13 February 2016

The Big Bang Theory: The Valentino Submergence (9x15)

I really didn't like this episode. There was only one plot thread that had actual promise, and even it wasn't great. Let's take a look.

Cons:

Penny and Leonard's plot involved them going out to dinner for Valentine's Day. When the wait at the restaurant is too long, Penny tires to flirt with the Maitre D' to get a table, but he calls her "ma'am," causing her to have a crisis about her age. Leonard and Penny decide they have to do something fun and young, so they end up dressing up in weird Valentine's Day cupid outfits and throwing confetti around in Sheldon's apartment. This plot thread wasn't fun or original in any way. So Penny is upset because somebody called her "ma'am." That's not necessarily a sign that you're getting old... and their weird way of being "young" was to cause a mess in Sheldon's apartment? I just didn't get what was funny about that.

Meanwhile, Raj finally decides to break up with Emily. He has been wondering if he should do it for a while now, and he finally pulls the plug. He then calls Claire and asks her out, only to discover that she's just gotten back together with her boyfriend. Raj goes to Emily and begs her to take him back, but she says no. Raj then calls Sheldon and Amy on their live edition of "Fun with Flags" and talks about how lonely he is. This plot thread is really not endearing me to Raj. He dumps Emily because she's not right for him - okay, fair enough. But then when he finds out that Claire isn't available, he rushes back to Emily because he's afraid of being alone. I can understand that. But what I don't like is the implication that Raj only sees women as either datable objects, or the spouses/girlfriends of his friends. He seems to be unable to imagine that women might be valuable for friendship. His weird insistence on forming romantic connections with everybody is rather unsettling.

12 February 2016

Grey's Anatomy: The Sound of Silence (12x09)

We're back! I always miss this show when it's away. I'm not going to waste time with an intro - let's just jump right in to discussing the opening of act two.

Cons:

This is a teeny little nitpick, but I really hate it when this show tries to make references to its location in "Seattle." Mostly because they so very rarely do a good job with referencing the city that I've lived in (or rather right outside of) my whole life. The patient who ends up attacking Meredith refers to Pike Place Market as "Pike's market." Nobody calls it that. Everybody just calls it "Pike Place."

But setting that aside, the main plot of the episode was all about Meredith being violently attacked by a patient, and dealing with her recovery from that point forward. I loved almost everything at work here. I felt that we got a good balance of seeing different people's relationships with her... with one exception. Maggie was barely in this episode, and her sisterly bond with Meredith was completely set aside. If you were to watch this episode and not know that Maggie and Meredith were sisters, you would think that Maggie had a relationship no different than her relationship to Owen or Arizona or one of the other characters who only had a small amount of screen time. I understand the need to prioritize the relationships being put on display here, but while Amelia, Alex, and Penny get time to sort of parse through their relationships with Meredith, Maggie was notably absent from such consideration.

11 February 2016

Modern Family: Clean for a Day (7x12)

This was a pretty good episode. Not great, but pretty good. It focused on the changes happening in the lives of Jay and Claire, as Jay retires and Claire takes up running the closet company. Let's take a look.

Cons:

Cam's role in tonight's episode was to freak out that Jay was going to die in a plane crash, and then not-so-humorously interfere until he almost puts himself and Jay in actual danger. It was sort of slap-stick-y, as at one point while Jay is taking his flying lesson, Cam manages to knock the instructor unconscious with a pipe he accidentally broke off from the inside of the plane. These kind of over-the-top antics just didn't do it for me.

Suits: God's Green Earth (5x13)

We knew that Gibbs would have to go after Rachel eventually, and here you have it. I have some problems with this episode, but they're sort of difficult to pin down.... I'm just going to start typing and see if it leads me to a clearer understanding of my own feelings about this.

Cons:

The big thing about this episode that has me scratching my head is the ending, where Mike decides that the best thing to do is represent himself in the case, which is scheduled in just two weeks. Mike tells Harvey that if he goes to prison because he himself failed, he can live with that. But he won't be able to live with it if he goes to prison because Harvey failed. What? Why? I think generally it's a bad idea to represent yourself in court, and in this case it seems to be a particularly egregious thing to do. The worst thing is that Harvey wasn't going to cut Mike out of the case and make stupid decisions... I think all along the assumption was that they would work on this as a team. And now Mike has unilaterally decided that he's going to be the one to take on this challenge single-handed? Why? I just didn't feel like we got enough of a reason behind this.

Supernatural: Love Hurts (11x13)

This was a middling sort of episode, but it had a number of praise-worthy things about it, and I came out of it ultimately satisfied with the results. Let's start with a few of the things I didn't enjoy, however.

Cons:

The actual ups and downs of the case, the twists and the monsters and the fights, were all super standard and predictable. There was not one surprising thing about the monster, or the motivations of the villain, or anything. I liked some of the character work, and I'll talk about that in a minute, but for the most part I was yawning through the scenes where Sam and Dean were working out what they were hunting and how to defeat it. It's nothing different than what we've seen a thousand times before.

There was one really jarring individual moment that I feel I must mention... when Sam has been incapacitated by the "white witch," who summons the monster to kill unfaithful husbands and the pathetic wives who want them back, he spits at her that she's "practically a feminist." I really don't know what to think about that. Was the purpose of that joke that Sam thinks this woman isn't a feminist, and should be ashamed of her actions? Maybe... but it didn't come across that way. To me it made it sound like being a feminist is being a man-eater, in the sense that Sam was accusing this woman's behavior of being that of a feminist, and therefore vicious. I don't really know what to think. It would be unlike Supernatural to have Sam, of all people, make such a strangely sexist remark, but the whole joke just felt off to me. Maybe I'm missing something?

09 February 2016

Castle: Tone Death (8x09)

They're deciding to play the whole "Castle and Beckett broke up for some reason" thing for laughs now, and I guess it does work a bit better than the angst of the first half of this season... but I'm still not liking it much. Let's take a look at an unfortunately sloppy opener for the second half of this season.

Cons:

The murder this week involved Martha, as she was there when the body was discovered at the theatre where she was working on her show. I love Martha, but her presence was totally underutilized here. There was this whole thing about how she felt personally connected to the victim, all because the young woman had talked to her once. It was weak. Now, if the victim had been someone who Martha had known for a while, and had actually bonded with, that would be different. As it stands, it was a bit confusing how personally upset Martha seemed to be.

08 February 2016

The Vampire Diaries: Things We Lost in the Fire (7x11)

Okay so wait a second - is Elena actually... did they really... or was it part of Damon's hallucinations? What about Tyler? And, like, did they actually just do that? When I first watched this episode, I was ridiculously confused. Let's back up a bit and we'll talk through this mind-trip of an episode.

Cons:

Too many plot threads! I liked each individual thing that was going on here, but it all piled up to such a degree that I was having trouble focusing. There were moments with Bonnie and Nora, Caroline and Alaric, Matt and his struggles as sheriff, Julian and his mission to destroy Mystic Falls, all mixed in with the larger story of Stefan and Damon each trying to recover from their experiences in the Phoenix Stone. When the episode ended, I was left overwhelmed by some of the smaller stories at play here, to such an extent that the biggest, most important thing to happen in this episode almost seemed like just one more detail in a whole pile of happenings.

07 February 2016

Elementary: Down Where the Dead Delight (4x11)

I really liked this one! Both the main plot and the subplot got the proper amount of attention and nuance, and I greatly enjoyed Joan getting a bit more to do this week.

Cons:

The main plot, as I just said, was very good, but it did start with an annoying red herring that I could have done without. Essentially, this episode begins with a morgue exploding. As they are trying to figure out who would want to hide evidence on dead bodies, they discover that there are several gang hits in the morgue, and they suspect the gangs who did the killing to have something to do with it. They even bring in a lawyer and talk to him about it. Turns out, it had nothing to do with any of those bodies. I understand the need for a procedural to go down a couple of wrong turns before they get on the right track, but for some reason this seemed like a bigger time waster than usual.

Also, speaking of the beginning, I really liked the lady who died in the morgue blast, and how she and one of the morgue workers had a flirtation going on. He was devastated by her death, and I would have loved to bring the story back around to him at the end, maybe show him feeling a sense of relief that her killer was apprehended. As it was, his little plot thread was left dangling.

06 February 2016

The Big Bang Theory: The Meemaw Materialization (9x14)

Totally shrug-worthy in most respects, as are the majority of episodes with this show. But it got a few chuckles out of me, all the same. Let's dive in.

Cons:

Raj and Howard's subplot had some good parts, but also some annoying parts. Essentially, they meet a girl in the comic book shop, and she and Raj seem to hit it off. She asks for Raj's help with a children's screenplay she's working on, because his expertise as a scientist will help. Later, Howard and Bernadette chastise him for flirting with this girl. Raj calls her and tells her that he has a girlfriend, but the girl says it's okay - they can still get together and talk about her screenplay without it meaning anything. Later, when they're working together, Raj fantasizes about marrying her and having a kid. Raj's incompetence with women is supposed to be endearing or entertaining or something, but to me it's just creepy. It seems to prove that he only sees women in terms of a relationship he can have with them, and not as individual people.

05 February 2016

Suits: Live to Fight (5x12)

This wasn't the episode I was expecting to get at this point. It was Donna-centric, which seemed to come out of left field. But in many ways that's what made it work so well. There's a lot to talk about with this one, so let's get started.

Cons:

This episode featured flashbacks, and for pretty much the first time in this show, I didn't much care for them. The problem is that the flashbacks told us no new information - in fact, the same relevant points were covered in exposition in the present day story. Essentially, Donna's father asks her to ask Harvey for a loan so he can complete a deal. It's a sketchy endeavor, and Harvey refuses to get involved. He even goes so far as to threaten Donna's father, telling him not to let Donna put up her 401K assets for her father's sake. This causes, years later, Donna's father to be brought up on charges of making a corrupt deal. This is merely a bargaining chip that Gibbs is using to try and get Donna to turn on Harvey and Mike. I love the idea of this plot thread, and I loved meeting Donna's father, but it's like I said: they just didn't need flashbacks to help tell this part of the story.

Then there's Gibbs, who is supposed to be holding her own with the other baddies of the Suits universe. The problem is, she doesn't really hold a candle to Hardman or Forstman or even Soloff, who all come across as much more interesting corrupt individuals. Gibbs just isn't doing much for me at the moment. I'm still waiting for her to become more interesting.