Posts tagged S01E08
Arrow wrapped up a two-part story arc this week as Oliver Queen and Helena Bertinelli became first partners in the war on crime and then enemies when their goals clashed. Before the end, the two managed to spark a war between the Triads and the Bertinelli crime family and cause some friction in the developing romance between Tommy and Laurel. All in all, a busy week for Starling City’s vigilante hero.
“Vendetta” was generally a pretty predictable episode given the foundation laid last week in “Muse of Fire.” It was obvious that Ollie and Helena would enjoy a brief period of happiness before their inevitable split once Helena’s need for revenge outweighed her desire for personal happiness. About the only question was whether Helena would survive the final showdown. And I’ll admit, the episode had me believing for a few minutes that Huntress would go the way of Deadshot and manage to get herself killed in her debut appearance. Fortunately, the writers weren’t so short-sighted this time around.
Unfortunately, I’m not convinced I actually want Helena back in the fold anytime soon. I wasn’t necessarily wowed by Jessica De Gouw’s performance last week, and she fared worse this time now that the role called for more Huntress and less Helena. She simply wasn’t very convincing as the tough-as-nails assassin, and her Huntress voice in particular was more grating and stilted than imposing. Nor did this episode do a great job of pushing the Ollie/Helena character arc along.
It was a bit of a stretch to believe that a simple dinnertime clash over Ollie’s ex-girlfriend was enough to send Helena packing and convince Ollie that his new beau really was as psychotic and dangerous as Diggle has been claiming. For Diggle to then turn around in his final scene and give Ollie the comforting post-break-up speech was equally strange.
Watching and writing about a show like this becomes a very different experience now that it’s been cancelled. (I trust that news doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but just in case: ABC has indeed canceled Last Resort, although it will air what remains of the 13-episode order.)
There’s no longer any place for ruminations on which new characters are promising and which plot developments might pay off down the line. Speculation about the grand scheme of the series and the possible directions it may go… that’s all moot now. There is only now and the immediate future, which in this case constitutes five more hours after tonight.
On the other hand, a death sentence like this has a certain clarifying effect on the proceedings. It becomes very apparent which parts of the show you care about, and which now seem like a complete waste of time. For instance, the A-plot of “Big Chicken Dinner” is a he-said/she-said rape accusation storyline that has been done approximately 1000 times before on dramatic television. Here, it involves characters we neither know nor care about; it’s merely a plot device used to ratchet up the tension between the islanders and the Colorado crew.
And I don’t know about you, but one look at the actor playing Anders, the accused crew member, and I had no doubt that he was guilty. He had the sort of sweaty, weasel-eyed demeanor that telegraphed the outcome of the episode immediately (even if there were a few twists and turns along the way).
When I started watching Vegas a couple of months ago, a part of me was disappointed that it didn’t remind me more of Crime Story, Michael Mann’s flashy noir TV serial set in Chicago and Las Vegas in the Kennedy years. It was a reaction that I tried to separate from my evaluation of the show.
I remember Mann’s show with a lot of affection, but it was flawed and messy and showed the strain of trying to burst the bounds of conventional series TV while clinging to the safe familiarity of the form. But the important thing is that, to succeed, Vegas has to develop its own identity, and how strong that identity is and how true to it the show manages to be is the only real test of how good it is. I enjoyed tonight’s episode more than almost all the ones that preceded it, and it just so happens that it’s the first episode that’s actually reminded me of Crime Story. That could mean that my judgment on it isn’t all that trustworthy, but it might also be that, as much as we’re meant to prize integrity and originality, borrowing part of someone else’s identity is a lot better than having no identity at all.
In the previous episode, which was the closest the show has come so far to firing on all cylinders, Ralph and Vincent wound up joined at the hip, forced to work together and rely on each other, finally saving each other’s lives.
In this one, each of the two regular antagonists has his own story to carry, with no real connection between them; it’s a good sign that the show can make it work either way, and it’s a mark of good sense for the series not to bother pretending that the parallel plotlines have something to do with each other when they don’t.
In this week’s episode, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane,” Jane reappears with no memory of what happened after she descended the spiral staircase. Brian finds out that Alexis is a malevolent muse. Gavin holds Shaw hostage and learns some disturbing news regarding the death of his daughter.
It has been 36 hours since Jane descended down the mystery staircase. Henry is distributing flyers, while Gavin offers the services of a private investigator. Detective Cooper tells Henry that Nona said she and Jane split up in the basement while searching for Nona’s grandmother. Henry questions the detective as to why he hasn’t followed up on the mystery man who disappeared in the hallway the night Jane was attacked. Meanwhile, Jane appears in an initially deserted Times Square, a la Vanilla Sky. She sees a woman, who communicates without speaking, telling Jane that she shouldn’t have come here. All of a sudden, the dream-like special effects disappear, and Jane is in the midst of a bustling Times Square yelling for Henry.
Jane is picked up by the police and brought to a hospital. She is finally reunited with Henry. Tests reveal there is nothing wrong with Jane physically, but the doctor believes she is having a “dissociative episode.” The doctor states she is blocking out a traumatic episode, and Jane can’t start to heal until she remembers. Henry wants to take her home, but the doctor tells Henry she is required by law to stay in the hospital for 48 hours.
Kandinsky is torturing Victor Shaw, trying to get him to reveal the location of the mystery box. When Kandinsky’s methods prove futile, Gavin talks to the man himself. It turns out the Shaw is an alias and that Gavin knew the man’s father. Gavin recalls that Shaw’s father was willing to do anything to succeed, including abandoning his child. Gavin’s plan backfires when Shaw brings up the death of Gavin’s own daughter, Sasha. He claims that she didn’t die in a car accident, but had killed herself in reaction to finding out her father’s true identity. Shaw also states that Olivia knows the truth. When Gavin confronts Olivia, she confirms Shaw’s story, telling Gavin she was just trying to protect him.
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.
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No Good Deed
Dallas ‘No Good Deed’ was amazing tonight. J.R. remained in the shadows, but Bobby, Christopher and Sue Ellen each individually made an amazing bargain with the devil in some sort in order to bring John Ross home to Southfork safe and without a murder rap hanging over his head. Josh Henderson, Patrick Duffy, Jesse Metcalfe and Linda Gray were sensational tonight, each one topping their performance last week. But the real shocker came at the end of the episode when we learned that Tommy is not Rebecca’s brother, but her former lover. And he’s blackmailing her to steal Christopher’s newest invention, which Christopher also used to gain evidence in order to free John Ross.
Sue Ellen tells a prison jumpsuit-clad John Ross she’ll get him a lawyer, and protect him. He admits he had an affair with Marta, but doesn’t mention telling Vincente about where Marta was. Sue Ellen told Elena to pick a side. J.R. discovered news about Cliff’s driver, Frank. After Veronica (fake Marta ) becomes an increasing threat, John Ross sells her out to Vincente, she is later found dead resulting in her death. He is later arrested for murder.
Christopher asked the sheriff to run a background check on Rebecca, who came up squeaky clean. So, with the babies en route, and some guilt tripping from Rebecca evoking his own broken home childhood, he’s clearly starting to work on forgiving her. But Tommy is still sniffing around, causing his sis copious amounts of angst. Anne offers Tommy a job out of town, but he makes it clear to Rebecca that he’s still after the big bucks tied to Chris’s methane project. And then he plants a forceful kiss on her, wondering if she’s in so deeply that she really believes they’re related. And with that… the story takes a turn for the soapy predictable, but still leaves us with an air of mystery.
While Rebecca’s relationship with Christopher is still on the rocks, she continued to make amends with his mother Annie. Annie even extended her kindness to Rebecca’s conniving brother Tommy. She offered to help him get a job at her sister’s ranch in Oklahoma so he could get a fresh start. He accepted but seemed to still be up to no good. Tommy reappeared and wouldn’t accept the fact that Rebecca is done with their deal. The Dallas TV Show threw another twist when Tommy kissed Rebecca. They are not really brother and sister and Tommy threatened to reveal the complete truth to Christopher, even though she just told Christopher there were no more secrets.
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Armando Iannucci made it clear with last week’s episode that “Veep” will be steering away from anything resembling real issues. While a pregnant Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) at the end of “Baseball” opened the door to a potentially inspired direction for the show, one episode later it was explained away by Meyer having a miscarriage, as the veep and her team moved on to the next issue that was plaguing their office. The show’s established theme is that the office of the veep is essentially powerless and even meaningless, and as a result it doesn’t have much to say about the political climate in Washington except for how it operates on the most superficial level. The recurring theme is that those in Washington who wield power and influence are stupid, assholes, self-involved or all three at once. Listen, we get it, but we hope as “Veep” moves into season two it has a bit more to say as they are running out of non-issues to try and mine for laughs.
The waterworks proved beneficial for Selina as she went from a toxic asset to the President whose endorsement a low-level congressman didn’t even want, to a DC power broker who was suddenly the most popular woman in Washington.
This is another example of Veep’s obsession with how appearance, in politics, outweighs any actual politics. But the real star of this episode was not any member of the regular cast. Instead it was a newcomer, Congressman Roger Furlong. Played by the excellent Dan Bakkedahl, Furlong is a foul-mouthed volcano who is a gift to the “Best Lines of the Night” section below.
Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too
We have to congratulate Girls on surprising us this week (Season 1, Episode 8: “Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too”). We thought we knew Adam, but our eyes opened just as wide as Hannah’s did last week when his character opened up. And Hannah still has that look of amazement in her eyes whenever she looks at her new boyfriend. We, too, have been turned into Adam fans. Just when we think we know everything, we realize we never will — another important life lesson gleaned from this show, and life in your 20s.
In this case it was Jessa (the free-spirited British one) asking Marnie, (the uptight one) about Adam. We’ve come to know Adam in episodes 1 through 7 as the perverted large-eared love interest of our self-absorbed protagonist Hannah Horvath. So far, we’ve seen him texting a picture of his genitalia intended for someone else to Hannah, playing with Hannah’s fat while in bed, lying about getting an STD test, lying about using condoms, etc, etc, etc.
I also liked that the episode gave us more of a look at Jessa, who’s the kind of girl who can make it seem like she’s making fun of someone even when she’s complimenting them. (I have this affliction as well, and when Jessa started outlining how she really admired Marnie’s commitment to good hygiene, it was hilarious.) In past weeks, I haven’t been able to really embrace Jessa’s aloof cool, the way that she always seems to be slightly detached from everybody and everything. In the show’s world, Hannah’s the writer, but Jessa’s often the one who seems to be outside of herself, watching her and her friends go through the motions of one story or another. In this episode, though, Jessa’s nature is exactly what’s needed when she and Marnie need an exit from the venture capitalist’s apartment. She’s the friend who always seems to be separate from everybody else, but that comes in handy when all of her friends need a lifeline to carry them back above the surface. Jessa’s cool, yes, but it feels more and more like that coolness has an origin story we’ll get at some point (probably further down the line than this season). It’s not simply a fact of life.
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After too long of a hiatus, Once Upon a Time returns with a story I’ve been looking forward to: Rumplestiltskin. I have previously talked about how he is my favorite character, but I really am quite interested on where he got his power from. Why is he so powerful in the first place? How does he always know what is going on everywhere? Is there anyone more powerful then him? I thought the Evil Queen could be, but I think I’m going to be proven wrong in this upcoming episode.
In Fairy Tale Land, Rumpelstiltskin sits spinning in a tent. His son runs in to tell him that the neighbor girl is being taken away to join the duke’s army. When the girl’s mother pulls out a knife and tries to stab the duke (the king’s emissary), a strange forcefield chokes her and her husband. In the distance, a hooded, cloaked figure called only “the Dark One” is seen casting the forcefield.
Next we see Emma approaching Henry and giving him the walkies for Operation Cobra (that whole fairytale/real world debacle) , but Henry says it’s a bad idea to continue with the mission. That little boy is onto his mom and her murdering ways! Speaking of Regina, she is a BAMF as per usual, and appoints Sydney Glass (or the Magic Mirror) as new deputy instead of Emma. Now, Emma is getting all dolled up with her deputy badge so this doesn’t fly with her. Then Regina fires her. Ouch, cold blooded. Next, Emma is having an angry music, with loud music cranking and hammering a toaster. I like how she thinks. Apparently Mr. Gold and Regina are now enemies, so he stops by and offers to be Emma’s benefactor, which she accepts.
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Bad In Bed
New Girl continues with “Bad in Bed.” Jess’ concern that she will be just as the title states leads to some very awkward moments with Paul and the other guys as well. Paul the cute teacher (and Jess’s other half) returns, prompting Jess to ask the guys for some advice on how to spice up her sex life. Also, Schmidt attempts to use a baby shower to climb the corporate ladder, and Nick won’t get his haircut. In all seriousness, Jess gets herself into some very skimpy, untraditional lingerie, some very hardcore pornography, and some incredibly personal sexual conversations with her roommates this week without ruining her childlike tendencies.
Of course, it’s hard to imagine that Jess was entirely comfortable with her sexuality before Spencer, though “Bad In Bed” establishes that the character isn’t entirely repulsed by the thought of intercourse. In fact, much of what drives the comedy of the episode is Jess’ over-interest in the matter: In an attempt to get over her own performance anxieties, she overcompensates at every turn, buying lingerie that she doesn’t entirely understand, raiding Schmidt’s digital porn stash for pointers, and eventually alienating Justin Long’s Paul with an ill-advised bedroom maneuver. New Girl has always approached physical intimacy with a degree of awkwardness; “Bad In Bed” is simply the most awkward manifestation of that approach.
Hey look, it’s Justin Long! After an absence last week, Long returned as Jess’ current love interest, Paul in tonight’s episode. Having not been too fond of Long in anything else before, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how much I’m enjoying his performance, and it saddens to me to know that he has only signed on for one more episode. Hopefully, we don’t get some tragic Christmas break-up next week before the show goes on its holiday hiatus!
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