29 October 2011

The Watcher: 10/09/11 - 10/29/11

BREAKING BAD S04E13 - "Face Off" (09 October 2011) - And that's how Gus meets his end. Gruesome. Terminator-y. Two Face-ish. Delicious. Another iteration of the message that whenever one walks the path of vengeance, you basically end up getting screwed in the end. Gus' desire to see Tio and everyone associated with him exterminated led to his own demise. Sweet, beautiful justice. And Tio's vengeful eyes when he blew the three of them up - yikes! All I can say is bravo Vince Gilligan, for mapping out a superb thirteen episode fourth season. Yes, there may have been some less-than-stellar episodes in the early rush, but once "Hermanos" came about, the series was just relentless with one spectacular episode after another. The last three have been particularly jaw-dropping, defining moments of television. "Face Off" was a gorgeous culmination of all the threads built up this season. Walt has been pushed so over the edge he has transformers into Heisenberg completely, with his gorgeous "I won" spoken over the phone to Skylar perfectly solidifying his going over the deep end. Getting Jesse on his side by poisoning Brock and implicating Gus was pure genius. Hell, the whole thing was pure genius, but also left a lot up to chance. But speaking of Gus, that was one gorgeous end for him. If Gus had to go, he had to go strong, and glad Gilligan delivered. Espositio delivered as well, providing a fantastic sendoff, performance-wise, for Gus. Another element worth mentioning is the choice of music. Stunning. As soon as the western-style track played as Gus began his walk to the nursing home, I knew it had to be mine. Awesome awesomeness.

Great finale. Hard to believe it's all over with, and now we have to wait for another year...or more. Can't wait to watch Walt's descent into darkness come full circle, and become the monster he was trying to kill all year long. Where will all the characters end up? What are their arcs? Is the show being frickin' split in two? Dislike. It's been a wild ride. Thank you, Vince Gilligan. Score: 9.8/10

CHUCK S05E01 - "Chuck Vs. the Zoom" (28 October 2011) - Decent season premiere. For the last two years, Chuck has forfeited any type of seriousness to the proceedings, instead choosing to up the camp at every possible interval. This premiere seems to be a step in the right direction, as the camp and the serious drama actually work well together. I may not understand or be fully behind the whole drama concerning Chuck getting Sarah the perfect house because, c'mon, it's not like that's something everyone can do for their girlfriends. So, Chuck, take a break in that regard. But Chuck finding his place in the unit when Morgan is now the Intersect and his skills aren't as obvious, that was some good drama I can get behind. In the end, it's Chuck's brain that saves the day, and I can absolutely endorse that. With Morgan now an integral part of the team, and Chuck and Sarah safely married and minus the relationship drama of season four, I think this fifth and final year - miraculous that it got this far, really - will shape up to be pretty spiffy. The end alludes to the government needing to lock down Carmichael Industries, but for what purposes? What kind of threat does Chuck pose? And the most important question of all, did anyone else hardly recognize Luke Skywalker? It took a lot of concentration and echoes of the Joker's voice to achieve that, 'aha! That's Mark Hamill!' moment. Score: 8.6/10

COMMUNITY S03E04 - "Remedial Chaos Theory" (13 October 2011) - The first ten minutes or so were chuckle worthy, the makings of a fine Community episode. But then around the thirteen minute mark (when the fire started), "Remedial Chaos Theory" became a laugh-out-loud riot that didn't let up, becoming one of the funniest episodes of the show ever. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. And I'm also a sap for the whole romance subplot thing, so the small moments between Troy and Britta made me smile, and I was jealous as hell (but happy) with the Jeff/Annie kiss. Britta has surprisingly been a strongly written character thus far this season, and has been loads of fun instead of her typical stuck up self. I'm digging her. In fact, I'm even not minding Pierce, who was great in all of the timelines, although I especially loved it when he made a effort to take back Troy's gift out of guilt. Shirley will always be the one I like least in the batch, but she was still fun, as well. But c'mon, this episode has to be awesome for the sole fact there's a replica Raiders of the Lost Ark giant boulder! How more awesome can Community get? Yeah, hilarious, awesome episode. Score: 9.3/10

COMMUNITY S03E05 - "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps" (27 October 2011) - Another hilarious Halloween episode. Not nearly as fun from beginning to end like last year's zombie infestation, but this time it was the rapid paced, witty, self-referential dialogue that hit home. The sight of Britta and Annie in scantly clad clothing didn't hurt matters, either. Each of the stories had their own trademark humor, with Britta providing the hilarity in Annie's super awesome gory werewolf/vampire tale, and Abed plainly stating what you should do in horror movies when faced with a Cabin in the Woods scenario, and Pierce's funny story that sees Troy and Abed as two gangsta thugs, which was LOL-hilarious. In fact, it's those two who offer most of the hilarity in this episode. When the mad scientist (aka Pierce) sows them together (a la Human Centipede), Troy and Abed develop psychic powers! Absolutely brilliant. Great episode. Score: 9.8/10

DEXTER S06E02 - "Once Upon a Time" (09 October 2011) - "Fuck balls, you're serious." See? Another instance of this season already showing an exceptional humorous side. And Jennifer Carpenter's Deb gets a whole episode to shine, showcasing in these fifty minutes why we love her. Deb's response to Quinn's marriage proposal was classic Deb, and her response to whoever's recommendation of her as Lieutenant was also a brilliant Deb moment. That's where that hilarious opening quote comes from. Deb and all her reactions, and Jennifer Carpenter, for being a amazing actress, make this episode. Everything else deserves a shoulder shrug. Batista not getting the promotion is a bummer, but I hope he stays gentlemanly and doesn't pout over this. LaGuerta is kinda not worth mentioning, so... And I dunno about y'all, but judging from the few scenes Colin Hanks and Eddie Olmos have together, I already don't care for them. Hanks' dependent relationship with Eddie is just pitiful, and I don't like my villains pitiful. They are ruthless, cruel, sadistic, and really freakin' weird. They are not Colin Hanks whimpering as Eddie J Olmos hurts himself for Hanks' sins. Bugger that. Mos Def shows off his acting skills as Brother Sam in a role I eagerly look forward to being expanded. The writing team are still not remotely subtle with their comments on believing in something and religious and God, etc., but Mos Def, Deb, and a burdenless Dexter just happy to be on the hunt makes me giddy. Score: 7.8/10

DEXTER S06E03 - "Smokey and the Bandit" (16 October 2011) - A rather forgettable episode, truth be told. I had to look up what happened, nearly two weeks later, to recall the events. Well, there's the whole drama between Deb and LaGuerta which is entirely obnoxious. There's the drama of Deb and Quinn, which only makes me wish Deb could quick Quinn's ass for being a douchebag. But the one piece of drama that does interest me is Deb acclimating to her new position, and all the pressure and procedure that comes with it. Out of all the characters, even Dexter, she's had the most growth, and it's great entertainment to see how she handles it all. The other big plot of the episode is Dexter vs. the Tooth Fairy. Not much stellarness in that category, but it does pose to Dexter what his future as a serial killer will be. Apparently, a really fucked up, not-all-that-great future. Let's hope for some more sophisticated writing in the future. But the episode ends on a jaw-dropping note, as the crazy religious nuts have cut and tied bodies together and put them on horses walking about in public. Pretty messed up. My interest has now perked. Score: 7.5/10

DEXTER S06E04 - "A Horse of a Different Color" (23 October 2011) - Now this was a good episode, and with some surprising momentum in relation to the killers that leaves me a bit puzzled (in a good way) where the story will go after the next episode. There's a wonderful, honest moment with Dexter and Brother Sam as the man of god tells his story of his father, of prison, of finding faith. It's a marvelous scene with Mos [Def] giving one hell of a fantastic performance. I loved every second of Deb and Dexter time; it's great seeing these two together more than ever before. More scenes like those! I'm surprised as hell that Miami Homicide is already on the tail of Eddie Olmos and Dex is onto Colin Hanks. With them implicated here and next week, where is the story heading? "A Horse of a Different Color" boasts some gorgeous imagery, such as the ending scene involving the slain waitress in Angel wings, and the rather rubbish CG locusts. Still not sold on the Doomsday Killer(s), but now I'm mildly open to see where it goes. Pretty damn good episode. Score: 9.0/10

FRINGE S04E04 - "Subject 9" (14 October 2011) - There is no other show that causes some anger when the Next Time trailer announces a two week delay for a new episode. Ugh. I love Fringe and support it entirely, but this is why it's almost better to absorb the show on DVD for back-to-back viewings. Anyway, with "Subject 9", Peter finally returns thanks to this blue electrical energy thing reaching out to Olivia and another Cortexiphan subject channeling said energy thingy. This episode serves both to push the story and also reiterate the horrors Walter and William committed decades ago, and the consequences it has for the grown up kids now. These last few episodes have worked to establish this new universe without Peter, a universe that felt fine, frankly, and Peter's official absence wouldn't be that entirely horrible, because as far as I understand it, there's no going back. This is the final, established timeline of events, a new world that cannot be changed. Or at least this is how I understand it. It will be interesting to see Peter reassert himself back into the team. For now, season four has thus far been uneven, but we still have loads to go. Entertaining episode that leads into, hopefully, the awesomeness. Score: 8.7/10

PERSON OF INTEREST S01E04 - "Cura Te Ipsum" (13 October 2011) - Well, that Linda Cardellini definitely likes to play doctor, doesn't she? I'm sure I'm not the first person to say something, so, er, sorry for the lack of originality. Overall, not a bad episode. I enjoy watching Jim Cavizel kick ass, although it seems inherently fake, like the actors are just waiting to be tossed around and hit their cue correctly. Doesn't add for some nice realism. Nonetheless, we got ourselves some action scenes. Just some more random notes: I think it's my exposure to Breaking Bad that has made me not so welcoming of shows that use music at inappropriate places or to add tension in scenes that could benefit from simply relying on powerful performances. This episode had such multiple instances, like the last scene, which could have been very strong if it was just left to Cavizel and the guest star to talk it out, but the overdone music took me right out of the scene. Speaking of Cavizel, is this how he normally talks? Sorta air-y? And if I was a trained combat guy like him, I would think about standing a bit further away from the person you're following and knows your face, cos you ain't that sneaky. It was great to see some classic Ben Linus at work here as Finch lies to the police detective gal. Oh, Michael Emerson, you are awesome. Score: 7.8/10

ONCE UPON A TIME S01E01 - "Pilot" (23 October 2011) - What a wonderful surprise! I've been eagerly anticipating this premiere, but also approaching it with some dread. The wonderful premise could possibly not hold up in the show, and thus the episode would be rather rubbish and not worth watching. Or, of course, it could be great but ratings would suck and cancellation would hit it quicker than lighting doing its zapping thing. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. A really well structured premiere episode, setting up the characters, the dilemma, and the potential stories to be covered in the series. By episodes end, I didn't want it over, I wanted to find out more, see where the story goes. That's a pretty good sign, because none of the other premiers quite grabbed me like this. Only the basic surface level of the series was covered in these 42 minutes, reliant on introducing Snow White, the sleeping prince, Emma and her role, the son she gave up, the antagonist, the fortuneteller, and the two universes dependent on each other, but it was a thrilling 42 minutes. It's great to see the eerily similar (and gorgeous) Ginnifer Goodwin and Jennifer Morrison together as mother and daughter, and I can't wait to see what the series has in store for us. The first real super success of the Fall, I'd say. Score: 9.5/10
REVENGE S01E04 - "Duplicity" (12 October 2011) - Not the shows strongest episode to date, but it's still in the early stages so I'll forgive it. But with "Duplicity", I realized how much more the series could benefit from being more Breaking Bad-ish. The first area where I felt this was when Emily was had unexpected dinner with Jack, and once it's revealed that Daniel was watching from outside, we cut to commercial. Frankly, I want to see that conversation. So little of Revenge is spent on Emily Thorn as a person, her psychology - all she is is revenge. Oh, look, that's the title of the show! Yes, but even The Punisher has a complex psychology and his main thing for a whole movie was revenge. What I'm saying is that I like the show, but it could be so much better. Since not much happened here, I'm going to use this opportunity to voice my dislike of Ms. VanCamp's desire to show Thorn's posture in only two ways: fake happy or all revenge-y. Add some layers to Emily Thorn, don't just let her be a one-note. I do like that we're exploring the lives and relationships of characters that are wrapped up in Emily's grand scheme, but still, I'd like to see some real characterization to Ms. Thorn aside from 'I want revenge on the people who fucked my father over.' This episode was a bit of a dud, not really surprising or delicious, but perhaps necessary in regards to plot progression. Anyways, I'm excited for next weeks. Score: 7.1/10

REVENGE S01E05 - "Guilt" (19 October 20111) - I really don't like when shows use something from later in the episode as a 'teaser' and pull that whole 15 Hours Later thing. They should be able to tease us, pull us, without resorting to that. Thus, Lydia's whole thing didn't seem remotely tense because we knew bad shit was heading her way by the end of "Guilt". Emily and Daniel shag. Score: 7.8/10

REVENGE S01E06 - "Intrigue" (26 October 20111) - Looks like Emily's going to need to up her game and cover her tracks better. Hopefully this will lead to some great drama, but I'm already looking forward to when Emily gets her hands dirty again. I liked the scene where Jack professed his fixation to Emily, as well as her silent cry on the dock after he left. Character moments like that are much appreciated. Turns out Lydia's only in a coma. Why can't that bitch just be dead? And what the frak is up with this friend of Daniel crap? Is this going to be as bad a subplot as Dana Walsh in the last season of 24? A good episode with fine moments for characters to shine, but simultaneously, it ain't the best. Score: 8.2/10

SUPERNATURAL S07E04 - "Defending Your Life" (14 October 2011) - An episode that had so much potential, but didn't end up fulfilling said potential. Dean is thrown a question or two by the God Osiris to 'show' the defendant's guilt, and is almost forcibly killed by the apparition of Jo, but for some reason, it didn't feel enough. "Defending Your Life" didn't push the envelope, didn't push up the drama or the twisting of our emotions like it should have. Instead, it was done and over with in 43 minutes without feeling like anything was accomplished, or that Dean grew at all. The most fascinating element of the episode was Sam admitting he doesn't feel guilty anymore. This is awesome, in that we finally have a angstless Sam, a Sam who does what he needs to do, and understands that everything that happens is necessary for the greater good. He's guiltless. I can totally get behind that. On the opposite spectrum, we have a super guilty Dean who just seems to whine a lot. Out of the two brothers, it's Dean, I feel, that hasn't grown all that much since the beginning. It's season seven, folks, Dean needs to become something more - or at least different - than what he is now. Score: 7.6/10

SUPERNATURAL S07E05 - "Shut Up, Dr. Phil" (21 October 2011) - It was great to see Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters back together on screen again. It was not great, however, to see Cordelia and Spike kissing. That's just grossy. Everything about "Shut Up, Dr. Phil" was great, though. Sam and Dean had some fine scenes here, and when Charisma and James were onscreen doing their pissmatch thang, everything just clicked. A hugely fun episode, and thus far one of my favorites this year. Score: 9.5/10

SUPERNATURAL S07E06 - "Slash Fiction" (28 October 2011) - This episode has a few good things going for it. One, Bobby getting his flirt on with the police gal we've seen before this season and, I think, last year or the year before that. Two, Leviathan Sam and Dean on a weirdly hilarious killing spree. And three, Sam finding out about Dean's killing of Amy, but this good point is overshadowed by his rather lackluster response. All in all, it's an episode that could have been a lot cooler and epic in scale, but ended up being nothing but a one-off story. Sam and Dean are fugitives of the law, but by episode's end, with the exception of the Leviathan still on their trail, the brothers are once again regarded as officially 'dead' to the world. A bit disappointing. I was hoping it would be a season long thing, this manhunt for them; it would add another layer of tension to every episode, whether or not they'll be caught. Not the strongest episode, but not the worst, either. Score: 8.1/10

1 comment:

David Bishop said...

Walt's already become the villain of the show in my opinion. I predict the show ends with Jesse poisoning Walt with some good old fashioned ricin.