Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Wonderfalls 1.03: "Karma Chameleon"

“How do you know what league my irony is? Were you stalking me at Brown? Were you the girl who stole my meal card?”

“Karma Chameleon” really dove into the narcissistic side of Jaye and also the meaning of the life of low expectations that she has created. Most of the time, Jaye is prickly but endearing, but in this episode she crossed the line to hurtful. What makes it work is that the other characters called her on it. When she does especially spiteful things to her doppelganger who shows up in this episode, the looks on Mahandra, Eric, and Sharon’s faces speak volumes. And yes, I said doppelganger. Said doppelganger is a (kinda creepy stalker) up and coming journalist who wants to do a story on the disaffected gen y youth (what we call Millennials today) and use Jaye as her model. The doppelganger-ness and the wanting to write 5,000 words about Jaye both unfortunately hit Jaye’s narcissistic button. She loves that the journalist wants to be like her and write a whole article about her…until she starts moving in on Eric. In the end, Jaye puts that Brown education she constantly complains about to use and solves the problem in quite spectacular fashion. To her chagrin I’m sure, though, she can never take credit for it.

Jaye’s big ego hit happens near the beginning of the episode, when the Tylers are out to dinner celebrating Karin’s new book, “Thumbing Through the Finger Lakes.” The about the author blurb on the book flap has extensive detail about each member of the family except for Jaye. Jaye gets a measly five words, just giving her age (so really four words and a digit, as Jaye points out). To make things even worse, cell phones and beepers start going off for every member of the family but Jaye, and they all rush off to do important things, leaving Jaye sitting alone at the table. Speaking through a fish on the wall this time, the Muses start telling Jaye to “get her words out,” but Jaye tries to ignore this to keep perseverating on her five words.

The major guest character in this episode is Bianca (Sarah Drew), who for some inexplicable reason prefers to be called “Binky.” When we first see her, she’s in a creepy white unmarked van taking creepy stalker photos of Jaye. We next see her at Wonderfalls, where Jaye and Alec (aka Mouthbreather) are slammed thanks to another employee quitting. Binky gives Jaye her wallet, trying to play it off like Jaye lost the wallet and she found it. In actuality, Binky stole it from Jaye to get more of Jaye’s personal information. Binky has a bad stutter, but with Jaye’s help manages to get out that she’s a runaway and lives in a van. She seems to reflexively start folding t-shirts, and she’s so good at it that Alec wants to hire her. Jaye is supposed to train Binky, and Jaye uses the opportunity to make Binky do all the work so she (Jaye) can just lounge around. She also treats Binky to some drinks at the Barrel Bar, where predictably, Binky starts to take a liking to Eric.

The next day at Wonderfalls, Bianca is no longer stuttering, and she’s also acting suspiciously like Jaye. Gone is the good work ethic, and in its place is snark and a scowl. Jaye later tells Mahandra about this, and Mahandra thinks that Binky is going all “Single White Female” on Jaye. This can’t possibly end well. Jaye tries to brush off Mahandra’s concerns, but then Binky starts going beyond just acting disaffected like Jaye. She starts looking like Jaye, too, with similar clothes and straight hair. At this point, Jaye has to have a confrontation. She tells Binky that her attitude and style are hers, even if she is flattered by the imitation. At that moment, Darrin stops by Wonderfalls to say that Sharon and Aaron have each offered to give up five of their words in Karin’s book blurb, so Jaye will have fifteen words total. Jaye is also going to be allowed to write her fifteen words.

Later that night, Jaye sees Binky hitting on Eric at the Barrel Bar again, which makes Jaye even more surly than she usually is. Deciding it’s time to bring in the big guns, Jaye goes to Sharon for help. The discussion is interrupted when Mahandra calls to tell Jaye that Binky is sitting on her Barrel Bar stool. Jaye storms down to the bar with Sharon in tow, and she chews Binky out. Binky says she was just trying to help Jaye write her fifteen words, and Sharon and Mahandra tell Jaye that she’s just plain being mean. Jaye soon gets vindication, though. She sneaks into Binky’s van, and she sees all the stalker photos. The place is super creepy, like some sort of shrine to Jaye. When confronted with this, Binky has yet another story. She’s a journalist who is trying to write an article on the typical disaffected gen y-er. Jaye bites at the chance to have 5,000 words in a magazine all about her, so she decides to give Binky an all-access pass to her life.

Jaye’s decision to give Binky the all-access pass backfires. Big time. Binky accidentally-on-purpose leaves her story notes by the cash register, and Alec finds them. The notes contain plenty of documentation of Jaye slacking off and Jaye insulting people, so Alec decides to fire Jaye. Jaye goes to her parents’ house, pretty dejected that she even managed to get fired from a crappy retail job, and of course Binky is already there waiting for her. To make things even worse, Binky says that she’s not going to write the article after all. She likes Jaye’s stress-free zone, and she has completely lost the stutter as a result. Jaye and Binky get into a huge argument, and having acted like an idiot in front of her entire family, Jaye decides to go to the Barrel Bar for a drink. Eric tries to cheer Jaye up, and it’s yet another example of the great chemistry between Caroline Dhavernas and Tyrone Leitso.

The fish on the wall at the Barrel Bar again tells Jaye to “get her words out,” and Jaye finally has the idea that will solve all her problems. She decides to write the 5,000 word article on gen y and submit it to Binky’s magazine herself, giving Binky all the credit, of course. It’s the first time we’ve really seen Jaye put that Brown education to use. It gets published, and Bianca only protests slightly at the idea of launching her career based on someone else’s work. She finally leaves Niagra Falls, ready to take the journalism world by storm. With Binky gone, Jaye gets her job, and her life, back. There’s a nice closing scene where the Tylers are having a celebratory dinner for the article’s publication (the other Tylers don’t know that Jaye wrote it, so they’re giving it high praise), and Jaye reveals that she has finally written a new fifteen-word blurb.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer DVR Dump: Continuum 1.04: "Matter of Time"

“I have spent my entire life making decisions that could affect millions. That’s what I do.”
- Eduard Kagame

In the future, Kiera gets home to find Greg (her hubby) celebrating with a co-worker. Greg was just made project leader on a new project at work (thanks to one Alec Sadler). Kiera’s happy for him and now they can afford their new place when suddenly the power goes out. But they’re not alone. The whole city is dark. Greg says the power will be back in ten seconds and starts counting down. We jump to Kiera in the present as she’s trying and failing to put on mascara. She tells Alec about how in the future the mascara brush has an electrostatic charge to dispense the same amount every time. Yeah that would be nice. He asks her to describe it and the power at her current residence goes out. A garbage truck backed into a power line pole. Kiera doesn’t have much time to worry about it because Carlos calls. They’ve got6 a case. A Professor Ames was found dead that morning by his assistant with a hole in his chest. Whatever hit him went through him and five stories of the building, too. And if things weren’t bad enough Kagame appears at the bridge (which is now repaired).

Meanwhile, Kellogg is now a very rich man thanks to all of his smart investing. He drops off a check at the house we saw him at a few episodes ago with a letter. It seems he’s paid off whatever was due to keep the family there. He really does do some nice things for people. Kiera is still grumpy about her suit being out of commission because she couldn’t get a clear optical pattern of whatever the energy discharge hit the professor. Alec professes his ability to fix it, in theory. She’s not ready to take him up on that offer yet though. She and Carlos head back to the precinct to talk with Ames’ grad student, Shane. He explains that the machine that killed the professor (Calisto is what they named it), was built to contain anti-matter. Kiera drops some knowledge on what it could be used for 9clean energy). So that seems to fit with where the future was headed. In fact Ames and Shane had it contained to between 7-8 hours which is way longer than the few milliseconds other scientists had managed. Carlos asks if it could be sabotaged and Shane says it might be possible. Kiera is checking him out with her CMR as he talks and notes some spikes in his heart rate when he says the backups of all the files on the project are gone. Oh boy.

In a rough neighborhood, Garza and Sonya knock on a biker thug’s door and then beat the crap out of hi m and his buddy so the gang can get a new place to operate from. I guess a pot house works for them. Kagame wakes up in the hospital and promptly breaks out. He’s got better things to do and places to be.

Kier and Carlos share their theories about what Shane was lying about as they go check out one of the groups that threatened Ames. The leader of the group is a guy named Vincent (played by the actor who played Vincent on Eureka). He’s against the use of clean energy for violence and to be weaponized. And he also gives our duo another lead; Melissa Dobeck, Ames’ former partner. We cut to Kellogg betting big on the Leafs for an upcoming game as he’s walking around with the girl (who we later learn is his grandmother). He promises that nothing icky is going on, he just wants to pay her dad’s kindness forward. Sometimes I just want to hug him so bad. And then of course he goes and buys a yacht.

Kiera comes at Professor Dobeck rather hard during their questioning. She goes as far as to accuse her of sabotaging the devise and stealing the files. It doesn’t seem to rattle Dobeck too badly. Carlos ends up in a snit when the DOD takes over the investigation. He thinks Kiera was somehow responsible for getting him booted from the case. She asks him to give her a little time to find another way back into the case. Kiera confronts Shane again and has Alec check who’s been texting Shane. Meanwhile, Kagame is out in the world and caught on tape. News outlets are airing a report about him wandering away from the hospital. So now both the cops and Liber8 know he’s out there and are looking for him. As Kier and Carlos are canvassing, Alec gets an interesting piece of news about Melissa Dobeck. She had filed a challenge to Ames’ patents and then withdrawn it as part of settlement. And she all but confirms she was in a relationship with Shane thanks to some clever questioning by Kiera and Carlos. Oops. She shouldn’t have done that.

Shane admits (after Carlos and Kiera put some pressure on him) to killing Ames alone. But we all know Melissa had a hand in it. Meanwhile, Kagame is at a Buddhist temple and he has a flash forward to a peaceful rally at the temple where he is giving a speech about fighting for freedom. The rally is broken up by the authorities and he’s taken out as a little boy is dragged away. I have to believe it was his son. Anyway, about the time Alec gives Kiera Kagame’s location, the cops get it too and so it’s a race to find him before Travis and company. It ends up being a standoff. Travis and the girls have a mother and baby at gunpoint. They’ll hand them over if Kiera release Kagame. She obviously has no choice. So now their numbers grow.

Back at the precinct, Carlos is still grumpy about not catching Kagame. But hey, they prevented a public bloodbath so there’s that. Alec calls Kiera with the news that Melissa has booked a one-way ticket to Costa Rica and she has a second back up of Ames’ research. So Kiera is off to intercept her. Kiera is ready to arrest her and take the really massive external hard drive with the research on it until she realizes that Melissa is going to be a world renowned scientist, responsible for creating clean fusion energy in the future. Thanks to her partnership with Sadtech in the future, there’s no more central reactor which means no easy target for the bad guys.

Kiera gets home to find Alec has broken in and found her suit. He is pretty excited to get to work on it though he doesn’t know how long it will take to repair. But he thinks it is pretty messed up that she let Melissa go all because of how she’s going to be. And in a rather nice house, Kagame tells the rest of the group that war is coming and they are going to be the instigators.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Graceland 1.04: "Pizza Box"

“You know what your problem is? You’ve got quarterback syndrome. You don’t think any of us can with if you’re not leading the charge.”
- Charlie

We begin with Charlie doing a voice over. She’s telling a story to Jakes, Mike and Johnny about her ancestor from Italy who was making a Ragu sauce during the Inquisition and that after three days the sauce was finally done. Meanwhile, we see the cops bust a marijuana drug deal where Paige was buying Mike is still texting Abby 9the girl he met at the bar) and Johnny rags on him about his girlfriend. Briggs pops in to tell Mike they got a call from Eddie. Bello wants another meeting. I didn’t realize the storylines would be so intertwined week to week. Honestly, I thought it would be more a case of the week type of show not quite so serial. Obviously serial isn’t a bad thing. I just wasn’t expecting it.

Speaking of Paige, she’s rather grumpy the next day because the DEA won’t let her go after a pot farmer. It turns out Jakes had some dealings with her on one of his own undercover assignments. He won’t set Paige up as a dealer though because his contacts were Latin. So now Johnny gets roped in. Charlie is airbrushing his tattoos and starts asking him about his backstory. She questions him basically calling out one group and Johnny says he’ll be fine since it’s got truth to it. Mike and Briggs meet up with Bello and the relationship gets deeper. Briggs gets sent off while Bello and Mike chat. Bello wants Mike to teach his guys to shoot. Sounds like things could get very messy.

Briggs is having a bit of a huff that Mike is in with Bello and it was Briggs’ case to begin with. Charlie rightly tells him that he’s being kind of a pain in the ass and that he thinks the rest of them can’t act unless he’s running things. But he mans up enough to support mike and tell him that he’s gotta step up his game. Mike goes to Bello and does a bit of a stall by saying they won’t be shooting that day. Instead, he’s going to show Bello’s guys (who Mike is surprised to learn are American) how to disassemble, clean and reassemble their weapons before firing. Briggs is actually kind of proud of Mike for that. I really have to say Mike is good at being an undercover agent, even if it really wasn’t what he wanted to do.

Meanwhile, Johnny is making things difficult for Paige and Jakes. He acts all pissed and disrespected by the pot farmer. She’s not sure she wants to do business with him either but Jakes promises that Johnny will be cool. So she invites them up to her farm and says that maybe she can help them out. The next day, Jakes, Johnny and Paige (in a separate care with backup) head out to the farm. It’s a long drive and Johnny is still messing around acting like it’s just a game and he’s gotta be the street thug. Jakes is just angry because he knows this woman is dangerous. She lit six rival growers on fire once. Yeah, I kind of have to side with Jakes on this one. Johnny is being a little too cavalier right now. Things don’t seem to be going to well when they get there. All they see are vegetables. The pot is in a barn but she can’t show them until the morning. She’s being all flirty with both Jakes and Johnny and Paige decides to call the op off. Johnny isn’t giving up though. Even if he has to sleep with her (good thing he got fake tattoos all over his body), he’s going to get her for illegal pot growing (apparently it’s not completely legal out in California).

Mike finally gets to call Abby back and they agree to go for drinks the next night (after the sauce extravaganza at Graceland). Eddie followed him and threatens him but Mike gets the upper hand and threatens him right back. If Mike ever sees Eddie following him again, he’ll take his other eye. Briggs and Charlie are a little freaked out by Mike’s story but they decide to use it to their advantage. It’s clear Bello didn’t send Eddie so they use the rift between them to nail Bello. They have Charlie drag in Eddie and Paige reprises her role as the rival ganger’s girlfriend. They offer Eddie a bus ticket out of town. Mike is concerned that since the FBI really is telling Bello that Eddie is talking to them, it means Eddie is going to end up in a body bag. Briggs doesn’t seem to see it that way. I agree with Mike here. It seems risky just to get some criminals off the street.

The next morning, Johnny (having slept with the pot farmer) sneaks into the barn and starts snapping pictures. But some of his tattoo came off on the sheets and she and some of her guys bust in with machine guns. Jakes and Paige are on the way and Jakes gets dragged to the barn. Paige, in a rather awesome rescue attempt which reminds me of a scene in Torchwood where Jack busts into a barn on a huge tractor, busts in and starts shooting. The pot farmer threatens to blow Jakes’ brains out but Johnny knocks her unconscious with a pale. Nice save.

Everyone’s at home waiting for Charlie to unveil the sauce when Mike gets a text from Bello. The rest of the gang is not happy that he and Briggs have to go (they were ragging on Mike for calling pot marijuana). Things really take a turn when a couple of Bello’s guys drag Eddie out. He insists that the FBI made up lies that he was working with the other gang. Bello lets Eddie go and takes Mike’s gun. Bello gives Eddie two options. We don’t hear them but I can guess and I think it went something like either I kill you or you shoot yourself. And Eddie does blow his own brains out. Mike is kind of shell shocked and he begs out his date with Abby. He gets home to do the dishes and Briggs offers to help. I don’t think Briggs gets that Mike hasn’t been in the field and hasn’t seen someone blow their head off. It’s traumatizing. As Mike insists he wants to be alone, we see him start to clean the dishes while trying not to break down. I feel bad for Mike. He didn’t ask for any of this.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Lost Girl 1.04: "Faetal Attraction"

“Mass destruction and two dead Furies. That’s quite a Friday.”

“Faetal Attraction” implemented an interesting connection between the case of the week and the drama going on in Bo’s personal life. This isn’t a note that the show tried to strike before, so it was an interesting change. As Bo and Dyson deal with the fall-out of their break-up, Bo inadvertently takes on a case that demonstrates how crazy things can get when love goes sour in the Fae world. I definitely appreciated the care it took to align the personal drama and the case. Not all procedurals do that. I definitely consider “Lost Girl” to be a sort of supernatural procedural with significant mythology elements, so the care taken to deepen the characters and the mythology (not something all procedurals really bother to do), is what makes it worth watching.

As I already mentioned, this episode largely revolves around the fall-out from the Bo and Dyson break-up. Bo is moping, and Kenzi convinces her to go out for a girls’ night. Of course, the logical place to go for said girls’ night is the Dal, since Bo can’t accidentally kill anyone with her magical succubus powers there. Meanwhile, Dyson is having some serious problems at work. He’s being too aggressive with suspects, and he gets in trouble for it. Since Dyson won’t say what is wrong, his boss basically tells him that he can go into therapy or turn in his badge. He chooses therapy, but he’s not very cooperative about it. He pretty much just sits on the couch and stares at the shrink. Well, he sits and stares when he’s not insulting the shrink, that is.

Anyway, as you might predict, Dyson eventually ends up at the Dal, too, which puts Bo into doing stupid things to make Dyson jealous mode. This guy had hit on Bo, saying he and his Fury wife wanted to have a threesome with her, and at first Bo brushed him off. As soon as Dyson enters the bar, though, Bo changes course and offers to go home with the couple. Dyson is suitably jealous as he sees Bo exit the bar, and Kenzi won’t so much as look at him. Bo enjoys her romp, and it provides her with some great healing energy, but the fun is going to come at a cost. The wife, Olivia, comes back to the apartment later for a chat with Bo. Apparently her husband, Samir, has been cheating on her with a woman named Jenny, and Olivia would like to hire Bo to kill Jenny.

Bo, of course, being a decent fae, refuses to kill Jenny. This seriously pisses Olivia off, and after Olivia leaves, Bo realizes that Olivia is probably going to kill Jenny herself. Bo, of course, rushes to Jenny’s apartment to save the day. It’s quite a fight, with each of the fae trying to use their special power against each other. As a Fury, Olivia’s eyes can glow orange and basically make somebody brain damaged. She tries to do this to Bo, but Bo wins the fight by turning a toaster on Olivia so Olivia’s sees her own reflection. It seriously addles Olivia’s brain, but Bo hightails it out of there with Jenny. Jenny, once she’s safely at the apartment, wants to see Samir, so Bo goes to get him (and save him from Olivia’s fury too, I’d think). Unfortunately, Bo is too late. She finds Samir at his home, beheaded.

The beheading gets the light fae involved in the whole ordeal. Dyson and Hale manage to finally capture Olivia by using Hale’s siren powers to lure her into their van. Then they transport her to light fae HQ so that Lauren can take care of her. Dyson then has to pay a visit to Bo, because the Ash wants to see her. A dead fae has turned up (Samir), so the Ash wants to know what happened. Bo goes to see how Olivia is doing in the light fae HQ sickbay, and she explains to both Lauren and the Ash that she most certainly did not kill Samir. Unfortunately (sort of), Olivia is never going to be able to corroborate Bo’s story. She dies in the sickbay from her injuries.

Back at the apartment, Bo has to tell Jenny that Samir is dead, and to say that Jenny doesn’t take this well would be an understatement. She’s inconsolable. Bo decides to use a little of her succubus mojo to help Jenny, which turns out to be a very bad idea. Jenny starts crushing on Bo a bit, and at first, Bo is cool with it, but she doesn’t realize just how dangerous Jenny can be. Bo thinks it’s a harmless crush that can be managed by just trying to treat Jenny gently (emphasizing that Jenny can only stay at the apartment temporarily), but Jenny turns out to be quite obsessive. While Bo is out of the apartment, Jenny decides to kidnap Kenzi.

Jenny takes Kenzi to a warehouse, and just as Bo is about to try to rescue Kenzi, more trouble shows up. Olivia’s two sisters, being Furies, are willing to go to extreme lengths to avenge their sister’s death, and they show up at the warehouse when Bo does. They want to kill Bo, because they think she killed Olivia. It turns out that Jenny never actually had a relationship with Samir. She’s a serial killer who gets obsessive about people romantically, and when they don’t reciprocate sufficiently, she beheads them. She’s so devastated about Bo not returning her affection that she has set up a bomb in the warehouse, and she’s got her finger on the trigger. Bo is trying to talk Jenny down when the Fury sisters arrive. One attacks Bo and the other attacks Jenny. While the Furies are occupied, Bo and Kenzi manage to get free of the warehouse, and Bo makes the decision to just leave the Furies in there with Jenny and the bomb. Jenny sets off the bomb, and the warehouse goes up in flames as Bo and Kenzi run to Dyson’s car.

Summer DVR Dump: Merlin 5.04: "Another's Sorrow"

“Tell me Merlin. If you were me, if you were in my shoes would you do any different?”
- Arthur

We happen upon a smoldering castle that belongs to Princess Mithien and her father (she was at one point betrothed to Arthur but they couldn’t go through with it). Morgana and Odin, one of Arthur’s oldest enemies (Arthur killed Odin’s son a while ago and Odin was responsible for Uther’s death) are going to use Mithien to get to Arthur. Odin can pillage the castle and surrounding land as he pleases while Morgana uses his army to take her rightful place as the figurehead of Camelot. And Odin can do with Arthur as he wishes. She really has no love for her brother. It’s sad how far she’s fallen.

Mithien and her old maid ride to Camelot and arrive in the middle of the night. She’s weak and exhausted but will live. Arthur seems rather frustrated by the situation. He can sense something has happened but he just doesn’t know what. The maid refuses to leave Mithien’s side and we soon learn that it is in fact Morgana and she’s using some kind of shape shifting or aging magic but it is beginning to tire her out. But she still has strength enough to threaten Mithien if she doesn’t convince the knights of her story. So the following morning, Mithien tell a tale of ambush and night attacks by Odin. She says Arthur is her only hope (last I checked Excalibur was not in fact a light saber) and that her father is on the border of the lands hiding out from Odin’s men.

Arthur, of course, agrees to help and he and his knights set a plan in motion to go rescue her father before Odin even knows they’re there. That evening, Merlin delivers a sleeping draught to Mithien and he just gets a bad sense that there’s something not right between her and her maid. Gaius tries to wave it off as trauma from Odin’s attack but Merlin still isn’t’ convinced. And Gwen is concerned about Arthur’s true motives for helping Mithien. She questions whether in fact he’s going so he can have a shot at getting revenge on Odin for killing Uther. She’s got a point. The bad blood between these two families is kind of epic. Later, Mithien spies Morgana sending a message via crow to Odin about Arthur’s plan. Odin gloats to her father I their little hide-y hole of a tomb in the forest. He’s quite excited to be luring Arthur to his death.

Mithien tries to make a break for it to warn Arthur about her faux maid by pulling a bait and switch on a sleeping Morgana but it doesn’t work. The door doesn’t cloe4 all the way and Morgana wakes up. She dons her disguise and finds Mithien wandering the halls. She uses a bracelet Mithien is wearing to punish her by burning her. She stops in time to fool Gwen into thinking Mithien was just out for a walk because she’d been feeling faint. The next morning, Merlin tries to talk Arthur out of going because he feels like they’re missing something but it doesn’t sway the King’s decision. You know, when he said they were taking a small group of knights, I figured like 5 or 10…not 20. Anyway, the stop briefly to water the horses and get water for themselves when Merlin notices the burn on Mithien’s wrist. She lies and says it was from being bound by Odin’s men before escaping but Merlin doesn’t by it. They reach the border by nightfall and make camp and Merlin brings up his concern about his feeling again. They share a few words about Arthur’s intent on taking Odin out if he gets the chance. Merlin understands Arthur’s motivations. Their conversation is cut short by Mithien’s maid getting all weak and fain. Gaius checks her out but finds nothing wrong with her. In fact she is far healthier than anyone her age has a right to be. (Now you’re starting to catch on!).

In the morning, Arthur insists they still leave at sun-up, even though Leon tells him their riders have spotted way more of Odin’s men than they can take. He really is being stubborn about this. Mithien tries to alert Merlin to the fact her maid is Morgana by going down to the river to “wash” and then sending him to fill her water skin. Unfortunately, Morgana’s not stupid and she knocks Merlin out and chokes him. I know he needs to keep his magic secret from Arthur, but you would think he could use it against Morgana in self-defense. There’s no reason she would suddenly connect him with being Emrys just because he has magic. Anyway, Arthur makes the executive decision to charge ahead, leaving Gwaine to stand guard over Gaius as he tends to Merlin.

Gaius works a little magic of his own and it is just enough to wake Merlin up. He imparts the truth about Mithien’s maid to Gaius and takes off with Gwaine. They’re about an hour behind Arthur and company. And things are not looking good for him. Mithien is acting kind of skittish and she leads them to a tomb and deep within to the burial chamber. But her father is not there waiting for them. She backs into a corner as Odin’s men pour in and a small fight ensues but Arthur and Percival are out manned. Odin strides in all happy as you please, gloating about how he finally gets his revenge on Arthur for killing his son. Arthur is still confused as to why Mithien would lead him into a trap. It becomes clear when Morgana reveals herself.

Things may be looking dire for the knights of Camelot and their King, but between Merlin and Gwaine, they even the odds and get away, leaving Morgana to fume in her thwarted plan (once again). And in a shocking twist, Arthur doesn’t kill Odin. He realizes (thanks to Merlin) that there’s been enough bloodshed between them. They must seek peace between their kingdoms. And so a treaty is signed and Mithien’s father is returned to his thrown. Gwen is proud of her husband for choosing the harder path. Merlin’s not as thrilled as Gaius thinks he should be. Morgana’s power grows and while she still lives, Albion may still just be a pipedream.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Wonderfalls 1.02: "Pink Flamingos"

“You may be the universe’s butt puppet, but I’m its right hand fist of fate. And tonight? Accounts are coming due.”

In the second episode of “Wonderfalls,” Jaye starts to really have to come to terms with whether or not she wants to listen to the Muses. They’re telling her to do things that she really doesn’t want to do, and she’s starting to see some dire consequences when she disobeys. She sees the consequences early in the episode when her father is seriously injured, then she must figure out how she’s going to apply that lesson when she is roped into helping high school nemesis Gretchen Speck-Horowitz plan their 6.5 year high school reunion (Gretchen was a little anxious to flaunt her awesome life). Besides Jaye’s big dilemma, we also get some significant character development from Sharon, as she tries to advance her relationship with Beth, the delivery guy’s ex from the pilot, Mahandra, as she tries to plot revenge on Gretchen over Jaye’s objection, and Eric, as he’s just plain smitten by Jaye. Peppered in between all of this are little elements that we can now recognize today as things that make a Bryan Fuller television show a Bryan Fuller television show, from the rhythm of the dialogue to the horror movie homages.

A significant bit of the early part of this episode is spent exploring Jaye’s relationship with her dad. In fact, I think you could almost split this episode in two: the Jaye and her dad stuff and the Gretchen Speck-Horowitz and the reunion stuff. It has been so long since I’ve watched any episodes of Wonderfalls that weren’t “Wax Lion,” “Lovesick Ass,” or “Caged Bird” that I forgot about the father/daughter relationship set up in this one. Jaye and her dad are going out to breakfast for pancakes, and this appears to be something of a tradition for them. Jaye is waiting in the car while her dad brings the trashcans up from the base of the driveway when one of the Tylers’ pink lawn flamingoes tells her to “get off [her] ass.” Jaye checks with her dad to make sure he doesn’t need help, then decides to stay put. The car, however, has other ideas, and starts rolling backwards, resulting in Jaye’s dad breaking his leg.

The accident has Jaye thinking that she needs to listen to the muses and try to be nice to people, so when Gretchen breezes into the Barrel Bar and asks tells Jaye she needs help planning the upcoming high school reunion, Jaye reluctantly agrees. Mahandra is rather disgusted at this, because Gretchen made both their lives miserable throughout high school. Jaye can’t really believe she’s agreeing to help with the reunion either, but she’s worried that something horrible will happen again if she doesn’t play nice and go along with the Muses’ advice. Working on the reunion lets Jaye get to know Gretchen a bit more, and while there are aspects of her that are most definitely shallow (she seems to be married to her husband only because he got her a big ring), there seems to be more depth to her, too. She’s extremely upset when her husband says he’s not going to make it to the reunion, because she was really looking forward to showing him off. Jaye decides that she needs to help Gretchen by trying to get her husband to change his mind, so she calls him on Gretchen’s cell phone. Her husband is actually driving to Niagra as he’s speaking to Jaye, and the distracted driving results in a horrible car accident.

Throughout all of this, we see Sharon trying to negotiate the beginning of her potential new relationship with Beth. Beth is getting frustrated because Sharon isn’t out to her parents, so she keeps flaking on Beth when her dad needs something related to the accident. Eventually, Beth gives Sharon an ultimatum, and Sharon comes up with a rather devious idea. She’s going to drug her dad so that she and Beth can fool around in peace. Because fooling around at your parents’ house when you’re an adult always ends well. Sharon mixing the medicine in her dad’s food and delivering it is the vintage Bryan Fuller horror movie montage I referred to in the introduction. I’m not a huge horror movie buff, so I don’t know what movie it refers to, but the music and the highly stylized nature of that scene compared to the rest of the episode is a pretty good signal that the scene was meant as an homage to something. This doesn’t work out as planned, though. Darrin is drugged, alright, but in his drugged state, he wanders downstairs as Sharon and Beth are starting to make out. He just stares at them for a moment before he keeps on walking. He doesn’t seem to remember it the next day, but he does ask Jaye why the family cable package has a lesbian porn channel.

As the reunion is starting (which Jaye’s mom Karen was invited to, because in a kind of weird subplot, she was more popular at Jaye’s high school for all her chaperoning than Jaye was), Jaye gets new instruction from the Muses. The rooster on Gretchen’s school spirit hair barrette tells Jaye to destroy Gretchen. Jaye acts on this pretty quickly, which really confuses Mahandra, since Jaye had shocked Mahandra so much with the about face that it convinced Mahandra it was a bad idea to seek revenge. Jaye gets Eric to make the froofiest drink he can, and she marches right up to the stage, says “I destroy you” in a resigned monotone, and pours the drink on Gretchen’s dress. As she’s cleaning up, a classmate who had a crush on Gretchen in high school finally talks to her, and he asks her if she loves her husband. Gretchen realizes that she doesn’t, and she suddenly has her mojo back. As she puts it, she’s losing the hyphen and keeping the ring. Don’t feel too bad for her husband, though. One of the paramedics who responded to his car accident was the good Jewish girl of his dreams.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer DVR Dump: Continuum 1.03: "Wasting Time"

“We’re both survivors, Officer. We’ll never be allies but from time to time we may want the same thing. I’m looking for situations that are win-win.”
- Kellogg

We begin in the future this week with Kiera and her team on a raid. They think they’re hunting down Travis Berta (the cell’s present-time leader without Kagame). They find some random guy and Sonya Valentine (also members). This leads in Kiera giving a briefing to the Vancouver PD about the cell. The majority of the team is ex-military with aggression issues. Perhaps one of the most dangerous though is Sonya because she’s a master manipulator. Case in point, we see her crawling all over some guy long enough to distract him so she can shove a metal cylinder in his neck and extract something.

Meanwhile, at the Liber8 safe house, Travis isn’t doing very well. In fact it looks like he’s dying. And Kellogg makes that point quite clear to Garza. If Travis goes, Curtis is going to be jockeying for position and he doesn’t want any part of it. So he takes off and ends up in a café with Kiera (after she’s gotten some awkward stares talking to Alec while trying to pen a Bluetooth earpiece). Kellogg doesn’t share the other terrorists views on violence (despite holding a live grenade to get Kiera to listen to him0 and so maybe he and Kiera can help each other out He just wants to live in this time and enjoy it. He ducks out as Carlos arrives and they head to the morgue to check out the dead guy with the hole in his head. Carlos asks if it could be Sonya (since she was a doctor). Kiera doesn’t rule her out. She also ends up seeing one of the other dead terrorists and tells the lab guy to keep him in storage for her. They head off to chat with the ME and learn that the pituitary gland was extracted from both the guy we saw get killed and a younger guy the day before. Kiera drags Carlos off to find the missing link between the victims.

Back at the safe house, Lucas has hacked in and rerouted some kind of massive medical machine to the street where they’re hiding out. I guess it’s so Sonya can make whatever it is she needs to save Travis. Curtis is getting a little testy (well it doesn’t help that Kellogg is antagonizing him). Curtis confers with Travis and suggests they off Kellogg since he’s been breaking ranks and sneaking off. Though he may still be on their side as he takes over the computer Lucas was using to set up Kiera. He really has the most depth of all the terrorists, except maybe Kagame.

Meanwhile, Kiera tries to get Alec to run a database search for her but he gets called away to his stepdad’s little anti-corporation meeting (aka the precursor to Liber8). Alec thinks it’s a load of bull but he sits and listens because his mom gives him a look. He’s a little annoyed that his mom is left doing all the clean up all the time after the meetings but she says she doesn’t mind it and that if Alec wants his stepdad to respect Alec’s beliefs, he needs to do the same in return. Back at the precinct, Kiera is getting frustrated with the crappy computer system until Alec gets back to the barn and finds that both guys were paid by the same fertility clinic for their donations. Alec does a little digging on the clinic director and Kiera uses a breach of doctor/patient confidentiality from about a decade ago to twist his arm into giving up the files of his donors. Now they have to go through all 45 boxes of physical files. Joy. Alec, working his magic, spots that the two dead guys share a genetic mutation. So they have to look for that in all the rest and check for stolen medical equipment.

Speaking of, Liber8 got their stolen medical machine so they can synthesize the serum to save Travis. Kellogg has printed off something from the computer and sneaks off to grab a gun. Curtis corners him, demanding to know what he’s up to and even steals the paper (it has an address on it). So it looks like Curtis may be stealing Kellogg’s thunder. Kiera and Carlos have managed to track down all but one sperm donor with the mutation. The last guy lives at school (he’s a college student). Carlos almost gets Kiera to slip up when she starts to say what year she graduated college but she clams up before she blows her cover. They split up to find the last guy but Kiera quickly figures out he’s not there and they’ve been set up. Carlos realizes it too late. Curtis and Kellogg show up and a gun fight ensues (though Kellogg manages to duck out with only a few bruises). Kiera catches him and tags him so she can track him later. She also joins in on the fire fight and takes out Curtis.

It would seem that the whole thing was unnecessary since Sonya manages to save Travis. Kellogg gets back and the rest of the crew freak because of the tracker. He acts like he had no clue what it was (totally playing them) but things are about to get dicey for him. I have to say upon rewatch of this episode I realized that this really is the start of the Kiera/Kellogg relationship and that makes me a very happy viewer.

Carlos takes the fall for killing Curtis which was nice of him. Kiera really didn’t need the stress of an internal investigation on her shoulders. But she has worries still. Her suit is on the fritz thanks the Curtis electrocuting her so Alec has to track Kellogg for her. She finds him at the house and he’s tied to a chair. He promises he can help her and I mean come on, his own crew ditched him. So she can take a chance. She cuts him loose and as he gets up we hear the sound of something charging. With a quick flashback to the future, we find that when Kiera and her team arrested Sonya, the guy she was with was lying on a pressure triggered bomb signified by the same sound. So in the present she and Kellogg dive in the pool outside just as the thing blows. They part company for now and Kiera sneaks into evidence to retrieve the fragment of the time travel device. As she tells Alec, a girl has to have secrets.

Graceland 1.03: "Heat Run"

“Ilina no longer exists. This is life or death now. You choose.”
- Briggs

Episode 3 picks up right where the last episode ended. Mike and Briggs walk into the warehouse and Briggs pulls his gun on Mike, demanding to know who he’s been talking to. Mike says he’s been talking to no one but then Briggs relieves him of his gun. Mike is obviously starting to panic a little until the lights turn on and Bello and his boys appear, guns drawn. Briggs starts feeding the guy a line about how the only new face is Mike and so he must have tipped the other gang off about the ammo exchange. Mike runs with it and gets Bello to believe it wasn’t him and it looks like Eddie is going to take the fall. As Mike and Briggs drive off, Briggs is pretty impressed with Mike’s skills. Mike is still panicking. And he has to continue to lie when Briggs starts to probe about what Mike was really going to say.

That night, Charlie brings out something called Zombie drink which sounds just awful. But they’re celebrating Mike’s latest accomplishment and supposedly it mellows you out, too. The party doesn’t get far because Charlie gets an urgent text from one of her CIs, Whistler. He’s a meth head and she thinks he’s okay. Paige isn’t too fond of him, though. Upstairs, Lauren still isn’t letting Donnie go, even though he’s been reassigned to Miami. She thinks that it’s only the one guy in the Russian mob who wants him dead so if she nails him, then maybe Donnie can come back. Yeah, she’s definitely got more than just partner feelings for this guy. Briggs agrees to help and recruits Johnny and Mike for the op the following morning. Supposedly the Russians are high jacking some stolen cars. Mike meets up with Juan before the op and Juan isn’t too happy with the lack of detail in Mike’s latest report. Mike has a point though. He’s trying to investigate his roommate undercover and he doesn’t know why. Juan explains that Briggs doesn’t make much and they want to know how he lives to see if he’s skimming. I’m guessing that’s not all they’re concerned about with Briggs’ activities.

Charlie heads off to meet Whistler and she finds him in his garage carving a doll house for his niece. He’s visibly jumpy and shaky but he denies being on anything. He tells Charlie that a big drug guy is looking for some product and Whistler can convince him that he and Charlie can hook him up so that the government can take this guy down,. The truck op goes horribly awry however. They spot the truck coming up the road and they’ve got spikes to cut the tires but based on the speed and position of the chasse, it’s clear the truck isn’t carrying anything as heavy as cars. Unfortunately, Laruen, single minded as she is, busts out in her DEA Flak jacket with her badge and gun and stops the truck. Yeah, I’m thinking if you’re trying to catch the Russians, letting them know you’re DEA is not the best way to do that.

Not surprising, Lauren doesn’t listen when Briggs tells her that her cover is done and that she can’t go back to the Russians now because the driver saw her face and her badge. She really just isn’t thinking straight. But she gets in and out with the Russians fast enough not to be spotted by the driver and the find out where they’re keeping the cars. It seems the Russians are going forward with the plan regardless of the fact the FBI and DEA are now trying to stop them.

Johnny, Paige, Jakes and Mike are out at the bar and they’re explaining the finer points of picking up dates while undercover. The key is apparently to pick something they know nothing about so they won’t ask too many questions and find out too much info. Mike tries picking up a woman but his in about being a golfer doesn’t go well because her dad was a golfer. And it turns out she sort of dated Briggs at point (he’s just showed up at the bar). So Mike’s first attempt goes south and Briggs (who has been off meditating) is covering Mike’s tab. This sets off some alarm bells in Mike’s head and he’s going to keep a close eye on his mentor. Meanwhile, Charlie’s bust is going down. Things start going sideways when Whistler starts trying to negotiate a higher price (so he gets a bigger cut). Charlie barely saves it and Jakes and company bust them.

The next day, Charlie goes back to see Whistler and cuts him loose as her CI. His whole trying to up the price thing nearly blew the operation and her bosses can’t have that anymore. She tells him to go to rehab but he’s resistant. Guess he can always spend his $100,000 on more meth. Meanwhile, Lauren comes home with a black eye courtesy of the Russian mob guy (or so she says). Briggs is kind of in big brother mode now and he saddles up with the rest of the gang to hit the warehouse. Lauren tells the guys that there are only 4 men inside but there are way more and Johnny ends up getting cut. But they take the crew down and Briggs has a little convo with the Russian. He’s about to beat the crap out of him when he notices there’s no bruises or broken skin on the guy’s hands as one would expect if you punched someone in the face. So Briggs backs down.

The Graceland gang, minus Lauren, is at the bar chilling and celebrating when Briggs flips out on a guy for trying to hit on Charlie and she tells him to back off. After playing matchmaker with a cute brunette and Mike, Paige drags Briggs home and they have a chat about why the Russian didn’t kill Lauren if he found out she was a fed. They come to the conclusion that they used the lo jacks that had been on the cars on Lauren. Now they’re worried that she’s going to lead them straight back to Graceland. Frankly, my first thought was she somehow punched herself in the eye to convince Briggs to let the operation continue so she could nail the guy. My second thought was the Russians somehow turned her.

It seems at least Mike had a nice night with the cute brunette. They spend some time walking on the beach and something tells me we haven’t seen the last of her. Things go downhill for the rest of the episode, however. Paige drags Mike the beach with the pretense of playing Frisbee. They find a GPS tracker under Lauren’s car. She gets pulled from Graceland and it turns out I was partly right. She had someone hit her so that Briggs would act. He’s pissed about that but he tells that she might get lucky and be reassigned to Miami. Charlie brings Whistler to a house that can be his (and he can work on it and stay clean). All he has to do is call the realtor, pay the fee (aka the $100,000 check). She drives by the next day and sees a different family has bought the house. Mike does a search for the credit card number he got off Briggs’s card the night at the bar and goes to an auto supply store and finds out that Briggs bought the GPS unit. He set up Lauren because she’d nearly burnt the house and he’d do it again to any of the other agents to keep the house safe.

I have to say, I like this show more when it focuses on other people instead of just Mike and Briggs. I really like Charlie and Johnny and Paige is growing on me, too. I’m not that sad to see Lauren go. She was too obsessed with Donnie. I hope that the tension with Briggs and Mike doesn’t too long. If they draw it out all season (even if that is only 13 episodes) it will get kind of boring.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Lost Girl 1.03: "Oh Kappa, My Kappa"

“Yeah, it’s part of Kenzi’s grand plan to commodify my freakhood.”

“Oh Kappa, My Kappa” was another good mix of case of the week and mythology, although it was a little heavier on case of the week than last week’s episode. We also got our first dose of real soapiness from “Lost Girl,” with some significant Bo and Dyson drama. The only thing that would have made it soapier would have been if Lauren had been involved, too. I also thought this episode did a decent job of portraying college without being too hokey, especially since this is a Canadian show. Something sinister connected to a fraternity or sorority just seems to be a theme that supernatural shows like “Lost Girl” and “Buffy” have to use at least once. Other than Bo’s rather ridiculous “SECURITY” tight t-shirt, I liked this episode’s take on it. It was a way to introduce us as viewers to the potential for a somewhat lighter side to what Bo and Kenzi do. Granted, a sorority pledge chained in a pit with a monster isn’t exactly light, but Bo and Kenzi’s adventures on the way to saving her were.

Early in this episode, we see that Kenzi has stepped up her game in trying to build a supernatural private investigator business for herself and Bo. She’s got pamphlets and everything. The pamphlet’s exaggerate Bo’s credentials, which embarrasses Bo a bit, but Kenzi reminds her that they really do need some money. Kenzi’s move pays off, as they quickly are contacted by a potential client. The client is a woman whose daughter, Gina, is a student at Locksley College and has gone missing. Locksley administration isn’t taking the case seriously, but the woman swears that Gina must be in trouble, because she has wanted to be in a sorority since she was a little girl, and she is close to being initiated into Kappa Theta Xi. Full disclosure, both Sarah and I were Greek in college, but I really don’t think either of us had that dream since childhood. It’s a little weird. Bo’s first move on the case is, of course, talking to Dyson. Dyson sets up Bo and Kenzi with their undercover identities. Bo is going to be a campus security guard, and Kenzi is going to be a Kappa Theta Xi pledge.

Even though she’s completely dreading it, and she’s rather Goth in “real” life, Kenzi fits in as a sorority pledge surprisingly well. All she needs is a blonde wig, and she’s in character. The Kappa girls seem happy to have her. They’re taking Gina’s disappearance personally (they think she didn’t want to become a Kappa), so they’re excited about having a legacy (Kenzi says her grandmother was a Kappa) to take her spot. Kenzi grins through being shown her bed in a very girly room, and she uses some quick thinking in volunteering to take Gina’s box of stuff on the bed to Locksley administration. This gives her a chance to snoop, obviously. Kenzi starts to fit in with sorority life even more during a Kappa “girl’s night” which is really just an opportunity for the sisters to use a beer bong to get really, really drunk. Kenzi sees that the door to the basement is blocked off as for “Actives only,” so she figures Gina must be down there. She tries to snoop, but she gets caught, so she has to go back to the party.

Bo, meanwhile, is using her Security status and her succubus powers to do some snooping of her own. While walking some of the trails on campus, Bo discovers a sinkhole, which makes her wonder if there are tunnels around campus. Consultation of some very old looking maps confirms that there are indeed, and Gina is likely in one of them. We know, and Bo doesn’t, that Gina is indeed underground in a chamber with a lake. In the lake is this really ugly looking creature that is chained up. Gina’s chained up too, just out of reach of the creature. She’s not at all happy about it, either. Which is completely understandable. At this pont, it’s reasonable to think that this is the work of the Kappas, and that’s exactly the conclusion that Bo and Kenzi reach. They snoop around the Dean’s office, and Kenzi recognizes that a photo she saw in the Kappa house was of the Dean. Apparently she (the Dean) was a big time Kappa back in the day. This makes Bo and Kenzi even more convinced that the Dean and the Kappas are behind Gina’s disappearance. Even more damning is that Bo and Kenzi found a list of numbers in the Dean’s office that just happen to correspond to the university IDs of a bunch of Locksley students who have gone missing over the years.

The Kappas really want Kenzi to come to an event the next night, and Kenzi is convinced it’s going to be some mass sacrifice to the underground creature. The plan is that Kenzi is going to enter the underground lair from the Kappa house during the party, and Bo is going to use another entrance that she found in the woods. There’s a rather obvious attempt to subvert expectations here, as Kenzi is greeted by an initiation party at the Kappa house, not some crazy sacrifice ritual. Bo is the one who is in trouble. As she reaches the entrance in the woods, the head security guard (her boss) tasers her and drags her down to the underground lake with Gina. Kenzi senses something is wrong when Bo doesn’t answer her phone, so she calls Dyson for back-up. Things then go from bad to worse when they discover the Dean murdered in her office. It’s obvious at that point that the head security guard is the culprit here. Eventually, with a little help from Bo, they are, however, able to mount a daring rescue and kill the lake creature and the head security guard. Oh, and to accomplish this, Dyson wolfed out (guess he’s a werewolf?), which Kenzi thinks is the greatest thing ever.

Running through all this plot of the week is some Dyson/Bo relationship drama. They’re pretty happy and smitten at the beginning of the episode when they’re post-coital, and even for a while after that. They’re pretty cutesy with each other at the Dal, and Trick takes notice. So does a rather slutty waitress, who promptly tries to hit on Dyson. Dyson brushes the waitress off, but Trick most definitely notices Dyson and Bo kissing (Dyson wanted to give Bo a little extra strength before the big rescue attempt). Trick takes Dyson aside after Bo leaves the Dal. It turns out that Dyson and Trick know more about Bo’s origins than they are willing to tell Bo, and Trick warns Dyson that it could get ugly once Bo learns this. Trick thinks it’s best if Dyson remain emotionally unattached right now. Dyson heeds Trick’s advice, and when Bo goes to see him at the Dal once all the Kappa excitement is over, she finds him making out with the slutty waitress. Dyson mumbles about how they had both agreed they weren’t serious, and Bo looks shocked, because she knows for darn sure that Dyson is lying.

Summer DVR Dump: Merlin 5.03: "The Death Song of Uther Pendragon"

“You have always done what you thought to be right, even if you knew your father would disapprove of it. Do you not see how different you are from him? Camelot’s become a better place since you became King.”
- Merlin

Arthur and Merlin are on their way back from an unsuccessful day of hunting (thanks to Merlin coming down with a cold) when they hear a woman screaming. They happen upon a village where a woman is about to be burned at the stake. Arthur handily puts a stop to it, pulling the “I’m King…and I’m not my father” card. The woman dies that night as the boys tend to her but she passes on a gift, a horn that can summon the spirits of the dead. Gaius (really only good for info dumps these days which is rather sad) explains that the High Priestesses used to use the horn to summon their ancestors and it was smuggled away from the isle of the Blessed during the Great Purge. That evening just so happens to be the anniversary of Arthur’s coronation and Uther’s death. He’s rather melancholy about the whole thing and ends up ordering Merlin to get supplies and horses for a secret mission.

They arrive at the sacred stone outcropping that the High Priestesses used to commune with the dead and Arthur plans to do the same with his father. I was excited to have Tony Head back, even for just one episode, and he is Uther at his best. Arthur goes in thinking he’ll have a lovely chat with Dad and instead gets berated for the choices he’s made. Uther’s spirit believes Arthur’s choice to make common men knights and marrying for love make Arthur weak and that relying on others is also weakness and he’ll never be respected by the people if they don’t fear him. Really, Uther is just a big jealous baby that Arthur is so well liked by the people. But the conversation shakes Arthur a bit. He starts to doubt himself, despite Merlin telling him otherwise. Upon their return to Camelot, things start going wonky. During a council meeting, all the doors in the chamber burst open of their own accord and the chandelier falls to the table with a crash and cloud of dust (my first thought was they need someone to clean that thing more often). Merlin is starting to get worried about this but Arthur just brushes it off.

It turns out Merlin is right. The chandelier is only the beginning. That evening as the knights are getting out of their armor, Percival is left to finish up by himself. A shield falls to the ground and as he goes to investigate, an axe falls on his shoulder. He’s lucky he didn’t lose the arm. So obviously Uther’s spirit is taking a crack at Arthur’s council and his common knights. Arthur refuses to believe his father has anything to do with this. Gaius explains that if one were to look back as the veil between the worlds closed, it would unleash the spirit. Good job, Arthur!

Next, of course, the crotchety old bastard goes after Gwen. She’s walking down a corridor and pretty soon, things are flying all around her, forcing her towards the kitchens. She ducks into the kitchens just in time to avoid being impaled by a spear. But there are plenty more projectiles for Uther to play with where she is and she gets knocked out and a fire starts. Merlin is out walking when he sees the smoke. He manages to get in and rescue Gwen but she’s got some smoke inhalation issues. With rest, she’ll be fine. Arthur is still being stubborn about not believing it could be Uther’s spirit. He really is dim sometimes. Everything his father hates bout what he’s done in Camelot has just been attacked and threatened. He’s got some blinders on when it comes to his particular daddy issues (unlike Morgana who is clearly bat shit about hating their father). But as he stares at his unconscious wife, Arthur gives in and asks about ghosts. Gaius (ever the info dump) tells him they have to force Uther back to the spirit realm using the horn. Of course they need to be able to see him first. So as Gaius mixes up a potion, Merlin and Arthur hang out in Arthur’s chambers.

The hunt for ghoul-y Uther is actually rather amusing. There’s some shadow play which gives Colin and Bradley plenty of comedic beats to play and as they walk about they run into Leon. They need a cover story for why they’re wandering about the castle so late at night and Merlin comes up with poetry. Leon laughs but leaves them to it. Arthur glares at Merlin who then retorts that he didn’t know what else to say. Arthur of course would prefer he used something that didn’t make him look like a love-struck teenage girl. I liked that even with all the crazy ghost stuff going on, this episode felt a lot lighter than it could have. I really think the two leads have become so comfortable with each other after five years and they’re allowed to just riff (in character of course).

There is a bit of a somber tone to their search as Arthur laments the fact he’s hunting his father and he always just wanted to make papa proud. Merlin points out that Arthur has always done what he thought was right, even if Uther wouldn’t like it. And Camelot is a much better place for it. The conversation is cut short when Arthur spots his father’s spirit. Arthur follows him to the throne room where they have another heart to heart and Arthur actually grows a pair. He says he’d rather not rule Camelot at all than rule it alone like Uther did. So Uther’s solution is to knock his son unconscious and kill him. Nice guy. Really.

Merlin steps in and finally gets to say some much needed things to Uther. He reveals hi magic and even sends Uther’s spirit flying through a door. And then he makes the bonehead mistake of going into the weapons room. With all the pointy spears and what not. He gets stuck on two (they pin his coat to the wall) and Uther is about to do him in when Arthur races to the rescue, blowing the horn and dispatching Uther’s spirit before he can spill the beans on Merlin. It would seem things are getting back to normal in Camelot as Arthur prepares for a day of training and comes to the conclusion that he can’t always please his father. We end on a somewhat comedic beat where Merlin smacks Arthur on the head with a glove (Arthur says he doesn’t hit Merlin, it’s just friendly slaps and horseplay) and Arthur then puts on said glove and makes a fist, intent on showing Merlin how to do it right.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Wonderfalls 1.01: "Wax Lion"

“Are you Satan? Are you God? Okay, if you don’t say something in the next five seconds, I’m going to assume you’re Satan.”

For my second TV Rewind of the summer, I’ll be covering one of my very favorite short-lived shows, Bryan Fuller’s “Wonderfalls.” One of two modern adaptations of Joan of Arc to premiere on television in 2004 (the other was the longer-lived “Joan of Arcadia”), “Wonderfalls” follows the adventures of Brown philosophy major turned tourist trap gift shop cashier Jaye Tyler (Caroline Dhavernas). Jaye has crafted herself a simple life of low expectations that she says is perfectly satisfying, but her family doesn’t quite believe it. She lives in a (pretty awesomely decorated) trailer at the High and Dry Trailer Park, and she works at Wonderfalls, the aforementioned Niagra Falls gift shop. Jaye’s family is rather intolerable at first but warms as the show progresses, and best friend Majandra and love interest Eric are wonderful partners in snark for Jaye. Jaye is rather (endearingly) prickly, and when an accident (we’ll get to that) makes her start hearing inanimate animal-shaped objects talking to her, paranoia that she’s gone crazy takes the prickliness to a new level. Worse yet, the animals (called Muses) are trying to make her be nice. It’s a crazy set-up that could only come from the mind of Bryan Fuller.

As I mentioned way back in the early days of the blog in 2009, Wonderfalls is a favorite show primarily because I identify so strongly with Jaye. She is an extremely well-drawn character. While Jaye appears to revel in her self-created life of laziness and low expectations, there’s a lack of self-confidence bubbling just under the surface. We’ll see this most starkly in the series finale when she cries to her sister, “Why can’t I have nice things?” For now, though, the story is just beginning. Jaye’s already low self-confidence is about to take another jolt, as she begins to believe she’s going crazy. The story begins with Jaye at work, staring at the “Maid of the Mist” video (yes, video…actual VHS…how awesome is that?). She tells a kid the Maid of the Mist story, which involves a Native American princess going over the falls to appease a god, and the god thinking she was hot and letting her stay in a cave.

The reason the Maid of the Mist story is important is because there is a statute of her right outside Wonderfalls that overlooks a fountain. One day while eating lunch, in a comical series of events that begins with chocking on a bit of her sandwich, Jaye comes across an especially shiny quarter. She throws it over her shoulder towards the Maid of the Mist fountain. It bounces off the statute, then off of Jaye’s head before landing in the water. The incident is the beginning of Jaye hearing the voices of the muses. Later that day, a customer complains that the wax lion machine made a smushed faced lion. Also, Jaye didn’t give her the hotel discount. Alec, the new mouthbreather high school student assistant manager (played by the awesome Neil Grayston, most recently of Syfy’s “Eureka” says Jaye has to give the woman her money back, but the wax lion disagrees. Jay disobeys the Wax Lion, and the woman’s purse is stolen. Later, Jaye follows additional instructions from the Wax Lion through a complex series of events and finds the woman’s purse in a trash can.

Much of this episode is devoted to meeting the cast of characters that populate Jaye’s life. Jaye’s parents are very straight edge and are extremely concerned both by her lifestyle and the “’sodes” she has started having. Jaye’s siblings, brother Aaron (the amazing Lee Pace) and sister Sharon (the also amazing Katie Finneran) area also high achieving, Aaron a religious studies grad student and Sharon an immigration lawyer. We don’t see Aaron much in this one, although we’ll see much more of him in the later episodes of the season. Sharon features much more heavily in this one. There’s a Muse-catalyzed sequence of events involving the package delivery guy, his ex-wife, and Sharon which leads to Jaye discovering that Sharon is a lesbian. The funniest part of this sequence of events is when Sharon tries to give the package delivery guy an emergency tracheotomy with a pen. Jaye had set them up on a date, and the package delivery guy had accidentally eaten peanuts (he’s allergic) in his salad.

We also meet the two non-family main players in Jaye’s life, both of whom work at the Barrel Bar (as in over the falls in a barrel). There’s Jaye’s best friend Mahandra, played by the amazing (are you sensing a theme here?) Tracie Thoms, who is a server at the Barrel Bar. Jaye, while she gets more to do down the line, spends most of this episode trying to convince Jaye that she’s not crazy, even after Jaye admits to hearing the voices of the Muses. Then there’s Eric, the hot new bartender. Oh Eric. So naïve and so pretty. Eric is from New Jersey, and he originally came to Niagra Falls for his wedding to a woman named Heidi, who will eventually be played by the (yes, again) awesome Jewel Staite, but there’s somebody else playing her in the pilot. Heidi cheated on Eric with the bellhop during their honeymoon, and thus ended their extremely short marriage. Eric hasn’t managed to work up the motivation to go back to New Jersey, so he found the job at the Barrel Bar. He’s intrigued by Jaye and asks if she’s interested in being his rebound, but Jaye declines, on account of she thinks she’s crazy.

By the end of the episode, Jaye’s following the often cryptic instructions of the Muses has brought two couples together, Sharon and delivery guy’s ex, and delivery guy and a nurse from his hospital stay. Jaye’s mother has made Jaye go see her therapist, Dr. Ron, but changed her mind once Jaye stole Dr. Ron’s monkey book prop. Dr. Ron won’t see Jaye’s mom again until the monkey is returned, and Jaye’s mom can have none of that. Anyway, Jaye gains some faith in the muses (and humanity in general) after seeing how everything worked out, and when she gets a new instruction at the end of the episode (involving a woman who walks by with toilet paper stuck to her shoe), Jaye rushes off, trying to help someone again.

Summer DVR Dump: Continuum 1.02: "Fast Times"

“Not everything I do is going to make sense to you. But it is important. And I can’t do it without you.”
- Kiera

We start in the future, but not quite 2077. It is Kiera’s first day as a Protector and she’s getting her CMR installed and her fancy tech. Back in the present, Alec is messing with his connection end of things to firm it up and they discuss boundaries a little (Alec can see Kiera when she’s looking at herself in a reflective surface. And I mean yes, she’s an attractive woman and he’s a 17-year-old boy so there’s that. She gets to the station and completely forgets about the funeral for the officers slain by Liber8. Kiera meets the department’s resident geek, Betty, and assures Carlos that Betty has no competition from her. We know she’s married with a son but she can’t tell Carlos that so she lets him believe she’s gone through a recent break up. The Inspector (Carlos’s boss) calls him into a meeting with some suits and it’s starting to look a little sketchy for Kiera’s cover.

Meanwhile, Liber8 is busy preparing to return to their time. Everyone but Matthew Kellogg is on board with the plan. He wants to stay. He sees injustice and problems that they can help fix here and now. The corporations don’t have power and they can warn the current populace about what’s to come. Ultimately, the rest of the group votes to go home. I have to say, Kellogg is my favorite of the terrorists. It probably has something to do with how his character develops throughout the rest of the season. Anyway, the rest of Liber8 arrives at a power substation, takes out the guards and tries to use the time travel device to go home.

Back at the precinct, Kiera’s cover is blown. A Sergeant from Portland PD has arrived and clearly doesn’t know Kiera. So Carlos has to cuff her and process her. But she has a plan. She gives Alec covert instructions to use her thumb print and his hacking skills to make the cover of Linda Williams look good but to make a version of the truth that’s believable. As Carlos is bringing her down to holding, the power goes out (thanks to Liber8) and she ends up using her suit to electrocute Carlos and cuff him to the inside of the elevator.

Kiera makes her escape and then we get a rather amusing scene of her trying to get into and drive a car. Alec manages to help her through most of it but it was pretty funny when she turns on the windshield wipers when he tells her to put on her seatbelt. It’s also rather chuckle-worthy when the rest of the police department find Carlos handcuffed to the elevator. I didn’t know Victor Webster had comedic chops. I’m impressed. Meanwhile, Kellogg is making good on his intention to stick around and blend in. He makes a very large deposit into an investment account. Kiera makes it to the substation and learns two things; there’s at least one guy dead and witnesses placed five people matching the descriptions of Liber8 leaving the substation. Unfortunately, the cops are looking for her so she hightails it out of there. Alec has to take a little interlude back to his house to get breakfast and briefly interact with his mom, stepdad and stepbrother. I feel like these little trips out of his techno-cave sometimes interrupt the flow of the rest of the episode.

Once back at his set up, Alec discovers there’s a really famous scientists whose work may help Liber8 power the time travel device. Too bad the terrorists get to him first. Carlos is trying to find way too many people at once. He’s looking for Kier and Liber8. Betty is working on tracking whoever hacked the Portland PD server (hi Alec). Carlos doesn’t have to search long for Kiera because she calls him. She pays the scientist’s wife a visit and learns where Liber8 has taken him. She tells Carlos she’ll text the address in twenty minutes and that she’s deep cover with the organization.

We catch up with Kellogg again. This time, he’s looking at the house he grew up in. It’s a little creepy because the girl who lives there now (who I think may somehow be related to him) is all “we live here now”. Things are heating up at the university linear collider. Kiera arrives and leaves a trail of breadcrumbs (so to speak) for Carlos to follow. She plans on hopping a ride with Liber8 home. Alec is sad that she’s ready to leave. With some awesome stealth tech in her suit, Kiera manages to sneak up on one of the terrorists and states terms of a ceasefire. She’s gets to tag along and they let the scientist go free. With him clear, the group steps in as the device powers up. Things don’t go according to plan (obviously). Kiera flashes to the future as she’s tucking her son in, promising to give him two tuck-ins on the nights she has to work late. Her husband is a bit annoyed that she’s basically made a promise she knows she can’t keep. I really don’t like him. Back in the present, the device explodes and knocks everyone out for a few seconds. Lucas tries to gather up the pieces of the device as the cops show up and a fire fight ensues. A handful of cops get mowed down by automatic gunfire but the terrorists make it out and Kiera allows herself to be arrested. The scientist, seeing Kier in cuffs, says that she was a hero and saved his life. But she still lets herself get processed. We get a montage of Betty and Alec working and Kiera finally has her sort-of truthful cover. At least she can go by her real name, now. We pretty much come full circle as Carlos shows Kiera everything in the station. She declines his offer of a ride home in favor of collecting her thoughts. And it is a good thing she does because she sees the lone piece of the device that Lucas couldn’t find. So obviously she’s going to have to nab that now. She and Alec have a brief conversation once she leaves the precinct about her facing the reality that she may never see her family again. I really like how their relationship is beginning to develop.

Graceland 1.02: “Guadalajara Dog”

“I believe there’s evil in the world and I want to fight it. Win.”
- Mike

So, in week two, Mike is still settling in to his new role as an undercover agent. He and Briggs are walking in an outdoor market and Briggs is explaining that Mike needs to figure out who he is now. Keeping things vague is essential because too many questions lead to the possibility of getting burned. They meet up with Johnny for some tacos from Hector’s food truck (apparently a big deal with the guys) but things go south when a kid on a skateboard nabs a bag of chips and punches Hector to get away. Mike, being the good little FBI agent he is, takes off. Johnny runs after him to stop him. Mike is pissed because the field manual is specific about what they should do if they witness violence. Briggs is of the mind that you don’t’ engage because the book wasn’t written for undercover assignments in mind. The next morning, Mike is up at six. He makes his bed, gets dressed and goes for a run. He sees Charlie doing a walk of shame up the beach and she’s not happy that he’s so happy. He gets back to the house to find Briggs making pancakes. Johnny drops off some mail for the house, including a psych eval for Mike after seeing Briggs shoot the two Russians in the pilot. And the Bureau wants Briggs to put Mike on one of his cases. Briggs doesn’t think Mike is ready for any of his cases yet. Briggs heads up to chat with Lauren while Jakes goes out to close a deal on some birds. He gets the birds and some seriously nasty looking bullets after being locked in a truck. Briggs learns that Lauren is being pulled from the Russian case and that Donnie isn’t coming back. There is definitely something else between her and Donnie.

Mike heads off for his psych evaluation but it quickly becomes clear it’s not an eval. The guy he’s talking to, Agent Juan Badillo, is his contact for his investigation into Briggs. Mike still doesn’t quite know why he’s investigating his training agent but Juan tells him to just get in close and see what he can find. Mike gets home and goes to Charlie for advice. I have to say, I think Charlie is one of my favorite characters, next to Johnny. She’s kind of chill but knowledgeable. And she’s quirky. Mike wants to get in on a case with Briggs and Charlie says that he should char Briggs instead of just asking. He tells her about the case he wants in on, a scummy guy named Bello who has his fingers in tons of pies. In exchange for the advice, Mike gets to pretend to be her boyfriend so she can make a delivery to Paige, the other DEA agent in the house. Jakes pops in to the undercover closet as Charlie is getting Mike into a more “confident, cocky” outfit and he shares the news about the bullets. This gives Mike an idea. They head out to the club where Charlie passes off some crushed up birth control pills to Paige. She’s under as some crime guy’s girlfriend and she’s tired of him trying to sleep with her. Apparently giving a guy birth control makes him unable to get it up. Who knew. It works because that night she shows up at Graceland and bemoans the fact that she hates the case but wants to get the guy so badly. Briggs offers to help. He also ends up thinking Mike’s plan to use the bullets to get Briggs noticed by Bello is great. Now Mike just needs to get Jakes to let them borrow the bullets for the day. Mike manages this with the promise of doing two rounds of chores for Jakes. Hey, it works.

Mike is going under as a reservist out of Camp Pendleton with the ammo and Briggs is hoping to convince Bello’s lieutenant, Eddie, to buy the rounds. Johnny is all dressed in Flack gear. I kind of forget sometimes he’s FBI. I guess that’s a good thing with him being undercover and all. Mike and Briggs head to the meet and Eddie’s guys try the gun with the bullets but they don’t hit anything. Mike shows them how it’s done . He really is a good shot. I guess the rubber band thing he’s always flexing works. It earns him and Briggs a tentative deal to sell the rounds to Bello. I have to say though, I think Mike is sometimes too good for being so new at all of this. Johnny was listening in and kind of starting to panic before Mike saved it. I’m not saying it’s terrible but it’s just a little unrealistic.

That night, around the campfire, Johnny is telling a hyped version of Mike taking out the Teddy Bears wearing vests and it looks like things are all cool among the roommies. The next day, Briggs and Mike make the exchange with Eddie for the bullets and then things start to go sideways from Mike’s perspective. There’s no tracker in the crate of bullets and Briggs stops for hot dogs after Eddie leaves. Mike tries to put a call in to Juan but he’s out of the office. Mike gets back to the jeep with the food and Briggs points out that Eddie takes the same route every time he’s trying to avoid being tailed. And almost like clockwork, Eddie’s van pulls up across the street. Mike and Briggs don’t interfere though because the guy Paige is under with has guys show up and take the bullets. Briggs and Mike go buy them back and Paige’s guy goes down. Everybody wins (unless you’re a criminal). It appears that this isn’t the end of Bello which makes sense since it takes months or even years to cultivate an undercover identity in some organizations. Mike has a meet up with Juan and gets a text from Briggs. He says they’re going to meet Bello but they end up in some crappy docks and Briggs pulls his gun on Mike, demanding to know who he’s been talking to. That does not bode well for building trust.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Lost Girl 1.02: "Where there's a Will, There's a Fae"

“This is a new level of freaky. You sure this job is worth it?”

Second episodes of any new series are always a challenge. The creative team has to cement what they think the show is going to be like on a week-to-week basis while still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t about the premise and characters. “Where there’s a Will, There’s a Fae” largely succeeds on that front. We see the true beginnings of Bo and Kenzi’s sort-of supernatural PI business, the first “case of the week,” learn more about Fae culture, and get our first parceling out of Bo’s family history. All of these elements, for the most part, come into play in every episode for the rest of the season. I think the show gets more interesting when the balance is a little less on the case of the week and a little more on the mythology, but I think this episode is a valiant effort at getting past the episode two hump. The case of the week has interesting guest characters and a good twist at the end which makes it watchable.

We can see from the very beginning of this episode that Bo and Kenzi are really trying to settle into their new life as roommates and business partners. They’re shopping at the hardware store for stuff for their apartment, and they have a little disagreement over whether they should buy some of those outdoor decorative lights that you usually see in campgrounds. I’ve got to agree with Kenzi on this one. Campground lights are pretty awesome. When they arrive back home (sans campground lights, unfortunately), they have an uninvited guest. A woodland fae called Will (short for Will O’ the Wisp). Will is upset because this guy who has been harassing him for quite a while stole the treasure Will had hidden in his woods. Bo offers to help with the situation in exchange for some information about her biological parents. Kenzi tries to make sure they get paid in cash, too, but Bo derails that because she really, really wants the information about her parents.

Bo’s first step in her investigation is to stop by the police station to see what help she can get from Dyson. She manages to get into the station by telling everyone she’s Dyson’s girlfriend, and he doesn’t seem to mind. Dyson decides to start helping Bo by teaching her a bit about Fae culture. He takes her to a fae bar called the Dell, where the bartender is elder fae Trick. Everyone in the bar is kind of unnerved by Bo’s unaffiliated with either the Light or the Dark status. The Dell is a fae waystation, so Trick collects a little information about Bo so she’s properly registered. Trick explains that because she has fae powers, both her parents must have been fae. Folks with one fae and one human parent don’t have powers. Hale joins the party with some info on a gun that was left in Will’s woods at the time of the jewel theft. Bo immediately leaves the Dell to follow this lead, and Trick tells Dyson that he thinks he might know who Bo is.

Bo and Kenzi start to investigate the gun owner/probable jewel thief’s trailer, but it turns out to be booby trapped. A gun shot goes off as they try to open the door. Once that danger has passed, Bo and Kenzi start searching the trailer until a Barbie-like neighbor comes over and tries to stop them. Bo starts feeding on her, and is only stopped by Kenzi’s screaming. Bo is pissed off at being interrupted and almost strangles Kenzi before regaining her composure. I think this is the first time that Kenzi realizes that hanging out with a succubus isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Dyson and Hale, of course, are stuck cleaning up that little mess. Hale is already sick of having to clean up after Bo all the time, but Dyson tries to defend her. Because he really wants in her pants, obviously.

Bo’s next stop in the investigation (Kenzi goes home to make sure Will hasn’t set the apartment on fire…long story) is a jewelry shop. She thinks that their suspect, a guy named Connell, may have sold Will’s gems to this particular jeweler, because there was an ad for the jeweler circled in a phone book in the trailer. Bo at first tries to pretend that her husband is letting her pick out an anniversary present, but she doesn’t do well with pretense. She ends up just flat out asking the jeweler for information about Connell and the jewels. The jeweler is suitably threatened and tells Bo where to find Connell. Bo and Kenzi head to this location, which is a skeezy motel. Bo dresses as a maid to get into Connell’s room, but Connell knows that Will sent her, and he also says that Will is his father. They’re just starting to argue when they have bigger problems. An assassin sent by Will arrives on the scene too. He’s a really creepy kind of fae who leaves his head on the housekeeping cart outside the room before busting in for a fight. Kenzi ends up saving the day, fighting the headless fae off with a mop.

Bo and Kenzie then head back to the Dell, where there’s a bit of a disturbance over the presence of a human in the bar until Bo claims Kenzi as “hers.” They show Dyson the body of the headless fae in the trunk, and Dyson tells them it’s a Dullahan, a type of fae mercenary. Bo also asks Dyson for Lauren’s phone number. She thinks Lauren can help her with the whole killing people when she kisses them thing. Dyson would rather be the person to help, but he begrudgingly gives Bo the phone number. Bo does go visit Lauren, who is a little reluctant at first because Bo isn’t officially Light fae. Lauren does have an injection that may help Bo, but the catch is that Bo won’t have her crazy libido anymore, she won’t have her super healing powers either.

Back at the apartment, Bo and Kenzi give Will the news that he’s a father. He’s a little surprised at first, but ultimately, he’s happy. Bo then goes to meet Connell at the storage facility where he has hidden the jewels, and she tells Connell that Will does indeed want to meet him. Bo makes a call to Will, then she asks to see the jewels to verify good faith. Connell complies, but just as Bo is looking at the merchandise, Connell pulls out the gun. He doesn’t just want to see his father, after all. He wants the world to know that his mother wasn’t crazy when she told stories of the woodland fae she loved. Connell locks Bo in the storage unit just as Kenzi and Will arrive. Will and Connell have a heart-to-heart and come to some sort of an understanding, but the peace is short lived, as another Dullahan shows up. Apparently once they take a job, you can’t call it off.

Will and Kenzi quickly work to free Bo from the storage unit, and as soon as she is free, Bo starts fighting the Dullahan. Her luck isn’t quite as good this time, though, and she’s pretty seriously injured. Kenzi ends up saving the day by burning the Dullahan’s head. Bo’s in bad shape, but Will, as promised, tells her the story of the day he saw her in the forest as a baby. The woman carrying her was a nurse or nanny of some sort, so the information wasn’t as good as Bo hoped. She’s got bigger problems, though. Thanks to the shot from Lauren, her wounds aren’t healing like they should. Bo asks Kenzi to find Dyson, and Dyson, of course knows just how to help Bo. It turns out that sex will let Bo feed enough to heal in spite of the shot. They really do have great chemistry.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Game of Thrones 3.10: "Mhysa"

“Oh, monster? Perhaps you should speak to me more softly, then. Monsters are dangerous, and just now kings are dying like flies.”

The third season finale of “Game of Thrones” was not nearly as action-packed as the penultimate episode. It would be hard to top the horror and the drama that is the Red Wedding, really. A more sedate denouement for a finale is what we’ve come to expect from “Game of Thrones,” and really, most HBO shows in general. The climax happens in the penultimate episode, and we have the finale to see all the characters’ reactions to those events and set up some storylines for the next season. “Mhysa” accomplished exactly that. It was kind of disjointed, as many episodes of “Game of Thrones” are, but in this case, it made more sense. In the season finale, we want a final glimpse of what all the major characters are up to. It provides closure and an idea of what to look forward to next year. In this episode, we saw the characters react to the Red Wedding, and we saw Jon, Bran, and Stannis all be placed in interesting positions for next season.

This episode picks up with the end of the Red Wedding, and it’s quickly apparent that the brutality isn’t quite finished just yet. There’s still fighting going on between Stark and Frey men around the Twins, and the Hound and Arya are kind of caught in the middle of it. The Hound manages to get Arya to safety, but not before she sees a truly horrid sight. The Frey’s have sewn Grey Wind’s head on to Robb’s body, and they’re parading it around chanting, “The King in the North.” The look on Arya’s face when she sees this is just heartbreaking and another reminder that this is the second time she’s been in proximity to a family member’s murder. Arya doesn’t throw a pity party, though. The Red Wedding basically causes all her rage to boil over. She and the Hound come across some Frey men sitting by a fire in the forest, boasting about their Red Wedding exploits. Arya doesn’t hesitate to start stabbing them, and when they fight back, the Hound finishes the job (presumably to preserve his chance for a ransom, although I don’t know who he thinks is going to pay it now).

Also early on in the episode, we get a quick (rather painful) scene of the Red Wedding victors gloating. Both Walder Frey and Roose Bolton think that they’ll really be sitting pretty now that they have defeated the Starks. Bolton, for his part, is due to be named the new Warden of the North by Tywin. Interestingly, Bolton reveals that his bastard son, Ramsey Snow, is the sadistic asshole who has been torturing Theon. Bolton seems quite proud of his son. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. We get another Theon torture scene, where Ramsey tries to get Theon to say his name is “Reek,” but the really interesting scene is what happens back in the Iron Islands when they learn of Theon’s fate. The way they learn of it is as disgusting as you would expect from Ramsey. He sends them Theon’s severed penis. Balon doesn’t really seem to care any more about his son than he did last season, maybe even less now since he “isn’t a man” anymore. Yara, however, refuses to give up on her brother, and she put together a strike team of the very best Ironborn fighters.

Again, the part of the episode I enjoyed the most was all the King’s Landing drama. Early in the episode, Tyrion and Sansa seem to be warming up to each other a bit. They go for a walk and have a rather adorable conversation about how they’re both social pariahs, and Sansa starts planning out how they could take revenge on their tormenters by hiding shit in their beds like Arya used to do to her. They start to recognize kindred spirits in each other. Whatever happiness there is between Tyrion and Sansa is short lived, however. Tyrion is called to a Small Council meeting where Joffree is gleeful over news of the Red Wedding. He’s so sadistic that he wants Robb’s head to serve to Sansa at his and Margaery’s wedding. Tyrion seems to be the only Lannister with a sense of decency, and he tries to shut Joffrey down. Joffrey keeps acting like an ass, though, until Tywin literally sends him to bed without his supper. Once Joffrey leaves, Tywin and Tyrion have a tense conversation about what each of them is willing to do for the family. Tywin claims that letting Tyrion live was his sacrifice for the family, but I think that’s weak. Tyrion is easily the most decent, clever of the Lannisters, and he really doesn’t get enough appreciation. The fact that her family was indirectly just killed by Lannisters isn’t the only obstacle for Sansa and Tyrion. The other is Shae. Varys suggests to Shae that she leave King’s Landing because she’s a liability to Tyrion, but she refuses.

Near the Wall, there’s an interesting meeting of sorts at the Nightfort. Bran, Jojen, Meera, and Hodor are camped at the Nightfort on their way beyond the Wall when they run into Sam and Gilly, who are on their way to Castle Black. Sam recognizes Bran and Hodor from Jon’s stories, which kind of throws Jojen and Meera for a bit of a loop. Bran’s perfectly welcoming, at least, when Sam describes how Jon has saved his life multiple times. Sam gives Bran his dragonglass dagger, and then he Gilly, and the baby continue on to Castle Black. Watching Sam try to explain Gilly and the baby to Maester Aemon is rather hilarious. Gilly suddenly deciding to name the baby Sam doesn’t help Sam’s case that he hasn’t broken his oath. Maester Aemon asks Sam to start writing a large quantity of letters, presumably to warn Westeros about the White Walkers. Jon also shows up at Castle Black, only half conscious due to Ygritte shooting him with three arrows before he could completely escape the Wildlings.

One of the letters Sam sends out happens to reach Dragonstone, and it turns out to be a good thing Davos has been learning to read, because he shares the letter with Stannis. Davros first helps Gendry escape before Melisandre can do whatever horrible thing she has planned to do to him. Stannis is furious about this, but thankfully, when Davos breaks out the letter, Stannis listens. It helps that Melisandre is looking into the fire and makes a cryptic comment about the real war being in the North. Stannis decrees that he will send Davos and a fighting force North to help fight the White Walkers. This sets up for season 4 what might actually be the most interesting use of Stannis and Davos yet. Up until now, I’ve found the whole Dragonstone plot to be pretty boring.

This episode, while low on exciting plot twists, is chock full of interesting character moments. Some of these, naturally, take place in King’s Landing. One of these is a conversation between Cersei and Tyrion as Tyrion is well on his way to getting drunk following the news of the Red Wedding. Cersei tries to convince Tyrion to get Sansa pregnant as soon as possible so she’ll have something happy in her life. Cersei talks about how the joy her children have brought her, even Joffrey when he was little. You can see she’s kind of horrified at how Joffrey turned out, even if she can’t bring herself to say it. Also, Jaime finally makes his big return to King’s landing. It’s interesting that the people of Fleabottom mistakehim for one of them in his new, hand-less look. Cersei is just plain shocked to see him at all, I think.

As is quite common for “Game of Thrones,” we end the season with a big Daenerys moment. She’s still in Yunkai, and it’s the aftermath of the battle where she (indirectly) freed the slaves. I don’t really understand why in this scene she gets all the credit. She just sent men to carry out her bidding. It’s not like she was actually there with a sword or something. Now that would be badass. Daenerys and her Unsullied are waiting outside Yunkai as the slaves break through the gates, apprehensive about whether the slaves will accept her or continue to revolt. It turns out to be the former, and in spades. The slaves all approach her and start chanting, “mhysa,” which means “mother” in their language. And so we end season 3 with Daenerys basically crowdsurfing among the freed Yunkai slaves as they worship her.

Summer DVR Dump: Merlin 5.02: "Arthur's Bane Part Two"

“I know the hatred and suspicion with which men treat those with magic. You and I are not so different. I, too, have learned to hide my gifts. I promise your secret is safe with me.”
- Mordre

We begin with Morgana asleep in her bed. She’s dreaming about being locked in a well with her pet dragon. She wakes from the nightmare and calls the dragon to her for comfort. They are both looking rather worse for wear. The dragon hobbles and its wins are tattered. I’m pretty sure they weren’t meant to be indoor pets, Morgana. Meanwhile, Arthur and Merlin are bickering with each other while being hauled off by the Saxons. As the other captured men sleep, Merlin sits there, staring somewhat vacantly. The burly Saxon taunts him with food and Mordred actually comes to Merlin’s defense, saying they should slow the pace. The following morning, he even offers Merlin some bread and promises to keep his secret. He also delivers a little exposition to Merlin about the key. Since their last encounter, Mordred has learned to hide his magic to make sure he survives. In the cave, the Diamar continues to heal Gwaine (going so far as dimming the torchlight so the guards don’t see him).

Back in Camelot, Gwen’s servant begs Gaius to talk to the Queen and see about putting a stop to the execution. Gaius isn’t hopeful but he does go off to see Gwen. Gwen has guards bring the girl to her but she refuses to change the sentence. Once the servant is taken away, Gwen explains she’s hoping that the girl’s father will come to Camelot to save her so that Gwen can arrest him. She doesn’t actually plan to kill the girl. And it would seem her hope may be right. He tells Morgana that his daughter has been arrested and sentenced to die and Morgana’s reaction is basically “well, that sucks but it was bound to happen”. She feels nothing of his pain. Then again, she’s become pretty cold and heartless since her days as the King’s Ward. She just insists they find the Diamar before Arthur arrives.

Speaking of Arthur, it seems he and Merlin have a little plan up their collective sleeves. Arthur feigns such a deep thirst he’s unresponsive (but he grabs the Saxon’s knife). That is going to come in handy. And it in fact does. Merlin pulls some supplies off a cart, giving Arthur enough time to get free. He and some of the other men stir up a fight and Merlin and Arthur take off with weapons. They have to find the other knights after all. A handful of Saxons follow them and Arthur picks them off one by one. Mordred appears and Merlin cuts a block of ice to keep him from coming across. Instead of killing Mordred, Arthur just turn sand runs. It doesn’t seem like Mordred is that upset to let them go. Finally, after Merlin bitches about Arthur not taking out Mordred when he had the chance, they make it to the castle.

And Gwen is vindicated (sort of). She was right that the servant girl’s father came to rescue her. They make it through part of the castle before the knights surround them and her father is wounded. They make it out of the castle and to the little sanctuary where she found him before but he dies (after sending a note to Morgana via carrier crow). Oh and Gwaine wakes up long enough to get a bit of an info dump from the Diamar. Back in Camelot, Gaius is searching the body of the servant girl’s father when he finds a druid call to victory. Gwen is surprised to find that some druids aren’t so peaceful. And she’s a little shocked to find that some believe Arthur will die at the hand of a Druid (well if what Merlin saw comes to pass, that will be true).

Merlin and Arthur break into Morgana’s castle through the refuse chute (Merlin is not happy) and find Percival. Arthur tasks him with finding the others so they can take out the Saxons and get the hell out of there. Meanwhile, Morgana spots Mordred and she’s kind of misty eyed at seeing him. She feared he was dead. And I don’t know if it was just me but I got kind of a sexual vibe on her end. He’s kind of quiet as they share a meal and he doesn’t really engage when she starts ranting about her brother messing up her plans and how she doesn’t understand that with all her power, he keeps eluding her. But warning bells ring out so she’s got a chance to take out her big brother (as he and Merlin search for Gwaine). The boys find Gwaine as Percival and his merry band of shirtless men take out more Saxons. Unfortunately, Morgana’s dragon tries to roast Merlin, Arthur and Gwaine like marshmallows. Merlin gets the bright idea to lead the dragon the other way while Arthur and Gwaine meet up with the boys. Obviously, we know by now that Merlin is a dragon lord and he can command the dragon to chill out. And while we don’t know what he says because it’s in the language of the Old Religion, we can guess he pretty much scolds the dragon. And he’s a little hurt at the state of her. And that she can’t talk. Arthur foolishly goes after Merlin and gets caught by Morgana and Mordred. Morgana has a little fun toying with her brother before she kills him. In the end, Mordred stabs her in the back (literally) and rescues Arthur. Merlin is knocked out at this point and the Diamar saves him. And we learn that Mordred may not be Arthur’s bane. Arthur is his own undoing. The gang gets back to Camelot and Mordred becomes a knight, much to Merlin’s discomfort. Mordred professes to Merlin in private that he believes Arthur’s vision is right. That the love that binds people together is more important the power one has. Merlin shares his unease with Gaius over pudding while Morgan and her dragon struggle through a snowstorm after being defeated. I will be interested to see what happens with Mordred as he spends more time in Camelot under Arthur’s influence. It would seem, at least for now, his intent on being a good member of society is genuine.