Saturday, December 31, 2016

Black-ish 1.01


Andre (Anthony Anderson) feels like he is losing after (a) his promotion to Senior Vice President comes with the subtitle of Urban Affairs and (b) he learns that his older son wants to play field hockey and convert to Judaism.

This started a little slow. I smiled a few times but didn't really laugh for the first time until about halfway through the show. I'm definitely interested in watching more and seeing where exactly the show goes. Granted it is a standard sitcom on one level but from what I've heard it is also more than that.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Star Trek: The Next Generation 6.01

Time's Arrow Part Two

Several members of the Enterprise crew are pulled back in time along the same path that Data took. They wind up in late 19th century San Francisco, as did he. They are there not just to find him but also to learn more about the aliens from Devidia II who are killing humans from that time period. They are hampered a bit in their quest by Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain and helped by Guinan's earlier self who is meeting Picard for the first time.

There are a few too many things in this episode happening off stage and without explanation to satisfy me. It seems like they tried to pack a little too much into this story. On the whole I am not impressed by it. Time travel stories often get more attention than other ones. If that is the case with this one then I feel than it is not deserved of this sort of a response. If you are going to make a story epic then it needs to feel it. This one felt slapped together. I do wonder if it was originally supposed to be a three-part story and it got chopped down to two parts. I'm not sure that the story would be better told in three parts but the potential would certainly be there.

Justice League Unlimited 3.06

Dead Reckoning

A detachment of villains from the Legion of Doom, including Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Tala, and Devil Ray along with a few squads of their heretofore unseen shock troops invade Nanda Parbat. They overpower the monks and take a mystic object, the Heart of Nanda Parbat. Deadman is in the city at the time but his efforts are countered by Tala's magic and he loses that fight.

After the super-villains have left Deadman goes to the Justice League for help. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman respond to his plea. They reach out to Solivar in Gorilla City only to discover that the Legion of Doom has started an assault on Gorilla City with a strike force similar to the one used on Nanda Parbat. The heroes rush to Gorilla City but they get there just a little too late. Grodd is able to put his plan into action. Using the Heart of Nanda Parbat and a high tech gadget found in Gorilla City Grodd transforms all humans, around the world into apes.

Grodd's victory is short lived. Superman quickly destroys the machine. The souls of the monks trapped in the Heart are released and everyone who was turned into an ape turns reverts back to human form.

Epilogue 1: Deadman learns from Rama Kushna, the Goddess of Nanda Parbat, that because his actions lead to the death of Devil Ray the scales are now out of balance. As a result he must remain a ghost for the present and will not be allowed to crossover to the land of the dead for now.

Epilogue 2: A change in leadership occurs at Legion of Doom HQ after the strike force has returned. Luthor loses his cool and violently ousts Grodd, in large part because of the ineptitude of his plan.

Over the course of the episode Deadman possesses the three heroes and two villains. Superman doesn't realize what happened to him. Wonder Woman is angry with Deadman, after the fact, because he did so without acting permission. Batman hides his anger well but is livid because while Deadman had control of his body he shot and killed a villain, Devil Ray, who was about to kill Wonder Woman. Batman has a thing against using guns because his parents were killed by a gun-wielding thief.

Overall this is not a prefect episode but it is a lot of fun and helps to advance the overall season-long plot. There are some funny moments, many of which involve Lex Luthor's deadpan style of humor. The 2nd 3rd, and 5th episodes of this season all left me a bit cold but the 1st, 4th, and 6th episodes are all required viewing by my standards.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Public Enemy: Prophets of Rage (2011)

This is a BBC documentary that tracks the history of Public Enemy from their roots in the late 1970s into the 21st century. There is quite a bit of focus on what the group was trying to achieve, how they interacted with one another, and how the group was covered by the press. There are lots of musical clips from their albums and video clips from video features about them.

My awareness of the group probably predates Do the Right Thing (1989) but seeing that movie and a few years later buying Fear of a Black Planet (1990), one of their albums, cemented their place in my memory and heart. I was working the graveyard shift at a diner in DC the summer that movie came out. The diner was one of the only places open in town after the bars closed. Everyone, or at least it seemed that way to me some nights even though the diner was in a predominantly white neighborhood, kept telling one another, mostly guys, and I want to say mostly black guys, "Do the Right Thing." I don't think I had seen the movie yet. I saw it for the first time at the Hoff Theater at the University of Maryland in the fall of that year. I got kind of sick of hearing people repeat that phrase over and over again. The phrase meant something but it was also a fad and eventually I began to hear it less and less. I'll never forget that summer for many reasons, Do the Right Thing being one of them. I still enjoy listening to Fear of Black Planet.

I ran across this documentary on YouTube when I went looking for some PE videos after watching He Got Game. The documentary is great and informative but it doesn't compare to the episode of Combat Jack Show from a couple years back that featured Chuck D and Keith Shocklee, two of the members of the group. The podcast episode is much longer than the movie as well as much rawer and unfiltered.

Combat Jack: The Chuck D Episode Featuring Keith Shocklee

Rick and Morty 2.09

Look Who's Purging Now

Rick and Morty stop for wiper fluid on a planet where a purge is about to happen. Rick wants to hang out and watch, Morty doesn't. After their spacecraft gets stolen by someone they try to help they are stuck and have to defend themselves in order to survive the night.

Not my favorite episode. Not bad but it just didn't make me laugh like some of the other episodes do.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Flash 1.09

The Man in the Yellow Suit

The Christmas episode, hence the title. Ronnie Raymond returns plus the Reverse Flash makes his first appearance.

The man in the yellow suit appears. The man who Joe and Barry believe killed his mother. Like Barry he is a speedster but he is faster than Barry. In his first encounter with the guy Barry gets beaten up. After procuring a gadget from another high tech firm, Mercury Labs, Dr. Wells' crew sets a trap to catch the Reverse Flash. It seems to work but then he breaks out and starts beating up Dr. Wells. He takes down most of the other policemen on hand but hesitates once Joe and Eddie are the only two left standing. It looks like I was wrong about Eddie being the Reverse Flash, at least for now. The Flash shows up and fights the Reverse Flash.

Caitlin has a brief encounter with Ronnie Raymond, her fiancee, who was killed in the explosion that gave Barry and a number of other people their powers. He manifests some sort of flame based powers. She gets Cisco's help finding him but he refuses their help and seems to have forgotten who he once was. He shows up one final time near the end of the episode and breaks up the fight between Flash and Reverse Flash. At the moment Reverse Flash was winning the fight but runs off after Ronnie hits him with flames. Before flying away Ronnie tells them to call him Firestorm.

Eddie asks Iris to move in with him. Iris is excited but Barry not so much. Eddie thinks that Barry may still be carrying a torch for Iris. He lets her know, she thinks it is a silly idea but after having a chat with Caitlin she asks him if he has romantic feelings for her. He lies and tells her that he doesn't. It isn't until after he visits his father in prison that he decides he has to tell her the truth.

The final scene is of Dr. Wells in his secret chamber at STAR Labs. He has a ring with a Flash logo on it. He uses it to unlock another secret room which holds a Reverse Flash costume. I guess this means that Dr. Wells was the Reverse Flash? I'm a little confused. I'm  sure there's an explanation, reasonable or otherwise, but I'm having trouble putting two and two together and coming up with four.

Far from perfect but it was far better than the last episode and introduced some new elements that at least for the moment are intriguing.

NewsRadio 2.12

X-Mas Story

The employees all chip in to buy Mr. James a real nice gift, a baseball jersey that was worn and signed by his favorite baseball player. His gifts to them seem very impersonal so he does his best to make up for it by buying them all sports cars, except Matthew who gets cassettes of an old radio show.

Bill gets harassed by a bell ringing Santa Claus in the lobby of the WNYX building. It turns out all to be a prank or does it.

Not great. A few smiles and possibly laughs but this is not the best that NewsRadio has to offer. Tone Loc and Toby Huss make their second and final appearances playing security guards.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Halt and Catch Fire 2.10

Heaven Is a Place

Joe and Sarah are over and done. He signs the divorce papers. Sarah's father is out at West Group. The virus that disrupted the demonstration in episode 9 spread throughout the  network. Gordon feels bad, feels guilty so he gives Joe the antidote to the virus he created back in episode 3 which Cameron used in the last episode on West Group's network of computers.

Everything is not good for Gordon. Donna finds out about some of the shenanigans that happened when he took their daughters to see his brother's family in California back in episode 6. She also catches him not taking his therapy sessions seriously. Then their oldest daughter runs away. They find her hiding in the backyard but Gordon was unable to manage that task himself. By this time Donna has already formulated a plan to try and make things better for their marriage and for Mutiny.

Cameron wants to buy a big mainframe setup. The most reasonably priced one she can find is in California. At first she suggests they could buy it and get it shipped to Dallas but then Donna suggests that they move the company to California. She talks Gordon into paying for it, with what is left from the money he got from the dissolution of Cardiff, and coming to work for Mutiny. He doesn't like it but he probably doesn't feel like he has a choice.

Boz left Mutiny last episode. In this episode he quits his new job to return to Mutiny, near the end of the episode. Boz is one of the lead characters on this show. They really need to do a better job of integrating his character moments into stories that involve other lead characters. Of all the lead characters he is the one that has felt the most detached from the rest of the gang.

Joe takes the antidote provided by Gordon and comes up with the idea of selling protection against attacks on computers and networks to a venture capital firm. He tries to get Gordon to join him but by then Gordon has agreed to Donna's plan and the wheels are in motion to move Mutiny to the west coast.

The episode ends with Donna, Gordon, Cameron, Boz and the rest of the gang from Mutiny boarding an airplane to San Francisco. Cameron asked Tom to come with them, even bought him a ticket but when the door to the plane is shut Tom is not on board. Gordon is reading a magazine as the plane is getting ready to take off and spots an article about Joe selling the antivirus idea for $10 million. Donna is in the airplane's bathroom crying after Gordon suggested that maybe they could have another kid once they get settled in California. He doesn't know about her abortion. She never told him even though she gave him a hard time for withholding information about his health and what happened on the trip to California in episode 6.

Probably not my favorite episode. There's a fair amount of setup for the next season. I will probably stick with this show whenever the third season drops on Netflix.

Black Mirror 3.04

San Junipero

Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) and Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) meet in Tuckers, a night club. Kelly looks like she belongs there, Yorkie does not. Kelly comes on to Yorkie but Yorkie doesn't know how to respond and runs off. She later regrets the way she reacted to Kelly, seeks her out, and eventually finds her.

What isn't readily apparent from the beginning of this story is that San Junipero is a virtual world. As it progresses, it becomes clear that things aren't exactly as they appear to be. The story starts in the 1980s but then jumps backwards and then forwards in time without the characters aging. It is over halfway into the episode before the story pulls back from San Junipero and the real world is shown on screen. Kelly and Yorkie aren't young in the real world. Yorkie isn't able to communicate in the real world and has been a quadriplegic for most of her life.

This is the first full episode I have watched of this anthology series. I watched it because they talked about it on one podcast I listen to (Deathcast) and the hosts of another podcast I listen to (Movie Bears Podcast) said they were planning to talk about it on a future episode. I have held off on listening to the San Junipero episode of Deathcast which dropped early in December 2016. I'm still waiting for the San Junipero episode of Movie Bears Podcast to drop.

The story has a couple themes that run through it: the right to love who you want and the right to die. There is a twist or two towards the end that really added a dimension to the story and made the story that much more poignant. Both actresses were excellent. I have seen Mackenzie David before on Halt and Catch Fire where she plays Cameron. I have seen Gugu Mbatha-Raw before on Doctor Who where she played Martha Jones' sister, but it has been several years since I saw those episodes.

I am very happy that I decided to watch this episode of Black Mirror. I tried watching Black Mirror once before and was completely turned off by the premise of the first episode 1.01. I never finished watching it.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Gravity Falls 1.01

Tourist Trapped

Dipper and Mabel, twin brother and sister, are sent to Gravity Falls, OR for the summer. There they live with their Great Uncle Stan who runs a local tourist museum. Dipper finds a journal that warns him about things in and around Gravity Falls, like zombies and gnomes. Mabel starts dating a guy who Dipper thinks is a zombie. It turns out that he is actually five gnomes who want to kidnap Mabel and make her their Gnome Queen.

I like the animation and the sense of humor of this show. I heard about it on Pop Culture Happy Hour. I will be back for more.

Iron Man: Armored Adventures 1.01

Iron, Forged in Fire, Part 1

Young Tony Stark invents a suit of armor. He wants to show it to his father but there is other more pressing business. The father and son go on a trip in the company jet. The jet crashes. Tony survives but his father does not.

Six months later, after recovering from the crash Tony's life begins anew. He now lives with his best friend Rhodey's family. At the time of the crash Tony's father was concerned about on e of his underlings, Obadiah Stane who was urging him to redesign an earth-mover machine so that it could be used as a weapon and sell it to the military. Now, Tony suspects Stane is up to something.

Using the suit of armor he invented six months before Tony starts investigating Stane.

I watched this once before, I believe this episode was available for free on iTunes when it first aired in 2009. I think I liked it then. I enjoyed it now. Not great or perfect but I'm curious to see where they take this story and what they do with the character and the world he lives in. I'm not crazy about the style of animation but it might grow on me.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

I tried to stay away from reviews and spoilers and for the most part I was successful. I knew the gist of the story but I really didn't know any details or even the names of any of the new characters other than the main character, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones).

The story is told in five parts. The first part which introduces Jyn when she is just a child and sees her separated from her parents. The second part is where the gang or band of rebels and rogues that accompany Jyn are brought together by Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a rebellion spy. Most of the second part takes place on the planet Jedha. The third part focuses on an attempt by Jyn to reunite and rescue her father, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), a scientist who reluctantly works for the Empire on the design of the Death Star. Most of part three is takes place on the planet Eadu. The fourth part, the climax of the movie, is all about the suicide mission Jyn, Cassian, and a gang of rebel spied undertake to infiltrate the Imperial stronghold on Scarif to steal the plans to the Death Star. The final part is an epilogue which serves to bridge the gap between the end of the fourth act and Start Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.

This is a very different movie from the other seven. In many ways it is a war movie. In another way it is about a voyage of discovery for Jyn. Most of the other characters weren't as memorable. They had their moments but they didn't get fleshed out in the way she did.

I liked this movie a lot. I've always had a soft spot in heart for war films like this one. It bears some resemblance or has something in common with movies like the Seven Samurai, Sahara, Bridge on the River Kwai to name a few of my favorites.

What a ride. They crammed a lot into this movie. There are a lot of subtle callbacks to earlier Star Wars movies. There were a number of moving, emotional moments and which got me teared up. I want to see it again but I'm not sure if I will see if in the theater again or not any time soon. I almost certainly will buy it so that I can stream it at home.


I started by writing a much longer more in depth summary of the movie. I hate to just delete my work so here's what remains of my first draft:

The story is about Jyn and it isn't. She is the main character but ultimately the movie is also about how the rebels got the plans to the Death Star. She is key to both story lines because Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), the scientist who built a defect into the Death Star, is her father. He originally worked for what became the Empire. He abandoned that life and took his wife and child and hid as a farmer. The movie opens with him being recaptured by the Empire. His wife is killed. Jyn, who can't be more than 5 or 6 years old, hides until Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), a friend of the family, comes for her.

The story then flashes forward 10-15 years. Jyn is a prisoner. She is rescued Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a rebellion spy, who believes she is the key to making contact with Gerrera. She goes along with Cassian despite not trusting him. They (Jyn and Cassian) travel with K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), a droid, to Jedha in search of a Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), a missing Imperial pilot, who it turns out was sent by Galen looking for Saw Gerrera.

Before they find Bodhi they get mixed up in a fight between stormtroopers and other Rebel forces. It is there that they meet sightless Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) just before they are taken prisoner by Gerrera's troops. Despite Jyn's past with Gerrera it didn't end well as he abandoned her when she was 16. It is while they are briefly captives of Gerrera that they meet Bodhi and he joins their gang.

The Death Star is recently completed. Governor Tarkin (Guy Henry) orders Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) to test the Death Star's planet destroying capabilities on a small scale by destroying Jedha City. Gerrera's hideout is outside the city but shock waves destroy it just as Jyn, Cassian, Bodhi, Chirrut, Baze, and K-2SO escape. Gerrera stays behind and is presumably killed as his mountain hideout collapses.

The next part of the story involves the gang traveling to Eadu, where Galen works. They arrive just before Krennic, who is there to find the traitor who send Bodhi to the rebels. They try to rescue Galen, although it seems that Cassian had orders to kill him which he ultimately does not carry out. There is a fight. Krennic escapes. Jyn gets just enough time for a tearful farewell with her father before of he dies of his wounds.

After a brief meeting back at Rebel HQ Jyn, Cassian, the rest of the gang and a number of volunteers head to Scarif to retrieve the plans to the Death Star. They sneak in using a stolen Empire cargo ship which they acquired when they were on Eadu. Things quickly go wrong, an all out battle ensues. They get the plans but the Death Star shows up and destroys the planet before the surviving members of the strike force can escape.

I began this write up with all kinds of detail. Maybe I should trim that down, maybe I will in the future.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Luke Cage 1.13

You Know My Steez

Luke finally has it out with Diamondback. The two fight in Pops Barber Shop and then the fight continues out into the street. A crowd gathers. The fight is broadcast live on TV. Candace and Claire see it. Claire tells Candace to stay with her mother while she goes to Pops to be there for Luke.

The two half-brothers fight to a standstill until Luke is able to figure out that much of Styker's strength is coming from him. The harder Luke hits him the stronger Stryker gets. Luke goes limp and lets Stryker use up all that energy he has amassed and then he knocks him out. The cops have arrived, by that point and are ready to open fire with Judas rounds but Misty steps into prevent them from doing so. Stryker is arrested and carted away. Everything that follows the end of the fight is epilogue and laying the groundwork for next season and possibly in part for part of season 1 of Iron Fist.

Misty arrests Mariah, who stuck around on purpose, after the fight is over. She reveals Luke's original name, Carl Lucas, to a reporter as she is interviewed on live television. Luke is not arrested but is brought in for questioning. Misty and Inspector Ridley do their best to sweat a confession out of Mariah.

Shades works behind the scenes while Mariah is in custody. In the confusion at the end of the previous episode Misty dropped her phone. Shades picked it up. It wasn't clear then whose phone it was. Shades uses the phone to text Candace, pretending to be Misty. Candace goes to meet Misty and is shot and killed by Shades. Her body is found. Her confession on tape drops in value immediately. Inspector Ridley drops all charges against Mariah. Misty in incensed but can't do anything to stop Mariah from walking free.

Two US Marshals show up for Luke. Based on Mariah's reveal of Luke's former identity he is arrested for breaking out of prison and not serving his full sentence. He goes with them peacefully. Claire promises to call her lawyer friend, a clear reference to Matt Murdock although she doesn't actually name him. The episode ends with a montage of scenes of the various players in the story as (the recently deceased) Sharon Jones performs 100 Days, 100 Nights at Harlem's Paradise.

I was ready for this. I was ready for this not to be fully resolved. I appreciate the fact that they didn't wait until the last 5-10 minutes but rather used more than half of this episode, as I mentioned above, to slowly reset the board for the next season. This season should probably be viewed not as a complete story, but as act 1 of a larger story.

I didn't binge watch this season. I don't like binge watching. I especially don't think it makes sense to binge watch a season like this. It should be savored and enjoyed at a leisurely pace. There are going to be slow moments in a 13 episode season like this. I'm amused by people who binge watch and also comment on how the show dragged in places. It didn't drag, it slowed down, which is natural. What isn't natural is binge watching.

On the whole I was very impressed with this season of Luke Cage. There were some episodes I liked more than others but I now feel confident saying that I don't think there were any major misteps in this season. Some things were handled or presented a little too directly, without enough nuance for my tastes, but overall I think the producers and directors did a marvelous job with the whole show in a way that was not done with any of the previous Marvel Netflix seasons. Whether this is what Harlem is really like or not they gave it, the neighborhood in which the story took place (for the most part) a personality which is something that I didn't get from either Daredevil or Jessica Jones.

It can be argued that both seasons of Daredevil are also about Foggy and Karen. Season 1 of Daredevil is also about Kingpin, Season 2 is also about Punisher and to a lesser degree, Elektra. Season 1 of Jessica Jones is mostly about Jessica and Killraven. None of those seasons embraced an environment in which they were set in quite the way Luke Cage did. Finally this season of Luke Cage was as much about Misty Knight (and occasionally Claire Temple) as it was about Luke.

This is by far my favorite season of Marvel Netflix series to date. There's a bit or irony in that appraisal considering that I wasn't very enthusiastic for the series until just before it was released*. My lack of enthusiasm was due to my lackluster response to Luke Cage in season 1 of Jessica Jones. He didn't intrigue me on that show. I didn't feel the need to learn more about him. I didn't realize then the extent to which the producers of Luke Cage were going to make the story about much more than just the main character.

I am eagerly looking forward to Season 2 of Luke Cage and am interested to see if and how elements from this season are carried forward into Iron Fist and the the other Marvel Netflix shows.


* Some credit for getting me excited about this show is due to the conversation Cheo Hodari Coker, the show runner, had with Combat Jack on the Sep 27, 2016 episode of the Combat Jack Show.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Justice League Unlimited 3.05

Flash and Substance

Central City honors Flash with a museum. Some villains (Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Trickster, Captain Boomerang) decide to rain on Flash's parade. Batman and Orion show up for the celebration but end having to help Flash fight the bad guys.

On the plus side there were lots of cameo appearances by various supervillains.

Wally's nameless boss looked a lot like Barry Allen from the comic books.

The mirror dimension was probably the coolest part of the episode.

Not my favorite episode. Not much in the way of good character moments and the plot didn't amount to much.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Flash 1.08

Flash vs. Arrow

Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle come to town. They are looking for a villain who uses boomerangs. Barry suggests that he and Oliver team up. Barry's villain of this week is a metahuman whose power is glowing eyes that cause people to become homicidal. Early in the episode he uses it to help cause a distraction while he robs a bank. Ollie isn't interested in teaming up, at first.

Eventually they do team up but then Dr. Wells and Detective West try to talk Barry out of hanging with the vigilante of Starling City. Ollie tries to train Barry, who doesn't take kindly to Oliver's training methods, which include shooting him in the back with arrows. Barry decides to go it alone when he gets a tip on the location of the metahuman. He gets zapped by the glowing eyes but it doesn't seem to affect him until later when he goes from disgruntled to homicidal.

Eddie has now accepted the existence of the Flash and decided that the Flash is a menace. This happens before the Flash becomes homicidal. Eddie tries to convince Captain Singh of the need to create a task force to stop the Flash. At first that idea goes nowhere but after the Flash beats up Eddie and Arrow is spotted around town, Captain Singh decides to go ahead with Eddie's idea.

The end of this episode was disappointing to say the least. Out of nowhere Dr. Wells figures out that what they need are flashing colored lights to cure the Flash of his homicidal rage. That was kind of silly. The other disappointing aspect to the end was how they jumped from Barry and Ollie chatting about catching the metahuman to them locking him up with nothing in between. No fight, no nothing. One minute they are talking about finding this guy and the next minute they are locking him up. Very disappointing.

Felicity had things to do, like bond with Caitlin and advise Oliver that he was acting stupid. Diggle did not really, he just stood around and made inconsequential comments every now and then. Diggle is a man of action. I don't mind the quippy dialogue but if they are going to include him in the episode they should have him doing more than they did here.

On the whole not a great episode. Much of the drama seemed staged. The best part of the episode was the continuing evolution of Eddie. It was also interesting to see Iris turn on the Flash after he beat up Eddie. She was there when it happened and she tried to talk him down but he wouldn't listen and then the Arrow showed up. So Iris seems to have lost fascination with the Flash. My guess is that before it comes back Eddie will become the Reverse Flash and she will discover that Barry is actually the Flash.

The final scene of the episode reveals that Ronnie Raymond is still alive. I'm eager to see where that goes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Rick and Morty 2.08

Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate

Jerry is taken to an alien hospital for emergency surgery after he accidentally ate one of Rick's science experiments. While in the hospital he is asked to donate his penis in order to save the life of Shrimpy Pibbles, a great alien leader who sounds just like Werner Herzog. According to the doctors his penis will be molded into a new heart for Shrimpy.

Jerry goes back and forth: at first he's okay with it, then he isn't, then asks Beth what she thinks. She is against the idea until she sees some of the prosthetic devices that they are offering to replace his penis and then she's all for it. Jerry waffles some more as to whether to donate his penis or not and then gets outraged when they decide not to take his penis and instead give Shrimpy an artificial heart.

Rick, Morty, and Summer spend most of the episode watching all sorts of weird tv shows. Some of them were funny but lots of them left me scratching my head.

Overall a very funny episode but almost entirely for Jerry's story and not for the titular interdimensional cable tv.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Halt and Catch Fire 2.09


Donna and Cameron try to pick up the pieces after West Group stole their idea. Donna tries playing hardball with Jessie, Joe's replacement at West Group, but doesn't get very far with that tactic. About the only thing she walks away with is the notion that maybe Joe didn't have anything to do with the theft.

Gordon spends most of the episode, after getting out of jail, looking for his car in a parking garage. He wanders the floors several times without any success. Things turn from bad to worse when he falls down a flight of stairs and breaks his foot. He yells for help but no one is around. Eventually he finds someone and is taken to the hospital. As he is being driven out of the garage he spots his vehicle.

Joe is pissed at Jacob, his father-in-law and the owner of West Group, for stealing Mutiny's idea and messaging platform. He lets Jacob know how he feels, but Jacob doesn't seem to care. He even encourages Joe to come to the upcoming shareholders meeting where they will be demonstrating the new software.

Cameron, Donna, and Boz do what they can to try and sell their only real asset, Extract and Defend, Mutiny's latest game. Things aren't going well until Boz picks up on something and manages to work some magic. He a company, which might be a subsidiary of Nintendo, into buying their game for $50,000. The sale gives Mutiny some breathing room and new hope.

The whole process, not just the sale but also the experience with West Group, has a real impact on Cameron. She really seems to have changed. She isn't just happy to program. She also seems to be looking at things from the mind of a business person. Things are start to deteriorate between Cameron and Tom. It turns out he was the one that convinced the Nintendo subsidiary to meet with them but he can't deal with the changes in Cameron. He loved who she was but not who she is becoming.

Joe decides to go to the shareholders meeting. Before the meeting he gets a visit from Cameron. She is there for something but what she says she is there for and what she is actually there for are not one and the same. She distracts Joe enough by bringing up their past that he doesn't catch on to what she is really up to until it is too late. Joe does his presentation for the shareholders and press but something snaps within him and goes off script and credits Cameron for West Group's new platform before walking off stage. Minutes later, the computer demonstration crashes, apparently due Cameron's action when she saw Joe before the big meeting.

Joe's marriage falls apart, or at least looks like it does. Sarah is convinced that Joe still loves Cameron more than he loves her and storms out.

It is a bit ironic that Joe credits Cameron and she alone for West Group's new platform considering that Donna is the one who developed and championed the message board long before Cameron saw any utility in it.

The parallel of Cameron losing Tom at the same time that Joe was losing Sarah was interesting. Joe and Sarah's breakup was much more fiery and spontaneous than Cameron's and Tom's was. Similar to Sarah, Tom questions whether Cameron is truly over Joe.

Overall a great episode. Lots going on. Fascinating to watch all the interactions. It wasn't hard to foresee how somethings would wind up but the exact path to those points wasn't always apparent.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Star Trek: The Next Generation 5.26

Time's Arrow

The Enterprise is recalled to Earth. Captain Picard and Lieutenant Commander Data are shown some artifacts that date back to the 19th century and were found beneath San Francisco including Data's severed head. Everyone except Data seems very disturbed by the discovery. He is at peace with it and explains why on more than one occasion.

After analyzing the artifacts they find traces of a micro-organism which is traced to the planet Devidia II. After arriving at the planet an away team is sent down. Picard doesn't let Data go with the team initially. Counselor Troi detects sentient life forms on the planet but they can't find them or contact them despite the fact that Troi asserts that she senses them nearby. Picard reluctantly allows Data to join the team on the planet to assist them in contacting the inhabitants of the planet.

Data attempts something that causes him to disappear from Devidia II and reappear in 19th century earth. He sets himself up as an inventor after winning some money at cards. He meets Guinan five centuries years before she joined the Enterprise. Even in this era she is nonplussed by the notion of space travel.

In the 24th century Guinan counsels Captain Picard that he needs to join the away team. She says something cryptic about their first meeting, implying that if he doesn't join the away team on the planet they may never meet.

This episode has gone to some interesting places but it is only half the story. It doesn't work well as a season ending cliffhanger in my opinion. I'm interested to see what happens next. I wasn't on the edge of my seat when the episode ended but maybe that's just me.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

He Got Game (1998)

Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel Washington), an inmate at Attica, is secretly let out of prison temporarily so he can try to convince his son to attend Big State University, the governor's alma mater. Time is running out for Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen), Jake's son and the top high school basketball player in the country. Jesus has yet to pick a university and he less than a week to decide.

The relationship between father and son is complicated by their shared past. Before he went to prison, Jake pushed and bullied Jesus to improve his basketball game. He is in prison for accidentally killing his wife when she tried to stop him from harassing their son.

Jake is promised by the warden that the governor will grant him early parole if he can get his son to attend Big State U. Jake does what he can to talk his son in to attending Big State but he is just one of many people whispering in Jesus' ear. Many people (family, friends, strangers) are trying to push him one way or another: his girlfriend, his uncle, his coach, an agent who wants to represent him.

There are two story lines running concurrently through this movie. The first consists of the attempts by Jake to repair his relationship with his Jesus. The second is how Jesus deals with the pressure of being the number one high school basketball player. When I first saw the movie, when it was originally released in 1998, I was much more focused on the second story line, possibly because I was very much interested in men's college basketball at that time. My interests in watching college and professional sports have diminished greatly since then and this time around it was the first story line that loomed larger for me.

There are a number of familiar faces in the movie, some are regulars in Spike Lee movies, some are not. Rosario Dawson, in one of her first roles on the big screen, plays Lala, Jesus' girlfriend who introduces him to an agent. Bill Nunn plays his uncle who is very interested in getting paid for helping to look after Jesus and his sister since their mother died and their father went to prison. There are a few professional ballplayers (John Wallace, Rick Fox) mixed in the cast and several college basketball coaches playing themselves. Milla Jovovich plays a prostitute who lives in the apartment next to the one where Jake is staying. John Turturro plays the head coach at Big State U.

I had completely forgotten about the score for the movie which mostly consists of music of Aaron Copeland. The juxtaposition that music with this story were truly inspired. Spike Lee, in all fairness, does a great job with the music selections he makes for his movies.

I am glad I chose to watch this movie again. It probably isn't everyone's cup of tea but it also isn't run of the mill.

Luke Cage 1.12

Soliloquy of Chaos

Like the last one, this episode picks up where the previous one left off. This time Luke is in chains after surrendering himself to the police. Just before they load him in a paddy wagon, Misty surreptitiously encourages Luke to make a run for it. When the vehicle is stopped at a light Luke breaks free and takes off running. He gets stopped by a cop who remembers him from Pop's Barber Shop. For a second it looks like the cop is either going to shoot him, with Judas rounds, or call for backup but he let's Luke go.

What doesn't make sense is why the paddy wagon stopped for the red light. If they have an important prisoner in the back then I would think they should have the lights and siren on and be going through red lights. I guess the reason they stopped could be because the two officers in the front seat were too engaged in conversation to remember to follow protocol.

Early the next morning Luke stops a hold up at a small convenience store. Method Man, who later talks and raps about the experience on a radio program, is in the shop when Luke walks in and stops the attempted robbery. He helps Luke out by switching hoodies with him and spreading the word about Luke's actions. Soon black men all over Harlem are wearing hoodies with holes in them which helps to confuse the cops. The Larry Davis reference was appropriate but went over my head until I did a Google search.

Shades is in police custody but Misty and Inspector Ridley can't get anything out of him. Eventually Stryker sends a lawyer to bail Shades out of jail. Zip and a couple of Styker's thugs pick up Shades. It looks like they are taking him to meet Styker but then Zip tries to kill him while the other two stand around and watch. Shades manages to get his hands on a gun and kills all three.

Misty gets a bigger role this time around. She bounces around trying to piece things together. She gets a call from Candace, who wants to come clean and testify against Mariah and Shades. Alex, Mariah's assistant, has been keeping an eye on Candace from a distance and reports back to Mariah on her meeting with Misty. Later Misty secretly meets with Luke to compare notes.

Domingo decides the time has come to take down Diamondback. He and a bunch of his boys go to Stryker's warehouse armed to the teeth. Despite having him outnumbered and outgunned, Domingo and his crew end up on the losing side of the fight.

The episode ends with most of the major players converging on Pop's Barber Shop: Luke, Misty, Mariah, Shades, Diamondback. Mariah and Shades want Luke to take down Stryker. They try to bribe Luke with a file on him that should help him to clear his name. Misty wants to arrest Shades and Mariah. Before the conversation gets very far Diamondback shows up in a new suit. Shades tries gunning him down but the suit seems to make him bulletproof. Diamondback says he is the angel of death just before he and Luke charge one another and the episode ends.

Claire did not appear in this episode. She was mentioned at least once. I assume that she will be back in the final episode of the season.

There is some evidence that Misty's arm was injured but by the end of the episode it is hardly apparent that she was injured badly in the prior episode. I suppose there is no telling what may happen to her in the final episode of the season. Maybe they're saving the injury that costs her an arm for the first season of Iron Fist.

There's a lot going on this episode. I'm not sure if everyone is going to survive the end of the season but I will be very disappointed if they don't resolve things between Luke and Stryker. There is some hint that they might be setting things up for the return of Mariah in season 2.

Once again I am very impressed by the music and the way it is used throughout the episode. I wasn't blown away by Method Man's performance at the radio station but it worked very well with the images that were used as he spit lyrics about Luke and Harlem.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

NewsRadio 2.11

Station Sale

Mr. James announces his intention to sell WNYX to Robertson Communications. It turns out that his desire to sell is based primarily his interest in Jane Robertson, CEO of Robertson Communications. She is the latest target to Jimmy's desire.

The A story, described above was a little too sentimental for me. The B story, in which Matthew handcuffs himself to a chair in a misguided attempt to protest Mr. James plans to sell was moderately funny but not enough to make up for the schmaltz in the other story line.

Not my favorite episode by a long shot.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Halt and Catch Fire 2.08


Just as everything is starting to look up for everyone (Joe, Cameron, Donna, Gordon) things come apart.

Mutiny throws a party for their customers/users. Cameron is reticent to come out and mingle but when she finally does she starts to see that it was the community and not the games that mean the most.

Joe and Sarah got married between the end of the last episode and the beginning of this one. They go on a honeymoon, which transpires off camera. Joe's father-in-law hires someone to take Joe's place. Joe tries to be helpful, he seems reluctant to leave. He and Sarah have plans to move to California. After a night of partying which ends with them having sex in the server room at Westgroup, Joe discovers what his replacement is up to, stealing Mutiny.

Gordon has problems of his own that for the most part don't involve the others. The guys working for him quit. Gordon starts to suspect that an former colleague from their days at Cardiff has stolen his idea about building his own computer. He breaks into the guy's garage. It turns out the guy didn't steal his idea, Joe is just a bit paranoid and gets arrested for breaking and entering.

Donna, Cameron, and the rest of the crew at Mutiny are devastated by the theft of their network by Westgroup. Joe tries to apologize and explain that it isn't his fault, but they don't want to hear it and kick him out of the house.

This was a riveting episode. I can't wait to see where the show goes from here

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Rick and Morty 2.07

Big Trouble in Little Sanchez

Rick takes Beth and Jerry to couples therapy on another planet. The couples therapy works but not really as Beth and Jerry inadvertently destroy the couples therapy business and solve the issues in their marriage in the process of preventing super-powered versions of themselves from killing the originals. The super-powered versions of Beth and Jerry were freaky looking.

Back on Earth, Summer convinces Rick to create a teenage version of himself to help them find an destroy a vampire. Tiny Rick, as he calls himself, gets the job done but then wants to stick around. Summer has to convince Morty, who likes having Tiny Rick around, to team up with her to convince Rick that Tiny Rick has to go.

Excellent episode but probably not my number one favorite from this season.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Ant-Man (2015)

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has just been released from prison. He tries to go straight but after getting fired because he is an ex-con he agrees to help Luis (Michael Pena) and his gang break into the home of a rich man. The house they break into belongs to Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the inventor of Pym Particles, who was once the superhero known as Ant-Man. Lang breaks into the vault in Pym's basement but there isn't any money there, just the Ant-Man costume.

Pym and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) recruit Lang to become the new Ant-Man. They need his help to take on Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), Pym's evil protege, who is trying to replicate his mentor's technology and sell it to the highest bidder.

Overall a decent movie. The special effects were good. I liked the premise and the flashbacks to Pym's time as the original Ant-Man. My problem with the movie, mostly the ending, is that everything happened way too quickly.

If it wasn't for the humor I probably wouldn't have enjoyed the movie as much as I did. The humor was much better than the action. Both Rudd and Pena were very funny.

I had a hard time buying that Paxton (Bobby Carnivale), the cop who is married to Lang's ex-wife, would change his mind about Lang that quickly near the end of the movie without some hesitation.

I was disappointed that they teased us with the appearance of the original Wasp (Janet van Dyne) and then didn't have her show up again. According to Pym she is gone but I've got a feeling she will be back, probably in the next movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp, which isn't due to be released until 2018.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Luke Cage 1.11

Now You're Mine

This entire episode takes place inside the club, Harlem's Paradise. Picking up exactly where the previous one left off Luke and Misty escape from behind the bar. They barricade themselves in the kitchen. While Stryker is pulling his resources together, Luke takes them into the basement through a secret passage. For a while they are safe down there as Stryker blows up the kitchen with what looks like a 40mm grenade.

Claire is still upstairs and has become a hostage, one of many still in the club. She meets Candace, the hostess who used to work in the club and was coerced into saying she saw Luke kill Cottonmouth. Candace has a theory about where Luke and Misty have gotten to which she shares with Claire. Somehow Claire convinces the guards to let her go down to the basement to get Candace's medication. Claire takes down the guard who is sent to keep an eye on her and makes contact with Luke and Misty after he punches his way though a wall.

One aspect I had a bit of a problem with is how everyone stayed so far apart from one another. I would think that Diamondback would have his men looking high and low for Cage. I was also a little surprised when he didn't recognize Claire, at the time she became a hostage, although later on he remembers her.

Stryker does his best to convince the cops who have surrounded the club that Luke Cage is the one behind chaos in the club. Inspector Ridley is on the spot and in charge of the police response to what's going on inside Harlem's Paradise but they don't see any real action.

She isn't seen in this episode but behind the scenes Mariah has gone to the mayor and convinced him to arm the police with rounds that are effective against Luke, Judas rounds, which are similar to the ones that Diamondback shot him with a few episodes back. After killing one of the hostages with his power glove Stryker leaves Luke to face the cops. Luke turns himself in and is arrested despite Misty's protests that he is innocent.

It looks like Misty is going to lose the arm, despite Luke and Claire's best efforts. There were moments in this episode when Misty looked a little too fine for someone who has had one of her arms shot to pieces. I think that probably isn't the actor's fault as much as it is that of the team doing makeup for the show. I'll be disappointed if there isn't a brief appearance by Danny Rand, somewhere in the last two episodes, stepping in to offer her the resources of Rand Industries to replace her arm.

More is revealed about why Stryker is out for revenge against Luke. Maybe it isn't new information but they seemed to put it very succinctly this time around. It is now clear why Luke's half-brother hates him so. I get a definite Jacob and Esau type vibe from their relationship. Also revealed, first in an off-hand remark by Luke and then more explicitly by Diamondback, is that Luke served in the Marines and was in Force Recon,

Shades has a great line which is a call back to Different Strokes, although he delivers it very differently from how it was delivered on the classic sitcom.

The assistant ADA from the Season 2 of Daredevil, Blake Tower, shows up for the first time since that season. According to imdb, it looks like this is his one and only appearance in this season of Luke Cage. There was a Blake Tower in the comic books but he was white. He first appeared in Daredevil (1964) 129. He also had a few appearances in Power Man and Iron Fist, including the final issue of that series, 125. Most of his appearances in comic books were in the 1970s and 1980s.

Despite my nitpicks I really enjoyed this episode. I loved the tension, not knowing exactly how things would turn out.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

NewsRadio 2.10

The Negotiation

Matthew gets a meaningless promotion but he sees it differently. Bill has a lot of fun at Matthew's expense but Matthew is so into his new role that he doesn't notice the tricks that Bill is perpetrating.

Lisa is moved by Matthew's promotion to try out for a job in TV journalism. She takes a swing at being an MTV VJ and blows it big time when she's interviewing Anthrax.

Mr. James has decided that it is time to get married. He is attracted to the accountant he has hired to audit the books but gets all tongue-tied around her.

Best moment is the marriage negotiation scene. It isn't exactly the centerpiece of the episode so I'm not sure why that title was chosen for this episode. I wonder what if any alternate titles were rejected.

The pranks Bill plays on Matthew and the manner in which he does them were also great.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Flash 1.07

Power Outage

Barry loses his powers after he confronts a metahuman with electrical powers. Farouk, the metahuman, tracks down Barry and Dr. Wells at STAR Labs. He blames Dr, Wells for the death of his two friends who he accidentally killed on the fateful night when he gained his powers. Dr. Wells releases Tony, the bully from the previous episode, hoping that he can provide a distraction while the STAR Labs team tries to figure out how to restore Barry's powers.

The Clock King is being held at Central City Police Headquarters temporarily when he escapes from police custody. He takes some hostages including Joe and Iris West. Eddie isn't one of the hostages but he tries to take down the Clock King only to get badly wounded by the villain. In the end Iris saves the day although it isn't exactly clear how she took down the Clock King.

At STAR Labs, Tony is killed by Farouk. Barry regains his superpowers. Farouk is defeated by Barry when he tries again to drain Barry's powers. Farouk is killed in the process of doing so. It is the act of draining Barry's powers and not something that Barry does that defeats him. Afterwards it is explained that Barry's DNA has changed and that's what did Farouk in.

In the scene where Farouk confronts Dr. Wells, the doctor names a number of people who dies on the night that Barry and Farouk got their powers. A number of the names were familiar (from comic books) but the only ones that stuck with me are Ralph Dibney, Ronnie Raymond, and Al Rothstein.

In the final scene Dr. Wells is seen taking a blood sample from the body of Farouk. He says something about wanting to know what it is like to steal the powers of the Flash,

Over all a good but not great episode. I did like the twin stories. Neither of them was great but the way they unfolded kept me on the edge of my seat eager to see what happened in the end.


Two more thoughts:

Joe West didn't get to be much of a featured player in this episode. His one moment that I liked was the look on his face after Iris noticed that Barry's favorite mug was broken. Joe was the one who dropped it, on purpose, to test and see if Barry really had lost his speed.

Eddie has a second moment, the first being in the previous episode, when he sees Barry do something faster than should have been humanly possible. All of this has to be leading up to him discovering that Barry is the Flash and then getting super powers himself and becoming a super-villain.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Frasier 1.10


Frasier accidentally convinces Bulldog that he is about to get fired. Bulldog flips out and quits.

One of the lesser episodes to date. There were some chuckles but the humor didn't measure up to the high standard set by the previous episode.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Halt and Catch Fire 2.07

Working for the Clampdown

Joe makes Mutiny an offer on behalf of his employer, his future father-in-law, who wants to buy Mutiny. Cameron isn't receptive to the offer even though Boz and Donna both want to hear Joe out. The past isn't just the past for Cameron, it shaped her and she still lives with it. She still bears a fair amount of acrimony towards Joe for the way things ended between them.

It is more complicated than that. Cameron built Mutiny from the ground up. It is her's. She isn't ready to and may never be ready to give it up. Joe tries to apply pressure by meeting with first Boz and then Tom separately. He gets to them. They are loyal to Cameron but when asked by her they can't repress their feelings completely. Even though they ultimately side with Cameron, it is clear from their words and facial expressions that they might have taken up Joe on his office if they were in charge.

Gordon starts a new project on a new product. He gets some former coworkers to pitch in  and they build a machine much faster than they ever did before. This is after he finally levels with Donna and tells her about his health problem. She does not reciprocate, she does not tell him about her abortion. She begins to worry about Gordon and there is evidence that there is good reason to worry.

Joe's relationship with Sarah looks like it is ready to crash on the rocks. She wants him to leave her father's company and start his own. He is reluctant at first but after seeing how serious she is and how Mr. Wheeler plans to go back on some of the promises to Mutiny once they have signed he changes his mind. He levels with Cameron who at this point is wondering if she made the wrong call when she initially rejected the offer to buy Mutiny. It was a very emotional decision for her at that point. Joe gives her some very rational reasons why selling Mutiny to Wheeler is not a good idea.

Malcolm has a romantic interest in a guy who with whom he is chatting online. Malcolm believes the other guy is similarly interested in him. Things turn out badly when he goes to meet the guy. It was a trap. The guy on the other end was baiting him and when he shows up he gets beat up pretty badly by a bunch of guys and winds up in the hospital. The meetup and the beating happen off camera. This incident is part of what sways Cameron to consider selling Mutiny before Joe pushes her back to her original position.

Joe tries to patch up things with Sarah. He tells her that he wants them to get married. She insists that it be right away. She wants him to run away with her and start his own company. He agrees to it but I've got a feeling that this relationship isn't going to last, primarily based on the fact that the actress who plays Sarah isn't part of the regular cast anymore following this season.

The juxtaposition of Joe and Sarah's relationship with that of Donna and Gordon was an interesting one. Both relationships are going through some turmoil but for different reasons.

A very good episode which shows things bursting at the seams for most of the main characters. Somethings have gotta give and I'm pretty sure that they will in more than one case before the end of the season.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Star Trek: The Next Generation 5.25

The Inner Light

The Enterprise encounters an alien probe which knocks Captain Picard unconscious with a beam. While he is unconscious Captain Picard dreams he is living on Kataan, the planet from which it is eventually determined the probe originated. He lives out the rest of his life, another 30+ years, on Kataan. He remembers his life before Kataan but slowly grows to accept that there is no going back. He is married, has children and grandchildren, and lives a happy life. This is of course all an illusion induced by the probe. The 30+ years transpire in just 25 minutes in the real world as Captain Picard learns once the probe releases him.

I wasn't terribly moved by this episode until the end. Up to that point I was getting a little bored with it. I didn't anticipate the reason why the probe did what it did or the heartfelt way in which it revealed it's reason to him.

The entire episode from the time Picard falls unconscious until the moment he wakes up is not just about him. There are also a number of scenes on the bridge of the Enterprise as the crew try to break the probe's hold on the captain. Each time the focus returned to Picard another 5 to 10 years seemed to passed in his life.

There was a moment towards the end of the episode where Picard reveals that he knows that Kataan is doomed. For about 30 seconds I wondered if he was going to be the Jor-El of Kataan, the scientist who knows that the planet is doomed but no one believes, but then it was revealed that the others agreed with his conclusion that the planet was doomed.

I may have seen this episode before. I'm not sure. I've certainly heard about it and it lived up to the hype. I doubt that I would call this my favorite episode but it got to me and that's definitely worth something.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Luke Cage 1.10

Take It Personal

Luke and Claire spend most of the episode in Georgia. The episode begins with Dr. Burtein and Claire trying to dig the shrapnel out of Luke. They have a hell of time opening him up to get at the shrapnel and almost kill him before they can start operating on him. Even after he has recovered he is haunted by memories of Reva, in part because of things Dr. Burstein says which lead him to question his memories of her.

Mariah and Diamondback stir things up in Harlem. Stryker frames Luke by killing a cop using a super-powered glove in front of several witnesses. The police department does not take kindly to this. Among the suspects brought in during the search for Cage is young boy in his early teens. He gets in a violent argument with a cop which ends with the kid going to the hospital. Mariah uses this incident to stir things up some more.

Luke and Claire travel to Savannah, where Luke grew up. Standing in the now rundown church that his grandfather founded he has a couple flashbacks to his youth. He understands now that Diamondback is his brother, same father different mother. He also understands now why Stryker hates him so, because their father hated Stryker and has transferred that hatred to Luke.

Misty remains unconvinced that Luke is the one who killed Cottonmouth or the cop.She sits on the sidelines for most of the episode. Towards the end she shows up at Harlem's Paradise at a rally organized by Mariah. Stryker is also in attendance. Luke shows up after the rally is already in full swing. Misty tries to arrest Stryker but he shoots her. Luke rushes in a saves her for the moment. The episode ends with the two of them crouched behind the bar at Harlem's paradise under fire from some of Stryker or Mariah's thugs.

Much better than the last episode, although Misty did sit around for much of this episode.The operation to extract the shrapnel from Luke went fast. I'm undecided as to whether it should have been stretched out but it seemed to go a little more smoothly than I am sure a similar operation on a non-super-powered being would go.

In the scene where Stryker shoots Misty it looks like the bullets hit her in the shoulder. I'm wondering if this is going to be the injury that is going to result in her losing her arm and getting it replaced with a bionic one. Hard to tell at this point.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

NewsRadio 2.09


- Dave hires Sandi, a temp, to help Beth reorganize the station's files; Sandi (Bebe Neuwirth) turns out to be an old friend of Beth's (or maybe frenemy would be a better way to put it, although I don't believe that term was in popular usage at the time this show first aired); Dave and Lisa don't believe Beth when she tells them about her past with Sandi so to prove her point Beth pretends to be romantically interested in Matthew which leads to Sandi also showing a romantic interest in Matthew; Matthew enjoys the amorous attention while it lasts is very confused when it suddenly ends after Beth and Sandi apologize to one another
- Bill has some trouble with the building's security guards when he forgets his ID on his desk; the security guards are played by Tone Loc and Toby Huss (Boz on Halt and Catch Fire)

- overall a very fun episode
- great group of guest stars; Bebe Neuwirth was wonderful as Sandi; I remembered Tone Loc played one of the security guards but I didn't recall Toby Huss and it took me a moment to recognize him under the beard; the pair of them appear in one more episode together in this season and Huss appears in one other episode in the final season playing a different character

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

30 Rock 2.12

Subway Hero

- Liz almost reunites with her ex-boyfriend, Dennis, after he saves someone on the subway and then Jack insists that she get him for TGS
- Jack tries to get Tracy to be the new face of the Republican party
- Tim Conway makes a guest appearance as an aging comedian with all sorts of inappropriate stories

- very funny; pleasantly surprised to see Dennis return; the Republican party shenanigans were also chuckle-worthy, especially the commercial Tracy ended up making

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Frasier 1.09

Selling Out

- Frasier gets approached by Bebe Glazer, an agent, after making a commercial for a local restaurant; thanks to Bebe he makes a number of commercials but gets uncomfortable after agreeing to do a commercial for nuts
- I had not thought about her in years but I remembered Bebe as soon as she started talking; I checked on imdb and she only appeared on 11 episodes total, roughly speaking once per season; she definitely added to this episode; every scene she was in was great
- possibly my favorite episode so far

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rick and Morty 2.06

The Ricks Must Be Crazy

- Rick and Morty travel into a microverse in Rick's car battery to figure out why it isn't working; turns out the people of the world Rick created are following the lead of Zeep, their smartest scientist, who has developed an alternate method of generating power by creating his own microverse which is very similar to the one that he comes from
- Rick and Morty left Summer behind in the car, which Rick has programmed to defend Summer; after the car kills one man and paralyzes another Summer does what she can to get the car to not do anything violent

- possibly my favorite episode; loved the worlds within worlds within worlds concept; loved how Rick and Zeep are so similar and yet can't get along
- lots of little gags in addition to the framework of the story also worked real well for me

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

- I kind of wish that I hadn't waited quite so long to see this movie; I read the book a few years after the movie was originally released but it has probably been about 15 years since I read it at this point and don't recall many of the details; in other words I'm not sure how faithful the movie was to the book
- On the whole my impression is that the movie had about the same tone as the book; Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is a dark character and he gets away with things; the movie provided a taste of what Ripley goes through as he murders and impersonates other people, notably Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law); for a moment towards the end it felt like the focus shifted towards Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) and her suspicions about Tom; in the end it felt like Ripley was almost superhuman and unstoppable, I have no recollection of that from the book
- It felt a bit like two movies in one; the first hour leads up to the murder of Dickie and built the relationship between the two men; the last hour and twenty minutes felt a bit ocer stuffed, considering how much was packed into them; the story might work better as a one season 6 to 10 hour tv series
- I wasn't completely sold on Ripley's ability to impersonate Dickie; the story is set in the 1950s, I think, and security wasn't then what it is today but still for the most part I didn't really notice a difference in the mannerisms of Ripley when he was pretending to be Dickie as opposed to playing himself
- the cinematography was gorgeous; most of the movie took place in Italy; my recollection is that a heavier portion of the story took place in Venice in the book than in the movie but as I said before it has been about 15 years since I read the book
- the music was wonderful; I especially liked the scenes in the jazz clubs but all around the music was very evocative and helped to set the mood
- I felt that the performances were all good or better than just good; I liked how the first hour slowly unfolded and am not a big fan of how the storytelling shifts in the second half; on the whole not bad but not great either, except for the music and cinematography, of course

Friday, November 25, 2016

NewsRadio 2.08

The Shrink

- Everyone in the office is on edge and Dave can't seem to get them to calm down; Dave takes Mr. James advice and brings in a therapist, Dr. Frank (John Ritter); Dave quickly gets annoyed by Dr. Frank because he seems to soothe everyone by offering the same advice as Dave, and then he discovers something about Dr. Frank that no one else seems to know
- the b-plot is about Bill and the cubicle he has built around his desk
- lots of smiles and a few laughs; they went a little overboard with the canned laughter; John Ritter was great as Dr. Frank

Luke Cage 1.09


- Luke escapes from the trash truck; eventually he makes his way to Claire but along the way he has a run in with a couple cops who try to take him in; even though he is still suffering from being shot twice with special explosive rounds he is more than a match for the two police officers; the incident is caught on video and the recoding soon goes viral; Claire and Luke head to Georgia to find Dr. Burstein, who experimented on him at Seagate prison
- Misty spends the entire episode being interrogated, mostly by a police psychiatrist; she opens up a little bit, tells a story from her past about a friend of hers who was raped and murdered; she also reflects on the moment when Diamondback almost killed her with her own gun; later Inspector Ridley talks to Misty in the interrogation room
- Mariah takes Shades advice and organizes a sit down with Domingo and four other gang leaders about transitioning operations to them; Stryker interrupts the meeting; before it is over most of the gang leaders are dead and Diamondback has a new found respect for Mariah

- DWYCK = Do What You Can Kid
- I miss Cottonmouth; he was a much more psychologically complex character than Diamondback
- Overall not bad but this felt like another inbetweener, like the show is building to something big and taking its time getting there; it all feels important and relevant but it is just moving a little more slowly than I would like it to; maybe if there were some good milestone moments or the episode felt like it had its own arc instead of being just a piece of the arc of the season then I would have felt more satisfied after watching this one

30 Rock 2.11

MILF Island

- On the same night as the finale of NBC's hit reality TV show, MILF Island, Jack isolates the staff in a room together after the New York Post printed negative comments about him attributed to an anonymous staff writer
- Very funny; lots of laughs but it felt a bit cheap using scantily clad women in the way they did on this episode

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Frasier 1.08

Beloved Infidel

- Frasier and Niles see Marty having dinner with a woman who used to be a friend of the family and suspect that the two had an affair 30 years ago; their father reluctantly confirms their suspicions but it is later revealed that it was their mother who was having an affair with the woman's husband
- a decent episode with plenty of humor but that ends on a serious note

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Galaxy Quest (1999)

- fun but not great
- former cast of a classic science fiction tv series travel into space thanks to some technology provided by friendly aliens who believe them to actually be the characters they played on televsion; the crew travels through a black hole where they encounter some not-so-friendly aliens and are forced to become the characters they played on TV in order to save the day and make it home alive
- the name of the movie and the look of the old TV show are obvious references to Star Trek

- Sam Rockwell steals every scene he is in playing the guy who played Crew Man #6 on one episode of the classic TV show; his fear, that reality is going to mirror the TV show and that he will die, manifests itself on more than one occasion
- Tony Shaloub is great as the chief engineer who falls in love with one of the aliens and seems totally nonplussed by all the things they encounter in space
- It was great that they got Sigourney Weaver to be in this movie but they really didn't give her enough to do
- Enrico Colantoni was also great in his role as the leader of the friendly aliens who were completely guileless and helpless against the not-so-friendly aliens
- Tim Allen and Alan Rickman were good in their roles but nothing special

- definitely not required viewing for Star Trek fans; I think the movie tried to hit a few too many marks and suffered because of that; I thought about Space Balls (a Star Wars spoof) while I was watching this and think that at the end of the day or movie I prefer the way that one was set up and played; Galaxy Quest has its moments but it doesn't compare favorably to Space Balls
- what this movie could have used more of is characters like the ones that I mentioned above and less of Tim Allen who really didn't measure up to the better performances in this movie

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mary Tyler Moore 1.07

Assistant Wanted, Female

- I can't remember if I have ever watched an entire episode of Mary Tyler Moore before; I chose to watch this one after listening to the episode of Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast in which he interviewed John Amos, who appeared on a number of episodes of the show; that got me curious so I wanted to see one of those episodes; this may have not been the best one to pick; even though it was the first episode on which he appeared because he had a very small role and only a couple lines
- the episode centers around Mary's decision to hire her neighbor Phyllis to be her assistant; it turns out to be a very bad decision, partly because Phyllis isn't good at following orders and partly because Mary isn't very good at giving them; on the whole this was a fun episode and I might try another one although at present they only have the first 3 of 7 seasons available on Hulu

Point Break (1991)

Point Break (1991)

I first saw Point Break in the theater 25 years ago when it was first released during the summer of 1991 in Jacksonville, NC. I was stationed at Camp LeJeune. I was there for infantry school. I graduated from boot camp on June 21. On July 2, after 10 days of leave, I reported to Camp LeJeune for the first of two phases of infantry training. I recall that T2 was released on July 4 but I didn't get to see it until I was done with MCT, Marine Combat Training. It took me a little longer than the usual 4 weeks to complete that course because I got bit by a tick and came down with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It wasn't until after MCT that I got liberty and was able to leave base.

I saw Point Break twice that summer. The first time in town, the second time in a theater on base with a buddy of mine named Case. I don't recall if I saw it with him the first time. We were both training to be mortarmen. We graduated in early October and were both sent to the Marine Barracks in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We were split up and I didn't see him much over the next year we were stationed there. I was on one side of the base and he was on the other. I lost track of him after that. I was sent to an infantry unit stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA. I'm not sure where he was sent but it was probably to an infantry unit at Camp LeJeune. I haven't seen or heard from him since.

This was a fun movie to rewatch. I've seen it a number of times over the years but it has probably been at least 10 years since I last watched it in its entirety. Keanu Reeves acting is laughable at best. Patrick Swayze is pretty good in the role of Bodhi and most of the other performances (Gary Busey, John C. McGinley, Lori Petty) are solidly good. It was fun to spot some actors in bit parts who's names I didn't know at the time I first saw it.

The real draw here was the stunts and how they were filmed and strung together through the plot of the movie. I think the other thing I liked about this movie at the time and still do is the relationship between Johnny and Bodhi. It is handled a bit ham-fisted but I like how even though they are on opposite sides of the law they share this bond over something. It isn't so much what they both love (thrill-seeking) but that they are able to overcome their differences and bond over it. I love the ending how Johnny lets Bodhi go and then throws away his badge, especially in 91 I think it meant a lot to me as someone who was getting a bit fedup with having to take orders all the time. Their relationship also makes me think of other movies that have at their core a similar sort of relationship, namely One-Eyed Jacks and Tequila Sunrise.

Point Break isn't a masterpiece and although I would watch it again in a heartbeat, I probably won't anytime soon.

Finally, a little bit of serendipity. I started to watch this the other night on a whim. I didn't finish watching it then but the next day I learned that it was going to be covered on the Bald Movies podcast.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Luke Cage 1.08

Blowin' Up the Spot

- Misty Knight and other police officers come to investigate the death of Cottonmouth; Shades does what he can to help Mariah overcome her shock and cover up her part in her cousin's murder; the evidence clearly doesn't match up with Mariah's story or the story provided by Candace, an employee of the club, but Misty is forced to investigate Candace' allegation that Luke Cage murdered Cottonmouth
- Claire tries to get Luke to safety after he took an explosive, high powered round to the gut at the end of the last episode; she gets an ambulance to tranport them to a clinic but before they can get to the clinic the sniper, Diamonback aka Willis Stryker, strikes again and the pair are forced to flee on foot
- Misty and Diamondback, separately, trace Claire and Luke to the clinic; Luke finally gets to face his assailant face to face; he is still injured but even injured he is much stronger that Stryker; Stryker gets the jump on Misty and for a moment it looks like he is going to kill her; Luke trails Diamondback to an old abandoned theater; they duke it out; Diamondback escapes; Luke passes out
- Misty has taken Claire into custody and she is questioned at a police station; Misty goes a little too far, Claire isn't being cooperative, and doesn't seem to get any useful information out of Claire; Misty still doesn't know about Luke's past; the way things are going I get the impression that Misty is going to be off the police force before the end of the season
- Luke awakens the next morning and goes looking for Diamondback again but Styrker finds him and shoots him with the high-powered rifle, knocking him into a trash truck

- once again the music is quite impressive; love how it is used; I especially like the music and the way the scenes are shot in the old movie theater
- this was a bit of an in betweener but I like how it is setting things up for things to come
- one reveal is that Luke and Diamondback have a past; they grew up together; possibly in the same household; Luke's father was a minister; Luke took the fall for something that Diamondback did; that's how he wound up in Seagate, that's my read of the back and forth conversation between Luke and Willis; Luke admits to not being the friend he should have been but it is still unclear why Diamondback wants to kill him, especially if Luke took the blame for something that Stryker should have gone to prison for; I get the impression that it is a personal score, and that Stryker's feelings toward Luke go beyond the bounds of rational thinking; it maybe that he is and has for quite some time been jealous of Luke

- in one of the scenes where Stryker is stalking Luke and Claire there is a very obvious reference made to The Warriors (1979)
- in one scene where Luke and Claire are alone talking he mentions how his father used to call him Power Man; I'm not sure if the anecdote cones from the comics or is something that was made up for the series

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Frasier 1.07

Call Me Irresponsible

- Frasier counsels Marco, a caller into his radio show, that dumping Catherine, his girlfriend, might be the best thing for both of them; soon thereafter Frasier meets and starts dating Katherine; soon thereafter Frasier's conscience starts bothering him and he breaks it off with Katherine
- good but not great; more Niles than any other member of the cast of the show

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sing Street (2016)

- Conor, a 15-year-old boy living in Dublin, forms a band after trying to impress Raphina, a girl he meets, by telling her he has one; the band goes through a number of looks and musical styles; they make videos with Raphina; Conor gets bullied at school by the headmaster and the school bully; Conor's parents marriage is on the rocks; he has a lot going on in his life
- at times this movie was a bit too "feel good" for me but for the most part I really liked it; there was a good mix of humor and drama; the music was integral to the movie, it was the glue that kept the film together; if not for the music I doubt I would have liked it as much as I did
- I like how they didn't try to explain everything in the movie especially because some of the leaps happened way too fast

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Samurai Jack 2.13

Jack's Sandals

- Jack is enjoying a nice relaxing day, soaking his feet in a stream, reminiscing about his youth, making himself a new hat when some bikers come along and destroy his sandals; Jack chases them to the city where he catches them busting up a shoe store; he tries fighting the bikers barefoot but quickly discovers the perils of doing so; the bikers are so amused that they just drive away laughing
- the store owner repays Jack's act of kindness by offering to outfit him with a few pair of shoes; Jack tries several pairs but none seem to work although there's plenty of humor in his attempts to make them work; finally he spots a kid wearing sandals very similar to the pair that were broken early in the episode; he follows the kid back to his home where he meets the family and shares a meal with them; after dinner the father makes Jack a new pair of sandals

- there was a nice stretch of about 4 minutes at the beginning of the episodes that is completely wordless and much of the second half of the episode when Jack is trying out different pairs of footwear is also without dialogue
- the shoe salesman was very energetic and earnest, he even stands up to the bikers when they first show up
- Aku showed up in little ways: the traffic lights were shaped like his head; one of the signs at the shoe store advertised Aku Air shoes
- this one was a lot of fun

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Star Trek: The Next Generation 5.24

The Next Phase

- The Enterprise comes to the rescue of a Romulan ship; in the process of transporting Lt Commander La Forge and Ensign Ro seem to disappear; everyone believes them to be dead but they are just out of phase with the Enterprise
- The Romulans thank the Enterprise for the assistance they receive by planting a device on board which will blow up the Enterprise once it attempts to warp away from the area; only La Forge and Ro know about it but they can't communicate with anyone other than each other even though they can see and hear everyone else
- While they attempt to find a way to communicate with the crew of the Enterprise they are attacked by a Romulan who is also out of phase with everyone else
- Ensign Ro (Michelle Forbes) is a recurring character who appeared mostly in the 5th season of the show; this is her final appearance in the 5th season; she also appeared in one episode of the 6th season and one of the 7th season; this might be the first episode with her that I have ever seen

- Pretty good, not great but fun; it was interesting to see how Geordie and Ro each responded differently to their dilemma
- As with many episodes of the series the plot was pushed a little too quickly in places; I have to question how fast the Captain Picard and the others gave up on La Forge and Ro still being alive; I thought that Geordie would find someway to intelligently communicate with Data and was a little disappointed that never happened
- I wonder how this one was shot; some of the scenes must have been shot using green screen technology but I wonder if Ro and La Forge were there in most of the scenes where they were hanging around other who were oblivious to their presence

Friday, November 11, 2016

Luke Cage 1.07


- lots of focus on Mariah and Cottonmouth in this one including some flashbacks to when they were younger and growing up in Mama Mabel's house; Cottonmouth seems to finally get under Luke's skin by threatening to reveal his secret, that he is an escaped convict; it might have worked if not for Claire showing him that what he perceives as a weakness is actually a strength in Harlem
- Luke takes Claire's advice and tries the vigilante role, like Daredevil whom she refers to in passing when she is giving him a pep talk; Luke goes after and recovers the guns which are currently in in the possession of Domingo. another boss man who was seen earlier in the season; he turns the guns over to Misty but refuses to tell her everything; Misty does not know about his former life or name, she only knows him as Luke Cage
- Shades isn't happy with Cottonmouth's method of dealing with Cage and turns to Mariah; he helps to remind her of how things used to be and who she was which leads to her confronting Cottonmouth and in a fit of anger killing him; I wasn't expecting that; I loved the argument they were having before she went a little nuts; it showed them as both being very real and three-dimensional, as people who aren't just driven by one thing or one emotion
- Diamondback, a new villain is also introduced and plays a crucial role in the final scene; what information there was given about him through dialogue went past a little too quickly for me to catch; he has been mentioned before and has a past history with Mariah and Cottonmouth which was probably best described at competitive
- a definite transition episode as Cottonmouth and Captain Audrey both exit the story in this episode Diamondback and Inspector Ridley are introduced
- not a perfect episode or a great one but it had some moments that I really liked (the flashbacks, the scene I mentioned above); I loved the music in this one especially how the tone of it changed in the flashbacks

Frasier 1.06

The Crucible

- Frasier learns the hard way, after throwing a cocktail party for an eccentric artist, that she didn't paint the piece of art on his wall; he unsuccessfully tries to get the art gallery from which he bought it to take it back and refund his money
- Marty and Roz meet for the first time see Frasier's apartment for the first time
- more silliness involving Niles mooning over Daphne; she still seems oblivious to his feelings

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Rick and Morty 2.05

Get Schwifty

- Earth gets pulled into an intergalactic reality show (like Eurovision or American Idol) run by a race of big giant heads; Rick and Morty end up being the representatives of Earth after all the other musical artists with the exception of Ice-T get killed; the first song they come up with is Get Schwifty; Morty loses his nerve after he learns that Earth will be destroyed if they lose; he grabs Ricks inter-dimensional portal device and runs off
- by far the funniest part of the episode is what happens to Summer and her parents (Jerry and Beth); fearing that world might be destroyed by big giant heads they wind up in church; one leads to another and they all end up part of a new religion that worships the big giant heads, exiles people by tying them to helium balloons and letting them float up to the big giant heads, and has them wearing weird hats
- I thought this one was funny as hell

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Flash 1.06

The Flash Is Born

- another metahuman appears on the scene in Central City; this one is a bully from Barry and Iris' past; he can turn his body into steel; he tracks Iris down through her blog about the "streak" which she won't give up despite the Flash's continued requests that she do so
- Flash gets beaten up pretty good the first time he tries taking on the Tony (aka bully); Cisco figures out that what Barry needs to do is hit Tony while he is running at mach 1.1 which should temporarily neutralize Tony's powers
- Barry gets teamed up with Eddie while they are looking for information on Tony; Barry uses his super speed to get ahead of a suspect who is trying to flee; I've gotta a feeling that is going to come back to haunt Barry because I think that may later be a clue for Eddie as to who Barry really is
- Joe continues to investigate the murder of Barry's mother; he interrogates Dr. Wells who has something to hide and probably knows something about the death of Barry's mother but doesn't crack and resents Joe's questions and his approach; after a bit of tiff, Joe apologizes and tries to make it up to Dr. Wells bu buying him a bottle of scotch; at the very end of the episode Joe gets a visit from someone moving at super speed who presumably is not Barry and threatens Iris life if Joe doesn't stop his investigation; my first guess about the identity of the yellow speedster is Reverse Flash but maybe there's some misdirection going on here and it will turn out to be someone else

- fun episode, better than the last one; love how they continue to expand the season long story line

Frasier 1.05

Here's Looking at You

- Martin starts a long-distance relationship with a woman in another building, with some help from Daphne and a telescope that Frasier bought him; the woman's name is Irene and she also has a telescope; Martin is very reluctant to meet Irene but after a disastrous encounter with Maris' Aunt Patrice and a pep talk from Daphne he nervously decides to go out with Irene

- the episode ends with Martin opening the door to meet Irene face to face for the first time except that you can't see or hear Irene; the final camera shot is from Irene's point of view

- not great but good; David Hyde Pierce can be very funny as Niles but I don't find his scenes with Frasier in the coffee shop (in this episode and prior ones) to be as funny as the canned laughter leads me to believe that they are intended to be

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

30 Rock 2.10

- Jack is supposed to be buying a German television network but runs off to spend some time with his girlfriend and leaves Liz in charge of the deal; Liz relies on her woeful command of the German language and ends up selling NBC to the Germans
- Ken gets addicted to coffee after he tries it for the first time
- Liz decides to buy an apartment; the apartment is great but getting approval from the co-op board proves to be an obstacle

- great episode; loved the musical number at the end

Monday, November 7, 2016

Halt and Catch Fire 2.06


- Mr. Wheeler, Joe's father-in-law to be, backs him into a corner and forces him to increase the rate that Mutiny is getting; although he seems opposed to it at first he applies the thumbscrews and gets Donna to agree to a reduced rate only if Mutiny can meet certain benchmarks; Donna, Cameron, and the mutiny crew balk at one of the benchmarks and attempt to fake it; Joe proves to be smarter than they gave him credit for and finds their deception; instead of being disappointed he is impressed but he doesn't tell them that
- Gordon takes his kids and goes to California to visit his brother's family; things are not good for his brother; Gordon is still agonizing over his diagnosis which he had yet to tell Donna about; it is eating away at him so much that he cheats on Donna with his brother's high school girlfriend
- Donna has yet to tell Gordon about being pregnant but she does tell her mother about it although she lies and tells her that she had a miscarriage; Donna also shares her news with Cameron just before going to a Planned Parenthood office, presumably for an abortion
- loved the tension in this one, especially in the negotiations between Joe and Donna; the production team did a good job of bait and switch, making it look like it was going to go one way and then having it go another way
- I am still very eager to see where this season winds up and how they get there

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Samurai Jack 2.12

XXV: Jack and the Spartans

- a little different in that it is a story of Jack coming to help others and the story is told as though it happened long ago
- Jack helps the Spartans defeat a robo-minotaur army but the leader of the Spartans knows that the robots will return soon; Jack tells them of a passageway he recently discovered; the king of the Spartans takes 50 of his men plus Jack through the passageway; they attack and defeat the evil robot (is there any other kind on this show?) behind the robo-minotaur army
- at the end the Spartans don't know what happened to Jack; all that they have left of him is his shield

- this story must have been inspired by 300 by Frank Miller or at lthe very least by the same story that inspired the comic book; the comic book came out in 1998, five years before this episode which predated the 300 movie by three years

- the scene where Jack and the king fight the giant robot is great; I love how the fight progresses especially after the king starts using Jack's sword
- there are a lot of nits one could pick with this episode, especially with the climbing scenes, but they work and the show works in large part because it has an emotional heart

Secret Diary of a Call Girl 1.05

- Something old, something new; that should have been the title of this episode if they gave the episodes of this show titles
- Hanna's relationship with Ben, her ex and her best friend, is on the rocks since she told him what she does for a living
- Hanna's agent convinces her to do a threesome (which she has never done before) with another girl (Naomi) and her oldest client (Ashok); Hanna is a bit reluctant but mostly because she doesn't really get along very well with other women; the threesome goes well; Hanna and Naomi start hanging out; everything is great until she learns that her regular appointment with Ashok for the following week has been canceled because Naomi will be taking her place
- Hanna turns to Ben for support, they hang, it goes well, things are starting to look up again between the two of them

- it was interesting watching how things rolled; for a brief moment everything was going great with Naomi, and then it turned out that Naomi was just playing her, or at least that's the way it seems in retrospect; Hanna seemed to think she was turning a corner but it looks as though she wasn't
- similarly, but in reverse, it looks at though everything was broken between Hanna and Ben but then it wasn't
- not a particularly titillating episode; the threesome seemed very perfunctory; the focus here was on Hanna and Ben; Naomi and the threesome were an agent of change that pushed Hanna back toward Ben

Friday, November 4, 2016

Luke Cage 1.06

Suckas Need Bodyguards

- Detective Scarfe's meeting with Cottonmouth goes south when he asks for more money for the guns he is about to turn over to him; Scarfe gets shot by Cottonmouth with his own gun; Cottonmouth leaves him for dead but he makes it to Pop's Barber Shop
- Luke runs into Claire Temple in a diner; he doesn't recognize or remember her and she has to refresh his memory; they wind up going back to Pop's where they find Scarfe, badly injured; Scarfe insists that he cannot go to a hospital so Claire does her best to fix him up; she pulls one bullet out of his leg but is unable to extract the one in his gut; Scarfe agrees to help them take down Cottonmouth and even reveals that he's the one who killed Chico which leads to Luke almost crushing his throat
- Mariah, Cottonmouth's sister or cousin, I'm a little unclear as to what her familial relationship is to him, counsels Cottonmouth about how to make deal with Cage; she shows that she is thinking much more clearly than he is as she suggests a number of ways to kill a man (drowning, poison, etc.) who is bulletproof
- Misty work with Lieutenant Perez to find Scarfe; although she doesn't know it, Perez is working for Cottonmouth, just like Scarfe; before the episode is over she fools him into revealing his hand; they get into a fight in the car which she comes out the victor
- Luke and Claire attempt to get Scarfe to police headquarters after doing what they can for him and retrieving his notebook from his apartment; they get chased by some of Cottonmouth's crew; they meet up with Misty just before Scarfe dies from his wounds
- Shades did not appear in this episode but he was mentioned; Trish Walker aka Patsy Walker (last seen in Season 1 of Jessica Jones) appeared in this episode in that her radio program (Trish Talks) was heard in the opening scene as Luke is jogging through the city

- I'm not completely okay with the way that Scarfe is redeemed in this episode; he killed Chico in cold blood in episode 3; what's revealed in this episode is that Scafe had a son who accidentally killed himself using Scarfe's gun; the suggestion is that this is what led to Scarfe losing his way and working for Cottonmouth; fine, I don't have a problem with that but I do have a problem with the thrust of the episode being Scarfe's redemption which I don't see as being complete; he didn't really do anything until he was on death's door; he did something and that's better than sticking to his guns but it could also be argued that he did what he did and revealed what he revealed in this episode to get back at Cottonmouth for shooting him
- Misty seems as thought she has some sort of superpower that allows her to get impressions of things that happened; maybe it is just the way the show is being shot but that's the impression I got from the scene where Knight and Perez search Scarfe's apartment before staking out the building; to my knowledge, and I'm not an expert, she never had any superpowers in the comic books unless you count her bionic arm; there has been no evidence to date on the Netflix show that she has a bionic arm
- the death of Scarfe and the budding relationship between Claire and Luke made this episode feel like the end of an act or arc, similar to the capture of Frank Castle and the introduction of Elektra in season 2 of Daredevil
- overall not my favorite episode but I will continue to watch and hope that future episodes appeal to me more than this one did