Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 2.20: "Hi, My Name Is . . ."

“It’s not a big deal. Names are meaningless. Did I ever tell you the story of how I got my name?”

“Hello, My Name Is . . .” is another great example of a “Fresh off the Boat” story that most other shows on television right now couldn’t do. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” or “Dr. Ken,” perhaps, but that’s it. Neither of those shows could tackle this topic in quite the way “Fresh off the Boat” does, however. As per usual, this episode struck a great mix of comedy and treating the topic at hand and the characters with respect. The topic, as you might have guessed, is the importance of names. Many Chinese immigrants, including the Huangs, choose “American” names when they immigrate. This episode is a funny and thought provoking look at the connection between names and identity, particularly as it relates to immigrants and second generation Americans. We also get to learn the stories behind the names of all the Huangs, so there’s some nice character history wrapped in as well.

It’s breakfast time in the Huang household, and Eddie has decided it would be a good idea to make a Pop Tart and bagel sandwich, with Pop Tarts being the “bread” and a bagel being the “meat.” Unfortunately, Eddie’s experiment breaks the family toaster. You can get a free toaster for opening a bank account, so Jessica and Louis decide it is time to open an account for Evan. They can teach their youngest about money and replace the toaster for free all at the same time. Evan is super excited. He hasn’t bought candy in three years, so he has a substantial amount of money to deposit at the bank. The whole Huang family goes to the bank together to open Evan’s account. Evan says how excited he is to sign his name to his first official document because his name flows so well. Louis and Jessica have disappointing news, though. They really didn’t put that much thought into Evan’s name. They named him after one of the nurses at the hospital – Nurse Evans. This throws Evan into a serious identity crisis.

Jessica tries to tell Evan that names aren’t important, and to illustrate her point, she tells the story of changing her name when she arrived in the United States. At first, she was committed to keeping her Chinese name. She though people should make the effort to learn how to pronounce it (which is probably right). When she arrived at “Maryland College,” however (which looks suspiciously like my grad school alma mater, aka the Old Line State’s flagship research university), this becomes a problem. The other students in Jessica’s lecture are all played by Jessica’s current neighbors. I loved the little detail that Marvin is wearing a Maryland Lacrosse hoodie, because there isn’t much that’s more Maryland than lacrosse, except maybe crabs. Somebody involved in the production is a Marylander for sure! Anyway, Jessica’s business professor refuses to call on her, even though she is the only person to raise her hand in response to most of his questions. When prompted, the professor says he doesn’t call on Jessica because he can’t pronounce her name. He suggests Jessica “rebrand” herself. She’d still be the same person, just with a name that makes people more comfortable. She eventually takes the advice and chooses Jessica because of her love for the Allman Brothers.

Jessica’s story just makes Evan more confused. Now he has to decide if he should use Evan or his Chinese name when he signs the documents for the bank account. Jessica tries to strengthen her case that names aren’t important. Apparently Emery’s name was inspired by Jessica using an emery board, and Eddie was named after Edward from the Chronicles of Narnia. Eddie thinks that’s pretty awesome, actually. Louis tries to tell Evan that he chose his American name just because he liked Lou Ferrigno as the Incredible Hulk. Evan starts to buy the whole name is unimportant thing until Eddie calls Louis on lying. Louis actually hates the Incredible Hulk because he gets so angry all the time.

Effectively called out, Louis tells the real story behind his American name. There was a bigshot aquarium owner who was a frequent customer at the restaurant where Louis worked when he first moved to the United States. His name was Louis, and he had serious swagger. Louis decided, naturally, that he should imitate this guy. Louis and his friend Barry are having dinner at a low-rent seafood place when Louis feels sick to his stomach. It’s food poisoning, and there’s a whole lot of similarly situated people waiting in line for the rest room. Next to Louis in line is Jessica. He lets her go ahead of him, and when he tells her his name is Louis, he never wants to use another name again. The “real” Louis is at the restaurant too, and he’s pissed that Louis is trying to imitate him. They go into the alley to fight for who will get to use the name, and our Louis manages to win basically by projectile vomiting all over the original.

Eddie offers a third alternative. Instead of his American or Chinese names, Evan can use the name “the streets” gave him. We get a pretty hilarious sequence where Eddie imagines himself as a mogul named Topaz in the future. He talks with President Shaq and does a deal for fly military uniforms. He also gets Busta Rhymes to agree to do a concert on the Moon. The rest of the family, of course, thinks this whole thing is ridiculous. Evan goes to the restroom, where he runs into Grandma. She has the best advice of the bunch, of course. She says that your name doesn’t make you, you make your name. She also says that Evan will always be thoughtful and trustworthy. Evan returns to the desk and says he’s ready to sign the forms, but we don’t see what name he signs. And, of course, Eddie manages to break the new toaster almost as soon as they get it home.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Game of Thrones 6.01: "The Red Woman:"

“I saw him in the flames. Fighting at Winterfell.”

As is pretty typical of HBO shows, the season premiere of “Game of Thrones” kept to a relatively slow pace. We checked in on all the characters to see how they’re doing in the aftermath of last season’s finale. The characters are still all very disbursed, so there were a number of plots to catch up on. Overall, it was nice to return to Westeros, even if the many plots touched upon made it a little difficult to get truly settled. While “Game of Thrones” (and the books upon which it’s based) has had this problem since its second season, it is always a bit more pronounced in the season premiere than in the typical episode. A typical episode will touch on many, but often not all, of the current plot threads, so while it does feel like we’re quickly bouncing between a bunch of stories, it’s not quite as frenetic. The season, premiere, however, has to catch us up on almost everything, and there’s a lot of catching up to do!

The biggest (and that’s not really saying much, since there are a lot of plots going on) plot that is touched on in this episode is the aftermath of the big Alliser Thorne-led attack on Jon Snow. Jon appears to be truly dead, and Davros finds his body under a sign that says “traitor.” Davros gathers the few loyal Brothers to carry Jon’s body inside, and he sends Dolorous Edd off in search of Ghost, who has been howling ever since the attack. Melisandre is shocked to see that Jon is dead, because she had a very clear vision of him fighting in a battle at Winterfell. Ser Alliser takes command of the Night’s Watch and tries to defend his mutany during a big dinner scene, emphasizing how terrible and against everything they stand for Jon’s decision to let the Wildlings through the Wall was. Ser Alliser offers amnesty to Jon’s loyalists if they just leave with no trouble, but the group is undecided about what to do. Davros thinks they can win others who owe much to Jon to their cause, and Edd leaves to try and recruit them. Davros also thinks Melisandre can help, but the rest of the group is a bit more skeptical about that. At the end of the episode, we see Melisandre examining herself in a mirror after having removed her magic necklace, where she actually seems to be much, much older than she appears.

We next journey to Winterfell, where Ramsay is mourning the death of Myranda, his (rather deadly, until she herself got killed) mistress. He most definitely wants to avenge her death, but when the Maester asks if he would like to bury or cremate her, Ramsay says her body should be fed to the dogs. Ramsay Bolton never was one for sentiment, I suppose! Roose, Ramsay’s father, doesn’t let either the celebration of the victory against Stannis or the mourning for Myranda go on for long, though. He reminds Ramsay that in order to secure his status as heir to Winterfell, he needs to get Sansa back pronto. Without Sansa, the people of the North won’t accept Ramsay as Lord of Winterfell.

Speaking of Sansa, she and Theon survived their jump from the Winterfell wall. They’re fleeing through the woods, because Ramsay has sent a hunting party after them. Theon says they need to cross the water so the hounds will lose their scent, but Sansa is reluctant because it is extremely cold, and she’s worried she will freeze. Eventually, she goes in the water, and the pair try to hide under a bridge when they hear the hunting party coming. Theon tries to draw the hunting party away from Sansa, but it’s no use. The hounds find her anyway, and they’re both surrounded by Ramsay’s men. They are not captured, however, thanks to a last minute save by Brienne and Podrick. Between the two of them, they defeat Ramsay’s hunting party. After the battle, Brienne once again offers her services to Sansa, and this time Sansa accepts, going through the official ritual and everything. It makes sense that Sansa, although she needed a little help, would basically remember the procedure for taking a knight into service. She was always invested in the proper goings on of nobility, and all she has been through hasn’t completely erased that.

Next we head to King’s Landing, where a still defeated-looking Cersei greets Jaime as he returns on a ship from Dorne. Cersei is devastated when she realizes that Myrcella won’t be greeting her too. As they mourn the loss of their daughter, Jaime swears to Cersei that they will get back everything that has been taken from them. Also in King’s Landing, Margaery is still being held in a cell by the High Sparrow. Septa Unella keeps trying to get her to confess to various sins, but Margaery’s not having it. She really wants to see her brother, Loras. The High Sparrow sends Septa Unella away and tries to talk to Margaery about King Tommen. I feel like the High Sparrow and Septa were kind of playing good cop/bad cop here, but they still don’t get much out of Margaery.

In Dorne, Ellaria helps Prince Doran to his chair. They are pleasant enough to each other until news comes of Myrcella’s death. Tyene takes out the Captain of the Guard, and none of the other guards make a move to intervene as Ellaria kills Prince Doran, swearing that Dorne will never be ruled by “weak men” again. Whom one person calls weak, I call wise. Regardless, I will be sad to not see Alexander Siddig on my TV again until his next project. I’ve been a fan since his Star Trek: Deep Space Nine days, and his acting has only improved over the years. We next see Doran’s son Trystane, who is approached by two other Sand Snakes. They boldly state that they are there to kill him, and Trystane will be allowed to choose which of them he is going to fight. Trystane chooses one, but the other kills him with a spear to the head as he is preparing to fight.

We next head across the Narrow Sea, where Tyrion and Varys are doing what they used to do in King’s Landing, just now in Meereen. They are discussing the latest happenings in the city. Daenerys has declined in popularity, but there’s a Red Priest urging the freed slaves to keep fighting for her. Varys also has his little birdies trying to find out more about the Sons of the Harpy. It may all be for naught, though. The men look out at the harbor and see that the Meereenese fleet is ablaze. Jorah and Daario are off looking for Dany, and they make some progress when, in the middle of a field, they find hoof prints and Dany’s ring. Dany herself is brought before the Dothraki Khal Morgo. The Khal threatens to rape her until Dany reveals that she is the widow of Khal Drogo. Morgo says Dany must be taken to Vaes Dothrak, where she is to live with the rest of the widowed Khaleesi, the Dosh Khaleen. To Dany, this seems to be an even worse fate.

Finally, we visit Arya, who is still in Braavos and is blind following the events of last season’s finale. She is begging in an alleyway when she is approached by the Waif, who we met last season. The Waif hands Arya a quarterstaff, and she gets Arya to fight her. Arya doesn’t do all that well, since she can’t see, but the Waif says she will be back the next day to fight with Arya again. Will Arya start channeling Matt Murdock and kick some serious ass? Only time will tell, but I’m guessing that will be the case.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.17: "The Team"

“Oh no, Mr. Coulson, it is a God. It’s just not ours.”
-Gideon Malick

“The Team” was a major plot turning point for the third season of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” The Secret Warriors were called together, but we learned that having an Inhuman army might be dangerous for even more reasons than the obvious. It’s the first time we’ve seen our superpowered friends work together in a mission situation, and it was a lot of fun, even if things went south quickly afterwards. The full extent of Hive’s powers becomes more clear, and his need to keep Gideon around becomes less clear. FitzSimmons seem to be happy, which is a plus in my book. Sad FitzSimmons makes me sad, so it makes sense that happy FitzSimmons would make me happy. I just hope that they stay that way, because I’ve reached the end of tolerating road blocks for them. Overall, I’m really intrigued to see where the final stretch of episodes is going to go after this one. Can the S.H.I.E.L.D. team withstand another (under duress) betrayal?

This episode begins not long after the last one left off. Daisy and Lincoln are flyng their plane to pick up the other members of the Secret Warriors – Joey and Yoyo. Joey and Yoyo are both in the middle of their regular lives (Joey on a date and Yoyo about to step on a bus) when their smart watches activate and they realize they have a S.H.I.E.L.D. mission. Daisy and Lincoln don’t have much time to brief the rest of the team before they’re all parachuting into the underground Hydra base. Meanwhile, Malick and Hive meat up with Giyera at the compound, and the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team holes up in Zephyr One. They’re trying to defend themselves against Lucio and a bunch of his Hydra goons.

The Secret Warriors arrive on the Hydra base, and Yoyo and Joey immediately head for an elevator. When the elevator doors open again, they are met by a Hydra squad that they quickly dispatch (well, it’s mostly Yoyo who does the dispatching). Daisy reunites with the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team as Lincoln blasts his way through another group of Hydra goons. He also manages to find Malick in the midst of the chaos. On the Zephyr One, FitzSimmons have rigged up a device that disburses chorine gas to further incapacitate the Hydra goons. Guyera hits Joey, but Daisy manages to knock Giyera out. Joey recovers and stabs Lucio, but not before Lucio freezes Lincoln. Joey is also pretty traumatized by having to stab Lucio. Yoyo frees the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, a still injured May heads to the Zephyr’s cockpit, and they escape. After the Zephyr leaves, Hive reassures Giyera that all is not lost – they have “one on the inside” now.

The Secret Warriors congratulate themselves on a successful first mission and nurse their wounds while Coulson tries to talk to Malick. Coulson is hoping Malick can tell him more about Hive. Malick is through covering for Hive, and he tells Coulson that Hive killed his daughter. Malick warns Coulson that much worse is coming. He says that Coulson shouldn’t put his trust in the Inhumans, because the Inhumans can easily be turned by Hive. Those who come under his influence serve Hive faithfully. Malick also suspects that one of the Secret Warriors has been infected by Hive and really serves him. In response, Coulson tells Mack to quietly put the base on lockdown.

Lincoln, meanwhile, is examining the orb that he and Daisy took from James’ cabin in the last episode. Daisy confronts him about bringing the Terrigen crystal along on that mission without telling her, although she does admit that ultimately it was the right call. Mack tries to explain a bit more about S.H.I.E.L.D. to Yoyo, including a history lesson on the S.S.R. and showing off weapons they use that aren’t designed to kill. It’s pretty clear that there’s some attraction between Mack and Yoyo. Each has made a concerted effort to learn the other’s language, and they have improved significantly since their last meeting. FitzSimmons are busy examining Lucio’s body. They notice that the body is still warm and has some trace metabolic activity, so they place it in quarantine.

Coulson tells the rest of the team (other than the Inhumans) about his conversation with Malick. Fitz is a little skeptical that they should be listening to Malick at all, but he and Simmons are willing to try and come up with a test to see which, if any, Inhumans are infected by Hive. Daisy walks in on this discussion but doesn’t hear anything about Hive being able to infect Inhumans. Coulson tells her the lockdown is because Malick is aboard, and Daisy informs Coulson that it was Joey who killed Lucio. Yoyo is especially frustrated by the lockdown, being suspicious of authority as she is. Lincoln looks for Joey, but he can’t find him. He then decides to go administer some pain medication to May, who really doesn’t want any. Daisy confesses to May that she realizes she’s being asked to lie to her team about the lockdown, and she doesn’t like it. May assures her it’s for a good reason.

Coulson goes back to interrogating Malick, encouraging him to get revenge on Hive as he (Coulson) did on Ward for killing Rosalind. Meanwhile, Mack is watching all the Secret Warriors on CCTV, and he finds himself becoming rather suspicious of all of them. He worries that he’s seeing things that aren’t there. As FitzSimmons are conducting an autopsy of Lucio, they discover his brain has turned black. When Coulson is informed about the infection, he suggests freezing all the Inhumans temporarily, but before that can be done, the lights go out. In the resulting chaos, FitzSimons find a grenade that earlier went missing. It explodes next to Malick’s corpse, so he will clearly not be doing any talking.

Coulson and some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents manage to surround all the Secret Warriors but Joey. The tension rises just as Joey reappears, and the group locks themselves in a room so S.H.I.E.L.D. can’t get to them. They all start suspecting each other, but they eventually agree to make their way to an elevator. As Daisy leads the Secret Warriors to a containment unit where Coulson happens to be waiting, Coulson comes to suspect Lincoln has been turned because the orb is among his belongings. A fight breaks out at the containment unit, and Daisy uses her powers to knock Lincoln out. The Secret Warriors are all going to be kept in containment until FitzSimmons can run some tests. Coulson wants to disband the program altogether, but Daisy promises they will be stronger next time.

FitzSimmons, in a room by themselves, express their frustration that they can’t be of more help to their Inhuman friends. Eventually, they kiss. Fitz apologizes, but Simmons says she doesn’t want to waste any more time, and they kiss again. Like I said earlier in this post, happy FitzSimmons makes me happy. In other relationship news, Daisy breaks out of containment and goes to see Lincoln. She tells Lincoln that she wants to break him out of containment so they can run away from S.H.I.E.L.D. together. Lincoln thinks that’s a bad idea, and he realizes Daisy isn’t acting like herself. In a flashback, we see that Hive has indeed infected Daisy. Daisy says she’s happy and that Hive has filled her emptiness. She’s also responsible for killing Malick. Lincoln says he wants nothing to do with Daisy’s plans, so Daisy leaves the containment unit, grabs the orb and some Terrigen crystals, and causes a massive earthquake at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ before leaving.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Blindspot 1.23: “Why Await Life’s End”

“Let me make this right. I’ve already hurt too many people.”
- Jane

Well, we’ve reached the finale and what a way to come into it. Jane may not be Taylor and Mayfair is dead! It can only get crazier from here. It seems our characters are on their own little journeys searching for answers. Weller needs to find out if his father actually killed Taylor and Jane is on the hunt for Oscar. Meanwhile, the rest of the team is trying to track down an MIA Mayfair without drawing the US Marshals’ attention too noticeably. Pretty quickly, Weller realizes that his father was just really drugged out of his mind as he was dying. But he did drag his sister back to their childhood home to dig up the ground under their old fort. He seems both relieved and still kind of confused by the whole situation. There are unanswered questions about how Jane really is, what with the isotope test saying she was born and raised in Africa but the DNA matching Taylor Shaw from when she went missing. I do hope we get the answers to this question by the episode’s end. Also Weller leaves Jane a rather hysterical voicemail.

Jane’s search for Oscar leads her to his apartment (where we get a flashback to him telling her he doesn’t want her to go undercover and wipe her memory) and finds a photo of them under his mattress. I did like the juxtaposition of Jane searching Oscar’s place while Weller searched hers. She then pays our hacker kid a visit to trace the number for the go-between. Jane keeps him on the line long enough to get a location but when she shows up to try and get a location on Oscar, things go sideways. She may be lying about the one former member being alive and after Oscar (although we the viewers know he’s alive) but it motivates the guy to give her an address to an apartment. She also overheard him making a confirmation call about fifty pounds of lye (needed to dissolve a body I’m guessing). She ends up finding out where the pickup is happening and tails Oscar. I’m torn about whether she’s going to just pummel the crap out of him or just be happy to be back with him.

Speaking of bodies, Reade, Zapata and Patterson (who is not happy to have been kept in the dark. I think she is still a little leery over David) check out the address that Mayfair was checking out and find lots of blood that was cleaned up with bleach. Patterson covertly tests the blood and of course determines that it belongs to their former boss. Clearly there is no way that Mayfair can still be alive! Well, they actually debate that for a hot minute before they decide to commit some further criminal acts by breaking into Mayfair’s house to find out what she might be hiding there. After some fun guesswork, they get into her safe and find a flash drive that they take back to Patterson’s lab. It’s encrypted and after puzzling out the solution, they manage to get into the data, which has files on Orion and Daylight.

While the rest of the team tries to grapple with whatever they’ve just stumbled upon, Weller and Jane’s worlds are flying off the rails. Jane thinks she gets the drop on Oscar but he knocks her out and when she wakes up, she’s tied to a chair and he’s going on about how he needs to wipe her memory again. We get some exposition as Jane tries to stall him. They switched out her DNA for Taylor’s in advance of the memory wipe so that they could get Weller into Mayfair’s position as part of Phase 1 of Orion. So clearly, she was never Taylor Shaw. The whole operation is also run by a guy named Shepard who Oscar seems afraid of. Oh, and Oscar also killed Marcos (the bearded guy from the start of the season). And not surprisingly, the pair get into a fight and ultimately Jane impales Oscar. Man, I didn’t want him to die! I thought maybe they could work through their issues. Besides, where is Jane going to get her information from now?

It turns out she may not be a part of Orion for much longer. Weller, after going to find more beer in the garage, remembers camping with his family and he takes off to the camp ground to start digging there. It starts raining but he keeps digging anyway and ultimately finds Taylor’s body. So his father was telling the truth. We still don’t know why he killed her or what really happened but I suppose that is one mystery we won’t solve. But it spurs him to go wait for Jane. He confronts her with the evidence he’s found and he refuses to listen when she tries to explain what’s happened. Instead, he arrests her. I’m not sure what charges he’s bringing against her (he doesn’t say). And that’s where it cuts to black. Everyone is kind of left in the lurch about where they go from here. I must admit I am a little disappointed that they killed Oscar and I’m not sure how the tattoos are going to figure in next season since the Jane Doe project is shut down. And now that Weller knows she’s not Taylor, they won’t be letting her near the cases if they do pick them back up.

I’ve enjoyed the season as it unfolded and think whatever the writers decide to do next season will be interesting. The tattoos were definitely a big draw for the first season and provided a fun way to link cases together and explore things. I am interested to find out more about Phase 2 of Orion (burning the country to the ground) and how everyone will factor into that now that the team is so fractured.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Upfronts Round-Up 2016

It’s that time of year again when the networks unveil their new schedules for fall and midseason, along with the new shows that have been ordered to series. In trying to decide what we wanted to point out as our top picks this year, we noticed a few trends that we wanted to touch on briefly.

The first of these trends is time travel shows. If you paid attention last year, you’d notice that a horde of comic book shows flooded the scene (and a decent chunk of them made it to season 2). This year, the focus seems to have shifted to time travel. In addition to the three newbies, we have fare like “Sleepy Hollow” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” also on air. Another trend (which we don’t like nearly as much, to put it kindly) is billionaire “heroes” taking on things billionaires have no business taking on. The first example is “Pure Genius” from CBS, where a tech billionaire who tested positive for a horrible neurological degenerative disease has his own hospital where he uses the latest tech to cure people of various ailments. Even worse is “APB” from FOX, where a billionaire buys a freaking police precinct. Of all the things government should be doing directly because it is accountable to the public through elections, it’s policing. That’s some post-apocalyptic level horror, for sure, not a benevolent billionaire saving humanity. There are also a bunch of reboots of old properties, from “Lethal Weapon” and “Frequency” to “MacGyver” and “The Exorcist.” Have people really been clamoring to see a “Frequency” TV series? Does anyone even remember “Frequency” the movie?

And now onto the shows we are actually excited to check out!

The Good Place
Thursdays at 8:30 on NBC

“The Good Place” stars Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars!) and Ted Danson and comes from the mind of “Parks and Recreation” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” creator Michael Schur. With that kind of pedigree, it’s going to be difficult to mess this one up. Bell plays a woman named Eleanor who wakes up in the afterlife after being killed by a truck advertising erectile dysfunction medication (the 2016 version of being killed by a space toilet, I believe). She is told that she has entered the “good place” due to work she did as a lawyer saving innocent people from death row. There’s just one tiny problem: it’s another Eleanor who did that. Now Eleanor is going to have to learn to get along in an afterlife where nobody curses, and everyone is nice to each other.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Parks and Recreation” have been critical darlings for quite some time. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” especially does a fantastic job depicting a workplace found family where everybody loves what they do and enjoys spending time with each other. We can hope that “The Good Place,” as another show created by Schur, would be of equally high quality. Plus, we’re big fans of “Veronica Mars” here at MTVP, so we can’t pass up another opportunity to see Kristen Bell on television.

Time after Time
Midseason on ABC

“Time after Time” is one of three new time travel shows being offered by the broadcast networks this upcoming season. It follow H.G. Wells as he races after Jack the Ripper into the future (our present) from 1895. In a foreign city out of time, H.G. must try to stop Jack from picking up where he left off. Along the way, H.G. may find some help from some unexpected places, like his great granddaughter..

After dutifully watching each of the trailers for the three time travel shows, “Time after Time” stuck out as the most intriguing due to the somewhat similar feel to the first season of Sleepy Hollow. It wasn’t that same supernatural bent that lent itself so well to our man Ichabod, but there is a similar sense of wonder at the world as H.G. experiences New York in the future for the first time. The literary sci-fi leaning also made this show one to check out because there aren’t that many literary characters taking a leap into the futuristic unknow. H.G. Wells did write “The Time Machine” after all. There is a strong possibility that the oversaturation of the supernatural procedural may harm “Time after Time”’s chances at succeeding, but it is still worth checking out for a few episodes come midseason.

This is Us
Tuesdays at 9:00 on NBC

“This is Us” is not like any show we’ve seen since the likes of “Parenthood” was on the air. It follows a group of people who all have the same birthday. There is a married couple having triplets, an overweight woman trying to find her motivation to lose the weight, an unhappy actor, and a man who finally tracked down the father that abandoned him. How their lives and journeys intersect is yet to be determined, but if the trailer is any indication, it will be an emotional ride.

While “This is Us” doesn’t have the same pedigree as some of the other shows we’re highlighting, it does have Milo Ventimiglia tackling a different kind of role from Peter Petrelli on “Heroes”. The fact that this is the most-watched trailer of all the new shows makes it a good bet at least the pilot will get a good sampling. The current TV landscape seems to be missing those emotional, real dramas like “Parenthood” that just tell an interesting story about real people. We here at More TV, Please, are all about genre but we can appreciate stepping away from the genre-heavy fare for a good simple, drama. The only hurdle it has to overcome is competing with the female-skewing fare in the timeslot (including “Scream Queens” and CW newbie “No Tomorrow,” see below). But if the trailer and its popularity are any indication, this show may have just what it takes to make it to a second season.

No Tomorrow
Tuesdays at 9:00 on the CW

“No Tomorrow” is another quirky comedy that will fit perfectly aside “Jane the Virgin” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” in the CW lineup. It tells the story of Evie, an extremely risk-averse quality control manager at a shipping company warehouse, who meets the very free-spirited Xavier. Xavier, played by the always charming Joshua Sasse (RIP “Galavant!”), believes that the world is going to end in eight months when an asteroid hits, and he is trying to live his life to the fullest until then. He tries to convince Evie to do the same, taking her out for Karaoke and writing a resignation e-mail to her boss. Together, they decide to start checking items of their bucket lists.

We’re kind of wondering where this show will go when it’s been eight months and the apocalypse hasn’t happened, but it is another show that comes with a good pedigree. It’s from the same creative team as “Jane the Virgin,” and it’s based on the Brazilian property “Grupo Globo.” This particular team has been successful in adapting one telenovela for American audiences, so we hope they can do it again. The quirky tone is very much line with what the CW has been trying to do with its other hour-long comedies. Plus, we get to see more Joshua Sasse on our television screens! Presumably he won’t be doing as much singing as he did on “Galavant,” but we’ll take what we can get.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.16: "Paradise Lost"

“He was selfish. He gets it from our father. They were both too afraid to make a true sacrifice.”

There were some interesting advances in the mythology in this episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” We learned a lot about Gideon’s past, and how there is a tension behind the traditional beliefs of those who sought to bring Hive back from Maveth and what Hydra became, even though Gideon straddled both worlds. The rest of the inner circle is informed that Hive exists, and we get to see his true nature. Daisy and Lincoln also pay a visit to a very odd Australian man who is a potential Inhuman who was never turned. The episode had a moving the pieces in place for the endgame feel to it, but there were still some interesting moments. I think the exposition about Gideon’s past was necessary to earn a big moment that happened near the end of the episode. Which I’ll talk about more later, of course!

We begin the episode with a flashback to 1970. Gideon’s father has just died, and he and his brother, Nathaniel, are summoned to see Whitehall. Gideon balks at this, saying his family has never agreed with Whitehall’s Hydra. Nathaniel, however, points to the car waiting for them and says they don’t really have a choice. In the present day, Gideon arrives back at the family home, where he is greeted by his daughter, Stephanie. She lets Gideon know that Hive is already there. Inside the house, Hive appears and says he has called the whole inner circle to the Malick estate to show them is true nature. Gideon seems very uneasy about how Hive seems to have taken over his own home.

At S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, everyone is still reeling from the big reveal that Ward is back, now in Hive form. May and Coulson have a chat about how Coulson is feeling about the situation. Coulson seems genuinely unnerved that he enjoyed killing Ward (not typical for Coulson) and now Ward is back. Daisy and FitzSimmons are studying some of Hive’s victims in their lab when they are summoned to a meeting with Coulson. They think Ward’s body is possessed by the evil creature from Maveth, and they’d be right. Coulson tells the team that he wants to figure out what Gideon wanted with Transia, in the hopes that it will lead them to Hive. The best hope is an agrochemical subsidiary of Transia that a paramilitary group has just taken over. All of the team but Daisy and Lincoln are going to go check out the agrochemical company. Daisy and Lincoln are going to the Badlands to pay a visit to an Inhuman from Afterlife who might have information about Hive.

At the Malick estate, Gideon tells Stephanie that when Charles, the Inhuman from the last episode, touched him, he had a vision of his own death. Stephanie says he should ask Hive for help, but there’s just one small problem. Hive is the one responsible for Gideon’s death, and he knows it. In our next flashback to 1970, the Malick brothers speak with Whitehall. Whitehall wants the boys to choose Hydra over their father’s beliefs, because it comes down to that age-old conflict of science versus religion. Whitehall implies that the elder Malick didn’t really believe in the religion anyway, and he used sleight of hand to avoid being chosen to travel to Maveth. Whitehall encourages the boys to go find their father’s copy of “Paradise Lost.” Back in the present day, Gideon tells Stephanie that he thinks Hive is going to kill him when the inner circle gathers that night. Stephanie tries to reassure Gideon, telling him he needs to remind Hive how important he is.

On their way to the Badlands, Daisy is distracted by the memory of the future vision she received in the last episode, but Lincoln snaps her out of it. We learn a little backstory about who they are on their way to visit. He once showed up at afterlife, raided the archives, and muttered about an ancient Inhuman with resurrection powers. Understandably, he was banished. Lincoln thought the potential Inhuman in question was crazy until Hive actually showed up. James, the potential Inhuman, is quite a character. Daisy and Lincoln try to not use their powers, since James is still bitter about not having his own. He has rigged his property with land mines, however, and when Daisy steps on one, it’s emergency time. Daisy uses her powers to both get away to safety and explode all the landmines. James tries to retaliate, but Lincoln zaps him.

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, the team makes progress learning more about Hive. FitzSimmons examine microscopic organisms found on Hive’s victims, and they tell Coulson that they think these organisms are what Hive uses to kill people and reanimate their corpses. Mack interrupts with intel that Giyera is at the agrochemical company. Coulson briefs the team before they head out to try and capture Giyera. Giyera can only control non-biological items in his line of site, so Fitz installs handprint locks on all their weapons. By the time the team arrives at GT Agrochemical, however, the place has been cleared out and they can’t find any information on what the company was up to. All that remains are some very large insects.

At the Malick estate, Hive and Gideon have another conversation. Hive mentions how impressed he is with Stephanie, and Gideon asks if he (Hive) retains the memories of previous hosts. Hive doesn’t answer straight-up, just saying that all will be made clear later that night. In a flashback, we see that Gideon and Nathaniel have discovered the significance of their father’s copy of “Paradise Lost.” Inside the book is a notched white stone that their father used to avoid drawing the black stone and traveling to Maveth. Nathaniel is disgusted, but while Gideon is somewhat disappointed, he convinces Nathaniel to keep the faith and agree to do the choosing ceremony together the way it was supposed to be done. In the present day, Gideon greets the rest of the Inner Circle as they arrive. Hive appears, and they are doubtful that he is who he says he is. Until he reveals his true form, that is.

When James comes to from Lincoln’s attack, he expresses surprise that Lincoln was allowed to undergo Terrigenesis. Lincoln and Daisy tell James that Jaiying is dead and they are representing S.H.I.E.L.D. now. They offer James a terrigen crystal in exchange for information on Hive. James shows them an orb he stole from Afterlife. He has been told it was taken from an ancient Inhuman, Alveus, who was bread to be the leader of the Inhuman army and led the revolt against the Kree. The Kree allied themselves with humans to banish him. Lincoln and Daisy take the orb and leave without turning over the crystal, and James yells about Lincoln killing a previous girlfriend. Daisy and Lincoln naturally have to talk this out later, and we learn that Lincoln was a rather violent alcoholic pre-Terrigenesis. He thinks Afterlife saved him. Daisy also finally tells him about her vision of the future.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. team is packing up what’s left at GT when Giyera arrives. Coulson lures Giyera into a room where a pretty awesome fight with May (which May wins, naturally) ensues. Fitz figures out that Giyera sent all of GT’s data to an abandoned oil field on the Dutch/German boarder as Giyera is placed in a containment unit. Meanwhile, Simmons tells Coulson that GT was studying invasive, swarm organisms so they could develop plants to resist them. She thinks that Hive doesn’t just control the organisms seen on the corpses. The organisms are part of him. Giyera, for his part, isn’t saying anything, even as Mack tries to interrogate him.

At the Malick estate, Stephanie pours some drinks and she and Gideon toast. She shows Gideon that Hive gave her a copy of “Paradise Lost” as a gift. Later, Gideon looks at his father’s copy of “Paradise Lost” as Hive approaches. Stephanie is there too. Hive produces a notched white stone that both Gideon and his father used to get out of traveling to Maveth. When Gideon told Nathaniel they would do the ceremony the right way, he palmed the notched stone and threw away a good stone. Nathaniel, of course, was chosen instead, and Hive has his memories. So he’s none too pleased on multiple fronts. He tells Stephanie that the situation needs to be made right, but he still needs a Malick by his side. It appears that he’s going to consume Gideon and pair up with Stephanie, but the opposite is actually the case. Now, according to Hive, Gideon understands sacrifice.

Unsurprisingly, Giyera breaks out of his containment unit, and chaos ensues. He almost hurts Fitz and is successful in killing a guard. Neither Coulson nor Mack can take Giyera down. He is just too powerful. He heads to the cockpit of Zephyr One and takes control, sending it into a nosedive before safely landing. Before Giyera and his Hydra minions are able to completely take over, May manages to send out a distress signal, which Daisy receives. Daisy panics, but Lincoln reminds her that she has the Secret Warriors for a reason. It’s time to call them in to save the day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Blindspot 1.22: “If Love a Rebel, Death Will Render”

“This little girl was left in a bag, totally helpless. No one knows where she came from or who left her there. Doesn’t that remind you someone?”
- Jane

In this penultimate episode, we have a lot going down. We see Jane angrily confronting Oscar about taking down Mayfair. She can’t believe they would actually want to do that and she doesn’t get why he lied to her. And then we get the added twist that Sophia has been in on it for a long time. She felt guilty about the whole Daylight situation and Jane talked her out of committing suicide and joining their team to fix things. Two weeks later, Mayfair is on house arrest and Weller is filling in as the head of the department. At least he will be until the Director hires a permanent replacement. Being charged with triple homicide doesn’t do very nice things for one’s employment prospects. Despite being told that the team is not to work on any Jane Doe related cases, the gang starts digging in when a newborn baby is found outside a government building with a tattoo on her arm matching one of Jane’s. When the team gets a DNA match to the son of a former Presidential hopeful, they head off to see him. He and his wife deny having a baby recently (but further testing reveals that the wife is the biological mother). The plot thickens.

Jane gets booted from the building and so she decides to keep investigating even though she’s told she’s not a member of the team (Weller does try to reassure her that it is temporary). I mean either she’s going to get booted permanently because they find out about her activities with Oscar or something. She heads to Child Protective Services to see about the baby and it’s a good thing she does because a woman gets into the building and shoots some medical staff and absconds with the baby. Jane almost catches her but she’s got some goons to take down first.

Because Mayfair can’t sit idly by while her innocence is ignored, she starts her own investigation into how the money she gave Sophia could have ended up with Alexandra. Oh and Reade and Tasha share their secrets with each other. She replays the situation over in her head a few times before realizing it was all a con. She uses some spare ankle monitor keys to get it off (and puts it on her dog…what, is she watching White Collar) before heading off to confront the man who she “rescued” Alexandra from. At least she called in when the monitor went off (when it was unhooked). I guess it’s a way to cover her tracks. The guy (under threat of a gun) admits that he drove Alexandra around sometimes and pretended to pick her up in bars. He also drove her to meet with Sophia a few times but he hasn’t seen Oscar (she actually has a clear surveillance photo of him driving Carter’s car).

The team quickly gets wind of Jane trying to take down the woman with the baby and realize there is definitely something amiss. The biological mother of the baby shows up (after Weller calls her) and explains that their son has a rare form of cancer and his chances aren’t good. A bone marrow transplant would be best but they need a genetic match. She admits that her father-in-law has a research facility working on producing genetically matched material like organs or bone marrow (or you know….babies) and after a little prompting she gives up the location of where they were supposed to take their son for an off-books treatment the next day.

Jane is a little bit ahead of the team and gets there first. She sneaks in and finds a nursey full of barcode babies. The former Presidential hopeful is telling his right-hand woman to take care of things when Jane bursts in. They get into a fight while the team engages some mercenaries outside. Ultimately our team wins the day and all the babies will hopefully be united with the families (even if most of them will be shocked to find out what was really going on). The Director of the FBI is still pissed at Weller but decides to promote him to the head of the unit with the caveat that Jane still needs to go. But hey it means they can make out now without getting in trouble!

Oh wouldn’t it be nice if they could just be together and have it all work out? Yeah, that’s not happening any time soon (and not just because despite everything he’s done I still like Oscar). See Mayfair has been trying to track Sophia through this fancy brand of French cigarettes she smokes. The shop owner where she used to buy them has a number that Mayfair convinces Read and Tasha to run. That night when Jane goes to tell Oscar that she’s done being his guinea pig, Mayfair shows up (having tracked where many of the calls on Sophia’s phone originated). Things get really awkward as Mayfair advances on Jane, demanding answers about why that Jane can’t give. Just when it looks like Mayfair is going to shoot Jane, Oscar shows up and shoots Mayfair. Jane doesn’t want to leave her former boss but she demands Oscar beat it. Things are going to be very complicated for Jane going forward and not just because of the dead body. Weller’s father also dies and in the throes of passing on, he rambles to Weller that “she” was under the fort and he admits to killing Taylor Shaw. Say what now? I guess that whole “Jane is Taylor” wasn’t true even though they did a DNA test and everything. Maybe whoever Jane is was thought to be Taylor and so the DNA they used was thought to be hers? But it also doesn’t explain the strange markers on her tooth. All I know is we better some definitive answers in the finale next week or it is going to be a long summer before the show returns.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Once Upon a Time 5.23: “An Untold Story”

“For a moment they believed. You did the impossible. You made the world believe.”
- Emma

So things are obviously going to get complicated for all of our characters before the end of this episode. Emma, Regina and the kids are hunting for Gold who has holed up in a super swanky hotel. He’s trying to create a portal to get to Belle when Regina and Emma try to trick him into believing she wants to help him and let out the Evil Queen. Well, I mean she does have Zelena’s fate to worry about. Oh, and Granny finally got around to texting them about the missing members of the family. Also rather obvious is Henry and Violet sneaking off to try and stop Gold from hurting the family that’s still in the city.

Speaking of the other relatives, Jekyll wakes up and steals the key off the orderly who appears to be passed out drunk. Jekyll frees our heroes but they have to go back to his lab to get the wand and he also needs to finish a potion that will defeat the warden. Or so we’re led to believe. Our heroes soon discover that Jekyll and Hyde are one in the same. But with a little assistance from our heroes, they manage to escape. We also learn that the realm is sort of a refuge for people who needed to escape their stories. They come from all realms and I managed to spot some musketeers among the crowd. They are going to need some serious help to get back to our land, though what with the orderly and Hyde hunting them.

They may soon get that help when Henry and Violet bust up the party and Henry destroys magic with the goblet. He is again really upset but this time because he may have stranded the rest of the family in some unknown realm in his anger to make his family stop fighting. He takes off and Emma finds him at a fountain that they used to frequent in that year when they didn’t have their memory. Regina and Gold head off to find the one person left in this world with magic: the dragon (aka the healer August went to in Phuket where he met Tamara). I wondered what had happened to him. He won’t help the Dark One but he’ll do his best to aid Regina. He sees the deep struggle going on in her soul. When his magic fails, he points out that Henry hasn’t done all he could possibly do.

This leads to him realizing they need to believe in magic again in this world and it will allow them to save their family. But his wish and those of the family aren’t enough. He has to climb on top of a lion outside the library and give this big speech to the people walking by that he needs their help and their wishes to save his family. He needs them to believe in magic again and for a moment it’s enough to create a portal. It appears just in time to save our stranded heroes and we get a rather emotional reunion with everyone. Of course, Rumple has to slip through the other direction to confront Hyde. He intends to just kill the man once he has Belle back but Hyde makes him an offer. He has information on how to break the sleeping curse. So it looks like they’re playing “let’s make a deal”. Thanks to a little help from Jekyll, Snow and Emma convince Regina to split the light and dark within herself so she can destroy the Evil Queen once and for all. Regina doesn’t back down even as the Evil Queen taunts her. She rips out the Queen’s heart and as she apologizes, she crushes it. Maybe that’s the last heart Regina will crush ever again. That’s kind of a big deal.

Back in town, we get some interesting tidbits. Emma gets to tell Hook she loves him when they aren’t in mortal peril. And Henry gets a proper first kiss from Violet who reveals her dad is the main character from a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Because of course he is. But it was kind of adorable and sweet anyway. And it looks like his moms are being supportive of Henry’s love life. Super adorable. And together, Regina and Henry restore the town’s magic. Just as Hyde shows up revealing that Rumple gave him the town. I suppose since Rumple created the curse in the first place, he kind of owned it, even if Regina (and later Snow) was mayor. This isn’t going to bode well but at least we should be staying in Storybrooke next season. Oh and he’s brought all the untold stories with him so they can play out here in our world. That won’t end well at all I’m guessing. Oh and we thought the Evil Queen was dead but she’s not. It couldn’t be that easy, not on this show. And her first stop is the Dragon. She rips out his heart, announcing that this is a war that she intends to win. I will be very interested to see how Regina handles having to fight the darkness within herself in a very literal sense. Sure she was able to crush her heart (was I the only one wondering what that would do to her own heart?) but that’s not having to battle it out magic to magic with the worst part of herself. I also want to know if Rumple will actually wake Belle and how that whole story turns out (I can’t imagine she’s going to want to raise this baby with him). I also hope we get to see some more storylines for Henry. Maybe a look at this romance of his and Violet’s. I mean he’s a teenage now so they can get away with giving him some more stuff to do. Overall, I thought season 5B was very strong and if this was how we had to go out, I’d be mostly okay with it but since we get another season, I say bring it on!

Once Upon a Time 5.22: “Only You”

“Regina if our magic works out here, Gold’s magic works out here. We’ve gotta find Henry before he does.”
- Emma

We pick up shortly after Hook comes back. Everyone is gathered at Granny’s (which has a fancy new sign…when did that happen?) for Robin’s wake. Regina is just sort of sitting there in a haze as everyone moves around her in a blur. Zelena and the Charmings try to provide some comfort but she just looks worn out. And Henry isn’t holding up so well, either. But hey, at least Violet is there to comfort him. And they are all going to need a bit of comfort when Gold uses the fragment of the Olympian crystal to tether all of Storybrooke’s magic to it so he can find a way to wake Belle.

Just as Emma goes to try and break the news about Hook being around, Rumple’s little spell kicks off, alerting our heroes to his plan. But when Emma tries to bench Regina out of fear that the Evil Queen will come out to play, Henry decides to take matters into his own hands. He breaks into Gold’s safe and steals the money out of grandpa’s wallet and then he and Violet hop a bus. It doesn’t take long for his moms and grandpa to realize he’s taken off with the crystal. Emma and Regina first track his phone to Boston but he duped them and thanks to a little blood magic (since the crystal is in the real world, it is bringing magic to it) they find out he’s in New York. They just have to hope they can beat Gold there. The Dark One is well on his way, though. In the city, Henry explains to Violet that Neal kept a journal and he was trying to find a way to destroy magic. Henry thinks this is the only way to keep his family safe. Too bad he doesn’t realize that destroying the magic tethered to the crystal will destroy Storybrooke.

Back in town, Zelena, the Charmings and Hook are getting everyone who wants to go back to the Enchanted Forest through a portal. There’s kind of a weirdly emotional and touching moment between Roland and Zelena. I guess he doesn’t remember that she killed his mother and tricked his father into sleeping with her. But whatever. Just as Zelena tries to close the portal, she and the rest of the gang get sucked through in a very Stargate looking funnel of magic. They end up in some strange land with a very skittish gardener and an orderly with some serious magic. He zaps the gang and my first reaction was “well that’s a wrinkle”. In short order they find themselves locked in a magic cage under the supervision of a nameless warden who has beef with Rumple. Because of course he does. The gang is trying to find a way out when the gardener comes back and offers to help them. He’ll get the magic they need to repair the wand Zelena used in exchange for passage back to Storybrooke. He claims he used to be a doctor until the warden made him a prisoner. I still can’t figure out what land this is or who these people are. I’m thinking since so far we haven’t seen the warden or the gardener in the same scene together that it might be a Jekyll and Hyde situation. Hopefully we’ll find out. It turns out that belief was right although we still don’t know where the land is. It seems Mr. Hyde is intent on going to Storybrooke now (or at least after the gardener fixes the wand). But he’s going to need some leverage which comes in the form of him nabbing Pandora’s Box from Gold (who naturally goes for the crystal when he senses a portal).

Back in New York, Regina and Emma make it to Neal’s loft but the kids are gone. This gives the ladies time for a rather emotional come to Jesus moment of sorts. Despite Emma trying to cheer Regina up and make her realize that she can be a hero, Regina admits that she has a daily struggle to do the right thing and that her first instinct is still to hurt people. She also points out that whenever she does good, she always suffers or loses people. Just look at her losing Robin after all. And the little love note she finds in one of his books doesn’t really help her emotional state. She thinks this is her curse for all the terrible things she’s done in her past. I’m glad they are automatically reverting her back to the Evil Queen and are acknowledging her past transgressions.

They are going to have to hurry though if they want to save Henry from his angry grandpa. The kids have made their way to the library and find a whole mess of other story books in a rare reading room. Just as Henry is about to give up, Violet spies a goblet that looks surprisingly like the Holy Grail. Henry does a little smash and grab but Gold finds them before they can leave. He knocks them out with magic and nabs the crystal back. It doesn’t appear he saw the goblet yet. Henry gets his time to be super angry with his moms about magic when they bust in and manage to wake the kids up. He explains that magic has taken so much from all of them and he couldn’t handle losing either of them. But with Gold gone, they’re going to have to find a way to finds him before things get too crazy. And here’s hoping at some point they realize the rest of the family is missing. Although I suppose there is the possibility they will all be reunited by season’s end if Hyde succeeds in dragging his world (or at least his giant blimp) back to Storybrooke.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

iZombie 2.19: “Salvation Army”

“A massive zombie outbreak means never having to say you’re sorry.”
- Liv

We’ve reached the season finale gang! The show’s been picked up for a third season so we will definitely have more brain-fueled cases ahead! Much like the season 1 finale left us with a lot of questions, the second season finale had a lot of paradigm shifts and it is glorious (and gruesome). When last we left the gang, Major had been released from prison because Clive dropped all charges (after Liv dropped the zombie truth bomb on him). So Major is staying with Liv and Peyton (and so is Ravi given that he’s Major’s roommate). They need a plan to get the rest of the zombies free from Vaughn’s lab (primarily Drake which obviously means nothing good is going to happen to Liv’s second zombie boyfriend).

Their plan ends up being infiltrating the Super Max launch party at Max Rager. It’s a lockdown theme (clever…not) and that gives our pair of zombies the chance to sneak in as guards and try to look for everyone. Clive has to stay on the outs seeing as it’s a private party and there’s nothing he can really do as a cop. But, when the time comes for Liv and Major to check in and they fail to do so, he heads over. And boy is it a good thing he does. See, some of the younger scientists decide it is a brilliant idea to take some Utopium and drink Super Max and turn into zombies. Oh boy. That’s not good. Especially when they start attacking everyone (including poor former Matchbox 20 lead singer Rob Thomas). Can I just take a moment to say how hilarious it is they actually got Rob Thomas to be involved with the show? I mean, I know the joke about him and our beloved creator but it just makes me happy to see the singer be such a good sport. Even if he ends up dead and having his brains eaten!

The whole outbreak doesn’t seem to faze Vaughn too badly. He’s just sold the company for an obscene sum to a private military contractor (a little more on her later) and he’s riding high. He thinks he’s got it all figured out when Liv and the gang eventually make their way to the basement. Clive had insisted that if it came down to it, he wanted to shoot himself in the head rather than be turned (so he turns down Liv’s offer to scratch him so the crazy hungry zombies won’t see him as food). Things don’t go well once they get to the basement. Drake has been experimented on and Liv is forced to shoot him (see I knew something bad would happen to the poor guy). I suppose now that Major is a zombie again that might give them a chance but there is the possibility he’ll die before they get a happy-ish ending.

Speaking of happy-ish endings. Things get super weird with Ravi, Peyton and Blaine. Apparently the guys who took over Blaine’s Utopium business haven’t been very careful and Mr. Boss (whose case being led by Peyton has now been dropped) found out. So he sends some guys to kill them. They get Chief with a shot to the head but the other guy may have survived. Either way, he lets them know about Blaine and Peyton sleeping together (guys it was one time!) and so they go out to find her to use her as bait. Ravi doesn’t like this at all because he and Peyton had been getting close again. And because it means that there’s competition for Peyton’s heart. It isn’t like Blaine is trying to horn in but he just kind of does. I like him this way though. He’s sweet but snarky and not trying to screw everyone over all the time. And he does manage to rescue Peyton so there’s that.

Back at the Super Max massacre, Vaughn finally gets what is coming to him after he realizes that Major is a zombie. Too bad for him. I have to admit I wish he’d gone away a lot sooner. He was just really annoying and over the top. But I’m sure that was the point. It also looks like Major won’t be keeping his promise to the zombie hooker, Natalie since she’s dead, too. I also have a feeling Major is going to have a lot of explaining to do to the rest of the Chaos Killer “victims”. But first, they need to get out of the building and that’s going to be tough with the military contractor boys showing up. When Liv heads downstairs to have a chat with the head of the company, she finds the woman is a zombie (I think she probably has been one for a while) and she shares some interesting information with Liv. Apparently Seattle is supposed to become the homeland for zombies and there are people out there who don’t want that (see: Vaughn this entire season) and she gives Liv a choice to side with the zombies or the humans. We’ll have to wait for next season to see what she chooses.

There was probably a lot more gore in this finale than the last (Rob does like to up himself) and I liked how it wrapped up some storylines but set up a lot of new things. Clive is in the know about zombies now so the whole team can work together on a more intimate level. There’s the possibility for some romance among the team (not Clive since his girlfriend dumped him when he tanked the Chaos Killer case for her). I’m looking forward to the third season and what it brings. I am happy that they are expanding the world and giving us more insight into the whole zombie epidemic. Because it couldn’t have just started in Seattle. I mean from last season we knew that Lowell was turned elsewhere (I believe). So it just makes you wonder what really started the outbreak.

Friday, May 13, 2016

iZombie 2.18: "Dead Beat"

“Clive, I’m a zombie, too. I got scratched at the Lake Washington boat party massacre. And I turned. Like Major.”

The penultimate episode certainly saw a number of plot threads that have been woven throughout the season finally come to a head. The Max Rager and Mr. Boss stuff is kind of on hold as we really focus on Major’s Chaos Killer exploits and the existence of zombies in general. Major is in and out of jail as his various transgressions come to light. As you can tell from the Quote of the Episode, Liv, fearing for Major, ends up confessing the existence of zombies (including her own zombie-ness) to Babineaux. This episode is basically a wild ride from start to finish. It's definitely never boring. It's clear that the creative team is taking us full steam ahead into the finale, and they're not pulling any punches!

Liv is going strong on Type A brain, about to completely reorganize Ravi and Major’s house, when there’s a knock on the door. It’s the FBI, accompanied by Babineaux. They say they have a search warrant, and Liv has to stand by and watch as they discover the various Chaos Killer paraphernalia stashed around the house. Ravi arrives home and is arrested because the sedative Major had been using on the zombies was found in his room, and it’s a controlled substance. Liv can only watch in horror. At the precinct, Ravi stands by Major and doesn’t admit to knowing anything about all the stuff the agents found. Bozzio and Babineaux try to interrogate Major, too, but before he can really say anything incriminating, Brant Stone (played by the always awesomely smarmy Ken Marino), Vaughn Du Clark’s lawyer, swoops in to tell Bozzio and Babineaux to take a hike. He tells Major that since no bodies have been found, he’s going to be okay. Later, Liv shows up at the jail to talk to Major. He assures her he didn’t kill Drake, and he tells her he is hungry.

Liv arrives at home and finds Ravi and Peyton waiting for her. Ravi explains that Major is indeed the Chaos Killer, but he was freezing his victims hoping for an eventual cure, not killing them. The group decides that the most important thing they can do right now is get Major some food. If he goes full-on zombie while in jail, the results could be catastrophic. Longer-term, if they can unthaw one of Major’s victims, that victim can reappear alive, and the case against Major could go away. Brant is also doing his job, continuing to stonewall Bozzio and Babineaux when they try interrogating Major again. Liv goes to Shady Plots to get some brains for Major, and the new and forgetful Blaine is only happy to oblige. Don-E and the other goon put a stop to it, though, with Don-E saying Liv can only have brains if she joins the $25,000 a month brain plan. Meanwhile, Ravi talks to Major in jail, and by pretending they are talking about video games, Major is able to tell Ravi where he stashed the frozen zombies. Liv and Ravi go to the storage unit, but all they find are empty coolers.

Ravi and Liv think that Max Rager goons must have taken all the frozen zombies to finish them off. At Max Rager, however, Vaughn is in the process of trying to sell the whole company to a defense contractor. The woman he is speaking to from the defense contractor says she wants to buy the whole company, but first Max Rager needs to be cleared from all association with the Chaos killer. Vaughn sends one of his goons to kill Major and other involved in the scheme. Meanwhile, Ravi goes back to the morgue to try and procure some brains for Liv and Major. He runs into some other ME’s, who quickly show him the door, but at least they give him a phone message first. That message turns out to be from Blaine, and he smuggles them some brains. Liv starts gobbling them up and has to be reminded to leave some for Major.

Babineaux and Bozzio interview some folks who have called the tip line about major. At first, they just talk to cranks, but there are two people who have promising information. The first is someone who called from prison, saying he sold the weapons Major used in the Meat Cute attack. Babineaux is all over this one, since he’s been trying to solve the Meat Cute attack all season. The second is a teenager who says she saw Major take away one of his victims from her bedroom window. Meanwhile, Major is about to be let out on bail. There’s a gang of press outside, and Liv is trying to lead Major to Ravi’s car, where Ravi is waiting with a tasty brain shake. Vaughn’s goon is following, trying to take his opportunity to kill Major. Before Major can get to the car, however, Babineaux and a bunch of other Seattle police arrive, and Babineaux arrests Major for the Meat Cute attack. So Major continues to be a very hungry zombie.

Babineaux interrogates Major again and lays out exactly how bad things are now. He’s got someone who will testify he sold Major the weapons. He’s got Major’s DNA at the Meat Cute. And he knows some of the kids Major worked with were in the freezer at Meat Cute with their brains missing. So he’s got motive. Later, Babineaux talks with Bozzio, who is a bit upset because the teenager’s story isn’t checking out. The pair take solace in the fact that Major will probably be convicted of something when this all shakes out. Babineaux pays Liv a visit to tell her just how bad the situation is and ask if she wants to reconsider being Major’s alibi for the Meat Cute attack. Liv isn’t ready to do that just yet. She goes to jail to talk to Major, where he asks her to bring him the cure. She’s not ready for him to forget everything, though. She wants to get him some brains.

Not giving up, Liv tries making brain energy bars, and she enlists Peyton’s help in getting one of them to Major. Peyton flirts with Brant and convinces him to take one of the bars to Major in exchange for a two drink minimum date. When Brant brings the energy bar to Major, however, it’s not the bar Liv made, but a replacement, since he ate the original one. Needless to say, that doesn’t help Major at all. When Liv gets word of this, she is distraught. She goes to Babineaux’s apartment and says she’s ready to come clean. She tells Babineaux that Major is the Chaos Killer and is responsible for the Meat Cute attack. She also tells him that Major is a zombie. Babineaux, understandably, doesn’t believe this right away, so Liv stabs herself and goes full-on zombie mode to provide proof that zombies exist.

Next thing we know, Liv is at the jail and Major is being released. Bozzio and Babineaux have a very painful confrontation. Bozzio wants to know why Babineaux told the judge about the issues she was having with the teen’s testimony, and how there were now also problems with the Meat Cute evidence. Babineaux doesn’t really have a good explanation, so Bozzio breaks it off with him and also says he has no future career with the FBI. Meanwhile, Liv is super happy to be back at work at the morgue. While she’s talking to Ravi on the phone (who is getting coffee and bagels before heading to the office), Vaughn’s goon arrives at the morgue and sedates Liv. Ravi arrives at the morgue just as the goon is trying to wheel Liv out. Ravi doesn’t realize what’s going on at first, but one he does, he knocks out the goon and gives Liv an epi-pen shot. The goon regains consciousness, though, and he and Ravi have a big fight. The fight ends when the goon accidentally injects himself with a lethal dose of the sedative.

When Liv comes to, she finds a very shaken Ravi who wants to turn himself in to the police. Liv convinces him that she should eat the goon’s brain, instead. So they prep the brain and Liv eats it along with her bagel. Later that night, Liv, Ravi, Peyton, and Major are hanging out, with the first three being entertained by Major on drummer brain. Major’s drumming, however, triggers a flash in Liv. She sees the goon in Max Rager’s basement, and she sees the now thawed zombies beating against the windows of their holding area. One of the zombies in the holding area is clearly Drake. When she comes to, Liv tells the rest of the gang that she thinks the rest of the zombies, including Drake, are very much still alive.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Blindspot 1.21: “Of Whose Uneasy Route”

“This drill is a smokescreen. We’re being hacked. Someone’s attacking the FBI.”
- Patterson

Well, I guess I can add another bottle episode to my list. Sure this episode had room we hadn’t seen before but it was all connected to the FBI set which we’ve been hanging out in all season. And as bottle episodes go, it was decent. Not nearly the level of say “Leverage” but hey, we can’t all be brilliant. The set up finds our characters paired off in various parts of the building after Mayfair gets to work (after Alexandra her sort-of girlfriend is taken away by the ME). The US Attorney who has been gunning for her is boxing up her office and interestingly, he gets out of the building before hell breaks loose. But when lockdown hits, Sarah and Reade are stuck in an elevator with a really annoying lawyer, Jane and Patterson are in the training room, Borden and Weller are in a session (chatting sports) and Mayfair and Zapata are stuck in a hallway.

Before long, Patterson figures out that the lockdown isn’t a drill like was announced and that they’ve been hacked. So she and Jane get to go climbing through ventilation and end up finding Borden and Weller. They need to get out of the room and to Patterson’s lab. She might be able to do some counter-hacking from there. And thus begins Weller’s ability to smash the shit out of stuff along the way. First up is a window into the lab. Patterson quickly figures out that whoever is hacking them is blocking all communications. So they need to cut off the internal comms anyway to try and boot them out of the system.

While Weller and Jane get to do most of the action stuff, we have some emotional stuff happening with Reade and Sarah and Mayfair and Zapata (but mostly the latter pair). Reade is trying to keep everyone in the elevator calm while also trying to apologize to Sarah. She’s not having any of it (later deciding to move to Portland to be near her ex so that Sawyer can get to know his dad). The more interesting heart-to-heart came with Mayfair and Zapata. AS they sit in the hallway waiting for something to happen, Mayfair admits that she made some bad choices in her early career (without saying what but the viewers knew what she was talking about). This prompts Tasha to admit what she’s been doing with the attorney and why he’s after her. At least they finally got things out in the open. I wish Weller and Jane could have had that kind of moment but alas, that wasn’t to be had this week.

Jane and Weller make it to the room that has all the wires that need to be cut to halt communications from outside. Weller gets to take an ax to the cables which he clearly enjoys but the when that doesn’t kill the download of sensitive information (undercover FBI agents) Patterson realizes that the hackers are in the building and probably locked in the server room. We see the hackers briefly. They’re speaking in Spanish and it looks like they are going to sell the information to the highest bidder, be it drug cartel or someone else. But they also know that the team is aware of their presence. They turn on the Carbon Dioxide system and Weller and Jane barely make it out of the wire room alive. But they do make it and after some more climbing and agility they get to the evidence room and load up on weapons and grab a blowtorch to cut through the metal barriers in the hallways. Time to take down some hackers.

Lucky for Weller and Jane, one of their hallway barriers leads them to Mayfair and Zapata. So the four of them (plus some random agent red shirt) head into the server room. A massive shootout ensued where one of the hackers gets taken out but the other escapes. And of course, agent red shirt dies (duh). But the hacker that got away is giving the team an ultimatum: deliver his partner or he drops all 30 elevators from the top floor (including of course Reade and Sarah). Because this has to add to the drama, Patterson is able to lock him out of all the elevators except the one they are in because it runs on a secure circuit or something. So Weller and Jane have to make a daring rescue. This of course leaves Reade hanging by a fire hose as the elevator shoots to the bottom floor far below him.

Of course this can’t be where the episode ends. No, the attorney has to come back and charge Mayfair with first degree murder. The team watches as he lays out his case: she killed a whole bunch of people to cover up her dirty dealings of the past. Of course, it’s all wrong. We do learn that Alexandra was actually a high level fixer that the Feds had been building a case against for a decade but Mayfair clearly didn’t know. I knew I didn’t trust her for a reason! But more importantly, as the attorney lays out evidence that makes it look like Mayfair is guilty, Jane realizes that the tasks Oscar was making her do were to frame Mayfair for murder. We don’t see the fall out of this realization yet but I have a feeling she is going to be more than a little pissed at her former fiancĂ© for putting her in this position. I highly doubt any amount of makeup sex will make up for what he’s done now. I just hope we get answers to why they are doing this before the end of the season (aka 2 episodes). I am also intrigued by small comment Patterson made to Jane at the start of the episode about getting her tattoos removed. I know the writers have said that the tattoos won’t play as big a part in season 2 but I really hope she doesn’t get rid of them. Or at least not all of them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 2.19: "Jessica Place"

“We shouldn’t be out here in the dark. Alligators roam at night.”

As “Fresh off the Boat” trades just as much in 90’s nostalgia as it does in trying to give a voice to the Asian-American experience, it was inevitable that we would eventually get a “Melrose Place” homage. I was 17 on New Year’s Eve 1999, so I was too young in the 90’s to have watched Melrose Place. I think that’s why this episode didn’t work as well for me as it otherwise might have. It was a funny episode for sure, and I definitely enjoyed it, I just think I would have liked it even more if I had been able to pick up on all the “Melrose Place” inside jokes that were undoubtedly sprinkled throughout. I think it’s interesting that Jessica is such a big “Melrose Place” fan, and I wish we would have seen a bit more about how that happened in the first place. We can draw the conclusion that the other HOA ladies introduced her to it, but it would have been fun to see it actually play out.

Anyway, the episode opens with Jessica and a bunch of neighborhood friends watching “Melrose Place.” By neighborhood friends, I mean some of the HOA ladies, and Honey and Marvin. Honey watches it even though she doesn’t like it, because she values spending time with Jessica. Marvin, surprisingly (or maybe not that surprisingly given his life history) is actually a “Melrose Place” fan. Also of note, we see from this scene that there’s something of a feud between Deirdre, the queen bee of the HOA ladies, and Honey. The feud has its roots in Deirdre’s belief that Honey ruined Marvin’s previous marriage to a good friend of hers. At the end of the “Melrose Place” episode, Jessica is very upset when there are no previews for the next week’s episode. Honey explains that the episode they just watched the season finale, and there won’t be new episodes until September. Jessica throws a tantrum, wondering why they can’t produce 52 episodes a year.

The next day, Honey and Jessica talk about Jessica’s post-season finale funk. Honey says Jessica needs to find a distraction, so Jessica decides that the family will be getting a pool. The kids are super excited about this until they see the actual pool. It’s an above-ground, and it’s not especially fancy. I had plenty of fun in our above-ground pool growing up, although my parents also had a nice, wood deck attached to it, so that helped offset the tackiness a bit. Evan is a bit of a buzzkill by bringing up the fact that the pool needs to be voted on and approved by the HOA. Jessica isn’t terribly concerned, though, since she has plenty of friends who are active in the HOA, including Deirdre. While awaiting the HOA vote, Louis, Emery, and Eddie try playing in the pool. Louis has Eddie and Emery start a breath-holding contest, but he gets distracted by the Structure vest a neighbor is wearing. When Eddie wins by cheating that went undetected by the distracted Louis, Emery throws a fit and storms out.

At the big HOA meeting, Deirdre, to Jessica’s surprise, convinces all the ladies to vote against the pool, due to the inherent tackiness of above-ground pools in general. Later, Honey convinces Jessica to go snooping around Deirdre’s house to see what secrets Deirdre has been keeping. They see something shocking, and Honey takes pictures of it. Meanwhile, Louis comes home from the mall (where he went to Structure to buy his own vest) with crappy mall Chinese food, and Eddie expresses some concern about Emery’s tantrum. Louis says Emery has always been that way. He’s chill for a while, then he explodes, then he’s back to chill again. Eddie tells Emery he should let his emotions out more often. Emery takes the advice with gusto, calling Eddie a cheater and insulting Louis’ new vest.

Honey and Jessica show the pictures they took at Deirdre’s house to Carol-Joan, another HOA lady who feels constantly overshadowed by Deirdre. She has been trying and failing for years to emulate Deirdre’s perfect, shiny hair. The pictures show that Deirdre actually wears a wig, so naturally Carol-Joan is pissed. She tells Honey and Jessica that Deirdre has even more secrets, and she’s done covering for her. Soon, an emergency meeting of the HOA is called. Carol-Joan announces that Deirdre has an illegal herb garden on her property, and she shows the HOA photographic evidence of the garden. Evan says that keeping an herb garden is grounds for expulsion from the HOA. In the ensuing chaos, Jessica gets the HOA to vote in favor of her pool and another neighbor’s cow mailbox. We would later learn that the cow mailbox was Evan’s motivation for getting involved in this whole drama.

After the HOA meeting, Honey and Evan have a secret nighttime conversation. We learn that they have been pulling the strings behind Operation: Get Deirdre Expelled this whole time. The next day, Jessica is about to go enjoy the pool when Deirdre shows up at her door with juicy information. In response to that information, Jessica holds a pool party, and she only invites Evan and Honey. At the party, Jessica reveals that older herb gardens were granfathered in, and Deirdre’s garden qualified. She is surprised Evan didn’t mention that at the HOA meeting. Honey says that she didn’t want to lose Jessica as a friend to the HOA snobs, so she took action against Deirdre. Jessica is just thrilled that she got to be in her own version of Melrose Place.

Eddie has a come to Jesus conversation with Emery about how his comments about the Structure vest hurt Louis. Emery apologizes, and Louis is very gracious about accepting the apology. He does want to know, however, how Emery has been controlling his tantrums. Emery introduces Louis to the box of “scream jars” under his bed. Whenever he starts to feel overwhelmed, Emery takes out one of the jars and screams in it. Louis is a little freaked out and says they need to find a method of controlling Emery’s tantrums that they can actually tell Jessica about. By the end of the episode, however, Louis is wanting to use a scream jar, too. Deirdre is accepted back into the HOA at the next meeting. She says that the Huang’s pool is probably a no-go, but the cow mail box is okay. Evan is happy, because that is what he really wanted all along.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Once Upon a Time 5.21: "Last Rites"

“Hades is in Storybrooke. So I was hoping…you could tell me how to kill him.”
- Emma

Our heroes may be back in Storybrooke but that doesn’t mean things are going to get back to normal. Hades and Zelena are there, too and he seems to have a plan to take over the town, if not the world. And for some reason, that starts with killing King Arthur. While I was happy to get a glimpse again of Merida (she’s so plucky and funny), I’m kind of over Arthur. He was such a pain in the ass. And now, thanks to Hades, we have to deal with him teaming up with Hook in the Underworld to find a way to stop Hades. Their first stop is Hades’ throne room where Arthur manages to find the missing pages that Liam ripped out. Thanks to some nagging of the Blind Witch and Cruella, the boys figure out where the storybook is so they have a way to get the information needed to Emma in the living world. And then, Hook gets to move on, leaving Arthur to fix the Underworld, the broken kingdom he was meant to fix. I’m not sure that counts as Albion but whatever.

Meanwhile, Regina is trying to talk sense into Zelena (who has stupidly left the baby with Hades) but the formerly Wicked Witch isn’t having any of it. She still maintains that she’s changed Hades with love. For his part, Hades is definitely playing that part well. He convinces her that they have to fight back, even if that means using some seriously dangerous magic (the Olympian crystal which I’m guessing is supposed to be Zeus’ lightning bolt of doom). Oh, and Emma is trying to run off all half-cocked to stop Hades but David suggests his daughter actually grieve for the people she’s lost. Well ok so mostly he’s talking about Hook but I’m not really convinced she ever properly grieved Neal.

Anyway, after Emma interrupts Rumple’s attempt to threaten his father-in-law into waking up Belle (Maurice is totally not down for helping), she gets dragged into doing some research on how to defeat Hades. Eventually, Hook’s message gets through to her and she knows exactly what needs to happen to defeat Hades. In the meantime, Regina and Robin have gone off using the secret tunnels under the town to try and rescue the still unnamed baby. Robin is kind of pissed that Regina was sticking up for Zelena but by the time they get to the secret entrance, he’s changed his tune. He just seems kind of angry and stuff right now, although he does get to have a make out session with his lady love before they slip inside.

While the heroes are doing their thing, Hades is continuing to woo Zelena into believing his pack of lies, all while he puts the pieces of the crystal back together. What she doesn’t know at the time is that said weapon is the only thing that can kill him. Rumple places a call our Lord of Death after Emma reveals that he made the trip, too, and offers protection but Hades refuses. Rumple promise he’ll regret it and boy does he. Emma shows up to try and talk some sense into Zelena while Regina and Robin make a break for the baby. But Hades busts in (he probably knew they were there the whole time) and threatens to kill Regina. Apparently if you’re hit with the magic of the crystal you don’t move on or get stuck in the Underworld, you just dissolve. Predictably, Robin jumps in front of the bolt to save Regina and dies (like we were all expecting he would, given the rumors that he was leaving the show). In the moment Regina is just kind of shell shocked by the whole thing. I suspect in next week’s season finale, she’s going to be reverting to some of her darker ways. Zelena busts in and Regina makes Zelena see sense finally (including Hades admitting he did things but only because he wanted to rule the town as a kingdom). Zelena exclaims that she just wanted to be happy as a family and live together in harmony. But that clearly isn’t enough for Hades and ultimately she stabs Hades in the chest. The baby wails as the sisters hold each other as their lovers lay dead and in dusty piles.

The next day (or later, the timing isn’t entirely clear), Emma says a tearful goodbye before we get an equally tearful funeral for Robin. It was about as long as Neal’s so yay for equality? Anyway, the baby isn’t nameless anymore, as Zelena names her after her fallen father. Also very predictable. And as Emma stands ready to say her goodbyes to Robin, Hook appears. Apparently Zeus rewarded him with another chance at life for helping defeat Hades. And as Captain Swan shippers the world over rejoice, Rumple pulls a shard of the crystal out of Hades’ ashes for some nefarious purpose.

I have to admit I’m getting tired of the writers ruining my ships. First they snuffed out Swan Fire and now they’ve destroyed Outlaw Queen after putting Robin and Regina through such turmoil. Why is that Emma and Hook are the only ones who get a happy ending. I’m excluding Snow and Charming because they are kind of like the default stable couple. I’m still obviously going to stick with the show next season because I want to see where they go with it but I am getting frustrated by the drama they keep throwing in the paths of these characters, primarily Regina. Is it really necessary to keep testing her and pushing her towards breaking and becoming the Evil Queen again? Hasn’t she had enough of that already? Let the woman have some happiness. Isn’t that this show is supposed to be about? Hope and happy endings? Come on fellas, stop breaking my heart!

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.15: "Spacetime"

“Lincoln and I will chase down any intel we can on the homeless man. Daisy, remember every detail you can about where this happens. And then we’ll send May. No one else goes. I won’t pick up a gun until this is finished. And FitzSimmons will stay out of the damn snow. Are we clear?”

Every great work of fiction that involves time travel or the ability to otherwise know the future, from “A Christmas Carol” to “Doctor Who” to “Lost” has to lay out the rules of the game. Once the future is known, can it be changed without apocalyptic consequences? Can it even be changed at all, regardless of greater consequences? Often the answer is somewhere in the middle. On “Doctor Who,” for instance, time can generally be changed (although there are creatures who might try to eat you if the paradoxes get too bad), but there are certain events so important that they become fixed points that can’t be changed. This particular episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” involved the team trying to prevent a vision Daisy had seen courtesy of another Inhuman from happening. As May observed, Daisy was so confident in her powers as an Inhuman that she truly believed she could change what she saw in the vision. As you might guess, however, things didn’t go as planned.

The episode opens in an alley, where a homeless man is carving a wooden bird. A man who owns a restaurant on the alley asks the man to leave. He is about to reopen his restaurant, and he doesn’t want the homeless man to scare off customers. Because the homeless man seems like a nice guy, though, the restaurant owner tries to give him some money. When their hands touch, the restaurant owner stands still, and both men see a vision. The restaurant owner then calls 9-1-1, saying he’s about to die and he needs to see Daisy Johnson. S.H.I.E.L.D. picks up on the 9-1-1 call, naturally. The man, Edwin, has no history with any intelligence agency, but since he used Daisy’s name, the team heads to New York to check it out. Edwin tells Daisy that he knew her name because he saw a moment (very close to the current moment) with her in it when he touched the homeless man, Charles. He says Hydra is going to show up soon, and indeed they do.

Daisy realizes Charles is an Inhuman, but she can’t prevent him from being captured by Hydra. Before he’s taken away, though, Daisy touches his hand, and she has a vision. She sees a woman crying, FitzSimmons holding hands in the snow, Coulson shooting, and Charles lying in a puddle of blood. When the bird Charles was carving falls at her feet, Daisy realizes she has seen a vision of the future. She tells the rest of the team what she saw, but Fitz is adamant that the future can’t be changed. Coulson thinks they should try anyway, and he suggests deliberate steps like only sending May to the site of the vision, since Daisy didn’t see her in the vision. This is also where we get the Quote of the Episode. Lincoln thinks that maybe the future can be changed. Inhumans are given their powers with a purpose, so maybe this is Daisy’s purpose. I’m with Fitz on this one. As they say on “Legends of Tomorrow,” time wants to happen.

Meanwhile, Ward/Hive and Gideon do some more conversing. Hive wants to know why Gideon brought him back to Earth, considering Gideon had a pretty good life and could have bought anything he wanted before getting involved with Hive. Gideon responds with a story about his family legacy, but Hive surmises that Gideon really wants true power. Charles is brought into the room as Hive reveals he has Coulson’s hand. They then head for the Transia Corporation, which made some important components of said hand. Gideon tells the Transia Board of Directors that he wants to buy the company, but the chair refuses. Some threatening ensues, and Hive ends up killing everyone but the board chair. Hydra takes over the entire Transia building, and Hive encourages Gideon to put on the exoskeleton Transia as been working on. It’s Gideon’s chance for true power. Naturally, Hive encourages Gideon to use his new power to kill the board chair. And kill him he does. With gusto.

Daisy thinks the events from her vision are going to happen soon and that Charles is probably being transported there. FitzSimmons offer to use server space not taken up by the search for Andrew to help with the search for the location of the vision. Charles’ wife, who appears in Daisy’s vision, then walks into S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. He walked out on her and their toddler daughter when he experienced terrigenesis, because following the transformation, every time he touched someone, he and the person he touched would see a vision of a death. Daisy produces the carved Robin. Charles’ wife says their daughter’s name is Robin, and she starts crying, just like in Daisy’s vision.

Daisy is sulking that she won’t get her chance to change time, but May gets her into gear by asking her to show her exactly how to defeat the scenario she saw in her vision. Enlisting the other team members, Daisy stages an elaborate mock scenario for May to run through, and Daisy times May on each attempt. Just as May has beaten the scenario in the time she needed to hit, and just as the team learns where Hydra has taken Charles, Andrew walks in. It has become more and more difficult to transition back to himself after being Lash, and Andrew fears he is about to become Lash permanently. He wants to say goodbye to May properly, and while she protests at first, May eventually decides to stay behind from the mission and let Daisy take over.

May sits with Andrew as he awaits his final transformation. He has an IV in his arm delivering the vaccine Simmons has been trying to develop from Creel’s blood. Andrew wants to make sure Lash is in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s control, because he worries they might need him. He is at peace with the idea that there is a little of Lash in him and a little of him in Lash, although the piece of him in Lash has been fading. Resigned to his fate, he takes out the IV. May leaves the containment unit where Andrew is being held and watches in horror (and some sadness, I’d imagine) as he changes for the final time into Lash.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. team taps into the CCTV in the Transia building, and when they see what looks like Ward, they know something is very wrong. As in something came back from Maveth that shouldn’t have come back. Daisy bursts into the room she saw in her vision and takes out a bunch of guards, but she wasn’t counting on the two-way mirror. Coulson shoots at the mirror, which is what Daisy had interpreted in her vision as Coulson shooting at her. Meanwhile Hive says that his team should only kill S.H.I.E.L.D. agents if they are fully human. Lincoln eventually passes out after fighting Giyera over a fire extinguisher. Daisy makes it to the roof, but then she gets in a big fight with an exoskeleton-clad Gideon. Gideon is about to deliver the fatal blow to Daisy when Charles touches him and they share a vision. Gideon grabs him by the throat until Daisy pushes him away. Charles isn’t going to survive, but before he dies, he shows Daisy the vision of the exploding space ship we saw earlier this season. A billboard burns above them, and the ash is what Daisy had interpreted as snow falling on FitzSimmons.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Blindspot 1.20: “Swift Hardhearted Stone”

“This isn’t about a news piece. This is about a child.”
- Jane

So I’m not sure how I really felt about this episode. It wasn’t bad (although the FBI did seem a tiny bit inept during the course of the episode) but it wasn’t the best episode of the season either. I did like that we got a little background on Oscar. According to him, his mother died when he was young and all he had of her were her jazz albums so he fell in love with music, which Jane then learned to love when they were together. Kind of sweet although she can’t fully trust what he’s saying is true. I really wish she would accept what he’s saying. I like her with Oscar a lot more than with Weller.

This episode we did also get a little bit more on Dr. Borden (like I learned his name…first name Robert). He apparently only does some consulting work with the FBI because when a young girl shows up at a local hospital with injuries and isn’t speaking, he gets called in to do a consult. He immediately brings the case to the team when one of the drawings the girl did matches a tattoo on Jane’s body. It is the symbol of a Middle Eastern terror organization. It seems like a few of the members may have come into the US on false papers and are planning a terrorist attack. Through some non-traditional therapy, Borden and Jane discover that the girl (Maya) is the daughter of the leader of the organization but she’s been shunned, along with her mother, due to the girl’s autism. I can see that happening.

Thanks to Maya’s drawing skills and photographic memory, they find her mother in an apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. She’s been tortured and the team fears that Maya might be next. After all, according to her grandmother (who is on her way from a refugee camp in Germany), Maya’s drawings can identify all the members of the organization. After all, the team was able to find a somewhat disgraced American journalist who ends up admitting to getting Maya and her mother into the country in exchange for an interview.

Borden suggests that since Maya might be a target, they take her to a safe house: namely the house he just inherited in the country. A State Department rep is not happy about this, wanting to set her up in a safe house of his own but Mayfair manages to overrule him. Of course, things get complicated when the gang realizes that the bad guys have found the house and Weller and Jane are a half hour away on a grocery run (the kid likes chocolate). So that leaves Borden and Patterson to protect Maya and the house. That’s going to be easier said than done, especially when Maya wanders outside. But thanks to some quick thinking on Patterson’s end, and Borden utilizing a nail gun as a weapon, they manage to beat the first wave of assailants. But they’ve got more guys to contend with just as Jane and Weller show up. Reade and Zapata aren’t far behind.

Maya gets to safety and Patterson blows the bad guys up thanks to the gas fireplace in the house and some rose doused in lighter fluid. Now Borden has to rebuild the whole thing from scratch but he seems up for the task (after all, he was regaling Patterson with tales of how he’d fix one thing and something else would break). She offers to help paint and I see a budding friendship turned romance beginning to find its legs. Thanks to Maya’s drawings, the team also stops the State Department rep from taking Maya. He apparently had been funneling funds to her family to try and get them to topple some other organization. So with Maya reunited with her grandmother, it looks like she’ll be okay.

The rest of the team isn’t going to be so lucky. Reade notices that Tasha has been looking into Carter’s files and he warns her to stay away. But when she presses him for answers as to why, eh shuts down. Clearly he wants to tell her about the treats but can’t. And she eventually shares her concerns about Mayfair but won’t tell him that it’s coming from the AG’s office. These people to all stop lying to each other! At least Weller and Jane have a little fun playing board games with Weller’s nephew before she goes off to meet Oscar for the night. I wanted to know what he did with Carter’s body! Oh and he gave Jane another little mission to copy some files the organization needs from the FBI database.

But things are turning out very poorly for Mayfair. After she burns all reminders of Sophia, she ends up accepting a date with the woman she rescued from the bar. Unfortunately, just as Mayfair goes to get some ice for their drinks, someone slips in a slits the poor woman’s throat. At least Mayfair was smart enough not to touch anything (like the murder weapon lying on the carpet next to the body) but she does answer the phone where the same ominous voice tells her to stop looking into Carter or else she’ll be next on the hit list. I worry that it’s Oscar making these calls and things are going to get very complicated and uncomfortable with him and Jane. But maybe next week we will finally get some answers about the organization behind Jane being placed at the FBI and what Orion really is. And maybe the rest of the team can stop keeping secrets from each other. I realize for that to be a true exchange of information Jane would need to come clean, too, but I can’t imagine that happening just yet. Maybe at the very end of the season finale but not before then. After all, it would fundamentally change the show and the relationships between the characters. While that may not be a bad thing necessarily going into season 2, a betrayal of that magnitude might not be surmountable for the team.