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Bad Moon Rising
Comfort is not something in vast supply in the Grimm-verse. As much as it seems like every character has been looking to find some semblance of peace in a world that continues to crumble around them without their knowledge, nobody has yet to find the equilibrium they so desperately desire. Through issues of identity, sanity, memory, and family, the residents of Portland have slowly been confronting their personal demons, looking them dead in the eye and daring them to make a move. In “Bad Moon Rising”, an episode where every subplot found a character trying to get back to their idea of “home”, there was indeed some movement in that area.
There was something inherently exciting about Season 1’s logo and discordant instrumental theme, cluing you in to the fact that there was more to meet the eye in the forested, fantasy-land that is Grimm’s Portland. With the new sequence’s horribly hyped-up narration and Photoshop-filter fun, I can only hope that the show’s title-sequence people saw a Wesen and temporarily lost their minds, and will return to the original opening posthaste.
Face-to-face with a Coyotl pack (think red-neck coyote people), Hank chose to believe in what he was seeing and successfully fought them off. And when the baddies were in custody, Nick finally explained his heritage as a Grimm to Hank. Nick was afraid that Hank was overwhelmed and angry over what had happened, to which Hank replied, “Today’s been one of the better days of my life. I might be crazy, but now I know I’m not alone.”
Monroe schools Nick and explains that coytls introduce the female to the pack through their fertility ceremony which is done on the full moon after the woman’s 17th year. Now that Nick knows where to look, he and Hank set out with Jarold in tow to visit Hayden, Carly’s uncle.
Hank had been suffering psychologically after his various run-ins with Wesen, so finding out that he’s not crazy, he just has really weird friends came as some relief. Will Hank’s complicity make things easier for our Grimm on the force, or trickier? Either way, it was a pleasing bit of forward motion for the show, especially considering the three point turn they’ve performed with Juliette.
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.
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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.
I love White Collar. I think each season gets better and better. Season 4 has been practically flawless…until now. Tonight’s episode, “Identity Crisis” was clearly a filler episode, a standalone that did nothing to further the story other than to say that Neal might have found a way to communicate with Ellen’s friend Sam through some mysterious email address.
There is so much to love about this episode. Yes, it plays fast and loose with the historical Culper spy network, Washington, and the battle flags of the Revolution. (I blame that famous but crazily inaccurate picture of Washington crossing the Delaware, which we see in the background at one point.) But who cares? All is forgiven, thanks to the brilliant dialogue, the unbroken bromance, and a puppet show that will leave you teary-eyed.
Before we get to main storyline, Neal tells Peter that he didn’t find much about Ellen’s murderer or Sam on the thumb drive, but did find someone tracking/checking an email account. Is it Sam? We’ll have to wait and see until next week.
After some initial digging, it’s discovered that Robert Townsend was part of the Culper Spy ring which was created by George Washington. Neal gathers information out of a book written by a professor who wound up losing a lot over his theories including his tenure. They figure out that the flag in question is priceless, it is the very one that Washington carried across the Delaware and gave to the Culpers; it is definitely worth killing over.
Before and After
The first hour of Major Crimes, writer-producer James Duff’s part sequel, part spinoff from his long-running — if largely underappreciated — police interrogation series The Closer, is a case study in how to reinvent a popular program, even when the star is no longer in the picture. As longtime followers of The Closer know, that series ended last week with Kyra Sedgwick’s deputy Los Angeles police chief Brenda Leigh Johnson walking out the door following a long line of messy, highly politicized — and public — scandals and class-action lawsuits levelled against the department.
Provenza is running the investigation and tasks Sykes with notifying the family to get him out of his hair. He’s not a big fan of Sykes, and it must be said that she’s no Daniels, the other woman on the squad back when it was still The Closer.
It was what happened during that conversation – the condescending, pejorative and misogynistic attitude Taylor used with Sharon – that really ruffled my feathers. He had the nerve to talk to her about being pleased she was even given the chance, considering she was past the recommended age of retirement.
New squad member, Detective Amy Sykes, is a little too enthusiastic as she identifies the murder weapon as a kettle ball and natters on about exercise equipment. Provenza tries to get her away from the scene by telling her to go notify the family. Soon after the victim’s wife comes into the room screaming. Apparently Sykes didn’t go to her home to tell her but told her while the wife was on her way into the gym.
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Viva La Mexico
It’s not hard to like the idea of AMC’s western series, Hell on Wheels. The show has a lot going for it: unrepentant, lone wolf in search of those who killed his wife and child, set against the magnificent backdrop of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, where freed slaves, immigrant workers and former Confederate soldiers all convene. It is the kind of milieu fans of multiple genres can find a heaping helping of what they’re looking for. The trouble is, during season 1, the series often came across unsure about just what it wanted to serve.
Two black-clad men at a grave, seen from a ground-level angle. Hell on Wheels is most remarkable for its imagery. In Viva la Mexico, the Season 2 premiere, those images are most striking from the point of view of the observer.
The best news about this episode, particularly for those wary of giving Hell On Wheels another chance, is probably how much ground it puts between the end of the first season—which, while I certainly didn’t hate it, never really rose above the level of C-grade television—and where our characters are now. To be sure, the fallout of last season still affects the characters, but the ensuing time (I’d guess two or three months, but I don’t think it’s stated explicitly) has forced everyone to start moving on. Bohannon briefly returned to Meridian and fell in with a bunch of hotheaded bandits, and he’s now hoping for a new life in the Confederate colonies in Mexico. Elam is firmly ensconced in Durant’s inner circle, as is Lily, although exactly where Durant and Lily stand is left a bit uncertain here.
Ruth (Kasha Kropinski) visits Sean and tells him that the church can not pay its rent because her father, Reverend Cole (Tom Noonan) is too ill to preach. Sean tries to imply his romantic interest in Ruth, but she quickly shoots him down. Later, Nell (April Telek) discovers that one of her prostitutes has been brutally murdered. The residents of Hell on Wheels watch in stunned silence as The Swede removes her body. But Sean and Mickey take the tragedy as an opportunity as well. Durant tells Lily about the murdered woman and she insists that the killer be found and punished. But she is taken aback by Durant’s attitude that the woman was worth less than a horse.
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Separation anxiety – it’s not just for kindergartners anymore. The death of Nate Westen has proven that it’s actually possible to make Michael Westen afraid. That new-found fear of loss was on full display on this week’s episode of Burn Notice, titled “Unchained.”
Michael tries to change the way the team works and goes back to basics. Him and Fi take on the Robby and Donna cover, where Michael allows himself to be arrested by the FBI to get close to the Boston mob. Sam helps behind the scenes via the tracker embedded in Michael’s belt buckle. As for Jesse, he and Pearce play blackmailers to get info about a weapons sale.
We have yet to see Maddie since the funeral, which means we still have depressed, angry, bitter, grieving Mamma Westen to contend with. Oh, goody. I’m actually kind of terrified of Maddie at this point and what she’s going to do. I am dreading the inevitable confrontation between her and Michael. The poor woman had a crappy marriage, her boyfriend turned out to be a rat and was murdered last season and now her son is gunned down because he followed his brother into the breach and tried to do the right thing. Understandable if she throws a little blame Michael’s way. I just don’t want to see it.
Nate’s death is having its own affect on Michael. He’s over-protective of Fiona and doesn’t want her help anymore. He’s so terrified of something else happening to another of his loved ones that he’s in danger of pushing away the people he needs most. And seriously, Fiona could kill us all before her egg-white only Spanish omelet breakfast. She’s not a bumbling screw-up who shouldn’t be anywhere near an investigation in the first place; she’ll be fine.
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With “Pretty Little Liars” season three winding down for the summer, the July 31st episode “Stolen Kisses” was more set-up of big things to come for the four friends. Even so, there were some heart-racing moments, and some interesting developments when it came to some old and new relationships.
As Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily attempt to crack the password to Maya’s website, the debate is still up on whether Mona is on the Liars’ side or not. Hanna continues to freak out over the possibility of her blood being on the evidence, but Spencer assures her that her attorney mom is on the case.
After all, Diane has a lot of qualities that are reminders of A. For one, she knows the answers to all the questions she asks Aria about her relationship with Ezra as well as the Montgomery family. Aria might run away from her and the museum benefit when Diane offers her some “real-world compensations,” but it’s more to do with the idea that Diane implanted in her mind. What if Aria destroyed Ezra’s life? After all, he lost both his jobs because of her. The one question that lingers in her mind isn’t too far-fetched: “Am I destroying everything I touch?”
Toby (Keegan Allen) made a brief appearance this week. He basically just stormed into Spencer’s palace to bitch and moan about Spencer’s newfound love for half-brother Jason. Spencer covered for Jason’s hit and run last week. Toby covered for Spencer by lying to the cops. Jason skipped out of state to pay to fix his bumper in cash. More importantly, Toby is ready to start digging for clues as to who’s still hounding Spencer and the gals via text.
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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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When a network spends a week hyping something as a hugely important episode, expectations are naturally raised. USA has promoted “Shock Wave” quite a bit since last week, but that’s perfectly all right, because the installment is worthy of the attention.
In “Shock Wave” most of the central characters split up for various reasons. And each is put in their own brand of peril. Michael has a solid lead on Anson and takes Jesse and Nate with him on the case. Sam is nixed by the CIA for the mission and ends up looking after Maddie. In prison, Fi is threatened by a nasty MI6 agent who wants her to take the fall for the consulate bombing. And Maddie, well she’s home smoking a pack of cigarettes and being vulnerable. In the end, it’s Nate who bows out this episode. After apprehending Anson, both men are shot by an unseen gunman and die on the scene. What follows are the most heart-wrenching moments of Burn Notice ever.
Fiona meets Arthur Meyers, who is a stereotypical MI6 agent that expects her to confess to the consulate bombing or he’ll leak that she’s in British custody and bad things will happen to innocent people. This leads her to look for a way to quickly disappear, even if it means hiding in the walls like Bob from Bob’s Burgers. Once Meyers has given up, Fiona lets her prison confidante confess her whereabouts, in exchange for helping to hide her in the first place. She’s finally free at episode’s end, which means the show is back to its usual working order.
I did worry about Sam a few times, as he was probably in mortal danger for the longest amount of time. But then I realized there is no way they’d ever get rid of Sam. Still, I found this episode extremely nerve-wracking, waiting for the inevitable. And boy did they make us wait. Right until the bitter end.