Saturday, December 28, 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.10: "The Bridge"

“Having powers is cheating. But the suit’s pretty cool.”

The winter finale of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” was a valiant effort by the creative team to tie together previously established pot threads and propel the show forward for the second half of the season. This episode was more mythology-focused. We saw the return both of Centipede and Mike Peterson. There were also some intriguing cliffhangers at the end which make me excited to watch the show again when it returns in January. I think it basically accomplished everything that a winter finale of a television show should accomplish. In the next half of the season (which Sarah will be primarily covering…we didn’t think it was fair for one of us to keep all of a Joss show to herself!), I’m looking forward to learning more about what happened to Coulson when he “died” and who Skye’s parents might be. I’m also looking forward to much, much more FitzSimmons banter and character development. More FitzSimmons and less Skye and Ward, please!

The episode opens in a prison, which made me think about my day job a bit more than I’d care to (long story). A team of commandos busts a strange, rather quiet man named Edison Poe out of the Havenworth Federal Penitentiary. Poe was eating in the mess hall when the commandoes rappelled in and got him out. It was kind of impressive and scary, really. Poe asks to be called “sir,” which leads me to believe that he’s someone of some importance. He’s a former Marine and a convicted murderer. Come to think of it, it’s probably the former Marine part that led to him wanting to be called “sir.” The commandos had implants which link them to Centipede, the group that is trying to create super soldiers. This means that the mission of the week for Coulson’s team is to get Poe back from Centipede. The catch is that their back-up is going to be none other than Mike Peters, aka Gunn from “Angel.” You know, the guy with superpowers from the pilot?

There’s also an undercurrent throughout this episode about Skye continuing to try and find her parents. She’s all enthusiastic, but the actual S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on the team seem to just wish she’d forget about the idea already. Skye tells Coulson about how she narrowed down who her mother could potentially be by sorting female agents by age and marital status. I’m not quite sure why she’s convinced her mom was an agent. Did I miss something? I know her parents were mixed up in S.H.I.E.L.D. somehow, but I didn’t know they were definitely agents. Anyway, Coulson says that Agent May has agreed to look through more classified files for while Skye doesn’t have clearance. Coulson warns May that he told Skye this, and May’s not happy at all. She says they agreed not to tell Skye anything about her parents. Skye brings it up to May later when they are supposed to be concentrating on the mission, and May pretty much just blows her off.

The team isn’t especially thrilled about Mike joining them, mostly because he wreaked some serious havoc (and not in a good way) during their last encounter. Most of them try to take Mike at his word when he says he’s a different person now, though. FitzSimmons are especially nice and build him a pretty sweat superhero suit that is supposed to monitor all his bodily functions. They seem to take more of a liking to Mike than most of the rest of the team after he tells him that their “Night Night Gun” saved his life by stabilizing his superpowers (so he won’t spontaneously combust). Anyway, the team was able to get an ID on one of the commandos who broke Poe out of jail, so they head to Cleveland to talk to his sister. Ward pretends to be a lottery agent who wants to locate the commando to give him his $50,000 prize. The sister tries to play it like she and her brother don’t talk much, but as soon as Ward seems out of earshot, she’s calling her brother to tell him about the money. The team is able to trace the call, of course, and they find that the commandos are in California.

While all this traveling is going on, there is an interlude where Coulson and Ward basically talk about women. I’m not a fan of Ward, but I liked this scene because of what we learned about Coulson. Ward is reading a book about how to understand women (good luck with understanding Agent May just by reading a book, buddy), and Coulson starts talking about the cellist he used to date before he “died.” As a cellist myself, I appreciated Coulson’s monologue on women playing the cello. Anyway, The cellist couldn’t know about anything that happened while he is with S.H.I.E.L.D., so to her, Coulson just stopped contacting her one day. Coulson doesn’t think that dating another agent is the way to go, either though (cue some uncomfortable shuffling from Ward), because that can just get incredibly messy.

Skye finds some surveillance footage of the woman in the flower dress visiting Poe, and Mike recognizes her as Raina, Centipede’s recruiter. Mike and Skye bond a little as Skye doesn’t have her parents and Mike doesn’t have his child (Mike’s son is staying with relatives because Mike is embarrassed at how he acted the last time his son saw him). Raina and Poe, however, are currently busy trying to set a trap for Coulson’s team. Arriving in California, Coulson’s team finds themselves in the middle of an ambush. Mike gets injured, but he takes one of the commandos down with him. Doing some research later, the team discovers that the dead commando had the same self-destruct connected to the eye doohickey that Coulson’s former protégé had. This eye splodey device, though, is untraceable, which means that Centipede is making crazy fast technological developments.

Poe talks to “the Clairvoyant,” presumably some sort of leader of Centipede, and puts in a good word for Raina. Raina’s flattered, but she starts asking too many questions about the Clairvoyant for Poe’s taste, and he threatens her a little. Meanwhile, Ward and May get into a fight over how it looks like Ward was trying too hard to protect May during the ambush. May says Ward’s attention needs to be on the job, not her. Ward assures May that it was a tactical decision (he needed to preserve her mad skills), and May accepts that as an okay reason to help her. I really feel like being in any kind of relationship with Melinda May would be kind of exhausting. Skye overhears a bit of this conversation, and May lashes out by telling Skye that Coulson isn’t telling the whole truth about her parents. She warns Skye that she needs to decide whether she’s with S.H.I.E.L.D. for the mission or for herself.

Mike finally decides to call his son right before the big Centipede take-down, and he gets a rather nasty surprise. His son isn’t with a relative – he’s with Raina. Raina threatens to kill Mike’s son if Mike doesn’t do exactly as she says. Mike tells the team that Raina wants him in exchange for his son, and he’s willing to pay that price. He thinks that even if Centipede captures him, he can figure a way out. When the exchange is in progress, however, Raina’s team grabs Coulson. Mike threatens to kill Raina if she doesn’t let his son and Coulson go, but Coulson tells Mike to stand down. Mike needs to be around to be a dad to his son. Mike leaves his son with Skye, then he rushes back towards the Centipede convoy, determined to rescue Coulson. Then a truck blows up, and Mike is presumably killed in the explosion. As the episode draws to a close, Raina tells Coulson that Centipede wants to know what happened on the day he died.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Doctor Who 2013 Christmas Special: "The Time of the Doctor"

“We all change. When you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives. That’s okay, that’s good. You’ve got to keep moving. So long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this. Not one day, I swear. I will always remember when The Doctor was me.”
- The Eleventh Doctor

This year’s Christmas special marks the end of an era as Matt Smith exits the role of the Eleventh Doctor, making way for uber-fanboy Peter Capaldi to take up the helm of the TARDIS. But before we get there, the Eleventh Doctor has one last adventure. A signal is being broadcast throughout all time and space from a quaint little planet and it has drawn all of the Doctor’s enemies in. The Doctor of course is off to investigate the signal because it’s what he does, and he can’t decipher it, which intrigues him. Along for the ride is a Cyberman head that he’s dubbed Handles who keeps sending him on to enemy ships while he happens to be holding bits of said enemies (a Dalek sucker, Handles). The shenanigans are of course interrupted by Clara calling and begging him to be her Christmas date to family dinner. We see Clara’s family briefly before she and the Doctor head off to solve the mystery of the message.

We then meet the Mother Superius, Tasha Lem, of the Papal Mainframe (which should sound familiar to those who paid any attention to “A Good Man Goes to War”). Tasha has put up a forcefield to keep everyone off the planet and away from the signal, but the Doctor finds a way down and quickly learns several key points; the signal is coming from Galifrey, the Time Lords are using the crack in the universe caused by his exploding TARDIS to send the signal, and the signal is asking “Doctor Who?” The Doctor crack (and the signal) have settled on Trenzalore, the Doctor’s final resting place. We see him defending a small town on Trenzalore called Christmas from various foes for over 300 years until one day, Clara returns, and he’s aged so much that he almost resembles David Tennant’s Doctor in “The Last of the Time Lords” when the Master rapidly ages him. The Doctor explains to Clara that because of the War Doctor and the Tenth Doctor’s second regeneration (which created 10.5), he’s all out of regenerations. But Clara begs the Time Lords to help the Doctor since he saved them on the last day of the Time War, and so they gift him with a new set of 13 lives as the Siege of Trenzalore ends and he regenerates into The Twelfth (Fourteenth?) Doctor.

Fandom reaction to this special was most definitely mixed, but we found both some positives and negatives to take from the episode. On the positive side, there was some welcome development to Clara. We got to meet her family, specifically her father, stepmother, and grandmother. Clara’s grandmother is especially entertaining, as she has gotten to the age where she just doesn’t care about what other people think of her. Hopefully, this is a sign that the creative team is moving beyond Clara the “Impossible Girl” plot device and starting to try and develop her as a real character in her own right. We haven’t seen this in-depth of a look at a companion’s family since Donna Noble, and seeing it in this episode was an unexpected pleasant surprise.

The actual regeneration from Eleven into Twelve was a bit different from the other Modern Who regenerations, presumably because the Doctor just got a whole new regeneration cycle. Eleven had the opportunity to give a whole speech expressing his thankfulness for his particular regeneration. Instead of the “I don’t want to go” sentiment of Ten’s regeneration into Eleven, Eleven viewed his impending change as just turning to a new chapter in the book of his life. As he put it, we all go through changes in our lives, and as long as we stop and remember who we used to be once in a while, that change is a positive thing. The visual effects for the regeneration were very sudden. In a flash, Matt Smith had turned into Peter Capaldi.

Keeping in line with past regenerations however, we only see a brief glimpse of the new Doctor as he stumbles around dazed and confused by the change. He asks Clara if she knows how to fly the TARDIS. Could the Doctor be experiencing a little amnesia like the Eighth Doctor did in his early days? Twelve was disoriented by the regeneration for sure, and in his unsure state, Capaldi seemed to use some very Malcolm Tucker-like mannerisms, namely a sort-of-evil glare. He also, for the record, doesn’t like the new color of his kidneys. It’s not really fair to judge a new Doctor by his first appearance in his regeneration episode, as it’s always just a few seconds, and the Doctor hasn’t really settled into his new personality. While Capaldi’s first appearance was decidedly odd, we are still anxiously awaiting his true debut in August, 2014.

One of the less positive aspects of this year’s special was the suggestion by some fans that Tasha Lem was in fact another regeneration of River Song/Melody Pond. Now, for those of you who follow the blog at all, you know that we are big River Song fans. Her history has been fairly strongly established throughout series 6 and 7, once it was revealed she was Amy and Rory’s daughter. We saw her regenerate into Mels and then River. And then she gave up her remaining regenerations to save the Doctor in Berlin. While Tasha had some similar personality traits and speech patterns as River (including that she has an inner psychopath and she can fly the TARDIS), it would require a bigger retcon than we hope even Moffat would risk at this point. And whether there is any merit to the theory, the relationship between Tasha and the Doctor seemed shoe-horned in and rushed. Then again, a lot of the story seemed to go by very quickly where action was shown with voice-over explaining away what’s happening.

Inevitably, Moffat had to address the “how do you get around the twelve regenerations” issue. As we saw, it was solved by the Time Lords gifting him with a fresh batch (presumably for not massacring the whole lot of them in the Time War). While that was a nice little call-back to the 50th Anniversary, he had already laid out another option and there was precedent for a second option. In the Classic Era, the Master got extra regenerations by stealing them from another Time Lord (and he tried to steal them from the Doctor right after he regenerated into the Eighth Doctor). Clearly the Doctor wouldn’t do this but at least it was a possibility. The other possibility was that he had an extra nine or ten regenerations stacked up thanks to River using her remaining energy to bring him back at the end of “Let’s Kill Hitler”. It would have been a nice throw-back to another plot point in Eleven’s run. It just seemed a little cheesy that all Clara had to do was ask nicely and say “please” for him to beat the twelve-and-done rule.

Whether you loved, hated or had mixed feelings about Eleven’s swan song, more Doctor Who is never a bad thing. Even with all the over-plotting that is the hallmark of the Moffat era, it’s still more entertaining than most of what is on television. We here at More TV, Please will be looking forward to seeing Twelve take charge when series 8 graces our screen in August. And if it’s not too much to ask, a few Eighth Doctor webisodes or another movie wouldn’t be amiss to tide us over.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holiday Classic Recap: Leverage: "The Ho, Ho, Ho Job"

“Hello, Sophie. It’s the Grinch who stole Christmas.”

“Leverage” is a show I haven’t really thought about for a while, mostly because it was cancelled in the past year. I am a sucker for heist movies, so I was obviously a sucker for “Leverage” too, which follows a group of grifters and thieves who try to help people get justice when the law isn’t quite equipped to right their wrongs. The show had a good run and ended on a satisfying conclusion, so I wasn’t especially upset by the cancellation. Since I enjoyed the show while it was on, though, I thought it might be fun to take a look at their first Christmas episode. “The Ho, Ho, Ho Job” was from season 3, where mastermind Nate Ford and his crew had become pretty established in Boston. The crew had decided to take a little break from each other during the holidays, but a case involving a mall Santa brings them all back together earlier than expected.

I think that Parker, the crew’s thief (who loves rappelling off of buildings) is the most compelling character who goes on the most interesting journey in this particular episode. Parker had a very rough childhood, so presumably she hasn’t had many good Christmas experiences. In this episode, she’s perseverating on the idea that she really, really wants to have snow for Christmas. The weather report is promising an unusually warm Christmas, but Parker has hope that there will be a cold air blast from Canada, and she’ll get her snow. She also takes the idea of Santa as seriously as a four year old. When a mall santa comes to her and complains that he was unfairly fired, she involves Nate immediately. Nate would rather just drink his holiday demons away in the bar below Leverage HQ, but because he’s very paternal towards Parker, he agrees to hear Santa out.

This particular mall Santa is upset because he thinks he was framed for having alcohol in his locker. The mall manager has been replacing Santas at a frenetic pace, and this particular Santa was the “senior” Santa at the mall. He organized a bit toy drive and made Santa appearances throughout the year. He had also been sober for decades. All the replacement Santas have a “criminal” look about them according to our senior Santa, and he’s worried that something bad is going down at the mall. The Leverage team is on the case. Nate becomes a financier who might want to do business with the mall, Parker becomes an elf, and Elliott is stuck being a Santa. He grumbles about the cover quite a lot, but deep down, by the end of the episode, he enjoys giving presents to the kids.

“Leverage” plots were always fairly multi-layered, but this one in particular really takes that to another level. At first the team thinks that just general scammage is probably happening, but when they realize that the Santas are taking credit card charity donations, they think that the real motive is probably credit card fraud. The mall manager must be working with one heck of a hacker to make that happen, so of course we get an appearance by several-time “Leverage” nemesis Cha0s, played by Wil Wheaton. It struck me while watching this episode just how good Wheaton is at playing complete assholes, even though all indications are that in real life, he is anything but. Cha0s delights in the idea of causing Christmas mayhem, and he has specifically gotten the Leverage crew involved in this situation. He wants to use their propensity for helping the helpless to his advantage.

Before we find out Cha0s’ true plan, we have a brief “A Christmas Carol” homage interlude. The team wants to get information out of the mall manager, so Sophie poses as a chauffeur. A series of events then make the manager fall unconscious, and he wakes up in the hospital with Sophie hovering over him. She even calls him “Ebenezer” early in their conversation. Then she calls the mall Santa in to really lay a guilt trip on him. The plan works, and the mall manager is soon driving a bunch of underserved kids to the mall for presents. Unfortunately, this move, while it comes from a good place, is going to land the kids right in the middle of the final twist in Cha0s’ scheme.

The Leverage crew thinks that there is massive credit card fraud happening at the mall charity donation stations, so they want to shut the whole operation down. To do this, they decide to disable the trunk line. This seems like the most direct way to completely stop the vacuuming of credit card information from the mall. Now that I think about this, especially in light of the whole Target incident that came to light last week, I think the team was totally justified in taking drastic action like this. I was one of those unfortunate Target shoppers, and the anxiety a potential financial data breach can cause is serious stuff. The Leverage team manages to shut down the trunk line pretty quickly of course, but almost as quickly, they realize that was a pretty bad idea. The trunk line also provides connectivity to the nearby federal bank depository. That was Cha0s’s real target. He specifically set up this whole situation, figuring that the team would be the do-gooders that they are, so that he would be free and clear to steal from the depository.

Because the Leverage team is predictably awesome, they manage to foil the robbery and get Cha0s arrested by the FBI, all without traumatizing the kids who have arrived at the mall to receive their gifts. There’s a funny little scene where Elliot sneaks a gift to a kid, showing that he’s not as gruff as he tries to pretend to be. Kids are always a soft spot with Elliot, really. If you want to get him really pissed off, threaten a kid. Anyway, once the ase is wrapped up and Christmas is saved, the team has a little celebration of their own back at Leverage HQ. Nate and Sophie give gifts to the rest of the team, each suited to their personalities. Elliot gets a Katana sword, Hardison gets a new, not-yet-released smart phone, and Parker gets cash with non-sequential serial numbers. Of course, to give us the warm holiday fuzzies at the end, it starts to snow, and Parker looks outside, completely mesmerized. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Person of Interest 3.11: "Lethe"

“I understand why you want to quit, Harold. But now’s not the time. She wants us to work together.”
- Root

We have reached the mid-season finale, folks. And the fall-out from Carter’s death and the take-down of HR has really hit our heroes hard. The Machine has been silent for weeks and Shaw is getting antsy. Finch is happy for the break and even ignores the mass of ringing payphones after he ends their call. He gets back to the library to check on Root and she’s somehow managed to converse with the Machine so she has the new number. He’s hesitant to take it until he sees who it is; Arthur Claypool. We don’t quite know what’s so special about him or why Finch looks shocked at his face popping up but Shaw figures out that he’s being protected by Secret Service (she plays doctor and they learn he’s got a terminal brain tumor which is affecting his memory). And where is Mr. Reese in all this? He’s out in Colorado getting wasted. Which is pretty on par for how he’d react to someone he cared about dying. After all, that’s how he reacted to losing his ex-girlfriend while he was off in China. After a short time he spots Lionel sitting at a table reading a paper in the bar. Finch sent him to make sure he was okay. Reese is not pleased by his new drinking buddy but can’t really do much to get rid of him, seeing as it is a public place. But Reese is getting more irritated as he drinks. He expected Fusco to drink alcohol but Lionel says he’s been sober two years thanks to Reese crashing into his life. And we learn that the bar they’re in his Reese’s dad’s old watering hole. He shipped out for four tours in Vietnam from that bar and died in a refinery accident shortly after he got back. Then, when Reese proclaims everything irrelevant, Lionel drags him outside in the rain for a fist fight. Because that makes all the sense in the world. And the cops roll up just in time to break them up.

We get our farthest jump back in time since the start of the show; 1969. We find a young Harold (maybe 8 or 9 years old) and he’s fixing a car with his dad. His dad is being a little forgetful lately which I have a feeling ties into the case of the week. And we see Harold first express his interest in getting into things, by taking apart the car engine, stating if the designer didn’t want people to get inside, they should build it better. Totally a Finch thing to say. We then jump a couple years to 1971 where young Harold is building a machine to store his dad’s memories. It’s rather sweet, even though his dad says that there’s some things he can’t fix. We then jump to 1979 where Harold, now a teenager, is hanging with some guys near a convenience store and he impresses them by using a payphone and a whistle to actually call someone in France. I’m expecting one more flashback as this one ends with a cop rolling up and telling Harold that something’s happened with his dad. And I was right. The cop takes them home and tells Harold that he should consider putting his dad in a home or something if he doesn’t have the resources to look after the old man himself. Harold clearly doesn’t want to do this but I have feeling his dad convinces him at some point because he ends up at MIT.

Back in the present, Shaw is having a hell of a time getting close to Claypool. His wife shows up and he doesn’t recognize her. He thinks he’s still at work and he’s trying to keep someone or something from shutting down Samaritan. Shaw asks for some back up but Finch says he can’t due to increased responsibilities monitoring Root. I feel like Arthur is someone Finch knows or is related to and that’s why he doesn’t want to be seen. Shaw chats up the wife and learns that Claypool worked for the NSA and Finch supplies that Samaritan was a project that got shut down in 2005. If Claypool is a career government monkey, then he has all kinds of secrets he could spill. Shaw goes to check on the patient when she notices his bodyguards are AWOL. He’s been taken to radiology but he’s not undergoing a scan. He’s been dosed with a sort of truth serum and whoever is after him, is already present and his bodyguards catch Shaw while she’s snooping.

Things go from bad to worse once Shaw is caught. The NSA guy that’s questioning her dies from poisoned rice and the other two guards are dead, too. Finch realizes that the technician (who isn’t really a technician) is working for Collier (the organization who is trying to expose government security and secrets). Shaw and Claypool’s wife are trying to get him to leave so they can get him to safety but he refuses to leave. Just as Shaw is telling Finch that she can’t get him to go, Finch shows up in person (he’d been out in the parking lot) and immediately Claypool recognizes him and asks how long it’s been.

Amidst gunfire and escaping the hospital, Claypool blathers on about the times he and Finch shared at MIT. Once at a hotel which is relatively safe, Finch manages to get Claypool settled down enough to discuss Samaritan. It turns out that Claypool built another version of the Machine. I guess that makes sense. He and Finch were buddies at MIT and Finch had already built portions of the Machine based on what we saw him doing as a kid. And by 2005, he’d definitely been working on his Machine and the NSA was involved. I’m wondering now if the NSA had Claypool build one just to have a backup or something and that they kept Finch’s Machine secret from Congress when Samaritan got shut down. Claypool surmises as much as he and Finch continue their discussion. Later, Finch has set things up so that Claypool and his wife can get somewhere safe in Toronto. But that doesn’t look like it will be happening because Claypool finally realizes that the woman who is claiming to be his wife isn’t because his wife died two years earlier. She works for Northern Lights and is “Control”. And now she’s got the masterminds of both Machines in one room. And she wants answers about them. Whoever gives them to her, gets to live. And of course they had to go on a three week hiatus with a cliffhanger!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Once Upon a Time 3.11: "Going Home"

“Your happy ending may not be what you expect, but that’s what will make it so special.”
- Mary Margaret

Well folks, we’ve finally reached the mid-season finale and last episode in the Neverland arc. Our heroes have a big crisis ahead of them. Not only do they need to undo the body-snatcher situation with Henry and Pan but they need stop the little imp from enacting the curse and screwing the whole Maine ‘burg over big time. Pan and Felix head to the well where they begin to cast the curse. Not surprising, it’s Felix’s heart that will fuel the spell. I was hoping Pan would need to use his own heart but then I realized that in Henry’s body, it wouldn’t work anyway with the spell Regina cast. Back at Regina’s crypt Rumple explains that if they get the scroll and Regina destroys it, the curse will be broken but there’s a steep price. Tink mentions something about a Black Fairy (who the hell is that?) and her wand which might at least be able to help switch Henry and Pan back into their right bodies. So while Tink, Charming, Hook and Neal head off to retrieve said wand, Emma, Snow, Regina, Rumple, Belle and Henry head back to the shop to prep for the body swap.

Back in the Fairytale Land that was, Regina’s original curse is on the horizon and the Blue Fairy tells Snow and Charming they need to have faith and hope that their plan will work and that Emma will one day find them and know their story and save them all. In the present, Snow and Emma sorta bond over wishing things had been different and they could have raised their respective children. And at the church, Pan’s shadow appears and busts in probably looking for the wand to keep them from undoing his switch.

We jump back in time to Neverland, shortly after Bae left the Jolly Rodger. Hook and Smee are off trying to find a way to get out of Neverland so they can hunt down the Dark One’s dagger when Tinkerbelle happens upon them. Hook explains what he’s there for and asks if she’s got any magic seeing as she’s clearly a fairy. She denies having any and there’s some rather obvious euphemisms about Tink giving Hook his happy ending. Yeah even back then she wasn’t interested in him. He says he’s willing to do anything for love and revenge. But she can’t help him with his pursuit of the second. In the present, it turns out that Tink is the one to save the day by believing in herself and trapping and then destroying the shadow. This brings Mother Superior back (which I’m assuming means somewhere in Neverland, Greg is alive again. The bastard. Anyway, they snag the wand from Mother Superior and hightail it back to the shop so Rumple can cast the spell to swap bodies back. It appears to work (after some fitful shaking of Pan’s body) and everyone heads off (save Rumple) to find Henry and get the scroll. Rumple insists on staying put because he and daddy have some issues to work out. I kind of wish Neal had stayed behind since he has some family drama he could stand to work out himself.

And because we haven’t visited enough points in the past in different locations, we jump back to just before season 1 begins when Mary Margaret gives Henry the storybook because he seems pretty down on life. He thinks his birth mom didn’t love him and his adoptive mom doesn’t either and life just sucks being him. But seeing the book lights a new hope within him. In the present, he and his parents are reunited but Regina touches the scroll and gets knocked out. Things are going any better in the shop. Pan wakes up and when Rumple says he wants to talk, daddy lights into him in the cruelest of ways. He never wanted Rumple. All he saw when looking at his son was a leech on his resources and the ripping away of his own dreams. This makes me wonder what happened to Rumple’s mother. I can’t imagine this self-centered bastard would ever care about having a wife. So it was likely a brief affair and he got saddled with the kid. He rips off the magic-suppressing cuff and puts it on Rumple and then beats him up a bit. This man-child is not winning any Father of Century awards ever. I have to say Pan has turned into quite the despicable villain. Rumple and Regina had their evil moments but they were never so callous. Their needs and desires were fueled actually by places of love (however deep they were buried). Pan says he’s going to kill everyone Rumple cares about just because they mean something to him and there’s nothing that powerless Rumple can do. It would seem that Pan is actually “the boy” from the prophecy and that unless he can get the cuff off, his own father will be his magical undoing (and an emotional one I suppose).

We jump back to a different point in the Fairytale Land that was to see Rumple honoring Bae on his birthday and Belle interrupting but suggesting that he and his son could be reunited at some point. He’s not hopeful. And back in his shop after he fights with the cuff a bit more, manages to get up. Outside, Regina wakes up and realizes she knows what needs to be done but Pan’s got the real scroll and freezes everyone. They can still see and hear though. He’s about to go after Neal when Rumple shows up and calls his shadow to him with the dagger. He realizes he’s ready to die and that Neal’s happy ending is not with him (and apparently neither is Belle’s) and he stabs Pan in the back (after somehow stabbing himself, too). Pan reverts to Malcolm and Rumple twists the dagger harder. They’re enveloped in light and then black smoke and nothing is left but the scroll. Belle falls to the ground in tears and Neal looks devastated.

Regina is hesitating on doing what needs to be done to stop the curse because she realizes what it will cost. She has to give up Henry (the thing she loves most) and it will be like the curse never happened. Everyone goes back to the Enchanted Forest except Henry. Well and Emma has to stay as the Savior because she can break the curse again. But they can never come back to this world. Dear sweet baby Jesus what the hell just happened? I can’t even comprehend right now!

Emma and Henry say goodbye to everyone and much to this shipper’s chagrin, Emma and Neal only hug. But hey, at least she doesn’t kiss Hook. Regina explains that when she undoes the curse, Emma and Henry won’t remember Storybrooke or anything that’s happened. But Regina can give them a happy life with fake memories and so we see in flashback that as Emma drives over the town line, she decides to keep baby Henry. They move to New York a year after the curse whisks everyone away and things are going great. Henry and his mom are happy until someone comes knocking at their door. Hook shows up and begs Emma to help him because something horrible has happened and her parents are in trouble. She doesn’t believe him and nails him in the balls when he kisses her. I guess he was hoping it would be true love’s kiss. Heh, score one for Swanfire baby! I wish Neal had been the one to cross over because at least she would have had a reason to kick him in the nuts but at least she would remember him. And maybe, just maybe, true love’s kiss would have worked. I’m still not fully done comprehending and processing this episode. It was epic and intense and I cannot wait for March 9, 2014 when episode 12 “New York City Serenade” arrives on our screens.

The Mindy Project 2.11: "Christmas Party Sex Trap"

“Sometimes, the best gifts don’t cost anything.”
“I guess, if you’re, like, a poor mouse in a Christmas special.”
-Danny and Mindy

This was a rather bittersweet holiday episode of “The Mindy Project.” As you might expect, given the romantic comedy influence on the show, a lot of relationship tension comes to a head at the Shulman and Associates office holiday party. The real focus is on the Danny/Mindy/Cliff triangle, but there are other romantic subplots happening, too. I saw “Love Actually” for the first time earlier this weekend, so maybe I’m just in that headspace right now. “Christmas Party Sex Trap” evokes a similar atmosphere. Love and hope with a bit of raunchiness. Perhaps the most inexplicable thing about this episode is that Jeremy is once again thin. I guess the creative team finally heard the commentariat saying that a fat Jeremy just isn’t funny? I’m not by any means skinny myself, but I found Jeremy to be more interesting when he was a womanizer. I think in his current state (skinny, then fat, now skinny again), there are a lot of directions his character could go.

Much like “Mindi Laheri is a Racist,” the cold open was a sort-of standalone comedy bit. Mindy is going to buy an office Christmas tree, and it turns out to be a lot more trouble than it’s worth. The tree Mindy really wants costs over $200, so she goes for a more “Charlie Brown Christmas” style smaller tree. She also mistakenly thought that the tree could be delivered to the office. Instead, the salesman ties it to Mindy’s back. And she can’t get into a cab that way, obviously. Mindy finally gets the tree to the office, only to find out that the staff has already put up a tree (which looks to me like a fake tree). Mindy completely loses it, gathering up the fake tree, taking it outside, and tossing it off the fire escape. The staff is just really confused about why Mindy just destroyed their tree.

Mindy’s most recent crush, lawyer Cliff, is still seeing skanky Heather, but I suppose that the holidays have given Mindy the optimism to think she can change that. Mindy’s scheme involves throwing a Christmas party for their entire office building (since Cliff works in the same building and all). The specific “man trap” plan involves three stages. First is to ignore him, second is to sing “Santa Baby” provocatively, and the third is to invite him outside for a bit of air. Pulling off this party is going to be easier said than done, though. Danny’s grumbly about the whole thing, obviously, because he wants Mindy to himself. He spends his time working on a gingerbread version of Monticello and cheaping out on Secret Santa gifts for Mindy. Then there’s all the diet restrictions among the staff. Tamra can’t have gluten, and Peter’s trying to cut back on alcohol. A gluten-free and alcohol-free holiday party doesn’t sound especially fun to anyone, but Mindy is determined to make it work.

The B story is an only slightly exaggerated take on how difficult it is if you can’t be completely gluttonous during the holidays. Jeremy is thin again because he went away to a sort of “fat camp,” but he’s got to be on a very strict diet if he’s going to maintain his new weight. As I already mentioned, presumably due to the events of “Wedding Crushers,” Peter has decided that he shouldn’t drink so much in the future. Jeremy and Peter try to be each other’s “sober companions” through the holiday season. With all the parties and sweets and drinks that generally come with the holiday season, they certainly need all the help they can get. By the end of the episode, though, both have completely fallen off the wagon. Mindy got herself a “wine bra” so that she could still drink at the party, and Peter tries to drink from it. Also, Jeremy completely trashes (and eats much of) Danny’s gingerbread Monticello. Refraining from indulgence during the holidays is certainly easier said than done.

The holiday part gets a little more complicated when Mindy, without thinking, tells one of the midwives and his new girlfriend (who happens to be Maria Menounos) that she’s dating one of the lawyers in the building, and he’s going to be at the party. She’s referring to Cliff, of course, with the slight problem being that they aren’t actually dating yet. Mindy’s man trap plan becomes even more important as she tries to avoid further embarrassment. Phase one of Mindy’s plan goes off swimmingly. Cliff arrives at the party, and Mindy starts talking and laughing with a random dude to make Cliff jealous. While Mindy’s getting ready for “Santa Baby,” however, the midwife tells Cliff about Mindy’s new “boyfriend,” and Cliff leaves. Mindy is devastated when she realizes that Cliff is gone, and Maria Menounos ends up singing “Santa Baby” instead. Which pisses off her midwife boyfriend. He thinks it’s a sexist song.

Mindy is sulking in a back room, drinking from her wine bra like there’s no tomorrow. Danny checks on her and says he thinks he has a Secret Santa present that will cheer her up. He turns on Aaliyah’s “Try Again” and does a hilariously awesome dance. Danny Castellano’s got moves, y’all! Mindy thinks this is pretty much the most adorable thing ever (because it is), and it looks like she and Danny might be about to kiss when Peter and Jeremy burst into the room. Peter wants to drink from the wine bra (there really isn’t much left), and Jeremy wants to apologize for inhaling the gingerbread Monticello. They shoo Peter and Jeremy out, but the mood is already killed. Danny hopefully asks Mindy if she wants to get some air, but Mindy says no.

Everybody but Danny seems to be in a better romantic situation by the end of the episode. Peter is obsessed with Maria Menounos, but he doesn’t think he can talk to her sober. Eventually, after he sees Maria and the midwife break up, he works up the courage to talk to her. At first, he’s a mess, but when Maria mentions she doesn’t have a ride home, Peter realizes one advantage of being sober. He can provide the ride home. Meanwhile, Mindy is out on a balcony stewing over her bad luck when Cliff appears again. He says he broke up with Heather, and now he wants to date Mindy. Mindy is only too happy to accept Cliff’s offer and start making out with him while Danny watches them wistfully from an upstairs window.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Trophy Wife 1.10: Russ Bradley Morrison

“I have to stay and check your pupils in an hour, make sure I used the right kind of mushroom.”

I wouldn’t say that “Russ Bradley Morrison” was a favorite episode of “Trophy Wife” for me, but it definitely had its funny moments. The creative team found creative ways to incorporate all of the main characters (except for Meg…she always seems to be shortchanged) in an organic way. Pete is sick, so Kate has to help chaperone a field trip along with Diane, while Pete gets left with Jackie. It’s quite a predicament for Pete especially, because we all know that Jackie is just plain nuts. We also get some interesting character growth for Diane, which wasn’t something I really expected. Diane is kind of an immovable force, so to have anything change her approach to life, even if it’s just a rather small change, is unexpected indeed.

At the beginning of the episode, Kate wakes up to find that Pete has been sleeping in the tub. He’s come down with a bad cold or the flu or something, and he’s been coughing like crazy. He was supposed to help chaperone Warren’s field trip to the Natural History Museum, but he and Kate both agree that in his current condition, that’s probably a bad idea. Pete doesn’t want to be responsible for starting some sort of plague among the high school sophomores. Kate, still on her wanting to be involved in parenting the Harrison kids, is only too eager to volunteer to take Pete’s place. She’s taken down a peg when Pete tells her that Diane is also chaperoning, though. To retaliate a bit, Kate calls Jackie to check in on Pete while Kate is out.

In the car on the way to the field trip, Kate and Warren talk about how Diane doesn’t seem to like Kate very much, and that upsets Kate. Probably not the most appropriate thing to discuss with your stepson. Kate means well, but she (like all of the women in Pete’s life, I suppose), doesn’t have a very good sense of boundaries. Anyway, Warren makes a comment about how he thinks Diane would be less uptight if she “got some,” and Kate is impressed that Warren is okay with talking about his mother’s sexuality. She takes this as license to start talking about trying to hook Diane up with someone. Warren is rather mortified to discover that “getting some” means sex. Oops! Faux parenting fail on Kate’s part.

Meanwhile, Jackie is just plain being Jackie about taking care of Pete. The first thing she wants to know is if she can use the blender to make something, and she ends up concocting this rather questionable shake for Pete to drink. It involves some sort of mushroom, presumably hallucinogenic. The whole thing is right out of a horror movie for Pete. Jackie takes away his phone, locks him in his room, and even tries to swaddle him in sheets. He’s convinced at one point (the hallucinogens probably aren’t helping, and Jackie says she also gave him a heavy dose of codeine) that Jackie is legitimately trying to kill him. Pete finally makes it out to the living room, where he encounters Jackie’s support group, called G.O.A.L.S. He gets them to eventually leave by threatening to cough all over them. Moral of the story: if you’re sick, definitely hope Jackie isn’t the one taking care of you.

At the museum, Kate and Warren start scoping out potential prospects for Diane, but Diane is too focused on making sure that the field trip goes perfectly to really notice. She’s busy figuring out exactly when each group of students should go to each exhibit, and she’s also being careful to eavesdrop on students when she can. She looks at the eavesdropping as a way to head off potential problems. Kate and Warren continue their quest anyway, with Warren finding especially comically unsuitable prospects. Kate finds her best prospect at lunch , where she meets Russ Bradley Morrison, dad to one of the kids on the trip. He’s as uptight and joyless as Diane is, so Kate naturally thinks they would be a perfect match. Diane rather emphatically shoots down the idea, though. On hindsight, perhaps too emphatically. The lady doth protest too much and all that.

Anyway, since Jackie is at Pete and Kate’s house, so is Bert. Bert and Hillary end up talking about a concerning letter from school about Bert. The letter is basically Bert’s teacher saying that Bert is really disruptive in class. Hillary asks Bert to describe what he does in class, which results in a predictably hilarious response by Bert. It starts out normal sounding enough, but then Bert starts describing “Bertwheels.” Which are basically spinning around with your arms out to the side while screaming. No wonder that poor teacher is fed up. Hillary tells Bert that she had the same teacher, and if Bert follows her advice, she’ll be back in the teacher’s good graces. Hillary takes Bert to talk to the teacher so that the teacher will know he’s her brother (from another mother…and father, as Bert puts it). Then later at school, Bert starts seriously sucking up to his teacher. The teacher basically tells Bert not to be a suck-up like his sister, which leads to an eventual confrontation between Hillary and the teacher. It’s pretty clear that Hillary is becoming a mini-Diane, which is kind of disappointing. I liked the rebellious direction they were taking her in the pilot better.

Meanwhile, Kate still hasn’t given up on setting up Diane with Russ. Diane starts talking about how nice the orchid room at the museum is, and she mentions that they only let small groups into the room at once. Kate thinks that this would be the perfect way to give Diane and Russ some private time. There are quite a few kids in line between Diane and Russ, though. For once, Warren is useful, and he has the perfect way to shorten the distance. He tells all the kids that there’s going to be a fight in the plasticine room, and the kids can’t resist. Diane and Russ think they’re the only people in the orchid room, and they start making out. It’s clear that they haven’t just met. Kate snuck in behind them, and she’s shocked at what she’s seeing. She makes some noise, and Diane and Russ hear her. Diane is, naturally, mortified. Russ is upset that Diane keeps denying her relationship with him, so he says it’s over.

Kate wants this relationship to prevail, so she concocts yet another plan. She has a conversation with Warren about not being afraid of making mistakes within earshot of Diane. You see, Diane always strives for perfection, and thus far, her failed marriage to Pete was the only non-perfect thing in her life. So she wanted to keep her relationship with Russ secret in case that was a failure too. Anyway, the speech to Warren gets through to Diane, and in front of all the kids and parents, she starts talking about how much she likes Russ. She doesn’t go into detail, but it’s enough that Russ sees she’s trying. The episode ends, of course, with Russ and Diane at Russ’ condo. Will “getting some” and not keeping it secret loosen up Diane any? Probably not.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Mindy Project 2.10: "Wedding Crushers"

“And he does not like surprises. That’s why he hates boxes of chocolate. Because he wants to know what he’s going to get.”

“Wedding Crushers” was an interesting episode of “The Mindy Project” because it only really focused on a few characters – Mindy, Danny, and Peter. Everybody else was very peripheral to both stories going on in the episode. The one criticism I really have about the episode is that the A and B stories weren’t especially connected. I guess you could say that both Mindy and Danny were confronting things about their past, but that’s a pretty loose connection. Mindy has to confront her past relationship with drug addict sports attorney Josh, and Danny has to confront his father leaving when Danny was a child. It’s just awkwardness and misunderstanding all around, and it leads to some interesting character reveals for several of the characters. We really learn some interesting things about both Danny and Peter in this episode, and I’m wondering if this episode is trying to set up Peter as a potential love interest for Mindy in addition to Danny.

Mindy has inexplicably gotten an invitation to her ex-boyfriend Josh’s wedding. You may recall from last season, Mindy dated a sports attorney named Josh who turned out to be a drug addict cheater. Understandably, Mindy dumped him. This isn’t the first time Mindy has contemplated attending the wedding of an ex. The first such wedding she attending was in the pilot, and she made a complete ass of herself. I can’t really understand why she’d try that again. Frankly, I don’t understand why anyone would invite an ex to their wedding, unless it one of those totally weird “we’re really much better as friends” kind of deals. Even then, as “How I Met Your Mother” taught us, it can still be seriously awkward.

Anyway, Mindy understandably doesn’t want to go to an ex’s wedding without a date. Originally, Danny was going to go with her. Danny’s brother Richie has decided to visit from Miami, however, so Danny wants to spend time with him. Mindy gets kind of desperate looking for a date, and she even ends up hitting on Richie himself (before she realizes who he is). Peter, after watching all of this, states the obvious. Why can’t he be Mindy’s date. He claims to be “Mr. Wedding,” meaning he always tears it up at weddings, even if it means he has a terrible hangover the next day. Against her better judgment, Mindy agrees to bring Peter as her plus one, mostly because she doesn’t have any alternative.

Danny mentions that Richie is in town because he wants to tell Danny something very important. Naturally, all the staff are curious about what this thing might be, and after meeting Richie, everybody thinks Richie is planning to come out. They figure that because Danny is fairly religious, he’s going to have a problem with it. It turns out that Danny already knows Richie is gay, though, and he’s cool with it. So that’s kind of anticlimactic. We find out what Richie wanted to tell Danny soon enough, though. Danny throws a house party in Ricky’s honor, and in the middle of the party, Richie gives Danny a gift. It’s the Miami Vice soundtrack on vinyl, which Danny thinks is the coolest thing ever until Ricky says it’s actually a gift from their dad. Danny throws a fit, because he still resents their dad for leaving. Richie storms out, but it’s Jeremy of all people, with a rousing speech about how Danny really loves Richie, who gets Richie to go back to the party. Richie tells Danny that Danny has always been like a dad to him, and all is forgiven.

Anyway, at Josh’s wedding, all seems to be going fairly well. The only sore spot is that it is pretty much Mindy’s dream wedding, down to the cute photo montage video. Mindy resents that Josh is having her dream wedding when he’s marrying somebody else. Peter tries to cheer Mindy up by going into full “Mister Wedding” mode and dragging her out on the dance floor. Mindy is reluctant at first, but they end up doing a pretty epic dance, and the rest of the guests all cheer them on. Mindy kind of enjoys rubbing all that popularity in Josh’s face.

Because this is a sitcom, of course, things have to take a turn for the worst in a farcical way. Mindy and Josh are in the middle of one of those “oh I’m happy for you” type conversations when they step into a bathroom and see Peter having sex with Josh’s new wife. Josh and wife met in rehab, you see, and of course she was there for sex addiction. Obviously this marriage is not going to last long, but Mindy feels bad about bringing the chaos that is Peter into Josh’s wife, and she wants to help him find a way to cancel the rest of the wedding with some dignity. Mindy’s idea is actually pretty successful, believe it or not. She drags Josh to the stage and announces that the wedding is of because the bride caught she (Mindy) and Josh making out. So Mindy saved the day by doing what she does best – ruining a wedding. And this, friends, is yet another reason why inviting exes to a wedding is probably a bad idea.

The denouement of the episode was interesting. At first it made me thing that the creative team might be drying to get Mindy and Peter together at some point, but then they sort of backed off from that. They have a bit of a heart-to-heart in the car on the way home, and Peter mentions that before the wedding incident, he hadn’t had sex in a very long time. So the playboy persona is really just an act. Mindy seems to have a bit more respect for him after that reveal, and Peter goes into a “you really like me” type riff right out of “Miss Congeniality.” Because the creative team hang a lantern on it like that, it’s probably not going to happen. Although I will admit it would be a bit more interesting than many other options for roadblocks on the way to the inevitable Mindy/Danny endgame.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sleepy Hollow 1.10: "The Golem"

“We never really bury the dead, son. Not really. We carry them with us. That’s the price of living.”
- Henry Parrish

We have reached the fall finale which means we are only three short episodes away from concluding our first season’s journey with Ichabod and Abbie. I’m excited to see where the end of the season takes us but saddened we will have to wait until September for new episodes. This week begins with Ichabod out chopping wood to vent some of his frustrations. Abbie arrives and says she understands why he is upset but she’s surprised when he calls in Henry Parrish (aka the Sin Eater) to help him contact Katrina in Purgatory. Henry is concerned that he’s never used his power to do this but Ichabod demands he try. In order to get to Purgatory, Ichabod needs to be close to death, so Henry strangles him until he passes out. He comes to in Purgatory and after Katrina freaks out at his presence, demands answers about their son. His name is Jeremy and apparently she didn’t know she was pregnant when she buried Ichabod. Her coven turned on her for saving him and so she fled to Europe to try and find a spell to sever the blood link between him and the Horseman. I guess that clears up some of my confusion about how she could hide a pregnancy from her husband back then, even if he was travelling for war efforts and the like. She says that she knew her coven was going to keep hunting her down (and they, not Moloch were responsible for landing her in her current situation) so she gave up baby Jeremy to Abbie’s ancestor (the woman who delivered baby Crane) to keep him safe. So while Ichabod now knows some of what became of his son, he still needs more answers. And unfortunately, his time in Purgatory brought some big nasties to our world.

After Ichabod shares the info that Abbie’s ancestor took custody of little Jeremy, Abbie suggests they go do some historical records digging. At a historical library of course. Because doesn’t everyone go there? Oh and Ichabod does the math and determines that if Jeremy lived to adulthood, married and produced three children and they all had children etc. through eight generations, he could potentially have spawned 6,000 descendants. That’s a lotta Crane! Abbie even sweet talks Henry into going with them. Their trek is only somewhat helpful. They learn that Abbie’s ancestor died in a fire in the 1790s and the townsfolk thought it was little Jeremy. Apparently he inherited mama’s powers and could cause fire by crying. He was sent to a home for orphaned children of the war but no other info is available. And the librarian who knows more than she’s letting on runs off and then gets squished in her car by one of the Purgatory monsters.

Elsewhere, Captain Irving is having a little crisis of faith regarding Abbie and Ichabod’s role in the apocalypse and what that means for him. His minister explains that typically in New Testament terms, Witness meant martyr and those that followed as apostles got the same fate. Irving is not pleased to hear that he’s destined to die. He explains he joined the military to protect people and then Macey (his daughter) gets hit by a car (hence the wheelchair) and then when he became a cop, his wife left him. It seems painful that he should dedicate himself to serving and protecting and all he gets in return from the Big Man Upstairs is death. But he does apologize to his ex while picking up Macey for a weekend. Things seem to be going ok until Irving goes to get Macey some hot chocolate and the vendor starts getting all Moloch-esque and asking about how strong her soul is and that they have a plan. Irving understandably freaks out and the possession jumps to another person before he bugs out with his daughter.

Back at the lair, the gang has secured the librarian’s personal effects from her office. While Henry does crosswords to calm himself, Ichabod finds a box with the crest from Katrina’s coven on it. Henry freaks out over the bad juju it gives off and it seems he has good reason. There’s a little notebook in it what belonged to the priest who ran the orphanage Jeremy ended up at. It seems the priest was cruel and beat the poor boy until one day, his magic manifested and created golem from the toy Katrina made for him as a baby. It killed the priest and now Ichabod believes it is in our world and killed the librarian because her coven deprived the boy of his mother. Ichabod fears that the death toll has only begun against the coven. But why does Ichabod feel its presence following him? It isn’t like he knew he had a child before he got his chest sliced open and put in a cave-side coma.

While reminiscing about his own father’s advice and how he never got to give any of his own to his son, Ichabod realizes that he knows what the creature is. He finds the reference in Washington’s bible and it all starts to make sense. The golem was crafted from Jeremy’s rage and grief and abandonment. Abbie returns with the librarian’s personal safe with tickets from carnivals dating back over a century. The latest one was two days earlier. It would seem she’s been visiting the group of four who banished Katrina. So naturally, the golem will go after them. Ichabod recognizes their value in staying alive. They can retrieve his beloved wife as long as they’re still breathing. He gets Abbie and Henry to wait by the car while he goes to speak with the witches. It reminded me of an episode of Merlin a little bit with the four women talking at the same time and passing parts of sentences off between them. They read his palm and realize who he is. Apparently, they believe his arrival seals their fate (aka death). Good times.

He warns them of the golem and they admonish him for making Katrina’s mistake by trying to interfere with fate. He becomes furious when they tell him that they locked the golem in Purgatory because they couldn’t kill it and basically murdered Jeremy when he refused to join their coven (he was too powerful). The golem smashes the foursome but Ichabod manages to stop it thanks to a funhouse mirror. Only Jeremy’s blood could stop the beast and since Ichabod got a glass shard stuck in his shoulder, he had the requisite material. He thanks the golem for looking after his son but puts the thing to rest and Jeremy with it. I think he seriously needs a weeklong hug. He’s just had a run of bad luck and miserable times of late. It seems Abbie agrees with my sentiment because after Henry leaves (in much better spirits about helping them in the future), she gifts him with a stocking. It makes him smile at least. Unfortunately, the cheeriness of the gift is dwarfed by Moloch dragging Ichabod into Purgatory to warn him that soon, Ichabod will deliver Abbie’s soul to him. That’s not ominous or anything. And we have to wait a month to see what happens next!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Once Upon a Time 3.10: "The New Neverland"

“Life is made up of moments. Good ones, bad ones. But they’re all worth living.”
- Charming

We are one week away from the fall finale (aka the end of the Neverland arc). Our heroes have finally returned home to Storybrooke and get a rousing welcome home from the townsfolk. Friends and family reunite and Regina even gets a well-earned bit of praise from Snow. But things aren’t all happy. Pan has plans and the first step is to “punish” Felix so that the family will trust him. I did like that we got to see some reunions with Belle and Neal and Neal and the Darlings. I really do hope someone gives Wendy a comb. Girl needs a hair salon pronto! Rumple locks Pandora’s Box up in his shop under a spell only he can undo and while he’s alive, no one is opening that box. I’m thinking that may benefit Pan seeing as he doesn’t want the family to know he’s not Henry.

Back in the Fairytale Land that was, Regina crashes the Charming’s wedding and Snow is furious that her stepmom keeps ruining her life. She wants to go after Regina and find a way to stop her but Charming says they need to show Regina that her threats don’t bother them by going on their honeymoon. She convinces him to go to the summer palace since she always dreamed of going on her honeymoon there. She confides in Grumpy though that there’s something at the palace that might stop Regina permanently. I am getting a bit tired of all the Charming/Regina past history drama. They get to the summer palace and Snow tells Charming she’s got something special (of the hanky panky variety) planned for the evening which she thinks is enough to give him the slip. But he’s not stupid and he says he’s not letting her go off alone on their honeymoon. So they’ll go find Medusa together. Charming wants to know if there’s a way to reverse Medusa’s magic but the only way is to kill her and no one’s managed to do that yet. And Snow can’t explain why she can’t just let Regina go. Maybe it’s because they have such a long history. They get into Medusa’s cave and predictably, Charming gets stoned. With a little taunting from Regina in a mirror (bingo) which gets Snow to win and get to actually enjoy her honeymoon. Apparently Snow was too afraid of letting Regina live because she wanted to start a family. But now Snow realizes that they need to seize the day as it were.

Back in Storybrooke, Rumple professes his desire to travel a path into his future only with Belle at his side. Which is sweet but they’ve not had much luck sticking together. And everyone’s moved to Granny’s for a party. Emma hands off the storybook to Henry which I’m thinking isn’t such a stellar idea. And Hook tells Neal that he’s backing off Emma since he doesn’t believe Neal is in it for the long haul given his track record. But he sorta, kinda, gets Emma to agree to have lunch with him which is awfully sweet. Things are a little icy between Mother Superior and Tink at first meeting. But it seems in order for Tink to get her wings back, she needs to believe in herself. The night winds down and Henry says he wants to go home with Regina. All parties seem okay with that but again, things are odd when Henry asks questions about Regina’s vault. After she tucks him in, he calls to his shadow. This is not going to end well at all. Hopefully the adults aren’t blind to the fact that something wonky is happening.

The next day, Rumple comes through on his favor and cures David. He and Snow share a happy kiss before Snow realizes that Emma isn’t showing up to lunch with Neal. Charming is on it and finds her out by the ocean fiddling with her phone being a wuss. She says she’s not ready to do that but Charming says that’s all the more reason to do it. Back near Granny’s, Hook tries to hook up (no pun intended) with Tink when he literally runs into her but screaming interrupts them. David and Emma arrive at the same time and they see Pan’s shadow rip out Mother Superior’s shadow, leaving her dead. Oh damn. Regina shows up with Henry and they all agree to keep Henry hidden away while the Charming/Gold side of the family hunt down and recapture the shadow. My faith in Emma is slightly restored when she warns Regina that Henry is acting not like himself. Regina quips that Emma just doesn’t like that their son wants to be with her. Yeah, Regina, so not the point. And taking him to your crypt of evil magic is not a good idea.

The Charmings hit up Mr. Gold for Pandora’s Box because Emma has a hunch that if they get rid of Pan once and for all, then maybe the nightmare will be over. They take the box out to the town line and Emma crosses over into the real world, ready to shoot Pan. But we as viewers know it’s Henry and he begs them to believe him. He recites some facts about himself and then Emma tells him that life is more than that and asks him about the first moment they connected. He gets it right and the family is one step closer to being reunited. As Emma and Henry walk off, charming wonders where Pan really is. We jump to Regina’s crypt where Pan ends up slipping a magical vial from a shelf and using it to knock out Regina so he can continue having his fun. Or whatever it is he’s up to.

Everyone converges on the crypt and it takes Rumple a minute to get the doors unlocked. While he’s doing that Emma is freaking out that she can’t live for the good moments because she can never get a break so doesn’t think she deserves anything or a shot at being happy. Oh come on, get a grip woman. They finally bust in and find that Pan has taken the curse Regina cast to get everyone to Storybrooke. If Pan casts it again, without Snow and Charming’s love woven into the magic, not even Emma could save it. Pan breaks Felix out of jail so they can enact the curse and turn Storybrooke into the new Neverland. The kid needs a new hobby. Or to die (preferably once he’s in his own body again). I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed with this episode but I know it was a bit of filler to get us to the fall finale next week. We will see how this arc all concludes a week from tonight.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.09: "Repairs"

“Pranking was your idea. And obviously, I rigged this little beauty before I knew there was a dimension-jumping psychopath in the mix.”

I think “Repairs” was a bit of a step back for “S.H.I.E.L.D.” It was trying to do too much and lost some potential emotional power for it. The case of the week was kind of confusing, and while it was used as a vehicle to give us some back story on Agent May, we only heard that backstory second-hand through other characters. I think May deserved some flashbacks. The episode suffered for putting too much emphasis on Skye. It was all about how she wanted to get involved in the case and Coulson and May wouldn’t let her. And then it was about how she’ll be good at this kind of work in the future. I kind of see the value of Skye as an audience entry character. She’s new to the S.H.I.E.L.D. way of life, so she’s asking many of the questions the audience has. She’s just so damn annoying, though.

Anyway, the episode opens at a gas station/convenience store in a small town named Batesville. The clerk had just been reading a newspaper article about an accident at a local particle accelerator when a woman named Hannah walks in. Apparently she was the supervisor of at least a few of the people who died in the accident. The clerk starts berating Hanna, and it’s clear that she’s been taking a lot of heat for the accident from her community. Pretty quickly, it starts to seem like the town might be wary of Hannah for good reason. Stuff starts flying around the convenience store as Hannah gets more nervous. Then gasoline starts spilling all over the place. It’s pretty clear that if something isn’t done quickly, the whole place is going to go up in flames. And go up in flames it does (after Hannah gets out of the convenience store building).

Obviously, this is going to be something that Coulson’s team is asked to investigate. Before the call comes in, though, we find out just what Ward and May were up to when Ward snuck into May’s room at the end of the previous episode. May’s getting ready for the day, and Ward emerges half-clothed from the shower. So yeah, they slept together. And they also make it clear that this isn’t the first time. Honesty, I don’t care. I’m not especially invested in either Ward or May. I want to be more invested in May, but I’m not there yet. If this episode had done more show than tell, maybe it would have happened. Anyway, the call about the mission comes in, and Ward and May do a staggered arrival at the briefing deal to keep from creating any suspicion.

S.H.I.E.L.D. thinks that Hannah may have telekinesis powers due to the particle accelerator accident, so they want Coulson’s team to do an “Index Asset Evaluation and Intake.” In other words, they want the team to evaluate Hannah’s potential powers. Skye, because she’s an insufferable brat, complains about how the name is stupid. And even though she doesn’t like the name, she also gets pissy about not being as involved in the mission as she’d like to be. She wants to delve into the psychology of everyone involved, and she wants to talk to Hannah. May, however, just wants her to stay out of everyone’s way. Skye may make a good S.H.I.E.L.D. agent someday (doubtful), but she needs to leave the sensitive situations to the professionals.

There’s a big showdown at the gas station, where the townsfolk have gathered to try and run Hannah out of town. This, of course, makes her nervous and fearful again, which is when bad things tend to happen. Coulson’s team arrives on the scene, and Coulson does his best to try and talk Hannah down peacefully. The crowd is still rowdy, though, and it’s stressing Hannah out. Before things get even more out of control, May says it’s time to go. She tranqs Hanna, and the team takes her to the Bus. Hannah comes to in an isolation room that is supposed to contain any telekinetic powers she may have. Skye is really pissed off about this (big surprise). She thinks that being contained is going to make Hannah more agitated, and she thinks she can talk Hannah down. May puts the kibosh on that, though, of course.

Meanwhile, FitzSimmons are reminiscing about their Academy days. They regret that since they graduated three years early, they had a lot of Freshman pranks played on them, but they never got to play any pranks themselves. They decide that Skye is enough like a Freshman on their team that they should be pranking her. They start by telling a whopper about how May got the nickname “The Calvary” that involves 100 assassins and riding one horseback. Ward later tells Skye that it was more like 25 assassins, and Coulson later corrects further. May didn’t go into a rescue situation with big weapons. She just went in with herself, and to this day, she won’t tell anybody what she had to do to get out of the situation alive and with the people she was supposed to rescue. Coulson says the incident changed her, and that much is obvious. I wish we could have actually seen a flashback instead of just hearing about it.

Anyway, things pretty quickly go the way of a more horror themed “Doctor Who” episode, with the team being terrorized by a mysterious “ghost” as they attempt to go about their business. Whoever on the creative team is responsible for the look of this episode has clearly been watching a lot of “Doctor Who.” The feeling evoked is right out of “Hide” or “The God Complex.” The team, after much imperilment, figures out that the team at the particle accelerator was trying to create portals like the portals that showed up in “Thor: The Dark World.” I appreciated the continuity, if nothing else. So Hannah doesn’t have powers. A coworker from the particle accelerator is traveling back and forth between dimensions. This coworker had a thing for Hannah, and he would create safety problems in his sector so that Hannah would come visit (she was a safety inspector). One of his fake safety issues went horribly wrong, leading to the accident.

May takes matters into her own hands and takes Hannah outside to be bait for the coworker. It works, and May tells the coworker that he needs to let go of Hannah. He may think he’s protecting her, but he’s just continuing to make things much, much worse. Eventually, he sees things her way, and he disappears for good. Hannah now has to rebuild her life (somewhere else, I presume). The episode wraps up with Coulson telling Skye that she handled the situation well (even though she disobeyed direct orders and spent some time talking to Hannah while Hannah was in the holding cell) and she might even be a good intake specialist someday. That’s also when Coulson tells the true story of “The Calvary.” The episode ends with the team realizing that Fitz has been pranked (shaving cream to the hand). They can’t figure out who the culprit is, but we viewers learn that it was May, suggesting she’s regaining a bit of her former humanity.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New Girl 3.09: "Thanksgiving III"

“Look, my parents were super divorced and they never took me camping. I always thought that I would be incredible at it.”

“New Girl” always does Thanksgiving episodes well, and this was no exception. While I didn’t quite love the Nick/Jess conflict going on here, the fallout had its funny moments, and the ending was the sort of heartwarming scene I expect from “New Girl,” especially at Thanksgiving. This episode takes the gang out of the loft and into nature, as Nick decides that they should do a camping Thanksgiving. The camping scenario brings everybody together and forces everyone to confront other characters in ways they had been avoiding before. Obviously the Schmidt/Cece/Coach triangle is a big piece of this, and Nick and Jess have to take a good, hard look at their relationship, too. Poor Winston just gripes a bit about how he never gets a say in anything the group does. And he’d be right. You take that pottery class, Winston! You take that pottery class!

Coach is the one who really starts all the trouble that leads to the Thanksgiving camping trip. I suppose that is some additional value to bringing back Damon Wayans, Jr. Adding Coach back into the mix makes the characters confront things and interact with each other differently. I think it may prove to be too many characters if he stays really long term (like beyond this season), but temporarily, I think it could be a healthy shake-up for the show. Anyway, Coach gets an animated e-invite to Thanksgiving from Nick and Jess. He thinks it’s incredibly lame, and he tells Nick so. He basically accuses Nick of being whipped by Jess, and he questions Nick’s manliness. Nick, as you would expect, doesn’t take this well at all, and he has a chat with Jess about it. Jess insists that all she wants is to have everybody together for Thanksgiving. He can try to man it up if he really feels that’s necessary.

Nick’s solution for making the Thanksgiving celebration more manly, however, isn’t exactly what the group had in mind. The other guys, for their part, prefer your standard issue beer and football Turkey Day. Nick, however, thinks they should all go camping. Nobody is at all enthusiastic about this idea, although Jess tries to be positive for Nick’s sake. She reiterates that all she wants is for the whole group to be together and to have a nice dinner. She doesn’t care about the details, and if camping is what it takes to get everyone together, then camping it will be. Schmidt is the first of the guys to give in. He wants the chance to camp because he never got to as a kid, and he thinks he’d be “excellent” at it. Once Schmidt gives in, Winston does too. And the rest, as they say, is history.

On Thanksgiving, Coach and Cece round out the camping crew. This of course means that there’s going to be hella awkward Schmidt/Cece/Coach material to mine. Schmidt, understandably, thinks Coach had a really hot date with Cece, and he’s seriously jealous. The situation gets worse when the gang is trying to build a fire and Coach, who steps in and starts the fire with ease, reveals that he is an Eagle Scout. This kind of throws a damper on Schmidt’s “I’m instantly going to be the best at camping” thing and just makes their rivalry even more tense than it was already. Eventually, Coach admits that the make out session Schmidt saw at the end of the last episode was all that happened between himself and Cece. Cece wouldn’t take it any farther than that. Schmidt just smiles, remembering all the times Cece played hard to get with him.

At the camp site, Nick turns the crazy up a notch. Not only do they have to camp, but the only sustenance he brought along was beer. He wants everybody to hunt and forage for actual food. They’ve got to stick to traditional gender roles, too. The guys are going to hunt and fish, and the girls (and Winston) are going to forage. The fishing doesn’t go as well as Nick hoped. The best he can find is an already dead fish. The foraging team doesn’t have much better luck. They really have no idea how to tell which plants and such are edible (even with the help of a book). Jess knows there’s a small grocery store nearby, so they decide to hit that up instead. Which I probably would have done, too. Actually, I don’t think I would have agreed to the camping trip in the first place (ew…dirt…outside…I’m a Scots-Irish/Danish/German vampire, don’t you know!), but if I did, I’d definitely nix the whole foraging idea.

For a few minutes, Nick actually believes that the awesome fruit and veggie spread he’s looking at was actually foraged. How can someone so charming be so freaking stupid? Jess just keeps telling him they found everything “on a bush.” Eventually, though, he finally wises up, and he’s really not thrilled that Jess undermined his many Thanksgiving of manliness. Jess feels really bad about this, and she tries to make it up to Nick by eating a bite of the fish he “caught’ and pretending to like it. Nick only manages to tell her it was already dead once she’s taken that bite, though. Jess considers it and tries to spit it out, but it’s too late. Something about the dead fish makes her start hallucinating, and she ends up falling into a bear trap Schmidt had built. Nick, perhaps sensing an opportunity to be manly, tries to rescue Jess and ends up at the bottom of the bear trap, too. It’s Cece who ends up saving the day by having the guys make a “pants rope” to help Nick pull a still hallucinating Jess out of the pit.

Jess ends up in urgent care, and when she wakes up, Nick tells her that she’s been diagnosed with giardia and Legionnaire’s Disease. Which is a bunch of crap, really. Let’s just say she was sick with mysterious illness from eating something she definitely shouldn’t have eaten. Jess and Nick make up, and the rest of the gang arrives to give Jess her Thanksgiving wish with just minutes to spare. They have vending machine food, and they’re all going to eat a meal. It isn’t fancy, but they’re all together, and that’s really what Jess wanted. It’s a perfect “New Girl”-style ending to the episode.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Mindy Project 2.09: "Mindy Lahiri is a Racist"

“I already ordered for us and ate all our appetizers. Should we order more?”

“Mindi Lahiri is a Racist,” co-written by Morgan Tookers actor Ike Barinholtz, tried to accomplish a lot. It tried to address critics who have questioned how the show handles issues of race, it tried to deal with how Mindy treats her subordinates, it tried to briefly touch on Mindy’s love life drama, and it tried to service a number of bigger name guest stars. All in the space of thirty minutes. It was fifty pounds of episode in a ten pound bag. There were definitely some funny moments, for sure. There’s a great dinner scene between Mindy and Tamra, and the cold open was hilarious, if a bit self-serving on the part of Barinholtz. The disparate threads of the episode mostly came together at the end, except for the whole Cliff the lawyer plot. Although I guess if nothing had happened on the Cliff front after the bombshell of the previous episode, I would have been disappointed. So there’s that.

I’m specifically calling out the cold open from this episode because it was confusing, hilarious, and skepticism-inducing all at the same time. Morgan wants to test out this device he made to protect his arm from dogs if he’s carrying a steak. Betsy’s got a kind of intimidating dog, and Tamra’s armed with a tranquilizer gun in case anything goes wrong. Of course something does go horribly wrong. The dog goes for Morgan’s penis instead of his arm, and the dog, of course, won’t let go. Tamra tries to diffuse the whole situation with the tranq gun, but she accidentally shoots Morgan instead. Twice. Morgan goes down, the dog still locked on to his nether regions. I had to laugh because how can you not laugh at something like that? And I’m not actually thirty years old – more like twelve. The only thing that seemed wrong to me about the cold open was that it wasn’t at all connected to the plot of the episode. In the next scene, Morgan is walking into the office, none the worse for wear. Since Ike Barinholtz co-wrote the episode, it feels a little self-aggrandizing.

A bunch of little things happen early in the episode, which, except for the Mindy and Cliff stuff, all come together by the end. Danny has a patient named Nancy (Missi Pyle) who is really happy with Shulman and Associates and promises to give a great review on her “mommy blog.” The practice also has a surplus, which the partners are all debating how to use. Peter things they should invest in a mobile women’s health clinic, but because he’s the “junior” partner, nobody really wants to listen to his idea. Cliff, Morgan, and Mindy all meet up in an elevator, and Cliff realizes that Morgan never deleted his racy texts to Mindy, and Mindy has seen said texts. Finally, the midwives pay a visit to ask if they can hang up a poster for a man named Tracy Whitfield’s congressional campaign. Peter mentions that he sort of knows Tracy from Dartmouth, but again, nobody really listens to him.

Things blow up, as they do, when Nancy’s blog post is published. Danny starts happily reading it to the rest of the practice when he realizes that Nancy’s blog is called “White Mommy,” and it’s actually a white supremacist mommy blog. The blog basically says that despite the Jewish-sounding name, the Indian doctor, and the African American nurse, there are plenty of solid, Aryan people there to deliver your baby. All the partners are mortified, and they immediately go into crisis mode (despite hoping that not too many people read White Mommy). They hire a crisis PR lady named Priscilla, who is played by Jenna Elfman. Priscilla is supposed to be an Olivia Pope from “Scandal” type of fixer (Mindy even name checks Olivia at one point), but she’s pretty ineffectual, really. Well, she’s ineffectual at everything other than sleeping with Danny. They had the kind of stereotypical hate turns to sex thing when Danny got grumpy at Priscilla when she was trying to coach him.

Priscilla smartly has Mindy and Tamra work on a statement to give. They’re minorities who work at Shulman after all. For some reason I didn’t quite understand, the work on the statement had to take place over dinner at a fancy restaurant. Tamra, not so smartly, brings RayRon along with her to dinner. Mindy tries to shoo him away, saying that she and Tamra have work things to do, but RayRon has his heart set on expensive lobster. Mindy calls RayRon a deadbeat, and she tells Tamra that she should be with somebody more like herself. Tamra automatically interprets this as Mindy having a problem with her dating a white guy, so she storms off.

The already bad situation escalates when the midwives decide to stage a protest outside of the building. It’s a pretty elaborate set-up with a big truck, megaphones, and everything. The Shulman crew all try to fight back, of course, and they only make themselves look worse in the process. At one point, the midwives bring Tamra up on the truck to talk about how disrespected she is at Shulman. Of course the crowd responds to her story about Mindy dissing her boyfriend. It quickly becomes apparent, though, that the midwives aren’t in this for great justice. They simply want to direct business away from Shulman and Associates and towards their own practice.

Meanwhile, Morgan is really torn up about the fact that Cliff is mad at him. Morgan knows he did something wrong in not deleting the texts, and he really wants to make it up to Cliff. Morgan is told that what Cliff probably really wants (more than Morgan’s Betamax tape collection) is to beat Morgan up. So Morgan offers just that opportunity to Cliff. He rightly figures that Cliff won’t necessarily want to do the beating himself, so he brings a burly wrestler dude friend to do the job for him. Cliff tries to stop the wrestler dude from beating up Morgan, but he ends up taking punches to the face himself. Morgan and Cliff talk about the Mindy dilemma while Morgan patches Cliff up, and Cliff seems determined to stay with Heather, even though he’s happy to hear Mindy has feelings for him too. Whoever said people were rational when it comes to relationships?

Anyway, the whole protest situation reaches a climax when the midwives have Tracy Whitfield give a speech. At that point, Mindy has had it. She asks the take the microphone, which the midwives allow, because they figure she’ll probably just say more offensive things. She does indeed say some offensive things (like informing the crowd that Danny has slept with a woman of every race except for one), but she comes up with a save in the end. That save is mentioning Peter’s mobile health clinic idea. Tracy wants the mobile clinic for the people of his district, so he lays off Shulman and Associates and says that they’re “hardly racist.” Peter is finally given a little respect for coming up with the idea that saved the practice. He’s made a senior partner, although everyone still makes sure he knows that he’s the “junior” senior partner.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Once Upon a Time 3.09: "Save Henry"

“I’ll get you a child. But whether or not that’s helping you that remains to be seen. When you become a parent, you must put your child first. No matter what.”
- Mr. Gold

We are very close to the end of the Neverland arc and I honestly can’t say what’s going to happen between now and the end of episode 11. But we have to face off against a more powerful Pan. But back in the Fairytale Land that was, right as the curse is hitting, Regina pays Rumple a visit to gloat. He points out that now that she’s killed her father, she’s going to have an emptiness in her heart that he will fill for her. We jump to Storybrooke, eleven years ago, and Archie points out that Regina seems empty and alone and she remarks about being happy when Owen was around. So of course she heads off to see Gold and demands he procure her and infant. He says he will do it but he’s not sure it will help her and he also tells her that becoming a parent means putting one’s child first always. Yeah, you might want to listen to your own advice buddy. Not surprising, Gold comes through and procures baby Henry. He’s in Boston so Regina gets to take a trip. She seems quite excited at the prospect of motherhood and not at all concerned with the fact that she’ll never get to find out any information about the baby’s birth parents. In hindsight, that probably wasn’t such a good thing, Regina.

In Neverland, Emma, Regina and Neal are kind of flailing over Henry’s unconscious body. Pan points that without Rumple to help them, he’s unstoppable. Emma does manage to cut him before he floats off. In a rare moment, Emma concedes leadership to Regina because Emma admits she doesn’t know what Regina’s feeling seeing as Emma has family around. I laughed as Regina vaguely gestured at Neal and called him “this person” since she didn’t know how to categorize him in terms of his relationship to Emma at this point. He didn’t seem bothered. He was too busy pacing aimlessly in the background. Under Regina’s leadership, they’re going to find Pan and kill him. They head back to camp to share the news that Rumple has been locked up in a box. And they’re facing a ticking clock The preservation spell Regina cast on Henry has a short shelf life so they need to find Pan quickly. Emma appeals to the Lost Boys’ need for love and a mother and she gets a few them to tell her where to find him; his Thinking Tree (my guess, the tree Malcolm climbed where he encountered the Shadow when Rumple was a boy). Their only real problem is Felix being too loyal to Pan.

Back in Storybrooke, Regina is having a hell of a time getting baby Henry to stop crying. Granny suggests she tell him a story but that doesn’t get beyond “once upon a time” before he spits up on her and she whisks to see Dr. Whale. He says that if there’s actually something wrong with the baby, they’d need the bio parents’ medical records to find out. See, I knew having a closed adoption could be problematic for her! So she sets Sydney to find the info and she also realizes that Mary Margaret can soothe Henry’s crying. So maybe it’s something wrong with her (as Gold diagnosed). She does start to bond with Henry a little bit, but when she gets the info from Sydney on Henry’s birth mom, she loses it. She storms off to Gold and accuses him of planning the whole thing since the records show the baby’s mother was found outside the town limits 18 years prior. Gold is ignorant (or at least he’s really good at faking it) and Regina thinks the only thing to do is give Henry up again. But she has a last minute change of heart as she realizes that this baby loves her unconditionally. She does decide that she’s never letting go of him again which probably leads to some of the issues she has as he gets older. And we see the people who were set to take Henry were none other than the Darling brothers sent by Pan. Lovely. Regina meets up with Archie who seems very pleased that she’s happy and he tells her to stop worrying about the future and just enjoy the present. She takes Henry down to the crypt and takes a forgetting potion so she won’t remember that she’s worried about Emma coming along one day and taking everything away from her.

Back on the island, Emma, Regina and Snow prepare to storm the pixie woods (yes, I was right in assuming the location of the tree), while the menfolk stay behind to load up the Lost Boys and prep the Jolly Roger for transport. I’m assuming this will give Neal and Hook some time to snipe at each other without Emma present. The ladies make it to the woods and find Pandora’s Box. Unfortunately, Snow sets off a trap as she reaches for it and all three of them get tied up to the tree. Pan appears and gloats that the tree feeds on regrets and they’ve got lots. He also reveals that Rumple is his son and he doesn’t regret letting him go but he’s got him all boxed up for safe keeping. It turns out Regina is the strongest link among them because all the regrets she had (lives she took and decimated) led her to getting Henry. So she breaks free and snags Henry’s heart and the box. Time to hightail it back to the boys.

Things seem to be going our heroes’ way. Henry wakes up with his heart restored and he gets tucked in by Regina while the rest of the adults are topside. She casts a spell to make sure no one can ever take his heart again. She leaves and Pan appears with a knife. So not good. Is it wrong I really want someone to just KO the little prick? Up on deck, Neal manages to release Rumple and they have a hugging and slightly emotional reunion. Neal tells Rumple that he’s not like his father. And Emma and her parents get to hug it out, too. Regina and Rumple pop down to check on Henry when Rumple feels a disturbance in the force and traps Pan (or so he thinks). Meanwhile, Regina and Tink bond, too. Things seem to be going well until Henry brings Felix some food and it because obvious to at least one person other than this viewer that Pan switched bodies with Henry (since Pan was trying to rip out Henry’s shadow when he got sucked into the box. So now they’ve got to deal with a traitor in their ranks. It is going to be one hell of a final two episodes to this arc.

New Girl 3.09: "Longest Night Ever"

“She’s on a flip phone. That means she’s either poor or a time traveler!”

“Longest Night Ever” was a welcome return to more emotionally grounded episodes of “New Girl.” I think that a big part of that could be because the episode did not focus on Jess and Nick. It focused a lot more on Schmidt and Winston and what they are going through at the moment. Schmidt is dealing with how he feels about Coach and Cece going on a date, and Winston confronts the fact that he has forgotten how to date women as he looks for Furguson (who went missing thanks to a mistake by Nick). Jess and Nick spend more time trying to help their friends in this episode than they do dealing with their own drama. And the episode is better for it. We also get some more insight into Coach in this episode. We see just how much he has been affected by his recent break-up. We got a hint of it in “Coach” when he broke down at the strip club, but we really see the full brunt of it here.

The episode begins by showing all of us why, if you’re a serious couple, it’s probably better to live on your own than with a bunch of crazy roommates. Jess and Nick are trying to plan a date night, but they keep getting interrupted by other people’s drama. First, it’s Winston. He’s planning on going out to a bar with some coworkers in the hopes of picking up a woman. He hasn’t dated since his break-up with Daisy, and his relationship with Furguson is more than bordering on creepy. Nick immediately agrees to watch Furguson so Winston can get back in the game, and after a little prodding (she’s not thrilled on giving up date night at first), Jess agrees too. Then Schmidt comes in to pile on to the crazy. Apparently Coach has asked Cece out (after clearing it with Schmidt, per the Bro Code, of course). Schmidt gave the okay, but he’s not sure he can deal with the consequences. Date night is most definitely now cancelled, but Jess is cool with it, starting to say that they can have date nights when they’re married, before quickly backtracking after a freaked-out look from Nick.

Cece decides to go on the date with Coach, which means that Nick and Jess have to go into major damage control mode to keep Schmidt from ruining the date. Nick starts rattling off a bunch of rules for what they’re going to have to do to keep Schmidt from leaving the apartment. When Nick laments not buying a dog cage, Jess gets a little freaked out. Later, though, Schmidt agrees that the dog cage actually would have been an excellent idea. Basically, they just have to keep Schmidt distracted, and they also cant, under any circumstances, let him leave the apartment. This plan is tested when Winston comes home early from his evening at the bar. Apparently he absolutely sucks at picking people up at a bar (so do I, so I’m not judging). Winston wants to pet Furguson for some comfort, but he’s nowhere to be found. Nick opened a window, and Furguson escaped. Nick feels bad about this, so he offers to help Winston find Furguson. Now all that is left between Schmidt and a ruined date is Jess.

Speaking of that date, Coach is doing a pretty darn good job of ruining it on his own without Schmidt’s help. He’s super nervous because he had gotten so comfortable in his old relationship. They are going to an LA Sparks (WNBA) game, and when Coach first picks up Cece, he goes back and forth between being endearing and creepy. As the evening progresses, the mix keeps going more and more towards creepy. He buys Cece a ridiculous amount of Sparks merchandise that she doesn’t even really want, then he buys her seven soft pretzels. I bet they weren’t even decent, Philadelpha-style soft pretzels, either (I’d be all about that, although maybe just one or two…definitely not seven). Anyway, the final straw for Cece is when Coach starts texting someone. Because she was so recently cheated on, Cece immediately assumes the worst, and she storms out of the arena. Outside, Coach catches up with Cece and becomes a real person again. He shows her that the person he was texting with was his mom, because he was just that nervous about their date. This is enough for Cece, and she’s once again smitten with Coach.

The great search for Furguson isn’t going too well until Winston gets a message from a bus driver named Bertie saying that Furguson has been found. Winston and Nick then head to Bertie’s kind of hovel-ish apartment to pick up the cat. Winston kind of finds a kindred spirit in Bertie, mostly because she’s even stranger than he is. She’s got a mangy pet hamster to go with Winston’s odd cat. She also has decided to give up on dating. Winston sees this as his in, since he’s pretty useless at dating himself. Bertie invites Winston and Nick to stay for bologna sandwiches, and Winston is only too happy to take her up on the offer. It takes a little while for Nick to realize what’s going on between Winston and Bertie, but eventually he does, and he leaves them to have the rest of the evening to themselves.

Back at the loft, Jess is putting in an admirable effort at keeping Schmidt from ruining the date. She’s singing silly songs and showing Schmidt some of her old yearbooks. It’s kind of amusing that this is the best Jess can come up with as far as distractions. She finally hits her limit, though, when Schmidt starts making out with the couch because it reminds him of Cece. She decides to break the rules and take Schmidt out to hopefully find him a new woman. She tries to remind him about what a player he was pre-Cece. At the bar, she even specifically picks out someone he should hit on. Schmidt tells this poor girl all about Cece, though, and when Jess isn’t looking, he escapes the bar, hoping to catch Cece at the Staples center. Schmidt then gets a little lost, and he finds himself in a chocolate shop at one point.

Jess eventually catches up with him, and Schmidt says that if she wants him to stop running, she’s going to have to hit him with her car. After protesting, Jess obliges and taps Schmidt with the car. He wasn’t expecting her to actually go through with it, so he starts screaming. Jess panics when a cop car pulls off, and she hits Schmidt again, much worse this time. The injuries still aren’t all that bad, though, so after getting checked out by some paramedics, Schmidt is free to go. Jess and Schmidt pull up to their building to see Coach and Cece kissing outside the door. Schmidt finally admits that he’s really not okay with Cece and Coach dating, but he thinks he will be eventually. Jess and Schmidt decide to wait to go up to the loft until after Cece and Coach are done with their snog fest, but it looks like they could have a long wait.