Monday, March 30, 2015

Once Upon a Time 4.17: "Best Laid Plans"

“Darkness is a funny thing, it creeps up on you.”
- Hook

So this week’s episode is being touted at having a lot of answers. Adam and Eddy also said we would see the Author before we knew his identity. We start this week with Snow and Charming in the Enchanted Forest in the past chasing a unicorn. Apparently touching the horn can show you the future. Unfortunately while Charming sees Emma as good, Snow sees her as a teenager and evil. Clearly they have a dilemma! But they meet a peddler on the road on the way home (I have a feeling he is the Author just because he’s random and helpful) and he sends them to see the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. He explains that both of the visions they saw could come to pass (and I feel like in a way it did because Emma was born innocent but going through the portal and growing up in foster care did give her a hard life) but there is a spell that can be done to protect her goodness. They can banish her potential for evil into another vessel and Snow thinks Maleficent’s egg is the perfect vessel. Yeah, I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Just because mom was evil doesn’t mean baby would be too. And I do like the idea of Lily being Mal’s daughter. It would make so much sense for her and Emma to gravitate toward one another. Snow and Charming steal the egg from Maleficent but Mama Dragon begs them not to take her baby. They promise to return it but they don’t get the chance. The Sorcerer didn’t tell them that in order to banish their child’s evil, the vessel has to go to another land. And Cruella and Ursula get sucked into the portal. So the baby definitely went to our world.

In Storybrooke, Regina needs to get her butt in gear about getting the page back to the villains. Her solution (after nixing Emma’s rather decent magical forgery) is to take a photo of the page to give the Gold and the others. Killian also imparts the news that Ursula gave him about Emma’s potential to go dark. This sets Snow off and she goes racing through town trying to figure out what to do to protect her daughter. Meanwhile, August is having some issues of his own and Killian is a wee bit jealous. But Emma explains that after Lily, she had trouble making friends and August was the exception. No sooner as she convinced her boyfriend there’s nothing to be jealous about, the villains decide to get the page a different way after Gold realizes that the glare in the photo is actually magic protecting the door. Maleficent puts the town under a sleeping curse and tells Rumple that she’ll get him the Author but she needs to know what happened to her child (it sounds like she went full on dragon and laid an egg). Regina is trying to distract the villains for a bit longer but when they figure out the page isn’t at the Charmings’ loft, they see out Henry.

Henry manages to get to the mansion and Snow and David call him, telling him they’ll be there and to stay put. Gold heads off to do God knows what while he sends Cruella and Mal to keep an eye on Regina to make sure she gets the page from Henry. Just before Regina and her entourage show up, Henry is studying the page and finds a key hidden in a drawer. Regina demands the page from Henry and he hands it over but I’m thinking this is the forgery Emma made. I like how the plan is working and coming together. The whole reason Grandpa and Grandma Charming didn’t show up yet though is because David wants to destroy the page so that the villains can’t free the Author and put Emma in danger. Snow points out if they do that, Regina won’t get her happy ending with Robin Hood. That’s kind of an issue for all of us Outlaw Queen fans.

David and Snow get to the mansion after the villains leave and after some stern words to Henry, get the book and the key. Meanwhile, Regina gets found out by Gold (who has just paid a visit to Belle) and gets locked in her own vault. Snow and David are going to burn the page with the door in it but Snow can’t lie to everyone anymore, not after everything other people have done for her. So she and David tell Emma the truth about everything and just like the vision Snow saw, Emma pulls away from the family and just doesn’t care. But hey, at least she doesn’t rip her mother’s heart out literally this time!

Killian gets sent to check on Emma since the Charmings realize they won’t get through to her. They’re right of course but she’s willing to go see August who is now awake. And he gets the job of explaining that the Author is a job, not a person and the Sorcerer and the Apprentice pick the Author with the sole purpose of recording but the most recent one deviated and was manipulating. SO the Sorcerer trapped him in the book. And I called it. It was the peddler. Emma frees him but then he takes off and Emma loses him in the chase. Oh and Mal gets a glimpse of her baby (and I was right. It was Lily!). So now Mal knows her baby is in the world and wants to find her. I’m honestly hoping for some really interesting scenes with Mal and Emma when Mal finds out Emma knew her daughter. The last six episodes of the season are going to be really good! I really like that we got a lot of answers this week. We found out the identity of the Author and we didn’t have to wait forever. We confirmed the identity of Mal’s baby and Emma knows the truth. I do think that she could still go dark even after what Snow and Charming did since they needed to guide her to keep her in the light. But hey you know maybe a little brush with darkness is a good thing. And I can’t wait to see what Rumple does to keep Regina in line. I have a horrible feeling it has to do with Robin and where he is in the real world.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.13: "One of Us"

“They’re a bizarre pair. He listens for a living, and she doesn’t speak.”

This was a kind of forgettable episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D. that primarily continued the plots that began in the previous episode. Skye is still trying to figure out what her powers mean, and that becomes even more important when May and Coulson put her on the Gifted Index. The good thing about this plot, in spite of the fact that it centers around Skye, and I am still not a fan of Skye, is that we learn more of May’s backstory. Hunter is also being held by Mack following the choking incident at the end of the previous episode, and we get a tiny hint about who Mack and Bobbi might actually be working for. On top of all this, we get a sort of obnoxious plot of the week about Cal, Skye’s dad, rounding up a bunch of gifted folks to wreak havoc and cause trouble for Coulson and the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team. We’re slowly inching towards learning more about the Inhumans, but I’m quickly losing interest and would rather go back to watching “Agent Carter.” Sorry, Team Whedon.

The episode opens on Coney Island, where a woman named Karla is trying to eat dinner while wearing some very uncomfortable-looking metal gloves. Her dinner is interrupted by a knock on the door from Cal. He’s accompanied by two other Gifteds, and he wants Karla to join them. He promises he can free her of the gloves and let her use her abilities again. After a brief hesitation, Karla agrees. It turns out that under the gloves, she has razors grafted to her fingers. Ouch. Cal gathers his merry band and makes a big speech about how he is going to unlock their full potential. Their first stop is a maximum security psychiatric facility in Ohio, presumably to gather up another recruit. Because that will end well.

Meanwhile, back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Skye and Coulson have some grilled cheese while talking about Skye’s status. Coulson tells her that she is going to be placed on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Gifted Index, and Skye seems surprisingly okay with this. She shows Coulson how hard she has been working to control her emotions and her powers, and she’s really hopeful that she will be able to get back in the field sooner rather than later. A later conversation between Coulson and May, however, reveals that this might not be the case. They are still very wary of Skye and what she is capable of. Because she’s going on the Index, Skye needs a full psychological evaluation. Coulson and May decide that a man named Andrew, who just happens to be May’s ex-husband, is the best man for the job. May visits Andrew at the university where he teaches to recruit him. He is clearly wary of S.H.I.E.L.D. involvement, but May promises him that under Coulson’s leadership, it’s a very different organization.

Finally, there’s relationship drama a-plenty among Team Coulson. Bobbi and Simmons are chatting about Skye’s DNA when they are interrupted by Fitz looking for a tool in the lab. When he leaves, the women talk about how betrayed Simmons feels by Fitz lying about Skye’s test results. Bobbi says she thinks it’s kind of sweet that Fitz was trying to protect a friend, but Simmons is understandably upset that Fitz thought Skye needed protecting from her. Bobbi might just be projecting, though, as we see her take a phone call from Mack, who has Hunter locked up in a safe house. When he hears Mack talking to Bobbi, Hunter starts screaming about how much he hates Bobbi now. Bobbi promises Mack that she’s going to arrange for an extraction as soon as possible. Meanwhile, though, she thinks Mack should get Hunter a beer to calm him down.

Andrew arrives at the Bus, where he gets a very enthusiastic briefing on Skye from Simmons. Simmons, of course, wonders right away if Skye should be put on psychiatric medication. Andrew wisely says he’d like to talk to Skye first. Skye is not happy at all about the idea of the psych eval until May says that the psychiatrist is her ex-husband. Skye enthusiastically wants to know all about the wedding. Andrew strategically saves those details at rewards for Skye revealing information about her emotional state. Bottom line is that she’s terrified of hurting her team. Meanwhile, Bobbi and Coulson storm the psychiatric facility in Ohio. S.H.I.E.L.D. used a small block of cells in a subbasement to house two especially dangerous men on the Gifted Index. One is extremely violent, and they encounter him first. Bobbi quickly dispatches him. The more dangerous of the two men has escaped with Cal and his merry band, however. He has the power to render people catatonic using only his voice. Speaking of Cal and his merry band, they have arrived in a small town in Wisconsin for reasons still unknown at this point in the episode.

Despite the tension between them, FitzSimmons actually manage to have a rather light moment in the middle of the episode. Fitz sees May and Andrew joking about May’s cooking, and he quickly leaves to heat up his coffee in the lab instead. FitzSimmons then bond over how May and Andrew are kind of adorable together. The bonding, however, is interrupted by Skye inadvertently making the Bus quake in her sleep. When she wakes up, she gets herself under control, but all is clearly not well. Later in session, Andrew tries to convince Skye that the only way she is truly going to be able to function is if she confronts the horrible thing that happened to her instead of avoiding it with her trademark sarcasm. This is going to be much easier said than done for Skye, and as we’ll see in a bit, the stakes are high.

Coulson and Bobbi talk about Hunter, because Coulson is understandably wondering where the heck Hunter is. Bobbi admits that she and Hunter had been rekindling their relationship, but when the idea of permanency arose, Hunter left. She tells Coulson that Mack is currently looking for him. The conversation doesn’t go further because they manage to figure out where Cal and his Gifted have gone. He realizes that the words “fight on” spray painted at the psychiatric facility referred to his high school, and Bobbi confirms with a license plate photo that the gang is indeed in Coulson’s home town in Wisconsin. Coulson calls May for backup, and May fires up the Bus immediately, to Andrew’s chagrin (his session with Skye is interrupted). Meanwhile, Cal, who convinces everyone that he’s “one of them” because he experimented on himself with chemicals, has the whole gang at the high school football stadium. He releases the guy with the powerful voice on to the football field. He screams, and everybody becomes catatonic, including the birds that had been flying above the stadium.

When Skye finds out about what’s going on, she insists on joining May on the rescue mission. While I hate how she’s still acting like an over-eager puppy when it comes to S.H.I.E.L.D., she does have a really good idea to throw Cal off balance – tell him that she has been put on the Index. In Wisconsin, Cal is muttering over the stadium PA system and engaging in theatrics. Coulson puts his hands up and walks out on to the field, thinking he can calm Cal. Maye and Skye arrive, and all Hell breaks loose. Cal is indeed pissed off to find out that Skye is on the index, but before he can do anything about it, the Inhuman leader from the last episode appears in his blue cloud and teleports Cal away. Cal’s band of gifted continue the battle, though. May, Coulson, and Bobbi end up fighting them off, but Skye starts quaking in the middle of all the chaos. She has to put so much effort into stopping the quake that she breaks bones in her arms. By the end of the episode, she is wearing microfiber casts which, while they aren’t meant to restrain her powers, look an awful lot like the restraints S.H.I.E.L.D. uses on other gifted.

The final minutes of the episode are devoted to the “shocking” reveals of the week. Coulson and Simmons talk about how she thinks they should have two categories for gifted – people who are “enhanced” artificially and people like Skye who have natural abilities. They talk about how they are going to have to figure out a way to contain Skye’s powers. Next, Mack delivers Hunter to his final destination and reveals who he and Bobbi have been working for. Apparently there is a “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. separate and apart from what Coulson and his team have been up to. And I presume they still don’t trust Coulson. Finally, we see that Cal has been captured and imprisoned by the Inhumans. The leader says that Cal has been too noisy, and it appears that he is going to have to face a trial of some sort.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.12: "Who You Really Are"

“You will control your emotions. Just like we practiced.”

This particular episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” was an interesting meld of what the show was pre “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and what it became following the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. in that film. We saw the team investigate a specific alien-related incident like they used to, but we also got another heaping helping of Inhumans mythology and Skye angst. Okay, I guess the Skye angst part has always been there. Can we stop focusing on Skye so much for a while? She may be a mutated person, but she’s annoying! This episode felt like the calm before the storm that is certain to result from the secrets that were revealed by the episode’s end. I don’t think we’ll see this particular group of people going on an investigation together in quite the same way ever again. Too much has happened and too many people, rightfully or wrongfully, feel betrayed. Such is life, I suppose. No routine or social group lasts forever.

We begin this episode on a beach in Portugal, where a group of young adults are enjoying an American-style bonfire. Unfortunately for these folks, though, Lady Sif arrives on the scene and causes some trouble. She is looking for someone named Chaves, and she also can’t remember her own identity. She does remember how to fight, though, and she wreaks some serious havoc on the campsite and the rather hapless campers. They’re Portuguese hipsters, really, from the tone of their conversation, which was mildly amusing. I was glad to see Lady Sif return. Any tangible connection between the show and the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems like a positive thing to me. The whole thing is a massive Marvel publicity feedback loop, really. I have independently wanted to see “The Avengers” (Joss Whedon!), and “Guardians of the Galaxy” (the trailer looked really fun), but every other Marvel film I have seen in the past couple years has pretty much just been to keep up with developments on “S.H.I.E.L.D.” So it’s working, no doubt.

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, everyone is still seriously angsty. May and Skye are sparring, and Fitz interrupts to check on Skye. May is pretty pissed off about the interruption. Bobbi and Hunter are getting some exercise too, of a different sort. They discuss Hunter’s future while post coital. Coulson has offered him an opportunity to work with the S.H.I.E.L.D. team on a more permanent basis, and Hunter wants to take him up on the offer. Coulson also has big plans for Mack. He saw how good a fighter Mack can be, so he wants to use Mack in the field instead of just letting him stay in the garage. Mack soon has his first assignment as part of the team. S.H.I.E.L.D. need to go retrieve Lady Sif from Portugal. The whole team is going to go, and they’re going to take the Bus like old times.

The desk clerk of what looks like a hotel in Portugal got Lady Sif to stay put by telling her that Chaves was on his way. Coulson is decidedly not Chaves, but he manages to calm Lady Sif by convincing her that he is an ally. She doesn’t remember who she is or what she is doing on Earth. Pretty much all she knows are some basic facts learned in school (which aren’t so basic to our humble Earthlings). Skye finds a video on Twitter that may shed some light on why Lady Sif returned to Earth. The video shows Lady Sif fighting another very powerful being, possibly another Asgardian. That other being happens to be played by Eddie McClintock, aka Pete from “Warehouse 13.” This was definitely a good episode from a guest cast perspective, for sure. Anyway, he is definitely up to something nefarious in Portugal, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team needs to figure out what it is.

The team splits up to undertake their investigation in Portugal. Mack, Hunter, and Fitz get a sample from a broken lamp that might help explain what happened. Coulson, May, and Sif interview witnesses. The main witness is an elderly merchant who is (understandably) very upset because one of his nitrogen tanks was stolen in the earlier fray. Skye and Bobbi investigate a rather fancy looking hospital (I may have mistaken it for a hotel earlier), and they notice that the staff are trying to take care of one of their own who has come down with amnesia. Clearly the person they are looking for has been here. Since nitrogen takes are used for surgery, and they know one is missing, they decide to search more around the hospital. Eventually, they find the potential Asgardian they are looking for. He looks blue until he takes in some nitrogen, though, so he’s not Asgardian after all. Skye gets stressed and starts quaking, and she causes some shelving to fall down. The person they were looking for uses that opportunity to run away.

Eventually, the team figures out (probably because of the appearing to be blue for a few seconds thing), that the person they are chasing is Kree. Before the chase continues, though, there’s the other plots of the episode to advance. Skye and Fitz talk about Skye’s situation. Skye really wants to tell Coulson what’s going on, but Fitz thinks she should wait a little longer so he can run some tests. If he can figure out a “cure” before the news gets out, Skye will be in a much better position. This conversation is interrupted by Hunter barging in because he wanted to look at some weapons (Skye and Fitz were talking in a weapons closet). Speaking of Hunter, Bobbi and Mack talk about Hunter’s news that he’s going to stay with S.H.I.E.L.D. on a permanent basis. Mack really doesn’t want to let Hunter in on whatever nefarious thing he and Bobbi are up to, and he tells Bobbi that she needs to push Hunter away for now if she ever wants to be with him in the future (Mack doesn’t think Hunter would like whatever they’re planning).

There is a break in the case when the team realizes the true meaning of Lady Sif’s search for Chaves. It’s not a person, it’s the Portuguese word for “keys.” There is also a town in Portugal named Chaves, and there is even an SSR file about that town because a piece of Obelisk was stored there. Which makes it seem like a pretty good place to search for their Kree friend. The team is able to trap the Kree there. Once interrogated, the Kree, whose name is Vin-Tak, says he was trying to help the people of Earth, but Lady Sif got in his way. As a show of good faith, he offers to restore Lady Sif’s memories if S.H.I.E.L.D. gives him his truncheon back. Bobbi is studying the truncheon, and when Hunter tries to help, she pushes him away just like she told Mack she would. Hunter doesn’t take it well, obviously.

Vin-Tak eventually grabs the truncheon for himself and restores Lady Sif’s memories just like he said he would. Lady Sif said that she was sent to Earth because Odin detected the presence of a Kree, and he assumed that meant trouble. Vin-Tak says he came to earth because of what happened in Puerto Rico. The Inhumans are the result of an experiment set up by the Kree a very long time ago. The goal was to create living weapons. Vin-Tak says that if his fellow Kree found out that some of the experiments have been successful, Earth would be in big trouble. He calls the results of the experiments (people like Skye) “abominations.” Skye, naturally, doesn’t like this, and she starts quaking. Everyone finally realizes that the quaking is Skye’s fault, and she gets so agitated that she blows out a bunch of windows.

May and Coulson, thankfully, have an instinct to protect Skye, so they run off with her while Bobbi and Mack fight off Vin-Tak. Bobbi ends up wiping his memory with the truncheon. Lady Sif follows Coulson, May, and Skye, and she finally gets on board with letting Skye live when she sees Skye ice herself to stop quaking. Clearly Skye doesn’t actually want to hurt anyone. Lady Sif ends up taking the partially amnesiac Vin-Tak back to Kree. Before she leaves, though, she tells Coulson to keep an eye on Skye and that he’s doing the right thing by letting her try to adapt to her powers. The rest of the team, especially Simmons, is really pissed at Fitz for lying about Skye and messing up the test results. I personally think Simmons just needs to get over herself. Skye hears Mack say that they need protection from her, and she gets upset and locks herself in a cell. Skye’s not really the dangerous one here, though. Hunter later confronts Mack about knowing he and Bobbi are up to something nefarious, and he gets chocked unconscious by Mack for his trouble.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

iZombie 1.02: "Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?"

“How do you get your brains?”
“Oh, the hardest way possible. I grave rob. Super fun.”
- Liv and Blaine

So I think I forgot to mention it when I recapped the pilot but I really like how they do the transitions in the acts like they were comic book pages. I think that’s just very clever. This week’s case involves a dead painter with a paintbrush stuck through his eye. Clive thinks it was the guy’s wife but Liv and Ravi aren’t so sure. Once Liv finally eats some of the artist’s brains, she gets a rather erotic vision of the dead guy with another woman. She brings the info to Clive and they go to question the wife only to find the mistress there. And the wife knows about it! She says she respected her husband’s process and knew of all of his lovers and that monogamy wasn’t a big deal in their relationship. Clive is skeptical while Liv is just lustily distracted by the mistress present at the time. Clive still insists it was the wife until Ravi sends over info that the killer was over six feet tall. So his next suspect is a friend/art dealer of the dead painter who fits the height requirement. But the dealer is surprised to hear the wife admitted to have affairs of her own.

Liv’s private life is kind of complicated these days. Her ex-fiancé just shows up with a box of her stuff and it’s rather awkward, especially since Liv still has feelings for him and just worries about passing on being a zombie accidentally. Speaking of passing on being a zombie, she’s having nightmares about the zombie who likely turned her. Poor Liv. She is just not having a very good day. It seems one of the skills she picks up from the dead painter is his artistic eye. This sort of comes in handy when a police sketch artist that Ravi ran into in the lunch area offers to draw the zombie guy that Liv keeps dreaming about. Liv kind of keeps critiquing his drawing and he storms off in a huff. Liv finishes it and then we see her painting all kinds of stuff. In voiceover, she says she sees everything in a room when she walks in. Again, handy because when she gets to the morgue next, her mystery zombie, Blaine, is waiting for her.

Even though I have my doubts as to Blaine’s intentions (mainly from reading interviews with the cast and Rob Thomas and sitting through the San Diego Comic Con panel), it was kind of adorable to see Blaine and Liv bond a bit over their circumstances. Things do get a little frosty when Liv admits that Blaine was the one who infected her and then she’s wary of leaving him alone with Ravi when she gets another visions about the case. Liv sees that it was one of the mistress’s ex-boyfriends who may have threatened the artist. Clive is ahead of her on this one and an interview with the boyfriend reveals that this particular mistress go dropped for the art dealer’s 18-year-old daughter. Can I just say ew!

Also a little on the squicky side, we find Blaine hitting on an older woman at a bar. His charms (because let’s admit that they exist because David Anders is quite handsome even as a zombie) work and she takes him back to her place where things get hot and heavy very fast. Interesting that this episode is rather sexualized. I’m not complaining but it was just kind of a surprise. And he even shows back up at the morgue later to beg off some brains from Liv. She’s a bit unsure of whether to trust him even though he says being undead has made him reevaluate his life choices. She’s not wrong to mistrust him as he does end up getting into a car with some former drug associates and literally tear their brains out. He’s definitely not trustworthy and yet I just can’t help wanting him to hook up with Liv. In a weird sense, I think for me they might be the new LoVe. Not surprisingly, Blaine has turned the woman from the bar into a zombie and he ends up extorting $25,000 per month out of her to get brains to survive. He is rather ingenious.

And if things weren’t weird enough for Liv with this case and finding her zombie sire (is that even a real thing?), she’s in the zone when Major comes over to drop off the juicer that Liv’s roommate asked for (yeah he kept all the engagement gifts) and not only does she act really affectionate toward him but she’s also listening to a jazz mix CD he made for her that until now, she hated. That is probably going to come back and bite her in the butt when the brain effects wear off.

There’s an art show in remembrance of the dead artist and so Clive asks Liv to go with in case she gets a hit or something. Ravi invites himself along for no other reason than the drink, look at pervy art and hot models. It turns out that the art dealer had left the restaurant during the murder window and went to an ATM close to the loft where the artist was killed. As Clive is questioning to wife again, Liv is wandering around the loft, trying to get something to jog a new vision to figure out who actually killed him (though the art dealer does benefit greatly from his death…his art is now worth a lot more so he gets more from sales). Unfortunately for the mistress’s ex-boyfriend, he finds Liv in a darkened room and confronts her. Yeah, just not a good move, dude.

Liv manages to break the asshole’s nose and gets another vision that ends up solving the case. It turns out the wife did do it because her husband was leaving her to have a baby with his art dealer’s daughter. Yeah, that’s all kinds of messed up! As the case wraps up, Live doesn’t want to give up the way she’s been seeing the world but it ends badly with her and Major. She kind of comes on to him and he rightfully kicks her out of his place. But she does realize that there are still parts of her that can come alive even though she’s undead. As a second episode, I thought this established the formula for the show very well and I am enjoying Liv’s journey so far.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Once Upon a Time 4.16: "Poor Unfortunate Soul"

“I may be a pirate, but I have a code. And I promise to never take that voice from you.”
- Hook

So this week we get to learn about Hook’s sordid past with Ursula. Surprise, she’s Poseidon’s daughter and she’s a mermaid, luring sailors to their deaths. Okay so they’re mixing Greek lore in here a bit with siren song but whatever. Ursula doesn’t want to kill humans just because one killed her mother and she thinks maybe she’ll go live in some other ocean not controlled by Daddy. Oh teenage angst. It really isn’t hat different even with rainbow colored fins. So she breaks into Daddy’s vault and steals one of the bracelets that allows mermaids to walk on land. Hook finds her serenading a tavern and offers to buy her a drink. While she explains she’s trying to save up for passage elsewhere, he says that for just a brief moment, her singing soothed his soul and the bloodlust for revenge on Rumple. He offers to take her where she wants to go but I seriously doubt he’s going to help her out. Well it turns out I was quick to question Hook’s motives. Well for about five seconds until Ursula’s father offers him squid ink that can paralyze even the Dark One. All Hook need do is steal Ursula’s singing voice with a shell. Hook shows Ursula the shell but says he wants her to steal the squid ink from Daddy and he won’t take her voice. I have a feeling their little plan goes awry and Daddy turns her into an octopus lady. Well, Hook does end up stealing her voice after Poseidon takes back the squid ink. Not sure how she gets turned into a tentacle-laden weirdo but whatever.

Back in Storybrooke, the Charmings are out looking for Regina and Pinocchio while Regina manages to get a bit of info out of August with a fireball. Apparently the dragon guy he sought out in Hong Kong had been researching the Author and August nabbed his notes after Tamara Tasered him to death. Rumple goes to search August’s trailer but I think Henry has the information. It will be interesting to see just what lengths Rumple will go to to get that information. Meanwhile, Regina uses some weird smoke magic to inhabit Snow’s body briefly to pass on the intel about Rumple and August. The obvious thing to do is go see Belle and get the dagger but when she reveals she thought Hook had it, Emma points out they were duped. So while they figure out how to rescue August, Hook is going to use his past with Ursula to figure out Rumple’s real plan. Given that Ursula sang as a young mermaid and she’s listening to classical music, I’m guessing she lost her voice (kind of like in the Disney movie but not Ariel). Interesting twist.

Regina shows the battered storybook page to August (he says he remembers being a kid) but doesn’t get much out of him about it before Ursula goes wandering off. Hook is summoning her with a conch shell. After she squeezes him a bit, he offers a deal. He’ll give her back her happy ending (which I’m assuming is her singing voice) if she tells him Rumple’s plan. Ursula agrees but to get her happy ending back they need the Jolly Roger which as we know is somewhere in the Enchanted Forest. Ursula opens an underwater portal and out pops a wee Jolly Roger in a bottle. How cute!

Hook and Ursula pay a visit to Belle and Will at the pawn shop in the hopes that Will might have some trinkets from Wonderland capable of getting the Jolly Roger out of the bottle. Will thinks he can help and it just makes me curious about what happened with Ana and Wonderland. Guess we still have a handful of episodes left to find that out. Back at Gold’s cabin, Regina has a weird dream where she finds Robin in the woods but their reunion is quickly interrupted by the Evil Queen wielding a fireball. We do get a somewhat amusing quip from Maleficent about trouble sleeping. It turns out Rumple wasn’t even going to check the trailer. He nabbed some fairy magic that can turn August back into a wooden puppet. Well crap!

After some painful lies make his nose grow (in human form, ouch) August spills the beans about the Author being locked away by the Sorcerer behind a door. The door is in Storybrooke and Regina apparently knows where it is. Since she gave the pages to Henry, she Rumple and Maleficent are off to find it while Cruella plays guard dog. She really has a crappy job. I can’t even imagine what her happy ending would be. Elsewhere in town, Ursula and Hook resize the Jolly Roger but she can’t get her voice out of the shell. So she turns on Hook and tosses him off the side of the ship unconscious. Lucky for him, another mermaid is randomly in the vicinity to save his ass. When Hook comes to, Ariel explains that Elsa kinda kicked Blackbeard’s ass for messing with Anna and Kristoff and Ariel got swept up in the well of putting the ship in the bottle. Whoops but at least Hook can use her to try and make things right.

Emma and the Charmings bust in and take out Cruella (thank you Snow and a frying pan). They’re about to rescue August when Ursula shows up and grabs Snow by the neck. Ursula is about to snap Snow’s neck when Hook shows up with Poseidon. Apparently he’s the only one who can give her voice back and after she gets it back, she actually gets her happy ending and heads home with Daddy. Before she goes, she fills Hook in Rumple’s plan. They don’t just need the Author to change the stories, they need to corrupt Emma so that she can get the bad guys their happiness. Well and Hook worries that he too will lose his happy ending (Emma…gah). Elsewhere, Cruella has taken off and warns the rest of Team Evil that August was rescued and she outs Ursula as a mole (lucky Regina). And in an interesting twist, August reveals that the door in the drawing is the actual door that the Author is trapped behind…in the book.

Overall I thought this was a decent episode and it shows that sometimes villains are only villains out of circumstance and their darkness can be remedied fairly easily. Oh and Emma is now going to track Robin down because Regina thinks her dream was a warning that the Evil Queen was trying to protect Robin from something. I can’t wait to see how the heroes try to find the Author now and what they’ll do when Emma learns the truth. This has been a fairly strong half season thus far and I just hope it doesn’t fizzle out around episode 20 or 21 (sort of like the Frozen arc did).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

New Girl 4.18: "Walk of Shame"

“If that South African runner who killed his girlfriend can run with no legs, we can walk in heels.”

I have serious mixed feelings about “Walk of Shame.” On the one hand, we got some fabulous guest stars in Josh Gad and Justin Long. Those two guys are rarely not funny, and they were both used very well in this episode, including their musical talents. On the other hand, I got the feeling even more strongly than usual, that these folks just need to grow the heck up already. They are in their 30s, living in broke-ass apartments and going on walks of shame. They’re a little “too old for that stuff” as they said on one of my favorite episodes of “How I Met Your Mother.” There were a few years where I identified with “New Girl” more than any other show. Now, I think the show I identify with the most is FOX’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” It features a bunch of nerdy but likeable folks who are way too invested in their jobs and have a sort of workplace family. It’s definitely worth a watch. For today, though, we talk more about “New Girl.”

As the episode opens, the gang is hanging out at the bar. Cece and Jess have just gotten blowouts, and they’re feeling extra confident. Schmidt warns them to not feel too confident – sometimes a good blowout can make a person take on more than she can handle. Which is awfully condescending. Beer delivery guys Bearclaw (the always awesome Josh Gad) and Ken invite the ladies to a party at their house, and Jess and Cece decide to take them up on the offer. Next thing we know, Jess wakes up in Bearclaw’s bed. Cece wakes up at Bearclaw and Ken’s apartment, too. Cece wants to “walk of shame” home, but Jess wants to be a bit more dignificed. Jess’ car got towed and both their cell phones are dead, walk of shame it will be.

Meanwhile, back at the loft, the guys are all wondering what’s going on with Coach and May. As they join the rest of the guys in the living room, May mentions that she’s playing Bach’s first cello suite at a gallery opening that evening. She says she still has one movement to learn, which as a not-super-accomplished-cellist-who-no-longer-plays-due-to-nerve-damage, I can say is false. Bach’s first suite is a basic piece for cellists. I could play several movements of it back in the day, and as I said, I wasn’t very accomplished. A pro like May would have had the whole thing memorized for years by now. Anyway, the guys all want to come to the gallery opening, but Coach and Schmidt have second thoughts about Nick and Winston going. Coach is feeling a little insecure about his lack of culture (the only “classical” music he knows in the Monday Night Football theme), and he doesn’t want Nick and Winston making him look even more foolish.

Jess and Cece wander the streets, and they realize they are very thirsty. They follow a water delivery guy to a backyard where a child’s birthday party is about to take place. There are too many people around, so they decide to hide and get water when the party is over. Eventually, though, Jess decides they should just drink from the hose. While they are quenching their thirst, Jess and Cece both admit that they didn’t have the typical one night stand with the beer delivery guys. Jess and Bearclaw spent all night making up a musical about woodland creatures. The excerpts from the musical throughout the episode are pretty darn hilarious. It doesn’t hurt that Zooey Deschanel and Josh Gad are both very musically talented. Cece kept using Schmidt’s name when making out with Ken, and she felt so guilty she cleaned his room for him. I still find it sad that Cece is still so hung up on Schmidt. She can do much, much better than him, considering how horribly he has treated her over the years.

Meanwhile, Schmidt and Coach try to convince Nick and Winston to go to a water park grand reopening instead of the gallery event. They act all enthusiastic about the idea, but when Schmidt and Coach leave the room, Winston and Nick reveal that they are perfectly aware that they are being asked not to go to the gallery opening. That, of course, they are not going to do. Coach and Schmidt are shocked to see Nick and Winston at the gallery event acting perfectly respectable. They know the guys can be up to no good. They confront Nick and Winston, and they end up looking like idiots. Coach tries to pat down Nick, and the whole thing turns into a fight that injures a flautist. Coach got a toothpick stuck in his leg during the fray, and the guys all go to the rest room to try to remove it. While this is happening, Coach wonders if May might be too good for him. Nick gives Coach a pep talk, and while Coach doesn’t love getting the comments with his pants down, he does feel better.

Things go from bad to worse with Jess and Cece when Jess’ season one ex, former teacher Paul Ganzlinger (Justin Long) shows up. Jess gets all defensive because she thinks Paul must be the father of the birthday boy. She figures he and Jen, the woman he left her for, have a happy family life together. Paul is carrying what looks like a diaper bag, so Jess’ assumption isn’t completely out-there. It quickly becomes apparent, though, that all is not as it seems. Paul is actually supposed to be working at the part as a clown. He’s understandably pretty embarrassed by this. Jess convinces him to give up the clown gig and join her and Cece in their “journey” of self-discovery. Because that will end well.

Coach ends up coming clean to May that he doesn’t like classical music, but he’ll listen to it when she plays because he cares about her. This is good enough for May, and she shows Coach that she learned the Monday Night Football theme for him. The gang finds Cece, Jess, and Paul walking down the street yelling about how Los Angeles hasn’t conquered them yet. Everybody is happy to see each other and doesn’t think this is weird at all. Which is weird. Anyway, when they all get back to the loft, everyone is treated to a performance of Jess and Bearclaw’s musical (Bearclaw stopped by to drop off Jess’ purse). Paul accompanies on ukulele, and in a show of solidarity with Coach and his wacky friends, May accompanies on cello. This is quite possibly the best part of the whole episode because it is just so bizarre.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

iZombie 1.01: "Pilot"

“I have no idea who I am anymore, what purpose, if any, I serve. But the real question is why do I suddenly, desperately need a handful of plastic eyeballs?”
- Liv

So you may have gathered that Jen and I were very excited by Rob Thomas’s latest TV offering (we were lucky enough to sit in on the panel for the show at San Diego Comic Con in 2014). We will be sharing blogging duties for the show and without wasting any more time, let’s dive into the pilot of “iZombie”. Before we really dive in to Liv as she is now, we get a brief glimpse of her as a super competitive surgical resident at a local hospital. She gets persuaded to go to a boat party where there was a freak zombie attack. Next thing she knows, she’s platinum blond, pasty and has a hankering for brains. She’s also lost her drive to do pretty much anything and her roommate, mother, brother and ex fiancé stage an intervention. She’s not really interested in their theory that she has PTSD as she heads off to the morgue—her new gig—to find a Jane Doe case waiting for her. Her boss, Ravi, gets called to a potential suicide and so Liv is tasked with sewing up Jane and she ends up snacking on some of the woman’s grains with some ramen while watching a zombie flick. So of course her boss has to show up right at the moment and go “I know you’re a zombie, tell me all about it!”

Liv fills Ravi in on the night on the boat where we briefly meet Blaine (so nice to see Dr. Whale and Tinker Bell spending time together) before he scratches Liv and infects her with the zombie parasite or whatever. Ravi admits that he suspected pretty early on that Liv was a zombie and he’s totally not freaked out by it. In fact, he wants to understand it. Unfortunately, just as Liv is trying to make her friends and family think she’s normal, Detective Clive Babineaux enters the scene to ask about the Jane Doe. We witness first-hand one of the side effects of brain-eating; Liv gets flashes of memory from the people she eats. Ravi manages to pass Liv off as a psychic. Fun times.

Liv heads over the children’s hospital haunted house (she promised her mom) but then has a flash of who killed the dead woman (who totally gave Lady Gaga’s real name as her own to Vancouver PD 7 years ago). It’s the local weather man. When Liv goes to tell Clive about the latest vision, she starts stealing stuff off his desk (I’m guessing Stephanie…or whatever her real name is) was a kleptomaniac. Instead of just taking the tip and running with it, Clive makes Liv go with him to ask some questions. Turns out Stephanie was an escort named Tatiana and the weather man didn’t kill her (by the way, say hi to Cliff from Veronica Mars). So the next stop is to check out Tatiana’s friend Tess. It takes a little prompting from Ravi for Liv to go visit Tess with Clive but it’s a good thing she does. Apparently, in addition to turning into a klepto she can also now speak Romanian. Helpful in getting Tess to share Tatiana’s last name at least. Our new dynamic duo head to Tatiana’s place and Liv has a vision of Tatiana dying. It shakes her up pretty badly but she’s determined to find whoever killed the girl and make them pay.

They head back to Tess’s apartment but she’s taken off and her neighbor fills them in on a possible third call girl who might be in trouble. I have to say I like the way they intersperse the voiceovers. It definitely reminds me of Veronica Mars, even if it’s more death and dreariness. I think the slight noir feeling to the show really works and Rob Thomas is good at what he does. Liv heads back to the morgue and gets a bit of a shock from Ravi. The reason he’s been taking samples of Liv’s blood and everything is to try and find a cure for her condition. Liv is kind of floored by this because she just assumed she was going to be a zombie forever. The possibility that it could end one day and she could be normal again spurs her to go see her ex fiancé but he’s busy playing (ironically) a zombie video game with some other girl. Poor Liv.

While Liv is being a bit mopey (and putting back all the stuff she stole), Clive is getting taken off the case. A more senior office has a confidential informant who has given him a lead. Clive is told to keep following up on some of his interviews, though. Liv shows up at the station but runs into the other detective who gets the location of the two call girls and he heads off to find them. Back at the morgue, Liv and Clive put together something the weather man said about Tatiana having a “hairy pig”. The cop is the killer and he’s got the girls in a house all covered in plastic so he can do some killing without making a mess. Apparently he lost his wedding ring and he needs it back before his wife gets home or else he’s going to be divorced living in a one room apartment and he can’t handle that. Clive goes in to try and stop the guy but he gets away and attacks Liv. It looks like she’s shot (she actually is but she later plays it off that he missed) and she goes after him all rage zombie and nearly rips his head off and eats his brains before Clive catches up to them. So, they make a pretty badass team and they both seem content to keep the relationship going, though I’m assuming that Liv will have to fill him in on the zombie bit at some point.

By episode’s end, Ravi is providing Liv with brains for later and she is making good on her haunted house promise. She gets to play a zombie which is pretty appropriate and kind of hilarious. And for the first time in five months, she’s able to sleep. Too bad the brains he ate were from another murder victim and this time it’s a very blond, zombified Blaine. I can’t wait for them to meet u again and for Liv to realize their connection. Overall I thought this was a very strong pilot. It had laughs and some interesting mythology set up. Plus it was so very Rob Thomas. Can’t wait to see what happens next week!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Once Upon a Time 4.15: "Enter the Dragon"

“They want to shift the entire balance. So villains win and heroes lose.”
- Regina

So I can’t wait to see how Maleficent fits into the lifestyle of Storybrooke. I have a feeling she has better style than Cruella (seriously the furs are a bit much). I also heard that August would be making an appearance and that excites me too! We start though with Regina making contact with the Queens who are having drinks at Granny’s. Apparently taking a shot and then crushing the glass kinda proves Regina is evil. Well, okay so they take her to a railroad crossing (there’s trains that run through Storybrooke?) and basically play chicken with said oncoming train. Regina poofs them all to safety at the last second which apparently means she’s not evil (hello self-preservation…you can’t reach havoc if you’re dead morons) but she proposes getting into some deeper trouble to prove herself. Elsewhere, Emma is not happy that the Charmings didn’t clue her in on Regina’s undercover operation and she’s also very upset that Regina missed her check-in.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, we find young Regina bitching about Snow’s happy childhood and getting everything she wants. She’s found Maleficent’s spell book in Cora’s things and she kind of is fangirling over the whole turning into a dragon bit. Rumple shows up and after Regina accuses him of not being a good teacher, he poofs her to a wasteland that Mal destroyed back in the day, hoping to teach Regina some patience. Given that Mal took half a lifetime to cultivate her power to destroy the place (a single tree remains on fire all this time later) I guess they aren’t actually contemporaries. What Regina finds is a drunk Mal who is just really bitchy. Apparently she’d put Aurora’s mom under a sleeping curse and her hubby came and broke it. She kicks Regina out of the castle. Regina runs into a random guy on his way to Aurora’s wedding which prompts her to head back to Mal’s castle and try and rally her to kick Aurora’s ass. Mal isn’t interested though because she lost her fire long ago. Regina tries to convince her that they can get it back. After all, if Mal can get her revenge, then someday so can Regina. Regina points out the tree on fire and after a few tries, Mal manages to suck in the flames. But when King Stefan shows up, she fails to turn into a dragon. Performance anxiety or just rusty? With a little prompting from Regina, Mal gets her mojo back and together they kick King Stefan’s ass and then put Aurora to sleep (and presumably Mal turns Phillip into the fiery beast that was plaguing Mulan’s village). Regina ends up putting Snow’s prize horse to sleep and commits herself to learning patience to get what she wants. Joy.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma is kind of freaking out that they can’t find Regina. Turns out she’s been partying it up with the bad girls club and did a little destruction of city property to gain their trust. She’s going back under again and this time, Snow and Charming can’t just wander around in broad daylight looking for her. Oh and Henry is still working Operation Mongoose by himself while his moms are busy dealing with this new crisis. While Regina picked up on the fact that the Queens were hiding something, she hasn’t sussed out that they’re hiding Rumple. He wants to bring war to Storybrooke for some reason (yeah because that’s going to get your wife back you idiot).

It turns out Regina and the girls went drinking in her vault which is where Mal finds Regina later that morning. Maleficent even offers Regina some aspirin for her hangover. Understandably Regina questions the gesture of good will. Maleficent explains they’re after the Author, too and that evening, they are going to steal something that gives them a lead over the heroes. At the library, Regina meets up with the Charmings and Hook (seriously dude doesn’t have a da job?) to explain that the Queens want to shift the balance so evil wins. Emma still isn’t happy with Regina going this alone so she is going to tail the shenanigans tonight to have Regina’s back. I’m guessing Emma is also worried that Regina might slip and go full-on evil again.

So I know I was wondering (along with Regina and the Charmings) what this new lead was. Turns out it’s little Pinocchio. Mal wants Regina to kidnap him. Obviously she doesn’t realize that Regina is a mother now and has certain reservations about hurting kids. But Regina goes in anyway and knocks both he and Marco out. The look on her face though while she’s doing it, you can tell she hates what she’s doing. Oh and we get a super awkward date interruption from Hook (just as Belle and Willa re about to dive into a huge chocolate cake). Hook steals Belle away for a private chat which basically boils down to move Rumple’s dagger so the newest baddies in town can’t use it. Yeah, I seriously don’t trust Hook on this. I mean we don’t know that he knows that Rumple’s in town but I just get super dodgy vibes off him. There’s a reason I got dodgy vibes from him. It’s not really Hook. It’s Rumple in disguise and he snows his wife once again and gets his hands on the dagger so she can’t use it against him. Bastard! He dons Hook’s guise again to make a “pirate’s oath” to not talk to anyone ever again. And then we get the awkward chat about Will and Belle. So weird.

Emma nearly throws a wrench in Regina’s undercover work when she sneaks into Marco’s garage and tries to talk Regina out of taking Pinocchio. Ultimately though Regina wins the argument and takes the kid. But not before ditching her phone so Emma can’t follow. Come on, Swan, you had to see that one coming! The ladies head to Gold’s cabin where Rumple reveals himself to Regina. He also reveals that they don’t plan on torturing a little boy (thank goodness), they’ll beat the answers out of grown up August. Well this is going to be interesting!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.11: "Aftershocks"

“We did not fail. Trip prevented a disaster, and Whitehall’s dead. We cut off the head, and while Hydra scrambles for a new one, I will crush them. I’m gonna make somebody pay, whoever the Hell it is.”

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” got off to a very intense start to the second half of the season. We really delve into the aftermath of the events we saw in the fall finale. There are plenty of the typical Marvel explosions and action set pieces, but this episode feels somehow smaller in scale than the typical episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” The focus is really on the emotions and the characters and how everyone is going to cope with the trauma they have been through. The big focus of the episode (and presumably the spring season) is Skye, as she tries to come to terms with how she has changed since her experience in the underground city. She’s not ready to let anybody know she has powers yet, and for good reason, as several of her closest friends are now spouting gross anti-alien rhetoric. It makes me sad to see that the team will probably be torn apart over this, but I guess that’s what makes for good drama.

While much of this episode deals with consequences in the present, the episode opens with a flashback. We see that Skye’s mother (played by the always talented Dichen Lachman) once helped other people with powers get used to the changes. We see her help a young man who can turn into gas and teleport and also has physically lost his eyes. There is something about her personality that allows her to reach people who are, essentially, freaking out because so much about their body has changed. As we flash forward and see Skye in S.H.I.E.L.D. quarantine, we are left to feel sorry that Jiaying couldn’t help her own daughter through the trauma like she helped so many others. At least, though, Skye does have Coulson. They share a heart wrenching scene where Coulson brings her up to speed on everything that has happened. Coulson vows that he is going to bring Hydra down once and for all.

This episode also introduced us to the true (I think) leadership of Hydra. It turns out that killing Whitehall didn’t solve the problem. Not by a long shot. There’s a whole board of Hydra leaders with aliases like “The Banker,” and they’re all meeting to try and figure out who should replace Whitehall. Bakshi seemed like the obvious choice, but he’s missing, so clearly that’s not going to work. Meanwhile, down in the tunnels under San Juan, Simmons is leaving a survey team. They are supposed to record everything every carefully before completely flooding the whole place. Something is watching them, though. It’s a re-born Raina, now covered in poisonous thorns. Raina attacks the survey crew, and Simmons is one of the only survivors. Raina manages to escape.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. team are all having very different reactions to the harrowing events of the previous episode and Raina’s subsequent attack. Bobbi is trying to be nice and supportive. She visits Skye in quarantine, gives her a care package of snacks and trashy reading material, and calls her a “rockstar.” Mack and Simmons are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Mack is not taking his experience with possession by the underground city well at all. I kind of don’t blame him for that, but it’s making him very anti-alien, and he says some pretty hateful things about anybody or thing that is different. Simmons worries that whatever happened down in the city is an infection and could become some sort of horrible epidemic. She’s starting to wonder if it would be that horrible if people with powers were killed. Naturally, when she has this sort of conversation with Skye, Skye gets very, very nervous. She really doesn’t want to tell anybody on the team what is happening to her because she knows they would suddenly become very, very afraid of her. Mack eventually apologizes for his behavior, but Simmons continues to talk about the need to “eradicate” the disease of alien powers. I’ll just say I was very disappointed in Simmons for this turn of events.

Coulson calls a big team meeting (near the quarantine area so Skye can hear too), and he says he wants to use this opportunity to strike at Hydra. Mac gets really pissed off at the idea of getting more involved with Hydra, and it leads to a very loud argument. Skye starts quaking from the stress, and she can barely stop herself before others notice. Coulson puts his plan in motion by offering to hand Bakshi (Whitehall’s number two) to Talbot in exchange for military assistance with Hydra. Coulson and May take Bakshi, presumably for a rendezvous with Talbot, but a car accident cuts that short. There’s a big shootout where Coulson seems to be killed, but the whole thing is an act for Bakshi’s sake. Hunter takes Bakshi away from the chaos and acts like he’s working for Hydra. He gets Bakshi to call the real heads of Hydra, and Bakshi also offers Hunter money and access to the organization.

Meanwhile, Raina finds Skye’s dad and confronts him about what she has become. Becoming a gross, thorned creature who is always in pain was not the bargain she thought she signed up for. She is really pissed at Skye, because she thinks Skye stole the gift (quake powers and retaining her former appearance) that was meant for her. After leaving Skye’s dad, Raina wanders around the city, seemingly contemplating suicide. She is stopped by S.H.I.E.L.D., and she pretty much begs them to kill her and end her suffering. Just as they are about to oblige, the guy from the opening scene who was adjusting to his powers flies in. He snatches Raina and says he’ll “show her the way.” I thought it was nice that the kindness shown by Skye’s mother when she was alive is being paid forward.

There seems to be some infighting among the heads of Hydra. None of them really trust each other at all. The time is really ripe for Coulson to go in for the kill. While staking out some of the Hydra heads, Hunter presses Bobbi on what she has been hiding from him. She says that she and Mack have been going to a support group to help them with a traumatic incident that happened to them a few years back. Hunter is thrilled about this, although I doubt Bobbi was telling the truth. Meanwhile, back at HQ, Fitz confronts Skye. He thought his test results on her were wrong, but he doesn’t thing that anymore. He thinks she must have changed too, and that she caused the earthquake. Because of the stress of the confrontation, Skye starts quaking again and Fitz runs off.

May comes in to talk to Skye next, and she apparently doesn’t notice the new quake damage. While this conversation is happening, all the Hydra heads start killing each other because they don’t trust each other anymore. Bobbi and Hunter move in when the chaos has subsided to procure Bakshi. They say they are going to take him to Talbot now like they promised. Back at HQ, May and Simmons notice Skye is bleeding (from quake damage). Skye doesn’t have a good explanation, but Fitz comes back in at the last minute with a save. He blames his own carelessness for the injury, because he’s just adorable and the best. When May and Simmons leave, he tells Skye that he covered for her because he doesn’t think the rest of the group will take the news of Skye’s transformation well. He sympathizes with her and wants to give her time to adjust to her new situation. He has also switched Skye’s lab results so that it doesn’t look like she has transformed. Skye is eventually let out of quarantine, and the episode ends with the gang sitting around telling stories about Trip. Mack and Bobbi separate from the group and talk about Fury’s toolbox located in Coulson’s office. They seem to be up to something nefarious, which is disappointing.

Monday, March 9, 2015

New Girl 4.17: "Spiderhunt"

“I can hear it. I can hear it building its house. Building its sticky, deadly house that you can never leave. Building it. With its ass.”

This was decidedly not a good episode to watch when recovering from a particularly nasty stomach virus. A major set piece throughout the episode was Nick cooking the famous Miller “sauce” for a midnight fondue date Schmidt was planning for Fawn. Under other circumstances, this probably would have been hilarious. Every time we see Nick, he is putting something else into this disgusting concoction. There’s mayo, there’s mustard, there’s seeds of some sort. My stomach just couldn’t handle it! Anyway, the main thrust of this episode is Cece’s feeling for Schmidt, and how those feelings reach a critical point when Jess enlists her in helping with a loft “spiderhunt.” Because apparently Schmidt is deathly afraid of spiders. Who knew?

The episode opens with Nick making the aforementioned sauce and Schmidt explaining his fondue date plans. Apparently, even though it looks disgusting, nothing tastes better in a fondue situation than the sauce. I guess I’ll have to take Schmidt’s word for that. Also in the relationship department, Coach is trying to write an email to May, the woman he hit it off with on the Valentine’s Day bar crawl. To say he is finding it difficult would be an understatement. Really, come to think of it, this episode is all about relationships. Jess, for her part, is wondering why she hasn’t heard from Cece in a while. In a phone conversation between Winston and Cece, we learn that Cece has been staying away from the loft because she still has feelings for Schmidt and doesn’t want Jess to know. She’s afraid that if Jess knew, she would try to “mix in” as they say on “The Goldbergs” (one of my favorite comedies right now…I love the 80’s northern Philadelphia suburbs nostalgia), and that would just make everything worse.

All of this comes to a halt when Jess spies a spider crawling on Schmidt. Schmidt is absolutely petrified of spiders. He says it dates back to when “American Pie” was popular and he fell asleep after doing some unspeakable things to a pie. Let’s just say some spiders thought the pie and what had recently been in it was awfully nice. I can see why that would be traumatizing, but what the hell was he doing things with a pie for!? Anyway, Schmidt is dancing on the table trying to stay away from potential spiders, and the roomies tell him he can’t possible have a date with Fawn in that state. Jess decides to organize a spider hunt, the only surefire way to get Schmidt out of this terrified spiral. Cece calls Jess because Winston has let Cece know that Jess is suspicious, and Jess ropes Cece into the spiderhunt too.

Jess breaks the gang up into teams of jar men and smushers, and they begin the hunt. Jess still thinks Cece is acting strange, though, so she shakes Winston down for more information. Winston says that Cece isn’t mad at anybody in the loft. In fact, it’s the opposite. This, of course, was a bad move on Winston’s part. She immediately surmises that Cece must “like” somebody in the loft (what are we, twelve?), and she wants to know who. Cece refuses to spill the beans, as she tells Jess, because it’s a situation Jess can’t help fix. She also swears she doesn’t have feelings for Schmidt again. Cece decides to try the sauce, and when she’s talking to Nick and getting a little teary (because the sauce is so disgusting), Jess starts to think that Nick might be the person for whom Cece has feelings.

Jess starts talking to Nick, and he thinks Jess is referring to a dispute he and Cece are having over whether or not they should buy a popcorn machine for the bar. He starts talking about worrying about smells and cleaning, and since Jess thinks he’s talking about a potential relationship with Cece, it’s all kinds of gross. Jess is understandably horrified at this turn of events, but she is nothing if not stupidly loyal to her friends. She decides that if Cece really wants Nick, then damnit, Cece is going to have Nick, whether or not Nick is acting gross. She locks them both in a bedroom and starts her setting the mood playlist on her phone. Cece and Nick still think they’re supposed to hash out the popcorn maker issue, so they do that and ask Jess to let them out. When Nick tells Jess that they compromised by agreeing to rent a popcorn maker for a couple months, Jess knows she’s been had. Cece eventually admits that she does still love Schmidt, and she begs Jess to do nothing more than just be supportive as she’s not taking Schmidt’s relationship with Fawn well.

The spiderhunt comes to a head when the spider makes its way on to Schmidt’s face. The guys can’t bring themselves to tell Schmidt about the spider, but eventually he figures it out, and all Hell breaks loose. The guys are all trying to help Schmidt, but Schmidt keeps jumping around and screaming. Fawn arrives on the scene (for the fondue date, presumably) and immediately takes charge, which I think is what Schmidt likes about her, even if it is very hurtful to Cece. The gang all joins Schmidt and Fawn for fondue (which doesn’t really seem like much of a date…I would have thought Schmidt and Fawn would have wanted the room to themselves after she heroically saved him from the tiny spider and all), and apparently the sauce isn’t all that terrible once it’s finished. Cece is clearly having a rough time seeing Schmidt and Fawn together, and Jess and Winston (awkwardly) take her hand. In other news, Coach also succeeded in scoring a date with May. The many, many drafts of his e-mail all got accidentally sent to her, but she is impressed by the show of effort, so she agrees to the date.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Once Upon a Time 4.14: "Unforgiven"

“It’s just every time I seem to make progress towards my happy ending, I hit another dead end. But I know I’ll never find it if I revert to my old ways. I’m sorry.”
- Regina

It looks like this week we’ll be getting to learn a little about why Snow and Charming were so edgy about Cruella and Ursula coming to town. Snow has a nightmare about the three Queens of Darkness trying to hurt her family and she finds David awake, drinking away his worry. In the Enchanted Forest, the couple returns home from their honeymoon to find the three ladies waiting at the castle. They want to make a deal. The next day at Granny’s, Ursula and Cruella are waiting for drinks and are clearly being snubbed. They make the mistake of bringing up some of Regina’s sordid past in front of Henry before storming off to pay a visit to Belle at the pawn shop. While Cruella distracts Belle, Ursula uses one of her tentacles to steal something from the back of the shop. It seems David is intent on making sure these ladies aren’t left alone so he enlists Emma to do some surveillance (much to her dismay and lack of grilled cheese). And down below the library, Rumple is getting ready to start resurrecting Maleficent. Sadly my first thought upon watching this scene was “how does he have reception down there?”

David and Emma are parked outside Gold’s shop and follow our newest arrivals out towards the woods. After a quick call to Belle, Emma says that a wooden box is missing. So of course, David pulls them over and checks the car. He finds the box in the back of the car but acts like the car is clean. Still, Emma wants to review video footage to see if they actually did steal something. David needs to see Snow to discuss what the hell is going on. It turns out, they made a deal back in the day to go with the Queens of Darkness to a tree of knowledge to find a way to defeat Regina. Yeah, that plan is definitely going to backfire. Things certainly get off to a rocky start. They’re trying to get across a bridge and the guards won’t let them pass due to their villainous trio and so Maleficent takes it upon herself to turn into a dragon and kill them. I guess that’s one way to solve their directional dilemma. Snow and Charming take off from camp the next morning and find the Tree of Wisdom but when they ask how to stop Regina, the tree rejects them. Apparently they aren’t as valiant as they thought. Maleficent picks up on Snow being pregnant and points out that while said bun in the oven was made from true love, the potential for heroism was just as strong as the potential for evil. Hence why the tree rejected them. Well that doesn’t bode well for Emma. That night, Maleficent pays Snow a visit and shares a secret that only Snow would understand. They are both pregnant, hence Maleficent’s desire to evade the curse. But Snow refuses to help her. She won’t go down a dark path and condemn her baby to that fate.

Elsewhere in town, Henry and Regina are knee deep in Operation Mongoose. When Henry questions Regina about their encounter at Granny’s, Regina admits that seeing Ursula and Cruella reminds her of a time she’d rather forget. She wants to focus on getting back to the happiness she felt being a little family with her and Henry and Roland and Robin. Henry is all for that as he chows down on some donuts while looking at the story book. They might even have a lead when Henry mentions that August added his own story to the story book to try and convince Emma of the truth. August may not be around anymore but little Pinocchio is.

David shares what he found with Snow and it turns out it is a totem of Maleficent and the witches are likely planning to use it to resurrect her. So clearly the obvious choice is to go find her remains under the library and get rid of them. Far easier said than done. First off, Rumple is already down there so they’d have to contend with him and they also have to deflect suspicion from their own daughter. After having a little awkward tiff with Hook over how he knows Ursula (he won’t give her any details and she’s kind of pissed), Emma sees her parents getting ready to head out for a hike. They feed her some bologna about having to see the best in their newest residents if the ladies have any shot of being redeemed. So, Emma heads back to the station but I can tell she’s not convinced. I really want to know what this secret is!

While David and Snow head down to the tunnels to find Maleficent’s ashes, Emma meets up with the rest of Operation Mongoose. Things are not going well. Pinocchio doesn’t remember being August or anything about the book and Regina is getting really frustrated. She lashes out which only results in Marco yelling at her to stay away from his son and to Emma getting the kids out of there to let Regina cool off. Down in the tunnels, the Charmings find the ashes but Ursula and Cruella are waiting for them and Ursula knocks them out with one of her tentacles. Rumple briefly shows up to ensure that things go smoothly and then Ursula uses Snow and David’s blood to actually resurrect Maleficent. We see her transform into all the version she’s been in the cave until she’s fully back. She threatens to cause the Charmings all kinds of pain for what they did to her.

Regina pays Marco a visit and apologizes to him for the way she spoke to his son. She’s clearly frustrated by the one step forward, two steps back routine she’s been stuck in. He ends up giving her some of August’ stuff so that maybe she and Henry can decipher the book more. It was a very sweet scene and I like to see Regina working to be a better person. She deserves her happy ending. That evening, the Charmings intend to tell Emma about her potential for evil but are stopped when they overhear Emma talking to Hook. Emma is trying to see the good in him, like her parents do and she can’t believe they’d ever lie to her. As the episode comes to a close, Snow and Regina have a meeting out in the woods where Snow fills Regina in on everything. Emma can’t know what Snow and Charming did in their past because she could spiral into villainy. It turns out, because of Snow and Charming fighting so hard to make sure Emma turned out a hero, Maleficent lost her baby. Oh shit. No wonder Maleficent is out for blood (the totem that the witches took from Gold’s shop was part of a rattle).

Friday, March 6, 2015

New Girl 4.16: "Oregon"

“The only thing that matters is if the guy is there for you when you need him. Otherwise, you’re dating a wall.”

“Oregon” thankfully brought us the long awaited (to me, at least) break-up of Jess and Ryan. We’re also back to Nick being extremely awesome to Jess and not being completely worthless. Maybe he’s grown up a bit? We can hope! We also got to see a bit more of what Jess’ life was like growing up, because it’s time for Jess’ dad’s wedding to her high school nemesis, and the whole gang is going to attend. I really don’t understand why the whole gang is attending this event – seems kind of overkill. Nevertheless, the set-up provides a good opportunity for the roomies (and Cece) to get into some wacky hijinks. The episode had a good mix of humor and heart as the aforementioned wacky hijinks was mixed with Jess confronting the reality of what a long distance relationship with Ryan really means. Of course, when this realization hits home, Nick is there to pick up the pieces.

The episode opens as everyone is preparing to head up to Oregon for the big wedding. Jess is leaving a long, schmoopy voice mail for Ryan, and she mentions that they haven’t actually talked to each other for about a week. The whole gang, and Nick especially, are dubious that the whole long distance thing is really working, although Jess insists it’s romantic. Ryan is supposed to be going to the wedding, too, and Jess is looking forward to picking him up from the airport and giving him a tour of her hometown. When Cece arrives at the loft, Jess informs her that Cece’s high school crush, Jake Apex, is coming to the wedding. Schmidt, of course, even though he seems really happy with Fawn, isn’t thrilled about the idea of Jake Apex. The rest of the gang kind of tease Cece about it a little bit, although Winston is specifically teasing her about Schmidt’s reaction.

When we next see the roomies (and Cece), they’re in Portland, presumably at a brewery. Coach has a small, but funny running bit throughout the episode where we learn that, since he’s an Army brat, he has developed a habit of researching every new place he goes so that he can blend in. His impression of a typical Portlander is pretty funny. At the rehearsal dinner, Jess keeps getting distracted by her phone because she keeps expecting Ryan to call saying he’s at the airport. While she leaves to take her messages, Jake Apex enters the room. Cece goes to talk to him and makes a complete fool of herself (which I think was actually to make Schmidt jealous). Schmidt, over Cece’s protest, offers to help Cece get a date with Jake. Jess returns to the table after taking her call, and she dejectedly tells the rest of the gang that Ryan’s not coming after all. Trying to cheer her up, Nick says they will all go on her hometown tour instead.

The tour itself is kind of ridiculous. Jess and Cece ride around in a pedicab (with chic umbrellas, since it’s Portland and raining and all), and the guys run beside them. They ride and run pass all sorts of random locations from Jess’ childhood before ending up at a pizza place where Jess was forced by bullies to eat greasy napkins. Jake Apex shows up again, and what do you know, besides being ridiculously hot, he’s also a firefighter. Schmidt tries to talk to him for Cece, and Cece is horribly embarrassed. The tour ends at Jess’s mom’s (Joan) house. Joan seems to talke the news that Ryan’s not coming even worse than Jess does, although it’s pretty obvious that she’s just projecting her unhappiness about Bob and Ashley’s wedding. Nick is a little too blunt about the Ryan situation, and Jess ends up running to her childhood bedroom, slamming the door, and turning on the Sarah McLachlan. Nick tries to talk to her, but all he manages to do is make things worse. Apparently Jess was a massive Lilith Fair fan as a teen, which I find slightly odd considering she’s only about a year older than me, but to each her own.

When it’s time for the wedding, Jess is all dressed up in her “best man” suit (apparently her dad always wished she was a boy and gave her the middle name of Christopher), but she forgot the most important thing. The wedding rings. Coach and Nick offer to go back to her mom’s house to fetch the rings, and they take a tandem bicycle to get there, which is pretty amusing. Meanwhile, Cece tells Schmidt that Jake can’t make it to the wedding because he has to work. Schmidt wants to try to resolve this, and he says he’ll never stop trying to make Cece happy. Then he goes and takes a call from Fawn. Jerk. Jess goes to talk to her dad and Ashley, and she gets a call from Nick saying that the ring retrieval mission is going to be a little more difficult than they anticipated. Jess’ mom said she wanted to take a trip to forget about the wedding. They didn’t realize she meant an acid trip.

Jess tries to stall the wedding so that Nick and Coach can make it back with the rings, but she doesn’t exactly pick the best way to do that. She sings Ave Maria for the assembled crowd. Twice. Both the traditional and the Cookie Monster versions. Eventually, Schmidt, seeing an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, pulls the fire alarm. It stops the singing with the added bonus of bringing Jake to the wedding. After he’s done checking out the fire alarm, Jake asks Cece out. Cece, however, turns him down, admitting that she is actually in love with someone else. That someone else would be Schmidt, of course, who I think doesn’t really deserve her love after what he did last season with the dating two women at once thing and what he’s doing to her now.

Nick finally arrives with the ring, and when he and Jess go to find Bob and Ashley, they find the wedding couple dancing with each other. Nick describes them as “cute as a mute.” For all the issues I have with Schmidt in this episode, I did enjoy that Nick got to be a functional person again. He does truly care about Jess. Jess tells Nick that he is right – she does need someone who will show up for her, unlike Ryan who can’t even manage a phone call. After the wedding, the gang all gather at “Crush Pond,” where Jess says she and Cece would throw rocks and think of guys they had crushes on. Jess announces that she has broken up with Ryan. Apparently she had to do this by voice mail because he never takes her calls. The episode ends with everybody throwing a rock into the pond. Schmidt’s, of course, is especially large and splashes everyone with water.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Once Upon a Time 4.13: "Darkness on the Edge of Town"

“I’m here for the same reason you are, my happy ending. And that’s the truth.”
- Mr. Gold

Denizens of Storybrooke, “Once Upon a Time” is finally back after an interminable hiatus. You have no idea how excited I am for this show to be back. As angry as I was at the end of the winter finale with Outlaw Queen getting their 5 seconds of happiness and the inevitability of Captain Swan, I am thrilled that we get to move forward. So without further ado, let’s get this show on the road. We briefly pop back to the Enchanted Forest pre-curse where we find Rumple recruiting some badass ladies; namely Ursula (sadly not played by Nicole Yvette Brown), Maleficent and Cruella De Vil. He wants to get them all their happy endings. He says they need to find a curse to enact. Since Maleficent was the one who had the curse in the pilot when Regina needed it, I think we are clearly established in the pre-first curse timeline in the Enchanted Forest. Rumple and the girls head down to where the Dark Curse is being guarded and each of the women uses their specific talent to get past an enchantment. Cruella has the power of persuasion. Maleficent can handle dragon fire and Ursula’s tentacles nab the curse itself. This being a Rumpelstiltskin plan, he’s leaving them to die now that he’s got what he wants. Three’s an ancient demon that kills the most evil thing it can find as a last resort. Awesome.

It seems, though that the ladies are going to work together to escape. The demon ends up choosing Maleficent (which isn’t surprising) to try and eat. While she’s distracting the beast, Cruella and Ursula will make a break for it and then use their powers to rescue Maleficent. And it turns out to work just fine, even if Maleficent is a bit touchy about her dress now smelling like fish forever.

In Storybrooke, things are quite idyllic and happy. We see Henry heading off to school and Mary Margaret back in the classroom teaching. Regina has taken over the mayor’s office again and Emma and Hook are rather PDA. It appears the last six weeks have been spent getting back to normal. Well and Hook and Belle are teaming up to save the fairies. It’s kind of an odd pairing but it’s kind of entertaining, especially with them bonding over Rumple ruining their lives. Emma pays Regina a mid-day visit with a kale salad and some root beer which is apparently impossible to open. They chat a bit about the author and his mysterious whereabouts and Regina’s misery before Belle and Hook show up to announce they found a spell that can release the fairies thanks to the translation from an Oxford professor (gracias internet). They head out to the woods to enact it and it seems to work. The fairies are mostly okay but something smoke-like and evil crawls out of the hat and takes off while everyone is distracted with the reunion.

Speaking of Rumple in the present, he’s crashing Ursula’s pad and eating all her ramen. Honestly, watching Robert Carlyle do something as mundane as eat ramen is hilarious. And it seems they’ve got another new member of their unholy entourage to assemble because they find Cruella getting evicted. With some nice words from Rumple, they head off to find Storybrooke. On the way, they stop at a fast food drive thru and oh good lord it wasn’t that funny but I laughed so hard. Just the way Robert delivered his lines is comedy gold (no pun intended).

Because everything that happens in Storybrooke results in a party, Operation Mongoose gets a little boost during a party. Henry, Regina and Emma chat with Mother Superior and she explains that the Sorcerer and the Author are two different people. The Author went missing years ago but supposedly left hints in his work. So now they’re going to be pouring over the storybook even more intently. Well, they will be after they go deal with the latest drama in town. The demon that supposedly was going to eat the Queens of Darkness is loose from the hat. Well, I’m guessing it didn’t eat them since they’re around now and all. Our baddies have arrived at just beyond the town line and while Ursula and Cruella get a little snippy with Rumple for not telling them the truth (i.e. Storybrooke being cloaked and under a protection spell), he does convince them that they’ll be welcomed into town because he won’t be with them. Yeah, I’m pretty sure his wife would have something to say about that. And I wonder if he’d even be able to return since Belle banished him with the dagger.

Regina and Emma try to face off against the demon but they only manage to stun it (I kept yelling at them to cross the streams….maybe because I’ve just watched Ghost Busters). And they can’t put it back in the hat because once it’s out, it’s out. This seems to work well for Rumple’s plan though. He has Ursula and Cruella call Regina on his phone and claim they’ve changed and want redemption and into town. Regina agrees to consider letting them in if their information about the demon helps them destroy it. They really shouldn’t trust these women. At all.

Regina is freaking out that the demon is after her and she’ll have to sacrifice herself to save the town. But Emma points out that beyond the town line is no magic. So, while Charming and Snow are not happy about their newest potential town residents, Emma and Regina put a plan into action and end up destroying the demon. Of course if people were paying attention the demon wasn’t really going after Regina. It was after Emma (the one with the heart with the greatest potential for evil). Regina lets the girls into town and later that night they bring Rumple across the line. He’s going to have to stay out of sight while the girls mix and mingle. But first, we get a crazy twist of an ending. Snow and Charming meet with Cruella and Ursula in the woods and Snow threatens that if the witches tell anyone about their shared Enchanted Forest history, she’ll rip out their hearts herself. Oh snap! Dark Snow is back!

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and I can’t wait to see where the rest of season 4B goes. Potentially Dark Emma, more shenanigans with Operation Mongoose and my poor little shipper heart longing for an Outlaw Queen reunion. Bring it on Once!