RSS

Tag Archives: Four Stars

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.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Television

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Television

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Supernatural S07E12 – “Time After Time”

CW's Supernatural 
Supernatural S07E12 – “Time After Time”

Supernatural is one of those shows that can’t jump the shark because it made friends with the shark, served it a nice dinner, and occasionally takes it out for a night on the town. This is never more obvious than in episodes like “Time After Time”. Sam and Dean need a change of pace from their Leviathan hunting and Sheriff Jody Mills offers up a case for them. In the process of hunting a demon, Dean is thrown back in time and meets Elliot Ness played by X-Files alum Nicholas Lea. This is a time travel episode and Supernatural looks straight at the camera and says “yeah, we know” and proceeds to have fun. The required cliché jokes are underplayed, Dean makes sure to lamp shade Back to the Future and Untouchables, and the dialogue is suitably witty. This is how you do a time travel episode in this day and age.

As a bonus, there is a nice subplot dealing with the recent turn of events in the Winchester’s lives and it’s not overly emo!

Score: 4 Ratings Star

>Spoilers<

The episode starts mid-investigation, Dean disappearing into the ether after chasing a new monster. After the commercial break we discover that Dean is obsessing over Richard Roman, this season’s bad guy. Officer Mills, who is a great character, great to see her back again, gives the boys a case in Canton, Ohio. Bodies are being mummified and the witness sees a guy sucking the life out of the victims with a red light.

Supernatural S07E12 - "Time After Time"

Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) and Elliot Ness (Nicholas Lea)

The red light turns out to be time travel juice and when Dean tackles the monster he’s sent back to Nov, 1944. Dean is arrested for waving his gun in public (which he does all the time in the future but only seems to get pinched in 1944?). He is then introduced to Elliot Ness played by the always wonderful Nicholas Lea. Lea underplays what could easily be an over the top character, especially as Dean starts to roll off stuff from the Untouchables movie.

That’s really the key to this episode, it’s underplayed. It’s all about a hunt, the time travel stuff is just window dressing. As Donald P. Bellisario pointed out in his audio commentary for NCIS episode “Yankee White”, if you are going to pay homage to a film so blatantly then you point it out, let the audience in on it. This way everyone can have a smile at the gag and it doesn’t feel like a rip-off. Dean references Back to the Future on more than one occasion and we realize that this character’s only frame of reference in dealing with the current situation is movies, but it’s working for him so far.

Like a dream, Dean gets to fight along side Elliot Ness. Ness, who such a strong figure in law enforcement history, is probably the only one who can call Dean on his emo-shtick and really put him in place, something that has been in dire need for at least the last two seasons.

Supernatural - "Time After Time"

Dean Winchester in 1940s era suit.

Dean also meets Ezra Moore, a tailor who reminds him a lot of Bobbie, so it’s possible groundwork was laid for future exploration. That or again they underplayed the time travel aspect by not specially pointing to the fact she is Bobbie’s ancestor. Either way, win, win.

Finally the monster is revealed to be Cronus (played by the highly charming Jason Dohring), a defunct god who has to suck the life out of ‘sacrifices’ in order to not be thrown through time. In a twist at the end they try to turn him in into a sympathetic character, he was only doing this to stay with the woman he loves and his life is pretty crappy anyway. However, it just fell flat and pointless, a last ditch effort which took a nose dive. Still, it wasn’t enough to detract from the rest of the episode.

The dialogue was amazingly crafted, the 40’s speech patterns and Dean’s wise cracks were spot on without being over done. The set design was passable (they kept the camera angles tight) but managed an awesome hunter’s kit for Ness’s car. And might I say that Dean looks mighty fine in a 40’s era suit, yum. 

Supernatural S07E12 - "Time After Time"

Cronus (Jason Dohring) is not happy.

As for Sam, he’s stuck in the present trying to figure out how to get his brother back and Mills offers her help. They find a spell to summon Cronus but they need him to be touching Dean so that he can catch a ride back. Through some dues ex machina and Back to the Future 3, Sam is able to discover a date and time the two will be together.

Cronus and Dean are pulled to the future along with a weapon provided by Ezra, and in a fight Sam plunges a stake into the god’s heart. Before he dies, Cronus tells the boys that he can see their future and it’s covered in black sludge, an ominous foretelling… but he could have been being a dick since he was dying.

Over all it’s not an arc-important episode but it sure is a fun one with plenty of laughs.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Television

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,