Sunday, March 31, 2013

Game Of Thrones "Valar Dohaeris" Review

All men must serve--that's the translation of the title, and it is the answer to the words that were the title to season two finale. Servitude is an absolute in monarchies. One must serve a king. Davos is nearly dead from the heat, stranded on a rock after being flung from his ship in the beginning of the battle of Blackwater, when he waves for a ship to come rescue him. Men come and ask which side he fought for--Davos' answers will decide his fate. He takes a beat before answering that he fought for and serves the one true king, Stannis Baratheon. The man smiles; he's from Saan's ship. Davos life is spared temporarily. Of course, since he doesn't serve Stannis as well as the Red God, R'hllor, he ends up imprisoned anyway on Dragonstone. Servitude is an absolute in Westeros, and "Valar Dohaeris" makes it clear that characters need to serve someone.

Dany's storyline expresses the theme of the episode best. Dany arrives in Astapor, which is a slave city, and learns about The Unsullied. Jorah explains that they are the best army in the world, but they're slaves. Dany learns that they've been cut. One Unsullied man doesn't move when his master cuts off his nipple. They stand until they fall. They kill a newborn baby as the baby's mother watches. Jorah warns Dany that they aren't men and that they've lost their humanity. Slavery's the ultimate form of servitude. Moments later, she's nearly killed by a nasty looking spider/scorpion hybrid. The warlocks are still after her, but her life is spared by a man in a hood. The man removes his hood, and he's none other than Barristan Selmy, last seen throwing his sword at Joffrey's feet following his dismissal from the King's Guard. Selmy pledges to serve, apologizes, and asks to serve the Rightful Queen to the Iron Throne. I loved Emilia Clarke's eyes after Selmy knelt down to her. Her eyes expressed a mixture of surprise, disbelief, and hope. Jorah described him as the best swordsman in the Seven Kingdoms.

But, of course, Bronn and Meryn Trant's little exchange outside of Tyrion's chambers expressed the idea of 'all men must serve' well, too. Bronn and Trant were going to come to blows in the service of Tyrion and Cersei, respectively. Bronn later reminds Tyrion that he's not his guard anymore, not since he became a knight. Service for him means double the amount of money Tyrion had been paying him for his protection. Their brief exchange transitions well into Tyrion's chat with Tywin about his reward for his service in the Blackwater battle. By rights, Tyrion argues, he is owed Casterly Rock. Tywin, in a word, disagrees. Tywin's a proper bastard. He accuses Tyrion of killing his mother during birth, of being a disgrace to the Lannister name, and of whoring around instead of serving as the Hand of the King. Tywin's definitely rankled by Tyrion's dig about his service in Harrenhal while he, Tyrion, laid the defense plans for the city and led the troops to war against Stannis. Tyrion leaves Tywin's chambers with nothing but hurt feelings.

"Valar Dohaeris" can't catch up with every character in the series. The series is too vast, but it sets up what's to come quite well. Benioff and Weiss promised a season that dwells on the rise of people into power as well as the fall of powerful people. Ros got the memo since she warns Shae about Sansa Stark of all people. Margaery Tyrell stands out the most in the crowded season premiere. Margaery's two scenes establish her convictions and motivations really well. Season 2 established her designs on the throne, i.e. to become the True Queen. This episode wants to show another side of Margaery, the side of her who stops a royal train to talk to the orphans in Flea Bottom. They are children made orphans by the war. Loras tells Cersei that his sister helped the poor a great deal in Highgarden. Margaery and Loras have a significant effect on Joffrey. Cersei had told the Tyrell siblings about their unfortunate stop in Flea Bottom, which was where the riot broke out in season 2 and where Joffrey nearly lost his life. Joffrey's not the momma's boy, so he disputes Cersei's claims, chalking them up to the concerns of a soft and aging woman. In short, he declares he was unafraid and that the riot is well over-blown. These two scenes worked because it developed each character's relation to one another subtly.

Beyond The Wall, Jon Snow convinces Mance Raydar, the King-Beyond-The-Wall of his defection from the Night's Watch. The Wildings don't trust Jon. Halfhand gave his life for the sake of Jon's legitimacy among The Wildings (a legitimacy he never had whilst in Winterfell under the domineering and judgmental eye of Cat). The story Beyond The Wall might take a bit of time to move forward. It's notable that Jon saw a giant, and that the wildings reminded him he's free to go under the covers with Ygritte. Mance is a fascinating character as he once wore the black of the crow. Jon looks on The King-Beyond-The-Wall somewhat hesitantly, as if peering into his eyes will break his resolve, his duty, and he, too, will become truly cast out by his brothers of the Night's Watch.

The Night's Watch is yet another shining example of servitude in the Seven Kingdoms. King's Landing dismisses warnings about the strange tales from Beyond The Wall. The Night's Watch are undermanned and dealing with The Others. They are all that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the wildings and The Others. Their dire warnings are very real. Sam forgot to send the ravens. Jeor orders a retreat back to The Wall to re-group. The reminders of what's happening Beyond The Wall seems to dwarf any of the political nonsense happening in the Seven Kingdoms.

Of course, it is strange to title an episode "Valar Dohaeris" and not include Arya Stark, but that's neither here nor there. Robb and Catelyn Stark get one scene, and Robb chooses to lock his mother in a cell for her decision to release Jaime Lannister. Robb makes his choice upon witnessing the massacre in Harrenhal. It's worth noting Roose Bolton says he's got someone hunting the Kingslayer down. The purpose of the scene is twofold--Stark's men are dispirited by what they find, and Robb and Cat are severely divided.

Division's not what any character needs, especially in this world where one will stick a knife into your cut the second after commending you in battle. This world is a world where Ros plants potentially dangerous mistrust about Sansa Stark in the mind of Shae. Power falls to the unions, and the divided fall. All men must serve, yes, but so too must all men die.

Other Thoughts:

-The premiere is light on new characters. I may be mistaken but I think Missandei and the entirety of The Unsullied, as well as Mance, are the only new characters introduced. There are 15-16 more characters to meet this season. Don't worry, friends and well-wishers, I will keep the characters straight.

-Emilia Clark's lovelier than ever in "Valar Dohaeris." Dany's written much better than she was throughout season two. I'm really, really hoping the series got Dany's arc right for the third season.

-Davos briefly mourns the death of his son while with Saan. A Storm of Swords' chapter in which Davos is stranded on the rock deals with Davos' mourning over his son's death. Martin's writing is beautiful and really quite moving. It's a worth read.

-Saan warns Davos that Melisandre's burning men and women who oppose her god. Melisandre's just pissed when she sees Davos about being left out for the battle. Basically, she blames Davos for excluding her, arguing she would've prevented what happened with the wildfyre. Stannis absolutely believes her.

-Littlefinger told Sansa stuff about leaving King's Landing. Yeah.

-David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wrote the episode. Daniel Minahan directed it.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK



Friday, March 29, 2013

Grimm "Nameless" Review

David Greenwalt helped run Buffy, the Vampire Slayer during its early years as Joss Whedon learned the ropes of the television industry. Season 1 of BtVS is sort of a mess. The season boasts some of Buffy's best episodes but also some of its worst. The budget was small, monsters looked horrible, but it didn't stop Joss and Greenwalt and the other writers from telling risky stories about a giant praying mantis or a computer demon boyfriend. "I, Robot, You, Jane" is possibly the worst episode of BtVS. Television shows rarely use the video game medium for stories because the ideas are apparently lacking, meaning that video game episodes tend to be really bad. It is fascinating to return to "I, Robot, You, Jane" after watching the complete series several times and sort of just marvel at how Joss and David produced that and then, about a year later, "Lie To Me" or "Surprise" and "Innocence."

David Greenwalt returned to the ol' video game story for "Nameless." The A story sucks. I won't beat around the bush, my friends and well-wishers. The A story absolutely sucks. The internet was in a relative infancy in late 1996 when Joss, David, and the other writers, broke the episode and then wrote it. "I, Robot, You, Jane" boxes the problems of the internet into a narrow generalization about the dangers of internet dating; you know, that strange men are on the other side of the program. "Nameless" doesn't deal with online dating but it deals with the perceived gaming culture. Whenever a mass shooting happens, the media jumps on the 'the killer must've played violent shooting games and the games must've inspired him.' Someone's killing off members of the code team for a game-changing video game, which is game-changing because it allows hundreds of people to play at the same time without any lag. So, Nick and Hank start tracking the killer through the game since the killer is killing his future victims' video game characters

The worst scene of the episode takes place in a person of interest's apartment. The killer cut a man named Brody in half moments after his girlfriend told him they wouldn't have sex. The person of interest, whose name I already forget, is named such because he took the break-up badly. Nick and Hank go to his place to ask a few questions. The dude is playing a game with his sister, and they're so detached from reality. The sister reacts like a vampire when Hank opens the blinds. The siblings hear about Brody's death and explain that Brody died in the game hours before his death. The siblings state that they felt happy his video game character. Hank and Nick think they meant the actual person. No, they explain, just the video game character. One's video game life and one's actual lived life are separate; however, Nick and Hank don't seem to get it, and the writing's definitely not on the side of the gaming siblings. Their insight into the gaming community helps Nick and Hank, though, and it does change the trajectory of the case.

The A story has the worst possible outcome. I couldn't shake the late 90s/early 00s slasher feeling I got from it. The killer makes phone calls using a voice modifier that makes him sound menacing and threatening. He reenacts kills he made in the video game, just like Ghostface reenacted horror films, and the Urban Legends killer reenacted urban legends. The conclusion is almost certain to be terrible. The recurring question the killer asks the police is, "What's my name?" He leaves ripped out title pages from books authored by men who used a pen name and sudoku. Wu, since his non-work life is spent alone in his apartment with a cat, investigates the clues for meaning. Nick and Hank eventually realize the killer is Wesen (a Fuchsefflein, or some name similar). They learn his name (Lipsulms), and then he kills himself. I re-watched the ending, thinking I overlooked a crucial aspect of the story. I did not. I spent a minute figuring out whether or not the killer's name was Flip Flops. Lipsulms had the laziest motive: jealousy/revenge for losing the girl and the money to code he fixed. Blah.

I thought the bits about the feuds in creative environments were interesting because they reminded me more of the TV writing business than the video game industry. One guy tells Nick about the competition for individual credit but assures him the team as a whole is supportive. If what they're working on hits big, all of them benefit. I thought about the competition for story credits in TV and about how the overall success of the show is indeed beneficial to all. The acting from the bit players is average at best. The story is exceptionally terrible. I hope David Greenwalt never tells another video game/internet story again.

Meanwhile, Juliette realizes she's getting her memories back. Monroe accidentally tells her what she's seeing are memories of a night at Nick's trailer. Specifically, Juliette sees a soaking Nick, telling her something. Juliette wants to know what the thing is. She's tired of being left in the dark and promises to leave Nick for good should he choose to keep the thing secret from her. I'm with Juliette. Just let her in on the nonsense that's going on. I was real tired during the episode so there were times I thought I dozed off and woke up 2 seconds later, believing the Juliette story took place in season 3. Just get it over with, writers.

"Nameless" also advances the royal family storyline. Honestly, the royal family storyline comes and goes, and I forget what's come before and what it means for what happened in the episode. Renard kills one of the royal’s spies. Next week's going to bring the royals arc into focus, which will be much welcomed.

So, no, "Nameless" wasn't the best episode of the series.

Other Thoughts:

-Nick and Hank thought they were investigating a human being for awhile. Have Nick and Hank investigated a human being once in the entire series? I don't think so. I also thought about how excellent their clearance rate is. They get a murder mystery; they solve it. Of course, Nick often forgets about his badge in bringing Wesen to justice. Maybe they aren't The Dudes at the precinct.

-I really do miss the hole in Juliette's floor. That was a cool effect.

-Monroe gave Rosalind an old clock for the spice shop in the episode's sweetest scene.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK




Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Vampire Diaries "American Gothic" Review

I feel like I'm seeing intentional nods to Buffy and ANGEL, Joss Whedon's old shows about vampires, on two genre shows lately. One show that seemingly freely borrows from Buffy/ANGEL (more Buffy in TWD's case) is The Walking Dead; the other is The Vampire Diaries. Indeed, this is nothing new for the latter show. The similarities between The First and Silas are staggering. TVD's similarities are more than just Silas/season 7. It also involves the active redemption of a brutal villain. Case in point: Klaus. He's killed characters who are close to the beloved characters of the show, he chased others out of town, and he massacred his own hybrids for trying to rebel against him. Klaus tried to seduce Caroline with darkness last week. Sound familiar? Klaus is Spike. I'm having vivid flashbacks of the disturbing balcony scene in "Dead Things" as I write; you know, the scene when Spike has sex with Buffy on the balcony in The Bronze as he whispers to her about darkness.

Klaus-as-Spike is more than that, though. For instance, Spike has a rather bad day in "Bring On the Night" in season 7. The First abduct him and chain him up. They get into his mind by appearing as Drusilla. Spike suffered a lot by "Bring On the Night." Buffy's writers put great effort into earning Spike's redemption. TVD's writers have a similar thought with Klaus. How does a unredeemable character get redeemed? The task is easier with the Salvatore brothers, Elena, Caroline, Bonnie, etc., than it is with Klaus because their actions are routinely forgiven by the narrative and by the fans. A common trick in genre television to make a character suffer to induce sympathy and empathy and thus be comfortable with that character, usually a bad apple, becoming more or less good. It usually works--it worked for LOST and Ben Linus, for Buffy when Angel came back from hell after his reign of terror as Angelus, and so on and so forth. Klaus suffers in "American Gothic." Klaus tells Caroline he's not scouring the lands trying to kill Tyler. The series wants to make it possible for Klaus and Caroline to date, but they're also turning the character into someone who can lead a spin-off.

I was asked what happened in the first 35 minutes of "American Gothic." I thought for a moment, then responded, "Rebekah took the cure." I was asked, "That's it?" I replied, "Yes. That's it." The exchange crystallized the episode for me. For all the running around small-towns, fighting and intimidation, and whatnot, "American Gothic" takes its sweet time in regards to forward momentum. Rebekah and Elena question Katherine about the cure. Elena goes to meet Katherine's mysterious friend and lover, Elijah, and Elijah's horrified to hear of the murder his lover committed and that he's being used to broker a peace deal between Katherine and Klaus. Damon and Stefan track down Rebekah and then separate to track down the cure and Elijah.

The cure ends up in Elijah's hands by episode's end. Elena sends the boys a clear message about listening to her about what she wants--she promises to kill people for as long as they try to force the cure onto her, stating the bodies are on their hands. It's great to see Elena tell the Salvatores to leave her alone and respect her wishes. Let's be honest: it's time for the Salvatore's to back off. Stefan's plan to help Elena and then leave town reminded me of a certain vampire with a soul in late season three of Buffy, but, regardless, that Stefan realized he and she need a significant break was quite welcomed. Elena's murderous plan isn't so great, mainly because I'm not looking forward to the fallout from the plan. TVD deserves many compliments for boldly choosing to turn their heroine into the, as it were, villain of the show. In the end, though, it'll be the same as Buffy having some fun in "Bad Girls" only to feel remorseful when she realizes what's happened.

Elena's going to face temporary consequences. I wondered last week whether or not Caroline's shock at what she's done would mean anything for the moral question of the show. Caroline's feelings don't carry over. She's back to using Klaus' crimes against him whilst ignoring her own, only lamenting that she's away from her prom committee duties (PROM). I'm skeptical about the depth of Elena's guilt she feels post-switch-gets-turned-on. That's more there than here, though. Elena's physical example of meaning what she says puts the brothers in damage control mode.

Meanwhile, Rebekah asks her brother to please give her the cure. Elijah wishes she wasn't burdened by her father. Elijah's the second vampire to tell her she can't erase her issues by becoming human. I thought their scene was the sweetest of the episode. Elijah's gentle and understanding. Rebekah's treated like trash a lot, but her older brother treats her compassionately. His compassion is well-meant since Elena reminded him, and the audience, that he told referred to her passion as a gift and that he hopes she carried it with her whereever she went. Elijah stands out because he's unlike the other selfish characters on the show. Elijah considers others and how an action will impact someone else. The other selfish characters do not. They think about themselves. When they say 'to hell with the world,' they mean it and don't look back.

Other Thoughts:

-Silas made Klaus suffer. Caroline took Klaus' mind off the pain, and Klaus nearly confessed his love to her. I'm waiting for Silas to lift the words from The First and ask Klaus who'll believe in him. He'll think of Caroline and say, 'her.' Many a fan video will then get made.

-The prom episode is actually happen. Any consistent readers will know I've been rather invested in the prom/graduation episodes. I'd be delighted if the core characters weren't allowed to attend the prom as a disciplinary measure for missing too much school. It'd never happen. The vampires would compel their way in.

-Here’s the script for “Bring On the Night” since I wrote about it earlier: http://www.buffyworld.com/buffy/scripts/132_scri.html

-Evan Bleweiss & Jose Molina wrote the episode. Kellie Cyrus directed it.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Arrow "Salvation" Review

Arrow's done a variation of the 'two vigilantes in the same town' story this season in the dark arrow episode. The Dark Arrow is different from the vigilante in "Salvation." The Dark Arrow is the opposite of The Green Arrow, the antithesis, and the representation of what and who Oliver is fighting to rid from the city. The vigilante isn't notable besides his use of technology to publicly terrorize the people watching. Oliver wanted to take out a bad landlord, but the other vigilante gets him first and broadcasts his murder for all to see online and on the television. Oliver doesn't like other doing his work without restraint. Felicity wonders what the difference is between Oliver and the other guy, Joseph Falk.

"Salvation" is an awesome episode. I'll just make my opinion clear of the overall episode clear before I nitpick it. "Salvation" is a blast to watch--it feels like a superhero movie. The mission is clear, the villain is clear, and the way the villain kills makes the audience want to see Oliver stop him. Arrow didn't need to throw in Roy Harper as the third and final (potential) victim of Falk's, but Tim Minear discussed the purpose of the third act break in a recent SOFADOGS podcast. Thea has a relationship with Roy; therefore the audience must have some kind of investment in the relationship because the audience is seemingly invested in Thea (also, I know Arrow doesn't have the traditional four act structure--network dramas don't use the four act structure anymore). The sequence with Oliver trying to save the life of the assistant district attorney was perhaps the best sequence on Arrow this season. It got me invested in the story. Oliver's running around the city, jumping from building to building, onto trucks and off of trucks, running for his life to save a life. The sequence cuts back to Falk torturing the assistant district attorney. Falk's an angry man who lost his wife in a gang beating, and the district attorney's office never brought the case to trial which made him angrier. The sequence is tense, frantic, urgent, and riveting. Felicity feels like she's failed when she leads Oliver to the wrong place twice and especially when the assistant district attorney is murdered; it just accomplishes so much in a small amount of time.

The episode intends to compare Oliver and Falk mainly because Oliver's been more of an island lately, ever since McKenna left. Several weeks passed. Oliver goes out nightly and when he's done he sleeps. Diggle's concerned. Oliver tells him he's fine, but he's withdrawing. Diggle doesn't want to see Oliver withdraw. Oliver tells him he's down and done with entanglements. He can't keep anyone close. Anyone close will eventually leave him. Oliver names Laurel before McKenna and Sarah. Basically, he's been out bringing the corrupt folk of Starling City to justice. Naturally, after John Nickels, the landlord, is taken by Falk, Felicity wonders what makes the new vigilante different. Oliver stops for a moment and then tells her, "He won't show my restraint." Felicity's question is valid. What does separate Oliver from other vigilantes? He's even killed.

Oliver and Falk have their face-off in the last act, and Falk points out their similarities, right down to the killing part. Oliver resists killing Falk until he shoots at Roy, so Oliver acts and kills Falk. It's telling that Oliver doesn't reply to Falk's comparisons. Oliver urges him to drop the weapon and give himself up. Falk won't let a gangbanger from the glades walk free. The Glades' gangbangers killed his wife. Oliver tells Falk that Roy can use his second chance to change. The question about the morality of The Hood is an ongoing theme this season, so "Salvation" doesn't produce an answer. The continued question is continually excellent in its execution.

Roy's involvement in the A story is a drag. Thea and Roy as a couple were just thrown together. My theory about The CW is that the executives meet with individual show runners and tell them to put any character without an arc into a relationship with a model-type. Roy's character is that of a bad boy, a miscreant, who's done bad things and owes debts to bad men. Thea leaves him when she sees the gun he means to use in a bank robbery. Roy tells Falk that he doesn't deserve to live, that no one will miss him, as Thea watches tearfully. She will miss him. This is their history: Roy thinks she's a rich snob, and Thea's inexplicably attracted to him. That's it. Anyway, the takeaway from Roy's involvement is really just the shot of him looking at the arrow he got from Falk's body. Roy and Oliver are going to clash not just because his younger sister is getting down with a Glades boy but because the Glades are the hot spot for the bad stuff that's about to go down.

The Dark Arrow reappears to avenge the assassination attempt on Malcolm. Malcolm is crazy. Moira covers her tracks and throws the Triad dude under the Subway train, so to speak. I don't think Moira saw The Dark Arrow prior to "Salvation." The experience upsets her. She shakes and cries in the car after Triad Dude dies.

Oliver's unaware of his mother's after-work activities, of course. He's too busy trying not to be an island. I think the A story would've been better suited for an episode that a few weeks after last week's rather than as an episode set a few weeks after last week's episode just so the audience would feel the passage in time rather than be told that significant time has passed. Regardless, "Salvation" is an awesomely strong episode that displays the best Arrow has to offer. Top-notch work.

Other Thoughts:

-Sarah's not alive. Dinah was working out her guilty conscience. Laurel's going to try to have another relationship with her mother again. I also learned Laurel's father's name is Quentin. You don't know that I didn't know his name for months.

-The flashbacks were very good, though Yow Fei died. Of course, his kick-ass daughter is taking his place. She knows what Fyres intends to do with the missile. Oliver's plan to get off the island failed completely. One thinks Wilson won't listen to Oliver so readily now.

-Drew Z. Greenberg & Wendy Mericle wrote the episode. Nick Copus directed it.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Go On "Matchup Problems" Review

Go On's told the story of Ryan getting back into the dating field, meeting a crazy woman, and then dating her. Piper Perabo left the show a few episodes ago. Since Courtney Cox agreed to a guest spot on her friend's sitcom, the writers must've settled on telling roughly the same story they just finished telling. Of course, the difference is in the tone: Ryan's relationship with Simone was about growth whereas Ryan's pursuit of Talia is played for laughs. It's an opportunity to get two actors who starred on a rather popular sitcom awhile ago to play alongside each other once more. A lot of people will be happy to see Cox and Perry on screen again, but I hope they're also annoyed by the absolute filler of the episode.

I think the tonal issues critics worried about in its August premiere were finally back in the third to last episode of the last season. The most common question asked by critics was whether or not Go On could be funny with an unfunny premise. What's funny about grief and grief counseling? "Matchup Problems" is the first episode that takes grief and uses it as a gag. I can't remember other episodes that played with the imaginary line everyone's aware of, which is the same line folk don't want to see crossed. The humor isn't clever or really funny. The episode uses the kind of humor that's not funny but is extreme enough to get people laughing because the people laughing can't believe a show's getting extreme. I'm making this Go On episode sound more offensive than it actually is. My point is that Go On goes for broke with its grief humor.

The humor's not even offensive. It's oddly sort of playful and innocent. Cox's character, Talia, uses her widowhood to snag free shots, free buffalo wings, and free blu cheese dressing. Ryan, and his wingwoman Anne, don't know how to react. Eventually, they go with the flow. Ryan explains why he can't buy blu cheese at a local whole foods. The waiter is horrified by his own insensitivity and gives them whatever they wish to allieve their pain. Ryan's out with Talia because Anne encouraged their meeting, but Talia hits on Ryan and Anne. The friends agree to not compete. Two scenes later, they are competing for a night with Talia. Anne uses her understanding of women to woo the widow while Ryan abandons his entire personality and takes up whatever Talia's interested in to get laid (hm....seems right).

Matthew Perry and Courtney Cox still have great chemistry. Cox is a funny woman. The writing lets her focus on the funny. I haven't watched Cougar Town more than once, but I bet Cox is a delightful presence. Sometimes, Perry doesn't seem relaxed in scenes. Perhaps it is because Ryan is not relaxed; perhaps not. Perry's relaxed in every scene with Cox. One way to put it is Perry isn't trying so hard to sell a joke or a gag. In past episodes, he'd try way too hard to sell a line or push a gag over the top. The story itself isn't good, but the performances are a joy to watch. Perry's not bad in the show, but he's less overeager and anxious than he's been in certain episodes this season. That's the only point I wanted to make.

Ryan learns a lesson he'll later pass on to his listeners through a sports metaphor. Talia wants to go home with Anne and Ryan, but her preference is Anne. Anne turns her down because she got a vibe. Ryan jumps into the car, only realizing the mistake he made afterwards. Talia is unhinged. The evening ends with sirens and a fleeing Talia leaving Ryan to eat the crime. Ryan explains dating in terms of free agency. Desperate teams will jump on the first attractive player that'll make them feel good. Lauren's in the role of the desperate team. She's unhappy with Wyatt, so she flirts with a man on Yolanda's Asians-Christians cruise because she likes the fun attention. Anne's the conservative type that waits, bides its time, and only jumps in when the situation is right for both parties. I forget where Ryan falls in the metaphor. He's the lead character, though, so he'll forget about lesson quickly.

Overall, the episode is the fun kind of filler. Ryan and Anne are a terrific pairing to watch go back and forth. Mr. K gets some stellar moments. The small movement towards the finale comes from Lauren's feelings about her impending marriage with Wyatt; however, even with the Lauren/Wyatt subplot, "Matchup Problems" stands alone. Go On landed Courtney Cox, said to hell with the other stories, and devoted a story to making her and Perry shine together for the first time in over a decade. It worked.

Other Thoughts:

-My recording cut off before the end of the episode. This is the first time I'm writing a review without seeing the complete episode. I doubt the conclusion to Yolanda's cruise trip in which Mr. K shows up to save her changes the course of the series forever. Mr. K would've gotten me to laugh, though.

-Anne decided to compete with Ryan for Talia because she 'woke up horny.' Well, then.

-Sonia's parents are deaf. Unrelated, George has had four wives and found number five, according to a text. He refers to his wives as Queen Georges. Bill Cobbs is great.

-Owen and Danny were absent this week. I like that Go On ignores them rather than explain away their absence with something stupid.

-Go On moves to Thursdays the next two weeks. Don't forget, all 6 of you still watching.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Monday, March 25, 2013

How I Met Your Mother "The Time Travelers" Review

Ted Mosby is sad, so sad that he spends a night in MacClaren's imaging his friends are with him, urging him to go to Robots vs. Wrestlers: Legends, and getting into silly fights about who gets a drink named after them at the bar. The hijinx are high and insanely irritating to the point I wanted to investigate what Wild Numbers are in mathematics instead of watch the show spin in circles like its Senor Chang in season two of Community (you know when he's like a dog chasing its tail with his school bag). "The Time Travelers" opens with Ted telling his kids where he and his wife were in the month before they met. Ted was alone. The future Mrs. Mosby was not. Bays and Thomas use the audience's familiarity with the structure of the show against them. It is the typical HIMYM episode, full of the horrible and overlong gags, and what-not. Only everything is imagined because Marshall and Lily are parents now and can't come out every night, and Robin and Barney are in the midst of wedding planning. The idea is clear: his friends are growing and changing, totally unalone, and Ted's totally the same.

The tipping point of Ted's epiphany comes when a woman he met checking his coat in and out of a bar or a club comes into the bar, seven years later. Ted wanted to talk to her seven years ago, but he did not act. The appearance of coat-check girl seems fateful, but Ted's been through the 'it's fated' thing before. We've all been there, haven't we? Someone catches your eye and you don't act and you spend time wondering 'what if?' Ted psyches himself up to talk to her, exchange numbers, and see what happens. The future selves of Barney and Ted urge him on. Future Ted and Barney are in the booth trying to get present Ted to attend Robots vs. Wrestlers: Legends. Other future selves of both characters pop-up, but that's not worth 'reviewing.' The device allows for coat check's future self to pull Ted into the booth seconds before he introduces herself. Coat-check girl wants to let Ted know that they won't work out. She'll get sick of him or he'll get sick of her. Someone will cry, and the other won't. Ted thinks it's horrible that it won't work, that they haven't even got a chance and he knows it won't work. Coat check girl reminds him dating never works out for him.

Ted gets really sad after he realizes that truth--dating never works for him. Mosby's near despair when Future Ted 20 Years From Now says he's still looking for his wife (and relieved when he learns Future Ted is married). Ted's stuck in his loneliness. Future Ted (the narrator) wishes he would've done one thing on that lonely April night after he left the bar. He wishes he went to his future wife's apartment and told her he loved her and told her about their life together they'll share when they meet in 45 days. HIMYM die-hards probably melted for Mosby's earnestness in his imagined life. I wondered what the writers will do to waste time for the next YEAR before we actually meet the mother. Folks, we aren't meeting her in the season finale.

Ted imagines the events of the episode because he has nothing to go home to, no one to communicate with, and it's better than nothing for him. The imaginations are important because they clearly frame Ted's emotional state with but a few episodes before the wedding. What he wants is far away from him. What's important to him is in his fantasies about his friend's. Lily has Marshall's back always because of her love for him. Lily storms off in Act III, but she doesn't storm, because she goes to the jukebox to play Marshall's favorite song so he can dance-off with Robin.

Of course, there's nothing new added to Ted's arc. Ted's wanted to meet his wife since the "Pilot." We knew this. "The Time Travelers" repeats the information. This time, it is more overwrought, sappy, and annoying than usual. Radnor gives it his all in the imagined meeting outside of her apartment. Bays and Thomas continue to borrow from terrible romantic comedies. HIMYM IS a fantastical show due to its sitcom roots and its zanier stories throughout its eight year run. The Act III is quite fantastical. It is actively and overtly pulling the strings of the audience, blatantly trying to get folk to cry and clutch their chest in hopes a beloved fictional character meets his beloved fictional spouse soon so he won't be so sad and be near-tears and in turn make the audience near-tears. Ted's cry for love did not move me.

Jason Segel is again the best part of a HIMYM episode. Marc Zumoff, Philadelphia 76ers play-by-play man for CSN, would say, "Segel turns garbage into gold." The imagined Robin-Barney feud is fun. Segel and Smulders dance. Segel has a blast with the material. I didn't want to read about Math Melodrama during this small sub-plot. So, that's something, isn't it?

Other Thoughts:

-Imaginary Barney thinks the Robots vs. Wrestlers event will rule. Ted’s unsure. The first act builds up the event like it’s a can’t miss when in fact legends wrestling events should be missed. The episode eventually acknowledges the depressive atmosphere of a Legends event. The characters agree alcohol is important to consume during the event. I wouldn’t consume alcohol during a Legends event. I don’t drink. Yes.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Revenge "Victory" Review

ABC's promo departments love to tease the last five minutes of their dramas. I remember ABC would promote the hell out of the last five minutes of LOST during its peak. The promo voice would say, "And don't miss the final five life-changing and series-defining minutes of next week's LOST." The last five minutes would be really cool because LOST is the best series of all-time, but those heavily promoted final five minutes would hardly be life-changing or series-defining (well, except for the ending when Naomi lands on the Island, which indeed changed the course of the series forever). On Once Upon A Time, Henry would eat bad strudel in the last five minutes, and I'd want to forget I ever watched the show in the first place. ABC hasn't promoted the last five minutes of Revenge until last week's episode. I should've known better than to expect an unexpected ending. ABC promised an 'unexpected' ending. The ending has been used in many soap operas, daytime and nighttime, and I had the added thrill of finding out ABC will air a brand new episode on Easter Sunday.

I'll give ABC credit where it is due because I looked forward to the final five minutes of "Victory." I was expectant of something other than the typical faux-surprise Revenge ending that I'd seen coming. The ending is the typical faux-surprise Revenge ending, but I didn't see it coming. I'll give Mike Kelly and the ABC promos department credit. Truthfully, I don't spend my days speculating about Revenge, because I never think about Revenge other than for the 2-2.5 hours I spend on Sunday nights watching and reviewing what I watched. The revelation's going to change things up, but I'm doubtful the story moves beyond the brick wall it has been slamming into since the premiere. So Victoria has another son? Who cares? Emily smiles because she'll use the information to get at the Graysons.

Revenge can be inconsistent with Emily. Late last season the show dwelled on Emily feeling too much for people to get anything done revenge-wise. Emily went back to her roots in the early part of the season, but her feelings get in the way of her plan. I've gone over the problem of the essence of Emily's character in past reviews. Emily cannot be cold because the audience won't identify with the heroine, and if the audience doesn't identify with the heroine of a story, the story is dead in the water. Emily would not only alienate characters in the show but also the audience watching from home. It has been well-established her feelings for others get in the way of the basic tasks for Revenge. Eli James is a character we've seen before only he's dressed differently and has a different back story. Otherwise, he's the character Emily used to care about and won't hurt because of their past.

The best development of the episode is the revelation about Emily's past. Emily chose the path she's currently on after five years in juvenile detention, after years of thinking her father hated her and was simply a monstrous terrorists, and a knowledge that she burned down her foster home and left her best friend, Eli, alone and an orphan. David loved her, though. Eli set the fire and blamed Emily. Emily thinks her life could've been different had she gotten the letters from her father and had she known she didn't ruin Eli. Eli gets by because Emily thought she hurt him, but he played her. Eli leaves but not until making some amends with Emily, which he does by telling her Mason has her father's old letters, among them a revealing letter about another child with Victoria. Eli, at least, genuinely wanted to make it up to Emily for what he did. The duo also got revenge on their horribly cruel foster mother. At least Emily got to cross off another name from her list of enemies. Something was accomplished.

Other things were accomplished tonight actually. It's not fair to write that the rest of the episode was a waste. Jack learned about Conrad putting the hit on Fake Amanda and himself from Kenny Ryan, and then he joined Conrad's campaign upon learning the truth. Jack can't trust the police or anyone else in The Hamptons, so he'll trust himself. Nolan and Aiden failed to protect Padma during the exchange of Carrion for her father. The Initiative took the 'unimaginably dangerous' program as well as Padma. Nolan was crushed, and Aiden frustrated. Emily felt guilty, though her presence wouldn't have made a difference. The Initiative's no longer a shadowy organization with vague plans. They're in possession of powerful software that could cause damage, and they've hired Falcon, Nolan's hacker superior. The Initiative arc has been a drag but "Victory" gave the arc needed definition.

As a whole, the characters deal with damage control in "Victory." Victoria and Conrad plan in case Daniel wants to spill his secrets to Emily. Victoria sends him a picture of the two along with two bullets to scare him. Victoria's the same character who had her son beat up in season two. Aiden planned to kill Trask after the exchange but he was unaware The Initiative would plan for that, so Nolan needs to crack their code and hope to hell he's able to save Padma before she's killed, as well as stop Carrion from being used before its used. Emily's overt narration about victory uses the art of war philosophy to contextualize the use of victory. A person, an army, need not fear the enemy if the enemy is known. Victories are followed by defeats. Characters triumph and then fall in "Victory." The true victor should be Emily in the end. She knows all, and everyone else knows nothing. Above all, she knows herself now, completely and totally. She need not fear anymore.

Other Thoughts:

-Revenge received criticism for its depiction of foster homes in the past. The foster mother is singled out, is an exception, so I wonder whether or not Revenge will receive the same criticism about their depiction of foster homes. The foster home story had elements of Matilda. I started thinking about an alternate Revenge wherein Emily has Matilda abilities.

-Emily Vancamp's hair is not the color of pound cake anymore. Her hair is back to its natural brown. Very good.

-Game Of Thrones returns next Sunday. I won't post Revenge reviews until Monday afternoons, because Game Of Thrones is better.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Vikings "Trial" Review

"Do the gods exist?" Haraldson asks the oracle near the end of the episode. The oracle sees difficulties head for the chieftain. Ragnar Lothbrook is coming for him in the visions. Haraldson remarks that the gods treated him well in his life. The oracle, with his black ink lips and shriveled face smiles unworldly at him as if he's in touch with the darkness, the truth, that things are imagined. The oracle smiles unworldly at him because the gods haven't treat Haraldson well, though Haraldson thinks otherwise until he's reminded of the loss of his two sons. So much of the Vikings lifestyle is predicated on the idea of gods intervening in their lives on their behalf, for good. If something bad happens, it is because of the god of mischief Loki. Haraldson's question is terrible for him to ask.

Ragnar sits atop a hill, covered in a blanket, staring into the distance. Athelstan theorizes he's preparing for a task. Ragnar's preparing to kill the earl. The oracle sees Ragnar's intent in the signs. The final minutes of the episode recalled to mind Ragnar's line to Athelstan about God. Athelstan thanks Him for his life. Ragnar smiles and reminds him that God did not save his life. King Aelle, his soldiers, and the English people thought they were protected by the Lord but nothing could stop the Vikings from taking expensive things and slaughtering the army as Aelle's men tried to protect their land. Athelstan has a moment of despair in the Lothbrok home. During the night, he finds his Bible and holds it in his hands while he whispers a prayer to the Lord, asking for some sign he has not been abandoned. Athelstan wonders why God would let his brothers be murdered, wonders why he's in the North, and wonders whether or not what's happened is part of God's plan for him. He seeks comfort and assurance, and the purpose he possessed in the monastery. Neither man finds the assurance he wants.

The religious element of Vikings has been written excellently so far. The exploration of God and gods and how people are united and divided by it, as well as how people need their God and gods to give their life purpose just as its always been and always will be, is a striking theme in what's been a consistently thoughtful series. Ragnar compliments Athelstan's Christianity in a scene after his return home. It's notable that Ragnar doesn't slaughter the church. Athelstan's influence on him changed his approach, seemingly. Ragnar instructed the priest and congregants not to resist. The men take what they want without resistance, and no one gets hurt (except for the priest who protested the removal of the crucifix). Christian iconography is meaningless to the Vikings. Floki drinks from the blood of Christ and spits it out. The Christians are aghast. Theft of the crucifix is a step too far, and the priest dies for his faith and in defense of it (literally).

Ragnar's honorable and noble. He honors Athelstan's faith, and he honors his wife. Kunut tries to rape Lagertha, but she kills him before he's able to--he'd already raped a Saxon woman. Ragnar assumes responsibility for the murder to protect his wife. Haraldson uses Rollo to convict Ragnar. Vikings moves fast, so Ragnar's put to trial and set free in one scene. This is the opposite of present day court proceedings. Rollo's role as the witness is well written because it plays on the audience's expectations and subverts them--the most basic and effective writing tool. I thought Rollo would betray his brother. Rollo stands up for him, though he tells Lagertha he stood up for him for her. Haraldson promised him power. Rollo chose differently. There is more to the character after all.

Besides the narrative and the thematics, "Trial" is really good because of its action pieces. Vikings didn't premiere with big battle fireworks. "Trial" has the first significant battle of the series. King Aelle sends his men to kill the Vikings when they return to their ship. The Vikings are well-organized, and they overwhelm the English soldiers. One of the commanders reports back to Aelle that the men speak a strange tongue and that the lone name he heard and understood was Ragnar. The Vikings win the battle, but they lose a man in combat. Ragnar intends to avenge the fallen man's death, which means they will return to the shores of Aelle's kingdom. The war abroad is but one war. Haraldson sends men to kill Ragnar's men--that's why the oracle sees bad things in the signs for Haraldson.

I'm consistently impressed with Vikings each week. Johan Renck's direction is top-notch. The battle scene was terrific. Michael Hirst has crafted a brooding, meditative, yet visceral and intense world. Vikings has weaknesses. The pacing is sometimes too quick. Rollo didn't get decent characterization until tonight. Kunut's turn as violent rapist seemed inconsistent with his behavior in "Wrath of Northmen." Overall, though, Vikings continues to be a surprising treat. The quality goes up with each episode. Its building to something great.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grimm "The Sandman" Review

Last week's episode introduced a new piece of Grimm mythology through its story about the Wesen robbers. "The Sandman" introduces a new piece of Nick's skill-set. Nick has to endure momentary hell to his eyesight to get the new skill. A buggy Wesen feeds off tears. The buggy Wesen goes to various local grief therapy sessions to prey on vulnerable women who cry alot after suffering a tragedy. The Wesen blinds two girls, and one of the two dies. Nick and Hank investigate. "The Sandman" doesn't take long to begin its case-of-the-week. One element of procedurals I like is the random episode when the teaser drops in on new characters and their situations before the crime is committed. Grimm, though, takes its time getting the point, as it were. "The Sandman" continues the trend. The purpose of the buggy Wesen and his blood worms he plants in the eye of his victim doesn't make sense until the final scene of the episode. Sure, the audience knows he needs tears; but tears, really?

Season 1 of Grimm didn't do much in the way of developing Nick into a fighter. One of the episodes had a few scenes of Nick training so that by the end he was a stone-cold fighter. The Grimm doesn't inherit supernatural fighting skills like Joss Whedon's Slayer did. Grimms learn to fight and learn to kill specific kinds of creatures. Since the training episode, Nick's kicked a steady string of ass without training scenes. One assumes Nick trains off-screen, between cases. "The Sandman" adds a rather convenient skill-set for Nick. The bug Wesen transfers a bug's senses to its victim. Nick's temporarily blinded by the villain of the week during a fight. Slowly, his senses change. He hears sounds he shouldn't, like Rosalee talking about him in the other room in a quiet and secretive tone. Later, he hears the sound of the suspect's car as he enters, drives off, stops driving, and exits the vehicle. Previous research provided helpful information. Without his eyes, though, he's still a threat to the creatures. Grimm doesn't touch on the idea of coincidence versus fate, so it doesn't seem like Nick's temporarily blindness was part of a Grimm's journey. So, what he gains is coincidental, but a rare benefit to a terrible pain, and really cool.

Kafka's "Metamorphosis" came to my mind during "The Sandman." The initial concept of the case is dark and uncomfortable. Andre, the buggy Wesen, doesn't sexually assault his victims, but he preys on their vulnerabilities. Andre's initial abuse, before the painful blindness thing, is cruel. Molly, his first victim, is sad about her recently deceased brother in the teaser. Andre understands and offers to drive her home. Molly wants to talk. They talk at her place, but she's crying and she's angry she's been taken back to her place of deep sadness and grief. Molly wants to stop crying. Andre pounces once she speaks those words. Pain begets more pain. In both instances, Molly is the victim. Molly's the victim of a drunk driver who took her brother's life when he took the wheel of his car, and she's a victim of a man who preys on her grief to feed. Andre does the same thing later, but his second victim doesn't die. The victim's sister comes home to save her, but she doesn't save her sister's eyes. Buggy Wesen (it is LATE and I don't remember the name....hell, I'm surprised I'm even awake writing this) return to the family to finish the job, as it were. Andre attacks his second victim's sister, but he fails. By then, Nick and Hank are well on him, as are Rosalee and Monroe. Nick's nifty abilities/skills get better by the second.

The Buggy Wesen's eventually tracked down, cornered and killed but by the second victim's sister. His killing's quite visceral for Grimm, but this story deals with more than simple 'villain needs tears.' Andre's deserving of his fate. "The Sandman" mostly tells the sandman story; however, the teaser of the episode has a second scene in which Nick, Hank, Rosalee and Monroe, eat breakfast and talk about Renard, and in which they unearth the theory that he's basically the bastard of the Royals. The Royals are rarely seen and mostly heard about, and what the characters and the audience hear about is the power of the family. The writers wouldn't give Nick the bug ability if it wouldn't come in handy with the Royals. Adalind has a small scene in Austria in which she tells an older woman about her pregnancy.

Renard has a bizarre dream about Juliette which shows he's dealing with the effects of their potion just as Juliette seemingly is. Juliette takes her problem to Rosalee. Juliette's problem seems less to do with the potion and more to do with her memories. The ghost in her house isn't a ghost but perhaps a memory of Nick the one he time he held a light and walked toward her. The apparition of Nick disappeared before Juliette made sense of what she saw. Renard's dream turns dream Juliette into a sort of molten rock. There are more questions than answers, though.

"The Sandman" is a solid episode of the show. Grimm's really good at showing the dark side of a fairy tale. Grimm doesn't usually follow its epigraph, but their stories tend to deal with the darker side of things, which is way more appealing than the crap Once Upon A Time is putting out weekly. The case-of-the-week goes to a dark place, but "The Sandman" is notable for adding another thing to Nick's arsenal. Grimm's been adding to its mythology and its personal Grimm. That's a good thing.

Other Thoughts:

-Happy Saturday morning. I started the review at 1AM, went to sleep, woke up, and finished before 9AM. I'm sure anyone reading now feels that their weekend can officially begin.

-Andre was South African and complimented anyone who didn't mistake his accent for Australian. I'm now worried I'll mistake a South African accent for an Australian.

-Alan DiFore wrote the episode. Norberto Barba directed it.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Vampire Diaries "Because the Night" Review

The switch, like the Krusty the Clown doll in “Treehouse of Horror III,” is sort of confusing. The difference between one whose switch is on and one's whose switch is off is a matter of emotions. When the switch is off, the vampire doesn't feel. TVD seems to use the switch to untangle a difficult knot. Elena's going to do something terrible, but her 'out' will be the switch. Damon delivers a monologue to her about the consequences of living without the switch on. "Because the Night" provides a motive for why Damon killed Lexi in season one. She tried to help him, and he tried to kill her for it. His humanity came back along with a rush of memories. Whenever he saw Lexi he remembered the crimes he committed, and he hated himself. Damon doesn't want that kind of baggage on Elena when she turns her switch back on.

"Because the Night" deals with issues of culpability and responsibility in a supernatural's life, specifically his or her actions. My problem with 'the switch' is mainly that it suggests not feeling is the same as a lack of choice. Damon turned off the switch in the 1970s because he wanted to--it was his choice. Elena wanted to stop feeling, knowing what would follow, and it's an active choice of the character. Stefan's lack of humanity in season three was forced upon him. He was a victim of Klaus. The switch is way to let fans still care about their favorite characters after they've made scores of innocent people their victims. Damon and Elena made/make active choices to do bad things even though they can't feel the weight of their choices.

TVD deals with death a lot in their episodes. "Because the Night" is full of death. A man Damon kills in the teaser mistakes him for the Son of Sam killer in NYC during the summer of '77; Caroline completes Silas' triangle by killing 12 witches to save Bonnie's life; there's a threat of Elena committing a murder. Different murders have different consequences. While Damon outlines the perils of living without emotions, Caroline's letting Klaus know how awful she thinks he is for the awful things he did. Caroline wonders how he could murder 12 of his own witches. Klaus tells her not to judge for she may yet fall for the darkness within him as well as the darkness within her. Silas convinces Bonnie to massacre 12 witches. The witches will want to limit her expression. Caroline, Stefan, and Klaus, try to find the spot of the massacre before it's too late. Klaus goes along with the plan because he's not interested in his old enemies returning to life after Silas breaks down the wall

Caroline kills the 12 witches to save Bonnie's life. Asia, the witch of the week, wants to kill her upon learning Silas brainwashed her. Caroline wouldn't let her friend die, so she killed Asia, who was connected with eleven other witches, and the eleven other witches fell to their deaths. TVD's been similar to the final seasons of Joss Whedon's ANGEL and Buffy with its similarities to The First and the plot of "A Hole in the World." TVD's characters don't make the tough choices. Angel made the tough choices. The effect of Caroline's choice is romantic. Caroline's upset because she killed twelve people, but she seems more wounded by Klaus' rejection of her in her moment of need. Klaus, who IS similar to Dawson Leery, instructs her to find someone dark enough to understand and comfort her. Somehow, a massacre is still about whether or not a boy likes a girl or a girl likes a boy. Ah, The Vampire Diaries.

Bonnie's absolved of the massacre. Stefan's with her when she wakes up in bed, forgetful of everything since her and Jeremy were in the well on the island. She doesn't know what's happened. Silas had her brainwashed. TVD removed the similarities between Silas and The First by having Silas reveal that he is Silas-as-Shane and that Shane is dead. Meanwhile, Elena and Rebekah teamed up to find the cure before Damon. Damon's get his neck snapped and wakes up to find out his girls are on the way to meet Katherine. Stefan doesn't chew his brother out for the mistake because he basically helped complete the massacre triangle.

"Because the Night" doesn't come to a conclusion about its various character and their sometimes murderous choices. Earlier in the season, in "Memorial," Stefan thinks he isn't different from Klaus. In fact, none of his friends are. They've all done bad things. Stefan's realization was a highlight of the series, but it seems to have been forgotten. TVD's never going to vilify their heroes regardless of how horrible their choices are. The story needs its good folk and bad folk. One's bloody past does not define a character. One's always able to reform and redeem. So, yes, the show sends mixed messages about a character's agency whenever that character is turned off, and it sends mixed messages about a character's agency whenever they're turned on. The heroes save the people who matter to them rather than sacrifice a life to save hundreds or thousands. The consequences usually are minimal and quite often forgotten by the next episode. That's one of the aspects of TVD I dislike.

Other Thoughts:

-There won't be a fun prom episode nor graduation episode this season, will there? There are five episodes left, including the backdoor pilot for The Originals, which leaves just three episodes prom, graduation, and no, that's not going to happen. Oh well, I'll have to wait for the fifth season for a fun prom episode. The high school characters don't go to school. Perhaps the high school setting will be dropped under the pretense they weren't able to attend prom or graduation because of days missed plus detentions missed.

-Nina Dobrev had a new hair style. She looked lovely. Dobrev's streak of red in hair is going to inspire a wave of pre-teen and teenage girls to get their hair colored in one spot. I know it will. I love the idea that Elena's without her humanity and that she shows it off by having a streak of red in her hair.

-TVD should never set any story in a punk rock club. Punk rock crowds in the 1970s didn't jump and down. Punk rock crowds were insane. Modern punk crowds are insane. Anyone watching a band play in TVD jumps and down like they are at a Super Bowl halftime show. Punk crowds are too intense for The CW's demographic. So, yeah, the punk rock element of "Because the Night" was horrible.

-I didn't write down the names of the credited writers and director. My apologies. I feel bad when I don't mention the credited write(s) and director.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Arrow "The Huntress Returns" Review

I've been watching Batman Beyond on Hub since January. I never read comics growing up, so I missed the thrill of an old villain returning to cause chaos for the superhero. Villains don't return in superhero movies. Batman, Spiderman, Daredevil, Superman, et al, defeat the villain, never to see him again, and only deal with a new threat to the town. I like the recurrence of villains in superhero shows. I like the depth the villains have with each appearance, e.g. the Royal Flush Gang in their third and final (I presume) appearance. Arrow's bringing back old foes of Oliver. Floyd Laughton came back with a nifty new eye which made him a deadlier sniper. The Huntress, Ms. Helena, returns to finish what she started in her first two appearances. Helena's return isn't that great, though.

Helena had a palpable sadness in her first two episodes, but Helena's just pissed off and looking for revenge in "The Huntress Returns". She's like Revenge's Emily Thorne if Emily Thorne stopped wasting time and actually took revenge on the people who destroyed her father's life. Oliver taught her to use leverage to accomplish what she wants to. Unfortunately for Oliver, she threatens his family--using those threats as leverage incidentally--to get Oliver to help her kill her own father. Frank Bertinelli's serving consecutive life sentences, but his testimony in an upcoming case will place him in witness protection, which will allow him a fresh start. Helena tells Oliver that her father doesn't deserve a fresh start after what he did to her fiance. Oliver doesn't want Helena to become a murderer. He wants to save her humanity.

Helena doesn't care about her humanity. The idea of her father living his second chance is repugnant to her. Helena murders many officers, finishes off a mob, and goes after Tommy and Felicity. She even shoots McKenna, which leads to McKenna abruptly leaving Starling City for rehab. Helena is a tempest. Oliver's completely powerless against her. She's learned to defend herself against him, even catching an arrow heading her way before it strikes and kills her. Helena's still wounded by Oliver's intent. Oliver tried to kill her to stop her from spilling more blood. Recurring villains/foes/whatever always escape or else they wouldn't recur. Helena disappears without a trace, and Oliver's left with the destruction Helena the tempest left behind.

"The Huntress Returns" is a frustrating episode, though. The plotting's too convenient. Helena returns to Starling City just in time for the night club opening because of course she does. Oliver hits a point of no return with McKenna. He's ready to commit, but his former flame takes McKenna out of his life. I get how stories work and how writers plot and break an episode. Foes come in at the worst possible time. I don't know why "The Huntress Returns" rubs me the wrong way without citing scenes, plot choices, etc., that could easily be argued against by a commenter. Jessica De Guow is fine in the role (I adore her airy accent). Helena showed her violent side in her first appearance. I don't know what else to write about the frustrating story other arguing that its too convenient in its plotting.

One other aspect of the story that didn't work: Arrow used the 'Will Oliver be revealed?' element of suspense already. Helena's in custody. McKenna asks for the identity of The Hood. Helena says, "Oliver Queen." However, Helena quickly uses Oliver to get to the detectives, which is a trick right out of TV Investigation Room Tropes 101. The threat of exposure for Oliver should be an important part of the series. Of his foes, Helena's one who should expose him. She doesn't owe him, he's trying to stop her, and she pretty much despises him. Oliver can't be exposed, though. Tommy doesn't tell Laurel about Oliver-as-The-Hood either, which makes more sense but Tommy doesn't have a good reason not to tell Laurel. Again, it's understandable given the purpose of the show; but, nonetheless, it is frustrating.

Meanwhile, what the hell was that Thea story all about? Willa Holland's had nothing to work with for the entire season. First, she liked drugs and being mean to her brother and her mother. Now, she likes a guy who stole her purse. The guy got off because he lied about having a poor family, which moved Thea. Roy, the guy, admitted his lie, which only attracted Thea more to him. Thea helped him land a job at the nightclub, but he didn't show. Thea goes to his house, which is in a neighborhood, and gets treated badly. Roy soon saves her life and gets stabbed, so she takes him to hospital and kisses him when he's getting a shot. What the hell? I get Roy's important because the writers gave him a name and a romance with Thea. Plus, he climbs walls and does flips while beating up folk. Roy and The Hood are going to cross paths, aren't they?

The recurrence of The Huntress was a fun idea but the execution was lacking. I look forward to her return in season two. The episode was unsatisfactory with few good scenes. Arrow's had it together for the entire season so far. It is rare for the show to 'miss.' Miss it did, though.

Other Thoughts:

-On the island, Oliver and Wilson hatched a plan to get off the island. Oliver continues to grow as a fighter and strategist. Wilson followed Oliver's plan without any objections or interjections. Also, Manu Bennett was promoted to series regular. Bennett is really good as Slade Wilson.

-Laurel and her parents will try to find their missing daughter. So, there's that.

-Dig's keeping track of Deadshot. Deadshot’s last activity was the assassination of a king. Dig doesn't tell Oliver--it's very much his own mission.

-If Willa Holland worked to get me a job and came to my house to make sure I went to the job, I’d want to marry her. Roy insults her using the word ‘bitch’ and dismisses her kindness because she’s a rich girl. I can’t even get a girl to return my ANGEL season one dvd set to me.

-Jake Coburn & Lana Cho wrote the episode. Guy Bee directed it.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Go On "Go for the Gold Watch" Review

The gold watch in the title refers to the watch the host of Los Angeles' gets whenever his or her radio show becomes the number one show in the area. The symbolism of the gold watch is obvious. The clock is ticking on the new number one show falling in the ratings, so the host must cherish the time the show is number one in Los Angeles. Ryan's waited for the day his show became number one. Such an accomplishment would usher in a new happy era for the recently widowed man. He is the toast of the town. Restaurants stop to celebrate his achievement. The gold watch never leaves his pocket. Rich Eisen's taken down a half a peg. Ryan should feel happier than he's ever been since he lost Janie, right? Ryan should feel good, right?

Ryan doesn't, though, and he think his unhappiness is a problem. Like many, many humans on planet Earth, Ryan thinks something external will change something internal. One may think a new amazing job will change everything. While the job may be amazing, the job hasn't totally transformed the life of the person who thought it would transform his or her life. Lauren gives Ryan advice that'll be given three hundred years from now because people still will forget that happiness comes from within and not from without. Ryan devotes his time to helping others since Lauren told him helping others is the path to happiness. Danny likes Sonia, and Ryan decides to help Danny and Sonia connect romantically, confident he'll feel happy doing so.

Ryan does not feel happy putting the two together. Ryan accomplishes one thing: inadvertently hurting Danny and Sonia, separately. Danny's an odd character who hasn't flirted with a girl since sixth grade, so of course he treats Sonia like a sixth grader would treat his or her crush. Sonia's weird, too, and likes the treatment. Ryan and Steven, though, think what constitutes normal flirtations between adults. Danny's ways are not in vogue for adults. Ryan winds up hurting the cause more than helping it, but it's not all his fault (though the episode pins it on him). Danny's lack of confidence stops him from truly 'going for it.' Sonia's self-sabotage leads to a woman cheering him up on Ryan's urging, and Sonia feels sad when she realizes she missed her shot. Ryan just feels lousy.

The lesson is that happiness cannot be manufactured, or forced, whether it's for you or your friends. There's always a bit about the uselessness of tradition. Ryan has the traditional gold watch for the entire episode. Instead of pass it on to the next number one radio host in Los Angeles, he breaks it. Sonia's worried she'll never find someone to be happy with and Ryan won't let her get down in her worries, insecurities, and unhappiness. The broken watch stops time so that Sonia always remembers the very second she decided to devote her life to improving herself and finding happiness. Ryan's genuine, thoughtful, and completely honest, which is the opposite of his behavior throughout the earlier Danny/Sonia coaching. Ryan's the lead in a sitcom. Don't expect him to remember what he did to help someone feel better.

The absolute highlight of the episode involves Mr. K. The strongest parts of the last few Go On episodes have involved Mr. K. Anne wants to figure out the mystery of Mr. K. Owen does, too; even Yolanda, as well. Brett Gelman's awesome as Mr. K. Tonight we learned Mr. K developed a popular love algorithm for a dating site, in addition to his NASA duties. Anne wants to know why he's even in the group. Anne, Owen and Yolanda, learn about Mr. K's brief role in Mr. Belvedere; however, that part of his life is but a piece of the Mr. K puzzle. I laugh multiple times during Mr. K stories. I never laugh during Matthew Perry's stories. Ryan's best stories involve his grief, but funny Ryan is never funny. Brett Gelman's stealing the show. Matthew Perry never delivers lines in the way Mr. K delivered his line about facebook posts and sexting.

The love algorithm creates a wider wedge between Lauren and Wyatt. Wyatt makes his first appearance since a holiday episode, if I recall correctly. Mr. K gives Lauren and Wyatt a 23 compatibility rating. Lauren and Steven have a 99. Their chemistry is ridiculously good, especially during their duet. John Cho has great chemistry with plastic fruit, though. I'd like to see Go On try out a Lauren/Steven pairing if NBC renews it for a second season. Their little thing is another instance of what good can happen when people just go with the flow instead of fretting over how to be with someone who's not working out, or just how to be, societal pressures be damned.

Other Thoughts:

-Terrell Owens returned as Ryan's assistant. Owens is a fun presence on Go On. I missed Carrie, but Owens brings energy and excitement to his part.

-Lauren doesn't eat red meat. Wyatt forbids it. She craves meatballs all the time. Ryan handed her his steak during his crisis moment in a restroom. Before she digs in, the steak falls into the toilet. Wouldn't a large steak clog up the toilet?

-Next week's episode of Go On will be its last on Tuesdays this season. The final two episodes will air on April 4 & 11 on Thursdays at 9:30PM. The April 11th episode is the season finale.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

The Bates Motel "First You Dream, Then You Die" Review

I first heard Norman Bates' iconic "We all go a little mad sometimes" in Kevin Williamson's 1996 genre-busting slasher film, Scream. Billy Loomis quotes Hitchcock's deranged hotel owner after he shot Randy in front of Sidney Prescott, this revealing himself as the killer, as Ghostface who's terrorized Sidney's life over a couple of days. The Bates Motel, A&E's new drama, is about Norman's life prior to the murder of Marion Crane; specifically, the series explores what happened in his young life that made him go 'a little mad.' Billy quotes Norman out of admiration. Sidney asks her psychotic boyfriend why he murdered her friends, terrorized the town and terrorized her, and why he killed her mother. Billy laughs for a second with his buddy and partner, Stu Macher, while he yells, "Why?!?" at her. Billy laughs because the 'why' doesn't matter. Life is scarier without the motive, Billy informs Sidney. Of course, Billy immediately provides his motive for murdering Sidney's mother. And The Bates Motel is going to give Norman Bates his motive.

Psycho's iconic scene is the murder of Marion Crane. The murder defines the movie and transforms it from what seems to be a typical Hitchcockian thriller into a unique and defining film. The series opens with a death--Norman's father's death. Another death occurs later in the series. It feels fitting that Norman's life, from his teenage years, has been marked and affected by death. It informs the character. Norman almost kicks the door down calling for help from his mother. The two walk into the garage where Norman's father lies, and Norman sobs in his mother's arms, just crushed by it.

Prequels are strange, creative things. When they work, folk are happy; when they don't, folk get real, real mad. The audience knows what's to come in Norman's life. The trick of prequels lies in telling the story of the journey to that moment, whether it is Anakin becoming Darth Vader, Clark Kent becoming Superman (on Smallville), or Norman and Marion crossing paths in the ol' Bates Motel. The writers need to make the journey worth it, which is tough to do. Carlton Cuse, executive producer of The Bates Motel, has experience in journey storytelling. Cuse ran LOST with Damon Lindelof for nearly six seasons. The end was not the be-all-and-end-all of LOST; it was the journey getting there that really mattered, as Christian tells Jack in the church. The audience is aware of Norman's mother issues, about his taxidermy habit, and about the hotel. How dysfunctional is the relationship between mother and son? What causes him to dress like her and talk like her? Their relationship will inform the character. I bet it's a thrill for the writers to unpack that relationship because there is so much to unpack.

Norma's dangerously overprotective of her Norman. Some girls from school befriend Norman and invite him out one evening, of which one is a pretty girl named Bradley whose influence, impact, and affect, on Norman should be quite momentous indeed. Norma refuses to let her son out. She needs him more than they need him. She ruins a chance for Norman to adapt, to help him normal and included. Norma's strange and off in a peculiar way, like how she doesn't seem surprised at all by the death of her husband, or by the pool of blood collecting underneath his head. Norma's in the bathroom, literally covering up when she opens the door to see what Norman's yelling about, almost expectant of what Norman rushed to tell her. In fact, her expression is a both expectant and dreadful. One could seemingly unravel her by her expressions and body language in the first scene. Norma reminds her son that people suck and will let them down in their lives--they've only got each other to rely on; in fact, Norman's the only one she can rely on. Norma smothers her son. Norman wants to sign up for track; she makes him feel like shit for wanting to get involved. Some girls want to hang out with him, and she shoots them down hard. Norman's bound to her. The poor kid recites a line he read in Jane Eyre to show her his love and loyalty--a quite romantic line--and it is clear the poor kid never stood a chance.

The Bates Motel represents a fresh start for the family. It's just Norma and Norman, and another son Norma seems to hate. The past that she ran from isn't quite clear, though some kind of abuse is suggested by Vera Farmiga's performance. Six months after the death of Norman's father, they move to a Pacific Northwest town where Norma will run a motel. Norman's unsettled because he's never been settled. He is a nomad, a wanderer; he follows, he obeys. What does a fresh start even mean for them? Norman pages through a book he found in the room. The book has illustrations of a girl chained in a basement. The disgruntled former owner of the motel stops by the motel to insult the family, scare them, and warn them about the secrets buried in the house that only he knows about. So, this series will have deep, dark secrets that no one talks about. Norman's sort of like a Greek character in a way, seemingly cursed by the gods, and goddamn hopeless.

Anthony Perkins played Norman Bates gently. His performance was never monstrous but more broken. Freddie Highmore is not quite broken or monstrous, but he's restrained and bothered, trapped and burdened, like he's on verge of a panic attack in every waking moment. The times when Norman doesn't seem bothered, trapped and burdened are the times he's around Bradley. He loosens up when she sits on his lap and flirts with him, and when he's with her at the party. Bradley's a female much, much different from the woman waiting at home to guilt him out when he comes home. His scenes with Bradley seem crucial because they are rare bits of happiness for him. The audience is invited to sympathize and empathize with him. Norman's eager to break free for one night that he sneaks out. Of course, when he does, something bad happens that alters his life for, seemingly, ever; an incident that's hard to bounce back from, mentally speaking. Norman's never had a choice of his own to make as he makes clear on the ride to their new home, but his moment is undercut when he undercuts himself. He's more Norma than Norman, and that's a problem.

The Bates Motel is quite thoughtful. Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin, and Anthony Cipriano are more interested in showing the audience what happened to Norman that made him into a murder. This is a series unlike the other serial killer shows on the air. The episode's not a typical pilot. It's not clear what weekly episodic installments will look like. I'm not sure how the teen stuff with get on with the dominant tone of the series, which is peculiar, weird, and moody. The incident, as it were, will hang over other episodes. Norman's probably going to have more weird moments with his mother undressing in front of him. This show's definitely not going to be normal. There are a lot of binaries which is just perfect for a series about young Norman Bates.

Other Thoughts:

-I read a few reviews this morning and was disheartened to see all three reviewers took away the surprise of the first act. Since I'm running this after the episode airs now, I loved the shock of the modern day setting. I'm disappointed for people who turned in after reading a review that told them about the modern day setting. I mean, it's not a major thing, but it's a small, fun thing.

-Tucker Gates directed this episode! Mr. Gates is one of my favorite TV directors, going way back to ANGEL's "Hero" in 1999. His work on LOST was tremendous.

-The lighting in the kitchen during the party, when Norman and Bradley talk, was really cool.

-Nestor Carbonell portrays the sheriff. It's good to see Nestor free from The CW.

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How I Met Your Mother "The Fortress" Review

I guess "The Fortress" is Bays and Thomas' attempt to reconcile Barney's past with his present and pending nuptials, with Robin. Robin wants Barney to sell the apartment because it is ridden with disease, full of weird traps, scales, and rooms that project one's head into the living room so it's like the fortress of solitude in Superman. Barney's a difficult character to 'neuter' or whatever word you'd like to use. For years, he was the sidekick with the catchphrases and a funny playbook. I assume Neil Patrick Harris, or the show runners, or both, wanted Barney to feel emotions and have significant arcs. Robin began the transformation of Barney way back in season five (actually it's when they hooked up for the first time). Barney then met his father and resolved internal issues.

I think Bays and Thomas can't let go of the Barney who uses women with playbooks and kills them by trapping them in his walls when he's done with them. They love silly ol' misogynistic Barney too much to let him go. Why else would the playbook burn but not really burn on then to actually burn after they got one last piece of crap play out of it? "The Fortress" uses the same concept as the playbook nonsense. The apartment represents Barney's single days, when he met women, had sex with them, threw them away, and never thought about them again. Since Barney is a sociopath, he misses the memories and cannot bear the thought of never being in the apartment. Robin's grossed out by its history and wants to forget about that part of Barney. Robin is reasonable, kind, and level-headed with Barney. She explains what she wants and why. Barney nods and must hear the sound of his own voice in his head because he ignores Robin's reasonable requests by sabotaging potential buyers of the apartment.

The structure is the structure of HIMYM and won't change, so, yeah, the second act is basically unwatchable. I'm serious. Robin tries to sell the apartment. Barney tells stories of his sexual exploits in the apartment. I never regretted blogging about television before the second act of "The Fortress." The second act is the act for silliness and gags before the writers bring the emotion in for the third act. Seriously, why would Robin stay with Barney? He's an ass, and a total piece of shit. Of course, Robin decides to KEEP the apartment because she hates the idea of the new owners tearing the place apart to make it their own. No series currently running makes me want to put my head through a wall quite like How I Met Your Mother. The ruination of the Robin represents a part of Barney being ruined, and she can't handle it. I don't buy Robin's turnaround nor her accepting him in his gross and sociopathic ways (as she puts it). It's cheap. Bays and Thomas are telling the audience to get over their issues with the coupling, even though Barney's been an ass ever since the engagement, and especially since Robin's a walking contradiction. Their engagement remains a major problem.

Meanwhile, Marshall's sad because Lily's busy buying art for The Captain. Marshall's been waiting for Lily to watch their new favorite show (which is a parody of Downton Abbey, and Community's parody of Downton Abbey was better and actually funny). The theme of "The Fortress" is compromise and support or some such marital thing I'm sure I'm missing because I'm single and so totally far from marriage. Marshall should support Lily, but Lily should make time for her husband. The Robin/Barney story tries the same resolution but remarkably fails.

Ted re-learns a lesson he always forgets, which is that he'd like a relationship like the ones his friends enjoy. There's a sub-sub-plot in which Marshall and Ted are married and fathers because Marshall's mad. For whatever reason, Ted decides to throw logs into the fire instead of broker peace between the couple because HIMYM is a sitcom and inconsistent character stuff like this happens on sitcoms.

I didn't dislike the whole episode. Josh Radnor's English persona was enjoyable, especially his invented name. Jason Segal is great when his character's feelings are hurt. Okay, those were the only parts of "The Fortress" I liked. I didn't like The Captain stuff. The Captain calls Lily constantly from the same room to tell her about what's happening across the five boroughs. Who's relaying the information to him? Why would someone agree to find art only to alert The Captain who, in turn, tells someone who will get money from it? It didn't make sense.

Much of How I Met Your Mother doesn't make sense anymore.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Revenge "Illumination" Review

As Daniel Grayson reacted badly to Conrad's honesty about the true purpose of the Amanda Clarke Foundation, I imagined different scenes in which Daniel's surprised by things that shouldn't surprise him. Every episode seems to include a scene in which Victoria and Conrad cause their son dismay because he hasn't learned their deceitful scumbags without a conscience. The latest instance involves their gesture of kindness towards Jack and the memory of his deceased wife and the tough life she had. Conrad and Victoria don't care about improving the lives of children who need improvement. They're protecting their assets in case an investigation's launched that freezes their own assets. The power couple created a charity after framing David Clarke because they couldn't very well become poor now could they.

Anyway, so I imagined Daniel reacting with disgust when he realizes the apple he picked up and bit into was actually a pare, or the plum he eyed in the produce area of the local grocery store was actually a picture of a plum on display, or that the shoes he puts on in the morning for work are actually sneakers, and he just loses his mind and then goes to tell Emily how his life is a lie. Daniel's crisis should be interesting but it's not because he makes the same mistakes over and over again. It's like his increasing and consistent stupidity is supposed to transform him into a tragic figure, a puppet--his fate given up to higher powers such as his parents and Trask. Daniel goes to Emily in a moment of agony over the truth he learned about the new foundation. Emily soothes his soul because she's very, very good at putting people into the places she wants them.

The news about the Amanda Clarke Foundation catches Emily by surprise. It just fell onto her lap. Emily Vancamp's reaction is excellent, like she received a totally unexpected gift. The Graysons plan to use the cash in the event of frozen assets, so Emily and Nolan plan to bankrupt the account. Money's the way to hurt the Graysons. Without money, they lack power, and without power they are nothing. They are the broken statue of Ozymandias. The best laid plans, even if they fall on your lap, usually don't go the way you want them. Emily's perhaps foolish to expect bankrupting the Graysons so easily; however, whenever a door shuts, another one does open.

At this point in the season, I'm interested in Revenge showing some forward momentum. The season has improved in the last few episodes (since the boat stuff finally went down), and "Illumination" is another step in the right direction. Indeed, the episode illuminates story threads and character motivations. Emily's old foster brother comes to town and immediately makes a nuisance of himself. Emily tries to buy him out of town, but he takes her check and donates it to the charity, intending to stick around and see what plays out. Emily is, in a word, annoyed. Daniel struggles to follow his parents after the death of Fake Amanda. He wonders how they're able to shrug off deaths. Conrad delivers two speeches explaining why, and I sort of tuned out. Conrad can be a bore.

The best development of the episode is Jack's growing awareness of what's happening around him. He learns more about who rescued him. Nolan's able to convince him Kenny Ryan saved him and then talks him down from going after Kenny in the interest of his newborn son and younger brother. Jack's not sure who to trust. One second he's in the embrace of Victoria; the next he is in the embrace of Nolan, remorseful. Eli tells him something about Fake Amanda that contradicts what he heard on the boat. Jack's trying to piece together what happened. In the end of the episode for him, he's alone in the boat, watching the wedding video. She's gone. No matter what happens, she won't come back to him. All he has is the memory of her.

I think the idea of illumination isn't limited to the fire metaphor in the episode. Emily mentions that playing with fire might start a fire or might get one burned. The purpose of Emily's mission is to illuminate the true innocence of her family and the Graysons role in his downfall just as Jack responds to the illumination aspect of the charity wherein her memory will help 'invisible' children (as Eli calls it) have better lives than she did. Love drives Emily and Jack. They aren't friends right now. Jack doesn't think he can trust her, but she's still the girl he loved as a boy, and he's the boy she loved as a girl. Their shared love for different people may yet unite them.

Back to the 'one door closes and another opens' thing: Nolan recognizes the name Falc0n in the Grayson account. The hacker is legendary. Nolan thinks he's responsible for dooming Emily's father. If they figure out the hacker's identity, they unravel the puzzle. They, more or less, take control of everything. Of course, one door is closed and the other door is hard to open. It's refreshing there is another person involved other than the horrible Initiative

Revenge is seemingly back on track for the rest of the season. Nolan wondered whether or not Eli is comparable to Tyler, which means the writers want Eli to be a kind-of Tyler for the foreseeable future--a problem Emily will solve while the narrative stands still with the Important Stuff; however, ABC promises a SHOCKING final five minutes next week. I assume the shocking final five minutes will be Daniel discovering pineapple life savers and pineapple the fruit taste different.

Other Thoughts:

-I never knew either of the Ryan brothers name. They were Nate and Kenny. I'm sad I know their names.

-Declan and Charlotte are fighting again. I never wrote about their relationship drama last season. I will not write about their relationship drama this season. I have no idea what caused the drama.

-We got a look at Nolan's Carrion software. Revenge's invented internet browser looks terrible; its invented video technology is terrible; the brilliant hacking software of Nolan looks better at least. I liked the flashing 'FIREWALL' text on the screen.

-Ashley still throws kick-ass parties. I'm still hoping for Emily and Ashley to be best friends.

-Michael Foley & Sallie Patrick wrote the episode. Bobby Roth directed it.

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About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.