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The Law of Contagion
This week’s episode of Saving Hope, “The Law of Contagion,” centered on a potential outbreak virus spreading through the hospital. A man was brought in off a plane, complaining of symptoms that seemed like appendicitis. But then he died in the operating room and the doctors learned he’d passed through Mumbai where a medical alert had just been issued. Another passenger from the plane got sick as well as the first doctor who treated him at Hope Zion. Both of them also died.
Patient zero was Carlos Garcia, complaining of abdominal pain after returning home from a trip to Mumbai. Alex suspected a ruptured appendix but couldn’t find anything wrong in surgery. Garcia’s vitals crashed on the operating table, leaving Alex unable to explain why she lost him. The answer wasn’t good news. A report came in about an outbreak of coronavirus in Mumbai. You know, like SARS? Fearing the worst, Alex convinced Brian and Dana to shut down the OR.
In the meantime, for the second major story, the hospital is dealing with a very serious issue – a possible contagion brought in by a patient. When a patient presents with serious abdominal pain, then dies on the operating table, no one is sure why. The discovery that he had traveled from a city where an outbreak of a SARS like virus was recently reported makes it clear not only why he died, but also how potentially serious the problem they are facing has become. The problem is that the hospital administrator resists locking down the hospital for fear of bad publicity.
Charlie was really confused, but then it turned out that Charlie had buried the memory of the accident and he’d been there too, in the backseat and he watched them die. It was traumatic and sad, but seriously, what was the point? It sort of woke Charlie up, or at least it made him open his eyes and roll over so when Alex saw that he’d moved she had fresh hope that he was going to wake up. But tuxedo-Charlie just seemed sad.
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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Allosaurus Crush Castle
I find the events in “Allosaurus Crush Castle” to be illogical: Weeds has established enough of a slightly off-kilter version of our world that I take the notion of a pharmaceutical company experimenting with engineered marijuana at face value (and don’t doubt that it might be happening in the industry). Rather, though, I find the episode to be entirely too logical, contorting itself into a situation where Nancy and Silas’ respective roles in the “drug business” can be immediately and perfectly translated into the other drug business seemingly—and, given Nancy’s sleepover deal, literally—overnight.
Later she goes to a soccer match, where once again Stevie is really good, and the dads glare at her. She watches what looks like drug deals. It turns out that they kind of are. Terry (Kevin Sussman) works in Big Pharma. He’s passing out samples of his meds because the dads hate his kid for the exact opposite reason they hate Stevie. His kid is AWFUL. Trips over nothing awful. Nancy realizes that being a pharmaceutical rep would be the perfect fit for her. Terry watches their kids interact and invites his kid over to Nancy’s for a sleepover. It’s been a long time since he and his wife have been able to go on a date because their family has been blackballed by the nannies. If she’ll have him over, he’ll put in a good word for her at work.
But the biggest take away here is that I was wrong, and for a show like ‘Weeds,’ which has become woefully predictable with the cyclical nature of one Nancy Botwin, this is fabulous news. It seemed like ‘Weeds’ would end its final season without much changing for anyone, and it didn’t feel like Jenji Kohan & Co. were treating this final season like a legitimate farewell, but the wheels finally appear to be spinning.
Elsewhere, though, I simply don’t care about Jill or her pregnancy. It opens up Andy a bit, as his job search alone should be worth a few laughs. And his evolution into a responsible father figure seems like the proper final season journey for someone who has served in every capacity on this show except actual father. It’s just Jill. She’s never clicked for me and she’s been shoved down our throats this season.
Somebody That I Used to Know
What makes True Blood one of the best shows on TV is that it features a huge cast of characters all facing vastly unique challenges, but we’ve become so familiar with the ensemble that the jump between stories is never very jarring. Despite this, the beginning of season 5 was marred by having too many characters with uninteresting stories, making each episode feel like more of a chore than an experience. But this is episode eight, and the tables have turned in a huge way by now. Not only are the plots picking up, but everything is rushing towards what is sure to be the most explosive finale the show has ever seen.
Bill was a centerpiece hero character in the first season or two of the show because he was Sookie’s one true love and all of that, and more importantly, got her all involved in the creature world. What we came to find later was that Bill was actually sent as a spy, but then claimed he fell in love with Sookie on the side. He left Lorena’s grasp, took up with Sookie, left Sookie, took up with Eric (not like that), and is now more or less leaving Eric to take up with Salome. He’s a follower without much spine. But the root of it all is, Bill as a character has almost no continuity.
There was a danger of Bill’s character stagnating but the writers are speeding up his so-called “evolution.” The plan to bomb the “True Blood” factories is pretty genius, if decidedly antiquated – there are only five factories in the world that make it? How much supply is there? Come to think of it, what is the actual vampire population figure? Either Bill has turned into an evil mad scientist overnight (or during the day, rather, while he’s asleep) or he’s positioning himself to be the savior of humankind and the ultimate mole.
Over at the wolf pack, Alcide and new hottie Rikki engage in some particularly sexy sex before confronting their V-ed up pack master. There’s a lot of literal growling, and some puffed chest posturing, but nothing particularly jaw dropping happens in the hairy neck of the woods (unless you count Alcide’s chiseled out of marble behind). The Pam/Tara story is definitely more fun to watch, especially with Pam capturing T’s racist high school classmate and glamoring her into becoming an “unpaid food whore.”
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Falling Skies season 2 harnesses its fourth episode of the year “Young Bloods” as Hal and Ben encounter a new group of youths, one of whom has ties to Captain Weaver, while Matt finds himself increasingly drawn to dangerous missions.
This theory is readily apparent in ‘Young Bloods’ – which really should have been titled: ‘How To Be a Good Soldier: 101.’ From the onset, the episode depicts the rebellious nature of young men and women against the pressing and unstoppable force of responsibility and duty. In fact, it’s practically spelled out as two unknown survivors abscond with Hal (Drew Roy) and Ben’s (Connor Jessup) motorbikes while an Army recruitment billboard stands perfectly framed in the background. This sets up a brief, but tense face-off between the Mason boys and what at first appears to be a Dickensian group of orphans with dirty faces proclaiming adults only get them into dangerous situations.
Case in point, Matt has his first mission. It deviates from the original assignment. Tom doesn’t take too kindly to his nine year-old being Skitter-bait. He reams out the dudes responsible for the recklessness and sends them to laundry duty. Matt has a fit for being embarrassed – he wants missions, he wants to grow up (the anti-Peter Pan syndrome).
Now that Jeanne has left her father, the fall out from that will haunt Weaver far more than her being there ever could. Not only will Weaver be devoting time to protecting the Second Mass, but now he’ll also deal with the mental struggle that somewhere in Skitter central is his daughter, whom he’ll never have a status update on. Maybe until it’s too late. A parents worst nightmare, the fear of the unknown.
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A Guesthouse Divided
This episode of Royal Pains, called “A Guesthouse Divided” was all about Divya and I loved that about it. Yes, I know I said I thought that having Hank and Evan apart for a while could be one of the best things that could happen to this show and I still believe that. It’s just now I have yet another reason to add to the list – Divya.
For those of you who read my reviews last season, you’ll know that it’s something I complained about. I thought she deserved more. Here’s hoping that actress Jill Flint finds something worthwhile. Despite the fact that I had a feeling that Jill would be written off, I was a little sad to actually see her go off to Africa. The way that they wrapped up her storyline was very nice, but it was still bittersweet — especially when you consider that she left Hank without a goodbye. If you ask me, he may have benefited from getting a final hug from her … because he damn sure wasn’t on the receiving end of any kind of love or brotherly affection from Evan.
Speaking of family, it seems Divya, realizing she is no match for sibling rivalry, has enlisted the services of one Eddie R. Lawson, who may be just what the doctor ordered to cure this chronic illness. Henry Winkler likely returns for an extended Hamptons stay next week, and all Royal Pains fans are wondering what he could do any different to secure a cease fire.
Tonight we saw her still working in the background and still helping both of the brothers. Except she isn’t just working with both Hank and Evan to keep them happy; she’s trying to sabotage them so they have to work together. It’s a great plan and I thought it was genius of her to come up with the idea, especially when she got Paige’s blessing, too. I really liked seeing them bond together like that.
Bunheads is the latest show from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. The show premiered last week, so let’s quickly recap the pilot: Broadway veteran Sutton Foster plays Michelle Simms, a thirtysomething Vegas showgirl and former ballerina with aspirations deferred by the difficulty an older dancer faces in getting work on the legitimate stage. She sleeps during the day, and she drinks at night after shows, while putting off the advances of the kind, unrelentingly sweet Hubbell Flowers, a middle-aged paramour with a long-standing crush on Michelle. After a disastrous audition, Michelle despairs of her dead-end life, goes out to dinner with Hubbell, gets rip-roaringly drunk, and marries him in a quickie ceremony.
She moves with him to his idyllic, coastal small town called Paradise (which, if you’ve ever seen Gilmore Girls, is basically Stars Hollow with an ocean view) where she gets acquainted with a varied cast of quirky archetypes: Hubbell’s mother, an overbearing ballet instructor named Fanny (played by Kelly “Emily Gilmore” Bishop); she also must contend with Hubbell’s eccentric, jealous ex-girlfriend, Truly, a master seamstress who owns the local boutique and is equal parts quirky and passive-aggressive. Also among the townsfolk are four of Fanny’s students at the Paradise Dance Academy, with whom Michelle has an impromptu bonding session: stuck-up clique-leader Sasha, ditsy Melanie, image-conscious Ginny, and shy, oddball Boo.
We pick up immediately where we left off, which is somewhat surprising since death is a hard thing to tackle on a family-oriented prime-time show. But via song, symbolism and a sleepless-night montage, we’re gonna go ahead and tackle this tragedy head-on. On the night that Hubbell gets into his car accident, Michelle pines for her poor dead hubby as if they’ve been married more than a day, looking at extremely recent wedding photos and going through his possessions. She watches the sun come up on a new day – see, symbolism? And here’s a new title sequence promising to hustle us through the death drama and back into the blistering fun of tween ballerina angst.
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USA’s Suits returned tonight with a game-changing premiere called “She Knows.” Whereas season one is a two man show that often feels like a procedural, it’s clear immediately that season two is a serial with a much more dynamic plot. More twists are packed into this episode than one would expect, and some really cool new stories are set up.
Suits begins its second season with a dinner date — Jessica Pearson has invited Mike out for an evening at a high-end restaurant. Although Mike initially sees this as a bad sign (thus the “she knows” of the episode title), Harvey assures his protege that this is actually an honor. All of the most successful Pearson Hardman partners got the same treatment as first years.
Remember the anchor/worst-best-friend Trevor? The cliffhanger of Season One: did he reveal Mike’s fraud to Jessica? Yeah, that A-hole tattled like a sixth grader. He also told Jenny about Mike’s kiss with Rachel – leading Jenny to breakup with Mike.
You didn’t think one pleasant dinner would be enough to satisfy the formidable Jessica Pearson, did you? Harvey being Harvey, he knows something is wrong the minute Jessica walks in the office. And he’s right — Jessica didn’t stop checking out Mike at Harvard (where he has all sorts of fake credentials), she kept going back to college. Mike doesn’t have a college degree from anywhere in the known universe, so Jessica knows he is, in her words, “full of shit.” The kid has to go.
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Leave Me Alone
Hey girls, here’s the recap on Girls, S01E09, ‘Leave Me Alone.’ It goes without saying, but don’t read if you haven’t seen it already, spoilers galore below.
Well, it seems that Hannah and Marnie had been feeling resentful towards each other for awhile. All it took to get the fight moving was a trigger. The trigger in this case was an old nemesis of Hannah’s named Tally Schifrin. Tally’s the kind of girl who is all about the success and not afraid to rub it in your face. Obviously this is not someone who would mesh well with Hannah. Especially because Tally has the one kind of success that Hannah really wants: recognition for her writing. Enter guest star Michael Imperioli, known to many as Christopher Moltisanti from The Sopranos. I love when HBO keeps it in the family! As Hannah’s former writing professor and crush, she was thrilled when Imperioli agreed Tally was a crappy writer and invited Hannah to read a piece at a workshop. I would’ve liked to hear her piece on the hoarder.
This felt like a “plot” episode, one that moved the story along but lacked the thematic unity of Girls at its best. (And it was once again directed by Richard Shepard. Do we blame him, or do the producers just like giving Shepard these episodes to deal with?) Still, friendships in one’s early 20s are genuinely vulnerable—as Girls keeps reminding us (a bit heavy-handedly at times, as in that scene between Jessa and her ex-employer), most of us at that age are still figuring out who we are.
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Before I get in the bulk of this week’s recap of The Killing, there was a sequence tonight that really bothered me insofar as it might be the silliest, most divorced-from-reality thing that this show has ever done. And that’s saying a lot. As Day 24 of the investigation into Rosie Larsen’s murder begins, the latest daily poll regarding the Seattle Mayoral Election reveals that Richmond got a bump in his numbers, and many on his staff gives credit to the YouTube video of him playing basketball. Jaime is so ecstatic that he says, “If 2% of the people who saw that video online show up at the polls, that’s your deficit right there.”
“Bulldog” is such a mess that the only semblance of control comes from the obvious manipulation of every plot point. Adams gives Richmond until 9 p.m. to resign from the race, as if that were a feasible ultimatum—it would scream bribery or blackmail to a slobbering Seattle press, and it would come after working hours and during trick-or-treat time—and not instead timed to coincide with the climax of an episode structured after the day. The tiresome mobster story is back, making this at least the seventh iteration of the “Once I’m Out” trope in this series alone, and it’s so bizarrely timed that Janek’s clearly just here to complicate the final arc further and to wrap up loose ends so that it all Means Something.
This means that for all intents and purposes, we know nothing about most of the major players on the show, outside of typical ‘evil’ personas. The Mayor sneers, Gwen’s father doesn’t care about child rape (or lack thereof? little confused there), and Gwen and Jamie seem to change their loyalties on a weekly basis. Even the characters that are given motivation – the prettyboy Russian who offs Yanek, the only mob boss who travels by himself – are treated like badly written soap opera characters, who yell out things like “This is for my dad!” before committing murders and such.
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