Season 1 ends with the disappearance of Whitney causing Helen to scrutinize Noah and his relationship with Alison and her family. Meanwhile, Cole searches for answers at Lockhart Ranch; and Det. Jeffries makes significant progress on the case.
Justin erupts in a fit of rage, after the breakdown of his and Tiffany’s relationship, that sets off a chain of events that will change the family’s lives forever. Hector tries pushing Sue forward with their relationship, but she makes it clear she needs some space. George Windsor makes a unexpected return to the school dance, with some interesting information.
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Hell has no fear for a women’s scorn, especially when it’s between two women. Annie is awake and right back on her feet in this week’s episode as she gives it her all to bring Lena to justice (who has already fled to Russia). In the first few minutes of the show, Annie is caught red-handed breaking into Lena’s apartment, causing Joan and Arthur to come in to reprimand her.
On tonight’s all new episode of Covert Affairs, Annie (Piper Perabo) goes on an unsanctioned solo mission to Russia to search for Lena (Sarah Clarke). Everyone at the Domestic Protection Division (DPD) thinks it’s too dangerous for Annie to go. But they help her out anyway because they know that Annie wants revenge against Lena for shooting her and killing Simon (Richard Coyle). And they all know her well enough to realize that she will go on her own whether they approve the mission or not.
But this was not so this season. The biggest, smartest change the writers made was to give Annie a purpose, a tangible season-long arc that finally made the central character the most interesting aspect of the show. Then, with Annie under control (and Auggie comfortably by her side, as always), Arthur and Joan could recede to existing to mostly support Annie’s endeavors and Danielle could be completely jettisoned without leaving any holes to fill.
We’ve seen Annie shoot before. We’ve seen her kill. That didn’t make this one any easier to watch. She still has such an innocence surrounding her that when she was standing toe-to-toe with Lena, I was still expecting someone else to come in and save her from the traitorous agent.
So Annie meets up with Dmitri, the piano guy who at one time was in love with Lena until she left him and set him up. Now at this point I am shaking my head at the fact Annie can play piano also. Is there anything this spy-chick can’t do? After asking for lessons and being denied, Annie is soon being followed by this guy. She convinces him to help her and they go see another guy to get a lead on Lena and she arms herself with a gun.
Tonight’s episode, “Vested Interest”, was written by creator Jeff Eastin, and beautifully directed by Russell Lee Fine. The FBI part of the plot has Neal (Matt Bomer) and Peter (Tim DeKay) attending an FBI conference where someone is trying to steal high valued defense technology. However, they soon discover the thief has a brazen plan to take something much more valuable away from the conference.
The episode picks up with Neal and Peter still at odds, Neal blaming him for Ellen’s death and angry that he investigated Sam, which caused him to bolt. Peter tries to reconcile with Neal, who doesn’t even want to talk to him. The two however have to put aside their problems as there is an FBI conference, and they have to speak to why they make such great partners. There are some great lines during the presentations, both Neal being a smart ass and Peter admitting to having faith.
Neal returns home to find Mozzie (Willie Garson) and Sam (Treat Williams) in his apartment. Neal agrees to keep Peter out of things going forward and the three come up with a plan to draw out the person after Sam. Neal plans to steal an embeddable tracking device from the FBI conference. He’ll then get Peter to sign a surveillance authorization form for a safehouse where Sam will be. When the person after Sam arrives, Neal will embed the tracker into their skin.
Oh, but Peter feels bad that maybe it was his fault that Ellen got murdered and that Sam disappeared because he ran their names through the FBI database and probably got them found in witness protection. So to make up for it he’s fixing the coffee maker at headquarters. He’s so proud of himself by the end I half expected to carry Neal the coffee along with his newspaper and slippers in his mouth. Instead he stands in the office doorway and wags his tail as Neal ignores him.
The Greater Fool
Frustration is the overwhelming feeling coming out of watching the entire first season of The Newsroom. Frustration because it has so much potential to be great and yet it overburdens itself, it is an example of writer Aaron Sorkin biting off far too much. What worked was all the stuff about the newsroom, the crafting of a news show, the behind the scenes politics of corporations and the up front politics of our recent history. For an outside viewer, it was of great interest to me seeing the differences between media in the US and the UK.
This entire season of “The Newsroom” was in the can before any of it aired on television, and some critics of the show have suggested that if it hadn’t been, Aaron Sorkin might have had the opportunity to course-correct in response to some of the complaints. I don’t think that’s the case. First, “Studio 60″ — for which Sorkin took nearly as much grief as he has for this show — was still in production when the response to it went south, and for the most part none of the things people were complaining about changed. Second, Sorkin respectfully but strongly disagreed with most of “The Newsroom” complaints when he appeared at press tour a few weeks ago.
The romantic elements, while a touch cheesy — especially the contrived but admittedly hilarious scene with Maggie scolding and shouting at a bus of Sex and the City fans — also reached an important pivotal point. Many, including Rainn Wilson, have compared the Don-Maggie-Jim love triangle to the Jim-Pam-Roy subplot from the early days of The Office. Hell, even The Newsroom’s Jim bares a slight resemblance to John Krasinski’s Jim, not to mention the same name.
“The Greater Fool” is the name of the scorched-earth article Brian Banner published about Will in New York. When he reads it, Will OD’s on anti-depressants, gives himself a bleeding ulcer, is rushed to the hospital and thinks about quitting the show. (This also gives MacKenzie a chance to be typically bonkers — will Sorkin never give her a moment’s peace?) I’m never one for floating plot points that will obviously never happen, but Will’s self-doubt is a chance for many wide-eyed “Please no!” moments from the cast as they contemplate the end of it all.
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Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me
After a few adequate to mediocre episodes, Season 2 of Awkward. delivered one of the best outings of the show’s short existence with “Pick, Me, Choose Me, Love Me.” This episode may have more to do with Jake and/or Matty wanting Jenna’s affection, but those of us who’ve seen Grey’s Anatomy likely recognize those words as part of Meredith’s plea for Derek to choose her over Addison. I guess this makes me Team Mattison!
Last week, Jenna made her private blog public as a way to help Jake understand what was going on between her and Matty, but her decision had some unexpected consequences. First off, she humiliated those she cared about most by airing her dirty laundry, but something even odder happened; her blog made her a celebrity. Apparently, her lifestory was tawdry and entertaining enough that she somehow turned into a arbiter of taste and an expert in love. Ironic, right? Not only were people asking for her advice, but the school also turned into a battleground between Team Matty and Team Jake, and whichever move she made was going to be witnessed by everyone.
It wasn’t clear at the end of that episode where exactly the show was heading, but “Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me” wastes no time clarifying that everyone in the school is reading Jenna’s blog. The episode turns the high school into a proxy for the viewers at home, with the various students drafting into either Team Jake or Team Matty and picking up Tamara’s slang. Lauren Iungerich’s script has some fun with this parallel, mapping the audience’s engagement with the series onto the kids in the high school, and it allows both Jenna and Tamara to experience a brush with fame. Jenna becomes almost like a reality television star, someone famous for being herself and someone who becomes a tastemaker based solely on her good spelling and her complicated, compelling existence.
While Jenna’s blowback was nonexistent, the blowup wasn’t. The entire school rallied around her story. Everyone had his/her opinions. Jenna went from little known to well known, and Tamara and Ming basked in the proxy popularity. All of it, though, was just a ploy to take our focus away from Lacey after we saw some kids giving her grief over writing the letter.
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What an episode. What. An. Episode. I was all over the place with this Suits summer finale! I was sad and then I was laughing and then I was angry. Rinse and repeat. That is how good TV is done!
When I watched the season opener I remember thinking that they had stuffed so much into the episode, it could have easily been spread throughout the course of an entire season, or at least a few episodes. That’s basically how I feel about last night’s episode.
For an episode called, ‘High Noon’ (Western terminology for the time of a gunfight between enemies and meant to invoke images of heat and empty streets, steel and quick death, after tense moments filled with anticipation) the Summer Finale of Suits falls a little short of the drama promised in the weeks leading up to the final confrontation between Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) and Daniel Hardman (David Costabile). In fact, it was a little anti-climactic.
All season long, the characters have had to confront realities and truths opposite of themselves and their natures. Normally, I would expect this to cause some people to reevaluate their lives and the directions they are taking, and then choose to make some changes. After being pushed to the brink the past few episodes, however, it seems as if everyone is doubling down and entrenching themselves in their old ways.
Harvey and Donna aren’t too happy with the real estate demotion but roll with it. Especially after Jessica tells Harvey not to make any life changing decisions when you’re reeling from a loss. In other words, no sudden movements – the feral dog thinks he’s alpha and we’ll sneak up on him, not attack him head-on; so wait.
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A More Perfect Union
Tom and the others find themselves in the middle of an old fashion coup. Tom got what he wanted, the go ahead to meet with the skitters but Tom refuses to do it like this. General Bressler orders them all back in the cages when the alarm starts going off, aliens are in the compound. Upstairs the 2nd mass members who had been rounded up in the commons area were scrambling to get away from a small army of skitters that have infiltrated the compound.
Last time we checked in with the 2nd Mass, they had found their way to the supposed Garden of Eden that is Charleston, South Carolina. They quickly came to understand that, nope, this place sucks too.
Tom, Captain Weaver (Will Patton), Dr. Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) and other 2ND Mass members use their bodies to shield the rebel skitters, forcing Bressler to relent and hear them out. Through Ben, Red Eye explains that the 2ND Mass should have killed the Overlord when they had the chance because it would have crippled the aliens’ war effort in that part of the continent. However, Red Eye says that the Overlord will be inspecting a new weapon in three days and that they need help from the humans to get inside. After Ben and the skitters withdraw to a nearby area, Bressler rejects the offer to team up as a trick and orders the 2ND Mass locked up.
He was so hell-bent on meeting up with them, but when Bressler detains Arthur and gives him a chance to do so, he throws it away. Things ended up working out, but for all he knew in that moment, Tom could have been making a decision that would blow their opportunity to team up with the rebels and also land him in jail right next to Arthur Manchester. Tom’s honesty and decency are admirable, but one of his weaknesses is allowing that side of him to ruin important opportunities. And as a side note, how absurd was it that when the security breach alarms went off, all of the soldiers completely forgot about locking up the 2nd Mass and instead headed for the main hall?
Later, we’re given a little tidbit of information regarding the death of Bressler’s son that I think would have served more useful if it was expanded upon earlier in the episode. The death of Bressler’s son at the hands of Skitters explains his motivations but his actions and the death of a few harnessed rebel kids left me still feeling cold towards the General.
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A Nutcracker in Paradise
It’s Bunheads summer finale! The Nutcracker performance is about to go on but with Michelle’s luck something is going to go down. A great finale can wipe away the sour taste of an otherwise lacking season and give a show the type of momentum needed to make a creative jump on a more permanent basis. Unfortunately, in the case of Bunheads, its finale was more than a bit underwhelming.
On its own, “A Nutcracker in Paradise” was pretty terrific. There have been times when the show’s attempts at comedy have felt strained, but nearly every joke and device landed perfectly here, whether it was the non-stop motion of The Ringer, Boo nearly going too far in mortifying herself for Carl, Fanny forcing the one pair of African-American dancers(*) to try one style after another or, in a hilarious (and well-foreshadowed) setpiece, Michelle accidentally macing all the dancers with the pretty mace from her Zombie Apocalypse Vegas Slut Bag, then trying to douse them all with water.
From the strangely S&M brilliance of Michelle’s “Rat Dance” to Boo’s public announcement that Carl is her Fred Astaire, the bits that moved characters forward hit all the right notes. Melanie and Ginny have what can only be described as a lovers’ quarrel, even though it has to do with a boy. Michelle brings Sasha back into the fold in a way that allowed Fanny to accept her return without compromise. And Sasha seems to have grown up some in the process — even attracting the interest of a boy who seems to be searching for his identity as haphazardly as she is.
What does feel right, though, is the relationships she’s forged with the other characters. Sasha pulls out a literal Dead Poets Society “O Captain My Captain” routine as Michelle contemplates disappearing, and Hubbell’s kindest ghost-advice involves pointing out that Fanny always wanted a daughter. As loathsome as the dated ’90s references tend to be — especially with straight rip-off, copy-of-a-copy stuff like this — there’s still a bit of an emotional payoff when you see how the characters find new ways to fit together.
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What Lies Beneath
As Hanna helps her mother move some houseplants around, she finds a letter, written by Maya the date she died. When Hanna shows the letter to the other Liars, they find out that Maya wanted to explain herself and show something to Emily the day she died, but the location of where Maya wanted to meet Emily was smeared and washed away from the rain.
Ashley Marin is trying to be a mom by moving plants, because that’s the most important thing to do when your daughter’s life is in constant mortal peril. But under that plant (oddly enough) is a note from Maya to Emily asking her to meet up (oddly enough) on the night of her death (oddly enough) but the location of their supposed talk is curiously missing (oddly enough) from the partially destroyed letter. Because right, this is Rosewood, and every mystery just leads to another mystery. GOD!
The liars decided to do a little reKAHNizance (get it!?), so they split up to snoop while Noel was at football practice. Spencer took the boys’ locker room (we knew she was a smart girl!), and grabbed Noel’s phone from his locker to search for any trace of Maya. She came up empty-handed but was caught red-handed when Noel walked in and saw her at his locker. Yet she somehow slipped out while Noel was distracted.
Hanna’s back at her house playing Nancy Drew. She’s blown up all of the photos from Maya’s website, and is trying to find details that she hadn’t seen before. Emily tells her that she’s being a little weird about it, when they realize that two of the photos were taken at Noel Khan’s cabin. They call Spencer (who is at school) and tell her what’s going on, and she confronts Noel in the hallway. He tells her that he had a “texting relationship” with Maya, meaning he hooked her up with weed once in a while. Spencer retaliated by asking him if that was before or after he and Jenna started sneaking around in the middle of the night, and he tells her it’s “kind of hot” that she thinks he is capable of murder.
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