Posts tagged s02e09
Midway through “On All Fours,” Charlie tries to shrug off some obnoxious behavior by Ray by telling Shoshanna, “He’s Ray. You know? And that’s how he is.” Shoshanna repeats those words back to him in a tone that makes Charlie think he’s offended her, but the expression on her face in the exchange tells a different story. Shoshanna’s not offended; she’s dismayed to realize she’s dating a guy whose difficult behavior can be written off with those nine words.
“He’s Ray. You know? And that’s how he is.”
Charlie is telling her that he’s long since given up expecting better from his best friend – that Ray cannot change who he is and how he acts. Shoshanna has already been having doubts about this relationship – hence that time she “held the doorman’s hand,” a new euphemism that I expect to be turning into a meme any second now – but when it’s phrased in such blunt, fatalistic terms, it’s easy for doubt to become hopelessness. Shoshanna dated Ray because he was nice and she liked him, but she also clearly viewed him as a fixer-upper, and when we’ve seen them together this season, he hasn’t shown much interest in being fixed.
Or maybe, like Charlie, he’s accepted that he can’t be fixed.
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Somewhere during the hip-hop dance fight between George and Dallas I gave up trying to make sense of this episode. This isn’t exactly the bad Suburgatory, because the characters are recognizably themselves: Tessa’s a little righteous, Dalia is a lot whiny, George and Dallas gradually get sucked into childish behavior.
But the episode is split into three distinct plots that don’t really resonate with one another, so it feels exactly like the sum of its parts. And those parts include a kidnapping, an adult dance-off, and the world’s grossest pudding skin, so it’s a wonder this episode stays afloat at all.
Tessa and Dalia are taking the SATs and when they get out of the exam room, Tessa finds out that Dalia received a car for her PSAT score while she got an ice cream, even though she made it into the top 10percent nationally. This being Suburgatory, this makes her a little bitter toward Dalia, who only races to finish each exam, and Tessa ends up making her feel bad for getting a reward for no reason. However, Dalia takes solace in one thing; although Tessa gets better grades and has a brighter future, she’s a better dancer.
To flaunt that fact, Dalia invites a reluctant Tessa to one of her hip hop dance classes, where she challenges her to a dance battle. Dalia has years of lessons under her belt and a pretty smooth crew to back her, while Tessa’s alone, not dressed for the part, and void of rhythm, but the major beef ends up being between George and Dallas. Dallas accuses George of being cheap, George calls Dallas an enabler, and they have their own dance battle on the sidelines, complete with randomly appearing cardboard and Dallas doing the robot.
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It’s a shame when a show decides to take some time off in the middle of a season because of the holidays, or for any reason really. Programmes, like American Horror Story: Asylum, work very hard to build up momentum to a fever pitch during the course of a thirteen-episode season, and to break it up for no good reason seems excessive to me. Just last week I praised AHS for its willingness to confront the holidays, but it turns out that I was wrong and that the show will be taking a break here in the US. Fortunately, it’s only until after the New Year and not for a few months like The Walking Dead.
Still, it’s a bad time to take some time off, because there are only four more episodes remaining in this season and the show keeps getting crazier and crazier. Even when the twists are ones you see coming (thus making them not twists), they’re so cleverly executed and fun to watch that I don’t think anyone can complain. Well, anyone can complain, since this is the internet, but it’s great to see Dylan McDermott back on American Horror Story where he belongs. It’s also nice to see Ian McShane and Frances Conroy back for second appearances.
The thing about American Horror Story is that you can never be sure which characters are officially gone from the show and which characters are waiting to make a dramatic return, because that can be pretty much anyone you don’t see for an episode or two. The show just keeps thinking of reasons to bring people back from the dead-or at least the brink of death-like how Dr. Arden used a particularly juicy hunk of bait to bring the aliens out of hiding. We know that the aliens were there, and probably always are there, but they need encouragement to show up. Kind of like the show’s recurring guest actors.
Writer Jennifer Salt is one of the stronger scribes for the show, and this week she’s really bringing the crazy with her episode. It’s brilliant stuff with some of the best lines of the season, and it’s really brought into full focus by director Jeremy Podeswa. There are multiple brilliant moments this week when it comes to impressive camera decisions, with Lana’s fainting spell being a particularly solid choice on all parts. The camera movement and subtle disturbance is perfect foreshadowing of what’s about to happen, and that’s not the best moment of the episode. The mash up of testimonies about Sister Jude to the authorities is very well done, and the Dutch angles used throughout the episode are employed judiciously and not overused.
Borrowing from one of my favorite shows of all time, the citizens of Bluebell held a picnic basket date auction in “Sparks Fly” this week’s episode of Hart of Dixie. Just like when Gilmore Girls did it, baskets and dates got totally mixed up to somewhat surprising results, but unlike in Star Hollow, it was the men who put the baskets together and got bid on for dates.
Wade decided he wanted to date Zoe for real, and because Wade apparently gets to decide exactly when everything in this relationship happens, he immediately got huffy when Zoe didn’t automatically jump on board. I’m sorry; I realize he’s the fan favorite for her fair hand, but he’s kind of driving me up a wall lately. He’s always talking down to Zoe, making her feel like crap for just being her neurotic self. Why does he always get to be right? Why is it always Zoe who left looking like the bad guy just because she has a hard time figuring out what Wade wants from her?
Maybe she does still have feelings for George and maybe she was a little surprised that he clicked with Tansy, but Wade needs to take a chill pill sometimes. It’s lucky for him that Zoe is so neurotic; a normal woman would have an expectation of equality in the relationship. Sometimes it seems like Wade doesn’t actually like Zoe; he likes her body, sure, but her personality?not so much.
So, yeah. Tansy and George. This is happening. As is Brick Breeland and George’s cast-off, Shelby. Apparently, George likes his new, unpredictable side and Brick likes a woman with an organized closet.
Revenge, it’s fair to say, has had something of an inconsistent season. But while the show has had some lows, it’s also had some highs, and ‘Revelations’ was a particularly enjoyable hour of television which made up for some of the less accomplished moments we’ve seen recently.
For one thing, ‘Revelations‘ captured the pure soapiness that makes Revenge so enjoyable. The show’s been missing a bit of the melodramatic nonsense that makes it fun, recently – this episode brought it back hugely, with ridiculously enjoyable scenes throughout.
You can’t get much more absurd than the insane Initiative, with the purring frontwoman’s threats (“Your son will be removed from the equation permanently”, she murmurs at one point as if she’s trying to whisper but can’t quite manage it.) And the ending – after Daniel’s successfully dethroned his father and gained control of Grayson Global – is suitably absurd, as we see a group of shadowy figures in a military-style room watching the new CEO on a secret webcam and muttering in a sinister manner about putting a plan to a vote.
Obviously, this is all complete nonsense, but somehow Revenge manages to pull it off – perhaps because it’s wildly enjoyable to watch complete soapy ludicrousness from time to time (and it helps that it’s at least not boring, as parts of this season have veered dangerously close to being.)
How I love that feeling of breathless anticipation as I impatiently await the show to recommence after a commercial break. It’s that sense of anticipation that tells me I’m watching a truly fabulous episode, no matter the series. This week’s Once Upon a Time episode “Queen of Hearts” certainly falls into that category, and a great way for the series to gracefully take its bow until after the New Year holiday.
Earlier today on my personal blog (you can find the link in my bio), I criticized the series for (among other things) dragging on the Mulan/Aurora/Ruined Fairytale Land story arc a bit too long. And doing it at the expense of several other significant storylines. Some of that criticism still stands (for example, after bringing Emilie de Ravin (Belle) into the regular series cast, they’ve terribly underused her, neglecting the lovely bittersweet “Rumbelle” storyline).
But there is no denying that “Queen of Hearts” is a fantastic episode, tying together several story threads extremely well while plucking several new ones (and perhaps conjuring a Pandora’s Box for Regina and Rumple, played exquisitely by Lana Parrilla and Robert Carlyle, respectively). That potential Pandora’s box comes in the guise of Cora (Barbara Hershey) and the notorious and nefarious Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue).
But “Queen of Hearts” is less about the conflict between Storybrooke’s antiheroes and the truly evil Cora and Hook, and so much more about the value, virtue, and power of love. Love is one of the series’ most important themes, and “Queen of Hearts” explores it from the distinct and diametrically opposed vantages of Once’s two most powerful sorcerers – Cora and Rumple.
This week’s New Girl saw the return of Jess’s friend Sadie and her partner Melissa, along with a rather “informative” discussion on female reproduction and egg count statistics. This soon piqued the concern of Jess, who spent the better part of her storyline obsessing over her fertility.
This might just be one of those things I don’t really get because I’m a guy, but I personally didn’t find this part of the episode particularly interesting. Much like Nick comparing Jess’s children to microwaved burritos, I’d be put in a “tough spot” to call out which one is more important; although, I did enjoy Schmidt and Winston’s unwarranted offering of sperm. But beyond the few clever uses of wordplay, the only real takeaway from this arc was Cece’s realization that her baby makin’ days were numbered. While the setup here was pretty predictable, this did at least put a clock on Cece and Robbie, and will likely serve as a factor in their eventual breakup.
So far, all of this – especially the scene where Sadie starts to deliver Cece’s test results, and stops to kick Jess out of the room – seems like a pretty good argument for not socializing with your ob-gyn, But there’s also an upside to hanging out with someone who has a medical degree in ladyparts, at least if you’re a guy who’s having a hard time satisfying his boss in bed. I loved how Schmidt was totally unfazed when Sadie told him she could only give him sex advice if he came to her as a patient. A $40 co-pay is a small price for a consultation with a va-genius. Especially if there are stirrups involved.
Schmidt, see, is in a “real life sex pickle.” (That also happens to be the name of the world’s worst funk band.) He knows he’s good in bed, but his Mars Rover impersonation seems to do nothing for Emma, his kinky superior. In Sadie’s office, he lays out his methods: Losing Nemo, collecting the Oscar, getting everybody into the sharing circle, meeting the troll and answering his riddles three. Sadie, whose baby hormones are less gay than she is, proclaims that Schmidt is the true va-genius.
“Two Hats” was an appropriately titled episode of Homeland because A) you needed two bring two hats because the intensity of the episode kept blowing them off, and B) it was a two-headed monster with dual gripping storylines. Not only did we watch two excellently crafted stories play “anything you can do I can do better” but neither one was resolved, leaving us only with the knowledge that two maniacs are still on the loose and that we can trust exactly no one. Except for maybe Chris Brody, and if apartments with flatscreen TVs in every room are on the table, we can’t even trust him.
When Homeland is at its best, the person we can trust least is ourselves, and right now I can’t help but throw the mirror a suspicious glance every time I walk by it. Homeland is great at giving us one side of the story and as much of the other side as it can without letting us know everything. As we examine all the information we have, or think we have, we fall prey to what we think we know or double back to anticipate twists and what we’re left with is a viewing experience puts us in the same mindset as many of the characters onscreen. And that mindset is something like pogo-sticking in a room full of bear traps.
Brody’s run-in with Nazir last week portended huge developments in Nazir’s plan to ruin America’s day, and we were not disappointed. Brody was quickly reunited with Carrie and the CIA to give them a download of his meeting with Nazir. The way that information was given to the CIA (and us) was brilliant. We never saw what happened directly with Nazir and Brody, we only saw the version Brody wanted to tell the CIA.
That seems like nice and clean story progression on the surface, but in the world of Homeland it only presents more possibilities (a euphemism for mind-fuckery). We don’t know what happened back at Nazir’s playhouse with Brody. We don’t know if Brody’s telling the truth or lying, and if you take those flashbacks at face value, then sorry, you’re an idiot (though the detail he left out about praying with Nazir definitely falls under lying).
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At a critical moment in “Blood Moon”/“Blood Moon Rising,” Mr. Toole reflects on why the lord saw fit to spare his life when Elam shot him in the face. He explains that he assumed he was saved so that he could marry Eva and build a loving relationship, despite all the challenges. And yet, when confronted with what appears to be Eva running back to Elam once again, he decides God is just a cruel, manipulative bastard who has gained some sick pleasure from making him miserable. Faced with this revelation, Mr. Toole turns his gun on himself.
Durant is tearing up a box car where a sick man is lying. Eva comes in and hands him some opium to kill the pain. When he feels better he says he feels bad that he was stealing from a sick man to get the medicine. Hannah wants him to go back to Chicago because his pain is so bad but Thomas refuses because the railroad will collapse without him.
That certainly looked to be case as ‘Blood Moon’ opens on a Hell on Wheels that had been utterly ravaged and more or less burned to the ground. Meanwhile, a seemingly broken Bohannon attempts to provide some kind of explanation as to just what had transpired. In his low growl of a voice, Bohannon gives an account of the town’s final days. Thomas Durant (Colm Meaney) and his wife Hannah (Virginia Madsen) were busying themselves over concern that their duplicity with the railroad mileage would result in a jail sentence, while Lily Bell (Dominique McElligott) was doing her best to secure a future for herself that didn’t end with being a governess. Lily’s plan was for her and Bohannon to continue building the railroad and their relationship, and that plan appeared to be one Bohannon was willing to buy into – even as Durant was looking to buy Bohannon’s loyalty through a permanent partnership.
The weird thing is that the season doesn’t build to this moment—to be sure, it ends with the apocalyptic Sioux raid, but most of the characters spend the first two-thirds of the episode pointedly ignoring the possibility that everything is about to come crashing down around them. The Sioux function as a narrative tidal wave, washing over all the little stories of the camp and reducing them to nothing. By the end of the two hours, Durant is in custody, but we don’t see it, and we’re left to guess what’s next for Elam and Eva, for the McGinnes brothers, for the camp in general.
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Oh, my poor Matty/Jake loving heart! This episode of AWKWARD certainly delivered in terms of keeping the intensity of the past two episodes. The truth about all things love triangle is out for public consumption and the sh*t has more than definitely hit the fan. Unfortunately for Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards) things have gone from bad to worse.
Ultimately, I knew when Jake found out about Jenna and Matty’s past that would be when everything kicked up a gear, I merely did not expect the payoff to be this good. So there was Jake, at the worst possible time finally unable to be the perfect and understanding guy he had always been. Then we have Matty, a kid trying to make amends for his assholish ways last season by stepping up and forcing himself to be the mature. Finally there was Jenna, a girl not simply losing her boyfriend, but somebody that has watched her world crumble around her so many times in such short order. Every time things look up for her they ultimately come crashing down, and there is no way to not feel for her. Exasperating the situation was the very public nature that everything has taken.
The relationship gap isn’t all about Jenna. Lacey and Kevin have yet to get over their own relationship gap, and, as revealed last week, Kevin has been the one to walk out on Lacey many times before. So now they are both in this gap that was similar to what Jenna was going through with a whole lot of half stories and broken hearts, but no one wanting to make the jump.
Big points actually go out to Jake for not taking the picture public because I was really afraid he was going to sink to that depth after last week. Granted he still forced their relationship out into the open in other ways thanks to that special Wheel of Pep. I don’t really know what else is on that wheel, but I really want to know what exactly brings about school spirit in the topic “Come Clean or Play Dirty.” Based on this episode’s example of how landing on this goes, I’m assuming it doesn’t cause a whole lot of pep (unless you’re Sadie).