Archive | November, 2011

Dexter: “Nebraska” episode review

25 Nov

Most of us have had at least one moment in our adult lives where we decide to throw caution to the wind and just go with the moment.  In this episode, Dexter finally throws caution to the wind and decides to see just what his life will be like if he ignores responsibility and goes only where his darkest desires (in his case, murder) take him.

SPOILER ALERT:

Rudy  (Christian Camargo) replaces Harry (James Remar) as Dexter’s conscience and — little voice of unreason.  The super ego gone rotten.  Rudy’s sense of moralizing is about justifying the id’s needs and in this episode, it is all about Dexter as the id.  And whether or not his ego and moralizing super ego, Harry, can rectify his behavior back into what the viewers consider acceptable and justifiable killing by Dexter.

In “Nebraska” we get to see Dexter on the path to becoming an irredeemable killer.  His ability to identify with Rudy who is a full-fledged psychopath makes it fairly impossible for the viewer to even enjoy the ride because not all of us are psychopaths.  We might cathartically enjoy Dexter’s killings but that is because they have a code attached to them and Dexter must carefully reason out whether a death is morally justified.  The ‘hunt’ for Jonah (Brandon Eaton), the Trinity Killer‘s son, takes on the sort of tone you might find on a ‘couple on the run’ killing spree movie.  Because of Rudy, Natural Born Killers comes to mind.

While Dexter does many things out of character including blowing off Debra’s (Jennifer Carpenter) request that he stick around for work, and leaving his child for more than a night with the babysitter, he does something even more surprising while he is on his road trip:  sleeps with the convenience store clerk.  Yes, it might just be to steal her gun but this is so uncharacteristic of Dexter that it seems excessively – strange and immoral coming from him.  Even more disturbing is Dexter shooting up freeway signs under Rudy’s encouragement and guidance.  By this time I almost had to double-check and make sure I was actually watching a Dexter episode.

And that is really the point of this episode.  Dexter was in the throes of an morality and identity crisis with Brother Sam’s death.  It’s at this moment a character or a person in real life will end up taking a journey, either physically, metaphorically or both, to clarify their thinking and direction in life.  What is most important about the journey is that the character takes himself out of his normal surroundings, or at least the individuals he interacts with on a daily basis and thinks for a day or so about what motivates him and makes him happy and excited about life.  Or simply, what does he really want out of his life?  Are his current beliefs supporting those needs or does he need to rethink them?  Will Deb and Harrison and love win out or will nihilistic existence in the form of Rudy drive him into oblivion?

Once Dexter arrives in Nebraska, his problems only mount and his journey looks like it will be a rough one.  His gets a flat tire.  Norm (Scott Michael Campbell) doesn’t buy Dexter’s story about being a landscaper.  He offers to fix his flat tire but then steals his forensics kit and knife set.  In the meantime, Dexter talks to Jonah and knows he’s lying about his father, the Trinity Killer, being responsible for the deaths of his sister and mother because Dexter personally killed Trinity.  So Dexter does a bit more investigating in the house, is fairly certain that Jonah is following in his father’s footsteps but wants a bit more proof… when Jonah shows up at the house.  That situation doesn’t go so great and now Dexter feels one of them has to die… and it should probably be Jonah.

In the meantime Dexter regroups back at the hotel to get his knives, etc.  Norm tells Dexter he has the knife set and it will cost Dexter $10,000 to get it back.  Bad idea, Norm.  Dexter kills Norm with a pitchfork and is forced to dispose of the body in a grain silo.  He goes to meet Jonah.  Dexter reveals he killed Trinity and he knows Jonah is lying.  Jonah explains he found his sister dead in the tub – she’d killed herself and he did kill his mother but she had blamed them for Trinity’s disappearance and essentially emotionally tortured her kids.  That’s why Jonah killed her.  He begs Dexter to kill him.  Instead, Dexter tells Jonah to forgive himself then runs over Rudy with his car and stops to pick up Harry (James Remar) on the way back to Florida.

In Florida, Travis (Colin Hanks) does his best to release his version of Rudy, Professor Gellar (Edward James Olmos), but he doesn’t quite go away.  And instead of running from his sister as Dexter does, he runs to his sister.  Probably not the smartest move considering Professor Gellar is alive, breathing and out for blood…

The Big Bang Theory: the sexual politics of the socially challenged in “The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition”

20 Nov

Amy Farrah Fowler: newfound object of desire

Sheldon Leonard (Jim Parsons) is what I call… socially retarded.  Yes, I know that is a politically incorrect word to use but challenged honestly doesn’t even begin to cover his problems when interacting with others.  Since the introduction of Amy Farrah Folwer (Mayim Bialik), his issues have only expanded since now Sheldon has entered, well, pre-pubescence.  It is a crap shoot whether or not he will ever become an even halfway competent sexual being but I have a feeling Amy Farrah Fowler can push Sheldon’s buttons beyond anything his vast little brain can comprehend.  And I look forward to seeing the sexual domination of Sheldon by Amy even though I’m not quite sure if that is truly a conquest worth bragging about for any woman.

What I always find amazing is how confident men are once they think they have a woman hooked.  It tends to be this smugness that usually leads to their loss of their love object at some point, then their subjection, I mean, their compromise and capitulation to having a relationship with rules and clearly defined expectations;  in this case, outlined by Sheldon’s ridiculous relationship agreement.  Of course, if men could be that clear with what they expected from us up front, I believe there would be less divorce.  Because there would be less marriage once the women understood they are marrying children.  Now before every male gets his penis in an uproar, I’m just calling it like I see it.   Because it seems to be the norm for the male to put out as little emotional effort as possible while at the same time expecting the female to shower him with love, attention and kindness mixed with the perfect measure of indifference because as every female has probably learned, if you don’t throw some indifference into the mix, you are essentially a doormat.  Worse, you are taken for granted.  Perhaps one of the best moments in the episode is when Howard (Simon Helberg) muses, “… are you telling me that Sheldon’s patented blend of condescension and no sex isn’t enough to hold a woman?”

It appears Howard’s rhetorical question does indeed have an answer and that is NO.  Even apparently, Amy Farrah Fowler has her limits and she can only tolerate disappointment for a year.  It’s a moment every woman who has been in love with someone who toys with her dreads:  the moment when someone else is interested in you.  It’s a moment of disappointment that your object of affection can’t get it together to step up to the plate but at the same time, it’s a glimmer of hope, that perhaps it isn’t you that is flawed after all.  So, when Amy Farrah Fowler accepts the date with Stuart (Kevin Sussman) it is an opportunity to see what it is like to go out with someone who appreciates her and isn’t afraid to show it.  Although Stuart may not be the love of Amy Farrah Fowler’s life, she is learning. albeit late, that sometimes it’s a nice change not to feel taken for granted.  That can be a dangerous thing for her love object though, because then the female becomes aware of the power she didn’t realize she had and once she does comprehend this newfound knowledge, she can use it any way she sees fit.  Of course, in terms of karma one is better off using it for good, not evil.  The evil will come back and bite you in the ass every time.

Although Amy Farrah Fowler does not realize it, she is driving Sheldon mad with jealousy.  And watching Sheldon go to Penny‘s (Kaley Cuoco) and ask her out on a date is a good lesson for all of us females to learn.  Because suddenly we see that any males we might care about who do not seem capable of taking action, can indeed take action and drastic action at that if the female in question does not matter to him emotionally.  We have never see Sheldon ask someone out on a date through the show and suddenly, he goes so far out of his league even Penny is shocked.  Penny realizes this is Sheldon’s retaliation by trying to make Amy Farrah Fowler jealous by asking her (Amy Farrah Fowler’s bestie) out.  The strange self-confidence men have when the women mean nothing to them and they are happy to use women is something I will always find baffling.  It isn’t that the men will use the women.  Women will use men just as much.  It’s the strange self confidence that is baffling because with a woman, if she doesn’t have self confidence with men then that is basically true across the board.  It doesn’t matter how hot or nerdy he is.  The most interesting aspect of this is that Sheldon, someone who doesn’t seem to have a sex drive, even unconsciously understands how to hit your love object where it might hurt the most, going out with her best friend and illustrating not only a double betrayal but exposing how badly he is secretly hurt.

I will give Sheldon credit though.  At least he is smart enough to listen to Penny and not play games but go directly to Amy and talk.  On her date.  Even that is preferable to a very long drawn out sequence of game playing which for Sheldon, seems like it might have been preferable for at least a season if not two.  No, Sheldon shocks all of us and does something actually as grown up as it can be for him.  He goes to Amy Farrah Fowler on her date because he actually cannot bear the thought of her being in a movie theater with another man.  And it is at that moment that Amy Farrah Fowler finally moves from being an inexperienced girly woman to becoming a full-fledged woman.  She now sees that Sheldon cares.  Something she has been waiting to see and hear for over a year.  And she won’t allow him to ask her to become his girlfriend in a roundabout indirect way (dear men:  it is insulting when you insist on being indirect as THAT is a form of game playing and power control, implying that we are not good enough to warrant direct interaction).  As soon as he starts with his hedging, she cozies up to poor Stuart who has unfortunately become a pawn.  It only takes Sheldon seeing Amy Farrah Folwer move a few inches away from him and closer to Stuart that sends him over the edge and directly as her what she has been waiting to hear for so long:  will she be his girlfriend?  She unhesitatingly says yes.  Naively.  Because those of us who know emotionally withholding men know she has gotten a bad deal already.  Oh but Amy will learn sooner than she thinks.

No sooner does Amy arrive home from her date but she finds Sheldon has broken into her apartment and is waiting for her, not the actions of a healthy relationship but one that indicates Sheldon might just stalk Amy now.  He already started with watching Stuart on Facebook.  His possessiveness will most likely only expand as the season continues.  Because now that Sheldon has exposed his feelings (the the extent he is capable of which isn’t much) and now that he knows other men can find Amy Farrah Fowler attractive, there will always be the implied sexual threat of another man.  What will be interesting is to see if Amy Farrah Fowler can figure out that she can dangle this in front of Sheldon when he gets out of line, or rather, doesn’t get in line.  Or even hold her hand.  Because the non-sexual relationship will implode soon enough.  Amy has what she wants, or at least the first installment of Sheldon.  But she is going to soon violate terms of that relationship agreement as she discovers she is acting more like Sheldon’s mother and care-giver than girlfriend.  Amy’s compromise – what she is willing to give up in order to get Sheldon as a boyfriend, the emotional and sexual aspect of the relationship, will create untold trauma for both.  Currently, she substitutes closeness with female friends.  But very soon this will be emotionally unsatisfying and will blow up in Sheldon’s face.  Because Amy is horny.  And in all fairness, she has been waiting long enough.  Poor Sheldon.  He’s going to be in for quite a ride when Amy violates the relationship agreement and he learns that he cannot control female desires.  I have a feeling this season will be a bumpy ride for the new couple.  But maybe with a bit of behavioral therapy, Sheldon can get past being and acting like a child emotionally and start to be a man.  I, for one, think it’s time.

Hell on Wheels: Episode 2 “Immoral Mathematics” review

19 Nov

The Swede: a sadistic accountant

I don’t know exactly what AMC was thinking with that pilot which I still think trudged along with cliches laden throughout the narrative; however, I was pleasantly surprised with the second episode of the Hell on Wheels. It’s what I expected in the first place. And it is why I tend to give a show a second chance even if I hate the pilot. Last year, I liked the USA pilot for Fairly Legal. No it wasn’t earth-shattering television but I thought it was – cute. And honestly, sometimes cute is all I need with a television show. Then with expectations set high, I tuned in for the second episode and wondered if all the executives at USA had smoked loads of crack because what I was watching was not the same show. They had somehow ruined the good, happy, feeling and made it some miserable power struggle with a few half-lighthearted moments. I stopped watching by episode 5.

I’m the first one to admit I don’t give a rat’s ass about railroads or trains.  So I am not the audience for this show.  But I have a theory:  if a show is well written and you make compelling characters, it can make almost any subject bearable.  And that happened for me in this episode.  Finally, some of the characters are beginning to show – character.  Cullen Bohannan (Anson Mount) must prove he is more than just a good shot in a confessional booth.  He gets brought in for questioning regarding the murder of his former boss in the pilot episode.  Will he cover for Elam (played by rapper Common) or will he betray him?  To make this drama more compelling, the man who has Bohannan brought in for questionning is a new, twisted character, The Swede (Christopher Heyerdahl) who shackles Bohannan in an empty railcar until he confesses to murder or hangs him without the confession, whichever comes first.  What is clear is that Bohannan is going to die in this episode if he doesn’t take drastic action, take control of his life, and stop reacting to his wife’s death.  This episode represents the moment a character realizes it is up to him to change his life and control it or he will lose it.

SPOILER ALERT: Bohannan and The Swede have an intimate conversation regarding what made The Swede (actually A Norwegian), a sadistic torturer.  He was once an accountant.  No. That isn’t the explanation but if you have ever worked with anti-social accountants who aren’t people persons and there are many out there, believe me, then you might see an underlying similar personality. It was when he became a prisoner of war that he discovered killing people for his survival was not only necessary but on some level, pleasurable.  Of course, the pleasurable part is implied but it hangs in the air of the railcar while Bohannan realizes if he doesn’t not escape, he will become a statistic on The Swede’s balance sheet of “immoral mathematics” – hence the title of the episode.

Not only does Bohannan escape but he confronts Durant (Colm Meaney) and talks himself into his former boss’s job, winning his freedom from The Swede’s persecution.  At least temporarily.  Because once you’ve made an enemy with someone like The Swede, that problem usually doesn’t fix itself.  In the meantime, Durant has his hands full.  He’s worried about the missing surveyor’s maps that Lily (Dominique McElligott) escaped with.  He puts out a reward.  And he also manipulates the news story to make the Indians somehow look worse which I would have thought was almost impossible after the pilot episode.

Finally, Lily is on the run.  Well, ok on the hobble because she can’t move very fast.  After all, her husband was murdered in front of her (come on if the Indians didn’t get him that stupid cough would have killed him in a couple of months – at least he went out with a bang this way).  We also cannot forget that she was shot with an arrow but managed to extract it from her shoulder and murder the Indian who killed her husband.  I have some high hopes for Lily being a kick ass bitch.  They were a bit let down this episode though.  Yes, that scene where she has to sew up her wound was impressive and made me want to vomit, I’ll give the writers that.  But I feel like you can’t have it both ways.  She’s tough when she needs to be and vulnerable when it serves the narrative.  She ends up being rescued by the only ‘civilized Indian’ in the area, Joseph Black Moon (Eddie Spears).  I’m taking bets on how long it will take for those two to hook up and really cause some problems in the Hell on Wheels settlement camp.

Once Upon A Time: “The Price of Gold” Episode 4 review

16 Nov

This week we get the story of Cinderella. Not quite as good as last week’s true love episode, but not bad. Although it is *mostly* the traditional tale, the powers that be decided to take license with the original story, and honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about it. SPOILER ALERT: At the beginning of the story, Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) swoops in right after the fairy godmother and just as she is about to transform Cinderella (Jessy Schram), vaporizes her and captures her magic wand. Not only was I not prepared for that, I felt like it was a cheat.

While I understand they needed Rumplestiltskin to play the foil, I feel like changing the entire course of the fairy tale takes the premise too far. I’d much rather have seen a side deal with Cinderella and Rumplestiltskin after the Ball. Maybe he won’t let the glass slipper fit unless she agrees to his deal. That makes more sense to me. But at least he wasn’t vaporizing the fairy godmother. And this vaporization, in my mind, violates a tenant that I thought they were keeping on this show: using the fairy tales we all know and have grown up with then transforming the characters into real people. And while certain items in the story can and should be embellished especially if certain parts of the tales have been left out, key elements of the narrative should be held scared. For instance, say, the fairy godmother.

The “extra” part of the fairy tale, once Cinderella gets married and pregnant, is where the writers should take free license. For instance, it is fun to watch Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) attend the marriage of their close friends, Cinderella and Prince Thomas (Tim Phillipps). This storyline takes us into uncharted fairy tale territory and it is what helps make this show so enjoyable. The “real life” section of this episode, although a bit heavy-handed and cliched about a single, pregnant mother, still ultimately worked in the narrative. Making Ashley the exact age that Emma was when she gave up Henry was just far too on the nose. And how much insight was Henry supposed to get into his mother’s dilemma when Ashley ended up not only keeping the baby but getting Prince Thomas’ equivalent in her real world? Finally, I’m not entirely sure I buy that Emma would go ahead and make such an ignorant deal with Mr. Gold. I believe Emma would have negotiated. But that makes it so much easier for the writers to create some ridiculous dilemma where Emma will have to choose down the line. That felt like – pre-cheating.

While this is definitely one of the shows I’m looking forward to each week, I’d still like to see it not take the easy way out. I haven’t decided yet if I like the idea of Emma taking on her new role as Deputy. What I saw coming a mile away was Regina (Lana Parrilla) sleeping with the Sheriff (Jamie Dornan). I’m hoping the Emma/Sheriff/Regina love triangle will not be predictable. But with such a one-dimensional character as the Mayor/Evil Queen, it makes it hard not to be predictable.

Hell on Wheels: AMC’s newest drama entry

14 Nov

Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannan

I suppose I should begin this by saying: I don’t like shows that have to do with the Civil War or history of the Civil War. I find them mind-numbingly dull most of the time.  In fact, I’m really not a huge history buff at all.  I guess that is because after being forced to take an historiography class (for anyone that hasn’t had to go through an advanced degree program in liberal arts, historiography is the study of history, actually the history of how history is written).  Through this course, you get to examine how history is written, why it is written, whose point of view it is written in, whose voice is left out, and finally asking yourself, what does that mean?  Is any history really true or is it merely those individual’s opinions who managed to get their voices heard?  That is why primary research (finding documents such as birth certificates, hospital and military records, police reports, government studies and correspondence, telegrams, etc.) is so important to support any one historian’s theories;  however, if you think about it, anything can be falsified and although all of history isn’t a big lie, I would be glad to argue that a large part of history is written with a slanted perspective depending on who the author of any given subject is.  That is why I am honestly not a fan of watching historical shows on television.  That and honestly, war bores the shit out of me.  It is such a man’s game.  Although, I will admit to learning how to play Call of Duty and immensely enjoying blowing people’s heads off, I just feel like there are many instances in history that if testosterone would have been in a more limited supply maybe cooler heads would have prevailed.  Who knows.  I just don’t get excited thinking about battle movements.

What does all of this talk have to do with AMC’s newest show Hell on Wheels?  Well, in my mind, everything.  We follow a former confederate solider, Cullen Bohannan (what the hell kind of name is that?  I spent the entire episode not knowing what his name was until I was forced to look it up), on a journey of vengeance for his wife’s murder.  I am not quite clear if this took place during the war or right after it, but I’m assuming it happened while Cullen was fighting.  And by the end of the pilot, it seems fairly clear that his wife was gang raped and murdered by a group of Union soldiers.  So, here I am, realizing that I get to listen to history whether I like it or not.  And the problem is, that it doesn’t feel organic.  I feel like I’m getting my history shoved down my throat by AMC original programming.

I would argue a better way to show us history, is to create a character living in a specific time and not forcing us to listen to bits and pieces of what went on like school reports to give the viewer background.  Either make it happen organically, or forget it.  For example, I thought I was going to HATE the HBO show Carnivale.  Because I hate the circus.  Don’t ask me why.  It’s irrational.  It’s just that everything seems so seedy in the circus I find it depressing.  However, I ended up loving this show and was greatly disappointed when HBO cancelled it:  still a stupid decision HBO people.  Shame on you!  What I loved about this show is that the writers expertly wove in everything you needed to know about the Depression through the characters and the narrative.  Never once in my viewing of that show did I ever feel like the writers took a time out from the action to explain something that had gone on in the Depression that we needed to understand to get the story.

In Hell on Wheels, the way it is set up, they cannot help but do this jerky narrative technique.  At least they could give us flashbacks to learn about the Civil War.  Oh would that be too expensive?   You should have thought about that in the first place AMC.  Furthermore, the writers are using terms to show they have learned the lingo from that time (case in point, calling a knife an Arkansas toothpick), and while they think it is coming off as clever, I’m thinking, ok you guys, anybody can do a little research and learn this crap.  Stop trying to be clever and start telling a story I can follow.  And when I say that, I mean this backstory about what happened in the past that is informing the present.  Again, showing it is so much better than talking about it.  You learn that, literally, in Screenwriting 101.  The mantra “Show it” is shoved down your throat so much that if you can’t learn that basic idea, then I’m concerned about your overall ability to learn then convey ideas in an entertaining way.

In this pilot episode, I believe the principles of writing for television and film have been violated just like the wife of Cullen Bohannan (Anson Mount, who by the way, does do a good job).  I don’t think I have ever seen quite so many cliches in a television show since the 1980s.  Case in point, Thomas Durant (Colm Meaney) who is responsible for financing the building of the Union Pacific railroad line might be the biggest cliche I’ve seen since… honestly, I can’t come up with a bigger cliche right now.  It’s not that the character isn’t well-acted, it’s that the character as it is written is one that we’ve seen a million times before.  Ruthless business man who will lie, cheat, steal and physically harm anyone who gets in the way of his growing empire of wealth.  Great.  I get it, but give his character a bit more depth.  Give him something.  Even a personality quirk that at least makes him interesting to watch.

And… the way the Indians are portrayed is no better than watching a 1930s western.  Or The Searchers.   I realize this is a drama for television but come on, there are two sides to every story.  And I just happen to be driving across the country when I saw this pilot and here I am driving through Oklahoma and entering so many reservation territories and I was struck by the way the attack on the railroad workers camp was shown.  It is definitely a brutally violent heartless attack and you automatically are forced to identify with the white man unless you are some sociopath who enjoys scalping people because let me just say, I sure as hell did not enjoy watching someone scalped alive.  But yes, I get it.  That shit happened.  But I also thought about it as I was driving along I-40 and thought, if it were me and I had been an Indian and all these assholes just showed up on my land and decided to take it, wouldn’t I be just as violent and brutal?  And my answer was yes.  That is how they lived and that is how they were going to respond.  And were the white people so stupid that they would not have employed far more guards, etc. with guns at these camps, realizing the danger they were in?  If all those idiot men could engage in great battle movements, didn’t they have the common sense to realize they needed some preventive measures?

I haven’t even touched on the politics between the “irony” that Cullen is a former slave owner and he’s put in charge of a crew of former slaves working on the railroad.  But he is an enlightened slave owner.  He gave his slaves their freedom a year before the Civil War broke out and paid them wages, and did not have sex with any of the women.  I was ready for Cullen to say that he also listened to “All Things Considered” and “Morning Becomes Eclectic” on NPR because obviously Cullen is just a good guy.  He fought in the Civil War because of pride and honor.  That did a lot of good for his wife.  So, now we must watch, if we choose to, Cullen go on his rampage because he choose the country and ideals over the woman he loved.  A noble choice?  I say that is a masculine choice that causes all this shit to happen in the first place.  And I just wasted an hour of my time watching a guy feel sorry for himself.  He got paid to do that.  Nobody paid me a cent to sit through that.  I suppose I will watch one more episode to see if this gets any better or just sucks.

Once Upon A Time: Episode 3 “Snow Falls” review

13 Nov

The over-arching question for this episode, and the series, is now officially put to the test:  does true love conquer all?  I’d like to think so, but then again, you have to find true love first and according to the show (and in real life as well) not everyone finds it.  And sometimes even if people are lucky enough to find it, they might be too immature or selfish to appreciate it.  Or they are cowards and listen to their friends and family instead of taking chances.  There are villains in all forms in real life.  In fact, in real life, people don’t need an Evil Queen to make them miserable.  They can create their own curses for themselves and others – but in Once Upon A Time, we luckily get to hide behind an Evil Force designated to cause unhappiness.  It is probably a worse fate for people if they realized they couldn’t always live happily ever after because they only have themselves to blame.  At least in the case of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), that isn’t the case – entirely.   We still haven’t found out what exactly Snow White did to anger the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla).

This particular episode, written by Liz Tigelaar (executive producer of Life Unexpected), worked far better than the previous episode.  We get to watch how Snow White and Prince Charming met.  And thankfully, Snow White isn’t just some helpless fairy tale character.  She’s essentially a highway robber who steals from Prince Charming and his fiancee.  She sells his jewels to some trolls.  He tracks her down, they save each other, he gets back the jewelry so he can marry the naggy woman he is with but it is clear he’s got the hots for Snow White.  And this entire sequence actually works.  The fact that they save each other and put themselves in danger when they seemingly don’t like each other is a clever way to illustrate their overwhelming attraction.

In the present day, Mary Margaret can’t find love but it’s clear to us why she can’t.  She’s already got it, she just doesn’t realize it.  Henry (Jared Gilmore) realizes though and gets Emma (Jennifer Morrison) to convince Mary Margaret to read to John Doe while he is in a coma and maybe he will realize who she is and recognize their story.  It works.  He touches her hand then leaves the hospital to go looking for her.  He almost dies.  Mary Margaret saves him, he goes back to the hospital and we discover, thanks to Regina, that he has a wife.  I’m not worried though.  Only an idiot would let marriage to someone else stand in the way of true love.  And Prince Charming doesn’t seem to be an idiot.  So, will true love win out?  I’m an optimist when it comes to this and I say:  ultimately it will.  At least on this show.  Hopefully.

Revenge: Episode 7 “Charade” review

12 Nov

Victoria Grayson doesn't know whether she's coming or going in this episode.

While I am still enjoying Revenge, I’m having a few issues with it.  Mainly that the producers tend to believe it is okay to change the character’s viewpoints according to their whims for plot purposes. They should know better.  And when you have a melodrama like this show, what makes it strong is that the characters stay true to who they are.  If they flip-flop for the sake of the plot, their motives no longer ring true and they become wishy-washy.  Who wants to waste their time watching wishy-washy characters.  If I want wishy-washy, I can walk out the door, go sit in a restaurant or coffee shop and eavesdrop for entertainment.  And I don’t have to worry about the advertisements.

Last week it was Emily/Amanda (Emily VanCamp) who seemed to not be able to focus.  This week, there is an even bigger problem, Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe).  SPOILER ALERT:  Now Victoria feels sorry for Lydia (Amber Valletta) and wants to be her friend again.  It only took Lydia almost getting murdered by Frank (Max Martini) for Victoria to soften up.  The problem is that I think this turn in her character is sloppy writing or the ABC executives wimping out regarding an evil character.  Perhaps they’ve forgotten Joan Collins in Dynasty.  Yes that character was somewhat one-dimensional but it was still fun to watch as I was growing up.  I don’t want a wishy-washy villainess.  She needs a backbone and I’m sorry but I don’t believe she would forgive the woman that’s been screwing her husband for years.  Even if she doesn’t actually love her husband, it is about power and Lydia upended that balance of power.  If I were Victoria, I’d be going in to visit her and ask Frank to join me to finish the job he started.  I wouldn’t go hold her hand as she was in a coma.  I wouldn’t even bother visiting her.

Another character who doesn’t know his own mind is Nolan (Gabriel Mann).  He wants to butt into Emily’s life.  He snoops for her then as soon as the heat gets turned up, he runs away and refuses to play nice, then he’s back for another fix, with a body guard.  Oh and now, he’s also sexually ambiguous and beds Daniel’s friend, Tyler (Ashton Holmes) in order to take him down for Emily.  Maybe the strangest thing is that neither Nolan nor Tyler are actually even into each other at all so it felt very odd watching two parties about to have sex for no other reason than manipulation of a situation on both their parts.  It just felt like there was no attraction there to even spur on, well, an erection for either guy.  It was the most unsexy seduction scene, gay or straight I think I have ever witnessed on television.

We also get to meet the real Emily Thorne, someone Frank expertly uncovers when he breaks into the prison that once housed Emily/Amanda.  Sorry but that entire plot point is ridiculous.  We are led to believe the prison warden, played by CCH Pounder, mentored Emily/Amanda on staying safe, etc.  So what does she do at the first sign of someone coming to uncover secrets about Emily/Amanda, leaves the ‘sealed’ files readily available in her filing cabinet with absolutely no security except a lock on the door.  And I would love to know how Frank actually was able to get back into the prison without causing some suspicion.  The one high point is that the original Emily , who is now a stripper, who didn’t see that one coming, attacks Frank, leaves him at the side of the road, presumably fatally injured and appears on Emily’s doorstep.

Finally, Emily is cagey about who she actually loves.  My money is on Jack (Nick Wechsler), who she gave an antique compass to as a thank you for fixing her porch swing.  If you don’t think that proves she prefers him (because guess what guys, women only give gifts to men that they actually genuinely care about), then watch as she grabs the arm rest of the porch swing she’s sitting on with Daniel (Joshua Bowman) as he kisses her and admits he’s falling in love with her.  I believe that is the writer’s/producer’s way of letting us know that she prefers Jack and is possibly even thinking of him while kissing Daniel.  I think that everyone needs to figure out what page their characters are on or this show is going to turn into a complete clusterfuck.

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