Posts tagged review
The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe
Yet while fans have had their fair share of yuletide yarns, there have been none that felt quite so classically, indulgently, infectiously Christmassy as ‘The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe‘.
The Christmas specials have been a very mixed bag, and for the most part (last year’s strong “Christmas Carol” homage excepted), the best ones have tended to be heavily-steeped in the series’ ongoing storylines. “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” had very little to do with continuity, and the only scene that I expect I’m going to remember was the coda with the Doctor visiting Amy and Rory for Christmas dinner.
The episode opens with the Doctor on an intergalactic space ship that is exploding around him. He tries to get ahead of the explosions but is unsuccessful and finds himself hanging on to the edge of part of the ship that is already blown up. Another explosion occurs and the Doctor finds himself hurling through space reaching for a space suit that happens to fall along with him. The Doctor is able to grab the falling space suite as they head to Earth below them.
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This Is the Way the World Ends
Dexter season 6 returns to reveal its twelfth, and final entry with this week’s shockingly revelatory season finale “This is the Way the World Ends” as our favorite serial killer faces his final confrontation with Travis Marshall after last week’s explosive “Talk to the Hand,” and Deb stumbles upon a shocking truth about her brother. “This is the Way the World Ends” sure had a lot on its plate to address for one episode, but optimism for the next few seasons don’t quite quell the issues that season 6 created.
Disgusting love spell broken. Hopefully. So we can all rest easy now. Unless we’re Debra, of course. We’re going to have to wait until next year but, man, I can’t even imagine how Deb will take this. Especially since she spends most of her life crying and tearing up at everything. I’m actually glad Laguerta addressed Deb’s crying in this episode because it had gotten way out of hand. Last episode, Deb teared up when she realized Laguerta betrayed Matthews.
This time, the discovered drawing indicates somehow that Travis will kill his next victim on the top of a tall building, so Deb scrambles all of her available officers to Miami’s skyscrapers to await Travis, who is planning to strike during a solar eclipse. In an attempt to create some stakes, the writers contrive a way for little Harrison to be Travis’ chosen sacrifice, which didn’t work because it required the writing to yank the characters every which way to pull it off, and because it didn’t succeed at raising the stakes.
After six seasons of inching Deb closer and closer to the truth about her brother, the show finally puts her at the point of truth, just as Dexter has stabbed Travis. What this means for Dexter, Deb and Miami Metro is absolutely anyone’s guess, but it’s certainly the best scene the show has had since Rita’s death. Michael C. Hall really does some of his best work here, even though I’m not sure how I feel about the last words of the season being “Oh God”. It comes off as just another completely unsubtle way the show has thrown in religion, and that doesn’t sit quite well with me.
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Time Machine / Massage
“Time Machine” the first half of tonight’s second double-bill installment, has the overall strongest premise going for it. Mr. Van Driessen takes the class on a field trip to Prairie Falls, an authentic recreation of a 19th century homestead, where he entices his students that they may cross paths with his “great, great grandpappy,” Tobias Van Driessen. Oy.
Sometimes, the boys’ well-meaning but passé hippie teacher just begs to be debased. Still, you feel bad that Beavis and Butt-Head bungle his plan to score with a hot olden times re-enactor. (They’re convinced that they’re really in the past and, Back to the Future-style, they can ensure Van Driessen is never born to educate and bore them if his great-grandfather doesn’t get laid.) Then again, when Van Driessen recollects a past encounter with the lady and how she may remember him as “Squire Robin,” that pretty much squanders any empathy. And is very funny and ridiculous.
Ditto for B + B’s interactions during a scene from 16 & Pregnant. There’s usually one snappy, Abbott & Costello-style rant between them each episode, and it’s always a highlight. As the pregnant teen interviews for a pizzeria job and role-plays a customer phone call with her potential boss, Butt-Head intones his serious voice and observes, “She’s like, so you’ll call me on my hand then.” Beavis, taking this scenario to the next logical hypothetical step, adds, “Yeah, I’ve been sitting by my hand all day. I guess I didn’t get the job.” There’s not enough of that over the course of tonight’s cumulative hour.
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Used Car, Bounty Hunters
I actually thought “Used Car/Bounty Hunter” was the best episode of what has been a damn funny season – it had me in tears. Mike Judge generally gives a couple of dry line readings that absolutely slay me per episode and he had maybe 5 or 6 tonight. His ability to deliver the simplest lines and make them hilarious was on display when the car salesmen offered zero down on a car and Butthead responded: “Whoa – we have zero!” The riffing on True Life was gold, and I loved the whole bounty hunter plotline – the fact that B + B would think that whoever had their pictures up at the post office – whether it be the Postmaster General, a karate class made up of 10 year olds, or Barack Obama – were actually people that had skipped bail was just a great crystalization of their stupidity. Butthead also had one of the lines of the night after the girl at the post office explained that the Postmaster General runs the post office and he responded “Oh -how the mighty have fallen.” And while I’ll agree the Jersey Shore stuff can get stale, I thought the riffing on it tonight was great – I loved both the “that’s how she and answers the phone – I am a whore, hello” and how they ran with Snooki’s “you don’t usually have sex with your big brother” line and ran with it – “unless no one else is around….mom and dad are at the movies.”
Things did start off on a high note. “Used Car” begins and ends with the guys flinging pizza at each other in the lot of Tardino’s used cars (as mentioned last week, there’s been a nice adherence to basic story structure since the reboot). In between, they unwittingly rope the dealership’s naïve salesman and greedy manager into thinking they’re not only in the market for a vehicle, but are savvy customers to boot.
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A New Birth of Freedom
There seems to be enough interest in discussing “Hell on Wheels” that I’m going to keep these posts going for now. “A New Birth of Freedom” brings together Cullen and Lily, gives Elam more responsibility with the cut crew, and lets Doc Durant give another speech that’s meant to be terribly persuasive but really isn’t. Oh, and it gave us more Swede, which is never a bad thing.
In the foreman’s tent, Cullen finds a photo of Johnson standing with eight other Union soldiers. Gazing at the image, Cullen recalls murdering three of the soldiers, including the one shot in church. An inscription identifies a fourth man as “Sgt. Harper.”
The next morning, Sean laments that business is falling off. Mickey dares Sean to talk with local prostitute Eva, a white woman reputedly sold as a girl to Indians and known as “the Savage One.” The tattoo on Eva’s chin startles Sean, who slips and falls in the mud as she curses him in Cheyenne.
Last week I praised the show, because despite its apparent shortcomings it still had a confident energy it ran with. The lack of character intrigue was replaced with compelling action that drove the show forward. Ironically, we learn more about the characters through their unspoken actions than the long blocks of dialogue we were treated too this week. This goes back to the point referring to the writing, with another example being when the character of Elam (Common) decides to go into the saloon/brothel. Immediate motivations for Elam’s struggle in this episode are established quite early in this episode. As a freed slave, he plans to make a point to the white men of the camp that he is their equal. Before he goes into the brothel he explains this for a second time in the episode. It is these wasted scenes that wear the show down.