10 November 2010

The Watcher: 10/29 - 11/10

So, missed last week's The Watcher, and was very nearly going to choose to miss this weeks due to this whole 'gotta-catch-up-with-school/write-my-novel' thing I have looming over my head, but ah Hell, other people are throwing their two cents in on some shows I'm watching, so why not I? Even though the reviews may be shorter than normal.

S04E07 - "Chuck Vs. the First Fight" (01 November 2010) - One name: Timothy Dalton. Magnificent in his mannerisms, impeccable in his comic timing, and hilarious in his jokes, Dalton completely owned this episode. It was also weird to hear a Scottish/Irish/whatever accent from the dude, as I'm most familiar with his DOCTOR WHO and HOT FUZZ work, accent-free; sounded cool, mind you. Introduced as a blubbering buffoon, Dalton's character becomes an important aspect of the show by the final act, and I can't wait to see how it all goes down. Another fantastic element of this episode was the Chuck and Sarah dynamic. It took seven episodes, but the writers finally made their pair talk about their relationship in a awesome manner, where they just flat-out say what's on their mind...whilst kicking all sorts of major ass. Awesome scene, awesome work by Strahovski and Levvy, and even if it wasn't for Dalton, that scene would have made the episode for me. "the Fight Fight" is the best of the season thus far, and let's hope this creative peak continues. And finally (!), it looks like Ellie might be integral to the plot in some way...

S05E06 - "Everything is Illumentated" (31 October 2010) - Frankly, I don't remember much from this episode and I just finished it three hours ago. I remember the final act, with Deb, Angel and Masuka wandering around the warehouse looking for the person who called the cops, and Dexter and Lumen are running to clean up their mess. That was some pretty stellar stuff right there, and even though you knew this wasn't 'the moment', the moment where Dexter's life gets turned upside down, it was nonetheless suspenseful. And I also remember the final scene between Lumen and Dexter in the bathroom. There was a beauty, really, in seeing Lumen in the exact same pose Rita's body was in the tub, and Dexter's subsequent reaction to it. After Lumen dresses, they just sit and talk, not just about what happened to her, but about their state of being. It's sequences like that which make Dexter interesting. Everything else - the romances, the idiotic subplots, and Robocop - just need to improve or be lost altogether now.

S05E07 - "Circle Us" (07 November 2010) - I'm sort of hoping Dexter becomes unhinged in some way, that when he decides to take down Boyd's associates, he sort of cracks and goes batshit crazy on them. In "My Bad", Dexter felt real, true, raw emotion, and it made him yell. Now, about a month or two later in the Dexter timeline, he's numb - now, I understand that, makes sense considering his character, I just would find it interesting if he basically explodes. This season is sort of "meh" right now, and it needs something at the end of these twelve episodes to justify everything, to make it one neat little book. Perhaps the ending will be Dexter finding his inner humanity, becoming more human than he ever would have imagined, and Rita's death was the catalyst and the Lumen part of his life is slowly easing him up...or something.

Um, anyway, we learn more about Boyd's past as well as those that are connected to Lumen's assaults, and it looks like she and Dexter are going to have their work cut out for them. Angel and his wife are immaterial right now; as I said for "Everything is Illumenated", they either need to write more intelligent storylines for these side characters, or just dispense with them. But Deb - man, Deb got the Cool Scene of the episode. Shooting the bad guy right in the head: solid gold. This Sunday's episode looks like it's gonna be good.

S01E07 - "The Recruit" (29 October 2010) - I've really got nothing to say. Filler. Uninteresting. Division bad. It was cool, though, to see that one recruit guy shoot up the place; added some nice tension and immediacy.

S01E08 - "Phoenix" (05 November 2010) - Now we seem to be getting somewhere. A new organization has made their presence known, Gogol, and even if Nikita manages to get rid of Division, Gogol will just take its place. Frankly, it's nice to have this gray area, lose/lose situation, and to have Nikita not really sure what to do. I hope this storyline doesn't get tossed to the side, and instead becomes a major part of the season one arc, or at least a lead into season two. Maybe the two organizations will work together to bring Nikita down! Maybe Percy will be killed and the Gogol guy will take the reigns! Maybe...oh, it's no bother thinking about that. The sad part is, NIKITA seems interested in small portions of emotion, and lots of action and sexy poses for Maggie Q. I guess I'm just in the small category of blokes who want the hard story a majority of the time, and the action just here or there. Also, some more continuity instead of this anthologized format would be nice. Well, look at me, complaining again; apologies. No matter, "Phoenix" is still a really good episode, and holds promise for a great season. Oh, and congrats Alex for smooching Thorn, finally!

S10E07 - "Harvest" (29 October 2010) - The quasi-CHILDREN OF THE CORN episode, "Harvest" is actually far better than it has any right to be. Lois and Clark find themselves held up by townspeople firmly believing they must make a sacrifice to the Gods for good crops...or something like that. And the reason Clark can't just blow them all up, his moral code notwithstanding, is the blue meteor rock that's in abundance, making him all human-like. A throwback episode to the times of season one, but it's handled much, much smarter than it would have freshman season. I have chills just thinking about how bad it would have been. But bad this episode is not. We have Lois drilling Clark, question after question of who he is and his history, and we have the fantastic ending where I firmly wanted to be Tom Welling. We have Clark, with semi-superhuman strength, still protecting Lois and getting his back burned. We have Clark being confidant even when faced by people stronger than him. It's pure Superman, even without the cape.

But what makes this episode outstanding is not Clark and Lois, but Tess Mercer and the Lex Luthor clone. Alexander is given a birthday party, full of 'friends' and gifts and love, a beautiful mirror of the real Lex Luthor's heartbreaking lonely birthday Lionel threw for him. Tess continues to want to save Alexander, because she firmly believes that if she saves him from becoming the monster his maker was, than she can, in some way, save herself. As I said in the last installment of The Watcher, it's amazing that this near unnecessary character from season nine has turned into somebody that I eagerly await seeing evolve the following week. In the end, it seems that Alexander will follow in his maker's footsteps, that perhaps the Luthor cannot escape his destiny. Tess makes the decision to let the boy die, allowing his accelerated growth to continue without treatment. Can't wait to see where that leads...

And to all those out there who are saying that the show is making the stance Clark could not have become Superman without Lois Lane, that's not what it's saying, at least from my point of view. Clark's making his own choices, stemming from his own desire to be 'the Blur', and Lois is what's grounding him, what's keeping him firm on his stance instead of giving into his fear. She's his strength, complimenting his desire to do good. And she's hot.

S10E08 - "Ambush" (05 November 2010) - Again, how I wish I was Tom Welling! Now, the beauty of Erica Durance aside, it's episodes like these that reaffirm how bloody good and great this season has been. Although "Ambush" wasn't nearly as strong as expected - and I'm not saying it wasn't good, I'm just saying it could have been stronger - it delved into the political issues facing SMALLVILLE right now: the Vigilante Registration Act, and allows General Lane and Clark to duke out their philosophical and moral outlooks to a great and interesting degree. Unfortunately, Lois gets shafted until the finale, when she finally demands that her father stop harassing Clark, thereby winning the General's little 'test' (smart as it was). The other stuff about the ex-Checkmate assassins hellbent on taking out anyone anti-vigilantes, not as interesting, but could very well become so before the end. Even though this episode was family based, it still felt like it was moving along one of this season's many over-arching storylines, and it's a great feeling to have. Only downside of the episode really was Lucy Lane and her little subplot, which I couldn't care less for. However, Clark vs. General Lane, and the all around gorgeousness and individualism of Lois Lane makes "Ambush" pretty bloody good.

S02E06 - "Trial and Error" (02 November 2010)
- What's this? A SG-U episode that is longer than one word? And here I thought it was gonna be all SMALLVILLE on us with all single word titles, but no! "Trial and Error" is pretty neat, with multiple battle scenarios running around in Colonial Young's head. I'm glad it's the ship implanting the scenarios, testing them out, and not just Young hallucinating; it would have been a total cop out if these gorgeous sequences of the Destiny blowing up and every attempt to thwart their enemy failed just be a reoccurring dream, so it's nice to have it tied to the plot in a way. However, it was disheartening to not have Young face the dilemma he faced multiple times in his dreamscape. I acknowledge the producers are quite adamant in saying we haven't seen the last of the aliens, so I hold hope that "Trial and Error" becomes, in retrospect, an important episode in the times to come. Now, getting away from Young and Scott and all those military guys, geek fans join me in a collective applause as Eli gets to make out with Gin! Anna from Supernatural! Redhead girl from a season or two of Mad Men! Gah! I gotta get me signed up in a sci-fi show...

S02E07 - "The Greater Good" (09 November 2010) - Damn, that was pretty good. Great, even. And not just by SG-U standards. Since post-premiere, every episode has ranged from pretty good to great, such as this episode here. Rush's dirty secrets are out in the open, the 'mission' of Destiny is revealed, and everyone, from the writers to the actors, seemed to be onboard in making this one stellar hour of television. Science girl Perry is brought onboard via the Communication Stones, using Ginn's body, which makes the scene between her and Rush very awkward, especially for Eli. Rush and Young are trapped on another ship, which we don't fully get to understand its purpose or possible significance, and require Perry's help in maneuvering Destiny to get closer to the ship they're stranded on, which calls in Rush secretly directing Perry to the Destiny's bridge. Eli's character is getting some great material lately, and I hope it stays that way, as he's the one who bursts Rushs' secrets and finds the bridge. But, poor Eli, if the final scene is any indication, he's in for a lot of turmoil, same as Rush, but on the bright side, it just might make him grow and possibly become a more powerful presence on the ship. That said, poor Gin...

S06E06 - "You Can't Handle the Truth" (29 October 2010)
- First, was Dean justified in beating the snot out of Sam like that? I'm increasingly becoming very anti-Dean this season, and finding myself siding with Sam and his new attitude change. Sure, what he did in the "Twi-Hard" episode wasn't great by any stretch of the imagination, but I wouldn't condemn the guy for it. Anyway, the main big bad in "You Can't Handle the Truth" is some sort of force (Veritas) that is forcing people to tell the truth, which usually results in someone getting pissed off enough the opposite person kills them or ends up making the truth hearer kill themselves. There's some truly great deaths on display, just as creative (and gory) as Dean's bazillion deaths in season three. And then there's the great final scene as chills run up my spine, Sam telling lie after lie to Veritas, who is certain that he's "not human." Now that would be interesting. Although "You Can't Handle the Truth" was a good episode, it was just set up for the awesomeness that is...

S06307 - "Family Matters" (06 November 2010) - The answer to Sam's resurrection and odd behavior, as well as Papa Campbell's return from heaven, is revealed in "Family Matters", as per the norm with SUPERNATURAL 'twists'. In season two, what Daddy Winchester whispered in Dean's ear finally came out six or seven episodes in; and in season four, Sam finally relents and tells Dean what happened when Dean was in hell and how he got to trust Ruby - same thing going on here. Well, minus the demon sex. Anyway, point is, Castiel appears ("your problems come first, Dean") and after some searching through Sam's body (beautiful special effects, by the way), it's revealed that Sam doesn't have a soul, that it's still stuck in Lucifer's cage. Uh-oh. And then the twist I didn't see coming: Crowley is the one who freed Sam and brought back Papa Capmbell, and he's using them to capture Alphas and monsters to find out where Purgatory is ('cuz that's where monsters go after they die, apparently). If they do as they're told, Sam gets his soul back. A good twist, and a interesting concept, but I confess I'm a little tiny bit disappointed. I guess I was hoping for something more creative, or more extreme. And for some reason, I can deal with demons, Lucifer, God, and Angels, but when it comes to the subject of a soul - it just comes off cartoonish and cheesy, which I know it isn't, I just seem to have an aversion to the concept. Nonetheless, "Family Matters" was a damn good episode. And on a semi-unrelated note, it's nice to see Cylon Simon from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA still get some work.

S01E01 - "Days Gone Bye" (31 October 2010) - I'm not much into zombie movies, frankly, because I just feel there's simply not too much material one can get from this particular monster. They walk slowly, and if you git bit, you turn into one of 'em. I enjoyed Zack Snyder's DAWN OF THE DEAD but have no inkling to check out the original(s), and I quite liked the 28 DAYS/WEEKS LATER movies. So a zombie television series? First off, how on earth could they pull that off? How could they evenly balance the gore horror fans expect from their zombie films, as well as balancing the human drama and the zombie, um, storyline into a series? Turns out, pretty frakking easy. Developed for the screen, written and directed by SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION helmer Frank Darabont, "Days Gone Bye" is pretty much perfect. The beautiful, switch movement of the camera, the meticulous and award-worthy designs of the zombies (especially the old raggedy one with no legs crawling on the grass - wow), the thus far interesting array of characters, from our main protagonist Rick Grimes to the protective father Morgan, and the overall tone are all perfect. And did anyone else get a Tarantino vibe from the opening scene? The car discussion, talking about regular everyday things that seem to have no real impact on the story, just there for shits and giggles?

Anyway, I'm pumped. Interesting characters that could very well keep me glued for the weeks to come. With only six episodes this season, what could possibly go wrong?

S01E02 - "Guts" (07 November 2010) - Damn that was a lot of fun. "Guts" was a pretty good follow up to the premiere. Granted, not as moody, atmospheric, and character-driven as "Days Gone Bye", but it's not meant to be. This was full on, how the frak do we get out of this situation? And it was done marvelously. Watching Rick and Glenn douse themselves full of body organs and blood, imitating the zombie/"geek" walk (why the frak are they called a 'geek'?), and devising a plan to get the rest of the people out of the building - it was all major amounts of fun, and "Guts" is by no means a bad episode. Not even the racist pig could have deterred me; sure, he was obnoxious, but he wasn't a major part of the episode, the action took over any real big annoyance from that character, so it's all good. I also dug the visual style. Different from Darabont, yes, but also stays within the tone and style he established. I have that one low angle shot of Rick firing his gun at the zombies overtaking the metal gate - now that was cool. All in all, I liked it a lot, and am anxious to see Rick reunited with his wife and (hopefully) watch him beat the shit out of his 'friend'. Go, go, zombies!

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