Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Blindspot 1.02: "A Stray Howl"

“What if he’s right? What if the tattoos are a trap? We don’t know anything about did this to me or why and people are losing their lives.”
- Jane

So this episode picks up the day after the end of the pilot (with a brief voice over by Jane and an in media res sequence). But we’ll get to that when we catch up time wise. The writers waste no time in throwing us into the plot for the week. While Kurt and the team test Jane with combat skills and firearms in the hopes of knocking loose another memory, Patterson (the blond scientist lady) has cataloged all of Jane’s tattoos and basically created the equivalent of a Google alert for Jane’s tattoos. Just as Jane recalls a new memory (shooting a nun in a church), Patterson cracks one of the tattoos. Using the decoded Chinese address, she deciphered (which is an accurate term since she used a particular type of cipher) another tattoo revealing the name Major Arthur Gibson. He’s a former Air Force pilot and things don’t go well when Weller and Jane and company pay him a visit. He refuses to talk to them and then his house blows up. But he’s not inside.

We also slowly get some backstory on Weller as the case unfolds. For one thing, we meet his sister and nephew and learn that there is a memorial for someone named Taylor that he’s not going to because he doesn’t feel comfortable being around people. We later learn that Taylor was a little girl he knew as a child who went missing. That revelation comes out after Weller gets stonewalled by Gibson’s former CO and she gets blown up. It seems Gibson didn’t suffer from PTSD or get washed out of the service. He was turned into a drone pilot and it seems the lives he’s taken are weighing heavily on him. He even kidnaps a little girl (hence Weller’s extra angst) and forces her father to swap out the drive for a UAV so he can kill the CO. The more important part though is that as Weller recounts the story of the last time he saw Taylor, he says he thinks he knows who Jane is and why his name is on her back. He thinks because she has an old scar on her neck that she is Taylor Shaw. I honestly didn’t see that coming. I like it!

Mayfair isn’t all that convinced but she doesn’t have time to debate it because Patterson has just cracked Gibson’s safe. They find a word document with dates and initials and coordinates that link up with the deaths of 5 Middle Eastern nationals on US soil. This goes against what they were told by a 3-star General that the program Gibson was working for was a last-resort drone strike on domestic soil and that it had never been used. Patterson has determined who the second set of initials belong to and so Jane and Weller head out to find him. Jane gets to be all action hero again and beat the crap out of him. Just as the guy admits that Gibson hates him, Jane spots the man from the woods and then they barely escape another drone strike. Plus side, Gibson only has one missile left? Yeah, not really a plus side in all of this. The man is just kind of nuts. But the other drone pilot explains that there were a lot of casualties and Gibson couldn’t handle it. He wanted to blow the whistle but the other guy turned him in. The government washed him out at that point, threatened his family and just generally were assholes about the whole thing. So pretty much exactly how the government operates. Fantastic.

Time is running out as the gang rushes to find Gibson’s last target. The general finally comes clean that he would likely attack the drone program itself which just so happens to be housed in the same building as the FBI. Oh and even better, there are two times each day when ever drone pilot is on premises for shift change. So while Patterson and some other agents work to quietly evacuate people from the building via the basement, Jane and Weller head off to find Gibson. On the way Jane admits she lied to Weller about the memory from that morning and wonders if she’s a terrible person for what she’s done. He points out that her first instinct is to help and protect people so even if she wasn’t a good person before, she’s one now. They find Gibson at a high rise construction site and he opens fire with an automatic rifle on Weller. I’m guessing we are almost caught up to the scene from the opening of the episode. Gibson makes a run for it and ends up shooting the SUV that Jane is in. But she’s not sitting back and taking it. She engages in a high speed chase that ends in both vehicles getting pretty banged up. Seriously each episode is like its own little action movie! She’s okay (and remembered taking a flash drive off the dead nun) and Weller manages to rescue the girl so they have thwarted another attack. Go team!

Even though the team managed to stop the last missile from being deployed, not everyone is on Team Tattoo or convinced they should be following it. But Weller is. And it seems Mayfair is biting at his theory on Jane’s identity. She’s ordered the old case files to the lab for comparison. Weller shares this with his sister and we learn why her going to the memorial is so awkward. Their father was accused of kidnapping and killing Taylor 25 years ago. His sister begs him to see their father before it’s too late (he’s dying) but I have a feeling he’s not going to do it. It seems both Weller and Jane will be keeping secrets from each other a little while longer because he hasn’t shared his theory even when she asks specifically why she was sent to him. And we end with a rather dangerous twist as Jane’s safe house is invaded (possibly by the man from the woods memory) and she’s told not to make a sound.

I definitely enjoyed this episode as much as the pilot. I think that they have an interesting formula to work with and as the story progresses and the characters get fleshed out a little more we can really dive into the mythology. The one complaint I have is that both of the people linked to that tattoos so far haven’t had any real connection to Jane and it seems a little repetitive that they wouldn’t have a link. Hopefully that is addressed and moved on from going forward.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Best of the Best: Celebrating 1,500 Posts With Our Favorite Shows

Here we are again, folks. It feels like it’s been no time at all since we celebrated our 1,000th post. But we’ve already made it to 1,500! In honor of yet another milestone, we’ve decided to look back at some of the shows we’ve most enjoyed covering over the years.

Once Upon a Time

“Once Upon a Time” tells the tale of what would happen if all of the fairytales we knew as children were real and were transported to our world. Oh and pretty much everyone is somehow related to everyone else. The show started before Sarah joined the blog on a full-time basis but she’s covered it every season from season 2 onward. Even if she complains about the overly complicated connections amongst the characters, Sarah loves the fantasy and the drama of it all. Yes, she may never forgive the writers for killing off one of her favorite characters but the stories and the situations will always keep drawing her back in. And blogging the show on a weekly basis allows her to vent just a little of her fangirl frustrations.

12 Monkeys

“12 Monkeys” is based on the movie of the same name starring Bruce Willis. The show tracks James Cole as he travels back in time to try and stop a devastating plague and the CDC doctor who helps him along the way. Sarah covered the show’s first season this past summer as a DVR Dump. She intends to do the same with the upcoming second installment when it airs in January. The TV landscape needs more time travel sci-fi and “12 Monkeys” delivered very well on that premise. Sarah enjoyed the characters and the wider mythology of the story. When a lot of what we have covered has been more procedural, it’s always good to have something so completely different from the rest.

Person of Interest

“Person of Interest” centers on two men, billionaire Harold Finch and former CIA operative John Reese as they team up to stop crime thanks to an artificial intelligence that tracks violent crimes. The catch: they only have the social security number of the would-be victim or perp and they don’t know which it is until they start investigating. For the first three seasons of this show, Sarah covered the show weekly during the fall/spring season. The story format changed in season 4 and she decided to stop covering the show. However, for the first three years, Sarah enjoyed just how different the show was from anything else on TV. The characters were interesting and it was always a puzzle figuring out who these people were and what transpired to bring them together.


“Lost” was a big part of the early days of MTVP, as it was a show we both really enjoyed back in its heyday. As you probably remember if you’re reading this, “Lost” told the story of a bunch of plane crash survivors as they tried to escape a very strange Island and its inhabitants. The story got bigger and more complex through each of the show’s six seasons. While the finale of the show was questionable, “Lost” is still one of Jen’s favorite shows, and she would rewatch the whole thing if there weren’t so many new shows to watch (thanks Peak TV!). On MTVP, we recapped the sixth and final season, and Jen also did a “Lost 15 Favorites” series where she recapped her fifteen favorite episodes from seasons one through five. We also wrote qutie a few one-shot posts about “Lost,” including a two years later retrospective and a “Where are they Now” post about the actors. Lost will remain among the pantheon of great TV shows because it combined an intriguing mythology and complex mysteries with memorable characters.

How I Met Your Mother

While many (including Jen) might argue that “HIMYM” utterly crashed and burned in its final season, it has gotten more coverage on MTVP than any other show, even “Doctor Who!” “HIMYM” told the story of Ted’s search for love (and adventures with friends) as a late-20/early-30-something in New York City, using the framing device of a much older Ted telling his kids how he met their mother. Jen regularly covered seasons five through eight on the blog, and she also did a 15 Most Legendary Episodes series. “HIMYM” also featured in many classic recaps, holiday and otherwise, and other one-shot blog posts. Jen liked two things most about “HIMYM.” First was the realistic (albeit heightened) take the show had on many “adulting” milestones like giving up your first car. The other was the loving found family that Ted had in his friends.


“Wonderfalls” tells the story of Jaye Tyler, 20-something misanthrope who has a degree from Brown but chooses to work at a Niagara Falls gift shop and live in a trailer. Because she’s sticking it to the man. Her life changes when she starts hearing animal-shaped inanimate objects talking to her. And they’re telling her to do nice things. Jen covered “Wonderfalls,” which starred the always wonderful Caroline Dhavernas, as a Summer TV Rewind in 2013. The character of Jaye is what really makes the show great. She has a very misanthropic view of the world and can be surly to people who try to show her kindness, but underneath it all, she is very vulnerable and would really like to have “nice things” for once. Like bartender Eric, who just happens to still be married (albeit separated). The show was a bit uneven episode to episode, but it takes viewers on a very satisfying arc, and there are moments that no TV fan, or fan of creator Bryan Fuller, should miss.

Doctor Who

Spend any time on this blog and you’ll know that “Doctor Who” is the many adventures of a madman with a box bumping around time and space. We did a few one-off posts about it in the early years of blog before starting to cover it season by season with series 6. We are now on the 4th series we’ve covered completely. And who can forget the time we posted a defense of female Doctor Who fans on Hypable and almost broke the Internet (by our standards anyway). There are many reasons why we love “Doctor Who” (most of the time). The show’s premise lends itself to a wide variety of stories. You can watch a far future space story one week, and a historical story the next. The actors also change on a semi-regular basis, which, while the transitions are always sad, tend to keep the show fresh. It’s fun to watch each new Doctor/Companion team-up find their groove. Mostly, “Doctor Who” is just a show that invites its viewers to use their imaginations.

And with that, we wrap up our 1,500th post here at MTVP. Here’s to another 1,500. We’re excited about what the coming years in television will bring!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Once Upon a Time 5.01: "The Dark Swan"

“Did you enjoy it? Your first taste of darkness?”
- Rumpelstiltskin

It’s that time again Storybrooke denizens. Once Upon a Time is back! At the end of last season, Henry became the Author, Regina got a taste of happiness with Robin and Emma became the new Dark One. We take a brief trip back to a young Emma in 1989 where she steals some candy in a movie theater and a British guy in a movie theater uniform warns her that she’ll have a chance to pull Excalibur from the stone one day and she needs to not do it. I’m pretty sure he’s Merlin and he saw all of this coming. Back in the Enchanted Forest some time ago, we find Arthur, Lancelot and another knight on the way to pull said sword from said stone thanks a prophecy from Merlin. They get there to find another knight greedy to have the power for himself. He gets turned to dust for his troubles. Arthur is successful but there’s a problem. The sword isn’t whole. As the camera pans down, we see that in fact the rest of the sword has become the Dark One’s dagger. Oh snap!

In Storybrooke, Emma’s family is kind of still in shock of what happened. Hook is having all kinds of annoying man pain and ordering people to get their butts in gear. When a visit to the apprentice yields a way to travel to the Enchanted Forest (where Emma went to be reborn as the new Dark One), Hook insists on using Zelena’s power to get them there. Regina’s magic to too light these days and wand used to travel needs both sides of the coin. That cannot possibly ever end well. While Regina, Hook and Robin go to try and convince Zelena to help, the Blue Fairy convinces Belle to leave Rumple’s side and help them. She gives Belle the rose in the bell jar, promising that as long as it still has pedals, Rumple will live. Things with Zelena understandably don’t go well. Regina refuses to take off the magic suppressing cuff so Zelena can use her magic to create the portal to take them to Emma. So of course, Hook entices Henry to break Zelena out. Yes, get your girlfriend’s son into a life of crime early. Asshole. Because Hook is an absolute moron, Zelena escapes and goes after Robin. She wants to trade the wand for his life so she can go back to Oz and be happy with baby. It looks like Regina is giving in when she reveals that she knew the use of the wand would make Zelena weak. You go Regina!

Speaking of the newly minted Dark One, Emma emerges from the vault where we saw Neal resurrect Rumple and she’s all kinds of confused. Rumple appears as sort of a hallucination/guide for her and he’s trying to get her to accept the darkness. She encounters a merchant who tries to extort her for money when she asks for directions to Camelot and ends up nearly choking the guy to death with the darkness. Clearly her reactions to things are going to be quite the opposite of who she used to be. I like it. Emma is panicking a little bit but Rumple convinces her he can help her find Merlin. She gets to teleport on her own for the first time and she then crosses paths with a feisty, fiery-haired princess Merida. They are both after the same little magical being that will answer a question when returned home. So when Emma declines to fight Merida (thus avoiding giving into the darkness) Merida invites her along so that maybe they can both get help. As they trek through the woods we learn that Merida’s father has died and the untied clans have kidnapped her little brothers. They apparently don’t want a Queen to rule the land (sexist pigs). So she needs to find her brothers. That night, Emma is having a conversation with Rumple that Merida overhears. She takes off in the morning and manages to ask her question before Emma show sup (embracing some of that dark magic). Things get rather tense when Rumple urges Emma to kill Merida. I can’t see that happening but you never know.

Regina manages to use Emma’s baby blanket to change the destination of the portal and Granny’s diner gets sucks up with quite a lot of people inside. Should be interesting, especially since we know Ruby is coming back (yay). And it takes Emma’s family and Hook showing up to ultimately stop Emma from killing Merida. For a time at least, her family’s support has pushed her evil spirit guide away. I liked the sentiment of Hook’s little speech I just wish I had been Henry who had given it but that’s just me being super anti Captain Swan.

After some reunions, Emma and company head back to Granny’s (Emma is surprised by how it got there) and find King Arthur and his knights approaching. They’ve been expecting the denizens of Storybrooke and invite them to Camelot in search of Merlin. Just as the gang heads into Camelot, we jump six weeks back in Storybrooke where we find that Emma has in fact given in to the darkness and somehow wiped everyone’s memories (again). That part kind of irked me but seeing Emma go all bad is going to be pretty awesome. I know it sounds like I’m being mean but I can’t wait to see what she has in store for Hook. I am sure that she won’t do anything too awful to Henry.

Overall I thought this was a strong premiere and it sets up a lot of fun things for the rest of the half-season at the very least. It’s going to be crazy but in such a good way. Having this show back on my TV every week is going to make me very happy and I am so glad it’s finally back. I’ve missed getting to hang out with these characters and share in their drama and family craziness. I’m even eager to see if Regina and Zelena will be able to reconcile.

Fresh Off the Boat 2.01: "Family Business Trip"

“Woman, I’ve been soft!”

While I didn’t blog it until now, “Fresh off the Boat” (along with “Empire”) was one of my favorite new shows of last season. It provides a unique voice in the television landscape on multiple levels, telling the story of a Taiwanese family with a South Asian woman as showrunner. The show is a very highly fictionalized take on the autobiography of chef Eddie Huang, also called “Fresh Off the Boat.” While Huang has significantly distanced himself from the show (he narrated every episode in the first season, but he did not narrate this episode), saying that it really isn’t anything like his experience growing up in Orlando, Florida, I think the show does have something of an edge to it compared to most network comedy fare. I personally, at least, am not taking it as a complete account of the real Eddie Huang’s life. I am taking it as the story of a fictional family loosely based/inspired by the real Eddie and his family.

This episode begins at the end of the school year, where students are signing yearbooks and conspiring about how they are going to make their mark when they return back to school in the fall. Some of the other kids warn Eddie that he needs to return to school with either some awesome new clothes or a great story about his summer adventures. Eddie assures his friends that he has this in the bag. When he returns home, we learn that Eddie used his money from working at his dad’s restaurant to buy himself a new pair of Reebok Pumps. He is so confident that these shoes will ensure his status at school that he spends all summer on the couch watching television. Unfortunately, though, the shoes aren’t going to be the popularity guarantee he thought they were going to be. He sees a special report on MTV that John Stockton is now wearing Pumps, making them no longer cool.

Back to school shopping also creates a bit of a crisis for the youngest Huang, Evan. In his bag of hand-me-downs from middle child Emery, Evan receives a pair of lace-up shoes. Jessica tells Evan that he doesn’t need Velcro shoes anymore – he is officially a big kid. Evan is devastated because being the “baby” was his brand. Louis doesn’t quite understand his son’s existential crisis, because he’s too busy planning for a “business trip” to a convention held by a trade association for franchise owners. Louis is excited because the trip is really a secret vacation – he plans to enjoy beers and unhealthy food with the other franchise owners. It’s his one chance a year to be out from under Jessica’s micromanaging thumb.

Jessica herself has been feeling burnt out lately, trying to balance her real estate job with keeping up the house and taking care of the kids. One of her friends suggests she take a vacation. At first she laughs it off, but eventually, she decides that the entire Huang family is going to go on a “family business trip” to Gator World, where the franchisee convention is being held. Eddie is super pumped about this, because he’s hoping that riding the “Death Roll” roller coaster and earning the T-shirt will be a sufficiently kickass story to ensure his popularity back at school. Every member of the family (except Emery, maybe) has an agenda with this trip. Louis still wants to sneak in some beers with the guys. Eddie wants a good story. Evan wants to regain “baby” status. And Jessica wants to make sure they aren’t “suckers” by paying a penny more than necessary.

Jessica’s obsession with not being taken advantage of is ruining the trip for everyone. She turns the AC to freezing because it’s free. She throws away the key to the minibar. She burns the room service menu. Poor Louis has to cancel all of his pampering plans, like his massage and steak dinner. Jessica also tries to take the kids to the hotel pool with packed lunches, but as soon as she finds out there’s a surcharge for bringing your own food to the pool, it’s finally off to Gator World. Unfortunately for Eddie, the trip to the amusement park lasts only until Jessica learns the price of tickets. Grandma Huang is the only member of the family to enter the park. Since she is in a wheelchair, she gets in for free, and there is an especially hilarious bit where we see her enjoying a roller coaster. Jessica instead tries to convince her kids that riding the tram around the Gator World parking lot counts as an amusement park ride.

When Jessica and the kids return from Gator World, she catches Louis living it up with the rest of the guys. She is furious, and the rest of the guys make a run for it. Louis convinces Jessica that she needs to let go a bit and actually enjoy vacation. She is so tightly wound that she seems incapable of enjoying life. Louis’s plan to help Jessica relax begins with a massage, and even though she has to keep her purse in her light of sight the whole time, the massage does the trick. The family enjoys room service, and Eddie gets to actually go to Gator World. When Louis goes to pay the bill, though, he is appalled by all the hidden charges. When Jessica lets down her guard, the family is easily taken advantage of.

Jessica decides to take back control of the situation just enough to get them out of the jam. She pulls out Evan’s loose tooth, and she presents Evan to the hotel staff, claiming he injured himself at the pool. It’s a chance for Evan to be the baby again, and Jessica gets most of the extra fees waived, so the Huangs are all winners. I’ll be interested to see if Jessica takes the “control in moderation” approach back to Orlando, but something tells me it was for vacation only.

Eddie doesn’t actually end up riding Death Roll. He chickens out when he sees a kid taken away on a stretcher, about to vomit. Back at school, he tries to make up a cool summer story, but the other kids aren’t buying it. Eddie is saved by an appearance from his pretty neighbor, Nicole, who will be repeating the eighth grade. The other guys are impressed that someone like Nicole considers Eddie her friend. Eddie tries to take advantage of that momentum, and he tells the guys the truth – he spent most of the summer on the couch watching TV. The other guys, after thinking about it, think that seem like a pretty awesome way to spend a summer. So Eddie’s status in the cool kid club continues for another year.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Marvel's Daredevil 1.12: "The Ones We Leave Behind"

“But this is my mother that you brought into this, Mr. Urich. My mother. So I am not here to threaten you. I’m here to kill you.”

This was quite a memorable episode of “Daredevil.” For much of the episode, not a lot happens. The characters are still all trying to deal with the fallout of many of the reveals of the past couple episodes. Kind of like the pervious episode, however, it ended with a bang. Or more precisely, a strangling. By the end of this episode, the stakes have definitely been raised for our heroes, and it is going to be interesting to see how the consequences all play out in the season finale. I’d really love to get back to a status quo where Foggy, Matt, and Karen are working together and kicking ass, but I doubt that is happening any time soon. It really hasn’t happened much over the course of the season, to be honest. Many episodes have had Matt off on separate adventures while Foggy and Karen try to hold town the fort. Ah well – I can still dream!

This episode begins not long after the last one ended, and we immediately have to deal with the consequences of Karen killing Wesley. She’s completely freaking out (understandably), and we see her shaking as she throws the gun into the water. She gets a shower and drinks heavily before trying to get some sleep, and when she does sleep, she has a nightmare about Fisk showing up to talk to her about how awesome it feels to kill people. Later, Karen and Foggy happen to both be at the office at the same time. Foggy is trying to clean out more of his stuff, and Karen just needs to get out of the house. Foggy apologizes for leaving Karen high and dry, and he asks her for their file of information about Fisk. He leaves the office, but he tells Karen she can call him any time. Foggy can clearly tell something is wrong with Karen, but Karen refuses to talk about it, and Foggy doesn’t press the issue.

Meanwhile, Fisk is still at the hospital, watching over Vanessa at her bedside. Fisk has a really sweet (if you can get past what a horrible, sadistic person he is) sweet monologue about what Vanessa means to him, but then he’s called away. He sees Wesley’s body in the warehouse, exactly where Karen left it, and he is enraged. He takes that rage out on the bodyguard who was supposed to be protecting Wesley, beating him unconscious before Owlsley gets him to calm down a bit. The two men speculate whether or not the Japanese or the Triad are responsible for Wesley’s death, and maybe Vanessa’s poisoning, too. Owlsley leaves to go investigate, and Fisk checks Wesley’s phone, since he knows a phone call resulted in Wesley rushing off to take care of something just before his death. He is shocked to see his mother’s phone number in the call log.

As Ben heads to his car, presumably after a day of work, he is stopped by Matt in vigilante garb. The two exchange theories about the interactions and connections between all the criminal organizations that have been battling it out in Hell’s Kitchen recently. Matt seems most interested in going after Madame Gao and the Triad. Ben says he has a story in mind to write about Fisk and company in general, but Matt says to lay low for now for his own safety, and he (Matt) will take care of everything. Meanwhile, Foggy meets up with Marcie at Josie’s. Foggy gives Marcie the file on Fisk and begs her to read it. She’s appalled by what she’s reading, but she’s reluctant to do anything since Fisk is one of her clients, and if she makes a wrong move, she could be disbarred. Foggy begs her to take a stand and get her soul back.

Karen continues to be creepy and annoying, and she appears, stalker-style, in Ben’s apartment. She tells him that she thinks Fisk’s people are on to them, and he needs to print a take-down story about Fisk ASAP. She won’t say exactly why she suspects this and just chalks it up to instinct. Ben is reluctant because he doesn’t have all the confirmations he needs to meet the paper’s standards yet, but Karen pushes him, and he promises to run it by his editor. Unsurprisingly, his editor hates it, and he tells Ben there is no way the story is going to print. After a heated confrontation, Ben accuses his editor of taking bribes from Fisk, and this results in Ben getting fired.

Deciding to move forward with his plans for Madame Gao and her crew, Matt spots a blind Asian woman who gets into a mysterious unmarked vehicle. Matt parkours over rooftops like a badass to follow the vehicle all the way to Gao’s warehouse. He manages to infiltrate the warehouse rather easily, and when he arrives at the production floor, the workers of course don’t notice his presence. Madame Gao notices, though, and she yells a warning to the workers. They start swarming Matt. Matt manages to get free, and he has a confrontation with Gao and a few of her security guards. When Matt gets too close, Gao pushes him and escapes. We later see her and Owsley watching the warehouse burn as they wonder whether or not Fisk knows they were behind the plot to kill Vanessa. Gao says she’s going to go back to her homeland to think things through. It’s not China, though – apparently Gao is from somewhere even farther away. I’m not exactly sure what that means – is she supposed to be an alien or something? Matt helps many of the workers get out of the burning building, and he has a confrontation with a police officer before finally making his escape.

We see Fisk and his mother in the back of Fisk’s car. Fisk tells his mother that he’s sending her to Italy. She doesn’t seem thrilled by it – she was quite comfortable in her life at the nursing home. He also tries to get her to say what she told Wesley before he died, but she doesn’t remember. Later, Fisk and Owlsley have a conversation that ends with Fisk getting called away for something urgent. Meanwhile, Ben has a conversation at the hospital with his wife. When she finds out he has been fired, she encourages him to get his story out there in any way he can. He immediately calls Karen and says he’s going to put together a blog, and he’ll give her the link when it’s done. Back at his apartment, he is about to sit down and start writing when Fisk appears sitting in a living room chair. They have a reasonable conversation, where Fisk expresses displeasure with Ben’s writing while Ben implies he’s going to keep writing. All of that changes, however, when the topic moves to Fisk’s mother. Fisk can’t abide people using his mother to get to him, so after he confirms (Ben lies) that Ben was the only person who visited the nursing home, he strangles Ben to death.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Moonlight 1.16: “Sonata”

“I’ve spent the last 55 years trying to close the door on forever. But I can’t anymore. I can’t close the door on Beth.”
- Mick

This is the end, gang. Our final adventure with Mick and Beth and company has finally arrived. And boy it’s a good one. Mick and Beth are at a gala supporting Josef as they dedicate a new sports arena at Hearst College in Sarah’s name. It’s very sweet really. Josef drops the truth bomb on Beth that he founded the school. Pretty awesome. The gala is also celebrating a former basketball player named Dominic who went pro (they were retiring his jersey). Because this is Moonlight, the evening can’t be all googly eyes and dancing to Daughtry. Dominic ends up dead and Josef’s lawyer/freshie Simone is found near the body.

Beth talks to Simone the next day at the DA’s office and Simone explains that she was with Josef letting him feed on her and she went to the bathroom to get cleaned up and that’s when she found Dominic’s body. Talbot fills Beth in on the fact that apparently Simone went to all of Dominic’s games and even left with him a few times. Josef isn’t aware of this and he even looks a little bit jealous of the idea that Simone could have been sleeping with Dominic. While Simone is still being held in custody, Beth pays Dominic’s manager Emma (who is a vampire and married to a vampire named Jackson for 150 years) a visit. Beth gets the story of Emma and Jackson from back in the 1700s when Emma came over from Ireland. Emma says she and Jackson are still very much in love and have no regrets.

Mick heads to the morgue and Guillermo shares that some blood was found on Dominic’s body (B+) and after getting the sample, they determine it was vampire blood. Simone has been released and when Mick share the blood type with her and Josef, Josef thinks everything is clear since that isn’t Simone’s blood type. Mick wants to be sure but instead of taking a sample to the lab, Josef insists Mick taste her blood himself. Which turns super awkward when Beth walks in. She’s questioning whether Mick feeding on people (including her) is a big deal or not because he seems to be sending mixed messages. The reason she popped by was to have Mick tag along to try and find a former teammate of Dominic’s who had been quite competitive with Dominic (and had been seen arguing with Dominic at the gala). And so we then immerse ourselves in the seedy world of drunken frat boys. Mick even gets smacked in the face with the “sacred ass paddle” before catching Hank.

Mick pays Jackson a visit and finds out that Dominic was seeing a vampire named Lisa. Louisa seems to be very happy to stay in college forever. As she puts it no one notices or cares if you sleep all day and boys tend not to notice when a love bite is more than just a love bite. Emma also tells Mick that Emma and Dominic were sleeping together, too. Oh boy! Beth gets this information and the fact that Hank saw Emma kill Dominic (all vamped out) around the same time. She calls Mick and he tells her to stall Talbot but she doesn’t think she can. So Mick needs to get over to Emma and Jackson’s place before she does something that could endanger the vampire community at large.

Mick shows up to find Emma throwing chairs and people out doors. He manages to calm her down so she doesn’t kill anyone but she is less than happy that Mick is siding with the humans. Sure she may be under control now but having her locked up, facing life in prison is not a good situation at all. Jackson is floored to find out his wife was cheating on him but he thinks eh can talk Emma out of doing anything stupid. Beth gets Jackson in to see Emma and Mick listens in on their conversation which Beth can’t hear because it’s below human hearing levels. Basically, Emma tells Jackson that Dominic didn’t mean anything and she still loves Jackson. She tells him that Mick is going to get her out of custody within 24 hours or she’s going to blab to the DA all about vampires and give them the names of all the vamps in LA.

Back at Mick’s place, he and Josef share a drink of blood while discussing the situation and the fact that Emma’s bail was denied. Oh and it seems like Josef may have fallen for another human. He’s worried about Simone wanting to be turned since he hasn’t tried it since Sarah and he’s not sure he wants a repeat of that (or to have it work). Beth and Simone are having a similar conversation and it makes Beth wonder if she really should be with Mick, especially since he wouldn’t want to turn her.

She heads over to see Mick but gets turned away because he is in the of “vampire business”. Mick has called Logan, Josef, Guillermo and the Cleaner over to set up an escape plan for Emma. It’s a fairly involved plan but it should work if everyone does their part. Things are looking to be right on track when Logan hacks the city’s traffic system and keeps the lights on Main Street green. But he hits a firewall and the van transporting Emma takes a detour. Emma is not doing well and is nearly ready to just chomp on the guard when Logan (at Mick’s direction) makes the van crash. They get Emma out of the van but they aren’t taking her to freedom. For her crimes of threatening to expose the community, she’s being put to death. Jackson shows up and refuses to let his wife die alone. Even though she protests, he says they will do this like they’ve done everything else; together.

Even though Emma and Jackson are dead, their secret is still at risk. A male voice on the phone calls Talbot after the DA finds a list of names (with Emma, Jackson and the plastic surgeon) crossed off. Mick’s name is at the very bottom on the last page. The caller tells Talbot that he’ll be in touch. Mick shows up at Beth’s door to explain what happened to Emma and Jackson and she basically tries to break it off. She knows Mick can’t go back to being human and she’s not ready to be a vampire so she doesn’t think it will end up working. But Mick has other ideas. He says that Emma and Jackson made him realize they need to live in the moment and focus on how they feel right now and he’s in love with her. He even passes the “what was I wearing when we first met as adults” test. So it seems that Mick and Beth will get their happy ending after all.

As I’ve said before, I’ve enjoyed re-watching this show not just for the story but for the nostalgic music and the random guest stars. I am sad we will never see what becomes of some of the plotlines left hanging but it was a fun ride while it lasted.

Monday, September 21, 2015

MTVP 2015 Emmys Coverage: The Aftermath

“Alright. Let’s give away some motherhumping Emmys!”
-Andy Samberg

Overall, the 67th Emmy Awards was a lot of fun, with host Andy Samberg keeping things light and moving, and some interesting tidal shifts on the winner front. Emmy voting procedures were changed recently to be more inclusive (albeit with less certainty that the voters actually watched everything before voting), so it was interesting to see how there were still sweeps, but sweeps by different shows that we saw previously. This was really the night for two shows: “Veep” and “Game of Thrones.” Both are shows that I appreciate, so I was okay with that. Before we move on with more detailed analysis, let’s just take a moment to celebrate the fact that the multi-year “Modern Family” reign of terror is over. I was so ready for a different show to start winning comedy awards, and this year did not disappoint on that front.

The opening of the telecast contained both highs and lows. I really loved the pre-tape video segment that riffed off the concept of “peak TV” that has been kicking around the blogosphere lately. Andy Samberg gets embarrassed at a dinner party when he hasn’t watched all the shows his guests are talking about, so he goes into a bunker for a solid year to watch all the TV he can possibly watch. And then he has to go back because he forgot to watch “Castle.” The monologue that followed the video segment was a bit more hit-or-miss. One of the other actors in the video told Samberg to make “culturally-relevant-but-not-too-edgy” jokes, but Samberg didn’t take his own advice, and some of his jokes went over like a lead balloon with the room. Celebrities don’t take too kindly to being made fun of, which can sometimes make awards shows a bore. I didn’t really have a problem with the content of Samberg’s monologue jokes. I just thought the monologue was kind of a weird mush of TV insider jokes and current events jokes. I would have stuck with the TV jokes, personally, since it’s a TV awards show.

There were some other bits throughout the telecast that I found especially funny. At one point, Samberg cut to a “Red Carpet Cam.” Just that alone sort of made fun of E!’s ever-growing line-up of different types of red carpet cameras. This one, however, was supposed to show us that the carpet isn’t so glamorous once the show starts. Both Tatiana Maslany and Tony Hale appear with metal detectors, apparently looking for dropped jewelry or money. They end up fighting over a can of beans, which was pretty hilarious. There was also a funny bit where Samberg and fellow SNL alum (and former Emmy host) Seth Meyers talked about giving Lorne Michaels a “World’s Best Boss” mug. I liked how that exchange included a dig about Michaels never going to the Creative Arts Emmys even though the SNL 40th Anniversary special won this year.

There was another bit I liked that seemed to cause quite a lot of heartburn in the realm of the Internet. There was a video montage of scenes from shows that aired their final seasons this year, and many of those scenes were big spoilers for the season finales of their respective shows. There were confrontations and murders galore. People of Twitter were very upset that shows had been spoiled. Have we reached consensus on the spoiler window we need to put around shows? The fall season starts today. People had all summer to catch up on these shows. Especially if a show is really in the zeitgeist, you should only expect a limited spoiler-free window. Score one for the Emmy team taking on spoiler culture! That being said, I thought Jimmy Fallon’s tribute to departed shows back in 2010 was better – the songs he made up to honor them were really funny.

The winners this year were on a spectrum of meh to awesome. It was a definite improvement over the past few years, at least, even if it wasn’t perfect. Even in cases where I was disappointed with the winner, the winner was an actor I liked. I just thought they had won enough already. The first such example would be Allison Janney. I adore her, especially her work on “The West Wing,” but she had no business winning for a mediocre Chuck Lorre show. Julia Louis Dreyfus is great on “Veep,” which is also a great show (as I’ve said before, Armando Iannucci is a genius), but she has won so many times for three different shows now that I am kind of over it. Tony Hale, Uzo Aduba, and Peter Dinklage were all second-time winners. While I thought there were better choices in their categories, I still do think they do good work on their respective shows (“Veep, ” “Orange is the New Black,” and “Game of Thrones”). I put these folks in the “yay…ish” category.

The wins I enjoyed the most were the series wins, as opposed to the actor wins. While both “Veep” and “Game of Thrones” are pretty established series by now, it was a first-time win for both. The casts and production crews for both shows seemed truly ecstatic with the wins. Although I will say that I found it a little inappropriate that many of the winners from “Veep” thanked their “crew in Baltimore” when the show itself is leaving Maryland and will be filming in California next season. I will miss producer/”Thick of It” star Chris Addison’s tweets from places like Camden Yards. I always thought it was pretty cool that a random British comedian of whom I am a fan knows Baltimore so well. As for “Game of Thrones,” season 5 wasn’t the show’s strongest, but I saw this one as a sort of make-up Emmy to reward the team for several seasons of excellent work that didn’t get rewarded.

There were several especially memorable acceptance speeches. Uzo Aduba cried through her entire acceptance speech for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She is the only person other than Ed Asner to win both the Comedy and Drama awards. In her case, it’s because “Orange is the New Black” switched classifications from comedy to drama this year. Peter Dinklage seemed truly surprised that he won, and he thanked his fellow nominees “Jonathan Banks . . . and the rest.” I really wanted either Tatiana Maslany or Taraji P. Henson to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, but Viola Davis’ acceptance speech mitigated a lot of the disappointment. Henson immediately ran over to Davis and hugged her, which I thought was classy. In her speech, Davis quoted Harriet Tubman and advocated for more opportunities for actors of color. She also made a point to thank her fellow black actresses for paving the way for the future. It was a really positive note that was largely representative of the telecast as a whole.

Blindspot 1.01: "Pilot"

“What if I’m not just the messenger? What if there’s something I’m supposed to hear or see?”
- Jane Doe

I have to admit, this is the new show I was looking forward to the most this season. The premise excites me and the casting is superb. It probably doesn’t hurt that the promos dominated the network this summer (and several other networks besides NBC). But anyway, without wasting any more time, let’s get to the good stuff. We open up with a rather amazing shot of a duffle bag in the middle of Times Square. A police officer finds it and before long he’s called in the bomb squad. The bomb tech is a little skittish when the bag moves and out comes a naked woman covered in tattoos. I have to admit, I’d heard from the stars how well-shot the opening scene was and I have to agree it was done artfully. You get glimpses of her tattoos but ever enough to be too revealing. You know she’s naked but the lighting is such that it covers the private parts well.

Down in rural Kentucky we meet our male lead, FBI Agent Kurt Weller. He’s on a raid to take down a guy who has several women hostage. He gets creative when one of his team points out using the stairs might give them away. He uses door explosives and tacks them to the floorboards to bring the guy down without harming the hostages. Weller doesn’t have time to revel in the take down though. A chopper arrive whisking him to New York. He’s being put on the case of Jane Doe (the woman from the bag) because his name is tattooed on her back. Through a series of medical and other tests, we learn that Jane’s tattoos were all applied within the last several weeks (I have three tattoos and imagining getting them all done at once sounds so painful!) and she’s got an experimental drug in her system rendering her a permanent amnesiac. She doesn’t have any memories although she can understand things and speak. When Jane first meets Weller she is desperate to find some kind of connection with him. But he’s never met her before. They share a moment where she feels his face in the hopes of triggering a memory (or a sense memory) but comes up empty. The disappointment in her eyes is palpable. You feel so bad for her. And when he leaves her alone at the safe house, it just broke my heart. She needs human connection and he’s running away.

The next morning, Jane learns that she likes coffee (and apparently remembers what grass clippings taste like). In HQ Weller and his supervisor are reviewing Jane’s tattoos and are keying in on a big square that they think is covering something else that might help ID her. Jane’s brought in because they think it might help and she sees a tattoo that’s on her neck behind her ear. It’s in Chinese and it’s a date and an address. After a little arguing, Jane convinces Weller to take her with him but he makes her stay in the car. That doesn’t last long because they find a young guy who is Chinese and doesn’t speak English. Since she knows Chinese, she gets to translate. Weller thinks her job is done when the kid reveals the person who owns the apartment hasn’t been seen since the day before and sends her out into the hall while the team breaks down some doors. He really should have kept a better eye on her. Just about the time the team back at HQ finds out she’s got a Navy Seal tattoo under that square, she starts taking down some guys (one of whom was beating on his wife). She’s understandably freaked out when Weller intervenes. I’m quite proud of the fact that Jaimie Alexander does her own stunts. This looks pretty intense! She needs a little time to calm down and apparently that means translating a terrorist message. Now they have to find the guy and stop him before he commits whatever act of insanity he’s planning. I also like how well Jaimie transitions from having the skillset to being the blank slate.

The case takes a slight detour as the FBI tries to read the guy’s emails. It’s in a rare dialect (which of course Jane speaks). They manage to track the terrorist to the subway and nearly get blown up for their troubles. If Weller had maybe let Jane read the emails a little more deeply they might have figured out that the politician they thought was the target was wrong. The real target was the Statue of Liberty. Weller, Jane and his back up head to the national tourist attraction and Jane insists on joining them. It turns out to be a good thing. Sure she gets shot by the terrorist but she gets the drop on him later (after he and Weller get into a fight that ends with Weller with a knife to his throat). Jane doesn’t think she can actually shoot the guy but she manages it (she even manages not to make it a fatal shot). And as she collapses to her knees, she gets her first memory. She’s shooting targets in the woods (with much longer hair). A man with a beard (who we saw watching as the gang headed away from the terrorist’s apartment) tells her she missed two and needs to do it again. Weller, gun trained on the would-be terrorist, is there to support her as she crumbles.

Back at HQ, Weller and the team debrief before the chief sends them home for the night. There are definitely more questions than answers to be had as this first hour comes to a close. We see one of the other tattoos was a file number and it looks like it references the chief herself (with a heavily redacted file). Intriguing. And as Jane and Weller turn in for the night, we get the feeling they both have secrets to hide. Jane may have found another memory as she examines herself in the mirror. The bearded man explains that the drug will erase her memory and Jane says that the drug is her only option.

I really enjoyed this premiere. It was very thrilling and I found myself very engaged. If the rest of the season is like this, I’m going to be very pleased. I’m hopeful the ratings hold up and we get an early back 9 order on this soon.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Doctor Who 9.01: "The Magician's Apprentice"

“If you seek the Doctor, first seek his friends.”
- Davros

Welcome to the first recap post of the fall season! It feels like forever ago we last had an adventure with the Doctor and Clara and I suppose it was nearly nine months ago (with 2014’s “Last Christmas”). But we’re back and it is crazier than ever. I have a sneaking suspicion Moffat is trying to outdo himself this year with the appearance of constant two-parters and big overarching questions and plots to resolve. If that’s his goal, he certainly succeeded in the first episode of the new series.

We begin on a planet where people are fighting off drones with bows and arrow (my first thought was how is it even possible for the people to win). A little boy is running through a field and a soldier stops him because there are hand mines everywhere. They are creepy little hands with eyeballs in their palms (like the Seer on Once Upon a Time or the leader of the Syballine sisterhood from Pompeii) that pop out of the ground, latch on to your leg and pull you into the ground. The soldier gets sucked in pretty quickly and then the Doctor appears. He’s trying to rescue the boy until he learns the lad’s name; Davros. Well damn, archenemy and father of the Dalek race was once a normal, scared little boy abandoned by the Doctor. That might explain a few things.

In what can sort of be deemed the present, a servant of Davros who is just a bunch of snakes in a cloak (gross) is searching for the Doctor. He goes to the Maldovarian marketplace (which made me think of Dorian the poor fool) but has no luck. So he heads to the Shadow Proclamation and again hits a dead end. I did like the bit of a tie in to “Stolen Earth”/”Journey’s End” with the Jadoon and everything. Finally, snake man ends up on Karn (which is where the Doctor went from Eight to the War Doctor) and the sister tells him off, saying if Davros has a message for the Doctor, snake man can leave it with her and she will pass it along. The message is simple. Davros knows, Davros remembers. Cryptic. Snake man retreats to where Davros is dying and the leader of the Daleks says that to find the Doctor, you simply find his friends. Great!

Speaking of friends, Clara is back to teaching and things are going well until planes appear frozen in the sky and she gets a call from U.N.I.T. Apparently she’s now an honorary memory or something. I didn’t quite get why they called her but I suppose it’s really not that different than gathering the companions. Anyway, Clara gets there and Kate says she can’t reach the Doctor. Clara hasn’t tried yet because she doesn’t know if it’s a real crisis. Silly girl. It’s definitely a crisis. I thought it was snake man luring Clara out at first but it turns out to be Missy. Surprise, she’s not dead (I didn’t think she was).

Clara ends up meeting with Missy (with some heavy U.N.I.T. support) and Missy drops the truth bomb that the Doctor sent her his confession dial (the Time Lord version of a will) and Clara is rather miffed that he would send it to Missy, rather than her. Missy points out she and the Doctor are old friends, the best of friends really and she’s concerned that she can’t find the Doctor. She’d only get the confession dial the day before the Doctor dies. So here we go again trying to save the Doctor from dying. Working together, they find where the Doctor is hiding out. He’s in the Middle Ages and he’s been having a three-week blow out party, complete with giant tank (for his fish) and a guitar. I did appreciate Peter Capaldi getting to show his musical skills (he was in a band back in the day with one Craig Ferguson). Unfortunately, Missy and Clara showing up there leads the snake man right to the Doctor. He gets to deliver his message that Davros is dying and wants to see the Doctor. The Doctor agrees to go but Missy and Clara insist on joining him. He’s not very pleased by this. I think he wanted to face his old enemy alone because he knows what’s coming.

Missy and Clara get locked in while the Doctor goes to see Davros. We learn just how old their relationship is thanks to some old audio from Four and Ten (during “Journey’s End”). Davros created the Daleks to stop the War that was raging but obviously it got out of hand. Part of me wonders if the Great Time War happened because Davros was still to some degree that abandoned little boy and he was mad at the Doctor. Anyway, it seems Davros hasn’t changed much since last we saw him. He still uses the Doctor’s friends and people who care about him against him. Missy and Clara have managed to go wandering (Missy is a bit snarky and pointing out that the gravity feels too real to be artificial) and in short order we discover that they are really back on Scaro, where the whole thing began. Missy is just as pissed as the Doctor and Clara is just confused.

Daleks kidnap the ladies and take them to where the TARDIS is being held (one of the people who was serving the Doctor in the Middle Ages is actually a human Dalek) and the Doctor is forced to watch them get disintegrated. First, Missy tries to stop them from destroying the TARDIS by saying she can get them in but only her because she’s a Time Lady. Honestly, this felt a bit like a retread of what happened at the end of series 4. Davros tried to destroy the TARDIS then and threatened to kill the Doctor’s companions. Clara gets dematerialized, too. I know they aren’t dead because Daleks don’t dematerialize people. They sort of electrocute them. Besides, I can’t believe that they would write Clara out in the first episode (spoiler alert, Jenna Coleman is leaving the show sometime during this series). As the Doctor watches the TARDIS disappear, he somehow ends up back on Scaro where little Davros is still holding on to his sonic screwdriver. The Doctor gets up real close to him and threatens to exterminate him. I can’t believe the Doctor would willing kill a child, even if it was his archenemy. For one thing, that’s just not him. Abandoning him, sure. But killing him, no. The Doctor isn’t a killer. And secondly, the Doctor can’t kill him because it would so drastically alter the history of their two races, not to mention their personal histories that it would effectively negate the last 50 years of storytelling. Moffat is bod but he isn’t that crazy. We hope.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

MTVP Emmys Coverage 2015: The Players

There are a few things that really personify late summer/early fall for me. One is that the busy season at my job is looming (the shit should really hit the fan in about a month, to be precise). The second is the Maryland Renaissance Festival (I just returned home earlier today from my second visit of a possible three this year). The third, of course, and the one we’re going to be talking about today (since MTVP is a television blog, after all) is the Emmys. Tomorrow night’s telecast is on FOX, and they’ve tapped Andy Sandberg for hosting duties. I don’t really watch Saturday Night Live, so I’m not especially familiar with Sandberg’s earlier work beyond viral videos like “Dick in a Box,” but I really enjoy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and his portrayal of Jake Peralta. I’m excited to see what he can do with the hosting gig. I am guessing he received plenty of advice from fellow SNL alum and last year’s host, Seth Meyers.

Let’s get into my usual disclaimer before we really get into the meat of the discussion (I am a lawyer, after all, albeit not a practicing one). I’m an Emmy enthusiast, for sure, but I’m not an Emmy expert. If you really want in-depth, professional awards show analysis, check out Gold Derby or Awardsline. Instead, what I try to do here is talk about a few categories that really excite me or where I have strong preferences for winners. I try to follow the overall ethos of MTVP when I write my Emmy preview posts. If it’s not fun, Sarah and I don’t write about it! So with that said, on to the categories!

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Taraji P. Henson (Empire)
Claire Danes (Homeland)
Robin Wright (House of Cards)
Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)

My Pick: Tatiana Maslany

I’ll admit, this one was an incredibly tough choice for me. I was torn between Taraji P. Henson, who has been a standout for her superb work as Cookie Lyons on “Empire” and Tatiana Maslany, who for three years has done yeoman’s work as multiple characters on “Orphan Black.” Ultimately, I had to go with Maslany, because she is way overdue for this recognition. I seriously think she must work harder than anyone else on television. On “Orphan Black,” she plays multiple clones, and each one feels completely distinct and like its own, fully-formed characters. She even manages to pull off one clone trying to pretend to be another and all the intricacies that entails. Taraji can have the Emmy next year!

Outstanding Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

My Pick: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

This was another tough choice, although not quite as tough as the last one. I was torn between “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which ticks many of my boxes (looking at the effects of fundamentalist religion and cults, quirky female lead character, Broadway) and “Veep,” which is based on a British show I love (“The Thick of It”) and up until now has been filmed in my beloved city of Baltimore (they’re moving to California for the next season, apparently). Because I’ve seen more of “Kimmy Schmidt” than I have of “Veep” (although I seriously need to catch up – Armando Iannucci is a genius), I went with “Kimmy Schmidt.” “Kimmy Schmidt” comes from the mind of the always funny Tina Fey, and it stars Ellie Kemper as recently freed cult victim Kimmy Schmidt, who is trying to make her way in New York City. It’s a really charming, quirky show, and it always makes me smile.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Adam Driver (Girls)
Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Tony Hale (Veep)

My Pick: Tituss Burgess

This was another incredibly tough choice for me (which probably speaks well of the nominations overall this year). I was torn between Andre Braugher, Keegan-Michael Key, Tituss Burgess, and Tony Hale. All are incredibly funny men. Ultimately, though, I had to go with Burgess, because he has made the biggest impression on me in the past year, and this was really a breakout year for him. He plays Kimmy’s roommate and Broadway star wannabe Titus Andromedon on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” His music video “Peeno Noir” is hilarious, and once you see it, you can’t unsee it! I have a feeling Keegan-Michael Key may have a shot at winning, though, because “Key & Peele” just ended last month, so it is on voters’ minds. As long as Ty Burrell doesn’t win, to be honest, (nothing against him personally, I’m just sick of “Modern Family” winning all the Emmys), I’ll be satisfied.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black)
Christine Baranski (The Good Wife)

My Pick: Lena Headey

There are many talented ladies on the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama list this year, but Lena Headey stands out above the rest to me. I don’t really like the character she plays, Cersei Lannister, on “Game of Thrones.” Cersei is manipulative and sociopathic. This year, however, Headey did a fantastic job making viewers feel just a touch of sympathy for Cersei as she tried to save her daughter and got imprisoned by a fundamentalist religious order. It was hard not to feel some sympathy, really, as Cersei was paraded naked through the capital while a cleric shouted “Shame!” repeatedly. Headey really conveyed the true horror of that moment, and for that, I think she deserves an Emmy.

And in closing, I’ll leave you with this. See you Monday for my usual “Aftermath” post, TV nerds!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Moonlight 1. 15: “What’s Left Behind”

“This is the way it’s supposed to be. I just didn’t know how much I wanted a family until I almost head one.”
- Mick

The penultimate episode of Moonlight deals with family and how we react if we find out they might be out there somewhere. We begin with a little boy being snatched from his room at night. Next we find Beth meeting up with Talbot. She covered two similar cases for Buzzwire (while she still worked there) and he wants her insight on this case. So she gets to tag along to the crime scene. Mick and Josef get to back to Mick’s place just in time to see a news report about the kidnapping and Mick rushes over. Josef assumes it was because Beth was there but really, it was the house. His best friend Ray lived there with his wife Lila.

Mick gets kicked out of the crime scene pretty quickly (though he does get a good look at the boy’s father, Robert. When Beth asks Mick why he came, he admits he grew up in the neighborhood and it sounds like maybe these are vampire crimes. So he pays a vampire named Leo a visit. Leo swears he hasn’t hurt any kids that aren’t runaways. And he never kills them. So that’s a dead end so to speak. Beth is still at the house and she sees a photo from World War II on the wall and of course Mick is in it. Before Beth heads over to confront Mick about the photo, she and Talbot take a look at the little boy’s room. She points out the defensive line of toys around the bed and Talbot asks if that was something she did after her kidnapping. The way he just throws it out there just irked me and you can tell Beth is not pleased he knows about her past.

When Beth shows up, Mick explains that he kind of freaked out seeing Robert because there is a possibility he could be Mick’s son. Through a series of flashbacks Mick explains he and Ray went off to war together and in Italy, Mick and Ray were both injured. Mick got home and he ended up having a brief affair with Lila. Until Ray came home. The army didn’t know who he was for a while (Ray having lost his dog tags and all). Mick swears he didn’t know Lila was pregnant when he left but since Robert was born only seven months after Ray’s return, it is entirely possible that Robert wasn’t his son. Pretty heavy stuff for Mick to be dealing with on top of a missing child (who could possibly be his grandson).

With the cops and CSI team gone, Mick can get back into the house to take a look at the boy’s bedroom. He very quickly determines it was a human crime as there is no smell of vampire (probably aside from his own). Using his super senses, Mick finds the kidnapper’s hiding spot (in the attic) and then figures out that the guy used the old coal chute to get into and out of the house. Just as Mick makes this revelation, we see a man sitting in a truck around the corner from the house. Creepy!

Talbot shows up (I’m guessing Beth called him) and the crime lab techs are back to examine the chute. Mick points out that old turn-of-the-century houses had things like coal chutes and Beth realizes the other victims were taken from houses like this one. The next morning, Beth and Talbot share breakfast and Talbot not only offers Beth a job as a civilian investigator but confirms that the other two victims’ houses had been renovated before the abductions. So now it’s time to do a little digging into the records of blueprints. But first, Mick has to get some of his pre-vampire DNA to test against Robert. He needs to know the truth. Josef pops by (he forgot his cell phone) and admits that while he’s sired a lot of vampires in his 400 years, he never had children and he kind of regrets it. We then get an amusing conversation between Mick and Beth on the way to the hall of records about having human-vampire babies.

Mick heads back to the house to see if Robert can figure out which worker might be the kidnapper. With some prompting, Mick gets Robert to remember one guy and on cue, the guy calls Mick and taunts him about Beth. Beth is at the hall of records going over log entries when all the lights go out. The kidnapper doesn’t do anything to Beth except scare her but it was enough to piss Mick off and send him off half-cocked once they have the kidnapper’s address> He can’t wait for a warrant to come through. Not if his possible grandson’s life is still in danger. So Mick takes off and Beth and Talbot follow. Lucky for Mick, the kidnapper likes the dark so he gets to use his enhanced vision. Things seem to work out in the end, though. The kidnapper kills himself and the little boy s rescued. Everyone rejoice! And Mick finds out that Robert isn’t actually his son. He’s a little relieved but also disappointed. He never really knew how much he wanted a family until he almost had one and lost it. And while Beth points out that family isn’t all about DNA, we see Robert’s son point out the World War II photo with Mick in it. Too bad Mick and Beth drive off before Robert can get outside and ask how it’s possible.

I was honestly hoping it would turn out that Mick did have family. It could have presented some interesting storylines had there been a season two. But alas, it was never to be. Still I liked that it gave us a look into Mick’s life before he met Coraline and before he became a vampire. I’m sure there would have been a lot more gaps to fill in had the show gone on longer but I’m happy with what we got.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Summer Travel Through TV: Les Revenants (The Returned) 1.08: La Horde

“We don’t need welcoming.”

The season finale of “Les Revenants” was certainly intense. There wasn’t a lot of new action, but we got to see the immediate consequences of everything that has gone down in the past seven episodes. We learned what the Horde of “other” returned wants (their fellow returned who have been trying to reintegrate into society), even if we don’t quite understand why. We also got to see directly what happened in the old village when the dam broke. Most importantly, we got the big confrontation between the Horde and the still living. It was very suspenseful, even if the actual confrontation was pretty sedate. I will be very interested to see what happens next when the second season, which premieres in France this Halloween, becomes available in the United States.

In this episode, the opening flashback takes place 35 years ago on the day the dam broke and the town flooded. There are bodies laid out in an open area, and Victor is walking among them like the creeper he still is. His mother, who is still alive at this point, takes him away from the scene. Because even though she’s raising a total creeper, she still has some good sense. One of the dead is a man we’ve never met before, and we see police take his wife to identify his body. She is distraught, as you would expect. In the present day, we see that same man shuffling along with the rest of the Horde. I’m wondering if the returned who didn’t try to reintegrate into town life are all folks who were killed in the flood.

Also in the present day, Julie and Laure wake up after sleeping in Laure’s Gendarmerie car. Victor, sitting in the back seat, has been awake all night. The ladies notice handprints in the condensation on the car windows, and they ask Victor if people were near their car while they were sleeping. Victor answers that yes, people wanted to take him away. Julie and Laure don’t have much of a chance to deal with this revelation, though, because they see Toni standing on top of the dam, getting ready to jump. Julie manages to pull him back from the ledge, but then Laure trains his gun on him, telling Julie that he shot at cops. The situation deescalates, and we see Julie hug Toni. She says she knows he’s the person who rescued her after her attack. She asks him why he wanted to jump, and Toni replies that he wanted to see his brother again. This conversation also gets cut short, though, because the Horde is approaching and everyone needs to jump in the car right away to escape.

Meanwhile, Adèle is in Chloé’s room, going through some pictures Chloé recently drew. Two are especially disturbing. One is of her (Adèle) bloody after her suicide attempt, and the other is of Simon pointing a gun to her head. Chloé asks if she can see Simon again, and Adèle gets very upset, locking Chloé in her room. Across town, Lucy visits Simon in jail, and ultimately, she helps him escape. The cops go to the Lake Pub looking for them, but all they find is the dead husband from the opening flashback drinking from the toilet. Simon arrives at Adèle’s house, and Adèle is not at all happy to see him. She hides in the laundry room as Simon tells her she is pregnant. Simon doesn’t get Adèle, but he does manage to take Chloé. Thomas comes home to find a distraught Adèle, and he immediately goes to the Helping Hand to confront Pierre about Simon’s whereabouts. The conversation is cut short, however, when some cops tells Thomas that they have seen the whole Horde, and they’re headed for the Helping Hand.

Earlier in the episode, there was some serious zombie existential drama at the Helping Hand. Sandrine (the mom of one of the other bus accident victims) is really frightened of Camille and Mrs. Costa since she miscarried during the memorial service. She blames the returned in general for the miscarriage. Pierre tries to defend them, but I’m not sure he’s entirely successful. Pierre starts showing off his armory to some of the other residents, and Jérôme questions whether it is really necessary. Pierre, however, claims he is just trying to protect Camille. Camille and Léna, meanwhile, have a heart-to-heart. Some of the boys, including Frédéric, seem worried about Léna hanging around Camille, but Léna says that she knows Camille is not dangerous.

After they get away from the Horde, Julie and Laure get out of the car and start arguing about what to do next. Inside the car, Victor tells Toni that he knows Toni killed his brother and (indirectly) his mother. Victor then manifests Serge and makes Toni shoot himself in the stomach. The gunshot startles Laure and Julie out of their fight, and they immediately drive Toni to the Helping Hand for assistance. It’s an interesting bookend to compare to Toni driving Julie to the hospital after her attack. It’s a good thing that Pierre has a secret surgery suite in his bunker, because that’s where Julie starts to work on Toni’s bullet wound. In the middle of the operation, Serge arrives, and recognizing him as her attacker, Julie freaks out. Toni grabs Serge’s hand when he sees him, but then he dies. Serge very loudly tries to get Julie to revive Toni, and she does indeed try, but it doesn’t work.

Elsewhere at the Helping Hand, Camille and Frédéric have a heart-to-heart where Frédéric admits that he did love Camille back in the day. Now I’m wondering, then, why he was having sex with Léna. Anyway, Léna sees the two talking to each other and immediately breaks it up. Meanwhile, Mrs. Costa is trying to help Victor go to sleep. She tells him to close his eyes and think of his mother. That leads into a flashback of Victor’s mother telling him about the fairy who is going to take care of him if something happens to her. Back in the present day, a standoff is brewing. Armed Gendarmerie are stationed outside the Helping Hand, and the Horde is approaching.

When the Horde arrives, Pierre and Thomas decide to be the negotiators with Lucy, who is representing the Horde. Lucy says that the Horde wants all of the returned who are at the Helping Hand, and in exchange, they will return Chloé to Thomas. This results in much protest and crying on the part of family members of the returned (like Julie, Claire, and Léna), and eventually Claire and Julie decide to join the Horde as well. Lucy and Simon do deliver Chloé to Thomas and Pierre, but they say there is one more returned person they want. Adèle’s baby. This is a no-go for Simon, which I find extremely hypocritical. He tore up other families for the sake of his own, and now he’s not willing to sacrifice his own family when it is demanded to save others. He has the Gendarmerie barricade the Helping Hand, and everyone remaining spends a very stressful night inside. The next morning, the survivors emerge to see what is left of the town.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Moonlight 1.14: “Click”

“You murdered that girl. She would have done anything for you and you killed her!”
- Mick

As we enter into the final few episodes of the season, we see Mick step out of his comfort zone a little in his work life. He’s taken on a security gig for young starlet Tierney Taylor. When we first see them, Tierney is expertly dodging some paparazzi in what can be called a high speed chase. While that excitement is going on, Beth is having lunch with Talbot. He’s checked up on her and he seems kind of interested which just irks me. I still don’t like him and find him kind of controlling. Mick and Beth get a brief chance to chat at the restaurant Tierney shows up at before Tierney has to go somewhere and Mick gets dragged along. All the while, the press is snapping photos of Tierney and Mick and by the time Mick pays Josef a visit, it’s all over the internet that Mick is her new boyfriend. I was just baffled to know Mick and Josef are on Facebook (can they friend me?).

In the wake of Maureen’s murder, Buzzwire has a new boss and Beth instantly dislikes him. He wants to forget about checking sources and gathering all the facts before writing. He wants to post stuff even if it’s untrue and retract later. This makes Beth’s journalist integrity bristle. But she does get to attend a fancy boat party for Tierney’s new movie. Apparently there have been a lot of production problems including a fire and a boat sinking. Tierney’s producer is played by Eddie McClintock (Pete from SyFy’s Warehouse 13). He’s smarmy and has a huge ego. Mick is not really enjoying himself and runs into a paparazzo named Dean Foster who is getting all up in Mick’s face. He only takes photos of Tierney. The moment we see him he just screams creep.

Mick and Beth get a chance to talk while Tierney has some fun with her boyfriend just being young and Mick admits he’s not been with a human sexually since he got turned. He’s clearly a little nervous. It’s kind of adorable though. Their moment is interrupted by Tierney getting into a yelling match with her boyfriend, Scott. She insists on being alone though which is fine until Mick’s super vampire hearing picks up a splash. Tierney’s body has gone overboard and while everyone assumes she fell due to being drunk, he jumps in after her. Once he’s back on dry land, he heads back onboard the boat and checks out her room. He finds the murder weapon (wiped down) and can smell that she was dragged from the room. So this of course means DA Hard Ass has to show up. But at least he takes Mick’s suggestion to test the item identified as the murder weapon. After a quick trip to the morgue, Mick confirms the murder diagnosis and Beth pops by after having talked to her new boss. He gave her a photo taken by Dean Foster.

Mick needs to go find Scott but he needs to ditch the press first. It turns out some young vampires are working the scene and he convinces them to keep the rest of their colleagues off his trail so he can actually do his job and find out who killed Tierney. Beth has the unfortunate task of interviewing Tierney’s producer. He tells her that the movie is scrapped and the studio shut it down. Scott tells Mick that Tierney had a secret she wouldn’t share and he found out she was paying Dean Foster $50,000 to keep some photos out of the press. Scott thought she was cheating.

Beth heads over to Mick’s place so they can share information when a car comes speeding at them. Mick pushes Beth out of the way so only he gets hit. Because his superior genes, he’s fine but Dean Foster has caught it all on camera. Mick insists that Beth stay over that night because the press is hounding him and if someone tried to kill her (they can’t be sure who the target was), then it isn’t safe for her to be alone. The next day, Beth goes to give the partial plate she got to DA Talbot and she discovers that Dean has been super stalker with another actress before Tierney. Interesting information to know but not overly helpful for the case. Back at Buzzwire, Beth gets an email with photos of Mick getting hit from Dean Foster and then he calls her to blackmail her into giving him exclusives to keep them out of the press.

Thanks to some digging on Logan’s part into Tierney’s financials, Mick heads to talk to the business manager. The secret Tierney wouldn’t share with Scott involved keeping her mom out of the limelight after getting out of prison for killing Tierney’s abusive drunk of a father. That explains a lot and I can see why Tierney would want to keep that out of the press. The business manager also fills Mick in on the fact Tierney was sinking a lot of her own money into the film and that it was the producer who shut down the film. There was insurance that gives the investors back all their money (which he squandered and thus needed the insurance to pay them back). Mick and Beth go to the production lot to confront the producer and Mick is grateful for his vampire abilities again because he gets to run fast to catch the guy. The producer confesses and the Talbot shows up (along with a mess of press). Beth is worried that Mick might have to leave LA and assume a new identity if Foster releases the photos so after agreeing to go to dinner with Mick, she consorts with Josef to rid themselves of the Dean Foster dilemma. As Mick and Beth enjoy a glass of wine, the two vampire paparazzi attack Foster. Things aren’t all happy for Mick and Beth now, though. Talbot has a file on Mick and he has some of Foster’s photos. I knew there was a reason I strongly distrusted this guy.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Marvel's Daredevil 1.11: "The Path of the Righteous"

“You know, the only thing I remember from Sunday school? Is the martyrs. The saints. The saviors. They all end up the same way. Bloody. And alone.”

This episode of “Daredevil” dealt mostly with the fallout from the past few episodes as opposed to really ramping up the action further. We see the consequences of Foggy and Matt’s fallout. We see Matt struggling to recover from his deadly encounter with Nobu. We see Fisk anxiously waiting for news of Vanessa’s condition after her poisoning. And we see Wesley trying to keep things running while Fisk is preoccupied. It’s a very intricate dance that will hopefully pay off in the final two episodes. I trust the creative team behind the show (many of whom have worked for Joss Whedon in the past), so I’m sure this will all be leading someplace fascinating. And probably a bit painful.

We open the episode at the hospital, where everything is (relatively) quiet until Fisk and his entourage burst in, carrying Vanessa. The hospital staff whisk Vanessa away, and they don’t allow Fisk to follow. The powerlessness of the situation seems to really affect him. Meanwhile, Owlsley is mostly concerned with making sure he wasn’t exposed to the poison, since he was holding a glass of champagne when guests started dropping. Some friend, right? Anyway, Owlsley and Wesley have a terse conversation about how the business is going to run while Fisk is distracted, and Owlsley continues to fret about his health. The conversation and fretting are interrupted by a lackey informing Wesley that three of the folks who were poisoned have already died. Wesley asks Owlsley to check in with Madame Gao to try and figure out if she was behind the attack.

Matt has very interesting and contrasting conversations with the two main women in his life in this episode. Early on, Karen stops by to check in on Matt, since she hasn’t heard from either him or Foggy in a while. Karen is immediately skeptical of the story Matt tells to explain the appearance of both himself and the apartment, and she presses him about whether his meeting with Vanessa led to his mishap. Karen also tells Matt about her and Ben’s trip upstate and what she learned about Fisk’s past from his mother. Matt’s not thrilled that she didn’t tell either him or Foggy about this expedition sooner. He tells Karen to go to the office and tell Foggy what she found, and Karen leaves, awkwardly pointing out the monkey on the get well balloon for Matt.

Claire also pays Matt a visit to patch up some stitches that he ripped in his hurry to start moving around the apartment. She tells him to rest and take better care of himself, but I doubt Matt will take that advice. Matt offers Claire a drink before she leaves, but she declines. She tells Matt she will always be there to patch him up after a fight, but that’s it. She also says she’s heading out of town for a while, and she warns him that martyrs usually end up bloody and dead (see the Quote of the Episode). While I don’t think Claire’s been especially well developed (other than being Best.Nurse.Ever!), I did appreciate the maturity she brought to this conversation. I hope she shows up now and then to emotionally kick Matt’s ass when he needs it.

Foggy, still reeling from the revelation that Matt is the vigilante, has really gone off the deep end. Not only has he quit working at the law firm, he’s also started sleeping with Marci again. Needless to say, Foggy’s not at the office, so Karen goes to talk with Ben instead. Ben is (understandably) extremely angry with Karen for manipulating his wife’s health crisis to further the Fisk investigation. He forgives her, though, but too quickly for my taste. Karen tells Ben to write an article about what they discovered, but Ben is skeptical that it will do any good. He’s got another idea that conveniently comports with his desire to get out of the organized crime reporting game and spend more time with his wife. He tells Karen about the poisoning incident and insinuates that he thinks Fisk will self-destruct. When you’re at the top, everyone wants a piece of you, after all.

Presumably spurred on by his conversation with Claire, Matt does some soul-searching in this episode. First, he goes to church and has a heart-to-heart with Father Lantom. Father Lanthom insinuates that he has some idea of what Matt has been up to (he’s not stupid, folks), and Matt asks why God put the devil in him. It turns out that Father Lanthom thinks that God might have created Satan to scare the rest of us into righteousness. Back at his apartment, Matt tries some meditation, but he is constantly distracted by flashbacks of his fight with Nobu and subsequent beating by Fisk. He decides to go back into action, and he ends up tracking down a Fisk goon to get a lead on where Fisk may have gotten his super-sophisticated body armor. The goon, after a beat-down from Matt, leads Matt to Melvin Potter, Fisk’s “tailor.” There’s a rather epic fight between the two, but it turns out that Potter is more afraid of Fisk than supportive of him. Matt tells Potter that he wants him (Potter) to make him some special body armor clothing that also works as a symbol.

Still waiting at the hospital, Fisk receives a phone call from his mother, but he doesn’t answer. Instead, Wesley ends up calling her back, and he seems very surprised by what he hears. It’s pretty obvious she is telling him about her recent visitors. Wesley asks one of the bodyguards for a gun and tells him he needs to go take care of something. Meanwhile, Karen finally finds Foggy drinking at Josie’s. He admits that he and Matt have had a falling out, but he can’t talk about it. Karen tells both Foggy and Matt (via voice mail) to get their shit together. It’s a Hermione moment, really. Having had a moment like that myself with two guy friends, I feel for her. Karen’s next call is to Ben, and after he hangs up, he notices a Fisk political sign in an old photo.

On her way home, Karen is attacked, and he finds herself tied up in a room with Wesley. Wesley basically wants her to convince Ben and all her friends that Fisk is a great man and should be supported. Karen is disgusted at the thought, but she’s not really seeing a way out. Meanwhile, at the hospital, Fisk is having a conversation with a still-unconscious Vanessa. After that conversation, he asks a lackey where Wesley is, and upon finding out he left to take care of something, he gives Wesley a call. The ringing of the phone is all the distraction Karen needs to grab the gun and kill Wesley. Shaken up, she tries to clean the gun before running off.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Summer Travel Through TV: Les Revenants (The Returned) 1.07: Adèle

“I’m not scared to be like them. It’s the opposite. For years, I’ve felt incapable of living. What if it’s because I’m dead?”

The penultimate first season episode of “Les Revenants” continued a slow burn towards the season finale that we will be discussing next week. There were a few twists in the mythology, although no real intense action. We also saw the living and the dead, for the most part, continue to struggle to reconcile with each other. I have a feeling it might get to full-on torches and pitchforks status pretty soon. In the midst of the greater public beginning to fear the returned, we see sibling pairs affected by the return become closer. I especially enjoyed seeing Léna and Camille finally reach an understanding and really act like sisters again. It was nice to have a brief moment of happiness and unity before things undoubtedly go to Hell in the finale.

The opening flashback in this episode was a little different from the usual. We usually see either the death or major trauma happen to the title character directly. In this episode, the opening flashback did depict Adèle’s suicide attempt, but we see the incident through the perspective of her daughter, Chloé. Thomas tries to keep Chloé out of the room, but she still clearly knows that something is very, very wrong. In the present day, there is a lot going on with many of our characters. I guess that’s pretty characteristic of penultimate episode. There’s a lot going on that needs to be wrapped up quickly. There are also increasingly weird things happening with the town.

People have started having trouble leaving the town. First up is Serge and Toni. They spend quite a lot of time wandering in the woods, trying to avoid the cops who had showed up at the farm. At one point, they come across another pile of dead animals, which is more than a little creepy. Toni is really worried that their mom is going to be arrested, but Serge assures that definitely won’t happen. Eventually, they reach the lake, and Serge thinks that the fastest way to continue to escape is to swim across the lake. Toni is doubtful, but Serge thinks that because they swam across the lake all the time as kids, they can do it now, too. In the middle of the lake, though, Serge gets sucked underwater by some unseen force. Toni barely makes it to shore, and it appears that he’s right back where they started.

Laure and Julie also try unsuccessfully to leave. That plot begins early in the episode, with Laure, Julie, and Victor trying to get used to their new life together. Early in the morning, Laure and Julie start making out. They’re about to get more intimate when they are interrupted by Victor standing creepily, as he does. Laure yells at Victor, and he goes downstairs. I swear someday that kid is going to blow some shit up. For now, though, he’s just creepily watching Chloé play on the trampoline through the window. Julie and Laure end up talking about how Julie is worried that she’s dead and like the returned. Laure says she’s not like them, but that makes Julie more upset. The idea that she might be dead had started to make her life make more sense.

Eventually Victor joins Chloé on the trampoline, and Adèle and Julie talk while the kids play. Adèle makes a remark about how they didn’t used to be so formal with each other that made me think they might have had a relationship in the past. If so, go Julie! For such a shy wallflower, she certainly has done well in the romance department. Outside, Chloé tells Victor that her dad returned from the dead, but when Victor says he’s returned, too, Chloé doesn’t believe him. Victor manifests an image of a bloody Adèle, and this makes Chloé faint. The adults come running over, and there is much fussing. In their separate houses, Julie tries to ask Victor what happened while Thomas fusses over Chloé. Julie and Laure decide to try and leave town with Victor, but they get caught in a sort of time loop as they try over and over again to drive over the dam. Every time they emerge from the tunnel, they’re right back where they started.

Meanwhile, Léna has finally returned home. She has a tearful reunion with Jérôme, which makes me think there was indeed more to the back laceration story. He doesn’t seem like an abusive dad in this scene. Across town at the Helping Hand, Pierre shows Claire exactly why he’s not worried about the power outages and other creepy things happening in town lately. He has an equally creepy, well-armed bunker. The place even has a surgical table, which is just bizarre (and creepy). Camille is upstairs having breakfast with Mrs. Costa. To say Mrs. Costa isn’t pleasant would be an understatement. She seems to be convinced the end times are near. She tells Camille to go out to the storage shed to see what happened to the parents she tried to comfort in the last episode. Camille (and Claire, who caught up with her thankfully) are horrified to find them hanging from the rafters.

We also deal some more with the Adèle and Simon drama in this episode. Adèle and Chloé have a nice little conversation about whether or not Simon will come back and whether or not he’s angry at Chloé. Adèle tries to reassure her daughter as best she can. Simon wakes up at the Lake Pub after his little sexcapade with Lucy. Now that I think about it, it’s kind of interesting that he was actually able to sleep. It’s the first we’ve seen one of the returned do so. Lucy wants Simon to give up on Adèle and start a new life with her. Understandably, Simon is kind of freaked out by Lucy, and he doesn’t agree with her proposition. Simon goes to talk to the priest, hoping to learn more about the circumstances of his death and why he committed suicide. All he really learns is that the priest wasn’t surprised by his suicide, because the police show up to interrupt the conversation and arrest Simon. At the police precinct, Thomas and Simon have a confrontation. Thomas mostly wants to know if there are more returned, and that’s a question Simon can’t really answer.

At the Helping Hand, Camille and Léna are reunited and put the Frédéric situation behind them. Lena notices a mark on Camille’s face and covers it up with make-up. Victor and Simon also have rotting going on – Victor on his arm and Simon on his stomach. It’s super gross. Anyway, there’s a nice little memorial service for the parents, and Pierre encourages all of the residents to show their support for each other. Léna and Camille seem especially happy to be reunited. Meanwhile, the group of folks (presumably returned people) that Léna saw in the woods has arrived at Lucy’s room at the Lake Pub. And she doesn’t seem upset by this at all.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Moonlight 1.13: “Fated to Pretend”

“You were right. I can’t save Beth as a human. But I can save her as a vampire. You have to turn me back.”
- Mick

Things are looking pretty good for Mick and Beth in the wake of Josh’s death and Coraline’s return to Europe. Mick is thoroughly enjoying being able to go out and enjoy the sunshine and sleep in a regular bed. He even downs a hotdog covered in all kinds of stuff that would normally make your stomach cringe. But he’s drinking it all in. And he and Beth share a nice beach picnic date before Mick pays Josef a visit. Mick seems to just randomly drop in on Josef a lot without any real purpose it seems. But Josef points out that Mick is just scared of getting hurt. Maybe Josef has a point. Given his last relationship as a human was with Coraline, he may be a little gun-shy.

Unfortunately, their bliss is quickly interrupted by Maureen demanding Beth’s presence at Buzzwire. When Beth arrives, she finds the place in disarray and Maureen is dead. Man, Beth is really not having a good time lately when it comes to people she cares about. Mick arrives to lend some moral support and we all meet the new DA, Benjamin Talbot. He’s almost a Josh look alike but with a little bit harder features and less likable personality. He’s not pleased that Mick is there and he calls Buzzwire a trashy tabloid. Circumventing the police, Beth and Mick break into Maureen’s place to look for her flash drive back up of files. It’s hidden in a box of tampons (do people really hide stuff in their feminine products?). Anyway, the drive is encrypted so Mick suggests they pay Logan a visit. On the way they swing by the morgue to identify Maureen’s body. Guillermo points out Maureen was near a vampire before she died. Mick obviously can’t smell it now that he’s human.

Thanks to Logan (and a helpful suggestion from Mick about the password to unlock the files), we have a few leads on potential stories Maureen was working that could end up being the source of Maureen’s death. They first have to talk to Josef about a story Maureen was doing which highlighted a fraudulent charity he oversaw. Josef says that he did talk to Maureen but he intended to make the victims whole. Oh and the only person he’d killed that week was his PR guy who was responsible for keeping track of the charities Josef sat on. So that’s one lead down.

So Mick and Beth split the remaining stories. Beth is hunting down a donut diet company whose spokes model died of a heart attack. She and Mick check out the body and notice liposuction scars that weren’t noted on the autopsy report. Beth runs into DA Talbot at the morgue who basically chastises her for getting his way. Yeah, I really dislike him a lot. Oh and apparently he’s already gotten calls about Mick asking questions of a mayoral candidate. The other story Maureen had been working on involved the candidate, Kent Morrow, and the car accident that killed his wife. Mick gets stonewalled by Morrow’s publicist at a rally. It seems that none of the stories are yielding any helpful results. The donuts are pretty much harmless and Logan can’t find the person who tipped off Maureen about the Morrow accident. But he’s going to dig for the IP address. Mick pays the guy a visit and after having to chase him down, learns that the guy was a valet the night Mrs. Morrow died. He admits that Mr. Morrow was driving. With a little tech magic from Logan, Mick finds out the emails were actually sent from a computer in Morrow’s office. Beth and Talbot show up just in time for Morrow’s daughter to freak out and threaten to commit suicide. She was the one who sent the emails. Her father basically blackmailed her into saying her mother was driving that night so that he wouldn’t go to jail and she wouldn’t be an orphan. What a horrible thing to do to your child!

This of course leaves the donut diet story and Mick and Beth convince Talbot to let them speak to the dead model’s plastic surgeon with him. Things go awry though during the meeting when it turns out the surgeon is a vampire and he knocks out Talbot and takes him and Beth hostage. He thinks Mick is dead so doesn’t worry about him. As Guillermo pulls a really big shard of glass out of Mick’s leg, he realizes that maybe being human isn’t what he needs. When he heads home to gear up, Josef stops by to keep Mick from doing something stupid. Josef makes the very clear point that Mick can’t do anything to save Beth as a human. So Mick makes the sacrifice of becoming a vampire again to ensure he has a shot with his girl. I remember watching the scene originally and then on re-watch and going “there are probably some Mick and Josef shippers out there who loved this scene”. It was kind of intimate.

Mick and Josef end up riding to the rescue and Talbot has far more questions than answers (he went back to the location they were being held and find nothing. The Cleaner is good that way. Mick and Beth share dinner on the roof at night time and Beth throws up the possibility that Mick is the one who is scared of getting hurt. She wants to be with him and she doesn’t think him being a vampire is what is standing in their way. She’s about to walk away when Mick grabs her and pulls her in for a very passionate kiss. He just needs a little time to figure things out in his head. She urges him not to wait too long because he may have forever but she definitely doesn’t. She also points out that Mick being a vampire is what saved her life all these years. Overall I thought this was a good episode I was glad that for a vampire show, they didn’t drag out the main vampire being human for very long. It’s a far more interesting storyline when Mick has to navigate his vampire traits in terms of a relationship.