Monday, February 23, 2015

Last Week in TV - Week of Feb. 15 - Reviews and Episode Awards

Hi and welcome to Last Week in TV, a weekly column where I hand out episode awards and give mini-reviews of the shows I watched. Last week's TV was somewhat of a puzzle to me. Most of the comedies I watched were not very funny and yet some of the dramas definitely were. Speaking of dramas, they varied a lot in quality with 3 shows being in contention for Show of the Week. Usually I know once I see it which show is going to take the top prize. This time I managed to narrow it down to two and they weren't even the most fun episode, which was by far Eye Candy. That show had me rolling in parts and was funnier to me than the nominated show, Brooklyn 99. Next week's randomly selected nominee is also a comedy - the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. I have to admit that this nomination intrigues me the most. I know long-time fans of the show hated the finale so I'm eager to see if I feel the same way even though I am at best a casual watcher of series repeats. By having no connection to any of the characters, will I enjoy the finale? Stayed tuned next week. Until then, if you have a show to nominate please fill out the short 2-question form below. Also comments are the wellspring of online life so let me know how your TV week went below. See you next week and happy viewing!

Show of the Week (TIE):

Agent Carter - 1.07 - Snafu

I will never understand why Agent Carter is not soaring in the ratings. Episodes like this one show how good the acting, writing, and pacing are. Sure, I could have done without the silly hypnotism and Howard Stark is a major douche, but other than that it was fantastic. I love how Carter finally lays it all on the line and explains exactly why underestimating her was a big mistake. I like even more how the whole SSR believes her now. It's good to have everyone working on the same side. As always the interaction between Jarvis and Carter was a highlight. Their table battering ram scene had me in stitches, while Jarvis attempting to get Carter free was sweet. They are my favorite characters. Dottie is also stunningly capable, having the best action sequence of the night. Her Matrix skills keep impressing. I was disappointed that I didn't get a Carter vs. Dottie fight scene, but since we are getting one next week, all is forgiven. Here's hoping it's as epic as it should be. Here's hoping the finale ratings are as epic as they should be.

Grade: A-

Best Reason to Watch - Peggy Carter rocks always, but especially in this episode
Best Scene - the interrogation, especially how all 3 approach it differently
Best Action - Dottie escapes the SSR
Funniest Scene - Carter and Jarvis trying to break the window with the table
Best Acting - Hayley Atwell when Carter hands over Captain America's blood
Biggest Douche - Stark doesn't even respond when Jarvis calls to say Carter's been arrested and who doesn't destroy faulty inventions that can kill people
Best Moment - Rose, the telephone operator, has a gun under her desk
The "Score One for the Perpetually Late and/or Cheap" Award - by circling the block 6 times, that guy kept his wife alive
Biggest Fake Out - Dooley's family dinner
Most Noble Gesture - Jarvis forges a Stark confession to try to rescue Carter
Most Disgusting - amputation / dead dentist / eye gouging
Most Surprising - Thompson plays good cop while Sousa plays bad cop
Biggest Sacrifice - Dooley jumps out the window to save everyone
Least Exciting Plot Device - hypnosis is right up there with amnesia for me
Best Quotes -
1. Jarvis: "Ready?" Carter and Jarvis: "I…2…" Jarvis: "Wait. What if there are people behind this mirror that we're breaking?" Carter: "Then they may get hurt. There'll be a spray of glass." Jarvis: "I see." Carter and Jarvis: "I….2…" Jarvis: "Now wait. What if these hypothetical people behind the mirror have guns?" Carter: "Then we may get hurt. There'll be a spray of bullets." Jarvis: "I see." Carter: "1…2…3." Jarvis: "No people. Everybody wins." Carter: "I've just thought of something." Jarvis: "We're still attached to a table." Carter: "We are still attached to a table." Thompson: "What the hell is going on in here?"
2. Carter: "No one's coming." Jarvis: "I know you may be universally despised in this establishment but they barely know me."
3. Carter: "You think you know me, but I've never been more than what each of you has created. To you, I'm a stray kitten left on your doorstep to be protected. The secretary turned damsel in distress. The girl on the pedestal transformed into some daft whore. You're behaving like children. What's worse..what's far worse is that this is just shoddy police work. You were inches away from the woman that you want when you loaded me into your car. You should be looking for Dottie Underwood, who by now I assume has shed her alias."
4. Carter: "Have you ever been hanged, Mr. Jarvis?" Jarvis: "I can't say that I have, no." Carter: "It is quite unpleasant."
5. Dooley: "I'm supposed to believe that you pulled off your own investigation without any of us noticing." Sousa: "And why would you go through all that trouble instead of coming to one of us?" Carter: "I conducted my own investigation because no one listens to me. I got away with it because no one looks at me. Because unless I have your reports, your coffee, or your lunch, I'm invisible."

Supernatural - 10.14 - The Executioner's Song

Now that's my Supernatural, the one I gave up on ever returning after the colossal failure of season 8. I love when the brothers have a mission, support each other, and then do what it takes to get things done Winchester-style. Even better Dean was vulnerable, scared, fierce, defeated, and victorious all in 42 minutes. This episode gave Jensen Ackles something to sink his teeth into and he excelled…like usual. Cain's speech to Dean was also a high point. I don't think Dean will ever kill Sam but I could definitely see him killing Crowley. That is if Crowley doesn't try to kill him first. That demon has put up with a lot from the Winchesters and they keep mocking him for it. I'm not saying be friends with him because…well, King of Hell. I am saying respect the position because Crowley has been a thorn in their side before and they tend to get more done in cooperation with him than against him. Of course that was the awesome version of Crowley, not this self-doubting pawn in his mother's game. I like Rowena just fine, but she now needs to go. She's making the King of Hell look like a sap. I'm not fond of sad sack Crowley. I want the evil, snarky King to come into his own again. As for Sam, he's still awesome. I love that he can be there supporting Dean through his crisis in the same way that Dean has been there for him. He won't give up on Dean, but he's running out of options. In many ways, this reminds me of the end of season 5 when Dean finally just had to let Sam jump, standing by him for moral support. Let's hope it doesn't end so tragically though.

Grade: A-

Best Reason to Watch - Dean finally deals with Cain
Best Scene - Dean vs. Cain prefight verbal sparring
Best Action - Dean cuts off Cain's hand to recover the First Blade
Best Moment - Dean collapses in Sam's arms and Sam tells him that he did it
Biggest Aww Scene - Dean tells Sam he's scared
Worst Hobby - studying serial killers
Most in Need of Going - Rowena simply because she's making Crowley look incompetent
Most Right - Dean cannot let Cain keep killing people. He just can't, no matter the consequences.
Most Surprising - Dean gives Castiel the blade
Smartest Plan - Austin is an illusion / Crowley doesn't give Dean the blade until right before he needs it
Worst Plan - purposely antagonizing the King of Hell is only going to backfire and they keep doing it
Most Twisted Plan - Cain wants to kill off his bloodline, up to 10% of the world's population
Best Phone Name - Not Moose. Bwah! I love Crowley's nicknames.
Worst Trend - the only way we ever seem to see Crowley is if Cas is in the episode too
The "Welcome Back" Award - Cain
Best Quotes -
1. Sam: "It's called true crime, Dean. It's a hobby." Dean: "No, bass fishing, needlepoint, that's a hobby, okay? Collecting serial killer stats…that's…that is an illness."
2. Dean: "My turn." Sam: "Dean look, we want to help." Dean: "No, no. With you in the ring, you'd just be a liability." Cas: "Dean?" Dean: "I'd be too worried about what he could do to you…or what I could. Plus I need you three out here to take out whatever comes out of there. And I'm serious. I mean whatever comes out." Crowley: "Happily."
3. Rowena: "You've got the crown, but you're no ruler. Not really. A sad, bored, wee boy on the throne who flew a** up the second those Winchesters, hunters who'd as soon see you dead as to have you to tea, asked you too. You're no king, not anymore. You're their b**."
4. Cain: "This may be hard to believe in light of what I'm about to do to you, but I care about you Dean. I truly do and I know I'm doing you a favor. I'm saving you." I'm saving you." Dean: "Saving me from what?" Cain: "From your fate. Has it ever occurred to you? Have you ever mused upon the fact that you're living my life in reverse? My story began when I killed my brother and that's where your story inevitably will end." Dean: "No, never." Cain: "It's called the Mark of Cain for a reason. First, first you'd kill Crowley. There'd be some strange mixed feelings on that one, but you'd have your reason. You'd get it done. No remorse. And then you'd kill the angel, Castiel. Now that…that I'd suspect would hurt something awful. And then, then would come the murder you'd never survive. The wound that would finally turn you into as much as a savage as it did me." Dean: "No." Cain: "Your brother Sam. The only thing standing between you and that destiny is this blade. You're welcome, my son."
5. Rowena: "Whiners beget whiners. You can't reward behavior like that."
6. Dean: "Your bloodline's tainted, so you say." Cain: "So I know. Not all killers are my descendants and not all my descendants are killers but enough are. Enough for me to know that extinguishing them is the least I owe this world. Can you honestly tell me that humanity's not better off with fewer Tommys and fewer Leons. Fewer yous."

Nominated Show:

Brooklyn 99 - 2.06 - Jake and Sophia

I see the appeal of this comedy. There are several quirky characters but all differ in how they are quirky, which makes the interaction between them fun. I especially liked the interplay between Diaz and Santiago in this one. Even before the characters spoke everything from their dress to their posture made me instantly recognize them. You've got the laid back, rule-flaunting tough cop and the uptight, rule abiding future management go-getter. Generally that means a lot of insults from both sides, but I didn't get that here. They are funny more than mean-spirited and I also love how the Captain is desperate not to be drawn into their union president conflict. I like that he ended up intervening even better. In fact, I loved every scene Andre Braugher was in. My biggest problem with this comedy though is its main star. I just don't get the appeal of Andy Samberg. He comes off as obnoxious instead of funny to me and he's the #1 reason why I don't see myself watching much Brooklyn 99 in the future. Jake is too immature, although Boyle and Linetti aren't any better. I didn't laugh in any scene they were in. I guess I am just more picky about my comedies than my dramas. If it doesn't make me laugh AND have heart, it's not for me.

Grade: C+
Ranking - 2
Audience - fans of workplace comedies with zany characters or those who like manchild comedies

Best Reason to Watch - the union election subplot
Best Scene - Captain tells Amy to run for union rep, even though he spends most of the time avoiding that conversation
Best Physical Comedy - Jake and Sophia with the extra spicy hot wings
Best Character - Captain Holt
Best Plan - Amy promises to bring back party sub leftovers to win the union election
Best Reaction - Boyle's dad to Gina's mom suggesting a romantic interlude
The "I Would Fall for It" Award - I'm with Terry. Meatloaf the singer is awesome.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Eva Longoria, famously from Desperate Housewives / Stephen Root from Newsradio and Pushing Daisies / Sandra Bernhard from stand-up comedy
Best Reference - Die Hard
Best Quotes -
1. Amy: "Writing things down is nerdy? What do you do?" Rosa: "Just forget stuff like a cool person."
2. Sophia: "What? You think John Adams was just some idiot?" Jake: "No, I think John Adams was a mini-series I didn’t watch because it looked like a book."
3. DA: "Gary, the defense attorney, isn't going to be here." Jake: "Oh, is he sore from high fiving criminals he's gotten out of jail?" Terry: "Did he get a murderer off who then murdered him to celebrate?"
4. Sophia: "I can't believe I slept with a cop. It's like I had sex with Hans Gruber." Jake: "What? I'm not the Gruber. You're the Gruber."
5. Jake: "Not to overstate it but I'm definitely going to die alone and work is all I have."

New Show:

The Odd Couple - 1.01 - Pilot

I tend to be a fan of Matthew Perry's characters, so I really would like this to be a hit. Sadly though, it has a laugh track. That's automatic points off any comedy. I don't need people to tell me when to laugh and it's just painfully awkward when the laugh track's going at something I don't find funny. While I did laugh several times in this episode, it was generally shallow comedy - the stuff that made Two and a Half Men famous. Still the premise holds much potential and I love the side characters already. If they continue to make use of them, especially Emily, it could be a long-running hit. This is definitely in the wait and see category for me because right now I don't know why we need this remake. It's no Go On, which was criminally underrated.

Grade: C+
Ranking - 3
Audience - anyone who likes typical CBS comedies and aren't overly bothered by a laugh track

Best Reason to Watch - to see how it differs from the original / lots of quotable sayings
Best Character Interaction - Emily and Felix although I found Felix and Oscar funny too
Biggest Oops - the other girl Oscar played the mail trick with knocks on the door while he's with Casey
Best Match - Oscar and Casey decide to double date because they both have high strung emotional wrecks in their lives
Most Cool - the title sequence does a great job of playing with the original show but making it their own
The "Welcome Back" Award - Matthew Perry of course / Yvette Nicole Brown from Community / Leslie Bibb from Popular and About a Boy
Most Flexible - Felix and his yoga
Most Frustrating - laugh track
Best Quotes -
1. Oscar: "Well when Gabby left, she took the maid." Felix: "Are you sure? I think I saw something moving under that pile."
2. Oscar: "Clearly you were sent from your planet to tidy up ours."
3. Oscar: "Teddy, you filming my sports ticker." Teddy: "And your 10 TVs. The next time my wife tells me I'm spending money like an idiot, I'm gonna show her this." Oscar: "You know what you should get a sports wall. You're my agent. Tell Diane you need one for work." Teddy: "Oh Oscar, you get a wife or a wall. No man gets both."
4. Oscar: "Trial separation? You were in couple's therapy for 8 years and the last year, you were the only one who was going."
5. Felix: "I'm fine. In fact, I think I'm going to be staying here with Oscar." Emily: "You are?" Oscar: "Yes, this is his home now." Emily: "Oh, I'm so happy for you guys. Blink if you're being coerced."

Weekly Shows:

Perception - 3.11 - Brainstorm

This was one weird episode of Perception. From the beginning mind twist where everything was a dream to solving an Agatha Christie crime where the whole thing didn't exist, Perception went around the bend this week. I loved the interactions Daniel had with his mom and dad, both in the dream world and in real life. I also really loved the montage of all the people who care about him trying to get him to talk. Donnie dissing on the Cubs while talking up the White Sox made me laugh, largely because I'm from St. Louis where we love to rag on the Cubs. The whole montage did a great job of summing up the individual characters and how they react to stress. My only real problem with this episode is that we only have a few episodes of this series left so I need them to make every second count. Giving the dream focal point, it made sense that many times it felt like this episode was drifting but I would rather have a clear focused Daniel to lead us out.

Grade: B-

Best Scene - Dream Mom reminds Daniel of the good times he had with his dad
Best Awww Scene - Daniel visits his dad and asks about the baseball game in Scottsdale and then they watch baseball on the TV together
Biggest Mind Twist - the whole opening sequence that ended up being a hallucination
Best Character Interaction - Daniel and his mom
Biggest Douche - Roger by a whole lot
Best Montage - everyone tries to get Daniel to talk
Funniest Logic - Daniel discounts his mother as the killer based solely on the fact that she never tried to kill his father
Best Approach - Donnie rags on the Cubs and talks up the White Sox to get Daniel to talk. Love it!
The "Poor Baby" Award - Daniel gets so excited that his schizophrenia may be asymptomatic after the blast but it's all just a dream
Biggest Clue Moment - Daniel gathers the whole family in the drawing room to eliminate suspects one at a time and point the finger at the murderer
Most Surprising - Dream Daniel wants pancakes instead of his usual grapefruit
Worst Position - Paul, who has to decide whether to remove a piece of Daniel's brain or not
Best Tough Love - Kate says she's not coming back until Daniel starts talking
Best Make Over - I didn't realize that Alice and Celia were the same person until Daniel said it
Best Quotes -
1. Daniel: "Go forth. Make bad decisions. Discover something."
2. Max: "You know I've been racking my brain trying to figure out why it is you won't talk to us and just right now I finally figured it out. It's got nothing to do with your disease or the surgery. It's about you being a stubborn a**hole, Doc."
3. James: "Roger, if you say another word about my son I'm gonna shove that glass so far down your throat it's going to pin your a** to the chair."
4. Daniel: "You can tell that Benedict Arnold teaching assistant of mine that I am fine and he is fired."
5. Doctor: "Mr. Pierce, have you ever discussed a situation like this with your son?" James: "What to do if he's blown up in a house?"
6. Kate: "You are forgetting one very important thing." Daniel: "What's that?" Kate: "None of this is real."

State of Affairs - 1.13 - Deadcheck

For what is likely the series finale, this episode was kind of a snoozer in the middle. The pacing seemed way off and I found myself getting up a few times to take a random break. That should never happen in a finale. I am glad that they resolved the bomb vests and as for me, I believe the show ends the second Charlie assassinates Fatah. I don't even care if it was Nick or Jack in the truck racing towards her or that the President betrayed her in the end. I'm just happy Fatah is dead and the bombs have been neutralized. That's enough closure for me. I am however very disappointed at how disjointed the whole thing felt. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to take the super slow penultimate episode and make it the one where they concentrated of finding all the bombs. Then that wouldn't be the only rushed subplot in this episode. They could have then spent all of this one tracking down and killing Fatah. You can't even blame the somewhat shoddy ending on the ratings because as far as I know, this whole show was shot before the premiere aired. I'm still glad that I spent 13 hours watching this, if only because it reminded me of how much better a show can get from its pilot. I liked the plot and some of the twists, even the ones I saw coming. And yes, I liked the acting - all of the acting. Still I can't help but feel disappointed that the payoff was this episode.

Grade: C+

Best Reason to Watch - If you've watched this far, you might as well see the end.
Best Scene - Charlie and Fatah confrontation
Best Place to End - Charlie assassinates Fatah
Best Moment - PotUS and Charlie hug
Biggest Bleeeep - You can watch Charlie's mouth start cursing but they turned the sound off for that part
Most in Need of Dying - Gantry and his company
Most Intense - the chase between Kurt and Emily
Worst Plan - privatizing the CIA / David resigning
Best Plan - Kurt undercover
Most Creative - Fatah using constellation points for where he's bombing
Best Character - Syd
Best Sense of Closure - the vest bombs are all secure
Best Use of My Hermione Voice - chanting, "What an idiot!" about the dummy who still got drunk with a tattooed assassin and then messed around with a bomb vest instead of waiting for an expert to come defuse it
Least Surprising - Whenever they make the camera fuzzy to create some sense of surprise I guess, it's exactly what you think it is. What a poor way to create drama in your narrative.
Worst of Business - creating a terrorist in order to drive business in the protection business
Best Quotes -
1. Charlie: "There was never a Dr. Jekyll. Just Mr. Hyde."
2. PotUS: "Are you asking me for a contract?" Gantry: "No ma'am, I am asking you for a hunting license."
3. Kurt: "You guys know, right?" Givens: "Yeah, we're just sharing this awkward moment with you."
4. PotUS: "What you're doing is treasonous." Gantry: "What I'm doing is free enterprise."
5. Navaro: "Charlie's wading into deep water. I'll be damned if we're going to let her drown."

Eye Candy - 1.06 - ICU

This may be the least plausible episode of TV that I have ever seen. In my whole life. But that doesn't mean that it wasn't supremely entertaining because it was. This was another fast-paced winner of an episode where the wit is high and the adrenaline flows. There wasn't one moment that dragged but there wasn't one moment that made a lick of medical sense either. It's a check your brains at the door and just enjoy the ride kind of episode and I love it. I howled all the way through the spinal tap scene, as in tears running down my face from laughing so hard. I'm not sure which was more hilarious - George giving Lindy a disease with such painful treatments, the hate you vibe from the affianced, Tommy hearing that he had to be tested to, or Doctor Wells' reaction to it all. Either way, no comedy is outdoing it this week. I also liked the twist of the mystery. I knew there was no way Erika would live through the episode. Eye Candy loves killing off at least one person a night. However, I didn't get the crazy, revenge-driven psycho killer vibe off of her so it was a complete shock that she was willing to kill people to take down the hospital. The bonus of it all though was more George, who cracks me up every time. His whole innocent routine in the van is a sure sign he should NOT play poker, but he is the best friend you can have in a pinch. That's if he doesn't end up being the Flirtual Killer of course.

Grade: B+ (because logic fails demand a grade reduction even in a fun episode)

Best Reason to Watch - it was hilarious and fast-paced
Best Scene / Funniest Scene - the farce that is Lindy getting additional tests
Best Save - Tommy comes in right before Lindy gets jabbed in the spine with a huge needle
Least Plausible - everything that happens from the time Lindy is admitted
Most Ridiculous Visual - The hospital is strewn with papers everywhere. What? Did someone say, "Screw this. No lights. Woo hoo. Confetti, it's a parade." Just because the equipment malfunctioned would not mean the hospital suddenly became a zoo.
Least Necessary - the reminder that there are 2 mass murderers in Lindy's life
Biggest Twist - Tommy asks Lindy for her help
The "Welcome Back" Award - Elizabeth Alderfer, who was in the latest Forever episode
Most Useful Information - Lindy fakes illness using exercise and energy drinks. Teens around the country find a new way to ditch school.
Least Useful Information - George quotes all the ways a relatively healthy person can die in a hospital
Best Plan - Wells wears a ring to keep patients from asking her out
Best Hospital Ever - patients get nifty robes with huge pockets perfect for transporting all your electronics
Least Surprising - Erika dies from a malfunction
Most Surprising - Erika committed suicide by uploading a virus into the hospital's servers
The "This is Why You Google" Award - George gives Lindy a fake disease she couldn't possibly have and it's one that's particularly painful to test
Best Quotes -
1. Tommy: "We need to communicate better, darling. It can be very disturbing when you do things on your own." Lindy: "But we agreed. You can't control me. I don't work for you." Tommy: "You know what, test away."
2. Lindy: "Would it help if I drew a line with a Sharpie?"
3. Tommy: "You're wirelessly routed directly to the command server of the hospital. Not exactly legal." George: "Well you know that depends on your definition of legal." Tommy: "The opposite of illegal." George: "Ah yes, that would make sense."
4. Wells: "Wow, she certainly does get around, doesn't she?"
5. George: "They're not really going to do what I think they're going to do, are they?" Yeager: "Yeah." George: "Gross."

Fresh Off the Boat - 1.05 - Persistent Romeo

This episode starts off really slow and doesn't get funny until the end. Still at the end I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. Jessica's paranoia might be frustrating but it does lead to comedy gold and stuffed animal nonsense. The skewering of newsmagazine's fear mongering was classic. I don't really care about Eddie and Brock's rivalry and I'm pretty sure that even middle schoolers in the 90's would not confuse a sexual harassment video with a porno. I mean they might not know the terms but they've seen enough PSA's by that time to recognize one. The 90's lived for the PSA on everything from drugs to wearing a helmet when riding a bike. Perhaps Louis should have done the sex PSA because he seems to have been thorough at the very least. No flowers and watering cans for him. Ha!

Grade: C+

Best Reason to Watch - the last 6 minutes
Funniest Scene - Jessica attacks Eddie to explain date rape. Yes, I know that sounds odd and the topic is
serious, but it really was funny.
Most Paranoid - Jessica and apparently whoever ran Nightly News in the 90's
The "Shut Up" Award - Evan's shrieking noise MUST stop. He's a torture machine in a little body.
The "Say What?" Award - no middle school kid is so naïve to confuse a harassment video with a porno
Best Character - grandma and her poker winning ways
Worst Seminar Ever - Jessica sexually harasses the employees in her Sexual Harassment Seminar
Best News - the restaurant has a waiting list so they are less likely to go under
Worst Reason to Come to America - to have sex
Best Quotes -
1. Jessica: "I don’t have to say I'm sorry to him, Louis. I gave birth to him. Life is worth a thousand I am sorry's."
2. Louis: "These are not the type of crabs Maryland is known for, and most important, like we always say during the SNL monologue when a musician hosts, wrap it up."
3. VO: "My mom convinced my dad to let her give the Sexual Harassment seminar by…well, pretty much harassing him."
4. Louis: "I guess he's not a kid anymore. I can't believe it's time to give him the talk." Jessica: "I know. Well I will let you know how it goes." Louis: "Oh hell no, you created this whole situation. I'll handle this now, father to son."
5. Principal: "My wife did all the illustrations." Louis: "Oh is that what your wife does with her free time? My wife worries about sexual harassment, razorblades in apples, baby thieves, my favorite blue sweater getting me mistaken for a gang member…" Jessica: "It's a nice sweater for a Crip to get shot in." Principal: "I'm going to Applebee's after this. Do you think I'll be okay?" Jessica: "No, I don't."

Rizzoli & Isles - 5.13 - Bridge to Tomorrow

I have some serious reservations about these characters. No one but Maura confronts Jane for jumping off a bridge? A bridge! If my best friend or family did that, we'd be having a serious conversation about their self-preservation instinct. That's insane. Other than that, this episode was a welcome return. I love how on target the character interactions were, especially those between Frankie and Angela. The scene where she got Frankie to help her practice the interview was sweet and funny. Anyone else think she's going to end up managing Korsak's new bar? Loving the storyline for Korsak by the way. He's made some interesting changes and it's helped to keep his character fresh. The friendship between Jane and Maura continues to make me awww and the ending scene with the bucket lists and pasta machine were both heartfelt and funny. That's a winning combination in any show.

Grade: B

Best Reason to Watch - all the great character interactions
Best Awww Moment - the first item on Maura's bucket list is to do something on Jane's
Best Character Interaction - Frankie and Angela
Best Reaction - Jane to Moira getting her a gift but not letting her open it
Most Surprising - Korsak buys the bar
Most Enthusiastic - Angela over the thought of having a pension
Most in Need of a Gibbs' Slap - Jane for jumping off the bridge
Biggest Back Story - Nina's boyfriend died by a middle school gang member
Biggest Burn - Korsak leaves The Feminine Mystique for the woman hating psycho
Biggest Oops - another candidate for the job mistakes Angela for an applicant's mother
The "Not Sympathetic" Award - Sorry but I don’t feel your pain, Paul. If you fell in love with someone else, get a divorce. Don't commit adultery.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Jamie Bamber, most famous for Battlestar Galactica
Best Quotes -
1. Jane: "Any clues from the letters?" Maura: "They reveal someone intelligent, probably college educated. She's clever, manipulative, and a woman who is clearly disturbed and frustrated." Jane: "You just described how I feel about this case."
2. Jane: "Bye, bye alibi." Korsak: "Later, later perpetrator."
3. Jane: "So there's this place in San Diego and they put civilians through Hell Week." Maura: "Hell is something I'm trying to avoid."
4. Frankie: "Hey, I'm proud of you how you went after that job. And let me tell you something. No college degree is going to compete with the PhD you have in a life well lived."
5. Korsak: "I've been over this guy's case files and one thing's very clear. He hates women. The last time I looked, you're a woman." Jane: "It's easy to see how you made detective."

The Flash - 1.14 - Fallout

This is a tale of 27 subplots, about most of which I do not care. Time travel gives me a headache. Gorilla Men make me snicker. Iris' gig as the Girl Friday of metahumans makes me yawn. Even Wells the evil Yellow Flash is stuck in the mud. When in the world are the people in his life going to realize he has his own evil agenda? Seriously. However take away the subplots and I really, really liked this Metahuman of the Week. Stein brought all the lovely snark an episode can handle. Plus he's played by the fabulous Victor Garber, who always makes TV better. Ronnie brought the heart but not in an overly sentimental way. Plus this is the best role Robbie Amell has ever had. (We'll just pretend that The Tomorrow People never happened.) Combining both of them into one superhero was inspired and I certainly expect that they will return on a regular basis, especially now that I hope General Eiling is gone. Score one for the big ape. I thought Caitlin was phenomenal this week too. I expected her to be more clingy and less willing to let Ronnie fight the battles he needs to but she was every bit the hero herself. Sometimes it's harder to know your loved ones are going into battle where you cannot help them than it is to go into that battle yourself.

Grade: B- (A- for the Human Torch stuff)

Best Reason to Watch - the Ronnie and Dr. Stein mash up
Best Reason to Fast Forward - always time travel
Best Character Interaction - Stein and Ronnie
The "Hokey Pokey" Award - Grodd the Gorilla Man is as cheesy as they come
Biggest Comeback - Morse code, which is been in 2 shows so far this week
Biggest Hero - Ronnie
Best New Snark - Dr. Stein
Best Aww Moment - Ronnie confirms that he is himself
Biggest Buffy Moment - Does everyone know Barry is The Flash except Iris? To quote Buffy: "Having a secret identity in this town is a job of work."
Worst Plan - anything that starts with smashing a hole in the space-time continuum is not a good plan, nope, unh hnh
Biggest Mind Warp - Joe tells Barry that he time traveled back to the night of his mom's murder and tried to stop it
Biggest Pet Peeve - There is NO cone of silence, people. That coffee shop guy isn't even an arm's length away from this conversation.
Most Cranky - Ronnie and Stein, who are thoroughly sick of each other's company
Subplot I Care Least About - Iris the intrepid metahuman reporter
The "Thanks for NOT Clarifying" Award - Joe, just stop asking about time travel. It never, ever makes sense. Still Cisco cutting through the mumbo jumbo with Terminator and Back to the Future analogies sped up the exposition.
Biggest Nitpick - What is up with Barry's eyebrows? Is there something different or is this just the first time I've noticed how funny they are?
The "Keep the Faith" Award - Joe, your instincts about Wells are right so keep going even in the face of disbelief
Niftiest Trick - Ronnie and Stein can now join together and come apart when they wish
Biggest WTH - Shouldn't Stein tell someone that Wells drugged him? Seriously, how long are we going to drag out the reveal that Wells has another agenda?
Best Background Music - the swelling hero opus when Ronnie tells Caitlin he has to help save Stein
Biggest Douche - Wells for turning Stein into the General
Best Quotes -
1. Stein: "Excuse me, are we all planning to sing Kumbaya next?"
2. Caitlin: "I had Ronnie but then I lost him. Then I found him again but he wasn't actually Ronnie. Then I got him back, but just for a day until I lost him again." Cisco: "You guys are like 10 seasons of Ross and Rachel but just like smooshed into one year."
3. Barry: "Impossible's just another Tuesday for us, remember?" Cisco: "Yeah but this is like some Twilight Zone level stuff, and I say that knowing full well that we have a guy locked up in our basement who can turn himself into poison gas." Ronnie: "Wait. Really?" Cisco: "Dude, that was like week 3."
4. Caitlin: "It's okay. I understand you have to go." Ronnie: "How'd you know?" Caitlin: "I'm connected to you too."
5. Joe: "I left you three messages." Barry: "Yeah, I know. I'm sorry." Joe: "About the lack of communication or that new hole out in the Badlands?"
6. Stein: "Oh Mr. Allen, I suppose it's too much to hope you moonlight as a pizza boy. I am famished."

The 100 - 2.13 - Resurrection

I'll be honest. If Kane had died, the grade for this episode would have been lower. I spent the entire time waiting for them to kill off another favorite character. That's this show. No one but Clarke and probably Bellamy are safe and the stakes just keep getting higher. I do think that Clarke got off too easily for her role in the missile strike, but I love how Kane reminded Abby that they each carry their own sins too. No one is righteous on this show and they all have battle scars in the war to survive. I'm not even sure that the 100 are the good guys as Abby claims. Sure, from the side we see they are, but all groups are equally capable of being ruthless to get what they want. All groups have blood on their hands. Probably the most fascinating part of this episode is how they cemented Clarke as warrior over healer in it. In the end, Abby asks Clarke to stay and help heal but the war is calling her. No longer is Clarke leader and healer in equal measure like she was in season 1. It has been a fascinating character study to watch and I expect things to get much worse for Clarke before they get better. If they ever get better, and on this show that's NOT a given. I also liked the reconciliation between Indra and Lincoln. He proved his worth to her and hopefully this will allow us to see grounder life from Lincoln's point of view again. Plus it should allow him to stay with Octavia at least for an episode or two. Provided neither of them die as well. I swear I spend more time worrying about the health of my favorite fictional characters on this show than I do my own family.

Grade: A-

Best Reason to Watch - the war has begun and it's intense
Best Scene - Kane and Abby talk about their sins on the Ark
Best Moment - Indra shakes Lincoln's hand and hugs him back into the fold
Most Haunting Visual - horse with its tail on fire running from the missile strike
Best Back Story - Maya's parents were freedom fighters
Best Story Choice If I'm Not Jinxing It - Kane will live. Of course he could also die from complications or another attack in the next episode, but for now I am hanging on to his positive prognosis for dear life. They cannot kill ALL the peacemakers on this show.
Best Continuity - remembering the 300 who gave their lives to allow others to have more oxygen
The "Um, My Vast TV Watching Says This is a Bad Plan" Award - I don't watch many medical shows but one clear message from them all is moving a victim can actually cause more damage. I doubt there's a good wheelchair selection in the grounder camp, so perhaps you should stop pulling on Indra, Lincoln.
Best Aww Moment - Lincoln repeats the words Octavia told him in the last episode
The "I'm Not Buying It" Award - How in the world is it taking that long to find one sniper? They can follow the sound of it to get to a general location and these people are trained warriors. Plus, exactly how much ammo doe this guy have? He can't be lugging an armory with him.
Worst Leader - Jasper, who needs to be voted off this island
Worst Kept Secret - Abby tells Kane that Clarke knew about the missile
The "Welcome Back" Award - Genevieve Buechner, who played Lily in Bloody Mary on Supernatural / Ian Tracey, guest star extraordinaire
Best Music - Couldn't Stop Caring by The Spiritual Machines
Best Quotes -
1. Abby: "I'm sorry Marcus. I'm so sorry." Kane: "It's not your fault, Abby." Abby: "It is my fault. She's my daughter." Kane: "What are you talking about?" Abby: "She knew." Kane: "Clarke escaped before the attack? She knew it was coming." Abby: "Yes. How could she do something like this?" Kane: "Because she grew up on the Ark. She learned what to do from us." Abby: "She let this happen. She could have stopped it." Kane: "She made a choice like executing people for stealing medicine and food. Like sucking the air from the lungs out 300 parents so they could save their children." Abby: "Like floating the man you love to save your people." Kane: "Yes. We have to answer for our sins, Abby." Abby: "After everything we've done, do we even deserve to survive?"
2. Abbie: "Your femoral artery is lacerated. The weight of the beam is the only thing keeping you alive." Kane: "Hell of a bandage."
3. Monty: "So what do we do?" Bellamy: "Stay alive and be ready to fight. War is coming."
4. Lincoln: "Just let him kill me. Then take him out. Come on Clarke. Please, your people need you." Clarke: "You are my people."
5. Monty: "Nope, leave the hallway cameras. We'll need eyes out there." Jasper: "You can do that?" Monty: "Have you met me?"

The Goldbergs - 2.13 - Van People

Murray is one of my favorite characters on TV these days. I love that heart of gold that lives within the gruff exterior and peeps out usually at least once an episode. He makes me laugh and he makes me awww. For me, he is the center of The Goldbergs even though Barry and Beverly usually get the most attention. So obviously my favorite part of the episode is Murray and Erica's interactions. That being said, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me that these two were going so hard at each other. It's not like the show isn't full of instances when both back down, even pretty quickly sometimes. Plus I don't get Erica's objections to filling the car up with gas. She is the one driving it. I guess because there are sooo many things that parents and teens fight about, even back in the 80's, I have a harder time buying this one even if it did lead to the comedy of the van running out of gas. Adam's quest to be funny also left me cold and was ironically the least funny part of the episode. Part of it is that I never much liked Andrew Dice Clay or most of the others mentioned. Good thing Barry and Beverly took on sympathetic roles. I loved the interactions between them too.

Grade: B

Best Reason to Watch - all the heart
Best Scene - Murray and Erica on the porch swing
Best Middle School Student Ever - Dana, who is the most well-rounded kid on the planet
Biggest Hmm - I understand stubborn. I don't understand this level of stubborn, especially since we haven't see it consistently from either Murray or Erica. They both always cave.
Funniest Moment - Beverly sneaks food to Barry, who devours the corn
Best Character Interaction - Murray and Erica
The "Gross but Thrifty" Award - Barry buys milk and then just eats other people's scraps at lunch so he can pocket his leftover lunch money
The "That Takes Talent" Award - bubblegum landing you in the hospital, hmmm
The "Voice of Reason" Award - Beverly and that's terrifying
The "Poor Baby" Award - It's not easy to be a teacher, especially not a middle school teacher. I feel for you, Mr. Woodburn. Still you might be better off in elementary school where the kids for the most part still like you.
The "Murray's Always Right" Award - Barry runs out of gas, just like Murray warned them about
Best Reference - A-Team
Worst Reference - most of the comedians Adam loves
Best Quotes -
1. Beverly: "Our babies can't live in a van. They could get snatched by a kidnapper, who wouldn't need a creepy van because he's being conveniently provided with one."
2. Murray: "Well if you were trying to kill us from worry, you're the big winner here." Erica: "No, you are. I know I always talk about how much I hate this house and your dumb rules, but when I actually got a chance to go I couldn't do it." Murray: "Yeah this one really got away from us." Erica: "I am so damn stubborn that I almost ran away because I didn't want to put gas in the car." Murray: "Alright, so you and me, we don't back down. I don't see that as a bad thing." Erica: "You don't seriously believe that, do you?" Murray: "Oh yeah. When I was your age, I was a cr** student. There was this guidance counselor who told me that I should take up a trade 'cause no college would ever take a guy like me. So out of spite, I worked my butt off. I got into Penn State and that's where I met your mother." Erica: "So I literally wouldn't be here if you weren't such a pigheaded jerk." Murray: "That is correct and mark my words, when you do finally leave this house the world better watch out. But give me a few more years. I'm not ready to let you go just yet."
3. Pops: "I just don't understand how you could say those horrible things about Old Mother Hubbard. That's her dog. They're friends."
4. Erica: "What's that smell?" Barry: "The smell of action."
5. Murray: "They tried to live in a van. Those morons didn't even make it through the night." Beverly: "What my husband means is that there was a minor disagreement that resulted in our kids briefly moving into a carpeted vehicle."

Empire - 1.07 - Our Dancing Days

It's easy to see why this show is a juggernaut. The soapiness mixed with actually good music combines the best of entertainment with the worst of reality TV. Still it may be going overboard with the high drama subplots at this time. I really did not need the Cookie-Lucious-Anika love triangle to become an even bigger mess. I never need to see Lucious and Cookie screwing and spiking an addict's drink when they are trying to stay sober is the epitome of evil and selfish. What is wrong with these people! They are all repulsive and that's what makes this show so successful. Still in all the ways this show makes me feel like I need to take a shower after its done, there are moments of real heart. For instance, Rhonda calming Andre down when he's freaking out over his dad's death was heartwarming even as she was reminding him of his cold-hearted plan to take over the family business through any means necessary. The way Jamal and Hakeem put their differences aside to be there for their dad's big night made the best music the show's had so far even better. Then there's Cookie's big speech which was funny, loyal, and downright awesome. Just when I feel like I cannot stand the characters anymore, they throw in the warmth that draws me right back in.

Grade: B- (for the love triangle going full steam)

Best Reason to Watch - the investor celebration
Best Scene - Lucious breaks the news of his disease to his family
Best Speech - Cookie's bid to the investors
Best Moment - Rhonda calms Andre down
The "Say What?" Award - Lucious had Jamal marry Olivia…and when he was 18. What kind of crummy parenting is that?
Least Needed Subplot - Lucious and Cookie hooking up and Anika seeing them
The "Get Over It" Award - Cookie, did you really think you should be with Lucious instead of Anika in the ambulance? Get a reality check. Now!
Biggest Witch - Anika, who spikes Elle's drink because she's jealous of Cookie. That's it. You suck out loud too.
Biggest Idiot - Hakeem. Did he really think a necklace with his name on it was going to make his girlfriend ecstatic?
Worst Plan - abandoning your kid in an elevator
Least Subtle - Cookie asks Deveaux to beef up security at her place because she's single
Most One-Sided - Now I am no fan of Hakeem. Not at all. But this feud is not all on him so Cookie needs to start seeing it for what it is. Both of them trying to outdo each other.
Best Music - the mix of Dire Straits' Money for Nothing
Best Line in the Music - "Look mom, I'm on TV."
Best Quotes -
1. Cookie: "Shut up, both of y'all. One night of your little selfish lives. Now your brother Andre is out there trying to hustle up big time investors, trying to make your father's dream come true. And he worked his a** off for this moment, right here, right now. Fought his way like a dog out of the projects for you two ingrates. Now can you please come together for this one thing your father needs so he can bring this thing home for you. You hear me? I said, 'Do you hear me?' " Lucious: "Hakeem, listen to your mother. A very wise woman. You all take a minute."
2. Lucious: "Well how do you know it's not his baby?" Cookie: "You've got to have sex to make a baby, Lucious."
3. Hakeem: "He's dying and you're worrying about an IPO."
4. Cookie: "This is your fault, Lucious." Lucious: "Why is this my fault?"
5. Chef Roble: "Bro, it seems like your lady's on a completely different date than you are, but…uh, that chicken right there doesn't turn that around, I don't know what will."
6. Michael: "I love you but you're in love with your music. You don't have room for anyone else."

Stalker - 1.17 - Fun and Games

Yikes! I think my heart stopped 3 times in this episode. I am so glad I watched this in the light of day. Ray makes a great unsteady villain and I love the idea of finally being rid of Perry. I suppose Perry should be given points for trying to help Tracy but he just doesn't. He's the creepster who started the whole thing. Besides, he was a whiny, spoiled brat who needed to leave my screen. Ben however doesn't, so I am trusting that he will pull through. I am also trusting that CBS will air the remaining episodes like usual because you cannot leave a show's fans on such a big cliffhanger. I want to know how Beth goes free and quite honestly I hope it is Beth who saves herself. She knows this guy better than anyone. She knows his weaknesses. She's also good at her job and can use the skills she's learned working with other stalkers to turn the tables on him. I will actually be ticked off if Beth suddenly turns into a damsel in distress who needs Jack and Janice to rescue her. Let Beth outsmart Ray and then take him down herself.

Grade: B+

Best Reason to Watch - it ends in one heck of a cliffhanger
Best Scene - Ray finds Beth and shoots Ben
Best Action - junkyard
Biggest Idiot - Perry, who at least should have waited to try to run
Best Back Story - Beth explains what happened with Ray
Biggest Understatement - Perry: "I've…uh, misjudged the situation a bit."
Biggest Hmm - If Ray served his sentence and his family kept him locked up anyway, shouldn't the psychiatrist who broke him out have needed the family's permission to let him leave? Otherwise Ray could have walked out on his own at anytime without outside help. That story is even more fishy now.
Least Surprising - Perry and Ray in Beth's house in the cold open was a dream
Most Helpful in a Pinch - Vicki, who is not above threatening the NSA
Best Plan - Ray may be an ice cold psychopath but using Tracy to lure away most of the police was smart
The "Too Little Too Late" Award - While I am glad Perry tries to save Tracy, he is the cause of the whole mess. I feel no sympathy.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Mira Sorvino, mostly of movies
Best Quotes -
1. Perry: "The way you come and go…I have no idea what you're up to." Ray: "Because you disapprove of my actions, Perry. That judge-y face of yours is extremely annoying."
2. Vicki: "Calm down, John. That was not a veiled threat. It was right out there in the open."
3. Jack: "Jack Larsen." Vicki: "Yes, transferred from NYPD homicide." Jack: "Yeah, and I make a bad first impression. Just to warn you." Ben: "I can vouch for that."
4. Gene: "So is this Ray a violent guy or is he messed up in the head, kind of like…" Perry: "Like me?" Gene: "No, what I meant…nah, that's what I meant."
5. Perry: "I don't want any innocent people to get hurt." Ray: "Oh that is such the appropriate thing to say but we both know that is a lie. You secretly want me to be the bad guy. That is why you went to Seattle to spring me out of the crazy house, because you do not have the courage to do it yourself." Perry: "That's not true." Ray: "Oh yes it is." Perry: "That's not true." Ray: "And it's okay. Just don't be such a nagging, little b** about it. Just let it happen. You want Beth, we have to break her bit by bit. She will start to unravel, weaken, make poor decisions. She'll start to separate herself from others. And I do realize that that this is not exactly the nicest way to treat someone you love, but I do believe it will all work out in the end."

Allegiance - 1.03 - Surreptitious Entry

The cat and mouse game of the laptop drove the pacing of this episode and added necessary tension. As did speeding up of time table. I'm still not feeling the relationship between Natalie and Victor. There seems to be many risks with little reward. In other words, not a good plan for a spy. Katya and Mark working together however made the night. I love how they each bring their own skill set to the operation. I also like Natalie standing up for her mom with her sister and the understanding they come to on the roof. To be honest though, what I am really excited about is the next episode. If the promos aren't just a huge tease, the stakes go sky high next week.

Grade: B

Best Reason to Watch - the race to get to the laptop first
Best Scene - Alex almost catches his own parents
Best Character Interaction - Mark and Katya
Least Likely to be Late - Alex is like my kiddo. You have to be there super early just so you aren't one minute late. It's annoying.
Best Travel Convenience - fold up desks on the train are very cool
The "Not Them Again" Award - the Freemasons had zero free time if their ties to all the conspiracies of the world are correct
Most Disgusting - putting your finger in a gunshot wound to stop the bleeding
The "Oh My Poor Child" Award - Sarah doesn't know who Rocky is
The "Say What?" Award- Why did Mark just talk about the plan to betray the SVR when Victor is listening?
Smartest Guy in the Room - Alex by far
The "Welcome Back" Award - Fred Dalton Thompson, best known for Law & Order
Best Quotes -
1. Natalie: "Haven't you heard of the Masons? It's like a cool secret society." Sarah: "Well if it's so secret then why do they give public tours."
2. Sam: "Have a beer with her. Just don't take her to a dive bar or anyplace where some drunk guy might try to grab her butt. It won't end well for them. And don't…do NOT get into a game of quarters with her. That won't end well for you."
3. FBI Leader: "If you keep this in your pocket, you can have your ball back."
4. Sam: "Because the CIA encourages its undercover officers to avoid places filled with reporters and news cameras. We leave that to our friends at the FBI." Alex: "Right." Sam: "Get the hell out of there."
5. Mark: "I'm an engineer, honey. It…it's impressive."

Elementary - 3.15 - When Your Number's Up

It is a rare when I feel more sympathy for Sherlock than Watson. Granted this season it's been hard to find sympathy for either giving their continual fighting, but in this episode Sherlock is the clear winner. He steps on egg shells to make Watson feel more comfortable but also realizes that she is fleeing her old life because of Andrew's death. I like that he confronted her about it, even if she was a little bratty with him. In fact, the way he took care to make it easier on her to return to her old life should she choose to later was the sweetest thing he has ever done. I expect that it was quite expensive as well. No way that apartment was cheap. I hope now that Watson has moved her things into the basement to create her own office, it is also a signal that we are coming to the end of the constant bickering between the main characters. It's beyond old now and they need to move past it. Other than that, I found the flipped format more intriguing. I am a fan of the show Motive, which also takes the same approach. Of course this killer was far less sympathetic than Motive's tend to be. Alicia Witt seems to be typecast these days as the ice cold witch.

Grade: B-

Best Reason to Watch - formula flip so we know who the killer is before Sherlock and Watson do
Best Scene - Sherlock questions whether Joan is moving too fast by moving into the brownstone
Most Cynical - the idea that a formula can tell you how much a person is worth
Most Evil - killing a homeless person
Most Insightful - Sherlock, who wonders if Watson is hiding by moving back into the brownstone
Best New Set - the brownstone basement
Worst Motive - only a psychopath becomes a mass murderer to shop more
The "Welcome Back" Award - Alicia Witt from Friday Night Lights and The Librarians
Best Quotes -
1. Sherlock: "Yesterday, you asked me why I held on to your apartment. You worried that I'm having second thoughts about your return here. I merely question your haste, the timing of it all, so I took steps to keep your options open for your benefit." Watson: "Do you want me living here or not?" Sherlock: "I do. I've never wavered on that. Even having you here the last few days has had a measurable benefit to our process." Watson: "Then what is it?' Sherlock: "For a long time I have argued that you should fully embrace the life of a detective. You've always had a valid rebuttal. I might not share your need for a more balanced existence but I accept it. Now, abruptly, my words hold more truth for you. You're rushing to shed the skin of your former self. You're abandoning your belongings as if leaving the site of a contamination."
2. Sherlock: "Luc speaks not one word of English. In fact, he barely speaks at all. It is but one of his many virtues and a real moving company will step foot in the brownstone over my moldering corpse."
3. Cardenas: "You know they're calling him the Aceway Killer?" Sherlock: "I can only imagine how infuriating that must be when you worked so hard to earn that moniker all by yourself."
4. Sherlock: "I know that you and Andrew were only together for a short while, but I worry that in the aftermath of trauma you might be overadjusting. That moving back might not be the progression that you believe it to be, but might be a regression, a retreat into the safety of the known. I suppose I just want to insure that I haven't been too quick to encourage. That I haven't unwittingly cast myself in the role of enabler."
5. Sherlock: "That you will spend the bulk of your remaining days in prison is, well it's a virtual certainty. What kind of prison on the other hand…" Bell: "You can find yourself in a hole in the ground…" Sherlock: "Or a room with a view, somewhere with a yard, exercise equipment, more white collar criminals than blue. I mean it really just comes down to this Mrs. Powell. What do you think you deserve?"

How to Get Away with Murder - 1.13 - Mama's Here Now

This episode was a seminar in acting lead by Cicely Tyson and Viola Davis with everyone stepping up their game. The scenes were intense and emotionally fraught. Yet it was that very thing that made this episode feel like it dragged on. Yes, I know I am the only person who thought this episode moved at a snail's pace and therefore did not enjoy it as much as usual. What can I say? It dragged in the middle. While I enjoyed watching Annalise fall apart and then build her confidence back up in the light of her mother's confession, I didn't need it to take as long as it did. Annalise is the show and when she is absent even to have Anna May take her place, it causes the show's flaws to stick out a little more. It didn't help that neither Annalise's molestation or Mama's arson surprised me. It felt like the show was building up to a big twist that was already spelled out in neon lights. For me it was more of a surprise that Bonnie actually won the case because they seemed intent on making her look incompetent for the last few episodes. Not that her judgment is sound because Asher? Really? Urgh! I also don't know what to make of Frank watching it. I do like the new twist of Wes not trusting Rebecca and it would be cool if it ended up that Rebecca really is the murderer. Talk about coming full circle. Still Annalise is back and she has a plan for Nate like everyone suspected. I can't wait to see how she works her magic this time.

Grade: B-

Best Reason to Watch - the acting
Best Scene - Mama admits to burning down her house with Uncle Clyde in it because he raped Annalise
Best Twist - Bonnie wins in court
Most Intense - Annalise confronts her mother about being raped as a child
Best Character Interactions - Annalise and her mama / Bonnie and Frank
MVP / Best Character - Mama
The "For the Love of My Sanity" Award - Stop talking about killing Sam in public places. Stop talking about it around Asher. Stop talking about it in hallways. Just freaking stop talking! Argh!
Best Tough Love - Mama trying to get Annalise out of bed
Most Creepy - Mama talking about Annalise and Wesley and sex in the same breath
Worst Time to have Doubts - after you kill someone for your girlfriend may not be the best time to entertain doubts about whether she killed someone beforehand
Worst Way to Celebrate - screwing Asher
Best Recap - Mama, who sums up the season so far better than the previouslies did
Biggest Oops - Bonnie says the jury should find her client guilty and then doesn't cover by saying she's guilty of being a good person or whatever. She admits it was a slip of the tongue.
Least Surprising - Annalise was raped as a child by a relative / Mama killed him
Most Surprising - Connor says no to sex
Best Reaction - Annalise to hearing that her mother killed the man who raped her as a child
Best Subplot - Laurel and Wes visit Rudy at the mental facility
Best Return - Annalise instead of Anna May
The "Welcome Back" Award - Cicely Tyson, acting legend / Mark Famiglietti, a blast from the big time past who starred in Young Americans
Best Quotes -
1. Mama: "Oh I know how…how you've been torturing yourself about what went on here, baby. Maybe you did something real bad. I don't know. Don't much care if you did. I know if you did, you had your reason because sometimes you got to do what you've got to do even if all you've got is a long match and a very flammable hooch."
2. Bonnie: "Why'd you lie to me about Sam? I asked you to your face what happened and you said you didn't know." Frank: "We're not doing this while you're wasted." Bonnie: "She told you not to tell me, right?" Frank: "Do you blame her?" Bonnie: "No, that's why I can't go up there."
3. Connor: "Wow, you even know how to kill a natural high."
4. Annalise: "Oh I learned Anna May belonged in a hand-me-down box. Go home, Mama. I don't need you."
5. Jolene: "Are you sure this is going to work?" Bonnie: "No, but we'll both feel really awesome if it does."

TBBT - 8.15 - The Comic Book Store Regeneration

I don't keep up with TBBT spoilers so while I knew that Carol Ann Susi (the woman who voiced Mrs. Wolowitz) died, I didn't realize that this is the episode in which the character would too. I was watching it late at night and the surprise of it hit me hard. One minute we're watching Nathan Fillion and the next Howard is breaking the news. It was jarring but in the end it was about as realistic as TBBT gets. Sometimes there is no warning and the fallout effects everyone. While I liked the characters reminiscing about their time with Howard's mother, the real gem was the consistency. I often overlook that Sheldon's father died while he was a kid so I too expected him to say something inappropriate. Really he is the one who can most relate and Sheldon is rarely in that position. It was the best twist they could have given. Still the moments leading up the sad news ranged from good to meh. The comic shop's return being the best and the weird Fillion encounter falling closer to meh. It just didn't gel for me and outside the bonnet line I didn't find any of it funny. In fact the whole episode fell short on laughs. Maybe it was supposed to.

Grade: B

Best Reason to Watch - Sheldon is the most empathetic of all
Best Scene - reminiscing about Mrs. Wolowitz together
Worst Friends - Amy and Sheldon testing Penny and Leonard
Best Twist - Sheldon has the exact right words to say
Biggest Guest Star - Nathan Fillion
Biggest Baby - Howard, who needs to let the situation with Stuart go
Biggest Hmm - How does Amy not know about Thomas Edison and the light bulb quandary?
Worst Way to Make a Point - Sheldon trying to throw a dryer sheet
Smartest Plan - Penny gets Sheldon to fold her laundry
Best Sign - the one in the laundry room says, "Please keep your clothes on while doing laundry"
Best Return - the comic book shop
Best Quotes -
1. Sheldon: "May I say something?" Leonard: "Not right now Sheldon." Sheldon: "But I think it will be comforting." Leonard: "Buddy…" Howard: "No, it's okay. What?" Sheldon: "When I lost my own father, I didn't have any friends to help me through it. You do."
2. Sheldon: "I'm sorry you had to see that." Penny: "I'm sorry I didn't have a camera."
3. Nathan: "Oh I think you've made a mistake. I'm not an actor." Raj: "Don't say that. I mean you're no Dame Judi Dench but you're pretty great."
4. Bernadette: "Howie if the store succeeds, Stewart has a source of income and he can move out of your mother's house. It seems like some old furniture is a reasonable price to pay for that." Howard: "That is a good point, but I didn't marry you for good points. I married you to blindly support me, no matter how ridiculous I'm being." Bernadette: "This is why I had to rewrite our wedding vows."
5. Leonard: "Come on, let's have a toast. To Mrs. Wolowitz, loving mother…to all of us. We'll miss you."

The Musketeers - 2.06 - Through a Glass Darkly

I know there are many out in TV Land who hate Milady and want her to die, but every time she is on screen she steals the show and this episode may be her finest. I adore how she takes charge when she gets to the Musketeers and her bravery in the face of a madman. I'll save my death wishes for King Louis, an arrogant, cowardly prig of a man who hides his own shortcomings by berating those better than him. Even though it is not possible for the show to kill him off, oh how I wish he'd be kidnapped or on extended holiday for an entire season or two. He always gets on my nerves. At least I don't have to suffer through Louis to get my Milady time anymore. While Milady is the MVP of the episode, I did love how complicated Marmion was too. Yes, he was crazy but for once it was for a good reason. Unlike other shows (cough Arrow cough), his psychosis makes sense. In a twisted way, his punishment fit the crime. He blamed the king for killing off his village so he planned to kill off the king's entourage. Of course I'm not saying he was right but at least he didn't try to kill thousands because his wife died in a mugging gone wrong. Marmion's background made him a little easier to tolerate but it was his brother Robert who garnered a little sympathy, even before he sacrificed himself. I am glad that my initial prediction of Marmion killing him in cold blood did not come true. All in all, with the exception of some slower scenes and the continued onslaught of Constance and D'Artagnan, this was one of the better Musketeer episodes of the season.

Grade: B

Best Reason to Watch - the complicated villain
Best Scene - Marmion explains how he watched his family die one by one
Best Character - Milady / Robert
Best Character Interaction - Porthos and Rochefort
Least Surprising - the random guy we don't know guesses wrong and dies
Biggest Shock - Marmion shoves Aramis out of a window
Biggest Douche - King Louis
Biggest Hmmm - Why does Aramis climb up the wall instead of climbing down and scouting for a place to enter at ground level? It would seem prudent to at least try to scout the place first. He could always climb up if there was no other way.
The "Gee, I Don't Know" Award - Why does everyone hate you, King Louis? Maybe because you are a spoiled, vain, whiny prick who constantly puts his own needs before everyone else's.
Most Surprising - I knew Robert would die by his brother's hand. I did not know it would be in sacrifice for D'Artagnan.
The "Nope, Still Don't Care" Award - nothing about D'Artagnan and Constance's romance interests me at all
Most Painful - Porthos allows for a dislocated shoulder so that Rochefort can get the hook
Best Moment - Athos has to lift Milady onto her horse
Best Milady Quotes -
1. Milady: "Frankly I would rather be dead than listen to your endless babble for one more minute."
2. Milady: "What? You've never seen a woman before? From the look of you, probably not."
3. Milady: "So that is the reward for virtue. To be left with nothing." Athos: "Not entirely. You have my respect." Milady: "Once upon a time that might have been important to me."
4. Milady: "Aramis is dead, the king is in terrible danger, but by all means let's discuss my moral character. We have all day."
5. Milady: "Why do you keep staring at me?" Athos: "I am surprised. For once you actually seem to care about something other than yourself." Milady: "The king dies, I lose my position in court. It would be a catastrophe." Athos: "Forgive me for being naïve."
6. Milady: "Never keep a lady waiting."
Best Other Quotes -
1. Athos: "I heard you broke a window." Aramis: "Better that than my neck."
2. Robert: "Marmion is my brother. I would follow him to hell if he asked me." Marguerite: "Hell is where you're going for this." Robert: "I've been there already, milady. It doesn't frighten me anymore."
3. Rochefort: "Can't you Musketeers do anything useful?" Porthos: "Of all the people in all the world, I've got to be chained to you." Rochefort: "Your friend should have kept his mouth shut. We wouldn't be here and he might still be alive." Porthos: "Aramis will be alright." Rochefort: "Are you mad? The fall will have broken his neck." Porthos: "You don't know Aramis." Rochefort: "I admire your optimism however deluded."
4. Porthos: "What's she doing here?" Athos: "She's helping us." Porthos: "You'll have to explain that to me later."
5. Porthos: "Next time try using the door, alright?" Rochefort: "This is all very moving but can we get on with the business of saving the king?"
6. Rochefort: "Aren't you going to plead for your life?" Marmion: "Why? Are you going to show mercy?" Rochefort: "No." Marmion: "You can't kill a man who's already dead." Rochefort: "Mmm. I've never much cared for riddles."

12 Monkeys - 1.06 - The Red Forest

This episode is basically a reset where the only thing that really happens is Aaron is now on board the time travel train. Other than that it is simply a stopgap to negate what happened at the end of the last episode and to jump start yet another conspiracy. This time it's courtesy of the CIA in the form of Operation Troy. The title is pretty much on the nose if it a biological weapon. We also now have some whistleblower in Chechnya, who is likely never going to survive. Either the 12 Monkeys crew or the CIA is going to take him out but not before he screws the entire world over in the process. Thanks hacker. Easily the best part of the episode was Aaron, who could prove to be an excellent ally. Here's hoping he isn't secretly part of the 12 Monkeys because I really want to like this guy.

Grade: B-

Best Reason to Watch - Aaron
Best Scene - Cole sees Ramse in the alternate world
Biggest Game Changer - Ramse and Jones talk about his future and now there's another reason besides the power core for them to only jump when necessary
Best Switch - Cole and Aaron working together
Biggest Oops - Aaron accidentally shoots Cole instead of the Pale Man
Best Twist - Ramse is in charge of the West Seven in AlterVerse
The "I'm a Believer" Award - Aaron watches Cole disappear. That'll make anyone believe.
Most Bizarre - the red forest stuff
The "Welcome Back" Award - Demore Barnes, formerly Raphael on Supernatural / Alisen Down from Gracepoint
Best Quotes -
1. Cole: "I've got a buddy back in 2043, always says this thing. Everybody's got 2 wolves inside them. Both of them are starving. The one wolf is anger, envy, pride. The other one's truth, kindness. Every day they tear each other apart, but it's not the better wolf that wins. It's the one you feed. Cassie feeds the good one."
2. Cole: "You're a good man in any reality." Ramse: "Eh, see you on the flip side."
3. Aaron: "Operation Troy? How do you know about that? That's classified." Cole: "Where I come from, it's history."
4. Aaron: "So how the hell we doing this?" Cole: "We go in. We get Cassie. We get out." Aaron: "That's it. How about a plan this time?" Cole: "Everybody wants a plan. There's no time." Aaron: "You're a time traveler."
5. Jones: "James, you and I are breaking the unwritten rules of the universe. In time, it's going to take what its owed. Eventually, it will kill you." Cole: "How many jumps have I got left?" Jones: "Not as many as I'd like." Cole: "Is it enough?" Jones: "It has to be."

Backstrom - 1.05 - Bogeyman

One of my big pet peeves in TV and Hollywood in general is how the last group you can mock openly and tear apart is Christians. A big part of why I chose to watch Backstrom beyond my typical 3 episodes is the Almond character. To see even part of a sermon on TV and not have the person giving it end up being a hypocritical murderer, adulterer, or pedophile is unheard of and refreshing. To witness a show on mainstream TV give homage to the power of prayer even more so. That's not to say that this is a modern Highway to Heaven, because it most certainly is not. Backstrom is as douchey as ever but we get some good back story on him and even more on Valentine, who is rapidly becoming the most sympathetic character. However the best reason to watch this episode is the happy ending. As cynical as I get, I still have a soft spot for ending with optimism.

Grade: B+

Best Reason to Watch - both kidnapped girls are alive and the church is saved
Best Scene - Backstrom interrogates Lewis
Most Intense - Valentine's confession of what happened to him
Best Reaction - Backstrom literally collapses when he hears the missing girl he looked for 7 years ago is alive
Best Moment - Moto gets Backstrom into a prayer circle
Best Back Story - Valentine was abducted and tortured for 3 days / Backstrom was in psych ward as a kid
Worst Detective Work - It took me 3 seconds to realize that GiGBBiB meant Good is Good but Bad is Better. Why did it take them forever to pick it up?
Least Appealing Art - granted there are worse things that pass as art out there, but no way I pay for a bronze otter
Most in Need of Sex Ed - Claudio
Biggest Brat / Most Crazy - Amber
Dumbest Teen - Someone seriously went online looking for a vampire to turn her? Urgh! Too much Twilight rots your brain.
Best Plan - using Valentine as the vampire lure
Least Surprising - Talia's friends sent the ransom
Worst Teen Slogan - "Good is good but bad is better." Okay…not liking your chances, Talia.
The "Poor Baby" Award - Valentine's story of being abducted and abused as a new street kid
The "Welcome Back" Award - Fred Koehler, who I recognized from Grimm / Maddie Phillips, most recently guesting on Supernatural
Best Quotes -
1. Amber's Dad: "I don't appreciate your tone, Detective Almond." Almond: "Your daughter's a drug user and an extortionist. I'm not sure I appreciate your parenting skills."
2. Backstrom: "I have you for a 72 hour hold. I plan on us spending every minute of that together." Almond: "Cruel and unusual punishment."
3. Niedermayer: "Lieutenant, we're running out of time. We have to think of something fast." Backstrom: "Damn it." Almond: "No, it's time to think of something slow. We need to pray." Backstrom (laughing): "Yeah, seriously. Okay, good. Knock yourselves out." Moto: "Lieutenant, you said that you'd do whatever it takes to catch that bogeyman."
4. Gravely: "I am sending you the restricted video file. I hope that you will come visit me when I'm in Leavenworth."
5. Valentine: "Just making sure. You do know that vampires aren't real, correct?"

About the Author - Da
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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