January 20, 2018

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Last Day (5x08)

I'm confused but in a (mostly) good way. Let's dive in.

Cons:

So, the biggest problem here is that things are just a tad too confusing. I feel as if I need someone to create a timeline for me and really break it down. What happened to the versions of the characters that didn't travel through the monolith, and continued on through time as normal? We see glimpses of their lives from the years 2018 and 2022, but not much else. And what happens when/if our leads manage to make their way back through to the past? Can they actually change anything? What was Fitz saying about a time loop? Have they done all of this before, but they can't remember? How many versions of them are there? Ordinarily I'd say that we should give the show some time to explain itself, but this episode had a couple of moments where it was framed as if I was supposed to be having an 'aha' moment, but instead I felt even more confused. So. I'm a bit concerned about that.

January 19, 2018

Grey's Anatomy: 1-800-799-7233 (14x09)

Poor Jo! Man, this was a good episode. Or, at least, the main story was.

Cons:

The hacker plot thread was pretty stupid in the last episode, and it continues to be pretty stupid here. Luckily we don't spend a ton of time on it. I still maintain that such a level of control is unrealistic... and hey, are we ever going to find out who did the hacking? Seems like a weird thing to leave unanswered. One of the new interns is the one who saves the day, single-handed, with Bailey's laptop. I'll admit I know nothing about computers, but is that really... how this all works? I'm all for more representation in Grey's Anatomy, and in TV in general - this guy, it turns out, is transgender. Cool. But what are the odds that a genius hacker guy would become a surgeon and be on hand to save a hospital attacked by hackers? Seems like a clumsy way to introduce this character, even if I'm glad he's here.

Jackson and Maggie are still just not doing it for me. Maggie didn't annoy me the way she has in the past, but all of the scenes with the two of them are just kinda... eh. Their whole dynamic seems to be based on the fact that they both grew up in the same area but with wildly different childhoods. There's only so much I can hear about Jackson's incredible upbringing. I don't hate the idea of the two of them together, but I'm still rooting for April and Jackson, honestly.

Supernatural: Wayward Sisters (13x10)

Yeah. Okay. I can definitely get on board with this.

Cons:

I wanted to be able to say that this episode totally blew me away and was the perfect start to Wayward Sisters, but I do need to be honest. I felt like there were some elements that could have been stronger.

To start with, we have Claire returning as the prodigal daughter here, but there were a lot of emotional beats that we had to squeeze in to this one episode. Her relationship with Jody, her relationship with Alex, a new friendship forming with Kaia and then losing that friendship, her fear of death, her decision to come home... it's a lot of stuff going on. The stuff with Kaia was good, but there wasn't quite enough of it. Claire has this big, heartbroken reaction to Kaia's death, but I maybe could have used one more scene of the two of them bonding so that the impact would hit. Don't get me wrong - the acting was good, but I needed just a smidge more.

The Big Bang Theory: The Separation Triangulation (11x14)

Yeah, okay. Raj didn't annoy me this week and he so easily could have. So that's a good thing!

Cons:

I will mention one thing, though - Raj's story involves him being stuck between a newly separated married couple. He ends up empathizing with the husband, but we never see him ask the wife for her side of the story at all. He just sleeps with her, and then later asks her to give her husband another chance. I really wish we could have seen Raj as more of a go-between, bonding with both people equally and feeling torn about what to do.

January 18, 2018

Modern Family: In Your Head (9x13)

I'm a bit torn on this one. Nothing that happened felt important, but sometimes that can be okay. On the other hand, are we just treading water at this point? Maybe if I talk about some of the specifics I'll come to a better understanding of how I feel.

Cons:

Luke goes missing, and Phil, Gloria, and Manny team up to find him. There were some good aspects of this, which I'll discuss later, but my problem is that it seems like the plot thread couldn't decide whether we should be taking this whole thing seriously or not. Are we actually worried about Luke, or not? Because if we are, it makes no sense that Phil wouldn't tell Claire what's going on. Also... does Luke not live at home with his parents anymore? Would they not notice if he just never came home? There's a cheesy montage at the end that ties together all of the plot threads, and we see Phil and Luke sitting on the couch together, Phil overwhelmed with relief that his son is okay. This moment might have hit a bit harder if the worry for him had been played out more.

January 14, 2018

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Nathaniel Gets the Message! (3x09)

There were so many laugh-out-loud funny moments in this episode, so many lines of dialogue that just slayed me. And yet there were also quite a few emotional gut-punch moments. Let's dive in!

Cons:

The poker scene wasn't as funny as I wanted it to be. It wasn't bad, but I was expecting something better. Darryl comes in with a red cowboy hat, but then nothing comes of it. He wins at first, but then loses the next game, and... I don't know. Maybe I'm just spoiled with how funny and smart the rest of the episode was. These scenes was just shrug-worthy.

Pros:

I loved the 100th song - "Without Love You Can Save the World." It wasn't my favorite song the show has ever done, but it makes it pretty high on the list. Basically Rebecca has been focusing so much of her energy on men that her therapist encourages her to take that time and focus it on something else. Rebecca, as is typical, immediately blows things out of proportion and decides that she can "save the world" if she cuts love out of her life. This number was just so fun. The whole ensemble was there, and apparently it made for an "asexual utopia." Sign me up!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Together or Not at All (5x07)

This show... is great. This episode was great. Fitz being around really helps!

Cons:

I will admit to being less than interested in all of the Kree family drama. Sure, it was a cool moment when Kasius killed his brother, but their speechifying and Kasius' daddy issues are just not doing it for me. I think the main problem is that we all sort of know that these characters won't be around for very much longer. If our gang of heroes is successful, this entire timeline won't even exist. So... why should I spend time developing a more nuanced opinion of the villain?

Enoch still seems too silly. He's completely invincible and it feels a bit like he could solve any of their problems whenever he wanted. The guy playing him is doing a great job, but he's just not connecting with me for some reason.

January 12, 2018

The Big Bang Theory: The Solo Oscillation (11x13)

I can't force myself to be enthusiastic about this show, guys. I just can't do it. However, this episode was not bad!

Cons:

We get the brief return of Howard and Raj's band, but Howard decides he needs to step down because his music is interfering with his home life. Raj replaces him with Bert, but then Howard comes back after Bernadette gets annoyed with Howard's new efforts to go solo. This plot thread was... nothing. It was nothing. I feel no connection to the band, I didn't learn anything new about family dynamics, we haven't touched on Raj and Howard's recent major fight... it was just nothing.

There was one moment where I felt some missed potential - Amy asks Leonard if getting married makes things different, and he says no. Amy is relieved, because she likes where she and Sheldon are right now. Okay, all of that is fine. I actually liked seeing these two have a serious conversation. But wouldn't this have been a good time to bring up the stagnation in Leonard and Penny's life? They've been treading water for so long now, and this felt like an actual opportunity to bring that up.

January 11, 2018

Modern Family: Dear Beloved Family (9x12)

Okay... this was... fine, I guess, but I kept identifying moments where it could have been much more than fine, and I started to get annoyed at the missed opportunities.

Cons:

The premise is that Phil is rushed to the hospital and has to have his gall bladder removed. The whole family rushes to his side in his moment of need. This is supposed to spawn a general anxiety in the family about death, as we see how everybody handles their worry. But... it just didn't go far enough. Don't get me wrong: I'm not talking about killing Phil off or even suggesting that such a thing was a real possibility. Please. I know what this show is, and I'm not trying to turn it in to something it's not. But there's a way to tackle a more serious subject in a sitcom without breaking the tone. Do you guys remember when Marshall's dad died in How I Met Your Mother? I'm just saying, there could have been a bit more tension to the story than there was.

I have no idea what's going on with any of the kids in this story. Manny, Alex, Haley, Luke... they're all just treading water. The show clearly doesn't know what to do with them at all. We don't get to see Luke and Phil share any sweet father-son moments, we don't get even a hint that the kids are worried about their dad... and Manny is off having a crisis because he dyed his hair blond. He doesn't even blink an eye about his uncle being in the hospital. It all feels so... detached.

January 06, 2018

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Nathaniel Needs My Help! (3x08)

I am SUCH a broken record but my goodness is this show excellent. Where do I even start?

Cons:

I've realized that I only have one consistent complaint throughout the history of this entire show: not enough focus on the secondary characters. This season, we've seen so very little of Valencia, and it's bumming me out. It looks like next week will give us some WhiJo, but he was absent this week as well. So was Heather. I wish there was a way to balance out some more time with these characters, because every single one of them deserves tons of time and attention.

Okay, so... Josh comes to Rebecca's house and thanks her for changing him. Before they met, he says, he had set the bar so low for himself. Rebecca helped him realize that he could have more. Here's the thing about this conversation: I could see it happening, maybe, like ten years down the road. Rebecca and Josh bump in to each other, both of them have decided to forgive each other for their pain and suffering... but let's back up and think about this for a moment. Sure, Josh is not a saint, and there are many things that he did that were less than ideal. But Rebecca? By any sane measure she was the bad guy in their relationship. She stalked him, lied to him, manipulated him, cheated on him, threatened him... I'm not saying that Rebecca should be thrown in prison or anything. Watching her journey towards improving her mental health is the most fascinating thing on this show. But for Josh to thank her? For Rebecca to think that Josh was coming to apologize? Even after all of her therapy, does Rebecca not think she owes Josh an apology as well? Yikes!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Fun & Games (5x06)

My heart!!!! Let's get started.

Cons:

Tess is dead, and Ben is dead. I almost put this under the "pros" section because I was genuinely shocked by these plot twists, but at the end of the day it feels like a wasted opportunity. All of the new characters in this future world haven't had time to fully develop. Daisy was devastated when Ben was killed, but I found myself more curious than upset. I wanted to know more about this guy! And Tess... I understand the logic of killing her off, as she represented a safety net for our leads that they needed to lose. But why spend time developing her only to get rid of her so quickly? Maybe this is just a pacing problem.

I'm still not convinced that Enoch is a necessary character. He acts in this episode as a guide for Fitz, leading him through the social etiquette in his new role as a high-end yet still disreputable bidder for Kasius' prized Inhumans. But Fitz does such an amazing job of playing the part, and Enoch barely helps him out, so... I guess we'll still have to wait and see how this character is utilized moving forward.

January 05, 2018

The Big Bang Theory: The Matrimonial Metric (11x12)

Completely unoffensive, a few good laughs... and yet I feel like there were some missed opportunities here.

Cons:

What I mean by missed opportunities is this: Sheldon and Amy spend the episode secretly testing their friends for the honor of being in the wedding party. This is all well and good, but what we don't get to see is the scene where Sheldon asks Leonard to be his best man. That would have been really sweet, as their friendship has been one of the cornerstones of this show from the very beginning. The fact that such an important moment happens off-screen seems like a shame to me.

Bernadette was present for just one short scene this week, although she still played a role in the plot... I guess this also falls under "missed opportunities," as I would have liked to see Bernie's reaction to Penny getting to be Amy's maid of honor. Maybe we'll see it next week?

January 04, 2018

Modern Family: He Said, She Shed (9x11)

Sometimes these people are kind of the worst to each other, aren't they?

Cons:

Claire just wants a place where she can unwind, so she petitions the HOA for permission to build a shed in the backyard. Luke and Phil wanted a batting cage, so Luke sabotages his mother by writing a fake letter. Later, Luke lies and says that Phil was the one to sabotage her because he was afraid that she'd start spending too much time in her "she shed" and their marriage would fall apart. Okay... this plot thread sucked? There were some good laughs in it, but... come on... Luke was horrible. And not just the normal amount of horrible. I can see him sabotaging things, but the fact that he then made up a lie about Phil was just one step too far. I really thought he was going to fess up, but no. Also, Claire is way too forgiving, and seems to totally buy in to the fact that Phil would lie in such a stupid way to get what he wants. That seems like a sign of a deeply broken relationship to me. Maybe I'm taking this too seriously, but... yeesh.

The same sort of thing happens with Jay and Joe. Joe is apparently really good at golfing, so Jay excitedly decides to cultivate his skills. He takes it too far and puts too much pressure on his young son, to the point where Joe has a total breakdown. This was another plot thread where I was waiting for the heartwarming conclusion - okay, so Jay takes things too far, Joe falls apart, and then Jay should have a talk with his son and maybe Joe finds a different thing that he likes to do and Jay encourages him? Nope! We end on Joe falling to pieces. We see that the two of them go back to playing hide-and-seek, their pre-golf form of entertainment... but that's it. What the heck?

December 26, 2017

Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time (2017 Christmas Special)

Okay! Yeah, I enjoyed that. I wouldn't be me if I didn't have my complaints, and as always, let's start with those.

Cons:

The original Doctor being a sexist old man really did not work for me, and there are a few reasons why. First off, I have no idea if this is true of the original character or not, but even if it was, it doesn't make sense. Time Lords are ancient beings from a society wholly different from earth. Would they really have the same stupid hangups about gender? Specifically considering that Time Lords have malleable genders? But I actually have a bigger problem with this. See, it's not necessarily the worst thing in the world to have a sexist character in the story. But this guy isn't just some random old codger. He's meant to be the Doctor. We're meant to connect to him and sympathize with him. So if he's going around saying sexist stuff, there needs to be a real reason behind it. Oh, hey, I've just thought of a reason - the Doctor, as in, our current Doctor, doesn't want to regenerate, because he's afraid of continuing on, of growing and changing. Maybe seeing this old version of himself, with very backwards ideas about gender, could remind him that change is often a very good thing. That over time, he can learn and grow as a person and be better for it. There! I've just attached a simple, sensible moral to the whole "sexist original Doctor" bit. The problem is, they didn't do that! The sexist comments were just played for a laugh! Pulease.

It was cool to see Nardole and Clara there for a tiny moment at the end of the episode, but these moments were so fleeting that they felt a bit like prizes granted to the Doctor for good behavior. I remember Tennant's farewell tour as the Tenth Doctor had his final moments, where he went around and saw all of his companions one last time before regenerating. You want to know why that worked? Because these companions did not appear magically in front of him and tell him how amazing he was. He went and saw them in their own lives, doing their own thing, living on without him, and he got to see the way that life moves on.

December 23, 2017

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Rewind (5x05)

What an amazing episode! Best of the season! I've really missed Leopold Fitz.

Cons:

In fact, I've missed him so much that it's kind of highlighting for me the structural weaknesses with this season so far. The stakes in the future world just don't feel as serious. Whenever we're dealing with time travel, or alternate realities, the whole concept has this sense of unreality to it. I think that might be the issue I'm responding to here. This one hour with Fitz and Hunter felt more like this show I know and love than the other four episodes have.

I will admit that when we meet Enoch, the ancient alien who has been studying humanity throughout the centuries, I rolled my eyes just a tiny bit. I felt like Fitz took this guy seriously a bit too quickly. Obviously I don't know what the plan is for this character moving forward, but I feel as if within this episode, there could have been a way for all of this to shake out without introducing Enoch.

December 16, 2017

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: A Life Earned (5x04)

Fitz!!! For like half a second there at the end. But still. I was so happy to see him!

Cons:

Okay, I like the stuff going on here, but it does feel a little sluggish. Each episode teaches us a bit more about the world, sure, but it almost feels like all four of these episodes are telling the same slow story. I want more character interaction. I want more forward motion. For example, Daisy is now with Jemma, but we don't learn anything more other than that everybody wants to buy Daisy because she's Quake, the "Destroyer of Worlds." Other than that, we just get a few more pieces of the puzzle slowly edging into place, but not a lot of forward motion.

Fitz showing up at the end made me realize how badly I've missed him, so I guess I'm just putting it under "cons" that he's been absent for so long.

Once Upon a Time: The Eighth Witch (7x10)

This may be my favorite episode of the season, and it a weird way that's pissing me off - we got so many things in this installment that I wanted more of! Let's get started.

Cons:

So, the flashback scenes take us up to the moment that the curse was cast, bringing us full circle. We start with Lucy's birth, and then we see that on her eighth birthday is when all this crap went down. I loved all of these scenes, but there's a problem - why did we not get to see more of this? The last time we spent time with Ella and Henry in the magical land, they were just getting started on their romance. Now they're settled into their lives and they have a kid? There are some touching moments between Hook and various other characters, we see Rumple helping people out in unexpected ways, Zelena shows up with an adult daughter Robin, Jack is there for some reason, and all of these things are so fascinating and fun... but it feels like I missed a chapter. I wanted to see more of all of these characters! I want to know what their lives are like in this land. Do they have a house? Are they still part of a rebellion to take down Lady Tremaine? I don't know! It's like someone hit fast-forward!

The fact that Mother Gothel was double-timing Drizella is excellent, of course. I did have one complaint, though - Anastasia is awake, and there's a moment where she reacts in horror that Drizella is working with Gothel, only to end up being part of Gothel's plan herself. I'm confused - does Anastasia even know who Gothel is? Why? When would they have met?

December 15, 2017

The Big Bang Theory: The Celebration Reverberation (11x11)

This was the first time in... a very long time that I felt a bit interested in an episode of The Big Bang Theory before it even started. I was so pleased with the Raj and Howard conflict from last week that I was actually looking forward to seeing where it went. How did they do?

Cons:

Well, I'm of two minds. Raj and Howard's fight is resolved in quite a juvenile way, which is sort of perfect for their characters, but I did find myself wanting more. Maybe it's not fair to ask this show to be something that it's not. We were never going to have a drawn-out conflict with lots of serious character growth and meditation on their relationship. So given the constraints of the format, I don't mind so much. Still, I wish maybe we could have had one more conversation at the end of the episode to button up this difficult chapter in Raj and Howard's friendship.

Pros:

The fact that they continued on with the conflict at all was impressive to me. Things get increasingly hurtful, as Raj doesn't invite Howard to go to Star Wars: The Last Jedi with him, and then Howard doesn't invite Raj to Halley's first birthday party. That changes when Howard needs help setting up the party. He goes to Raj, who is hurt that Howard is only apologizing because he needs something from Raj. However, Raj decides to help with the party for his goddaughter's sake. An altercation in the bouncy house leads to both of them admitting - "you're my best friend and you hurt my feelings!" They then discover that shoving each other in the bouncy house is quite fun, and begin playing together. Like I said, the resolution is a bit juvenile, but I liked the way this whole plot thread wasn't just played for laughs. They were both genuinely hurt by what was going on, and that was very evident in the acting and the script.

December 14, 2017

Modern Family: No Small Feet (9x10)

Are we never going to be free of Pam?

Cons:

I liked several things about the plot with Cam, Mitchell, Pam, and Bo, but the fact that Pam has not exited the scene is not one of them. I'm still annoyed by her whole character and her presence on this show.

Alex and Luke had a weird little subplot where they sell Alex's used shoes to foot fetishists online. This had potential to be funny, but it sort of dropped off with no real resolution. Same thing with Manny - his contribution this week is that he keeps showing up at his parents' house to steal luxury items, and makes excuses as to why he's there. Not a terrible idea, but it just didn't really lead to anything.

December 11, 2017

The Walking Dead: How It's Gotta Be (8x08)

How long are we actually dragging out the Negan stuff? I'm getting good and sick of it.

Cons:

So many. I'm in the mood to complain a bunch, so look out. First of all, this whole season has been building up all of these different stories, and then this episode tried to bring all of them to a head, but kind of failed with most of them. We've got all these groups of people confronting all of these other groups of people, and the garbage folk run off pretty much immediately, making them a waste of time, and Eugene's moral dilemma is solved by letting Gabriel and the doctor go, even though it's like... too little too late, and then meanwhile Enid and Aaron are off trying to find the all woman community to ask for their help, and I'm thinking: are you kidding me with this? How many SEASONS of this show are going to be about Negan? I'm bored!!!