Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Lucifer 3.20: “The Angel of San Bernardino”

“I am definitely not this angel and I know just how to prove it.”
- Lucifer

I went into this episode expecting to be highly annoyed with the Chloe and Cain storyline. It was kind of irritating but there were parts of the episode that made up for it. I’m also hoping that Maze is done with her revenge because that’s just unnecessary. There are too many storylines going on right now to put up with that.

Before we dive into the two main storylines of the week, let’s get Charlotte’s C-story out of the way. Now that she knows about God and angels and Hell and all, she’s reverted back to her wicked ways assuming that Amenediel can just pop her up to Heaven when the time comes. She even convinces Dan to sneak into a utility closet at a bar and stirp naked. Yeah, Dan is just so gullible. And totally into her. I do hope they work out but she needs to get her head in the game. Amenediel stops by for a chat as she’s trying on some ridiculously expensive necklace to explain that it’s who she is and her actions that determines whether she gets into Heaven. She doesn’t think she can change but I suspect Amenediel is going to make it his mission to help her out.

The crime of the week involves the son of a wealthy family who is murdered and the landlady who says she was saved by a guardian angel. Lucifer, who has been having trouble sleeping, fears that he is somehow responsible and so first decides to handcuff himself to his bed (after he finds what he believes is the figurine that went missing from the woman’s house in his bedroom) and then comes to the conclusion that he just shouldn’t sleep. It seems every time there is another step in the case, it comes in the evening and no action can be taken until the next day.

So, he ends up binging on drugs and alcohol and sex for a week (and binge watching all 12 seasons of Bones which I think is pretty hilarious). He imagines himself as Bones and Chloe as Booth. It’s all pretty hilarious until he claims a man of interest (who was seen arguing with the victim not long before his death) is in fact the killer. He actually played a killer on Bones in season 3. He’s an actor who was hired to be friends with the victim. In fact, this guy was hired to be the best man at a friendless guy’s wedding. This leads the Lucifer figuring out that a man they talked to and thought was the husband of the victim’s ex-girlfriend (who is the mother of the victim’s son) is also an actor for the same agency. Lucifer in his manic state confronts the guy at home and he admits that he killed the guy because he didn’t want the victim to take away his family. The woman had fallen in love with the actor for real. As Lucifer rails against the guy for being an imposter, he comes to the realization that Chloe may in fact be in peril.

This brings us to the continuing drama of Chloe and Cain. It seems that Cain is setting up Chloe to utter “I love you” so that he can then disappear on her. He seems to think that getting someone to fall in love with him will remove his mark and he can then die. Maze is willing and able to help out with the dying part. She also gives Chloe some advice. Admittedly, Chloe is a little suspicious of some of the phrasing Maze uses because it’s exactly like what Cain says. But, she brushes it off because she’s so smitten. And when Lucifer freaks out on her that he can’t sleep because he’s going nuts, she confronts him on why he’s so opposed to her and Cain (obviously she doesn’t know his true identity) being together. He drops the truth on her but because he’s so strung out and manic she doesn’t believe him. I really wish she would. But that wouldn’t make for romantic drama.

Chloe thinks everything is going great with Cain when he shows up with chocolate cake (Trixie’s favorite) and some beers. But right before Chloe says the three magic words, he bails on her. Lucifer, it turns out, is having about as a good a night as the detective. Maze shows up to find him frantically looking for the figurine to prove to Chloe that he was set up by Cain. Well, it wasn’t Cain. It was Maze pulling his strings because she’s mad at him for not taking her home. So, she played on his daddy issues to get back at him. Lucifer shows up at Chloe’s house to find her bereft, leading him to bust into Cain’s place and lay a beat down in anger on our immortal. Cain admits that he couldn’t hurt her by letting her say “I love you”. And now, somehow—I really hope they explain how because I’m a little lost—Cain’s mark is gone. He’s human and able to die. But something tells me he’s not so ready to go as he thinks he is. I also doubt that Lucifer is going to let him off the hook so easily with how he’s hurt Chloe.

From what the preview shows it looks like Cain is going to try and win Chloe back and Lucifer wants Chloe to choose him. It’s going to be all out war between these two immortals and I know who I want to win. It’s always meant to be Chloe and Lucifer form the beginning. It shouldn’t matter that Chloe was put there for Lucifer. Maybe that’s a good thing. Lucifer is so busy believing everything God does is to hurt him that he can’t possibly admit his father did something to help him. I just really hope this love triangle resolves before the end of the season. I don’t want to go into the new season with all of this drama hanging over our heads.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Lucifer 3.19: “Orange is the New Maze”

“We can’t punish the innocent or the usually guilty but innocent this one time. It’s the principle of the matter.”
- Lucifer

This week’s episode was all about Maze. Or at least the A plot focused on our resident demon> Maze is still unhappy with all the humans and their emotions and she wants to go back to Hell. But Lucifer refuses, saying that it would have bad consequences and could put Chloe in danger. It would appear that Maze takes matters into her own hands when a body is found and security camera footage shows Maze pulling a knife out of the dead man’s chest. Lucifer thinks he’s guilty and trying to manipulate him to take her home, but Chloe doesn’t believe that she’d do this. Cain—who is now her official boyfriend—thinks Chloe can’t be objective. God, the more he’s around and horning in on Lucifer and Chloe, the more I want to punch him in his smug face.

After ID’ing the body, Chloe and Lucifer go to the winery where he worked and talk to the owner and the foreman who claim that Maze stopped by to talk to the victim. He was a former bounty of hers. They find a can of Maze’s favorite drink in the victim’s trailer and then Maze shows up at the precinct with the knife to confess. It quickly becomes clear that she didn’t kill the man. So now, Lucifer and company must set out to find out who is framing her and for what reason. Maze has other plans than just waiting in a jail cell to be exonerated. She tricks Ella into a hug to snag her pass so she can get into the file room and steal a file.

While the team is trying to hunt down the real killer, Lucifer and Amenediel have to deal with a big problem of their own: Charlotte. She’s told Linda that Amenediel shared that she was his stepmother and she’s just confused and can tell he’s holding something back. Linda urges Charlotte to just drop it and move forward but she can’t. When Charlotte later runs into Lucifer, she confirms that Amenediel is his brother and he drops the truth about Hell and her soul’s journey there on her. This leads Charlotte to think she’s crazy. I wasn’t entirely sure what the point of going down this road was for, other than to eventually redeem Charlotte. In the end, Lucifer shows her his wings and she’s not freaked out at all. She’s just relieved that it was all true and she wasn’t going mad. Where they go from here, I have no idea.

After Maze absconds with the file (it has the name of the bail bondsman who contacted Maze about the dead guy), she finds him at a weekly bowling night. The guy is a total pig but in typical Maze fashion she gets him to talk. I mean, sure she doesn’t get to stab anyone but she does threaten the guy with getting his face pummeled by a bowling ball. He was paid to call her to track down the victim. So there’s yet another layer of the frame job. He has just enough time to tell her the name of the corporation that hired him before someone takes him out with a sniper shot to the head. Maze is gone by the time Lucifer and Chloe arrive on the scene but the rest of the bowling team is able to corroborate that Maze was in the room when the bail bondsman was killed. So, at least they know she’s not responsible. But, she’s still in the wind and they need to find her. They think talking to some of Maze’s other bounties will prove useful. While most of them are useless (although oddly enough everyone seemed to really like Maze and cited her as being how they turned themselves around or at least learned useful skills for prison), the last guy used to work at the same winery as the victim.

It turns out that Maze caught the winery owner’s son who had driven drunk, killed a little girl and fled the scene. Maze beats our team to the winery and she kind of can’t believe that the woman blames Maze for the son dying in a prison fight. I have to side with Maze here. It is in no way her fault at all. But Maze now intends to take out the mother. She’s going to have to dodge bullets from the foreman to do it. Thankfully, Lucifer and Chloe show up. Lucifer gets to use his angelic strength to bend the rifle barrel so it’s useless and knock out the guy. Chloe tries to talk Maze down but it doesn’t really work. She ends up stabbing the woman in the foot.

The case may be closed but things are still very much up in the air. Lucifer is still annoyed that Cain for moving in on Chloe and Cain is now intent on getting rid of Lucifer so he doesn’t have to compete with the Devil. And Maze still wants out. Lucifer claims he still can’t take her back to Hell because he doesn’t want to lose her, too. Maze breaks down at this point, realizing that she will always be a consolation prize for Lucifer and no one puts her first. Well, that may be changing. Cain catches up to Maze at the bus station to tell her that they should team up. Sure, they aren’t friends but Cain won’t pretend to be. And they can both get what they want. This unholy alliance makes me really anxious. We only have a few episodes left in the season and this makes me think we won’t be done with Cain storyline before season 4 begins which just drags things out unnecessarily. I can only hope that the resolution involves Lucifer coming clean with Chloe and that she believes him and understands. Maybe God gave Lucifer his wings back for a reason he does not yet understand. Maybe it’s so Chloe can be with him? We certainly know that Cain is using Chloe for his own ends.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Lucifer 3.18: “The Last Heartbreak”

“My problem, Detective, is that we don’t need a third party interfering with our partnership.”
- Lucifer

I have to admit I wasn’t very excited about watching this episode. I’m really not a fan of Cain getting in the middle of Chloe and Lucifer (and obviously, neither is Lucifer). But, maybe it will push Lucifer to admit the truth to Chloe finally. Before we get to that point, though, we have to contend with a case from Cain’s past. In the 1950s he worked in LA as a detective, chasing a killer known as the “Broken Hearts” killer. It would appear they caught the man responsible because when we jump to present day, the killer has just died in prison. Amidst some awkward sort-of flirting between Cain and Chloe, Dan drops a new case that bears striking similarities to the crimes back in the day.

Cain insists on inserting himself into the investigation, figuring he knows what to look for and what the motivation could be. They assume it is a copycat killer but from my years of watching Criminal Minds, it makes me wonder if they got the wrong guy back in 1958. Anyway, the MO of the original killer was to hunt down cheating couples. A quick look at the victims’ social media shows that the guy was married. They bring in his wife and while it looks pretty bad for her (she’d threatened her husband a bunch of times), they were getting divorced amicably. And it wasn’t likely her when they hear that another couple has been found.

While the case drama continues to unfold, Amenediel has some drama of his own when he sees Charlotte a coffee shop and thinks it’s Mom. He goes on a big ramble about how he thought she was gone but when she says she doesn’t know who he is, he backs off and refuses to say more, even when she points out that he knows Lucifer so he must know who she is (and what happened to her). Big brother is not going to be happy with our Devil. He pays Linda a visit who is not shocked by the revelation that Charlotte is alive and warns Amenediel to stay away from Charlotte. He doesn’t listen and as the episode comes to a close, he finds her at the coffee shop and promises to tell her everything.

As Chloe and Lucifer come up against a dead end on the killer, Cain recalls a chat with a waitress at a bar where she points out that the killer was very meticulous and wanted to get every detail right. That prompts him in the present to check security camera footage at the second scene from earlier in the week. This reveals a guy taking photos. It turns out, he’s a tour guide obsessed with the original killer but he denies being the copycat when Chloe and the gang drag him in.

Cain heads back to the bar he used to frequent and runs into the waitress’s granddaughter. Apparently, is old partner and the waitress got married and lived a long, happy life together. His partner also didn’t stop digging for clues after the killer was caught. A motive was never identified. So, Cain has Chloe come join him to go through files. He ruminates on the night he left LA and the waitress behind (she pointed out he’s neve going to find someone to love him if he doesn’t let them in) when Chloe finds that there was one connection between the victims back in the day: their spouses called in to a relationship radio show.

Of course, Ella would know the equivalent show now and she’s obsessed with it. This calls for a sting operation which only annoys Lucifer more when Cain says he’ll be the guy Chloe is cheating on Lucifer with. Lucifer even seeks some advice from Dan of all people to try and deal with his emotions but it isn’t until the actual killer knocks Chloe and Cain out that Lucifer realizes he can’t make Chloe be with him (or not be with Cain). Before they get knocked out, Cain asks Chloe out on a second date. She reminds him that he turned her down originally but he’s willing to be open to her now if she lets him. I know Cain is using her to get what he wants (and whether that’s to die or not is now kind of unclear) but I just know it’s going to end poorly.

Lucifer drops by Chloe’s place to check on her and let her know that he understands she can have all kinds of different relationships in her life and it doesn’t mean they won’t still have their partnership. You’d think he would be man enough to admit his feelings but I guess God putting Chloe in his path is still a hang up for him because he declines her offer of coffee which leads her to agree to another date with Cain. As much as I adore this show, the will they/won’t they is getting to be too much and they have unnecessary obstacles. There is plenty of story left to tell once Chloe and Lucifer get together. I mean, you can’t not have drama when you’re dating the Devil. And there is also plenty to mine with the new Amenediel and Charlotte relationship and with whatever is going on with Maze. At least form the previews (and the little bit we saw of her this week) she’s reverting to her demon roots. She’s tired of humanity and just wants to go home. That’s enough to keep the fun times going without throwing a love triangle in the mix. I just hope that by the start of season 4 Chloe is in the know and Cain’s storyline has been dealt with. I like Tom Welling as an actor but I don’t want to see him continue into next year. Wrap up his story and move on to something else. Give us more celestial family members or something!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fresh off the Boat 4.08: "The Vouch"

“In Dan’s defense, Enya’s voice has been known to summon whales.”
-Walter

This particular episode of “Fresh off the Boat” really focused on Louis and Jessica’s relationship, particularly the extent to which they do or do not support each other in their endeavors, and silly as those endeavors may seem. Jessica advocates for supporting one’s spouse no matter what, but I’m not sure if that’s always the best policy. Yes, Cattleman’s Ranch has worked out way better than Jessica thought it would, however I would want someone who loved me to let me know if they thought I was doing something that would have really negative consequences or just be a major embarrassment. I wouldn’t want them to harp on it too much, but waring me, and then maybe supporting me if I decided to do it anyway, would be ideal.

Anyway, the subject over which Jessica and Louis have a disagreement in this episode is Jessica’s novel-in-progress, “The Case of the Knife to the Brain,” featuring Jennifer Hong. I love how many people, including the “Fresh off the Boat” creative team know that Jennifer is the alternative name someone named Jessica would use and vice versa. Late 70s/ early 80’s uncreatively named ladies unite! Anyway, Jessica is suffering from some writer’s block while working on her book. Evan is the one who actually identifies the problem, because apparently had writer’s block when writing the HOA bylaws. When he finds out about it, Louis tries to encourage Jessica to keep writing through it, which is actually being supportive when I think about it.

Eddie and his friends are listening to a Busta Rhymes album, and unfortunately for them, the CD ends, and nobody feels like getting up to change it. Conveniently, they see an add for a 300 CD changer for $300. They realize they can make the purchase if they each chip in $60. Understandably, the other boys are a little skeptical that Eddie has $60, but Eddie swears he’s good for it. He then immediately goes and tries to borrow the money from his brothers. The boys buy the CD player and set it up in Eddie’s room. When they turn it on, it starts playing the soundtrack to “The Lion King.” This is the work of Evan and Emery. They believe that since they chipped in money for the thing, they deserve a few of the 300 slots. All the boys but Eddie agree, and they all want their own dedicated slots, too.

Louis is kind of freaking out because Kenny Rogers is going to be visiting the restaurant. He’s trying to figure out a gift for Kenny, and he’s torn between a motion pen and a drawing of a cow and a chicken. Meanwhile, Jessica has finally finished her book and is quite proud of it. So proud of it that she wants Louis to read it all that night. She’s on a creative high, but Louis is preoccupied with the Kenny Rogers visit and has a lot of trouble getting through the book. It turns out, for the record, that the killer was Jennifer Hong herself. Jessica got the idea when Louis told her not to be her own worst enemy. Louis clearly doesn’t love the book, but he tells Jessica it’s great.

Louis has successfully wrapped up the pen for Kenny in a way that doesn’t give away the fact that it’s a pen, so he’s riding high. Jessica harshes his buzz, however, by asking him to give Kenny the manuscript for her book. Apparently Kenny wrote a book, so Jessica thinks he must have an “in” in the publishing world. Louis reluctantly agrees. Louis consults Marvin and Honey, who point out that Jessica is always blunt herself, so she could probably handle a real critique of her manuscript. Marvin and Honey don’t particularly want to read it themselves, though, so they send copies to the other HOA ladies, and they all hate it. After they give their feedback, Jessica throws out the copies of the manuscript she made for all of them and swears she won’t change a word because they’re just jealous.

Meanwhile, in Eddie’s room, the boys load up the CD player with all their picks. When the first turn the machine on, an Enya album plays, which is obviously a nightmare (I’ve disliked Enya probably since around the time this episode takes place). Then one of Evan’s audio books about the Revolutionary War plays, which Eddie thinks is even worse. Since they all have such different tastes, the boys think they’re going to have to move the CD player between all their houses so they can each have some time with it. Eddie demands that he at least be allowed to choose the music while it’s in his room, and the rest of the boys all leave in response. When the music starts playing, it’s Enya again, of course. Then it starts playing that audio book again, and it gets Eddie thinking. He takes a liking to George III, of course. He basically wants to be a benevolent dictator of music (although George III wasn’t exactly benevolent, obviously). Eddie makes the pitch to his brothers, stressing that music has always been his thing. Emery, however believes that it’s time for the CD player to “shuffle expectations,” and Evan throws in a “no taxation without representation.” The situation continues to devolve from there. The boys say they will each have an equal say in the music played on the CD player from now on. Then really loud rock comes on and only one of them likes it.

Louis freaks out a bit as Kenny approaches the restaurant, but the visit ends up going well, and the men end up bonding over rattlesnake boots of all things. When Kenny leaves, Jessica rushes in and asks if Louis gave Kenny the book. Louis says Kenny read a few pages and said crime novels aren’t his thing. Jessica then reveals that she actually put an instruction manual, not the manuscript, in the envelope she gave Louis, so she now knows that Louis didn’t give the manuscript to Kenny. Louis finally owns up to the truth and tells Jessica he didn’t like her book. Jessica is pissed because she’s supported Louis in the past even when she thought he had a bad idea (like Cattleman’s). Louis ends up mailing the manuscript to Kenny with a very nice letter, and Jessica is happy. At the end of the episode, they get a letter back from Kenny saying he loved the book.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

This Is Us 2.18: “The Wedding”

“I’ve been holding onto that feeling for a long time now, you being with me. But Dad, I’m getting married today and I’ve gotta make room for Toby. I’ve gotta let go.”
- Kate

Well, Pearson clan, we’ve arrived at another season finale and as the episode title indicates, we are finally getting Kate and Toby’s wedding! Before we get there, though, we get a sort of “what if” scenario where Rebecca and Jack are renewing their wedding vows after forty years and old Jack got me teary-eyed. We get to hear Jack talk about when he and Rebecca started Big Three Homes and it’s just so bittersweet to see what could have been. We also get a reprise of “Moon Shadow” which is really sweet.

In the present, Randall and Kevin are on wedding duty and handling everything from wedding favors (which Randall is racing to finish) to the caterer and everything in between. In short, both Pearson men are going to drive themselves and everyone else batty. Then again, so is Kate. They are having Jack’s urn by the guestbook and she wants to wear her dad’s Daytona shirt as her “something old”. She’s a bit obsessive and totally panics when she can’t find the shirt. We are also finally getting some needed backstory on Toby by meeting his parents and they are a trip. Rebecca is also fretting about not wanting to ruin Kate’s big day and Miguel shares his feelings of being left out in the family.

While this should all be a happy occasion (neuroses aside) except that Deja has apparently turned into a mega brat. Shawna has officially terminated her parental rights and Deja has given the Pearsons attitude. Randall and Beth even have to take a moment to share their concerns about her future before they can head off to the wedding. It’s nice to see them doing little Beth-and-Randall couple things like that. It adds to the layers of their relationship. I hope we get more Beth next season. We do get to meet Beth’s sister Zoe who is taking photos. When they all get there, Deja is not impressed. I do hope her attitude changes with time. I understand the heartbreak she’s suffering with her mother permanently stepping out of her life. Beth and her sister have a chat about Beth’s fears and how Deja is acting. Zoe offers to talk to her, having been the angry kid. We learn that Zoe was left with Beth’s family by her mom at a young age and she was angry and treated her family in a similar way that Deja is acting.

Kevin and Randall try to find replacements for Jack’s shirt but nothing is going to work. Kate thinks she’s got an idea to replace it and goes to the ice cream shop they went to at the cabin. She’s disappointed to learn it’s been sold and they don’t have the ice cream flavor Jack ate. Randall and Kevin go off in search of Kate when Rebecca’s calls to Kate keep going to voicemail. The guys’ game of “what if” doesn’t have the same effect as Beth and Randall, although it allowed them to get out some of their insecurities as brothers. Kate ends up calling Rebecca to tell her that she’s been having this dream about Jack and Rebecca’s vow renewal. It’s all sweet until Kate reveals that Toby isn’t in the dreams.

Speaking of Toby, his parents show up in his room and try to talk him out of marrying Kate. They think she’s unstable and that he’s catering to her too much. They worry he’s going to spiral out of control and become deeply depressed like with his last wife. I really hope Kate doesn’t abandon Toby at the altar. They’ve gone through so much to get to this point. They deserve to be happy together. Thankfully, Kate doesn’t run. She goes to share a much-needed chat with Jack at their spot outside the cabin. She says she’s carried him with her for so long but she has to make room for Toby now. Kevin and Randall find her and let her have her time with Dad before getting to the nuptials. And hey, Zoe’s talk with Deja had a good effect. She’s I n a dress with some lip gloss!

Before Kate can walk down the aisle, she has to reconcile with Rebecca and I’m so glad that they have finally made their peace. Rebecca felt she was always in Kate’s way but Kate assures her mom that wasn’t the case. She always longed to be like her mom, as a singer, wife and mother. It was beautiful to see. As was Kate and Toby tying the knot while in flashback, we hear Kate ask Jack if she can marry him someday. Jack explains that she’s going to find someone better than him one day and he’ll be there to walk her down the aisle and help celebrate. In a way, he is and it made me cry even more. Both Kevin and Randall’s toasts are heartwarming and wise and beautiful. But as the continued revelry goes on, some things may not be all they appear. Deja—after Toby’s mom told her that she looked like Randall—went out and smashed the windshield of the car. And we catch glimpses of what might be in the future for the Big Three. Kate appears to be dealing with Toby having depression again and Randall and adult Tess are off to see “her”, although Tess isn’t ready. And Kevin and Beth’s cousin are heading Vietnam which makes me wonder how that ties in with Jack’s past. I’m glad that Kate and Toby were married and it felt, as one would expect with This Is Us, that Jack was there with everyone. It’s going to be a long six months until we get more time with our favorite TV family. I’m just thankful for the ride.

Lucifer 3.17: “Let Pinhead Sing!”

“I know what you’re doing. Our bomb scare made you realize just how dangerous this job is and that you and I could lose each other.”
- Chloe

This week finds our duo pulled into the world of divas and big shows. They are called to the scene when a woman is killed on stage at a show. Apparently, someone shot the victim (who was a backup dancer that had switched places with the actual singer) with a firework. Lucifer decides he is going to take Chloe out of his orbit and spotlight and starts focusing on random people. All it does is annoy Chloe and make Lucifer look like a phony. Although he does get to use his powers on a back-up singer who apparently quit because she wants to rival the starlet, Azara. Didn’t make a ton of sense but whatever. Ella does some digging through social media and found a fan who was granted a VIP pass to show the night of the murder. He’s kind of super stalker-y.

When Chloe and Lucifer find him dead and a suicide note on hand, Lucifer assumes the case is closed. But it quickly turns out the guy was killed before the show so he couldn’t have been their killer. Our duo goes to tell Azara that she’s still in danger. She doesn’t believe them until someone starts shooting. Knowing that she needs protecting, Lucifer offers to guard Azara at his penthouse. Chloe only agrees because it’s an unexpected move. Chloe does bring in the manager because it was his gun used in the attack but he denies responsibility. He also points out that lots of managers have insurance policies on their talent (trying to belie Chloe’s suspicion about the one he took out on Azara).

We also have some continued drama on the Maze and Linda front as well as Cain moping about. Let’s focus on the more interesting of these subplots first. Linda tries to make amends with Maze by buying a big ax (and gift wrapping it). That doesn’t work obviously. Then, while in a session with Charlotte, our reformed bad actor offers to mediate between Linda and Maze. Linda starts out being apologetic and saying she doesn’t have any grievances but then gets fired up, claiming Maze called dibs on a guy she doesn’t even like. Which definitely doesn’t seem fair. But Linda points out that she gave up this one guy that she liked for her friendship with Maze. Maze still isn’t getting it or willing to let go of her anger and hurt feelings. In the end, she breaks the axe.

Meanwhile, Cain has turned to strumming a guitar and trying to sing his blues away. Someone really ought to tell Tom Welling he cannot sing. Especially in an episode where you’ve got a decent female vocalist and Tom Ellis. It was painful to listen to Cain croon. I nearly hit the fast-forward button when he started the second time (after Ella tried and failed to cheer him up). Dan’s attempt goes about as well as expected (read: total failure). And then Amenediel shows up and that just makes things worse. Amenediel thinks because Cain has given up and is no longer allied with Lucifer that he’s passed his test.

Azara sneaks out of Lucifer’s penthouse and down to Lux (after trying to seduce Lucifer) and starts singing “I Will Survive”. The song felt a little on the nose to be honest, although it did get Tom to sing as well which is always nice. I think he enjoys that part of the show, especially getting to play a character with all kinds of talents. Their little duet ends and Azara’s friend and social media person brandishes a knife. She’s the real killer and she wanted Azara all to herself. She’s been in love with the singer since high school and she just couldn’t stand being on the road in the spotlight for years on end (which is what Azara wanted). Chloe tries to talk the woman down but Lucifer ends up tackling her to keep her from using the knife on herself. That of course means that Lucifer gets the knife in his chest. He’ll survive (no pun intended) although it’s rather unfortunate Chloe was there making it worse. It does present a scene for Amenediel to comment on to Cain though. If Lucifer can find happiness with Chloe, then maybe Cain can find that, too. He sets his sights on Chloe and I almost punched my phone screen because we don’t need another love triangle. It was bad enough a couple seasons ago with Dan. This is just a tired and worn out plot device and I’m really getting tired of the writers dragging things out with Lucifer and Chloe. Just let them get together already!

Chloe gets VIP passes to Azara’s rescheduled show and Cain invites himself before Lucifer has a chance to do so. In the end, Lucifer goes to Linda and admits he’s made a big mistake in pushing Chloe away. Now he’s going to have to fight he world’s first murderer for the woman he loves (even if he’s not willing to fully admit it). While this episode did move some of the plots along a little bit, it felt a lot like a filler episode. And I am not pleased with the triangle reveal. Then again, I haven’t been super into the whole Cain storyline at all. Or maybe just not the way they have been presenting it. Last week was interesting with Abel. Continue that storyline. Show us the brothers getting to know each other after all these eons and see if they can find some common ground. Don’t make him Lucifer’s romantic rival. Because the show is called Lucifer and you know he’s going to win in the end. I just worry that in an attempt to keep her, Cain is going to reveal Lucifer’s secret and for whatever reason Chloe will believe him and it will drive her and Lucifer apart.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

This Is Us 2.17: “This Big, Amazing, Beautiful Life”

“The next time you find a bed that feels even a little safe, don’t blow it.”
- Raven

Much like last year’s seventeenth episode gave us insight into Dr. K and his backstory, it appears we will be getting a similar structure this year with Deja. We begin where all good stories do: at the start and we see Deja born to a 16-year-old mother who is definitely not ready to be a mom. As we see Shawna in labor we also catch glimpses of Rebecca, Beth and Randall’s biological mom as well which I thought was a nice contrast. We also get a little montage as Deja—age three or four—is read Goodnight Moon by her great-grandma. We see Randall read it to his girls and Rebecca read it to her kids and young Jack reading it to Nicky. When Shawna’s grandma comes home late one night to find Shawna out and Deja by herself, the older women have words. Shawna, now 19, wishes she was out with her friends at college instead of taking care of a child. Her grandma warns that she won’t be around forever to take care of them and we see her pass away (I’m guessing a heart attack). As Shawna and little Deja mourn, we catch glimpses of William morning his girlfriend’s passing, Randall mourning William and Rebecca mourning Jack. I like how we are seeing how all of these people are connected by these events and emotions (in addition to their interwoven tales).

We fast forward to the age when we first met Deja and it is clear that she has had to take on a lot of the responsibility of raising herself. We see her making breakfast for her mom and paying bills for her (in contrast to Rebecca and the kids making pizza and William and the girls making scrambled eggs). It’s Shawna’s birthday and Deja wants to make a special recipe for dinner but ends up cutting herself while trying to open a can. She (rightfully) freaks out but gets herself to the hospital where she’s treated and introduced to Linda. Shawna shows up a while later, claiming her phone died while she was out celebrating her birthday. Clearly, this woman doesn’t have her child’s interests at heart.

Next, we find Deja in one of her foster homes. She’s been in the system for a year now and while things may seem okay superficially (she’s got a foster sister she likes), the family is abusive, especially when the girls are caught shoplifting make up for the school dance. Deja speaks up to the social worker and her foster sister blames her for them being separated and for having to be bounced around again. I can’t imagine the upheaval kids in the system must feel. I was briefly involved in the foster system (my parents fostered an older girl when I was in early high school) and it was a big adjustment for our family. I know it was a big change for her, too. Especially when she ended up leaving us. I’m really glad the writers of this show don’t shy away from dealing with these types of issues. It really highlights the admirable intentions but also the many flaws of the system. When Deja is eventually reunited with her mother, the happiness is short-lived. Shawn’s new boyfriend, Alonso, moves in and he’s a drunk and not very nice to Deja. In fact, it is his gun that they find in Shawna’s car when she gets pulled over. But, we see Deja meet the Pearsons and begin the journey that will hopefully bring her back into their lives for good.

The next tie Deja and her mom are reunited, it’s the same story. Things start out great and they are doing well and then Shawna starts down her destructive path and they end up evicted and sleeping in the car which is where Beth and Randall find them at the end of the previous episode. My heart broke a little as Deja considered selling her great-grandmother’s broach (and we saw Kevin’s struggle with his dad’s necklace). In the end, though, Deja keeps hold of that memento of her great-grandma. She really has had to grow up so much sooner than children ought to. I’m really rooting for her to get a happy ending with Randall and Beth and the girls. They have so much love to give. As it turns out, Deja may be getting the family she’s longed for. As the Pearsons, Deja and Shawna spend the night together, Shawna slowly realizes how happy being with these people makes her daughter and that it allows her to act like a child for once. She and Beth have a heart to heart while Deja and Randall have one of their own. Deja kind of rambles (though it comes off as sounding rather philosophical) but it’s nice to see her and Randall bond more. When Randall heads downstairs, Shawna is leaving. I am hoping she’s going back to rehab or somewhere to get her life tougher so that she can be there for Deja in a different capacity. I just hope someone remembers to call the social worker in the morning to get this all on the up and up!

As trends go from seasons to season, I like what the writers have done with focusing on a secondary character that touches a lot of our main cast in a deep way. We got to see more about who Deja is and how she came to be the way she is which informs her interactions with the Pearsons. And it showed us that Shawna isn’t all bad. She just doesn’t make very good decisions and never really learned to put her child’s needs above her own. I’m excited to see where the show goes for its second season finale and it’s going to be a long six months until the show returns for season 3 (and hopefully many more years to come).