Sunday, May 21, 2017

Doctor Who 10.05: “Oxygen”

“You only see the truce face of the universe when it’s asking for help. We show ours with how we choose to respond.”
- The Doctor

I wanted to like this episode but the way it ended, it just pissed me off. Honestly, we know Peter Capaldi is regenerating prior to the Christmas special so there has to be some reason why he needs to change but what they’ve gone with is borderline offensive and unnecessary. Anyway, at the top of the episode, he’s giving a lecture about space and how it can kill you in rather gruesome, horrible ways. Nardole points out after the lecture that Doctor misses traveling but he has to keep his oath to stay on Earth and guard the vault. I really wish they would just give us information about this plot point. It’s playing such a repetitive point in the show this series but we have no idea of who or what is inside and who or what tasked the Doctor with guarding it.

Much like he has the rest of the season, the Doctor ends up hurtling off in the TARDIS with Bill and a very grumpy Nardole in toe. They’re responding to a distress beacon from a space station in the future. We see some people in space suits running out of oxygen and then get attacked by dead people in suits. It’s rather creepy. But when the Doctor, Bill and Nardole arrive, they find the place basically empty. And lacking oxygen. Because humans can be idiots and so profit-driven, the company that owns the station sells the oxygen in the personalized suits at a very high premium. As the Doctor says, capitalism in space. It also turns out that when the Doctor extended the oxygen field of the TARDIS into the station so they could take a peek around, it set off some protocols to vent it into space (again to make them pay for it). Once they are forced into the suits, they have to find their way back to the TARDIS (it’s on the other side of a door exposed to the vacuum of space.

As they go along, our trio finally runs into the surviving crew members. They think the suits are malfunctioning and have been instructed to eliminate the “organic” component (aka the living being inside it). But they’ve sent out the distress beacon and they believe help is on the way. We do get a little side bit with Bill reacting to her first non-human looking alien. A blue fellow who kind of reminded me of one of the races on Star Trek and also the Blue Man Group. Anyway, things sound like they might be looking up when the other suits hit a part of the station that’s not on their maps yet. Because the inhabitants are dead and the suits aren’t that smart, they have to rely on building schematics to get around. The other thing about this episode that was kind of annoying was our heroes being chased around a futuristic station by a machine that wanted to kill them. It wasn’t the creepy mechanical jellyfish inside the Tessalecter but they did have their own special little catch phrase. Really, it feels like Moffatt and company are just recycling bits from previous scripts. I can’t wait to have fresh blood at the helm.

The suits do eventually find a way through (after killing and assimilating one of the survivors). And Bill’s suit is having all kinds of problems. It keeps freezing up on her and she keeps kind of panicking and freaking out. Which is understandable. She even has to be exposed to the vacuum of space without a helmet on because the suit is so severely malfunctioning. I will admit I can’t recall them putting a companion in such life-threatening danger in a while. She does manage to survive the experience pretty much unscathed. That’s mostly due to the Doctor giving her his helmet. But then he’s exposed to the vacuum of space and he doesn’t come out so easily. For some reason, he’s blind (this is what I mentioned at the start of this post). This just seems like too convenient and so unnecessary a plot device to later facilitate his regeneration. Besides, I’m pretty sure we’ve seen the Tenth Doctor use some regeneration energy to heal himself without totally changing. But then again, that was RTD era and Moffatt doesn’t like to stick with a lot of that continuity. But yeah, so now we have a blind Doctor trying to save everyone. And of course, he manages it (even when he lets Bill get caught by the suits and electrocuted). In the end, he reveals that he knew Bill’s suit power was low so it wouldn’t really kill her and she’s ultimately fine. I do sometimes hate his cockiness. He also discovers that the suits aren’t malfunctioning. To keep profits going and such, the company that runs the station was likely conserving the oxygen to resell to people. So, the two survivors agree to go to the head of the company to complain (and according to the Doctor, they succeed in shutting everything down). The Doctor also manages not to get everyone else killed by linking their suits to the cooling system on the station. IF they die, the place goes boom. Simple cost-benefit analysis I suppose.

Bill, having survived this ordeal, is happy to be back on Earth but you can tell she can’t wait for her next adventure. The Doctor is more subdued though and he ends up snapping quite angrily at Nardole (who to be fair is kind of laying into the Doctor for being so reckless). We think we’ve seen the Doctor’s eyes healed but it turns out he’s still blind (and hiding it behind his dark glasses). Hate to tell you Doctor, but that’s kind of a blind person stereotype. So yeah, if you’re trying to fool people it isn’t really working. So, now we have to endure however many episodes of him trying to hide it before he can’t anymore and he regenerates.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Doctor Who 10.04: "Knock Knock"

“Honestly, Doctor, there’s nothing going on! Nothing weird, nothing alien! Just an old house and a dodgy landlord, which is pretty standard for students.
-Bill

In this season of “Doctor Who,” we’ve already hit two of the mail genres that the show’s various creative teams over the years tend to draw on: far future sci-fi and historical. With “Knock Knock,” we hit the final point of the trifecta with horror. Bill moves into a “too good to be true” old house with a bunch of roommates, and of course, all is not as it seems. There are bugs and dead mothers involved. Given that Bill’s mother also passed away when she was a baby (and the Doctor is quite protective of Bill as she moves out of her foster mother’s house for the first time), there is a general thread of parenthood running through this episode. I think the episode did some decent work to help solidify the how the relationship between the Doctor and Bill is going to be going forward, but as with most episodes in the Steven Moffat era of “Doctor Who,” the plot was more convoluted than it needed to be.

Bill and five of her friends/aquaintances are looking to move into a house together. They go to see an estate agent, but the pickings at their price range for a place with six bedrooms (couldn’t they double up if they’re that broke?) are slim. The places they are being shown are tiny with improvised bedrooms and they’re just not going to work. Just as the kids are feeling rather dejected, they are approached by a rather creepy older man who asks if they are looking for a place to live. He leads them to his rental house, which is rather dilapidated, but it’s huge, so the kids love it. Bill is a little hesitant to sign the contract, because she wonders if a big house at the price quoted is too good to be true (she’s a smart one, that Bill), but she agrees fairly quickly, too. Soon she’s packing up her stuff at her foster mother’s house and loading it into the TARDIS for the Doctor to transport to her new place.

When the Doctor and Bill arrive at the house, the Doctor starts to notice that some things seem off, and he gets very curious, wanting to know what’s going on. The branches on the trees are moving while there’s no wind, for instance. Bill introduces the Doctor as her grandfather (a nod to the First Doctor and his companion Susan, perhaps?), which the Doctor doesn’t take kindly to, because he doesn’t think he looks old enough to be Bill’s grandfather. This scenario, coupled with the Doctor’s natural curiosity, leads to the Doctor acting very much like a worried parent who is reluctant to drop their child off at college for the first time. It’s kind of adorable, really. Bill finds it rather irritating, though, especially when the Doctor starts playing the music on Bill’s phone for her new friends.

The first oddity is that roommate Pavel, who had moved into the house the night before, is in his room listening to some violin music on repeat and doesn’t seem to want to leave. Actually, if the other kids were paying attention, they would realize that he’s not making any noise at all. One of the kids, when asked about Pavel, says he just “does that” (hide in his room listening to music. Later, the Doctor observes that people don’t “just do” anything. Two other roommates of note are Paul, a sporty blonde who has a thing for Bill, so Bill has to inform him that, as a friend of mine from college would put it, she doesn’t like his genitalia. The other is Shireen, who seems to be a longer-term friend of Bill’s who is probably the person who got her involved with this whole group in the first place.

When the kids first try to settle in, thy notice all sorts of creaky noises. They try to brush it off as just being an old house at first, but it eventually becomes too much to ignore. The landlord keeps mysteriously appearing, too, claiming that he’s just checking up on them. Things get even more serious when Paul goes into his rooms, screams, and isn’t heard from again. That’s when Bill and Shireen finally acknowledge that something is very wrong, beyond typical student housing problems. The Doctor keeps investigating, and he figures out the source of the problem: basically, space roaches. They’ve infested the wood the house is made of, and they absorb people into the house. Judging from newspaper reports and photos the Doctor finds, about every 20 years, the landlord will find a group of unsuspecting students and sacrifice them to the roaches. The landlord claims it’s to save his daughter.

It’s Bill, however, who helps uncover the rest of the story. Bill and Shireen find their way up into the house’s tower, which the landlord had told them was completely inaccessible (and forbidden to enter even if it was accessible). When they enter the room, they meet the landlord’s “daughter,” who is a woman who appears to be wooden. Clearly the space roaches have been keeping her alive. The Doctor and the landlord both eventually arrive on the scene too (after the landlord makes sure Shireen is absorbed), and the Doctor and Bill figure out one final piece of the puzzle, the woman, Eliza, isn’t actually the landlord’s daughter. She’s his mother. As a boy, the landlord left a jar of space roaches by his mother’s bed (she was sick, and it was a present of sorts), one thing led to another, and the roaches kept her alive. Over the years, the landlord has continued to feed the roaches so that his mother can continue to live. This is a pretty poignant connection from Bill’s perspective, considering she lost her mother at such a young age.

The realization that she is actually the mother and is in control changes Eliza. She takes charge (although it’s never really explained why she believed she was the landlord’s daughter and that he knew best, which is disappointing). She also absorbs the landlord into the house. She doesn’t want to kill children anymore (she only did it because the landlord told her to and she thought he knew best, which, like I already said, pretty flimsy writing there), so she basically destroys the whole house. All of Bill’s roommates are resurrected, although now they’re going to have to start over with their house hunt. We end the episode back at the mysterious vault, where the doctor tells the person on the other side of the door (who happens to be playing piano) about his day. As soon as the Doctor makes the story sound especially gruesome, the person stops playing piano and the Doctor enters the vault to talk. It can’t be anyone other than the Master on the other side of that door, right?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lucifer 2.16: “God Johnson”

“No, Dad, this is who you made me when you cast me away. Now apologize!”
- Lucifer

It’s finally time, folks. We are (supposedly) meeting God! The case of the week leads Lucifer and Chloe to a mental hospital where an orderly has been bludgeoned to death and the prime suspect is a man who legally changed his name to God Johnson. Lucifer, at first, is pissed that this man is masquerading as the Almighty. He still hates his father for what he’s done and still wants to get his parents to destroy each other.

While Chloe is trying to work the case the normal way (thanks to Lucifer she can’t talk to God Johnson for days), Maze is being super clingy and trying to do girly things together. She even makes breakfast (the most burnt toast I’ve ever seen. I mean, how did she not set off a smoke detector?). Chloe suggests that Lucifer hang out with Maze but he doesn’t really seem interested. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t told her the plan (or that the angelic family is heading home). Whatever the reason, they still seem to be on the outs. Then, Lucifer takes matters into his own hands and gets himself committed so he can talk to patients (namely God) without the pesky trappings of the law. What he finds during his stay is a lot of ill people and that God Johnson may in fact be his father after all. He even witnesses God heal a woman who had been stabbed.

Excited by the prospect that he can exact his revenge on his parents right here on planet Earth, Lucifer stages a break out for he and dear old Dad (with Linda’s help). I have to say, Linda was pretty funny meeting God. She bowed. I just love how she’s taking all of this in stride now, like it isn’t that crazy. While the guys are busting out, Chloe is using Maze’s attempts to set her up with the hot hospital administrator as a way to maybe get some information on another potential suspect. Lucifer had passed along that Santa is the real killer and there is a patient that kind of looks the part. That line of inquiry is made all the more awkward by Amenediel showing up at the house (Lucifer suggested that maybe his big brother would miss a certain hell spawn when they went back to heaven). He’s eating weird pizza, commenting on the shape of the administrator’s head (I think he was drunk) and then he drops the bomb on Maze that they are going back to heaven. Yep, Lucifer definitely didn’t share that piece of information with his bestie.

Lucifer’s idea of revenge on Mom and Dad is apparently to recreate their first date and make them fall back in love so they can then tear each other apart after they’ve settled back in to married life. I liked Charlotte’s reaction when she realized it was her husband (knees him in the crotch). Lucifer punched him earlier, too. They are definitely a violent family! But they share a dance and a kiss before Chloe and the police come to take both God and Lucifer back to the hospital. I kind of agreed with Linda that it didn’t look like Lucifer wanted to punish his parents at all. He just wanted his family back together.

Back at the hospital, a nurse brings Lucifer his meds as Chloe goes to apologize to the administrator. He accepts her apology and points out the patient she was looking at isn’t violent. He even lets Chloe look at the man’s file, in which she finds a photo with a staff person dressed as Santa. And wouldn’t you know, part of the costume (the mask part) is missing from storage. Enter, a Santa faced nurse who has actually drugged Lucifer and absconded with him and God to the basement. Since Chloe is still in the building, Lucifer is actually feeling the effects of the drugs. Thanks to some quick detective work on Chloe’s part (and some speedy fingerprint running by Ella back at the lab), we discover that the patient God saved is a nurse’s mother. The nurse changed her name so she could torture her mother and kill her. The orderly just got in the way. She then says that she’s going to have to kill God and Lucifer and is going to hang them (thanks to God getting special dispensation to wear a belt). And then Lucifer realizes what’s up. She takes off the belt and God is just Earl. But snags the belt buckle because it’s clearly important. It even fits on the blade that is supposed to get them through the gates of heaven. There’s only one problem, there’s still a missing piece to keep it all together. So, I guess the family has one last task to accomplish in the next two episodes before the season ends. Well, and maybe prying Charlotte away from Dan (she went moping to him when she realized that God wasn’t her husband).

As the episode comes to a close, Lucifer sees Earl off and asks what the last thing is that he remembers. Earl shares that he was walking through a Navaho gift shop and picked up the belt buckle. Then he remembers being strapped to the gurney with Lucifer at his side. Very interesting and I’ve got mixed feelings on this reveal. On the one hand, it makes sense as to why he kept saying he didn’t remember why he was so mad and di all the things he did to Lucifer and Charlotte. He wasn’t really God so he wouldn’t remember that. But on the other hand, I kind of wanted God to be around. I like the actor (especially from his days on “Galavant”) and I like the celestial family and I want to see more of them. But, there’s a whole third season awaiting us and besides, we might see the real God in the finale! And if we do, he’s going to have one pissed off son because Lucifer is furious now that he realizes all the nice things God Johnson said him, his real father never would have said and that really hurts our dear devil.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Once Upon a Time 6.21-6.22: “The Final Battle Parts 1 and 2”

“True belief is believing even if you can’t see.”
- Henry

We have reached the finale of season 6, and this chapter in the “Once Upon a Time” story. We have also reached the end of blogging this show. It’s been renewed for season 7 but there is so much “reset” of story being bandied about and a large chunk of the core cast won’t be returning, that I’m making the decision that this will be my last post.

We begin in the Enchanted Forest during an unspecified time of great upheaval. A young man races through the woods and wakes his young daughter who is guarding a storybook just like Henry’s (maybe even his) and she’s sent away with the order to share the stories with people. The next morning, the girl finds her father’s sword and Tiger Lily shows up to take the girl to her mother with the promise that one day she will reunite with her father. I get they are trying to make us invested in these new characters but I’m only mildly interested at this point.

Cut to Storybrooke, Henry wakes up but things are horribly awry. Everyone he runs into (including Archie) is convinced that the whole fairytale thing is just mental illness son his part. Basically, we’ve reset to season 1 with people not believing Henry because of the original dark curse. Henry finds Emma in the mental hospital and she/s upset that he’s dredging up talk of magic and fairies and True Love’s Kiss. She doesn’t want to jeopardize her progress towards getting out. Oh, and Henry has another mother: Fiona. She’s the new Mayor. Which makes me curious … would this have the same backstory as the original version where Rumple was trying to procure baby Henry when Regina got him? And if it is, did Fiona ever know that her doting husband turned into a teenage boy with anger issues? Fiona also insists that Emma burn the storybook to “crush” both her and Henry’s delusions. We also see Fiona pay a visit to Rumple and Gideon (Belle is apparently dead). At the moment, it’s unclear whether Rumple remembers this shrew is his mother.

In the Enchanted Forest of now, we find the rest of the Charming/Mills clan and things aren’t good. Just as they start searching for Emma and Henry, Zelena swoops in with some terrible news. Oz (and as it turns out all the other realms) are disappearing. Thanks to whatever Fiona is doing to Emma, the realms of story are disappearing and everyone along with them. Regina thinks she needs to use her magic to get back to our world to save Emma and Henry but Hook thinks another climb up the beanstalk to fetch a (potentially nonexistent) bean is the right answer. So, after David calms Hook down a bit, they start climbing (yay father-in-law/son-in-law bonding?).

Back in Storybrooke, Henry busts Emma out of the mental hospital and takes her to the roof where she married Hook. She gets flashes of the day but she doesn’t trust her mind and she just wants to go back to Boston and lay low. This gives Henry an idea (which I’m guessing is paying Grandpa Gold a visit) but he says that he’ll help Emma leave town if it’s what she really wants. He does have a lot of his dad in him (which of course just makes me miss Neal). It turns out while Rumple is trying to bond with Gideon over Belle’s disappearance (it sounds an awful lot like what happened with Milah, God the Black Fairy is a bitch), Henry is breaking into Archie’s office to find Emma’s keys and ends up finding the storybook. And then Fiona finds him and knocks him down the stairs in an attempt to both incapacitate him and break Emma. She also shows Rumple photos of Belle all over the world.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, we get a little Regina/Evil Queen reunion. The Evil Queen has been living in the castle once she and Robin escaped from being burned by angry villagers. They now steal from the rich and give to the poor (mostly). But hey, in this instance, two Reginas are better than one! Oh, and Hook and David find the bean (there is some mildly amusing shenanigans) but then they realize that a dragon (maybe Lily?) has taken up residence in the giant’s home. Oh boy!

It seems the Black Fairy may have finally won when she convinces Emma to not only burn the story book (which conveniently opens to a picture of Hook) but also leave town. Henry seems powerless but I’m not counting him out yet. I guess I can’t count out Hook and the Charmings either because Hook has gotten the bean back to ground level. Now he needs to use it and get Emma to believe again. I’m also kind of waiting for Rumple to get his memory back and kick his mother’s butt. Henry marches right into the shop like he owns the place (or at least is related to the guy who does) and promptly points out to Grandpa that he’s awake, too. Rumple is focused on saving Belle so Henry asks for just a little assist (while Emma gets ready to go on a first date gag to snag a bail jumper).

Henry manages to get a message to the rest of the family (although he’s not sure they receive it) that he’s going to fight the Black Fairy on his own. As he stands in the hallway, ready to die trying (and as everyone in the Enchanted Forest is about to bite it), Emma shows up and says while she doesn’t remember everything Henry told her, she believes it and that’s enough to stop the curse just in the nick of time. Meanwhile, the Black Fairy pays Gideon a visit at the pawn shop and reveals she still has his heart and forces him to find her wand so she can translate Henry’s drawings. When Rumple gets back and drops the “I’m awake” bomb on Mummy, she taunts him with her own truth bomb. She’s not meant to kill Emma: Gideon is. Because only light can snuff out light. Which makes no sense at all. On the plus side, killing the Black Fairy breaks the curse and reunites everyone (well we can hope anyway). And yay, Emma remembers just in time to throw down with Gideon yet again. Rumple goes to try and get Gideon’s heart back so that he can stop his son from killing Emma but it doesn’t work out. Instead, Emma gives in to her fate (and being the personification of light) and things seem to work out. Henry wakes her with True Love’s Kiss (there’s a big group hug) and Belle and Rumple get a baby Gideon back to have a real shot at being a family.

And as we see all the realms restored, we also find the Charming/Mills/Gold clan living their lives happily. They even all gather for a big family dinner at Granny’s. I wish there’d been dialogue for this scene because that would have been great. Then we find the young girl on a train with her own “Once Upon a Time” book heading to Seattle years later where she finds a grown-up Henry Mills who doesn’t remember having a daughter. I see where the writers are going here but I’m still very skeptical.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

iZombie 3.06: “Some Like It Hot Mess”

“Spoiler alert, that letter says Good Old Major loved you like no one ever.”
– Major

I have mixed feelings about this episode of “iZombie”. On the one hand, we got a lot of really good information and character beats. On the other, the case of the week was rather annoying and ultimately inconsequential. I’m starting to think that the more the develop the mythology and larger purpose of the show, the less the cases really matter. This week, Liv has to eat the brain of a drama queen who was also a super needy millennial. She gets killed (electrocuted in her bathtub) and the investigation leads Clive and Liv to her job where they see video footage of the victim being slapped in the face, then to the club where she DJ’d and the husband and wife team who were cheating on each other. But hey, at least they had alibis. All the while, Liv is acting super needy and self-centered. Clive manages to crack the case after Liv has a vision of the victim pawning a baseball worth $1,000. It turns out, the victim stole said baseball from her roommate so she could pay the roommate back rent. So, the roommate killed her. Like I said, not very interesting or necessary this week.

The bigger plot of this week’s episode is our core group of characters trying to adjust and help Major return to being human. They’re trying to savor all the time they can get with him before he loses his memory and they lose him forever. The morning after he takes the cure, we find him eating gallons of ice cream (my husband would approve) while Ravi quizzes him with photos of people and places from his past. He does fine (at least for now). He even remembers the night he and Liv spent together. She’s less happy about that, probably because it means they can’t be together now that he’s human again. I do have to wonder though what would happen if, now that he’s human and cured, he gets scratched again. Would he have the same issues he did the first time with the first cure of dying again? And what’s he going to do now that he’s human? He can’t continue to be a mercenary with Fillmore Graves. And I’m pretty sure no one else would hire him but dude needs a job!

Thanks to Liv being on drama queen brain, she forgets to pick up ingredients that Ravi needs for the memory enhancer serum. She also isn’t answering her phone or listening to her voicemails when Ravi calls her repeatedly (she left a random spleen out on a tray for starters) and she isn’t there when Major wanders off to Walla Walla. But first, she finds him writing letters to all the people cares about. Hers is pretty thin but he assures her that it says that he loves her more than anyone ever. Which is sweet, even if Major is still really boring as a character. It was mildly amusing to watch him talk about his character in the third person as “Good Old Major”. Once he goes off, Liv and Ravi spend the night trying to find him, checking police stations and hospitals. It turns out the bus trip out of town was to go see his mother and sister (because Liv suggested he write them a letter, too). I guess going to see them made more sense to him at the time but when he arrives in town, his memory is gone and a local sheriff has to drop him off.

But it isn’t all bad news. Don-E stops by the morgue after a client mentions wanting to be human again. The draw for our former drug-dealer turned bartender is that the guy is loaded and is willing to pay $100,000 for the cure. So, Don-E goes to Ravi to make an offer: a 50-50 split for said cure. Ravi turns him down, though. As a parting gift of sorts, Don-E reveals that Blaine has been faking his memory loss the whole time. He used it as a way to get rid of the drug kingpin and make people look at him differently (specifically Peyton). So of course, what does Ravi do the first time he sees Peyton? He drops that bomb on her. Didn’t he think it might come across as him still being jealous and trying to break them up? Because that’s how she sees it. That is until Blaine admits the truth. He did lose his memory for a few days but it came back. He did lie about the continued amnesia because he liked being able to be the small business owner and lounge singer. He liked being able to be someone different. But Peyton can’t handle that so she breaks up with him. I have to admit, I’m torn about this. I like this version of Blaine. With this new information, it makes me think that under different circumstances, this could have been Blaine all the time. But it wasn’t cool of him lying about the memory loss and making Peyton and Ravi and Liv and Major suffer this whole time.

In the end, Peyton shares this information with Ravi and Liv which is good news for Major. He then gives Liv a call from his mom’s house to reassure her that all is well and he’s on his way back. He even tells his mom that he thinks there’s still a shot for him and Liv. Armed with the knowledge that the cure works and the memory loss is only temporary, they head to the morgue to give Liv the cure only to find the vials are missing. Blaine or Don-E took them. My money is on Don-E because he really wanted that money. We see Blaine at the end starting to try and put together the memory enhancer serum based on the list of ingredients Liv was supposed to get. I don’t know why he’s doing that but he is. When Major gets back, Ravi remembers the extra syringe of the cure so all is not lost. Except well …. he gave it to Natalie so Liv is out of luck now! I have to say, I’m glad there’s this hiccup because the show wouldn’t work without Liv being a zombie.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

iZombie 3.05: "Spanking the Zombie"

“Yeah, just a flesh wound. Thirty-five flesh wounds.”
-Major

I have mixed feelings about “Spanking the Zombie.” The “iZombie” creative team is still valiantly trying to balance a case of the week with like three different mythology-related longer term plots at this point. While I appreciate the effort, I think the show is being stretched thin. We’ve got our case of the week, Major’s health and work with the mercenary group, continuing investigation into the murder of that zombie kid and his mother Babineaux was friends with, and Angus and Don-E’s zombie bar plans. I think this episode could have dropped the content related to one of the latter two and been stronger for it. The case of the week and Major’s struggles provided more than enough to fill the hour without two additional plots. I had some mixed feelings about the case of the week, too. On the one hand, the personality Liv inhabited in this episode was more annoying than most. On the other hand, a comment Babineaux made near the end of the episode made me think a lot about what it takes for a woman to be respected in the workplace and in life in general. As if recent events haven’t been making us all think about that in detail for at least the past few months.

The case of the week for this episode is Roxanne, aka “Sweet Lady Pain.” In other words, the deceased was a dominatrix., and Babineaux needs Ravi and Liv’s help to solve the case. She was killed some time ago, and Liv thought her body was cremated, but Ravi’s got it covered. It turns out that he’s been using Roxanne’s brain to test his memory serum. When Liv eats the doused brain, it makes her visions of Roxanne’s life more frequent and intense. It also makes Liv more . . . demanding. She’s very assertive and sexual on this brain, which sometimes helps and sometimes hurts their investigation. While investigating Roxanne’s dungeon, Liv and Babineaux find a camera with a missing memory card. Liv also has a vision of Roxanne with local zombie/Mayoral candidate/District Attorney Baracus. Liv and Babineaux question Baracus, naturally, but they don’t get much out of it.

Baracus is just the first of many visions Liv has of Roxanne with her clients, and several of them seem like they’re pretty much excuses to include as many “Veronica Mars” alumni as possible in one episode. One of the visions is of Johnny Frost, local playboy anchorman, who is played by Daran Norris. Norris also played public defender Cliff McCormack on “Veronica Mars.” Another vision is of sleazy lawyer Brandt Stone, played by Ken Marino (sleazy P.I. Vinnie Van Lowe on “Veronica Mars). Of course Brandt ends up representing Johnny, so they can both do their best to try and mutually cover up their dealings with Roxanne. Meanwhile, Liv has visions of a number of Roxanne’s clients, and she tries to get Jimmy the sketch artist to draw all of them. I think he’s both intimidated and turned on by Liv (she’s being very particular about the sketches).

Meanwhile, Liv and Babineaux take some heat from Cavanaugh, their coworker who has been working on the case of Babineaux’s friends who were murdered. He’s mad that Liv and Babineaux have been talking to an anti-zombie extremist named Harvey Johns, and he lets them know that Johns was stalking the murdered family prior to the murder. Babineaux and Liv suggest letting folks from Filmore Graves talk to Johns to see what information he’ll give up. They can offer him money, after all. This meeting happens, and the representatives from Filmore Graves give Johns a check to compensate for his brother’s death and ask him a few questions. While this is going on, some of the mercenaries bug Johns’ car. It becomes clear that Johns and his followers believe the zombie virus is spreading and that they need to stop it. Naturally Filmore Graves isn’t too happy about that, considering they’re zombies and all. In other not especially consequential side plot news, after having a bad day at the bar, Don-E recruits a dealer of low grade Utopium to work at the bar, and he even offers to turn him into a zombie. The Utopium dealer thinks this sounds great. I’m sure this will actually matter later in the season.

Eventually, Johnny Frost agrees to talk to Liv and Babineaux about Roxanne in exchange for immunity. He shows them a video of himself and Roxanne that someone is trying to use as blackmail. Liv, Babineaux and Ravi all end up participating in a sort of sting operation. Liv and Ravi walk down the street near Babineaux, who is pretending to be an ice cream seller. When the blackmailer tries to take an envelope from Johnny, Babineaux takes him down. Liv tells Babineaux that she wants to be the one to interview the blackmailer, but Babineaux doesn’t think she’s intimidating enough. And this is where I thought the idea of Liv as dominatrix went from gimmick to something with artistic merit. Women have to deal with this kind of crap (men assuming they can’t do their jobs) every darn day. While it’s not something that interests me at all, I can see how some people might find being a dominatrix empowering. Liv certainly channels that assertiveness into her interview with the blackmailer. He sees the whip (yes, Liv brings a whip into the interrogation) and says he wants to sign a confession.

And finally, we get to the plight of poor Major Lillywhite. He goes on a raid with Filmore Graves (where we learn that the brain paste comes from the severed heads of people they’ve killed), and he gets stabbed multiple times. Stabbing isn’t fatal to a zombie, but Major’s cough (a side-effect of the first zombie cure) is getting progressively worse. By the end of the episode, it’s bad enough that Major asks a coworker to take him to the morgue, where Ravi and Liv decide it’s time for Major to take the second cure, whether or not it causes amnesia. They just need to keep him in a zombie state long enough for his stab wounds to heal. This leads to Liv and Major reconnecting for a night, but the next morning, it’s time for the cure. The episode ends before we find out whether or not Major will still be Major when he’s human again.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Lucifer 2.15: “Deceptive Little Parasite”

“It’s the most powerful weapon in the universe, Mum, not a groovey mood ring.”
- Lucifer

This week takes a look family relationships and what parents will do to protect their kids and look out for them. On the one hand, we have Charlotte urging Lucifer to ignite the flaming sword so they can go home so she can be with all of her children. On the other, you’ve Dan and Chloe trying to deal with Trixie not talking to them like she used to. Perhaps the most interesting part is the case of the week that involves a prestigious private school with some weird new-age curriculum about teaching children to control and harness their emotions. It’s just unfortunate their Dean of Admissions is found murdered in her home, literally stabbed in the back.

The case, though, intrigues Lucifer, especially after Charlotte insists that he needs to get angry and channel his emotions to ignite the sword and then Linda tells him that emotions can’t be controlled. We don’t know for most of the episode what is pushing her to want to get back Heaven so soon but it’s clear there is some agenda (then again, there always is with her). We also see Amenediel being pretty dejected to have Mom focused on Lucifer once again. Amenediel is still powerless and he’s really not sure how he fits in or what he can do.

Throughout the episode we are presented with a host of different suspects. There’s the gay couple whose son was rejected even though they made a big donation. It also doesn’t help their cause that the murder was found in their pool house. But Chloe realizes the pool house was unlocked and anyone who knew the couple had issues with the victim could have planted the evidence. Chloe and Dan then pay the Assistant Dean a visit because they suspect someone was embezzling the money. The Assistant Dean confesses to that particular crime but insists he didn’t kill the victim.

While Chloe and Dan are doing actual police work, Lucifer is coopting Trixie into to being his way into the school so he can try and learn how to get his emotions under control so he can perform his divine duty. Sitting in on a class where children ae taught to share their emotions and then channel them (into stupid things like poems or pictures), Trixie admits that her mom’s job is scary and the fact that Chloe nearly died upset her. But because her mom has to take care of so many people, Trixie puts on a brave face so her mom has one less person to worry about. Chloe overhears this admission and it really upsets her that her daughter can’t talk to her about things. The class is good for one other thing: a little boy drawing a picture of his mom stabbing the victim. This proves to be another dead end and of kids hearing more than their parents expect of them. This woman is a single mother and can’t be involved to the same level as the other parents and the victim kind of wouldn’t let her forget that she was less well off than her son’s peers. But she’s got an alibi: she was sleeping with the PE teacher. He’s pretty but dumb as a box of rocks.

Still, they are no closer to solving the case and Lucifer is no closer to getting in touch with the emotions needed to ignite the sword (despite Charlotte’s attempts to satisfy him sexually by setting up a foursome and attacking him in a parking garage). Chloe gets an invite to a grieving gathering because the school is now considering Trixie for matriculation and Maze ends up going undercover as Trixie’s other “mom” to back Chloe up. Maze still isn’t totally in touch with human emotion but she’s developing affinities to the people around her. And this vicious world of rumors and putting on a perfect face is her playground. She manages to get the rumor mill going that Chloe has a key piece of evidence in her car, hoping that the killer will make a move on the car.

It turns out the teacher from the class that Lucifer sat in on is the killer. She’d slept with the PE teacher years ago and had his child. The kid, like his birth dad, is dumb and the victim threatened to kick the kid out of the school and tell the woman’s husband. Chloe manages to at least get the woman to lower the gun she got out of Chloe’s car (when Lucifer unlocked it for her without knowing she was the killer) but Maze comes in for the win and legitimately tackles the woman to the ground. She looked so pleased about it, too. I have to admit, I miss seeing Maze and Lucifer working together. I also miss her and Amenediel’s relationship. I hope we get to see more of that in season 3.

At the end of the day, Lucifer finds himself back in Linda’s office, ready to accept her wisdom. He also shares that he intends to open the gates and send his mother through before slamming said gates shut on her goddess behind. As in, he’s not going with her. He hopes his parents tear themselves apart as punishment for what they put him through. Linda points out that the emotion he needs to be tapping into is the pain he felt over what happened with Charlotte and with Chloe, He needs to work through that pain and hurt in order to get over it. And so, he goes home and does manage to ignite the sword for a little while with tears in his eyes. I honestly though Amenediel might actually go hug his brother but he didn’t. And then the sword went out and Charlotte got so angry. But Lucifer isn’t having it. He’s put all he had to give into that attempt and he doesn’t care. And Amenediel says they’ve got plenty of time to figure it out but as we see at the end of the episode, Charlotte is on borrowed time. She pulls a Band-Aid off her wrist and we see a small cut with celestial energy coming out. Either she’s overstayed her welcome in this body or something else is happening. Time will tell.