Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Girl 3.21: "Big News"

“My uncle was on ‘Cops’ a bunch of times. He got no residuals, though. He’s poor.”

While there have been strings of “New Girl” episodes where I have questioned the creative team’s overall direction for the show, one thing I can say for sure is that big events in the lives of the characters always seem to matter. Nothing happens on the show in a vacuum. This can’t be said for all comedies. More traditional sitcoms would introduce a big twist in one episode, and it would be gone in the next (or maybe it would be stretched out to a two-parter if we were lucky). Last we saw the roomies, Nick and Jess had just broken up. “Big News” deals with the immediate fall out of that decision. The way the episode ends also gives me hope that the creative team isn’t going to let go of this plot line any time soon.

So it’s the morning after, and Nick and Jess are still broken up. Two things are going to make this more difficult than your average break-up (if there is such a thing), and the first is immediately apparent. They live in the same very tiny bedroom in an apartment with three other roommates. Nick wakes up with thoughts from the previous night written “Memento”-style on his hands. I know that reference, by the way, because I worked in a movie theater in 2001 and saw at least 30 minutes of just about every movie released that year on my breaks. He’s still in a daze when he finds Jess trying to hide in the closet while getting dressed. There’s a super awkward sequence where they try to decide if they’re still allowed to see each other naked (the answer is no, of course). Both Nick and Jess are trying to keep it together, but it’s easy to tell that this break-up is going to be tough.

Nick and Jess think it will be easier to deal with the break-up if they can tell the rest of the roomies about it right away. This decision is the conclusion of a rather hilarious conversation where Nick makes small talk about the noise a monkey made in a documentary he saw when the monkey didn’t want trouble. Unfortunately for them, Winston put a bit of a kink in those plans. He, Coach, and Schmidt are dancing and singing along to the theme from “Cops” because Winston has finally been accepted to the police academy. Nick and Jess don’t want to spoil Winston’s big day with their sad news, so they decide to hold off telling anybody. Instead, the day is going to be all about Winston. He wants a “honey roast” (a roast where people only say endearing things about you) and a “prominent chair” (aka a throne).

Even though they have been playing it cool, Nick and Jess are both pretty upset, so they need to talk their feelings out with other people. Jess goes to Cece, and Nick goes to his silent older Asian pal, Tran. Schmidt is at Cece’s apartment helping her study for the GRE’s, so Jess takes Cece into another room to tell her the news. There’s a really funny juxtaposition of Cece comforting an emotional Jess on one side of the closed door while Schmidt delivers running commentary about what he thinks must be going on. What upsets Jess the most is that Nick seems to be okay with the break-up when she definitely isn’t. The conversation with Tran makes it clear that Nick isn’t okay either. Nick, however convinces himself that the best thing to do is to throw himself into planning Winston’s congratulations festivities. He goes through many attempts at making the “prominent chair,” and he’s not happy with any of them.

Coach comes home to find several of Nick’s failed chair attempts piled up in the living room, and Nick himself is stressing both over the chair and what to say at the honey roast. Coach says that obviously the cutest thing about Winston is his yawn, and Nick not realizing that is setting off alarm bells. Nick ends up admitting to Coach that he and Jess broke up. Coach, drawing on his own experience, warns Nick not to let Jess see his emotions, and he also suggest that Nick raid Schmidt’s supply of anti-anxiety meds (probably not the best advice). Soon after learning this information, Jess and Cece arrive back at the apartment (Cece convinced Jess that she needed to talk things through with Nick). Coach immediately moves into give Jess a hug, but then because he doesn’t want to spill the big news, he ends up giving everybody big hugs, claiming it’s his new style of greeting. It’s schticky, but it was a much needed tension-breaker.

Jess and Nick continue to try and convince each other that they’re fine while Cece breaks and spills the beans to Schmidt. Schmidt’s reaction is pretty hilarious, going on about how he’s delicate because he’s a child of divorce. The honey roast then begins, and with Nick high and Jess quickly getting very drunk on a whole bottle of wine, this could end very badly. The whole thing starts out as Winston’s dream party, with the prominent chair, Nick as emcee, and Jess dressed up as Furguson. Everyone is even laughing at Nick’s jokes. Then a very drunk Jess decides to turn the event into a real roast, and she starts insulting everyone. That’s when Winston knows that something is wrong. Jess says that the terrible thing about Nick is that he’s “okay” when she’s not, and she finally lets it slip to Winston that they broke up. Jess feels a little better when she finds out that the only reason Nick seems okay is because of the meds.

To his credit, Winston’s reaction to the news is gratitude that Jess and Nick cared about him enough to put such a devastating event aside to celebrate his achievement. The group all gets in a circle and holds hands, which is kind of stupid and adorably “New Girl” goofy at the same time. Winston wants to put off the honey roast until the next night, but the rest of the group doesn’t seem especially enthusiastic about reconvening. Later that night, Jess is finally on the couch crying as she watches “Dirty Dancing” (as she should be after a break-up), and Nick calls her from his bedroom. They’re trying to figure out the new potential friend paradigm now that they’re broken up. Nick still cares about Jess a lot, and when she says she is out of tissues, he tosses her a box from his room and wishes her good night. It gives me hope that these two crazy kids might make it once they grow up a little more.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.20: "Nothing Personal"

“You are a serial killer. And you know what, you were right. I wouldn’t like the real you.”
- Skye

As we close in on the final few episodes of the season, we get the long-awaited return of one Agent Maria Hill. She’s been dealing with a lot of the fallout from the whole Hydra rebirth thing and people have been following her. But thanks to May, she gets a little reprieve. May is concerned that Senator Alexander Pierce was the one who gave Fury the order to revive Coulson the way he was and since he was Hydra clearly they have reason to be a little iffy. Unfortunately, their little reunion is interrupted by the cops showing up. Back at the base, the team is trying to figure out what happened. They see video footage of May leaving via the front door and then Ward and Skye leaving via the plane. FitzSimmons goes to make some food to cheer people up while Coulson and Agent Triplett (finally retained his name, too) debate scenarios. Just as Coulson recounts the worst case, Fitz finds a message from Skye that Ward is Hydra and by Simmons’ scream, she’s found the other agent’s body.

On the Bus, Skye is trying to put on a brave face but it is so obvious she’s uncomfortable. She’s carrying a gun for goodness sake. We learn that the coordinates are the café where she met Mike Peterson in the pilot. Kind of fitting really. I just hope the rest of the team can find them before Ward does her a lot of harm. She takes him to the diner and she’s clearly stalling for time. I’m pretty sure the place she needs to be is not actually where they are.

Back on base, Simmons does an autopsy and determines that Ward is the killer. Fitz absolutely loses his shit over this and I just really wanted Simmons to comfort him. Coulson motivates him though by sending him to work on finding the Bus so they can find Skye and get to her before Ward realizes that she’s stalling. They don’t get far before there’s a perimeter breach. Colonel Talbot and his men bust in and confront Coulson. Our leading man wants to know how the US government found the super-secret base he didn’t even know existed until two episodes ago. Agent Hill gave them the details. I can’t wait to see how this reunion plays out. It isn’t very warm and fuzzy. He’s pissed that she ratted them out and she’s annoyed he won’t just play along. But when he tells her that Ward is Hydra and Skye’s in danger, she agrees to team up and take out the scummy soldiers so they can haul ass and get to LA.

Out in a cemetery, an old guy finds May digging up a grave. For a minute I thought it was going to be Fury’s grave and she’d be clued in that he’s alive (although she’s skeptical of his death as it is. She’s a smart lady). But she was digging up Coulson’s empty casket and has found a flash drive with the final report on the TAHITI project from the project supervisor to Fury. It’s classified level ten and password protected, naturally. I’m sure she’ll find some way to crack it. Mostly because I want to know who was really behind the project and I can’t be the only person wondering what’s going on there. And on the Skye front, Ward is getting antsy that things are taking so long. Some cops come into the diner and he gets really worried. Skey starts asking him what he’d say to Garrett if he was sitting there. Final words to the scum bag and all and she ends up telling Ward that she knows he’s a filthy traitor. And she tipped off the cops that Ward is a fugitive. She makes it out of the diner and almost gets arrested by cops (she basically tells them she’s a fugitive) but Ward shoots them. She steals a cop car but it seems Garrett is getting impatient for the info on that drive because Mike appears (he’s wearing a cape…weird). This is not going to end well for Skye.

They take Skye back to the plane and the boys argue a bit over what to do. Skye tries to reason with Mike but he’s not having any of it. Ward also tries to talk her into giving him the location to unlock the drive and says his feelings for her were real, despite the rest of it all being lies. He even goes so far as to say it was nothing personal. What an asshole! She isn’t cooperating so Mike stops Ward’s heart. If I were Skye, I would have let him die. But she doesn’t and gives Mike the information he needs. The location is altitude (35,000 feet specifically). But it won’t be that easy to get in the air because the rest of the team has arrived. Ward and Hill exchange barbs and then Ward takes off. But Coulson has climbed aboard so it looks like Skye is going to get a rescue. I really hope Ward doesn’t make it out of this season alive. Ward wants to set the Bus down and go after them but Mike says that they’ve got orders and him stopping Ward’s heart was nothing personal. Ouch! Feel the burn.

Coulson finds Skye pretty quickly and they manage to get off the Bus in Lola. I forgot that she could fly but it seems fitting since he convinced Skye to join up by flying in her in the pilot. They have a little trouble with the thrusters but they eventually make a safe landing and end up hiding out in a hotel for the night. Agent Hill reminds Coulson that SHIELD is gone and that what he’s doing against Ward and Garrett is a vendetta. Coulson doesn’t think he or his team could work private sector or turn themselves in so that is still up in the air. We get a very touching moment with FitzSimmons where Fitz needs Simmons to reassure him that she’s not Hydra because he wouldn’t be able to handle it if she was. They are just so sweet together. And as Coulson raids the vending machine, Skye lets him know she left the bad guys a little surprise when she decrypted the drive. Coulson heads back inside and May is waiting for him. They watch the video file of the final report on the Tahiti project together and it turns out Coulson was actually the supervising agent on it and clearly they wiped his memories (Coulson’s suggestion was that they do memory replacement to try and stave off the side effects). Huh. I honestly did not see that coming and neither did Coulson. Nice twist.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Game of Thrones 4.02: "The Lion and the Rose"

“A toast. To the power of Lannister children. The dwarf, the cripple, and the mother of madness.”

Well shit. If you take all the seasons of “Game of Thrones” together, it hasn’t been that many episodes since the infamous Red Wedding, which saw the fall (for now) of House Stark, but we’ve already had yet another infamous Westerosi wedding. This one seems to be going by the name of the Purple Wedding, and for good reason. The events of this episode will certainly create consequences far and wide for the remaining characters. Another King is dead, and while there’s definitely a primary suspect, we really don’t know for sure who is responsible. I will say that I enjoyed this death a lot more than the last major death. Robb was fun to watch, but Joffrey was just an ass.

This particular episode was a bit more focused than the typical “Game of Thrones” episode thanks to the major event that is the Purple Wedding, but it wouldn’t be a proper episode of “Game of Thrones” if it didn’t pay service to at least a few of the other ongoing stories. Our brief glimpses at other plots this time around focused on characters mostly focused on characters we haven’t seen yet this season, and we are first reintroduced to Ramsay Snow, Theon’s torturer. He and his lady companion are getting all “The Most Dangerous Game” with a young woman, presumably a whore. The lady companion shoots the whore in the leg, then Ramsay sets some dogs on her. It’s pretty gross, and it shows us that Ramsay, like several other characters in Westeros (one of which will meet his demise in this episode, just likes cruelty for cruelty’s sake.

In other Ramsay/Roose Bolton/Theon news, Ramsay (Roose’s bastard son) is reunited with his father. He presents Theon to his father as a sort of reunion gift, but Roose is not impressed. Theon is a shell of the person he once was. Roose is pissed off because he needs the support of House Greyjoy to implement his plan to take control of the North, and the whole mutilated Theon situation probably isn’t going to help with that. Ramsay tries to argue that the Greyjoy’s don’t really care about Theon much anyway, but Roose doesn’t really care. Ramsay organizes a little demonstration of just how obedient Theon is, but Roose continues to not be impressed. He orders Ramsay to take a strategically important moat, dangling the possibility that if he succeeds, Ramsay might be officially acknowledged as a Bolton.

Joffrey and Margaery’s big royal wedding is immanent, but there’s plenty of other drama going on in King’s Landing. Jaime is still being super emo because of the loss of his hand. For all of his bravado about how fighting with his left hand is an extra challenge, it turns out that his left-handed swordsmanship is actually kind of crap. He admits this to Tyrion, who enlists Bronn to try and retrain him. Also, word has gotten out about Shae’s true identity, and she’s in serious danger. Tyrion ends up having to send her away on a ship across the Narrow Sea, and it’s quite painful for both of them. I’m surprised Shae actually was able to get away, actually. With how brutal this story is overall, I wasn’t sure she would survive.

There are some other random plots to advance before we really dig into the Purple Wedding. First, we pay a brief visit to Drangonstone, where Stannis and company have started burning people at the stake. Including a relative. It’s interesting that Stannis’ wife seems to be one of Melissandre and the Lord of Light’s biggest supporters. They all figure that Stannis’ daughter probably saw the whole burning thing going on and didn’t take it well (one of the victims was a favorite uncle), so Melissandre is sent to visit her. It’s a chance to give some exposition on Melissandre’s religion. She talks about how there are only too Gods – the Lord of Light and the bringer of darkness. We also pay a brief visit to Bran, who is spending a little more time in his visions than is healthy according to Jojen. Bran goes into Summer’s consciousness to “eat,” and he is warned he needs to eat for real, too. Bran is taken into a Godswood, and he starts having a really strange vision when he touches one of the trees.

And now we get to the big stuff – the Purple Wedding. The ceremony itself is lavish and takes place in the Great Sept. It’s interesting to compare it to the other Westerosi (as opposed to Dothraki) weddings we’ve seen on the show. The vows are pretty much the same, but everything is on a much grander scale. The whole thing definitely had the atmosphere of a royal wedding. There’s also the implication that with this wedding, Joffrey has come of age. Which is kind of frightening to think about, given that he’s pretty much a psychopath.

The reception is lively and colorful (although some of the dancers are a bit much). All of the early drama at the reception seems to be about Jaime’s penis. Which is just kind of wrong. Although I do have to say that Nikolaj is looking good this season – I think his current haircut suits him. There’s a little confrontation between Jaime and Ser Loras, where they each try to threaten each other over the fact that Cersei and Loras are supposed to be getting married soon. Cersei and Brienne also have a bit of a tiff over Jaime. Apparently Brienne is in love with Jaime after their big adventure? She swears she isn’t, but everybody seems to think she is. I guess I should start belting “I’m Not At All in Love” from “The Pajama Game” right about now.

Joffrey is, of course, an evil psychopath throughout the festivities. He has commissioned a troupe of little people to perform The War of the Five Kings, which depicts him winning the war entirely of his own merit. It’s pretty gross, and Tyrion is (rightfully) especially offended by it. When Tyrion doesn’t show enthusiasm for the performance, Joffrey decides to take the humiliation a step farther, and he makes Tyrion his cup bearer. Sansa and Tyrion try to leave the reception, but Joffrey won’t let them. All of a sudden, Joffrey starts choking. Chaos breaks out because it’s quickly apparent that this isn’t something run-of-the-mill that the Heimlich can fix. As his parents hover over him screaming, Joffrey turns purple, bleeds from his nose, and dies. It’s poison, and Cersei automatically blames Tyrion for it.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Once Upon a Time 3.19: "A Curious Thing"

“He needs to believe again. I think we all do.”
- Regina

I am so happy that the storyline is really picking up. Sure it means the end of the season but lots of good stuff is happening. In the Enchanted Forest of a year ago, Regina is not happy that Snow and Charming want to announce their pregnancy. Belle arrives with news of Neal’s death (sort of) and Rumple’s resurrection. Unfortunately, just as Phillip and Aurora spill the beans that Zelena wants the royal baby, said witch appears and promises to take the little bundle of joy when the time comes. And it seems the baby is powerful. Seriously, what is it with true love producing magic babies? We jump to eight months later and the gang (minus Phillip and Aurora who were turned into monkeys) is trying to come up with a game plan to beat Zelena. Snow remarks that they were ahead of Regina because of Rumple giving them a heads up. So it seems they need to make a trek to his castle to see if he can warn them this time. Robin Hood offers to help get them in but Regina is not pleased. Apparently their passion hasn’t been kindled yet.

In Storybrooke, however, we happen upon a very happy couple snogging outside of Emma’s hotel room. Regina asks what Robin sees in her and he says that it’s a second chance. And she’s a good kisser to boot. Their moment is interrupted by Henry walking out into the hallway. Awkward! Well almost as much as Emma walking in Snow and Charming post-whoopee last season. We’ve got our war council going on and they are going to try to break the curse. Hopefully that will mean they find out if they already had a plan to defeat Zelena. And maybe they’ll figure out why Zelena cast the curse to bring back Storybrooke. The key is going to be getting Henry to remember his old life, for better or worse. Out in the woods, Rumple has kidnapped Hook at Zelena’s request. She is not pleased that the Savior is still magical and says that if Hook hasn’t kissed Emma by the time the Snowing baby is born, she’s going to start killing people, beginning with young Henry. Well damn. The good guys better haul ass if they want to make sure Henry doesn’t completely freak out.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Robin Hood gets the gang into Rumple’s castle but Regina is still not happy he’s along for the ride. It’s really fun seeing them then and now. Again, still pissed about Neal but the hotness of Outlaw Queen is dulling the pain a bit. They find Rumple locked in a cell and he’s about as mad as he was before Emma separated him and Neal. Belle manages to get through and he sends them on a quest to find Glinda who was exiled to the Enchanted Forest. Light magic can defeat Zelena apparently.

The Charmings and Regina come up with the idea that in order to break this curse, they need to make Henry believe and that begins with the story book. So Regina and Snow are going to look in her closet. Emma basically bails on Henry, giving him a vague line about a lead in a case but he calls her out on it. I have to admit it’s kind of nice to have him do more than just sit around and play video games. Emma gets all harsh mom on him and he tries to take off. He even gets as far as trying to pick the lock on Emma’s car before Hook stops him and says he’s got a better way. Why do I think Hook may end up using Henry to lure Emma in so he can kiss her?

The search for the story book seems fruitless until Snow finds it in a trunk that Emma already looked in. Regina and David head off to find Henry and Snow calls her daughter out on acting weird. Again Emma insists she wants to take Henry back to New York when this is done. Honestly, though I don’t see how that would work. Regina would not stand for Henry being so far from her and really why wouldn’t Emma want to be with her family and get to know her little sibling?

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Regina is still in a bad mood and snipes at Snow and Charming for being flirty and romantic. Rumple’s instructions to find Glinda pan out and the pair go through a magic door, much like the door to the Well of Wonders on “Wonderland”. Glinda explains that the Snowing baby is very powerful and pure of heart. But Glinda can’t stop Zelena for them. Only Emma can. We get the little nugget that the emerald pendant Zelena wears focuses her power and without it, she’s vulnerable. See I’ve been thinking it was huge and obnoxious and gaudy for a reason! Now they have to find a way to get to Emma. Snow seems the think the only way to get there is to recast the curse from season 1.

Regina thinks the Charmings are bonkers but it turns out casting the curse is their only option. She refuses but David says that Snow could do it and use his heart. Seeing as he’s in Storybrooke I’m guessing something else happens to cast the curse (thankfully). Things are getting kind of dire in town, though. Henry is missing but Emma has him on GPS. Guess that actually is a useful thing to do to your kids even though it’s kind of a little invasion of privacy. He’s down at the docks and Hook is actually trying to save Henry by having Smee take him to New York via boat. Too bad a brigade of flying monkeys appear and chase them into the boat house. Hook manages to disintegrate a few but it takes the rest of the family to defeat them all. And finally Henry gets his memory back. But Emma doesn’t have a chance to cast the curse because Zelena appears and starts choking out the boy. She also mentions that Hook failed her so I expect him to come clean about the whole kissing thing. Regina tries to stop Zelena but she gets knocked out. Emma gets to wield some impressive power though and makes Henry glow and Zelena can’t hold on. It was very Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Part of me wonders if the writers had that in mind. Regina finally wakes up and she’s the one that breaks the curse, not Emma. I like that twist. I get Emma is the Savior and all but give Regina some good moments, too.

Things are all set in the Enchanted Forest for casting the curse and Snow and Charming sort of say goodbye before Regina rips out his heart and Snow crushes it. Zelena makes an appearance of course and adds a forgetting potion to the mix. She thinks she’s won and zips off on her broom. But Snow has an idea. Charming said that they shared one heart and she convinces Regina to split hers (Snow) in half so they each have part and it actually revives Charming. I was wondering how that was going to work (and Emma points that out in the present). Yay for no plot holes! Emma confronts Hook about the whole curse thing and she can’t trust him anymore. Sorry about that Captain Swan fans! Snow and Charming also point out that they didn’t send Hook the memory potion. It turns out that Zelena made 2 vials of it and gave one to Rumple. Neal broke out momentarily to send the vial off to Hook to get Emma back. Yay Neal!

Henry gets to really say goodbye to his dad now and he’s kind of excited that Operation Cobra is back on. Oh and he thinks it is pretty awesome that his mom is dating Robin Hood. I had to laugh when Regina mentioned that for some reason Robin is much more likable in this world. Go figure! And of it would seem the Snowing baby’s arrival s imminent as Snow goes into labor at the cemetery. Only one more week before the two-hour finale folks!

The Mindy Project 2.18: "Girl Crush"

“The closest I’ve ever had to a celebrity patient was . . . do you remember Trishelle from Real World/Road Rules Inferno? Her mom was a patient!”

“Girl Crush” was a bit of a disappointment for me, coming right after the emotional Mindy/Danny breakup in “Be Cool.” I would have thought that this episode would have dealt more directly with the breakup fallout, but it really didn’t. After several episodes in a row that dealt with a continuous, emotional storyline, it felt odd to go back to what was a more typical sitcom setup. Mostly, I’d like Danny to have some remorse for treating Mindy like crap. And I’d like to see him stop continuing to treat Mindy like crap. To be honest, the way Danny acts in this episode doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yeah, he ran away scared from a real relationship with Mindy, but the Danny we’ve gotten to know over the past two years is usually too emotional to go right to flirting with another woman. It was just odd.

This episode really explores what Mindy means to the rest of the crew at Shulman and Associates, although it does so in a rather juvenile way. I felt like the episode just hit the surface, when it really could have dug into the emotions a bit more. Anyway, things begin with Mindy having a chance meeting with celebrity gynecologist Sheila Hamilton (Anna Gunn). Sheila’s main claim to fame is that she delivered North West. Being the celebrity gossip junkie that she is (I can certainly relate to that), Mindy is practically drooling at the prospect of getting to increase her proximity to celebrities through Sheila. Shelia invites Mindy to stop by and see the practice some time, and Mindy is only too happy to accept the offer.

Meanwhile, Peter’s sister Sally is in town. Sally meets Danny, and sparks fly. Personally, I didn’t see a ton of chemistry between the two of them, but I guess the heart wants what the heart wants? Mindy is especially hurt when she sees Danny and Sally flirting, and I think she’s perfectly justified in that. Danny was the one who pursued her (Mindy) in the plane, then he dropped her out of fear (with the ridiculous hope that they could still “be friends”), and now he’s almost immediately started flirting with someone else (who also happens to be the sister of one of her good friends). Mindy handles the whole thing with a surprising amount of grace considering the ridiculousness of it all. Peter isn’t happy about this development, either. He wants to protect his sister from Danny’s particular brand of crazy. This escalates to the point where Peter catches Danny and Sally sexting, which is kind of gross. Peter trying to wipe the memory of his sister’s breasts is kind of funny, but still overall gross.

While all of this interpersonal drama is going on, Jeremy has a new idea to boost the profile of the practice. He bought a bus. The bus has a terrible photo of the four Shulman doctors plastered on it (Mindy is sneezing in the photo), and Jeremy intends to use the bus to provide mammograms in underserved neighborhoods. The first stop is “Spaniard’s Harlem,” and he’s even got a photographer from a Spanish language newspaper lined up to make a big publicity event out of it. Jeremy may have had good intentions (albeit not entirely altruistic…it’s good publicity for the practice), but he completely fails in the execution. More on that in a bit.

So Mindy takes Shelia up on the offer to see the fancy celebrity gynecology practice. It’s very swanky, and Sheila continues to regale Mindy with celebrity stories while Mindy is clothed in a fluffy bathrobe and given a gynecologic exam so painless she doesn’t even realize it’s happening. The whole bit is absurd, really. Anyway, Mindy decides that she is probably going to take the job. More Danny and Sally drama only serves to seal the deal for her. When Mindy makes her intentions to jump ship clear, the rest of the Shulman crew doesn’t take it well at all. They pretty much decide to shun her, and they go out on the Spaniard’s Harlem mammogram expedition without her. Again with the lack of depth, so unlike the rest of the recent run of episodes.

As I mentioned earlier, the whole mammography bus adventure doesn’t really go as planned. Since it’s a bus of guys asking to check women’s breasts, it comes off as creepy, and the guys don’t really do a good job of countering that impression. They act kind of creepy, and none of them speak Spanish, so they aren’t communicating as well as they could be. They quickly amass a full scale protest. The neighborhood residents think that the buss is a peep show bus, and they’d really rather not have it in their neighborhood. There’s a lot of yelling and chanting, and the press photographer is capturing it all. It’s turning out as more of a publicity disaster for Shulman and Associates than a publicity boon.

While the mammogram bus is under siege, Mindy goes to Sheila’s office to finalize the paperwork for her new job. Sheila implies that Mindy is going to have to find all new patients, and this doesn’t sit well with Mindy. For all her love of celebrity culture and glamorous things, Mindy does pride herself on taking hard luck medical cases. Mindy really wants to be able to bring her current patients to her new practice. Sheila says that isn’t going to fly, because her practice doesn’t take insurance, and none of Mindy’s current patients could afford medical care without insurance. Mindy’s conscience gets the better of her, and she walks out on the deal.

Mindy goes back to Shulman and Associates to find that the staff have completely cleared out her office. Mindy’s not going to take this, though. She goes to Spanish Harlem, finds the mammogram bus, and sees the chaos. Mindy takes charge of the situation and assures the crowd that her colleagues aren’t actually pervs. A female presence (and endorsement) seems to diffuse the situation, and they even manage to get a woman to agree to a mammogram. The day is saved, and just like that, the Shulman crew appreciates Mindy again. I don’t see how everything can go back to exactly how it was before the big Mindy/Danny story arc, but apparently that’s where we’re headed as the second season of “The Mindy Project” winds down.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.19: "The Only Light in the Darkness"

“You’re safe. I’m still here, I promise. I’m still here with you.”
- Coulson

So we are already seeing ramifications from Ward’s SO (whose name I just now remembered is Garett) setting all the prisoners in the Fridge loose. We see a guy who seems to be able to control energy and electricity. He kills a guy and steals his truck so he can drive to Portland. If they weren’t on different networks I would totally advocate a SHIELD/Grimm crossover. Anyway, it seems we have our external bad guy for the episode. Back at the secret base, Simmons is patching Ward up and he’s feeding the team a version of the truth about what happened. He doesn’t mention Agent Hand and he says that Garrett is now a corpse. When he reveals that prisoners are no longer locked up. Coulson immediately insists Skye do some research and it turns out our electricity stealer is named Marcus Daniels and Coulson knows where he’s going. He wants to take a small team to hunt him down. The rest of the team, including Patton Oswalt’s character is not happy about this. Patton won’t let them leave until they pass the mother of all lie detectors. It’s pretty amusing actually to see the gang answer questions and reveal little bits of information about themselves. Fitz has a thing for Simmons, Ward 2.0 is the grandson of one of the soldiers that fought with Captain America back in the day and if she washed up on a deserted island and found a box, Simmons would find the TARDIS inside. I had to laugh. I loved it!

So everyone but Ward has been cleared and given lanyards so they can move about the base freely. His test is going to be interesting. We get to the question about why he’s there since SHIELD no longer exists and his answers set off the detector. It prompts Patton’s character to pull out a gun and ask a few follow-up questions. Ward finally says that he’s there for Skye and that seems to be enough to earn him a lanyard. Elsewhere on base, Coulson is prepping FitzSimmons and Ward 2.0 for the mission to find Daniels. He explains that they only caught him the last time by overloading him with pure light. May is annoyed that Coulson didn’t ask her to fly the mission and he still gives her the cold shoulder. He tells her to either follow his orders or get out. Something tells me she’s going to ditch the team. Before they leave, Ward tells Fitz to come clean with Simmons about how he feels. Yeah, as much as I want him to, he’s not going to be that confident in himself.

The team gets to Portland and finds the woman that Daniels is obsessed with (Audrey Nathan) just in time to get her away from him. Unfortunately, Daniels was subjected to experiments at the Fridge that made his power stronger. Not something you really want to hear. While Fitz is trying to reconfigure the devices he rigged up to produce pure light, Simmons is talking to Audrey and quickly becomes clear that she fell in love with a SHIELD agent and that agent is one Phil Coulson. Oh and did I mention she’s played by the always lovely Amy Acker? It’s nice to see her not being so crazy for a change. Fitz suggests that Coulson tell Audrey that he’s still alive but Coulson is hesitant to disrupt her grieving/moving on process. It’s clear that he misses her, though. And it sounds like he may have to put Audrey at risk if they want to have any hope of catching Daniels. Since the guy is super obsessed with her, they will lure him out. He never missed a performance or a rehearsal. I read an interview with Amy before this episode aired where she talked about trying to learn to play the cello and how she didn’t really learn much. I find that very interesting because the shots of her actually playing looked damn convincing. The team gets lucky and they manage to make Daniels disintegrate with all the extra energy they’re pouring into him. Coulson even gets to comfort Audrey as she regains consciousness. His one little moment of being with her again. It was so very sweet.

While the team is having success in the outside world, things are getting super sketchy at the secret base. May fixes the fuel line on the Bus and then peaces out on her own. Skye figures out that the lanyards are tracking them in the facility which somehow leads to her wanting to hack NSA satellites. Ward thinks it might be a good idea although I really doubt he thinks that because if she can get a decent enough feed of the Fridge when it was being raided, she might figure him out. He does try to get close to Skye, sort of rushing into a relationship just so he can decrypt the password on the hard drive. I guess he’s kind of happy the rest of the team is gone so he doesn’t actually have to kill them if Skye doesn’t give up the password. I’m still rooting for him to die by the end of the season.

It turns out decrypting said hard drive is going to be even harder because not only does it require a password but it has to be unlocked at specific coordinates. Yikes that’s complicated! Unfortunately, Ward takes an opportunity to kill Patton’s character and stashes him in a closet. He doesn’t count on Skye using the tech in the lanyards to find the dead agent. She realizes that her potential love interest is really Hydra and she panics and freaks out for a few minutes before pulling herself together. She runs into Ward and he lies to her, saying that he got a call from Fitz and that they are needed in Portland. It’s just a ploy to get her on the Bus so he can find a way to get her to take him to the coordinates to decrypt the drive. For her part, Skye acts like nothing is amiss. I have to give her credit she’s good at playing people. Especially since she did earlier in the season as part of Rising Tide. But I can’t imagine what’s going to go down next week. On the flight back to the base, Coulson realizes he needs to forgive May. Well that’s going to be a little tough, Phil, since she’s gone. They get back to the base to find the rest of the team and the Bus missing. Oh boy. Speaking of May, she’s walking along a road in Canada and her mom picks her up. She’s going to see to Agent Maria Hill. I can’t wait to see what she brings to the table, given the last time we saw her she seemed to be gaining employment with Stark Industries.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Mindy Project 2.17: "Be Cool"

“Should I fake my own kidnapping? I did that once to get out of a fun run.”

So we all knew this was coming at some point. It’s TV rules. If you’re only on season 2 or 3 of your show, and the endgame couple gets together, they have to break up so they can have a season or so of being apart again before getting back together for good. Part of me wishes these things weren’t so formulaic, but it is what it is. So yeah, spoiler alert, Mindy and Danny break up at the end of “Be Cool.” It’s a very painful scene to watch, and the reason for their breaking up is kind of stupid, but from the circumstances, it’s pretty clear that they really aren’t ready to be together yet. Danny is too scared to be in a relationship with someone he cares about as much as he cares about Mindy. It’s one of those “if this happened, I know that would be it for me, and I don’t think I’m ready for that” situations. I can sympathize with Danny on that one, but I still think that how he treated Mindy at the end of the episode was pretty poor.

At the beginning of the episode, Mindy and Danny are very much still together. We get a cute voice over from Mindy as she wakes up next to Danny in the morning. Voice over Mindy tells us that she’s really enjoying waking up to Danny as opposed to the knife she bought for self-defense. I hear you, Mindy (although I don’t personally sleep next to my chef’s knife). Over breakfast (cooked by Danny, naturally), Mindy and Danny discuss their relationship status. Mindy is ready to tell the office what’s going on. Danny, however, is not. Danny convinces Mindy to keep things secret a while longer by playing up how hot a secret relationship can be. After fanaticizing about clandestine rendezvous a bit, Mindy is on board. Danny is relieved that Mindy has agreed to “be cool” about their relationship.

At first, “being cool” goes just fine. Mindy and Danny have fun coming up with excuses to be alone in each other’s offices (for makeout sessions). Danny definitely has less talent for excuse-making of the pair. His attempt to get her in his office involves him yelling out to all the staff that Mindy made a mistake which has resulting in her patient falling into a coma. Mindy’s not thrilled at being embarrassed like that in front of her coworkers, but once Danny shuts the door, she’s only too happy to enjoy the privacy with Danny. Things are going pretty swimmingly overall until Mindy returns home to her apartment for the first time in three days (she’s been spending nights at Danny’s). The place is trashed, and it’s immediately clear that Mindy’s apartment has been burglarized.

Mindy tells the rest of the office what happened, and they’re very concerned for her. There are statistics showing that burglars return to previous marks, you know. Peter, who is the only one who knows about Mindy and Danny, tries to suggest that Danny spend a few days and nights at Mindy’s place to watch over her. Danny hesitates (probably because he doesn’t want to let on that he and Mindy are dating), so Morgan jumps right in and offers to be Mindy’s (hopefully…for Mindy’s sake) temporary roommate. The whole situation escalates to the point where Mindy has no choice but to accept Morgan’s offer. Morgan, of course, is a kind of creepy/gross roommate. He sets up camp on the couch, and once Mindy goes to bed, he pulls his pet puppy out of his backpack, reminding the puppy that they both need to be careful not to have any accidents.

The secrecy of Mindy and Danny’s relationship is under quite a bit of strain. First, a pharma girl that Danny fooled around with the last time she was in town is making another visit to Shulman and Associates. When she arrives, it’s painfully obvious that she wants to rekindle thinks with Danny. She makes many references to being available to talk to Danny about her products one on one. Danny is continuing to refuse to admit that he and Mindy are an item, so pharma girl mistakenly thinks that Danny is still available. As much as I generally like Danny (he’s kind of adorable in a “grumpy old man in his 30’s” kind of way, and I dig that), he really pissed me off in this episode. His spinelessness ended up hurting both Mindy and the pharma girl. It really took him down a few notches in my estimation.

Morgan does some snooping while at Mindy’s apartment, and he discovers a pair of scrubs under the couch. Upon further snooping, Morgan finds a pen with Peter’s name on it in the pocket of the scrubs. He’s convinced that Mindy and Peter are sleeping together (they have been spending a lot of time together), and he tells his suspicions to Jeremy. Jeremy doesn’t think this seems plausible at first, but when he thinks about it, he thinks that Morgan might be right. In the process of trying get out of having to see pharma girl after work, he ends up instigating a big housewarming for Morgan party at Mindy’s apartment. Neither Danny nor Mindy are particularly happy about this development, but they’re too invested in keeping their relationship a secret to do much of anything about it.

The party itself is pretty much a complete disaster. Morgan and Jeremy are still convinced that Peter and Mindy are sleeping together, so they’re being super judgey. Oblivious to this, Peter (who has seen how upset Danny fake-flirting with pharma girl has made Mindy) tries to help Mindy make Danny jealous. There’s a whole lot of wacky hijinks/physical humor here, including Mindy trying to feed Peter grapes and a chair breaking when Mindy tries to sit on Peter’s lap. This leads to a huge debacle where Morgan and Jeremy try to confront Mindy and Peter about how their relationship is terrible for the practice. Danny is about to set everyone straight, but he still can’t bring himself to admit his relationship. Mindy is crushed, and she runs to hide in her bedroom.

Danny tries to comfort Mindy, but Mindy gives him an ultimatum. She wants to go public, or they end their relationship. Danny opts for ending the relationship, which is definitely not what Mindy had in mind. He says that he needs her in his life, and he thinks he’ll have a better chance at keeping her in his life long-term if it’s platonic. Danny just has no confidence in his own relationship skills at the moment, and that lack of confidence is really hurting Mindy. It’s really not fair to either of them, and it’s a very painful scene to watch. After Danny leaves Mindy’s apartment, Mindy spends the rest of the evening sobbing.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Once Upon a Time 3.18: "Bleeding Through"

“Regina, I’ve seen what life has thrown at you. And you still fight against the darkness every single day. Sooner or later, your heart will find its way to happiness.”
- Mary Margaret

If you couldn’t tell I wasn’t a huge fan of last week’s episode. This week, however, was much better. We jump in with Regina getting a visit from Zelena. Big sis has brought a basket of granny smith apples as a present. I wouldn’t eat them if I were Regina. They trade some apple-inspired barbs before Zelena gets to the real point of her visit. To make sure she knew where Regina was so Rumple go slink off and lay claim to the Mayor’s ticker. I have to say I really want the Charming/Mills clan to free Rumple soon. Zelena keeping him as her puppet is so annoying. She basically makes him almost kill Robin’s son to get Regina’s heart. Regina is surprisingly understanding.

In the Enchanted Forest that was, we find young Cora working in a tavern to help support her and her father (since we know he’s a lazy drunk). On first watch I was a little confused by when this fell in the time line. I ultimately decided it didn’t really matter but it explained the animosity between Eva and Cora in “The Miller’s Daughter”. Anyway, Cora thinks she’s met a genuine prince when the man she accidentally bumps into drops a hankie with the royal crest. He even proposes to her with a ring made of straw. This of course entices her to offer herself to him in a wife sort of way. Two months down the road, she’s not heard from her prince and she goes to the castle to look for him. She finds him but also learns he’s a hustler and he’s really a gardener. She reveals she’s pregnant and demands money from him to support the child but he basically tells her to bugger off. She tries to make him stay but she pushes her down and takes off. But it seems her fortunes may be changing because a real prince, Prince Leopold, arrives and offers her aid. Yes, that would be the same Leopold whom Regina later marries (aka Snow’s father). Cora and Leopold seem to hit it off but he’s betrothed to Princess Eva whom he’s never met. It seems he’s going to break that betrothal and marry Cora. Unfortunately for them both, Cora’s baby daddy shows up, demanding jewels and gold to disappear and Eva overhears. And of course, Cora gets the raw end of the deal with Eva tattles on her to Leopold, casting Cora her first chance at becoming royalty. She is apparently forced to give Zelena up thanks to Eva. Very interesting move there.

Back in Storybrooke, Regina heads to the pawn shop to try and find something to crush Zelena but Belle puts a stop to her aimless rummaging. After a sincere apology, Belle explains she’s been trying to match spell ingredients to what Zelena’s taken so far. While she continues to work on that, Regina has a new plan. She gathers the Charmings and Hook (I don’t know why they need him other than maybe 5 is the magic number for summoning the dead) to commune with Cora to find out about Zelena’s past. Oh boy. The spell seems to work at first. It opens a portal but nothing comes through and thanks to a table bump by Hook (I still can’t tell if it was intentional or not…I mean it’s not like Cora would know that Zelena cursed him) ends the séance. Emma, Hook and David head off to meet up with Belle while Snow stays to talk with Regina.

Out at the farm, Zelena is celebrating with a home cooked meal for her and Rumple. She’s one ingredient away from enacting her spell. She just needs the Snowing baby now. It seems she is going to go back in time and change the past, despite Rumple noting that it would break one of the fundamental laws of magic. Good lord she’s showing a lot of cleavage tonight! We also get a rather steamy scene where Rumple is trying to seduce Zelena (she’s just promised he can go back with her and maybe never even give Baelfire up). He’s really after his dagger but the way he tries to get there is pretty hot and Zelena’s quite enjoying it, too. But she banishes him back to his cage in the storm cellar.

Hook and Emma are hanging at Granny’s and she’s practicing her magic. Hook isn’t really interested and gets crabby when she teleports hi hook to the coat rack. But he doesn’t have time to explain because Belle busts in with the answer to what Zelena’s trying to do. Now they just need to fill in Snow and Regina. Which is going to be easier said than done. Something has disappeared all the doorways out of the house and it turns out that Cora is semi inhabiting this reality because of Snow’s presence. Although before the shit hits the fan, Snow and Regina have a nice moment where they at least acknowledge that their history is complicated. Regina is trying to hold Cora off but she can’t do it forever. Ultimately, Cora’s spirit possesses Snow and she gets the half of the puzzle that Belle didn’t figure out. After being a little hazy from the possession, she explains that if Eva hadn’t forced Cora to give up Zelena, things would been completely different. Belle fills the gang in on the time travel spell and it all makes sense. She’s going back to eradicate the Charming/Mills line of the family tree. Well if that doesn’t give them a reason to fight side by side, I don’t know what will. Regina and Snow have another touching moment where they seem to really put their past behind them and move forward as friends. And Snow totally urges Regina to stop waiting and go find happiness. And damn, she does. We end this week with what I think is a hotter kiss than the Captain Swan kiss from earlier this season. Regina finds Robin in the woods and after he tries to apologize yet again for losing her heart, she plants one right on him. And then after a brief moment to breathe, he returns the favor. I still will never forgive Eddie and Adam for sinking Swanfire but if we get more Outlaw Queen, I’m totally down for it. The last batch of episodes are shaping up to be really intense and I can’t wait to see what they do with it!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Trophy Wife 1.19: "The Minutes"

“I would love to hear about all your friends, but I’ll read about it later in your Hello Kitty diary.”

“The Minutes” was a pleasant enough episode of “Trophy Wife” that further explored the pitfalls of Kate’s enthusiasm for taking on parenting duties. There was a fun tie-in with fellow ABC show “Scandal” which almost made me wish I had kept watching that show beyond its first season. What can I say – I was protesting Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond from “Lost”) being written out of the show. I may have to catch up on that Shonda Rhimes craziness sometime, though. Anyway, most of this episode focused on Kate trying to get more involved with the PTA and finding herself in the middle of much more drama than she anticipated. There’s also some stuff going on with the kids centered around an upcoming school dance, but Kate’s story is more interesting in this one.

Kate is super excited that Diane is letting her tag along to a PTA meeting. Diane really just wants Kate to sit there and be quiet, but we all know that being quiet isn’t exactly Kate’s strong suit. Kate has brought some granola with her, and when she offers some to Diane, Diane promptly chokes on it. What follows is an elaborate kind-of-slapstick bit where Diane stubbornly tries in multiple ways to administer the Heimlich on herself. Kate keeps trying to intervene, and it is Kate’s Heimlich attempts that ultimately get Diane to cough up the granola. Diane bristles at not being completely independent, so instead of thanking Kate, she insults the granola.

Meanwhile, the semi-formal is coming up at Hillary and Warren’s school. Both twins take very different approaches to trying to find a date to the dance. Hillary, since she’s become a mini-Diane, takes a very aggressive approach. She corners the guy she likes after German class, and after a forceful “Achtung!” tells him that he will be accompanying her. Warren wasn’t originally planning on taking a date, but Bert convinces him to try and do a Youtube video to get a celebrity date. Pete isn’t happy about Hillary’s choice of a date, because he’s the son of a couple with which Pete and Jackie had a bit of a neighbor feud back in the day. Apparently the neighbors accused Pete and Jackie of tearing a garden hose they borrowed.

Diane’s not feeling that great due to bruising from the Heimlich craziness, so Kate and the other PTA ladies convince her to go home. The PTA meeting run by Kate is remarkably smooth. Kate quickly shuts down the annoying lady who keeps bugging them about starting a girls’ squash team, and she gives some other ladies time to speak. To try and endear her even more to her new PTA brethren, Kate starts doing a rather unflattering impression of Diane, then she starts in on the school’s principal. It’s all fun and games until the squash lady asks Kate to repeat something for the minutes. In PTA-land, the minutes are an exact transcript of the proceedings of the meeting, and if Kate doesn’t tread carefully, her unflattering impersonations will be e-mailed to a whole bunch of people.

Pete gets Jackie’s support for his plan to keep Hillary from going to the dance with the former neighbor kid (even though Jackie doesn’t really remember the family in question). Pete doesn’t have much of a chance to put any plan into action, though, because a devastated Hillary tells him that the neighbor kid turned her down, saying that his parents had forbidden it. If anybody’s going to be doing any forbidding in this situation, it’s going to be Pete, so he and Jackie pay their former neighbors a visit. The former neighbors have no idea what Pete and Jackie are talking about with the semi-formal, and Jackie going crazy insulting them isn’t really helping things. If I were the neighbors, I’d call the cops on the crazy crunch granola lady! Anyway, after the neighbor son fesses up, Pete and Jackie learn that there wasn’t actually any forbidding going on. The kid was too intimidated by Hillary to tell her that he didn’t want to go to the dance with her. Pete can’t bear to tell Hillary the truth, though, so he ends up just telling her that the former neighbors refused to change their minds.

Kate asks the squash lady to do some editing of the minutes. Squash lady agrees, as long as Kate supports the idea of a girls’ squash team at the school, of course. Kate already “quashed the squash,” so she’s in a bit of a desperate situation. Earlier in the episode, Kate gave Diane a couple season DVD sets of “Scandal” as a get well gift. Diane didn’t intend to watch them, but when her maid put one in the DVD player and hit play, Diane was hooked. She and Olivia Pope trade in the same type of take-charge fabulousness, you know. So when Kate comes to Diane for advice on how to get out of the squash lady blackmail dilemma, Diane goes full Olivia Pope, getting Kate and her household help to start researching for an angle they can use against the squash lady.

Meanwhile, Warren tells Hillary that he has successfully snagged Vanessa Hudgens as his semi-formal date. Hillary is incredulous about this, so Warren shows Hillary the Youtube video he made. The video heavily implies that Warren is terminally ill. He’s wrapped in an afghan and everything. Hillary is kind of appalled at this, and she gets Warren to contact Vanessa Hudgens’ manager and tell the truth. Unsurprisingly, Warren loses Vanessa Hudgens as a date once he tells the truth, but he’s not too upset about it. He thinks he’ll be able to dance with another girl in his class who just broke up with her boyfriend.

Once all the dirt-digging is complete, Diane and Kate confront the squash lady. First they reveal that they know why squash lady is so interested in starting a squash team. She wants her daughter to go to Wellesley, but the daughter’s grades aren’t so great. Apparently Wellesley is hurting for great squash players, though, so squash lady thinks that’s her daughter’s ticket in. This information isn’t enough to put a stop to the blackmail, though. What finally ends the blackmail is some photos Diane produces of squash lady using the PTA computer to play Minesweeper. Apparently it was against the rules to use the PTA computer for personal use, and Minesweeper qualifies. Who knew? The incriminating minutes destroyed, Diane disappears into the fog.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Person of Interest 3.20: "Death Benefit"

“Since we started, things have changed. We’ve changed. But our mission has always been constant; to save lives. If that’s changed somehow, if we’re in a place now where the Machine is asking us to commit murder, that’s a place I can’t go. I’m afraid this is where I get off.”
- Finch

We are zeroing in on the season finale. News of Northern Lights is still circulating in the media and it’s putting pressure on our team. It seems Reese and Shaw have a number they’re working because they do a faux drug deal and plant evidence to get them arrested. Root shows up to pick up Shaw for a little girls’ adventure in Alaska. With Northern Lights shut down, she’s getting the relevant numbers. Sweet Jesus, our national security is in the hands of a sociopath. Reese is off to join Finch in DC because they have a new number of their own. Congressman McCourt who is anti-surveillance. So it’s possible either Vigilance or Decima want him dead. Or a disgruntled constituent who knows. It’s going to be tough to eyes and ears on him because he has a PA who handles all his calls. Thanks to some quick thinking, Reese engineers a fake threat to the Congressman’s life so he can pose as secret service to get in close.

It looks like Reese may have his work cut out for him. They get to Capitol Hill and McCourt is accosted by a union boss. But McCourt is actually very good at talking people down. While Reese is playing babysitter we see the head of Decima meeting with the Senator who ordered Northern Lights be shut down. Mr. Decima is offering to sell Samaritan to the US government and he promises that if there’s interest from the rest of his committee, the dissenting voices will be silenced. Joy. We next find Reese and the Congressman at lunch and Finch reports that McCourt is pretty much clean and has very few enemies. Hell, he’s even got a standing offer to buy anyone a hot meal who wants one to promote awareness of the homeless contingency. Reese spies a shady looking guy out the window and he takes down the license plate. It turns out it was rented by Decima. So not helpful. Even when Reese finds out that McCourt is sleeping with his PA, it isn’t a threat because his wife already knows. And of course Decima has to screw over our guys by telling McCourt’s driver that Reese isn’t the real secret service agent. A fight ensues and Reese basically abducts a US Congressman.

Root and Shaw have traveled from Alaska to Miami and it seems they’re kind of enjoying themselves. Root is always up for flirting with Shaw. It’s kind of cute but also creepy. Root doesn’t think she’ll be doing the “beating up baddies” routine forever and it seems right away she gets new orders from the Machine. She’s off to the Midwest but Shaw isn’t going with her. She’s got her own assignment to worry about. As you would guess, it dovetails with the boys in DC. Finch and Reese are trying to find a safe place to keep McCourt but the old burger manufacturing plant Finch bought leads Decima right to them. They find a tracker on McCourt and ditch it but they have to wait for Shaw to show up for a ride to relative safety. They take one of Decima’s guys with them after Reese shoots him (I swear him and Callen from NCIS: LA would get along great). They end up hiding out in some random people’s house and try to get some answers out of their POI and the Decima goon. At first, McCourt keeps denying he has any knowledge of Decima or why they’d be after him. But when Finch decrypts some texts that basically say “protect” from Decima guy’s phone, the pieces start to fall into place. Decima is protecting McCourt and it seems our own team is the threat this time. And McCourt finally admits that he knows about Decima. They approached him to support Samaritan and they give him insider stock trading tips. So McCourt literally has the power to stop Samaritan or unleash it. And Reese seems to believe now that the team really is the threat. That maybe the Machine wants them to kill McCourt to keep Samaritan from going live. That would definitely be a twist since up to this point, the Machine hasn’t really positioned any of our people to do something like that.

Finch brings up this point, saying the Machine gives them numbers to save lives but Reese is throwing Finch’s own warning about Samaritan back at him. Finch is very passionate about not wanting to kill McCourt. He goes as far as saying that he can’t handle it if the Machine is giving them order to kill people. We cut to a very emotional song playing over the next scene as SWAT busts in. It is unclear if McCourt is dead or not and then the team is running through the woods and Shaw gets shot. They make it back to New York but things are not going their way at all. The head of Decima is meeting with the Senator again. The Senator is hesitant to go forward with Samaritan but Decima offers a test run in New York for 24 hours as a show of good faith and to see what the system can actually do. The Senator gets a call from McCourt (so we know Reese didn’t actually go through with it) who says that he’ll push the bill through in Congress if the Senator handles his half of the legislature. We see Reese and Shaw walking together and Finch is sort of off on his own. It’s not clear if the team has broken up or what but it can’t possibly be good. We are going to need every member of Team Machine working together to stop Decima and Samaritan. Because they get the go ahead for their 24 hour beta test and the head of Decima’s first order is to find Finch. I have to give it to the writers, they are definitely stepping things up. I am not entirely sure where they’re going to go next season.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.18: "Providence"

“We are not Agents of Nothing. We are agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and that has to mean something. That has to mean something after everything we’ve been through.”
- Coulson

Things are definitely going to get crazy going forward. We start with Ward busting in to rescue Raina from wherever she’s being held. He jets her off to Cuba where she meets Ward’s SO and is rather miffed to learn he can’t actually see the future. Ward’s going all dark (which apparently equates to not shaving for a while). I still don’t know if he’s really Hydra or just a double agent. Back on the Bus, FitzSimmons and Ward 2.0 are working ramp repairs to the plane can actually take off without Lola falling out the back. Skye’s been gathering information on the remaining secure SHIELD locations. They’re up to four. So that’s a start. We also see more footage of the mayhem caused during Captain American: The Winter Soldier (mainly the hellicarriers crashing into buildings and each other). Unfortunately, Colonel Talbot of the US military is sending in “peacekeeping” force to question the remaining SHEILD agents. Coulson has a point, he doesn’t want to start a war with the US government. Definitely not.

Coulson is hesitant to let Ward 2.0 tag along but Simmons vouches for him and he becomes her responsibility. Our fearless leader wants to be up in the air ASAP so he can beat Talbot to the Hub. But things keep going sideways. They’ve only got 4 hours of fuel because there’s a leak in the line. They’ve only got a few days of food rations and internet but no connectivity to SHIELD. Coulson gives Skye the order to find anything on the team online and erase it so they don’t exist anymore. He also wants Skye to collect everyone’s badges. They won’t be needing them anymore. She is skeptical but does as she’s told. She gives Ward a call since they haven’t heard from him and he feeds her a line about taking the long way to the Fridge to avoid fighter jets and jokes that he might become Tom Brady with a new identity. We see him and the Clairvoyant in a base of operations and Raina is around, too. We also learn that Ward’s orders were to blend in and get info on Coulson’s return. He wasn’t supposed to start falling for Skye. That doesn’t seem to make Ward feel any better. The Clairvoyant tasks Raina with finishing Phase 3 of the Centipede project and he swiped a lot of vials of drugs from the Guest House but he doesn’t know which one brought Coulson and Skye back. Ward hands over the hard drive with all the info from the Bus so that maybe she might find some answers in there. She gets a really excited look on her face. This is not going to turn out well at all.

I really am not a fan of evil Ward. He is talking to Raina about how he manipulated everyone on the Bus. He saved Simmons to engender trust in the team. He slept with May to keep her off his back and he became Skye’s SO to see where her head was at. When Raina points out that Coulson is a good man, Ward says that may be so but he owes his SO everything. I really hope the team finds out about him soon and does him a lot of bodily harm. He and his SO then head to the Fridge where they stage an attack by Hydra to get in and then kill the security officers on duty.

Back on the Bus, Skye hands over everyone’s badges and Coulson goes to put them in his safe when the badge he got from Fury when he was a teenager lights up with coordinates. He thinks this is a sign that Fury is alive and brings it to the rest of the team. They’re unsure if they can trust it because it could be Hydra. May also points out that for all they know, Hydra has implanted signals in Coulson’s brain at the time he was revived. Coulson questions this and May lets slip that while Fury ordered his resurrection, he wasn’t in charge of the procedure. May denies knowing who the shot caller was and says it was Fury. Things just aren’t going well for anyone this week.

Down at the Fridge, the Clairvoyant and his boys are having a field day stealing technology (everything they thought that got shot off into the sun and what not is there). The Clairvoyant sets a lot of people free and then Ward uses a device to bust into the lower level (below the lowest level). If I remember right that’s where they put the gravitonium dude. Coulson is gung ho about finding the coordinates that Fury sent and he basically drags everyone out on a seven mile hike in the snow. People are starting to question his leadership and what’s going on when they reach the coordinates. There’s nothing there and Coulson kind of loses it a bit, yelling about how being part of SHIELD has to mean something. He tosses his badge and it activates a giant automatic gun. Well I guess they found something. Coulson thinks it is actually set up by Fury and it turns out he’s right. He ID’s himself and a rock face slides away to reveal a doorway and we meet Patton Oswalt (love this guy). He’s kind of in charge of the secret base and he’s been there since the events of The Avengers. He tells the gang that Fury didn’t make it out of DC but then takes Coulson aside and reads him in that Fury is alive but off the grid and no one knows. IF Coulson tells the team, shit is gonna hit the fan. Lovely.

Ward and the Clairvoyant get back to their base of operations and Raina says she can’t access the hard drive because Skye encrypted it to erase if anyone but her accesses it. So Ward has to go back to the team to get the information out of Skye. The Clairvoyant beats him up until he gets back into character. It’s a little iffy how he gets to the secret base but he does (I’m guessing that Skye gave him the coordinates) and she agrees to have that drink they talked about. Back at Hydra headquarters, we see Quinn is free and he’s got his gravitonium back. Crap!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Game of Thrones 4.01: "Two Swords"

“Keep it. A one-handed man with no family needs all the help he can get.”

After a surprisingly pleasant conversation with a Comcast representative, I got HBO included with my cable/internet package for a year and will be paying less than I paid before. Which basically means I’ll have easy access to “Game of Thrones” again this year for your blogging enjoyment. Score! Westeros is a brutal land, to say the least, but it’s fun to journey back there for a little while as an observer. To do a little housekeeping, I have been gradually reading the “Song of Ice and Fire” books very slowly, but I’m currently only about half-way through the second book. I prefer to see the show first, then follow up with the reading. So no holier than thou “but just wait till you read this” type spoilers, please. I’ll sic Arya and Needle on you if you pull that sort of thing (or at the very least, I’ll ban you from ever coming to MTVP again). With that unpleasantness out of the way, let’s talk about the beginning of Season 4 of “Game of Thrones!”

As early-season episodes of “Game of Thrones” tend to be, “Two Swords” was a lot of set-up, and it tried to service many stories. There was plenty of interesting King’s Landing action, but we also visited the Wall and wherever on their way to the Vale Arya and The Hound are right now. Let’s start with the King’s Landing action, where the episode opens on Tywin melting down Ice, the Stark family sword to forge two new swords. Way harsh, Tywin! Tywin gives one of the new swords to Jaime, who is struggling to fit back into King’s Landing life. Tywin wants Jaime to leave the Kingsguard and rule Casterly Rock, but Jaime isn’t having it. He doesn’t want to be seen as having broken yet another oath. Surprisingly, Cersei isn’t exactly happy with his presence, either. IN a scene that’s equal parts emotional and awkward, Cersei blames Jaime for “leaving” her and says he took “too long” to return. There’s also the implication that she was pregnant with her cousin Lancel’s child and had an abortion. Which is kind of gross (the first part, not the second…MTVP is a decidedly pro-choice blog).

Tyrion is having a rather difficult time juggling the ladies in his life. Sansa (who you’ll recall is now married to Tyrion) is taking the Red Wedding hard, as you would expect. She’s not eating, and Tyrion for some reason thinks he can help Sansa get over the extremely brutal murders of her brother and mother. Tyrion does have some very kind words to say about Cat (referencing their rather legendary encounter back in season 1), but as you might expect, it doesn’t help. Shae is jealous of Tyrion’s attention to Sansa (even though Tyrion and Sansa still haven’t had sex). When she sneaks into Tyrion’s room and tries to seduce him, Tyrion completely rejects her. Shae is a strong woman. I have a feeling Tyrion is going to come to regret this. Especially since one of Cersei’s servants heard Tyrion and Shae’s conversation and immediately reported it to her mistress.

One of my top picks for ultimate winner of the Iron Throne is Daenerys, who is still across the Narrow Sea as far as I can tell. Daenerys, her boys, and her kickass army are on their way to a city called Meereen. There’s an interesting little scene where one of Dany’s dragon’s snaps at her when she interrupts a feeding frenzy. Is this a metaphor for how Dany treats her post-Khal Drogo harem of suitors? Speaking of those suitors, Daario is now played by Michiel Huisman, aka Liam from “Nashville.” I know who I would choose if I were Dany. But alas, I’m not a kickass Mother of Dragons. Dany gives Daario a bit of a talking-to for gambling with the lead Unsullied when he should be preparing for battle. There’s a hot little scene where Daario gives Dany flowers under the guise of teaching her about local culture. Girl is going to eat him alive.

Up at the Wall, Jon and Ygritte are both dealing with the fallout of their brief alliance. The other Wildlings are not happy with Ygritte, especially the new, extra violent tribe that has arrived on the scene. Jon is facing a hearing of sorts from the Night’s Watch. They aren’t happy that he seemingly defected for a while. At his hearing, Jon explained that the Halfhand asked him (Jon) to murder him in order to gain the favor of the Wildlings and learn more about them. There’s a new guy in town (a former member of the City Watch) who seems especially unsympathetic to Jon. Jon admits he slept with Ygritte, but Maester Aemon doesn’t seem to think Jon’s crimes are especially serious. Following the hearing, Jon is free to go. For now.

Back at King’s Landing, there’s a new player in town. Dornish Prince Oberyn is in town for Joffery and Margaery’s wedding. His older brother was supposed to attend, but apparently he is sick and couldn’t make the journey. Tyrion is sent to greet the Prince, and naturally, he finds him at a whorehouse. Before Tyrion arrives, we see Oberyn try to proposition the male proprietor of the whorehouse, but when Tyrion arrives, Oberyn starts kissing is female companion. Tyrion tries to bond with Oberyn by invoking their mutual second son inferiority complexes, but it doesn’t seem to really work. Oberyn also really doesn’t like Lannisters on principal, going back to stuff that happened when the last Targaryen was overthrown.

Also in King’s Landing, Brienne is trying to see how much influence she can wield to protect the Stark daughters. First she tries talking to Margaery and her grandmother. She tells them both what she thinks really happened to Renly, but Margaery isn’t really interested. She says that Joffrey is the true King now. Brienne then goes to Jaime and tries to tell Jaime that he is obligated to help her deliver the Stark girls to safety. With Sansa a Lannister now and Arya long missing, Jaime doesn’t seem to think there’s really anything to be done, but Brianne disagrees.

Our final story to visit tonight is Arya and the Hound. We learn that the Hound is hoping to be able to get some ransom from Arya’s Aunt Lysa (good luck with that one, dude). Neither of them have any money, so they consider trying to steal from the patrons of a pub. Arya really wants to do some stealing and then some when she discovers that one of the pub patrons is the skeezy guy who killed one of her friends and stole Needle. Arya wants revenge, but the Hound doesn’t think it’s worth it. They go into the pub and try to play it cool, but they quickly attract the attention of the bad guys anyway. A pretty epic brawl ensues, and half-way through it, Arya starts becoming a killing machine. She gets Needle back (and uses it to kill the guy who stole it from her), but what price will she have to pay for her actions?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Mindy Project 2.16: "Indian BBW"

“Usually when I have sex with a guy, we’ve gone on at least five dates. Or he’s spent, like, two-thousand dollars on me. Whichever comes first.”

“Indian BBW” continued to explore the consequences of Mindy and Danny trying to have a relationship. Strangely, even though I like Jess and Nick of “New Girl” better on paper, I think I may like how Mindy Kaling and her team are handling Mindy and Danny getting together better. Mindy and Danny do have some fundamental differences, but they aren’t differences that make either of them a person I wouldn’t want to hang out with. Danny does the grumpy old man who is actually young thing without Nick’s additional helping of irresponsibility. He’s somebody who would care about you deeply, but also not ruin your credit report. Sorry if that’s harsh, but I’m a recession kid. We care about this stuff. Nick always means well, but sometimes I just want to slap him upside the head.

Anyway, the episode begins with Mindy and Danny sitting on Mindy’s bed, making out. Mindy wants to take things slow, and Danny isn’t especially happy about this. He wants to have sex. Mindy doesn’t relent, and Danny is grumbly about it, but he respects her wishes. Only after calling up a bunch of former conquests trying to prove he could have sex with any girl in New York at any time. Of course his attempt to show up Mindy doesn’t work. None of the women accept his booty call. Except for Vanessa the prostitute, that is. She’s only too happy to have another pay day.

The next morning, Mindy finds out that Danny has been admitted to the hospital with viral meningitis, so she rushes to see him. I found it kind of odd that the episode treated a very serious illness so lightly. And why hadn’t doctors like Danny and Mindy been vaccinated against meningitis? Am I reading into this episode too much? Mindy encounters Danny’s brother, Ritchie, at the hospital, and she gets a little pissed off when Danny re-introduces her to Ritchie as his “coworker.” Anyway, “brain fever,” as they’re all jokingly calling it, has only made Danny even more horny than he was before. Mindy keeps telling Danny that she wants to take it slow, however, and even though he’s in a hospital bed, Danny is frustrated by that. He definitely doesn’t want Mindy to read “Bridget Jones’ Diary” to him.

Meanwhile, Peter sends Mindy some very upsetting texts. Apparently Peter found a sex tape Mindy made at least ten years ago (with her gross ex Tom, played by Bill Hader) online. Mindy really, really doesn’t want Danny to see the tape because she’s worried it’s going to upset him given their recent argument. To try and mitigate the damage, Mindy and Peter first pay a visit to Tom. He has started dating his dental assistant (their relationship is kind of creepy, really, since she’s so submissive), so he’s not interested in the video being widely distributed, either. Mindy wants Tom to destroy the original copy of the video, but Peter wants Tom to go one step farther. He wants Tom to deliver the video to Mindy so that they can ensure it is actually destroyed.

Despite this motivation, Tom isn’t much help on the video already being on the internet side of things, so Mindy and Peter also pay a visit to the porn website’s headquarters. The porn company is run by the guy who played the “King of Bethesda” on “Burning Love,” by the way. Anyway, the guys who run the porn site are very reluctant to take down the video, due to the recent demand for “Indian BBWs” (Indian “Big Beautiful Women”). Mindy is not at all happy with this characterization. Peter manages to save the day by name dropping Dartmouth of all things. It turns out that the guys who run the site are Dartmouth alums, too. Because of that connection, the web site guys agree to take the video down after all.

Tom drops the sex tape DVD off at Mindy’s office, and the DVD accidentally makes its way to Danny when Morgan drops a bunch of Mindy’s stuff off at the hospital so she can get some work done while she spends the night with Danny. Mindy and Peter find Danny watching the video, absolutely horrified. Peter at first questions why Danny would be so upset by the video. Peter buys that at first, but then he remembers Mindy saying something about seeing a new guy. So yeah, Peter now knows that Mindy and Danny are pursuing a relationship, although neither of them have officially admitted it. Before Mindy and Danny can argue about the sex tape too much, Mindy faints. It turns out she has meningitis, too, which only confirms Peter’s theory.

Peter once again saves the day when it comes to the whole Mindy and Danny conflict. He brings Tom to the hospital to talk to Danny, and he uses the threat of telling Tom’s new girlfriend everything to get Tom to say the right things to Danny. Tom tells Danny that although he and Mindy had some hot sex, he doesn’t think Mindy really loved him, or even liked him all that much. Danny isn’t sold, but then Peter steps up and says that he thinks Mindy has been so mortified to show Danny the sex tape because she respects and maybe even loves “the practice” (Danny had been saying he was so upset over the sex tape because it might tarnish the reputation of Shulman and Associates).

By the end of the episode, Danny has taken Peter’s words to heart. He wheels himself into Mindy’s hospital room and asks her where her copy of “Bridget Jones’ Diary” is. Mindy points to the book, Danny grabs it, and then he climbs into bed with her. Danny says he is okay with taking things slow for now, and then he pulls out his reading glasses. He reads the book to Mindy, which I think is pretty adorable. He even reads in a British accent and tries to do different voices for the characters. While Mindy and Danny probably can’t get together for good just yet, I thought this was a really sweet scene that showed just how much they really care about each other.

Once Upon a Time 3.17: "The Jolly Roger"

O“Just take it from me, just this once. No matter how much you wish you could go back to your old life, you can’t.”
- Hook

In case the title didn’t clue you in, this week is all about Hook. We jump in during the lost year where he and his boys are fleecing soldiers out of their hauls like common criminals rather than pirates. Hook is trying to get back to who he once was but doesn’t appear to be that easy. For one thing, the woman his shipmates pay for doesn’t get anything from him except more money and a smile. And then as Hook is walking away, someone jumps him. And that someone is Ariel. She wants to make him pay. Ominous.

Perhaps even more ominous is David and Emma trying to put together a crib. It’s actually pretty hilarious. But David is of the mind that they need to keep living their lives, even with Zelena still out there. Emma agrees. At least now the crazy witch can’t get at the Snowing baby at home. Regina has beefed up security without blood magic. So they’ll be safe there. And Emma decides that maybe it would be a good idea for her to learn magic so that she and Regina could team up against Zelena. Something tells me this is going to be really not fun for Emma. She sort of beats around the bush that the Charmings aren’t fun and so she’s going to drop Henry off with Hook. They get to the docks to find Hook and Smee in an argument. Smee wants to be off sailing again and having adventures and he’s unhappy that Hook won’t even tell him if he found the Jolly Roger during the missing year. Emma explains that she needs Hook to babysit so she can learn magic and defeat Zelena. She is still sticking to her plan of taking Henry back to New York when this as all over. Hook warns her that no matter how much you want to go back, you can’t. Down on the beach, the Charmings are taking a leisurely stroll when they happen upon a crowd a certain washed ashore mermaid. This is going to be interesting.

Ariel has come back because she’s lost Prince Eric and she thinks he might be here. Snow and Charming fill her in on what’s been going on in town and suggest a visit to Hook since he’s go this memories and all. He’s playing dice at Granny’s with Henry but he says he’s never heard of Eric when Ariel asks. Which a complete and utter lie because back in the Enchanted Forest, she accuses Hook of kidnapping Eric aboard the Jolly Roger. He soon figures out that his nemesis, Blackbeard, has taken hold of his ship. Hmm, does this sound like Pirates of the Caribbean to anyone else? Hook gets a bug up his ass about getting his ship back. In fact he gets a little violent about it which sort of freaks out Smee. Ariel insists on coming along to get her man back and Hook isn’t particularly happy about it but she’s got the pirate bro code on her side so he’s stuck with her.

Out at Regina’s crypt, she is taking Emma to learn some magic. It doesn’t go well, probably because Emma really isn’t invested. But Regina, getting a brilliant idea from how she was trained by Rumple, whisks her away to a bridge over a very long drop into some rough water. We’ll see if it’s enough to actually get the student motivated. Elsewhere, the Charmings badger Hook into helping Ariel even though he clearly would rather be anywhere else. And back in the Enchanted Forest, she says she is surprised that he would even think of kidnapping or killing a prince, given the hand he played in helping to save Henry and such. He is desperately trying to forget that part of his life and go back to being a scoundrel and a bastard and I have to say, it is kind of getting on my nerves. After a teary reunion between Belle and Ariel, Hook happens upon Eric’s cloak (which he ripped back in the day and got Ariel all miffed).

Back on the bridge, Regina starts to collapse the bridge and tells Emma she can stop it and save herself. The ropes start to untie once all the boards are gone and Emma falls. But she manages to pull all the boards together and levitate herself back up. Regina is a little annoyed because all she wanted from Emma was to retie the ropes. She feels our savior is wasting her potential. Back at Gold’s shop, they enchant Eric’s cloak and follow it but it leads them to the water and the cloak disappears. Ariel thinks that means her prince is dead and she turns to Hook for comfort which is rather awkward.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Hook, Ariel and Smee find the Jolly Roger and Hook calls Blackbeard out for a fight. It doesn’t seem to be going in our captains’ favor at first until he uses the ship’s quirks to his advantage and traps Blackbeard’s foot in a loose floorboard. He’s ready to slice off the bastard’s head when Ariel says that Eric isn’t aboard. Blackbeard is going to test Hook to see if he’s really a pirate anymore. He says that Hook can let Blackbeard live and he’ll take them to Eric (who is on a deserted island. This totally sounds like Pirates of the Caribbean) or Hook can kill him and Eric dies. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions. I have an idea of what Hook chooses and it would explain his hesitance to help Ariel now in Storybrooke. We’ll see if my theory plays out or not. I was sort of right. Hook shoves Blackbeard off the ship and Ariel flips out on him. I suppose with good reason. But she says she’s not giving up hope and she jumps off the boat, gets her tail back and swims for it.

In Storybrooke, David’s idea of having fun with Henry involves underage driving. They seem to have fun but mailboxes were harmed in the process. Oops! Later, Hook has a crisis of conscience and blabs everything to Ariel. She slaps him and calls him a coward. He says he’d do anything to change what happened and so she makes him swear it on his true love’s name. Which of course is Emma. And it wasn’t really Ariel after all. It was Zelena and she’s now cursed Hook’s kiss. When he kisses Emma, he will leave her powerless which is just what Zelena wants. Hook points out that Zelena needed the extra help because for some reason, she can’t kill Emma. Zelena threatens everyone Emma loves if Hook doesn’t do as she asks. He heads off to the Charmings’ apartment and finds Emma. I swear I thought he was going to kiss her the entire scene but he manages to get out of it, even though he’s miserable now. However, the rest of the family reacting to Henry driving his hilarious. Regina gets all upset and then has to play it off like “oh I’m the Mayor, can’t have underage drivers on the road”. It’s pretty hilarious. We do get to see one more display of Emma’s magic. She checks in on Eric and Ariel. They’re happy together and living free of the curse. So good for them. The family heads off to Granny’s for dinner and Hook stands outside, spying on Emma through his spyglass. Creepy as hell but I love that Regina is part of the family now. Overall it kind of felt like mostly filler until the very end with Zelena popping up with her “gotcha” moment. We’ll see what next week brings.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Mindy Project 2.15: "French Me, You Idiot"

“I don’t care what you say to that giant elephant up there. According to my guy, this is wrong.” -Danny

And “The Mindy Project” is back (for a few weeks, at least)! The spring premiere picked up exactly where the last episode left off – Mindy and Danny are making out in the back of the plane. After the initial kiss, both of them are hesitant for a minute, and Danny basically gives Mindy a pass if she wants to reconsider. She doesn’t. They go into the bathroom and try to get more romantic, but some turbulence kills the mood. Things can be hot on an airplane (I guess?), but the real test for Mindy and Danny will be what happens when they get home and face real life. That is really what this episode is all about. There are some serious loose ends for Mindy and Danny back in New York, and they have to deal with those lose ends before they can try to be together. I’m glad the creative team decided to take this approach, really. Mindy and Danny kissing and everything being happily ever after just wouldn’t have been realistic.
Mindy and Danny hardly have any time back in New York before the biggest loose end they must face presents itself. Danny drops Mindy off at her apartment, and they are greeted by Cliff trying to perform a “grand romantic gesture” in the hallway. Egged on by Morgan, Cliff hired a mariachi band to create a romantic mood (I guess?) for asking Mindy to take him back. Danny is kind of heartbroken because he thinks Mindy is going to choose Cliff over him, and there’s a surprisingly beautifully shot (for a comedy) scene where we see the elevator doors close in front of him as the mariachi band plays.
In other news, the gynecologist to the New York City Ballet has had a heart attack, and Jeremy thinks it would be a great idea for Shulman and Associates to try and get the contract. Danny’s really not a ballet kind of guy and Mindy has been banned from Lincoln Center, so Jeremy must rely on Peter’s help to make this deal happen. Peter knows that his frat boy persona is going to be a disadvantage when he and Jeremy try to make their pitch, so he enlists some help. He approaches Brendan the midwife and proposes a partnership. Both Shulman and the Midwives want the contract, but neither alone have all the qualities the Ballet is looking for. Together, they can win the bid and then some.
Danny and Mindy have rather inappropriate conversations at work throughout the episode. Early in the episode, they fight about Cliff’s big romantic gesture. Mindy swears that she has feelings for Danny, not Cliff. Danny is equally adamant that while she’s still officially going out with Cliff, it would be cheating if anything more happened between them. Mindy thinks this is stupid, but one thing about Mindy and Danny is that they’re equally stubborn. Danny and Mindy even manage to bring religion into the argument, as you can see from the quote of the episode. Anyway, Mindy promises to break up with Cliff that night.
Mindy’s big break-up plan is to be as disgusting as possible so Cliff is the one who wants to break up with her. When Cliff arrives home, he finds Mindy sitting on the toilet. The grossness only escalates from there. Just as Mindy is about to pull the trigger and break up with Cliff (finally), Cliff gets a call that his grandmother died. He’s devastated, and Mindy spends the night because she feels bad for Cliff. They don’t have sex, but Danny is still pissed off when Cliff talks about it the next day. It probably doesn’t help that Cliff implies that there was sex. Even when Mindy clears things up about what exactly happened between herself and Cliff, Danny isn’t happy. Things only get worse when Cliff asks Mindy to write his grandmother’s eulogy. He thinks she would do a great job because the letter she wrote him was so eloquent. Mindy begs Danny for help, since Danny was the one who actually wrote said eloquent letter, but Danny refuses.
Meanwhile, Peter and Brendan go to the ballet to do their pitch for the gynecology contract. Jeremy isn’t there because he realized that he has dated most of the ballerinas, and that probably wouldn’t end well for the business. Brendan is a ballet fan, but Peter is decidedly not. He puts on a good front until someone from the ballet invites Peter and Brendan to watch a four hour rehearsal while management deliberates the contract. Peter is well behaved for a while, but by the act break, he has had it. Brendan says that the final scene of the act is two lovers moving towards each other. The two dancers, however, seem to be moving as slowly as possible. Peter throws a fit and yells at the dancers to move faster. Then he gets up on the floor and starts moving the dancers himself. When peter regains his composure, he realizes that there’s no way they’re getting the contract now, and he and Brendan leave while they still have some dignity.
Both Mindy and Danny end up going to Cliff’s grandmother’s funeral. Cliff starts trying to say the eulogy that Mindy wrote, and as you might expect, it’s pretty terrible. Mostly because Mindy didn’t even both to find out the poor woman’s name. Mindy and Danny can’t take much of it, so they go to the candle lighting area in the back of the church. They aren’t lighting a candle for Cliff’s grandmother though. They are in the back of the church to make out. And of course they kind of light the church on fire in the process. After everyone is evacuated, Cliff thanks Mindy and Danny for at least trying to light a candle for his grandmother. Mindy chooses that moment to admit that she was actually making out with Danny, and it’s not the first time she has done so. Cliff responds by punching Danny. Which he probably deserved.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.17: "Turn, Turn, Turn"

“We swore allegiance to each other and today that loyalty will be tested. If you waiver, you die.”
- Agent Hand

So just to warn you, this episode is supposed to tie in very heavily with the events of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. Having seen the film, I can tell you that yes, this episode is a bit of a spoiler for the movie. You’ve been warned. We pick up with Ward’s SO being chased by SHIELD drones. Meanwhile, on the Bus, everyone is kind of standing around yelling at each other. May says she didn’t change the plane’s course and that the Hub can do that remotely. She explains that she’s been reporting to Fury all this time. And then Fitz explains he was trying to get a secure line to Simmons at the Hub. If she’s been talking to the wrong people, she’s going to be in big trouble.

At the Hub, Simmons is running some tests on Skye’s blood when Ward 2.0 finds her and starts snooping. She gives him some information about what she’s doing but not all of it. It seems pretty clear that she doesn’t trust him. We also take a peek back at Agent Hand to see that she’s tracking Ward’s SO now that he’s on the Bus. She’ll just take him out with the rest of the team (sans Coulson) when they land. Coulson and the team (minus May who Coulson shot and dumped in the interrogation room with Ward), fill Ward’s SO in on their theory that Hand is the real clairvoyant. He’s not buying it though. Apparently, a coded message has gone out to all SHIELD frequencies and Skye manages to decode it. “Out of the darkness into the light Hydra” is what it reads. So yes, in case you missed it, Hydra is not all dead.

While the folks on the Bus contemplate the fact that Hydra has been inside SHIELD since its inception and Agent Hand is likely a Hydra agent, other Hydra sympathizers and rounding people up. Simmons and Ward 2.0 are locked in the lab and they get the Intel that Hydra is still around from Agent Weaver at the academy. They are under attack. After a few tense moments where it looks like Ward 2.0 is going to try and take out Simmons, he suggests they try to contact their people in the air. I gotta admit, I was totally expecting him to be a Hydra agent. Back on the Bus, May wakes up and Ward is rather pissed at her for being a spy. She points out that he killed the wrong man. Coulson busts in and orders May to call Director Fury to figure out this mess. As she’s trying to get through, the plane lands at the Hub and agents start taking out the plane’s defenses and then start shooting. May has just enough time to learn that Director Fury is dead before they all hit the ground to avoid being turned into bullet-riddled corpses.

May took a bullet in the arm and Coulson takes the opportunity to interrogate her some more. She explains that Fury wanted her to keep an eye on him for his mental and physical well-being. And apparently she assembled their team, not Coulson. That doesn’t quite make sense but whatever. Meanwhile, Skye is downloading all the super important stuff about the 0-8-4s and other tech they’ve encountered to a hard drive and then will wipe the plane’s systems so Hydra can’t get their hands on it. A strike team enters the plane but our team manages to get off and into the building. Skye and Ward going to find a way to unlink the plane from the Hub’s systems while the rest of them go find Simmons. Unfortunately, Hand has gotten ahold of Simmons and Ward 2.0. Things are looking pretty dire actually. Hand offers them a choice, join up or die. When they refuse to join up, she seems relieved, claiming she isn’t Hydra. But Coulson is. Say what now? I’m still convinced she’s the clairvoyant.

She runs down a litany of “crimes” Coulson has committed which makes her think that he is Hydra. Simmons isn’t buying it and neither am I. Director Fury wouldn’t go to such lengths to bring him back if he even suspected Coulson of being the enemy. Elsewhere in the facility, Skye and Ward have a heart to heart where it becomes clear he’s got feelings for her and he’s worried that might compromise him. But they promise to have a drink and talk if they survive this ordeal. Ward goes to take out a bunch of guys so they can get to the room they need to mess up the servers. I have to admit, Ward is pretty good at his job. Coulson and the rest of the team get into an operations room and find Agent Hand. Ward’s SO is rather insistent on putting Hand down with two to the chest but Coulson says that they can’t do that. Ward’s SO goes on about how she was the one who shot Skye and tortured Coulson and brainwashed Rayna. This is a big red flag in Coulson’s head because he never mentioned anything about Rayna being put in the machine. Things start clicking together even more when he remembers that Quinn said that Coulson would lead the clairvoyant to the cure. And by god he did! A bunch of commandos bust into the room and those loyal to SHIELD get bullets in the chest on Ward’s SO’s command. Hail Hydra!

He gloats that the top brass coming out (and taking the rest of Hydra with them) wasn’t exactly planned but what the hell. You go with what happens. He plans to kill Coulson and May and torture Fitz (unless he agrees to join up). But Skye and Ward’s explosive go off and fighting ensues. May takes out quite a few and thanks to Fitz, they knock out Ward’s SO. Hand busts in and she admits that she knows Coulson is not Hydra. Unfortunately, Ward looks devastated when Coulson fills him in. With SHIELD crippled, Coulson and Hand have to work together to stay alive. Coulson heads back to the Bus and gets the team working on getting the plane up in the air. And then Ward says he wants to escort his SO to the Fridge with Agent Hand. On the plane, Hand gives Ward the chance to shoot the real clairvoyant. Ward cocks his gun and then shoots the two guards and Hand (repeatedly). I have to admit I wasn’t expecting that. I suppose it makes sense given how close he was to his SO. I can’t wait to see what happens next and when the rest of the team learns of his true intentions and loyalties.