Posts tagged episode 9
Last week’s episode of White Collar ended with a cliffhanger and tonight’s episode, “Gloves Off,” brought viewers right back to the Burkes’ living room where Neal sat with Peter and Mozzie, prepared to watch the tape Ellen had made for him when he’d been a little kid. The tape brought out Neal’s emotional side and Peter’s protective side. But we all knew from the episode promos that the two were heading for the boxing ring. The only question was how much of that fight was going to be real?
Honestly, this childish dynamic makes tons of sense in the world of White Collar: Much like the FBI, friendships often entail several levels of security clearance depending on your place on the totem pole. Like, if your second-best friend tells you a secret, you can only share that secret with your first-best friend, as your first-best friend has the highest level of security clearance possible. But major conflicts arise when the second-best friend believes that he or she is actually your first-best friend: THEN what are the proper clearance levels of secrets disclosure? This conflict is bound to happen when you weight relationships like this, but often your two best friends will TEST their security clearances by forbidding you to disclose information to the other, which is always the first step toward a huge friendship meltdown. That’s basically what “Gloves Off” was all about: Neal found himself caught between TWO parties who each demanded best-friend status, and it did NOT end well for anybody.
The episode also makes it somewhat obvious that Neal’s promises made to Sam are more important than those made to Peter. Even though he barely knows Sam. Suspecting, whether stubbornly or too easily, Neal believes Sam is the key to finding out who murdered Ellen. (And secondarily, where his father is.)
The serendipity of how they overlapped just in time to send a furious Neal hurtling wildly toward an unsuspecting Peter, thereby bringing their issues of mistrust to a head in dramatically entertaining and visceral fashion? Well, it’s a lot to conspire without undoing every thread, and enough to make one’s eyes roll incredulously. Fortunately, the action is shot with a manic, fishbowl realism. The punches themselves land frequently and bluntly, preventing the entire climax from careening into self-parody.
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In the first half of the two-part First Season finale Professor Pierce (Eric McCormack) is presented with information from a former student (Freddy Rodríguez) suggesting a cover-up and conspiracy surrounding the apparently accidental death of a U.S. Senator. After witnessing the death of the student (which may or may not have actually happened, given his tendency to hallucinate), Pierce finds himself lead down the rabbit hole by a hallucination of JFK (Steven Culp) that involves Greek mythology, a star constellation, a secret society, and a shadowy conspiracy.
Wesley claims that Ryland’s predecessor’s plane was sabotaged, and Crawford, a CEO, is responsible because Paulson chaired a committee that was going to pass a clean energy bill that would’ve cost his company billions. An engineer, Brian, died after he found out about the sabotage, and Wesley thinks it was murder. A reporter believed him, but he drove his car off the road. Wesley gives him an envelope with evidence before an arrow strikes him in the eye. Daniel calls Kate in a panic, but when Probert gets to the scene, there’s no body.
At the same time, viewers were left trying to guess or be surprised by characters that might or might not be hallucinations. Even if there were certain lapses in Pierce’s stability, there was a certain “fun” element to having him see these people around him.
“Shadow” broke the whole concept down and captured the reality, if you will, of that darker side to having schizophrenia and how heartbreaking it is to see someone fold underneath the illness.
Although she wants to believe in her friend Kate (Rachael Leigh Cook) is forced to accept the possibility that Pierce may have hallucinated the entire event, as well as his relationship with the student which she can find no evidence of. Although they can’t find the young man’s body, a little investigation does suggest a crime was committed and that it may have been tied to a dead reporter who was also investigating the death of the Senator.
When a good ol’ boy from a Big Tobacco family came knocking on the Botwin family’s door, Nancy was surprised and a little concerned that he was looking for Silas and not her. Maybe some of RJ’s live-and-love philosophy rubbed off Silas, because watching his precious plant be beaten to a pulp and squeezed into a little pill last week was a little too much for his delicate sensibilities to take. It’s not what the drug is about, man. Weed is a beautiful thing, man. Get it, man?
It wasn’t that unexpected for Jill to leave. After last week’s realization that she’s entering menopause, and Andy’s insistence that he create a biological child of his own rather than adopt, there was little left for Jill at the Botwin house. Though her bonding with Nancy was sweet, Jill is a character tethered to any given situation only by her motherhood and a man. She has never known a life outside of the domestic. But we didn’t even get a proper goodbye, and instead her absence was explained away in brief dialogue. Goodbye Jill — we were really starting to enjoy your presence.
Nancy really wants to get Silas out of there, but he tells Nancy that he is really not happy at the pharmaceutical company. He was happy until he watched them destroy his plant to distill it into a pill. He grows a fun, illegal drug, not a medicine. He wants to get back to that. He wants Nancy’s support. Nancy runs into Crick’s dad. He’s on an oxygen tank and he and Crick haven’t talked in two years despite living together. She doesn’t want that for her and Silas. Silas agrees to grow for Crick, and they head home.
It makes sense for Silas to be talking to Big Tobacco—although I have questions about how exactly they found out about his prowess—but there’s no clear tie between Nancy’s storyline in the previous episode and this one. We last left Nancy faking a robbery, selling an entire batch of ADHD drugs at a college party with Jill, and then quizzing Stevie on his state capitals. When we pick things up in “Saplings,” Jill’s suddenly gone and we have no sense of Nancy’s future plans (and whether she has any plans to keep selling drugs illegally to make extra money). It’s like Nancy’s arc stopped entirely, allowing her to shift into a completely different role in Silas’ story.
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Oh, my poor Matty/Jake loving heart! This episode of AWKWARD certainly delivered in terms of keeping the intensity of the past two episodes. The truth about all things love triangle is out for public consumption and the sh*t has more than definitely hit the fan. Unfortunately for Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards) things have gone from bad to worse.
Ultimately, I knew when Jake found out about Jenna and Matty’s past that would be when everything kicked up a gear, I merely did not expect the payoff to be this good. So there was Jake, at the worst possible time finally unable to be the perfect and understanding guy he had always been. Then we have Matty, a kid trying to make amends for his assholish ways last season by stepping up and forcing himself to be the mature. Finally there was Jenna, a girl not simply losing her boyfriend, but somebody that has watched her world crumble around her so many times in such short order. Every time things look up for her they ultimately come crashing down, and there is no way to not feel for her. Exasperating the situation was the very public nature that everything has taken.
The relationship gap isn’t all about Jenna. Lacey and Kevin have yet to get over their own relationship gap, and, as revealed last week, Kevin has been the one to walk out on Lacey many times before. So now they are both in this gap that was similar to what Jenna was going through with a whole lot of half stories and broken hearts, but no one wanting to make the jump.
Big points actually go out to Jake for not taking the picture public because I was really afraid he was going to sink to that depth after last week. Granted he still forced their relationship out into the open in other ways thanks to that special Wheel of Pep. I don’t really know what else is on that wheel, but I really want to know what exactly brings about school spirit in the topic “Come Clean or Play Dirty.” Based on this episode’s example of how landing on this goes, I’m assuming it doesn’t cause a whole lot of pep (unless you’re Sadie).
The Blackout, Part 2: Mock Debate
In the penultimate episode of the season, we’re left with a big question mark: Will ACN get to host the Republican Primaries debate? After ditching News Night 2.0 to ensure a sizable viewing audience for the debate, the team is left wondering if all their hard work was a waste of time. Will the RNC guys see that Will’s honest, hard-nosed approach to moderating the debate is the best one for all parties involved. Based on the way the episode ended, it appears that the ACN crew has lost this one. Or did they?
It doesn’t help that “The Blackout, Part 2: Armed And Fabulous” devotes the lion’s share of its time to the weakest aspect of the show, i.e. the relationship stuff. With the season nearing the finish, Sorkin has to shit or get off the pot on Will and Mac and the Jim/Don/Maggie love triangle. And shit he does, sending Will to therapy to gain some understanding over why he can’t get over Mac’s betrayal and why he’s so intent on punishing her that he’s brought back Mac’s ex (Paul Schneider) to write an exclusive story about “News Night 2.0.” Things are even more complicated with the younger trio, because Maggie’s roommate Lisa (Kelen Coleman) makes it a quartet: Lisa has feelings for Jim but can see that there’s something between him and Maggie. But neither Jim nor Maggie seem capable of honestly discussing their feelings for each other because they’re adorably frazzled in exactly the same way. And really, who cares?
When everyone gets fiercely behind the idea, punching the air and screaming “YEAH!” like a football team, the power comes back on. Yet again, Mac gets humiliated in front of her staff. And therefore the tantalising prospect of watching the News Night team do the show on the fly (and probably fail while doing so) was washed away. Thankfully, this week The Newsroom does actually show that the News Night team isn’t totally infallible and Sorkin has learnt that it is okay to have characters that fail once in a while.
You know what, “The Newsroom”? I don’t like being right all the time. I’m asking you to surprise me, to impress me, to whip out an excellent television series when I’m not expecting it. That didn’t happen this week. “The Blackout Part 2: Mock Debate” fell prey to exactly the storytelling issues I predicted last week. The very concept of the show took down your attempt at a big two-part episode, making both it and the very series seem extra pointless as a result.
In this episode of Burn Notice, called “Official Business” Michael gets one step closer to finding the person who killed his brother and Fi gets to play CIA agent. They’re back again, this time with an offer Fiona can’t refuse: Under the terms of her prison-release agreement, she is a CIA asset who can be called upon at any time—a revelation that Michael takes about as well as you’d expect.
Are Bailey and Manaro from the CMA? The Central Moron Agency? How can these to chuckle nuts be from the same department that brought us Tom Card and Daniel Pearce?!? Honestly, how have they not gotten themselves killed? Typically, I really enjoy the characters Matt Nix comes up with. For example, this week Durov was creepy and sleazy, while Angela had me completely fooled with her innocent act, followed by the shocking reality of her traitorous real self.
Things get pretty hairy when it turns out that the innocent girlfriend of the man they thought was selling ballistics tech is actually the one doing the selling, but Fi and Michael pull it off like they always do. Gotta say that a part of me was sad when they told the CIA to lose her contract though. I could get used to Spy Fi.
While this is going on, Sam and Jesse are following up on the slim lead obtained last week from the sniper-rifle sales rep. Knowing only that the purchaser of the gun that killed Nate works for a military-supply and training company called the Pryon Group, Sam and Jesse pose as buyers for a private military outfit in hopes of sniffing out the identity of the assailant. They zero in on a weak link in the organization—a weaselly yes man with an eye for Sam’s Rolex and the lifestyle it suggests. (Of course, all of the eye-catching accoutrements sported by Sam and Jesse were supplied by Sam’s sugar mama, Elsa.)
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At the top of the season, Suits’ promos centered on the idea of civil war coming to Pearson Hardman. While that is certainly been the focus of the major plot this season so far, I should have known the show would have taken it a step further. In essence, civil war is merely internal strife resulting from two conflicting sides that cannot be rectified. In a lot of ways, that is exactly what every main character has been experiencing this season.
Harvey is still psuedo-stalking Donna, this time allegedly to bring her a bonus check that she doesn’t want. She’s still angry with him, especially when he gives her the mother of all puppy dog faces. “I am not in love with you, Harvey. I love you like a brother or a cousin,” she tells him. “I told her I can’t be me without you,” he retorts, which A) is a lie and B) would be an awesome line in a romantic comedy. An amused Donna agrees to come back under two conditions, the first of which is a replacement for the bonus check she just ripped up, and the second which isn’t yet revealed to the audience.
Donna makes her triumphant return to the firm and promptly fires her replacement, which is revealed as the second condition of her comeback. When Louis makes an attempt to apologize to her for how he treated her during the mock trial, Donna realizes from his wardrobe what’s happened, and she tells Jessica, who realizes that Hardman has bought Louis’ deciding vote and calls Hardman out on it. Not that Hardman cares.
Donna immediately goes to Jessica and tells her Louis was made Senior Partner. Donna is just that good – all from Louis’ suit. As per Norma, the suit was bought five years ago to be worn when Louis becomes Senior Partner. Daniel Hardman made Louis a Senior Partner so when the voting commenced, Hardman would edge out Jessica.
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The Price of Greatness
Falling Skies season 2 bunkers down with its ninth, and penultimate episode of the year “The Price of Greatness” as the 2nd Massachusetts finally arrives at Charleston , and Tom finds himself butting heads with his former professor Arthur Manchester (‘LOST’s Terry O’Quinn) as the group realizes salvation is not what it seems.
Tom feels pretty good to discover his former teacher/mentor is now the president, who says he can have a place in the government if Tom plays nice and endorses him. But when Tom tells him of the skitter rebellion, Arthur forbids him to tell anyone else. These survivors have no intention of fighting back.
The Weaver/Jeanie reunion was badly undercut by her inexplicable decision to desert her wounded father earlier in the season. There were some nice moments between the pair, like when Weaver backed her speech against Manchester, but its difficult to invest in a relationship that the show uses as a plot device.
But that’s just the beginning on Falling Skies “The Price of Greatness.” The meat of this story in Charleston begins when the Berserkers led by Pope try to steal back some weapons, Maggie (Sarah Carter) fails to stop them, and then they all get jailed.
And then the vote of confidence begins. Jean chides their leader, saying, “We’re not doing anything about it except waiting, hiding.” Tom then stands and agrees, asking if the real mission has been lost.
The Kahn Game
In this week’s episode of Pretty Little Liars, Aria and Spencer attended a party, Hanna dealt with romantic entanglements, and Emily attempted to close a chapter on her life, while opening a new one.
Aria is showing Spencer a picture of the stamp on Maya’s arm that Emily remembers and Spencer—Superhero Superwoman Spencer—is freaking DONE solving mysteries because it’s ruining her chances of getting into college. And Toby’s pants, mostly, but also some of that stuff she’s missing out on is graduating from UPenn, but it’s a good thing that the random blonde Cece did! How convenient! Now they can go to a party together to schmooze with some random admissions bro Steven, which is great because Spencer looks like she needs to loosen up her vag.
While this conversation is taking place, weird and nosy and semi-hot older lady CeCe walks into the coffee shop and approaches her two protégés. She overhears “Penn” and tells Spencer that she’s going to a house party where a friend from Penn’s admissions office would be in attendance. In 2005, I applied for college online, but according to CeCe if you give your application to a dude at a house party, it works just as well. Spencer’s pumped.
The event is at Noel Kah’s house and CeCe is friends with his older d-bag brother Eric! Unfortunately, it’s too late to turn back and Spencer and Aria bravely venture forward to the door where a bouncer sullies their hands with a tramp stamp (the same one as Maya — luckily nowhere near as permanent as the Death Eaters’ tats!) and they enter the Kahn house of gloom and doom. Gulp! Despite a few hiccups and terrorizing moments, the trouble proves well worth it because CeCe — true to her word — gives Steven Spencer’s app and he submits it for her. In fact, Spence actually receives an email from UPenn acknowledging that they received her early admission files. While we’re ecstatic for her, we can’t help but wonder why an admissions office is open so late on a Friday night, and why CeCe would be so gung-ho about helping out someone she barely knows. Fact: Nothing comes without a price in Rosewood.
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Free Will Hunting
Not many shows would have the audacity to end on a main character celebrating a conviction for attempted murder, but it’s one of the ridiculous sight gags which Futurama has been doing particularly well this season, often salvaging episodes which offered little as a whole. ‘Free Will Hunting’ was one of those, with barely enough plot to fill five minutes, let alone the running time’s twenty-one, and relying on its individual jokes to get through. That’s not always a bad thing, as proven by last week’s often hilarious ‘Fun On A Bun’, but considering what a terrific premise was in place for this episode, the meandering felt like a missed opportunity for an entertaining exploration of a big philosophical concept.
It’s pretty clear from the start that this is the latter, as Bender starts the episode by explaining to Fry that yes, it does matter whether or not he chooses to wear his nerd glasses, because every decision creates a new universe and whatnot. I got excited for a minute thinking that this would be an episode about that very quantum concept, but instead it’s about robot free will. Almost as good.
Wanting to be cool despite the bright orange college sweater he’s wearing, Bender decides to sit in the back with the college “tough guys.” They invite him to join their gang, and he accepts without hesitation. In the Dean’s (named Dean Suspendington, by the way) office, Bender is treated to a mini-lecture about how he’s already fallen in with a bad crowd approximately 30 seconds into his first day at college. Bender doesn’t deny it; in fact, he hurls his orange sweater at the Dean and promptly drops out to join the gang full time.
This episode was odd in its structure and tone. There was no B-plot at all, just Bender’s quest for free will that started out at full steam from the beginning. Even the first couple minutes, which are usually used as a kind of diversionary set up for the episode’s theme, didn’t really let up, and the “decisions” motif was immediately apparent.
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