Monday, January 30, 2017

Lucifer 2.13: “A Good Day to Die”

“This isn’t your fault. It’s mine. I’m to blame for all of this.”
- Charlotte

This is our last episode before our dear Devil and his gang goes on hiatus until May! Lucifer, having seen that it appears Chloe’s been poisoned, has taken off with her in the car at a mad dash to the hospital. She insists they go to the precinct and try to figure out if there’s an antidote (after she realizes she’s in fact been poisoned). She also insists on not telling Ella the truth for fear it will mess with the investigation. While the girls do some digging, Lucifer gets to have some words with his big brother. Amenediel admits to creating Chloe but is rather pissed at dear old Dad in terms of being used. He also confirms that Chloe is none the wiser about her angelic origins or any of the drama going on with the celestial family.

Chloe and Lucifer follow a lead (about the guy who was smuggling the poisons into the country). After a few minutes with Lucifer, they learn there was a middle man who might have said antidotes but Chloe collapses to the ground. After Lucifer and Dan bicker a little bit at the hospital (Chloe still isn’t thrilled with being there), the guys head off to follow the next lead. Lucifer does get to use his mojo on the guy and learns that the would-be artist who uses his sales to cover up shadier transactions just wants someone to buy his art for real. So, Lucifer does that to get the antidote ingredients. Unfortunately, it isn’t the actual formula. Back at the hospital, Charlotte shows up and mentions that the man who poisoned Chloe is where he belongs: in Hell. Lucifer realizes that he has a way to get what they need out of the professor. Lucifer just needs to die and go to Hell!

He calls a family (and Linda) meeting to figure out how he’s going to get down and back. Charlotte is absolutely opposed to the idea and I can see why. It isn’t just that she doesn’t really care about saving Chloe’s life. She spent millennia down there being tortured by Maze. She can’t even fathom letting her son go back down. But Amenediel and Maze are up for it. I did really enjoy the interactions in this scene. Amenediel being pissed that Linda kept it from him that she knew about Lucifer’s true nature and the fact that both Maze and Amenediel were up for killing Lucifer. I am also curious to know why Maze can’t go down to Hell with him.

Anyway, it’s going to take a combined effort to make the plan work. Maze and Linda are responsible for bringing Lucifer back from the dead and Amenediel is in charge of making sure Chloe isn’t moved from the room she’s presently in. After all, they are going to try and kill him in the room below. Hopefully it will be close enough to do the job! While Maze and Linda are getting ready to kill Lucifer, Amenediel has a very sweet interaction with Trixie. He tells her there are more good people in the world than bad and they are trying to help her mom. When he falters on whether he’s good, she insists that he is. Downstairs, it turns out Maze and Linda aren’t able to shock Lucifer with the defibrillator so he does it himself. Oh and we get to see Dan and Ella do some breaking and entering to get the last antidote ingredient!

Down in Hell, Lucifer finally finds the professor who is reliving the accident in which he let a college kid die to save his research. A crowd forms and calls him a murderer. Lucifer convinces him to give up the formula with the promise (or at least suggestion) that it will help make amends and pull the professor out of his punishment. But of course, it doesn’t help one bit. Lucifer leaves but as he’s waiting to be brought back, he sees another door and hears someone playing piano. He enters it (bad idea Lucifer!) and finds Uriel playing. It would appear our dear Devil is going to face his own form of punishment for killing his brother. Can we hope he is strong enough to pull himself out?

It appears that Lucifer can’t stop stabbing his brother, even when he really doesn’t want to. I can’t tell if he’s just denying his part in his brother’s death or just afraid to face it. But even now, Uriel is giving him a clue. The words he whispered before his death are important (“the peace is here”). Given what I know about spoilers (yes, I’m that person) I suspect I know what it means, even if we have to wait until May to find out if it’s right. When it’s time for Linda and Maze to bring Lucifer back, they find that he’s trapped and then Chloe starts having a seizure so clearly, they are connected in ways we don’t yet know. Despite her fear of the place, Charlotte mans up (as it were) to rescue her little boy.

It takes the pair of them to break each other out of their guilt but Lucifer finally drags Charlotte away from the Hell-induced Uriel. Back on Earth, true to his word, Amenediel doesn’t let anyone take Chloe, even after she’s stopped seizing. Finally, everyone is back on the mend and Chloe really seems to want to push forward with her feelings for Lucifer, but despite what he spent the rest of the episode doing, he can’t handle it. It’s all just God’s manipulation and he can’t trust anyone. He even tells Charlotte he’s done with her. In fact, it appears he’s done with everyone. Chloe goes by his apartment, hoping to talk out their feelings (after leaving a stalker-level number of voicemails) to find the place is empty and packed up. The Devil has left the building and we now have four months to wait to see where he’s gone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

This Is Us 1.13: "Three Sentences"

“Talks don’t work anymore. I couldn’t make Kate feel better. That’s like my thing, you know? I tried but it just didn’t stick.”
- Jack

While some people may have not felt the emotional punch of this episode, I did. It was different from what we’ve gotten before but I think it had a lot of sweet moments and interesting little tidbits to chew on while we wait for the next episode. In the past, we find Jack watching home movies celebrating the Big Three’s (and his) birthday over the years. It is a montage of presents, cake and pin the tail on the donkey. Jack is really looking forward to it until Kate and Kevin announce they want separate parties—Madonna for Kate and Princess Bride for Kevin (on a side note, I was very pleased with this choice, I love that movie so much)—and Randall even throws in that he wants a magician (although you can tell he doesn’t really care). Jack and Rebecca relent and give their kids three different parties at the house. At first things appear to be going well, Kate and her girls are glamming it up and Kevin is reenacting the best Inigo Montoya moments from the film for his buddies. Then Kate goes outside and sees that only three kids showed up for Randall’s party. She is upset that none of the kids in his class came even though they were invited. But as Randall puts it, he has three really good friends and they all came so he’s happy. Then, Jack notices all the girls hanging at Kevin’s bash and he finds Kate sitting alone in a room. He tries to cheer her up with one of his dad talks (god he’s just so sweet) but it doesn’t work. The heartbreak on his face when he tells Rebecca that his parenting isn’t working was just so painful. He’s been portrayed as such a great father and having a special bond with his little girl, that the fact he can’t fix things anymore is just brutal. In the end, he and Rebecca figure out that the party was all about Kate’s friend Sophie, whom Kevin likes. Oh, and they decide that after the pre-teen drama emerging with their three kids, the thought of having any more is out the window. They do end the night with a wrapping paper fight and cake.

In the present, the Big Three are dealing with the fallout from their own recent life choices. Randall is surprised by how much energy William has and despite having a lot of work to do, he spends the afternoon with his father. They shop for sunglasses, find his favorite drink and then sit in a parking lot where William explains his childhood dream to be a cool cat like the guy who owned the record shop back in Memphis where he used to hang out. So in a sweet moment, Randall teaches hi father to drive. It was nice to see Randall loosen up a bit and not be so focused on his work.

Meanwhile, Kate decides to forgo the gastric bypass surgery (at least for now). Toby’s surgery was something of a wake-up call to her. Her doctor suggests an alternative weight loss experience but it is nothing like Kate imagined. Her expectations of a Biggest Loser-esque workout hell are dashed with horseback riding, yoga and food classes. At first she can’t even handle any of it but when she gets told off by a guy who works there (I think), she decides to give it another chance and start to focus on the issues beneath the weight.We see her flash back to seeing the difference in clothing sizes between her and Rebecca when she was 8 or 9, we see her get the nasty note at the pool and for the first time we get a glimpse of Jack’s funeral. I’ll be honest, I got emotional just seeing that. We don’t even know how it happened or when exactly (though we do get a glimpse of the Big Three around teenage years) and yet it hit me hard. It hits Kate so hard that she starts screaming. But she needed the emotional release. I think she’s ready to work out her issues now. She goes to thank the horse guy but he’s totally a dick and keeps hitting on her. He’s of the opinion that they will be hooking up despite her engaged status. Yeah, I kind of wanted to sic angry Man-ny breakdown Kevin on this dude. Seriously, if you are a decent human being, you don’t get up in someone’s business once they say they are in a relationship. That’s just not what you do. I really dislike this guy (and not just out of loyalty to Toby). He’s controlling and a bit misogynistic. Telling Kate that she’s going to give in and be with him.

Speaking of Kevin, he’s been tasked by Kate to keep Toby company while he’s still in New York on doctor’s orders. Kevin is still hemming and hawing over his romantic prospects so Toby gives him some advice: picture the woman he loves and what three sentences he’d say to her if he had just 30 seconds. We also learn that Toby is a walking rom-com directory. But hey, the advice works. It just doesn’t take us to the woman we’re expecting. He shows up on a woman’s door and says his piece (it’s kind of sweet). And then we learn that they used to be married and are now divorced. I was not expecting that at all. I was also not expecting that this woman was Sophie (although in hindsight we can see it—especially given the whole contrivance of the birthday party when they were 10). He gets her to agree to at least meet him to talk. It’s interesting that he had this part of his history we had no idea about and we are just learning about it now.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Lucifer 2.12: “Love Handles”

“Seriously, insulting a serial killer? That’s an awesome idea.”
- Dan

Now that Lucifer and Chloe have shared their first kiss, the writers have seen fit to throw our duo all kinds of curveballs. We find Chloe having very vivid sex dreams about hooking up with Lucifer (oddly enough including horns which makes me wonder if she really does acknowledge his supernatural nature). Meanwhile, Lucifer thinks that maybe her immunity to his charms has worn off. Much like always, he doesn’t let Linda finish a thought on a reasonable explanation for Chloe’s actions. So, they are super awkward when they get to the crime scene. Lucifer is trying to be all business and Chloe is trying to loosen up (per Maze’s instructions). It’s just laughably painful to watch.

What’s not so laughable, is the poor kid that is their victim. He was poisoned. His roommate feels terrible that he didn’t realize the kid was dead (and not sleeping off a killer hangover). But he does say that some famous actor came by and signed one of the roommate’s DVDs. Allegedly, the actor was there researching a role. I’m not so sure about that when he comes in, wielding a knife saying “the man” said he’d kill our victim if the actor didn’t cut his face. Uh, what now? He shows our duo a video he received and it’s very creepy (it also took a later scene for me to recognize Tim DeKay as the actor doing the voice in the video). As they talk to the actor, Lucifer wonders if perhaps Chloe was manipulated into kissing him (much like the actor’s deeds). So, he confronts Mama Morningstar who just happens to be at the precinct. But she just gives him encouragement to go after his lady. We then get a really awkward little scene with Dan, Lucifer and Charlotte. Lucifer and Dan are really developing an amusing bromance this season and I kind of love it.

The cyber tech teach has found who sent the email to the actor but it looks like the grad student it belongs to isn’t behind the video. The duo does discover another video sent to a highly skilled surgeon (with the threat of poisoning a sophomore). Makes me think given that this is being framed as an “experiment” and it’s at the same university that the killer is a professor at the school. Lucifer and Chloe head to the university to find the next victim while Dan sits with the doctor whose been targeted. They split up and Lucifer gets caught up with a group of girls who make him chug beer before they tell him where the victim is. Chloe is a little miffed by the fact he’s gone off and storms in to find out he’s found their girl. She’s in the bathroom and she is not holding up well.

Elsewhere, Charlotte pays Linda a visit to try and convince the doctor to tell Lucifer about Chloe’s real origins and what she means. Linda refuses but Charlotte (much like her son) interprets Linda’s words to mean she should find someone dumb who care about Lucifer (aka Maze). Back at the doctor’s house, the doctor is seriously freaking out about the fact that she took an oath to do no harm and yet if she takes no action, that’s what happens to an innocent life. When Dan reports the news that the antidote the lab had developed from the first victim’s blood isn’t working, the doctor excuses herself to get some water and sticks her hand in the garbage disposal. Yuck!

Despite the grossness, it gets the antidote to the student. She doesn’t recognize the other victim but she did get a flu shot (and so did the other victim). Ella and Dan also identify the first victim (the douche rich guy from last week). Thanks to some surveillance footage and digging, we learn that the killer is a disgraced professor (I was sort of right) from the university who saved his dissertation over a college Uber driver in a car accident. He’s recreating his dilemma to prove anyone would do what he did. Chloe emails him and insults him in the hope of provoking him. It does, but he’s already got his next victims (out of the control of the police). If the big track star doesn’t hack off his own leg, another student dies. Well, that didn’t work at all.

While Ella is being pretty fabulous and finding footage of the killer at a local airport (and giving Lucifer and Chloe a hint of where to find the nut bag), Charlotte fills Maze in on Chloe’s origins. She insists that Chloe wasn’t supposed to be there and if Maze is still skeptical, then Charlotte has something to show her. I really want to know what it is! But first, we have to deal with the last dilemma posed by the killer. Lucifer and Chloe find the guy’s lab but he poses a choice: in one vial is an antidote for the poisoned student, the other is a poisonous gas that will kill Chloe. So, whose life is more important? Lucifer offers to bust in and get the kid out while Chloe goes after the killer (as we know so he’ll be invincible). He manages to rescue the kid and Chloe corners the guy but he ends up slitting his own throat. Things look like they are going to be all happy (especially when Lucifer realizes what he and Chloe have is real) until Mama Morningstar and Maze break the news that Chloe was put in his path by God. He gets super angry (kind of at everyone) and busts into Chloe’s place, demanding to know if she knew the whole time. Well she’s probably not interested in what he’s ranting about because her nose is bleeding and it won’t’ stop. I suspect she’s been poisoned (in her pursuit of the killer) and there’s no antidote. I’d say the guy should be thanking Hell that he’s dead, but that’s Lucifer’s domain and I think he won’t think twice about going to Hell to bring the guy back to save Chloe.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fresh off the Boat 3.06: "WWJD: What Would Jessica Do?"

“The only thing I know about Christianity is the sad story of Mary’s son leaving her.”

This particular episode of “Fresh off the Boat” delves into an interesting intersection between a parent letting their child grow up and make their own decisions a bit and anxiety over religion. Jessica is very upset when Evan tells her he wants to forego their weekly Costco trip to start going to church. Jessica wasn’t raised in a religious household (she considers herself non-practicing Buddhist with light Christmas), so she doesn’t understand what Evan could get out of going to church. She also really, really misses their Costco ritual. The other plots going on in this episode (Louis is unhappy with a free dental treatment Marvin gave him and Eddie and Emery try to use up a bunch of gross cereal so they can get Frosted Flakes) seem in consequential in comparison.

The episode opens with Honey and Marvin eating dinner at Cattleman’s. Louis offers to give them the “friends price,” and in exchange, Marvin agrees to give Louis a dental cleaning at the “friends price.” Louis has time on Sunday, because Jessica and Evan will be going on their weekly 5-8 hour Costco run. When we actually see them go on that Costco run, it’s something to behold. Jessica is more relaxed than we’ve ever seen her before (knowing all the bulk deals are waiting for makes her calm). She and Evan read books while sitting in camp chairs, great all the staff that they know by name, try some free dip, and sneak some broken eggs back into the refrigerator case. The best moment is a montage of Jessica and Evan trying on sunglasses and making stereotypical hip hop video faces at each other. I guess Eddie has influenced the rest of the family! Meanwhile, Louis goes for his cleaning, and everything looks great. The only problem is that Marvin snuck some tooth whitening into the fluoride treatment, and now Louis’ teeth look like they could light up a room all on their own.

The next week, Jessica is all ready for another epic Costco run. It’s toilet paper week, after all. Evan, however, doesn’t want to go. A friend and his mom have offered to take him to church. Jessica has never been religious, so she’s kind of concerned about this. And she’s upset that she won’t have Evan with her at Costco, but she decides to let him go anyway. Louis offers to go with Jessica instead, but she’s not interested, because she “knows people” at Costco, and Louis’ teeth are still janky. She sadly tries to go through the usual Costco routine on her own, but as she tells the lady who gives out the free samples, she is worried that she may have lost Evan. That fear seems to be justified when Evan returns home gushing about how much he enjoyed church. He enjoyed the free crackers and juice and the fellowship so much that he wants to go back next week, because there’s going to be a guitarist.

When Jessica sees Evan praying, she really wants to put a stop to the whole thing, but Louis reminds her that Evan needs to find his own way. After all, he (Louis) almost became a Mormon back in the day. He just realized he liked caffeine more than the prospect of being allowed to have a second wife. Jessica, however, tries to intervene, using a voice changing machine they bought at Costco to be the voice of God. The voice of God who tells Evan to spend Sunday with mommy at Costco, obviously. Louis gives Jessica a talking-to about this, and she does feel bad about it, but her next Costco run is very lonely again. She talks to the sample lady, and they have a bit of a confessional moment when the sample lady needs to restock. It was an interesting visual with the sample lady taking crackers from one side of a shelf and Jessica talking salsa from the other, creating a little window in the middle. The sample lady says she’s always trained to ask people what they like about the sample, so she makes Jessica think about what Evan likes about church. Jessica realizes that the things Evan likes about church (like community, values, and free snacks) are some of the same things Jessica likes about Costco. Church is his Costco, in other words.

Meanwhile, Eddie and Emery had asked for Frosted Flakes on the last Costco run, but they got a Kellogg’s variety pack that definitely didn’t include any sugary varieties of cereals. They do have some Rice Krispies, though, which gives Evan an idea. He gets his chef on and makes a “Bad Ass Cereal Treat” with all the cereals combined. Jessica can sniff out wasted food like nobody’s business, so if the boys didn’t figure out a way to use up the cereal she already bought, they’d never get their Frosted Flakes. Unfortunately, Eddie’s cereal treat doesn’t turn out as well as he hoped. It’s kind of difficult to eat, and even though he and Emery keep eating, it never seems to get any smaller. Also, Louis continues to struggle with his teeth. Marvin brings a whole group of his dentist friends to Cattleman’s to try and show off his work, but Louis doesn’t want to open his mouth. Marvin says he turned Louis from a 7 to an 8 or 8.5. This doesn’t sit well with Louis. Eddie ends up breaking a tooth on the cereal treat, and Louis has to take him to see Marvin. The two patch up their differences, and Louis pays full price for the cap on Eddie’s tooth. In exchange, Marvin says he will pay full price at Cattleman’s going forward. They both think it is best for their friendship.

Jessica is determined to be more supportive of Evan’s desire to go to church, and Evan actually ends up making it a bit easier for her than she expected. He wants to alternate weeks between church and Costco. To show her support, and because she still wants to spend Sundays with her son, Jessica decides to wait outside church every week while Evan attends the service. That way he can tell her all about it right away. Jessica still isn’t willing to actually go into church, but she is impressed when Evan tells her they have school on Sunday.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Review: "Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds"

“Age. It’s horrible for all of us, but she falls from a greater height.”
-Carrie Fisher

I first watched Star Wars as a tween and almost instantly became a massive fan. I also have very distinct memories of watching “Singin’ in the Rain” while young, too (I was raised on a pretty steady diet of classic sitcoms, musicals, and sci-fi). So you can imagine the events of December hit me harder than most celebrity deaths do. I was pleased, however, that HBO made the decision to air “Bright Lights,” Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens’ documentary about Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, and some of their extended family, earlier than planned in their honor. I came away from the documentary wishing I had read some of Carrie Fisher’s work before she died (although I do plan to remedy that lack of reading at some point). She had some of the most insightful commentary on her family in the documentary, and I would imagine that same wit and perceptiveness is present in her written work as well.

Let’s start with some of the less heavy aspects of the documentary. One scene that really stood out to me was when Fisher goes to a convention to sign autographs for fans. As you know if you’re a long-time reader of MTVP (do any of you exist?), you know that Sarah and I are big time convention attendees. We’ve even been to Comic-con International in San Diego (which was an amazing experience). I do, however, at conventions, sometimes feel a tiny bit sorry for the celebrities. I especially felt this way at Wizard World Philadephia last year. I mean, the celebrities do get paid for their time, which is definitely deserved, but there’s something that feels a bit unseemly about it all. They’re human beings too, and they’re being inundated with people who want their photo and autograph because they like a character they played once. Princess Leia is such an iconic character that I imagine the fan attention was extremely intense for Fisher. She very aptly describes conventions as a “celebrity lap dance” except the money isn’t placed in underwear. After the convention, however, she does reflect on the fact that people love Leia and she (Carrie) is as close as they can get to her (Leia), and that people are nice. I imagine many of the celebrities who frequent the convention circuit have similarly conflicted feelings.

I was especially struck by the extremely close, pretty much co-dependent relationship between Reynolds and Fisher. They lived in separate houses in the same Beverly Hills compound, and they spent a great deal of time together. During the time of the documentary, Reynolds was not generally in great health, and it was clear how much this was weighing on Fisher. She was clearly very (understandably) upset at seeing her mother decline, and she was determined to do whatever she had to in order to give Reynolds a few last chances to perform. She also spoke very eloquently about how she needed her mother to be the same person she had always been and how she’s having a harder time preparing herself to let go of her mother than she had letting go of her own daughter. My own mother and I are very close, even though we live three hours apart. Fisher mentioning that she was her mother’s best friend more than her daughter also somewhat rings true to me. I can only hope, if we are blessed to live that long, that my mother and I can have the close, loving relationship of Reynolds and Fisher when we are in our 80’s/late 50s.

I also have come to really appreciate what a tireless advocate Fisher was for destigmatizing mental health. Fisher had bipolar disorder, and the documentary included footage of her having a manic episode on the Great Wall of China followed by an episode of depression severe enough that she couldn’t get out of bed. Fisher called the two sides to her moods “Rollicking Roy” and “Sentiment Pam,” one the meal and the other the check. I have a close relative with pretty severe (to the point of disability, even when on the right levels of medication) bipolar disorder, and I greatly appreciate Fisher providing more insight to the public about what the disorder is really like. Reynolds’ take on her daughter’s struggle rang especially true to me. She said in one scene, “When she was 13, her personality changed. So it’s a constant battle — it takes all of us to assure her that she’s loved.” I could picture my grandmother saying the exact same thing. She’s often marveled, tearfully, at how my relative with bipolar disorder keeps going with the thoughts he has going through his head.

Going into watching “Bright Lights,” I wasn’t sure if I was emotionally ready to handle the film so soon after Fisher and Reynolds’ deaths. I ended up, however, being glad that I took the leap. I knew abstractly that Carrie Fisher had been a talented writer and advocate for mental health, but there was definitely value in seeing her wit and her struggles depicted on the screen. Like I mentioned, I really want to read some of her writing now. If the insight she displayed in this documentary is also present in her writing, a read will be very worthwhile. I’m not sure which I want to start with first – “The Princess Diarist” for all the behind the scenes Star Wars gossip, or one of her earlier works. Either way, I have no doubt after watching “Bright Lights” that I will be in for an interesting read.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

This Is Us 1.12: “The Big Day”

“God, I know we only talk during play-off season but if you’re listening, I think my wife’s been possessed by a demon.”
- Jack

So, coming into this episode, I knew that it was set all in the past, which as we know is a departure from the usual story structure of the show. But that’s totally fine. The show has established itself enough at this point to occasionally break from tradition. And it means we get some more insight into the past characters and the day that led us to the Big Three entering the world! We find Jack and Rebecca the day before the Big Three come into the world. (well we actually see Rebecca’s transition from loving being pregnant to needing Jack’s help to get out of bed in the middle of the night to pee). She’s just really stressed about the fact that the house is still a mess and they just aren’t ready for the children to arrive. On the afternoon of Jack’s birthday, Rebecca is in a real mood and she kicks Jack out of the house (he’s relatively gracious about it) and even offers up a little prayer to God. And then Rebecca realizes her mess-up and she’s really upset.

Elsewhere, we meet Joe, the firefighter who will ultimately unite Randall with his family. He’s at confession, talking to the priest about how he lied to his wife about quitting smoking. I guess the regulations about firefighters smoking being prohibited didn’t come into effect until much more recently. He goes on about how they met when she rear-ended him. I think he misses what they used to have. He even tells his wife that he asked the priest to help fix his marriage. Also missing what he used to have is Dr. K. We see him getting ready to have his grandchildren over and he’s talking to his wife but no one else is there. He even finds an excuse (in work) to turn down a female friend (or acquaintance I guess) that he runs into at the grocery store when she offers to make him dinner. When his family arrives, it’s clear that he’s still struggling to make connections with people after losing his wife. When his son and daughter-in-law try to talk to him about their concerns that he isn’t moving on, he kind of loses it and says he’ snot going to move on. She was his life and now she’s gone. He does go to her grave and is having a really emotional conversation with her when his pager goes off, summoning him back to work.

Rebecca is frantically trying to figure out something to do for Jack’s birthday and she ends up leaving Miguel’s wife a long rambling message before deciding she’s going to make Jack a fancy cake. That’s all well and good but they don’t have the ingredients. So, she duct tapes flip flops to her feet and makes the trek to the only store within waddling distance (a liquor store). Together with the owner, she cobbles together a banana muffin and Twinkies (for icing) and she snags the pilot’s infamous terrible towel. Meanwhile, Miguel is trying to get Jack into golfing but all Jack wants to do is be with his wife and unborn babies. He’s such a good husband. Even when he was having issues with drinking after the babies were born, he was still a good guy.

At the fire station, we find Joe on shift when someone rings the doorbell. We see baby Randall (so interesting that Rebecca calls him Kevin and Kate’s younger brother even though he’s actually older than them) on the doorstep. William is watching from around a corner and once Joe takes the baby inside, William takes off. While a co-worker suggests Joe take the baby to the police, I don’t think he’s going to end up doing that (in fact we know he doesn’t). Well at first, he tries to convince his wife that they should keep the baby but she says that a child isn’t going to fix their problems. But finding the baby was enough to make them both realize that they want to try and fix things and go back to way the it was.

Back at home, Rebecca puts together the cupcake and then gets to spend some time in the nursery, talking to the babies in her belly. She raves about Jack and how excited she is for them to meet him and then she shares her fears about her shortcomings as a prospective mother. The things she says are definitely born out in what we’ve seen of her on the show thus far. Jack comes back and has been filming her which is kind of adorable. He says it’s only picture but I suspect it has sound, too. It would be a sweet way to incorporate Jack into the present if the Big Three watched it or something. But he convinces her to do the sexy dance and we’ve about caught up with the events of the pilot.

We see Jack stripping down for his birthday dance and then Jack and Rebeca at the hospital meeting Dr. K. They cut in between the delivery and Dr. K telling Jack about losing the third baby. Unlike in the pilot, we get to actually hear Jack tell Rebecca about the baby and hear her vehemently denying the truth. I honestly can’t imagine what that would be like. But in the end, they end up taking Randall home and it prompts Dr. K to move on with his life. We see him having dinner with that lady friend while Joe and his wife are reconnecting and rekindling their marriage. And as we jump ahead to Father’s Day when the Big Three are 8 or 9, we see that they are in fact watching the video he took of Rebecca (and it doesn’t have sound). It was really sweet. I really liked getting to see what brought all of these people together on this one day in the history of the Pearsons. And if I’m honest, I didn’t even miss the adult Big Three all that much.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lucifer 2.11: “Stewardess Interruptus"

“I would never hurt Lucifer. I was trying to prove that you weren’t worthy of him.”
- Charlotte

Well, we are back with Chloe and Lucifer and their strange love connection. Sadly, we only get 3 episodes before it goes on hiatus again until May! So, let’s enjoy it while we can, folks. Just as Chloe and Lucifer are about to share a very meaningful kiss, a flight attendant whom Lucifer has hooked up with in the pat just shows up out of nowhere, offering herself up. Chloe takes this as a chance to bow out and Lucifer is really not happy to have the moment ruined. He even tells the flight attendant to just leave. The next morning, Charlotte pops by but instead of dropping the “Chloe is a miracle” bomb on her baby boy, she just nudges him back towards our lady detective.

It’s going to be tough getting Chloe back though, especially when the case of the week begins with our flight attendant having been murdered! Lucifer just isn’t having a good day of it. Chloe is still denying they had a moment and insisting they are totally different people, while totally acting jealous that he’d had any kind of relationship with the flight attendant at all. Even when they follow up a lead at a swanky beach house, Chloe can’t help but point out how similar Lucifer is to the guy (rich, flaunting his power and sexual prowess whenever possible). Dan is also feeling a little uncomfortable, too. Although his issue is the fact that Chloe’s dad’s killer has been found dead and Maze is gleefully showing off the front-page article to basically anyone who will listen. This includes a visit to Linda (on the good doctor’s lunch break). Linda says that Maze needs to learn to find self-worth from within. I don’t think our demon is going to get there any time soon. It just isn’t in her nature.

The case takes another turn down Lucifer’s sexual history when they find another victim who was also one of Lucifer’s exes. So, Chloe has him write down everyone he’s slept with in the past two months. Good lord does the man get around. But as Chloe interviews everyone (with Dan and Lucifer watching) we see a pattern emerge. They all had great sex but that’s all it was to them. None of them had any kind of emotional connection. And then Charlotte shows up and continues to try and push Chloe back toward Lucifer. It’s really kind of creepy. What’s also creepy is the fact that a bunch of Lucifer’s exes described a girl who was always at Lux hanging out and glaring daggers at them. Lucifer and Chloe head to the girl’s place and find her wall covered with photos of Lucifer with other people. Stalker much?

It turns out that this chick is like 16 (at least she looks super young) and she’s just in love with Lucifer. She makes creepy little dolls of all his sexual escapades. But she does turn out to be useful. She points out the connection between the two victims and turns the pair on to a potential killer. The pilot that the flight attendant worked with has priors for drug smuggling and now he works for a private airline flying rich guys around. I have to believe that the annoying beach house guy was somehow involved. They couldn’t just introduce him and not have him matter. Besides, it’s usually someone we see near the top of the hour that is the killer. Thanks to some super crazy driving that reminded me a little of the pilot of Scorpion, Lucifer and Chloe manage to stop the plane and the pilot comes out, looking kind of shaken. Turns out he thinks someone’s out to get him.

It turns out the guy that the pilot flies for was trying to make him smuggle drugs (he’d been out of the game since he adopted a kitten…it’s a whole thing). Anyway, the gang decides to set up a sting to get the killer and Maze agrees to be the bait. Before Lucifer gets to the sting though, Amenediel (after having a chat and some espresso with Mama Morningstar) drops by to give his younger brother some advice. He tells Lucifer to look inside and see if he believes he’s worth being a boyfriend. Unfortunately, Chloe continues to deny they have any connection and eventually asks Lucifer to leave the stakeout van. That was not a good idea though. Sure, she was feeling all kinds of emotions from Maze having dropped the bomb that Dan slept with Charlotte (we all knew he thought Maze was gonna say something about Chloe’s dad’s killer). Also, the guy that shows up and Maze starts beating on in a hotel room is a decoy. The real guy shows up and pulls a gun on Lucifer, demanding the missing package.

Everything thinks the missing package is drugs but as the case wraps up (Lucifer does a little devil face and the guy turns into a blubbering mess) we learn that there’s something far more sinister afoot. I don’t know what it is (angel blood maybe?) but the package isn’t drugs. Although, the guy who stole it and gets caught (by some shadowy guy wearing a hat…we don’t see his face yet, even though I know we know who was cast) ends up dead in a rather violent manner. He got some of whatever was in one of the vials on himself and something was happening to him. I like that we are getting more mythology moving forward, although I suspect it means we are going to have one hell of wait for the show to come back in May. But things aren’t all bad. Chloe finds Lucifer at the beach and after he gives this really sweet, impassioned speech about why he isn’t right for her, she leans in and kisses him, taking him completely off guard!

No Tomorrow 1.07: "No You Say It First"

“Love is the worst. It’s like doing ecstasy. It seems like a fun idea, and then suddenly you’re at the top of the Space Needle puking into some tourist cleavage.”

This episode of “No Tomorrow” sees both Evie and Xavier working on career related challenges. Evie thinks she has a shot at the CyberHugs job of her dreams, despite the whole Fern thing that just went down. The CEO of CyberMart is paying her warehouse a visit, and Evie wants to take the opportunity to convince him she's the right person for the job. Naturally, all does not go as planned, and the situation needs to be saved by one of Xavier's crazy schemes. Xavier himself has started trying to sell his art to make money, but he's not getting many takers. He does, however, do some beautiful rain-activated street art at the end of the episode. The episode also explores the character of Evie's sister Mary Anne a bit more. Being the super regimented, always responsible person she is, she hasn't really taken to Xavier's carpe diem philosophy. Xavier's got an idea to try and make this better, but naturally that plan doesn't go as expected either, and wacky adventures ensue.

In the aftermath of having most of his stuff repossessed, Xavier has a new plan to keep going until the apocalypse. He buys an RV and parks it in front of Evie’s house. He’s also going to try selling some of his art. Evie has career aspirations, too. The CEO and founder of Cybermart, Corey Casey, is going to be visiting her office. She wants to use the visit as an opportunity to petition him directly for the CyberHugs job, since Deirdre still isn’t supporting her. She’s got this whole elaborate plan that involves Hank and Kareema to corner him before Deirdre can get to him and make her pitch. Xavier has no doubt that Evie will be successful, and as he starts to brush his teeth with an electric toothbrush, Evie tells him she loves him. And he says nothing in return – he just keeps brushing. This freaks Evie out, and when she hashes it out with Kareema, we get the quote of the episode.

Unfortunately, Evie’s plan for Corey Casey doesn’t go well. Because she’s deep in conversation, Kareema doesn’t notice Hank’s signal right away, and when she finally does, Evie tries to run to get into position. Instead, she almost runs right into Corey Casey, who is a complete douche who most definitely gets around on a Segway. He also has people to carry boxes for him. He’s definitely a caricature of the self-involved tech billionare. Which would have been funny before somebody like Donald Trump was elected president (granted he knows nothing about tech, but he is, so he says, a billionaire. Evie stumbles over her words when trying to speak to Corey, and Deirdre soon finds the pair and cuts Evie off. Later, Corey makes a bit announcement that he’s going to do a big launch of a CyberMart initiative at a party in Seattle. Deirdre seems to be the only one from the office invited, though. He does however, want all of the staff to know that the new initiative doesn’t mean layoffs. Instead, they’ll cut costs in other ways, including by eliminating CyberHugs. Xavier’s not having much luck with “work” either. The only sale he is able to make of his art is for $15, and the guy only wants the vintage frame.

After work, Xavier asks Evie if she wants to help spend the $15 he earned on Indian food, but Evie says she already has plans to have dinner with her sister Mary Anne. Xavier’s first instinct is to have the Indian food by himself, since he doesn’t think Mary Anne likes him very much. Evie, however, really wants Xavier and Mary Anne to get along, so she eventually convinces him to join them for dinner. At first, the dinner is just as awkward as you’d expect, but when Mary Anne starts to complain about a painter who wants to charge $5,000 to paint her house, Xavier thinks he has an in. He agrees to paint the house for $2,000, and Mary Anne, against her better judgment I’m sure, agrees. Xavier shows up “first thing” at 10:45 the next morning, which irritates the very scheduled and regimented Mary Anne. Xavier is, however, a bit surprised to learn that Mary Anne wants to paint the trim of the house fuchsia. She reveals that she used to die her hair and sing in a punk band. Xavier tries to convince her to embrace that side of herself a bit now and then, but Mary Anne isn’t having it, because kids “need structure.” She’s horrified to return home at the end of the day to find that Xavier has painted the whole house fuchsia.

Meanwhile, now that Deirdre and Hank have admitted their feelings for each other, they are having sex constantly at the office. This obviously could be a major problem if found out. Evie’s got this big plan to make her pitch to Corey to keep CyberHugs, and it involves convincing Deirdre to let her plus one to the launch event. She’s going to play up the angle that she can help Deirdre remember everyone’s name at the party. When she goes to tell Deirdre about this, she almost catches Deirdre and Hank having sex. A rather disheveled Deirdre agrees to the plus one plan, and Evie is none the wiser about what’s been going on. After that close call, Deirdre and Hank decide to institute a five foot “sex moat,” because if they get to close to each other, they immediately want to have sex. Eww.

Timothy, for his part, is also getting a lot of sex, as he tells Hank over a (bad) meal at Fernburgers. His relationship with Fern seems to be going well enough. She makes him feel like he’s good in bed, and she’s generally nice, so Timothy is happy. More importantly, though, he’s been chosen to give a “Steven Spiel,” which is basically a low rent TED talk. It’s going to be about the intersection of people, sexuality, and technology. Because I really want to hear Timothy of all people talk about that. Timothy admits that in groups, he talks really softly, and he’s worried about doing that at the Steven Spiel. Hank tries to help him out by having him deliver the talk at a senior center, which works great since none of them can hear even if Timonthy yells. On the way home, Timothy runs into Evie while walking out of the drug store after buying a bunch of condoms. Evie already knows about Fern, but Timothy is quick to clarify that the condoms aren’t for Fern. He explains the Steven Spiel and invites Evie to attend. Evie accepts.

Mary Anne is furious at the whole fuchsia house thing, and she demands that Xavier change it back. She says his freewheeling way of life may have worked with Evie, but it’s not going to work with her. Mary Anne’s son tucker says he likes the pink house and that Xavier is fun and Mary Anne isn’t. After work when Evie hears from Xavier about what happened, she goes to Mary Anne’s house to try and smooth things over. She finds her sister sitting in a bathtub getting drunk. Mary Anne really misses the person she used to be, since parenthood takes all her time and energy now. Evie has an idea to help. She and Xavier are going to take the kids for a day so Mary Anne can have some time for herself. Said day involves ice cream, the zoo, and a ride on a firetruck. Mary Anne is happy because she actually got five hours of uninterrupted sleep. It’s not exactly what Xavier had in mind, and while he’s happy she’s happy, he thinks he can do better.

Meanwhile, Timothy is still really nervous before the Steven Spiel. Hank suggest he look at just one person in the audience and deliver the speech just to them. Timothy tries this, but it doesn’t help. He’s still super quiet and nobody can hear him. Until Evie walks in, that is. He starts speaking more loudly, and he’s so confident that he falls off the stage and gets stuck in a space below the stage. He keeps trying to deliver the talk, but it looks rather ridiculous. Timothy approaches Evie later and says they can’t be friends anymore. She was the only person who could calm him down at the Steven Spiel, and as long as that’s true, they can’t be friends.

Evie picks up Deirdre for the party, but Deirdre gets a hold of Evie’s notes on what she wants to say to Corey to save CyberHugs. Deirdre is pissed that saving CyberHugs is the only reason Evie wanted to be her plus one, so she uninvites Evie. When Xavier hears about this, he suggests crashing the party instead. Evie is a little reluctant, but she eventually decides to go with it, as this may be her only chance to save CyberHugs. Evie, Xavier, Mary Anne, Kareema, and Hank all dress up as the band hired for the party. Everyone got the space rock memo except Hank, who thinks they should be a country band. They group makes it into the party thaks to Xavier singing some opera and convincing the bouncer they really are musicians. If you’ve seen “Galavant,” you know Joshua Sasse has pipes, so this scene was fun. Inside, Hank surprises Deirdre, who is turned on, but tries to keep the five foot sex moat going. Corey sees this, assumes, Deirdre is racist, and books her for a sensitivity training. At the training, Hank and Deidre end up making out, and the HR rep has a much bigger problem on her hands than she originally thought.

Anyway, Corey announces that he’s going to make a big investment in space flight (called, unoriginally, CyberSpace). The bouncer makes the band get up on stage, and everyone but Evie does so. Mary Anne tears it up, and Evie is happily watching the performance when Deidre spots Evie and tries to have her kicked out. Corey spots her, though, and Evie gets to deliver her pitch. She actually does it well this time, and Corey decides to reinstitute CyberHugs. The group celebrates their mission accomplished. Deirdre is not thrilled about this. She’s going to make Evie work both jobs fully. While having some celebratory coffee, Evie and Kareema talk about the Xavier not saying I love you thing. Evie decides it’s not a big deal, because he has shown her that he loves her. When she arrives home, it’s raining, and Xavier is standing in the street in front of her house. He has commissioned rain activated art that says, among other things, “I love you, Evie.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

This Is Us 1.11: “The Right Thing to Do”

“This is scary. This is all just scary, honestly. But, I want to send the rest of my life with you.”
- Kate

“This Is Us” is finally back from its far-too-long 5-week hiatus (yes in the grand scheme of things, I know that’s not a long time in TV land … I’m looking at you Once Upon a Time and your three-month hiatus). We left the Pearson clan in quite the dire state of affairs at the end of the “Last Christmas”. Namely, Toby is seen in surgery and he’s coding. Is he alive? Is he dead? Let’s find out.

As we see a bunch of hospital staff racing around Kate in a crazy montage, we are led to believe that Toby is in distress. And then Kate asks a nurse for a particular room and we find that Toby had arrhythmia and in typical Toby fashion he’s making light of it. But things aren’t all rosy. He has a hole in his heart that the doctor really wants to repair with surgery. Kate is insisting that he do the surgery but he’s not interested. I’m wondering if maybe someone in his family had something similar. But ultimately, he decides to have the surgery and professes his love to her. While it’s going on, Kate and her brothers hang in the lobby, commiserating about their problems. It’s really nice to see the Big Three together. It’s adorable. The surgery goes well but it gives Kate a chance to tell him she loves him, too. And then he says that he’d marry her if that’s what she wants. It’s really sweet and totally a Toby thing to do.

Things pick up relatively right where we left everyone else in the family. Kevin and Sloane are kind of a thing (they stumble into the kitchen the next morning all lovey dovey to find William and Beth eating breakfast). We also get confirmation that William considers himself bisexual. Randall is clearly still flummoxed by his father’s sexuality and after William says he’s going out with Jesse, Randall wonders if he’s homophobic because he feels so strange about this new piece of information. But Beth confirms that it’s just because he is still getting to know William. She suggests (rightly so … I mean she is on top of her game) that Randall try and get to know Jesse. Unfortunately, his attempt to talk to Jesse is super awkward. First, he offers the guy a drink and then doesn’t actually believe they met at NA (he was also thrown off by Jesse saying they first met on Tinder). Randall is also not happy about William staying the night with Jesse. Randall confronts William when he comes back, only to find out that the chemo meds are no longer working. William was having Jesse help him looking for nursing homes. But Randall insists that his bio dad isn’t going anywhere because they are in this together. They are family. God, this show makes me cry every freaking week!

Things with the play at first look like they are looking up. Kevin and Sloane clearly have chemistry and the director really thinks they are going to work. And then Olivia shows up with a God-awful haircut, claiming she’s found herself and become a real person. She wants the play and Kevin back. I’m praying Kevin will be strong and not give in to her on the romance front. He doesn’t have much choice in the play since the director is pretty stoked about her return. Kevin tells Olivia she’s out on both fronts, and then in his attempt to stick up for himself kind of puts his foot in his mouth, so Sloane may be pissed at him for a while. The guy tries but he just never gets there.

Before we catch up with Jack and Rebecca in the past, we catch a glimpse of Jack as a teenager, trying to stand up to his abusive father. His mother makes him promise to not be like his old man. From what we’ve seen of Jack as a husband and father, he is nothing like his dad. He is the sweetest man in the world and definitely should win World’s Greatest Dad. We catch up with Jack and Rebecca in 1979. They’re excited to have found a cute two-bed 6th floor walkup for $200 a month (although Rebecca is worried about the price). Girl, if my two-bedroom cost $200 a month, I’d be doing back flips. But then again, 2017 versus 1979. Anyway, after Jack has already put money down on the place, they go in for a doctor’s appointment where they get the baby bomb shell that they’re having triplets. I loved that we got a little cameo from Dr. K in which he’s grateful they aren’t his patients. Oh just you wait! Rebecca is understandably freaking out but Jack promises he’ll figure something out. He’s working on a home renovation and asks his boss for a raise (I’m pretty sure he’ s going to buy the house he’s working on). But before we can get there, Rebecca has lunch with her mother (the woman is horrible in every way possible). When Rebecca gets home she says that her mother suggested they move in with her parents for a while after the babies are born. Jack is not having that idea (I don’t blame him) and as he heads out to get her ice cream, he overhears her crying. God, the two of them are just so great together. It’s all so real. On his way to getting the ice cream, Jack takes a huge risk by going to ask his dad for money. He plays his dad to get the money and then sells his car and buys the house (like I predicted early in the episode). He takes Rebecca and breaks the news and it’s so sweet to see her envisioning them raising their children in this house. It will need a lot of work but Jack is obviously up to the task.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Fresh off the Boat 3.05: "No Thanks-giving"

“We are working on Thanksgiving!”

Given that I have a job that pretty much ruins all fall/winter holidays, I had to pick Jessica’s happy exclamation above as the Quote of the Episode. Yeah, I’m usually allowed to go up to Philadelphia for a few days to celebrate Thanksgiving, but the holiday comes right after the worst of the first phase of our busy season and just before the second. During that time, instead of fully relaxing and enjoying time with my family, my brain is preoccupied with all the work things I really should be doing. So I can definitely understand Jessica’s sentiment – where she thinks that because Thanksgiving isn’t part of Chinese culture, it makes sense for the Huangs to open Cattleman’s Ranch on Thanksgiving and make money off all the Americans celebrating the day. It’s kind of sad when you think about it, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are kind of sad holidays to me thanks to work, so the episode fit my mood.

The family is all sitting in front of the television watching roller derby when Jessica makes the big announcement. Instead of putting in a lot of work for bad food and uncomfortable conversation with relatives they don’t even really like for a holiday with which they have no cultural ties, she wants to open Cattleman’s Ranch on Thanksgiving and make money off of “white people looking for a sense of community” as Louis later puts it. Jessica’s mother is more than fine with this, because she is proud that her daughter is putting work first. Grandma Huang is fine with it as long as she gets to watch the Macy’s parade on the bar television. She’s excited to read the energy of the room as the parade passes by. When Honey drops by and tries to invite herself to Thanksgiving, Jessica makes the whole thing even more profitable by deciding that the buffet (to minimize the need for staff who would have to be paid overtime) will cost $18.99 a head for adults. And Honey is perfectly okay with that price point.

Meanwhile, Eddie forgot to do a family tree assignment for school, and the situation leads to his having a bit of an epiphany. Eighth grade doesn’t matter. Colleges only look at high school grades, and as long as you pass eighth grade, you get to move on to high school. Eddie already has good enough grades where he can do no work for the rest of the semester and still pass, so he’s done. The school principal talks to Jessica and Louis and begs them to put a stop to this. Eddie is right, but he’s a talker, and they don’t want him telling the rest of the kids the truth about middle school. Jessica and Louis start by trying to play the “if you live in our house, you live by our rules” card, but Eddie’s not having it. His grades don’t matter, so he’s not going to do any more work than he has to. Jessica says that Eddie won’t necessarily inherit Cattleman’s Ranch. Evan and Emery hear this, and they immediately want in.

Evan and Emery put a lot of work into designing the centerpieces for Thanksgiving. They’ve got vision boards and everything. Evan likes brown tones, and Emery is inspired by maize, both American and European. Louis is impressed, and he’s especially happy about the fact that his boys are interested in taking over the restaurant one day. It could really be his legacy. Jessica, meanwhile, ups the ante in her battle to make Eddie do schoolwork. She takes away his bed and says that he can’t have it back until he does his family tree assignment. Eddie assures her he will be just fine sleeping on t-shirts, but it actually turns out that sleeping on t-shirts isn’t all that comfortable. He wants to find his bed pronto, but he doesn’t actually want to do any school work to make that happen.

Eddie starts his search by asking around at Cattleman’s if anyone has seen his bed. It turns out that it is not actually hidden in the freezer. He also tries asking Honey and Marvin if they have seen his bed, but they haven’t, either. They are useful, however, in providing anecdotes that prove his theory that eighth grade doesn’t matter, much to Jessica and Louis’ chagrin. Meanwhile, Louis is calling Emery and Evan “owners in training,” which kind of freaks out the staff at Cattleman’s. The situation with all three Huang kids comes to a head when Jessica says she doesn’t really want any of the boys to make Cattleman’s Ranch their future. Louis takes exception to the fact that she’d use Cattleman’s as an excuse to get out of Thanksgiving, but it’s not good enough for their boys’ futures.

Jessica’s got one more devious plan up her sleeve to make money on Thanksgiving. She gives Eddie a specific ticket and pockets its match so that the Huangs can win the turkey. Eddie, however, is asleep during the raffle announcement. Louis takes offense to corruption at Cattleman’s, so he quickly tries to raffle it off to someone else. The lady who wins is thrilled until she realizes that the turkey is as “fresh” as can be. It’s still alive. Jessica tries to kill the turkey, but she finds it a lot harder than she thought it would be. While she’s trying to kill the turkey, Jessica and Louis have a heart to heart. Jessica is very proud of what Louis has accomplished with Cattleman’s. But she has even higher hopes for her sons, and that’s only possible because of Cattleman’s. Louis accepts this.

At first Jessica appears to have a change of heart about the whole Eddie and school work thing. She tells Eddie that his bed is in Grandma’s room (who has been providing hilarious commentary about the parade and really loves Garfield). She also gives everyone in the restaurant Thanksgiving dinner for free. When Eddie protests that Jessica just gave away all the profits, she says that she’s so twisted she’ll destroy Cattleman’s Ranch unless Eddie starts doing schoolwork again. At the end of the episode, we see Eddie present the NWA family tree to the rest of the family, which is pretty darn hilarious.