Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Nashville 1.21: "I'll Never Get out of This World Alive"

“I need you to tell me that it's not true. Tell me that you haven't been lying to me every moment of the last thirteen years.”

The season finale of “Nashville” was pretty much exactly what you would expect from the show. There was plenty of crazy drama and some rather ridiculous cliffhangers to make us come back for season 2. While I would prefer, on balance, for the show to be a little less blatantly soapy, the music will keep me coming back for sure. This one featured some gorgeous tunes, although nothing quite up to the standard of the best Gunnar and Scarlett tunes. Speaking of Gunnar and Scarlett, there are definitely some interesting developments on that front, which could either bode really well or really poorly for our chances of getting more of their beautiful music next season. There were also some pretty crazy Rayna and Deacon related events, too, and I have no clue where that’s going to go next season, either. And just last week they seemed so happy. Such is life on a nighttime soap, I suppose.

The Rayna and Deacon drama is really the main focus of this episode, although the episode as a whole was kind of ten pounds of plot shoved in a five pound bag. Rayna’s having a discussion about Deacon with Maddie and Daphne. She lets them know that they’re dating, and she wants to know if they’re okay with Deacon going with her to the CMA Awards. Maddie tells Dahpne that Rayna and Deacon used to date back in the day, which really wasn’t appropriate at all. She’s acting out because of her discovery in the last episode, and her comment to Daphne isn’t the half of it. She then shows up at Deacon’s house and tells a very confused Deacon that she thinks she’s probably his daughter. Needless to say, Deacon doesn’t take this well at all, not because he doesn’t like Maddie, but because he’s pissed that Rayna never told him the truth.
Deacon and Rayna were supposed to walk the CMA red carpet together, but Deacon doesn’t show up until the last minute. Then he still looks really out of it while playing guitar for a Rayna/Brad Paisley duet performance for the telecast. Afterwards, he confronts Rayna about what Maddie told him, and when Rayna doesn’t deny it, Deacon completely flies off the handle. He ends up at a bar where, surprise surprise, he falls off the wagon. Multiple times. It’s so bad that he wakes up at the bar the next morning, where, once he’s kicked out, he proceeds to go find Teddy and try to start a fight. Deacon eventually makes his way back to his house, where poor hapless Gunnar shows up to ask for some advice on Scarlett. He finds a very drunk and surly Deacon, and he immediately calls Scarlett. Scarlett and Cole come over immediately, and there’s a huge knock-down-drag-out fight between Deacon and Cole. Cole eventually offers to stay with Deacon while he sobers up.

Meanwhile, Teddy has obviously found out that Maddie knows about her paternity thanks to Deacon punching him in the face. There’s a huge Conrad/Jaymes family row where Maddie says she wants to live with Teddy now. Teddy and Rayna actually have a mature discussion where Rayna explains that Maddie found out the truth by snooping, not by anything Rayna did. Teddy asks Rayna to trust him to not do anything to ruin her and Maddie’s relationship, just like Rayna asked him to trust her. Rayna ends up having a heart-to-heart with Maddie, and they seem to reconcile somewhat. It’s a good thing, because Teddy has other fish to fry. He gets a heads up call from a US Attorney friend that there may be a federal indictment coming his way about the Cumberland deal. He’s concerned that Peggy might divulge more information about the deal in exchange for immunity, but Peggy swears up way and down the other that she won’t. When pressed for why, Peggy says that she’s pregnant. Peggy’s so nuts I don’t know whether to believe this or not.

Juliette, meanwhile, spends the episode trying to deal with the tragedy of her mother’s death. She stays fairly stoic at the funeral (which Rayna attends but Deacon bails on to go be drunk). Juliette is determined to attend the CMAs, even though everyone is telling her that she needs to go mourn her mother. Juliette does end up leaving the awards show early, and she goes to sing to her mother’s casket at the funeral home. The next morning, her ex-manager Glen stops by to give Juliette her CMA trophy (she won Best Female Vocalist) and a hug, and it’s really a very touching moment. What finally gives Juliette some peace is a letter from her mother, which explains how her mother was trying to protect her from the whole sex tape scandal. Juliette ends up having a little memorial for her mom at the Bluebird, where she sings what has become my favorite non-Gunnar and Scarlett song on Nashville. It’s called “Nothing in This World Can Ever Break My Heart Again,” and it’s a really gorgeous, powerful song. I’d definitely recommend checking out the “On The Record” video about the song on ABC’s Nashville website.

In less important news, Gunnar and Scarlett are still broken up, and Scarlett meets up with Avery for lunch to thank him for giving her that whisk before her Opry debut. Avery tells her about a concert he’s playing, and Scarlett agrees to stop by. When she’s good on her word, Avery invites Scarlett on stage to sing with him. Will happens to be at the club, and he sees all this go down. Will’s having an interesting time himself in this episode. We see him sleep with a woman and waive off a man who has been flirting with him. Will explains to Gunnar that hiding his sexuality is what he needs to do to advance his career, which I think is really sad. I hope it’s an issue the creative team tackles seriously next season. Will also tells Gunnar about seeing Scarlett and Avery singing together. It’s a great example of how on Nashville, creating and performing music is seen as sort of the very most intimate act two people can do together, even more so than actual sex. Understandably, this upsets Gunnar, and he responds by spontaneously proposing to Scarlett. This could either portend great things for getting more Gunnar and Scarlett music next season, or it could implode horribly. I’d say the latter would make more sense story-wise, but then I see where all the Gunnar and Scarlett songs fall in the iTunes rankings and wonder how the creative team could throw that away.

So if a pregnancy, a proposal, a paternity reveal, and the aftermath of a murder/suicide weren’t enough for one episode, there’s one final twist in the Rayna/Deacon story. Deacon does show up to the Bluebird memorial, but he shows up plastered, despite telling Cole that he was going to get himself back to an AA meeting and back on the wagon. When Rayna sees this, she drags Deacon out of the Bluebird and says she’ll drive him home. They spend the whole drive arguing, and at one point, the argument starts to get a little violent, with Rayna trying to physically pull a liquor bottle out of Deacon’s hand. At that moment, the vehicle drifts, and Rayna has to swerve to avoid oncoming traffic. The SUV they’re in does a series of rather spectacular rolls before coming to a stop, and while we know the show isn’t going to kill off its two leads, we’re wondering what condition they’ll be in next season.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Revolution 1.18: "Clue"

“I have to do this. You have to let me do this. For Danny. For Ben. Get inside the Tower and turn the power back on. It’s up to you now.”
- Rachel

So I’m back for a week to help Jen out with the slight backlog as we come to the end of the fall/spring TV season. As we saw at the end of the last episode, Nora got captured by the Militia and brought to Monroe himself. She’s sitting in a cell when one of his men tosses her a box with a dress in it and orders her to put it on. It’s almost like Monroe wants to be on a date with her. HE’s got her all dressed up and there’s wine and candlelight. He even says they’re drinking Miles’ favorite brand. Monroe admits he gets jealous sometimes of what Miles has (and I’m betting that includes Nora). Not surprisingly, Monroe wants to know where Miles is. Nora refuses and tries to smack him upside the head with the wine bottle. This was his nice way of asking for the info because for the next three weeks he has her beaten and tortured and ultimately drugged to get the location out of her. And she does eventually break; even coughing up that Rachel is in Colorado heading for the Tower.

In his seemingly infinite paranoia, Monroe is ready to kill Flynn for not briefing him on the Tower after Flynn tries to brush it off as unimportant. But seeing his ass is on the line, Flynn says it can do more than turn the power on. The DoD was doing stuff there that the President didn’t even know about (I guess that explains whatever ate that guard a few weeks back). So it looks like Monroe is taking a trip out to Colorado. The scientist that betrayed Miles and Rachel is going down to give Nora a fatal dose of the torture drug (or so it seems). Instead, he makes a break for it down to Atlanta and delivers her to the rebels. Miles still can’t admit how he feels about Nora even as he’s with her in the hospital and she blathers on about how she told Monroe everything. Outside, Jason tells Charlie she should get out of Atlanta since Monroe’s troops are so close. They share a kiss before he sees some guy and ditches Charlie. People are kind of acting sketchy all episode.

Miles has a chat with the scientist, wherein he accuses the guy of being a militia spy. But the scientist is more interested in trying to save Rachel (he’s done killing and hurting people for Monroe). So it looks like our gang is taking a road trip of their own. Of course Neville comes along at Foster’s orders and Jim (just back from some time up north) and the kids. But Nora wants to go, too. Despite the fact she’s still loopy from the drugs, she doesn’t let Miles bench her. Sometimes tells me she’s going to regret that shortly.

Monroe and his men make camp outside the Tower (which is a bit of a misnomer since it goes down half a mile instead of up). Flynn leads Monroe over but can’t get in. His fingerprint scan and override codes are both denied and as Monroe starts getting angry, we see a group of people inside watching the exchange on monitors. Where the hell did they all come from? And what happened to Grace? Meanwhile, Miles and company are on their way to Colorado when Jason has a flashback to talking to the guy who is clearly Militia. They land in a defunct airfield to refuel their confiscated chopper. Everyone splits up to look for fuel which so won’t end well. Miles is first back to the chopper followed by Charlie, Jason and Jim. Charlie spots something weird near a shed and finds the pilot, dead with an x cut into his throat. Apparently that’s a Plains Nation thing so Miles orders everyone to gather up while he goes hunting for whoever offed the pilot and messed up the chopper.

Back in Colorado Springs, Rachel and Aaron have made it to the site but obviously it’s crawling with the enemy and they can’t just walk up to the Tower and go in. So Rachel has a plan. She’s going to sneak in at night and kill Monroe and while everyone is distracted by that, Aaron will get into the Tower. After all, Rachel’s got that vendetta she needs to take care of. Back at the airstrip, Miles doesn’t find any Plains Nation folks. In fact it seems unlikely anyone else was out there. Wade, one of the other rebel guys got the same treatment as the pilot but before he dies, he manages to indicate to Miles that it wasn’t someone from the Plains Nation. With the group, minus Nora, congregated it is time to play the blame game. To lessen the possibility of another death, Miles tells everyone to hand over their weapons. Miles heads out and finds Nora passed out with a cut on her arm. The scientist explains the side effects of the drugs she’s on and it could honestly be Nora who is offing people and not remembering it. After all, she tells them that she killed a guy and didn’t remember doing it until just now. Miles refuses to believe it was Nora. He really needs to just admit he is in love with her.

Blame soon comes around to Jason as he finds a bloody knife his pocket. He says it wasn’t his and he didn’t do anything. He does eventually fess up that he was talking to Monroe Militia and they said if he killed Miles he could get whatever he wanted (in this case, Charlie’s safety) but he refused. Jason takes off with Miles on his heels. The scientist catches up with Miles and tells him the knife was made in Annapolis (which is where Jim’s been the last few weeks). It appears the Militia got to Jim through his wife. He and Miles get into a fight but it’s Jason who saves Miles by killing Jim. Guess he’s not so easily bought after all. But things between him and Charlie are cooled way down given the fact that he’s lied to Charlie in the past. Nora manages to fix the chopper and so they continue their trek to the Tower.

Rachel makes good on her plan. She steals a uniform by strangling a guy and walks right into Monroe’s tent that night with a live grenade. She is seriously prepared to die in getting her revenge (unlike say….Hook on Once Upon a Time). It fades to black as we hear the grenade lick. Something tells me that she won’t succeed. After all, it wouldn’t be the show without Monroe. And really, there’s only three Mathesons left. They can’t really keep killing them all off.

Game of Thrones 3.08: "Second Sons"

“I shall build a shrine to myself at the next brothel I visit.”

I think that “Second Sons” is my favorite episode of this season of “Game of Thrones” thus far. While it was still divided between numerous plots, it gave special focus to just a few, and those plots were compelling. I would have loved to have spent the whole episode on the horrid drama surrounding Tyrion and Sansa’s wedding, for instance, because there was so much going on there, both at and below the surface. Similarly, I could have almost as happily spent the whole episode on Daenerys and the political intrigue happening across the Shivering Sea in Yunkai. Several slightly less compelling plots still deserved my attention. I think part of what’s going on here is that the show has really raised the stakes. Thinks are about to get very, very deadly. You can feel that tension in every scene, and the creative team has done an admirable job in making that happen.

We’ll go with the King’s Landing plot first, since I enjoyed it the most. Tyrion and Sansa’s wedding is immanent. Tywin makes it clear to Tyrion that he expects a potential future Lannister heir to Winterfell out of this wedding, which doesn’t really thrill Tyrion all that much. He still seems to be more concerned with how to treat Shae through all this. Surprisingly a gentleman, he is also concerned about Sansa’s wellbeing, and before the wedding, he assures her that he will never hurt her. The wedding itself is kind of a mess, mostly because of Joffrey. At the ceremony, Joffrey takes away Tyrion’s stool, so he has a difficult time putting a ceremonial cloak on Sansa. At the reception, Joffrey openly threatens Sansa with rape. He tells Sansa that he will come by his room with some of his Kingsguard (to hold her down) after Tyrion is passed out from drinking too much.

Tyrion is, indeed, getting rather blindingly drunk, and it’s the most entertaining he’s been since his trial at the Eyrie back in season one. He goes on about how Tywin doesn’t have to worry about him producing an heir, because he’s an expert at drinking and sex. Cersei, for her part, is just plain miserable throughout the whole ordeal because it reminds her that she’s going to have to marry Loras soon. Anyway, Tyrion’s pretty darn drunk after the reception, but he manages to keep Joffrey from forcing the “bedding ceremony.” He’s also still sober enough to feel bad when Sansa says she’s fourteen and looks petrified at the idea of having sex with him. He ends up sleeping on the couch, and Shae is quite impressed when she comes round to clean the room the next morning. Tyrion assures Sansa that they will never have to share a bed unless she wants to. When Sansa asks what happens if she never wants to, Tyrion responds with a cheeky "And now my watch begins."

Characters in general are shifting alliances in this one. For instance, we have a quick scene with Arya and the Hound out in the woods. She’s struggling against her captivity, and the Hound says she could have it worse. His brother would be worse, for instance. He doesn’t intend to take her to King’s Landing. He’s going to take her to the Twins to join up with her family at the big Tully/Frey wedding. He figures that the Starks will pay him a pretty penny for Arya’s return. Arya ends up accepting the fact that her current captivity is probably the best situation she could hope for at the moment, and she stops struggling so much.

At Dragonstone, Gendry learns that maybe agreeing to go with Melisandre wasn’t such a good thing, after all. Melisandre finally brings Gendry to Dragonstone, where Gendry thinks he’s going to be wined and dined. Melisandre takes him into a fancy bed chamber, starts having sex with him, then breaks out some leaches. Apparently she needs some blood to prove to Stannis and Davos that a King’s blood has special magical powers. Gendry is really freaked out about this, which is kind of understandable, but compared to what Theon is going through right now, leeches are nothing. At least Gendry still has all his appendages. Melisandre throws the leaches into a fire and says the names of three of Stannis’ enemies, including Robb. The whole thing is rather ominous. And yes, Davos is now free from prison. There’s an amusing little scene where he’s teaching himself to read, and he quick hides his book when he hears noise. It’s Stannis, and he agrees to free Davos, even though Davos still refuses to believe in the Lord of Light.

Across the Shivering Sea, Daenerys and her crew are still trying to deal with the Yunkai. The Yunkai are guarded by a band of mercenaries called the Second Sons. Their leader is a complete asshole named Mero, aka “Titan’s Bastard.” Dany thinks she may be able to turn the Second Sons to fight for her cause (because she figures they’d rather fight for the winning side, and they’re outnumbered by the Unsullied), so she invites their leaders to a meeting. Three men, including Mero, show up, and Mero just spends the whole time making lewd comments about Dany. It’s really gross. Mero seems inclined to keep fighting for the Yunkai even though the Unsullied could probably kick their asses, but Dany gives him a little time to think about it. Back at the Second Sons camp, the three men talk about how they need to kill Dany, and they draw lots to decide who will have to do the deed.

Daario, the youngest of the three Second Sons leaders, is the unlucky winner of the contest to choose who will kill Dany. Dany is getting a bath when he enters her tent. Daario doesn’t exactly have murder on his mind, though. He tells Dany that he appreciates her beauty more than his two colleagues. Dany most likely has no romantic interest in Daario (she’s still loyal to the memory of Khal Drogo), but she’s smart enough to use the situation to her advantage (for now, at least). Daario reveals that he has killed the other two Second Sons leaders in rather dramatic fashion. He presents Dany with their heads. Dany asks Daario if she can have his loyalty, and he pledges himself to serve her.

The final important bit of this episode takes place in the North, where Sam and Gilly and the baby are camped out in a shack. They’re having rather normal discussion about what Gilly should name the baby and comparing bad daddy stories. All of a sudden, the noise of crows outside becomes deafening. Sam goes out to investigate, seemingly carrying a torch and a sword. When he sees what has riled up the crows, he drops the torch, which is pretty stupid, since fire can kill the White Walker that is approaching. Gilly yells that the monster must be coming to take her baby. Sam’s not going to let that happen, so he tries to face off against the White Walker with his sword. The White Walker makes short work of the sword- its touch makes the sword shatter. Luckily, Sam still has a dragon glass dagger that he revealed a few episodes back, and that does the trick. It’s interesting how all the potential Kings and Queens are still so occupied with fighting among themselves that they aren’t seeing the true threat brewing in the North. Winter is Coming indeed.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Upfronts Round-up 2013: Our Top Picks

It’s one of our favorite times of year here at MTVP. Earlier this month was Upfronts week, where all the networks debut their new shows and schedule for advertisers. We TV junkies eagerly await the new show sizzle reels to discover our new obsessions for the next year. Here’s the low-down on new shows we think look especially promising for the 2013-2014 season.

Almost Human (late fall Mondays at 8:00 on FOX)

“Almost Human” is one of two pilots from J.J. Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot, to be ordered to series this season. 35 years in the future, LAPD cops are required to be partnered with androids. Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban) rebels against this and is paired with an older model, Dorian (Michael Ealy) who has more life-like emotions.

The main draw for “Almost Human” is the creative talent involved. J.H. Wyman, co-showrunner of “Fringe” is the creator, and Karl Urban (“Lord of the Rings,” “Star Trek”) stars. Urban’s dry comedic timing, which serves him well as “Star Trek’s” Doctor McCoy, is on display for sure as he verbally spars with Ealy’s Dorian. “Almost Human” looks to be a good mix of robot humor and intense drama, and given the creative team behind it, we wouldn’t expect anything less.

Sleepy Hollow (Mondays at 9:00 on FOX)

This is a new twist on an old tale. Ichabod Crane wakes in 2013 in a world he doesn’t recognize, brought forth to hunt the Headless Horseman again. But this time he’s got some help from the local constabulary and there’s some other dire consequences at work, given who the Horseman really is.

Sarah’s not that familiar with the original version of this story but this trailer made her giddy with the comedic beats amongst all the scary beheading and craziness. It looks to be definite sci-fi with a mythology that ties back to the war for Independence. Besides, what show isn’t complete without an impending apocalypse? Of the new clearly gene fare, this one is high on our list of must-see TV.

The Blacklist (Mondays at 10:00 on NBC)

The world’s most wanted criminal walks into FBI headquarters and turns himself in on the promise of revealing all of his associates (even the ones the Bureau isn’t aware of) but there’s a catch: he’ll only do so if he works with a newly minted Profiler.

This is going to be a heavily procedural show for sure but it definitely seems like a good one. From the trailer it looks very gritty and the relationship that will undoubtedly develop between the new agent and this criminal mastermind will be explosive for sure. We are left to wonder why he chose her and hopefully we don’t have to wait too long to learn the answer. Even with all the crime drama elements, there appears to be some underlying character work driving this piece. With the name power associated with it, this has the potential to survive at least for a full season.

Intelligence (midseason Mondays at 10:00 on CBS)

The US’s cyber-terrorism unit has a secret weapon up its sleeve – a super-agent with a microchip in his head. But as he goes out on assignment (including trying to rescue the head of the project), he has a plucky female secret service agent who is just as stubborn as he is about doing her job.

There are many reasons this show calls to us. It’s got action, sure. But the people involved are what really drew us to it. Josh Holloway, Meghan Ory, Marg Helgenberger. It is truly exciting to see Meghan get to have a more central and physical role on a show. Plus it’s tech-y enough to be a little bit sci-fi but still grounded enough to have procedural elements. This is one we hope makes it past its initial season run. And right off the bat, it seems Josh and Meghan’s characters have something of a sibling banter that we hope stays that way. As pretty as they both are, we don’t need another show where the leads have romantic tension (think more Pete and Myka, less Booth and Brennan).

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Tuesdays at 8:00 on ABC)

Joss Whedon is back on television, people! And even better, he’s not on FOX! If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past year, you know that as part of the deal Whedon signed for Avengers 2, he’d be developing a pilot for ABC about S.H.I.E.L.D., the shadowy organization that often works with the Marvel superheroes. The show stars Clark Gregg, as a somehow resurrected (sorry…spoiler alert) Agent Coulson.

If you’ve read MTVP at all, you know there’s no way we wouldn’t be excited about something new from Joss Whedon, and television is where he truly excels. He has a slow burn style of storytelling that is just a good fit with the medium. Whedon hasn’t cast heavily from his usual stable of actors for this one, but if “Dollhouse” was any indication, Whedon has an eye for talent. Whedon’s brother and sister-in-law, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, will be taking the helm on this one, and their growth as writers on “Dollhouse” gives us confidence that “S.H.I.E.L.D.” will be in good hands.

The Goldbergs (Tuesdays at 9:00 on ABC)

“The Goldbergs” is a comedy set in the 1980’s that centers around, you guessed it, the Goldberg family. There’s the Goldberg parents, a crazy grandpa, oldest daughter Erica, middle child Barry, and youngest son Adam, an aspiring director who videotapes all the family antics on one of those giant camcorders. You know, the kind that used full-size VHS tapes? Those were the days.

In the universe of new comedies that debuted at Upfronts this year, “The Goldbergs” looked better than most. It seems to be trying to evoke a “Wonder Years for the 1980’s” feel, which has a lot of potential, since “The Wonder Years” is a classic. The trailer seemed to rely more on 80’s pop culture jokes and genuine heart as opposed to juvenile humor, which is always appreciated. We’re definitely interested to see how this mash-up of 80’s pop culture and costuming with 2010’s comedy structure works in the execution.

Trophy Wife (Tuesdays at 9:30 on ABC)

“Trophy Wife” stars Bradley Whitford and Malin Akerman as a newlywed couple in a blended family. Ackerman is Whitford’s third wife, and Whitford has children from each of his previous two marriages. Ackerman’s character is seen as the “child bride” by Whitford’s exes, one of which is played by Marcia Gay Harden. Wacky hijinks ensue as Akerman adjusts to being an instant mother of sorts.

The cast of “Trophy Wife” looks to be stellar. Whitford and Akerman both bring serious comedic chops to the table. Whitford portrays his thrice married character seemingly (from the trailer, at least) without skeevyness, and Akerman brings an earnestness to her portrayal of his third wife. The premise for the show seems to provide ample opportunity for both nuanced humor and heart, which is a combination that is found in all the best comedies.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (Thursdays at 8:00 on ABC)

“Wonderland” follows Alice’s journey as a young woman who falls through the rabbit hole, falls in love and gets booted back to this world and stuck in a mental institution on the verge of undergoing some very painful memory wipes (see how well that worked for one Carrie Matheson). It’s a tie in to “Once Upon a Time” and it appears Alice’s adventures may lead her to cross paths with some of our known entities outside of the crazy world of Cheshire cats and overweight caterpillars.

This is an obvious one on the list since it ties in to an already existing show. Even though it was supposed to air midseason to bridge the hiatus for the mother ship, we’re glad it’s bowing early so it won’t have to compete with the Olympics and the plethora of awards shows. It looks well done production wise and we may even get a visit from some beloved (or hated) characters. It at least deserves a shot.

As you can see, we here at More TV Please! have a mix of interests that spans almost every network (The CW’s offerings just didn’t look good this year). We are excited to see how these shows hold up against current fare and to see if they make the cut to full season and beyond. Oh, and don’t be surprised to see some of these shows on the blog come September.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nashville 1.20: "A Picture from Life's Other Side"

“You walked away from the kind of life that your brother led because you know that it only ends in grief. You might want to consider doing that again.”

If it’s even possible, things just went from bad to worse in this particular episode of “Nashville.” The drama has all been kicked up into (even higher) gear, and everything is going to hit the fan in the finale for sure. By the end of this episode (spoiler alert) Maddie has figured out her paternity, Scarlett has broken up with Gunnar (*tear*) and holy crap Jolene’s a murder/suicide. Yeah, Nashville seems to have gone more the HBO model of not really forming each episode around a specific event or theme. Each episode is really just the next chapter in the twisty, soapy tale. Maybe that’s how most nighttime soaps are? I really don’t know considering the only other one I really watched intently was “Grey’s Anatomy,” and that creative team does indeed center each episode around a theme (made painfully clear by Meredith’s voice overs). As long as they keep bringing the beautiful music (again…Gunnar and Scarlet broke up…sigh), I’m good with it.

This episode starts with the end of another concert on the Red Lips/White Lies tour, and again, the crew is about to go home for a few days before the next stop. Deacon and Rayna are quite cuddly, and they’re talking about the future. Deacon kind of insinuates he’d like to be Rayna’s bandleader again (since he quit Juliette’s band and all), and Rayna invites him over to dinner with her and the girls. Depite all this, they still tell each other that they want to take it somewhat slow. Once back in Nashville, the dinner itself starts off well enough. Rayna has Deacon play guitar with the girls out in the living room so she can finish dinner, and watching Maddie and Deacon play together, it’s clear there’s a connection (since she’s his daughter and all). Teddy walks in on this and is extremely pissed off, mostly because for some reason he thinks that Rayna is going to tell Maddie and/or Deacon the truth.

Teddy backs up his displeasure with a restraining order saying that Rayna can’t take the girls near Deacon. Rayna fights back by going to Lamar, who agrees to call the judge on her behalf (and Lamar uses this as a confidence booster to take control of his company back from Tandy). The judge in turn agrees to quash the temporary restraining order and take up the issue at their next court hearing. Teddy is furious, but Rayna asks him to please trust her that she isn’t going to do anything to put his relationship with Maddie in jeopardy. Unfortunately, Maddie’s doing plenty to jeopardize it herself. She hears Rayna telling Deacon about the restraining order and ending the phone conversation with “I love you”, so Rayna has to tell her that yes, she and Deacon were together in the past, and yes, they’re back together now, and it’s a complicated story that she’ll fully explain to Maddie when she’s older. This isn’t good enough for Maddie, though, who goes snooping in Rayna’s room and finds an old paternity test. We see her tearfully telling a friend on the phone that she doesn’t think Teddy is her father.

We’ll go with the (*tear*) Gunnar and Scarlett drama next, since Juliette’s drama has the best cliffhanger. Gunnar’s been putting in a lot of late night recording sessions, which has Scarlett a little concerned. More concerning, though, is how he’s kind of desperately trying to take on the “outlaw” persona of Jason’s song lyrics. It’s kind of pathetic really. He’s changed his style of dress and everything. The most painful scene to me is when he has an interview with a Vanderbilt radio station, and he goes on about how he may have an outlaw past and he also does whatever he wants in his romantic life. It’s just painful to watch Scarlett listen to this foolishness on the radio. Scarlett confronts Gunnar about it, and to his credit, he apologizes and promises to be at her big Opry debut later that night.

Gunnar’s plans, however, get derailed thanks to a real life run-in with the law. Scarlett asks Will to talk to Gunnar about his behavior as payment for Will using Scarlett’s name to get an audition for Rayna’s new record label. Will goes to see Gunnar perform at a really seedy dive bar. While Gunnar isn’t thrilled to see Will at first, they’re just starting to get past the awkwardness of Will’s attempted kiss when one of the bar patrons causes trouble. The patron wants to know exactly where Gunnar did time, and he questions Gunnar’s authenticity. This leads to a big brawl at the bar, and Gunnar and Will find themselves in jail instead of at the Opry. Instead of a visit from Gunnar before the show, Scarlett gets a pep talk from Deacon and a whisk from Avery (calling back to the scene where he had her sing into a whisk to gain confidence). The performance, of course, kicked ass, but of course it would have been better if it had been a duet. Later, Scarlett does bail Gunnar and Will out, but she also breaks up with Gunnar, saying that she fell in love with him, not his brother.

So let’s wrap this up with the increasingly tragic tale of Juliette Barnes. Dante has a sex tape of himself and Juliette, and he is using it to try and blackmail even more money from Juliette than he stole from her in his last scheme. Juliette refuses to call the cops about this and insists on handling it only with her private security firm. Dante wants $2 million, and Juliette and the security firm organize a hand-off. Nobody is there to meet the hand-off, and Dante later calls with an explanation. He’s decided that he wants $10 million. This is the final straw for Juliette, and she puts her foot down. She’s going to go on The View and announce what happened. She’s decided that Dante’s not going to get anything. Jolene is feeling incredibly guilty for bringing Dante in to Juliette’s life and causing so much pain, so she decides to take matters into her own hands. She tricks Dante into thinking that she’s on his side, and then while she’s high on Oxy, she kills both Dante and herself. Hayden Panettiere’s performance as Juliette discovers the murder scene is just heartbreaking. There is certainly going to be quite a lot of drama going down in the season finale.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Arrow 1.23: "Sacrifice"

“You know, I used to think the vigilante was a criminal. But he’s willing to sacrifice an awful lot for the people of this city. Kind of makes him a hero, doesn’t it?”
- Felicity

We are finally at the finale of season 1. When last we left Oli, he was getting the crap kicked out of him by Malcolm. Oh and there was the little snag of Malcolm pulling the hood back to find out he’d just been pummeling his son’s former bestie. Oli flashes back to his father shooting the pilot in the boat and then killing himself. He comes to when Malcolm douses him in water. We get some exposition from Malcolm that Oliver can’t stop what’s going to happen and that the reason Oli always comes up short in their physical altercations is because Malcolm knows in his heart what he’s fighting for. I wouldn’t agree with that. I think Oli knows what he’s fighting for. Malcolm leaves and Oli ends up breaking free of the chains by doing some acrobatics and taking out a few of the guards with said chains. Diggle comes to his rescue and they head back to the man cave. Felicity is on her way (having found the design schematics for the earthquake device0 when Detective Lance catches up with her. He starts to question her at the precinct about her hacker activities when Oli calls and relays the news about Malcolm’s plan to level the Glades.

Back on the Island, the Big Bad orders the first missile to lock on to the Chinese flight flying over the island. Slade, Oli and Shadow break free and take out a bunch of the goons but the Big Bad still gives the order to launch the missile. And said missile does in fact launch. But our trio manages to reprogram the missile and send it back into the camp, blowing a lot of people up. Night falls and Oli and Slade reunite only to find the Big Bad has Shadow. Oli grabs a bow and for the first time we see him use it and nails the guy in the throat. So our trio is successful. Huzzah! I can’t wait to see what happens with them next season.

At Verdant, Tommy and Oliver have a conversation about Laurel. I’m getting really tired of the triangle drama between them. Tommy is mad at Oliver for sleeping with Laurel. Oli doesn’t care much. And his attempt to clue Tommy in on Daddy Merlyn’s nefarious plans, Tommy’s not interested. I half expected Oliver to tell Tommy he wasn’t welcome at the club anymore. Meanwhile, at the precinct, Detective Lance tries to tell his supervisor about the threat to the Glades but all he gets for his efforts is a suspension for working with the vigilante. Yeah, something tells me he’s going to still want to do something about Malcolm. And Oli puts more pressure on Moira to find the device and stop it. Oliver drops the metaphorical bomb that Robert survived the sinking of the yacht and that he shot himself in the head to give Oliver a chance. It looks like he’s starting to get to Moira with the whole “do you really think I’ll let thousands die in my name?” But Malcolm calls her and informs her he’s moving the Undertaking up to that night. Oliver heads off to be all heroic and stop Malcolm. After all, someone has to.

Amidst all the drama, Laurel and Oliver manage to have a moment where they kiss and Oliver admits that the island cut away the fake parts of him until all that was left was what Laurel had always seen in him. It was a little cheesy with the swelling music and what have you. But I guess it needed to happen. And things begin to go downhill fast from here. Tommy, now a bit drunk, heads back to Merlyn Global to whine to Daddy about losing Laurel. He lets slip Oli’s assertion that Malcolm was going to level the Glades. Malcolm tells his son it’s true and then plays the voice mail recording of Rebecca’s last words. That was awfully cruel of him to traumatize his son like that. Then again, Malcolm is becoming increasingly unhinged. Tommy questions him about killing everyone in the Glades and Malcolm explodes, saying that they all deserve to die like his wife did.

And things take an even more interesting turn when Moira holds a press conference and outs herself as part of the conspiracy. She warns the citizens of the Glades to evacuate and warns the police that Malcolm is the real threat. She gets arrested (not surprising) and Thea freaks out because she realizes she loves Roy and she has to go get him from the Glades. The cops show up at Merlyn Global but Malcolm has already shown Tommy his Dark Archer suit and grabs a sword and promptly takes out the cops. He and Tommy have a brief stand-off before he knocks Tommy out and takes off. In the man cave, Oliver decides to go take out Malcolm while he sends Diggle to disable the device. Diggle declines the offer and says he’s going to back Oliver to give him a shot at not dying at Malcolm’s hand and Felicity is going to be helping Detective Lance to help save the city. And we learn that Oli knows exactly where the device is going to be: the spot where Rebecca Merlyn died.

The Glades are a mess as people panic and loot and riot. Roy is still around and he sees Detective Lance show up and race into a subway tunnel. One hopes he stays the hell away from it. Detective Lance finds it finally (it’s a giant blue glowey thing it’s hard to miss). Meanwhile, Oli and Diggle get to Merlyn Global and after checking on Tommy, find Malcolm waiting in his little secret room. A three-way fight ensues which leads to Diggle getting a knife in the chest. Diggle sends Oliver off to follow Malcolm as he lays there on the ground bleeding. I’m counting the number of people who might actually die at the end of this episode; Diggle and Detective Lance on the good guy side and Malcolm on the bad guy side. Obviously they aren’t going to kill off Oliver. He’s the titular character and you can’t really have Arrow without you know…Arrow.

Thea and Roy are trying to get out of Glades (after Roy intervenes and saves a guy’s life and Thea then saves Roy). But Roy can’t leave the people of his little pocket of existence so Thea takes off. Meanwhile, Felicity talks Detective Lance through how to get the device to shut off. The first thing he tries accelerates the clock (it was originally 7 minutes). So he calls Laurel and says his tearful goodbyes. She promises to live her life and not be like him after Sarah died. Oli and Malcolm are fighting on the roof and Oli uses one of his flash grenade arrows (that Malcolm catches) to get the upper hand. Unfortunately, just as Detective Lance and Felicity actually shut down the device, Malcolm starts choking Oli out. But Oli grabs a piece of pipe and jabs it through his own chest and into Malcolm. So Malcolm is definitely dying. But he had a redundancy. There’s a second device and that one actually goes off. More people are left in peril and questionable states of dead or alive. Laurel is trying to get out of the legal aid office when the roof kind of explodes and knocks her out. And Felicity is still in the man cave as it starts to crumble around her. But she’s with it enough to let Oli know that the damage is mostly on the east side. Cut to Laurel coming to and Tommy lifting a piece of ceiling off her. Laurel makes it out but Tommy doesn’t. Oli gets inside but Tommy is seriously injured (okay so he’s impaled). So both Merlyn men are goners. I think Oli lies to him when Tommy asks if Malcolm is dead. Oli breaks down over Tommy’s lifeless body as the city crumbles around him. It is going to be one hell of a second season.

New Girl 2.25: "Elaine's Big Day"

“I want to uncall it. Please can we uncall it? And before you say no…don’t say no.”

I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous going into this episode. I knew that since it was the season finale, we’d have to have some kind of big statement about Jess and Nick’s relationship, I knew it was going to be Cece’s wedding, and I knew that Taylor Swift was going to be a guest star. I should have had more faith in Liz Meriwether and the creative team, because none of these elements ended up being at all problematic. Everything was resolved in the best possible way with decidedly “New Girl” twists. Jess and Nick have some tension, but by the end, it feels like they’ve made a choice to try and see what it’s like to be together. Schmidt does try to sabotage the wedding, but the sabotage isn’t what ends the wedding. And Taylor Swift’s appearance was barely more than a cameo, and it was particularly hilarious (probably more thanks to the writing than to Swift’s performance itself).

It’s Cece’s wedding, and everyone’s in a tizzy. Jess and Nick are trying to act more couple-y, and Jess’ dad is really unhappy about it. This kind of sets Jess and Nick off on a negative tone for much of the episode. Jess starts making comments to Nick about how her dad said he’s a child. Which isn’t quite true. It’s more that Jess is projecting her own fears. This continues through most of the episode, where, while Nick keeps trying to be the person Jess thinks she wants, Jess keeps fretting about Nick being childish and thinking the worst of Nick. I’d think this would be a bit alarm bell about the potential of their future relationship, but I think that by the end of the episode, both realize that the way they have been acting is kind of ridiculous.

So with all this drama in the background, the gang heads to the wedding. Jess assures Cece that as Maid of Honor, she is going to ensure that everything goes smoothly. As if on cue, Schmidt chooses that moment to burst into the room where Cece is getting ready. She gives Schmidt a look that Schmidt interprets as meaning that Cece doesn’t really want to get married. Schmidt relays this information to Nick and Winston, and they’re both a bit skeptical. Nick doesn’t want to do anything to sabotage the wedding because he’s afraid it will upset Jess, and he stands firm on that point. Winston’s crazy love of practical jokes, however, gets the better of him, and he agrees to help. Schmidt and Winston generally give Nick crap about how much he is trying to change himself for Jess (he’s even carrying her pink purse), but he still tries to, you know, be a decent human being.

The practical jokes start out tame enough. First they set off an air horn to spook the white horse that Shivrang is riding into the venue. Well, okay, maybe that’s not so tame. But believe me, it gets stranger as it goes along. Then “Cotton Eyed Joe” starts to play as Cece walks down the aisle. That one was most definitely a middle school dance flashback for me, and is yet another example of the pop culture references on “New Girl” being just a little too old for the characters. We learn that “Cotton Eyed Joe” is pretty much Nick’s jam, and the way he reacts to it seems like someone who discovered it later than middle school. He involuntarily fist pumps to it, which, I’ll admit, is pretty hilarious. Anyway, Jess sees Nick trying to get Winston to stop this foolishness, and she instantly assumes that Nick is involved because he’s “childish.” So the arguing escalates.

Nick is tired of trying to be above Jess’ expectations, so when he hears Schnidt and Winston start talking about “phase three” of their plan to “sabo” the wedding, Nick wants in. Unfortunately for all of them, phase three involves letting a badger loose. Seriously. Who even thinks of doing that? Jess hears more strange noises, and when she goes to confront Schmidt about it, he tells her that Nick is “in the ducts” with the badger and Winston. He also, without any prompting from Jess, reveals that Nick was not, after all, involved in the earlier pranks. Jess is still kind of surprised to hear this, which made me a little sad. Schmidt is freaking out about phase three going too far, and by threatening his hair (great choice, by the way), Jess is able to get the full story about what’s been going on. Jess ends up going up into the ducts herself to try and save the day, although clearly that’s not going to end too well.

Up in the ducts, Winston is waxing philosophical instead of doing anything productive to try and re-capture the badger before it wreaks wedding havoc. Nick takes the claustrophobic surroundings as an opportunity to ask Jess point blank how she feels, and Jess admits that she’s afraid she might have made a mistake in pursuing Nick. Before they have a chance to really work anything through, though, Jess and Nick fall through the ceiling. This is the prompt Cece needs to call off the wedding at the last possible moment. She says she’s in love with someone else (Schmidt, obvs), and surprisingly, Shivrang says he is too. Her name is Elaine, and she’s played by Taylor Swift. There’s a very short bit where Taylor pokes fun at herself (Elaine does a “surprise” face and says that she’s been writing and drawing Shivrang), and then the happy couple runs off into the sunset.

The revelation by Cece obviously spells trouble for Elizabeth and Schmidt, and Elizabeth points this out right away because she’s got a brain. Schmidt tries to convince her that he sabotaged the wedding out of concern for Cece as a friend, but Elizabeth doesn’t buy it. Cece walks in on this conversation, and Elizabeth gets her to admit that she was indeed referring to Schmidt when she called off the wedding. The ladies turn on Schmidt and demand that he choose between them. Schmidt tries to head them off with some banter, but he ends up just completely bolting. Literally. So I’m thinking that’s probably not going to endear him to either of the ladies in his life.

Jess and Nick have a heart to heart at the bar, where they both mutually decide that it’s time to “call” their relationship. Jess walks away from this crying, and Winston falls through the ceiling just in time to drop a little wisdom on Nick in spite of his badger wounds. He calls Nick on acting like his dad by running away from his problems and drinking them away instead of dealing with anything head on. This inspires Nick to get up and follow Jess, where he finds her crying. Jess tells Nick that she wants to “uncall” their relationship, he kisses her, and they literally drive off into the sunset. While I certainly don’t want to wish my life away, especially the summer when it’s not our busy season at work, I’m already anxious to see what happens next in the lives of the roomies.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Revolution 1.17: "The Longest Day"

“What makes you think that I’m in it to help people? I want power so Monroe’s enemies can wipe him off the map. I want to kill the man who killed my son. And that’s it.”

At first my reaction to this episode was too much focus on shipping, too little focus on the overall mythology and story. Then the final scene happened, and I was just plain confused. Does the Monroe Republic have light speed travel? Does Nora have an evil twin? The world may never know. This particular episode took place in an especially condensed time frame, so not a whole lot really happened. Aaron and Rachel cleared one big obstacle towards making it to the Tower, and we got some character development for Rachel. We also saw one big attack on a Rebel base and the aftermath of that attack. Oh and Monroe goes even more crazy. That last bit wasn’t really a surprise at all. The rest of the episode is taken up with romantic and pseudo-romantic drama. Now I don’t go all nerd rage-y just because a genre show decides to add in a little romance. In fact, I like a little romance in my genre shows. It has to be done well, though, and the romance in “Revolution?” Definitely not done well.

Anyway, since I really didn’t love this episode, let’s just get on with it. The episode starts the morning after the last episode ended. Miles and Nora are post-coital, and Nora is being all awkward, saying that sleeping together was a mistake. At first, Miles is just going to accept that his life sucks, but then he questions Nora a little more about why she’s running. Apparently she’s afraid of getting emotionally attached, because she figures that with the way the war is going, one of them is probably going to have to watch the other die at some point. Miles and Nora don’t really have time to work this out, though, because while on a water run, Charlie and Jason spot an incoming drone strike from the Monroe Militia. In the aftermath, both Nora and Charlie are pinned under rubble, although Charlie is in a completely different building that is kind of far away. Miles knows where Nora was, so he’s able to rescue her pretty quickly. Miraculously, she suffered no serious injury, so the march off to look for Charlie and Jason. Neville joins them, and Miles can respect that since Jason is his son and all.

Out in the Plains Nation, Rachel and Aaron are still dealing with Rachel’s compound leg fracture. Aaron is bound and determined to take her with him to the Tower, even though Rachel keeps saying he should leave her. At first I thought he might have a thing for Rachel, but now I’m starting to think that he just really, really doesn’t want to repeat the mistake he made with his ex-wife. When Aaron tries to pick Rachel up and carry her even though it causes her extreme pain, Rachel realizes just how determined Aaron is. She decides that they need to use a vial of nannites that she just happened to be carrying to heal her leg. In order to program the nannites, they go to this really old school computer store where Aaron has to do some programming on an old Apple. The kind they had in my elementary school in the early 1990s. Maybe even older than that. Quite curious that there would still be some clattering around in the post-apocalypse.

Anyway, the nannites do their job, but a guy with a gun sees this and threatens Rachel and Aaron. The guy with the gun forcibly takes Aaron and Rachel back to his house, where his son has a serious leg infection following an accident. He wants Aaron and Rachel to heal his son like they healed Rachel’s leg fracture. Rachel, thinking quickly, says that they can help the son if they’re allowed to go get some more equipment from the computer store. At the store, Aaron is very surprised when Rachel knocks the guy with the gun out and says she has no intention of helping the kid with the leg infection. Aaron somehow thought Rachel would be willing to have him cut the cartridge of nannites out of her leg to use on the kid. Rachel makes it very clear that she’s really only in this to get back at Monroe for killing Danny. She could care less about helping people. I’m thinking this isn’t actually 100% true, but she’s hurting right now, so I guess I can give her a pass.

Speaking of Rachel, the flashbacks in this episode show us some of what happened after Rachel left her family to save them from the Monroe Militia. Rachel finds Miles, and while Miles was really hoping that Ben would appear in response to his ultimatum, Rachel assures Miles that since she was project lead, she can help him with anything he needs regarding the power going out. There’s some allusion to the fact that Miles and Rachel had a “fling” back in the day that is a constant source of regret for Rachel. Miles still wants to know where Ben is, and they end up traveling to the family home. Ben, Charlie, and Danny are all long gone, though, and Rachel says that she purposely does not know where they went. Miles is really, really unhappy about this, especially since Rachel is now saying she’s not going to help him with the power, either.

Before we finally get back to the main plot, we’ve got to take a quick trip up to Philadelphia, where Baker (played by the always awesome Mark Pellegrino) tells him that the attack on the rebels is going swimmingly, and he should join some of his men at the bar across the street for a celebration. As they go outside, shots are fired, and Monroe and Baker barely escape with their lives. Monroe, becoming increasingly paranoid, asks Baker if he had anything to do with the shooting. Baker assures Monroe that he did not, and further, he reminds Monroe that he is pretty much the only friend Monroe has left. He has alienated or killed everyone else. Monroe doesn’t so much care about that, though, and he has some of his men kill Baker. Ned Stark would be disappointed to see that Monroe didn’t even have the decency to do the job himself.

Back at the rebel camp, Jason is pretty easy to find, although he’s injured. Charlie is underneath some rubble in the watchtower, and it turns out that Jason ran because he figured Charlie was probably dead. A battle with the Militia heats up, and Neville carries Jason away while Miles and Nora continue to look for Charlie. Jason wants to know why Neville is trying to save him, and Neville explains that while he’s done many bad things, even he has a line he won’t cross, and that line happens to be leaving his only son to die alone. Charlie manages to free herself from the rubble, but Miles and Nora don’t notice in the middle of the battle. Nora goes to the watchtower to look for Charlie, and Charlie appears elsewhere and helps Miles with the battle. Nora, however, is nowhere to be found once the battle is over. Back in Atlanta, a recovering Jason and Charlie make out while Miles demands that President Foster helps him find Nora. She refuses. It turns out that Nora has been captured, and she’s about to be interrogated by none other than Monroe. I really don’t understand how she could have gotten from the battlefield to Philadelphia or some Militia camp in between the two that quickly, but there you go.

HIMYM 8.24: "Something New"

“A week from today we are going to be legend…wait for it…”
-Robin and Barney

So I’ve been waiting for over a week to talk about this episode (since yeah, I’m kind of behind on blogging around here) and I was super excited about it when I first saw it. Then, of course, Thomas and Bays had to ruin it the next day with an interview saying that Season 9 is going to be the longest wedding weekend ever. Sigh. Can we use a little creativity and see why the Mother is as awesome as Ted says she is? Granted, we now have seen the Mother, and because of the actress who will be portraying her, I’m pretty excited about that. But if they’re going to spend all of the next season on just one weekend, I think that’s a sign that the show probably should have ended with season 8. The end of the episode, in addition to finally showing us the Mother, also set up some interesting dilemmas for next season, and I hope that pays off.

Barney and Robin’s wedding weekend is approaching, and this episode takes us right up to everyone traveling out to Farhampton for the event. Barney and Robin go out to dinner at their favorite restaurant to celebrate the impending nuptuals. Barney tells Robin that he has their favorite table by the window reserved and everything. As they’re enjoying some pre-dinner drinks at the restaurant’s bar, however, they run into a couple who will become their nemeses (is that even a word?). Barney breaks out some celebratory cigars, and this other couple is really not amused. Barney and Robin obviously don’t intend to smoke inside, but this couple can’t even stand the sight of the bag holding the cigars. To make matters worse, the guy in this couple says he has “self-diagnosed claustrophobia” and takes Barney and Robin’s window table.

Taking the window table is the final straw, and Barney and Robin engage in all-out war as only they with their combined powers can. They figure out that the couple has been dating for many years with no engagement on the horizon, so they slip a fake engagement ring in the girl’s champagne. This seems to have the desired effect of provoking a huge argument when the guy swears up one way and down the other that the ring isn’t his, and he did not, actually, intend to propose. Barney and Robin congratulate themselves on a job well done. Later, they’re sitting on a park bench near the restaurant, still congratulating themselves (although Robin does briefly wonder if what they did will bring them bad luck at their own wedding, but she doesn’t worry about it seriously), when the nemesis couple from the restaurant approaches them. Apparently the incident led to them calling their therapist, and now they’re getting married after all. Even though the scenario didn’t work out as they planned, Barney and Robin think this still makes them pretty cool.

Meanwhile, back at the apartment, Lily is on the phone with Marshall’s mom Judy, and she accidentally lets slip about the move to Rome. She didn’t realize that Marshall hadn’t told Judy yet. Predictably, Judy is very unhappy about this news. Marshall and Lily decide that the best way to pacify her is for Marshall and Marvin to go take a short visit out to Minnesota before the family heads to Rome. The visit doesn’t seem to be really helping, though. Judy keeps texting pictures of Marvin in front of blocks that spell out things like “USA.” Judy’s displeasure doesn’t seem to be changing Marshall’s mind about the move, though, which is what Lily was worried about. Instead, it’s something else that changes his mind. He gets a phone call from the judicial search committee guy that he interviewed with earlier in the season. Apparently they want to appoint Marshall to a judgeship. There’s a funny sequence that’s sure to be a series classic where Marshall asks the committee guy if he can star work “a year from next Tuesday” or be the “crazy speakerphone judge.” The committee guy gives Marshall a very definitive “no” to that. We learn at the very end of the episode that Marshall decided to take the job, but he hasn’t yet told Lily.

The other plot going on in this episode centers around Ted and Lily, a combo we don’t really see all that often, so it provided a different little twist. Ted is taking Lily out to Westchester to see the renovations he has done on his house. While they’re there, Lily finds a for sale sign, and Ted reveals that after Barney and Robin’s wedding, he’s planning to move to Chicago. The incident with the locket in the last episode made him realize that he’s still the guy who will drop everything when Robin calls, and if she’s getting married, he needs to get away from that. Instead of dealing with that issue, Lily has a revelation about the locket. When Ted was about to marry Stella, Robin was drunkenly talking to Lily about the locket, and Lily helped her dig it up. The locket ended up in a pencil box that Ted still has. Ted thinks it’s a super great idea to give the locket to Robin as a wedding gift. Because that couldn’t contain all sorts of mixed messages at all. All Lily does about this is warn Ted to “be careful.”

We end the episode with a montage of everybody heading to the wedding (including Ted with the locket as his gift). Most importantly, we see a woman wearing cowboy boots and carrying a bass guitar and a yellow umbrella approach the train station ticket counter and ask for a ticket to Farhampton. It’s the Mother, and we actually see her face. The Mother will be played (drum roll, please) by none other than Cristin Milioti, Tony-nominated for her role as Girl in the Broadway musical version of “Once.” I saw “Once” about a week after it opened on Broadway last year, and Cristin proved to be a fabulous comedic actress, so I am quite happy about this turn of events. In fact, the overall reaction among the HIMYM fandom seems to be that if you’ve seen “Once,” you’re super excited, if you haven’t, you’re skeptical. I’m a bit skeptical about where Thomas and Bays intend to go with the story, but casting Cristin Milioti as the Mother was pure genius. She has comedic chops, but not enough notoriety to give the audience any pre-conceived hype about who the Mother will be. I’m definitely excited for her that she has this opportunity, even though it could be considered a step down from her previous gig.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Game of Thrones 3.07: "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"

“You waste time trying to get people to love you, you’ll end up the most popular dead man in town.”

“The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” while it didn’t exclusively focus on any one thing (big surprise), was really anchored by the show’s romantic couples. Significant time was given to Robb and Talisa, Jon and Ygritte, and the big impending marriage mess in King’s Landing. This episode also showed how brutal the world of the show can be, with Theon, Jaime, and Brienne all finding themselves in especially perilous situations. Of course, we have to check in with a plethora of other characters too, like Daenarys and Bran. We’re really just are all over the place in this episode, as per usual for both “Game of Thrones” and the Song of Ice and Fire book series on which the show is based. This episode was written by George R.R. Martin himself, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the structure mirrors what he does in the books, although since he wrote the wonderful, focused “Blackwater” last season, I was a little surprised.

Let’s get some of the romance plots out of the way right out of the gate. There was more Robb and Talisa substance in this episode than there have been in most. There’s a scene where they’re post-coital, and Robb gets up to go sit at his table to plan some war strategy. Talisa laments that he has to work, of course. There’s some discussion among other folks at Riverrun regarding the upcoming Tully/Frey wedding, and Cat astutely remarks that while this is a wedding Walder Frey wants, it’s not the wedding he really wanted. The general consensus, though, is that they shouldn’t worry, because even though the Freys aren’t getting to make one of the daughters a Queen, it’s still the best marriage the house has ever achieved. Oh and Talisa also has some extremely important news. She’s pregnant. She wants to know if Robb is okay with that, and I think Robb pretty much shared the viewers’ reaction. Um, he’s a king, whose job (when not fighting battles and stuff) is pretty much to produce an heir to keep the line going, and he freaking married you, so why wouldn’t he be happy?

We also spend a little time with Jon and Ygritte and some other especially surly Wildlings. Ygritte makes fun of how the Night’s Watch march so properly, which is kind of a silly thing to mock, I think. Jon then confronts Orell, the Wildling who cut the rope during last week’s Wall climb, about, you know, almost killing him and his girlfriend. Orell doesn’t seem to think this was a big deal. Orell later talks to Ygritte and warns her that she won’t love Jon anymore once she finds out who she really is. And he thinks Jon doesn’t already know that Ygritte is a loyal Wildling? Somebody’s jealous, I think.

Let’s get the Theon plot over with next, because it’s time for a break from the romance, and this one was just so grisly that I’d rather be done with talking about it. I heard about this particular incident before I watched the episode, and it made me kind of wary of watching it while eating my dinner yesterday, but it wasn’t quite as bad as I expected. The camera cut away enough to avoid the worst of it. Anyway, Theon’s torture continues in this episode. Two young women free him from his bonds and then seem to be sort of competing in a flirting contest. Theon’s wary at first, but just as he’s starting to enjoy the ladies’ attention, his torturer enters the room. Apparently the whole thing was yet another bit of psychological manipulation. The torturer has the women pleasure Theon until he comes, and then it appears (until the camera cuts away), that the torturer is about to castrate Theon. I wish we could get some hint at the true reason the torturer dude wants to hurt Theon so badly.

Back in the romance department, Sansa and Margaery have a heart to heart about how Sansa’s life has kind of gone to hell just when she thought things were getting better. She really doesn’t want to marry Tyrion at all, and she still has no gaydar whatsoever when it comes to Loras. Margaery points out that maybe marrying Tyrion wouldn’t be the worst thing ever, as he’s always treated Sansa kindly, he’s not bad looking, and he’s very sexually experienced, but Sansa’s all like “but he’s a DWARF!” As a very short person (not quite to official dwarf standards, but short all the same), I kind of object to this line of reasoning! Meanwhile, Bronn is similarly trying to convince Tyrion that marrying Sansa wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Bronn thinks that Tyrion should just keep Shae around as his mistress. Shae really hates this idea, though, even if Tyrion put her up in a really nice house. I kind of don’t blame her.

In non-romance news, Dany and her crew are still across the Shivering Sea. They are approaching an ancient city called Yunkai, and apparently the people who live there are very proud. Dany hears they have slaves, so she automatically wants to do some big raid to free them like she freed the Unsullied. There’s a very impressive scene where she meets with Razdal, leader of the Yunkai. He approaches with an entourage, and Dany pretty much schools him. He’s a little jumpy around the dragons, which is amusing. Radzal offers Dany gold and ships to travel to Westeros if she’ll just keep moving and pass Yunkai by. Dany’s dead set on doing some liberating though, so she has a counteroffer. She offers the Yunkai their lives if they free the slaves and pay the slaves for their services. Razdal makes some idle threats and leaves, but Dany keeps the gold. As you do.

We also spend a little bit of time with Genry and Arya in this episode, although they’re separated by this point. Genry is on a boat with Melisandre that is approaching King’s Landing. Melisandre tells Gendry that he’s the late King Robert’s son, and a King’s blood has power. Gendry is extremely surprised by this news, which is itself surprising, considering he must have thought that there was a reason the Goldcloaks had been trying to kill him. Arya, for her part, is still stuck with the Brotherhood, upset that they sold Gendry. Dondarrian asks Arya who her god is, and in a rather badass moment, she answers “death.” The Brotherhood gets word of a nearby Lannister raiding party, and they want to go deal with that before dropping Arya off at Riverrun. Arya gets fed up with waiting and decides to escape. Just as she seems to have evaded her Brotherhood captors, the Hound appears and captures her all over again. In other Stark news, there’s also a brief scene of Bran, Osha, and the Reeds, where the Reeds say they want to go beyond the wall where Jojen’s dreams have said Jon is located. Osha wants no part of going back North, and she tries to impart the dangers of the White Walkers to the kids. I’m thinking her efforts will be futile.

Finally we get to Jaime and Brienne and the scene that gave the episode its name. Jaime and some of Roose Bolton’s men are on the road to King’s Landing when Jaime finds out that Brienne is supposed to be Locke’s “entertainment” for the night. Jaime demands to be taken back to rescue Brienne, and when they arrive, Jaime finds Brienne in a ring trying to fight a bear with a wooden sword. Jaime leaps into the ring, and somehow both of them manage to escape. Jaime demands that Brienne be allowed to join him in King’s Landing. He uses the fact that the men have been ordered to deliver him alive to make this happen. What do you know – Tyrion didn’t get all the smarts among the Lannister siblings afterall. It’s definitely interesting to see Jaime trying (and succeeding) to function without his sword hand. He’s slowly building a new identity for himself.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Oops we did it again (wrote something for Hypable, that is)

It's been a while, but we've whipped up another article that was published on Hypable. This one's about the effect of J.J. Abrams/Bad Robot shows on the genre television landscape and whether we've reached the saturation point. As is pretty obvious from our work here on MTVP, we love us some Bad Robot, but when the same guy gets to take control of both Star Trek and Star Wars, these questions must be asked!

Join in on the conversation here:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Once Upon a Time 2.22: "And Straight on 'Til Morning"

“I brought magic to this land to fine Bae. And now he’s dead. Magic always comes with a price and this, this is it. But I’m prepared to pay it.”
- Mr. Gold

We have finally made it to the finale of season 2. No worries, folks. It will be back in the fall for season 3. We pick up pretty much right where we left off at the end of episode 21. Bae is drying out below decks on the Jolly Roger while Smee and Hook contemplate his origins and whether he might belong a nefarious “him”. Hook pays our young portal jump a visit and learns two key things: he’s not fond of pirates and his name is Baelfire. You can tell Hook recognizes the name and hands over a blanket, proclaiming a pirate’s life for Bae.

In Storybrooke, Henry is out by the water swinging on a rope swing over some precarious rocks while Rumple watches. He’s fantasizing about making the rope break so Henry goes crashing into the rocks but stops when the Charmings arrive. I missed on first watch but Granny is babysitting Henry and she’s dutifully carrying her crossbow. I had to laugh. Emma breaks the news about Neal to Henry while Snow and Charming share it with Rumple. Instead of getting super angry and ripping people’s still-beating hearts from their chests, Rumple just kind of shuts down in shock and grief. He blames himself for Neal’s death, claiming it is the price he had to pay for magic. But he’s willing to pay the cost, even if it means dying by not stopping Greg and Tamara. Speaking of, they’re down in the mines with Hook and end up activating the trigger. They are really only good for Evil Speech of Evil stuff. Otherwise, I can’t stand them. They don’t even know who they’re working for. Which is probably going to bite them in the ass at some point. I can hope anyway.

Back at the Charmings’ loft, Regina is getting ready to go when the Charming clan returns and Regina and Henry share a much-needed hug. Things aren’t happy for long though. The ground shakes, dishes smash. The trigger’s been activated. They’re all going to die! Well not Henry, but everyone else. Henry is worried about being left alone. Emma freaks out and demands Regina fix the problem. And then Hook of all people just waltzes in the room, bold as you please, offering to help them. Apparently he’s not thrilled with the idea of getting his revenge on Rumple by dying himself. He’s gotta look for numero uno after all. Charming punches him in the face for the last time they met (presumably when he was being a jackass to Snow about the ship). But they’re going to split up. Hook and Charming will go nab the beans back from Greg and Tamara, Snow will get Henry and the townsfolk ready to jump and Emma and Regina will try to slow down the diamond’s progress.

Back in Neverland, the Lost Ones, led by Felix, show up searching for Bae. Hook isn’t willing to hand over his golden ticket to Rumple’s destruction though. It seems he’s going to develop a soft spot for our young lad. He even lets Bae steer the ship while they talk about their crappy daddy issues. Bae gives him the goods on Rumple (including his dagger) and Hook admits he and his dad sailed around a while til one day Papa Hook up and left (he was a fugitive). So they’re really bonding over their shared experiences. Something tells me that warm and fuzzy feeling isn’t going to last long.

On the bean-retrieval front, things don’t go very well. Hook and Greg scuffles for the beans while Charming chases after Tamara. I honestly don’t know why Hook didn’t just use his hook to like…gouge Greg’s eyes out or something. Anyway, Tamara slips and falls and Charming is about to corner her when Greg comes out of nowhere and tackles him. The baddies scurry away before anything else can go down. But Hook announces he nabbed a solitary bean. He stows it in his little leather pouch and Charming takes that for safe keeping. Meanwhile, Regina and Emma get to the diamond and Regina drops the bomb that she’s not going survive delaying the trigger from going off. Emma is a bit distraught over this seeing as Henry just lost one parent (yes I’m sure the Swan Queen fans were cheering). I liked that Regina finally did the right thing. I know her journey has been kind of all over the place but I like both sides coming together to save their family.

Elsewhere in town, Gold finds the dwarves looting his shop. Well they’re getting Sneezy’s drinking stein so he can get his memory back with a potion from the Blue Fairy. Grumpy even gives Gold a bottle for Lacey/Belle. Speaking of, she and Rumple are sharing an end of the world drink, which she spills and tries to mop up with Bae’s shawl. Rumple freaks out and decides now might be a good time to try out the potion. He conjures Chip (back in one piece) and the potion actually works. Huzzah for no more slutty Lacey! They share a good cry in each other’s arms as they await the impending doom. And god can Robert Carlyle make me cry!

The Charmings arrive back at Granny’s with the bean but Henry refuses to believe letting Regina die so they can all escape is the only option. Snow agrees with him and suggests they use the bean to create a portal and chuck the damn self-destruct into a void like they did with the wraith as the start of the season. Emma’s skeptical but with some boastful words from Archie and the dwarves about her parents’ leadership abilities, she’s all for it. She finesses the pouch with the bean from Hook by telling him he can be part of something or be a loser and a loner. And she drops the bomb that Neal (aka Bae) is Henry’s father and he’s dead. I found it really interesting to see the way Hook’s face just falls when he learns that news. The Charmings head down to the mine to clue Regina in on the plan but there’s a problem; there’s no bean in the pouch. Hook has absconded with said bean on the Jolly Roger and is making off to save himself. Things are looking bleak and Emma has a rare moment where she calls Snow and Charming “mom and “dad” as the family hugs and Henry embraces Regina again (after calling her a hero for being willing to sacrifice herself for everyone). But all is not in fact lost. Emma has magic (as we were made aware of earlier) and with her combined effort, they manage to defuse the trigger. Too bad this gives Greg and Tamara a chance to kidnap Henry. Yes, you read that right. The bitch shoots the poor boy’s father and then abducts him. Have I mentioned she’s a skanky bitch?

Hook’s paternal mood sours back in Neverland when Bae finds his drawing of Milah. Hook comes clean about his relationship with the boy’s mom and Rumple’s part in her death. Bae’s first reaction is “she abandoned me”. The kid can’t catch a break really. Which sort of explains why he felt so shitty about ditching Emma (other than you know it was just a crappy thing to do to another human being). Bae wants off the ship and so Hook arranges it by turning him over to the Lost Ones. They get back to the island and Bae gets to live (lucky him) because he’s not “the one”. We see a drawing of “the one” and of course it’s Henry. Oh and did I mention it looks like Peter Pan is going to be evil? Sweet!

Man, everyone just wants their paws on Henry. Rumple wants him dead thanks to a prophecy. Evil Peter Pan wants him dead for some unknown reason and now Greg and Tamara want him for who knows what. The Charmings and Regina race after them just in time to see them jump through a portal. Rumple arrives with Belle to learn the news of Henry’s disappearance and Hook hauls ass back to offer his services. Rumple tells Belle she needs to stay and protect the town with a cloaking spell (gee that woulda been helpful oh….maybe 10 episodes ago!). Belle promises they’ll see each other again as Rumple joins the Charmings, Regina and Hook aboard the Jolly Roger in search of Henry. He’s going to defy the damn prophecy to honor Neal. After a little venom spews between himself and Hook, we find that Henry has been taken to Neverland. (I’ll be $20 that Pan is the head of the “home office” and he’s just been using people like big freaking meat puppets). I don’t quite know why Rumple was the one who pricked his finger to make the blood globe thing work when Emma has a stronger connection (being his blood mother and all). Oh and the best part of the episode? Neal lands in present day Enchanted Forest and is immediately found by Aurora, Mulan and Phillip. He will find his family again and hopefully get to be kind of badass next season in rescuing Henry.

While this finale wasn’t as emotional as season 1, it answered a lot of questions, wrapped up some storylines and introduced a million more questions. I honestly hope we focus more on present and past Neverland and a little of Enchanted Forest just until Neal reunites with everyone else. I know Storybrooke still has people in it but I think we need a break from the little Maine ‘berg. And now we must wait until September to see how this all shakes out.

Person of Interest 2.22: "God Mode"

“Come on, Harold. It’s time to meet God.”
- Root

We’ve made it to the second season finale. As I write this, I can tell you our boys will be back next year. Upon first watch of this episode, I was kind of disappointed and underwhelmed. The season 1 finale was so crazy, with Finch being taken and not knowing what was happening. But this time, I was expecting the storyline to go one way. But it went the complete opposite. And now I’m not sure what they’re going to do next season.

We start in 2010 in media res (if that’s even possible). Finch is injured and he gets back to the library and asks the Machine if it knew something was going to happen. We aren’t entirely sure at this point what it was but I’m sure we’ll find out. In the present, both Root and Reese are getting instructions and help from the Machine. Root drags Finch off and manages to escape, as do Reese and Shaw. Unfortunately, Root figures out Reese put a bug on Finch’s glasses and smashes them on the sidewalk. They’ll have to find another way to track Finch. They need wheels and so the Machine points them in the right direction. Well, it turns out it was sending them on a side mission to save a guy’s life. So I guess it is still doing what it was programmed to do. And they get a sweet new ride out of the deal to evade the cops. Shaw is pretty damn excited to drive it. Have I mentioned how fun she and Reese are together?

Back in 2010 we have two storylines running right now. The first involves the enforcer guy for Special Counsel interrogating a suspect that they caught before he could do something bad. As the flashbacks continue, we learn that he was going to blow up the ferry as a suicide bomber. This is where Finch and Nathan get caught up in things. Nathan knows Finch shut him out of the system. But he’s going to talk to a reporter and blow the story wide open on what they did. Finch is worried that the government might find out and take drastic measures. Nathan doesn’t seem concerned. He wants Finch to meet him at the ferry the next day to go with him.

Finch hems and haws but does go to meet Nathan. Before they can do more than nod at each other, the suicide bomber wakes up tied to the steering wheel of a car. The government did find out about Nathan’s plan and are going to take him out. The other people at the ferry are just collateral damage. Unavoidable. So the bomb goes up and Nathan ends up dying. Finch wakes up with injuries to his neck and lower back (I guess we know how he got his limp). And we see the heartbreaking scene where Grace shows up, knowing Finch was supposed to be at the ferry. But Finch realizes the danger Grace could be in if the government found out about him. So he lets her think he died in the blast. How awful. I mean I understand why he did it, he wanted to protect her. But with all of his skills, couldn’t they have just disappeared. He’s so good at hiding himself, he surely could have done it for the two of them. I do hope somehow he and Grace manage to reconnect in the present. They are just such a cute couple. The flashbacks for the season end with Finch back at the library where we first saw him, asking if the Machine knew about Nathan. I guess we also see why he picked up dealing with the irrelevant numbers again.

Carter is not having much luck with IAB. She tells them again that the suspect had a gun and she used lethal force. She doesn’t know where the gun went. IAB doesn’t believe her obviously. WE know HR is trying to jam her up. The cop who was with her stops by for a chat. She makes note of one of the uniforms that was on scene, whom she remembers was questioned during the HR investigation. The cop lays it all out for Carter. She either takes the hit lite a good little girl or they are going to kill her and her son and Fusco and everyone she cares about. She just sits there and says nothing.

But she manages to clone his phone and overhears some news. Elias’ top man was shot and he’s sent his body guards from prison to watch over him. HR has orchestrated a transfer for Elias so they can take him out where he doesn’t have influence. In a mirrored scene to when his own father tried to kill him, he’s not afraid to die. The Russians want him dead and he gets that. Hell, he even accepts that. Carter intervenes and gets Elias out of there. I’m not really sure what she’s going to do with him. Return him to prison? That would be the smart move but HR is still out there and Elias still has a target on his back. This was the storyline I was hoping they’d wrap up this season, leaving us with the bigger mystery of Decima and the Machine.

So now it becomes a race to find the machine’s physical location. Special Counsel is hunting Root and Shaw now. So inevitably they will find the location of the Machine once one group does. The Machine leads Root and Finch to a professor who build a nuclear reaction containment facility out in Oregon. Unfortunately, before they can learn any more, he’s shot. Reese and Shaw are pointed to him in a more circuitous way. They get sent back to the library where they find pictures of people Finch and Nathan failed to save, including Reese’s former girlfriend. They then make it to the park where Root and Finch have met with the professor. So now everyone heads to Portland. Root and Finch borrow a rich guy’s private jet while Reese and Shaw end up crashing the car they steal from a woman and taking a helicopter. The looks on the helicopter guy’s faces are just priceless as both Reese and Shaw climb out of the flipped over car. They all get to the facility and Root is devastated to find the place is empty. She whines that Finch lied to her but he tells her that the Machine was already set free. In another info dump (once Reese and Shaw show up) we learn that the laptop Decima found in China purposely had source code from the machine. Finch built a virus within a virus so he would always have control. And he has in a way set it free now. And the Machine moved itself piece by piece to a new location as a safety measure. I’m guessing it spoofed Special Counsel’s voice somehow because the tech guy there told the government that it was authorized through them. Once Reese and company leave (after Shaw shoots Root in the shoulder), everyone except the enforcer gets shot. Their superior is also a woman it would seem. I thought her voice sounded a little like Grace but that wouldn’t really make sense.

So I guess we have set up some new storylines going forward. We have the new layer of government control and Decima is still in the game I would imagine. The Machine does give up a number to Reese and Finch. Reese also seems to forgive Finch for orchestrating his assassination by the CIA and driving Stanton crazy. Finch apologizes for not stopping the death of Reese’s former girlfriend. But Reese says it was his own fault for walking away from her in airport seven years earlier. And in a mental institution, Root gets a call as well. It’s hard to tell whether it is real or in her head or if the Machine is just screwing with her. I’m sure eventually all will be revealed.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nashville 1.19: "Why Don't You Love Me"

“Am I witnessing the death of a bromance?”

Thank goodness for Deacon and Rayna. It’s nice to have some maturity in and among the craziness that is “Nashville.” They know what they want and just go for it, despite the games that people around them are trying to play. They also let everyone who could be negatively affected by their reunion know what’s going on right away. Deacon is completely honest when breaking up with Stacey, for instance, which I found admirable. All of this happens in the middle of CMA award nominations. Juliette and Rayna have both been nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year, so there’s clearly going to be some fireworks around that. Moreso from Juliette than Rayna, since Rayna’s kind of been there, done that. Gunnar and Scarlett’s storyline continues to depress me and leave me wondering when and if I’ll ever be buying any more “Nashville” tracks on iTunes (I always bought the Gunnar and Scarlett tracks because they were always gorgeous). And the political intrigue continues to be uninteresting. So basically this episode was a mix of all the major positives and negatives of “Nashville” overall.

The episode begins not too long after the last one left off, although now Rayna and Deacon are post coital. Their bliss is interrupted by a phone call, which Rayna would have ignored if it wasn’t from Maddie. She’s all excited to give Rayna the news about the CMA nomination. This news leads to Rayna’s phone just plain starting to ring off the hook, so she and Deacon don’t get to have the chill morning they were planning. Rayna seems to see the whole thing as an imposition more than a source of excitement. Juliette, however, views her nomination in the exact opposite way. She takes it extremely seriously and intends to win, because she’s never won a CMA award before. She is really disappointed when Edgehill doesn’t seem that interested in putting too much money behind promoting her, so she decides she’s going to self-finance her award promotion. She orders her assistant to start buying expensive gifts for all 7,500 members of the CMA, and she doesn’t want to hear it when her assistant warns her that she might not be able to afford it thanks to the money Dante stole from her.

Rayna and Deacon are all too quickly pulled back into the real world. Rayna talks to Tandy about what happened, and Tandy thinks starting things up again with Deacon is a bad idea. She knows that a relationship with Deacon can only be all out or all in, and she questions whether Rayna’s ready to go all in so soon after the divorce. It’s a valid concern, but I think that Rayna has truly thought this out and new the implications when she told Deacon she loved him. Meanwhile, Cole is similarly trying to dissuade Deacon from pursuing things further with Rayna. Cole warns Deacon that Rayna is his addiction. Deacon has a pretty good comeback for that one, I think. I asks Cole if he would consider his wife an “addiction” or just the love of his life. Deacon also has to break up with Stacey, and it what I thought was a classy move, told the whole truth and admitted to sleeping with Rayna. And he lets her keep Sue the dog.

Let’s get the Gunnar and Scarlett of this over with, because, like I mentioned in the intro, it just plain makes me sad. Gunnar’s working on setting up his demo recording session with the producer who noticed him the night before, but nobody really knows that he stole Jason’s lyrics for his new song. He’s also being really irritable with Will, and Scarlett definitely notices that. There’s an amusing bit where Scarlett tries to joke about witnessing the end of a bromance, which I thought was hilarious, but Gunnar didn’t seem to find it very funny. He’s digging himself into a deeper and deeper emo hole, and it’s just not at all enjoyable to watch. He can’t even go with Scarlett to the big Edgehill CMA nominations party because he’s recording his demo. Will has to go with Scarlett instead. He spends his time at the party being kind of a schmoozing asshole, and Scarlett is pretty embarrassed by it. Will even manages to get some face time with Rayna and she agrees to listen to some of his music. When she gets home from the party, Scarlett sees Jason’s notebook and recognizes the lyrics in the book from Gunnar’s song. She confronts Gunnar about stealing Jason’s song, but Gunnar insists it’s not a big deal.

Juliette spends most of this episode drunk, still reeling from Dante’s betrayal. While shopping for her CMA dress, she downs one mimosa after another. Jolene notices, but Juliette doesn’t want to take Jolene’s warning seriously. At the Edgehill party, she keeps the drinks coming, and other folks start noticing, too. She bothers Deacon when he’s in the middle of an especially intense conversation with Rayna, and she gets really pissed off when he doesn’t want to jump and do what she wants right away. The tension escalates, and Deacon ends up quitting as Juliette’s bandleader right then and there. Not to be deterred, Juliette asks if any of the rest of her crew can play guitar. Avery of all people volunteers to take over as bandleader, and he actually does a really good job. He’s like a cockroach, that one.

There’s also some really stupid political intrigue continuing to happen. Tandy continues to want to take her father’s place, getting all upset that the family business just lost all those city contracts. Cole, however, seems to be sick of all of it. He turns in his resignation to Teddy. Teddy doesn’t want to accept the resignation. He’s pissed off that he stuck his neck out for Cole and now Cole is throwing it all away. Cole doesn’t care, though. He says that Teddy is only working for his own interests, and he doesn’t want to be a part of that anymore. We later learn, however, that Cole’s motives are far from altruistic. In a conversation between Cole and his wife, we learn that they are hoping that Teddy’s mayorship will implode due to the skeletons in his closet, and completely distanced from the administration, Cole will be able to take his place. Cole’s wife seems very Lady MacBeth-like in this scene.

Maddie is a big piece of why the transition into Deacon and Rayna being a couple isn’t as smooth as it could be. Teddy really wants to take her to the father/daughter dance at her school, but Maddie is still pissed off at him due to the divorce. When Rayna tells Teddy, in the interest on laying all the cards out on the table, that she’s getting back together with Deacon, Teddy completely flips out. He’s worried that if Rayna and Deacon are together, Rayna will reveal that Deacon is actually Maddie’s father, and Teddy really doesn’t want that to happen. Rayna is understandably offended that Teddy thinks she would hurt Maddie in that way. Teddy still doesn’t believe that she’s going to keep the secret, though. He and Maddie do end up going to the dance, and Maddie warms back up to him a bit, but it’s inevitable that she’s going to find out the truth sooner rather than later. TV rules. Meanwhile, Rayna and Deacon decide that they’re going to try to make things work. It should certainly be a drama-filled last few episodes of the season coming up.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Arrow 1.22: "The Darkness on the Edge of Town"

“It’s the Undertaking. I promised myself that when I crossed off all the names on this list I’d be done. But taking down these people, it doesn’t honor him. I was just treating the symptoms while the disease festered. I stop the Undertaking. I wipe out the disease. Merlyn’s plan is what I returned from the island to stop.”
- Oliver

This week begins with about as much bloodshed as last week ended. Malcolm slaughters everyone involved with building the device that’s going to level the Glades. He burns all the research to eliminate any possibility that it can be linked back to him. Meanwhile, Oli and company are coming up empty on tracking Moira. So he’s going to have a talk with her mother-son (no arrows involved). He doesn’t get the chance though. First, he runs into Laurel at the club and she suggests that maybe they both still have feelings for each other. But he’s not ready to handle that conversation. Besides, Walter is coming home. Oli is about to ask Moira what’s going on when she runs off after seeing news of the Unidec massacre.

Back on the island, the Big Bad gives a bit of an Evil Speech of Evil. He explains he’s going to use the missiles to take down a commercial airliner headed for China. He wants to destabilize the Chinese economy, or at least his employer does. So there’s another layer of mystery about what he’s up to. He forces the Archer to be the spokesman for the campaign, dressing him up in uniform and making him look all spiffy. He injures Shadow and Slade to force the Archer to cooperate. And once the message is recorded, the Archer gets a bullet to the head. I guess he doesn’t teach Oli anything else about being a badass with a bow. Things are not going to end well on the island,. But we have to wait until the finale next week to find out what is going to happen. And it looks like whomever the Big Bad reports to is a woman. Intrigue continues!

That afternoon, Thea and Roy follow the cops to Unidec and snap photos from a distance. The cops don’t know anything but Roy says they don’t actually know what the cops do or don’t know. Thea is getting a little frustrated with her boyfriend’s new obsession. But she lets him talk her into using her job at the legal clinic to get information on all of the cases from the last few years to see what they can dig up. Thea overhears Detective Lance and his partner talking about the copycat and the link to Merlyn Global. So she relays it to Roy and they plan to just show up at Merlyn Global and hope the vigilante does too.

Oli finally confronts Moira but she says she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. She does Beg Oli to back off and then they both get drugged with darts. Moira sees the shadow of a hooded figure before she blacks out. The first time I watched this, I was sure it was Malcolm trying to shut them both up. But it’s Oli’s plan to get the truth out of his mom. Diggle dons the hood and throws a few punches Oliver’s way to get Moira to admit everything, including Robert’s involvement before his death. She doesn’t know where the device is but she did what she had to do to protect her children after Robert died. Oliver is clearly upset by his mother’s admissions and he leaves her to find her own way home. Felicity starts to work her techno-magic by trying to hack into Merlyn Global to see if she can find where the device is being stored. Unfortunately, she’s not having much luck getting into the system. So they’re going to try the more direct approach. Time to break into Merlyn Global.

Meanwhile, Moira gets home to find Walter and Malcolm in conversation. Moira shows Malcolm out and learns that if Walter had known anything, Malcolm would have gone back on the deal and killed Walter. Malcolm really is kind of maniacal. And things aren’t going so hot for Moira and Walter either. He knows something is up with Moira and so he drop divorce papers on her. I can’t say I’m that surprised. I mean she did help orchestrate his abduction. Or at least she was aware of it. I wouldn’t want to be married to her either. But I do feel bad for Thea. She’s losing another father all over again.

SCPD are on to Merlyn Global’s link to Unidec too. Of course, Merlyn sends down Tommy who knows nothing (probably a smart move on Malcolm’s part). There’s an awkward bit between him and laurel and Laurel finally tells her dad she still has feelings for Oli. He isn’t thrilled but he can see that Oliver has changed.

The big plan to break in to Merlyn Global is underway. Felicity slips Diggle a burger that’s been drugged so he can have run of the security office and Oli has a meeting with Tommy (to give a legit reason why he’s there). We get a fun bit in the elevator where Oli and Felicity use a grappling hook to get to the twenty-fifth floor so she can access the mainframe. Oli and Tommy have a strained conversation about Laurel. If I were Oli, I’d really be worried that Tommy would blurt out his secret to Papa Merlyn and shit would hit the fan faster than he could draw an arrow. Things hit a snag when security starts their round early. Oli says he’s on the way but gets sidetracked by Malcolm. Diggle ends up rescuing Felicity once the download is complete and Oliver runs into Thea and Roy in the lobby. Thea gives her bro the skinny on what they’ve been doing and Oliver tells Roy to keep the hell away from the Vigilante. He doesn’t want his baby sister in danger. This leads to another break-up. Thea is done with Roy since he’s being so obsessed and crazy.

Felicity is quite pleased with herself for getting all the data and planting a Trojan so they can track Malcolm. Unfortunately, the SCPD’s tech guru noticed her entry and exit during her first attempt and knows exactly who she is. And now Detective Lance is going to be looking for her. That is in no way good. And in the man cave, Oliver realizes that taking out the names on his father’s list isn’t helping. He needs to stop Malcolm from using the device and that will really help right his father’s wrongs. But he has a stop to make first. He pays Laurel a visit. Confident that soon he’ll be free of the hood, they hook up. I still say I’d prefer Oliver and Felicity together. The amount of inappropriate and awkward comments she’s made lately, there’s totally something between them.

That night, though, Felicity finds the location of the device. Diggle goes to find it while Oliver goes to have a chat with Malcolm. Too bad the device has already been moved somewhere safe. Malcolm taunts Oliver that they’ve been doing this dance the last few months and this time, he’s going to kill the vigilante. He and Oliver get into yet another knock down drag out and this time Malcolm finds out Oliver’s identity. The expression on his face as the episode ends is kind of hard to read. Its’ definitely shock (he says “oh no” when he realizes whose ass he just kicked) but there’s something else there. Resolve that he needs to take this guy out to complete his mission. I mean he slaughtered a group of innocent scientists. He kidnapped Walter. He had Robert killed. Something tells me he won’t be too heartbroken over having to take out Oliver, too. I guess we’ll find out how it all shakes out next week in the finale.