Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 2.12: "Love and Loopholes"

“I lost two pounds but gained a wife.”

“Love and Loopholes” was the “Fresh off the Boat” creative team’s attempt at a Valentine’s Day episode. Other characters (mostly Emery, Marvin, and Honey) try to impose on Jessica and Louis their idea of how a ouple should act on Valentine’s Day. Also, Eddie goes through the types of misadventures you’d expect trying to get Allison tickets to a Janet Jackson concert for Valentine’s Day. Compared to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and holiday season episodes, there aren’t as many Valentine’s Day episodes of television out there, so it was interesting, on an intellectual level, to watch the creative team try to put their unique spin on the holiday. The Huangs can’t do anything like a stereotypical American family, after all. Everything does wrap up in a fairly positive message, though. Basically, you don’t have to engage in typical romantic displays of affection to show love to your partner. Love can come in many forms, and it’s taking care of the little details of what makes someone happy that really matters.

It’s a few days before Valentine’s Day, and Louis and Jessica are having dinner with Marvin and Honey. Marvin and Honey are talking about all the wonderful date nights they have on weekends when Nicole is with her mother. There’s fancy dinners and dancing aplenty. Then Marvin and Honey leave Jessica and Louis just sitting at the dinner table while they go to their bedroom to have sex. This particular moment in the episode just seemed a little bizarre and overwritten. Jessica and Louis eventually head home after wrapping up their leftovers (it seems like this sort of thing is a usual occurrence during social gatherings with Marvin and Honey), and when post-coital, Honey pitches the idea to Marvin that they watch the Huang kids the next day so that Jessica and Louis can have a Valentine’s date night. They seem to think it’s rather tragic that Jessica and Louis don’t have romantic outings very often.

When Honey makes the babysitting offer, Jessica and Louis are kind of offended that Honey thinks they need romantic time, as if there’s something wrong with how they are living their lives. After thinking about it a bit, though, they think it might be nice to have a quiet evening to themselves after all. Emery, the womanizer of the Huang boys, is especially happy to hear his parents will be getting a date night. As he puts together the “love wall” in his room (a collection of all the Valentines he received at school hung on the wall of his room), he explains to his parents that he sees their relationship as a model of what romantic love should be.

Meanwhile, Eddie has told his girlfriend, Alison, that he got Janet Jackson tickets for Valentine’s Day. There’s just one problem though, that he reveals to Evan and Embry. He hasn’t exactly gotten the tickets yet. He is counting on winning them from a radio station giveaway. Eddie and his friend Trent are going to use both the main phone line and the fax phone line to make double the calls. At first, the plan isn’t working. Getting through is more difficult than Eddie and Trent thought it was going to be. Suddenly, though, Trent hits pay dirt. The next day, however, when Eddie asks Trent if he picked up the tickets, Trent reveals that he’s been a huge Janet Jackson fan for years, and he intends to use one of the tickets. He tells Eddie that he is going to have to choose whether he or Alison will go to the concert.

On Valentine’s Day, Evan and Emery are dropped off at Marvin and Honey’s house, and then the Huangs drop Eddie off at the concert. Marvin is excited about having sons for the day, and he brings the boys into his office to dispense advice and play “dare or dare.” The first dare is for Emery to go rearrange Louis’ sock drawer. Somehow, both Marvin and Emery think this is a super entertaining idea. Emery goes back to his house to find his parents there. Since this is a sitcom, I figured Emery was going to catch them having sex, but this is Jessica and Louis Huang, so they are very happily working on their taxes. With two businesses and three children, apparently the Huang taxes are quite complicated. A devastated Emery starts taking all the Valentines down off his wall. He tells his parents that his ideals about romantic love are now shattered. Louis and Jessica try to restore Emery’s faith by making out in front of him (which is just weird), but it’s just super awkward. While Emery is gone, Evan dares Marvin to tell him a secret Honey doesn’t know. Marvin tells Emery that Honey is his third wife, not his second, as Honey believes.

At the Janet Jackson concert, Trent is surprised when both Eddie and Alison show up. Eddie thinks he has a plan to get all three of them into the show. He offers to trade their two tickets for three slightly worse tickets that a scalper has available. As you might expect, though, the scalper just grabs Eddie’s two tickets and runs before giving him the three alternative tickets. So the kids are left with nothing. Janet’s managers see them sitting dejectedly outside the venue, trying to hear the concert, and they take pitty. They offer VIP passes for the next evening’s concert. The kids are stoked. When they return the next day, though, they find out that they aren’t actually going to be in the VIP area – they’ve got obstructed view seats. I guess it’s an upgrade that they’re actually in the venue this time, though.

Honey and Marvin agree to watch the younger boys a second time so that Jessica and Louis can have a real date night. Honey is pissed at Marvin because Emery has let the cat out of the bag about her being Marvin’s third wife. That whole conflict is wrapped up pretty neatly, though, when Honey overhears Marvin explaining to Evan and Emery how real love is being considerate and taking care of each other. He gives an example of when Honey made him his favorite eggs. Emery goes home and overhears his parents back at working on the taxes. He hears it in a different way this time, though. They are each proud of each other for remembering little details that will give them deductions. This is how they take care of their family and show their love, even if it’s a bit unconventional.

Marvel’s Agent Carter 2.09: “A Little Song and Dance”

“Unlike you, I’m not a murderer.”
“And yet everyone around you dies.”
- Peggy and Jarvis

Much like the last episode, this one has a lot of emotion in it, too. It’s kind of like all hands on deck as we round the final bend to the season finale. Before we get into the real meat of the episode though, we get that great dream sequence. It starts off in black and white and Peggy has a chat with her dead brother, Michael. He says he wishes he could be by her side and then things take on a green tinge as Peggy winds up back at the coffee shop in New York with Angie. The dream sequence then transitions into a big song and dance number about Peggy choosing between Wilkes and Sousa. I have to say I laughed pretty hard at this bit. It was a great bizarre way to kick off the episode and address the lingering romantic issues. Sure, Wilkes kind of betrayed them but he also sort of didn’t have a choice. When Peggy wakes up, she and Jarvis are in the back of a truck and tied up. Peggy is also extremely cross with Jarvis for what he did. He’s not apologizing though. Once they make their escape, they do get to have some very harsh but needed words with one another. It was almost as emotional as when he was pleading with Anna to wake up. Some of what he’s feeling is clearly related to the fact that he and Anna no longer can have children and she doesn’t know yet. Once that little chestnut is revealed, some of Peggy’s anger disappears. But they don’t have time to hug it out because Whitney and her boyfriend have realized they’ve escaped and have sent goons after them to kill them. Lucky for our heroes, Peggy is a badass and a quick thinker and gets the jump on them. She’s off to try and stop Whitney but she tasks Jarvis with being by Anna’s side in the hospital. Anna is touched that he would show up and pamper her so much but she insists he needs to go help Peggy see the mission through. She really is a remarkable woman. He also gets to tell her the truth about their childbearing issues. We don’t actually hear the scene but I’m sure it was emotional.

Elsewhere in the desert, Jack, Sousa and the scientist are in similar dire straits with goons. These ones were sent by Vernon though and are supposed to kill all of them. But with some smooth talking by Jack and a strategically timed gut punch to Sousa’s belly, they all get back to the SSR alive. And thus begins the plan with about six different layers to it that carries us through the rest of the episode.

At first we think Jack is playing just Vernon and that he convinces Vernon to let Sousa and the scantiest fix the canon to deliver to Whitney so they can kill her. Since they all kind of have dirt on each other, they will all stay quiet so no one has to get shot in the head. Lucky for the boys, Vernon buys this plan. Of course things are a little touch and go when Peggy gets back and starts pounding on Vernon. Girl’s got some swing on her! They kind of fill her in on the plan before Jack heads out to get Whitney to agree to some more time to fix the canon.

She’s running out of time, or rather Wilkes is. He can only hold back the Zero Matter for a little while longer which annoys Whitney because she has been trying for hours to extract it from him. He’s concerned that he’s kind of a nuclear weapon now and will take out everyone but she doesn’t care. She just wants what she think she’s owed. Which lets her buy into Jack’s lie about Vernon double crossing her. He claims he wants a seat on the Council and he’ll deliver Vernon to her. And that’s not even the biggest double cross going down on this plan!

Peggy and Sousa find out through the scientist that Jack wanted him to turn the canon into a bomb with a remote trigger that runs on radio waves. He says Jack said it was Sousa’s idea. I suppose this is one way to take out Whitney and Vernon in one fell swoop. But it also potentially kills Wilkes and Peggy isn’t okay with that. So she and Sousa demand the scientist build a device to jam the signal. Peggy isn’t going to sit around and wait for him to get the device working. She needs to rescue Wilkes.

But it turns out that she’s not going to be able to save him. He says that all the things he did (including holding a gun to her head) were of his own volition, not the Zero Matter talking and he ends up locking himself in the facility and forcing Peggy to leave before he goes boom. Also trying to get out before things go boom is Jack. He pulls a gun on Vernon after they show Whitney how to use the device. He tosses Vernon under the proverbial bus and then ducks out. Whitney is going to kill Vernon so that solves one problem. But when Jack goes to blow the place, the trigger doesn’t work. After much shouting and arguing by the SSR team, the trigger is made active again. But it’s unclear whether Jack actually gets to press the button. Because just as Whitney realizes that Jack did, Wilkes stumbles into the room and all of the Zero Matter comes pouring out of him almost like Venom from Spiderman.

I must admit that’s one hell of a way to end the penultimate episode. I honestly can’t imagine how they are going to wrap everything up in the final hour. There’s so much left to be dealt with that I almost wish it was another two hour episode. But we’re only being gifted with one so they writers had better do a bang up job.

Marvel’s Agent Carter 2.08: “The Edge of Mystery”

“You can go back to your wife knowing full well I’ll make this right.”
- Peggy

This episode was quite emotional for a lot of reasons. When last we left, Sousa had been beaten up and Anna had been shot. Oh and Jack has been tasked with digging up dirt on Peggy. So while he’s in London pretending to get drunk and snagging a file from MI-5, Peggy and Sousa are trying to hunt down Whitney and get Wilkes back. Their task isn’t going to be very easy, though.

First, we find that Whitney manages to appeal to Wilkes’ scientific mind and convinces him to consider how to control the Zero Matter. She wants to study him (and allow him to study her) so they can fully comprehend what’s happened to them both. And they also kind of bond over hearing this creepy voice in their heads. Yeah, I honestly don’t trust her. And for some reason that I only just realized, Whitney kind of reminds me a little of Petra from Jane the Virgin. Strange, I know.

We also get a sweet flashback to the prior season where Anna overhears Jarvis talking to Peggy on one of her first missions to help clear Howard’s name. It was very sweet and it transitions rather painfully into Jarvis trying to tune a radio in Anna’s hospital room. After Peggy leaves, eh starts making all kinds of promises to his wife if she’ll just wake up. She does but things aren’t looking so good. I’m assuming she’ll still be able to walk but she can no longer have children. I was expecting her to have been pregnant and lost a baby but then again, that’s a pretty common trope on TV so I’m glad they didn’t go there. I have to say though, James D’Arcy did a marvelous job in this episode. This scene itself was heartbreaking and his demeanor the rest of the episode was just so emotional in his desire to avenge his wife.

Thanks to Jack getting back to town and trying to frame and blackmail Peggy, he overhears Vernon get a call from Whitney (after Peggy and Sousa pay her boyfriend a visit to tell him they’ll exchange the uranium for Wilkes) at SSR headquarters. This all comes to pass after Peggy and Sousa try to trick Whitney with fake rods. They also learn that Wilkes has changed teams. Sousa gave up the location of the rods to save Peggy from getting shot. I guess this helps in the Sousa or Wilkes love triangle debate. Unfortunately for Jack, he gets his brain zapped and doesn’t remember what happened. But, he did manage to write down coordinates of where Whitney needs the rods delivered. She’s going to try recreating the experiment that created Zero Matter in the first place. So the team has to race to get there to try and stop them. But first, a few additions to the usual trio. The easily offended scientist is coming along because he gets to build a gamma pulse canon of Stark’s design (a precursor to what made Bruce Banner the Hulk perhaps) and Jack is coming, too. After all, it appears he is really on their side and he was just being led around by Vernon like an obedient puppy. They aren’t sure whether the canon will work (if it will cure Wilkes and kill Whitney) but Jarvis insists on going along too. He tasks Rose with keeping Anna company. When he handed over his will I almost lost it. He really thinks this is going to be a suicide mission. And when Anna sees it (even though it’s kind of hidden) she just has this look of utter sadness on her face. They really are such a sweet couple.

The episode ends with quite a bang for several people. The uranium manages to open up the rift with the Zero Matter but it seems to only be talking to Wilkes. Whitney is very upset by this as he gets pulled up into the Zero Matter vortex. Jack, Sousa and the scientist are left to try and fiddle with the gamma canon while Peggy races off to try and stop Jarvis from killing Whitney out of revenge. The boys are successful (and Wilkes ends up back on earth in a crater). He’s still alive which was kind of a shock and so is Whitney’s survival of Jarvis shooting her twice. Perhaps he should have aimed for her head. But either way, Whitney thinks that they still need to control Wilkes so she wants her mob boyfriend and his goons to take Peggy and Jarvis alive so they get knocked out (which I’m assuming is what leads to the dream sequence that’s been talked about before). It looks like Jack and Sousa will have to team up to save Peggy this time. I did find it interesting that Peggy and Sousa still haven’t had a real chance to suss out their feelings for each other. I’m rooting for them harder than ever. I seriously just hope Jack isn’t the guy she ends up marrying.

With only two episodes left I’m anxious to see how the story ends. It’s still up in the air whether we get a third season. I hope we do because I just love Peggy and Jarvis and the gang and I want to find out who she marries. If we don’t get another season perhaps the writers will gift the fans with that knowledge anyway. But with this being a Marvel property and all, I suppose the odds are at least a little in our favor to get another adventure with the SSR team. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and thought it not only moved the plot along but gave us some great acting moments from the cast. I fully support Jarvis’ actions and I do wish they’d worked because I rather detest Whitney. But I’m sure most of our team will make it out alive. After all, someone has to go hunt down Dottie when all of this is done.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Galavant 2.10: "The One True King (To Unite Them All)"

“I can’t believe that’s the same guy who cried when he got jelly on his fancy pants!”

The season finale of “Galavant” can best be described as adorable. The actual fighting was wrapped up pretty quickly, and much of the episode was devoted to showing what’s next for all that characters. Especially given the recent shake-up at ABC, it would be a big surprise for “Galavant” to get another season. I’d love to see more adventures with these characters, but if it has to end now, I believe the creative team, unlike last year, ended the story in a satisfying place. Many of our characters have found happiness, although I’m sure if Madalena (and the ABC powers that be) have anything to do with it, she will be interrupting those happy endings as soon as she can! The finale really embraced the quirky sense of humor that has been present throughout the show’s whole run, and that’s really all I can ask for. Timothy Omundson especially was a standout in this one, but when isn’t he really?

I absolutely loved the opening of this episode. We see Gareth and Richard as kids, where Gareth makes the rest of the kids praise and applaud for Richard for every little thing he does. Young Richard, however, realizes that the other kids are just around because he’s going to be King, not because they actually like him. In song, young Richard wonders if he’ll ever become a hero. Just as he starts to really wonder, present-day Richard appears, and he basically tells his younger self that most of the cool stuff he hoped would happen hasn’t happened. Present-day Richard, in some beautiful vocal work by Omundson, then starts to wonder if he still has a chance to be something more. Richard finally comes to his senses, though, and we find out he’s been singing to himself in front of all the Valencians and Hortensians. He brushes them off, saying he was just conversing with his “inner child.”

The zombies seem to be about to break through the castle gate, but there’s a last second reprieve. Galavant starts hearing “Off With His Shirt,” and the music turns out to be coming from Sid leading an army of all of the different groups of people the characters encountered through the second season of the show (although not any of the expensive leads . . . just the extras!). With a “men and women of the second season, attack!” Sid leads the charge, hoping for redemption. Sid and his army join Galavant in the castle, and Galavant plans out the attack. Galavant and Gareth are going to lead the offensive while Isabella and Richard flank them on horseback. Unfortunately, Galavant and Gareth get cornered by zombies thanks to Wormwood’s D’DEW.

Galavant and Gareth may be out of commission, but Richard and Isabella aren’t. Madalena has gone to pick out a weapon, and Isabella confronts her. There’s lots of sparring between the two, as you’d expect, both verbal and physical. Eventually it devolves into a full-on cat fight. Richard and Wormwood do some verbal sparring, too. Wormwood thinks he can disarm Richard using D’DEW, and Richard’s sword goes flying right into a stone, where of course it gets stuck. Wormwood then makes the mistake of tossing Tad Cooper away, and Tad seems to not survive the fall. This awakens a “dragon” in Richard, and Wormwood can’t retrieve the sword from the stone to defend himself.

Richard keeps repeating “you killed my dragon,” and he breaks Wormwood’s magic wand he was using to control the zombies. The wand destroyed, the zombies stop attacking and the castle gate opens (Wormwood had locked it so Galavant and Gareth couldn’t escape). The armies all watch and Wormwood and Richard (who has recovered his sword) fight. Richard eventually deals a (mostly) fatal blow. Isabella takes advantage of the distraction to knock out Madalena. When Madalena comes to, Gareth offers to take her away so they can go be terrible together. Madalena, however, declines. She loves Gareth, but she loves the power of D’DEW even more. She uses the magic to disappear. Richard, for his part, leaves Tad Cooper with Galavant while he goes to run a very important errand. While waiting for Richard’s return, Galavant ends up proposing to Isabella, and the pair sing a song about how now they just want a real life together in a cottage by the sea. With either seven or three children.

Richard, of course, is trying to intercept Roberta before she leaves for Spinster Island. He gets a horseback riding speeding ticket for this trouble, which is kind of hilarious. Roberta is shocked and happy to find out that Richard survived the battle and even killed the bad guy. We then see Galavant and Isabella’s wedding, which is beautiful, of course, and officiated by Weird Al Yankovic and his Monks. Weird Al starts singing us out with an ending montage that shows us where all the characters are now. Galavant and Isabella have their cottage by the sea. Gareth and Sid decide to go on a quest to rescue Madalena. Madalena, however, doesn’t really seem to want to be rescued. When we see her next, he has arrived at the castle of the DEL (the “Dark Evil Lord”). She’s hoping he will make her the most powerful force in the Seven Kingdoms.

The best ending, however, is for Richard. And really, even though the title character is Galavant, this season has all been about Richard’s growth as a person. He went from the sniveling, scared shell of a man we saw last season to a true hero and the One King to Unite them All. He even found love in the process. Anyway, in the final scene of the episode, we see Richard and Roberta in what I presume is their shared home. Roberta reminds Richard that it’s time to feed Tad Cooper, so Richard grabs a sheep and heads outside. We don’t actually see Tad, but from the glow of flames around Richard’s face, it becomes apparent that Tad is, indeed, a dragon. Richard grins and closes out the show by saying “I have a dragon!”

Sunday, February 21, 2016

iZombie 2.12: "Physician, Heal Thy Selfie”

“One hundred and fifty three people watched you unpack a box. How? Why?”
- Ravi

A lot of the different plot threads that have been unfolding this season are finally starting to come together and it is rather uncomfortable for a couple of our characters. Well, all of them really. Not only does Blaine have to deal with realizing that Peyton and Liv know each other and Peyton is ditching him but his former boss is making not-so-idle threats and demanding payment for the drugs Blaine stole after the boat party. And Major isn’t have much luck with Vaughn over at Max Rager, either. Apparently they’ve figured out that the District Attorney is likely a zombie thanks to his credit score and spending habits. Major continues to espouse that the guy is among the living but eventually he changes his story by the end of the episode.

The case of the week is a bit of a complicated one at first. Ravi and Peyton spent the night drinking to ease her woes at work and so he is super hung over the next morning. Liv is equally on edge because she hasn’t eaten anything recently and it doesn’t look like she’ll be getting anything from their triple homicide. All three victims had their heads removed. Well damn! Liv ends up having to eat the brains of a social media obsessed millennial. It amazes me just how obsessed we all are with our phones and social media. Ravi warns Liv that she needs to make sure she doesn’t reveal too many zombie secrets online or else it would be very dangerous for her.

When Liv goes to see Peyton at work for that aforementioned awkward sort of break up with Blaine, she manages to ID the three dead guys (they had photo IDs but the names were fake) off of her evidence wall. They were enforcers for Blaine’s competition and one them was the guy’s nephew. I thought they looked familiar (and I honestly spent a decent chunk of time thinking it was Liv’s new boyfriend Drake who was the killer). But not, apparently it turns out the drug lord sent his goons in to kidnap the District Attorney, not knowing he’s a zombie. Guess they got what they were due in a way. They likely weren’t very nice fellows.

Clive and his FBI girlfriend are also a little confused by the fact that the crime scene of the DA’s house originally looked like the Chaos Killer (aka Major) but knowing now that it wasn’t him just puts Major in even more danger. See, Vaughn is a nut job and he had an internet troll killed for posting negative feedback about the product. I have to say I can’t decide if Vaughn or his character from season 2 of Helix is more annoying. It’s a really close call for me. Vaughn says that he will keep killing trolls until Major actually takes care of the DA.

Speaking of, the cops find the crime scene where the guys lost their heads (a boat) and trace things back to the DA’s cabin. It doesn’t look like anyone’s there but Liv makes the zombie connection and spots the DA hiding out. She feels guilty and so she brings him some brains and they kind of bond a little. He knows he can’t go back now because he’s a killer and either the cops or the drug lord will get him. But it turns out neither of those options is going to happen because Major swoops and in and offers him the drugged ice nap (and a faked photo to get Vaughn to calm down). They make it look like he jumped into the river and committed suicide. Clever. I still can’t wait to see what happens when Liv finds out what he’s been doing.

While all of the drama is going on (and poor Ravi’s liver is hating him), Liv is growing a little suspicious of Drake. She finds out he went to jail for two years for assault. But he explains he was defending his mom from her latest drunk, abusive husband. He got the sentence he did because the guy can no longer walk or feed himself. I honestly think he’s not that bad of a guy. He also ends up having to put a kibosh on their dinner date to fix his mom’s sink. Liv tags along and while his mom is kind of obnoxious it is sort of sweet in a domestic bliss kind of way. Of course Liv gets one vision at the end of the episode after their rescheduled dinner date gets interrupted by Blaine’s errand boy. The vision is of her social media maven and she realizes that Blaine is the drug lord’s new competition. Oh and Peyton—who had tried to resign—gets redrafted by the Mayor to take down the drug lord. They need to ensure the city doesn’t fall into the bad guy’s hands. Like I said, all of the storylines are starting to coalesce which is pretty cool (and a good thing since we are closing in on the back half of the season).

I am really liking that they aren’t still dragging out the Liv and Major stuff and giving her more species appropriate suiters. Also, Peyton admitting to Ravi that if she got turned into a zombie, she’d scratch him so she wouldn’t be alone was kind of sweet. And it makes me wish the two of them could get back together, especially now that she knows everything about Liv. It would make things so much easier and Ravi would be much less sad and pathetic. The man needs some happiness in his life (especially when he’s been so focused on finding the tainted Utopium to create a new and better cure before Major and Blaine turn back into the undead). Part of me also wonders what’s going to happen when the cops realize Major is the one going around nabbing the city’s elite zombie population. I can’t imagine it will end well for him.

iZombie 2.11: "Fifty Shades of Grey Matter"

“Go forth and direct your lust elsewhere.”

“Fifty Shades of Grey Matter” involved one of the more interesting “Liv’s acting weird because of brains” scenarios I think we’ve encountered thus far on “iZombie.” Liv eats the brains of a horny librarian who had just finished writing a book that seemed destined to become the next “Fifty Shades of Grey.” You can imagine what this did to Liv! She even hits on Ravi at one point, which is not something I expected to see. Also strengthening this episode, some of the bigger, season arc plots are starting to come together. Peyton’s and Babineaux’s investigations aren’t just on a collision course – they have collided. Peyton also gets quite the education in who Blaine truly is, but unfortunately, it seems like that education might have come a bit late. Regardless, Liv will stand by her, making Peyton and Liv one of the better friendships on television.

The episode opens in a library. There’s a teen hanging around who mostly likely is trying to use one of the library computers to watch porn. There are also two librarians, who we will later learn are named Grace and Muriel. Muriel is a workaholic and (kind of understandably) seems resentful when Grace is obviously coughing to the point that it looks like she’s faking sick and asks to go home early. Muriel is shelving books when the porno teen tries to push the shelves on her. Grace, who I guess was on her way out, sees this happening and stops him. In a rather ironic twist, though, Grace then starts coughing up blood, and she collapses.

We learn from Ravi that Grace spent several days in a coma before eventually passing, and he believes the cause of death was hemlock poisoning. Liv and Babineaux pay a visit to Grace’s husband, Andy to deliver the news that his wife was actually murdered. Andy uses a wheelchair following an accident, and he’s got a very large, burly nurse who Liv starts fantasizing about thanks to horny librarian brain. Andy mentions that Grace was finishing up a novel and had gotten a very large advance. He also says that her coworker, Muriel, didn’t like her very much. Naturally, Liv and Babineaux next interview Muriel. When they mention Grace’s book, Muriel pretty much dismisses it as trash. She lets Liv and Babineaux listen to a preliminary audiobook, which is narrated by none other than Kristen Bell. It’s called “Upright Position,” and it’s about a sexy flight attendant. You can pretty much figure out the rest from that.

Meanwhile, Drake the newly created zombie has a bit of a confrontation with some of Mr. Boss’ other drug dealers. They know there is a mole in their organization, and they suspect it’s him. He kills them all after going into full-on zombie mode. He visits Blaine to express his concern about continuing to work in Boss’ organization, but Blaine doesn’t seem all that concerned. At the lab, Liv demonstrates to Ravi exactly how horny these brains are making her. Ravi is not thrilled, and he’s kind of freaked out. Luckily for Ravi, just as he requests Liv direct her lust elsewhere, Drake walks in. He agrees to more testing. Liv tries to take his blood as sexily as possible, and she even considers providing him brains from the morgue to get him out from Blaine’s clutches.

Babineaux and Bozzio are following up on Bozzio’s recognition of Blaine in a sketch of someone associated with the Meat Cute explosion. He’s been referred to as “John Doe” for a while, but now they realize he’s Blaine. They can’t find any records for him other than a business license, though. This leads Babineaux and Bozzio to believe somebody very important is protecting him, so Bozzio’s going to hit up the FBI database. In other important news, the dog of one of the Chaos Killer’s victims has a GPS tracker, and Babineaux and Bozzio are having it turned on. That dog is Major’s adorable Basset, Minor, of course, who is being dropped off at the groomer’s. Major inadvertently finds out about this when he’s hanging out with Liv and Ravi at the office, and he rushes to the groomer’s immediately. He tells the groomer that he stole the dog because it was abused, and she helps cover for him. All Babineaux and Bozzio find is a GPS dongle from Minor’s leash. Major realizes he can’t keep Minor any longer, though, and in a heartbreaking scene, he leaves him on a bus.

At home, Liv and Peyton talk about Liv’s upcoming date with Drake, and they also talk about the librarian case. Liv looks up Grace’s novel online, and she sees it is being released under a pen name. This confuses Liv, because the audiobook she saw earlier definitely had Grace’s name on it. Liv starts reading the book aloud to Peyton, and this causes her to flash to Andy being possessive and criticizing Grace’s clothing as too provocative. Liv and Babineaux think Andy is worth a second look. Their conversation seems normal, but Liv spies a sexy flight attendant neighbor, who she figures was inspiration for Grace’s novel. Liv and Babineaux talk to the flight attendant, who was in contact with Grace’s editor due to the main character in the book being similar to her. There was the possibility she might need to sign a release. Liv is able to get the editor’s phone number from the flight attendant, and the editor mentions Grace recently gave her a book by Muriel to look over. And it just happened to be a murder mystery featuring hemlock poisoning.

Before we dive back into the mystery of the week, there’s a brief romantic interlude for two of our main characters. Liv and Drake go on their date, and Liv gives Drake some of Grace’s brains for dinner. As a result, the chemistry is clearly there, and they almost have sex, but Liv calls it off because she feels like she drugged Drake. She wants them to decide how they feel about each other when not under the influence of porny librarian brain. Meanwhile, Peyton and Blaine are continuing to work on Peyton’s case against Mr. Boss. They share some whisky the Mayor gave Peyton, and they end up having sex right on Peyton’s couch.

Getting back into the case again, Liv, Babineaux, and some police officers search Muriel’s yard for water hemlock. During the search, Liv has a flash of Grace telling Andy that she wasn’t going to send Muriel’s book to her editor. The team also finds out a burned up copy of Grace’s book at Muriel’s house. Grace’s picture is on the back, and there is water hemlock in the window box behind her. Andy is now the suspect again. When he’s brought in for questioning, we learn that he, not Grace, emailed Grace’s editor and asked for a pen name. He also killed Grace because he was embarrassed by the book. He can’t have sex because of his injury, and Grace making all of that public really bothered him.

Babineaux and Bozzio figure out Blaine’s true identity, including the fact that his own father is one of the Chaos Killer’s victims, and they’re pretty sure they have their man. He’s got an outstanding warrant for possession with intent to sell, so they’re going to arrest him for that and figure out the rest later. While Blaine is being interrogated, though, Peyton arrives on the scene and shuts the whole thing down, saying she needs Blaine to continue to help her on the Boss case. After Blaine is released, though, Babineaux tells Peyton he thinks Blaine is the Chaos Killer, and this starts to give Peyton pause. Peyton pays a visit to Liv to talk it through with her, and Liv outlines exactly all the horrible things Blaine has done to her, including turning her into a zombie. Peyton starts really regretting protecting (and having sex with) Blaine, but Liv forgives her. Also, at the very end of the episode, it’s looking like Liv and Drake did sleep together after all.

Marvel's Agent Carter 2.07: "Monsters"

“Look at you. You’re trying to act ruthless, but you’re terrified.”
- Dottie

So I thought things were going bad before, but they are about a million times worse for all of our heroes this episode. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to go exactly the way it was going but I suppose that’s just a mark of good television. You should be surprised by what you watch sometimes. We start off the episode with a small victory. Yes, Dottie is still missing but they’ve managed to build the containment chamber for Wilkes and it actually works. This results in a celebratory and slightly confusing and awkward kiss between him and Peggy.

While they are celebrating that tiny win, Dottie is having a bit of a rough time. Vernon (the FBI guy that I seriously want to punch in the face every time he’s on screen) threatens to break her and do all kinds of torturous things to her but she’s not scared of him. As she remarks, she’s pretty much done everything to herself that he’s threatening to do. Yes, she’s kind of weird like that but I also suppose it would make sense for the Black Widow program to be that bizarre. So, Whitney decides to try interrogating Dottie on her own. She also tasks Vernon with a new assignment: recover the stolen uranium rods. So Vernon pays Sousa a visit and tells him he needs to find the rods (he couches it as if Sousa is falling down on the job since the theft hadn’t been solved yet). Whitney is quite effective in getting Dottie to spill the beans on Peggy’s goals. She just touches Dottie and sort of infects her with Zero Matter. I was a little surprised Dottie broke so quickly for Whitney but then again, we’ve seen Whitney’s powers before and they are pretty brutal.

Jarvis manages to get a signal on Dottie’s tracking necklace but they know it is most assuredly a trap. Still, Peggy feels that Dottie is her responsibility, having broken Dottie out of prison and all. So she is trying to clean up her mess. Before they go, we get to see a new little device that should help even the odds against the bad guys. And we get a touching moment of Anna and Jarvis saying goodbye. As she points out to Wilkes a little later, she misses the lies Jarvis used to tell, hiding the real dangerous nature of his adventures with Peggy. She now worries for his safety constantly. I can understand her concern. Wilkes is also a little mopey (even though he’s happily enjoying expensive wine and Hungarian food with Anna.

On the way to the trap, Jarvis and Peggy have a rather touching conversation about the fact she went from having no suitors (what with Steve Rogers being presumed dead and all) to having two very eligible and bright men vying for her affections. I really can’t decide who I want more! Of course that may not matter given how the episode ends. But a girl and dream. As expected, they get locked up for a bit but manage to get free. Dottie also admits that there was a trap just not for Peggy. See, she told Whitney about Wilkes.

So Whitney and her thug friend go to kidnap Wilkes. But before they manage to drag him away, we learn that Zero Matter reacts differently between them. Without even trying or meaning to, Wilkes pulls a bunch of Zero Matter out of Whitney. It’s made him stronger but we know it won’t last forever. It never does. She ends up having to knock him out to get him to go with them. Anna gets a call from Sousa asking about Peggy and Jarvis’ whereabouts but doesn’t manage to make it there to lend much needed back up. On his way out of his house, he gets attacked and beaten by masked men. I have a feeling Vernon sent them to get Sousa out of the way. It’s easier to take over the SSR and screw over Peggy’s efforts when you can run the place. Which is exactly what happens when Sousa shows up to work the next morning. I can’t imagine he’s going to take that lying down. I fully expect our dear Chief Sousa to fight back and even harder for what he and Peggy have been doing.

Unfortunately, Sousa isn’t the only one caught in the crossfire of this whole mess. Anna tries to stop Whitney and her thug from taking Wilkes and just as Jarvis and Peggy arrive back at the house, Whitney shoots poor Anna. Just as she was worrying about Jarvis getting hurt, of course she’s going to be the one to take a bullet. Much like the soldiers who survive combat overseas and then die in senseless tragedies back home. What’s worse is when we leave our heroes at the end of the hour, Anna is still in surgery and the prognosis isn’t good. The doctors can’t even say if she’ll live. I can’t imagine what’s going to happen to poor Jarvis if she doesn’t make it. He’ll go on the warpath and that isn’t a good thing. We need our dear, sweet, comical Jarvis to stay around and provide the levity. He can’t just got all super dark and angry. And I think Peggy is starting to realize that Jack’s words to her about not seeing her world crumbling around her coming as coming to fruition. I really hope that Jack doesn’t completely screw everything up going forward but I suspect he’s going to put his own ambition ahead of her and Sousa’s safety and it’s going to cost them a lot. Oh, and because she’s such a good villain, Dottie escapes and takes off into the wind. So yeah, overall, I’d say Team Carter is not having a very good time of it at the moment. But I have faith in the writers and in Peggy that they’ll rally and win the day in the end. It’s a Marvel show after all and the bad guys never win completely or for long.

Marvel’s Agent Carter 2.06: “Life of the Party”

“This is my surprised face.”
- Dottie

The situation is getting pretty dire for our team. We pick up pretty much right where we left off with Wilkes disappearing. We see it from his point of view where he’s almost pulled into this black void before Peggy manages to snap him back. After a little bit of arguing over how to move forward, they agree that if they can get more Zero Matter, they might be able to temporarily make him solid long enough to get him into a containment chamber. They think the best way to do this is to get some Zero Matter straight for Whitney (via a blood sample).

It looks like their best chance to obtain said sample is at a fundraising gala for Chadwick. He shares the news with Whitney that he’s convinced the council to meet with her (which is nearly unheard of because they don’t deal with women or outsiders and Whitney is both). She’s quite excited by the prospect of demonstrating Zero Matter for them (and even manages to get over the giant crack in her face with a well-placed hair decoration courtesy of her husband.

With Peggy still injured, the team needs someone who is skilled and unknown to get the sample which leads Peggy to the terrible idea of breaking Dottie out of lockup and using her to do their dirty work. It isn’t a bad plan exactly. I mean Peggy and Sousa know that Dottie is a wildcard and likely to try and run and screw them over. But they’re somewhat ready for that. For instance, Peggy tells Dottie to go right when she gets out of the building so naturally, Dottie runs left to try and escape. But Peggy and Sousa are waiting with an electrified net. Peggy and Sousa aren’t the only ones a little worried about the mission. Anna is definitely not liking the idea of her husband going on such a dangerous mission with a dangerous woman (given what just happened to Peggy). But she doesn’t really get a say in the matter. We do get some hilarious pantomiming from Jarvis as he and Peggy argue over how best to arm him given Dottie’s propensity to steal things (it involved a hair dryer to block out the sound of their voices).

At first the plan seems to be going ok. Peggy and Sousa are in a van monitoring everything via two way radio. But then things get very complicated because Jack shows up. I swear, he’s going to be the death of our girl. He thinks he’s so ambitious and in the right but he’s getting dragged down by the dregs of upper society and he doesn’t even know it. But his arrival causes some hitches. Dottie takes off after Whitney while Jarvis tries to distract Jack. Jack isn’t buying Jarvis’ diversion but hey, at least Dottie got the sample.

Unfortunately, the council meeting is about to commence and Dottie doesn’t have an exit strategy. So she ends up hiding out in the room and witnesses everything that goes down. First Whitney demonstrates her power and she thinks the council will be supporting her. But then she gets choked by a bunch of guys (apparently the plan was to kill her). But she’s stronger now and has better control over the Zero Matter and ends up killing most of the council, her husband included. She leaves four members alive and they seem to be going along with her as their new ringleader. Dottie sneaks out once the meeting is done but Jack’s FBI buddy (who is also involved with the council) spots her and she reacts by fighting. This interrupts a very sweet, almost kiss moment for Peggy and Sousa. I honestly can’t be mad that they are going this direction. Sure Wilkes is nice and I’d be fine with him ending up with Peggy, too, but I like Sousa (and hey Violet broke off the engagement).

The problems still abound for the team, though. Dottie’s been captured and Peggy’s popped her stitches. Oh and Jack gets order to shut Peggy down. The council wants Jack to disgrace her so badly and use whatever secrets he can find on her to ruin her reputation and make sure what she’s done so far is discredited. I couldn’t quite tell if Jack’s reaction this was because he sort of cares for Peggy or if it’s because he just has something of a moral code he doesn’t want to break. Still, it rubs me the wrong way. Jack is kind of a sexist jerk but I don’t think he’s really a bad guy per say. Either way, he’s spelling bad news for Peggy. He shows up at Stark mansion and interrupts Peggy and Sousa trying to figure out the best way to find Dottie again (which kind of bums out Wilkes). Jack tells Peggy she needs to get on a plane with him but she declines, basically saying she’d rather resign from the SSR than go back and be told what to do, especially when she knows she’s in the right. He warns her that she’s going to lose everything and she won’t see it coming. And because things are bad enough, Whitney now has custody of a chained up, locked up Dottie. This can’t possibly end well. Not that I really care what happens to Dottie but I think since she did leave the Zero Matter sample behind, she realizes just how dangerous this woman is. I have a feeling that Dottie would rather be in a world where Peggy is her greatest adversary (because they are fairly evenly matched) than be ruled by this crazy woman.

The story is really picking up now and I can’t wait to see what happens in the final few episodes. I know it’s unlikely given the ratings that Peggy and company would get a third outing but a girl can hope. In a perfect world, Peggy’s journey wouldn’t be over in four more episodes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Galavant 2.09: "Battle of the Three Armies"

“It’s one thing being a horrible human being. It’s another thing to be evil. And I would rather die than join the dark forces.”

This episode of “Galavant” was very much setting things up for the season (hopefully not series) finale. All of the armies are in place, and there were a bunch of reunions between characters. Sid’s still missing, though, off on his mission to redeem himself for temporarily killing Galavant. His presence is definitely missed in this episode. I’m not sure how much I really have to say about this episode on its own, because it really was pretty much the first part of a two-parter, but I was glad that most of the characters were reunited. I was pleased with how quickly Galavant and Isabella reconciled, because they really are well matched (both badass warriors, and Isabella’s good for taking Galavant down a peg). I was also pleased that Gareth finally saw Madalena for who she was and chose Richard over her, although I am a bit sad that things didn’t work between Gareth and Madalena. I had hoped they might be a good influence on each other, because neither is used to experiencing love. It wasn’t meant to be, though, or at least not right now.

The episode opens with the Jester bringing it back to the original show theme song to recap what has happened this season thus far. It was nice to go back to the original theme. I like “A New Season” just fine, but the original theme is such an earworm and was such a part of the show’s identity that I was very glad to hear it again. As the Jester wraps up his singing, we see that the Hortensian and Valencian armies are poised to fight. The Hortensian army in particular is as ragtag as ever, armed mostly with kitchen implements. Wormwood tries to usher Madalena and Gareth away to the royal skybox to view the battle from a safe distance. Madalena is good with it, but Gareth isn’t happy, because he thought this was his birthday present – an opportunity to kick ass and take names. Eventually, he reluctantly agrees to retreat to the skybox. Once there, Madalena also contemplates postponing the vacation she and Gareth were planning to take after the battle. I think at this point, Gareth starts to suspect Madalena has gotten involved in D’DEW, but the thought hasn’t fully formed in his head yet. Disgusted, Gareth goes to fight in the battle by himself.

Down on the battlefield, Isabella gives an awesome, kickass speech to her Hortensian army, where she does her best to turn their predicament into encouragement. For instance, she says that because their army is so small, there will be even more glory for each of them when they win. She ends with a full-on “Lord of the Rings”-style call to arms, calling it a “red day” and hitting her sword against the various kitchen implements her army will be using as weapons. In actuality, though, Isabella thinks they’re screwed. Galavant, Richard, and their zombie army are also approaching the battlefield. Galavant takes the opportunity to give Richard a pretty great pep talk, reminding Richard of how much he (Richard) has grown as a man since they first met.

The battle starts, set to a song called “A Good Day to Die” (somebody on the creative team is a “Star Trek” fan, I think), and all three armies converge on one particular spot. Unfortunately, that spot is the shack Chef and Gwynne have built as their new home. They join in the song as they hide under the floor of their shack (they’ve got a trap door just for this sort of situation) and hope for the best. In the middle of the battle, Galavant and Isabella find each other. So do Gareth and Richard. There are no sweet reunions between either pair, though. Galavant apologizes for what Isabella thought he said and he professes his love. Isabella slaps him in the face a few times before kissing him. Their second kiss wasn’t spectacular, but it was better than the first, so they’re good with it. Richard also gives Gareth a few good slaps in the face, but unlike Galavant and Isabella, the two men do not leave the encounter fully reconciled. They’re in a better place, for sure, but Gareth still has choices he needs to make.

Up at the skybox, Wormwood starts trying to encourage Madalena to use the D’DEW. At first, Madalena briefly hesitates, because she knows Gareth doesn’t like the idea of her using dark magic. Then, however, Wormwood uses D’DEW to control and strengthen the zombie army. The zombies start attacking everyone, both Hortensian and Valencian. They’re just angry in general. Madalena’s impressed, and she and Wormwood have a musical number where he starts teaching her how to use D’DEW. Gareth can see the puffs of purple magic up in the skybox, and he feels betrayed. Then Wormwood continues encouraging Madalena to use D’DEW. He controls and strengthens the zombies, so they start fighting everybody. Madalena intrigued and starts using magic too. Gareth sees and feels betrayed. He is surprised that Madelena would use dark magic knowing how he feels about it.

Both the Valencians and Hortensians retreat inside the castle to try and escape the zombies. They shore up the main gate as the zombies attack. Madalena calls off the attack briefly and asks to be let inside to talk. Galavant and company reluctantly let her in. She comments on how nice it is for everybody to be reunited again. She definitely intends to kill Galavant, Richard, and Isabella, but she offers Gareth a chance to go with her instead. Gareth, however, says no. He’s going to stick by his best friend, Richard. Madalena leaves the castle and says because they all have history, she’ll give them ten seconds to shore up the gate again before the zombies attack. As the episode closes, those inside the castle prepare for the fight of their life.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 2.11: "Year of the Rat"

“You guys have your own New Year?”

I’ve been saying for a while that I’d love to see the “Fresh off the Boat” creative team take on a Chinese holiday, and with this episode, I got my wish. It went in a direction I definitely wasn’t expecting. The problem the Huangs face in trying to celebrate Chinese New Year is that nobody else in their community celebrates it or has any idea how to help them set up the festivities. The holiday is something the Huangs look forward to every year, and the prospect of going a year without it devastates them. Could we mainstream, Christian Americans contemplate going a year without Christmas, after all (granted, sometimes circumstances indeed cause us to miss Christmas, and it is always a big deal)? I definitely felt for the Huangs in this episode, even if my instinct is that the actual lack of Asians in the greater Orlando area in the mid-1990’s was likely exaggerated for comedic effect. Nevertheless, it was fun to see the creative team take on a holiday that likely hasn’t been seen on network television before. Can we have a mid-Autumn festival episode next year, please? From the one time I had the chance to celebrate, I came away with the impression that it’s pretty much Chinese Thanksgiving. Good conversation, too much food, everybody in a food coma afterwards – you know the drill.

The Huang family is excited because they are about to take a trip to Washington, DC to celebrate Chinese New Year with Jessica’s family in Chinatown. In Chinatown, they say, you can do Chinese New Year right and not be able to breathe properly the next day from the fireworks. To be honest, I’m a little doubtful of this. There are many amazing Chinatowns in this country, but DC’s Chinatown isn’t especially Chinese. The Rita’s I went to for my first day of Spring water ice (you can take the girl out of Philly for almost ten years, but you can’t take the Philly out of the girl) during the year I lived just outside the city had a sign in Chinese. So there’s that, I guess. Anyway, everyone is frantically pakcing and Jessica is doing her best to make sure everything is prepared just right. Jessica and Louis are happy to spend time with family and engage in their cultural traditions, and the boys are excited about getting their red envelopes of money. They are already planning how to spend this year’s haul.

Jessica makes everyone get up about nine hours before their flight, because she wants to make sure they get to the airport in plenty of time. When they arrive at the airport, though, there’s a problem Jessica didn’t foresee. The plane tickets were actually for the day before. I’m a bit confused here why the Huangs can’t just exchange the tickets for new ones, even for a small fee. Maybe because it’s also supposed to be President’s Day weekend, and flights to DC are popular then? I’ve always lived within driving distance of DC, so I wouldn’t know. Anyway, because new tickets to DC would be prohibitively expensive, the Huangs resign themselves to spending the New Year in Orlando. Jessica and Louis then have the fun task of explaining to their family exactly why they won’t be visiting. Jessica keeps handing the phone over to Louis for him to say that he bought tickets for the wrong day, which I thought was totally appropriate.

Louis tries to cheer Jessica up by suggesting they try to find other Chinese folks with which to spend the holiday. First they try the phone book, but they can’t find anyone with a typical Chinese last name in the entire Orlando area. Then they try calling the Asian-American Association of Orlando. They have a very polite and enthusiastic conversation with the man who answers the phone, and they are invited to the group’s Chinese New Year Party. Jessica and Louis think their mission is accomplished. At first, they are hopeful, because they can see and smell smoke coming from the building, so they assume there is going to be the traditional disregard for fire code that they expect of the holiday. Inside, though, everything is all wrong. There are a few Asians (an Indian family and a Russian family), but no Chinese. Worse than that, the people gathered to celebrate (mostly Caucasian) don’t seem to really care about getting the holiday right. The food is all wrong, and the “dragon dance” is a pep routine by the dragon mascot from a local school. The Huangs leave disappointed. An autographed photo of Short Round does not make for an authentic Asian experience. Sorry AAAoO!

The Huangs are pretty dejected and have resigned themselves to a pizza dinner. Louis then gets an idea, and he goes to Cattleman’s Ranch to put the idea into action. When Jessica and the boys arrive later, they see the restaurant decorated in Chinese lanterns (courtesy of Honey, who took them from a Janet Jackson music video), authentic food (that the chef learned how to cook), and a decent Lion Dance courtesy of Mitch and Nancy. Once their friends realized their predicament, everyone rallied to help the Huangs celebrate the holiday. Things do start to go downhill a bit when well-meaning friends start asking Jessica about the meaning behind every detail of the celebration. She’s happy to explain at first, but she quickly gets exhausted. I imagine that must be a tough needle to thread when being a fish out of water, so-to-speak. Threading that needle between being nice to well-meaning people who genuinely want to know about your traditions and feeling like you shouldn’t have to play the representative of your cultural group.

By the end of the episode, though, everyone seems reasonably happy. Grandma is glad she got to celebrate, so she gives all the boys money. This turns out to be a good thing because the Huang parents tend to just write messages on (instead of place money in) the red envelopes, and that’s what Louis had told his staff to do. Louis eases Jessica’s displeasure with being the explainer by observing that at least their friends, once they know about the traditions, care enough to do them right.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Marvel’s Agent Carter 2.05: “The Atomic Job”

“In my experience, nothing is impenetrable.”
- Peggy

It’s hard to believe that we are now halfway through our second wild adventure with Peggy and the gang. But it has definitely been fun and this week is no exception. It seems that both Whitney and Dr. Wilkes are drawn to the Zero Matter and Wilkes discovers that absorbing the stuff temporarily makes him corporeal. So the team needs to find where Jane Scott’s body ended up and bring it back for Wilkes to absorb. But they aren’t the only ones looking for it. Whitney is intent on finding it, too. So of course, Peggy and Jarvis go to steal a corpse. But alas, they don’t get there before Whitney and her husband and she ends up absorbing the Zero Matter from Jane’s body. For some reason this also prompts her to want to build another atomic bomb.

According to Wilkes she likely wants to recreate another experiment like the one that created Zero Matter in the first place so she can become even stronger. Unfortunately for the good guys, the atomic bombs that were used are in a secured facility that none of Howard’s people have managed to get into and a lot of the interior locks require a special key. But at least Peggy and Jarvis won’t be going in alone. Peggy heads to the office to fill Sousa in on their plan and finds out that at least he had a good night (having proposed to Violet even though he couldn’t find the ring). He’s a little worried about Peggy’s plan to obtain the key because it happens to be on a guy they dealt with last season who remembers people. But luckily, the scientists in the lab have a prototype memory eraser. Which Peggy ends up getting to use about a dozen times in her search for the key. Ultimately, the key is in the guy’s belt buckle. It was pretty funny to see frustrated Peggy got having to wipe the guy’s memory constantly (the effect only lasts two minutes).

So now, armed with the key, the good guys are going to need some backup to get into the facility to find and disarm the atomic bombs. Peggy recruits Rose since she’s pretty badass too and is the one who keeps all the nosy people away. And the scientist insists on going because most of the toys the team want to bring aren’t tested yet. And apparently Sousa promised him field experience when he got hired. Of course, it wouldn’t be very suspenseful if our team wasn’t up against some kind of clock. Whitney has gone to a mob friend of hers and in exchange for all the construction contracts in the city when Chadwick is elected, he’s going to lend her some men to break into the facility, too.

At first it looks like things are going according to plan. One of the scientist’s gadgets takes all the electricity from the fence and channels it through the three guards. Then, the scientist finds the control room for all the security locks in the subbasement area and unlocks them all. Yes, that means that Whitney has access to all of them, too. But, lucky for our merry band of misfits, they find the bombs first. Unfortunately, in trying to lock out Whitney, Jarvis gets locked inside the room with the bombs. After panicking quite spectacularly, Peggy and Rose head off to intercept Whitney and her men while Sousa talks Jarvis through disarming the bombs. Despite his half-hearted reassurance that removing the uranium cores is like baking a soufflĂ©, Jarvis manages to successfully remove the cores without blowing everyone up. Good work, Mr. Jarvis! And Rose does a pretty handy job of taking out one of the guys too.

Peggy, naturally, engages with Whitney. She gets a few good punches in (and Chadwick looks ready to surrender) but Whitney touches Peggy and then it kind of goes bad for our heroine. She ends up falling over the side of a catwalk and gets impaled on some rebar. Not knowing who they can trust, Sousa and Jarvis take Peggy to Violet’s place from some field medicine. Peggy is lucky that the rebar missed any vital organs and she’s already stopped bleeding. But in the way that Sousa handles things, Violet realizes that he still loves Peggy. I’m still rooting for Peggy to end up with either Sousa or Wilkes. It’s not that I dislike Violet because she’s sweet and helpful, but it is very obvious that Peggy and Sousa still have feelings for each other. It also appears that Chadwick is scared out of his mind by his wife and so he calls an emergency meeting of the council. I have a feeling he’s going to try and get rid of her. And while Peggy is all nestled in bed back at Howard’s place, Wilkes tries to get her to relax and rest (per Violet and Jarvis’s orders) but it’s very obvious she won’t be resting because Wilkes suddenly starts to disappear. It happened after Peggy turned on the radio which makes me a little suspicious.

Overall, I thought this episode did well in moving the plot forward as we hit the mid-point of the season. Different aspects of the plot need to come together soon and from the previews it looks like that will be happening very quickly (with the return of Dottie). Man, Bridget Regan is one busy girl (she’s also still guesting on Jane the Virgin too). I’m sure Peggy will bounce back from her injury to go on more adventures with Jarvis. As he points out, they’re only fun as long as they both come back from them. He makes a very good point and I can’t wait to see what kind of drama befalls our West Coast SSR family as Peggy puts her next plan into action. Also I appreciated that this episode sort of felt like it could have been a con and heist show, too. Makes the Leverage lover in me smile.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.10: "Maveth"

“I’ll be damned. Tatooine.”

The fall season of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. certainly ended with a bang.Fitz and Coulson both end up on the planet at the other end of the portal, with Ward in play, too. Hydra’s end-game also becomes more widely known. Oh, and did I mention we also learn the fate of Will after Simmons was rescued from the other planet? This was a crazy, crazy way to end a half-season of television, and on the whole, I enjoyed it. Some of the events near the end of the episode were extremely frustrating, but I think it was all necessary to set up interesting plots for the second half of the season. Could we be done with Ward after this season, though, please? He’s grated on my last nerve for a long time now (pretty much since he first revealed he was Hydra), and I think/hope his current predicament will result in his demise sooner rather than later.

The episode opens with Ward, Fitz, and Ward’s team exploring the planet at the other end of the portal. Fitz is supposed to be calculating where the portal is going to open next, so that Ward can take the monster back to Earth and please his Hydra masters. It’s implied many times throughout the episode that Ward doesn’t intend for Fitz to survive the trip. Which makes me dislike Ward even more, because Fitz is adorable and under no circumstances should he be left on a death planet! Ward also threatens Fitz that if he doesn’t return safely to Earth, Simmons is going to be killed. Later, Coulson also regains consciousness and finds himself on the planet. Looking at the desolate landscape, he’s surprised how much it looks like Tatooine (yay for Marvel and Star Wars both being in the Disney family!).

When Bobbi and Hunter return to Zephyr One, they try to convince Mack that S.H.I.E.L.D. needs to attack the Castle (where the portal is located). Meanwhile, Daisy sees trucks full of Inhuman containment units pull up to the Castle. This is Hydra’s attempt at creating an army for the creature they want to bring back to lead. One of those Inhumans is probably Andrew, which immediately peaks May’s interest. Mack devises a plan that is designed both to recover their team and save the Inhumans (I think Lincoln would have straight up rebelled if the Inhuman rescuing hadn’t been part of it). They’re going to infiltrate the Castle using the aquaducts.

On the other planet, Fitz distracts Ward by mocking Hydra’s big plan, and when the opportunity presents itself, he opens one of Will’s hatches and dives in. Is it just me, or has “S.H.I.E.L.D.” gotten very “Lost”-like lately? Anyway, Fitz finds Will in the hatch (although the real Will is long gone, as we’ll soon find out). Fitz tries to convince Ward that they need Will to be their guide to the exit point. Despite Fitz’s protestations, Ward is pretty determined to kill Will until he sees the patch and “Distant Star” reference on his uniform. Will has a pretty serious leg wound, but everyone seems to think he can make it to the exit point.

Joey (who in this episode started to become one of my favorite characters – he was kind of an non-entity before) bends some grates around the Castle so that the team can enter the aquaducts. Daisy spots Mr. Giyara (yay for another appearance by the Chairman!), which can only spell trouble. May suggests they may have an easier time with their mission in darkness, so Lincoln kills the power. This has the added bonus of giving Simmons a chance to escape. Simmons manages to find herself by Andrew’s containment unit, and he begs her to let him out to help her escape. Simmons is reluctant to accept the offer at first, but when a bunch of Hydra soldiers arrive on the scene, she opens the door to the containment unit, Andrew turns into Lash, and he does his thing.

While they are traveling, Fitz tells Will more about what is going on and who exactly Ward is. He explains Hydra’s whole crazy plan. Will says he has an idea to help himself and Fitz break away from the goons. He’s going to lead the group through a very treacherous canyon in the middle of the “No Fly Zone.” A sandstorm starts to pick up as the group continues their journey and Fitz explains the whole Inhumans thing to Will. As the group takes cover to wait out the storm, Will knocks one soldier unconscious, and Fitz distracts the other long enough for Will to kill him. I think (hope, at least) that this is when Fitz starts to realize that things aren’t quite right with Will.

Back on Earth, lots of action happens at the Castle. Daisy and Giyera run into each other, and Giyera tries to shoot at Daisy, but Joey uses his powers to stop the bullets. I really hope we see more of Joey going forward. Lincoln attacks Giyera, but Daisy pulls him away before he can finish the job. Meanwhile, Simmons finds May, and she tells May about how she released Andrew. May doesn’t look very happy about this development. The team (minus May) ends up reuniting in the portal room. Hydra is trying to get to the portal, too, so Joey reinforces the doors to the room to slow them down. They realize may isn’t there and conclude she must have gone after Andrew. May, for her part, sees that Andrew has already killed a bunch of Inhumans.

Ward finds the dead soldiers, and the remaining two soldiers are shot to death. Coulson appears out of the shadows, clearly the originator of the shots. Coulson then demands that Ward help him find Fitz, so he can get back to the portal. As they march towards wherever they’re going, Ward tries to make the argument that Hydra has given him new purpose. Coulson just shoots him in the arm for his trouble. Coulson eventually sees Fitz and Will through a scope, and Ward shows him how little time they have left before the portal reopens. They pick up the pace (only Coulson voluntarily).

Hydra gets close to the portal room, and they begin to attack. This is where we begin to see what Mack is made of as Acting Director. He and Daisy are going to stay behind to try and retrieve Fitz and Coulson while the rest of the team is to go back to Zephyr One and be prepared to bomb the shit out of the Castle at the hint of something going wrong. After a bit of protest, they do as Mack says. Back on Zephyr One, May has Bobbi and Hunter train all the weapons on the Castle.

On the other planet, Fitz and Will are still making their way through the No Fly Zone. Will starts to give Fitz a rather detailed history lessons about the nine cities that used to thrive there, and Fitz realizes that Will knows a bit too much. It turns out Will died saving Simmons, and the creature has now inhabited his body. They begin fighting, while simultaneously, Ward and Coulson start fighting. Of course, that’s when the portal starts to open. Will tries to move towards the portal, and Fitz keeps shooting at him until it seems like he’s down. Then he runs for the portal. Coulson, however, is determined to get some more punches in before he runs. Yeah, Ward’s a douche, but I really wanted Coulson to just run. They were on borrowed time!

Like I said, I really wanted Coulson to run, because Daisy’s ability to hold the portal open was limited, and indeed she passes out pretty quickly. Mack gives the order for Zephyr One to start bombing, and bomb they do. Somehow, thought, Fitz and Coulson still make it through the portal safely, and the whole remaining team makes it back to Zephyr One. Daisy and Lincoln and Coulson and May have nice reunions, but the best reunion of all is FitzSimmons, of course. Simmons immediately knows something is wrong since Fitz didn’t bring Will back, and they just hug silently for a while. All is not well, though. As we see in the episode’s tag, Ward’s body now houses the creature, and he/it somehow made it through the portal, too.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Galavant 2.08: "Do the D'DEW"

“Prophesy’s never wrong. That’s just science!”

“Dew the D’DEW” was really all about love, and it was very entertaining at the same time, if also a bit disturbing. But much of my favorite television is a bit disturbing/macabre with a colorful, entertaining candy coating, so this was right up my alley. I once had a high school classmate call a project I was working on “cutesy sadistic,” so I guess that about sums up my taste! We had Galavant continuing his quest to fight for Isabella’s love. Roberta and Richard found love and lost it again. Madalena has taken a step that will make her likely to lose Gareth’s love, but Gareth doesn’t realize that yet. Oh, and Madalena and Isabella have the vocal catfight we’ve all been waiting for! (Speaking of, if you like quirky things like Galavant and you like singing catfights, check out the webseries “Muzzled the Musical.” You won’t regret it).

Early in the episode, after realizing that Hortensia has no real weapons and Madalena and Gareth’s army is rapidly approaching, Isabella takes the Jester with her to try and negotiate terms of surrender. Madalena and Gareth have started this war due to their mutual love of bloodshed, however, so the whole surrender thing clearly isn’t going to go over well. Madelena offers terms, but they’re not terms Isabella could ever agree to. Madalena basically wants to subjugate all of Hortensia and make Isabella her personal handmaiden. They sing an awesome song (made a little less awesome by the guys in the room gleefully yelling “catfight!” prior to the singing of it) about how much they hate each other. Madalena points out all the advantages she’s got compared to the rag tag Hortensians, and letting her emotions get the better of her, Isabella says she’s got the bearer of the One True Sword on her side. She doesn’t realize that she probably will have him on her side in time for the battle, so she’s thinking she’s probably screwed now.

Galavant, Richard, Roberta, and the zombie army arrive in Valencia and find the place pretty much abandoned. There’s a note on the door of the castle saying everyone has gone to invade Hortensia. More importantly, though Roberta and Richard take a little detour behind a tree. Following their rendezvous, Richard and Roberta sing what is pretty much a blatant “Summer Nights” rip-off about their time together, complete with zombie backup. Richard and Roberta’s happiness is short-lived, though. Roberta is convinced that Richard will get himself killed if he goes into battle for real (instead of just watching in a comfy chair from a distance), and she loves him too much to see him go through the horrors of war. Richard has made up his mind, though. He’s going to continue fighting with Galavant. Richard and Roberta break up, and Roberta resigns herself to a future on Spinster Island with a lot of cats.

Even though it’s highly likely that Isabella was just exaggerating, Madalena is very concerned about the possibility that Isabella might actually have the bearer of the One True Sword on her side. Prophesy, as she says in the Quote of the Episode, after all, is science, and there’s a prophesy that says the person who pulls the sword out of the stump (which Richard did) will unite all the kingdoms. Gareth tries to allay Madalena’s fears, because he’s confident he can easily win a battle against the Hortensians, but Madalena is still nervous. Wormwood has just the answer. He’s a practitioner of D’DEW (the “Dark, Dark Evil Way,” a form of dark magic so terrible it has two “darks” in the name), and he is willing to teach Madalena, too. Gareth begs Madalena not to turn to dark magic, and Madalena agrees, but then she meets with Wormwood anyway. She’s so ruthless she’s willing to kill the baby Wormwood his holding (he was just babysitting) in order to get the D’DEW power. To her chagrin, Wormwood tells her that all she has to do is sign a contract. Madalena is all ready to sign the thing in blood, but again to her disappointment (I think), Wormwood has a quill at the ready. Near the end of the episode, when all the Valencian troops are lined up, ready for battle, Madalena’s eyes briefly glow red. She tries to play it off as no big, deal, but I don’t think this can end well at all.

Meanwhile, it’s Isabella who should really be worrying. She has turned down Madalena’s terms of surrender, and she is going to have to prepare for battle. She doesn’t have any hope of obtaining the One True Sword at the moment, and all of Hortensia’s conventional weapons are either toys or made of chocolate. She asks the townsfolk to gather together anything that could be used as a weapon. About the best thing anybody can come up with is a rather pointy potato. It’s a wonder, really, that Hortensia wasn’t invaded long, long ago.

Galavant isn’t feeling especially confident, either. His zombie army can’t do much more than just shamble along, groaning. They can’t even avoid just running into trees. Galavant laments that he might not be able to save his love, Isabella, and the zombies suddently become a bit more animated. Galavant asks if they’ll help him for love, and the zombies start doing what he asks of him. Who would have thought that zombies would be motivated by love? Well, I guess it’s conceivable if you’ve seen “Warm Bodies,” but it was a pretty quick turn for “Galavant.” “Galavant” is nothing if not quirky, though, so it worked for me. I was glad to see that Galavant will have a functioning army as he heads into the Battle of the Three Armies. Do I wish Isabella had a functioning army, too? Sure, although her lack of an army is far from her fault. I’m just glad somebody’s going to be in a position to check Madalena and Wormwood before they can do too much damage.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Galavant 2.07: "Love and Death"

“Please, you must save him. He’s my bestie!”

“Love and Death” was an entertaining enough episode that pretty much marked time and set all the pieces up for the season endgame. I didn’t really mind the marking time aspect too much because there was some good character development. Richard finally realizes he can have feelings for Roberta. Isabella is forced to become the strong leader we all know she can be. Madalena and Gareth confront their feelings for each other. Galavant deals with being dead (sorry – spoiler alert!). Clearly there’s plenty going on here character-wise, even if pretty much everyone is still in the same place plot-wise. Well, theer was one big plot development, I suppose, and hopefully that new plot development will give Galavant even more motivation in his quest to save Isabella. Not that she really needs Galavant’s saving, but with what’s coming to Hortensia, she can probably use all the help she can get!

This episode picks up right where the last one left off. Galavant has just been inadvertently stabbed thanks to Sid’s ill-timed sword throwing, and he is in bad shape. Richard, Roberta, and Sid take him to a healer named Neo who lives in some remote caves. Neo seems like a pretty incompetent healer, though. He says Galavant doesn’t have much time left, but instead of healing him, he sings a song about time being of the essence. By the end of the song, he pronounces Galavant dead. After some begging and pleading by the rest of the crew, Neo says he’s working on a potion that might be able to revive Galavant, but there’s a catch. The final ingredient needed is a beard hair from a middle-aged virgin. Richard tries to deny he can help, but then the lovely virgin-detecting unicorn makes an appearance, and he has to admit the truth. Roberta is sweetly cool about it, and Richard donates the hair for the potion.

In Valencia, the planning for the invasion of Hortensia has begun in earnest. Gareth tells Madalena he has given instructions for Isabella to be taken alive so Madalena can do the honors herself, and Madalena accidentally says she loves him for that. Wormwood hears “love” and instantly starts wanting to plan a wedding for Gareth and Madalena. Madalena gets really freaked out by this and runs off, and Gareth sings a silly (and kind of adorable) song about being in love for the first time. Later, Gareth asks Madalena if she wants to share a trunk for the journey to Hortensia. He kneels down to adjust one of his boots, and Madalena runs off, petrified that he’s about to propose. I really, really don’t want to like Madalena, because she’s a horrible person, but I couldn’t help but feel for her just a little bit in this episode.

In Hortensia, Isabella receives a Save the Date for the Gareth and Madalena invasion. This turned out to be the result of a rather epic screw-up by Wormwood’s hapless assistant, Barry. He was supposed to send out Save the Dates for the wedding, while the invasion was supposed to be a secret. Although there wasn’t really even a wedding yet, anyway, so even sending out Save the Dates to the wedding was a bad move. Before Isabella can do much of anything about the invasion, Harry, her parents, and all the other Hortensians gathered around start touching a “not it” finger to their nose. Apparently this is Hortensian tradition, and the last person to touch their nose has to lead the army. Isabella is the last one to touch her nose, and she reluctantly takes on the job. Isabella starts by going to what looks like the Hortensia library, and she asks some monks there to provide her with battle strategy scrolls. The monks don’t seem to be much help, though (and they’re not the Weird Al Yankovic led monks).

In the caves, Neo is wrapping up the potion brewing. After Galavant is given the potion, we see him in what appears to be purgatory. Death, accompanied by a bunch of undead singing and dancing women, sings a song about how it’s time for Galavant to say goodbye. He does say goodbye to many characters from the series, including Richard and Roberta. Everything changes, though, when Galavant sees a vision of Isabella. She’s in the library, looking through scrolls, desperate to find a way to save Hortensia. She also makes a reference to how Galavant broke her heart, which naturally upsets Galavant, because he has no idea what he might have done to hurt her. As Death his trying to take him away, Galavant knees him in the crotch. Meanwhile, in the land of the living, Richard finally realizes he has feelings for Roberta, and the two of them are about to kiss over Galavant’s dead body when Galavant wakes up. Poor Roberta just can’t catch a break!

Back in Valencia, Madalena and Gareth are standing before their army, and they are about ready to leave for battle. They take the opportunity to work out their relationship issues by talking through the soldiers. Basically one of them would say something like “soldiers, I love you.” With it obviously being meant for the other person. Ultimately, they decide that they have something special that they haven’t experienced before, so they want to take it slow. The first army is now ready for battle. Unfortunately for Isabella, the Hortensian army isn’t so ready. She asks to see Hortensia’s weapons, and she finds out that they are all either toys or made of candy. That’s what happens in a kingdom run by a pre-pubescent boy, I guess! Galavant, thankfully, is having better luck rallying a third army. Neo likes Galavant and his friends, so he decides to give them a gift. He’s been experimenting with zombies, and they could make a deent army. So the man who came back from the dead gets a zombie army to help him rescue his love. Who would have thought?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Marvel's Agent Carter 2.04: "Smoke & Mirrors"

“I’d sleep better if you’d stop pushing me away and let me help you.”
- Sousa

This was a very interesting episode of “Agent Carter”, not only because it advanced the plot a bit but because of the history we became privy to on both Peggy and Whitney. Many of us likely thought we knew Peggy’s history thanks to Captain America; The First Avenger but we get a lot more intel on our leading lady and I thought it was great. From a very young age, Peggy Carter was a tomboy, always playing in the yard and pretending to rescue the princess and slay the dragon. She lost a bit of that drive to fight when she got engaged to a soldier named Fred (but at least she was working as a Code Breaker). During her work with the war effort, she gets the offer to be trained as a spy and go behind enemy lines. She turns it down at first, thinking that’s not what her life is going to be. But when her brother, Michael, points out that she’s destined to be a fighter (and he recommended her for the position), she starts to question her path. Her fate is sealed when news comes that her brother has died on the front.

By contrast, Whitney (born Agnes) had a much colder upbringing. Her single mother took up with kind of an abusive man and neither adult really cared that Whitney was so smart. After her mother’s lover leaves her, she forces Whitney to stop focusing on being smart and use her beauty to her advantage, claiming that’s all she’s got that’s worth anything. In the end, she gets discovered by a talent agent and decides that using her looks may get her what she wants in the long run.

Both of these backstories serve to highlight what each woman is going through in the present. Peggy is determined to find out what’s going on with the Arena Club and Whitney and so she and Jarvis are surveilling Mr. Chadwick. Peggy notes that the driver of Mr. Chadwick’s car has the same gunshot wound to his hand as her assailant. So with a little time to prep a felony, she and Jarvis go to the would-be assassin’s home (his name is Hunt) and try to take him down. It requires Peggy to almost get choked out again and stabbing him with a tranquilizer twice to knock him out. Unfortunately, Jarvis also gets knocked out. Oops! And Sousa is waiting for Peggy when she gets back to the house. He’s dug up some more dirt on Whitney and he is rather unhappy when he discovers what Peggy’s done. He’s a little miffed she broke the law but he’s more upset that she didn’t include him in her plan. So she’s going to sue him to get some information out of Hunt. The plan actually works fairly well. Peggy injects Hunt with what she claims is a strain of malaria (but is really just a supersized cold bug) and then convinces him he’s going to die without the antidote. He gives up a bunch of names which Sousa and Peggy use to try and get a warrant.

The warrant doesn’t come through, though because Jack’s FBI buddy shows up and shuts the whole thing down. It’s pretty obvious he’s involved with this Council of Nine (which I’m thinking is Hydra) and so was the judge that Sousa tried to get the warrant from. I’m really hoping by the end of this season this guy is dead. Or at least Peggy takes him to task for being a condescending pig. I’d say he’s a misogynist too but he was kind of a dick to Sousa as well. He just thinks he’s better than everyone and clearly he’s not.

Lucky for the SSR, Peggy and Sousa still have Hunt locked up and they use to him to get some information that they didn’t have before (thanks to planting a bug on Hunt). He goes straight to the Chadwick residence where Whitney has been moping around and exploring her powers. She’s ordered a bunch of live rats (and I swear I thought she was going to eat them) and ends up absorbing one. It’s all very odd. But it results in her showing off her powers to her husband to keep Hunt quiet after he threatens to go to the Council and rat out the Chadwicks. At least our team got some of the confession that the Chadwicks sent him to kill Peggy! Now they just have to figure out what Whitney’s done and stop her. Along the way they should probably figure out what is making Dr. Wilkes feel like if he just closes his eyes and lets go, he’ll disappear. I have a feeling it is linked to the fact that Whitney has absorbed all the Zero Matter. I bet he’s being sucked into her or something and if they can’t make him corporeal he’ll disappear forever. Which is sad because I like him and Peggy together (they have a moment where they almost kiss) and it’s kind of frustrating. Peggy and Sousa are also frustrating because I could be happy with her ending up with either of them. Knowing what we know now about her past, it makes sense to some extent that she would not want to rush into something. But it’s so painfully obvious that she and Sousa have feelings for each other! Why must they make the shipping so difficult?

I have been very pleased with how this season is unfolding (just as I enjoyed season 1). I think the setting of the 1940s and in this case Hollywood is doing the show a great service in making it glittery and magical. Plus it doesn’t hurt that Peggy is such a strong female lead. I know the ratings aren’t what they were last season (and we were lucky to get this season) but I sincerely hope the network realizes what they have on their hands with this show and allow Peggy and the rest of the SSR team (including Jarvis) to come back for another season in 2017 because there is so much more story to tell. At least we still have half a season to go.

Monday, February 1, 2016

(After) Summer TV Rewind: Marvel's Daredevil 1.13: "Daredevil"

“It means that I am not the Samaritan. That I'm not the priest, or the Levite. That I am the ill intent who set upon the traveler on a road that he should not have been on.”
-Wilson Fisk

The finale of the first season of “Daredevil” was certainly intense, and it was a very fitting end to a strong season overall. Attention was paid to characters who have died in the fight against Wilson Fisk, Matt Murdock truly became Daredevil, Wilson Fisk was defeated (for now, at least!), and our trio of main characters were finally reunited. The episode pretty much hit all the points it needed to hit. The plots for Marvel TV shows can be a bit simplistic, and the dialogue can sometimes be heavy-handed, but I always enjoy Marvel shows for the characters. While everything was pretty much wrapped up neatly in a bow in this episode, it was emotionally satisfying because I was very invested in the characters. I was very happy to see Matt, Foggy, and Karen getting along and working together for the greater good again.

The episode opens with Ben’s funeral, and two things about it struck me as rather odd. First, there were hardly any African Americans among the mourners. I tried to rationalize this as most of the mourners being Ben’s coworkers, but you would think that an African American in New York City would have a funeral that was well attended by other African Americans. The second thing that was odd was that Matt’s priest was the officiant. It struck me as unusual that Ben would be Catholic. I’m guessing the true reason behind all of this is that the show was running on a fairly small budget, and that budget wasn’t going to be used on Ben’s funeral, but I thought the funeral was an especially sharp example of the show not really accurately depicting what New York City looks like. Karen talks to Ben’s wife, who tries to absolve Karen of all responsibility for Ben’s death, saying Ben would have gone after the story regardless of Karen’s prodding. She says that if she and Ben had a daughter, she would have been like Karen. I’m not so sure Karen is completely blameless, but the talk certainly makes her feel better.

Karen is upset that Foggy didn’t come to the funeral, and Foggy addresses this later in a conversation with Matt. Matt is at his father’s old boxing ring letting out some stress on a punching bad when Foggy stops by. Foggy is upset to learn that Karen is angry he didn’t go to the funeral, but he didn’t think he had a choice. He couldn’t stand to be around Matt. He’s also not happy Matt is training. He used to think it was to honor his dad, now he knows it’s just so he can beat the shit out of people. This whole conversation is really ridiculous. I still don’t quite understand why Foggy was so offended that Matt was the vigilante. He acted as if Matt was a spouse who cheated on him or something. Anyway, the two agree that while they can’t go back to how their friendship was before Foggy learned that Matt was the vigilante, they can try to move forward. And they’re going to move forward by trying to use their awesome lawyer powers to stop Fisk instead of Matt’s fists.

Foggy and Matt begin Operation: Lawyer Fisk Into Oblivion by going to speak with their cop friend, Brett. They want to know all about the investigation into Ben’s murder and what Brett knows about Wilson Fisk. Brett gets nervous when they tell him they go to him all the time because they know he’s clean. Things don’t usually end well for the clean cop in a corrupt department, after all. While meeting with Brett, Matt uses his super hearing to overhear somebody say that Detective Hoffman, the detective who killed his partner on Fisk’s order, is still alive. In a scene where Owlsley and Fisk have a very tense meeting, we learn that Owlsley stashed Hoffman away to use as leverage against Fisk. If Owlsley doesn’t visit every 24 hours, Hoffman is going to be taken to the FBI to tell all. Fisk, however, has gone off the deep end and thrown all caution to the wind.

Karen’s been hitting the books, and she figures out that there’s an odd record in the files Foggy’s ex provided them from Owlsley’s company, and that odd address just happens to be in Hell’s Kitchen. While Karen was doing her research, Fisk had ordered the police under his control to sweep Hell’s Kitchen looking for Hoffman. The police and Matt make it to the address in question at about the same time. Matt, of course, completely dominates the police. Matt orders Hoffman to turn himself in, and Brett’s face when Hoffman enters the station and walks up to him is darn priceless. Hoffman is represented by none other than Nelson and Murdock, of course, and he offers to give up the names of many of Fisk’s business partners, including a Senator. There’s a pretty epic montage as all these folks are gathered up by the FBI.

Fisk and Vanessa watch the raids on television, and they know the FBI will be coming for Fisk, too. He asks Vanessa to do something for him (we don’t know what exactly, although I’m sure we’ll find out eventually), and to seal the deal, he gives her a massive engagement ring. Even though her boyfriend is a frightening psychopath, Vanessa takes the damn ring anyway. I’d like to hope most women would not make that same choice, but who knows. As Fisk is being transported by the FBI, we realize in a rather creepy scene that he has paid off one of the FBI agents who are supposed to be guarding him. A huge collision and gun battle ensue, and our trio watch in horror as this plays out on television. They realize they started celebrating way too soon.

Foggy puts Karen in a car, then he gives Matt his blessing to go be a hero. Matt’s got an errand to run first, though. He picks up his new body armor enforced outfit, which is the traditional Daredevil get-up. I liked the black outfit better, to be honest, although if this one keeps Matt alive, I’ll deal, I suppose. An epic fight between Matt and Fisk ensues, and I think the suit is what keeps Matt alive. Things aren’t looking good, but Matt eventually gets the best of Fisk and knocks him unconscious. At that moment, Brett arrives on the scene, and Matt has him take it from there. The newspaper headline the next day calls Matt “Daredevil” instead of the “Devil of Hell’s Kitchen,” which pleases Matt a great deal. Foggy goes to help his ex with job searching (her law firm went under when people associated with Fisk started getting indicted), and Matt and Karen take the opportunity to talk. Matt thinks Karen is still hiding something, even though Fisk is no longer a threat. Karen deflects, and they hold hands.