Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Girl 1.11: "Jess and Julia"

“I am about to go pay this $800 fine and my checks have baby farm animals on them, bitch!”
- Jess

I have to say I’m kind of excited to be blogging my first episode of “New Girl”. So this week we find that Nick and Julia are actually sort of seeing each other, though they’re not labeling their relationship. Jess walks into the bathroom a little later to find Julia getting ready and Schmidt is in the shower. He picks up his towel and starts complaining about how it’s damp and that having two girls in the bathroom makes it too humid. Winston and Nick walk in just as Julia leaves (feeling kind of awkward) and we get a Jess voice (she says Nick is too sophisticated to label his relationship with Julia). Winston tells her that her impressions is off and does his own. The guys just tell Winston he needs to get laid. So he calls up Shelby, a girl he used to sleep with before he went to Latvia. Unfortunately for him, he spends the whole time talking about himself and Shelby shuts him down. It doesn’t help he took her out for drinks where she woks.

That night, Julia stops by to help Jess with a traffic ticket. It looks like there’s not much she can do since there is a traffic cam shot of Jess speeding away from the intersection and she now has an $800 fine for missing her first court date. Jess blames that on her ex for not getting her the notice. Jess, in her typical fashion, has kind of a quirky story for what happened (she brakes for injured birds) and when Nick shows up, Jess is a little upset. She thinks Julia doesn’t like her because Julia doesn’t like dessert. Jess is commiserating with CeCe and her lesbian gynecologist, Sadie, when Nick walks in and tries to defend Julia. He says they tell each other everything. Not exactly true since Jess points out he didn’t know Julia had asked if he was seeing other girls. We get more Schmidt being cranky about wet towels until Sadie mentions being a lesbian.

That night, Nick is at work and the roommates are at the bar trying to console Winston about his failed hookup attempt with Shelby. Jess and Schmidt are giving him advice (well Schmidt is telling him to lie) when Julia shows up. Nick tells Julia what Jess told him and Julia admits she’s seeing other people. Nick says he is too (which obviously he’s not). He looks really sad as Julia heads to the bathroom. Jess tries to apologize but Julia isn’t interested because she knows eventually Nick is going to go running to Jess for comfort. Julia kicks Jess out of the bathroom because she (Julia) is about to cry and doesn’t want to do it in front of Jess. Jess heads for the men’s room so she can cry in private but Nick’s already in there.

The next day, Winston shows up where Shelby works to apologize for being such a jerk. He says he has realized he’s not very good at being in relationships. She doesn’t turn him away outright but it is a little unclear where they stand. Jess is waiting in court for her case to be called and Julia actually shows up. They sort of bicker as Jess’s case is called and before Julia can do much Jess pleads guilty and has to go pay her fine. They get out of the courtroom and Jess basically tells Julia that just because she’s girly doesn’t’ mean she’s not tough and strong like Julia.

Apparently Winston hung out at Shelby’s work all day because he’s walking her home that night. He says he wants to take her on a real date and she tells him to call her. He does this sort of weird victory dance/back spasm thing before walking away berating himself for not having “game”. Jess and the girls are having their crochet club when Schmidt finishes a shower but his towel is in his bedroom. He scampers out into the living room where the girls are and they make lots of jokes about his pubic area (poor guy…no not really) while he goes on a “sex” rant. He’s still not happy about the damp towel situation and Jess tells him to put up towel bars. Schmidt disappears into his room just as Julia shows up to sort of apologize to Jess. Jess invites her to the group but her anger issues start to flare up when the needle and the yarn won’t do what she wants. Jess manages to talk her down just as Nick comes home. They end up deciding to put a label on their relationship and not see other people. Schmidt seems happy with the towel bar situation until he feels his towel and it’s still damp. He calls an emergency meeting in the bathroom and Nick says he’s been using the blue towel. He and Schmidt start arguing and Jess and Julia leave hand in hand. I guess the girls have made up.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fringe 4.10: "Forced Perspective"

“No, you're wrong. Nothing has to happen. Nothing is written in stone. You and I, we don't have to die here today. Now, whatever happens next is up to you. You are in control. I'm not ready to die today, and I don't think that you are either.”

I appreciated “Forced Perspective” in the sense that it was more in the “case of the week” form of storytelling that the super-mythology heavy episodes the show has focused on producing in the last season and a half. While the case did have implications for the characters beyond their immediate investigation, because it was very connected to where Amber Olivia’s head was at, the case itself was a distinct story. It was a nice breather. There are only so many new parallel universes and timelines a girl can take (or keep track of)! The story had heart, too , and a rather tragic ending. I wouldn’t rank it up there with the very best episodes of “Fringe” like “White Rose” or “6B,” but it was a satisfying way to spend an hour. And it also sort-of paid homage to my all-time favorite episode of television, Lost’s “The Constant.” Or at least since both “Fringe” and “Lost” are Bad Robot productions, I’m going to believe it was an homage!

The episode opens with Amber Olivia and Broyles looking at photos of Observers and trying to identify the Observer who had been talking to Amber Olivia two episodes ago. They talk about this happening “yesterday,” and it feels like it should have been longer ago, but I’ll go with it since the last episode was mostly in Red Universe. Broyles seems to really want to protect Olivia, which I think is kind of sweet. He’s acting like the Observer threatened Olivia, but Olivia makes it clear that it was more of a warning. Next, Olivia pays a visit to the lab to see Walter and Peter. The fun of Walter’s antics is short-lived, though, because Olivia gets a phone call from Lincoln about their newest case, and it strikes a chord with Olivia. A man was impaired by an I-beam in a construction accident, and moments before it happened, a girl handed him a picture she drew of the accident. Olivia is freaked out because this girl can predict death, and only a day earlier, the Observer predicted her death. The girl, Emily, turns out to have a father who moves the family around a lot (ostensibly for Emily’s safety) and is rather religious.

Broyles and Olivia have yet another heart-to-heart (this is kind of a running theme throughout the episode…people wanting to have deep conversations with Olivia), this time about Olivia’s migraines and about fate. Olivia goes to take her migraine medicine, and Lincoln interrupts to let her know that the coworker of the I-beam victim identified Emily in security footage. Emily, meanwhile, is on a bus. All of a sudden she gets another vision, and she starts drawing furiously. Through the bus window, she catches a glimpse of the subject of her drawing, and she makes the bus stop so she can chase after him. The man disappears into the crowd before Emily can give him her drawing. She’s frustrated, but she tries to comfort herself with the fact that at least she tried to warn him. We later find out that she tries to warn people not so they can change what happens (she thinks it’s fate), but so they can say their goodbyes or do one last good deed. Before we got that explanation, I was really confuse about why she would try so hard to hand out these pictures of death.

Lincoln and Olivia find their way to Emily’s apartment. They’ve been interviewing everyone in the building because that’s the direction the security footage indicated Emily walked. Emily’s dad answers the door, and he tries to pretend that he doesn’t recognize the girl in the picture Lincoln and Olivia show him. Luckily, however, Lincoln and Olivia run into Emily outside the apartment building. She starts to talk to them a little bit about what’s been happening, but then her dad sees what’s going on and puts a stop to it. He’s afraid Massive Dynamic is going to go after her and try to experiment on her like they did before. There was an incident that happened when they were living in Baltimore that especially freaked him out. Pissed off that Massive Dynamic still appears to be experimenting on children after everything she went through as a child, Olivia goes to confront Nina about what she has learned. Nina tries to play it off like it wasn’t a very big deal, and before Olivia can mount any kind of a comeback, she gets a phone call from Emily.

Olivia and Emily meet up at a bench by a lake, which is, apparently, one of Emily’s favorite places. Emily shows Olivia a rather disturbing drawing of dead bodies strewn about, and she says she thinks a lot of people are going to die. Olivia brings Emily to Walter to get checked out. After running some tests, Walter says that he believes traumatic events ripple back in time, and Emily somehow can pick up on that. Then her father arrives at the lab (because Olivia called him), and of course, at first, he’s a bit of an ass. Then he seems to realize that the Fringe crew isn’t really out to hurt his daughter. At that moment, Peter says he thinks Walter should try to hypnotize Emily. Amber Walter doesn’t seem to have much experience in this, but Peter seems to think he’s capable. Once she’s hypnotized, Emily sees the scene of destruction in more detail. It turns out it’s a courthouse. Then Peter gets a phone call from Olivia and Lincoln. It turns out the guy Emily saw was the perpetrator, not the victim. He just got through a nasty divorce, and it looks like he’s planning to bomb the court house. This reminds me of a typical twist from “Person of Interest,” which also happens to be a Bad Robot show. In the opening sequence, Michael Emerson even always says, “Victim or perpetrator, if your number’s up, we’ll find you.”

Olivia and Lincoln and their FBI backup arrive at the courthouse. The bomb squad is going to sweep the underground parking garage, because in Emily’s vision, the ground appeared to be shaking. Meanwhile, at Emily’s house, her dad sees a black van parked down the street. He thinks it’s somebody after Emily again, so he hurries Emily into the house and tells the rest of the family to start packing. Emily goes into her room and starts drawing again. Back at the courthouse, Lincoln and some bomb squad guys find the bomb. A flatbed trailer is loaded with barrels of explosives. One problem, however, is that the bomber heard the evacuation announcement, so he clearly knows something’s up. Because the bomb is too complicated to disarm easily, Peter comes up with the idea to block the signal from the detonator instead. He has all the FBI folks tune their radios to the frequency used by the detonator.

When the bomber confronts the judge from his divorce case and tries to detonate the bomb, we learn Peter’s plan worked, but the bomber has a second bomb strapped to his chest. Olivia talks the bomber down by telling him he has control over his future, and he probably doesn’t want to die today. She’s clearly trying to give herself a peptalk, too, to get over all the Observer drama. Olivia calls Emily’s family to give Emily the good news, but Emily’s dad then discovers that Emily is missing. Olivia finds Emily at the bench by the lake (she wasn’t kidnapped by Massive Dynamic like her father had feared). Emily has drawn a picture of her own death, sitting on that very bench. Her dad tries to talk to her, but Emily says it’s her time, and by stopping the bombing she has fulfilled her purpose in life. She proceeds to have a very Desmond-unstuck-in-time-in-“The Constant” nosebleed and dies. Apparently the visions, over time, overloaded her brain, and she had a stroke.

After everything has calmed down, Peter stops by to see Olivia at the office. They talk about Emily a bit, then Peter notices that Olivia has been looking at the picture of an Observer. He tells Olivia what he knows about the Observers, which turns out to be a big deal, because in the Amber Universe, they hadn’t even come up with the name Observer yet. Peter doesn’t do an especially good job reassuring Olivia that Observers could be fallible when predicting the future. He says they’ve actually already experienced the future. Then Peter asks Olivia if an Observer has made contact with her. She lies. Later, Nina visits Olivia at her apartment. They apologize to each other for the experimenting-on-Emily argument, and Olivia says that Nina is the closest thing she has to a mother. Nina notices that Olivia is suffering with migraines, and she offers to bring Olivia some better medicine from Massive Dynamic. As the camera pans out, we see an Observer watching from outside the house. It’s quite spooky!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fringe 4.09: "Enemy of My Enemy"

“The outcome is still the same. I couldn’t save our son then, and I can’t help him now.”

“Enemy of my Enemy” wasn’t exactly a stand-out episode of “Fringe,” but it wasn’t terrible, either. It basically just kept the season arc humming along. After the wonderful creativity of last season, I’ve come to expect a bit more out of “Fringe” than mere passable episodes. On the positive side, this episode raised some important questions and really made me question the loyalties of some of the characters (mostly Red Universe characters). Is Alt-Broyles a shapeshifter? Is Walternate really a good guy and not evil? Is Amber Nina Sharpe super evil? I hope we’ll get the answers to these questions soon, because if the ratings are any indication, this season will be “Fringe’s” last. I also found it interesting that we’re starting to see the two universes work together against a common enemy. They were so diametrically opposed in the old timeline that this shift is taking some getting used to. That being said, I still miss the Original Recipe, Blue Universe Walter and Olivia.

The episode opens with Alt-Broyles being hella shady. He’s combing security footage of Fringe Division HQ to figure out where Alt-Livia and Alt-Lincoln have hidden Amber Lincoln. He eventually figures out that Lincoln is in a storage closet, and he starts preparing some nasty looking yellow injection. Luckily for Lincoln, Walternate and Peter interrupt the nefarious plan. Walternate wants to brief Broyles on the shapeshifter situation, and Alt-Broyles manages to act quite surprised at the information. Alt-Livia and Alt-Lincoln are sent to the shapeshifter factory on Walternate’s information, and they meet the mastermind of the place. He’s none other than villain of seasons past David Robert Jones. But they don’t know that. Jones says he has created 47 of this new type of shapeshifter, and he kills one of the shifters in front of Alt-Livia and Alt-Lincoln. He demands to be taken to their leader.

Meanwhile, back in the Amber Universe, Olivia pays a visit to the Harvard lab to talk to Astrid. She wants Astrid to test a blood sample, and she also tells Astrid about where Peter and Lincoln went. Olivia knows that since Peter and Lincoln have been away for way too long, it’s time to face the music and tell Broyles what’s going on. When Olivia does go to see Broyles, she’s in for a bit of a surprise. Broyles already knows that Peter and Lincoln have gone to the Other Side. Apparently Alt-Broyles told him. Considering Alt-Broyles seems to be in league with the shapeshifters, I don’t have a good feeling about that. Broyles briefs Olivia on the situation as he understands it from Alt-Broyles.

Peter and Lincoln are at Fringe HQ arguing over whether or not it’s time to head back to the Amber Universe (Peter thinks it is, Lincoln thinks they should do more recon) when Peter sees them bringing in the creator of the shapeshifters. He of course recognizes him as David Robert Jones. Alt-Broyles begins the interrogation of Jones, and Jones has some odd demands before he will provide any information. He wants a cup of tea, and he wants the hard drive that was hidden in Brandon’s desk. Alt-livia and Alt-Lincoln are sent to fetch these items just as Peter and Lincoln arrive to tell Walternate what Peter knows about Jones (he’s a scientist from the Blue Universe). Thanks to his Jones knowledge, Peter gets to take over the interrogation. Jones is pretty agitated that Peter knows who he is, but he doesn’t seem to know Peter. As this is going on, Walternate gets a call from a woman at a hospital. This woman sets off some sort of disintegrating gas, and it kills quite a few people. We get a shot of flesh falling off a hand as it slides down a window. “Fringe” often brings the creepy and gross, but this was kind of beyond the beyond. My notes on this part of the episode basically just say “ewwwwwww.”

To avoid any more casualties, Walternate decides to let Jones go, but not before Alt-Lincoln puts a tracking device in his cup of tea. Amber Lincoln wants to help with the surveillance detail that will be following Jones, and the Alt-Fringe team agrees to it. The surveillance, however, doesn’t really go well at all. Jones somehow knows he’s being tracked, and he starts giving out “free money” on the street corner. Each dollar bill has a tracker in it on the exact same frequency as the original tracker, so all of a sudden the Fringe team has many trackers on their screen instead of just the one. Jones uses the chaos to escape into a waiting car, and predictably, Alt-Broyles sees him leaves and lets him go.

Elsewhere in the Red Universe, Walternate and Elizabeth are having dinner together. Walternate is very upset that Jones got away and that he can’t help Peter. I’m not sure why Walternate isn’t capable of helping Peter, but that’s what he thinks. Elizabeth seems determined to find a way to help Peter anyway, and we soon see what exactly she attempts. She crosses over to the Amber Universe to talk to Amber Walter and tries to convince him to help Peter. Walter didn’t get the White Rose card in the Amber Universe, so he is convinced that God has not forgiven him for what he has done. Elizabeth says that even if that’s the case, she forgives Walter for what happened because he was trying to save Peter’s life when things when awry. It looks like Walter is finally coming around to being willing to help.

Back on the Other Side, Peter has been looking at the maps that were on Brandon’s hard drive, and he figures out their significance. Each of the mapped locations have deposits of a particular type of rock that can be used as a power source, and Jones has stolen this type of power source before. The Fringe team sets up at the quarry from the maps that looks like the most likely target for Jones, but when a road on the map doesn’t actually exist at the quarry, Peter realizes that the maps aren’t for the Red Universe. By the time the Fringe Team comes to the realization they’ve been duped, Jones has crossed over to the Amber Universe with the help of his shapeshifters.

Lincoln and Peter return to the Amber Universe, and Broyles is there to meet them. He tells them they should go to “the site,” presumably the Amber Universe version of the quarry. There’s a huge shootout at the Amber version of the quarry between the Fringe crew and Jones and his shapeshifters. Olivia starts driving after Jones as Jones is running for a window between the universes, and Peter tells her to stop. If the window closes on Olivia, Olivia will die. Olivia, of course, keeps driving anyway. Somehow, she makes it through the window and is still alive on the other side. She only has about ¾ of a car left, but she herself is just fine. I wonder if this is related to her Cortexaphan world hopping ability.

Walternate and Peter call a big summit meeting between both Fringe teams. They’re going to work together to stop Jones, which could be interesting. Peter thinks he’s the variable that could help them beat Jones, because Peter already knows who Jones is, and that seemed to throw Jones off. Peter gives a big speech about it and everything, which is kind of corny. Olivia wants to start working on the fight against Jones right away, but Peter wants to wait until the next morning. He needs to get some sleep. That night, the doorbell rings at Peter’s house. I thought for a second it might be Olivia, but it turned out to be Walter. Walter tells Peter that Alt-Elizabeth came to visit him, and he also finally offers to help Peter. Peter is very happy about this turn of events, obviously. Meanwhile, Jones and none other than Nina Sharp are corresponding across universes, talking about working on her. I was so, so disappointed that Amber Nina appears to be evil.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Person of Interest 1.12: "Legacy"

“I give you an address and you promise me no one would get dead. And what happens?”
- Detective Carter

Detective Carter is sitting in a coffee shop, anxiously looking around at every well-dressed guy with dark hair that walks in. She’s obviously looking for Reese. And in typical fashion, he just appears behind her. She wants to know more about how they get their intel and all Reese tells her is that they get information about people about to be involved in crimes or commit them and he asks her to unseal a juvenile record of this week’s number (Andrea Gutierrez). Reese also gives Carter a phone so he can call her when he needs to.

We next see Andrea walking into the courthouse (getting knocked over by some guy and having to rip off the bows on her shoes when one rips). She’s not had the easiest of upbringings but she fought her way through law school and is now trying to carve a niche in the legal field representing ex-cons and inmates with grievances against the State. Sadly she’s 0-6 and her current case isn’t going well. Her client’s parole officer found drugs in his apartment but he tested clean. She heads over to the Department of Family Services to try and get a copy of the blood test but gets shooed away by the supervisor.

That night, Reese is tailing Andrea and she stops for drinks with some friends. This gives Carter time to call him and share what she found about Andrea’s juvenile record. In a somewhat comedic scene, Lionel calls Reese to tell him Carter’s up to something. Finch makes the comment that it will get really complicated keeping both detectives in the dark about each other but Reese isn’t worried. I have to say I was thinking the same thing as Finch. Whenever they do find out about each other it’s going to be great. As Reese ends his call with Carter, he spots someone else following Andrea. He manages to catch the guy in a great locked off comedy shot and starts to pummel him but the other guy has a little fight training and Reese is still recovering from his gunshot wounds. But Andrea is safe for now.

The next morning, Reese shows up at HQ and tries to log on to Finch’s computer but obviously has no luck. Just as Reese starts telling Finch that they need Andrea’s files to see if the guy he ran into the night before is a former client, Finch gets a call and races off to bail out a young man named Will. It’s quite obvious they have some kind of past. It turns out that Will is Nathan’s son and he’s going to be sticking around for a while. He was a doctor traveling around the world but he wants to get to know his father (even though daddy is dead). It looks like we have someone else who is interested in trying to find out more about the Machine. Meanwhile, Carter’s been tasked with finding out where one would buy the brand of steroids Reese found on the thug as he goes off to meet with Andrea.

Reese tells Andrea he wants to sue his manipulative, eccentric boss for bad working conditions. It’s kind of amusing the way he describes Finch so well. Andrea says she can help him (he promises he can pay up front) but she has to go tend to her current case by bringing her client’s son by. He’s been in foster care since her client got arrested. Reese is outside the prison in his car listening when Carter calls with information on the steroids. She gives him three locations with the condition that she’d better not be called to any of them as a crime scene. Yeah, that doesn’t work so well. At the third place, Reese finds the guy and chases him right into the path of an oncoming garbage truck. So much for that lead.

Well, Reese and Finch manage to find the connection between the dead guy and Andrea’s current client. They share a parole officer and the dead guy had just under $10,000 on him. Looks like a payoff and Reese says so as Carter calls to berate him for getting someone dead. Reese has more pressing matters. He’s found the parole officer, Galuska, shaking down another parolee. So of course Reese has to intervene. Carter is rather annoyed about Reese framing Galuska for threatening a parolee but she is going to interrogate him as several of his parolees have claimed he planted evidence. And Reese has given Lionel a new job. Carter’s interrogation doesn’t go well and Reese pays another visit to Andrea just to check on her. Well, and he also stopped by Galuska’s apartment to “borrow” his computer. He and Finch find some interesting data in Galuska’s checking account. He got deposits every time he sent one of his parolees back to prison. And he made withdrawals of just under $10,000 the night the dead guy first tied to take out Andrea and he’s just made another one. Reese tracks Andrea down at the NYU law library and takes out another assailant just in time.

Reese takes Andrea to a safe house and kind of explains the situation. Once he’s satisfied she’ll be safe, he goes to meet Carter. She’s found a pattern in the parolees Galuska sent back to prison. They’re all single parents. Now it’s time to look at someone in the Department of Family Services. Carter brings in the couple fostering the son of Andrea’s current client. They eventually admit that most of the kids listed as being in their care don’t exist. Finch interrupts the investigation to tell Carter she should let the couple make their phone call. He and Reese have a plan for catching the DFS member in action by installing a scanner inside the document shredder. Unfortunately Reese realizes it’s not the person they thought (he followed the head of Foster Placement after she left work early) just as Andrea gets a call from her client telling her he’s going to be moved to Attica. Andrea promises to fix it and goes to DFS where she runs into her contact (Chris) and realizes he’s Galuska’s partner.

Reese shows up just in time to stop Chris from hurting Andrea and Carter arrives to arrest him. They make a pretty good team. They’ve got this really funny banter where Carter sort of brags about what she can do to move the case forward without having to shoot anyone. Andrea settles her client’s case for $10 million (I’d take a $300,000 fee too). We end with Lionel checking in with Reese while on his new job; tailing Finch. This is going to get interesting.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

New Girl 1.10: "The Story of the 50"

“Nick, this is it! This is my twenty-ninth birthday party. This is the year. After this, I don’t know, it’s just, it’s just all darkness.”

“The Story of the 50” is one of my very favorite episodes of “New Girl” thus far. It’s right up there with “Wedding” and “Thanksgiving.” It’s got a lot of really insightful and really hilarious character-based humor. And the Douchebag Jar, one of my favorite aspect of the show’s pilot, made a comeback in a big, big way. The whole episode was, in a way, an ode to the legendary Jar. Because of that, we were treated to multiple montages of Max Greenfield saying all sorts of pretentious and sometimes gross things. I never realized what a talented actor he is until I started watching “New Girl.” I especially enjoyed his work on “Veronica Mars,” and his character on “Greek” was interesting as well, but he didn’t really stand out in either of those roles. Perhaps he is just better suited to comedy in general. Anyway, this episode was a wonderful showcase for Greenfield, because the episode was all about Schmidt. It’s his twenty-ninth birthday, and all sorts of hilarity goes down.

The episode has an in media res structure, opening with Schmidt being told he needs to put $50 in the Douchebag Jar. This is more money than he’s ever had to put in the jar at once before, so we’re left wondering what he could have possibly done to warrant such a severe punishment. That’s the mystery which will be solved by the end of the episode. We flash back to one day earlier, where Schmidt has run into trouble trying to plan his big twenty-ninth birthday party. The party bus rental company just called to say that they gave the bus he had reserved to Frankie Muniz instead. Schmidt explains to Jess exactly why throwing this huge blow-out party to send off his twenties means so much. One of his friends from college, Benjamin, is going to be there. Benjamin is an even bigger douchebag than Schmidt. They moved out to LA together several years earlier when Schmidt was still fat. We see a little flashback of Benjamin having Schmidt sing “We built this Schmidty on Tootsie Rolls” to illustrate this. Nick and Winston, in a hilarious conversation, warn Jess that she’s not ready to host a party for Schmidt’s douchebag friends, but she insists on going ahead with the plan anyway.

Nick runs off from the conversation about Schmidt, and Winston points out that Nick is wearing his “jury duty pants,” all of which is rather suspicious to the gang. It turns out that Nick has a new girlfriend. Her name is Julia, she’s a lawyer, and she’s played by the very talented Lizzy Caplan of “True Blood” and “Party Down” fame. They’re at a party at Julia’s firm, and Julia complains that the purpose of the party is to kiss the asses of law students to get them to want to work at the firm. This didn’t quite compute with me, because just about any law student would kill for a job at any firm these days- no ass kissing needed. They trade Bill Cosby impressions when Julia makes fun of Nick’s sweater, which I thought was kind of sweet. Julia wants to go back to Nick’s place after the party, but Nick hesitates mostly because he’s embarrassed by his roommates. This makes Julia kind of suspicious that Nick is married or something, so Nick finally relents and agrees to let her see where he lives.

Meanwhile, in one of my favorite sequences of the episode (and perhaps the series), Jess is on the phone with “Miss Fatbooty” trying to order a “last minute stripper” for Schmidt’s party. The way she treats the whole thing so nonchalantly is what makes it so hilarious. Nick walks in and introduces Julia, and Julia gets the opportunity to meet everybody but Schmidt. Winston invites Julia to Schmidt’s party, which kind of pisses Nick off. He really does not want her to get to know who he really is. Jess, proud of herself for ordering her first stripper, asks if there’s anything else she needs to order for the party. Next thing we know, she’s searching through the drawer of confiscated contraband in the office of her school’s assistant principal. The assistant principal walks in and sees Jess, and she grills Jess about why she needs contraband. Jess explains that she’s planning a party, and the assistant principal is willing to let the incident go if she’s invited to the party. Jess, of course, agrees.

The actual birthday party itself is absolutely hilarious. Schmidt’s new party bus is a heavily decorated school bus. Nick is highly embarrassed by how his friends, especially Schmidt, are acting, but Julia repeatedly assures him that she thinks this friends are cool. On the bus, Jess, always the teacher, tells the group that they each have a bus buddy, and if they need to get up and move around, they need to wear a “fashion helmet.” Everything is going along swimmingly until the stripper shows up. Because the stripper is a guy. He explains that whenever the person who handles booking the strippers hears a woman on the phone, he gets sent on the job. Jess has to do some damage control, and she begs the stripper to do something else for tips other than stripping. He ends up singing gospel music as the party bus gets going.

There’s a brief interlude where the party guests are supposed to have shots by the side of the road. They’re drinking a concoction called “bro juice,” and Winston announces that Nick is the inventor of bro juice. This embarrasses Nick in front of Julia yet again. Meanwhile, Benjamin informs Schmidt that he’s going to be going after Jess romantically. Back on the bus, Jess announces that the next stop will be a club called Plague, and Benjamin informs her that you need to be on a special list to get in. While this is going down, Schmidt is having a conversation with the stripper about the career prospects of stripping. They talk about what Schmidt’s stripper persona would be (luxury, desert, a warrior poet), and the stripper seems to think Schmidt would have a promising career. Schmidt loses interest, however, when the stripper informs him that he’s most often hired to dance for dudes.

Benjamin says that he talked to Tristan (who apparently is a bigwig at Plague), and Tristan will only let Benjamin and Jess into the club. When Jess refuses to go along with this, Benjamin starts insulting Jess, Schmidt, and the party. Julia intervenes and ends up decking Benjamin. After she throws a few punches, a horrified Nick yells out “Who are you!” It turns out that Julia is far from the perfect person Nick believed her to be. She has anger management issues and is in court-ordered anger management classes. This led me to seriously wonder how she’s still a practicing lawyer, considering that criminal convictions (which I’m assuming is what led to the court-ordered classes) generally get you in trouble with the Attorney Grievance Commission. The bus crashes amidst all the chaos, ending the party, and everyone goes home but Schmidt and Jess. Schmidt thanks Jess, because nobody has ever taken the time to do something like this for him before, and he tries to kiss her. When Jess pulls away, Schmidt tries to play it off like she had some fuzz on her face that he was trying to get rid of. It was the attempted kiss which resulted in his having to pay $50 to the jar.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Body of Proof 2.13: "Sympathy for the Devil"

“This is never a place where the living disparage the dead so keep your opinions to yourself and focus on the facts.”
- Megan

We begin this week with a new program reporting on a woman named Hilary Stone who has just been acquitted of murdering her 5-year-old son. Interestingly, the sitting judge on the case was Megan’s mother. The next thing we see, rain is falling on dirt and obscuring a face. Megan, Peter and Bud arrive and Megan quickly deduces that the dead body is in fact Hilary Stone. In short order, news crews, including Sheila Temple (whose news program was on at the start of the episode) are trying to get a statement out of Kate but blows them off. Bud comments that they have 1.5 million suspects (the population of Philly). Megan and Kate are more focused on Hilary’s injuries. She has a wound on her head and bruising on her neck that might indicate she was strangled. Unfortunately, the media circus has followed our crew back to the office. I can already tell I’m going to want to reach through my computer screen and strangle the reporter. Ms. Temple is commenting on whether Megan doing to autopsy is a conflict of interest seeing as her mother presided over the case.

Inside the lab, Ethan tries to get Curtis to check out Sheila’s website for information on their victim and her prior court case but Curtis isn’t interested. And he kind of goes badass on a reporter and cameraman who are trying to sneak in the building. Ethan heads into autopsy and makes a rather rude remark about Hilary, to which Megan promptly reminds him to keep his opinions to himself. They start the external exam and Ethan finds some abrasions on her back and a cut on her leg. And Peter needs them to run a sexual assault kit. Just as Ethan heads off to collect some trace and start the kit, Megan finds dirt under Hilary’s eyelids. She was buried alive.

Megan tells Kate that she’s got a preliminary cause of death and kind of flips out on Ethan (again) when he points out that Hilary has no defensive wounds. She tells him to section all of her organs and write up the autopsy report so he can get to know Hilary, not what he’s heard about her on news programs. Meanwhile, Bud is down helping Hilary’s mother into the building. She’s been mobbed by people and I honestly thought Bud might punch Sheila Temple as she tried to get a comment out of Hilary’s mom. Kate and Megan are very sympathetic to Hilary’s mother as she explains her daughter’s history. Things get a little awkward when she spots Megan’s mom. Guess there might be a conflict after all depending on what Joan has to say. It turns out a reporter did an op-ed piece on Joan and since her election is the next day, she wants Megan to keep her mouth shut. Over in the break room, Ethan is being kind of a brat. He’s watching the news as Megan comes in and he says he’s finished all his work and he’s just waiting on the sexual assault results. Too bad Megan yanked his iPad away and sees he got the results five minutes earlier. He throws kind of a hissy fit about the fact that he thinks Hilary did kill her son and that the child never got justice. Megan tells him basically to grow up. Curtis swings by Kate’s office with an update on Hilary’s toxicology panel. She had alcohol and some drugs in her system.

Over at the station, Bud is fending off people claiming they killed Hilary. Peter’s in the thick of it too until Megan shows up and tells Bud that the DNA from the sexual assault kit belongs to Hilary’s ex-boyfriend (and the father of her son). He’s doing an interview on Sheila Temple’s show and it looks like he’s asking for justice for both his son and Hilary. Until Bud and Megan show up and claim it’s their turn to talk to the killer. Craig claims that after Hilary was released, she showed up at his place, they had a few drinks and had sex. He claims he didn’t kill her and that when he woke up, she was gone. Next we find out that there is evidence in Hilary’s brain tissue that she was strangled and Ethan reveals that the trace from the cut on her leg was from sealant around a window on a boat. Megan sends Peter and Bud to the marina and they find a prison guard cleaning up glass on her boat. She knew Hilary while she was in jail and locked Hilary in when she showed up. She also drugged her with some sedatives. This case is really complicated!

Megan and Peter are processing the boat and Peter finds some skin cells on a pillow. There was also a combination lock on the door. So Hilary couldn’t get out but if someone knew the combination, they could get in. Turns out the skin cells had dandruff. And Megan has an idea of who that is. After a little deflecting about her mother’s judgment in Hilary’s case, Megan outright accuses Sheila of Hilary’s murder. Sheila admits to being at the boat and to providing the prison guard with incentives to get close to Hilary. But when Sheila and crew showed up at the boat, Hilary was gone. All of which is backed up by the footage Bud demands to see. Meanwhile, Megan shows up at the polls and she and her mother are accosted by a jerk in front of them in line. Bud and Sheila are watching more of the footage she shot at the crime scene and Bud recognizes one of the people who came in saying he’d killed Hilary. They bring him in and his story sounds pretty good, including an injury to the left kidney. That wasn’t in the press but something’s off. Megan and Peter are looking at the kidneys and x-rays. The left kidney has a puncture but the right rib is broken. Ethan screwed up the report. Big time.

Megan calls Ethan down to autopsy and rips into him quite ferociously about screwing up the findings and the report. Kate appears and hauls Ethan off for some more verbal battering but ultimately tells him to go home and come back in the morning. It seems that Megan is trying to cool off by checking the latest on the poll results and finds her mother lost (to no one.) Her mom is pretty upset and shell shocked but Megan doesn’t have much time to help her through it. She has to go reexamine Hilary’s body. Megan looks at the evidence again and realizes that Hilary didn’t walk to the construction site where she died; she caught a ride with her killer.

Ethan is back and acting like a normal person and he finds skid marks and tire treads at the crime scene that least to Hilary’s mom’s car. She begs to see Hilary’s body before she explains and Megan lets her. It turns out Hilary told her mom (after getting picked up at the marina) that she only went to sleep with Craig to have another baby. In that moment, Hilary’s mom knew she’d killed her son. But she hadn’t meant to kill Hilary. It really was very sad. We end this week with Megan stopping by her mother’s place to find her making jam. She’s recused herself from the bench and it seems that she and Megan might have a stronger relationship because of it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

HIMYM 7.14: "46 Minutes"

“Enough! I am sick of you two wallowing in sadness instead of doing the healthy thing and pretending anyone who leaves you never existed in the first place.”

“46 Minutes” marked a new phase in the lives of the HIMYM gang and in the show itself. Lily and Marshall officially moved to Long Island. I don’t see how this turn of events can be reversed (even though Marshall and Lily don’t strike me as a suburbs-dwelling couple at all), and I appreciate the need to switch things up after six-and-a-half years, but I’m wondering if the show is going to be sustainable as the characters all start to move on to the next phase of their lives. As much as it pains me to say it, since I love spending time with these characters, I think next season needs to be HIMYM’s last. That being said, that particular episode was highly enjoyable and funny, although I wouldn’t really place it among the upper echelon of HIMYM with episodes like “Slap Bet” and “Slapsgiving.” Watching the gang flounder without Marshall and Lily was more funny than sad because the situations they got into were just so ridiculous. It’s definitely a good thing that by the end of the episode, Barney decided he shouldn’t be group leader anymore- it probably would have gotten them all killed!

The episode opens at MacLaren’s, where Kevin is asking Robin, Ted, and Barney why they seem so down. And it just occurred to me that at the table currently is Robin and three guys she’s slept with. Awkward! Kevin asks why the rest of the group looks so down, and they explain that Marshall and Lily just officially moved out to Long Island a few hours ago. We flash back to the final group meet-up at MacLaren’s where they all still live close to the bar, and Lily tries to console the group with the fact that they will only be a 46-minute train ride away. This doesn’t really do much in the way of consolation, but it’s time for Marshall and Lily to leave anyway. After they leave, Barney declares himself the new leader of the group, complete with retooled theme song and main title sequence. This gag was used several times in the episode, and it was always really funny.

Out on Long Island, Mickey (Lily’s dad) has decided to stick around for a little while to help Marshall and Lily adjust to the house, considering it’s the house he grew up in and all. And he probably has nowhere else to stay. It seems like a kind gesture on the surface, but he starts really pissing Marshall and Lily off by bossing them around about every detail about how the house should be. He corrects every little thing they try to do to the house. Eventually, Marshall has had it with Mickey’s intrusiveness, and he tells Mickey that he needs to leave the next day. Then Marshall accidentally trips a breaker by having too many electrical devices running on the same circuit. It’s a problem only Mickey, which his detailed knowledge of the house, can solve. Too bad he’s pissed about getting kicked out of the house and is acting like a whiny child about it! He does a really creepy voice over the intercom as Marshall struggles to get down to the basement and find the breaker box.

Back in Manhattan, Barney, as self-described group leader, has decided that the gang should go to a strip club. It’s an idea Lily always shot down, so he’s very eager. Ted’s down for the idea since he’s single and doesn’t have anything better to do. Robin and Kevin, however, take a little more convincing. We get another typical naming of a social phenomenon, as Robin and Kevin engage in a bit of “new relationship chicken.” They both want to seem really interesting to each other, so they act like they’re totally cool with going to a strip club, even though neither of them really are. The gang heads to the Lusty Leopard, of course, and none other than Lily’s doppelganger, aka “Stripper Lily” is up to perform. Barney declares her “Better Lily,” and when her rather large, imposing boyfriend shows up, Barney dubs him “New Marshall.” They are going to be official new members of the gang, and we get yet another version of the theme song and opening credits. This one’s Russian themed, because new Marshall and Lily are Russian. Ted goes along with Barney’s proclamation because he’s pissed that Marshall isn’t answering his phone calls. Turns out Marshall just doesn’t get good cell phone reception on Long Island.

The stuff on Long Island with Marshall trying to get the power turned back on is really seriously creepy. It was filmed in a rather Blair Witch Project style, with it looking like Marshall’s wearing a night-vision camera pointed at himself. Mickey is just generally an ass, refusing to help and taking delight in every time Marshall hurts himself in the dark. Lily eventually can’t take it anymore and tells Mickey that a good father and grandfather would try to help. Properly chastened, Mickey gets back on the intercom and guides Marshall through the maze of a basement to the breaker box, and Marshall is eventually able to get the power back on.

Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, New Marshall and Better Lily are causing some trouble for the rest of the gang. They go to a shady underground poker game, and everyone else joins. Ted is really obnoxious at the game and is winning everyone else’s chips. Since the gang is really playing against a bunch of thugs, this is rather dangerous. Just as somebody’s about to hurt Ted, the gang runs away. Better Lily says that they’re going to a party in a slaughterhouse next. Ted is the only one who wants to go, and he drags the rest of the gang along. Oh, and if things couldn’t get any worse, New Marshall is a former patient of Kevin’s who apparently “stabbed a bunch of prison guards.” New Marshall and Better Lily end up only being interested in stealing from the rest of the gang (the party was a fake, including the massive cover charge). The gang decides they’re better off going to visit the real Marshall and Lily, and they hop on the train. The gang arrives in East Meadow just in time for breakfast. Mickey has made pancakes, and the gang realizes that they don’t need MacLaren’s to be a cohesive, supportive group of friends. They just need each other.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fringe 4.08: "Back to Where You've Never Been"

“So clearly, in the other universe, I’m a nutjob.”

“Back to Where You’ve Never Been” was an exciting episode of “Fringe,” and I think it would have served to make an excellent fall finale. I’m fairly certain that’s what the episode was intended to be when it was written, but baseball hiatus changed FOX’s schedule slightly more than originally anticipated back in October. So we get it as the mid-season premiere instead. It certainly sets up an interesting arc for what is likely to be the show’s final run (even “Grimm” gets better ratings…seriously). “Back to Where You’ve Never Been” was successful, in part, because it marked our first return to the Red Universe (aka “The Other Side”) since the Blue Universe went all Amber on us in last season’s finale. It was a little bit of welcome familiarity, really. The original universe of the show that we watched and loved for three seasons is gone (for now, at least), and the Red Universe has been around longer than the Amber Universe for sure. We know (and sometimes like) the players over there. Walternate is deliciously evil, Alt-livia and Alt-Lincoln kick ass and take names, and Alt-Astrid always comes through with a brilliant deduction. If I can’t have my regular Blue Universe (except for Peter, but he’s really Blue-Red considering his history) characters back just yet, I’ll take these folks!

So I probably ought to take a moment here and explain the system I’m using to refer to different versions of all the characters, because since this episode goes back to the Other Side, things get confusing. I generally refer to the universes by the color of the title sequence of the show when an episode is set in that universe. The title sequence was originally blue, so the original universe of the first three seasons is “Blue Universe.” The characters there are just referred to by their plain names. I’ve started using “the Other Side” and “Red Universe” interchangeably now, because when episodes were set on the Other Side last season, the title sequence was red. The current, Peter never existed, non-Other Side universe is the “Amber Universe” because the title sequence is now amber. I generally call Red Universe characters Alt and Amber Universe characters Amber (or nothing, if I get tired of writing out Amber). So there you go. Just goes to show how complicated the “Fringe” mythology has gotten!

Anyway, the episode opens with Peter dreaming about his old Blue Universe life. Walter is making banana pancakes, and Olivia is giving him a morning kiss at the breakfast table. When Peter wakes up, he decides that he needs to once again ask Amber Walter for help getting home. He just can’t take being away from “his” Olivia and Walter anymore. Walter refuses to help Peter. He’s convinced that wanting to “help” someone from another universe is what resulted in the death of Amber-Red Peter (as opposed to “our” Other Side Peter who didn’t die in Reiden Lake after Walter’s rescue attempt). Because of what happened to that version of Peter, Walter refuses to ever have any dealings with other universes again. Peter next seeks out Amber Olivia’s help. He wants her to help him cross over to the Other Side so he can ask Walternate for help instead. Lincoln stops by with some chicken soup for Olivia, and he’s a little peeved to see Peter already there. Olivia and Lincoln briefly flirt with the idea of using a crossover as an excuse to do some recon on the Red Universe and the new shapeshifters, but Peter shuts them down. He’s afraid that it would put his own mission, getting “home” to the Blue Universe, at risk because Walternate might think he has some nefarious purposes besides just going home.

What passes for the creepy/gross happening of the episode takes place on the Other Side. At a train station, a little kid thinks he sees two men having sex in a bathroom stall. His mom gets the police to investigate, and a big chase ensues. One of the guys was already dead when the police got to the bathroom, and the other guy gets hit by a truck. Both are pretty clearly the new breed of shapeshifters, and pretty messed up ones at that. Their faces are all mismatched and misshapen. At DoD headquarters, Walternate has Alt-Brandon bring him the shapeshifter tech that has been recovered. Brandon says he’s close to figuring out who created this model of shapeshifter, but Walternate says he want to finish the job himself. Meanwhile, Alt-livia and Alt-Lincoln get pulled off the train station case in favor of military guys. This switch-up is happening on Walternate’s orders. To make things look even more suspicious, at DoD headquarters, Walternate kicks people out of a lab to do his own autopsy of the train station shapeshifters. It is certainly looking more and more like Walternate has something big to hide.

Back in the Amber Universe, Operation: Get Peter a Meeting With Walternate is unfolding. Peter, Amber Olivia, and Amber Lincoln are at the opera house in New York and the Blue Universe crew used to cross over back at the end of season 2. Amber Lincoln is dressed up as the more badass Alt-Lincoln, which is really kind of precious and adorable, considering Amber Lincoln (and Original Recipe Lincoln as well) is a huge nerd. Peter and Lincoln are going to cross over while Olivia stays behind in the Amber opera house in case things go wrong. Peter and Lincoln’s arrival on the Other Side causes a fringe alert there, and of course Alt-livia and Alt-Lincoln are sent to the scene. Meanwhile, Lincoln manages to get Peter past the Liberty Island guard by using the old Wookie prisoner trick. I thought that was pretty badass. Lincoln reports his “Show Me” (ID card) as missing to cover for the fact that he doesn’t have one, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but it backfires when the real Alt-Lincoln tries to use his Show Me to start his car on the way back to Fringe HQ from the opera house. He calls it into HQ, and Amber Lincoln’s cover is blown.

Peter and Amber Lincoln are arrested, and while they’re being transported somewhere, the driver of the vehicle gets secret orders and pulls away from the rest of the convoy (including Alt-livia and Alt-Lincoln). He also shoots the other Fringe agent in the car. The WTF looks Peter and Amber Lincoln give each other as this is going down are rather priceless. The two Fringe agents end up killing each other, and Peter and Lincoln use the opportunity to make their escape. Peter says they’re going to do this “his way” now. Alt-livia and Alt-Lincoln find Amber Lincoln, but when the do, Peter isn’t with him. Lincoln tells them his conspiracy theory about how Walternate is behind the shapeshifters, and they agree to let Lincoln live long enough for them to check it out.

Meanwhile, Peter pays a visit to his mom. Well, this slightly altered universe’s version of his mom. She recognizes him immediately, even though nobody in this universe has seen Peter grow to adulthood. Unfortunately, before she saw Peter, she had suspected an intruder in her house and had set off an alarm. Troops arrive en masse, and by physically placing herself between them and Peter, she convinces the troops to take both of them to the DoD headquarters peacefully. At DoD, Peter and Walternate have a bit of a battle of wits showdown. Walternate calls Brandon in and zaps him. It was quite the WTF moment. Apparently, Brandon was actually a shapeshifter. Walternate claims that the government is being taken over by them. He promises to help Peter get back to the Blue Universe if Peter takes back the message to Amber Universe that the shapeshifters are invading Red Universe too.

While they check out his story, Alt-livia and Alt-Lincoln lock Amber Lincoln in a maintenance closet. I find that pretty amusing. They end up having to tell Broyles what’s going on, because he’s figured out part of the story already. That turns out to be very bad, because as soon as they leave his office, Broyles appears to call up shapeshifter HQ. That was the second big WTF moment of the episode. And the third soon followed. Over in Amber Universe, Olivia wakes up and sees an Observer (September?) in the opera house. She fears for her safety at first, but the Observer says he just has a message, and it’s clear that he’s been shot and is in really bad shape. He says that he has looked at all possible futures, and in every scenario, Olivia must die.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Person of Interest 1.11: "Super"

“Possible Threat Detected. Subject: Ingram, Nathan C.”
- The Machine

With our first episode of 2012, we’re right back where we ended the last episode. We see Reese get shot and then we end up in a Coroner’s office where Finch pays the Coroner (who was a well-respected surgeon in his home country but can’t afford a US license) to stich Reese up with no questions asked. The next morning, Carter leaves her apartment building and spots a green truck on the street and a few guys in suits standing around. Agent Snow appears and tells Carter that they’re watching her to see if Reese contacts her, since it was odd that he managed to get away. After some posturing where Carter and Snow remind each other that threatening a cop and lying to a fed are crimes, Carter heads to work and uses Lionel’s computer. Guess she’s concerned the Feds are bugging hers. She finds the picture of Finch from the bank robbery and realizes she had his cell number the whole time. Too bad it’s been disconnected. Regardless, she puts in a request for all the data on the number.

We have some interesting flashbacks this week, to 2005. They involve Finch and his partner, Nathan Ingram before Nathan died. Nathan is meeting with a woman named Alicia who is from one of the alphabet agencies and she tells Nathan that if they don’t see progress, the funding will be pulled. So he gives her a 9-digit number (a social security number) as Finch watches. Finch assures Nathan that the number will pan out. The Machine just knows. Back in the present, Reese is wheelchair bound and moving into an apartment. The super, a guy named Trask (Sergeant Batista from Dexter) is kind of rambling on about how he used to have six night clubs down in Miami with a mansion and exotic pets. Once he leaves, Finch materializes (breaking that space-time continuum again) and says that given the situation, he thought Reese should be somewhere low profile. Besides, Snow is focusing all his attention on Carter.

And of course, Reese isn’t really there to rest. Trask is their latest number and Finch has verified the guy bought an untraceable handgun. So Finch hacks the entire building’s Wi-Fi signal. We get a really amusing scene where Reese comments on one of the tenants doing yoga, saying she’s “healthy” with an accompanying head tilt of interest. What made it even better was Finch did it, too. Speaking of, Finch has gotten Reese some house-warming presents including books and donut to sit on. Reese’s expression when he sees the donut is great. Meanwhile, Snow and his buddy are watching Carter but all she’s doing is paperwork. She knows what kind of game they’re playing and she’s not going to make it easy for them.

Back at the apartment building, Reese notices that Lily (a cook) appears to be dating Rick, the guy who lives in the penthouse. Finch has managed to verify some details about Trask’s history but says he’s likely got a wild imagination since he didn’t actually have all the luxury he said he did. Reese picks up on the security guard who has been trying to find a jewelry thief. That could a potential victim for Trask. The only way to know who the intended victim might be is for Finch to do a little leg work. He gets into Trask’s apartment easily enough, thanks to Reese taking a hammer to his bathroom, but gets caught when Trask realizes he needs a different wrench. Finch does plant a few cameras and find lots of pictures of Lily.

They solve one mystery as Finch is trying to escape and get back up to Reese. The security guard is coming out of an apartment when he spots Finch and Reese rolls back the video to see the guard is the one stealing the jewelry. Finch gives the guy a choice, they can call the cops or each go on their way like they’d never seen each other. Obviously the security guard takes the second option. And we head in to our second flashback of the week.

Finch races into Nathan’s office and disables his computer just as Alicia and her boss arrive. The social security number indeed panned out. They caught a traitor in the government selling weapons-grade uranium to enemy governments. But Alicia’s boss (Weeks) doesn’t like that there’s not control over the Machine. But he’s really got not choice, seeing as price isn’t an issue (Nathan is developing the Machine for $1). In the next room, Finch is listening in to the conversation while the Machine analyzes the situation and determines that Weeks is a threat to the system. I like that the Machine is becoming its own character, with a little bit of personality.

Back in 2012, Finch and Reese need to get eyes on Lily at work and at home. Unfortunately for her, someone else has been watching her. Finch finds a wireless camera in her heating vent. Poor girl just can’t get away. Over at the precinct, Carter gets the cell phone data on Finch’s phone and sets out to lose her FBI tail and does it pretty well. She commandeers a guy’s coat and hails a cab. Finch has made it to Lily’s work and is watching her and sees her receive some flowers that she immediately tosses in the trash. It’s safe to say she knows that someone is stalking her. Reese isn’t having much luck on his end with the tech side of things. I think he prefers to hit people. Finch has also enlisted Lionel to help throw the CIA off Reese’s trail by giving him a pill bottle with Reese’s prints. It works, too. The CIA get the hit and head off to Connecticut.

Later that night, Carter ends up at the last location Finch’s phone was used and Finch ends up calling a meeting. Carter wants answers but Finch isn’t going to give them up very easily. He does give her a target to focus on, a drunk named Derek Watson. She does a little digging and ends up stopping him before he shoots the guy that foreclosed on his house. She’s got a little bit of an idea of what our dynamic duo does. And things are finally coning to a head at the apartment building. Finch and Lily are on the way back and Reese realizes (thanks to some video watching) that Trask is after Rick. We see Trask confront Rick but Reese does a little MacGuyver-ing and sets off the fire alarm to divert Trask’s attention. Reese confronts Trask but just as he think he knows what’s going on, Finch finds out the hidden network was from Rick. Reese is going to have to whip a can of whoop-ass on Rick to save Lily. Fighting on crutches with gunshot wounds is tough but Reese manages it and Rick ends up flying out a window and going ‘splat’ on the ground. No more possessive stalker guy. We find out that Trask is in WITSEC after testifying against the Cuban mafia. So everything he said was true.

We end this week with our final flashback to 2005. Finch pops the hood as it were on the Machine to explain how it picked out the traitor. It was the tiniest thread linking him to his contact and Finch seems glad that Nathan is the only person to know how it works. Finch is fine with the world not knowing he created the Machine because that’s the only way he can ensure the government uses it properly. Too bad he doesn’t realize his brother-in-arms could be the next victim or perpetrator.

Body of Proof 2.12: "Shades of Blue"

“Would you do an autopsy on a friend?”
“I’d prefer not to.”
“Well that’s what you’re asking me to do to Meeks.”
- Peter and Kate

This week we find ourselves at a truck stop late at night where a driver finds a dead body after nearly running over a guy. Megan rolls up with an extra coffee for Peter but he was thinking the same thing. Guess it’s good if you like coffee. Bud’s not on scene because his wife is having a bad bout of morning sickness. The other cops on scene are kind of jerks, saying the dead guy is likely a dealer or an addict. Either way, the victim (Johnny Vasquez) was killed execution style. Back at the lab Megan and Ethan are doing the external body exam and find some hairs (Vasquez is bald so it’s likely the killer). Peter stops by with some information on the sawdust on Johnny’s boots. Bud immediately identifies it as used in dive bars to clean up beer and he and Sam head to one of the two near the crime scene. The waitress is high but Sam agrees to not arrest her if she gives them the names of Johnny’s associates. Meanwhile, back at the lab, Megan’s autopsy is unremarkable. Johnny wasn’t an addict but he had drugs in his system. Turns out, once Peter tries to call the guy’s parole officer, Johnny isn’t really Johnny. He’s an undercover cop named Eddie Castillo.

The undercover cop unit is pretty gung ho about finding Eddie’s killer and Megan and Kate are a little surprised. Bud and Sam get back from the bar only to get a call that the waitress they just talked to got caught trying to rob the place. She claims it was because she’d ratted people to the cops. She was afraid for her life and didn’t want to stick around. Back at the lab, Megan and Peter are talking to Eddie’s wife. Not much of value comes out of it, other than that he didn’t break his wrist in a prison fight. Ethan and Curtis are in the lab and Ethan finds some non-biological material in the knuckle wound from Eddie’s hand. Curtis bemoans the fact that it’s going to be a lose-lose situation with a cop killer case until Ethan says he identified who the hairs belong to, a 2-time felon named Quinten. Meeks (Eddie’s current and Peter’s former partner) is really pissed off when he hears the news. His captain agrees to let Meeks go as back up to bring in Quinten.

Megan’s not sure things are all squared away. Quinten tested negative for drugs consistently after his last arrest but the hair found is positive and all the same length. They came from police evidence. Things are not going to go well at the raid. Meeks sort of sneaks off from the group and gets into Quinten’s apartment just as Peter calls Bud and Sam to tell them that Quinten’s being set up by a cop. The SWAT team busts in and stops Meeks from shooting Quinten. Too bad their captain is really pissed off at Kate and Megan for interrupting the operation. He doesn’t think their evidence was compelling. So Megan goes to get a fresh hair sample from Quinten. Ethan finally figures out what the trace was from Eddie’s hand wound: gold from a dental filling. There’s another strike against Meeks. Peter ends up at a bar where Meeks is wallowing in his suspension. Peter is a little horrified to find out that Meeks doesn’t have an alibi for the time of Eddie’s death. He was five miles from the crime scene.

Before Peter can say much more Megan summons him back to the lab. She’s not happy she found out from Ethan about the filling being a match to Meeks. Peter pretty much tells her that he believes his partner and that if they go after Meeks, he (Peter) can’t be with them. I kind of feel bad for Peter. But only a little. Next thing we know, Megan is demanding to see the murder weapon to see if Meeks planted it or not and threatens to have the entire homicide division drug tested to do it. Kate steps in and demands Peter do it, even if it makes him uncomfortable. She tells him that he needs to pick a team.

It looks like Peter has chosen the lab when he tells the captain he doesn’t want to go back to the force. But he only gets the gun by telling the captain about Megan. I’m not sure I really want to know what Peter told him. It seems a little creepy. Before Peter gets back, Bud brings Jeannie by the meet Megan. She’s been having some difficulties (frequent urination and drinking lots of orange juice). With a quick blood test, Megan guesses Jeannie has gestational diabetes. Peter drops off the gun and Megan has a bit of a problem firing. The gun recoils and the slide catches her between her thumb and forefinger. To make matters worse, the two cops from the crime scene show up with a bottle of urine with a bow on it. Really mature. Not.

But there is some good that comes of the bottle of urine. It proves that none of the cops in the homicide division were taking illegal drugs. Unfortunately, the test Megan did on the gun came up with no new evidence. Curtis found a minute trace of latex with partial DNA in the box it was processed in. Megan gets Peter begrudgingly to bring Meeks in to take a blood sample. Meanwhile, Bud and Sam meet up with the waitress. She’s been let go and told that the record producer that Eddie called wants to meet with her if she can get clean. Guess there’s one happy ending.

Bud stops by Megan’s office to tell her that she was right. Jeannie has gestational diabetes but it’s manageable. Megan is glad and when Bud says he owes her, she gets him to go and arrest Meeks. I’m not 100% sure that he did it. The two other cops that were at the scene are kind of jerks and a little sketchy. Anyway, the captain tells the whole squad to write down statements regarding Meeks’ involvement in the case. All is not as it seems though. Peter busts in to find out that arresting Charlie was just to get the others on camera signing their names so they could find the real killer. And I totally called it. One of the two cops from the crime scene was the killer. We end with some encouraging moments. Bud and his wife bond over beans and he promises everything will be fine and Megan and Peter are back on good terms.

Person of Interest 1.10: "Number Crunch"

“Finch, you said the machine would give us the number in time. It didn’t.”
- Reese

We begin this week in the Machine’s POV for once and we see a car flip and crash on an empty road. We also hear some kind of phone conversation between two men who are looking for a kid. We jump to HQ where Reese wanders in but doesn’t find Finch. He heads to one of the bookshelves and finds a picture of Harold and his partner from back when they first starting the whole project. Finch materializes (sadly not out of a break in the space-time continuum) and says they have 4 numbers. Three women and a man, all seemingly unconnected. Finch sends Reese off to find Claire, she was the first number.

Over at the police precinct, Carter is dealing with an inquiry over the shooting between her, Bottlecap (her CI) and Reese. She maintains she thinks it was Reese who saved her but that she doesn’t know and she didn’t see him. She tells them she won’t talk again unless her union rep is present and slinks back out to her desk where she’s been placed until everything is sorted. Lionel says that maybe it’s good she didn’t see Reese’s face because she wouldn’t know whether to thank him or arrest him. She says it would be easy to arrest him. Speaking of Reese, he shows up at Claire’s apartment to find it crawling with cops. He somehow manages to slip on a CSU jacket without anyone noticing and getting into the crime scene. Claire is dead.

We get another view of the car accident and this time we see 2 cars drive up on the scene and the drivers get out before cutting back to Claire’s apartment. It’s definitely a new way of using the Machine to sort of build the story throughout the episode. Anyway, Reese manages to snag Claire’s cell phone and downloads a little off her laptop before Lionel and his temporary partner (Detective “Happy”) show up. It appears Claire recently came into some money and bought all kinds of things for herself before she got beaten up and shot. Outside, Reese tasks Finch with tracking the guy of their quartet while he plans to put Lionel on one of the remaining women. Back at the precinct, Carter gets called into the Captain’s office and meets a guy in a suit (government type) and ends up admitting that Reese did shoot her CI. She doesn’t seem happy about it.

Reese is following Wendy, a hair stylist and she’s at work at her salon. This is one of the funniest bits of this show to date. He follows a guy on a motorcycle into the salon only find out he’s a messenger and then Reese gets snagged into a haircut. He looks absolutely befuddled at what’s happening. It’s honestly kind of cute and adorable (not 2 words normally associated with Jim Caviezel). Out on the street, Lionel is trying to keep an eye on Paula but she spots him and takes off after possibly buying a gun. Meanwhile, Finch is keeping an eye on the guy (Matt). Unfortunately, Wendy’s also given Reese the slip. Finch sees Matt buy a motorcycle after quitting his job. Just as he gets back in his car, a woman walks by and leaves a baby stroller which turns out to be a bomb. So that’s two of the four numbers down.

Finch is kind of going into overdrive analyzing what he should of done differently to try and save Matt. But Reese tells him that there’s nothing he could have done and they need to focus on finding Paula and Wendy. Finch has figured out that Wendy, Claire and Matt were all at the same car crash (the one we keep getting snippets of). Reese heads off to Wendy’s mom’s address in the hopes of finding Wendy. The cops (thanks to Carter’s boredom) find out that the driver was the son of a Congressman who is friendly with the police unions and auditing the Wall Street banks. Guess that’s one way to hush it up. Reese, Finch and Lionel have a little conference call where Reese verifies what he already knows and Finch tells Lionel to keep his phone on when talking to the Congressman.

The interview with the Congressman yields some interesting information. The Congressman’s son was at a party hosted by one of the men the Congressman was auditing. And Finch discovers that the route from the party to the crash site is nowhere near the son’s house. Things are looking a little fishy. Meanwhile, Reese has found Wendy and Paula. Paula has a gun and Reese is getting ready to shoot her (because everybody carries sniper rifles with them) when the girls embrace. Turns out they’re foster sisters. And Reese has arrived just in time to keep them from getting riddled with bullet holes. Too bad they run off as he’s fighting the shooters.

After a little digging, Reese and Finch discover that Wendy and Paula’s mom was about to lose her house to foreclosure. So at least they had a use for the money they took. Meanwhile, Lionel and Carter get the crash footage and Carters over to the 82nd precinct to talk to a Detective Foster. Turns out it was bogus and Carter makes the 2 CIA guys following her. They head for a cafĂ© to have a chat. Honestly, I was surprised it took us this long to get to the parts that were used in this week’s promo. The CIA guys explain to Carter who Reese is and claims he killed his partner and went underground. They want to bring him in and since they think Reese trusts Carter, she can help them. Yeah, I don’t trust these guys.

Lionel and Detective Happy talk to the banker and he says the same thing about the Congressman’s son as the Congressman. They’re working something together. Meanwhile, Reese has found Wendy at the hospital and we learn that she and Paula want to give the money back. Finch also discovers that the son was heading to the Caiman Islands on the banker’s private jet. Unfortunately for Wending and Paula, one of the bad guys nabs Paula at the vending machine and demands the money from Wendy as a ransom. Finch pays the Congressman a visit and plants the seed that the banker is going to screw him over with his son’s charity. He gets a video recording of a phone call between the Congressman and the banker plotting to tie up loose ends before moving the money. Meanwhile, Reese calls Carter to kind of apologize for getting her in hot water at work. She thanks him for saving her life and he hangs up on her after telling her about the money exchange in the parking garage. So she’s thanked him and now she’s about to get him arrested (she calls the CIA guys). At least she looks a little regretful while she’s making the call.

Reese wraps up the shooters after Paula and Wendy easily enough (one was a woman who looked like a nurse). Unfortunately, Reese walks out to the roof towards his car only to be stopped by Agent Snow and Carter. Finch rewatches the video feed on Carter and sees she sold Reese out. He’s on his way but it’s too late. The second CIA guy shoots Reese once in the stomach and once in the leg. He manages to get away but he’s not looking hot. He’s all sweaty and bleeding. He tries to tell Finch to stay away but that only makes Finch drive faster. And Carter’s on Reese’s trail. She finally catches up just as Finch is helping Reese towards the car. She recognizes Finch (from one of the bank robbery episode) but ultimately decides to let them go. She even helps Reese into the back seat. This going to be an interesting second half of the season when it comes back from hiatus.

HIMYM 7.13: "Tailgate"

“Faith is what gives life shape and meaning. I mean, if there aren’t Yetis and leprechauns, what’s the point of even getting up in the morning?”

“Tailgate” was a funny, heartwarming episode of HIMYM. It was a New Year’s episode, which is pretty rare in television. Sometimes reference will be made to the new year, but this episode was completely built around the holiday. It’s the second time I can think of that HIMYM has done a New Year’s episode. The other time was season 1’s “The Limo.” It’s quite amazing to look back on how much the show and the characters have changed since then. The biggest change is Marshall and Lily expecting their baby. As my own college roommate and her husband just welcomed a baby last week, I’ll never fail to appreciate how HIMYM captures this stage of life with such truth and heart. Oh and there’s plenty of humor in this episode, too, of course, as Ted and Barney finally realize their dream of opening up a bar called “Puzzles.” Any Ted and Barney bit is bound to be comedy gold, and Puzzles most definitely does not disappoint.

The episode is framed by Marshall going to visit his father’s grave out in Minnesota for New Year’s Day. He sets up a tailgate to watch the Vikings game by his father’s headstone so that they can experience the day just like they always did when Marvin was alive. I didn’t realize any NFL games were broadcast on New Year’s, but I appreciated the sentiment. I missed watching the Philadelphia Mummers Day Parade for the first time in memory this year because I was on a plane to Morocco, so I get Marshall’s need to keep a tradition like that alive. Marshall basically spends the episode telling Marvin what happened to himself and all his friends on New Year’s. This first story involves Marshall and Lily. Marshall convinces her to call her dad to tell him she’s pregnant, and it doesn’t go well. Lily’s dad is at a board game convention (one of the games he’s selling is “Slap Bet,” which is awesome), and when Lily calls, he just says “Okay, thanks,” and hangs up the phone.

Ted and Barney, meanwhile, are trying to spend their New Year’s Eve at MacLaren’s. It’s not a chill neighborhood bar on the holiday, though. There’s a huge line, a $50 cover charge, and a bouncer they’ve tussled with before (in the episode “The Fight”). The guys have to go to the back of the line because they’re afraid to fight the bouncer again. When they finally get to the front of the line, the bouncer says that the cover charge is not going to be $100 since the bar has gotten crowded. This is the final straw for Ted and Barney, so they decide to open Puzzles, the fairly-priced bar in Ted’s apartment that they’ve been dreaming of for years. With an assist from Kevin, they get the place up and running, and it’s actually quite awesome. The best part about it is that Barney and Ted even came up with a theme song for the place. I always love any opportunity to hear Neil Patrick Harris sing, even if Josh Rador did take the lead on this particular song. At least he got funny lines about wanting to use the bar as an excuse to have sex with women in Ted’s room. That was amusing.

Before Puzzles got up and running, Robin and Kevin had been in the apartment watching Sandy Rivers’ New Year’s Eve broadcast. Sandy is a drunken mess, and Kevin tells Robin she should try to get back on camera. I guess it’s good that he’s being supportive but I found it strange that he was suddenly being so insistent about this. Luckily for Robin and her career ambitions, Sandy calls her in tears saying that the producer of his show (who was also his girlfriend) just quit. Robin has to rush off to try and salvage the broadcast. At the show, the situation with Sandy gets worse and worse, and eventually, Sandy runs off to go find the producer/girlfriend. Robin has one of the underlings run the in memoriam montage while she runs off after Sandy. She finds him at the producer/girlfriend’s apartment, but things quickly go south when Sandy thinks Robin showing up means it’s time for a threesome. Needless to say, Robin has to drag a crying (again) Sandy back to the broadcast because his girlfriend’s broken up with him yet again.

Back at Puzzles things are starting to get a bit rowdy, especially considering it’s actually, you know, Ted and Robin’s home. First they start raising drink prices (which goes against the Puzzles mission statement Barney and Ted made Kevin memorize), and then they end up hiring the MacLaren’s bouncer. The bouncer keeps things under control, but he eventually scares off all the customers. Kevin decides to check the bathroom to make sure everyone has left, and he finds Sandy Rivers in the bathtub. At that moment, Robin calls to tell Kevin she can’t find Sandy because he’s run off again. Kevin decides to neglect to mention that Sandy is right in front of him (and thinking Kevin is from an escort service), and he tells Robin to get on camera and do the New Year’s countdown herself. Robin does the countdown and is awesome, and Saget!Ted tells us it was a turning point in her career.

As Marshall is telling these stories to his dad, more and more people show up in the cemetery, including his two brothers, and even mourners from other funerals in progress. They all want in on the tailgate action. Well, the other mourners do. Marshall’s brothers want Marvin’s grave to themselves. Marshall tries to pretend the interlopers aren’t there and continues on with a story about he and Lily having a fight over how to raise their child. Marshall finds his old copy of a book called “Enigmas of the Mystical” (an encyclopedia of sorts for conspiracy theories), and he says he wants to raise his child as a “believer” and read the book to him/her before bedtime. Lily, understandably, doesn’t think much of this idea. It turns out that what she’s really upset about is that her dad never taught her to believe in anything, because he was never around. She gets a huge surprise at the end of the episode. Her dad shows up at the door with a huge teddy bear. He wasn’t blowing off her phone call about the pregnancy. He was so excited that he ran out of the game convention and drove all the way to New York. Lily can’t believe her eyes. Marshall eventually makes peace with the interlopers too, when one of them says Marshall reminds him of Marvin because of his generous nature. We get a montage showing Marvin feeding everybody who stopped by the New Year’s tailgate just like Marshall has been doing.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Body of Proof 2.11: "Falling for You"

“Since when do you need an invitation to commit murder?”
- Bud

We find ourselves at a Jewish wedding shortly before the ceremony is to start. We hear a scream and the bride comes flying out of a hotel window and crashes to the ground. Not the best way to start a wedding. Meanwhile, Lacey keeps asking her mom cosmetic stuff (is she fat, does she need a nose job). Megan tells Lacey she’s perfect the way she is just in time for Lacey to run off with a friend. Luckily, Megan gets the call about the dead bride-to-be. Megan is not a fan of weddings (well she is divorced). The bride-to-be’s name is Melissa. She’s got multiple injuries (duh). There’s some debate on whether she was pushed or it was a suicide. Peter and Dani are thinking suicide but Bud’s in the “murder” camp.

Things at the lab are kind of awkward. Curtis is on a diet so he’s cranky and Ethan tries and fails to get Dani to go on a date with him (though she agrees to a Sunday matinee of a movie). Poor guy. There’s just no competing with Peter. In autopsy, Megan and Kate are going over Melissa’s body and find residue and particles consistent with crashing through a tree branch and the wedding canopy. Bud’s in a mood that no one seems to know where it’s coming from. But he’s a little happier when Megan discovers a Melissa had a black eye. So he is going to check out the groom. Bud finds the father of the bride slugging the groom and blaming him for the bride’s death. Bud and Sam take them back to the precinct for a chat. The groom says that Melissa was traditional so he hadn’t seen her since the rehearsal dinner the night before and he had no idea about the black eye. Melissa’s father is still gung ho about blaming the groom.

Meanwhile, the antics around the lab get worse. Ethan sees Peter and Dani flirting. And Curtis considers liposuction as Megan and Kate go over all the work Melissa apparently had done. And she’s apparently had her thyroid removed. And she had alcohol and anti-depressants in her system. Bud and Sam are off to talk to the maid of honor. Apparently Melissa was having second thoughts and maybe it had something to do with her ex-boyfriend being back in town. The next morning, Megan threatens Lacey with no computer if she doesn’t eat and gets a call from Ethan about the missing thyroid. She had to have it removed. She was given meds to stabilize her hormones but they didn’t show up in the labs Ethan ran. No wonder she was depressed.

Megan and Lacey are out shopping and Lacey tries on some rather provocative clothing (for a thirteen-year-old). Megan also nixes Lacey wanting to dye her hair. We then head over to the lab where Megan and Kate are meeting with Melissa’s father and step-mom. They say she was shy and overweight after her mother’s death. But after she had her thyroid removed she was more out-going. Her dad didn’t want her to have all the plastic surgery and it strained their relationship. Bud and Sam go to talk to the ex-boyfriend, Zack. Bud is still in a mood and kind of snippy with the guy and outright says he was so pissed when he came back to find Melissa engaged that he helped her off the balcony. Zack says he’s done talking and shuts the door in their face. Apparently Bud’s wife has been up all night lately because of the pregnancy. So he’s cranky.

We have our much needed Ethan/Curtis comedy bit. They’re trying to figure out the trajectory of Melissa’s fall and Ethan whines about Dani dating Peter. They do discover, however, that she didn’t jump. And they find her missing earring. Over at the plastic surgeon’s office, Megan is in a funk, too. She brings up her father’s suicide and that he never left a note. So she’s trying to understand. She’s also pretty hostile with the doctor. Not surprising given Lacey’s latest kick. As they leave, peter asks who paid for all the plastic surgery. Turns out ex-boyfriend Zack bank-rolled it. Not looking good for him. Back at the lab, Ethan is eating pizza and bolts when he sees Curtis coming and ends up in autopsy. He and Kate find a bit of metallic something in Melissa’s leg wound. Ethan makes the connection that he and Curtis saw paint chip on the bridal suite balcony. She broke her leg before crashing to the ground.

Bud has obviously hauled Zack in and has gone through the guy’s emails. Zack admits to trying to keep in contact and get Melissa back but he denies being at the wedding. He wasn’t even invited. That doesn’t seem to deter Bud. He also gets the groom to drop off some pictures from the wedding. And all is not well in paradise. Peter foolishly decides to go to a hockey game with a friend instead of out with Dani. I think she might be heading Ethan’s way. As they’re looking at the photos Megan sees a picture of the maid of honor giving Melissa aspirin. Combining Botox with aspirin inhibits coagulation and causes black eyes. The maid of honor was jealous of the fact that Melissa got the groom first.

Megan is not having any luck on the Lacey front. Especially when her daughter comes home having dyed her hair with over the counter product. And Lacey refuses to change it. I hope this doesn’t last too long. It’s kind of irritating. Bud has news for Megan. The hotel finally let him see footages from the elevator security tapes and Zack was on it. He went to try and talk Melissa out of the wedding and bolted when he saw her father. Apparently he hated Zack for paying for all the surgeries. Bud and Sam hit a similar road block with the father. Though they did find a shiny motived for murder. A clause in his late wife’s will. Meanwhile, Ethan finds Curtis chowing down on some cake after Kate sort of flips out on him for not doing what she asked. It was a touching little scene of bonding. I have to say those two are some of my favorites on the show and whenever they have scenes together it’s always great.

Ethan tracks down Dani and asks what’s wrong with him. She apologizes for leading him on and he cancels their movie Sunday. However, there is some good news at the lab. There was hair on Melissa’s earring and it matches her father’s DNA. They head over to the funeral to stop Melissa’s father from leaving town after the funeral. But Megan deduces it wasn’t her father that did it. It was the groom (based on his boutonniere). He admits to it, though he says it was an accident. She tried to call off the wedding and he pushed her away when she tried to hug him and she fell. Ethan finally confronts Peter and while there’s not much he can do to keep Peter from seeing Dani, he tells him to not break her heart. And we finally figure out what Lacey’s so upset about. She was invited to a party and so thought she wasn’t one of the ‘cool’ kids so tried to change how she looked. Megan assures her that she is perfect and they laugh about the awful color she’s turned her hair. They’ll be taking a trip to the hairdresser to fix it.

New GIrl 1.09: "The 23rd"

“I had figure skating lessons until I was thirteen, and then my mom sobered up and realized I was a boy. Let’s do this.”

“The 23rd” is definitely one of my favorite episodes of “New Girl” thus far, and definitely in my pantheon of all-time great television holiday episodes. The conceit that the whole gang would go to Schmidt’s office holiday party was kind of silly, but it made for some great, hilarious moments. It also had a lot of heart, which is becoming a pretty common characteristic of the best episodes of the series. Plus, it’s a holiday episode. We always want holiday episodes to have a lot of heart. Even when a holiday episode has an edge to it, like “Greys Anatomy’s” “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” you always get the nice little heartwarming moment with all the main characters enjoying the holiday together at some point in the episode. And this episode’s heartwarming moment took place on an uber-decked out for Christmas street. Which is right after my own heart. I checked out a street like that in Baltimore with some friends before the holidays this year myself. I’m a sucker for Christmas lights.

The episode opens at the apartment, with the guys taking care of last minute holiday stuff. We see a contrast of who the best and worst gift givers are in the apartment. Nick is wrapping up a box of tacks for his nephew with a note warning his nephew not to eat them. Meanwhile, Jess has given the guys roller skates, and they’re all loving them. There’s also some discussion about how the whole gang is going to be going to Schmidt’s office holiday party later that evening. Jess bursts in on them about to have a bit of a roller skating fight, which was pretty darn hilarious. Jess is freaking out because she needs to buy a Christmas gift for Paul, and she has no clue what to get him. She wants the guys to come to the mall with her to help. We next see Jess and Nick at the mall, discussing the gift dilemma. Because she hasn’t been dating him for very long, Jess isn’t sure whether or not to get Paul a serious or silly gift. So far, all she’s got is a handmade card for “nerdy weird sex that works for both of us.” Nick jokingly takes the card from her and says he’s going to cash it in someday, which of course I thought was a great moment.

On the way home from the mall, Jess drives the guys down “Candycane Lane.” It’s a street where everybody goes all-out with their Christmas decorating. It’s not all that impressive during the day, but Jess is driving there anyway because they won’t have a chance to go at night. Nick has to go directly to the airport from Scmidt’s party because he has a 4 AM flight to Chicago- it was the only flight he could afford. Somehow he’s managed to miss his flight for the past four years in a row, so his mother is really getting on his case to make sure he gets to the airport on time this year. Throughout the episode, Mrs. Miller calls both Nick and Winston to make sure that Nick is going to make his flight.

Next we get some gift exchange scenes, which I suppose are obligatory in any holiday television episode. First, Schmidt stops by a photo shoot Cece is doing (she’s the “after” for a diet pill) to give her a gift. The only problem is that Cece’s douchey boyfriend is at the shoot as well. Schmidt’s gift to Cece is a perfume he designed himself. He didn’t really choose the scents by how they actually smelled, but by what they symbolized. For instance, he chose sandalwood as one of the scents because Cece is “up to no good.” Of course, as the episode goes on, we find out that this means the perfume smells absolutely horrible, but Cece seems to appreciate the gesture anyway. Especially because her douchey boyfriend didn’t even get her a gift. Jess and Paul’s gift exchange doesn’t go nearly as well. Jess’ gift from Paul is plane tickets to Austria and tickets to the Salzburg Music Festival, and all she has to give Paul is a plushie anatomically correct heart. Paul doesn’t mind this, and he tells Jess he loves her. Jess, understandably, freaks out, and all she says in reply is “thank you.” Sure the “thank you” in response to “I love you” has been done on sitcoms before, but I think it worked here because that moment wasn’t dwelt on so much.

The gang all arrives at Schmidt’s office holiday party and finds Schmidt shirtless and playing “Sexy Santa.” It’s pretty hilarious. After they’re all settled at the party, Jess tells Nick about what happened with Paul. Jess is conflicted about when to tell Paul that she doesn’t feel the same way about him as he does her. She thinks it would be cruel to spring this on him in the middle of the holidays. She ends up hiding in the bathroom with Cece (who is hiding from her douchey boyfriend) for a while trying to figure it out. I want to know, in the age of corporations hording all their money, how Schmidt could get away with inviting all his friends and some of his friends’ friends (like Paul and Cece’s boyfriend) to this party. I know of companies that do nothing for the holidays or only give their employees something like $5 each towards a party. I want to work where Schmidt works!

Nick sees Paul looking pensive on the balcony, and when Paul says that yes, he’s talked to Jess, Nick assumes that Jess has already broken the bad news to Paul. So Nick lets it slip that Jess said she doesn’t love Paul. It turns out that what Jess talked to Paul about was that they might need to drive Nick to the airport, not about her feelings. So Nick’s in trouble. Meanwhile, in the bathroom, Jess decides she’s going to wait to have the talk with Paul until after the holidays, and she leaves to go join the party. Cece stays in the bathroom to try her perfume, since Schmidt was nice enough to get her a gift and her boyfriend wasn’t, and she discovers that the perfume sucks. Jess goes out on the balcony and finds out what Nick told Paul, and the three of them end up locked on the balcony while Jess and Paul have a conversation that eventually leads to them breaking up. This is super awkward for Nick, especially when he gets another phone call from his mom. Jake Johnson plays Nick’s desperation to get off the balcony for comedic gold.

Winston has been spending the party talking to the young son of Gina, Schmidt’s pregnant boss. The kid seems to take a liking to Winston, which surprises Gina, because her son doesn’t usually like to talk to people at all. Meanwhile, Cece sees Schmidt being verbally abused by his coworker Kim. It reminds her of how she feels when her douchey boyfriend puts her down, so she tells Schmidt to stand up or himself. Schmidt takes Cece’s advice and tells Kim that he will no longer be Sexy Santa. He makes a comment about killing Santa, and of course Gina’s kid hears it, screams, and runs off. Winston then spends much of the rest of the episode looking for the kid, and in the process, he opens the balcony door, and a grateful Nick runs off as quick as he can. Winston finally finds the kid outside, and he’s done such a good job that Gina essentially offers him quite a lot of money to be the kid’s manny.

Finally the party is over and the gang is on their way to take Nick to the airport. Nick sees how dejected Jess looks following her break-up with Paul, and he makes the decision to turn the car around, ensuring that he’ll miss his flight and piss of his mother yet again. He takes Jess and the guys to Candycane Lane, hoping that getting to see it all lit up would be a good Christmas present to Jess. Unfortunately, the residents of the street have already turned off their lights for the night. Nick gets out at the car and starts yelling at them to show off and turn on their lights, and soon the rest of the gang joins in. The lights of Candycane Lane come on, and the gang takes a brief moment to enjoy them before driving off (they don’t want to get arrested for disturbing the peace, after all).