LEVEL ELEVENTY-SEVEN #111: Kicking It With IRON FIST

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns next week, which gives us this one shot to discuss the latest Netflix offering from Marvel Television: Iron Fist. And judging by the mixed reception its had, this could very well be Marvel’s first not-quite-miss since the first season of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel’s Iron Fist

From off-balance pacing to a bland lead character to cultural appropriation to missed social cues, the show really doesn’t seem to know just what kind of show it wants to be. Is it an origin story for a rich kid learning to be a superhero? Is it about a wealthy socialite learning how to be social? Is it a prelude to The Defenders and just a setup piece? Is it all of these, or none of these?

Short answer: yes and no.

WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS

The panel: Mindy Inlow, Sam Sentman, Chris Jensen, Timothy Harvey, Jason Hunt

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SLEEPY HOLLOW Prepares for War


Season 4, Episode 11 “The Way of the Gun”

Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Directed by Russell Fine

Now we are approaching the end of the season and Dreyfuss’s (Jeremy Davies) evil plans move front and center. Some things about this work and some things don’t.

We open with Molly (Oona Yaffe) in an adorably cute kid’s play, which Crane (Tom Mison) is very enthusiastic about. He bemoans the fact that modern day audiences are quiet and reserved. Molly goes off with her friends for a sleepover, but it’s not the last we see of her in this ep. (That is a little foreshadowing.)

The gang sees someone in the tunnels stealing a tome. It’s a young woman we haven’t seen before. She has a tattoo like the symbol on Dreyfuss’s flag, so they assume she is one of his and acting on his behalf. Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) confronts her and they fight but she gets away.

How cute could it be? (Tina Rowden/FOX)

Jake (Jerry MacKinnon) remembers what’s in the book she stole: a story of two couriers who turn out to be Crane and Benjamin Banneker. Diana asks if there’s any part of the war he wasn’t in. “The Paris Treaty,” he replys.  There’s a flashback to Crane and Banneker (Edwin Hodge) that’s notable for two things; one is that Banneker’s things weren’t actually burned until his funeral, and the other is that he admired Crane’s impromptu speech that he gave while they were hiding in the barn. I did, too. In fact, if Crane weren’t so handsome and didn’t talk so pretty, I would have quit watching the show ages ago.

They conclude that Banneker could have had the talisman of the horseman of war, so they go to the barn, which has been completely rebuilt and is now a pretentious restaurant. They find the box, but it’s already been grabbed by the new young lady. Jobe (Kamar de los Reyes) shows up to take it away, but she’s uses a chronos crystal on him, which also knocks her out. Diana (Janina Gavankar) and Crane have the totem of war, which is a gun from Crane’s time period. Why isn’t it something more primitive? Hasn’t war been around longer than that?

Diana and Crane interrogate the girl, who gives her name as Lara (Seychelle Gabriel). The minute she says she’s manipulated time to get rid of Jobe for a while, I knew she was Molly. Wasn’t that obvious? She looks a lot like her mom.

Malcolm captures Jake and Alex (Rachel Melvin) and Jobe gives him a vision of Alex’s death. Jake folds like a house of cards. Jake and Alex start to have a heart to heart talk but are unfortunately interrupted by Jenny coming through the ceiling and taking out the guard.

“Lara” gives Crane and Diana the slip, but Diana has put a tracking device on the girl and they find her. She’s trying to destroy the weapon in an eternal flame. Unfortunately, Dreyfuss and Jobe find her, too. She admits to being from the future and Diana and Crane realize that she’s Molly. Dreyfuss knew all along. Molly is there to prevent her mother from becoming the horseman of war. Diana shoots Dreyfuss but it does nothing. He is immortal and now they know it. Dreyfuss shoots at Diana but Crane jumps in front of her and takes the bullet. He becomes the horseman instead.

Are you still watching me? (Tina Rowden/FOX)

It wasn’t that bad an episode. There’s a bit of humor surrounding the play and the “communal table”, as they called it. I liked seeing Alex and Jake stumble all over their feelings for each other. Molly coming back from the future is interesting, although I’m not sure she brought much in the way of knowledge with her or was necessary for the plot. Crane turning into a horseman is suitably horrifying.

But Dreyfuss is such a dweeb. It’s hard to see him as a villain or a threat. Jobe is more powerful and frightening, but is easily dismissed in this episode. Of course, they could be setting up Crane as the big villain of the piece.

Way too much time was spent in the flashback with Banneker this time. It was neither interesting or necessary. This should have been tense, filled with suspense and fear. The timing was off somehow. Still I suppose it’s an improvement from last season, where everyone died.

One does have to wonder how Dreyfuss knows it’s Molly. Did he see her coming back in one of his visions? What does it mean that he says she is early? He was surprised that Crane turned into the horseman, so he doesn’t know everything.

 

Sleepy Hollow airs on FOX on Friday nights, 9pm/8c.

 




ONCE UPON A TIME Rumpelstiltskin Was A … Hero?

Episode 613 “Ill-Boding Patterns”
Written by Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan
Directed by Ron Underwood

In this episode, there were villains, heroes showing villainous tendencies, and the most heroic character was … a villain.

You know things are really screwy when the most heroic character of the episode is Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle)! But they made it work and work well. And the inclusion of previously and traditionally heroic characters as villains is certainly not uncommon on Once Upon A Time. In this case, there were more than one. Now granted, they’ve given Rumple a heroic arc before, but it was sadly short lived and didn’t take the time to explore that aspect of the character. So it’s good to see them touching on it every now and then.

Beowulf (Torstein Bjørklund), who was initially a good guy before becoming vindictive toward Rumple, is a good example. He even faked the existence of Grendel to bait him into a trap. Of course this was after Rumple committed genocide wiping out so many of the ogres. But not all, as it was implied, since it was also billed as the First Ogre War. But it was enough to get Beowulf irked to the point of wanting to kill the Dark One in revenge for stealing his thunder.

Now THAT’S a knife! (ABC/Eike Schroter)

Then there’s Baelfire (Brandon Spink), Rumple’s own son, who at first tried to prevent his father from doing evil, then himself ordered him (using the dagger of course) to kill Beowulf. Then he started wanting Rumple to go out and get revenge on more people. So Rumple gave him a memory potion where he would forget about using the dagger altogether.

Granted, it was early in Rumple’s time as the Dark One. But it still seems weird to have him as the hero more than as the villain. His whole giving in to darkness was supposedly to help people, which later turned him into pure evil. It seems every Dark One became so originally by trying to be altruistic. It’s good to see that even the most over-the-top villains are given believable origins.

Still, even in Storybrooke, he was trying to do the right things. He tried to give the memory potion to Gideon (Giles Matthey) so he would stop trying to be the Savior and seek revenge on the Black Fairy (Keegan Connor Tracy). Failing that (and being forced to reveal that it was the Blue Fairy that forged the sword), he saved the Blue Fairy from Gideon; although it was after he forced her to reforge the sword. I just hope they can keep a bit of the hero arc going so we can explore that side of the character that we were robbed of previously.

She’s ba-a-ack! (ABC/Eike Schroter)

It’s also good to see the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) back, and that Regina (also Lana Parrilla) accepts that this Robin (Sean Maguire) is a different one than she loved before. Now that frees the two Reginas to go head-to-head.

And Emma (Jennifer Morrison) finding the ring and getting engaged to Killian (Colin O’Donoghue) who killed her grandfather? I actually look forward to when she finds out.

I’m loving the Rumpelstiltskin hero arc. And I’m looking forward to the twin Reginas clashing again. I just hope that all the clashes aren’t going to overwhelm each other and weaken each other’s story lines.

 

Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights at 8/7c on ABC.




ROGUES GALLERY #52: Snobs, Songs, a Sellout, and a Slog

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[recaps by Jason P Hunt]

This week: Supergirl is Juliet and Mon-El is Romeo Light as the Kryptonian faces off against Lois Lane and Hercules. Then she gets whammied and has to sing for her supper, dragging the Flash into the musical mental minefield. Hijinks ensue. And J.R.R. Tolkien helps the Fellowship of the Time Ship retrieve the blood of Christ to destroy the Spear of Destiny, only it doesn’t go so well. And over on Arrow… just, ugh…

PLUS: a discussion about the new Justice League trailer.

The panel: Ann Laabs, Dave Margosian, Tim Harvey, Jeff Hackworth, Thomas Townley, Jason Hunt

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GOTHAM: Logo.
Returns April 24

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Episode 216 “Star-Crossed”
Written by Katie Rose Rogers & Jess Kardos
Directed by John Medlen

Teri Hatcher and Kevin Sorbo!

This week, we get the reveal so Kara (Melissa Benoist) gets caught up with the rest of us: Mon-El (Chris Woods) is actually the crown prince of Daxam. And now that he’s been revealed as a liar, “This changes everything!” for Kara, and …

Why is the B-story with Winn (Jeremy Jordan) getting framed for stealing a Van Gogh the more interesting part of the episode?

And just like in the “Invasion” cross-over, this one has one scene at the end to launch us into The Flash musical episode with the singing and stuff…

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Episode 317 “Duet”
Teleplay by Aaron Helbing & Todd Helbing
Story by Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by Dermott Daniel Downs

It’s the full-episode part of the episode-and-some-change crossover (so called) where Supergirl gets taken to Earth-1, where Mon-El and J’onn enlist the help of Team Flash to figure out what’s going on inside her head — which is a mental recreation of 1940s Hollywood musicals, because of course Barry (Grant Gustin) and Kara both love musicals.

Music Meister has got them trapped inside the mental maze, where they have to play along with the script to get out. Along the way, we have several moments of exemplary musical skill (even though every song but one was a cover…). And while it’s not “Once More With Feeling” in terms of impact, it does have a way of cleansing the palate of all the angst and grimacing from previous episodes of both shows.

And in the true spirit of the After School Specials, both Barry and Kara find their own relationship answers when attempting to advise others about the same problems. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

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Episode 215 “Fellowship of the Spear”
Written by Keto Shimizu & Matthew Maala

Directed by Ben Bray

Firestorm (Franz Drameh) finally is using his transmutation powers! And the show acknowledges the birth, life, and death of Christ, which is kind of a big deal for a Hollywood thing, you know?

The Time Team figures out that Christ’s blood is the only thing that will destroy the Spear of Destiny, the remaining pieces of which they retrieve from the Legion of Doom’s base camp at the Vanishing Point. And Nate (Nick Zano) knows of a theory that Sir Gawain of the Arthurian Knights actually recovered a vial of Christ’s blood instead of the Holy Grail. It’s a theory developed by J.R.R. Tolkien (Jack Turner), who’s serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the North of France during World War I.

So when Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) shows up to confront Mick (Dominic Purcell), everyone figures it’s just more hallucinations. Only it’s not, and Snart convinces Mick to hand over the Spear of Destiny.

Too bad there’s not a Magic Helmet to go with it…

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Episode 517 “Kapiushon”
Written by Brian Ford Sullivan & Emilio Ortega Aldrich
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen

Can this show just get cancelled already?

We spend a lot of time in Flashback Russia, maybe because the whole Prometheus thing isn’t really much of a thing? Because it’s not. It’s boring. Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) manages to capture Oliver (Stephen Amell), and we spend way too much time with Chase trying to get Oliver to admit something everyone but Oliver already knows. Even Anatoly (David Nykl), easily the only redeeming element of this show at the moment, understands that Oliver is kidding himself thinking that he can keep the “monster” isolated under a green hoodie.

And Drago Konstantin Kovar (Dolph Lundgren) still hasn’t said, “I will break you.”

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The GRIMM Brings the Devil With Him


Episode 6:12 “Zerstörer Shrugged”
Story by David Greenwalt & Jim Kouf
Directed by Aaron Lipstadt 

[recap by Maia Ades]

This is the only episode in which the writer’s credit has been listed as “story by” rather than “written by”. I’m not sure if there is any significance to the change. I thought it was interesting, so I’m sharing my observation with you.

Are you making plans for the series finale? I’m hosting a watch party at my home. We’ll be live tweeting and YouTubing. I’d really like to see your posts, photos or video of your party or other way to mark the occasion. This has been a long ride my friends. We’ve seen these characters go through a lot. We’ve seen them take new lovers, change lovers, have babies, lose loved ones and learn so much along the way. Will you follow these actors on their new adventures or is it the characters they portrayed that are of interest to you? Either way, I’d like to hear from you and find out what brought you to Grimm and why you’ve become a fan.

I think the title comes from the nonchalant manner in which our antagonist, the Zerstörer killed most everyone in his path. He didn’t kill all the drunks under the bridge, and I don’t know why he bothered to kill the one. The guy wasn’t a threat. He could have just turned and kept on walking. Or he could have killed all of them with one wave of his staff, but he didn’t do any of those things. Instead, he killed just one of them. Was it to learn another snippet of our language? Was it to prove to us how deadly he was? Was it to make sure he was easy to find by following the trail of dead bodies he left behind? I don’t know. With only one episode left, I’m protective of time left to finish up the story. We don’t need any extraneous stuff to detract from our actual story.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

Wow! The end of this episode was painful. Painful because these are characters we’ve lived with for so long. To see them die so easily was hard to watch. We lost Wu (Reggie Lee) and Hank (Russell Hornsby) in rapid succession. My biggest question, who will survive the next, the final episode?

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

Diana (Hannah R. Lloyd) got to flex her acting muscles this week. We’ve not seen her do a lot that was, what actors would call, demanding. Her emotional response to the impending approach of the Zerstörer was impressive. Kudos to you Hannah.

The biggie this episode was red skull made it from “the other place” to our place. He was clearly a fish out of water. He didn’t fit in. He mimicked mimicked every person he heard, learning bits of language. The disturbing thing about red skull was his complete lack of regard for life, any life. It was truly disturbing. I thought on this for some time trying to decide if for some reason I felt his disregard for life was more      _ _ _ _  than the way that others have killed over the years. I can’t say if he was worse. I can say that somehow it was more unsettling. Which means, I owe Andrew Morgado respect for pulling this off. If I’m crediting the wrong actor, I apologize. There is only one credit for Zerstörer. I expected two credits. One for the person in the extensive makeup and one for the woged buff God like character. Since there is only one credit listed, I used it.

While this episode is devastating to the main characters and audience when they lose two of our central characters, it’s not as catastrophic as I expected. For so long I thought the final show down was going to be a world wide war with Black Claw. Then it was to be the arrival of the Devil and destruction of civilization. So far, he’s killed a few people and brought a rain of dead bats. While neither of those is nice for those involved, including the bats, it’s not the massive destruction I expected.

While I’m on the topic of Black Claw, wrapping up a multi season storyline with one line felt insufficient. Trubel, (Jacqueline Toboni) brushes aside the entire war with an off handed comment that Black Claw has been defeated. Not that I wanted to see the war. I argued many weeks that bringing a full war to Grimm was not a good idea. It would have been the wrong tone and lack the storytelling that Grimm established. On the other hand, this was the other extreme and it didn’t feel satisfying at all.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

The books have been the resource to solve cases since the first season. I think they may be the ray of hope to defeat the Zerstörer. The books offered information on who or what their enemy is. Perhaps a bit further in their reading they’ll find information on how to even defeat this Devil. It seems appropriate that the final solution would be in the books. I suppose that the show’s creators, David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf have been, in a not so subtle way, promoting books and reading. I don’t think a single case has been solved without reading up and finding information and solutions. Perhaps they’ve found a more successful way to promote reading than the many public service messages that try to accomplish the same thing.

Next week, the whole story will be wrapped up one way or another. Any guesses how the writers will tie up the storylines left? Or at least how they’re going to finish this? Will all our main characters be killed off? Will the whole world of Portland and Grimm as we know it be wiped out? Will Diana be forced into marriage with the Devil? We’ll all find out next week.

 

Grimm airs Friday nights at 8/7c on NBC.

 




DREAMS DIE FIRST? Not On BATES MOTEL

Season 5, Episode 5 “Dreams Die First”
Written by Erica Lipez & Kerry Ehrin
Directed by Nestor Carbonell

[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron/Sergei Bachlakov]

 

“Dreams Die First” dives deep into two narratives. Even as he experiences flashes of his life as “Mother” in White Pine Bay, Norman (Freddie Highmore) refuses offers of help and chooses the comforts of home. And we finally meet Marion Crane (Rihanna), watching her pursue a reckless course that lands her right back at Bates Motel. Safe in Seattle, Dylan and Emma (Max Theirot and Olivia Cooke) face a crisis in their marriage. Former Sheriff Romero is nowhere to be seen, possibly because Nestor Carbonell is directing this episode.

 

 

Emma and Dylan

Emma, searching for stamps in a junk drawer, finds instead a lone earring saved in an envelope. Could it be Norma’s? Spurred by this discovery, Emma presses Dylan to discuss Norma and consider visiting her. Norma may be a “nut,” but deserves to know about her grandchild. Dylan shoots down the idea abruptly.

He later confesses the truth to Emma. His doubts about Norman and the trail of suspicious deaths that follow him. “Norman is sick. Things happen around him … bad things.” From Norman’s father, Sam Bates, to the trail of bodies in White Pine Bay. From Norman’s teacher Blair Watson, that’s a list that may include the owner of that lone earring — Emma’s mother.

Emma can barely control her anger. She tells Dylan to literally take a hike for a while so she doesn’t start screaming. Searching “Wikifinders” on Dylan’s Puget Sound Hops and Granary laptop that night, Emma learns her own secret — about Norma’s “suicide”. Will she tell Dylan?

Norman Bates, small business owner and master of he surveys – for now.

Norman

Norman wakes and reaches for Mother — her space on the bed is empty.  He is red-eyed, has scratches on his back, and races to the bathroom to vomit. Somebody had a late night? But was it Norman or Mother? Norman searches the house and motel; Mother is nowhere to be found. But Sheriff Greene (Brooke Smith) would like to speak to him at the station. Since Mother’s car is also MIA, he presumably walks to town.

Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene politely, deliberately questions Norman about Alex Romero while he nervously drinks from a glass of water. Throughout this episode, we see Norman as a very poor liar and not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. In his version of Life With Romero, the former sheriff was “a lonely, very unhappy man” who “latched onto my mother so completely and didn’t want anyone else in her life.” Projecting much, Norman?

Back home, Norman again searches for Mother and finds only a book of matches from The White Horse Bar. He calls and asks if anyone has seen Norma. She isn’t there – but her car’s in the parking lot and about to get towed.

Madeline (Isabelle McNally) calls right after to apologize for the whole “cake and chill” fiasco of a first date but agrees to take Norman into town. Norman spills the beans about seeing Sam with a woman at the Motel. Madeline shows the first sign of spine this season, furiously demanding Norman “get the hell out of my truck.” Good thing they’re at the bar.

The bartender (Brendan Taylor) appears very concerned for Norman — is he OK? Norman most assuredly is not. Muttering “It’s all good … it’s all going to be good, Norman,” he drives through the rain in a daze, almost running over Dr. Edwards (Damon Gupton), his former therapist at the Pineview Institute.

Norman has a particularly difficult time keeping his mind on the road.

Norman has coffee with Dr. Edwards, who knows Norman isn’t on his medications since no-one has called for a refill in a year and a half. Norman begins acknowledging some truths about himself. He knows he sees his mother when she’s not really there and “sometimes, I become her … but that doesn’t happen anymore.” So thanks for the coffee but goodbye Dr. Edwards! On to the White Horse Bar.

Not a good idea. Norman’s breakdown continues. Everyone seems to know him, asks how he’s been, compliments him on his “new look.” Norman stumbles into the bathroom. A “handsome man” (Michael Doonan) follows him. From the intimacy Handsome Man displays towards Norman, they know each other very well. Norman doesn’t appear to know him, but “remembers” flashes of Norma with this man in a car.

Norman collapses against the wall. Handsome Man switches from hookup mode to genuine concern, asking how he can help. Norman mentions his mother; the man offers to call her. Norman says “You can’t … she’s dead.” He hears Norma asking, “We’re supposed to be together, aren’t we Norman?” and sees himself resting his head on her lap.

Back home, Norman trudges through the rain to the house, and we see Marion Crane, barely able to see the sign through the torrential rain, turn off the road to the Bates Motel.

Marion may not have great judgment in men or overnight accommodations, but her coat looks fabulous.

Marion

Marion Crane’s storyline tracks closely with her path in Psycho; Bates Motel makes Marion’s part of this iconic story both true to the source material AND new in the telling.

Psycho Notes

“Dreams Die First” is chock full of subtle, well-placed callbacks to specific moments in Psycho.

~ Last week, Norman remarked that he sounded “mad” to be offering Madeline his dead mother’s clothes. This week Norman describes Romero during their prison visit. “He just stared … like a madman.” Much like Norman in the last shot of Psycho.

~ Marion’s first scene echoes the first scene in Psychoanother furtive encounter between Sam and Marion. In Psycho, they couldn’t marry because of alimony Sam had to pay. On Bates, he’s too far in debt to commit (as far as he’s told Marion). So far, movie Sam Loomis is Prince Charming compared to his TV counterpart.

~ Marion works at a Seattle real estate company called R.A. Bloch Realty. I see what you did there, Bates Motel!

Marion sees the answers to all her problems in a briefcase full of money – who wouldn’t?

~ The briefcase full of cash has been inflation adjusted from the original $40,000.00 to $400,000.00. Marion is told to deposit it on Bates, not just put in the safe deposit box.

~ Marion asks to be considered for the position recently vacated by Janet. Wonder if Janet’s last name was Leigh?

~ Her boss is still named George Lowery (Raphael Sbarge) although the slimy rich guy is now named Jeff Dunn (Al Sapienza) instead of Tom Cassidy. He’s still a leering jerk. We don’t get to hear him brag that buying a house for his newlywed daughter with all that cash isn’t “buying happiness. That’s just… buying off unhappiness.

~ Fleeing Phoenix with Mr. Cassidy’s cash, Marion has the bad luck to see & be seen by her boss Mr. Lowery, crossing street at a red light.  On Bates, Norman sees Dr. Edwards crossing the street in White Pine Bay.

~ The menacing cop (Mort Mills) wearing mirrored glass in Psycho is now just as menacing but takes his glasses off (and is played by executive producer Carlton Cuse).

~ In Psycho, Mirrorshades Cop sees Marion’s car pulled over on the side of the road. On Bates,  instead of being questioned for sleeping in her car overnight, Marion is pulled over because her rear license plate is obscured by a raincoat she threw in the trunk (over the incriminating Suitcase Of Stolen Cash).

 

Other Wonderings

~ There is a lot of care taken to show the water glasses during Norman’s talk with Sheriff Greene, and a point made of showing Norman drinking from his glass. Maybe Sheriff Greene’s collecting DNA and/or fingerprints?

~ Norman has two chances to accept offers of help — from Dr. Edwards and “Handsome Man” at the White Horse Bar. Both can see his distress and offer to help. Both offers are refused.

~ Serious question. Was Norman suffering a blackout when carrying out the murder-suicide attempt last season? He describes Norma’s suicide as is he wasn’t involved at all. He has to remember something.

 

Bates Motel airs Monday at 8/9c on A&E.

 




SLEEPY HOLLOW Develops an Eating Disorder


Season 4, Episode 10 “Insatiable”
Written by Keely MacDonald
Directed by Steven A. Adelson

This is a little better than the episodes we’ve had lately. At least there are a few answers and some progress on the main plot. In other words, we know a little more about what Dreyfuss (Jeremy Davies) is up to. The monster is not exactly original but has some interesting twists to its abilities. And most importantly, Crane (Tom Mison) does not pretend that he was present when the Donner party was trapped and starving. Thankfully, we are given no flashbacks to that event.

We start off seeing a woman from Malcolm’s company, Helen (Kathleen Hogan), visiting him in his cabin in the woods. She is ambitious and Dreyfuss describes her as hungry, and famished, for power. Jobe (Kamar de los Reyes) ushers her through a door and the screaming begins.

Crane throws a party in his apartment. It is Jake’s (Jerry MacKinnon) idea, as a means for Crane to meet his neighbors. Crane and Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) talk about how well he is settling in. He tries to get her to take a room down the hall.

Jake brings Missy (Michele Plaia) to the party. She’s the bartender he met when Alex (Rachel Melvin) was on her ill-fated Tinder date. Alex is consumed with jealousy, at least if jealousy looks like you’ve been sucking on lemons, and I think maybe it does.

In the meantime, Diana (Janina Gavankar) visits an old mentor, Assistant Secretary Nancy Stryker (Catherine Dyer) and tries to convince her to investigate Dreyfuss. She doesn’t have enough evidence and the woman can see that it’s a personal vendetta. She’s wearing a lovely string of pearls.

I don’t know what we’re doing out here when we should be chasing Dreyfuss. (Tina Rowden/FOX)

Jobe enters the Eisenhower building. He goes through the metal detector and there’s a funny moment when the security guard sees his demonic form on the screen with spikes everywhere. A moment later he has a perfectly normal silhouette. He’s carrying a girly little basket with a handle. He stops at a statue of justice, the scales even. When he gets to the basement he opens the basket. The little basket contains a puzzle box. The box contains a demon. He lets the demon loose and tells it to eat. The demon heads into the duct system. A moment later a lobbyist starts eating everything in sight and then dies of starvation.

This puts Diana and Crane at odds. She still wants to go after Dreyfuss. Ichabod wants to stop the immediate threat. Knowing that Dreyfuss wants Molly has increased the urgency in hunting him down, at least for Diana. She concedes the point to Crane but then hijacks the histerns for her own ends.

Jenny goes off to find a book that might help and gets a treasure hunting offer. Alex and Jake spy on an assistant of Malcolm’s.

And what is a Rubik’s cube? (Tina Rowden/FOX)

Diana and Crane go back to the Eisenhower building, where a little girl in a tour group comments that the lady justice statue has scales that are not equal. They were before, when Jobe went past them. Crane and Diana hear horrific screams, and follow the security guards to where Diana’s mentor is eating someone’s guts out like she was a zombie. She’s covered in blood and a guard shoots her when she stands up. I wouldn’t have recognized her except for the pearl necklace. Crane sees glowing red eyes behind the duct work.

Through video surveillance they see the puzzle box, which Crane has seen before. A fellow soldier had it. His whole company later died of starvation. The box was then passed down in the family, and the Donner party had it during their ill fated trip.

Their first attempt to capture the demon fails and the box is smashed. They figure out that the gold on the box is its kryptonite and create another box with 3D printing. They capture the demon with cars (full of trace amounts of gold) in a junk yard, which is actually pretty cool, and destroy the hunger demon with injections.

I think I am getting the hang of this “modern” art. (Tina Rowden/FOX)

Dreyfuss and Jobe hunt down and find the headless horseman. Unfortunately, he is still alive. We find out that their purpose is to call forth the four horseman of the apocalypse. The social media kid, Logan MacDonald (Robbie Kay), will be the horseman of pestilence. The former employee is famine. Headless is the horseman of death. Since Henry is gone, it seems likely that they are planning for Crane to be the horseman of war.

Dreyfuss steals the scales of justice and throws them in with the horseman of famine. In the Bible, famine is pictured on a black horse with scales in hand, counting out grain.

Crane mentions several times that the team is working well together now. This is our hint that the team may split apart. There are cracks showing. It undermines trust between Diana and Crane when she takes away part of their team to investigate Dreyfuss. Jenny is tempted to return to her true love, treasure hunting. She is reluctant to make a commitment to stay in D.C. It would make sense if Jenny left. She’s the only one left of last season’s characters except for Crane. She was always restless and her main connection to Crane was through her sister.

The monster was very good this time, although he had no real contact with his victims. A starving body, great mouth and glowing red eyes, the monster is seen mostly in the dark or just as glowing red eyes. He’s both mysterious and appropriate.

Best of all, we have returned to the overall season arc and are given some reason for some of Malcolm’s actions, which makes some of the weaker episodes at least seem necessary. We know he pictures a very rosy future for himself after this apocalypse.

I’m enjoying the changes in Alex and Jake’s relationship so far. I hope that it doesn’t result in heartbreak for Alex.

 

Sleepy Hollow airs on Friday nights on Fox at 9pm/8c.

 




SLEEPY HOLLOW Imitates Itself


Season 4, Episode 9 “Child’s Play”
Written by Francisca X. Hu
Directed by Michael Goi

This episode is creepy, and not in a good way. Like the episode where Molly’s father is not Molly’s father, but a monster, this is nightmare fuel for kids. Molly (Oona Yaffe) would be spending a lot more time in therapy than the show seems to think.

It’s also similar to a first season episode in which they encounter a monster from the same source. Crane (Tom Mison) mentions it to forestall the audience saying it, because it’s always better if the show itself mentions any strange coincidences or obvious flaws before the people watching catch on to them.

The histerns are practicing on a kid’s obstacle course. Jake (Jerry MacKinnon) wants to be in shape in case he’s needed. Alex (Rachel Melvin) points out that he saved a lot of lives, including hers. I may be imagining it, but it looks like their dynamic has changed. She appears to have developed a little hero worship for Jake. She’s impressed, anyway.

I think I’m doing this trick wrong. (Tina Rowden/FOX)

Molly is having trouble in art. The teacher asks if she is having trouble at home, which is an understatement. She appears to be most distressed by the vision she had of Crane. Her mom decides to cheer her up by taking her to the vault. Jake is beautifully enthusiastic showing her things. This goes wrong, however, and the first part of the episode is taken up with Molly and Crane being trapped in the library.

Dreyfuss (Jeremy Davies) goes to extremes to prompt another vision, and he has one of himself and Molly having a delightful time in his post-apocalyptic Dreyfuss-ruled world.

The histerns and Diana (Janina Gavankar) find an employee ID number on the barrier trapping Crane and Molly and go look up the employee. Diana goes to her meeting with Molly’s teacher. Kid trapped in a magical vault? Still have to go to the parent-teacher conference. She finds the art teacher beaten up but not dead. Molly’s imaginary friend, Mr. Stitch, was brought to life by her talking about and drawing him in the vault. Diana recognizes it by a piece of baby blanket.

Alex and Jake find the former employee’s dead body and a video of her in full tinfoil hat mode. I’m not sure what the purpose is other than to make the episode more frightening.

Mr. Stitch attacks Diana and Jenny but they escape into the warded house. They talk about an amusement park Molly liked as a (younger) child and think Mr. Stitch may go to bed there.

Crane and Molly find an opening that’s too small for Crane but Molly can fit through. Molly gets out only to find herself in the alley and with Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss introduces himself and lays some propaganda on her. Jake and Alex find her quickly.

(Tina Rowden/FOX)

Somehow they end up at the amusement park. I wonder whose decision it was to rush Molly to the place where her mother and Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) are trying to dispel Mr. Stitch. It’s a good thing, because they failed and Mr. Stitch is knocking them around. Molly stops him and confesses some of her negative feelings towards her mother. Jenny finishes the spell and he goes up in cinders.

Alex is afraid that they will someday end up like Claudia, their predecessor. Jake is comforting her. It might get romantic but at that moment the vault opens and Crane is freed.

Alex finds a witch’s hex in an e-reader Molly was carrying, donated by Dreyfuss industries, which is why her imaginary friend came to life.

Dreyfuss shuts down his company and fires all of his workers. He tells Jobe (Kamar de los Reyes) about how much he, Dreyfuss, will mean to Molly and how Molly needs a father figure. It’s creepy.

Using blood is SO three seasons ago. (Tina Rowden/FOX)

When I say Sleepy Hollow imitates itself it’s because we already saw this episode. Crane’s son Jeremy had a doll given to him by his mother Katrina and it came to life because blood was spilled on it when he was being beaten at the orphanage. When Crane mentions this, he sounds like he was there, but in fact at the time that this happened to Jeremy he didn’t even know his son existed. In the present time, he didn’t know yet that Jeremy was Henry. As they have been doing lately, they fail to explain that Crane did not get his knowledge first hand.

The golem pursued the witch coven, the Four Who Speak as One, after Crane involuntarily brought him back from purgatory with him. Crane tries to talk him down, like Molly stops the golem, since Jeremy is no longer there to protect (he thinks). Crane uses his blood to render the golem powerless, since the same blood flows through his veins. The first time it happened, the golem was destroyed in a carnival. This time, the golem was destroyed in a defunct amusement park.

They changed the rules, though. The golem was raised by blood and destroyed by blood. In modern times, it was raised by an electronic witch’s hex and destroyed by burning a baby blanket. If you are going to reuse a monster, it should adhere to the same rules. It doesn’t have to adhere to the same plot or the same location.

But worse of all, the first time it was a better episode because it was actually tense and mysterious. It reminded me of the first season, when Sleepy Hollow was new and different. And that reminds me of how predictable and old it is now.

 

Sleepy Hollow airs on FOX on Fridays at 9pm/8c.

 




2 Lazy Guys Discuss the Pilot Episode of WESTWORLD


Episode 01 “The Original”
Teleplay by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy
Story by Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, and Michael Chrichton
Directed by Jonathan Nolan

Now that Westworld is out on home video, Jared Hawkins and David Baker take a look at the characters, story, and themes of the re-imagined series that delves deeper into artificial intelligence, reincarnation, slavery, and what it means to be a person.

In this first episode, Jared and Dave discuss the pilot, “The Original”, and how it introduces us to this new version of the original film and sets up the story moving forward. Introduction of the Man in Black, along with the notion of robots who retain the memories of their experiences inside the park and the various characters they play. Does that add up to eventually make them sentient? Are they slaves?

Westworld stars Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, James Marsden, and Ed Harris.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE

 




STAR WARS REBELS Travels the Jundland Wastes Lightly

banner_recapStarWars_Rebels_logo-sm
Episode 320 “Twin Suns”
Written by Dave Filoni & Henry Gilroy
Directed by Dave Filoni

[photos: Lucasfilm]

It’s the moment so many of us have been anticipating for a long time: the final confrontation between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul. And while it doesn’t disappoint, it also doesn’t deliver 100 percent.

On the planet Tatooine, with the twin suns burning the desert, Darth Maul (Sam Witwer) is searching for his nemesis and the answers to everything he’s gone through in his life. And he figures out that he can use the Sith holocron to draw out the hidden Jedi, using it to activate the Jedi holocron on board the Ghost.

Ezra (Taylor Gray) wakes up to catch pieces of the message Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) sent as a warning to all Jedi. Combined with his hearing Maul’s voice in his head, Ezra is convinced the Jedi Master is still alive and being hunted by Maul. If they can rescue Kenobi, they can enlist his help in the impending attack on Lothal.

Hera (Vanessa Marshall) needs Ezra to stay at the base and help plan the attack, because he knows Lothal better than anyone, and Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) would love to know that Kenobi is still alive, but Senator Bail Organa confirmed the Jedi’s death (ahem), and so it’s likely just a trap set by Maul, something Kanan (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) reminds Ezra has done before.

So Ezra goes anyway, stealing a ship just like Captain Kirk… oh, wait. Wrong franchise.

There are plenty of parallels to Star Wars in this story (and I mean Star Wars, not Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope… get off my lawn): Obi-Wan (now voiced by Stephen Stanton) finding young Ezra in the desert, the attack by the Sand People (complete with gaffi sticks waving in the air) and a hint about truth and perception and how destiny has a way of taking our lives and dumping them to the ground over our own plans…

 

After sending Ezra on his way, Obi-Wan’s final confrontation with Maul is almost painfully brief. But it seems that perhaps the show is giving us the transition into Obi-Wan holding back his full use of Jedi power. Maybe to remain in hiding? Maybe because he’s of an age where he doesn’t quite have a lot of fight in him? Maybe he’s focused on the bigger picture and doesn’t want to complicate things with a long drawn out battle that someone could see?

Whatever the reason, there’s an opportunity missed here: explaining how Obi-Wan could look so aged and weathered when he rescues Luke Skywalker and helps destroy the Death Star. It’s likely the use of the Force to mask his and Luke’s presence on Tatooine from other Force-sensitive beings like Maul and Ezra. Perhaps this is the incident that makes him use the Force for concealment, and that sends him on that path of wearing down?

Not every question needs an answer. This episode isn’t for that question, anyway. It’s a payoff for an arc that began all the way back in The Phantom Menace when a young padawan named Obi-Wan Kenobi sliced Sith apprentice Darth Maul in half and sent him spiraling down to his doom. A doom that plays out over several years of pain, torment, agony, twisted logic, finally to end on Tatooine, where that same Kenobi ends Maul’s suffering once and for all.

 

Star Wars Rebels airs Saturday nights at 8:30/7:30c on Disney XD.

 

Don’t miss our Star Wars related shows Salacious Crumbs and Star Wars Cribs on our YouTube channel, SciFi4Me TV.




ONCE UPON A TIME Captain Hook Was the Voice of Reason


Episode 612 “Murder Most Foul”
Written by Jane Espenson & Jerome Schwartz
Directed by Morgan Beggs

I really enjoyed this episode’s transformations, role reversal, and characteristic twist ending.

Okay, this whole Snow/David (Gennifer Goodwin/Josh Dallas) Ladyhawke subplot needs to come to an end. It was great for a while. It’s overstayed its usefulness. Somehow, the curse needs to be lifted. Leaving video messages for each other before trading consciousness, although romantic in the way that they do anything to make it work, has become tiresome. It’s past time to move on.

With that out of the way, the rest of the episode was pretty good. We got an excellent dramatic performance from Josh Dallas and a nice twist ending. With the Gideon plot somewhat sidestepped for this week, it made the two other story lines more presentable.

This is the second consecutive episode featuring August/Pinocchio (Eion Bailey). The circumstances are completely different in both. It almost feels like he was either being shoehorned in, or they’re setting him up for a major role in the last part of the season. I really hope it’s the latter. They’ve forced characters into stories rather oddly too many times over the course of the series. With the current story line getting ready to wrap up at the end of the season, I hope there are actually plans for Archie (Raphael Sbarge) and August, who have been appearing a bit more.

When William Tell doesn’t have an apple to shoot at, he’ll shoot at sleeves. (ABC/Jack Rowand)

I’m intrigued at where they are going with the Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) subplot. At first it seemed a cheap way to reintroduce a dead character. But the idea that it’s clearly not the Robin they know makes for an interesting potential wild card. Taking a magic box from Regina’s (Lana Parilla) vault only deepens the mystery surrounding the new version. The previous incarnation of Robin of Locksley was a bit of a whiner. This one seems dangerous. And much more interesting. Especially when he’s trying to kill Keith (Wil Traval), aka the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Redemption arcs seem to work well on Once Upon A Time. The flashback to David’s father is no exception. Having been told that his father, Robert (David Cubitt), died a worthless drunk, seeing the opposite was quite refreshing. Being forced to sell one of his twin sons to Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) to become a son of and heir to the king in order to pay for medicine to save the other, Robert seemed like a coward. But when he risked his life to save his former son, turned prince, from Paradise Island and pleading with King George (Alan Dale) to allow him to take his son back showed heroism. And he gained sobriety in the process. Ordering Robert’s execution only made the king/Albert appear all that much worse.

A son and imaginary father bonding moment. (ABC/Jack Rowand)

But the highlight of the episode was David’s complete meltdown. Upon finding out about his father’s bravery and King George ordering his death because of it, he went to confront Albert at the mental hospital for a duel to the death. The fight was interesting to watch. The thing that got me though was that it was a knife fight, but wasn’t choreographed as a knife fight. It was more like a sword fight with baby swords. Killian (Colin O’Donoghue) broke up the fight and talked David down. The pirate had truly changed his ways. For David to have gone overboard and Killian to be the voice of reason was an interesting and refreshing change of pace. The hallucinations that David experienced of his father were a bit odd though.

Of course, there was that ending. King George’s men didn’t kill Robert. Pirates, led by Captain Hook, intercepted them. Killian killed Robert and then made it look like a drunken accident. So what happens when the word gets out what really happened? Killian just got David’s blessing to ask Emma to marry him. This could be … well, awkward.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Pinocchio plays into the final episodes. Please tell me he wasn’t just pointlessly shoehorned in. And please bring an end to that infernal sleeping spell! It worked for a while, but it’s run its course and now it needs to stop.

 

Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights at 8/7c on ABC.




A GRIMM Look Into Schrödinger’s Mirror


Episode 6:11 “Where the Wild Things Were”
Written by Brenna Kouf
Directed by Terrence O’Hara 

[recap by Maia Ades]

I’m not sure there’s anything I can say that doesn’t fall under the spoilers category. So let’s just jump right in, shall we?

I got my prediction correct that Eve (Elizabeth Tulloch) would be in trouble when she stepped through the mirror. But, I thought that Diana would follow her and it doesn’t look like she will. In fact, most of the main characters are being uncharacteristically pragmatic. How odd that now, with the last couple of episodes to go, they are finally being sensible.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

The title of this episode confused me. I didn’t understand why it’s called “Where the Wild Things Were”. Teresa Wickersham had a good theory about why it’s called were and not are. She thinks maybe when they stepped through the mirror they actually went back in time. It’s better than any ideas I had about it. Anyone have a good theory they’d like to share on why the Wesen are always woged in “the other place”? Perhaps they are primitive Wesen and woging at will was an evolutionary aspect of Wesen. The concern for Eve is that she will woge and be stuck in her Hexenbiest form.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

I thought the parts of the episode that take place in “the other place” were barbaric and rather scary. On the other hand, it also gave us probably the best Eve scene she’s ever had. Her explanation to Nick (David Giuntoli) about who she is, her journey and their current relationship was spot on. I don’t think Elizabeth Tulloch has been given permission to express who Eve is before this. There have been tidbits of lines from her on who Eve is. But this was the biggest and most powerful speech from her.

Unfortunately Nick is still a bland character. It never ceases to dumbfound me how the lead character, the anchor of the show, can have so little character. If you’d asked me if this was possible, I would have argued that it’s not. The audience needs to be able to connect with the character. That we need to have reason to care about and for this main character. Obviously, I’m wrong. Grimm has been successful for five and half seasons. Audiences proved that they will follow a show that has interesting supporting characters even if they get very little from the lead.

My one beef with this episode is the amount of time given to bringing Renard (Sasha Roiz) up to speed. It’s a bunch of expository information that the audience doesn’t need. There just has to be a better way that could have been handled. Maybe someone could have said that they’d fill him in on what he needs to know, say as they head out to a car. We’d assume that they talked about all the stuff that Renard needed to know during the car ride. 43 minutes is precious time that we could have gotten more new information but some of it was spent on stuff we already know.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

For the first time Renard wasn’t using his daughter in his own game for power. It was a breath of fresh air to see him actually acting like a concerned parent. Although, how he’s going to protect her from this Zertörer, Devil thing I can’t imagine.

Last season I was concerned about the mounting war the Black Claw was bringing on. I argued that war is too heavy, brutal and deadly to fit in this story well. I don’t think that is a concern any longer. We’ve not heard much about Black Claw. In fact the last I recall it being mentioned was when Renard declared he no longer supported their cause. Oh, and of course Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni) was sent on an undisclosed mission by Hadrian’s Wall. I think we’re to presume that she has been battling Black Claw.

With only two episodes left, this one ends in classic Grimm style, “to be continued”. Hang on, this is probably going to be a bumpy ride.

 

Grimm airs Friday nights at 8/7c on NBC.

 




HIDDEN Cars, Homemade Cakes and a Nervous Norman on BATES MOTEL


Season 5, Episode 4 “Hidden”
Written by Torrey Speer
Directed by Max Theriot

[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron]

Dylan Massett is off camera this week, safe and sound in Seattle with Emma and baby Kate. But Max Theriot, the actor who plays Norman’s half-brother, makes his Bates Motel directorial debut with “Hidden.” We also get to see a lot of Madeline Loomis (Isabelle Mcnally) wearing Norma’s old clothes; maybe that’s why she veers dangerously close to “Too Dumb to Live” territory for her own good.

“Hidden” picks up right where “Bad Blood” ended. Mother (Vera Farmiga), Norman (Freddie Highmore), and Chick Hogan (Ryan Hurst) gather around the bloody, lifeless body of Caleb Calhoun (Kenny Johnson) lying on the road.  Chick checks the body and declares Caleb deceased with a gruff “Yup.” He continues his campaign for Permanent Houseguest status by doing as Mother recommends (via Norman) and “taking care of” the Caleb’s corpse.

Chick may be the weirdest resident of White Pine Bay (which is saying a lot), but he seems to have missed his True Calling as a Beatnik Shaman/Viking funeral director. Considering how little Chick did to help Caleb out before accidentally killing him, Chick sends Norma’s brother off with dignity. He assembles a White Pine Bay version of a Viking Funeral Boat at the edge of what looks like the same lake where Norman dumped Jim Blackwell’s corpse a few episodes back.

Chick Hogan revealed another hidden talent this episode – Impromptu Viking Funeral Shaman!

Norman deals with having to subcontract the disposal of yet another body by – getting rid of Norma’s old clothes. When  Mother asks “What got into your pants?” Norman snaps (well, figuratively at least). “Nothing every happens the way I think it should, Mother!” They argue over Chick staying in the house until she snaps back “Well, make up your mind!” If only it were that simple.

An unwelcome visit from the new Sheriff delays Norman’s trip into town. Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene asks about Jim Blackwell – Norman’s name was found written down among his effects. Turns out Blackwell had just gotten paroled from the same prison Romero just escaped from! What a coincidence!  Throughout this and the other encounters between the Greene and Norman in “Hidden” we learn the Sheriff is quite a sharp, subtle interrogator – and Norman is a terrible, easily flustered liar.

Norman finally makes it to a donation kiosk outside the only church we’ve seen in five seasons of Bates Motel. A few items get tossed in before Norman pauses and looks towards Main Street and Downtown Hardware. Even Madeline Loomis’ professional charm cracks a bit as Norman notes “I must be mad” when he offers her Norma’s old clothes. At least his order of shower curtains is in. “You must go through a lot of these.” Oh if you only knew, Madeline.

Norman regrets spending money for a playground nobody uses.  He needs that money for more shower curtains.

Norman’s golden mood is shattered as he pulls into the motel parking lot. Chick’s unloading his car at the base of the steps. Norman stammeringly tells Chick that having another person in the house with himself and Mother would just be too much. Chick counters,”I’m going to help you with a lot of things, Norman … Help you out with everything.” Amazingly enough, Norman stands his ground. Chick leaves in a huff but leaves the chicken he brought for dinner.

Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene stops by again for a chat. She’d like to go over the guest register in the motel office. Norman can’t stop eating candy while she looks for a clue regarding Jim Blackwell. Stammering, Norman slips up and mentions the name listed on the dead hit man’s license – Canyon City. Sheriff Greene finds that odd, since she never mentioned where the late Mr. Blackwell was from.

Sheriff Greene, you’re a super smart detective. For your own safety, don’t go near the grand staircase in the Bates house.

Norman is so rattled by the questions about Blackwell, he insists Mother must help him hide Blackwell’s car. Despite all the care Mother took to hide it – removing the plates, erasing the VIN number – Norman insists.

A miserable Dead Mother and Son midnight hike gets even worse after Norman accuses Norma. “Maybe you want us to get caught, Mother.” Mother responds by shrieking at the top of her lungs,”Please catch us! We’re right here!”

Norman lunges at Mother, smothering her cries until her eyes film over – is it possible to kill an imaginary mother? Apparently not, since she pops back to life, scuttles away from Norman while warning him not to do that again.

Norman Bates – always the perfect, if socially awkward, gentleman.

Fortunately, Norman has plans for the evening. First, he tells Mother that he’s having dinner with Madeline Loomis and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. Then a quick stop at the local junkyard/squatter’s camp to ask a still-peeved Chick for help permanently disposing of Blackwells’ car before confessing “It’s not me … it’s her, Mother … I don’t know how to reign her in.”

So when Madeline asked Norman to help her “make a cake” after dinner, she actually meant preparing a cake.

Madeline must’ve gotten over the weirdness of wearing Norma’s old clothes; she appears at the door dressed in a lovely blue dress that fits “like a second skin.” After a lovely dinner of coq au vin, Madeline not-so-innocently asks Norman to help her bake a cake they can eat while watching a movie later. Baking leads to making out in the kitchen before Norman sees Mother’s reflection glaring at him in the window. A bloody vision of Madeline with a slit throat sends Norman fleeing into the night.

He finds nothing at the Bates home but a kitchen table neatly set for breakfast. “Mother?” Our last image of the episode is Norman gazing into the camera with Mother’s gaze.

Romero Patrol

Former Sheriff Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) continues his relentless path back to White Pine Bay. Nothing will come between him and his self-appointed task to “take care of” his stepson Norman.

Despite just getting shot, in this episode Romero manages to:

~ Persuade the kid who shot him last week to get a first aid kid (did nobody in the nearby farmhouse hear the very loud gunshot?). Romero staggers to his feet and escapes.

~ Walk all the way back to WHP, spies the only working public phone booth left in America (helpfully labeled PHONE) next to (what looks like) the Kings Motel.

~ Use said phone to call 911 and report a fake emergency, steal medical supplies and cast from a conveniently out-in-the-open wallet, then

~ PERFORM DIY SURGERY ON HIS GUNSHOT WOUND

~ Lurch to the home of a woman named Maggie (Jillian Fargey) who appeared in one episode back in the first season.

Hope he finally gets some sleep. The guy’s had a busy day!

 

Psycho Notes

~ We have our Detective Milton Arbogast! The scene with Norman at the motel was an amazing version of an almost identical scene in Psycho.  Freddie Highmore does an amazing job with the same mannerisms (stammering and nervously eating) that Anthony Hopkins created for Norman in the original film. Let’s hope Sheriff Greene avoids the main staircase in the Bates house – or she may share Det. Arbogast’s fate.

~ Madeline is wearing a dress that looks very much like a shade of “periwinkle blue.” Is Bates Motel (as I noted here) echoing the moment from Psycho when Mrs. Chambers remembers she helped Norman pick out a dress just that shade for Norma’s funeral?

~ In the final second of the teaser for next week’s episode we see Marion Crane pulls into Bates Motel parking lot on a rainy evening.

~ Chick mentions that his suspense novel would “make quite a good little movie.”

~ Again no sign of Emma, Dylan, or baby Kate. Good news if you picked them in your “Bates Motel Survivor Pool.”

 

Bates Motel airs Monday at 10/9Central on A&E.

 




On SUPERNATURAL, the Hunters Become the Hunted


Season 12, Episode 14 “The Raid”
Written by Robert Berens
Directed by John McCarthy

This is an excellent episode that shows why the Winchesters are the at the top of the hunter hierarchy. I would call them the most likely to survive, but we all know they’ve died several times.

The episode begins right where we left off, with Mary (Samantha Smith) and her boys talking about her working with the British Men of Letters. Dean (Jensen Ackles) is hurt. He’s very hurt. He even retorts at one point that he didn’t have a childhood, which is true, but is only going to push his mother in the direction that she’s going. He even calls her Mary. Sam (Jared Padalecki) is probably as hurt, but not as vocal.

My feelings are really hurt. Mary. (Diyah Pera/The CW)

We see Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) and Mary returning to the Men of Letters’ temporary compound after a successful raid on a vampire nest. We find out a few things in a short period of time. The Men of Letters use an Anti-Vampire Device. I don’t know how it works because it seems to be airborne, and do vampires even need to breathe?

We find out that the “old man”, someone over Mick (Adam Fergus) and Ketch, wants the Winchester brothers to join them. We also see Ketch treat a young woman (Sunita Prasad) with profound disrespect, which reminds us that Ketch is not nice. She responds that she has two PhDs. I think his snobbery is not due to the fact that she’s a woman, but the fact that she’s a noncombatant. The other thing we find out is that the boys have frozen their mom out for a couple of days, despite her attempts to call and text them.

The boys argue about their mom. Sam is in favor of listening to her. Dean is still feeling betrayed. He goes off to get a few drinks. Sam goes off to meet with Mary. She takes him into the Men of Letters compound to show him around. She also tells him what I knew, that she is doing this so he and Dean can have a life without hunting. Sam is impressed with their operation. He thinks the two researchers are smart, but he’s not impressed with the only other hunter they have working with them, Pierce Moncrieff (Aaron Douglas), someone Sam already knows.

Ketch goes to Sam and Dean’s lair and entices him with Scotch and a run at a vampire’s nest. He tells Dean that the Men of Letters helps him channel his impulses into something constructive. He assumes that he and Dean are the same. Dean goes with him. He was saying he wanted something to hit.

Dean and I are both killers, but he doesn’t have my English rose complexion. (Diyah Pera/The CW)

The nest is empty except for a small female vamp who had survived an attack on her group and has come to this one for safety. Ketch knocks her around. You can tell he enjoys it but it makes Dean uncomfortable. Dean offers the girl a quick death in exchange for information, and this is how they find out that the hunted have become the hunters.

The compound is quickly in trouble because it’s under attack by the very vampire nest that Ketch and Dean are trying to raid. Vamps take the guards out. Sam and Mary jump into the fray and then get back into the compound with one live undead guy (Andrew Tkach). They ask him some questions and he says that their father came back because of the raids on vampire nests. The young lady says that their intel said he’s been in Morocco for the last decade. Sam says that’s not true, he met him in North Dakota five years ago. That would be when they needed the blood of an alpha monster to defeat the leviathans.

The family that slays together survives together. (Diyah Pera/The CW)

They make an assessment of what weapons they have. It’s not pretty. They ask who in the room has ever killed anyone and only the lousy hunter, Moncrieff, raises his hand. Mary gives Mick a look. He does have the Colt. But it doesn’t have any bullets. Sam knows the recipe and spell to make bullets for it.

Mary is knocked out when she goes to the armory to get the AVD. We soon find out that Moncrieff knocked her out and destroyed it. He also let the alpha vampire in. The alpha vampire (Rick Worthy) quickly kills the two smart people, Serena Colman (Sunita Prasad) and Alton Morehead (Kett Turton). At least the girl tried to fight back. Sam threatens the alpha with the Colt. He claims to be one of the five things that the Colt can’t kill. Yeah, right. He’s full of himself.

Sam gives him a spiel about how they can return to the old ways. Cops and Robbers. Vamps and Hunters. Only vamps that stick their heads out get them cut off. Just let him and his mom walk away. He claims not to care what happens to Mick, and when he does, Mick makes a half-hearted attack on him. Sam literally shrugs him off.

The head vampire says that he thinks the Colt isn’t loaded and then realized that Mick gave Sam a bullet and Mary’s attack on him was a distraction. It turns out that he is not one of the five beings the Colt can’t kill.

Ketch and Dean arrive to find everything over and done with. Dean admits that he could think of nothing else but rescuing Mary after he found that the compound was under attack. He calls her Mom again.

Ketch and Mick have a confrontation. Mick didn’t know where Ketch was, and thought he should have been there to protect them. Ketch gives back some attitude. He says people get killed down in the muck. He drags Moncrieff off and says they have ways to handle rogue hunters and they aren’t pretty. Reactions range from “good” to who cares. I guess no one cares about Renfield.

Mick is embarrassed, to say the least, and apologizes to Sam. Sam says he’s in. They’re trying to change the world, and he wants to help. The head vampire did get killed. Sam will work on Dean about it.

Sam shouldn’t be impressed that the alpha vampire was vanquished. It was almost all due to the Winchesters. Mary stole the gun from Ramiel. Sam knew the incantation and ingredients to make a silver bullet into a bullet fit for the Colt. Sam held off the vampire, Mary distracted him, and Mick’s only part was to get the bullet to Sam.

This is why I say that this episode shows why they are head and shoulders above other hunters, and I don’t just mean Sam. They are tremendously learned and experienced. They are not above trickery, when necessary. They know their foes. The Men of Letters, London Chapter, need the Winchesters far more than the Winchesters need them.

Another big mistake they are making is having people work for them that are not able to protect themselves. Sam and Dean know that doesn’t work. That’s how they lost Charlie and Kevin. It doesn’t matter how good they are at their specialized skill if they aren’t also hunters.

Head and shoulders above everyone else. (Diyah Pera/The CW)

What about the quest that the British Men of Letters are on? Is it at all feasible? England is an island. You can eradicate rabies there. Ireland is an island. You can drive all the snakes out. But America is vast and has borders with two other countries. We also have a lot of unoccupied land.

Do they really think they can kill every monster? Lycanthropy and vampirism are contagious, although werewolves don’t make too many new werewolves because they like to tear their victim’s hearts out. Anyone who is killed unjustly or hangs around too long after death can become a ghost. You can learn to be a witch. It takes pretty much an act of God to close the Gates of Hell or keep the angels in Heaven. They would not only have to keep demons from inhabiting people and wipe out all vamps, werewolves and similar monsters, they’d have to cut down our high murder rate.

Mr. Ketch is getting interesting. It appears that he resents being the low man on the totem pole when he is doing all the dirty work. I think, despite his R.P. English accent and posh wardrobe that he came from humble beginnings. He also claims to have dated Lady Toni. I wonder if he is the father of her child? It certainly explains why she didn’t want them to call him for backup when she was first in the U.S.

It may be that Sam is not as on board with their ideas as it seems. He’s a smart cookie and may realize that as long as their mom is on this quest, they’d better be there to protect her.

 

Supernatural airs on the CW on Thursday nights, 8pm/7c.

 




SLEEPY HOLLOW Imitates THE RING


Season 4, Episode 8 “Sick Burn”
Written by Joey Falco
Directed by Darnell Martin

I think I will keep naming the reviews after the shows that Sleepy Hollow has ripped off until they start doing something more original. I’m not particularly fond of the plot device of media spreading a ghostly evil around. It seems to me a confusion between the term viral and viral. Viral is a description of how something spreads; it does not mean that the thing spreading is actually an illness or harmful in any way. I didn’t like it much in this episode either, but it did give me a chuckle when it spread by pamphlets nailed to trees in 1812. Unfortunately, this is not the only problem with this episode.

We get treated to a bizarre vision of grandiosity where Dreyfuss (Jeremy Davies) is lording it over a defeated Crane (Tom Mison). Crane is obviously the rebellion while Dreyfuss is the worst of demagogues. This is a vision that Dreyfuss has of the future. Whether it’s wish fulfillment, precognition, or a push towards a certain future from somewhere else is impossible to tell. Dreyfuss claims to have set something in motion that will change the U.S.

And then her date just caught on fire. CR: Tina Rowden/FOX

Molly (Oona Yaffe), her mom (Janina Gavankar), and Crane go to a public appearance of an internet sensation, Logan Mcdonald (Robbie Kay). Molly is lucky enough to get a selfie with him, but then he faints and falls to the ground. He has burning symbols in his arm.

Alex (Rachel Melvin) is on a very bad date. Jake (Jerry MacKinnon) is supposed to be her backup if things go wrong, but he’s having too much fun flirting with the bartender. He does pay attention when Alex’s date collapses. They rush him off to the hospital. Alex’s Tinder date bursts into flames.

Because Alex was talked into watching the viral video by her date, she is now infected. She has runes burning under her skin. The team decides that the monster is a djinn.

Alex runs off into the tunnels and they let her go. Crane postulates that keeping the others from the djinn is what caused them to catch on fire.

And this is where we have another problem with this episode. The British sacked and burned the White House in 1814, well after Crane’s time. In the story, they think that the fires in Washington D.C. were due to the djinn. Crane describes the scenes and the battle with the djinn as if he was there, including a perfectly ludicrous scene with Davy Crockett (Daniel Parvis), Paul Jennings (Zae Jordan) and Sacagawea (Dayana Rincon), lead by Sam Wilson (Rick Espaillat), facing the djinn together. For a minute I thought, did the writers forget that he didn’t actually live through all of that history? Then I realized that he read it in the files. But who has been sitting around reading all of the files? That’s Jake’s job. In this episode, all Jake gets to do is pace the floor and hand Crane books while Crane recites the twistory.

If I don’t get any exposition in this episode, I’ll just have to set myself on fire. CR: Tina Rowden/FOX

Also, when learning the history of the fire flu, the group appears more concerned with the possibility of Washington burning again than they are with the fact that people are spontaneously combusting.

The djinn is calling the victims to himself so that he can consume their life energy. Jake gives himself the virus so they can find Alex, and Diana injects her with an herbal antidote that lowers her body temperature. Crane electrocutes the genie and saves everyone.

In the meantime, Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) spends the day with Molly and Molly chooses the path of the oracle. Molly sees a vision of Crane, imprisoned, facing Dreyfuss’s flag, and as old and scarred as he was in the vision that Dreyfuss had. It scares her and makes her feel bad for Crane, but more importantly, it confirms the other vision.

The djinn was in Dreyfuss’ server farm. Crane and team are aware of this. Even though the virus was contained, Dreyfuss got the famous internet sensation, Logan McDonald, on his side.

I’m not at all sure how Logan McDonald became a follower of Dreyfuss. He said he felt better, and different, so I’m not sure what happened to him. Dreyfuss his putting together his own team to counter Crane’s team.

Was there anything good about this thoroughly bad episode? The djinn and zombies in the server building were sort of cool. Jake infecting himself and going after Alex was great, as was her saving him back. It makes you think that their bond may be more than it seems.

We need a lot more story in order to believe that such disparate historical figures as Davy Crockett, Paul Jennings, Sacagawea and Sam Wilson were the forerunners of Ichabod Crane and his band. That just sort of came out of left field. Even for Sleepy Hollow.

C’mon, people. You can (and have) done better than this.

 

Sleepy Hollow airs on FOX on Fridays 9pm/8c.