Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mad Men 7.13

The Milk and Honey Route

- Don continues his road trip and winds up stopping in Oklahoma for longer than planned when his car breaks down; Don meets Andy, an opportunistic young man, who gets Don into trouble with the local American Legion lodge after he spends the night drinking with them; they think Don stole the money from a fundraiser, but that was Andy's doing; Instead of turning Andy in, Don gets the money back, returns it to one of the lodge member, and then leaves town; he gives Andy a ride to the edge of town and then gives him his car

- Pete is approached by Duck who hasn't been seen since the final episode of Season 6 when he tried romancing Peggy; Duck sets Pete up on an interview with Lear Jet without telling him that's what it is; Pete isn't really interested but then starts to see the possibility of getting back together with Trudy

- Betty finds out she has lung cancer; it is beyond the operable stage; she is very calm about the diagnosis and wants to keep the information to herself but Henry doesn't respect her wishes and tells Sally; the truth of the situation doesn't sink in for Sally until she reads the note her mother gives her to read after she passes

- odd choice for the ending music, a Buddy Holly song: Everyday. Usually the songs are from the era that the episode takes place, which is definitely not here; there must be some coded message that I'm not getting
- not quite as satisfying for or interesting to me as the previous episode but it still had its moments
- one more episode to go

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Adventure Time 4.04

Dream of Love

- Tree Trunks and Pig have fallen in love
- after promising not to go overboard with public displays of affection they do just the opposite, which seems to gross out everyone and also upsets Finn and Jake because it means Tree Trunks doesn't have enough time to bake them apple pies
- so-so episode; not great, now awful, I laughed a little bit

Monday, August 29, 2016

Casual 2.10


- Val stays away from home, with Jack; they pretend to be newlyweds and crash a high school reunion; its great until it isn't, towards the end of the episode
- Alex watches as his life continues to fall apart; Alex tries to tell Sarah that he doesn't want her anymore but it isn't until her mother and sister come to visit that in in a moment of desperation he agrees with them which opens Sarah's eyes to he really feels about her
- Alex tries repeatedly to get Val's attention and help but she doesn't respond to his voice mail or texts until he sends one from Laura's phone, not realizing that it is her brother and not her daughter who needs her until she gets home; it is after that when things come apart for Val and Jack, and Alex and Sarah
- Laura hangs with Spencer, who seems a little put out by her appetites; he admits to wanting more than sex but she can't seem to reciprocate

- not sure I liked this one as much as the last one but it was solidly good

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Samurai Jack 2.04

XVII: Jack and the Scotsman II

- Jack helps the Scotsman rescue his wife
- not as subtle as some episodes but it still brought a smile to my face on more than one occasion
- it lacked the delicacy, wit, and creativity that most of my favorite episodes of this show have

UnREAL 1.07


- another solid episode; the focus of this flows out of the tragedy that occurred at the end of the previous episode
- there is lots of finger pointing and self-flagellation over what happened; Rachel and Shia each have their reasons for feeling culpable; Rachel doesn't know Shia's reason until Shia spills the beans; once Quinn learns what Shia was up to she has Jay secure her in a hotel room until the press has cooled down
- Quinn and Rachel quickly go into damage control mode; against orders from the corporate lawyers they start to put together some interviews to make it clear what kind of man Kirk, Mary's ex, is; they don't want to see him profiting in any way from the tragedy; in the end they even get Mary's sister in on the act; they keep Chet and everyone else in the dark about Shia's role in the tragedy
- Adam is very hard on Rachel, for good reason as she is very close lipped about what happened and what circumstances led up to the tragedy; the other contestants react to the tragedy in a variety of ways; Maya decides she has had enough and leaves the show
- Rachel has sex with Jeremy (in the trailer where she has been sleeping) the night after the tragedy and sneaks into Adam's bed the next night
- Chet tells Quinn he has left his wife

- the whole episode was very moving and tense, there weren't a lot of laughs in this one

Friday, August 26, 2016

Community 1.22

The Art of Discourse

- after Jeff and Britta get dissed by a trio of high school students they start scheming how to get back at them
- Abed gets some help from Troy checking things off his bucket list
- Pierce insults Shirley and gets kicked out of the group
- ends with a food fight and an Animal Party like series of updates

- meh; I could have done without this one; it really didn't do anything for me; seems like it was aimed at a younger audience; much less intelligent episode than many of the other ones

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mad Men 7.12

Lost Horizon

- the principal players at Sterling Cooper have trouble settling in at McCann Erickson
- Don walks out of a meeting (that is being led by someone who is telling a story just like he tells stories) and heads for Wisconsin in search of Diana but comes up empty handed
- Roger doesn't want to leave the old building, so he stays at the old office for as long as possible; he hangs with Peggy who doesn't have an office yet at ME; they share a few drinks; he tells some stories and plays some tunes on an organ; they have a very real feeling conversation about what it was like working at Sterling Cooper over the years; there's a great, surreal moment when she skates around the office while he plays a tune, it is both funny and sad; eventually her office is ready and by the end of the episode they have both arrived at ME HQ
- Joan runs into a brick wall; I wish I could say this surprised me but considering how she was treated in the last episode I'm not; after complaining about one of her new employees who botches a conference call with a client (Avon) she gets a whole lot of unwanted attention from one of the principal players at ME, Ferg Donnelly; he says he is there to help but it is clear that he wants more from her; it is creepy, to say the least; Joan tries talking to Jim Hobart, the president of ME, about it but he doesn't want to hear it and doesn't respond well to her threats of legal action; in the end she takes half of what they owe her ($500K) to leave
- Pete and Ted only appear briefly in this episode and only have a few lines; Stan isn't in it at all

- another homerun
- I love the culture clash; seeing the difference between the two companies and how it impacts different people in different ways
- love, love this episode and this season
- I love the moment when Peggy walks in to ME with the painting Roger gave her, smoking a cigarette, and wearing shades; too awesome
- love the choice to use David Bowie's Space Oddity for the music at the end
- just two episodes left *sigh*

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Casual 2.09

The Lake

- Alex is an idiot
- while Sarah is hanging at his place, Alex gets slapped with a lawsuit from Jordan; he tries to get his business partner to help him but instead he loses his stake in Snooger for pennies on the dollar; first Jordan buys out his partner for $2.5M and then buys Alex out for $65K
- Laura pisses off Aubrey; Aubrey puts two and two together and figures out that Laura and Spencer have been sleeping together behind her back; when Aubrey confronts her Laura kind of just shrugs her shoulders and says she lost interest
- Val goes on a road trip with Jack to a lake; it was his idea to go somewhere but she picked the place to go; for most of the trip she is on her phone trying to help Alex fix things; it takes most of the episode for her to loosen up and drop her phone and acknowledge Jack's presence

- Alex seems to be coasting downhill at this point; I don't think Sarah will stick around for the long term
- Val's relationship with Jack probably won't last; I just don't think that she and Jack mesh well in the long run; at least he seems to be a positive influence in that he encourages her to relax and have a little fun
- Laura will probably end up alone; whether that will be because Spencer dies or just dumps her I'm not sure

Monday, August 22, 2016

Samurai Jack 2.03

XVI: Jack and the Smackback

- Jack is captured and forced to fight in the Dome of Doom

- not a whole lot I can think to say about this one; the story isn't very complex and is somewhat repetitive but on the whole it is a fun gladiator type episode
- most of the fun and originality is found in the champions that Jack must fight
- the fight choreography is also good
- love the look and sound of the Dome's announcer
- love the name the announcer gives Jack: Two Sandals the Treacherous

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

UnREAL 1.06


- This episode revolves around Mary; there was ground work laid in previous episodes, mostly in the one immediately preceding this one, and it all paid off here
- Mary's daughter, sister, niece, nephew come to visit her on the set in advance of her date that night with Adam; everything goes wrong for Mary; there are a number of contributing factors: (a) Shia replaced Mary's med with something else last episode, (b) Mary has started drinking again, (c) Quinn and Chet have a bet as to whether Mary will make it beyond the date which leads them both to get other to do things that impact Mary's fragile state of mind, (d) Chet has Anna interrupt Adam's visit with Mary and her daughter, (e) Quinn has Rachel invite Mary's ex on the set without telling her he is coming
- in the end it all blows up in Mary's face and she takes very drastic measures; it wasn't the end I was expecting and totally made up for what I thought was an okay episode but not great at the halfway point; I'm not sure if I would say it was great now but it was pretty damn good
- I can't wait to see what this does to the cast and crew of Everlasting

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mad Men 7.11

Time & Life

- Word comes down that McCann Erickson is going to absorb Sterling Cooper
- before meeting with their corporate overlords and after getting bummed out about it, Dom suggests they move to the west coast office
- so they drum up some new business to pitch to McCann Erickson only to discover that McCann Erickson doesn't want to discuss it and they promise all the top people (Roger, Don, Pete, Ted) top accounts; Joan is overlooked in this pitch
- Pete tells Peggy about the impending move to absorb Sterling Cooper; Peggy stews over Pete's news for a while; at first she thinks about leaving but a headhunter advises her that her best move is to stay for a few years and after mulling it over that's what she decides to do
- Peggy tells Stan about what Pete told her; she and Stan have an interesting chat in which she reveals that she had a baby who she gave away
- at first the top management at Sterling Cooper are knocked for a loop by McCann Erickson's statement, then they celebrate but then rumors start flying around the office and they have to say something to the staff, who don't take the news very well, which is where the episode ends

- another damn good episode
- I think this may have been the first time Peggy has admitted that she had a baby on screen; I found it to be very moving
- I noticed this one was directed by Jared Harris who was part of the cast for 35 episodes from 2009 to 2012 and played the part of the British CFO, Lane Pryce; not only is this the only episode of Mad Men he directed, according to IMdb it is his only directorial credit

Monday, August 15, 2016

Community 1.21

Contemporary American Poultry

- Abed temporarily usurps Jeff and becomes leader of the study group as they infiltrate the school cafeteria and start an operation distributing chicken fingers (the only decent thing the cafeteria serves) to the masses in return for favors
- all the characters get their moments but Jeff and Abed are at the center of it all
- I loved the commitment to the joke; it felt like a parody of a gangster film and I really liked that
- possibly my favorite episode up to this point

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Casual 2.08

The Magpie

- reality sets in or at least the honeymoon is over
- Alex has sex with Sarah, again, but it comes at a cost: Jordan finds out and promises to dismantle Snooger after building it up; the episode ends with Alex in bed with Sarah once again
- Laura and Aubrey want different things; Laura wants sex; Aubrey wants more than sex; Laura plans another threesome with Aubrey and Spencer but after thinking about it cuts Aubrey out of the triangle
- Val flails about until Jack returns; Jennifer is no help; Val needs more stability in a relationship than Jack seems to offer but she goes back to him anyway

- this episode felt a little more in line with what I want to see
- all three leads look like they are headed for heartbreak or maybe I'm misreading the map I see before me but it won't be much of a season if they all get what they want

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Samurai Jack 2.02

XV: Jack Tales

Tale 1
- Jack encounters a double-headed, wish-granting sea serpent; after attempting to answer its questions correctly he gets swallowed by the beast; the episode ends with Jack in the belly of the beast, surrounded by a large group of scraggly looking old men

Tale 2
- Jack is approached and then attacked by a family of 4; they are drawn to his sword; eventually they turn on one another as they are revealed to be robots in disguise

Tale 3
- Jack seeks a fairy that grants wishes; the fairy is the prisoner of a gargoyle; Jack unsuccessfully attempts to take the fairy when the gargoyle is sleeping; he defeats the gargoyle but then has to use his wish on something other than a doorway back to the past
- love the use of panels in this one
- love how Jack thinks he knows better and by not listening to the fairy only make the situation worse
- love the bittersweet ending

- Unusual approach to an episode, although I think it may have been done on a couple more occasions
- nice episode but not even close to being my favorite

Sunday, August 7, 2016

UnREAL 1.05


- Once again, three tracks

- On one track we have Rachel and Jeremy tagging along as Adam goes home to Mississippi with Faith to visit her grandmother; Rachel is encouraged to get Faith to give up her virginity to Adam while on the trip; instead she winds up coming out and admitting that she is in love with her best friend, Amy; some of her confession is caught on camera; Rachel tries to intercept the recording but is unable to do so; she turns to Jay for help but he is too busy trying to please Chet to help Rachel and Faith
- there is a lot of tension in this one over whether Faith's on camera confession will go live or not; at first Rachel is happy with herself for getting Faith to come out but then she gets nervous that Faith will ruin it by coming out in front of the whole town, who very likely won't be anywhere near as understanding as Rachel or Amy; then there's the tension over what will happen to the footage of her confession
- Rachel's still not over Jeremy as is demonstrated in two scenes, one with him, and the other where she is in bed alone getting off to their sex tape; Jeremy on the other hand doesn't feel the same magnetic pull; in the hot and heavy scene they have together he starts to make out with her but then he has second thoughts before things get too far and walks off

- on the second track Quinn presses forward with a lawsuit against Chet; after her lawyer advises her that she doesn't have a strong case against Chet she decides to pursue a different angle and goes after him for palimony; in the end, after a bit of back and forth maneuvering, Chet gives in and gives Quinn what she wants, a 40% share in the show; Quinn seems satisfied

- on the third track Mary gets pushed by a few people to stand up for herself; first it is Shia who starts off by pushing her to start drinking and then sneaks into Mary's room and messes with her medication; after that Mary gets a visit from Quinn who has been drinking and is still in the middle of her legal tussle with Chet; Mary ends up confessing on camera in a very bold way to Adam about her past; which seems to play in her favor because Adam picks her for the next home date; at the end of the episode we see her drinking; between the alcohol and the spiked medication I don't envision this ending well for Mary

- Another solid episode; I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and maybe it will before this is all over but so far I am still very impressed by this show

- I've got no idea how this will all end; probably not well; I have trouble imagining how season two could measure up to this one

Star Trek: The Next Generation 6.21

Frame of Mind

- Commander Riker is in the midst of preparing for the performance of a play; in the play Riker is playing a patient in mental institution who murdered someone and Data plays the doctor who is treating him; Dr. Crusher is directing the play; whie taking a break from rehearsing Riker is informed that he is needed for a search and rescue mission
- before taking off on the mission Riker and Data perform the play for a small audience; Riker begins to have hallucinations of a crew member that isn't on the Enterprise; then he is in a mental institution and can't remember his name, then he back on the Enterprise; the story whips back and forth between the two locations making it very difficult to determine what is real and what is not
- this is a done-in-one, there is a resolution which resolves the question of what actually happened

- this episode really messed with my head; it was a wild ride; it kept me guessing right up until the reveal at the end
- Susanna Thompson didn't have a very big role in this story and looks nothing like she does on Arrow; she plays an alien and is wearing a fair amount of prosthetic makeup
- Jonathan Frakes was great in this episode, very convincing even when he was rehearsing for the play at the beginning of the episode
- this episode made me think of Existenz, a virtual reality film written and directed by David Cronenberg in which similarly it became increasingly difficult to tell if the main characters were still in the VR environment or not

- a little background on what brought me to watch this episode; I listened to a recent episode of the Daily Rios yesterday in which Peter was talking about the back half of Season 1 of Arrow; one of the subjects that came up was some of Susanna Thompson's (Moira Queen) previous roles; he mentioned an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space 9; I decided to look her up on imdb and found that she had also appeared on The Next Generation and Voyager, playing different roles on each show
- she appeared on two episodes of TNG but this is the one that I chose to watch, in part because it reminded me of a story I heard about on a recent episode of Word Balloon from an original series novel or fan film which sounded a bit like the one sentence description of this episode that I found on Netflix: Riker begins to question reality when he finds himself in an insane asylum and faces the prospect that his life on the Enterprise is a delusion
- I started watching the episode thinking I would just dip my toe in the water and finish watching it later; I quickly got sucked in and felt compelled to stick with it

Friday, August 5, 2016

Battlestar Galactica (1978) 1.02

Saga of a Star World - Part 2

- Apollo and Boomer solve part of the hunger crisis when they discover one ship that is hoarding food; the ship is controlled by Sire Uri, a member of the council of twelve who isn't very understanding when Apollo insists that he share his food with the starving people on other ships
- After some debate and some more unsolicited input from Apollo, the Council of Twelve decide the fleet should head for Carillon in the hopes that they will be able to refuel and resupply there
- the fleet arrives on Carillon and sends down two teams to scout the planet; the first team (Starbuck, Boomer) discovers a casino resort where no one seems to know about what happened to Caprica and the rest of the 12 colonies; Starbuck smells an opportunity to make some money and acts on it despite Boomer's warning that things seem a little strange at the casino resort
- the second team (Apollo, Jolly, Serina, Boxey) head in a different direction and encounter some alien life forms who look vaguely insectoid
- some thing goes horribly wrong at the casino resort at the very end of the episode but what it is exactly isn't revealed in this episode

- there's also a couple other subplots; one involves Starbuck and Cassiopeia; another is about snapping Boxey out of his funk over losing his pet

- still not great
- I know Starbuck is supposed to be the lovable rogue but I find him to be more icky than lovable
- the Council of Twelve looked considerably more diverse in the previous episode; in this episode it seems to consist of only white folks, more specifically white men; I'm pretty sure it was all male in the previous episode
- the Cylons do appear but only briefly and there are no fights between the Cylons and Humanity

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Community 1.20

The Science of Illusion

- a bit of an oddball title since the focus of this episode is April Fool's Day
- the group fools Pierce into thinking he is a wizard, or do they?
- Britta decides to play a prank on Senor Chang but instead ends up killing a frog and pushing a dead body out of a window and into the quad; Jeff gets accused of breaking into the lab and pushing the body out the window after Britta frames him for the crime
- Annie and Shirley sign up to be temporary campus security and end up getting into a fight over who is the bigger bad ass; Abed follows them around narrating, directing, and sometimes inserting himeslf into their adventures as campus police

- overall a pretty good episode

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Casual 2.07


- Laura talks Aubrey into having a threesome with her and Spencer; Laura wants to do it because Spencer has cancer and only has 6 months to live; in the previous episode Laura and Aubrey took some pictures of themselves in their underwear for him, but that didn't seem to do it for him; Aubrey doesn't seem to enthused about the idea of a threesome but goes along with it; the final scene with all three of them which looks like it is post-threesome seems awkward
- Alex continues to date Fallon and flaunt the relationship in front of Jordan and Sarah; he learns that Fallon is with him for essentially the same reason he is with her; she is trying to get at Jordan whom she says she is emotionally involved with; after Jordan and Fallon get into an argument at Jordan and Sarah's engagement party, Sarah shows up at Alex's house in tears, and they start kissing
- Val starts ignoring Harry and sleeping with Jack; Harry represents security, Jack is excitement

- I'm interested to see the damage that the threesome has done to Laura's relationship with Aubrey; everything does not seem good at the end of the episode; it also isn't clear exactly what happened, who did what to whom; and so on and so forth
- Does Alex really want Sarah back? I'm really not sure; I wonder if Alex knows what he really wants; I don't think he thinks that far ahead
- Val seems to be trying to live a lot more recklessly than she has in the past; she seems to be trying to follow Jennifer's advice from a couple episodes ago and live for the moment; ultimately I doubt that it is going to get her what she wants, which isn't to say that Harry is the right guy for her but that she is experimenting and at the moment doesn't seem to be in control of her own life; she seems to be acting in a reactive manner rather than a proactive one; what happens when Jack is no longer exciting?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mad Men 7.10

The Forecast

- The year is 1970

- Don is trying to sell his unfurnished apartment; his real estate agent isn't hopeful about the prospect of selling it as is; the episode ends with Don coming home only to find that she has sold it to a couple
- Joan starts a relationship with an older retired gentleman; she meets him when she is in the Los Angeles office; he follows her back to New York; the ride is a little bumpy but by the end of the episode things are looking good
- Sally has to deal with her childhood friend (Glen) joining the army; he looks much thinner than he did the last time I recall seeing him but I recognized him right away; he tries hitting on Betty when Sally is away but Betty; later in the episode Sally snaps at Don for turning on the charm when one of her friends flirts with him
- Peggy tries to get Don to do her performance evaluation but winds up storming out of his office in frustration when he wanders off topic and gets philosophical on her
- John, one of the younger ad men, botches a sales pitch with a client and turns to Don for advice; Don counsels him on how to handle the situation; instead of following Don't advice John tries using a line from a story that Don told him and it blows up in his face

- excellent episode
- broke my heart to see the confrontation between Don and Sally at the bus terminal; the tragic part of that scene and the preceding one in the restaurant was seeing how quickly the old wound was reopened; the look on Sally's face as Don started to ooze charm said it all
- I was very happy that Betty didn't respond receptively to Glen's advances; for a moment there it seemed like what she wanted; in hindsight I think she wanted Glen's attention much more than she did a roll in the hay with him
- I completely lost track of time while watching this one, a sure sign that I was digging it