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Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

FOX's Fringe

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

When an electromagnetic interference downs an airplane, Olivia, Peter and Walter investigate but it seems the crash is the least of their worries. Stopping in the nearby town of Westfield, the team discovers that the entire town has gone insane, some on murderous rages in an eerie Silent Hill style manner. “Welcome to Westfield” is creepy, disturbing, slightly predictable, but downright intense. This is the kind of Monster of the Week episode Fringe does best.

Score: 4 1/2 of 5

>Score<

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

Westfield, otherwise known as Silent Hill aka The Twilght Zone.

When a show gets into its fourth season it’s harder to do Monster of the Week episodes because there is so much of a long-plot going on that MotW’s come off as ill-placed filler. The smart move is to connect the MotW to the long-plot thought not make it completely reliant on it. This is what “Welcome” does.

First you have this electromagnetic disturbance which you think is going to affect the drivers, but instead a plane crashes ala LOST style. This is enough to call in the gang who immediately figure out that something Fringe-y is going on. In what is almost a 360 move, Peter, Olivia and Walter go to the nearby town of Westfield to get some pie on their way back to the lab.

Is there anything creepier than an empty town? I would argue probably not a lot. Add the dual personality of the restaurant owner, not to mention the dead body behind the counter and the guy bleeding to death in the freezer and you have a perfect episode of Silent Hill meets Twilight Zone.

If you’ve ever watched Silent Hill, and let’s be honest, you should, “Welcome” is very reminiscent of that style. The fluctuations, the random people walking around bloody and seemingly insane, a few lone survivors hiding out. This is the kind of episode that reminds me why Fringe fills that hole that X-Files left.

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

Peter, Walter and Olivia help a victim of the town's temporal mergance.

Of course when Olivia starts having original Olivia’s memories we know exactly what is happening, the two worlds are colliding. She gets the shakes but is physically fine compared to the other victims, also, her double shouldn’t have any reason to be in Westfield. But then Olivia is special, isn’t she. It comes as no surprise at the end that she suddenly acts like Peter’s Olivia but at the same time we’re almost as surprised as Peter. That’s the sign of a very well done scene.

It would have been nice to find out what happened on the Other side when this occurred but it’s not enough of an issue to push this one down at all. The constant movement and intensity of the episode is what really keeps it going.

Still no word if this will be the last season of Fringe or not, so let’s hope that if we don’t get a season five that the finale is as intense as this episode was!

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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Television

 

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Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D

Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D

Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D

Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace Re-release Official Poster

Me and Star Wars have a troubled, abusive, relationship. From the movies to the books the franchise has continued to beat me down but yet I held on for a long long time, reading the books, watching the different versions of the movies… until I finally said no, no more. I wasn’t going to give Star Wars any more of my time or money, it was for the best.

And that worked out until my nephew begged me to take him to the re-release of EPI in 3D. As I’m sure my parents didn’t want to go the Star Wars movies when I begged them to take me, yet they did, I couldn’t ignore the call of Karma. I took my nephew to see The Phantom Menace in 3D on opening night… and I have to say, the movie was better the second time around.

While I place the prequels on the bottom rung of the Star Wars movies, Menace was never the worse in my opinion. I considered it a good starting point for what should have been two epically awesome movies to come (but more on that later). I liked the idea of the young Anakin who used to be a slave and is suddenly told there is something special about him. This was perfect set up to make Anakin a post-Homeric Hero.

Even the inclusion of Artoo and Threepio did not go directly against the original episodes so there was no major argument there. Sure, there were some slight differences which could be explained (Obi says Yoda trained him, any person in a ‘trade’ can have more than one teacher) and a few things that don’t quite make sense (Naboo elects a pre-teen Queen?). All of this is in the spirit of the first films and forgivable.

There was a lot of lovely call backs to A New Hope, more than I caught the first time I watched it, and I appreciated them more on the second go around.

As for Midiclorians, yeah, the way I look at it, the bacteria is attracted to the Force and therefore the stronger the Force user the more there would be floating around in their blood. Kind of like how we recognize some virus’ by the anti-bodies in the blood and not the virus itself. After awhile people just started referencing one as the other. See, I can make EPI work for me, I love (loved) Star Wars that much.

And I grade Menace on a curve because it is the first film back after several years and had a lot to live up to. I even forgive Jar Jar because he wasn’t that annoying, just an easy target for all the fan boys to direct their anger at the film not living up to their expectations.

Of course this re-release was in 3D and wasn’t a bad conversion. The problem is, nothing really jumps out like a gimmicky 3D movie and therefore the 3D is pretty useless. The pod-race was good, but again, I expected them to throw in some stuff flying out at you to really put you in the experience and they didn’t.

But the re-released allowed my nephew to see the film on the big screen for the first time and he loved it. He was happy and laughing and going on about it the rest of the night, so can’t really complain about that now can I?

Score: 4 of 5

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Film

 

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Once Upon a Time – S01E12 – “Skin Deep”

ABC's Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time – S01E12 – “Skin Deep”

Another classic fairytale gets the spin treatment as Princess Belle willing goes into the service of Rumplestiltskin in exchange for her kingdom’s safety. A refreshingly excellent episode amongst a string of ever degrading fare, “Skin Deep” proves that Rumple/Mr Gold is the most interesting character in the whole show. If they had ditched the lame B-plot and focused more on the Rumple/Belle relationship then this could have been a Five Star episode.

Score: 4 of 5

>Spoilers<

It’s official, I’m a Rumple/Belle shipper, or as I’m calling it, a Rumelle. Being that Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale, “Skin Deep” had to go a long way to impress me, and it did.

Once Upon a Time – S01E12 – “Skin Deep”

Belle goes with Rumple in exchange for her kingdom's safety.

First up, they changed Belle into a princess since obviously she wasn’t going to marry into royalty with Rumple as the Beast. And she’s the one to make the choice to be traded to Rumple in exchange for her kingdom’s protection against Ogres. Belle was always the Disney Princess with the most strength and gumption and Emily de Ravin pulled this off better than could be expected. Especially when she comments that she went with Rumple because it was the “brave thing to do” and didn’t fancy a life with the brainless Gaston. This helps to soften the Munchausen Syndrome prevalent in the Beauty and the Beast story.

The episode does skip through much of the romancing side of the story, taking the stance that everyone already knows what’s going to happen anyway. It would have been better if they dropped the lame Valentine’s Day subplot and spent that time on Rumelle. At least we get a ‘time has passed, been able to get to know a lot about you’ throwaway line to explain Belle’s true love in Rumple. (See writer’s, it’s not so hard!)

Once Upon a Time – S01E12 – “Skin Deep”

Belle has gotten to know Rumple and sees the person within.

The loveliest part of “Skin Deep” was the tea cup. In the animated Disney Beauty and the Best one of the most beloved original characters was Chip, the chipped tea cup. Here, Belle drops a cup and chips it on her first day after Rumple gives her a fright. This worries her as she hasn’t quite figured out Rumple isn’t all that bad, and it becomes the only thing Belle physically brings to the relationship. Rumple becomes sentimental over it when he believes she is dead. (Personally, I think Rumple was too quick to trust Evil Queen but hey, it made for a good scene).

The most engaging scene was Regina confronting Mr Gold as he sets in prison in a wonderful call back to the first episode. It’s confirmed that Mr Gold remembers being Rumple and that there is some kind of power play going on. Both of the characters have an end game, but what exactly is it? Regina seems more transparent but Rumple, well, all magic does come with a price.

However, this episode is drug down by a horribly lame B-plot where real life Snow, Cinderella and Red Riding Hood go out on Valentine’s Day as a girl’s night out. Cinderella does nothing but whine and David gives Mary the wrong Valentine’s card. Total waste of screen time.

A good episode among crap ones, I have a feeling next week won’t be any better. Let’s hope for more Rumelle in the future.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Television

 

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Castle – S04E15 – “Pandora”

ABC's Castle

Castle – S04E15 – “Pandora”

Castle and Beckett track down a murderer, only to have him calmly disappear from their holding cell. The partners soon find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy between the CIA, an ex-operative, and an ex-asset. A solid episode with a few fun quirks but basically it’s a rehash of last season’s “Setup” and “Countdown”, right down to the cliffhanger.

Score: 3 of 5

>Spoilers<

The good parts about this episode are:

Castle – S04E15 – “Pandora”

I hope they cleaned the bag...

  • Alexis interning with Laney and Castle is the last to find out. This is going to add a different dynamic to the situation and I hope it’s not a plot line that will be over quickly or forgotten about in later episodes.
  • Beckett’s jealousy of Castle’s CIA ex-flame (Jennifer Beals). The whole set up is very similar to when the show had Dana Delany’s FBI agent but the CIA agent is actually an ex-flame this time and Beckett is more aware of her feelings for Castle.
  • Drop Dead Diva’s Josh Stamberg’s supporting roll as a CIA agent. Of course, this means he’s instantly the number one suspect in my eyes but I’ll forgive him because he does such a wonderful job on Diva.
  • The bags over Castle and Beckett’s head when they go to the CIA headquarters, but probably only made funnier because of Burn Notice’s Michael Weston’s comment: “The worse thing about going to clandestine meetings… they never wash the bag.”

The bad parts about this episode are:

Castle – S04E15 – “Pandora”

Castle is confronted by his ex-flame, a CIA agent.

  • Everything else.
  • We have a plain murder once again and it all leads to a plot to cause some major damage with global repercussions. A federal agency gets involved, heads are butted, but ultimately Castle and Beckett are two steps ahead. Of course, this gets them into trouble. It’s the same plot as “Setup” so much so that at the end of “Setup” Castle and Beckett were trapped in a freezer, at end of “Pandora” they are trapped in a car that’s been plunged into the water.
  • The second part of this episode should hopefully diverge more from “Countdown” (“Setup”’s second part) because you don’t have the same ‘person is being set up to take the fall’ angle going on (or maybe they do, who knows). However, this isn’t going to distract from the point that “Pandora” is too much a direct rehash of “Setup”. Did they not think we’d notice? It’s pretty insulting actually.

And you know what’s worse, we get an episode named after Pandora and it even mentions the myth… yet not a single comment from Castle that Pandora’s box was actually a jar. Castle. I.am.disappoint.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Television

 

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Alcatraz – S01E06 – “Paxton Petty”

FOX's Alcatraz

Alcatraz – S01E06 – “Paxton Petty”

This latest episode of Alcatraz opens with a horrific scene of a busy park turning into a war zone. Paxton Petty was a jilted military veteran who played out his grievances via planting mines in public locations. Now he’s back and ready to finish what he started while the audience and our heroes continues to learn more about what happened back in the 1960s. Again, another solid episode that is as interesting as it is annoying.

Score: 3 of 5

>Spoilers<

Alcatraz – S01E06 – “Paxton Petty”

A scene that was must less dramatic/climatic than it should have been.

I’m still trying to figure out what it is that makes this show so dull when it has every right to be awesome. I think it has to do mostly with the actress who plays Rebecca and the style in which it is shot. She’s not a plank, just kind of walks around with a drooped “I’m a quarter from pissed off” look on her face. The show itself is dark and rainy with too many long shots. Normally I hate the hand-cam shaky stuff but Alcatraz needs more cutting, more sense of movement, and a lot more sun, this is freaking San Francisco people, it looks like Vancouver…

Back to “Paxton Petty”, the episode starts out with a bunch of mines going off at the same time in a park. Whoever wrote this scene knows nothing of land mines. The park has been busy for hours until someone just happens to step on one which causes a panic and all the others get set off in the rush to get away from the scene? No. One of those should have been stepped on and gone off way earlier in the day and while a few more might get tripped in the panic, the park wouldn’t be full enough to set them all off. Hey, my dad was a Marine, I think about these things.

Don’t get me started on the Silver Star stuff.

Putting all that aside, it was interesting to see the relationship between Hauser and Banerjee started all the way back in 1960. It definitely puts everything that has been happening since in a different context. Hauser’s character development is more consistent with the “Kit Nelson” episode and this whole sub plot makes things a lot more interesting.

We’ve also been given a closer look at Banerjee’s work style and I’m actually impressed that they didn’t give her a ‘modern slate’, like she’s ahead of the times, as some of these time-travel-flashback shows tend to do. She’s modern for what was modern at the time. And Soto didn’t know about Banerjee’s work on Alcatraz? That makes the first few episodes make more sense since he didn’t immediately recognize her or her name. Why was she kept secret? Could it be because of what I mentioned in my overview of a female psychologist not likely to be found on Alcatraz?

Also, is that a love interest for Soto that I spy? Interesting.

Alcatraz – S01E06 – “Paxton Petty”

Someone should have told him he was wearing a "Red Shirt".

Unfortunately these enticing bits of development don’t distract from the fact that there are two major problems with this episode. For one, the doctor does know about the blood, or at least enough to know to keep his mouth shut, so, again, what has he told Hauser? What has he kept secret? The Doctor has to know something! This possible plot hole is getting more and more annoying.

Secondly, why did the bomb tech try to dismantle the mine? Why didn’t he just send a robot in to blow it up? Seriously? They had enough time to get all the way into cover, he could have backed off as well and been far enough away had it gone off before they could send the robot in. His death was a waste and only an excuse for Hauser to shoot Paxton, though I’m sure the audience figured Hauser already had enough of one without the guy dying.

I was so tempted to give this episode higher marks but that was just too much.

Alcatraz continues to suffer in the ratings, again dropping from the previous episode. At this rate, I don’t think we’ll ever find all the answers because the show won’t last long enough to give them to us.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Television

 

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Personal Sweeps Week

Sorry for the lack of posting this last week and a half, the first two weeks of February are usually very busy for me, two major birthdays, Valentines Day, etc. I had to catch up with a few of my shows via the interwebs and I think I’m all good now. Going to get some reviews up over the next two days, so sorry for the marathon posting.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Blog

 

Eureka producer to create new show, a cross between Eureka and Warehouse 13.

Okay, so Jamie Paglia didn’t exactly say that outright in this news article from Variety but he might as well have. Here is what was wrote:

Rochford, an AFI alum, wrote the pilot about a clandestine organization, known only as “Corporate,” that solves dangerous mysteries caused by science and technology gone awry, topped by an enigmatic leader who operates with a strong moral code and “a very big gun.”

Basically that is Warehouse 13‘s plot only in a hard-scifi setting like Eureka. Of course, tone will have a lot to do with how the show will play out, if it has the zippy-ness of Eureka or the flat drama of Alphas or the grim emo-ness of BSG.

Either way, I’m not sure this show could fill the hole left by Eureka‘s cancellation. I’ll give it a fair shot, as I do most shows, but consider my expectations low.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Blog, Television

 

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