Friday, August 30, 2013

50th Anniversary Countdown: Doctor Who 7.03: "A Town Called Mercy"

“Today, I honor the victims first. His, the Master’s, the Daleks’. Everyone who died because of my mercy.”
-The Doctor

This was definitely a different feel episode wise from the last two. We’re back on Earth and in the Wild West. We start with a woman giving a voice over about when she was a girl and heard stories about a man who lived forever and fell from the sky. Clearly we’re supposed to believe this is the Doctor. But with the likes of Toby Whithouse writing this episode, we have to assume it isn’t that straightforward. We cut to a spaceship of sorts crashing and a cyborg shoots an alien, claiming there is just one left; the doctor. That’s not ominous right? The cyborg is kind of like the Borg but slightly less ugly (Seven of Nine excluded of course). We then find the Doctor and the Ponds standing outside the border of a town called Mercy, home to 81 residents with a Keep Out sign that the Doctor treats as a suggestion, rather than an order. He wants to explore so they cross over a barrier of stones and pieces of wood into town. Things are very old West looking minus the electric street lamp that’s about a decade too early. And it keeps shorting out. The Doctor, Amy and Rory head into the saloon and the Doctor orders tea (bag still in). The bar maid just looks at him funny. Things go from bad to worse when he introduces himself as the Doctor. The townspeople then hustle him outside and toss him over the line. Our cyborg (known in town as the Gun Slinger) starts to appear until the Sheriff in town orders the Doctor back over the town line.

He explains that the Gun Slinger showed up three weeks back and the border around the town appeared. Nothing can get in or out that might help the townsfolk. The Doctor quickly surmises that the real alien doctor the town is willing to hand over is hiding out in the jail. Enter Kahler Jex. He was a surgeon on his home world and the Sheriff (Isaac) was nice enough to save him from the Gun Slinger and the burning wreckage of his vessel. Jex stayed on to repay the town’s debt (well and probably so he didn’t get annihilated by the Gun Slinger). Isaac is still impressed with the things Jex has done for the town, including curing cholera and bringing some electricity.

The Doctor says he can just pop off, get the TARDIS and get Jex back home but he’s going to need a distraction. Amy and Rory are both skeptical that the Doctor isn’t interested in solving the mystery of the robot assassin and the alien doctor. I have to agree with them. No way the Doctor is giving up. He wants more info on Jex’s ship. So he sends Rory and Isaac to distract the Gun Slinger (Isaac gets to dress in Jex’s clothes) while the Doctor commandeers Joshua (who according to the Doctor is really called Susan) to ride out into the desert to check out the ship. Rory and Isaac hide behind some rocks and it seems that the Gun Slinger won’t take a shot if there’s too high a chance of innocent bloodshed. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Susan discover Jex’s ship, undamaged. Intriguing indeed. Back in town, Amy and Jex chat about whether he wants to go home. He gives the impression he’s done all he can do for his people and he’d like to stay and help in town. He even spots that Amy is a mother and he says in a way, he’s a parent, too. The Doctor manages to get inside the ship but only after setting off the alarm. This alerts the Gun Slinger to his presence as well as Jex to the fact the Doctor’s gone off script.

This deviation from the plan sets Jex on edge. He starts rambling about how things are going to get complicated now and that Isaac may not be willing to forgive some of his past transgressions. The Doctor hacks the ship and scans through Jex’s personnel file. He’s rather horrified by what he sees and he offers to help the Gun Slinger get justice. But the cyborg just wants Jex to cross the line so he can take him out. Just as Jex is about to force Amy to join him at gunpoint, Rory and Isaac arrive back to stop them. He starts to tell the group assembled he thought people would be safer if he left when the Doctor turns up and is furious. He accuses Jex of being a war criminal. He info dumps a bit about Jex’s planet and the fact he created cyborg killing machines under the guise of enhanced training for soldiers. Jex admits that one of the cyborgs got messed up and started hunting down the team that built him. Rory wants to hand Jex over to the Gun Slinger and Amy disagrees. Jex starts comparing himself to the Doctor. They are alike in a lot of ways but Jex says he has the balls to do what needs to be done. This pisses the Doctor off to such an extent he drags Jex out of the jail and tosses him over the town line, pointing a gun in his face. As we all know, the Doctor is not one for guns but today he doesn’t know if he’d use it or not.

Amy’s got her hands on a gun too and she’s waving it about trying to convince the Doctor that this isn’t the way. Letting someone get killed isn’t the way to solve the problem. But the Doctor is tired of negotiating and seeing it fail. He is going to honor all of the victims of those he tried and failed to resolve conflicts with. All those who died because of his mercy. I like we got to see a bit of the darker side of the Doctor in this episode. Ten came peeking through a bit again and that always makes me happy. Part of me wonders if David Tennant could have delivered the little monologue a bit better, with more edge. Amy manages to talk him down but unfortunately, the Gun Slinger gets to Jex and Isaac pushes him out of the way and dies. The Doctor becomes the sheriff and Amy is his deputy. The Gun Slinger gives the Doctor an ultimatum: turn Jex over by noon the following day or the town becomes a graveyard.

That night, the townsfolk gather and an 18-year-old boy demands the Doctor let them in and take Jex so that the town will be safe. The Doctor refuses and reasons that Jex made the Gun Slinger into a weapon, the young man can’t let himself become the next victim of that violence. The Doctor isn’t sure if Jex is worth all the fuss but the townsfolk certainly are. As the crowd disperses, the Doctor confides in the Ponds he’d rather deal with a Dalek any day over a group of angry and frightened people. He goes back inside and Jex explains that he fears death because in his culture, the dead are made to carry the weight of the souls of all they wronged in life up a mountain. This sort of gives the Doctor an idea. They don’t hand Jex over and at noon the cyborg crosses into town. A bunch of the men have the symbol on Jex’s face painted on theirs to confuse the auto target. It works for a while as Jex starts to make his way out of town. But the Gun Slinger figures out it’s a trick and crashes into the church instead. The Doctor orders Jex to keep going so he can save the people. Since none of the people in the church (mostly women and children) register as innocent, he disengages and switches to manual targeting. He’s rather angry when he finds the Doctor.

The Doctor is likewise rather confused when Jex uses the connection between his ship and the electricity in town to communicate with the Gun Slinger. Jex is going to end the war for both of them by self-destructing his ship. Guess that’s one way of dealing with the problem. At least Jex got to go on his own terms. The Doctor convinces the Gun Slinger to stay on and protect the town and it appears he does so as the woman from the start of the episode continues her voice over about the town and how it has its own special angel that fell from the sky.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Wonderfalls 1.10: "Lying Pig"

“You feel like if he sees you that way, maybe you can be. That’s what I want. I want to be the woman Eric sees me as.”

And so the pain (which still continues to follow many of the beats of Grey’s Anatomy Season 2, down to Jaye/Meredith telling Eric/Derek “you’re not that guy”) continues. I’m not going to lie, the past two weeks have been kind of a rough one out there in the non-TV world for me, and watching this episode didn’t exactly help. When watching this one, I’d kind of like to reach into the screen and slap Jaye for just letting this pain happen to her. I know it’s the Muses who are ultimately directing it all (in this case, constantly telling Jaye to “mend what was broken”), but seriously. To what end are they trying to so royally screw up Jaye’s life? I guess what the message of this episode is supposed to be is that Eric has to make an effort at his marriage in order to have a clear conscience when he finally ends it and gets together with Jaye, but it feels like kind of a stretch. Maybe if we knew more about Eric and Heidi’s relationship pre-Heidi doing the bellhop on their honeymoon I’d buy it more.

As you could probably tell from my rather gloomy introduction (which was written a few days ago before I had to go to a conference for work), “Lying Pig” deals with the immediate fallout of Heidi’s return to Niagara Falls. Eric really wants nothing to do with Heidi, and he prefer she just go back to New Jersey. Heidi is not going to go easily, though. It seems like she’s in it more to beat Jaye than for any real love for Eric. Heidi threatens Jaye and seems to enjoy it. At one point, she even starts lurking around the High and Dry, presumably hoping to threaten Jaye some more. Jaye, meanwhile, has bigger fish to fry. She and Aaron are trying to cleanse her trailer of all potential inanimate animal faces. Aaron even passes Heidi (not knowing who she is) as he drags the bag of animal face items out to Jaye’s car. There’s one place Jaye didn’t think of that could harbor animal faces, though. Her television. When one pops up on a commercial, Jaye throws the television out her window in frustration, and it lands right on Heidi’s head.

Heidi, Jaye, and Eric all end up at the emergency room due to Heidi’s TV-inflicted concussion. Eric really doesn’t want to be there, but he feels some sort of obligation to at least make sure Heidi is okay. Once that’s accomplished, though, he wants to just leave her at the hospital to fend for herself. Then Heidi ups her game. She starts acting like she doesn’t remember cheating on Eric. She acts like she thinks they’re still on their honeymoon. It helps her cause that she booked the honeymoon suite as part of her “get Eric back” plan before the accident. Anyway, even though doctors want to keep her for observation because of her alleged amnesia, Heidi demands to be let out of the hospital, and Jaye and Eric don’t feel like fighting it. One signed AMA form later, they’re on their way to the honeymoon suite, where Eric leaves Heidi and Jaye as he goes to work.

The other major plot happening in this episode (it’s really kind of an afterthought compared to the Jaye/Eric drama, though) involves the rest of the Tyler family. Karen meets one of Darrin’s coworkers, a young Irish doctor, and he turns out to be a big fan of her books. The doctor flirts with Karen rather shamelessly, even though, since he works with her husband, he knows full well that she is married. Karen waives him off by reminding him that she is, indeed, married, but she begins to second guess that decision when she tells Darrin about the incident and he doesn’t seem to care. Darrin thinks he’s showing how much he loves Karen by demonstrating that he’s secure in their relationship, but Karen just sees it as apathy. Karen decides to pursue the doctor a little just to make Darrin jealous. Poor Sharon is just on the sidelines acting mystified at how stupid her parents are being. Anyway, the whole thing comes to a head at the Barrel, where Karen and the doctor go for their dinner. Darrin and Sharon are covertly watching from a nearby table, and when the doctor gets a little too touchy feely with Karen, Darrin finally snaps. The whole thing blows up into a physical fight, and Karen gets just the attention she was seeking. Doesn’t exactly make her more of a likeable character, but it was mildly amusing.

Meanwhile, things get interesting when the notorious bellhop shows up at the honeymoon suite. Heidi looks embarrassed and shuts the door, and Jaye instantly knows that Heidi has been lying about the amnesia. She toys with the idea of telling Eric what she has learned. Eric still really wants to be with Jaye, not Heidi, and Jaye is trying to sort out just how to communicate her feelings to Eric. Eric gains more confidence when Mahandra lets it slip that she encouraged Jaye to break up with him, and Jaye gains more confidence when she tells Mahandra that she thinks the loves Eric and Mahandra finally gets it. I don’t know why Jaye and Eric let Mahandra have such a say in their happiness. Especially considering Mahandra has plenty on her own mind at the moment. She’s kind of disgusted at herself for sleeping with Aaron, because she thinks she should regard him as a brother. Aaron has other ideas, though, and eventually Mahandra gives into the idea that a relationship with Aaron might be what she was looking for.

Anyway, finally back to Jaye and Eric. Jaye is just about to finally tell Eric how she feels (which is really all Eric has wanted all along) when the Muses go into “mend what was broken” overdrive mode and she’s shut down. Heidi wants to renew vows, and out of spite to Jaye, Eric goes along with it. Because she’s a masochist, Jaye tells them the location of the nearest chapel and ends up witnessing the not so blessed event. Afterwards, a more chill Eric thanks Jaye. He’s not the kind of guy who can live with himself if he just gives up on his marriage, and he’s grateful that Jaye saw that. Eric thinks that if he didn’t at least make some effort to make it work with Heidi, he’d end up hating himself for the rest of the life. I don’t think he’s in for an easy time of it either way, really.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

50th Anniversary Countdown: Doctor Who 7.02: "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"

“Did the Silurians beg you to stop? Look Solomon. The missiles, see them shine. See how valuable they are? And they’re all yours. Enjoy your bounty.”
- The Doctor

We jump right into the action in episode 2. The Doctor has just had some fun shenanigans with Queen Nefertiti in Ancient Egypt. He gets a message on the psychic paper and she kind of invites herself along. They end up on a space station in 24th century near Earth. There’s a spaceship starting to head towards the planet and there’s only 6 hours (give or take) until it’s within missile firing range. The Doctor loves a challenge and rounds up a guy named Riddell he met in the early 1900s in the African desert and then pops back to current day Earth to pick up the Ponds. Rory’s dad, Brian, is over and he’s sort of pestering Rory about a light fixture when the TARDIS materializes around them and whisks them off to the aforementioned impending spaceship. The Doctor is all excited to have a gang and momentarily gets side tracked by Brian’s presence. Naturally, Amy leaves Rory to explain the whole time/space travel thing. Brian isn’t quite all caught up when a set of doors open and honest to goodness dinosaurs come rampaging out. Yes, Stephen Moffat has said on many occasions this entire plotline came from the phrase “dinosaurs on a spaceship”.

Once the dinosaurs pass, the Doctor finds a computer access panel and starts figuring things out. Like the fact that there’s lots of little compartments. He asks the computer to show him the engine room and he, Brian and Rory get sucked in via transport to a beach. Brian starts panicking and Rory has to explain that it’s possible to be on a beach in space. The Doctor goes to investigate some rocks, leaving Rory and Brian to dig in the sand. Brian whips out his ever-handy trowel (no man should leave the house without one) and they discover they are in fact in the engine room. With a flock of pterodactyls. Oh and the ship is apparently powered by waves. I have to say the interplay between Mark Williams and Arthur Darvill is great. They act like they are related. It’s kind of awesome.

Meanwhile, Amy is left with our historical newcomers. Riddell is something of a womanizer and is disappointed to find out he’s not famous (he’s a big game hunter). Nefertiti is way cooler according to Amy. Not surprising, there’s more than just the two dinosaurs they narrowly avoided earlier. They happen upon a T-Rex nest and Riddell nearly steps on a baby dino’s head. Poor thing (the dinosaur not Riddell). And it wouldn’t be complete without a nefarious, shadowy figure waiting for the Doctor. And he sends some robots to go get him. These are probably some of my favorite robots ever. They find the Doctor and the Pond men in a cave (having escaped the pterodactyl flock) and the first things the robots say is “We are very cross with you”. Freaking brilliant! And then they continue bickering with each other the whole way to their leader. Best part of the whole episode if you ask me. Oh and they encounter a triceratops on the trek through the ship. It likes Brian because he’s got grass-y golf balls. And for the adults in the audience, there was a rather sexual joke about Brian’s balls and vegetable matter in his pants.

Amy and her set of companions happen up on a console and gets it working by pressing buttons. She finds a data log and after some coaxing, learns the original inhabitants of the ship were Silurians. There were thousands of them at launch and then they all disappeared. Doing a bit of “spot the difference” between the then and now life signs images, she sees another ship. Which is exactly where the Doctor and his boys are headed. Only the Doctor is allowed in to see the little ship’s pilot, Solomon. Some raptors started to feast on his legs and so he’s kind of a cripple. He wants the Doctor to fix him. If he doesn’t, he’s going to kill Brian and Rory and to show he’s serious, he has one of the robots burn Brian. This gives Rory the chance to be heroic nurse guy (he carries a nursing pack in his pocket instead of a trowel. Both helpful in this particular situation as it turns out). The Doctor manages to coax some more information out of Solomon. He is a trader of valuable things, like the dinosaurs and Solomon had the Doctor scanned to see how much he was worth. As luck would have it, the Doctor doesn’t come up in the database. Interesting.

Amy phones Rory to fill him in on the missing Silurians and she tells the Doctor about it, too as he’s fixing up Solomon’s legs. Oh did I mention that Solomon is played by the actor who played Mr. Filch in the Harry Potter films. The Doctor gets Solomon to do a bit of an info dump wherein he admits to massacring thousands of Silurians. And he wants to get to a trading planet but he can’t change the ship’s course. Good one, moron. Kill off everyone who could have done it. The Doctor refuses to help and he and the Pond men race off, even getting a ride on our friendly (and rather dog-like) Triceratops. She likes to play fetch. It was rather adorable to be honest. And the robots continued to bicker with each other after they were sent to apprehend our guys. They remind me a bit of the robot in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Unfortunately, the missiles are being locked on and the Doctor only has 30 minutes to save the day.

Elsewhere on the ship, Amy and her pals find tranquilizer guns. This only makes Riddell seem like a bigger douchebag to be honest. Solomon teleports to where the Doctor and the Pond men are trying to find a way to the control deck. Solomon has done another scan of the ship and discovered something far more valuable than the dinosaurs. He wants Nefertiti. The Doctor refuses as is to be expected. So Solomon has the robots shoot the poor Triceratops. Bastard! The missiles are getting closer and the Doctor really needs to sort out a plan. Nefertiti offers herself up to Solomon, giving the Doctor and the other companions enough time to sort things out. Brian and Rory get to pilot the ship away from the missiles and the Doctor whilst having a chat with Amy about her life and how he’s not trying to wean the Ponds off being companions, pulls out the signal beacon that the missiles are locked on to. He pops over to Solomon’s ship (after having magnetized it so he couldn’t leave), tosses the beacon in and demagnetizes the ship. So now the missiles will target him and not the dinosaurs. We saw some of Ten shine through at the end of the episode where he tried to give Solomon the chance to do the right thing. He doesn’t and the missiles blow him up. Good riddance, I say. Meanwhile, Amy and Riddell bond a bit by shooting raptors.

With the day saved, the Doctor drops Nefertiti and Riddell back in Africa (together) and Brian gets a view of Earth from the TARDIS. The whole trip sparks a desire in him to travel and he sends loads of postcards back to Amy and Rory. And we get a postcard from the Doctor from Siluria with the dinosaurs. Overall, I enjoyed the episode. It had lots of good laughs and some serious stuff that I liked from days gone by.

Graceland 1.10: "King's Castle"

“I wanted to be an FBI agent my entire life. I finally made it and then I got this assignment.”
- Mike

In the aftermath of Briggs’ tussle with Juan, we see him flash back to a night in the bar a while back when Johnny was new and another agent was doing hard time for killing a dealer while hopped up on pain meds. It would appear Briggs is now in that predicament. However, we see him dispose of Juan’s body in the desert while Charlie tries to scare Bello into giving up Odin. She promises lots of raping bunk mates, solitary confinement and angry shiv-wielding Mexicans but he isn’t moved. I really hope she doesn’t regret digging into Odin like this.

Mike has checked himself out of the hospital early and finds Johnny and Charlie home planning a surprise party for Jakes. This is kind of funny since they both know Jakes is going to be pissed about it like the year before. Paige is still extra prickly with Mike and he is worried she spilled the beans to the others. But it looks like his secret is safe for now. Charlie abandons the boys to go meet her Federale friend (aka Jangles). He gives her a little advice on how to get Bello to squeal and she races home just as Briggs gets in from surfing. She wants to put Mike back under with Bello in prison to see if that dislodges some loyalty in Bello. Briggs is against it but ultimately it’s Mike’s choice.

Mike gets booked in and he and Bello share a little chat in the yard where it looks like Bello may be considering rolling to get Mike a deal. Back at Graceland, Johnny gets Paige into a better mood by bringing up the surprise party from the year before and they reminisce about Jakes being afraid of clowns. She tells Johnny to order the King’s Castle bounce house (I haven’t been in one of those probably since high school…kind of not fair it’s usually only for little kids). Jakes snoops through Johnny’s room and tries to cancel the order while Charlie is grabbing Mike’s meds to go see him in the morning. Briggs catches her and after she leaves, makes a call of his own to see Bello. I’m guessing this has the desired effect because as Bello is being escorted to the visitation room (Briggs is nowhere to be seen0, she sees Charlie and Mike talking and Bello attacks Mike. Not a good situation for him given his injuries at the moment.

Charlie gets Mike home and starts shouting for Briggs. She doesn’t suspect him but she’s kind of freaking out and Paige seems have lost her anger with him because she rushes to his side. No sooner as Mike lain on the couch in pain than the Bureau calls for a meeting. Mike goes thinking it’s about the Bello arrest but finds out it’s about his original assignment in Graceland. He learns Juan is missing and has orders to look into where Briggs was the last few days to see if he had anything to do with it. Mike is so clearly off the Briggs-is-dirty train he even calls the investigation insane. But I’m assuming he doesn’t have any choice in the matter if he wants to stay on assignment or maybe even in the Bureau. But the show can’t go on much longer with only Paige knowing the reason he’s there. I shudder to think what Briggs will do when he learns the truth.

Everyone but Mike and Jakes are home awaiting the strippers (who arrive shortly and are showing off by bouncing in the bounce house). Jakes as it turns out is at a bar talking to his ex-wife’s boyfriend. Which is really weird, to be honest. Mike gets home and Paige almost immediately pulls him away from the festivities for a private chat about the nerve he has calling Briggs a friend and lying to everyone. Mike spills the beans on Briggs’ heroin habit and also dishes on Juan’s disappearance. It seems that after showing Paige his “why I want to be an FBI Agent” essay from when he was 9, they’re on the same team again and they are going to tell Briggs the truth. Charlie is being a total party pooper by going through prison call logs to see if she can find who called and arranged for Bello to see her and Mike meeting together.

Everybody’s night is about to go explosive. Jakes works up some courage (of the liquid variety) to try and reconnect with his ex-wife but it falls apart because he’s drunk and admits he’s been talking to her current boyfriend. Charlie knifes the bounce house, sending it toppling all over the strippers. Johnny and one of the girls are all that’s left in the living room when Jakes gets in and instead of saying thanks Jakes punches Johnny in the face. They’ve been coming to this for weeks now and Johnny ends up shouting at everyone that they act like they aren’t family but they are and that sometimes he just wants to forget about all the crazy stuff they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis and just chill with each other.

We end with a bunch of two-offs sharing information and positioning pieces of plans into place. Mike visits Bello in prison and I hope that’s the last we see of Bello. I’m tired of his storyline. Though I’m not entirely sure where they’ll go for a second season (provided USA grants them one). Next Mike fills Briggs in on his original investigation assignment as well as Juan’s disappearance. He tells Charlie on the beach (while we see Briggs checking the FBI database to confirm the guy he shot was indeed Juan) that Mike told Briggs the truth to gauge his reaction. Briggs had no clue who he was talking about. I’m guessing the fact that Briggs shot an FBI agent instead of a Mexican mercenary is going to screw things up a lot. And Charlie fills in her Federale buddy that she thinks Odin is really a Fed. She explains about the smoke alarm cam but when he presses her for a name of the agent, she withholds. I know there was some criticism about whether Charlie was just naïve to trust this guy but I don’t think she’s stupid of gullible. I think she’s got some suspicions as to Jangles too and she’s testing to see if she’s right. I just worry that she and Briggs are going to come to some nasty blows if and when she learns his double identity.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summer DVR Dump: Merlin 5.12-5.13: "The Diamond of the Day Parts One & Two"

“Though no man, no matter how great, can know his destiny, some lives have been foretold, Merlin. Arthur is not just a king. He is the Once and Future King. Take heart, for when Albion’s need is greatest, Arthur will rise again.”
- The Great Dragon

We have reached the final chapter of Merlin. It has been a fun ride but alas, it must come to an end. In the spirit of endings, Morgana has summoned a very powerful Druid to her court. She makes him put on a little show by dousing the torches. She then sets a creature (it kind of looks like a cross between a slug and a manatee) on him and it drains him of his power. She’s going to use to render Merlin powerless. Her doom can’t possibly do anything to her without his magic. So one of her men sets off to plant the creature while Merlin and Arthur play dice at the tavern. Merlin is using his magic to beat Arthur quite handily in fact. He seems to be enjoying himself. That mirth ends the minute he gets home and the creature starts sucking his face. Gaius kills the creature but the damage is done. Merlin wakes and can’t even summon a glass two or three inches into his hand. They find the creature in a book and it becomes clear what Morgana’s goal was.

Speaking of, she and Mordred are at one of the outer garrisons of Camelot’s knights and together they send a magical fireball into the town. The knights are trying to fight off Saxons and of course, Gwaine rescues a pretty girl before Leon calls the retreat and they head back to Camelot. Merlin frets about what he can do without his magic now that Morgana has officially begun her attack. Gaius simply points him in the direction of the nearest wounded person to treat them. He tends to Gwaine’s trollop and then the knights assemble in the council chambers to determine what to do. Some of the knights think they should make their stand at Camelot. They can defend the citadel and protect most of the lands people. But Arthur won’t leave some of his subjects to die needlessly. They’re going to ride out and meet Morgana. They discover a pass in the White Mountains that should work to their advantage so long as morgana’s hordes don’t outflank them. And it should be no surprise to anyone that the place they choose to make their stand is Camlaan. The prophecy is slowly coming true.

Merlin knows he can’t talk Arthur out of going and the only way he can protect the King is to regain his magic. He doesn’t know if it is possible but he’s going to the birth place of magic to see if it is possible. He takes Gwaine with him and Gwaine stupidly tells his new bed buddy where he’s going. You really shouldn’t trust people during war times. So Merlin and Gwaine ride off as Arthur and the rest of the knights mount up to go make their stand. Gwen is joining them because she won’t sit home and wait for a man who might never return. I guess that makes sense. She’d know sooner on the battlefield if she were to become a widow.

The trollop goes to spill the beans to Morgana and Mordred (who by the way now has his own sword forged in a dragon’s breath). She gives them the goods on Camlaan and that Gwaine is heading off with Merlin to the Valley of the Fallen Kings. That makes something click in Mordred’s head and he info dumps about the Crystal Cave. After encountering only a small group of bandits, Merlin and Gwaine make it to the cave. Merlin thanks Gwaine for his help and friendship but tells him to return to Arthur’s side. If Merlin is successful, he’ll have all he needs to get past the bandits. Unfortunately, he enters the cave and Morgana is waiting for him. She taunts him that he’ll never defy her again and then causes a small cave in, keeping Merlin locked in the cave so he can’t possibly intervene. And as night falls, Leon and Percival spy Morgana’s forces marching on Camlaan and there are far more numbers than they anticipated.

Arthur is still rather miffed that Merlin bailed on him. He doesn’t believe Gaius’s tory that Merlin is off gathering essential herbs for the wounded. Gwen doesn’t either but she does note that Merlin wouldn’t abandon Arthur unless it was truly important. Gaius can’t tell her what he’s doing but she does wish him luck. I think she has an inkling of what Merlin is doing and why. The knights ride out to Camlaan and settle in to make their stand. Whatever the outcome, there’s no turning back now.

Merlin wakes up after the cave in and is frustrated by the fact he cannot get free. But then a bluish light catches his eye and he half-crawls, half-stumbles into the actual Crystal Cave. And lo and behold, his father’s spirit is waiting for him. I thought it was a really nice touch to bring back his father at the very end (since we ended the first series with him as well. Merlin’s father explains that Merlin is magic itself and that he must believe what is in his heart.

Morgana sends Mordred and one hundred men to outflank Arthur’s forces. And she plans to attack that night. Merlin wakes again in the cave to find himself healed and his magic restored. He uses the power of the cave to warn Arthur of Morgana’s plan. Arthur actually heeds the subconscious warning and sends Percival and Gwaine and some men to meet the surprise troops. Arthur gives his men a rousing speech before Morgana’s army arrives and the battle goes full tilt. And back in the cave, Merlin thanks his father for the assistance before walking into the light and emerging from the cave as Old Merlin, ready to serve up some serious whoop ass. It reminded me a bit of the scene in Lord of the Rings where Gandalf is riding to save the day.

Mordred and Arthur are slowly making their way towards each other amongst the mass of soldiers duking it out. Morgana gives Mordred a little magical assistance by knocking some men out of his way. That doesn’t do a whole lot though once Merlin shows up and literally starts smiting people with lightning. Yes, lightning. He takes Morgana out and with their leader down, the Saxons beat a hasty retreat. Gaius tells Gwen they owe Merlin their lives and she really starts putting things together. Unfortunately, Mordred and Arthur end up meeting and poking each other with their magically forged swords of awesomeness (you have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to write that). Mordred falls and Arthur begins to walk away but stumbles.

Leon reports the semi-good news to Gwen (that the battle is won and in their favor). She asks about Arthur but no one has seen him. She turns away, sheds a tear and gets back to work. Meanwhile, Merlin takes Arthur from the battlefield and tends to him. Arthur wakes up and we get one of the most heart wrenching scenes of the whole series. Merlin finally admits he is a sorcerer and possesses magic. To show Arthur, he makes a dragon out of embers from the fire. It was definitely some quality acting from Colin Morgan right there (the revelation, no the fire dragon). He was absolutely breaking down as he told Arthur the truth after all these years, knowing Arthur’s stance on magic. And the fact that Merlin pretty much failed to thwart the prophecy to boot just makes it all the more emotional. Arthur’s reaction is he wants Merlin to go away. Back in Camelot, Gwen still hasn’t given up hope, despite the fact no one’s seen Arthur. And Gaius is now AWOL, too. So she’s got a little spark of hope.

Back in the woods, Merlin gets crabby with Gaius for not having the really good healing herbs. Gaius tells him to go water the horses and this gives Gaius time to urge Arthur not to turn away from Merlin. He has great power and it is in Arthur’s best interest to trust Merlin at the moment. Too bad the tip of Mordred’s sword is travelling towards Arthur’s heart. Only the power of the Sidhe in the Isle of Avalon can save him now.

Merlin and Arthur head out, though Arthur is rather reluctant to trust Merlin. Gaius returns to Camelot with the news and Gwaine appears to confide in his scheming trollop again. Gwen also asks Gaius if she knows the sorcerer from the battle. He says she does and she figures out it was Merlin all along. She’s glad that Arthur is with him. Elsewhere, Morgana is having a mental breakdown. She vows over Mordred’s grave that the battle isn’t over and then she sends her men back out to find Arthur because she wants her brother dead. Like now!

Merlin and Arthur are stopped by some Saxons and when they figure out they have Arthur, Merlin sends them flying. It was almost a “oh no you don’t” moment. Arthur is still in crabby land, remarking that Merlin lied to him for so many years. Well of course he did, he had to. He’d have been executed ages ago by Uther if he’d been truthful. Arthur asks Merlin why he is still acting like a servant as they camp for the night and Merlin explains it is his destiny and because they are friends and Merlin doesn’t want to see Arthur die.

As expected, Gwaine’s trollop betrays them again. But this time she’s been tricked. Gwaine gave her false information so they are sending Morgana in the opposite direction. And as Gwaine and Percival watch the girl hanged, they decide to take a crack at Morgana themselves, knowing where she’ll be going. They take out her patrol and Percival even gets a knife in her side but she takes them out. She ties Percival to some trees and uses the evil pain snake to force Gwaine to tell her where Arthur’s really going. Percival breaks free in time to have Gwaine die in his arms. It was kind of sad but I guess it makes sense, given his arc for the final episode.

Meanwhile, Arthur and Merlin continue their journey and avoid some more Saxons. Arthur is kind of impressed that Merlin has been saving his life and covering their track for years without credit. Merlin obviously doesn’t do it for the acclaim. He does it because he believes in who Arthur is and will be. But Arthur is fading fast. They are nearly to the lake but Arthur insists he can’t go on. Merlin allows him to rest for a brief time, all the while Morgana rides for their location. Arthur says he doesn’t want Merlin to change who he is. I feel like he’s kind of going through the stages of grief or something. In a way, I suppose he is. He’s lost the Merlin he thought he knew. Percival appears to be tracking Morgana as well. She finds Arthur and Merlin and she professes that she will watch over Arthur as he takes his last breath. But Merlin runs her through with Excalibur. I know some people were disappointed with her ending but I feel like she was so far gone, there’s really nothing that could have redeemed her.

They make it to the banks of the lake but Arthur cannot go on. He tells merlin to hold him (I’m sure all the slash fans were freaking out at this point) as he finally tells Merlin “thank you”. Merlin calls the Great Dragon in one last effort to try and save Arthur but it’s too late. Arthur is dead. But Merlin need not fret too much because one day, Arthur will rise again. So Merlin must be patient. He sends Arthur off (thankfully not with a boat on fire) and Gwen is crowned Queen of Camelot. It would have been great if it all ended there but alas it does not. We cut to a matt picture of Avalon and then a Laurie drives by and we see Old Merlin walking up the road, still waiting for that day when Arthur will return. Overall, this was a satisfying end to a great series. I look forward to seeing where the actors go next and what the writers take on as their next project.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Lost Girl 1.11: "Faetal Justice"

“But remember, Vex can get into your head. But there are ways you can get into his, too.”

“Faetal Justice” was the first episode of “Lost Girl” to really focus in on Dyson and what he means to the rest of the regular characters. It also gives us another look into the ins and outs of Fae politics, particularly how the Dark and Light try to manipulate each other. This episode also gives us a bit more of a look into what life is like on the Dark side of the Fae world. Most of the time, Bo mostly operates within the Light, but these rare glimpses into the Dark are a treat, just because it’s something different. A trip to the Dark now also means spending time with Vex, the creepy, sadistic mind control Fae from a couple episodes back. In fact, much of this episode takes place at Vex’s club. Bo and Kenzi must spend quite a bit of time there in an effort to save Dyson from some pretty deep trouble.

This episode starts at Vex’s club, where Dyson arrives to have a bit of a row with one of Vex’s minions called Ba’al. Dyson has words with Ba’al, and people at the club definitely see it. We next see Ba’al step outside the club, and next thing we know, he’s attacked and killed in the alley. Dyson wakes up in the alley all bloody, and he sees the torn up body of Ba’al nearby. And that’s when he (and we) realize he is in some serious trouble. Dyson heads straight for the Dal and asks trick for Sanctuary. Trick agrees, and we learns that Dyson has no memory of going to Vex’s club or attacking Ba’al. He has no memory of anything that happened after leaving work that day, in fact. Over Dyson’s protest, Bo and Kenzi are on the case to figure out what actually happened.

The reason Bo and Kenzi were at the Dal in the first place is because Bo has decided she wants to know all the details she possibly can about Dyson’s past, and she’s hoping Trick can help. Dyson has lived in Spain and Iceland, and he’s been a cop for about fifty years. Before that, though, he wasn’t so squeaky clean. I find it interesting that Bo and Dyson are considered “in a relationship” again considering how prickly things have been between them. I’m also kind of surprised by Bo’s sudden need to learn everything she can about Dyson. Her own past is far from squeaky clean, so I don’t know why she’s being so judgmental early in this episode.

Bo and Kenzi’s first stop on Operation: Save Dyson’s Ungrateful Ass is the police station to see Hale, of course. Hale’s ability to help is limited because of the Fae politics involved in what happened, but he does help as much as he can. He shows Bo and Kenzi surveillance footage from the night of the murder. He also gives Bo and Kenzi a list of potential witnesses to speak with. Bo and Kenzi head right to Vex’s club, and we quickly meet all the players. There’s Silas the bartender, there’s Vex himself, and there’s a human barfly named Portia. Bo and Kenzi have trouble finding Portia at first, though, even though they know she’s the person they are looking for. Kenzi attracts a rather sad looking Goth boy, and he points out Portia.

Portia is a pretty interesting character for a one-off. She’s a runaway, and as such, Kenzi feels a kinship. Portia thinks she has found a new friend, and she understandably feels a bit betrayed when Kenzi and Bo start grilling her about Ba’al’s murder. She’s got a very succinct story. She saw Dyson contront Ba’al at the bar. Later, she went outside, saw Ba’al go into the alley, then saw a wolf-like creature enter the alley and start attacking. While Kenzi is working on befriending Portia (partially because of their connection, and partially to see if she can get any more information), Bo stops by the Dal to deliver a change of clothes to Dyson. In keeping with her wanting to know details about Dyson, she asks him about the meaning of his tattoos. Dyson explains that the tattoos are Lycan writing that describe important things about his history like the Fae he has owed fealty to. This becomes important later in the story. Yeah, shirtless Dyson is nice, but it’s also nice to have a reason for it! Another important piece of the story is that Trick has a memory reading Fae come to the Dal to help Dyson with his amnesia. It turns out, though, that there is nothing the memory reader can do. Dyson’s memory of the evening of Ba’al’s death has been completely, utterly erased.

Obviously, Trick harboring a Light Fae who may have killed a Dark Fae causes all kinds of Fae political problems. The Morrigan really, really wants the Light to turn over Dyson to the Dark. Dyson wants to avoid that fate, because there’s no way he’ll get a fair trial. Oh, Dyson would get a trial, alright, but it would almost certainly end in a very public execution. Unfortunately for Dyson, the Ash thinks that turning him over to the Dark would be the best outcome, too. All that’s standing between Dyson and certain execution is Trick. Trick knows Dyson wouldn’t get a fair trial, and he also wants to uphold the non-negotiability of Sanctuary, so he stands his ground, and the Ash (only slightly) backs off. Trick knows that with this stand, his position in the Fae community is in trouble. He starts making calls to friends trying to get their support, but it’s not looking good.

Bo continues to run with the investigation with one new fact. The only new memory that the memory reader was able to dredge up in Dyson was that Dyson got a phone call before he left work. Bo calls up Hale to see if he can figure out who called Dyson, and it turns out that the mysterious caller is an art dealer. Bo pays the dealer a visit, and thanks to Bo’s succubus powers, the art dealer reveals that he attends a sex ring at Vex’s club that is run by Ba’al. The girls in the ring are abused, and they are given a potion to wipe their memories. Also, one of the girls that was recently killed had glowing eyes (our team quickly figures out this girl was Light Fae). When Bo learns from Kenzi that Portia has lash marks on her back, the pieces come together. The picture becomes even clearer when Portia tells Bo and Kenzi that the bracelet she’s wearing, which contains Lycan language, was a gift from Silas the bartender. They’re almost too late, though, because Dyson has already stupidly gone back to the club, has been captured, and is being tortured in the basement.

Bo enters the basement at Vex’s club and puts a temporary stop to Dyson’s torture by holding a hot poker to the Morrigan’s throat. If she keeps that up, she’s not going to be able to be “neutral” for much longer! Bo then gets to take the “j’accuse” honors this episode (as opposed to Kenzi in the last episode), and she explains exactly how Silas, who is a werewolf too, killed Ba’al. A disappointed Morrigan and Vex have to let Dyson go. At the end of the episode, we get a nice little goodbye scene with Kenzi and Portia. Portia has miraculously gotten herself a job in a pizza shop, and in exchange for all her help, Kenzi is pretty much set up with free pizza for life. Not a bad deal if I do say so myself.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Newsroom 2.05: "News Night with Will McAvoy"

“It should be obvious to you by now that fundamentally small people are going to try to raise their profile by standing on your neck.”

The “real” critics out there seem to have been very divided on this particular episode of “The Newsroom.” I think I’m pretty firmly in the “didn’t like” camp. This was one of those episodes where Sorkin seemed to be trying to work out his personal hang-ups (can’t say that for sure, of course, but that’s how it felt watching it). There was contempt for women, and there was plenty of sympathy for the poor, downtrodden yet perfect Will. It was all simmering below the surface enough to keep me from wanting to go full-on Malcolm Tucker at my television, but it was definitely there. And I didn’t really appreciate it. Not only was Will deified while Maggie was infantilized, but the character of Sloan was completely cut off at the knees.

Up until this point Sloan had really been the redeeming character on “Newsroom.” No matter how misogynistic other elements of the show could be, Sloan was generally (other than her ridiculous crush on Don) above it all. She was hot and smart, and while she was sometimes a little clueless about social interaction, her cluelessness manifested itself in a strong persona, not in a way that was demeaning. In this episode, a usually strong Sloan is completely torn down. Granted, she shows strength again at the end of the episode, but she shows it in a way that will likely get her slapped with a criminal charge, not in a positive way. The problem for Sloan is that her weasel ex-boyfriend has posted naked pictures of her online.

When this first happens, Sloan has to deal with the possibility of losing her job. Her contract with AWM, you see, has a morality clause. In order to have some ammunition to make Sloan tell the truth about what happened (how infantilizing is that!), Reese threatens to use that clause to terminate Sloan. Sloan was trying to preserve some dignity by arguing that the photos were Photoshopped, but Reese would stop until she tearily admitted that the photos were actually her. It turns out that she got her boyfriend a camera for Christmas, he asked to take some photos of her for fun, and when she dumped him, he posted some of the pictures online. Sloan spends most of the rest of the episode sobbing in Don’s office and talking to Don as Don tries to sort out a blog that spun a joke he made as truth about someone. It’s kind of pathetic, really. By the end, Sloan goes to her creeper ex’s workplace and kicks him in the balls in the middle of a meeting. I would have rather seen a more dignified resolution. This really just perpetuated the “bitches be crazy” stereotype.

Meanwhile, Will continues to play the downtrodden martyr who doesn’t understand why everybody in the world doesn’t love him. Neal has made the disturbing discovery of a Post reporter who tweeted that Will was standoffish when she ran into him at a restaurant. Mackenzie tries to keep this from Will, because she knows it will mess him up, but Will finds out anyway. Of course, when he knows, he gets all bent out of shape. He resists considering a response until the reporter tweets that she’s lost him as a viewer. Because of course that’s what upsets Will. To be fair, Will has a somewhat more serious plot too. He gets an upsetting call early in the episode in the middle of a News Night broadcast. It’s his estranged father, and Will doesn’t pick up. Later, he listens to the voicemail and discovers that his father is in the ER following a heart attack. Throughout the whole episode, Mackenzie keeps nagging Will to leave a voicemail for his dad during a commercial break. Because of course she knows what’s best for Will. Will keeps procrastinating, saying that he’ll call the hospital after the broadcast. Unfortunately, by the time Will actually gets around to calling, his father has already passed away, and he has lost his chance to mend that relationship.

The two real life news stories highlighted in this episode are the immediate aftermath of the Trayvon Martin killing and that Rutgers kid who uploaded a video of his closeted roommate having sex. The latter story was dealt with quickly. A Rutgers student is going to be interviewed on News Night, and Mackenzie figures out that he want sot use the opportunity to come out. Mackenzie thinks this is beneath News Night, so she tries to shut it down. Meanwhile, the George Zimmerman 911 call has been made available to the press. It’s Maggie’s job to download it, and Jim hovers over her as she does so. They have a rather discouraging conversation about Hallie’s latest blog posts about Sandra Fluke. It feels like it is basically an opportunity for Aaron Sorkin to voice why he thought that Sandra Fluke was overplayed. That opinion is voiced by Maggie, by the way. I disagree, and let’s just leave it at that.

The one thing I liked about this episode was Will pointing out to a silly Gingrich campaign flunky that oil prices are set globally, so no President can singlehandedly affect them. This is why, by the way, we still have crazy high gas prices despite producing a record amount of oil domestically. If other countries don’t produce as much oil, the global price is still going to go up. It’s a global market. Anyway, Maggie eventually gets the Zimmerman call downloaded, and she quickly tries to edit it to fit in the remainder of the broadcast. Unfortunately, she edits it a bit too much, and it sounds more disparaging to Zimmerman than is fair considering the disparaging remark in question was in direct response to a question from the dispatcher (Maggie cut the dispatcher’s question). Will’s got to give an on-air correction. He pauses a bit, still reeling from his father’s death, but he pulls it together just as things start to get awkward. Because he’s Will McAvoy, of course.

50th Anniversary Countdown: Doctor Who 7.01: "Asylum of the Daleks"

“You have always wanted kids, ever since you were a kid. And I can’t give you any. Whatever they did to me at Demon’s Run, I can’t have them. I didn’t kick you out. I let you go. So don’t you dare talk to me about standing outside a box because that is nothing, nothing compared to giving you up.”
- Amy

Given our love for the Doctor here at MTVP, we decided to recap the latest series of “Doctor Who” in anticipation of the 50th Anniversary special. We will be recapping an episode a week leading right up to when the special airs and will also post a special recap of the actual 50th Anniversary.

Series 7 begins on Scarro of all places (the original birthplace of the Daleks). The Doctor has received a message from a woman asking for help even though he’s gone into hiding since marrying River in the alternate timeline. The woman says that her daughter is in a Dalek prison camp and she needs th4e Doctor to rescue the girl. The Doctor susses out the trap pretty quickly, since no one escapes a Dalek prison camp. The woman starts snapping and a Dalek eye stalk appears in the middle of her forehead and a laser comes out of her hand to render the Doctor unconscious. We pop down to Earth to find Amy during a photo shoot. Rory interrupts her to have her sign divorce papers. Clearly something has happened since last we saw the Ponds. They are each nabbed by weird human-Dalek hybrids and wake up in a white room. The Doctor strolls in and they descend into a giant room filled with every version of Daleks we’ve seen. And instead of destroying the Doctor and his companions, they want him to save them. Definitely not what he was expecting.

In a slightly disjointed jump, we find a young woman in a room. She’s listening to the soundtrack of “Carmen” and recording her day (she’s been wherever she is for a year). She’s made a soufflé (well tried and failed) and she’s been keeping some life forms out. We jump back to the Dalek ship where the Doctor is pacing and Amy is commentating on what he’s thinking, including that she and Rory are clearly having issues. Next, we learn about the Dalek Asylum. All the crazy and battle scarred ones end up there. Which isn’t as weird as it sounds. Until you add in the fact that the Daleks think all the batshit ones are beautiful because they are so hateful. There’s a signal emanating from the core and the Daleks want the Doctor to go down, shut off the force field so they can blow the planet to bits. As the Doctor, Amy and Rory lean over to see the planet, the Doctor has the idea to see if they can communicate with the source of the transmission (aka the soundtrack). We learn the young woman’s name is Oswin Oswald and she was on a star liner that crashed a year ago.

Our trio asks a few questions before they’re literally shot down at the planet in a beam of light. I had to laugh at Rory asking what color the Daleks on the planet were. Seemed a valid question given series 5 was the introduction of the iPod Nano Daleks. Plus, all the good questions were taken. They get shot down at the planet and Amy and the Doctor end up near each other but Rory goes a bit far afield. A man in a white parka finds Amy first and Oswin spots the Doctor but she loses the signal. The Doctor is confused how she can hack Dalek tech since it should be impossible. Parka guy leads the Doctor and Amy down to an escape pod and it becomes clear very quickly that he is dead and has been made a Dalek shell. The rest of his crew is dead, too. And apparently unless one wears the glowey wrist bands, they get turned into a Dalek. Joy. Oswin gets to banter with the Doctor a bit more as they find a hatch leading straight into the asylum. Speaking of, Rory fell straight through to the bottom. He’s got a pen light (because everyone carries those with them on a daily basis right?) and he pushes a few Daleks around but gets no reaction.

It wouldn’t be Doctor Who if the companion wasn’t somehow in danger. After the Doctor and Amy got away from the skeleton crew Daleks, Amy realizes she’s lost her wrist band. So she’s slowly going to turn into one of them. And the Doctor grills her on why she and Rory are having problems. They split up because that’s life apparently. Obviously, the Doctor doesn’t believe that at all. Rory is still muddling about with the Daleks when they begin to wake up. Oswin works her mojo though and gets him somewhere safe. Then we cut to the Doctor and Amy climbing down a rope ladder and she’s demanding to know what will happen to her. Her memories and feelings will disappear and then the physical changes set in. But her memory is already going because they’ve had the same conversation four times.

Oswin tries to give the Doctor some direction to where he can find Rory (and then herself) but Amy is falling prey to the nanogenes (nice of them to come back for a visit. We haven’t seen them since series 1). She walks into a room and sees people but they’re really Daleks. When she focuses, she sees what they really are and they start running. A damaged Dalek corners them and the Doctor engages it, prompting it to self-destruct. He puts the thing in reverse and blows up a bunch of other Daleks along with it. Really, he has no problem blowing up these beings (or Cybermen really). It’s a tad disturbing but I do like that there’s such continuity with the lengthy history between the two races.

And since we have made it to the final act, we are about to cram five different plot points into that span. First, Amy and Rory reconcile as the Doctor goes off to find Oswin. Rory tries to give Amy his wrist band because it will take longer to convert him since he has more love for her than she does for him. She breaks down, going on about how he’s always wanted children and since Demon’s Run, she can’t have any more. And she didn’t kick him out, she let him go. They struggle a bit and Rory ends up getting his wrist band on her arm anyway. Well so it turns out the Doctor put his band on Amy before he left.

Things are getting dicey with Oswin as the Doctor continues to question things. In a matter of minutes Oswin deletes all record of the Doctor from the Dalek database to save him from the ICU Daleks (all from battles with him probably during the Time War). And then he gets into the room and finds out that she is in fact a full on Dalek. She was converted because she was a freaking genius. But she’s still human enough to drop the force field so he and the Ponds can escape. And it looks like she erased the memory of the Doctor from every single Dalek. I wasn’t very fond of this the first time I saw the episode because it just completely gets rid of a history that stretches back to the start of the series. And on re-watch, I’m still pissed. The Daleks are the Doctor’s greatest enemy. You can’t just erase him from their memory. It’s cheap and stupid and one of many things Moffat has done lately that make me wish he was departing the series before the start of series 8. But all seems well for Amy and Rory, reunited and back home together. Something tells me they’ll be seeing the Doctor again soon.

Graceland 1.09: "Smoke Alarm"

“You know, Mike. Sometimes it’s all about using one monster as bait to get the others.”
- Briggs

The morning after all the chaos went down with Briggs taking out Mike and getting his ass whopped, the house is sort of back to normal. Mike is out jogging on the beach when Paige catches up with him after some early morning surfing. She promises to keep his screw-up with Abby quiet, saying they all need some secrets. Meanwhile, Charlie kind of walks in on Johnny coming out of the shower and they snark a bit about the house rules about announcing oneself but she’s still not dropping her suspicions of Briggs. Speaking of, he’s moaning and groaning in bed over his injuries and slaps an ice pack on his ribs before heading down to the kitchen to chat up the rest of the house (minus Jakes). That dude is seriously anti-social. Anyway, Briggs and Charlie come to blows over whether they should try to continue hunting Odin or just worry about Bello and Caza. Before long, Mike and Briggs get called off about a dead body. Jangles is definitely in town as he’s just killed Bello’s number 1 dealer (including cutting his feet off while still in the sneakers. Ew.

Mike heads off to see Bello and learns he’s got to train his corner guys on using assault rifles now. Mike is clearly not pleased about this. Charlie is having a slightly better day. There was a Mexican shell company loosely tied to Odin that never had any movement of funds until the previous night to pay for a motel room nearby (we see Briggs set up a smoke alarm with a camera in a room). She’s off to see what she can find. When Mike tells Briggs they have enough to bring Bello in, Briggs shuts him down about going to the FBI. He thinks they need to keep Bello in play longer so they can nab Jangles. I still can’t figure out if the Odin persona is just to get back at Jangles or if there’s something else on his agenda.

Things are really starting to heat up on multiple fronts. First, Mike pays Juan a visit and Juan insists they bug Briggs’ car. Juan believes Briggs made deals with Caza while he was under. Mike isn’t so sure. In fact, because of a phrase Juan used (that Briggs said to him earlier), he realizes something is hinky and finds a bug in the photo his grandfather took. He goes to confront Juan and we get a bit of an info dump. Juan lays out the events of five years previously in July when Briggs went on vacation (got kidnapped and tortured). He was stationed in a house like Graceland before Graceland existed. The house burned down five days before Briggs reentered the picture. There were some calls made earlier in the day of the fire, one the main line at the house and one to one of the agents inside. All five agents died. Mike calls Juan on his obsession and walks out. He’s not going to help Juan ruin Briggs’ life for something that there’s no proof of.

Meanwhile, Charlie follows her lead to the hotel room and Briggs watches as she finds ad disables the smoke alarm camera. She also meets a potential ally. He’s a Federale who’s come north of the border to track Odin. If they work together then maybe they can actually find the guy and take him out for good. Briggs pays Johnny a visit and ropes him in to helping him with any leads to Jangles (he also sort of grills him about what’s going on with Charlie). Johnny takes Briggs to a bar where they soon discover that one of Bello’s street corner boys is spilling his guts to the Caza cartel. This isn’t going to end well for Mike who is having lunch with Bello at his safe house. Bello gives a sort of impassioned speech to Mike about the fact they’ll both feel victory when Bello is out from under Caza completely. And he thinks his men being scared means they won’t be overconfident. I just can’t bring myself to trust that Briggs is going to help Mike out. I think he’ll take out Jangles if he can and then run away before Bello can ID him.

Bello and Mike are continuing their lunch when the sprinkler system goes off. Bello doesn’t know if it’s on a timer but sends Mike to turn it off. Big mistake! Mike finds a bunch of Bello’s guards dead and starts back to the house. Briggs is actually on his way to try and save Mike’s life and he finds the tactical team all dead in the van. When Mike gets back into the house, he finds that Jangles has Bello. Mike slips up and lets his shoe squeak on the floor. He and Jangles get in a fire fight but Mike gets stabbed. Briggs shoots at Jangles and may have hit him but he spends precious time tending to Mike before the swat guys show up. Even with his face half covered, Jangles looked familiar. Last time we saw him I thought it was Briggs’ training officer but it sounds like he died in the fire. Now I have a feeling it is really Juan. We’ll see if I’m right.

Mike wakes up in the hospital and Paige is at his side. He’s going to be okay but it may take a while to heal. He’s gotten some gifts from the house mates but he’s curious to know if anything has come in from the Bureau or anonymously. He starts to tell Paige the truth about why he can never relax in Graceland but she kind of freaks out. She asks if he’s a rat and then says she can’t be there and leaves him to call after her. I really liked the Mike/Paige dynamic so hopefully they can reconcile because she’s really the closest thing he has to a friend in the house. Elsewhere, Charlie and the Federale decide to team up and as we pan past the guy’s shoulder we see he’s been injured (right where Briggs shot Jangles). So I guess I was wrong in suspecting Juan. Briggs is out at the beach where the first house burned down and he is pretty wasted. Juan shows up and goes undercover as Jangles to try and question Briggs about the fire. Briggs says he and Jangles were both responsible and before much else can happen, Juan pulls a gun they struggle and Briggs shoots Juan. Well that complicates things more. But it does ramp things up nicely for the final 3 episodes of the season. It took it’s time getting to this point but I hope we just power on ahead through the end of the run.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Wonderfalls 1.09: "Safety Canary"

“He’s more like a fuzzy bunny. I don’t kill fuzzy bunnies!”

And this is where “Wonderfalls” starts to get a little more painful to watch. Jaye and Eric are torn apart in such a very Krista Vernoff way, there’s no way to describe it other than painful. Now while Bryan Fuller (rightfully) gets the majority of the credit for the awesome that is “Wonderfalls,” Vernoff’s contribution cannot go unmentioned. Vernoff is best known for having been a long-term writer/producer on “Grey’s Anatomy,” at one point even being the showrunner. Earlier in Vernoff’s career, she was a writer/producer on Wonderfalls. Both this second half of “Wonderfalls” and the second season of “Grey’s Anatomy” have a similar trajectory in the main romantic storyline. The main, snarky heroine has just taken up with the love of her life, who she had been kind of resisting up until now. All of a sudden, his ex-wife is back on the scene. Yup. That’s right. “Safety Canary” marks the first real appearance of Eric’s estranged wife, Heidi.

The overall theme that ties this episode together is being afraid of love and close relationships. All of the characters featured in this episode (including a couple of hyacinth macaws) find themselves pushing love away out of fear. By the end of the episode, everyone, even Jaye has overcome that fear. Unfortunately for Jaye, she overcomes her fear just a touch too late. Heidi’s back, and Jaye is going to have to spend the rest of the series trying to deal with that. I’m not going to lie, I don’t like Heidi one bit. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Heidi’s portrayer, Jewel Staite. I’ve been a fan of her since I was twelve years old and watching “Space Cases” on Nickelodeon, and I continued to be her fan watching her in “Firefly” and “The LA Complex.” I’m just a rather unapologetic Jaye and Eric fangirl, and Heidi getting in the way of that makes me a bit stabby. Although, with the character of Heidi, the fact that she makes me stabby probably means Jewel was doing her job right.

Anyway, the setting of this episode is mostly in a zoo, because that’s where Jaye and Eric go for their first official date. They are in that extremely happy new love phase until various characters though out the episode start trying to talk Jaye out of it. Almost ten years later, we’d call what characters like Sharon and Mahandra do in this episode “concern trolling.” As in, they’re being nasty to Jaye and questioning her feelings for Eric out of “concern” for Eric in his fragile, getting over his marriage imploding after less than 24 hours state. I guess they’re right to be concerned, in a way. They don’t have the insight into Jaye’s real feelings that the viewers do. They just think Eric is another in the long line of men who have thrown themselves at Jaye that she has subsequently discarded once she’s bored with them.

At the zoo, the Muses really start their interference. Eric and Jaye are making out near the hyacinth macaw cage, and the picture of a bird on a “no flash photography” sign tells Jaye to, what else, take a picture. Jaye tries to resist, given the warning sign and all, but eventually she just goes through with it. The result is that she gets pecked in the face by one of the macaws, and the zookeeper in charge of the bird area, Penelope, gets shipped down to elephant dung cleaning duty. Penelope is distraught. She had been devoting all her time and energy to making sure the two hyacinth macaws would mate, and now it’s been taken away from her. The Muses start bugging Jaye to “save the lovebirds,” so Jaye decides to try and make things right. She makes a trip to the zoo that results in Penelope being outright fired, and things only escalate from there.

Penelope convinces Jaye and Eric to help her “liberate” (ha!) the hyacinth macaws from the zoo so she can continue working with them. They get a little help from zoo janitor Rufus, who secretly has a huge crush on Penelope. Penelope doesn’t notice him, though, because she’s too interested in her birds. The gang takes the birds to Jaye’s parents’ house, because Aaron is the only one who is going to be home for the weekend. Mahandra joins them too, and there’s a funny sequence where they’re all waiting for the macaws to start mating, and Penelope says that Eric and Aaron have to leave because of their “male pheromones.” The guys leaving works, but in a moment where she really wants to get away from Eric thanks to her crumbling self-confidence (what with Sharon having called her a “man-eater” and Mahandra also begging Jaye to break up with Eric for Eric’s safety), Jaye goes into the room where the birds are mating, and she opens a window. Yep. Birds. Open window. You can guess what happens next.

Anyway, through the process of trying to find the macaws (which turn up doing it in Sharon’s high end SUV), a lot of relationship statuses change. Jaye and Eric break up, because Eric realizes that all her moaning about being bad for him is just her being scared, and she’s not ready for a relationship yet. Sharon goes back to girlfriend Beth and asks to be dominated, not realizing that Beth has just gotten back together with her ex-husband. Aaron and Mahandra decide to try kissing and realize they like it (which will lead to one of my favorite Aaron lines in a later episode “you think I’m delicious!”). Penelope and Rufus also end up together. Jaye convinces Penelope that she’ll be okay without her zoo job, because she’s just been using her birds as a distraction from actual human contact. Once Jaye makes Penelope realize that Rufus is interested in her, Penelope decides to see what this love thing is all about.

As I said earlier, the only one who is left out in the cold at the end of the episode is Jaye. After convincing Penelope to stop being scared and pursue something with Rufus, Jaye realizes that the same advice should apply to herself and Eric. She knows things are different with Eric than with the victims of her “man-eating” phase, and she’s just been using those sorts of comments as an excuse to stay in her comfort zone. She rushes to the Barrel to apologize for Eric and explain her true feelings, but she’s too late. She enters the bar to find Eric and Heidi snuggling to some music. When Heidi announces that she’s Eric’s wife, that’s when things really start to get painful. “Save the lovebirds” indeed.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer TV Rewind: Lost Girl 1.10: "The Mourning After"

“I mean, if the universe wants me to find love, it knows where to look. And I am in no rush. Let’s face it, Kenzi. The dating scene is killer.”

“The Mourning After” was an interesting meld of case of the week and Bo learning more about the Fae world. Bo finally meets another succubus, and she isn’t quite sure what to make of it. At first, she’s excited to meet one of her own kind, and she’s anxious to learn all that the other succubus can teach. Then she sees just how far most succubae are willing to go in ignoring morality, and she has second thoughts. It’s an interesting journey, for sure. This episode also includes a completely separate subplot for Kenzi. I guess that makes sense, considering one of the consequences of Bo meeting another succubus is that she’s not spending as much time with Kenzi. This episode really takes the issues with sexuality that the show tries to address and addresses them head on, maybe almost too on-the nose. Bo’s foe is basically a type of Fae that feeds of being a prude. Apt (almost too apt) foe for a succubus, right?

Anyway, this episode begins with a woman named Allison, who brings a guy home after a night of clubbing. She’s so enthusiastic about this guy that she calls her sister and tells her she met a guy that she’s really hopeful about. Something about this seems a little desperate to me. Granted, I am in no position to criticize someone regarding lack of a personal life, but it does seem odd to call a relative about somebody you just now picked up from a club, gushing about how he could be the one. I’d think that would scare most guys off, actually, especially the type of pick-up artist this dude turns out to be. Anyway, when we next see Allison, her man is gone, and she’s waking up alone. When we next, next see her, she’s electrocuting herself with a hairdryer in the bathtub after having written words like “slut” and “whore” all over the bathroom walls.

Bo and Kenzi are enlisted by Allison’s sister, Collette, to investigate this case. The police have ruled it a suicide, but Collette doesn’t believe it. She thinks that Allison sounded too happy when making that phone call to have committed suicide hours later. Bo first goes to Dyson for intel, of course, and he says that because he already officially closed the case, he can only help Bo off the record. He says that the evidence is going to have to be taken to Lauren for analysis, which just thrills Bo, of course. That particular encounter is all awkwardness thanks to Bo learning that Lauren slept with her on the Ash’s orders. Insults fly back and forth a bit before Lauren agrees to help.

Bo and Kenzi see that Allison frequented a nightclub called Crimson, so they go check it out. There’s a singles speed dating event going on. It’s a regular thing every Friday, and they figure that’s why Allison was going to Crimson so often. We next get a sequence of Bo and Kenzi participating in the speed dating event, which is pretty funny. The event is run by a man named Betram, who seems nondescript enough at first. While participating in the speed dating, Bo is approached by a woman named Saskia. Saskia accuses Bo of moving in on her territory, and Bo quickly learns that Saskia is also a succubus. When Saskia realizes that Bo is so new to the Fae world that she doesn’t even know succubae mark their territory, she warms up a bit. She wants to teach Bo all the ins and outs of being a succubus.

Saskia hangs with Bo and Kenzi as they investigate the case, and she’s actually responsible for a break in the case at one point. Not unsurprisingly, Collette is found dead under similar circumstances to her sister. Saskia sees the writing (literally) on the wall and instantly knows what sort of Fae is responsible. It’s an Albaster, which is pretty much the anti-succubus. Albasters are prudish and feed off of causing humans to feel sexual shame. So Saskia and Bo set off to find the Albaster responsible for killing Allison and Collette and apparently a few other women in the area, too. Their first suspect is a pick-up artist who frequents Crimson. They use their succubus powers (and the pick-up artist’s natural douchiness) to get him interested, and they figure out that he’s just human. Somebody else at Crimson is the actual Albaster.

While all this is going on, Kenzi is kind of on the outs with Bo. She’s feeling excluded since Bo is spending so much time with Saskia. Kenzi decides to drown her sorrows at the Dal, and she runs into a problem with which Trick needs her help. A Fae named Valentine comes into the Dal and he demands a coin from Trick. It’s a very rare coin with the power to give the holder good luck in business. When Trick and Valentine found the coin together back in the day, they decided to share it, alternating who would hold the coin every 100 years. Trick tells Valentine he’ll give him the coin the next morning, but Trick discovers the coin is missing. That’s when he needs Kenzi’s help. He wants Kenzi to talk to the Lightning Bird he intends to summon. The bird can provide an egg that has the power to locate any lost object, but it only speaks to human females. Kenzi is happy that somebody needs her help, and she uses her negotiation skills to get the bird to exchange the egg for a future favor. Before she leaves, the bird mentions that Trick could have found what he wanted by just writing in his book of blood again. Kenzi is puzzled by this, but she doesn’t get a good answer from Trick.

Trick uses the egg to make an amulet that will find the coin, but when he and Kenzi arrive at the cemetery where the coin is supposed to be, it’s missing again. Kenzi, however, recognizes some flowers that have been freshly placed on a grave. They are the same flowers that Valentine wears in his lapel. When Valentine stops by the Dal to start measuring things (Trick had offered the bar as collateral if he ever lost the coin), Kenzi approaches him with her accusation. She thinks Valentine had the coin all along and gave Trick a fake coin at the last exchange. She is proven right, and the Dal is saved. Kenzi’s pretty proud of herself for being useful all on her own, as she should be.

It doesn’t take long for the real Albaster to reveal himself to Bo. It’s actually Bertram, the guy who runs the speed dating event at Crimson. Bo tries to fight him off, and she is successful at first, but then Bertram starts getting the better of her. Saskia appears just in the nick of time and takes Bertram down. Bertram is tied up, and Saskia uses her succubus powers to completely finish him off. Dyson (who is called in later) helps clean up the mess, both physically and politically, but Bo is horrified. Saskia has no remorse for what she did, and Bo really, really doesn’t ever want to be like that.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer DVR Dump: Merlin 5.11: "The Drawing of the Dark"

“I come here with a purpose, Morgana. I did not break stride to find you. I bring the news you have longed for.”
- Mordred

Arthur and his inner circle are on their way back from a hunting trip when Percival spots something. It turns out to be a broken arrow and soon enough they happen upon a group of bodies who apparently were delivering weapons to Camelot. Arthur is disturbed by the fact Morgana would attack so close to the citadel. As if that weren’t enough, Mordred races off after seeing a cloaked figure running the opposite direction. It turns out to be a young woman named Cara. She and Mordred appear to know each other and he lets her go. Merlin sees this and thinks Mordred let a Saxon go. Gaius still thinks Merlin is making more out of it than there is. They head off to tend to a patient and Mordred slips in to gather some medical supplies before heading out to the woods.

Arthur really ought to invest in some better guards because Mordred slips by them all with ease. He gets to the site of the bodies and calls out to Cara. She responds and it takes him a few minutes to get acclimated. It’s been years since he’s used his telepathy obviously. He finally finds her and he’s thrilled. My guess is they were romantically involved at some point. She can’t believe he’s a knight of Camelot and she doesn’t believe him about Arthur and the future he’ll bring. But for the moment, they’re just happy to be in each other’s arms once again.

Like a teenager, Mordred slinks back into the castle in the morning and Merlin confronts him. Mordred spills the beans about Cara but says she was wounded and one of them and he couldn’t turn his back on her. Really he’s just a boy in love with a girl. Merlin promises to keep his secret though. Unfortunately, as he and Arthur go out to patrol the area they were in yesterday, Arthur spots some muddy footprints that lead them straight to Cara’s hiding place. She comes out slow at first but as soon as Arthur moves in to help her, she tries to stab him. Merlin deflects the blade and she’s arrested. Mordred sees the guards taking her down to the cells and he freaks out on Merlin. He doesn’t believe Merlin didn’t rat her out to Arthur. Leon and Gwaine interrupt the little tiff.

Things really go from bad to worse for Mordred. Cara is being questioned by the King and she goes on about how he has crimes against her people to answer for and that Camelot will fall. But she denies being under Morgana’s orders. But her words convey otherwise. Mordred has to stand there listening to the back and forth. Arthur says he has nothing against the Druids and that it is Morgana and those who abuse magic are the ones who have caused the rift between those with and without the gift. And to boot, she’s not being charged for any sort of magic-related crime, just boring old murder. She’s taken back to the dungeons and Mordred goes to see her under the guise of Arthur wanting to know who helped her from inside Camelot. She vows never to reveal that Mordred was her helper. They really need to come out admit they have deep feelings for each other. Id’s ay they make a cute couple if she weren’t trying to kill Arthur. Mordred promises to speak to Arthur on her behalf. He can’t let her die.

Mordred confesses his part in getting Cara medical attention and finally admits that he’s in love with her. He begs Arthur to change his mind but Arthur must uphold the law. Clearly, it breaks Mordred’s heart that Arthur would not help him. Cara isn’t surprised. She goes on about how he’s a Pendragon and Mordred did all he could. You know, it confuses the hell out of me sometimes. All these magical folk bitch about Pendragons and yet, the majority of them are working with or for Morgana. Hello, she’s a Pendragon too!

That evening, Mordred goes to apologize to Arthur but it sounds more like a “forgive me once I’m gone” sort of deal. And Merlin picks up on that and warns Mordred not to abscond with Cara. For one thing, it will cement the divide between Arthur and Mordred (thus possibly cementing Arthur’s death by Mordred’s hand) and he’d live on the run forever. Not a way to be with your girl. Gaius reminds Merlin that he’s done things like this hundreds of times but Merlin wont’ listen. He warns Arthur of Mordred’s plan but they’re too late. Arthur rallies the guards but not before Cara kills one. Mordred stares in shock at her actions. He probably knew the poor sap that just got his throat cut.

They make it to the woods but Arthur and company find them pretty easily. Cara telepathically urges Mordred to kill them using his magic. It looks like he may actually be about to unleash some mojo when Percival sneaks up and knocks him out. He and Cara spend the rest of the night in the cells, falling asleep holding hands. Merlin tries to get Arthur to reconsider. He thinks if he can change Arthur’s mind and let Cara go, then Mordred won’t be on the outs with Arthur. It looks like Merlin’s attempt to sway the King fails until morning comes and Leon retrieves Cara for an audience with the King. He offers to let her go if she repents but she refuses, saying she cannot repent a crime she didn’t commit. She is hanged and Mordred freaks out in his cell. Merlin feels the psychic jolt of Mordred unleashing his power. Arthur now knows Mordred has magic, too and he feels like the world’s biggest moron for not seeing it and for trusting the boy. Clearly, Merlin has brought this about by betraying Mordred’s secret and then trying to fix it. Mordred is so pissed he goes straight to Morgana and spills the beans at to Merlin’s true identity and that he’s in Camelot. Really, all of this over a girl? You need to grow up Mordred. Honestly. There’s going to be other girls. And besides, you should be mad at Cara. Arthur tried to grant her a pardon. She just didn’t want it. But now the dark duo is back together and the final battle is just over the horizon.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Talking Doctor Who Fandom on Hypable

With all the fanfare surrounding the announcement of Peter Capaldi as the next Doctor last weekend, there was one thing that, among the celebration, kind of hit a sour note for us here at MTVP. That would be people within the Doctor Who fandom essentially cheering that because Capaldi is 55, the "fangirls" will stop watching and the "real Whovians" won't have to listen to them anymore. As women (albeit grown women with grown-up jobs and lives), we found this marginalization of a segment of the fandom disconcerting, and we decided to write about it for Hypable. Check it out at the link below!

What's a 'real' Whovian? Female Doctor Who fans speak

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Newsroom 2.04: "Unintended Consequences"

“Sometimes there’s mud. Sometimes there’s a genocide. But there wasn’t much of either that day, so we got there by early afternoon.”

“Unintended Consequences” was another episode of “The Newsroom” that was more focused on advancing existing plots than setting up anything new. We did get some definite progress in several plots, though. Jim and Hallie finally got romantic (ugh) and we finally know what exactly happened to Maggie in Uganda. There’s been significant online criticism about how Uganda was portrayed in this episode. While I do agree that there were some aspects of the Uganda story that were incredibly stereotypical, some aspects of the story rang more true compared to my own experiences in rural Africa (granted, I was in North Africa, not East Africa, but still…). I did not look for drug lords out of the window of our bus as we drove through the Middle Atlas, nor did I encounter cattle rustlers. I did, however, tour a school that was only in slightly better shape than the one depicted in this episode, and little kids in the village were extremely interested in our group. I have a photo of little kids from the village walking along the road with a bunch of my classmates. So yeah, it’s a stereotype, but it’s one of those instances where it’s a stereotype because it’s true. And yes, if you’re wondering, we did feel a little exploitative, but we tried to counteract that with learning as much about Moroccan culture and social policy as possible. And some of those classmates now work in international development.

Anyway, let’s stop talking about my experience in Africa (for now) and talk about the episode. For this episode, we’re back to using the future Operation Genoa deposition as a framing device. This time, the AWM lawyers are interviewing the short red hair version of Maggie. Basically, they want to see if she will still be a credible witness to anything Operation Genoa-related. This forces Maggie to tell the story of what happened to her in Uganda. It turns out that she and Gary never got the chance to do their story on the American troops who were sent to help track down Joseph Kony. They never got past the orphanage story they were also supposed to do in exchange for the access they needed to do the Kony story. On their way to the orphanage, Gary rides in the back of the truck because he’s hoping to get B-roll of genuine drug lords. Yeah, that was one of the Africa stereotypes in this episode that was going too far with the stereotype.

Anyway, Maggie and Gary arrive at the orphanage and interact with the kids while the kids are in school. Maggie especially takes one young boy, named Daniel, under her wing. Daniel wants Maggie to keep reading the same storybook over and over, and Maggie obliges. One of the teacher explains to Maggie that Daniel’s fascination with her likely has to do with Maggie’s blonde hair. He and the other children at the orphanage had never seen anyone with blonde hair before. This is another stereotype, but this one is more based in truth. When I was in Morocco, I experienced no attention from the locals until I walked through the Rabat medina one day with a classmate who had a blonde pixie-cut. Go figure. Anyway, Maggie and Gary learn that the area of Uganda where they are has essentially been taken hostage by cattle rustlers. Everyone in the area lives in fear of these very violent thieves. It’s so bad that when Gary first walks into the school with camera rolling, the kids all cower in fear under their desks because they think the camera is a machine gun.

Anyway, back in the States, we also learn some more about Jim’s time on the Romney campaign trail, and super surprising, it involves more mysogeny! Life as maverick, off-the-bus reporters isn’t all puppies and rainbows for Jim, Hallie, and the other dude. Heaven forbid, they have to make their own hotel reservations! More importantly, they are no longer getting e-mails directly from the Romney campaign. This means that the Intrepid Three can only file stories after big Romney speeches or events, not beforehand like their competitors can. This, understandably, pisses of their bosses. Hallie gets it the worst of any of them. Unfortunately for her, she’s Bluetoothed her phone into their rental car’s sound system, so everybody can hear her boss abuse her. Jim keeps badgering the press secretary, who continues to delight in failing to offer 30 minutes of Romney’s time. Eventually, the press secretary says something especially disparaging to Jim, he threatens to print it, and she finally feels bad enough to offer up the 30 minutes.

Jim, of course, being the noble sort of soul that he is, convinces the press secretary to give the 30 minutes to Hallie instead. Apparently he feels bad for her thanks to the lashing she took from her boss earlier. Hallie, not realizing the set-up, is super excited for the opportunity, and she works hard to put together a good interview and subsequent article. Then she overhears Mackenzie Skype-chewing Jim out for giving up the opportunity. At first, Hallie is understandably furious. She tells Jim to write the article himself since he’s the one who earned the interview. Jim tries to make excuses that Romney would be more likely to agree to an interview with Hallie’s print publication than 30 minutes on camera with ACN, but Hallie’s not buying it. By the end of the episode, though, Hallie is feeling bad for Jim being kicked off the campaign trail, and she kisses him. Pillar of self-esteem, that one.

Back in New York, the Occupy Wall Street story intersects with the Operation Genoa story. Neal has the OWS activist he’s been talking to booked on News Night, and on air, Will completely shoots holes in everything she has to say. It seems almost like he’s enjoying her humiliation. The OWS activist said that someone else in her area of the park was fired from an NGO for writing a report about US use of nerve gas in Pakistan. She was originally going to take Neal and Jerry to talk to this guy, but after the humiliation, she understandably rescinds the offer. Neal and Jerry spend the rest of the episode trying to fix this, first arranging a meeting between Sloan and the OWS Activist, then later a meeting with Don. What she really wants is an on-air apology from Will. Eventually, Will placates the OWS activist with an off-air apology and a request to audit the college course she teaches. Oh, and the News Night team already figures out which other OWS-er she was talking about.

So, to wrap up the Africa story in a way that follows Chekhov’s rule (a gun seen in the first act should be fired in the third), the cattle rustlers pay a visit to the Ugandan orphanage while Maggie and Gary are there. It happens in the night, of course, for maximum scariness. The “fixer” who accompanied Maggie and Gary tries to negotiate and explain to the cattle rustlers that there are just orphans and no cattle, but it does no good. Thus begins a frantic effort to get all the kids in a bus and hightail it out of there. Daniel, though, decides it would be a better idea to hide under one of the bolted down bunk beds. Maggie eventually gets him out and carries him on her back towards the bus, but Daniel takes a bullet during the run. Maggie’s got a double does of guilt. First, Daniel took a bullet for her, and second, the cattle rustlers were demanding “give us the camera.” The AWM lawyer asks Maggie if she really is okay after all that, and it becomes increasingly clear that the answer is no.

Graceland 1.08: "Bag Man"

“Was this every really about getting Odin or did you just want to get to Jangles?
- Mike

We pick up pretty soon after the apparently failed meet up with Bello and Briggs. Mike is a little confused since Briggs says Odin never showed but Bello says he’s made an arrangement with the guy. Briggs continues to feign ignorance and shock at Bello going behind his back. But Briggs tells Mike they still have a shot of getting Odin since his next shipment is the following day. I’m really not sure how long this whole charade is going to last. I mean, Mike thinks he’s now helping Briggs out of a crappy fate thanks to the Caza cartel and I can’t help thinking Brigg is just playing all sides against each other. Anyway, Brigg is up and out of the house at 5 the next morning. He swings by the CI apartment where Charlie rode out some of her heroine nosedive and loads up several packages of drugs. He drops them in a locker at a gym and Mike makes the reverse pick up and hands off to Bello. The FBI tech guys pulls some hair from the bag of drugs and Mike shares with Briggs that it as both of theirs, citing them both as the only ones making mistakes. Mike is not sure the plan is actually going to work. And he’s not too happy about letting millions of dollars’ worth of drugs out on the street.

Mike wakes up the next morning in bed with Abby, even though he’s told the rest of the house he broke up with her. He gets a text from Charlie, summoning him back to Graceland and he starts to head off but Abby calls him on his shadiness. He feeds her the partial truth about Briggs and she feels bad for thinking he’s seeing someone else. He gets back to the house and runs into Paige. She apparently has her own undercover drug op that night so she won’t be joining the rest of the house on their “Get Odin” campaign. Johnny and Jakes are at the gym, seeing if anyone shows to pick up the cash. Mike gets there after telling Paige he had a rebound hook up the night before and is surprised that no one has showed. Briggs posits that maybe Odin doesn’t care about money. Well yeah, it would be kind of hard for him to sneak down to snag the cash with everyone looking.

Charlie suggests Mike ride Bello a little harder and so he agrees to apply a little more pressure. He stops by Briggs’ room a little later where Briggs thanks him for keeping his mouth shut about his drug problem. Mike heads out to meet Bello with new drugs and leaves Juan a message, saying they need to talk about their “friend”. Apparently, Briggs had some people check and found no mention of his name or connection to drug use in any recent Bureau reports. Mike pulls Bello aside and expresses concern that he can’t effectively protect Bello if he doesn’t know what Odin looks like. Bello says that the product is good, the money is fair and the only string is that Odin is anonymous. Mike doesn’t get a chance to protest more because a bunch of armed gunmen bust in and start shooting up the place. Mike and Bello finally manage to take them out and Bello grabs one for a little chat. This is not going to end well.

Predictably, Mike is between a rock and a hard place. Bello is torturing the gunman for information and Briggs gives him two options; send in a team and get Bello but lose Odin or save the gunman’s life, protect his cover and continue the Odin investigation. Charlie starts to send in the team because Mike clearly sounds like he can’t do it but Mike sucks it up and saves everything. And he learns that Jangles is supposedly coming for them. Which makes something click in Mike’s brain. He finds Charlie and Briggs sort of arguing on the beach after the op and confronts Briggs with what he’s realized. Briggs was going to let that guy get tortured just to draw out his old adversary. Briggs brushes it off as Mike being in shock. He then heads over to Abby’s place because he needs some comfort from someone who isn’t in the thick of it and as she tries to console him, he makes the executive decision to bring her back to his place, rules be damned.

While Mike is bringing Abby back to Graceland, Charlie borrows Johnny for a little side mission. She is worried that something is up with Briggs. She doesn’t want to be right but she just has a sense that you don’t just hold a stash for your CI. It just isn’t how it goes. And we Briggs, sitting at the table in the apartment where he brought Charlie, starting to cook up some drugs. Charlie and Johnny get there and Briggs manages to hide in the secret room in the closet so they don’t find him. I almost wish they had. It would have to put rest a lot of the drama secretly going down. Meanwhile, Mike brings Abby home and up to his room (despite the rules) and he’s about to go change for their dinner reservation, leaving her alone in his room, when Paige spots her. Abby freaks out because Paige is carrying a gun. Paige passes it off as something her dad said (about single women owning a gun) and drags Mike off for a talking to. Paige tells him to get rid of Abby. Paige then confronts Mike so more when Abby leaves. Mike is kind of falling apart at the seams a little and Paige tells him that it’s good to break rules sometimes. He just needs to know which ones to break.

The next day, Mike takes matters into his own hands. He shows up to Bello without the drugs, saying they weren’t there. This forces Bello to reach out to Briggs to demand a meeting. Briggs obviously knows the team is going to be tailing Bello so he sets up an elaborate meeting between himself and Bello in a back warehouse off some shops. He gives the keys to the apartment with the drugs to Bello who takes off before the team converges. Johnny, Charlie and Mike enter the warehouse and Briggs has to find a way out quick. He ends up attacking Mike, subduing him in a rather spectacular fight then firing off a shot to send the rest of the team chasing phantoms. Back at the house, Mike says he thinks he’s got the beginnings of a profile on Odin, height and build. And he thinks he broke a few of Odin’s ribs which we see is the case as Briggs lifts his shirt up to examine the nasty bruising on his side. I don’t know how he’s going to hide this from the rest of the group but things are really kicking into high gear at this point as we draw closer to the end of the season.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer DVR Dump: Continuum 1.10: "Endtime"

“I don’t know how to say this. Your journey here was no accident. The time travel device didn’t malfunction. Kagame knew this. The truth is I’m the one that sent you back in time. You’re not going to believe why.”
- Alec

The finale has finally arrived! I have to say I was very excited to get to this episode for the blog. Lots of stuff happens and even more questions are posed for season 2. We begin in 2076 on the day of the terrorist attack. We see it from Travis’s point of view as he and two of the other members of Liber8 actually cause the destruction. Meanwhile, a few months later Kagame has a meeting with another prisoner whom we don’t see right away but the voice sounds familiar. In the present, Kiera wakes up to find Kellogg not in bed beside her. She takes the opportunity to break into his safe and steal back the fragment of the time travel device. She ties to deny that there’s anything between her and Kellogg but how can you say no to him? He’s so charming.

No sooner does she step off his yacht and back on dry land when Carlos calls. He’s back on duty and some government types have showed up thanks to some high grade explosives gone missing. They assume it is linked to Julian and Liber8. They’d be right. As Kiera tries to get a location update from Alec, all cell service goes down (thank you Lucas). Today is apparently a big day for Kagame. It’s his birthday. He gets a copy of A Tale of Two cities from Sonya and he gives her a piece of paper and tells her all her questions will be answered.

As Kiera heads for the precinct, a hippie is rambling on about the end and he says something that catches her ear (he mentions her being at the execution). He claims he too was sent back in time. His name is Jason and he was supposedly monitoring the energy for the execution device when everything went haywire and he ended up in 1992. It reminds me of a two-parter of Star Trek Voyager. He’s kind of all over the place, rambling about Theseus and other time jumpers (someone named Mr. Escher). That becomes important later. At the precinct, the agent who is tracking the explosives is a little leery of Kiera’s presence (or lack thereof). Alec manages to track a possible location for Julian and he wants to go with Kiera to get him. He doesn’t want cops involved. While we know there’s not a huge amount of love between the stepbrothers, he doesn’t want what happened to Rolland to happen to Julian. So when Kiera won’t budge on getting the authorities involved, Alec goes off by himself.

Meanwhile, the paper Kagame gave Sonya leads to a safety deposit box with money and all kinds of things in it. And note. Travis is still crabby because no one, including Kagame, will tell him where Sonya is. He’s kind of possessive. During one of his bitch sessions, the doorbell at the house rings and they find Julian standing on their front step. Across town, Kiera has accompanied Jason back to his crazy lair. He says he’s got a time travel device of his own but that he needs one more piece to make it work. Kiera hands over the fragment and he realizes she’s CPS. She promises she’s not there to arrest him. She just wants to go home.

With Kiera busy with Jason, the government agent is getting edgy and distrustful that she’s who she says she is or that she’s even on their side. He gets one of his guys to run a check on Section Six because he’s never even heard of it. When Kiera realizes today is the day the first attack happens on Vancouver and thousands die, leaving a statue as a memorial, she can’t go back. She tells Jason to stay put while she goes after Liber8. But Jason is going with her to see about changing history. He also shares that he knows it was an inside job that even the Warden was in on the trip back in time. Things are starting to get dangerous, too. Kagame talks Julian into becoming a suicide bomber (though he doesn’t have to persuade him very much). Alec shows up and Garza ties him to a chair so Kagame can deal with him. Things are slowly falling into place. Kagame shares some very interesting information with Alec. Apparently Alec’s future self had some key alone time with Kagame where he convinced the terrorist that he could change the course of history. I have to say, the first6 time I watched it, I was completely surprised by all these turn of events. But rewatching the season for the blog, things made so much more sense and it was a beautiful execution of storyline.

Kiera and Jason make it to the plaza but neither remembers which building is going to be blown up. Kiera makes Jason pick one and they go in and demand to use the land line to call Inspector Dillon. She shares her suspicions and the federal agent tries to take over, saying they will send the bomb squad and he and Carlos will go meet up with Kiera. The agent thinks Kiera is a Liber8 plant so he’s got to be careful. Meanwhile, Sonya has returned from her errand and Travis is mad she won’t tell him where she went or what she did. He’s also starting to doubt Kagame and the plan. Alec manages to escape and gets a peek at the building they plan to blow up.

Kiera thinks they’ve stopped Liber8 when they catch Julian with the explosives. Kagame, in disguise, tells Julian that there are many types of sacrifice and they will meet again one day. Mr. Escher resurfaces when cell service is restored and the federal agent gets orders from his boss to cooperate with Kiera. I really want to know who that was. Things spiral out of control when Alec shows up and says that they plan to blow up a different building. Kiera can’t stop Kagame from detonating his suicide vest. And she’s now got a lot of questions for Alec. Kiera escapes the wreckage thanks to her suit and finds Jason again in his hideout. She takes back the piece of the time travel device and ends up back on Kellogg’s boat. See, I knew the pair of them were good together.

And in the big twist of the episode, we see a much older Alec Sadler having that first meeting with Kagame. And then we cut to him having a conversation with Julian, asking if Alec can be trusted. It would appear Alec and Julian have put their difference behind them and are working together and Kagame is at the center of everything. In the present, Alec decrypts a message from his future self and tells Kiera that he is the one who sent everyone back in time. Now we have to wait until season 2 to find out why.