Saturday, January 31, 2015

Constantine 1.11: "A Whole World Out There"

“You don’t fool me. Not anymore. I know your secret I know what you pretend not to feel. You know why? Because I’m feeling it right now.”
- Ritchie

In the scheme of creepy, this week’s episode kicks it off in spades. Four college kids are messing about with a magical book which was apparently owned by a man named Jacob Shaw. According to some source, Shaw could create other worlds. They do the incantation and they all end up this weird house. It seems they are all in different versions of it and some of them see a creepy guy in a hat. One of the girls, Miranda, sees a man who begs her to help him escape but they are all pulled back to this world. Like I said, creepy.

At the house in Atlanta, Constantine is wallowing a bit in his own bad mood when Manny pops by. Chas is still with his family in New York and Zed is recovering from her psychic coma thing. But Manny implores Constantine to lend a helping hand to a local friend, Ritchie (aka he was formerly known as Daniel Faraday). It seems that the students involved in the spell go to the university where he is teaching. Ritchie is not pleased to have his old mate back in the picture and things get even more dower when one of the guys, Carter, ends up suffocated in another world and then dies in this one. The other guy involved, Adam, is Ritchie’s teaching assistant and he’s not handling things very well. But with a little interrogating the memorial, Constantine figures out where the spell went down and Manny shows up again (though his landing was a little rough) and suggests that Constantine guide Ritchie back into the fight against the Rising Darkness. I can’t see that going so well. Constantine does a chant and some weird symbols show up on the floor where the kids were doing the spell. Elsewhere, Miranda is doing some ballet when Shaw appears and drags her back to another world. The guy who begged her to help him escape shows up again and we see that he’s got no hands. That’s very unfortunate for him.

It turns out that most of this is Ritchie fault. He was using Shaw’s journal to research a theory about merging human consciousness with machines. Yeah, I’m pretty sure there was a movie this summer about that exact thing that didn’t pan out so well. Adam stole the journal and he’s going to use the spell again because he worries that Miranda was dragged back there. Ritchie and Constantine head to the cemetery and find Adam in a trance. In the other dimension, he’s found Miranda but Shaw finds him and starts slashing him up with a knife. As Ritchie previously posited, whatever happens to you in the other dimension, happens to your body here. Which seems to be very true for Miranda and Adam. It looks like Constantine can’t save the kid when his throat is cut. It would be one thing if it was only the four kids involved in opening the portal that they had to worry about being dragged through. But the portal could drag in anyone thanks to the Rising Darkness.

In short order, we see that Miranda’s body has been found. Ritchie is not happy that Constantine is not letting him feel responsible for all the death. He likens himself to Gary a bit but Constantine shuts him down. They need to try and focus on saving the last girl, Lily. They find her in her dorm room freaking out about Miranda and she doesn’t take Adam’s death well, either. So they take Lily back to the house where there are no reflective surfaces for Shaw to pull her in, except her phone. She gets pulled in and finds Adam. But before she got there we see the other three reunited. Shaw is keeping them around for fun. Well his fun anyway. He’s basically hunting them and killing them repeatedly. Not surprising, Constantine decides that he and Ritchie need to go into the other dimension to save Lily without dying. They agree to find each other when they come to on the other side. Ritchie’s worried that something could happen to their bodies but Manny appears to stand guard. It’s kind of fun to have all these Lost actors reuniting, even if the characters they are playing aren’t exactly sharing scenes.

Ritchie and Constantine find each other (though Ritchie nearly takes Constantine’s head off with a candle stick) before they seek out Lily. They come to a dead end and Shaw is watching them but they don’t see him. It looks like it’s going to be a Shaw vs. Ritchie showdown because it appears Ritchie can manipulate the place to bend to his own will and reality. He creates a doorway and they head upstairs but they find the guy with no hands. And I can’t quite tell but he might turn into Shaw (just a way to lure people in). But he’s found our boys and the showdown is definitely imminent. Shaw flaunts his power pretty quickly, nailing Constantine to a wall (interesting imagery there) and slashes Ritchie’s wrists (after Ritchie calls him a psychopath). But with a little pep talk from Constantine, Ritchie manages to exert control over the world and builds it up beyond the house. He destroys Shaw completely and with him gone, the house begins to collapse. They manage to get Lily to safety and she reluctantly returns to our world. But Constantine has a harder time. Ritchie plans to stay in this reality to create and invent and just generally hide from the scariness awaiting them back in our world. Ultimately, Ritchie returns to our world and he ends up lecturing his class himself instead of using a recording. As he talks about certain truths that need to be accepted in order to reach Nirvana, we find Constantine back to wallowing in his self-pity and his booze.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Marvel’s Agent Carter 1.04: “The Blitzkrieg Button”

“I knew how much Steve meant to you because I know how much he means to me. I was protecting you.”
- Howard Stark

It is hard to believe we are already halfway through with our adventure with Ms. Carter. I have to say I’ve enjoyed it thus far. It has a very different feel to S.H.I.E.L.D. and I’m glad we get to see more of how things were done back in the early days. This week we find Peggy giving Jarvis an assist as they are dealing with some smugglers. It turns out Howard has smuggled himself back into the country and they had to pay for it. But, as Peggy notes, the SSR believes Stark is responsible for their agent’s death and they’re pulling apart all of his shell companies and bank accounts and residences. So against her better judgment, she sneaks Stark into her apartment building and narrowly gets caught by the land lady. Over at SSR, the Chief is heading to Germany to talk to a Nazi that was involved at the battle where Brannis and the other Russian died (at least the real people with those names). In his absence, Thompson is in charge. I have a feeling that’s not going to bode well for Peggy.

Stark has apparently come back to assess which inventions the SSR grabbed so he can find out which are still on the black market. He gifts Peggy with a camera pen which she puts to good use at the office after Thompson tasks her with getting the lunch orders. He really is a misogynistic asshole. But she does manage to get into the lab and snap pictures of all the inventions the techs are working on. She really is a good spy. Of course the guys she’s working with are no slouches either and aren’t afraid of busting some heads. Sousa heads out to dust the pay phone for prints to try and figure out who made the call that led them to the inventions. He’s in the process of doing so when he sees a couple homeless guys playing cards. One guy says he didn’t see anything after Sousa gives him a nickel but the other guy is kind of aggressive and doesn’t like cops much. He takes a swing at Sousa who skilfully ducks out of the way and knocks him to the ground with his crutch before arresting him.

It also appears that Minks, the guy who smuggled Stark into the country isn’t pleased with his henchmen’s report of getting their asses kicked by a girl. And the scumbag has a first name to go on for Peggy as well. He’s got a tiny automatic gun that takes out two of his own guys (it’s the size of a pistol). Something tells me that Stark had a hand in that little beauty and that he’s not really jut in town to take stock of his babies.

Peggy brings the camera pen home and she and Howard start to check the photos when Angie knocks for dinner. Howard sends Peggy down with instructions to get him something to eat (oddly when he says it, it’s kind of endearing) while he develops the photos. We get a rather funny scene where all the girls are telling Peggy about the ways they smuggle food out of the dining hall. The one with the chicken pocket in her blouse is probably the funniest. When she gets back upstairs she finds Howard rather morose. One of the inventions he made, the blitzkrieg button as he calls it, needs to be stolen back from the SSR. Apparently, it kills the entire power grid in a city but he never figured out how to reverse it and turn the power back on. So he gives Peggy what he says is a mock up so she can swap it for the real one.

We quickly hop across the pond to Germany where the Nazi the Chief is going to see explains that there was no battle and no Germans or Russians fought each other. The Germans found a massacre of bodies but no German hands caused the deaths. Interesting. It kind of feels like it might be linking to inhumans or something. The Chief gives the Nazi a cyanide pill and then offers one to the guard (calling it a breath mint). Interesting that he’s covering his tracks.

Down at SSR headquarters, Sousa is trying to get the homeless guy to open up to him by bonding over being war vets. That doesn’t really do anything. Instead, Thompson comes in with a bottle of scotch and a burger and taunts the homeless guy with it, saying it can be his if he cooperates. So of course the guy starts talking. He admits he saw a well-dressed man and a dark haired woman leave the boat. Sousa and Thompson luckily don’t make the connection between Peggy and Jarvis. Speaking of Jarvis, he’s acting very odd on the drive over to the SSR. He has a tell where he kind of rubs his right ear. Peggy manages to swap the spheres but she finds a vial in the real device. On her way out she ends up accidentally hiding in Thompson’s office. It’s not really a very memorable or important conversation although he’s toned down the asshole factor a little bit. Unfortunately for our heroine, Minks has been following Jarvis and trailed them back to Peggy’s boarding house. She gets inside and Stark finally admits that the vial is full of Captain America’s blood. This, understandably, earns Stark a smack in the face.

Peggy and Stark argue over why he kept some of Steve’s blood and she rages at him for lying to her and using her. It seems they are going to have a lot to do to fix their problems. And now, in addition to worrying about getting caught by the SSR, Peggy’s new neighbor, Dottie, is totally a spy or ninja or something. Minks had left flowers for Peggy so he could find out what room she’s in and then Dottie appears, kills him and steals his pistol. Meanwhile, Peggy hides the Blitzkrieg button in her wall. The Chief returns and he and Thompson discover that Stark was on a plane that landed at the massacre site the day after the supposed battle. I don’t know exactly what that means but clearly something is going on. And as the Chief ruminates over this, the type writer begins to type.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Girl 4.12: "Shark"

“Well, don’t worry, because I have called the city’s automated help desk, and I have also sent out an email to, so action has been taken!”

“Shark” was reasonably entertaining, but I don’t think I would call it one of my favorite episodes of “New Girl.” I did appreciate the political commentary, because I would guess it’s not all that far from the truth. It makes sense that a super local issue like what the roomies face here could be manipulated by local politicians. I have degrees in political science and public policy, so it was kind of fun to see Jess mount a campaign to make her neighborhood better. We also saw Winston graduate from the police academy in this episode. I think it will be fun to see what trouble he gets into as a police officer. First, though, we have to deal with the roomies being way too worried about his safety. Well, I guess it makes sense that the roomies would be worried, but the way they react to that worry is completely inappropriate.

There’s been a lot of construction going on around the loft lately. The really annoying aspect is that it is night construction. The roomies are having trouble sleeping or really doing any relaxing around the apartment. There’s a funny scene where a construction worker passes by the window of Schmidt’s bedroom while Schmidt is putting lotion on his legs. The construction noise is so bad that the roomies even have trouble understanding what each other is saying. Also, it’s the day of Winston’s graduation from the Police Academy. Of course the whole gang is planning to attend to support him. Coach and Nick, however, are a little worried about Winston going out on the beat. They think he is too gentle to be a cop. Winston says not to worry because his new training officer/partner is a total badass who once went undercover with a motorcycle gang. To celebrate the upcoming graduation, the roomies all take turns trying on Winston’s new uniform, which is just a little strange.

The roomies meet two important people at Winston’s graduation. The first is Winston’s new badass partner. Her name is Aly, and she is small (but mighty…although the roomies don’t know that yet). Nick and Coach get even more concerned once they see Aly, because they don’t think she seems like a badass. They are actually pretty patronizing to her. I wonder if roomies other than Schmidt can put money in the Douchebag Jar, because if they can, this would have been an appropriate occasion for it. Jess and Schmidt also meet Councilwoman Fawn Moscato, who happens to represent their district on City Council. Jess talks to her very nicely about the night construction noise issue, and Council Woman Moscato kind of blows her off (although she does tell Jess there’s an official form she can file). Schmidt takes a more direct approach and asks the Councilwoman out to dinner. In the world of politics, Jess is trying to be a “dolphin” while Schmidt is trying to be a “shark.”

Jess starts planning phase two of Operation: No More Night Contstruction. Ryan, for his part, seems to be acting kind of weird. He got a little buzzed and dozed on Jess’ couch while she was scheming. Jess’ plan is a neighborhood phone campaign where volunteers would call City Hall about the annoying construction. The most entertaining phone volunteer is Outside Dave, the homeless guy who lives outside their building. He starts giving a very clear and cogent argument for why the night construction is detrimental, but then he starts going off on tangents.

Meanwhile, Coach and Nick spend most of the episode being concerned about Winston’s safety as he begins his life as a cop. They go have a talk with Aly and generally make asses of themselves implying that she can’t keep Winston safe. I would have kicked both their asses right then and there (or at least I would have tried and probably been unsuccessful since I’m four-foot-eleven and have a bad back). While driving on their rounds, Aly mentions the visit to Winston. She’s upset, thinking that Winston asked his friends to pay that visit. Winston swears he didn’t, and he’s now really pissed at Nick and Coach. Nick and Coach happen to be following Winston and Aly’s police cruiser, which is beyond obnoxious. They try to interfere with Winston and Aly responding to a call, too. At that point, Aly does actually kick their asses and “arrest” them. Instead of taking Nick and Coach to jail, though, she takes them to a support group. Aly finally tells Winston that he did a good job on his first day.

Schmidt gets home from dinner with Fawn Moscato, and it’s patently clear that the Councilwoman has played him. He’s all in favor of the night construction now. He also reveals the truth about the official form Jess filled out – it’s going to take at least a year for the city to process it. By that time, the construction could be over. Schmidt says he wants nothing more in life than to be the Councilwoman’s arm candy. He’s going to have a chance to be exactly that soon enough. There’s going to be a citizens' forum about the construction project, and Moscato wants Schmidt to speak in favor of the night construction schedule. Schmidt is whipped, so he agrees to participate.

On the night of the citizens' forum, Jess and Ryan crush their presentation. The presentation is super dorky, but the crowd eats it up. Ryan is a hot construction guy, and he and Jess have this whole dialogue about why night construction is bad. Schmidt is supposed to give a speech next, but Cece completely throws him off by saying the cuffs on his suit jacket are uneven. Schmidt is so distracted by his sleeves that he can’t even give a coherent speech. He is basically laughed on the stage, and his speech was so bad that Moscato ends up saving face by changing the construction from the night to day schedule and declaring herself of “the people.” Jess and Schmidt talk after the meeting, and Jess tells Schmidt he deserves better than Moscato. Schmidt doesn’t really listen to Jess, though. He visits Moscato in her office and tells her he is willing to do whatever she wants. She says she will call him when she needs him. And Schmidt continues to be completely whipped.

Sleepy Hollow 2.14: "Kali Yuga"

“Mr. Hawley, when we first met I considered you nothing but a faithless privateer. But I have come to know you as a man of courage, a man of compassion, a man who fights for his friends.”
- Ichabod

So fair warning folks, this is a Hawley-heavy episode. Team Witness (including Jenny and Hawley) are out for a night on the town and Abbie is doing some karaoke. She’s really good (which totally came from Nicole randomly singing around set) but the evening is interrupted when Hawley gets a call about some artifacts he’s been looking for. He promises Jenny he’ll be back in a little while but it turns out that won’t in fact be the case when he runs into Camilla, the woman who raised him. Not sure she was demonic when he was a kid but she sure is now. At the bar, Ichabod is singing an old sea shanty about a guy dying young from syphilis while the Mills sisters chat about the lack of Witness time Abbie and Ichabod have been spending together. Their conversation turns to Hawley though when he doesn’t show up and then the silent alarm at the archives is triggered. It appears Camilla has forced him to steal something. She gets away but not before attacking Jenny. Clearly, our heroes aren’t going to just sit by and let Hawley hang for whatever he’s doing with her.

With a little deductive reasoning and some fast lab work, the gang figures out that Camilla is a monster that serves the Hindu Goddess Kali. Unfortunately, not only do they need to find what Hawley took but they need to figure out who he is working with and who set him up. So the Mills sisters go talk to the fence while Ichabod and Katrina try to track down Hawley. Things really aren’t all sunshine and roses between the Witnesses. Abbie’s trying to not sweat the small stuff as she puts it and give Ichabod his space to sort out his marriage and feelings about losing Henry. Meanwhile, amidst a conversation about Mary Poppins, Ichabod finds the charm from Orion. He doesn’t mention it when the girls get back but they do have more information to go on. Camilla is a treasure hunter who is super dangerous and was also Hawley’s legal guardian until he was 18. We also see that he stole the original blueprints to the Knox estate which was built with all kinds of traps and puzzles to keep colonial weaponry safe. Apparently the current descendant likes to keep all kinds of freaky stuff locked away.

Hawley isn’t interested in helping Camilla further but she does explain that she was made into a monster and she’s after an artifact that will make her human again. We also learn that she killed someone when he was 18 and he ran off. But after a little cajoling, he agrees to help her get the artifact. One last job together. I doubt she’s going to let him go but we’ll see. Oh and I should mention that she is played by Jaime Murray (guess she had time to do one episode while filming Defiance).

Elsewhere in town, Irving officially is exonerated of all charges (some new evidence was sent to the DA). I can’t figure out if it was Henry or someone else. Irving thinks all is right again and he can go home to his wife and daughter but his wife knows he might not be human or in control of his actions. That night, Irving’s wife explains exactly what she’s afraid of and suggests that they talk to Katrina and see if she can tell them whether he is in the clear in terms of Henry or not.

Our Witnesses are going to crash one of Teddy Knox’s black market trading shows and also hopefully stop Camila and Hawley from stealing whatever it is they are after. On the way, Ichabod steals Hawley’s Mustang and is having quite the time driving it. Boy likes his fast cars, heh. They get to the party and Camilla and Hawley split up. It seems he’s taking care of security. Jenny goes after him while the Witnesses follow Camilla. Unfortunately, their plan kind of sucks. Jenny gets locked in a closet and Abbie ends up at Camilla’s mercy (which includes being threatened with acidic venom). And based on what Camilla had her hands on, I can’t tell if she’s actually trying to become human again or not.

Well it would seem that my suspicions were right about Camilla. Hawley shows up and convinces her to put our Witnesses in the vault and he’ll go with her. The statute she nabbed was used to turn people into what she became. She came back to make Hawley like her so he’d never leave her again. And seriously, I’m getting some weird sexual vibes from her towards him. I know it’s been a decade since last they saw each other but she was his godmother and legal guardian. Being locked in the vault though gives our Witnesses a chance to air some of their grievances about the way their partnership has been faltering in recent weeks. It’s good that they are finally talking about it for sure. Too bad Ichabod thinks he’s figured out the lock to get out of the vault and it just locks them in more, including giant spikes coming out of the walls. It kind of reminded me a bit of the trash compacter scene in Star Wars.

Turns out Abbie thought the same thing I did. Ultimately, she gets Ichabod to think about Knox like a man and not a hero and they narrowly escape the death trap. They reunite with Jenny and end up rescuing Hawley. But Camilla gets away. Hawley is going to go after her which he tells Jenny when he drops by the Archives to drop off the blueprints he stole. They certainly have an interesting relationship. And speaking of interesting, Abbie and Ichabod believe they are good but they need to make sure they tend to their relationship which this week means doing a duet of Proud Mary. Nice to know Ichabod is a bass!

And the hour wouldn’t be complete without determining that Irving is no longer under Henry’s influence. It should be a good thing but we see that Irving has no reflection so clearly he’s not just the same guy he was. You can tell that Katrina is unnerved by that revelation, too. It will be interesting to see where the show goes in its final 4 episodes of the season.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Galavant 1.06: "Dungeons and Dragon Lady"

“Oh trust me, sir, I have been guilting the crap out of her down here!”

In the sixth episode of “Galavant,” we see the result of the creative team kind of turning the story structure. I (and probably most viewers) expected that Galavant and his friends wouldn’t make it to Valencia until the penultimate or finale episode. They arrived in the previous episode, however, so the question to be answered is “now what?” The answer is an episode that, while entertaining, was kind of random. It felt like it was marking time, albeit in a way that made me laugh. Ricky Gervais was the big guest star in this one, where he played a wizard who was aptly named Xanax. And we finally got some positive movement on the Galavant/Isabella front. And Madalena may be going to the dungeons. So all of that is definitely good stuff.

This episode picks up right where the last one left off. Madalena and Galavant are in Madalena’s bedchamber, and the big spread of food is all laid out. Galavant tells Madalena that he wants them to have a cottage by the sea together with a lot of children, and he also tells Madalena that he still loves her. Madalena doesn’t seem all that enthusiastic about this. Her plan was to have Galavant around as her kept man/plaything, not start a real life with him. In a big ballad with tango undertones that sort of has a similar sound to “A Whole New World,” Madalena tells Galavant that she loves him as much as someone like her can love anyone. Basically the sex was adequate, and she’d like to keep him around for that.

Meanwhile, King Richard wonders why he can’t seem to do anything right, especially when it comes to women like Madalena. Chef tells him that Xanax, the very aptly named wizard who replaced Merlin, has gotten a good reputation. Chef visits him when he needs herbs…for dinner…sometimes. Xanax, as I mentioned in the introduction, is played by none other than Ricky Gervais. I find Gervais grating sometimes, but I thought he was good in this role. He looked like he didn’t have a lot of patience for King Richard’s antics, and I can appreciate that. King Richard tells Xanax that he wants to understand why he is the way he is. Xanax thinks he can help King Richard with that.

Galavant is sent back to the dungeon, where Isabella is very happy to learn he’s not dead (yet). Galavant, however, still isn’t ready to have much of a conversation with her considering the betrayal and all. Madalena tells Gareth to prepare Isabella to be executed and torture everybody else (which currently includes Galavant, Sid, Isabella’s parents, and the Jester). Gareth, however, is surprisingly slow to comply with these orders. He spends quite a lot of time preparing his torturing tools and no time doing any actual torturing. Gareth may be gruff, but he’s good people. For his part, Galavant can’t do anything other than wonder what exactly Madalena meant when she said she loves him as much as someone like her can love anyone. He’s still holding a torch for her, big time, much to Isabella’s chagrin.

At Xanax’s lair, King Richard, Chef, and a toad Xanax turned into a human are all lying in a circle, ready to have some sort of communal vision that will help King Richard learn what made him so messed up. Halucination Xanax has King Richard walk through an imaginary jeweled door, and Richard finds himself in a scene from his childhood. King Richard’s father has just died, and the kingdom is about to anoint a new King. It’s not Richard, though. Richard has an older brother named Kingsley who everybody (understandably) expects will be the next King. Kingsley, however, doesn’t actually want to be King. He wants to conquer and pillage. He doesn’t want the boring job of actually ruling. Everybody turns to Richard, who is a little fat kid (Richard says he ate for comfort, basically). Gareth, who is also still a kid, is named Richard’s Kingsguard. This basically explains why the two have such a close bond. We later see, however, that Richard still manages to get dumped on, even if he is going to be named King. Richard is supposed to get a fancy sword since he’s going to be King, but Kingsley takes the sword from him before heading off to plunder and pillage and conquer. While the whole Xanax set-up was kind of silly, I did like learning more about King Richard’s backstory. Now if only we could learn more about what made Madalena such a psychopath?

My favorite moment of the episode by far was a big duet between Galavant and Isabella. Isabella tries apologizing to Galavant again, and she says she knows what she did is worse than Madalena, because at least Madalena is evil to Galavant’s face. Isabella is babbling, and Galavant calls her on it. It softens him because he says he knows Isabella only babbles when she is really upset about something. He knows she must be truly sorry for the whole mess if she’s babbling. Galavant finally says that Isabella shouldn’t feel bad about what she did because she was trying to save her parents. They then sing an awesome love duet about how love is “gassy” “bossy” and leaves underwear all over the place. The message being that real love is when you embrace all the little details of your partner, for better or worse. Amusingly, in the middle of the duet, Galavant and Isabella realize that the doors to all the dungeon cells are unlocked.

Galavant and Isabella get quite close during their duet, but they don’t actually get to kiss, because Madalena steps in and ruins the party. Madalena asks Gareth why he hasn’t started the torture yet, and Gareth says he doesn’t take orders from her. He only takes orders from King Richard. Huzzah. Speaking of King Richard, he’s back at the castle (although still a little buzzed). He has decided that he needs to stand up for himself more, and his first action is going to be to break up with Madalena. Madalena, however, has other ideas. She has written to Kingsley, and he has arrived at the castle. He has finally decided he wants to rule after all.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Galavant 1.05: "Completely Mad . . . Alena"

“But wouldn’t it be better to storm the castle later? Or how about on a Wednesday? You never hear of anyone storming the castle on a Wednesday!”

This particular episode of “Galavant” seemed to mark a change in the storytelling structure. Galavant and his team approach Valencia, and so Isabella’s time to derail the trap she has set in motion is rapidly running out. Up until this point, every episode of the show seemed somewhat self-contained. The gang had a particular adventure on their way to accomplishing the larger goal of freeing Valencia from King Richard and saving Madalena. This episode, however, felt more like part one of a multi-part story. Because “Galavant” is broken into half hour segments, it felt like the episode was over just as the story was really starting to get going. Also, despite the title of the episode, we did not get more backstory on why Madalena is such a horrible person, which was kind of a disappointment. On a positive side, this episode featured some memorable guest appearances from Weird Al Yankovic and Sophie McShera (Daisy from “Downton Abbey”).

Thanks to a ride from the Pirate King and his crew, Galavant, Isabella, and Sid have arrived in Valencia. Galavant is very eager to get to the castle storming and damsel saving, but Isabella keeps trying to slow his roll. She can’t bring herself to tell Galavant that the whole thing is a trap, and she’s trying to delay the inevitable. Eventually, she convinces Galavant to make a short pit stop at a monastery where the monks have taken a “vow of singing.” Basically, they can’t speak, they can only sing. The group of monks is led by none other than Weird Al Yankovic! The monks were pretty entertaining at first, but the joke was kind of one-note (pun only partially intended). They sing barbershop quartet-style, and they have boy band stereotypes like “The Bad Boy” (well not really that bad, because, you know, he’s a monk). While at the monastery, Isabella has a heart-to-heart with the head monk. She tells him all about how she’s leading Galavant into a trap, and he tells her that she’s probably feeling so guilty because she has feelings for Galavant. Isabella is going to need some time to process this information.

Meanwhile, at the Valencia castle, King Richard is eagerly awaiting Isabella’s delivery of Galavant, which is scheduled to take place at exactly 9:00 PM. He has Chef and Gareth planning festivities for the occasion. He still truly thinks that if he kills Galavant, Madalena will love him. Madalena is just bored, and she sings an evil song about it with her reflection. It was kind of an interesting effect, I guess. The lyrics were amusing in places. She is basically just going on about how awesome and evil she is. Madalena can tell that something is up with how much King Richard has been whispering with Chef and Gareth, and she wants to know what is going on. To get what she wants, she goes through Chef. It’s pretty obvious that Chef has a thing for Madalena’s handmaiden, Gwynne (Sophie McShera). She offers Chef a date with Gwen if he gets more information about what King Richard has planned.

Chef agrees to the deal, and so Madalena orders Gwynne to have dinner with him. Chef and Gwen have a pretty cute (although the tune of the song itself isn’t that memorable) musical number about how their life as peasants is going to suck, but it could be slightly more pleasant if they lived it together. While, like I said, the tune wasn’t anything especial (a little surprising considering the composer was Alan Menken), it was both adorable and edgy at the same time. Madalena gets the information she wants out of the deal, too. She overhears enough conversations to figure out that Galavant is on her way. This interests her greatly. I’m not sure if she wants to see Galavant because she’s still in love with him, or because he’s someone else she can make completely miserable, and she’s sadistic like that. When she learns the news, she decides that she wants to set her own evil plot in motion. Again, some more information about Madalena to help establish her motivation would be nice. We’ve learned bits and pieces about her here and there throughout the series thus far, but I think to buy what she does in this episode, I really would need to understand more about what makes her tick.

Isabella does try to make one last ditch effort to save Galavant. She visits King Richard and offers to just give him the Jewel of Valencia if he lets her parents and Galavant live. King Richard, who still hasn’t gotten a firm grasp on humor, decides to show Isabella her parents’ heads on platters. It turns out they’re actually still alive though. The whole thing was an illusion that King Richard set up because he thought it would be funny. Anyway, King Richard, like I’ve said, is convinced that Madalena will love him if he can only manage to kill Galavant, so he says it’s no deal. Isabella needs to bring him Galavant, or her parents will really die.

The delay in storming the castle gives Galavant some time to come up with an actual plan. Our trio dress up as monks and sneak in with their new friends who are supposed to be performing a concert at the castle. The plan is successful, and Galavant, Isabella, and Sid are trying to find Isabella’s parents when they are stopped by King Richard and some of his guards. King Richard throws the three of them in the dungeon. Galavant is devastated at Isabella’s betrayal, and while Isabella keeps trying to explain and apologize, Galavant doesn’t really want to hear of it. King Richard wants to execute Galavant, and he has him brought up to the dungeon to do just that. Madalena, however, has other plans. When the burlap sack is taken off the head of the person presumed to be Galavant, it’s actually Chef. Madalena has had Galavant brought up to her chambers, where the meal that was meant for Chef and Gwynne is all set out. What could she possibly be up to?

Selfie 1.13: "I Woke Up Like This"

“That was my story! Except for the soup part. As I recall, I pity binged on Snackwells and Crystal Pepsi. But, other than that, can you believe this? Huh? That bitch stole my life!”

And so we say goodbye to “Selfie,” the second unfortunately-named comedy created by Emily Kapnek (the other is the equally charming “Suburgatory”). While “I Woke Up Like This” didn’t provide complete closure, it was at least a decent-enough place to pause the story, and the episode itself was one of the short-lived series’ best. I liked that by the end of the episode, Eliza finally truly saw her self-worth. I always thought that the whole “I blew out my curls and pushed up the girls” pharma girl was a character that the true, still insecure “Most Butt” Eliza Dooley put on, and I think that was demonstrated pretty clearly in this episode. Plus, I think Henry made some pretty significant strides with his own issues. He confronted the fact that he was most definitely not cool as a kid, and he no longer wants to live in fear.

The episode opens with Eliza walking us through her morning beauty routine, which apparently takes three hours. The three hour routine made her late for a Women in Pharma brunch at work. Henry is disappointed in her for this, because he thinks it would have been a great opportunity for Eliza to find a role model. His own role model, for some reason I don’t quite understand, is Dave Thomas (the founder of Wendy’s). I like Wendy’s food just fine on the scale of fast food, and I guess I kind of owe part of the good lifestyle I had growing up to the company since they were a major client of the company my dad worked for, but I just thought it was a rather random choice specifically for Henry. Anyway, Henry breaks out his Dave Thomas biography, and Eliza notices a Vans sticker on the back cover. Henry cops to having been a skater kid. Henry also gives Eliza her new assignment. She is to find a role model.

Eliza starts her new mission by evaluating whether any of her coworkers could be potential role models. She asks both Joan and Charmonique what they would recommend to someone who wants to live a life similar to theirs. Neither of the two ladies works out as Eliza’s role model, but Eliza’s exchange with Charmonique was especially funny. Charmonique basically said that nobody could ever hope to be her because she is one-of-a-kind. Which she is! Speaking of Charmonique, she also in this episode asks Henry to teach her son how to skateboard. He’s got a lot of health problems, and she wants to find something more active for him to enjoy.

After a lot of pondering, Eliza decides that her high school nemesis, mean girl Corynn McWaters, is going to be her role model. Corynn seems to have an Instagram-perfect life. She’s even publishing a cook book/memoir. Henry expressing some misgivings about Eliza adopting Corynn as a role model. Corynn was a pretty horrible person in high school, after all. But she does have a goldendoodle, the most awesome of all kinds of dogs. John Cho, for the record, was on fire in this episode. The scene where Charmonique asks him to teach Kevin how to skateboard and a moment where he is cooing over a picture of Corynn’s goldendoodle both had me laughing hysterically.

Henry’s skateboarding lesson, as you might predict, is a complete bust. Henry gives a really long, boring lecture to Charmonique and Kevin about the history of skateboarding as they sit on the sidewalk. It quickly becomes apparent that Henry isn’t just being nerdy, he’s stalling for time because he doesn’t really know what he’s doing. The kids tell Kevin to come to the skatepark and they’ll teach him properly. The kids call Henry a “poser,” which understandably upsets Henry. I guess this is an example of me being super naïve, but for a little bit, I actually believed Henry might have been a legit skater kid. It seemed like the kind of thing Henry would have done as a kid but wanted to keep on the down low later as he developed his super serious executive persona. And because Henry is extremely motivated and reasonably athletic (see the previous episode where he competes in the office mud run), I thought he might have actually been able to skateboard. Apparently not.

Anyway, Eliza and Henry go to Corynn’s book signing. Eliza has a nasty surprise, though, when Corynn starts giving a speech about how she was picked on in high school by mean girls. Corynn has appropriated Eliza’s high school story, down to the details, for herself, and this makes Eliza (understandably) very upset. Eliza starts yelling and actually tries to Jump Corynn, but Henry and a security guard stop her. She accuses Corynn of stealing her story, but Corynn has no idea who Eliza is, so she thinks she’s just a ranting crazy person. After Eliza storms off, Henry tells the security guard who was helping to contain Eliza that he used to tell people he was good at skateboarding to feel cool, but he really wasn’t (good at skateboarding or cool).

Eliza and Henry find Corynn in a park, and Eliza decides to confront her. At first, once she realizes exactly who Eliza is, Corynn starts to get extremely patronizing. Eliza starts to fall back into her old way of interacting with Corynn, being conciliatory and trying to back off. Henry, however, gives Eliza a bit of a pep talk, and she finally gets the confidence to truly tell Corynn off. To be precise, she says she tried some of the recipes in Corynn’s cookbook, and they were terrible. In the aftermath of confronting her childhood bully, Eliza makes a decision about her role model. Her role model is going to be herself. She overcame being a bullied high school kid to become a major pharmaceutical company’s best sales rep. To celebrate, she starts cutting her hair, which is just a little strange. Henry decides to try a little character growth too. He goes to the skate park, tries to drop in, and immediately falls and breaks his wrist. His cast, however, says “no fear,” and he tells the skater kids that the next time he has a chance with Eliza, he’ll be ready. Too bad we won’t get to see it.

Constantine 1.10: "Quid Pro Quo"

“Chas has risked much more for me. Failing my best friend would ruin me, but failing you would ruin us both.”
- Constantine

The much awaited Chas-centric episode is finally upon us (with only 3 episodes to go until the finale). I’ve been wondering about Chas since the pilot and with some of the things Constantine was saying during the exorcism, my interest was even more piqued coming into this episode. We start with a creepy guy in a mask and hooded cloak casting a spell that sends smoke through a grate in New York City. It finds a little girl playing with her dolls and sends her into a coma. Back in Atlanta, Constantine is insisting on Zed telling him the truth about who is after her and why she’s so scared. He notes that she’s faced all manner of hell beast and not batted an eye but some delusional cult freaks her out. She explains that it’s run by her father. But Constantine doesn’t care. He won’t let them get to Zed again. He’s doubled the security around HQ. Before they get too much deeper into the conversation, Zed notes that the scrying map has a new mark on it in New York. Chas is apparently on his way to visit his young daughter in New York. As he’s driving we see a flashback to two years earlier. He and Constantine are out at a bar and before Constantine leaves the bar, he does some sort of spell to make sure Chas can drive okay. I’m guessing that whatever he cast in his drunken state is what made Chas immortal (or whatever he is). That theory is going to be tested since a fire breaks out at the club and it looks like Chas and whole bunch of other people get trapped. And yes, I was right. Chas wakes up in the hospital surrounded by his family and they tell him that the doctors said he was dead when he was pulled from the fire. I’m not sure if Chas is going to be happy about this development or not. He ends up going to Constantine who explains the spell he cast was a myth. Supposedly Merlin cast it on the Knights of the Round Table at Arthur’s behest. If a knight died in the company of lesser knights, they would absorb their lives. So Chas has 47 lives (sort of like a cat on steroids). At least we know the real details behind his condition now. We also see how Chas’s burden is affecting him. He’s saving lives (and using his own) but it’s put too much strain on his family and his wife is going to leave him (he misses his daughter’s birthday). Even so, when Constantine tells him he can either wallow or be useful, he chooses to be useful.

Chas gets to his ex’s place but his daughter is already asleep. Clearly he and his ex do not have the best relationship. But they may have to put that aside because the little girl from earlier in the episode is his daughter. And she’s not the only one. Constantine and Zed get to the hospital in New York after getting a call from Chas and find that his daughter’s soul has been stolen (due to some chapping around her lips).Chas’s ex is not happy to see Constantine and warns Zed to stay away from him. But Constantine is on the case and he plans to get the little girl’s soul back. So he takes the team to a medium named Fennel. He’s not pleased to see Constantine either but after Chas pops him in the nose with the business end of a shotgun, he agrees to help. The séance starts out okay and they contact Chas’s daughter. But it is soon hijacked by a demonic spirit and it ends up burning Fennel alive.

Constantine jots down the spell that the demonic hijacker used and thanks to Zed’s powers she identifies the location of where the demon is hiding. It seems their opponent is stronger than Constantine anticipated because it is able to reach out and cut Zed even where they stand. But it does give the gang a place to look. Chas is really growing impatient when they show up to the railroad yard that Zed saw and it’s deserted. But Constantine figures out there’s a cloaking spell. So he does a quick chant of his own and a large building is revealed. And in short order, they find that the mystery demon isn’t a demon at all. It’s a dark magician named Felix Faust (I’m guessing of the famed Faustian deal). He makes a deal with Constantine. There’s a demon eating his victims and he wants Constantine to kill it and send it back to hell. In return, he will release Chas’s daughter’s soul. Chas still thinks they are wasting time so Constantine sends him back to the hospital before noting to Zed that Chas is a powder keg about to blow and he doesn’t want to be anywhere near him when it happens.

Constantine and Zed find the demon they are after but the plan doesn’t exactly go off without a hitch. Zed offers herself as bait and Constantine plans to trap the demon in a binding circle and send it to hell but his lighter won’t work and so he ends up electrifying it with a cattle prod. Hooray. Except that the deal was to send it back to hell and now Faust is changing the terms of the agreement. See, you really don’t want to make a deal with a devil.

Back at the hospital, Zed tells Chas’s ex that she’s a psychic and offers to try and talk to her daughter. It’s starting to work until Zed falls to the ground clutching her head. I guess trying to channel someone when you’ve never done it before is dangerous. At the railway yard, Chas freaks out and locks Constantine in the taxi so he can go make a deal with Faust. He offers up the 32 souls he’s got in addition to his own in exchange for his daughter. Faust doesn’t believe him and so Chas cuts his own throat to prove a point. He ends up making the deal with Faust and even Constantine can’t talk him out of it. But Chas has a trick up his sleeve. He’s got a sinew from Achilles’ heel and blows himself and Faust up right after his ex-wife shows up. Apparently she’d never seen the whole resurrection thing in action before and it kind of freaks her out.

But Chas is okay and he goes to see his daughter after she’s out of the hospital. He shows her a book filled with photos of every person he’s saved with his extra lives. It’s a very sweet moment that I’m glad we got to see. The episode ends with an interesting beat between Zed and Constantine. She apparently saw his mother when she touched the spirit world and Mama Constantine passed on the message that her death wasn’t his fault. Overall, I liked this episode. It was an interesting plotline and gave us some much needed character background. It’s really too bad that there are only three more episodes in the season (possibly series given its lackluster ratings).

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sleepy Hollow 2.13: “Pittura Infamante”

“These memories of Abigail Adams are not meant to hold you back, but to guide you forwards.”
- Ichabod

With Orion handled for now, our Witnesses have a little time on their hands it seems Ichabod and Katrina will be spending it at an evening at the Historical Society. Apparently there’s an Adams exhibition and Katrina was besties with them back in the day. She delivered all five children. Ichabod is all dressed up in his eighteenth century best when Katrina shows up in a little black dress. Seriously, did she raid a Goth hooker’s closet? Anyway, they’re going to see if they can make their marriage work. Seeing all of the pieces on display brings back memories for Katrina. She apparently told Abigail (played by Michelle Trachtenberg, Dawn from Buffy) that she was pregnant before (well instead of really) telling Ichabod. But things are slightly amiss at the event. For one thing, Katrina gets some dark vibes going and the art restorer who is a friend of Ichabod’s sees a painting bleeding and then ends up dead, hanging from upside from the ceiling. While Ichabod and Katrina may be bonding over their sudden departure from the world they knew, they’ve now got a case to solve.

Before Abbie can get called to the scene, though, she’s got her own revisited history to deal with. Frank shows up at the station and gets arrested. He doesn’t say anything but he looks pretty worse for wear. Reyes has orders that no one but she can question Irving, which Abbie clearly disobeys because Team Witness needs to know what they’re dealing with. So while Abbie has a heart-to-heart with Irving about the fact that he died and was buried and is now likely back as a servant of Henry, Ichabod and Katrina are actually welcomed as assistants at the crime scene. Katrina is surprised to learn that Ichabod knows about tarot cards. Apparently someone left a deck in their parlor one summer and he thought they were for entertainment. But more importantly, Katrina recalls a series of murders of orphans that Abigail Adams was rather gung ho about. Together, she and Katrina surmised that the killer had a medical background as the manner of death was anatomically precise. But after observing the painting (it’s been altered a bit with lots more blood on the canvas), they realize that an artist would have had similar knowledge of anatomy and the killer has been hiding in the painting the whole time.

Unfortunately, Ichabod touches the painting before they figure out that touching the blood left on the painting marks you for death by the artist. He’s trying to finish the hanged man in the painting which would allow him to be resurrected. Obviously, that can’t happen but they need to keep anyone else from touching the painting. So what does Katrina do when one of the curators starts to come into the room to show off said painting? She snogs hubby which leaves him a bit dazed. Yeah, I know a lot of people don’t like Katrina and her powers are a bit inconsistent but I want them to work out their marriage. They have moments when they are so cute together! Katrina is getting sentimental while guarding the painting and tells Abigail’s writing desk that they found the killer. Through flashbacks, we see Katrina find something in the desk but we aren’t really sure what it is because she gets interrupted by the escaped artist. He’s off to find head curator and Ichabod.

Back at the precinct, Abbie fills Jenny in on the latest Irving news and sends little sister off to find a weapon that could put a dead guy back in the grave. Meanwhile, Irving’s wife shows up and gets the news, too. She wants to see her husband but Abbie can’t let that happen yet. They need to figure out if Irving is dangerous or not. I have to say as Jenny is retrieving silver bullets supposedly forged form the gates of Hell, the expressions on Abbie’s face are priceless. It’s pretty hilarious honestly. Then again, so was Jenny actually digging said bullets out of a corpse.

Elsewhere, Ichabod has tried to implore the curator to get away but he ends up getting pulled into the painting. The item Katrina found turns out to be secret writings from Abigail Adams. Apparently, she went into league with Reverend Knapp and the rest of Katrina’s coven to trap the killer in the painting. The cracks in the painting’s frame are rune meant to keep him in. Now, if there’s any hope of rescuing the curator before the killer can complete his ritual, Ichabod will have to go into the painting. But Katrina insists on going with him. No more separation which as I said before is a good thing. They enter the painting together, leaving Abbie to wonder what’s up when Ichabod won’t answer his phone (she and Jenny want Katrina to do a spiritual exam on Irving to see if hi soul is his own or if it’s been claimed by evil).

With a little luck, Katrina and Ichabod manage to find the curator and Katrina gets them out of the painting. Unfortunately, the killer is almost resurrected and just as Ichabod goes to try and destroy the paining with paint thinner, the killer crawls out of the painting. But, since Abbie knows to be suspicious if Ichabod doesn’t answer his phone, she shows up and uses the magic bullets to put down the killer once and for all. The curator is going to survive which is a good thing and as Katrina reminisces about the people she’s lost, Ichabod pledges that they will find a new state of being together. Hooray for working on their marriage. Katrina looked so happy that he said he was willing to work it out with her. I mean yes, she’s done a lot of things that would test their belief in one another but the fact that he’s willing to try just makes me giddy. I much prefer Ichabod and Abbie as friends. Not every male and female lead need to hook up.

Things with Irving a bit more tenuous though as we close out the hour. According to Reyes, the DA said they received evidence that vindicates Irving in the killings and so he may now go free. Yeah, I’m guessing Henry had something to do with this because having his servant out in the word is far more effective than sitting in a jail cell. I’ll be interested to see where the rest of the season goes knowing that there might be some tweaking (according to the network execs at the TCA winter press tour) happening before we close out our sophomore run.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Selfie 1.12: "Stick in the Mud"

“It just goes to show, sometimes people can surprise you. After a lifetime of following my sister around, she was finally following me back. And she was right, we weren’t kids anyone. So it was time to start acting like an adult.”
- Eliza

Not toget all sad on you but this is the penultimate episode of “Selfie” ever. This is one of our last adventures with Henry and Eliza and I’m a bit misty-eyed that we are losing them so soon. As I’ve probably said in the few episodes I’ve covered, I really think Karen Gillan and John Cho have amazing chemistry together (be it platonic or romantic). These two definitely need to do some work together in the very near future, preferably with some comedy…and Charmonique! Anyway, on to the episode. Eliza gets into the elevator and is greeted by Henry who is very happy because that day is the day Saperstein announces the annual 10k. Henry’s won every year since it started and his silhouette is on the annual company poster. As they head to the meeting they get stopped by Charmonique who is none too pleased that Eliza’s sister keeps calling her. This leads to an admission from Eliza that her family is alive and well and her big sister, Bethany, was the golden child that Eliza could never live up to.

Henry suggests that maybe Bethany has changed and matured since they were kids and that sometimes challenging people enter our lives when we least expect it. That’s certainly the case for Henry. Saperstein announces that instead of a 10k, they will be doing a mud run, led by Freddy. Henry isn’t going to do it but Freddy (and Saperstein doing weird exercises while talking to their bodies in the elevator…the men on this show sometimes weird me out) goads him into signing up. Freddy even offers to train Henry before the big race. That doesn’t go well at all. They are clearly competitive and not just because they both put a premium on Eliza’s time and attention (even if Henry is woefully loathe to admit his feelings) but because Freddy just sees Henry as old and out of touch in general.

Eliza isn’t having a whole lot of luck with Bethany either. Eliza cleans up her apartment and makes it look like she’s super successful (which she is) and put together (which she’s not so much). Things are still tense between the sisters and Bethany doesn’t really understand why Eliza dislikes her so much. Not having any siblings, I can’t entirely relate to Eliza’s feelings but I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who felt they lived in the shadow of their older siblings for one reason or another. Eliza’s mood turns even less sisterly when Bethany reveals that she’s pregnant. Eliza feigns excitement at becoming an aunt but she rants to Henry the next day at the office. She believes her sister got pregnant (and is due right around Eliza’s birthday) to further spite Eliza. Henry points out that it is ridiculous but it does seem to go to a deeper issue with Eliza’s feeling of self-confidence. For all of the beauty and social media savvy, she really is just insecure, hoping to be noticed and appreciated for who she really is.

The day of the mud run finally arrives and Henry and Freddy are still snapping at each other. Eliza, who was in charge of refreshments (which basically means stealing stuff from the break room and buying beer) brings all of the inappropriate stuff she found. You don’t need to give runners a keg of beer, honey. Bethany shows up with fruit and water and everyone is happily prepping for the run. Freddy and Henry have now got a full-blown rivalry going during the race and when they are nearing the end of the course they get into a big fight and argument about how they see each other and that they both feel like the other is undermining them. At least they got their feelings out. It earns them a second-place tie in the race. Charmonique won in an upset. But come on, as soon as you saw her head off, you knew she had to win. At least Eliza was happy for her friend and she even blow both guys a kiss for their tie. Yeah, Henry really needs to get his head out of the clouds and realize what is right in front of him.

Most importantly in this episode, Eliza finally confront Bethany about her feelings of inadequacy. We learn that when the girls were young their parents divorced. Eliza admits she felt it was her fault and that Bethany blamed her and then went off to college (Eliza didn’t quite understand the concept of going off to college but that’s okay). Bethany explains that it wasn’t fair and she understands that now but it wasn’t either of their faults (and neither was the divorce). Bethany came to tell Eliza she was pregnant because she wanted her child to know all of its family and she promises to be there for Eliza when the time comes. They need to grow up and start treating each other as equals. The fact that Eliza was able to make this realization and put it to use by finally calling her mom at the end of the episode speaks volumes about how much Henry’s lessons are having an effect, even if he wasn’t directly involved in the life lesson being taught. He had his own lesson to learn this week.

As I said at the start of the post, I am sad to see this little show go after the next episode. I don’t think ABC gave it a fair shot. It was a quirky show and yes the title probably turned some people off but if you gave it a chance, it really grew on you. Maybe it hit too close to home for much of the core age group and that’s why the ratings just weren’t there to support it. At least we got to see this far into Henry and Eliza’s journey. We can be thankful for that.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Selfie 1.11: "Perestroika"

“It wasn’t that long ago that I was subject to my own fiscal foibles. Let’s just say there’s a Blockbuster in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is still wondering what happened to their only copy of ‘Scream 2.’”

“Perestroika” as you might guess from the title (if you are at all a Cold War buff) featured a thawing in the relationship between Eliza and Henry following the drama of the past couple episodes (perestroika wasn’t a thawing in diplomatic relations, though, it was political and economic restructuring that took place in the final years of the USSR…but I digress). The episode really brought out the worst in both Eliza and Henry. We saw how childish they both can be. We also saw by the end of the episode that they really do bring out the best in each other and work better together. Eliza needs more structure and organization in her life, and Henry needs to lighten up. They complement each other well. I’m glad they have reached this détente in their relationship where they can at least be friends again.

At the beginning of the episode, we see that Eliza has chosen to deal with Henry’s rejection in a very juvenile way. She decides to use the playbook of the chief Mean Girl at her high school. First, she deliberately doesn’t look at Henry when she sees him in the hallway. Then she deliberately pretends she can’t see him. Finally, she decides to “’Gone Girl’ his ass” by thrashing around on the kitchen floor covered it ketchup. The whole thing is rather ridiculous. Also ridiculous is Eliza’s home situation. One morning while Eliza is flailing around trying to get ready, three of Bryn’s minions knock on her door. Apparently the landlord had been knocking on Eliza’s door for a while, and when she didn’t answer, he started knocking on Bryn’s. Eliza is behind on her rent, and the landlord also wants an additional security deposit because of the chalk art Eliza has done on the walls and her tendency to flush random stuff down the toilet when drunk. As Eliza is defensively chatting with the book club ladies, her power goes out. Apparently she forgot to pay the electric bill, too.

Normally, Eliza would go to Henry for help with this sort of adult situation, but he doesn’t really want to speak to her at the moment. He was all psyched for his performance review, because his reviews are always awesome, but he was hugely disappointed to get an 89%. Apparently he got an especially bad peer review this time around. He considers that a B, and he’s never gotten anything but an A in his life. Raj offers to let Henry see his file, because Henry says he’d like to learn about how he can improve. Henry scours through all the peer evaluations in his file until he finds one that describes him as “kind of a poop.” Mostly due to the juvenile phrasing and the fact that Eliza has been generally juvenile to him recently, Henry immediately suspects the culprit is Eliza. Therefore he is really pissed off at her.

Eliza still has no power, and her credit cards are all maxed out from a few too many shopping trips. This is where the episode starts to confuse me. Sometimes the show wants us to believe that Eliza would be just fine financially if she could focus just long enough to pay her bills on time. She is the best sales rep at her company, after all. Then in the next scene, we’re told that she blew all her money on shoes and handbags and has maxed out all her credit cards. Anyway, despite her (maybe?) financial problems, Eliza decides to try staying in a super high-end hotel. All of her credit cards keep getting declined, but then the guy at the desk helpfully notices that Eliza has the highest rewards points balance he’s ever seen. Soon enough, Eliza and Freddie are living it up in the hotel’s Presidential Suite. All is good and Instagrammable until the bill for all the extras (champagne, etc.) arrives. Again, Eliza is paralyzed at the thought of having to pay a bill. Eliza is so hard up for money that she tries to sell some of her collection of gift cards to her coworkers.

Meanwhile, Henry tries to strong-arm Raj into telling him who wrote the unflattering peer review. He’s convinced it’s Eliza, but Raj won’t say a word about it. He even recites a really silly “HR Code” about not revealing personal information. I think if “Selfie” had continued, Raj might have become one of my favorite characters. He’s just always so put upon by everyone else’s silly antics. Anyway, as a frustrated Henry is leaving is office, Raj whispers that the review wasn’t written by Eliza. Henry immediately feels better, which is a good thing considering Eliza is now camping out on the couch in his office. Henry offers to let Eliza stay at his place for the night. He says he’s going to stay with Julia, but he actually goes to a hotel, because, you know, he and Julia broke up.

Eliza decides to take the opportunity to snoop through some of Henry’s stuff, although Henry warns her not to (they’re talking on the phone while she is rooting through one of his drawers). It’s kind of an awkward situation, because while Eliza and Henry are talking on the phone, a maid stops by to ask Henry if he wants turndown service. He tries to pretend it’s Julia getting into some role play. The jig is up, though, because Julia shows up at the back door to Henry’s house. Julia is pissed off to see Eliza at the house, and she says she’s not surprised that Henry has moved right on to Eliza. She stopped by to return some of Henry’s stuff, and Eliza accepts it without comment.

The next day, Henry goes to work fixing Eliza’s financial problems. He gets her put on an installment plan with the landlord and gives her some (pretty and sparkly) filing tools to get her more excited about keeping track of her finances. Eliza is truly grateful for the help, and she tells Henry so. Henry tells her not to worry about it, because he had his own financial missteps when he was in his twenties. Eliza lets on that she knows Henry and Julia broke up, and Henry assures her that he’s going to be okay. The relationship just wasn’t meant to be. Later, in bed, Eliza asks Freddie why he didn’t offer to let her stay with him when she was almost evicted. Freddie says he thought it would freak her out, because every time he tries to get closer to her, she runs away. He’d really actually like to live with her. Eliza responds to this with a kiss.

The Librarians 1.10: "And the Loom of Fate"

“I want that life. I choose to save the world.”
- Flynn

And we’ve finally made it to the finale. In some ways it seems like it took forever to get here and on the other hand, it came way too fast. Things get a little in media res at the start with Eve lying on the ground with her hand slick with blood. Jake’s voice calls her back to a fight they’re having in an Egyptian tomb. They’re waiting for Flynn and he appears all dashing and handsome and announces he thinks he has a way to bring back the Library. Back at the Annex, he explains to our gang that the Egyptian afterlife isn’t such a myth as an inter-dimensional doorway to the void where the Library currently exists. And it seems that the entire season has been leading our heroes to this moment, gathering items that will power the door to the void. Unfortunately, Dulaque (finally figured out how to spell his name) and Lamia show up and use it to access the Loom of Fate (well Lamia gets stabbed as a blood sacrifice). Eve and Flynn run after him to the River of Time and unfortunately, Dulaque cuts the fabric of the Loom (at Camelot’s fall). I have a feeling we are going to get some much needed backstory on him and Jenkins. Things go sideways after the fabric is cut and Flynn doesn’t have any idea who Eve it and they quickly get nabbed by people with weapons. This is going to be a hoot.

They are in the Ukraine and there’s a war on but luckily they get rescued by the Librarian, Jake Stone. He looks rather worse for wear having been in the role for 10 years. Flynn never answered the call as it were. So Jake and Eve shared a long ten years together and she apparently died in his arms to stop Dulaque from taking the Library, much like in Eve’s timeline but reversed. Flynn is entirely flustered by everything and it kind of makes me nostalgic for his personality in the first movie. Noah must have had a blast going back to that version of Flynn. I am definitely enjoying all of this. Jake figures out that they’re not in the right timeline and thanks to some interesting stones and some misplaced trees which Flynn spots, they are able to activate some harmonic resonance and send Flynn and Eve off into a different timeline. This time, Zeke is the Librarian and he’s clearly not the same snarky thief we are used to.

Much like in Jake’s timeline, Eve had ten years of experience being the Guardian and took over for Zeke when he was a teenager. And like in Jake’s timeline, she got stabbed stopping Dulaque from taking the Library. I’m sensing a theme. Oh and the House of Refuge taken over by Katie spawned instant zombies. Charming, but with Flynn’s assistance (again sensing a theme and I like it), he manages to stop the zombies from spreading. Oh, and Zeke totally made a profit from the Library so he’s still a bit of the same old Zeke. Gotta love that. Before they have time to celebrate Flynn’s genius, they are popped into another timeline where they didn’t defeat the dragons. I’m guessing we are going to see another crazy side of Miss Cassie.

It seems that Cassie took on magic and used Excalibur to heal herself. Oh and Lamia is now her guardian and she killed Dulaque for killing Eve. So I guess Lamia isn’t all bad after all. But Cassie is kind of all magic’d up and had some lessons from Morgan Le Fey. Of course she did. And we also determine that Dulaque is somehow connected to Camelot. Eve thinks they can find a way to weave the threads of fate and history back together but they need the twine from the Labyrinth. Unfortunately they never found it in this timeline. But if they can splice together the threads using a commonality in each timeline (Eve and Flynn) they might be able to get to a timeline where it does exist. Oh and Eve keeps flashing to the blood on her hands so I’m betting by the end of the episode she will get stabbed by Dulaque.

Cassie’s magic pulls Jake and Zeke from their respective timelines to power a jump to Eve’s timeline so she can grab the twine ball and they head through to the Loom of Fate. Flynn is worried that these version of the Librarians will disappear when they fix the timeline but they’re okay with that. It seems they’ve learned Flynn’s lessons well and he’ll get to learn them again very soon. He starts weaving the loom back into the right order when Dulaque, as a young man shows up. And we learn that he is Lancelot and that Jenkins is Sir Galahad (I heard the theory thrown about before the episode aired). He bests Dulaque and Flynn is restored but Eve is still dying. Apparently it was her fate to die saving her Librarian but Flynn isn’t ready to give up on her just yet.

They manage to jump back to Eve’s timeline and with her blood, Flynn uses the storybook to bring back the Library. Things are looking dire for our Guardian until Flynn finds the potion he used to slow his Excalibur wound at the beginning of the season. Since Eve’s wound is non-magical it heals instantly and everyone’s happy. With the Library back it seems they will have a lot more resources on their hands. And as a graduation gift, Zeke, Cassie and Jake get mini clipping books and while Jake and Zeke mutter about taking a break, they jump at the chance to tackle something with Cassie in Peru. And while Jenkins professes not to remember much, he does explain that Eve remembered everything due to her time as Santa. And Flynn ends up asking Eve on a date, as they go heading off to their own adventure.

I really hope the network renews this for a second season. The ratings have been good (and I’m guessing the finale will be higher since Noah was in it) and while this episode would make a decent series finale, 10 episodes is not nearly enough time. We’re just getting started with these guys and I want more of their whacky fun.

The Librarians 1.09: "And the City of Light"

“We’ve only got one shot at this. Let’s not take chances.”
- Cassie

Well folks, we are really in the home stretch. We’ve reached our penultimate journey was Eve, Cassie, Zeke, Jake and Jenkins. And as it turns out, Flynn seems to be back on the scene, too. I’m definitely okay with that (I know I complained that Noah was messing with the chemistry a few episodes ago but he’s just so endearing and he was meant to be slightly annoying in that episode). Plus it gives me a fix while I await the final season of Falling Skies.) This week begins with a UFO nut snooping around a creepy town when he sees some ghostly figures. He goes running through town yelling about it and then gets attacked by a bunch of townsfolk. The Librarians are on the case and Zeke insists its aliens but Jenkins rebuffs him, saying there’s no such thing. But things are definitely off in town. Jake notes that the architecture is all wrong for when the place was founded and there are gas lamps that are out of place too. He and Cassie end up talking to the head of the town, a young woman named Mable and Jake is pretty smitten. She’s kind of taken with him as well. Cassie is just annoyed by the whole thing. Elsewhere, Eve and Zeke are trying to track down the missing guy’s truck. They head out into a field and split up when they hear a noise. Zeke nearly gets run over by our missing journalist and Eve pushes him into a random lamp post. She touches the lamp post and disappears. Yeah, that can’t possibly be a good thing.

Zeke gets yelled at by the gang back at the Annex for losing Eve but at least Jenkins can confirm she is still on the planet. That’s useful anyway. But they need more information on the gas lamps. So naturally Jake offers to go back and talk to Mable. He’s really falling hard for this girl. He gets so swept up in her fanciful musings about going to other countries. When he brings up the mystery lamp post in the woods, she gets very insistent on seeing it herself. This only causes awkwardness with the rest of the team. As Jenkins is fiddling with the lamp post, we briefly see Eve but the gang tries to make Mable believe it was an optical illusion (complete with random nonsense about Colonel Baird being what they call optical illusion in Australia). Yeah, she’s not buying that for a second. Jake begs her to trust him and help do some research on the lamps just as one of the creepy townsfolk wanders by. Oh and apparently our journalist has no memory of being zapped or anything else he saw. So there’s that.

With a little tinkering by Jenkins, Zeke gets some goggles to wear that see various spectrums so he can hopefully find Eve. Meanwhile, Jake goes back to the archive and this time gets a little dramatic when Mable catches him breaking in. Out in the woods, Zeke and Cassie find Eve and Cassie figures out that the energy is a giant circuit created by the lamp posts. They split up and she discovers that the town was linked to Nikola Tesla. About the same time, Zeke realizes that people have been what he calls body snatched and they try to attack him. At the archives, Jake and Mable discover that there was a town already on site when the present one was built. It’s all very interesting and I have to say I didn’t quite see the twist coming. Mable was founder of the town back in 1915. Immortal or something else magic related.

It turns out the townsfolk aren’t quite as nefarious and evil as we originally were led to believe. While Zeke still doesn’t trust them or like it, we learn that Tesla was experimenting with wireless electricity signals but it went wrong and the town got booted out of sync with the rest of the world (I feel like this was a side plot in an episode of Eureka at some point). Anyway, Mable was made into a grounding wire of sorts and everyone else takes on bodies to interact with the world. They’ve been desperately trying to restore Tesla’s invention to restabilize the town and get it back in sync. Like it or not, the gang needs to help the town if they want to get Eve back. So Cassie tales charge and the town gets to fixing things and getting ready to use the 100 years of stored up energy. We also have a nice heart to heart between Jake and Mable where he explains he took over the family business when his father got sick and started drinking and he just didn’t leave because no one around him wanted to and he got stuck in that mentality. But he’s getting used to the change.

Things get complicated when they charge up the capacitor and it starts overloading. Cassie worries that if it goes too far, it will blow up and take out thousands of additional lives. Mable offers to hit the kill switch on one of the lamp posts but they run into an issue with the electricity going haywire. With Jake carrying her the rest of the way, they manage to cut the power just after it brings back Eve. We did get a fun sequence where she inhabited Zeke’s body for a bit to kick some ass. Unfortunately, the town is out of luck for a while. The capacitor is fried and while the lamp posts still work, the people can’t communicate. But as Zeke and Cassie go off for a drink and Jake visits Paris for the first time, Eve gets the appointment book from Jenkins so she can make notes on what needs to be done and when to help bring back the down. Overall, I enjoyed the episode and liked the twists. It was good to get some Jake backstory for sure.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Galavant 1.04: "Comedy Gold"

“I keep trying to tell everyone, I’m not just the guy that eats the raisins.”

Land pirates! Sorry, I’m usually more coherent about shows, but comical pirates are kind of one of my favorite things. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve watched “Pirates of the Caribbean” (the first one, at least – the sequels were kind of a mess). While I have enjoyed every episode of “Galavant,” this is the first one to still have me grinning an hour or so after watching it. What can I say? I just really, really love comical pirates! Hugh Bonneville played the Pirate King in this episode, and he was excellent at it. If you’ll allow me to reference “Pirates of the Caribbean” again, his comical pirate was more Captain Barbosa than Captain Jack Sparrow, which was fine by me because I find both styles highly entertaining. Galavant and his pals had been harping on the little things about each other that they found annoying, but their encounter with the Pirate King and his crew helped bring them back together (even if Isabella still can’t bring herself to tell Galavant that the trip to Valencia is a trap, Admiral Ackbar-style).

As I just said, the beginning of this episode sees Galavant, Isabella, and Sid squabbling more than ever. They are spending every waking (and sleeping, for that matter) moment together, and they are really getting on each other’s nerves. They are getting closer to Valencia, and Galavant recommends taking the shortest route there, which runs by the Rocky River. Isabella, who should know best considering she’s from Valencia and all, warns Galavant that they should probably stay away from the Rocky River. The area is known for bandits, and she doesn’t want the group to be attacked. Galavant laughs off Isabella’s concerns and says he can certainly fight off any bandits they encounter. I can definitely feel Isabella’s rage at this point, because I’ve had a lot of people not listening to me and then being “surprised” when the negative consequences happen lately.

Meanwhile, in Valencia, King Richard is still reeling from the realization that Madalena has been cheating on him with the Jester (whose name, apparently, is Steve…King Richard knew this, not Madalena). King Richard watches Madalena and the Jester interact, and he convinces himself that Madalena is so drawn to the Jester because the Jester makes her laugh. King Richard, therefore, wants to learn how to be funny. Gareth claims he is funny, but his brand of funny is pretty much just saying as many expletives as he can in short succession. Although that worked for Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker on “The Thick of It,” so I shouldn’t judge!

So, Galavant and friends have not been traveling along the river for very long when they are, indeed stopped by sword-wielding bandits, and the whole thing happens so quickly that Galavant doesn’t have time to do anything about it. Soon, the trio find themselves tied up at the bandit base camp, and that’s when they realize they have been captured by a bunch of landlocked pirates! The leader of the bunch is the Pirate King, and he and his fellow pirates have a really funny song-and-dance number about how they’re the “Lords of the Sea” (but not really the sea). Their ship got wrecked on a hill by the river a while back, and they have never been able to agree on anything enough to get back in the water. So they plunder on land instead and have a rather hilarious faux pirate ship set-up as their home base.

King Richard isn’t really feeling Gareth’s style of humor, so he decides to go right to the source for advice. He asks the Jester himself for advice on being funny. This, of course, is incredibly awkward. King Richard starts the exchange by approaching the Jester with a (fake) sword and basically saying “I know what you’ve been doing with my wife.” The Jester is understandably terrified, while King Richard thought it would be funny. King Richard does pause a minute to decide if he’d rather punish the Jester for what he did, but he ultimately decides to go with his original plan of asking for comedy lessons. The Jester is still wary, but he agrees to help the King (probably because he’d like to stay alive). He tries to teach King Richard about joke structure in a song called “Comedy Gold, “ but as you’d expect, King Richard doesn’t really take to the lesson all that well.

At the pirate camp, Galavant and friends continue to snipe at each other. Isabella swore she hid the Jewel of Valencia well, but it was just in her purse, and the pirates find it right away (she thought it would be safe among her “girl items.” Apparently the pirates have no qualms with rooting among tampons for a large gem. So Galavant and friends are in a bit of trouble, since they need the gem to save Valencia. The Pirate King takes Galavant to his “captain’s quarters” for a little chat, and they talk a lot about how the pirate crew ended up in their current predicament. Mostly, they spent way too much time together and got distracted by all the little things that irritated themselves about each other.

King Richard, as he does, wants to put on a little comedy show to impress Madalena with all he has learned from the Jester. His “you might be a peasant if” jokes miss the mark, so he quickly has to move on to what the Jester had basically described as the Hail Mary pass of comedy: throwing a pie in someone’s face. He decides to throw that pie in Gareth’s face, which is pretty darn hilarious indeed. He wants to throw another one, but Gareth’s having none of that and starts to draw his sword. Madalena laughs, though, and King Richard deems the evening a success. Later, the Jester doesn’t want to sleep with Madalena because he feels guilty about how hard King Richard has tried to woo her. Madalena throws the Jester in the dungeon, and poor hapless King Richard just wonders where his friend Steve is going. Madalena is plain stone cold. I really don’t understand what Galavant saw in her.

Galavant, while being furious at the Pirate King insulting Isabella’s mouthbreathing habit (clearly he has a thing for her), manages to free himself from the ropes with which he was tied. At swordpoint, he marches the Pirate King back to the rest of the crew. It turns out that Isabella and Sid have subdued the rest of the pirate crew, and all is well. Galavant gives a rousing speech and convinces the pirate crew to work together to free their ship, and once the ship is free, Galavant gets the great idea that the pirates should give himself, Isabella, and Sid a ride the rest of the way to Valencia. Isabella tries to tell Galavant the truth about working for King Richard (because she too has feelings for Galavant, and the deception is eating at her), but Galavant doesn’t hear her. Typical.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Galavant 1.03: "Two Balls"

“You know what? You stay detached and apathetic, Galavant. You do it quite well. And whilst you do, I will put on my pretty purple dress for my new friend and pretend to be his bride-to-be. And maybe that makes me all sugar and spice and everything nice, but Lord knows I much prefer that over rudeness and sarcasm and back spasms!”

“Two Balls” didn’t have quite the musical chops of the first few episodes of “Galavant,” but it had some good laughs and told an amusing story. As you’d hope, there was also a bit of bite, too. King Richard fails horribly at trying to throw a ball, and Sid and Galavant sort of switch places when the gang visits Sid’s hometown. This episode wasn’t anything fancy, but it was fun, which is pretty much what I’m learning to expect from “Galavant.” Some laughs and some lessons learned along the way. I am torn about whether the half-hour format is right for the show. On the one hand, these light stories couldn’t fill a full hour. On the other hand, I feel like I haven’t really gotten to know the characters all that well yet, and the season is almost half over.

As with the pervious episode, there are two plots going on in this one. There’s one plot with Galavant and his crew, and one plot with King Richard and Madalena back in Valencia. I think the two are more closely connected thematically in this episode, though. In the sense that both plots centered around a big party (hence the “Two Balls” title). The Galavant and friends plot is another stop on their journey to Valencia to save the kingdom from King Richard. This stop just happens to be Sid’s hometown. Galanvant and Isabella are surprised to see a sign announcing the town as “Sidneyland” with a big picture of Sid. When they head for Sidney’s parents’ house, the circumstances become more apparent. Sidney has basically told his parents that he’s the heroic knight, and Galavant is his squire. To push the ruse even further, Sid’s parents think he is engaged to Isabella, and nobody does anything to disabuse them of that notion. They want to throw a huge party for the whole village to celebrate. The village is very stereotypically Jewish (Sid was adopted), and there are many Jewish culture jokes throughout this particular plot.

Meanwhile, in Valencia, Madalena is bored (shocker!). The citizens of Valencia are pretty unhappy, too. It doesn’t help when King Richard asks the Jester to tell a joke that makes fun of Valencia’s defeat in the war. It turns out that the previous major pastime in Valencia was spontaneous theatre performances around the village Elder Tree, but the Valencians remind King Richard that the Elder Tree was cut down in the aftermath of the battle. King Richard decides to throw a ball to make everyone a little happier. Madalena is only too happy to go back up to her chamber to “work on jokes” with the Jester for the occasion. Food and music, however, proves to be a bigger problem. Valencians are vegetarian, and King Richard burned all their crops except for a small amount for himself. Also, the best Gareth can come up with for a band is the team of executioners (they have a drummer). The sequence where King Richard tries to get the execution drummer to play something peppy (and all he can play is his usual cadence) is pretty hilarious.

The music in this episode wasn’t as memorable as the music in the previous week’s two episodes, but it was amusing enough for the most part. The first song of the episode was “Oy, What a Knight,” sung by Sid’s parents (and eventually the rest of his village). It didn’t strike me as especially creative. I liked the second song of the episode, “Jackass in a Can,” better. I think I mostly liked it better because it featured Galavant, and I really adore Joshua Sasse’s voice. This song in particular is Galavant’s wake-up call that he’s been, well, a jackass in a can to Sid over the years (more on that in a bit). We also get a musical performance by King Richard’s executioners, whose band name is “The Executioners” of course, called “Dance until You Die.” I’d bet the lyricist had a lot of fun with this one, trying to string as many morbid phrases as possible together. It was an amusing enough song, especially when the tempo started to pick up a bit.

Anyway, King Richard’s ball is a complete disaster, as you’d expect. The Valencians don’t really know what to do with themselves, and the Jester only has one joke to tell (since he and Madalena weren’t really coming up with jokes for all those hours in her bedroom, of course). King Richard rolls in a wheelbarrow of his private vegetable stock, but instead of feeding it to the Valencians, he burns it. His reasoning was that if they couldn’t have vegetables, he couldn’t, but he realized just after lighting the vegetables on fire that it was a bad idea. Because, you know, the Valencians would probably rather just have something to eat. The Executioners were better than expected, but the Valencians still aren’t really enjoying the party. King Richard invites them to tell him what they really think of him. All is funny until a eunuch King Richard was making fun of early in the episode says that he would have to be blind not to see that Madalena is sleeping with the Jester. King Richard ends the party and orders the eunuch killed (which is convenient, with the executioners being right there and all).

In Sidneyland (heh), Isabella is having a great time pretending to be Sid’s fiancé because it means she gets to act like she did back in Valencia. Galavant is grumpy because he has to pretend to be a squire and help put together a party for his actual squire. Sid just seems stressed because he’s in the middle of a huge lie about his life. Galavant and Isabella fight about the situation throughout the episode, with Galavant basically accusing her of being too nice. Galavant has a meal with all the other squires, and that’s when the singing of “Jackass in a Can” takes place. Galavant was trying to convince the guys that being a knight was cool, and the squires just responded with how much the knights they work for suck. It made Galavant realize that he’s quite narcissistic and probably hasn’t been the nicest employer to Sid. By the end of the episode, Galavant apologizes to Sid and tells Sid that he actually really appreciates his work. Score one for character growth!

Constantine 1.09: "The Saint of Last Resorts Part 2"

“That makes this a crucible. And for the sake of the mortal realm, I hope you find what you need.”
- Manny

When last we saw our titular hero, he’d been shot in the gut by an old flame and was waiting for a really nasty demon to kill him. And Zed had been nabbed by some crazy people working for her father. Things go a little better for Zed than Constantine, though. She manages to escape the loonies without too much trouble. Constantine, however, ends up casting an ancient and super powerful demon into himself to keep himself alive. Manny is pretty damn pissed about the whole thing, seeing as Constantine didn’t even ask the good guys for help. He just cast off his protections and let the evil in. So it looks like for the time being our angel is out of the game. Chas finds Constantine in the sewer and things get ugly. Constantine thinks he’s got a couple days before the demon takes full possession and he wants to do a self-exorcism (with the backup plan of Chas killing him) but the demon takes over and Constantine goes running off. Unfortunately when the demon’s consciousness subsides, he finds himself in the middle of a bunch of dead bodies. Oops!

Zed makes it to Mexico City and is determined to make Anne Marie cooperate and help them find Constantine. After assaulting a British Consulate representative, Constantine is hauled off to jail where he’s got some nasty fellow prisoners, namely some members of the gang he murdered and they are out for blood. Too bad for them he’s got the king of demons riding around in his noggin. Constantine buddies up to a guy peddling cigarettes and heads to a chapel to try and start the whole self-exorcism but the guy lets the gangsters in. And not surprising, the demon takes over and slaughters them all. Now, it’s interesting to note that Manny hasn’t actually given up on Constantine and he warns that the Brujaria have other agents working on earth (we see one who ends up killing the Consulate guy) and he’s a little miffed they couldn’t take out the Rising Darkness. Around this time, Zed is reading Ann Marie the riot act, revealing that Constantine has a link to the heavenly host via Manny so she needs to get her butt on board and help out.

Constantine wakes up the next morning and everyone’s staring at him terrified. Constantine bellows that he runs the prison now and right before he rips into the guy who betrayed him, Ann Marie’s spirit appears. So at least she’s holding up her end of things and letting Chas and Zed know where he is. She promises to pray for Constantine but I doubt he much cares whether she does or not given that she shot him and is pretty much the whole reason he’s in this mess now. Anyway, Zed sneaks in with a couple of items (posing as a hooker) and Chas ends up getting beat up and dragged in. Zed finds Constantine and the demon starts to get excited (not in a killing way of course). Ann Marie shows up, too. She’s going to help with the exorcism but she urges Zed to leave Constantine behind when this is all done. Yeah, that might have been the advice Ann Marie wanted back in the day but Zed’s far stronger than that.

The team gathers in the chapel area and ties Constantine down but the holy water Ann Marie uses doesn’t do anything. And our creepy snake friend shows up. He’s the actual serpent from the Garden of Eden. Ann Marie ends up killing him but that means they are running out of options to save Constantine. The demon is getting stronger and so they end up using the guy who betrayed him to get as much heroin as possible. As Constantine puts it, it will either knock him and the demon out long enough to get him to protected ground that might weaken the demon’s hold, or he’ll die on the greatest high of his life. Chas and Ann Marie wheel Constantine out in a body bag and Ann Marie has to do a little magic to distract the guards so they can get away. Interesting that the projection is mostly naked and speaking with an American accent. It was pretty amusing I have to say.

They get Constantine to relative safety but now it’s up to Ann Marie to cast the demon out of him. She’s terrified that she can’t do it and things quickly go pear-shaped as the demon takes control and starts in on everyone. It taunts Ann Marie that she’s weak and crawled off to her convent and that Chas was made the way he was by Constantine and that he lost his family because of it and that Zed’s running away from her father. Of the three, Zed is the most clear-headed about the whole thing. I guess since she hasn’t known Constantine as long as the other two the words don’t cut as deep. But Zed finally talks some sense into Ann Marie, saying that the nun needs to forgive herself for the guilt and rage she’s felt over basically creating Constantine when they were younger. Ann Marie gets her act together and kicks the demon’s ass straight back to hell. It seems to have bonded Zed and Ann Marie anyway. And Zed promises to tell Constantine everything about her past so at least they can face what’s coming together. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to be all they have to worry about. It looked like the demon got booted out of Constantine but at the very end of the episode, right before it cuts to black we see this absolutely sinister, evil look in his eye. He’s been truly touched by ancient evil and I can’t imagine he’s come away just as he was before the whole thing happened. With only four more episodes to go until the finale (it’s still up in the air as to whether that’s season or series) we are rapidly running out of time before an even bigger showdown happens.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Girl 4.11: LAXmas

“Let’s wait in the first class lounge, like the other HBOGo subscribers!”

“LAXmas was a sweet episode that almost served as a holiday-themed anthology in the tradition of “Love, Actually.” Except it takes place at LAX. All of the roomies are traveling for the holidays, and when a Midwest storm messes with the flight schedule, they all have adventures. There is more to the episode than just silly adventures, though. Jess is feeling insecure about her new relationship with Ryan. Cece and Schmidt are still figuring out what their deal is. Coach is torn between a tropical vacation and his niece. And Winston and Nick are just Winston and Nick. They need to get to Chicago! Of course, because this is “New Girl,” everybody puts their own goals aside to help Jess get to London by the end of the episode. Although the trip doesn’t exactly work out as Jess planned.

The episode opens on a rehearsal for the school Christmas pageant. While the kids are rehearsing, Jess and Ryan are making out in the prop closet. Because they are professionals. They have to hide behind some props a couple times when the principal of the school (also quite the professional) comes into the prop closet to give himself motivational speeches in the mirror. While in the prop closet, Ryan invites Jess to spend Christmas with him and his family in London. Jess says yes, as any sane person would. I would give quite a lot to spend a Christmas in London, myself. I bet it’s beautiful.

We next head to the loft where we learn that the gang all has their own separate destinations for the holidays. I guess this is because LA is substantially a city of transplants. It reminds me of the year I lived just outside Washington, DC (the District was literally across the street from my apartment, so I’m not exaggerating), which is also a city of transplants supported by one main industry. Jess, as we already established, is going to London with Ryan. Schmidt and Cece are going to New York, although Schmidt is specifically going home to Long Island. Winston and Nick are going home to Chicago. Coach has a tropical getaway to Hawaii booked, but he’s feeling a little guilty that he’s going to miss spending time with his little niece in Detroit. But who really wants to go to Detroit?

When the gang arrives at the airport, they are greeted by chaos. There is a big storm in the Midwest, and it’s messing up flight schedules all over the place. I’ve flown to Chicago once, and it was in August, not even in winter, and we still had a 1.5 hour delay because a big thunderstorm caused a ground stop at O’Hare. Those Midwest storms don’t play. Anyway, Jess takes the lead on trying to get everyone new flights. Her last project is Winston and Nick’s flight to Chicago. She encounters an especially surly ticketing agent named Barry (Billy Eichner). Every time she even starts to try to make an argument to help Nick and Winston, he bumps them down the standby list. At this point in the episode, he is really quite obnoxious.

Meanwhile, Schmidt and Cece decide they want to try to wait for their flight in the first class lounge. Apparently spending time in a first class lounge is one of Schmidt’s biggest life aspirations. He equates it to basically looking at the Manhattan skyline from his home on Long Island. As they approach the entrance to the lounge, Schmidt tries to come up with a way to talk them in, considering they aren’t members and don’t have first class tickets. Cece, however, coolly steps in and buys them guest passes. In the lounge, Schmidt starts up a conversation with an old rich guy named Robert (Barry Bostwick). The conversation goes well until Robert asks Schmidt if he can have some time with Cece. Schmidt goes off on a Long Island-repping rant and tells him off. Which of course means Schmidt and Cece have to leave the lounge. The rant was pretty funny, I’ll admit.

Coach, meanwhile, is still feeling the guilt over not going home to Detroit for the holidays. There’s a funny little scene where he tries to charge his cell phone so he can talk to his family before he leaves, but the charging stands are all full. His rant at the person who has plugged in both her cell phone and laptop is pretty great. Eventually, Coach calls his sister, who won’t let him talk to his niece because she’s pissed that he’s not coming to Christmas. Needless to say, by the end of the episode, Uncle Ernie give up his Hawaiian getaway and goes to Detroit. Poor thing! I guess his sister could bring quite the guilt trip. Winston and Nick, for their part, are still just trying to get on a flight to Chicago. There’s a funny sequence where they try to convince people ahead of them on the standby list that they really don’t want to fly.

Jess is waiting for her flight at an airport bar when she gets a text from Ryan. It freaks her out because it is a fancy estate, Downton Abbey-style. She doesn’t think she’s ready for an encounter with such fancy folks. While still at the bar, Jess strikes up a conversation with a guy who looks like Santa, who just turns out to be really pervy. Surprisingly, she’s saved by Barry, the grumpy ticketing agent, who makes the Santa leave. When she has calmed down, Jess realizes that pervy Santa stole all the presents she was taking with her to London. Barry says this means, of course, she can’t go to London now. Can’t meet fancy Downton Abbey folks without presents, of course.

Jess and Barry bond over further bar conversation, and when he tells her he’d be happy to help her out with anything airline-related, she gets him to put Winston and Nick in first class seats to Chicago. Ironically, this bumps Robert the rich jerk from the flight. When we last see him, he’s screaming to a gate agent about his frequent flyer status. Winston and Nick don’t get to enjoy those seats for long, though, because Nick continues to be stupid when it comes to Jess. Jess texts Nick that she isn’t going to London anymore, and he rounds up the whole gang for one of those typical “New Girl” rally-around-Jess moments to convince her to go to London after all. Winston and Nick do eventually go to Chicago, just in the crappiest of crappy seats. As for Jess, when she gets to London, she finds out that Ryan flew back to Los Angeles when he found out her original flight had been cancelled. Oops!