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Castle – S04E14 – “The Blue Butterfly”

ABC's Castle

Castle – S04E14 – “The Blue Butterfly”

A man is found murdered in the remains of an old nightclub and at the center of his death, a sixty-five year old mystery. Castle is on the case, his imaginative mind dreaming up a film noir world in which those closest to him take on the visages of the past. It starts out feeling like high school dinner theatre but ends up as a hilarious trip down a classic trope which has been turned up on its head. However, “Blue Butterfly” ultimately leaves too much unanswered.

Score: 3 ½ of 5 (4 ½ if you can get past the plot holes)

>Spoilers<

Castle – S04E14 – “The Blue Butterfly”

Castle and Beckett as Jerry and Viola circa 1947

“Blue Butterfly” starts out with a tease. Castle, sporting a horrible 40s New York accent and dressed up in whatever the wardrobe dept could borrow from Boardwalk Empire, is grabbing a drink at a classic nightclub set. He turns, sees Beckett dressed with whatever could be snatched from Mad Men and he utters the line “Where have you been all my life?” Instant groan. My heart literally sank because seriously, that’s where they want to take this?

Flashing to real time, Castle and Beckett arrive in an old building, the same nightclub as it is today, and find Laney over another plain jane murdered body. Some quick exposition and the victim is Stan, an amateur treasure hunter looking for “The Blue Butterfly” with creditors on his back and nothing to show for it. Castle finds an old P.I.’s diary amongst his things and can’t help but want to explore it.

As he reads the journal the images come to life. Castle takes the role of Jerry, a P.I. from 1947 and his mom becomes his secretary. (I love Nathan to death, I really do, but that outfit did nothing for his figure.) A young woman, played by Alexis, comes in and asks for Joe’s help in finding her sister. Jerry agrees and we end up back at the beginning, Castle standing at a bar, seeing Beckett as the beautiful Viola. The scene continues from there and it’s revealed that the “Blue Butterfly” is a necklace.

Instant pop back to the real world where Castle proceeds to explain what is going on and what it all means. He promptly finishes the scene with the words, “And why am I narrating?”

Okay… this I can do.

Castle – S04E14 – “The Blue Butterfly”

The Blue Butterfly is a diamond necklace.

Taking a page from the right book, “Blue Butterfly” knows what it is and has fun with the trope, lampshading and lampooning it at every turn. Castle asks Ryan to say Irish words since he sees the detective as an Irish gangster who is Lucky Charms incarnate. The writer even accidently calls Viola, Kate, and she calls him on the fact he is imaging her in his head. It’s lots of little moments like this which really pull the episode up into 4-4 ½ territory.

However, the show leaves too many nagging questions that need to be answered:

  • What was the daughter/Alexis’ game plan? Did she expect Jerry to fall for Viola and vice versa? You can’t exactly predict that. And as soon as he mentioned a sister Viola would have known something was up like she did when he finally got around to it. Jerry came up with the go-between plan that stalled Viola finding out. Was the daughter going to set Viola up, kill her at a meet? How? Viola would never go because she knows she doesn’t have a sister, so did the daughter not know that? A quick throwaway line explanation would have been nice.
  • You’re telling me that it has been suspected for over fifty years that the necklace is in that building and no one thought to check behind the wall panels? Seriously? That would be the second place I’d look right after ripping up all the floor boards. Hello, metal detectors people!
  • As far as I could tell there was no door/hatch in the basement to get outside, only the entrance. So if Stan went down and came up with the necklace it must have been in the safe. How did it get there when Jerry stashed it in a very good hiding place and Dempsey died only months later? Why didn’t Castle go back to the alley and look, you know, just to see if the hole was there, just because he could and it’s part of the story? /headdesk

Castle has been doing a lot of this lately, focusing on the theme and forgetting that this is still a detective show. It’s really starting to get on my nerves but my parents found the episode absolutely entertaining and said I think too much into things. They are probably right… but still… I don’t remember it being this bad in the first few seasons. Rose colored glasses? I think a Castle marathon is in order. Don’t mind if I do…

The cast of ABC's Castle does film noir.

The cast of ABC's Castle does film noir.

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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Television

 

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FOX Cancels House, and I’m okay with that.

FOX's House

Word has come down from the powers that be that Hugh Laurie’s Medical!Sherlock drama House is coming to an end at the close of this, its eighth season. It comes as no surprise as Hugh Laurie’s contract was up the end of the season, they already lost Lisa Edelstein, Olivia Wilde and several others, as well the show is suffering middling ratings.

The cast of House on FOX

The cast of House on FOX

I was actually just debating if I should start reviews of House as it’s one of the shows I watch but I kept shrugging it off. For one, the technical babble always tends to get muddled up for me, I can’t keep it straight afterwards. I just know that the same formula of ‘the first two diagnoses are wrong, patient almost dies, House has an ah-ha! moment, patient saved’ is played every week and I can figure it out from there.

While House never quite jumped the shark, it just stopped being as engaging as it once was. It put on a good face by sending him to rehab, having him crash his car into Huddy’s house, etc, but everything in between was simply filler.

I’m glad to see it go peacefully into the night instead of lagging on for another year or so to finally find that shark to jump. There are some great actors on the series and I hope that they can continue on into new roles, House isn’t exactly a major stereotyping style show (unlike SciFi).

The only question I have is… are they going to end House properly? There is still time to shoot a finale, a proper finale. Let’s hope because as I say, the finale makes the show. Eight years folks, let’s hope it was worth it.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Blog, Television

 

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Alcatraz – S01E05 – “Guy Hastings”

FOX's Alcatraz

Alcatraz – S01E05 – “Guy Hastings”

Alcatraz releases its first guard, Guy Hastings, a good man who believes he’s lost everything. Like the others he’s after a key, only this time it’s a key our heroes would never expect. A long-arc driving episode that gives us plenty to think about but is otherwise dull.

Score: 3 of 5

>Spoilers<

This was an episode of firsts so you would think it should be more interesting than the last two, right? Yeah, not so much.

 

Alcatraz – S01E05 – “Guy Hastings”

Guy Hastings and Ray Archer in 1960

We get our first guard but instead of having the episode center around him, he’s got almost nothing to do with the plot except be a side/supporting character who in any other show might not even be given a first name. Instead, “Guy Hastings” is all about Tommy Madsen, who turns out to be brothers with Ray Archer, Rebecca’s pseudo-uncle though apparently he’s her real uncle. This isn’t quite as Earth-shattering as I expect the writers hoped it would be. Oh, and apparently Ray knew about Madsen’s return but out of brotherly love won’t help Hauser or anyone else find him, so long as he leaves Rebecca alone?

It’s all a bit convoluted and that can work to great effect, but it’s not here. Despite the want for the show to be mysterious and such, it’s all too neat and tidy, not in the “something is wrong here” trope, but literally in the way it’s presented. The story isn’t so much cliché but reasonable. It’s like the writers were shooting for the stars and settled for the Chrysler building.

“Guy Hastings” is also a large info dump for the overall plot and while that can be appreciative, it can also be disappointing. It’s too soon. I know they don’t want to lose people by taking too long but at the same time you won’t want to move too fast.

Alcatraz – S01E05 – “Guy Hastings”

Rebbeca talks to Ray about her dad.

Here is what we learned:

  • Madsen is the key to all this and Hauser knows it. Madsen has gone rogue from the people who took the 63 and they aren’t happy. Now we have the kidnappers and Madsen’s end-games to wonder about.
  • The blood is definitely they key. However, how could the doctor not know what’s going on? I don’t think we’ve seen him physically taking the blood himself but he has been around while it’s being done, surely he’d ask what the deal is? Seeing as he’s returned and working with Hauser who is none the wiser I guess he didn’t. Unless Hauser is hiding some vital information from Rebecca?
  • The guards who were taken were lied to. Which brings up the question, how did the kidnappers manage to snag the blood from the guards, doctor (again, why didn’t he catch on to something going down?), etc, without them getting curious? How would they know who would be on the island at the time of disappearance or did they just take everyone’s to make sure they had some for whoever was there?
  • The guards were talked to so there was some lag time between disappearance till them being put ‘in stasis’. I say stasis because the evidence at hand leans more towards that explanation of what happened. Makes sense from what the guard says.
  • The people in the other room that Hauser visited aren’t a one off. Looks like the writers thought the same thing, how could there only be two people working on this case?
  • Hauser has a soft spot for the guards which isn’t surprising, but again, his characterization is all over the place.

Still, overall it’s a solid episode it just don’t have any real punch. Everything that feels like it should be gasp-worthy just falls flat. Like the previous episode, the show has every right to be perfectly awesome but settles for perfectly adequate. The show only posted a 2.3, down from 2.8 the previous week and 3.0 the week before (visit http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/ for ratings information). It’s a steady decline and I’m not too surprised. They really need to step up their game on the next episode, or the fact that this doesn’t seem like an FX-heavy show might be the only thing that helps it limp into a second season.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Television

 

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Supernatural – S07E13 – “The Slice Girls”

CW's Supernatural

Supernatural – S07E13 – “The Slice Girls”

Men are being murdered, divested of their hands and feet while an ancient symbol is carved into their flesh. Sam and Dean are on the case but find themselves woefully inadequate without Bobby’s help. Then when Dean finds himself in the middle of an ancient ritual, dispatching the monster of the week isn’t as clear as he once thought it was. Solid episode with a wonderful glimmer of hope for later episodes but overall, predictable and on-the-nose.

Score: 3 of 5

>Spoilers<

There isn’t much to say about this episode except it was a bit gorier than the last few, not to mention the TV-14 sex scene which was intercut with a horrible murder. Points for creepy/gory esthetics, for sure.

Dean, needing to unwind during the case hooks up with a woman, turns out, she’s a monster, sorta. Bound to happen.

Supernatural – S07E13 – “The Slice Girls”

A standoff occurs and Dean is reluctant to pull the trigger.

The Amazonians were once real women but they made a pact with Harmonia and then things got freaky. Seems they mate with a man, give birth and the child takes about two days to get to 16-18 years old, then they age normally. But first they have to kill their father. Dean gets one of these women knocked up and she has a monster by him. That daughter then goes to him and tells him a sad story of wanting to escape her existence, all this a means to get close to him

In predictable fashion, a stalemate occurs where Dean is reluctant to shoot and Sam has to finish off his pseudo-niece. It’s a call back to Dean killing Amy and Sam makes no bones about it (could have done without the reminder of Amy at the beginning of the episode). While I feel this should have had more punch to it, it doesn’t really. Perhaps if they had actually let the child live, or, I dunno… the whole thing was way to obvious and bland.

However, in continuance of the empty beer bottle, we now have shifting papers which ends up showing the boys exactly what they need to solve what’s going on. Looks like we have a ghost on our hands. Of course, as Sam puts it, they want it to be a ghost of Bobby running around, so of course it can’t be him. Which means for the audience that of course it is Bobby! Yay! Let’s hope the old grouch has more tricks up his ethereal sleeves, the boys are gonna need them.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Television

 

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And for some time…

Found an article today that I thought I’d share. After spending ten years in the movie theatre industry I can tell you, a lot of things are broken but the fixes aren’t as easy as one would think…

The way we measure box office success is completely broke.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Film, General

 

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Fringe – S04E11 – “Making Angels”

FOX's Fringe

Fringe – S04E11 – “Making Angels”

Altrid crosses over so she could meet her alternate and Bolivia comes to fetch her because no one can believe Altrid is doing anything malicious. Walter has to face his hatred of Bolivia as well as his feelings for Peter while a man runs around killing individuals who will either die miserably or ruin the lives of others. Some wonderful interactions don’t save this episode from the fact it’s another precog story line and a dull one at that.

Score: 3 of 5

>Score<

Fringe – S04E11 – “Making Angels”

Astrid meets her alternate.

Altrid crosses into our universe just as a man predicts what will happen to a cancer patient and literally saves him the trouble of dying a slow, painful death. My initial thoughts were that this was going to be a case of statistical game theory where the villain of the week was able to predict what was happening and somehow Altrid stumbled across the statistical improbabilities and took it upon herself to do something about it. That would have made this episode so much more interesting.

Instead, Altrid’s father had died and she couldn’t quite cope so she went to her alternate who is ‘normal’ to try to understand if her father loved her even though she was ‘different’. Great touch with Astrid’s scream at seeing her alternate, as Olivia put it, why don’t people do that more often? Walter shows his softer, fatherly side, being kinder to the autistic Altrid and calling her by her real name. Though, we all know he keeps messing with Astrid’s name as a sign of affection.

Bolivia crosses over to fetch Altrid and ends up being stuck there until the case of the mercy killer and is solved since Altrid comes in handy at these kinds of things. Wonderful interactions between Bolivia and Walter as he calls her a Mata Hari viper woman. Bolivia is able to eventually win Walter over to at least neutral respect. Bolivia also gets Olivia thinking about Peter, he is a fine looking, intelligent, strong specimen of a man. Okay, she didn’t really say that but we’re all thinking it.

Speaking of Peter, as in the last episode he doesn’t have much to do except stand around as window dressing. There is a moment where he is literally seconds ahead of Walter in what to do regarding the case and this riles up Walter. Altrid is very astute, nothing that Walter loves Peter, or at least loves him as much as he would want to love his son should he have survived. Peter does have an effect on the people around him, but he doesn’t show any more signs of not wanting to leave.

Fringe – S04E11 – “Making Angels”

Observers communication device.

Also, the Observers are given a bit more transparency. They have communicators which I’m sure someone out there is feverously trying to decipher but not me, cause I can’t make heads or tails of it. Our favorite Observer, September, is obviously the rogue of the bunch in any universe. He’s lied to the others, again. How could they not have noticed Peter was back? And not sure I like the idea of giving them technology to explain their Observer-ness. Will have to see where they go with this.

Lastly, Peter and Olivia knew about the rod… yet they didn’t think to check the house for it and find the quite obvious safe? Fail.

The episode has some nice character development but the sub-par story line relegates this latest Fringe to blah-ville. Important to watch for the details but overall not worth rewatching.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2012 in Television

 

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Grimm – S01E10 – “Organ Grinder”

NBC's Grimm

Grimm – S01E10 – “Organ Grinder”

Nick stumbles upon a monster-ran organ smuggling ring which is preying on the homeless. Embracing his inner-Grimm, Nick must locate the monsters responsible before a young girl and her brother become the next victims in this spin on the classic Hansel and Gretel tale. Nick’s character development is given center stage but that isn’t enough to raise this rather boring and predictable episode above the ranks of average.

Score: 3 of 5

>Spoilers<

Hank says it all when he wonders if it’s just him or is this town getting freakier and freakier? Leaves open the question of whether or not the monsters being conveniently located where a Grimm took up residence is coincidence or design. It also leads Hank farther down the road of discovery of the truth.

Grimm – S01E10 – “Organ Grinder”

Nick intimidates a shop owner.

And is it me or is Juliette too good to be true as Nick’s girlfriend? Could she be a fairy or witch of some sort? If she was a monster then the Aunt wouldn’t have let her live. I hope she does turn out to be something other than a monster (which would be cliché city). If she simply is this good a person then hello Mary Sue-ville.

The Captain knew what they were going up against and wasted no time in using a shotgun on the monster. Again, one has to wonder just what is his end game and where does he stand on monsters in general? More importantly, who was on the other end of that phone call? It was a call we were expecting and let’s hope this story line delivers.

Nick for his part, is really starting to embrace his inner-Grimm in this episode. He intimidates monsters with his Grimm-persona and definitely goes rogue from his cop persona. Granted, two lives where on the line and he had no reason/warrant for being in the shop but it seems like he was way to comfortable throwing his reputation around. Thing is, it isn’t his reputation. If the monsters only knew how little training he’s had and how easy he’d be to kill then they wouldn’t run so much.

As for the plot line, even if this wasn’t an obvious attempt at the Hansel and Gretel story, it was still pretty tropey and predictable. As soon as he spent any amount of time with the doctor we knew she was the ring leader. As soon as the kids were given names we knew that he would have to rescue them, it was only a matter of time before they would be caught. It’s a plot-line seen on just about every cop show in existence.

Even Monroe wasn’t as punchy or interesting in this episode, dragging it down further into mediocrity. Nick’s character development is the only thing that really rescues it. It’s a decent buffer episode at least as last week’s episode was pretty darn good and next week’s looks wicked (in more ways than one).

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2012 in Television

 

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