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Purged Away With Blood
Cullen Bohannon had to take charge of a tricky hostage situation — and deal with a possibly greater danger facing an old friend — in “Purged Away with Blood,” Sunday’s episode of Hell on Wheels. If you missed all the action, here are the most important things you need to know before tuning in next Sunday.
This week the episode opens with the Swede and Reverend Cole riding with horses and a cart. Suddenly two Indians creep up from the grass and quietly come up behind them. One Indian shows the Swede some furs that he has and the two speak in the Indian’s language. Reverend Cole gets off his horse and they all go to the cart which is filled with stolen rifles. The reverend and The Swede hand them out to the Indians. They all seem happy. Not a good sign. Something is definitely up.
“Purged Away With Blood” focuses on the train carrying Durant to Chicago after last week’s shootout. On the way to get medical attention, part of the tracks is blown up by the Sioux and led by Reverend Cole. He and the Swede (or “The White Spirit,” as the Sioux call him) have given the Sioux a whole cart of guns to fight back against the Hell on Wheels crew ruining their land. Cole wants Durant to publish his insane manifesto, filled with his ramblings like “the crimes of the guilty land can only by purged away by blood,” or Cole will kill everyone on the train. Before now, Cole has been fun drunk, stumbling around the camp, preaching to those who will listen. Now, he’s a deranged shell of who he used to be, ready to kill because he believes that’s what God wants him to do.
The reunion of the family Cole is wobbly, too. Ruth (Kasha Kropinski) is still a cipher to me; I can’t get a handle on her character. Is she capricious or is it just off-handed writing because there’s been no real care taken with defining who Ruth is as a character? Her sudden emotional bonding with her father is a sentimental moment that doesn’t ring true for me. Joseph (Eddie Spears) fares better and plays truer to character, but then the writers are clearer on who he is than they are on Ruth.
The Railroad Job
This episode of “Hell on Wheels” is full of action and a few surprises. At the beginning of this second season Cullen Bohannon was part of a robbery crew. Tonight his old crew is back with a plan to steal $50,000 from the railroad’s payroll.
For Durant, it’s his chance to create an even greater name for himself. Elam is trying to be considered an equal after the slavery of the past. Lily is attempting to continue her husband’s work, even if it will leave her with an uncertain future once the road is completed. But for Cullen Bohannan, his motivation for joining the railroad was revenge for the murder of his family, and he quickly changed to forget about that, instead deciding to solely do the bidding of Durant, while also sometimes working on the railroad.
As much as the episode is superficially about a bunch of Johnny Rebs looting the railroad’s payroll once again, the question comes up over and over: What would happen to everyone should Durant (Colm Meaney) die? The man who controls everything is, naturally, also the man nearly everyone despises – the disparity of wealth and comfort being only a portion of why Durant is looked upon with such disdain. Of course, since Durant’s ability to draw breath is directly related to the future and wellbeing of so many individuals; namely, the freedmen, Elam Ferguson (Common) and now, Lily Bell (Dominique McElligott) – not to mention the future of the railroad itself – it comes time to put the good Mr. Durant directly in harms’ way.
“The Railroad Job” has a decent premise at its center: Hawkins, the leader of the ex-Confederate bandits from the beginning of the season, decides to rob the camp’s payroll while all the workers are off building the bridge. While casing the camp just before the heist begins, one of the robbers doesn’t take kindly to Elam’s presence in the saloon, and Hawkins’ too-generous attempt to make peace with Elam tips him off that something bad is about to go down. While Durant sends for Bohannon to return to the camp, Elam arms the McGinnes brothers and a sick Psalms, but the heist has already begun.
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Hurts Like A Mother
Rafa and Divya have been making sweet love and as odd as it seems to Royal Pains fans, the medical assistant has thrown caution to the wind.When the Rafa character was introduced weeks ago, he was starring in the polo matches that weren’t expected to stretch past one episode. We got a big surprise when Divya and Rafa became an item at the conclusion of that show.
He has stuck around to serve as the romantic partner Divya never knew she wanted. In a video clip of tonight’s show, she tells Dr. Hank Lawson that she couldn’t be more surprised to be with a man like Rafa.
What I liked most was that Paige seemed to bond and connect with Fiona not only as a fellow college freshman, but also as someone who felt like they were on the outside looking in. Seeing Paige connect with her and care for her like she did was refreshing. I would have loved for someone to have supported and taken care of my academic life in the same situation; it was almost like something a big sister would do, and I loved seeing Paige fill that role.
Similarly, I enjoyed watching that relationship inform and transform Paige’s perspective on her parents. She finally came around to a conclusion that they may not have made her, but they made her who she is as an individual now, which is the most important thing.
On the Evan and Paige front, the couple is expected to continue to manage their emotions as best they can about the sudden changes in their lives.
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Perception season 1 continues with episode 8, “Kilimanjaro.” “How bad do you want it?” Daniel asks his class. Ambition drives everyone. He wakes Brian up as he ends class and is surprised later when Lewicki says he turned in a good midterm paper. He brings an accusation of plagiarism to Haley, who points to his other good grades and admits that it does partly have to do with him being a good football player. Their conversation is interrupted by news of a murder on campus.
It’s been a series with plenty of promise that I’ve just been waiting to break out of the typical mold. Which is why “Kilimanjaro” was a fantastic new page. It that set the bar far higher than I had expected, providing an engaging episode from the central case to the side plots that surrounded it. This was a solid outing and probably one of the best of the season.
Pierce first encounters DJ (who looks remarkably like a young Adam Brody) on campus and threatens to fail the brilliant student if he doesn’t turn in his term paper now. Turns out that DJ isn’t actually a student, but is the manifestation of Pierce 25 years earlier – before he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Apparently Pierce was “cocky and confident” in his college years – smarter than his teachers, and wanted to be on the cover of Rolling Stone with med school as his back up plan. He wanted to climb Kilimanjaro, and his dreams were pretty much killed with his diagnosis.
Daniel and Lewicki talk to Brian about his paper, and he admits he bought it. He can’t concentrate anymore. Daniel notes a disparity in his pupils, and Brian says he’s been having trouble breathing and headaches. A scan shows he has a subdural hematoma. He’s done with football, meaning the loss of his scholarship, or he risks permanent brain damage. Thanks to TMZ, Kate finds Karl and convinces Irene to let her fly to get him. He claims he didn’t kill Christina. The student brings his paper to Daniel, who says it’s not his work. He wrote it when he was an undergrad. The kid calls Daniel’s life sad and pathetic and tells him his name is DJ—Daniel J. Pierce. He’s Daniel before he forgot how to have a life.
For the final new episode of the year, Futurama went full-on fauna in “Naturama.” Depicting three harrowing tales through the lens of a National Geographic-esque documentary series, we watched as the Planet Express crew lived their sexually-driven lives as various forms of wildlife. All of these vignettes were also narrated by Phil LaMarr, who delivered a Morgan Freeman-inspired performance throughout.
Several times during the first segment of the three-part anthology, the people in the room with me turned to each other and said, “This is weird.” Not in a hostile way, or even a confused way, but in a way that meant that this was different from anything we’d seen before. And if Futurama is meant, as a show, to do one thing, it’s to show us stuff we’ve never seen on other shows.
Salmon Fry meets Salmon Leela and they agree to go back upstream together when they’re mature to make little salmon babies, even despite Salmon Zapp trying to get Leela for himself. Fry and Leela have a mini-montage of romantic undersea dates, including a Lady and the Tramp-type sharing of an underwater worm. But when the time comes to return to the stream they were born in, it turns out Leela was born one stream over from Fry, and they can’t just switch. Even the narrator can’t explain it, which was a welcome change for me from most nature documentaries.
It was around the time that Bender started B.A.R.F. (Bender’s Animal Robot Front) that the story bordered on uninteresting. While it’s usually amusing to watch Bender fixate on new and different passion projects, this one felt a little stale. It just seemed like a needlessly roundabout way of getting them all back to the country club, where they sprang the robot fox free from his cage.
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31st Century Fox
Futurama has a history of great anthology shows that deal out daring stories. Still, the last episode of the season leaps nimbly over that bar and lands with its hands, flippers, and fins triumphantly in the air. Futurama goes absolutely friggin’ nuts over nature documentaries and it’s grim and great.
In “31st Century Fox,” the plot kicks off with the Planet Express staff asking for new uniforms after Mothzilla attacked their closet in Tokyo. Apparently, the Professor promised them new ones a year ago and never delivered on it, so they head to ‘Nvasions ‘N Such Space Uniforms in the Garment District. I know I bring this up a lot in my reviews, but the clever signs are my favorite part of the Futurama humor.
The initial visit to the Garment District provided a few humorous sight gags towards the beginning of the episode, particularly when the Planet Express crew were trying on different uniforms. It seemed like kind of an odd way for Bender to stumble into the fox hunting getup, but I suppose it’s not all that unreasonable for the Futurama ‘verse.
Each segment was made as if it were part of a nature documentary being narrated by Phil LaMarr. It begins with salmon and then continues to the Pinta Island Tortoise and The Elephant Seal, and while clearly best watched (and perhaps written…) while incredibly high, they manage to succeed regardless of what state you’re in. It’s really just three amusing vignettes seemingly made on a lark, and the entire affair seems almost like an idea rather than a full-fledged episode. Still, some of jokes are pretty great and it’s pleasant to see the show go somewhere new, even if it’s not really a direction anyone hoped for. Oddly, the first third of the show is probably the weakest, despite being written by the most veteran of its writers—the other two were written by first-time writers who’d been working as writers’ assistants—and are genuinely pretty great.
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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After last week’s less than stellar episode, White Collar was back to its true, fantastic form with tonight’s episode, “Compromising Positions.” Neal, Peter and the FBI were going up against a talented fixer with a little help from Sara and Mozzie and Neal finally made contact with the mysterious Sam. But can the former cop be trusted?
This episode needed to include a warning: Do Not Drink While Viewing. In the four years White Collar’s been entertaining us, I don’t believe there has been a funnier scene than the one in tonight’s episode, superbly written by Matt Negrete. The entire episode is a perfect blend of serious and hilarious.
The episode started with Sam picking up Neal and asking him a bunch of questions. Neal explained his FBI consultant deal and he assured Sam that he could trust Peter. Sam felt the FBI was somehow responsible for what happened to Ellen since she’d been safe all these years until she landed on the FBI radar.
Sam basically kicked Neal out of the car, but Neal broke off his key in the door so he could use it to trace Sam’s whereabouts. He brought Mozzie in on the plan, but Mozzie warned Neal that Sam might not be trustworthy and he wasn’t sure it was a good idea to keep Peter out of it. But Neal was worried about Peter doing anything off book since he’s still on probation.
When he tells Mozzie, Neal receives interesting advice about keeping Peter informed on the case. Seems like a surprising turn from Mozzie to trust and include Peter, but if you think about it, Peter’s always had Neal’s best interest at heart (as does Moz) and has proved that loyalty over the past years.
Major Crimes starts with the nightmare scene of a large SUV swerving in traffic before crashing into a crowd of people waiting to get into a club. Video footage from bystander’s phones show the driver stumbling out of the car and being beaten by the crowd before a bouncer stops it. Provenza (G. W. Bailey) tells Buzz (Phillip Keane) to stop the video. He asks if the paramedics smelled any alcohol on the driver’s breath, but that seems a no go. There is a handbag in the car, but it’s zipped. Flynn (Tony Denison) suggests that maybe it spilled its contents in the crash, but as three people were killed and nine were injured, Provenza says they should do things by the book and declare détente with Raydor (Mary McDonnell) considering the seriousness of the case.
“Medical Causes” contained one of the most gruesome cases I’ve seen portrayed on television in quite some time. And it was so easy to imagine it happening.
A bunch of happy revelers waiting in line to get into a nightclub were plowed down by an SUV. The crime itself was a bit of a letdown. It was the most cliche of incidents and that was something we weren’t often subjected to before Raydor took over Major Crimes.
Flynn arrives at the hospital with the warrant and the bag and he and Sanchez go through it. They discover the driver is Dr. Leslie Nolan. There are no drugs nor alcohol in the bag. Raydor arrives with Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin) in tow. Rusty is unhappy about being up at 6 in the morning, but no one cares. Raydor and Sanchez go into talk to Leslie.
Along the way, we were given a lot more insight into the new dynamics of Major Crimes. Thankfully, Taylor was absent, thereby making it a rather pleasant experience outside the horror of the crime of the week.
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Well, that certainly lived up to the name “Slaughterhouse”. Returning to the Hell on Wheels camp after being saved from hanging by Durant (Colm Meaney), Cullen (Anson Mount) reluctantly sets out to bring a little more order to the growing community. He even forms an uneasy partnership with Elam (Common), whose murderous actions haven’t affected his pining for Eva (Robin McLeavy). The Swede (Christopher Heyerdahl), still trying to regain power in the camp and still strangely obsessed with Cullen and his crimes, has begun investigating the murder of the line boss Elam killed at the end of last week’s episode. He doesn’t waste time pinning the murder on his old enemies the McGinnes brothers (Ben Esler and Phil Burke) and maintains his creep level as he goes even further off the deep end. Lily (Dominique McElligott) deals with her guilt for her role in the murder, struggling with the decision to tell Durant her part in it, and all the while, Durant is still single-minded in his fight to win the race with Central Pacific Railroad to get his railroad across the Rockies first.
Dieter Schmidt in the bloodiest way possible, which culminated in a sledgehammer vs. meat cleaver fight to the death between the accuser and the accused (“Shut up, you had me at ‘sledgehammer vs. meat cleaver fight to the death’”). The grisly result illustrated how in a society with no overt governing body besides those able to manipulate public opinion—either through wealth or subterfuge—the concept of justice is as ephemeral and personal as a gavel that constantly changes hands only to smash out the brains of anyone deemed guilty along the way.
‘Slaughterhouse’ opens with the Swede seducing the German butcher, Mr. Bauer (Timothy V. Murphy) with the chance for revenge against those who murdered his prostitute-killing friend in ‘Durant, Nebraska.’ Though the Swede likely knows the McGinnes brothers had nothing to do with Mr. Schmidt’s stabbing death, his hatred for all things Irish (and the McGinnes brothers, in particular) is at the forefront of his insidious decision-making process.
Now that Bohannan is back, Durant has put him back in a place of power, placing him to watch over the workers on the railroad. Since Bohannan stole the money the workers were owed, they’re clearly not to keen on this idea. But once Bohannan puts them in their place, it’s time for Durant to do the same to Bohannan. Durant needs the railroad to get to the Rockies soon or all his construction will be for nothing. Once Bohannan can lead the men to this construction, he will be free. But let’s be honest, Bohannan will probably just end up back in Hell on Wheels once again. You’re never quite free of Hell on Wheels.
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