Monday, November 30, 2015

Once Upon a Time 5.10: "Broken Heart"

“I thought the best way to control the darkness was to isolate myself but when I did that there was no one around to give me hope or tell me when I was being stupid.”
“Fine, you’re being stupid. So stop it!”
- Emma and Regina

So if you follow my posts at all for this show, you know I am not a big Hook fan (and I’m even less of a Captain Swan fan). But I have to admit, I’m rather excited by the prospect of Dark One Hook. It looks like it is going to be one hell of an adventure! In Camelot, we see Hook reborn as a Dark One, reliving all the pain Rumple put him through with Milah. So now he wants revenge and faux Rumple promises that they can get that revenge together. Too bad Emma shows up and manages to banish the ghost for a bit. She thinks they’ve still got a shot at fighting the darkness and winning. But her family isn’t so sure. Merlin is going to make preparations for trying to stop the Dark Duo while Lancelot rides to see his mother, the Lady of the Lake (did we know this before?). Things don’t go quite as Emma planned though when Hook starts hearing the dagger calling to him. He accuses her of lying to him and not trusting him like he trusted her so he disappears on her. Yeah he’s kind of an angry son of a bitch when he wants to be. But Emma uses the dagger to summon him and hands it over (after some yelling), promising she will never control him again (yeah I’d think twice about that comment). Then there is much snogging. But it was all an act on Hook’s part. Emma’s first betrayal meant he can’t trust her and so his plan is to kill Merlin (by way of Nimue) and enact a curse to get back to Storybrooke. We then see Emma take everyone's memories and tie it into the curse (much like Zelena did with her memory potion).

In Storybrooke, Hook puts the magic binding cuff on Emma and erases her memory of what’s going on. He then heads to Gold’s shop to announce he wants a duel on his ship to settle their differences. If Rumple can take Excalibur from him, then he can kill Hook. While this challenge is being thrown down (I have to say I kind of like snarky Dark One Hook), Emma gets a royal dressing down by Regina and her mom. Rightly so, I might add. Emma was being a complete moron by isolating herself. The team assembled at Regina’s where Belle and Rumple fill them in on what they know of Hook’s plan. Emma begs them to take off the cuff so she can try and access memories about Nimue while the rest of them go Scooby gang it in the library but even Henry refuses to unleash his mom. He doesn’t trust her. While everyone heads off to do their thing and Emma is left behind, Rumple makes a very important speech to Belle about wanting to be the man she deserves and the man he vowed to be at Neal’s grave. So if he survives, he’ll be at the well where they got married and if she shows up, he knows how she feels and they’ve got a shot at fixing their marriage.

Emma is being guarded by Merida who quickly gets taken out by Hook. He’s come to kind of gloat and tell Emma he’s doing all of this because he wants his revenge and he doesn’t give a damn about the consequences. He wants to hurt her like she hurt him. Man he really is nasty. Emma manages to escape and pays Rumple a visit at his shop. She wants him to use the leftover squid ink to immobilize Hook so she can find the dreamcatchers. He declines and says she has to do it on her own. So she convinces Henry to help her find the dreamcatchers so she can restore everyone’s memories. She says he won’t even need to let her out of the magic cuff so he’s in. Out on Hook’s ship, Rumple shows up to face his fate. Hook insists on a fair fight so fixes Rumple’s limp and then they get to it.

In other more boring news, Regina and Robin agree to let Zelena visit the baby as long as it is supervised (which is probably smart). At least Zelena seems to soften a little bit when she actually gets to hold her little girl. I’m also wondering what they are going to name this baby? I mean I doubt the three adults in this relationship can agree on much of anything. Anyway, Henry and Emma manage to find the dreamcatchers and Henry trusts her enough to remove the cuff so she can get access to them.

It looks like Rumple has won the fight with Hook (he at least gets hold of Excalibur and then lets Hook live) but his day is not going to get any better. Belle shows up at the well but says she needs time and space to see if she can mend her own heart and her trust in him. Sad Rumbelle makes me sad. And Emma realizes too late (after returning everyone’s memories) what Hook is planning. He needed Rumple’s blood to summon the ferry to Hell to bring the Dark Ones in the flesh to wreak havoc among Storybrooke. I honestly thought he was going to travel to Hell and get Milah back but that’s just me and my dislike of Captain Swan. Alas, by the end of the season I’m sure they’ll be back together again which just makes me gag. But there’s nothing I can to do change what the writers are going to do with their characters. But I can still hold out hope that maybe we will see Neal at some point in the next hell-bent arc. Not that I want him to be in Hell but I’m hoping the Underworld is more just like the afterlife rather than a place to send evil people as punishment.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fresh off the Boat 2.07: “The Big 1-2”

“I just want to spend my birthday with people I can be myself with.”

“The Big 1-2” was yet another episode of “Fresh off the Boat” that treated an American childhood milestone in a unique way with emotion that didn’t reach the point of being treacly. It’s Eddie’s first birthday, and he has decreed that he does not want a birthday party. This causes Jessica and Louis great consternation, especially when they discover that Eddie does want a party, just not with them. Watching these events unfold make Emery and Evan try to be rebellious in their own goody-two-shoes way. They’re tired of being the good kids who constantly get overlooked while Jessica and Louis are dealing with Eddie’s latest debacle. I love watching Jessica and Louis struggle through adapting the way they were raised to the needs of their very American children. They are strict, but they do truly love their kids, and I think the kids know and appreciate that.

This episode begins with home video of Eddie’s eleventh birthday. I think this segment is a good example of why I like “Fresh off the Boat” and fellow ABC comedy “The Goldbergs.” Both provide a lot of nostalgia for me. I grew up as a late-80’s/early 90’s kid (about a year younger than Eddie) in the northern Philadelphia suburbs, probably about half an hour from where the Goldbergs lived. When I watch “The Goldbergs,” I love seeing places that I enjoyed as a kid, like the Willow Grove Park Mall (that place was Mecca to young me). When I watch “Fresh off the Boat,” I love seeing the mid-90’s pop culture that I loved, like POGs and Super Nintendo (SNES). It’s kind of cool to see how I could have so many cultural touchstones in common with the (fictionalized) Huangs. Anyway, the birthday party video was super nostalgic. There’s a piƱata that is duct taped and reused every year, and a banner that is probably reused too. Louis falls in the middle of filming the video, and the whole thing is kind of a mess.

This episode takes place about a year later, when it’s almost time for Eddie’s twelfth birthday. Eddie tells his parents that this year, he doesn’t want a party. He would rather just hang out at the mall with his friends. Louis and Jessica hesitate a bit to change up family traditions, and Eddie growing up makes them a bit sad, but they are ultimately okay with the idea. They’re mostly excited that they will have time to work on a Saturday, which is something they haven’t done in ages. The next morning, Evan and Emery excitedly grab Eddie’s birthday card and present, and they rush downstairs. They are quite sad when their parents inform them that there is going to be no birthday party for Eddie. They are mostly sad that nobody told them about the change in plans until now.

Jessica talks over the Eddie birthday party situation with Honey, who warns Jessica that for her last birthday, Nicole also said she wanted no party, but then she was upset for weeks when their actually was no party. Thinking that Eddie must really want a party, Jessica and Louis start gathering all the party supplies, and they go to the mall to pick up Eddie. They are shocked to see that Eddie has put together his own birthday party with his school friends (and Mitch from the restaurant) at the food court patio, complete with birthday cake and party hats. Meanwhile, Evan and Emery think that their parents don’t notice them because they are always so good and follow the rules. They decide they need to start acting out like Eddie, so they go to the movie theater and see Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, which happens to be rated an oh-so-rebellious PG-13.

At dinner that night, Jessica and Louis are visibly upset, and Evan and Emery are shocked when they don’t react to the news that they went to see a PG-13 movie while under the age of 13. Jessica and Louis confront Eddie about the mall birthday party. Eddie basically says that he wanted a birthday party, but he didn’t want his parents to participate because he doesn’t feel like he can be himself around them. There is just too much pressure to be perfect like Evan and Emery. Louis seems especially pissed about Eddie’s friendship with Mitch, which is kind of hilarious. We learn later that Eddie and Mitch bonded during Eddie’s brief stint as a fajita server at Cattleman’s Ranch. Anyway, as a result of this conversation, Jessica and Louis decide they should relax the rules a bit so they don’t lose Eddie.

Because Jessica and Louis didn’t react to the news of the PG-13 movie, Evan and Emery start acting out even more. They eat Nutella straight out of the jar and smear it all over their faces. They throw a crazy amount of Legos (which really hurt if you step on them) all over the floor. They even alter a grade on a recent test to read “A-“ instead of “A.” Meanwhile, Jessica really does do her best to try and losen the rules a bit. She lets Eddie have a Pop Tart for breakfast (poor Eddie is worried it’s a trap), then she and Louis say Eddie can go on a sleep over. Eddie responds that he has a standing invite at his friend Dave’s house, and he would like to sleep over that very night. Jessica really doesn’t like the idea, but Louis convinces her to back down and let Eddie go.

Eddie happily goes over to Dave’s house, where he is given an entire bottle of orange soda right at the door. Dave then burps in front of his mother, and Eddie thinks he is going to be in for a fun night. Jessica goes over to Honey’s house to try and spy on Eddie. Honey’s brother-in-law just died, and she’s trying to make arrangements for family to arrive in town for the funeral, but that doesn’t stop Jessica, and later Louis. The situation gets even more awkward when Honey’s husband gets home, and she has to tell him his brother died in front of the Huangs, who just care about Eddie having a ball playing Light Sabre with Dave and his mom. While their parents are out, Evan and Emery decide to do the ultimate act-out and run away, packing their suitcases meticulously, of course. They get scared as soon as they step outside, though, and they go right back in.

At Dave’s house, Eddie is having a blast playing SNES and eating Cookie Crisp (gotta say, though, that stuff was vile) for dinner. Later, however, when it’s bed time, his stomach doesn’t feel good from the “cereal,” and Dave is dripping ice cream all over his pillow. Eddie reaches his breaking point when Dave and his mother say good night by yelling about how much they hate each other. Jessica and Louis are sitting up in bed when Eddie comes home. Eddie explains that he likes spending time with his friends, but he likes being home, too. Jessica, who has hopefully learned the “if you love something, set it free” lesson, offers to make Eddie birthday noodles. While Eddie, Jessica, and Louis are eating noodles, Evan and Emery roll into the kitchen to find out what’s going on. And they promptly get grounded for being up past their bed time. But they’re allowed to have noodles before the grounding begins.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Doctor Who 9.09: "Sleep No More"

“Sleep is essential to every sentient being in the universe.”
- The Doctor

When I first saw the trailer for “Sleep No More” I have to admit I wasn’t impressed. It looked strange and a bit creepy. Turns out there’s a good reason for that. The framing device of this week’s episode is found footage from a failed rescue mission to a science lab space station. At first it felt a bit like Blink with the tapes of the Doctor explaining about the Weeping Angels. First we meet Gagen, the scientist who warns the viewer not to watch and then explains that what he’s showing is pieced together from personal body cams of the rescue team and the station’s security feed. He introduces us to the rescue team of four. They aren’t really anything special and the way Gagen talks about them makes them almost forgettable and just throw-away characters. I know this show is about the Doctor (and for a little bit longer Clara) but to have supporting cast that you don’t even really need to remember just seems like weak writing to me.

Anyway, the rescue team gets onto the station (which went dark 24-hours ago) and encounter Clara and the Doctor wandering around the station. We don’t know why our heroes are on the station but they use the psychic paper to convince the team that they are supposed to be there. Pretty quickly, though, things start going wrong. The station which is in the 38th century has very little light and something big and green starts chasing them. One of the team gets separated from the group and I’m guessing he’s going to be the first to die (just a whole bunch of Red Shirts here folks). Before we learn that guy’s fate though, we get some info on Morpheus. It is a pod system that compacts all the benefits of sleep into five minutes so you can keep on working. Definitely not a good thing when you really think about it. Not getting the proper sleep does all kinds of awful things to one’s body. We also meet Gagen in the past. He’s the designer of all of this and he is pretty damn proud of his invention.

The Doctor does some analysis on the bit of the monster that got squished by the door and discovers it is sleep dust (aka the nasty crap in the corner of your eyes when you wake up in the morning). Since people aren’t actually sleeping for long periods of time, the stuff is somehow becoming sentient and is able to form itself into humanoid shape and e3at people. And yes, the lone guy who is forced to kind of sing the Mr. Sandman song (have I mentioned I kind of hate that song?) gets eaten by one. While he’s getting eaten, the rest of the group has to deal with the gravity shields failing and pulling the station towards Neptune. The Doctor manages to fix the shields but they get separated from two more of the group and it looks like Gagen got eaten, too. Which makes no sense since he’s the one narrating the found footage stuff. The Doctor is annoyed with humanity for treating sleep like an inconvenience. He also seems rather worried about Clara dying.

The two rescue members that have been separated from the group decide to head for their ship and if all else fails, they are going to blow up the station to keep the sleep dust monsters from getting out. Yeah, they are going to die, too. Well it takes a while but they do both bite it. The grunt soldier (that’s basically just grown in a lab) risks its life to get the other guy through a fire and then eventually, the last guy gets eaten by one of the Sandmen things, too.

But more importantly, the Doctor is being clever and makes some observations that they are being watched. He also (somehow) determines that the Sandmen can’t see and that’s because their visual receptors are being used to monitor the station and since Clara got pulled in to one of the pods, she’s being turned into a receptor, too. The Doctor has an idea of who might be behind all of this and I figured it out given the footage we saw through the sonic glasses. Gagen is the one behind all of this and he says that the dust speaks to him and he wants to spread it. But the Doctor knows something is off and doesn’t make sense. I didn’t really follow how the ending led to what it did but apparently Gagen was filming all of this as an alibi and that there aren’t really sand monsters. Morpheus is still working as it did via electrical signals but it is the video recording he’s made and sent out that will trigger the changes. And that’s it. The end (oh the Doctor, Clara and the sole survivor of the rescue team get out in the TARDIS).

I honestly don’t know what the story was supposed to do or be but I did not like it very much. I did not like the style of shooting with the footage from the character point of view. It was just very difficult to watch and keep track of everything that was happening. In a season of less than stellar episodes, this was probably the bottom of the pile. It did nothing to really advance any character growth or anything like that and this close to the end of the season I feel like it should have. At least from what I’ve seen of next week’s episode, we get some more interesting storylines that tie in to things that have happened before. And it means we are one step closer to the Christmas special and the return of River Song. At this point I’m just holding out for that episode. I know shows can have up and down seasons but the last two have not been stellar which is a shame because Peter is so interesting. I think it is long past time for Moffatt to move on and find something new. The show needs some new blood in its veins or else it is just going to continue to suffer from his over inflated ego.

Doctor Who 9.08: "The Zygon Inversion"

“Why do you have a Union Jack parachute?”
-Osgood and the Doctor.

I especially liked the “Zygon Invasion/Zygon Inversion” two-parter this season, because it felt like a classic, Earth-in-peril “Doctor Who” story. We’ve got a lot of horror and historical episodes, plus bigger sprawling mythology-based episodes during the Moffat era, but so rarely have we gotten these classic, present day Earth-based adventures. Even the music in “The Zygon Inversion” felt Classic Who to me. I felt like I could have been watching the Seventh Doctor and Ace. At the same time, the episode employed some typical Moffat twistiness, with Clara’s situation very much resembling a situation Amy faced in series 6. It led to some interesting exploration of the character of Clara, though, and in light of the overall entertaining tone of the episode, I could forgive the over-twistiness in this case.

We learned at the end of “The Zygon Invasion” that the real Clara had been put in stasis, and the Clara we had been watching for most of the episode was actually a Zygon who had taken Clara’s form. This episode opens with a rather creepy sequence showing the experience of stasis from Clara’s perspective. She’s in her apartment, but lots of stuff isn’t quite right. On her TV screen, she can see her Zygon counterpart trying to shoot down the plane in which the Doctor and Osgood are traveling. As Zygon Clara is shooting, Real Clara tries to mentally throw off her aim. It works a bit at first, but Clara can’t hold it for long, and eventually, one of Zygon Clara’s missiles hits the plane.

After her triumph with the plane, Zygon Clara hunts down a guy who saw her do the shooting and turns him in to a Zygon. She says he’s going to be the first to make the humans see, and she shoots a video on her cell phone as he turns into Zygon form for the first time. Meanwhile, in her head, the real Clara pauses the video of the plane explosion on her “television” and sees two parachutes. The Doctor and Osgood have saved themselves, and they end up landing on a beach. The Doctor’s parachute has a huge Union Jack on it, which I found amusing. I never thought the Doctor was very patriotic! Anyway, while they are gathering themselves up from the landing, the Doctor gets a text from Clara’s phone saying “I’m awake.” Osgood speculates that the text is from the real Clara, not the Zygon.

Zygon Clara, meanwhile, is trying to retrieve the Osgood box, because she wants to defeat the humans once and for all. Instead, however, she sees a video of the Osgoods saying that they lied about the box’s location. She is absolutely furious. She ends up having a phone conversation with the Doctor, where the Doctor tells real Clara (the two Claras are kind of mentally connected) not to tell the Zygon where the box is. This comment is clearly meant as a trap. During the call, Osgood pings Clara’s phone and finds Zygon Clara’s location in London. Prompted by the Doctor’s comment, Zygon Clara goes to visit real Clara, and they have a sort of psychic battle to see who can control whom. Zygon Clara says that because their hearts are linked, they can’t lie to each other. This upsets the real Clara more than a little.

Clara finally tells her Zygon counterpart that the Osgood Box is in the Black Archive. Only the Osgoods and Clara herself have access. Since Zygon Clara is a replica of the real thing, she now knows she has access to the box too. Clara tells her that the box has a button that will unmask every Zygon for half an hour, but Zygon Clara shouldn’t get too excited. The Zygons don’t have the numbers to win the coming war. Clara tells the Zygon that the real question she should be asking is why it is called the Osgood Box, but she’s not telling right now. Before leaving for the Archive, Zygon Clara tells what appears to be Zygon Kate to duplicate and kill the Doctor. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Osgood arrive at the location where Zygon Clara’s video was shot in London. The Doctor and Osgood find the guy Clara turned, but he zaps the Doctor and runs away. The Doctor and Osgood finally catch up to him and talk to him. He is having a lot of trouble shifting between his human and Zygon forms. He’s very distressed about the whole situation, and he ends up zapping himself. As the Doctor and Osgood deal with the aftermath of that, Kate arrives on the scene. She says she knows where the Zygon command center and the real Clara are.

Zygon Clara goes to the Black Archive while the Doctor, Osgood, and Zygon Kate poke around the Zygon HQ. When Zygon Clara reaches the Osgood Box, she calls the Doctor and says she now knows where the name comes from. There are two of them. One normalizes all the Zygons, and the other destroys them. Zygon Clara threatens to kill the real Clara if the Doctor doesn’t say which box is the one that normalizes the Zygons. The Doctor tells her it’s the blue one. Both boxes, however, have truth or consequences buttons. Zygon Clara wants the Doctor brought to her, and she tells Zygon Kate this. It turns out, though, that Zygon Kate is actually just Kate. She shot the Zygon who tried to turn her. Kate figures out that the Zygon killing gas the Doctor won’t let her have is in the red box.

The rest of the crew arrives at the Black Archive, and the Doctor says he wants to take both boxes away after forcing everyone to forgive and forget. Understandably, Zygon Clara and Kate are not cool with that plan. The Doctor says that for the red box, the alternative button detonates a nuclear warhead under the Black Archive, and for the blue box, the alternative button removes a Zygon’s ability to change form, leaving them human forever. Zygon Clara complains that her people have been treated like cattle and left for themselves, and I’m starting to feel like this episode is starting to go in a bit of a Conservative direction. It didn’t last long, though, so I could forgive it. Peter gets to give a brilliant, scenery-chewing speech about how she’s a tantruming child and she needs to think about what post-war life would be like. He asks her to consider “how are you going to protect your glorious revolution from the next one.” When Zygon Clara accuses the Doctor of not understanding, the Doctor takes it up another level. He says he has done horrible things and still hears the scremes. He doesn’t want anyone else to have to live with that pain on his watch.

After the Doctor’s speech, Zygon Clara realizes that the boxes don’t actually do anything. They’re just threatening buttons (and we all know one of our current Doctor’s predecessors who liked those!). Kate says they can’t just forget that the boxes are empty, and the Doctor responds “You said that the last fifteen times” before wiping Kate’s memory. He doesn’t wipe Zygon Clara’s memory, though. I think he hopes she’s learned something from this experience. Back outside, the Doctor asks Osgood to join him in the TARDIS, but she says she needs to stay on Earth and keep the Osgood Boxes safe. After Clara goes into the TARDIS, he again asks Osgood whether she’s the human or Zygon Osgood, but Osgood refuses to say. She won’t answer until nobody cares about the answer. And then another Osgood appears. Zygon Clara has decided to change her form and work with the other Osgood to protect the Boxes. The sisters are again reunited.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Blindspot 1.10: "Evil Handmade Instrument"

“I know what it’s like to lose someone and I know what it’s like to need answers. But if at any point this gets too difficult, I need you to be honest with me.”
- Mayfair

This week picks up pretty much right where last week left off. David is dead and Patterson refuses to take time off despite being told to do so by a shrink. She thinks she can throw herself into the case and hide her pain and grief by finding David’s killer. We also briefly see that Zapata hasn’t planted the bug yet and I have a feeling she’s going to say screw you to Carter. At least I hope she does. Mayfair is also not pleased with her CIA counterpart for killing Guerrero (especially with her in the building at the time).

But the case of the week takes a pretty interesting turn very quickly. Weller pulls Jane from reviewing the bag she was found in (and some drawings of her tattoos) to find a partial print on the book David had been watching. It belongs to a man named Roger who is Russian-born and has an American wife. The team heads to the big house him and his wife share and find that she’s tied up and he’s got a weapon. Weller shoots him but the guy kills himself before they can get any information out of him. Luckily, the widow is talkative and reveals that the redhead David saw is named Kate and she is also Russian-born. She’s married to another high-powered American who works at the New York Times (he reported her missing). The FBI doesn’t tell him she’s a suspected spy though. That’s probably a smart move.

Patterson does some more digging and deciphers the code the spies were using. She also finds a third spy who works at a museum. This involves a chase through said museum and then a car/motorcycle chase (which I read about in an interview which is pretty cool). The woman ends up breaking down because she’s got kids and doesn’t want to lose them. Patterson pulls a huge bluff with the evidence they have and gets her to talk a little bit but it’s really Jane (who of course speaks Russian) that gets her to open up about the plan. They each had high value anti-Russian activist targets to kill. Hers was a New York Times reporter that Kate had to take out. Roger’s target was his wife who testified during war crimes tribunals. With a little digging, Patterson figures out the last target is a Senator who is on the Armed Services committees sending aid to the Ukrainian military. While some people may find the Russian spy angle kind of tired and lame, I thought it was rather exciting and it was kind of a fitting way for David to go out. I mean, if he had to get killed, why not by sleeper spies right? The conspiracy geek in him would be proud. Jane and Weller find Kate at a military gala and it takes both of them to take her down. She has a needle which she is supposed to use on the Senator but thanks to our heroic duo, she stabs herself in the neck and gets tossed overboard. I hope they really didn’t need her for more information on the case.

Luckily, the case is done now that Kate is dead. Unfortunately, it’s going to take time and probably some therapy for Patterson to be okay again. She confides in Jane that she feels the same now that Kate is dead. She expected to feel better or at least vindicated. This conversation does spur Jane to take some action in her personal life, though. She slips her detail and is waiting outside Weller’s place when he gets home from shopping. His annoyance that she ditched her detail is short-lived when Jane plants a big old lip lock on our lead agent. He reciprocates the gesture but they are interrupted by his nephew. Of course, as soon as Jane heads off back home, she gets nabbed and thrown into a truck and driven to who knows where. While Jane’s future is being decided, Reade watches as Zapata makes the choice to say screw you to Carter, but in so doing, she resigns her position from the FBI. I guess that’s one way to ensure he can’t ruin her career with blabbing about her gambling habit. And in a touching moment, Mayfair gently ushers Patterson out of her work station. Mayfair can be kind of annoying sometimes but at least in this instance she is showing some motherly care for her agents.

While Weller gives Jane a call to see if she got home safe, our heroine finds herself tied down in a dimly lit, windowless room with Carter hovering over her. He promises to dump her in a deep, dark hole once she gives him answers. But all of his questions (who she is, who sent her and the like) are met with the same answer “I don’t know”. I guess she’s super tough and can withstand water boarding. Of course, the torture is interrupted when gunfire erupts just out of view and then a shadowy figure turns Carter into bullet-filled Swiss cheese. You have no idea how loud I cheered when he finally fell flat on his face, dead. I have been wanting him dead and gone since we learned the truth about Operation Daylight. We did see Jane flash on a memory about Carter talking about Orion (which ties back into an earlier episode). Jane’s savior is none other than tree tattoo man whose name is Oscar. Oscar shows Jane a video that reveals the memory wipe and tattoos are all on her own orders. Now the question we are left with (until February) is why. This show has been one of the best shows of the new season and I can’t wait to see what answers we get once the gang is back from hiatus.

Thanksgiving “Classic” Recap: Heroes: “Thanksgiving”

“What do I have to be grateful for? I’m dead. He knows it, you know it. why don’t you tell us why? Put us all out of our misery.”
- Nathan

Sorry that this is a day late, folks! Yesterday with all the turkey and wine and fun got to me. But this year we are sharing our Thanksgiving time with a group of families I discovered over the summertime (and in preparation for one of our Summer DVR Dump series this coming summer): Heroes. Like many great sci-fi shows of the mid-2000s I missed out when it originally aired. But thanks to Netflix, I was able to watch all 4 seasons over the summer and I really enjoyed it. So I thought I would cover season 4, episode 10 “Thanksgiving” for you.

This episode focuses on three sets of families within the “Heroes” universe; The Bennetts, the Petrellis and Samuel’s camp of misfit Evos. None of them are having a particularly good Thanksgiving but we do get some movement on the bigger plot arcs of the season. Honestly, the first time I watched this episode, I was kind of hoping we would get the Petrellis and the Bennetts together because Claire technically is a Petrelli. Alas, we did not. Claire is having a rough time at school. Her best friend/roommate/possible girlfriend Gretchen has moved across campus after being pulled into the weirdness of Claire’s life. So Noah decides to host Thanksgiving at his apartment and invites his ex, Sandra and her dorky boyfriend Doug (he’s a dog breeder like Sandra) and he even ropes his old flame Lauren (those of you were Angel fans might recognize her as Detective Kate Lindsay from seasons 1 and 2) to help. He was kind of stalking her at the grocery store. They have some chemistry and it’s kind of cute how Noah keeps denying that she is his date. I honestly want Noah to be happy and sadly he never will be. He’s just drawn to sadness and messed up situations. Dinner is kind of a tense affair once Claire brings up the subject of feeling like a loner. She wants to drop out of college and she kind of loses it when Doug tries to offer advice. Claire’s solution: cut her arm open and heal in front of him. Yeah that doesn’t solve anything. But on the plus side, Gretchen comes over and she and Claire abscond with the compass that Noah got from Danko. Claire is so headstrong and she thinks she knows what she’s doing but she never does. Noah may not always do the right thing or say the right thing but his intentions are always to protect his daughter.

Nathan and Peter have just gotten back from a trip to Texas where they found a storage locker in their mother’s name with a dead body that looks a hell of a lot like Nathan in it. So when Angela comes by for Thanksgiving dinner, the boys confront her on what really happened at the end of season 3. Through some exposition that the audience already knows, she reveals that Nathan died at the hands of Sylar and Matt Parkman forced Nathan’s memories into Sylar and made him shift into Nathan. This clearly upsets Nathan who now realizes he is Sylar and it’s enough to cause a shift and allow Sylar’s consciousness to retake his body. He forces Peter and Angela to sit while he eats pretty much everything in sight (I guess being stuck in Matt’s head for the first half of the season made him hungry). But Nathan manages to fight back and saves Angela’s life just as Sylar pulls his signature cutting heads open trick. Peter vows to go after him. He wants Sylar dead but he really wants his big brother alive. Nathan has never been a particularly nice character, even to his brother so I think the hero worship is a bit much. Of all the characters on the show, Nathan was my least favorite. But I adore Peter and I hate to see him so sad and miserable. Especially on a day that is supposed to be about family.

On the Samuel front, Hiro is still his prisoner and Lydia begs him to show what happened eight weeks earlier since if he supposedly fixed the past, why isn’t Joseph back. So Hiro does take her back and we see that Samuel killed Joseph in a fit of anger over the fact that Joseph has kept Samuel’s powers in check all this time. It was not what Samuel meant to do but he’s an impulsive jerk and so it gives him the chance he needs to take over the carnival and use it for his own purpose (hence why he’s been gathering people throughout the season). Ultimately, Hiro and Lydia fill Edgar in on what they saw and Edgar accuses Samuel of the crime he committed I front of everyone. But Samuel has sway over these people and so Edgar is branded a traitor and he takes off (thanks to Hiro saving him). Unfortunately, Hiro gets his memory scrambled for his trouble (which leads to a pretty hilarious episode where he speaks in code). I think of the three storylines this episode, this one was the weakest, although it did the most to move the story forward and get pieces put in place for the last few episodes of the series. I just wish he wasn’t pulling all of our characters to him like a magnet.

Overall, none of these groups had a very successful Thanksgiving and were not particularly thankful for much of anything. They fought and argued and just were all around nasty to one another. But it moved the plot along and served its purpose. Of the Thanksgiving episodes I’ve seen it didn’t promote the feeling of togetherness and grateful emotions like some but it was still enjoyable. We here at More TV Please hope you had a lovely and safe time with your friends and loved ones this Thanksgiving. We will see you all again next year for another Classic Thanksgiving recap.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.06: "Among Us Hide . . ."

I didn’t find this particular episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” all that exciting (probably due to too much Ward), but there was definitely a heck of a twist at the end that could bode interesting things for the future. Daisy also made an important discovery that seems likely to sour her relationship with Coulson going forward. Sure, her coworkers are telling her that Coulson probably has reasons for doing what he’s doing, but what Daisy uncovers is so horrific to her that I don’t think she is going to forgive that easily. Related, we learn a lot more about what the ATCU is up to. Specifically, we learn what exactly they do with the Inhumans that they lock away. It’s not pretty, but Rosalind has an interesting, more humane take on why she is doing what she’s doing.

We learn right from the beginning of the episode that Andrew survived the explosion at the convenience store. He is injured, though, so he is taken back to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ for treatment. He is conscious, and he tells May and Coulson how he survived. Basically, Coulson had already put someone on the scene at the convenience store who started shooting at the Hydra agents. There was enough chaos that Andrew was able to do what he had to do to survive. Hunter, however, thanks to his actions that led to the explosion on the first place, is pulled off of Operation: Kill Ward. Instead, May will be heading it up. Because she’s back with S.H.I.E.L.D. (finally!). Elsewhere, Ward is talking with one of his goons. He wants said goon to try and find Werner if he is still alive, because S.H.I.E.L.D. will be after him too, and he knows too much.

Meanwhile, Daisy has been doing research on Lash. She shares with Mack that she thinks he is part of the ATCU because of the knowledge he would have to have to pull off the attack that happened earlier this season. Elsewhere in HQ, May and Bobbi fight it out. May tells Bobbi she is angry that Hunter almost got Andrew killed for the sake of Bobbi. Bobbi eventually fights back. After some hand-to-hand combat, May says that the whole fight was a test. She thinks Bobbi is recovered enough to go back in the field. And she is going to be joining May on Operation: Kill Ward. Needless to say, Hunter is not thrilled about Bobbi going back in the field just yet, especially on this particular mission. May tells Bobbi that one body wasn’t recovered from the convenience store explosion: Werner Von Strucker. If they find him, they can learn more about Hydra. One of Hydra’s Cayman Islands bank accounts has been activated, and May thinks that will lead them to Werner. Werner himself is talking with somebody who seems especially evil. Because he’s played by Powers Boothe, who is never not good at playing evil.

Meanwhile, Rosalind is supposed to be taking Coulson on a tour of the ATCU’s holding facility for Inhumans. While they are in a car on the way there, however, Rosalind gets a call about an emergency at her house. Coulson convinces her to let him tag along. When they arrive at Rosalind’s house, the police are there. Someone has broken in. Coulson notices that the whole thing seems off, though. Nothing valuable, such as computers or rare art, has been stolen. Everything just seems a little discheveled. Coulson is convinced that Rosalind staged the break-in to derail the attempt to see the holding facility. Coulson also notices a baseball bat signed by a bunch of famous MLB players. When Coulson accuses Rosalind of staging the break-in to try and humanize herself, Rosalind finally relents and says they can go to the facility.

Since Hunter was taken off Operation: Kill Ward, he and Fitz are working together to provide support to Bobbi and May. Hunter is worried that Fitz is distracted helping Simmons get the portal back up and running. He warns Fitz that it’s a bad idea to make it easy for Simmons’ ex to return and provide competition, but Fitz says he owes William for keeping Simmons alive through her ordeal. Meanwhile, Daisy asks Andrew for a consult on Lash. She’s just telling him she saw Lash shift back into human form when Mack interrupts. He thinks Banks, Rosalind’s number two, is Lash, because he would have known about the mission that Lash ambushed. Mack, Daisy, and Hunter decide to investigate further.

Bobbi and May go to the Caymans to follow Werner’s money trail. They go to a very fancy bank, and they manage to get into the safe deposit box room. They get into a particular box and activate something in it that opens all the other boxes. They take another box, but there is nothing helpful in it. To make matters worse, an alarm starts going off. When the security guards pile in, Bobbi tries diplomacy first, telling the head security guy that they were testing him because they want to give him a job. One of the other security guys doesn’t believe them, though, so a big fight ensues.

Meanwhile, Mack, Hunter, and Daisy are trailing Banks. Hunter is desperate to reduce risks to Bobbi, so he wants to be aggressive and unorthodox in his approach. Mack, however, want to keep it professional and by the books. When the van is parked, Hunter goes rogue. He jumps out, approaches Banks, and ices him. The group then has to get a sample from Banks to send back to the lab for testing. Daisy gets the sample to Simmons, she runs the test, and she determines that Banks is not Inhuman. So there goes that theory. Finished with her testing, Simmons wants to switch back to working on the portal. Fitz is forced to admit that none of his simulations are working, but he promises Simmons that he’s not giving up. He is also doing secret internet research on Will, which is kind of adorable, only because it’s Fitz.

Still parked in their van outside the ATCU facility, our trio decides to send a little drone (which apparently has a cloaking device) inside to see what is going on. There is a delivery happening. It is quickly apparent that the delivery is of an unconscious person. The place is basically an Inhuman storage facility. Daisy, understandably, is horrified. It gets worse when she sees Rosalind usher Coulson inside and give him a tour. Daisy is shocked that Coulson doesn’t really appear outraged. She says there is no way that they will be working with the ATCU now. Mack tries to assure Daisy that Coulson is just putting up a front for Rosalind. Rosalind, however, does a decent job explaining herself to Coulson. She says she’s trying to keep the Inhumans alive and healthy while they’re working on a cure. She compares it to a medically induced coma, and Coulson realizes that she lost someone close. She says her husband died of cancer, and she wishes she could have put him in stasis until a cure was found.

Meanwhile, in Hydra-land, Ward gets a threatening phone call from Gideon (Powers Boothe). Gideon offers to tell Ward where Werner is. Bobbi and May already have a clue, however. They arrive in Lisbon and storm a Hydra safehouse. A Hydra goon stabs Werner, who is tied up. Bobbi goes outside to battle the head goon, and they end up fighting in the pool. She eventually wins the fight by electrocution, which is pretty badass. Inside the safehouse, as he is dying, Werner tells May that Andrew is actually Lash. Back at S.H.I.E.L.D, Daisy is surreptitiously on the phone with Lincoln. After she hangs up, she runs into Andrew, who immediately asks her if she knows where Lincoln is. Thankfully, he hasn’t told her his location, otherwise things probably wouldn’t have ended well for him.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Blindspot 1.09: "Authentic Flirt"

“Well until this morning, you didn’t know Bulgarian. Who knows, you could be a tango champion.”
- Weller

This week’s case is going to let Jane and Weller get closer in a way I’m sure neither were expecting: undercover. Thanks to some sporadically placed letters around Jane’s body, Patterson decodes a new clue that leads them to a message board on a puppy forum about a lost dog. It turns out that a husband and wife team abducted and tortured an American tourist in Barcelona a week earlier, looking for his brother. The hitch: his brother is in WITSEC after testifying against a big scary mob boss. This brings in the US Marshall and a possible old flame (or at least one night stand) of Weller’s. Mayfair is understandably pissed when she learns that “the whole litter” refers to the leaked names and locations of 2,000 witnesses. The government is doing what they can to immediately relocate the guy in the mob case but it will take some time to get everyone else resettled.

The team follows a lead to a possible meeting location and encounter the husband and wife team. Both end up dead (and we learn that Jane speaks Bulgarian). But they also find some tickets to a gala and a fancy pin. Oh and a couple dozen high-end fake passports and a 6 million dollar diamond necklace for payment. It seems that Jane and Weller have to go undercover as the couple to meet the seller and take them down. I have to say, they both clean up really well. Jane is feeing nervous and awkward in the dress but she looks fabulous. Since the couple was married, they have to act the part and when Weller puts the wedding band on Jane’s finger, she flashes back to some sexy times with tree tattoo man.

While the team is off saving the day, David is trying to win Patterson back. He did a cute thing with the sign at the coffee cart where she gets her money jolt of caffeine. And he’s taking out the library where they were so close to breaking the code in the book. I really don’t think things are going to end well for him. He sees a redheaded woman check the book and then leave the library. So what does he do? He follows her (and then gets followed by a guy he doesn’t see).

At the gala, Weller and Jane get quickly whisked to a limo and then to a helicopter where the team can’t track them or provide backup. Well, crap! They land at a pretty swanky looking mansion and after getting patted down (Weller is not pleased with the…ahem thorough job the guy is doing on Jane), they head inside and dance a little. It’s kind of a sweet moment where she says she’s been having bits of memory fragments pop into her head that indicate she might have been engaged. Not long after they arrive, the seller wants to meet. He’s kind of a really annoying guy who calls himself Rich Dot Com. What a douchebag! After some rigmarole he gives our team a flash drive with the list of names from WITSEC. Unfortunately, there’s at least a second buyer that they now have to sniff out while the necklace is being appraised.

While Weller and Jane are busy trying to track down the competition and secure the information, Patterson and company are digging deep into the online forum. It turns out the account that they found on Jane’s body has been active for years and tied to lots of shady business. It also turns out that a couple of accounts were handled by the same accountant who works for Mr. Dot Com. He used to be a relatively simple hacker who invested heavily in bit coin, and then turned into a grade A asshole who would do anything on the dark net if you paid enough. So sleazy. We also had to endure a visit from Director Carter (who earlier in the episode threatened Zapata to put a bug in Jane’s safe house). He wants to kill Guerrero but Mayfair says she’s creating a false paper trail to cover her tracks. I really want someone to put this bastard down.

Thanks to some quick thinking by Weller, he and Jane break into the computer room and locate the other buyer. What transpires next is a really interestingly choreographed fight sequence that I bet Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton had a blast filming. But it gets interrupted by Mr. Dot Com and his goons. Weller and Jae convince him that the other buyer is a fed which results in the buyer getting shot in the head. Oops. I suppose that means they don’t have to worry about him having the list. Dot Com gets kind of creepy as he’s making them have a drink and starts grilling Weller on a particular job. But they weasel their way out of that tight spot and force him up to the helipad. Sure he tries to get his men to kill them but that won’t work. Besides, Reade and Zapata are in a helicopter heading right for them as they check out properties within helicopter distance of the city.

Reade and Zapata show up just in the nick of time to save Weller and Jane’s bacon. With the bad guy in custody, Weller turns down his ex-girlfriend’s offer of a drink in favor of a house warming party for Jane (where I’m guessing Zapata had a chance to plant the bug for Carter). But all is not well for everyone. We see Guerrero get stabbed on his way to meet with Mayfair and poor David ends up dead as a result of his snooping. It is unclear how he died but it looks like the person following him was sent by Mayfair in an attempt to keep him safe (or at the very least keep tabs on what he was doing). The ending was very powerful as just a song played over the action and even though Mayfair offers Patterson a hug at the hospital, you can see that she’s not really processing it yet. I’m sure she will and they will all be on the warpath but it hasn’t quite hit yet.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Once Upon a Time 5.09: "The Bear King"

“I’ll teach you the most important thing you need to know to fight. Honor.”
- Mulan

I know we left Emma in quite the pickle at the end of last episode but it seems before we learn her fate we’re going to get a rollicking adventure story in the beautiful Scottish highlands of DunBroch. Arthur and Zelena are on their way there to fetch a magical helmet that supposedly can give the wearer what he or she wants. In fact we see Merida’s father, King Fergus, go to the Witch and she cooks it up for him in her cauldron. He needs it to fight the invading army to the south. He takes Merida to the front lines to show her what war is like and he gifts her with his war bow. He’s kind of a goof but I like him. Too bad we already know he’s dead in battle. He’s also hired a warrior to teach Merida the finer points of war. Enter of course, Mulan. She says she will teach Merida honor. They spar for a bit and it’s kind of cute until the lords start being snarky and Mulan makes Merida walk away from the argument. She suggests her new pupil ask her father how he inspires men to follow her. He says that if the King (or Queen) is willing to be the first to lay down their life, then the others will know the importance of winning the battle. Even if it is inspired by dark magic, it’s a noble sentiment.

That’s going to change two years later though. Just as Merida is about to be crowned Queen, the Witch shows up calling to collect on Fergus’ contract. Seriously, dude he just signed the damn thing without reading it! Idiot! Anyway, the Witch gives Merida til nightfall the following day to return the helmet to her or everyone in the kingdom will be feeling the bear necessities. Merida is going to track down the knight who took the helmet from her father but she’s going to need an honorable warrior to help. She’ll have to settle for a bitchy, money-hungry (likely sexually frustrated) Mulan. Oh boy!

Arthur and Zelena get the drop of the Witch and then manage to catch up to Mulan and Merida on the battlefield. The girls did find Merida’s arrow that nicked the knight’s cloak. So they can find out who it belonged to. And we learn thanks to Arthur was the helmet actually does. It makes men fight your battles no matter how dangerous. Merida is heartbroken by this revelation and heads home to try and warn her people and give the lords some time to try and find the helmet, especially since Arthur and Zelena have Merida’s bow. Hello locator spell.

Mulan takes the piece of cloak back to the Witch’s cabin to try and get some answers that way and meets the Witch’s wolf. A rather big wolf which Mulan realizes isn’t really a wolf (at least not all the time). Thanks to a little tussle and knocking over a potion outside, we get the reappearance of Ruby. And you have no idea how happy Mulan was to see a pretty woman literally in her lap. I know they only just met but I am totally for Mulan Rouge (as I’ve heard them referred to in the fandom). We get a quick flashback to the end of season 3 when ruby tells Snow she is using the only magic bean she and Tiny managed to grow to return to the Enchanted Forest to find her pack. They’re gone and the Witch forced her to shift and stay a wolf. Bitch!

Just as Merida is ready to hand over control to one of the lords, Mulan and Ruby show up with a plan to sniff out the killer. As they head out, we see in flashback the day that Fergus died. Mulan has taken Merida out to train to keep her from the battle at her father’s request. But Merida isn’t having any of that. We see her try to protect her father from the knight but she misses and her father gets run through and the knight takes the helmet. Arthur and Zelena find the helmet but the girls have caught up to them and Ruby declares that Arthur is the killer. He admits to it, saying he needed it then to lead his men to find Excalibur and he needs it now to fight Merlin and Emma. That’s not going to end well as the two monarchs clash.

Mulan and Ruby take out Zelena pretty easily and it ends up being the clans that come to support Merida that allow her to stop Arthur. He and Zelena limp off back to Camelot and I still am pissed he’s alive. He needs to die like half a season ago. He’s an uber dick. But Merida gets her crown and the Witch shows up to collect. But it turns out it wasn’t about the helmet since her father didn’t actually use it to lead his men into battle. It was to ensure she knew how to lead her people when the time came. The Witch gives Merida some magic ale that allows her to briefly summon her dad from the Underworld (which totally makes me think we are going to the Underworld for season 5B). Fergus tells her how proud he is of her and that she’s going to be a fine Queen. But she’s right pissed at Arthur, too and she’s gunning for him. I just hope she manages to remember this in Storybrooke.

While she’s getting her revenge on, Mulan admits she was dealing with a broken heart and that maybe shaking down thugs wasn’t the best way. Hey, I guess the whole Merry Men offer didn’t turn out so well (oops). But she’s got Ruby to pal around with and hunt for werewolves while Mulan figure out her next move (on Ruby). Sorry, I can’t help myself. I want more of them together. They just look so damn cute together and they could get up to all kinds of shenanigans.

Once Upon a Time 5.08: 'Birth"

“If you want to find what’s going on in Emma Swan’s head, find out what she’s atoning for.”
- Rumple

Things are finally coming to a head in Camelot and Storybrooke. Emma has the re-forged Excalibur and whatever her plan is, it goes down in a day. And as if that weren’t enough, the men folk confront Arthur about his lying ways and lock him up. Along the way, Emma saves Hook’s life and says that everything she is doing, she is doing for him. So naturally he goes all batty and thinks he can still save her. After railing at the Charmings for wanting to find a magical solution in a book, he pops over to Gold’s shop where the former Dark One gives him some interesting advice. All Dark Ones are secretly atoning for their mistakes. So Hook just needs to find out what Emma is atoning for and he needs to give her a reason to find him so he can figure it out.

Back in Camelot Emma learns that Merlin has been tethered to the rest of Excalibur and Arthur is holding her family hostage. He wants to trade their lives for the flame and the dagger. Merlin warns Emma not to seek vengeance like Nimue did but I have a feeling that’s going to be exactly what she does. Well not entirely anyway. She ends up not being able to light the flame and says she’s not ready to give up the darkness just yet. She needs it one more time to save her family. Oh and apparently Henry and Hook have been plotting to get Emma a house so they can move in together (well that explains the big old house she’s living in now). Interestingly, when she goes to confront Merlin and Arthur, Zelena gets in her face. Emma plays a trick to restrain Zelena and she even convinces Merlin to fight the pull of the sword long enough to spare Mary Margaret’s life. It also gives Hook time to free his hook from the chains and punch Arthur in the face. The bastard deserved more but he and Zelena make off somewhere, leaving our heroes to gather in the hopes of going home. But Regina’s attempt to make Emma face whatever is making her cling to the darkness doesn’t go well. Emma says she fears not being able to protect her family but her light magic was able to protect them before so that’s clearly not it. But Hook and the Charmings intervene before Regina can get the truth and Emma skulks off. Hook eventually gets her to admit that the thing she’s really afraid of is embracing the future. As she points out, she only tends to tell the men she loves that she loves them when she thinks she’s losing them. But I suppose Emma does know how to get the flame to ignite now.

In Storybrooke, while Hook is being a reckless ass hat and jumping off the clock tower roof in the hopes of Emma saving him from turning into a pirate pancake, Zelena’s pregnancy rapidly progresses so she is no longer in her first trimester but she’s in active labor. Regina and Robin are obviously surprised by it but I think it’s Emma’s doing as a big “screw you” to the Wicked Witch. Those onion rings are dire. They race to the hospital and say hello to Dr. Whale. He’s blond (well thank you iZombie) and I love the little quip he gets in. They need to move things along though because apparently Emma needs the cries of a newborn baby to complete her spell with Excalibur. Because why not. Regina promises to keep the baby safe, though.

Emma takes Hook back to her place and drops some truth on him about the house being his idea. She says that she will tell him what she’s doing after it is all over and then smooches him pretty hard. Pulling a Captain John Hart move there, she knocks him out. I have to say, I kind of approve. With the pirate down for the count (although we did learn that the rings he wears were once trophies that are now reminders that he can change), Zelena pops out a healthy baby girl. Regina and Robin are ready to defend the little princess when Emma shows up. But she’s not after the baby. She’s after Zelena. Um, what?

In a little bit of an Evil Speech of Evil, Emma explains that she’s going to put her dark magic into Zelena, making her the new Dark One so that she can then use Excalibur to destroy the darkness once and for all. Not sure whys he needs Hook for this but it is kind of a clever plan. Sure a bit bloodthirsty but hey, no one really likes Zelena anyway. But with Emma being kept busy by the rest of the family (including Regina threatening to go dark again herself to stop Emma’s plan), Hook frees Zelena from the magic suppressing cuff and she sneaks out (but she does unshackle him first). He’s going to stick around and try to get some answers out of his girlfriend. Good luck with that.

He finds the squid ink and manages to keep her immobilized but Zelena’s come back and she’s got a few tricks up her sleeve. She stabs Hook in the chest but he’s fine. And she uses one of the dreamcatchers to show what happened when Emma tried to get rid of the darkness back in Camelot. Hook had been nicked by the sword and apparently no one can survive being cut by it. So he’s dying and Emma’s just refusing to let him go. She won’t listen to anyone and so she takes Hook to the field where they rode the horse and she tethers him to the rest of the sword and we see him emerge from the Dark One’s vault. I have to admit I did not see that coming. I like the twist because Hook is now angry and it puts a giant crack in Captain Swan. I can’t wait to see what he does with this newfound power.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Fresh off the Boat 2.06: "Good Morning Orlando"

“I need to go back on that show.” “I will iron your television pants.”
-Louis and Jessica

While “Good Morning Orlando” wasn’t as laugh-out-loud funny as many episodes of “Fresh off the Boat” have been, the episode definitely had a message. Diving into the territory of the meta, Louis and Jessica contemplate what responsibility Louis has to be the perfect representative for all Asians when he gets an opportunity to appear on a local morning talk show. When “Fresh off the Boat,” there was a lot of hype about how this was the first comedy to feature an Asian family since the 1990’s. I imagine at least some of the cast must have felt as Louis and Jessica did in this episode – that they had a responsibility to do this job perfectly and be everything to all people since it was such a rare opportunity. Meanwhile, in a lighter B story, Eddie and his friends become very confused by the strange creatures that are middle school girls.

The episode opens with Eddie and his friends having lunch in the cafeteria, when Eddie’s school dance partner Allison and her posse enter the room. The boys talk about how none of them have talked to the ladies since the dance. Eddie is kind of upset since he thought Allison really liked him. With perfect timing, Eddie gets a heart-adorned note from Allison. The next day, Eddie and the boys get an invitation to a group date at the mall from Allison and all her friends. The date consists of the group of boys passing the group of girls on opposing escalators and saying “hey” to each other before the girls all go to Wet Seal. The boys are all still excited for their first “date,” though.

It’s a normal day at Cattleman’s Ranch when Louis is introduced to Gus (Ken Marino!) and Mey-Mey, hosts of a local news morning program. Louis is so excited to meet them that he does his duck impression for them. Gus and Me-Me find this and Loui’s Rocky impression hilarious, and they invite him on the show for a segment that highlight’s local businesses. Louis is a little nervous about the idea, but Jessica pressures him into it. The Huangs need the extra money to cover the cost of the termite extermination at the investment house. We get a bit of a flavor of the morning show, Good Morning Orlando, with a series of reports on a tortoise blocking the drive-through lane at a local Rally’s (which I had never heard of until I spent a week in New Orleans this summer…I had only heard of Checkers).

Louis, as you’d expect, is kind of awkward on the morning show, first giving directions to Cattleman’s ranch, then launching into his impressions. When he arrives back home after the show, Jessica is not pleased. She reminds Louis of the character Long Duk Dong from “Sixteen Candles.” In his making pizza box tables in Chinatown days, Louis was always goaded by his friends into saying Long’s lines from the movie, and it really irritated him. Jessica says that it’s important to break stereotypes when they have a rare opportunity to be on television. Jessica’s fears are confirmed when Louis returns to Cattleman’s Ranch and some (white) customers start asking Louis to do his impressions. He starts getting flashbacks to being asked to say Long Duk Dong lines back in the way. He tells Jessica he’s worried people are laughing at him, not with him. He wants a second chance to go back on Good Morning Orlando.

Meanwhile, again at lunch, Eddie and his friends happily reminisce about the mall “date.” The euphoria is broken, however, when one of Eddie’s friends is told that one of the girls wants to break up with him. The boys all realize that they have no idea who each of them is supposed to be dating. Eddie is incredulous about this, because he’s certain he’s dating Allison. He starts to doubt himself, though, when all the other boys say she pushed them in the mosh pit at the Fall Ball, too. Suddenly that dance doesn’t seem so special. The boys put together a conspiracy wall in Eddie’s room to try and figure out who each of them is dating. Evan interrupts to retrieve a tub of Gak, which makes the early 90’s kid in me very happy. The mystery is on its way to being solved when one of the girls (Eddie doesn’t know who) invites all the boys to a roller rink date. Eddie thinks if they all fall at the same time, their respective girls will help them up, and they will finally know who is dating whom.

Louis does get his second chance on Good Morning Orlando, and this time he goes too far in the other direction. He accuses the hosts of wanting him to be a Chinese clown. He says he is doing an impression – an impression of a successful Chinese-American businessman. At home, Jessica chides Louis for being serious, and then she goes into a long list of exactly how he should have acted. Louis says he can’t be all things to all people, and sometimes it’s okay to be funny. He wants another chance to be on Good Morning Orlando, but since he has been banned from the studio, that’s going to take a little creativity. Louis goes to the site of the turtle drive-through incident (it’s still going on), and he wins everyone back over with a Michael Jackson impression.

The boys arrive at the roller rink, and after a mix up with the wrong guy trying to hold hands with the wrong girl, one of the boys admits that none of them know who they are dating. Allison is especially offended that Eddie didn’t realize they were dating. It doesn’t help when Eddie mentions how many people she pushed at the dance. Emery gives Eddie some very good advice – talk to Allison. The next day at school, Eddie explains why he was confused, and he also says he was afraid to mess things up because he likes Allison. Eddie says he’s sorry they broke up, and Allison says they didn’t break up – they just had a fight. Eddie’s and Allison’s friends aren’t dating anymore, but Eddie and Alison themselves are now solid. She even lets him walk her to class. In the episode’s tag, Emery then gives dating advice to all of Eddie’s friends.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

iZombie 2.05: "Love and Basketball"

“Say it with me now. Rigorous testing. For months.”
- Ravi

Thing are about to get freaky for Liv and Major. He showed up at the end of last week’s episode needing help, which apparently meant a heavy duty make out sessions with living dead ex. She’s into it at first and then starts overanalyzing everything. She worries that they don’t know enough about how the zombie disease is transmitted. While Liv is shutting Major down, a night security guard gets murdered on the job. The next morning, Liv checks Major’s vitals (he’s still alive) and says that a relationship is off limits until there’s actually a cure. He is not too happy about that. But it seems like that might not be too far in the future because the guy that Blaine turned into a zombie to force him to cut the dirty Utopium agrees to do it.

Ravi and Liv have a bit of fun goofing off at the crime scene before heading back to the lab. Clive wants Liv to check out some security footage but she hasn’t had brains yet so she does some ridiculous psychic fake-outs before chowing down on a brain omelet. Just as Liv heads to the station and starts yapping on about basketball, a bunch of kids show up claiming the dead guy was their basketball coach. Well, that explains a lot. The kids say they know who killed their coach. The father of one of the boys who quit a few weeks ago. Liv and Clive go to see the guy and he is a piece of work. He gets in Liv’s face as she’s having visions. She sees him choke the coach because the coach reported him to child protective services for hitting his kid. Yeah, I kind of want this douchebag to be guilty. Unfortunately, the alibi checks out. That doesn’t stop Clive from going by his house later that night and beating the crap out of him for laying hands on his son. To be fair to Clive, the asshole did lay hands on him first.

Major is still kind of struggling with the whole Max Rager deal. Liv’s roommate is still flirting with him (it is just so gross) and drags him in to give the head R&D scientist more information on why he needs a stronger sedative. She says they need blood from a coherent zombie to figure out how to make Super Max not create zombies. At home that night, Major is tempted to use more Utopium but Liv comes in and gives him a basketball-brains speech about not giving up. It was kind of funny.

To help keep Major’s mind off drugs, Liv enlists him to be the new basketball coach. While he and Liv spend time with the kids, Clive gets chewed out by his boss for calling the former captain’s widow and asking about whether he was suicidal. Later on, the new FBI agent he is paired with points out that his theory about the Meat Cute explosion might be right because they found a strand of hair from the famous astronaut in the drain at Meat Cute. Oh snap! Even bigger snap? Ravi gets a batch of tainted Utopium delivered so now it’s time for some months of rigorous testing (much to Liv’s dismay). She wants to be with Major now! She even shares this little tidbit with her roommate (about the make out session).

Elsewhere, while Clive is trying to figure out who helped the team crowdfund the $5,000 necessary to go to a summer basketball camp, Major is on the hunt for more zombies. But I think he’s going to be having some second thoughts about the guy he picked. Especially after he sees the guys’ little boy show up at the restaurant. I really want Major to tell Liv about everything. That ways he can go full on zombie on her roommate and just eat her!

Things get super awkward and kind of hilarious when one of the three people that Liv couldn’t identify shows up dead in Tacoma. Ravi is not happy to have to go there because the ME that runs the office down there applied for his job and the guy is kind of a dick. Claiming Ravi was a diversity hire. They learn that the guy was an enforcer for some bookies and he went to the 14th floor of the building where the coach was killed. Clive and Liv pay the firm a visit and end up confronting one of the attorneys who clearly has a gambling problem. They also throw in Hearst College (oh Veronica Mars) reference which made me smile. So they know who killed the enforcer but I still haven’t figured out who killed the coach. They bring the attorney in for questioning and he gives it up. He didn’t kill the coach but the firm has a fixer whom he called and that guy instructed him to clean up the scene. The attorney swears he didn’t kill the coach (it was the fixer) or that he knew that was part of the plan.

Perhaps the funniest part of this episode involves Ravi trying to name the new test rats and mixing up the Utopium and Max Rager when Blaine shows up. He promised the poor zombie guy he’d get the cure as soon as possible. The zombie guy has tagged along and injects himself with the mixture before Ravi can stop him. It turns him all rotten and he dies. Oops. Ravi, rather angrily, yells at Blaine that the Utopium clearly wasn’t mixed right and thus begins the struggle for the remaining drug. It takes them under gurneys, through tables of instruments and over corpses until Ravi finally smashes the vial. I haven’t laughed so hard during a drama in a long time! It was great.

Major turns in his “zombie killing” sheet for the week saying he checked eight potentials and none of them were zombies. Liv’s annoying roommate (who did manage to get some of Liv’s blood earlier) points out they have some kind of analysis which predicts the probability each person is a zombie and that given the people he checked, it is statistically low that none of them would have been a zombie. Major warns her not to give him the odds (I’m guessing so he can just ruin all their plans). He goes home, flushes the remaining Utopium and then cleans himself up. Liv is downstairs playing with Minor when he says that he can’t just be friends. He wants to try a relationship again. I am kind of rooting for them now. Season 1, I was all about Liv and Lowell but Major is growing on me in a good way. Maybe being with Liv will keep his head on straight and get him out of the zombie killing game.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

iZombie 1.04: "Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues"

“Love ain’t always enough.”

“Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues” was an especially good episode of “iZombie.” There was some emotional stuff between Liv and Major, and while I have never been a Liv and Major shipper, it was very well written and performed, and it was affecting. The mystery of the week was also constructed especially well. Two seemingly disparate cases came together at the end in a very unexpected way that confirmed the random nature of life (what can I say, I’m a bad Presbyterian, not believing in predestination and all that jazz). I think this might just be my favorite episode of “iZombie” thus far. Nothing since has left me as emotionally wrecked as season 1’s “Patriot Brains” when Lowell is killed, but this was definitely a solid effort. I will be very interested to see where the story goes next.

As the episode opens, three young boys (tween or young teen age) are goofing off around the neighborhood when they find a random gun. One of the kids, of course, decides to try firing it into the air. Miraculously, nobody dies. I thought that’s where the story was going to go at first. We also learn from a television news report that a convenience store clerk in a ritzy neighborhood was shot to death, and there is a manhunt for the killer. Peyton watches the news story while at the gym, which is where Liv finds her. Liv wants to thank her for the birthday cake, and they have a really sweet reconciliation conversation. Peyton has had enough time to recover from the shock of Liv being a zombie, and now she wants to support Liv. Plus she wants to learn all about what it’s like to be a zombie.

Major wakes up next to Gilda (the Max Rager minion who also happens to be Liv’s roommate). Major gets a text from Ravi and rushes home. Apparently he was supposed to drive Ravi to work, but he’s too late. Ravi already called Liv for backup. Liv and Major still are seriously awkward around each other, which shows just how much of a downward spiral Major is in. Before the awkward can really marinate, though, Liv and Ravi get a new case. Because of the big manhunt, there’s only a skeleton crew working the case Babineaux has been assigned. The victim is named Lacey, and she was a country music fan and musician. Liv makes a very important discovery before she even eats Lacey’s brain. Lacey had a whole stash of letters she worte to her boyfriend, Sue (got a chuckle out of the “Boy Named Sue” obvious reference), while he was in prison. The letters were all returned unopened.

Back at the police station, Babineaux is introduced to FBI agent Dale Bozzio, who is going to be working on high profile disappearances like the disappearance of Terrence Fowler (the husband of the victim in the previous episode). Babineaux then pays a visit to the morgue, where Liv has had her fill of Lacey’s brains and is a little bit country now. The pair decide to start their investigation at the pawn shop where Sue works. At the pawn shop, Sue tells them that Lacey cheated on him while he was in prison. He also uses his boss as an alibi. He’s a prickly one, for sure. As she is about to leave the shop, Liv buys a guitar. When she gets home, she starts writing a song, which will eventually tell the story of Lacey and Sue.

That evening, Ravi has a date night at home with Stephanie, his current girlfriend. They are making out on the couch when Peyton shows up and interrupts things. She says Major told her she could crash at the house while she is waiting for her new place to be ready. Which is, I think, supposed to be another example of how Major is losing it. The meeting between Ravi’s current girlfriend and ex is awkward, but not as awkward as it could have been. Stephanie congratulates Ravi on dating someone as hot as Peyton and seems to mean it. Meanwhile, Babineaux and Liv go to Lacey’s former workplace, a country bar, of course. The manager, Rick, mentions that Lacey owed someone money. A frequent bar patron says he heard a very heated argument between Lacey and Rick not that long before she died. While Babineaux and Liv are talking with the patron, Rick goes out to his car and takes off. While still at the country bar, Liv has a vision of Rick trying to hit on Lacey in exchange for a cash advance. It’s pretty gross.

Across town, Blaine and his goons talk about how now two of their customers have died. Blaine is pissed because those two customers were a very lucrative income stream. One of the goons says he has found Gabriel, the Utopium dealer from the boat party who stumbled upon the zombie-making recipe. He now seems to be preaching or leading NA or something (or both). Blaine confronts him and tries to finally get the tainted Utopium formula out of him, but Gabriel refuses, even when Blaine resorts to violence. Meanwhile, Peyton is trying to negotiate a plea deal with anyone who can get her information on Mr. Boss, and it’s not going well. Everyone is too scared to spill anything about the crime lord.

Rick and his pregnant wife show up at the police station so that Rick can give a statement. The wife thinks that Lacey was in love with Rick and that it wasn’t reciprocated. Babineaux and Liv force Rick to admit the truth to his wife, although Rick still insists that he didn’t kill Lacey. The damage is already done, though. The pregnant wife is pissed, and an attempted slap fight ensues. The wife says she doesn’t know where Rick was on the night Lacey was murdered, and he didn’t get home that night until midnight. Rick is immediately arrested.

While Babineaux is trying to get paperwork done, Agent Bozzio is trying to befriend him. Her way in is asking him for the best place to get food within walking distance of the station. The conversation is interrupted because Rick’s wife is ready to give a statement. She agrees with everything Babineaux says, even when he makes up details, so he knows she is lying. Meanwhile, Liv goes back to the country bar to perform the song she has been writing. While she is singing, Babineaux leaves her a message. He had to let Rick go, but he now suspects Sue, because his alibi didn’t hold up. Sue, of course, happens to be watching Liv’s performance. While Babineaux is leaving the message, the mother of one of the kids from the opening scene stops by the station to turn in the gun her son found. Babineaux shoos her off to a coworker.

Singing the song makes Liv want to go see Major, but Sue stops her in the parking lot. At first the encounter seems threatening, but Sue just says he likes the song, and he’s sorry he screwed things up with Lacey because he loved her. Liv ends up telling major that she will always love him, but it’s over for good. Major just shuts the door on her. Liv isn’t going to take that, though. She gives him a piece of her mind before finally leaving. The next morning, Ravi comes home to find Major on the couch playing video games with the door open and their dog missing. Understandably, Ravi is pissed. Meanwhile, Blaine is still trying to get the tainted Utopium recipe. He is keeping Gabriel in a coffin, and when Gabriel continues to refuse to give up the recipe, Blaine has one of his goons turn Gabriel into a zombie.

Blaine pays a visit to Peyton, where he offers to tell her exactly how Mr. Boss imports all his drugs, including Utopium, in exchange for immunity for any crimes he is about to admit to. Peyton takes him up on the offer. Later, Peyton pays a visit to Liv, and they have some girl chat. Peyton expresses her dislike of Liv’s new roommate, Gilda, and suggests Liv should do a background check. She also mentions she met someone at work. Does Blaine have to destroy everyone in Liv’s life? Speaking of Blaine, when Gabriel is fully zombified and still won’t give up the Utopium recipe, Blaine kicks hi out on the street.

Babineaux and Liv are at the station when Babineaux’s coworker who took in the gun is being congratulated. It was the gun used in the convenience clerk shooting, and it was found near Lacey’s neighborhood. It turns out that the shooter was trying to evade police, and he ended up in Lacey’s house. While there, he strangled her to death. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. At home, Ravi has found his and Major’s dog, and he yells at Major for not taking better care of it. Major, hitting a low point, goes and tries to score Utopium from one of the kids he used to work with at Helter Shelter. The kid laughs and offers Major a free hit. Liv is brooding and writing a new song when Major stops by. Crying, he says he needs help. She gives him a hug, which turns into a make-out session. This can’t possibly end well.

Blindspot 1.08: "Persecute Envoys"

“We thought the benefits outweighed the costs. We were wrong.”
- Mayfair

This is the week we supposedly get answers on Operation Daylight. Weller is still pissed with Mayfair for lying but we learn that she, Carter and another woman were brought in and given a directive by the White House Chief of Staff to use NSA intelligence collected on American citizens to stop crime. Mayfair used Guerrero as her “creative” way to get information. She claims they would have brought him in if she could find him but she had no idea where he was. In flashback, we see that at first Mayfair is appalled by the directive and doesn’t want to do it given the possibility of jail time if they were found out not to mention it is a huge invasion of privacy on the population. I have a feeling though that Carter will talk her into it since none of them can leave unless all three of them agree to move forward. The more interesting part of this backstory turns out to be Mayfair’s relationship with the third person in their little group, Sophia. They fall in love and the things just start falling part. Their contact at the NSA goes public and the Chief of Staff disavows any knowledge of the program. Carter is his usual asshole self and ultimately Sophia kills herself, leaving a note for Mayfair. I like that we got some history on Mayfair and that we know what is motivating her now. But it is rather sad that all of these people seem to have such tragedy in their pasts.

The case of the week revolves around two cops who were shot execution style. Thanks to Patterson we know that their murders were predicted by one of Jane’s tattoos. Apparently these two cops were among a group of five who were present when a young black man was shot (unarmed) in a grocery store parking lot. Gotta hand it to them for using current news stories. I even liked how the different characters reacted to it. While the officer who pulled the trigger was fired, he wasn’t indicted. The NYPD district is not pleased to have the feds brought in to investigate but they need someone on the outside to help catch the killer. In talking to one of the dead officer’s partners, we learn that they wear body cams now (which personally I think makes a lot of sense for all cops) and so we get to witness the murders via footage. That pretty much sucks a lot.

While other analysts are going through video footage to see if they can find the killer, Weller asks Jane what she would do if someone she trusted let her down. She responds that if it was forgivable, she’d forgive but since none of the team has let her down, she doesn’t know how she’d react if the action was unforgiveable. They don’t have time to ponder it further because one of the analysts gets a hit on a pro football player who threatened to kill one of the officers. Thanks to groupies and social media, Zapata finds where the football guy is and the team heads to the party to have a little chat. Of course the minute the guy sees Weller’s badge he takes off running. It kind of takes the whole team to take him down. But hey, I liked the teamwork!

Through the interrogation, we learn that the football player got the cops called on him by his neighbors and then they got an anonymous letter demanding $50,000. So yes, the closeted player threatened one of the cops. Unfortunately, even though the team thinks he is the killer, it turns out they may be very wrong when the cop’s partner is found dead. It also turns out that the football player’s gun doesn’t match any of the killings so they need to find themselves a new suspect.

Through some more digging, the team figures out that the three dead cops were not extorting people after all. And the dummy account had money from lots of different people. Thanks to the football player saying the photos of him having sex looked like pictures of pictures, Patterson realizes someone was taking photos of body cam footage from the archive at the precinct. Too bad everyone has access to it (yeah shared passwords are stupid). The team is pretty frustrated and Mayfair isn’t helping things. Weller is still pissed at her and wants to make sure they do things by the book instead of going the way of possibly using Daylight. Understandable but he does need to calm down just a touch.

Patterson really come through this week in her skills. Thanks to some sleuthing on the social security number used to set up the dummy account where all the money was sent, they figure out which two cops are responsible for the deaths. They used the hostility in the neighborhood to cover up their mess. And they have headed right for one of the dead cop’s widows. Weller and Jane show up and a firefight ensues, complete with smoke/light bomb. Weller takes out of the cops and Jane lands the other one in surgery with a nice shot to the knee. Mayfair has filled in the Captain of the precinct and he demands to see the surviving cop. This is a big clue that he’s in on it and Mayfair takes him out by crashing her car. Weller sees her at the hospital and says he still doesn’t trust her (but hey at least he listened to Jane when she was all concerned about him). One way or another this is all going to catch up to her someday.

The end of the episode is pretty hilarious. The girls go out for drinks where Jane confesses she sneaks out of her safe house sometimes and rides the subway just to feel normal. Zapata points out she’s not normal. And Weller goes home and shares a drink with his dad. That’s progress! Alas I fear we will not be free of Carter any time soon since he basically blackmails Zapata into keeping him up to date on Jane. He is a despicable human being and I really want Jane to just take him out.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fresh off the Boat 2.05: "Miracle on Dead Street"

“I saw our bucket on her fire escape a week later. She planted aloe vera in it.”

If you’ve ever spent any time reading MTVP (anybody? Anybody?), you know that Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love Halloween for most of the same reasons Louis mentions in this episode. It’s a chance to be somebody else for a day, and that’s a lot of fun. I’m pretty crafty, so I really enjoy planning out the perfect costume. As a Halloween lover, I really appreciated that this episode was really an ode to Halloween. It’s the Huang’s first Halloween in the Orlando suburbs, and to them, it is their first “real” suburban Halloween. Halloween in DC’s Chinatown wasn’t much of a Halloween. Most of the family is super excited, but as you’d expect, Jessica just finds the whole thing silly. Much family hilarity and hijinks ensue.

Like I said, most of the Huang family are very excited for Halloween, but for different reasons. The kids, even Eddie, who is kind age-wise of on that borderline between trick-or-treating and going to parties, really want to stuff themselves full of candy. There’s a great scene where Eddie describes what Trick-or-Treating was like back in Chinatown, and we see the three Huang kids roll up to an apartment door. The older woman who answers it takes their candy bucket instead of putty any candy in it. For Louis, Halloween seems to fall in the same category as school dances. One of those stereotypical American things he is desperate to experience but hasn’t gotten the opportunity yet. We see a flashback of him flinging candy out a Chinatown window to unimpressed passers-by.

The one Huang who isn’t excited for Halloween is Jessica. She’s very wrapped up in the new investment house that she and Honey have been painstakingly readying for sale. The contractor has finally finished his work, and Jessica scoffs as he gives her the business card of an exterminator he recommends to spray for termites. Jessica doesn’t believe in termites, apparently. The contractor is reluctant to go to his truck because some teenage boys are loitering across the street, and they are really, really good at insulting people. Jessica doesn’t see what the big deal is, so she goes and gets the paperwork herself. She and the boys get into it, and they threaten to egg the investment house on Halloween night.

Jessica is appalled by the fact that someone might mess up her house she has spent so much money on, so she wants the rest of the family to help her guard the house and keep the boys from vandalizing it. Meanwhile, all of Eddie’s friends start to gather at the Huang house for Trick-or-Treating. There are some awesome classic 90’s costumes in the mix, including the Mask. Louis has Eddie take the younger kids along with him so that Jessica can feel free to go try and guard the investment house. Louis, dressed as Mr. T, doesn’t want to help Jessica with this particular issue. He thinks the eggs won’t be too difficult to clean up later, and it’s just harmless kid stuff. Plus he really, really wants to hand out candy. Disgusted, Jessica leaves for the investment house alone.

Louis is very sad about the fact that his street has a reputation for being a “dead” street on Halloween. Kids don’t choose it for their Trick-or-Treating. Louis wants to talk to the HOA and see if they can do something about it. Hilariously, his youngest son Evan is in charge of the HOA, so Louis pulls some strings to get a spot on the agenda of the next meeting. The regulars at the meeting are pretty unhappy with the agenda shift – they would rather complain about the plantings in the community garden, and they accuse Evan of nepotism. Louis’ big speech about why he loves Halloween, however, wins the neighbors over. He wants them to decorate to the hilt to finally become a Halloween destination for kids, and the neighbors do it. Watching them all try to hastily convert Christmas decorations into Halloween ones is pretty funny, and Louis is ecstatic that his plan worked, and he may actually get to experience an ideal suburban Halloween.

Jessica and Honey stand guard in front of the investment house. Honey is dressed in a Miss Piggy costume, and Jessica just doesn’t get it. She thinks Halloween is foolish, and she doesn’t think there should be any excuse for bad behavior. As time passes, the kids still don’t show up. Honey’s husband does show up, though, dressed in a Kermit costume. They are planning to go to a Halloween party, and the party takes precedent over guarding the house for Honey. Jessica is upset, but Honey shares Louis’ opinion that kids are going to be kids, and the threat of egging isn’t really all that big a deal. So Jessica is left alone at the investment house, with just her and a lacrosse stick between the boys and the house. Meanwhile, Louis is having the time of his life handing out candy. He is gleefully trying to guess the kids’ costumes, and he gets most of them wrong.

Near the end of the evening, though, Louis looks over at the pumpkin wearing the Mrs. T wig he bought for Jessica, and he realizes that he let her down, and that’s not acceptable. He gathers up the kids (including Eddie’s friends), and they all take the van to the investment house. It turns out to be good timing, because just as they’re all piling out of the van, the boys show up, letting go with the taunts right away. Eddie’s got a great plan, though. He has enlisted help of the only people who could possibly scare off obnoxious teenage boys. Obnoxious teenage girls. Nicole and her posse of high school friends arrive on the scene, and they taunt the boys, “Mean Girls” style, until they run off. Jessica is so happy that the investment house has been saved that she offers to take the boys to do more Trick-or-Treating. Meanwhile, there’s a much bigger threat gathering in the investment house. Termites, of course.

Once Upon a Time 5.07: "Nimue"

“It’s easier to live with the darkness when you dress it up as vengeance.”
- Merlin

This week is kind of make or break it for Emma. The gang is going to try to put Excalibur back together in Camelot (and also in Storybrooke) but it is going to take a dangerous journey. Merlin says he and Emma need to make a trip to get the fire from Prometheus and it will require confronting the original Dark One (who I am still convinced is Merlin’s lover). Either they will succeed or Emma goes dark and kills Merlin. No pressure (and Hook needs to just calm down already). We had endure Hook getting all lovey dovey on Emma before she goes. He gifts her a ring.

We are also getting some interesting backstory on Merlin. We first meet him as a runaway slave 1,000 years before Arthur even comes along. He and another slave are running through the desert when they spot a chalice in the distance. Merlin asks permission to drink and he isn’t destroyed like his friend (it seems it is similar to how Excalibur chooses people to pull it out). He also discovers he has magic. We then catch up with him 200 years later and he meets young Nimue. For some reason he can’t see her future. A few years later, Merlin wants to propose but he sees an obstacle. His magic is from the Holy Grail and he can’t see a way to let Nimue drink from it. But he’s got another option. They forge the grail into a sword that can cut away his magic and they can be married and live normal lives. And it looks like I might wrong that she is the original Dark One (since we see the masked being watching them run off). They get to Nimue’s village and they find that the street is full of cups. Merlin realizes that the bad guy was looking for the grail. Nimue gets angry about the whole loss of her village and she rants a bit about what she would do with magic but Merlin reminds her they already made their decision and they need to get going. They finally reach the fire and Merlin forges the sword but the bad guy shows up and ultimately kills Nimue. Or so we think. She drank from the grail while Merlin was casting the detection spell. She ends up ripping out the guy’s heart and despite Merlin begging, she crushes the guy’s heart and became the first Dark One. We see the flame go out and she breaks the sword to keep Merlin from cutting away either of their magic away. Poor Merlin.

While Merlin and Emma head off to find the spark, the rest of the Charmings are trying to plot their infiltration of the castle to secure Excalibur. It’s Zelena who has a plan that won’t get them caught. It’s a little used tunnel. Unfortunately, Arthur’s paranoia is gotten to the point he’s willing to use crazy magic to melt our heroes! Hook, Regina, Robin and Charming sneak into the castle and avoid getting caught, at first. Outside, Zelena bests Snow (she is seriously turned into an idiot!).

Out in the forest, Emma admits that she’s done some bad things including hurting Henry, just in time for them to go climb a really big hill to find the spark. Now all Merlin has to worry about is whether he comes down or not. Emma has to use the Dark One dagger to call forth the spirit of the first Dark One. Apparently the fire went out when the Dark One took it and keeps it in an ember. Emma gives herself a little pep talk as she summons the spirit. And it turns out I was right after all! Nimue is the original Dark One! Things look pretty tense for a bit there when Emma uses her magic (although it looks like Nimue is forcing her to do it) to take out Merlin. She even chokes him out while Nimue taunts her about taking in the darkness to avoid going back to being nothing. Emma rails against this and declares quite violently that she was never nothing and doesn’t need the power. She retrieves the ember from Nimue but the old Dark One promises that the sword that will be forged doesn’t have just one purpose and one day Emma will need Nimue again and she will be there.

As Emma and Merlin head back to Camelot to reunite the sword and the dagger, Zelena betrays the group and allows Arthur to bind Merlin’s soul to the rest of Excalibur. At least Arthur doesn’t force Merlin to kill anyone. That’s good at least. But Arthur is still power mad and a lunatic. He and Zelena are quite well made for each other. I still don’t know how Emma is going to go all the way dark but I guess we will find out soon (we are rapidly running out of episodes on this arc of the season).

Back in Storybrooke, we find Emma in her cave with the two pieces of the sword. She’s ready to do what she’s been planning but first she gets to be joined not only by Rumple and Nimue but every other Dark One ever. I guess she can’t really ever be alone with her thoughts as the Dark One, eh? Anyway, she uses the spark, succeeding in re-forging the sword. She hesitates and remembers Merlin’s warning to her as a girl in the movie theater but Nimue and Rumple convince her to take up the power it represents so they can cut away the light forever. Oh Emma, you really should have listened to Merlin. This is not going to end well. Although I have a feeling by the end of this arc she won’t be the Dark One anymore. At least that’s my guess. I could be completely wrong since the last three seasons have had fairly distinct arcs that don’t entirely tie in to one another.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Doctor Who 9.07: "The Zygon Invasion"

“I’m the peace. Human and Zygon.”
- Osgood

Finally we get back to plot points set up during the 50th Anniversary special. Alas it is not the “let’s find Galifrey” plotline. It’s the Zygon plotline. We see a recorded video of both Osgoods (it’s unclear which is which but that’s probably the point). It does make me wonder which one died thanks to Missy. Anyway, they explain that there is a peace treaty allowing 20 million Zygons living on Earth in disguise. If the peace treaty ever breaks down there is a protocol in place (the Osgood box). Well it seems there is a break down as Osgood (the remaining one) gets kidnapped by some Zygons. At UNIT Kate fears the worst when the encrypted locations of all the Zygons is hacked. Clara is missing in action as the Doctor goes to talk to the Zygon high command (who are going about as two seven-year-old girls). They claim they are handling things but I have a feeling they aren’t going to be solving much of anything.

As the Doctor heads to UNIT and he and Kate watch a video with Osgood claiming that all traitors will be killed, Clara heads home and sees some of her voice mails from the Doctor. She is clueless to what’s going on around her. She sees a neighbor boy on the stairs who claims he can’t find his parents. She heads into his apartment and his parents appear but they are acting super creepy. Yeah, either they are rogue Zygons or he is. I’m betting they are, though. Finally, she gets to UNIT and the Doctor is not happy about the situation. Kate says that they should just bomb the crap out of the rogue Zygons. After all, they did just assassinate the original high command on video. It seems these fringe Zygons are claiming they were sold and forced to assume human form.

The Doctor manages to talk Kate out of said bombing. He’s going to head to see about negotiating and saving Osgood while Kate heads to New Mexico to see if she can find out what’s going on there (Osgood was last pinged in New Mexico). Clara and one of the other UNIT people are supposed to stay in the UK and fight for the country but they end up in a lift that goes to some weird place (because of course there’s a lift in Clara’s apartment that’s al tricked out with Zygon tech). They somehow manage to get back to UNIT and do a little digging and find that there have been odd incidents all around London in elevators with people disappearing. It has to be related to what’s happening elsewhere.

The Doctor gets to the Middle East just as the military is about to launch a drone strike on the Zygon base. The soldier who is supposed to execute the strike can’t do it at the time because the Zygons that appear look like her family. How they knew to look like that is a mystery to me. But I’m kind of glad they did it because the Doctor has more time to try and save people. The lead soldier on the base explains that they think the facility is a training camp of some sort. So they’ve got that to explore, too.

In New Mexico Kate finds the sheriff’s station mostly empty except for a single deputy. She’s pretty freaked out and asks if Kate came alone or with back up. She also thinks Kate is a Zygon (although she doesn’t know that’s what they are called). Kate learns that the displaced Zygons headed there and for a while it was okay but then they started getting in fights and then sort of banded together in factions until one day one of them just turned into a full-on Zygon. Oh boy. And there’s lots of dead bodies lying all around. That can’t be good!

The Doctor and the military folks are heading to the compound and the strike is still on. The Doctor and the leader head around back while the rest of the team is supposed to be drawing the Zygons out to give them an in. It goes horribly awry when the Zygons appear as the soldiers’ family members. The soldiers get lured to their deaths and it turns out the soldiers were also Zygons. Very interesting. Lucky for the Doctor he finds Osgood. Too bad the soldiers are already bombing the hell out of the place and the two of them get stuck underground with a knocked out Zygon. Or maybe it’s a good thing so they can interrogate it. Well, the Zygon wants to take over the world. Good times.

Clara and her UNIT pal go down the elevator to the underground area and see that there are all kinds of pods. I have to admit I didn’t see this twist coming. Maybe I should have but I didn’t. The UNIT soldiers are all Zygons (the pods are full of human since you know, they don’t grow duplicates) and the get executed. The Clara we’ve been seeing is actually one of the rogue Zygons. It actually reminds me a little of the plot in “The Almost People” with Amy being a duplicate. We see the moment when Clara got nabbed (when she was checking on the little neighbor boy). The Doctor is not going to be happy about this betrayal. He’s going to have to fight like hell to stop all of this drama from going down.

In the end, Kate gets neutralized and fake Clara takes a freaking rocket launcher to the Doctor’s plane. While I like that they are picking up threads introduced in the 50th Anniversary special, this isn’t the one I’d have gone with, to be honest. I would have much preferred the search for Galifrey. Sure the Doctor doesn’t really want to be around his people but it would be much more interesting. And the Zygons just aren’t that gripping. And this is the second episode where they’ve referenced the “hybrid” (thank you Davros). I don’t really care about the hybrid. I just want good stories.