Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 2.16: "Tight Two"

“Being a manager is a lot like chess. If you can’t get rid of any of the pieces, you can’t win the game.”

“Tight Two” was an episode of “Fresh off the Boat” that definitely focused on the Huang parents. I also thought it exaggerated Jessica and Louis even more than usual in an attempt to achieve maximum comedic effect. In doing that, it was a bit of a failure in my book. I have a bit of trouble buying that Jessica would find working with the Cattleman’s Ranch staff so difficult, or that Louis would be scared to spend alone time with his kids. Although the first is certainly more plausible than the second. Louis always seemed like a reasonably good father, but apparently he’s so obsessed with always being the “fun dad” that he goes nuts if he spends any extended time alone with his kids. The situation evolves to really absurd heights, without any of the kernel of truth that usually makes episodes of “Fresh off the Boat” shine.

As the episode opens, Louis plays a practical joke on Mitch to make a big announcement. Cattleman’s Ranch is now going to offer food “to go.” Later that evening, the kids are watching TV and contemplating what they would do on a deserted island. Eddie wins, because he says he’d be willing to eat his brothers to stave off starvation. Just as this conversation is really getting going, Louis arrives home from work. He puts on an elaborate comedy routine and even brings the kids a cake from the restaurant. Shockingly, Jessica lets the kids eat the cake in their room before bed. Louis tells Jessica that he’s really trying to make the few minutes he has with the kids count, and Jessica thinks he’d have more time if his staff were competent. While Louis is continuing to try and be goofy, he falls and breaks his leg. And his mother resents his fancy wheelchair.

Louis really wants to go to work for the first day of Cattleman’s To Go, but he can’t even dress himself. Jessica thinks he should stay home, but Louis thinks his staff needs supervision. Jessica offers to take over for him at the restaurant since things are in a bit of a lull with the rental property. Louis finally agrees, but he tells Jessica she’s not allowed to fire anyone. The kids are excited to hear that their dad is going to be home when they get home from school. At the restaurant, Jessica holds a staff meeting to try and get everyone psyched up for the To Go launch, but it doesn’t go well, especially because Louis paged Mitch that Jessica isn’t allowed to fire anyone.

After school, Louis happily greets the kids, who quickly become occupied deciding which of them they would eat on the deserted island. When Jessica gets home, she is concerned to hear that Louis went to the diner without the kids. Jessica goes to the diner to confront Louis, and he admits he can’t be alone with the kids. Louis says the kids only like him because he sees them for just a few minutes a night. He can handle a “tight too,” but he’s afraid the kids will be disappointed if they spend too much time with him. Jessica says Louis needs to spend the next day with the kids by himself.

The next day at Cattleman’s, Jessica really rides the staff, and they don’t react to it well. A family picking up a To Go order asks if they can sit at a table after all, and Jessica says that’s fine. Mitch gives Jessica a heads up that he and the staff won’t receive a tip for that table, but Jessica doesn’t seem to care very much. In fact, she even starts suggesting to To Go customers that they eat in. She calls it “Cattleman’s To Go To Stay.” The staff start retaliating by making fake To Go orders. Jessica answers a phone call for an especially fake sounding, very large order, but the call didn’t come from either Mitch or Nancy. She may have actually blown a large order. Meanwhile, back at the house, Louis greets the kids with some rapid fire jokes and impressions that just leave them confused, then he jumps at the chance to just watch television with them. The only problem with that is that Grandma is watching a movie, and because she resents Louis’ “mobile throne,” she doesn’t want to change the channel. Louis tries to put words in the mouths of the movie characters, but that even wears thin quickly. He gives in and decides to let the kids draw butts on his cast.

When Jessica gets home, she sees that Louis no longer has his cast on his leg. Apparently he let the kids cut it off for entertainment, which is a new level of dumb even for Louis. She takes him to the E.R., where the doctor says it will be at least a six hour wait. Apparently they don’t consider letting your kids cut your cast off because you’re afraid they’ll be bored a true emergency. The kids were at the E.R. as well, but Louis again panicked when he thought they looked bored and gave them $50 to go spend to the vending machine. Jessica is annoyed, but she has bigger fish to fry. She really wants Louis to let her fire some of the employees at the restaurant. Louis doesn’t agree, and Jessica leaves in disgust, telling him he should spend time with his kids.

When Jessica arrives at Cattleman’s she sees a large T-ball team that fits the description of the To Go order Jessica blew off, and Nancy and Mitch are waiting on them hand and foot. Mitch says they really pulled out all the stops because it was a huge order for the restaurant. Jessica is impressed, and she asks the coach if he wouldn’t mind paying the tip. He says he specifically did To Go To Stay so he wouldn’t have to tip, and he and the team leave. Jessica actually tips Nancy and Mitch herself. Back at the hospital, the boys arrive back from their vending machine adventure. Louis is forced to admit that he isn’t always “fun” and is sometimes boring. The kids say that’s okay. They’re happy with just chilling. Louis is amazed.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.12: "The Inside Man"

“You gentlemen interested in changing jobs? The good guys are hiring. You don't get to kill people in cold blood, but we've got a really good retirement plan.”

“The Inside Man” was certainly an action-packed episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” The President and Coulson decide it’s a good idea to hold an invite-only symposium about the Inhumans in Taiwan. Coulson in particular hopes it will be a chance to learn more about whether or not other countries are harboring Inhumans. It’s not going to be just a sedate little symposium, though. There’s plenty of political intrigue and Hydra interference. We really haven’t seen political intrigue to this level on “S.H.I.E.L.D.” before, and it’s fun, albeit kind of stressful to watch. Too many life or death moments in one hour! We also start to get a sense of what Maveth might really be capable of, and it’s not good. I really don’t understand Hydra’s devotion to Maveth, although I guess we aren’t supposed to understand pure evil like that.

As the episode opens, we start with Maveth, who is still in the TV room at Hydra HQ. He is introduced to Lucio, who is the guy from Colombia who can freeze people with his eyes, and Maveth is the only person/creature in the room that Lucio can’t freeze. Maveth does his turning into sand thing with Lucio, although I’m still not really sure what that means. Later, Maveth and Gideon have a conversation, and Maveth is looking even more worse for wear. Gideon asks Maveth if he needs a new host, but Maveth insists that Ward will do until everything is ready. After Gideon leaves, Maveth tells Giyera and Lucio that he needs five living humans. When the five humans arrive, Maveth basically absorbs them. By the end of the episode, he rises from the carnage, covered in goo and looking stronger.

We next see General Talbot, newly appointed head of the ATCU, arguing with his wife in an airport before she leaves for her flight. I’m honestly wondering how he got past security without a boarding pass. People can’t have emotional conversations by an airline gate anymore these days. As Talbot is watching his wife’s plane, he is approached by Coulson, which is super awkward. Although Coulson says he’d rather be Talbot’s partner than his boss, Talbot has no intention of letting Coulson be either. As we learn back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, the first mission of the new S.H.I.E.L.D./ATCU alliance is the symposium I mentioned earlier that is going to be taking place in Taiwan. The team are all working on the preparations. Daisy is especially skeptical, since the symposium is going to be about the “alien contagion.” She feels strongly that terrigenesis is an “awakening,” not a disease.

Meanwhile, Lincoln is in Taiwan on a surveillance mission with May. He’s watching Coulson and Talbot arrive, but things kick into high gear when he spots Carl Creel, too. By the time the team decides to react, Coulson and Talbot are in a parking garage. Coulson shoves Talbot in a vehicle and locks it while Lincoln attacks. Creel deflects the attack pretty easily, though, by turning to rubber. May, however, comes in with the assist and turns Creel to metal. Lincoln can now easily attack him, although he gets a bit carried away, and it takes a lot to make him stop electrocuting Creel. Once he is let out of the vehicle, Talbot says that Creel isn’t a threat. He is protecting him.

Meanwhile, back at HQ, Daisy and Lincoln are sparring, because Lincoln needs to train for his upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. agent exam. It’s clear that Lincoln has some trouble containing his powers. Just as the sparring is about to transition to something more intimate, Simmons interrupts because she has noticed something weird while testing Creel’s blood. It turns out that Creel’s blood acts as a vaccine for terrigenesis. She transformed an old sample of Daisy’s blood, then was able to change it back with Creel’s blood. Lincoln thinks this could be a good thing, but Daisy certainly doesn’t. The two actually get into a pretty significant argument about whether or not the vaccine is a good thing, with each saying some pretty hurtful things to the other. By the end of the episode, though, they’ve made up. Lincoln admits he’s a bit jealous about how zen Daisy is with her powers. And since I really don’t care all that much about Daisy and Lincoln, let’s move on.

So, on to the political intrigue! Coulson’s team searches the hotel room of the symposium attendees while the symposium is happening and Talbot and Coulson are cozying up to everyone. They use a machine created by Fitz to create gloves of the palm prints of the attendees to get into their rooms. While snooping, Hunter notices Creel going off-post, so he starts following him. Meanwhile, by snooping in the room of the Australian delegate, Bobbi figures out that the Australians have been keeping an Inhuman sedated for experiments. By following Creel, Hunter finds something unexpected in the back of a truck – a kid in a gel containment unit. He almost immediately gets stopped by guards, though. In the symposium, the group is about to vote in favor of creating an Inhuman sanctuary state in Russia when Talbot interrupts. He says they have a traitor among their midst, and that traitor is Coulson. Gideon takes the opportunity to make his entrance and says that Coulson is the director of Hydra.

Gideon quickly takes the opportunity to turn the symposium against Coulson, reminding the group that most of them now him from his work on the World Security Council or the good works of his foundation. He seems to be especially interested in cozying up to Petrov, the Russian delegate to the symposium. Outside, May saves Hunter from the Hydra security guards, and he tells her and Bobbi that he has a stash of guns. This makes May not hate him quite as much. We also learn that the person in the gel containment unit is Talbot’s son. That’s what got him to agree to be Gideon’s inside man at the symposium. Coulson is taken to lock-up, and when the entourage arrives there, Talbot is locked up too. Gideon orders both of them killed.

Creel of all people ends up saving the day by breakout Coulson and Talbot out of lock-up. They make their way out of the prison area while Bobbi and Hunter take on the Hydra agents still hanging around where the symposium had been meeting. Creel ends up saving Hunter, too, by killing an agent who is about to shoot him. To top off the success for the team, May pulls up driving the truck carrying the containment unit with Talbot’s son. Talbot watches over his son at the hospital, although Coulson assures him his son will be fine after some rest. Talbot and Coulson agree to a more cordial working relationship going forward. Bobbi and Hunter were told to tail Gideon, and in the episode’s tag, we see where he is. He’s giving Petrov a ride home on his private jet, and Bobbi and Hunter are stowing away in the plane’s cargo hold.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Once Upon a Time 5.15: "The Brothers Jones"

“I don’t care about the stories anymore. I want to be a hero. I want to help my mom, even if that means helping Cruella.”
- Henry

You would think I’d be dreading a Hook centric episode at this point but I’m actually kind of interested to see how Hook interacts with his brother now that the former is a pirate. Also, given the preview I’m intrigued to find out if and why Liam might not approve of his baby brother’s new beau (other than you know, the creepy factor which Rumple pointed out in last week’s episode). Just as Emma heals Hook, they get a knock on the door and Liam appears. He’s apparently learned that his little brother is in town and it’s kind of an awkward introduction. He clearly doesn’t like Emma and when he says that she’s not good enough for Killian, she gets defensive and thinks he’s rather self-righteous.

In flashbacks, we see Liam and Killian’s rise to the navy. When last we saw them as boys, their father had sold them into servitude. But all of that is nearly over since the following day they can sign up for the navy and be free of their contracts. Unfortunately, Killian is kind of a wuss and also a drunk. So while Liam goes off to secure papers, Killian gets tricked into gambling all his money away. Instead of taking the chance to join the navy when he gets back the next day, Liam tosses the papers into the ocean. He’s not leaving his little brother no matter what. Things get dicey as the ship sales into the eye of a massive hurricane. Apparently the captain (Captain Long John Silver I might add) is intent on finding the Eye of the Storm (some crazy looking sapphire). Liam and Killian mutiny with the rest of the crew and then things take a dark turn. Hades shows up and makes Liam a deal: let the rest of the crew die in the storm and Hades will save the Brothers Jones and get them navy commissions. Liam ends up following through and thus he and Killian join the navy.

Back in the present in Underbrooke, Henry gets a bit of a story on his own. He and Cruella are on the hunt for the pen and he has a run-in with the Apprentice who warns that Henry might be making the wrong choice. It appears that the Apprentice’s unfinished business is making sure Henry uses the pen for the right reasons. The kid struggles with that as the gang searches for the story book (Underworld edition) in the Sorcerer’s mansion. Henry ducks out to find the pen and ink (which he eventually does). He’s torn about using it though. I’m sure he’d love to find a way to bring Neal back to life but he’s obviously not going to do that. He’s also kind of tired of everyone treating him like a little kid in need of saving. He wants to be the hero.

While Emma confides in Regina that she has a bad feeling about Liam, Hook is intent on not returning to Storybrooke when the defeat Hades. He think she’s not worth saving. After all, how could he ever be a hero when he’s been comparing himself to Liam the time. Of course, he doesn’t know his brother’s nasty truth. At least not yet. The truth gets darker when Hades tasks Liam with destroying the pages in the story book about himself. It seems Hades has something to hide as well.

Soon enough, Hook learns the ugly truth of his brother’s devil’s bargain. Not only did he sacrifice the crew back in the day but he’s betrayed everyone with the pages. Hook is pretty heartbroken by his brother’s betrayal but there’s not much time to process it because he and Liam get nabbed by their former crew and dragged down to the pits of fiery river to get tossed in. They’re about to go over when Hades poofs in and gets all smarmy. He sends Liam over the edge but Hook grabs him before he falls. But Liam sacrifices himself to save his baby brother which in turn allows him to ascend to the happy place with the rest of the crew. Liam’s sacrifice emboldens Hook to fight for his future with Emma (yes I was a little sad by this revelation) which makes her super happy. And Henry comes clean with the rest of the family about the pen. He vows to use it to write Hades’ story again. Which should be an interesting effort.

And in super awkward news, David spent some time with Cruella, pretending to be James and it was just really weird. She knew it wasn’t James the whole time but she was having fun. She also fills him in that his brother resents him (even though they’ve never met). Somehow James got it in his head that David was the favorite son which is why he got to stay on the farm with a loving mother. That doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense to David (or me really) but it was enough to prompt Henry to stop wallowing in his teenage funk. I do hope they give Henry more to do as the season goes on. For one thing he isn’t a little kid anymore so he should have more meaty stuff to deal with. And you give the kid this power and then don’t let him use it. Seems kind of lame to me.

And I’m sure the ending was supposed to be shocking but it wasn’t all that surprising because everyone knows everyone in this world. Hades’ pages from the book hid that he has some sort of past with Zelena. I don’t think he knocked her up or anything (yes Robin still has a baby girl somewhere in Storybrooke) but it seems Hades likes Zelena a lot and probably wishes he were the baby daddy. But we’ll be popping off to Oz at some point in the near future.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

iZombie 2.15: “He Blinded Me…With Science”

“What does it mean that I find your new look weird and creepy?”
“It means you spend too much time with the dead.”
- Ravi and Liv

This episode had a lot of interesting moving parts going on that helped to push the various plotlines a little bit further along. I have to say, I didn’t see the twist coming with the case of the week. A disgraced scientist was lit on fire and so Liv (and Blaine eventually) eat her brain. It takes Liv a while to get a vision. First, she and Clive visit a former drug trial participant who sued after getting horrible facial scarring but she claims she got plastic surgery and had no motive to want the scientist dead. She points to the other scientist involved in the trial who is reduced to working in a restaurant. Liv gets her first flash that the dead scientist worked for Vaughn at Max Rager. But the visit proves unhelpful.

So, Liv decides to go undercover as it were and she gets some good information. But unfortunately she gets caught by Vaughn and kind of threatens her with incineration for meddling in his work. But she’s not going to let it go. After another vision of a zombie in the basement of Max Rager and Clive doing some digging on his end, they discover that the drug trial participant has a twin sister and the sister is the one who killed the scientist. I honestly didn’t see the twin angle coming. But it kind of made sense I suppose.

One of the more interesting aspects of being on scientist brains is that bot Liv and Blaine get to help Ravi with the latest batch of the cure. He thinks the information they’ve imparted may be useful but he can’t be sure. He’s tested the latest version on a rat and it has returned to normal but he doesn’t know how long it will last. Still, he gives Blaine a sample of it, warning it could return him to normal or it could kill him. This leads to some interesting emotions with him and his guys. For one thing, he wants to get out of the Utopium trade for now. He wants to make it look like he’s still dead. He also gives his guys the information for all of his accounts in case the cure kills him. It seems like he’s going to need to take that cure soon because he keeps coughing up blood. Definitely not a good sign for him (or Major really). I don’t want Blaine to die!

Speaking of Major, he gets a new list of zombies from Vaughn (who is really hyped up on Super Max) and then has a really awkward interaction with him and Rita/Gilda. Major is pissed that Vaughn put Rita in Liv’s orbit when he was under the impression if he did as he was told, she would be left out of it. And then Major drops the truth bomb that Rita had seduced him. Vaughn is not happy to find out Major has been getting horizontal with his daughter. This part kind of confused me a little bit since he doesn’t seem to really care all that much about his child (as is evidenced later in the episode). But he gets really violent and starts throwing things when he sees Rita’s black eye (and damn that thing looked nasty!). Major quickly gets out of there but it isn’t really a good situation for father and daughter. And as I mentioned, things get even icier later when Vaughn pontificates in the basement about how everyone will be on Super Max and it won’t matter if people get violent. And then their test zombie gets loose and Vaughn hightails it to the elevator, leaving the scientist and Rita to face the zombie alone. Rita escapes but she’s definitely covered in gore. I highly suspect she’ll be joining the ranks of the undead shortly. Vaughn just sits there and stares blankly at her through his locked office door. The guy is nuts!

The final little plot thread happening this week had to do with Liv being suspicious of Drake and his whereabouts. So she jacks his phone and cyber stalks him. She sees him go to his mom’s place and then she follows him to Boss’s office. She kind of freaks out about that. I suspect she isn’t really worried about the Chaos Killer going after her man but Blaine wants Major to get rid of Drake for not giving him a heads up that Boss was gunning for Blaine. Speaking of Chaos Killer tidbits, Clive’s FBI girlfriend found more human brains in Blaine’s dad’s Canadian cabin and then when she calls to confirm with her lab guy that cow brains are smaller than humans they find out that the other brains they tested were also human and someone doctored the report. Oh boy, that one is going to come back and bite Liv in the butt.

Liv goes to confront Drake about his criminal dealings (again we know he’s a cop undercover and everything) but he’s not going to show up. First he gets stuck on a really long call with his needy mother and then Major drugs him and drives off just as Liv pays the check and heads home, upset that Drake stood her up. I am very interested to see where several of these plot threads go over the course of the last four episodes of the season. Liv needs to find out soon about Major’s side job and that he’s got Drake. I can’t imagine that’s going to be a very good conversation on either front really. I also have a feeling that Clive is going to join the zombie club by the end of the season. I mean it can only go on for so long. The man needs to be out of the dark soon or else he just seems kind of stupid. Everyone else in Liv’s life (who seems to matter…aka not her family) knows the truth so why not Clive, too. I’m sure he’d get over the shock and still work with Liv after that.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Blindspot 1.14: “Rules in Defiance”

“They were right. Why should they trust me? Why should I trust myself? I could have been anyone before this. I don’t think I can do this anymore. I want to stop. I want to leave the FBI.”
- Jane

This was one hell of an emotional episode for pretty much the whole team. Jane spends most of it on the outs, feeling like she can’t trust herself or the team. She calls in sick but then provides a key piece of information (a suggestion really) that helps break the case wide open. By the end she’s made some decisions about what she plans to do moving forward and Oscar isn’t very pleased. She wants out of Orion and whatever their bigger plan is and she wants to just be FBI. But there are other people within their organization who won’t play nice with Jane and that includes threatening to kill Weller if Jane doesn’t cooperate. That’s not going to sit well with our heroine that’s for sure. And I realize the quote of the episode doesn’t really reflect Jane’s ultimate choice but I thought it was important to share just how many doubts she’s having about her relationship with these people (both the FBI and whoever is running with Orion).

The case of the week comes to the gang a little circuitously. Patterson notices two tattoos on different parts of Jane’s body that end up corresponding to points in the city. After doing some math (provided to them by an anonymous email) they get one point (in a triangle) that likely works. Patterson kind of gets dumped on for using the email (although she does swear she got IT involved immediately). I feel bad for her. She’s just so eager to solve these cases and help people. Lighten up! Things start to go pear-shaped when the team minus Jane gets to the location and starts banging on doors. They interrupt a police sting (oops) but they do find the clue they were meant to find: a mural of a young woman who disappeared seven years ago.

Things quickly turn extra crazy when the gang figures out that two ICE agents have been smuggling women and trafficking them near the Mexican border. The young woman they are initially led to was murdered and her boyfriend is facing a lethal injection the next day for it. But he claims he’s innocent (although he changes his tune when his family is threatened). Patterson works out the way the girls are being tagged and Zapata offers to go undercover to find out where the girls are being taken. If they can find the people who are really running the show, they can get the original victim’s boyfriend off death row and overturn his conviction.

Of course, it doesn’t go smoothly at all. Part of me wants to blame Reade and Weller bickering over Reade dating Weller’s sister but really I guess it wasn’t their fault. The driver who was working with the ICE agent drugs Zapata and some other people drag her into a van out back and take off. The driver has kept the necklace Patterson gave with the tracker in it. Almost too late, the guys realize that she is no longer on the bus.

I must admit I was honestly worried for Zapata when she woke up and one of the other women filled her in. They aren’t being sold or trafficked elsewhere. The ringleader holds parties and forces the women to dress and hands them out to his “clients” to do whatever they want. The ringleader quickly realizes Zapata isn’t the woman they were supposed to get and so he decides to make a run for it and burn the place down with all the women inside. Luckily, thanks to Jane suggesting the women weren’t being moved elsewhere, the guys arrive in time to get into a fire fight while Zapata gets the women out of the house. But she gets stuck in the basement when all of her exits are blocked. But one of the escaped women alerts Weller and Reade and they manage to rescue her before the house blows up.

One of the people who was working the ring (who started out as a victim) testifies about what happened to the other girl (a client killed her and then the ring leader made the other woman dispose of the body). So the girl’s boyfriend is free and everyone is home safe. For the most part. Jane pays Zapata a visit afterwards and expresses her happiness that she’s all right. She also admits that she missed being with the team. In an interesting turn, Zapata says that if it hadn’t been for Jane’s tattoos the women who were being held would have died because no one was looking for them. I thought that was really powerful. And at least someone is accepting of Jane. Weller’s off dealing with her rejection by sleeping with his ex-girlfriend a lot. Not that she seems to mind that much. And Reade and Mayfair are still digging into Carter’s disappearance. Reade gets a hit on some traffic camera footage (and spots Oscar) but I think Oscar takes him out before he can relay the message to Mayfair. And by taking out I mean just knocking unconscious (I hope). It also appears that Zapata has other things to worry about now, too. An Assistant US Attorney bugged her place due to her gambling issues but they don’t care about that. They want whatever she can get on the whole Carter-Jane-Mayfair drama going on. She wants to say no but the attorney threatens that she can’t afford a good lawyer so she’d end up in jail for quite some time. I really do feel bad for her. She just keeps going from one bad bullying situation to another. She’s trying to her life back on track and everyone just keeps making it harder than it has to be! She doesn’t deserve that.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 2.15: "Keep 'Em Separated"

“Alright, we were debating who’d win in a fight. A Cabbage Patch Kid possessed by a demon, or Teddy Ruxpin with a Metallica tape in him.”

“Keep ‘Em Separated” was interesting because it didn’t rely on the novelty (in the television landscape) of the Huangs being an Asian family. Many times on “Fresh off the Boat,” the story is driven by how the Huangs look at or handle a situation in a different way because they are of Asian descent. I could see anyone of any heritage responding to the situations presented in this episode in the ways that the Huangs did, however. Jessica wants to get a clingy Louis out of her hair, but she gets jealous when his distraction is a female pool partner. Eddie makes a huge mess of finding out that his former crush Nicole is single and that his current girlfriend used to have a crush on his best friend. It’s just relationship drama in general, and it was interesting to see the Huangs work through it.

At the beginning of the episode, Louis is being extra clingy. He has turned over the responsibility for closing the restaurant to Mitch, so he has a lot more free time than he used to. When the Huangs lived in DC, Louis had a friend he would play pool with in his free time, but he doesn’t have a similar close friend in Orlando. Jessica and Honey are trying to have book club, and Louis keeps interrupting. First, he interrupts at his own house, then at Honey’s house, then at the Denim Turtle (the Lesbian bar Jessica frequents), and finally at Cattleman’s Ranch. They figured that since Louis was leaving work early, he wouldn’t come back to work to find them, but alas, he did.

Meanwhile, it’s lunchtime at Eddie’s school, and he’s showing all his friends, including Alison, a Redbook he swiped from his mom because it has a photo of Whitney Houston on the cover. Alison is cool with Eddie’s love of Whitney. After she leaves, another kid delivers the news that Hot Chris broke up with Nicole. Nicole stops by their lunch table not long after the announcement. Eddie is pretty cool while talking to Nicole, but his friend Trevor is decidedly not. Eddie asks Nicole if she’d like to hang out and get ice cream some time, and she agrees. Later, when playing video games together, Eddie’s best friend Dave asks Eddie if Alison is okay with Eddie and Nicole getting ice cream. Eddie says she doesn’t know about the ice cream plans yet, but she’ll probably be okay with it because she was cool with the Whitney Houston magazine and she also doesn’t know that he used to have a crush on Nicole. Dave is understandably concerned that Alison doesn’t know about Eddie’s history with Nicole.

Jessica wants to encourage Louis to find his own friends like he had back in DC, so she pushes him into getting back to playing pool. She has his pool cue retipped, and she gives him a list of several local pool halls he can try. Louis goes to a pool hall called Cue Tips, and while things are a bit dicey at first (the clientele is mostly biker types), he eventually wins them over. He stops by the house to drop off the dozen eggs Jessica asked for, and he tells her that he and his new friend “Tony” cleaned up at Cue Tips and are going to another pool hall for more fun. Only “Tony” is actually Toni, as in a woman. Jessica is very upset about this and vents to Honey about it. Then they go to the pool hall to meet Toni in person. Black Velvet is playing as they walk into the pool hall, so of course Toni looks extra hot. Jessica and Honey talk to her, and Toni is pretty clear that she just likes to play pool and isn’t making a move on Louis. Jessica is still really bothered by the situation, though, so she lies and tells Louis that Mitch locked himself in the restaurant while trying to close.

At school, Eddie and his friends decide that Eddie’s best play for the Alison and Nicole situation is to keep them separate so they don’t talk to each other and find out things they shouldn’t know. This plan goes well all day until bus time. The boys are all in the bus congratulating themselves, when they see Alison and Nicole exchanging jewelry and generally being friendly to each other. Eddie talks to Alison on the phone about the Nicole situation, and surprisingly, Alison is cool with it. She already knew Eddie used to have a crush on Nicole. She thinks past crushes should be in the past, including the crush she used to have on Dave. The next day at school, Eddie starts being really mean to Dave and says hurtful things to him. Alison sees this, and she’s not happy about it. She’s really not happy when she finds out Eddie is going to ice cream with Nicole. She thinks it’s hypocritical that she’s supposed to be cool with Nicole but he’s not cool with Dave. And she’d be right about that.

One they’re at the restaurant, and it’s clear Mitch isn’t there, Jessica admits she lied because she isn’t comfortable with Louis hanging around Toni. She starts listing off very detailed rules that need to be followed if Louis is going to have a female friend, and she says he needs to find a new pool partner. Next thing we know, Jessica is all decked out in black, trying her best to look sexy as she struts into the pool hall. The illusion is shattered, however, when she has to dig her ID out of her very large purse. Jessica keeps breaking all the pool etiquette rules, which frustrates Louis to no end. She takes other people’s quarters for the juke box, and she has the juke box play Amy Grant on repeat. She also doesn’t understand how to play the game. At one point, she declares pool boring, and she wants to know what Louis and Toni would talk about during all that time spent waiting. His answer can be found in the Quote of the Episode above.

By the end of the episode, the friendships that were tested are all repaired, although it seems like not all the romantic relationships are. Jessica and Louis are fine, of course. Louis reminds her that she and Honey talk about silly things much like he does with Toni. Jessica says she doesn’t want to be the person to stop him from doing that. Louis and Toni can be pool partners again, although some of the ladies from the Denim Turtle keep watch to make sure there’s no funny business. Eddie ends up going to the ice cream truck and buying ice cream for himself and Dave. Neither Nicole nor Alison are around. Eddie apologizes to Dave, explains what happened, and they come to an understanding. Even if Eddie has messed things up with the women in his life, at least he has his best friend back.

Once Upon a Time 5.14: "Devil's Due"

“It’s quite simple. Can you stand helping me if it means helping him?”
- Rumpelstiltskin

I have to admit I laughed a lot during this episode and boy did it feel good. As I’m sure I’ve expressed previously, I was a little hesitant with this arc given the focus on saving Hook but it is turning into a much more dynamic arc with filling in gaps for characters and providing some meaningful moments between people you wouldn’t expect. This week’s flashback focused on Rumple and Milah before she left to sail the world with Hook. While they bicker if Rumple being useless, Bae gets bitten by a poisonous snake and the magic healer they go to wants 100 gold coins to give them the antidote. Being dirt poor, Milah orders her husband to go back and steal the potion, telling Rumple he needs to be brave. He doesn’t steal it. The haler gives it to him with a price of a deal: the healer gets his second born child. When Milah finds out, she’s really pissed and heads off to the tavern where she meets with a dashing pirate. And we know the rest. Oh, but Rumple also goes back to kill the healer when he is the Dark One, assuming that will void the contract.

As the Charmings clean up the mess in the apartment (thank you three-headed hell dog), Rumple heads to the shop (which Pan has left to him along with some pipes which I laughed a lot), using some magic to we think see Belle again. But things aren’t quite what they seem. Whatever the image of seeing Belle means, it prompts him to offer the others his assistance. He convinces Emma that he can use the aura of a dead person to get them through Hades’ barrier and that dead person just happens to be his ex-wife. And Hook’s ex-girlfriend. And Neal’s mom. She’s working as a crossing guard which Rumple takes great pleasure in point out the irony of, but she agrees to help when he brings up Hook’s predicament. Speaking of, having declined Hades’ order to choose three people to stay, Hades hangs Hook above the river of lost souls and steadily lowers him towards its murky depths.

So the meeting between Emma and Milah is pretty awkward (just as I’d hoped) and I laughed heartily at that, too. The looks they both give Rumple and each other are priceless. But Milah gets them through the barrier and after Emma drops the truth bomb about Neal being in heaven (or wherever happy-land is); Milah agrees to go with them to finish rescuing Hook. Rumple finds a boat that gets them across the river but Milah insists on staying with the boat (when Rumple says he’s staying in the boat, too). So, while Emma goes and manages to get Hook before he falls into the water, Rumple and Milah get to have a kind of sweet moment. Milah’s unfinished business is Bae (obviously). She’s hoping that by doing something generous and helping rescue Hook, that maybe she’ll get to move on and be able to apologize to their son. Rumple insists that their boy will forgive her, having done so for him (and Rumple did far worse arguably). This gives Milah some hope. But that hope will soon be dashed when Hades interrupts the plan. He offers Rumple a deal: get rid of the boat and he’ll get to go home. His friends have to stay put. Rumple destroys the boat and then sends Milah into the river of lost souls, claiming it was Hades’ doing and injuring his hand to make it look real when Hook and Emma come along.

Elsewhere in Underbrooke (as Regina coins it), she pays a visit to Cruella who is now the Mayor. She wants to know how the graveyard works. There are three settings on the head stones: upright means they’re still in town, tipped means they’ve moved on to happy-land and cracked means they’ve gone to the worse place. Regina and Snow go to find Daniel’s grave and are relieved to find him not in town. Regina is a little sad she couldn’t have seen him but she is thrilled he’s moved on. Things look pretty upbeat as everyone gathers together and Regina gets her magic back (by healing a wounded horse). But there’s a problem. She can’t take Emma’s heart to split it. They quickly learn that Hades chose three people to stay when Hook wouldn’t and he’s chosen to the women (and mothers) of the group. That choice kind of annoyed me a little bit. Why all the women? Why take them away from their children?

But that’s not all that’s upsetting for mothers. When Rumple goes back to Hades to get his lift home, we learn that he wasn’t checking in on Belle earlier, he was trying to find Neal (well, specifically his child). He found his child, just not the one he was looking for. Clearly Belle doesn’t know she’s with child yet but I suspect she will. I also am not surprised they wrote Emilie de Ravin’s pregnancy into the show. And Hades gleefully points out that death didn’t void the contract and the contract has been signed over by the healer to Hades. So now Rumple is his bitch for as long as he says and he can cash in on said Rumbelle bun in the oven whenever he wants (although presumably after the wee one is actually born and not just a collection of dividing cells). So it would seem that everyone is kind of in a tough spot right now. Their transport home was destroyed, half the team can’t get out of Hell and Rumple’s unborn child is going to be property of a guy who thinks blue flames are a fashion statement. I can’t wait to see how they worm their way out of this predicament. At the very least I suspect Hook will get the chance to get cleaned up and maybe Regina can heal some of the facial damage from Hades’ beatings.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.11: "Bouncing Back"

“You joined the Calvary.”

While I think, overall, when it comes to Marvel shows on ABC, I prefer “Agent Carter” to “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” the mid-season premiere of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” was a solid effort. The episode definitely set up plot arcs for the second half of the season and gave us as viewers a good sense (I think, at least) of what the second half of the season is going to be like. Daisy is going to continue to build her team, but in a different way than she anticipated, and maybe with a more international flair. Ward/Maveth is going to be a big threat that the team is going to have to face. Coulson will have to continue working through Rosalind’s death and what he had to do on the planet on the other side of the portal. FitzSimmons are going to have to keep working on figuring out what they are to each other (even if it is rather obvious to viewers). Bobbi, Mack, and Hunter are going to continue to hit things. It should be a good time had by all!

The opening of the episode, which takes place three months in the future, suggests things are going to become dire for our team soon. We see a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship in space with a floating cross necklace and an alarm going off. The ship explodes. We then roll back to the present day, to Bogotá, Colombia, specifically. Someone with powers raids a police van and steals their stash of high powered weapons. The culprit is a woman named Elena, and she has super speed. She is also helped by her super-powered cousin. We’ll learn much more about them soon enough.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, Coulson meets with none other than the President himself. Oddly, the meeting is at Rosalind’s house, because neither trusts the other to see their base of operations. The President wants S.H.I.E.L.D.’s help dealing with the Inhuman issue, but he wants the help to be on the down-low. Coulson prefers black ops to bureaucracy, so he’s interested. The ATCU will still be the public face of the Administration’s Inhuman response, but the President promises he will name a new head of the ATCU who will answer to Coulson. Unfortunately for Coulson, we learn in the episode’s tag that the new head of the ATCU will be General Talbot. That pair-up could be interesting, to say the least! Coulson also asks for the President’s help with the Gideon Malick problem, but the President says Gideon is too powerful for him to deal with. Of course he is – he’s played by Powers Boothe! Powers Boothe also plays shady, too powerful for their own good, characters.

Most of the team is dispatched to Colombia to deal with the police van rade. Daisy and Joey talk to one of the police officers, Ramon, about what happened, while Hunter, Bobbi, and Mack search outside. They come across a weird scrape in the road that FitzSimmons and Lincoln are asked to analyze back in the lab. The results are inconclusive, but FitzSimmons are super awkward about it. They still haven’t gotten past the whole kiss and Fitz killing Simmons’ maybe-ex boyfriend thing, which I guess is understandable. Mack keeps searching outside, and he finds another scrape in the road. Then he finds the boots that made the scrape, which are attached to a super speedy woman (Elena). She grabs Mack’s gun, then shoves him into the back of a van.

Coulson urgently pulls Fitz out of the lab, because he wants him to set up the crazy brain reading device again. This time, though, it’s not for himself. He wants to put Von Strucker in it and see if he can tell them anything about how to find or contact Gideon. Simmons, understandably, thinks this might not be such a good idea. Once they put Von Strucker in the device and ask him about Gideon, he gets stuck in a loop of reliving the moments before he lost consciousness while being tortured by Gideon. He repeats “just kill me” over and over. Lincoln has to (reluctantly) give him a little electroshock therapy to snap him out of it. After that, Coulson is able to learn how to contact Gideon. You go to what kind of looks like a bodega and say you know somebody from Princeton, then you’re lead into a back room with a phone that calls Gideon. Coulson follows the directions and calls Gideon. Threats are exchanged while S.H.I.E.L.D. tries to trace the phone call. By the end of the episode, Gideon’s businesses are failing worldwide.

Mack wakes up in the bathroom of Elena’s house. Her cousin leaves while Elena stays home to watch Mack. Mack manages to get out of the duct tape Elena has used to bind him, and a fight between the two of them ensues. Elena eventually wins, of course, (she’s got powers, after all), but she’s surprised by how much of a fight Mack puts up. When Elena ties Mack back up, they have a very interesting conversation about how Elena feels that her power is a gift from God. Mack also manages to find out that Elena first got her powers when having fish for dinner. Before the conversation can continue further, however, Daisy, Hunter, and Bobbi arrive on the scene and contain Elena.

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Elena strenuously resists being contained, and she creams at Joey when he first tries to talk to her. Eventually, however, they all start having a more productive conversation. Elena and her cousin weren’t stealing the guns to use for something. They wanted to destroy the guns. She calls the local police “thieves in uniforms,” and she wants to use her powers to do good for her community. Bobbi and Hunter, meanwhile, find Elena’s cousin dumping the guns in the river. They barely have a chance to confront him, however, before the police are on the scene. One of the police is an Inhuman, and he uses his powers to freeze Bobbi and Hunter. Then they shoot Elena’s cousin to send a message.

The rest of the team finds the cousin’s dead body, and Mack lets Elena out of containment to mourn. He tells her that he relies on his faith too, even though he doesn’t talk about it often, and he’s starting to think that maybe powers are a gift from God after all. Elena is going to help the team rescue Bobbi and Hunter. The rescue sequence is a lot of fun, even if it is kind of cheesy. Elena just seems overjoyed with herself every time her use of her powers helps the team. It’s all going well until Elena tries to get to the eye-freezing guy before he can freeze her. Spoiler alert: he freezes her. Luckily, Daisy takes him down right after that. As the team is trying to escort the eye-freezing guy to their ship, a Hydra ship intercepts and takes him away.

Once they are safe, Mack tries to recruit Elena to S.H.I.E.L.D., but she really doesn’t want to leave her life in Bogotá. Daisy mentions that back when she was a hacker, her team was very close despite being on separate continents. This leads to the development of a very creative solution. Elena is given a smart watch that can be used to communicate with S.H.I.E.L.D. If she needs help or if S.H.I.E.L.D. needs backup, that can happen. Meanwhile, Elena gets to live a normal life. Daisy also offers the same deal to Joey, who is excited that he’ll get to go to Sunday dinners with his family again. Lincoln is the only one to not take the deal, for obvious reasons (he wants to be within easy smooching distance of Daisy of course…could I be any less invested in this ship?).

Speaking of ships (and one in which I’m much more invested), there were some FitzSimmons developments in this episode that I’m not sure how I feel about. Near the end of the episode, Simmons broaches the subject of how there is a “chasm” between the two of them. They are being cold and professional. She wants them to sort of reset their relationship and go back to the beginning. Fitz seems a little offended by this at first, but then Simmons describes it as being about to embark on a relationship that will change their lives. They reintroduce themselves to each other to mark the reset, then they fist bump. The tension seems to be at ease, but I’m not sure how I feel about them resetting. Meanwhile, in Coulson’s office, Coulson and May have a drink as they talk about recent events. May says Coulson has joined the Calvary after what he did on the planet at the other end of the portal.

Meanwhile, at Hydra HQ, Gideon pays a visit to Ward, who is locked up and looks decidedly worse for wear. Ward/Maveth says he is hungry, so he is treated to a buffet of raw meat while watching historical news footage. He remarks to Giyera that humans haven’t really changed in the time he’s been on the other side of the portal. At various points in the episode, he accuses both Gideon and Giyera of not believing he is really Maveth. At the end of the episode, he promises them both that he’ll make them believe. He extends a hand, which seems to grow claws, and the whole arm seems to start disintegrating into sand.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Blindspot 1.13: “Erase Weary Youth”

“Internal investigations are divisive. You start looking for one thing, who knows what else you’re gonna find.”
- Mayfair

There’s a mole in the FBI and that insufferable OPR agent is going to find them! Even if it means tearing our team apart in the process. In fact, I’m sure he would delight in seeing that happen, the smug bastard. But first, the impetus for the search. The woman responsible for killing David is being arraigned and she’s got the name of a Russian spy source in the FBI. But her lawyer, who works for the Russian embassy, kills her (and then is killed by a security guard). So clearly there’s a problem here. Weller is tasked by Mayfair with rooting out the mole but he doesn’t have much of a chance because Fischer (Mr. OPR) shows up and takes over everything.

He’s going to find the mole whether the team likes it or not (and boy do they not). After a dizzying series of interrogations of everyone, Fischer says that Zapata, Mayfair and Jane had numerous inconstancies and their results and are hiding something. Well, we know Jane is hiding that she knows what happened to the CIA guy (and that apparently Orion was an operation that went sideways and forced her off the grid and into this whole memory wipe, tattoo extravaganza). We also know Zapata has that gambling habit and she was being blackmailed by the CIA guy. Oh and who knows what Mayfair is hiding this time (other than Project Daylight). What’s worse is the team thinks they’ve got a possible lead at the Russian embassy on the mole (there’s some diplomats using their embassy protection to smuggle all manager of things) but Fischer has the entire building on lockdown.

Weller pulls a few strings to get his ex into the building and the agent who had been working the spy ring finally gets her source from the embassy into the building, too. Weller leans on the guy until he says he can ID the source by their face. Unfortunately, while this is happening, Fischer is still digging. Tasha admits that the CIA wanted her to spy on Jane (and Reade says the guy made the same offer to him). So she manages to explain away the bug in her house (that was meant for Jane’s safe house). Mayfair ends up dismissing things about the not-exactly-informant who was murdered by the CIA guy to keep him quiet. So now (and quite predictably), all eyes are on Jane. Fischer is almost gleeful in the way he digs into her life. He gets other agents to contradict each other and it is really looking bad for Jane. She can’t admit with was with the CIA guy obviously but she also can’t share what she knows about Orion and Oscar and all of the rest. Fischer builds up quite the narrative to make Jane fit the role of the mole and he has her arrested. Things don’t get any better when the embassy informant ID’s Jane as the source, too. I have a feeling Fischer is the mole and is just screwing everyone over. But of course, Weller promises to get things sorted out and rescue Jane from whatever hole Fischer tries to put her in. That or Oscar will find out what’s going on and knock the shit out of the mustached bespectacled ass hat.

It turns out I was right and Fischer is in fact the mole. His position at OPR gave him great cover and he could shut down people whenever they got close (although that doesn’t stop the team from doing a little in fighting first). But the team manages to catch up with Jane before she’s tossed in a dark hole somewhere, never to be seen again. She ends up killing Fischer in self-defense. But things aren’t going to go back to normal anytime soon for any of our team. It seems that Fischer was able to rattle their bond after all.

It seems Tasha believes that the CIA guy did in fact plant that bug in her house and she rants (a bit drunkenly) to whoever is listening to just call her if they want to talk and then the phone rings. Very creepy indeed and if I were her, I’d have freaked out big time. And Weller isn’t dealing with the news that Reade is dating his sister. He tells Reade to end it and then kind of blows up at his sister, ranting about how he can’t save everyone and that it takes everything out of him to try. I have a feeling he’s keeping some things in about his father that should probably be shared with his sister. And Mayfair and Reade are still both suspicious of Jane. After all, the story did seem to fit. No one (but her) can account for her whereabouts when the CIA guy went missing.

But most interestingly, is Jane. She meets Oscar on their rooftop and then demands answers, which he doesn’t give. She wants to know if she was in fact a Russian spy. She says that even though Fischer was the mole, he did get things right that Jane was responsible for the CIA guy’s death and she is a mole of a sort. Oscar isn’t giving her much information though and this just pisses her off. I would like some more definitive answers but I don’t know that we’ll get them. Especially since she says that she’s done with Oscar (when he tries to give her another mission). It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out moving forward since half the team doesn’t seem to trust Jane again and Jane is struggling to keep her own secrets in check. At some point something has to give and I really hope it isn’t Jane. I don’t like that the team is divided again because I thought we moved past all of that but if it means we get more information on what happened to Jane and what led to Orion and the need for the tattoos, then I’ll suffer through.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Once Upon a Time 5.13: "Labor of Love"

“It’s officially a cold day in hell when I move in with the Charmings.”
- Regina

As one might expect with this version of the Underworld and Disney’s Hades, we are going to get Hercules and Megara. First, the chick with the ‘tude isn’t so fiery. She’s stuck in a labyrinth type thing with Hook, guarded by Cerberus (the three headed dog) under the Library and clock tower. Hook insists they bust out. When he realizes that the dog is guarding the exit, he sends Meg on ahead and he stays to fend off the beast. The rest of the gang is still looking for Hook topside. Henry and Emma are wandering about the woods and Regina and Robin are, too. Regina thinks there might be maps of the place in the town hall so she sends Robin and Henry to check it out. Meanwhile, Snow and Charming are on a mission of their own to find Hercules. He and Snow knew each other as kids (and by knew each other, I mean he rescued her from a hunter trap and she totally had an instant crush on the cute demi-god). He shows her the medals he’s won for finishing his various labors. He has one last one: to kill Cerberus. I’m guessing if he’s in Hell, he failed that one.

While Regina and Emma are searching the woods, they find a blood trail that leads them to Meg. She’s wounded and so Emma poofs them to her parents’ apartment (which appear to just be waiting for them to kick the bucket and move in). Creepy. Snow and Charming show up and share their information on Hercules and after a little trip to Granny’s, they find where Hercules is. Snow has a nice little reunion with her friend. He can’t believe she’s a mother (let alone a grandmother). He doesn’t think he can defeat the hell beast. Even with Snow’s words of encouragement that he shared with her when she was a child and he was training her to fight against the bandits plaguing her people. Her first attempt fails but Hercules shares that he nearly failed killing the Nimean lion because he got exhausted. He only be at the thing because he dropped his torch and lit the sucker on fire. Oh boy! But it actually works and she wins over her people (much to Regina’s annoyance) and wards off the bandits. Young Snow even gets her first kiss (I totally called it!)

Hook is not having much luck with his own escape. He’s dragged into Hades’ lair and after they verbally spar a little, it is very clear that the Lord of Hell is going to make Hook very much wish he’d stayed put in his little cell. When Hercules goes to slay the beast, he wusses out and we learn that he was killed by the dog which Uncle Hades rubs in his face and then threatens Snow and Emma (including tossing Hook’s bloody hook at her feet).

While the Charmings are trying to rally, Henry and Robin break into Cora’s office. But Grandma isn’t hanging out in the office. Cruella is. She explains that the Author’s quill is a living being and when Henry broke it, he sent it to the Underworld. She wants him to use its energy to send her back to the land of the living (she reasons that he would then save Emma’s soul from having killed Cruella). I really hope Henry isn’t quite that gullible anymore (although I wouldn’t be too upset if he found a way to do and bring Neal back. But again, that’s just the undying Swanfire fan in me. Unfortunately, I think Henry is either under Cruella’s power or he’s seriously considering her offer to wipe Emma’s slate clean morally speaking because he lies to Robin about finding anything.

After a pep talk from Regina, Snow heads to get Hercules to tell her how Cerberus killed him and she vows to fight the thing with him. That’s how they are going to win. They aren’t going to have much time to prep though because the beast has found Emma and Meg and Charming. The gang splits up and Snow and Hercules end up finding Meg and then Cerberus finds them. It’s time to face the beast and it takes all three of them attacking at once to fell the beast. And then Meg falls into Hercules’ arms and they have a meet cute moment. But I have a feeling Hercules may be ascending to Olympus shortly so Meg may be on her own. And apparently I was wrong. They are each other’s unfinished business (Cerberus killed both of them) and so they get to go off to the heavens together (before Hades catches them of course). Snow also makes the bold decision that she no longer wishes to be Mary Margaret. She wants to be the strong, heroic leader she was in the Enchanted Forest. So I think they can work with that.

Well they may be able to work with for a short period of time because Hades has other plans for them. Sure he wanted them gone initially but now that they’ve mucked his tidy world order, he wants to punish them. Can we just stop for a second to acknowledge the faulty premise of the clock? It moves one minute for each freed soul. So it should have moved twice when Hercules and Meg passed. Does he not actually have control over his nephew’s soul? Would that incur Zeus’s uber fiery wrath? Anyway, he gives Hook the awful choice of choosing which of his friends will get to have their souls stuck down in the Underworld for each soul they free. That’s not going to end well for anyone. I can’t imagine he’d pick any of the people coming to rescue him save Rumple and I’m not sure Hades would actually accept that answer. I have a feeling Hades has some sort of respect for the Dark One. But we’ll find out more next week!

Fresh off the Boat 2.14: "Michael Chang Fever"

“Soon you will be a doctor with the power of the military. No one expects a coup from the Surgeon General, but you’d just be overthrowing Emery, who I’m sure got President.”

I wouldn’t say that this was my favorite episode ever of “Fresh off the Boat,” but it was entertaining enough. I thought the episode explored some really interesting themes and issues, like the pressures parents of all cultures place on their children. Stereotypically, those pressures are more intense in Asian families, which leads to what we see with Emery in this episode, but I think any family can relate to a parents’ desire for their child to succeed and do well in life. That’s what parenting is supposed to be about, right? Raising a child who can fend for themselves? Another interesting theme here was a lack of Asian athletes in professional sports and how that affects Louis’ reaction to what is going on with Emery. Emery wants to play tennis, and Jessica is all in because it could make him rich, and Louis is all in because he thinks it’s important to have more Asian athletic role models. Both are worthy causes taken way too far, as they all realize by the end of the episode.

As the episode opens, Jessica learns that Emery and Evan took a career aptitude test at school. She is thrilled when she sees that Evan’s test says he should be Surgeon General. Eddie thinks this is nerdy, but Jessica thinks it’s fantastic, and Evan likes that he can diagnose Eddie with “buttface.” She is sure Emery got something equally good, like President of the United States. She is devastated when Emery’s test says he should be a flight attendant. Emery says he got flight attendant because he likes to help people. Jessica thinks flight attendants are the homeless of the skies, because they don’t even have real seats on the airplane.

Jessica is horrified as she watches Emery open a beer for his grandmother, but the horror is interrupted by Louis calling the family into the living room to watch the “Super Bowl,” also known as Michael Chang playing in the Australian Open. He’s super excited because the only other Asian athlete he ever had to look up to was a soccer referee. Eddie and Evan both think tennis is stupid and boring, so they leave the room very quickly, but Emery is intrigued by a game with a scoring system “based on love.” Louis asks Emery if he would like to play tennis, and when he says yes, Jessica approves because tennis players can make a lot of money. Meanwhile, the kids all have identical backpacks Jessica bought on sale, and Eddie finds a demand note for POGs in Evan’s backpack. Eddie tries to convince Evan to stand up to the POG thief, but Evan doesn’t look very threatening.

Louis, Jessica, and Emery go to the country club for Emery’s first tennis lesson. Louis and Jessica are shocked when Emery can serve perfectly right from the get-go. He claims he’s just imitating what he saw on television. Billie Jean King, who has to spend 183 days a year in Florida for tax purposes, also sees Emery, and she tells Louis and Jessica that Emery shows promise. Jessica asks to buy one tennis lesson for Louis, so that he can continue teaching Emery (buying lessons for Emery would be too expensive, of course). Later in bed, Louis and Jessica both fantasize about Emery’s future. Louis looks forward to bonding with Emery by coaching him, and Jessica looks forward to Emery winning a lot of money he can use to buy an election.

Jessica has purchased a book on child prodigy athletes, and she’s dismayed to learn that most of them were only children. She immediately has Eddie and Emery switch rooms so that Emery can have his own room. Eddie takes this in a remarkably good-natured way, even when Evan presents him with the “Bunk Mate Agreement.” He vows to keep helping Evan against the POG thief. Next, we get a montage of Emery doing really well at tennis as Louis and Jessica cheer him on in increasingly obnoxious ways. As they are all watching the Australian Open, they see Michael Chang take second place in the tournament. Jessica and Louis disagree over whether Chang taking second place is a good or bad thing.

Eddie gets his posse together to go intimidate the POG thief. After a brief detour for ice cream (Alison let them know the truck was in the neighborhood), they are ready to go. They are surprised, however, to see that the POG thief is a fifth-grade girl named Stacey. It turns out that Evan borrowed some POGs from Stacey to get started with the game, and he keeps losing them. He seems to have a bit of a gambling addiction, to put it mildly. Later, Eddie confronts Evan about his addiction. Eddie realizes it has gone too far when Evan proposes stealing money from Jessica’s purse when she is asleep after eating Mexican food. Stacey comes to the Huang house, where she is invited to play one final POG match. If she wins, she gets one of Eddie’s prized Garbage Pail Kids cards. It’s not Evan who is going to be playing, though, it’s Grandma Huang, and she’s an awesome gambler. Evan wants to keep the game going, but Eddie pulls him away from the table before he can lose more of his stuff. Eddie gives Evan a beginner’s guide to playing the stock market, a more productive outlet for his gambling habit.

Meanwhile, Louis is a bit taken aback by the crazy training schedule Jessica has set for Emery. She basically wants him to do nothing but tennis and school every day until he is the best at both. As soon as Louis expresses doubts, Jessica goes to Emery and encourages him to fire Louis as his coach. The firing goes down not long before Emery’s final match in the country club’s tournament. Billie Jean King is going to be Emery’s new coach. Jessica wasn’t expecting to be fired too, though. Emery says she’s too distracting at his matches. Late at night, when they are in bed, Jessica and Louis can hear Billie Jean King continuing to drill Emery outside. Jessica is happy that Emery is being pushed, but Louis is concerned because he just wanted Emery to enjoy tennis.

At the last match in the tournament, Jessica finds out she’s banned for harassing the umpire. As Jessica is trying to argue her way in, she and Louis see Billie Jean King and Emery approach the court. Emery has changed his hair to match Billie’s, which is kind of creepy. Jessica and Louis decide to leave so they’re not a distraction. After the match, Emery comes home and announces that he won the match. He says Billie Jean King invited him to train at her facility in Coral Gables, but Emery doesn’t want to go because he wants to be with his family and learn to be a great flight attendant. The idea of Emery moving away is enough to snap Jessica out of the tennis obsession, and she turns his attention to trying to convince him to be an astronaut (aka flight attendant in space) instead.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

iZombie 2.14: "Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind"

“Science is a marathon, not a sprint.”
- Ravi

With only 5 episodes left in the season, it makes perfect sense that all of the disparate threads of the season are really coming together quite intensely. The case of the week is only mildly interesting compared the revelations we get about many of our supporting characters. So without further ado, we will get the case out of the way. Ravi is at his favorite coffee place called Positivity, when the owner (who is super perky and upbeat) gets her head bashed in by a falling air conditioner. It quickly turns into a murder investigation when the person who owns the building points out that the air conditioner was purposely pushed. Clive and Liv look into it and find one of the employees (who happened to be Liv’s prison bunkmate that one time she got locked up on stalker brains) hiding in the bathroom smoking pot. Liv gets a vision of the employee freaking out on her co-workers after being accused of stealing. There’s also the owner’s ex-partner initially lied about his alibi but is later cleared. They’d had a legal dispute over her taking his ideas for the coffee shop and setting up the competition. Ultimately, thanks to Clive’s good police work, we learn that the owner’s daughter’s French boyfriend isn’t so French after all. He’s the son of a real estate agent who had access to the apartment in question. After talking with his lawyer, he agrees to confess to the crime and testify against his girlfriend but then she shows up at the precinct and he says he did it all on his own. As she points out, people do stupid things for love. I honestly was expecting her to say she was pregnant. Either way, she’s one cold little brat 9although she gets some money from her mom’s former partner by selling the shop).

On a more interesting front, we get some great movement on things with Liv, Major and the cure. While most of the condoms of Utopium are a wash (stomach acid is a bitch), Ravi was able to salvage some and he injects it into a test rat. Major drops by, obviously and understandably anxious about the results. After all, if they can a working cure (that doesn’t result in reverted zombieism and death) he is quite happy. The test rat is kind of crazed though which sort of freaks out Major and Ravi a bit. I couldn’t quite tell if it had started gnawing off its own fur or what was going on but it was not a good looking rat. Blaine is also not having the best of times. The drug dealer he’s been moving in on has a muscle guy who remembers how Blaine took over the corner before he got turned into a zombie and started dealing brains. It seems oddly familiar to what is happening now. So the drug dealer decides to take Blaine out of the occasion. Blaine is kind of morose for some reason (he’s playing the organ and singing) gets knocked out and dragged to the woods. I have to admit, I bet David Anders has a blast doing that kind of stuff (he’s got a great voice). Poor guy gets his throat cut and then comes to (or becomes a zombie again, it’s unclear) in the woods and scares the crap out of some bird-watching Girl Scouts.

Major’s other interesting story arc comes at the end of the episode when he gets really close to telling Liv the truth about being the Chaos Killer. He’s interrupted by Liv’s roommate (and Vaughn’s daughter) showing up. Major acts like they’ve never met but then quite obviously calls her by the name he knows her as (she’s headed off for a shower). Liv makes the connection, as I’m assuming Major expects her to, and she kicks the girl out of the house. I honestly though she was going to go full-on zombie mode on the bitch but alas, she just wants her out of the house.

Perhaps the most interesting of the character reveals, though, comes from Drake. He is supposed to see Liv that night but he has to cancel because it appears as he’s out with his boys on the town, just hanging at clubs, some other cops, led by the always wonderful (and wearing an awesome hat) Enrico Colantoni. That’s Papa Mars for you Veronica Mars fans. Man, we are so lucky that so many of the past cast has showed up on this show. It’s a great little not to Rob Thomas. Anyway, we find out through interrogation that Drake is an undercover cop (I’m guessing he got recruited after his stint in jail for beating up his mom’s boyfriend). It makes me like him even more. He refuses to break up with Liv when his supervising officer says he should do it (because it could screw up their case). He does lie about who is encroaching on the drug dealer’s turf, since he is kind of loyal to Blaine in terms of brain consumption. I have slightly higher hopes that Drake will survive the season (unlike poor, beautiful Lowell). But I don’t know how well Liv will handle both of the men in her life lying to her about such big identities.

It’s unfortunate that we have to wait a month to find what happens next. But I have a strong feeling whatever they have in store for us; it is going to just explode with goodness. This show has been so quirky and fun. Liv has really found her voice even amongst all of the brains and I really care about some of these supporting players. That’s not always easy to do with an ensemble cast. I am waiting for Clive to be let in on the zombie club though. He can’t stay on the outside forever. It wouldn’t just be believable. Besides, he’s already noticed that she takes on personality traits of the victims. It’s only a small step to zombie from there.

Blindspot 1.12: “Scientists Hollow Fortune”

“So you wipe my memory, you tattoo my entire body and then you send me to the FBI so I can steal a pen?”
- Jane

This was a very meaty episode on several fronts. They are definitely continuing to make things interesting and doling out pieces of the puzzle a little at a time. We pick up right where we left Jane and Oscar on that rooftop. He promises more answers if she does a mission for him. He needs her to swap out Mayfair’s pen. She’s clearly skeptical about why this needs to happen but she takes the pen and considers doing what he asked. Weller approaches her the next day and tells her he didn’t show up for the meet because things are too complicated. I guess it’s nice that he’s letting her off the hook for being the one to not show but I did kind of like where their relationship was going. But I’ll stick with Oscar, too. He is quite handsome after all.

The case for this week involves a soldier named Charlie who has memory loss and kills some soldiers on an army base. The more interesting thing about Charlie is that he was listed as killed overseas in an IED explosion eighteen months ago. Something is clearly afoot here. The team heads to Charlie’s family home and Jane manages to subdue him a little by talking very calmly to him. Interestingly, we get a bunch of military flashback/memories for Jane this week involving her failing at boot camp on purpose. In the end she gets recruited into Orion (a little more on that in a bit).

Charlie’s body is a mess of drugs and things that shouldn’t be in a human being in such high doses. And most of it should make him a vegetable. But he’s walking around and shooting people. And he’s got the same memory wiping drug in his system that Jane did. Obviously his isn’t quite as severe as hers but it’s an interesting tidbit that leads the team to think he might be connected to Jane. She’s a little worried that might be the case, too, given what she knows now about her mind wipe and tattoos. Just after they get Charlie’s mom down there to try and job his memory, the army swoops and takes Charlie away. Jane is very pissed at Mayfair for letting this happen.

It turns out that Charlie isn’t the only one the team needs to be worried about. Patterson found four other names on Jane’s body that belong to presumed dead soldiers. And she finds the link between them all: a shady private military contractor. I just need to take a moment to say that I kind of despise these people (in general not just on the show). They are never depicted as good people and it’s just disgusting the things they do because they think they can get away with it. These particular contractors are no exception. They end up breaking Charlie out of army custody and drag him away. Luckily, the team does a little deducing from the information they have (including Charlie’s description of being kept in Hell) to determine where they might have taken him. Thanks to some knowledge from Zapata (I’m guessing she knew about the church because she probably goes to Gambler’s Anonymous. They find the right facility on the first go. But it’s empty save for the other four soldiers who are dead. Patterson manages to pull some partial video which shows that Charlie was the only one tolerating the drug cocktail. So they know that for the moment he’s still alive. So it’s now a race against time as the team’s doctor points out the scientist conducting the experiments probably wants to find out why Charlie is the exception and that doesn’t bode well. I liked that we got to see people in the field other than our core four.

After exchanging much gunfire with some mercenaries, the team gets Charlie free but he’s been drugged with the memory wipe drug and takes off. Jane gives chase and Weller follows her. She ends up getting into a fight with Charlie and Weller has to put him down to save her life. Jane is also not happy about this because she sees Charlie as an innocent in all of this. But Weller stands by his decision. So she’s got even more motivation to nab that pen from Mayfair and hand it over to Oscar. Whether she’s acting or genuinely pissed about the way things went down with the army, Jane manages to get Mayfair to put down her pen before leaving the office. While Weller has a heart to heart with his dad (newsflash: his dad attempted suicide on the night Taylor went missing) Reade and Weller’s sister are out on a date. I guess that little bombshell hasn’t reached our fine leading man yet. I don’t blame Reade for being anxious about imparting that news. Weller can be a bit intense and kind of scary when he feels overprotective of someone. The more interesting information comes from Jane’s next visit with Oscar. She learns that the bearded man who was shot was with them but Oscar can’t tell her yet who killed him. She wants to know what Orion is but he’s hesitant to tell her. Eventually he relents and says quite cryptically that Orion is where she died. That is one hell of a way to end an episode, let me tell you.

The writers of this show are very smart in how they structure their episodes. And I like that the writers have been giving us information along the way the entire season. Sure some of the answers don’t always make sense (like that baby tooth issue) but at least we have answers. It’s a lot more than some mythology and mystery-based shows do. I also am enjoying the fact that they have moved pretty quickly beyond the tattoo mystery to include other things and open the world up wider.

iZombie 2.13: "The Whopper"

“Someone should teach you how to humblebrag. People might hate you less.”

This episode might have been a little light on the case-of-the-week front, but it delivered plenty in the way of mythology. And while I do love a well-executed “iZombie” case of the week, the mythology is certainly becoming interesting. To tell you the truth, there’s so much mythology happening on the show right now that I kind of wish they had done a bit more of a slow burn. There are two main mythology plots happening at the moment, although I can see how they are starting to come together. The first is Max Rager and their plan to kill zomies. The second is Mr. Boss and Blaine’s attempt to take him down. I think it might have worked better if the Max Rager stuff had wrapped up by the end of this season, and Mr. Boss was next season’s arc. Although given this creative team, I’m sure both plots will come together in spectacular fashion by the season finale. I really should just trust in Rob Thomas!

Anyway, this episode begins with Major and Ravi continuing to dig for the corpses of the tainted Utopium dealers. This time, Major finds something. It’s a body, but it’s not the body they were looking for. This person has been dead for a couple years. Major and Ravi don’t want to tell Babineaux what they were really up to, so they make up a not-super-convincing story about how they were geocaching, which is the coolest thing ever. Privately, Ravi tells Liv that he thinks her eating this brain could help them find the Utopium dealers they were actually looking for. After all, it’s unlikely that two thugs would use the same burial ground. The victim had a napkin with a phone number on it, and Liv and Babineaux talk to the woman who belongs to that phone number. She says the deceased is a guy who hit on her at a bar once, then never called her (for now obvious reasons). He claimed to be an FBI agent.

Liv and Babineaux go to the aforementioned bar, and they learn from the bartender that the deceased is Corey “Big Fish” Carp. He had a reputation for siting around the bar telling tall tales after collecting change from the bar’s arcade machines. Liv and Babineaux notice that the arcade machines are owned by a company whose address is at one of Mr. Boss’ warehouses. The motive for the murder is quickly determined when they find a bunch of quarters in the wheel well of Big Fish’s vehicle. A gun that was found with Big Fish was also used in the murder of a dock worker who was about to testify in court about Utopium smuggling. Terrell Johnson was suspected of the crime, but the police could never find any concrete evidence. Mr. Boss gets word that Johnson is going to be on police radar again, so he sends Drake to deal with him.

Drake, who is a little out of sorts since he’s on hypochondriac brain at the moment, gets the call when hanging out with Liv, so he has to make up an excuse to leave. Meanwhile, Liv has a vision of Johnson standing over the dockworker’s body. By the time Liv and Babineaux arrive at Johnson’s house, though, he’s long gone. Drake had already been there. I was worried that Drake might have killed him, but it looks like Johnson escaped to Mexico. Or maybe he did kill him and just made it look like Johnson left for Mexico. Who knows? Drake finally arrives at Liv’s house very late at night, and this triggers another vision. Liv sees Drake get shot by Big Fish before Don E finally takes him out. Drake explains that Big Fish killed the drug dealers they were looking for, and when he found out that Drake and Don E were looking for the bodies, he tried to stop them.

Drake is supposed to escort Liv to one of the drug dealers’ houses, but he stands her up (again), so she uses her pathological liar brain powers to think on the fly and tell the deceased’s mother a plausible story involving Stars and Stripes to explain why she is there asking questions. She sees a photograph of the two drug dealers together, and this triggers yet another vision. This is an important one, because the vision shows where the drug dealers, and the tainted utopium, are buried. The vision couldn’t have come at a better time. New Hope, the rat that took the zombie “cure” and later re-zombified, has just died, and Ravi suspects Major and Blaine are living on borrowed time.

Major, for his part, has been kidnapped by Blaine’s goons. When he is released at Shady Plots, Blaine is shocked to learn that he is the real Chaos Killer. Blaine is pretty much ready to kill Major right then and there. Major has one serious saving grace, though. He still has Blaine’s father, and Blaine needs his father. You see, earlier in the episode, Blaine went to the reading of his father’s will, where his father said that if his death was due to foul play, Blaine would get nothing and his abusive nanny would get everything. So if Blaine’s father is still alive, this inheritance mess is null and void. Major explains his whole hired zombie killer deal (although he doesn’t reveal his Max Rager connections), and Blaine has two conditions for Major. He needs his father’s body, and he is going to tell Major who on the potential zombie list goes.

When Major turns over Angus to Blaine, Blaine has a heck of a time dressing up in old age make-up to freak out Angus as he regains consciousness. Angus is appropriately freaked, and then Blaine does the big reveal that Angus hasn’t been frozen for all that long afterwards. He demands that his father make a new will that doesn’t cut Blaine out, and when Angus seems reluctant, he leaves him in the hands of two of his goons, who have no doubt been instructed to torture him until he agrees to do the new will. Bozzio has an FBI van staked out outside Shady Plots, and a photograph catches a bit of Major’s chin. She recognizes Major, and I guess we’ll see what the fallout from that is next week. For now, our team is ecstatic that they now have access to the tainted utopium.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Once Upon a Time 5.12: "Souls of the Departed"

“I’d imagine there are a lot of them here because of all of us. So let’s not lollygag.”
- Rumple

I have been waiting a long time for this show to come back on the air. As much as I bitch about Captain Swan, I am intrigued to see what the writers do with the Underworld. Besides, this is the show’s 100th episode. Who would have thought all those years ago when we first entered the sleepy town of Storybrooke, Maine, that we’d still be chugging along 99 episodes later? Anyway, before we even get to the Underworld, Emma gets a very special pre-limbo visit from none other than Neal. I have to say I cried a little when he popped up in the back of the Yellow Bug. She questions if she’s dreaming but promptly dismisses that with the notion that dreams involve talking donuts (guess we know what Neal dreams about). But he begs Emma not to go to the Underworld because it’s too dangerous. For what it’s worth, Emma would have saved him, too, if she’d known she could and how back when he died. But he assure her that he doesn’t need saving because he doesn’t have unfinished business. That still doesn’t mean I wish he did so he and Henry could get a proper goodbye! But Emma is intent on rescuing Hook so Neal gives her a kiss to the forehead and an “I love you” before she wakes up in the Ferryman’s boat.

They get to the Underworld and find it is a twisted version of Storybrooke. The gang decides to split up to look for Hook which results in a few interesting nuggets of information. As we expected, souls there have unfinished business and likely many of those are tied to our heroes. Snow encounters Prince James in Granny’s (which is now run by the Blind Witch who is kind of hilarious and not at all threatening) when he pops by and just plants a kiss on her. That was pretty icky. I mean why would James have any issue with his twin brother seeing as it was James’ own stupidity that got him killed. He was the lucky one that got raised as a prince? Anyway, Rumple is kind of in a mood (for one thing we see that he told Belle he’d be gone a day) and he just wants to find Hook and get out. I suspect he spent his time being dead in the Underworld so it brings up bad memories. He also has to contend with Pan (who runs the pawn shop now). Apparently Pan wants to start over in their relationship and so plants the seed that perhaps he could tag along back topside if someone in the crew kicks it.

The flashback this week ultimately informs some of the decisions Regina’s parents make in the Underworld. It’s her birthday and she wants Snow’s heart. Henry thinks he can get Cora to convince Regina to give up her pursuit (even though Cora is in Wonderland) but Cora ends up coming through the portal back to the Enchanted Forest. She ends up getting Snow’s heart but Henry manages to snag it back and return it to Snow before Regina can crush it. But Regina is unhappy with both of her parents and so she shrinks her father and puts him in a box and then Cora steals said box and takes it back to Wonderland when Regina banishes her. So this is set before Jefferson travels to Wonderland to retrieve said box. Interesting. But we see that both of her parents want certain things for her. And when Regina finds Cora again (Cora is now the Mayor), Cora says that Regina needs to take Robin and Henry and get out. It’s too dangerous and if Regina doesn’t take the out her mother offers, her father will suffer. Regina can’t consider taking the offer but Emma suggests she does.

All of this leads up to Rumple getting some of the potion Merida used to talk to her dad in season 5A but it doesn’t have the desired effect for Emma. Hook kind of flits in and out like a bad FaceTime video and he can’t speak. He’s also pretty bloodied up and clearly not doing so hot. Regina gets a better shot with her dad and he begs her not to go back. He wants her to be her own person and do what’s right. In the end, Regina decides not to go and Cora seems to disappear, claiming her business is finished. It looks like Henry is going to be consumed by Hell fire but he’s not. Regina’s act gave him the peace he needed and he gets to go on to a better place. I have to say Emma telling Henry earlier on that his dad is in a better place (when Henry found the Room 8 key made me misty eyed too). I did like that Henry finally got meet his name sake. It was a sweet moment.

The gang meets back up near the busted clock tower and decide that they can save other souls while they are down there in addition to finding Hook. Rumple bows out of this mission though. He’s just being a crotchety old prat honestly. I don’t quite get what his problem is but I’m sure we’ll find out eventually. As they all walk away, the clock moves (much like it did at the end of the pilot) and we see that Cora is still in the Underworld. She heads down to the space below the Library where she meets a man who we don’t know by name but it is Hades. He wanted Regina gone from the Underworld and Cora failed. We don’t know why he wanted her gone but he did. He also notes that he knows all about Zelena, too. As punishment, he turns Cora back into a miller’s daughter for all eternity. Kind of a dick move but he is the Lord of Hell after all. And then because this is a Disney owned property, his hairs turns to CGI blue flames and it looks kind of cheesy. He looks more menacing without the glowing head of fire to be honest. But I thought this was a good episode and a nice way to celebrate 100 episodes on air.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 2.13: "Phil's Phaves"

“Yo girl, it’s your boy Notorious E.I.G. and he’s making one epic mixtape!”

The two plots in this episode of “Fresh off the Boat” didn’t especially mesh thematically, although both featured some major 90’s nostalgia. I’m only a year or so younger than Eddie Huang, so I remember Gateway computers, Geocities websites, and mix tapes all too well. It was amusing watching the Huang parents struggle to understand technology. While that is also a common experience for people my age, it was not my experience. My mom has been a software engineer since the 1980s, and my dad has been in the IT business since at least the 70’s. I’m probably one of the few early thirty-somethings that can say their parents know more about computers than they do. And while I never made mix tapes like Eddie does in this episode, I definitely taped my favorite songs off the radio and tried to time it perfectly to minimize how much of the DJ was on the tape. So yeah, this episode definitely brought the nostalgia.

Jessica and the two younger boys return home to see what every 90’s kid dreamed of. The big cow-print boxes that housed a Gateway computer. Louis explains that he went in a store that he thought sold ice cream, and he ended up buying the family’s first “internet computer.” Louis wants everyone to take a typing class first, but Evan just starts looking stuff up on the Internet (using Lycos to be precise . . . I was more of an Alta Vista girl myself back in the pre-Google Stone Age). He looks up Cattleman’s Ranch and finds a review on an awesomely 90’s (complete with Ally McBeal dancing baby GIFs) website called Phil’s Phaves. The review is mediocre, saying that the food was fine, but the ambiance was a bit boring. He gives the restaurant a B-, which horrifies Jessica and Louis, because they consider that a “Chinese F.” At Evan’s suggestion, they send an e-mail to the webmaster, asking for reconsideration.

Meanwhile, Eddie and Allison are having fun talking about rap albums as they walk to the busses after school. Allison is being rushed by her bus driver, so she tells Eddie to call her and gives him her phone number. Eddie looks petrified, and I can totally sympathize. I’m not a huge fan of the phone myself. After Allison leaves, Eddie is bombarded by a heavyset, seemingly nerdy girl named Reba. Reba has a huge crush on Eddie, and even though she knows he has a girlfriend, she has hope she can be next. She even has a photo of him in her Trapper Keeper (oh how Trapper Keepers were a status symbol in the early-mid 90’s). I will say, though, that Reba’s glasses are a bit too 2010’s trendy to fit a mid-90’s nerdy girl. As a person who was a nerdy, not-skinny girl in the mid-90’s about Reba’s age, I will say that her glasses are way cooler than mine were. Anyway, she flirts with Eddie a bit, but he’s not having it.

Back at Chez Huang, Louis and Jessica have been continuously staring at the Phil’s Phaves page, hoping the page view counter won’t increase. They are dismayed when Evan shows them they need to refresh the page for the counter to update, and during the time they have been waiting, five more people have seen the review. In better news, Evan also shows them how to check their e-mail (it shocks Louis that you can get e-mail late at night), and Phil has indeed offered to give Cattleman’s Ranch a second chance. Louis is determined to make the restaurant extra fun for Phil’s visit, even if it means replacing ever “C” in the menu with a backwards “K.”

Eddie tries to call Alison, and it takes him a while, but eventually he works up the nerve. Allison answers, but so does her father. Then Louis gets on the phone too. It’s a mess, and Eddie hangs up before saying anything. He tells Emery (who had been listening in too) that he has a new idea for how to talk to Allison. He’s going to make her a dope mix tape. He closes his door and gets to work. Later, it’s science class time at Abraham Lincoln Middle School, and of course Eddie and Allison want to be lab partners. Eddie’s got his mix tape in his class folder, too. For their unit on dissecting an oyster, though, the science teacher wants to switch things up, and Eddie gets paired with Reba. Reba is super excited and takes Eddie’s folder, offering to do all the work herself. Later, Eddie is horrified to get a call from Reba saying she got the mix tape and she loves him too. Eddie tries to reason with Reba that the tape was actually for Allison, but Reba won’t hear of it. She even offers to break up with Allison for him. Just as she is about to say on morning announcements that Eddie is her new boyfriend, one of Eddie’s friends pulls the fire alarm to cause a distraction.

Meanwhile, at Cattleman’s Ranch, Jessica and Louis have prepared everything for Phil’s visit. There are new uniforms with comically small hats to be worn at a jaunty angle, and there are taxidermied hens with glasses. When Phil arrives, they are surprised to see that he is Phillip Goldstein, Eddie’s former friend who abandoned him at a Beastie Boys concert. They ask him to take the review down, but he won’t, because his parents have been teaching him about journalistic integrity. The staff fawns over Phillip through his entire meal, which makes it rather unenjoyable because they’re constantly bothering him. He’s going to bring his review down to a C+ after this experience. Louis and Jessica go to Phillip’s house to try and appeal to his parents, but his mother says she won’t ask him to take down the review. Jessica then has a new idea. She asks Evan to create a website slamming Phillip. He hesitates, wondering if it’s kind of like bullying, but Jessica says it’s being “e-vigilantes” protecting their reputation.

Emery suggests that Eddie just talk to Allison about the Reba issue, but again, Eddie’s not having it. He thinks that if a great mix tape can make Reba say she loves him, a really bad mix tape will have the opposite effect. He enlists the help of Nicole, who understands exactly what he is trying to do (she calls it a “nix tape”) and provides him with the lamest CDs from her dad’s collection. As she leaves, she remarks that Eddie never made her a mix tape, and Eddie doesn’t seem to quite know what to make of that. He settles in again for a mix tape session, and as the terrible music plays, he writhes in pain. He gives Reba the tape in science class, and the teacher catches him and plays it for everyone. It’s a huge embarrassment, and later, when Eddie calls Reba to apologize, she says he obviously can’t handle how she comes on strong, so they’re done. He then calls Allison, and while she’s upset at first, she falls for his live apology mix.

Phillip shows up at the restaurant again and implies that he knows the Huangs are behind the slam website. They don’t admit anything though. Later, they go to a parent meeting at school, where the principal announces that a student has been the victim of “compu-teasing.” Phillip then comes up to the microphone and tells his sob story about how he’s now afraid to use his computer. This is followed up by a speech from an Orlando police officer saying the department is taking compu-teasing very seriously. They have a new task force, and they have discovered that the website came from a Gateway computer. That’s all it takes for Louis and Jessica to admit they’re the ones who started the website. They have to pay a fine, and they decide to put the computer away for a while (it will still work just as well in a few years, after all!). Evan is devastated, since he had just enrolled in University of Phoenix for nursing school.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Marvel’s Agent Carter 2.10: “Hollywood Ending”

“So she’s really crazy.”
“She’s a genius.”
- Sousa and Peggy

We’ve reached the end! We pick up pretty much where we left off at the end of the last episode. Wilkes expels the Zero Matter and Peggy threatens to shoot Jack if he sets off the detonator. Whether Vernon is dead is anyone’s guess but Wilkes seems to have survived. Sadly, so has Whitney and she’s threatening the team. In a rather funny bit, Jarvis arrives and hits Whitney with the car (which amuses and slightly annoys one Howard Stark who is hanging out in the back seat). But at least the SSR gang is able to make a hasty escape!

Wilkes seems to be back to himself (at least he’s free of Zero Matter) which of course renews the love triangle. I’m more and more convinced we aren’t going to get an answer to this conundrum this season (yes I know that shipping isn’t the most important part of the show but it is intriguing so sue me!). With Howard back home, he’s kind of snarky with everyone, blaming Peggy for Wilkes threatening her. Not the best thing to say to the woman, Howard. She does routinely carry a firearm and she’s damn good with it. Elsewhere, Whitney is busy working on trying to find a way to open the rift and allow more Dark Matter in (apparently the issue is that it wants to come through and consume the world pursuant to Wilkes). She’s kind of crazy and her mobster boyfriend is not pleased with how she’s acting. So he gets some advice from his Nona. She tells him to make a deal with the devil. This apparently equates to teaming up with the good guys. Yeah, I can’t honestly see this working out very well.

The mobster wants the team to help them get Whitney back to her old self but that’s not going to really happen. For one thing, she’s nuts (and probably was before the Zero Matter). But just separating her from the stuff won’t solve the problem of it being in this world. So they are going to use her research to find a way to open the rift so they can send it back to wherever it came from. This involves a somewhat elaborate plan with the mobster distracting Whitney long enough for Sousa and Peggy to sneak in and snap photos on old fashion cameras. It was kind of sweet when Sousa snapped a picture of Peggy as a keepsake from her trip to California. They really need to just kiss already! At least they manage to get out before Whitney gets back to the room.

The scientists in the gang are figuring out what the equations are for and it turns out to be a rift generator (thank you Peggy for name). It will work but the guys need to solve issues such as how to control the rift and keep more Zero Matter from leaking out. The SSR scientist also makes a rather amusing Avengers dig (saying you can’t just open a rift in the middle of a city). They manage to figure it out eventually and so Rose comes in to help build the thing (and flirt with Howard a bit). We get a brief conversation with Wilkes and Sousa about why Wilkes threatened Peggy. The answer is obvious. Wilkes knew Sousa would fold because he would have done the same thing. Wilkes is also certain that once they open the rift, Whitney will know what’s happened and show up on her own. While the scientists are working out the kinks, Jack gets the dinner orders and finds one of those pins in Vernon’s stuff. It looks like it might be a key.

We don’t have time to worry about the possible key though because it’s time to test the rift generator. They need to be sure they keep away from the generator when they try to shut it down (at least if they don’t want to get sucked in). Howard throws the switch and manages to get it going and Whitney knows she’s got to get going.

Things hit a few snags as Peggy and Jack have a chat (and he actually hands over the key pin). But they don’t have time to really resolve their issues (although Peggy says she’s not going to oust him from the New York office) because the SSR scientist may have just died when Whitney showed up. He was kind of oblivious as she walked by. The team manages to use the gamma canon to get the Zero Matter out of Whitney but the device isn’t working right to reload. So someone is going to have to stay around to push the button in the danger zone. Sousa ends up tying himself to something so that at least maybe he won’t get sucked in. It was kind of nice that everyone tried to stay to push said button. Hopefully it means they’ll find a way to save Sousa.

Thanks to Jarvis and Howard’s hover car, they manages to detonate the core of the gamma canon and close the rift (which nearly sucks Sousa in. It was nice to see everyone jump on and keep him from going flying. We actually get most everything wrapped up by the end of the hour. Whitney’s in a mental hospital. Anna and Jarvis are back home and Peggy is staying in LA (she and Sousa finally kiss and I have to admit I cheered aloud when that happened). The only loose thread is Jack. Of course he gets killed and someone makes off with the file he had on Peggy (what was really in we may never know). But I thought it did a good job of wrapping things up for the most part for all of our characters. If this is Peggy and the team’s last foray on our screens, I will be wholly satisfied with what we were given. Don’t get me wrong, I want more but I’m good with what we got.