Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween "Classic" Recap: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "Fear, Itself"

“Maybe it's 'cause of all the horrific things we've seen, but hippos wearing tutus just don't unnerve me the way they used to.”

I had a tough time choosing this year’s Halloween recap. It was either this wonderful Halloween episode from season 4 of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or the season 2 Halloween episode aptly titled “Halloween.” I went with this one because I love the costume choices and the humorous take the episode has on horror in general. If you can wade through all the “woe is me” drama the characters are going through at this point in the series, there’s some really funny stuff. I love Giles’ and Anya’s costumes best because they’re hilarious an unexpected. I also love moment like Giles with a chainsaw because it’s just so silly looking. And the ending of the episode is a great, humorous twist on the typical apocalyptic scenario the Scoobies often face. Like “The Zeppo,” (where we follow Xander doing more mundane things while the rest of the Scoobies face some unnamed but super-serious apocalypse) but, you know, funnier. Because it involves a tiny, tiny demon (sorry…retroactive spoiler alert). Rest assured, if this blog sticks around for a couple more years, “Halloween” will be recapped here, too!

The episode opens with the gang carving pumpkins at Xander’s basement apartment. Buffy is still broody and miserable over her recent one night stand (that she wanted to be more) with Parker, and she’s kind of dragging down the mood of the party. Xander announces that he’s picked up a movie for the gang to watch on Halloween, and thanks to a mix-up, it turns to be that great horror classic, “Fantasia.” Willow mentions a big frat party that she thought everyone was planning to go to. Xander didn’t know about the party because he doesn’t go to UC Sunnydale, and he’s a little miffed at being left out of the loop. All is forgiven, though, when he’s invited to tag along. Still broody, Buffy decides to go home early without even carving one line in her pumpkin. On the way home, she accidentally punches a teen dressed in a costume. She thought he was a vampire or demon or something. Have I mentioned yet that mopey Buffy is kind of insufferable?

We next see Buffy and Willow at school getting lunch. Buffy is still complaining about the Parker situation, but Willow just wants to talk about how far she should go in her study of magic. She really wants Buffy’s encouragement to keep pushing the boundaries of what she can do with her powers. Oz catches up with the girls and expresses some concern about the idea of Willow doing increasingly more powerful magic. Buffy turns around at the end of the lunch line and sees Parker at a table chatting with friends. Of course, she hightails it out of the cafeteria as fast as she can. She tells Willow that she’ll probably have to go on patrol instead of going to the frat party. When she goes to visit Giles (who is dressed in an awesomely hilarious sombrero and poncho ensemble), however, she finds out that she won’t need to patrol, either. Apparently the supernatural denziens of Sunnydale find Halloween crass, so they stay mostly out of sight. Poor Giles is feeling so directionless since he isn’t an official Watcher anymore that he’s gone all-out with Halloween costuming and decorating.

Later in the afternoon, Anya shows up at Xander’s apartment. Their relationship is still in a sort-of murky, undefined phase, but they’re growing closer. Xander invites Anya to go to the frat party. Anya is a little skeptical. She openly wonders why Xander still hangs out with the Scoobies considering they don’t really have much in common anymore. This hits Xander in his insecure about not being in college like his friends soft spot. Anya is going to join everyone for the party, though, and Xander tells her to pick out a scary costume. Then Xander has to help Oz deliver a sound system to the frat house where the big party is to take place. They have quite the scary set-up, with peeled grape fake eyes and everything. The brothers are even painting a mystical sign on the floor. The conversation turns to how Xander’s a townie, which of course makes his insecurity even deeper. Oz manages to cut himself while trying to repair something on a speaker, and some of his blood drips on the mystical symbol. The air goes all wonky, and a fake spider comes to life. This can’t end well

After visiting Giles, Buffy goes to pick up her assignment from Professor Walsh because she missed class. She gets a reaming out from the Professor for skipping, but she gets some sympathy and a bit of a pep talk from Riley (ew). Riley convinces her to go to the frat party. Going to the party means that Buffy needs a costume, so she has her mom make some alterations to an old Little Red Riding Hood cape. Buffy has a nice heart-to-heart with her mom during the sewing, too. They talk about how even when you get hurt (like Buffy’s mom did in the divorce to Buffy’s father) and it’s tempting to be gun shy around other people for a while afterwards, you have to let people in eventually.

Finally, the Scoobies are on their way to the party. We’ve got Buffy as Little Red Riding Hood, Willow as Joan of Arc, Oz as God, and Xander as James Bond. As they walk to the frat house, they run into some strange military types, who we would learn in later episodes belong to the Initiative. Meanwhile, at the party, more of the fake Halloween accoutrements, like the grape eyeballs, have become real. The result is complete chaos. You wouldn’t know this from outside, though. When the gang gets to the house, there’s definitely not a jumpin’ party going on. As they make their way through the downstairs, things get more and more creepy, including a real spider falling on Willow. Anya arrives at the house after the rest of the gang has already entered, but there is no longer any door into the house. Anya really starts to freak out when she sees an upstairs window close itself off. She’s very worried for Xander. Dressed in a hilarious fluffy bunny costume, she goes to Giles for help.

Inside the house, things are progressively getting worse. The Scoobies want to leave, but they can’t find their way out. To make matters even worse, nobody can see or hear Xander anymore. The gang finds a traumatized frat boy in a hall closet who warns the gang that something is “alive.” That something turns out to be a plastic skeleton that attacks Buffy with a knife. Buffy’s injured, but not badly. She starts to gather up her weapons and wants to go on and find the monsters on her own. She doesn’t want to have to worry for her friends’ safety. This just leads to a big fight between Buffy and Willow about who should be in charge and if Willow’s magic is worthwhile. Xander tries to break the fight up, but he’s still invisible, so that doesn’t really go well. Buffy goes off on her own, and then Oz starts to wolf out. Oz in semi-werewolf form scratches Willow (I guess bite is required to turn someone into a werewolf in the Buffyverse) and runs off before he can hurt her more. Willow tries to do a guidance spell to find her way out of the house, but the little ball of light she calls up soon turns into a swarm, and they’re swarming like bees.

Buffy hears Willow screaming and starts running, trying to help her. She only succeeds in falling down into the house’s basement, though. While she’s laying on the ground, trying to catch her breath, hands start coming up out of the ground and grabbing her. It’s super creepy. Meanwhile, Giles and Anya arrive at the house. Giles announces that they “need to create a door,” and in my favorite moment of the episode, he whips out a chainsaw to do just that! Buffy finally escapes the basement and finds herself in an upstairs room with the rest of the Scoobies. It’s the room with the mystical marking, which we learn is the Mark of Gachnar. Anya and Giles (thanks to the chainsaw) join the rest of the Scoobies, and Giles starts explaining about how Gachnar is a fear demon and must not be allowed to cross over to our dimension. Acting too quickly, Buffy destroys the Mark, but that just means that Gachnar will appear immediately. It turns out that the gang didn’t really need to be afraid, though. He’s super tiny, and listing to him rant is quite funny. Buffy puts an end to Gachnar with some foot-stomping action. Back at Giles’ house, the Scoobies have a big of a candy pig-out. And Giles admits that he should have read the caption of Gachnar’s picture in his demon book more closely. It said “Actual Size.” Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fringe 4.03: "Alone in the World"

“Hey. I’m a little freaked out. You wanna talk about it?”

“Alone in the World” was a decent episode of “Fringe,” mostly because of the many great Walter moments, but there’s still something missing. Lincoln’s a wonderful character, and I’m really glad he’s a regular presence on the show now, but he doesn’t work as a complete replacement for Peter. He’s not fully developed enough yet. Plus, I miss the Peter/Olivia chemistry. And seriously, Bad Robot and FOX powers that be, if you’re thinking of setting up a Peter/Olivia/Lincoln love triangle for later in the season? Please don’t. Way too much time has been invested in setting up Peter and Olivia. Derailing that now would just be blatantly antagonizing viewers. Another issue I have is the continued use of this completely new universe. Is the world of the show in which I invested for three years (plus one other, fairly well developed alternative world) gone for good? I’ve always greatly respected the creative leaps the “Fringe” staff is willing to take. In fact, that’s why I think “Fringe” was the best network drama on television last year, but this feels like one leap too far, especially when this is likely to be the show’s last season. It would be a shame to spend the last time we have with these characters with iterations of them other than the ones we’ve grown to know over the past three years.

The episode opens with Walter having a chat with his therapist from St. Claire’s. Apparently these regular check-ups were part of the conditions for Walter’s release from the institution in this universe, presumably since Peter isn’t there to keep an eye on him. They’re having a civil conversation, although it’s clear Walter’s trying to hide the visions of Peter he’s been having, but then he sees a reflection of Peter in the therapist’s clipboard, and it all goes to Hell. Walter would continue to have these sorts of freak-outs intermittently throughout the episode, such as a time when he’s trying to explain something he needs for an experiment to Broyles, but he has to shout over Peter’s voice. The therapist has already raised concerns about Walter’s behavior after the session, so this isn’t looking good for him at all.

Then it’s time to introduce the mystery of the week (yes, there’s actually a pretty contained mystery this time around). We see a little kid chased into a creepy, cellar-like tunnel by two bullies. One of the bullies accuses the kid of ratting out the stash of drugs he was keeping in his school locker. Before they can start hurting the kid, though, something grabs on to the two bullies, and they’re clearly in pain. The kid manages to escape the tunnel before he’s caught, too. Meanwhile, at Fringe HQ, Olivia has called Lincoln in for a meeting. And it’s super awkward. Olivia basically wanted to let Lincoln know that if he freaks out over all the stuff he reads in the Fringe case files, she’s there to talk. Lincoln doesn’t quite know what to make of this, because he hasn’t freaked out yet. The awkwardness doesn’t end until Olivia is saved (as per usual) by a phone call from Broyles informing her of their latest case.

The two bullies from the tunnel look like they’ve completely decomposed in the few short hours since they died. Walter, unfortunately, doesn’t have any theories about what’s happened yet, even as Olivia and Lincoln check out the tunnel. There’s a break in the case when Olivia and Lincoln get a tip about a kid at a school, Aaron, who was regularly bullied by the two kids who died. They bring Aaron back to the lab, and he bonds a bit with Walter. Walter needs to draw some blood from Aaron for one of his experiments, and it trying to get Aaron, who is afraid of needles, comfortable, he mentions Peter. It becomes obvious that Walter is projecting the two-time loss of his son onto this new little boy. While all this bonding is going on, the body they have at the lab (the other bully’s body is at the morgue, and Walter wants it to do some extra tests) has been getting more and more moldy. Lovely picture, I know. Luckily, Walter notices this and puts it in containment right before it explodes and releases massive amounts of spores. Ah, a good, old-fashioned creepy and gross “Fringe” case.

Walter calls Olivia (who is with Lincoln at the morgue) right away, but nobody can get word in time to the morgue employees in the room with the second body that the moldiness is going to go ‘splodey any second. By the time Olivia and Lincoln make it to the room, the two employees, who we got to know in a very brief scene, are moldy themselves. Olivia, Lincoln, and some other FBI folks put on hazmat suits and check out the now thoroughly moldy examination room. Walter, after doing some more tests, tells the rest of the team that he thinks powerful UV light will kill this fungus just like it would any fungus. That should work just fine for the examination room, but Olivia has a better idea for the original tunnel. Flame throwers.

While the Fringe plans are all clicking into place, Walter and Aaron have some more bonding time. Walter makes milkshakes, which are most likely sure to be a hit with any tween. Aaron then takes the opportunity to ask some questions about what happened to Peter. Walter gets very somber as he talks about how the original Peter from our universe died of the mysterious illness (just like in the original timeline), but “our” Peter drowned in the lake as Walter tried to kidnap him instead of being saved by September the Observer. And boy must that sound super confusing if you aren’t a regular “Fringe”-watcher. Meanwhile, Olivia and Lincoln find a big hole in the wall of the tunnel that is of course housing a massive amount of fungus. As the Fringe team starts to shine light on and burn the fungus, Aaron starts seriously freaking out. He also gets so feverish that he passes out. Walter calls Olivia and asks her to stop whatever they’re doing to the fungus.

Olivia calls off the flamethrowers and starts doing a little investigating. She finds some drawings and turns them over to Walter. Walter confronts Aaron with the drawings because they suggest Aaron has been to the tunnel before. It turns out that not only was he a frequent tunnel-visitor, but he also has developed a psychic bond with the fungus. Psychic fungus, yay! Or not. Walter explains to the rest of the team that each colony of fungus is like a big brain (which immediately makes me think of a few episodes of “Futurama” in particular. In response, Broyles gives Walter two hours to try and break the psychic link between Aaron and the Fungus before they call in the flamethrowers again. The fungus is spreading, and they can’t let it keep doing that.

As the time keeps ticking down, Walter gets a little desperate and wants to essentially lobotomize Aaron to try and save him. Thankfully, Olivia convinces Walter that cutting out the sections of Aaron’s brain that seem to be linked with the fungus would be a really bad idea. The fungus is spreading even further than anyone originally thought, so Broyles decides to move up the timetable on the destruction. A Massive Dynamic tech (I was wondering if it was Brandon) administers a toxin to the fungus in the tunnel just before the fungus fights back and kills him. Aaron is not doing well at all, and Walter realizes the true nature of the psychic connection. Aaron’s the one controlling the emotional link between himself and the fungus because he was lonely. Poor kid- his only friends are some sentient fungus and a crazy mad scientist. Walter pleads with Aaron, invoking the losses he suffered with Peter, to get Aaron to finally release the fungus. Aaron eventually does as he’s asked, the fungus dies and Aaron doesn’t, an Lincoln, who was also hit in a fungus attack, starts to recover (in Olivia’s arms no less…that can’t be going anywhere good).

Once the fungus threat is over, Aaron is wheeled off to the hospital. Walter briefly considers going with him to keep him company (a good idea considering Aaron’s abandonment issues and all), but then he sees another image of Peter. It totally freaks him out to the extent that he starts trying to do brain surgery on himself. Thankfully, Olivia finds him before he can do any real damage. It turn out she’s been seeing Peter too. He appears in her dreams. Walter is overjoyed at the news that someone else has shared the same hallucination, because it means he isn’t going crazy. Or going more crazy, as the case really is. He’s plenty crazy without seeing and hearing strange apparitions of Peter!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Person of Interest 1.03: "Mission Creep"

Here's Sarah with another "Person of Interest" write-up. Enjoy!


“You’re playing a dangerous game and I’m not sure I understand why.”
- Detective Carter

We begin this week with Reese showing up at HQ and finding Finch asleep at his desk. Reese tells Finch he’s feeling guilty about blowing Finch’s cover and has been looking for a new cover position. Finch isn’t interested. The machine’s given them the number of a former Marine, Joey Durbin. He works as a doorman for a hotel in Midtown. It’s quite clear Reese identifies with Joey. Both being ex military and having seen the same things overseas. Reese even worked with a portion of Joey’s unit in Iraq. So he’s off to tail Joey and see what he comes up with. The first eight hours prove boring for Reese, though Joey gets a garbled text message which Reese sends to Finch to decipher. At this point Joey’s on the move (visiting his girlfriend, Pia, who waited six years for him to get back from deployment, and window shopping). When Reese calls to give Finch the text message, we find Finch doing pushups while reading a book. It was rather amusing. Reese follows Joey into a bank and not two seconds later, three men in masks (Joey makes four) come in and rob the bank.

This week is apparently going to be more Reese flashbacks. We jump back to 2006, and Reese runs into Jessica. She asks when he got back state-side but he tells her he’s heading back overseas. When she asks why he’s not in uniform he makes a sort of shady comment that he’s got a new job. We’ll see this flashback play out over the course of the episode. Back in the present, Reese follows Joey to a meeting with a young blond woman and witnesses an exchange of money. And they also find the courier for the bank robbers, a guy named Willis who was also in Joey’s unit in Afghanistan. Finch also finds that Willis stopped at a bar on Coney Island called the Green Zone, run by former Master Sergeant Sam Lattimer (aka Captain Montgomery from Castle). So Reese pays Lattimer a visit to try and get in with the bank crew. Meanwhile Finch is busy creating a vacancy for Reese. He leaves some guns in the trunk of Willis’s cab and the cops pull him over. Good job Finch.

Over at police headquarters, Detective Carter gets to know a robbery detective. Apparently at the bank robbery the day before, they printed the guard’s holster that Reese touched to keep the guard from getting shot. Carter points out that the robbers are likely soldiers. Not looking good for Reese. Well, not from the police angle. From his perspective, it’s looking pretty good. He got a call from Lattimer. He wants Reese (who is going by Miller) to meet the team. Turns out Lattimer’s version of “meet the team” is having them kidnap Reese, drag him to a dark alley and threaten to shoot him if they don’t like him. He manages to sweet talk his way out of a bullet between the eyes by saying he trusted their unit in 2005 and they trusted him. It works enough to get a burner phone. Back at HQ, Reese says he doesn’t think Joey is the kind of killer that can do it up close and personal. Time to find out who is gunning for Joey.

Reese is back to following Joey who shows up where Pia works to talk to her. Joey kind of blows off her request to see apartments with her that night. And as Reese watches, we get the second part of the flashback. It turns out that Jessica got engaged to a guy named Peter back east while Reese was away. Jessica says she waited for Reese but he reminds her that he didn’t ask her to do that. She says that he just left without saying anything to her because he figured he’d die and he didn’t want to hurt her but Jessica thinks it was because he wanted to be alone. Reese explains that you learn in war that you’re alone and no one will save you. Cheerful guy, isn’t he?

Over at police HQ, Carter and her robbery buddy are getting further on the bank robbers. The radios they use are military issue (no surprise there) and Fort Drum reported a shipment stolen six months ago. She’s also surprised that they’ve pulled a dozen jobs together without imploding. Meanwhile, Reese spies Joey watching the blond woman pick up a little girl from school. By the way Joey’s watching, Reese guesses it is his daughter. And while Finch tries to ID the girl, Reese is going to have a little one-on-one with Joey. They “run into” each other at a bar and bond a little bit. It gets even better when a couple banker snobs try to butt in to the conversation and after being told to use his head, Reese head butts the nearest guy. He leans that Joey has what he calls an obligation, though denies it to support a child. He does explain that Straub has gambling debts. Finch also has some intel. The girl’s name is Amy. But there was no father listed on the birth certificate so he’s going to dig deeper.

Reese is going to do a little surveillance on Straub. Straub meets with Lattimer, saying he needs more money or else the guys he owes will take his mother’s apartment. Lattimer says he’s got a job tonight that will score $400,000. When Straub brings sup the fact he needs to split the $200,000 he’d be getting with the rest of the gang, Lattimer says he doesn’t care how he splits the money. Either way he’ll have enough to pay his debts and retire. We are shown a photo of two other Marines who Lattimer says are retired. Lattimer assures Straub that if something were to go wrong and they had casualties on the team, the split would still be 50/50.

The cops are getting ever closer to the gang. They’ve put a trace on Teddy Dalloway’s phone (the driver). Carter and her robbery buddy show up to where the gang is going to be robbing (a gambling hall). Luckily, Reese has Finch monitoring the police band and hears when they call for back up. He gets the gang out before back up arrives. Straub is not happy they left so much money behind. Carter looks pretty pissed when they bust in to find just the patrons there. The next morning, Straub is filling in Lattimer about what happened and neither seems overly pleased. They’ve got another job and Lattimer tells Straub to watch Reese. They might need him to get in but they really don’t need him to get out. And Finch shuts down Reese’s theory that Joey is Amy’s father. Turns out the father was Joey’s best friend who got blown up in Afghanistan on a shift that Joey was supposed to take. So now Joey feels obligated to take care of her. But Reese fails to talk Joey out of doing the job. And he also fails to talk Pia into giving up on Joey if he doesn’t come around soon. Reese really has some mixed emotions about all this. I’ve no doubt he sees himself and Jessica a little in Joey and Pia. So he tells Finch that once he knows the next job, Finch can call the cops to round up the whole gang.

Carter has ID’d the two Marines that Lattimer told Straub were in retirement. They were both shot in the head. Not a good sign for the rest of the gang. We find Lattimer on the phone with a mystery man. Looks like the current gang is about to get replaced once the job is complete. The gang is en route to the evidence lock up and Straub makes Reese ditch his phone and earwig. So much for staying in communication with Finch. But it looks like Finch is a step ahead. When the guys get there, Finch is trying to get some evidence, and it’s enough for him to get a message to Reese. Lattimer is going to kill them. They find what they’re looking for, but Teddy get’s shot by a guard. They make it out of the building and to the van where Lattimer is waiting, but he shoots Straub and Teddy before speeding off. Reese peppers the van with bullets but it doesn’t do much. Carter shows up and takes the radio she finds on Straub. He does get Joey out of the line of fine and successfully convinces him to get out of New York with Pia.

Carter gets on the radio and has a little conversation with Reese, but it doesn’t turn up much for her. He is going to take his chances doing what he does and see what happens. She’s convinced he’ll end up dead or in prison in the end. Reese goes to find Lattimer to tie up loose ends, but he’s too late. Whoever Lattimer was working for shot him after taking the evidence that the gang stole. It’s got the name Elias on it and so Finch has something to look for. We end with the conclusion of Reese’s flashback. Jessica asks Reese to ask her to wait for him and she would, saying it would take real courage to do it. She walks away and he whispers it mostly to himself. So now we’ve got a season-long mystery on our hands.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Body of Proof 2.03: "Missing"

Sarah joins us again with a "Body of Proof" write-up. Enjoy!


“Daddy killed himself, we suffered and I miss him. How is that a point of family pride?”
- Megan

We begin this week in a park where a little boy, Noah Parker, is being kidnapped. A woman, his nanny named Helen, sees him and tries to save him, but a man grabs her and pushes her to the ground. When she chases after the car that has Noah, she gets run over and is killed. Megan and Peter arrive on scene to find Bud (Sam’s training down at Quantico) and lots of campaign signs for Megan’s mom. Megan’s not pleased. And she points out rather quickly that Helen put up a fight before she died. She also discovers a child’s inhaler. Noah has asthma and is now without his medication. At Noah’s house Bud and Special Agent Ames are meeting with his parents. They don’t seem to know anyone who would want to go after them or Helen.

Agent Ames is intent on going to see Megan about theories. Bud warns him to be careful what he wishes for (after they discuss the odds of finding Noah alive and they aren’t positive). Megan tasks Curtis and Ethan with finding out the make and model of the car that killed Helen. Ames shows up and tells Megan she’s working too fast and that she can’t let her emotions and her heart get in the way of the investigation. I really dislike this guy. He’s messing with our team. Megan discovers some day-old bruises on Helen’s shoulder and agrees to join Ames in looking through Helen’s room once she’s found cause of death.

At the precinct, Peter and Bud are talking to the witnesses and other nannies that knew Helen. They all seem to think she was great, but they do mention that she had a boyfriend, Oscar, who they think was hitting her. Bud and Peter bring Oscar in for questioning, but he denies taking Noah or killing Helen. He loved her and she was his world. They’re not all that impressed, but for now they’re looking elsewhere for suspects. Megan shows up to find the Parker house crawling with feds. Megan has cause of death. Not surprisingly, Helen died on impact. And just as Ames shares that all he found in Helen’s room were a few discarded photos of Oscar, Noah’s mother gets a call. Noah managed to get hold of a phone for a few seconds but it wasn’t long enough to trace the call. But at least for the moment, they know he’s alive.

Curtis and Ethan have found the type of car the kidnapped drove and identified the only guy with priors and a huge debt, Jason Peterson. They also took the liberty of updating the Amber Alert. Megan is collecting trace from under Helen’s nails when her mother calls and then shows up at in autopsy. She wants Megan to go to lunch with her and her publicist but Megan is not interested. Just as her mom asks if she’s working on Noah’s case, Ethan shows up with the news that Bud arrested Jason Peterson. Things get very dicey, very quickly. Bud hauls Jason into the precinct and locks himself in interrogation. He cuts video feed and the next thing we know, Jason is dead. Megan is really pissed and confronts Bud, even though Peter tells her not to. She’s dubious of the injuries on Jason’s neck and flank but Peter tries to explain those as injuries that could have happened in order for Bud to subdue Jason.

Kate’s decided to assist Megan with the autopsy on Jason. The case brings up some old memories. She worked a missing child case early on in her time in the ME’s office and unfortunately, the child didn’t make it. The team discovers that there was a fungus under Helen’s nails that likely was transferred from Jason. It’s a bioluminescent fungus (hooray for glow in the dark) and that means it came from somewhere dark and damp. Even though Bud is off the case, he stops by Peter’s office to give him evidence that he thinks Jason left in his car. It could be Noah’s. Peter tells Bud he’ll pass it along to Megan but that Bud can’t be around the case anymore. He also expresses his displeasure with Bud’s tactics. I can totally agree with him. First of all, it wasn’t necessary to cut the camera. And even if they don’t normally tape the interrogations, they could have had more proof of what Bud did or didn’t do to Jason.

Megan is working late that night and calls Lacey to make sure she’s okay. And once again, Megan’s mom shows up. She’s got abstracts of every case where Jason was mentioned. Megan asks what the quid pro quo is (it is an election year after all), but her mother says she doesn’t want anything. And she wants to know what she said that’s set Megan off now. Megan pulls out her mom’s campaign pamphlet with a photo of them after Megan’s father’s death. Megan says it was the worst day of her life and every time her mom runs for election to the bench, she has to relive it. The next day, Megan runs into Ames at the office. She’s found blood mixed with the saliva on Noah’s toy and she’s got the team looking into it, and she’s about to head to see his parents. Ames questions if that’s the best use of Megan’s time since she hasn’t found a cause of death on Jason Peterson yet. She just gives him an annoyed look.

At the Parker house, Megan asks his mom if Noah had an asthma attack recently. Mrs. Parker doesn’t see how that helps but then breaks down, saying that she and her husband have been arguing a lot lately with work stresses. The FBI techs get an image of Noah holding a sign that is asking for 1 million dollars and he’s really sick. Megan tries to tell Ames she’ll have evidence he can use to help find Jason’s accomplice (who likely knows the Parkers) in an hour. She really shouldn’t have said that. Kate makes a comment that Megan isn’t the first to get swept away from by Ames. Megan reminds Kate that she’s got a boyfriend (and for once, there’s no tension between them about Todd at all).

Megan finds what looks like an insect in some of Jason’s tissues that he could have swallowed. Meanwhile, Bud shows up in Peter’s office again, begging to know what’s going on. Peter tells Bud to expect the worst. Internal Affairs getting ready to consider voluntary manslaughter and Bud doesn’t seem to care and won’t tell Peter what happened. Ethan bursts in, as he usually does, with news that he found cocaine cut with a weight-loss drug in Jason’s teeth. Ames brings in a dealer (who we assume Bud identifies), but the dealer denies knowing Jason. Ames gets the dealer to tell him where all of Jason’s hideouts were. They’re scattered all over the city but between the poor air quality needed for Noah to get sick so fast and for the bug that Jason swallowed to be alive, they narrow it down to one place. But they’re too late. The accomplice and Noah are gone. And worse yet, Megan realizes Noah has pneumonia.

Megan and Kate are back to trying to find cause of death on Jason Peterson. It turns out he had an infection that spread to his blood and eventually burst an artery. Bud didn’t kill him after all. And Bud is more than just a little relieved to hear it. He admits to Megan that he thought he really had killed Jason. Ethan pops by to explain the cause of the infection; vaporizer lung. Sounds awful to me. Ames and Megan are at the Parker house in Noah’s room, and Ames shares the news that Mr. Parker’s company bankrupted the year before giving him motive (according to Ames). Megan explains to the Parkers about vaporizer lung and Ames can’t help but try to implicate Mr. Parker for being Jason’s accomplice (he had to get into the room somehow).

The interrogation turns into a shouting match between Mr. Parker and Bud. But once both of them calm down, Mr. Parker says he and his wife were out of town over the weekend a few weeks earlier. The team figures out Oscar wasn’t involved because he was in the hospital and Helen was with him. So she likely entrusted Noah to another nanny. And thanks to the bioluminescent fungus, Megan figures out who it is. But they’re a little stuck. They need a warrant on a Sunday morning. So of course Megan goes to her mother (not that she’ll tell Ames that). He takes the nanny (Rina) inside to go room by room to try and find Noah, but Megan checks outside. She spots a rusty hatchway door and they get to Noah in time to save him. He’s reunited with his parents and all is well. Mostly. Ames tries to ask Megan out but she turns him down (I don’t think I could stand I they went out). Back at the lab, Megan is saying her last goodbyes to Helen when her mother shows up again. She’ brought with her an article about Megan’s father’s death and says that the worst four hours of her life were when she got home and Megan wasn’t there. Megan’s mom just wants her back in her life (and campaign support). Yeah, we’ll see how that goes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Girl 1.03: "Wedding"

“This is the first job I’ve had in like two months, dude, and I really want to just get in there and ush this wedding in the face.”

“Wedding” was my favorite of the “New Girl” episodes that have aired thus far. Mostly because of the slow-motion Chicken Dance at the end of the episode. Any good Pennsylvanian, even those of us who aren’t from the “Pennsyltucky” part of the state, can appreciate a good Chicken Dance. I first learned the dance at the roller skating rink in my hometown that was the happening place to have birthday parties. Anyway, I also liked this episode because it took some major steps in character development and building the relationships between all the characters. Jess really stood up for herself, which I liked. It was different from how she stood up to her lousy ex-boyfriend in “Kryptonite.” That was more about acknowledging that it was time to let the relationship go. This time, she stood up for who she is at the core. She decided it’s okay to be quirky, even if it annoys the guys sometimes. And, even better, Jess finally embracing her quirkiness leads to everyone having a much more fun time.

The guys and Jess are all going to a friend’s wedding. Winston is an usher, and Jess is going as Nick’s date. Caroline is going to be there, and the guys think that having Jess along will help him handle it without becoming his usual weepy mess. The guys don’t approve of the first dress Jess wants to wear to the wedding, but when she tries on the second one, we get a rehash of the “oh, she’s actually hot” spoiled by Jess doing something strange moment from the pilot. This time, it’s fake teeth that spoil the mood, like the kids use to freak out their teacher in “A Christmas Story” (my favorite Christmas movie, by the way). Jess also informs the guys that if they end up doing the Chicken Dance at the wedding, she does a pecking movement as the final dance move instead of a clap.

The gang arrives at the wedding, and we quickly set up the three storylines for the episode. One of those plots is Schmidt trying to figure out who he’s going to take home with him from the wedding. He rather desperately wants to go after Brooke, a woman he’s had a thing for since college. And now that he’s lot significant weight since his college days, she might be interested. She’s also recently sober, so Schmidt kind of gets himself in trouble by claiming he’s recently sober too…right before the bartender delivers his drink. There’s also Gretchen, a kind of nasty woman who Schmidt has a history of banging at pretty much every wedding they both attend. She’s the only character we’ve seen yet who can completely overpower Schmidt with feelings of insecurity.

The second storyline also involves insecurity. Winston arrives at the ceremony to see that the tween “Alternate Usher” has already started to do his job. Winston was wary of going to the wedding in the first place, because he wasn’t looking forward to having to answer the “so what are you doing these days” question. He hasn’t held down a job since he returned from playing basketball in Latvia. The two have a bit of an ush-off, which each trying to charm the ladies into letting them escort them to their seats. At the reception, this turns into a dance off. The dance-off is pretty evenly matched until Winston scares off the kid by grinding with Jess.

The main plot is, of course, the drama between Nick, Caroline, and Jess. Jess does very well at making Caroline jealous when they first meet at the ceremony, and Nick is very pleased about this outcome. At the reception, though, Nick asks to talk to Caroline alone, and Jess reluctantly agrees. And that’s when things really start to go south. Nick is completely enamored with Caroline again, and Winston tells Jess that this is a serious problem. Caroline considers Nick her back-up plan and always ends up hurting him. Jess tries to fix the situation by getting Nick’s attention with a dance, but to say it doesn’t work would be an understatement. He leaves the table to go get a drink with Caroline, telling Jess that he thinks he has a chance with her again.

Meanwhile, Schmidt manages to cause even more trouble for Jess. Jess goes to him for help with the Nick situation, but she’s being typically Jess-like about the whole thing, and Brooke is a bit disdainful about Schmidt associating himself with someone quirky. To get out of that pickle, Schmidt makes up this elaborate story about how Jess is his psycho ex-girlfriend who just can’t let go. This turns out to be a very bad thing when Brooke runs into Jess in the ladies room. Jess had been wearing tight bicycle shorts as makeshift Spanx, and she decided to cut herself out of them when she got too uncomfortable. Jess tries to talk up Schmidt to Brook, but Brooke takes it way the wrong way when Jess accidentally points the knife she was using to cut the shorts at her.

Jess storms over to the a photo booth where Nick and Caroline had been taking pictures to confront Nick directly. Caroline ends up confessing that she has a boyfriend, and this of course sends Nick into an instant downward spiral. Schmidt and Winston are kind of pissed at Jess for not properly taking care of Nick, and thankfully Jess has had it with their rudeness. She’s going back to being herself, and she’s going to spend the rest of the wedding having fun. I was so glad Jess made this choice. She really needs to stand up for herself more often. Jess ends up sitting at a table blowing bubbles (the guys had tried to keep her away from the bubbles before). Winston approaches her and tries to mend fences. He says they’re all glad she’s around, even Nick, although they aren’t always good at showing it. Schmidt interrupts the rather sweet conversation to let them know that they have a serious Nick situation on their hands.

Since Jess went off on her own, Nick has gone on a drunken rant that was recorded for the bride and groom’s wedding video, and he has taken up residence in the photo booth. Which pisses off many of the guests, obviously. Jess goes into the photo booth (which Nick claims he lives in now) and manages to talk Nick down. I guess their common status as recent dumpees helps Jess get through to Nick. Nick is inspired by Jess to let go of Caroline for good. Or at least he tells Caroline he’s letting go for good. Whether it sticks remains to be seen. Nick then approaches Jess as a slow song comes on and asks for a dance. I expected a sappy romantic moment between them (which I wouldn’t have minded), but what we got is even better. They started Chicken Dancing to the slow song. Schmidt and Winston even join in, and it is glorious! Oh, and Schmidt ends up with Gretchen at the end of the night, poor guy. So all of you out in MTVP-land, any thoughts on which of the guys the writers are hoping we’ll root for Jess to end up with? It’s a close call for me, even though it’s becoming obvious that we’re supposed to expect Nick will be the first.

Ringer 1.04: "It's Gonna Kill Me, But I'll Do It"

Sarah's helping me out again with another write-up of "Ringer." Enjoy!


“My sister did something unforgivable. She ruined her life, just one bad choice after another until I didn’t even recognize her anymore. I’m ashamed of what she did. I should have been able to help her, save her.”
- Bridget

We begin this week with what obviously is a dream. Bridget walks in to the Martin home with shopping bags and Andrew confronts her as Bridget. He tells her that she lied to everyone and that he doesn’t want her apology. But there is someone she needs to apologize to. She turns around to see a dead Siobhan. She wakes up in a bit of a cold sweat. Andrew comes in and seems to be in a good mood. When he makes note that she’s not been sleeping well for weeks, she suggests she could go to the Hamptons for the weekend to get out of the city. It quickly turns into a trip for two when Andrew tells her he won’t let her spend her birthday alone. She’d completely forgotten it was her birthday. I can understand that. That morning, Bridget heads out to the Hamptons before Andrew gets back from work and retrieves her bag with her ID as Bridget from a storage locker. Too bad Victor had the place under surveillance and he’s got proof she took it.

Bridget gets back to the house and makes a call to Malcolm but leaves a message. Poor guy is probably in a really bad place. Just as Bridget is about to stow the bag in a closet, Andrew arrives early. He’s pawned his work off on Olivia. I’m sure she’s really pleased (sarcasm much?). Andrew and “Siobhan” end up on the beach at the Hamptons, and she quickly nixes the idea of going out on the boat. She plays it off as the thought makes her nauseous because of the baby, and he buys it. Andrew swears this year will be different between them. He won’t let work get in the way. They head back to the house and have a good-spirited debate about the merits of soccer when they hear something crash. Andrew grabs a poker from the fireplace, intending to be all manly, only to discover Henry and Gemma. The weekend trip for two has now become a foursome. Gemma tries to brush it off that they were having a discussion and the vase that is now smashed on the ground just broke. Henry says she threw it at him. It’s quite clear they are very unhappy. But they’re going to stay the weekend anyway. This is going to get awkward.

At police HQ, Victor is getting rather excited. He’s going to try and find Bridget by finding evidence she’s been in touch with Siobhan. Victor’s really determined to find Bridget. We’ll see how well that works. “Siobhan” and Gemma are out getting coffee, and Gemma explains how things have just been so bad lately. They couldn’t even handle a 2 hour car ride together without sniping. Bridget obviously feels really bad for what Siobhan did to Gemma by sleeping with Henry. They part ways for a little bit and we get our first flashback to Bridget and Siobhan as kids. It’s their birthday, and they’re about ten or eleven, and they see a necklace in a jewelry store window. They’ve only got $20 so they decide to buy one necklace and share. They will alternate who gets to wear it. It definitely informs the rest of the episode. As Gemma is looking at hats, Victor pops up and says he has some questions for her. He shows her a picture of Bridget and when Gemma calls her Siobhan, Victor drops the “she’s got a twin sister” bombshell.

Gemma gets back to the house and confronts “Siobhan” about why she never mentioned Bridget. “Siobhan” feeds Gemma a line about how they fell out of each other’s lives because Bridget did something unforgivable. She says it was ruining her life with bad choices, but obviously it has something to do with the little boy from the pilot. Gemma has nothing but sympathy for “Siobhan” and promises not to tell Andrew. We get another flashback, this one only to six years previous, when Bridget shows up to find Siobhan packing. She’s moving to New York with Andrew. She tosses the necklace they bought years earlier on the ground at Bridget’s feet and says she doesn’t want to ever get it back.

Segue to Paris in the present. Siobhan is in the lounge at the hotel about to light a cigarette when she stops, presumably because of the baby she’s now carrying. She spots Tyler walking through the lounge and attempts to approach him when she finds him on the arm some brunette. She tries to apologize, but he’s really not interested. As he walks off, Siobhan gets a call from whoever she’s working with. They’ve now hit a snag.

Back in New York, Bridget is trying to sneak off to dispose of the bag and ID when a drunken Henry corners her. She tells him the affair is over and when he asks her why she’s acting like the last year never happened, we get yet another flashback to her birthday a year ago where Siobhan and Henry are sharing a very passionate night together. Siobhan begs Henry to read to her from his latest manuscript, even though it’s only a first draft. As Henry gets up to get the manuscript, he notices an envelope addressed to Siobhan. It’s the necklace from Bridget. Siobhan doesn’t say much when Henry asks, only that it was from an old friend and they used to pass it back and forth. In the present, “Siobhan” makes it clear that she cares about Andrew and Gemma and doesn’t want to hurt them anymore. Henry storms off, leaving Bridget to make it out to the beach to burn the bag and its contents.

In Paris, Siobhan narrowly avoids getting booted from her hotel because she doesn’t have the money to extend her stay when Tyler swoops in to the save the day. They end up at an outdoor café, and Siobhan says she’s just been having a crappy week. She’d always dreamed of going to Paris (took lessons and everything) but now she’s here alone because her husband never took her. She says she left him and ran away, so he doesn’t know she’s in Parris. Which is true. It’s also true that someone drained her savings account, so she’s got no money. And she plays the “it’s my birthday and I’m pitiful” card. Tyler eats it up and decides to take her out to celebrate. Somehow, I’m pretty sure that’s feeding into whatever plan she’s got.

Stateside, one of the detectives Victor is working with found a citation for the Martin’s boat. It was taken out the day Bridget went missing, and someone returned it to the wrong slip. But no surveillance was able to catch either sister anywhere near the boat. The detective did, however, did get a US Coast Guard recording. That doesn’t bode well for “Siobhan”. Meanwhile, Andrew has hired a chef and set up an elaborate set of gifts for “Siobhan”. She says it’s too much and her cover slips a little as she eats a piece of meat. Apparently the real Siobhan has gone vegetarian. She blames it on the pregnancy (that is getting a little old Bridget) and rushes off for a moment alone. She puts on the necklace and Henry catches her. They have another whispered argument about the affair, but Henry says he’ll walk away if that’s what “Siobhan” wants. He just doesn’t understand how one minute she could be with him and look at him like he was the only person that mattered, and now, she looks at Andrew that way. The pregnancy comes up again, and unfortunately (though not all that unexpectedly), Gemma’s listening in. She tries to keep it together at dinner but rushes off. Henry says he’ll go talk to her but “Siobhan says she’ll handle it.

We hop to Paris for a brief moment to see that Siobhan and Tyler spent the night together. Not all that surprising. He’s brought her a croissant with a candle in it since they never had cake the night before. And he’s taken care of her hotel situation. Nice guy. Stupid, but nice. While he’s in the bathroom finishing getting ready for work, she steals a Martin-Charles folder from his briefcase and hides it under the sheets. She calls her cohort once Tyler’s left and says the plan (whatever that may be) is back on and that Tyler extended her stay on the company dime.

In the Hamptons, Bridget heads inside to find Gemma, makes another call to Malcolm and gets accosted by Victor. He really does need to learn some boundaries. He plays the Coast Guard recording and “Siobhan” feeds him a line about how she and Bridget argued on the boat and that’s why she made the call. She went to find the duffle bag to see if it could lead her to Bridget. She basically tells Victor to get out, and she leaves. He saunters towards the door but picks up her phone to see she’s been calling Malcolm. And if there wasn’t enough drama in this week’s episode, Gemma explodes and threatens to tell Andrew about the affair. To try and keep things quiet, “Siobhan” blurts the truth that she is in fact Bridget.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

HIMYM 7.04: "The Stinson Missile Crisis

“The truth is, I thought I’d be married by now and going through all this stuff alongside you guys. But even if I meet the girl of my dreams right this second, I’m still one night and nine months away from having a family of my own. And that’s assuming the mother of my children is just a huge slut.”

I expected to hate this episode because it was the beginning of the relationship between Robin and her therapist, Kevin, played by Kal Penn. But the truth is, it was pretty decent. I wouldn’t put it in the upper echelons of HIMYM with “Slap Bet” and “Slapsgiving,” but I didn’t hate it, either. The only thing that gave me pause was that this episode saw a bit of a return to Cartoon Barney. Regular readers (all one, maybe two of you) will know that I am a firm supporter of the Evolution of Barney and don’t really enjoy when the HIMYM powers that be him regress to his cartoon, joke delivery system state from the first half of season 1. As much as it pains me to admit it, Kal Penn and Cobie Smulders have decent chemistry, enough that their squick-inducing therapist/patent relationship may be tolerable until Robin and Barney (inevitably…I hope…please?) get back together. The B story of the episode, which involved Ted figuring out how involved he should be in Marshall and Lily’s pregnancy hit a particular chord with me as well, since my college roommate and her husband, who I always said would be the Marshall and Lily to my Ted if we all lived in the same city, are pregnant, too. I find I love HIMYM best when it really speaks to something I’m going through as a late 20-something.

The episode opens with a framing device that’s a little different than usual. Instead of Ted telling a drawn-out story to his kids, Robin is telling a drawn-out story to Kevin because she’s at court-mandated therapy following an assault charge. She’s telling him the long version of how she ended up being charged with assault, intertwining it with the story about Ted figuring out how much to intrude on Marshall and Lily’s pregnancy. Kevin occasionally expresses exasperation with how long it’s taking Robn to get to the important part of the story (why she committed assault), and I imagine that’s how Ted’s kids often react during one of his stories. That’s probably what we’d see if the producers didn’t need to rely on stock reaction shot footage of the kids to make them look the same age after all these years. Anyway, Robin opens her story by telling Keving about how it hurt to see Barney wooing Nora. Since Robin and Nora are coworkers, she’d see every time Barney had something sweet like flowers or chocolate delivered. There was also a time when he started singing “When a Man Loves a Woman” right in the middle of the office. Robin ended up drunk under her desk after that one. I wished Barney was singing for Robin, but I’m never going to complain about a chance to hear Neil Patrick Harris sing!

Meanwhile, Marshall, Lily, and Ted are at MacLaren’s, doing their usual after work socializing thing. Lily takes a sip of wine and tells Ted that her OB/GYN, Dr. Sonya, has said that all sorts of usual pregnancy no-nos are okay if it’s “just a little bit.” Which is probably true, but Ted doesn’t see it that way. He says he’s going to research it all himself, since he’s part of “Team Baby.” He’s got a custom-printed t-shirt and everything. Which really doesn’t surprise me. Later, Ted is so invested in “Team Baby” that he intrudes on Lily’ OB/GYN appointment to present Dr. Sonya with all the research he found about things that are bad to eat/drink during pregnancy. This really, seriously pisses Lily off, and she yells at Ted to get out of the exam room. There’s a funny flashback of Ted not understanding the “sock on the doorknob” signal and accidentally walking in on Marshall and Lily. I think this was to illustrate how Ted has always sort of been the meddlesome third wheel.

Robin goes back to telling the main story, and she mentions that she strted trying to come up with ways to get Nora to go far away. At work, Sandy announces that he needs someone to cover the G8 Summit in France. Robin volunteers Nora to go, but when Sandy says he was going to ask Nora in the first place, Robin suddenly wants to be the one chosen for the assignment. Later at MacLaren’s the gang finds out that Barney is still running game, despite being with Nora. He manages to shoo Nora out of the bar just before a woman approaches him and days she saw his advertisement for a free breast reduction consultation. It turns out that Barney has “Bimbo Delivery Systems” in place, and he hasn’t dismantled them just yet, even though he’s dating Nora. My personal favorite was Arnie Linson, the attorney who advertises that he’ll represent people who want to sue that fraudulent plastic surgeon, Barney Stinson. Robin offers to help barney dismantle all his Bimbo Delivery Systems. Kevin thinks this was a ploy to try and win Barney, back, and he’d be right about that.

Meanwhile, while folding laundry, Marshall tells Lily that he feels bad for Ted because it’s difficult to be the third wheel. We see through flashes that Ted indeed is not taking the new distance form his friends well. He’s crying over a photograph of the three of them in an awkward themed Halloween costume group- salt, pepper, and cumin. Oh, and Marshall’s not sure he likes Dr. Sonya, either, much to Lily’s chagrin. Lily wants to be able to keep having sips of wine and eating soft cheeses. Marshall decides that Ted should be back on Team Baby, and Ted, of course, immediately takes his leeway too far. He signs them all up for a birthing class, which Lily explicitly said she doesn’t want to do this early. Only Marshall and Ted actually show up for the class, which results in all kinds of awkwardness as they do the class activities together. Ted eventually starts to feel bad about going against Lily’s wishes, and he and Marshall leave the class. Marshall goes home to apologize to Lily, and we flash forward to their child’s birth. Dr. Sonya is much more of a hardass during labor and delivery than she is during pregnancy, and Marshall hasn’t made it to the hospital yet.

Over at Barney’s apartment, Robin is helping Barney dismantle all his Bimbo Delivery Devices once and for all. Barney has a hilarious sad phone conversation with “Port Authority Mitch,” who would alert him to any especially vulnerable wanna-be starlets who arrived at the bus terminal. We also learned about a flamboyant hair dresser character Barney would sometimes use. Then there’s the Cold Call 5000 that was set up to cold call people in Barney’s perfect target demographic. Robin and Barney wind down at MacLaren’s, and Robin starts trying to convince Barney that they should get dressed up and go out on the town (mostly in response to a cringe inducing sequence where he says she’s a “Bro” over and over). She just about succeeds when Nora gets back early from her assignment in France. Robin ends up drunk under a MacLaren’s table this time. It turns out that Robin accidentally activated the Cold Call 5000 on her way out of Barney’s apartment, and a cold called girl shows up at MacLaren’s wanting to know where Barney is. Against her better judgment, she tells the woman that Barney is at a café down the street. Next thing we know, we see where the assault charge came from. While Barney and Nora are having a nice meal, Robin (who I guess is feeling some remorse) is tackling the Cold Call woman before she can ruin Barney’s date.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Doctor Who 6.13: "The Wedding of River Song"

“I can help Rose Tyler with her homework. I can go to all Jack’s stag parties in one night.”
-The Doctor

The sixth series of modern Doctor Who ended with quite a mind-bender, but that’s pretty much to be expected from head writer Stephen Moffat. It was rather confusing at timey-wimey the first time I watched it, although I think I was able to follow it okay on rewatch. I was glad to see the end of some things that were niggling me about this series, like the ongoing theme about how the Doctor is dangerous to the people around him and Amy seeming to not have any feeling about losing the chance to see her daughter grow up. While I think this is unlikely, given their popularity, I think this episode would have been a perfect retirement for Amy and Rory and companions. Their story arc is pretty much complete. Amy now has lovely conversations on the back patio of her house with River, and that’s probably where the story should end. I’d be up for placing them on Martha in series 4 status for next year, though, maybe giving them a fun little 2-3 episode reunion arc, but as for primary companions, they should be done.

The episode opens by dropping up into a really messed-up version of earth. Not messed-up in a post-apocalyptic sense, but in a really jumbled sense. There are railroad tracks going through famous London buildings, cars being suspended in mid-air by hot air balloons, and a park where pterodactyls fly around like pigeons. One of my favorite oddities was Charles Dickens (played by the same actor who played him in series 3) giving a television interview about his upcoming Christmas special (that is “A Christmas Carol,” of course). The final bit of oddity is that Winston Churchill is the “Holy Roman Emperor” and has his home base at the “Buckingham Senate.” He’s noticed that the date and time never change, and he questions a servant about it. The servant doesn’t think it’s strange at all. Time is frozen at the exact moment the Doctor was supposed to die, by the way. Churchill calls for his soothsayer to give him some answers, and of course the soothsayer is the Doctor. He tells Churchill that time is broken “because of a woman.”

The Doctor starts telling Churchill the story of how time got broken. It turns out that after he left Craig and Sophie’s house, he decided to do a little investigating about the Silence before his death. He meets with an operative of the Silence who actually turns out to be the Tesselecta and crew. The Tesselecta have been investigating the Silence, too, and they give the Doctor a tip about another Silence operative who may have useful information. After playing a game of live (as in live electricity) chess with this other operative, the Doctor learns that Doriam (the blue alien who recently became a Headless Monk) has the answer he seeks. The Silence operative leads the Doctor to a vault where the heads of the Headless Monks are kept. Most of the Monks are just skulls on shelves, but Doriam’s head is still intact and kept in a fancy box. Doriam starts explaining why the Silence thinks the Doctor is dangerous by talking about the upcoming “fall of the eleventh” when the question will be asked and silence must fall. This was exciting to me because it shows that the creative team is starting to think about the transition to the Twelfth Doctor, even if it isn’t actually due to take place for a while. I like Matt Smith just fine (although David Tennant’s Tenth’s Doctor will always be “my” Doctor), but I’d like to see a bit of a creative rejuvenation of the series overall.

Back in weird, time-stopped London, Churchill and the Doctor move into the Senate room. Churchill pulls a gun, and hash marks start appearing on the Doctor’s hand. This means Silents are about, obviously. Churchill starts acting forgetful and asks the Doctor to continue his story. In the flashbacks, the Doctor has dragged Dorian’s head on to the TARDIS. Dorian very kindly tries to convince the Doctor that his time may finally be up, but the Doctor is in a rather petulant mood. He tries calling up his old friend the Brigadeer for an adventure, but the Brigadier has died (a little tribute to the actor who played the Brigadier, who did actually pass away recently). This sobers the Doctor up a bit, and he gets the Tesselecta to deliver the TARDIS blue envelopes for him. That kicks off a bit of a “The Impossible Astronaut” highlight reel. This time, though, we see River inside the space suit at Lake Silencio. The suit is in control, but River manages to avoid killing the Doctor. Lake Silencio was a fixed point in time, though, so things go bad very quickly.

Back in “present day” London, the hash marks on the Doctor’s arm keep getting more and more numerous. It turns out that there’s a whole colony of Silents in the Senate chamber, hanging up on the rafters like bats. Just as things are looking quite bad for the Doctor, Amy and a bunch o soldiers burst in. At first, we aren’t sure what side she’s on, because she’s wearing an eye patch. She shoots something at the Doctor, and the Doctor wakes up on a train. On the train car, which is filled with drawings from Amy’s time with the Doctor in the regular timeline, Amy reveals that she’s with a group that knows time has gone wrong and is trying to fix things. Amy and the Doctor also talk about how she hasn’t found Rory yet, which becomes a really funny running joke when “Captain Williams” pokes his head in the room to give an update.

The train arrives at “Area 52,” which is located at the base of one of the Great Pyramids. A bunch of Silents are being stored there in tubes, which is really creepy. And they’re even creepier when they start waking up and breaking out of their tubes. Before the situation gets really dire, the Doctor gives an amusing little pep talk to Rory about asking Amy out. Then the Doctor is brought to see a tied up Madame Kovarian (aka Eye Patch Lady) and River. The Doctor tries to make River understand that not killing him at Lake Silencio was wrong, but she’s not at all remorseful. Because they are the two pieces of this break in time, the Doctor tries to touch River to repair everything, but she has him handcuffed. The Silents make their way to the room where all this is going on, and they’re using the eye patches (called eye drives…Amy and her crew use them to be able to retain visual records of the Silents) to overcome the resistance. They can use the eye drives to cause extreme pain. Rory offers to stay behind and hold of the Silents while River and Amy take the Doctor to see something River has created at the top of the pyramid. It’s an incredibly noble moment because the eye drive is already causing Rory pain, but he’s grimacing through it. Amy ends up returning to save him, and then she leaves Kovarian with her eye drive frying her brain.

Up at the top of the pyramid, River shows the Doctor a distress beacon she’s created. Millions of people out in the normal universe have answered the call and want to help the doctor. This was a welcome end to “the Doctor brings destruction” plot that was getting rather tiresome. In order to finally get River to agree to reset the timeline, the Doctor takes a drastic step. He marries her in a quickie Gallifreyan ceremony that involves Amy and (a kind of confused, but humorously accepting) Rory giving consent and the Doctor’s bow tie as a binding. I’m really not sure how I feel about this. River’s feelings for the Doctor are clear, but the Doctor’s feelings for River really aren’t. The whole idea that he would marry her just doesn’t make sense given what we’ve seen. Anyway, after they’re married, the Doctor basically begs River to reset the timeline. They touch hands, and we go back to the lake. The doctor appears to die, and tie goes back to how it was.

The next thing we see is River and Amy talking on Amy’s back porch. River’s just come from the Weeping Angel adventures from last season. Amy is still really upset that she killed Madame Kovarian, even if it was in an alternate screwed-up timeline, and she wishes she could talk to the Doctor about it. River reveals that the Doctor had another trick up his sleeve, but she wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about it. It turns out that it was the Doctor inside the Tesselecta that was shot at Lake Silencio. The Doctor himself is still very much alive. The Tesselecta protected him. They’re celebrating this happy news as Rory arrives home, presumably from work. Meanwhile, the Doctor returns Doriam’s head to the Headless Monk vault. He’s decided that he’s going to keep having adventures, but he’s going to do it on the down-low. Doriam reminds him that he can’t escape his fate. The ultimate question that will be asked at the Fall of the Eleventh is, not surprisingly, “Doctor who?”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fringe 4.02: "One Night in October"

“At the risk of sounding sentimental, I've always thought there are people who leave an indelible mark on your soul. An imprint that can never be erased.”

I know there’s been a lot of complaints about Peter’s absence from “Fringe” so far this season, and I certainly don’t like our usual team being disrupted (see my complaining about the switched Olivia plot that most critics loved), but I thought this episode was pretty decent. The plot provided a cool way to blend the two universes (although I hope this method of blending doesn’t become the show’s weekly format- I’d rather be kept on my toes a bit). I also really enjoyed getting to see our Olivia interact with Alt!Lincoln. Alt!Lincoln cares so deeply about Alt!Livia that it was fun to watch him sort of discover our Olivia and all the ways in which she’s the same and different. They had a really interesting dynamic. Although I would like to see more of our universe’s adorably geeky Lincoln on a regular basis. In this episode, we were relegated to once appearance by him at the beginning of the episode.

The episode opens with a fairly creepy (like old-school, pre-split universe “Fringe” creepy) interrogation scene. A man is holding up what looks like a childhood photo and asking another man to recount the story behind the picture. The interrogated man seems reluctant, but he slowly tells the happy story. The camera then pans to show a glow-y tube emanating from the open back of his skull and traveling to a sinister machine. The other man apologizes, hits some switches, and the interrogated man dies.

Back in Boston, Walter is having a bit of a ‘sode as they’d say on “Wonderfalls.” He’s covering up reflective surfaces with blankets and towels (so he doesn’t see Peter’s image, presumably), and he’s ranting about how evil the folks on the Other Side are, using every synonym for evil he can think of. Lincoln arrives in the middle of this scene, because he had been told he was going to learn about shape shifters. Astrid helps explain to Lincoln what’s going on, and Walter calls Lincoln “Kennedy.” That made me crack up.

Olivia arrives at the lab, and she and Astrid have a little aside about how Astrid thinks Olivia should ask Lincoln out. Olivia makes all sorts of excuses about why she shouldn’t. Obviously this scene is meant to let us know that Peter still occupies some space in her subconscious. Olivia is saved from having to explain herself further by a phone call from Broyles. There have been 23 murders, essentially by brain freeze, on the Other Side, and they want our Fringe team’s help. Olivia and Broyles meet with Alt-livia at the Statue of Liberty bridge. Alt-livia wants our Fringe folks to help with the case by bringing our universe’s version of the suspect over to the Other Side to check out his doppelganger’s apartment. In our universe, the man is a forensic psychology professor specializing in serial killers.

Olivia visits the professor, whose name is John, and tells him that the FBI needs his help in building a profile. He eagerly agrees to help, basically saying he’s been training for something like this. Then Olivia brings out the tranquilizers. John can’t know that he’s going to a parallel universe, after all. It kind of reminded me of how the Others transported new recruits to the Island on “Lost.” Then we cut to the Other Side, where we see from the title card that most of the action this week is going to be taking place in the parallel universe version of my old stomping grounds, southeastern Pennsylvania. Norristown, to be specific. Strangely, it looks less dumpy on the Other Side. Of course, that’s really just because of the fact that the show is actually shot in Vancouver, Canada. Alt-livia is dying her hair blonde to look more like her doppelganger mission, and Alt-Lincoln interrupts. Alt-livia mentions that she’s dating Frank (another change brought about by Peter disappearing), which must disappoint Lincoln terribly. Meanwhile, Alt-John is stalking his next victim at a gas station.

At the lab, Astrid finds Walter lying back in a chair, listening to really loud music emanating from a wall of speakers. It also turns out that he’s been self-adjusting his medication levels. It’s pretty obvious that he’s reaching his limit of being able to deal with the visions of Peter. At the end of the episode, we see that all the measures Walter is taking to block Peter out aren’t working. He’s got all the reflective surfaces covered, but he still hears Peter’s voice begging for help as he tries to go to sleep. Walter turns on the loud music again to try and drown it out, but Peter’s voice only gets louder.

Over on the Other Side, John is at his doppelganger’s house, beginning to build a profile. He figures out that the killer had a very unhappy, abusive childhood. He finds victims who are happy and had good childhoods. I guess that explains why he wanted the victim at the beginning of the episode to tell the story behind that childhood photo. John starts to see things he recognizes from his own childhood, like a set of chairs. He really freaks out, however, when he sees one of his own childhood photo’s on the suspect’s wall of photos. He rushes outside the house and is even more confused when he runs into our Olivia and Alt!Lincoln, then turns is head to see a nearby neighborhood encased in Amber. He understandably wants to know where the heck he is.

Back in the house, our Olivia sits John down and talks to him about how they both grew up in an abusive home. John says his father saw the darkness in him, that’s why he was abusive, but he was saved by a woman named Marjorie. John wants to save his doppelganger like Marjorie saved him, but Olivia explains that his doppelganger can’t know he exists. While the agents have a bit of a confab outside about Alt-John’s latest victim (a mom from the gas station), John escapes the house. Lincoln and the Olivias (should that be the name of my “Fringe” tribute band?) rush to Fringe HQ to figure out what to do next. Alt!Astrid calculates that it’s going to take many hours to locate John, but Olivia has an idea. She remembers the license plate (PA, of course) from the tractor in the childhood photo that set John off. The address where it was registered is a farm that was shut down “after the Richboro fires.” There were just so many Southeastern PA references in this episode! I guess the house where I grew up probably was damaged in the Richboro fires, too.

John shows up at the killer’s lair (presumably at the farm…are there actually any farms near Richboro anymore? I don’t think so) just as Alt!John is about to drill into the skull of his latest victim. Meeting his doppelganger freaks Alt!John out quite a bit, but the two of them do figure out where their lives diverged. They were both at a carnival as a kid when their dad discovered had been killing animals. John ran away and met Marjorie when he woke up on her farm, and Alt!John got dragged home and beaten by his father. John tries to convince Alt!John that there’s another way to deal with the darkness, but Alt!John knocks him out and hooks him up to the glow-y tube machine. He wants to know all about Marjorie, and he uses the machine to steal all of John’s memories of her.

While this is going on, the Fringe team raids the farm. At first, they think they’ve found the wrong place, but Alt-Lincoln finds a door down to an old basement. That basement is Alt-John’s lair. Olivia finds Alt-John, and he tries to shoot her, but Alt-Livia manages to shoot Alt-John before Olivia gets hurt. Back in our universe, John winds up in the hospital with significant memory loss. The team is worried that without the memories of Marjorie, he’s going to become a serial killer like his doppelganger. It turns out there was no reason, to worry, though. Olivia has a nice conversation with him, and it soon becomes apparent that while he no longer remembers Marjorie, he still very much remembers the lessons he taught her. Broyles tells Olivia hat he thinks people leave an indelible mark on the soul. Which is yet another reference to memories of Peter still kicking around. Can he just be brought back already?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Person of Interest 1.02: "Ghosts"

Sarah's back today with a write-up of a recent episode of the other show she's covering for MTVP this season, "Person of Interest." Enjoy!


“I know what it’s like to lose someone and to feel the need to disappear. But trust me; you don’t want to leave people behind.”
- Mr. Finch

We begin this week with a man talking on the phone to who we assume is his wife. He’ going to meet her at their usual place and he’s carrying flowers. He gets on to the elevator and just as the doors are about to close, a man rushes in. It turns out to be John. Somehow he’s looking less gray than he did in the pilot. Anyway, he strikes up a conversation with the flower guy, Bill. And within seconds it becomes clear that Bill’s number is up. Bill’s been cheating on his wife and John says that while some women would just leave, others would hire hitmen to make it look like a robbery gone bad. He takes out the two hitmen in the elevator and as the doors open on the ground floor, Bill backs out as John coolly walks off, recommending Bill call the cops and a good divorce attorney. John does like his violence.

We briefly see a man answer a pay phone. He’s been given an assignment and I’m betting it’s not to deliver dry cleaning. He appears to be a gun for hire. We then find John on the street and he calls Mr. Finch. They’re on opposite sides of the street but they can’t just meet. It would look sketchy. John gives Mr. Finch a rundown of the night before and says he wants to meet. Finch tells him they’ll meet when he (Finch) wants to. Meanwhile, Detective Carter shows up at the scene where John took out the two hired guns. For once, he only wounded them. Even though it’s not a homicide, she says it is part of a bigger investigation into the man in a suit who “helps” people. I have a feeling she doesn’t like our unconventional vigilante.

John and Mr. Finch eventually meet up in a cemetery. The machine gave another number, belonging to a fifteen-year-old girl. But there’s a problem. She’s been dead for two years. Murdered along with the rest of her family. Identity theft in week two, really? Things get even weirder as we get our first flashback. We hop to 2002, shortly after 9/11 to find Mr. Finch in a rather large building, running on a treadmill. Another man, who appears to be his business partner, shows up and says they’ve won another award for service to humanity. He’s more interested in what Finch is working on. He’s got all the feeds from the NSA that covers New York. He’s still teaching the machine recognize to people by cell phone data and facial recognition. He wants to be able to teach it sort though the people, seeing as terrorists don’t just stand out on street corners. But it is likely to take another four or five years to get to that point. I like that we are seeing the development of the machine and how Finch got to where he is now.

Back in 2011, John and Finch meet up at the last place Theresa (the dead 15-year-old girl) was seen. She and her family went out on their boat, and supposedly no one came back alive. The father killed the two kids and his wife and then killed himself. But Theresa’s body was never recovered. Something is obviously fishy here. John is off to twist Lionel’s arm for information. He needs the police report from the case. Lionel is less than pleased to see John again. Apparently IA is looking at him pretty hard. John could care less. He just wants the file. Back at HQ, he’s watching old footage of Theresa’s aunt and uncle after the bodies were discovered. He’s also got a lead in a friend Theresa was arrested with once or twice. John thinks it was a professional hit made to look like a murder/suicide. So we actually get to see Finch out in the field. And he’s not half bad. He gets the aunt to tell him that she and her husband divorced and that they didn’t have any kids, though Theresa was like a daughter. She’s hoping that the currents will bring Theresa’s body back so she can have some closure.

At police headquarters, Carter is running into more trouble. She’s got John’s prints at eight crime scenes but half the files are redacted. Looks like the feds aren’t going to play nice. Meanwhile, John is still looking for Theresa but has no luck, until he spots the kid she was arrested with. The kid claims he hasn’t seen her since she’s been dead. It gives John enough time to clone the kid’s phone and see he sent a message to “T”. John finally spots her and chases after but gets cut off before he gets too far. Plus, Theresa had a blade and cut his hand. He seems more pissed about losing her, honestly.

In a surprising turn of events, we see where Mr. Finch actually works. He appears to be a somewhat low-level employee named Harold. But John’s done some digging (and showed up at the office kind of creepy-like). Finch owns the whole company and if John were to say the wrong thing or talk too loudly, most of the office would be overhauled to keep the secret. John explains he lost Theresa and he’s going to look into who the shooter was while Finch searches for the uncle (who is MIA) and looks further at the father’s financials. John gets Lionel to help him out again by taking him to a bar where he can find a fixer. Said fixer usually has a cut in every contract killing in the city but won’t talk to anyone who just walks through the door. John doesn’t seem concerned. He goes and gets thrown out immediately. He gets up, dusts off his jacket goes in again and beats the crap out of enough people so he gets a name. The guy’s in prison though. He doesn’t deny killing the family but says he doesn’t kill kids. So John thinks whoever hired him found out and sent a new guy to finish the job.

Finch has found some useful information. The uncle had some land holdings in a company and sends John the address to check it out. Unfortunately, just as John gets there and finds Theresa’s uncle, Finch says he’s found Theresa through the skimmer she’d been using to support herself. She tried to sell some credit card numbers online. John finds her just in time for the new hired gun to show up. They have a fight and it looks like John’s gotten beat for once (ncluding smashing through a window). But he puts three or four bullets in the guy and gets Theresa to at least go with him to a hotel. Too bad the hitman was wearing a vest.

John took the liberty of renting the whole floor in the hotel on Finch’s card so they would be sure no one would bother them. As soon as Finch arrives, John’s off to have a word with Theresa’s uncle. We get a quick glimpse of the hit man installing a wiretap on the aunt’s phone as she calls her ex husband again asking him to call her back. Things aren’t exactly as John assumed when Theresa said she didn’t trust her uncle. It turns out the uncle got some money launderers involved in one of his brother’s land holdings that was affected by an oil spill. The government didn’t clean it up fast enough so the shady guys hired a hit man to take out the family and made the uncle the administrator of the estate. So now John understands why they’re after Theresa. She’s the legal heir to the land (and it’s gone up in value 40-50 times).

Back at the hotel, Finch tells Theresa that he saw her aunt and relays the message that she’s missed and loved. Theresa really is not too trusting. But we get another Finch flashback, this time to 2007, when his partner discovers that the machine picks up non-terrorist crimes too. He’s appalled that they’re not doing anything but Finch says that he’s set it to erase the irrelevant list at midnight (information we already knew). Back in the present, John’s relaying the information that Theresa is worth millions just as the uncle gets home to find the hit man sitting in his living room. The uncle gets dead pretty quickly while John follows the father former business partner to a meeting with a councilman. Somehow John manages to find a dump trunk to commandeer long enough to hit the business partner’s car. But he’s too late. The hitman listened in while Theresa called her aunt (didn’t say anything but it was long enough to trace the number) and is now at the hotel.

Theresa and Finch manage to trick the hitman a couple times by turning on the light in the adjoining room when he kills the power in the hallway. And calling her cell phone on the room phone while they slip out into the hallway. Things aren’t looking good when he corners them. But Theresa is ready to face him. Luckily, John shows up and puts a few bullets in him (not enough to kill). Later that night, John calls Carter. He’s tired of her just chasing after him and asking questions, so they set up a meet. Of course he doesn’t actually show up. Carter brings all kinds of back up and all she finds is Theresa sitting on a wall waiting for her. We get a pretty happy ending. Theresa is reunited with her aunt and her father’s ex-business partner is arrested. John shows up at the office of the company Finch owns to find Finch gone and none of the employees seem to know what happened. Just as John is about to leave, Finch calls and says that he’s really not a trusting man and that in the future, he (Finch) will call John. As Finch leaves the building, we see a bust of his former business partner with what looks like a year of death as 2010.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Body of Proof 2.02: "Hunting Party"

Sarah joins us again with another recap of "Body of Proof."  Enjoy!


“See if this helps. I don’t have a role. I can’t control what Lacey sees or what she likes any more than I can control you when you go mouthing off to a suspect in a homicide. I am not trying to be Lacey’s mother any more than I want to be your mother, and quite frankly I’m getting a little sick of you putting me in that position. So whatever’s going on between you and Lacey, figure it out for yourselves because I don’t want any part of it.”
- Kate

We begin in a forest with a guy in hunting gear. He hears a shot and takes off. One of his party found a deer, and they spread out to trap it. Just as everyone lines up their shots, they fire and one of the women in the group falls to the ground, dead. Meanwhile, Megan and Lacey are having tea. Lacey is drinking herbal tea with sugar, even though she hates herbal tea. Her explanation is she’s trying to make herself like it. With some prodding from Lacey, Megan says she’s fine with Todd dating Kate and wishes people would stop asking. As evidenced later on, she’s not all that pleased. But she does agree to a shopping trip with Lacey the following day.

At the crime scene, Peter pulls up in a sweet little sports car driven by a pretty woman. Mean jabs him a little about it. It looks like the woman, Julie Lobe, was shot once through and through but Megan posits she tumbled after she was shot and that the fall probably killed her. And they’ve got three suspects, her husband and his two grown children. Megan is rather abrasive about her theory that one of them killed Julie. She points out a scratch on Martin’s (the husband) neck, and as she and Peter walk away, she tells Peter she wants him to get the tissue if he drops it. And then we have a fun little walk and talk where Peter reminds Megan of every time she needed his help.

Unfortunately, Peter makes the mistake of bringing up Megan’s insecurities with Lacey. Kate interrupts to ask if she and Megan are good with how things have been going. Megan’s a little evasive and luckily is saved by a call for Kate from the Mayor’s office. Megan begins the autopsy, still ignoring Peter, and finds the nail of Julie’s right ring finger was pulled back and she had some traces of paint on her elbow. Kate shows up and boots Megan from the case for accusing Martin of killing Julie. Apparently he’s a rich guy who contributed to the Mayor’s campaign. This pisses Megan off quite a lot. Unfortunately, Kate drags Peter away back to autopsy. Megan’s still got the bloody tissue and orders Ethan to type it and what was found on Julie’s body. Back in autopsy, Kate is trying to assure Peter that taking over the case had nothing to do with her dating Todd. He professes to be Switzerland and avoiding getting involved. After all, he’s got three sisters and isn’t going to get in the middle of the cat fight.

The sort of C storyline of the episode is worth summing up fairly quickly. The transportation department is looking for a new driver and it’s fallen to Curtis to conduct the interviews. He sees all kinds of wacky people. It really provides some comedy throughout the rest of the episode. And with this storyline, it was really needed. Over at the police station, Bud and Sam are talking to Martin, his two kids and his financial manager. All of them were on the hunting trip, and none had line of sight with Julie. Megan shows up uninvited and asks Martin what he and Julie fought about because the blood on her fingernail and the blood from the scratch on his neck show that she scratched him. He denies they fought and says she must have had a hangnail and it caught on his neck when she helped him into his hunting gear.

Back at autopsy, Curtis shows up with Julie’s toxicology panel. It turns out she was pregnant. Megan shows up the next morning and takes a peek at Peter’s tablet to see that Julie was pregnant. Kate pops in and after telling Megan that if she pulls another stunt like showing up to the police station on a case that she’s not working, she’ll get busted down to driving for transportation, she gets a new case. Normally, I’d be concerned about two separate cases, especially when one of the leads of the show is pursuing the second one, but it all dovetails nicely in the end.

Bud and Sam are interviewing Martin’s business manager, Alan. He knew that Julie was pregnant but Martin didn’t. She claimed it was so she could get past the three-month threshold. She went to Alan seeking financial assistance. She wanted him to look into Martin’s assets. Meanwhile, Megan and Ethan show up at the new crime scene and we meet some rather annoying new cops. I know Bud and Sam aren’t the only cops in Philly that work with Megan and company, but these guys were just really two-dimensional. Anyway, this second victim is a guy named Patrick. He’s well dressed and groomed but in a crappy part of town. The officers think he was there to score some drugs and got carjacked. Megan quickly debunks that theory as he’s got no track marks on his arms and his car is sitting safely across the street. Megan’s also not too pleased that her investigator got called to another scene.

Megan takes a break to go shopping with Lacey and is a little horrified to find out that the shoes Lacey wants to buy are rather dominatrix looking. Lacey says she tried on a pair of Kate’s and really liked them. Megan is clearly not pleased with the kind of influence Kate is having on her daughter.

Bud and Sam are at the ex-wife’s house to interview her (apparently she was the one who get Martin into hunting). She says she hated Martin for dumping her for a younger model but didn’t kill Julie. The kids had an interesting spin, too. Even if Julie had children, their inheritance wouldn’t be so diminished to kill. Bud still thinks they’ve got a money motive. And then there’s the whole semi-secret pregnancy. Peter ran some tests and Marin isn’t the father. When Bud and Sam share the information about Julie’s pregnancy and the fact Martin wasn’t the father, they expect to find motive. But Martin explains that following prostate surgery, he became sterile. Julie was going to a sperm bank but he didn’t know which one. And now Peter’s out canvassing all the sperm banks in the city. Oh he’s so going to get jabs from the gang for that one.

Megan confronts Kate about Lacey seeing Kate’s shoes, and Kate basically tells Megan to deal with her issues with Lacey and to leave her out of it. She’s not interested in the family drama. Megan doesn’t have much chance to get far in rebutting Kate’s accusation when it’s time for her autopsy with the newbie cops. And I have to say it was kind of dull. They’re just so boring and don’t get Megan. But they learn that Patrick was an interior decorator who lived in the nicer part of town with his husband. Megan kind of zeros in on Ethan telling her that Peter was canvassing sperm banks. More on that in a minute. Peter explains that Julie did go to a sperm bank but left empty handed. He also talked to her doctor and she showed up for the insemination process with sperm on ice but he didn’t know where it came from. Megan interrupts the group pow-wow to share the news that Patrick was the father of Julie’s baby. She figured it out because they both had the same paint trace on them and since Patrick was gay, they weren’t having an affair. So now she’s back on the case-of-the-week.

Megan and Peter go to talk to Patrick’s husband and they learn that Patrick and Julie were old friends and she asked him to be the father of her child because she didn’t want it to be a stranger. But they didn’t tell Martin because his ex-wife, Alexandra, blamed Patrick for introducing Julie to her husband. Patrick decorated the Lobes’ house a few years earlier. And it turns out Patrick was beaten to death with a tire iron for high end German cars.

Megan is meeting Lacey for some quick tea and a chat. Lacey assures her mom that even if she likes some of Kate’s things, she doesn’t like Kate more than her mom. No one will ever replace Megan. I think Megan needed to hear that most of all from Lacey. Bud and Sam are at Alexandra’s house checking her car, but the CSU techs find nothing useful in the car. But it turns out, according to Alexandra, Martin hid all kinds of physical assets during their marriage. Megan and Kate have a two-person pow-wow to share the latest intel on the cases. Kate discovered some trace in the bullet wound that come from a rare oak tree that isn’t in bloom.

Now we have some fun Ethan and Curtis in the woods finding the tree. They find the tree and some residue from hairspray. Bud and Sam are going through the Lobes’ assets because they think maybe someone didn’t want Julie to see what the assets were. Peter is checking out Patrick’s loft where he spent a lot of time painting and finds a video camera (more on that later). Bud and Sam figure out who killed Patrick and Julie just as Megan does. Alan, the financial manager stole from Martin a while ago and he just kept stealing. He couldn’t pay back what he initially took so he just kept going. Megan knew who it was because he has acid reflux and coughed up calcium on Patrick. Unfortunately, as soon as they take Alan out of interrogation and Martin sees him, he shoots Alan. Now they have something to arrest Martin for.

That night, Peter stops by Megan’s office with the tape from the camera in Patrick’s loft, insisting that she watch it. Patrick and Julie were painting a crib for their baby. Even if Martin was going to raise the child, Patrick and Julie wanted the child to know how much he loved the baby. Megan gets teary-eyed as she watches. She calls Lacey to tell her that if she really wants the shoes, she should have them. It sounds like she’s over Kate being in Lacey’s life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Girl 1.02: "Kryptonite"

“That’s the wizard? He’s wearing a scrunchie.”

“Kryptonite” was a decent follow-up to the very funny pilot episode of “New Girl.” My one significant problem with the episode was how helpless Jess seemed to be for much of it. She did truly stand up for herself by the end of the episode, though, which significantly redeemed the plot in my eyes. A girl can be quirky without letting people walk all over her and needing three guys to rescue her. Because I’m so far behind in my blogging, though (a 22.5 hour a week job, 12 hour a week graduate assistantship, and 12 credits of classes will do that to a girl), I have the luxury of knowing that the next episode is amazing, so I can gloss over the less-than-stellar aspects of this one and enjoy the good stuff that is there. Like Schmidt agreeing to watch “Curly Sue” with Jess. Or the fact that a plant is what finally gets Jess to stand up for herself.

The episode opens with Jess trying to leave for work (she’s an elementary school teacher) when Schmidt stops her. He’s expecting to bring a lady home that night and wants to know where he looks sexiest in his room. Jess decides to have some fun with the rather ridiculous request, having Schmidt keep circling around the room to all his different posing possibilities. Nick joins in the fun too. This is all set-up to introduce the B storyline of the episode. There’s a new roommate in the apartment. Winston has returned from playing basketball in Latvia and kicked Coach (who was subleasing) out. And Schmidt is concerned that Winston is going to want his old room back, which is the largest room in the apartment and the room Schmidt is currently occupying.

Jess is anxious to meet Winston, and she barges into his room while he’s still trying to sleep off a hangover. And when he asks who she is, she sings her name. In one really, really long note. This I thought was a bit overkill with the Jess quirkiness. To her credit, though, Jess has enough self-awareness to know she needs to apologize, which she does. Jess has bigger problems than getting off on the wrong foot with Winston, though. She is in serious need of clothing, because all her stuff is still at her cheating ex-boyfriend Spencer’s house. Schmidt offers to let her go through his “lost and found” of stuff women have left behind when they spend the night. While Jess is looking through the box, Schmidt asks if Winston has mentioned wanting his old room back. Jess hasn’t heard anything about it.

The guys are playing some basketball in the living room, and Jess happily joins in, boasting about how she was good in basketball back in school as the ball bounces dangerously high. Predictably, the basketball breaks the big screen TV. The TV belongs to Nick, and he’s upset because it’s the only pricey possession he has. Jess says she has a nice TV that they could potentially use, but it’s at Spencers. The guys start goading her into talking to Spencer to get her stuff back. While the boys have a meal at a diner and talk about whether or not the “top dog” needs the biggest room in the apartment, Jess meets up with Spencer in a park. Spencer is a massive tool and manages to get Jess to drive his new girlfriend to the airport.

Jess finds herself in a pawn shop, trying to buy a really crappy TV, but she doesn’t have as much money as the shopkeeper is asking for. She tries to walk out with the TV anyway, but it’s bolted down, so that doesn’t work so well. Cece brings Jess back to the apartment and admonishes the guys for doing “her job” in trying to get Jess to talk to Spencer. The guys handle the situation just fine, though. Nick gets Jess amped up to finally confront Spencer and get her stuff back by essentially being her punching bag. After Jess punches the pillow Nick is holding a few times, Jess is ready to go. But she wants Cece and the guys to come with her.

Jess’ resolve has worn a bit when the gang finally arrives at Spencer’s house. She has to drive around the block a few times (about two few many for the joke to still be funny) to get up the courage again. Schmidt and Winston use the opportunity to talk about the “top dog” silliness some more. It could have been an interesting plotline if it weren’t for the “top dog” douchiness. Speaking of, where was Schmidt’s Douchebag Jar in this episode? He definitely needed to make use of it a couple times?

Anyway, after Jess pulls up to the house and gets out of the car, she sees Spencer. He says some empty, sweet things, and she starts to hug him. Then she sees that the potted plant by the door has died. This is the final straw. She is really pissed that Spencer didn’t water the plant like she asked him too, and she throws a full-on tantrum, barging into the house to get her stuff. She comes back out carrying a massive pile of stuff, including a rather precariously balanced television. For some reason, the rest of the gang doesn’t pile out of the car to help until the last second. Jess sees that Spencer has stooped so low that he’s wearing one of her t-shirts, and in her rage, she drops the TV. Nick and Schmidt finally decide to truly back Jess up. They put on some of her hats that have fallen to the ground and basically tell Spencer that it’s over and he needs to stay away from Jess. Spencer thinks the guys are tools, but Jess gives a big speech about how she loves them, and it motivates Winston to put a hat on, too. Then Schmidt slaps Spencer, declaring that “Schmidt happens.” Which was probably the funniest moment of the episode.

Back at the apartment, Winston says that after the stand-off with Spencer, he finally respects Schmidt. In gratitude, Schmidt offers Winston the big room. It’s hard to tell if Winston planned this or not, but either way, he’s happy. Jess and Nick fix up her TV with some duct tape- it looks worse for wear, but it still works. Everyone piles on the couch, and Jess says she has some DVDs they can watch, although most are 80s chick flicks. This makes the guys all get up and decide they should go to a bar. Then, in yet another of the funniest moments of the episode, Schmidt comes back and says he’d be up for watching “Curly Sue.”