Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween "Classic" Recap: Grimm: "La Llorona"

“There’s a long Wesen tradition of the All Hollows Eve midnight Woge. Running through the woods, scaring the crap out of villagers. Literally, sometimes.”

This year for Halloween, I decided to switch things up a bit here at MTVP and blog an episode of “Grimm.” Grimm is a little (comparative) powerhouse for NBC in the Friday night death slot. While it’s not exactly deep television, I enjoy it as a supernatural drama with a police procedural structure. The basic premise is that police officer Nick Burkhardt is also a Grimm, a person with special powers to fight the supernatural. Most of the time Nick is fighting very corporeal shapeshifting beings called Wesen (of which there are many varieties). This episode, however, takes a different tack. Nick and his companions find themselves in the middle of a classic Latino ghost story. When it was broadcast, this episode was notable for its Spanish language content. Early in the episode, before Juliette arrives to translate, none of the Spanish is subtitled. I think it was an artistic choice meant to make the viewer feel as isolated at the Latino characters in heavily English-speaking Portland. I believe the episode was also simulcast on Telemundo.

The episode, which focuses on the Latino legend of “La Llorona,” begins with a father and son fishing on a river. They see a woman in a white dress start wading into the water while crying. She just keeps on walking in a straight line and becomes more and more submerged. Concerned, the father, whose name is Luis, jumps in after her. While he is searching for her in the water, the woman, who has appeared back on shore, walks off with Luis’ son, Raphael. Nick and Hank end up assigned to the missing persons case. Luis only speaks Spanish, and the police department’s one Spanish-speaking officer (kind of unbelievable) is on vacation, so Nick calls Juliet. She has Spanish relatives, apparently, so she’s fluent. We’re in the part of the “Grimm” storyline where Juliet had been in a coma and woke up with amnesia thanks to a kiss from Captain Renard. Things between Nick, Juliet, and Renard are super awkward because of this throughout the episode. An amber alert goes out for Raphael, and it attracts the attention of a Latina Wesen named Valentina who immediately buys plane tickets to Portland.

The side plot in this episode is kind of silly, so let’s get it out of the way in one go (even if it is the most overtly Halloween part of the episode). It turns out that Halloween is a major holiday in the Wesen world, and Monroe goes just as all-out for it as he does for Christmas. His house is decorated to the max, and he’s wearing a scary skeleton costume. Monroe defends a little girl (who has awesome witch makeup, by the way) from some bullies, and the bullies decide to try and get revenge on Monroe. They end up breaking the front window on his house, and they take a cell phone video of it. Monroe finds him as they’re admiring they’re work in the video, and he manages to give them a good Halloween scare by Woge-ing at them.

The police team (including Juliet) are holed up at Luis and Raphael’s, trying to learn more about Raphael. An older lady from the neighborhood stops by, and she insists that the culprit is La Llorona. She also freaks Juliet out by knowing way too much about what’s been going on in her life recently, including the fact that she’s subconsciously trying to choose between two guys (Nick and Captain Renard). Throughout much of the episode, the neighborhood lady freaks out Juliet and also really pisses off Luis. I guess Luis wants to believe that the cause of his son’s disappearance is more based in the corporeal. Luis is hit especially hard by Raphael’s disappearance because Raphael’s mother has died. Obviously it would be traumatic either way, but his emotions seem to be all tied up in both events.

Detective Valentina shows up at the police precinct knowing a lot more about what’s going on than the Portland PD. She says she’s from the Albuquerque Police Department. She is certain that two more children will be abducted (a boy and a girl), and all three will be dead by the end of the day. She tells Nick, Hank, and Captain Renard about other similar cases she has seen. All have taken place at the confluence of three rivers, and each of the abductions happens on the shore of one of the three rivers, in a symmetrical triangle. There’s a visually awesome scene where some kids are playing hide-and-seek in Halloween costumes by a river (a different one from where Luis and Raphael were fishing), and La Llorona takes a little girl in a princess costume.

Nick, Hank, and Valentina are investigating the latest crime scene when Captain Renard rolls up and announces that he checked out Valentina with the Albuquerque PD< and they say they relieved her of duty three years ago. The FBI also wants her for obstructing with their investigation of the river kidnappings. Nick and Hank are forced to handcuff Valentina and take her back to the police precinct. Meanwhile, La Llorona has taken the two kids to an abandoned house, and they’re just lying on the floor, amazed at how awesome La Llorona is. They think she’s an angel or something. It’s super creepy (fits for a Halloween episode, I suppose).

Back at the precinct, we learn why Valentina is so invested in these cases. Apparently her nephew was kidnapped by La Llorona while she was babysitting him. She has never forgiven herself. Nick and Hank visit the trailer to do some research, and they discover that La Llorona is a legit supernatural baddie that Grimms have tried to battle before. That leads them to take a chance on Valentina. They pick her up at the precinct and go to the confluence of the three rivers. This is where La Llorona will drown the three kids. In fact, as Nick, Hank, and Valentina arrive, La Llorona is leading the tree kids into the water. Three ghostly children appear from the depths, and I think she was trying to exchange the souls of the abducted kids for their souls. Hank and Valentina rescue the kids while Nick and La Llorona get into a rather epic water fight in the river. Eventually Nick prevails, and there’s a happy reunion back at the police station. Juliet, however, is still uneasy from the whole day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.05: "A Hen in the Wolf House"

“This is you telling me that I might be an alien. That is not something you just say like it is no big deal.”

So the event I’ve been waiting for anxiously happened by the end of this episode. Spoiler alert: Simmons has returned to the S.H.I.E.L.D. fold and has spoken to Fitz. I’m sad to say it was kind of underwhelming, though. Some of the S.H.I.E.L.D. cast participated in a panel at the Paley Center for Media earlier this month, and that panel led me to believe that the reunion went down a bit differently than what actually happened. Still, I’m glad Simmons is back. I’m the kind of person who likes to have all my people around, and when shows split apart all the main characters on different story tracks, it makes me sad. This episode also was another example of how the Joss Whedon name can attract some great talent. We got our first glimpse of Adrienne Palicki (Tyra from “Friday Night Lights”) as Agent Bobbi Morse.

The episode opened on a wedding reception, specifically a Navy wedding reception. The best man gives a kind of awkward toast, but that’s not the half of it. After everyone takes a sip of the champagne, people starts passing out, either very sick or dead. It’s quickly clear that Hydra was behind this rather horrific scene. Team Coulson learns about this not long after it happens. Apparently most of the Navy sailors at the wedding were part of a special anti-Hydra team, and that’s why Hydra wanted to take them out. Skye interrupts the team’s discussion about all of this with questions about the writing that was on the Obelisk. She’s like an annoying puppy, sometimes, always anxious to be right in the middle of everything. And I usually like puppies. Skye, however, just grates.

We next see a scene between Raina and Skye’s father. Skye’s father has the Obelisk, and because Whitehall really wants it, Raina is trying to convince him to hand it over. Raina’s very afraid of Whitehall, it turns out. Skye’s father, for his part, is pretty pissed off that Raina hasn’t yet found Skye. All he has is a name and a picture, and it’s not enough for him. He refuses to turn over the Obelisk until he has a chance to see Skye. For his part, Whitehall really, really wants to turn the properties of the Obelisk into a weapon. He calls Simmons into a meeting about it, and he asks Simmons for her opinion on how to replicate the Obelisk’s effects. Simmons thinks they will be more successful weaponizing the actual Obelisk as opposed to trying to replicate its powers.

Back at the Playground, Skye is bitching to Lance about how Coulson won’t tell her anything about the Obelisk writing, so Lance convinces Skye to talk to Ward about it. Probably because he’s sick of her whining. I wouldn’t blame him. Ward tells Skye about how Garrett carved writing like what was on the Obelisk all over everything in his final months. Naturally, this makes Skye even more worried for Coulson, because both Garrett and Coulson (and Skye, actually) took the alien serum at some point. What really upsets Skye, however, is Ward again saying that her father is alive. Skye confronts Coulson about the whole alien writing thing. They talk a bit about why Skye hasn’t gone crazy with the writing like Garrett and Coulson, and Skye is pissed to find out that Coulson thinks she might be at least part alien.

Coulson and Skye’s conversation is interrupted by May, who says Coulson has a call from Raina. Raina saw Simmons sending a message to S.H.I.E.L.D., and she photographed it. Raina wants to meet to talk about the situation. Meanwhile, at Hydra HQ, a security lockdown has just gone into effect. Bakshi and a female lieutenant (Bobbi Morse undercover) stride down the halls looking important. I will say it was cool to see Adrienne Palicki on television again. Bobbi finds Simmons in the rest room and starts really interrogating her about how she used to be a very loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. The questioning seems to be (thankfully for Simmons) in vain, though, because incriminating material is actually found in the lab bench drawer of Simmons’ boss.

Coulson goes through with the meeting with Raina, but it doesn’t really go well. Coulson tells Raina he wants the Obelisk, but Raina counters with the photograph of Simmons sending the message. She tries to blackmail Coulson. Raina wants to take Skye to her father, and she says that if Coulson doesn’t agree within a time limit, the photograph of Simmons sending the message to S.H.I.E.L.D. will be sent to every Hydra computer. Coulson says no deal, and Raina is shocked at what seems like extreme callousness. Of course, we know there has to be more to it. The photo starts appearing on Hydra computers, and everyone starts staring at Simmons. She runs, and she manages to escape Hydra security with the help of none other than Bobbi. They do a lot of running through corridors until they are eventually able to jump on a cloaked S.H.I.E.L.D. plane.

Once Simmons is safe, Raina is allowed to leave the meeting. The rest of the team is distressed to find, however, that Skye has run off after her. Skye finds herself in her father’s lab, although it’s abandoned by this point except for one photograph. Coulson appears out of the shadows and confronts Skye. Meanwhile, Skye’s father watches everything that his happening through secret cameras hidden throughout the lab. He’s in a car nearby watching the camera feeds on a tablet. As Skye and Coulson explore what’s left of the lab, they find two dead bodies. Now Skye thinks her dad’s a monster, and she tells Coulson she’s is up for whatever it takes to bring him down. They share a very emotional hug, and Skye’s father doesn’t like what he sees at all. He smashes the tablet and drives off.

The end of the episode mostly focuses on the S.H.I.E.L.D. team reuniting at the Playground. As I said way back at the beginning of this post, the FitzSimmons reunion was a little underwhelming. They did talk, and Fitz was awkward about it. It looks like Simmons really still does care about him, though, so there’s that. Bobbi is also with the crew, and Coulson says she’s with them to stay. The only catch is that it turns out she’s Lance’s ex-wife about whom he’s always telling horrible stories. Coulson and Skye reach an accord where they decide they are going to be honest with each other. Coulson shows her the writing he has been doing, and Skye actually has a useful theory. She thinks it’s a map. It’s a good thing they’re on the same page now, because things are about to get worse. The very end of the show involves Skye’s father bringing the Obelisk to Whitehall.

Sleepy Hollow 2.06: "And The Abyss Gazes Back"

“Those who fight monsters should see to it in the process they do not become one.”
- Henry

Well we are nearing the mid-way point of the second season (three more episodes to go to get there). I have to say, as much as I love Abbie and Ichabod, I do miss the shorter episode count. We’ve had a few episodes that were sort of filler so far this year and this show is so much better than that. That said the opening of this episode had me cracking up a lot. Abbie and Ichabod are doing yoga to try and strengthen their minds to fight Moloch but Ichabod is not in the mood. He’s still miffed (and hurt and disappointed) over Katrina’s lies. He gets that it was because his role as a Witness is too important to mess up but I mean he has a right to be angry with the woman. She did lie to him about some pretty important stuff. But he still loves her, I’m sure. Ichabod decides that a round of drinks (and a toast stolen from Ben Franklin) are what will cure his wife-y ills.

So he and Abbie head to a bar where their reveling is quickly interrupted by young Joe Corbin, Sheriff Corbin’s son, just returned home from a tour in Afghanistan. He’s drunk and not happy to see Abbie. He blames her for his father’s death and apparently something bad went down overseas to his platoon because he got honorably discharged. Joe takes off and we next see a group of people in the wood partying it up and growls from what sounds like a wolf emanating from the tree line.

Abbie tells Ichabod that she used to have a better relationship with Joe and that worries her. It is also worrying when she gets a dispatch call for a noise complaint and Joe’s car is at the scene. On the way, Ichabod mistakenly tries to identify superman’s secret identity. It’s rather amusing but hey, he’s learning! They arrive on scene ad find several mutilated bodies and Joe really out of it. He says that his dad knew and that “it” is going to get them all. Am I the only one thinking that Joe is a werewolf or something? He tells Abbie to leave him alone at the hospital so he heads back to the archives to find Ichabod trying to find the creature. We get a little history lesson on Daniel Boone, and his brother Squire, who the Shawnee tribe believed to be a wendigo. It is a beast that can only return to human form once it has consumed human organs. So Joe is a creepy supernatural beast? It would seem so since the incident report from his platoon overseas had similar dead bodies.

At Terrytown Psych, Captain Irving is still trying to find a way out from under Henry’s thumb. But the Horseman of War is being manipulative as usual. He says that he gets Irving’s soul when Irving dies. And there is a way to reclaim his soul, he has to kill someone. Henry offers up the man who hit Macey and paralyzed her. I’m kind of hoping Irving does take him out to be free of Henry but then again, I don’t want Irving’s soul marred by that action. Still, it isn’t good for our Witnesses that Henry has such strong control over Irving. Irving confronts the man who paralyzed his daughter and nearly kills him before he realizes that is exactly what Henry wants. Good thing Irving managed to stop himself.

Abbie and Ichabod head to Joe’s apartment and while Ichabod grouses about video games and yoga defeating the purpose of relaxation, Abbie finds Corbin’s will. He’s written a note to Joe, giving him map markers to a point in the park where they found him before. He’s digging for something and it looks like he might have found it. It’s a big metal ox and he takes off running when Ichabod and Abbie show up. They chase him and he gives them enough warning before he starts to transform. He nearly gets Ichabod but Abbie finally shoots him and knocks him out. It’s time for a few reinforcements. Abbie calls in Nick and Jenny for an assist. Nick is going to look into finding a cure, though his usual fare ends up with the subject dead so he needs to get creative. And at least, Jenny’s trip to the med school manages to turn Joe back into a human.

Joe fills them in on how this all went down. He got a letter with white powder (ground up cursed bone) and it said he was cursed and to remove it he had to trade the box. He was only told to take it to Fredericks Manor. Ah, so that’s why Henry was grinding up the bone flute. Apparently, the contents of the box that Henry so desires is a really rare and dangerous Chinese poison. Well of course he does. Naturally, our Witnesses aren’t going to let Henry win. Ichabod and Joe actually have a little heart to heart about being soldiers when Ichabod apologizes for his son’s behavior. He admits that he loves Henry despite everything and Joe begs Ichabod to tell henry that. I doubt it will work but I suppose it’s worth a shot.

Nick and Abbie find a little hiccup in their plan. The fourth transformation of the wendigo is permanent and Joe has already transformed three times so the pressure is on. Nick knows some Shawnee natives who he is sort of on good terms with and Ichabod tags along to be the voice of reason. It’s Ichabod who convinces the guys to help (naturally). Nick isn’t exactly diplomatic after all. Plus, come on, the accent is super sexy. Unfortunately, while they are off obtaining a cure, Henry busts in to the Masonic cell with some hired guns demanding Joe and the poison. This interrupts a touching conversation where Abbie explains that she chose to turn her life around because she wanted to be a part of the Corbin family; the way the sheriff talked about Joe really touched her. Joe agrees to go with him if Henry spares Abbie and Jenny. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that instead of giving Joe a cure, Henry facilitates the final change in Joe. It’s not a race to the finish or our Witnesses and their allies. And by some miracle, they save Joe. He heads off to try and join the FBI, leaving Abbie and Ichabod to fight the good fight (and Ichabod to hilariously play video games online). Seriously, someone ought to do a compilation of Ichabod interacting with modern stuff. It would be amazing. Anyway, Abbie gets a very disturbing call from Irving, cluing her in to what Henry’s done to him. This prompts Ichabod to declare his intention to find a way to save his son. Speaking of Henry, he’s reconstituted the bug that the poison comes from sends it off to infect Katrina. Why do I have a feeling the Ichabbie shippers may get one of the roadblocks to that relationship removed next week?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Once Upon a Time 4.05: “Breaking Glass”

“Stop trying to get me to forgive you because it will never happen.”
- Regina

So if you follow the spoiler sites at all, you knew this episode was not only a big Emma and Regina episode but we finally get some more backstory on Emma as a kid. The Snow Queen is busy making what looks like an evil snowman (mercifully not Olaf) while Emma and Elsa are browsing old town records at the sheriff’s station. Hook pops by to drop off some more items and kiss Emma on the cheek before taking Henry sailing. Wil makes a good point that it’s fairly obvious that Hook is kissing up to Henry to get in better with Emma. I have to agree with Wil on this one. Anyway, Elsa finds some old photos that Sydney took when he was spying for Regina during season 1 and there’s one of Emma arguing with the Snow Queen in the ice cream shop. So Emma decides to pay Regina a visit. Regina is holed up in her vault trying to undo the curse on Marian. She orders Sydney off to find the woman shortly before Emma pops by and offers to help. She also wants to know if Regina has any idea what Emma was arguing about with the Snow Queen. She doesn’t. Elsa is waiting in the car and she hears Anna calling to her. Yeah, I don’t think that’s really your sister, honey.

In 1993 in Montana, a teenage Emma is trying to steal some food from a convenience store when she almost gest caught by a guard. Another girl about her age steps in and they end up conning the guard together and taking off after using a stolen credit card. It seems Emma has found a new partner in crime in the dark haired Lily. The girls bond over their shared shitty group home experiences and decide to crash in one of the houses that’s vacant for the fall. Oh and we learned that Emma ended up in Boston in a foster home. So I guess she’s got ties there. Who knew? Oh and this also takes place after the flashback last season to when we saw a teenage Emma before. Emma and Lily break into one of the houses and have a good time playing video games and mugging off for a handheld camera. We also see that Lily has a star-shaped birth mark on her wrist. I’m pretty sure that’s going to be very important and I’ve got a theory about who she is. We’ll see if I’m right by the end of the episode. The girls promise to remain friends and swear that nothing will ever be able to change that. Well Lily lying to Emma about being a foster kid might have something to say about that. Lily’s dad finds them in the middle of the night and is ready to take her home. Lily tries to get Emma to take her phone number so they can actually run away together but Emma’s not interested. She doesn’t’ handle betrayal well (as we know) and she leaves Lily screaming her name. And it turns out I was making connections where there aren’t any. At least not exactly.

In other Storybrooke news, David is trying to persuade Mary Margaret to leave the baby for a few hours in Belle’s capable hands to go on a walk. They stop by the sheriff’s station because she is insisting on having a walkie talkie that Belle can use to reach them once they are out of cell phone range and find Wil has broken out. So now their leisurely hike is going to be a royal adventure. They’ve been at it an hour when Snow starts whining but when David gives her the option of going home, she ends up relenting and staying with it. She finds Wil digging holes in the sand. He’s looking for his travel pack with a map in it and he drunkenly buried said pack. Snow realizes that David let him out to get her to have the thrill of adventure again and so she could feel okay to leave the baby. It was pretty funny that he couldn’t quite figure out which sheriff she was related to. I am intrigued to see why Wil is here and without Anastasia. David denies having any involvement in Wil’s escape but he’s pleased that it brought back a piece of his wife’s spirit.

Meanwhile, Sydney finds the Snow Queen’s lair just as Emma realizes Elsa has gone missing. She runs into Regina and they head off together (although Regina is really not happy about it) since it seems their targets are in the same general direction. Emma is trying to be nice and tries to compliment Regina on what she’s doing to save Marian but Regina is just in a really bad mood. She doesn’t want the compliments or Emma’s attempts at friendship. Regina’s been hurt and there’s no going back from that.

Elsa finds Anna in the forest but there’s a big gap between them so we get the iconic ice staircase building which I have to admit was pretty cool. But as soon as Elsa gets to the top of the stairs, Anna disappears. Yeah this is totally a trap. Yeah, I was right. The Snow Queen is totally messing with Elsa to lure her there to keep her in icy chains and out of the way. And apparently she’s going to use Elsa’s fear and worry to build a snowman. Wonderful.

Emma and Regina happen upon the ice stairway and start heading up when a heavy wind kicks up. They are also arguing over the fact that Regina lied about knowing where Sydney was and how she got her information. It very clearly is mirroring the storyline in the past. And it seems the mirror is working for the enemy. Can I just say it’s kind of amusing to see them working together given their characters; animosity on “Revolution”. The ice stairway starts to shatter and so it’s a race to the top for our Savior and our Queen so they don’t plummet to their deaths. Elsa manages to break free of her chains by letting go of some of her fear and Regina and Emma tag team the Snow Queen’s monster snowman (most definitely not Olaf) and it’s quite impressive to see them working together. I always liked it when they did that. But Regina doesn’t want to mend their relationship. Now whose the ice queen huh? At least it seems Elsa has more control over her powers. But the Snow Queen has Regina’s mirror (presumably with Sydney inside). That’s going to be a problem. The Snow Queen lets Sydney go because she just wanted the mirror Regina had. She usually it to fit the final spot on a big mirror and she’s intent on finding a family that loves her.

Emma, after a pep talk from Elsa, makes another go at bonding with Regina and it kind of works. Emma admits that she made a similar mistake with Lily and she doesn’t want to repeat the past. She wants to try being friends with Regina and it appears Regina might be willing to do that. And it seems Emma does have a connection to the Snow Queen after all. Hook stops by the sheriff’s station and they go through an old box of Emma’s stuff, including an old Polaroid of a very in love and happy Emma and Neal. They find the handheld camera Emma found at the house and play the tape. There are things on there from a foster brother Emma doesn’t remember and the Snow Queen seems to be her new foster mother.

Doctor Who 8.10: "In the Forest of the Night"

“I can save you.”
“I don’t want you to. Please don’t make me say it.”
“Say what?”
“I don’t want to be the last of my kind.”
- The Doctor and Clara

Well Whovians, we’ve nearly completed our first sojourn in the TARDIS with the Twelfth Doctor. Can you believe it? I sure can’t. Anyway, let’s jump in to this week’s episode. It starts with a little girl running through the forest. She happens upon the TARDIS and she asks for help since she’s lost. The Doctor invites her in and they have a rather odd conversation about the little girl being constantly confused by things so she doesn’t really say much about what confuses her. It seems the TARDIS is confused herself because she keeps saying they’ve landed in London where he’s aiming for. But clearly they are in a giant forest. He makes a comment about not having anyone to ask when the TARDIS isn’t working since he’s the last Time Lord but he’s really not. If you consider the Christmas special from last year, the Time Lords are out there in a bubble universe just waiting to be saved. Typical Moffat not remembering his own continuity. Anyway, the little girl turns out to be a student from a museum sleep-over trip which is being chaperoned by Danny and Clara. How she got out is beyond me as they were locked in the museum but whatever. Clara, Danny, and the other students quickly find that the city has been taken over by a forest as well and Clara phones the Doctor to tell him she’s got something amazing to show him right there on planet Earth.

He’s already seen the trees (and the rest of the world is starting to take notice including the little girl’s mother). Danny isn’t pleased that Clara called the Doctor instead of the school and kids’ parents to sort out how to get them home. But this is kind of a situation where he’s needed. Trees can’t just grow up overnight. Not naturally anyway. Danny gets into soldier mode and leads the kids to where the Doctor and Maeve (the little girl0 are waiting. He’s kind of curious about the whole spontaneous tree thing but he’s more concerned with keeping the kids safe. Which really, should be Clara’s top priority, too. But travelling with the Doctor and seeing all the things she’s seen skews her priorities a bit. I guess it would do that to anyone.

When the group finally reaches the Doctor, he’s starting to rant a bit. Clara thinks he can just solve the problem but he’s not sure he can. The trees literally grew up overnight (hence they don’t have any rings to show their age) but they can’t just do that without messing with the fabric of time and communicating with something or someone. So now he’s interested in figuring out why the threes showed up the way they did. I can’t quite see him dealing with a bunch of rowdy kids in the process though.

It turns out the kids are actually important, or at least Maeve is. She’s got some nervous ticks due to her sister going missing in a forest a year ago and she’s on meds. She apparently hears voices. The Doctor realizes that Maeve is tuned to a different frequency than the rest of us and she’s hearing things that could be important. He also thinks she’s the key because he sees her homework and she drew a supernova aimed right at Earth. So he and Clara head out to find her, leaving Danny to mind the rest of the class in the TARDIS. The Doctor is very cross with all the kids messing about with the TARDIS so it’s probably good he’s leaving. Staying inside doesn’t last long though after the statue in Trafalgar Square comes crashing down. Maeve is running through the forest when she sees a bunch of guys in fireproof suits. She’s leaving a trail for Clara and the Doctor to follow as she’s going (her phone, a pencil case and lunch box). It seems that the tree are flame resistant though. Smart trees.

The Doctor and Clara finally catch up with Maeve when she’s being chased by wolves from the zoo. She gets away from them but then a tiger shows up. Danny comes to the rescue with a flashlight but they don’t have time to celebrate his quick thinking. Maeve runs off again. After some quick thinking from the Doctor, he alters gravity around her so that the thoughts she gets will slow down. It turns out they are aliens that have come to protect the planet. They also claim not to have sent Maeve to find the Doctor, they don’t even know who the Doctor is. Maeve thinks she heard the thought from Clara. Interesting, if a little creepy. The Doctor thinks that they can’t do anything to stop the solar flare and Clara tells him to leave and humanity will figure it out. But he hurries back when he makes the connection between the flare and the fire resistant trees. I got there a little faster than he did. Yay me? The trees are there to keep the planet from burning up.

In a very “Stolen Earth/Journey’s End” way, the TARDIS phones everyone on Earth and Maeve reads out a message to not cut down or burn or spray anything on the trees. It works, too. The Doctor and Clara watch from the TARDIS as the trees to their job and the flare burns off in the excess layer of oxygen. Of course, there’s still some relationship drama to deal with. Danny knows that Clara has been lying to him. He wants the truth, no matter what it is. But he tells her to go home and figure it out before telling him. At least he’s not cross this time like he was before. I had a feeling though it would come up again and soon.

Overall, it was an okay episode. Not fantastic but not horrible. And it leaves us in an interesting place going into the two-part season finale. Missy is watching the Earth get saved and she’s surprised that it worked. I really just want to find out what the hell is going on and who she is.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Selfie 1.04: "Nugget of Wisdom"

“No, I imagine they’d be quite ugly, sir. Red-headed Koreans. It’s not a good look. Typically.”

“Nugget of Wisdom” was a pretty entertaining episode of “Selfie.” I liked that we saw a little more emphasis on Henry’s faults in addition to Eliza’s in this episode. Henry is trying to not work for a weekend, and he most definitely goes through workaholic withdrawal. I can be a bit of a workaholic myself, so I could identify with it. It’s another episode where Eliza and Henry each had a challenge to complete. Eliza had to do something compassionate with her weekend, and Henry had to not do anything with his. Surprisingly, Eliza ends up kind of crushing the challenge, although she does so with a little help from Henry. Henry ends up solving a work problem with a little help from Eliza, so I guess in the end it all evened out.

Eliza is doing well with trying to be a better person and always saying “thank you,” but the change is very tiring for her. She really, really wants weekends off from being nice. Henry quotes the song “Working for the Weekend” and says that the weekend is when people really work hard. Some coworkers point out the fact that the meaning of the song is that people work really had all week to enjoy the weekend, but Henry doesn’t really pay attention to that. That’s when Eliza and Henry make the deal that I mentioned in the introduction. Eliza will do something nice and charitable over the weekend if Henry does no work at all.

Eliza asks Charmonique for advice on charitable activities for the weekend, and Charmonique mentions that she’s planning to go to her high school reunion. She’s super excited, because it will be a chance to reunite with McMoney, her kind of douchey high school sweetheart. We get a pretty great flashback to one of Charmonique’s high school dances in 1994. I’m a 90’s kid, so I appreciate this sort of thing. Eliza agrees to stop by Charmonique’s place before the reunion to help her get ready. Charmonique thinks McMoney is her soulmate, and she is really looking forward to reconnecting with him. Henry isn’t having such good luck with his challenge. A rival coworker threatens to get the company’s orange chewable vitamin taken off the market. This vitamin is Henry’s baby, because it was his and Saperstein’s first big rebranding project. He can’t possibly let it go away.

Eliza goes to Charmonique’s to help her get ready for the reunion, and they spend most of the time in Charmonique’s creepy climate-controlled wig closet, trying to pick out the exact right wig for the location. They settle on one that’s kind of T-boz-like (and they sing a few bars of “No Scrubs,” of course). While they’re having fun goofing off with wigs, Charmonique’s babysitter texts to say she has food poisoning and needs to cancel. Charmonique eventually guilts Eliza into babysitting, even though she really, really doesn’t want to.

As we all know, Eliza judges her self-worth by her followers on social media. Typically, she has far and away the most followers on any social media platform of all the people in her social circle. Her “best friend” Britt, however, is catching up to her on Instagram. Eliza had wanted to spend the weekend going to Instagram-worthy party after party to make sure she stayed on top, but now she’s stuck babysitting Kevin, Charmonique’s son. Eliza tells Kevin about her dilemma, and very wise for her age, he reminds her how easy it is to fake things on the internet.

Henry, meanwhile, is super bored at home, trying to fill his time with making a salad and not moping over the bottle of chewable kids’ vitamins (can I say how much I identify with Henry’s super lame weekend plans?). He checks his phone, sees a photo of Eliza, and is instantly alarmed. He rushes to Charmonique’s apartment, expecting to see that Eliza is throwing a party when she should be babysitting. Instead, he sees a party set-up, complete with Kevin as badass DJ, but Eliza is the only other person there. They’ve taken some Instagram photos that look like she’s at a club. Kevin switches up the music to some K-pop for Henry’s benefit, and Henry takes a little offense that Kevin thought he’d like it just because he’s Korean. But then Henry start’s dancing to it like crazy, and it’s hilarious. I often forget that John Cho really got his career started in comedy, and in this scene, I could see why that was such a successful path for him.

Meanwhile, at the reunion, Charmonique does indeed get to see McMoney again, but it’s not the sweet scene she had planned in her head. McMoney is now a priest, and he says he’s glad to see her again because he heard she’s an unwed mother, and he wants to help her turn her life away from sin (basically). Charmonique is hurt at first, but then she realizes that her life is pretty awesome, and if McMoney is going to be so judgey, she doesn’t need him. She just needs to love herself, and she goes out on the dance floor to celebrate.

Henry sticks around to help Eliza with Kevin, and everything is great until it’s time for Kevin to go to bed. He starts sobbing, and it’s the strangest sob I’ve ever heard. Eliza and Henry then realize they completely forgot about Henry’s elaborate bedtime routine. They blast through all of the steps, but Kevin is still crying. Then Eliza remembers that Charmonique told her about all the specific times of day Kevin likes to eat chicken nuggets. Especially important are the “bedtime nuggets.” Eliza offers Kevin his bedtime nuggets, and he perks right up. Eliza and Henry start wondering what would happen if you put vitamins in chicken nuggets.

The vitamins in chicken nuggets thing is sort of a red herring. That doesn’t end up being the final pitch. Eliza made a comment about how if they put vitamins in the chicken nuggets, kids might eat too many of them and overdose. This is what actually inspires the pitch that Henry and Eliza give at the next staff meeting. Henry talks about how trendy gummy vitamins have led to more kids getting sick because of overdoses. The classic, orange, chewable vitamin doesn’t come with that risk. He wants to change the marketing to a theme of safety. Sapperstein loves it and says that Henry and Eliza make a great power couple. Henry insists they aren’t together, but it’s starting to look like he wishes they were.

Constantine 1.01: "Non Est Asylum”

“I walk my path alone. Because let’s be honest, who’d be crazy enough to walk it with me?”
- John Constantine

Of all the new shows I was going to check out, “Constantine” was the one I was most excited about. It looked dark and edgy and it had magic. Plus it was scheduled after Grimm which I think makes an awesome pairing. So without further ado, let’s jump into this ride to Hell. We begin our journey in England where one John Constantine has checked himself into a mental hospital and is undergoing shock treatment to try and forget some of the horrible memories he’s carrying around from his time as an exorcists, demonologist and master of the dark arts (he’s getting new business cards made because he really hates to put on airs about his skills). The doctor he’s seeing isn’t convinced that Constantine witnessed a demon murder a nine-year-old girl named Astra. He’s however damn sure that that little girl’s soul has been damned to Hell. In the middle of a rather boring group therapy session Constantine gets distracted by some cockroaches and follows them to what looks like a chapel. Bugs are crawling all over the walls and a woman is painting something on the wall. John manages to boot the hijacking nasty out of her body and he’s got a message from beyond the grave. A woman named Liv is going to die. I gotta say one of the things that really drew me to this show is the main character’s personality and snarky attitude.

So it’s off to Atlanta to try and save Liv (played by Lucy Griffiths…you may have known her as Maid Marian on the BBC series Robin Hood). She’s closing up at work and things are going wonky. She gets a blank fortune in a fortune cookie and then the electronics around her start going out, including her car. And then the ground opens up around her and a giant fire ball plumes into the sky. Constantine shows up just in time but she’s pretty freaked and takes off. He goes to investigate the giant hole and gets a visit from an angel named Manny (at least he won’t be screaming for Walt all the time). It seems someone has sent Manny to keep an eye on Constantine and it has to do with Astra.

Liv gets a ride home with a friend and catches a creepy guy in hallway. The next thing she knows, her friend is dead and a weird symbol has been carved into her door (and a protective barrier of salt poured as well). She seeks out Constantine again and is introduce to Chaz, his driver and best mate. Well the one that’s still alive anyway. Constantine gives Liv a present from dear old dad who did not in fact die before she was born. He died a year ago. So she’s got some questions for her mother. Unfortunately, her mom isn’t too keen on chatting about Jasper Winters. That’s okay though because Liv freaks out when she sees her grandmother’s trapped and demented soul in the house. Time for a bit of a history lesson. Jasper could see trapped souls and other planes of existence and it appears liv has inherited that ability and her power is focused by touching his amulet. Liv wonders if maybe whatever is after her is seeking revenge for something her father may have done but Constantine isn’t interested in the reasons. He just wants the nasty bugger gone so he can move on with his life.

Whatever is hunting Liv is catching up to them. A truck rams into Chaz’s cab and Constantine briefly takes a trip down memory lane to the time h lost Astra to a big glowing blue demon. Liv’s screams for help draw him back to the present and he manages to keep the demon at bay until Chaz can get Liv out of the car but Chaz gets skewered by an active power line. Constantine isn’t too fussed about his friend’s death as it seems there are more important things to do. And maybe his buddy isn’t actually dead at this point. He takes Liv to her father’s hidey hole and they find out that there’s going to be an attack soon (Liv uses her father’s amulet to scry for trouble). Oh and Constantine figures out which demon is after Liv.

He pays Manny a visit and it seems the angel is using Constantine and our reluctant hero is not happy about that. But it does seem that there may be a possibility that he can save his soul. That is definitely intriguing and I can’t wait to see where that goes. I lie that he’s not a particularly nice guy for some reason. Maybe it’s the hotness and the accent. And the Lost alum just keep on coming. Constantine goes to pay another old friend, Richard Winston, a visit (you might recognize him a Daniel Faraday). He’s equally as scattered as Daniel was and apparently he was there when shit went down with Astra. He’s on all kinds of drugs just to function and he wishes the demon had taken Constantine instead of Astra. Funny, Constantine feels the same way. He ends up blackmailing Richie into helping him.

Back at the house, Liv is kindling the fire when she sees a man in a mirror. Turns out it’s out of time with the rest of the house and she’s seeing her father in the past. Nifty. And Chaz is back. He is definitively hard to kill. Which is helpful in a best mate/demon hunting buddy. That night, they go to take out the demon and we get some (comic canon) background on Constantine. As Liv is sitting in a demon seal 9which looks really cool from an aerial point of view), we learn that Constantine’s mother died in child birth and his drunk of a father blamed his son for his wife’s death and didn’t let him forget it. So when Constantine hit puberty he started learning everything he could about the occult in an attempt to find a way to his mother. No luck yet but he’s still searching.

Right now, they have a demon to smite. It possesses the guard downstairs (who Constantine paid $500 to let them go up to the roof and have sex). The demon quickly takes new form though, Constantine himself but all demonic and gross. I’d seen the early trailers where there was another demon he was fighting but I have to say I like that it was more personal with this. Plus fewer special effects (more makeup and contacts). He gets chewed out by the demon a bit and brings Astra into it. Constantine is about to let the demon go to save the girl’s soul when Liv uses the amulet and sees that it isn’t really Astra. So he sends them to a fiery spot in Hell and then sends Liv off so he can brood. She gets a ride from Richie (he cut the power grid which was rather helpful) and he explains the history behind Astra. Constantine did a little demon summoning of his own and it went sideways. He should really talk to Rupert Giles. I mean that man knows about unintentionally losing control of demons. Anyway, Liv and Richie pass the street where Live saw trouble earlier and there’s a dead boy with his throat ripped out. This prompts her to leave the amulet behind and run. Constantine set the whole thing up to save her life really. And he’s begrudgingly going to help Manny in whatever his agenda is. As the episode comes to a close, Constantine is walking through a dark alley and pouring lighter fluid on his hands and busts out some cool magic to make a bunch of thugs with guns back off. I know that Liv was supposed to end up being his student and all but I’m glad the writers changed their minds and ended up letting her leave at the end of the episode. Her story served the purpose of getting Constantine back in the fight. This is going to be one hell of a ride and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Doctor Who 8.09: "Flatline"

“Could you not just let me enjoy this moment of not knowing something? I mean, it happens so rarely!”
-The Doctor

Flatline was a kind of mediocre episode of “Doctor Who” for me. I tend to prefer more action-oriented episodes of “Doctor Who” I especially like proper outer space adventures. The villains in this episode were a bit more ephemeral. They were dimension hopping beings who could inhabit the bodies of the dead. In that sense, it was a bit ho hum. The situation was also a bit too serious. I like my “Doctor Who” to at least have a little spark of fun and wonder. Maybe that means it’s time for a new companion? I really like Clara (I’ve dressed up as her twice now), but when a companion gets jaded, it’s probably time for her to resume her regular life. Speaking of Clara, though, the one thing I really liked about this episode was it gave Clara a chance to shine. The Doctor was partially incapacitated, and Clara had to take charge. You can bet the Doctor wasn’t thrilled about that!

Early in the episode, the Doctor and Clara are in the process of returning Clara home after an adventure. Even though she swears Danny is fine with her toddling off on the TARDIS all the time, she wants the Doctor to leave her at the exact time and place from which she left. And she can’t leave any of her belongings lying about. Because Danny is territorial like that. But he’s totally cool with her continuing to travel. I guess we know why Clara will eventually decide to leave TARDIS life. I’m not thrilled with her for lying to Danny like this. This episode asks the question of whether TARDIS travel is an addiction. I think we’re supposed to believe Clara acts this way because she is, indeed, addicted to the adventure of living life with the Doctor.

The Doctor gets the timing of the landing right, but he kind of messes up with the space part. Instead of London, the duo are in Bristol in the middle of a council estate. It is even more clear that all is not right when Clara and the Doctor see that the TARDIS door is smaller than usual. They step outside to find that the TARDIS is now smaller on the outside. The Doctor thinks some sort of dimensional drift is happening, and it’s affecting the whole “bigger on the inside” property of the TARDIS. Clara goes to investigate while the Doctor goes back inside the TARDIS. Clara meets Rigsy, a graffiti artist who is doing painting as community service, and the annoying boss of his work crew who doesn’t think anybody who lives on the estate will amount to anything. She learns that a bunch of people have gone missing from the estate recently, and they keep showing up in a mural.

When Clara returns to the TARDIS, it is even smaller. The Doctor is trapped inside, so he hands Clara the Sonic and the psychic paper through the door. At first, Clara kind of relishes getting to play Doctor. She even introduces herself as “Dr. Oswald” when Rigsy finds her again. Clara, Rigsy, and the Doctor (mini TARDIS is safely ensconced in Clara’s bag) go look in one of the estate flats. The Doctor watches all of Clara’s actions intently and keeps providing commentary. Clara’s constant talking to the Doctor almost scares Rigsy off, but Clara makes a last minute save by showing Rigsy the Doctor in the box. That sounds vaguely dirty, but it’s not! Whatever is causing dimensional drift has latched on to the TARDIS and started draining its energy, so the Doctor tells Clara to get him out of the house they had been exploring.

Clara and Rigsy pretend to be MI-5 agents to get a police officer to show them another house. The Doctor says that one of the classic solutions to a locked room mystery is to look in the walls, so he gives Clara a sledgehammer, and she goes to town. Unfortunately, this just agitates the pan-dimensional creatures, and they start attacking the perfectly nice police officer who was pretty much the only person who cared that council estate folks were disappearing. Clara and Rigsy find themselves having to jump up into a suspended chair/swing thing to keep away from the walls, where the creatures are attacking, Of course Danny chooses that moment to call Clara, and he’s understandably worried about all the crashing noises he’s hearing. Clara insists she’s okay, though.

The Doctor figures out that the creatures who are disappearing folks come from a 2-D universe. He kind of hopes that they’re just innocently trying to explore the 3-D universe in which they found themselves. The rest of the crew is more skeptical, though. As one of the painting crew tries to paint the train tunnel where the portraits are, the portraits all start moving. It’s kind of creepy. Still hoping that the creatures are just trying to communicate, the Doctor rigs up a means of communication. First the creatures say the number that was on the jacket of the most recent person to disappear. Then they say the number of someone who is still alive. Soon enough, they get him, too. They don’t seem so innocent anymore.

The Doctor goes into his lab and whips up something he calls the “2dis.” It’s supposed to restore flattened things to 3-D. Clara and the painting crew use it when they’re stuck in the subway tunnels and the handle to the most convenient door has been flattened. Things get worse when the creatures finally get a handle on 3-D, turn into a hand, and snatch one of the painters away. The rest of the crew starts running, and we see fuzzy versions of all the people who have died rise from the ground. Thanks to the jerk of a paint crew leader giving Clara a hard time, she accidentally drops the TARDIS on the train track, and there are some tense moments as the Doctor tries to move himself out of harm’s way by sticking his hand out the door. It looks awkward as hell, but there’s real danger, so appearances be damned.

Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor has placed his ship into siege mode. Nobody can get in or out. The problem is that the TARDIS doesn’t have enough energy to take itself out of siege mode, even if the Doctor wanted her to. Meanwhile, another train approaches. Clara stops it with a red light, and she wants to use it to ram into the dimensional creatures that are approaching. Rigsy jumps in and starts driving the train, and Clara jumps in after him. He really wants to be the one to ram the creatures, but since Clara can rig the train to keep going with her headband, it seems like a waste of life. Clara and Rigsy manage to jump off the train right before it reaches the creatures. For their part, the creatures flatten the train before it can do any damage.

Clara picks up the TARDIS as they are running away from the creatures, and safe (for now) in another room, she remembers that the Doctor said the TARDIS needed energy, and if she was powered up, he could stop the dimensional creatures. Clara rolls out a big piece of paper, and she asks Rigsy to draw a door on it. They then hang the paper up in the subway tunnel, and the creatures are drawn to it. They start shooting energy at it. The energy goes through the wall where the TARDIS is waiting on the other side. Because apparently the energy doesn’t affect 2-D things that were never 3-D to begin with.

The TARDIS is reenergized, and it grows back to its normal (still smaller than the inside, but bigger than it was) size. The Doctor steps out, does some Sonic-ing, and with his own version of the Tenth Doctor’s “It is defended!” speech, banishes the creatures, which he names the “Boneless.” Afterwards, the Doctor congratulates Clara for the good job she did in his absence. Danny tries to call Clara, and she only responds with a pre-written “I’m in a meeting” text. This won’t end well.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sleepy Hollow 2.05: "The Weeping Lady"

“Marriage is difficult on the best day. But without rust, without honesty how can a union between two people hope to survive?”
- Ichabod

It seems Ichabod’s little venture into the Colonial Reenactment last season has paid off. Miss Caroline has been making Ichabod new clothes and other assorted items. She thinks he’s just really hard core into the Colonial way of life. She also tries to hit on him which makes Ichabod a tad uncomfortable and then Caroline mistakes Abbie for his wife. Nope, let’s not go there, folks. I’m firmly in the Crane marriage camp, even though Ichabod and Abbie have amazing chemistry. Speaking of the real Mrs. Crane, Katrina manages to send off a message to Ichabod via carrier crow (Tom told a rather funny story at Comic Con about working with the bird and how it kept biting him). Abraham thinks the wards Henry set up to keep her from using her witchy powers are weakening and Henry agrees to check them out. He suggests they could just perform the creepy decapitating binding ritual but Headless wants Katrina to join them willingly. Henry’s a tad miffed that he can’t mess with his parents more. He really needs to get over it, honestly.

Still, Henry decides to do a little digging to find anything that can drive a wedge between Mommy and Daddy. He finds a reference to a woman named Mary and things get creepy pretty quick. A teenage couple speeds off after something attacks their car. Ichabod goes to apologize to Caroline and it’s obvious (if you’ve ever seen a creepy show or horror movie) that she’s not going to be long for this world. She goes back inside and is almost immediately attacked by a weeping woman. I think this version is actually scarier than the one they did on Grimm last season.

As it turns out, Caroline’s body has washed up on the shore many miles from her house. I didn’t quite get how that worked but whatever. Ichabod is very distraught over the fact that Caroline is dead and he resolves to find the person (or more likely monster) responsible. He and Abbie do some sleuthing and find tire tracks from where the teenagers sped off. So Ichabod gets his first introduction to high school and cheerleaders. Not nearly as funny as it could have been but the kids put the Witnesses on to the Weeping Lady. It’s a local legend about a woman who comes back from the dead after drowning and has glowing green eyes and cries over being jilted by a lower. Abbie and Ichabod split up to search the stacks and Abbie runs into Nick. He flirts with her a little but she’s not having it. Even when he offers to help out on their next case pro bono. In the fiction section, Ichabod gets Katrina’s note. It doesn’t really have much in it other than she loves him and she’s in good health. But it’s something to lift his spirits a little.

Abbie spots the Weeping Lady in the library and gets dragged into the water. She nearly breaks free but the woman is strong and drags her back down. It seems that the woman is tied to the river where she died and that’s how Caroline ended up where she did. Ichabod manages to finally get hold of Abbie but she’s not breathing. Nick has to come to the rescue and do mouth-to-mouth to get her to cough up the water in her lungs. I guess Mr. 18th Century doesn’t know everything.

Abbie’s recovered quickly and they head back to the Archives to do a little more research. Ichabod found the reference to the original short story and when Abbie reveals she snagged a piece of lace from the woman’s shawl under water, we get a new facet of Ichabod’s past. I have to say, he really is not very lucky when it comes to being connected to harbingers of the apocalypse. He was once betrothed to a woman named Mary Wells but he broke off the engagement when he left for the war. She shows up unexpectedly, intent on bringing him home and getting married but he’s not having any of it. She insists he recant his whole colonial allegiances but he refuses and tells her that he cares for her as a brother and sister, not lovers. She gets super jealous and ultimately killed herself in despair. Abbie points out that she’s been harmless up until now. They don’t yet suspect Henry but I’m guessing they will at some point. Ichabod realizes that Katrina is at the top of Mary’s hit list and when he can’t find her note, he worries that Mary now knows that Katrina is alive and she and Ichabod are happily married and in love. Indeed, Mary has found the letter and she’s not happy about it at all.

Abbie and Ichabod pay Nick a visit and after some posturing by the boys, Nick hands over a crossbow and super magic silver bolt that should take down the Weeping Lady. Next stop, Headless’ cabin. Just as they approach, Headless goes riding off, giving our Witnesses a chance to get inside. But Katrina’s already gone. Abbie figures out that Katrina will likely be at the same spot as Caroline and they get there just as Katrina uses some magic to break free. Her reunion with Ichabod is short lived, however, because Mary is still coming. Katrina can counteract Henry’s magic but she needs another witch to anchor her soul. She uses Abbie instead while Ichabod tries to talk Mary down. It turns out she can’t hurt him which is a good thing. The spell works and Mary’s soul leaves this world. But Ichabod tries to get some answers out of her before she turns to dust. He’d gotten a letter from her saying she’d gone back to England but obviously that never happened. Katrina knows something and her hubby wants the truth and he wants it now. She explains that Mary contacted her the day they met and accused Katrina of seducing Ichabod away from her. Mary tried to attack Katrina and she tripped and hit her head. Katrina wrote the letter to keep Ichabod from bearing all that guilt and jeopardizing his role in the War against Evil. He’s pretty unhappy with the Missus right now but he doesn’t have much time to vent because Headless shows up. Katrina convinces Abraham to let Ichabod live and goes with him back to the house.

Jenny ends up paying Nick a visit and says the crossbow was a dud. I’m guessing our witnesses will be hanging on to it for now. But it appears that Miss Jenny and Nick have some history. Romantic history if the smooch fest is any indication. It turns out she just wanted his food. Ichabod and Abbie set up a memorial for Caroline with some of the other Reenactors and he uses about how he’s supposed to trust Katrina now and how their union will survive. I’m sure they’ll be fine. Katrina gets a little honesty from Abraham and she’s at least thankful he wasn’t involved in the whole Mary plan. And it seems Henry’s desire to mess with his parents is only making Moloch angry. I think he needs to chill out for a bit.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Once Upon a Time 4.04: "The Apprentice"

“Love is a weapon, dearie. Always has been. It’s just so few people know how to wield it.”
- Rumpelstiltskin

So for a lot of fans, this episode is a huge deal because of the Captain Swan date. But before we get there, we have to start back in the Enchanted Forest a long time ago, long before Rumple was the Dark One. His predecessor is trying to obtain and open the box Rumple found in the house in the season opener. He unfortunately can’t get it because it’s protected by strong magic. The Sorcerer (unnamed as of now) has guarded his secrets well. According to his apprentice, no Dark One has obtained and none ever will. We jump to the present to find Rumple activating the box with the dagger. It develops into the hat and I still say the rose from Beauty and the Beast is inside it. Anyway, we then zip off to Granny’s where Emma actually asks Hook out on a date with Henry’s awkward blessing. Hook insists on planning the evening and that begins with blackmailing the Dark One for his hand. Whether it’s temporary or not remains to be seen but Rumple does warn Hook that there could be negative consequences. The hand belonged to the man he was 300 years ago; a conniving asshole. I can’t wait to see this bargain blow up in his face. As Emma heads out to get ready she finds a very weird puddle around her car. Courtesy of the Snow Queen perhaps?

That evening Emma is all dolled up much to her parents’ excitement. Elsa is a little confused that the dress is so short but hey, she’s rolling with it. David doesn’t even have to really give the “you hurt my daughter I kill you” speech which I suppose is nice. They’re going to spending their evening searching through town census records to see if Anna was ever in town.

Speaking of Anna, in the Fairytale Land that was, she finds Rumple’s castle and ultimately makes a deal with him to find out what he told her parents when they arrived years before. I do hope she read that contract of his before signing it. She has to pour a little vial of potion into an old man’s tea. It turns out to be the Apprentice from the beginning of the episode. Of course, Anna can’t bring herself to do it and dumps the potion in the fire. It turns out she really shouldn’t have done that. Rumple had poisoned the Apprentice the day before and the vial was the antidote. They watch in Rumple’s crystal ball as the Apprentice turns into a mouse and scurries off. Anna freaks out and heads back to the cottage to try and find the poor guy but Rumple says it won’t matter because he won’t change him back. This was all a test to get Anna to prove she can face her inner darkness and turn away from it. She says she never even considered hurting the old man so Rumple has to goad her by saying the only way to be free is to kill him. He gets her to cry and scoops up a tear on his dagger. It seems he has the hat once more. Now what he does with it, I have no idea because I still don’t know what the hell it is supposed to do. Anna manages to get hold of Rumple’s dagger and he explains that the hat collects power and that he hopes to collect enough to not need and be tied to the dagger anymore. And Anna’s parents were seeking the object but clearly they never got it. And he says they were scared of Elsa. While still in possession of the dagger, Anna makes Rumple give her the box with the hat and send her home to Arendelle. She tells Kristoff the truth about the box and Elsa and she’s just not sure what to do about it. I’m guessing she won’t be able to lie no matter how much she wants to.

Emma and Hook start their date at a cute little Italian place. Since when did Storybrooke have an Italian place? Since the second curse I suppose. Emma declines any alcohol, saying she wants to be sober if the Snow Queen tries to ruin their night. Hook seems ready to outdo himself to try and top Walsh (he proposed after all). Though I have to say I thought her carousel coffee date with Neal was pretty damn adorable. Anyway, just as a waiter is bringing over some wine anyway, Wil Scarlet makes a break for it and knocks the wine into Emma’s lap. Just as Rumple warned, Hook’s hand takes over and he gets really angry and edgy. Emma tries to brush it off and calm him down. After all she’ll find Wil eventually and the ice wall is still up so he can’t leave town. Dinner appears not to be a total bust and Hook and Emma share a brief make out session at the front door to the Charmings’ apartment. She really needs to get her own place (which she notes several times). Snow and David are waiting up, quite chipper, to hear about her date but she heads to bed. It’s kind of adorable though. Elsewhere, Wil is trying to break into the library when Hook happens upon him and starts being him up with his cursed hand. I’m guessing his next stop is going to be Rumple.

Elsewhere in town, Henry and Regina are in her vault trying to find something to counteract the spell on Marian. Henry knows that Robin still loves Regina (he’s read the story book after all). He doesn’t understand why she’s not happy about it. He doesn’t really understand the obligations of marriage and having to be an adult. He will one day I’m sure. I am excited to see how they go about finding the author of the story book and if it will actually result in Regina getting what she wants. I so hope she does. She and Robin are just so amazing together.

Hook doesn’t wait until morning to confront Rumple. He climbs right into Rumple’s car as he’s presumably off to dinner with his wife. Hook demands that Rumple remove the hand because he can’t control it. Rumple refuses and says he switched the dagger back after Hook threatened him the last time so the pirate’s leverage is no more. But he will help Hook for an unnamed price. Hook eventually agrees and they are set to meet at the docks in the morning. Hook has to know this really won’t end well for him. Rumple is after the Apprentice in Storybrooke and he makes Hook hold him down while he uses the hat on him. I’m guessing he’s going to be stealing the Snow Queen’s powers at some point so he can be free of the dagger as he explained to Anna in the past.

Emma’s having her own scavenger hunt of sorts. She nearly spins out on an ice patch and then tries to catch the Snow Queen but loses her. Just in time for Belle to call to report a drunken and passed out Wil on the floor of the library. He wakes up locked up at the Sheriff’s station and Emma asks him to spill on why he was cradled up with Alice and the White Rabbit book and had torn out the page with the Red Queen. He denies everything which makes me wonder how this all fits in with the events of the “Wonderland” spin-off last year. I guess we’ll find out soon enough. It also seems that the Snow Queen (going by the name Sarah Fisher) isn’t in any of the town records so she didn’t come with the latest curse. Hmmm, intriguing.

Hook gets his hook back and he’s back to trying to blackmail Rumple about the dagger. But Rumple’s one step ahead of him. He’s got security footage of Hook at the house with the Apprentice and he’s conveniently erased himself from the tape. Imagine the shit that would rain down on Hook if Emma ever saw it. So Hook is now in Rumple’s debt until he dies. I knew that wasn’t going to end well from him. And things are totally taking a fun turn with Operation Mongoose. Henry’s going undercover with Grandpa Gold to see if he can learn who the author of the story book is. After all, the Dark One did get a happy ending.

Selfie 1.03: "A Little Yelp From My Friends"

“For what it’s worth, I feel really bad. I feel worse than when Aaliyah died.”

Much thanks to Sarah for covering “Selfie” last week when I was out of town for work. Now I’m back (although super swamped at work), so I’m going to be talking about the show this week. This one wasn’t as laugh out loud (or should I say LOL in this context?) funny as last week’s, but it was still fun. What I liked was that Henry and Eliza both had equal challenges this week. They both had to try and befriend someone else in the office, and it was way easier said than done. The professional stakes are high for both of them, too. The president of the company is riding Henry, and the person Eliza has in her sights is one of the company’s top movers and shakers. I thought the point of Eliza and Henry’s endeavor was to connect with people more for connection’s sake, but I suppose professional benefits can be considered a bonus, too.

The episode begins with yet another horribly awkward staff meeting at the pharmaceutical company. Saperstein, the CEO, must like his celebrity gossip news as much as Eliza and I do, because he starts rambling on about a story about Channing and Jenna Dewan Tatum. Apparently they have a scale on which they rate their closeness with each other. And Saperstein wants to go around the room and have the staff tell each other where on the scale they fall. Eliza is the real failure of the group. Joan, one of Silperstein’s groupies, rates her a zero. Henry gets his rating from a rather pathetic coworker named Larry, and it’s decent. Henry’s still not out of the woods, though.

Later, when Eliza is eating her lunch standing over a trash can (she claims it helps her digestion), Henry admonishes her for getting a zero in the closeness exercise. Eliza explains that she and Joan have a kind of long-standing feud. Eliza got to work after a Soulcycle class one day and was really dehydrated, so she drank all of Joan’s gazpacho. Eliza claims her alternative was eating a bowl of banana peppers. I think banana peppers are in a salty brine, though, so that wouldn’t have helped much, unfortunately. On this day, actually, Eliza is again eating Joan’s food, but this time she manages to toss the sandwich wrapper in the trash can before she can be found out. Henry wants Eliza to become friends with Joan. It’s his next assignment for her.

Henry tries to model how to be considerate and take an interest in others in a small talk conversation with Larry. He asks Larry about his wife, to which Larry’s response is, “it is what it is,” along with some light complaining. Henry touts this as a success, thanks to his ability to gauge what conversation topics will interest others. Eliza takes this advice and spins it for her own social media world. She decides to try Google stalking Joan to learn more about her interests. Unfortunately, Joan isn’t on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, so Eliza is at a loss. She asks Charmonique for advice, and Charmonique has what Eliza thinks is the perfect answer. Apparently Joan’s one exception to the “no social media” rule is Yelp. She is a crazy avid Yelper.

In other news, partially thanks to his conversation with Henry, Larry and his wife are now separated. Apparently, his wife was about to leave to go to the chiropractor, and she was upset that Larry was blasé about it. He asked her what reaction she expected him to have, and she up and left for good. Larry wants Henry to be his single guy party friend, but Henry is not a party guy by any means. Silperstein calls a private meeting with Henry to discuss the issue. He’s worried about Larry, and he wants Henry to help him, including giving Larry a place to stay. Henry lives by himself, and he’s very particular about how his house is kept, so this is clearly not going to be an easy ask. Henry is also, however, a kiss ass to the end, so of course he agrees to it. The roommate situation goes just about as well as you would expect. Larry continues to keep begging Henry to go out and party, and Henry just wants to go to sleep. And Larry keeps calling Henry “Juan Pablo,” which as a closet fan of “The Bachelor/Bachelorette” just made me shudder.

Now that she knows the right social media to use, Eliza stalks Joan like a champ. She learns that one of Joan’s favorite activities as an aerobics class called “Straight Up, Now Tone Me,” so Eliza signs herself up too. We get a little Paula Abdul music during the class, of course. Eliza is a terrible cardio dancer, but Joan appreciates the enthusiasm. After class, Eliza apologizes to Joan for all the lunch pilfering and offers to buy dinner to make up for it. She gets Joan and her husband a white pizza from their favorite pizza place (per Yelp, obviously). The jig is up, though, when Eliza tries to stop Joan’s husband from eating a garlic knot. It has oregano on it, and Eliza learned from Yelp that Joan’s husband is allergic to oregano. Joan immediately knows Eliza has been Yelp stalking her, and she is pissed about it. Eventually, Eliza is able to sort of patch things up with an apology. They aren’t friends, but at least they are neutral instead of enemies now.

Tired of having Larry around, Henry suggests that Larry try to win his wife back. Larry immediately wants to organize a flash mob. Henry is willing to go along with it until he gets a heads-up from Charmonique. Larry’s wife hates flash mobs. There’s a lot of evidence of it on YouTube. Eliza and Henry are having a conversation about Joan when Henry lets out with what he really thinks about Larry. Just as Larry walks into the room. Henry tries to give Larry some sincere advice. He suggests to Larry that a small gesture would probably mean more to his wife. Larry follows Henry’s advice, visiting his wife after her chiropractor appointment with a bouquet of flowers. A well-meaning friend who didn’t get the “flash mob cancelled” memo almost ruined it, but the gesture is appreciated.

At the end of the episode, there’s a really sweet Eliza and Henry moment. Henry gets a new trash can for his office so Eliza can use it. He doesn’t want her to feel like she has to eat alone anymore. Eliza confesses that the whole “good for her digestion” thing is an excuse she made up back in school to save herself the embarrassment of nobody wanting to sit with her at lunch. Henry stands on the other side of the trash can and eats with Eliza. Eliza is happy that she now seems to have a real friend and no longer has to eat alone.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.04: "Face My Enemy"

“Nostalgia’s fine. But then life happens. It’s time to deal with reality.”
- Coulson

This week’s mission found our fearless leader diving into the up-scale world of diplomat and religious figures. A 500-year-old painting of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus survived a fire in a Miami church but it’s got alien writing on the back. The rest of the team thinks they are tracking the painting down because of the connection to the obelisk and Garrett. Only May knows that it’s more personal. After Skye and Hunter do some almost Leverage-worthy lifts and hacking, May and Coulson are all dolled up and head to the gala where the painting will be unveiled. After gaining entry thanks to Skye’s hacking, May and Coulson get to share a dance and some chit-chat about their youth off coms. We learn that May took a dance elective at the Academy for two weeks and she’s very uncomfortable talking about what needs to happen if Coulson loses it like Garrett. I can get why she’s not into talking about having to kill her friend and boss. But it says a lot of about their relationship that Coulson trusts May to back him up.

They are surveying security measures while on the dance floor when May spots Colonel Talbot, our least favorite military asshole. I must admit I was very confused for a portion of the episode when he showed up and was you know….kind of civil to Coulson. The op is a little tenuous now that Talbot is in play so Coulson and May step up the mission and after using Coulson’s phone to nab the host’s retinal scans, they head down to the sub-basement to retrieve the painting. They’re running up against the clock a bit and May just casually walks through the laser grid, quipping that the security people already know they are on premises. Unfortunately, Talbot got his mitts on the painting earlier in the day. Coulson is still baffled by why Talbot is even involved and it becomes even murkier when we see Talbot playing a call to Whitehall to let him know SHIELD is involved.

May and Coulson are trying to slip out of the party unnoticed but Talbot stops them and offers up a deal. He will let Coulson help decipher the writing on the painting in a secure military facility. Coulson says sure but he needs an hour to give his team an update and their orders. However, it’s clear they don’t trust Talbot. May goes to do some recon and gets more than she bargained for. She finds a Hydra agent in Talbot’s room. But it turns out it isn’t actually Talbot. It’s Whitehall’s right hand man wearing a weird disguise. May almost takes the two agents out but the lady agent nails her in the back with a Taser. Ouch! To find out what exactly SHIELD knows and to dupe Coulson, the female agent uses May’s DNA and voice pattern to create a new disguise. I don’t quite understand how it allows you to take on the whole body when you only put the mask thing on your face. Bit of a plot hole there I think.

Back on the plane, the children are bonding over crazy ex relationship stories. We get to hear about Hunter’s hell beast of an ex-wife and of course Skye gets a jab in about Ward. Mac and Tripp are even in on the conversation. All while Skye is doing more digging into the writing even though Coulson didn’t tell her to. Fitz is off by himself and faux Simmons urges him to join in but he just sulks off. He’s still not coping well with his language issues around other people. Faux Simmons tries to convince him to stop hiding behind his inability to speak and his fear that he doesn’t have anything to say but he’s digging in his heels. He’s pissed that they changed the old lab into a garage and didn’t even ask him. He thinks they don’t value his opinion or what he wants. Boy is he about to get a rude (albeit needed) awakening.

Fake May calls Coulson and heads back to the Bus to get him and plant a virus to keep the rest of the team busy. On the ride back to meet Talbot Coulson tries to have the talk with May about the plan in case he goes nuts. It not only involves taking him out but also taking over SHIELD. I can’t see May as leader of SHIELD honestly. Though I do want more May and Coulson field ops in the future. They are quite fun together. Anyway, Coulson figures out that the May he is with isn’t the real one when she agrees to have coffee with him after the op is done. So he starts being her up. Meanwhile, May is being tortured by Whitehall’s second in command. But she breaks free of her restraints and heads off to face her fake double. I have to say this was kind of a fun fight and reminded me a bit of Orphan Black. Although not nearly as awesome to be honest. But hey, Coulson is having quite the fun time watching the fight play out. He even gets to shoot Whitehall’s buddy with an Icer bullet and nabs the painting.

Back on the Bus, it’s Fitz ultimately to the rescue. He figures out that the plane is shutting down key systems and he’s got a plan to stop it. It involves actually putting Hunter to use. Fitz manages to save the plane and even is comfortable enough to join the guys for a beer. I think Faux Simmons is gone now that he’s feeling a bit more accepted by the team. Skye is still digging for info on the writing and she’s not giving up. After Coulson and May fill in the real Talbot about what went down, they have that much needed talk about the plan. May has a plan to drop him in the Australian outback far from people but he knows that won’t help. Still, she’s hesitant to shoot him in the head, even if it will keep everyone safe.

We end this week with Raina getting scooped up by Whitehall. He plants some kind of device on her and demands she give him the obelisk within 48 hours or bad things will happen to her. I guess next week will be a race against the clock to keep it out of Hydra’s hands.

Friday, October 17, 2014

New Girl 4.05: "Landline"

“I’m just excited to add a third number. Home, work, and cell. Damn I’m reachable!”

“Landline” was, on the whole, a pretty forgettable episode of “New Girl.” It really had only two things going for it in my book. The first, of course, was a hot British guy. The second was the whole bit about the loft getting a land line. It reminds me of when, at the apartment where I lived in grad school, we did a triple play with our cable/internet provider, but we could never get the landline phone to work. I lived in that apartment with two roommates when “New Girl” first premiered, and the whole living in a kind of broken down apartment with multiple roommates concept spoke to me at the time. I’m just not generally a fan of episodes that play up Jess’ awkwardness. This episode found Jess in an extremely awkward situation, and if I were her, I probably would have fired my entire staff over it.

Early in the episode, we are introduced to the main problem that will be facing the roomies. Due to nearby building construction, everyone’s cell phone reception at the loft is terrible. After an incident where everybody almost crashes into each other fighting for reception, Jess has a novel idea. She gets a landline phone for the loft. The experience of the phone ringing is something the roomies thought they had left long in the past. We learn through flashback that Winston was quite the phone conversation charmer when he was a teenager. When the phone actually rings for the first time, Jess picks it up, and she is surprised to find that the call is from the nurse at her school, and the call is actually for Coach (who, if you’ll recall, also works at the school).

Since Jess is now Vice Principal at her school, she concerned to learn that Coach and the nurse have been sleeping together. She calls them both into her office and asks them to fill out a “fraternization form,” which sounds awfully juvenile, but it’s Jess, so, you know, that’s kind of to be expected. Coach and the nurse (who is a complete ditz) are filling out the form when another teacher busts in and causes a disturbance. Apparently she had been sleeping with Coach, too, so she’s really pissed off to find out he’s been sleeping with multiple school staff. Jess isn’t happy about it either. She calls a fraternization-themed staff meeting to reprimand everyone.

Meanwhile, back at the loft, Nick finds that the phone has completely changed his life. Since he’s a bartender, he is the only one of the roomies at home during the day. He ends up constantly answering the phone, and he starts acting as the loft’s receptionist. The rest of the roomies aren’t especially thrilled about this, because Nick uses it as an opportunity to get up in their business. He takes and delivers messages with glee. Schmidt’s anxious over an upcoming interview with Businessman Magazine, and Winston has a new lady friend. Nick eagerly learns more about and interferes with all of it. He really likes knowing everyone’s business. It’s almost like it gives him a sense of purpose.

Jess’ anti-fraternization crusade runs into quite the roadblock. After her really getting on Coach’s case for the office love triangle thing, the principal introduces her to the new science teacher. His name is Ryan, and he’s British and fairly adorable. Jess is in trouble. I probably would be in trouble too if I were in her situation, so I’m not going to judge her for it. I’m kind of a sucker for all things British. Including guys. Anyway, Jess and Ryan are completely awkward around her (not quite as awkward as Clara and Danny on “Doctor Who,” but pretty darn awkward), but it’s clear they’re into each other. It’s bad timing for Jess, that’s for sure.

Winston and Schmidt get really fed up with Nick knowing all their business. He’s their friend, so they don’t mind if he knows some more personal details about their lives, but Nick has just gone over the top. What really upset Schmidt in particular was that Nick sent Businessman Magazine a photo of Schmidt to use in their story, and it was pretty terrible. Nick thought it was a good choice because it was the most recent photo of Schmidt he had available. Schmidt thinks that his chance at business world fame is gone. Winston and Schmidt get a classic 1990’s answering machine, and they enlist Cece to leave the greeting. No matter how flat she makes her voice, Schmidt keeps insisting it’s too sexy. Nick sees that he has been replaced, and he goes off to sulk and eat a bowl full of jelly. Most of the time I like Nick, but then he goes and does something just plain dumb and I have to reconsider.

Jess holds a big staff training session about the no fraternization policy. Coach and most of the rest of the staff think the whole thing is lame, so ironically, they behave like annoying middle school children. Coach says he’s a “visual learner,” so he wants to see a demonstration of Jess’ anti-harassment technique. Which basically involves sticking your arms out and saying “shut it down.” He demands that Jess demonstrate the technique with Ryan, and the rest of the faculty start chanting in agreement. They goad Ryan and Jess into simulating harassment, and Jess enjoys a back massage a bit too much before finally going into “shut it down” mode. At the end of the episode, the principal remarks to Jess that while it isn’t a horrible thing to have some faculty fraternization, the two of them can’t participate because they’re administrators. This is clearly setting up some sort of star-crossed Jess and Ryan situation, and I don’t think that really intrigues me at all.

Even though Nick was trying to be cool, he was actually hurt that Winston and Schmidt replaced him with the answering machine. In retaliation, he erases several messages, including a message about Schmidt’s magazine interview. Schmidt is upset that it doesn’t seem like the magazine has called, so he leaves the loft right before another call actually arrives. The magazine folks are adamant that the interview has to happen right now or it’s not going to happen at all. Winston has to put his awesome phone skills to the test for the first time in years as he pretends to be Schmidt. Schmidt actually returns to the loft in the middle of this, and even he is impressed by Winston’s skill. Who would have thought?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sleepy Hollow 2.04: "Go Where I Send Thee..."

“I’m saying you can’t change the past. Just work on changing the here and now.”
- Abbie

The opening of this episode of “Sleepy Hollow” was very reminiscent of an episode last season of “Once Upon a Time”. There is ethereal music playing and a young girl goes wandering off into the woods at night. The next morning, we find Ichabod conquering his latest modern foe; learning to drive a car. I thought it was rather amusing but then again, that’s just me. He takes the car for a rather fast zip around the parking lot, much t Abbie’s terror before they get the Amber alert on the missing girl, Sarah Lancaster. Ichabod is still on the Sheriff’s no crime scene list so he has to stay out of sight while Abbie interviews the parents. It turns out she’s got a connection to the mom. She was Abbie’s case worker in the foster care system back in the day. Abbie feels she owes a lot to this family so she’s going to try extra hard to find their daughter.

Abbie and Ichabod go into the woods to look for a trail and find blood spatter and an old bone flute. He also bemoans the fact that the family’s ancestor was a latecomer to the side of the Patriots and they no longer had need of his land holdings to help win the war. He apparently clashed with Washington, too. Ichabod plays it and sends Abbie into a bit of a daze. He determines that the newest evil to run amok in Sleepy Hollow is the demonic Pied Piper. For those not in the know, Peter Pan was the Pied Piper on “Once Upon a Time” (it’s how he got his Lost Boys). Ichabod, ever the Renaissance man, transcribes the notes that he flute can play. Abbie admits that having the flute played gave her a sense of being pulled somewhere. So Ichabod records a 30-second loop of music for her to play on her phone and they head off to the woods. Ichabod has to stop Abbie when they spot someone behind some rocks. It turns out to be Nick. He was apparently on a job to locate the flute when he saw the Pied Piper take Sarah. Nick’s a bit busted up so Abbie tends to his wounds as we get some more history on the Pied Piper. He apparently lured a regiment of Red Coats out of the Lancaster home on orders from Sarah’s ancestor. Apparently the soldiers were getting a little touchy feely with his daughters and he didn’t like that. More than likely, the Piper sold his soul to Moloch because he’s a pretty bad ass swordsman. Anyway, Mr. Lancaster betrayed the Piper (killing him) and so now every generation, he rises and takes a daughter on her tenth birthday. Something about her bones being the right size for flute making. Super creepy!

Much to Ichabod’s protestations, Abbie offers Nick the flute if he helps them rescue Sarah. She’s been gone less than 36 hours so they have a shot at saving her before she starves or dies from exposure. Nick is still pretty skeptical about all of this being real but he goes along with it because hey it means money for him. He’s decent looking but I can’t see how he’s going to eventually end up with Abbie. She seems too smart for his bullshit.

Things aren’t going particularly well for Irving. He’s still in Terrytown Psychiatric and he’s reading up on the Horseman of War in the bible. He’s turning some page in one of the bibles and he’s pulled into a fiery vision where he’s killing people with swords. He’s pretty bad ass himself and I have to say I bet Orlando Jones had a blast filming that scene. It seems Henry may have gotten his hooks into the Captain after all. It will be intriguing to see how he manages to get free of War’s clutches. And it seems he won’t’ be free anytime soon. He tries to fire Henry as his attorney but not only is Henry keeping his family financially and medically solvent, he owns Irving’s soul. I knew he shouldn’t have used that pen. I just knew something like this would happen!

Abbie, Ichabod and Nick make it to the Piper’s lair and while Abbie is busy trying to free Sarah from her shackles, Nick and Ichabod face the Piper. Ichabod is taken off guard by the Piper and it takes Nick using some flash bangs and a mini bomb to get them out of there alive. Nick just wants the flute now that the girl is safe but Ichabod refuses to keep up the deal. He’s disgusted by Nick’s motives of money and the fact that he won’t accept that the End of Day sis rapidly approaching if they don’t fight back. It looks like Abbie is going to give it to him, but she breaks it in half. It’s not so valuable now. Our Witnesses return Sarah and then head off to find a way to take out the Piper once and for all. Ichabod gets to try out some fancy noise cancelling ear buds which is pretty funny. But he notes that Mrs. Lancaster looked rather disappointed in her daughter’s return. A quick police record search tells them why. Each generation a girl has gone missing and found dead except once in the 1830s where she was recovered and then the other children in the family all died. The Lancasters adopted their three sons, likely hoping to avoid the curse, and now with Sarah back, they are in danger.

No surprise to anyone, Mrs. Lancaster is going to sacrifice her daughter to save her sons. Ichabod and Abbie find them in the woods before they get too far (thanks to Ichabod’s crazy driving) and it’s ultimately Ichabod who talks the mother down. It takes both he and Abbie to bring the Piper to his knees. And Ichabod’s fancy ear beds only work for a short time because he gets knocked around and they fall out. But hey, at least that’s one servant of Moloch down. Abbie even gloats about it. And Ichabod finds an instant fascination with a Frappuccino. Complete with foam all over his beard. It was kind of cute with Abbie wiping it off for him (I’m sure the Ichabbie shippers were tittering). Nick hands over the broken flute to some guy and he still gets paid for it. That’s probably because Henry’s the buyer and he didn’t need the flute in one piece. He’s grinding it up for who knows what purpose.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.03: "Making Friends and Influencing People"

“I can’t look at him. I hate that he’s here. But we barely know anything about Hydra. I need to do whatever it takes to understand the people we’re fighting. Ward is one way I’m trying to do that.”

“Making Friends and Influencing People” continued what has been a relatively strong second season for “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” The show overall, since midway through last season, has gained a lot of momentum from the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D. in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” They’re kind of plucky underdogs at the moment, although they’re slowly regaining strength. Hydra is back in the shadows again, but they can still pack a punch. They’re trying to assemble a collection of the Gifted to use as weapons, and the folks that don’t convert are taken out. Reed Diamond as Hydra leader Whitehall is deliciously creepy, but I think I’m only going to be able to take that creepy for a limited amount of time before it seriously messes with my head. There’s a lot of action, but the FitzSimmons situation also provides some heart. Simmons needs to come home soon, because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to take Hurt!Fitz for much longer either. He’s like a hurt puppy. Hurt puppies make me sad (obviously).

The opening scene of this episode (and a similar scene in the middle) is what led me to say in the intro that Whitehall is seriously creepy. The whole thing had a very “Lost” early season 3 (the Hydra Island mini season) vibe, and I did a little research that explains why. Monica Owusu-Breen, the writer of this episode, was also a writer/producer on season 3 of “Lost.” Whitehall has a brainwashing room set up that reminded me a lot of the Others’ brainwashing room (Room 23) on Hydra Island. The being forced to keep your eyes open and the patterns displayed on the wall were kind of similar. It’s super creepy. We see Whitehall trying to brainwash a woman known only as “Agent 33.” He tries to tell her that “compliance will be rewarded,” but she’s not having it.

The next scene felt very “Lost,” too. In a montage set to “God Help the Girl,” we see what Simmons has been up to since she left Team Coulson. We see her waking up and eating breakfast and exercising before heading to work. It reminded me of similar montages in the season 2 (focused on Desmond) and season 3 (focused on Juliet) premieres of “Lost.” “God Help the Girl” is a modern song, unlike the songs in those montages, but because it is lo-fi indie, it has a very similar vibe. The real twist comes when we see where Simmons is working. She’s working at Hyrda. Her boss is rather hapless, and he accidentally shows her the file of the person who’s DNA she is analyzing. It’s none other than Donnie Gill, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy scientific prodigy the team met last season. Her boss tells her that Gill is Hydra’s “newest acquisition.” We take a brief detour to Marrakech, where we see Donnie is hiding out. I love Morocco, but the place where Donnie was hiding looked too green to be Marrakech, which is right on the edge of the Sahara Desert.

Skye continues her progress towards becoming a fully-trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. In this episode, we see her at a shooting lesson. Lance and Mac start questioning her about her past. They want to know if she went to the Academy, and they’re kind of peeved to find out that she got to have a S.H.I.E.L.D. badge without having gone. Skye does point out that she only had the badge for a few days before S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsed. They also want to know if she has ever killed anyone. She says that she hasn’t, that she’s aware of. This is a pretty clear Chekhov’s gun situation. It’s obvious that she will kill someone by the end of the episode.

One of my favorite scenes in the episode involves Coulson paying Simmons a visit so she can debrief him on what she has learned thus far at Hydra. Coulson is rather disturbed that pretty much all Simmons has in her fridge is beer, so he went to the grocery store, and he offers to cook up a delicious dinner while she debriefs. A boss who cooks for his employees is an awesome boss! Although, now that I think about it, does that mean I have to take my own advice? Does it count that I made both meatballs and bean salad for the baby shower we threw for one of my team members? Coulson heads back to the Playground to brief the team, and he also sends Skye in to talk to Ward. She wants to know what Ward knows about Donnie’s connection to Hydra and how Hydra recruits Gifteds, but Ward doesn’t say much. As for Donnie himself, he’s now in Casablanca (usually just called Casa by Moroccans). He’s using his freezing power to freeze a ship docked at the port.

Simmons is busily working away at Hydra HQ when she is taken “upstairs” for a security interview. Whitehall’s creepy right hand man Sunil leads the interview. Apparently Hydra knew that Simmons had been a Level 5 S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, but they didn’t know that she knew Donnie. They really didn’t know she had saved his life until somebody found the newspaper cover story about it. Simmons explains that her “real” loyalty is to science. S.H.I.E.L.D. had the resources to fund her work before, Hydra has the resources now. Sunil still doesn’t quite trust her (which is good instinct on his part). He gets permission from Whitehall to put her loyalty to the test. Then he asks Simmons to help Hydra retrieve Donnie from the boat in Casa.

Team Coulson is trying to retrieve Donnie as well, and Fitz is sad that he wasn’t able to come along, considering he and Donnie bonded during the Academy adventure. In fact, he’s kind of downright paranoid about it, wondering why the rest of the team is keeping secrets from him. He walks and converses with his hallucination of Simmons for a bit, and he finds himself at Vault D. Inside Vault D is where Ward is being held. Ward is extremely upset to find Ward there, since Ward tried to kill him and all. He starts cutting off the oxygen to Ward’s cell so that Ward can have a taste of what he went through. The thing that stops Fitz from killing Ward is Ward basically warning him that S.H.I.E.L.D. is running into a trap going after Donnie.

Simmons is taken to the frozen ship in Casa, and when Donnie starts to mistrust her, Sunil starts feeding her specific lines to say. At the same time, Fitz is telling Team Coulson that Donnie was programmed by Hydra, the programming failed, and they’re trying to reprogram him. At the ship, Lance aims his rifle, and Simmons is in the crosshairs. When may realizes Simmons is there, she shoots towards Lance to stop him from killing Simmons and cause a distraction. Lance is just grazed by the bullet. Simmons and Donnie run into a corridor, where Sunil finishes the patter that Simmons started, making Donnie compliant again. He tells Donnie to freeze the whole ship and kill any S.H.I.E.L.D. agents inside. Before Donnie can complete these orders, Skye shoots him, and he falls into the ocean. Simmons cover with Hydra is maintained, which makes me a little sad because I want her reunited with Fitz already.

Coulson returns to the Playground and has a chat with Fitz. They talk about Ward, and when Fitz asks if there is anything else Coulson has been keeping secret, Coulson owns up to the fact that Simmons didn’t just up and leave, she’s on an undercover assignment. Fitz seems to be speaking a bit more coherently, which is definitely a good thing. I think that Mac’s friendship and the opportunity to confront Ward were both good things for him. Speaking of Ward, Skye visits him again, and he tells her that her father is still alive and wants to meet her. Skye doesn’t take it well, as you’d expect. At Hydra HQ, Sunil asks Whitehall if Simmons can start working upstairs (on more sensitive projects, presumably). He trusts her after the incident in Casa, but if it turns out she’s untrustworthy, he has ways to make her comply. And again, I really, really wish she’d just go home to Fitz already. I miss my FitzSimmons!