Sunday, May 28, 2017

Lucifer 2.17: “Sympathy for the Goddess”

“What am I Lucifer, some pawn in one of your plans?”
- Maze

We are one episode away from finishing out season 2 of “Lucifer” and after the last episode, it’s hard to imagine things can get crazier. But, they do. At the top of the hour, we see Lucifer and Amenediel watching as Charlotte brokers a deal with a sleazy thug for the final piece of the Flaming Sword. Of course, Charlotte is pretty na├»ve when it comes to human interaction and she just gives him the briefcase full of money without first taking receipt of the item. So, after a little prompting from her boys, they go to find the guy and get the piece of the sword. But all they find his him dead.

Knowing that this is a sensitive issue, Charlotte and Lucifer hilariously convince Chloe to get on the case. But first, they have to get her there without revealing they know what’s going on. Charlotte is a terrible liar (and charade player if I might add). But they get there and things take a weird turn. Ella finds a phone that belongs to the son of one of Charlotte’s biggest clients (a woman named Bianca who owns a tequila empire and uses it to launder everything from money to traffic in people). But, Charlotte offers to help. Especially since she knows a lot of what’s going on with the woman. So, we get some interesting team-ups on the case. Charlotte and Chloe go to a big opening that Bianca is throwing while Dan and Amenediel spend some time together. It was rather funny seeing the two of them hanging at a bar, talking about improv and how Amenediel always feels less than Lucifer. For what it’s worth, Dan prefers this celestial sibling to our titular devil.

We all know Charlotte isn’t Chloe’s biggest fan and we also know the feeling is mutual but seeing them work together was fascinating. Especially when Chloe got caught listening to Bianca chastise her son for killing one of her guys (the one that Charlotte was dealing with) because she knew about his side project dealing in artifacts). The son is a wannabe musician and having listened to some of his music back at the precinct, Chloe feigns being his biggest fan. We also get an interesting little exchange between Chloe and Lucifer during the episode where Chloe says that Charlotte told her everything, including that she is Lucifer’s father’s ex. Now, Chloe doesn’t put that together as bio mom. But stepmom is close enough and I’m kind of glad Chloe almost knows. I mean, it would be great if she was clued in on everything but something tells me that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

While the case is going on, Lucifer gets dragged into another mess by Maze and Linda. Linda, foolishly, used her own name to help break Lucifer out of the mental hospital in the last episode and so now she’s being suspended and put under investigation by the review board. Maze takes personal offense to all of this, primarily because she’s still pissed Lucifer didn’t keep her in the loop. She’s still new to feeling feelings as we know, but she feels them hard and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep Linda from losing her job. So, Maze forces Lucifer to go see the head of the review board to plead Linda’s case. Why he doesn’t just tell the guy that Linda was helping him with an undercover police investigation is beyond me (or use his powers to find out what the guy wants and use it against him). Instead, he is just typical Lucifer and spews word vomit all over the place, including that he and Linda were lovers.

This leads Maze to confront Lucifer about his secrets and his schemes and how he doesn’t think about anyone but himself or how his actions affect other people. And then we get to see the pair of them beat the crap out of each other for a bit before they take a breather and Lucifer explains that he didn’t tell Maze his plan because he needed her to be angry with him. They end up back in Linda’s office where she quite bluntly tells Lucifer that Maze is hurt because he didn’t consider her feelings. Which is true and you can see on his face that it never did cross his mind that he had hurt her this way.

By the end of the episode, the tequila queen is out of the picture. Charlotte went in with a wire (and got a safety deposit key) and managed to get the woman to confess. The family is a little skeptical of what they find in said box: a weird book in an ancient tongue that neither Charlotte nor Lucifer speak. But lucky for them, Amenediel studied in his youth and he can translate it. While Lucifer is tinkering on the piano, Amenediel finds the passage they need. It explains that the sword was broken into three pieces and the last piece is the key to bind the other two together. It was given to God’s favorite son. And Amenediel just rips into Lucifer, demanding his baby brother hand over his ring because that has to be it. But as they soon realize, the feather necklace Amenediel’s always worn is in fact the key. And they might want to hurry in assembling said sword because Charlotte is losing it, big time. Bianca’s son confronts her and stabs her in the stomach. She pulls out the knife and a ray of pure energy hits the guy, burning him to a crisp. Well, that doesn’t look so good for Mama Morningstar! They are certainly setting things up for a big crazy finale episode. I know the producers have said it is their most effects heavy episode they’ve done which makes me wonder if they will be going to Heaven after all.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

iZombie 3.07: "Dirt Nap Time"

“This is me, Ravi. This is me controlling my anger.”
-Liv

Considering Liv being a zombie is a central premise to “iZombie” as a show, it’s probably not a shocker that by the end of the episode, even though we now know that Ravi’s cure doesn’t cause permanent amnesia, Liv is still a zombie. She’s really not happy about it, but she’s going to have to make do, at least for now. And at least she still has her work with Babineaux to give her zombie existence meaning. There was also apparently more than meets the eye going on with that dominatrix case from a couple weeks ago, although I’m a little dubious about adding another overarching story to juggle along with the big events already happening in the lives of Liv and her friends plus the case of the week. Maybe it all will weave together somehow at the end of the season.

This episode picks up right where the last left off. Major tells Liv, Ravi, and Peyton that he gave his dose of the cure to Natalie, the hooker zombie he’s been trying to save. Liv’s not angry at Major for that, though. She’s angry at whoever stole all of Ravi’s other doses, and her prime suspect is Blaine. Peyton, pissed off that Blaine has been lying to her, encourages Liv to confront him after his usual piano lounge gig. Ravi tries to be the voice of reason, and he’s there when Liv punches Blaine and knocks him down outside the club. He keeps the attack from going farther, really. Blaine swears that he doesn’t have the other doses of the cure, and also that he’s estranged from Don-E. Liv eventually lets him go.

Meanwhile, our case of the week centers around a preschool teacher, Jamie Brennan, who keeps his kids happy with songs and puppet shows. At the end of the day, however, the school pick up circle turns straight up Big Little Lies, when it is revealed that Mr. Brennan has been sleeping with three of the moms at the same time. Only one of those moms is actually single. Not long after, Jamie turns up dead, and Babineaux, Ravi, and Liv are on the case. The looks between Babineaux and Liv when Babineaux realizes she’s still a zombie speaks volumes. Anyway, somebody, probably related to the massive love polygon he found himself in, shot Jamie in the head with a nail gun repeatedly. The construction crew working on a house across the street is missing a nail gun. Babineaux notices “STD 36” written in letter magnets on the refrigerator, which will be important later on.

Liv and Babineaux visit the preschool, where they learn from the principal that Jamie had been sleeping with three of the mothers of children in his class, Piper, Macy, and Eleanor. Piper, the single mom, is the first up to be interviewed. She thought Jamie was her boyfriend and that she had finally found a nice guy, and she’s devastated that he’s been sleeping around. She also doesn’t have a good alibi, because she was at home taking care of her sick kid. Liv is now acting like an exaggerated version of a preschool teacher, by the way, which is kind of annoying. She tries to put Piper in time out at one point during the interview, which Babineaux puts a stop to right away.

Blaine’s super depressed over the end of his relationship with Peyton (I’m not really sympathetic…Blaine’s a terrible person), so he’s being moody on the job. One of his employees, Candy, reminds him that it’s time to make up the brain orders for the week. After they finish the work, Candy asks if she can take the day off, and Blaine says he doesn’t really care what she does. Meanwhile, at the DA’s office, Peyton is meeting with the attorney representing Weckler, the guy who has been charged with killing the dominatrix. The defense attorney tries to point out how flimsy the evidence is, but Peyton’s got a signed confession, so she’s not inclined to go too easy on him.

Major and Justin are hanging out in Baracus’ kitchen, and Justin is super exited to try out the mayoral candidate’s collection of hot sauces. Baracus wants an update on the anti-zombie guys, but Major and Justin don’t have much new to report. After Baracus leaves, Justin tries to get Major to eat some brains with Tibetan hot sauce on toast, and when he declines, Justin asks Major if he’s been cured. Major explains the whole situation (he’s been cured, but there are no other available cures at the moment), but says he still wants to work for Filmore Graves, even if he’s not a zombie anymore. Justin says he’ll keep the secret, but he also wants to know what this situation means for Liv.

Next up to be interviewed is Macy, who is married and catches shade from the other moms for how she dresses. Her husband ends up being her alibi. Babineaux and Liv expect that he’s going to be upset when he finds out his wife was having an affair, but he says that they have an open marriage and sometimes he would watch Macy and Jamie from the closet. Babineaux puts an end to the conversation after learning that tidbit. Finally, they talk to Eleanor, who says her husband is away on a fishing boat for long stretches of time, but he’s in town now, so he is her alibi. Babineaux says they’re going to have to tell him about the affair, which upsets Eleanor. When they actually talk to her husband, who is a burly fisherman, of course, he starts crying, which is kind of hilarious and sad at the same time.

The situation with Weckler and the dominatrix case keeps getting weirder. Weckler’s lawyer is trying to convince Weckler to take the plea deal Peyton is offering. Peyton wants the memory card Weckler took in exchange for a lighter sentence, but Weckler says the memory card is all that is keeping him alive. Another lawyer, Harry Thorne, bursts into the room and whispers something in Weckler’s ear. Wexler says Thorne is his lawyer now, and Thorne doesn’t seem too enthused about Peyton’s deal. Later, the original lawyer stops by Peyton’s office and asks if she would join him in filing a disciplinary complaint against Thorne. Peyton hesitates at first, but then the lawyer informs her that Weckler hanged himself in his cell.

Major, Justin, and some of their buddies go to Don-E’s zombie speakeasy. Outside, the guys are all given ghost peppers to eat before they will be allowed in. Major is about to have to bite into his when none other than Don-E saves him. He tells the bouncer that Major is cool, and he gets into the club without having to eat the pepper. The guys are generally having a good time, and everybody in the group goes to spend some time with hookers except for Major and Justin. That’s when Justin asks Major if he can date Liv. Later, Major, Ravi, and Liv talk about the speakeasy, and Liv wants to pay the place a visit so she can interrogate Don-E about the cure. Major thinks she should go with Justin, but Liv really wants to go by herself. Ravi and Major start singing a kids’ song about teamwork, which makes Liv have a flashback to Peyton trying to get Jamie to talk to her. When they ask her about it, Peyton says she wanted to tell Jamie they were through, but he had someone else at his house. She saw the Honda Civic, and she thinks it belongs to Eleanor.

While Liv is deciding what they have earned stickers for, Babineaux looks up Eleanor’s records and learns that she doesn’t actually drive a Civic. The Civil belongs to a PI, naturally. Later, Liv meets Justin at the speakeasy. They talk for quite a while as they wait for Don-E to show up, including Justin telling a story about the time his preschool teacher read a love note he wrote to another student to the entire class. Don-E does eventually show up, and he claims he doesn’t have the cure. If he did, he’d be rolling in money and not still working at the club. He’s got bigger business deals going, though. Blaine gets back to the funeral home to find Don-E and a few others, including Candy, waiting for him. Don-E says they’re taking over his business, and they’re buying off the last of his product. After most of them leave, Angus’ heavy says that Angus has a message for Blaine, and he shoots him. Blaine offers a large sum of money to not be killed.

Liv and Babineaux pay the PI a visit. From the pictures hanging around his office, they come to the conclusion that the PI was hired to follow Macy. So they end up talking to Macy again. It turns out that she wasn’t actually in an open marriage, and it was her husband who hired the PI and ultimately killed Jamie. On the Weckler front, Peyton pays Ravi a visit, asking if he can help with the case at all. He didn’t see any evidence of foul play in his autopsy, but he does still have Weckler’s brain. He puts it in the memory-supercharging blue stuff in the hopes that Liv will have some helpful visions from it in about ten days.

The episode ends with Major and Justin in a rural area, drinking beer and talking about Justin’s evening with Liv. Liv wrote Justin a note, which is kind of adorable, although I’m not really feeling them as a couple yet. Justin gets a call that Harley Johns is in the area, so he and Major go to confront him and another man who are driving in a car. Major does the talking while Justin hangs back. Harley and his companion run over Justin, and when Justin is able to get back up, they realize he’s a zombie. Justin goes into full-on zombie mode in front of them, and their dash cam captures everything. They’re able to get away from Justin and Major, and they’re super excited that they now have proof zombies exist.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Doctor Who 10.05: “Oxygen”

“You only see the truce face of the universe when it’s asking for help. We show ours with how we choose to respond.”
- The Doctor

I wanted to like this episode but the way it ended, it just pissed me off. Honestly, we know Peter Capaldi is regenerating prior to the Christmas special so there has to be some reason why he needs to change but what they’ve gone with is borderline offensive and unnecessary. Anyway, at the top of the episode, he’s giving a lecture about space and how it can kill you in rather gruesome, horrible ways. Nardole points out after the lecture that Doctor misses traveling but he has to keep his oath to stay on Earth and guard the vault. I really wish they would just give us information about this plot point. It’s playing such a repetitive point in the show this series but we have no idea of who or what is inside and who or what tasked the Doctor with guarding it.

Much like he has the rest of the season, the Doctor ends up hurtling off in the TARDIS with Bill and a very grumpy Nardole in toe. They’re responding to a distress beacon from a space station in the future. We see some people in space suits running out of oxygen and then get attacked by dead people in suits. It’s rather creepy. But when the Doctor, Bill and Nardole arrive, they find the place basically empty. And lacking oxygen. Because humans can be idiots and so profit-driven, the company that owns the station sells the oxygen in the personalized suits at a very high premium. As the Doctor says, capitalism in space. It also turns out that when the Doctor extended the oxygen field of the TARDIS into the station so they could take a peek around, it set off some protocols to vent it into space (again to make them pay for it). Once they are forced into the suits, they have to find their way back to the TARDIS (it’s on the other side of a door exposed to the vacuum of space.

As they go along, our trio finally runs into the surviving crew members. They think the suits are malfunctioning and have been instructed to eliminate the “organic” component (aka the living being inside it). But they’ve sent out the distress beacon and they believe help is on the way. We do get a little side bit with Bill reacting to her first non-human looking alien. A blue fellow who kind of reminded me of one of the races on Star Trek and also the Blue Man Group. Anyway, things sound like they might be looking up when the other suits hit a part of the station that’s not on their maps yet. Because the inhabitants are dead and the suits aren’t that smart, they have to rely on building schematics to get around. The other thing about this episode that was kind of annoying was our heroes being chased around a futuristic station by a machine that wanted to kill them. It wasn’t the creepy mechanical jellyfish inside the Tessalecter but they did have their own special little catch phrase. Really, it feels like Moffatt and company are just recycling bits from previous scripts. I can’t wait to have fresh blood at the helm.

The suits do eventually find a way through (after killing and assimilating one of the survivors). And Bill’s suit is having all kinds of problems. It keeps freezing up on her and she keeps kind of panicking and freaking out. Which is understandable. She even has to be exposed to the vacuum of space without a helmet on because the suit is so severely malfunctioning. I will admit I can’t recall them putting a companion in such life-threatening danger in a while. She does manage to survive the experience pretty much unscathed. That’s mostly due to the Doctor giving her his helmet. But then he’s exposed to the vacuum of space and he doesn’t come out so easily. For some reason, he’s blind (this is what I mentioned at the start of this post). This just seems like too convenient and so unnecessary a plot device to later facilitate his regeneration. Besides, I’m pretty sure we’ve seen the Tenth Doctor use some regeneration energy to heal himself without totally changing. But then again, that was RTD era and Moffatt doesn’t like to stick with a lot of that continuity. But yeah, so now we have a blind Doctor trying to save everyone. And of course, he manages it (even when he lets Bill get caught by the suits and electrocuted). In the end, he reveals that he knew Bill’s suit power was low so it wouldn’t really kill her and she’s ultimately fine. I do sometimes hate his cockiness. He also discovers that the suits aren’t malfunctioning. To keep profits going and such, the company that runs the station was likely conserving the oxygen to resell to people. So, the two survivors agree to go to the head of the company to complain (and according to the Doctor, they succeed in shutting everything down). The Doctor also manages not to get everyone else killed by linking their suits to the cooling system on the station. IF they die, the place goes boom. Simple cost-benefit analysis I suppose.

Bill, having survived this ordeal, is happy to be back on Earth but you can tell she can’t wait for her next adventure. The Doctor is more subdued though and he ends up snapping quite angrily at Nardole (who to be fair is kind of laying into the Doctor for being so reckless). We think we’ve seen the Doctor’s eyes healed but it turns out he’s still blind (and hiding it behind his dark glasses). Hate to tell you Doctor, but that’s kind of a blind person stereotype. So yeah, if you’re trying to fool people it isn’t really working. So, now we have to endure however many episodes of him trying to hide it before he can’t anymore and he regenerates.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Doctor Who 10.04: "Knock Knock"

“Honestly, Doctor, there’s nothing going on! Nothing weird, nothing alien! Just an old house and a dodgy landlord, which is pretty standard for students.
-Bill

In this season of “Doctor Who,” we’ve already hit two of the mail genres that the show’s various creative teams over the years tend to draw on: far future sci-fi and historical. With “Knock Knock,” we hit the final point of the trifecta with horror. Bill moves into a “too good to be true” old house with a bunch of roommates, and of course, all is not as it seems. There are bugs and dead mothers involved. Given that Bill’s mother also passed away when she was a baby (and the Doctor is quite protective of Bill as she moves out of her foster mother’s house for the first time), there is a general thread of parenthood running through this episode. I think the episode did some decent work to help solidify the how the relationship between the Doctor and Bill is going to be going forward, but as with most episodes in the Steven Moffat era of “Doctor Who,” the plot was more convoluted than it needed to be.

Bill and five of her friends/aquaintances are looking to move into a house together. They go to see an estate agent, but the pickings at their price range for a place with six bedrooms (couldn’t they double up if they’re that broke?) are slim. The places they are being shown are tiny with improvised bedrooms and they’re just not going to work. Just as the kids are feeling rather dejected, they are approached by a rather creepy older man who asks if they are looking for a place to live. He leads them to his rental house, which is rather dilapidated, but it’s huge, so the kids love it. Bill is a little hesitant to sign the contract, because she wonders if a big house at the price quoted is too good to be true (she’s a smart one, that Bill), but she agrees fairly quickly, too. Soon she’s packing up her stuff at her foster mother’s house and loading it into the TARDIS for the Doctor to transport to her new place.

When the Doctor and Bill arrive at the house, the Doctor starts to notice that some things seem off, and he gets very curious, wanting to know what’s going on. The branches on the trees are moving while there’s no wind, for instance. Bill introduces the Doctor as her grandfather (a nod to the First Doctor and his companion Susan, perhaps?), which the Doctor doesn’t take kindly to, because he doesn’t think he looks old enough to be Bill’s grandfather. This scenario, coupled with the Doctor’s natural curiosity, leads to the Doctor acting very much like a worried parent who is reluctant to drop their child off at college for the first time. It’s kind of adorable, really. Bill finds it rather irritating, though, especially when the Doctor starts playing the music on Bill’s phone for her new friends.

The first oddity is that roommate Pavel, who had moved into the house the night before, is in his room listening to some violin music on repeat and doesn’t seem to want to leave. Actually, if the other kids were paying attention, they would realize that he’s not making any noise at all. One of the kids, when asked about Pavel, says he just “does that” (hide in his room listening to music. Later, the Doctor observes that people don’t “just do” anything. Two other roommates of note are Paul, a sporty blonde who has a thing for Bill, so Bill has to inform him that, as a friend of mine from college would put it, she doesn’t like his genitalia. The other is Shireen, who seems to be a longer-term friend of Bill’s who is probably the person who got her involved with this whole group in the first place.

When the kids first try to settle in, thy notice all sorts of creaky noises. They try to brush it off as just being an old house at first, but it eventually becomes too much to ignore. The landlord keeps mysteriously appearing, too, claiming that he’s just checking up on them. Things get even more serious when Paul goes into his rooms, screams, and isn’t heard from again. That’s when Bill and Shireen finally acknowledge that something is very wrong, beyond typical student housing problems. The Doctor keeps investigating, and he figures out the source of the problem: basically, space roaches. They’ve infested the wood the house is made of, and they absorb people into the house. Judging from newspaper reports and photos the Doctor finds, about every 20 years, the landlord will find a group of unsuspecting students and sacrifice them to the roaches. The landlord claims it’s to save his daughter.

It’s Bill, however, who helps uncover the rest of the story. Bill and Shireen find their way up into the house’s tower, which the landlord had told them was completely inaccessible (and forbidden to enter even if it was accessible). When they enter the room, they meet the landlord’s “daughter,” who is a woman who appears to be wooden. Clearly the space roaches have been keeping her alive. The Doctor and the landlord both eventually arrive on the scene too (after the landlord makes sure Shireen is absorbed), and the Doctor and Bill figure out one final piece of the puzzle, the woman, Eliza, isn’t actually the landlord’s daughter. She’s his mother. As a boy, the landlord left a jar of space roaches by his mother’s bed (she was sick, and it was a present of sorts), one thing led to another, and the roaches kept her alive. Over the years, the landlord has continued to feed the roaches so that his mother can continue to live. This is a pretty poignant connection from Bill’s perspective, considering she lost her mother at such a young age.

The realization that she is actually the mother and is in control changes Eliza. She takes charge (although it’s never really explained why she believed she was the landlord’s daughter and that he knew best, which is disappointing). She also absorbs the landlord into the house. She doesn’t want to kill children anymore (she only did it because the landlord told her to and she thought he knew best, which, like I already said, pretty flimsy writing there), so she basically destroys the whole house. All of Bill’s roommates are resurrected, although now they’re going to have to start over with their house hunt. We end the episode back at the mysterious vault, where the doctor tells the person on the other side of the door (who happens to be playing piano) about his day. As soon as the Doctor makes the story sound especially gruesome, the person stops playing piano and the Doctor enters the vault to talk. It can’t be anyone other than the Master on the other side of that door, right?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lucifer 2.16: “God Johnson”

“No, Dad, this is who you made me when you cast me away. Now apologize!”
- Lucifer

It’s finally time, folks. We are (supposedly) meeting God! The case of the week leads Lucifer and Chloe to a mental hospital where an orderly has been bludgeoned to death and the prime suspect is a man who legally changed his name to God Johnson. Lucifer, at first, is pissed that this man is masquerading as the Almighty. He still hates his father for what he’s done and still wants to get his parents to destroy each other.

While Chloe is trying to work the case the normal way (thanks to Lucifer she can’t talk to God Johnson for days), Maze is being super clingy and trying to do girly things together. She even makes breakfast (the most burnt toast I’ve ever seen. I mean, how did she not set off a smoke detector?). Chloe suggests that Lucifer hang out with Maze but he doesn’t really seem interested. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t told her the plan (or that the angelic family is heading home). Whatever the reason, they still seem to be on the outs. Then, Lucifer takes matters into his own hands and gets himself committed so he can talk to patients (namely God) without the pesky trappings of the law. What he finds during his stay is a lot of ill people and that God Johnson may in fact be his father after all. He even witnesses God heal a woman who had been stabbed.

Excited by the prospect that he can exact his revenge on his parents right here on planet Earth, Lucifer stages a break out for he and dear old Dad (with Linda’s help). I have to say, Linda was pretty funny meeting God. She bowed. I just love how she’s taking all of this in stride now, like it isn’t that crazy. While the guys are busting out, Chloe is using Maze’s attempts to set her up with the hot hospital administrator as a way to maybe get some information on another potential suspect. Lucifer had passed along that Santa is the real killer and there is a patient that kind of looks the part. That line of inquiry is made all the more awkward by Amenediel showing up at the house (Lucifer suggested that maybe his big brother would miss a certain hell spawn when they went back to heaven). He’s eating weird pizza, commenting on the shape of the administrator’s head (I think he was drunk) and then he drops the bomb on Maze that they are going back to heaven. Yep, Lucifer definitely didn’t share that piece of information with his bestie.

Lucifer’s idea of revenge on Mom and Dad is apparently to recreate their first date and make them fall back in love so they can then tear each other apart after they’ve settled back in to married life. I liked Charlotte’s reaction when she realized it was her husband (knees him in the crotch). Lucifer punched him earlier, too. They are definitely a violent family! But they share a dance and a kiss before Chloe and the police come to take both God and Lucifer back to the hospital. I kind of agreed with Linda that it didn’t look like Lucifer wanted to punish his parents at all. He just wanted his family back together.

Back at the hospital, a nurse brings Lucifer his meds as Chloe goes to apologize to the administrator. He accepts her apology and points out the patient she was looking at isn’t violent. He even lets Chloe look at the man’s file, in which she finds a photo with a staff person dressed as Santa. And wouldn’t you know, part of the costume (the mask part) is missing from storage. Enter, a Santa faced nurse who has actually drugged Lucifer and absconded with him and God to the basement. Since Chloe is still in the building, Lucifer is actually feeling the effects of the drugs. Thanks to some quick detective work on Chloe’s part (and some speedy fingerprint running by Ella back at the lab), we discover that the patient God saved is a nurse’s mother. The nurse changed her name so she could torture her mother and kill her. The orderly just got in the way. She then says that she’s going to have to kill God and Lucifer and is going to hang them (thanks to God getting special dispensation to wear a belt). And then Lucifer realizes what’s up. She takes off the belt and God is just Earl. But snags the belt buckle because it’s clearly important. It even fits on the blade that is supposed to get them through the gates of heaven. There’s only one problem, there’s still a missing piece to keep it all together. So, I guess the family has one last task to accomplish in the next two episodes before the season ends. Well, and maybe prying Charlotte away from Dan (she went moping to him when she realized that God wasn’t her husband).

As the episode comes to a close, Lucifer sees Earl off and asks what the last thing is that he remembers. Earl shares that he was walking through a Navaho gift shop and picked up the belt buckle. Then he remembers being strapped to the gurney with Lucifer at his side. Very interesting and I’ve got mixed feelings on this reveal. On the one hand, it makes sense as to why he kept saying he didn’t remember why he was so mad and di all the things he did to Lucifer and Charlotte. He wasn’t really God so he wouldn’t remember that. But on the other hand, I kind of wanted God to be around. I like the actor (especially from his days on “Galavant”) and I like the celestial family and I want to see more of them. But, there’s a whole third season awaiting us and besides, we might see the real God in the finale! And if we do, he’s going to have one pissed off son because Lucifer is furious now that he realizes all the nice things God Johnson said him, his real father never would have said and that really hurts our dear devil.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Once Upon a Time 6.21-6.22: “The Final Battle Parts 1 and 2”

“True belief is believing even if you can’t see.”
- Henry

We have reached the finale of season 6, and this chapter in the “Once Upon a Time” story. We have also reached the end of blogging this show. It’s been renewed for season 7 but there is so much “reset” of story being bandied about and a large chunk of the core cast won’t be returning, that I’m making the decision that this will be my last post.

We begin in the Enchanted Forest during an unspecified time of great upheaval. A young man races through the woods and wakes his young daughter who is guarding a storybook just like Henry’s (maybe even his) and she’s sent away with the order to share the stories with people. The next morning, the girl finds her father’s sword and Tiger Lily shows up to take the girl to her mother with the promise that one day she will reunite with her father. I get they are trying to make us invested in these new characters but I’m only mildly interested at this point.

Cut to Storybrooke, Henry wakes up but things are horribly awry. Everyone he runs into (including Archie) is convinced that the whole fairytale thing is just mental illness son his part. Basically, we’ve reset to season 1 with people not believing Henry because of the original dark curse. Henry finds Emma in the mental hospital and she/s upset that he’s dredging up talk of magic and fairies and True Love’s Kiss. She doesn’t want to jeopardize her progress towards getting out. Oh, and Henry has another mother: Fiona. She’s the new Mayor. Which makes me curious … would this have the same backstory as the original version where Rumple was trying to procure baby Henry when Regina got him? And if it is, did Fiona ever know that her doting husband turned into a teenage boy with anger issues? Fiona also insists that Emma burn the storybook to “crush” both her and Henry’s delusions. We also see Fiona pay a visit to Rumple and Gideon (Belle is apparently dead). At the moment, it’s unclear whether Rumple remembers this shrew is his mother.

In the Enchanted Forest of now, we find the rest of the Charming/Mills clan and things aren’t good. Just as they start searching for Emma and Henry, Zelena swoops in with some terrible news. Oz (and as it turns out all the other realms) are disappearing. Thanks to whatever Fiona is doing to Emma, the realms of story are disappearing and everyone along with them. Regina thinks she needs to use her magic to get back to our world to save Emma and Henry but Hook thinks another climb up the beanstalk to fetch a (potentially nonexistent) bean is the right answer. So, after David calms Hook down a bit, they start climbing (yay father-in-law/son-in-law bonding?).

Back in Storybrooke, Henry busts Emma out of the mental hospital and takes her to the roof where she married Hook. She gets flashes of the day but she doesn’t trust her mind and she just wants to go back to Boston and lay low. This gives Henry an idea (which I’m guessing is paying Grandpa Gold a visit) but he says that he’ll help Emma leave town if it’s what she really wants. He does have a lot of his dad in him (which of course just makes me miss Neal). It turns out while Rumple is trying to bond with Gideon over Belle’s disappearance (it sounds an awful lot like what happened with Milah, God the Black Fairy is a bitch), Henry is breaking into Archie’s office to find Emma’s keys and ends up finding the storybook. And then Fiona finds him and knocks him down the stairs in an attempt to both incapacitate him and break Emma. She also shows Rumple photos of Belle all over the world.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, we get a little Regina/Evil Queen reunion. The Evil Queen has been living in the castle once she and Robin escaped from being burned by angry villagers. They now steal from the rich and give to the poor (mostly). But hey, in this instance, two Reginas are better than one! Oh, and Hook and David find the bean (there is some mildly amusing shenanigans) but then they realize that a dragon (maybe Lily?) has taken up residence in the giant’s home. Oh boy!

It seems the Black Fairy may have finally won when she convinces Emma to not only burn the story book (which conveniently opens to a picture of Hook) but also leave town. Henry seems powerless but I’m not counting him out yet. I guess I can’t count out Hook and the Charmings either because Hook has gotten the bean back to ground level. Now he needs to use it and get Emma to believe again. I’m also kind of waiting for Rumple to get his memory back and kick his mother’s butt. Henry marches right into the shop like he owns the place (or at least is related to the guy who does) and promptly points out to Grandpa that he’s awake, too. Rumple is focused on saving Belle so Henry asks for just a little assist (while Emma gets ready to go on a first date gag to snag a bail jumper).

Henry manages to get a message to the rest of the family (although he’s not sure they receive it) that he’s going to fight the Black Fairy on his own. As he stands in the hallway, ready to die trying (and as everyone in the Enchanted Forest is about to bite it), Emma shows up and says while she doesn’t remember everything Henry told her, she believes it and that’s enough to stop the curse just in the nick of time. Meanwhile, the Black Fairy pays Gideon a visit at the pawn shop and reveals she still has his heart and forces him to find her wand so she can translate Henry’s drawings. When Rumple gets back and drops the “I’m awake” bomb on Mummy, she taunts him with her own truth bomb. She’s not meant to kill Emma: Gideon is. Because only light can snuff out light. Which makes no sense at all. On the plus side, killing the Black Fairy breaks the curse and reunites everyone (well we can hope anyway). And yay, Emma remembers just in time to throw down with Gideon yet again. Rumple goes to try and get Gideon’s heart back so that he can stop his son from killing Emma but it doesn’t work out. Instead, Emma gives in to her fate (and being the personification of light) and things seem to work out. Henry wakes her with True Love’s Kiss (there’s a big group hug) and Belle and Rumple get a baby Gideon back to have a real shot at being a family.

And as we see all the realms restored, we also find the Charming/Mills/Gold clan living their lives happily. They even all gather for a big family dinner at Granny’s. I wish there’d been dialogue for this scene because that would have been great. Then we find the young girl on a train with her own “Once Upon a Time” book heading to Seattle years later where she finds a grown-up Henry Mills who doesn’t remember having a daughter. I see where the writers are going here but I’m still very skeptical.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

iZombie 3.06: “Some Like It Hot Mess”

“Spoiler alert, that letter says Good Old Major loved you like no one ever.”
– Major

I have mixed feelings about this episode of “iZombie”. On the one hand, we got a lot of really good information and character beats. On the other, the case of the week was rather annoying and ultimately inconsequential. I’m starting to think that the more the develop the mythology and larger purpose of the show, the less the cases really matter. This week, Liv has to eat the brain of a drama queen who was also a super needy millennial. She gets killed (electrocuted in her bathtub) and the investigation leads Clive and Liv to her job where they see video footage of the victim being slapped in the face, then to the club where she DJ’d and the husband and wife team who were cheating on each other. But hey, at least they had alibis. All the while, Liv is acting super needy and self-centered. Clive manages to crack the case after Liv has a vision of the victim pawning a baseball worth $1,000. It turns out, the victim stole said baseball from her roommate so she could pay the roommate back rent. So, the roommate killed her. Like I said, not very interesting or necessary this week.

The bigger plot of this week’s episode is our core group of characters trying to adjust and help Major return to being human. They’re trying to savor all the time they can get with him before he loses his memory and they lose him forever. The morning after he takes the cure, we find him eating gallons of ice cream (my husband would approve) while Ravi quizzes him with photos of people and places from his past. He does fine (at least for now). He even remembers the night he and Liv spent together. She’s less happy about that, probably because it means they can’t be together now that he’s human again. I do have to wonder though what would happen if, now that he’s human and cured, he gets scratched again. Would he have the same issues he did the first time with the first cure of dying again? And what’s he going to do now that he’s human? He can’t continue to be a mercenary with Fillmore Graves. And I’m pretty sure no one else would hire him but dude needs a job!

Thanks to Liv being on drama queen brain, she forgets to pick up ingredients that Ravi needs for the memory enhancer serum. She also isn’t answering her phone or listening to her voicemails when Ravi calls her repeatedly (she left a random spleen out on a tray for starters) and she isn’t there when Major wanders off to Walla Walla. But first, she finds him writing letters to all the people cares about. Hers is pretty thin but he assures her that it says that he loves her more than anyone ever. Which is sweet, even if Major is still really boring as a character. It was mildly amusing to watch him talk about his character in the third person as “Good Old Major”. Once he goes off, Liv and Ravi spend the night trying to find him, checking police stations and hospitals. It turns out the bus trip out of town was to go see his mother and sister (because Liv suggested he write them a letter, too). I guess going to see them made more sense to him at the time but when he arrives in town, his memory is gone and a local sheriff has to drop him off.

But it isn’t all bad news. Don-E stops by the morgue after a client mentions wanting to be human again. The draw for our former drug-dealer turned bartender is that the guy is loaded and is willing to pay $100,000 for the cure. So, Don-E goes to Ravi to make an offer: a 50-50 split for said cure. Ravi turns him down, though. As a parting gift of sorts, Don-E reveals that Blaine has been faking his memory loss the whole time. He used it as a way to get rid of the drug kingpin and make people look at him differently (specifically Peyton). So of course, what does Ravi do the first time he sees Peyton? He drops that bomb on her. Didn’t he think it might come across as him still being jealous and trying to break them up? Because that’s how she sees it. That is until Blaine admits the truth. He did lose his memory for a few days but it came back. He did lie about the continued amnesia because he liked being able to be the small business owner and lounge singer. He liked being able to be someone different. But Peyton can’t handle that so she breaks up with him. I have to admit, I’m torn about this. I like this version of Blaine. With this new information, it makes me think that under different circumstances, this could have been Blaine all the time. But it wasn’t cool of him lying about the memory loss and making Peyton and Ravi and Liv and Major suffer this whole time.

In the end, Peyton shares this information with Ravi and Liv which is good news for Major. He then gives Liv a call from his mom’s house to reassure her that all is well and he’s on his way back. He even tells his mom that he thinks there’s still a shot for him and Liv. Armed with the knowledge that the cure works and the memory loss is only temporary, they head to the morgue to give Liv the cure only to find the vials are missing. Blaine or Don-E took them. My money is on Don-E because he really wanted that money. We see Blaine at the end starting to try and put together the memory enhancer serum based on the list of ingredients Liv was supposed to get. I don’t know why he’s doing that but he is. When Major gets back, Ravi remembers the extra syringe of the cure so all is not lost. Except well …. he gave it to Natalie so Liv is out of luck now! I have to say, I’m glad there’s this hiccup because the show wouldn’t work without Liv being a zombie.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

iZombie 3.05: "Spanking the Zombie"

“Yeah, just a flesh wound. Thirty-five flesh wounds.”
-Major

I have mixed feelings about “Spanking the Zombie.” The “iZombie” creative team is still valiantly trying to balance a case of the week with like three different mythology-related longer term plots at this point. While I appreciate the effort, I think the show is being stretched thin. We’ve got our case of the week, Major’s health and work with the mercenary group, continuing investigation into the murder of that zombie kid and his mother Babineaux was friends with, and Angus and Don-E’s zombie bar plans. I think this episode could have dropped the content related to one of the latter two and been stronger for it. The case of the week and Major’s struggles provided more than enough to fill the hour without two additional plots. I had some mixed feelings about the case of the week, too. On the one hand, the personality Liv inhabited in this episode was more annoying than most. On the other hand, a comment Babineaux made near the end of the episode made me think a lot about what it takes for a woman to be respected in the workplace and in life in general. As if recent events haven’t been making us all think about that in detail for at least the past few months.

The case of the week for this episode is Roxanne, aka “Sweet Lady Pain.” In other words, the deceased was a dominatrix., and Babineaux needs Ravi and Liv’s help to solve the case. She was killed some time ago, and Liv thought her body was cremated, but Ravi’s got it covered. It turns out that he’s been using Roxanne’s brain to test his memory serum. When Liv eats the doused brain, it makes her visions of Roxanne’s life more frequent and intense. It also makes Liv more . . . demanding. She’s very assertive and sexual on this brain, which sometimes helps and sometimes hurts their investigation. While investigating Roxanne’s dungeon, Liv and Babineaux find a camera with a missing memory card. Liv also has a vision of Roxanne with local zombie/Mayoral candidate/District Attorney Baracus. Liv and Babineaux question Baracus, naturally, but they don’t get much out of it.

Baracus is just the first of many visions Liv has of Roxanne with her clients, and several of them seem like they’re pretty much excuses to include as many “Veronica Mars” alumni as possible in one episode. One of the visions is of Johnny Frost, local playboy anchorman, who is played by Daran Norris. Norris also played public defender Cliff McCormack on “Veronica Mars.” Another vision is of sleazy lawyer Brandt Stone, played by Ken Marino (sleazy P.I. Vinnie Van Lowe on “Veronica Mars). Of course Brandt ends up representing Johnny, so they can both do their best to try and mutually cover up their dealings with Roxanne. Meanwhile, Liv has visions of a number of Roxanne’s clients, and she tries to get Jimmy the sketch artist to draw all of them. I think he’s both intimidated and turned on by Liv (she’s being very particular about the sketches).

Meanwhile, Liv and Babineaux take some heat from Cavanaugh, their coworker who has been working on the case of Babineaux’s friends who were murdered. He’s mad that Liv and Babineaux have been talking to an anti-zombie extremist named Harvey Johns, and he lets them know that Johns was stalking the murdered family prior to the murder. Babineaux and Liv suggest letting folks from Filmore Graves talk to Johns to see what information he’ll give up. They can offer him money, after all. This meeting happens, and the representatives from Filmore Graves give Johns a check to compensate for his brother’s death and ask him a few questions. While this is going on, some of the mercenaries bug Johns’ car. It becomes clear that Johns and his followers believe the zombie virus is spreading and that they need to stop it. Naturally Filmore Graves isn’t too happy about that, considering they’re zombies and all. In other not especially consequential side plot news, after having a bad day at the bar, Don-E recruits a dealer of low grade Utopium to work at the bar, and he even offers to turn him into a zombie. The Utopium dealer thinks this sounds great. I’m sure this will actually matter later in the season.

Eventually, Johnny Frost agrees to talk to Liv and Babineaux about Roxanne in exchange for immunity. He shows them a video of himself and Roxanne that someone is trying to use as blackmail. Liv, Babineaux and Ravi all end up participating in a sort of sting operation. Liv and Ravi walk down the street near Babineaux, who is pretending to be an ice cream seller. When the blackmailer tries to take an envelope from Johnny, Babineaux takes him down. Liv tells Babineaux that she wants to be the one to interview the blackmailer, but Babineaux doesn’t think she’s intimidating enough. And this is where I thought the idea of Liv as dominatrix went from gimmick to something with artistic merit. Women have to deal with this kind of crap (men assuming they can’t do their jobs) every darn day. While it’s not something that interests me at all, I can see how some people might find being a dominatrix empowering. Liv certainly channels that assertiveness into her interview with the blackmailer. He sees the whip (yes, Liv brings a whip into the interrogation) and says he wants to sign a confession.

And finally, we get to the plight of poor Major Lillywhite. He goes on a raid with Filmore Graves (where we learn that the brain paste comes from the severed heads of people they’ve killed), and he gets stabbed multiple times. Stabbing isn’t fatal to a zombie, but Major’s cough (a side-effect of the first zombie cure) is getting progressively worse. By the end of the episode, it’s bad enough that Major asks a coworker to take him to the morgue, where Ravi and Liv decide it’s time for Major to take the second cure, whether or not it causes amnesia. They just need to keep him in a zombie state long enough for his stab wounds to heal. This leads to Liv and Major reconnecting for a night, but the next morning, it’s time for the cure. The episode ends before we find out whether or not Major will still be Major when he’s human again.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Lucifer 2.15: “Deceptive Little Parasite”

“It’s the most powerful weapon in the universe, Mum, not a groovey mood ring.”
- Lucifer

This week takes a look family relationships and what parents will do to protect their kids and look out for them. On the one hand, we have Charlotte urging Lucifer to ignite the flaming sword so they can go home so she can be with all of her children. On the other, you’ve Dan and Chloe trying to deal with Trixie not talking to them like she used to. Perhaps the most interesting part is the case of the week that involves a prestigious private school with some weird new-age curriculum about teaching children to control and harness their emotions. It’s just unfortunate their Dean of Admissions is found murdered in her home, literally stabbed in the back.

The case, though, intrigues Lucifer, especially after Charlotte insists that he needs to get angry and channel his emotions to ignite the sword and then Linda tells him that emotions can’t be controlled. We don’t know for most of the episode what is pushing her to want to get back Heaven so soon but it’s clear there is some agenda (then again, there always is with her). We also see Amenediel being pretty dejected to have Mom focused on Lucifer once again. Amenediel is still powerless and he’s really not sure how he fits in or what he can do.

Throughout the episode we are presented with a host of different suspects. There’s the gay couple whose son was rejected even though they made a big donation. It also doesn’t help their cause that the murder was found in their pool house. But Chloe realizes the pool house was unlocked and anyone who knew the couple had issues with the victim could have planted the evidence. Chloe and Dan then pay the Assistant Dean a visit because they suspect someone was embezzling the money. The Assistant Dean confesses to that particular crime but insists he didn’t kill the victim.

While Chloe and Dan are doing actual police work, Lucifer is coopting Trixie into to being his way into the school so he can try and learn how to get his emotions under control so he can perform his divine duty. Sitting in on a class where children ae taught to share their emotions and then channel them (into stupid things like poems or pictures), Trixie admits that her mom’s job is scary and the fact that Chloe nearly died upset her. But because her mom has to take care of so many people, Trixie puts on a brave face so her mom has one less person to worry about. Chloe overhears this admission and it really upsets her that her daughter can’t talk to her about things. The class is good for one other thing: a little boy drawing a picture of his mom stabbing the victim. This proves to be another dead end and of kids hearing more than their parents expect of them. This woman is a single mother and can’t be involved to the same level as the other parents and the victim kind of wouldn’t let her forget that she was less well off than her son’s peers. But she’s got an alibi: she was sleeping with the PE teacher. He’s pretty but dumb as a box of rocks.

Still, they are no closer to solving the case and Lucifer is no closer to getting in touch with the emotions needed to ignite the sword (despite Charlotte’s attempts to satisfy him sexually by setting up a foursome and attacking him in a parking garage). Chloe gets an invite to a grieving gathering because the school is now considering Trixie for matriculation and Maze ends up going undercover as Trixie’s other “mom” to back Chloe up. Maze still isn’t totally in touch with human emotion but she’s developing affinities to the people around her. And this vicious world of rumors and putting on a perfect face is her playground. She manages to get the rumor mill going that Chloe has a key piece of evidence in her car, hoping that the killer will make a move on the car.

It turns out the teacher from the class that Lucifer sat in on is the killer. She’d slept with the PE teacher years ago and had his child. The kid, like his birth dad, is dumb and the victim threatened to kick the kid out of the school and tell the woman’s husband. Chloe manages to at least get the woman to lower the gun she got out of Chloe’s car (when Lucifer unlocked it for her without knowing she was the killer) but Maze comes in for the win and legitimately tackles the woman to the ground. She looked so pleased about it, too. I have to admit, I miss seeing Maze and Lucifer working together. I also miss her and Amenediel’s relationship. I hope we get to see more of that in season 3.

At the end of the day, Lucifer finds himself back in Linda’s office, ready to accept her wisdom. He also shares that he intends to open the gates and send his mother through before slamming said gates shut on her goddess behind. As in, he’s not going with her. He hopes his parents tear themselves apart as punishment for what they put him through. Linda points out that the emotion he needs to be tapping into is the pain he felt over what happened with Charlotte and with Chloe, He needs to work through that pain and hurt in order to get over it. And so, he goes home and does manage to ignite the sword for a little while with tears in his eyes. I honestly though Amenediel might actually go hug his brother but he didn’t. And then the sword went out and Charlotte got so angry. But Lucifer isn’t having it. He’s put all he had to give into that attempt and he doesn’t care. And Amenediel says they’ve got plenty of time to figure it out but as we see at the end of the episode, Charlotte is on borrowed time. She pulls a Band-Aid off her wrist and we see a small cut with celestial energy coming out. Either she’s overstayed her welcome in this body or something else is happening. Time will tell.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Once Upon a Time 6.20: “The Song In Your Heart”

“I ruined your parents’ wedding. The least I can do is make sure you enjoy yours.”
- Regina

If you like musicals, then this episode is probably for you. And if you are a Captain Swan shipper then you’ll be thrilled. As it stands, I’d be more excited if the musical didn’t coincide with Emma and Hook’s wedding. But that’s where we are and I have to suck it up and deal with it. And as it turns out, the music is pretty catchy. Before we get into the main plot, we catch a glimpse of 11-year-old Emma wanting to do a talent show but one of her foster siblings tells her she’s always going to be alone.

In the Enchanted Forest in the past, Snow is pissed that the Evil Queen is going to try and ruin their lives with the dark curse. So, she makes a wish on a star to give them what they need to protect their daughter. And for some reason that results in everyone bursting into song. Not quite as logical as a demon but whatever. We get to see Snow and Charming do a fun duet together about how the power of love and music is going to be what they need to win. We then find the Evil Queen railing at the craziness and doing a pretty awesome rock ballad about how her dark magic is still going to prevail. And then, we get a very pirate-y song with Hook going on about how he wants revenge on the Dark One (so the Charmings offer him said prisoner in exchange for passage to the Evil Queen’s castle). Very odd way to shoe-horn Hook into the story in the past, especially since when Snow first met Hook in season 2, she didn’t know who he was. Oh, the joy of retconning! I do have to admit I didn’t know Colin O’Donoghue had such a nice voice. Everyone actually sounds pretty good (if a bit autotuned). The Evil Queen goes to Rumple to try and get answers but he sends her away empty handed, insisting she prove she was the right student to entrust with the dark curse. Zelena’s watching and she ends up sending a little something to help Regina in the hopes that Rumple will see it was from her and realize his mistake. While the contraption works to pull the song out of the Charmings, Rumple isn’t going to know because as Blue explains later on, no one is going to remember the songs to ensure they are safe in unborn baby Emma’s heart so one day she can use it to fight the final battle. Okay, I have to say that’s kind of stupid.

In the present, things aren’t going quite to plan on Emma and Hook’s wedding day. Sure, she agrees to wear her mom’s wedding dress (having gone through a wedding myself recently, I can’t really say the style would fit Emma) but the Black Fairy pops in and destroys said heirloom, baiting Emma with another dark curse and the final battle. It seems the Black Fairy is going to make good on her promise of a curse. She’s got a whole mess of dark fairy dust tied to the clock tower to release said curse right when the wedding is supposed to be happening. It looks like the curse is supposed to separate Emma from everyone she loves so she has to fight alone. Emma decides she needs to just take the bitch down and she says goodbye to Hook and Henry. Except, Hook is still annoyed that Emma won’t let him in all the way and he confronts Rumple, taking him out with some poison from Neverland. Unfortunately for Hook, the Black Fairy is still looking out for her baby boy.

In short order, Regina and Zelena come up with a potion to freeze the curse but Rumple gets his hands on it and freezes the family so they can’t help Emma. She’s ready to give the Black Fairy her heart when Henry finds storybook pages about the song. Emma finds her voice and manages to stave off the Black Fairy for the moment. But the curse is still coming. So, what do they do? They go ahead with the wedding. I will admit Emma looked pretty in the dress she wore and the vows weren’t too cringe-worthy. I would like to see some proof from Archie that he can actually officiate these things. But whatever. We end with a big group number that sort of felt like kind of a Bollywood thing (minus the twangy instruments). Also, the next generation (read baby Neal and Robin) miraculously appeared in their parents’ arms when the number was over. I did like seeing Zelena and Regina dancing together and the dwarves rocking out. But the curse is unleashed as the clock strikes six. What will happen next and whose memories will be effected we will have to wait for next week’s two-hour season finale to find out.

I went into this episode with skepticism and I came out of it enjoying the music more than I thought and being able to tolerate the shipper stuff. I’m never going to be happy with Emma’s choice and so I’ll have to content myself with the stories in my head where Neal comes back and they get their shot at a second chance. I really hope that the finale next week wraps up the story in a good enough way that if the show doesn’t come back (it hasn’t been renewed yet) it gives us a satisfying ending. The writers have said we will get things wrapped up but I don’t see how we can answer some of the lingering questions, namely who is Lily’s dad in the next episode. That information just doesn’t seem like it would fit with what is happening with the final battle, unless Lily is somehow tied to Emma’s fight? I mean seeing them team up would be pretty cool but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Fresh off the Boat 3.18: "Time to Get Ill"

“Resiliency. That’s my fragrance.”
-Jessica

I especially liked this particular episode of “Fresh off the Boat.” It really explored Louis and Jessica’s relationship and their roles in the Huang household. Jessica usually runs a very tight ship, but when she comes down with the flu, she’s forced to let go a bit. The two biggest plots in the episode, Jessica’s illness and a buzzy wrestling match happening in Orlando that’s going to be on pay-per-view, also end up fitting together nicely, in a way I’ll talk about more in a bit. I feel like this episode presents a scenario that a lot of families can relate to – one partner who runs a tight ship and needs a break from keeping watch over everything, and the other who needs a break from having to follow all the rules all the time. It may be exaggerated a bit because of Jessica’s experience growing up in a family that had to be scrappy to survive in Taiwan, but I think the general scenario is spot on. Or at least it’s spot on for how my family was when I was growing up. I appreciated that Louis and Jessica handled the situation and the discussion of their family dynamic in a very mature way, although since this is a comedy, we may not see the fruits on that discussion in future episodes.

Early in the episode, we see just how deeply Jessica’s control of the household runs when she’s feeling 100%. She tells Evan exactly how much milk to put in his cereal, yells at Emery to put just one comb in his backpack, and yells at Eddie to stop reading trash and come to breakfast. She’s got a full day of both household chores (like taking Return of the King back to the library for Emery) and work (staging a house with Honey) on the docket. Before the menfolk leave, one sneeze betrays that Jessica may not be running at full capacity after all. When Honey stops by later, at first Jessica looks just fine, but that’s all in Jessica’s head. In reality, she’s a mess, and Honey can see it right away. When Louis gets home from work (where he had planned to do a special on ribs until Jessica called him and warned him not to discount the ribs), he puts her to bed and she falls right asleep.

Meanwhile, the talk of the town is an upcoming wrestling match between King Crawdad and Fish Head Jackson that is being billed as the Battle of the Swamp Creatures. Eddie sneaks a magazine about the match into school, and all the employees at Cattleman’s Ranch are talking about it too. This leads Eddie to come up with an idea. Since Jessica is out of commission, the guys can do one thing that they wouldn’t otherwise be allowed to do – watch the wrestling match (Jessica hates anything with the word “pay” in it, after all). Eddie first makes his pitch to Louis and Emery, who are on board, but then they have to convince Evan, who is basically “second mom.” At first he balks at the idea of pay-per-view, but then the guys convince him that he needs to see who will win in a fight between a fish and a crawdad – for science!

The guys swear that watching the fight is going to be the only non-Jessica approved thing they do while the Eye of Sauron (Emery’s been reading Lord of the Rings, after all) is down, but Louis ends up buying a new 30-inch TV, and there will be snacks, too. Louis figures Jessica will never notice the new television because she never notices technology in general. By the end of the episode, however, to Louis’ chagrin, Jessica has replaced the 30 inch TV (she didn’t realize it was new – she just remembers that Louis always complains about their TV) with a smaller one because it has picture-in-picture. Before the guys go out to buy the snacks, though, they check to see if Jessica is still sick. When she tries to get out of bed, she looks like, as Evan puts it, a baby deer, so they figure they’re good to go. Louis turns on a noisy humidifier for good measure. At the store, they buy all sorts of unhealthy snacks, plus a life-sized cardboard cutout of Carmen Electra (that was Eddie’s request). So they’re all set for the fight!

Just as the guys are settling in, the doorbell rings, and it’s Marvin, who greets them with a very loud “who’s ready to reptile!” He wants to watch the fight, naturally. Everyone is worried that Jessica is going to wake up and figure out what is going on. The problem gets worse when a bunch of Eddie’s pals show up, and Trent also yells “let’s get ready to reptile!” Several warning signs later, the guys are all quietly (but animatedly) enjoying the fight. Everything changes though, when they see Honey on the television screen (she had two tickets to the fight, but Marvin was banned from the convention center, so he couldn’t join her) and they see Jessica sit down next to her. The guys rush to the master bedroom and see that Jessica isn’t there.

When Jessica gets home, she opens the bedroom door to see Louis and the boys sitting on her bed. She explains that she was indeed sick the day before, but after a good night’s sleep, she felt significantly better. That morning, Honey called asking Jessica if she wanted to go to the fight. At first, Jessica wasn’t sure, but then she saw Louis and the boys diligently cleaning and tackling homework (wanting to see the fight with minimal disturbance to Jessica was great motivation), so she wanted to extend her “vacation” from having to micromanage everything a bit longer. She faked sick when the guys came to check on her, then she snuck out of the house to enjoy the fight with Honey. She thought the fight itself was pretty silly and fake, but she was glad to get out of the house and have a little vacation from her responsibilities (or her perceived responsibilities, I might say).

Louis and Jessica both come to the conclusion that it’s not okay that Jessica feels like she can never take a break (the guys shouldn’t expect her to do everything for them) and Louis and the boys feel like they’re always being watched and can never treat themselves. They decide it makes the most sense for them to meet in the middle. I loved this because it was an adult, thoughtful conversation. If only real-life micromanagers could reach this place as easily as Jessica does. Anyway, the next morning, Jessica purposely doesn’t remind the rest of her family about any of the little details that she always does. Surprisingly, they all end up doing as she suggests anyway. She even encourages Evan to learn for himself how to achieve the optimum cereal to milk ratio. Overall, even though the micromanaging came from a place of love, I think her family will ultimately be better off with the new approach (if she can stick to it).

Final Season Post Mortem: "Grimm"

I know this post is a little late since “Grimm” ended more than a month ago but I wanted to take a look at this little show that could. For those not in the know, “Grimm” came out the same year as “Once Upon a Time”. There are very few show still on the air from that pilot crop. It followed Detective Nick Burkhardt as he stepped into his destiny as a monster hunter. Over the seasons, we’ve seen Nick come to terms with what it means to be a Grimm and a cop. He’s fallen in love with two women and nearly lost both of them along the way. He’s done a lot to bridge the divide between Wesen (the monsters) and humanity and I was sad to see it go. Sure, the show didn’t have ratings to write home about but it was a pretty steady performer on Friday nights—a night routinely used for failing shows to go and die. It made Friday nights fun to stay in for, especially because the network often timed the premiere of the show around Halloween. What better time to debut a show about monsters than Halloween?

One thing I liked was the writers knew that season 6 was the final run going into the preparation for the season. They only had 13 episodes to work with this year and for the most part, they made it work. Sure, there were a couple “monster of the week” episodes early in the season that could have been used to push the overall story arc along but I thought they did a good job of making things wrap up. I also liked that they managed to redeem some of the characters who had become somewhat evil, namely Captain Renard. He started the season hunting Nick because that’s what Black Claw (the Wesen organization that wanted Wesen to live openly instead of in hiding, only showing their human faces to world) but by the end, he’d rejoined our Scooby gang. One thing that may have seemed wishy-washy about Renard but really was just a major facet of his personality was that he was on whatever side benefited him the most. He was part royalty but also an outcast from his own family so he had to do whatever it took to stay alive and when opportunities came along that would put him in a stronger position, he’d take them. I did kind of hate seeing him and Nick at odds last season because I did like that they had been able to put a lot of their issues behind them.

There was one thing I wasn’t overly fond of with the finale of “Grimm”: the story structure of the episode. We see Nick fighting the season’s Big Bad and slowly, he loses everything and everyone he cares about and is part of his support system. It was pretty horrible to see Hank and Wu cut down and to see Monroe and Rosalee dead (her pregnant with triplets). But in the end, we find that it didn’t really happen. It wasn’t all in Nick’s head exactly (although it definitely reminded me of how they did the final battle in “Breaking Dawn Part 2” (No, I’m not a Twilight fan but it was an apt comparison) but it was something that happened in a different reality of sorts. When Nick returns to our world, everyone is alive and safe and no one has died. It was kind of a mental crucible for Nick, the ultimate fight for a Grimm. I did appreciate that they were able to bring back his mother and Aunt Marie for the fight. Seeing Nick, Trubel and the dead relatives destroying the beast was pretty amazing. It also probably destroyed a lot of Nick/Trubel shippers to find out she was a relative all along. I also liked what the whole “strength of one’s blood” represented. That Nick was never alone in this journey. His family had always been there with him.

We end the episode on a positive note: a young man narrating about all of what happened and testifying to its voracity because his father told him. We then get a title card signaling it was some 20 years later and we see a grown-up Kelly—finally having come into his Grimm powers (let’s be honest, he was cute but useless as a baby)—updating the latest Grimm journals. And then big sister Diana (who appears to have aged at a more normal rate since she hit about 7 or 8) shows up to let him know “Mom and Dad” (who I am assuming are Nick and Adalind) and ready to go kill some Wesen and the “triplets” are coming too. This was a nice way to end the show, giving us a glimpse of the future to see that everyone got a happy ending (and Diana finally got over wanting her parents to be together). But, it also let me wanting more. I know spin-offs can be poorly received and I’m sure the cast has moved on to other shows but I’d like to see what the world has come to in these years. I want to see the next generation fighting the fight and to see how that has changed or stayed the same. But alas, much like I probably won’t ever get the next generation “Charmed” show, I likely won’t get the “Grimm” next generation edition either.

Overall, I thought the final season of “Grimm” did what it was designed to do by giving the viewers closure on the plot threads that were still lingering and it gave our heroes the happily ever after they deserved. Things can’t be wrapped up in a completely tidy bow, that wouldn’t be interesting. I think I would like to go back and rewatch the show time to see how the story evolved as I’m sure there are plots and little things along the way that would make the show that much more enjoyable.

MTVP Binges Out: “Sense8” Season Two

I know we’ve been doing season one of a lot of shows for this type of post but I couldn’t help but talk about the second season of “Sense8” which dropped on Netflix on May 5th. Yes, I binged all 10 episodes in a single day. I’m good at binging like that. And this season made it so much easier to just keep watching.

There are a lot of things to admire and be impressed by with the show. For one thing, the plot takes place over several continents and countries and they film on location in all of them. That, in and of itself, is pretty rare for a TV show, even one on a streaming service. That is part of why it takes so long in between seasons because of all the travel. The characters are also quite unique and diverse. Not just in race (obviously) but in sexuality and faith as well. It is a beautiful patchwork of people.

The basic premise of the show follows 8 sensates: Kala, Will, Wolfgang, Sun, Riley, Lito, Capheus and Nomi as they discover they share a psychic bond that allows them inhabit each other’s bodies and lend each other their skills and knowledge to keep themselves safe from the people hunting them. In season one we got know these eight people and a bit of their histories and what made them unique. We got see the people in their lives, some of whom were supportive and others who weren’t. It was interesting to see which people they let in on their secret. When we left them at the end of that season, they’d really solidified as a unit and were doing all they could to keep away from Whispers, a sensate like them who was bent on finding and killing them.

Season two picks up with Will (having seen Whispers in the season one finale—which means Whispers can telepathically show up and see what Will sees) has been dosing himself with heroin to keep Whispers at bay but also allowing himself to slip into their enemy’s mind to find out who and where he is. They finally succeed and Will is able to start recovering from the ordeal. One of the interesting things is that except for Will and Riley, none of the rest of the cluster has ever met in person. Will and Riley have only because Riley was kidnapped by Whispers in season one and Will went to rescue her. But it almost doesn’t matter that they’ve never met because they have such a strong connection. Now, they are exploring what it means for them to be sensates and finding others like them. We discover along with our cluster that there are so many more like them in the world, most of them in hiding. But the organization that is hunting them wasn’t always so corrupt. It was founded on principles of keeping people safe because honestly humans fear what they perceive as different and they lash out. Just look at anything happening in our world today to know that’s true. Sometimes when shows try to explain their premise with science mumbo jumbo it doesn’t work out well but I think the show manages to make it plausible that at some point in human evolution, there were people connected by thought and emotion. I also liked that we got some more backstory on the cluster’s “mother” Angelica.

I liked that the cluster was able to work more seamlessly together this season. They’ve gotten to trust one another at this point and share in each other’s lives so that they can really understand one another. I also liked we got to see different pairings of people dealing with problems. One of the best scenes was Lito, having been fired by his agent for coming out as gay, winds up trying to get comfort from Sun, who is not an emotional person. It was pretty great. Some of the more emotional moments that were a bit somber were also beautiful. Like Sun visiting her parents’ graves and the cluster being there for her or Will grieving his father’s death and Capheus being the one to motivate him to use that anger to protect the cluster.

It is hard to pick a favorite episode from this season because they were all so good. I liked episode 6 because that gave us a lot of history about the organization hunting the cluster and how it changed over the years. It gave us insight into why certain characters were working together as well. But I really liked the finale because Wolfgang, one of our strongest assets, got nabbed and the rest of the cluster had to mount a rescue in a way that Whispers wouldn’t see coming. This season we were introduced to blockers—a pill that temporarily shuts off their ability to connect with one another—and they came in really handy. I liked that they were able to infiltrate the organization and rescue Wolfgang by actually being together in person for the first time in more than a year. I have to admit, I love them popping into one another’s lives. It provides a lot of comedy but I was so excited when they all went in person to rescue one of their own. It was similar in a way to the season one ending but different enough to keep me on the edge of my seat. And damn, I just want season 3 (sadly, as of this post no decision has yet been made about a renewal) because it ends on a huge cliffhanger and there is still so much story to tell.

I have really found that streaming services are putting out some really good, interesting content and I’m hopeful that we will continue to see more of it in the future. I am nowhere near ready to give up spending time with these characters. There is a need for shows like this in our world and as long as they are out there, I’m ready and willing to binge out on them!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Long Road to Air: “Sneaky Pete”

Back in March, I did a post, looking at “Emerald City” and its trek to our TV screens. As you can read from that post, I wasn’t overly impressed with it. But, luckily, Amazon has given us another show to look at that took a long time (over a year) to get to our computer screens and mobile devices: “Sneaky Pete”. Now, I’ll admit I felt a little more invested in this show from the start with how Amazon does their original series pilots. To give the unfamiliar a quick down and dirty: every year, Amazon releases pilot episodes of shows they are considering ordering to series. They allow those with Prime memberships to watch and rate the shows. Based on user feedback 9and I’m sure some other things) they make the decision whether to order a show to series. In the summer of 2015 I watched the pilot for this show and I really enjoyed it. Maybe it was because it was a con and heist show and it filled a little bit of the void left in my heart by “Leverage” or maybe it was just a well-done pilot. But, like “Emerald City”, it was a bit of a long road to air for this show as well. It, too, lost a showrunner early in the process. But unlike “Emerald City”, the extended timeframe doesn’t seem to have hurt the show nearly as much. For one thing, I definitely remembered it still existed and still wanted to watch it!

Before we talk about the show itself, I wanted to just take a moment to say how much I like the way Amazon does their pilots. Often times, shows bomb because there isn’t enough interest in the show. But with the way Amazon does their original fare, they know people will watch at least one season of the show because they’ve got the data from the pilot before they even agree to make more episodes. I know this isn’t necessarily a viable option for big networks just given the number of pilots they get every season but it definitely needs to be mentioned that it is a unique way of cultivating programming.

From the pilot, we learned that the story for the season centered on Marius, a con man who is getting out of prison after three years on the inside. But Vince, the guy he conned is after him and to avoid capture (and likely death for both Marius and his younger brother Eddie who was a card dealer for Vince); he impersonates his sweet cellmate, Pete. This means Marius has to spend a lot of time in Connecticut. Now being a native of the state, it made me smile when they mentioned certain places. A lot of the time, shows will be set in big cities like New York or LA or whatever. I liked that this took place in a smaller town in Connecticut. Marius is hoping to steal money from Pete’s family to pay off the debt he owes Vince. Instead, Marius begins to bond with the family and learns that they have far more secrets than he expected. He also gets closer to them and cares about them, even if he tries not to admit it to himself. After all, a good con man doesn’t get attached to his mark.

While there were a few characters (like Lance, the sleazy lawyer who was married to one of Pete’s cousins and the dirty New York cop who was chasing Marius) I didn’t like, I thought the season was extremely well done. The plot didn’t drag at all and there were multiple storylines that weaved together to keep you guessing and interested in the lives of the family. At the beginning of the story, you think that Pete’s family is just nice and wholesome but by the end you realize they have some petty dark and dirty secrets that they are hiding. The writers did well giving you hints at backstory for everyone without overloading you with detail. But they gave you enough information to understand where people were coming from. I enjoyed that I didn’t entirely see the larger con Marius was working until near the end of the season. And I have to admit, after seeing Bryan Cranston as Zordon in “Power Rangers” (and not having ever seen “Breaking Bad”), I was impressed with how menacing he could be as Vince, a former cop turned bad guy. But he also played it with a vulnerability that made you almost want to sympathize with him. But only almost. I think the entire production crew did a great job giving you a story that wrapped up most of the loose ends by the season finale but also set things up for another season (which we will be getting).

I was a little surprised how invested Marius got in Pete’s family and how they still don’t believe that he isn’t their relative, despite numerous people telling them he’s a fraud. But I also like how he fits into their family dynamic perfectly. At the end of the season, we see Pete walking about from them after getting all of the money back that the family had lost due to various schemes. I loved that Marius was developing enough of a connection with these people that he couldn’t just walk away with the money and say “screw you”. The more I think about it, the more this show had a feeling like an Ocean’s Eleven (or something similar). I’m not sure why I enjoy the con and heist premise so much. I mean, in the real world, I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of such a scheme but there’s something almost theatrical and beautiful about the characters pulling things off. Maybe it’s just the caliber of the actors and the writing that make it so engrossing. I can’t wait to see what happens next in season 2 for Marius and Pete’s family.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

MTVP So Cal Summer 2016: The LA Complex 1.06: "Burn it Down"

“I will take your lives if you take advantage of this man. And I will get away with it.”
-Raquel

And so we have (finally!) reached the finale of the first season of “The LA Complex.” This was a great lesson to me in why I should always finish out my summer recaps in the summer! Last summer, the show was available on Netflix, and recaps were easy. When I tackled episode 5 in February, it was no longer on Netflix, so I bought the episode on Amazon. Now, it’s no longer on Amazon either (although I still have access to the episode I bought), and I had to resurrect my ancient iTunes account and buy it there. The things I do for you, dear readers (if any of you actually exist)! Anyway, this episode saw most of our characters in a pretty bad place, as the machine that is Hollywood is grinding them up and spitting them out. As a former cog in a one industry town (Washington, DC), I can understand the frustration. When almost everyone in a city is incredibly ambitious and wants exactly what you want, it creates one heck of a pressure cooker. I endured it for about a year before decamping to the friendlier climes of a lower level of government 30 miles away. And with all that being said, let’s break down where each of our characters find themselves by the end of the episode. None of them manage to escape without at least some sort of crisis of conscience.

After the bar fight he instigated in the last episode, Connor wakes up in the hospital, needing over thirty stitches in his face. His cheek bone is broken too. The doctor thinks, however, that if the sutures are done well, he’ll still look pretty once everything has healed. Deep down, though, this is not what Connor wanted to hear. It goes from bad to worse (from Connor’s perspective) when the producer of his show stops by the hospital to say that the bar fight has generated a ton of publicity for the show, so Connor is definitely not going to be fired. They have a plan for how they are going to write in his injury, and the public is eagerly waiting to see what they do. When Connor finally gets to go home, he sees that the show’s production team has sent him a show poster with his face on it. He turns on the stove and uses the gas burner to burn the poster. And he also lets the fire spread to his kitchen cabinets, and presumably the rest of the house too. Connor does not really want this life anymore, and he’s acting out in every way he can to show it.

Raquel, meanwhile, is dismayed to learn that the writers she has been working with (and scamming Gary the dentist for) just took a meeting with Ellen Paige. Raquel’s exclusive on their film is in jeopardy. The writers want $100,000 ASAP to show that Raquel is serious about making this movie. She manages to convince Gary to cut the check, but then she feels horribly guilty about it. I think there is a part of her that does love (or at least have some genuine feelings for) Gary, but because their relationship started on a pretense, Raquel still feels terrible. She goes to give the check to the writers, warning them to spend every sent on the movie and not to take advantage of Gary, but by the end of the episode, we see she has a change of heart. She takes the check back to Gary, who admits he knows their relationship started because Raquel needed money, but he’s okay with that. Raquel isn’t okay with it, though, so she rips up the check and walks away. Back at the Luxe, we see she is in possession of a positive pregnancy test. While it could be Connor or Gary’s, presumably it’s Connor’s, which means she’s in for a heaping additional helping of trouble.

Tariq is still very upset at how Kal treated Abby when she was laying down the backing vocals for Hard Times, so he is refusing to come into work. Dynasty, understandably, is not happy about this at all. Eventually, Kal shows up at the Luxe, and he apologizes to Abby (with a very scared Nick trying to run interference between them). Tariq sees the apology and invites Kal up to his room to talk more. The talking leads to sex, naturally (Rilo Kiley taught us that), and afterwards, Kal and Tariq talk about how uncomfortable Kal is with their situation. Tariq ends up going back to work, and he’s clearly in his element putting the final touches on Hard Times. The good times can’t last for long, though. Some of the other guys catch Tariq and Kal kissing, and Kal feels like he needs to save face. By beating the crap out of Tariq.

Nick, being the complete idiot that he is, decides to tell Abby that he slept with Sabrina on the same day he slept with her. And he tells her this right before dropping her off at an audition. Of course, Abby has a complete melt-down at her audition, telling the suits what happened with Nick and whining about how she’s already read for this part eight times, so she shouldn’t have to do it again, especially on a day when she’s not going to be at her best. Abby leaves the audition room crushed, and when we next see her, she’s on standby for a flight back to Canada. While she’s waiting to talk to the gate agent, though, she gets a call from the producer of the show she was auditioning for. As long as she can keep her crazy in check, she’s got the job. Nick and Abby end up making out on a rooftop by the end of the episode. Before he gets to that point, though, Nick’s got some more struggles. He uses some of the “keeping it casual” banter that he and Sabrina worked on the day before in his act at a showcase, and Sabrina tells him that was actually material she’s been using in her act for years. She had been trying to impress him, and now he’s ruined her career since she can’t use that material anymore.

And finally, we come to the cautionary tale that is Alicia. She stayed out very late partying after her porn debut, and she’s pretty happy about it when she gets home. She’s happy, that is, until she gets a call that she’s about to miss her call time for a dance audition one of the bigwigs at the party booked for her. She tries her darndest to get to the audition, but by the time she gets there, everyone has left. She goes back to the bigwig to beg for another chance, and in not so many words, he offers to give her that second chance if she sleeps with him. Alicia’s first reaction is to slap him, but when she doesn’t leave right away, he gives her a lecture about how she can either be desperate or proud, not both. At first, she takes the proud route, slapping him again and starting to leave. Half way down the hall, though, she changes her mind, returns, and starts making out with him. When she gets home, feeling terrible about herself, Alicia gets a call she didn’t expect. She booked the Usher tour after all. Remember, the thought that she lost the tour is what started her down the porn/casting couch path in the first place. Whether or not she takes the job remains to be seen. Like I said, in this episode, Los Angeles was grinding up our characters and spitting them out.

Lucifer 2.14: “Candy Morningstar”

“Perhaps Maze was right? Lucifer is concocting a plan.”
- Charlotte

The Devil is back people! After being MIA (and silent on all forms of communication) for two weeks, Lucifer returns to LA, acting as if nothing’s happened (although we see him making a shady deal with a Godfather-type figure). While Lucifer was away, Chloe has clearly gone through some rollercoaster emotions and she’s not happy that he just disappeared. But, she and Dan have a case to work: a dead guy who was a lead singer in a band. The moment Lucifer pops back up, he tries to squeeze himself into the investigation and Chloe fights him all the way. It doesn’t help that he shows up with a pretty exotic dancer named Candy on his arm. See, he went off to Vegas and got hitched!

You know who else isn’t pleased by Lucifer’s sudden marital status: Charlotte! She’s determined to find out what her baby boy is planning with this new woman but she’s quite flummoxed by Candy’s vapid nature and rambling about wanting a tanning salon and a juice bar in the future. And once again, Amenediel finds himself in the middle of the family drama. He kind of can’t blame Lucifer for running off but he’s also pissed because he spent the last few weeks watching over Chloe has Lucifer had instructed. We even get an amusing scene with Lucifer and Candy having a chat with Linda!

The case isn’t really that interesting at first. Chloe and Dan work it together and talk to the bandmates who figure the victim’s ex-wife. She admits they had fought in the past and admits that there was drama between her and the band because she was the responsible one but she lost everything in the divorce. She thinks the mediator had a side deal with the victim to screw her. Unfortunately, the mediator refuses to speak with police. Lucifer pushes his way back into the case offering to go undercover with Candy to find out dirt. Chloe is against the idea until Maze nudges her a little bit. Chloe really spends a lot of this episode trying to act like she doesn’t need Lucifer. And I get it. She thought there was something more developing between them (and to be fair there was) and now he’s frozen her out and married some random woman.

But, Chloe finally agrees and she goes undercover as Candy along with Lucifer and really, it’s kind of useful because they get to share some things with each other that they hadn’t been communicating very well previously. She hadn’t really thought that he’d gone through a lot when she was poisoned and nearly died. And I really wish she knew the truth about him being an angel because I think then she’d appreciate the fact that he went to Hell literally to save her. They do manage to get the mediator to talk. He didn’t have a side deal exactly with the victim. Rather, he was a super fan of the band and was promised the position of manager if he helped the victim get all his ex-wife’s money. Oh, and he fingers the bass player because he thought the victim was kicking her out of the band.,

It turns out, it wasn’t the bass player. She was too busy hanging with an underage kid for whom she’d made a fake ID when the victim was clobbered upside the head with the bass. Chloe reluctantly takes Lucifer along to confront the drummer (who thanks to some photos was last seen loading the bass into the band’s van) and it feels much like the crazy lady who decided to choke Lucifer at the start of season 2. Chloe ends up shooting this guy, too although we get yet another interesting exchange between the partners. Lucifer keeps saying that Chloe’s not going to save him because as she’s said all episode, she doesn’t need him anymore. But she doesn’t think that anymore and saves his life. And hey, just like that, Lucifer is back to work (actually with a big assist from Candy who tells Chloe that all Lucifer talks about is her and working together). So at least that part of Lucifer’s life is sort of settled.

The family drama is still ongoing, although he does sort of enter a truce with Charlotte. He doesn’t forgive her for her actions but he’s madder at Dear Old Dad for messing with things from the start and making what he felt for Chloe a lie. I still don’t get why they all think putting Chloe in Lucifer’s path is a bad thing! Maybe it’s the Charmed fan in me, but maybe God is trying to say “I’m sorry” by giving Lucifer someone he can love and who will love him back? And Charlotte is willing to accept her son’s not-apology because she’s got news. She brings up the heavenly rebellion that got her son booted from the Silver City in the first place and explains that if he’d had the flaming sword that had guarded Eden (and can cut through the pearly Gates), he wouldn’t have lost. Lucifer doesn’t see the point in the trip down memory lane until Charlotte posits that the sword was actually Uriel’s blade and that’s still in Lucifer’s possession. He just has to ignite said sword and the family can go home. I get that she wants to go home, but presumably God banished her to Hell for some reason. If he’s actually up there and she, Amenediel and Lucifer show up aren’t they going to be kind of outmatched, even with the sword. And why would she want to go somewhere where her ex-husband kicked her out? That doesn’t sound like a good idea for them to really be interacting. I mean, she is the Goddess of all Creation. Clearly, she had some say in making the world. We don’t want them arguing and accidentally causing an apocalypse or something!

We end with a twist I wasn’t expecting. Whoever Candy is, she’s not this bimbo we’ve been putting up with all episode. She’s articulate and was apparently helping Lucifer con his family (and Chloe). I still don’t quite get why he was conning them other than they hurt him so he hurt them back. But it also seemed like Lucifer got his woman out of a bad spot so that was good. He is always trying to help people when they deserve it.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Doctor Who 10.03: “Thin Ice”

“Let me tell you something, I’m 2,000 years old and I’ve never had the time for the luxury of outrage.”
- The Doctor

So, I have to admit I’ve been a little iffy on this new series of “Doctor Who”. I found the premiere pretty boring and the second episode a bit repetitive but I thought this week’s episode was a proper episode. It had mystery, saving the day with a little moral dilemma for the Doctor and it was a way to give us more insight into Bill’s character and how she thinks. We p8ick up where the second episode left us: on the frozen Thames. After ducking back inside, the Doctor confirms they are there at the end of the last great Frost Fair in 1814. Bill is (rightly) concerned about strolling while black but for most of the episode it doesn’t seem to matter too much. She gets all dressed up in period garb and heads off with the Doctor at her side making quips about her nervousness about being in the past. I mean, for someone who has really only had one adventure to the future, she had legitimate questions about what she could do.

Before long, we see why the TARDIS brought her passengers to this time and place. We get a glimpse under the ice and something is alive and before long we see a drunk man stumbling along the river (past where it’s safe) and he gets dragged under. This doesn’t catch the Doctor’s attention, not until someone else disappears. He and Bill are enjoying the fair (although she’s a bit grossed out by the all meats) when two little pickpockets nab the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver (I swear it looks different than it did last season and I don’t like it!). The kids make off along the ice until little green lights start circling the little boy. He goes under but the Doctor manages to grab the sonic back.

About the time the little boy gets dragged under we start to see Bill really question the Doctor. She demands that he save the boy and then goes on this outraged rant about how many people he’s seen die and when did he stop caring about them and then gets into how many people he’s killed. Maybe it’s me or how much TV I watch but I half-expected a little montage of people who have died at the Doctor’s hand. Anyway, he points out he doesn’t have the luxury of outrage but he’s going to try and figure out what’s going on. After getting a little help from the street kids, he whips out the good old psychic paper to gain access to the docks and the dredging crew. He and Bill have also taken a nighttime dunk in the water and seen that giant monster is chained up. Because the Doctor is good at getting people to talk we learn that the mud is actually probably human byproduct from the monster that is being used as fuel to power the factories owned by a rich guy. This is where the racism and Bill’s skin color come into play. The Doctor warns Bill to let him do the talking because it could require charisma and charm and he ends up decking the guy in the face after he was racist to Bill. And like any good villain, he gives his Evil Speech of Evil and explains that the monster has sort of been passed down generation after generation and he’s making profit and moving humanity forward. The Doctor gets to give a passionate speech about what really marks a society and species; move forward but that has no effect on the guy. He decides he’s just going to move his plan to blow up the river and kill a bunch of people forward.

The Doctor asks Bill what she wants him to do but he phrases it as taking an order. That’s a new one for him. I can’t remember the last time he’s actually willingly taken an order from a human, not even UNIT. But she wants him to save the monster and so while he goes off to fiddle with things, Bill gets the street kids to get everyone off the ice. The rich guy tries to blow thing sup anyway but the Doctor has taken the charges and put them on the chains on the monster so it’s free. And just when the rich guy goes to see where the Doctor and Bill have gone, he falls through the ice and gets eaten. Good riddance! Then Bill and the Doctor help out the street kids by changing the guy’s will to recognize a lost heir.

When they get back to the Doctor’s office at the university in the present (and Nardole just brings in tea), Bill is surprised not to see any mention of the monster online. The Doctor points out that humans are good at ignoring things right in front of them. But they did get the win with the kids getting to stay in the fancy house and inherit all his money! Nardole is pissed that the Doctor is taking his oath so lightly not to go off world (or time hopping). The Doctor suggests the flip a coin to see whether he’ll honor his oath or go galivanting about with Bill. By Nardole’s reaction as he heads down to the vault, the Doctor will be continuing his adventures. And then we hear someone or something knocking from inside the vault. Nardole warns that he’s still there even if the Doctor is a bit distracted and whatever is in there isn’t getting out. Intriguing!

As I said at the start of this post, I thought it was felt more like a proper episode of ‘Doctor Who” with the Doctor and his companion just off seeing the world and having adventures. I shouldn’t be surprised that Moffatt’s last season has an overarching plot woven in. That has always been his big thing. He doesn’t just do stand-alone episodes. We’ll see if his farewell tour is worth it or if he tries to go out by making everything too twisty and ridiculous. I want to really love Doctor Who again.