12 May 2011

The Watcher: 04/29/11 - 05/12/11

CHUCK S04E22 - "Chuck Vs. Agent X" (02 May 2011) - No words. Just thanks. And I say that on behalf of males everywhere. We need more scenes like this. Alright, moving on: the big revelation is that Alexi Volkoff is Agent X, and although I'm not a huge fan of this development, it admittedly does lend itself to some interesting character and story bits leading into the season finale. Next to the gorgeousness that is Yvonne Strahovski, we were treated to a hilarious scene of Casey falling in love with the old woman who was going full on Helen Mirren/RED on Ray Wise and his comical baddies. Bullets after bullets, it's easy to see how Casey dug the woman. Again, the revelation of Alexi ain't a huge love of mine, but it pits father against daughter for the finale, and I'm cool with that. Score: 8.9/10

CHUCK S04E23 - "Chuck Vs. the Last Details" (09 May 2011) - A fun episode that gets major points from me thanks to the multiple geek references. For one, and most obvious, are the two STAR WARS lines said by Morgan and Casey, in addition to the actual Imperial March theme being used! Blimey, that must've cost them a pretty penny or two. Another element of awesomeness: the visual homage to TERMINATOR 2, with Linda Hamilton working out in her cell. All these geek-favors made me happy. Morgan was the real star of this episode, infiltrating a little gang meet and acting like a big bad Italian boss and having to fake dying and all, but the 'cliffhanger' of Sarah being killed by Vivian - eh, coulda done better. Score: 8.5/10

FRINGE S03E21 - "The Last Sam Weiss" (29 April 2011) - The world is ripping itself apart, Peter is acting weird, apparently being momentarily confused about what Side he's on, Sam Weiss is just one of many Sam Weisses (the name comes down from generation to generation), and in the end, Peter steps into the Doomsday machine as the only way to stop this feud...and gets sent to the future. Not entirely in love with that last development - maybe because I watch too many shows with time and space being a typical story beat - but I'm excited to see where this leads. Score: 8.5/10

FRINGE S03E22 - "The Day We Died" (6 May 2011) - And thus this explosive season of FRINGE concludes with a new direction to head towards in season four. It was one hell of a great finale, full of great dialogue and absolutely stellar (award worthy, even) performances from Joshua Jackson and John Noble (playing dual roles, mind you!). Any negatives I have to say stem from my wish that time travel didn't have to factor into the narrative. In some instances, like in season two when time travel was used, in a way, I don't mind, but I would have preferred to have the events of the here and now be solved by people of the here and now. I don't wan to see what the future could be and have someone do their damnest to change it - I'll leave that to the TERMINATOR franchise. Still, that little preference aside, "The Day We Died" was phenomenal. The most extraordinary scene was Peter's one-on-one conversation with Walternate, and this lead us to the 'Holy shit!' moment of Walternate shooting Olivia in the head. Cruel, unforgiving, and absolutely shocking, it was a marvelously written, directed, acted, and edited scene. The final, mysterious scene with the Observers definitely lends itself to the shows greatest WTF? moment: the group discussing Peter's disappearance, as no one remembers him anymore after he has 'served his purpose'. A world of what? There absolutely needs to be more to this story, and I can't wait to see how it evolves. The look at the possible future here was great - Olivia being able to master her powers (hopefully a nod to a future storyline), Olivia and Peter being husband and wife, and Olivia's niece joining Fringe Division. The writers clearly have no limit of imagination. With the two universes supposedly working together to clean up the decaying spaces between them, season four promises to be something special. Score: 9.6/10 | Season Score: 9.3/10

JUSTIFIED S02E13 - "Bloody Harlan" (04 May 2011) - Seems like just the other day when this show began its second season, and lookie here, we've reached the end! Blimey. "Bloody Harlan" is brilliantly the opposite of "Bulletville" - it doesn't boast some stellar gunfights this time around, instead focusing more on consequences and the eruption of a boiling point. that's been building the last couple episodes In a way, the finale ended the only way it could have...although you wouldn't hear me complaining if Dickie was killed; hell, that would give me a good ol' smile. Despite the title, "Bloody Harlan" is actually quite subtle. Take the ending scene as the best example, with Loretta being talked out of taking Mags' life, and the concluding conversation between Mags and Raylan - it's the anticlimax, but most importantly, it's the brilliant end because it stays true to what makes JUSTIFIED so completely unique in the field of cop dramas: the scene is entirely, 100% character driven. It's not about the tying up loose plot ends, it's just about Raylan and Mags, and Mags' reaction to losing (nearly) everything. Everything with Loretta, Mags, Dickie, Raylan, Boyd, and Harlan are damn near perfect - although I'm still at a complete loss as to what we're supposed to get about Boyd's character progression this year - and I can't wait to see the story continue. Winona is pregnant (congrats, Raylan), and it looks like the whole getting-out-of-town thing that's been tossed around (at least) the last four episodes will see either a great leap forward or a giant step back. Either way, do I seriously have to wait another whole damn year for the next season? C'mon, guys! Score: 9.7/10 | Season Score: 8.6/10

NIKITA S01E20 - "Glass Houses" (28 April 2011) - Notice how everyone who figures out Alex's secret ends up dead? Interesting. Still don't get what Alex 'sees' in Nate - seems kinda like a douche, and very bland, one dimensionaly. Meh. Score: 8.1/10

NIKITA S01E21 - "Betrayals" (5 May 2011) - Alex is in trouble, Michael is in trouble, and Nikita is gonna be in some serious shit. As expected from a penultimate episode, lines are crossed, and everything is coming to a head. Most awesomely, Percy, for the first time in the series, displays his cunning, clever, and manipulative side to utter perfection; major kudos goes out to Xander Berkley for a spectacular performance. And then there's the final reveal that it was Nikita that pulled the trigger killing Alex's father. Ooooo! Score: 9.0/10

SMALLVILLE S10E19 - "Dominion" (29 April 2011) - Not entirely sure if this is a story that needed to be told before the 'epic' series finale, but "Dominion" was nonetheless a fun ride. You got Clark and Oliver trapped in the Phantom Zone, facing off 300-style with swords and armor, and a scruffy Zod all ready to see Clark be very much dead. Good times to be a farm boy from Kansas. "Dominion" is noteworthy mostly cos of being Justin Hartly's directorial debut, and aside from far too many slow motion shots that don't remotely invoke the same awesome style of the film its imitating, his direction is mostly competent and entirely within the realm of SMALLVILLE standards. The set design, costume, and added lens flares definitely assist in making the Phantom Zone look the best its ever been, and complimented by Callum Blue's stellar Zod, ya definitely get the sense it ain't a prime destination spot. In regards to the continuing romance of Lois and Clark, I'm getting a tad tired of the whole 'I just wanted to protect you' thing Clark has going on - something he really should let go, considering that's been his prime excuse the last ten seasons [see: nearly every scene with Lana Lang]. Overall, still a good, entertaining episode. Score: 8.9/10

SMALLVILLE S10E20 - "Prophecy" (06 May 2011) - Toy Man and his secret organization of baddies in a dark room; Oliver meeting up with Kara, bridging light and dark in a selfish attempt to rid himself of the Omega symbol; Lois gaining Clark's powers for a day, and not really doing much with the gift from Jor-El. "Prophecy" is the type of episode that held within itself a good premise, but ultimately, the delivery was just a bit too sloppy. Score: 8.6/10

STARGATE UNIVERSE S02E19 - "Blockade" (02 May 2011) - Of course, just when the show was really becoming good and I feel that those 41 minutes watching a episode weren't wasted, the series must be canceled. Too bad the writers couldn't get their game on earlier, because "Blockade" was another great installment to the sophomore season, although I still ain't no fan of the drones. Those pesky drones, that more or less feel like a lousy plot contrivance at this point - delaying the bigger storyline of finding proof of intelligent design - actually end up being rather threatening and well done here. A tense story that nicely serves has character beats and surprisingly a bit of tension. Score: 9.5/10

STARGATE UNIVERSE S02E20 - "Gauntlet" (09 May 2011) - I plan on saying a few words about this series in another post, so I won't go into too much detail here other than to say I thought this worked as a fitting series finale, although I know it wasn't planned as such. I can't say enough how happy I am the writers didn't leave the series off at a ridiculous life-in-jeopardy 'cliffhanger' like the season one finale was. Having all the characters, minus Eli, in stasis for two years to pass over the drones - great, sweet, fitting material. And the final five minutes, with the decision of who will stay behind is deliberated and Eli choosing to be the odd man out - that was great material. For anyone who have had the luxury of watching BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, Eli's face in the second to final shot, caped above, is eerily reminiscent to Xander in the season three episode "The Zeppo" - it has that really weird quality to it, the sorta 'I'm OK with dying' or to quote Xander, 'I like the quiet'. It's a perfect, ambiguous final shot of our main character. SG-U's second season has been a lot of hit-and-miss, with some genuinely good episodes making their way throughout the season, but also boggled down by some truly mind-numbingly, hair-tearing bad ones. I'm over the moon "Gauntlet" concludes the series at a good point, leaving the story unfinished enough for any fan fiction writer to fill in the blanks or to allow the viewer to make up their own mind what happens to them. Do they ever reach their destination? Does Eli die? Looking back at all 20 episodes of season two, my one big regret is that Destiny's mission wasn't the center point of the narrative. Its mission was revealed - to find a sign of intelligent design, so to speak - but there were no great clues to the over-arcing narrative. Still, it was a fun and frustrating ride, and it is admittedly unfortunate to see this journey end. Score: 9.6/10 | Season Score: 7.1/10

SUPERNATURAL S06E19 - "Mommy Dearest" (29 April 2011) - And like that, the Mother of All plot concludes. I kinda sorta was hoping that she would be a greater threat, and wouldn't go out so easily. I mean, for Christ's sake, she's the sodding Mother of All! And she...died? Overall, it was a decent episode, full of motive explanations, a reveal of another season-long Big Bad, the return of a plotline, and generally great performances and writing. The only downside is that this Mega Bitch, the Mother of All, was made to sound like she was going to cause some major havoc, but in the end, she didn't honestly do much at all. So, big build up, not quite successful in its climax. "Mommy Dearest" concludes one element of the multiple thread season six and propels us towards the three-partish season finale. Score: 8.9/10


Fletch said...

Seriously - a year from now for more Justified?

I covered most of my thoughts on the finale in my last comment about it, but I'll say this: there ain't a chance in hell the show is leaving that part of the country. No Boyd, Ava, Daddy, Art? No way.

By the way, I don't think I've mentioned it, but we need to give Raylan's Dad more love, too. That guy's awesome.

Time Lord said...

Judging from the airdates of season one (March 2010) and season two (February 2011), yep, a year. I love that it's on FX and all, but at the same time, I wish they maintained a schedule closer to the typical three/four month intermission.

Haha, you're completely right about Arlo. Loved him in "Bulletville", and his appearances this year have always been a blast. Also LOVED the jail scene when Raylan roughed up his father - I think it was the episode after Arlo's wife was murdered.

I just hope that Raylan's decision to stay won't end up separating him and Winona - again. I like this couple, and I want them to stay together, especially with the whole baby thing on the way.

Thanks for following my JUSTIFIED reviews, rambling as they may be.

Also, about two months back you finished DEXTER season 5. Your thoughts?

Fletch said...

Ah yes, Dexter.

Fairly good season. Had it been an earlier season, I might've enjoyed it more, but I'm getting a bit impatient with it. I mean, the show can only end (satisfactorily) one of two ways, right? Either Dex gets caught or killed. That's it. And he can't go around killing scot-free forever. And it's starting to feel like forever. I get bothered by stupid shit like thinking, "Really, how many murders are there in Miami each year? Every cop in the world would be down there!" I'd have less a problem if he moved.

Anyway, looking forward to season 6, but I hope it's the last.

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