Monday, January 5, 2015

Last Week in TV - Week of Dec. 28

Happy New Year everyone! I hope it started off well and that your holidays were fun and safe. It was an incredibly light TV week so I had a chance to marathon some shows like Alias, Sherlock, Gracepoint, and The Blacklist. In the end, I actually watched more TV than normal but at least I'm caught up on some seasons. This week most of my normal shows come back so there will be little time to marathon, especially given all the new shows. I think this is overall the shortest midseason hiatus I have ever had. Has it seemed that way to you too? Maybe it's just that, except for the CW, most shows are coming back at the same time instead of staggering their return. Here's hoping the short hiatus means ratings will stay up or improve. I've got some bubble shows I'd like to see renewed, but I digress. Last week I forgot to include the nomination form, so please feel free to make up for it this week. (Remember that weekly shows including The Librarians, Scorpion, Sleepy Hollow, State of Affairs, SHIELD, Forever, The Flash, Supernatural, The Goldbergs, Stalker, The 100, How to Get Away with Murder, Elementary, The Big Bang Theory, and Grimm do not need to be nominated because I review them anyway. Also pilots of new shows like Galavant, Agent Carter, Empire, Hindsight, and Babylon will automatically be reviewed.) Next week, Psych is the nominated show and I have to say that while I never watched it regularly, I have liked what I have seen. Plus it has an alternate ending for double the fun. Until next time, I'd love to hear how your TV week went and happy future viewing.

Nominated Show:

Sherlock - 3.02 - The Sign of Three

Note - Since I didn't have many shows this week and since my OCD gets finicky when I watch shows out of order, I actually marathoned seasons 2 and 3. However in fairness of the nomination, and because I absolutely loathed episode 2.03, this review is strictly about the nominated episode.

I can't believe it. This episode did something I never thought would ever happen. I actually felt sorry for Sherlock Holmes. It may be because this is by far the most human he has ever been. From the fantastic speeches to the enthusiasm Sherlock puts into the wedding plans, I was pleasantly surprised by how little his douchier moments bothered me. Yes, the episode was a little slow in parts and yes, I guessed how the murder was done halfway through but that is nothing compared to actual character development in Sherlock. He's the Sheldon Cooper of drama in that he rarely gets a chance to be something better or to grow as a person so this was a huge deal to me. It helps that the entire episode revolves around how important Watson is as well. I have never liked the inherent imbalance in the Holmes and Watson relationship, which is why I prefer Elementary. This went a long way toward remedying that. To watch Holmes publicly acknowledge just how crucial John is did wonders for how I perceive his own character. In fact, I spent the whole toast sure that it was going to be another scene completely played out in Sherlock's head so imagine my surprise when all the guests started crying. Well done, Sherlock.

Grade: B+
Ranking - 1 because all the goodwill I stored up from this episode got shot to hell in the next one
Audience - people who like a good mystery and aren't opposed to douchey characters

Best Reason to Watch - Sherlock is human…and he publicly acknowledges how much John means to him and his profession
Best Character Interaction - Sherlock and Mary, which is pretty surprising
Most Shocking - I actually liked Sherlock in this episode
Most Surprising - Sherlock is really hands-on with this whole wedding thing / Sherlock pirouettes
Best Non-John Scene - Sherlock and Mycroft's phone conversation
Best Awww Moment (of the entire series) - Sherlock's toast to John
Second Best Aww Moment - Sherlock plays the violin for John and Mary's wedding dance and then vows to be there for them
The "Welcome Back" Award - Alfred Enoch, aka Wes from How to Get Away with Murder and Dean from Harry Potter, is in this episode. Woo hoo! Too bad he's immediately stabbed.
The "Oh Poor Baby" Award - Sherlock is left out of the dancing even though he loves to dance
Most Fun - Sherlock grills Mary's ex and subtly threatens him
Best Addition - Mary, who actually fits in very nicely with this prickly social dynamic. It takes a strong and smart woman to run both of them at the same time without either the wiser. I love how she has both of their best interests at heart.
Most Likely to be Killed by a Friend - Sherlock, who ticks one off by playing dead and then interrupts another in the middle of a career-making bust for speech tips.
The "You Let the Cat Out of the Bag" Award- Sherlock knows Mary's pregnant and inadvertently lets out the secret both either of them knew
Most Awkward Conversation - Watson asks Holmes to be his best man at his wedding, which concludes with Sherlock drinking his tea with an eyeball in it, which was also the most gross thing about the episode
Most Bizarre Conversation - Hudson back story
Most Amusing - everything Sherlock does in his duty as best man
Most Interesting Bachelor Party - Sherlock plans to scientifically get John buzzed at every place they've found a dead body. How fun.
Best Music - O, What a Night by The Four Seasons
Best Quotes -
1. Sherlock: "Telegrams. Well they're not actually telegrams. We just call them telegrams. I don't know why. Wedding tradition because we don't have enough of that already apparently."
Sherlock: "The point I'm trying to make is that I am the most unpleasant, rude, ignorant, and all around obnoxious a**hole that anyone could possibly have the misfortune to meet. I am dismissive of the virtuous, unaware of the beautiful, and uncomprehending in the face of the happy. So if I didn't understand I was being asked to be best man it is because I never expected to be anybody's best friend, and certainly not the best friend of the bravest and kindest and wisest human being I have ever had the good fortune of knowing. John, I am a ridiculous man, redeemed only by the warmth and constancy of your friendship, but as I am apparently your best friend, I cannot congratulate you on your choice of a companion. Actually now I can. Mary, when I say you deserve this man, it is the highest compliment of which I am capable."
2. David: "They're right about you. You're a bloody psychopath." Sherlock: "High-functioning sociopath with your number."
3. Sherlock: "Murder. Sorry. Did I say murder? I meant to say marriage, but you know, they're quite similar procedures when you think about it. The participants tend to know each other and it's over when one of them's dead. In fairness, murder is a lot quicker though."
4. Sherlock: "Imagine someone's going to get murdered at a wedding. Who exactly would you pick?" Hudson: "I think you're a popular choice at the moment, dear."
5. Sherlock: "More importantly however, today we say two people make vows. I've never made a vow in my life and after tonight, I never will again. So here in front of you all, my first and last vow. Mary and John, whatever it takes, whatever happens, from now on I swear I will always be there. Always."
6. Sherlock: "Special day, very special day, love, love, love, love, love. Bit of a theme. You get the gist. People are basically fond."
7. Major: "Mr. Holmes, you and I are similar I think." Sherlock: "Yes, I think we are." Major: "There's a proper time to die, isn't there?" Sherlock: "Of course there is." Major: "And one should embrace it when it comes like a soldier." Sherlock: "Of course one should but not at John's wedding. We wouldn't do that, would we? You and me. We would never do that to John Watson."
8. John: "Why are you suddenly taking an interest in another human being?" Sherlock: "I'm chatting. Won't be trying that again."
9. Sherlock: "Don't panic. None of you panic. Absolutely no reason to panic." John: "Oh and you'd know of course." Sherlock: "Yes I would. You're already the best parents in the world. Look at all the practice you've had." John: "What practice?" Sherlock: "Well you're hardly going to need me around now that you've got a real baby on the way."
10. Sherlock: "What?" Mycroft: "Nothing." Sherlock: "I know that silence."

Marathoned Shows:

Alias - 1.01 - 1.04
Grade Overall: C+

The first four episodes of Alias have not wowed me as much as I had hoped they would. I am impressed big time by the action scenes and there are plenty of those. I also like Sydney's ability to chameleon into another persona in 10 seconds flat. That's amazing. I am less impressed by her brains though. Who tells anyone they are a spy like that? Has she never seen a movie? And then for fiancé to leave a drunken voice message? What a pair of idiots! I would probably like the show better so far if they didn't reference the drunk fiancé every 12 minutes, and thus remind me that they kind of put themselves in their own mess. Still I plan on giving this show at least one season because it is right in my wheelhouse and first seasons are always uneven. Plus there is a major lack of action on TV these days and any kick butt female protagonist deserves a real shot.

The Blacklist - 1.04 - 1.08
Grade Overall: B-

The Blacklist is definitely a show best marathoned. It makes the story pacing less frustrating and the lack of answers less noticeable. Last year when I marathoned over midseason, I got so excited about the plot lines that I ended up watching weekly afterwards to my detriment. This year though, I have found I no longer care about any of the characters or their subplots so it's like another procedural to me interrupted by bits of mytharc I'd rather avoid. Sadly the whole question about how Red and Elizabeth are connected has burned itself out in almost a will-they-won't they scenario without romance. By this time I'm actually at "Who cares?" status. For me, the strength of an episode is the strength of its case of the week. Therefore, The Front and Dr. Linus Creel was better than The Mombasa Cartel, while The Decembrist was just tying up loose ends. The writers have not gotten the message that a secret too long dragged out is a secret that loses all oomph when revealed. I mean did anyone not know that Tom was going to be in the boat? Anyone? I didn't think so. The big plot twist lost all meaning because they felt the need to stretch it out an eternity. I still like this show and Red is still a powerful force, but it's definitely a "wait until summer" kind of show for me.

Gracepoint - 1.07 - 1.10
Grade Overall - B+

Either I stopped Gracepoint at exactly the wrong time or this show is a fantastic one to marathon. I remember feeling frustrated with the slower pace before setting this show aside, but the last 4 episodes flew by. They were gripping, intense, and came to the climax well. By the way, I called one of the two perpetrators on Nov. 4 in this very column. Just saying, so the ending shocker wasn't as shocking as they advertised, but it was still a good ride. I would definitely say to marathon it instead of watch it weekly though. I'm not sad that this show was cancelled, but I am glad that it had a decent ending and everything for the most part was wrapped up. If you like short term mysteries and you're okay with a slower pace, check this one out.

Weekly Shows:

The Librarians - 1.05 - And the Apple of Discord

This may be my favorite episode so far, mostly because evil librarians amuse me. In fact, before she started squealing about killing off hundreds of thousands of people, this is the best I've liked Cassandra. I also thought it was a great twist that the apple had zero effect on Ezekiel, who sadly takes the Most Annoying crown away from Cassandra tonight. I will never understand why people cannot shut up and ask for suggestions when they are in a situation wildly beyond their control. Let's just say that all the socks were flying at Ezekiel's head tonight. Surprisingly, Flynn coming back was kind of meh for me - I wasn't thrilled or irked by him. He's kind of like a tornado that rushes in but then lays everything down where it originally was so that you can't tell he's even been there. His loony speech to the conclave did have me laughing though. Still the best part was confirmation that Jenkins and Dulaque have a long and complicated history. I was hoping to get more answers but I like what they have teased so far. Now I need a Jenkins-centric episode.

Grade: B+

Best Reason to Watch - Evil Librarians
Best Scene - Jenkins and Ezekiel work together to get the apple away from Flynn / Dulaque and Jenkins talk at the end
Best Entrance - Flynn barges in on the conclave
Best Turnaround - Flynn goes from Evil Flynn to Normal Flynn mid-speech and ends up getting everyone to vote to keep the Librarian position
Best Moment - Jake refocuses Cassandra and they figure out the stones together
Most Complacent - If that was the Pope, he sure isn't curious about what the Library quartet are doing on his private balcony. And he has no bodyguards.
Biggest Jinx - Jake wonders how bad evil Cassandra can be
Best Reaction - everyone right before Flynn's entrance (Ezekiel hides, Cassandra grabs a book, Baird has her gun, Jacob grabs a sword, and Jenkins just stands around looking slightly bemused)
Biggest Screw-Up - Ezekiel, who should know that no pizza guy ever shows up in a tailored suit
Biggest Idiots - Why in the world did both Baird and Flynn touch the apple when they know what it does? Why didn't they scoop it into a container until they could figure out how to neutralize it?
The "Most in Need of GPS" Award - the back door lands them in the Pope's presence when really they wanted the backdoor
Most Kick Butt - Cassandra
Most Mumble-Mouthed (yes, I did that on purpose - sorry) - Flynn, who never met an alliteration he didn't like
Best Game of Hopscotch - Cassandra with some help from Jake figures out how to get to the dragon's lair
Most Interesting Tidbit - dragons can't lie
Best Liar - Baird, who excuses Jake's strange behavior as being a museum security test
Best Quotes -
1. Jenkins: "May I get you anything to drink?" Drake: "The tears of our enemies running from their bodies as their bones are crushed." Jenkins: "I have jasmine tea." Drake: "Oh jasmine. Yes, please."
2. Flynn: "Eastern and western dragons have been in a blood feud for 3,000 years." Jenkins: "Not dissimilar to the east coast-west coast hip hop rivalry of the late 20th century."
3. Flynn: "Little criticism. Since I've been back, the Librarians seem kind of evil."
4. Jenkins: "So did you come to take them away? I keep their bags packed."
5. Cassandra: "Are you evil?" Ezekiel: "No, I don't feel any different." Jake: "Are you immune? No, he's already…" Baird: "The worst version of himself." Ezekiel: "You say that like it's a bad thing."
6. Jake: "So you're saying I'm going to break somebody's skull over misinterpreted landscape?" Flynn: "Hate the apple, not the Librarian."
7. Drake: "He's a terrible arbitrar." Jenkins: "Preaching to the choir, bub."
8. Flynn: "You thinking what I'm thinking?" Baird: "Yeah. Ditch the snot-nosed sidekicks, get ourselves a penthouse with room service and a view." Flynn: "But first we take over the world? I like this plan."
9. Baird: "According to the scroll of Yosemite Sam…"
10. Ezekiel: "That's the Dulaque bloke. Is he eating my extra cheese and double pepperoni? He is evil."

Benched - 1.11 - Campaign Contributions

I don't care either way about if Phil and Nina get together or not, but it was a special treat to see them working together here and for Phil to stop pretending like he doesn't care about anything. In fact the best part of the whole episode was the cocktail party where there was little dialogue. I like how they coordinated together and how for once, Nina was 100% competent. I didn't like the Trent or Mitch stuff though. Mitch is the most overbearing, nutso character in the series so far and ended up more appalling than funny. May we never see him again. Trent, well there's a reason why you don't hook up with your ex after either of you break up with your newest fling. Nothing good comes from this, Nina. Nothing.

Grade: B

Best Character Interaction - Nina and Phil
Best Moment - Nina and Phil spin to switch who they are talking to
Most Intense - Nina and Phil argue in the parking garage
Worst Twist - Nina gets the award she was campaigning for Phil to get
Worst Decision - Nina hooks up with Trent again
Most Likely to Overshare - Nina, who is all kinds of bright and chipper this episode
Best Tom Sawyer - Trent, who successfully passes off his Little Brother to Carlos
Biggest Surprise - Phil is actually very good at small talk schmoozing
The "Welcome Back" Award - Albert Tsai, last seen playing Bert on Trophy Wife
Least Welcome Reference - somehow I don't think National Treasure goes over well with the constitutional debate crowd
Best Reference - Carlos tries to compare Phil's night to different movies
Highest Cost of Schmoozing - you can't even play your full house, but have to fold - murder for a gambling addict
Most in Need of Therapy - in a cast where everyone needs it, Mitch is scary unstable and need not come back ever again
Best Quotes -
1. Nina: "Perfect. She just got a new perm. Tell her you like her hair." Bailiff: "All rise." Nina: "Abort, abort, abort, abort." Phil: "Perm…ission to approach the bench, Your Honor."
2. Walter: "Everyone here looks like the people I run over in Grand Theft Auto."
3. Phil: "That is the longest I've ever talked about my job while not at work." Nina: "That was not even 2 minutes." Phil: "I know. I'm exhausted."
4. Carlos: "We're not loser lawyers. We do important work here. We uphold the rights of those who need it most, those that can't defend themselves." Walter: "Is that why they made 10 Law & Orders and none of them are about public defenders."
5. Phil: "You want to help me win, I'm in." Nina: "What? Because of some personal vendetta, d** measuring contest." Phil: "Yep." Nina: "Nothing to do with what I said about life and trying…" Phil: "Nope, I don't care about any of that. I'm gonna crush him."
6. Nina: "You know you can do this, right? You are just as good as anybody here." Phil: "Wait. What is this to you anyway? Why…why are you doing all of this?" Nina: "I'm doing this because you deserve it. You're actually one of the best lawyers I know and one of the best people I know, and I refuse to let you bring yourself down with your whole 'I don't give a cr**' shtick, okay?"
7. Nina: "You can smoke a cigar, you can sip some scotch, and you can schmooze until the handshaking gives you carpal tunnel and the brownnosing gives you pink eye."
8. Nina: "So what, your plan is to just do nothing." Phil: "Having a plan would involve planning but I don't plan on planning anything."
9. Walter: "So he's evil and you're useless. Argh!"
10. Nina: "Wait. Public Defender of the Year? That's actually a thing?" Carlos: "Yeah, we get beat up so much in court they think it's nice to give us a win." Larry: "But just one of us and just once a year."

Benched - 1.12 - Brief Encounters

Things don't look so good for Nina nor for fans of Benched. Nina is sans two guys and viewers are unlikely to get a second season to improve her prospects. Sadly burning off episodes during the holidays is not a good sign. So again, my favorite new comedy of the year is likely to be done. Only The Goldbergs survived last season's slaughter for me. So I bid adieu to the sad public defenders of LA County. They were occasionally competent, often funny, and heartwarming enough to keep my interest for 12 episode. Not many half hour shows can say that. Theirs is a thankless job but I appreciate them making me laugh.

Grade: B-

Least Likely to Win Most Amicable - tie - Donna and Nina
Worst Plan - Nina roundabout asks her co-workers for love advice. Not sure they are the best people to ask.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Yvete Nicole Brown, of Community fame, guest stars as the snarky clerk and I love it
The "Way to Make it Worse" Award - Nina's apology sounds a lot like rubbing it in
Best Way to Shut Up a Nina Ramble - apparently kissing her does the trick
Best Snark - Donna the cranky head clerk
The "Finally" Award - No, not the relationship stuff. Finally a woman on TV admits that you can't run in high heels. Now for all female cops to realize this.
The "You Called It" Award - Morris calls Phil out on being a schmuck as a friend
Most Abrupt - Phil and Nina are awkwardly talking like usual when he kisses her
Biggest Oops - Nina tells off Donna and company before getting her envelope back
Best Quotes -
1. Client: "I can beat this thing." Nina: "Okay, you showed your penis on a bus. There were 18 witnesses. Seven of them were Jehovah's."
2. Donna: "Lady, you need serious help. I'm talking like some Girl, Interrupted kind of sh**. I'm not qualified for that."
3. Nina: "I hate to bother you." Donna: "Not that much, apparently."
4. Cheryl: "We made you a signature cocktail. It's called a Whitley Sour, not that you're sour. You're just irritable. Congratulations."
5. Nina: "I don't know the exact number of the form." Donna: "How about what's it for?" Nina: "Oh…uh, it's actually a little….do I have to say?" Donna: "No, I'll just read your mind."
6. Morris: "Great. Well we'll do lunch and then I'll lose your guy so deep they'll need some Matrix-type sh** to find him."
7. Phil: "I might not be dead inside."

The Musketeers - 2.01 - Keep Your Friends Close

It's good to have The Musketeers back, if only for the superb action it always supplies. Barring only Arrow, no show does a better fight scene and many times it is a tossup between the two. This episode did not disappoint in that regard. It also did a fantastic job introducing their new characters. Rochefort is primed to be a better villain than the Cardinal as well as have a higher in-person body count. I like how he is weaseling his way into the politics, but I hope Queen Anne will put her guard up soon. She's always been smart and cunning (except for with Aramis, grrr) and I would hate to have her play the fool for too long. Unless of course she switches sides midgame, which would be the biggest twist of them all. I am also interested in what this big secret Treville and General De Foix have about Porthos. He didn't get as much development last year as the others so I am excited to hear that he will be getting more back story this season. Sadly Constance continues to be the single biggest disappointment of this show. She started off as such a great character and now she's just another lame duck, stuck in a hideous love triangle that does nothing for her character or D'Artagnan, who remains my least favorite of the Musketeers. At least Constance got a good speech out of it, while D'Artagnan continues to look like a huge douche. If these characters die, I will be perfectly fine with it.

Grade: B

Best Reason to Watch - all the fantastic action of course
Best Action - fight to escape the garrison, complete with zip lining
Biggest Awww Moment - King Louis meets his infant son
Biggest Idiots - the unarmed villagers try to take on the Musketeers. This won't end well for you.
Most Dramatic - that was sure some heart-pounding background music when we knew D'Artagnan was not going to drown
Best New Addition - I like Rochefort more than the Cardinal so far
Best Speech - I loathe Constance and D'Artagnan right now but Constance's speech about all she would risk that D'Artagnan would not makes absolute sense for the time period
Best Revenge - Cardinal Richelieu lets Aramis know he killed his lover from the pilot
Best Potential - So far I like the feisty Lucie De Foix. I thought maybe she could take Constance's place for me…right until she started macking on D'Artagnan too. Now I fear she will definitely take her place, as a formerly glorious female on this show who gets saddled with a lame love storyline.
Best Interest - the newest villain is introduced on the way to being hung and then shoots an unarmed man for no good reason
Biggest Douche - D'Artagnan, way to judge when it doesn't affect you near as much, sir
Least Surprising - Rochefort shoots the guy he is working with / Rochefort becomes head of the Red Guard
Most Surprising - Porthos back story
The "Welcome Back" Award - Marc Warren, of Hustle and The Good Wife fame
The "This Might Come Back to Bite You" Award - Treville turns down the king's offer to join his Council. I doubt the king hears the word "no" very often.
The "Oh Just Kill Them Now" Award - I was so thoroughly disgusted at Constance and D'Artagnan committing adultery last season that I wanted them off my screen. Now my first introduction to Constance is a reminder of their affair. Just kill them both and be done with this insidious love triangle. And she used to be my favorite. Argh! Oh and thanks for reminding me that the Queen and Aramis can't keep it in their pants either. Lovely.
Best Quotes -
1. Athos: "They say he wore out his heart in the service of France." D'Artagnan: "It's a pleasant surprise to hear he had one at all."
2. Constance: "I'm a woman, D'Artagnan. A woman in a world built for men."
3. Porthos: "Where are you going?" Aramis: "To answer a summons from the Cardinal." Porthos: "I should have nailed down the coffin lid myself."
4. Aramis: "He said he will only answer to God now, not some French…well, then he questioned our parentage."
5. Rochefort: "Musketeers. Just when I thought my day couldn't get any worse."
6. Aramis: "Ah let him take the credit. We don't need praise or glory." Porthos: "Praise and glory are two of my favorite things."
7. Rochefort: "The Cardinal would have had your heads for this." Aramis: "Pity he's currently at his own funeral."
8. Athos: "We could always arrange an unfortunate accident to happen tomorrow." Treville: "Don't tempt me."
9. Rochefort: "A lot of people would like to see me dead." Athos: "I can understand the sentiment."
10. D'Artagnan: "Forgive the impropriety, Madame." Lucie: "At least you're not naked this time."

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and creates polls for Sleepy Hollow, White Collar, Grimm, Teen Wolf, and others. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts the Sleepy Hollow "Headless" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
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  1. Ha! I knew you would like The Sign of Three. (Commenting here because Spoiler TV is still messed up for me and I honestly don't have the patience to figure out what the reason is).
    Did you watch Vikings too? I might have missed it, but as far as I remember you were doing reviews in three episode chunks, but never went that far because of a lack of time....
    I decided against picking up The three Musketeers again...look forward to learn what you think about the whole season, though.

  2. Sorry SpoilerTV isn't working for you. That is a pain. Vikings has moved to the #2 spot on my to-watch list. It's after The Missing (BBC show??) just because I want to see it before I get spoiled. I have 6 episodes of it and then it's all Vikings.