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Finder – S01E03 – “A Cinderella Story”

FOX's The Finder

Finder – S01E03 – “A Cinderella Story”

A figurative ‘Prince Charming’ asks Walter to look into the disappearance of the woman of his dreams who rushed out of a night club leaving nothing but one shoe and a smudged clue behind. Nothing is as it seems in this episode and Walter gets in a bit over his head as all the evidence points to a serial killer on the loose. Meanwhile, Willa upsets Leo and her idea of making it up to him, well, it’s not strictly speaking legal. Another solid episode leaving The Finder’s track record 3-0.

Score: 3 ½ of 5

>Spoilers<

Finder – S01E03 – “A Cinderella Story”

Walter examines 'Cinderella's' shoe.

Even NASA scientists need a little… recreation. Ira Messing (Ian Reed Kessler) meets Lisa (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) in a bar and the two hit it off. A disturbing phone call later and she’s running from the night club, one shoe left behind with a garbled message. Ira goes to Walter and asks for his help in finding her because he just knows something bad has happened. Well, he isn’t exactly wrong there.

The Walter storyline, while it’s the A-Plot, is overshadowed by the B-Plot which is the story of Leo’s family and Willa. We discover that Leo’s wife and child weren’t murdered in the traditional sense but ate tainted meat which the company owner knew was bad but sold it anyway. I guess he got off scott-free because he was walking around as a wealthy man. What Leo needs is the Leverage team…

Anyway, Willa discovers this by sneaking into Leo’s computer, though it’s not exactly hacking when he says his password out loud as he types it. (It’s Asamandious, at least I think that’s the spelling, I can’t find the word anywhere) So, Leo is all manner of upset with Willa and considers firing her. Willa asks Walter what to do and he says “make it up to him”. He says this to a Romani, he really should have seen this coming.

Willa manipulates her cousin into helping her roll a guy, the guy being the CEO. Several whacks with a baseball bat later and the man is in the hospital. As Walter points out “I meant bake him a cake”.

Finder – S01E03 – “A Cinderella Story”

Walter gets 'caught up' in the case.

Leo doesn’t approve but he does understand the sentiment behind it. A little rocky this relationship but it’s definitely better than the other routes they could have gone with Willa. If they can continue to give her meaty stuff like this rather than typical teen crap then I’ll retract my earlier statements of her being a completely useless character.

As for the A-plot, turns out there is a serial killer on the loose abducting women. No, not really, the missing ‘Cinderella’ is abducting her ‘Prince Charmings’. I’m kinda disappointed in Walter in this episode, his ‘deduction’ was pretty simple because, duh, all the shoes belong to the same person. It would take a crime lab like twenty minutes to figure that out. Oh well, him being tasered is quite funny.

Shows usually try to put their strongest episodes first in order to catch the audience so I hope this isn’t the cream of the crop as right now they’ve been pretty steady and consistent. Episodes Four and Five will be telling.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Television

 

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Alcatraz – S01E03 – “Kit Nelson”

FOX's Alcatraz

Alcatraz – S01E03 – “Kit Nelson”

There is a pecking order in prisons and at the bottom of the rung is the child molester and child killer. Kit Nelson (Michael Eklund) is a child killer and he’s back. If he follows pattern then Madsen and Soto have 48 hours to find him and save the life of the child he’s kidnapped. “Kit Nelson” is a much more concrete episode than the first two, a tad preachy in the middle, but definitely finding that sweet spot between cop drama and supernatural thriller. We may not be any closer to discovering the secret of Alcatraz but the ride has gotten way more interesting.

Score: 3 ½ of 5

>Spoilers<

Alcatraz – S01E03 – “Kit Nelson”

Soto tracks down Kit Nelson.

A touchy subject in film and television is the unfortunate reality of the child molester and child killer, the lowest of the low. Kit Nelson, the latest Alcatraz escapee, is one of these and he’s struck again… and apparently a cord in Dr. Soto. Garcia is given plenty to work with as his character figures out Kit is responsible and then sets out to find him, with or without Madsen’s help. Kit, for his part, is downright creepy, hitting all the right (or wrong?) notes.

What really makes this episode better than the last two is that the Alcatraz story takes a bit of a back seat. Sure, you have the flashbacks but that in itself is not unique. This could be any other procedural cop drama with a cop and civilian going after a bad guy. Hell, it could be an episode of Cold Case or Criminal Minds… but it’s not… it’s much more and it’s going to sit back and let that sink in a bit.

Among the chilling chase is a side story still trying to play Hauser as both sympathetic and a grade A a-hole. Still unsure what they are doing with his character and the episode dipped into the melodramatic towards the middle when he got into an argument with Madsen but quickly dug itself back out of that hole. I have a feeling a flashback of Hauser’s character post-disappearance is coming soon and hopefully this will clear things up for us.

Alcatraz – S01E03 – “Kit Nelson”

Kit Nelson (Eklund) holds his victim hostage.

I won’t go through the details of the plot but Soto does end up going it on his own and finding Kit and the missing kid but he’s not exactly the kind of person to take on a psychopathic killer. He is able to impart some hope into the kid to ‘stay strong’ and the boy does manage a pretty smart escape attempt. Of course the plot dictated that he get caught and a standoff occur in which Hauser pulls a Mal and shoots Kit in the head as he’s holding the kid hostage… omg… that was an almost perfectly replicated scene from Firefly “Serenity”.

I don’t know what to think of that…

Okay, mind blown, but let’s move on to the important facts we discovered from the episode. The blood is apparently not a red herring, the warden has kids (will these guys become plot points?), the doctor returned same as the psychologist, and apparently something happened to Soto in the past which made for a very non sequitur moment. What can I say, the clinical description of ‘arrested development’ was not the first thing that came to mind.

Overall a great improvement from the first two episodes so let’s hope this is a trend and not a one-off.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Television

 

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Royal Pains – S03E11 – “A Farewell to Barnes”

USA's Royal Pains

Royal Pains – S03E11 – “A Farewell to Barnes”

Spoilers for previous episodes.

After leaving off with a patient dying due to Divya’s mistake and Hank’s relationship with Jill precariously perched, “A Farewell to Barnes” gives a satisfying conclusion to the plot points but is otherwise unremarkable as a mid-season premiere. The patient of the week is not exactly sympathetic (she is such a whiner) nor is the medical problem all that interesting. Even the return of Tom Cavanagh as golfer Jack O’Malley is not as fun as it could have been. Solid episode but lacking the punch to really push this last half of the season.

Score: 3 of 5

>Spoilers<

At the end of the mid-season, Divya made a horrible mistake and prescribed a patient the wrong medicine. Hank luckily discovers him but was it in time? Pretty much, as television goes. Poor Kassabian (Wilmer Valderrama) spends a chunk of the episode in a coma but wakes up in time have his say in what happened.

Royal Pains – S03E11 – “A Farewell to Barnes”

Hank confronts Van Dyke about the medication.

As Hank suffers déjà vu from his own mistakes (which landed him in position he is in the first place), neurotic party planner Lucy (Kathleen Rose Perkins) is suffering from her own anxiety (and apparently a gluten allergy). I must say though, the idea of the divorce party and how it played out was pretty fun.

Jill has issues about her leaving for Uruguay for her dream job. Divya is upset about her mistake. Evan and Paige go back and forth but eventually get engaged. It’s all taken care of, for the most part, but other than a cool party and a few snazzy lines of dialogue, there is just no meat on the bones of any of this. It’s all straight forward point A to point B stuff.

Most times shows try to go too far, but for once I think this one didn’t try to go far enough. The only reason this episode doesn’t get a 2 ½ score is because Hank’s argument with Van Dyke and the Divorce Party really are nice highlights in an otherwise blasé episode.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Television

 

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Fringe – S04E09 – “Enemy of My Enemy”

FOX's Fringe
Spoilers from previous episodes.

Peter has agreed to be emissary for Walternate in return for his help on the machine and wants to cross back over but Lee wants to stay and work on the shape shifter problem. When past enemy David Robert Jones (Jared Harris) is brought in to be interrogated, Peter has second thoughts. Peter is a variable that Jones hadn’t planned for but that doesn’t stop him from causing havoc. Meanwhile, Peter’s Other mother does what she has to in order to save this version of Peter and that means going to an unlikely ally. Great episode which carries the momentum of last week’s electric mid-season premiere.

Score: 4 of 5

>Spoilers<

Fringe – S04E09 – “Enemy of My Enemy”

David Robert Jones (Harris) returns.

I think the writers have it in for AltBroyles, earlier before the merge he was killed off to save Olivia and in this time line he’s dead and replaced by a shape shifter. He does a wonderful job of playing AltBroyles in character even though his boss has been brought in for questioning, etc. This is mostly because he knows that Jones has planned for this and he doesn’t have to ruin his cover in order to rescue him.

Harris, for his part, plays Jones like a James Bond villain, Peter being Bond when he walks into the interrogation room and starts telling Jones stuff he couldn’t possibly know. Peter has killed him once, he can do it again.

One of the best lines of the season is spoken right before this, when Peter wants to return to Our Universe (is it really ours anymore?) and Lee wants to stay and help.

Lee: I lost a partner.
Peter: I lost a universe.

It could have been really cheesy but played just right. That’s the hallmark of this show, the ability to make all the tough choices to keep the cheese at bay and really make this a fresh take on classic tropes. Case in point, the hand on the window at the hospital, we’ve seen it a million times before but when the skin slips off, it’s a whole new level of sickening realization that is a small but effective topper for the scene.

Fringe – S04E09 – “Enemy of My Enemy”

Peter helps to locate Jones.

However, Jones’ escape isn’t as quite fresh and new (LieLee slipped a tracker into his drink and Jones used decoy money to spread the signal then drank something to make his tracker inert) but it does let us see AltBroyles really being able to act the part to the point of not being questioned by the rest of Fringe Division.  In fact, the back half of the episode is a bit of a basic ‘hunt for the bad guy’ faire and if not for the B-Plot it would lose a lot of its momentum, proving that B-Plots do matter.

Peter’s Other mother wants to help Peter, Walternate wants to help too, but it’s really Walter who is the best person to do this because he kind of started the whole thing. So she goes to Walter to ask him to help Peter. They haven’t seen each other since Walter stole Peter and Walter hasn’t seen his wife (any version of her) since she committed suicide not long after the whole incident.

Once again, could someone PLEASE give John Noble a freaking Emmy/Gold Globe/SAG already???

Fringe – S04E09 – “Enemy of My Enemy”

Elizabeth Bishop vists Walter.

In what is a really touching moment, Mrs Bishop tells Walter that she has forgiven him, a long time ago, for what he did. He was trying to save Peter after all. And in her mind, somewhere, there had to be realities where Peter did live and grew up happy, married, had kids, etc, and that is what kept her going. She would have never considered this had Walter not proved the existence of multi-universes. She asks him to please, help this version of their son.

It’s interesting to note that in this version of events, Walter never got his White Oleander sign which signaled his forgiveness by god (to him at least).

The end of the episode is Walter going to Peter, telling him that he will help him because his mother is the most wonderful of women, every version of her. Peter is probably the happiest he’s been since coming into this universe, not because Walter is helping, but because this Walter is exactly the kind of man he should be… read… he is just like his father who he loves so dearly and trying to get back to.

Does this mean that Peter might be considering staying in the new universe? What about his Olivia? With this show, you never know how things are going to spin next. And considering Nina Sharpe is either a shape shifter or otherwise involved in Jones’ plan means anything is possible in this new time line.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Television

 

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White Collar – S03E11 – “Checkmate”

USA's White Collar

White Collar – S03E11 – “Checkmate”

Spoilers for Previous Episodes

In the mid-season finale, Elizabeth Burke was kidnapped by Keller, the con man gone wrong. Peter is not happy and I was afraid he might go off on Neal to the point of another break up of their partnership. Instead, Peter holds his cool in a restrained calm which Tim DeKay plays very well and the group is able to do what needs to be done to find Elizabeth. What follows is Peter and Neal trying to stay ahead of Keller while restraining themselves from bashing his face in. Elizabeth, for her part, isn’t waiting to play the damsel in distress either. A solid episode which gives a satisfying conclusion to the Keller story while also leaving an opening for the possibility of a really interesting second half of the season.

Score: 4 of 5

>Spoilers<

Thank goodness, the old title screen is back! I just did not like the faux gallery title screen with the techno music. No, the swiping images and poppy beat embodied the tone of the show. So glad the powers that be realized this too!

White Collar – S03E11 – “Checkmate”

Peter is restrained from hurting Keller.

I’m also really glad that they didn’t take the opportunity in this story line to break apart Peter and Neal and spend the episode with yet another “I don’t trust you” skit. Once again Elizabeth shows herself to be the glue of the series and everyone bans together despite the fact that both Neal and Mozzie feel responsible for what has happened. It’s sad that it takes her kidnapping for the characters to get their act together but sometimes you need something as dramatic as this in order to do it.

Peter resists every urge to beat the crap out of Keller and while I would have liked to see more scenes of him having to show restraint, it’s nevertheless as satisfying to the viewer as to Peter when he gets the chance to, well, beat the living crap out of Keller.

Neal also gets to do his best Kurt Douglas impression with a shield, trying to defend/fight against Keller before Peter comes and saves his butt. Interesting scene with him shooting Keller in the leg. Apparently there is a long story to how Neal was able to make that shot despite bleeding from a head wound and otherwise having been laid out. I wonder if that was a throwaway line or if more examination of Neal’s past is going to come up later this season.

Elizabeth is of course not one to sit by idly when there is a daring escape to be made. She is able to manipulate the weak link and make herself an opening to escape. Kudos to Tiffany for playing this character so right, it could have been too easy to either make her overbearing or OTT, but she’s just the right mix of strong female and supportive wife.

The ending closes with Neal deciding to the right thing and protect Peter and Elizabeth from Keller forever by admitting to the treasure theft and Keller’s part in it all thereby ensuring the man’s sent away for a long long time. Turns out Keller beat Neal to the punch, using the treasure to ingratiate himself with the Russian mob he was running from. Hey, a bit too neat of a tidy package but this is White Collar, they don’t use grit and drama for cheap tricks, and we love them for it.

Lastly, Neal has been put up for early release, i.e., the anklet could be gone and he no longer has to report to Peter. Come on, we know he’ll find a way to stick around (there is a fourth season commissioned after all), but Peter, Elizabeth, Sarah and the FEDs are his family now… he’s not going to give them up.

Not if he’s smart and we both know he is.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Television

 

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Castle – S04E12 – “Dial M for Mayor”

ABC's Castle

Castle – S04E12 – “Dial M for Mayor”

A pretty plain murder starts off what is a pretty plain episode of Castle. A woman found strangled leads back to the Mayor’s office and Castle doesn’t want to believe that his friend is a murderer, a plot device we’ve seen before. The killer is pretty obvious from the get go if you understand how the series is put together, but there is at least one interesting twist. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much of the wit and zaniness that we’ve all come to know and love from Castle. It continues a trend of blasé episodes which I guess is the Dramady’s attempt to be more Drama, less Comedy. At least the episode leaves us with a very interesting question that needs to be answered about Joanna Beckett’s murder, a story arc that while decidedly interesting, is woefully lacking.

Score: 3 ½ of 5

>Spoilers<

Castle – S04E12 – “Dial M for Mayor”

Castle – S04E12 – “Dial M for Mayor”

A woman is strangled and left in a car. Nothing macabre or remarkable, just plain old murder. The interesting part is that the car belongs to the City Hall motor pool and leads back to an event Mayor Robert Weldon (Derek Webster) was attending. This leads through a typical storyline of the Mayor being a suspect in the crime as evidence points to him but Castle believes he’s innocent. We’ve seen this plot before which was the first clue to the Mayor being innocent. The other was the innocuous placement of Bones semi-regular Michael Grant Terry in the perfect position to be the murderer.

The crime does lead to a sex-talk line which should have been fun, seeing as this is Richard Castle we’re talking about here, but it read almost like an episode of Law & Order. Eventually the trail stumbles upon a plot by persons unknown to ruin the Mayor’s bid for Governor and perhaps later the Presidency.

Castle – S04E12 – “Dial M for Mayor”

Castle and Beckett speak to Mayor.

The twist comes when the mysterious man who previously contacted Castle to tell him to back off of Joanna Beckett’s murder, for the sake of Beckett’s life, contacts him again and gives Castle the vital clue to solve the case. Why did he do it? To keep Castle in the game. If the Mayor is gone, Castle is gone, and there is no one to keep Beckett on a leash and therefore save her life.

So just who is this man? How much power does he hold? Who is this other group who wants to destroy the Mayor and kill Beckett is she gets too close? It’s definitely intriguing to say the least.

It could be nothing, but right before the mysterious man speaks to Castle using a chessboard metaphor, Captain Gates says something similar to Beckett, chess and all. Could be coincidence as it’s a common metaphor… or does it mean something? Gates comes from a family of cops, was in I.A., and says that she likes cops and only wants to look out for them. Could it be she’s in on this game, somewhere? Depending on how that is played out, this could be a fantastic or horrible plot thread.

We’ll just have to see where this leads us.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Television

 

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Leverage – S04E18 – “The Last Dam Job”

TNT's Leverage

Leverage – S04E18 – “The Last Dam Job”

Spoilers of Previous Episodes

In S04E17, “The Radio Job”, the audience was left with a shocking cliffhanger, a promise of payout for what had been a ho-hum back half of the season. A death that literally came out of nowhere along with a call back to the pilot episode which no one saw coming left me tingling in anticipation. What’s more, the Leverage crew would be teaming up with their bad guy counterparts and rivals in order to take down the snake, CEO Jack Latimer.

While the interactions between our protagonists and their temporary pals was just one shade short of awesome, the last act of the episode felt pushed, forced and off tone. If they could have had at least another half hour (full hour would have been good) then it would have been the best episode of Leverage of all time. As it stands, “The Last Dam Job” is simply a fun segway into a hopefully more energetic fifth season.

Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

>Spoilers<

TNT's Leveragage - S04E18 - "The Last Dam Job"

"What is this?" "Don't ask."

When we left off, Nate’s father Jimmy (Tom Skerritt) was killed in a warehouse bombing which was set up by Jack Latimer (Leon Rippy) and Victor Dubenich. Dubenich being the first bad guy the Leverage team put behind bars back in the pilot episode and played by the wonderful Saul Rubinek. It was an unexpected call back to the pilot and promised so much for the finale.

Turns out, Dubenich, who originally put the team together, knows the team better than they know themselves… which doesn’t make as much sense as it should since they have all grown as characters over the last four years. But the facial reorganization stuff is an acceptable foil. So because of this, Nate decides to bring in people Dubenich would least expect, those who they don’t trust, aren’t in the game, etc. This leads to the middle chunk of the episode which is pure gold.

Elliot picks Quinn (Clayne Crawford) as his alter-ego, the same guy who gave him a run for his money in the first season finale. The two actors are actually friends so the way they play off each other is nothing short of perfect.

Parker recruits father figure Archie Leach (love that name because it’s Cary Grant’s birth name), played by Richard Chamberlain who brings a certain amount of charm and class to the episode. It’s also good to see Parker smiling so much, not to mention the exchanges between her, Archie, and Hardison regarding the couple’s burgeoning relationship is underplayed and sweet.

Hardison and Chaos

Hardison (Hodge) and Chaos (Wheaton)

Speaking of Hardison, he has the displeasure of asking Wil Wheaton’s ‘Chaos’ for help. Wheaton has gained a new career out of being the person who we love to hate and in this episode he gets a bit of redemption. In the end, the two hackers still hate each other’s guts but there is a new found begrudging respect formed between them. Some of the best lines come from these two’s interactions. They really need to do a Haridson and Chaos episode… maybe the Leverage team gets caught up in something and Hardison has to save them and needs Chaos’ help… it would be glorious.

Sophie gets someone not in the game to take her spot and that ends up as Nate’s ex-wife Maggie (Kari Matchett) who has little more than a cameo. It’s an important moment though, showing that Maggie is okay with Nate’s relationship with Sophie. The two are even friends… that could be dangerous for Nate.

As for the rest of the episode, what we get is a pretty pushed story of how Nate plans to take everything from Latimer and Dubenich, slowly wrecking everything, his business, his possessions, and his name. The thing is, Rubinek isn’t given much to work with on Dubenich’s character other than he’s gone a little crazy in prison, I guess, and the character often runs around with a bit too much anxiety and bolster.

TNT's Leverage - S04E18 - "The Last Dam Job"

Nate (Hutton) confronts Dubenich (Rubinek)

The whole story line of Nate thinking about killing Latimer and Dubenich as revenge for his father’s death is also forced, leading to an almost cartoonish ending. I know, it’s suppose to show Nate as the better man and that the two characters did this to themselves… but it falls so flat in more ways than one. The great thing about Leverage is that the bad guys are always left to stand in the mess they made. Anyone can kill a bad guy, but there is a distinct pleasure in knocking the bad guy down to the very bottom rung where they were so happily throwing people during their reign. This… this was high school drama schlock and we know the show is so much better than this.

If they only had more time to stretch out and rework that ending… but it was at least enjoyable right until that point. Here is looking to season five with a fresh slate.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Television

 

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