Saturday, April 30, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 2.18: "Week in Review"

“It’s not babysitting if it’s your kids.”

“Week in Review” was more of a family hijinks episode of “Fresh off the Boat” as opposed to an episode with a greater message. As a family hijinks episode, it was funny enough, although not really a standout. Louis did experience some character growth by the end of the episode (although I didn’t really think he had a problem before this episode), but mostly this is a broadly comedic episode. Lice invades the Huang home, and as you can imagine, Jessica doesn’t deal with it well. Eddie, naturally, tries to take advantage of the situation to get himself out of some trouble at school, and it only makes things worse. In the hands of lessor actors, there wouldn’t be much to this episode, but Constance Wu and Hudson Yang (Wu especially) always can make me laugh.

The episode opens with Jessica and Louis trying to do a “week in review” of the family’s schedule for the upcoming week. Between Cattleman’s Ranch being reasonably successful and things moving with the investment property again, the Huangs are very busy. Apparently, in the previous week, Louis forgot to pick up some tooth picks for Emery’s school project, and he feels horribly about it. To correct the problem he has purchased a wristband inside of which he can keep his schedule. He even penciled in some alone time with Jessica for four minutes on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Eddie’s school is preparing for the big annual student/faculaty basketball game. A pizza party for the winning team is on the line, so Eddie and his friends are very invested in the outcome. Eddie also gets a math exam back, and he is disappointed because his teacher gave him a bad grade for not showing his work, even though he got the answers right.

Meanwhile, the mold problem at the investment house has been remedied, and Honey and Jessica are getting ready to advertise the house in a local real estate circular. Honey remarks how great it is that Louis is supportive of Jessica’s career. In the background, Marvin expresses his displeasure that Honey didn’t take his favorite shirt to the dry cleaner’s before his scheduled time at the club. At school, Eddie and his math teacher engage in some trash talk about the basketball game during class, because the math teacher is going to be on the faculty team. Eddie goes so far as to say he will do double homework if he doesn’t score on his teacher during the game. He then tries some practice “baskets” throwing balled up paper into the classroom trash can. Unfortunately for Eddie, he has no game, and he misses all the throws. He starts to get very worried that double homework will be in his future.

Jessica and Louis are at home, about to enjoy their schedule four minutes of alone time, when Eddie arrives home early. He has been sent home from school with lice. Jessica and Louis are horrified by this, and they immediately back away from Eddie. Then they send him to stand outside. Being the diligent people they are, however, they immediately set to researching exactly what to do with lice. Just as they are about to start gathering all the linens and buying shampoo, Evan shows up at home with lice too. Both of the kids are sequestered outside, and of course Eddie embraces it. He sets up a barbecue and starts grilling himself some hot dogs. He’s hoping that if he has to stay home and miss the basketball game because of the lice, he’ll get out of having to do double math homework. Jessica starts dousing Eddie and Evan’s hair with lice shampoo, but Eddie sabotages his treatment. He wants to be sure he can stay home from the basketball game. The sabotage works a little too well, though. Eddie’s friend Trevor stops by and says that their math teacher has threatened the whole class with double homework if Eddie doesn’t play in the basketball game.

Jessica sent Honey to take photos of the investment house since she’s been busy dealing with the lice. She is far from happy with the result, though. Honey took a bunch of close-ups and you can’t really see the house at all in the photographs. Just as she says the photographs need to be redone, she starts feeling itchy. When Louis gets home, Jessica tells him that she has lice too. That’s the final straw for Louis, and he says he’s leaving. He’s got his business to run, and he can’t be in danger of needing to take time off of work because of lice. Jessica reminds Louis that she runs a business too, that is currently being neglected, but Louis doesn’t really think about that. He just heads right over to Honey and Marvin’s house.

At Honey and Marvin’s house, Louis talks the situation over with Marvin. Marvin thinks Louis is making the right choice (naturally), and he goes on a rant that implies he somehow thinks he and Louis are the same age. Louis is kind of taken aback at the very misogynist rant, and you can see the gears turning in his head. He then has a conversation with Honey as he helps he bring in groceries, where Honey urges him to be considerate of Jessica’s desire to succeed in her own business. Louis sees how Marvin treats Honey, and that’s when it all comes together for him. He goes home and apologizes to Jessica, and he offers to do laundry, saying that they’re a team. If one of them is going to be out of commission with lice, then they both are. He also has taken decent pictures of the investment house that Jessica can actually use for the real estate circular.

Eddie has a solution to his problem, too. He shows up at the basketball game despite still having lice. Nobody wants to get near him for the most part, so he has an easy time getting to the basket. The one person who has no fear of the lice is Eddie’s jerk of a math teacher. He tries to block Eddie’s shot, but Eddie makes the basket after all. Eddie is surprised at his own skill, wondering if the lice shampoo did something to make him suddenly become a good basketball player. The kids are all very satisfied as they get to show down on pizza while the faculty have to watch, and Eddie emerges as the class hero (but he still needs to take care of that lice).

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.14: "Watchdogs"

“What are you doing?”
“Shotgun axe.”
-Ruben and Mack

“Watchdogs,” in a move rather unusual for “S.H.I.E.L.D.” really focused on everyone’s favorite mechanic/badass S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Mack. We get to meet Mack’s brother in this episode and learn a bit about the Mackenzie family dynamic. I thought it was interesting that the creative team chose to focus on Mack so much in this episode, as he’s the last of the additional S.H.I.E.L.D. characters introduced in late season 1/early season 2 that is still around. It’s pretty much the original crew (minus Ward), Mack, and Lincoln these days. I guess the creative team is hoping we viewers will accept Mack as a long-term addition to the team, since he’s the last man standing and all. We learn in this episode that, like most S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Mack is finding it difficult to balance work and family life. He desperately wants to have a positive relationship with his brother, but since he can’t tell his brother what he does for a living, frustration ensues. All of this happens in front of the backdrop of a new, anti-Inhumans terrorist group called the Watchdogs.

The episode opens with Mack taking some family time back home in Illinois. He is working on bikes with his younger brother, Ruben, who has been given the family home by their parents. Ruben is played by the always fantastic Gaius Charles, aka Smash Williams from “Friday Night Lights.” It’s clear that frustration has been brewing between Mack and his brother over Mack’s work commitments. There are mentions of past trips that have been canceled and such. Mack promises his brother an afternoon of lunch, beers, and bikes, however, and all seems to be good for now. Mack expresses some frustration with work, such as management being out of control and two of his coworkers getting a permanent transfer, and we also learn that Ruben was recently laid off. Ruben’s just about to grill some nice steaks for lunch when there’s a major breaking news story on TV. A group called the Watchdogs has imploded an ATCU warehouse in South Bend, Indiana. Since Mack is the closest S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to the scene, Coulson orders him to head up to South Bend and investigate before the local police and FBI muck up the crime scene.

At S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Coulson tells Daisy and Fitz to join Mack in Indiana. Lincoln also arrives back from his qualification exam, but Coulson doesn’t want him joining the mission. He has seen the report from Lincoln’s exam, and he’s a bit concerned. Daisy is understandably not thrilled by this situation. Out in Indiana, Mack meets up with Daisy and Fitz at what used to be a warehouse and is now just a big ball of building. Mack contemplates bringing the ball back to the lab, but Fitz reminds him how heavy it would be, considering it is a whole warehouse. The team discovers that a compound originally invented by Howard Stark was a key part of the implosion device, however it’s a more advanced form of that compound. Coulson knows of an ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who was obsessed with the compound in question. His name is Felix Blake, he’s played by the always menacing Titus Welliver, and he does indeed seem to be leading the cell of the Watchdogs responsible for the attack.

Understandably, Daisy wants to take a very aggressive approach to investigating the Watchdogs and the warehouse implosion. She’s says she’s been following the Watchdogs online for quite some time, and the thinks she can find one of them that they can interrogate. Mack doesn’t like the idea of Inhumans using super powers to infringe on civil liberties, so he heads back to Illinois and wants nothing to do with the operation. Daisy and Fitz are left to intimidate an unsuspecting Watchdog while he sits in his car. When he arrives back at the family home, Mack gets in an argument with Ruben. Ruben can’t believe that Mack’s job was so important that it took him away from their day together. To be fair, Ruben’s under a lot of stress. We learn that the mortgage on the family home is under water, for instance. This stress has also made Ruben very anti-Inhuman, and he and Mack argue over that, too. It’s pretty clear that the creative team was inspired by the current political climate around Donald Trump in crafting this storyline. Ruben hits all the high points in blaming the Inhumans for his problems instead of putting the blame on himself (or on his fellow citizens who refuse to pay the level of taxes required to provide a true safety net) where it truly belongs.

Meanwhile, Simmons and May have an enlightening conversation at the shooting range. Simmons is feeling a lot of guilt for needing to be saved by Fitz repeatedly and for letting Andrew out to save herself. Since, as she puts it, she’s the only woman on the team who can’t kill someone with her bare hands, she has decided to improve her shooting skills. May sees a similarly tortured soul in Simmons, and she shares a secret with her. She’s commandeered a S.H.I.E.L.D. server to search for Andrew, and she wants Simmons’ help to find him. Later in the episode, Simmons tells May that she thinks the vaccine they’re working on from Creel’s blood could work on Andrew since he hasn’t finished his transformation yet. May doesn’t want to hear anything about this, because she doesn’t want to indulge in false hope. Similarly, Coulson has a job for Lincoln to do. Coulson knows where Felix Brown has his safehouses, and he and Lincoln are going to search them. On the way, they have a bit of an argument about why Lincoln didn’t receive good scores on his recent exam. Coulson says that if Lincoln does well and follows orders, Coulson will consider accepting him as part of the team.

After her time questioning the hostage, Daisy calls Mack and lets him know that she has learned where the Watchdogs are. It’s not super far from the Mackenzie house, so he is going to meet her and Fitz there. Ruben hears the end of the phone conversation, and he’s not thrilled that Mack is leaving yet again. Nevertheless, Mack says he needs to go. Meanwhile, Coulson and Lincoln go into the basement of one of Blake’s safehouses, where they apparently encounter none other than Blake himself. In the Midwest, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team is just supposed to observe the Watchdog gathering. Ruben, who followed Mack, ruins it all, though, by rolling up on his motorcycle. Some Watchdogs come outside to investigate. Mack shoots at them, and Daisy quakes, but the Watchdogs only see Mack. So they think he’s Inhuman. Ruben drives off, and Mack follows him, leaving Daisy and Fitz to deal with the Watchdogs. One of their implosion devices attaches itself to Fitz’s neck. Daisy injects Fitz with a compound that is supposed to counteract it, but all it does is slow it down.

At the safehouse, Coulson and Lincoln have a long discussion with Blake, which mostly involves Blake saying hateful things about Inhumans and trying to get in Coulson and Lincoln’s heads. Lincoln is tempted to attack Blake, but he holds off until Coulson tells him to kill Blake. Killing wasn’t actually what Lincoln has in mind, so he briefly objects before doing what Coulson asks. After all that, it turns out that they were speaking with a hologram, and Coulson knew it. Coulson feels that Lincoln handled the situation perfectly. He registered his dissenting opinion, then did what he was told. The two go through the records in the safehouse, and they realize that Blake wants his goons to capture an Inhuman. They have made that really easy by essentially delivering Daisy to the Watchdogs. Speaking of, the Watchdog hostage says something that makes Fitz realize the bomb on his neck can be disabled by freezing it, so Daisy gets some liquid nitrogen and gets to work. After Fitz is saved, the hostage registers his realization that Daisy is Inhuman, and he says the Watchdogs should have gone after her “instead.”

Mack arrives back at the family home in Illinois, and he finds a very angry Ruben sitting on the steps. They’re arguing over Mack’s participation with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the value of Inhumans when some motorcycles approach. It’s the Watchdogs, and they think Mack is an Inhuman. Ruben and Mack have to fight their way out of the house. Mack has shotgun loaded with bird shot, and he takes a semi off of a defeated Watchdog for Ruben. The brothers try to make it to back door so they can escape into woods. By the time they get there, though, there are two Watchdogs waiting outside. A shootout ensues, during which Mack makes a rather awesome “shotgun axe.” Mack gets shot (not very seriously), but the brothers ultimately prevail. As Mack is taken away in an ambulance, Ruben and Daisy have a good conversation about S.H.I.E.L.D. and Mack’s role in it. Ruben now seems proud of his brother. The team then realizes that Gideon is the one who has been feeding intel to the Watchdogs. We learn in the episode’s tag that he is giving Blake super-heavy weaponry (a missile of some sort) in exchange for his help.

Once Upon a Time 5.19: “Sisters”

“It’s simple. You stole my glory. You were never half the man I was and yet you got everything that was mine. Well, now you’re gonna pay.”
- James

This week, ladies and gentlemen, it’s sibling rivalry week! We’ve got sisters facing off and brothers finally showing down! But before we can get there, we’ve got some romance brewing in the Underworld. Hades takes Zelena to a hill overlooking town where they share drinks by a fire and observe the town below. Hades says he wants to give Zelena the real Storybrooke once his heart starts again. But that would involve leaving all the heroes forever trapped below. Zelena doesn’t say yes but she doesn’t say no either (as Regina points out when big sis comes waltzing in late at night). Zelena rebuffs Regina’s sisterly concern and storms off. She accuses Regina of never wanting a sister.

Boy that couldn’t be farther from the truth! We get some new flashbacks (yay) to a preteen Regina who just wants to play dolls and dress-up with her mother but Cora is too busy with running around being regal (and oddly not as evil and a super bitch as we’ve seen her in the past before). Cora’s focus is so distracted that she doesn’t properly lock a drawer housing her magic wand. Regina gets her hands on it and ends up hurting herself. Now only someone with magic in the family who hasn’t hurt her can heal her. I have a feeling that we are going to see the sisters meet before they knew they were sisters! And we see Cora rescue a young Zelena from her father’s wrath as he’s about to beat her for using magic. Cora entices her oldest daughter with the promise of showing her father that her magic isn’t wickedness. Zelena quite handily saves Regina without even being told what to do (she claims it just came to her) and it’s clear the girls share a bond and fondness as soon as Regina wakes up. Somehow I doubt Cora will let that bond stay. After all Zelena isn’t exactly a common name even in those parts and we know Regina had no idea she had an older sister nor who Zelena really was until season 3. The girls ultimately learn that they are sisters but Cora wipes their memories in a rather heartbreaking scene where the girls are literally ripped away from each other.

The gang is debating how to stop Zelena from getting it on with Hades. They nix Hook’s plan of killing Zelena in favor of trying to use Cora against her. Hook busts Cora out of the grain mill while Rumple tells Belle (who as we last saw was unconscious thanks to a sleeping curse) that he can’t use light magic to save her but he’s not going to let her just lay there while Hades could make other moves. I honestly can’t imagine what Rumple is planning. Oh and David and James finally come face to face (David with a bag of groceries which he gently puts down before things can get out of hand…um can people who are alive actually eat food from the Underworld?) Anyway, we’re going to have a case of mistaken identity for much of the episode once James knocks David out!

Emma and James (who she thinks is David although I have to hope she suspects that it’s not her dad) head out to meet Regina and Robin. Out in the woods, Regina and Cora are getting reacquainted (including the whole Zelena and Hades romance thing) when Cora suggests they make Zelena forget all about Hades (see I knew she was up to no good in the past!). And Emma is about to get a rude awakening herself when she and James meet up with Robin in the woods (where did he acquire a car seat to carry around the nameless baby?). He puts a magic cuff on Emma and then Cruella rolls up. They want to use the baby as leverage for getting Hades to let them leave the Underworld. Yeah that won’t work. Things get iffy for a hot minute but then Hook and David swoop in and James ultimately takes a dunk in the River of Souls. Yeah because who didn’t see that coming.

At the farm house, Cora and Regina are trying to drug Zelena with the memory potion but she’s on to them. She pegs Cora’s apology as insincere and accuses Regina of wanting to ruin her life again. But Regina insists she is just worried for her sister. And then in a somewhat shocking moment, Cora gives the girls back the memory of that brief moment of sisterhood. She makes this touching speech about the strength love has given both of her girls and that they will always be connected. I kind of hope this does redeem Zelena a bit. I still don’t know that she can change Hades but I suppose we will see. We still have 5 more episodes.

Cora has another emotional goodbye with her girls in the cave where people move on one way or the other. It seems at first that she’s going to get swallowed up by the fire but then the light appears and she gets to go to the good place. I guess bringing the girls together again makes up for being a horrible person. I don’t necessarily agree but I’m not writing the show. If I were, Hook would be dead for good and Neal would be alive. Anyway, after Cora is gone, Regina urges Zelena to go to Hades. Maybe she can change the man after all. Unfortunately for her, Rumple has another plan in mind. He’s going to use her as leverage to get to Hades. Sure he can’t hurt Zelena so that’s why he brings along his loophole. A trench coat wearing (kind of hot looking) Peter Pan. He is kind of giving off some weirdly sexual vibes as he’s tossing the hood over Zelena’s head. Now Hades is in the diner in full view of this whole kidnapping but doesn’t seem to notice. I guess he’s too busy dancing to some old time tunes on the juke box. I really hope we see a little more of Pan before the end of the season. I doubt he’d move on since he wants a relationship with his son and that is not on Rumple’s agenda. Maybe he needs to make amends with Henry? Basically I just want more Robbie Kay on my TV!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Blindspot 1.18: “One Begets Technique”

“I can do this. We can’t let this fall apart now.”
- Jane

This was the first episode of “Blindspot” where the case wasn’t directly linked to a tattoo. I knew that we would have to get to this point at some point in the show. Yes, Jane has a lot of ink and they have multiple meanings but they needed to show they could weave things together. I have to say I wasn’t all that impressed with the overall plot arc of the episode. The concept was fine but the execution was kind of lacking. Maybe I’m spoiled having been given 5 seasons of “Leverage” for con and heist shows but this one just seemed like poor planning.

In essence, we are forced to endure an hour of the annoying rich guy who named himself Rich Dot Com. Weller and Jane took him down earlier in the season (he was running a dark net type operation that had a lot of sleazy connection). It seems though that he’s willing to give up names of his contacts once he gets a beat down in prison. This brings Weller’s girlfriend in from the Marshalls and she can tell things are different between him and Jane. Really it is just her concern for his father’s wellbeing (well and Oscar’s directive to get closer to Weller) but I suppose she’s got reason to be worried about the status of her relationship. Anyway, Rich convinces the team to help him pull some elaborate heist to get the paintings stolen from the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum into their possession so he can land them the financier of a whole mess of terrorist organizations. I appreciated the nod to Boston but yeah this guy is a sleaze beyond compare.

He runs through all the security that the original thief has around the paintings (he’s been trying to plan this heist for years). I also think I was spoiled by White Collar. Even if the cons weren’t that elaborate or awesome, Neal made them look so damn good. Anyway, when the team goes in to nab the paintings, there’s an iris scanner rather than a handprint reader and this forces Patterson to cut the power to the block so they can get in. This alerts the original thief who leaves his lecture on cubism to go home and check on his prized illegal possessions. Just as the gang is almost done freeing the paintings from the wall, the item Weller used to prop the door open slips and then the owner pushes in wielding a sword. They eventually manage to take him down by using one of his security measures (a shot gun blast) against him.

Of course, now one of the paintings is damaged and they don’t know which one the terrorist financier is going to ask to see before setting up a meeting. Lucky for the team it isn’t the damaged one. But that still presents a problem since they need all of them intact. Rich has a guy he knows who could do the work and it turns out to be a former lover. Dude gets around. It was also annoying and skeevy how he kept commenting on other people’s relationships. Anyway, the art restorer does his work after insisting on scanning in all the other paintings. Patterson is not happy about this and it turns out she has a good reason why a little later in the episode. The meet is set for a party that Jane attends with Rich but they aren’t dressed right (he said it was a Great Gatsby party and I have to say Jane looked awesome). But a firefight ensues after Pakistani Special Forces bust in and start firing on the FBI team. The guy who are led to believe is the financier gets taken out by Jane after he tries to shoot Rich for betraying him and giving him fakes. Before the team can do much else, Rich jumps off the roof. We think he’s going to go splat but he’s got a parachute in his jacket and he makes off with his former lover and all the real paintings.

So now the team has massive egg on its face and realize they were played the entire time. The guy is a genius and a master manipulator. Sure they suspected things throughout but they didn’t really take precautions to keep him in check. They let him lead the entire operation and they got massively screwed. But I guess they can’t always win. Weller gets basically dumped by his girlfriend after the mission is over, thus making Jane’s job easier in the long run, even though I still want her with Oscar. Anyway, she starts making up memories when she goes to finally meet Weller’s dad. She acts like she remembers him but it’s clear she’s got not recollection and she’s just telling Weller what he wants to hear.

And because no episode would be complete without drama for someone else on the team, we focus on Mayfair and her personal life. She’s still digging into the photo Reade was told to delete. Her contact has another contact out of the country who might be able to enhance it further (so at least for another episode Oscar’s identity and Jane’s place on the team are safe). Heck, she’s even going to see that pretty chick she rescued at the bar again when she comes to town. Well those plans may get put on hold when Mayfair’s ex, Sophia, climbs into the back of Mayfair’s car looking all kinds of crazy. We thought she was dead or missing. Well that’s one hell of a twist. I guess we’ll find out whatever is going on with her next week. And I suppose we will have to see where things stand with Weller and Jane. I really don’t see how she can ever come clean to the team with what she’s been doing and it not be a giant betrayal of their trust. The thing is I think they need to be filled in on the secret at some point but I don’t want the team to suffer because of it.

iZombie 2.17: “Reflections of the Way Liv Used To Be”

“I’m freaking out and I’m trying to focus on work so that I don’t fall apart.”
- Liv

This was not a good episode to be Major. Then again he couldn’t honestly think he could get away with his Chaos Killer dealings for much longer. After he explains to Ravi what he’s been doing for Vaughn and why, Ravi kind of understands. He’s still really pissed at Major for keeping it a secret but he gets it. He also gets him some peppy lady brains from a few episodes ago so our newest zombie is kind of chill about the whole thing. Liv warns he may not be so bubbly when the brain wears off. But he’s willing to take that risk. If only he’d told her about the list and the zombies he’s been putting on ice. It would no doubt ease her worry over Drake.

Speaking of, she goes to confront Mr. Boss and pummels one of the guys working for him, trying to find out information. She claims she needs to get off stripper brain since it’s making her kind of aggressive towards men and it just so happens they have a dead college co-ed who was strangled and dumped in a pool. She was running for student senate and the first prime suspect is her opponent. Apparently, she had some dirt on the guy (he paid someone to take his SATs). But when Liv and Clive go to talk to the guy (it’s one of the frat brothers from a few episodes back as well) they learn that the girl whose brain Liv ate had been caught trying to buy drugs but didn’t have a record.

Thus enters Vice Detective Lou Benendetto (Papa Mars for you Marshmallows out there). Liv has crossed paths with him with regards to Drake’s disappearance and Clive isn’t exactly thrilled with the guy. He’s kind of a jerk to Clive. It turns out he’s running an unsanctioned criminal informant program. He takes kids caught for misdemeanor drug busts and makes them help him get six arrests before dropping the charges. It turns out our dead girl was working with him and it’s possible he might have gotten her killed. After some more digging and visions, it turns out that a kid working at the student center killed her when he realized she was trying to buy from him and she was working the same CI program he was. He was also working for Blaine (and now Chief and Donnie). He gets killed by Chief and Benedetto takes a hard conk to the head for his trouble. But at least the case is solved.

The far more interesting part of this episode for me centered on Blaine. Everyone thinks he is faking his amnesia but I have a feeling it’s genuine. And it just makes me want to hug the poor guy. I know he was kind of a douchebag and totally responsible for infecting Liv but just think, if she hadn’t been infected, she would be this uber praise-seeking annoying person and not a cool, crime-solving morgue attendant. So clearly, she’s kind of better off. Blaine is trying to figure out how he’s supposed to function in his new life and he also gets curious about what the zombies are doing down in the basement (both with the brains and with the drugs). But he kind of stays out of it until Peyton shows up and kind of snarks at him for ditching her big case against Mr. Boss. Later, he shows up at the police station looking for the morgue. Ravi feeds Clive a line about him having a head injury and thinking Ravi is the only doctor he remembers. Hey, it’s a pretty convincing lie. Major who now may need that second cure is kind of hoping Blaine is faking. As he puts it, he wouldn’t wish Blaine’s condition on well…Blaine. And the guy looked so devastated after Ravi filled him in on all the terrible things he’s done. If only he remembered that he told Major to get rid of Drake. Seriously, Liv is gonna be pissed about that when she finds out!

At the top of the post I mentioned Major isn’t having the best of times despite being on super perky lady brains. He comes up with the ridiculous idea to turn Vaughn into a zombie and then test the cure on him. If he loses his memory, then he won’t be able to threaten Major and the people he cares about and if he does retain his memory, then they know Blaine is faking. It really is a dumb plan guys. But he is gung ho to go through with it. Too bad Vaughn is getting super hyped up for the Super Max launch. And he’s got Rita locked up in the basement. She’s gone full zombie now with the white hair. Gotta admit she looks much better as a redhead. Anyway, when Major shows up to try and do his thing to Vaughn, things go sideways very fast. For one thing it sounds like Vaughn’s head of security may have found Major’s hide out with his freezers full of drugged out zombies. And the dog groomer lady shows up to confess to Clive’s FBI girlfriend that Major had Minor. So now they know that Major is the Chaos Killer. So of course, they have to bust into Max Rager (no idea how they knew he was there) and arrest him right in front of Vaughn. I can’t decide how that’s going to end for Vaughn. I mean sure Major can’t really say he was doing it to protect his zombie ex-fiancé and that the head of an energy drink company made him do it. But wouldn’t you think Vaughn might still somehow be implicated? I mean Major isn’t going to take the fall for this completely. Of course he faces the same problem Liv did earlier in the season with being locked up and in need of a brain fix. Something tells me since he seems to be going full on zombie mode more frequently that he’s going to need the brains sooner than she did.

Monday, April 18, 2016

iZombie 2.16: "Pour Some Sugar, Zombie"

“Can we go now? I feel like I want to take a bunch of showers.”

I mostly enjoyed “Pour Some Sugar, Zombie” because both contained an interesting mystery of the week and advanced the show’s overall mythology in a big way. There were several twists that I think will play out in a very interesting way in the season’s final few episodes. Blaine gets to find out the side-effects of Ravi’s new prototype zombie cure. Major experiences the inevitable re-zombification. And that’s just the beginning. In addition to all that, I thought this week’s mystery was compelling. Liv ends up eating a stripper’s brain to help Peyton crack the Boss case. And help it definitely does. We’re at the point in the season where I’m very anxious to see how this season’s overarching plots resolve themselves.

The episode opens with the aftermath of Blaine taking the latest iteration of the zombie cure. He is passed out when Don-E finds him and has to really work to wake him up. The newly (re) human Blaine has some serious amnesia, though. Meanwhile, Liv is at home, about to enjoy a shower. While she is in the shower, Gilda (sort of…she still has a key) breaks in, and she tries to raid Liv’s fridge for brains. Before she can eat anything, though, an armed special forces type (from Max Rager, no doubt) finds her and takes her away. When Liv steps out of the bathroom, all she sees is Gilda’s scarf, which was left behind in the struggle. Liv doesn’t have time to contemplate the scarf, though, because Peyton arrives along with Ravi and Major. Peyton is moving back in with Liv. After all Peyton’s stuff is situated, the group lounges around to discuss the possibility of Ravi and Major renting the apartment across the hall, “Friends”- style.

Peyton steps away to take a call from Cassidy, a stripper who has been dating one of Mr. Boss’ henchmen. While she is talking to Peyton, clearly agitated and ready to spill some good info on Boss’ organization, a car approaches Cassidy, and a passenger hits her in the head with a tire iron, killing her. At the crime scene, Ravi figures out the cause of death pretty quickly, which means the team is looking for two suspects: the driver and the wielder of the tire iron. Nick, Cassidy’s henchman boyfriend, is on GPS monitoring at the moment, so Babineaux is able to pretty easily confirm that he was at the scene of the crime. It appears to be a straightforward case.

Since the case already seems to be solved, Liv has no desire to eat Cassidy’s stripper brain. Peyton, however, has other ideas. Cassidy knew things about Boss’ crew, including the location of a major storehouse, and she wants Liv to retrieve those memories. Liv eventually agrees, but I think she might regret it when Peyton immediately tries to grill her about the stash house. Liv, who has a bit of extra ‘tude thanks to Cassidy’s brain, tells Peyton that it doesn’t work that way. Something has to trigger the flashbacks. They go to Cassidy’s strip club to see if anything there will trigger Liv. Liv immediately starts giving skeevy guys lap dances and picking fights with the other strippers. Peyton just tries to keep her distance, although she does get schooled by one women who is stripping to pay for law school. Then Liv gives Peyton a lap dance in the VIP room, which Peyton barely tolerates.

Ravi goes into Major’s room looking for some nail clippers, and he notices that Major keeps a safe in his closet. Major has no interest in showing Ravi what is inside that safe, which naturally makes Ravi more curious. Major directs Ravi out of the room and shuts the door. Meanwhile, back at the strip club, Liv interrupts her dancing to take a call from Babineaux, who says they found the GPS ankle bracelet in a random backpack, which jives with Peyton’s knowledge that Boss has a guy to take care of ankle bracelets. Liv then gets flicked by another stripper’s ponytail, and when she follows that stripper into a bathroom to call her out, it triggers a vision. She sees a house with a mailbox marked Thompson, and when the door opens, she sees someone cutting drugs. The stripper in the bathroom finally calms down enough to talk to Liv and Peyton, and she says she suspects none other than Seattle’s favorite skeevy weatherman, Johnny Frost, who is a regular patron of the club. He says Cassidy stole his identity and charged a bunch of crap to his credit card, but he doesn’t seem to really harbor any ill will.

Liv and Peyton next got to Shady Plots to see Blaine. He offers them coffee, and he seems to have no clue who they are or what they want. This is quite perplexing to Liv and Peyton. And Blaine, come to think of it. Back at their house, Ravi and Major are hanging in the kitchen. Ravi sees a picture of the dog of one of the Chaos Killer’s victims in the newspaper, and he thinks the dog looks an awful lot like Minor. And Major seems to think the milk in the refrigerator has gone bad, even though it was just purchased the day before. Neither of these things seem like positive developments for the awesome bromance that is Ravi and Major.

Back at the morgue, Liv is cleaning up when she is grilled by a detective named Vega about Drake’s whereabouts. Liv says she knows nothing, of course. Babineaux shows up too, and he and Vega exchange a look as Vega leaves. Babineaux and Liv then head back to the strip club. Babineaux asks the ladies for any information on the case, and Liv notices that one of them is texting. She and Babineaux decide to hang around and follow the texting stripper (which sounds like a very odd game). They see a shoe-shine guy yelling, and that triggers another vision for liv. In the vision, Cassidy is on the phone with Peyton when she hears someone yelling, not long after, she gets hit with the tire iron. The yelling someone was the shoe-shine guy, and he’s a witness to the murder. He tells Babineaux and Liv that all he saw was a blue hatchback.

Ravi, always a glutton for punishment, goes to the police station and asks about the dog involved in the Chaos Killer case. The detective he talks to asks him to look at a drawing of someone who was seen at one of the scenes of the crimes. Ravi instantly recognizes it as Major, but he doesn’t say anything. Meanwhile, Babineaux and Liv have followed the texting stripper, and they’re on a stakeout. Clive dresses up as a pizza guy and discovers the texting stripper is in a hotel room with Nick (Cassidy’s boyfriend). Babineaux brings him in for breaking parole. Back at the station, Babineaux gets a very important phone call. The blue hatchback in question belongs to Johnny Frost.

When Liv returns to the morgue, Ravi is examining Blaine. Blaine has a significant amount of amnesia and doesn’t really understand what is going on. Liv tries to accuse Blaine of faking the amnesia, but it’s clear that he’s not. Meanwhile, Johnny Frost is being interrogated at the police station, and he brings with him files on someone who works for Mr. Boss. Peyton is able to identify that someone. She also has pictures of different houses with Thompson mailboxes for Liv to look at. Liv is able to definitely identify the house from her vision. Babineaux is going to go arrest a stripper named Destiny and her accomplice. The supply house also gets raided. Meanwhile, back at home, Ravi, after a lot of effort, manages to break into Major’s safe. He finds Major’s book of names, the tranquilizers, and some spray paint. Of course Ravi starts to think the worst.

At the police station, Babineaux interviews a man who was connected to Destiny (the accomplice I mentioned previously). He has an alibi that checks out, so Babineaux moves on to destiny. She tries a bit too hard to pin the whole thing on the texting stripper. It turns out that the texting stripper was driving, and Destiny is the one who wielded the tire iron and killed Cassidy. At Shady Plots, with Blaine semi-out of commission, Don-E tries to take control of things for himself. He wants to take advantage of Boss’ diminished market share, so he has one of the other minions turn him into a zombie. Liv also pays a visit to Drake’s mother, who reveals that her son was an undercover cop. This makes Liv feel even worse about Drake being missing. Finally, Ravi confronts Major with all the evidence from his safe. Before he can do much, the stress turns Major back into a zombie. Ravi immediately tranquilizes him.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Once Upon a Time 5.18: “Ruby Slippers”

“Just because you made one bad move…or thirty doesn’t mean you can’t make a good one now.”
- Regina

This was one doozy of an episode. A lot happened to push things forward and it also gave some interesting wrap ups for some of the characters we’ve seen throughout the series. I know I’ve said it before but this season has felt like it could have been a wrap up if they didn’t get renewed. Luckily, they have so we don’t have worry about winding down just yet. But this episode focuses on warrior Dorothy and some Enchanted Forest visitors to Oz. namely Ruby and Mulan. In Oz, we see that Ruby and Mulan tracked her pack to Oz (or so Ruby thought) but it seems she’s lost the scent. Enter Dorothy and Toto. Things get off to a bit of a rocky start but when they meet up with Zelena (fresh from Regina’s banishment), the girls have to team up. Zelena wants Dorothy’s slippers so she can get back to her baby (who still doesn’t have a name). Mulan is going to concoct a sleeping potion to knock Zelena out so that they can rescue the furry little critter but they need some poppies which are in Zelena’s territory (naturally). This leads to a bit of adorable banter between Ruby and Dorothy (nicknaming each other Wolfie and Kansas respectively). But it becomes clear very quickly that Mulan is forever going to be alone. But hey, at least someone is going to be happy.

In the Underworld, Ruby wakes up and tells the gang that she’s trying to find Dorothy who went after Zelena. But Zelena isn’t going to be much help. For one thing she gets a heads up from Hades that Ruby is in town and so she’s going to take off (even if she doesn’t have her little girl in toe). See, she trapped Dorothy in a sleeping curse and with no True Love’s Kiss coming her way, she’s stuck forever. Ruby thinks that Dorothy’s Aunt Em might do the trick but Hades is waiting to turn the old lady into a pool of river water (ick). In both flashback and present day, we see Ruby admit her feelings for Dorothy and Snow convinces her friend to try and give the girl of her dreams True Love’s Kiss. It can’t hurt right?

Along the way David and Snow run into the issue of wanting to talk to baby Neal again. Unfortunately, Cruella on Hades’ orders has ripped out the telephones. Well damn! But this prompts Emma to suggest that her parents go back to Storybrooke via Oz. At first, David is going to go (what with Snow’s name on the headstone and all) but then thanks to a little male bonding between David and Hook, they manage to put David’s name on it so that Snow can go back to be with their son. To be honest, I felt this was a little sexist. But given that the actress who plays Snow is pregnant again, it makes some amount of sense. And as Henry pens the latest chapters of the book, we see that Snow makes it back to Storybrooke and baby Neal and Ruby gets her happy ending with Dorothy (which involves much smooching while Mulan, Snow and many munchkins watch….get a room ladies!). I’m glad Ruby finally found what she was looking for and it’s kind of interesting that their trek took them to her, rather than the pack. That must have been the wolf in Ruby instinctively tracking her across realms. That’s pretty epic I must say.

While the heroes are doing their work, Belle and Rumple are still trying to find a way to get out of the contract with Hades. Belle wants to do it on her own because she can’t trust that Rumple won’t mess things up again and make her darken her soul like she did with Gaston. To be fair, Hades orchestrated most of that. But whatever. For some silly reason, she goes to Zelena for help. Zelena at that point was just day drinking and being mopey about everything in her life including the fact that she can’t see herself changing and that she can’t handle Hades being in love with her. Girl has issues. But, after Zelena points out that Hades could easily collect on the debt at any time by speeding up Belle’s pregnancy, Belle is even more freaked out than before. But Zelena does offer her an option which she takes back to Rumple. It is not a good option at all because it involves a sleeping curse. Apparently if Belle is asleep then Hades can’t advance the pregnancy (I don’t see how that works other than I guess it puts the body in stasis). Rumple tells his wife that if this is her way of forcing him to turn to the light so he can wake her up with True Love’s Kiss he won’t do it. She knows that he won’t be that man so she’s counting on him to do whatever it takes to get her back to Storybrooke so her father can wake her up. Ouch that’s kind of harsh. But I’m also glad that Belle is standing up to his bullshit. I have to admit I didn’t see that twist coming (oh and the episode ends with her pricking her finger and falling asleep). So now Rumple has to find a way to get her home. I have a feeling that means teaming back up with the rest of the family to defeat Hades and go home. Speaking of Hades, Zelena pays him a visit, saying she hadn’t really given him a chance and she’s terrified he’ll disappoint her but she’s going to risk it. At first I wasn’t sure she was being genuine but it seems she is. I have a feeling this may not work out how either of them expect. I mean let’s be honest, if Hades finds happiness and love, then won’t that give the realm the hope he’s being trying to squash? Is he really ready to leave all of this behind and go home to Olympus? It would be nice to see Zeus and some of the other Gods though. But maybe that’s just me.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Blindspot 1.17: “Mans Telepathic Loyal Lookouts”

“You were supposed to be here for all of this.”
- Patterson

This was one heck of an episode. I think I enjoyed it so much because we got to see David and Patterson team up one last time. It made me even sadder to know that he’s gone because they have such a sweet chemistry together. Speaking of chemistry, we pick up with everyone pretty much where we left them. Jane and Oscar have just had what appears to be quite passionate sex and Weller and his girlfriend also seem to be enjoying each other before she gets called to work. Oscar still needs Jane to get close to Weller (after they share some Chinese food and a very sweet dance). Tasha gets confronted by the US Attorney who was digging into Carter. He wants her to get him information on Mayfair now. Ultimately, Tasha agrees but with the caveat that Mayfair goes down alone. None of the rest of the team gets caught up in it. And Reade is still trying to distance himself from Sarah. But it seems that the people Jane is working with are still after him. They want him to delete the DOT footage Mayfair requested but he can’t bring himself to do it. But it turns out to be ok because when he goes and admits the truth to Mayfair, she reveals that the photo is super blurry and you can’t make anything out about the driver. But he is still really pissed about all of this.

The bigger part of the episode deals with Patterson trying to figure out what tattoo David decoded. At first, she’s skeptical. After all the David she’s talking to is the one in her mind and knows only what she knows. But a cleverly timed dessert with a game piece on top spurs her to action. She excitedly races off to David’s apartment building to look through his stuff. The game piece is from one of their favorite games. But alas, David’s landlord is a jerk and won’t let her in the building. When she flashes her badge, she gets told to bring back a warrant. This leads to some very dangerous fire escape climbing (she nearly falls and her phone takes a deathly plunge to the sidewalk below. But she manages to break into David’s apartment to find it empty. Sure all his stuff is gone but the next clue is relatively easy to find with some prompting from Ghost David. She finds a key to an automaton at a speak easy. David was prepared for that, too and ends up scrawling a note and revealing the constellation Andromeda.

Patterson heads back to the FBI and logs into the tattoo database to do some more searching. It leads her first to a spot on Jane’s body and then to a bull tattoo that was used to help solve a case a few weeks ago. I’d almost forgotten that the tattoos had proven to have multiple meanings before. Thankfully Patterson didn’t and she ultimately is led to an antique shop. She is all excited until she gets drugged and tied up in a shed somewhere by a crazy man. He’s ranting about her needing to be sacrificed under Taurus.

It’s about this time that the team gets in for the day and starts to suspect something is up when Patterson isn’t there. They follow her electronic trail and find her car outside the antique shop. They need to work quickly because the owner is a nut job. But while the team is starting to put the pieces together about her abductor, she’s trying to make her escape. She frees herself from her binds and then breaks out of the shed she was locked in (turned out to be a cellar). The jerk took her shoes (probably to deter from running) and she takes off anyway, trying to hide in the woods when the kidnapper and his high-powered Senator brother spot her out a window. It turns out her kidnapper is a former high school teacher who was the prime suspect in the ritualistic murder of one of his students.

The team rushes to the site of where Patterson was taken and after some tense hunting and confrontation, Weller and Jane take out the brothers and rescue Patterson. The poor thing is half frozen to death and kind of delirious. But she’ll bounce back. As the episode comes to a close, she finally says goodbye to David (perhaps she’ll move on with the hot British psychologist on staff). It also turns out that the Senator and his brother were connected to a big Pharma company that covered up the additional killings the former teacher did. Yet another case of the big sleazy bad guys being taken down by the tattoos. Speaking of, Oscar gives Jane a bunch of photos to help her build false memories to tell to Weller so they can get closer. It is obvious Jane would rather get close with Oscar. I suspect he feels the same but as he keeps saying, they have to stay on mission. Oh and a Weller family dinner is held where Weller toasts his father and is happy that the distance between them is gone. Unfortunately, their father (remember he’s got cancer) collapses. I guess that’s going to be prompting some heart to heart between father and son. I mean Weller still needs to know what happened to Jane as young Taylor Shaw. I honestly don’t want Weller and Jane together at this point, not since we’ve seen her connection with Oscar. Besides, Weller has a girlfriend (for now). I also hope Tasha doesn’t get herself screwed over by this US Attorney. I know there has to be more to why she keeps being targeted but I can’t put my finger on it. Yes, she’s made some questionable decisions in the past but she didn’t have much choice and she’s done what she has to in order to protect her team now.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 2.17: "Doing it Right"

“Well, down here in Orlando, we have a name for Yankee chili. It’s called soup.”

This episode of “Fresh off the Boat” featured two fairly separate plots (Louis asks Eddie to help him with a Chili cook-off he has entered, and Jessica gets in a fight with the mother of one of Evan’s friends) that came together with the common theme of when parents should listen to their children. While there wasn’t a ton of substance to it, I did appreciate the Chili cook-off plot because I believe it is the first time we’ve gotten a nod to the fact that the real life Eddie Huang is a chef. I wish we had seen show Eddie express some interest in food and cooking before this, though. His declaration that he just “knows food” seems to come a bit out of nowhere. I will definitely be interested to see where the show goes with Eddie’s love for food and talent for cooking. I suppose I should read the real Eddie Huang’s book some time, to get a sense of how it all really went down. Was the real Eddie able to identify every flavor at Baskin Robbins as a middle schooler? I’d like to find out!

The episode opens on a scene that I didn’t really know what to make of at first. Louis is in a parking garage, in the middle of what looks like a stereotypical drug deal. Two guys pull up in an older car and want to show off their product. They aren’t selling any controlled substances, though (that we can see, at least). They are selling ghost chilies. I was kind of surprised Louis couldn’t just get some at a store, but I guess there aren’t a lot of specialty or ethnic food stores in the suburbs of Orlando. Or at least there weren’t in the mid-90’s. Louis is going to participate in the North Orlando Chili Cookoff, and he needs the good stuff so he can win the competition. Apparently he did quite well in chili cook-offs back in DC, and he wants to do the same in Orlando.

Louis is going to face stiff chili competition from his neighbor, Marvin, though. Marvin confronts Louis, stockpot in hand, and brags about his credentials. He has won the chili cook off for five years in a row now, and he shows off his Golden Stockpot trophies with pride. His signature chili involves cooking a wild hog. Honey later complains to Jessica that Marvin insists the hog be placed in the garage refrigerator with its head facing out, because that “honors the hog.” Louis wants to pull out all the stops to beat Marvin, so he offers to let Eddie be his “chili apprentice.” Eddie is super excited, even if his first task is washing Louis’ apron from the Washington DC Hard Rock Café. I do love the 90’s nostalgia in this show. Mid-90’s teenage me loved collecting Hard Rock Café t-shirts.

Meanwhile, we are also introduced to the ritual at Evan’s school where the parents pick up their children at the end of the day. There are two lines of traffic, and they are supposed to “zipper” at the entrance in the school. In other words, the two lines of traffic are supposed to take turns and alternate. Jessica gushes about this to Grandma Huang, because she thinks it is the ultimate in efficiency. Evan, while waiting for his mom, hangs out with his best friend J.J. J.J. is, shall we say, a bit special. He’s a nice enough kid, but he makes weird drawings and doesn’t seem especially bright. Evan, being Jessica’s child, of course criticizes all of these traits in his best friend. As he gets into the car, Evan says he’s super excited for J.J.’s upcoming birthday party. There’s going to be a Grover cake, which is apparently a huge deal. I was more Eddie’s age in the time when the shoe takes place, so I guess I missed Grover cakes. I did like Grover a lot, though. I was definitely raised to be a Sesame Street (pre Elmo takeover) kid.

Meanwhile, Louis and Eddie get to working on perfecting their chili recipe. Their first attempt earns a reaction of “pretty good” when they both taste it, and Louis immediately dumps the whole pot in the trash. “Pretty good” or even “great” isn’t good enough to beat Marvin, after all. It’s time to go back to the drawing board. Eddie has the idea to toast some cumin in bacon fat, but Louis doesn’t want to hear it. He doesn’t like his chili to be fussy. He says a bowl of chili is not supposed to be a “bowl of Jazz.” At school, Eddie complains about the situation to his friend Trevor, and Trevor is incredulous. He thinks Eddie should be grateful to just be chili apprenticing at all. Eddie has only been making chili for a few days – he shouldn’t think he knows everything yet. When it comes to the argument Eddie and Louis are having, though, I’m on team Eddie. I love to play with spices and fuss with food. What’s interesting, though, if the episodes of “Huang’s World” I’ve watched recently are any indication, is that the real Eddie Huang is not about fussy food, either. He seems to favor clean, simple flavors.

We again see Jessica waiting in line to pick up Evan at school. This time, though, somebody doesn’t pay attention to the zipper and cuts her off. Fan of efficiency and order that she is, Jessica takes extreme offense to this, and she immediately runs to confront the offending mom. That mom, however, happens to be J.J.’s mom, and understandably, she’s not happy with Jessica’s antics. She eventually tells Jessica that Evan is not welcome at J.J.’s birthday party. At Louis’ prodding, Jessica apologizes to J.J.’s mom, although she makes sure to say that the incident was a “mutual wrongdoing.” J.J.’s mom appreciates the apology, but she says that Evan still can’t come to the birthday party. Jessica can’t bear to see Evan’s disappointment at not going to the party, so she takes him to the party anyway. He immediately rushes in and starts bossing J.J. around. J.J.’s mom says this is why she didn’t want Evan at the party. It had nothing to do with the pick-up incident. She doesn’t like how Evan treats her “gentle spirit” son.

Jessica discusses the J.J. situation with Honey as they eat lunch, and Honey makes a very astute observation. Jessica is pretty bossy herself. Jessica proves this by immediately criticizing how Honey is making a sandwich. Honey hypothesizes that Evan might just be trying to be like his mother. Later, at the chili cook off, Jessica takes Evan aside to talk to him about his behavior. He tells him that it’s okay if he worships her. Evan says that his behavior has nothing to do with wanting to be like his mom. He acts like he does with J.J. because J.J. actually listens to him. We get flashbacks to the family ignoring Evan’s dislike of drinking water for dinner and his request for a school briefcase. Even Grandma switched out his frog for a Garfield on the back window of the car. Jessica decides they need to start listening to Evan more. She lets him choose what to drink with dinner, even if they don’t have the ingredients for a Shirley Temple or strawberry Fanta. He also gets his briefcase.

The chili cook off is quite the event, and it’s being judged by everyone’s favorite local morning news anchors, Gus and Mey-Mey. Ken Marino always makes me laugh. Marvin, is of course, smarming it up, displaying his five Golden Stock Pots and a banner announcing his achievements at his table. Louis is surprised when there are two Huangs on the competitor list. Eddie has also entered the competition on his own. Eddie’s style is very different from Louis’. Louis is super precise, and Eddie just goes with his instinct. Both Louis and Eddie are finalists, along with a woman named Gloria. Marvin is disqualified because he apparently used the meat from Whoppers in his chili. Gloria actually wins the whole thing, but she gives the trophy to the Huangs. Marvin is not very happy when he sees it displayed in their window.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Once Upon a Time 5.17: “Her Handsome Hero”

“I’ve accepted that no one will fight for a child like its father, you’ve proven that much.”
- Belle

As we’ve seen with the rest of the flashbacks in this half of the season, we are getting some holes filled in on some more of our characters this week: namely Belle. When we find her in the Enchanted Forest, she s railing against her father trying to set her up on a date with Gaston. She’s heard he’s kind of a womanizer and super vain. But he is definitely good looking and he manages to convince to go on one walk with him. How bad can that be? They are actually kind of having a nice time and then Gaston runs off because he hears some big beast. It turns out to be a baby-ish ogre. Belle insists they try to find out what it knows without harming it. Ever the optimist. She finds a magical mirror which will show them whether the ogre has evil in it and as she goes to find said mirror, Gaston plans to hunker down with Belle’s favorite book and keep watch over the baby ogre. I knew we shouldn’t trust Gaston (and not just because he seemed too good to be true). He claims the beast escaped and injured him when Belle and her father arrive with the mirror. Both men tell Belle to go home when she declares she wants to go on the hunt for the beast to see if the mirror works. Yeah, I have a feeling it is going to work all right and show her that Gaston has evil in him. And I was right (but at least the ogre went free). And then Belle is forced to accept Gaston’s marriage proposal (I have to side with Rumple on this one, he saved her from that jerk face).

In the Underworld, Belle confronts Rumple about the crap he’s doled out on their family. She refuses to be separated from her child and she gives Rumple an ultimatum: save their baby without dark magic or lose her and the child forever. I kind of hope that if Rumple does slip up, Belle kicks him to the curb for good. He has had plenty of chances to fix things with her and while I understand he has an inherent nature towards craving power and signs of an addiction to dark magic, you can only give someone so many second chances before it is just too painful and futile. While they are cooking up a way to get their baby back in their arms for good, Hades is following Zelena around town and notices flowers are starting to sprout. He can’t have that (dang heroes providing hope) so he tasks Gaston with killing Rumple. Yeah, that’s not going to end well for anyone. Rumple and Belle aren’t having much luck finding a light magic spell to save their baby and when Rumple insists they’ll fail without dark magic, she storms out. Right into Gaston’s waiting crosshairs. He fires a few arrows at Rumple, drops the truth bomb about being turned into a rose and murdered and swears he’s going to kill Rumple. After the Dark One whisks them to safety, he explains to pissed-off wife that if he even gets a scratch from the magical arrows Gaston is firing, he’ll end up trapped in the River of Lost Souls, unable to help or protect their child. So, thanks to Belle’s optimistic spirit, she insists on helping Gaston move on. Besides, it might help weaken Hades.

The Charmings have their own issues to deal with. Regina thinks maybe she can talk to Zelena and glean whatever information her big sister has on their foe. And Emma, after having something of a prophetic dream, thinks they can burn their names off the headstones. But she kind of freaks out when Snow wants to go with her and Hook (because in Emma’s dream, Snow gets carried off by some hurricane monster thing). And unfortunately for Emma, her day is going terribly because the dream plays out almost exactly like she’d seen. But instead of Snow getting snatched, they all make a run for it. Emma eventually gets around to telling Snow that in the dream, the monster killed her. Meanwhile, Regina is having a little sisterly chat with Zelena. After reassuring her big sis that the baby is safe, she digs into what Zelena knows about Hades. Zelena admits that Hades fell in love with her and she thinks it’s ridiculous. Regina picks up on the possibility that Zelena might love him back and also gets Zelena to admit she is likely the god’s weakness. I really hope this doesn’t end with Regina sacrificing Zelena to get to Hades. But before we can even get to Regina sharing this new intel with the rest of the family, we have to get Emma to admit she’s scared of everyone dying and it being her fault. But a little pep talk from her mom brightens her up and they agree to face the monster together.

Belle and Rumple head to Gaston’s place of work and after bickering about whether Rumple uses magic to break into Gaston’s locker is dark magic, Belle discovers that she is Gaston’s unfinished business. So she decides to wait for him to come back and sends Rumple away. But she doesn’t get her fiancé stopping by. Instead, Hades pays her a visit with an offer. He’ll take the mark off the baby if she lets Gaston and Rumple face off and one of them pushes the other into the River of Lost Souls. Interestingly, he doesn’t’ specify which guy needs to take the plunge. I still can’t see Belle making such a dark decision. When Belle finally catches up to Gaston, he is kind of a raving jackass. He rants about he’s tried to throw the book out because it reminds him of how and why he died. He kind of blames her and he’s even more pissed when he finds out Belle married Rumple. And her day just goes from bad to worse when she fills Rumple in on the deal Hades offered. He’s going to accept that deal and shove Gaston right into the water. Yep, Rumple definitely tries to do that but Belle runs in at the last second and stops him. Well she kisses him and grabs his dagger and orders him not to harm Gaston. Too bad Gaston isn’t under the same influence. Oh, and then in Belle’s attempt to keep him from hurting Rumple, Gaston falls into the river. Guess they may just be keeping their baby safe after all. Or not because Belle was the one who pushed Gaston in.

And it turns out the monster the rest of the gang is hunting isn’t a monster after all but wolf-form Ruby. Well that’s interesting and I hope we get to see some more fun stuff with her and Mulan in the coming weeks (or next week as the case may be). I’m still kind of shipping Mulan Rouge here. Besides, I think the writers said there would be a same-sex relationship and Mulan is the only LGBT character we know of so far.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.13: "Parting Shot"

“I'd like a cheeseburger. Medium, with cheddar cheese, ketchup, mayo, lettuce, and tomato. And some curly fries. Crispy.”

“Parting Shot” served as a lovely send-off for Bobbi and Hunter, who are moving on to star in their own series, “Marvel’s Most Wanted,” next season. The episode takes place in Russia, where Bobbi and Hunter find themselves in a tough spot after following Gideon and Petrov there at the end of the previous episode. There’s plenty of spy intrigue in this episode, which I enjoyed. I wonder if the show is still going to have that spy caper tone when Bobbi and Hunter have departed, or if those sorts of adventures are going to be reserved for “Most Wanted.” I appreciated how Bobbi and Hunter (for the most part) kept their cool through very trying circumstances. I definitely get why they made the decision to leave S.H.I.E.L.D. life by the end of the episode, but I only wish they could have the relaxing happily ever after they say they want. Something tells me they won’t be out of the espionage game for long, even if it isn’t with S.H.I.E.L.D.

As the episode opens, Bobbi is being interrogated by Interpol is Moscow. She’s playing it cool, and when she is asked for information, she just gives her burger order (see the Quote of the Episode above). She is accused of having something to do with the murder of three Russians. Bobbi denies involvement, and the Interpol agent wonders incredulously what she was doing in Siberia. Thanks to a flashback to 34 hours ago, we viewers know what Bobbi was doing in Siberia. She and Hunter were tailing Gideon’s convoy. The rest of the team are following in the Zephyr. Bobbi and Hunter track the convoy to what looks like an abandoned power plant, and Hunter commandeers a truck so that they can continue to follow. Hunter, by the way, is also being interrogated. He claims that he and Bobbi were just on vacation picking mushrooms.

They weren’t picking mushrooms, though, of course. 31 hours ago, the team sees that Gideon appears to be bringing an Inhuman to the abandoned power plant. The sanctuary state, as you would expect, is probably going to be more like a prison camp. Bobbi and Hunter do some surveillance, and while they’re watching, they talk about how nice it would be to actually take a vacation. They’ve never taken a real vacation together before. Just as they’re about to move in a little closer, Bobbi and Hunter are discovered by armed guards. Bobbi and Hunter try to pretend they were just hunting mushrooms, but obviously the guards don’t buy it. Luckily, they are extracted from the situation by the Zephyr. After explaining what they’ve seen so far, it is decided that Bobbi will infiltrate the compound since she’s fluent in Russian, and Hunter will team up with May.

In the present day, Bobbi and Hunter are both being interrogated separately using a polygraph. Neither of them are giving up any information. Hunter in particular will only reveal his mushroom soup recipe (which I suddenly have an urge to try and cook this weekend). When Bobbi is shown a photo of one of the victims, she claims she didn’t kill him. She hesitates when asked if Hunter killed him, and the interrogator says he’s going to take that as a confession. Bobbi is extremely upset as he hears Hunter yelling from the other room, presumably being taken away to be turned over to Russian authorities. IN his yelling, he begs Bobbi not to tell the interrogator anything.

29 hours before the interrogation, Hunter and May approach the power plant, looking for the presumed Inhuman. Instead, they find the body, and the deceased was an attaché of the Russian Prime Minister. They decide they need to get the body to Coulson and Simmons. Speaking of Petrov, he explains to Gideon some of what is going on with the dead guy and all. The attaché was sent to Siberia to shut down Petrov’s plans for a “sanctuary.” General Androvich, the Minister of Defense, is the murderer. He just happens to be Inhuman. Petrov asks for Malick’s help with the Androvich problem, but Malick says that the issue is bigger than any one country. He believes that humans need to ally themselves with Inhumans to survive. Coulson is shocked to be watching the beginnings of a coup.

Bobbi still isn’t talking (except for asking why the Interpol officer hasn’t mentioned Gideon), so he brings her water and says she needs to say she’s working with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the American government or Hunter faces a firing squad. 28 hours earlier, after some close calls for our team, Simmons says that the attache was strangled, but the killer left no marks. May and Daisy notice that Gideon seems to be leaving the compound without Androvich, and Mack notices something strange in the corner of his eye. Coulson spots the Prime Minister arriving, and he orders the team to protect the Prime Minister above all else. The General can manifest a shadow of himself made of dark force, and his dark force attacks the team and knocks out Mack. Bobbi and Daisy are left to try to fight the shadow, although they know they need to ultimately take out the real General. The shadow then appears near Hunter and the Prime Minister, but before it can do much damage, Bobbi shoots the real General. She and Hunter are immediately arrested.

Bobbi and Hunter are reunited in an interrogation room (back in the present time). Meanwhile, the Interpol officer talks with Coulson, the Prime Minister, and the President of the United States. Coulson and the President basically work out a deal where Bobbi and Hunter will be freed as long as they disavow having worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson explains later of the team that letting Bobbi and Hunter go was really his only option. He didn’t think that the Russians would appreciate knowing that S.H.I.E.L.D., and indirectly the United States government, was training a team of Inhumans for espionage. And he’s probably right about that! Throughout the episode, we also get the sense that Bobbi and Hunter, while they love kicking ass in the field, might be ready for something of a more conventional life where they could at least take a real vacation once in a while.

Having just been released, Bobbi and Hunter sit in a bar, discussing where they should take their first vacation now that they’re out of the spy game. All of a sudden, a waitress delivers a shot to their table. They see Simmons across the room, but she doesn’t say anything. It is clear, however, that the shot is from her. Bobbi says it’s a “spy’s goodbye.” Gradually, the rest of the team all appear around the bar, and more shots appear on Bobbi and Hunter’s table. Coulson has them all raise a glass in a toast, and Mack is the last one to leave before Bobbi and Hunter are truly alone. I was reasonably happy with this turn of events. I’m glad that it seems “S.H.I.E.L.D.” will be getting back to focusing on the core, original characters, and it was a nice sendoff for Bobbi and Hunter. At the very end of the episode, we meet Gideon’s daughter, who seems to also want to be in on Maveth’s world domination plans. I’m sure we’ll see more from her soon.

Blindspot 1.16: "Any Wounded Thief"

“There must be some clue that points to who did this to Jane and why.”
- Patterson

This week was full of memories and moments for a lot of our characters, specifically Jane and Patterson. The latter is having quite the emotional day when she gets a call for a reservation at a restaurant she and David liked. It is apparently their one year anniversary and he made the reservation before he died. She’s pretty torn about what to do and she ends up chatting about it with the doctor on the team and he encourages her to go to dinner, have a glass of wine and celebrate the good moments with David. Before she can do that, though, she and the team have to solve the case of the week involved a robbed armored truck belonging to a company that doesn’t exist. They get to the site and find that the truck was transporting chemical components to make Saran gas. Oh boy.

Thanks to some digging by Patterson, the team learns that there is an Army facility not far from where the truck was robbed that disposes of chemical weapons. They bring in the head of the base along with the person who sponsored the visas for the three dead truck guards (from South Korea). The general from the base says that they have strict protocol for destroying the weapons and would know if anything went missing. The woman who sponsored the visas denies knowing anything but does say she thought she heard a rumor that one of the men was involved with a gang.

While the team is out tracking leads, Patterson brings up an interesting point to Mayfair. They should be dedicating their time trying to find out who would have the knowledge necessary to put all the clues into Jane’s tattoos. But there’s budget cuts and every department thinks their work is more important. I have a feeling Patterson may take this chance to dive deeper into work to cope (or not) with David’s death. Soon enough, the team tracks a known associate of the guards to a local man. They get in a shootout with him which leads them back to the general, hiding out in a rigged underground bunker. He claims he was stockpiling since he knows our enemies are doing the same. He also admits to selling weapons to South Korea with the visa woman’s help. They have 40 canisters of Saran out there. Ultimately, the gang finds the shipping containers with the weapons although they are still missing two. And Jane, Weller and the visa lady are exposed to Saran. They all are going to make it though and the woman admits the North Koreans made her a better offer. But there’s a local target and the team manages to thwart the attack (it involves Jane shooting out a window a story above and jumping down to the floor below). Pretty cool.

But things aren’t all dandy with the rest of the team. It turns out that it is Taylor’s birthday and Weller got her a pendant her mother got when she was born (which he purchased after her mother died). We also see that Reade is still not dealing well with the break up with Sarah (and she’s leaving town). So Weller is kind of pissed about that. But he’s got his own relationship drama to deal with. He’s still keeping it casual with his ex and she begs him not to ruin the good thing they have going. And whatever Tasha is dealing with, well she isn’t dealing with it very well because we see her head into a high stakes poker game.

As if that wasn’t confusing enough, Jane has been having memories about Weller and the memorial for Taylor Shaw. She and Oscar apparently went the last time (before Jane wiped her memory) and they can see how devoted Weller still is to Taylor’s memory and what he thinks happened to her. Oscar asks if she still wants to go forward. This is why I don’t think a Jane and Weller relationship can work. He’s tied to her based on what he thinks he knows about her past. Not a good way to build a relationship. Plus Oscar tells her in the present to get closer to him so that she’s the only one he fully trusts. Something tells me that’s going to be difficult for Jane to do, especially when she accuses Oscar of not sacrificing anything and he comes back at her with how it tears him up inside that every time they meet, he can’t touch her or tell her that he loves her. So naturally he kisses her which leads to ho, passionate clothes ripping. Yeah, buddy, I don’t think that’s going to make her want to get closer to Weller like you asked.

And let us end our recap back with Patterson. She goes to the restaurant and orders a drink like the doctor suggested and then she pulls out David’s final crossword puzzle. She sees flashes of him at the table with her as she works her way through it, a smile on her face. And then she realizes that the clues in one section spell out “got one Patterson”. It appears David may have deciphered another tattoo before he died. So of course she is going to have to go chasing after it, not only to honor his memory but to sate her own curiosity with the whole puzzle of it all. From the promos it looks like things will be getting rather complicated for her. I hope she makes it out okay. The show wouldn’t be the same without her. And honestly, I hope Jane doesn’t get closer to Weller because she deserves to see what she and Oscar had, even if she doesn’t identify as Taylor Shaw anymore. Weller has too many demons to have a meaningful relationship with Jane at this point. He should stick to his casual hook up with his ex for now.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Once Upon a Time 5.16: “Our Decay”

“Only the kiss of True Love can restart my heart and allow me to return, a fully formed man free of this curse. But well, True Love. No one is more hated than the Lord of the Underworld.”
- Hades

When they first announced we’d be going back to Oz, I was a little skeptical. But I have to say I really enjoyed the backstory and character growth it gave us. It filled in some of the blanks on certain character motivations which was much needed. In Oz, Zelena is trying to gather the ingredients she needs to make her time travel spell and she’s starting with the Scarecrow’s brain. But before she can harvest it, a grown up, sword-wielding Dorothy shows up and whisks the little sucker away. Enter Hades. He drops some exposition on Zelena about how he can help her get what she wants by finding the scarecrow. He also knows about her family angst and shares that he, too, has some family drama that a time travel spell would alleviate. He wants to go back and stick it to big brother Zeus. He also admits that he’d be fine having True Love’s kiss and having his heart start again. Ultimately, as he and Zelena track Dorothy, they start to get close. Hades is clearly falling a lot harder and faster than Zelena and she kind of freaks out when he proposes that they be together. She doesn’t trust his motives and I can’t say I blame her. Although, the look on his face when he insists he just wants to love her seemed genuine. She orders him back to the Underworld, saying she never wants to see his face again.

In the present, Hades had Rumple working on a portal so that Hades can summon a living being to the Underworld. He wants it directed at Storybrooke and Zelena’s (still unnamed) baby girl. Unfortunately, Zelena has returned to Storybrooke and she and Belle are fighting over the baby when the portal sweeps them all up and spits them out on the beach. Zelena is injured and Belle takes off with the baby. She runs into Rumple at the library where he gets to drop his own series of truth bombs on her. First, she’s pregnant. Second, yes he’s the Dark One and three he finally admits that his craving power is never going to go away. Belle can’t have the man without the beast because they can’t exist without the other. She refuses to accept his explanation and says she’s not going to trust him. She just wants to get back home so he promises to do that in the hopes that she’ll want to be with him. I’m glad that Rumple finally admitted he had a problem. The fact that he doesn’t want to fix it is kind of an issue but I’m also happy Belle stood up to him and called his bullshit.

Mr. and Mrs. Gold aren’t the only ones having family drama this week. Snow and Charming are starting to realize they are getting too settled in the Underworld. They’re regular customers at the diner (to the point where the Blind Witch knows their orders before they even sit down). This prompts a discussion about missing baby Neal and wishing they could just let him hear their voices. This leads the Blind Witch to tell them about a phantom phone booth (not exactly a phantom toll booth but close) that might allow them to haunt the baby. But it’s unclear whether it will work. Still, they need to take the chance. Luckily, thanks to Henry embracing his Author skills (it apparently just sort of happens and he doesn’t remember it), they get the message to the baby and he hears. Hooray for giving the kid some powers!

Elsewhere, Robin, Regina and Zelena are on the hunt for the baby because Zelena fears Hades wants to use her to enact the curse. After she absconds with the baby and realizing she hurt the little one with her magic, Zelena breaks down sobbing at the farm house. She insists that Robin take the baby and keep her safe because Zelena can’t protect her in the Underworld. I was rather amazed at how emotional Zelena got but I guess she does have the capacity to love in some way. And when she runs into Hades in the street, she’s still strong enough not to give in to his charms. We learn the reason that the Underworld looks like Storybrooke: he wanted to give Zelena everything Regina had. Of course the Underworld is destructive so things are a little decayed but it kind of makes sense. He still loves her and all he wants is to be with her. Screw the time travel spell and sticking it to Zeus. He wants True Love. And he wasn’t trying to hurt the baby. He wanted to get her away from the heroes. Still, Zelena turns down his offer of help, insisting she will get the baby back on her own. But hey, at least Hades was able to give her a parting gift: her birth date tortured out of Cora.

Like I said, I really liked how we got some interesting information on characters this episode. And it honestly doesn’t surprise me that all of the villains on this show are motivated by family and their desire to be loved. I guess that’s really what separates the good from the bad. Even Regina pointed out she only became happy when her enemies became her family and shared their love. I don’t know that Zelena will ever make it into the fold but you never know. I hate to think what will happen if she and Hades do end up together. Then again, maybe they’d balance each other out. I still don’t know how they are going to get back to Storybrooke with the women marked to be stuck in Purgatory. But we still have six or seven more episodes left this season. I’m sure we’ll find out. Ad I have to say I’m a little curious about what will happen next season.

Blindspot 1.15: “Older Cutthroat Canyon”

“She’s not running, she’s protecting us.”
- Weller

Today is not a good day to be Jane Doe. For one thing, she’s still unhappy with Oscar for passing along the threat to Weller’s life if she doesn’t cooperate with the overall mission. So she begrudgingly meets him the next day and takes the GPS tracker he nee her to put in the team’s SUV. Elsewhere, someone is plotting a nasty surprise for our FBI team when we see a guy in a pig mask steal a painting. The painting theft catches our team’s eye because it was of one of Jane’ most prominent tattoos. The painting was done by some super reclusive artist called Zomo who started out as a graffiti artist before the media took a shine.

Just as the team starts their investigation, things go sideways. While Jane is planting the GPS tracker in the car (under the guise of forgetting her radio), Weller notices that a sculpture has been tampered with as well. And there’s a security camera that wasn’t there before. Justas Jane heads back inside, Weller realizes there’s a bomb and he takes the brunt of the blast. He’ll survive although his jugular vein was injured. Still, he thinks he needs to be involved in the case even though he should be resting. The rest of the team dos a little digging and tracks the loft that Zomo used as one of his paintings to a particular location. They head to check it out but just as Reade and Jane bust in, a sniper starts shooting. Jane would be dead if she weren’t wearing a vest. After quite the pursuit, Jane takes off because she’s remembered the shooter’s face and she wants answers.

While Weller and the rest of the team try to work on the bomb fragment angle, Jane is getting some information and teaming up with Oscar. She thinks that going off the grid for now will save the team some trouble and keep them out of danger. When she finally meets up with Oscar, he reveals that the man hunting Jane used to be on their team (one of the original founding members) but he went kind of nuts and had a split with the team. He blames Jane so now he’s trying to take her out. Oscar insists that the only way to end this is to kill the guy and they need weapons. So they head to a guy named Danny who is also on the team. But it seems their assassin is one step ahead of them because just as Jane and Oscar are about to gear up, the sniper starts shooting and this time Danny takes the fire. It is really just not a good day to be in Jane’s orbit.

Back at the FBI, Weller (against everyone’s suggestions) is working the case and we learn that the young woman we thought was the artist’s assistant is actually the artist. She was taking off because she was scared. Someone contacted the guy they found in the loft (who was her boyfriend) and threatened to expose Zomo if they didn’t show up and paint a particular piece (the tattoo on Jane’s body). Patterson does some more digging into the bomb fragments and finds they were cast off parts from old power plant material.

Weller charges ahead to the factory and he, Reade and Zapata end up on an old boat that the assassin is using as a hide out. Jane landed a shot when last they exchanged gun fire and the team interrupts his wound care. Still, he seems capable enough to lock the gang in the hold. Weller is doing way more physical exerting than his doctor recommended (aka none) to try and escape. But after Jane leaves Oscar in the dust (literally) to rescue the team, he doesn’t have to work quite as hard. She tries to free the team but it isn’t working and all she can do is lead the assassin away from the team. He wants to kill her (clearly) and for some reason he wants Oscar to watch. He mentions that Oscar killed someone named Marcos (lover maybe) and he wants payback. Oscar does show up and shoot the guy in the stomach. He tackles the bastard over the side of the boat before the rest of the team breaks free and can see him.

To cap Jane’s emotional day, she gets yelled at by both Weller and Mayfair about her actions. Of course, Weller admits he would do the same thing she did. And things are kind of interesting for Reade. At the top of the episode he was threatened to keep quiet and stop looking into Carter’s death. So he tells Mayfair he found nothing. And then, I guess in an attempt to keep people safe, he breaks up with Sarah. He claims he doesn’t love her (which I’m assuming really isn’t true). I suspect this is going to come back and bite him. And perhaps the most interesting ending of the night is that Jane goes to see if Oscar is all right and she almost runs into his arms when she sees him. Those feelings that she had for him are clearly still there somewhere. He says that the assassin is dead and they are back on track but we see him hijack a car. This isn’t going to be good for our team but I’m glad it wasn’t all wrapped up nice and neat. I’m kind of rooting for Oscar and Jane to mend fences and get back together. It’s not that I don’t like Jane and Weller but that kind of storytelling is old and overdone. You can have two opposite sex leads who aren’t in a relationship. I’d rather see Jane and Weller be friends than lovers. They kind of were thrown together by other forces, whereas Jane (as Taylor) was able to form a bond with Oscar of her own making. The only reason Jane and Weller are connected are because of her disappearance as a child and his curiosity about what happened.