Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer DVR Dump: Merlin 5.09: "With All My Heart"

“Remember what saved your Queen. Magic and sorcery. There is no evil in sorcery, only in the hearts of men. My request is that you remember this.”
- The Dolma

Night has fallen in Camelot and black-clad figure moves through the castle. It’s pretty obvious it’s Gwen going off to meet Morgana. She’s waylaid briefly by Percival but when she pulls the Elyan card, he lets her on her way. Merlin has clearly shared his suspicions with Arthur because they tail the Queen to her rendezvous and learn she’s handing over the route for the levy collection. Arthur’s ready to fight but Merlin stops him. Morgana is too powerful (aka Merlin can’t use his own powers to stop her) but Merlin promises to help save Gwen. The next morning things between /Arthur and Gwen are awkward. He knows she’s not really the woman he married or loves and she’s still keeping up pretenses. As he races off for a training session she gets this look that shows she’s starting to wonder if maybe she’s been discovered.

Arthur’s not really going to a training session. He meets with Mordred and Leon in private and orders them to commit a new route to memory and then burns the map so there’s no evidence that can be revealed to Morgana. Meanwhile, Gaius fills Merlin in on what he believed happened to Gwen in the Dark Tower. Mandrakes really are evil. Seriously. But Gaius believes there may be a person that could shed light on how to save Gwen. She’s called The Dochraid and she’s not to be trusted. So Merlin goes off to her cave and takes some aging potion so he becomes Old Merlin. Despite being blind and decrepit, the Dochraid ID’s Merlin straight off and says she won’t help. Merlin draws Excalibur and cuts her arm (she bleeds green….weird) and she tells him he must take Gwen to a sacred spring, summon the White Goddess and ensure Gwen enters the spring willingly if she is to be saved.

Back in Camelot, Mordred stops by to see Arthur, just to assure him Mordred is there for him. Not really sure what the point of that scene was honestly. Things get a bit dicey when Gwen calls Arthur on his bluff about training. He dodges her questions by telling her he loves her and would do anything for her. Meanwhile, Merlin is fretting about getting Gwen where he needs to and summoning the White Goddess but Gaius assures him it is possible. They can drug Gwen and Arthur can tag along to reach the still-good part of her. Merlin is now freaking about using his magic in front of Arthur. But in a later meeting where Gaius explains the drug and that magic is required, he says that the sorcerer he has in mind is a woman. So now Merlin gets to be another character in this episode.

That evening, the plan is set in motion. Arthur proposes a toast after Gwen initially refuses wine (which Merlin has drugged). She passes out and Merlin and Gaius head out of the castle to meet Arthur in the woods. They’re stopped by Gwaine and Mordred and it is only thanks to Gaius making up a disease on the spot that they get past. But Mordred sees Gwen’s arm fall from beneath the linens as Merlin turns the corner. He really is more inquisitive than people think.

Merlin and Arthur head off on their journey but all is not well. The Dochraid is still alive and she sends Morgana a note about Arthur’s trip so she can try and intervene. Morgana gets the message and heads off with her dragon to try and stop the boys from succeeding. Speaking of, as they continue their journey, Merlin senses they are being followed. They get to a point where they have to go forward on foot and Merlin grumbles about being a pack mule, saying Gwen would be lighter. But Arthur insists on carrying her. Good thing, too, because Merlin dislodges some rocks and falls down a cliff. Arthur starts to climb down after him and loses his footing and falls, too. His arm is pinned between some rocks and it’s only Mordred showing up that saves his arm. Merlin isn’t thrilled to have Sorcerer Junior along for the ride but Arthur seems pleased. As Arthur checks on Gwen that night, Mordred tells Merlin he hopes one day they can be friends and that he can show Merlin that he is loyal to the King and Camelot.

The next morning, the quartet is nearly to the spring when Morgana launches her attack. Both Merlin and Mordred tell Arthur to get Gwen to the spring and they’ll do what they can to stop Morgana. Merlin handles the dragon as to be expected. He yells at her in Dragon Speak and she flies off. Unfortunately, Morgana knocks both he and Mordred down. Merlin must be used to it or something because he gets up and keeps going. Mordred is left behind. Morgana wakes him and he refuses to tell her where Emrys is. He professes that her hatred and dark heart will never win and that maybe one day she’ll find the love she once held in her heart. And for the first time since we saw him as a young boy, he uses magic to stop Morgana and joins Arthur down by the spring. Merlin has already gone off “in search” of the sorceress. There is a funny bit where the dress he’s going to wear falls out and he has to lie to Arthur about why he has it. Apparently the sorceress likes to be paid in clothing.

Merlin comes out as the Dolma and Arthur and Mordred poke a bit of fun, saying she looks familiar. Colin really is great at physical comedy. The magic gets underway soon enough. After triple checking Arthur understands the risks in what they’re doing, the Dolma wakes Gwen. It’s now up to Arthur to save her. And of course, because this is a family show, he does. He reminds her of what she said to him when he proposed (hence the name of the episode). He backs into the water, repeating the phrase until she says it back and joins him. Merlin works some serious mojo and saves Gwen. As Arthur, Gwen and Mordred are about to set out the Dolma makes Arthur promise that he won’t forget that magic saved Gwen and that it is the hearts of men (or women in Morgana’s case) that make it good or evil. And then she starts harping on him about being nicer to Merlin. As the gang heads back to Camelot, Mordred tells merlin he figured out it was Merlin’s magic that saved Gwen and he was impressed. He promises to keep Merlin’s secret as they both have a vested interest in Camelot’s future.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lost Girl 1.08: "Vexed"

“At a certain point, it’s not about losing control anymore. It’s about taking it.”

“Vexed” was much more heavy on the mythology than any case of the week. There was a sort of case of the week, but it was all about Bo’s past. Bo thinks she has a lead on the identity and whereabouts of her mother, and she’s willing to pursue a very dangerous Fae named Vex to follow that lead. There’s also plenty of the romantic drama we’ve come to expect from “Lost Girl.” By the end, both Dyson and Lauren are on the outs with Bo, one by Bo’s choice and the other not. So yeah, really this episode was all about Bo. I tend to prefer episodes that spend at least a little more time with the sidekick characters like Kenzi and Hale. There was no Hale in this episode at all, actually. Bo can get especially self-righteous when an episode focuses on her too much. It also had an especially memorable grisly murder scene. So there’s that.

The episode opens by taking us right back into the Bo/Dyson drama. Bo shows up at Dyson’s apartment all bloody from an especially vicious fight with someone she was tailing. She wants healing (again), and Dyson actually hesitates for a bit before obliging. Even though he agrees, Dyson does tell Bo that this is going to be the last time. Their reasons for not being together are so ridiculous I don’t even want to really talk about it. After Bo takes leave of a broody as usual Dyson, she and Kenzi go to meet up with a vampire contact named Siegfried at a warehouse. There’s a small problem, though. Siegfried is hanging from a noose. As Bo and Kenzi approach the body, Siegfried opens his eyes – he wasn’t dead after all. Bo gives Siegfried a bag full of pints of blood, and she asks for information about her mother in exchange. All Siegfried gives Bo is a newspaper clipping about a woman named Lou Ann who is on death row and due to be executed soon.

After a quick appointment with Lauren, where Bo tells Lauren that she hasn’t yet been ready to try having sex with humans (and reveals that she’s been having sex with Dyson when she’s especially hungry), Bo and Kenzi continue their investigation. They pretend to be FBI agents to get into the prison where Lou Ann is being held. Lou Anne isn’t especially forthcoming, but she does know who Bo is (sort of) when Bo says she was raised by humans. Apparently this means Bo is the “Fielding,” although we don’t know what exactly that means yet. Lou Ann won’t give any more information, though, and Bo is suspicious. Meanwhile, Siegfried is enjoying his newly procured blood when he has an unwelcome visit from Vex. Vex uses his powers to control Siegfried’s mind, and he forces Siegfried to put his hand in the garbage disposal. Gross. When Dyson arrives on scene, Siegfried is dead. Bo shows up at the scene, too, and she convinces Dyson to give her Lou Ann’s case file. Lou An, by the way, is accused of killing her kids.

The autopsy report shows that Siegfried died without a struggle and that his heart was removed without leaving any marks. Bo then figures out that Lou is probably innocent, and she tells Lou Anne this. Bo thinks both cases are related – both Lou Ann and Siegfried did things that they never would do if they had self-control. Bo then works out that Lou Ann was forced to do what she did by the Dark Fae as punishment for siding with humans. This sends Bo on a crusade to try and prove Lou Anne’s innocence. First, she gets Lauren to get her an audience with the Ash. Bo ignores all the rules Lauren tells her about how to treat the Ash respectfully, so that gets Bo nowhere. Bo then goes to visit her Dark Fae buddy Mayer, and all she can get him to agree to do is look into the identity of the real killer of Lou Ann’s kids.

When Bo arrives back home, all she wants is a nice hot bath, but the Fae world has other ideas. Bo is attacked by a Morach, which looks kind of like the Voodoo priestess lady from the later Pirates of the Caribbean movies. With some just in the nick of time help from Kenzi (who had been playing a video game and didn’t hear the commotion right away, Bo is eventually able to defeat the Morach. Dyson stops by to see how Bo is doing and tells Bo that she would be protected from things like this attack if she would choose a Fae side. Bo refuses, and she also refuses Dyson’s offer of healing. Instead, Bo decides to go to Trick for help. She asks for information on Morachs. It turns out that the Morach feeds off of rage. Trick gives Bo this really badass hand sword that has the power to kill all Fae.

Meanwhile, Lauren has a really shady conversation with the Ash. The Ash reveals that he knows Lauren has been helping Bo get her power under control. He wants Lauren to use that relationship to his benefit and get Bo to stop looking into this Lou Anne mess. He plans to negotiate with the Dark FAe while Bo is “distracted” by Lauren. Later, when Lauren and Bo are enjoying some friendly socializing, Lauren takes things to the next level and kisses Bo. Lauren and Bo sleep together, but the fairy tale doesn’t last for long. Lauren immediately starts trying to get Bo not to leave, and Bo figures out something isn’t what it seems. When she realizes that Lauren only slept with her because the Ash told her to, Bo is kind of disgusted. Lauren drops Vex’s name in her flustered state, and Bo immediately goes to Mayer. She wants to cash in her debt for Vex’s whereabouts. It turns out that Vex is with the Dark Elders. Before Bo can do much of anything, though, Lou Ann is executed with Trick in the audience.

Vex is at a strip club, and when Bo arrives there, she’s the only other person in the building besides Vex. Vex pretty successfully does his mind control thing on Bo, and he forces her to stab herself. Meanwhile, Lauren apparently has one decent fiber in her being, because she finds Dyson and Kenzi and the Dal and lets it slip that Bo is going after Vex and Vex is too strong for Bo to handle. Dyson, of course, rushes to Bo’s rescue. Just as Bo is about to use her hand sword to try and get some information about her mother from Vex, Dyson arrives, tells Bo to leave Vex alone, and tells Vex to go away. He tries to convince Bo that nobody actually has any information about her mother, but Bo isn’t buying it. Across the border, Lou Ann emerges from her body bag. Trick is there, and he tells Lou Ann that they need to talk.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Newsroom 2.02: "The Genoa Tip"

“A U.S. citizen was targeted. Another is on death row for the crime of not being able to afford a good lawyer. And a bunch more have been arrested for wearing Halloween masks. So obviously, what I’m doing is dealing with the easiest one."

This particular episode of “The Newsroom” was lacking a news event that really stuck in my brain. Is it bad that the one story they mentioned that made me go “I remember when that happened!” was Netflix’s short-lived decision to split its DVD rental and Instant Watch businesses? Yes, this episode covered some big-ish news events, like the execution of Troy Davis, the first drone targeting of a U.S. citizen, and the beginnings of Occupy Wall Street. I’m a bad policy wonk because I don’t remember the first two, and I only really started paying attention to the third once it was already pretty well up and running, especially once Occupy D.C. moved in down the street from where I worked at the time. So yeah, this episode didn’t have that one moment that made me flash back to something really emotional. Because of that, I kind of lost my patience with all the love polyhedron of doom stuff. Okay, Maggie and Jim and Don and Sloan and Lisa and some guy who doesn’t consider her second best all need to get it together and end this drama. Oh, and Will McAvoy? Get over yourself.

The episode overall had that sort of marking time, slow start feel common to many HBO series. Jim is still up in New Hampshire on the Romney bus because he’s being a child about the Don and Maggie situation. I call him a child because he really shouldn’t have been after Maggie at all. Neither should Don, really, but that damage was already done long ago. Anyway, the Romney campaign kid is still being mean to Jim and not letting him on the bus. Eventually a female reporter gets the campaign kid to relent because she’s sick of Jim holding up the bus. Jim and this reporter develop a bit of chemistry throughout their campaign adventures in this episode. She overhears pretty much every phone call Jim has about the love polygon of doom, which has to be just plain awkward for Jim. By the end of this episode, Jim has just plain stopped taking Maggie’s phone calls, and soon enough you’ll find out why.

Back in New York, the rest of the crew are doing their usual angsting over the news and their own romantic lives. Apparently Don’s been really into the Troy Davis case for years, and he is wholeheartedly convinced that Davis is innocent and does not deserve the death penalty. He wants to enlist Will’s help by having Will use his prosecutorial experience to make a case for Davis’ innocence on the air. Will is feeling especially fragile right now thanks to being taken off the 9/11 show (and spending way too much time Googling crap like “Will McAvoy hate”, so he doesn’t want to do anything that could possibly be perceived as controversial. We learn that Will’s big break in journalism was being forced to anchor ACN’s 9/11 coverage for countless hours because more senior people were out of town. Apparently his performance on that day was comforting and something people remember. The scene where we film of Will exhausted after 16 hours at the desk on that day is kind of sickeningly sweet in that trademark Aaron Sorkin way, but it didn’t work for me the way it usually does when he goes to that place. It felt forced.

Meanwhile, Maggie is desperately trying to keep the stupid YouTube vid of her yelling at the Sex and the City tour bus from spreading too widely. She particularly doesn’t want Lisa to see it, because she’s trying to move back in with Lisa. Maggie and Sloan use FourSquare to somehow track down the poster of the video, who of course is a Sex and the City fanfic writer named Erica. They confront her while the poor girl is at the Laundromat. Sloan offers to tweet Erica’s fanfic blog to her 450,000 followers, and in exchange Erica agrees to take down the YouTube vid. Erica doesn’t keep her word, though. Instead she posts about the experience on her blog. Lisa finally finds out the truth, and while she lets Maggie live in her apartment, she’s done with being friends. She also e-mails the vid to Jim as a non-phone call way to break up. It’s after receiving that e-mail that Jim just flat out stops taking Maggie’s phone calls. The whole thing is really just such a mess.

Because her personal life is in shambles, Maggie is tackling her professional life with new zeal. She and another News Night staffer want to do a story “on Africa.” Mackenzie rightly tells Maggie that she needs to be much more specific with her pitch. No kidding. Eventually new guy Jerry gives her the idea to focus in on national security. He thinks that now Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, Africa is where are troops are going to go next to die. And he’s probably not wrong about that. Specifically, Maggie wants to go to Kampala, Uganda. She tries to convince Mackenzie that it’s relatively safe, but a report of uprisings that her partner in crime unearths right after they get permission to travel suggests otherwise. We know from the framing device scenes in last week’s episode that something horrible is going to happen to Maggie in Uganda, and I guess this is the set-up.

Speaking of Jerry and national security stuff, Jerry finally tells Mackenzie about Operation Genoa. According to Jerry, some special forces soldiers used serein gas on an extraction mission near Pakistan. At first, Mackenzie doesn’t believe this could possibly be true. Jerry changes her mind, though, when he puts her in touch with one of the soldiers who claims he was actually part of the mission. While all this is going on, the News Night crew gets the news that Anwar Al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, was killed by a U.S. Drone strike. To top things off, Neal gets arrested while covering an Occupy Wall Street protest. He managed to upload video of his rather brutal arrest to U Stream, and what he sees makes Will absolutely livid. He goes to the police station and uses all his former prosecutor knowledge, along with the video itself, to get Neal released with no charges against him. At the end of the episode, Will and Mackenzie have drinks, and Mackenzie is floored when Will shows her copy speaking out against the Administration’s counterterrorism policies that he intends to deliver on the next show.

Summer DVR Dump: Continuum 1.08: "Playtime"

“Two birds with one stone. He gets to test out his program and get rid of the woman standing in the way of his advancement. Clever.”
- Kiera

In the future, Sadtech (through Lucas Ingram) is demonstrating a new way to control criminals with electrical impulses. The demonstration starts out all right but then the test subject freaks out and Lucas has to zap him to get him back under control. The whole point of the demonstration was to show (or attempt to show) that you can even implant thoughts and suggestions in someone’s mind. Cut to a paintball range in the present where a guy walks up to the CEO of a company and shoots him and then shoots himself in the head. Yeah, that’s not normal.

Out on Kellogg’s boat, Kiera shows up after Kellogg requested her presence. He’s really turning up the romantic mojo. He’s made her breakfast and he wants to spend time with her. She demands to have the time travel device fragment back but he denies having it. She suggests that maybe he took it so Kiera wouldn’t leave. He agrees that might be something he’d do. I gotta say I like the relationship developing here. The interplay is interrupted by a call from Carlos at the paintball crime scene. The CEO who died was the head of a visual effects company. As Kiera and Carlos are chatting with a witness, a woman shows up at a train station and pulls a guy in front of a train with her. It turns out both assailants were beta testers for a gaming company. Betty is kind of a huge gamer geek and Kiera thinks it would be a good idea to bring her along.

Alec is trying to get Kiera’s suit up and running a little ahead of schedule but it’s not going so well. Over at the gaming company, our police team is chatting with the CEO and the head of the development team, Fred. Fred denies that the new game the two assailants were testing had anything to do with their deaths. Both Kiera and Carlos pick up on the fact that Fred is hiding something but they can’t pinpoint what. Betty and Kiera go see a test of the new game. It would seem Fred has a pretty low opinion of beta testers (calling them losers and bottom feeders) and praising programmers. Dude is kind of a douchebag to be honest with you. He gets one of his code monkeys to start up a simulation (even though said monkey reminds him there’s a glitch in it) and Kiera ends up getting shot in the head in the game and all of her tech is out of whack.

Kiera tries to get in touch with Alec on her CMR but it’s not working and his screens went blank. He ends up calling her the old fashioned way and she explains what happened. He’s going to look into things and he eventually figures out there’s a system restore on the CMR but he needs to be there in person to do it. He also makes a little progress hacking into her suit. Sadly, the investigation of the beta testers isn’t going very well. There’s no link really that they can find. Though Betty did spot cans of a legal drink which can cause delusions and psychosis. Well okay so apparently she discovers it’s not that legal since the FDA recalled it. Betty got in touch with some hacker friends who live on the drink and learned that someone, the CEO of the gaming company, bought it all up. She says that she bought it to keep her employees working.

Kellogg is having a much better evening. He tracks Lucas to a fight club and gets him drunk enough for Lucas to start spilling the latest plans that Kagame has. And when Lucas has to leave, Kellogg follows him. He really is my favorite of the baddies. And really, he’s not that bad. He’s more an opportunist than a killer. We find Lucas meeting with Fred. Lucas gets a hard drive in exchange for the tech he was demonstrating in the future. Yeah, that’s not a good combination at all. And based on the look on Kellogg’s face as he listens to Lucas gloat about how Kiera won’t be around much longer, you know it has to be bad.

Kiera heads home to let Alec reboot her while Carlos heads back to the game company after Betty finds a connection between the CEO and both victims. They were basically competitors. Kiera explains the tech we saw in the future to Alec and questions whether someone in the present could have it. If she was thinking about it, Lucas helped create it so of course they have it. Kiera heads off to meet Carlos and Alec is about to tell her he hacked into the encrypted files in her suit but stops short. Carlos runs into Kellogg outside the precinct and Kellogg fleeces poor Carlos into thinking he’s part of Section Six. But he gets the location of where Kiera should be going.

Carlos finds out that the CEO was in negotiations to take over the first victim’s company and that with him dead, there is no deal. Alec is trying to check out the program code and because it is virtual reality needs to use an old school VR set up. But before he knows it, nearly half an hour has gone by. And Kiera is not doing so hot. He head is killing her again. Thanks to Lucas trying to hack her brain, things get wonky pretty fast. Kellogg shows up at the company and talks to Fred and pretty much saves his life when Lucas and Kagame program Kiera to kill Fred. We get a pretty intense knock down drag out between Kiera and Carlos and it becomes the race of the dueling hackers as both Lucas and Alec try to control Kiera. And Lucas is also trying to follow the trail back to Alec. Before it’s all over, Kagame and Lucas realize that a teenage Alec Sadler is the one beating their every move. It turns out it’s a combination of Alec just shutting Kiera off and Kellogg talking her down that saves her before she can shoot Carlos.

She is understandably confused and exhausted after the whole ordeal but promises Carlos she’ll see a specialist (aka Alec). He says he’ll reboot her again and beef up her firewalls. He also tells her he found a hidden file in her diagnostics. Kiera says he should tell her about tomorrow. And as we end, we see he’s managed to at least organize all the files and there is one titled Alec Sadler 2012. This is going to be interesting.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Graceland 1.07: "Goodbye High"

“You don’t have to check Charlie’s hands for tinfoil soot. I already did. She’s clean. And I’ll be checking every day now. We have to have each other’s backs.”
- Paige

We pick up pretty much right where we ended last week. Mike’s walked in on Briggs at an NA meeting. We spend a little time with Briggs talking to the group and Mike listens. Briggs compliments Mike on his ability to tail since Briggs prides himself on being hard to follow. And then we get a bit of an info dump from Briggs on how he got his heroin habit. He was working undercover a few years back and his training officer was under in the same gang (just south of the border). The gang happens to be the one that Bello is going up against right now. We learn that the FBI lost someone to Jangles (a sort of boogeyman who would go around cutting up people). So Briggs’ assignment got pulled and he went on vacation…to Mexico. He admits it was the stupidest thing he’d ever done because his CI was dead and he got jumped by a bunch of gang members. Briggs meets Jangles (who has a bandana over his mouth and face and doesn’t speak. But from the face, I kind of feel like it’s his training officer for some reason. And as Briggs explains to Mike, all they did was shoot him up with heroin for two weeks and then let him go with the intent that all of his cases (including numerous ones against the gang) would be reviewed and overturned. But Briggs didn’t do that. He got his head on straight and cleaned up his act.

Speaking of getting clean, Charlie thinks she’s gotten the withdrawal and low side beat but Johnny isn’t so sure. Charlie is still gung ho about getting to Odin and Johnny offers to do it for her but she’s kind of in it to win it. He’s still worried about her. Meanwhile, we get a little funny bit with Jakes and Johnny over some toys that had been used to smuggle prescription drugs. Briggs and Mike get back to the house and feed the other guys a story about being out with Bello all night and Briggs doing surveillance. I’m kinda surprised they believed that.

Mike swings by Bello’s place to see his guys making due with the amount of heroin they have by adding in other stuff that makes it even more dangerous. Bello blames Mike for him having to do this until a new shipment arrives. Mike then pops off to the FBI to have a chat with Juan. He doesn’t spill the beans on Briggs’ heroin addiction but he does float the idea that maybe Briggs isn’t stealing the drugs to sell. And then in a sort creepy moment, Juan gifts Mike a photo taken by Mike’s grandfather while working in the field (he caught himself in a reflection). Mike seems pretty impressed with the gift. He then heads out for lunch with Paige, Johnny and Abby. Abby wants a photo of her and Mike and to prove to her East Coast friends that he’s real. Paige does a little sleight of hand after Johnny takes the picture to snag the phone. Being an undercover agent means you can’t have random photos floating around in cyberspace. Both Paige and Johnny tell Mike he has to end with Abby but he’s not going to do that. He cares about her too much to lie to her like that. But he does dump her phone in a glass of water.

Meanwhile, Jakes pays a visit to a man named Cassandra who it turns out is his wife and they have a seven-year-old son. But given Jakes’ day job he can’t really be a family man. And part of that was his choice. His son doesn’t even know him as his father which is rather sad. He does convince Cassandra to give their son one of the robots from the bust. I have to say I feel bad for Jakes. And I’m glad we’re getting to learn a little more about him since we’ve learned some about the other characters already.

Charlie is a busy little bee while her roommies are doing their thing. She’s hitting up all the corner dealers she knows trying to find out who knows Odin. A couple say they know him but give crazy descriptions. She gets back to Graceland (rather frustrated) to find Mike and Briggs tossing a football around while Briggs explains why they can’t take Bello out yet. But between the three of them they manage to hatch a plan to kill several birds with one stone. They will set up a meeting with Odin and Bello. And it actually looks like it might work. Mike floats the idea to Bello, dropping the hint that Briggs has a connection. And then Briggs hits the streets getting word out he wants a meeting and he scores one too for the following day

Charlie should be happy about this but she realizes she’s been keeping the secret about shooting up from the house and doesn’t believe Briggs’ mantra of keeping it to herself is going to work. So she spills to the rest of the house and they are all supportive of her. Mike does a bit of fishing as to who she got the drugs from but she doesn’t implicate Briggs. Mike goes to check on Charlie a little later on but Paige assures him that all is well and that they’ll look after each other going forward. Jakes is out trying to cultivate a new CI and I saw it coming that the guy is out of the game, trying to do right by the nurse he met after he got shot twice in the chest during a drive by. Of course, that nurse is Cassandra. So Jakes’ CI is raising his son. That to be tough. And Jakes didn’t show like he knew the kid or anything. But I’m thinking using him as a CI isn’t going to work out so well, not only because he’s out of the game but because he’s too linked to Jakes’ family.

Briggs is still pissed at Charlie for telling the house. His rationale is now if anyone ever asks if she’s done heroin, the house will have to lie to cover her ass. And he’s not okay with that. Meanwhile, Mike tells Juan about Briggs and asks for help. Yeah, I really wouldn’t have told Juan anything about Briggs, Mike. That’s going to seriously come back and bite you both in the ass. Big time. I mean now all of Briggs’ cases will be under scrutiny and the Bureau can come down on him for not fessing up if they want.

The night before the big meeting with Odin, Briggs and Bello, Mike gets some interesting advice on the Abby front from Jakes. He says to not give up and don’t let Graceland define him. Interesting. Mike goes and meets Abby and tells her he might be heading back to the East Coast so they could continue seeing each other. And then shit hits the fan. During the op, Odin doesn’t show…at least to the team it looks like he doesn’t. Briggs cuts his watch recorder and admits to Bello that he is Odin and always has been. I can’t tell if this is because he’s really a bad dude or if he’s just trying to take out the cartel that hooked him on heroin. Either way, the team is none the wiser while Bello has a little nugget of secret info on Briggs now.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Wonderfalls 1.06: "Muffin Buffalo"

“This isn’t me. It’s humiliating. I don’t save babies!”

“Muffin Buffalo” is one of my favorite episodes of “Wonderfalls,” mostly because it is the first of several appearances by Marianne Marie Beatle (played by the wonderful Beth Grant) and several rather epic riffs on Jaye’s new status as a “baby saver.” Jaye continues to rather unwillingly do good, and this actually escalates pretty significantly, with seemingly minor actions having huge positive consequences. We also get a glimpse into the kind of horrible things Jaye did pre-‘sode, like stalking an obese trailer park neighbor. Jaye doesn’t escape that situation without consequences, which I appreciated, even though she’s being forced to be a better person now. Part of what makes Jaye fundamentally Jaye is her prickliness. It makes you wonder, if she really is talking to God, what He saw in her to make Him believe she would do good when just prodded a little (okay, prodded a lot).

There are two one-shot but extremely memorable new characters introduced in “Muffin Buffalo.” The first is the aforementioned Marianne Marie Beatle. This is the first of three appearances Mrs. Beatle would make in the Bryan Fuller-verse, although it’s the only appearance she would make in “Wonderfalls.” Marianne Marie also shows up in the season 2 episode of “Pushing Daisies” where she competes against Ned and Olive in a cooking competition and in “Mockingbird Lane.” I do love how Bryan Fuller shows such loyalty to his former characters and stable of actors in his work, including in his current series, “Hannibal.” Anyway, Marianne Marie is an avid muffin baker who apparently gets a regular disability check for having had a hysterectomy. Those checks have been recently showing up in Jaye’s mailbox, but Jaye doesn’t realize it. Once she does realize it, the Muses start telling her to not give them to Marianne Marie.

The other new, one-shot character in this episode is “Fat Pat” aka “Patsquatch,” and extremely obese neighbor of Jaye’s who Jaye is on a bit of a quest to photograph, Sasquatch style. There’s an amusing scene early in the episode where Aaron is hiding out at Jaye’s trailer to avoid studying, and they’re working on a Fat Pat stakeout. Jaye thinks they’re in luck when there’s a pizza delivery to Pat’s trailer. Aaron ends up snapping the pictures of Pat while Jaye is distracted by a visit from Marianne Marie asking about her disability checks. Overall, this episode included an interesting evolution in the relationship between Jaye and Aaron from what we saw in “Crime Dog.” Aaron is back to being kind of obsessed with Jaye’s ability. He’s glued the head back on the cow creamer, and he keeps bugging Jaye about her ability throughout the episode. I can definitely see how Aaron might have been prompted to start a Cult of Jaye if the series had continued beyond one season. He even talks to his therapist about it in an interesting conversation about how even though he’s getting a PhD in comparative religion, the idea of Jaye actually talking to God is crazy to him.

There’s an overall thread throughout this episode of Jaye not liking the person that the Muses are turning her into. Early in the episode, a Muse instruction to staple a woman’s shoelace to a shelf results in Jaye catching a baby that had been catapulted out of its stroller. The story makes the local Native American reservation newspaper, and Jaye also wins Employee of the Month at Wonderfalls. Jaye only accepts the Employee of the Month award because it comes with taking the afternoon off. The Tylers have a celebratory fondue lunch at the Barrel, considering Jaye doesn’t usually have achievements that merit fondue lunches. In fact, Sharon’s a little miffed that Jaye is getting similar treatment for her retail achievement that she got for making partner at her law firm. Jaye struggles mightily with the idea that people might actually think she’s a good person. As she says emphatically to many people in this episode, including to her family and to Eric, she’s not a “baby saver.” As I alluded to earlier in the post, it’s interesting to see Jaye suddenly start to rebel against the idea of the Muses. She still does what they tell her to, but she feels like those actions are fundamentally against her identity. She can’t believe she’s a good person.

Anyway, much of the rest of this episode revolves around Jaye’s interactions with Fat Pat. After an incident involving an oven fire in Marianne Marie’s trailer, Jaye meets Pat (Eddie Kaye Thomas) in the flesh. And surprise, surprise, he’s not so fat anymore. He’s been spending the past year working very hard to lose the weight, but he still sees himself as fat. Jaye decides that Pat needs to go out and socialize to get some self-confidence, but this all seems to backfire pretty horrifically. First, she takes him to the Tyler family game night, where he doesn’t exactly endear himself to anybody in the family other than Sharon thanks to being way too aggressive in his game-playing. Then they go to the Barrel, where he tells Eric how Jaye is obsessed with him and has taken all these pictures. Poor Eric just looks like a kicked puppy as he worries that he’s lost his chance with Jaye. Jaye says goodbye to Pat at the trailer park mailboxes, but she later discovers him naked in her bed. This is understandably disturbing to Jaye, and the rejection just sends Pat right back into a relapse spiral.

Pat ends up in Marianne Marie’s trailer gorging himself on muffins that Marianne Marie is only too happy to supply. Unfortunately for Pat, though, Marianne Marie uses olestra in her muffins. Instead of gaining weight back (which Pat was trying to do because he was feeling sorry for himself), he ends up losing the final twelve pounds he needed to reach his goal weight. Jaye and Marianne Marie visit Pat in the hospital, where Marianne Marie presents her plan for Pat to be Muffin Buffalo’s spokesperson (Muffin Buffalo is her muffin company). Jaye also finally gives Marianne Marie her disability checks, and Marianne Marie is able to avoid eviction from the High and Dry. Jaye stashing the checks actually turned out to be a good thing, because Marianne Marie had never saved so much money before in her life, and now she has enough money to restart her muffin business. So “Muffin Buffalo will roam again!”

Summer DVR Dump: Merlin 5.08: "The Hollow Queen"

“In his heart, I know he is a good man. And one day, he will bring about a world we all dream of.”
- Merlin

We are inching closer to the Gwen is evil plot concluding and I couldn’t be happier. We start at nightfall. A young boy climbs over a castle wall and injures his arm. He’s caught by Leon (accompanied by Gwen and a few other knights). Gwen sends the boy off before heading back inside to find Arthur has festooned the bed with flowers. Clearly we know what he hopes will be happening that evening. Gwen clearly has other plans. Seeing as she thinks Arthur is evil and horrible, there’s no way she’s sleeping with him. So as a way out, she tells Merlin she wants a hot bath first. He’s down in the kitchens getting said water when the boy appears and begs Merlin to help his little sister. Merlin isn’t inclined to give the boy a second thought until she reveals he is a Druid. This is Merlin’s downfall of course. He can’t say no to helping his own people. He promises to go in the morning and leaves Gaius to find an excuse for him when Arthur gets crabby. Besides, there’s a high powered ruler coming for a visit and Merlin assumes Arthur will be too busy with that to pay him any mind.

Well Merlin would be wrong. First Arthur can’t find his comb. Gwen spots it and narrowly avoids him kissing her by telling him he needs to get ready for their guest’s arrival. Then he storms into Gaius’s chambers demanding to know where Merlin is. Gaius makes up some excuse about being out gathering a rare herb which could take all day. Arthur calls the bluff but assumes Merlin is down in the tavern getting wasted instead. Out in the forest, merlin and the boy begin their trek to the Valley of the Fallen Kings. Merlin sees the boy favoring his arm and basically forces the boy to stop so he can tend to it. The boy is rather surprised by Merlin’s kindness. Most people don’t care if he lives or dies.

Back in Camelot, it becomes clear the boy is not all he seems. Gwen takes the reverse path he did to get out of the castle and leaves a message for Morgana in the woods. Arthur is running late (really, Merlin does keep him on time for the most part), and Gaius pops in the report Merlin has not yet returned. And we get yet more physical comedy from Bradley as Gaius attempts to dress Arthur in Gwen’s night dress. They get things sorted though, and Arthur is as ready as he can be to meet their guest. It turns out this is the same individual who had imprisoned Morgana and her dragon in a well for two years. Arthur plans to get the details of his sister’s capture.

Meanwhile, in the woods, Merlin is starting to get suspicious when the boy grows quiet and sort of edgy. He returns some food Merlin gave him and ultimately, they reach their destination and there is no little girl in need of saving. Merlin figures out the boy isn’t even a Druid (after they’re nearly caught by bandits and the boy didn’t heed Merlin’s telepathic warnings). Unfortunately, Morgana takes that moment to pounce, knocking Merlin out. She feeds him some kind of poison, pays the boy for his services and kick poor Merlin off a small embankment where he lands with a thud.

Camelot’s tenuous guest arrives and things get underway for more than just the two leaders. Gwen has her own role to play during the visit. Arthur is rather appalled at his guest’s tale of keeping Morgana locked up and in agony by keeping her and the dragon in the pit together as it grew and became crippled. Gwen is even more upset (given her evil connection with Morgana at the moment). She takes her leave and has a rendezvous with Morgana in the woods. They discuss Morgana’s plan to use Arthur’s guest to kill him (he is known for assassinating even his friends) before a treaty can be signed. Gwen is unsure they should even be using this man given his history with Morgana. But, there’s really no choice.

The following day Arthur fights his guest’s best knight and loses. Gwen watches from inside and then confronts the guest and basically tells him if he were to have Arthur killed she would reward him with lots of and lots of money. Their guest isn’t sure about Gwen’s sincerity so she tells him they can meet later to discuss it further. While this scheming is going on, Merlin wakes up in the forest with the poison coursing through him. He tries to use his magic to heal his broken leg but it’s not working so well. The faux Druid boy returns, feeling guilty over having led Merlin to his death. Upon Merlin’s orders, he gathers some herbs and turns them into a tincture that effectively kills Merlin, only reviving him once all the poison is gone. The boy shares that he believe Gwen and Morgana mean to kill Arthur and this spurs Merlin to trek back to Camelot before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Gwen and Camelot’s guest meet and Gwen promises 1/3 of Camelot’s lands to him if he kills Arthur. She provides him with a key to a tower so his assassin can take the shot from up high while the treaty signing is happening.

As Merlin and his new ally make their way back towards Camelot, they encounter bandits. Because of Merlin’s bum leg, he slides into view. With a tiny display of magic, they’re left alone but his travelling companion is awash with questions. How can he live in Camelot with magic? Does Arthur know? Why would Merlin serve Arthur if the King would have him killed? Merlin brushes away the questions by explaining that one day Arthur will bring about a world where magic is accepted not feared. They race back to Camelot as the guest’s assassin sets up to take the shot. It’s a bit of scramble but the Merlin and his friend manage to stop the assassin from killing Arthur. He kills his own leader instead. And of course, Merlin kills him. Unfortunately his new friend has taken a dagger to the gut and his bleeding out rather quickly. But Merlin promises that people will care about him since he helped save the King’s life. Merlin and Gaius have more proof that Gwen is under Morgana’s thrall and it is time to clue the King in on the dilemma brewing within the castle walls.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Newsroom 2.01: "First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers"

“The day will come when we have an HR rep who cares what goes on on this floor. And on that day, sir, I will dance upon your grave.”

Sloan’s quote up there at the top of the post pretty much sums up how I feel about the romantic drama storylines on “The Newsroom.” AWM should seriously be firing like half the News Night staff. I work in a mostly young professional office, too, and it's not a real life soap opera at all. The AWM HR office should be all over this crap, especially the Jim and Maggie drama considering he’s her direct supervisor. Are any of these folks capable of acting like normal, professional adults? Sure, bad idea workplace romances happen, but the number of them happening all at once in this show is astounding. Am I just being naïve? As you can tell from this opening rant, the workplace romance drama is still alive and kicking on the season 2 premiere of “The Newsroom.”

Early on, this episode sets up what will most likely be the ongoing framing device for the season. Will is being interviewed by an AWM lawyer over a major national security story News Night reported that turned out not to be true. The story was about “Operation Genoa,” and it was a flub so bad that News Night had to issue a retraction. The deposition sets up some of the more minor storylines that are going to be playing out too. Will and the lawyer go back and forth about how if Jim hadn’t been in New Hampshire and if they hadn’t gotten somebody named Jerry to fill in for him, none of this might have happened. We’re left wondering, of course, why Jim left for a little while, and what went wrong when he left. We also learn that there’s been some pretty significant fallout to AWM for Will’s “American Taliban” line. Reese was left out of a House committee meeting about SOPA, poor baby (yeah, I know it’s serious that AWM felt those repercussions, but I just can’t feel bad for Reese).

The choice to use both fictional and real recent past news this season is an interesting one. On the fictional news side, we’ve got “Operation Genoa.” Sorkin always used fictional current events in “The West Wing,” so this seems promising to me. Also, knowing that it’s something the News Night team is going to royally screw up helps cut the sanctimony of the times when they’re perfectly right about actual news stories. On the actual news story front in this episode, we’ve got a few gems from August, 2011. I actually lived just outside of DC at that time, so these political stories bring back some nostalgia for me. There’s the very beginning of Occupy Wall Street, which we see through the eyes of Neal, as he’s chasing it as his first big break story. There’s planning for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Believe me, when you spend the anniversary in one of the cities that was attacked, it’s not something you’ll forget. Charlie pulls Will off the 9/11 coverage because of the flack he’s gotten for the “American Taliban” comment, and it really upsets Will, who has to be loved by everyone. There’s also the DC earthquake, which caused damage to the Washington Monument that still hasn’t been completely repaired today. The biggest loss we experienced in our apartment was that our freezer door opened and dumped stuff all over the kitchen floor, but it was still memorable for us East Coast lifers not used to earthquakes.

Anyway, to touch on the personal drama a bit, Jim gets broody when he sees Don and Maggie happily flirting with each other at the office. And again, this is why workplace romances are bad news, people! Consider that your public service announcement for the day. When a lower level grunt who has been on the Romney campaign trail breaks his ankle in a drunken stupor, News Night needs somebody to take over the Romney coverage temporarily. After thinking it over for a while, Jim decides that he needs a break from being around Maggie, and he volunteers to go himself. Because Mackenzie went over to Afghanistan when her relationship with Will first imploded, she’s sympathetic and allows it, even if everyone else at News Night thinks it’s a horribly stupid idea. The new assignment doesn’t really go well for Jim. Because of AWM being blackballed by the Republican establishment, he’s not allowed on the bus and has to drive behind the rest of the press corps. Picking Don doesn’t work out so well for Maggie, either. Maggie’s cousin e-mails Don a YouTube video of her freak out by the Sex and the City tour bus, and he breaks up with her. Oh and Sloan is still all awkward around Don, especially since he’s temporarily supervising her while she’s filling in as 10:00 anchor.

We also see the beginning of the sequence of events that will lead to the potential lawsuit that was introduced at the beginning of the episode. Jerry is the new senior producer that Mackenzie brings in from the Washington bureau to fill in for Jim. Jerry is determined to use the opportunity to put his own stamp on ACN’s news coverage in general. He’s especially interested in the consequences of drone strikes in Pakistan. With Mackenzie’s support, he put together a panel, including Sloan, to talk about the issue on News Night. Mackenzie suggests that Jerry use Jim’s regular national security expert, but Jerry wants to bring in his own guy, a former Air Force officer who now teaches at the Maxwell School. You know you’re a policy wonk when the name checking of Maxwell makes you laugh hysterically. What can I say? I have a lot of former and current Maxwell School coworkers, and whether there are more employees from Maxwell or my own alma mater is a continuous source of rivalry and humor in my office.

The actual panel is kind of a disaster. Jerry’s source is a bit brash in putting forth his opinion that drones are a good thing, and Will deliberately passes up a chance to counter his argument, even with Mackenzie screaming in his ear piece to do so. This is because Will wants to start looking tougher on terrorism again. Like I said, he has to be loved by everyone, so losing the 9/11 tribute was a big blow. After the broadcast, Jerry talks to his source. It becomes pretty clear that this arrangement is mutually beneficial. The source is trying to help Jerry launch his career while Jerry is trying to give his source credibility in academia. The source promises Jerry a make or break story. He says it will make Jerry’s career and bring down the Presidency. It’s Operation Genoa, and it is supposed to be big.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Lost Girl 1.07: "Arachnofaebia"

“Truth is, humans sometimes just kill each other, you know? You take away their flat screens and their minivans, and they’re just still barbarians.”

So here’s the thing. I hate spiders. Hate snakes too. I once had a bit of a freak out in front of coworkers when I saw a water snake in a state park during an employee recognition event. Anyway, this episode of “Lost Girl” heavily featured an especially nasty spider, so needless to say, it kind of squicked me out. Big time. This was pretty much a bottle episode, with the bunk of the action taking place in Bo and Kenzi’s apartment, and just a few scenes taking place elsewhere. While the spider was the physical manifestation of the threat, the episode overall was very much a psychological thriller. The spider is actually a type of underfae called a Djieiene that feeds off of people’s rage. Kenzi and Bo have their first real fight, and of course the spider escalates it. I think it was a good effort to delve a bit deeper into the characters in the context of a case of the week. But I really freaking hate spiders.

Anyway, the episode begins with a fairly simple home life scene between Bo and Kenzi. It’s designed to set up their conflict later in the episode, and it serves as their first real fight. Kenzi is flirting with the pizza delivery guy, and Bo is kind of grossed out by it, so she uses her succubus powers to get the delivery guy to leave. Kenzi is not pleased by this, and the argument devolves into Kenzi being pissed at Bo for trying to run her life and Bo being pissed at Kenzi for being such a slob. They both decide to call a truce once they come to the realization that they’re having their first fight. Mostly, they think it’s kind of amusing that they have finally hit that milestone.

Elsewhere, we get the set-up for the case of the week. It involves two elderly sisters, one of whom is visiting the other. The visiting sister finds the front door unlocked and just goes right in on complaining about the housekeeping. She then gets stabbed viciously with knitting needles by her sister. This is the case that Bo and Kenzi find themselves involved with, although not in the usual way. Kenzi’s got a side job going on as a shaman. She dresses up sort of like a Russian gypsy and tries to convince people she can cleanse houses of evil spirits. She is hired by a realtor to cleanse the house where the two sisters died, and Bo, who just found out about this side job, decides to tag along to see the show. While Kenzi is pretending to perform her cleansing ritual, the big, nasty spider crawls into her purse. Bo also continues to make a mess of her love life, by working on the case with Dyson at the Dal just before she’s supposed to meet Lauren there for drinks. The three of them have a very awkward session of sitting on the couch while Bo downs shots to ease the tension.

Later, Kenzi reaches into her purse and feels something bite. Hale, who is with her at the time (they’re both at the Dal) starts pulling weapons out of Kenzi’s purse. He figures she must have cut herself on something rather than being bitten. Later, Kenzi starts not feeling well. She’s got a migraine, and she’s itchy. This makes her even more irritated than usual with Bo’s sanctimony. Meanwhile, Bo gets a spider bite of her own. Hers happens while she’s in the shower (of course). Once both Bo and Kenzi aren’t feeling well, they really start sniping at each other, although they stop sniping long enough to go see Lauren for a check-up. Lauren thinks they both have the flu, but later, after Dyson and Hale figure out how all the recent murders they’ve investigated are connected, Lauren has second thoughts. She does some research about the Djieiene and figures that it is the culprit.

Once Lauren realizes the cause of Kenzi and Bo’s distress, she put in a call to the Ash. Hale is the first to arrive at their apartment. Kenzi and Bo, in their paranoia, immediately proceed to tie him up with saran wrap. Bo then decides she needs to heal, and she decides that the best food source would be Kenzi. Kenzi doesn’t want to be food, and she runs away. Bo the decides to feed on Hale (just with a kiss), and she is actually completely healed from the Djieiene venom. She soon has bigger problems though. The Ash has sent his head of security (an ex flame of Dyson’s) to just completely incinerate Bo and Kenzi’s apartment, along with Bo and Kenzi. Dyson does his best to try and delay the incineration and save Bo, Kenzi, and Hale’s lives, but security chick will only give him two hours. And thus we have the episode’s ticking clock to raise the stakes. It’s the second time in two episodes that at least one major character’s life has been in danger, and I’m not sure I approve.

In the end, as it often is with “Lost Girl,” it’s research that saves the day. Lauren does more research and figures out exactly what they need to do to kill the Djieiene. Apparently the critter implants its heart in a person, and you have to destroy the heart to kill it. So Bo trying to cut the spider itself in half does no good. Trick then gets involved, and using a list of possible suspects that Bo provided to Dyson before the quarantine started, he’s able to figure out the likely culprit. There’s a rare magical creature/underfae dealer passing through town. They round the guy up, and the Djieiene is indeed his. And the heart is in his body, requiring Lauren to cut it out of him. Lauren pretty happily destroys the heart and calls off the quarantine and firebombing. Dyson isn’t happy with Lauren for putting Bo’s life in such danger, of course, but for now, all is back to being well in the world of Bo and Kenzie. Each now has more appreciation for the other, in spite of their annoying habits.

Summer DVR Dump: Continuum 1.07: "The Politics of Time"

“You know, I protected you. And you lied to me, about Alicia, about everything. We’re done.”
- Carlos

In the future, Kiera and Greg are out with Greg’s best friend and his wife celebrating Greg’s newest employment achievement. He really does seem to advance through the ranks pretty fast over at Sadtech. Kiera takes a moment to go powder her nose and Greg’s friend walks into the ladies room and tries to cop a feel. Kiera flips out on him. He is kind of a sleaze so I don’t blame her.

Back in 2012, Kiera and Carlos are comparing equally sad evening plans when Alec suggests Kiera ask Carlos to dinner (as a friend, not a date). Before she can broach the subject, he gets a call from a friend and heads off. He drops off a report6er friend named Alicia. She was supposedly at a mutual friend’s place asking some questions and he threw her out. One thing quickly leads to another and Carlos and Alicia hook up. The next morning as Kiera waits for Carlos, Kellogg rolls up in a sweet car with coffee and news that he has procured the access codes to a bunch of feeds on the West Coast that could theoretically help Kiera locate Liber8 before they make the next move. Carlos pulls up and they head to a crime scene which as soon as they get there, we realize is Alicia’s apartment. Oh boy.

The ME determines Alicia was killed between five to seven hours before people got on scene. Kiera picks up on Carlos’ elevated heart rate and the fact he’s walking around touching stuff without gloves (to explain his prints). He ends up taking lead on it. Before he and Kiera head back to the precinct, he makes a detour to visit Jim Martin, the friend who called him the night before to get Alicia. He’s running against the sleazy incumbent and pretty quickly Inspector Dillon sends them to talk to the incumbent (Barnes). Alec and Julian are still at odds. Julian blames Alec for telling his dad because he’s now lost his car keys and his phone. Well you incite violence, of course you’re going to get grounded, dumbass.

As they head out to go chat with Barnes, Kiera gets an update on her suit. Alec has most of the circuitry working on a basic level. She tells him not to break it and he does some sort of electrostatic pulse and it seems to jumpstart. Kind of cool really. I like a lot of the tech they have on this show. Kiera quickly deduces that Carlos knew Alicia. Apparently they are both Colombian immigrants. Unfortunately, the interview with Barnes doesn’t go so well. Carlos is way hostile and Barnes points a finger at Jim as far as dirty campaign finances. Meanwhile, Betty has gotten some bus camera footage outside Alicia’s apartment and Alec (thanks to Kiera’s suit supercharging his system) enhances it and we see Carlos dropping Alicia off. So Kiera goes back to the crime scene, hoping that Carlos just dropped her off and didn’t go inside because we know that looks bad. Her super spray shows fingerprints in the apartment and she manages to exclude what Carlos touched that morning but finds lots of prints in the bedroom. Alec, being a typical teenage boy is kind joking about it and even suggests maybe a three-way happened when Kiera finds some unknown prints.

Kiera breaks into Carlos’ car and sees that he went to Jim Martin the night before and she confronts him about her discoveries. He vouches for Jim’s character and says neither he nor Jim had anything to do with Alicia’s murder. Kiera says she’ll keep Jim and Carlos out of it as long as she can. And then she promptly goes to talk to Jim. He begrudgingly admits that Alicia was at his place the previous night (which is news to his wife). Kiera flashes back to the night when Greg’s friend made a pass and learns that his wife and Greg had a fling before his and Kiera’s wedding. I knew he was too good to be true. Kiera is pretty devastated because she never had a reason not to trust Greg before. Unfortunately, in the present, Kiera gets booted with a “if you have any other questions, call the lawyer” cop out. But she thinks Jim and Alicia were having an affair and Heather found out. She did notice that Heather’s prints matched the unknown set in Alicia’s apartment and tasks Alec with digging into her background.

The next morning, Alec reveals that Kiera’s suit is like super awesome and is scanning the internet and video feeds on its own. And he found out that Heather was an athlete in school (lacrosse, gymnastics) and she’d been calling Alicia over the last two weeks. While this is all great and could exonerate Carlos, Kiera discovers Kellogg’s theft. She’s just going to have to get the piece of the device back from him. And thinks aren’t looking so good for Carlos. Betty enhances the image and confronts him. He decides to actually fess up to Inspector Dillon. Understandably, Dillon suspends Carlos indefinitely. He had to see that coming. I mean he was kind of being an idiot taking lead on it and everything. He gets home and is boxing to try and relieve some stress after watching Jim give a partial press conference. At least Jim still believes in Carlos’ innocence. Kiera has an idea to figure out how to see what went on in the apartment the night that Alicia was killed. She strong arms Kellogg into giving her the access codes to the satellites which she then gives to Alec and we get an interesting scene where people show as interruptions in cell phone signals and we see it was a woman who killed Alicia.

Simultaneously, Carlos finishes boxing and grabs a shower. And someone dressed in black climbs through the window. We watch as the figments from the night of the murder act out what actually happened just as Carlos gets stunned in the shower and a fight ensues. It must have been some interesting choreography to get it so that you didn’t see his parts (as he was completely naked there). Kiera shows up at his place, frantic that he’s not returning her calls to find him in a towel, breathing hard. But importantly, he managed to cut the assailant with a piece of broken glass.

Things get dicey when Carlos and Kiera go to confront heather. She admits to knowing about the affair (she didn’t really care) and that she was at Alicia’s apartment because Alicia wanted Jim to leave her alone. That’s a whole hot mess but more importantly, Alec ID’d the car the assailant used after leaving Alicia’s place and Kiera deduces it is Sarah 9the campaign manager). She confesses to hiring someone to scare Alicia and gave $10,000 to the campaign. It has to be Liber8 related. They take Sarah into custody and Jim says that he didn’t tell Carlos because it was politics. Carlos is done with his shenanigans.

Kiera is convinced Sarah won’t reveal her source but it’s pretty obvious it was Liber8 that was behind it. And Jim’s won the election so now he’s got access to everything. And indeed as Carlos and Kiera discuss what they think really happened, Garza gets into the car with Jim, Heather and Kagame and she’s got a cut on her arm. We flash to the future again where Kiera confronts Greg about the affair and he gives some lame excuse that he thought she wouldn’t marry if him she told him the truth. Carlos suggests after all the drama that just went down that he and Kiera don’t have secrets. But Kiera would rather keep a secret form him than break a promise. So there’s that. And as always, the Liber8 mystery continues.

Graceland 1.06: "Hair of the Dog"

“I brought you here to save your career. This will be our little secret.”
- Briggs

When last we left Charlie, she was shooting up with the mid-level dealer’s needle (a big no-no if you’re a cop). The aftermath is definitely not pretty. She’s tripping pretty hard and Briggs takes her to one of his CI’s apartments. It makes me wonder a little where the CI is. Charlie breaks down, saying she just wants to go home and be in her own bed. But Briggs puts a stop to that. If Charlie goes back and the FBI finds out, it would be the end of her career. So he leaves her to suffer through the withdrawal in peace.

Meanwhile, Johnny and Paige find a sub (thanks to Mike’s tip that Bello is using them to smuggle drugs). But Johnny goes into the sub and finds no drugs at all. We cut to Bello have an argument with some Hispanic drug dealers (a cartel of some sort). He explains to Mike that there’s a contingency. The drugs are put in a torpedo shell and dropped if the sub is caught. So the drugs are sitting on the bottom of the ocean waiting to be picked up. Mike convinces Bello to use a guy Mike knows to retrieve the drugs before the Feds find it. And yes that guy is totally going to be Johnny.

Mike gets back to Graceland to find Johnny and Briggs at home. Johnny is annoyed that Mike’s westerns (doing homework to keep up with Bello) are taking up precious DVR space. Apparently Briggs heard everything Mike said to Bello and is not happy that Mike is putting a plan in motion without talking to him first. Well obviously since Mike is trying to ensnare Briggs he’s not going to run it by him. And yes, Johnny offers to be the underwater recovery guy (he almost became a Navy Seal…until he got hit by a boat the last day of Hell Week). Mike brings his plan to Juan who is rather impressed. Mike is having second thoughts though about whether Brigg is really dirty. I guess time will tell.

Charlie is still detoxing in the CI apartment. She gets up and starts puking in the toilet. Definitely not pretty. Unfortunately as she’s kind of wandering around the apartment, Johnny calls. She tries to play it off that she’s just working another case to keep busy and distract her from Whistler’s death but it’s not working. And it doesn’t help that Johnny tells her they need to give their side of the story about why the bust went sideways to the Bureau. Briggs shows up in the morning and Charlie is freaking out that she’s going to lose her job. Briggs tells her she’s screwed but gives her an option. She can take more heroin to act a little more normal before totally getting the drugs out of her system. Somehow that’s going to come back and bite her (or both of them) in the ass).

Mike gets a brief reprieve from Graceland world by hanging out with Abby (though she wants to hang at least with Paige). She wonders if Mike is trying to keep her from his roommates or his roommates from her. He can’t just tell her she can’t stay the night because he’s an undercover FBI agent. Even if he wanted to. They sort of do a double date at the bar but Mike is kind of annoyed that Paige is using her current case as her “date”. He was kind of flirting with Abbie and it turns out he’s a dealer (guess everyone kind of is around there). Abbie isn’t as naïve as she looks. She knew he was a dealer.

Elsewhere, things get rolling on the Bello front. Mike brings Johnny to meet Bello and we learn that Johnny immigrated and became a naturalized citizen while serving in the military. Boy’s got layers! In true Johnny fashion, he plays kind of hard to get and starts to walk away from Bello for not giving up details. But the tough guy act works and Bello agrees to pay him a flat fee of $20,000 to recover the sub. They even start working up a plan.

He can’t stick around though because he has the meeting with the FBI with Charlie. Charlie starts off strong explaining what went down. But she starts to come down off the high and her hands start fidgeting under the table. Johnny sees this and jumps in to take the fall for why the operation went south. It looks like Charlie is going to have some explaining to do to Johnny later on. In fact, they grab a bite to eat after and she tells him the truth. He’s hurt that she made him take the fall but he just wants her to go home and get better. He confronts Briggs about why he kept the truth a secret and all Briggs says is it was because he promised he’d protect Charlie. At least she’s got a bunch of people looking out for her. Once that tension is eased off, they start getting their plan together to find the torpedo with the drugs. They do some late night recon and find the torpedo. Not only is it US military but it’s booby trapped. Johnny actually was trained to defuse bombs and IEDs so he’s in his element now.

The next day they head out for the real operation. Bello has a boat and Briggs is standing by ready to intercept once the torpedo is in Bello’s custody. Johnny goes down and has a two way radio connection with Briggs and Mike. Things are starting to get tense on the boat as Johnny works to secure the torpedo. Bello is going to shoot Johnny to tie up loose ends. Mike convinces him to give the job to Mike (so at least he has some control). Johnny relays the fact that the torpedo is explosive to Bello to try and buy a little more time. Just as Johnny reports he’s almost got the bomb defused there is a large explosion above the water. Mike and Bello think Johnny got blown up. I can’t see them killing off one of their better characters, though. But it definitely sends Mike for an emotional loop.

Once the operation is over, Mike can’t get hold of Briggs. He runs the gambit of emotions when he sees Johnny alive and well in the Bureau field office. He’s relieved to know Johnny is okay and pissed that Briggs didn’t tell him about the bomb or that Johnny wasn’t dead. He’s so irate that he punches Briggs in the face. As they check the drugs (which the Bureau seized), Mike learns that Briggs took custody of the torpedo before anyone opened it. So he follows Briggs, thinking he’s going to have a huge revelation that he can take back the Juan. He finds Briggs beginning a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Briggs is an addict. I was a little surprised by the way the episode went but I think it’s finally moving the Mike/Briggs storyline closer to completion so I’m definitely happy about that.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Newsroom 1.10: "The Greater Fool"

“Do you have any life philosophy that isn’t based on a musical?”

“The Greater Fool,” the season one finale of The Newsroom, could be better described as “women behaving embarrassingly badly.” It was seriously embarrassing. Maggie has a breakdown in front of a Sex and the City bus tour. Sloan decides to stay on itty bity News Night instead of making bank (that one wasn’t so embarrassing, really). Mackenzie almost embarrasses herself over Will on the air. The whole mess was enough to make me, usually an ardent Aaron Sorkin defender, scream. I have continued to support Aaron Sorkin, even when he shows questionable ability to write women, because I love his dialogue and the rhythm he imparts to his words. This episode, though, was just beyond the pale. An embarrassment to professional women everywhere. As a professional woman myself, if I had a breakdown like any of these ladies did over a coworker, I believe I would be kindly shown the door, or at least highly encouraged to look for work elsewhere.

As is fitting for a season finale, this episode is where all the professional crises that the News Night team is facing come to a head. The magazine article written by Mackenzie’s ex has finally been published, and it’s not pretty. The title of the article (which appears on the cover of the magazine), referring to Will, is called “The Greater Fool.” It contains quotes from numerous supposedly respected journalists basically making fun of Will. Because he is the center of his own universe, this doesn’t sit well with Will at all. He ups his dosage of antidepressants and ends up in the hospital with a bleeding stomach ulcer. While in hospital, he is uber mopey and starts talking about not going back to News Night at all. Of course what he’s most upset about is all the people who seemingly made fun of him in the article. Which is just so, so ridiculous to me.

Meanwhile, Charlie is at least continuing some work that could legitimately save News Night from the continued meddling of the AWM higher-ups, namely Leona and her slimy son Reese (who is played by the awesome Chris Messina, more well-known now as Danny Castellano on “The Mindy Project). Charlie’s doing his job by talking to NSA leaker Solomon. As much as I hated just about every other aspect of this episode, the NSA subplot here is remarkably prescient, given that this was broadcast about a year ago, when we weren’t yet talking about Eric Snowden or NSA scandals. Anyway, Solomon has a bit of a past, so Charlie tells him that they can’t use him as a source on the NSA scandal he’s trying to leak. The scandal involves the knowledge that News Night phones are being tapped, though, so the information may still be of use.

Anyway, once he realizes that he’s not going to be able to do what he hoped as a whistleblower, Solomon decides to commit suicide. He jumps off a bridge and into the East River, but luckily for the News Night crew, before he decided to end it, he sent a very important envelope to Charlie. Receiving that envelope is one of Sam Waterston’s shining moments on the series thus far. Since part of the scandal is that TMI has been doing phone hacking, Nina Howard is feeling a big guilty. She tells Mackenzie that she has one source saying Will was high when he did the bin Laden death broadcast, and she needs a second source before she goes to print. She wants to give Mackenzie the heads up so that Mackenzie can hopefully silence anyone who could be a potential second source. Mackenzie and Will are then able to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Nina and Reese were able to find out Will was high because they hacked Mackenzie’s phone and listened to the voice mail Will left for her that night. They’re able to use this as sort of blackmail to get out from under Leona and Reese’s thumb, which is just fine by me.

The scene where Will finally decides to get his ass out of the hospital is just as ridiculous as most of the rest of this show. Mackenzie drags Will’s poor, suffering nurse into his hospital room, and the nurse talks about her elderly grandmother who has voted in Tennessee for years but won’t be able to in the next election because of “Voter ID” laws. Hearing this, Will dramatically rips out his IVs and head back to News Night HQ, The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly” playing triumphantly as he does so. They use the Voter ID law story to frame their next broadcast (which is actually kind of a framing device for the whole episode), and the Lewises can’t do a darn thing to stop them because of the phone tapping blackmail stuff.

Okay, to avoid going through a second full blown rant in one post, I’ll try to do the rundown of the romantic embarrassment as quickly as I can. So word gets round on the grapevine that when Jim was going to Maggie and Lisa’s apartment to declare himself, he was actually hoping to speak to Maggie, not Lisa. He’s just such an incredibly stand-up guy that when Lisa kissed him, he couldn’t let her down. Meanwhile, Don is planning to ask Maggie to move in. All of the drama surrounding her love life is too much for her, so Maggie has a complete break-down in front of a Sex and the City bus tour. Jim happens to be on said bus tour because he was trying to learn more about Lisa’s interests (sigh). He gets off the bus to talk to Maggie, and they end up having a kiss. After which they promptly decide that it wouldn’t be very nice for them to leave Don and Lisa. And Don later asks Maggie to move in and Maggie says yes. Which is just so freaking ridiculous. Why aren’t Maggie and Jim together? There is just no good reason. Oh, and add to that Sloan making a fool of herself telling Don she has feelings for him. Just sigh all around.

The “adults” on the News Night staff aren’t immune to this foolishness, either. Mackenzie reveals to Will that she was actually sitting in the audience in Northwestern, holding up the signs that would prompt Will to go on his career-changing rant. She expects Will to completely melt and rekindle their romantic relationship, but he doesn’t quite bite. Instead, he and Mackenzie have a new potential intern to interview. It’s the woman who asked the silly “what makes America the best country” question at Northwestern. She says she wants to be the Greater Fool, also known as the person who is guided by a hopeful, quixotic sensibility. Will decides to hire her (after yelling at her), because he thinks she can be like the kid at the end of Camelot, spreading the word after their downfall about what they tried to do. And I sigh. Again.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer DVR Dump: Merlin 5.07: "A Lesson in Vengeance"

“The law is the law, Merlin. Whether I like it or not.”
- Arthur
Kbr> Things are looking pretty good for Arthur. He’s having a nice ride through the fields with Gwen on their anniversary (which she reminded him of a month earlier…typical guy). It’s clear that whenever Arthur isn’t directly looking at Gwen, she’s rather miserable. Damn you, Morgana! As their ride continues, Arthur’s horse gets spooked and he’s thrown from the saddle and set upon by two armed men. He takes them out, only injuring his arm. Unfortunately, they die before any information can be gleaned. But Leon shows up to inform the King his saddle was tampered with. Apparently it takes three knights to arrest his stable boy (who is a big doughy guy named Tia). Another group of knights led by Percival and Leon search his home and find thread that was used to sabotage the saddle. Tia denies any involvement but Arthur can’t ignore the facts and sentences him to death.
Kbr> Merlin isn’t convinced of Tia’s guilt and bemoans it to Gaius over supper. Gwen tries to talk Arthur out of his morose musings by saying even a good King has enemies within his own walls. Merlin takes it upon himself to go see Tia and he gleans that Tia saw someone messing with the saddle earlier in the week but he won’t say who because they threatened to kill his mother. Merlin relays this to Arthur and the King is ready to race down to the cells to have a chat but Gwen talks him out of it, saying he’ll be there in the morning. This of course prompts Merlin to question Gwen’s demeanor of late. Gaius brushes it off as a mixture of grief and PTSD from her time with Morgana (which is partially true I suppose).
Kbr> Merlin’s suspicions are right. Gwen takes a trip down to the cells and when Tia promises he didn’t reveal her identity, she kills him anyway. She was definitely channeling Morgana at that point, with the way she spoke, the things she said and the look in her eyes. Have I mentioned I’m really not a fan of evil Gwen? I really don’t see what the whole point of this storyline was. Anyway, she reports to Morgana the semi-bad news (Arthur still lives) but Morgana promises that by the following evening, Arthur will be dead. Their conversation is cut short by the arrival of a patrol. They split up and Gwen is nearly caught by Gwaine but Morgana intervenes. Merlin admonishes her to be more careful when he spots her back in the castle. Luckily, Gwaine’s not seriously injured which is good. But Arthur is understandably worried if Morgana came so close to the citadel. Gwen listens in from a hiding place just out of view and overhears Merlin tell Gwaine to stick close to Arthur because the King may not actually be safe in Camelot.
Kbr> That afternoon, Morgana goes to purchase a tincture that can kill a victim slowly. The apothecary owner has such a mixture (a two-step process which brings about long and painful death) but it is very rare and hard to make. She tosses some coins at him and he remarks it’s enough to buy the product but not buy his silence. She tosses a few more coins on the floor and leaves. Yeah, that won’t end well for him. Back in Camelot, Arthur is sullen and musing about whether Merlin could be right that Morgana is working with someone within the castle. Gwen tries to convince him otherwise. You know, as much as I think it is a good thing that Arthur values Gwen’s opinion (I mean come on, in medieval times unless the woman was actually a ruling monarch, they didn’t have much say at all), he is rather too trusting of her opinion. Which I guess is what Morgana was counting on.
Kbr> Merlin and Gaius are out in the woods checking for clues when they happen upon a piece of torn fabric. It’s imported raw silk with expensive embroidery running through it. Merlin has a hunch about who it belongs to but as he’s rifling through Gwen’s dresses, Arthur catches him and insists 9after some physical comedy from Colin), that Merlin does Arthur’s washing. As Merlin heads down, Gwen is down in town to meet Morgana. Gwen promises that she’s got the perfect fall person lined up. So she accepts the potions and heads up to dinner with Arthur. She slips the first potion into Arthur’s drink and he passes out pretty promptly. While all this is going on, merlin finds Gwen’s torn dress and races to try and save Arthur. Too bad Gwen’s used the second potion by the time Merlin arrives.
Kbr> With the knights gathered at Arthur’s bedside, Gwen posits a new theory as to the would-be assassin’s identity. Not surprisingly she fingers Merlin as the culprit and he’s thrown in the cells. Gaius informs Gwen that there’s still a sliver of hope Arthur could recover and he then pays Merlin a visit. He concurs with Merlin’s earlier observation about the Queen. And so it’s up to Merlin’s magic to save the day (again). With the assist of the aging potion, old Merlin strolls out of the cells after hilariously messing with the guards on duty. I really enjoy him every time he shows up. He’s just so snarky. Merlin gets to say everything he really wants to people but can’t because of his station as a servant. He even smacks the cook with a pot. He makes it through the courtyard and into Arthur’s room after employing a little magic to douse all the torches and shimmying up the side of the castle.
Kbr> Before Merlin’s little acrobatic act, Leon consoles Gwen and promises that she has the knights’ loyalty after Arthur is dead and that she will make a great leader. If she weren’t subject to Morgana’s insane ramblings, it would be less creepy and sad (Leon is so getting duped by Gwen’s acting). Once Merlin successfully gets inside Arthur’s room, he heals the king without issue. Of course, he now has the challenge of getting back to his cell before anyone notices he’s missing. He manages it and the next morning, Arthur summons him for a chat. He apologizes for Merlin being accused (and then calls him too stupid to have planned such an elaborate attempt) before heading off to the council chambers to confront the apothecary owner. He promptly explains he sold the tincture that nearly killed the King and outs Morgana as the purchaser. Arthur, still believing in his virtuous wife, prompts the knights into a round of “long live the Queen”. Merlin stands silent, just glaring in Gwen’s general direction. He’s going to have work ten times harder to keep Arthur from biting it now.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Wonderfalls 1.05: "Crime Dog"

“You are insulated. You wear your trailer park hillbilly lifestyle around your neck like a ring of garlic. Are you trying to ward us off?”

“Crime Dog” is the episode most Wonderfalls fans point to as really solidifying what the series should be. Unfortunately, it was never broadcast before the series was cancelled. The episode really focused in on the Tyler family and their relationships. We learn a lot more about how Sharon, Aaron, and Jaye were raised and what they think of each other. Aaron and Jaye were always closer to each other than they were to Sharon, and this seems to have given Sharon a chip on her shoulder in her interactions with them. Oh, and they were also all raised by a faux French Canadian live-in housekeeper named Yvette. How a random Niagara Falls family with three kids has money for a housekeeper, I don’t know. We don’t actually see the Wonderfalls store or the Barrel Bar sets and characters much in this episode, because, as I said, this is really all about firmly establishing the Tylers and their history and relationships. I wouldn’t want every episode to be like this (gotta love Eric and Mahandra), but I think as one episode, it’s quite effective.

The structure of this episode is definitely unique. It’s sort of in media res with an extra twist. Normally, in media res shows the climax, then we go back to see what led the characters to that point. In “Crime Dog’s” version, we go back and forth between moving the story forward and flashing back to show how everyone got to the first moment we see in the episode. The episode begins with all three of the Tyler children at a police station. Sharon’s talking to one cop, presumably in a lawyerly capacity, and Jaye and Aaron are both being straight-up interrogated. There is talk of a body being found in Jaye’s trunk and problems related to immigration and Canada. And a cow creamer. This will all make sense as the episode plays out.

We then flash back to twelve hours before the arrest, where the Tyler family is enjoying a Rockwellian breakfast moment. Except that Jaye doesn’t really want to participate. She just wants to drop off her laundry and get out of there. The cow creamer, acting as a Muse, of course, has other ideas. It tells Jaye to have a pancake. The lovely fig pancakes are being cooked by Yvette. Jaye keeps saying under her breath that she doesn’t want a pancake, but the cow creamer is relentless. Aaron notices Jaye’s agitation and starts questioning her about why she’s talking to the cow creamer. Meanwhile, Sharon is insistent that Yvette needs to leave the house immediately. Jaye, thanks to the Muses, is just as insistant that she wants a pancake. While this argument is playing out, some INS (this episode was pre-ICE) agents arrive and say that Yvette is to be deported. Apparently she’s been living in the US on an expired visa for years. Karen knew about this and didn’t want to say anything, and uber-Republican Darrin is horrified that he’s been harboring an “illegal alien.”

Jaye is at first content to just let things play out (although she’s pissed at Sharon, an immigration attorney, for letting this happen), but then the muses start saying “bring her home.” Jaye interprets this as meaning that she and Aaron (with a little help from Karen) need to smuggle Yvette back across the border and bring her back to the Tyler home. Jaye and Aaron do indeed cross the border, and Aaron brings the cow creamer with her to confront Jaye about how she interacts with it. Jaye thinks this is pretty ridiculous, and she denies hearing the muses. This was one of those times when I really wish we had gotten more episodes of Wonderfalls, because it planted the seeds for one of the future plots Bryan Fuller said he wanted to explore. If the series had continued beyond the first season, Aaron, who is a PhD candidate in religious studies, would have formed a cult based around Jaye. The seeds of his obsession with her communion with the Muses are clearly visible in this episode with how he keeps hounding her about the cow creamer. By the end of the episode, he beheads the ceramic creamer, which is kind of creepy and funny at the same time.

Anyway, once in Canada, Aaron and Jaye find Yvette pretty easily at a Toronto bus depot. Yvette doesn’t really love the idea of being smuggled back across the border, but Jaye is pushy about it. Then the Muses start interfering again. They tell Jaye to make a right turn onto a one way street, and after careening down that street, Jaye winds up running into a very nicely kept front yard and garden. It happens to be the home of Yvette’s parents. Yvette is actually Cindy, a daughter of rich, Ontario parents, not the French Canadian orphan she pretended to be with the Tylers. It turns out that Cindy’s parents are kind of grumpy and self-centered. They really didn’t want a child, but they put on an air of putting up with Cindy. The only real affection Cindy knew growing up was from her own family’s French Canadian housekeeper named Yvette. Cindy’s parents continue to treat her horribly even after this reunion, so Jaye and Aaron get her out of there, intending to take her back to her true home, the Tyler house.

At the border crossing, everything seems to be going okay. The border patrol officer seems only mildly suspicious, and after giving a once over of the interior of the car with a flashlight, he waves the Tylers through. They don’t get far before they are stopped by a police barricade, though, and leading the charge, appropriately draped in fog and cigarette smoke, is Sharon. It appears that the outcast sister has squealed on her siblings. Jaye, Aaron, and Cindy are all arrested and taken to the police station, where we found them at the beginning of the episode. There’s plenty of time spent on both Jaye and Aaron’s interrogations, and it’s looking like Jaye is going to be facing some serious jail time. The issue isn’t so much smuggling an undocumented immigrant over the border but the damage done to Cindy’s parents’ lawn. Apparently they pressed charges, and the usually docile people of Canada are outraged and want justice.

Surprisingly, considering his stance on illegal immigration and all, it’s Darrin who saves the day (with a tea-brewing assist from Sharon). When Darrin was at his most upset, Sharon brewed him a cup of tea to help calm him down. First, he writes a very large check to Cindy’s parents to cover restitution for their messed up yard. This leads to the criminal charges against Jaye being dropped, although Canada still never wants Jaye to cross their border ever again, so she gets a restriction on her Passport. Second, Darrin has golf with a bigwig politician friend, the upshot of which is that Cindy will be able to stay in the country. At the end of the episode, we see the Tyler family again enjoying a nice breakfast, this time with Cindy studying for the citizenship test as she cooks.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer DVR Dump: Continuum 1.06: "Time's Up"

“The only thing more powerful than money, is knowledge. Through this spectacle, we will wake the public from its complacency and teach them to think for themselves. The revolution starts here.”
- Kagame

We begin in the future (as it seems we always do) and Kier and her team are trying to diffuse a riot. It turns out the protesters were fighting over food rations that should have been distributed already. Unfortunately, Kiera isn’t allowed to ask the hard questions about who will deal with it. In the present, she gets a call from Carlos and heads out to yet another protest, this time a bunch of Occupy types in front Exotrol (a gas company). Kiera believes that things will get out of hand because they always do. And she’s right. Alec watches as Julian heads into town, acting all aloof and broody where he joins up with a bunch of thugs and they go and bust up the rally and throw things through windows. The interesting thing though, is Liber8 is behind these protesters and it would seem someone believes Julian is an important part of things to come. As the chaos escalates, the CEO of Exotrol is being escorted out of the building. They get to the garage level, the doors open and Travis kills her guards and kidnaps her.

Pretty quickly, a ransom video goes up online with Ms. Sherman (the CEO) basically admitting she’s a criminal. Obviously, she is being put up to hit by Kagame and company. Meanwhile, Kiera and Carlos hit a bit of a wall of security when the head of Exotrol’s security force doesn’t want to let the cops handle things. And he’s offended with Carlos suggests one of the guy’s team could be an inside operator. Which again, isn’t that hard to believe. A new video pops up with a ransom demand of $20 million. The board will have to approve it and Kiera can’t see why they wouldn’t. They don’t want this woman’s blood on their hands. Kiera also thinks that they may be able to catch Liber8 while giving the ransom money over. After all, the terrorists need the cash and so they’ve got to at least stick their necks out to get it.

Alec is reviewing footage from the shenanigans and sees a familiar face; Julian. He’s more than a little surprised by his stepbrother’s actions. Then again, it was Alec who told him that to make real change he had to leave the living room. Of course Alec keeps quiet when he passes info on to Kiera about the leader of the little violent faction. He can’t rat out Julian to the cops. Of course he doesn’t have a problem doing so to his stepdad. Kiera and Carlos go to pick up the leader of the rebels, Francis Hall, to find the head of Exotrol Security being the crap out of him with the butt of a gun. Both get hauled into the precinct but the security guy is let go. And with a little help from her tech, Kiera gets Hall to admit that he was getting instructions via text so she tasks Betty with trying to find the original source. No sooner does Carlos get the heads up at the board has approved the ransom money, everyone’s phone in the precinct starts to ring. Liber8 is sending out mass text messages and ultimately it leads to Exotrol giving the $20 million to the mob of Occupiers in the plaza. Kiera figures out that whoever is sending the texts at the plaza may have line of sight based on what the messages say. Alec tracks the phone to a tent but it’s a dummy. Liber8 isn’t finished with the cops or Ms. Sherman yet.

Julian and his dad have something of a blowout when he gets home. They clash over how to make change happen and it’s clear Julian knows Alec narced on him. Yeah I’m pretty sure Julian is not someone you want to have mad at you. Meanwhile, another ransom video goes live. Liber8 is letting the people decide whether Ms. Sherman lives or dies and Carlos is concerned that people will just want their pound of flesh. So of course, she calls Kellogg to get some insight into Kagame’s plans. He gives her a hint to look into Exotrol’s stock, all while he’s searching her room and finds the piece of the time travel device. Using her CMR, she realizes that the Security guy’s gun had the safety off when he was questioning Francis. Thanks to Alec, they find the guy at home and after a foot chase and a beating by both Carlos and Kiera, they take him down.

At Liber8’s hideout, Kagame is giving the rest of the team a history lesson on the fall of big banks and how the government bailed them out and no one went to trial. Interesting that the Corporate Congress purged that from the history books so they could repeat the past without people even knowing. And Kagame is pleased that so many of the people who voted clicked on the link to the Liber8 manifesto. So they are gaining followers while Ms. Sherman’s live hangs in the balance. And while Kiera and Carlos try to crack the head of security. They use Travis’s general badass-ness to try and twist his arm into talking.

Alec catches that someone shorted $300 million in Exotrol stock and with some goading by Kiera, feeds Betty the info she needs to find the root source of the website so that it doesn’t look weird that Kiera suddenly knows where the bad guys are. They storm the warehouse to find Ms. Sherman with a bomb strapped to her chest. She admits to stealing from her employee pension funds and gets arrested. As does one of the other employees who helped set up the kidnap and ransom. And of course, Julian has to confront Alec about what he did and there is definitely some bad blood between the now. Alec does tell Kiera that Julian was involved with the riot and that he was trying to protect his family. Kiera understands but Alec can’t without information she needs to do her job. She flashes back to the future (yes that sounds weird) to the morning after riot duty and even her husband is supportive of the corporations hoarding food to drive up prices. He comments that she’s starting to sound like Liber8. And maybe she is. I have to wonder if her part in going back to 2012 was more than just they needed a law keeper who knew what was going on. She does in some ways understand where they’re coming from. I guess we’ll just have to keep watching to find out.

Graceland 1.05: "O-Mouth"

“There are really good reasons why we’re investigating Briggs.”
“Then I think I deserve to know.”
- Juan and Mike

Mike is still reeling from Eddie offing himself in front of him. Johnny busts into his room around 8:30 and insists they go throws a football around with Paige who has a new bikini. It seems to mellow Mike out a little bit and it looks like the actors had a fun time shooting the scene. Mike gets back to the house to find Charlie and Briggs shooting up. At least it looks that way. They’re prepping for a heroin buy with a mid-level guy. And we learn that they used to use different first names for their aliases until they knew better. So for most of the episode they are going to be Eric and Katie.

Mike meets up with Juan and Juan tells him he really should talk to someone. Mike demands to know why specifically he’s supposed to be looking into Briggs. A little while later, they meet up again and we learn that a bunch of busts turned up a lot less heroin than expected. They were all cases Briggs worked. So at least Mike knows what he’s sort of looking for. And lucky for him, Bello has a pretty big distribution side for heroin.

Charlie and Briggs head out for their op with Johnny and Paige watching from the command post. Paige is pretty surprised to hear that back in the day Briggs and Charlie hooked up under these aliases. Things seem to be going well until Whistler shows up. Clearly he’s not out of the game, even if he’s off the FBI payroll. Luckily with some quick thinking from Charlie (which involves jumping Briggs and getting rather personal), they get out without being seen. Well Briggs is pretty sure they weren’t seen. Charlie’s not so sure. Briggs tells her to go pay Whistler a visit. She does and she can see that he’s using again. He obviously lies to her and she lies to him about just checking up on him because she cares. Around the same time, Johnny and Paige make a bet on whether Briggs and Charlie hook up on the op.

Meanwhile, things are getting complicated for Mike. First, at Johnny prompting, he reconnects with Abbie. They sort of bond of Mike’s cover of being a pilot (thanks to Johnny for tossing that one out there) and they also bond over BD (beach dog). Abbie takes him in for shots and to get a bath but he just races off back under the pier. Guess they know where to find him. It is a rather pretty dog. And Mike has some drama with Bello, too. Mike says that the crew needs more time to get properly trained in shooting but Bello wants them trained soon. He makes a reference to an old black and white western film and Mike uses it as an in to try and get Bello to appoint him his bodyguard. This is Mike’s plan to get in on the distribution side to see if Briggs skims some of the bust. Mike’s plan actually works. He tells Bello he’s off active duty and they bond over the sequel to the movie referenced earlier. Mike also shows off his skills by beating up on a TV sales guy at a store (they want to watch the movie on the big TV to test it out). While watching the movie at Bello’s place, Bello gets a call which gives Mike time to check the guys’ calendar and see “big foot” on it. He reports this back to Briggs and we learn that it’s a way of getting drugs over the border by submarine. Seriously, people actually do that?

The more interesting plot of the episode continues to unfold with Charlie and Briggs on their op. Honestly, I think the show may be losing a few viewers because the secondary characters of Charlie, Johnny and Paige are far more interesting than Mike and Briggs. I especially like Charlie. She’s kind of interesting. And Johnny is just a goof which lightens the mood a lot of times. They are setting up a meet with their mid-level guy at a hotel and Johnny is posing as a valet. Things don’t go well because apparently the mid-level guy knows every valet at the hotel so he gets in his car and leaves. This leaves Briggs and Charlie to order room service and have a little heart to heart. Charlie slept with Briggs before because he was kind of a myth back then. And Brigg is impressed with Charlie’s brains and her looks. Johnny is listening in and them Briggs and Charlie are all over each other. They stop short of actually hooking up though. But to give Paige the win on the bet, they order some porn and put the watch with the transmitter next to it to make Johnny think they are hooking up.

Since the plan went sideways, they are almost out of options on how to salvage the meet with the big drug dealer. So Charlie goes back to Whistler and he agrees to help out and talk up Charlie and Briggs’ covers. Interest thing we learned earlier when Mike caught them fake shooting up, you use hemoglobin and it cooks and smells real. So they’ve never had to actually shoot up with real drugs. Charlie gets a call from Whistler and he is clearly out of it. He tells her that the guy they’re trying to meet with be showing up once they do. He collapses in the bathroom and Charlie is starting to get worried about him. They head over to the dealer’s place and it’s clear things are about to go sideways. He makes note of the fact that cops can’t actually shoot up with real drugs. Charlie presses him about Whistler and she finds him dead in the bathroom. Whatever he shot up with was tainted somehow. He seemed to have mentioned his deal with the feds for being a CI. Dude really needed to learn not to talk about things like that. Briggs tries to back them out safely, even if it means losing the opportunity to get in with the big guy but Charlie is severely pissed about Whistler. Before Briggs can stop her, Charlie shoots up with the dealer’s needle (aka actual drugs), saying she really wants to meet the guy that makes the stuff. We have to wait to see what happens next.