07 October 2010

The Watcher: 10/1-10/7

The new season of CAPRICA started this week, so I felt compelled to finish Season 1.0 before 1.5. Now with that accomplished, I can concentrate on finishing up RESCUE ME season 6. Way back with the first Watcher, I reviewed the first two season two episodes of WAREHOUSE 13, but have since decided to scrap that idea. I'll either way for the eventual DVD release or when I no longer have any major TV priorities. With that said, the fall season appears to be starting up on the right foot - well, at least with the shows I watch, everything else seems to be close to cancellation - and I'm giddy as hell! Anyone else enjoying themselves yet?

S01E05 - "There is Another Sky" (26 February 2010) - A episode that doesn't appear to play a major role in the events of the series, it is nonetheless a visually stunning forty-three minutes with a fantastic performance by Genevieve Buechner (SAVED!). The episode has two running plots: Tamra in New Cap City trying desperately to get back home, oblivious to her current situation, and Daniel Graystone on the verge of being kicked out of his own company thanks to his choice to not charge customers for the HoloNet. First and foremost, Graystone's story is pretty damn compelling, especially in the final two scenes where the audience gets a little bit of backstory about the man via dialogue through his wife [that's pretty impressive, Mr. Graystone], and than his triumphant entrance at the Board of Directors meeting. Although Alessandra Torresani (Zoe) doesn't have a hell of a lot to do after the whole being dead thing, her reactions as the Cylon prototype is nonetheless interesting to watch, as was her reaction to being asked to pull her own arm off. At the opposite spectrum of Graystone, Tamara Adams is stuck in the V-World with no knowledge of what actually happened to her, and seeks help to 'wake up.' She visits a super creepy woman named Vesta, who gets the opportunity to spout the much overused line "What are you?" and then disappears, probably to reappear a bit down the line. Basically, the scenery and visual effects of New Cap City was simply breathtaking, and the whole 1930s retro-simultaneously-futuristic feel was magnificent. I would love taking screencaps of those shots and just creating one ginormous wallpaper. If there's one accomplishment with CAPRICA, it's that the visual effects of the V-World and Caprica itself is so damn gorgeous, it's unbelievable the team has such a small budget. By episodes end, Tamara has transformed from a supremely annoying digital avatar to a kickass Aeon Flux-type chick in retro clothes who I so totally wouldn't want to piss off. Suffice to say, I'm pretty excited to see what happens with Tamara, and how her avatar continues to evolve.

S01E06 - "Know Thy Enemy" (05 March 2010) -A pretty intense episode that made the minutes fly by relatively quickly. Once again, the digital effects are flawless and beautiful. Thrill aside, it did introduce multiple elements: the first appearance of Barnabus, as played by the magnificent James Marsters (BUFFY, TORCHWOOD), but sadly in only two scenes. His first scene pretty much made me think DA VINCI CODE. Anyone else? But I'm excited, because Marsters has true screen presence, and he's a totally awesome dude, so I can't wait to see how that evolves. Plot #2: Daniel is being approached by Thomas Vergis, being threatened to relinquish his hold on the biggest sports team on Caprica, all because Vergis wants to take away everything Daniel holds dear. I'm not too much of a fan of the plotline, but the actor and dialogue playing Vergis is just so cool and calculating, it's mesmerizing to watch him work. Plot #3: Zoe feels pity for Philoman, the technician working with her Cylon body, because the poor dude didn't get any hits on V-finder, so she disguises herself as 'Rachel' and they go on a date. It's a interesting idea that I'm excited to see explored. "Know Thy Enemy" lays a lot of groundwork and simultaneously manages to be quite engaging, so kudos guys. It's episodes like these that are getting me hooked on the show.

S01E07 - "The Imperfections of Memory" (12 March 2010) - "I work with top secret robots." "That's really hot." Smooch. Brilliant. Compared to "Know Thy Enemy", this episode was quite boring, although that was sort of to be expected. With a 20-episode order, and the potential for a long series, plot elements need to be stashed for later down the road, etc. So the episode spends a majority of time on Amanda Graystone, as she hangs out with Sistah Clarice a bit more and firmly believes she's going crazy. I super hope her character grows and becomes stronger, because the actress has amazing range that I would love to see used to the fullest extent. But this storyline - nah, not a fan. Joseph Adama, however, gets the meaty plot of going into New Cap City, and avoiding being killed there or else he will forever lose his chance to see his avatar daughter. His sequences are awesome, and I'm quite excited to see where that goes. The other plotline was Zoe's continued flirtation/manipulation with Philoman, where the opening quote comes from. Nice nod to the future Vipers of BSG world, and I quite wish I was Philoman during the beautifully shot lip-locking scene. Otherwise, "Imperfections of a Memory" is all around, well, imperfect-like, but still a necessary component of the larger scheme of things. But the ending - please tell me he's figured it out!

S01E08 - "Ghosts in the Machine" (19 March 2010) - What a good episode. With Daniel finally putting two and two together, he's surmised that Zoe's avatar is inside the Cylon prototype, and devises a bunch of different 'tasks' for Zoe to reveal herself to him, since she's choosing to keep him in the dark due to trust issues. From the beginning to end, each scene with these two were charged with tension, and definitely showcased some fantastic performances from both Torresani and Stolz. Major kudos. They were messed up scenes, indeed, but absolutely riveting and fits perfectly in tune with Daniel's character. However, I am a little bit surprised he didn't go the love and nurturing route, instead going straight into interrogation/harsh man mode. Whatever, the man's under a lot of stress. Daniel's wife Amanda is still haunted by visions of her dead brother, and I, the viewer, still don't give a shit. In the virtual world of New Cap City, Joseph Adama is getting closer and closer to finding Tamara, but also closer to losing himself. In one hell of a awesome sequence - and by the way, major kudos for the set and costume designers in that nightclub - Joseph drugs himself up, steals a bucket-load of guns, and unleashes holy hell on those who won't cooperate with him. I'm quite liking where Joseph's heading, and I'm interesting to see how all this affects William, and how all of this is forming him into the renowned Admiral he is fifty some years down the line. Overall, a damn good episode, very awesome, with the sole exception of Amanda Graystone, which really needs a new storyline, pronto.

S01E09 - "End of Line" (26 March 2010) - Poor Philoman, and poor overall dodgy mid-season finale. At the very leastish, a element of this episode that demands attention is composer Bear McCreary, the same guy who worked on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA for its entire run. The final five minutes features some gorgeous, gorgeous music that I simply can't wait to own. As for cliffhangers, I can't really say I was all too 'OMG!' I expected Joseph's exile of New Cap City, I just hope we don't have to suffer through another bout of depression on his part. I am still very intrigued on how RESIDENT EVIL-Alice-like Tamara will become, 'cuz that would just be awesome. Amanda supposedly jumping to her death: yes please. The return of Barnabus, thus the return of James Marsters - brilliant by all accounts, and Marsters owns every single mini-second of screen. His interaction with Lacy was also quite interesting, as was the 'moment of truth' scene where Lacy makes a decision, and thanks to Magda's stellar performance, makes that sequence a absolute highlight of the hour. The Zoe Clyon may or may not be blown to bits, which would be rather unfortunate, so I guess we'll see with the season premiere.

S01E10 - "Unvanquished" (05 October 2010) - The latter half of the season starts with a bang - three months after the cliffhanging events of "End of Line", the Cylon prototype that held Zoe's avatar is trashed, unfortunately, but all is not in vain for Thomas Vergis is mass producing tons and tons of Cylons to meet the manufactures date. Meanwhile on the Soldiers of The One front, Lacy is proving herself to Barnabus, and Sister Clarice seeks counsel on Gemenon (the Holy Land) with religious elders, ending in a unexpected fashion. All those scenes on Gemenon - the philosophical debates, the 'political' backstabbing - were all super fantastic. Oh, and in talking about unexpectedness: Amanda Graystone is still alive (boo), and being housed by Sistah Clarice. Anyone else sensing a possible romance in the air for these two? One night of too many booze... Now for the best part of the episode: Without her Cylon body and not much else to do, Zoe has made a name for herself as the second Dead Walker in New Cap City, and is marvelously kicking major amount of ass with her skin-tight clothing and super awesome sword. I'm nearly more in love with everything happening in the virtual world moreso than the Graystones, STO, Adamas, and Vergis. Not to say I'm not digging the series - I am. In fact, I would recommend it not only to fans of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, but also the casual viewer. As a prequel to the mammoth series, it's a good stepping on point. I can't wait to see what the rest of the season - and hopefully season - brings us.

S04E03 -"Chuck Versus the Cubic Z" (04 October 2010) - Four seasons in, and we finally get a video game launch at the Buy More episode! There were moments, though, where this ep made me recall the one in season two where Chuck had to disarm a game console from blowing up some big inventor dude. Anyway, although I really dug the idea and Big Mike's return, I couldn't help but wonder why the Buy More, being the new CIA headquarters in Burbank, didn't just commandeer a truckload of this game and have it shipped to Buymania in less than 50 minutes. Totally doable. But whatev, that aside, the other elements (aka Chuck and Sarah) were fun and entertaining, but not as strong as similar scenes were before. In fact, I may be one of the few who think this, but compared to last season, I think the writing may have taken a small hit. The dialogue was sort of uninspired, rather...um, predictable, I guess. But thanks to Sarah and the slightly more mature Chuck Bartowski, the scenes where they have to spout off this dialog isn't as bad as it could be - it's just noticeable. This episode also marked the return of two previous guest stars, Nicole Richie and Steve Austin, and hell if they weren't the major highlights of the otherwise OK episode. Now with the 'cliffhanger' ending, I'm not too particularly sure I was all that 'Ooo!' or 'Aaaa!'. Their relationship is just a few short months old, so it would make zero sense at all for the writers to conceivably go that route. Anyway, I may not have been a fan of these last two episodes all that much, but doesn't mean CHUCK is lacking in funness by any means. I'll still be here for the next ten episodes, guaranteed. If ratings continue to decline, this just may be the last few episodes of CHUCK we'll ever see. Sad face.

S05E02 - "Hello Bandit" (03 October 2010)
- Now that Rita's six feet under, it's time to deal with the aftermath of her death. Due to his mammoth truckload and the fact that Cody and Astrid don't want to stay with Dexter, our favorite serial killer loses them to the grandparents. Can't say I'm particularly angry or displeased about this turn of events, for the two of them have never been a completely important presence (that's arguable, I know). No matter, Astrid has been utterly obnoxious these last two episodes, so I by no means miss her. Other elements in this episode: a decapitated head that appears to be some sort of ritualistic killing gets on the department's radar, and I'm genuinely intrigued by this killer, and hope that some really juicy stuff comes out of this. Deb and Quinn have their little verbal banter, and at this moment in time, I don't really care. My main concern is Dexter Morgan: this is perhaps the most monumental event in his life, a pivotal moment, and I want the writers to milk it for all its worth. These subplots, such as the whole money issue between LeGuerta and Angel as well as Deb and Quinn, are meaningless compared to Dexter's 'feelings' and the choices he makes from here on out. More than any other season, this one should be all about Dexter, every episode splurging a insane amount of time on the guy. This is his make it or break it story. And I really, really hope every ounce of rage and loss of control he has gets taken out on this dude he's been tracking [speaking of which, creepy but friggin' awesome ending]. So when is my future wife Julia Stiles showing up? Until next time...

S01E04 - "Rough Trade" (30 September 2010) - "Real-time subtitles!" Great line. Despite premiering strongly, NIKITA really didn't live up to its potential the second and third episodes, but thankfully, "Rough Trade" is all kinds of awesomeness. In present day, Nikita works to foil the Triad who have just got involved with Division, and realizes that her first kill is still very much alive. We get flashbacks to when Nikita was first activated, and how she initially questioned her motives but eventually gave into doing what she was told, and how from then on out she began to feel a little dead inside. The flashbacks were great, and packed a real emotional punch unlike the Nikita/Alex flashbacks from episode two. So, basically, Nikita's whole storyline in this episode was great, as was her kick-ass ability which was on full display here. This is the Nikita I'm watching the show for, man! And Alex even gets a pretty damn good plot, where she freezes in one of her training missions, and is brought to Amanda (Melinda Clark) to confront and control whatever is holding her back. These scenes are frighteningly effective, and add a whole new bitchy but yet level of respect to Amanda who will probably be a big obstacle to overcome later down the line. We get a bit more of Alex's backstory, as well as fantastically tense sequences where Alex, in a straight jacket, needs to force her heartbeat until 50 before she can be let go. Great, great episode. However, still not sure about this whole Michael/Nikita thing. They respect each other, might even have a fling, and are constantly unable to pull the trigger when one of 'em has the other in their sights. Eh, guess I'll have to see how this turns out.

S01E05 - "The Guardian" (07 October 2010)
- A pretty solid episode with Nikita throwing herself right in the middle of Division affairs once again. Although not at the great heights of "Rough Trade", a tough act to follow, "The Guardian" was successfully entertaining. A plot element is introduced that will most likely allow longevity for the series, what with these black boxes - many and many and many of them that contain the nations dirty little secrets - spread all over, with these Division-sanctioned 'guardian's ready to kill to protect them. So Nikita needs to destroy every single one of these before she's able to take Percy and, by extension, Division out. Alright, I can bite. What I didn't particularly like is the final moments of the episode, which seem to indicate potential romance blossoming for Alex, and quite possibly Nikita. I understand that this is a show on the CW, but at the very least, I would hope the writers refrain from Nikita engaging in any sort of relationship until later in this season, or (with renewal) a season two. Right now, Nikita needs to concentrate on bringing Division down and being a badass doing so, there's no time for romance, damnit! I'm still really hoping Alex gets some bigger stuff to do in future episodes, but I was quite impressed with her finger print-espionage. Kudos, girl. And one final thought: is that gray-haired assassin dude dead? That would be sad, because he was a total badass. Well, luckily, in these type of shows, the dead don't remain that way for long. Oh, and one last thing: cameo appearance by Stan freakin' Lee! COOL!

S10E02 - "Shield" (01 October 2010) - I'm going to keep this short and sweet: I wasn't particularly thrilled with this cowboy incarnation of Deadshot, taking into account all I know from the animated BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHT back in '08, but I thought it was still cool, nonetheless. Plus, his being recruited by the Suicide Squad (Plastique was back!) was pretty cool. Just how many foes must Clark fight this final season? Speaking of Clark, his new modern-esque suit is revealed in a embarrassingly patriotic/bad CGI final shot: dark jeans, red leather jacket with a 'S' in the middle, and a blue shirt underneath. Oh, and the godawful hair. Not a fan of that portion. What I was a fan of, though, was Lois and Carter in Cairo, and their conversations about Clark. I couldn't help but have a grin when Carter replied after one of Lois' Blu-lovin' soliloquies, 'Why don't you just ask Clark?' Ms. Durance excels at stunned reaction shots; faint praise, I know, but praise nonetheless. There's also a bunch of foreshadowing of events down the road, specifically the Suicide Squad and mentions of the goddess Isis (read some spoilers, it'll make more sense). A decent, entertaining, and serviceable episode

S02E02 -"Aftermath" (05 October 2010) - Reused plot of the week: a expedition group scout a new planet, only to be stuck there with very little time to lose because Destiny is about to jump back into FTL. Redundancy aside, I rather liked "Aftermath", but before I go into the kudos, I just want to mention the painfully obviousness of impending death in TV shows. In a big cast, there are often plenty of recurring extras who may or may not get a name. This episode had Riley, a character featured before but hardly given more than a line; here, he was not only given more than the single line, but was also allowed presence in multiple scenes. In TV land, that's a clear and present signal that you're gonna die, dude. Hardly in the series, and suddenly you're featured in most of the scene set-ups of a particular episode? Either something big is gonna happen President-style, or you're gonna die. So poor Riley drew the short straw in this episode, and despite hardly knowing a damn thing about it, I confess I was actually moved by the character's impending demise. It wasn't the post-death video Eli was watching back on Destiny, or the somber expressions passed between everybody, it was the quiet scenes with Riley and TJ back in the damaged ship as the others tried to find a Stargate, as well as the shockingly dark final moments between Colonial Young and Riley. All I can say about that scene is damn. But anyway, TV writers, if you plan on killing a character, don't spend that particular episode constructing the emotion, perhaps pad it out through a few episodes and make that person somehow important to the overall show. That aside, "Aftermath" delivered in quite a few regards: the cinematography was not as annoying as usual, with shots allowed room to breathe, with actual light seeping through and giving detail to the ship and military outfits. If there's one thing SG-U desperately needs, it's to stop being so harsh on the lighting. Visual effects were also a splendor, as the tense moments (with fantastic music) as the scouting ship was crashing on the planet were freakin' awesome, such as the beautiful shot of the ship zooming through trees and causing a wreck. Awesomeness. The script was also better than average, although that can be attributed to being penned by showrunner Robert Wright, who not only is a good writer but also director (see: season one's "Time"). Anyhow, the plot may have been very 'been there, done that', but the episode itself was quite good, and the lead-in for next week sure makes me giddy.

S06E02 - "Two and a Half Men" (01 October 2010)
- After a decent season opener, SUPERNATURAL is getting back into the game with "Two and a Half Men." Luckily, there were no Charlie Sheen cameos. Dean has once again severed his relationship with Sam in hopes of protecting Lisa and Ben, but a really bizarre turn of events forces Sam to call on Dean's help with a particularly important manner: one child left behind. Thankfully, the child turns out to not be your normal, run-of-the-mill offspring, but is instead a baby shifter [which leads into a hilarious shifting sequence in the middle portion of the episode]. I was really hoping that a baby episode in SUPERNATURAL wasn't a sign of weakness, or lack of story ideas whizzing around the writer's room, but instead it's the opposite: it was chilling and thrilling, brought Dean back into the foray, and I'm pretty confidant that this storyline may play a larger part of the mythology this season. Or at least I'm hoping, since monsters are supposedly going a tad crazy in this post-apocalypse universe. Oh, and thanks to the shape shifting, we get some great Dean vs. Sam, Sam vs. Sam moments that were just fantastic to watch. Having Jared Padalecki channel his darker side provides some of the most creepiest yet awesomest moments of SUPERNATURAL. The Campbell's don't play that major of a role in this episode, but one of them do get killed off - which is surprising, this being rather early in the season. Guess they gotta watch production costs. But by the forty-three minute mark, a astoundingly reasonable Lisa basically told Dean that she'll be here for him, but he needs to go, needs to hunt, needs to do what he needs to do. So he uncovers his Impala, and the journey re-begins. Tomorrow night, the return of Castiel!

S03E08 - "Night on the Sun" (8 August 2010) - The episode that sets the stage for the remainder of the season, and as far as I can tell, elements of season four. In the most exciting moment of the season, Eric, in the throes of passion with Russel's love Talbot, stakes him in a bloody frenzy. Simultaneously, Russel feels the death of his lover in a agonizing EPISODE III-Darth Vader like yell, and it's basically a duh that all shit has hit the fan. Now the bad: anything with Lafayete's mother is naturally a dud, although I'm guessing from everything she's saying that there's more to Lafayete than what meets the eye. And in a single episode, Sookie and Bill's relationship is severed, only to be reunited again by the end in one hell of a hot make-up sex scene. How much I so totally don't care about these two. Oh, and speaking about the putting on the layers for the forthcoming series, it's been mentioned several times it will feature mystical powers, so Jesus and this new chick at Marlotte's are all set up. But whatev, a overall "eh" episode has two awesome moments that nearly forgive it's medicoreness.

S03E09 - 'Everything is Broken" (15 August 2010) - With the exception of Jason's new girlfriend and her extended family which I don't give any amount of shit about, "Everything is Broken" was a otherwise very good episode. The concluding moments with Russel on national television declaring war, essentially, on the human race with blood literally dripping from his hands thanks to the newly dead news-anchor; The Authority's interrogation of Eric who divulges his thirst for revenge against the vampire King; the resurrection and subsequent death of Franklin at the hands of Jason [which was just AWESOME!], and Sam beating the shit out of some dude related to Crystal [not like I care, it's the worst storyline the writers have come up with yet]. Now I recognize not many fans are pleased with Sam's sudden anger issues that seem to come out of left field, but I disagree. With all the shit that's been going on, not just with Sam but with Tara as well, there's bound to be a breaking point where they just erupt with fury. And with Sam's hillbilly good-for-nothing parents being a pest, it's no wonder Sam is losing his mind. Although, I do admit the writers should have introduced this element of Sam before, but I understand that there wasn't a lot of time. Point is, it makes sense for Sam to go crazy, and I don't mind it at all. In fact, it gave us funny reaction shots from Tommy, and any instance that makes him funny and not a complete douche is fine by me. Basically, a really, really good episode.

S03E10 - "I Smell a Rat" (22 August 2010) - Although he wasn't heavily featured in this episode, Denis O'Hare deserves kudos for his portrayal of Russell Edgington. O'Hare knows just when to act over-the-top [such as when Russell mournfully touched Talbot's remains] and when to be deep, reserved, and somber, such as his scenes tonight with the hooker who resembled his late lover. Odd episode to mention O'Hare's performance, to be sure, but his few scenes speak volumes. This episode is perhaps most important for it answers the lingering question of what exactly is Sookie Stackhouse. It turns out that she is the result of a fairy/human coupling, so she's half-fairy, hence all the extremely odd dream sequences in those brightly lit gardens and strange dance moves. A appropriate, but yet "wtf? She's a fuckin' FAIRY? How lame!" answer. Next up we have Sam, post-fit of rage where he flashbacks to a time where he was a robber and ended up killing two people. Now, as opposed to Sam going nuts a episode or two ago because of the pressure of Bon Temps, here we got Sam as a already dark figure [probably as a result of his upbringing] who seemed to choose a lifestyle change. So, what we're watching with Sam is a man who grew to be a dark, bad person, and then chose to be something better, but is now reaching the end of his rope. Yeah, I'm excited to see where this story takes Sam. Eric and Sookie finally smooch, but the ending between the two of them quite cements any sort of possible relationship. Bad move, Eric. I also loved Jason growing some balls and yelling back at Bill, revoking his right to be in his house. The episode almost ended Crystal-free, but then we had to get the lame 'revelation' that she's a she's some animal creature thingy. Whatev. I hope that character goes away soon. But at least what we see here is Jason still on his growing path, as shown in the latter part of season two and continued on here. Oh, and Jason makes the dumb move to blurt out that he killed Eggs. And here I almost forgot about that stupid subplot. Anyway, two episodes left of the season, and I'm quite enjoying where we're heading.

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