Wednesday, February 27, 2013

HIMYM 8.17: "The Ashtray"

“Trust me. The tax code being what it is, you do not want to be rich right now.”
-The Captain

This was another episode of HIMYM that really took the core conceit of the show and cranked it up to eleven. We saw very literally on the screen, once again, the unreliable narrator trope. If they hadn’t just done an episode like this the week previously, I’d think it was entertaining.

The episode is framed around a call from the Captain. For those of you new to HIMYM, The Captain is the ex-husband of Ted’s ex-girlfriend Zoe. Zoe was still married to the Captain when she first met Ted, although Zoe and Ted didn’t officially get together until after Zoe and the Captain were separated. Anyway, Ted’s got this voice mail from the Captain, and he’s petrified that his past is coming back to haunt him. Specifically, he’s worried about something that happened not long after he and Zoe broke up. After breaking up with Zoe, Ted went back to dating Robin’s ditzy former coworker, Becky. The gang (minus Becky, and Barney too) goes to an art gallery opening. Lily’s psyched about this since she was an artist before becoming a teacher. The problem is that the Captain shows up. From Ted’s perspective, the Captain is mean and threatening. Lily wants to show the Captain and his art consultant a painting of an elephant that she really likes, but they’re decidedly meh on it. The Captain invites the gang up to his apartment to see a new addition to his own art collection. He says that he and Ted are cool over the whole Zoe thing as long as Ted doesn’t steal the Captain’s new girlfriend too. Ted looks at a framed picture on the Captain’s desk, which is of Becky, of course.

In the present day, Ted gets another phone call from the Captain, and this time, Ted answers it. It turns out the Captain wants Robin’s phone number, which is really kind of creepy. Barney gives Ted permission to give the Captain Robin’s phone number, just because they want to find out what he actually wants. Robin’s not especially thrilled to hear about this, and she tells the story of the gallery opening from her point of view. Apparently Ted was quite high thanks to sharing a “sandwich” with Becky earlier in the evening. In Robin’s recollection, though, she’s completely sober. She remembers the Captain being creepy and constantly hitting on her. She’s worried that the Captain will want to date her. She does eventually agree to call the Captain, but there’s another twist to the story. The Captain actually wanted to talk to Lily, he just got Robin and Lily’s names mixed up. Marshall says that Robin can give the Captain Lily’s number, because the Captain has enough money to pay the amount Lily and Marshall agreed they could sleep with other people for. Which is kind of weird.

Lily’s equally unhappy to have had her contact information given to the Captain. She too is afraid that her past has caught up with her. Apparently, not only was Ted high, but Robin was sloshed from a late “work meeting.” Heh. It turns out that she was the one hitting on the Captain, and in a rather embarrassing way. I found that to be more than a little disappointing. Oh, and the photo Ted saw wasn’t of Becky. It was a yachting magazine cover with a tiny photo of Becky’s boat commercial in the corner. More importantly, the Captain’s art consultant was really snooty to Lily over Lily’s praise of the elephant painting. Later, when they all go up to the apartment, the Captain is even worse. He disparages the painting and Lily’s taste in art, saying she’s “just a Kindergarten teacher.” Even though we haven’t heard about it in years, Lily still believes in “Aldrin Justice,” aka if you misbehave, she’ll take one of your toys. So she stole the Captain’s big crystal ashtray, and she’s worried that he’s figured that out.

Marshall is really upset to find out that Lily stole from the Captain, and he asks the rest of the gang to leave so they can have a fight. The rest of the gang ends up at MacLaren’s, where they find out why Barney’s been so upset all episode that he wasn’t part of this particular crazy story. He feels like crazy stories are his “thing,” and without it, he’s got nothing. So Ted and Robin try to make up a story about Barney being part of the story. Robin mentions something about running a play from the Playbook, and Barney thinks of a play involving pretending to be an Archduke and having an oil painting of yourself. I’m kind of tired of the Playbook. It’s tacky. Anyway, upstairs in the apartment, Marshall and Lily have their fight. Marshall wants Lily to return the ashtray immediately, but Lily is still really upset over what the Captain said. When Lily explains that she feels like a failure for not using her Art History degree, Marshall becomes more sympathetic, and he tells Lily to quit her job and follow her dream. Seems only fair considering Marshall has done that on multiple occasions himself.

Anyway, Lily pays the Captain a visit and returns the ashtray. The ashtray isn’t why he called her though. The Captain shows Lily that he bought the elephant painting she liked after all. And it increased in value by $4 million over the past year because the artist suddenly became the next big thing in the art world. The Captain is impressed by Lily’s judgment, and he wants her to be his new art consultant. Later, Lily tells the gang that she did indeed take the job offer. I think this will be a good move for Lily. I know what it feels like to languish professionally, although thankfully I didn’t languish for as long as Lily did, so I’m glad to see that it looks like she’ll have an opportunity to be fulfilled. And the job should pay well, too, considering how rich the Captain is, which is a good thing considering Marshall’s a rather low paid environmental lawyer, who by virtue of having been to law school, probably has a ton of student debt.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Once Upon a Time 2.14: "Manhattan"

“You know, there’s not a ton that I remember about my father that doesn’t suck. But he used to tell me that there are no coincidences. Everything that happens, happens by design and there’s nothing we can do about it. Forces greater than us conspire to make it happen.”
- Neal

I have to say with all the hype around this episode, I was really looking forward to it. And I was not disappointed. We got lots of emotional stuff and some interesting Rumpelstiltskin backstory. Just all around awesome. And I definitely squealed a lot. Sue me, I’m a fan girl. We begin in the Fairytale Land that Was. Rumple’s just gotten his call to the front during the Ogres War. He and Milah are very much in love and she’s worried about him going off. But he’s very excited. It’s his chance to prove he’s not a coward like his father.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that enthused with the Storybrooke part of the story. So I’m going to just deal with it up front so it’s out of the way. Regina is moping over the fact Emma took henry with her on their little quest. Cora assures her that Henry’s safe and will be back when Mr. Gold returns. Hook is lurking and demands to know where his foe has flounced off to. They aren’t going to let him go off half cooked. They’re going to hunt down Rumple’s dagger so they can control him. Regina pays Belle a visit and magically rifles through her purse to find a note card with a library reference number on it. While Hook grumbles about not ransacking Rumple’s house and shop, Cora and Regina find a treasure map. Once Hook deciphers it for them (after all he’s a pirate and that’s what he does), they cut him out of the deal. Cora’s plan is to use the dagger to force Rumple to kill the Charmings so Regina will be blameless and can get Henry back. Yeah, because that’s going to work. Oh, and Greg is sticking around for a while even though he’s got a clean bill of health. He video’d Regina magically rifling through Belle’s stuff. I really don’t trust this guy.

The main part of the present-day story takes place in New York City. Rumple’s magic globe takes them to an apartment complex. Not surprisingly, Baelfire is not a name listed on any of the apartments. Emma presses 407 (it’s got no name on it) and they hear someone running. So Rumple cashes in on his favor. Emma’s deal is to get his son to talk to him. So Emma races off after him, tackles him and we finally get the Emma/Neal reunion we’ve been waiting for since the end of “Tallahassee”. Back near the apartment complex, Henry and Rumple are chatting while Henry gorges on a hotdog. Henry gives Rumple a little pep talk that he’s there now and wants to reunite with his son so things will work out. Oh you ideally optimistic eleven-year-old. Things aren’t nearly that easy. After Neal and Emma yell at each other on the street for a bit (Emma gets Neal to admit he’s Rumple’s son) they go to a bar to have a more private conversation. Neal denies that he knew Emma’s identity when they met. He shares the news of august convincing him to let Emma go (we see that he wrote “I know you’re Baelfire” on his typewriter). Emma’s even more pissed because he did something on Pinocchio’s say-so. She and August are so going to have words when he shows up again. Neal also explains that he doesn’t think them meeting was a coincidence. And maybe something good came out of them being together. I have to say that reminded me of Angel and Darla in season three when she stakes herself so Connor can be born. Anyway, Emma denies any good and gives back the keychain he got her. But she tells him she’s taking him back to Rumple as that was the deal. Neal urges her to break the deal so she never has to see him again.

Back in the fairytale land that was, Rumple’s made it to the front and been trained as a soldier. He gets tasked with guarding a crate by one of his superiors and meets a seer girl. She’s kind of creepy looking with her eyes sewn shut and actual eyes on her palms. She tells Rumple she knows everything and that Milah is pregnant and she will have a son but his actions on the battlefield will leave him fatherless. Rumple thinks this means he will die. And so that night when he learns they’ll be riding out on horses with new cow-hide saddles, he injures his leg to be sent home. He arrives to find Milah with the baby but she’s furious with him for deserting. He’s turned into his father and he’s brought shame on their son. Rumple vows the infant Baelfire that he will never abandon his boy.

In NYC, Emma makes a call to Snow asking for advice. Well okay, so Emma’s freaking out and not sure what to do. Snow tells her not to keep it from Henry. And we get one of the funniest bits in the whole episode; Snow and Charming hashing out the family tree. Not only is Regina henry’s adoptive mother but also his step great-grandmother (making Cora his step great-great-grandmother). Charming was a tad confused about how Rumple could also be Henry’s grandfather. You can have more than one dummy. Rumple and Henry have another bonding moment while waiting for Emma to return. Henry asks why Rumple doesn’t just see the future and know what’s going to happen. Rumple explains it’s more complicated than that because you don’t have all the pieces and things aren’t often what they seem. Of course, when Emma does return, she doesn’t listen to her mother’s suggestion. She tells Rumple she couldn’t catch up with his son and so Rumple’s solution is to break into the apartment. Emma tries and fails to keep him out but even the threat of getting arrested doesn’t work. After all, Bae would have to testify against him.

Emma finds the dream catcher from the hotel in Neal’s apartment. Unfortunately, she holds onto it too long and rouses Rumple’s suspicions. They get into a shouting match about not messing with the other and Neal bursts in telling his father to leave Emma alone. I have to say when that happened, I cheered. Rumple kind of collapses into the corner upon seeing his son for the first time in centuries. But it’s not all hugs and puppies. Neal doesn’t want anything to do with his father. He came back to protect Emma. And of course while the adults are arguing, Henry has to come out and Neal gets hit with the realization he’s got a kid. And Henry realizes Emma lied to him and takes off out the fire escape. Emma is hot on his heels, leaving father and son to talk. Neal gives his father three minutes.

On the fire escape, Emma explains that she lied about Neal because he was part of her past she wanted to forget and he broke her heart. Henry is upset and says he could have handled the truth. When Emma finally admits she did it for herself and not him, Henry says she’s just like Regina. Yeah, kid, I don’t think so. Inside, Rumple is trying to get Neal to forgive him but isn’t having much luck. He offers to turn back the clock to make his son 14 again but Neal isn’t interested in a magical solution. He didn’t get closure from his father so now Rumple doesn’t get any either. After Emma admits she wasn’t planning on telling Neal about Henry, he says she doesn’t have the right to make that decision alone anymore and for Henry’s sake, they should try not to crew him up like they’ve been. So finally, father and son get to meet. And in the fairytale land that was, Rumple runs into the seer again and takes her power. He’ll learn to sort everything out in time but she tells him that a boy will lead him to his son but the boy will also be Rumple’s undoing. Rumple professes he’ll just have to kill the boy but as he looks on at Neal and Henry in the present, it’s questionable whether he’d actually go after his own grandson and risk the rest of the family coming at him with torches and pitchforks.

Person of Interst 2.15: "Booked Solid"

“Seven hundred guests in this hotel. And one is planning a murder.”
- Finch

We open this week with the Machine catching chatter from Europe. We jump over to New York to find Finch and Reese both going undercover for their latest POI a hotel maid named Mira. Finch has gotten a job as a concierge and Reese is stuck as a bellman. When the hotel manager, Derek Fowler, zeros in on them at the start of the shift, Reese is a tad distracted by people watching. Not surprising since that’s really his job. On his way to check on Mira, Reese has a chance encounter in one of the elevators with none other than Zoe. I have to say I really do adore them together. They have this banter that just makes me smile. Reese plants a camera on Mira’s cart so they can keep track of her and intercedes on her behalf with a sexually harassing guest. Mira says she could have handled it but thanks Reese for his help. It seems she knows a lot about the staff goings-on of the hotel. Finch manages to tap into the video feeds and overhears Mr. Fowler and the doorman, Bud, threatening Mira about the cops sniffing around their “side business”. Guess the guests aren’t the only threat. And Finch has learned that Mira sought asylum in the US at age 16 after escaping Serbia. I have to say Finch certainly enjoyed being a concierge this week.

Whoever is after Mira isn’t the only threat this week. The office of Special Counsel and their enforcer are still after Reese. The enforcer manages to steal a cop car and figures that wherever Reese goes, trouble tends to appear. Carter has her own drama going on, too. She’s still seeing Detective Beecher and they come to the conclusion it's time for him to meet Taylor. Their conversation is cut short when the FBI agent from “Dead Reckoning” shows up and offers Carter a spot with the FBI if she passes the polygraph and background check. She’s concerned about the former seeing as she’s been lying about working with Finch and Reese for over a year. Finch tells her to lie on one of the baseline questions to try and trick the machine.

We quickly learn that Derek is running girls out of the hotel and it was likely Mira who called in an anonymous tip that got one of them picked up earlier in the week. Reese is really hoping that Derek is the threat. In fact I have a feeling Reese would very much like to punch the guy in the throat. But, he doesn’t have time for that because Mira gets summoned into a room by a guest and Reese has to go check it out. He overhears some arguing and busts in. Mira tells him to leave her alone and that she can take care of herself. Finch discovers that the guest, Charles Harris, is a freelance journalist with a history of having strong opinions about world leaders. So whatever he’s talking to Mira about, it can’t be good.

To compound the issue, Reese spots a guy who has been sitting in the lobby for quite some time. So he enlists Zoe’s help to get him to move. He’s rapidly replaced by someone else and thanks to the security cameras which Finch is monitoring, Reese determines that there’s a professional hit squad at the hotel. Great. Just great. They call in Lionel for back up and start digging deeper into Mr. Harris and the spotter from the lobby. In short order, we know that Mira was a witness to the man who is running for Deputy Prime Minster of Serbia kill her entire family. She’s actually Albanian. Unfortunately, just as Reese saves Mira from one of the hit squad, the Machine picks up on gunshots in one of the room. And Finch loses the connection he had with Mr. Harris’ laptop and the camera to the floor he’s staying on.

Meanwhile, Carter is having her polygraph and things seem to be going all right until the agent gets a visit and starts asking her about Detective Beecher and his numerous IAB investigations. She obviously had no idea and for some reason that the agent wont’ disclose, her potential career with the FBI is a no-go. Back at the hotel, Reese and Mira are checking out Mr. Harris’ room and Mira admits she saw her family killed and that Harris was trying to convince her to talk. But she’s scared, especially since the Serbian woman who saved her, was killed two weeks ago (after talking to Harris). Reese goes all MacGyver on us and using his and Mira’s cell phones finds a microphone. So at least we know how the bad guys learned her identity. Reese bursts into the next room and takes out the woman with all the tech gear but Mira takes off and ends up in an elevator with one of the hit squad. She’s got nowhere to run.

Finch manages to shut down the elevator before it can reach the basement to give Reese some time to try and save Mira. The hit man demands she hand over the recording Harris made of her neighbor but she denies any knowledge of it. After opening the elevator doors with a fire axe, Reese jumps down the shaft, lands on top of the elevator and takes the hit man out (With Mira’s help). He was going all action hero this week. I like it. Mira reveals that the recording is in her work locker and Reese promises to get it after she’s safe. Lionel ends up taking out two more of the hit men as they are trying to dispose of Harris’ body. Unfortunately, their good deeds don’t go unpunished. OSC enforcer now knows where Reese is.

Reese thinks all is well once he has the recording and gets to punch Derek in the face. But he gets caught by the OSC enforcer and they have a little chat in the kitchen. And then their chat turns into a knife fight (reminded me a little of the fight on Leverage where Christian Kane got to take out a guy with lemon). Reese isn’t quite as ruthless though because he stabs the guy in an artery that takes 20 minutes to bleed out and the guy gets hospitalized.

Mira and Lionel make it to the precinct when a guy that Lionel ran into tries to kill her. Carter gets to act heroic for the first time in the episode and shoots the guy to save Mira’s life. Back at the hotel, Reese, Finch and Zoe are at the bar sharing drinks and we learn Finch bought the hotel (guess he really did enjoy running it). And in another adorable moment, Reese offers to buy Zoe another drink and offers a suite so they can stay the night. I mean, they have to be hooking up right? We end with a rather startling revelation. Back in DC, OSC guy has his secretary start writing up a memo and it's revealed that Amy Acker is back (I recognized her voice before I even saw her on screen). I knew she’d be back and I can’t wait to see what havoc she rains down on our heroes.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Nashville 1.13: "There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight"

“Fathers let their kids grow up.”

This particular episode was kind of a filler episode of “Nashville.” Some big things happened, like Rayna and Teddy officially telling their kids they’re getting a divorce and Juliette firing Glenn, but those big moments were a long time coming. I didn’t feel a big paradigm shift with this one. That’s okay for this time of year, though. Things need to simmer for a little while before everything combusts again at the end of the season. 22-ish episode U.S. television seasons are a marathon, not a sprint. I actually prefer that sort of slow burn storytelling that lets the viewer really inhabit the world of the show. It’s especially effective for shows like Nashville where building a sense of place is essential. The tour has kind of taken away from that sense of place for the past few episodes, but with the tour on a little hiatus, I’m hoping we’ll be back to exploring Nashville to the fullest for a little while, at least.

Anyway, the early part of the episode really focuses in on Rayna’s emotional fallout from Teddy asking her for a divorce. It’s really thrown her off her game. She’s backstage before the show in Atlanta, and all she can really hear in her head is Teddy asking her for the divorce. To make things even more awkward, Liam is in town to produce another band’s record. They have a conversation before Rayna goes on stage, and she’s so thrown off by the tailspin her life has become that she misses her cue multiple times before she finally jumps in and sings the opening song. Deacon’s reaction shows us just how big a deal this is. According to him, Rayna has never, ever missed a cue before. Deacon tries to talk to Rayna after the show, because he knows something is seriously wrong, but Rayna says she’s not ready to talk to him about it yet. Liam has a better suggestion for Rayna. He suggests drinking.

Juliette, meanwhile, is taking the success of her impromptu acoustic “Consider Me” performance in Chicago and running with it. She says she wants to take control of her part of the show (as opposed to Glenn being in control), and she wants an entire set to be acoustic. She’s desperately trying to mature her sound so her career with withstand her own aging, while Glenn seems to want to just milk the cash cow for as long as possible before throwing aside Juliette for the next country tween queen. Juliette does a sort of impromptu pump-up session with her crew, telling them what a success “Consider Me” was and that she wants them to do more work like that going forward. This really pisses Glenn off, and later he asks Juliette what she thought she was doing by not running a decision like this by him first.

In better news, Gunnar and Scarlett are bantering around the house (with Gunnar fresh out of the shower and in a towel…can’t complain about that, for sure) when Scarlett gets a very exciting phone call. It’s Watty White, and he wants to tell Gunnar and Scarlett that Rayna is very interested in signing them to her new label. They embrace, and Gunnar almost has a wardrobe malfunction, and the whole thing is quite adorable as only Gunnar and Scarlett can be. The happiness is going to be short-lived, though. Avery, who is having some serious money troubles thanks to Domenic’s nefariousness, is being pursued by none other than Hayley for a publishing deal with Gunnar and Scarlett’s publishing house. To make things even more stressful, Gunnar’s fugitive brother Jason shows up at the Bluebird.

Elsewhere in Nashville, Teddy’s recent cheating ways are starting to catch up with him. Tandy is giving him the usual hard time about mayor-type stuff when Teddy’s phone rings. Tandy most definitely sees Peggy’s name come up on the Caller ID. Later, Peggy tries calling Teddy again, this time when he’s at home. He goes into another room to take the call, and his older daughter (Maddie, I think? We’ll call her Maddie) hears some choice bits of the conversation. Mostly a bit about Teddy wanting to be with Peggy. And this, folks, is why you should never “stay together for the kids.” The kids know. They always know. Even if there isn’t cheating going on, which as we can see here makes things even more obvious, kids know when their parents are really unhappy. And it makes them pretty darn miserable, too. We’ll get back to this more in a bit.

There’s all kinds of bad decisions going on in this episode. First in the parade of bad decisions, Glenn holds a second meeting with Juliette’s crew, and this time Juliette is the one left out. Oh and Deacon is too, since Glenn seems to think he’s partially responsible for Juliette going off book. Glenn tries to undermine (heh…pun not intended, really) Juliette by telling the crew not to make the changes she has suggested. Rayna, for her part in the parade of bad decisions, goes out drinking with Liam. They make out a bit, and Rayna ends up in Liam’s hotel room. There’s no hanky panky going on, though. Rayna actually ends up having a good cry in Liam’s bathroom, which is pretty much as unsexy as it gets. Rayna lets Liam into the bathroom for a talk, even though, as she puts it, she “doesn’t cry pretty.”

Back in Nashville, cooler heads are prevailing, but as per usual, that won’t last for long. Marilyn is not happy with Avery considering a publishing deal. Avery, however, seems to be convinced by a lunch with Hayley where she says that signing him would be good for her career. I guess he liked her honesty? Across town at the Bluebird, Scarlett has realized who Jason is and that he’s lurking around, and she calls Gunnar on it. She says that under no circumstances will he be sleeping on their couch. I like that she says it’s their couch. As I said, though, the good sense doesn’t last for long. After Gunnar tells the whole story about how he was getaway driver for Jason’s caper and left him to the police, Scarlett eventually agrees to let Jason stay at their house for one night.

In Atlanta, Deacon and Juliette are working on some song writing, and Deacon mentions the second meeting Glenn had with the crew, and Juliette completely flips out. She calls Glenn on his crap, and Glenn quits. I was very happy that he quit, because that drama’s just not compelling. Elsewhere in Atlanta at Liam’s hotel room, Rayna says that maybe she should stay for the kids afterall, and Liam finally says what I’ve been saying all along. Staying together when you’re that unhappy sucks for the kids too. Liam says how looking back on it, the day his mom left his dad was one of the best days of his life. It hurt at the time, but long run, it was a really good thing because he wasn’t around the toxicity of their mutual loathing anymore.

In Nashville, Gunnar and Avery bring Jason home, and Scarlett is cold to him. She’s just barely tolerating him, really. As Jason makes eggs and toast for Gunnar and tells Scarlett more about their life when they were kids (how they had a grandmother who didn’t really do much to take care of them), Scarlett starts to warm up to Jason a bit. Gunnar and Scarlett start working on a song, and Jason joins in. It seems so natural and happy that Scarlett says Jason can stay at their house for a few more days if he needs to. Jason goes into the next room to change his shirt, and we see that he still has that gun he bought a couple episodes back. Because that will end well.

Before everybody on the tour leaves Atlanta to head back to Nashville, Deacon gives Juliette a bit of a talking-to, and warns her to treat her crew well. And really just treat other people well in general. The conversation is cut short, though, when Deacon sees Liam and Rayna looking kind of cozy. He confronts Rayna, and Rayna says that Liam is just a friend. Deacon still continues to fly off the handle and tells Rayna he doesn’t want anything from her. When she gets back to Nashville, Juliette tries to take Deacon’s advice to heart. She lets her assistant go home for the day instead of working her until late hours, and she calls her mom and offers to let her move in for a little while after rehab. Rayna, meanwhile, is so happy to see her girls that she wants to put off having the divorce talk with them a little longer. They do eventually have the talk, though, and it’s quite painful. Later Maddie tells Rayna about the phone call with Peggy that she heard. I can bet we’ll see the fallout from that in the next episode. See? I told you kids are smart!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Arrow 1.14: "The Odyssey"

“You have two choices; escape or die. Choose.”
- Slade Wilson

We pick up right where we ended last week. Oliver has an arrow pointed right as his mother and as she reaches for her phone he shoots. She cowers behind her desk and a photo of Oli and Thea. Unfortunately, it seems Oli is still pretty blind when it comes to his mom because he lets his guard down as she begs for her life because of her children. As soon as he lowers his bow, she grabs a gun and shoots wildly. One bullet hits Oliver and he’s bleeding pretty badly. Of course, he’s gone by the time Moira calls for help and peers over the top of her desk. Down in the parking garage, Felicity climbs into her car to find a wound Oliver in the back seat. So in the span of about thirty seconds she knows his identity and is cool with it. Well as cool as someone can be when you’re panicking about not bringing a wounded person to the hospital. But she gets him to Diggle and it looks like they’re going to have to operate on Oliver.

I have a feeling with Oliver unconscious and in surgery; we’re going to spending a lot of time back on the island. Slade is training Oli to fight and Oli is getting frustrated. The soldiers have guns and they’re using sticks. So to prove his point, Slade hands over his gun to Oli. Not a shock to anyone, Slade disarms him and knocks him to the ground. After that little exercise, Oliver chooses he wants to live and escape the island. So they move out the following morning bright and early. They have eleven guys to take out. Ten wouldn’t be a problem for Slade except the last guy is in a radio tower with bullet proof glass. So he’s Oli’s target. That night, Oli dreams of Laurel. It’s kind of weird because she asks him if it hurt when “they” killed him. Oli wakes up abruptly and they’re off. They get a ways and Oli asks to stop for a rest. Well he gets to stop. He steps on an active pressure mine. Of course, soldiers are hot on their trail so they appear to be pretty well hosed.

With a little bit of quick thinking on Oli’s part and a seeming abandonment by Slade, they take out the soldiers and discover the mine isn’t actually active. Well, at least no one blew up. Over on the other side of the island, the Archer gets called in by the boss and told he will be training the soldiers in archery. There’s a vague mention of a “her”. I guess eventually we’ll find out what that means. That night, Oli spends two hours trying to light a fire and is a little annoyed when Slade just pulls out a zippo and handles it. But Slade was entertained by Oli’s pathetic efforts. They share stories about their pasts. Oli reveals the fact he was with his girlfriend’s sister when the boat went down. More interesting, for me at least, was Slade’s story. His partner (the Deathstroke that tortured Oliver), was a good friend and his son’s godfather. But they were captured and his partner, Billy, decided to join up with the baddies. So Slade isn’t feeling very sympathetic to Oliver’s plight. Everyone is in it alone. A little while later they make it to the airstrip and get into position to take out their respective players.

Back in the man cave, Diggle has managed to stop the bleeding. Felicity is still a little shaken but Diggle is impressed with generally how calm she’s being about the whole “her boss is a killer vigilante”. She wants to know why Oliver went to her. Diggle says that even Oli needs help. I did like that they both acknowledged how awful Oliver is at cover stories. Guess he has something to work on. Back on the island, Slade and Oliver are executing their plan. Slade is taking out the soldiers quite handily and Oli is sneaking up the tower. Unfortunately he doesn’t do a very good job of taking his guy. Slade has to come to the rescue. And he can’t even follow directions. As soon as Slade goes to check that they’re safe, Oliver calls Laurel.

Back in the man cave, Oliver is having a seizure and then his heart stops. Dig and Felicity work together to get him back and hope that nothing else goes wrong. I have to say, I’m so glad Felicity is in on the team now. It was meant to be. Oli needs his crew. Back on the island, Slade gets a radio call from the incoming cargo plane and stumbles on the challenge question to verify identity. If he gets it wrong, the plane will turn around and they’re screwed. By some stroke of dumb luck, Oliver read one book in college and it’s the one that gives them the answer they need. They verify with the plane and just have to wait a few hours for it to arrive. Slade explains his real agenda is to blow the baddies to hell and it sounds like it may not entirely give with Oli’s hope of getting home.

Oliver is not keen on the island going boom with the Archer still there. Oliver makes the conscious choice to be a better man and care about others for once in his life. After al it was Slade’s mission to rescue him before things went sideways. So Slade tells Oli if he can get the Archer and be on the plane before it takes off, they’ll leave together. Oli makes Slade promise that if he doesn’t make it back, Slade will call his family. Somehow, I doubt that’s gonna happen. Somehow, Oliver makes it back to the camp and is trying to convince the Archer to leave when the boss shows up. He has plans to rid the island of Oli permanently. Just as Oli blacks out, we catch a glimpse of the Deathstroke mask.

The solution to the Oliver problem seems to be having Deathstroke kill him. But Slade hasn’t abandoned him thankfully. After telling the plane to land, he shows up and blows up a bunch of stuff and scatters the troops. Then he gets in the thick of it and takes out his old partner. He gets shot for his trouble but Oli manages to get him to safety and they may just make it on the island together. We see the boss get a call from his benefactor and it seems that there are others behind what he’s doing on the island (just as Slade thought). Since the Archer didn’t help Oli or go with him, he gets five minutes with his daughter. We get a close up on an interesting tattoo on her shoulder.

Oli finally comes around in the man cave and thanks Dig and Felicity for helping him. Felicity has also taken it upon herself to upgrade Oli’s system and network. She’ll help them find Walter but that’s the extent of her involvement. For now. I can see her sticking around long term. Oliver still has a blind spot for his mother. He says until they know what they’re really up against, she’s off limits. He gets home just in time to see Detective Lance leafing (Felicity deleted the sample of Oli’s blood from the office). As Oli was getting dressed in the man cave, we see he’s got a tattoo that matches the one on the Archer’s daughter. I’m looking forward to the story behind that ink.

HIMYM 8.16: "Bad Crazy"

“Cray-cray gotta go bye-bye before you get stabbed-stabbed.”

“Bad Crazy” was a decent episode of HIMYM. It certainly wouldn’t make the Legendary list I put together back in the very early days of MTVP, but it was an enjoyable enough watch for the most part. It did what HIMYM does best reasonably well, which is playing with perception and the concept of the unreliable narrator. The episode told two fairly separate stories, each of which changed drastically as the central characters (Ted in one and Robin in the other) admitted to details they had either omitted or changed when first telling the story. It was really a gimmick episode, which I don’t think is something that should be used often, but in this case, it worked for the most part, mostly because Robin’s story was so absurd. Ted’s story was sort of absurd too, I suppose, but not in the farcical way that Robin’s was.

Anyway, the title of the episode refers to Jeanette, Ted’s last horrible girlfriend before finally meeting the elusive Mother. Jeanette is just plain nuts, even though we find out by the end of the episode that Ted isn’t completely innocent in what happens between them. There really should have been a reference to the Hot/Crazy scale from “Swarley” at some point in this episode, but there wasn’t. Ted really wants to break up with Jeanette, but he’s afraid to. And it turns out he has good reason to be afraid. She doesn’t take break-ups well at all, and she’s a cop to boot. She was so unpleasant and crazy that the experience of dating her made Ted decide to stop dating and settle down for good. And then, of course, he met the Mother.

We’ll get the Robin/Lily story out of the way first since it was a little more simple than Ted’s story. In a nice callback to past episodes that have explored Robin’s discomfort around children (we’re just going to forget that short stretch of episodes where she actually thought she wanted kids), we learn that in Marvin’s eight months of life, Robin has never held him. Mostly because she’s afraid she’ll injure him or something. I really identify with this aspect of Robin’s character, which we also explored in the third Robin Sparkles episode, “Glitter.” I too have a best friend with a young child (one year old in my case) and have similar difficulty interacting with kids, as freaking adorable as both the kids in question (Marvin Eriksen and my “nephew”) certainly are.

Anyway, Robin’s fear of holding Marvin comes to a head when Lily accidentally leaves Marvin’s binkie on the bus, and she asks Robin to watch Marvin while she runs off to retrieve it. Robin hopes this will just involve her watching the stroller, but no such luck. Marvin decides to have a good cry, and Robin tries to soothe him by rocking the stroller. When Lily returns, Robin says that everything was just fine. Four years later, though, Robin and Lily are having wine in a swanky New York brownstone (Robin’s, maybe?), and Robin says there’s more to the story. She let a strange older lady hold Marvin to calm him down. Throughout the episode, we see similar wine drinking in the brownstone scenes taking place at various points in the future, all the way up to 17 years from now. In each one, Robin adds to the story a little and swears that’s all that happened. First the stroller rolls down the street, then the old lady suggests they all go somewhere to calm down that ends up being a strip club. Then the old lady is actually Mike Tyson. That last bit is creepy as hell, but 17 years in the future Lily is shocked that her son was rocked to sleep by “Senator Mike Tyson.”

Back in 2013, after a particularly nasty fight, Ted decides that he really does need to break up with Jeanette. His friends advise him to do it in a public place, and Ted is most certainly going to take that advice. He chooses a Nets game as the venue. Awfully expensive break-up date, I think. Ted starts to go into his break-up speech with a “we have to talk,” but Jeanette immediately goes nuts, accusing him of cheating on her with Lily. We then cut to the next day, where Ted warns Marshall and Barney, who are at his apartment to enjoy some guy time, not to let Jeanette in the apartment while he’s gone. Of course this doesn’t happen. The guys do let Jeanette in after all, and Ted realizes it as soon as he gets home and hears his stuff being smashed upstairs.

Ted has absolutely no luck getting Jeanette to leave, and his call to the police does no good because Jeanette is a cop and tells dispatch that she’s responding to the call. As Ted complains to the rest of the gang, they gradually get him to admit just why Jeanette might be so upset (other than her base level of crazy, of course). Ted first admits that he left Jeanette without officially breaking up, hoping she’d get the hint and never all him again. Which is a pretty douche move, if you ask me, even if she was nuts. In even further levels of douchiness, Ted later reveals that he kissed Jeanette at the Nets game to make her be quiet. Holy mixed signals, Batman. Anyway, the upshot of all that craziness is that Lily advises Ted that maybe Jeanette is the right girl for him right now. She’s a little crazy and he’s a little crazy at the moment. Ted decides to go back up to his room and try to make things work with Jeanette.

So while this episode was generally entertaining, there were still a few things that irked me about it (beyond the broadly comedic style that seems to characterize all episodes of HIMYM these days). The first was the disrespect it showed towards women. The theme of the episode really seemed to just be “bitches be crazy.” Jeanette is crazy, although most likely not to the exaggerated extent that Narrator!Ted remembers. I’m sure there are plenty of nice women in New York who wouldn’t physically assault Ted. And Barney and Marshall have to keep bringing stuff they bought over to Ted’s apartment because Robin and Lily are mean and won’t let them keep things like arcade games and canoes in their respective apartments. So horrible, I know! I would have liked to have seen a little less griping about the women in general in this one.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Once Upon a Time 2.13: "Tiny"

“I promise no harm will come to your family. After all, we have a deal.”
- Rumpelstiltskin

I have to say this episode was a little disappointing (no pun intended). I guess I was more excited for the Emma and Rumple out of Storybrooke plotline and that doesn’t come to fruition really until next week (which Jen as graciously allowed me to cover as well). Speaking of Emma and Rumple, their departure has a bit of a hiccup as far as Mr. Gold is concerned when Henry comes downstairs asking about what to wear. Emma says that either Henry comes along or she’s not going. With a bit of a huff, Rumple agrees and they’re off to cross the town line in his really red car (at least the interior. It didn’t help that Emma and Henry were clad in red, too). They cross the town line without a problem and make it to Logan International Airport. I’m pretty sure I’ve been in Terminal C before and it looks nothing like what it did on the show but I suppose they couldn’t make it totally realistic. They get their tickets and head for security. I have to say when I watched this sneak peek I laughed so hard. As they stand in line to go through the metal detector, Henry is badgering Rumple with questions about if he’s ever been on a plane before and if he’s nervous about finding his son. Before Henry can ask any more questions, it’s their turn and Rumple has a mild freak out over having to give up his cane and the shawl that let him pass over the town line. He’s all peeved about removing his shoes (remarking on how uncivilized it all is). But he makes it through just fine.

Unfortunately, as they’re waiting for their flight, Rumple is pacing incessantly and makes a break for the mens’ room. Once he’s sure no one is around, he walks into a stall and starts pounding on the toilet paper dispenser. And then we learn (as does Rumple) there is no magic in this land outside Storybrooke. So as they depart for New York City on an Ajira flight that will take 42 minutes (thank you Lost Easter eggs!), he’s got a bandaged hand. I think probably the funniest part of this whole plotline was Henry’s overwhelming excitement that there was a Cinnabuns in the airport and he got to bring a cinnamon bun on the plane.

Back in Storybrooke, the Charmings are going to head out to join the dwarves on Cora watch. Before they can leave, Regina shows up at their door, pretending to apologize for killing Archie. Being a bit dense, the Charmings assure her that they know she didn’t kill Archie and that it was Cora who framed her. She knows that you dolts! They also reveal Henry’s current travel plans. When Snow asks Charming where they can look for Cora, he says he knows someone and we cut to the Charmings, Leroy and Hook walking up the docks. Well Hook is sort of limping what with the whole broken ribs thing going on. He makes some cheeky remarks to Snow which Charming does not take kindly to. But once aboard his rather bright ship (I guess I hadn’t noticed how yellow and red the interior was before), Hook reveals Cora’s plan for revenge includes a sleeping giant.

We cut to the Fairytale Land that Was to find Anton hurrying for dinner with his brothers. He’s late as usual. He’s been in the treasure room checking out all the cool human stuff. His brothers tease him about his fascination and then Abraham crushes the golden harp he’d been hiding under his tunic. Oldest brother Arlo reminds the group that their purpose is to grow the magic beans, even though they don’t use them for anything. Anton doesn’t see the point if they aren’t being used and he thinks his brothers’ feelings about humans are misplaced. He thinks not all humans can be bad. So he climbs down the beanstalk to check out their world. Back on Hook’s ship, Snow wakes up a miniaturized Anton (aka Jorje Garcia’s normal size) who freaks out and punches Charming in the face after just seeing him. Snow scares him off with a well-placed arrow but he runs off the ship vowing to make them pay.

Before getting back to the Charmings and company, we make a stopover at the hospital. Belle is watching Expose (another Lost Easter egg) when Ruby comes by with some comforts from home, including The Mysterious Island by Jules Vern. Man they really packed in the Lost shout outs this week. Anyway, Belle asks Ruby to tell her the truth. She wants to believe that she didn’t actually see Rumple holding a ball of fire. Ruby tries to pass it off as hallucinations from the tranquilizers but Belle’s not having it. The creepy nurse from down in the psych dungeon shows up and dopes her up. Meanwhile Greg Mendel has been watching the whole exchange and later on pays Belle a visit. He confides in her that he saw the fireball, too. So they must not be crazy.

Over at Granny’s, the Charmings and Leroy are trying to figure out what Anton is so pissed off. We flash back to Charming’s brother, James, and his latest conquest Jack (short for Jacqueline). They’re interrupted by King George and news that a giant is running amok in the kingdom. So they go off to try and ensnare dear Anton. And it seems to be working. He happens upon them and is given a piece of magic mushroom (may we see Jefferson again sometime soon?) that makes him smaller. Next we find them in the tavern listening to music and drinking ale. James and Jack spin a story about how the kingdom is on the verge of being taken over and pillaged by a rival kingdom. Anton, feeling sorry for his newfound compadres, offers to climb back up his beanstalk and bring down some treasure to pay off the debt. He’s cagey about whether there are magic beans. Unfortunately, Anton’s trust in his friends is sorely misplaced. As Anton is sneaking off with the bag of treasure, the king’s army charges the beanstalk, taking out Anton’s brothers. Not surprising, Jack and James show up and demand the beans. Arlo orders Anton to burn the crop and salt the land (though we know Anton saves a single bean). Sadly, Arlo is poisoned by Jack’s sword and he dies. In showing what a royal pompous twat James is, he leaves a mortally wounded Jack to die while making off with the treasure. I’m so glad he died. Before Arlo breathes his last giant breath, he passes on a clipping from the beanstalk so that one day Anton could grow another one.

Back in Storybrooke, Hook shares news of Anton’s escape with Regina and the Charmings go out giant looking. Anton, after getting confounded by traffic also runs into Regina and is restored to his full size so he can rampage. And boy he does it for a short time. Cars go flying and things explode until Charming takes a chance and talks to Anton. He says that he’s not his brother and that they can be trusted. Anton isn’t buying it and as he’s chasing after them, we finally learn Charming’s real name. It’s David. That was probably the most underwhelming reveal of the show. Ever. As they’re running, Anton shrinks and falls into a sink hole. Luckily, David rescues him. After sharing a drink with some of the other townsfolk and sharing the news about the beanstalk clipping (Leroy is pretty excited about the magic bean crop prospect), they head out to farmland to plow the fields (with pick axes no less). Anton even gets named by the axe; Tiny (like his brothers used to call him). The dwarves are going to help protect the crop from Cora. As the Charmings head home, David marvels about how differently he and James turned out.

Person of Interest 2.14: "One Percent"

“Finch, how do we keep up with a guy who breaks all the rules?”
- Reese

Overall, “One Percent” was not one of my all-time favorite episodes. I found the POI of the week to be annoying and that just detracted from the story for me. Reese is out surveying our newest number, Logan Pierce, self-made billionaire. He’s playing a pick-up game of basketball with some guys before heading off in his ridiculous sports car. It turns out we’re basically getting Person of Interest’s version of “The Social Network”, complete with the IPO going public. In an effort to get eyes and ears on Logan, Reese has to go to a black tie charity auction. He speaks briefly with Logan but Logan finds him boring and moves on. See, another reason I dislike this guy. We get to the auction part of the evening and Reese feels the need to outbid Logan to make a point. Of course Finch is aghast at the fact Reese just threw down $10 million. Reese tries to keep taps on Logan but he disappears to have a tryst with his competition’s wife and then ducks out the roof on a helicopter. And then there’s the matter of poor Bear. He’s all depressed and won’t even play fetch.

Carter and Lionel have a very small side plot this week so I’ll just get it over with quickly. Carter is still looking into the IAB detective’s disappearance and now she’s picked up on Detective Stills. Obviously Lionel can’t admit he had something to do with both of those disappearances (or that Reese was involved with the first one). Near the end of the episode, he tries to come clean but Carter won’t hear it. She tells him that she believes him that he’s doing good now but if his past comes back to haunt him, he better not expect her to cover his ass. Carter does have something else to do for our boys though. She’s sorting through all 200 lawsuits against Logan and his company.

Our first flashback this week is to 2001 where Finch is working on starting the Machine. Nathan comes in and tells him that something has happened. They turn on the news and sit and watch footage from 9/11 in quiet horror. And so the real idea for the Machine is born. In the present, Reese is tracking Logan to a dry cleaner. Logan’s basically got boxers and a coat on. And he apparently only owns one suit. Finch has taken over the dry cleaners and swaps Logan’s credit card for one with a listening device. Reese then tails Logan back to headquarters for some depositions in a couple of the many lawsuits pending. It seems the company is very litigious and will file bogus infringement suits if small CEOs or competitors try to go toe to toe. But Logan agrees to give one guy startup capital. Another case, with a match-making site, is a little curious because the plaintiff has disappeared. Logan doesn’t seem that worried as he heads off to Coney Island for a bacon wrapped hot dog (it sounds revolting). On the way, Logan’s breaks won’t work and he’s tuck at 50 miles per hour. Finch manages to reset the system just in time to avoid turning Logan into a road side pancake. Unfortunately, when Reese catches up with the car, Logan is already in a taxi pulling away.

Reese’s solution is to bust in, beat up Logan’s security and say that he can keep him safe if they stick together. Logan seems intrigued by the idea and so he lets Reese hang around. He blows off a party that night to hang out at home and play video games. And drink scotch that is poisoned. Reese manages to save him by improvising an intubation tube to get air into his lungs. Reese also learns that Emily Morten (the match-making site designer) is tech savvy and could be after Logan. And the Board of Logan’s company has voted him out as CEO. Logan is just not having a good night.

We flash back to 2009 and Finch and Nathan have already sold the Machine to the government and it is on the train to its new home. Finch thinks now they can invest in things like clean water and energy but Nathan said they had their shot at helping the world with the Machine and they just gave it away. Finch says they need to move on but Nathan isn’t having it. We already know he built in a back door. And we see him following a woman whose number has come up. I’ll be interested to find out eventually how Finch learns about the back door and what Nathan is doing. And we still never found out how Nathan died.

Reese and Logan have a little heart to heart where Logan isn’t quite as annoying. We learn his parents went bankrupt because his dad couldn’t anticipate and keep up with change. Reese lets Logan get some sleep and meets Finch on the street to pass of the decanter with the spiked scotch. Finch also brings up that Bear seems upset. Well yeah, his master’s not been around and he’s been in stressful situations. Unfortunately, Logan shows up and reveals he figured out the listening device and he wants answers. He’s impressed, however, with their nonexistent digital footprint. Finch tells him that he should stop digging into their affairs if he wants to stay alive. They’re going to take him to a safe house but he has a better idea. He drags Reese halfway around the world to St. Petersburg to a bar in a former bomb shelter for pirogues. You see why this guy got on my nerves. Reese was getting pretty testy near the end, too.

Reese has even more reason to be cross with Logan when his lawyer shows up. In short order, Reese and Finch reveal that the lawyer was the one behind the spiked alcohol. Reese takes him down just as fifty or so of Logan’s friends show up. Infuriated that Logan isn’t taking his safety seriously, Reese leaves. Of course he gets called back when Finch tells him that Logan’s number is up again. It appears that someone else wants Logan dead and now we know why. He’s actually partnering with Emily Morten to take her software public. And he’s also partnering with his competition. His current business partner isn’t so happy about that and gets a bunch of thugs to beat up Logan and they’re about to dump him over the side of a bridge when Reese shows up and deals with them. Back in New York, Reese finds Logan playing ball with his buddies and he ends up giving them his car. I guess he’s trying to de-junk his life or something. He gives Reese a gift (a multi-million dollar watch that tells time to the nanosecond) for saving his life. Reese presents it to Finch as they’re out in the park, watching Bear play with a new doggie pal (really Bear just needs some quality time with Reese) and Finch smashes it. Not surprising, Logan put a GPS tracker in the watch. I have a feeling Mr. Pierce is going to show up again later. If not this season then perhaps in season 3.

Nashville 1.12: "I've Been Down That Road Before"

“I like your optimism. You may be delusional, but it’s very comforting.”

I know I’ve said this about “Nashville” before, but this episode really brought the drama y’all. We finally (I hope…I really, really hope) have some progress in both the Teddy/Rayna/Deacon and Gunnar/Scarlett/Avery triangles. Amazingly enough, Juliette didn’t really have personal drama going on in this episode. Her deal was more personal drama. I found it interesting that off all the characters, she was the one really trying to grow up, even though her management and a select portion of public opinion were against it. Rayna, Deacon, and Teddy, on the other hand, all kind of need to grow the hell up. I did like that Scarlett seemed to have a bit of a spine in this episode. That is, until at the end of the episode she was all “Oh Gunnar, now that you fought Avery I think you’re a bad boy and want in your pants.” Sigh.

The bulk of this episode is, again, on the Red Lips/White Lies Tour. This week, they’re in Chicago. There’s all sorts of awkwardness over Deacon joining the tour. Juliette’s kind of delighting in having created all the drama. Deacon, for his part, makes a crack about how Johnny Cash only needed three band members. This makes Juliette start to think she needs to change her show in order to be taken seriously. Teddy spends much of the early part of the episode dogging Rayna about Deacon being on the tour. Rayna assures Teddy that this was completely Juliette’s decision and Rayna had nothing to do with it, but Teddy’s even more pissed when Rayna admits that she had seen Deacon since she fired him (“out of concern,” Rayna says).

Meanwhile, back in Nashville, Gunnar is over at Scarlett’s house making some repairs. Gunnar starts complaining about how his roommates have been dogging him (and writing on him in permanent marker) ever since he left their band to join Scarlett and J.T. The conversation is interrupted by Scarlett’s landlord stopping by to tell her she’s late with the rent. Apparently there are no eviction laws in Nashville, because he tells her she has two days to pay, or she’s out. Convenient set-up for Gunnar and Scarlett moving in together ahoy! For his part, Avery’s just being an ass (shocking news, right?). He and Marilyn are talking about his schedule, which includes a sort of “Behind the Music” type show, but all he can talk about his a notice he sees on his phone that Scarlett is playing a show that night.

A pair of performances from Rayna and Juliette really highlights the difference between their styles. Rayna plays a rather stripped down song, while Juliette does a big up-beat crowd pleaser with back up dancers and glitter. After the show, Juliette starts whining to her manager about how “maybe [her] brand isn’t so perfect anymore.” Her manager really doesn’t want her to change her brand because too much money is riding on it. Rayna, meanwhile, is having more productive back-stage discussion. She has a new band leader, Adria, who she loves. There’s just one guitar riff that she needs Deacon to teach her. Because that’s not awkward. I like that Rayna’s sticking up for fellow female musicians, though.

Scarlett and Gunnar are facing issues from multiple fronts throughout the episode. Avery is one and Gunnar’s asshole roommates are the other. They’re playing “One Works Better” (awesome song, by the way) at a rather sedate venue. At least, it’s sedate until the asshole roommates show up and start blowing an air horn. Unfortunately for Scarlett, the and only makes about $25 a piece. That’s not going to pay her rent. Their luck may be changing, though. Watty comes up to Chicago to see the show and visit with Rayna. Over coffee, Rayna tells him that she finally got her own imprint at the label, and she wants to know if the kids he clued her in to at the Bluebird are still available. She balks a little when Watty tells her that Scarlett is Deacon’s niece and they remind him of Rayna and Deacon in their heyday. Rayna still seems somewhat interested, though, even if she is desperately trying to demolish Deacon’s presence in her life. Deacon, for his part, is working on a song with Juliette. Juliette loves it, but she’s worried it’s off her brand. She complains about it to Deacon, who says he’s been there before. Juliette’s worried her fans won’t come with her if she changes her brand, but Deacon says losing herself is worse. He advises her to walk the talk.

Teddy, because he’s an idiot, meets up with Peggy in her new neighborhood. They make small talk until Peggy points out the absurdity of it. Teddy apologizes for what happened, and Peggy says she’s glad that her marriage ended. It wasn’t working. Teddy drives Peggy home, and while they’re sitting in the car, she starts praising him up one side and down the other. She says he should have to work so hard to make someone love him. This, of course, because Teddy is an idiot with an ego that needs to be fed, leads to a rather gross make-out session in the car. Which later leads to sex. Which is just gross. Peggy wants to know what they’re doing, but Teddy doesn’t know, and he thinks it’s wrong.

Avery decides to take the TV crew to his “old neighborhood.” AKA right past Scarlett’s house. Scarlett looks out her window and goes outside to confront Avery, who starts blabbing about how they’re “still great riends.” Scarlett tells them to stop filming and that she’s not signing any releases. Avery wants her to gush about how cool the camera crew is, but Scarlett just wants her rent money. Avery makes a crack about how since she broke up with him and gets to keep the house, they’re even. Scarlett rightfully calls him pathetic. That evening at the Bluebird, Gunnar complains about his roommates again, and Scarlett proposes that they become roommates. Because she’s a proper Southern lady, though, there have to be rules. As in “don’t walk around the kitchen naked and I won’t play the banjo in the shower.” Gunnar presses her about what if they want to bring people home in amorous situations, and Scarlett kind of shrugs it off.

Rayna and Deacon find each other together in an elevator multiple times in the episode, and the first couple times, they don’t really talk, even when Rayna tries to compliment Scarlett to him. When it’s time for the big show, Juliette walks out on stage in a white shirt and jeans and sits down on a stool, much to the horror of her manager. She tells the audience Deacon’s advice and invites him to play “Consider Me,” a gorgeous song they wrote together, with her. The performance gets a good deal of applause and Rayna’s admiration (and a little sadness that Deacon is playing with someone else now). Juliette’s manager isn’t happy, though. Apparently a reviewer live-tweeted the song, and it wasn’t complimentary. There are plenty of other un-complimentary tweets, too. Juliette doesn’t take it well at all.

Rayna’s having a better evening. She tells Watty she wants to hear more from Gunnar and Scarlett and they talk about the status of her relationship with deacon. Deacon, for his part, is sitting at the hotel bar, and Juliette’s manager starts berating him, blaming him for Juliette wanting to change her brand. Deacon insists Juliette does what she wants. Juliette’s manager accuses him of trying to turn Juliette into a Rayna replacement. The manager is just as ass in general and accuses Deacon of saying and not doing. So Deacon does something. The next time he and Rayna are in the elevator together, he kisses her.

Back in Nashville, Gunnar’s moving into Scarlett’s house when Avery stops by. Avery’s being an ass, as always, saying he came to make piece, and Scarlett, being stupid, lets him in. He does give her the rent money, at least. And he admits that he brought the TV crew by to impress Scarlett. The faux niceties end when Gunnar appears in the living room, though, especially when Scarlett says they’re not working. Avery immediately assumes they’re sleeping together, which understandably pisses Gunnar off. Avery gets asshole-ish, and Gunnar fights back, verbally at first, then physically. Gunnar kicks Avery’s ass pretty easily, which was quite enjoyable. Scarlett kicks Avery out, hopefully for good (although I doubt it). As she cleans up Gunnar’s split lip, Scarlett asks if Gunnar learned to fight from his brother, which he did. And that’s when the whole “I want in your pants because you’re a bad boy” moment happens. Across town, Avery moves out of Marilyn’s house and insists they keep it professional from now on.

Juliette’s assistant ends up providing the reality check Juliette needed. She shows Juliette that while there were some mean tweets, there were also a ton of really highly complementary YouTube comments. Which is probably the least realistic thing to have happened in this episode! Juliette hugs her assistant in appreciation. It gives Juliette the courage to stand up to her manager and say that songs like “Undermine” and “Consider Me” need to be on the new album, and her manager can’t be afraid of her growing up. Meanwhile, Rayna, who is brooding in her hotel room, has a decision to make. She texts Deacon to say she wants to talk, and Deacon is really happy to receive the text. When Rayna hears a knock and opens her hotel room door, however, it’s Teddy who appears. Deacon sees Teddy standing at the door and backs off. Surprisingly, what Teddy wants is a divorce.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Arrow 1.13: "Betrayal"

“The lesson here is blind trust can be dangerous.”
- Diggle

I have to say I thought “Betrayal” was full of well…betrayals. Lots of characters fund themselves learning things about each other that didn’t make them very happy. And this marks the very first episode of Arrow ever where Oliver is not seen shirtless at some point. I think a small part of me died inside. We start at Iron Heights prison where Cyrus Vanch (David Anders, aka Dr. Whale from Once Upon a Time) has been released on a technicality. He and his girl Vivien head to his lawyer’s house where Vanch kills him for botching the trial. He’s definitely a lot creepier than Whale. In the man cave, Oliver and Diggle are discussing Moira’s copy of the list. Diggle makes the point that Walter had the list and then he went missing. Oliver refuses to believe his mother is capable of making anyone disappear. We flash back to the island and he stumbles upon a clearing with a plane wreck. I have to be honest, the second I saw that I went “they did not just pull a LOST”. But they kind of did, yeah. Oli climbs into the plane and gets nabbed by its current occupant. Oliver managers to escape getting his vocal cords cut out by saying that the Archer sent him.

Meanwhile, in Starling City, Detective Lance is being given a new assignment and he is pissed. He thinks he is close to finding the Hood. But his lieutenant has a point. The Hood has done a lot of good recently and maybe people don’t want him caught. We jump across town to the legal aid office where Laurel is showing Thea around. She gets the news about Vanch being released is all gung ho about finding a way to get him back behind bars. But as Anastasia, a lawyer doing a pro bono sabbatical, points out, unless laurel has a private police force, she’s not going to have much luck. Laurel has a sort of mischievous glint in her eye. She in fact does have her own private police force. Before she can do anything, Tommy calls with offers of dinner. He’s testing out chefs for the nightclub. She reluctantly agrees to meet him.

Oliver has a chat with his mother as she’s heading off for a meeting. He shows her the notebook that Walter had, saying Walter gave it to him before Christmas. Moira feigns ignorance, claiming it to be Robert’s book of names of everyone who owed him favors. Before Oliver can say much more, she tosses it in the fire and tells Oliver to stop asking questions. Diggle is quick to point how shady that was but Oliver is just so blind to his mother’s scheming that he just doesn’t want to hear it. Laurel picks that moment to contact the Hood and ask for his help. And Detective Lance is all happy because Laurel called the Hood so they have a location. And Lance is going to show up guns blazing.

Holed up in his heavily fortified mansion, Vanch decides he needs to be the one to fill the power vacuum left in Starling City’s crime world due to the Hood. Quite conveniently, Oli is there doing reconnaissance and leaves an arrow with a voice recorded behind. This gives Vanch the perfect way to show the rest of the crime underbelly why they should follow him. Laurel ditches Tommy under the guise of a work emergency when Oliver calls with the evidence. He manages to hand over what he recorded but picks up on the fact they aren’t alone. Detective Lance and his back up bust in. Oliver uses Laurel as a shield long enough to get to the edge of the building before jumping over the side. Lance follows him only to get cold cocked so Oli can actually escape. Meanwhile, Diggle has taken it upon himself to be Moira’s driver so he can keep tabs on her. His first drop off ends up being a birthday party (yeah that one was kind of awkward, Dig).

Laurel and Oliver are both spiraling a bit out of control on the lie/disbelief front. Laurel is furious with her father for using her as bait and storms out on him only to end up fuming at Tommy about her father’s trickery. Big mistake since she basically admits to working with the Hood for months. Meanwhile, Oliver is angry with Lance for putting Laurel in danger (he doesn’t even think he’s part of the problem) and Diggle reveals he’s been keeping tabs on Moira. That pushes Oli’s buttons, too. Tommy ends up at the Queen mansion to bitch about Laurel lying to him. Oli plays the supportive friend and tells Tommy to talk to Laurel and see why she’s keeping secrets. And it appears there is a leak in the police department because Vivien tells Vanch they should go after Laurel.

We find Oliver back on the island with his new military buddy. Apparently he and the Archer were working together to get off the island. But then the Archer was compromised. He thinks Oli has been sent as his new partner but quickly discovers Oli has no skills. Meanwhile, it appears Vanch is putting his plan into action. Laurel is leaving Tommy a voicemail when someone knocks on the door. Thinking it’s him, she opens it to find two thugs. She manages to take them down but Vanch gets her with a Taser. Bastard. Meanwhile, Diggle’s snooping pays off. He records a conversation between Moira and Malcolm where she says she took care of one of their colleagues and he tells her she needs to get rid of the remains of the Queen’s Gambit.

Tommy heads over to Laurel’s place and finds it trashed. He also finds the arrow Oliver used to record Vanch at his mansion. Tommy frantically brings it to Detective Lance and begs him to find some way to help Laurel. Lance is a little disturbed by the fact that the connection between Laurel and the vigilante could have been leaked by dozens of people. But he gets his head focused and goes to call the vigilante for his help. Diggle shares the recording of Moira with Oliver and Oli kind of gets angry. Even with the proof, he still doesn’t want to believe his mother had any part in his father’s death or Walter’s disappearance. We flash back to island again and Oliver wakes up to find he’s been bound. His newfound companion is going to kill him since he thinks the soldier will just torture the location out of Oliver. But Oli manages to get free (probably dislocating a joint or two) and punches the guy. It seems they may be working together after all.

Detective Lance and the vigilante team up to save Laurel and it works out pretty well. Oli takes out the guards and makes it inside the house but doesn’t have any arrows left. Vanch planned it that way, you see. But Lance rushes in last minute to sort of save the day. He’s about to shoot Vanch when Oli stops him, reminding him that he is the cop. As Lance punches Vanch out, Oliver makes his escape. A short while later at the station, Lance offers to drive Laurel home but she needs some distance and space from her father. They don’t trust each other anymore. She runs into the vigilante outside the precinct and he tells her that he won’t be getting in touch anymore because he’s not willing to take the risk of her getting her or killed because of him.

On the island, Slade (Oli’s new buddy) tells him to pick a weapon so they can start getting him into a shape that won’t get them both killed. Oliver finds a mask like the one the guy wore who tortured him for the Archer’s location. Slade reveals he and his partner are Australian intelligence and they are trying to get the Archer off the island. Back in the man cave, Oliver finally comes to terms with his mother’s betrayal. So he has to have a chat with her. She’s in the middle of a meeting when the vigilante bursts through the window, points an arrow at Moira and delivers his standard condemnation. What has Oliver gotten himself into now?

New Girl 2.16: "Table 34"

“I’m a man, Jessica. Pink robes are my catnip!”

So “New Girl” dealt with the aftermath of the big Nick/Jess kiss better than I thought they would. I guess I should have a little more faith in the creative team behind my favorite current show. The initial super awkwardness has passed (although some awkwardness remains I’m sure) without at all closing the door on a future Nick/Jess relationship. Sure, the aftermath was too painful for a true Nick/Jess relationship to start up right away, but I think the events of this episode put them on the right path. I’d like to partially ignore the second major plot of this episode, which was Cece going to an “Indian marriage convention” and Schmidt stalking her through the whole thing. Redeeming factors of that one were Schmidt doing a very Barney in “Robin 101”-like rant about how it was the Indian guys’ loss that they weren’t interested in Cece and the fact that Schmidt and Cece actually sort of got back together by the end of the episode. I was happy to see that mostly because I was tired of Schmidt being all mopey and trying to cover it up with bravado.

The episode opens with the awkward. Nick and Jess are both in their respective rooms following the kiss. They can’t sleep, and they happen to walk out into the hallway at the same time. Jess tries to talk to Nick about what happened, but Nick just “panic Moonwalks” away from her and back into his room. For the record, panic Moonwalking is quite possibly the greatest thing ever. It’s freaking hilarious, at least, and Nick does it often in this episode, sometimes even resulting in a pratfall. Anyway, Jess goes back into her room, and when Sam wakes up, she pretends she just woke up, too. The tension and guilt is too much for Jess, though, so she rushes over to Cece’s apartment to confess what just happened. Cece alternates between genuine concern (wanting to know if Jess really likes Nick) and horniness. Apparently Cece hasn’t gotten any while on these dates arranged by her mom, so she enjoys Jess’ description of the kiss. Jess for her part is adamant that she isn’t interested in Nick, but it’s clear that the lady doth protest too much.

Back at the loft, Winston’s all happy because he’s had sex for the first time since he and Shelby first started dating (because, remember, there was that long awkward stretch before they broke up where they weren’t having sex at all). He says he’s “mojo man” now. Schmidt cuts Winston’s celebration short by talking about the Indian arranged marriage convention. Do such things actually exist? Anyway, both Nick and Winston think this would be a fun thing to see, so they tag along. And Jess ends up tagging along at Cece. So the whole gang ends up at the convention (even though only one of them is actually of Indian heritage), and of course that leads to another panic Moonwalk from Nick when he sees Jess is there. The lady who is running the convention collects educational information and a resume from everyone.

While waiting for the event to start, Nick admits to Winston that he kissed Jess. Winston just punches him in the nuts, which is kinda hilarious, too. Winston is worried that this is all going to blow up, and Nick is going to end up having to move out. Winston doesn’t want the hassle of having to find a new roommate, even if Nick is so gross that he has centipedes under his bed. As the convention starts, everyone is grouped into tables by professional qualifications. Nick and Cece are both at Table 34, aka the loser’s table (over 30, part time work, etc.). Jess and Schmidt are both at Table 7. Winston’s not at any table because the organizer lady wants his mojo all to herself. Jess and Nick get into a big argument over whether the kiss meant anything (and they pretty much keep arguing through the whole convention), and Jess calls Sam to come pick her up. Sam ends up joining in the convention for some reason, though. And of course, since he’s a doctor, he’s at Table 1. The activities at the convention demonstrate the relative merits of Sam and Jess and Nick and Jess as couples in a rather anvilicious way. Jess and Sam fail rather horribly at a hula hoop exercise that is supposed to show if a couple is physically compatible, and later, Nick and Jess completely rock a newspaper table building activity that is supposed to show how strong a couple is.

As the convention progresses, characters come to some self-realizations, and secrets are revealed. One guy kind of mocks Cece for being at Table 34 after she exhibits a kind of nonchalant attitude towards how she should probably have kids soon. He wants to know if she fails to think through all her decisions. Schmidt tries to stand up for Cece, but she really just wants him to leave her alone. Cece and Nick end up sitting together for a little while, and they bond a bit over having both make poorly thought out life decisions. Meanwhile, Jess’ guilt gets the better of her, and she finally confesses the kiss to Sam. To say he doesn’t take it well would be an understatement. He storms out, and Jess runs after him. Out in the hallway, he breaks up with Jess. His self-righteous attitude about the whole think kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Nick runs out and tries to stand up for jess, and Sam punches him in the throat before leaving. Which is also, somehow, kind of funny.

Back in the ballroom, Winston uses his mojo powers to set up the organizer lady with a guy who is actually available. Then Schmidt notices Cece sitting over at Table 34 looking all forlorn. That’s when Schmidt has his big “Attention, Canada” moment. Only instead of taking about how Canadians are stupid for letting Robin go, he’s talking about how Indians are stupid for overlooking Cece. Of course, after he gives that speech, guys are all over her, which doesn’t make him particularly happy. Back at the apartment, Jess is trying to mourn the break-up by listening to some Taylor Swift, and Nick is trying to cheer her up by silly dancing to it. He apologizes sincerely for everything that happened, and Jess is a little more warm to him, but she’s still not okay. Nick realizes that it’s probably best to leave her alone for a little while, and they do hug before he goes off to his room. Cece and Schmidt have better luck. We end the episode with them arriving at the loft and heading right for Schmidt’s room.

Monday, February 11, 2013

HIMYM 8.15: "P.S. I Love You"

“It was tragic. I mean to this day, you ask any Canadian where they were when Robin Sparkles lost it, not only can they tell you which Tim Horton's they were in, but what donut they were eating.”
-Steven Page

Of the two episodes of television I’ve blogged today, I actually liked this episode better than the “New Girl” episode. Go figure. I guess it really shouldn’t come as all tht much of a surprise, considering I love when HIMYM embraces the Canadian jokes, and sine this episode featured the fourth appearance of Robin Sparkles, there were Canadian jokes a plenty. This episode saw the evolution of Robin Sparkles the “80’s” teen pop icon into Robin Daggers, uber-90’s grunge singer/songwriter (or blatant Alanis Morissette ripoff…take your pick). There was also plenty of Barney in a Tim Hortons, which is never not funny. Although this time, thankfully, he didn’t get beat up by a pee wee hockey player. The Barney and Robin plot in this episode was just so good that it overpowered a kind of annoying Ted plot. I really watch this show for every character other than Ted, so a good Barney and Robin plot is enough to make me happy.

The theme that ties the whole episode together is, basically, stalking and when it is appropriate. Ted thinks he’s had the best meet cute on the subway with this girl Jeanette, and it kind of unravels throughout the episode. Ted sees Jeanette on the subway and calls out to her just as she’s getting off the train. He then goes into super stalker mode to try and find her, complete with notes on a yellow legal pad. Marshall and Lily call Ted out on being creepy, but it’s very unlikely to stop him completely. Not for lack of trying, though. They do take away both his primary and back-up stalker notes legal pads. When the gag is discussing this situation, Robin mentions that Ted’s actions aren’t all that starnge. She says that everyone has that one person who they obsess over a bit. She won’t say who hers is, though.

The fact that Robin once had an obsessive crush drives Barney a little nuts, to put it kindly. He first breaks into Robin’s apartment to read her teen journal, where he sees a poem called “P.S. I Love You.” He then flies all the way to Vancouver to interrogate as many of Robin’s exes as he can find. Well, he questions them rather forcefully in a very nice Tim Hortons. Eventually the train leads him to none other than Simon. Simon wasn’t the subject of Robin’s obsession, but he clues Barney into something even better. There’s a fourth Robin Sparkles video, y’all! This one is an episode of MuchMusic’s “Underneath the Tunes,” which is supposed to be the Canadian version of VH1’s “Behind the Music.” Simon promises Barney that watching this program will answer Barney’s questions.

Barney rushes back to New York, and the rest of the gang is super excited to learn that there’s another Robin Sparkles video. The video itself is absolutely hilarious. It’s like the creative team got together as many B list Canadian celebrities as possible, and the result is glorious. The end of Robin Sparkles happened at the 1996 Grey Cup (Canadian Super Bowl, for those of you not in the know), where Robin performed the half-time show. Instead of performing her pop hits like “Let’s Go to the Mall” and “Sandcastles in the Sand,” she became Robin Daggers and performed “P.S. I Love You.” I loved how Alanis Morissette it sounded. And of course, with the Alanis comparison came talking head interviews with Dave Coulier swearing that “P.S. I Love You” wasn’t written about him. I’m a total 90’s kid (I was born in the early 80’s, but I really became aware of pop culture in the 90’s), so I was really just loving the 90’s-ness of all of this.

Meanwhile, Ted happens to run into Jeanette again, this time at school when a fire alarm interrupts his class. Marshall and Lily keep trying to dissuade Ted from pursuing Jeanette, suggesting alternative scenarios that make Jeanette seem more and more like a stalker. First they suggest that Jeanette may have pulled the fire alarm to arrange the meeting. Jeanette says this is true. Then Marshall and Lily point out that most college buildings have a smoke detector, and when Ted asks if Jeanette started a fire to set off the alarm, the admits that’s true too. And that’s when we really get into creepy stalker territory. Ted doesn’t think it’s creepy, though. He can’t get over the fact that they’re so in synch that they kept identical primary and back up stalker legal pads. He thinks that stalking and big romantic gestures aren’t creepy if the recipient is happy about the attention. Which is kind of messed up, I think. By the end of the episode, Jeanette admits that she has been stalking Ted for a lot longer than he originally realized. She’s been interested in him ever since he was on the cover of New York Magazine. A year and a half ago. Yet Ted starts kissing her anyway. Even Narrator!Ted admits this was a big mistake. The last mistake he would make before meeting the Mother.

As Barney and the crew continue to watch “Underneath the Tunes,” it’s revealed that the most likely inspiration for “P.S. I Love You” was none other than Alan Thicke. Barney immediately goes to his apartment and attacks him, which was funny only because Neil Patrick Harris is a master of physical comedy, and his face as he launches himself at Thicke is hilarious. Alan Thicke, predictably, kicks Barney’s ass, and thanks to the bruises, Barney has to admit to Robin that he has an obsession too. Figuring out who Robin’s obsession was. Especially since a line in “P.S. I Love You” talks about whoever she marries being second to this mysterious person. Turns out the subject of Robin’s mysterious teenage obsession was none other than musician Paul Shaffer. P.S. Get it? Somehow this moment turns Barney’s obsession from creepy to endearing, or, as Ted would put it, from Dahmer to Dobler.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Person of Interest 2.13: "Dead Reckoning"

“This is my past catching up with me. It doesn’t concern you.”
- Reese

We pick up right where last episode ended. Kara shows up and shoots Donnelly in the head and drags Reese off. A short while later Carter finally comes to and fishes the handcuff key from Donnelly’s pocket. She’s hesitant to leave the scene of a crime but Finch makes the point that things will get far more complicated if she says. With Kara in play now (and it seems she is the new number for the week), no one is safe. We next find Reese waking up on a city bus next to Agent Snow and Kara. She’s strapped cellphone bombs to both of them and threatens to hit speed dial if either of them act up. She’s got a few errands for the boys to run to achieve whatever her big bad plan is.

Carter’s gotten home and is changing clothes when Lionel calls her from the crime scene. She feigns ignorance about what happened but says she’s on the way. She manages to lie to the FBI too but she’s still pretty shaken up. Lionel picks up on it and they end up meeting with Finch by the river to share intelligence. They need to figure out what Kara is after and what she’s planning so they can save Reese. Speaking of Reese, he and Snow are picking something up for Kara. It turns out to be the hard drive Snow stole from the tech company the last time he saw Carter. The thugs want $50,000 more and Kara tells Reese to kill them instead. Reese refuses and his bomb vest starts to power up. But it was only a warning. Kara takes the guys out with a sniper rifle from a nearby rooftop. She’s not going to tolerate Reese being obstinate going forward.

We jump back to 2011 and start off with a familiar flashback. Agent Snow is giving Reese the order to take out Kara after their mission in China. We see him give the same order to Kara and then we see her get blown up. Except this time, we get more. She winds up in a hospital with a Brit telling her that they’re going to be working together. He knows everything about her. In the present, Kara, Snow and Reese are at a diner. Reese is still being stubborn and refusing to eat. It’s short-lived since Kara sends him and Snow to follow two suits. They turn out to be ATF and they’re about to be posers. Meanwhile, Carter has tracked down the hard drive and learned it is military grade. Finch has also received a mystery text from an unknown number. He and Carter decipher the text’s meaning and Carter is going to track the number since they believe it is Reese who sent it.

Reese and Snow get to the building where the real ATF agents have been called and realize there is a bomb threat. Working together, they get to the elevators and up to the 21st floor. Turns out it is a level 5 DOD facility. Carter and Lionel aren’t too far behind them. After the guys take out the guards (non-lethal since Reese is being a stickler about civilians not getting hurt), Kara gives them an incentive to get moving. She arms the bomb vests to go off in fifteen minutes. We find Kara back in the hospital and her British visitor offers her the chance to know who was behind the laptop in the first place, as long as she agrees to work with his organization. While not actually jumping at the chance, Kara is eager to know the answer.

Once Reese and Snow are inside the 21st floor, Kara orders them to erase the last two hours of security footage and then locate someone with high level clearance to get them into the server room. Kara warns there may be some signal interference once they are inside the room. Reese of course tries to talk Snow out of completing the mission since Kara can’t hear them or blow them up but Snow isn’t having it. He still thinks she’ll find a way to kill them. Plus he’s not been able to find a way to disarm the vest yet. Carter and Lionel make it to the building and end up hiking up 21 flights of stairs to try and get to Reese. Carter also has a little freak out that Finch is hacking the DoD. Come on, he does that sort of thing all the time. Just as Finch realizes that Kara is trying to steal a super virus, Reese is trying to figure out a way to kill all the servers. The tech he and Snow strong armed into letting them into the room says that the drives would all shut down if there was an emergency. So of course, Reese starts to wipe the drives. Snow tries to stop him and they literally start throwing punches. It’s pretty clear Reese is in better shape than Snow because he handily beats the crap out of him. Kara shows up and smugly announces that she knew Reese wouldn’t follow orders and she wasn’t concerned with taking anything from the drives. She wanted to upload something to where the DoD monitors for cyber-attacks. She plugs in the drive, primes both bomb vests for 5 minutes and locks them in the room by blowing out the handprint scanner outside the door.

Reese and Snow manage to blow the lock and get out but Snow double crosses Reese and leaves him there. Snow thinks he can get to a CIA safe house with enough time to get the bomb off. Reese doesn’t think the Agency will take him back (and he’s right). Just as Snow leaves in the elevator, Carter and Lionel show up. Reese tells them to get clear of the floor but Carter wants to try and deactivate the vest. There’s a sort of weirdly touching moment between her and Reese where he tells her that he has no choice and she understands that because if she was in his place, she’d do the same thing. Lionel finally convinces her to let Reese do what he needs to do. Reese makes it to the roof where Finch is waiting despite Reese’s prior order to stay clear of the building. After a little bickering, Finch manages to hack the phone’s lock code and stop the bomb from going off. Unfortunately for Kara, just as she learns the name of the person who sold the laptop, Snow climbs into her car and his bomb goes off. The Machine plays the footage back and we catch a glimpse of the name written on a scrap of paper that reads ‘Finch’. That was pretty obvious. I have to say I’m kind of glad the FBI thinks the Man in the Suit case is closed (they attributed everything to Snow). It means Reese can be free of them to do his work. Speaking of Reese, he gets back to the library and Bear pretty much tackles him like in the IAMS commercial. That pooch was very depressed without his daddy.

Arrow.1.12: "Vertigo"

“You should always remember one thing, Dig. I don’t need the bow.”
- Oliver

After the rather shocking ending to last week’s episode, we find Oliver hunting down a Vertigo dealer and finally gets a name for the supplier; The Count. Diggle remarks it is worse than the Hood (I have to agree and makes me think of Sesame Street). Oliver is just really pissed about the whole situation. I think part of it is this guy is screwing with his city and the other part is it is affecting Thea. Speaking of, Oli has to go be a good supportive brother and stand behind Thea in court. Unfortunately, things aren’t going to be easy for Thea. The judge wants to make an example of her and denies the plea agreement. They are going to trial and defense counsel is right, they’re probably going to lose. Of course, if Oliver has anything to say about it, he’s going to take the Count out first. Thea is being bratty, still thinking Moira cheated on her dad and Walter with Mr. Merlyn (and while I’m sure any woman would be drawn to John Barrowman, it’s just not the case for Moira).

We jump back to the Island where Oliver is still locked in the cage. He begs the Archer to let him go and help him escape but his sort-of ally just isn’t cooperating. In the present, Oliver pops off to see Detective McKenna Hall, an old clubby buddy turned vice cop. He tried to get anything he can about the Count out of her but all he gets is a really thin file. Oliver asks McKenna to keep him in the loop but she tells him to let the police do the policing. With a dashing smile and a whispered “ok” he’s off. Enter Detective Lance. Never happy to see Oliver’s face, he questions McKenna but she says he’s just an old friend whose sister is caught up with the law. Across town, somewhere in the Glades, we finally meet the Count. He’s not too happy that one of his drug pushers told the Hood about him (granted it was just a name). So the Count injects pure Vertigo into the guy’s neck and after letting him flail in pain (that wasn’t real) he lets the guy kill himself to end the pain. And now he’s intrigued by the fact he’s gained the vigilante’s attention.

The next morning, Oliver goes to Laurel to ask for help. He wants her to ask her dad to cash in any favors to get the judge to not throw the book at Thea. Laurel doesn’t make any promises but says she’ll try. Ultimately, she crushes her father’s idealistic memory of Sarah and he agrees to make a call. Kind of interesting that Sarah and Thea weren’t that different. Meanwhile, Oliver and Diggle pay a visit to the Russian mob. In exchange for a duffle full of cash and Oliver killing a guy, they walk out with a meeting to be set up with the Count. Of course the guy isn’t really dead. Oliver just made it look that way. Now Diggle has to get the guy out of town with a new identity. Not sure that’s part of his job description, Oli. Back on the island, the Archer lets Oliver out of the cage and into a fighting circle. Deathstroke is beating the shit out of some guy and Oliver’s next. He faces off against the Archer.

The next day, Laurel comes to Thea with a new plea agreement: two years’ probation and 500 hours of community service. Thea’s not interested. Oliver is pretty pissed with her since he went out on a limb (and Laurel went even farther) to get the deal. It seems Thea wants to go to prison to spite her mother for her perceived wrongdoings. Oliver tries to tell Thea the truth but she’s not having any of it. Moira’s not too pleased by the turn of events either. But Oli doesn’t have time to worry about the family drama because the Russians have set up a meeting. He finally gets to see the Count face to face. We learn that he tested his drug on homeless people and prostitutes before perfecting it. Fifty-six people died for his drug. Filthy creep. Unfortunately, the meet gets busted up by Starling City PD. Thank you Detectives Hall and Lance. As Oli tries to chase down the Count, he gets two syringes full of Vertigo jammed into his chest. Things are not going to end well for our hero.

Oliver is fighting through a drug overdose and simultaneously flashing back to the Archer beating the crap out of him in the circle. He finally comes to the next morning to find Diggle has handcuffed him. Guess it was to keep him from actually killing his bodyguard. Diggle is surprised that Oliver is on his feet. Oliver says that Thea needs him. They get back to the Queen mansion just in time to find out that Detective Hall saw Oli at the meet the night before. Oliver whips up a cover story about why he was there and it’s enough to get the cops to back off. Moira is not pleased that her son is gallivanting about with drug dealers and mobsters. But it’s enough to get Thea to realize Oli was telling the truth. With mother and daughter reunited and moving past the drama, Oliver is going to try and analyze the Vertigo. Unfortunately he’s still suffering symptoms and passes out on the stairs. We see the Archer push him off a cliff into a waterfall.

After coming back around, Oliver enlists Felicity’s help to determine where the water used in the liquid form of Vertigo came from. I swear she just needs to find out his secret identity already. She’d still totally help him. She comes through and Oliver is all set to charge off and take down the Count. But Diggle says he can’t leave since he’s still suffering the effects of the drug. He then makes Oliver a deal, if he can hit a tennis ball out of Diggle’s hand with an arrow, he can leave. Oliver’s vision isn’t up to snuff yet but he reminds Diggle that the vigilante doesn’t need the bow to do his work. So Oliver takes off for the abandoned juvenile detention center in the Glades.

I have to say Oliver is pretty impressive even without his bow. He takes out all the guards and only has a minor fainting spell. He finally gets to the Count and is ready to kill him when the cops show up. Seriously, they should just let Oliver do his thing. Oliver managers to escape and lets the cops arrest the Count. Thea has come to her senses and agreed to Laurel’s terms for the plea agreement. So she’s going to be working at the legal aid office. It seems Oliver is happy that the arrangement has gone through, too. We cut back to the island to find that the Archer hasn’t completely betrayed Oliver. He wanted to be the one to push Oliver over the edge so he could slip a map into his pocket with the Chinese word for “survive” written on it. At the end, Felicity and Oliver have a rendezvous in a coffee shop where she reveals that Moira had a copy of the notebook with the names in it that Oliver’s father left for him. Things are going to get complicated!

New Girl 2.15: "Cooler"

"Hey, Schmidt, your butt just violated the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act!”
- Jess

So the event at the end of this episode, the rather epic kiss between Nick and Jess (sorry…spoiler alert) didn’t leave me quite as elated as it should have, mostly because I know that it doesn’t stick, and Nick and Jess won’t actually get their act together until the end of this season at the earliest. That’s what I get for being behind on the blog, I suppose. You get my grumpy, I already kind of know what happens next impression. That being said, even though the impact of that final moment was kind of ruined for me, I still enjoyed the return of True American. I love that the “New Girl” roommates are such politics/American history nerds. And that they turned it into a drinking game. Folks after my own heart they are (except for the drinking aspect of it all…I’m not a teetotaler, but I’m not into drinking games, either…but if I was, it would totally be something nerdy like True American). I also liked that at the end of the episode, the big romantic moment was cut with some pretty bizarre humor, as only “New Girl” can do.

There’s a pretty clear division in this episode between the first half, where they guys are all trying to get back their confidence with women, and the second half, which is just basically a raucous game of True American. The second half is really the superior half, because True American is still fresh enough to be really funny and clever and entertaining to watch. The fact that the first half kicks off with Schmidt announcing to the rest of the roommates that he is no longer satisfied by masturbation. Yep, because that’s just the sort of information you want to know about your roommate! Schmidt believes this means that he’s sufficiently over Cece to, you know, actually have sex with a woman again, and he wants to have a boys night out with Winston and Nick. This seems especially appropriate since all three are single and kind of unhappy about it. Jess wants to join and play wingwoman, but Nick puts the kibosh on that. He says Jess is his “cooler.” Whenever he finds himself in a romantic situation, she somehow manages to make it end prematurely.

So the guys go out for their night of debauchery, and Jess is left at home alone. She’s super bored and just spends the whole time putting together costumes and acting out strange scenarios. Maybe it’s the only child in me, but I found this rather bizarre and one of the rare times where the creative team and I don’t share a brain. I’m perfectly happy spending an evening in front of the TV or the computer when I don’t have plans. I don’t have trouble finding ways to be entertained. But Jess hears a noise at the apartment door, and it really freaks her out. It freaks her out so badly that she starts calling everybody she can think of for help, starting with Sam, then Cece, then finally Nick.

Meanwhile, the guys all find themselves at the bar, because Nick got them thrown out of, as Schmidt calls it “the discotheque.” Nick’s been wearing a woman’s trench coat that was accidentally delivered to the loft (he says it gives him extra confidence), and I guess it freaked out the bouncer. The guys are pretty desperate, and Nick and Schmidt both pounce on the same attractive woman sitting at the bar. Her name is Holly. Even though they’re bot making asses of themselves, Holly for some reason doesn’t send Schmidt and Nick packing. Winston, meanwhile, starts chatting with a woman named Daisy. Because she appears to be engaged, Winston is pretty chill with her instead of being overly desperate like usual. Holly seems to especially like desperate men, and Nick’s sob story of being dumped recently is working on her until he gets Jess’ call about the intruder. Once Jess calls, the night appears to be over.

The whole gang, including Holly and Daisy, however, show up at the loft, and Jess almost attacks them, thinking they’re the intruders. Jess admits that she really was Nick’s cooler in this instance, and in an attempt to make things right, she suggests a game of strip True American. I love how even though the rules are never really explained on the show, and the game seems extremely complex, newbies like Holly and Daisy (and our good old pal the Fancyman last season) can just dive right in. It’s basically jumping around on furniture and making American history geek references and tossing beer cans. And taking clothes off, in this particular instance. Trying to raise the stakes and get Nick his time with Holly, Jess invents a rule that would require two of the players to go into another room and kiss. Instead of Holly being the one Nick has to kiss, though, it turns out to be Jess. And this totally freaks Nick out, to the extent that he eventually climbs out the window to try and avoid it. Jess is kind of confused about why Nick is so adamantly refusing to kiss her, and Nick has a bit of a revealing moment when he says “not like this.” Sam is also at the apartment by that point, having gotten Jess’ message about the intruder. He thinks strip True American is the funniest idea ever, which is pretty chill of him. While all this is going on, Daisy reveals to Winston that she isn’t actually engaged (the ring was a fake so guys will leave her alone), and after a brief freak-out, Winston gets it together enough to make out with her.

Later that night, after everyone has gone home, Jess and Nick hear the scratching at the door again. It turns out to actually be a dog, owned by a neighbor named Beth, who was the intended recipient of Nick’s trench coat. She’s pretty disgusted to see Nick wearing her coat, and she takes it away from him. Even though he doesn’t have his security blanket trench coat anymore, Nick still somehow gets up the courage to kiss Jess the way he really wanted to kiss her. And quite a kiss it is. Miller’s got moves, y’all. After the kiss, Jess is just standing there, trying to figure out what this all means, when Sam steps out of Jess’ bedroom holding her Nick doll (yeah, she made a Nick doll to talk to while all the guys were out at the bar…more creepy than endearing, I think). It’s creeping her out, and he wants her to get rid of it. Jess agrees, and the tension breaks…for now. At the expense of the Nick doll, whose head was made of a melon that is now smashed on the floor.