worlds, she is the gatekeeper… ahem.  Tommy spends a little while  trying to convince her not to kill the Castithan, but once he finally admits that he not only did all the things she said, but that he relished it and welcomed being killed by her as her final test, he starts to enjoy the idea of taking this idiot’s hide off.  In the end, they just let him go because killing him would be what he wanted, his biggest failure comes from not getting his way.  They get back to the lawkeeper station and Tommy admits he’s fallen in love with Irisa and they end up having violent sex on the floor.  Now this episode had a couple of problems.  Olfin was really pretty undeveloped as a villain, although it was pretty obvious from the beginning that if she had a mustache, she’d be twirling it.  Way too Snively Whiplash for my tastes.  Everything she did was clearly set up to show how evil she was, the audience doesn’t need to be whacked over the head with it that many times.  I suppose it was good that Tommy finally got to make the moves on Irisa, he’s been giving her the puppy dog eyes ever since she showed up in Defiance.  Of course, he’s still not a very well fleshed out character, most everyone on the show fits into that category, although we are starting to get some solid backstory with each and every episode now so I’m not complaining too much.  I guess we will be finding out more because Syfy has ordered another 13 episodes for 2014.  I just want to see where this is all going, so far we have a bunch of plotlines and none of them are well defined.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed that by the end of the first season, we might have a good idea.

Thumbs DownDoctor Who #7×12 – “Nightmare in Silver” – I’ve been very much on record saying I don’t like the Daleks and the Cybermen, but that’s not quite the case.  I loved them when they were introduced in the 60s and 70s, but let’s be honest, no matter what you do to them, they’re just not that scary or even interesting today.  Yet, at least once per series, they feel like they have to trot out one of a handful of classic Doctor Who baddies for nostalgic purposes.  I really, really wish they’d stop.  This episode demonstrates exactly why.  It was written by Neil Gaiman, so I expected better but it just… sucked.  The Doctor, Clara and the two obnoxious kids show up at the biggest amusement park in the universe, they just arrive a decade or so after it’s closed down.  You’ve got the Doctor waving around his “golden ticket” ala Willy Wonka, wanting to ride all the rides that just don’t work anymore.  It’s not like they’ve got a time machine and couldn’t just go back in time 30 years to when everything worked or anything.  Wait a minute…  Anyhow, there are a couple of people left in this junk heap, Webley, the curator of the old museum, Porridge, played by Warwick Davis, his trusty assistant, and a military platoon who are being punished for failing in their last mission.  Webley takes them into the museum and shows them his collection of de-activated Cybermen, one of which he has set up to play chess.  He challenges them to explain how an empty Cyber suit could do that, but he’s got Porridge stuffed under his chair playing by wire.  Come on, this is the biggest amusement park in the universe and the best they can do is a dwarf pulling the strings?  Heck, I can do that with a smartphone and a couple of parts from Radio Shack.  The Doctor is paranoid that the Cybermen might come back but becomes interested in a bunch of little cybernetic worms he finds crawling around so he leaves the kids and goes off on a bug hunt.  The bugs were, of course, an evolved form of the Cyberman cybermat and when they attack people, as they do to Webley, they inject some nanotech that makes the person look like a Borg.  Let’s face it, Gaiman watched the TNG episode “Best of Both Worlds” when he was writing this episode.  Also, the Cybermen can overcome any conceivable danger by simply “upgrading”.  This is just dumb, as we will see later on.  The cybermites end up taking over the Doctor’s body, but since his mind is so remarkable, he can maintain some control and we’re forced to see several ridiculous Golum-like scenes with the Doctor talking to himself.  The Doctor and the Cyber-planner in his head agree to play chess to determine their fate.  If the Doctor wins, the children go free.  If the Cyber-planner wins, they get the Doctor’s brain.  Meanwhile, the Doctor had placed Clara in charge of the military platoon, mostly to keep the commander from blowing up the planet.  They all retreat to Natty Longshoe’s Comical Castle in the middle of the park with their one gun and five electrical weapons to await the inevitable.   You know, it’s really a shame they don’t have a machine that’s capable of going anywhere in time and space so they could get more weapons, right?  Something like a… I don’t know… a Tardis?  You’d think that for a people who can blow up an entire galaxy (!), they could just go get a garrison of troops with super-weapons?  Even without the Tardis, we find out later that a ship can pop into orbit in less than 15 seconds, why does nobody try to contact one?  But no, they just keep shooting with the one gun they have, right up until the Cybermen, now in the hundreds, “upgrade” their way around physics.  That’s the problem, they’re not just improving, they’re magically becoming immune to reality.  Okay, now maybe it is time to blow up the planet, at least so long as the Cybermen don’t “upgrade” their way around it, but we have to wait until Porridge, who turns out to be the long-last emperor, says the magic words to activate the bomb, then his ship swings by to pick everyone up, before we can just blow this thing and go home.  Because, you know… no Tardis that they could just conveniently put everyone on the planet into (the inside of the Tardis is infinite after all) and just fly away while the planet goes boom.  Oh wait, didn’t they keep saying the bomb is supposed to make the planet implode?  That’s not an implosion guys.  It was just bad all the way around.  At least the next episode is the end of this series (except for the 50th Anniversary stuff later in the year) and we not only get back Vestra, Jenny and Strax (who still need their own show), but the return of River Song, which could go very well or very badly, depending on how Moffat handles it.  It’s no surprise, with episodes like this, why so many people are very, very disappointed in Moffat’s recent handling of Doctor Who.

Elementary #1×22 – “Risk Management” – Moriarty called Holmes at the end of the last episode and suggested they should meet.  Of course, he didn’t mean it, in fact, he says it would be a shame if they ever did meet face to face.  Moriarty has other plans for Holmes though, he wants him to solve a case, the murder of a man named Wallace Rourke who was seemingly the victim of a random mugging.  Of course, the case really isn’t that difficult for Holmes, he hunts down a wealthy investigator named Darren Sutter, who was convinced that Rourke had murdered his sister 22 years before.  Holmes wanted Sutter to tell him all about Moriarty but instead, he went to the police and confessed, not only not ashamed of what he had done, but proud of himself.  Unfortunately, Rourke wasn’t the guilty party and Sutter had not seen his sister’s killer as he had claimed.  It was Sutter’s wife who had seen his sister’s murder all those years before and, wanting to end her husband’s life of torment and guilt, had told him that Rourke was the killer so he could get it out of his system.  Moriarty seems pleased that Holmes could find the “real killer” and, as he had promised, offers to answer any questions Holmes may have, but he refuses to actually meet.  Holmes is smarter than that though, he manages to track the calls made by Moriarty and finds himself, with Watson by his side, at a white house where he suspects he’ll find Moriarty.  What he finds though is even more shocking, he comes across dozens of paintings and a blonde woman who created them, who turns out to be Irene Adler, the “dead” love of Sherlock.  I didn’t see that coming for a second.  There are some things that I think we need to look into though.  In this episode, Captain Gregson tries to get Watson to take an assignment as a sober companion out of the state, eventually admitting that he’s worried about her because they both know Holmes is unstable and she’s constantly putting herself into harm’s way.  I agree with that to some degree, Gregson is an outsider to their relationship, I don’t think he recognizes just how dear Watson has become to Holmes or how far he’d go to protect her.  Of course, Sherlock was unable to protect the only woman he ever loved so I’m not sure what to make of that.  Still, this opens up a lot of questions.  Did Irene fake her own death or was it faked for her?  She didn’t seem all that shocked to see Sherlock, which makes me suspect the former, but that will have to be resolved in the next episode.  Clearly, Moriarty knew where Holmes would end up and set the whole conclusion up so that Holmes would meet Adler again, but for what purpose?  Are they working together?  Are they sleeping together?  Or is Adler just another pawn in Moriarty’s plan.  Only time will tell.

Thumbs UpPerson of Interest #2×22 – “God Mode” – Wow.  Just wow.  This episode answered so many nagging questions we’ve had since the beginning of the series and it did so extremely well.  After the last episode, where both Root and Reese got access to the Machine for 24 hours, Root, with sidekick Harold, has been trying to figure out  the physical location of the Machine, with Reese and Shaw chasing after them.  We find out, through a series of flashbacks to 2010, what happened to Finch’s former partner Nathan, who was killed by the group from the Office of Special Counsel to stop him from going public about the Machine.  We find out that Harold’s physical problems were caused by injuries sustained in that attack, that’s why he walks with a limp and is in seeming pain much of the time.  We find out that this attack is what caused him to walk away from his fiancee when he realizes that being with her is far too dangerous.  All of these are story elements that have been hanging since the first season and we finally have answers.  The episode is worth a watch just for that fact.  However, there’s a lot more worth finding out here.  Finch realized early on that he’d given the Machine to the wrong people (the government) and anyone who had been involved started disappearing or dying.  I don’t blame him for going into hiding.  Both Root and Reese get special assistance from the Machine, first in fending off an attack from the Decima goons who were trying to intercept the Machine’s phone call and then in acquiring transportation, not only across the city, but across the country as they all realize that the Machine’s location must be in a nuclear fuel depot in the Pacific Northwest.  Root and Finch arrive there, only to discover that the giant room that once housed the Machine is empty.  Root is unhappy and wants to shoot Finch.  Shaw and Reese show up and Shaw puts a bullet in Root’s shoulder.  Apparently she’s not happy that Root tried to torture her.  Then the government goons show up and everyone has a chat.  The Machine had ordered itself moved to places unknown weeks earlier, Harold had, as Root supposedly had wanted, set the Machine free.  The virus that had caused the reset was, in fact, created by Finch as a means of ferreting out anyone who wanted to harm the Machine.  Now, nobody knows where the Machine is, not even Finch, the Machine is a totally self-aware entity which can now make it’s own decisions since nobody has any control.  Finch, Reese, Shaw and Root take their leave, the Office of Special Counsel guys earn a bullet for their incompetence.  We’re left to think that the Machine has vanished for a while, not sending numbers to anyone.  This leaves everyone wondering if the most powerful computer in existence is going to leave them high and dry.  Reese even suggests that Finch stop paying him since they’re apparently not going to be helping anyone anymore, but then the phone calls start again.  Reese and Finch receive one.  The Office of Special Counsel receives one.  Root, who I think we’re supposed to think is in a mental institution, receives one.  Whether they’re all getting the same numbers or not, we’re left to wonder.  While all of this is going on, Carter is being grilled.  She was involved in a shooting where she claimed the criminal had a gun, but the gun has turned up missing.  It’s all a setup by HR to get her out of the way while they try to kill Elias, they’ve arranged a prison transfer but instead, take him out into the woods and prepare to shoot him.  Carter shows up and rescues him in the end, although she has no idea what to do afterwards, she’s in a car with a convicted murderer and a couple of cops with her bullets in them.  Fusco, as with last week, was nowhere to be found.  I suspect he had a scheduling issue.  There’s a lot to consider here.  As series creator Jonathan Nolan said, this episode would spell the end to one chapter and the beginning of another.  Some of it is very obvious.  Nobody is in control of the Machine now. Shaw, at least for a while, seems to be teaming up with Finch and Reese.  Also, a lot of the mystery surrounding Finch has been revealed and he’s come clean to Reese about the mistakes he’s made in his past.  It also makes me wonder if the danger has lifted enough for Finch to reveal his survival to his former fiancee again.  We know she’s still around, we’re meant to believe that she’s not involved, can they get back together?  And who is the mysterious woman running the Office of Special Counsel?  I guess we have to tune in next season to find out.

Psych #7×11 – “Office Space” – Gus shows up at Juliette’s door in the middle of the night to enlist Shawn’s aid after he makes a mess of a murder scene, that of his boss at work.  Yes, Gus still works there.  It was a great running gag since he hasn’t really talked about going to work all season.  Immediately, we know two things.  First, Shawn and Jules are sort of back together and second, Gus does not react well to stressful situations.  Shawn goes back to help and together, they make a royal mess of things beyond any rational comprehension.  Then they enlist Shawn’s father, who can’t believe how much of a shit storm they’ve created, but by the time they all arrive, the murder has been discovered and it’s all they can do to keep from being under the spotlight while they try to figure out who really did it.  The problem is, Gus’ boss was pretty much hated by everyone and there are motives galore.  First on their list of suspects is the secretary, who admits she put eye drops into his drink to make him sick, but it seems that didn’t kill him.  I will admit, it was great watching Gus stand up to his boss and while he wasn’t serious about it, putting in his letter of resignation was admirable if not intelligent.  I just question why, when the investigators wanted handwriting samples to match part of that note, Gus didn’t just write a little differently?  It didn’t even seem to cross his mind.  I really liked the fact that Shawn is trying to be really honest with Juliette, even about stupid little things that she doesn’t need to know about.  At the end, when she tells him that she’d rather not be kept in the loop, that was just permission to go back to the way things used to be.  While I admit that at first, the office security guard Leslie Valerie Sally annoyed me a lot, he was very good at his job and spent most of his time showing up Lassiter.  My only issue though is that the real killer, corporate big wig Mitch Murray did come completely out of the blue and when Shawn suggested it, he copped to the murder immediately and didn’t even seem remotely guilty over what he’d done.  That seems to be a trend in recent weeks, murders are just a thing to do and the killers seem to be mostly sociopaths.  I’m happy that Jules is in on the psychic thing now, even she seems a bit confused how she didn’t see through it years ago, but I noticed in this episode that Shawn is moving away from the whole showy fingers-to-the-brow thing in favor of just being an observant investigator.  Well, he’s not that observant, they left Woody taped to the couch for half of the episode, not that Woody seemed to mind.  The best line in the whole episode was when Shawn picked up the phone and said “Spencer for hire.”  Damn, how could they have gone 7 years without using that line before?  My question, does Gus still get to be Vice President?  That would be cool.

Warehouse 13 #4×13 – “The Big Snag” – It’s hard to predict how some of these episodes will come out, especially when the team gets split up.  Often, the writers pay attention only to one plot line and the other is just a ridiculous waste of time, it’s pretty rare when both stories are actually good.  In this episode, an artifact goes wonky (like that doesn’t happen all the time) and Pete and Myka are thrown into an unfinished 1940s hardboiled detective thriller where they have to figure out who done it in order to escape.  It’s not the most original plot they’ve done, with effects all in black and white.  I did like the idea that not only was the film black and white, but that’s what all of the actors saw in as well!  Of course, I would assume this makes some of the sleuthing difficult.  They find a stray hair and Pete declares it black.  How the hell can he tell?  Granted, the two actors did an amazing job playing their parts, doing lines straight out of Casablanca, the scenes were really funny and I highly recommend this part of the episode.  The other part… not so much, I’m afraid.  After Artie drives Claudia and Steve crazy playing the piano endlessly, they trick him into retrieving an artifact.  He thinks it’ll be easy.  It’s not.  Someone is using an artifact to steal rare cars and sell them to an disreputable auto dealer.  Artie spent most of the episode throwing himself into danger, making excuses for actually doing so.  It’s like he wants to get himself killed but doesn’t want to take the responsibility himself.  Yes, I know that Artie is still having a hard time dealing with Leena’s death, but come on, every single episode doesn’t have to be full of him moping around endlessly.  I’m not saying magically wish it away into the cornfield, but at this point, he needs a shrink, not to be annoying everyone at work.  Either lighten up or go find a psychiatrist.  Seriously.  I’d have rather seen an episode that was all about black and white 1940s noir to be honest, it would have been more enjoyable and the characters and the jokes really deserved a lot more time than they got.

Best of the Week:  Two nods this week, Castle and Person of Interest, with two amazing season finales.  My list, I can do what I want. 🙂

Worst of the Week:  I don’t see how it can go to anything other than Doctor Who.  This was an uncharacteristically bad episode in a half-season of really pretty bad episodes.  I hope next episode is better because this just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Other Stuff I Watched:  Mythbusters #12×02, Psycho 2 (Rifftrax), Nerdist #2×05

TV Thursday 5/8/13

TV Thursday Header

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)

TV Thursday – 5/2/13

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I just wanted to remind people that spoilers abound in all of my reviews, I am going to spoil pretty much every bit of the story so if you haven’t watched these episodes and don’t want to be spoiled, go watch, then come back.

Arrow #1×20 – “Home Invasion” – This was a very busy and depressing episode,  I don’t think anyone’s lives got any better during this hour of television.  Diggle is training with Oliver, excited that they’re going to kill Deadshot.  They get news that he’s killed the German ambassador, but that’s overseas and they can’t do a thing about it.  Ah well, it isn’t like he’s not going to come back to Starling City so Oliver can shoot arrows at him, right?  Felicity pops in, having broken into 8 federal databases and tells them that Floyd “Deadshot” Lawton is headed back to meet with a new client.  What an opportunity!  Unfortunately, it’s a trap set up by Diggle’s friend Lyla, so the natural thing for Oliver to do is go to lunch with Laurel, who he doesn’t really want to be with, but it just looks like he really wants to be with her.  Meanwhile, we flash back to the island where Slade and Shado declare Oliver useless and he agrees.  Shado starts training him with the bow, even though he’s pathetic.  Diggle meets with Lyla and she’s pissed that he’s using her agency to find Deadshot, even though the information he provided allowed her to set up the trap in the first place.  Would a “thank you” be out of place?  Apparently so.  Laurel is simply too busy to go to lunch, she has to meet with clients, Eric and Nancy Moore and their son Taylor, who have had all their money stolen by a bad guy named Edward Rasmus.  How do we know he’s a bad guy?  Because he hires an assassin and has them killed.  Taylor survives and is adopted by soft-touch Laurel.  Sure, that’s a good idea.  Diggle tells Oliver he doesn’t want Deadshot arrested, he wants him dead.  Wasn’t this the same guy who got mad at Oliver for killing bad guys at the beginning of the season?  Besides, I don’t think it would be hard to convict Deadshot, he tattoos the names of all of his victims on his body.  Tommy and Laurel are having a touching moment with the traumatized Taylor, but just then the assassin breaks in and tries to kill them all.  It’s a good thing he’s such a bad shot.  Too bad Laurel is even worse.  Luckily, Oliver was hanging around outside the window and bursts in, disarming the assassin and saving everyone’s life.  Tommy seems annoyed by that.  With their apartment all shot up, Tommy suggests, without asking Oliver, that they should all just move in with him.  What the hell!  Diggle arranges a security detail of red shirts while Moira tries to bribe the kid with cookies.  Oliver  says he has something to do and leaves.  Tommy isn’t happy with that, or much else, in this episode.  Thea and Roy are hanging out at a burger joint and apparently, Roy has stolen a police radio.  He gets arrested moments later and carted off to jail.  You know, you don’t have to steal a police radio to listen to  police calls, right?  Oliver is preparing to leap into Lyla’s trap and kill Deadshot when Felicity tells him that Rasmus is about to get on a plane for Singapore, he has to choose Rasmus or Deadshot!  Of course, he chooses Rasmus and leaves Diggle hanging, just as Deadshot, who knew it was a trap all along, starts to kill all of Lyla’s agents.  It would be really nice if the Hood was there, wouldn’t it?  Anyhow, Deadshot corners Diggle and they have a chat about where his name should be tattooed after he’s dead.  He won’t kill Diggle, of course, because he’s not being paid so he whacks him in the head and takes off.  Diggle is unhappy about this turn of events and even more upset that Oliver “reprioritized” without telling him.  He blames Oliver for the four dead officers.  I blame really bad training.  Speaking of bad training, let’s get back to Queen manor to see how that protection force is doing.  Not well, actually, they fall for a really obvious ruse and end up dead.  I did say they were red shirts, right?  The assassin says “this is a big house, I’d hate to have to check every room.”  Dude, it’s not that big.  Oliver jumps the guy.  Tommy lets him.  I guess that being mad at Oliver is only worthwhile when he’s not saving your life.  After a tumble from the balcony, Oliver stabs him in the chest with a fireplace poker.  That was creative.  Tommy says he can tell Oliver still loves Laurel and since there is the slightest chance that she might eventually choose Oliver over Tommy, he leaves her.  What an idiot.  The kid’s grandparents come back from Australia and away he goes.  Thea gets Roy out of jail by promising she’ll keep him from stealing any more police radios.  She’s done such a good job so far keeping him away from a life of crime, right?  They agree that they’ll find the Hood together.  I’m sure that will work out well.  Diggle, meanwhile, says he and Oliver aren’t in the same book, much less the same page so he leaves.  Back on the island, while training, Yao Fei comes bursting into the cabin. Slade wonders how he escaped.  Yao Fei says he didn’t and Fyers’ goons come rushing in, knock Slade out and take the rest prisoner.  Okay, we were led to believe that Yao Fei was only working with Fyers because he had his daughter captive.  Now that Shado is free, what’s the deal with him hunting them down and putting his daughter back in mortal danger again?  There’s got to be something else at work here.  Just about every relationship in the show had a shakeup this episode.  Will Oliver and Laurel get back together?  Will Thea and Roy figure out who the Hood is?  Will Tommy stop acting like a whiny bitch? We’ll have to see. 

Bones #8×24 – “The Secret in the Siege” – Uh oh, that shithole lunatic Christopher Pelant is back, I’ve written before how much I hate him and his godlike ability to foresee everything that the authorities do.  I didn’t think they could make him any worse but they did.  Bones comes home without Booth’s beef jerky and he thinks she’s softening to the idea of marriage.  I’ve hated their whole relationship anyhow, but what I hate worst is the fact that they have a daughter together and Bones refuses to get married.  Fucking liberal bitch.  I don’t care if she is educated, I don’t care if she is an atheist, my respect for her as a human being went to zero and has stayed there all season.  They get a case, a body has been found at a state park.  Almost immediately, they suspect that Pelant has set up a murder for them.  Sweets remembers that he wrote an unpublished paper about a body being dumped at a state park, it looks like Pelant has been reading all of Sweets’ secret files and using them for his murders.  The dead man was a former FBI agent, Alan Friedlander, who was killed in the Crystal Creek shootout a decade earlier.  They get a call that another agent is down, this time, Agent Jeff Stone, who was also at the Crystal Creek compound and was shot with exactly the same number of bullets and in the same manner as Friedlander.  This means something!    Bones calls Booth to a secluded spot and proposes and he accepts.  This is the only high point in the entire episode.  Sweets becomes convinced that Pelant is using one of the kids from the Crystal Creek compound to commit the murders and they hunt down an angry young man fitting the description given by a witness at the scene of the second murder.  It isn’t him, although he’s certainly seriously screwed up and needs serious psychological treatment, it turns out to be the girl who gave a statement, the daughter of one of the FBI agents killed in the raid at Crystal Creek.  Pelant has been sending her videos, supposedly made by her father, to goad her into killing agents who survived the attack.  Now, she’s after Sweets, which makes no sense because he had nothing to do with the raid.  Booth races against time to find Sweets in the middle of a massive traffic jam before she kills him.  At the end, Pelant calls Booth and tells him that unless he calls off the wedding, he’ll be responsible for the deaths of five random people.  Booth, hours later, tells Bones that he doesn’t want to marry her.  Okay, this might be a stupid question, but *WHY*?!?!?!?  Now let’s be honest here, this is supposed to be a show about reality, we know that Pelant can access any video camera that’s connected to the Internet so he can get a lot of information.  I rather doubt there are any Internet-connected cameras in their living room and if there are, Booth can turn them off.  So why can’t he just talk to Bones about the threat? It isn’t like they’ve made any plans, nothing says they have to call off the wedding, they just don’t have to schedule anything.  It is utterly mindless that he tells the woman he’s been trying to marry for a couple of seasons now that he’s changed his mind.  Dumb, dumb, dumb!  And speaking of dumb, this whole Pelant thing is just absurd.  He can do anything!  He can access any camera anywhere.  He can make CGI videos that are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.  He can create massive traffic jams on demand.  He’s 10 steps ahead of everyone and he’s never, ever wrong.  This guy isn’t a serial killer, he’s fucking Harry Potter.  My wife just told me she’s thinking about giving up on the series after this season.  It’s no longer about the cases, it’s about the relationships.  She wants to see a police procedural, not an emotional drama.  I agree and after this episode, they might have made my decision for me.

Thumbs UpCastle #5×22 – “Still” – Every series has a clip show once in a while, where they spend most of the episode doing flashbacks and showing scenes from earlier episodes to save money.  Castle really hasn’t done one for a while so I don’t particularly mind and this was a good one.  This episode was originally scheduled to air the week of the Boston Marathon bombing but was pushed back a couple of weeks.  Castle and Beckett are on the trail of a serial bomber.  The case is basically a throwaway, it’s a means to put them into a situation where they have nothing to do but talk about the past.  It doesn’t take them long to figure out who the bomber is and to break into his apartment, but he’s rigged a bomb and Beckett steps on the trigger.  Now, she has to stand there until the bomb squad can figure out a way to disarm it and time is running out.  So she and Castle argue over Castle’s assertion that she fell for him the minute she laid eyes on him.  We go through a lot of clips of earlier seasons and I will admit, the clips were well done, they hit a smorgasbord of the best scenes from the show, going all the way back to the first episode.  It’s made me want to go watch the first four seasons again.  In the end, they manage to work out how to disarm the bomb with… wait for it… 2 seconds remaining.  I think that overall, while I’m not a fan of clip shows in general, this was very well done.  They managed to have a meaningful discussion that actually called for a look back, not one in which the clips felt forced or out of place.  My favorite scene though, and one that I’ve sort of complained about for a while, is at the end where Captain Gates reveals she’s known about the two of them for a long time now.  Hell, a brain-dead blind hamster would have known about the two of them, it’s been painfully obvious.  She gives them permission to see each other, so long as they remain professional at work and away they go.  I’d say it’s nice that they no longer have to hide, but they never really hid before, it’s just not a joke on Captain Gates’ ignorance anymore so at least that’s out of the way.  Now while I’m not a fan of relationships in TV series, this is one that I’ve kind of pulled for because Castle and Beckett do make a good couple.  They complement each other, as this episode shows.  I’d like to see them get closer, I really hate shows where the main characters have an on-again, off-again relationship.  Get them married or something.  That would be interesting.  Castle is certainly committed to Beckett, there aren’t too many men who would stand next to a bomb and be willing to die with the woman they love.  He’s certainly come a long way from the selfish, self-centered jerk he was when the series started.

Continuum #2×02 – “Split Second” – Travis hasn’t had a lot of good days.  After Sonya unloads her gun into his chest last episode, we find that he was part of a military super-soldier program in the future, which is why he survived, but now he’s stuck in prison as personal bodyguard to Julian.  After kicking the asses of the local skinhead group, he’s getting transferred to another prison.  Both Liber8 and Kiera think this is a good idea, but Garza still wants to break Travis out of prison, against Sonya’s orders.  Kiera sets up a plan to transfer Travis, but we all know things are going to go wrong and they do.  A lot of this is due to Agent Gardner, who tries to convince Inspector Dillon that there’s something not quite kosher about Kiera, suggesting that she might be in league with Liber8.  They’re setting it up to be painfully obvious that Gardner is the inside man but it may very well be a red herring.  While transporting Travis, he spills the beans on Kiera and her real origins, but Carlos plays it off like he’s insane.  Just then, everything goes sideways as Garza’s forces attack the convoy.  Kiera and Carlos barely survive, relying on her future-tech and Travis escapes.  Meanwhile, Alec hates his new job and is approached by Kellogg who offers to fund him in a new high-tech venture.  Alec wants to know what his future-self is like and Kellogg tells him that he’s a powerful, rich and determined man and he thinks that his future-self sent them back in time to help Alec become even more powerful.  While he has to think about it for a while, eventually he agrees to join on with Kellogg and change the future.  It was a good episode but there are a lot of “duh!” moments.  Kiera and Carlos don’t even put two and two together and realize that someone is trying to rescue Travis until the very end of the attack.  Seriously?  Alec has a discussion with Kiera about changing the future and then signs on with Kellogg specifically to change the future?  Alec has a  good point, she’s going to have to decide between keeping the future that she knows intact and letting people in the present-day die, I think it’s pretty clear that he’ll eventually have to allow the future to change and deal with the consequences when they come.  Still, it’s good to see Alec get out of the Buy More… um, the Memory Express, it’s not only beneath him but I don’t want to see any Chuck references. 

Defiance #1×04 – “The Devil In the Dark” – This show is still on the cusp for me, it’s not horribly bad, like some I could mention, but it’s not amazingly good either.  I’m waiting to see where they’re going to go, each episode so far has focused on one of the alien races, the last looking at the Castithan and this time, examining the Irathients.  We open with a jogger putting on some carefully maintained jogging shoes and going for a run in the woods.  He’s attacked by something off-screen and dragged off to his doom.  Irisa’s comment that he should have run faster was funny, she’s got a very dry sense of humor.  We then cut to a sex scene between Kenya and a client who has a weird grease fetish.  The fact that he seemed to be wearing diapers really didn’t help.  Something bursts out of his chest and spoils the mood.  It turns out that the two men killed had murdered an Irathient family and stolen their land a decade earlier and since then, the daughter of the family who had survived had been running with the Spirit Rider gang that had come to the rescue in the first episode.  It seems that Rynn, the aforementioned daughter, has found a way to send hellbugs wherever she wants and seek her revenge against the people who killed her family.  So far, she’s taken out the two men most directly responsible and now, she’s going after the daughter of Rafe McCawley, the man who bought the property, not knowing it’s bloody past.  Irisa reveals that she’s been suffering from visions her entire life but Nolan has considered them symptoms of PTSD.  Instead, she’s gifted with the ability to see the past of other Irathients as well as figure out where they are, kind of like a psychic bloodhound.  She and Rynn’s adopted Spirit Rider father perform a ceremony where she’s able to see what happened to Rynn in her youth and where she is today and Nolan and his posse ride out to the mines, where Rynn has a herd of hellbugs stashed away in the lowest levels, just ready to attack anyone she can spill their scent on.  The problem is, none of it was very exciting.  Even Datak’s fight against the marauding hellbug was almost entirely off-screen, I suspect it would be too much trouble and too expensive to film him fighting a CGI monster with his CGI dagger.  I wish Irisa’s psychic powers had been mentioned in the past, if they have, I don’t remember it.  It seems to have come out of the blue.  And why is Mayor Amanda up for election again?  It seems like she had just been elected before the pilot, has a significant amount of time gone by since then that we just don’t know about?  Please, please, please, enough with the cheesy cover songs in the ending credits?  There hasn’t been one done yet that was any good.  I also think they need to work harder on making some of the characters likeable.  Nolan is supposed to be your Han Solo/Indiana Jones/loveable rogue character but he’s not very well suited for the role.  Everyone seems to have a secret agenda and everyone seems to be out to screw everyone else over if they can get away with it.  That’s not the kind of character that I can identify with.  This show seriously needs one of those.

Doctor Who #7×10 – “Journey to the Center of the Tardis” – Three men, okay, two men an an “android”, aboard a salvage ship, happen across the Tardis in deep space and decide it could be worth something.  They use their magnetic grapple, which disables the Tardis, since the Doctor was trying to teach Clara how to drive and had put it into “basic” mode.  This seriously messes up the Tardis.  While they are flying, a small metal “grenade” goes rolling across the floor, Clara picks it up and is burned by it.  Then, everything goes wonky and the next thing we see, the Van Baalen brothers are trying to get into their salvaged prize, but can’t get through the door.  Okay, stop right there.  How did that grenade-thing get into the Tardis in the first place?  Yes, the shields were down, but someone would still have to open the door and the door doesn’t open without a key, which the Van Baalen brothers don’t have and couldn’t have used anyhow because the ship was out in space.  Serious problem there.  Anyhow, the Doctor, who was somehow ejected from the Tardis, realizes that Clara is still inside and he has to rescue her.  He shanghais the brothers into searching for her by claiming he’s set the Tardis to self-destruct.  Using their portable scanner, Gregor realizes that the Tardis is the salvage of a lifetime and sends his brother Bram back to the control room to start stripping down the consoles.   This does not end well for Bram.  Meanwhile, Gregor goes into the architectural reconfiguration system and steals a glowing globe, making the Tardis mad.  She  starts creating new passageways to protect herself, making everyone positively lost.  Meanwhile, Clara is wandering around the bowels of the ship, she comes across a library where she reads part of “The History Of The Time War” where she learns the Doctor’s real name.  She is forced to flee after being attacked by creatures she calls “zombies”.  She ends up in the console room alone.  However, the Doctor, Gregor and Trick the “android” are also in the console room, the Doctor hears Clara screaming and uses the sonic screwdriver to bring her a cross from an alternate timeline.  With Clara safe, the Doctor reveals that his self-destruct was a fake, but the Tardis engine core has been severely damaged and there is a time leak, with both the recent past and the near future leaking through.  The “zombies” are actually what’s left of the crew of the Tardis after they are irradiated.  The reactor control rods start to blast through the walls, pinning Tricky.  He begs them to cut off his arm, after all, he can just have a new one attached later, but it turns out he’s not an android at all, he’s the third Van Baalen brother who lost his memory in an accident and they thought it would be funny to replace his eyes with bionic ones and tell him he’s an android so they could take ownership of the salvage vessel.  They’re serious dicks.  While on the way to the engine room, the Van Baalen brothers get overcome by radiation and turn into “zombies”, leaving the Doctor and Clara to press on without them.  It looks like they’re  going to die and the Doctor finally breaks down and demands Clara tell him her secrets, admitting that they had met twice before in the past.  They arrive at the engine room but are too late, it’s already exploded, suspended in time.  The Doctor has no clue how to fix things until he sees Clara’s burn, which reads “big friendly button”, the same as on the beacon she had picked up at the beginning of the episode.  The Doctor squeezes through the rift in time and throws the beacon to his past self.  Clara burns herself on it.  The younger Doctor presses the button and the Tardis is released from the magnetic grapple.  Back in the new timeline, the Van Baalen brothers no longer treat Trick like an android, he’s part of the family.  The Doctor and Clara fly away and discuss how safe she feels.  There were some parts of this that I liked and some that I didn’t.  At the beginning, I think there was just too much of a “relationship” vibe, in fact it pissed me off so much I  told my wife that if the Doctor ever got into anything even remotely resembling a relationship with Clara, that was the last time I would *EVER* watch the show and I’m serious.  I’ve explained why in past reviews so I won’t  do it again.  However, I really loved the romp through the center of the Tardis, it’s something that we’ve never seen before in such detail.  Sure, we’ve seen some of it, such as the Eye of Harmony, last seen in the Paul McGann TV movie, but now we’ve see the swimming pool, whereas we’ve only heard mention of it in the past.  The inside of the Tardis is an interesting place, I can see how people could get lost in there since it’s pretty much infinite, you’d think the Doctor would have installed some kind of tracking system, just in case.  After all, he’s had more than 900 years in the Tardis, I’m sure people have gotten lost before.  Next week, we see the return of some of my favorite characters, Strax, Vastra and Jenny, last seen in the Christmas special.  Hopefully it’ll be fantastic.

Elementary #1×20 – “Dead Man’s Switch” – Alfredo, Sherlock’s sponsor, is back for two reasons in this episode.  First, it’s Sherlock’s one-year sobriety anniversary and second, Alfredo’s own sponsor has a problem that he needs Sherlock’s help with.  Years ago, a serial rapist attacked three girls, including the daughter of Alfredo’s sponsor, and videotaped the attacks.  He was captured and sent to prison, but now someone is sending blackmail letters to the families, along with DVDs, threatening to release the video online unless they pay up.  All of the families do, but the blackmail keeps coming.  Sherlock finds the blackmailer pretty easily, he’s not exactly hiding, but he’s said that if anyone contacts the police or he’s injured in any way, he has a backup plan where the videos will be released anyhow.  Obviously, this cannot be allowed to happen.  Sherlock sneaks into the man’s house and discovers the evidence, but has to hide as someone comes in both the front and back doors.  The blackmailer is shot dead and his body, along with the evidence, are carted away.  Now Sherlock has to find out who the accomplice is before news of the murder gets out and the fail safe is activated.  This isn’t easy because the blackmailer’s accomplice is a man who has filed dozens of lawsuits under different names and they can’t identify who he really is.  Even the original serial rapist doesn’t know, he’s got plenty to lose if the video is release, he has a parole hearing coming up and he’s being blackmailed too.  When they finally deduce his identity, he’s already dead, yet with both conspirators out of the way, someone is still sending out blackmail letters to the families.  It turns out that the step-father of one of the victims who figured he could make some money by killing the blackmailer, taking his computer and resuming the blackmail on his own.  Very clever!  The B-story, mentioned above, has to do with Sherlock’s sobriety anniversary and his refusal to accept the sobriety chip on his anniversary date.  He claims it’s a cheap piece of plastic that’s just a reminder of his prior failures, but what he doesn’t want anyone to know is that he slipped out of the treatment center and got high again, one day after he was admitted, so his anniversary is actually one day later.  He feels uncomfortable getting the chip before he’s actually earned it and he’s embarrassed to let anyone know of his failure.  Instead, he gives himself a tattoo and Watson gives him a poem by Robert Frost.  Not wild about the tattoo (or any tattoos for that matter), but the poem was nice and applicable.

Thumbs DownFollowing #1×15 – “The Final Chapter” – One thing that I’ve come to realize about the first season of The Following is that the first couple of episodes were the high water mark for the series.  That’s sad, considering how poor I thought they were, but it all went downhill from there.  This last episode started off with a reminder that Agent Parker has been buried alive but by the end, I wished it had been me who was buried so I wouldn’t have to watch this stupid show.  Hardy and Weston realize that Parker is gone and try to figure out what happened to her.  A kid walks up to Hardy wearing a Poe mask that has a phone number in it, they call the number and it’s a phone in the casket with Parker.  Bitch, you’ve been in that box for how long and you never noticed the fucking phone?  It was right by your hand!  You could have called a long time ago and had them looking for you!  They found one of the cult members who buried her and Hardy and Weston dragged him off to an isolated spot and beat the crap out of him until he told them where she was buried.  Off into the woods they go, but by the time they dug her up, she was already dead.  Sorry, there’s nobody in this show I can identify with, I didn’t care in the least.  But then, Ryan missed an obvious move, he went and put a bullet in the cult member’s skull, he should have buried him alive in the same box they took Parker out of.  It was so obvious!  I was waiting for Weston to walk over, look at the corpse and say “Dude!  Box?  Poetic justice?  Seriously?”  But in the casket was a copy of Joe’s manuscript and directions for Ryan to get to their hideout and finish the story.  He pulls a gun on Weston and threatens to shoot him in the leg if he tries to interfere.  Why the hell not, the guy has been shot in almost every other episode, go for it!  Ryan goes driving off and apparently, the FBI vehicle he’s driving doesn’t have GPS or anything because nobody follows him.   Meanwhile, Joe and Claire are hanging out in a cabin, talking about their relationship.  Claire finds a hiker that Joe has captured in a bedroom and Joe threatens to kill him.  Claire gets all teary-eyed and starts blaming herself for not seeing Joe for the monster he is.  He says she isn’t to blame, everything he did, he is responsible for and to prove it, he pulls out the hiker and guts him.  Ryan shows up and is drugged by Emma and is trussed up in the living room.  He and Joe go back and forth discussing Poe as Joe gets more and more pissed off.  It was such a disappointment that this epic meet-up that we’ve struggled through 15 horrible episodes for, is just Ryan Hardy insulting Edgar Allen Poe and Joe Carroll throwing a hissy fit.  Their argument ends in a storage building that gets set on fire and Joe Carroll burns to death.  It’s a horribly anti-climatic ending.  Ryan and Claire go back to his apartment to rest after their ordeal, there are a couple of uniformed officers waiting outside, but somehow, Molly gets in and stabs Ryan, saying Joe promised she was the one that got to kill him.  Of course, this might have been a surprise had they not let the cat out of the bag around the middle of the season, we knew all of that.  Claire gets in the way and gets stabbed in the back.  Fade to logo.  Facepalms galore.  I said, back in my review of the very first episode of this monstrosity, that FOX was trying to make themselves another 24 and it’s clear that they’re trying to make Ryan Hardy into another Jack Bauer.  He’s gotten more and more unstable as the season has gone on, to the point of beating a prisoner and then executing him in cold blood.  There is no way in hell that Ryan Hardy would pass any psych evaluation on the planet, but none of the other characters are any better.  Mike Weston?  He gets kidnapped, gets the crap beat out of him and gets shot in virtually every episode, yet they keep releasing him to active duty?  Sorry, that’s not realistic at all.  The FBI ought to be embarrassed that a show like this is on TV making them look bad.  I guess the real question, for anyone dumb enough to watch next season, who is the big bad going to be?  I predicted a while back that they’d have to have a new serial killer every season because there wasn’t nearly enough meat on the bone to keep Joe Carroll and his band of crazies around for more than a season and I was right.  Some people have suggested that Joe isn’t really dead, the coroner, like pretty much everyone else in the show, was a cult member and Joe will rise again.  Why?  His cult is gone, virtually all of them are dead or in custody, except for the mysteriously vanishing Emma, and Joe has demonstrated himself to be a really horrible cult leader all around.  Why would we want him back again?  As far as I’m concerned, I’m not watching this next year unless the writers learn a HUGE lesson and actually learn how to plot a serial.  15 hours out of my life wasted that I can never get back. 

Mentalist #5×21 – “Red and Itchy” – JJ LaRoche is an excellent foil for Patrick Jane.  They’ve butted heads a lot over the years but I think that through all that conflict, they’ve developed a certain respect for each other and perhaps even a bit of admiration.  Although neither would admit it, for as rocky as their relationship has been, I think I’d consider them friends.  When LaRoche’s house is broken into, he asks for Jane’s help in retrieving a mysterious Tupperware container that he says holds the ability to end his career.  He makes Jane promise to keep the container and it’s contents secret from everyone else, but they only have until the end of the day to find the criminal mastermind before LaRoche’s secret is revealed.  Patrick Jane is on the case!  I really like seeing that LaRoche has a soft side, from his Sharpei puppy to his Hummel figurine collection, he’s not the monster that he was built up to for so long.  However, he also has a serious dark side as we find out at the end of the episode.  We also get a lot of background on LaRoche, his mother had been raped continuously for 2 hours 9 years ago and the rapist, Sayney, was just released under California’s “clear the prisons” lawsuits and seems to be a suspect at one point.  His mother then killed herself a few months after the attack.  One criminal at his house was killed at the scene, exchanging a bullet from his gun for one from LaRoche’s.  LaRoche gets hit in the arm and apparently, it never bothers him again during the episode.  I’d think he would be wearing a sling or something, but after the opening credits, it’s never mentioned again.  It turns out that the criminal who escaped was the man’s wife, who was now a master safe cracker since her husband had lost most of the use of his fingers due to advancing age.  She admits to stealing the Tupperware container from LaRoche’s safe but she has no idea who the boss is, it’s someone inside of CBI who is tipping off criminals, but it could be almost anyone.  It turns out to be Brenda, the CBI’s press liason, who has gotten herself in bed with the criminal element and was warning several bad guys when law enforcement was about to sweep in.  No loss, she wasn’t that impressive to begin with.  However, throughout the episode, everyone is curious about what LaRoche has in his plastic container.  LaRoche thinks Jane knows, since Jane once hired someone to break into LaRoche’s safe to get his list of Red John suspects, but he never looked into the container.  At the end though, Lisbon finds the truth, someone had broken into Sayney’s apartment 9 years ago and cut out his tongue and kept it as a trophy and a remembrance of his mother.  That’s very dark but I can see it, especially from a dedicated and passionate cop like LaRoche.  As weird as it sounds, this definitely brought them closer together and I think Jane really needs a friend like him.

Person of Interest #2×20 – “In Extremis” – This episode, the real important story is in the B-story, assuming you always place the “number” in the A-slot.  Let’s talk about that first.  Finch and Reese get the number of Richard Nelson, highly respected and awarded surgeon and philanthropist.  He’s being given a high honor when he suddenly falls ill.  Later, he almost collapses in his lab and calls 911.  Seriously dude, you’re a doctor, you don’t even go to see your own physician when you’re bleeding from the nose and vomiting blood?  Anyhow, he ends up in the hospital and Reese tells him he’s been poisoned with polonium and has less than 24 hours to live.  Funny, none of the doctors came up with either a cause nor a prognosis.  Reese tells him to get out of his hospital bed and spend the last day of his life finding the people who poisoned him.  Together, they discover that Nelson had inadvertently given away a stock hint to a stockbroker he knows and that allowed his firm to short-sale before the stock tanked.  The firm was being investigated by the SEC and they had to get rid of the evidence that they had engaged in insider trading, thus the billionaire president of the company had ordered Nelson’s death.  Finally finding the president, Nelson explained what a horrible way polonium poisoning is to die, then Reese poisons the president’s drink, condemning him to the same fate.  That’s a bold move, you don’t usually see Reese resorting to such things, but in this case I have no problem with it.  Having found his murderer and reconciling with his daughter, Nelson dies.  On the other story though, Fusco’s past has finally come back to haunt him and we have to go all the way back to the first episode of the series to see these events.  Internal Affairs comes up with evidence that Fusco is dirty after finding witnesses that confirm that Fusco killed a fellow dirty cop, Detective Stills, who Fusco buried in a shallow grave that HR had been planning on buring him in.  After interrogating Fusco, they find the location of the grave and together they all go out to discredit Fusco, but find the grave empty.  It had been dug up and moved by Carter and Bear, who seems to be not just a trained attack dog, but now a cadaver sniffing dog too.  Fusco gets his gun and badge back, although we’re not sure Carter really trusts him anymore.  He was a bad cop, granted, but since they’ve been working together with Finch and Reese, he’s become a truly admirable person, that’s something I think she recognizes, but can’t forgive him for his shady past.  At the very end of the episode, Finch and Reese realize that the Machine has been giving them numbers lately far too late to save the person at risk.  The Machine starts to give errors, flash red and start shutting down.  This has to be related to the virus that was stolen back in “Dead Reckoning” that Finch surmised could be used to take out the Machine.  Now I doubt that this is the end of the Machine, especially since the show has been renewed for a third season, but how can they fix it without Harold, and isn’t Harold supposed to be dead?  The Machine is supposed to be totally autonomous, without any back doors (although Harold has one, obviously), how do they fix it?  We’ll have to see.

Psych #7×09 – “Juliet Wears the Pantsuit” – At the end of the last episode, Jules asked Shawn to move out, something that really flummoxed him.  He has nowhere to stay.  Rachel and Max are conveniently staying with Gus, he absolutely will not stay with his father after what happened the last time and Lassiter just tells him no.  Funny, when Lassie needed a place to stay, Shawn and Juliette opened their home to him.  What an ingrate.  So Shawn decides to stay in a trailer with coroner Woody and I can understand why he’s in such a rush to get out of there.  Jules also starts to interview replacement roommates.  First  comes Kimberly, who Shawn tries to convince would have to spend a home with a creepy ghost, but Kimberly winds up dead the next day.  Next, she tries Laura, who they set up as an obvious red herring and more than a little screwy, especially after she steals all of Juliette’s clothing and takes on her identity, leaving Juliette to wander around in a cheesy t-shirt that Shawn bought for her.  I guess she can’t just go to the store and buy more clothes?  Instead, it turns out that Laura is hiding from her crazy ex-husband who is trying to track her down.  He’s the one that killed the ex-roommate Kimberly.  Juliette and Laura end up trapped in their living room with the whack-a-loon ex-husband.  Laura is afraid and says Jules doesn’t know what he’s capable of.  Juliette is a cop, she can handle herself, Laura clearly doesn’t understand what she’s capable of.  Shawn helps put the crazy guy down and all is better.  Well, except for the broken window that the ex-husband came in and Shawn is clearly not the home-improvement type.  They talk for a bit, but that’s really what drives me absolutely crazy in these shows.  Whenever they want to keep two people apart, they make them engage in nothing but frivolous chit-chat, they don’t actually sit down and talk because that might solve the problem and screw up the plot.  See, if Shawn was more mature and Juliette less emotional, none of this would ever have happened.  I can imagine Shawn telling Juliette that he only pretended to have psychic powers so he could work with the police department.  They’d never listen to him otherwise.  Clearly he’s  doing  good, even Jules admits that, so she must see why he lied initially.  As to why he continued to lie to her all the way through their relationship, the answer is fear.  He was afraid that if he came clean, she’d leave him.  If she can’t understand those two factors, then maybe they shouldn’t be together at all, yet they continue to dance around it and it comes off so artificial.  Making people act stupid because it serves a story purpose is not something I’m very forgiving of.  If you can’t find a valid reason for your plot point, maybe you ought to rethink what you’re doing.

Best of the Week:  It’s a hard decision this week, there were no real standouts, but lots of solid episodes.  As weird as this is to say, I’m going to have to go with Castle this week, even though it was a clip show, it was a really well done clip show and it pushed Castle and Beckett closer together, plus cleared up one irritating mystery, how Captain Gates could be so blind.

Worst of the Week:  Going into the viewing, I thought it would be a toss-up between Bones and The Following.  After seeing this week’s episode of Bones, I thought The Following would have to be really, really, really awful to win the bottom spot.  It was.  This show was just horrible through and through.

Other Stuff I Watched: Sherlock Holmes – Hound of the Baskervilles (1939), Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943), Toy Hunter #2×04, Kingdom of the Spiders (Rifftrax), Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, The Nerdist #2×04

TV Thursday 4/25/13

TV Thursday Header

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!

 [youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_7Zc7PuAVU’]

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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TV Thursday – 4/18/13

TV Thursday Header

Here I was thinking it was going to be another slow week, but then shows I thought were on hiatus came back, one show that was on a mid-season break returns, another I got two episodes to finish out the season and we even have the 2-part pilot to a new show making it into the list.  Not only was it not a slow week, it was a really, really, really busy one!

Bones #8×22 – “The Party in the Pants” – This episode really wasn’t about the murder, it was about forgiveness.  The murder wasn’t that impressive, so let’s  get that out of the way first.  Jack Spindler, stockbroker by day, stripper by night, ends up dead after a really disturbing and more-than-a-little-illegal excavator scene, where a young boy is being forced by his aunt to operate heavy machinery and ends up digging up a body.  Someone please cite this woman!  The body is badly damaged. but the squints manage to put him back together.  There is a typical rigamarole and list of red herring suspects, but it turns out to be Jack’s boss, who Jack not only screwed out of a lot of money, but who was running an illegal stock swindle and thought Jack was going to rat him out.  The only funny part of the whole bit was where Booth said he had no interest in financial crimes, got the guy to admit to it, then turned him over to Treasury agents who do have an interest in financial crimes.  It wasn’t a great crime, it wasn’t the worst they’ve ever done, it was just ‘blah’.  On to the point of the episode.  After having walked out on Booth’s abusive father 24 years before, his mother comes walking back into his life.  At first, he’s really happy to see her, but when she tells him she’s getting married again and wants Booth to give her away, he gets mad.  I don’t blame him, I would too.  I honestly wouldn’t buy her story for a second, that she was so abused that she cannot have a family, it just doesn’t wash with me.  Both Booth and his brother Jared have been on their own for many years, the idea that a mother could just ignore her adult children with the excuse that she was hiding from her abusive ex-husband is very thin to say the least.  She was, whether she likes it or not, a horrible, horrible mother, just as Booth’s father was a terrible father.  To come back, out of the blue, only because you want something and be willing to walk away again because you don’t get it is not the sign of a decent human being.  Booth finally gives in at the end and attends the wedding and rekindles a relationship, both with her and with her new husband, but I think he gets all the credit here, she  deserves none.  I was not at all impressed, I hope we don’t have to see her very often in the show.  It seems that both Bones and Booth managed to do well, even after having terrible childhoods, although it certainly seems that Bones turned out somewhat less okay.  She has brains, yes, but at the cost of her emotional development.  Her asperger-like behavior really grates on me sometimes. 

Castle #5×20 – “The Fast and the Furriest” – Castle has always been a show where they spoof pseudo-science and fandom.  Just this season alone, they’ve taken on conventions and sci-fi TV (specifically making fun of Firefly), Ju-On, Rear Window and the murder of Santa Claus and Castle is always there to lend a credulous voice for the clearly absurd.  In fact, these are usually the funniest episodes because it’s Castle against the team and Castle usually makes a lot of sense.  This time, when the body of a disfigured woman is found with part of her face ripped off, Castle immediately declares this to be a Bigfoot attack.  Even after they pay a visit to the primate sanctuary where she worked, he’s only momentarily dissuaded and when they find the scene of the crime, filled with massive footprints, he’s totally gone.  This time, though, he’s got Ryan on his side, both of them believe in Bigfoot and are trying to convince everyone else.  It turns out that the woman, a former evolutionary biology student, had an avid interest in Bigfoot and was trying to win a million dollar prize for proving Bigfoot existed.  But who killed her?  Dr. Meekse, the leading crypto-zoologist who was convinced she really knew where Bigfoot was?  Chase Diggins, the one-armed Aussie Bigfoot hunter who claims his arm was ripped off by the beast?  Bigfoot himself?  You’ll have to watch it yourself and see.  I will say that just about everything in this episode was done really well.  I admit to being somewhat worried at the beginning, as soon as they said the victim was an evolutionary biologist, I turned to my wife and said “a creationist did it!”  Luckily, that turned out to be untrue, but it would have been funny all the same.  There were some great Castle/Beckett moments here, which have been missing from the last couple of episodes, especially when they fell into the Bigfoot pit in the woods and Castle freaks out.  Nathan Fillion’s facial expressions as he messes around with the gorilla at the primate sanctuary are priceless too and I am so glad they didn’t get preachy there about primates as pets.  That would have killed it.  Great episode overall! 

Defiance #1×01-1×02 – “Pilot” – It’s a two-hour pilot episode(s) of a show that I’ve looked forward to for a while.  It’s the second “Syfy Original” that’s aired this year, the first being Continuum which I absolutely loved (and sorry guys, stamping Syfy Original on it doesn’t make it yours, any more than stamping it on the original Star Trek back in the day did), so I was hoping this wouldn’t disappoint.  Well… it did and it didn’t.  First off, it was developed by Rockne S. O’Bannon, the man behind Farscape back in the day.  I hated the look of Farscape.  It wasn’t the puppets, it was the cheesy alien makeup and the color palate that strikes me as far too neon.  This translates directly to Defiance.  It might be a budget thing, DefianceCast600but the majority of aliens, like in many Star Trek series, are just painted people with fake foreheads.  It just looks unbelievably cheap.  Anyhow, on to the story.  It follows an “arkhunter” named Nolan and his adopted alien “daughter” Irisa, who are trying to save up enough money to get to the “paradise” in Antarctica.  To do this, they ransack various alien “arks” that fall out of the sky for technology.  Immediately, I start thinking “Mad Max” and wondering where Lord Humongous was.  The show opens with them seeing an ark landing nearby and retrieving the undamaged central power core, which is worth millions.  However, before they can make good their escape, they are attacked by alien brigands.  Irisa is shot and they barely get away, only to be found by explorers from the city of Defiance, which takes the place of St. Louis.  Irisa gets patched up, but they have no money to buy supplies and transport, which they lost in the attack.  Nolan tries his hand in underground fighting and while he wins, the owners of the fight club screw him out of his money.  While commiserating in the local whore house, the son of the local mine owner is murdered, threatening to spark an all out war between the humans and the alien Castithan Tarrs.  This is made more complex by the fact that the daughter of the mine owner is in love with the son of the opportunistic Castithan Tarrs, the same people who took away the winnings from Nolan following his fight.  Nolan, now desperate for work, offers to solve the crime since the local law was killed in a bar brawl and Nolan is actually pretty good at it.  It takes him about 5 minutes from showing up at the crime scene to figure out who did it and conveniently, the only alien with a limp was introduced just a few minutes before.  He must have done it!  And of course, he did.  He was working with the violent Volge, who would have overrun Defiance long ago if not for their shields.  Of course, our killer blows up the shields, opening the doors for a full-scale invasion.  Defiance is  doomed!  Oh wait, Nolan remembers that expensive energy core he had hidden a while back and rushes out to get it.  If it  can be set to explode, it can kill all of the Volge.  And so, a really silly battle, with the Defiance townspeople shooting from the cliffs at the Volge army begins, with the town’s doctor trying to get the power core ready to explode and having problem after problem, it’s all predictable of course, there’s nothing in this show that we haven’t seen before.  Finally, she blows the core, the Volge are destroyed and Defiance is saved.  The new mayor offers Nolan the job of “Lawkeeper” and we find that it was the old mayor who set up the scheme to destroy Defiance, she’s looking for something lost in the city and can only look for it without other people around.  So the question is… is this show worth watching.  Yes and no.  The costumes and effects are really awful, although not as awful as some of the other shows on Syfy.  Come on guys, other shows did really good costuming and creature effects in the days before CGI, it shouldn’t be that hard to make a show superior to the original Battlestar Galactica with modern computer effects.  At least try!  This looks like some kids made it in their basement.  My biggest problem with this is the backstory.  If you only watched the show, they gave a quick introduction, which would leave you scratching your head, but this show has an associated MMO and they’ve given away a lot more information.  So here it is.  A bunch of  aliens, collectively known as the Votan, travelled across thousands of light-years of space to Earth, which they had no idea was inhabited.  Never mind the fact that we’ve been polluting the space around us for several dozen light-years in every  direction for a while with our TV and radio broadcasts.  Nah, they had no clue.  Most of the aliens remained in stasis in their giant ark-ships while the rest negotiated with the humans for their ability to stay.  When the ark-ships were mysteriously destroyed in orbit, a massive war broke out that blew human civilization back to the stone age and irrevocably altered Earth’s biosphere.  The TV series starts 33 years  after the arrival of the aliens, it just doesn’t tell you about much of this and I think most people watching the TV show are not  going to go play  the MMO, no matter how much the producers want them to.  These are different audiences, sorry.  The problem is, they assume that everyone  watching the show knows what the fuck is going on.  There are seven alien species but they don’t bother to introduce them, they just say “go talk to the Irathients” and you’re left going “what the fuck is a Irathient?”  I think it’s very, very badly done to assume that a television audience is going to go looking for explanations for your show in another medium.  I think the show has potential but it has a lot of problems.  My wife identified it as another western with aliens, which largely it is.  You also get the feeling that you’ve seen just about everything before.  The new mayor, played by Dexter’s Julie Benz, gives a rousing speech to the townspeople just before the Volge attack.  Let’s be honest, she’s just an homage to new Battlestar Galactica’s Laura Roslin.  Heck, she reminded me a lot of Bill Pullman’s character in Independence Day.  I kept expecting her to say “Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!”  To be honest, there are a lot of shows, like Babylon 5, that turned out to be really good, but had really bad pilots.  It’s not like The Following, where I instantly hated it from the very first episode, this has potential, if only they’re willing to do what it takes to exploit it.  I’m hoping that they do.

Dr. Who #7×08 – “Cold War” –  The Tardis drops the Doctor and Clara into a Cold War-era Russian sub undergoing drills on it’s way back from a scientific expedition to the North Pole.  While there, they think they found a frozen mammoth, but it turns out to be an Ice Warrior, last seen in The Monster of Peladon, back in 1974.  One Russian sailor thinks that he ought to thaw it out using his blowtorch, releasing the Ice Warrior onto the sub, 5000 years after it was frozen.  Of course, this doesn’t make the Ice Warrior a happy boy, especially since it turns out to be Grand Marshal Skaldak, the greatest hero ever known to the Ice Warriors of Mars.  He’s rightfully miffed, especially after one of the Russian crew dares to raise a hand to him.  See, under Martian law, anyone who attacks one of the Warriors, attacks the whole of the Martian civilization and thus, declares war on them as a species.  After the Tardis conveniently disappears and the sub is trapped on the bottom of the sea, we get a rush through the cramped spaces and narrow corridors of the Russian sub, with the Doctor trying to convince the Russian commander not to shoot him and trying to keep Skaldak from killing everyone on board.  This works to some varying degree of success, the Russians don’t kill them, although certainly some of them want to, and Skaldak spends a lot of time sneaking around the sub, getting his bearings, trying to figure how best to genocide all of humanity.  He happens on the idea of launching a nuclear missile or two in order to spark off a mass military response and thus, the end of the world.  We end up in a tense standoff between Skaldak with his finger literally on the button and the Doctor, desperately begging him to give peace a chance.  It wasn’t all that convincing, honestly, but luckily, just as Skaldak is going to blow the planet up, his people show up to rescue him and they fly away, leaving the Doctor and Clara in the unenviable position of having to walk to the South Pole.  While this is the best of the three episodes since they’ve come back from hiatus, that isn’t saying much, there’s a lot of problems here, which is somewhat surprising since the episode was written by Mark Gatiss.  First off, the Doctor starts ordering the sub commander around as soon as he steps off the Tardis.  Highly unrealistic, the commander ought to have come up with every reasonable solution to their problem long before the Doctor could have.  The Russian crew also gives in far too easily and accepts the Doctor and Clara as one of their own.  As far as Skaldak, he tries signalling Mars and when he doesn’t get a response in less than a minute, he gives up.  Physics?  Anyone?  Heck, the Doctor already told him that his people no longer live on Mars, they are spread across the universe!  Finally, the whole idea that the highly advanced Martians have a code that says they get to genocide any species if a single member of that species does something wrong?  That makes no sense whatsoever, how could a culture like that ever hope to survive?  Matt Smith was even more whiny than usual in this episode, almost down on his knees, begging that Skaldak doesn’t blow up the planet.  The Doctor grovelling doesn’t sit right with me, sorry.  It’s a better effort, to be sure, but not up to the standards I’ve come to expect from Doctor Who.

Thumbs DownFollowing #1×13 – “Havenport” – Holy shit, these people cannot be this stupid!  Roderick, hiding in plain sight, pretends to help the FBI.  Weston walks in and immediately identifies Roderick.  Okay, dumbshit, you were standing 20 feet from backup, had plenty of time to leisurely saunter over to tell them about Roderick, yet  you pull a gun on him  yourself, in the middle of a police station, then run through his deputies, waving a gun around and you’re surprised you get cold cocked?  Seriously?  So Roderick goes running back to Joe and he’s surprised to find that Joe is upset that the whole operation is blown.  Imagine that!  Roderick storms out of the Cult-ure Club (okay, that was bad) and grabs Joey on the way.  Roderick sure is impetuous, isn’t he?  Ryan Hardy decides to ignore the chain of command (again), get on TV and promise amnesty to any of Joe’s cult members that will come forward and rat him out.  Thus begins Joe Carroll’s bad day.  Roderick, for some reason, wanders into town, contacts a waitress he knows and invites her out for a nice afternoon drive at gunpoint.  They try to go through a checkpoint, with Roderick using a fake ID, but seriously, his picture is all over the news, he’s not fooling anyone.  Or is he?  The cops that stop them ask Roderick to get out of the car, but they don’t have their guns drawn.  You know, the mass murderer who has been fooling the townspeople?  Nope, no guns drawn at all.  Roderick calmly gets out of the car and shoots them both.  Immediately thereafter, the cops show up.  Hell, TONS of cops.  Bet the  families of the two officers he just gunned down wish they were just a little quicker.  They take Roderick back to his own police station for interrogation.  Joe sends out a hit squad to take Roderick out and get Joey back.  Roderick whispers in Ryan’s ear that he’s got Joey stashed and together, they have a nice chat with Joe to confirm it.  Joe is seriously losing it by this time, not like he’s ever been the model of stability in the past.  Roderick tries to make a deal with Ryan, Joey’s return for his release.  Ryan agrees and starts unplugging all the cameras in the police station.  Nobody notices.  Of course, it’s all a setup, but that never occurs to Roderick.  Together, they go to an abandoned cabin where Joey is locked in the closet and the cabin owners are dead on the floor.  Weston is in the trunk and half the bloody FBI is following them.  Once Joey is relatively safe, Weston comes in and confronts Roderick, who had pulled a convenient gun from behind the cushions of the couch.  Of course, nobody ever looks.  Just as Weston is about to fill Roderick full of lead, Joe’s hit squad shoots him instead.  Weston denied!  They call in the cavalry, who seriously, should have been standing outside the door by now anyhow.  Ryan sends Joey off with Weston, telling him never to leave Joey alone.  Almost immediately, Weston leaves Joey alone.  Jacob grabs Joey and hauls him off.  Ryan and Weston corner him behind a tree and tell him that it’ll be okay.  Jacob runs off, leaving Joey behind.  This cabin standoff is one of the few times Weston is not shot or beat up in the entire series.  Joey says “You’re Ryan Hardy. Mom said you’re one of the good guys.”  Too bad he isn’t one of the smart guys.  That’s one thing this show needs, more smart guys.  So Joey is rescued and Joe is pissed.  Of course, Jacob went straight back to the cult condo and apparently, Joe didn’t fillet the skin from his flesh.  Joe is having a bad day, after all.  Then Claire comes in and tells Joe that she’ll stay and try to love him if he’ll just let Joey go.  He agrees.  She stabs him.  I guess it runs in the family.  Bleeding profusely, Joe calls Ryan and tells him what a horrible day he’s had and that Claire has outlived her usefulness and is about to be written out of the story.  I’m sure anyone who gets written out of the script is overjoyed, just to be off of this dog.  Meanwhile, one of Joe’s culties shows up at the police station, presumably to turn herself in.  The police say they’ve searched her for weapons and she’s clean.  They try to take her back for questioning and she pulls out a huge hairpin and stabs Donovan in the eye.  Someone needs to review frisking techniques with the cops.  Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb and then some!  I can’t even give this show a 1 anymore!

Mentalist #5×19 – “Red Letter Day” – After the murder of a man who owns the  town of Percy, California, the CBI comes in to solve the case. We go through a number of the typical red herrings, was it meth dealers in the woods who were using, and burning down, some of the outlying cabins?  Was it his partner in the wild west show who stood to lose it all?  Was it his wife, who claims that he wasn’t cheating on her, but he had done so in the past?  Was it an ex-con who was just released from prison and might be gunning for revenge?  There were lots of possibilities but they were all put out there to mislead the audience, as happens often in these kinds of shows.  In the end though, it turned out to be the long-absent son who had come back to town and fallen for the local bar maid, who just so happened to be his half-sister.  See the above infidelity.  His father told him the truth and he flipped out, shooting his father.  Okay, as a plot, that’s not bad, the problem is that it  came totally out of the blue.  There really was nothing leading up to the “the son is screwing his half-sister” thing.  Yes, they did have them pulling the same ear, but that’s a common tic, people do it all the time and they don’t have to be sleeping together to do it.  Bad form not to give the audience some solid clues, sorry.  Then there’s the whole Rigsby and Van Pelt story.  They used to be together.  Then Van Pelt got engaged to someone else and ended up shooting him in self defense.  Then Rigsby had a kid with some other woman who has entirely vanished from the show.  Now, Rigsby wants Van Pelt back, but she’s found yet another boyfriend.  Did anyone not see this coming?  Seriously?  Kirkland sends some associates to sneak into Jane’s loft and make copies of all of his Red John research.  Of course, Jane knows about it, he’s set up little alarms to let him know when someone has been there and I suspect that he’s putting in red herrings of his own to mislead Kirkland.  It’ll be interesting to see where it leads.  Next week, we’re supposed to see who Jane’s list of seven suspects for Red John are, that should be fun.

Thumbs UpMurdoch Mysteries #6×12 – “Crime & Punishment” – In the first of a two-part story, Julia’s estranged husband Darcy is murdered and all evidence points to Julia.  I mean all evidence, no matter what comes up, every single shred of evidence points straight to her.  The housekeeper claims that Julia called her and told her to take the night off.  Then the housekeeper says she saw Julia at the house, when Julia claims to have been miles away, helping an abused woman hide from her abusive husband.  The woman and husband turn out to have never existed.  They find Julia’s thumbprint on the bullet cartridge that killed Darcy.  Everything she claims, it turns out there’s no evidence for and everything she  claims didn’t happen, they find evidence that it did.  Now let’s be honest, we know that Julia didn’t do it, but the evidence seems too perfect and in order to plant that much evidence, the person who did it would have to have been very high up in the police force.  At the trial, Murdoch sees James Gillies, who has a massive problem with Murdoch and would love to take revenge.  It also occurs to me that the setup is so complete, so perfect, that it might, just might, fall into my category of hated supervillains, where they have always thought of everything and are always a step ahead of everyone.  I have enough faith in the show to think that isn’t the case, but now that Julia has been convicted of the murder of her husband, we’ll have to see how it turns out in the  season finale next  week.

Thumbs UpMurdoch Mysteries #6×13 – “The Murdoch Trap” – I didn’t think I’d be seeing this week, but it showed up so here’s my review.  The first thing they do is something I hate, where they give you a flash-forward and then go back in time and show you everything that led up to it.  It’s way too over-used.  As I said last time, Murdoch saw James Gillies and that’s who is responsible for it all.  He’s captured Murdoch and is taunting him on big movie screens.  But that’s in the future, let’s go back to the past.  Murdoch and Brackenreid, banned from the case, are working privately in Brackenreid’s dining room.  They convince George to smuggle some equipment out of the stationhouse and bring Murdoch the murder weapon.  It takes only a few minutes to piece  together how Gillies faked most of the evidence, they seem to get hung up on putting Julia’s fingerprints on the bullet casing, but guys, you just figured out how to do that two episodes ago!  So they convince the Chief Constable that he was wrong about Julia and he jumps on the bandwagon to save her.  However, they need real evidence to convince the judge.  Murdoch realizes he’s missed something and rushes back to Darcy’s house, where he is trapped and put into a cage by Gillies.  Gillies gloats about his victory and offers Murdoch a way to save Julia, but at the cost of his own life.  Brackenreid and George have  also mad strides, they located the woman whose husband had supposedly beaten her, she’s now a prostitute, but Gillies had killed her as well and framed Julia for that murder too.  Murdoch, however, has found a way to send a morse code signal to the police and they arrive to rescue him in the nick of time.  George just walks in and puts a bullet in Gillies.  Good for  you, George!  Taking the evidence, he rushes into the execution chamber just in time to save Julia’s life.  The unfortunately surviving Gillies is put behind bars, although he has a strangely devious smile.  Murdoch suggests that he and Julia celebrate, but she’s distraught over the death of Darcy, who was just an innocent pawn in the game.  Now I find it funny that, with all of Murdoch’s expertise in catching crooks and figuring out puzzles, he did very little of that in the first half of this two-parter and perhaps too much of it in the second.  Of course, he couldn’t actually find any clues that would keep Julia out of prison in the first, but it felt a bit artificial, especially since he and his compatriots whipped through a pile of deductions in just a minute or two in Brackenreid’s dining room.  In retrospect, it seems a bit forced, but I can forgive it, it was a really good episode.

Psych #7×07 – “Deez Nups” – Lassiter and Marlowe finally get married.  While we should have expected it, I never thought it would be so quick.  In last week’s episode, Marlowe had to move in with Shawn and Jules temporarily because she and Lassie were prohibited from living together by Lassie’s ex-fling and Marlowe’s new parole officer.  That got really old, really fast and they announced that, to get around the parole requirements, they would just get married.  It isn’t like that hasn’t been their clear intention for a long time, but when Lassiter shows up at the precinct, inviting everyone to their wedding the next Saturday, it was somewhat of a shock.  Well, considering Lassie wanted to get laid, maybe not so much.  While Marlowe was having a big bachelorette party, hosted by her former cell mate Big Wendy, Lassiter said he didn’t want one because his best friend, Stumpy, couldn’t make the wedding.  When Shawn and Gus not only find Stumpy, but fly him out for the wedding, they discover that Lassie was kidding, this was just some loser he hadn’t seen since high school, he just didn’t want to admit he had no close friends.  Anyhow, the party must go on so  they all load on a party bus and head for a local casino.  Meanwhile, the girls aren’t doing much better, Big Wendy orders Chief Vick to start doing shots, resulting in her getting drunk off her ass.  Good thing too, when moonlighting cop Buzz shows up to do a strip-show.  However, while at the casino, Shawn happens to spot the missing mob accountant Herb Pollack, who has enough evidence to put away a major mob boss forever, and he tries to capture him without messing up Lassie’s wedding.  Lassiter catches him on his own, with hardly a thought, and then drags him around for the rest of the episode.  At one point, the mob boss kidnaps Marlowe and demands that Lassie trade him for his accountant, but both Herb and Marlowe are too smart for their captors and both escape, leaving both sides trying to exchange different people.  Finally, Shawn uses his “psychic powers” to figure out that Marlowe was trapped in the laundry room of the hotel, having gone down the chute in her escape, and that Herb was hiding out at a Michael Damien concert at the casino.  All is well… except the justice of the peace can’t make the wedding, but Herb took an online course and he can perform the wedding.  Afterwards, Jules realizes that Shawn didn’t have a psychic vision about Michael Damien and, suspecting that his whole psychic shtick is a fraud, storms off.  This whole episode was an homage to movies like The Hangover and other “getting married” romantic comedies.  It worked very well and they trudged through all of the tropes.  I thought it was great that as Lassiter was gong to kiss his bride, he raised his hand and pressed it against hers, a tribute to the only contact they ever had while she was in prison.  What confuses me though, and maybe it shouldn’t, is that Jules still thinks Shawn is actually psychic?  After 7 years, she still falls for it?  He’s never told her?  I find that surprising, to say the least.  Hopefully she’ll come back though, I hate the “breakup/makeup” trope that goes through so many of these shows.  Unfortunately, the rumor going around is that Maggie Lawson may be leaving the series to take the lead in a series of her own, which will absolutely, positively suck rancid donkey balls. 

Warehouse 13 #4×11 – “The Living and the Dead” – It’s really hard to keep most Syfy shows straight. Syfy has this weird thing where they split most of their shows in half and show the two halves 6 months apart.  The last episode of Warehouse 13 aired back in October and when I saw it coming back, I was thinking we’d be on season 5.  Nope, only season 4, part 2.  We pick up where we left off in the last episode, with Artie being taken to a hospital with a knife in his chest.  Mrs. Frederic warns them that now that the Sweating Sickness has been released, they have, at best, 16 hours until they start showing symptoms.  Artie is still in a coma, but they removed the dagger and there is no physical damage.  The dagger was an artifact that separated good and evil and stabbing him freed him from the influence of the astrolabe.  They reason that the blue flower that  caused the plague had been reconstituted in the past, therefore, there must be an artifact for that.  Why not, there’s an artifact for everything else!  After searching through the archives, they find one possible artifact that once belonged to Count St. Germain.  Myka and Pete go to get it while Claudia and Steve use another  artifact to leap into Artie’s mind and find out why he won’t come out of his coma.  Claudia and Steve first.  They are surprised to find that Artie’s mind looks exactly like the Warehouse.  They are met by the manifestations of various friends, all of whom try to force them to turn back, but they press on and meet up with Artie and the spirit of Leena.  He cannot face the fact that he was responsible for Leena’s death and now that he’s been faced to revisit it, he cannot forgive Claudia for her part in causing him pain.  Still, it gets him out of his coma.  Now for Myka and Pete.  They go off to meet Professor Bennett Sutton of Columbia University, who wrote a book on St. Germain, but he turns out to be a bitter drunk.  They convince him to go along to find the ring artifact and he has them break into the house of a rival, where a hint to the location of the ring is supposedly hidden.  Sutton tells them that he lured off his rival with a fake phone call, but with the outbreak, she didn’t  get far before coming back home.  She holds them at gunpoint until Myka zaps her.  They recover the clue and it leads them into the Paris sewers where they find the grave of St. Germain.  Except St. Germain isn’t dead, he’s actually Sutton, who has been hanging around for over 500 years.  His grave, which was constructed and hidden by Marie Antoinette, turns out to be booby-trapped and one of the poison arrows ends up in St. Germain’s chest.  Now he’s dead.  Myka and Pete recover the artifact and together, they reconstitute the flower and end the plague.  After they leave, the zapped rival comes down to the tomb and reveals that she is actually Marie Antoinette, who first laid St. Germain to rest.  Unfortunately, he’s gone again, leaving a bloody arrow behind.  There really isn’t too much to complain about in this episode, it’s pretty typical stuff for Warehouse 13.  There were  some good lines and in-jokes, especially with regard to Sutton, played by James Marsters.  At one point, when he was revealed to be over 500 years old, they asked “what are you, a vampire?”, clearly a reference to his time on Buffy.  It’s fun to have a show that just doesn’t take itself all that seriously.  I’m glad it’s back, at least for 10 more episodes.

Best of the Week:  While there was some really stiff competition this week, I have to give it to the 2-part Murdoch episode, taken collectively.  We got to see the end of some long-lasting storylines and the resolution of plots that had been central to the series for quite a while.  Now the question moves from “can Murdoch and Julia get married” to “will they?”

Worst of the Week:  Please, do you have to ask?

Other Stuff I Watched:  Brave, Charlie Chan – The Jade Mask (1945), Toy Hunter #2×01-2×03, Mobile Suit Gundam Movies I-III

TV Thursday – 4/11/13

TV Thursday Header

Very slow week this week, Bones, Castle and Mentalist are all taking time off, Walking Dead is over for the season and new and returning shows like Defiance and Warehouse 13 don’t start until later in the month.  Ah well, let’s see how things went with the few shows that were actually on.

Arrow #1×19 – “Unfinished Business” – There’s a virulent new form of Vertigo on the streets and after a girl is killed while under it’s effects, Oliver goes off to question the Count, who was the only one who knew how to make Vertigo, in the state mental institution.  It turns out that the Count is in no condition to talk to anyone, he’s totally lost his mind from the drugs that Oliver pumped into his system a couple of episodes before.  However, the Count apparently escapes from the institution, maybe not so crazy as everyone thought.  Detective Lance thinks he’s found evidence of something hinky at Oliver’s club, the last place the girl who died was seen before her “accident”.  He starts to harass Tommy, who had bribed a building inspector to skip his inspection before the club opened.  When Detective Lance shows up with a search warrant, Oliver is afraid he’s going to find his secret lair, but Tommy has thought of everything and packed the area with boxes of wine.  Tommy is sick of Oliver’s lies though and quits his job as club manager.  Felicity figures out that there is a powerful psychoactive drug in the new batch of Vertigo, a drug that would be almost impossible to get, except at a mental institution.  They find that it isn’t the Count (“One syringe!  Two syringes!  Three syringes!  Ha Ha!”), but his doctor that has been making the new drug from a backward engineered version of the old one.  The Count is tied up in the lab to give them a convenient patsy to pin things on if everything goes south.  Oliver takes out the doctor but chooses to spare the Count, who clearly is insane.  He then tells Diggle that he’ll help him track down Deadshot.  In the flashback to the island, we find that it is Yao Fei’s daughter Shado who actually trained Oliver to use a bow.  We knew that it was someone other than Yao Fei and Slade doesn’t seem to have the skills.  In an earlier episode, Oliver related that Yao Fei had trained him in the use of fighting sticks, not the bow, but now we find that Shado is an advanced archer and she’s the one that got him up to snuff.  It’s nice to see all the threads being tied up.

Dr. Who #7×08 – “The Rings of Akhaten” – The Doctor spends the first couple of minutes of the episode stalking Clara through time, it comes off as really kind of creepy.  He goes back to the present to pick Clara up and she says she wants to see “something awesome”.  So he takes her to the Rings of Akhaten, a religious ceremony held every thousand years where a young girl, called the Queen of Years, supposedly sings to their god.  Well, not so much.  Clara meets up with Merry Gejelh, the current Queen of Years, who is running away from her responsibilities because she  thinks she’ll screw up.  Clara talks her into being brave and all that rot.  Merry performs the ceremony and, as expected, screws up.  Therefore, their god, a creepy mummy-dude, grabs Merry to drain her memories, with the Doctor and Clara in hot pursuit on an open-air sky-cycle.  Oxygen anyone?  They arrive at the mystical pyramid and save Merry, only to realize that the actual god is a giant sun-sized parasite that feeds on the memories of the attendees at the ceremony.  The Doctor offers the parasite his own 1000-year memories, hoping to overstuff the creature, but that doesn’t work.  Finally, Clara shows up and offers the leaf that brought her parents together, the “most important leaf in all of human history” and the parasite dies.  I guess potential memories are more important than actual memories.  The Doctor takes Clara home and she says that if she’s just replacing his lost friend, she’s not interested in going with him. He assures her that she isn’t just a replacement for Rose, because if that was the case and he was going to try to get into her pants, I’d just stop watching right now.  I fucking hate Rose with a burning passion hotter than a million suns.  While I guess that seeing a pile of aliens at the Akhaten marketplace was cool, I kept thinking they belonged in a cantina somewhere.  Everything you saw was just a guy in a mask.  That’s not all that impressive.  The whole idea of a giant star that eats thoughts once every thousand years was ridiculous too.  The ending felt like someone realized they had to start filming and still had no coherent end so they invented the whole “potential memories” nonsense because the director was getting pissed.  I hope that further scripts at least attempt to make some sense and aren’t just flash over story like this one was.

Elementary #1×19 – “Snow Angels” – I watched Person of Interest on the same night and as soon as this came on, I momentarily thought I was watching the other show and thought to myself “didn’t they already do a big storm episode this season?”  Well, yes, this is a big storm episode.  The guard at a security building is killed and the prize was apparently a ton of expensive cell phones that hadn’t officially been released yet.  However, Sherlock doesn’t buy it and finds that the phones were stolen as a cover for the real theft, architectural drawings of one of the largest cash vaults in the country.  The problem is, the power is out due to one of the worst storms on record and the police are out keeping the peace, leaving Holmes, Watson and a snow plow driver named Pam to stop the heist of the century.  On the homefront, Holmes offered to help an old friend, Ms. Hudson, get over a breakup.  I was wondering when she’d show up, in the classic Sherlock Holmes books and movies, Holmes lived in her boarding house at 221B Baker Street.  It wasn’t a bad episode although I find the premise a bit silly.  Holmes deduces that the thieves planned their heist for precisely the time that the storm would knock out the power across the whole of New York.  There’s no way to plan for that, sorry.  It isn’t like they could have done anything had the sequence of events not happened in exactly that way, nor could they have just held the architectural plans until a blackout happened, their absence would have been noticed.  I really dislike “convenient” stories, where things had to work out just so in order to work at all.  Secondly, Sherlock really didn’t solve the mystery, it was just luck that the guard had managed to shoot one of the thieves and the police were able to reason out which one of them ended up at the hospital.  Once they had one of the thieves, the rest, including the mole inside the police, was easy and it took virtually no sleuthing at all.

Thumbs DownFollowing #1×12 – “The Curse” – Joe Carroll is on the phone with Ryan Hardy a lot, isn’t he?  For a while now, Carroll has been metaphorically calling this dance between himself and Hardy a new novel, I guess he was serious.  He sits down at his laptop and is pounding out an actual book, complete with all of his plans.  He just doesn’t understand what’s  going on in Ryan Hardy’s head so he calls up and asks.  He wants to know why Ryan is so dedicated to bringing Joe to justice.  What drives him?  Is he trying to protect Claire?  Is he trying to finish his last case and see Joe put away forever?  Is he just playing the  generic “I’m here for justice” cliche?  Well, none of those.  We get a little backstory on Ryan Hardy, his father, an ex-cop, was killed in liquor store robbery when Ryan was 17 and he got to watch is father die.  Yes, watched, nobody was actually trying to help his father, no one was performing CPR, they were just watching him bleed out.  Thanks guys.  We’re supposed to think that tragic event instilled him with a sense of justice, which is great, but Joe still doesn’t get it.  Worse, we learn that Hardy found his father’s killer and force-injected him with drugs until he overdosed.  Justice?  Hello?  To me, that puts Hardy more in Carroll’s camp than as a respectable police officer.  Anyhow, Hardy meets up with Weston, who isn’t dead or overly damaged, although he looks like he went head-first through a plate glass window.  No, although it hurts to breathe, he’s just fine!  So now that they’ve found the secret cult-member training camp, they follow the money to a defunct separatist movement, where Hardy and Parker think they can trace connections between movement members back to the hideout of the Joe Carroll Cult.  Parker coins the term “Carrollism”.  Fuck you, Parker.  So anyhow, off they go to search for clues, along with “I’m in pain” Weston and just about everyone gets captured.  Seriously, that makes 3 times in 12 episodes that Weston has been captured  by the Carroll Cult.  Someone needs to seriously rethink this guy’s field agent status.  Upstairs, Jacob ties up Agent Parker while she tries to piss him off.  Maybe she’s feeling left out, not having been shot by the cultists yet this season like Weston has.  Hardy comes face to face with Carroll and Weston, behind bullet-proof glass, and they sit around for a while chatting about Hardy’s past.  It had a strange “Silence of the Lambs” vibe to it.  After all, we have to help Carroll past his writer’s block somehow, don’t we?  Joe tries to draw some wild connections between himself and Ryan, death drives them both and some rot, it’s really pretty dumb, then Jacob shows up with Parker in tow and Ryan lets them all go.  Heck, he should have shot Jacob and then let Joe torture Weston a little more, heck, he hurts so much now, a little more pain won’t matter, then put a bullet in Joe’s skull.  No, let the crazy serial killer go!  So Joe makes his way back home, where apparently Claire and Joey had tried to escape by,  you know, walking right out the unlocked front door.  They don’t like it so they put a GPS ankle bracelet on her and tell her not to do it again.  Emma tries to talk to Claire, but surprisingly, Claire doesn’t forgive her for lying to her all those years.  In fact, she smacks her in the head and tells her to stay the hell away from Joey.  Don’t hold your breath.  Joe meets up with Emma and they get it on in the kitchen.  Of course, the only reason they slept together before was because Joe’s ex-wife wasn’t there.  Now she is.  Hmmmm.  In the end, we see Roderick meeting with the FBI in his guise of the sheriff.  He’s going to help them, right until he can stab them in the back, just like everyone else.  Why do these people not suspect everyone of being a cult member?  I know I would!  Then again, most of these people have an IQ somewhere south of 50.

Thumbs UpPerson of Interest #2×19 – “Trojan Horse” – Finch and Reese get another number, but this time, he’s already dead.  However, they find that there is a woman in danger, Monica Jacobs, an executive at the tech company Rylatech.  Finch goes off to play chess with Elias in prison and through his moves, Elias gives Finch clues about the deaths of the D.A. and Detective Szymansky.  It turns out Symansky wasn’t dirty after all, but Elias sure tried.  Carter is happy to hear the news, but she’s still avoiding Cal Beecher, who’d like to be her boyfriend, because he cost her a promotion to the FBI.  Finch gets a job at Rylatech, something he doesn’t seem to have a problem doing anywhere he wants, he can instantly be an employee of any company, anywhere, with no delay.  Convenient, that.  One night, while Finch is working late at Rylatech, he sees Monica sneak into a secure area and copy files from the computer of their original number, Justin Lee.  It looks like she’s involved in corporate espionage, but in fact, she’s a whistle-blower for something much larger.  The real bad guys fake the records to make it look like she’s been stealing from the company and terminate her on the spot.  Harold suspects that someone is giving top-secret Rylatech secrets to the Chinese, but it’s even worse than that.  Reese and Monica break into Rylatech to get access to the blocked servers, to get the proof they need, when they are cornered by employees with guns who try to perforate them.  It turns out that Monica’s boss, the one who founded Rylatech, was leading the crew, but after he is stopped, he takes his own life rather than be captured.  Finch learns that it wasn’t just sending Rylatech secrets to the Chinese, they were using Rylatech equipment, that was widely used at the most secure sites across the country, to spy on everyone!  Cal Beecher, who had proven he wasn’t going to give up, was ordered killed by his godfather, who is in reality, the real head of HR.  On a drug bust, he’s set up and gunned down by the police, just after Carter decided to give him a second chance.  Finch, while poking around inside of the Rylatech system, realizes that “Descima Technologies” has written code he recognizes and it’s only use is to attack “the Machine”.  This was more of a mythology episode, which is good because they haven’t spent much time on it recently.  We did see the return of Reese’s ex-partner Shaw, to whom Finch offers a job.  As I’ve said repeatedly, they need more people in their little circle, I just don’t know how Reese would respond to the woman if they had to work together.  However, she turned Harold down, at least for the moment, questioning whether she should be “hanging out in a derelict library with your poorly socialized guard dog, and Bear here?”  That’s a great line.  The whole idea of HR, while I’ve never been a big fan of massive criminal conspiracies that are entirely invisible to the authorities, hasn’t been seriously addressed lately, at least not since they were supposedly “taken down”.  I hope we get to see some of the reasoning behind HR and hope it’s more than a bunch of mustache-twisting evil nonsense.

Psych #7×06 – “Cirque Du Soul” – You know, I think I like the idea of Rachel and Max in Psych more than I actually enjoy  the portrayal of Rachel and Max.  Yes, I think Gus deserves a girlfriend, he’s one of the few characters without one.  Shawn has Jules.  Shawn’s father and mother are semi-back-together.  Lassiter has Marlowe.  It was time for Gus to have a serious relationship, and initially I was supportive of it, but to be honest, both Rachel and Max are portrayed entirely one-dimensionally.  Take this episode, for instance, where Rachel’s only purpose is to be overprotective and disapproving.  She keeps sending Max out with Shawn and Gus and things happen, things that are totally accidental and unavoidable, yet she keeps getting pissed off.  Sorry, Gus has no control if an accident happens at a circus.  Rachel just looks petty and stupid for blaming him.  So anyhow, Zola, a circus performer, shows up at the Psych office and wants Shawn to find a trapeze artist, François for her.  Rachel wants Max to spend more time with Gus, so they take him along to the circus.  While there, they find François, apparently practicing a routine, but he misses the hand-off and falls to his “death”.  Except it wasn’t the fall that killed him, he was already dead.  See, François and his trapeze crew were actually a criminal group, running around the city trying to steal Tritium because, for some reason, the evil Jeffrey Duke, king of the Port-o-potties, needs a bunch of it and has kidnapped Zola to make them comply.  François had accidentally touched an electrified fence while trying to vault it and died, the rest of them tried to cover up the accident by making it look like he died in a trapeze accident.  They need to get Zola back, and their stolen Visas, before they get picked up for being illegal aliens.  We also see Marlowe get released from prison and she and Lassie have to deal with one of Lassie’s old flings, parole officer Ursula Gibbs, who desperately wants to be with Lassiter, she describes him as a god among men in bed.  Um… ewwww?  Therefore, she makes life hell for Lassie and Marlowe until Jules sets her up with creepy coroner Jake Lloyd and she backs off.  Yes, this is a comedy show, but that was really a dumb plotline, Lassiter and Marlowe could have simply requested a different parole officer citing conflict of interest.  We do not ever need to see Lassiter taking a bubble bath again.  Just saying.  Overall, this was just an average episode, mostly due to bad acting on the part of Rachel, who leaves Gus in this episode because bad crap happens to her son because she’s so overprotective, but she comes back in the end.  I predicted as much the second she left him.  I like the idea of Rachel, I just don’t like the reality of Rachel.  Please, make her better!

Best of the Week:  With no really exceptional episodes this week, it was hard to choose, but I think Person of Interest edges out the competition.  It’s a big episode that focuses on the mythology and that hasn’t happened much lately.  It introduces some interesting questions that really need to be asked and it might even bring in some much-needed regular characters on the good-guy side.

Worst of the Week:  Seriously, not even going to pretend that The Following isn’t a shoe-in for the rest of this season.  It’s just awful and I have yet to find another person who actually likes this show.  How did it get renewed again?

Other Stuff I Watched:  Charlie Chan – Castle in the Desert (1942), Charlie Chan – Black Magic (1944), Charlie Chan – The Shanghai Cobra (1945), Charlie Chan – Dark Alibi (1946), Charlie Chan – The Golden Eye (1948), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Viva Kneival (Rifftrax)

TV Thursday 4/4/13

TV Thursday Header

Arrow #1×18 – “Salvation” – It looks like Oliver isn’t the only vigilante in the Glades, someone has been kidnapping bad guys who have harmed the Glades, putting them on every TV in town and giving themselves a chance to defend their actions.  If he doesn’t like the explanation, he puts a bullet in them on TV.  The vigilante, who goes by the name “Savior”, is taking revenge for his wife’s death on the people who he thinks have failed the Glades.  In many ways he’s a mirror image of Oliver himself, and Helena as well if you think about it.  All of them are taking revenge against the people who harmed them or the city around them, all of them feel alone in their efforts and all of them are willing and perhaps eager to kill to accomplish their goals.  They are all isolated by what they feel inside, even though Oliver has tried, and failed, to have a life outside of slinging arrows, at least he’s made an attempt to reach out to others, as he did in this episode with Felicity.  When Savior goes after Roy Harper, self-styled bad boy and Thea Queen’s love interest, Arrow jumps into action and takes out Savior, which is fine, it’s just mighty convenient that nobody can find out where Savior is hiding until it’s really necessary that they know and it seems relatively silly that there is still power to an old subway system that was shut down when Diggle was a kid.  We get to see how cold and bloodthirsty Moira is when she has Frank killed so she can blame the conspiracy to kill Malcolm Merlyn on him.  We also get the resolution to the storyline with Laurel’s mother, who is convinced that her daughter Sarah is still alive.  It turns out that it was someone else in a similar outfit was in the picture she found, but she won’t give up the search.  As a means of bringing mother and daughter closer, it worked, but it took up too much screen time IMO.  Let’s be honest, we all know that Sarah is alive out there, it’s standard comics operating procedure.  Nobody ever really dies in comics, they’ll always be back eventually.  In the island flashback, Oliver and Slade agree to trade the circuit board to Fyers in exchange for a way off the island.  He instead says that if they don’t turn it over, he’ll kill Yao Fei’s daughter Shado.  They manage to fight off Fyers’ goons and Shado is a damn good fighter, but in the end, Yao Fei gets shot and they leave him bleeding in the woods.  When they get back to where they had hidden the circuit board, it is gone, which really means that Fyers had no reason for the pretense of a trade because he presumably already knew where the circuit board was.  Um… okay.  Why did he do it then?

Bones #8×21 – “The Maiden in the Mushrooms” – When the producer of a courtroom show is found dead, Booth and Brennan jump into the world of crazy lawsuits and lunatic litigants to figure out who done it.  Of course, this isn’t the only crime to worry about this episode, Booth and Brennan have to deal with Christine’s day-care, which claims she bit another child and Bones’ insistence that her child is somehow special.  Then, you had Hodgins use the last of intern Finn’s grandmother’s hot sauce and in his guilt, he has to recreate it and they go into business together.  Honestly, all of these cases show human stupidity rising to new heights.  In the main case, the producer was in a relationship with someone, with whom they shared a dog.  After they broke up, the woman’s carelessness led to the death of the dog by strangulation and the man replicated the death on the woman.  Sorry, a bit extreme, isn’t it?  In the second, Bones just  can’t handle the idea that her daughter is average or is liable to share the same foibles of any other small child.  Even when it’s proven that Christine is, indeed, responsible, she won’t accept it.  Sorry, this is the woman who is rational all the time, yet she’s unable to be rational with regard to her own child?  I don’t buy it.  In the final case, Hodgins steals the hot sauce out of the employee refrigerator and doesn’t even feel sorry about it until it’s revealed it’s the last bottle of special, homemade sauce made by Finn’s deceased grandmother.  And he leaves it in a public refrigerator?  Seriously?  If this hot sauce was so fantastic, why didn’t anyone ask his grandmother for the recipe before she died?  The idea that Hodgins had to run it through the mass spectrometer to figure out what was in it seems a bit absurd, as is the idea that they can take a bottle of sauce to a restauranteur and cut an 80/20 deal for the profits?  I’m still shaking my head at the idea that Hodgins and Angela are poor, it’s still a ridiculous idea.  First off, it was bank fraud, Hodgins isn’t responsible if someone hacked into his account and stole his money, the bank is.  Secondly, if they hacked his family company, I’m sure it was a corporation and he isn’t financially liable for anything that is lost at the company, the claim that they had to mortgage their house to cover business costs is downright stupid.  Third, has nobody ever heard of insurance?  The whole concept, like this episode and really, this entire season, is just dumb.

Castle #5×19 – “The Lives of Others” – Castle breaks his leg in an off-camera skiing accident and has to spend a month in a wheelchair hanging around the house.  Alexis gives him a pair of binoculars and he spends his time looking out the window at the people in the building across the way.  When he sees things that lead him to believe that a murder has taken place, hilarity ensues since, predictably, nobody believes him.  Meanwhile, Beckett has other problems when an IRS investigator winds up dead, the murder caught on video, but the investigator isn’t really what she seemed.  Let’s be honest, this episode wasn’t about the murder case, it was about Castle playing Rear Window for their 100th episode.  Also interesting is the fact that while Castle was celebrating his birthday on the show, it aired just after actor Nathan Fillion’s 42nd birthday on March 27th.  We can pretty much ignore the murder case, it was just there for filler and to give Beckett somewhere to go so she wouldn’t be around when Castle saw all of the weird things across the street.  Of course, it was pretty convenient that  she wasn’t around and it didn’t take me that long to realize something odd was afoot and that it was all a setup to keep Castle entertained until his surprise birthday party.  Had this just been a Rear Window episode, it would have scored a perfect 5, but the fact that they had to tack on a lackluster murder case as well cost it points.  Granted, the whole Ryan and Esposito Charlie’s Angels pose was great and there were a few good sections, but mostly, Beckett had to run back to Castle’s side and the case itself just wasn’t that great.  Here’s hoping for another 100 episodes with Castle and Beckett, I know I’ll be watching.

Dr. Who #7×07 – “The Bells of Saint John” –  Following the  events of the Christmas special, the Doctor has retreated to 1207 where he’s hanging out in a medieval monastery, thinking about Clara Oswald, the woman he’s seen die twice, but she never quite seems to die.  The monks come to tell him that “the bells of Saint John” are ringing and he rushes back to the Tardis to answer the phone.  On the other end is Clara, although a different Clara than we’ve seen.  She’s utterly clueless about technology and thinks the Doctor is tech support.  She wants to know where the Internet has gone.  Realizing it’s Clara, the Doctor rushes to her house, only to find that she doesn’t know him.  However, she’s attacked by a “spoonhead”, a robot with a dish in the back of it’s head that can upload the consciousness of a human into the wireless signals whizzing by us all the time.  The Doctor stops the upload just in time and spirits Clara away, but in searching for the source of the uploads, Clara is finally taken and the Doctor invades the mysterious center that is stealing consciousnesses and feeding them to the Great Intelligence, last seen in the Christmas special.  When the Doctor forces the director of the project, Miss Kislet, to be uploaded into the cloud of intelligences, they are forced to release all of the other consciousnesses to release her, thwarting the Great Intelligence’s plans.  He resets all of the workers, releasing them from his control and Clara and the Doctor are free to go traveling through time and space.  Now this isn’t a bad episode by any means, I just didn’t care for it much and it’s not the plot, it’s the characters.  Clara immediately starts hinting at more of a relationship with the Doctor.  Oh, I know she didn’t profess her undying love and maybe I’ve just been bitten too many times so I’m gunshy, but the second that a female companion starts even talking, even vaguely, about anything sexual or romantic or even physical in any context, I immediately start to dislike them.  I’ll say this again, the idea of having anything physically intimate to do with any human ought to strike the doctor like the idea of screwing your dog.  The Doctor isn’t human.  Sex with a human is tantamount to bestiality.  There should never, ever, under any circumstances, ever be even the slightest hint of anything beyond friendship between the Doctor and a companion, yet in almost every single season since the series was rebooted in 2005, there has been some kind of sexual undertones or romantic yearning on the part of someone in the Tardis toward the Doctor.  Knock it the bloody fuck off!  The other part is frankly, I’m really growing tired of Matt Smith’s Doctor.  I’ve said this before, but there’s just something wrong with the way Matt Smith portrays the Doctor IMO.  Sure, in the past, he’s been played eccentric, he’s been played a bit off, like the alien out of time that he is, but Matt Smith has been playing him like there’s really something out of whack upstairs.  He’s playing the Doctor, not as a nearly 1000-year old Timelord, but like a 20-year old Brit with ADHD.  In small doses, the scatterbrained bit is fine, but it’s just not in small doses, he spends all of his time talking to himself, muttering, ranting… it’s getting less and less enjoyable.  I really hope I’m wrong and what I saw tonight doesn’t bode ill for future events, but like I said, the tradition is there and I certainly won’t be surprised if they do it yet again.  I wish they’d stick a male companion on the Tardis, no woman anywhere close by, and let the boys explore time and space for a couple of seasons, without the chance of anything romantic developing.  That would certainly rekindle more interest from me for the show.

Thumbs DownFollowing #1×11 – “Whips and Regret” –  About the only thing I regret is having to watch this stupid show, which just gets more and more stupid as time goes on.  We start off with Ryan waking up with a hangover and getting a phone call from Joe Carroll, who is gloating that he got his wife back.  Ryan keeps hanging up on him.  Why?  Because hanging up on the most wanted  serial killer is always the best idea.  Parker shows up and tells Ryan she needs him on the case and together they find a BDSM club the Joe Carroll Cult is using, essentially as their ISP.  The name of the club, from which the episode gets it’s title, is so reprehensible in every way, the first thing I thought was “this is how Fox views the world!”  They meet the club’s owner, Hayley Neptune, who immediately runs away when she sees them, they chase her through the bowels of the club, past whips, chains and whipped cream, until she ends up in front of a computer in the back office.  They ask her about Joe’s cult and she claims not to know a thing about it, even thought she ran when she saw them and she went straight for a computer when they know the place is a front for Joe’s extensive online presence.  Sure, I’m sure all credible FBI agents would believe her.  Anyhow, Hayley offers up the name of her partner, Vince McKinley, who put in all the extensive computer systems, and says he has a thing for Joe Carroll.  Now wait a minute, wasn’t she just denying having any knowledge of Joe Carroll just a few minutes ago?  But anyhow, they blackmail her into helping them catch Vince and wire her up, just in time for Vince to abduct her.  Of course, Ryan could save her, his sniper says he can take Vince out just a moment before, but no.  Even though she’s almost screaming for help, and clearly Vince is pretty damn stupid not to see through her absurd over-use of the safe-word “red”, which he must have understood since, as she said, they didn’t date, they just flogged each other, away they go, with Parker and Ryan in some form of pursuit.  Vince takes her back to a cult safehouse to collect weapons and ammo for Joe.  Ryan, Parker and their team make their way inside and Vince makes his escape, leaving Hayley behind in peril to slow them down.  One of the agents finds three women locked in a cage and is banging on the lock while Ryan is screaming over the radio not to do it, they are cult members.  Sure, when you’re talking to your superiors, you always make a lot of noise so you can’t hear their orders!  Yet another stupid FBI agent who deserved to die.  I can’t be the only one who, after seeing this week’s Walking Dead, didn’t immediately think of the zombies in the tombs under the prison, can I?  Anyhow, Ryan caps all of the cult members before they kill Parker and all is good in the world, except for the fact that they all utterly failed in every way conceivable.  At the end, Claire gets reunited with Joey because Joe thinks it will make her love him again.  Yes, kidnapping your own child and teaching him to kill, then kidnapping your ex-wife multiple times, putting a bag over her head and dragging her to a sociopath retreat, keeping her away from her child, then giving express permission for one of your minions to slap her around… that’s going to spark that loving feeling again!  Seriously, how bad can this show get?  I still question how Joe can attract so many followers when he treats them so damn badly.  He smacks Roderick in the face with a book, he locks his acolytes up in cages, he clearly doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself and admits to being megalomaniacal, who is going to follow this nut again?  And I ask again, what prison is not going to record every single visitor conversation at a maximum security prison, with the exception of visits with a lawyer?  Every Tom, Dick and Harriet is showing up to see Joe Carroll and talking openly about running around murdering for him.  Seriously?  Then you have Ryan Hardy, who has got to be the biggest screwup in FBI history, he believes he’s cursed and everyone he gets close to dies, he makes some of the worst decisions ever, some of them Andrea-level of stupid (see Walking Dead) and everyone wants him on the team no matter how badly he messes up.  Maybe he and Joe ought to have a love child that can bring about the apocalypse, they seem made for each other.  Heck, maybe that’s what Joe has in mind as he’s watching Ryan screw his wife over and over.  I don’t really want to know.

Murdoch Mysteries #6×11 – “Lovers in a Murderous Time” – When a man is found killed by a pitchfork in a barn, Murdoch searches for the killer, but when multiple people claim to have committed the crime, he has to decide if an addled old woman, a man who thinks they are starcrossed lovers or the woman’s nurse are really responsible.  Worse, Murdoch and Julia find themselves convinced that different people are actually guilty.  While this isn’t a bad episode, it’s certainly not one of my favorites, specifically because there’s a high woo factor at work here.  The woman has early signs of Alzheimers, although it’s before the disease has been identified.  Julia says she had talked to Dr. Alzheimer about the symptoms, but she couldn’t use it as a defense because it was an unnamed disease.  Whatever could they call it?  Hmmm….  The man in the plot was convinced that he and the woman had been lovers in the distant past and that she had gone to the gallows to protect him and this was his opportunity to do the same for her.  The nurse, should the woman marry, would lose all of the woman’s wealth that she stood to inherit.  It was an episode filled with lies, deceit and delusion and in the end, delusion won out.  That kind of thing bothers me.  While there is a lot of Victorian-era woo in the show and a lot of primitive beliefs, Murdoch himself is usually a pretty straight-shooter and very rational about his police work.  I find it sad that he doesn’t apply that rational thinking to his religious beliefs, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there.  This time, everyone started buying into claims of reincarnation and I really hate seeing that, no matter what the period.  Come on, let’s try not to be so gullible in the future.

Thumbs UpPsych #7×05 – “100 Clues” –  It’s Psych’s 100th episode and this time, they take on the movie Clue.  It starts in 2007, when Shawn and Gus had just started working with the SBPD.  They confront hair-band front-man Billy Lipps after a show and point out inconsistencies between his books and the mysterious and unresolved death of a groupie, suggesting he might have killed her.  Lassie and Jules arrest him as we leap into a Clue-inspired opening sequence.  Jump to the present day and Shawn receives an odd singing telegram inviting him and a plus-one to a dinner at the famous Villa Rosa mansion.  He invites Jules, but she’s called in to work so he takes Gus instead.  The episode takes elements from various films and TV shows of the era, such as the screaming doorbell, lifted bodily from Neil Simon’s excellent and highly recommended Murder by Death.  As the other guests arrive, Shawn deduces that all of them had a part in sending Billy Lipps to prison and thinks that he’s called them together to seek his revenge.  However, Billy assures them that prison was the best thing that ever happened to him and now that he’s out, he just wants to thank everyone for straightening out his life.  Then Billy’s manager, Highway Harry goes face-down in his salad and is pronounced dead, Shawn suspects murder, but Harry was really just passed out drunk.  Lassiter and Jules show up, having found an abandoned car down the road with the mansion’s address in the GPS and hijinks ensue.  It’s revealed that Billy spent time in prison for nothing, he wasn’t the actual killer, but who done it?  The crew is trapped in the house, a monsoon howling outside and Billy’s escaped pet panther chowing on anyone who tries to leave, and the final guest of the evening, Tears for Fears frontman Curt Smith shows up, only to be shot in the gut and left out in the rain to suffer a panther attack just as he’s about to reveal the real murderer.  Of course, the butler did it… or did he?

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZpz6j4o0e4′]

Psych #7x05a – “100 Clues Alternate Ending” –  Same episode, different ending, just like the 1985 film “Clue”.  Still hysterical. but this time, the killer was Martin Kahn, the writer.  Same great rating though.

Walking Dead #3×16 – “Welcome to the Tombs” – It’s the third season finale and the Governor is pissed off at Milton for burning the pit of walkers he was going to set upon Rick.  He tortures him and eventually orders him to murder Andrea. When Milton refuses, the Governor stabs him and leaves him to die, telling him he’ll turn into a walker and kill her anyhow.  Back at the prison, everyone is packing up the cars, apparently ready to flee from the coming assault.  Michonne forgives Rick for trying to turn her over to the Governor, saying that he had to consider all options.  Carl is pissed that he can’t be a part of the battle.  In Woodbury, Tyreese and Sasha opt out of the fight, saying they’ll stay behind and guard the children, to which the Governor consents.  Good thing too.  Then the fight is on, the Governor blows up the guard towers, kills all of the walkers, etc.  Apparently, nobody is at the prison and the Governor sends groups inside to search.  Down in the tombs, Rick and company attack, sending the Woodbury army fleeing.  Victory goes to the prison side.  They immediately argue whether they should chase the survivors or let them go.  Out in the fields, Jody, an escapee from the Woodbury side, encounters Hershel, Beth and Carl who were hiding out of harm’s way and tries to give up but Carl shoots him in cold blood.  Good kid, that Carl.  Rick and a few others chase the Governor’s crew, but finds that he had shot them all down on the road for cowardice, except for one woman who had escaped execution.  They take her back to Woodbury where they convince Tyreese that the Governor has gone crazy and invites the survivors of Woodbury back to the prison.  They also find Andrea, she got bitten by Milton and is going to turn.  She takes a gun from Rick and shoots herself.  Um, okay.  Andrea was stupid anyhow, but that was her job, to make stupid decisions.  She’s strapped to a chair while someone is slowly dying and turning into a zombie and she spends most of her time staring at him instead of getting free.  She knows what’s going to happen, she knows there’s nothing she can do to stop it, she just fumbles around the whole time and doesn’t even work hard until he’s already turned.  Fuck off bitch, you deserved to die.  The other bit that bothered me was the fact that the Governor’s men are just watching him gun down innocent people and just stand there with their guns and do nothing to stop him.  Worse, when one of his men pull on him and have the Governor dead  to rights, he just stands there and gets a bullet in the head rather than pulling the trigger.  What a bunch of idiots.  We knew Rick was going to win all along, no matter what else happened this season, so the ending wasn’t surprising at all.  I don’t care that Andrea died, although this is a significant departure from the comic, I couldn’t stand the TV version anyhow.  I don’t care that Milton died, although he was one of the only decent characters in Woodbury.  I just don’t care about any of them, that’s the problem.  Carl is a little psychopath.  Rick is out of his mind.  Daryl was just a little puppydog to his brother.  Where are the decent, human characters you can really come to care about and identify with on this show?  I’m just not seeing them.

Best of the Week:  Can’t decide between Psych and Psych, but I think I’ll just go with Psych’s 100th episode and leave it at that.

Worst of the Week:  Is The Following ever going to get off the bottom list?  It’s just an awful show with dumb characters, absurd situations and reprehensible writing.  If they’re trying to recapture the popularity of 24, even at it’s absolute worst, they’re doing it wrong.

Other Things I Watched:  This Island Earth (1954), Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), Revenge of the Creature (1955), The  Creature Walks Among Us (1956) [this ends our watching of the Universal Monsters classics}, The Nerdist #1×01,

TV Thursday – 3/28/13

TV Thursday Header

It’s lucky for me that the next two weeks will be a bit light, a couple of shows are taking a hiatus.  I’ll be away for the next weekend almost immediately after this posts so I can’t spend my weekend catching up on new shows.

Arrow #1×17 – “The Huntress Returns” – As the title implies, the Huntress returns to Starling City, still on the hunt for her father.  He’s been in prison but has cut a deal with prosecutors that will get him out of prison and into witness protection and forever out of her hands.  She comes to Oliver and asks his help, knowing she can’t do this alone.  When he refuses to kill for her, she threatens his friends and family, ultimately attacking Tommy and Oliver reluctantly agrees to save his life.  Together, they go after a pair of armored trucks that are supposed to be transporting her father and find out that it’s a trap.  Helena is captured, Oliver escapes, but he has to break Helena out of jail to keep her from revealing his secret to authorities.  Thereafter, Oliver gives her a plane ticket and tells her to get off his lawn.  She doesn’t listen.  Instead, she attacks Felicity and forces her to hack into the FBI computers to find the safehouse her father is hiding at.  Oliver goes after her and stops her from killing her father, but in the melee, McKenna is shot and sufficiently injured that she’s off the police force.  She tells Oliver that she’s going to go to Coast City to recover and breaks up with him.  Laurel’s mother, Dinah, who was the original Black Canary in the comics, presents evidence that her sister, Sarah, might not be dead, she might be trapped on an island just like Oliver was.  Speaking of islands, Oliver and Slade steal a component from the missile launcher, hoping to trade it to Fyers in exchange for their freedom.  While it was a good episode, I must say I really don’t care for what they’ve done to Huntress.  It was cool when Detective Lance named her though, I’m glad that some of the names are being used in the series instead of people having to figure out who these characters are supposed to be in the comics.  However, they’ve turned her into a sociopathic killer and I was hoping that she and Oliver would get together.  After all, with Laurel off the market, there aren’t that many available women around.  I guess he could go for Felicity, I’m getting to like her more in every episode.  One last fun touch this episode, Speedy protected Thea from muggers but got stabbed for his trouble.  When he was getting stitched up, the doctor wanted to give him a shot and he was terrified of needles.  Great touch for someone who was hooked on drugs in the comics.  It’s little nods to the audience that make me smile about this show even more. 

Bones #8×20 – “The Blood from the Stones” – An undercover cop is found dead and suspicion immediately turns to a pair of high-tech ATM robbers.  This is complicated when Bones finds a bag of diamonds in the dead man’s stomach.  Even more complex, the Jeffersonian decides to send in a documentary filmmaker to increase donations, a man named Andrew who wears a camera on his head and immediately starts hitting on Caroline.  Now yes, it was painful to watch, their eyes drifting across the room until they met, love at first sight, my wife immediately said they were trying to pair up one of the few main cast members that hadn’t gotten laid during the series, but to be honest, Caroline is someone I don’t mind seeing happy now and then, just because she’s usually so overworked and miserable.  The whole documentary angle was largely wasted, it was just an excuse to have a guy in the room making snide remarks and the cast to act like idiots, whoring for the camera.  I really didn’t care for Andrew being a general expert on virtually every subject that came up, the idea that hanging around filming in New Orleans, presumably following Katrina, gave him a functional knowledge of Creole?  Yeah, not so much.  That said, I hope he’s at least referenced in the future as a part of Caroline’s life, she deserves something besides work.  As for the case, at least it wasn’t too ridiculously obvious from the start as a lot of them are.  It turns out he was a dirty cop who was stealing diamonds and trying to kill the ATM robbers who just wanted to launder their ill-gotten gains.  His wife cried alligator tears when he died, but was, in reality, the one who killed him in order to steal the money.  She wanted his wealth, she just didn’t want him.  She was an idiot though, as Bones pointed out, it would be very difficult for him to put the gun that killed him back in the hidden safe in his house after he was dead.  Finally, I don’t know, maybe it’s the conservative in me, but I hate, hate, hate Booth and Bones non-marital state.  It was hammered home even worse in this episode when Bones quite matter-of-factly said that she never intended to get married.  Fuck you idiots.

Thumbs UpCastle #5×18 – “The Wild Rover” – There have been a couple of episodes this season where Javier has really stepped up and been a more central character but Ryan has been suspiciously absent from the spotlight.  Until now.  “The Wild Rover” brings the focus on Ryan and his past as an undercover investigator in the Irish mob.  We start off with the death of a baker, Jimmy Whelan.  Ryan isn’t around, he and his wife have been trying to get pregnant without apparent success and had an appointment with a fertility specialist to find out why.  However, when he finally got back, he was surprised to find that he knew everyone involved in the current murder, including Siobhan O’Doul, someone he was involved with when he was undercover for 14 months, who spots him in the police station and lays a big kiss on him in front of his wife.  It turns out that Siobhan, like Jimmy Whelan, is an informant on the Irish mob, especially on mob enforcer Bobby S.  Siobhan and Jimmy were supposed to acquire a ‘mob bible” which gave all the details on the mob operations and could bust the case wide open.  However, they think Bobby found out Jimmy was a snitch and plugged him, but they can’t prove it, leaving Siobhan in hot water as she can’t qualify for witness protection unless she turns over the bible.  Ryan volunteers to go undercover since he already knows everyone involved and returns to former identity “Fenton”.  He convinces Bobby and his new crew of his intentions and is reluctantly accepted by most of them, with the exception of Liam, Bobby’s right hand thug, who has Siobhan followed and discovers she’s working with the authorities.  He brings her to “Fenton” and orders him to kill her.  He refuses and admits that he’s an undercover cop, but one with foresight, he snatched Liam’s cell phone and had it sending the whole conversation to his police friends who were on the scene to make all of the arrests.  However, it wasn’t Bobby who took out Jimmy, it was Liam’s wife who wanted to frame Bobby and move her husband up in the criminal organization.  At the end, Ryan’s wife makes him promise that the undercover part of his career is over, it turns out they didn’t have to go to the specialist after all, she’s pregnant.  Along the way, Beckett had heard Castle say the name “Jordan” in his sleep and spent the episode bugging him about it.  Way back in the second season, Castle had told a story that he became a writer because he found his housekeeper’s son dead on the beach, a son named Jordan.  However, here he finally comes clean and admits that back in college, he had someone named Jordan write a term paper for him and it was so good that he received accolades for it.  He always felt guilty and he became a writer, trying to earn the credit that he felt was wrongly bestowed on him.  I don’t know which story I like better, I’m just surprised that Beckett didn’t remember the original story he told.  Castle is worried that Beckett won’t respect him once he tells her the truth but she says it makes her like him even more.  This was an excellent episode because it showcased the acting talents of Seamus Dever, he really needed a chance to shine and he did so admirably.  It seems that every time they give the spotlight to one of the secondary characters, they do an utterly fantastic job.  [review=5]

Thumbs DownFollowing #1×10 – “Guilt” – Do I have to continually say how dumb this show is and how utterly incompetent every single person on the law enforcement side is?  Seriously, why is the FBI not calling them and saying “stop using our name, it’s making us look bad!”  It’s embarrassing.  Beyond that, pretty much everyone on the show makes the worst conceivable decisions every time they have a choice.  Ryan dragged Claire to his friend’s house without bothering to check her for bugs.  Um, hello!  Ryan’s friend Tyson, knowing that there are armed killers with bullet proof vests and machine pistols running around in the dark, decides to stand out in the open and we’re supposed to be surprised when he gets shot?  Then there’s Claire.  Sweet, loveable Claire, who has consistently made every bad decision that’s possible to make and people seem genuinely surprised when she keeps doing it.  She gets into a car driven by two homicidal murderers, who just shot someone twice in the chest, because she wants to see her son?  Yes, this is going to end well.  Add this to the fact that it’s clear Ryan runs the FBI.  Let’s face it, whenever he as one of those “I’m going hold my breath until I turn blue unless I get my way” moments, they always give in.  That’s not how the FBI works, sorry.  Maybe we should change the name to the BFI, the Big Fucking Idiots.  Then we have the whole disaster with Jacob and Emma, where Joe wants them back together but Jacob blames her for the death of Paul.  Oh wait, dumbshit, you’re the one who smothered him with a pillow, remember?  But he keeps seeing Paul everywhere, sort of like Rick keeps seeing Lori on Walking Dead.  Loons to the end.  The whole thing at Tyson’s place was absurd.  If this is a former FBI agent who is so afraid of being discovered by underworld contacts that he’s in witness protection and lives entirely off the grid, why does he have two shotguns and a handful of shells?  He should have a solid arsenal and some bulletproof vests at least, just in case whoever he’s hiding from figures out where he is.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  About the only funny bit in the episode was the Hardy Curse, where Ryan Hardy is convinced that everyone he befriends dies.  Here’s a suggestion for you pal.  Befriend Joe Carroll.  Use it to your advantage.  This show just sucks rancid donkey balls. 5 more episodes and I’m done. 

Mentalist #5×18 – “Behind the Red Curtain” – The lead in a theatrical company gets pushed off a balcony and the CBI is called in to solve the case.  Everyone acts ridiculously concerned about their main investor, a man called Hanover, he has to be informed of everything that happens in the company and people are far too worried about losing investment money and not particularly worried about the death of their lead.  Well, they are concerned about replacing her with someone that will keep the investors happy, of course.  Frankly, it was an episode full of self-absorbed asshats that I wouldn’t even slow down before running them over and my only worry would be denting my car.  I’d borrow one.  There wasn’t a single person in the episode that was a decent human being and that seems to happen a lot in The Mentalist.  In the end, it turns out that Hanover wasn’t real, he was an invention by the head of the theater company to keep other investors investing, the lead had discovered the deception and he had made his way to her room, in a Hanover costume, and pushed her off the balcony.  This was revealed by a great scene of Inspector LaRoche playing the part of the never-before-seen Hanover and only the head of the company knew that it wasn’t really him.  More interesting than the mystery was Jane trying desperately to get in to see Jason, the Red John groupie that was shot by Lorelei an episode or two ago.  However, Agent Kirkland gets to him first and injects something into his IV, after confirming that Jason didn’t know who he was.  I’m suspecting that Kirkland is supposed to be Red John, but that would be somewhat of a disappointment if it were so.  After all, he made his first appearance in the series just this season, in the fifth episode “Red Dawn”.  Surely if Red John is to mean anything, it has to be someone who was with the show almost from the beginning, hiding in plain sight.  I’ll be so disappointed if Kirkland or LaRoche are Red John.

Murdoch Mysteries #6×10 – “Twisted Sisters” – While this has nothing to do with the show itself, I always feel like I’m behind on this series, mostly because the people who put up captures never do so in a timely manner.  Whereas most shows are available for download the night they air, Murdoch Mysteries usually takes 4-5 days and thus, I’m often behind a week or so.  If it wasn’t for the fact that this is a Canadian production and therefore beyond my reach, I’d capture it myself.  A woman is found on the waterfront, drowned and hit with a heavy object.  It seems rather mundane until another woman is found, killed the exact same way, then another.  Fearing a serial killer, they seek out anything these women share in common, only to find that, other than being educated, they have no common links, at least until Murdoch finds that they were all part of a secret women’s society, a society that had a mysterious death a year or two earlier and now, all of the women who were involved are winding up dead.  Meanwhile, Dr. Emily Grace, Crabtree’s girlfriend, discovers that her former country club is sending a woman to the Paris Olympics for croquet and, being the former croquet champion, decides to enter the contest.  I will admit, the second they started talking about competitive croquet as an Olympic sport, I rolled my eyes, but I learned two things.  First, George Crabtree is a much finer gentleman, even with his lowly station, than any of the rich asshats in the country club and secondly, that Emily Grace can be damn vindictive when she wants to be.  They really do belong together.

Psych #7×04 – “No Country for Two Old Men” – I knew that after last week’s hysterical episode, it just couldn’t last and I was right.  This week, it wasn’t as fantastic as last week, but it was still really good.  One thing I love with Psych is the fact that they will change up the opening credits as they move around to different locations and themes.  Usually about once a season, Friendly Indians will do a special opening and this was it, an opening theme done all in Spanish for their trip to Mexico.  It isn’t the first theme to be done in Spanish, that goes all  the way back to the season 2 episode “Lights, Camera… Homicidio”.  This time, we meet Juliette’s step-father, played by Jeffrey Tambour, who can’t beat her real on-air father, played by William Shatner, but hey, he does a great job anyhow.  Now that Shawn and Jules have moved in together, they throw a housewarming party, attended by the whole cast.  Shawn mentions that it would be fun if their fathers got to be good friends and sets up a lunch for them to push them in that direction.  However, Lloyd isn’t the mild-mannered accountant he seems, he hijacks Henry on a wild adventure to a criminal mastermind in Mexico, with hopes of cancelling his last gambling debt and giving up the adventurous life forever.  He gets Henry shot at, steals a car, steals a plane and sends Shawn and company chasing after them.  Along the way, they meet Mexican Lassie, watch their dads dig their own graves and in the end, against all odds, their fathers really do become friends.  That’s great, I love watching Corbin Bernsen and he ought to have other friends on the show.  It’s fun watching Gus realize that being in love isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.  He started to feel pressured, thinking he had to make a family with his new girlfriend and her son, only to realize she’s in no hurry to settle down either.  But since we’re talking about Psych’s special openings, here’s a video of all of them.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNErqEC7OvQ’]

Walking Dead #3×15 – “This Sorrowful Life” – Rick pulls Daryl and Hershel aside and tells them about the Governor’s offer to leave them alone in exchange for Michonne.  Merle, who is ripping through mattresses looking for drugs, overhears and finds the whole thing funny.  After all, it makes Rick no better than the Governor and if Rick thinks the Governor is going to hold up his end of the bargain, he’s smoking what Merle is looking for.  Rick is searching for wire to tie up Michonne when he hallucinates Lori and forgets what he was doing.  Merle decides that he’s the only one that can carry through on the deal and hauls Michonne off.  They have a lovely talk while walking down the road.  He says that they are both outsiders in Rick’s group and therefore, Rick wouldn’t hesitate to off the both of them if it made life a little easier.  He stops to hot-wire a car and ends up setting off the alarm, drawing walkers from miles around.  They barely escape but Merle pulls the car over and lets Michonne free, telling her that he’s got something he has to do alone and sends her back to the prison.  On the way, she runs into Daryl and tells him what’s going on and he goes after Merle.  Merle blasts Motorhead from his car and attracts a huge crowd of walkers and drives straight into the meeting place where a number of Woodbury residents are waiting with guns to ambush Rick.  He uses the mayhem to kill off a bunch of the snipers until the Governor gets to him, bites off two of the fingers he has left and puts a bullet in him.  Meanwhile, Glenn asks Hershel if he can marry Maggie and he says yes.  Luckily, Maggie says yes too or it could have been pretty embarrassing.  Rick calls the group together and admits that he was going to turn over Michonne to the Governor and has been an idiot, therefore his statement that it was his way or the highway, way back in the first episode of this season, was officially rescinded and people had to democratically agree what went on in the prison.  Rick goes off the keep watch while everyone else talks and in the process, almost shoots the returning Michonne.  Back at the meeting site, Daryl shows up and finds Merle eating brains, probably his first encounter with them in his life.  Overcome with grief, he stabs Merle in the head a bunch of times.  Honestly, there are a few things that were done right in this episode and some that were done wrong.  It was obvious that Merle wasn’t long for this world when he stopped being a douchebag.  That was his schtick.  I won’t miss him, he was a crappy character all the way along and this last minute attempt at redemption didn’t come off as genuine.  The lack of outrage the group had at learning Rick’s plan didn’t strike true either.  If the leader of my group admitted that they had planned on turning over a member of the group to be raped, tortured and killed, I wouldn’t just sit there, I’d string him up, or at the very least, lock him in a cell, I don’t care what kind of a history I had with them.  Why they keep letting Rick, crazy, hallucinating, teetering on the brink of being homicidal, Rick walk around is beyond me.  Then again, I thought the same thing about the comics.  On the good side, now that Merle is dead, Daryl can stop following him around like a lonesome puppy and get back to being the character he’s grown into.  We’ve also gotten away from the idea that there can be a peace between the prison and Woodbury, but as Michonne showed them it doesn’t have to be a bloody confrontation, they can defend themselves and even the odds.  And as much as I think marriage in the traditional sense is a bit silly given the apocalypse, the fact that Glenn wants to give Maggie a ring is somewhat touching.

Best of the Week:  Castle gets the nod for the fantastic acting of Seamus Dever who has been sorely underused of late, he just needed a chance to shine and this Ryan-focused episode gave him the chance to grab the bull by the horns and kick it’s ass.

Worst of the Week:  Zero surprise here, the abysmally-written Following.  You couldn’t make these characters dumber if you tried, and trust me, the writers make a herculean effort every single week.

Other Stuff I Watched:  Space Sheriff Gavan Movie, The Climax (1944), House of Frankenstein (1944), The Mummy’s Curse (1945), The Brute Man (1946), She-Wolf of London (1946), The Strange Door (1951), It Came From Outer Space (1953), This Planet Earth (1955), Breaker! Breaker! Rifftrax, Tanked #2×15, Monsters & Mysteries in America #1×01

TV Thursday 3/21/13

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Bones #8×19 – “The Doom in the Gloom” – Unlike most Bones episodes, this time we get to see the victim die instead of just seeing the aftermath.  A young woman, part of a doomsday prepper cult, gets roasted to death in her remote cabin.  Bones and Booth are immediately convinced that it is one of the other members of the cult, after all, there wasn’t anyone else around, but the facts of the case give them all airtight alibis.  There’s a lot of great “king of the lab” moments here, such as Hodgins firing a cannon in the lab and Cam and Angela admitting that it was cool, but he can never know.  Or the point where Hodgins and Booth are testing a theory and Booth gets gooped in the face.  Actually, that one pisses me off a little, Booth should know that you never, ever, under any circumstances, stand in the way of a loaded weapon.  It was done for comedic effect but it was totally out of character.  Meanwhile, Sweets finally finds a place to live and gets ready to move out of Bones and Booth’s house.  For as much as they complain about him being there, seeing him finally go is a bittersweet moment and they realize they’re going to miss him.  The fact that his two new roommates are named Janet and Chrissy was great, but now that it looks like he and Daisy might be getting back together, as I predicted weeks ago, that’s going to cause a lot of problems.  Another running theme this week seems to be sociopathic killers, the guy who built the remote killing device really saw nothing wrong with what he did.  I’m not sure if that says more about doomsday preppers or about killers.  Still, it’s a better episode than the last couple have been.

Castle #5×17 – “Scared to Death” – Is this old movie spoof week and nobody told me?  A woman receives a DVD in the mail, containing scary images ala The Ring and after 3 days, she dies of an apparent heart attack after calling 911.  They track the package and it leads them to another victim who similarly died of heart failure 3 days after watching the same DVD.  Castle is convinced it’s murder from beyond the grave and gets everyone at the station going, only Beckett is unconvinced.  This is the kind of episode where Castle is at it’s best.  You have Rick Castle with his oddball theories that seem to fit all of the data, but just can’t be true.  You have Ryan and Esposito who start to fall for it and then there’s Beckett who thinks all of them are nuts, but over time starts having second thoughts.  Castle calls friend Wes Craven to ask for advice when he thinks he’s going to die in three days, having seen the DVD, it’s great to see all of the cameos they get on this show.  Unfortunately, there were also some issues.  First off, the coroner said he found no marks on the body, but since the weapon turned out to be a modified taser, there should have been marks, tasers leave burns, especially one modified to give an even stronger shock.  Secondly, when Castle and Beckett meet with the crazy brother, they are forced to sign an acknowledgement that they understand the rules when dealing with this nut.  The rules include not handing or taking anything from the brother.  He’s behind a pane of glass, they couldn’t hand him anything if they wanted to!  That said though, they did manage to work in a lot of references that only horror fans are going to get.  Castle calls Wes Craven, which is best known for his Nightmare on Elm Street series, but also did a movie called Shocker, where a convicted killer is sentenced to die in the electric chair, but doesn’t really die, he is converted to electricity and continues his killing spree.  The courthouse where the serial killer is tried is at 1135 Elm, a clear reference to Craven’s best known film series and the aforementioned scene with the crazy brother is a reference to Silence of the Lambs.  This is the second best episode of the season, I really wish there were more just like it.

Elementary #1×18 – “Déjà Vu All Over Again” – Watson has it easy.  She’s got one of the world’s greatest detectives to rely on and while so far, she’s had some lucky deductions, the mysteries have only been solved because Sherlock has been there to guide her.  This time, she’s on her own and she’s doubting that she’s up to the task.  Worse yet, her friends have called an intervention, convinced that she’s making a mistake wanting to be a detective.  Sherlock’s father asks him to solve a missing person case and, since their relationship is rocky at best, he passes the case off to Watson while he goes to search for a murderer.  It turns out, conveniently enough, that the two cases are related.  Watson immediately suspects the missing woman’s husband, although she has no evidence to support it and Holmes takes her at her word, believing in her even when a mistake lands her in jail.  Still though, he defends her to the police and it turns out that she’s absolutely right, not only did he kill his wife, he killed a woman in a subway station to cover up his wife’s murder.  This is a very important episode in the Holmes/Watson mythos because it firmly cements Joan Watson as not only a useful partner to Sherlock Holmes, but a talented and upcoming detective in her own right.  She’s no longer just a helper, no longer just part of his support mechanism, she’s a partner.  This is something I’ve been looking forward to since the very first episode.

Thumbs DownFollowing #1×09 – “Love Hurts” –  Geez, is it over yet?  More crazy cult members go out and kill some people.  That’s about all you need to know.  More?  Damn.  We get deeper into the love triangle between Ryan Hardy, Joe Carroll and Claire Matthews.  In this episode, Carroll starts to focus on anyone named Claire Matthews, sending cult-crazy Amanda out to kill them via any means necessary in order to send a message to Ryan Hardy.  Telegrams still work, you know.  Meanwhile, Jacob and Paul are still hanging out at Jacob’s parent’s house, but Jacob’s mother can’t do a thing to help Paul, he’s too far gone.  All she wants is for them to be out of the house before Jacob’s father gets home.  This is a big thing to her.  Paul, however, is too messed up to move so instead of calling an ambulance or trying to get him real help, Jacob smothers him with a pillow so his death “means something”.  What does it mean?  It means he wasn’t important enough to really want to keep around.  This, of course, frees Jacob to go hunting for Emma and frees Paul’s actor to go look for a decent role.  This episode really shows how little Joe Carroll cares about anyone.  When he’s informed  that one of his cult members are dead and Amanda is in federal custody, all he can say is “what a shame”.  That people are willing to kill for him and die for him really means very little to him.  Add that to the fact that, while Joe claims to love his ex-wife, he’s got little trouble jumping into bed with Emma, not just once but repeatedly, which brings Emma into conflict with Roderick, meaning that things in cult-world are no better than they are in FBI-land.  There isn’t a single character in this entire series that means anything to me.  I don’t care if all of them die.  I don’t even care if they capture Joe Carroll or if he goes on killing the faceless masses.  Big deal!  We’re supposed to hate him, but they’ve really made me hate everyone and everything in this show.  I can’t wait until the end of the season.

Mentalist #5×17 – “Red, White and Blue” – The CBI is called in when the body of a female medic who worked with PTSD patients is found murdered.  It turns out that the medic was protecting another soldier and filed an anonymous sexual harassment claim on her behalf.  She had also discovered that the doctor she worked under was selling prescriptions in order to recoup some of the money he was spending on his alimony and he had killed her for it.  Sorry, the criminal was just an idiot in this episode, the very idea that he just shrugged and said “hey, I have to pay all this money to my ex-wife, I ought to be able to violate my doctor’s oath, sell drugs and kill anyone who gets in my way” is absurd.  They do psych profiles on people, this guy who is a borderline sociopath would never have gotten his position.  Nobody in this episode really impressed me, from the first minute where the military police showed up and demanded everyone else to walk away from the case to the end where Cho had to intimidate a military sergeant into doing his job, I just was not impressed.  It felt far too much like a filler episode and not even a good one. 

Murdoch Mysteries #6×09 – “Victoria Cross” – When a pawn shop owner is brutally murdered and the only witness is a young black woman who was stabbed in the attack and who is now convinced she cannot walk, Murdoch leaps into action.  This is further complicated when the man who rescued Brackenreid in the war, but then became a hopeless drunk, is murdered in prison.  Is it all connected?  Well of course it is, it wouldn’t be in the same episode if it wasn’t.  We get a lot of different elements that coalesce into a great finale.  Murdoch and Crabtree are trying to solve the pawn shop murder, Brackenreid is trying to figure out who killed his friend and Julia is working with the injured girl, trying to work through her psychosomatic trauma to allow her to walk again.  I know I’ve said in the past that a lot of these episodes, set in the socially primitive past, rub me the wrong way, such as requiring a man’s permission to get a divorce, open racism, etc., but this is an episode where Julia works hard with a black woman to regain not only her ability to walk, but her position in society as well.  Brackenreid does his best to regain the Victoria Cross that was stripped from his friend and to admit that, no matter how badly his life had ended, it was someone that really mattered to him.  Instead of everyone working on the same case, which sometimes gets a bit crowded, having three stories that were tangentially related to the central case allowed groups of characters to be active, yet not step on each other’s toes.  Good job!

Person of Interest #2×18 – “All In” –  Usually, Finch and Reese only get numbers that are right in their back yard, but this week, they have to travel off to Atlantic City to rescue a down-on-his-luck gambler and uncover a money-laundering scheme using the elderly as cash mules.  We get reunited with Tao, who I generally like, who is still on the run from the Nigerians.  I love his like when they break into his hotel room to kill him.  “I didn’t think you’d actually be Nigerian!”  It turns out that the casino owns a pharmacy and it’s using that pharmacy to pass cash to old people who are then blackmailed to go into the casino and lose the money, thus laundering it.  However, they find Lou, a widower who is seemingly running up an amazing debt in the casino, but is in reality one of the best card players out there, but is losing on purpose.  He’s been skimming from the Atlantic City mob though, so they try to send him away but he refuses to go.  Finch and Reese decide to back Tao to cause a distraction while they steal the second set of books and Lou shows up, complete with all of the money he’s skimmed, determined to take the casino for everything he’s laundered for them.  Finch casually advances him $2 million to play and he ends up taking them for more than $20 million.  Just how rich is Finch anyhow, he spends over $3 million in this episode alone like it’s nothing.  Now my only problem with this episode is that they play Lou up like he’s some fantastic card shark and then when they show him actually playing, he cheats every hand.  The best Reese line from the episode went something like “I used to be an international spy, I think I know how to play baccarat.”

Thumbs UpPsych #7×03 – “Lassie Jerky” – Sometimes they just  do an episode that is so out there, so different, that it turns out to be fantastic.  This is one such episode.  Psych isn’t exactly a formulaic show to begin with and that’s one of it’s many strengths.  You can never be sure what you’re  going to get and that was never so apparent as in this Blair Witch/Hunting  Bigfoot-inspired episode.  When Shawn tricks Gus into accompanying him into the woods, ostensibly to visit a secret eating establishment in a cave called “Sassy Quatches”, they meet up with a pair of university students, Kate and Chavo, who are searching for Bigfoot.  When Shawn and Gus become convinced that they’re faking the footage, they set out to expose the documentary with a documentary of their own, but end up in the middle of three murders, a giant man dressed as Bigfoot and the Serbian mob.  Psych has always been great when it’s spoofing other movies and TV shows and this episode, directed by James Roday, is right up there at the top of the list.  I find it funny that some TV reviewers out there seem to have their priorities entirely ass-backwards  though.  I find that any time they hate an episode, I love it and vice versa.  This time, they spent their time whining about “why Blair Witch?  It wasn’t a classic!”  So?  Neither are most of the things they do.  It was memorable for the scenes that were recreated in Psych, like Lassie shivering next to the river, wearing that knitted hat, talking into the camera about how cold he is.  It’s something that anyone who was around back when Blair Witch came out are going to remember.  It’s probably all they’re going to remember, but it will be something instant and funny.  Lassie Jerky also poked fun at all of the bad recent “shaky cam” movies like Paranormal Activity and TV shows like Ghost Hunters, they even made direct references to how stupid these shows are, having to find excuses for why they’re filming things no matter what’s going on around them.  One particularly fun part was, after Lassie gets his ankle caught in a bear trap, he vanishes and later, they find some meat smoking outside of an old cabin.  Shawn surmises that it’s Lassie’s remains being prepared by Bigfoot and Gus goes to get some, saying how delicious Lassiter really is.  Between that, almost everyone getting shot (and nobody dying), and the WWE wrestler playing Bigfoot who spends half the episode with an axe in his back and Shawn playing the “he’s not dead yet!” bit, it looks like it sets the high water mark for the season, although from some of the descriptions I’ve seen, things to come may give it a run for it’s money.  

Walking Dead #3×14 – “Prey” – The Governor prepares for his ambush of Rick, sending out Tyreese and his group to help round up captured walkers that they can dump on Rick.  Andrea decides she’s had enough and breaks out of Woodbury, heading off to rejoin the group at the prison, but the Governor goes after her, trapping her in an abandoned factory, swarming with walkers.  After almost  being captured, she manages to escape, with the Governor fighting for his life against walkers.  She makes it within sight of the prison, only to be finally captured by the Governor, who drags her back to Woodbury and chains her up in his workshop.  He tells everyone that he didn’t catch her and he’ll try again in the morning.  This is yet another filler episode, we get far too many of them in Walking Dead because there just isn’t enough story each season to fill up all the episodes with plot-driven storylines.  That was the problem in season 2, it’s been nearly as much of a problem now in season 3.  Andrea really isn’t that interesting of a character anymore, certainly not one that I care all that much about.  If the Governor killed her… so what?  I think she’s taking a lot of the abuse in the TV show that Michonne took in the comic, but that seems to be her only real purpose anymore.  I suppose her only saving grace is that she’s one of the few people in the show with a spine.  Tyreese doesn’t have one, he backs down almost constantly in this episode.  The same with Milton, who can never stand up to the Governor.  Tyreese was a much better character in the comics.  I think they’re wasting so much potential!  The other thing that’s really become apparent to me is that the zombies really don’t matter anymore, they’re just minor inconveniences.  They come in handy whenever you need something to jump up and go BOO! but otherwise, nobody even bothers with them.  I think I first really noticed it last episode when Rick and company were coming back from the meetup and Carl was just hanging out with the gate open, ignoring all the walkers wandering around just a few feet away, like he didn’t have a care in the world.  Oh yeah, we should close that gate one of these days…  *YAWN*.  Same thing this episode, people just wander around in the woods, there are zombies a few yards away and they act like it’s fine.  Sorry, there’s a problem when in a show called The Walking Dead, you could just get rid of the zombies and treat it like any other post-apocalyptic story.  It’s not functionally any different than Mad Max at this point.

Best of the Week:  Psych for the win!  It was actually a hard decision between Psych and Castle, both of them deserve the nod but Psych was just so phenomenal, it had to win.

Worst of the Week:  It’s sad being committed to watching a show through the end of the season and knowing, like Fringe, that it would always suck.  That’s exactly how I feel about The Following.  At least I don’t have to work too hard to pick a worst episode of the week.

Other Stuff I Watched:  Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 Rifftrax, The Wolf Man (1941), Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1942), The Mummy’s Tomb (1942), Invisible Agent (1944), Phantom of the Opera (1944), The Mummy’s Ghost (1944), The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944), Top Gear U.S.A. 3×13, Top Gear: Best of Season 19

TV Thursday 3/14/13

TV Thursday Header

It was a slow week as networks desperately try to stretch out their shows until the next sweeps month, several shows are skipping weeks to make what they have left in the pipeline last so this will be a short list of reviews.

Thumbs DownFollowing #1×08 – “Welcome Home” – Someone please explain to me how *ANYONE* can  follow Joe Carroll!  Honestly, the guy is a total dick.  Well, we finally meet Roderick, who turns out to be a small town sheriff where Carroll’s cult headquarter happens to be.  He’s revealed to be Carroll’s first acolyte and the one most responsible for growing the cult’s numbers while Joe was sitting in prison.  Maybe nobody knows what a shit Joe Carroll really is, that’s why they’re hanging around?  We also meet Nick Donovan, who takes over the investigation, given the complete and utter clusterfuck that the previous team has caused.  He immediately hates Ryan Hardy and demands that he return to his role as a consultant.  Ryan is fine with that on the surface, but knows that Joe Carroll will keep him an integral part of the case.  In fact, it’s almost immediate that their sole prisoner declares that he’ll only talk to Hardy and Donovan drags him into the interview.  Seriously, do these people not bother to check their prisoners for weapons or poison?  How can these people be so damned incompetent?  The prisoner, after waxing poetic to Ryan, takes a bite out of his own hand and ingests a cyanide pill he had implanted there.  I guess it’s a quick, if shocking death, but I was predicting he’d bash his head in on the rather large spike they had sticking out of the table right in front of him.  It’s not like they don’t know Carroll’s cult members are often suicidal, you’d think they’d learn to be more careful.  In fact, most of Carroll’s cult tend to be pretty damn incompetent.  Take Charlie, for example, he’s a screw up and makes a lot of mistakes, such as his failure to bring Claire to the cult house.  So what does he do?  He comes to Joe with a knife and invites him to murder him in cold blood in front of everyone.  Joe is only too happy to oblige.  And why does anyone follow this lunatic again?

Mentalist #5×16 – “There Will Be Blood” – Lorelei Martin returns, trying to discover if Red John was responsible for killing her sister and Jane is forced to tell Lisbon about his involvement in Lorelei’s prison escape.  As tired as I am of the whole Red John nonsense and how little I wanted to see Lorelei back, this wasn’t a bad episode even though they completely wimped out in the end.  Jane keeps meeting up with Lorelei and she promises that if she finds that Red John was responsible, she’ll give up his name to Jane.  However, once she does find out that he did it, not only does she reneg on her promise to tell Jane, then she shoots the only other person in the room who knows who Red John is, then she becomes a victim of Red John herself, thus eliminating just about any possibility for Jane to discover the truth.  Like I said, a complete wimp out.  I detest these series-long cases but the only thing that makes them somewhat tolerable is if we keep moving toward a resolution.  While Lorelei Martin seemed like a good source of information, in the end, she died before she was able to give any significant clues and move the case forward.  I am just sick to death of Red John, I wish they’d either clear up the case and give Jane a reason to keep working with the CBI, take a long break from Red John-related cases or just end the series and be done with it.  Obviously, the last option is not the preferable one, but something really must be done.

Person of Interest #2×17 – “Proteus” – Finch suspects that the machine is broken after they don’t receive a new number  for three days (what, you guys don’t like vacations?), but then comes a series of 6 numbers at once.  Five of those six have been reported missing and Finch and Reese think they may be chasing an identity thief, a serial killer who kills a random victim in order to take on their identity.  The only link between them is in the FBI reports, a single investigator has been responsible for all of the case files.  Finch and Reese go off to look for him on Owen Island, just as a huge storm hits.  The few remaining people on the island gather at the police station and the game of “Murder Mystery” begins.  It’s not your typical episode of Person of Interest and I’ve seen people complain about that, but so long as the episode is good, I really don’t care if it’s a different take, in fact, I enjoy it.  I really don’t get people who want the same thing over and over and over again.  It was a fun and very different episode, it had some great moments and even though it was clearly filler, they put enough into it, such as the confrontation between Beecher and Carter on their long car ride to Owen Island, that make it a worthwhile watch.  The final scene, where Carter shoots the killer, then Finch realizes he was wearing body armor and Beecher shoots him again as he slowly rises, was fantastic.  My favorite scene was the one where, after fighting off the drug-smuggling ship captain, Reese decides to throw him into the trunk of his car and discovers that someone is already in there.  It was fun, not something I’d want to see every week, but enough variation so that I don’t feel, as I do with some series, that it’s just same shit, different case.

Thumbs UpPsych #7×02 – “Juliet Takes a Luvvah” – When Henry comes home from the hospital, Shawn feels guilty and decides to move in with him.  However, Shawn’s mother, played by the always wonderful Cybill Shepard, decides she’s going to stick around to take care of her ex-husband too, leaving Shawn feeling awkward, especially when he walks in on them messing around.  Meanwhile, Gus finds love on an online dating site, the same site that Jules is investigating after several girls wind up dead.  Shawn is none too happy that she’s going on blind dates with the men that these girls saw.  Between dealing with the hijinks going on at home, the fact that best friend Gus has a new love interest, and one that isn’t trying to kill him this time, and a girlfriend who he feels is slipping away, this was a fun episode and one about adjusting to a new reality.  In fact, there are a lot of adjustments to be made here, between Shawn and Jules finally deciding to move in together, Gus learning that his new girlfriend has a son and Shawn’s parents realizing that maybe they still have feelings for each other, it’s a fun ride.  One thing that occurred to me during this episode is how crappy the openings of most TV series are, they’ve severely cut down the opening credits and Psych has an amazing theme, even though you only get to hear 21 seconds of it.  Therefore, since it’s a short week anyhow, I’m going to throw in the entire song by Friendly Indians.  Enjoy. 

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_Gced_Z_KU’]

Walking Dead #3×13 – “Arrow on the Doorpost” – Rick and the Governor come  together for a face-to-face peace conference and find out that, no matter what either of them are saying, peace is just not in the cards.  It was one of my least favorite types of episode that they do: the infodump.  All anyone does is talk.  It’s to pass on large amounts of information to the audience.  The problem is, nothing they were talking about was that interesting.  It was Rick, who is crazy, blathering on to the Governor, who is crazy.  Most of the decent stuff was going on outside between Hershel and Daryl on one side and a handful of the Governor’s goons on the other, with Andrea in the middle.  Of course, we knew there could be no peace, this season hasn’t been all that exciting anyhow, although it’s certainly better than the boredom if hanging around Hershel’s farm in season two.  Otherwise, what do we have to look forward to?  The two sides signed a peace accord and live happily ever after behind their respective walls?  Now I can certainly see why the Governor wants Michonne.  She took his eye.  She “killed” his zombie daughter.  There’s plenty of bad blood between them.  Granted, the Governor earned every bit of it, but that’s beside the point.  The fact that Rick is even remotely considering trading Michonne to the Governor when he already knows that there will be no peace is absurd.  It’s just going to be another excuse for elevated angst before there is a war, shots fired across a field of walking corpses.  Seriously people, don’t you have anything better to shoot at?

Best of the Week:  It was a hard decision this week, there is nothing that stood head and shoulders above the rest but I think that once again, Psych has to take it because they dared to do something not only different, but fun as well.  Plus, after listening to the full theme song once again, I’m definitely in a Psych mood.

Worst of the Week:  No surprise here, it goes to The Following for being the stupidest, most inane cop show ever.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I hate the villain, I’d be hoping he’d win.  My current desire is to see a nice sized nuke dropped on the entire cast.  This is just painfully stupid to watch.

Other Stuff I Watched:  Top Gear #19×07, The Invisible Ray (1936), Night Key (1937), Tower of London (1939), Son of Frankenstein (1939), The Mummy’s Hand (1940), Black Friday (1940), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Invisible Woman (1941), Top Gear USA #3×12

TV Thursday 3/7/13

TV Thursday HeaderArrow #1×16 – “Dead to Rights” – While I’m not really a huge fan of Geoff Johns as a writer, he usually does a passable job and often comes reasonably close to greatness.  This is the first episode of Arrow where he was the sole writer and I think he did an excellent job here.  It is the culmination of many different thread lines we’ve seen over the season, from Moira ordering a hit on Malcolm Merlyn to the return of the previously-thought-dead Deadshot and I think it all worked out quite well.  Malcolm is being honored for his humanitarian efforts and Moira thinks the ceremony will be a great place to take him out.  China White and her minions infiltrate the heavily guarded event and even bring along Deadshot, who has a brand new eye and is raring to use it.  We do find out that either Malcolm is an amazing actor or he really does think that what he’s doing is best for Starling City, but Moira has other plans for him.  Their first idea is to drive Malcolm outside and into the sights of Deadshot, but when he and Tommy head up to the penthouse, Deadshot improvises and puts a bullet, through Lexan, into Malcolm’s chest.  The Hood drives him away, but has to reveal his real identity to Tommy in order to get him to give a blood transfusion to his father and stop him from bleeding out on the floor.  More and more people are learning his secret this season!  However, later on, Tommy gets pissed when Oliver is honest that he was never going to tell him his secret.  Of course he wasn’t!  It’s a dangerous secret to know!  I wouldn’t want anyone telling me their secret identity, especially if it puts me in the line of fire, which clearly this will.  Back on the island, Oliver tries to fix the airplane’s radio and manages to get the receiver working.  Slade gets pissed because the microphone doesn’t work and acts like it’s broken forever and they shouldn’t even try to fix it.  Dude, it’s been a couple of  days and he fixed the radio you couldn’t fix, how about giving him a chance?

Bones #8×18 – “The Survivor in the Soap” – When the body of an African immigrant is found in a toxic waste barrel, the team finds that he was a former child soldier in Sierra Leone and the episode quickly turns into a whine fest.  I’ll be honest, I hate these “socially conscious” episodes and they do them far too often, they will take a political topic and run it straight into the ground.  Very few of them are ever done that well, unfortunately.  We also get back Arastoo, Cam’s secret boyfriend, which while I think they work out pretty well together, they have spent way too much time saying how they have to be careful that no one finds out, but then they are blatant about their relationship in the lab.  Make up your mind.  Nobody cares.  This is yet another episode where a simple case of murder is blown because the killer decides that instead of just burying the body somewhere, they have to get creative.  Had the killer just buried the body somewhere or dumped it in the middle of nowhere or thrown it into the ocean, he never would have gotten caught.  But no, he had to try to dissolve the body and hide it in a toxic waste canister, using a specific chemical that leads straight back to him.  Stupid killers are stupid.  I’ll skip all the absurd tears about child soldiers and the evils of dictatorships in Africa, that’s really all this episode was about.  I’ll stop shaking my head about how ridiculous it was for the killer to stab his victim using an African tribal mask that he then hangs on the wall of his office, made worse by the fact that the horns of the mask are not even pointing straight forward!  In fact, the only good thing about this episode was that Cam and Arastoo finally admitted to everyone that they were in a relationship so we can be done with the absurd pretense.  Everyone already knew… well, except for Bones who is clueless about just about everything.  There’s something seriously mentally wrong with her. 

Thumbs DownFollowing #1×07 – “Let Me Go” – I can’t get over how stupid this show is.  Honestly, it’s like a car wreck, you just can’t look away and all that stupid imprints itself on your eyes forever.  I did call this weeks ago though, that Ryan Hardy is just turning into a copy of Jack Bauer as Fox desperately tries to recapture their success with 24, but it’s never been so blatant before.  Now Ryan is going to be the guy breaking all the rules so he can beat the bad guys, but no matter how hard Kevin Bacon tries, he’s just not Kiefer Sutherland at his prime.  Between Ryan violating every rule in the book to the FBI acting like complete amateurs, this episode was positively painful to watch.  Why?  The whole disaster with the lawyer for one.  She’s been a moron throughout the entire series, doing whatever Joe Carroll wants and hating every minute of it when she could easily have reported his actions and gotten herself into protective custody.  At least she’d still be alive, if short a few fingers.  The bit where they file a complaint because Ryan beat up Joe is absurd too and the authorities caving in instantly is just downright stupid.  At the time, Ryan wasn’t a deputized agent of the FBI.  He was a civilian.   Therefore, there’s no possible charge that could be brought against the authorities because of Ryan’s actions, they could have hung him out to dry and come out squeaky clean.  The escape was utterly idiotic.  Come on guys, he escaped from custody in the first bloody episode and here, you just let him do it again!  In fact, everyone knows how many high-level operatives Joe Carroll has now, he has cult members just about everywhere, why did no one stop to think that moving him would just give his cult clown car the chance to break him out?  This guy is a convicted serial killer and known cult leader and they just throw him in the back of a truck and roll him out of prison with shoddy security?  Seriously?  Before he even left, I was saying “oh look, he’s escaping again”.  Why hasn’t someone just shot Carroll when they have the chance?  Ryan had a couple of instances after the escape where he had his gun out, Joe Carroll was just standing there, why didn’t he put a bullet in him?  Say it was self defense!  The ending was ridiculous though, where they pull up to the Joe Carroll Memorial Home for Deranged Cultists and 50 adoring crazies come pouring out.  Seriously, how does he attract these people?  There is nothing whatsoever appealing about Joe Carroll, he’s a depressing, obnoxious asshole with no positive characteristics.  Further, he’s had no time whatsoever to actually recruit them all, although I think we’re supposed to believe that Roderick and Emma did a lot of the work for him, but what’s the real selling point for his cult?  A dopey, dreary man wants you to read Edgar Allen Poe and murder people?  Sign me up!  What’s sadder is that this show is actually getting good ratings and Fox renewed it for a second season.  Then again, this is Fox, the network that airs Glee, you can’t expect too much from them.

Mentalist #5×15 – “Red Lacquer Nail Polish” – When the ashes of an eccentric heiress are found in her creepy estate, Jane and Lisbon try to figure out who did it.  Was it the nephew who seemingly wanted her money or the disgraced doctor who over-proscribed her drugs to make her look insane?  Perhaps it was the heiress’ sailing partner who stood to make a lot of money from her death.  All of those are good guesses and, in fact, there’s tons of evidence for their guilt, but in the end, it was the person that nobody suspected.  Well, I should have.  Honestly, this is a common trope but they had the evidence so sewn up for the other candidates that I didn’t even consider it until near the end.  As soon as they started talking about the heiress defrauding her own charitable foundation, I knew she wasn’t really dead, she was absconding with the money and had simply faked her own death.  Now normally, I’d get mad at a twist like that at the end but it was so well done here, I’ll give it a pass.  We just assumed at the beginning that it was her body, it was never confirmed and, being completely consumed in a fire, nobody bothered to check.  The missing Vietnam vet should have been a clue but they kept pushing it off, her credit card was used somewhere else, making us think she was alive instead of taking the place of the escaping heiress.  Masterfully done and we didn’t have to hear about Red John, except in the last line of the show.  That’s always a positive.

Murdoch Mysteries #6×07 – “The Ghost of Queen’s Park” – We get two episodes this week because, for some reason, I couldn’t get this episode until Thursday last week.  Murdoch and Crabtree spar over their particular interpretations of the murder of a politician.  Crabtree is convinced that an actual ghost is responsible and, of course, Murdoch poo-poo’s the idea that ghosts are real, but as the evidence mounts, Murdoch and Brackenreid are forced to consider that there just might be something to it.  This is a wonderful followup episode to the kiss shared between Crabtree and Dr. Grace and a real development to their relationship.  It could have gone either way, they could have backed off, saying it was a kiss in the middle of an emergency, but no, they’ve admitted their feelings for each other and are finding reasons to spend time together in proper Victorian Canada, even if they have to do it in the guise of work.  It’s nice that at the end, when they revealed that the killer smeared themselves in radium to glow like a ghost, we saw that there was a cost.  The second they said it, I was looking for signs of radiation sickness and her hair falling out in clumps certainly demonstrated I was right.  Great episode and I hope for more between George and Emily very, very soon.

Murdoch Mysteries #6×08 – “Murdoch in Ladies Wear” – When the manager of a prestigious retail establishment is found dead, it looks like everyone had their reasons for hating him.  He was an abusive tyrant that criticized all of his female employees and fired any that he found out were married.  So was it one of the harassed clerks or the husband of the woman who was terminated, or something entirely different?  This was a very good episode, it wasn’t immediately obvious who done it, the actual killer was quite a surprise even if she got off scot free.  We also get to see more of the troubles Murdoch and Julia go through when Darcy decides that if he can’t be married to Julia, nobody else can either.  That’s one thing that, even though this is a pseudo-historical period piece, makes me damn happy not to live anywhere in the Victorian era.  Maybe if Murdoch hadn’t been such a pussy in the early seasons of the show, Julia wouldn’t have married that twat Darcy and there wouldn’t be these problems now.  It should make anyone thrilled to live in a more enlightened age.

Thumbs UpPsych #7×01 – “Santabarbaratown 2” – Psych returns to the weekly lineup, which is great since it’s usually a summer show, I have no clue why it’s coming on at the beginning of March, but I’m not going to complain.  This is one of my favorite shows of the year.  At the end of last season, Shawn’s dad took a bullet  to the chest and we pick up right there, with Shawn freaking out and trying to convince his father to walk it off.  However, once he’s in surgery, Shawn dedicates himself to capturing the man who shot his father, even though the entire Santa Barbara police department tells him he’s too emotionally invested to be involved.  Shawn plays the badass throughout the episode, although he never loses the sense of humor, nor does he ever do anything really out of character, but he and Guster do ferret out the larger secret behind the initially simple case.  I loved the scene where Shawn and Guster break into the suspect’s house and run into Jules and Lassiter there.  Shawn says he was just checking to see if they missed anything and immediately finds a whole secret room under the house filled with firearms.  I loved the seeming death of the Blueberry, the car they’ve been driving ever since the first episode.  I know it’ll be back, it’s suffered it’s fair share of damage throughout the series and the almost immediate destruction of their “replacement” car, the Cranberry, was fantastic.  Same car, different color, parked on top of a land mine.  Boom.  Psych is back and as amazing as ever.

Walking Dead #3×12 – “Clear” – I think this is what the series needed, a cleaning of the palette, as it were.  Rick, Carl and Michonne have gone back to where it all began looking for supplies.  Rick thinks he’s got to make a stand against the Governor and needs as many guns from his old police office as he can get, but someone else has been living in the town and it turns out to be none other than Morgan, the man who found Rick stumbling around in the first episode of the series.  Rick had given him a radio and made him promise to turn it on at dawn every day so that if Rick found a safe place, he could join up with Morgan and his family again.  However, Morgan isn’t doing so well.  He’s weak and because of that, when his wife died, he couldn’t bring himself to kill her before she fell upon their son and got him too.  So Morgan is holed up with every weapon he can find, surrounded by an impenetrable maze of spikes and spears to keep the zombies out, while slowly going mad.  Rick tries to reason with him, leaving Carl and Michonne to go on a shopping trip to pick up a few things for the baby.  At first, Carl says he just wants a crib, but it turns out that he really wants a picture from the local bar showing the family in happier days.  He and Michonne almost get killed in the bar full of zombies, although I love the rats in cages on skateboards distraction, but Carl drops the picture near the entrance.  With a dozen zombies clawing at the door, Michonne says she’ll get it, walks around the corner and ten seconds later comes back with the picture and a multicolored cat and no indication what happened.  It’s very comic booky/cartoony in nature and was exactly what the episode needed at that point to lighten the tension.  It also gets Michonne into Carl’s good graces.  At the end of the episode, Rick invites Morgan to come back to the prison with them but he declines, saying that civilization is over and the strong will die by the teeth of the walkers or the bullets of those who want what you have, thus leaving the weak to inherit the earth.  They pack up and leave, driving past the remains of a hitchhiker that has chased them all episode, but who finally succumbed to the zombies.  They pause just long enough to grab his backpack before driving on.  The tone in this episode is much improved from that in the last couple.  It’s been too dark and it needed a little humor, which “Clear” provided quite admirably.  Unfortunately, looking at next week’s preview, it looks like we’re back to business as usual next week. 

Best of the Week:  It has to be Psych, which I predict will spend a lot of time in this spot.  Psych is a consistently funny and enjoyable series, James Roday and Dulle Hill are amazing every single episode.

Worst of the Week:  The Following.  It’s just horrible.  The characters are dumb, the plot is ill-conceived and everyone acts like they’re reading the script off a teleprompter.  If you want to make a show that brings back the feeling of 24, start with the first couple of seasons when it was good, don’t emulate the last couple which were complete, unadulterated shit.

Other Stuff I Watched:  Top Gear #19×06, Top Gear U.S.A. #3×11, Phantom (Korean drama) 9-12

TV Thursday – 2/28/13

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Arrow #1×15 – “Dodger” – We return to the more mainstream Arrow episode this week, which is fine, and that means we’ve got a villain-of-the-week to deal with, a bunch of non-Hood sideline stuff and an island flashback to keep the reveals rolling.  Our villain this week isGreen Lantern 85 called “the Dodger”, a secretive jewel thief who never  gets his own hands dirty, instead he straps bomb collars on unwitting victims and forces them to do the crimes for him.  Of course,  Dodger does appear in the comics, although, like in the episode, he’s a non-powered thief.  In the comics though, Dodger does have a much larger array of weapons that we see in the episode, it seems he’s been very streamlined.  It was nice to see Felicity’s involvement, especially as the moral center of the Arrow team, she’ll help them out so long as they aren’t harming the innocent through their actions.  In one of the B-stories, Thea gets her purse stolen by none other than Roy Harper, who fans of the comic Green Arrow will know is Speedy, his assistant and the subject of the classic Green Arrow #85 where it’s revealed he has a drug addiction.  While none of that appeared in this episode, I just knew that a drug connection had to be present and indeed, when he was giving his sob story to the police for stealing Thea’s purse, he said his mother was addicted to Vertigo, the same drug Thea had been using when she crashed her car.  It turns out that he’s not such a trustworthy character after all but  I think it’s likely he’ll be back in later episodes.  In the  second B-story,  both Oliver and Diggle decide to go on dates and their first dates fail miserably because of their respective pasts, but both persevere and manage to form romantic bonds on their second attempt.  It’s interesting because Oliver’s new love interest has just been  assigned to capture the Hood.  And finally, we find that Oliver’s mother wants out of the unspecified plan and is now forming  alliances with China White and the Chinese triads to kill Tommy’s father, who has kidnapped her husband.  Wow, what a tangled web we’re getting here! 

Thumbs DownBones #8×17 – “The Fact in the Fiction” – I have a non-surprising confession to make, I hate the revolving musical squinterns on Bones.  Always have, always will, I wish they’d bring in one guy, like Zack Addy, as a permanent member of the cast and get rid of all of the rest.  I really hate them all, with varying degrees of disgust, and the new one they introduced tonight quickly rose to the very top of the hatred pile.  The guy is just a dick!  Can someone please throw him under a tractor somewhere?  “I just killed an asshole!”  Anyhow, a farmer finds a body in his field and conveniently runs over it, which I predicted the second I saw the tractor.  Bones gets way too predictable much of the time, the gimmicks they set up are way too obvious.  Our victim, if being run over by a tractor wasn’t bad enough, had his head carried off by a pack of coyotes.  However, they then discover a second corpse which is almost identical in every way to the first, just 20 years older.  Fucktard squintern suggests that it’s a victim of time travel (geez, have the writers been watching Looper or something?) and runs with it, even though it’s utterly idiotic.  After a while, I stopped giving a damn what was going on in this episode, I hated the squintern so much.  There were a couple of good lines, like Angela’s “maybe you should try being less of a douche” but otherwise, the whole episode was largely forgettable. 

Castle #5×16 – “Hunt” – The second part of a two-part story, I had been warned that this wasn’t a great episode but I beg to differ, I thought it was excellently done.  Oh, it’s not really a classic Castle story, in fact, there are some things in it that are quite different and perhaps quite troubling, but I think that adds not only to the charm of the episode, but has the potential to change things in the series down the road.  As we know, Alexis and a friend were kidnapped and taken off to Paris.  The friend’s parents pay a ransom, with the understanding that both girls would be released, but when only their daughter is let go, Castle worries that Alexis is no longer needed, she might just be killed.  Therefore, he goes to Paris to find her himself.  This is where I see some problems.  Yes, it’s obvious what he was trying to do, but Rick pretty much told Beckett to go pound sand, he was going to do things without her.  Granted, the things he was going to do weren’t legal, but to cut the woman he loves out of it completely… that’s troubling.  Once in Paris, he contacts some old acquaintances with some fingers in the underworld and they magic up some evidence that the FBI totally missed out of the phone call that Alexis made last episode.  Yeah, blind Joe Blow on his sewer computers is better than the experts at the FBI?  Sure, if you say so.  But they figure out where Alexis might be and, after Castle gets a gun to his head, he gets in touch with Jackson Hunt, who turns out to be his long lost father.  Meanwhile, back in New York, Beckett isn’t sitting on her thumb.  In a scene reminiscent of Castle’s beating of a suspect last episode, she pulls the “I’m not a cop today” line and gets a confession out of the girlfriend of the kidnapper killed last episode.  She discovers that Alexis was the real target, the other girl was just a target of opportunity that the kidnappers could make some money off of.  Castle discovers that Hunt had a one-night stand with his mother and then vanished back into the spy underworld.  However, he never forgot about his son and granddaughter through the 40 years that followed, which seems a little silly that he’d never tried to make contact or anything, but has pictures of Alexis all over his apartment.  It’s kind of creepy when you think about it.  That’s also probably how the kidnappers  learned that Alexis was his granddaughter and his weak link, leading to the kidnapping.  But Castle and father go creeping through the sewers, “It Takes A Thief” style and eventually, get Alexis back, blowing up the bad guy’s lair in the process.  Rick and Alexis run off to the American embassy and Bob’s your uncle.  There’s a great scene at the end where everyone is reunited back in Castle’s loft and the hug between Beckett and Alexis was fantastic.  That said, there are problems with this episode.  Castle’s treatment of Beckett may signal some troubles in their relationship.  The whole spy thing was really… well, ridiculous.  The whole idea of a father Castle never knew magically showing up to rescue his daughter stretches credibility.  It struck me as terribly non-Castle, but that’s the nice thing about Castle is that it doesn’t always have to be Castle-like to be good.  However, after the last episode, I was expecting more from this one and I think they tried to compress too much material into too short a show.  Maybe this should have been a three-part story with more scenes with James Brolin as Jackson Hunt.  It just felt rushed in parts.  A good story, but should have been better.

Elementary #1×17 – “Possibility Two” – Now that Watson is staying on permanently as Holmes’ protege, he’s  set about training her deductive skills.  Elementary, you say?  Amazingly, she’s taking to it very well, although she does have her share of stumbles along the way.  In this episode, they are approached by a super-wealthy businessman who has contracted a genetic disease, but is convinced that someone gave it to him on purpose.  He’s quickly slipping into dementia but he wants to know what happened to him.  Holmes, however, believes this is just a case of heredity and refuses to take the case until the ante gets upped and a rare bee (remember, Holmes is an avid bee-keeper) is offered to sweeten the deal.  After a little research, Holmes warms to the idea that maybe the demented old coot isn’t as off his rocker as he seems and starts researching the possibility that someone infected him on purpose.  Initially, it seems likely that his son was responsible, but as other victims start to appear and bodies start to pile up, this clearly goes  far beyond just wanting to kill off a single rich old man.  Along the way, Watson, who is picking up Holmes’ dry cleaning, discovers that all is not as it seems.  Can she puzzle out the clues and break open the case?  Some of this episode, I really liked, especially the bit with Watson and the dry cleaning.  However, the main case seemed way too super-sciency for me.  The idea that they can do the impossible, that they can artificially make someone’s blood pass tests by only introducing 13 test sites… I just don’t buy it, it all seemed like a completely convenient way around problems.  I think a better-written episode where they didn’t have to just make stuff up out of the blue to throw the audience off would have been better. 

Following #1×06 – “The Fall” – A very long time ago, the great poet Horace coined a term in his work Ars Poetica that he might as well have been writing specifically about The Following, that being “deus ex machina”.  This  show just keeps getting more and more unrealistic, as the most absurd plot problems are magically done away with by a multitude of Joe Carroll’s massive cult following.  Need your bad guys to escape from a seemingly impossible situation?  Hell, half of the FBI or local police force are really Joe’s followers!  These people have been in position for years upon years, just in the off-chance that Joe’s grand plan might need them someday!  Pretty much the whole of the FBI is descending on the farmhouse where the sexually-confused threesome are holed up with Joey stashed upstairs and Ryan and kidnapping victim tied up in the living room, Emma isn’t worried, she just gets on the phone and calls god-like fixer Roderick to send them their deliverance and he does!  You really  can’t trust anyone in this show, you never know which seasoned law enforcement officer is really a lifelong disciple of Joe Carroll, just waiting to be activated to do his bidding.  That really makes no sense because, let’s be honest, none of Joe’s followers have been all that stable.  Jacob and Paul are both really messed up, something Ryan uses to good effect in his escape.  Jordy was out of his mind.  The crazy chick in the first episode that thought it would be a great idea to write Poe all over her body, then stab herself in the eye?  She was the model of mental health, wasn’t she?  And hey, let’s not forget Charlie, the guy assigned to “follow” Claire around for years on end and when he developed feelings for her, started bashing his head against the wall.  So how do these people who have to pass strenuous mental health evaluations to get into law enforcement manage it?  But wait, since I mentioned Claire, are we really supposed to feel sorry for her?  The show goes to some length to try to make her a sympathetic character, her crazy ex-husband is fucking with her, kidnapping her son, trying to kill her ex-boyfriend, yet she’s really not that empathetic.  She’s really a bitch and frankly, I don’t care what happens to her, to Joey, or to Ryan, for that matter.  This show makes me shake my head at it’s absurdity even more than 24 did in it’s later seasons.  I’m trying to make it through the entire season, really I am, but unless it improves dramatically in the next couple of episodes, I really don’t know if I can make it.

Thumbs UpPerson of Interest #2×16 – “Relevance” – I have no idea if this is really what happened in this episode but it reminds me of a technique used on other shows with tight shooting schedules, where they will, sometime during the season, be  shooting two episodes on different sound stages at the same time.  It happens on Dr. Who all the time.  So you’ll end up with one episode that has very little of the main cast involved and that’s what happened here.  We meet Sam Shaw, who is essentially set up to be the female John Reese, but working for the other side.  We know that after Finch built the Machine, it looked for possible terrorist threats while Finch went away and started looking at irrelevant non-terrorist dangers with Reese.  We’re supposed to think that she’s part of the side the Machine was intended for, she gets numbers just like Finch and Reese do, but actually from the government, or so she thinks.  When she’s marked for death by her own employers because she and her partner find information that  doesn’t match up, she’s on the run, trying to avoid being killed, after her own partner takes bullets for her.  Finch and Reese pop in here  and there and try to lend a hand, but she’s hesitant to trust anyone and really, I don’t blame her.  However, it’s not a two-sided battle, Root gets into the fray as well, trying to discover what this secret information everyone is trying to hush up really is.  In the end, Shaw really saves herself, with a little help with Reese, and vanishes in a cloud of dust.  We know we’ll see her again and next time, maybe Finch and Reese can work their way into her good graces and gain a little trust.  I really love seeing good, strong characters re-appear in this show, it just doesn’t work long-term with just Finch and Reese and damn it, Reese needs a solid love interest, if for no other reason than it gives him a chance to show off his comedic side. 

Primeval: New World #1×13 – “The Sound of Thunder Part 2” – In the final episode of the season, we meet up with Connor from the original Primeval series, chasing an Allosaurus into an anomaly.  When one of his team is dragged into it, he gives chase, only to end up in the anomaly nexus that Evan and Dylan found in the last episode.  Meanwhile, Dylan delivers the scorpion tail just in time to save Toby and then rushes back to rescue Evan, with Connor in tow.  Evan realizes that this is the same dinosaur that killed his wife in the past, but when Colonel Hall has it tranquilized and put on a truck, he knows that he has to set things right or cause possible irreparable damage to the timeline.  He, Dylan, Mac, and Leeds work to release the dinosaur, which almost eats a couple of tourists along the way and chase it back into the nexus where it goes off to kill Evan’s wife in 2006, he realizes that he’s the one that ultimately caused her death.  However, Mac figures out that if he’s to rescue Evan in the past, he has to sacrifice himself in this timeline and jumps through the anomaly.  However, Evan forgets that the dinosaur in 2006 went back through the anomaly and almost gets himself and Dylan killed.  He pulls his gun and mows down the dinosaur, but causes a major time disruption and all of the anomalies in the nexus start vanishing.  He and Dylan run toward their anomaly… but I guess we’ll have to find out next season what happens.  Honestly, the idea that Evan caused the death of his wife blindsided me, but I suppose it shouldn’t have, it’s a great idea, especially the idea that the duplicate Mac from the future had to save Evan’s life and sacrifice his own, thus generating an eternal temporal loop.  Great, great stuff.  Now for the not-so-great stuff.  Connor’s appearance was really underused, he wasn’t all that necessary and what we saw in London, with dinosaurs running through the streets, only reinforces my doubt that they can justify secrecy regarding the anomalies, since surely there are people in London filming dinosaurs on their cell phones and posting them to the Internet.  The idea that nobody in Canada knows about this stuff is absurd.  Keeping the secret in Canada though, now that tourists have been terrorized by an Allosaurus, is equally absurd so they’d better not try to play the secrecy game next season.  All in all though, this is the show I wish they had shown all year, instead of the slow, plodding, dinosaur-of-the-week stuff we got for the first half.  I hope they learn their lessons for next year.

Walking Dead #3×11 – “I Ain’t a Judas” – After the attack last episode, Hershel wants to throw in the towel and abandon the prison, but Merle says it’s too late, the Governor is certainly watching every last road out of the prison by now and they’d be killed.  Of course, late in the episode where Andrea drives out of the prison, apparently there is no one watching.  Heck, when she stumbled in with her zombie-on-a-leash, there was no one watching.  What is Merle talking about?  Woodbury is getting ready for war and the Governor wants to recruit everyone 13 or older that can hold a  gun to get trained.  He’s even putting people who can’t possibly fight in harm’s way.  Good job pal.  Why is anyone listening to him again?  In the comics, he was a mean, cruel bastard and anyone that didn’t follow his orders got a knife in the back.  This is not that Governor.  Then again, I don’t know why anyone listens to Rick either since he’s out of his gourd half the time.  Now that Daryl is back, I don’t see why they don’t forcibly retire Rick and put Daryl in charge.  Yeah, that’s not how the comics worked but it would make a more realistic story.  Andrea, finally learning about the ambush at the prison, wants to go to Rick and try to make peace.  She ends up having to sneak out of Woodbury because the Governor won’t let her go willingly.  On the way, she hacks the arms off of a zombie, breaks out it’s teeth and puts it on a leash as a means of keeping the other zombies away.  I have no idea why that works, can’t the zombies smell her?  It’s not like she’s caked herself in zombie goo, she’s just walking behind a zombie.  Walking dead hordes don’t run away from a victim because it’s close to a zombie, it makes no logical sense.  Tyreese’s  group meets up with the Woodbury crowd and offers any help they can provide to take out Rick.  Great leadership there, shit-for-brains.  After it becomes clear that Andrea can’t change Rick’s mind, she offers to go back to Woodbury and perhaps kill the Governor in his sleep, but when it comes right down to it, she can’t do it.  Seriously, this season has been a race to the bottom of the well for the least likeable characters in a TV series.  Given a choice of spending my life in the prison or in Woodbury, I think I’d throw myself to the zombies.  These people are just assholes and far too many of them are lacking in any form of basic humanity.  If this is what the world is going to be like after the zombie apocalypse, let the zombies win.

Best of the Week: Person of Interest wins without really being a person of interest!  It’s a whole different show about a whole different cast of characters that if they just  spun it off into a completely different series, I’d watch it!

Worst of the Week: It was a toss-up between Bones and The Following, but Bones is getting to be my new go-to show for bottom of the barrel and that’s a shame.  This week, the character of Dr. Wells was so abysmally awful that I admit to zoning out of the show entirely about half-way through.  I just didn’t want to sit through another second of his obnoxious asshattery.  This not only isn’t the Bones that I originally enjoyed, this isn’t a show that I can even stomach half the time.

Other Stuff I Watched:  Top Gear U.S. #3×10, Cool as Ice Rifftrax, Bond’s Greatest Moments, Ghost Mama 7-9, Lucky Seven Special

TV Thursday – 2/21/13

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Nice full week this week, except for Murdoch Mysteries which, for some reason, took a week off.  Is there some weird Canadian holiday I don’t know about?

Arrow # 1×14 – “The Odyssey” – Last week, we saw the Hood break into Moira’s office, with the hopes of interrogating her for the truth, but instead, he got a bullet in the neck for his troubles.  Oliver stumbles to find Felicity, revealing his secret to her as she races him back to his lair.  There, he drifts in and out of consciousness and we shift focus to long flashbacks on the island.  Last week, Oliver found Slade Wilson and, as I predicted, the guy in the mask that tortured Oliver was Wintergreen.  The characters in Arrow, while based on DC Comics characters, are never exactly as expected so we really don’t know if Slade is going to become the assassin Deathstroke as he does in the comics or not (but damn it, he’d better, he’s my favorite villain ever!)  Here, he’s just depicted as a skilled soldier who wants to go home.  Slade and Oliver had a very dynamic chemistry and, over time, Oliver earned the respect of Slade, no mean feat.  With this focus in the past, we really understand now how little we’ve understood all along.  Whose Deathstroke mask did we see on the beach in the first episode of the series?  In the comics, Slade Wilson, as Deathstroke, was possessed by the spirit of his dead son and forced to kill William Wintergreen, who essentially acted as his butler, ala Batman’s Alfred.  Here, we find Wilson killing Wintergreen by stabbing him in the eye, another role reversal.  In the comics, Wilson’s wife shot him in the eye after he endangered their son, leaving him blind under the black half of his mask.  Does this mean that Wintergreen might not really be dead and will come back as Deathstroke?  Who knows.  We’re also finding out that there is another puppetmaster pulling Fyer’s strings, he’s not the free agent that we’ve thought all along.  And now that Felicity knows who Oliver is, yet has only signed on to help until Walter is found, I wonder what they’re going to do with her character once that’s done.  The comics are no help, she was, in an alternate comic universe, married to the father of Firestorm, the Nuclear Man, which obviously doesn’t fit into this continuity.  Still, you can’t put the genie back into the bottle and even if she doesn’t continue to work directly with the Hood, she still knows and can be called upon in times of need.

Bones #8×16 – “The Friend in Need” –  The body of a teenage boy is found  stuffed into a suitcase and Booth and Bones are called in to investigate.  The boy’s family seems creepy, at first I thought they were part of a religious cult, but no… just creepy.  However, it turns out that the boy isn’t as nice as first thought, he’s been hacking cell phones for sale that provide free service and the girl he’s been stalking gets raped at a party.  Of course, the one that killed him and raped her are conveniently the same person, which is a good thing because they pretty much stop investigating the murder half way through and focus on the rape.  The problem is, none of this really means a thing to me because everyone involved is pretty much scum.  You’ve got the girl who got raped, who is a victim, but listens to her idiot mother who tells her not to report it to the police?  Seriously?!?!?  Because… catching the rapist is the only reason you’d report the crime and go to the hospital, it isn’t like her daughter could be infected with a disease or anything, right?  What a fucking bitch.  Then we get to the B-story where Cam’s daughter come back to town and instead of  going to see Cam, she wants to hang out with her boyfriend for the weekend.  Finn, overcome with guilt, admits to Cam that Michelle is hiding from her and they set up a plan to “catch” them out in public.  I can’t find anything not wrong with this entire scenario.  First, you have Michelle trying to hide from her adoptive mother.  She then ropes her boyfriend into the deception.  He cannot keep a secret, for which I have a bit of respect, so he spills the beans.  Then, instead of just being honest about it, they set up this sting to “catch” them.  Cam gets pissed and storms off.  Michelle feels bad and makes up.  Then… Cam throws Finn under the bus and admits that he violated Michelle’s trust?  Seriously?  It’s dumb, dumb and dumber.  If there’s a lesson to be learned from this episode, it’s that  you shouldn’t trust anyone.

Thumbs UpCastle #5×15 – “Target” – The daughter of a wealthy former-Saudi businessman is kidnapped and Castle and Beckett are on the case.  It seems like any other episode of Castle until they realize that Alexis has also been kidnapped.  Immediately, Castle breaks down, which I really didn’t like, and forgets how many of these cases he’s been involved with and how things work.  Yes, he has every reason to be depressed and worried, no, I don’t expect him to be his usual comedic self, but I don’t expect him to forget what he’s spent the last 5 years of his life doing either.  In fact, he ought to know he can place his trust in the police department and know they are doing everything in their power to locate Alexis.  I know his head isn’t in the game, he ought to just go home and let Beckett do what she does best, but given his unique position, I can also understand that he can’t stay away from the police station, he has to know what’s going on.  I liked the scene where Beckett hugged him and when he protested, saying Gates will see, she said she doesn’t care.  Heck, it isn’t like they really try to hide it anyhow, and if Gates said a damn thing about it, considering the situation, everyone would see her as a heartless bitch anyhow.  We get to see Castle doing things he’s never done, such as questioning a suspect and presumably beating him.  He’s not a cop, after all, and the guy’s screams were convincing.  I wonder how long Beckett and crew stood outside the door before they went in and dragged Castle off the guy.  Now the nice thing, once we’re reintroduced to Alexis and her friend Sara, is that Alexis proves she’s Castle’s daughter right off the bat.  She starts thinking like an investigator, she starts looking for clues, she starts using the things she’s learned over the years and applying them, right down to picking a lock to help them escape.  And escape they do, managing to call Castle and check in, before discovering they’re not only not in New York, they’re not even in the United States.  How the heck Castle is going to get to Paris to rescue her is anyone’s guess, but that’s what next week is for.  This was an amazing episode, not just because it was so different from what we usually see, but it demonstrates the range of Nathan Fillion’s acting chops, you really buy his fear and his anger and his dedication to getting his daughter home again safely.  That’s something I never stop enjoying.  The only thing I don’t enjoy at this point is having to wait until next week to see how this plays out.

Elementary #1×16 – “Details” – When Detective Bell is attacked in a seemingly random act of flying bullets, Holmes and Watson are on the job, but it’s an apparently simple case, they have a suspect almost immediately, right up until that suspect is found gunned down.  Now, they have to discover who is really out to frame Detective Bell for the death of what everyone thought was his assailant and questions arise, was it his brother or one of his fellow officers that want him out of the way?  Finally… FINALLY, they did it, that thing I’ve been waiting for all season.  We’re doing away with the sober companion thing and Watson is joining him as a partner in the crime-solving business.  It was a very touching speech that Holmes gives to Watson, it really surprised me, especially given his typical short, who-cares style, but when Holmes tells Watson that he’s better with her than without her and he wants her to stay, it was a fantastic moment.  This would have been and worthwhile episode just for that scene.  The mystery though… had problems.  It wasn’t bad, necessarily, but at the end, the reveal came largely out of left field, there was so much information that dropped in the last couple of minutes that made it difficult, although not impossible to predict who the killer was, but certainly made it hard to know how or why it was done, it’s pretty much seen as a cheap trick to tell mystery stories like that.  Now I’m actually pretty good at picking them, I can just say “that’s the killer right there” while they’re walking through a scene, just because if you understand how they make these shows, even if you have no reason to suspect them as the killer, how they’re presented and when they’re presented makes it obvious they’re going to become important at the end.  Still, they really ought to provide information and clues throughout the episode so that when Sherlock has his big reveal, it’s not a complete head-scratcher.  I’m really glad that Holmes and Watson are an official team now and can hopefully stop throwing things at each other.

Thumbs DownFollowing #1×05 – “The Siege” –  When Joey manages to call home, he gives enough clues to where he is that the FBI can start narrowing the search.  He does one better when he manages to escape the house and get to a neighbor’s place, where they call the FBI and give specific directions, even though it costs them their life.  Ryan gets deputized and races off to save the day, grabbing a local deputy along the way.  Of course, the deputy is an idiot and so is Ryan.  Instead of waiting for backup like they were told to, they go in and make a mess of the whole thing.  The deputy’s inability to sneak is absurd, he might as well have had a bullhorn and announced their presence.  Emma and her two boy toys end up with another cult member visitor who has come to take them away, but first, he shoots the idiot deputy, who was so utterly inept, he deserved to be shot.  If I was going into that farm, knowing what I knew about the people who were there, I’d be shooting everything taller than 4 feet on sight.  No announcement, no warning, just a double-tap to the head.  In fact, I might have started with the crazy bitch tied up in the basement, you know, the one that got kidnapped as a sex toy?  Ryan breaks into the basement and finds her and tells her that he’s going to rescue her but if she doesn’t keep quiet, they’re going to know he’s here and come down and kill them both.  So what  does she do?  She makes a lot of noise!  She won’t shut the hell up!  Either knock the bitch out or shoot her, I don’t care which.  But what bothered me the most, something that’s bothered me for the past 5 episodes, is that Joe Carroll is running a giant criminal enterprise while behind bars and nobody seems to care!  This time, he’s using his lawyer to pass messages to the outside world.  Yes, I know that his cult has tortured and maimed this poor woman, but she hasn’t reported it to the authorities?  She’s just letting them cut off fingers and then does their bidding?  Seriously?  In the real world, someone like Joe Carroll would be locked up so far off the grid that light would need a plane ticket to visit him.  He’d be in some hole in Guantanamo if someone didn’t just “accidentally” put a bullet in his head.  They simply do not allow people to run criminal enterprises knowingly from prison, especially murder rings!  None of this would ever happen and it’s really stupid that it’s happening on TV.  I really don’t know how much more of this I can stomach.

Mentalist #5×14 – “Red in Tooth and Claw” – Lisbon’s scheme to get in good with the political movers and shakers by playing poker continues, although she’s really not that good.  However, her boss keeps getting beaten by the judge and that’s pissing him off.  She sees this as an opportunity to get into his good graces and tells Jane to teach him how to beat the judge.  The body of a grad student is found at the natural history museum in a crate of flesh-eating beetles and immediately, I was wondering if I was watching Mentalist or Bones.  In fact, this episode did have a distinctly Bone-y feel to it.  The fact that the murder was committed over a moth seems a bit silly to me, especially when there didn’t seem to be much evidence presented to support his conclusion.  The only thing that the bug-guy had against him was the fact that he stole the moth that was part of Jane’s demonstration, yet Jane already knew that he was the killer and predicted he’d do that, but there was no explanation afterwards for how Jane could have known.  That wasn’t all that impressive.  Very predictable though was Van Pelt’s desire to get into an advanced computer hacking class, yet the department not having the money to send her.  The second they said that, I knew that the poker game would figure into it.  At first, I thought that Lisbon was actually playing a losing game with the high-rollers and would turn around and take them all, thus giving Van Pelt the money for the class.  I suppose it worked better having Bertram win the pot and clean out the judge, it puts both Lisbon and Jane on his friends list and Van Pelt got to go anyhow.  The bit I didn’t like though was Rigsby bringing Van Pelt coffee and Cho pointing out that he’s still in love with her.  No, no, no, no, no.  They’d better not do that!  They had a shot at a relationship, it fell apart and not a damn thing has changed to make it more reasonable… oh wait, something has changed, Rigsby went and got someone pregnant and they have a child together!  Granted, they don’t talk about that anymore, but whatever sympathy I once had that they could be together is now gone forever.  Rigsby had better focus on the kid he has and stop trying to get back into Grace’s pants. 

Person of Interest #2×15 – “Booked Solid” – Finch and Reese pose as hotel employees when their latest number is a maid who escaped from Bosnia, but apparently the Serbs aren’t ready to let her go just yet.  Jim Caviezel was fantastic as the bellhop, playing it so seriously that it was funny, clearly he knew it was all so far beneath him, he ignored the management and did as he pleased and acted a bit frustrated and put out when he was told to do things that got in the way of his investigation.  Of course, Finch as the concierge, directly going against the manager’s wishes and recommending restaurants away from the hotel, just because the manager was a complete dick, was great too.  And Zoe makes a re-appearance, still holding a candle for John and clearly, he’s holding one for her as well.  They really are excellent together.  At first, it looks like everyone is a suspect and potential danger to the maid.  The hotel manager is running a prostitution ring and suspects her of tipping off the cops.  However, it was the maid’s reporting on atrocities in Serbia that  got an official Serbian Death Squad sent after her.  Between the assassins and our friend Hersh, who finally gets a name in this episode, Reese and Fusco have their hands full but they eventually prevail.  Back at the precinct, Carter has a chance to join the FBI but she’s worried about passing the lie detector test, considering all the lies she tells for Finch and Reese.  However, her undoing is her growing relationship with Beecher, who is under investigation by internal affairs.  Now she has to cut off her only social outlet?  Finally, we meet the new secretary of Hersh’s boss and it’s Root, the crazy lady who kidnapped Finch at the beginning of the season.  I knew we’d see her again, now to find out how bad it’ll get.  A solid episode with lots of action, old characters returning, humor, and Harold buys the hotel in the end too!  Seriously, how rich is this guy? 

Primeval: New World #1×12 – “The Sound of Thunder Part 1” – Now we’re down to the last two episodes of the season and it’s all starting to come together.  Angelika has been named liason to Cross Photonics, she’s now directly calling the shots over what Evan does and he’s not at all happy.  Angelika’s first action though is to get Leeds released and reinstated, which proves she isn’t all that horrible, even though I still hate her.  Toby has re-developed the anomaly tracker with the new timer function and Evan and Dylan run off to try it out.  Toby makes some discoveries about the Anomaly Research Center, the old ARC from the BBC series.  I still find it rather difficult to believe that nobody has mentioned it before, it can’t be that secret, especially considering how catastrophic some of the original Primeval episodes are and the fact that the ARC was an official government agency.  There were dinosaurs wandering through downtown London people, how can nobody know about the anomalies?  But anyhow, they discover that Mac… the original Mac that was dead in the freezer, was involved with the British ARC.  However, there are now giant scorpions on the loose and everyone has to hunt them down before they kill again.  Toby tries out the new detectors but they malfunction and she gets a stinger in the  chest for her trouble.  Evan calls Angelika, even though he doesn’t like going to her, and she brings in the top toxicologists to help save Toby.  They can stabilize her, however they need a sample of the venom to prepare an anti-venom.  Evan and Dylan go through an anomaly and find that it’s a nexus, hundreds of anomalies going many different places and times.  They try one anomaly and end up before the beginning of the series, just before the death of Evan’s wife.  He wants to stay and save her but is reminded of the dangers of changing history.  They locate the time period of the giant scorpions and corner one in their nest.  They kill the scorpion but there’s a rock slide and Evan is trapped.  He tells Dylan to get back with the scorpion’s tail to save Toby, then come back with reinforcements.  In the real world, Toby goes into cardiac arrest and we see her flat-line.  To be continued.  There is a lot going on here, most of it good, even though I really see so much of the original series at play.  In the original, it was a small group of individuals who discovered the anomalies until they were, in turn, discovered by the authorities and placed in charge of a secret project to study the anomalies and protect people from rampaging dinosaurs.  Pretty much the same thing here.  However, by the end of the original series, it was pretty hard to argue that dinosaurs were still a secret so it’s extremely unlikely that Evan Cross, especially with all fo the research he supposedly did, wouldn’t have known about the ARC.  This is especially true because Connor, from the original series, appeared in the first episode and there are rumors that he’ll be in the last as well.  The Canadian version should have had a lot more knowledge going into the series than they did, it really made little sense to show them learning all the same things that had already been learned previously. Still, for all the complaining I did early on about the slow development, the last couple of episodes have been ramping up nicely, I’m looking forward to next week when this series wraps up.

Walking Dead #3×10 – “Home” – While Rick wanders down the short pier to insanity, Glenn tries his best to take over the group, but he’s just too angry about the things that happened at Woodbury to be effective.  The group tries to figure out how the walkers got into the prison and Glenn goes on a scouting trip outside the fences to find the holes.  Hershel tries to convince Rick to pull it together, but just then, the Governor attacks, putting a bullet through Axel’s head.  Meanwhile, Daryl and Merle come across a group of people trapped by walkers on a bridge.  Daryl selflessly rushes to their aid, Merle much more reluctantly so, and when they save them, Merle wants to steal from them.  Daryl instead pulls him aside and lets them make their escape and then says he’s done with Merle and is headed back to the prison.  Merle whines a little about how he can’t go there, but follows along anyhow.  They arrive just as the attack is getting underway and save Rick’s life from being walker-chow.  The Governor has a minion ram the gates with a truck loaded with walkers and the prison is infested again.  Alright, lots of questions here, the most pressing is… how the hell did these people get to be such bad shots?  Or maybe it ought to be, for people who are such miserable shots, how did they survive this long?  The Governor is just standing there out in the open and nobody can hit him?  They’ve got a guy just standing in the guard tower, Maggie and Carl are shooting at him and it must take them a solid hundred rounds of ammo to take him down?  Seriously?  I mean, that’s absolutely pathetic.  Next, where the hell was Tyreese and company?  Yes, I know in the last episode while Rick was having his breakdown, Glenn ordered them out of the room.  Are we supposed to believe they were thrown completely out of the prison?  Considering the fact that everyone in the group except Rick, who was coo coo for cocoa puffs, wanted them to stay, Glen tossed them out the front gate?  Seriously?  Don’t buy it.  But if they were still around, why weren’t they helping?  Makes no sense.  Plus, let’s be honest, the only reason to get rid of Axel is because the cast is getting too heavy, that’s the only reason anyone dies in this show.  New people are found, we have to get rid of some old ones and seek equibrium.  How about we just shoot Rick and let Tyreese and his group stay?

One thing I wanted to say about Walking Dead though, something that I tend to shake my head at week after week, is their next week preview during the credits.  No, that’s not unusual, most shows have some kind of preview, but what bugs me is the fact that they have an extended preview if you watch some other show on during the week and they make a big deal about it.  Extended preview?  What moron is going to sit through another show just to see a few more seconds of a preview for an episode that they can just watch in it’s entirety in another couple of days?  Are Walking Dead fans that out of control that they’d waste an hour of their life to see a little more of an upcoming episode?  Honestly, I don’t watch previews of anything, ever.  I don’t read spoilers (but neither do I try to avoid them).  When I sit down to watch a TV show, I haven’t got the slightest idea what’s going to happen, nor do I want to.  It’s just TV!  People have way too much time on their hands and far too little patience.  The episode isn’t coming any faster because you want to see it.  Go do something useful and come back next week, same bat time, same bat channel.

Best of the Week:  Castle, for the wonderful acting range of Nathan Fillion and the fantastic like-father-like-daughter investigative work of Molly Quinn, when Castle  does it right, it’s absolutely right.

Worst of the Week:  The Following might just lose my following if it keeps this absurd nonsense up.  Dumb writing, stupid acting, the real FBI doesn’t work like this and wouldn’t tolerate this kind of incompetence.

Other Stuff I Watched:  Top Gear U.S. #3×09, Phantom 5-8, Skyfall, When a Stranger Calls Back Rifftrax

TV Thursday – 2/14/13

TV Thursday Header

 

I managed to finish the first season of Continuum and catch up on this season of Murdoch Mysteries so it’s another big list this week!

Arrow #1×13 – “Betrayal” – Oliver confronts his mother over the notebook he received last episode from Felicity, but she denies knowing anything about it, claiming it was a list of people who owed his father favors.  She then tossed the book into the fire.  Luckily, he has another one.  Laurel calls the Hood when Cyrus Vanch gets out of prison due to a technical glitch and sets out to take over the city’s crime families.  To do so, he decides to kill the Hood to prove his worth.  When he learns that Laurel has been working with the Hood, he kidnaps her, causing Detective Lance to seek out the Hood for help, recognizing that someone in his force, the only ones who were aware of Laurel’s connection with the Hood, could be a traitor.  Together, they take out a group of killers that Vanch placed between himself and Laurel’s rescuers, but of course, they pose no threat or  challenge to the Hood.  Laurel is rescued unharmed, Vanch is taken into custody again but Laurel decides to distance herself from her father due to his deception, then the Hood decides to distance himself from Laurel because she was put into harm’s way because of him.  Meanwhile, Diggle starts following Oliver’s mother, just to see if her story is on the level.  It isn’t.  He records a conversation between her and Mr. Merlyn where she says a lot of incriminating things.  When Oliver hears this, he is quite unhappy.  In our weekly flashback to the island, Oliver finally meets Slade Wilson, who will become Deathstroke and they form an uneasy partnership that Wilson thinks will get them off the island. I do like the fact that Oliver is finally starting to see his mother for what she is, which is good after the last couple of episodes where her character has been built up.  She finally told Thea that her father wasn’t the saint she thought he was, implying that the things that Thea had blamed her mother for over the years really should have been her father’s doing.  Now, it’s clear that even if their father wasn’t such a great guy, their mother is no peach either.  A little well-meaning suspicion goes a long way.  I was also a bit unsure of the revelation of Deathstroke’s real face, it was never said specifically in the episode but everyone keeps saying that’s who it was.  Oliver was tortured by someone in that mask, the idea that there are two of them out there, one crazy and one sane, is a bit odd, I think it’s more likely that it’s a single man with a split personality, just like the two sides of the mask.  Add to that the fact that the DC comics version of Slade Wilson was an ex-U.S. Army soldier, not Australian, so maybe that’s not him.  I was almost thinking that the person Oliver met at the crashed plane might be Major Wintergreen, the long-time friend and partner of Deathstroke.  I guess the truth will be revealed in time.  

Thumbs DownBones #8×15 – “The Shot in the Dark” – Every time I think a Bones episode can’t get worse, they disgust me.  Bones is shot while working late with a mysterious vanishing bullet, she keeps dying on the table, giving rise to visions of her dead mother, with whom she never reconciled.  Meanwhile, everyone spends their time throwing around religious epithets while Bones, whenever she comes out of her delirium, simply declares she doesn’t believe in God.  This whole nonsense of playing the rational Bones against the irrational and religious Booth has always pissed me off and they pushed every one of the wrong buttons this week.  The other really bad part of the episode was the blood bullets.  Why?  Okay, we know that ice bullets will never work, they even said so in this episode, but what was the point of even bothering?  Why didn’t they use a real bullet?  There was no point whatsoever not to, it just gave Hodgins something to do with himself.  When you think about it, it was really asinine that the killer used his own blood, which could be tracked back to him, to shoot people with.  Hodgins reasoned that nobody ever checked the blood at the scene, but would the killer have known that?  After all, he worked in an entirely different area of the Jeffersonian, why would he think that doing what he did was safe?  I’d have thought it was no safer than leaving my fingerprints all over the crime scene.  And what ever happened to the case they were working on, the guy who was thrown off the bridge?  Where was Angela in all of this?  I know that Brennan’s father needed a bigger role in this episode, but she is her best friend, it makes no sense for her not to be in the episode at all.  Dumb dumb dumb dumb and dumb some more.  This show is slipping big time.

Castle #5×14 – “Reality Star Struck” – When a star of a reality television show ends up dead at a bus stop, the team tries to figure out who done it when everyone involved with the show is just a dick.  Any of them could have done it and just gunning down the whole cast and crew would have been a better solution.  Still, with Valentine’s Day looming and Castle being competitive with everyone over gifts, it was a classic Rick Castle week, which is always excellent.  About the only saving grace with the reality TV plot was that the victim wasn’t as much as a sleazebag as everyone else on the set, I can’t stand reality TV, especially the trashy shows like this.  It ended up being a pretty stupid solution to the crime anyhow, what idiot uses their own expensive wedding present to commit a murder and thinks they won’t get caught?  Hell, she didn’t care that she got caught, she just thought she was above being punished for it.  The backstory was more interesting, where Castle accidentally put Beckett’s present into Captain Gates’ coat pocket and they spent the episode stressing that she might find out their secret.  Hell, everyone else knows, Gates can’t be that stupid.  Everyone just talks about it openly.  It’s not like everyone doesn’t know that Javier and Lainey are going out again.  Nobody cares!  The resolution, where Gates reads Castle the riot act, was well played, although it could have been played for comedy and she could have been appreciative for the gift.  In fact, Castle could have played it better and got a few brownie points with Gates.  The bit where Beckett’s gift to Castle was a drawer at her apartment, honestly, was underwhelming.  Why did it take her this long?  A decent, although not spectacular episode, but they can’t all be.

Continuum #1×08 – “Playtime” – When Carlos and Kiera investigate two mysterious murder-suicides that happen on the same day, it looks like someone has managed to develop mind control, but who?  Signs point to a software startup that the two murderers were employed by, but this kind of technology shouldn’t exist yet, and of course, Liber8 is behind it.  When Kiera tries out the company’s new virtual reality game, it integrates with her HUD and bad things start to happen.  It takes Alec some time to realize that there’s more to the game than meets the eye and it’s about to bring Kiera’s system crashing down, but it also allows Liber8 to take control of her body, almost killing Carlos in the process.  Alec, with the help of her suit, manages to reboot her system just in time.  However, that means that Liber8 learns that Alec is helping Kiera, something they’d kept secret to this point in time.  He upgrades her firewall so no one can hack into her system again, but in so doing, discovers a hidden file, addressed to him, from his future self. I honestly think this is one of the weakest episodes of the season.  At the beginning, you see  a flash forward that in the future, they’ve developed (with a few bugs remaining) a system for controlling the minds of Protectors.  I can’t really imagine what they’d use it for, but the point is, it only works on people who have the computer chips implanted into the back of their neck.  We see Kiera getting hers, we see them implanting the program using a tool on the chip.  So why does it work on two people who do not have the chips (and cannot have them implanted since they haven’t been invented yet)?  How did two people get “programmed” by playing a game?  It shouldn’t be possible. I can see Kiera being  susceptible, but regular civilians?  Hardly.  But without that, the whole episode doesn’t work.  I suppose it’s just a way to answer the possibility of Kiera’s system getting hacked, and for that I can appreciate it on some level, I’d rather they address these concerns than ignore them, but it should have been done better. 

Continuum #1×09 – “Family Time” – When a local farm is reported to have purchased an alarming amount of ammonium nitrate, Carlos and Kiera go to investigate.  It turns out to be Alec’s farm and his step-father is shocked to find a truck filled with chemicals in the barn.  It turns out to be Alec’s step-brother Julian and his friends who are determined to make a bomb and make a statement as part of the Liber8 movement.  This causes a standoff at the farm, with Julian and his friends trying to figure out how to escape the police blockade, while holding Carlos, Kiera, Alec and his mother and step-father hostage.  The step-father, as we found out a couple of episodes earlier, while a radical, is not a violent man and he tries to convince Julian to give up peacefully to the police.  Alec tells Kiera that her suit is just about repaired, it just requires a few more adjustments, but before he can finish, they are rounded up.  Carlos gets himself shot and spends the rest of the episode drifting in and out of consciousness.  That’s probably a good thing because Kiera, feeling guilty for lying to him all the time, spills the beans about her true nature while he’s delusional.  We have no idea how much he heard or remembers of what she said, we’re led to believe that he was unconscious at the time but who knows.  Alec manages to talk his way out into his workshop and retrieve Kiera’s finished suit and gets it back to her and together, they stop Julian’s friends.  Alec’s step-father talks Julian down and gets his gun, just as police snipers, convinced that it’s actually Roland who is holding everyone hostage, takes him out with a single shot.  Good job guys!  It’s a good episode, we get to see a lot of character development, we get to see what eventually drives Julian to do what he does next episode, my only complaint is that the death of Roland at the end is pretty gratuitous.  Yes, it pushes Julian over the edge, but shouldn’t someone have mentioned to the police, in the several times they had them on the phone, that Roland wasn’t responsible?  In fact, I don’t remember offhand if the police even asked!  Seems like a no-brainer.

Thumbs UpContinuum #1×10 – “Endtime” – And we finally reach the last episode of the first season.  Kiera finally relents and sleeps with Kellog, although it seems just an excuse to steal back his part of the time orange.  She meets Jason, who says he’s a time traveller from 2077, but he was sent back to 1992 instead of 2012.  In that time, he’s been building a time machine to get back home, he just lacks one vital component that won’t be invented for many years.  Conveniently, Kiera just stole that component.  However, today is the day that the war starts, with a terrorist bombing that kills thousands of people and Kiera can’t bring herself to leave without trying to stop the attack.  She and Jason know that one building is blown up, they just can’t remember which one it is so they try to have all of them evacuated.  This brings her to the attention of a real government official who has never heard of Section 6, Kiera’s imaginary cover identity, and he starts to dig.  It seems that after the last episode, Julian went to Kagame and offered to drive the suicide truck filled with explosives and trigger the attack.  It turns out though that he’s just a decoy, sent to divert police forces to the wrong building.  Kagame himself is wearing a high-tech explosive vest, but is cornered by Kiera and Alec.  Managing to escape them, tells Kiera to ask Alec why all of this is happening and then detonates the bomb, killing himself and thousands of people in the plaza, thus keeping history on track.  The government agent receives a telephone call from his superiors, saying that he’s to cooperate with Kiera at all times, she outranks all of them.  Meanwhile, Sonya makes a delivery to a woman and her newborn baby in the hospital, it turns out this is Kagame’s mother and newborn self, he had to kill himself on this day to keep from causing a time paradox.  Sonya announces it was Kagame’s wish for her to take over Liber8.  Kiera, horrified that she couldn’t change history, goes back to Jason’s place, intending to return to the future, only to find that he’s just a nut and his time machine is a fantasy.  She gets back her piece of the time orange and goes to see Kellog, who she thinks covered for her with the phone call, yet finds that he had nothing to do with it.  She receives a call from Alec, who reveals to her that he’s the reason she’s been sent back to the past.  We get a flash-forward to the future and see Kagame in prison with a much older Julian, who explains the whole plan to him, but is then taken to see future Alec who provides him with the time orange and starts the whole plan in action. Some of this, we knew.  For instance, we knew that Alec was really the mastermind behind the future and we suspected that he had a hand in the events that sent everyone back in time.  He was the only one who didn’t react in the viewing gallery when Liber8 and Kiera disappeared.  We’d heard about this terrorist attack before, the attack that started the whole war, but we knew no details.  There are only two things that bother me in this otherwise excellent episode.  First, I don’t buy Kiera sleeping with Kellog for a second.  She has spent all of her time dreaming about her husband, doing everything in her power to get back to him and she goes off and bones this asshole?  Not buying it, sorry, I don’t care what excuse they come up with for why she did it.  I can see her humping Carlos before she’d do Kellog.  Secondly, and I admit this is stretching a bit, but I can’t imagine no one ever realized that Kagame was born on the same day as the terrorist attack that started the war his group carried the banner for.  No, they wouldn’t have understood the significance, but the idea that nobody ever said “hey, look at this!” seems strange.  I’d think it would  be pretty common knowledge, especially for Protectors who were chasing Kagame, Kiera should have known it and maybe, just maybe, realized that there might be a reason for it all, now that they’re all back in time.  Just seemed like something someone should have said, even in passing.  Anyhow, fantastic episode that really makes me want to see the next season right now. 

Elementary #1×15 – “A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs” – Sherlock’s former drug dealer Rhys shows up, asking for help when his adult daughter is kidnapped and the criminals, clearly a drug syndicate that Rhys had stolen several million dollars from years earlier, want the money back.  Of course, Rhys has spent it all.  Watson is concerned that the reappearance of Rhys might send Sherlock into a tailspin, even though Rhys is no longer in the drug dealing business and Sherlock is no longer in the drug taking business.  However, she’s closer than Sherlock would like to admit as Rhys suggests that Sherlock was a better detective when he was on heroin and while I don’t think he ever seriously thinks of going back, he certainly isn’t sure if Rhys isn’t right, maybe the drugs did give him an edge.  However, that doesn’t stop him from discovering the culprit, an undercover DEA agent who was in deep cover with the syndicate, but who found out that Rhys had money he could be blackmailed out of.  With the girl recovered, sans a finger, Sherlock decides that his life is better and safer if Rhys is removed from it forever so he forbids Rhys from ever darkening his doorstep again.  I do think that having a story where the specter of drugs comes up again, especially since Watson is supposed to have moved on to other clients by now, is a good idea.  Not only do we get to see that Sherlock still has potential cravings, or at least thinks about it, which is something we haven’t seen out of him much, we also see that he has the strength of will to reject drugs on his own, even when he could easily have given in.  That’s good to know, especially as Watson moves away from her sober companion role and into her partner in crime-solving role. 

Following #1×04 – “Mad Love” – I’ve pointed out the potential problems of Joe Carroll’s little game many times, that he has to trust that his minions will do exactly what he wants them to do, when he wants them to do it, with absolute precision, in order to have his plan work.  I think we saw a little hint of what happens when things don’t quite go his way tonight.  Last week, Paul went out and kidnapped a woman he could be with, but the consensus was that she had to be put down.  However, instead of Paul taking care of his own problems, Emma wanted her boy-toy Jacob to off her since he’s never actually killed anyone before.  Even Carroll knows this, saying that he’ll do it when he’s ready, until then everyone can just pretend he’s done the deed.  I suppose if they want to train Carroll’s son Joey to be a killer, everyone ought to know what it actually feels like, right?  This week though, Maggie goes on the rampage.  Ryan Hardy killed her husband, remember, and she’s rather miffed about it so she kidnaps Hardy’s sister.  Hardy and Weston head off to rescue her, but Ryan ends up with magnets strapped to his chest in an attempt to make his pacemaker fail.  Surely there are better, more certain ways to do it, especially since Maggie is one of Joe’s minions, but she takes the slow, absurd approach to bringing about Ryan’s death, which only gets him rescued when Weston finally shows up and puts a bullet in Maggie.  So we have Paul acting outside of Carroll’s plan, we have Maggie gunning for revenge, outside of Carroll’s plan, and finally, we see that Emma, Paul and Jacob are having a threesome, once again, outside of Carroll’s plan.  Even Carroll recognizes that things aren’t going as he thought, even criticizing some of the elements like the Poe mask, which he always thought was stupid.  And that’s where things get potentially interesting.  See, I hate the super-villain who is always three steps ahead of everyone and never makes mistakes, that’s what I’ve feared The Following would be.  But now we’re seeing that, while Joe Carroll is cold and calculating and undoubtedly a genius, he’s not perfect.  His plans rely on others who are not nearly as committed to the plan as he is, who have other agendas, whose emotions can get in the way.  It will be more interesting seeing how Carroll tries to hold it all together from behind bars, especially when major players start to fall, and fall they will. 

Murdoch Mysteries #6×02 – “Winston’s Lost Night” – Another of the really cool elements of this show is the appearance of many historical figures, often playing parts at earlier points in their illustrious careers.  People like H.G. Wells, Annie Oakley, Nikola Tesla, Orville and Wilbur Wright, who appeared in the last episode, and here, Winston Churchill.  It seems that he’s in town to give a talk, long before his political career began, but after a night of too much drink, he wakes up to find his friend murdered beside him and he’s the primary suspect.  Murdoch needs to figure out exactly what Winston actually did the night before and who he made mad (which was pretty much everyone), to discover who really did it.  Along the way, Inspector Brackenreid, who is a huge fan of Churchill initially and very much wants to get his autograph, but is rebuffed as an immature child for asking, eventually gets his autograph and Churchill is quite impressed with the long list of famous individuals he’s already collected, including the prime minister of England.  Murdoch suggests offhand that one day, Churchill might become prime minister and make his signature quite valuable, for which everyone has a chuckle.  It really is that kind of writing that makes watching this show such a joy, even though I’m typically one to hate period dramas, this is a period drama that doesn’t take itself seriously and that makes a lot of sly winks at the audience.  If you haven’t seen it before, by all means, grab an episode or two and check it out!

Murdoch Mysteries #6×03 – “Murdoch on the Corner” – I really love in this show that they introduce common modern items as brand new inventions.  In the first episode of the season, they took up eating meat between bread, initially a disgusting idea for them, but they discovered they loved eating hamburgers.  This time, a brand new Italian dish called the “pizza pie”, convenient because it makes it’s own plate.  Perhaps, concludes Crabtree, the vendor might even use his bicycle to deliver his pizzas right to people’s door!  After a series of seemingly unrelated murders, the only common element of which is that the victims all mysteriously came into money before their demise and they all were seen on a particular street in town, Murdoch and Crabtree realize that they’re dealing with a serial killer, one of the first to be identified, but how can they discover the culprit?  Murdoch invents the movie camera, of course!  Murdoch dangles Crabtree out as bait to catch the killer who is using a dropped wallet as a moral test.  It’s a fun episode where the actual killer isn’t known until the very end, we’re left with a lot of very likely suspects and no real proof for who done it.  We’ve seen since the beginning of this season, the return of Murdoch’s love interest Julia Ogden, the former medical examiner who Murdoch stupidly allowed to marry another man and move away, yet now she’s back and ready to ditch her husband.  In this episode, the judge refuses to allow the couple an annulment after Julia cannot bring herself to lie in court and say they did not consummate the marriage and now, Murdoch is having serious problems justifying a soon-to-be-divorced woman because of his strong religious beliefs.  Yes, I know that religion was a big deal back in the day, but it still pisses me off.  I’m glad to see that he finally came to his senses and said he will marry her regardless.  It would be nice to see him reject religion, after all, he’s become a competent scientist in his time with the Toronto Police, might as well go all the way.

Murdoch Mysteries #6×04 – “A Study in Sherlock” – When a bank robbery is foiled by a mysterious man who thinks he’s Sherlock Holmes, Murdoch must not only discover who the man really is and if he’s connected to the case, but he discovers that Holmes really is a fantastic detective with an eye for detail that he needs to solve the case.  It gets more interesting when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle comes to town to convince Holmes that he’s not really Holmes and Doyle walks away, not only impressed with his detective skills, but inspired to bring back the deceased literary Holmes for more adventures.  It turns out that “Holmes” had witnessed a violent crime involving his step-father when he was younger and this made him snap and take on the persona of Holmes as he tries to solve the murder from the past.  It’s certainly an interesting concept, it only makes sense that he’d adopt Holmes as his delusion based on the case.  He spoke openly about the murder and the stolen gem as though it was one of Doyle’s books, but Doyle had no clue about it, except to say that he might write about it later, which sent Murdoch in the right direction. Murdoch Mysteries gets so many of these famous cameos right, while we really have no idea how these people would have acted in reality, you can certainly imagine and be convinced that the actors are doing their interpretations spot on.

Murdoch Mysteries #6×05 – “Murdoch Au Naturel” –  A body is found at the edge of a nudist camp, prompting Crabtree to shed his uniform and everything else to ferret out the criminal.  The corpse turns out to be a Pinkerton agent of some repute, who was chasing down the last surviving member of the Rooster Gang, yet with a group of nudists, none of whom will talk about their pasts, how do they discover who the killer is?  The use of “convenient obstacles” in this episode is great, the only thing you get to see is backsides and there are plenty of those, but everyone has a basket or a convenient bush to block untoward views.  It’s all very smartly done, you never get the impression that the actors are shifting things around for censorship reasons, except for George, who clearly is uncomfortable with his nudity, especially when he runs into Murdoch’s fiancee to be, Julia, who is trying out the nudist lifestyle.  I’ve spoken before of the “inventions” that Murdoch comes up with, this time, he makes Silly Putty to lift an impression from a newspaper.  Inspector Brackenreid is so impressed with the stuff, he wants to take some home to the kids because they’d think it’s silly.  He said it, not me.  Perhaps my only disappointment with the episode, and this is entirely within character for the time-period, is the continued angst over how Julia will get a divorce, since she has to prove she’s been unfaithful to her husband and… she hasn’t.  She initially wants to spare Murdoch any part in the scheme, thinking the embarrassment of being involved with a married woman would be too much for him, but honestly, he intends to marry her after the divorce, what is more embarrassing, being involved with a married woman or marrying a woman who had been unfaithful with someone entirely different during her previous marriage?  Honestly pal, go get laid. 

Murdoch Mysteries #6×06 – “Murdoch and the Cloud of Doom” – I really don’t know how to take Murdoch episodes where they sort of take things seriously.  Here, a mysterious film is delivered to the mayor which depicts the seeming death of a dog, killed by a very potent poison.  It includes a massive ransom demand and if it isn’t met, the madman will unleash his toxic “cloud of doom” on the city of Toronto.  Most of the episode consists of Murdoch and his associates trying to figure out if the threat is credible (he concludes it is) and then trying to get the town evacuated before poison gas kills everyone.  Of course, there really is no poison gas, even though the villain has everything he needs to construct a very potent killer, he’s not really out to kill anyone or even get the ransom, he wants to rescue his fiancee who is in the town’s women’s prison, about to be executed.  We do see a lot of wonderful relationship developments in this episode, Julia decides, when the town is being evacuated, that she’d rather stay and die with Murdoch than live without him.  Crabtree, who has, over the last several episodes, clearly developed feelings for Dr. Emily Grace and, faced with the possibility that he’ll be killed by poison gas, finally makes his feelings toward her clearly known.  You go, George, about damn time you got a girlfriend.  We even got to see Inspector Brackenreid caring for his family as he tried to get them out of the city to safety.  It was a more serious episode than most others this season, after all, when you’re talking about the very real possibility of a city-wide holocaust, you’re not going to be going for laughs, but they did manage to sneak in here and there.  Still, it wasn’t really clear until the very end that there was no poison, that it was all a hoax, all the signs that this was a real danger were there.  I’m sure everyone was glad that there was no poison and there were no injuries, and it even looked like there might be extenuating circumstances that might keep the villain’s fiancee from the gallows.  Seems like a win-win for everyone.

Person of Interest #2×14 – “One Percent” – The number of the week belongs to “self-made billionaire” Logan Pierce, who stands in for Mark Zuckerberg as the developer of a major social media site, “Friendczar” which is about to kick off it’s public IPO and rake in even more money.  Nobody likes Pierce, he’s a dick to everyone around him and, let’s be honest, he has no real friends, just people who hang around to take advantage of him.  And oh, do they take advantage of him.  He’s portrayed as a genius but is really a jerk.  The board of directors of his company dump him, then someone tries to kill him to keep him from teaming up with a bunch of people he screwed over in the building of Friendczar, to make an even bigger and better social networking site.  The only problem is that genius part.  He figures out who Finch and Reese are, at least in the broad strokes.  He is, as they later say, just clever enough to be dangerous, suggesting that he may come back again down the line.  I say, as I always do, good.  We need more people than the tiny inner circle that they’ve developed, even if they are just confidants that drift in and out of the show from time to time.  It’s always nice to see people who operate on the same level as Finch and Reese, instead of the typical case where they’re so far above and beyond anything else going on.  I really liked the bit where Carter is researching cold cases of dead cops, trying to find links to the more recent cop killings and Fusco nervously trying to explain that he might have been involved in some of them.  She doesn’t want to hear it, she just tells him that, even if they are partners, even if they are friends, she’s a cop first and foremost and if she finds that he’s been involved in a crime, she’ll take him down personally.  Of course, we know that he’s been a dirty cop (and still might be), this may lead to some interesting developments down the line.

Primeval: New World #1×11 – “The Inquisition” – My first reaction to this show was “oh great, it’s a clip show”, but I was wrong.  While there was a lot of repetition of basic plot elements, explaining what had come before, it was more than just exposition over again, it was setting the entire series in context, something that it desperately needed.  We start off with Leeds, who after the last episode, has been taken into custody.  He meets with his boss, Colonel Henderson-Hall, someone who has been mentioned before but never seen on camera, who is trying to figure out why Leeds abandoned his duties to help Evan and Dylan.  I don’t think he ever gets a very satisfactory answer, except “I’m not a dick”, but Henderson-Hall plays Leeds off against Evan throughout the episode, revealing the larger plot that has, until now, been totally hidden.  Henderson-Hall orders the military to take Evan’s anomaly equipment by force, only to find that he’s already had it all removed from Cross Photonics, which is failing and near bankruptcy.  They bring him before Henderson-Hall, who reveals that he has much larger plans for the anomalies.  Not only has the military been using them extensively to bring back dinosaurs and biological specimens from the past, he’s planning on bio-engineering an environmentally friendly energy source that can be generated by ancient algae, then seeding it into the distant past, thus solving the energy crisis.  He has many different schemes that, by changing the past, he can better the present and thinks that everything will go off without a hitch since, so far, his antics in the past haven’t changed the present.  Evan isn’t convinced.  Meanwhile, Dylan and Mac break into Project Magnet with the keycard Leeds left to them in the last episode and discover piles of dissected dinosaurs, many of which they had left with Leeds to return to the past.  They are captured and brought before Henderson-Hall, who threatens to make them disappear unless Evan promises to work with the government.  He reluctantly agrees.  Finally, he gives Leeds one last chance to reveal where his loyalties lie and Leeds says they’re firmly with Evan Cross.  He ends up in a cell, who knows what his fate will be.  Two more episodes in this season, I hope they make them count.  So much of what was revealed in this episode should have been shown or at least hinted at along the way, maybe I wouldn’t have complained so much that the series seemed to be going nowhere.  Yes, now I actually care what happens but there isn’t much time left before the end of the season, are they going to develop anything meaningful in 2 episodes?  This one was great but they could only get that much of an info dump in by making the whole episode exposition with virtually no CGI and not much action. Maybe if they had plotted the series a bit better, they wouldn’t have had to have an exposition-heavy episode to explain what the hell was going on.  In any case, it is keeping me more interested than I have been and I’m looking forward to the 2-part season-finale.

Walking Dead #3×09 – “The Suicide King” – After a long absence, AMC’s The Walking Dead is back and… it’s back.  It wasn’t a bad show by any means, a lot happened, but it wasn’t the Glen Mazzara non-stop action style episode we’ve seen a lot of lately, it was the Frank Darabont “tell me about your feelings” style episode that filled so much of season 2.  I think the best episodes are the ones that find a middle ground between those two styles.  Daryl and Merle are ordered by the Governor to fight to the death, but they, with the help of Rick and company, manage to escape from Woodbury.  Of course, now free, Rick refuses to allow Merle back into his good graces, which is no surprise because Merle is just a dick, so Daryl leaves the group with Merle.  This, of course, does not make Carol happy.  Rick is also adamant that as soon as Michone is healthy enough to leave, she gets the boot out of the prison as well.  Yes, she is a bit unstable but geez, Rick, look in the fricking mirror.  If anyone ought to be tossed out, it’s Rick.  How he treats Tyreese and company is just more evidence of it, shake the man’s hand already, stop being an asshole.  Frankly, I think most people in the group are losing it to some degree.  Take Glenn, who decides to do a jig on a zombie’s head.  Rick is just nuts.  Merle is homicidal.  Michone is crazy.  Carl is messed up and hey, for a kid they keep referring to as “Little Asskicker”, the baby is going to be a peach.  He declares that the new people can’t stay, then starts talking to his hallucination of dead Lori on the balcony.  Anyone going to take his recommendation seriously?  I know I wouldn’t.

TWD Zombie Stomp

Best of the Week:  It has to go to the final episode of the season of Continuum, where we really get a sense of what’s going on and how many layers upon layers the plot has.  Is time really fixed and nothing that Kiera and Liber8 do in the past matters?  Alec sent them back in time for a reason, after all, there must be more to it than that.  It’s one of the few times in recent memory that I’ve turned off a season finale and immediately wanted the next season to start the following week.

Worst of the Week:  Yeah, it goes to Bones for it’s ham-handed religious pandering and stupid nonsensical plot elements.  I absolutely don’t want Brennan to turn to religion, I want Booth to reject it.  I don’t want his bad habits rubbing off on her, I want her good habits to rub off on him.  And there was no damn reason for that blood bullet, except that someone on the writing team has spent too much time on Snopes.

Other Things I Watched This Week:  Top Gear U.S. #3×08, Phantom (Korean drama) 1-4, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2, Top Gear #19×03

TV Thursday – 2/7/13

TV Thursday Header

I’m not sure if I didn’t realize we were back to a regular week or what, but wow, this is going to be long.  There’s lots of Continuum this week as I continue my mission to push through the entire first season, a double-dose of Elementary, plus tons of other shows!  I’ve also come to a realization, with Fringe gone, it’s really hard not having a go-to show for worst of the week!

Arrow #1×12 – “Vertigo” – Thea’s lawyer tries to get a plea deal past the judge, who refuses and sends her case to trial.  Oliver pleads with Laurel to see if her father can help and reluctantly, he does.  Oliver tries to buy himself a meeting with the head of the Vertigo drug cartel, someone known only as “The Count”.  Of course, this isn’t the same guy in the DC Comics universe, known  as Count Vertigo, a small-time supervillain in Green Arrow’s rogue’s gallery.  Once again, we see a guy without a suit or powers, who gets sort of shoehorned into the story.  I don’t have a problem with that per se, especially since we might see him get powers due to the events of this episode.    Finally getting a meeting, it is broken up by a police raid and in the ensuing madness, The Count injects Oliver with a lethal dose of Vertigo.  Diggle drags him back to the lair and uses the wonder drug on him, which saves his life, although the drug still has various effects.  Oliver flashes back to the island where Yao Fei pretends to kill him in a gladiatorial match to gain favor with Fyers, then provides Oliver with a map and a means to escape captivity.  Oliver spills the beans to Thea, who is being a spoiled little bitch, that it wasn’t their mother that was a loser, but their father.  Personally, I would have let the little bitch rot in prison.  After a little off-screen science by Felicity, they discover where the drug lab is and Oliver runs off to take out the bad guys.  The police show up just as Oliver injects The Count with a huge dose of his own drugs, then gets away.  The police take him to the hospital where, miraculously, he’s not dead, although there could be serious brain damage.  Felicity shares the book of names that Walter gave her with Oliver, telling him that the book is his mother’s.  Thea manages to bargain 2 years probation and 500 hours of community service at Laurel’s legal firm.  Once again, we get the obscure DC villain of the week, which I don’t mind at all, I just wish they were closer to their comic versions.  Hopefully The Count will come back changed and whacked out of his skull later on in the season.  I was also not at all impressed with how Thea acted in this episode, she was a little pain in the ass, rude to everyone, entitlement happy, etc.  She was afraid to go into the courtroom, she was terrified when her plea deal was rejected, but when given a very favorable solution to avoid going to prison, she turned it down?  Sorry, it just didn’t wash.

Bones #8×14 – “The Doll in the Derby” –  Bones and Booth investigate the death of an out-of-control roller derby skater that is found dismembered in the woods.  Angela, who has done pretty much dick in the last couple of episodes, volunteers to go undercover at the roller rink to try to get clues and ends up getting the crap beat out of her.  In making friends with the other skaters, they go out and get drunk and she ends up making out with Booth, who is pretending to be her significant other.  It turns out that most of what Angela did was just a time-waster, all of the skates were covered in blood, there was no way to tell which one had caused damage to the murder victim.  Now I don’t care how drunk someone is, as far as I’m concerned, if they really are in love with their husband, they would never act like Angela did.  Ever, especially not go back later and ask for more.  It was a disgusting display as far as I’m concerned.  The B and C stories this week were not better.  Wendell feeling bad about turning 29 and having very little to show for it could have been a really good story, he could have been the king of the lab for the week, come up with something that really made it possible to identify the killer, something really dramatic, but no.  Hodgins plays big brother for a couple of minutes, after, let’s be honest, being an annoying, harassing git for most of the episode and for his trouble, he gets a formerly-nude painting of Wendell, painted by his wife.  Yeah, thanks for that!  Finally, the whole Booth doing charity work was just dumb.  Yeah, it’s great that he’s helping out, but the idea that he has to hide it from everyone is just idiotic.  If you’re doing charity, how can anyone else help if you refuse to tell them about it?  Overall, yet another wholly disappointing episode out of Bones.

Castle #5×13 – “Recoil” – This is a continuation of the Senator Bracken storyline, begun earlier in the season.  Bracken is the man behind the murder of Beckett’s mother and Captain Montgomery, but he’s so powerful and smart and stuff that nobody can get any evidence against him, even though he’s got no problem speaking openly about it to Beckett.  Anyhow, one of Bracken’s political associates is found dead in a skid-row barrel, burned beyond recognition.  Only a medical implant serial number identifies her as Melanie Rodgers.  This gets Beckett investigating Bracken again, although it turns out that not only is he innocent of the crime, he’s actually being targeted for assassination.  Now, it’s up to Beckett and Castle to save the man that Beckett desperately wants to see dead.  They locate where Melanie was killed, using a cell phone message she was recording at the time of her murder, and find evidence in the trunk of a car, including a notebook making threats against Bracken.  While looking through all of the death threats that Bracken had received, Beckett locates one that matches the handwriting in the notebook and considers burning it so that whoever is going to kill Bracken can do the job she wants to do herself.  However, she doesn’t and they eventually stumble across evidence pointing to an unemployed mechanic, Robert McMannus, who felt that Bracken had murdered his son.  However, it was all a setup and the real culprit was Bracken’s long-time driver who had been paid off by political rival Ben Moss, leaving McMannus to take the fall.  When Beckett realizes that it was too easy and there will be another attempt made on Bracken’s life, she races to a huge public speaking engagement and evacuates the hotel, pissing everyone off and potentially ending her career.  However, the bomb wasn’t in the hotel, it was in his limo and, deducing this at the last moment, she stops Bracken from getting into his car just as it explodes.  He tells her he owes her now, that  no matter how much she hates him, having a friend in high places sometimes comes in useful.  Bracken has Moss arrested and uses it for political capital.  It was a good episode and nice to see it not revolve around Beckett’s mother, something I was afraid of at the time.  I would almost have bought Beckett burning the letter, but she’s a better cop than that.  Still, it was a momentary concern, seeing as she’s been unable to catch Bracken red handed, to maybe look the other way for a moment, or accidentally slip and burn the evidence and let reality take it’s course.  However, while I think Beckett ended up being in character, Castle was another matter.  I don’t care how tired he was, the Rick Castle we all know would never walk away and leave Beckett to do the work alone.  That’s just not him, yet it happened because we needed a convenient few seconds for Beckett to discover the evidence alone and have her moral dilemma.  And when Rick finds out what she almost did, he blows it off like it’s no big deal.  Someone needs to kick the writers and get their brains back in gear. 

Continuum #1×02 – “Fast Times” – Luckily, my concerns from the first episode were very quickly handled, Kiera’s Portland cop identity didn’t survive even the most tenuous examination and she soon finds herself in handcuffs for impersonating an officer.  The members of Liber8 are trying to return to their own time, they have the time device but lack a means to power it.  Personally, I don’t think it made much sense that they wanted to go back to the future before they had done much of anything here.  Don’t they realize that going back will just  get them put to death?  One of them, Matthew Kellog, decides he likes it here and he’s going to stay.  That’s probably the wisest decision.  Anyhow, she escapes and chases them to a university nuclear reactor, which they attempt to use to return home.  Wanting to get back to her family, Kiera convinces them to take her along.  Well, convinces is the wrong word since it’s done at gunpoint.  Anyhow, they fail and in the ensuing chaos, lose one part of their time machine, they’re not going to be trying again any time soon.  Carlos shows up to take her back into custody, but she hatches a plan, with Alec’s help, to construct a new identity for her, that of a deep undercover government operative.  Almost immediately, she’s out of cuffs and back on the case.  That’s maybe the only thing I didn’t care for in this episode, she lied to them before, they neglected to check it out and she got caught, yet this time, she’s got an identity that’s so secret they can’t check it out and she’s aces?  It seems to me that they ought to be a little more cautious, fool me once, kind of thing?  Oh well, at least this time she seems to have a more solid identity and she can finally go by her real name.

Continuum #1×03 – “Wasting Time” – A number of men turn up dead with perfectly circular holes drilled in the back of their heads and their pituitary glands missing.  Kiera theorizes that they’re making some sort of super soldier serum and, using her advanced tech and Alec’s computers, figures out who is probably their next target.  In reality, while it is the Liber8 soldiers drilling out people’s brains, they are trying to come up with a cure for Travis, their de-facto leader, who took over when the real leader of the group was presumed lost after the time jump.  However, Travis is very sick and may not survive, leading the other members of the group to jockey for position.  Even Kellog, who didn’t want to return to the future, tries to improve his lot by setting up Kiera with fake clues, thinking that if he can kill her, he’ll be a shoe in for the leadership position should it open.  However, his plan fails and Kiera and Carlos survive, causing Liber8 to eject Kellog from their ranks.

Continuum #1×04 – “Matter of Time” – Kiera and Carlos investigate the death of Dr. Ames, a scientist who had been working on a form of clean antimatter energy, but had died in a freak accident.  Ames’ assistant, Shane Mathers, offers to help, but they find that all of the doctor’s research has gone missing from the backup drives, someone has stolen it!  They suspect a former colleague, Dr. Melissa Dobeck, of having stolen the data but cannot find any evidence.  Meanwhile, the military shows up and demands that all evidence be turned over to them, they are considering the case a matter of national security.  With this seeming roadblock, Kiera and Carlos go at it a different way and eventually convince Mathers to confess to the crime.  He’d been sleeping with Dobeck but he refused to give her up and takes the rap for the murder on his own.  However, there is evidence that a second backup of the data was kept by Dobeck and she’s suddenly leaving the country.  Kiera intercepts her, gets her to turn over the data, but then learns that she, once she marries her fiance, will become the woman who solves the future energy crisis and saves the world.  Kiera gives her back the data and sends them on their way rather than risk destroying the future.  All this time, we find out, Kellog has been making a killing in the stock market, using his future knowledge.  He has also been helping out a young woman, paying off her mortgage, she’s suspicious of his motives but he plays it off as being a friend of her father’s.  In reality, she’s his grandmother and he’s trying to change the future for the better.  Also, the missing Liber8 leader, Kagame, reappears, he was farther from the time portal and thus, his arrival in the present was delayed.  After escaping from the hospital, he returns to the group and takes control and starts seriously planning for a war.

Continuum #1×05 – “A Test of Time” – This deals with another of my general frustrations with time travel stories, and while it’s well-handled, it does bring up another confusing fact about the Continuum universe.  Kagame decides to shift focus from military might to changing the hearts and minds of the modern-day people against the corporations.  He also changes his tactics with regard to Kiera, instead of directly attacking her, he decides to go after her grandmother, supposedly with the understanding that if she dies before giving birth to one of Kiera’s parents, Kiera would never exist.  This is hardly an original concept, in fact, it’s something that’s tried in a lot of different time travel stories, usually without good resolution.  While I’m not going to get into any of my own solutions to the grandfather, or in this case, grandmother paradox, I didn’t really find their ideas very satisfying.  Kiera knows that her grandmother’s name was Lily Jones, there are 9 people with that name in the area and she knows her grandmother lived there for a time.  When one Lily Jones ends up dead, Kiera goes out to round up the rest and protect them.  She finds that the right Lily Jones is a stoner, pierced and tattooed, not at all the woman that Kiera was raised thinking she was.  Add to all of that, she’s pregnant, presumably with one of Kiera’s parents.  She wants to get an abortion, saying her boyfriend would leave her if she didn’t, but we get a flash-forward to the future Kiera, where the same thing happened to her and her boyfriend at the time proposed to her.  In the end, Kiera outsmarts Kagame by finding his own grandmother and threatening to kill her and thus, eliminate Kagame, but in the ensuing shootout, it is the grandmother of Kellog that we see back in the previous episode, who gets killed.  Kellog, however, doesn’t vanish, leaving everyone scratching their heads.  This, however, is where I have problems.  In the future, they have these time travel oranges.  I don’t know how common they are or if this is the only one, it seems logical that it was an experimental device or you’d expect to see tons of Protectors showing up in 2012 to deal with Liber8.  Therefore, I can sort of understand why nobody really knows how time travel works or what the rules are and that gives the writers a little leeway.  However, even if the time device was experimental, they now know it works, why aren’t they making more of them and why aren’t the aforementioned Protectors not popping out of the woodwork?  If we assume that, in going back in time, Kagame and crew kill the person, or one of their ancestors, who came up with time travel, then they’ve created a paradox, the device shouldn’t exist in the future to allow them to come back and kill the creator.  Therefore, it seems logical that some other formula is at work here, if Kiera and Liber8 are in an alternate universe now, then nothing they do will affect their actual “future” and it’s all a waste.  This is why time travel stories are so difficult to write.

Continuum #1×06 – “Time’s Up” – In pursuit of their new agenda, Liber8 kidnaps the CEO of a major corporation; Exotrol, using a riot at a demonstration, dressed up to look like Occupy Wall Street.  Alec’s stepfather and stepbrother are conspiracy theorists, but his stepbrother, Julian, turns out to have bought into the Liber8 rhetoric and took part in the riot.  Kagame demands $20 million but when the ransom is paid, he just distributes it to the crowd, further cementing their loyalty.  He then sets up a website and holds a vote, should the CEO live or die?  The public overwhelmingly votes for her to die.  When Kiera and Carlos finally find her, she has a bomb strapped to her that demands that she tell the truth in order to be saved.  The CEO says that the financial crash was just a way to cover up for corporations stealing money from their employees and the bomb turns out to be fake.  Kellog breaks into Kiera’s apartment and steals her part of the time travel orange, likely to use as a bargaining chip with Kagame.  Kiera and Carlos work out that someone inside of Exotrol was working with Liber8, short-selling stocks to make millions to fund their mission.  This is yet another place where it’s somewhat unbelievable how things work out.  Kellog goes to Kagame and gives him a big bag of money, saying he’s been playing the stock market with his knowledge from the future.  Beyond the fact that doing such inherently changes the market, the fact is, I don’t buy it.  Ask yourself, could you pick out the specific stock trends of any particular day 65 years ago without looking?  Assuming you’re not a stockbroker or a stock historian, if I gave you a day like February 7, 1948, could you tell me what stocks were doing on that day?  Of course not!  You probably couldn’t even give me broad trends.  I find it hard to believe that a criminal on death row in the future is going to be given access to detailed historical stock records either without raising a lot of red flags so it’s not like Kellog could have done his research before he came back.  So how does he know?  What Liber8 did is much more reasonable.  But let’s look at Kellog a little longer.  Assuming he did have this knowledge, do you think for one second that the IRS wouldn’t come down on a guy who came out of literally nowhere and turned into a multimillionaire overnight?  It’s not like he can justify his existence, he literally didn’t exist here six months ago, he has no social security number so he can’t be paying taxes legitimately, and if you think the IRS (or the Canadian Revenue Agency, since this takes place in Canada) isn’t going to audit the crap out of him, you’re wrong.  They need to come up with a solution for this.

Continuum #1×07 – “The Politics Of Time” – When a woman that Carlos knows  and was intimate with shortly before ends up dead, Kiera must question her loyalty and trust to her partner.  Yeah, we know he didn’t do it, that it’s written just to give that impression, but this is a pretty common plotline in many shows.  It turns out that Carlos is old friends with a major union leader who is up for election to the largest union in the nation, that said union leader called Carlos to drag away Alicia, a reporter who accuses the leader of campaign improprieties, away, so they go back to her place and get it on, only to be called back to her apartment to find her dead body the next morning.  Carlos, of course, keeps it all quiet, he wants to solve the murder and he knows that if his relationship comes to light, that he’ll be pulled from the case.  The problem is, keeping his involvement secret gets him suspended from duty.  Oops!  Kellog visits Kiera and offers her the access codes to all of the military satellites if she will promise to let him know if anyone is planning on staging an attack on his boat.  Meanwhile, Alec is still trying to fix Kiera’s suit, he integrates it with his computer system and the suit turns out to be more useful than he is.  It can handle huge amounts of data and is, apparently, at least semi-sentient on it’s own, it does things that Alec doesn’t ask it to do.  After Kiera accept’s Kellog’s terms, they do a magic trick with the cell phone tower conveniently on the roof of Alicia’s apartment and get to see what happened inside the apartment when the murder happened.  They clear Carlos, although can’t tell anyone how, but this leads Kiera to suspect the union leader’s wife, who she thinks suspects he and Alicia had an affair.  It turns out in the end that it was the campaign manager, who took millions of dollars from Liber8 in exchange for doing away with the nosy reporter who could ruin everything.  Carlos is cleared and everything is dandy.  Well, the fact is that Carlos still lied and opened the department to potential lawsuits, so he should have been given an extended vacation without pay regardless.  This really opens up another can of worms though.  We know that Liber8 was behind the whole thing, they wanted to buy the ear of the union leader, who had a huge amount of influence after he won the election.  We see Kagame in the car with them, discussing the future.  So was the point of this to gain political influence or was it to ruin Carlos’ life?  Was it just a coincidence that Carlos was involved with Alicia?  It certainly did play into the plan, as Kagame had Jasmine try to kill Carlos in order to have him accused of the murder.  So was it just a big coincidence that they were involved or was it part of the plan from the beginning?  I know I seem to be complaining a lot in the last couple of episode reviews, but I’m really not complaining about Continuum, but about typical TV tropes that Continuum is using.  In general, I think Continuum is handling them a lot better than other shows, I just wish they’d go that extra few steps and think their way around the typical problems that these tropes have. 

Thumbs DownElementary #1×13 – “The Red Team” – After last week’s fiasco, Sherlock finds himself suspended and, as far as Captain Gregson is concerned, permanently barred from consulting with the NYPD ever again.  That doesn’t stop Sherlock though, he learns that the moderator on a conspiracy theorist forum he frequents has gone missing and off Sherlock goes, breaking into his apartment and finding him dead, the apparent victim of auto-erotic asphyxiation.  Of course, Sherlock sees right through that and finds a link to a 2009 military think tank which had come up with a means to defeat the U.S. military so thoroughly that it’s become an embarrassment to the government.  The implications are so dire that all of the members live in fear that someone will kidnap them and torture the information out of them, or will attempt to buy the information for obscene amounts of money.  In fact, that’s exactly what happens when one of the cadre starts killing off the rest so he’s the only one with the information and can sell it for an astronomical fee.  When Sherlock solves the case, he provides a half-hearted apology to Gregson, who takes him back, but only after punching him in the gut.  I guess they both got what they really wanted, although the relationship between the two of them will be very strained for quite some time to come. 

Thumbs UpElementary #1×14 – “The Deductionist” – Elementary showed an extra episode this week following the Superbowl, thus I have two episodes to review.  Luckily, they decided to go with a special episode and it was truly excellent.  When a serial killer that Sherlock had dealt with in England manages to break out of the hospital where he’s undergoing a kidney extraction for his sick sister, Sherlock is reunited with a criminal profiler, Kathryn Drummond, with whom he had a relationship.  However, since then, he’s soured on her when she wrote a profile of him that accurately predicted his descent into drug addiction and ultimately said that he will eventually self-destruct.  In this, both he and the killer, Martin Ennis, have something in common, she had written a book on his case and accused his parents of abusing him as a child, causing both of them to commit suicide.  It turns out that not all is as it seems, the sister actually caused her kidneys to fail on purpose by taking specific toxins, waiting for her opportunity to kill Drummond for what she did to their parents.  I honestly never  saw that coming at all and it’s pretty damn hard to surprise me in these shows.  Sherlock determines where Ennis is hiding and confronts him alone, giving him a choice between a gun and handcuffs.  He desperately wants Ennis to prove that Drummond’s profile of him is wrong, thereby giving Sherlock hope that she was wrong about him as well.  Whether she was right or wrong though, it was a fantastic episode, one that reminds me exactly why I keep returning to Elementary.

Following #1×03 – “The Poet’s Fire” – There’s one thing I’m realizing as I watch The Following.  The vast majority of character development in this series is done on the serial killer antagonists, leaving most of the FBI and “good guys” as little more than walk-on cardboard-cutouts.  Ryan is the exception, of course, but otherwise, they just stand up “generic law-enforcement mannequin #47” to deliver some line of dialog.  Even Weston, who plays Ryan’s protege, has very little background so far.  Yes, I know this is only the third episode, bit it’s clear where all of the development has been.  The problem is, I just don’t buy Joe Carroll as the serial killer/cult leader.  I wouldn’t follow this guy to a swimming pool full of ice cream.  I don’t find anything he says particularly inspirational, but in the show, not only can he get a pile of people to follow him around, he can plan out an absurdly elaborate plan that spans years and nothing ever goes wrong. See, last episode, I pretty much called it that Paul really did have strong gay feelings for Jacob and is feeling betrayed now that Jacob and Emma are back together.  He even went out looking to pick up a woman as a means to reassure himself and when he does, he kidnaps her and drags her back to the cabin to use as a sex toy so he’s not such a third wheel.  The revelation that Jacob and Paul had a gay relationship in fact, not just in appearance is hardly a surprise either.  Yet I have to wonder, how could Joe Carroll, who was in prison, or Emma, his voice on the outside, convince them to play the gay role for 5 years, even if it was just a role?  Carroll couldn’t convince me to change my socks.  Anyhow, back to the story.  As we saw in the previous episode, a Poe-masked man (Rick) lit a man buying a hot dog on fire in front of lots of witnesses.  We find that his victim is a critic who wrote a scathing review of Carroll’s book and Rick is taking revenge.  In fact, that’s what Rick is all about, that’s what he wants to be remembered for, revenge.  He’s also not very good with knives, preferring fire.  I guess that’s alright, after all, who wants to see a one-trick pony among the serial killer cult?  The FBI brings Rick’s wife in for questioning and discover that he had tried to stab her to death years earlier and failed.  Bad with knives, remember?  So they send Agent Riley back to protect the wife and it turns out she too is part of the cult and shoves a knife in his neck.  Another one bites the dust.  Why?  Surely stabbing some random FBI agent isn’t part of Carroll’s grand plan, it makes me wonder why she’d sacrifice herself that way.  In fact, she reveals that the cult used to practice stabbing each other.  Seems rather stupid, doesn’t it?  In another part of the plot, Claire receives an e-mail with a  video attachment, showing Joey being shown how to kill.  Yes, that’s creepy, especially how he seems to like it.  I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Finally, we see Jordy, the murderer from last episode, stuffing bandages down his throat to take his own life.  Come on, nobody is watching this guy?  Seriously!  My problem thought is the same one I brought up in the first episode.  How far can this show go with this premise?  A single serial killer/cult leader and his wanna-be followers?  Where is this going to lead?  I can’t imagine they have that much plot material to go through, even if this first season is only 15 episodes.  How are they going to get an ongoing story out of Joe Carroll and his Brady Bunch of maniacs?  I just don’t see it, sorry.

Person of Interest #2×13 – “Dead Reckoning” – Picking up right after the end of last episode, we find that Carter survived the crash, Donnelly is dead and Reese is missing.  We find him with a bomb-vest strapped on, next to Snow, with his former partner Kara Stanton holding their leash.  They’re going to do some work for her and start by beating up some ATF agents and stealing their car.  Reese manages to send a quick text to Finch, which he an Carter decode to mean he’s wearing a bomb-vest.  We find, in a flashback, that Kara had barely survived the drone strike on their position in China, she was in the hospital and visited by an unknown man who offered to give her information she needed to hunt down the people who tried to kill her if she’ll work for them.  She agrees.  Back in the real world, Reese and Snow are sent into a top-secret government facility where they develop cutting edge cyber-weapons, Reese thinks they’re there to steal a weapon that Finch assures him can shut down The Machine, but after Reese deletes the hard drives and the virus, Kara shows up and reveals it was just a way for her to get in and accomplish her real mission, uploading something into the government mainframes.  She sets the bomb-vests for 5 minutes and makes her escape.  Snow claims he’s going to go find an FBI safehouse a couple of blocks away, Reese goes up on the roof, presumably to die, but meets Harold there and, with 7 seconds to spare, disarms the bomb.  Snow, however, didn’t really go to the safehouse, he got in the back seat of Kara’s car, just after she receives the name of the individual who almost got her killed.  The car explodes, killing them both.  Back at Finch’s loft, he tries to get into the government hard drive but all he can tell is that it is set to activate in just over 5 months.  We flash back to see Kara’s car explode and a piece of flaming paper comes to rest on the ground, the name of her tormenter, it says “Harold Finch”.  To be honest, Finch’s name wasn’t a surprise, as soon as Kara’s handler said “it’s a name that appears in no databases”, I said “It’s Finch!”  However, the idea  that, presumably, there’s a covert organization out there, unaffiliated with the government, who presumably knows all about The Machine and wants to get rid of if, that’s a good story that I very much look forward to seeing more of.  At least Reese is home again, for the first time in a number of episodes.

Primeval: New World #1×10 – “The Great Escape” – Why didn’t this series start out this way?  The Titanis that Leeds kept, back in episode 4, escaped from the lab where the government was doing experiments on it.  Dylan is notified by Detective Harlow that something dinosaur-like was discovered and she and Evan race to catch it.  They corner the terrorbird and realize it’s the same animal that they thought was sent back through the anomaly, only to have a bunch of military-types show up and ham-handedly chase the dinosaur away while trying to catch it.  Supposedly, they work for Leeds, but they have no respect for him whatsoever.  When they confront Leeds, they learn that he’s not really in charge of the project, he took the Titanis as proof for his superiors, but he’s mostly outside of the loop.  He had no idea that hideous experiments were being performed or that it had escaped.  They use the GPS tracker attached to the terrorbird to track it to a sports arena, where Major Douglas and his troops have also arrived to recapture it.  Evan and Dylan make a duplicate tracker out of her cell phone to keep the military off the scent, but the dinosaur is so badly injured and they realize they can’t send it back to be tortured any more, so Dylan euthanizes it.  Leeds shows up to run cover for them as they escape, but is captured and arrested.  In his car, he leaves his access pass for Project Magnet so that they can get in and search for more information.  Honestly, this is the show I wanted from the beginning, when I was complaining that nothing substantive was going on.  We have a government conspiracy to do something with the dinosaurs, beyond what we’ve been led to believe from Leeds and his crew.  We have Cross Photonics on the verge of failure because of how badly Evan has handled the anomalies.  We have time paradoxes, including a former team member’s duplicate in a freezer in the basement.  Now I actually want to watch this show!

Best of the Week:  It was a close call, but Elementary #1×14 gets the nod this week, based mostly on seeing the internal struggles that Sherlock goes through.  Yeah, it was a pretty silly episode in general, from the serial killer virtually waltzing out of the O.R. to his sister virtually committing suicide in hopes it would get her a couple of minutes alone with Drummond in order to kill her, but the shining stars of the episode were Holmes and the serial killer brother who were like two sides of the same coin, who share the same hatred and who ultimately are very flawed individuals.  I just hope that, like we saw in #1×13, the writers don’t let those flaws get out of control.  Holmes is played as a man with issues, but those issues could very easily ruin the believability of the show and ruin his career and his life.  It’s a narrow line to walk, sometimes they fall over, but I’m hoping the writers can keep him on the straight and narrow most of the time.

Worst of the Week:  It’s hard to pick, now that I don’t have the predictably-awful Fringe to beat up on, but that makes me have to consider these shows a bit more carefully.  It was a hard decision, I’ll admit, but I’m going to throw it to Elementary #1×13 this week.  Yes, Elementary gets both best episode and worst episode!  I know that they’re playing Sherlock as a quasi-Asberger, anti-social git, but he was just a prick in this episode.  You just don’t go to your boss and say “yeah, I lied to you and I’d do it again because your respect isn’t something I give a damn about, but stop being a jerk and let me do my work because you need me”.  And worse, you don’t have the Captain agree!  I can’t imagine anyone in a leadership capacity in any police force putting up with that kind of thing, especially knowing how unstable the individual you’re working with is.  Come on, you can be better!

Other Stuff I Watched This Week:  Top Gear U.S. #3×07, Kamen Rider Wizard 14-20, Top Gear #19×02

TV Thursday – 1/31/13

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Arrow #1×11 – “Trust But Verify” – After a series of armored car robberies, Oliver realizes that one of the people on his list may very well be part of the heist ring.  Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of Diggle’s ex-military buddies and he refuses to believe that Ted Gaynor could have anything to do with it, after all, Gaynor had saved his life.  The two fight and Diggle storms off to meet with Gaynor, protects him from an interrogation session with Arrow and ends up being recruited into his security organization of former military veterans.  Arrow swipes a security key, which he takes to Felicity at Queen Consolidated to decrypt, promising her a bottle of expensive wine if she does.  It turns out to be routing information for all of the armored car companies in the city.  Meanwhile, Oliver’s sister Thea is moping around, she thinks her mother is cheating on the still-missing Walter and worse yet, she doesn’t think she’s going to get a car for her birthday. They have a massive party for her birthday and she does get a car.  She also gets a bag of a new illegal drug called Vertigo.  After the party, she takes the drug, gets in her new car and promptly crashes it.  Using the data, Arrow predicts where the crew will strike next and foils their next robbery and kills one of the ring.  Gaynor, who actually is running the crew, orders Diggle to take over the open spot or he will kill his sister-in-law.  Arrow swings in though, kills Gaynor, rescues Diggle and his sister-in-law and saves the day.  Finally, the police show up and arrest Thea because her tox-screen at the hospital shows she was driving under the influence.  We do get some more good information about Oliver’s time on the island, including the shocker that Yao Fei, the man who had saved him, was working with Fyers all along and was just using him.  That alone makes up for the fact that this was a very basic crime story, there are no super-powered villains, it isn’t even much of a surprise when Gaynor is revealed to be in charge.  We do get a little more movement on the mom/Merlyn plot, we know Walter is still alive at least.  All in all, not a fantastic episode, but a quite enjoyable one in the end.

Thumbs DownBones #8×13 – “The Twist in the Plot” – When a fat chick on a Segway falls on a corpse in the woods, Booth and Bones discover that it’s not just one body but two.  The first was a cancer patient, legally buried in a shallow grave to help her decompose rapidly, the second was her “death coach”, who was supposed to lead her to a peaceful demise.  However, none of these deaths are what they seem and it leads on a quest to discover who could want these two women dead.  Also, that idiot Daisy returns, not only with all of her demented stupidity, but a whole ton of angst as she and Sweets work together again for the first time since breaking up.  Now I’m never an advocate in these shows of the whole “who is fucking who” thing, these are supposed to be police procedurals or crime dramas, not soap operas.  I hate that Booth and Bones are screwing, I hated Sweets and Daisy together… no, I just hate Daisy with a passion, I want to see her dunked into a tank of sulfuric acid and pulled apart by a team of mules.  Having her be angsty on top of that?  It’s torture.  I thought Sweets was shooting low when they were together, in fact, he could have been boning a Great Dane and had more taste.  Daisy is a horrible, awful character, the worst of the squint-terns and most of them are nothing to write home about in the first place.  I was afraid the moment they saw each other, they’d be screwing on a desk somewhere, luckily they weren’t.  Yet.  I have no doubt whatsoever they’ll end up together because honestly, neither of them could get laid in a whorehouse otherwise.  The whole case was obnoxious too.  First, all of the new-age nonsense was dumb.  It was great seeing Vik Sahay again now that Chuck is gone, my first comment was “this is what happens when Jeffster breaks up”.  The whole “I only sleep with someone for four months” crap that the dead doula was slinging around was stupid too.  Dumb bitch deserved to die.  A bad case, paired with a re-appearance of Daisy, makes this episode relatively puke-worthy.  Unfortunately, a lot of Bones episodes have been like that lately.

Thumbs UpContinuum #1×01 – “A Stitch In Time” – Yes, I know this hasn’t aired in the U.S. yet, but it’s a Canadian property and the entire first season has already aired there, the second season is scheduled to start in April so I just went and got the entire Canadian run.  Good thing too, since the American version will be censored and I don’t want that.  I only had a chance to watch the pilot this week, I very well may get through 2-3 episodes per week in the coming weeks until I finish all 10 in the first season.  In 2077, the world is a paradise, run by corporations.  It’s not the kind of dystopian nightmare you see in cyberpunk Bladerunner-esque stories, it seems like a pretty nice place to be.  8 members of the terrorist organization Liber8, executed a plan to topple the corporations by killing their leaders in an attack that also killed thousands of innocents.  They were captured and sentenced to death, but at the last moment, manage to escape through a wormhole to the year 2012, accidentally dragging a Protector, Kiera Cameron, with them.  The terrorists have a plan, they want to destroy the corporate future before it happens, Kiera is the only one who knows who they are and what they’re planning to do.  She almost immediately makes contact with a young Alec Sadler, the genius upon whose work much of the future is based, who had only recently developed the secure frequencies that Kiera’s radio operates on.  She also meets up with a Vancouver cop named Carlos Fonnegra, who is impressed with her knowledge of the terrorist gang and encourages her to work with the Vancouver police department after they are directly attacked by the gang to retrieve one of their own who had been captured by Kiera.  Faced with no way to get home, she agrees.  I will say, I really liked this first episode a lot, I was worried that, since it’s a mixture of sci-fi and cop show, it would be too much one or the other but, so far at least, the balance is just about perfect.  There’s a lot of potential for a really great show here, even if there were one or two forehead-slapping moments.  Kiera initially doesn’t want to give Carlos her name, which he finds odd, so she “borrows” a name and badge number from another cop and claims to be from another precinct.  That’s easy enough to check out, but later on, when the chief of police asks her to stay on to help, he asks her to call her commanding officer and ask permission.  In reality, it would be him that would have to do so, but if he tried, the jig would be up.  I’m sure that will come up again later but it never should have flown by in the first place.  The police have procedures in place for a reason.  Still, I’m willing to overlook that for the moment, so long as it comes back to haunt her later.  Now I can’t wait to watch more.

Following #1×02 – “Chapter Two” – I complained somewhat about the first episode of this series and I’m still on the fence, although I might be starting to fall over.  At the end of the last episode, Carroll’s son had been kidnapped by the nanny and everyone was out looking for him.  They discovered that the nanny didn’t really exist, she was a plant by Joe Carroll named Emma, who was actually in love with one of the two guys playing gay lovers in the last episode.  Except I don’t think one of them was playing, he’s clearly got the hots for his former roommate and this is going to become a problem soon.  Anyhow, the half-wit Jordy goes on a killing spree, wiping out a sorority, just to prove he’s a follower in the Carroll Cult.  We introduce a new “head of the operation”, Debra Parker, to lead the investigation and she doesn’t like Ryan Hardy very much.  I guess I can understand why but she is openly hostile to him even being around, expert on the Carroll killings or not.  Almost immediately, Carroll calls for an interview with his wife and she’s told to play it cool and get him to tell her where their son is.  She freaks out and screams at him and pretty much spills the beans on everything Ryan has been trying to keep confidential.  Good job!  They discover Emma’s real identity and they quickly find her last known address.  It’s a long shot, but everyone races to the house.  There was a funny line when Shawn Ashmore’s character, Mike Weston said they couldn’t break into the house and Hardy responded “no, you can’t do it” and proceeds to smash in the back door.  We see Weston heading off the porch, but apparently he didn’t go into the house because Hardy is attacked by an absurdly obvious Poe-masked assailant who then escapes, even though at least three people are supposed to be at the house.  They check out the house and now, Parker wants to call it a cult case, even though she refused to do so just an hour or so earlier.  Make up your mind bitch.  When they were first walking into the house, I said that Emma’s mother was probably in the refrigerator, after all, it had pizza boxes on top of it and there were Chinese containers on the counter, if they killed her, they’d need to put her somewhere that her rotting corpse wouldn’t smell and alert the neighbors.  Nope, that would have made sense.  She was in the wall in the attic.  So why didn’t anyone smell her?  Anyhow, Hardy becomes convinced that Claire, the ex-wife and his ex-lover, is in danger so they race back to her house.  She’s fine but she’s got a really stupid security detail.  She goes up to go to bed and the cop with her walks into the room, looks around for a few seconds, doesn’t look in the closet or behind the door, then goes out in the hall.  I thought he was an acolyte for a minute because nobody can be that shoddy without a reason.  However, his bad job skills get him presumably killed by Jordy, who was hiding in the attic, even though Hardy identified plans from the cult house as being the basement.  How do you get from the basement to the attic through a house filled with cops?  Oops!  Claire isn’t too bright either, she’s facing a mirror as Jordy comes in and he’s obviously not the cop she was with before, he weighs nearly twice as much, but she pays no attention.  Jordy takes her prisoner and threatens to kill her, but Ryan talks him down, then shoots him in the shoulder.  He then goes to talk to Carroll, with a full load of guards so he doesn’t break anything else, and tells him that Jordy is still alive.  This apparently worries Carroll somewhat.  Parker takes a book of Poe to Carroll’s cell and it’s clear she’s part of his posse.  Oh brother.  At the end, Rick, another acolyte, dressed in a Poe mask, apparently douses a random man at a hot dog stand with gasoline and lights him on fire.  Life’s a bitch for that guy.  Honestly, I’m trying to figure out how they’re going to justify all of the cult followers that Carroll has, so far we’ve seen at least 6-7 of them who are willing to do anything he  wants including stab themselves in the eye with a knife.  When did he have time to set all of this up?  He couldn’t have set it up in prison, even though he had tons of people coming to see him, prison communications are monitored.  I hope they try to make sense of it all.  I know that I sound like I’m being negative but really, I liked this episode more than the first, I’m just picking a lot of nits that I think are obvious, that either the writers are blind to, or they have something more in mind than we’ve seen.  Either way, I hope it improves as time goes on, I know it’s hard to get a show off the ground without breaking some proverbial eggs. 

Mentalist #5×13 – “The Red Barn” – A 25-year old murder case seems to be connected to the string of Red John murders when Jane discovers a signature happy face painted on an old red barn where the murders took place.  Still fanatically obsessed over Red John, Jane has taken to locking himself in the loft, making lists of everyone he has shaken hands with in the past 15 years.  The case is also connected to the Visualize cult, which has been a thorn in the side of the CBI for a while now.  Jane finally has some new information and a lot of new questions.  Is Red John a member of Visualize?  Was this his first murder?  Can Jane actually remember the names of thousands of people he’s shaken hands with over the years?  Yeah, I don’t buy that last one either.  However, for the first time in a while, the Red John case is somewhat interesting again.  For a long time, it’s just been super-villain, always ahead of everyone, with a band of loyal-to-the-death followers carrying out Red John’s bidding, playing with Jane’s mind.  It’s been a while since they’ve had anything really new happen.  That said though, the Red John case has garnered national attention, it’s unlikely that nobody in 25 years would have noticed the giant smiling face on the barn and reported it to police, I think it would have been better had it been hidden in some way.  Still, it makes me care, slightly, about the case again, even though we all know that it won’t be solved until the last episode of the series and they have to keep doing something to string the audience along.

MurdochMysteriesThumbs UpMurdoch Mysteries #6×01 – “Murdoch Air” – I’ve never mentioned this series before, it’s a Canadian show about a detective in the 1890s, trying to solve mysteries before the advent of many modern forms of detection.  That doesn’t stop him, he’s always  developing the forerunners of modern police methods, from fingerprinting to blood evidence.  While it doesn’t get absurd, there’s somewhat of a steampunk feel to the series, just because he has a new device or a new method he’s working on.  He’s not the only one, the show’s female medical examiner is always coming up with new tests and procedures to perform on the corpses to catch the killer more effectively.  The show isn’t exactly serious either, a lot of the comedy relief falls to a young policeman who seemingly idolizes Murdoch named Constable George Crabtree, who wants to be a mystery writer and always casts cases in terms of fanciful mystery plots.  In this episode, a mysterious flying craft crashes in the middle of the city, carrying a pig and killing a man in the process and Crabtree immediately jumps to the conclusion that it’s made by pig-shaped aliens from outer space.  It takes quite a while to dissuade him from his initial conclusion.  It turns out that this mysterious flying craft is an entry into a million-dollar contest to the man who can make the first successful, remotely-piloted airplane, but someone is trying to sabotage or steal the entrants.  Luckily, Orville and Wilbur Wright are cleared of the crime and the Canadian government is very interested to confiscate the most likely winner for use in the war effort, if someone hadn’t stolen it first!  But who else could have done so but the Americans, who ship the airplane across the border by train, kidnapping the designer as well, since they can’t figure out how to make it turn.  Murdoch catches up with them, installs the ailerons on the stolen plane and the two of them fly back to Canada, making them the first men to ever pilot an airplane.  Of course, once they cross the border, the Canadian government is there to take the plane and the creator, not wanting to be responsible for building a weapon, pushes the plane over Niagara Falls.  It is a fun show if you can take the setting, although like I said, it’s all a bit tongue in cheek.  The actors are fantastic and even though I think they spend some time struggling how to get 1890s realities, including things like racism and sexism, on the screen with modern sensibilities, I think they do a decent job there maintaining a passable historical realism.  Take a look, it really is quite a good show.

Primeval: New World #1×09 – “Breakthrough” –  After a number of weeks away, Primeval returns in the wake of the disaster the episode before.  Angelika is gone (good riddance, couldn’t stand her), Mac is still freaked out, having found himself frozen in the basement and Evan has lost all confidence in his mission.  A skateboarder takes a video of a triceratops and posts it online, sending Evan and Dylan off to capture it, leaving Toby to try and mitigate the damage online.  She needs help and calls Mac, who helps convince the media that the whole thing was a hoax in exchange for Toby’s aid figuring out what it all means.  Evan and Dylan find that the triceratops is hiding on the estate of Evan’s arch-nemesis Howard Kanan, who blames Evan for his failures and is frankly more than a little crazy.  However, they pull together and create the timer that Evan has been trying to make for a while, now they can predict how long the anomalies will stay open.  It turns out that the triceratops is completely peaceful, which causes Dylan to get pissed when Leeds and his men show up and start shooting tranquilizers at it.  She manages to get his team picking flowers to feed the dinosaur, realizing that getting it back to the anomaly is going to be difficult, it’s much easier to let it walk on it’s own.  Evan and Howard locate the anomaly and, with only a few seconds to spare, Dylan sends the dinosaur home, just before Howard grabs the detector and timer and jumps through the anomaly and disappears.  Back in the original series, there was a character named Helen, the ex-wife of the lead character, who had discovered the anomalies and how to predict them and had worked the entire show to destroy mankind by unleashing dinosaurs and futuristic monsters on the world.  Howard is likely going to fulfill that sort of role here, someone who is crazy and depressed and probably wouldn’t mind seeing the world pay for mistreating him.  At least this gives us some kind of villain which this show has so desperately needed.  We also sort of got to see Leeds in action but he’s only in the show sporadically, I don’t really know how to feel about him.  We know he’s supposed to be working for some secret government think tank, we know he’s not being on the level with our crew, but he hasn’t done much all that underhanded yet, except stealing a baby dinosaur for some unknown purpose.  Do we have  two villains?  Is Leeds mean to mislead us?  Or is Howard the red herring here?  I guess I’ll have to keep watching to see!

Best of the Week:  I’m really, really torn this week, there are two shows that deserve credit.  Both Continuum and Murdoch Mysteries were extremely enjoyable.  While I don’t know what to expect with upcoming Continuum episodes, I do know that Murdoch is consistently fun, but I really can’t gauge based on an overall impression of the series.  Aw heck, it’s my blog, I’m giving it to both of them this week!

Worst of the Week:  Bones has been weak most of the season, with one excellent exception, but throw Daisy the retarded fucktoy into the mix and it scores especially low.  I had hoped that after the breakup, she’d be moving on to bigger and better things, like cleaning toilets in the commissary, but no, they have to keep bringing her back.  Knock it off!

Other stuff I watched this week:  Top Gear #19×01, The Black Cat (1934), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), McBain (Rifftrax)

TV Thursday – 1/24/13

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This week, we have two 2-part finales.  First, we have the end of the Fringe series, a cause to celebrate and second, the season finale of Haven, which unfortunately won’t be back for another 9 months.  We also have a new addition to the list, we’ll have to see if it manages to stick around.

Without further ado, here’s this week’s TV Thursdays.

Arrow #1×10 – “Burned” –  After having been off for the holidays, I was looking forward to a great episode this week.  Oliver has been recuperating after his encounter with the mysterious archer for six weeks and is still not up to snuff.  He hasn’t  donned the hood in all that time, wanting to spend more time with his family.  However, when the partner of Laurel’s law business loses her fireman brother in a mysterious fire, Laurel seeks out Arrow for help.  Initially reluctant to do more than research, he’s forced  by circumstance to take an active role and discovers a fireman who had supposedly died two years before in a fire, had actually survived and was now taking revenge on his company for abandoning him in a burning building.  Now granted, the fireman was supposed to be Firefly, a Batman villain from the comics, there just wasn’t much resemblance except the name.  When I heard he was going to be in it, I thought it would be cool, even though Firefly is a second-rate villain, but no, it was just some burned guy in a firefighter outfit, spraying other people with turpentine.  Color me not impressed.  Meanwhile, Laurel’s father discovers she’s stolen the vigilante phone that was recovered previously and was using it to talk to Arrow so he planted a bug in the phone  and is now using Laurel as a means of getting at the hooded archer.  It wasn’t a bad episode by any means, it just wasn’t the greatness I was looking for and that’s okay.  They can’t all be amazing.  However, their fireman firebug just wasn’t all that interesting and if they didn’t use the name, I never would have drawn a link to Firefly.

Bones #8×12 – “The Corpse on the Canopy” – When Angela and Hodgins awake with a dead body hanging above their bed, immediately they know that the super-killer Pelant is responsible.  This starts the whole team racing to uncover the clues and track down the killer who had escaped justice just a few episodes before, fearing he may strike at the team again.  Fair warning, this episode was crap.  Just crap.  I hate Pelant, I hate villains like Pelant and as such, I hated this episode.  Pelant is a super-villain.  He knows everything, he is a dozen steps ahead of everyone else and he never loses.  He can build a nuclear weapon with a couple paper clips and a coconut.  It gets ridiculous. Somehow, he not only manages to figure out that the team are using untraceable burner phones, he then traces them.  He manages to get control of a Predator drone and somehow steer it at a Muslim girl’s school (blowing that up would thrill the extremists), while at the same time magically draining all of the bank accounts belonging to Hodgins and Angela.  They act like it’s a huge sacrifice to lose their money and stop the drone.  Um, dumbshits, it’s bank fraud, you’re protected!  It’s stupid stories like this that really make me question the writing on Bones.  It’s happened quite a bit lately, I want someone to put a bullet in the back of Pelant’s head that matters, not something he can sew back together.  Enough! 

Castle #5×12 – “Death Gone Crazy” – When the creator of the popular adult entertainment product “College Girls Gone Crazy” is found dead in the bathroom of a club where his company is hosting a party, Castle and Beckett are called in to figure out whodunit.  Of course, it immediately looks like just about everyone has a motive, nobody really liked the guy except his producer and that’s the one who ultimately killed him.    I suppose I should feel a little sorry for him, after all, he was trying to clean up his act for the sake of his soon-to-be-born daughter, but really, he  still came off as a sleaze, as did most of the people in the episode.  Even the daughter of the moral crusader, who hooked up with this jerk at a bar and ended up pregnant, was rather scummy.  These are the episodes that I really don’t care for, the ones where I just cannot sympathize with the murder victim, nor can I really appreciate that the murderer thought they had a good reason for committing the crime.  No, it was all about greed and stupidity and while the bit with Esposito, once again, was very entertaining and I’m glad they’re stepping up his role, it just wasn’t enough to make this episode more than average.  Granted, an average Castle episode is still pretty darned good but I’ve come to expect greatness.  Maybe next week.

Thumbs DownFringe #5×12-5×13 – “Liberty/An Enemy of Fate” – This was it, the end of the series and thankfully so.  After last week’s review, I was worried about how bad the end could be and while it wasn’t as bad as I feared, it was still bad.  I’ll address the two episodes separately, it seems easier that way.  In the first, as we recall, Michael had stepped off the train and surrendered to Windmark, who takes him to Liberty Island for an examination.  There he discovers that Michael’s unique brain composition makes him superior to the Observers in every way.  Yeah, so superior he’s mute.  But anyhow, Windmark goes running off to his superiors in the future who decree Michael is to be vivisectioned for further study.  Meanwhile, stuck for other options, Olivia volunteers for a massive injection of Cortexiphan which will allow her to cross over into the other universe and rescue Michael.  She jumps across, finds that Fauxlivia is now in charge of Fringe Division and happily married to her former partner Lincoln Lee.  At least someone gets married around here.  They help her get to Liberty Island where she can jump back and grab Michael, and while fighting hallucinations, she does.  However, on jumping back with Michael, several Observers follow her.  We’ve never seen them able to cross universes before, there’s no reason to think that they can.  So why do they?  Meanwhile, September uses Walter’s lab to build the big machine, but one component is fried so he visits December to ask for a favor.

In the second episode, the team finds out that the machine they’ve spent all season gathering parts for won’t work, December is working on a solution but they find the Observers are one step ahead of them and leave December hanging in his apartment.  Stuck for something else to do, Astrid comes up with a plan to use the Observer wormhole to the future as a power source for the machine and conveniently, she still has their timetable of time jumps that the Observers have conveniently never changed so they all run off to steal the mechanism.  Peter and Walter share an emotional moment where Peter learns Walter isn’t coming home.  September then pops up and spoils it all, saying Michael is his kid, he should be the one to take him to the future.  Walter and Astrid share an emotional moment with the frozen cow.  I retch as I try to slog through all of the emotional moments they’re shoehorning into the last couple of episodes.  The final battle ensues, everyone fights against Windmark, using a lot of old Fringe cases and monsters against the Observers.  That was actually kind of clever.  Olivia wigs out in a Cortexiphan-induced frenzy and crushes Windmark between two cars, although you can clearly see that,  blood-splatter or no, he’s gone when the cars hit.  September tries to take Michael through the wormhole, but is conveniently shot and killed.  Walter grabs the kid and skips merrily off to the future.  I was right, the writers were utterly clueless of the kind of mayhem their plan would have logically had on the universe, which I suppose is no surprise because, in the final season, the writers proved they were complete idiots anyhow.  At the very end, Walter and Michael walk into the light and poof, all of a sudden, it’s 20 years earlier, the scene with Peter, Olivia and Etta in the park, Peter smiles and the series ends.  So why did Walter and Michael walking into the future send everyone back in time?  Yes, I know it’s supposed to show that the Observer invasion never happened but it’s really jarring.  We’re really left at the end saying “the writers really had no clue, did they?”  They should understand the consequences to their own continuity better than mere peons like me, yet they didn’t know what was going on or what effects such an ending should have had on the whole show.  Yes, that is one of the problems inherent in  most time travel stories, which is why I don’t recommend them, but come on, it’s all a big flip-off to anyone rational watching the show.  Of course, it was only the irrational and the masochistic who were still watching the show at the end.  Farewell Fringe, it’s sad how low you fell  before you were mercifully put to sleep.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMYbWxmxNEs’]

Thumbs UpHaven #3×12-3×13 – “Reunion/Thanks For The Memories” –  Once again, we have a two-fer this week, the season three finale, so this will be a long review.  It’s clear, going in, that the producers of Haven thought this was going to be the end of the series, I’ve mentioned it all season long.  They’ve been wrapping up plot threads left and right and once they found out they had another season, I think they’d already blown their load.  I really hope that they don’t have the same problem that Fringe did, ending the series and then having another season they had no clue what to do with.  However, let’s hope for the best and dive right in.  In the first episode, Audrey is being held captive by the Bolt Gun Killer in the guise of Claire.  She knocks Audrey out and escapes, leaving Audrey and Nathan to try and figure out whose skin she’s going to try to steal next.  First, however, they get called to the local high school where a man has gotten crushed behind the bleachers.  It turns out to be a former classmate of Nathan’s, he’s forgotten that it’s his class reunion.  However, the classmate looks exactly as he had 20 years before, something is obviously wrong.  No time for that though, they run back to the station where the computer program Audrey set up a while back to figure out what face all of the stolen parts would make has finally finished and it turns out to be Arla Coogan, the Colorado Kid’s wife.  Apparently, 27 years ago, Lucy’s son James, Arla’s husband, was injured and taken into the barn by Lucy.  He supposedly knows how to make the troubles go away forever and she wants to get into the barn and retrieve him.  At the end of the episode, the barn appears and both James and Agent Howard, Audrey’s FBI “boss” from the first season, come out.  This is where things start going really weird.  Oh, and the whole high school thing?  It was boring, it was filler and meant nothing.

The last episode of the season though is where things really get interesting.  Arla has kidnapped Audrey again and is trying to get her to find the barn so she can set everything straight.  With the exception of Audrey, Nathan and Duke, everyone else wants Audrey to go into the barn and end the troubles.  Nobody can find her until Vince and Dave realize where the barn has to be, based on their experiences with the Bolt Gun Killer and other incarnations of Audrey in the past.  Everyone heads out there to find the barn, a dilapidated old building, sitting there, with Audrey and Arla in front of it.  However, the meteor storm starts and instead of just flying overhead, they  start crashing into the town Armageddon-style, yet I don’t think I ever heard a single siren anywhere in the episode, I guess nobody is trying to save anyone from the giant falling rocks.  Arla and James have a reunion, but the Guard show up and shooting ensues.  James is hit and the only way to save him is for Audrey and Nathan to take him into the barn, hoping he will heal and really does know how to end this.  There, they run into Agent Howard, who is a keeper of the barn.  He tells Audrey that she’s nothing special, she’s just the person who has to stay in the barn to keep the troubles at bay, but every 27 years, she needs to “recharge” and goes out into the world as a different person, the troubles return and everything starts over again.  That was honestly disappointing to me, I was counting on a better explanation for *WHY* all of this happens.  Nathan realizes that in the barn, his trouble is gone and he can feel.  They run into James who is terrified that Audrey is trying to kill him.  He tells them that the only way to end the troubles forever is for Audrey to kill someone she loves and he was afraid it would be him.  They tell him that Arla has been lying to him and he demands to see her.  When they bring her into the barn, he can see her for what she really is and rejects her but she goes for Nathan’s gun and shoots James, in the process being killed herself.  James is taken off to be healed by the barn.  Nathan can’t believe any of this so Agent Howard shows him a memory he will  believe and he and Audrey relive the scene where he was sent back in time and slept with Lucy and became James’ father.  Now if that’s not convoluted, I don’t know what is.  Audrey decides that the only way to solve the problem, at least for the moment, is to stay in the barn for another 27 years and start the cycle all over again.  Obviously, Nathan isn’t happy about this and they go outside again so she can say goodbye to everyone.  Nathan, who can’t believe he can’t stop it, shoots Agent Howard.  The Guard shoot Nathan.  Duke puts a bullet in Jordan’s head. The cast is downsized.  Vince is revealed to be the leader of the Guard and sends them all home.  Audrey goes into the barn and things start to fade, but at the last minute, Duke leaps at the barn and everything vanishes.

So now what?  It really sucks that we have to wait 9 months before the next episode.  It’s clear that after they received news they were going to be renewed, they inserted some scenes, such as Duke leaping into the barn.  I really don’t know what’s going to happen.  The keeper of the barn is dead.  Is the barn on auto-pilot?  Will they find a way to come back early?  Heck, I thought it would be funny to have Haven: The Old Generation, they come back in 27 years and everyone is old.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see. 

The Following #1×01 – “Pilot” – There are a couple of new series coming up this year that looked vaguely interesting and this, I’m sorry to say, was the least interesting of the ones upcoming.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s got Kevin Bacon, which is a major selling point, although the first time he came on screen, I said “he looks old”.  It’s also got Shawn Ashmore, who I like, so I decided to give it a shot.  To be honest, it had a very “24” feel to it and Bacon looked a lot like Kiefer Sutherland, I figure it will be that kind of show, although certainly not that kind of format.  In the episode, serial killer Joe Carroll escapes from prison and the FBI agent who almost single-handedly apprehended him in 2003, but retired on disability after Carroll stabbed him in the heart, is called back to consult on the new case.  Almost immediately, I start drawing a lot of bad parallels with other series.  Carroll is, unfortunately, one of those super-villains who is always a couple of steps ahead of everyone and never makes mistakes.  He’s also got a cult, like Red John on The Mentalist, people who are willing to do anything he wants, even die for the “cause”, whatever that is, as we see when a woman scribbles passages from Poe all over herself, then stabs herself in the eye with an icepick.  Of course, with all the cops standing around her, one of them could have used a taser on her and saved her life, but apparently, logic and police training make no sense in these shows.  Now you might  think that I’d hate the show, and to a certain degree, you’d be right, but there’s enough here to make me want to give it at least one more week.  If this is just going to be an ongoing battle between Bacon’s Ryan Hardy character and the incredibly complex machinations of Joe Carroll, then no, I won’t stick with it.  Nobody is ever nearly as smart as these super-villains are depicted as being, in fact, the only way for anyone to see as far ahead as they do, to know what everyone will do to the degree they apparently can, is to have the script in front of them.  I want more-or-less realism, not mystical virtual mind-reading mumbo jumbo.  Come on Kevin, you have, at most, another week or two to impress me.  Give me some of that Bacon magic!

Best of the Week:  The season finale of Haven, as strange as it was and as full of holes as it was, actually has me looking forward to next season!  For a show that I never used to care about at all, I’m actually invested in what happens next, which earns it a lot of points in my eyes.  I realize that the majority of episodes were in the can before they got the news of their renewal and that they couldn’t go back and do more filming in the last couple of episodes to clean things up, but please, they have at least 13 more episodes, can they please, please, please make some sort of cohesive sense of the troubles and the barn?  Please?

Worst of the Week:  No surprise, it goes to Fringe, not only the worst of the week but, by far, the worst series of the year.  It fails for totally missing the ramifications of their plan, or if they even did see the problems, totally failing to deal with them on screen.  If there is one shining example of bad television today, that epitomizes all of the worst things television can do, which is doubly bad as the series started out as one of the shining stars of the viewing week.

However, I’m giving a special nod to this week’s Bones for essentially doing everything you can possibly do wrong in a single episode.  Come on, kill this asshole and never, ever, ever do it again!

TV Thursday – 1/17/13

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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.

Thumbs DownFringe #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.

Thumbs UpPerson 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.

Go-busters_logoTokumei 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.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ0ZbB9u2mI’]

TV Thursday – 1/10/12

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Once again, we have a very limited selection of weekly TV, I don’t think we get back into full swing until the second half of the month, so I’m going to throw in a review of the first 13 episodes of the new Kamen Rider series, now that I’ve gotten a decent taste of it.  Maybe next week, if we’re still this sparse, I’ll give my review of the entire series (or close enough) of the nearly finished Super Sentai series Go-Buster.

CastThumbs Uple #5×10 – “Significant Others” – Castle’s ex-wife Meredith, his mother and Alexis are supposed to be on vacation in Paris, leaving Castle and Beckett alone in the apartment since her’s is being fumigated.  Unfortunately, Alexis comes down with mono and Meredith comes sweeping in, asking to stay and take care of her.  This, understandably, pisses Beckett off.  Meanwhile, NYC divorce attorney Michelle Twohey is murdered in her car with an ice pick to the neck and all of the bickering has to be put off until later.  Immediately, Beckett starts applying all of the information about the case to her love life.  The prevailing opinion is that one of the ex-husbands of the women Twohey represented killed her, but that quickly gets thrown out because an eyewitness saw someone running away from the car that didn’t match any of their descriptions.  When Michelle’s new boyfriend has no useful information, they turn to Lanie, who spends more time giving relationship advice than doing her job.  Funny, since we haven’t seen a successful relationship with Lanie in the whole show.  On the other side, Ryan and Esposito are doing the same thing to Castle and the only thing they can all agree on is that Castle screwed up.  He says, what can he do, his ex-wife never gets to see Alexis and she’s just trying to help!  No, she’s an actress and she’s playing you, you idiot.  It turns out that the new boyfriend isn’t who he said he was, in fact, he doesn’t exist at all, his entire character was carefully crafted as a means to keep an eye on Twohey, who was doing some dangerous investigating into an old case, where a famous golf pro’s wife had supposedly fallen overboard on his yacht just before divorce proceedings were to begin.  Castle and Beckett target the golfer, thinking he murdered his wife and wanted to keep it quiet, but they’re nowhere close to being right.  In fact, the wife is still alive, she arranged for someone else to smuggle her off the yacht that night, had plastic surgery and started life anew.  She had to kill the lawyer to keep her happy new life safe.  Back on the homefront, Beckett and Meredith go out for a private dinner together and Castle is afraid they’ll share all the juicy secrets about him, but it’s revealed that the reason Meredith and Rick didn’t work out is because, after all the time they were together, she didn’t feel she ever really knew him.  This might open some doors for Beckett, who may come to the same conclusion and there can be skeletons hiding in those closets.  The case in this episode was nothing really special, up until the surprise twist at the end that I don’t think anyone saw coming, but it was fantastic on the relationship front.  I think it shows that, even though Rick’s been married twice before, what he has with Beckett is something special and now that they’re past the initial fun stages, we get to see if it really has legs.  I hope it does.

Elementary #1×11 – “Dirty Laundry” – When two hotel maids find the hotel manager dead in an industrial dryer, Holmes and Watson show up, only to find a confusing case of pills, prostitution, blackmail and Russian spies.  Sound intriguing?  It is.  It turns out that the hotel manager was running, or at the very least allowing to be run, a prostitution ring out of her hotel, but she wasn’t getting paid a dime for it.  That sounds strange, considering her husband was out of work and her daughter had just gotten accepted to two high-cost universities.  However, it’s actually stranger than that.  We find that she’s bugged all of her rooms with hidden cameras and while that might sound like a fantastic set-up for blackmail, that’s not really what she’s doing.  She and her “husband” were actually Russian spies, she was using the prostitution ring to draw in well-placed men in the Washington area so she could record all of their secrets in her hotel rooms.  However, when the mother and daughter fight over which college she’ll attend, mom wants her to go to one school so she can be well-placed for government work in the future and can continue to spy for Mother Russia, the daughter wants to go play soccer for another school.  In the pushing match that followed, the mother falls and hits her head and the daughter is convinced she’s killed her mother.  Enter their handler who uses the situation to convince the daughter to become a spy for Russia and when she leaves, learns the mother isn’t really dead, just injured.  Oh well, he already made his pitch based on the mother’s death, might as well make it actually happen.  We also see Holmes’ first attempts at keeping Watson around as the end of her services get closer.  We know she’s going to stay, we just don’t know the circumstances yet.  Pretty good episode, the only iffy point I had was why, even if spies might sometimes use invisible ink, were two spies who were clearly embedded in American life carrying invisible ink pens? 

Thumbs DownMentalist #5×11 – “Days of Wine and Roses” – The body of a wealthy socialite and upcoming model is found in a park, she is identified as Charlie Coates, who has been at an in-patient drug treatment facility, but sneaked out for a midnight rendezvous.    Was she killed by a jealous lover?  An ex-photographer?  An angry doctor?  Jane pretty much handles this on his own as Lisbon is far too busy chasing after Tommy Volker and being  blocked at every turn.  Yes, we’re still dealing with that all-too-common modern villain, the guy who is all-powerful and never makes a mistake.  Yes, I hate them with a passion.  Lisbon finally convinces a judge to sign the warrant to search through Volker’s financials but nothing comes up except a suspicious payment to a Charles Milk whom Lisbon suspects is his hired killer.  She returns to the judge to get a warrant for Milk’s residence but is refused.  Volker has made threats against the judge and now she won’t even talk to Lisbon.  This makes Lisbon run around to other judges to see if she can’t convince someone else to sign the warrant and by the time she finds one willing, Milk is dead.  Honestly, how far can Volker’s influence go?  If local judges can be bought off or frightened or threatened into silence, what about district judges or the state D.A.?  What about federal prosecutors? There has to be a point at which Lisbon can go over the heads of the people blocking her and get justice.  Maybe just to report the inaction of the judges and get them removed from the bench?  That’s really what pisses me off about these super-criminals, they’re two steps ahead of the police and they have all of the angles covered.  I hate it about Red John and I hate it about Volker.  Oh yeah, for anyone who actually cared about the case, it was a gambling-addicted therapist who wanted to steal a valuable necklace that was stolen from her mother by Charlie and killed her to get it.  The  case really didn’t mean much this episode. 

Person of Interest #2×11 – “2πR” – With Reese behind bars, awaiting DNA and fingerprint matching, Finch, Carter and Fusco are on their own as the number of a 17 year old kid comes up.  Caleb’s seemingly a completely average kid, absurdly average in fact, but it turns out he’s a mathematical and computer wizard.  My question is, exactly why is Caleb so entirely average?  Finch notes several times that it’s incredibly unlikely that he’s so average.  We’re led to believe that Caleb just doesn’t care, he’s broken up over the death of his brother from two years before and the fall of his mother into alcoholism, that doesn’t explain why he’s going out of his way to ensure that he is perfectly average in everything.  This is especially confusing when you consider he’s been secretly working on an amazing new form of data compression that could shrink the entire Library of Congress down to a thumb drive.  Why work so hard to be average?  Makes no sense to me.  Eventually, we find out that he plans on selling the algorithm so his mother will have enough money and then he’s going to kill himself at the exact same age that his older brother did, at least right up until Finch convinces him it’s a bad idea.  Finch, we’re supposed to believe, was some super-secret hacker that broke into the early ARPANET back in the  day and made the modern, open Internet possible by hacking their security.  That is a silly prospect when you think about it, but he hints that it was him to Caleb and then gives him his contact number, hidden in the first 3000 digits of pi, just in case.  Meanwhile, even though it looked like Reese would be getting released from prison, after Carter broke a bunch of laws and changed his DNA sample and fingerprints, the Feds declared him a possible terrorist, ordered him held until Carter could break him.  No clue where things will go from here, it’s making me wonder if  Jim Caviezel just has another project going on for a couple of weeks, he’s conveniently in a handful of shots but otherwise, doesn’t appear in at least this week and next week’s episodes.

Best of the Week:  Castle for the win this week, not for a particularly memorable case, but because we  get to see beneath the typical funny-guy veneer and realize that Castle is just a regular guy who makes mistakes and who really wants to be the best he can be for Beckett.

Worst of the Week:  You know, it’s got to go to Mentalist, just for the super-criminal nonsense that has been going on for weeks.  Mentalist certainly isn’t the only show to use them but the scenario is always the same.  Criminal knows everything, never makes any mistakes, can read all of the police perfectly and knows what they’ll do next and plans for it with perfection.  Cops get frustrated and make lots of mistakes, allowing criminal to laugh at them.  Finally, criminal makes a single stupid mistake and the cops catch them.  Criminal either dies or vows revenge, depending on the show.  Please, stop using this tired and really obnoxious plot device!

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Kamen Rider Wizard Episode 1-13 – Usually, I’ll throw in a review or two of various tokusatsu shows sometime during the year, although I’m aware that most people never see them and probably don’t care.  That’s a shame because some of them are really good.  The last show, Kamen Rider Fourze, even though it wasn’t a winner in the ratings, I really enjoyed because it showed that you can be campy and fun at the same time.  However, that show ended a couple of months back and I really didn’t know what to expect from this, the twenty-third entry into the Kamen Rider line.  Fourze had reinvigorated my interest, but I’ve been disappointed before.

Now as I said, I do try to review once or twice during the run of the show, but in reality, Japanese TV series are often set up in 13-episode segments, four of which make a year of programming.  They tend to do story arcs that make up each of these segments, thus it really makes more sense to hit these shows four times a year, which I will endeavor to do now that I have a regular TV segment.

Six months prior to the start of the series, a  mysterious ceremony, held on the date of a solar eclipse, went wrong and released Phantoms into the world.  These Phantoms are a type of spirit whose main aim, so far, is to produce more of themselves and build an army.  To do this, they find special humans, called Gates, who, if they can be driven into despair, will die and produce a new Phantom.  Young Haruto Souma was present at the original ceremony, and in a manner not yet known, has a Phantom called Dragon trapped inside of him.  Using the residual energy at first, and then with Dragon’s full knowledge and cooperation, he’s able to summon the power of Kamen Rider Wizard using magical rings that are crafted by Shigeru Wajima, an archaeologist, he fights against the Phantoms and their evil plans, seemingly to take over the world.

It’s not a bad concept and there’s nothing wrong with the show so far, at least as long as you understand and accept standard Kamen Rider tropes.  There’s always going to be a new device, a new widget, something they can make into a new toy to sell to the kiddies, that’s why new rings are made on a regular basis, which lets him use new effects and new forms and new weapons.  It does keep things interesting, he doesn’t always have to use any of his four base forms all the time, but, like with most other Kamen Rider series, it takes a little suspension of disbelief that the bad guys are just sitting around patiently while he changes rings, instead of doing the intelligent thing and attacking while he’s at a disadvantage.  I guess most Japanese villains are honorable for some reason.  The only thing that I can honestly say I don’t care for is that when he’s changing rings, they have some weird rap thing going on and I really don’t like it.  I’m learning to just tune it out though.

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While I originally was a bit worried about the Wizard armor, now I think it’s fine.  In fact, I’m starting to notice similarities to the armor worn in Kamen Rider Kuuga, the colors for the various forms are almost the same.  I thought that was a bit unusual until I realized both shows were done by Shotaro Ishinomori.  Now I get it.

Even though Kamen Rider Wizard didn’t have the same immediate “I have to see this” vibe that I got from Fourze, it certainly is a show that I intend to keep watching.  It’s not as silly as Fourze but it has it’s moments.  It’s got a good cast and the storyline so far is interesting.  I really hope it continues to improve, there’s been far too many tokusatsu shows in recent years that were just a complete waste of time, I’m looking forward to seeing a solid series.  Don’t disappoint me!

TV Thursday: 2012 Year In Review

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The year is over, we didn’t all die, and there’s nothing really on TV so I thought I’d give my overall view of the entire year on TV, at least what I watched.  Some shows were new, some shows were cancelled and some shows were just so bad that we dropped them, so it was a pretty typical mix of television.

Here are the shows that are in contention for the year.  As I only started this column a couple of months ago, I may not have reviewed all of these shows on the blog, but I’ve certainly watched them.

Alphas, Arrow, Bones, Burn Notice, Castle, Dr. Who, Elementary, Eureka, Falling Skies, Finder, Fringe, Grimm, Haven, Mentalist, Perception, Person of Interest, Primeval: New World, Psych, Revolution, Sinbad, Walking Dead, Warehouse 13

Show I’m Happiest To Have Stopped Watching:  Grimm.  Dishonorable mention: Alphas.  I never liked Grimm, it was a show my wife picked up, mostly because she likes mythology, but the premise was just so absurd, I couldn’t stand it.  Sure, if there were a few mythological creatures here and there, fine, but they were everywhere!  They tried to retool it in the second season but it was too little, too late.  We got four episodes in and said the hell with it.  I wrote about it, go check it out.  Likewise, Alphas was kind of a mess from the beginning.  You had rumblings of a war between people with special powers and the best they could come up with were a bunch of neurotic barely-powered twits?  Eventually, I had to get away from the autistic guy, whose presence on-screen was like fingernails on a chalkboard.  I wrote about that one too.

Show I Wish Was Still Around:  Finder.  It was a spin-off from Bones, featuring a group of characters that had appeared in one episode.  It starred Geoff Stults as Walter, a former military man, injured in a bomb explosion, who develops an obsession with finding things.  Once he starts, he cannot stop.  He co-owns a bar with his friend, Leo, and together they locate things for people who seek them out.  The show was picked up as a mid-season replacement and got 13 episodes, all of which were fantastic.  Unfortunately, at the end of the season, it didn’t get picked up again and while there was some talk of another network rescuing it, Michael Clarke Duncan, who played Leo, died over the summer, which pretty much ruins any chance of another episode ever being made.  Here’s my review.

Worst Decline:  Fringe.  It went from being one of the highlights of my TV-viewing week to the worst thing on the air, something I trudge through week after week because I’ve sat through it this far, I’m going to finish it out.  Clearly, the writers are just phoning this season in, the show should have ended at the end of season 4, but they were given a half-season to “finish things up”.  Instead, they came up with this ridiculous storyline, based on the happenings of a single throw-away episode, it’s illogical and nobody really cares what happens.  I’m predicting the last episode is Walter waking up from a drug overdose, having hallucinated the whole series.

Biggest Improvement:  Haven.  To be honest, this started off as my wife’s show and I had very little interest in it, other than having to sit through it every week.  This past season though, as it started to look like the series was winding down toward it’s conclusion, it really started to get good, they started tying up plot threads, they started dealing with issues they had otherwise ignored and now, it’s something I really look forward to seeing.

Most Consistent Show:  Psych.  The funny thing is, I resisted watching this for years, I just couldn’t force myself to watch a series about a psychic, the whole concept revolted me and it wasn’t until the third or fourth season that I finally broke down, downloaded the first episode and watched it.  Since then, I’ve been hooked.  It has been consistently great season after season.  While it didn’t rise to the top of the pile this year, Psych can always be counted on to provide top-notch entertainment.

Thumbs DownWorst of the Year (Ongoing):  I am separating this into two awards, just to let the crap shine through.  It was too easy for me to just pick one of the shows I got rid of, clearly those are the ones I found utterly unwatchable, but I figured I’d make it more interesting and pick something that I hate and, for some reason, am still suffering through.  This year, that show, as should be obvious, is Fringe.

Worst of the Year (Dropped):  There are three shows that I just couldn’t stomach any longer and dropped from the rotation this year.  One of them, Revolution, I couldn’t get past the pilot episode.  To see why, see my review.

Thumbs UpBest of the Year (Ongoing):  I had to split it up because there are some really great shows that have been going for years and some that have just started and I couldn’t decide on just one show.  In the ongoing category, I’m going with Castle.  The chemistry on the show has consistently been great since it started as a mid-season replacement 5 years ago.  Nathan Fillion brings a perfect level of comedy and the writing is smart and doesn’t talk down to the audience.  Add in the fact that the writers really do know how their audience thinks and openly caters to them, giving us some very memorable episodes that wink at the viewers.  Great, great stuff, hope it goes on for years.

Best of the Year (New):  In the new category, I am tied between Arrow and Perception.  They are two very different shows with two different things going for them. Arrow, this is a superhero show done right.  After 10 years of disappointment with Smallville and the series in development thereafter like Aquaman, I feared we wouldn’t get a decent DC vehicle again.  However, along comes Arrow, a show I hadn’t paid much attention to until it hit me right between the eyes.  It is fantastic.  It’s a much more realistic look at how a superhero would be, trying to balance their nighttime escapades with a secret identity.  It also doesn’t do the ridiculous “heroes don’t kill” thing that DC is famous for.  Give it a shot, it’s great.  As for Perception, it’s a very different animal, a show about a university professor who suffers from schizophrenia, but because of this is able to solve murder cases that no one else can.  For more on Perception, take a look at my review of the show.

Shows I didn’t mention:  With so many shows on the air, not all of them are going to fit into the best of the best or the worst of the worst, they’re middle-of-the-road shows that are worth watching but not worth handing out prizes to.  So here’s a few words about those shows that have not gotten other recognition, good or bad.

Bones:  I have a love/hate relationship with Bones.  I think that the mysteries they examine are great, I love the science, I love how most of the murders are constructed so that they’re more-or-less logical to deconstruct.  Most of the characters are fine, although there are a few who I wouldn’t mind if they fell into a vat of boiling acid.  Where I have problems is how they deal with character interaction.  The fact that all the idiot ‘shippers wanted Bones and Booth together and even after saying it’s never going to happen, the show runner eventually drops them into bed together, then has them have a kid together, mostly to cover Emily Deschanel’s real-life pregnancy, all of which would force them to stop working together in any actual case, I just wish they’d pay the same kind of attention to the relationships as they do to the murders.

Burn Notice:  I’ve always been a huge fan of Jeffrey Donovan and Burn Notice is his first big break in a series.  It’s got a great premise, well-written characters, fantastic action, the one thing it doesn’t have anymore is a burn notice.  He captured or killed all the people who burned him a couple of years ago.  Time to at least change the opening.  While I don’t want the show or the characters to go away, I’m really starting to think that wrapping things up, or entirely changing direction, might be the best way to go.  He’s not a burned spy.  He gets stabbed in the back by everyone in the agency, but he’s not burned.  The show needs to reflect that.

Dr. Who:  What can you say about Dr. Who, the nearly 50 year old sci-fi phenomenon?  I’ve been a critic of some of the modern take on the good Doctor, most especially the idea that he get romantically involved with his companions.  No matter what he looks like, the Doctor is an alien, the very concept of having sex with a human should be about as appealing as having sex with your chihuahua.  I don’t care if the companions fall for him, their feelings should never, ever, ever be reciprocated.  Luckily, that wasn’t a problem with the latest set of companions, but we did see another problem with spending time with the Doctor, the fact that your real life gets irreversibly damaged.  As much as I liked Amy and Rory to begin, it was clear that by the end, they had overstayed their welcome and it was time to move on.  Now, I’m worried that the next companion might go back the other way.  Humans are animals, Doctor.  Keep your hands off.

Elementary:  When I first heard about this series, I was nervous.  There have been plenty of attempts to cast Sherlock Holmes in the modern day, most recently the UK series called Sherlock, it’s never really worked out too well IMO.  However, this one surprised me, mostly because it’s a good show in spite of it’s origins.  Let’s be clear, this is not Sherlock Holmes and Watson, no matter what their names are.  It’s a solid detective show that could be called anything else and still work.  In fact, I think it’s regrettable that they tried for the Holmes setting, I think it serves as more of a distraction than a positive element.

Eureka: Eureka ended this year, a final hurrah given before it petered out.  It’s one of those shows that you really try hard to like, but it never really reaches greatness.  Every season, they find some way to hit the big reset button and wipe out all of the things they had done the year before.  They did manage some good episodes this year, they did wrap up most of the hanging plot threads and give the show a decent send-off, even though the overall story this season wasn’t that compelling.

Falling Skies:  I’ve written two reviews on this show.  They pretty much spell out how much I dislike what they’ve done.  It’s a shame, it could have been better, but it falls at a time in the year when there’s not much else on so I’ve been pushing myself through it, hoping it’s going to improve.  So far, no luck.

Mentalist:  I look at this as the evil twin to Castle, where Rick Castle is a happy, funny, loveable guy that would do anything for his team, Patrick Jane is a prick.  Oh, he’s a good looking prick who can put on a smile and bullshit anyone, but he’s still a jerk.  I honestly don’t know why anyone puts up with him and his obsession with the Red John serial murder case.  I don’t care how many cases he closes, he’s proven he can’t be trusted time and time again, any real police force would toss him out the door, if not lock him in a cell.  Jane has his moments, but I really don’t care for anti-hero characters and he’s stabbed his colleagues in the back more than once.  There ought to be consequences.

Person of Interest:  Good show, likeable characters, we’re learning a lot more about the backstory of Finch’s machine and that’s great.  One thing I think ought to happen is that they need to expand the cast to more people on Finch and Reese’s side.  Fusco and Carter are fine but two guys and two flunkies against the world, two seasons in, just doesn’t do it for me anymore.  I’d rather see them have a wider array of people they can turn to for help, especially the kind of help that the police can’t really offer.

Primeval: New World:  I absolutely loved the original UK Primeval, but now that it’s a Canadian production, not so much.  The biggest problem is it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  Every week, they go out to handle a new dinosaur “threat”, but there’s little to link these stories together.  It seems odd that the crew is going at things blind when the UK branch of anomaly-hunters is well aware of their existence and, in the UK at least, rampaging dinosaurs have become a public danger.  It really makes no sense for someone from the UK, say Connor who appeared in the first episode, to send them an e-mail telling them what they’re in for.  It’s a show that screams potential, but just hasn’t taken advantage of it.

Sinbad:  This was a 12-episode UK series that should have been a lot better than it was.  The acting was good, the stories were good, the problem is that it didn’t go anywhere.  It was 12 episodic shows with very little tying them together.  They didn’t write a cohesive story taking 12 episodes, they wrote 12 scripts.  I did a review of it.

Walking Dead:  This is a hard show to gauge.  After a very slow and disappointing season 2, they rebounded into a much better season 3, but the show itself is problematic.  Well, it’s not really the show, it’s me.  I just don’t like post-apocalyptic stories and I hate zombies.  I wrote a diatribe once about why zombies are the worst movie or TV monster, I ought to do it again.  Where I think Walking Dead, both the comic and the TV series, drop the ball is they make the humans altogether too dickish.  It might be realistic, but this is television.  You have to give your audience a reason to come back week after week and if you want them to root for the humans, you have to make those humans relateable.  Most characters in Walking Dead are really losing their humanity and once it’s all gone, why should I care if they survive or become zombie chow?

Warehouse 13:  The characters are fun, there is plenty of humor in the writing, but it’s a show that rarely rises above “meh”.  It’s usually little more than a “doo-dad of the week” show, where some artifact appears somewhere and they have to go deal with it.  In this, I really think it’s only got limited legs, it’s already pretty ridiculous the number of artifacts that are floating around.  It seems like in the first season, artifacts were supposed to be relatively rare, only generated by the greatest individuals through the most extreme emotional trauma, but now it seems like artifacts are a dime a dozen and anyone can make one.  It takes away from the unique nature of the show.

TV Thursday – 12/27/12

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Wow, really slow week this week, although this is certainly what I expected.  Everyone is off for the holidays and it’s really not fair to do a best or worst of the week this week, based on the tiny number of shows that aired.  However, because there was so little on, I had to watch something and this week, I finished the Japanese drama called Ataru, an 11-episode series I had been wanting to see.

Burn Notice #6×17-6×18 – “You Can Run/Game Change” – In this 2-part season finale, we finally conclude the Olivia Riley storyline and, unlike seasons past, don’t leave a ton of plot threads hanging for next season.  I don’t know that I can say it’s particularly satisfying though, as much as I wanted it to be.  As much as I like this series, I’ve been a big fan since it started and am a real fan of Jeffrey Donovan, but I think that once the whole “burn notice” thing went away, the show has floundered a little.  I’ve mentioned before that the name of the show and the opening credits really don’t apply to what’s going on and that’s a problem.  Michael was a full-blown agent again, the people who had burned him were gone and, as much as it pains me to say, they probably should have wrapped the series right there.  No more burn notice = no more reason for a show.  But in Hollywoodland, things don’t wrap up because it makes sense, they keep them around until nobody watches them and Donovan does a fantastic job as Michael Westen, burn notice or no.  I just think the show has started to run out of logical steam and this season suffers because of it.  Olivia Riley just wasn’t a good villain this season, there wasn’t any reason to hate her, she was just doing her job, and by the time we found out she was a lunatic, it didn’t matter, the season was over.  By the end, you went from the hyper-competent CIA agent who foresaw most things Michael tried to a pretty easily defeated agent in a matter of minutes.  In retrospect, most of the season was pretty pointless because she ended up convinced that she could never capture the Westen clan with official resources, but could throw in with the drug cartels, who have less resources, and gain a victory, especially when the cartels show up in the end without any foreshadowing.  Suddenly, there they are!  The first episode was best IMO, it introduced some interesting elements.  Jesse is captured, albeit stupidly, and tortured by Riley’s crew.  Sam is shot, again stupidly, and almost dies a couple of times.  My problem with the Jesse sub-plot, frankly, is that I don’t think his mother’s murder has ever been mentioned before, it was totally out of the blue.  Further, when Jesse was an agent in good standing, he could have done the same thing that Riley did to get the file, he made 37 attempts, there’s no indication that the sheriff had any reason to withhold the file, so why didn’t he do that?  Makes no sense.  Sam’s shooting was a bit silly, he kept trying to be stoic but as a seasoned agent, he ought to have known that the gunshot was serious.  Why did it take Fiona so long to remember she knew of a disbarred doctor just 20 minutes away?  That should have been the first course of action, not an “oh yeah” moment.  Dumb.  It just went downhill in the second hour, when, conveniently, the only guy who could get Michael out of this mess, along with all of the evidence of Riley’s guilt, gets blown up because Bly can’t undo his seatbelt.  I really hate convenient events, it makes no sense that the one particular solution just vanishes in a puff of illogic in order to keep the story going.  So, Michael jumps on the drug kingpin’s boat and takes it, and Riley, out to see.  He conveniently called the Coast Guard, not sure how because his cell phone would have been waterlogged, but let’s believe he did.  As they’re racing out to sea, pursued by Coast Guard gunships firing across their bow, suddenly Riley goes from the unstoppable force for justice to a kitten.  Getting caught means the end of her career and probably the rest of her life in a deep hole, she just takes it without a fight.  Then you get the end where Michael cuts a deal to get his family released but we never find out what that deal is.  Is he going to be dropped into a dungeon forever?  Is he being forgiven and put back into the field?  What’s this deal?  I guess we have to wait until summer to find out.  It really felt like, at the end, they needed some way to resolve all of the dangly bits but they really had no idea how to do it.  It should have been better, they should have had a season resolution thought up from the beginning.  It just doesn’t feel like they did.

Dr. Who Christmas Special – “The Snowmen” – To be honest, this is an important Christmas special because it is the first introduction of the new companion.  Well, not really, since we saw her in the first episode of the previous series, in the episode called “Asylum of the Daleks“.  I didn’t especially care for it, to be honest, but the character could be interesting.  Unfortunately, I just wasn’t wowed by this special.  It came off as a rather silly story with stupid monsters (psychic snow?) and was just a vehicle to get the Doctor and Clara together.  Besides, as long-time fans of Who know, the whole Snowman thing, and especially the Great Intelligence card, is a dead giveaway, they appeared in the episodes The Abominable Snowman and The Web Of Fear back in the Patrick Troughton days, essentially doing the same thing, trying to find a physical form.  Yes, it’s been a long time since then, but the story is very much just marching out an old plot.  The Doctor is being his angsty, obnoxious self after the death of the Ponds, something I called within moments of the beginning of the episode.  Grow the hell up already.  How many companions have you lost over the centuries?  Stop acting like a baby!  We also see a return of Madame Vastra the Silurian and Strax the Sontaran.  Vastra and her wife Jenny are playing detective in 19th century England, supposedly the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  Strax is playing servant to the Doctor, suffering from mental problems after his resurrection from the dead and acting as comedy relief.  The three of them need a series of their own, they are wonderful together.  We got Torchwood, we got the Sarah Jane Adventures, we got that hideous K9 series, please can we have those three characters on their own?  Please!  The Snowmen, although they had their moments, were really sort of silly and the resolution was utterly disappointing.  They were never a threat, it was just psychic snow that formed to the thoughts and fears of the people around them.  It was just people being bad, when the people learned to stop being bad, the snow just went back to being snow.  Big deal!  The real point, though, was getting the Doctor and his new companion together and I will say, I am relatively uneasy about it.  I’ve gone on record hating the whole Rose nonsense, I absolutely, positively detest any idea that the Doctor ought to be romantically involved with any human.  The Doctor isn’t human.  He might look like one but he isn’t.  Therefore, any emotional attachment and certainly any physical relationship is like you screwing your dog.  It’s disgusting.  However, this time it isn’t really the Doctor chasing a companion, it’s a woman chasing the Doctor, quite openly in fact, and him responding positively to it.  You’d think that after the heartbreak of leaving Rose in an alternate dimension forever, he’d be adamant against ever having a romantic relationship again, but seemingly that’s not the case.  She gives him a big kiss and he’s acting like a lovesick puppydog.  The scene where he shows her the new and improved Tardis was great, but he was begging her to move in, stuffing a Tardis key into her hand, it was just absurd.  I think that the saving grace, where the Doctor realizes that Clara isn’t just an ancestor to the Oswin character in Asylum of the Daleks, but that somehow, she’s the same person, many thousands of years earlier, who managed to die in both episodes yet still lives, could be very interesting.  It would be fantastic if Clara turned out to be a Timelord, I’d immediately change my tune about the romantic overtones, but that’s the only way I would.  It was a good episode, better than last year’s “The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe“, but I wanted more.  I guess time will see next year if I’ll love or hate the upcoming series of Dr. Who.

Fringe #5×10 – “Anomaly XB-6783746” – And the boredom continues.  This time, frustrated with their inability to figure out what to do with Michael, the little Observer, they reach out to Nina Sharp who has been sympathetic to the resistance.  Massive Dynamics has been funding black labs aimed at figuring out the Observers, to the point of dissecting them.  They take Michael to a lab, but Michael doesn’t respond to the mind-link they put on his head.  They need another device and reach out to another Massive Dynamics scientist, leaving Nina alone with the boy.  However, Windmark is on to them and just a step behind.  While they are at another warehouse getting another device, Windmark and his team show up to interrogate the scientist who helped them.  They discover where Nina is and teleport away, leaving Peter, Olivia and Walter to chase after them.  Nina hides the boy and resists the Observer mind-probes as best she can before finally taking her own life.  Upon their return, they mourn over Nina and discover the boy’s hiding place, but still can’t make contact even with two link devices.  Finally, the boy walks over to Walter, gives him the Observer Mind Meld and transfers all of the information directly.  When Walter opens his eyes, he reveals that he finally knows who Donald is, he’s actually September.  Okay, I was wrong about Peter becoming September, although that would have been a better plot point IMO.  Walter breaks down when he sees Nina’s body.  I know they were good friends, but clearly he was more worried about whatever torture he thought the Observers were performing on the boy and considering Walter’s mental state lately, I can’t be sure he even cared that Nina was dead.  Clearly the boy did, but everyone else was really only worried about the plan.  Three more episodes.  Just three.  Thank goodness.

Ataru

Ataru 1-11 – There aren’t that many really good J-dramas out there unfortunately, I only get to see a small handful per year.  Out of each Japanese season, I might pull one series that looks decent and of those, quality varies.  This one struck me because it jumped beyond the typical detective show and usually, it’s the shows that are a bit more oddball that turn out to be really clever.  Ebina Maiko is a pretty young detective, in fact, she’s been the media face of the police for a while, there are posters of her all over the place, she appears on TV and is pretty well known.  However, she’s not really happy with police work, especially with cases that are termed “trash heaps”.  Those are cases where the police decide not to seriously investigate because they seem like suicides or accidents.  Ebina takes an extended vacation to consider her continued work with the force, but while researching a case off-duty, she discovers a young man in the rubble of a fire.  She initially thinks he’s dead but he turns out to have been only sleeping.  There’s clearly something wrong with him, but he gives her a few clues for the case, he can put together details that she cannot, he’s a savant who tells her his name is Mr. Bugger.  Unfortunately, no one knows where he lives so she takes him back to the apartment complex she lives in and co-owns and puts him up in an empty room.  Over time and over cases, she learns how to deal with his eccentricities but is shocked to eventually learn that his name is actually Ataru and is part of an FBI program to harness the power of savants for criminal investigations.  However, he’s stopped responding to his FBI handlers and has now imprinted on Ebina.  They decide to allow them to keep working together, but she realizes she needs him to do her job and the load starts causing stress to Ataru, eventually driving him into a short-lived coma.

The acting is very good, I’m especially impressed with Nakai Masahiro who plays Ataru, it must have been difficult to stay consistently in character as a savant.  Kuriyama Chiaki, as Ebina, was excellent as well, I thought I recognized her early on and when I looked at her body of work, she was in the original Ju-On and made her U.S. film debut in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 as the crazy schoolgirl killer Gogo.  There are a lot of characters in Ataru who tend to wander in and out of episodes, most of them get only a very vague background, things happen to them but usually out of context.  The chief medical examiner just pops up one day explaining that his wife is having child 6 and 7, but without any mention of children before that.  Actually, it turns out to be 6, 7 and 8, but it doesn’t really matter.  At one point in the series, there was some suggestion that Ebina’s partner, Shunichi Sawa, might end up in some kind of romantic relationship with her but that was dropped along the way.  Too bad, I love the actor, Kitamura Kazuki, who has been in dramas like Galileo and Akihabara@Deep.

I do recommend the series, it was a fun watch, although I was a bit less than enthusiastic about the final case, where Ataru solves the 15-year old death of Ebina’s mother, that everyone thought was a suicide and which sent the entire family on their respective career paths.  It was just too close to the case that came before and it was just too convenient in the end, it was almost a letdown that after building the entire series to that point, it was a pretty flat finale.  I don’t know that I’d say there’s enough there to warrant a second series with the same characters, I feel like we told the story that needed telling, they certainly did it well, but there isn’t anywhere to go.  Great show but it’s over, let it be over.