Wednesday, November 30, 2016

This Is Us 1.09: "The Trip"

“The moment I saw you, I knew you were my boy. You aren’t a choice, Randall, you are a fact. You were never a replacement son, do you understand?”
- Jack

Get ready for yet another emotional ride with the Pearson clan. Randall is still furious with Rebecca for what she did (he’s second maddest at William and then Beth). He’s going to make a list of every reason he is angry with his mother and then read it to her. Well, okay then. Before he can do that, though, Kevin reveals to Kate that Rebecca is selling the family cabin. They decide that going out there and spending the day just as The Big Three would be a great idea. After all, they all kind of have things to work through. Kevin is not having any of Kate’s surgery decision and she thinks he’s being kind of a dick in general now that he’s hanging with different people in New York.

In the past, we see Randall starting to question where he came from, going up to black people in the grocery store, asking if they can roll their tongue (it’s apparently an inherited trait). Rebecca is not happy about this but Jack tries to reassure her. And as they hang with their one black friend (from the pool), she suggests they find some male role models for Randall who are black. Jack takes Randall to a dojo run by a black man but Jack feels like maybe they should try and actually find Randall’s bio parents (and of course Rebecca is resisting). Rebecca is terrified not only that his biological parents could be dangerous (even though she knows he’s not really that bad) but also because she worries that they’ll be great and want him back. The next day, Rebecca goes to see William, not sure if he’s still in the same place. I suspect this is where she gives him the photo of Randall and the letter. Well, it isn’t the letter (yet) but she does fill William in on what Randall’s been up to and she shares that Randall has been asking about him and William gets all excited to meet Randall, scaring Rebecca away. We also get an absolutely moving scene when Randall is initiated into the dojo where Jack and then all the other fathers do push-ups with Randall on their backs to show him that they will be his community and his support. The devotion that Jack shows to his children is astounding. He may not be perfect but my God does he try so hard!

The Big Three get to the cabin and things start to fall apart quickly. Randall just wants to pack his stuff and leave but then Kevin had to go and invite Olivia (who brought the playwright and some hipster guy). Not cool, Kev. Not cool at all. Especially when they end up playing a board game and we learn that hipster guy dated Olivia. Kate kind of rips into her (and then Kevin) for bringing him there. I think this is the first time we’ve really seen the twins fight. And while they are bickering, Randall is having one hell of a trip thanks to drinking some of hipster guy’s mushroom smoothie. He wanders outside to find Jack fixing the roof. Oh boy! He starts ranting to Jack about what Rebecca has done and his imaginary father tells him that if Rebecca had kept that secret, it would have destroyed her (which I’m pretty sure is true). But imaginary Jack also tells Randall that he was wanted and loved. Randall decides in his altered state that he wants Rebecca to hurt as much as he does. That doesn’t sound good at all! But as he tries to yell at the memory of Rebecca, Jack reminds him to look through it and see what’s underneath. We find a very trapped and lonely Rebecca.

Kate thinks she’s got Olivia sorted out (at least the type of person that she is) but then Olivia accuses Kate of being jealous of Kevin and the fact that he’s changing and she’s not and that maybe even if she loses the weight, it won’t be enough. Kate is clearly shaken by this and lashes out at Kevin and then when she calls Toby to vent about everything, he basically tells her that if they are still broken up, he can’t be her support person. Harsh, Toby! Back in the cabin, we get a little outside insight into Olivia from the playwright (Olivia wrangled her into driving to the cabin instead of letting the playwright go to New York to be there for the birth of her niece). This ends up setting Kevin off a bit when they are watching old home movies and the hipster is clearly making fun of Kate. Kevin ends up giving them a piece of his mind (rightly so, defend your sister from the assholes) and they end up leaving.

Kevin finds Kate out in the woods and apologizes to her. And she admits that maybe she can’t do this all alone and she’s scared of the surgery (and more about not trying it). It looks like Kevin (still being a little selfish) convinces her to stay in New York to focus on herself. Sure it means less Toby but hey, we have the Big Three together again at least! The next day, Kate finds Kevin in bed with the playwright (better her than Olivia I suppose) and they find Randall fixing the house. Not for Rebecca, but for Jack. And as the episode comes to a close, he goes to see Rebecca and while he acknowledges that keeping the secret for so long must have been lonely, he’s not ready to forgive her yet. But he will see her at Christmas (which is the next episode). This was a very deep and painful episode for everyone but I think it needed to happen and it’s very good that it did. Just like in life, things take time to heal and I believe we are seeing that process unfold not only for Randall and Rebecca but Kate and Kevin, too.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lucifer 2.10: “Quid Pro Ho”

“You need to see that you’re not meant to be together. You belong with your family.”
- Charlotte

We pick up right where we left off with Charlotte attempting to blow up Chloe’s car with her in it. Amenediel comes to the rescue and gets a taste of Mama’s powers. When he pleads with his mother to find another way to get Lucifer to go home with them, she decides to be more subtle about the way she goes about splitting the Devil and the Detective apart. After a short session with Linda in which she informs him that he’s lying to himself (and chickening out of the date with Chloe), he heads over to see Chloe and explain what happened. But there’s no time because she and her mother have to head off for the trial of her father’s actual killer. As they all sit in the courtroom, ready to take on the horror of reliving the murder again, Dan gets a package at the precinct, containing the severed head of the prosecution’s star witness (the Russian mobster). Without him, the case will likely fall apart. And as if that weren’t enough, Charlotte is going to be defending the killer!

At first Lucifer is hopeful that his mother will be terrible in court but she’s actually pretty adept, even managing to convince the judge not to grant a continuance to the prosecution (she weaseled her way into getting the other side to claim they have a rock solid case even without their witness). Lucifer is even more miffed to learn that Charlotte is trying to show Lucifer that Chloe is beneath him and not deserving of his adoration or affection. He gets really pissed when she casually mentions she almost blew up the detective. While Chloe is panicking about the forensics (but hey Ella comes through and narrows down the site of the decapitation), Lucifer is putting his own plan into play. He’s going to testify in the trial (likely to what Boris told him … it’s hearsay but I mean they may have depositions from Boris so it may be admissible). I can’t wait to see Charlotte and Lucifer’s courtroom verbal sparring.

Lucifer gives this great dramatic recitation of his interaction with Boris (while Ella and Dan get some information on the guy who lobbed off Boris’ head). Unfortunately (at least to me) Charlotte declines to question him. I really wanted to see her rip into him and his pronouncement that Chloe is so good, he hasn’t even slept with her. Meanwhile, Amenediel is trying to protect Chloe by removing the bomb but Maze finds him and he tries to cover up what he’s doing by telling her he misses her and make out with her. But she knows what’s doing and she detonates the bomb before telling him to keep Charlotte away from Chloe.

It turns out that Charlotte was waiting until it was her turn to present her case to question Lucifer (after she has no questions for Dan) and boy does she fluster her baby boy. She points out (quite expertly) that while he says that Chloe was first on scene for the man who took the fall for Papa Decker’s murder, the official report says Dan was first. Lucifer insists he wasn’t lying in his testimony but clearly Chloe doesn’t believe him. Obviously she got the information from Dan by sleeping with him and stealing his phone. While Maze needles Dan (because she clearly can see what happened) as they head to check out a front for the Chinese mob, Amenediel has a session with Linda. It turns out Maze blew up his car (and he’s just sitting sadly gripping his steering wheel) as she explains that he did to Maze what he did to her. So he needs to apologize. And just as Dan and Lucifer are about to approach the mob, Dan admits he leaked the information and slept with Charlotte. Cue Lucifer losing his damn mind!

Thanks to Maze being a badass demon, the guys get the location of the Chinese mobster who offed Boris (he went behind his organization’s back) but he’s dead, too. And after Chloe testifies and gets super emotional about Lucifer, the jury returns a not guilty verdict. But it doesn’t last long. Dan takes matters into his own hands and with an assist from Maze the prick gets nabbed by the Russians. Damn, Dan, you are one crazy man. Elsewhere, Amenediel goes to try and apologize to Maze and ends up chatting with Chloe’s mom. When he finally gets a good look at her and she identifies herself as Chloe’s mom, he kind of freaks out and then dishes to Charlotte the news he’s just uncovered. While we see Lucifer and Chloe sharing a really sweet dinner and leaning in for their first kiss, Amenediel reveals that 35 years ago, God send him down to Earth to bless a couple who couldn’t have a child. It was the only time God asked this of him and today, he met the mother again….Chloe’s mom. Chloe is an actual freaking miracle set on this planet by God, possibly to be put in Lucifer’s path. Charlotte thinks that Chloe is now the key to getting all of them home.

We now have to wait until January to see what happens next and that kind of annoys me. I mean the writers did a great job leaving us with an enticing cliffhanger that will make you want to come back and find out more. I am glad that they wrapped up the storyline with Chloe’s dad and that they have finally started to share with us what makes Chloe special. I can’t wait to see how Lucifer reacts to this revelation. Will he continue to pursue Chloe or will he try to keep his distance? Will this change his relationship with God in any way? And what was God’s plan in all of this anyhow? So many questions and now we have to wait a good 2 months to find out!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Once Upon a Time 6.09: “The Changelings”

“A name is a special thing! You don’t waste it on something you don’t intend on becoming attached to.”
- Rumpelstiltskin

This week’s episode is all about the next generations. We find, that Rumple is putting his latest plan into motion. It involves testing out a potion on a fairy to give the good guys a heads up that he intends to speed up Belle’s pregnancy so he can cut their son’s fate when he is born. Belle assumes Rumple is filling them in to try and scare her back into being with him (good assumption) but she says she won’t do it. Instead, she goes to research anything she can to find a way to get out of this insanity and is pulled into the dream world where her son warns her about what Rumple will be doing and that there is a way to stop it before it happens.

In the Enchanted Forest of the past, Rumple returns back with a baby in toe, which he tasks Belle with keeping it entertained until he returned. Belle, after managing to calm the baby down by reading him her favorite book, decides to sneak him out of the castle before Rumple gets back. It turns out Rumple set her up because he doesn’t speak fairy and the incantation he needs is in that language. But of course, Belle can read it and she deciphers it and find it’s a summoning spell for the Black Fairy (yeah that doesn’t sound bad at all). Eventually, the Blue Fairy shows up and frees Belle so that she can rescue the child. Apparently the Black Fairy steals children for some unknown reasons and magic can’t be used to save the baby now. So Belle is his only hope. And in a twist I have to admit I didn’t see coming, the Black Fairy is Rumple’s mother. Honestly, is that why he’s so obsessed with magic and feels like it’s a big part of him, because his mother is a fairy? That certainly explains why he hates them so much. But as Belle shows up and saves the baby, he blathers on about how no one understands his pain. Um, way to be super overdramatic dude.

While the Charming clan is trying to figure out a way to stop Rumple (thanks to Hook spotting squid ink which will paralyze him), the Evil Queen is off to attempt to kill Zelena so she can be with Rumple. But Regina shows up and makes good on a threat to crush her doppelganger’s heart to stop her. Regina also gets to lay down some truth bombs on her evil alter ego. Rumple is just using her, like he does everyone else around him and the hole in the Evil Queen’s heart is blinding her to his real priorities. He ends up kicking the Evil Queen out (after his little meeting with Belle) and Regina admits she only showed up at Zelena’s place to look for magic to reverse the spell on the fairy. She says she’ll never forgive Zelena for what happened with Robin. That’s too bad because Zelena is trying to be a better person. Also, Aladdin and Jasmine try to use the lamp he snagged from the pawn shop a few episodes back to find their home but the genie inside is gone. So Aladdin thinks it’s a grand idea to become a genie so Jasmine can get her wish (or something … to be honest I didn’t really care about that little subplot this week).

At Gold’s shop, Emma and Hook dose Rumple with the ink but Emma has another flash of a future vision and it distracts the pair long enough for the effects to wear off and for Rumple to just casually stroll out the front door. He finds Belle in the library and threatens to use the potion on her to speed up her pregnancy. We get a rather emotional scene between the pair of them about their relationship that kind of makes his atrocious treatment of her a little less horrible. He thinks that his past statement that he was a difficult man to love was wrong. He thinks no one can love him but he hopes starting over with this new baby might work out. Belle says that the price for him getting the baby will be him losing her forever and for a moment that is enough to make him back off. But I don’t expect that to last long. And I was right, although I suspect perhaps it was the Evil Queen’s doing. But as Emma and Hook chat about her new vision (and the additional detail of a glowing red jewel in the sword hilt), Belle’s belly gets enormous! It’s baby time!

Emma takes Belle to the convent to be protected by the fairies as she gives birth and as she’s in the throes of labor, she goes to the dream world once again where her son implores her that they are out of time and there is one thing she can do. Honestly, I’m still confused about what it is. I mean, she’s not going to kill the baby or herself (I don’t think). I do have a guess though about what she names him, though. Thanks to some tears and quick thinking, she names him Gideon (after her favorite story character … totally called it) and has Blue be his fairy godmother and take him far away. She may not see him for a while but she’s confident one day they’ll be reunited. Rumple is rather upset seeing as he didn’t actually use the spell on her and then he throws a wicked temper tantrum when the Evil Queen rubs it in his face. But he promises he’s going to get her back. And after he goes off to bed (or whatever he does when he’s not in the shop), Emma and Hook sneak in and she finds the sword. Now that they’ve got it, she hopes they can figure out who the figure under the hood and maybe stop the vision from coming true after all.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving “Classic” Recap: Speechless: “T-H-A-Thanksgiving”

“What did I tell you? So they bug you, deal with it.”
- Ray

We may not have spent much time with the DiMeo family yet but we get to spend Thanksgiving with them. Now, before we get into the meat of the episode, I feel I should point out that for the most part, Minnie Driver’s character still annoys me. Most of the time I stick around for the sweet moments between Jimmy and the kids (especially Ray). So it’s Thanksgiving at the DiMeo residence and they are not looking forward to spending the holiday with Jimmy’s brother and his family. According to them, Billy (Jimmy’s brother) is super rich and loves to rub it in Jimmy’s face. Each of the other members of Billy’s family are equally annoying and weird. As the family is out trying to find things to wear, Jimmy spots an amazing Black Friday deal for a TV (they need a new one because he broke the old one after he kicked the old one over during his brother’s latest dentist commercial). So they are going to beg off of Thanksgiving by claiming JJ is sick. Kenneth is also going to share the holiday with them (because he claims he didn’t feel like traveling).

Unfortunately, Jimmy’s attempt to get the family out of dinner backfires when Billy says they will come to May and Jimmy instead. As everyone kind of freaks out, Maya comes up with a game. For each thing that the other family members do that’s annoying, our gang will get a point. At first it looks like they are going to have to dig deep to get their points but then things just start rolling. Ray is the only one not “playing”. He doesn’t handle drama well and in fact it gives him an ulcer (or at least the start of one). So Kenneth manages to convince Maya to let him and Ray do the cooking. In hindsight, that is a terrible idea because Kenneth has no clue what he’s doing and the totally ruin the turkey. Ray also learns that Kenneth has his own family drama that he’s trying to avoid this year. His sister and parents tend to gang up on him and give him crap for being a disappointment. I don’t know but maybe they’d feel differently this year seeing as he’s got a pretty sweet job as an aide for JJ. But Ray kind of panics when Kenneth starts losing his mind about his own family drama. Ray just wants to avoid everything because he’s just kind of a wuss I guess.

As Billy continues to humble brag like nobody’s business, Jimmy gets really fed up. So he they end up almost doing a street race. It’s also interesting that Billy’s family treats them all like they are pathetic and need to be pitied. They also just yell at JJ (like he’s deaf). Speaking form experience, that shit just pisses me off. But as the guys get ready to race, we learn that Billy and his family are completely broke (thank you Ray for outing the rest of the family and their “game”). He gambled all the money away and then he tried to make it back by charging unnecessary procedures. You know, this reminded me a lot of one of the first “Fresh off the Boat” holiday episodes where we first met Jessica’s sister. I guess it’s kind of a theme for family comedies to too. Billy’s side of the family also gets to have their digs at Maya and Jimmy (although by comparison they are very minor things … I mean really Maya does a “fake” British accent?). But given that everyone in the DiMeo clan is now poor, they end up bonding a bit over Black Friday sales. They aren’t afraid to use JJ as a way to cut the line to get into the store and get everything they want. They also kind of find that they have more commonalities between them than they originally realized. Then, as Jimmy and Billy come out of the store with the last 60 inch flat screen, Jimmy decides to auction it off and he gives Billy the money (something Billy has done in the past for Jimmy). So in the end, they all learn that maybe they should be nicer to each other (and hey JJ even gets to be in Billy’s new commercial). So I guess the DiMeo clan has learned some valuable lessons, hopefully one of which is don’t trust Kenneth in the kitchen. I did like that in the end, Ray was able to get him to try and talk to his family about what’s bothering him and why he feels the way he does.

Overall, I thought this episode was decent. I’m not super in love with the show but as I said at the start of this post, there are parts of it, usually that involve Jimmy that are sweet and touching and the characters learn something. I have to admit I found Jimmy’s side of the family more annoying than our regular characters for a lot of it. Their characteristics just seemed really over the top (and I get that was the point). And maybe Maya was a little less grating than usual. When she wasn’t really focusing on being JJ’s advocate I think she’s more tolerable. Yes, she had a bit where she reminded her sister-in-law that JJ had perfect hearing but he just couldn’t speak, but that was really it. I understand that she wants to be a zealous advocate for JJ, especially because it is difficult for him to advocate for himself but most of the time she’s just obnoxious. Maybe I was spoiled with watching my own parents advocate for me and deal with having a special needs kid that I’m biased. I do still wish they’d give Dillon more to do or some other purpose. To me, she is still the weakest link on the show. It really wasn’t necessary to have two normal kids to the one disabled one. I mean, at least with Ray he’s kind of interesting and he’s got real problems. Dillon is just kind of a generic tom boy who isn’t very interesting.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

This Is Us 1.08: “Pilgrim Rick”

“I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful that we’re safe and there’s no one in the whole world I’d rather be too hot or too cold with.”
- Jack

Welcome to our first Thanksgiving with the Pearsons! In the mid-1980s (when the Big Three are around 8) we see that Rebecca is making cranberry sauce. She’s obsessing over making it perfect to compete with her sister. It seems their family tradition is currently to go to her parents’ house. None of the kids really like it. Kate hates the handmade (and super itchy) sweater that her grandma made and Randall hates it when they always ask for pictures of “just the twins”. And just as they are ready to leave, the boys come crashing into the kitchen and make Rebecca drop the sauce! They get a late start on the road because they had to spend 2 hours finding the right cranberry sauce substitute and then they get a flat tire, leading them to go on a hike (we are beginning to see the new tradition develop). As they walk along, Jack and Rebecca come up with a game to keep the kids occupied. They want them to say what they’ll do for Thanksgiving as adults. At first Kevin wants to be a football player and eat a big turkey but when Randall says he hates Thanksgiving, the twins chime in that they hate it, too. And not just because of going to their grandparents’ house. Rebecca gets kind of mean. And then Rebecca does what she believes is the unthinkable—as Jack tries to get a tow truck and some food, she calls her parents and tells them they aren’t going to come anymore. They end up at a funny lodge run by a guy named Pilgrim Rick (in a big hat) with only Kraft singles and saltines to eat and a Police Academy movie on the TV. And then Jack borrows Pilgrim Rick’s hat and sets a really sweet tradition into motion involving hotdogs wrapped in cheese and crushed crackers. The way he is always working to make his kids happy is just so heartening. This makes me so sad that Jack is dead in the present. His kids still need him!

In the present in LA, Kate is preparing to go to New York to spend Thanksgiving with the rest of the family (hey we get everyone but Jack in the present, how cool is that?) but she has some personal and painful things to do first. She’s out to dinner with Toby and she tells him they need to take a break because she needs to get a handle on her whole situation and she can’t do that with the way Toby is acting at the moment. It was really painful to watch and the emotion coming off Kate’s face was just gut wrenching. We also see that Kate is having a hell of a time getting to be with the rest of the family. The plane hits some serious turbulence and she ends up kind of bonding with her seat mate.

Back on the East Coast, Kevin convinces Olivia to go to Thanksgiving with him. And we also see that Randall takes Thanksgiving super seriously. He gets up really early and gets into the kitchen to start cooking. He also wakes everyone up (even if they don’t want to get up). As Kevin heads out to get Olivia, Rebecca and Miguel show up. I have to say it is very interesting to see that both Randall and Kevin call him “Miguel” rather than “Dad”. Neither of them seem to like him all that much. Especially when Miguel asks Kevin about the play and if he’s having fun in rehearsals. As we saw in the past, the family has to hike to get to their destination and now part of the family tradition is to go on a hike. We also learn about what William used to do (hang with his sober friends) and about Olivia’s family (the essence being her father was cheating on her mom and they didn’t get to the desserts). I like how we are learning about the other people’s traditions.

Randall heads off to William’s apartment to get the recordings of William and his friends playing during previous Thanksgivings and he declines Rebecca’s offer to join him (Beth has tasked her with telling Randall the truth about her and William by the end of the night) and we also see more of how much Kevin (at least) doesn’t like Miguel. There’s some part of the family tradition with a hat involved and Miguel wants to wear it. Kevin quite rudely says that it won’t happen because Jack wore it and now Kevin and Randall take turns. And then his day gets even worse when Olivia walks out (all dramatic and very much romantic comedy-esque). William talks some sense into Olivia (he can be wise and the way he described what it feels like to die was beautifully poetic and I have to wonder if she’s getting a similar lesson out of this that Kevin did at the funeral) and she goes back into the house.

In New Jersey, Randall finds the tapes that William listened to but he also finds a letter that seems to really upset him. While Kevin allows Miguel to take over as Pilgrim Rick, Randall gets back and you can tell he is upset but he isn’t saying anything. He’s simmering and I can just tell once everyone is together, it’s going to explode! Before dinner, we see the final Person family tradition, pulling on yarn (originally from Kate’s awful sweater) and saying what they are thankful for. But when Randall gets the yarn, he tosses it on the ground and about loses his damn mind (with good reason). You can tell a part of him wants his mother to explain but the bigger part is so hurt, he just can’t handle looking at his mother or being in the room with her. So he leaves, just as Kate arrives and announces she’s going to have gastric bypass surgery.

I knew coming into this episode that it would be emotional (then again what episode of this show isn’t?) and man it delivered. I’m so glad we get to spend more time with this family as they come through their struggles.

Lucifer 2.09: “Homewrecker”

“I find people make Los Angeles their home for one of two reasons. They’re either running from something or they are looking for something.”
- Linda

This was a very interesting episode of “Lucifer”. When last we left our Devil, he’d made it very clear to Mum that Earth was his home. The episode opens with a rather awkward and amusing bus tour with Lucifer and Amenediel. Lucifer thinks his brother needs to learn about the city so they can enjoy staying, seeing as this is where Lucifer wants to put down roots. But when it turns out that the man who owned the strip where Lux is located is found murdered in his home, things don’t look good. And they get even direr when Maze summons Lucifer back to the club. The dead man’s son is going to evict Lucifer from the building. So while Chloe is trying to solve the case this week. Lucifer is trying to save his home. He even has a discussion with Linda during one of his sessions about home and why he feels that Earth is his home. At first, he can’t put it into word and she explains that often people coming to LA do it for one of two reasons: running away from something or looking for something.

As the episode progresses, we learn that Lucifer was definitely looking for something. We’re also not alone in thinking that Charlotte may have been involved in the man’s death. After all, it does seem like something she could be capable of. So Maze goes to confront Amenediel about it and Charlotte of course shows up. She denies any involvement but you can see the wheels turning in her head of how to use this to her advantage. She still thinks she can convince Lucifer to go back to Heaven with the rest of the family.

Chloe and Lucifer’s first suspect is the victim’s son (thanks to Ella reconstructing the wine glass that was the murder weapon and finding prints). But when they get there to talk to the guy, he launches himself off a balcony onto a car. He survives (miraculously I suppose) and we learn that he was selling off his father’s properties because his father ran the business into the ground but it wasn’t enough to pay off everything. We also learn that his father had been holding off a real estate deal for years that has now gone through. So we get to meet the icy lady who now owns Lux. She’s intent on bulldozing the whole thing and building a mall. This just distresses Lucifer to no end.

So while Chloe continues to work to case, he goes back to Lux and throws a party. Meanwhile, Charlotte gets her hooks into a bomb maker because she figures if Lux is no longer standing, he’ll go home. But when she gets there, she finds a party in full swing and she realizes she can’t blow it up (plus her bomb guy is a wuss). But then she meets Linda and starts to get some other ideas. Sure, Linda doesn’t share anything about their sessions but when Chloe shows up and she and Lucifer start dancing, Charlotte realizes it perhaps isn’t a building keeping her son tied to this place. The next morning, Chloe discovers some off book payments and a professional “tempter” who might be connected to them. Lucifer doesn’t want to leave Lux and he points out all these little quirks and historical meaning behind things in the club. But Chloe assures him the club will be safe for a little while longer.

They track down the tempter and realize he was tempting the victim’s daughter-in-law (to be) to see if she was a gold digger. But when the guy realized she was really in love with her fiancĂ©, the victim paid him a lot of money to doctor photos so it looked like she was cheating. As our dynamic duo wrap up the case, we see Charlotte slowly putting her new plan into place. She’s called Dan for a “date” (which Amenediel and Maze follow her to). She decides that after Dan tells her all about Chloe and Lucifer, she’ll sleep with him anyway. Maze wants to follow them back to Dan’s place but just the look on Amenediel’s face cracks me up. He’s so uncomfortable with all of it. Though for a split second I thought perhaps he and Maze would have a rekindling of their fling from last season.

When Chloe and Lucifer confront the fiancĂ©e, she and the victim’s son both confess to the crime. Sure it means they’ll both go to prison for a while but they’re doing it together and they won’t let this stop their love. Lucifer thinks they’re nuts which let’s be honest, they kind of are. Back at Lux, Lucifer has come to terms with losing the club. He can always rebuild. It’s LA, not the building that is home. But then Chloe shares good news. She’s gotten Lux declared an historical heritage site. So no bulldozing and he can probably buy it back from the ice lady who owns it now. Lucifer is baffled by her act of kindness without strings attached. He offers to take her dinner but after he has a session with Linda in which she suggests that Lucifer did come looking for something and that something is Chloe, he kind of can’t deal with things. She suggests that he doesn’t show her his true face because he cares so deeply about what she thinks of him and he doesn’t want to deal with the fallout of a negative reaction. I got a little teary eyed watching him sit at Lux, drinking while Chloe was waiting for him at the restaurant. He was just heartbroken and it’s because Linda’s words were so true. He doesn’t want to lose her. But he better act fast because Charlotte has put a bomb under Chloe’s car and we end the episode with the Goddess of Creation about to blow that thing up with Chloe in it!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 3.03: "Louisween"

“Louis! You’re lucky I wasn’t clutching my sleep knife!”

“Fresh off the Boat” always does interesting holiday episodes, although I don’t know if this one was really a favorite. I found the conflicts between the Huang family members to be a bit forced. It was kind of cool to see all their perspectives on Halloween, though. It’s Louis’ favorite holiday, which is a point on which we agree. There are great things about Thanksgiving and Christmas, too, but Halloween is my favorite. I love Halloween decorations, the black/orange/green/purple color combo, and the chance to dress up and play pretend for a night. It’s like being a kid again is sanctioned for one holiday. I guess it probably also wouldn’t surprise you to learn (especially since there’s a picture of it on the MTVP Facebook page) that I’ve also cosplayed at Comic Con International in San Diego. Jessica, however, hates Halloween and finds it to be a waste of time. Eddie likes candy, but he likes the prospect of being invited to a high school party by Nicole even more. Emery and Evan look forward to creating their usual double costume, but they’re both growing up and times are changing. This episode didn’t have as much of a “the Huangs do this holiday differently because they’re originally from Taiwan” vibe as many “Fresh off the Boat” holiday episodes, but I was okay with that. Underneath it all, we’re all American.

The episode opens with the clocks in the Huang household turning to midnight. It is officially Halloween, and Louis is ready. He wakes up each of the kids with Halloween pranks like using a big monster arm or pretending to be a zombie. Jessica, however, is more difficult to prank, which is good foreshadowing for later in the episode. When Louis wakes her up dressed as Jason, she clocks him right in the head. That morning, a very happy Louis is dressed as “Pete Vampras” (a vampire Pete Sampras) and ready to coordinate the kids’ Halloween activities. Emery and Evan haven’t nailed down what they are going to be yet, but Louis reminds them to be ready by 5:00. The boys are worried that they won’t be able to top last year’s Silence of the Lambs themed double costume. Jessica could care less about any of the Halloween prep. She thinks Halloween is a waste of money. Why should she pay for a costume when she likes herself just as she is? Instead, she’s going to work on her Stephen King-inspired horror novel. She heard King writes ten pages a day, so she’s going to write twenty. Because she’s nonstop (sorry…had to throw in a “Hamilton” reference!).

Eddie and his buddies stand over a big map of the neighborhood as they plan out their Halloween candy haul. They heard that one house is going to be giving away king sized peanut butter cups, so that’s definitely on their list. One of the boys talks about how he got to watch some of Porky’s because Cinemax accidentally unscrambled, and he really wants to get girls on Halloween. Eddie says they have the rest of their lives to do that – they only have a few more years of free candy left. He changes his tune when Nicole stops by, though. Her mom is going to be out of town, so she’s going to throw a Halloween party. Eddie immediately starts advocating for the Halloween party. After all, this will probably be their only chance to go to a high school party as middle schoolers. He convinces the rest of his crew to join him. Jessica doesn’t want to let Eddie go, but Louis overrules her, says since she doesn’t celebrate Halloween, she doesn’t get a say.

Emery and Evan are still struggling to figure out their costumes. They both find themselves dressed as Indiana Jones, which clearly won’t do. Evan was supposed to be Short Round, but he’s tired of being the sidekick. He wants to be the main character in this year’s costume. Emery, being a good brother, says Evan can pick their costumes this year. Evan decides he wants to be Lance Ito, the judge from the OJ Simpson case, and he wants Emery to be Kato Kalin. Emery thinks that’s stupid, but Evan really wants to be Lance Ito. Emery decides he’s just going to be Indiana Jones after all. Meanwhile, Eddie and his pals are in their costumes and rolling up to Nicole’s party. When they get inside, though, it’s just Nicole and a few other girls in Spice Girls costumes sitting on the couch looking bored. Everybody else at school went to a party being thrown by a sophomore with a pool. Nicole realizes she shouldn’t have tried to throw a party as a freshman, but now it’s too late. Everybody but Eddie ends up bailing. Eddie, however, says he has seen enough music videos to know how to throw a party, and he cranks up some Snoop Dogg to top volume. It doesn’t take long for there to be a knock on the door.

Jessica has said that Stephen King is really scary while Halloween is just silly, so Louis decides to put that theory to the test. He tries over and over to scare Jessica. He hides a scary head in the oven, and he even has Eddie’s classmate Reba pretend to be a ghost. None of it rattles Jessica. Louis even tries to convince Jessica that he accidentally hit a kid with a car. Jessica’s response is to describe, in great detail, exactly how she’s going to help him cover the crime up, down to chopping down a tree in a hurricane so that there’s no flesh transfer to be found. At that point, Louis finally gives up. The phone rings, and it’s Eddie, who is at the police station and needs to be picked up. At first, Jessica thinks it’s another of Louis’ pranks, but then she sees Louis standing there and realizes that Eddie is actually in trouble.

Eddie isn’t in quite as much trouble as everyone thought, though. The police officer just brought Eddie and Nicole to the station because they were unsupervised minors. Even the “beer” Nicole thought she had procured for the party was actually just a drink mixer and completely nonalcoholic. When Jessica shows up, though, she’s still not happy. She blames Halloween for having to stop her writing to go and pick Eddie up. Later, Louis tries to explain how hurtful her attitude has been to him. He reminds her of a time when he wasn’t able to help her celebrate Christmas, which is her favorite holiday. Jessica eventually gets it – it would be very nice if Louis could spend his favorite holiday with the whole family. When it’s midnight again, Jessica wakes up all the kids, but with the smell of bacon and textbooks. She tells them to all get in their costumes because they’re going to go Trick or Treating.

The day late Huang Halloween is a success. Emery and Evan end up dressing as Barney the Dinosaur (I had a golden retriever as a kid who was older than the purple dinosaur, but I still got teased mercilessly for it circa 1993) and Short Round respectively. They both decide they care more about Trick or Treating with each other more than the specifics of their costume. The family hits up Honey’s house, where Honey is quite confused. Jessica reasons that if people keep their Christmas lights up for a month after the holiday, the Huangs should be able to celebrate Halloween one day late. Honey agrees and invites everyone in for a bath of her famous goo-latas. Nicole is there, and she thanks Eddie for making her party off the hook. Rumors about the cops breaking up the party have gone out of control, and now she’s super popular. It’s a Halloween miracle!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

This Is Us 1.07: “The Best Washing Machine in the Whole World”

“That’s the first time in thirty-six years you’ve said the words ‘he’s my brother’.”
- Randall

This week we get to see another era of the Big Three: the teen years. As we see a montage of the various updated washing machines and home remodels, we find Randall doing homework at 2am. He’s apparently made the football team and Kevin is pissed that Randall is keeping him up. They get into an argument, which Rebecca has to break up. She suggests putting them in different rooms (even though the only free room is the basement) and Kevin takes her up on the offer. Things aren’t going so great with Rebecca and Jack these days, either. Rebecca is finally getting back into singing now that the kids are older and it’s kind of a big day. But it’s also a big day for Kevin because he’s got a college scout coming to watch the game. And Jack has a big deal coming through at work. I think they both realize that things are changing between them and I really hope this doesn’t mean one or both of them strays (specifically Jack). There is a flirty secretary at the office. We also get to see Kate in her eyeliner phase (which made me insanely happy). Too bad her suggestion to Randall of joking more with Kevin backfires. Kevin just really doesn’t want to be around his brother. Things come to a head at the football game where the boys are on opposing teams and they end up getting into a fight on the field. And as this week’s flashbacks come to a close, we see in reverse all the memories that the washing machine holds as sort of symbols of where Jack and Rebecca’s relationship has been.

In the present, we see that Kevin and Randall are still super competitive. They are out running and Randall is doing everything he can to beat Kevin (he runs two more miles). But apparently they are having dinner together that night with Rebecca. That should be interesting! Because it wouldn’t be drama if Mom was there, she bows out and the boys go to dinner just the two of them. As Beth rightly points out, they can’t even be in the same room alone together. Kevin insists on going to some hipster restaurant where he gets to take lots of selfies with random fans and Randall is clearly made to feel uncomfortable. When Kevin runs into an old cast mate from his show and Randall has no idea who he is, Kevin gets pissed and storms out. We then get to hear the root of what their problem of their relationship really is. Kevin is resentful that Randall got all of Rebeca’s attention (which we kind of knew already) and that she made sure he felt special so he didn’t feel like the odd man out for being adopted and Black. Randall points out that Kevin treated him horribly, even though all Randall wanted was just a little respect from his brother. The pair of them get into another shoving match which draws a crowd. But for the first time ever, Kevin says that Randall is his brother (when a guy Kevin knows asks if he wants them to call anyone). This was a long time coming for sure and I think it’s good that they got it out in the open. As they have another small heart-to-heart in the car, we see that Randall ate up their mother’s love because he craved it so much from his brother. They even end up hanging out together in the basement watching old Man-ny episodes (Beth moved all his stuff there out of her office).

Back home, William is having issues with the chemo (namely it’s killing his appetite) and we get to learn a little bit about Beth’s backstory. She reveals that her father died of lung cancer but that during the end days, he used weed to help at least with the appetite. William says that his doctor assured him weed was different from the drugs he used to take so it wouldn’t trigger those old behaviors. And in a surprising twist, Beth has some weed lying about and so she decides to make them pot brownies once the girls are asleep. It seems like the brownies are doing their work because both of them are relaxed and laughing up a storm. It even draws one of the girls out of bed. But then when William starts quoting a poem from the book of poems he gave Rebecca, he ends up admitting that he’d met her back in the day. Beth is not going to let him off the hook for that. She doesn’t tell Randall right away but she does leave a message for Rebecca to call her back.

Across the country, Kate is doing her best to stick to her diet but she only loses a pound (to Toby’s eight). She ducks out of the meeting because even though she really is happy for Toby, she’s still struggling to find what works for her. Then, she thinks he’s ignoring her so she shows up at his house and finds that he’s struggling himself. He announces that depriving himself of the things he likes is driving him nuts and he’s not going to diet anymore. He says that when he’s with Kate, he’ll still eat the way she does but he’s going too still binge on stuff when he’s alone. She rightly isn’t sure that this will work in their relationship because it really isn’t conducive to what she needs out of him right now but she’s going to try. She even tells him to order dessert at the restaurant they are at because she knows he’ll just go home and stuff his face and lie about it. But you can totally tell she really wants a bite of the dessert as he’s kind of shoveling it in his face. And then she goes to a gas station (she legit needs gas) and buys a bunch of junk food and you can see the war in her mind before she ends up eating some of it.

No Tomorrow 1.03: "No Doubt"

“Oh, he is completely insane. I like it.”

In the third episode of “No Tomorrow,” Evie continues to struggle with how to integrate Xavier into the rest of her life. She wants the fun of being with Xavier without the crazy of legit believing the apocalypse is nigh. She really doesn't want her friends and family to interact with Xavier, even though he's clearly making her very happy and they're curious, because she doesn't want anyone to know just how crazy he is. When they do find out about his theory, Evie tries to brush Xavier's apocalypse talk off as a joke, which just makes Xavier upset. Believing in the apocalypse is a core part of his identity, and if someone's going to be with him, they have to accept that. Evie has a bit of a journey to make towards that acceptance, but she makes admirable strides towards it in this episode. Again, I am impressed at how well-drawn these characters are. I genuinely enjoy spending time with the Cybermart crew and their antics.

The episode opens with Evie and Xavier crossing more items off their respective apoca-lists. Xavier gets to shoot a flaming arrow, and Evie gets to put out the resulting fire. The next day at work, Evie is super ecstatic about her relationship, telling her friends how much fun Xavier is. Evie’s birthday is coming up, and Kareema demands they go for birthday drinks. All this lighthearted conversation is interrupted by Deirdre, who wants two things. First, she wants to give Hank yet another accessory for his desk chair. He’s even got a fan and a light these days. She complains to Evie that her plan to win Hank over doesn’t seem to be working. She has an actual work-related job for Evie, too. Lots of customers have been getting the wrong items in their shipments, and since Evie works in quality control, she wants her to figure it out. Evie does figure out that inspector 41 is potentially connected, but she doesn’t know who that is (which is kind of silly), so she doesn’t get very far.

Meanwhile, Evie and Xavier go to an event at the Seattle Astronomy Center. It’s a reading by Prof. Tyra Fields, who I believe is supposed to be like Neil DeGrasse Tyson. On their way to the event, Evie and Xavier talk about what she wants to do for her birthday. Evie thinks Xavier’s fun spirit has been rubbing off on her, and she can’t choose among fun things. She’s not sure if she wants to lick thirty-one flavors of ice cream or have a food fight or go to a petting zoo. Anyway, Xavier is excited that this reading could be his chance to have his asteroid impact theory vetted by somebody who could actually successfully alert the public. It turns out, however, to Evie’s horror, that this isn’t the first time Xavier has tried to talk to Professor Fields. It’s also not the first time he’s been tased, which he tells Evie after Professor Fields asks security to remove him from the premises.

The incident at the astronomy center starts to make Evie question her relationship with Xavier. Sure, he’s tons of fun, but is he also crazy? And is that dangerous? Evie asks Hank for his opinion, and Hank says he’ll have to speak to Xavier in person to know for sure. The three meet for drinks, and Evie quickly bails so Hank and Xavier can have their chat. Hank tries communicating with Xavier in Morse code (asking if he’s in the CIA), and he’s impressed when Xavier understands and is able to respond. The next day, Hank tells Evie that Xavier has his seal of approval. His apocalypse theory corresponds nicely with Hank’s. They both believe the world will end around the same time, but in different ways. This doesn’t give Evie much confidence. She asks for Kareema’s thoughts, which turns into a discussion of whether or not Evie should just keep Xavier a completely separate part of her life from the rest of her friends.

Poor Timothy still isn’t taking the break-up well, even though he’s the one who initiated it. He has terrible writers’ block, and can’t even reach across his living room floor to pick up his laptop. He calls Hank to place an order for him on Cybermart for books on writers’ block and wine. When the package arrives, there’s an additional item that Timothy didn’t ask for – a fitness band that zaps you if you don’t do what it says. He calls Kareema, who works in customer service for Cybermart, and she tells him that he can return it for a fee, or he can just keep the item. Timothy decides to keep the item.

Evie’s plan to separate Xavier from the rest of her acquaintances is almost immediately destroyed, as she shows up to her “birthday drinks” to find that it’s a full-on surprise party. And Xavier is there. Despite Evie’s best efforts, Xavier ends up meeting many important people in Evie’s life, including her father, sister, and boss. He tries to encourage all of them to live life to the fullest, which makes them all happy. Xavier arranges for a second line (one of the things Evie thought she might want to do for her birthday) to take them from the bar to his house, where he has a second surprise. He’s got cakes for every one of Evie’s future birthdays. It’s really beautiful, and Evie is shocked. The whole thing devolves into a cake fight, which is exactly what Xavier intended. The scene made me sad, because I wished someone would plan a birthday party like that for me. Anyway, the part comes to a halt when Xavier gives a toast that mentions his asteroid theory and the apocalypse. The party ends right then and there.

Evie’s family is concerned, and they tell her to let them know if she’s ever tempted to shave all her hair off. She tries to brush it off as if Xavier was just joking. This makes Xavier upset, because he takes his theory very seriously, and it’s a big part of who he is. He accuses Evie of being a bigot, and he says that the apocalypse theory is part of the package with him. The next day at work, a depressed Evie insists that she can have fun all on her own. She doesn’t need Xavier and his crazy. This of course leads to Evie trying all the ice cream flavors on her own and trying to walk on stilts. She uses the stilts to get to her parents’ house, where she tries to talk to her mom about the Xavier situation. She’s interrupted by her dad happily showing off the muffins he just baked. Evie thinks the muffins are awesome, but her mom doesn’t seem to like them too much. Anyway, Evie’s dad says the secret to his muffins is just math, and this gives Evie an idea. She rushes to Xavier’s house and tells him that she wants to help him get his theory peer reviewed by Professor Fields. Xavier may have a restraining order against him, after all, but Evie doesn’t.

Meanwhile, Timothy, Hank, Kareema, and Deirdre go out for trivia. Timothy’s just running all around the bar thanks to the Zap Strap (he pops up running and exercising at several points throughout the episode), but the real action is with Hank and Deirdre. Hank is trying to tell Deirdre that while he appreciates all the new stuff for his office, it’s a bit much. They keep answering all the trivia questions in unison, though, which somehow means they’re supposed to have chemistry. Eventually, Deirdre says she’s been giving Hank all that stuff because it’s the only way she can say how she feels within company policy. She whispers something in Hank’s ear, and Hank runs off, yelling about having an internet girlfriend. Later, Hank tells a very amused Evie about all this, and she suggests that maybe he should give Deirdre a chance. Evie talks to Deirdre about the situation, too. Deirdre thinks Hank is a lost cause, but Evie tries to give her some hope. In the course of dealing with all the work drama, Evie finds out that Timothy received a wrong item, and she traces it back to Kareema, who basically wants to create chaos and help people. One of the fulfillment guys quit to go be with his “second family” in Sarasota, so Evie uses him as a scapegoat to cover for Kareema with Deirdre. As for Timothy, he is finally zapped out of his writer’s block when he lies down on the ground exhausted and sees how a plane and bird move in a similar way.

Evie places herself conspicuously in a coffee shop Professor Fields is patronizing and starts reading Professor Fields’ book. They strike up a friendly conversation, and Evie starts talking about how she’s dating a guy who has a theory about an asteroid. Xavier appears, and Professor Fields goes into “oh hell, no” mode, which I kind of don’t blame her for. After some pleading from Evie, she takes the envelope of calculations from Xavier and agrees to review them. Evie and Xavier celebrate on their way out of the coffee shop. When Evie goes back inside the shop to get her purse, though, she sees Professor Fields give the envelope to the bartender and tell him to trash it. She doesn’t have the heart to tell Xavier what happened. Evie goes to talk to her mom, who reveals that she doesn’t actually like the muffins her husband (who now wants to be an actor) has been baking, but she thinks there’s value in supporting your significant other no matter what. Evie takes this to heart and prints out a bunch of flyers about the asteroid. She and Xavier then throw them off of a rooftop while shouting that the apocalypse is nigh.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Lucifer 2.08: “Trip to Stabby Town”

“You said favors are about faith, right? I need you to have faith in me that I wouldn’t do anything untoward.”
- Lucifer

Just when you think things might be getting back to some form of normal for Lucifer and our gang, someone has to go and steal Azrael’s blade and start killing people with it. A young woman is stabbed to death in broad daylight and Lucifer realizes that the murder weapon (thanks to a photo snapped at the start of the assault) is his sister’s blade. So he drags Maze and Amenediel out to Uriel’s grave. The body is still there but someone has dug it up and stolen the blade. Given that the blade can hurt humans and celestial beings and the longer it remains in human hands, the more volatile it becomes, Lucifer needs to track down that sucker quickly. So he enlists Ella’s help to look into it. He hopes that by doing so, they can find the blade before Chloe gets too involved.

Chloe, meanwhile, is having some small pangs of jealousy as she watches Lucifer and Ella work together. Dan points out that she seems jealous but she scoffs at him. I mean, Dan is okay most of the time but I wouldn’t want to talk about my man problems with my ex-husband, either. Because of what Lucifer knows of the blade (especially that it coerces people into wanting to kill over little slights), he starts pressing the victim’s best friend for anyone who might have had even a tiny problem with the victim. And thanks to Ella who finds some burned scraps of paper, he soon learns who set the blade back into the world: Mama Morningstar.

So now Lucifer has to go pay mother dearest a visit. She claims that she did it to get God’s attention. She’s mourning the loss of her son and she wanted to share that grieve with her ex-husband. But like always, he’s silent to her pleas, so she thought causing a little mayhem would get his attention. Unfortunately, the blade is still out there—despite Amenediel and Maze’s best efforts to track it down at Lucifer’s behest. And this time, it’s claimed seven lives. Ella even confirms Lucifer’s theory that the original killer showed up at the yoga studio where the first victim worked and started killing students and the blade got passed around from person to person.

So while Chloe and Dan are trying to track down the guru who runs the place, Lucifer is spending some time trying to talk to Linda. His efforts haven’t been that great so far because she’s still trying to wrap her head around the whole angels and demons of it all. And she’s kind of surprised that the Angel of Death is a woman. I suspect, once she gets through this shocked phase, she’ll be able to give him better advice but for now, he’s really annoyed that the one person he was relying on to give him advice and steer him in the right direction is on the fritz.

They get the guru in the interrogation room and it becomes clear he wasn’t’ even there. He’s gained some weight and has been hiding out at home, hording pop tarts (which Maze has since liberated from his safe). Just as Lucifer sends Maze and his brother off to check the guru’s second residence, Ella shows up showing him that the boot print at the grave and off the alleged first killer matched so she wants to know what’s going on. He implores her to give him just a little more time. And then Chloe shows up with information about a possible survivor/person who may have picked up the blade. Given that guru is kind of misogynistic ponce, Lucifer figures out where she’ll be and finds her standing over the guru’s dead body. He did more than just harass her, he raped her and that came bubbling to the surface when she picked up the blade. And now Lucifer has to find a way to talk Dan out of stabbing him with it. In a twist that Lucifer didn’t see coming, Dan is able to fight the blade’s power and thanks to Lucifer using his own powers, he’s able to disarm Dan. And as I predicted, Linda is finally able to see Lucifer just as another patient with complex familial issues and a healthy dose of narcissism to work through. Yay Linda!

You’d think all was well but Chloe is still pissed about the now-missing murder weapon and is confused by Lucifer’s lack of interest in finding said blade, given how gung ho he was about it earlier. He also pays Ella her favor by going to church with her. But the biggest wrinkle in all of this comes when Lucifer gets back to his apartment and he and Amenediel are trying to decide what to do with the blade. Charlotte shows up and is upset that more people didn’t die. She thinks they haven’t gotten God’s attention. Lucifer doesn’t think anything would get his attention and when he asks Amenediel to back him up, we see that big brother is siding with Mom. See, she wants to unite against God and make him “see reason” and let them back into Heaven, to go home. But Lucifer doesn’t want to go. Heaven was like Hell and Hell was never home. But here on Earth, he feels respected and wanted and this is his home. Gets a little scary with the blade still in his hand. After all, it can also affect celestial beings the same way it can humans. But Charlotte walks away with Amenediel before things get violent. But she thinks she has a way in to get Lucifer to join up with them. I knew we shouldn’t trust her. She isn’t evil exactly but she is trying to hurt her son to get what she wants. I hope Lucifer and those around him that care for him, especially Linda and Maze, are strong enough to fight her off.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Once Upon a Time 6.08: “I’ll Be Your Mirror”

“Anything you can dream up, I’ve already dreamt it.”
- The Evil Queen

The Charmings need to get a new normal now that Snow and Charming can’t be awake together anymore. We get an opening montage of the pair of them waking each other up and leaving each other sweet little notes and flowers and food and stuff. But things outside the house aren’t quite as rosy. Henry’s stressing over whether he’s still got a girlfriend and Regina and Emma are trying to find a way to stop the Evil Queen. Regina thinks trapping her in a world behind the mirror is going to work and they’ll use Henry as bait. Emma isn’t thrilled with this plan and the pair of them should have realized that the Evil Queen would have been ahead of them. Instead of them trapping her, she traps them!

Emma and Regina are pissed (obviously) that they are stuck in the mirror land. But they may have a shot at getting someone to break in (since they can’t break out): Henry. I’m not entirely sure why they think he is the one who can do it but I suppose it’s that he’s their son and he loves them both. But what they don’t now is that the Evil Queen has begun impersonating Regina. She even goes as far to cover Emma’s absence with a magic voicemail to Hook. And for some reason, faux Regina wants to get Henry everything his wants, which obviously is Violet. So she goes to pay Rumple a visit to ask for the Hammer of Hephaestus which apparently bestows power on those who have none. She’s going to use love as a weapon against Henry. How the rest of the family didn’t catch on that she was not the real Queen is beyond me. I mean Snow may be good at ruling a kingdom but she’s not the brightest in the box.

Meanwhile, Belle is twisting Zelena’s arm into helping her get out of Storybrooke. The only problem is that Zelena doesn’t have the sorcerer’s wand to create a portal. Their solution: hire Aladdin to steal it. Jasmine wants him to not do it since she needs his help to find their home but Belle and Zelena end up guilt tripping him into it by mentioning the shears how they are not in Rumple’s possession since Aladdin gave them to Emma. So when he sneaks in at night, we see that Rumple has set up his spinning wheel and he’s busy spinning gold. But he’s got a little monkey that signals when someone has snuck in. I guess they have to get creative with putting in Abu. But he at least finds the wand!

As Henry gets ready for the school dance, Hook is off trying to find Emma because he’s got a suspicion things have gone awry. He finds her phone at the beach but the Queen is waiting there and she uses her magi to throw him head-first into a rock. Seriously, how the majority of the people in this town don’t have permanent brain damage. But hey, it means less Hook for the rest of the episode so yay for that! Emma and Regina manage to find Henry in a mirror at Granny’s since he’s there meeting Violet and he’s stressing out. He doesn’t think he’s good enough for her and of course, the Evil Queen shows up and feeds off that feeling. She does try to build him up as reminding him that he’s a prince and it almost works but then she makes a comment about slouching (which she made previously) and he realizes she’s not his mom. So when Violet does show up, he manages to get her to get them out of the shop so they can find Regina and Emma without the Queen knowing. In the mirror world, Regina and Emma find they are not alone. The Dragon has been trapped there, too. He also mentions that Regina’s good versus evil battle for her soul was supposed to remain within her. But hey, at least he’s got a back door out of the mirror world. His out is courtesy of Sydney. He was putting another mirror back together to use as a portal out.

Henry heads to Regina’s vault and tries to talk to his moms through the mirror but things go awry. The Queen shows up and then proves that she is really evil by making the Dragon turn into a (you guessed it) dragon to attack Regina and Emma. Art least she doesn’t make Henry watch? But she keeps trying to put him down and tell him that she was the one who made him stronger by making him face his fears as a child. She insists that she isn’t really evil (or a hero). She’s a leader. The Queen then gives Henry a choice. He can let his moms die or he can use the Hammer to smash the Dragon’s heart. In the mirror world, Regina admits she is afraid of raising Henry alone so she and Emma agree to try and get out together. They are going to try to direct the Dragon’s fire at the mirror to get out. But it’s Henry who comes to the rescue. He smashes the mirror and his moms are free. He gets to stand up to the Evil Queen and she leaves (after Hook shows up and threatens to poke in her fleshy places with his hook and not in the fun way).

For the Charmings, while things aren’t perfect (Snow and Charming miss each other), Henry at least still has a girlfriend and it’s really cute that they shared a dance at Granny’s. And Emma and Regina think he’ll be just fine, even without them. Unfortunately, the other half of Henry’s family tree is having something of a temper tantrum. Aladdin did snag the wand (and the genie’s lamp for Jasmine … um I have a feeling you won’t like the genie inside guys), but before Zelena can use it, Rumple shows up and puts some sort of tracking bracelet on Belle. Seriously, they’ve taken a morally grey character and turned him into a flat-out abusive spouse. Get your act together writers! The fact now that he wants the Evil Queen to kill Zelena (because he can’t hurt her without hurting himself) is just insane!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Lucifer 2.07: “My Little Monkey”

“Being me seems to be a problem. Everywhere I go someone seems to get hurt.”
- Lucifer

Something tells me that Lucifer is not going to be in much better of a headspace this week, especially after leaving Linda speechless after revealing his true face to her. And he’s still not able to really talk to the people he wanted to about Uriel’s death. But he’s not the only one dealing with emotional drama. We see in flashback that Chloe’s father (who was also a cop) gets killed during a convenience store robbery. Cut to the present and Chloe is getting a call from the Warden at the prison her father’s murderer resides, telling her he’s getting out. Meanwhile, Lucifer decides (because Chloe doesn’t need him being a loose cannon) that he’s going to follow Dan and learn how to be a “tool”. Oh the double meanings on this show just make me smile.

I honestly don’t know how Lucifer is going to do but it’s going to be fun to watch. And it’s a good thing he and Dan are on the case, because Chloe follows her father’s killer after he leaves prison (to go to his granddaughter’s christening) and she finds the van on the side of the road. The drivers and her father’s killer are all dead. Obviously it looks super sketchy that she was following them and that she was first on scene. But she says she’s stepping back from the case and she insists that Dan and Lucifer work the case for her. And hey, they’ve also got a lead thanks to Ella and some DNA evidence. There were finger prints from another inmate who shared a cell with our victim. The guys end up finding him and begin unraveling the larger mystery. He was paid to give a false confession and his wife would then receive regular payments while he was on the inside.

We also get a C story this week of Maze trying to find a job. Sage little Trixie tells her to get a job doing what she likes (which Maze isn’t sure what she likes). But I’m pretty it isn’t a preschool aide in leather. Maybe she could be Chloe’s bodyguard because girl needs one when she opens the door and a young woman pulls a gun on her (I’m guessing it was her father’s killer’s daughter). After Chloe deescalates the situation, the daughter shares a video she got from her father’s lawyer. They watch it together and determine that the video was made the same day her father died, three minutes before the shooting and across town. So there’s no way he was the perp. And he also got paid to give a false confession. I have to say, Chloe is really determined and very dark this episode. I understand why and I like the layers she’s developing but she’s kind of scary.

I’d say seeing Linda deal with all of Lucifer’s devil bombshells lightened the episode but she was really just a hot mess. Maze tries to go to her (for a character reference) but Linda is scared out of her mind. She didn’t want to believe that Maze really was a demon and she asks her to leave. I’ll be really interested to see what happens when she manages to move past the initial shock of the revelation.

The case next takes Dan and Lucifer to a Russian bath house (hello boys!) where Lucifer tries to get the mob boss to give him a fall guy for killing himself (it made more sense in the episode but it was really interesting to see Lucifer just hate on himself really hard). But that guy isn’t actually the one they’re looking for. He fesses up to Chloe that he thinks her father’s death was a hit. As Ella and Chloe dig through old case files to try and find a lead, Lucifer follows Dan to an improv club where Lucifer gets really pissed. But they have sort of a come to Jesus moment where they both admit they are struggling with being themselves in their lives right now. It was really kind of adorable and I want to see more of them working together because despite their animosity over Chloe, they have a really fun vibe.

Maze is still trying to find out what makes her happy but it turns out hunting humans for the cops is her bliss. She gets paid to track down dirty humans! And she tracks down the Deputy Warden (Lucifer points out it was odd that the first victim of the episode smiled at Chloe when he was innocent of her father’s murder). He was the one running the whole operation all these years. I guess the prison system sucks for the bureaucrats, too. Chloe is satisfied that she managed to get the man who killed her dad in custody and she ends up giving Lucifer a teary grateful hug by episode’s end. He’s a little confused about all of that, especially since he’s spent the whole episode thinking he just hurts the ones close to him.

And it seems Linda may be coming around to rejoining the land of the living, even knowing that Maze is a demon and Lucifer is the Devil. As Maze points out, they’re still the same people they were before Lucifer dropped the bombshell and it was so sweet that Maze wanted to share her achievement and finding her place in the human world with her best friend. Now that Linda knows the truth, I’m interested to see how that changes her sessions with Lucifer. I hope she keeps seeing him, too because that whole family could use a good shrink. I have to say I thought this was a pretty solid episode and I’m glad other people aside from the family know Lucifer’s truth now. Chloe is still in the dark (or denial or whatever) but I think she’ll get there eventually.

Fresh off the Boat 3.02: "Breaking Chains"

“So, you wane be what everyone what everyone though I was when I walked in on the first day. You want to undo all the work I’ve done over the past two years . . . They’re ignorant about who we are and where we come from. Why shouldn’t we take advantage of that?”

“Breaking Chains” was yet another episode of “Fresh off the Boat” that I think tackled immigrant/minority identity in a way that Eddie Huang would appreciate, even if it didn’t have the rough edges of Huang’s real life. It’s the first day of school, and Emery has been promoted to middle school. Both Eddie and Emery have to deal with what this means for both of them, since Eddie has spent his first two years of middle school using his Taiwanese status to make life as easy for himself as possible. Eddie hasn’t done what he did just to be lazy, though; he’s trying to break the chains of Asians being the “model minority.” It’s something the real Eddie Huang is very passionate about, too. Emery has the interests of the more stereotypical Asian (loves academics and wants to learn photography and violin), and the two brothers have to figure out how they can reconcile their divergent worldviews and still be themselves. There’s also a rather silly B story about Jessica freaking out when Louis hires a cleaning lady, which doesn’t have nearly as much depth, but the questions asked by the main plot make up for that.

The episode opens with the Huangs dining at a very busy Cattleman’s Ranch. They’ve installed TVs over the bar, and everybody is happily watching the 1996 Atlanta Games. Jessica is rooting for a Nigerian athlete who is the best at her event instead of someone from Team USA or Chinese Taipei because, as she puts it, she “roots for the best.” The next day, Jessica and Louis celebrate their business success, but the celebration is cut short when Grandma Huang points out that there is a collapsed watermelon in the living room floor. Eddie was supposed to take the watermelon into the kitchen, but he never did. Jessica says she’ll clean it up, like she cleaned a stain out of the couch, but she also remarks that it would be nice to have help sometime.

Next, we cut to Eddie and his buddies sitting in their folding chairs enjoying the last day of summer break before they start eighth grade. The boys compare their summer stories until they ealize that because they’ll be eighth graders, they don’t need a cool story. They’re at the top of the heap by age alone. They imagine themselves as boy band model types looking down on the lowly sixth graders. They are interrupted by a soon-to-be sixth grader, Emery. Eddie says that Emery has nothing to worry about – he has blazed a great trail for him in middle school. The biggest problem seems to be Evan, who is taking not being in the same school as his brother anymore pretty hard. He’s laying on the front lawn moping.

Finally, it’s the first day of school. After the kids leave the house, the doorbell rings. Jessica answers it to find Mary, the housekeeper Louis just hired. Jessica is not pleased, and she accuses Louis of stabbing her in the back. A stunned Mary just stands in the doorway and awkwardly asks if she should get started. Jessica and Louis have a very loud argument, where Louis keeps reminding Jessica it’s supposed to be a gift. Louis eventually convinces Jessica to let Mary clean one room. Jessica hovers over Mary the whole time. She critiques how she cleans the table and a tableau of figurines on a bookshelf. Mary says she doesn’t think it’s going to work out, and she’s going to leave just as soon as she gets a ride home.

Meanwhile, Eddie starts showing Emery the ropes at school. He has written out a huge notebook of all the lies he has told in the past two years about Chinese culture about which Emery is going to need to back him up. Emery is not amused. The lies include “Harvest Day” on the first Friday of every month, doing everything at the last minute per Chinese superstition, and taking a ten minute nap every morning to see if Taiwan is safe or not. Eddie tells Emery he has to go along with it so he (Eddie) doesn’t get in trouble. Emery feels a little better when he sees all the clubs he can join, but Eddie says it’s a no-go on clubs too. Meanwhile, Evan is having trouble adjusting, too. A kid wants to sit next to him on the bus, but Evan won’t let him because it’s supposed to be Emery’s seat.

While the web of lies made Eddie’s life in middle school awesome, it keeps having unintended bad consequences for Emery. Emery gets his locker moved to what should be a better location, but it is away from a cute girl who immediately starts dating someone else. Then he wants to sit near the front of the class and participate, but he’s stuck in the back behind a very tall guy who “runs hot.” He really wants green beans in the cafeteria, but the lunch lady insists he needs to eat double tater tots instead because per Eddie, Asians can’t process chlorophyll. The final straw is when Emery is told he can’t take a shower after gym class. Gym showers are awkward, but Emery feels gross and wants a shower. He ends up telling the truth to the gym teacher.

Eddie realizes Emery’s treachery after his own gym class, when he is told he has to go get a shower, too. Eddie finds the shower experience horrifying. After school, Eddie confronts Emery about ruining their sweet set-up. Emery insists he doesn’t want to live up to Eddie’s low expectations. He wants to learn and join clubs. When prompted by Eddie, Emery says he’d like to learn the violin, and that just sets Eddie off. He accuses Emery of undoing all the work he’s done to keep everyone on edge and dispel the myth of the model minority. Emery doesn’t quite know how to respond to that. Later, he tells Evan he misses elementary school, and middle school is more complicated than he thought it would be. Evan sits down for a brother chat. Then he goes and confronts Eddie, accusing him of crushing Emery’s spirit. He tells Eddie to stop making Emery feel bad for being who he is.

Louis calls Jessica down to Cattleman’s Ranch and tells her that he got a phone call from Mary about what happened. He implores Jessica to give Mary a chance and not hover. Mary has agreed to come back as long as Jessica isn’t there. In fact, Mary is cleaning the house while they speak. Jessica is furious, although she respects the trickery. When Louis and Jessica arrive home, they see that Mary has done a fabulous job. She got a bleach stain out of the couch and even repaired one of Jessica’s knickknacks. Jessica’s still not happy, though. She thinks family should do things for each other instead of hiring it out. She doesn’t want to run their house like a business, and cleaning makes Jessica feel needed. Louis says he’s sorry, and Jessica wins, although he’s still a bit confused.

The next day in school, Eddie signs Emery up for karate club, and Emery thanks him for it. Eddie says Emery can be himself, and he (Eddie) will keep working on cracking the jade ceiling. They do agree to keep Harvest Day, though. Also, Evan finally lets the new kid from Indiana (who likes Evan because he reminds him of his Chinese best friend from back home) sit near him. He can hang out with Emery at home after all, even if they aren’t in the same school anymore. He has, however, set up a little Emery memorial on the bus seat, though, which freaks out one girl who thinks that means Emery is dead.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Once Upon a Time 6.07: “Heartless”

“I think I don’t know what to believe anymore, except that it’s good to be on an adventure with you again.”
- Snow

Well it seems the Evil Queen is set to have her prefect day. She think she’s going to get Snow and Charming’s hearts by mid-day and they’ll hand them over willingly. She starts by kidnaping Snow in the middle of the night and taunting her about her 15th birthday and the horse she got from her father. Seriously, they need to have some kind of early warning system for intruders in their house! The Queen’s threat though is real. If the Charmings don’t comply within twelve hours, she’ll unleash some horrible thing on the town. When they take it to Regina and Emma to look at, Regina figures out that it is water from the River of Lost Souls, courtesy of Rumple (he took it on the way back from the Underworld. Well, damn.

In the Enchanted Forest in the past, we see that Snow and Charming may end up crossing paths again. Snow is an outlaw trying to sell her family heirlooms for money to get out of town and she’s barely got enough to book passage on a ship. And Charming’s mother is thinking that given the way things have bene going, it’s time to sell their family farm and make a new start. So he’s off to the nearest port town to try and get some offers. Snow is determined to get away from Regina and her poisonous ways, even though the Blue Fairy tries to remind her that love is strong and can overcome many things. And unfortunately Charming has run across a dangerous man on his way to town. He thinks he’s run into a merchant but he’s actually a bounty hunter whom I suspect is going to cross paths with Snow shortly. And in fact, it isn’t long before Charming’s been drugged and the bounty hunter uses his sheep dog to find Snow. He’s going to take her to Regina for a reward. David wakes up and thanks to his sheep dog, he finds Snow locked in the bounty hunter’s cart. They need to work quickly to free Snow though because the hunter could be back at any moment. Charming doesn’t get the lock open in time but by working together, they defeat the hunter. Charming is ready to unlock the door but Snow realizes that him seeing her face would make him a target. And thanks to his rousing speech about believing in her resourcefulness, she gives him her money so he can keep the farm. She’ll figure out some other way to get money.

As Snow and Charming contemplate what to do about saving the town versus giving the Evil Queen their hearts, the rest of the family is somewhat at a loss. Belle can’t find anything in her books on how to neutralize the water and the Blue Fairy’s suggestion (of a magic sapling) isn’t a guarantee either. The beacon that would be needed to find it would alert the other side to what they were looking for. And so Regina drops a rather disturbing bomb on the rest of the family. As we the viewers have been seeing of late, the Evil Queen has been hitting on Rumple pretty hard. And Regina knows that Zelena had feelings for him, too. So she sets up Zelena to walk into Gold’s shop and find the Evil Queen (I’m assuming it’s actually Regina) making out with Rumple. It turns out it really was the Evil Queen snogging our resident Dark One, but they quickly realize that Regina set them up. It does make me wonder why Rumple is getting all hot and heavy with the Evil Queen when he still loves Belle. I get that she’s totally not into being with him but I mean, it’s still kind of a sleazy thing to do.

While the baddies are bickering, we find that the Blue Fairy has used her magic to find the sapling and Regina takes Snow and Charming off to find it. Emma and Hook are going to clear out Regina’s vault so they can lock the Evil Queen inside. Emma is having kind of a hard time with the whole “my parents might die” thing so Hook reminds her (with Henry’s book and I hate how sweet his was) that she is the product of true love and her parents have that true love because she brought them together so she can do damn near anything. The Charmings and Regina find a trap door and descend into the darkness in the hopes of finding the weapon that can contain her evil half. They get the sapling but the Evil Queen shows up and destroys it. Because of course she does!

Snow and Charming are ready to face their fate, having realized that their love is stronger than the Evil Queen. Well, until she curses their heart so that whenever one of them is awake, the other is subject to a sleeping curse. So I didn’t see that coming and it’s kind of igneous and also super evil. Also kind of evil, Zelena filling Belle in on all of Rumple’s dealings. And boy does Belle have something to tell her husband about that. She doesn’t care that he’s fooling around with the Evil Queen but she forbids him to use the shears on their son. And she says that it’s worse than if he were pure evil because they both know he loves. And his fear of failure just makes too weak to be a good man. So now, I suspect, Rumple will be going after Zelena for sowing this discord between husband and wife. I suppose Zelena is putting her jealousy to clever use (I can’t say it’s good because Rumple being pissed at everyone is just dangerous). But things are definitely taking an interesting turn and I’ll be interested to see where things progress from here on out. I can’t imagine Emma letting her parents stay affected by the sleeping curse for too long.

Friday, November 4, 2016

MTVP So Cal Summer 2016: Crazy Ex Girlfriend 1.14: "Josh is Going to Hawaii!"

“Holy Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Paula. Am I broke?”

“Josh is Going to Hawaii” deals with the aftermath of Josh and Rebecca’s courtroom kiss at the end of the previous episode. As you might expect, Josh and Rebecca are not on the same page about the kiss. At all. There’s quite a bit of material about applying romantic comedy tropes to real life in this episode, which seems appropriate, considering the events of the show overall. Rebecca naturally wants to believe her life could be a rom com, and Paula encourages that fantasizing. She fancies herself as the quirky best friend who always gives the best relationship advice. Josh, on the other hand, realizes that he is not in a romantic comedy, and he needs to make things right with Valencia. Witnessing this brings Rebecca back down to earth, and she makes a series of rash decisions because, you know, she’s Rebecca.

The episode opens with Rebecca and Josh each driving home from the courthouse in Los Angeles, contemplating the kiss that just happened between them. Rebecca is ecstatic, as if she’s in some sort of dreamland. Josh, however is horrified at how he has hurt Valencia. Both turn to their biggest confidantes – Rebecca frantically knocks on Paula’s door, and Josh frantically knocks on Father Brah’s. Paula tells Rebecca to keep cool and wait for Josh to talk to her. That’s how it goes in all the rom coms, after all. They share several-year-expired sparkling apple cider to celebrate. Josh confesses how guilty he feels to a very stoned Father Brah, who responds by telling a story about when he accidentally drowned his class’ pet bunny and blamed it on his little brother. The upshot of Father Brah’s story is solid, though. Josh needs to ask forgiveness of the one he has wronged, just like Father Brah asked for forgiveness from his now cult-member, heroin-addict brother. They both agree this is easier said than done, however, considering we’re talking about Valencia.

We next see Rebecca at home, trying to do some work, but she’s too distracted. Just as she’s about to crack and send Josh a cute red panda pic (which I think is a solid move, since red pandas are adorable), Josh appears at her door. They sit down and have a conversation about the kiss. Josh says the kiss was a mistake, and while he’s attracted to Rebecca, what he did wasn’t right, and he needs to confess to Valencia. Rebecca is upset at first, but when Josh points out that Valencia will probably break up with him, she’s more than okay with it. Josh also mentions that after he confesses, he’s going to be on a plane to Hawaii. Rebecca tells all of this to Paula at work the next day, and Paula insists Rebecca needs to buy a plane ticket to Hawaii too. After hesitating just a bit, Rebecca agrees.

The next day, Valencia is practicing yoga when she is thrown off by Josh going to CrossFit for the second time that day. Josh is just generally acting off, and something is clearly wrong. When prompted, Josh admits that there is actually something he wants to talk to Valencia about, and they decide to talk about it the next day, since Valencia wants to go to cryotherapy after her evening yoga class. When Josh leaves, Valencia happily wonders what he is up to. Clearly she thinks he’s about to propose. Meanwhile at Whitefeather, Darryl has called a staff meeting. The new receptionist, Mya, thinks that the meeting is to introduce her, but it is actually so Darryl can announce to everyone that he’s bisexual. It a rather awesome, Huey Lewis-sounding song called “Gettin’ Bi,” Darryl both comes out and tries to dispel many of the common myths about bisexuality. The staff is totally cool with it, although they wish Darryl hadn’t sung about it.

Rebecca wasn’t in the staff meeting because she was trying to purchase her plane ticket for Hawaii. When Paula comes to check on her after the meeting, though, Rebecca seems confused. She tried all her credit cards and her debit card, and her bank account (which she hasn’t checked in years) is showing a negative balance. She asks Paula if she is broke. We’re treated to a montage of all the frivolous spending Rebecca has been doing while she explains to Paula that she never had to think about money before (Paula, naturally, can’t even contemplate this). The conversation is cut short because the local newspaper ran with Rebecca’s water conspiracy story, and the mayor of West Covina wants to give Rebecca the keys to the city. Rebecca accepts his offer, even if it doesn’t come with a cash prize. Once the mayor leaves, the conversation returns to Rebecca’s finances. It turns out Rebecca doesn’t even know how much she makes or when payday is. As she is explaining this to Paula, her car gets repossessed because she hasn’t been paying her lease. And it turns out she also didn’t realize she didn’t own her car. Paula, understandably, is astounded by this.

Meanwhile, at Home Base, Greg and his favorite kid patron Chris discuss Greg and Heather’s breakup. Greg is convinced that it’s not going to be awkward that he and Heather still work together, because Heather is tattooed and totally cool. When Heather first walks into the bar, she isn’t openly hostile, but she makes a bee-line right for the back room. Greg takes the lack of open hostility as a good sign. Later, however, Heather is “touching all the cherries” instead of serving customers. Heather and Greg have a very awkward conversation about how things between Greg and Rebecca didn’t work out. Heather says she’s rooting for Greg, and by the time the conversation is over, Chris has run off due to embarrassment squick. Speaking of awkward, Darryl takes White Josh on a first date at a super fancy restaurant. So fancy that they make White Josh put a jacket on over his usual beach casual-wear. White Josh tells Darryl that he thinks they should act like normal people who have kissed twice and be a bit more casual. He encourages Darryl to check out some dating websites, which just makes Darryl even more tense.

Rebecca is on a mission to make enough money to buy that plane ticket to Hawaii. She’s so desperate that she sells her couch to a guy who is willing to pay an extra $25 if she sits on it naked. After making the sale, a rather dejected Rebecca opens the box her mother sent her (her mom had read an article about the water case and was actually proud of Rebecca for once). Rebecca was just expecting some rugula, but it is actually the Garfinkel ring. The Garfinkel ring meant everything to Rebecca back during the holidays, but she’s so obsessed with going to Hawaii with Josh that she immediately pawns it. She swears she’s going to buy it back, but the pawn broker doesn’t believe her. A very happy Rebecca buys the plane ticket and some resort wear. She’s about to celebrate with donuts from the Chinese place (we have a donut shop/Thai restaurant in my town, so that amused me) when she overhears Valencia on the phone with her mother. Valencia is convinced Josh is about to propose to her, and knowing the news Josh is actually planning to deliver, Rebecca starts to feel a bit guilty.

As she is getting ready for the Key to the City ceremony, Rebecca tells Paula about her guilt. She thinks she should tell Josh not to tell Valencia about their kiss. Paula is, of course, completely against this and goes so far as to steal Rebecca’s phone to prevent her from contacting Josh, but Rebecca one-ups her and steals her car keys. As she is about to knock on Josh’s door, she hears him and Valencia fighting about the kiss. Eventually, Valencia asks Josh if he loves Rebecca, and when he says “no,” she decides to forgive him. Josh even decides he’s not going to go to Hawaii so they can spend some time together reconnecting. Rebecca is devastated, partly because she just heard Josh say he doesn’t love her, and partly because she just realized that she is, as the song she sings puts it, “the villain in her own story.” The song itself is pretty great, by the way, and plays on a witch and princess theme. I think Josh comes to regret his decision pretty quickly, though, as after some make-up sex, Valencia almost immediately goes back to bossing him around as per usual.

Wrapping up the other relationship plots of this episode, Greg eventually confronts Heather and asks her what is wrong. She admits that telling Greg to go after Rebecca was a test that Greg failed. He was supposed to want to stay with her instead, and now she’s heartbroken. Greg realizes that he was a jerk, and he apologizes. Heather accepts the apology, but she also says that she’s going to be sad and angry for a while, and Greg is going to have to live with that because she’s not quitting her job. Greg tries to not to disagree with her when she says she’s actually good at her job. As for Darryl and White Josh, they happen to run into each other at the boba stand. Darryl says he tried dating a few other people, but he doesn’t like any of them as much as White Josh. White Josh is charmed and suggests they start over and have some boba together. That Darryl needs to pay for, since White Josh left his wallet in the jacket at that fancy restaurant.

Rebecca shows up at the Key to the City ceremony in a daze. She can barely get through the ceremony because all she can think about is Josh saying he doesn’t love her. She can barely get out a “thanks” when the Mayor asks her to say a few words. Then she bolts for the airport. Paula cheers her on, thinking she’s going to Hawaii to have her big rom com moment with Josh. Rebecca does indeed get on a (rather comfortable looking) plane, and she happens to be seated next to Dr. Akopian, her therapist that she keeps blowing off. At first, neither is thrilled to see the other, but then Dr. Akopian suggests that if they’re going to be sitting next to each other for six hours, maybe they could try some therapy. Rebecca finally agrees.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

This Is Us 1.06: "Career Days"

“I want you to stand out. I want all of you to stand out in the best possible ways.”
- Jack

This week is all about jobs and the sacrifices we make for the ones we love. We get a montage of Jack staring out in construction when the Big Three are infants and by the time they are toddlers he has to take an office gig with Miguel just to make sure they have enough money for food (three growing kids eat a lot!). And by the time they are eight, he’s settled in his career, although he longs to make a move and go out on his own. But he may not be able to do that. While they’ve been treating the kids all the same for eight years, it turns out Randall has tested as gifted. Jack is highly confused by this, given his grades are average just like Kevin and Kate, but as the teacher explains, gifted kids often don’t feel challenged in the environment they are in. Jack still isn’t convinced, even when they go look at the school. He floats the idea of starting his own company after Rebecca picks up that he’s not happy at work. She thinks he should go for it and that they’ll figure out how to afford it later. She wants him to be happy. We also see that Kate is really beginning to question her weight and what constitutes beauty. Sure her parents tell her she’s beautiful and Rebecca even says that they look alike but eight-year-old Kate realizes that she wears bigger sizes than her mom. Jack ends up getting to the heart of the issue with Randall when he takes Randall to work and realizes that Randall doesn’t want to be different from his siblings because he worries they’ll hate him if he does better than them. But Jack also realizes that they need to be different and allowed to shine in their own ways. They may be all the same age but they are their own people. And while Jack doesn’t end up striking out on his own, we do see that Randall gets to go to the gifted school and we know he thrives.

In the present, we learn that William used to be a musician and plays piano and some trumpet (in addition to being a poet). It doesn’t seem like Randall has inherited any of his music genes and he’s rather upset when the girls would rather have Grandpa Musician or Uncle Actor go to their career day. Randall does commodities trading and I have to agree with Kevin on this one, it sounds boring as all get out. Heck, even Beth doesn’t understand what he does when he tries to give his presentation to her. He wonders if he has an artistic side no one knew the nurture in him (I suspect this may turn out kind of awkward). Randall ends up playing the piano and singing (poorly) about his job. It’s pretty painful actually. But William points out afterwards that when Randall first told him about his job, his face lit up like musicians do when they talk about their craft. So they next morning, Randall announces that he puts on a tie every day because he wants to and that he’s going to take piano lessons. Glad you’ve had your mid-life crisis Randall.

Speaking of Kevin, he seems to really be struggling in a pivotal scene that deals with grief. I get the feeling he hasn’t really mourned Jack in the same way Kate and Randall have. Olivia seems to have an idea of how to jump start Kevin’s emotions. She tells him to go to a party with her the next day but when they show up, it isn’t a party. It’s a memorial service. Sneaky girl! At first it isn’t going very well. He’s kind of appalled that she dragged him to a funeral for some random person she didn’t even know. But then as he goes for a drink and finds the dead guy’s widow trying to find space in the fridge for all the food people keep bringing he kind of breaks down. Her son (who is 15) doesn’t want any of his dad’s things and then Kevin shares the fact that he and Jack used to build models together and Kevin would pick the most complex because they took the most time (and with two other siblings he needed to maximize dad time) but when Jack died, he threw all of them away and he doesn’t know why. And all he’s got left of Jack is his necklace. At first he couldn’t even look at it but now he can’t take it off. I know I was moved to tears as he sobbed in the widow’s arms and I think this is exactly what Kevin needed to get through the scene in the play. And apparently it gets Olivia to sleep with him (at the funeral which is kind of gross).

In LA, Kate gets a new job as a project coordinator/assistant for a woman who runs a charity. Kate is super excited about the gig until she meets her new boss’s teenage daughter who instantly comments that her mother hired “the fat one”. Disrespectful little brat! At first it seems like Kate is really into her job. She’s getting a lot done for her boss. But then she has to ferry the boss’s bratty daughter to a friend’s house and the kid refuses to give Kate the address. She continues to insult Kate based on her weight until Kate has had enough and actually throws her out of the car and tells her to walk to her friend’s house (the girl is a little heavyset so that’s why she assumes her mom hired Kate). I was so proud of Kate for not putting up with that girl’s attitude. Kate gets back to her boss’s place and confronts her about the reason she hired Kate. Kate is willing to stay on with a few caveats. I’m glad to see Kate standing up for herself and fighting for what she deserves in her life. And as we end the episode we get somewhat of a truth bomb dropped on us about Kate and Rebecca’s relationship. Kate hated her mother for being skinny and beautiful and Kate came to resent her mother and now they barely speak. It’s also interesting that Kevin has spent so much of his life hating Jack for dying (which makes me wonder what happened even more). I love how this show continues to peel back the layers of these characters and make them just so relatable.