Thursday, June 30, 2016

Summer DVR Dump: Heroes Reborn 1.04: “The Needs of the Many”

“For once, I want to believe in something bigger than me.”
- Carlos

As you may recall, we left Tommy and his mom in quite the dire situation at the end of last week. They’d been t-boned by someone and they are both pretty beaten up. Tommy manages to get out of the car using his power and sends his mom to the hospital as an ambulance arrives. Unfortunately, just as Emily and Brad show up, the doctor reports that while his mom is now stable, she needs a blood transfusion. Tommy offers to let them test his blood to see if he’s match but that is not a good idea. After all, he’s an unregistered Evo. Speaking of unregistered Evos, Malina and her invisible friend have to head south (which I’m guessing means within the next few episodes everyone will be converging on Midian). And out in LA, Carlos decides to fix up his dad’s old car with his nephew as sort of a Batmobile. Because, why not?

In Japan, Ren and Miko are trying to catch a flight to Midian. It turns out Ren has really good English (gee, just like Ando) and he beseeches his online followers to meet them in Median at Renautus to somehow try and get the sword back. Things aren’t going particularly well for Luke these days either. He and Joanne use the stolen list to kill an Evo and Luke is not at all enthused. In fact he’s a little bit horrified that they killed a father. Good thing Joanne has a little control over her trigger finger or else she would have shot the poor golden retriever as it came down the stairs! I have a feeling their union won’t be going on much longer. He’s clearly not into the whole anti-Evo mission anymore and there is no way she could accept him once she finds out.

Out in Midian, Noah and Quentin are working on a plan to free Molly. This involves using Taylor, the CEO’s daughter to break Molly out. But before she will help them, Noah insists she ask her mother what the plan is for the Evos. Why round them up and go all X-Men on them? The short answer, the preserve the human species. Honestly, are we not capable of co-existing with each other in peace and accepting any difference as just unimportant? Honestly!

Things kind of take a turn for the crazy in everyone’s stories pretty quickly. As Malina and her bodyguard are heading south (and Malina makes a tree grow from nothing…pretty cool power), they are spotted by a hiker. It seems that Malina is this season’s Claire (the person everyone is after). Meanwhile, Tommy finds out that he’s not a match for his mom and so he takes Emily to a blood bank in Indiana to get the needed type for his mom. He gets back to the hospital but he has no time because his blood went to a federal database and the government knows he is an unregistered Evo. He and Emily make a run for it but get cornered by cops. Oh and they threaten his mother’s life if he teleports away. Out in St. Louis or wherever they ended up, Luke is having some trouble with his powers (again). He and Jo hit the road and he admits that maybe they need to stop doing this because he doesn’t have it in him anymore. It seems, based on his reaction to the first Evo they killed, he never really did. He spent the last year being angry and afraid and he realizes now that he already lost everything important to him. And in a fit of anger, he uses his power in front of Joanne. She almost shoots him but chooses to walk away. I’m pretty sure that’s the last we’ve seen of her for a while. In LA, Carlos suits up with a new mechanized suit and he takes the new crime fighting mobile out for a test drive, leaving his nephew alone in the shop. In hindsight, the kid would have been safer with his uncle. The dirty Evo cop shows up just after the priest (and Jose revealing his own ability) and grabs the kid and knocks out the priest. Yeah, Carlos is gonna be pissed!

Miko and Ren make it to Renautus and Miko even gets close to the building thanks to Ren’s fan base and Miko dressing as Katana Girl. It’s probably important to mention that at one point, everyone sees the Northern Lights (which I’m pretty sure are connected to Malina and her powers). It reminded me of the couple times we saw the eclipse mess with the heroes’ powers back in the original series. I have to say, the lights are prettier than the eclipse.

The biggest shit hitting the fan moment is tied to Noah, Quentin and now Taylor teaming up to find Molly. They break into the R&D facility and find Molly and a whole mess of other Evos hooked up like computers. Even Taylor’s boyfriend is there. That pretty much cements her hatred of her mother and everything the company stands for. They do in fact find Molly and she’s kind of babbling on incoherently. Maybe it’s the cable plugged into her brain. But she still won’t tell Noah what happened. I have a feeling since she can find any Evo in the world, all of those Evo deaths really messed her up. But there’s no confirmation on that assumption from Molly because girl blows her brains out! Well that’s one way to mess with Epic. The system still works if you’re within 100 feet but getting world-wide locations is no longer an option. And it seems they’ve been looking for Malina with the system but haven’t found her. There was a possible ping in Canada so Erica orders Clone Man to take “The Shadow”. And as the episode ends we find Phoebe has become something altogether inhuman (did they dip her in terrogin mist? Sorry couldn’t help myself)> At least we know she’s alive and may be possible to rescue her. Still, another week without Hiro makes me a touch sad.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer DVR Dump: Lucifer 1.04: “Manly Whatnots”

“How can I be scared of something I don’t believe in?”
- Chloe

Lucifer is having quite the crisis at the top of this episode. After letting himself into Chloe’s place uninvited and interrupting her shower (which leads to him seeing her naked), he busts in on another guy’s therapy session because he needs Linda’s help figuring out what’s going on in his head. Of course he takes her suggestion of taking his power back and de-mystifying her to mean he needs to sleep with Chloe. Yeah, I’m pretty certain that’s not what your doctor-on-the-side meant dear Prince. This is going to be complicated by the fact that Chloe and Dan (who it turns out are just separated and not divorced) have a case that needs Lucifer’s help. They have a missing girl and she was last seen at an after-party for some misogynistic pig trying to teach men to be sex gods and pick up women.

Lucifer starts to work his charms to try and get them information since Chloe is supposed to be undercover. They encounter Lindsay’s (the missing girl) brother who nearly gets kicked out of the vent by a gay bouncer. Chloe promises they’ll call if they find anything. But that will be somewhat difficult seeing as Lucifer interrupts the guy’s talk to ask why, if he meets all the qualifications for being a player, Chloe won’t sleep with him. He also happens to out Chloe as police so that doesn’t help. But it turns out maybe Lucifer can salvage things to some extent by offering up his club for the after party. It gives them an excuse to be there and keep an eye on the guy they suspect has kidnapped Lindsay.

While Lucifer and Chloe are off investigating missing humans, Amenediel and Maze have a rather interesting interaction. He wants her help in getting Lucifer back to Hell but she’s resisting, which is weird because she does want to go home. But it seems she doesn’t want to have to work with an angel. I guess, unlike Dominion, those that inhabit Lucifer’s realm aren’t just Fallen Angels, they are actually demons which is different. And yes, I’d be totally up for having Michael and Gabriel show up on this show because it would be amazing and the three of them would just be fantastic together. But I digress. Maze claims that their interests aren’t aligned and then licks Amenediel’s face which was super creepy and it kind of freaks him out. It wasn’t clear if it kind of turned him on or what, but she seemed smug afterward. Oh and she also got a few good licks in when they were fighting (after he told her that she couldn’t beat him because he’s an angel).

Back on the case, Chloe shows up at the club and Lucifer walks out stark naked. He says it’s tit for tat for that morning (plus he’s trying to get her to sleep with him so he’d be over her). She has kind of a strange reaction, almost like she’s starting to fall for his thrall but not entirely. He’s quite into flaunting his body until she sees the scars where he cut off his wings and tries to touch them. I think this is the most emotionally vulnerable we’ve ever seen our Prince of Darkness and it makes me want more. The exchange abruptly changes his mood and he rushes off to get dressed and find something less obvious for Chloe to wear. It turns out to be too good of a camouflage because guys keep hitting on her. And then, the guy they’re tracking pulls a gun and freaks out a bit. It turns out someone has kidnapped Lindsay but it isn’t him. He’s in love with her (like properly in love, no more player nonsense).

Lucifer gets the kidnappers to agree to an exchange of money sans police and the guy who is in love with Lindsay. Of course, Chloe insists on going with Lucifer and we get another intriguing moment into Chloe. She’s not an atheist, but she doesn’t believe in Hell and the Devil. Lucifer is rather intrigued by this. But their little car chat session is cut short when the pig shows up because he says the kidnappers called and said it wouldn’t go down if he didn’t show. Lucifer is not happy to have to hand over the money without the girl but it becomes obvious very quickly that Lindsay is in on it (especially after she shoots the guy who loves her). Apparently this was all a big revenge plot between her and her brother to get back at the guy for taking her virginity and never calling her afterwards. That’s a bit much if you ask me in the revenge department but to each their own I suppose. Lucifer gets to display some of his devilish qualities and he scares the crap out of Lindsay. He’s got her cowering on the floor begging him not to kill her when Chloe shows up and manages to call him off. But she does see his devil eyes. He convinces her to shoot him but it’s not what he’s expecting. He starts bleeding and is in pain.

Lucifer is quite excited by this new development, even if Chloe is worried she’s going to get in trouble. But he covers for her with her boss and al seems well between them. Trixie even points out that since Chloe shot Lucifer, she must really like him (based on the ‘if a boy picks on you, he just likes you’ theory). Maze however is not pleased with this development in the least. She wants to go home and I have a feeling she may be teaming up with Amenediel after all to get Lucifer home before this mortality business becomes more than just a phase. I’m not thrilled about Lucifer being mortal so I hope it only lasts a short while. Maybe enough for him to understand humanity a little better but that’s it. Part of what makes him so effective as the Devil is his immortality and his arrogance at being above everyone else around him.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

MTVP So Cal Summer 2016: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 1.03: "I Hope Josh Comes to My Party!"

“You know, the world doesn’t revolve around Barbershop. Nothing revolves around Barbershop!”

This particular episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” really tapped into one of the more damaged areas of my psyche. Paula has the great idea that Rebecca should host a big party as an acceptable-to-Valencia pretense for spending more time with Josh. Rebecca is petrified of the idea of hosting a party for very good reasons that we’ll get into later, but Paula convinces her to go through with it. Rebecca grapples with the fact that she didn’t have many friends when she was a child, and she doesn’t have many friends yet in West Covina, yet she needs to host a party. This episode really started to make me feel conflicted about whether I would prefer to see Rebecca with Greg or Josh long-term at some point in the series. Greg and Rebecca both have major issues they need to work on, but maybe working on those issues will help them understand and appreciate each other. This was more Josh’s episode, though, and he easily helped Rebecca overcome her party fears and saved her party. I have a feeling this competition will continue for quite some time!

At the beginning of the episode, Rebecca is in the middle of her own misguided scheme to spend more time with Josh. This one doesn’t involve a party, though. It involves stuffing her garbage disposal full of chicken to the point where it breaks, then telling Josh she has an emergency. Josh smartly (and much to Rebecca’s chagrin) brings White Josh with him to handle the emergency. White Josh actually fixes the disposal while Rebecca and Josh talk awkwardly. Rebecca tries to play off the kissing Valencia incident as if it happened long ago, but Josh reminds her it was only a few days ago. Even though the disposal is fixed quickly, Rebecca tries to convince the guys to stay a little longer. Josh, however, is insistent that they need to go. It’s Weekend Tuesday at Whitefeather and Associates (an excuse Rebecca gave Josh for why she was home that actually turned out to be true), but Rebecca calls in sick because she’s just so upset over how her non-relationship with Josh is progressing.

Paula immediately knows that Rebecca’s real ailment is “Chanitis,” so she stops by Rebecca’s house (I don’t know why they keep calling it an apartment…it’s clearly a townhouse) to give her a pep talk. Paula has the perfect idea for how Rebecca can spend some time with Josh without making Valencia too upset. She needs to throw a housewarming party. Rebecca is petrified at the thought. We learn through flashback what happened the last time she through a party. She was a tween who invited her whole class over to watch her favorite boy band give a concert on pay-per-view. Only a few people showed up, though. To make matters worse, Rebecca’s parents can be clearly heard arguing outside, and Rebecca’s father leaves the family right then and there. Even Paula is surprised at how bad Rebecca’s last throwing a party experience was. Paula sings a song called “Face Your Fears,” however, and Rachel is convinced to give the party a try. The song itself is mostly Paula saying not to be afraid of doing really stupid things like running with scissors, but Donna Lynne Champlin kills it because she’s a pro.

Both Paula and Rebecca set to party planning in earnest. Rebecca makes some flyers for her party that inadvertently make it appear that she’s going to burn down her house. She also has to find people to invite. There’s a great song that really cuts to the heart of this called “I Have Friends.” We see little Rebecca sing about her elementary school friends, who include the janitor who lives in the RV behind the school. This is contrasted with adult Rebecca, who has managed to round up, other than her coworkers, a woman who hit her car and a grocery clerk with half an eyelid. It’s really a very catchy song, and it captures exactly how I have felt at several points in my life. Rebecca desperately wants to have a lot of people come to her party to impress Josh, but that’s going to be easier said than done. Rebecca does manage to recruit her perpetual student neighbor Heather, mostly because Heather is taking Abnormal Psych at the local junior college, and she wants to write a paper about Rebecca. Then Rebecca heads to Home Base, clearly hoping to find Josh. Instead, she finds Greg behind the bar. Greg makes it very clear that he has no desire to attend Rebecca’s party. Lucky for Rebecca, Josh chooses that moment to make an appearance, and he says he’d be happy to go to the party.

Paula is supposed to be helping Rebecca set up for the party, but after dropping off the decorations that represent a wide variety of holidays and special occasions (Rebecca is cool with this because it seems ironic), she has to go tend to a family issue. We do learn a little about Paula’s home life in this episode. She has two sons, one who regularly brings a katana to the kitchen table, and the other who has a litany of behavioral health diagnoses. Her husband is pretty disengaged from everything not his barbershop group, including his family. Anyway, Paula gets a call from her younger son’s school and has to bail on the party prep. The very mean school principal tells her that her son stole the answers to a test (Paula had told him to face his fears, and cheating on the test was what he feared). The principal has scheduled a hearing to decide on transferring him to another school. Later in the episode, Rebecca ends up coaching Paula in special ed law, leading Paula to remind the principal that the school district would be liable for her son’s educational costs if they transferred him. I actually used to practice special education law, and while this sequence wasn’t exactly right, it was close enough to not make me angry.

The party itself gets off to a rather slow start, but things pick up once Josh arrives. He reassures Rebecca that it make sense she wouldn’t have many party guests, and since she hasn’t been in West Covina that long, he would have found it weird if there were a ton of people at the party. If lots of people is what Rebecca wants, though, Josh says he can make that happen. He has the few guests who were there take some awesome party selfies, and that combined with Paula bringing along a Gambler’s Anonymous group makes the party a jumping place pretty quickly. Rebecca has a vision of Josh as a boy band quartet singing about how they’re going to solve all her psychological problems. It’s really a pretty ingenious boy band parody. Greg stops by because he was hoping for some schadenfreude, and he’s pleasantly surprised with how awesome the party is. Valencia returns home from a yoga retreat and texts Josh asking where he is. Josh tells her he’s out and will be home when he’s ready, and he credits the confidence to face that fear to Rebecca. Greg, surprisingly, is the last person to leave the party.

Summer DVR Dump: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow 1.03: “Blood Ties”

“Killing is never easy, especially for a good man.”
- Sara

It seems that each week is going to serve up different pairings of the team and I have to say I enjoy that aspect of the show quite a lot. For one thing, it makes it easier to blog. This week’s episode divided the team up into three little subplots. First, we had Mick, Snart and Jax teaming up (if a bit reluctantly on Jax’s part) to head to Central City to steal a huge emerald. Jax is tasked *due to being a mechanic) with fixing the ship’s shuttle. I love how Rip just assumes Jax can fix t because he’s a mechanic. But, Jax actually manages to get the ship working again and thanks to our two bad boys, they even have an access key to operate it. I’m sure Rip won’t miss that too much. Jax doesn’t want to steal things but he does agree to be their wheelman (for lack of a better term). At first it seems that Snart is just being selfish by stealing the emerald but we quickly learn that his father got caught sealing said stone and spent five years in prison. Snart hands over the emerald after having kind of a touching moment with his younger self. He thinks he’s averted the terrible future ahead of him and his sister (in which his father becomes abusive) but it turns out that his father gets arrested trying to sell the stone to an undercover cop. I guess somethings just can’t be changed. It was nice to see that Snart actually has feelings and maybe deep down is just a hurt little boy (at least explaining some of his actions).

While the bad boys are off trying to steal precious gems, Kendra is fighting for her life. The knife used to tab her broke off some pieces and they are making their way to her heart. Ray and Stein take it upon themselves to find a way to save her. Ray end sup shrinking down and going into her bloodstream, Magic School Bus style to destroy the fragments from the inside. But he freezes up when one of the pieces of debris hits him. He later explains that he built the suit so he wouldn’t have to lose anyone again (like his fiancĂ©e during the whole siege thing on Arrow a couple seasons back thanks to Slade Wilson). Stein acts like he finally remembers Ray and gives him a great pep talk and Ray manages to save Kendra’s life. It was nice to see both of them be so vulnerable in different ways.

The main arc of the episode though comes down to Rip and Sara. Sara points out that thanks to the League of Assassins she’s got some pointers on taking down super strong opponents. If you can’t cut off the head, go for the heart. In this case, Vandal Savage’s money. Thanks to a little digging by Gideon, the pair finds where he’s keeping his funds. Or so they believe. After using a ruse to get into the bank, Rip does some computer hacking but only comes up with something called “the Vessel”. That’s all well and good but Sara points out the bankers are all trained killers and she kind of goes all Lazarus Pit crazy for a hot minute. Back on the ship, she explains to Rip about how the Pit changed her and calls herself a monster. Rip doesn’t think she’s a monster. He considers that title belonging to himself because he had a chance to kill Savage once and hesitated. The pair get some information about the Vessel out of the man they’ve kidnapped (it is Carter’s body) and so they change plans and head to the gathering to try and rescue the corpse. Sara points out that changing plans isn’t the best move but Rip is on the warpath. He’s angry at himself for failing once and just generally in a bad mood.

Things don’t go well for them at the gathering. They get spotted rather quickly (although they do look rather glam in their finest dress) after putting in a quick dance and Vandal explains in a bit of an Evil Speech of Evil that he has lots of followers who think he’s a god and by desecrating carter’s body (basically drinking his blood) his followers can experience longer life, too. Well damn. That’s not good for our heroes. Luckily, Gideon has sent out the rest of the team for an assist. It kind of comes down to Kendra freaking out and chanting along with the bad guys to tip them off about what’s going on. Ultimately, the team gets Carter’s body and rescues Rip and Sara. Even though it doesn’t really do much, Rip does finally get to kill Savage. But he kind of makes the mistake of telling the bad guy the names of his wife and child (and Savage has seen a picture, too). It made me wonder if Rip was somehow responsible for his family’s death.

The team buries Carter in a cemetery and then Rip gives yet another rousing speech about having to work together. He faults himself for most of the mess ups but he’s committed to being part of the team going forward. And he promise Kendra that she’ll be ready to take down Savage when the time comes. The team (and I’m guessing Sara in particular) is going to train her. I thought this episode showcased Rip as a character quite well and further explained his motivations. He is definitely a more complicated person than we were initially led to believe and he’s definitely rather ruthless when he needs to be. He’s no Rory Williams, that’s for damn sure. But I think this episode also showed just how many different dynamics the team has and how everyone is capable of a little touch of redemption if they really go looking for it. I have a feeling this mission is going to be good for everyone involved (well maybe not Savage but that’s fine by me).

Thursday, June 23, 2016

MTVP So Cal Summer 2016: UnREAL 1.03: "Mother"

“There is nothing wrong with you. You’re a genius.”

In the third episode of UnREAL, we learn quite a bit more about Rachel’s history. Specifically, we get to meet her parents. Now you’ll notice there’s a common theme in the two So Cal Summer shows we’ve been covering so far: damaged women with absolutely horrible mothers. I’d say of the two said horrible mothers, though, Rachel’s is worse than Rebecca’s. We’ll meet Rebecca’s mother in a few weeks when we talk about the “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” holiday episode. This episode, however, is where we meet Rachel’s mother. Not only is she a bad mother, she strikes me as downright dangerous. We also, of course, get more Chet and Quinn drama, and I really, really don’t understand what Quinn ever saw in Chet. He’s just plain gross. There’s also plenty of drama around the filming of the next episode of “Everlasting,” and we once again see just how incompetent Shia is. This is only going to escalate as the season progresses. Through this week’s show, drama, however, we also learn a little more about Adam. All the characters on “UnREAL” are shades of gray (except maybe Chet…like I said, he’s just gross), which is something I really appreciate.

Anyway, after continuing to look like a homeless person for a little too long, Quinn makes Rachel take the day off. This has rather disastrous consequences both for Rachel and for “Everlasting.” Rachel gets in a production van and goes to visit her parents. Rachel’s mother is a psychiatrist, and apparently, she’s a pretty disturbed one. From the conversations we see between Rachel and her mother, it appears that Rachel’s mother has been trying to psychoanalyze and diagnose and treat her family for years. She gradually intensified her diagnoses for Rachel from ADHD to Bipolar, to Borderline Personality Disorder. Rachel’s been seeing the therapist who works for “Everlasting,” who is adamant that Rachel does not present with the symptoms of any of these disorders. Rachel tells as much to her mother, but her mother is insistent that Rachel really is sick and needs to take the massive amount of medication she prescribed.

Rachel has dinner with her parents, and her father seems barely able to interact with the rest of his family. He mostly just reads. Later, Rachel accuses her mother of trying to treat him too, since he’s suddenly acting like a zombie and all. Rachel’s mother knows that Rachel needs money, and she starts trying to manipulate that. She offers Rachel all the money she needs ($20,000) if Rachel will resume sessions with her again. At one point, when her mom starts talking about how she’s sick and that’s okay, it appears that Rachel has finally been worn down by her mother and will agree to the sessions. She even walks out of her parents’ house holding the $20,000 check. Once she gets back in the van, though, she tears the check to pieces. Thank goodness!

Meanwhile, as you’d expect, things are dramatic to a ridiculous degree on the Chet and Quinn front. Quinn’s throwing herself into work, as she does, and Chet just wants to party. At first, it appeared that the death of Anna’s father, only two years older than him, had inspired Chet to turn over a new leaf, but it really didn’t. He thinks we’re supposed to be impressed that he only did coke once in the amount of time he usually does it seven or eight times. Quinn, however, for some reason is okay with all of this, and she agrees to forgo her show budget meeting in favor of sex with Chet. Said sex turns into everyone’s worst nightmare, though. Chet appears to start having a heart attack. Quinn takes Chet to the hospital, and she’s able to recite his medical history so well that the nurse mistakes her for Chet’s actual wife. Once Cynthia arrives at the hospital, though, Quinn thinks that’s her cue to leave. Before she does leave, though, Cynthia basically tells Quinn that she’s fine with the affair. She gets monetary comforts from her marriage to Chet. Chet gets Quinn. Understandably, this doesn’t make Quinn feel especially good about herself.

In other show relationship drama, the crew is reacting to the release of Rachel and Jeremy’s sex tape and Rachel’s love letter to Jeremy. Lizzie is upset about this, but not quite for the reason you think. She now knows that Jeremy and Rachel were thinking of moving to New York together, and when the show’s DP leaves to move to New York, Lizzie questions Jeremy why he never told her that was his dream. She makes it clear that if Jeremy really wants to move to New York and get into filming things other than reality television, she’s all in. There are more layers to this, though. What Jeremy really wants is the now vacant DP job, and he want’s Rachel’s help to get it. He also makes it clear to Rachel that getting out of “Everlasting” and moving to New York was her dream. It wasn’t really his.

The show within a show itself had plenty of drama. Some of it was Rachel-created (her talent for manipulation being a sign of her many psychological disorders according to her mother), such as the escalating spat between Anna and Grace over Grace giving Adam a blow job. Much of the drama, however, was Shia’s fault, since that’s what happens when Rachel is given the day off and Shia is in charge for the day. The theme of the episode they’re filming is that Adam’s best friend Rodger is in town, and he’s going to pick which ladies get a small group date and who gets an all-day date. Roger has a reputation for being a party boy, and Adam tries to rein him in, considering he’s hoping the show will rehabilitate his image and all.

Shia tries to take advantage of the situation, and she suggests to one of her girls, a nice, shy woman named Mya, that Roger likes more…ehrm…outgoing women. And since Roger’s doing the picking this week, Mya had better give it her all. Mya, unfortunately, takes the advice to heart, and she gets very, very drunk. To make matters even worse, Shia orchestrates a huge, loud pool party that really isn’t even filmable because of the loud music. When Rachel arrives back on set, she puts a stop to the party immegiately, and then everyone starts looking for Roger. They find Roger and Mya in a secluded room, and Mya looks very shaken up, although she’s not apologizing for what she did. Adam gets very angry with Roger over this, and we learn that Adam’s parents sent Roger to try and convince Adam to leave the show. Even though Adam is trying to use the show to rehab his image, his parents are convinced he’s going to embarrass the family even more. Like I said, the characters on this show are all shades of gray.

Summer DVR Dump: Heroes Reborn 1.03: “Under the Mask”

“Why did I want to erase what happened? Why did I not want to know how she died?”
- Noah

Things don’t appear to be slowing down at all this week. While Molly is being dragged off to Median, Noah and Quentin are on her trail but first they have to stop off at the hospital to get Quentin looked at. While there, a doctor spots Noah and calls for security. Apparently a year ago, Noah put one of the guards in the hospital. While Quentin is getting patched up, Noah holds a guard at gunpoint to review video footage to figure out what happened. First we see him talking to someone and the time stamp jumping around clues us in that it was Hiro. We knew he was going to show up. I hope he does appear this episode. We also see Noah looking at a body that we assume is Claire, even though we are working off the assumption she’s not head. And then right before Noah and Quentin have to run for it, the footage shows Noah kind of manhandling Molly out of the hospital. Goodness! It seems the blanks in Noah’s memory are going to spur them even more to find and rescue Molly before Renautus digitizes her power. I don’t entirely understand how they could even do that but I guess it will be explained. Speaking of Molly, she’s awake on the plane and warns her captor that her boyfriend (the guy she was trying to steal money from) is likely dead or being probed to turn his power into an app. Oh boy!

I have a feeling life for Carlos isn’t going to be very good for a while. Sure he helped that mother and son escape via the railroad but the cops are still looking for it and he tracks them down to a warehouse where they are threatening an Evo. She escapes (after getting pushed out a window) and Carlos barely makes it away alive. Lucky for him the smoky priest was there to hide him. But Joanne and Luke are making their way to LA with Noah’s files so clearly that’s not good. Oh and Luke apparently is discovering he’s an Evo. Obviously at least one of them had to be if their son was n Evo. I just wonder what Joanne will do when she finds out! That time may be sooner than Luke is looking for because as they get to a hotel, he sends her in to get settled while he’s having a bit of a power crisis. It almost looks like the nuclear power Peter absorbed in season 1 (that nearly destroyed all of New York). It would make sense that someone would develop that power or one similar since there seems to be a somewhat finite list of powers that show up. Luke and Joanne may not having anything to find in LA though because Carlos warns the railroad to disband right as one of the cops shows up. They get into a fight and at first Carlos has the upper hand but then the cop turns the tables. He’s got powers and he’s far better equipped to use them in delivering some punishment. Carlos barely manages to get away before he’s unmasked.

Over in Japan, Miko makes a good run of fighting off the security guards but one of the creepy guys from Renautus shows up and takes her out. He takes the sword (which apparently doesn’t belong to Hiro anymore and it sounds like maybe she is not Hiro’s daughter after all). He fills in the CEO of Renautus, Erica, while she heads off to get Molly situated to launch Epic. I keep getting an X-Men vibe from all of this like in the movie when Mystique and Magneto tried to trip Xavier into finding all the humans and killing them. Lucky for Miko, Ren is following what’s going on and is trying to rescue her. They are the new Hiro and Ando and I kind of love it. Just when creepy guy is going to start torturing Miko, Ren busts in and Miko manages to cut off his hand. While they find a way to get to Median, creepy guy’s chopped off arm regrows and entire body. Great, he can clone himself. That’s really annoying!

Not wanting to leave Tommy out, his story is a little more mundane. He’s having teenage angst because his mom won’t let him go to a party. She’s worried about his powers but he seems to be getting a better hang of them. He even manages to teleport himself past her so he can head out. He’s convinced that he’ll be fine since he’s got the anonymous person sending texts looking out for him. It’s the weird penny guy I’m assuming (since during the “Dark Matters” mini-episodes, Micah got kidnapped). Tommy gets to have a little fun at the party before his mom shows up with a gun and threatens Penny Man. She doesn’t want his help and it worries her that he’s been following them. She drags Tommy home before he has a chance to walk Emily home. Poor kid, just trying to be normal for a little while before his destiny kicks in full swing. Maybe his mom is right to want to run, especially since they end up in a pretty nasty car accident at the end of the episode.

Noah and Quentin get to Renautus in time to attempt a rescue mission. But Molly isn’t interested in going anywhere with Noah. We will don’t know what happened a year ago and it seems Molly doesn’t want to explain. She should have gone with Noah though because she runs off right into Clone Man’s clutches. Not the best move there darling. It turns out I was exactly right about what Epic does and it’s pretty horrifying. Noah and Quentin are now more determined to save Molly and destroy the tech. And as the episode comes to a close we see the young woman who has been holding back the Northern Lights is about to get ambushed by some Renautus guys. Something tells me before long our heroes will be converging again to fight this battle.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Game of Thrones 6.03: "Oathbreaker"

“Good. Now go fail again.”

This particular episode of “Game of Thrones” felt like a lot of set-up for what is to come later in the season. As per usual, we checked in briefly on most of the ongoing plots. There were a couple good reveals in this one, but no major watercooler moment. I think of all the plots, I’m most interested in what is happening with Jon Snow right now. By the end of the episode, he has resigned from the Night’s Watch, and there is presumably going to be a confrontation with Ramsay. I’d love to see Winterfell back in Stark hands sooner rather than later. The fall of Winterfell was one of the saddest occurrences of the series thus far to me. I just keep remembering back to the pilot when all the Stark kids were happily goofing off in the yard, before all of these tragedies. I’m also somewhat interested in Dany’s story. Things are looking rather grim for her at the moment, but I have no doubt she’ll triumph. She’s the Mother of Dragons, after all!

Since I found him the most interesting, let’s get to what’s going on with Jon last. Let’s start with his best friend, Sam, who is on a boat with Gilly and her son (also Sam). If you recall, Sam is planning to go to the Citadel to become a Maester. Gilly is enjoying the journey, but Sam looks like he might be sick. Sam is forced to admit that he’s not taking Gilly with him to the Citadel, because women aren’t allowed there. He’s taking her and little Sam to his family, and he plans to tell him that Gilly is his mistress and little Sam is his bastard. Gilly isn’t thrilled at first, but eventually, she agrees.

Far in the North, we get another very interesting flashback courtesy of Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven. A young (but not quite as young as in the last flashback) Ned and some companions approach a large stone tower guarded by some of the Mad King’s Kingsguard. Involved in the battle are Ser Arthur Dane, who Ned looks up to even if he’s fighting for the other side, and Howland Reed, who is Jojen and Meera’s father. Ned fights Ser Arthur, but the fight doesn’t go down as Bran expected. Ned is actually almost defeated by Ser Arthur when Howland stabs Ser Arthur in the back. The Three-Eyed Raven tries to pull Bran out of this memory, but Bran doesn’t want to go. He calls out to his father, and this makes Ned pause for a minute. This development is unexpected, since Bran had been told he couldn’t affect the environment in his visions.

Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys is brought to the Dosh Khaleen. They put her in traditional garments and tell her that the Khals will be gathering to, among other things, discuss her fate. She lived outside of the Dosh Khaleen for some time after being widowed and that is forbidden. Being allowed to remain Dosh Khaleen is the best outcome she can hope for. In Meereen, the prostitute who aided the Sons of the Harpy in the big massacre last season is brought before Varys. In exchange for information, Varys offers silver and safe passage to Pentos. Meanwhile, Tyrion tries to entertain Missandrai and Grey Worm with a drinking game, and naturally, that doesn’t go too well. Varys interrupts to say that he has learned that the slavers of Astapor and Yunkai are funding the Sons of the Harpy. Tyrion tells Varys to send them a message. Finally, Arya continues her regular fights with the Waif at the House of Black and White in Braavos. The Waif keeps asking Arya questions about her past, especially about her list of names and what happened to the Hound. Arya is able to block the Waif some of the time now, though. Jaqen asks Arya her name again, and he has her drink from the poisoned water. Arya continues to insist she is No One, and when she drinks the water, her sight is restored.

There’s a decent amount of action happening in King’s Landing in this episode. Qyburn uses candy to convert Varys’ former “little birds” into his own informants. Which is super creepy, by the way. Aren’t kids taught not to take candy from strangers? Cersei interrupts, however, and she lets Qyburn know that she intends to request Trial by Combat for her trial. She asks Qyburn to use the little birds to uncover anyone who speaks ill of the Lannisters. Meanwhile, with the Mountain as a bodyguard, Jaime and Cersei try to participate in the Small Council. The Small Council is far from thrilled about this, though. Kevan, a Lannister himself who is Hand of the King, is especially hostile, as is Lady Oleana Tyrell. When Cersei says that the Council can’t make them leave, Kevan says the Council themselves can leave, and they all follow Kevan out of the room. Finally, Tommen pays a visit to the High Sparrow to ask that Cersei be allowed into the Sept to see Myrcella’s resting place. The High Sparrow refuses, though, saying that he wants to help bring out the good in Cersei.

Let’s wrap this up by talking about the major happenings going down in the North. Jon, resurrected, goes out to see his remaining brothers of the Night’s Watch. When Melissandre asks him what he saw while dead, he replies “nothing,” which could have some interesting implications for the future of the story. Anyway, the remaining brothers all seem to revere Jon as a God, which is not something Jon wants at all. He’s still very human, and he has been through something crazy that could take him a very, very long time to process. Tormund and Edd embrace him, though, and he becomes a little more comfortable. Meanwhile, at Winterfell, Ramsay takes a meeting with Smalljon Umber and Harald Karstark. Smalljon asks for help dealing with the Wildlings that have been allowed on this side of the Wall. He refuses to kneel before Ramsay (which is what Ramsay really wants), but he has a surprise. He offers up Rickon and Osha, with Shaggydog’s head as proof that the boy is Rickon. Why must all the dire wolves die on this show! At Castle Black, Jon executes Ser Allister and his other attackers by cutting the hanging rope with his own sword in true Stark fashion. He then hands his cloak over to Edd, saying that Edd now has command of Castle Black because his “watch has ended.”

Summer DVR Dump: Lucifer 1.03: “The Would-Be Prince of Darkness”

“Am I up for convincing someone to commit a nefarious act? Let me think…put me in, Coach.”
- Lucifer

Overall, Lucifer was not a very happy Devil this episode. For one thing, Chloe is trying to keep him out of the case he hands her and someone is running around town pretending to be him and royally mucking up his sexy reputation. On the first point, before ending up with three pretty girls in bed with him, Lucifer gets a squeaky clean football star named Ty to at least have a drink and flirt with a pretty girl. That’s all well and good until said pretty girl ends up dead in the pool. Lucifer calls Chloe (thinking he’ll get to tag along and punish the killer). Chloe, who is still trying to figure out how Lucifer does what he does, is not pleased that he’s trying to horn in on her investigation. After all, he’s a witness and possible suspect (although he does have three sexy alibis). Chloe’s ex-husband, Dan, shows up because apparently it’s all hands on deck but she’s not happy to have him there either since he was late picking up Trixie. I kind of want the story on the two of them!

Lucifer ends up finding the dead girl’s phone (it turns out her name is Allie) and she filmed she and Ty having sex. Well that definitely seems to give our star a reason to want her dead. So he gets arrested. And not long after, Lucifer finds out about the imposter. So he gets to vent rather angrily with his shrink-with-benefits. You know, I found her really annoying in the pilot but she’s growing on me. She actually provides some good insights into his behavior and reactions. For instance, when Lucifer says he wants to rip the imposter’s balls off and step on them, she notes that he’s overreacting and displacing his anger of Allie’s killer.

Lucifer ends up going to see Ty’s agent (because he saw that Allie called there a few hours before she died) and Chloe has followed the same lead (through police means) and they end up questioning Ty’s agent together, who turns them on to Ty’s ex-girlfriend, Deborah. She was apparently kind of a crazy stalker-fan who got really controlling. For the moment she seems a pretty obvious choice. Especially with that pesky restraining order in place. But it turns out not to be her, either. Someone blows up her car (likely to scare her) and she admits that while she was at the party and saw Ty and Allie making out, she left and spent three hours crying in a diner.

You’d think that would put them at a dead end but Dan discovers a local political fixer was seen near the car explosion. She won’t talk to cops but she’d sure take Lucifer’s call. All he is supposed to do is make an introduction for Dan so they can her on doing what she does and flip her on what she knows about Allie’s death. But Lucifer ends up accepting her help in rooting out his imposter. It turns out to be a whiny kid named Justin who just wanted to get girls. Lucifer is about to rip the kid’s head off when he realizes he’s overreacting and lets him go (much to Maze’s displeasure). She was looking forward to some real hellish torture. But it’s enough to get the fixer on kidnapping and assault so that’s helpful. She also admits that she was told that Deborah killed Allie and she hired Allie (trying to give her a shot). All signs point back to the agent.

Thanks to Lucifer’s skillset, the agent confesses that he showed up at the party because he was afraid Ty was going to leave him and ruin his career. Apparently, Allie had decided to back out of her deal to blackmail Ty (she decided he was a decent guy after all) and so the agent was trying to get her phone from her and he squeezed too hard. A confession is a good thing but Lucifer is now just super pissed and ends up focusing his demonic anger on the guy and shoves him (without much effort at all) through a glass wall. Chloe has to actually get in his line of sight to stop him from going after the guy.

I would honestly be interested to see what Lucifer can do with his full power because so far we haven’t seen him use it but in fits and starts. I kind of want him to go full-on Lord of Hell. I think it would certainly help Chloe believe the truth. And she’s still digging for those answers (including in the video footage of him shoving the guy through the wall). It looks like his eyes go crazy or something. I don’t doubt that with her skills, she’ll find the truth sooner rather than later. Then again, he’s been putting the truth out there since day 1. She just hasn’t been in a place to accept it. I do worry that they are going to go down the route of making him mortal (or at least less immortal the longer he stays on Earth) and that would just make his charm diminish a lot. I also kind of want to see the consequences of him leaving Hell (you know, the whole lost souls and demons running amok bit). It would also be nice to get a bit more backstory on Maze, too. We know she followed Lucifer through the Gates of Hell but is she a demon? Why did she follow him? And of course we all want to know what makes Chloe so special that Lucifer can’t affect her with his powers. I hope it isn’t some lame answer like “pure of heart” or something or “chosen by God”. That would just be typical and boring. I want her to be like an angel who doesn’t know she’s an angel or something. Oh, maybe a Nephilim. That’d be interesting, too! Only time will tell.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

MTVP So Cal Summer 2016: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 1.02: "Josh's Girlfriend is Really Cool!"

“Yeah, yeah, we’re friends. Yeah, we’re friends. Yeah, we’re friends. Yeah, because I mean, like, what other agenda could I possibly have?”

I’ve never come close to doing some of the things Rebecca does in this episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” but I can so completely relate to her general feelings of awkwardness and not measuring up. In this episode, Rebecca is starting to try and settle into West Covina life, and she’s also naturally obsessing over when the heck Josh is going to schedule their dinner already. Egged on by Paula, Rebecca tries to befriend Josh’s girlfriend, Valencia, and naturally, horribly embarrassing, ridiculous hijinks ensue. This episode really gives a good introduction to what “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is going to be week to week. There’s the crazy plan to get to Josh hatched by Paula, there’s Rebecca taking things too far, embarrassing herself, and feeling horrible at the end, and there are two great musical numbers. I couldn’t really ask for more!

As I already mentioned, Rebecca is really perseverating on the fact that Josh hasn’t followed up to say when or where they will be having dinner together. This really interferes with her work, but somehow Rebecca keeps being awesome at her job. There’s a big arbitration coming up, but Rebecca keeps leaning work to tend to Josh-related things. Paula enables this by working extra hours, of course, because she’s Paula, and she’s obsessed with getting Rebecca and Josh together. The two even fight over how far Rebecca should take things in front of their clients, which is extremely unprofessional. If Rebecca didn’t deliver to the client exactly what he had been trying and failing to get for about ten years, her career would have been over. I’ve got to believe at some point, even though Rebecca is usually personal life messy/professional life on point, her issues are going to bleed into work. She can’t keep operating this way forever.

Anyway, Paula shows Rebecca how to set up push notifications for Josh’s status updates on her phone, and the two discover that he’s going to be at a club called Spider’s (or maybe Spiders, Spiders’, or Spiders’s…the world may never know). They decide to hit up the club, but the bouncer won’t let them in. Rebecca tries to grease the wheels by offering the bouncer $500, but that’s New York clubbing money, not West Covina money, and the bouncer starts to worry that she’s a drug dealer or a cop. Paula wants to keep hanging out, but Rebecca is feeling defeated and wants to just go home. We see her in true pity party sweats, sitting on the couch and watching nature documentaries. She ventures out to the store, still in the pity party sweats, and of all the times, that is when she runs into Josh and his very hot yoga instructor girlfriend. Greg and the rest of their crew (Hector and White Josh, who provide welcome comic relief throughout the season), are there too. Valencia notices Rebecca talking to Greg and asks Josh why Greg is talking to a “homeless.” Rebecca suddenly decides it’s her mission to befriend Valencia, even though Josh asks her very clearly not to.

Rebecca’s next mission is to skip out of work to attend one of Valencia’s yoga classes. Valencia is, of course, skinny and fabulous at yoga, while Rebecca is not skinny and very awkward at yoga. Plus it makes her really sweaty, even though Valencia describes it as “beginner’s yoga” and has to go do some cardio afterwards to actually break a sweat. I"m pretty sure I'd be exactly like Rebecca if I tried yoga. These dynamics are captured beautifully in the musical number “I’m So Good at Yoga.” In the song, Valencia sings in rather explicit terms about how great she is at yoga, and Rebecca falls all over the place. Rebecca does, however, ask Valencia if she wants to go to lunch later in the week. She even offers to buy Valencia one of her favorite boxed waters. Josh freaks out a bit when he hears about this and stops by Rebecca’s office to warn her off, but Rebecca charges forward anyway. Rebecca and Valencia have a great time. Rebecca successfully negotiations a lease for Valencia’s new yoga studio, and they drink wine and giggle a lot. Valencia is shocked that she’s actually becoming friends with Rebecca. Usually she doesn’t get along well with women. It helps that she doesn’t yet know Rebecca and Josh were a thing back at summer camp.

Josh, Valencia, Rebecca, and Greg all end up going to Spider’s together, and this is when things get messy. Rebecca and Valencia are having a great time hanging out, although Greg is mocking Rebecca a little bit for doing whatever Valencia tells her to do. He figures out that Josh and Rebecca dated at summer camp, although Rebecca makes him promise not to tell anyone. Rebecca and Valencia end up dancing together, and they’re still having fun, until Rebecca starts trying to make out with Valencia. This whole sequence is set to another musical number, “Feelin’ Kind of Naughty,” where Rebecca details how she pretty much wants to be Valencia. Wear her skin, make dentures out of her teeth, you know, normal stuff like that. Anyway, during the argument that follows, Rebecca starts talking about how it’s all like one big circle of love, and this leads to her being the one to admit to Valencia that she and Josh were once an item. Josh ends up coming clean, admitting he actually met Rebecca in between junior and senior years of high school, not when they were eight years old like he originally said.

Even though Rebecca royally screwed things up by being creepy and trying to make out with his girlfriend, Josh ends up forgiving Rebecca for some reason I still don’t fully understand. I guess he feels partially responsible for the situation because he lied to Valencia about his history with Rebecca. Regardless, he decides to make it up to Rebecca by scheduling that dinner after all. They end up having dinner at a nice place that just happens to be forty minutes away so there’s no chance Valencia will know this dinner ever happened. Rebecca is cool with this, although she is bound and determined that this will not be the last dinner she and Josh eat together, regardless of the fact that Valencia now hates her.

Summer DVR Dump: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow 1.02: “Pilot Part 2”

“I could be unconscious and still kick the ass of some 1970s rent-a-thugs.”
- Sara

Just when you think things are starting to gel, everything goes pear-shaped. Thanks to Boardman’s journal, Rip thinks Savage is in Norway in 1975 to buy some nuclear weapons. The plan is to go to the meet and apprehend him during the buy. Rip thinks he should be leading the mission but Cold and Heatwave brush him off. They think since this is a den of criminal activity, they’ll fit right in. Lucky for them Stein shows up and gets kind of awesome and smarmy with the guard at the door. They manage to get in but soon learn that Savage is selling the warhead. Some slip of the tongue from Stein while chatting up one Damien Dahrk leads to a pretty epic fight sequence with all of our would-be legends. Unfortunately, during the melee some of Ray’s suit gets dislodged and stuck there. But hey, at least the Hawk duo didn’t die again! That’d be really inconvenient for the team.

Rip is rightly pissed off at the team’s antics. Not only did they fail to secure Savage but the mishap with Ray’s suit has altered the timeline. They still have a brief window to fix the issue (well until Savage’s engineers reverse-engineer the suit tech) so Stein suggests they pay his younger self a visit since he was working on physics that might be useful in tracking the suit component. Little do they know they’ve only got 24 hours to get this done because that’s all the time the engineers have been given. Also slightly awkward is Kendra and Carter. After looking through some of their dead son’s things, they come across an article about the knife used to kill them back in Ancient Egypt. Apparently if they use the knife along with the ancient incantation on it, that might be enough to kill Savage and break the cycle. Of course, Kendra doesn’t remember and when Carter tries to get her to remember, all she gets is them getting hot and heavy. She pushes him away because well it is kind of creepy. Oh and the bad boys and Ray are off in search of said dagger. I don’t trust them together.

I was right to worry about that threesome. Ray thinks he knows how to disable the security but it only gets them caught. Cold and Heatwave take out the guards and then get greedy on the inside. Ray is understandably disgusted by the whole but doesn’t have much choice seeing as Ray and Cold get stuck in a cell thanks to getting into a fist fight over stealing more than what they came for. They do have an interesting conversation about their lives and ambitions before Heatwave comes back. It turns out Savage is the homeowner (makes sense) and he’s quite looking forward to killing some of our team.

Back in the US, Stein, Jax and Sara find young Marty on the college campus and thanks to some flirting from Sara get invited back to his dorm room. Too bad Stein is trying to steer the conversation to the device they need and it just isn’t working. He tries to warn his younger self about the deleterious effects of smoking joints and saturated fats. Yeah, dude, that ain’t working at all. He also wants Sara the stop flirting with his younger self because at the particular time they’re in, he’s about to meet his future wife, Clarissa. Yeah, that’s kind of a big deal for sure. They eventually find the device they’re looking for but Marty won’t hand it over. So Sara being her usual self (and a bit stoned) knocks him out. Stein tries to make sure things don’t get too messed up by setting an alarm for his younger self. Their next stop is the lab where the engineers are trying to comply with Savage’s orders. Even stoned, Sara manages to tidily kick some butt. They think everything is fine and dandy when they get back to the ship until Stein’s wedding band disappear and Marty shows up demanding answers.

The gang manages to get Marty off the ship (and Rip even manages to set Stein’s future back on track) before they have to go rescue the bad boys. Kendra finally remembers the incantation on the dagger so they think they have a shot at stopping Savage. Oh, how wrong they were. Carter goes in (after the rest of the team breaks Ray, Cold and Heatwave out) but ends up getting stabbed by the dagger himself. He doesn’t make it. Kendra tries to fight back but she gets stabbed, too. Luckily for her the team gets her back to the ship and in somewhat stable condition before she dies, too. I honestly wasn’t expecting one of them to die this early on. So now we have to wait for her to find the next incarnation of Carter (if that’s even his name the next time). But since she’s still recovering the team is still stuck in the 1970s.

I enjoyed this episode and thought the fight sequences were pretty cool. I liked that some of the other characters like Jax had more to do (he has a great speech to Stein at one point) but I do hope they get out of the 1970s soon. I know they have to jump around a bit (just based on casting news and such) but I’m ready to move on soon. I have to admit I wasn’t sure how well the team was going to work right off the bat but I like the different pairings we are getting thus far. I did wish Rip had a bit more to do this week but overall, another solid episode. The only thing that would have made this better is if both episodes 1 and 2 had aired back to back. It would have been a pretty awesome two-hour premier event.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fresh Off the Boat 2.22: "Gotta Be Me"

“Thank you Eddie. Even though I can tell you didn’t shower because you smell like a pepperoni pizza, I’m proud of you.”
- Jessica

This episode of “Fresh Off the Boat” dealt a lot with identity and being who you are. They are definitely good lessons to learn and it was a lot more of a “teaching” episode than some of the other episodes we’ve had recently. At the beginning, Louis is at the video rental store and he’s looking in “critter capers”. He really wants to get a silly animal movie but he lets the store clerk, who is kind of a snob, pressure him into getting some foreign film he doesn’t really want. He also learns that someone in the family has checked out some movies that according to the clerk are in very bad taste. After everyone leaves for the day (including Eddie who has asked Jessica to sign a permission slip for a history field trip), he searches the house and finds a bunch of action movies under Jessica’s side of the bed. He goes to Marvin for advice (why I don’t know. All Marvin ever says is racist and or sexist things but whatever).

Jessica is also dealing with how she handles the boys. She doesn’t like field trips so that’s why she said no to Eddie. But when Honey explains it’s to Colonial Floridatowne, Jessica jumps at the chance to chaperone. At first Eddie is skeptical and thinks the trip is going to be awful. But colonial times are Jessica’s passion and Eddie and his friends have a blast on the trip. All of Eddie’s friends are thrilled by how fun Jessica was but Eddie is just confused and hurt that she isn’t like this all the time. He doesn’t like when she’s super strict. It was kind of hilarious to see Jessica leading the boys all around the place.

Back at home, Louis tries to be more like the action heroes in the movies he found under the bed but when Jessica says she only watches Denzel movies, he lies in wait and finds Emery is the one who got the tapes. At first, Louis tries to have a really awkward 90s father-son talk about being gay which is about as painful as one would imagine. He’s physically relieved when Emery says he was doing research for school. But it isn’t quite what Louis thinks. See, Emery has been noticing a lot of his friends have been changing recently. We see a dramatic representation of the change with sweet faced boys dropping things and when they sit up,their voices have dropped and they talk about wanting to throw things at people and objects. It was a bit over the top in the way it addressed the change during puberty but this is a comedy, so it did have some comedic effect. Emery wants to focus on expressing himself through poetry but Louis tells him he needs to act like the other boys so they’ll like him.

Unfortunately for Emery, Louis’ approach just lands him in the principal’s office with a black eye from getting punched in the face (poor kid). He’s really angry with his dad but Louis doesn’t think he did anything wrong and that getting punched is a right of passages of sorts. It isn’t until Louis, Evan and Grandma sit down to watch the foreign film (which of course Evan adores) that Grandma gets to set Louis straight. Changing himself to please others is what Louis does at work and it works because it gets customers to come back. But Emery is much more like Jessica and can only be who he is. Louis realizes the level of his mistake and apologizes to Emery, telling him to be who he is. Emery’s approach is to write a rather moving poem and put one of the other boys’ names on it. It’s kind of underhanded and I suppose nowadays might be seen as bullying or something but I suppose it gave the kid a dose of his own medicine. It hasn’t changed how the other boys are still changing around Emery, though.

At home, Eddie and Jessica kind of get into it when she goes back to being strict and the disciplinarian. She explains that she would love to “fun mom” but that person can’t get Eddie to do what he needs to around the house. He ends up taking that to heart (in an Eddie way) and gets himself up the next morning. He even packs his own lunch (six oreo and a tortilla). Please tell me Jessica didn’t let him actually go to school with that as lunch. But it means they are a half hour ahead of schedule and they can play some Mario brothers together. It’s pretty funny to watch Jessica trying to play after her character had already died. But it is a good bonding moment and we can hope that Eddie learns that if he takes some responsibility for his own stuff, then he and his mom can have some fun now and then.

In the coda, we see Louis back at the video rental store. The clerk is there and suggests some films that he thinks Louis might like, being a “true” film fan. But taking his mother’s advice to heart as well, he says he just wants to watch animal movies that are fun. He hates all the all brow stuff the clerk suggests and he’s not going to conform to what the guy thinks any longer. The clerk is offended but Louis doesn't care. He’s going to be who he is and happy about it. I think most of the Huang family learned some good lessons in this episode (except maybe Evan but he didn’t have much to do). I have to admit I wish they gave Grandma more to do. She usually has some really good advice (and just some funny lines). I get that the show is focused mostly on Eddie growing up but I think the writers may be missing a wealth of entertainment by not giving her more focus.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

MTVP So Cal Summer 2016: Unreal 1.02: "Relapse"

“You know what, that doesn’t even intimidate me. You know why? Because there’s cameras everywhere. I’ve seen enough suitor dong to last me I would say my entire life, so…that shower looks so good.”

In the second episode of “UnREAL,” we start to delve even further into the three main ingredients of the show: the ridiculous manipulation that happens on reality dating competition (or any reality show, really), Rachel’s personal life drama, and Quinn and Chet drama. We get to know a few more of the contestants in this episode, particularly Anna, who is a lawyer that Quinn and Rachel hope could be a potential villain for the season since Britney was voted off so quickly. We see Rachel have to handle a very difficult situation with Anna and kind of hate herself for how she deals with it, all while also dealing with drama from her now ex-roommate. I liked that this episode started to give us a better look at what makes some of these characters tick. We get a sense of just how dysfunctional Rachel’s life is, and we also get the sense that Adam tries to be a decent person underneath the smarminess. Most of the time, at least.

We learn right at the beginning of the episode that Rachel has been sleeping in one of the Everlasting production trucks. She wakes up, turns her t-shirt and underwear inside out, uses some Purell, and starts her day. This leads to a really weird encounter when she goes to nudge Adam to get to set, and after he asks her to fetch some things as if she’s a PA not a producer, he proceeds to strip naked and get in the shower while she’s still in the room. Rachel isn’t really phased by this, because by this point in her career, she’s pretty much seen it all. She is, however, since she’s kind of homeless and all, really tempted by the idea of a nice shower. She makes Adam close his eyes as she joins him in the shower. There’s nothing sexual about it – Rachel is just really glad to not feel gross anymore. I understood what the creative team was going for with this scene, but it was still kind of odd.

Rachel’s housing situation becomes even more complicated in this episode. Her (now former) roommate Bethany shows up on set, drops all of Rachel’s stuff on the ground. She’s holding Rachel’s laptop hostage, and if Rachel doesn’t pay all the back rent she owes in twenty-four hours, Bethany is going to release some of that very personal information on the laptop. As the episode progresses, the threat gets more specific. If Rachel misses the deadline, Bethany is going to send a sex tape of Rachel and Jeremy to everyone on the Everlasting crew e-mail list. Rachel doesn’t really have much hope of being able to pay Bethany that much money right away, unless maybe she win’s Quinn’s competition to find a new villain (more on that in a bit). She starts to try to tell Jeremy what’s going on so that he won’t be completely blindsided, but she can’t quite manage it. Rachel keeps trying to explain to Bethany that work is kind of crazy right now (more on that in a bit, too), but Bethany doesn’t care, saying that this is all about showing respect.

As I’ve already mentioned, since Britney was voted off prematurely in the previous episode, Quinn desperately needs a new villain in order for the season to be a success. Quinn decides to hold a little competition to see who can find a passable, or even good, alternate villain. The winner gets a substantial cash prize. Shia goes after Kindergarten teacher Pepper, Rachel goes after ice queen lawyer Anna, and Jay tries to find himself the stereotypical loud black woman. He approaches the two black contestants and presents them with his plan, reminding them that women like Omarosa and Nene are the among the few black women to have really been noticed on reality television. One of the ladies isn’t buying it. She went to Spellman, and she’s not going to make a complete fool of herself for D list fame. I say good for her. The other woman, Athena, however, is willing to do whatever it takes. As she puts it, she wants to be famous enough that when she opens her dream hair salon, there’s a line of people waiting around the corner to get in. I do appreciate that the show is shining a light on the lack of diversity in reality television, particularly in Bachelor Nation. Athena throws herself in the role, deliberately getting into a fight about race with Grace. Poor Grace doesn’t know what hit her and makes the mistake of citing how she has a lot of black friends. Poor Adam has to just clean up the whole mess.

Before we get into the meatiest plot of the episode, let’s briefly acknowledge the craziness going on with Chet and Quinn. I really don’t at all understand what Quinn sees in Chet. He’s a super-gross horndog stoner. And after this episode (and even more after future episodes), I really, really don’t get what she sees in him. Chet’s wife, Cynthia comes to the set. She’s your typical blonde California woman who is just beginning to show her age. She completely blindsides Quinn by telling Quinn that she’s pregnant. Quinn immediately confronts Chet about this. Quinn has been living under this delusion that Chet would eventually leave Cynthia for her, but with a child in the mix, this seems less likely. Chet tries to smooth things over by showing her blueprints for the fancy house (complete with his and her bedrooms) that he wants to build for Quinn. Quinn’s not ready to be bought, though. Yet, at least.

While the events of filming the second episode of Everlasting are unfolding, and Rachel is trying to get Anna to be a bitch, the production team gets word that Anna’s father, who has chronic health problems, is in the ICU. Quinn doesn’t want anyone to tell Anna yet, though, because they need Anna to stay on the show at least a little while longer. Eventually, though, being that horrible of a person gets to be too much for Rachel, and she lets the news slip. Anna immediately tries to run away from the set to go call home, and Rachel is tasked with following her. Rachel eventually brings her back, and Anna has a meltdown that Quinn probably thinks is television gold.

Rachel and Adam accompany Anna back to the east coast for her father’s funeral. Anna is planning on dropping out of the show, because she is all the immediate family her teenage brother has now. Rachel, however, is tasked with getting Anna back. Adam realizes this, and he tries to help, because he thinks Anna is much more likely to listen to him than Rachel. He finally closes the deal by talking directly to Anna’s brother and telling him that his sister has a real chance of winning the show. Her brother than tells Anna that she has to go back, and he’ll stay with their aunt and uncle for a little while. Adam also succeeds in convincing Anna that he really cares about her. Later, in the Everlasting equivalent of the Bachelor rose ceremony, Adam does indeed pick Anna, but he picks her last. Anna admonishes him to never do that to her again, and he says the producers made him do it. Oh, and side note, Rachel edits together a package that makes Anna look crazy, feels bad about it and tries to hide it, is forced by Quinn to show it to everyone, and wins the find the villain competition. Oh, and Bethany e-mails the sex tape, because Rachel has been too busy with Everlasting drama to deal with real life drama.

Summer DVR Dump: Heroes Reborn 1.02: “Odessa”

“Maybe there’s not answer for me here. But I’d be more than happy to help you find out what happened to your daughter.”
- Quentin

This second episode was full of all kinds of crazy and about 4 different story threads going at once. So I’ll try to keep them focused. Let’s start with Noah and Quentin. After Noah freaks out a little bit, he bails Quentin out of jail and takes him on a road trip to Odessa. If Renee is right and something is happening, he needs Molly Walker. I have to admit after season 3 of the original, I kind of wondered where Molly ended up. She just sort of disappeared completely. But now she may be back. Along the way, Noah explains he hadn’t spoken to Claire in 4 years and he’d been hoping to mend things with her the day of the attack. He also believes that Mohinder is innocent. It’s good he can still align himself with the right people. They make it to Odessa and to Primatech where they discover that maybe Claire didn’t die that day. Honestly, I’ve been thinking there’s only a handful of ways Claire could die and they haven’t really addressed it. So I have to believe she’s still alive somewhere. I know we probably won’t see Claire but you never know! Things get complicated fast though. Noah and Quentin aren’t the only ones looking for Molly. We find her in a casino where she’s flirting with a guy to try and steal his winnings so she can disappear. Unfortunately, that just leads here to getting nearly choked to death by the guy’s power and then drugged by his accomplice and kidnapped. Well damn!

Molly’s abductors aren’t the only dangerous folks crawling out of Primatech, either. Renautus is using powered people to create some kind of weapon that Molly is supposed to power. I don’t know what it is but it makes me nervous. Also, it turns out Tommy’s power isn’t completely random. He’d been taken as a child back when Primatech was bagging and tagging and that’s where Luke and his wife Joanne end up. They break out of the facility and kill everyone there before making off with Noah’s files and car (oh and shooting poor Quentin).

Speaking of Tommy, he’s spending some more time with Emily when her boyfriend sees him make a flower vanish. Tommy is scared that the guy is going to beat him up again, or worse turn him in but the kid just wants Tommy to make his abusive stepdad disappear. Tommy thinks about it but backs out in the end. Lucky for him, the weird guy with the pennies shows up and somehow makes the guy disappear. The guy doesn’t know the difference and professes that he’ll protect Tommy and his secret. I’m getting a little bit of a Claire and Zach vibe from this which isn’t that surprising really.

Miko and Ren are very much this iteration’s Hiro and Ando. I have to say I like the video game aspect of their storyline. I still don’t’ know how it all works but it’s kind of cool and it seems Miko is able to travel both in the game and in reality. For instance, she kicks some serious ass before her father is whisked off to Yamagato Tower. She decides she needs to rescue him (she’s going on a mission just like Hiro) and so uses the construct of the game to get there. Ren guides her from the computer at her apartment and he’s worried it’s a trap. But she’s getting a handle on her power now and manages to pop into reality in the lobby of the building and take the guards out in reality so that they shouldn’t be there in the game. She’s one step closer to finding her father and I’m more convinced than ever that her father is Hiro. How exciting!

The last major plot thread for this episode focuses on Carlos. He discovers that his brother was creating an underground railroad for Evos to get to a safe place in Canada. But a portion of the cops was working to stop him and the people he killed were cops who set him up. So Carlos goes to find out who is really calling the shots. He discovers the priest is in on it (he’s an Evo too) and after Carlos helps a mother and son escape to Canada, it seems he’s going to don the mantle of the vigilante in honor of his brother. His powers may not be so physical but hey, he was in the military so he’s not without fighting skills.

Overall, I thought both this episode and the premiere were very much more in line with season 1 of “Heroes”. I like that we get call backs not only to characters from the past but also to places and things that happened. I can already tell Luke is questioning the mission he and his wife are on and I am hoping that eventually he’ll become an ally of sorts. The best way I can describe him is he is the Sylar of this show. Granted, he’s not quite as bat shit crazy as Sylar but still. He’s clearly one of the main threats to the Evos. I’m very interested to see where the show goes from here. We know Noah and Quentin are a mission to rescue Molly and I am hoping they may find some other former allies along the way. I can’t imagine they’d go after her without a little bit of an assist from one Matt Parkman. After all, we know he’s coming and he used to be one of Molly’s caretakers (along with Mohinder) before she just fell off the face of the earth. And I know it’s not happening but I’d really love a short appearance by Peter. He was always my favorite Evo back in the day and I just miss him. Not that basing the narrative around Noah isn’t a good idea because he was also an interesting character but it was a little tiresome dealing with his morally grey actions all the time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.19: "Failed Experiments"

“Sometimes the world’s greatest miracles happen by accident.”
- Hive

As an episode, “Failed Experiments” gave us a small step forward in Hive’s end game and what SHIELD is going to have to do to take him down, although it admittedly still felt a bit like filler. I suppose we did get a little backstory on Hive which was interesting and at least explained its motivations. We begin the episode with Hive’s origin. Long ago we was a Mayan hunter who was captured by Kree Reapers who experimented on him, turning him into Hive. Hive doesn’t blame him torturers for what they did, in fact it wants to do the same thing to other humans. The rationale appears to be that he can eradicate humanity but just turning them all into swayed Inhumans. Good thing he’s got some random people to test it on. Too bad the first experiment goes horribly wrong and Dr. Radcliffe narrowly avoids getting killed by explaining that Hive’s blood is too diluted and that what they need is Kree blood. Well Kree blood from a preferably living Kree.

While the bad guys are trying to sort out their blood issue, Director Coulson has FitzSimmons working on trying to find an anti-toxin so that they could potentially save Daisy from Hive’s sway. As they previously learned, the effects of the parasites can be reversed (they won’t kill her). The pair (who is now officially a couple and are just so damn adorable) think they might be close to something but they would need a test subject to be sure. Lincoln, who feels super upset over the whole Daisy situation, offer himself up as a lab rat but Coulson nixes that idea. After all, they might still need Lincoln to be able to fight. Not being one to follow orders, Lincoln goes against the Director and injects himself with the anti-toxin anyway. Sure, it could work or it could kill him. And either way, now his immune system is severely comprised so he won’t be going into the field anyway. The guy just can’t win can he? He joins up to help Daisy and then when he tries to make advances to save his girl, he gets screwed over again. I just want to give him a big old hug and tell him everything is going to be okay.

Thanks to Daisy being lazy with surveillance avoidance techniques, the team is able to locate Hive and his gang of swayed Inhumans. They think they have the element of surprise so May and Mack lead a heavy tactical team to take out the base. They’ll try their best to leave Daisy alive but they can’t make any promises. Mack, like Lincoln, is taking Daisy’s betrayal hard still. He keeps insisting that he was her partner and should have realized she was compromise. May points out (and rightly so) that they all should have realized but they can’t keep kicking themselves for what happened.

Somewhere along the line, Hive realizes that the device James was hiding in his house is the key to getting the living Kree blood they need. It apparently is a distress beacon that can get the Reapers there in no time. So he fires it up and lo and behold, a couple of big blue aliens crash into town (quite literally) and start killing Inhumans, including Alisha (replicating chick). Around the time that the Kree land and start kicking ass, May leads her team in (Mack tries to go talk some sense into Daisy). May realizes they need some more information and so she sweet talks James into giving her what she needs. That scene cracked me up so hard. He had no idea who she was and that she was going to kick his ass so hard. Personally, I wish the Kree had killed him because while he’s mildly amusing, he serves about the same amount of purpose as Alisha. And we had more of a connection to her.

With the information about what’s going down in hand, May leads her team to where Hive is battling it out with one of the Kree. The Reaper says Hive was a failed experiment that needs to be eradicated but that just pushes Hive to fight harder and he ends up killing the Reaper (the team doesn’t have time to take Hive on because they know they aren’t going to win). So much for keeping the Kree alive for the blood supply. Maybe Daisy will have better luck with the one she’s fighting. Nope, turns out she breaks its spine with her powers (girl has seriously been learning all kinds of creepy new tricks). While that wouldn’t kill it necessarily, Mack shows up to try and get his partner back and shoots the alien, thus rendering its blood useless. Then perhaps the saddest scene of the episode unfolds as Daisy uses her powers on Mack, breaking a lot of bones (including the fingers on one hands. I’m pretty sure she would have killed him if she didn’t stop. A part of her still doesn’t want to hurt her former team. So Mack is rescued in the nick of time and Daisy must now face an unhappy Hive. Sure the Kree are both dead but she points out that Coulson use Kree blood to save her life so she’s got blood in her that they can use. She’ll let Hive drain her if it means getting his plan to fruition. I didn’t think Hive’s parasites made you stupid but I guess they do. Or maybe euphoria makes you do dumb things because you think you are invincible. Either way, it turned my stomach to see Daisy willing to let Hive kill her to advance his creepy plan of creating more Inhumans, regardless of whether they were meant to change or not.

Here’s hoping SHIELD is able to find a way to stop Hive before it’s too late. And honestly, I know I’ve probably said this before but I am so done with Brett Dalton and his myriad of characters. Ward/Hive needs to go and go soon. For good.

Summer DVR Dump: Lucifer 1.02: “Lucifer, Stay. Good Devil”

“You are the Lord of Hell. I can’t believe I’m saying this but Amenediel is right. You are changing.”
- Maze

Our wayward Prince of Darkness is in fine form at the top of this week’s episode. He calls out a fake doomsday preacher and it’s pretty hilarious. And the music they pick as soundtrack for this show just amuses me to no end. I didn’t know there were so many songs about the Devil! I’m also intrigued by the bit of therapy session we see with Lucifer because I think the shrink is right. He’s worried that he’s changing thanks to Chloe and he can’t figure out why. Amenediel is also pointing this out when he swings by after Lucifer wakes up from a threesome and makes his fallen brother a deal: go back to Hell and Amenediel will speak to God. Lucifer is clearly not interested in the offer and he’s still a bit in denial about what’s going on with Chloe.

Speaking of, she’s been spying on him at his club (while she’s on medical leave from her shooting). She wants to figure out how he survived getting shot at the end of the pilot. It’s kind of sexy (with him playing the piano and all) until she gets a call from her ex, Dan, about a case. She’s not working it but it involved a paparazzi named Nick whom Chloe has history with. We don’t know the extent exactly (other than it was from her teenage acting days) but she’s pretty shook up. Nick was following the son of a movie star who crashed his car and died on impact. At first Nick wants to confess but then when Lucifer works his mojo he starts to change his tune. Chloe thinks he’s protecting someone but she still can’t work the case. She also reprimands our Devil when he’s caught smoking pot at the scene (found in Nick’s car). Oops!

In his quest to find out what makes Chloe so different, Lucifer shows up at her house (well her mom’s house that she moved back into after the separation) and tries to treat Trixie like a dog (playing fetch). It’s kind of sad. When he doesn’t get what he wants from her directly, he pays Nick a visit in lockup. Bad Devil! He’s hoping to get the goods on some sordid details but all he learns is that Chloe’s father died and Nick crashed the funeral to get the first photo so Chloe punched him (and his camera).

While this little interrogation is going on, Chloe pays the victim’s father a visit and shares her theory that someone else is responsible for the kid’s death. The father does mention another photographer but doesn’t have a name. So Chloe does a little digging and finds that someone from Nick’s company is posting photos online so there definitely is another creep out there. Lucifer is getting kind of grumpy about not having sexy sordid details when Maze points out that maybe Amenediel is right and he is changing. So clearly that’s a good time for Chloe to show up and drag Lucifer off to find the photographer. They spot him in the crowd but he takes off and everyone starts closing in Chloe. Lucifer uses his powers to get one of the photographers to confess he wants a Pulitzer which starts a fist fight and allows Chloe to get free of the throng.

Thanks to Dan, Chloe gets some information on the other photographer, Josh. It seems he’s the first on scene at lot of celebrity deaths and fights (which is confirmed when she and Lucifer find him and see that not only does it look like he orchestrated a fight but he’s also smoking pot). Now they just need to prove it. Lucifer decides to take matters into his own hands while Chloe is chatting up Nick about what Josh has been doing. She gets a little backstory on our creep and we learn that Nick was going to take the fall because he hoped Josh would get his life together. Clearly that’s not happening. Chloe gets a call from Dan that Josh is missing and then Nick disappears, too. What is Lucifer up to?

It seems he’s going to do a bit of an old school duel. He has Maze set down two guns and tells Nick and Josh to settle things to see who shoots first. Josh grabs his gun and points it at Nick but when he pulls the trigger he finds it has blanks. Even Lucifer is a little surprised by this as the guys scramble and Nick gets the other gun. Chloe shows up and tries to talk Nick out of pulling the trigger (while Lucifer is whispering in his ear to do it) when Lucifer decides to spice things up and calls Amenediel down with a little prayer. He’s rejecting his brother’s offer to go back to Hell but he wanted to point out that he was right that Lucifer is changing. But it doesn’t frighten Lucifer. He’s thrilled with the new experience. He nabs the bullet from the air and kicks Josh in the nuts before settling in behind Chloe as time starts up again. She’s totally baffled by it but hey at least they got the bad guy.

And in a kind of sweet bit, Chloe tells Trixie about the movie she was in. Of course, the seven-year-old has already seen it thanks to the internet. But she liked it and thought it was funny. Which is totally a little kid reaction and just makes her even cuter! I thought this was very good episode and it kept me drawn in the whole time. I like that we are getting a little more backstory on the characters as well as settling in to the show’s format. I like the procedural with a twist and think it’s doing well in this setting. We have enough character driven plotline to keep it interesting and Lucifer’s reactions to things just make me laugh.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 2.21: "Rent Day"

“You get a Chipwich! And you get a Chipwich! Do you know why it is raining Chipwiches? Because I just found us the perfect renters!”

This episode of “Fresh off the Boat” was tied together by the fact that in both the plots, the Huang parents had to admit they were wrong about something. As we’ve gotten to know Louis and Jessica pretty well by this point, we know that this wasn’t easy for either of them, although probably easier for Louis than Jessica. Specifically, both are wrong in their estimations of other people. Louis doesn’t trust Eddie enough, and Jessica trusts the new renters at the investment property too much. I’ll admit that I was surprised Jessica was so willing to trust her gut when choosing tenants instead of conducting meticulous background checks. And the attorney in me was yelling “constructive eviction!” during one of her schemes to deal with the tenants once she discovered how terrible they truly were. That being said, John Francis Daley (of “Freaks and Geeks” and “Bones” fame) and Allison Scagliotti (of “Warehouse 13” and “Stitchers” fame) gave very fun performances as the terrible tenants.

We open this episode with Jessica, Honey, and Grandma Huang showing the investment house to a prospective buyer. Grandma has even made a variety of cookies, and she’s very offended that the prospective buyer isn’t interested in them. The prospective buyer notes that there’s some work in the basement that makes it look like there have been termite issues (which is true, of course). He’s willing to buy the house, though, because he thinks he can rent it out and make a lot of money on it that way. As soon as she hears this, Jessica kicks him out and tells the other women that they are going to rent the house out instead. Honey (in kind of a surprise move) points out that they aren’t at all prepared to be landlords. They don’t have an attorney, or even a handyman. Jessica is convinced that she can take care of absolutely everything. Which we all know, of course, isn’t true. Take this from someone who once worked as a bookkeeper for a property management company: if you are renting just one or two properties, use a property management company! Taking care of everything yourself just isn’t worth the added stress.

Meanwhile, Eddie really, really wants a Divemaster watch. He can’t stop fantasizing about how cool he will look wearing it. He tries to suck up to Louis to get him to buy it for him, but that just makes Louis feel awkward. Louis has an old gold Casio watch that he is very attached to because it has a calculator and an alarm. He lends the watch to Eddie and says that if Eddie takes care of the watch well for a week, he will buy the Divemaster. Eddie is super excited about this, and of course he thinks he’ll handle the challenge with no problems. In the middle of the week, though, Eddie is dismayed to find that the watch is missing. He had taken it off to get a shower, and he can’t remember if he ever put it back on. Evan and Emery specialize in finding missing items, and they have styled themselves as “The Huang Boys.” They got paid nicely for finding the living room remote control, so they’re happy to take Eddie’s case.

Jessica takes it upon herself to interview prospective tenants, and she settles upon a young couple named Jordan and Raquel. They say they went to law school, but they’re in the medical field now. Jessica assumes they must be successful doctors, so she is very eager to rent to them. She goes to Honey and Grandma with a box of donuts, gleefully handing them out and lauding herself as a visionary like Oprah. There’s just one small problem. While in the middle of her celebration, Jessica gets a call from the bank saying that Jordan and Raquel’s check bounced. Jessica doesn’t want Honey and Grandma to know there’s a problem, though, so she writes them all checks from her own account that are supposed to be their shares of Jordan and Raquel’s first payment. She then goes and pays a visit to Jordan and Raquel. She finds them playing video games and eating takeout and just generally goofing around. Jessica is unhappy about this, and things only get worse from there. Jordan and Raquel say they’re surprised Jessica rented to them, considering they aren’t licensed attorneys, and their connection with the medical profession is that they’ve been lab subjects a bunch of times.

Meanwhile, Emery and Evan are on the case of the missing watch, and in the course of their investigation, they talk to Louis. Louis actually wants to hire them to find the watch too, not realizing they had already been hired by Eddie. Louis had seen the watch on Eddie’s bed, and he thought Eddie was being careless with it, so he took it to take a lesson. Unfortunately for Louis, he then lost it. So Emery and Evan are looking for the watch on behalf of two clients now. By the end of the episode, there are three gold Casios in play. Emery and Evan bought one because they didn’t want to break the streak. Eddie also walks in wearing a watch that Louis bought and left sitting out because he felt bad about messing with Eddie. Grandma also appears with the original watch. She took it from Louis in the first place because she wanted to teach Louis not to mess with his son. Louis learns a lesson in giving Eddie a chance to be responsible before passing judgment.

Jessica, trying to solve the tenant problem on her own, gives Jordan and Raquel some bar study materials and tells them to study for the bar so they can get a real job. She also tells them to cut expenses by eating takeout less and making more of their own food. Jordan and Raquel take this to heart, and the result turns out to not be what Jessica expected. When she next stops by the investment house, Jordan and Raquel are studying for the bar, and there’s a chicken in the yard. They have put out a lot of money to set up the homestead as Jessica wanted, so now it’s going to take them longer to pay the rent. And now that they’re studying for the bar, they’ve also remembered that they have right as tenants, and Jessica can’t evict them without following the process. Jessica pulls up behind a cop she knows to ask him if it’s true that she can’t just kick the tenants out, and he confirms that is indeed the case.

What Jessica tries next is what got me all upset over constructive eviction. She cuts of the electricity and water and sends a cat after the chicken. Jordan and Raquel make the best of this too, though. The cat doesn’t eat the chicken, and they make a party out of the no power and water situation, with candles and lemonade. Eventually, Jessica is forced to admit to Honey what Happened, and Honey is sympathetic. She reminds Jessica that Oprah got fired early in her career but came back to build an empire with the support of her friends. They make the decision to sell the house, so Jordan and Raquel are the new owner’s problem now (which was a somewhat too easy ending to that story, I think). Jessica decides to try flipping again, but this time just a condo, and Honey and Grandma get on board.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Game of Thrones 6.02: "Home"

“I’m friends with your mother. I’m here to help. Don’t eat the help!”

As per usual, there was quite a lot going on in this episode of “Game of Thrones.” Most importantly, Jon Snow lives! (Sorry…spoiler alert…). The “Game of Thrones” cast and creative team kept us waiting for a year to find out if he would survive the attack by Ser Alliser Thorne and his fellow traitorous Night’s Watchmen, and I believe we now finally have our answer. I appreciated that the way in which Jon Snow is now alive is perfectly logical in the “Song of Ice and Fire” universe, and it is indeed at least partially something my “Game of Thrones” watching friends were all predicting. It is interesting that HBO took the deception so far though, with poor Kit Harrington having to outright lie in interviews and say he wasn’t coming back. We also got a bit of a look at what Bran is up to, which was interesting because we really haven’t seen him in quite a while. As one would expect with “Game of Thrones,” there wasn’t really a lot to tie all these plot threads together as one episodic theme (although as you might guess from the title, the concept of “home” was central to at least a couple of the plots), but it was still an enjoyable enough way to spend an hour.

We in fact open this episode with a check-in on Bran. He’s been spending his time training with the Three-Eyed Raven. Bran is able to walk as he and the Raven observe Winterfell of the past. A young Ned Stark and his brother, Benjen, play with toy swords out on the grounds, much like we saw Bran’s generation of Stark kids do in the pilot episode six years ago. Lyanna Stark makes a grand entrance on horseback and hands the reigns of her horse over to the stable boy, Wylis, who is actually present-day Hodor. I’m glad we’re finally starting to get a little Hodor backstory. Wylis is actually able to say words beyond “Hodor” at this point in his life. Bran wants to remain in this happy vision of home, but the Raven pulls him out, warning him that spending too much time in a vision could lead to the vision consuming him. Bran goes outside to talk to Meera, who seems kind of bored and depressed. She wants to stay outside despite it being dangerous. After Bran goes back inside, a strange child tells her that Bran won’t be practicing his visions forever, and when he goes back out into the world, he will need her help.

There is also some good Lannister character development in this episode. A peasant is very rude in describing what he did when he witnessed Cersei’s walk of shame, but the Mountain makes quick work of him. Cersei, meanwhile, is at the Red Keep, hoping to be able to go to Myrcella’s funeral. When she tries to leave, however, a whole bunch of guards tell her that the King has ordered that she stay in the Red Keep for her own safety. After the funeral, Tommen and Jaime talk about how Tommen kept Cersei away from the funeral because she wouldn’t have been allowed in the Sept. Jaime tells Tommen he needs to reconcile with his mother. When Tommen leaves, Jaime has a tense conversation with the High Sparrow. He makes it clear he would have no qualms about killing the High Sparrow, but more of the Faith Militant appear and kick Jaime’s bravado down a notch. Tommen takes his father’s advice and does indeed talk to Cersei. He tells her how ashamed he is to not be able to protect his mother and his wife after Cersei worked so hard to try and make him strong.

Next let’s head across the Narrow Sea to Braavos. Arya is still blind and begging for money in an alley. The Waif again approaches her, and they again fight. Arya tries to fight back, but she keeps getting beaten. The Waif disappears, and Arya continues to fight, willy-nilly. At that moment, Jaqen appears. He keeps asking Arya her name, raising the reward she’ll get if she does so, up to the point of giving her sight back. When she keeps saying she’s no one, Jaqen eventually says she can come back to the House of Black and White with him. In Meereen, Tyrion and Varys have one of their trademark discusions. Varys tells Tyrion that Astapoor and Yunkai have been retaken by the slave masters. A little tipsy, Tyrion decides that the best solution to the problem is to release Dany’s two remaining dragons that she had chained up in the cave. Tyrion recounts how in Westeros, the dragons gradually got smaller and smaller once they were confined, until they eventually died out. We learn that as a boy, the present he wanted more than anything was a dragon, but there weren’t any left. Tyrion goes into the cave and releases the dragons, but he just about loses his nerve doing it.

Heading back to Westeros, specifically the North, Lord Karstark informs Roose Bolton that the solders pursuing Sansa have been found dead. Ramsay suggests attacking Castle Black, because that’s Sansa’s logical destination, but Roose thinks that’s a bad idea. The conversation is interrupted with the news that Lady Walda has given birth to a healthy baby boy. His claim to the Bolton throne now open for question, Ramsay’s demeanor changes immediately. He embraces Roose as he stabs him in the heart. Then he brings Lady Walda and her new son into the kennels and sets the hounds on them. He says he prefers to be an only child. Also in bad father/son relationship news, Theon makes the decision to return to the Iron Islands. At home, Balon Greyjoy is trying to cross a rope bridge in a storm when he is approached by his younger brother Euron, who wants to challenge for the throne. As you’d expect, Euron tosses Balon off the bridge. At her father’s funeral, Yara expresses her desire to take the throne and avenge her father’s death, but she is reminded by a different uncle that she must be voted to the throne, and since she’s a woman, that’s unlikely. The Iron Islands need their glass ceilings shattered, people! Yara for Queen 2016!

We’ll end this post talking about the events that took place at Castle Black, which were really the biggest events of the whole episode. Thorne’s goons try to break into the chamber where Jon is being mourned, but they’ve got bigger problems. The Wildlings invade Castle Black. The mutiny now subdued, all of Thorne’s supporters are ordered to be locked up. Davros pays a visit to Melisandre, who looks like she has been crying. He asks if she has any magic that could help Jon. Recent events, however, have made Melisandre doubt her abilities. She agrees to try, however, and she says some chants over Jon’s body. Nothing seems to happen, so she leaves the room, defeated. The magic works, however. When only Ghost is left in the room, Jon’s eyes open and he takes a breath.