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Well, it wouldn’t be the second half of a Supernatural season if the entire story hadn’t devolved into a big giant angst-fest. You know, more so than the show’s usual angst-fest. Sam is probably dying. Again. Castiel is being weird and evasive. Again. And once again, Dean is stuck in the middle, wondering why he doesn’t get nice things. Welcome to the homestretch, ya’ll!
More on my bitter tears later. Fresh off of a trippy adventure in his own personal “Mystery Spot” Castiel caught up with the Brothers Winchester when they invaded his turf in search of whatever was randomly killing demons in a small town. That “something” turned out to be Castiel himself, so I guess in actuality they all caught up to each other. How quaint!
From the jump, Dean and Sam suspected that there was something off with Castiel, which leaves Dean 2 for 2 with the knowing-his-family-members-are-lying-about-stuff record. Earlier, he spotted Sam’s bloody tissues in the trash bin back at the Batcave and between Sam’s supernatural black lung and the really great job the makeup people are doing making Jared Padalecki look like he’s perpetually fighting off the flu, it wasn’t hard to figure out that Sam isn’t as fine as he claims– but really, is he ever? Cas further elaborated on Moose’s condition by claiming that Sam was “damaged in ways he can’t heal” and implying that it was electromagnetic (!?) in nature.
Thanks for your insight, Cas. I guess. But brownie points to the Supernatural crew for making an effort to at least show a gradual progression toward…whatever we’re working toward. I’d rather have details dangled in the dialogue and Sam discretely hacking up a lung than the usual modus operandi of ignoring everything until it suddenly becomes relevant again. It makes me think that this story is being thought out and planned, as opposed to slapped together over hellatus. I like it. It makes up for the blah cases of the week that preceded this wangsty adventure and the general clusterfuck of the first half of the season. Amelia even kind of sort of made sense once Meg compared her to a unicorn during her and Sammich’s little heart-to-heart.
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A toad-eating defense lawyer has Rosalee (Bree Turner) and her fellow jurors wrapped around his finger and Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) is bombarded with visions of Nick in this week’s episode of “Grimm.”
We’ve seen wesen pull some nasty tricks, but a Ziegevolk lawyer who can hypnotize witnesses and a jury into saying and believing whatever he wants is a new one. When Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) accompanies Rosalee to court, he gets a front row seat to the wesen litigator’s mind-bending performance. Realizing a guilty man is about to walk free, Monroe alerts Nick and Hank, who quickly realize the lawyer’s using more than his legal expertise to win the case.
In the meantime, Juliette continues to have visions of Nick she can’t quite make sense of. Nick (David Giuntoli) convinces Monroe to take her to the trailer where she marvels at Aunt Marie’s curious collection of old “fairy tale” books, strange potions and medieval weapons.
What’s confusing about this storyline is that Juliette knows she was put under some sort of spell, which caused her to lose her memory and become uncontrollably attracted to Captain Renard. Nick doesn’t want to explain why he has a morning star and a bottle of Siegbarste Gift in the trailer even though he has Monroe bring Juliette there. Has it occurred to him that if he came clean to Juliette earlier on, maybe none of this would have happened?
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It appears that Kevin is plagued by Crowley. He hears him in his head and in his dreams. His dreams are full of torture Crowley dishes out and the pressure of getting the tablets translated is really getting to the young man. When Dean and Sam show up he is carrying around a big metal frying pan and is in a real foul mood. They learn that he hasn’t heard from Garth, but he has translated the next trial, which is to rescue a soul from hell and send it to heaven.
In order to figure out how one can sneak into hell the boys summon and capture a Crossroads Demon, who Dean is disappointed that it isn’t a hot chick, and questions him. Finally he gives in and tells them that there are some Reapers that are smuggling people into hell as well as heaven, for a price. Before the boys put the demon out of its misery they learn everything they need to know about getting into hell.
They approach a reaper, who is playing that part of a Taxi Driver, they propose their need to get into hell and when the Reaper tells them he is the same Reaper that took Bobby Singer to hell Dean is hell-bent on getting his soul and sending it to heaven. The boys have a small discussion when Dean wants to go with Sam and Sam has to remind Dean that he has to do the trials alone and he will get Bobby back. The Reaper tells Dean to return for Sam in 24 hours and then leads Sam into an alleyway and instructs him to take his hand. As he does Sam mutters how creepy it all is.
The alley starts to twist and move and Sam starts to get nervous, but all of a sudden they appear in a grey forest. Sam asks RJ if they were in hell and RJ tells him that they are in purgatory. Sam begins to get upset saying that he paid to get to hell and RJ tells him to calm down and gives him directions to the backdoor (a portal) to hell but tells him to be back in the same spot in exactly 24 hours. Meanwhile Dean returns to the location where Kevin is hiding out. Kevin emerges from the closet, convinced that Crowley is in his head, spouting that it is the safest place to be. Dean gives the boy a lecture about how he has to suck it up and just keep going, but Kevin isn’t convinced and scurries back to his room with Dean’s pie in tow.
This season of The Vampire Diaries is teaching me an interesting lesson: Sometimes there are arcs that you can appreciate from a storytelling perspective, but if they make you not like the central character of a show — the one everyone is fighting to save and you’ve always related to — you may not enjoy those arcs, however clever, as much as you thought you would as a viewer. It happened with Elena’s sire bond to Damon, which, when you think about it, is a great way to complicate that love triangle — Elena can leave Stefan for Damon, but it’s not entirely her own doing, so the Stelena fans can’t hate her.
The Delena fans get what they want, but they still have something to root for because the question remains whether she would ever have allowed herself to act on her feelings to that degree without the sire bond. I can see how poetic it is: Stefan used to let Elena make her own calls, while Damon always assumed he knew what was best for her. The rub: Knowing she was being manipulated took some of the enjoyment out of watching her have sex with Damon and made her seem weak.
The sire bond has grown on me because it both divided the Salvatore brothers and forced them to work together, and it gave Damon the power to have Elena turn off her humanity (which we know she definitely wouldn’t have done on her own). Those plot points have produced some of the season’s best moments. But now, the flipping of Elena’s switch comes with its own poetic twist: You want Elena to get her free will back and own being a vampire in a way that didn’t involve a cheesy motorcycle shot? You got it, but now she’ll do whatever she damn well pleases — and that includes trying to kill Caroline.
You can see what it’s all building to: Now Elena doesn’t care how bad Damon is, so he’ll have to decide if he does like her best this way. (I think not: He wants to know she really loves him, and “I don’t care how bad you are” is different from “I accept you for who you are.”) Moments like Elena letting Caroline fall during the cheerleading stunt and trying to stake Caroline in the woods are cool, but it’s tough to watch our Elena being a Mean Girl. Bottom line: No Humanity Elena may just want to have fun, but really, the stuff she’s doing is serious. I should be sitting right next to Caroline when Stefan says we have to remember this isn’t the real Elena and we can’t give up on her. (Or maybe I need to stop thinking about the old Elena entirely so I can enjoy the new one properly?)
This episode was a miscalculation on a number of levels, and just because we can understand why all the parties involved made the mistakes that led to this singularly inessential episode doesn’t make what ended up onscreen any easier to take. First off, it’s understandable why NBC would want to spin off The Office. The network is desperate for a hit, and losing one of its few reliable ratings-getters can’t be easy. Even though there are far more Joeys out there than Frasiers, the prospect of keeping some recognizable faces on the network after May was probably too much to resist.
In all fairness, spinning off a character from The Office isn’t all that bad of an idea, but that character should not have been Dwight. Please excuse the armchair network executive work here, but if Paul Lieberstein and company had taken a somewhat normal character like Darryl or Erin (remember, I said somewhat normal) and surrounded them with some appropriately contrasting foils and gone about telling the story of how adults deal with moving on to new stages in their life, that might have had some potential. But even though Rainn Wilson is one of the show’s most high-profile actors (admittedly much more so than Craig Robinson or Ellie Kemper), spinning off Dwight was never going to work. A deliberately heightened character designed to frustrate and contrast with the main protagonist cannot, by definition, serve easily as the center of their own show, and any attempt to build a cast of characters around the former second banana is doomed to come off as strained, no matter how good the writing or casting.
The old-world, strict adherence to arcane custom aspect of Dwight’s personally has always, always been best consumed in small doses. A bit of it can result in a joke that no other character on television could deliver. Too much, though, and the entire scene becomes far too precious and knowingly weird for a show that’s supposed to be about the drudgery of everyday life. (That said, I did love the Dwight Christmas episode, because I am not legally required to be consistent with my opinions 100 percent of the time.)
The Dwight spinoff was doomed from the start, and it’s no surprise that NBC passed. (Network executives said that the series would have been too niche, which is a nice way of phrasing it.) It would have been best if the pilot had been buried, or perhaps just saved as a DVD extra, and all parties involved got back to focusing on what’s been an overall strong season of The Office. But NBC has been having, uh, problems lately, and someone somewhere must have decided that they wanted some kind of return on the investment of writing, casting, and directing a pilot episode for a spinoff season, which is how we ended up with “The Farm.”
While I’m not shocked by Spencer’s reaction and eventual catatonia given the events of “Out of Sight, Out of Mind,” I am a little disappointed by the promise we saw in Spencer earlier this season getting delayed by the last couple of episodes. We saw a manipulative, nasty side of her that I was hoping would chase down all the members of the A Team and at least level the playing field slightly. But she’s been struggling too hard with her sad-sackness to realize that potential.
There were some glimmers. Standing up to Mona reminded me that she could still have some spark in her and chasing Mona through the woods with the fire of a thousand suns showed me what could be. But, when she received that wreath and decoded it to mean “EM,” you could tell that she still had too much to lose to realize her inner anti-hero. If you have to plead with impressionable, gullible Emily, you’re definitely in a weak position. Certainly too weak and distracted to realize that the EM on the banner wasn’t for Emily but for “ME”-Toby.
Now is Toby really dead? I’m going to have to refer to soap opera rules: If you don’t see a body, s/he’s still alive. That’s how I feel about Alison and that’s how I feel about Toby. Spencer saw a tattoo, a substance that she may imagine to be blood, and a motorcycle helmet covering up a face. No independent coroner to confirm, no dice. No one checked for vital signs or even looked at the face of whoever was under the blanket. I call shenangians.
Nevertheless, it was enough to get Spencer locked up at Arkham Asylum, where she can get in touch with the madwomen festering inside her, begging to get out. Heck, even the play to get into Radley might have been part of a master plan to seek vengeance against the people who took Toby away from her. Find E. Lamb and you may find a missing puzzle piece.
After being preempted last week by the premiere for Survivor: Caramoan, Criminal Minds returned tonight with “Broken”. Directed by Larry Teng, the same guy that gave us the really creepy episode “God Complex” earlier this season, tonight’s episode was equally disturbing and well done.
Jeanne Tripplehorn’s character has been woefully underdeveloped this season, but this episode did give us a little bit of a peek into her day job. Not unlike the original Criminal Minds lead Jason Gideon (Played by the great Mandy Patinkin), Blake appears to be a teacher at a university in her spare time. However she’s quickly called away from her class to assist on the case! This is just like the very first episode of Criminal Minds!
The team makes their way to Austin, Texas to check out an Unsub who’s been killing young men and women after social gatherings. It was really cool how they figured out the code with the watches, and I loved all of the creepy flashbacks to the Unsubs father and Isabella Grant, but then that’s where the episode got a bit too preachy and heavy handed for me.
At first I was impressed how well they were handling this hot-button issue. The conflict that the Unsub was facing was an interesting one to discuss and explore, and his relationship with Mitch was also very effective, but I really thought that the whole “Reorientation Camp” was a bit too far.
Claire’s college reunion is coming up, and she doesn’t really want Phil to come with her. Luckily for her, Phil has a bowling tournament with Jay and his friends and can’t make it. At the reunion, Claire reconnects with an old classmate she used call ‘Tater’ (guest star David Faustino) and an old professor she used to date.
When Phil gets kicked off the bowling team, he decides to surprise Claire at the reunion. They end up going for drinks at her professor’s house, and a small part of Claire can’t help wondering how her life would have turned out if she had stayed with Professor Cooke (guest star Maxwell Caulfield). But when his depressed, unbalanced wife shows up, Claire remembers how lucky she is to have Phil.
Meanwhile, Mitch and Cameron are getting ready to host an Oscar party. Cameron wants to take pictures of Lily dressed up as different Hollywood starlets, but six hours into the photo shoot, she gets cranky, and they decide to replace her with baby Joe. Lily ‘helps’ by gluing Joe’s headdress to his hair, and Cam and Mitch have to find a way to fix it before Gloria finds out. Their Oscar party goes well—a little too well, maybe, because they wake up and discover that they somehow promised Dylan, Haley’s delinquent on-and-off boyfriend, that he could move in with them.
The series Modern Family reminds me most of in this regard is The Cosby Show. Like that earlier show, Modern Family had a surprisingly big breakout season, for which it won the Emmy and critical plaudits for being groundbreaking in depicting a minority group as just another part of the big, American tapestry. After that, it declined slightly and went through some bumpy times, before settling onto a rough plateau where it more or less sat for several seasons. Modern Family very rarely produces A or A- episodes anymore, but this season in particular, it rarely produces episodes that fall beneath a B- either. It knows exactly what it does well, and it performs at that level almost ruthlessly. Just as Cosby had its go-to jokes-and always left a little time for Bill to riff-so, too, does Modern Family have its stable of gags-and it always leaves time for Ty Burrell to perform some pratfalls. Modern Family gets shit all the time for playing it safe, but I think it’s important to note just how hard it is to create a show that plays it safe but is still mostly satisfying. Hell, this show had a lot of trouble with just that in its third season, but its fourth season has been an improvement in most ways.
What kind of romance are you looking for-an affair that sparks furiously but goes up in flames, a slow-burning courtship that ages gracefully, or perhaps something in between and undefined? That question is in the atmosphere throughout tonight’s episode. “Shoot the Moon” is a mostly solid, character-driven chapter that largely suspends the hunt for Ellen’s evidence box and instead gives Elizabeth a chance to shine, offers fans the return (and seeming departure) of Sara, and lovingly photographs its primary architectural set piece, Queens’ oft-overshadowed New York Hall of Science.
The only real sour ingredients are Bonnie and Clyde wannabes Oz (Twilight vet Jackson Rathbone) and Penny (relative newcomer Jessica McNamee), who forged their star-crossed bond while Oz was in prison and she swooned over his profile in Mugshot Monthly magazine (seriously). After helping her tough-talking bad boy-Oz speaks with a confusing Boston-meets-Staten Island dialect and is prone to threats like “You wanna eat a bullet?”-bust out of the joint, they set off to rob items that complete the metaphors of his prison poetry.
First, Marilyn Monroe’s engagement ring from Joe DiMaggio. Next up: a bottle of Marie Antoinette’s perfume that Sara happens to be securing for its exhibitor (whoopsie). And the coup de grace? An actual chunk of moon rock on display at the Queens Hall of Science. All this would be far more exciting or inspiring if Oz and Penny oozed the actual danger and sex appeal of Bonnie and Clyde. Rather, they’re more akin to reckless self-saboteurs Walter and Phyllis in Double Indemnity-and just as comically doomed.
The story’s neatest trick is bringing three couples-Neal and Sara (who, we learn, are now friends with benefits), Peter and Elizabeth, Oz and Penny-together under its auspices. After making away with the perfume under Sara and Neal’s nose, the slightly bumbling duo commit the tragic error of carjacking and kidnapping Peter and Elizabeth, who were headed from Sara’s exhibit to a cozy getaway in Vermont.
In tonight’s episode of Castle Season 5, our favorite crime-fighting duo took on a more global threat than typically found on the streets of New York. Castle and Beckett investigated a murder connected to terrorist activity, but things got personal when one of their own got involved….
As Rick is trying to give Alexis her space at Columbia University, she’s kidnapped in part of a major terrorist plot. Naturally, the instant Castle lets down his guard down in regards to his redheaded offspring, Lexi gets in the worst trouble of her life.
It all started with 24-year-old “student” Hasim Farouk who was murdered when hit with a van containing Sara El-Masri. It turns out, Hasim was Sara’s body guard, hired by her parents to watch her.
Meanwhile, Castle’s trying to relate to Sara’s grieving parents, but there’s no need to try. Upon further investigation, they discover that Alexis and Sara attended a science event together and our favorite freshman was kidnapped with her study buddy.
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