19 November 2011

The Watcher: 10/30/11 - 11/19/11

CHUCK S05E02 - "Chuck Vs. the Bearded Bandit" (04 November 2011) - Weirdly an entirely forgettable episode, even with Lepidus (Lost) and Green Arrow (Smallville) in the episode! Score: 5.0/10

CHUCK S05E03 - "Chuck Vs. the Frosted Tips" (11 November 2011) - The Intersect is melting Morgan's brain, making him act like quite the dick, and also deleting important parts of his life, such as his love and adoration towards sci-fi/geeky films. Going down this route gives both the actor and characters some meaty material to chew on, but furthermore, it's actually some pretty interesting storytelling. Chuck seemed to cope with the Intersect rather well without much in the way of sideeffects, but Morgan is going bonkers. And Casey's flirting with Verbanski was great, and I hope to see that more along the season. Score: 7.9/10

CHUCK S05E04 - "Chuck Vs. the Business Trip" (18 November 2011) - It's episodes like these that remind me how I fell in love with the show in the first place. The last year and a half, Chuck has often not been the series I remembered and cherished, but this final season, things seem to be looking up. Casey messing with Morgan with the order and quality of the Star Wars movies was pure genius, and Sarah's desire to have something resembling a normal married life, the nice action scenes mixed with camp and comedy. Also worth noting is that this is the first instance the gang have operated without an Intersect, and they seem to be doing just fine. Will this be the norm for the rest of the series? The gang Intersectless? That would be interesting. It all just clicked this time out, and gives me hope that the series is going to regain its footing. Score: 9.4/10

COMMUNITY S03E06 - "Advanced Gay" (03 November 2011) - A rather so-so episode, it did have some funny moments given to Troy and his 'gift' with fixing things, allowing Donald Glover and John Goodman to eat up the screen so effortlessly. The Troy subplot most definitely saved this episode from being a rather blah outing. That said, I did enjoy Jeff taking out his father issue's on Pierce's father problem, and I especially enjoyed the resolution to that. Chang also surprised by actually being relatively funny! He had some good moments. And, finally, a return appearance of Inspector Spacetime. That alone is worth anything. Score: 7.6/10

COMMUNITY S03E07 - "Studies in Modern Movement" (10 November 2011) - Annie moves in with Troy and Abed, and of course, nothing goes as planned. Personally not an episode I enjoyed all that much, but for the first time in eons, I actually found myself sorta amused by Chevvy Chase. More often than not, I find him one giant annoying old dude, but lo and behold, he actually made me smirk once or twice. And what Troy and Abed due for Annie in the end is pretty nice, and staging the blanket story was rather brilliant. Overall, not great, not bad. Score: 7.5/10

COMMUNITY S03E08 - "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux" (17 November 2011) - Hilarious from beginning to end. Abed filming a documentary on the filming of a Greendale TV promo. All the actors are given some excellent material, none more than Jeff doing a SUPERB impersonation of the Dean. Not one second of this ep was bad. Community gold. Score: 10/10

And what's been going on with DEXTER? Episodes four through seven are under review here, and frankly, I'm a bit surprised at how much I genuinely like these episodes. We were treated to a Dexter who lost yet another person very close to him, but in this instance, the person was someone he believed in, someone he cared about, and as a result, the spirit guide of his father vanished and was replaced by his brother, the Devil basically egging him on. His stint on the show was far too brief, in my opinion, but the presence of Dexter's dead brother added one hell of a great, fascinating layer. It was marvelous to see Dexter's dark side pushed even further than just mentions to his 'Dark Passenger'. So I'm quite pleased with how Dexter is being handled, as I am with Deb. Her character is written very strongly this year, I feel, and never before have we been given a better glimpse at the relationship she and Dex have, and their sorta messed up dynamic together. Plot has largely propelled the story the last few years, so it's great to see characters explored as people instead of how they react to what's been given to them.

Dexter and Deb have been the highlight for me this year, and I've even managed to enjoy Quinn to an extent. I don't think the writers quite know what they're going to do with him instead of having the guy drink and shag a whole bunch, but I've been rather amused with his antics as of late. At least we don't have that ridiculous marriage storyline with LaGuerta and Batista. That was just dumb. The real suckage aspect of season 6 remains Edward James Olmos and Colin Hanks. I just don't care. Everything else is good, that part just isn't. Go away, guys. Otherwise, a pretty strong season, at least compared to last year. Score thus far: 8.8/10

FRINGE S04E05 - "Novation" (04 November 2011) - I love Fringe, and I will continue to watch the show as a lover of all things Fringe, but boy, is this week-by-week (or every two weeks) thing driving me batshit crazy. The way the writers peel off layer after layer in a very deliberate pace - and it's a good pace - I dig that, I like it, and when viewed as a complete 22 episode season, it will probably jive just right. But at this episode-by-episode basis, it's nutters. For example, we've now waited well over a month for Peter's return, with four episodes in between and two weeks off the air because of stupid games, it's understandable that the episode that brings Peter back feels a little underwhelming. But I won't criticize "Novation" for how it handles Peter's return. From a writing and pacing standpoint, it's exactly the way it should be, and I support the writers. But damn, I want more and fast! And finally, John Noble was great during his Peter scenes. Great. Also, some more backstory on Olivia and Nina Sharp's history was very cool. Score: 9.0/10

FRINGE S04E06 - "And Those We Left Behind" (11 November 2011) - By all accounts, this is just your standard Case of the Week story, but one of the things the Fringe writers do so well (when it works) is make one hell of a tight, emotional story that connects fantastically with the B Plot, the Case of the Week element. In this instance, we have an old married couple experimenting with time (48 minutes to be exact) so the husband can try to save his wife. It's a sweet story, full of romance and very much the right story for Peter and Olivia right now, leading to the wonderful final two minutes where Olivia addresses the elephant in the room. She notices the way he looks at her, and acknowledges that she must have been important to him in that other timeline. Peter says she was/is, and needs to find a way to get back to her. I love this final scene, but it also leaves me with a nagging thought: do I really want - nay, does the story demand that - Peter reinserts the previous reality to now? So do these two time streams actually exist, or was Peter's time stream obliterated into nothingness when he was fazed out of existence, so all that remains of that time stream is memories? But if that time stream exists, what does that mean for the universes and their deterioration? I guess I'm just unsure of what direction this whole new reality thing will take, and I just hope and pray the writers handle it delicately and intelligently. Overall, pretty damn good episode. Score: 9.4/10

FRINGE S04E07 - "Wallflower" (18 November 2011) - This is the last frakkin' episode until January 13th? Seriously? FOX, you're one giant douche. I know this wasn't the episode they planned as a midseason finale, but c'mon, why couldn't FOX just frakkin' air the next one? I won't lie and say I have any understanding of network scheduling and that shit, but considering how they move around everything for some frakkin' sports show, why not move stuff around to accommodate the fans? There is dislike going here. With the exception of the moments between Olivia and Lincoln - and I gotta say, I am rather rooting for those two to connect - "Walflower" is a rather insignificant, unimpressive episode. It's laying the foundations for what's to come for sure, with the messed up cliffhanger-y finale, but the episodes meat just wasn't enough. I don't even really remember what all happened other than that there were guns and Peter walking around a Dollar Tree-esque store for supplies and being followed around by one of Broyles' agents. I want more Fringe, and I want it now, FOX! Decent episode. Score: 8.0/10

ONCE UPON A TIME S01E02 - "The Thing You Love the Most" (30 October 2011) - It's all about the Evil Queen this time around, cementing her role as the antagonist by killing her father, betraying a friend, and casting a curse so evil and horrendous it's consequences will be utterly severe. It was good stuff, but I couldn't help but be distracted by the piss-poor CG in a lot of these fantasy scenes. It's really obnoxious. What I found most compelling this hour out is, once again, everything involving Emma and Snow White, and furthermore, the prophetic Robert Carlyle. Robert just exudes coolness with every step he takes and every line he utters. Looking forward to how this character evolves. Most of the stuff with the evil queen, though, I wasn't as engrossed in, oddly enough. I like dark characters, I like seeing them make mistakes and descend even lower into darkness, but there was something about her tale that didn't quite work. Maybe it's the fact it seemed sped up, that the emotional core wasn't there because it was explored and finished in one whole episode. Regardless, still a strong second outing. Score: 8.2/10

ONCE UPON A TIME S01E03 - "Snow Falls" (6 November 2011) - This was quite the success. Plus, I'm a huge sucker for some romances, and Snow White and Prince Charming's tale both in Storybrooke and fantasy land was really well handled, specifically the stuff in Storybrooke. Much like the previous episode, stories that should be allowed to grow organically are pursued and finished in 40 minutes or less, and it's unfortunate the story isn't given the proper time. As it stands, the chemistry and romance between Snow White and James/Prince Charming feels a tiny bit forced, but amazingly, when John Doe wakes up in the hospital and Snow White comes to his aid, it's a touching, highly emotional scene. I may or may not have been choked up. I also have to give props to the writers and makeup artists for creating new creatures and designing this really spectacular fantasy world. The ogres or whatever that Snow White deals with are a good example of good makeup and reimagining a true and tried creature. Basically, "Snow Falls" is one of my top favorite of the series thus far, and makes me excited to see how classic stories are going to be reimagined in this show. Good start thus far. Score: 8.9/10

ONCE UPON A TIME S01E04 - "The Price of Gold" (13 November 2011) - Although I wasn't remotely grabbed in by Ashley's story and the fate of her baby, I was, oddly enough, completely captivated by Robert Carlyle's portrayal of Rumpelstiltsken. And Henry's statements that only Emma can have some sort of effect on him where no one else can is an intriguing concept, and I'm quite excited to see where this leads. A lot of interesting elements are being introduced, I just can't wait to see how they're explained/explored. Emma's character also gets a tiny bit of movement, instead of being a rather neither here nor there character for the last few episodes, she finally gets integrated into the city of Storybrooke, and is deputized by the Sheriff to safeguard the community. I'm okay with this development. Really, I just wanna start seeing more of why Emma is so special instead of all this talk about it, y'know? Still love the show. Score: 7.6/10

REVENGE S01E07 - "Charade" (02 November 2011) - Huh. That's basically all I can say. Nolan's getting busy with the really weird guy from Nikita introduced like forever ago, Emily's lies are beginning to unravel, and the original Emily Thorn shows up on Amanda Clarke's doorstep. Fun times. But all in all, "Charade" wasn't all that compelling. When Emily says things about her relationship with Daniel, her character has been written and portrayed with so much ambiguity I don't know whether or not she's truthful. Is this how it should necessarily be written or is it an oversight? Basically, I'm at a point where I want something to happen with Weird Guy. I'm tired of this pushing and pulling. He's not interesting or dynamic enough to keep up the charade (haha). And finally, Declan. Ugh. He had no right to act self-righteous at the dinner table. Zero. Made me wish he was beaten in a very cruel and uncivil way. But I know he survives long enough for the timeline to match the series opener. Score: 7.2/10

REVENGE S01E08 - "Treachery" (14 November 2011) - Can't say I'm particularly a fan of this new development of the original Emily Thorn making herself a presence in Amanda Clark's life. I'm watching this show to see Emily VanCamp exact her revenge on the people who royally screwed up her life and betrayed her father, but that seems to be taking a backseat to all this Frank/Amanda crap that I personally don't find all that compelling. I understand detours need to be made in order to hit a full season worth of storytelling, but this isn't the writers and actors at their best. Score: 7.5/10

SUPERNATURAL S07E07 - "The Mentalists" (04 November 2011) - Before I started to write this, I had to go back to Wikipedia to remember exactly what the hell this episode was about. All I really remember about "The Mentalists" was that I was quite pleased with Sam's No Bullshit approach to the job since last season, and it really showed up here when he shot the bad guy without a moment's hesitation. It's nice to have a guiltless, pro-action character. The main plot with the medium and the ghosts - nah, just wasn't feeling it. Witches and forces over spirits was better handled earlier this year with the Spike/Cordelia episode. Score: 6.7/10

SUPERNATURAL S07E08 - "Season Seven, Time For a Wedding!" (11 November 2011) - This series tends to do well with their meta comedy episodes, but in this instance, it wasn't really funny, nor all that clever, so I can't help but say "Season Seven, Time For a Wedding!" was anything less than underwhelming. In the category of positives, though, the facial expressions of Becky were fantastic to watch, and I nearly wish I could make a gallery dedicated to the multitude of faces she made throughout the episode. But as for her character, her story, and basically everything about her and Sam - it just didn't jell. To accommodate the meta, I think it would have been a tad more interesting to have Genevieve Cortese come back as Jared/Sam's wife, as introduced in last year's "The French Mistake." Overall, this episode was an misfire, without much in the way of (at least) laughs. Not their best moment, but also not absolutely horrible. Score: 6.2/10

VAMPIRE DIARIES S03E08 - "Ordinary People" (03 November 2011) - It's history time, and Vampire Diaries gives us another flashback episode, but with a twist: the show's version of how vampires came to be. It was a rather messy affair with Michael forcing the change upon his family, and they didn't seem to be too happy about the whole ordeal. The ending didn't really excite me all that much: I am ready for Klaus to be gone, or his arc to change in some way. We've had over a season of build-up for this character, and no matter how captivating an actor the guy who plays Klaus is, I feel it's time for the series to change gears and bring in a new big bad outside of Klaus and Katherine. Time for something new. But still, "Ordinary People" presented an interesting, fresh take on vampire lore, and for that, I am quite grateful. Score: 9.0/10

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