Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.17: "Melinda"

"You’re worried that I don’t understand your choice. Well, sometimes that’s the price of doing the right thing. No one will understand. And it hurts like hell.”
-May

I think “Melinda” was one of my favorite episodes of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” this season thus far. I liked that we learned a lot about May’s background. Knowing why she has become known as “The Calvary” and why she has shirked away from relationships is important. It was clear that something traumatic had happened to her, but until now, we didn’t know exactly what that traumatic event was. We had heard references to something bad going down in Bahrain, but no details. I also liked that we got to see Skye interact with her mother, Jiaying. As regular readers (if you’re out there) of MTVP know, I am not at all a Skye fan, but it was pretty cool to watch her react to meeting and getting to know her mother. The Johnson family reunion that featured in “Melinda” is sure to be short-lived (television rules), but it was kind of sweet while it lasted. I’m definitely glad to have the great Dichen Lachman on my television screen.

We get flashbacks to the Bahrain incident throughout this episode, which is only appropriate considering the episode’s name is “Melinda,” and this event changed Melinda May’s life forever. The first flashback gives us a brief glimpse into what the now stoic May was like pre-Bahrain. She and Andrew (who was still her husband) were very affectionate with each other and were planning to start a family. In a bit that’s very prophetic, Coulson shows up early one morning and ruins a tender moment between May and Andrew. They need to leave for a briefing about their next S.H.I.E.L.D. mission. At the briefing, they learn that they are supposed to find a woman named Eva who has super strength and escaped from Russia. She is now believed to be in Bahrain.

Meanwhile, in the present day, Agent Weaver and Bobbi are trying to hard sell May on the idea that Coulson was up to something nefarious. They really want May to give them more information on what Coulson is up to, especially “Theta Protocol,” which they are convinced was something big. May says if they give her back control of the base, she’ll think about it. Also, “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. is tracking Fitz, even though they claimed to have released him. Later, while flying together, Bobbi continues to try to sell May on Coulson being up to something. She plays up how May must be feeling betrayed at not knowing about Theta Protocol. May does indeed to be upset by what she has learned. When she returns to the base, May and Simmons talk about the revelations. Simmons didn’t realize she had been working on Deathlok tech, and she also hasn’t heard of Theta Protocol. May wants to do more research before condemning Coulson, though, because when he goes off the reservation, it’s usually for good reason.

In Afterlife, Skye is working with Jiaying for the first time, and they have gone out to the mountains to test out Skye’s powers. Jiaying thinks Skye has the ability to tune into any object’s frequency and cause only that object to move. Skye is eventually able to cause an avalanche on a nearby mountain, and she starts to think her power is actually pretty cool. Later, Skye talks with Lincoln about what it’s like to have Jiaying as a guide. Lincoln explains to Skye that Jiaying is in charge of the Afterlife community, and as far as he can remember, she has never directly trained anyone before. In a more refined second training session, Jiaying has Skye work with glasses with varying levels of water. Skye is able to briefly make some music before the glasses shatter. She gets discouraged and tells Jiaying that whenever she feels at home somewhere, she is betrayed and/or sent elsewhere. Jiaying assures Skye that she’s not going to be abandoned this time, and Skye eventually realizes that Jiaying is her mother. Jiaying says she looked for Skye for a long time, but eventually, after she had no success, she decided she should devote her time to helping other Inhumans. She warns Skye that they need to keep their relationship a secret for now because the other Inhumans could perceive it as a threat. I guess Skye isn’t as safe as Jiaying said she would be.

In other flashbacks to the Bahrain incident, we see Coulson try to talk to Eva in a marketplace. It doesn’t go well, and some bad guys Eva seems to be working with close in. One of them takes a little girl and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent hostage. Eva goes with them after telling Coulson she wants “pain,” which is really plain odd, although I promise it all makes sense eventually. A S.H.I.E.L.D. strike team goes into a nearby building to recover Eva and the little girl, but May and Coulson quickly lose contact with them. They realize that they are completely alone now. S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ doesn’t like the idea, but Coulson lets May go in by herself to try and fix the situation. He even stops Bahraini military interference by cheekily telling the soldiers that a biological weapon went off in the building. May makes a quick “I love you” phone call to Andrew, then she sneaks in, quickly taking out several guards. Eventually she sees a familiar S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, but he just says he needs her pain. All the other hostages and agents also start shuffling towards May saying they need her pain. May realizes they are all being controlled by Eva, so she runs away and barricades a door before beginning her search for Eva herself.

We also spend a little time with Raina in this episode. She’s very ornery and bitter about what the mist has done to her. Gordon is really the only one who can get through to her at all. They bond because the mist changed both their physical appearances. She’s willing to stay in Afterlife as long as she can work with him. Gordon implies that Raina wouldn’t be allowed to leave Afterlife whether she wanted to or not. Meanwhile, Skye and Jaiying talk about why their relationship can’t be revealed. Jaiying must decide Skye’s fate because skipping the rigorous selection and training process usually has bad consequences, and she wants to appear impartial to the rest of the Inhumans. The last time somebody bypassed the process, it involved Eva, and as we soon learn, that didn’t end well.

Back in flashback land, May and Eva start squaring off for a fight. May tells the little girl, Katya, to stay out of the way, and Eva continues to say she wants May’s pain. May fights off some of the possessed guys, and she eventually kills Eva by impaling her rather brutally on a pole. The guys keep coming even though Eva is dead, so May knows something else is up. This is interspersed with Jaiying tells Skye that Eva actually wanted to transform Katya, her daughter, even though Jaiying thought that was a bad idea. Katya is the one who wants everyone’s pain, and to save everyone who is still alive in the building, May ends up shooting Katya. May is absolutely traumatized by having to kill a little girl, even if the little girl in question was evil. Jaiying explains to Skye that because of the Katya incident, the Inhumans are wary of mothers breaking transformation protocol for their daughters.

At the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, May and Simmons cross reference Bobbi’s intelligence on Coulson with Coulson’s official travel records. Coulson is basically never where he says he’s going to be, and he’s also been having secret meetings with Andrew. Mack interrupts the conversation to say that he thinks Coulson is trying to start an army of people with superpowers. How else can buying property with a lot of bunks and consulting with a psychiatrist be explained? Later in the episode, we see a flashback of how May transitioned to a desk job following the Bahrain incident, and that scene phases into May scouring paperwork about Coulson in the present day. She sees something (I think related to the photo of Coulson and Andrew) that causes a bit of a lightbulb moment.

Jaiying takes Skye for a family dinner with Cal. Jaiying tells Skye that she owes Cal that much, and mother and daughter agree that after the dinner, Cal will be shipped far, far away. They’re going to try to have just one nice night as a family. Cal is transformed when he gets to be in the presence of his daughter. He tells Skye her birth story from his point of view, and Skye learns that she is actually 26-years-old, not 25 like she thought. Lincoln looks in on the happy scene, and he is shocked that it exactly imagines something that Raina told him she saw in a dream earlier. It’s very weird. I guess Raina’s superpower is fortunetelling with a side of poison thorns?

In the episode’s tag, we see some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents watching the door of a restaurant bathroom. They are getting impatient and knock on the door. Inside the bathroom is Fitz. He has managed to open Fury’s toolbox, and he uses it to talk to Hunter (who is presumably in Mexico) on a tablet. Coulson is there, too. Fitz wants to meet up with Coulson and Hunter, but he needs to shake his S.H.I.E.L.D. tail first. Hunter says that if there’s an electric hand drying in the bathroom, Fitz should be good to go. I don’t even really want to know what craziness that man has planned! Or maybe I do.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Once Upon a Time 4.20: "Lily"

“Our actions are our own, but fate pushes us. Maybe it’s time to push back.”
- Regina

We have been leading up this episode since season 4A when we first met the titular character. Of course, back then we didn’t know she would turn out to be Maleficent’s lost daughter or that she would have such a tight connection to Emma. Bring on the awesomeness! We spend most of our time this episode either in Emma’s flashbacks or on the road so we’ll get the very quick blip of the Enchanted Forest out of the way. Right after the Apprentice traps Isaac in the book, he goes to see the Sorcerer (a giant colorful glowing cloud that kind of reminds me a bit of the Smoke Monster if it was on acid) and we learn that Emma and Lily’s fates have always been linked, what the Charmings did doesn’t change that.

In Storybrooke, the family is having a little gathering to discuss how to keep Emma from going dark when Maleficent shows up seeking their help to find Lily. She wants to get out of Gold’s shadow before he stabs her in the back. Emma agrees but kind of freaks out when she realizes that Mal’s daughter is in fact her one childhood friend that she pushed away. But with a little pep talk from Regina, they decide to head out to track down Lily and save Robin. Yay for a Swan Queen team up. I love how their relationship has progressed since season 1. While they are away, Rumple has some personal business to attend to involving Belle. And apparently he doesn’t’ much care where Emma goes dark, so long as she does. It seems Rumple wants Will to steal back Belle’s heart and there’s no saying ‘no’ to the Dark One. It is really bad that every time Rumple opens his mouth this week I just want to smack him and tell him to be quiet. But I guess he does get what he came for when Will manages to steal Belle’s heart back. So much for that insurance policy. But Rumple does sort a nice thing. He gives Belle back her heart and steps away from their marriage. If he continues to hurt her then he has no hope. So he wants Will to protect her now.

In the late 1990s, we find Emma is in a new foster home (before the home she ended with Ingrid back in Boston). The family is going on a camping trip when Emma finds Lily hiding in the garage. She is in big trouble and she needs Emma’s help. Emma’s foster day is more than happy to have over for dinner but Emma starts getting worried when Lily lies about how they met. And just after Emma confronts Lily about it, she sees on the news that it looks like Lily was one of two masked assailants involved in an armed robbery. I guess that potential for darkness is really kicking in! Lily explains that it was all her boyfriend’s idea and she had no idea it would turn into what it did. She needs to get a necklace from her birth mother before she’ll take Emma’s money for a bus ticket. I guess this is where Emma starts to push Lily away. She manages to steal back Lily’s necklace but she gets caught sneaking back in by her foster parents. Lily apparently stole some money and when they called Emma’s social worker, they learned not only the truth about Emma and Lily’s first meeting but Lily’s involvement. Emma does what she always done, runs away. Lily finds her at a bus stop and begs her to go away together because she’s really gotten kicked out by her parents this time. She says that everything in her life is going to crap and is full of darkness except when Emma is around. Emma isn’t having any of it and she just up and leaves. Lily gets on a bus where the Apprentice finds her and starts filling her in on the truth. Well I guess we know how she learned about everything now.

The first stop on Emma and Regina’s road trip of awesome is Lowell, Massachusetts. Regina remarks that fate seems to have been pushing the together since Lily lived so close to Emma. But when they get there, they find that Lily is gone, possibly dead in a drunken car wreck. Emma loses it a little when the landlord calls Lily a loser. Regina has to talk her down. I think I can start to see what Rumple’s hoping for. Emma is going to get so emotionally involved with finding Lily that if it turns out badly, she’s going to lose it and go completely bat shit. Emma refuses to talk about her little snap in judgement as they leave town. But it seems fate is stills crewing with them because as they are talking, a wolf appears in the road much like when she tried to leave Storybrooke the first time. They get a flat tire and are near enough to a diner that they split up to get coffee and the flat fixed. Wouldn’t you know, the waitress that starts serving Emma is none other than Lily living under an assumed name? Emma follows her out back and calls her on living under the fake name. She tries to tell Lily that she was right about them being connected. Lily doesn’t want to hear it. She claims that she fell in with a bad crowd and needed a new start. But she’s good now with a husband and a daughter. We see the latter part is a lie though because she convinces a little girl getting off a school bus to take her hand and walk out of sight with the promise of free burgers for a week. Emma looks absolutely devastated.

Emma snags Lily’s time card with her real address and she and Regina pay the empty place a visit. What they find is not what they expected. Lily somehow knows the truth and is out for revenge. Oh and she stole Emma’s car. So Emma steals a car of her own and she is clearly going down the dark path when she finally catches up with Lily. Lily insists that she’s not going to stop because it’s all Emma’s fault. Well not really but whatever. Emma eventually pulls a gun and Lily goads her, trying to get her to shoot. But Regina talks her down again (see there was a purpose to this road trip after all) because if Emma killed her, Gold would get exactly what he wanted. With news that Rumple has Belle’s heart, they rush off (with Lily along for the ride) to New York. And the worst ending ever happens. Regina drops the truth bomb on Robin and then Zelena and Robin drop the even bigger truth bomb when he says he can’t leave; she’s pregnant. Every week I don’t think Adam and Eddy can hurt my Outlaw Queen shipper heart more and yet they do. They just keep ripping it out and stomping on it.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Game of Thrones 5.01: "The Wars to Come"

“I don’t believe in saviors. I believe that men of talent have a part to play in the war to come.”
-Varys

“The Wars to Come” provided pretty much exactly what I would expect from a “Game of Thrones” season premiere. We checked in at least briefly with almost all of the many regular characters (I think Arya’s reintroduction is saved for the next episode, but the rest of the gang was all here), and some more extended sequences set up the major plotlines for the season. Also, we ended the episode with a gruesome, shocking death. Although, come to think of it, that last one isn’t particular to just season premieres. Gruesome, shocking deaths happen quite often in the world of “Game of Thrones!” I am very intrigued to see where this season goes, plot-wise. Faithful MTVP readers (are there any of you out there?) should know that I choose to watch the television show ahead of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” books. I have seen every episode of the first four seasons of “Game of Thrones,” but I have only read the first two books thus far. So this is very firmly a “no book spoilers, damnit!” zone. I really, really don’t want a repeat of the finding out about the Red Wedding two years early incident around here!

The episode opens with a flashback to Cersei’s childhood. Cersei and another girl are walking through some pretty sinister woods, at Cersei’s insistence, of course. They find a witch in a cave who has a reputation as a fortune teller. The fortune teller tells Cersei she will be Queen for a time, but someone younger and prettier will replace her. The whole thing was a little “Snow White” now that I think about it. I wonder if Cersei will try to poison Margaery Tyrell, who is nothing if not persistent in her campaign to be Queen. We then move forward into the present day, where preparations are underway in King’s Landing for Tywin Lannister’s funeral. Cersei and Jaime have some alone time in the Sept with Tywin’s body before the official memorial, and they talk about the circumstances of Tywin’s death. Cersei wants to know if Jaime set Tyrion free, since it’s pretty clear that Tyrion killed Tywin. Jaime doesn’t say much, but it’s clear that he did.

Tyrion, for his part, has been spending a lot of time recently in a crate, escaping from Westeros. Tyrion manages to bust himself out of the crate when it has arrived in a very lush, warm location. I’m sure to Tyrion’s chagrin, he is greeted by Varys when he emerges. They are in Pentos, on the same estate where Daenerys and Viserys were staying at the beginning of season one. They talk a bit about the future of Westeros, but Tyrion doesn’t seem to care much. His experiences over the past few years have robbed him of any hope for the future. Varys supported Viserys and the restoration of the Targaryen family to the Iron Throne back in the day, so it’s not exactly a shock when he asks for Tyrion’s help in trying to bring Daenerys to Westeros. Tyrion hesitates at first, but eventually he agrees, because why the heck not at this point. The two men are going to travel to Meereen, where Daenerys is still trying to rule.

I used to think that Daenerys would be a good choice for the iron throne myself, but if her experience in Meereen is any indication, she still has a lot to learn about governance. In this episode, we see that resistance to Dany’s rule in Meereen has intensified. Some of the Unsullied have been frequenting brothels (mostly for companionship, since they’re eunuchs and all), and one of them is killed doing so by somebody in a creepy mask. When she hears about it, Daenerys wants to give this particular Unsullied a hero’s burial to send a message to the people of Meereen. When Daenerys is holding court, she receives a request to re-open the fighting pits. The person making the requests argues that it’s a part of the local culture. Dany is repulsed by the idea because she associates it with slaves being forced to fight slaves. When they’re post-coital, Daario tries to put the fighting pits in a bit more perspective. He fought himself as a younger man, and it’s part of what made him who he is today. He thinks Dany should re-open the pits, although she still doesn’t love the idea. He also suggests that she try to regain control of her dragos, because that would impress her subjects. Dany visits her dragons in the cave where she imprisoned them, and they seem more agitated than ever. Dany is, understandably, devastated. I’m rooting for her to get her act together.

We also briefly check in on Littlefinger, Sansa, and young Robin. Robin is being left with Lord Royce, ostensibly for training so he’s not an embarrassment to the Eeyrie. It doesn’t seem to be going well, but Sansa and Littlefinger leave him there. Not too far away, Brienne and Podrick are arguing about what to do next. Podrick wants to help Brienne find Sansa, but Brienne wants to fly solo. I don’t think Pod is going to give up that easily, though. A caravan of horses and carriages whizzes by where Brienne and Pod are arguing, and said caravan is transporting none other than Littlefinger and Sansa. Littlefinger plans to take himself and Sansa far, far away. Brienne’s window for rescuing Sansa has just seriously narrowed, it’s just too bad she doesn’t realize it yet.

It wouldn’t be an episode of “Game of Thrones” without some King’s landing intrigue. Interestingly, we get to find out what happened to poor, hapless Cousin Lancel, Cersei’s other favorite incest partner. Apparently he has joined a religious order that worships the Seven called the Sparrows. The resulting haircut is rather striking. Cersei talks to him, and he says he’ll pray for her. She doesn’t seem to appreciate that very much. We also get a scene where Lorcas Tyrell and Olyvar, who works for Littlefinger, are post-coital dreaming of traveling to somewhere nice like Dorne. An irate Margaery interrupts them because Lorcas is making them late to dinner. After Olyvar leaves, Margaery and Lorcas have an interesting conversation about how if Lorcas doesn’t marry Cersei, Margaery will be trapped in King’s Landing with her. Margaery answers, “perhaps,” and I wonder what nefarious trick she has up her sleeve.

Finally, we pay a visit north of the Wall. Stannis summons Jon Snow for a conversation. The would-be King wants Jon’s help in getting Mance Rayder’s loyalty. He wants the Wildlings to join his army, because he thinks that would make him unstoppable in his quest for the Iron Throne. Jon delivers Stannis’ offer to Mance, but Mance isn’t having it. Jon tries flattery, reminding Mance what a feat he accomplished in uniting all the Wildling tribes. Mace thinks, however, that swearing fealty to Stannis would destroy everything he has worked for. He values freedom more than anything else, including his own life. Stannis said he would burn Mance if he didn’t swear fealty, and in an especially gruesome scene to finish out the episode, he makes good on that promise.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.16: "Afterlife"

“I lost her.”
-Coulson

“Afterlife” saw our S.H.I.E.L.D. friends choosing sides in the fight between Team Coulson and the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. We also learned more about Skye’s abilities and the Inhumans in general. I don’t think this will go down as one of my favorite episodes of television ever, but it was an interesting enough way to spend an hour. I’m expecting the last few episodes of the season to really wow me, though. You hear that, Jed and Mo?! I also appreciated the FitzSimmons developments in this episode, although I am sad that while they are becoming closer together emotionally again, they are going to be more separated by distance. What can I say? Sad FitzSimmons makes me sad! As always. Mostly I’m just ready for cranky Gonzales and his team to go home. I was intrigued by the concept of the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. at first, but now I pretty much just think Gonzales is a paranoid jerk.

When we first see Skye, she’s lying on a table with what look like electrified acupuncture needles throughout her body. She wakes up, and she is understandably upset by her situation. She is wherever Gordon took her when she asked for his help in the previous episode. She is greeted by her “transitioner,” Lincoln. Her job, as you can probably guess from the title, is to help Skye with her transition into full Inhuman life. He’s going to evaluate her powers and set her on the path of being able to control them. He says that where they are is a sort of waystation or refuge for Inhumans, and they call it Afterlife. Once Skye has healed a bit more (that’s what the acupuncture needles were for), she and Lincoln go for a walk around the main village in Afterlife. Everyone stares at Skye, and Lincoln explains that she is one of only a few who have gotten to transition. Most of the folks in Afterlife are going through rigorous training and evaluation, and even then they may not be able to transition. She is also the only person in many years who has transitioned using the old school method of a diviner.

I never realized before the end of the previous episode how fun Coulson and Hunter could be together, but the fun definitely continues in “Afterlife.” Their first task this week is to obtain a car. Coulson is negotiating with the salesman for a practical used SUV, but Hunter rolls up in something a bit flashier, and they steal that car. Eventually, Hunter and Coulson arrive at a safe house, and they are able to see video of what happened to Skye at the Retreat. Coulson is devastated when he sees Gordon take her away, because he has no hope of finding her. Later in the evening, Coulson and Hunter have a strategy session. They try to go through their options for taking down Gonzales and his crew of “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but they are at a loss for ideas. They come to the conclusion that there are no good options, but they’re going to have to try to do something anyway.

At Team Coulson HQ, Gonzales tries to recruit Fitz to help open Fury’s toy box (which, you’ll recall, Gonzales thinks contains information on all the scary stuff that could destroy humanity). Fitz remains loyal to Coulson, and he refuses to help Gonzales. It really struck me in that particular scene how super paranoid and annoying Gonzales is. I love Captain Adama and all, but Gonzales just isn’t doing it for me. Gonzales next interrogates May, but she refuses to say anything about Coulson or his plans. Gonzales wants to know where Coulson is, but May says he doesn’t need to know. Coulson will come to him when he is ready. Since Fitz isn’t helping, Bobby tries to get information on the toy box out of Simmons. Simmons seems to be playing along, genuinely concerned about the alien influence on S.H.I.E.L.D., and she tells Bobbi that the solution is “a lab solution, not a tech solution.” She starts running experiments on the box in her lab.

When Hunter wakes up, he is pretty freaked out to find that Coulson has decided on a “bad option” course of action. He has called up “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. and offered to have a meeting. We learn that Coulson has an ulterior motive, though. He wants to steal their quinjet. Coulson and Hunter are still in the safe house, but the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have a battering ram and are trying to use it to bust down the door. Coulson estimates they have only an hour to plan their strategy before the battering ram eventually breaks through. Coulson’s got a bag of all sorts of special gadgets, including some playing cards that seem to project holographic images of Hunter and Coulson when the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents finally break in. Hunter and Coulson head for the quinjet in S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms, but they are quickly discovered, and they are outnumbered when some cloaked quinjets appear. Deathlock, however, is apparently now working for Coulson, and he saves the day and helps them capture the quinjet for real.

Back at Team Coulson HQ, Mack tells Fitz that Simmons is helping crack the toy box. Fitz gets on his computer to confirm this, and he seems to be very upset at what he finds. Fitz confronts Simmons about his feelings of betrayal, and they end up getting in a huge argument. Fitz has been cleared to leave S.H.I.E.L.D., and Simmons tells him that if he doesn’t want to be loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. as an entity over Coulson, maybe it’s time for him to go. Fitz agrees. As you might expect, though, all is not as it seems. By the end of the episode, we see Simmons tell Gonzales and company that the toy box can’t be cracked and is useless. At the same time, Fitz in is a cab. We see him open up his bag, in which is the real toy box. Also in his bag is his favorite prosciutto and mozzarella with pesto aioli sandwich (which sounds delicious, by the way), made for him by Simmons of course. It’s so nice to see them working well together again!

In Afterlife, Lincoln takes Skye to a remote hill that is safely far away from the village. He wants her to demonstrate her power so he can see what he’s working with. Skye freaks out, so Lincoln ends up showing her his power instead. He can manipulate electricity, and he uses it to make Skye hover briefly above the ground. Back in the village, Skye and Lincoln talk to Gordon, and Skye asks if he can get a message to her friends so that they will know she is okay. Gordon says he can’t make any guarantees, but he will ask the elders for permission. He’s not especially optimistic. Skye also asks about what is behind a particular door in the village, and she is told it’s an unused transition room. There are many secrets in Afterlife, though. Cal is in one of the buildings there, and Gordon pays him a visit. He tells Cal that he (Cal) has risked all their lives, and he has sealed his and Skye’s fate. It almost sounds like Gordon wants to kill Skye at this point.

In talking with Skye, Lincoln slips up in something he says and Skye realizes that Raina is at Afterlife, too. She uses her quake powers to open the door to the “unusued” room, and Raina is indeed there. Skye attacks Raina for all the trouble she caused, and she almost kills her. The only thing that stops Skye is the sudden appearance of Jiaying, Skye’s mother (although Skye doesn’t know that). She offers to take Skye on as her trainee personally. Skye’s going to take some time to think about it. Jiaying then pays a visit to Cal and acknowledges that yes, Skye is definitely their daughter. I am wondering how the heck Jiaying is still alive. I definitely hope we get more of an explanation in the next few episodes!

iZombie 1.06: "Virtual Reality Bites"

“What was it Mom said right before ‘sit up straight’? Something about not letting life pass me by.”
- Liv

It is hard to believe but we are about halfway through the first season of “iZombie”. Can I just say it’s been a fun ride with Liv and Ravi and Clive? Things kick off to a really awkward start this week when we see Major lying motionless and bruised on an autopsy table. It’s quickly established that he’s alive and Ravi is trying to stitch him up when Liv shows up. Lucky for Major since Ravi is no surgeon. Liv admonishes her ex for taking on the guy he thinks is The Candy Man and then gets evasive when Major brings up Lowell. It also turns out that the case of the week is rather gross as well. A very overweight man who is starting to putrefy is found dead in his apartment. He’s a shut-in and no one has seen him in years. While Liv and Ravi try to determine cause of death (and Liv is mentally gagging at the thought of drinking diseased brains), Clive does a little digging and finds out their victim, Simon Cutler, is an online hacker who goes by the handle Sim Reaper. He sounds like a total jerk.

Elsewhere around Seattle, Jackie is having brain withdrawal symptoms and her delivery boy shows up without her brain. She ends up impaling him and decides to just eat his brains instead but for some reason she calls Blaine to tell him her order never showed up and then she mutters something about a meeting and hangs up. Very odd. And it seems she may have decapitated the poor delivery boy and dumped in the woods because Ravi is working on him later when Clive shows up asking about the Cutler case. Clive heads to Blaine’s butcher shop due to the combo of food in the delivery boy’s stomach and questions Blaine about knowing the kid. Before things can get too unfortunate for our homicide detective, Liv calls with information about the Cutler case. Oh and then Blaine goes and drills a hole in Jackie’s head because he’s just a prick like that.

It seems that one of the personality traits Liv inherited from Cutler is his massive agoraphobia. This kicks in when she goes to tell Clive that she saw Cutler have an allergic reaction to a donut. While she’s at the station she and Clive figure out that the random birthday card found at the scene was the murder weapon (it launched confetti that was laced with peanut dust). Well that’s convenient for the case for sure. Too bad the agoraphobia gets the way of Liv’s first date with Lowell. Very disappointed about that. But hey, she does get to examine Cutler’s laptop and ends up really getting into this online roleplaying game that he was into. OF course Ravi is also into the game so he’s helping Liv out, especially since it seems one of the enemies in the game claims to have killed Cutler. It turns out the player is a young kid and is kind of freaked out when Liv confronts him. Oh and Liv’s mom stops by with soup and Liv is very distracted and uninterested in her mom being there.

Because the episode doesn’t have enough odd little side plots, we see that Major is still looking for the missing kids and one of the kids in his group session points out that they are likely dead. But he does have a thought when he sees this same kid watching some old skate park videos. There are a lot of them and so he starts to scan the crowd to see if he can find anything that would help lead him in the right direction. He even ropes Ravi into it after watching lots of videos.

Liv is in the middle of doing some more digging after talking to the kid (who couldn’t have been the killer because he lives in New York City) when Lowell shows up at her place with some anti-anxiety meds. Apparently he ate a brain with PSTD and the drugs helped him get through it. He is really kind of sweet and my previous concerns about being linked to Blaine pretty much evaporated when he explained he got scratched during a bachelor party in London. And he no longer plays live gigs because the adrenaline rush just sends him into full-on zombie mode. Liv also admits that she is in no way over Major and their evening ends with an almost kiss before Liv realizes she’s found a break in the case. I really hope Lowell sticks around. He’s far more interesting than Major. And what can I say, I like bad boys?

The latest lead turns up not quite like Liv had hoped. Owners of a donut shop are happy that Sim Reaper is dead because he posted a scathing review on Yelp but Liv thinks based on her gut that they are innocent. It was kind of funny to watch her rambling on Skype while Clive is walking around out of his office and not really listening to her. But they both realize that the review mentioned that Sim Reaper would get his donuts elsewhere so now they need to figure out who else delivered in the area. Liv does a little hacking (thanks to Cutler’s) skills and she finds the delivery driver who is their culprit. It’s rather sad what led him to kill Cutler. Cutler went on a rude tirade during a customer service call and then ended up hacking into the rep’s life and absolutely ruining it, driving her to suicide. The rep was this guy’s sister.

As Liv ruminates on the tragedy of it all, she decides to not let life pass her by and swings by Lowell’s recording studio, intent on picking up where they left off which includes making out in the middle of the sidewalk. So for the moment, I’m a happy little zombie shipper! And things are getting dangerous when Major finally gets a clear shot of the Candy Man. Of course it’s Blaine and Liv is a little bit shocked, but mostly annoyed, when Ravi shows her the photo. Next we see of our nefarious nemesis, he may be recruiting his next young delivery boy.

Monday, April 20, 2015

iZombie 1.05: "Flight of the Living Dead"

“I’m ready to be alive. To feel everything, good or bad. Now more than ever.”
- Liv

This week’s case involves a skydiving accident which may or may not actually be an accident. Oh and Ryan Hansen (Hi Dick Casablanacas) is guest starring in this episode as well which is another nice little Veronica Mars connection. My next choice would be Jason Dohring personally. Anyway, back to the case. As Liv and Ravi are waiting for the body to be extracted from the tree branch, they start associating said body with various food on a stick. Until Peyton calls and says that their former sorority sister Holly died in a skydiving accident. Oh snap! Liv is a little freaked about Holly being dead, after all she was all adventurous and up for breaking the rules while Liv was definitely not. Ravi gives her the option of eating someone else’s brain but Liv says she owes it to Holly. After all if she can do it for strangers, why shouldn’t she do it for an old friend?

Liv and Peyton are sort of mourning Holly at home when they see a video on Holly’s Facebook feed with one of the other jumpers, Lowell Tracy. He looks not very happy to be at the party they were at. It doesn’t help his cause when Liv has a vision of him yelling at Holly and making her jump before him. Liv heads to see Clive and does a little arm twisting to get him to bring Lowell in for some questioning and to retrieve camera footage from the helmet cameras. Clive isn’t particularly pleased by this request as he has two open cases on his desk (two cases, the horror) and Major has stopped by to ask for help in finding his other missing kid. We get to see some of Holly’s spontaneity rub off on Liv when she decides to bike over to the precinct. Lowell answers their questions but is totally hitting on Liv the whole time (typical rock star). And Clive comes back after supposedly looking at footage and reveals that the footage was destroyed by the company sponsoring the jump.

Liv suggests they bring in Lowell’s friends and so they get everyone from the jump into the interrogation room. And boy do they have some crazy stories to tell about Holly and Lowell. Lowell was moody at the party and Holly made it her business to try and figure out why. Apparently he was the only guy who could resist Holly’s charms. It turns out Carson (Ryan’s character) had slept with her, too. His girlfriend, who is in marketing for the company, says it was a fling long over but it wasn’t. And it turns out, thanks to Liv having another vision, that maybe Carson was sleeping with one of the other guys! All really crazy stuff.

Liv is kind of enjoying being free and sharing in Holly’s carefree attitude but things get serious when Ravi reveals that Holly was drugged. The girl has good timing though because she shows up with this information for Clive right as he’s getting his ass handed to him by his boss. So it looks like a homicide after all. While Liv goes to Holly’s memorial, Clive heads to the skate park and learns very quickly that Majors two runaway kids aren’t the only people missing. I like that we are slowly building this mystery even though we as the viewer know that Blaine is behind the disappearances. Anyway, at the wake, Liv accuses Holly’s friends of drugging her and does a little snooping in Carson’s room. She finds a pre-signed prescription pad from his father and puts Ravi on the trail of tracking down who wrote the GHB script. She gets caught by Lowell who as it turns out is also a zombie. And Liv is quite taken with him (come on, who wouldn’t be). He explains that he jumped last because he felt himself going full on zombie mode and he was missing for a while after everyone landed so he could calm down. Liv heads back to the ME’s office and shares this with Ravi and is quite relieved to learn that Carson was the one who put in the script for the GHB.

Clive and Liv haul Carson in again and he denies filling or writing the script and he ends up blabbing that he accidentally got emailed some damning stuff about the company and Holly saw it. She threatened to expose it if he didn’t and so he went to his girlfriend and it seems like she was the one who drugged Holly. Clive and some officers go to arrest the girlfriend but she’s in the wind. Clive is kind of annoyed about this but his boss tells him that they’ll find her. Oh and his boss totally shuts him down on the missing persons case (all 60 of them). And we shortly earn why. Dude’s a zombie, too! Man, we are just getting all kinds of covert zombies up in here aren’t we? Was he at the boat party or did he get infected later? Is he under Blaine’s thumb? For that matter, is Lowell under Blaine’s thumb? I seriously hope not because I like him and clearly so does Liv. He even shows up at the morgue with a bottle of really crazy hot sauce. And he asks her out, too. He seems like he could be a good option for Liv what with the fear of infecting other people. You clearly can’t infect another zombie. I am intrigued to see where it goes and I hope that Bradley James (formerly King Arthur on BBC’s “Merlin”) is a recurring guest star. Oh and it seems Major is going to need some serious help in tracking down these kids because he gets into a fight with the guy who took one of his kids’ shoes and gets bloodied pretty good. There was a moment when a new body rolled into the morgue that I feared it was Major and Liv was going to panic and it would ruin her vibe with Lowell but luckily, it wasn’t. I’m very excited to see where this goes next week.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

iZombie 1.04: "Liv and Let Clive"

“I don’t know how many Take Back the Night self-defense seminars they gave at your sorority house, but I could pretty much take out Batman with a spiral notebook and a student ID card.”
-Liv

The fourth episode of “iZombie” did a nice job of giving us more information on the characters and mythology in an interesting way. We learn about what Babineaux did before he joined the Homicide department. We learned more about what Blaine is up to in his spare time and how he runs his brain selling operation. The case of the week was incredibly high stakes, involving witness protection and organized crime, and it tied in nicely to Babineaux’s past. It would be nice, however, if episodes of “iZombie” started to have more of a sense of place. I never forgot that “Veronica Mars” took place in the seedy SoCal beach town of Neptune. I have, more often than not, forgotten that “iZombie” takes place in Seattle. I’d like to start seeing the creative team start using the Seattle location to full effect.

We begin the episode, however, seeing a bit more of what Blaine is up to. He’s shacking up with Jackie, the (sort-of) older woman he charmed at a bar in the previous episode. It appears that Blaine turned her into a zombie, and now she’s paying him an exorbitant sum for a supply of brains to eat. That’s quite the business plan Blaine’s got going. He’s literally creating the market for what he’s selling. Meanwhile, Liv visits Major’s house, armed with apology coffees. This strategy works well, and Liv and Major have a pleasant conversation, that is, until Corinne, Major’s new girlfriend, appears. She’s wearing one of Major’s shirts, and Liv is not happy about it. Liv tries her best to keep it friendly and professional, but it’s pretty clear that she is upset underneath the surface.

We are introduced to the case of the week early in the episode. Ravi and Liv’s latest guest at the morgue is a deceased Asian gangster who was part of the “Blue Cobras.” Liv and Ravi were able to identify the gang affiliation by the particularly brutal way he was killed. He’s missing fingers and molars, which was intended to make him difficult to identify. Babineaux stops by, though, and he recognizes the deceased immediately. His name is Sammy Wong, and he won’t say how he knew him. Babineaux really doesn’t want Liv’s help on this case, and he is clearly hiding something. It goes from bad to worse, when Liv, who just ate some of Sammy’s brain, has a vision of Babineaux threatening Sammy and some other members of the Blue Cobras. She doesn’t mention this vision to Babineaux, though. She says she saw nothing. We’ll learn later that one of the side-effects of consuming Sammy’s brain is a bit of paranoia, although the paranoia isn’t entirely unjustified considering Sammy’s life.

Once Babineaux leaves, Liv does tell Ravi about her vision. She wonders if Babineaux might be a dirty cop working with the Blue Cobras. She also wonders if Corinne is just after the spare room in Major’s house that Major is trying to rent. Ravi thinks she’s being paranoid thanks to Sammy’s brain, as we discussed. Mixing things up a bit, Liv’s brother Evan stops by for a visit. He is in town for a little while and will be crashing at Liv and Peyton’s place. All we really learn about him in this episode, though, is that he’s kind of creepily obsessed with Peyton. Apparently he’s gotten in trouble before for going through her things, and he also makes several references throughout this episode to wanting to spend some time in Peyton’s bedroom while she is out of town. It’s kind of gross.

We learn more in this episode about how Blaine’s brain selling operation works. He operates out of the kitchen of a restaurant. The chef at the restaurant makes Blaine gourmet brain meals, which is kind of weird. Blaine also has two rather stupid minions, who we also meet in this episode. I’m not going to bother looking up their names because they don’t survive long (sorry…spoiler alert). Blaine’s two stupid minions, while they are out making deliveries and finding more fresh meat, hatch a plan to start their own brain selling business. They try to lure Jackie in as their first customer, saying they can sell brains to her for a cheaper price than Blaine. Blaine finds out about the newborn rival business, though (because Jackie snitches), and he shoots the stupid minions in the head right after letting them try one of his gourmet dishes. We learn that he’s got a whole freezer locker of dead bodies from which he procures the brains. Near the end of the episode, we see him chopping up one of Major’s shelter kids, which is just sad.

Since Liv isn’t trusting Babineaux right now, she goes to the police precinct to talk to some of his former coworkers in the Vice unit. They don’t have nice things to say about him at all, and they tell Liv that he was suspended before being transferred to Homicide (where he now works). Next, Liv and Ravi go to a video rental place in Chinatown because Liv saw it in one of her visions. Liv, who turns out to have some acting chops, pretends to be a bimbo and tells the store clerk that she wants to see Ray (another Blue Cobra who featured in Liv’s visions) because she hooked up with him recently. The clerk fetches AJ, who is the leader of the Blue Cobras, and he confronts Liv. Liv and Ravi quickly sense danger, and they hightail it out of there. Before she leaves, Liv has another vision (this one taking place in the store), and Liv now thinks the Blue Cobras are looking for a snitch. They also see Babineaux near the video rental store, and this makes them more convinced that he might be helping the Blue Cobras.

Liv continues to get more paranoid throughout the episode. When she arrives home, she sees a guy walking his dog across who has stopped near her house for a little too long. She has Evan keep an eye on the guy while she gets a shower. When she gets out of the shower, though, Babineaux is waiting in her living room. He tells Liv that Sammy was in WITSEC and living in Albequerue before he died. He made an unauthorized visit home to Seattle to visit his dying mother, and that’s when the Blue Cobras got to him. Babineaux warns Liv that she could get killed if she doesn’t stop prying. Meanwhile, Major stops by the morgue to talk to Ravi. Major mentions that Liv told him he (Ravi) was looking for a place to live (she was trying to stonewall Corinne). Ravi is reluctant at first, because he’s happy with his living situation, but he and Major bond over Ravi’s big screen television and their mutual interest in playing video games on it. Eventually, they decide to move in together.

Liv is nothing if not determined (and still paranoid), so she decides to put a tracker on Babineaux’s car. She thinks she sees an Asian man (possibly a Blue Cobra) watching her, so she runs down the street and takes a spill when she trips over a homeless man’s cart. While on the pavement, she has a vision of Sammy telling the other Blue Cobras that Ray is an undercover cop. She tells Babineaux about the vision, and Babineaux tells her that Ray was his partner when they were both deep undercover with the Blue Cobras. Liv also apologizes for thinking he was dirty. Babineaux calls his old colleagues in vice and arranges for the cavalry to meet him at a private airstrip where Ray is supposed to be picking up a shipment for the Blue Cobras. Liv goes stir crazy waiting for news, but Babineaux eventually calls her and says that everything went wonderfully and Ray has been rescued. It almost seems too easy. Babineaux does mention that AJ wasn’t at the airstrip, though, so they are going to the video store to arrest him.

There is just one small problem with Babineaux’s plan. AJ is in Liv’s apartment. AJ attacks Liv, and Liv uses some sweet kung fu moves (courtesy of Sammy’s brain) to fight back. The situation escalates when Evan arrives at the apartment, but Babineaux arrives soon after and rescues Liv and Evan from AJ. Once everything has calmed down, Babineaux tells Liv a bit about how difficult it was to be deep undercover. Apparently the suspension Liv was told about was part of the set-up for going undercover. Liv promises that if she ever has a “vision” featuring Babineaux again, she will talk to him first before jumping to any conclusions. At the end of the episode, Liv helps Ravi move in with Major, and she makes an effort to be “friends” with Major. According to Ravi, though, the plan backfired. Apparently Major took the push to move Ravi in as a sign that she wasn’t really over him. Which is probably correct, although it doesn’t make Liv happy.

Once Upon a Time 4.19: "Sympathy for the De Vil"

“A person obsessed with vengeance is easy to manipulate. She thought I believed her happy ending was reconciling with her mother but I knew she was after something else. Your death.”
- Mr. Gold

Well gang, we are nearing the end of another season and I am excited to finally see what Cruella’s deal is (what makes her tick and all that). And based on the previews for this episode, we know there is going to be a badass showdown with Emma and Regina teaming up against the two-tone crazy lady. We begin in 1920s London (maybe the same world that the Darlings came from? It isn’t entirely clear) where a little girl is running through the woods trying to escape a pursuing Dalmatian. It turns out this is young Cruella and her mother is a horrid woman who locks her in a room in their mansion along with the dogs as a way of keeping control over her. Yeah, child abuse is not cool lady! Next we see Cruella she’s grown up considerably but her mother still won’t let her out and she’s furious that Cruella has stolen a radio. I did have to laugh however when the song playing on the radio was the Cruella theme from the original 101 Dalmatians movie. That was pretty funny. And before you know it, the Author, whose name is Isaac, shows up looking to interview Mama De Vil about her dog training. But she’s not interested and gets horribly offended when he starts prying into her three dead husbands. But it seems he might bond with Cruella when she catches his attention outside. Why do I get the feeling they are going to have a romance that goes horribly wrong? Well it starts out okay at first. Isaac manages to get Cruella out of the house and they head out to a jazz club and end up dancing the night away (Isaac actually taking Mama De Vil’s advice about living his life). But we do learn that she killed all three of her husbands. It seems Isaac is falling for Cruella and he shows her his magic pen and ink (even creating diamond necklace and earrings for her out of thing air). He gifts her with magic so she’ll always be safe and this empowers her to go confront her mother. She kisses a napkin and gives it to him as a promise that she’ll meet up with him later and they can run away together. But I’m guessing things aren’t going to go as planned. I sort of called it. Mama De Vil shows up and spins Isaac a tale of a troubled child who murdered her father and stepfathers. Isaac doesn’t want to believe it but he finds his pen missing and then Cruella uses her new magic to turn her mother’s dogs against her and kill her. Isaac shows up and after Cruella gets all creepy with her new puppy fur coat, he manages to keep her from killing him by writing something (and she clearly can’t pull the trigger). It seems at least for once we have a villain who just embraces the evil. Anyway, we also learn how her hair got so freaky. Right before Isaac managed to write the truth, Cruella grabbed his ink well and it splashed all over her head.

In Storybrooke, Maleficent has an angry encounter with Cruella over Lily. Cruella admits she left baby Lily to die in the woods because as she puts it, she’s a horrible person. Well you have that right, even if your mother was an abusive hag. Anyway, Cruella goads Mal into going full-on dragon and then uses her own powers to put Mal to sleep. Elsewhere in town Emma is still railing against her parents for keeping their secret until Regina shows up with news about faux Marian. But it seems the former Evil Queen has a plan. She’s going to use Gold’s own emotions to her advantage. She ends up paying Belle a visit and nabbing her heart and making Rumple come to Belle in the woods. Rumple spills the beans that soon he won’t be able to love and all of the possible goodness he once had will be gone. Which is why he’s trying to turn Emma dark and keeping the Author locked up. But now it seems Regina has freedom to head to New York to save Robin.

Cruella gets back to the Team Evil lair to find Isaac reading the Great Gatsby. It’s clear they have a history and she demands something back from him which he refuses to give. She tries using her feminine wiles but he’s not falling for that either. We do also learn that somehow Isaac made Cruella what she is (a tow-toned freak with mommy issues?) and he suggest she make herself scares before Rumple comes back because she clearly lied to the Dark One about knowing the Author. Very not good for her but very intriguing for me. And clearly the next logical thing for Cruella to do is kidnap Henry using poor Pongo. Yeah she’s not the brightest diamond in the jewelry store right now. Just as Regina is packing the car to head out to New York (and Emma gives her a gun just in case), they both get a video message from Henry to the effect of “kill the Author or Henry dies”. Like I said, she’s not a smart woman right now.

Rumple pops back to the lair and tells Isaac that he knows he and Cruella have been lying from the get go. Isaac kind of panics but Rumple says he needs Isaac alive so he can get what he wants. And apparently Cruella kidnapping Henry still plays into Rumple’s plans. I was honestly a little surprised Isaac didn’t point out the fact that Henry is Rumple’s grandson but I guess with only a tiny bit of good left in his heart, Rumple doesn’t really give a crap about family. While the baddies are plotting, the good guys are also formulating a game plan. Emma, Regina and Hook are going to scout the territory where Cruella is likely holding Henry while Snow and charming use a locator spell to try and pinpoint Isaac’s location. Can I just say, I get why Emma is mad but can we just move past this drama already?

It seems I’m not the only one ready for the Charming family drama to be over. Both Regina and Hook try to convince Emma to forgive her parents, pointing out that she forgave both of them their evil and misguided mistakes. She’s still railing against them though because she says they never claimed to be heroes and were honest about their pasts. They don’t really have time to bicker more because they hear Henry calling for help. While Cruella was hilariously preoccupied with Angry Birds (I laughed out loud several times), Henry breaks free of his restraints and takes off. Pongo notices and Cruella sends the pooch after our next gen hero. Thanks to a little magic by Rumple, Emma is the only one who catches up to Cruella and Henry. I have a feeling he’s hoping Emma will kill Cruella and go dark. That way, he still keeps the Author alive and he gets what he wants in the process (and I guess technically Henry isn’t hurt so there’s that).

Snow and Charming find Isaac and he reveals what he wrote about Cruella. I thought based on the flashback it was just him she couldn’t hurt but she can’t kill anyone. Unfortunately, they are too late and Emma sends Cruella off a cliff presumably to her death. Sure she saved Henry but she has this eerie look in her eye like she’s just gone dark. Well damn!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New Girl 4.20: "Par 5"

“I feel like I’m watching a porn set in an HR department.”
-Coach

This wasn’t an especially memorable episode of “New Girl” to me, although it did have some interesting things to say about politics and power as a woman. Jess was confronted with decided how far she was going to go to procure new computers for her school. As a woman who is pretty career-driven (to put it mildly), I found the comparison of Fawn and Jess to be interesting. Fawn wants nothing more than power, and she’ll do whatever is necessary to obtain it. Jess just wants to help the kids, and she needs to decide if feeling a bit dirty is worth it. I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. I think women need to be a bit more assertive in the workplace to be taken seriously, but I also believe in being a genuinely nice and kind person. I think deep down Fawn means well, but she’s just become so consumed with power that she (and her fellow power hungry friends) are not pleasant to be around. I’d like to think it’s possible to both achieve professional success and conduct myself with some level of decency.

The episode opens in the loft, where Fawn and Schmidt are trying to eat dinner among all the usual roomie antics. I can kind of sympathize with Fawn getting tired of all the shenanigans, but she’s really being a bitch to Schmidt, giving him notes on how he performed the last time they had sex and such. She also complains about the other roomies. Jess comes home from work and immediately starts complaining about her day. She’s upset that she couldn’t get funding for new computers at the school. Other roomies do this silly, elaborate, routine where they pretend Jess is royalty, and Fawn just seems grossed out by it. Jess does, however convince Fawn to let her join her at this charity event that a powerful education advocate will be attending. There’s just one problem. The charity event is a golf scramble, and Jess doesn’t know how to play golf.

The B story of this episode focuses on Winston – a shocker, I know! Well, I guess it shouldn’t be all that shocking since the episode was co-written by Lamorne Morris. It’s a shame that Lamorne has to write an episode for his character to have a decent storyline. Anyway, Winston and the other guys are at a cafĂ©, and Winston spots an attractive woman at a nearby table. Her name is KC. Winston is reluctant to talk to KC because he’s super awkward, but the guys encourage him to go for it. Winston sits down with KC, and while he is indeed somewhat awkward, everything seems to go well at first. Then KC says she’s going to a police protest. Since Winston is a cop, this is an issue. He asks KC to lunch, but he backs away from her so she can’t see that “LAPD” is written on the back of his shirt.

As one would expect, the golf scramble is not going well at all. Jess is way overbearing with the education advocate, and her golf is beyond horrible. She tosses the club down the green more often than she successfully hits the ball. Meanwhile, Schmidt has been instructed by Fawn to show up at the golf scramble and not not look so pale in photos. This leads to him calling Cece over to help him put on bronzer. This really irritated me, because Schmidt was being incredibly insensitive. Cece clearly still has feelings, and he wants her to rub bronzer all over him. It was just generally gross. It was kind of satisfying that there was a major problem with the bronzer. It has glitter in it. Oops! Cece tries to put other makeup over the bronzer, but it makes Schmidt look kind of dead. Fawn video chats with Schmidt and is absolutely horrified. Cece is horrified that Schmidt lets Fawn treat him so horribly, and she lets him know it.

Winston and KC do indeed meet at lunch, but hiding that he’s a cop becomes extremely difficult for Winston. Some of Winston’s coworkers stop by in uniform to get their own lunch, and they greet Winston and make it clear that he is their coworker. KC asks if Winston is a cop, but Winston decides to lie and say he’s a stripper. Later, Winston and Nick try to talk about Winston’s issues about being a black cop during a time when police using undue force against black men has become a serious issue (and how that, in turn, creates issues for Winston and KC). Nick tries to contribute to the conversation, but Winston won’t really let him talk because Nick couldn’t possibly understand. Winston has a point, since Nick’s contribution seems to be mostly doing impressions of black comedians. Coach interjects and says he has an opinion on the topic, but he’s hungry, so he’s not going to talk about it right now.

At the golf scramble, Fawn continues to give Jess notes, both on golf and networking. Jess gets progressively better at the networking part (she’s still terrible at golf). The big name education advocate invites Jess to talk to her more about the school computers in the club house after the game. Fawn, of course, manages to ruin Jess’ moment. She tells Jess that the computers really aren’t on the table at all. They’re supposed to be the excuse Jess uses to network and meet more powerful people. Also, no money from the golf scramble is actually going to go to charity. The money just pays the expenses of the event so the ladies can network and become more powerful. Jess is pretty grossed out by Fawn’s obsession with power, and she says she just wants to finish a clean game of golf.

Jess plays through the rest of the hole, even though the par 5 hole takes her over 100 strokes to finish. She really is terrible at golf! At the hole, fawn bends over to pick up a golf ball, and because she doesn’t wear underwear (going commando makes her feel powerful), she accidentally flashes a bunch of cameras and becomes a huge laughing stock. This turn of events made me quite happy! Back at the loft, Fawn tells Schmidt she understands if he wants to break up with her now that she’s fallen from grace, but Schmidt says he likes her just as she is. How disappointing, considering Fawn can’t really say the same about him. Also in the love department, Winston goes to KC’s office in uniform and admits that he’s a cop and that he lied. KC is most upset about the lying part. She says he can make it up to her by doing a striptease.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Once Upon a Time 4.18: "Heart of Gold"

“It isn’t physical. It’s moral. All the dark deeds I’ve done are finally taking their toll. They’ve poisoned my heart.”
- Mr. Gold

So when I heard this episode would feature Robin, I got very excited. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I’m a huge Outlaw Queen shipper. And while we don’t get to see them together quite yet, I really enjoyed the episode. We pick up right where we left off last week. The Charmings are chasing after the Author and have enough time to stop and argue about David and Mary Margaret lying to Emma. She kind of has this dead look in her eyes but I’m sure she won’t actually go dark. Anyway, they lose the Author when he runs into Rumple. It seems Rumple is rather persuasive for the creepy fellow. Oh and Regina finally wakes up. Rumple taunts her with Robin’s phone number and tells her to call him.

We briefly jump back to the Enchanted Forest where Robin and Marian are married and running a tavern (perhaps the same one Regina saw him in?). The sheriff pops by the issue a tax notice and gives Robin two days to get the money together. I guess in any retelling of this story, the sheriff wants to get his grubby mitts on Marian. Anyway, it seems Robin will have an opportunity to get that money by helping Rumple steal the Elixir of the Wounded Heart from Oz. Joy, Zelena’s back. On the plus side, we get to see Robin and Will’s first meeting which just happens to be in Oz. They team up to get the Elixir. Well Robin promises to get some of the Elixir for Will. Unfortunately, Robin gets caught by Zelena and only has time to get one vial of the stuff. He lies to Will about what he got which I’m guessing doesn’t do much for their future relationship. But it seems Robin has a change of heart when he hears Will’s story of his sister who died and he slips the potion into Will’s pocket. When Robin gets back to the Enchanted Forest, we see the birth of the real outlaw Robin Hood. He gets his boys together and they take money from the sheriff and end up going on the run. Robin seems thrilled to be a hero (he claims that a thief who steals for himself is a criminal but one who steals for others is a hero) and have Marian at his side. I was honestly expecting her to say she was pregnant. But we did finally get an explanation of why we had a different actor portray the character in season 1. He stole a necklace from Zelena that allows him to look like anyone else.

We also flash back to 9 weeks earlier when Robin and his family left Storybrooke. They end up in New York because everyone seems to end up there and after Robin does some daring heroics by chasing after a guy who stole Marian’s purse, we get a really amusing interaction with him and Rumple. It seems that everyone is ending up at Neal’s apartment (does no one wonder whether his lease is still good and who is going to pay rent?). After a bit of a shouting match where Robin firmly lays claim to the place, Rumple collapses. At the hospital, 6the doctors say Rumple had a heart attack but he knows better. His dark deeds have poisoned his heart (emotional wounds) and so he needs to find the Elixir. He thinks some is in New York and he uses Robin’s honor and code to strong arm our thief into helping him. Rumple sends Rumple to steal from Walsh’s shop. And of course, Robin nearly gets nabbed by the cops but he does find the Elixir and gets home to Roland and Marian. But this of course leads to Marian calling Robin on helping Rumple. I mean really he is kind of a serious jackass. But Robin refuses to let even him die. Plus I mean he is Henry’s grandfather. And I have come to realize this is all a giant dysfunctional family drama.

Robin brings the vial to Rumple at the hospital but it turns out it doesn’t work. It was cough medicine and Marian shows up and reveals that she is in fact Zelena. Which honestly just pisses me off to no end! She does a bit of exposition where she explains her essence when back in time with Emma and she killed Marian and took her place just to screw with Regina. And now she watches Rumple code and is quite happy that she managed to deny him his vengeance for Neal’s death. I’m so over her, honestly. The doctors manage to save Rumple and Zelena also strong arms him into agreeing to get Zelena her happy ending. Once out of the hospital, Rumple finds Robin waiting for him with a box of Neal’s things. Rumple declines because he doesn’t want a reminder of the happiness he couldn’t hold on to. He gives Robin some advice about love and I’m worried it means Robin is going to go back to fake Marian. And yes, my bad feeling was right. He goes home (and after a brief shower scene that was kind of hot…of just Robin showering) he recommits to fake Marian, believing it to be the real deal.

Back in the present, Regina makes the call but gets Zelena and it’s just awful to see Regina’s heart break to know her true love is in the clutches of her bitchy sister. I am seriously over Zelena and her drama and feeling of inadequacy. She is just so boring to me. I was more interested in seeing Maleficent and everything going forward. But it does seem that Regina choose Emma over Robin when Rumple declares that he is going to use Regina to turn Emma. It seems that Regina has enough goodness in her to want to protect the Savior (I guess they need one of Henry’s moms to not be evil). I really hope the writers resolve all this nonsense by the end of the season because I’m tired of Regina getting dumped on and even more tired of all the stupid roadblocks in Outlaw Queen’s relationship. Why can’t they toss some of them in Emma and Hook’s way?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.15: "One Door Closes"

“The path we’ve chosen. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for trust, does it?”
-Coulson

“One Door Closes” was definitely one of the most intense episodes of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” to date. Like the episodes that immediately followed the release of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” this one was another gamechanger, fundamentally changing the paradigm of how S.H.I.E.L.D. works. We get a lot more background about the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. in this episode and how they came to be. My opinion of Agent Gonzales (Edward James Olmos) also changed pretty significantly through the course of the episode. Before, I thought he was a pretty commanding presence, I guess due to some residual Adama good will. By the end of this episode, though, he seems kind of unhinged and dangerous. I was also quite happy with the decision Skye made by the end of the episode. It’s time for her to take a break from all the ungrateful S.H.I.E.L.D. folks (both versions of S.H.I.E.L.D.). While I’m not a huge fan of Skye, I’d rather see her learn more about what she is than continue to be the subject of suspicion all the time.

Throughout this episode, we get several flashbacks to the day S.H.I.E.L.D. fell from the perspective of Mack, Bobbi, and Gonzalez. As the episode opens, we first see some Hydra agents confronting Mack and his engineering crew on their ship. Just as things start to really go pear-shaped, Bobbi, Izzy, and some other S.H.I.E.L.D. folks appear for the rescue. We later see the team work their way through the ship and eventually find Gonzales. He tells them that he confronted a Hydra agent armed with an axe and won. Gonzales, however, has sustained a major axe wound to the leg for his trouble (which explains why he always walks with a cane now).

In the present day, at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Coulson invites a recently returned Mack to help him work on Lola. Coulson mentions the small replica of Lola that Mack created for him. Mack must have worked on Lola before if he could create a replica that accurate. There’s just one problem. There’s an extra component in mini-Lola that isn’t supposed to be there. Coulson confronts Mack about this, and Mack starts talking about he is loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. Through the confrontation, Coulson figures out there is something bigger going on that likely involves Bobbi. He immediately calls May to try and stop her. A rather epic fight ensues. The two women are pretty evenly matched, but as soon as it seems like May might win, Bobbi sets of an electromagnetic pulse, and the base loses power. Coulson and May are now on high alert.

Before all the confrontation and power outage drama, though, Simmons had been talking to Skye on video chat, wanting to know how Skye was doing and if she had tried the gloves. When the conversation is over, Fitz basically accuses Simmons of treating Skye as a science experiment. He’s not entirely wrong. Speaking of Skye, she’s finally getting around to trying on the gloves that Simmons made. The gloves make her feel woozy, though, and she wants to talk to Simmons about it. Skye’s computer connection is down, and her calls to Simmons are going to voice mail, so Skye starts getting a bit freaked out. Just as she’s feeling like she’s in a horror movie, Gordon, the teleporting Inhuman her mother trained, appears. He talks about how he had preparation and he was embraced by his fellow Inhumans, but his transformation was still incredibly difficult. He offers Skye the opportunity to spend some time with the rest of the Inhumans to discover more about her powers. Skye is hesitant, so Gordon says he’ll come back for Skye when she’s ready.

Bobbi, who is trying to evade Coulson and May, finds Simmons. Simmons, who realizes something is up, tries to stall by saying there is some equipment she needs. She rummages through her locker and starts handing Bobbi things. Eventually, one of the objects Bobbi is handed stuns her. I was surprised and impressed by Simmons in that particular scene. Meanwhile, Mack finds Fitz, who had been trying to make some changes to the central computer to protect the base against Bobbi and Mack (and whoever they are working with). I’ve gotten very protective of Fitz since his accident, so I’m not thrilled with him being threatened by Mack. May starts going through Bobbi’s locker to try to figure out what she’s up to, and she finds a gas mask. The plan isn’t to take anybody from the base, it’s to take over the base. Gas starts coming in all the air vents, and our team starts passing out. Mack yells at Fitz to get down, and an explosion follows.

Coulson’s base is completely taken over by Gonzales’s team. Fitz and Simmons are sitting together in the lab when they are approached by Agent Weaver, their former professor from the Academy. She tries to ingratiate herself to FitzSimmons, but they are still wary. She asks Simmons to make sure that Mack’s wounds from the explosion have been treated correctly, and after a nod from Fitz, Simmons agrees. Gonzales is in Coulson’s office along with a handcuffed Coulson. They banter a bit about which of them is really a “good man.” Gonzales really wants Coulson to open a cube they both refer to as “Fury’s tool box.” Apparently this tool box has the power to reveal where all of the dangerous alien artifacts and enhanced people are, and Gonzales wants to use that information to destroy them all. He wants to start his “protect the world from dangerous stuff” campaign with Skye.

Later flashback in the episode show Bobbi, Mack, Izzy, and their team rescuing Gonzales. Once Gonzales is safe, Bobbi reveals that she was given a second mission to sink the ship they’re on as soon as Gonzales is off of it. Apparently there is something on the ship that is way too dangerous to risk falling into enemy hands. Gonzales insists that he wants to help, even though Bobbi wants to complete the (presumed suicide) mission by herself. The team works their way through the ship until they get to what looks like some sort of control room. Fury’s orders, which Gonzales wants carried out, are to blow up the ship. Mack and Izzy disagree with this, though. They think they can retake the ship and save a lot of lives. After some serious hesitation, Bobbi decides to go with Mack and Izzy and not blow up the ship.

May hears Gonzales instruct a team to retrieve Skye, so she sneaks off and manages to get a phone call through to Skye to warn her. Skye heads outside of the house where she is staying, and she sees helicopters swarming up in the sky. Meanwhile, back at the base, the conversation between Coulson and Gonzales gets more threatening as Gonzales talks about how he learned on the day S.H.I.E.L.D. fell to Hydra that S.H.I.E.L.D.’s next iteration needed to be more of a democracy. May interrupts this conversation by entering the room and attacking. This gives Coulson enough time to escape, but May is forced to surrender to Gonzales’ operatives.

At the Retreat, Skye tries to make her way to the property’s edge, but she is stopped by a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and is forced to fight him. Bobbi and Calderon close in on Skye, and Calderon tries to shoot Skye. Skye, since she know knows she has the power to manipulate vibrations given off by objects, sets off a super vibration that blows up everything in a wide radius. While Bobbi and Calderon are incapacitated, Skye calls out for Gordon to come take her away. Gordon complies, and Skye is teleported away as Bobbi looks on. Adrianne Palicki is seriously giving the camera a vengeance-seeking “she’ll never get away with this!” kind of look. Calderon appears to be seriously wounded. The episode’s tag was pretty much the best part of it. Coulson has escaped to Tahiti of all places and is enjoying a drink at a bar when he’s joined by none other than Hunter. They have some great banter, and Hunter agrees to help Coulson from here on out.

Friday, April 10, 2015

iZombie 1.03: "The Exterminator"

“Fine. We’ll go a-zombie hunting. Solve murders. Find zombies. Why don’t you ever suggest anything whimsical?”
-Liv

“The Exterminator” combines a fairly interesting mystery with intriguing development in the “iZombie” mythology. We learn a little more about the zombie condition, and we meet a zombie who is much farther gone than Liv or Blaine. The mystery was satisfyingly complex, although business deals, sports betting, and hit men aren’t exactly in my wheelhouse. I think with this episode I am starting to see how some of the puzzle pieces of the show are intended to fit together. I have a better understanding of the roles that Peyton and Major play in Liv’s life, and I’m starting to care about all of them (although not so much Major just yet – I think I need to see more of him to develop any attachment). I think I’m also starting to get a sense of what the show is going to be like on a week-to-week basis. It seems similar to “Veronica Mars,” another wonderful show by the same creative team, in the sense that we’ll get a mystery of the week and some advancement of the mythology every episode. I think that’s a strong formula. It certainly worked for “Veronica Mars.”

The episode begins with a couple of teenagers trying to shoot horror movie B-roll at a shipyard on Lake Washington. At first, I expected the teens to be the murder victims of the episode, but that wasn’t the case. I wonder if the “iZombie” team isn’t willing to go that dark? “Veronica Mars” certainly did. Anyway, the kids hear something stirring in a large tank with a broken lid. One of the kids thinks he’s found the next big viral sensation, so he takes a picture of it to post on social media. Ravi, of course, sees this photo on Facebook, and he convinces Liv that the two of them should take a little trip to find this potential zombie. Before that, however, Liv eats some brains. Specifically, she eats some of the brain of a guy named Marvin who, on paper, seems like a run-of-the-mill suburban dad. While Liv is eating her brains, Blaine stops by the morgue to confront Liv about not supplying him with brains like she promised. After a tense conversation, which involves Blaine describing how he has to bash skulls open with rocks to get his fill of brains, the two decide that when it comes to feeding, it’s going to be every zombie for him/herself.

Liv heads home, where Peyton is in a celebratory mood and pops some champagne. Peyton is a lawyer, and she is one of the prosecutors on the very visible “Wally Walker” case. Wally Walker was a rich tech executive who was allegedly murdered by a “drifter,” and the trial of the drifter is about to begin. Liv agrees to help Peyton rehearse one of her upcoming cross examinations, but things go awry when Peyton shows Liv a photo of the murdered Wally Walker. She has a vision from Marvin’s passed and believes that Marvin is actually the killer. Liv guilts Babineaux to help her pursue this break in the case, and she’s surprised that she doesn’t feel bad for doing so. She feels numb, which means she believes Marvin was a hit man with an anti-social personality disorder. At home, Peyton shows her a video on Facebook of Major with another woman, and Liv continues to feel numb. It’s interesting the various side-effects that the brains can have.

Liv and Ravi go to the shipyard in search of the potential zombie from the Facebook video. They open up the tank and indeed find her. To Liv’s shock, this new zombie is someone she knows, a coworker named Marcie who invited Liv to the boat party where she was turned. Ravi, of course, wants to turn this into a science experiment. He and Liv give Marcie some brains to see if a zombie this hungry will go back to normal after feeding. Next, Liv and Babineaux get to investigating, and they start at a cop bar run by an ex-cop bookie. Liv and Babineaux think the bookie may have hired Marvin to kill Wally over a gambling debt, then killed Marvin when things went pear-shaped. The bar is kind of weird and not like other cop/fire fighter bars I’ve been to. There’s trivia hosted by a woman in an “I Dream of Jeannie” costume, and the implication is that the cops get turned on by her calling them “Master.” Liv, since she’s got Marvin’s encyclopedic knowledge of trivia in her head, wins the trivia contest. The bookie, however, stonewalls the investigation by threatening to complain to Babineaux’s lieutenant, who apparently bets on the Seahawks occasionally.

The next stop in the investigation for Liv and Babineaux is Marvin’s house. They get Marvin’s widow’s permission to go through Marvin’s things, presumably because the widow thinks her late husband had nothing to hide. This search actually provides two breaks in the case. While in the basement, Liv has a vision of being run over by a car, and Babineaux finds the gun (with suppresser still attached) used to murder Wally Walker. When Liv finally goes home after the day’s investigating, she is greeted by a furious Peyton. Liv has, after all, blown up the case that was supposed to make Peyton’s career. Liv feels no remorse for this thanks to Marvin’s brain in her system, which makes the situation even worse.

Back at the morgue, Major stops by to see if Liv and Babineaux can help with a missing kid from the shelter where he works. He brings along the kid’s friend who swears that the missing kid was doing well and wouldn’t have just run off. Things are super awkward between Liv and Major because of Liv trying to kiss Major in the last episode and Major not responding to Liv’s apology text. Babineaux, however, does say he will try to help by checking in with Missing Persons. While at the police station, Liv draws the taillights of the car she saw running over Marvin, and Babineaux is able to identify the make and model. Only one such car is in the area, and it was recently sold. Liv and Babineaux talk to the seller, and he is able to identify the buyer, who is none other than Don, Wally Walker’s “angel investor” who was offering a reward for information on Wally’s murder.

Babineaux and Liv interrogate Don, but they don’t get very far because he’s lawyered up. He admits to owning the car, but he says he’ll come out looking like a hero no matter what happens. Next, Liv and Babineaux head to a dog park that Marvin frequented. Liv has a vision of Marvin talking to Don about a debt, with the confrontation being stopped by a sanitation worker. Babineaux goes to look for the sanitation worker, since he’s a witness. Meanwhile, Liv and Ravi go to check on Marcie, and she’s still in full-on zombie mode. Liv wants to kill Marcie, but Ravi begs her to consider the Hippocratic Oath. Before they can argue much longer, Ravi falls into the container and is attacked by Marcie. Liv, after hesitating an absurdly long time, jumps in and kills Marcie by smashing her skull.

Ravi, despite his earlier self-righteousness, is grateful for the save. Before he and Liv can really talk about what happened, Babineaux texts to say he needs both Liv and Ravi at the police station. He is interrogating Don again, and he tells Don they have a witness now. Don sees someone dressed in a sanitation worker uniform through the window, and Babineaux makes Don think he was identified by the sanitation worker in a line-up. Peyton powers in and offers a plea deal, and Don signs a confession to murdering Marvin and ordering the hit on Wally. As Marvin’s brain works its way out of Liv’s system, she contemplates eating more to avoid the pain of what she had to do to Marcie. Ultimately, however, she destroys the rest of Marvin’s brain and opts to work through the pain. She secretly delivers Marcie’s treasured necklace to Marcie’s mom, and she starts crying over the Major Facebook video. Meanwhile, the kid from Major’s shelter is out asking people if they have seen his missing friend. He has the misfortune to run into Blaine, who of course says he has seen the friend and offers to take the kid to him. Oops.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New Girl 4.19: "The Right Thing"

“Can I get an alcohol?”
-Nick

“The Right Thing” was one of the more entertaining episodes of this season of “New Girl.” There wasn’t a lot of substance to the episode, but I laughed, so it wasn’t all bad. I don’t look to “New Girl” for examples of television as art anymore, unfortunately. In this episode, several of the characters were struggling to, as the episode title would suggest, “do the right thing” in some awkward situations. There was some dark humor in Jess’ situation in particular, which I appreciated as a change of pace. We also got to meet Schmidt’s mother, which, I’ll admit, was a little disappointing. She was a bit too over-the-top for my taste. I like my television characters to be a little more complicated. Schmidt’s mom was pretty much just completely obnoxious, although she does have a bit of a change of heart by the end of the episode.

Jess has been seeing a guy named Pete who goes to Coach’s gym (Coach set them up). Jess is just having fun because she doesn’t think that Pete is the kind of guy she intends to marry. As part of that fun, she decides to sext him. Jess being Jess, though, the sext is kind of lame. It’s her in a t-shirt and a bra (over the t-shirt) holding a sign that says “Property of Pete.” As the episode progresses, Jess gets annoyed that Pete is over an hour late for a planned brunch date. It turns out that he had a pretty darn good excuse for standing Jess up, though. Jess and Cece pay a visit to Pete’s apartment, and they discover that Pete has died. Jess then fusses over whether or not she should go to Pete’s funeral. She thinks it could be awkward because they hadn’t been dating for that long. She’s convinced, though, that attending the funeral is the right thing to do, so she drags Cece and Coach with her.

Meanwhile, Schmidt’s mom, Louise, is coming to town, and this has Schmidt on edge. She’s hyper critical of everything Schmidt does, and it stresses him out. Louise is played by Nora Dunn, who I had never heard of before, but she’s a respected SNL alum, and I read a really interesting interview with her on Salon.com earlier today. Before his mother arrives, though, Schmidt has something else to think about. At the bar, Nick pitches Schmidt on an investment idea. His coworker is willing to sell his 10 percent ownership in the bar, and Nick wants to partner with Schmidt to buy it. They don’t have the $20,000 they need to do the deal, though, so Schmidt decides he will try to ask his mother to finally hand over his bar mitzvah money.

There is a small (as per usual) Winston plot in the mix as well. Winston is perplexed why his partner, Aly, doesn’t want to hang out with him and the rest of the roomies socially. He asks her to drinks after work multiple times, and she turns him down. She says she wants to keep things strictly professional. By the end of the episode, Aly and Winston are sharing pints at the bar after he has dragged her into the gang’s wacky hijinks (more on that in a bit), and she reveals that when she got to close to her last partner, he fell in love with her, and she can’t have that happen again. Winston reassures her that that won’t be the case with them. She then chugs her entire pint in one go, and I can’t quite tell if Winston is impressed or horrified. Maybe some of both?

Louise has lunch with Schmidt and Nick, and she’s completely obnoxious. She makes Schmidt kiss his “brother,” aka a photo of a small, yipey dog on her phone (I’m a dog person and I find this ridiculous). Schmidt finally gets up the courage to ask for his bar mitzvah money, but Louise says he can only have it if he finally writes out all his bar mitzvah thank-you cards. Back at the loft, Winston, Schmidt, and Nick watch Schmidt’s bar mitzvah video and contemplate how Schmidt can possibly figure out how to write all these cards so many years after the event. Winston ends up calling Aly (claiming he needs help with something work related), and she and Winston do a good cop/bad cop interrogation of Schmidt until he remembers everyone’s names. Aly also helpfully looks everybody up in the police database so Schmidt has current addresses (or death notices).

Jess hopes that Pete’s memorial will be a big affair where she can just blend in, but when she, Cece, and Coach arrive, they see that this won’t be the case. It’s a very small group, and of course they want to know how Jess knew Pete. When Pete’s girlfriend introduces herself, things become even more awkward for Jess. She decides to lie and say she knew Pete from work. Since Pete was a sports agent and Jess knows nothing about sports, this is a problem. Coach tries to feed Jess sports buzz words, and things go okay until Pete’s sister suggests that Pete’s girlfriend take Pete’s cell phone for the memories. The cell phone that still has Jess’ sext on it. Coach and Jess run out to the garage to try and find the phone before Pete’s girlfriend gets to it, but they are stopped by J.J. Watt, who is also trying to find the phone because he is embarrassed by the fact that he recently fired Pete as his agent by text. All three of them are busted by Pete’s girlfriend, and silly singing about sports-related food ensues (don’t ask). Jess calls Pete’s phone to find it, but Pete’s girlfriend already has the phone, and she’s not thrilled to see Jess’ sext picture.

Louise gets super critical of Schmidt’s thank-you cards, and Nick eventually takes Schmidt aside to convince him to stand up to his mother for once. Schmidt does not do well at this until Louise starts insulting Nick, and then Nick finally asserts himself for once. Unfortunately, he takes it too far and says they don’t need her money. Louise has a change of heart when she goes to the nail salon and meets Cece (who she doesn’t realize knows Schmidt). They have a heart-to-heart, and Cece convinces her to loosen her grip on Schmidt a bit. She arrives at the bar just in time to help Schmidt and Nick buy the 10 percent share. Jess excitedly tries to befriend Louise, but it doesn’t go well. Louise thinks Jess tries too hard.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.14: "Love In the Time of Hydra"

“I think it’s best we keep in mind the unstable nature of Skye’s power. If there is an Avenger equivalent, right now, I’m afraid it’s the Hulk.”
“Well, Hulk saved the world last I checked.”
-Simmons and Fitz

Again I find myself conflicted about an episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” I think my problem is that this episode was pretty heavily focused on things that don’t interest me. Namely Ward and Skye. We did learn more about the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. that is behind all the shadiness Bobbi and Mack have been up to. We also have some more wins in the guest actor department. This episode featured the awesome Edward James Olmos (“Battlestar Galactica”) and Kirk Acevedo (“Fringe”) as members of the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. Seeing both of them on my television screen was definitely a treat. I just really wish we could stop talking about Skye so much. I know she just got cool earthquake powers and all, but she’s super emo, and I’m emo enough as it is. I don’t need to watch it on television! I find Skye whiny and annoying in much the same way as Kate from “Lost.” The whole puppy-dog “why don’t you include ME!” act gets old fast.

Anyway, there’s also a side plot in this episode that deals with another least favorite character of mine. The episode opens with none other than Agent 33 and Ward (said other least favorite character) ordering food at a diner. It turns out they were actually waiting in the diner for a mark, who they proceed to kidnap as soon as they recognize him. He appears to be an engineer of some sort who can apparently fix the nanomask on Agent 33’s face. He is indeed able to repair the mask, and we get a bit of an info dump about how the mask works. It can only hold the pattern for three faces at a time. Ward wonders if one of those patters could be Agent 33’s real face, but Agent 33 recoils at that idea.

At S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Simmons and Fitz continue the really annoying Team Coulson habit of talking about Skye and her powers in front of Skye. Simmons says some troubling things about enhanced people, and Skye starts quaking again. She ends up going back to her cell to cool off. Meanwhile, we learn that Andrew recommended Skye be removed from S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent May agrees. Coulson, however, disagrees. He’s got a different plan for Skye. Later, we see Coulson hand over a case to Coulson. The contents of the case are presumably the result of their secret conversation last week about restraining Skye’s powers. Simmons for once seems to have a bit of a conscience and seems to feel somewhat bad about turning this case over to Coulson.

Hunter, meanwhile, gets introduced to some of the leaders of the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. They include Agents Gonzales (Edward James Olmos), Calderon (Kirk Acevedo), and Weaver (the former head of the S.H.I.E.L.D. science and technology academy where FitzSimmons went to school). Like I already said, this episode was definitely good from the guest star perspective. It was a lot of fun to see Olmos and Acevedo on my television screen again. Anyway, it turns out that this crew basically decided that they would secretly take over S.H.I.E.L.D. because they don’t trust Coulson. They got nervous after the whole injected with alien DNA and starting to write strange symbols on the wall phase, and I guess I kind of don’t blame them.

When we next see Ward and Agent 33, they are in a hotel room, and Ward is planning yet another caper designed to help out Agent 33. Agent 33 doesn’t seem especially happy about Ward continuing to help her, though. While ward is out on his Mission, Agent 33 looks through a magazine and uses her nanomask to imitate different faces. By the time Ward returns, she has put on Skye’s face. They kiss, but then Ward backs off. He would rather Agent 33 look like herself. Agent 33 says she doesn’t really know who she truly is. Ward thinks if they capture Bakshi, who is currently in Talbot’s custody, Agent 33 could get her mojo back and feel comfortable in her own skin again. The whole torturing the person who tortured you deal, I guess? Anyway, Agent 33 is into the idea.

Whatever Coulson has planned for Skye involves a bit of a road trip, and on the way to their destination, Coulson and Skye discuss Lola of all things. I was psyched to finally get some backstory on the namesake of my own car (which is a red Subaru…not quite as sexy as a Corvette, but it gets me through the winter). The Corvette that would become Lola was a car Coulson and his dad worked on when Coulson was growing up. Coulson’s dad was very busy at work, so the time they spent fixing up Lola was very treasured by young Phil. Anyway, Coulson takes Skye to a remote cabin. I haven’t seen the first Captain America movie, but it sounds like Cap was taken there by Coulson when he woke up in our present day to get his bearings. He thinks it’s a good place for Skye to decompress. He also gives her a pair of gloves Simmons made that should rain in his powers. The gloves come with nasty side effects, but he wants to wait a bit to tell Skye about those until after she’s thought about whether or not she’s interested in the gloves at all.

At “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Gonzales orders Mack back to “our” S.H.I.E.L.D. He figures everyone is going to be missing Mack soon, and he’s not wrong. When Mack returns to the Bus, Agent May in particular really doesn’t believe his story about where he has been, and she tells Coulson so. FitzSimmons, who had been getting along better ever since bonding over their mutual glee at watching May and Andrew, are on the outs again. Mostly because Simmons made some insensitive comments about getting upset when she can’t “fix” “broken” people. Fitz knows that’s why she pulled away from him, and he doubts that she’ll ever really accept his new reality. And that is why I no longer really like Simmons all that much anymore. I used to think she was kind of badass. I am definitely Team Fitz in this situation.

Ward and Agent 33 have to infiltrate an Air Force base to get to Bakshi, and it’s pretty fun to watch. Agent 33 first pretends to be Talbot’s wife, then she cycles through several officers stationed at the base. Talbot catches on pretty quick to this, though, and he rounds up all the female officers to figure out which one is Agent 33. It’s too late, though. Agent 33 has taken the face of a male officer, and she and Ward get to Bakshi and break him out. Talbot’s actual wife does arrive on base, and Talbot freaks her out a bit when he thinks she’s actually Agent 33. Ward and Agent 33 take Bakshi back to their safe house where they start trying to brainwash him. Meanwhile, Hunter manages to escape “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, even though it’s an aircraft carrier. He uses a submarine pod to make his escape, and the agents estimate he’ll reach land in 12 hours. Bobbi wants to return to Team Coulson and try to bring Coulson down. She says she can get it done in six hours.