On the D/L

Apr 26, 2014 | Posted by in TV

The Tomorrow People – Season 1 Episode 20 – “A Sort Of Homecoming”

So Roger is back from the mostly dead but this doesn’t bring the saviour that The Tomorrow People were hoping for. Upon waking up from his long icy sleep Roger is singularly interested in reconnecting his family, something he promptly does with a nice -if a little awkward- dinner that also involves Astrid and Hillary.

Astrid again proves herself to be an excellent character when she wastes no time in warning Hillary against messing with her friend which predictably causes Hillary to declare her undying love for Stephen. The episode paints this declaration as being sincere despite all the subterfuge that Hillary has recently been guilty for but given her character I don’t quite buy that she would fall for Stephen so quickly. It might seem like Astrid has a thankless job on the show, only appearing to be passive in the events but I think that in a lot of ways she is the glue holding a lot of this together. She is strong willed, determined and has won the trust of many of the principal cast, her importance can’t be underestimated so I hope to see more of what was seen in this episode should this get a season two.

John’s use in this episode was interesting, I liked that he couldn’t accept the almost total absolution of guilt that Roger granted him and allows Roger to beat him up as some form of punishment for his actions. It makes sense that John would feel this way as he has carried the guilt of murdering Roger for a long time. I also enjoyed his sacrifice when he felt that Roger wouldn’t succeed in his attack on Ultra, the consequences of which I found quite shocking and a surprisingly powerful moment (in many senses of the term) that should have some interesting consequences for John and the group in general.

Jed was well used here as well, I liked his admission that he enjoyed being the powerful brother for a while and I’m very impressed that the man is still continually unraveling after all that’s went on, his mental state is a fragile one and it is definitely showing. He and Roger play well off each other and really seem like siblings, this brings out more of that humanity to Jed that we’ve been seeing shining through of late.

The rest of The Tomorrow People’s reaction to Roger’s less than definitive leadership is interesting as well but I’m not sure they should be so quick to leap into Ultra’s arms so to speak. I can’t see the injection of the tracer into Russell etc being something that proves to be a good idea.

Bathory was at his most evil this week and it was delightful to watch, he chews the scenery with every second of screen time. As always he comes across as devious and calculating with a large amount of charm to back it all up. I particularly enjoyed his exchanges with Hillary where he constantly challenged her to prove her loyalty. The ending of the episode was something really spectacular in that regard.

To conclude, this episode was great. The pacing was tight, the characters were all well used and there were some significant plot development that the show has been building up to all season. Dramatically this episode ticks a lot of boxes but it was brought down by some motivations not seeming quite right given the established characteristics. Other than that, this seems to be building up to an exciting finale.

Friends With Better Lives – Season 1 Episode 3 – “Game Sext Match”

I’m pretty close to dropping this show. As I’ve said week on week the only strength this garbage seems to have is that James Van Der Beek’s line delivery is at times highly amusing. I really like him as a comedy actor and I think he’s head and shoulders above dreck like this.

The plot -if you can call it that- is that Will is trying to prove that he’s a more adventurous person than he actually is and goes to extreme lengths to do so. Naturally this means that he is seeing a woman who is totally insane because he needs to prove to someone -his friends?- that he is not boring and is capable of experimenting. I won’t bore with the details but the lengths it goes to are absurd and the situations are not the least bit funny. Will and the girl he is seeing do not act at all like real people, they fail at being caricatures of real people it is that bad.

There’s another plot where Jules and Andi keep going out for wedding planning lunches and leaving Kate out because she’s a control freak. They include her and surprise surprise she takes over everything and proves their point for them. It also proves that she is in fact a woman who wants her fairytale wedding. Pathetic, predictable and again, not funny. A third plot exists where Lowell and Bobby are playing tennis against Bobby’s bosses but have to lose in order for Bobby to keep some perks he has at work. Sound familiar? It should because it’s what Friends did and pretty much every other sitcom you might think of.

In conclusion, garbage but with a few funny line deliveries by Van Der Beek. I might not watch next week, depends how charitable a mood I’m in.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D – Season 1 Episode 19 – “The Only Light in the Darkness”

Now this is more like it, I would go so far to say that this is the best episode of this show to date. Despite the heavy duty HYDRA plot thread going on in the background this episode manages to tell a more personal and emotional story.

There are pretty much two A-Plots this week, one of which is an escapee of the Fridge by the name of Marcus Daniels, more colourfully known as Blackout in the source material comic books. As many insane criminals are prone to do he seeks out a woman he once loved. This infatuation comes in the form of Audrey the cellist who is played by Whedon alumni Amy Acker. Her role is slightly underplayed in this episode but she does well with what she has. It should be noted that this is the same cellist mentioned in The Avengers that Coulson at least used to have a relationship with which actually brings us to the thing that I found most interesting. One thing I really liked was that as far as Audrey knows Coulson is dead and that’s something that he doesn’t want to correct because he feels that it’ll be too much trouble to bring her into all of the lunacy that’s going on around him. More than that, Coulson is very much a broken man at the moment who is struggling with the truth of his resurrection and the memories he now has surrounding it as well as the uprooting of everything that he felt that he stood for. He makes reference to wanting to be “The Shield” and the desire to protect people is what the organisation means to him. It’s great to see him struggle to hold onto that as well as appear strong to his team. The villain is pretty incidental but it is nice to see someone with super powers threatening them and I do hope that Amy Acker returns once things calm down -if they ever do. Props to the episode for giving us a full rundown of who Audrey is and what she means to Coulson without once relying on prior knowledge from The Avengers, this has been a rarity on this show but it seems to have clicked that it has to be internally consistent without relying on outside knowledge -something that was clumsily handled in the episodes that were connected to Captain America: The Winter Soldier

A-Plot the second focuses mainly on Skye and Ward, believe me I’m very shocked to be typing that I found this interesting. Ward’s presence in Providence is dripping with tension, he seems almost Terminator like in his single minded adherence to his mission and he definitely comes across as a huge threat. I am disappointed that Agent Koenig has been killed because the character was great, he was genuinely funny but had a commanding presence at the same time. One of my favourite moments in the episode was when Skye worked out Ward’s true allegiance and how much that terrified and wounded her but I also loved how she pulled herself together in order to not tip her hand. The cello music throughout this sequence is particularly haunting and ties together the plots nicely. Ward has definitely gone too far to ever be welcomed back onto the team by this point which is great, it’s definitely high time the guy had some personality. It will be interesting to see how this plot develops.

Other moments in the episode that I liked included May realising that Coulson wasn’t likely to trust her anytime soon and making the decision to cut her losses and leave, that in itself opening a plot thread that could prove interesting. I also really liked the interrogation scenes, all too typical in a show of this genre but still effective and very amusing at points, it did actually deliver some great insight into some of the characters.

As said above, I loved this episode. The stories flow well together and the characters are all well used. I’m glad to say that this show seems to be finally finding its feet and is becoming a joy to watch. It isn’t quite there yet with some clumsy dialogue and characters that don’t feel as real as they ought to but there has definitely been a promising thrust in the right direction.

Supernatural – Season 9 Episode 19 – “Alex Annie Alexis Ann”

Another character centric episode that slightly feels like killing time before the season finale. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel that this makes the episode bad but it lacks any wider signficance to the season as a whole.

It was good to see Jody again who seems to be having trouble adapting to the world around her, knowing what goes bump in the night is something that’s caused her to be very cautious and her losses as a result of that knowledge have driven her near to the point of obsession. I enjoyed how that obsession manifested in her burning desire to protect the girl who had been living with the vampires for many years. She refused to believe that Alex or Ann or whatever else she wanted to be called was beyond saving and this worked out for her eventually. One thing I did really like was the motherly realisation that Jody had as to the reasons for the vampires leaving the girl as she was.

I don’t actually have much to say about this episode as it didn’t leave too much of an impression on me, it was good enough but felt a little formulaic and therefore not as interesting. The recurring characters on Supernatural are usually pretty good and Jody is no exception to that. There was a little Mark of Cain development when Dean took pleasure in killing a vampire but it’s something that has been better executed before. It was an above average episode but just barely. With so few episodes of the season left the show would do well to be tightly focused on this season’s endgame from here on out.

Arrow – Season 2 Episode 20 – “Seeing Red”

This episode was nothing short of a game changer though that’s arguably something that could be said for many episodes this season. It’s getting harder and harder to predict where the pieces will be come the finale in three episodes time.

At first it seems like the main plot of this episode is Roy’s Mirakuru induced rampage which is interesting enough. I like that Roy seemed to be operating on some form of auto-pilot that has sent him on some kind of unknown mission. It was great that nobody that he came up against was anything close to a match for him -especially not Oliver who comes away from the initial altercation with a significant injury. In his rampage Roy is also responsible for the death of a police officer, something that’s bound to have consequences later on.

Feeding into this plot is Sara’s willingness to do what it is she thinks needs to be done in killing Roy. This creates conflict with Oliver who is driven to save him. Given that Sara spent a number of years being trained by assassins I can see her point of view and I like that Oliver is coming from the position of being a man who would have thought the same less than a year prior. Their points of view leave them at a complete stalemate that seems irresolvable at this time prompting Sara to leave. It’s also interesting that Sara’s opinion of herself is somewhat more cynical than everyone around her as evidenced by Sin’s emotional appeal to her where she’s told that she’s not a killer. The drama of this story was brought down a bit by the corny dialogue between Oliver and Sara in a couple of scenes but on the whole it worked well.

The episode’s main focus is on the Queen family dynamic and in particular, Moira’s relationship with her children and her mayoral campaign. I thought that this was excellently done and the flashbacks to Moira stepping in on behalf of Oliver during a pregnancy situation really punctuate how dedicated she is to her family, she actually says that nothing is too extreme where her children are concerned. I’m not sure where this pregnancy storyline fits in but it seems the unnamed young woman was committed to having the child, the event was pre island which means that the child (assuming it was born) is at least six years old at this point so I can see it having significant repercussions at some point. Moira’s interactions with Oliver and Thea as well as Oliver and Thea’s interactions with each other are superbly put together, they seem like a real family -albeit a dysfunctional one- and it is easy to see that Thea is trying very hard to hate the two of them even though she doesn’t want to.

Some interesting revelations appeared in this episode such as Moira having known Oliver’s secret for quite some time which completely makes sense given her characterisation, she has been developed as intelligent and resourceful so figuring this out is well within her capabilities. I won’t spoil the shocking ending but it absolutely was a doozy and certainly something that makes sense given the overall arc of the series.

In summary, this was another great episode. The Queen family dynamic was perfectly executed with some very strong performances from all concerned. Moira takes front and center here and she is handled very well, everything she says is perfectly in character and the insight into the past where she is just as ruthless as she is now is very illuminating. The episode is brought down slightly by some corny dialogue as mentioned above and I’m disappointed with how Felicity has been handled lately, Diggle, Sara and Roy have all been prominent in their own stories over the past few episodes so it’s a shame that Felicity isn’t given the same treatment. She definitely feels more part of the furniture than anything else. I’m very hopeful that this will change soon as it’s past due for her to get some much needed character development.

The 100 – Season 1 Episode 6 – “His Sister’s Keeper”

Pretty disappointing overall after a couple of really strong episodes lately. I dislike that the show is descending back into the love triangle nonsense that it was threatening to do in the first and second episodes.

The main plot this week is that Octavia has been kidnapped by Grounders and Bellamy is hell bent on getting her back. We get a really nice insight into their relationship through flashbacks to their childhood on The Ark, through these it is clearly shown why Bellamy is so protective of her and how much he really cares for her. It does nicely punctuate the frantic search for her going on in the present. One thing this show is doing well is giving good reasons for Bellamy to have turned out the way he is, not that he’s not a jackass but at least we’re getting an understanding of why he is that way. It also explains why Octavia is as naive as she appears to be which completely makes sense given her -literally- sheltered upbringing.

Another plot is Clarke and Raven on a mission to get some supplies to repair a radio so that they can contact The Ark and let them know that people on the surface are alive -as far as they’re all aware The Ark never saw their flares- so that more people don’t need to be killed to make the oxygen supply last longer. As you might expect Raven has detected the sexual tension between Clarke and Finn and being not an idiot she quickly figures out what’s going on. It should be noted that this mostly comes from Finn, Clarke is content to just move past it and not get in the way of their happiness but Finn seems adamant to press the issue for reasons of CW love triangle. The only thing that saves this plot is that Raven’s reaction is appropriately upset yet mature, she doesn’t go into some kind of uncontrollable jealous rage and instead reacts intelligently. I am glad they didn’t spin out her lack of knowledge for half a season like they so easily could have but at the same time, it all just feels tedious.

This episode wasn’t bad, it just felt a little underwhelming given the strength of prior episodes. We didn’t get any present day Ark storyline movement but I liked that since it put the audience in the shoes of those on the surface with not knowing how the flares were reacted to. The Grounder plot is furthered a little but not by much, there’s an implication that there might be another faction that maybe aren’t so bad but that’s nothing really surprising. Also, more of the teenagers are picked off which lends credence to my theory that they’ll pick off one or two a week until the cast list is a bit more manageable.

The Big Bang Theory – Season 1 Episode 21 – “The Anything Can Happen Recurrence”

This week heralds the return of “Anything Can Happen Thursday” which was a weekly ritual that existed a few seasons ago that has since fallen by the wayside because of Sheldon -who else?- and the fact that he likes to have a very strict routine.

His crisis from the previous episode over what scientific field to take up is still preying on his mind with no clear answer to that question so it makes sense that he might want to throw caution to the wind and break from his routine since he’s already done so in his professional life. Penny, Sheldon and Leonard decide to take a wander to look out for a restaurant that they haven’t tried before and discover Bernadette and Amy having dinner, both of them have lied about what they’re really doing with their evening because they each find Penny and Sheldon’s obsessive rambling about their current problems tiresome.

What happens next gives us some quite funny pairings. Leonard is left with Amy and Bernadette while Sheldon and Penny wind up at a psychic which goes down as well as you might expect with Sheldon. Raj and Howard are watching a gore filled movie so that Raj can prepare himself for rewatching with his girlfriend Emily who likes that sort of thing.

A Sheldon and Penny pairing isn’t anything new but they bounce so well off each other that it’s always a joy to watch and brings many laughs, especially when Sheldon is in with the psychic. It’s good to see Raj and Howard spending time with just the two of them as it’s been a while since that happened but they interact as hilariously as ever. Very little time is spent on the rest of the characters but they are still funny.

As with reviewing all comedy episodes, there’s not a lot to say except that I found this episode really funny, this show has been on a good stride this season and has been consistently very funny. I’m glad that it’s been renewed for a further three seasons as it’s the only sitcom I enjoy now that How I Met Your Mother has finished forever.