Sunday, March 1, 2015

Modern Family: Connection Lost (6x16)

I liked it. I know this episode has had a polarizing reaction, as some people were angry at what they perceived as gimmick-y and full of product placement. But actually, I thought this was very clever, funny, and oddly insightful about the way technology works in our world today. Let's look at the plot.

Claire is in the airport, waiting to board a plane back home after a business trip. The whole episode is just Claire's laptop screen, as she Facetimes and chats with her family members, looks things up on the internet, manages her to-do list, etc.

Apparently, Claire and Haley got into some stupid fight, and Claire is worried when Haley won't answer any of her messages. Claire has to deal with Phil, who won't stop playing video games, Alex, who just wants her mother to read her college essay, Luke, who gets a Mohawk at Jay and Gloria's house without asking, Cam, who keeps asking for special popcorn from Chicago, and Mitchell, whose birthday she almost forgot. Throughout all of this chaos, she can't find Haley.

Claire uses a fake Facebook profile to check Haley's page and sees that Haley "got married." She also tracks Haley's cell phone and discovers that she's in Vegas! The whole family freaks out, thinking that Haley has gotten married. To whom? Andy! Apparently they were together last anybody heard from Haley. Then, a package comes in the mail for Haley - it's a book on pregnancy! Oh no!

Suits: Intent (4x15)

Harvey said "I love you" to Donna. I don't even know how to process this right now. My brain has exploded. This episode was... well, it was pretty much unlike anything I've ever seen before on this show. It pushed Harvey's character into a whole new light, and it caused me to rethink a lot of what I thought I knew about him. Let's dive in.

Harvey asks Donna what happened with Liberty Rail. Donna lies and says that she didn't break any laws. Harvey demands that Mike drop the case so that Liberty Rail will back off of Donna. Mike agrees to do so, which makes his client furious, since the money he was supposed to get was going to turn his life around. Unfortunately for Harvey and Donna, Evan Smith won't back off of Donna.

Harvey tells Mike to go after Liberty Rail anyway, since they have to come up with a new tack to save Donna. Harvey is upset that Donna lied to him, since the truth is much harder for Harvey to fight against. Mike helps Harvey realize that the other side has a very thin case for felony fraud, because there's no way to prove damages unless Liberty Rail admits that the documents that Donna took are damaging to them in some way.

Mike's client takes a payoff from Liberty Rail and won't work with Mike anymore, so he and Rachel have to find someone new to sue Liberty Rail and get this thing taken care of. They find the man who was conducting the train. This man can't remember the accident, but he's convinced that it was all his fault. Mike and Rachel convince him to do the right thing and come forward.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Parks and Recreation: One Last Ride (7x12/13)

I can't believe it's really over! This was so emotional. I really wasn't sure what to expect for this final double episode, but what I got was stunning. Let's go over the plot.

Basically, the whole gang comes together one last time to help repair a broken swing. They succeed, cutting through all the bureaucratic red tape to complete their goal. Along the way, Leslie laments the fact that everything is changing, and that she just wants everybody to be together and happy. Ben promises that some day all of these people will be reunited, even if it takes a while. Throughout the episode, as Leslie says goodbye to everybody, we get flash-forwards of what happens to each character's lives over the next several years. I'll quickly list some of the outcomes.

Donna and Joe move to Seattle. Joe struggles as a teacher, because so many programs are not being funded. Donna, who is very wealthy, decides that she wants to establish a program through April's company called "Teach Yo' Self," which would pay teachers for running after-school clubs and the such.

Craig ends up falling in love with Typhoon (the hair stylist). They live a long and happy life together.

Jean-Ralphio and his sister Mona Lisa fake Jean-Ralphio's death as a life insurance scam. They watch the funeral from behind a tree and then run off together to open a casino.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Castle: The Wrong Stuff (7x16)

Castle has always had an interesting relationship with science fiction. It's one of my favorite things about the show, to be honest. It's a procedural cop show with a slight twist in genre. This show has dealt with time travel and other SF related concepts before, and this new episode took it to a whole new level. Let's dive in.

Basically, an astronaut participating in a highly advanced Mars simulation winds up dead. Castle is giddy to be able to "go to Mars," figuratively. I'll cut right to the chase - the murder ends up being a collaboration between the other astronauts. They all hated the victim and knew that going into space with him was going to compromise the mission. They programmed the computer to kill the victim using the Rover.

Meanwhile, Castle and Beckett are finding it difficult to get time alone. Martha has her new boyfriend over all the time, and Alexis has her friends over as well. Castle decides to call a family meeting to think about how they're going to manage the chaos. To his surprise, Martha announces that she's going to find a new place to live, since she's doing better financially and wants her own space.

That was a criminally short plot summary, but it gets the basics across. I loved this episode. It was exactly what I wanted. Something light and clever after the double episode angst we just got finished dealing with.

The Walking Dead: The Distance (5x11)

Wow. These episodes just keeping getting better. Two weeks ago, I was disappointed by the premiere of the back half of this season. Then, last week's episode was a solid establishing episode, getting things back on track. This week, we get something new, and it's awesome.

Maggie and Sasha take Aaron back to the barn, where Rick and the others immediately search him for weapons and keep guns pointed at him. Aaron tells the group about the Alexandria community, showing them pictures and telling them all about it. Rick doesn't trust him, punching him and tying him up. Aaron tells the group that he and one other person brought vehicles to bring them to the community. Michonne and some of the others go to check out the cars, to see that Aaron is telling the truth. The rest of the group is ready to trust Aaron, but Rick still isn't sure.

Rick decides that they will go to Alexandria, but they'll take an alternate route. Aaron says it's a bad idea, because the main route has been cleared and secured, but Rick wants to be cautious. This almost results in disaster, as the vehicles are overrun by Walkers on the way. However, everybody gets out okay. Aaron reunites with the other member of the community who came to collect the "recruits." Eric, Aaron's partner, has a broken ankle but is otherwise okay.

As the group finally approaches Alexandria, Rick hears children laughing and playing inside. He decides to believe in this place at last, and they all go inside the walls.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Vampire Diaries: Let Her Go (6x15)

Ahhhhh! Poor Caroline! But then yay Bonnie! And yay Alaric and Jo! So many emotions going on right now. This episode was pretty poignant and emotional. A lot of stuff was going on here, and it made me very happy. Let's take a look.

The main plot of the evening is focused on the funeral of Elizabeth Forbes. Caroline is in project-mode, just wanting to get through the horrible few days and get the funeral over with. She and Elena go casket shopping while everybody else helps to whip the funeral into shape. Damon is supposed to write the eulogy, but he can't figure out what to say. We see in flashbacks how Damon failed to show up to his mother's own funeral, letting a ten-year-old Stefan down by not reading the speech he was supposed to prepare for the event. Damon eventually realizes, with a little help from Elena, that this speech isn't about him, or even really about Liz, but about Caroline. He delivers a touching speech, where he tells Caroline that Liz was proud of her, and he calls both Caroline and Liz "extraordinary."

Caroline and Stefan are both wondering what to make of their kiss. Obviously, this whole thing has terribly bad timing. Stefan goes to Damon for advice, and Damon advises him to "pull the rip chord," because Stefan clearly doesn't feel the "true love" feeling for Caroline. Stefan thinks about it, and later realizes that even if how he feels for Caroline is different than how he felt about Katherine or Elena, it might still be something wonderful. Caroline, however, tried to ask Stefan about their relationship earlier, and Stefan had shut her down, promising that they could talk about it later. Caroline, devastated by her mother's death and with not even the promise of Stefan's love to help her, decides to flip her Humanity switch. Elena figures out what she's up to and tries to talk her out of it, but Caroline snaps Elena's neck and disappears, just in time to miss Stefan, who came over to talk to her.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Elementary: When Your Number's Up (3x15)

Interesting episode. Not sure about it, really. Pretty grim, but also hopeful in certain ways.

The case of the week is this: a woman whose husband died in an airplane crash starts manipulating the airline by killing off relatives of other deceased people from the crash. She's making a statement about how much money every person is worth. She wants to manipulate the airline into paying a fixed sum to each family, instead of doing a sliding scale depending on the worth of the person. This woman is wealthy, but her husband had a disease meaning he'd have a tragically short life. She'll get more money if the fixed sum is set. Luckily, our team is able to catch her before she continues her rampage. She does kill two people, though.

Meanwhile, Joan has moved back into the Brownstone. She wants to get rid of all of her stuff from the apartment and dedicate herself fully to living and working with Sherlock. Sherlock secretly leases Joan's old apartment and doesn't want her to get rid of her furniture. Joan asks him if he doesn't want her there. Sherlock says of course he does - he's just worried that she's being a bit hasty. It seems as if she's jumping in too quickly, probably due to the trauma of Andrew's death. Joan eventually figures out a good compromise - she sets up a space for herself in the basement, and then closes off the door to the stairs leading up to the rest of the Brownstone. Now, she'll have her area where she can spend time and meet clients, and in order for Sherlock and Joan to visit each other's spaces, they'll have to physically leave the Brownstone and go around to the outer entrance.

That's a brief plot summary, but I want to get in to the specifics of this episode.

Grey's Anatomy: The Great Pretender (11x12)

Great episode. Lots of stuff happened, and a lot of it was rather detailed and convoluted, so I'll try and get all the important stuff written down.

Meredith comes back from her weekend trip, but she's evasive about what she's been up to. Maggie confronts her, saying that Derek called three times asking where she was. Meredith doesn't think she owes Maggie an explanation, but eventually she does tell Maggie what happened. She got to the airport, but then she chickened out and spent the weekend alone in a hotel. Maggie assumes that this must have been a horrible experience for her, and she sympathetically hugs Meredith. Meredith later tells Alex that she enjoyed the time alone, because it gave her an opportunity to be herself - not a doctor, a wife, or a mother. She doesn't want to leave Derek, but she doesn't want to be around him right now, either.

Meanwhile, Arizona and Dr. Herman spend time together prepping for all sorts of cool surgeries. Dr. Herman learns that Arizona isn't as straight-laced as she assumed. She learns about Arizona's affair, and about her living with residents like Jo, who frequently walks naked around the house. Dr. Herman is delighted by this. The two women bond.

Callie and Amelia talk about how they both used to be good at one night stands, but how it's more difficult now. Callie picks up a guy at a bar, and Amelia finally does something about the Owen situation. She shows up at his trailer, and the two share a kiss.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Big Bang Theory: The Comic Book Store Regeneration (8x15)

Wow! An episode with actually funny jokes and some more serious character relationships being explored? What universe have I fallen into? I shouldn't over-sell it, because this wasn't anything remarkable, but I actually felt like this was a rather solid episode of this show.

Sheldon is upset to find out that Amy helped Barry Kripke with some string theory research, since Amy never helped him when he was studying it. Sheldon goes to Penny and complains about Amy, but Penny says that maybe he needs to let it go. She helps him with techniques for getting over his anger. Sheldon tells Penny that Amy has been secretly testing her intelligence against the monkeys in her lab by making Penny solve puzzles. Penny feels insulted and hurt. Leonard realizes that Sheldon had been doing the same thing to him. They confront Sheldon and Amy about it, but they're pretty unapologetic about the whole thing.

Meanwhile, Stuart is ready to re-open his comic book store, thanks to the money that Howard's mother gave him for that purpose. Everybody comes together to congratulate him on the opening, but Howard still can't get over the weirdness of Stuart living with his mother. Howard and Stuart argue over some furniture that Stuart took from Mrs. Wolowitz's house to use in the store, and things get more and more heated. However, at this point Howard gets a call from from Florida, where his mom was visiting family, and learns that his mother has passed away.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Modern Family: Fight or Flight (6x15)

Eh. Nothing wrong with this episode, but there were only a few really funny moments mixed in with a lot of mediocre material.

Phil and Claire are on a plane on the way back from a camping trip. Claire gets an upgrade to first class, abandoning Phil in coach. Claire feels that she deserves this, because she suffered through the unbearable trip with Phil and his crazy friends. Claire meets a woman in first class who seems to be perfect, offering her a neck pillow and chocolates, but then it is revealed that the girl is a racist who insists on eating stinky cheese on the plane. Back in coach, Phil is having a wonderful time, sitting between a magician and a masseuse, who gives him a back rub as the magician does tricks for him. Eventually, Phil realizes that Claire deserves some peace and relaxation after putting up with him for the trip, so he switches with her.

This plot wasn't the best. I feel like I've seen every sitcom out there do this type of episode, where shenanigans ensue on a plane. The reveal that Claire's companion was racist didn't come across as very funny, either. I did enjoy Phil's enthusiasm for the magician's tricks, though. Also, Claire talks about how Phil and his gymnastics friends kept updating their "tumbler tumblr," so that made me laugh for obvious reasons. All in all, not a bad plot thread, but not a great one either.

Manny is getting picked on in his culinary class. Gloria asks Jay to help teach him to be tough, but she insists that Jay pretend it's his idea instead of hers. After Manny takes some lessons in punching, he confronts his bully. Too bad the bully was trying to apologize with a homemade dessert... Jay and Manny realize that the real bully in their lives is Gloria, who always makes them do what she wants. They try to stand up to her, but she squashes them down.