Watch American Dad – Blood Crieth Unto Heaven Online S08E10

American Dad - Blood Crieth Unto Heaven
A few weeks ago, American Dad had an episode where the A-plot resembled a stage play, confining the Smiths to their home as they struggled to keep Lenten promises. A week later Family Guy devoted an episode to Brian’s fledgling playwriting career, which turned out to be the best episode that show has done in years. Now American Dad has a real stage play episode to round it out at three, another gem to go with season standout “Ad-ventures in Hayleysitting.” Where that episode was chock full of laughs at a breakneck pace, “Blood Crieth Unto Heaven” uses a great framing device and strict adherence to stage style in order to create a wry homage to August: Osage County, an audacious and thoroughly successful experiment that never takes a major misstep.

The episode fully commits to the stage format, from the curtains at the beginning and end of each act, to the sound design that incorporates the reverb and room tone of an actual theatre space, to members of the audience gasping or crying out, “Oh no!” when plot twists come to light. Patrick Stewart provides the bumpers as though this is any old presentation of a theatre production-I can remember watching a DVD of The Man Who Came To Dinner with Nathan Lane where Liam Neeson provided the interstitial commentary-and just as his voice work as Avery is faultless, so is his Patrick Stewart persona, akin to his memorable guest role in Extras, though more restrained here.

The story on the surface is simple: Francine throws Stan a surprise birthday party, with Roger acting as Edna the Maid. Stan hates birthday parties, going back to the party where he vividly remembers his father leaving home for good. The story splits here into parallel narratives that don’t intertwine. Avery sees Hayley and references their past relationship, but after being rejected, he goes for Roger dressed as Edna instead. In keeping with this genre of theatre, there are plenty of twists along the way, from catching parents having sex to secret babies, to clown outfits, mistaken identity, and Stan’s ultimate realization that he is the cause of his fractured family. And just like the other epic stage tragedies, this one builds up so much pompous, self-aggrandizing seriousness that when the hammer finally drops, it’s a brutal finale that both adheres to genre tropes while gently mocking them.

Though the primary inspiration for this tongue-in-cheek sendup of family dramas is August: Osage County-well timed considering the film version comes out this year-I also thought of Clifford Odetts’ tragedy Paradise Lost, which depicts the financial spiral of a family during the depression, twisting the lives of an extended family together. This is an infamous genre in which to examine large, interconnected dysfunctional families, and the countless ways the episode pushes the buttons of theatre clich?s in such a loving way is brilliant.


Watch Supernatural – Torn and Frayed Online S08E10

Supernatural - Torn and Frayed
Supernatural has been trying to keep a lot of balls in the air this season, and some of them slice through the air more gracefully, and more excitingly, than others. The show generally strives to have a lot going on, but the different pieces of previous seasons have tended to fit together more naturally than the pieces of this one. The biggest, most inert hulk is the part that seems meant to serve as the framework holding it all together-this year’s apocalyptic danger posed by Crowley and his search for the conveniently limitless supply of tablets bearing the word of God.

Tonight’s episode manages to squeeze in token references to everything that’s kept the Winchesters occupied since the fall: Dean’s bromance with Benny the vampire, Sam’s yearning for a normal life with Amelia, the bewildered return of Castiel, Kevin scribbling away in his translation journal, and the latest intriguing wrinkle that’s appeared in the tapestry: Naomi (Amanda Tapping), the blue-eyed, bunhead angel CEO figure who appears to be secretly controlling Castiel.

But the main purpose of the episode is to kick-start the big enveloping storyline by revealing that, just as there’s a “demon tablet” that would make it possible to consign all demons permanently to Hell, there’s also an “angel tablet” which Crowley would obviously love to find in his Crackerjacks one day. Theoretically, it’s not a bad gimmick. In practice, it means a lot of over-familiar scenes of Crowley and his current Mengele squatting inside a warehouse, taunting and interrogating an angel who’s tied to a chair with a Bloodsucking Freaks torture helmet strapped to his head, while Sam and Dean scurry though dark hallways, stabbing extras and spray-painting sigils.

Castiel recruits Dean for the effort to Hastings, Nebraska, while Sam finds himself confronted again by Amelia at his hotel door. Sam apologizes for returning to her life, however briefly, and offers to get out of her way before the two rekindle their passion with a kiss. Meanwhile, Viggo continues to inflict pain on Samandriel, stumbling upon a torture with skull-embedded pins that forces Samandriel to involuntarily chant in Enochian, setting fire to a local town bush.


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Watch Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia – Reynolds vs. Reynolds: The Cereal Defense Online S08E10

Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia - Reynolds vs. Reynolds: The Cereal Defense
And so Season 8 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia ends with The Gang doing what they do best: Screaming at each another in Paddy’s. And with each of them shucking most of their usual insane traits (save for Mac’s staunch Catholic-ness) and finding themselves within the comfortable middle of half-genius/half-moron. Frank, arguing loudly with a tape of pre-recorded Charlie directions in his car, runs into the back of Dennis’ car, causing him to spill his giant milky bowl of cereal everywhere. Yes, Dennis was eating cereal in the car. And that alone is almost enough to love this season ender.

Sometimes Sunny works best when everything plays out in a more traditional TV comedy way, again with everyone here making both solid and idiotic points while in the midst of a Paddy’s Pub mock trial… which featured both Frank and Dennis as dueling defendants. First Frank tried to present his “nitwit school” certificate which specifically stated that he didn’t have donkey brains, then Dennis fired back by “accidentally” spilling red wine all over Frank’s shirt in order to present an example of the accident. But then… things began to get logical. Which might just make this the craziest Sunny ever.

Firstly, Frank was still shown to be at fault for the wine spill because he “assumed the responsibility for any future spill.” “I knew the risk,” Frank explained. Then Dee, who was looking to set up serious and established precedent for totaled cars, tried to discredit Mac by introducing his “steel-bending” mutant babies theory.

But, in the end, it was Mac, who often took three hour breaks to construct elaborate presentations with pictures and cutouts, who out-argued the entire gang and had them believing in createnism over evolution. Mac, who’s never been the funniest member of The Gang, and who hasn’t had all that much to do this season, came through like some sort of savant; labeling past scientists as “bitch!” for not fully knowing the scope of the universe. As Charlie would say, “a good judge, an even better bailiff.”


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Watch Criminal Minds – The Lesson Online S08E10

Criminal Minds - The Lesson
Criminal Minds returned tonight with another interesting episode directed by Reid himself, Matthew Gray Gubler! After a creepy introductory scene shows us our unsub for the week, “The Lessons” gets right to the scene that everybody cares about: Reid’s mystery woman!

We still aren’t quite sure exactly who this woman is, or how she came to know Spencer, but we did finally get to see her! I’m not sure why her face was obscured for the other two times we’ve seen her on screen if the person is a brand new actress on the show, but either way I’m very happy to see Spencer possibly meeting his true equal! She isn’t without her baggage, though, as she mentions a stalker that has since stopped harassing her.

Could this be the stalker that’s been hounding the team recently? I was happy for Reid to have some more development on this story, but I’m not sure why they built up this woman’s reveal so much. I guess the next step is for these two lovebirds to actually meet face to face. Don’t worry, Spencer! She’s a cutie!

Anyway, the actual case of the week was a pretty darn creepy one. Our unsubs this week were Adam Rain and Mr. Conrad, played by character actors Brad Douriff and Mark Povinelli. When I saw the previews from last week showing us that the unsub was using his victims as marionettes, I thought the whole thing would play a little goofy. The whole thing seemed too far-fetched and outlandish for me, but boy was I wrong!


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