October 21, 2016

Grey's Anatomy: Both Sides Now (13x05)

Lots of good stuff, but one or two bad things as well. Also, the centralizing theme of this episode got a little muddied.


What do I mean by that? Well, I think this episode was supposed to be how it was too hot out or something. First of all, they said it was Fall. And it's Seattle. We don't generally have blistering heat, here. But whatever. The other cohesive theme was about babies, I think. There was a pregnancy, a possible pregnancy, and a new baby all in this episode. But nothing really tied them together.

The patients of the week all ended up connecting: one old woman is finally getting her new liver, to Bailey's delight. Meredith's patient needs an emergency liver transplant, but her twin sister can't give it to her because she's pregnant. Maggie and Stephanie's patient dies on the table during a very risky heart surgery, and it turns out that his liver is a match for the dying twin, so... that's good, I guess. My problem with this was that the minute I knew the 25-year-old needed a liver, I knew there was going to be drama about her getting it from the old woman. And then I guessed that somehow another liver would magically show up so that both of them could be saved. I wish this hadn't be so transparent.

Supernatural: Mamma Mia (12x02)

Okay. So. I'm really, really thrilled with some things, but very frustrated with others.


This British Men of Letters thing is still baffling to me. Last week, I asked why Toni needed to torture Sam for information, when she could have just asked for it. Beyond that, if she's able to learn so much about Sam and Dean, shouldn't she be able to crack the code on the other hunters as well? This week, we learned that Toni and some other members of the British MOL believe that American hunters have been corrupted in some way, and are working alongside monsters. This idea has the potential to be intriguing, but it still doesn't change the fact that Toni is a moron. In what universe does she think that torturing these guys is going to get her what she wants? Why on earth would she use this tactic, instead of trying to infiltrate? Like, why doesn't she pose as a hunter looking for connections in America, and become an ally to Sam and Dean in order to ferret out the secret conspiracy she thinks is lying beneath?

Also, one of Toni's torture techniques was to put a spell on Sam to make him think the two of them were in bed together. That was just... weird? I don't know. Toni is on my list of the most incompetent, least threatening villains we've ever had on this show, and that could be a big problem.

October 19, 2016

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire (4x04)

Daisy's back with the team, and it feels so right. Let's dive straight in.


This was a pretty flawless episode, other than one "plot twist" that I found a bit ridiculous. Daisy and Simmons pair up to try and figure out how the Watchdogs have been tracking down and killing Inhumans. Their search leads them to James, aka Hellfire. Then, the twist is that James has been working with the Watchdogs, allowing them access to the tracking bracelet that S.H.I.E.L.D. makes him wear. The twist was obvious from a mile away, and that always bothers me. James is a cool enough character that I was a bit disappointed to have him used in this way.

October 18, 2016

The Big Bang Theory: The Hot Tub Contamination (10x05)

Of the many things I habitually complain about on this show, one of the most aggravating is the constant telling, rather than showing. In my opinion, this episode is a perfect example of that problem.


The main plot is about Sheldon and Amy and how they have a hard time living together. Sheldon and Penny end up going out to get away from the fighting, while Amy and Leonard stay in. Sheldon complains about Amy, and Penny finds herself sympathizing, while Amy complains about Sheldon, and Leonard finds himself sympathizing. In the end, Sheldon apologizes for being so contrary, and agrees to try and compromise more.

Here's the problem: we spend the whole episode hearing Sheldon and Amy talk about living together and how hard it is. We don't even see them in the actual apartment they're living in until the very end! It would have been much more fun to watch them actually living together. To see these complaints play out on the screen. Instead, we just get to hear about how hard it is, and then in the end Sheldon and Amy are back on good footing, and nothing has really changed or moved forward in any way for the plot or the characters.

October 17, 2016

Once Upon a Time: Strange Case (6x04)

Well... huh. That was unexpected. But in a good way!


Before we get to the main plot of the episode, which I liked, I want to talk about the setup in this episode for our Aladdin story, which I didn't like. Snow is back to work as a teacher, and she has a new teacher's aid, a woman from the land of untold stories. This is Jasmine, which is painfully obvious from the second she appears on screen. She helps Snow to incorporate her new self into her old role as a teacher, and connect with the kids from the land of untold stories in brand new ways. Then, as the episode ends, Jasmine meets up with the oracle who showed Emma her death. The oracle is apparently looking for Aladdin in Storybrooke, but has been unable to find him yet.

My problems are many. First of all, Snow's whole "I need to learn to be a good teacher again" thing is weird and kind of out of nowhere. I liked the idea of her opening up a school for the kids, but I thought we were going to see her planning and developing that idea, and then opening things back up eventually. Instead, the school is just... up and running all of a sudden. And Snow suddenly sucks as a teacher? I don't know. It just felt like a shoe-horned reason to have a "find yourself" plot. Jasmine, who went by a different name for the majority of the episode, inspires Snow with a sad story about a princess who couldn't accept who she was, and who let her kingdom down because of it. It was all just so generic, and it didn't make me feel excited about learning Jasmine's story. (Although I did love Galavant, so the actress is already a hit with me).

Elementary: Worth Several Cities (5x02)

This was a fairly competent, standard episode of Elementary. It was solid in every way that matters. Let's jump in!


On the complaint side, I guess I'd say that the stakes felt a little low at certain points. Sherlock begins this episode as a hostage, and the bad guy threatens Sherlock and Joan's lives if Sherlock doesn't help them with an investigation of a rival who had one of his smugglers killed. Despite this, Sherlock and Joan never seemed particularly wary. They didn't take extra precautions, or worry about being separated, or anything like that. It's a small thing, but I wish I could have seen evidence that either or both of them were at least a little bit worried that they were going to end up casualties in this international squabble.

My other complaint is the standard one: please give Bell and Gregson more to do. Also I miss Fiona. Hell, I miss Kitty. I love the leads in this show, but I'm missing a developed supporting cast, even after all of these years.

October 14, 2016

Supernatural: Keep Calm and Carry On (12x01)

Okie dokie. We're back. And I'm thrilled. Although... yeah. I have a question.


That question is as follows: why are the British MOL torturing Sam, again? Because they want to find American hunters and teach them their ways? W-what? So... the British have this system wherein they are awesome at killing monsters, and they want America to be awesome too. But why would torturing Sam be a way to make that happen? Has anybody just tried to reach out to them and tell them the deal? Couldn't Toni have just approached Sam in a neutral area and explained who she was and asked to have a conversation? I'm not saying that Sam would have instantly trusted her, but it would have been a way better way to start a relationship. And if the British MOL can track Sam and Dean so effectively for years on end, how is it that they have no other information about hunters in America? That seems... stupid. Basically what I'm saying is that if you want us to buy in to the torturing of one of the leads, the bad guys better have a compelling reason for their actions.

Grey's Anatomy: Falling Slowly (13x04)

A mixed bag in terms of plot threads, but the ones I liked I really liked, so... where does that leave us?


DeLuca is not allowed to talk about the case with anybody, which annoys him. He and Jo end up talking about it anyway. I was sensing some potential romance vibes from these two, and just... no. I can't think of anything more bland and uninteresting than a DeLuca/Jo pairing. Pulease.

I'm a broken record, but the Mer/Riggs/Maggie love triangle is annoying as hell. Maggie needs to get over her little crush. She sounds petty when she keeps going on and on about how awkward things are between them. It's like she's unaware of the dozens of more interesting stories going on around her. Imagine that.

October 13, 2016

Modern Family: Weathering Heights (8x04)

Nathan Fillion... why. Why did you play this character. I'm a little grossed out right now, to be honest.


Phil gets to do a quick segment on the news about real estate, and he meets Rainer Shine, his favorite weatherman. They strike up a friendship, but then Haley and Rainer start going out, and Phil is horrified. However, in the end he accepts Haley's decision and he and Rainer patch up their friendship.

Honestly, there were a few laughs here, and Nathan Fillion is a joyous wonder to behold, no matter the part he's playing. But... um... did anybody else notice that this plot thread was all about how Phil was feeling, rather than about Haley? The age difference thing already freaks me out, but I could have set that aside if we could have had some real insights into what Haley was thinking about. Phil and Rainer talking about Haley as if her input didn't matter really, really threw me for a loop. Not to mention that politically, at this exact moment, an older man being a pickup artist with younger women is... suggestive of a certain somebody that I'd rather not have to think about.

October 12, 2016

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Uprising (4x03)

I'm really excited by a lot of what's going on. It seems like both our smaller character arcs and our bigger world-building arcs are gaining some nice momentum.


The basic premise of this episode, which I liked, involved some human extremists using EMPs to fry the electricity in major cities. They then blamed these blackouts on Inhumans, to try and get people to turn against them. I have no problem with this setup, or with most of what our characters did because of it.

With one exception: May. Simmons and Radcliffe spend this episode trying to figure out how to save her. She's going berserk, and based on Simmons' observations of other people who got touched by that creepy ghost thing, May has hours left, at best, before death. So, Radcliffe suggests that they kill her and then restart her heart, like rebooting a computer and getting the crazy parts of her brain to shut off. They do so, and then right before Simmons is about to shock May back to life, the power cuts out. So then Radcliffe uses the battery cell from his still-secret AI, and May comes back, her madness cured. My reasoning for not liking this should be pretty obvious. It was a cheap trick. Nobody really thought that May would die in that moment, did they? And the whole detour of May's madness sort of stalls out. She's been cured so easily! I guess I was just looking for more.

October 11, 2016

The Big Bang Theory: The Cohabitation Experimentation (10x04)

A solid, unoffensive half hour of comedy. That's about all I can hope for with this show, and this week I got it.


Bernadette and Howard's tiny little C-plot was a regular cul-de-sac. It started nowhere and went nowhere and ended nowhere. Basically, they go for an ultrasound, and they decide they don't want to know the sex of the baby. But Raj finds out, so then the couple decides that maybe they do want to know. Howard calls Raj over and over again in the middle of the night, about to ask him to tell them the sex, but then Bernadette changes her mind at the last second and says she doesn't want to know. And that was it. No resolution. Pointless plot. No good jokes.

October 10, 2016

Once Upon a Time: The Other Shoe (6x03)

I've rated the previous two episodes of this season at 7/10, which indicates a lack of enthusiasm with a lot of hope for improvement. I'm happy to say that this week I got that improvement!


I'm still annoyed that Emma isn't telling anybody about her visions. It's tedious. Especially given all the personal growth she did have in this episode.

Rumple does something sweet in this episode, which, okay, fine. He wants to be a good dad. He has David give Belle a recording of him singing to the baby. I didn't have a huge problem with this, per se, but I'm just praying this doesn't mean Belle is going to end up back with him. I genuinely do not want these two to end up together. Please, please, please.

October 07, 2016

Grey's Anatomy: I Ain't No Miracle Worker (13x03)

I wish Meredith wasn't being so annoying right now. Because I do love her a lot. Setting that aside, I quite enjoyed this episode. In many ways it felt like a classic Grey's Anatomy hour.


So, I've been expressing my annoyance with the love triangle plot over the last few weeks. Before, Maggie was the one annoying me with all of her complaining. But now, I'm just flummoxed at Meredith's behavior. Why isn't she just telling Maggie the truth? She has to know it'll come out eventually, and that the longer she waits, the worse it's going to be. Sigh. Meredith should be smarter than this.


On the flip side, I'm actually buying in to the chemistry between Meredith and Riggs now. This was the first episode where Riggs' charming self actually seemed to click in my mind with Meredith. I could see them making a real go of it. The best part was when the two were discussing miracles. A woman came back from the dead, and Meredith is sure that she's brain damaged, or, as she puts it, "gorked." Riggs says that he has a "miracle dream" where his dead love is returned to him. Meredith admits that she has a dream like that about Derek. As she exits the room, she ends with another affirmation of her pessimism: "She's gorked."

October 06, 2016

Modern Family: Blindsided (8x03)

A solid episode of Modern Family. Nothing ambitious or tricky, just some good setups and a lot of funny lines. I quite enjoyed it!


The only thing I didn't like was Phil's weird promoter friend. Haley is starting a new job as a club promoter, and Phil introduces her to this guy because he wants her to have a more "serious" job. The guy just didn't make me laugh. It wasn't anything egregious, but it stood out in an episode that otherwise didn't have any problems.


So, Haley's quest for a new job has led her to club promotion. She leads a group of young women around and they take selfies and post stuff about clubs. Phil doesn't think it seems like a real job, but Haley proves him wrong. Phil has been trying to sell a house where the previous family was murdered, but he hasn't been having any success. Haley and her friends post about the house on social media, and suddenly tons of eligible buyers are showing up. I liked this plot because it commented on the strangeness of millennial culture. A lot of young people don't have any money, but there's a growing portion of people who are making their livings doing things that didn't even exist when their parents were their age. Haley points out a girl who makes money playing video games, and a guy who invented an app and is now super rich. These types of people exist. The social media/internet age has really revolutionized the job market. Specifically, I like seeing Haley find something that she's passionate about. Club promotion is actually a tough gig, and I think she proved that just because she gets to dress up and go to parties, doesn't mean that it's not real work. Phil trying to sell the murder house was also pretty hilarious.

October 04, 2016

The Big Bang Theory: The Dependence Transcendence (10x03)

So... not a bad episode, actually. But I still feel a tad frustrated by one big thing.


The main plot is, unfortunately, where my problem lies. See, Sheldon, Howard, and Leonard are putting in long nights in order to meet the impossible deadline in their government contract. Sheldon spends the episode experiencing the high of his first energy drink, and then worrying about becoming addicted. In the end, however, all of this distraction was merely a way to cover up for the fact that Sheldon is stumped on the math. I liked elements of this, but here comes the annoying part: the three guys go to talk to Colonel Williams about how they can't meet the deadline, and they say they will need two years. He says that's fine. The problem is that the tension and forward motion of this plot instantly goes out the window. I was actually looking forward to sustaining an A-plot of this sort, but now they can put off talking about it for two more seasons of this infernal show. Is it bad that I'm praying really hard that they don't get renewed?

October 03, 2016

Once Upon a Time: A Bitter Draught (6x02)

Hm. Some things are going in interesting directions... but I have to be brutally honest. There are a lot of things I'm not too happy with here.


The C-plot story of the week concerns the Count of Monte Cristo. I really liked it, but it ended too quickly. I'll get there in a minute, but I wanted to have more time with this character. I hope that some of the other characters from the Land of Untold Stories can stick around a bit more.

Emma is still hiding things. I already complained about this last week, so I'll keep it short: I'm sick of watching Emma retreat back behind those walls. When is she going to realize she can trust her family completely?

Zelena is annoyingly inconsistent. Do we really have to watch her flip-flop over and over again? You know what would be more interesting? If the Evil Queen showed signs of the good Regina, just as the good Regina still has signs of the Evil Queen. That way, Zelena could feel a connection to the Evil Queen because she wants to help her, or something. But this way, we just see Zelena going back and forth between good and evil. It's not interesting anymore!

Elementary: Folie a Deux (5x01)

I thought this was a pretty solid premiere. We're not setting up any "Big Bad A-Plot" stuff, which is sometimes typical for a procedural's opening episode of the season. Instead, we're focusing on some character stuff that I think might be quite fun to explore.


I guess I don't have anything big to complain about. As is often the case with Elementary, I do sort of wish that Gregson and Bell could be given meatier material. They are such non-entities in this show sometimes.

September 30, 2016

Grey's Anatomy: Catastrophe and the Cure (13x02)

I'm really liking this season so far. But I miss Arizona. Are we going to see her soon? My efforts to be brief might be thwarted today, but I'm going to try...


Maggie and Meredith. I'm sorry, I just... I don't care about the love triangle, and I'm kind of mad at Meredith for not coming clean to Maggie. But then I'm also annoyed at Maggie for being so whiny and self-centered, talking about Riggs all the time. Maggie does get the courage to ask Riggs out, but he had pre-warning from Meredith and immediately says no, trying to let her down easy by saying that he's not ready to date anybody right now. Meredith tells Alex that she slept with Riggs, and Alex looks on with amusement as Maggie shows up, ready to drink away her sorrows at getting rejected. This keeps getting more complicated, and while I know that this kind of plot line is typical fare for a show like Grey's Anatomy, I think it's just bothering me because it seems so petty compared to everything else that's going on.

September 29, 2016

Modern Family: A Stereotypical Day (8x02)

Okay. A stronger episode than the premiere, but there were still elements that I wasn't thrilled with.


The Dunphy plot involved Phil getting stuck in a closet after an open house for work, and then suffering from PTSD about it. This could have been really funny, but they didn't spend enough time on the part where he was actually in the closet. There was a lot they could have done with that and I feel like the opportunity was wasted. Also in the Dunphy plot, we learn that Alex has mono and has to stay home from school. This is fine, since they've done nothing with her college plot line anyway, but I do wish that this show could decide what to do with Alex. Haley lost her job and is hiding it form the family, which isn't really funny. It mostly just seems like an unraveling of her character development. I don't know... there was a real attempt in some of the other plot threads to explore some more serious themes. The stuff with the Dunphys fell flat in comparison. Especially since PTSD isn't funny.

There were a few cringe-y jokes in an episode riddled with contentious land mines. They avoided most of them, which I'll talk about more in a minute. But Jay misunderstanding the phrase "by the way" as an exotic African name? Ugh. I call foul.

September 28, 2016

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Meet the New Boss (4x02)

Things are heating up (no pun intended) in this season, and I'm loving it. So many interesting developments to talk about! I'll try and keep it brief.


Unfortunately, the least successful part of this episode was one of the potentially more compelling mysteries: the weird ghosts. Basically, the "ghost" at the very beginning of the episode was very successful indeed, appearing in a family's home and attacking a man. Later, when we see things from this ghost's point of view, things start to fall apart. She wakes up other ghosts being held in containment fields and they all talk about finding a book and killing the man responsible for their current conditions. Lucy, the main ghost, thinks that she can reverse whatever it is that's happened to them. Fitz and Mack, investigating the lab where these ghosts were held, get into an altercation with one of them. I'll talk in a minute about the many good things that came out of this plot thread, but I think the actual effectiveness of the incorporeal beings was really undercut the second you started having them talk to each other. Ghosts and things like that are always scarier when you view them as an outsider, unable to gain access to their thoughts. This is a case of "less is more." I didn't want things spelled out for me quite so clearly.