Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Maron 4.03

The Field Trip

Marc is still in rehab. The rehab group goes on a field trip to his old neighborhood. He meets the guy who bought his house after the bank repossessed it. Mark acts like a dick and maybe grows up a little bit. It looks like this might be the end of the rehab arc but if so then what comes next? Does Marc rebuild his life? Can he?

Good episode. I really liked how Marc interacted with the other members of the rehab group and how they interacted with one another.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Flash 1.11

The Sound and the Fury

Dr. Wells gets attacked at home by someone from his past, Hartley Rathaway. Wells isn't injured in the attack but lots of glass is shattered. It turns out that Rathaway is using some sort of sonic technology as a weapon. Rathaway used to be a protege of Dr. Wells but they had a falling out, ostensibly over the reactor which gave so many people their powers, including Barry, but it is hinted that there may be other reasons. Rathaway warned Wells that the reactor was unsafe but Wells insisted on proceding with it.

Rathaway and Cisco have a past too. They butted heads from the first day that Cisco started working at STAR Labs. Their relationship is still just as contentious now as it was when they first met. Rathaway names himself the Pied Piper which annoys Cisco who claims that he gives out the names, but then admits that it isn't a bad choice.

There is something about the way that Rathaway acts in the flashbacks that along with other things that are said lead me to wonder if he had a romantic relationship with Dr. Wells. It may not have been something that lasted but he is gay and does act a bit like a spurned lover.

Rathaway allows himself to be captured by the Flash during their first encounter. After they have locked him up he breaks out and breaks into STAR Labs computer system. The information he stole allows him to augment his sonic weaponry to make it much more dangerous to the Flash. In their final battle it is only thanks to the intervention of Dr. Wells that the Flash survives.

Iris, away from the fighting, gets a job at Central City Picture News. She wants to distance herself from her blog about the Flash but it quickly becomes clear that her editor wants her to write stories about Flash. She is paired with a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who at least as first seems annoyed that he has to help her learn the ropes.

Joe doesn't play a big part in this episode but towards the end he talks to Eddie about investigating Dr. Wells. He thinks that there is something suspicious about the man, especially how he survived the attack on his home unscathed despite being confined to a wheelchair. Eddie seems eager to help Joe in this project. I think I am starting to see now how Eddie will become the Reverse Flash.

There are lots of little nuggets of information dropped in this episode in addition to the ones mentioned above. Dr. Wells uses his speed powers but they only work briefly. In the reveal at the end of the episode he is seen trying to augment them using a device. Rathaway tells Cisco at the end of the episode that he knows what happened to and where to find Ronnie Raymond.

I really liked this episode.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Orange Is the New Black 1.07

Blood Donut

The WAC meet with Healy for the first time. They get donuts, they make suggestions, but nothing changes. There's no money to implement the changes that they want.

Watson gets out of shoe, solitary. She figures out that it was Chapman who was responsible for the missing screwdriver but she doesn't tell on her. Watson also gets the backstory spotlight. She was a track star in high school but she wanted more. She wanted to be accepted. One thug tried to talk her out of hanging out with the wrong element but the next one she met wasn't as noble-hearted. She ended up taking the fall for a robbery.

Healey makes a deal with Chapman that if she can find the camera he will re open the running field. She leaps at the chance and turns in the cell phone she found. Healey doesn't deliver, instead he insists she tell him who had the camera. She refuses to tell him. What I want to know is how the camera had any juice if it was being kept in a hole in the wall.

Piper tries to be nice to Alex. Alex gives her the cold should but later on she stands up for Piper when Pensatucky keeps badmouthing her behind her back. On the outside Larry acts pathetic and flirts with a bartender. Things are definitely headed down that road.

Fischer, the new CO, knows Chapman from somewhere. Turns out Chapman used to buy groceries at the store where Fischer worked when she was a teen. Chapman bonds with Fischer somehow that connection leads to the field getting reopened. It is unclear exactly what transpired between Chapman and Fischer and Fischer and Caputo but there's a trail of bread crumbs that points to it. All that Healey knows is that Caputo uses the same reasoning for reopening the field that Chapman tried using on him. I think this spells trouble for Chapman. I think she's on Healey's shit list now.

Other stuff happens. Yoga Jones confronts Watson over her outbursts and ends up slapping her when Watson says something that is probably a little too close to the truth for Jones. Mendez finds out that Bennett has gotten laid but Bennett doesn't tell him the whole story. Red gets a visit from Mendez who wants her people to smuggle in some stuff for him. I really like the way these story threads get layered in together. It is hard to believe that I am halfway through the season.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Justice League Unlimited 3.13


An appropriate title for the final episode of the final season.

This episode is all out war. There is very little preamble. There is a brief explanation for what happened at the end of last episode and how the villains survived and made it back to Earth so quickly. Before the Justice League has time to consider what Luthor is telling them Darkseid attacks. Although Superman balks at the idea at first, the Justice League teams up with the super-villains to battle the forces of Apokolips.

There are lots of cameos in the battle scenes from heroes who have not been seen before or only seen rarely in the past. Most of the battle scenes are dialogue free. One thing that I noticed after the fact is that the invading forces consist of just Darkseid and hordes of parademons. In the last episode, when Darkseid returns to Apokolips he encountered many of his followers. None of them show up in this episode, which is a little disappointing.

The battles between the hero/villain groups and the forces of Apokolips occur in various places around the Earth including Tokyo, Metropolis, Paris, Washington DC, and the Great Wall of China.

Luthor joins Superman and Batman in attacking Darkseid's flagship just over Metropolis. Superman takes on Darkseid more or less on his own. The Daily Planet building becomes their battleground and is more or less destroyed in the process of the fight. Batman and Luthor get a few hits in on Darkseid but for the most part he sees them as an annoyance. Superman is Darkseid's number one target.

The battle between Superman and Darksied leads to a great monologue by Superman about how he usually has to restrain himself for fear of killing others but Darkseid is strong enough that Superman won't have to be careful. So he punches Darkseid through a few buildings. Darkseid isn't hurt badly but it's very possible that someone else might have been. Funny how the collateral damage is ignored at moments like this one and the one where the Daily Planet building was destroyed.

Wonder Woman, Shining Knight, and Star Sapphire team-up to battle parademons along the Great Wall of China. It is there that they encounter a former member of the League who left earlier in the season. They don't recognize him at first because he doesn't look like he used to.

Metron shows up in the midst of the battle in Metropolis. Luthor asks him for help. Metron takes Luthor to the Source Wall but warns him that only a 12th level intellect has a hope of surviving the Source Wall. Luthor is not impressed and dives through it. This whole sequence from the time Metron showed up in this episode reminded me a bit of the part of the original Galactus trilogy when the Watcher told the Human Torch about the Ultimate Nullifier and how to get his hands on it.

Luthor emerges from the Source Wall with the Anti-Life Equation and uses it to save the day. Admittedly it is a deus ex machina but there's something appropriate about it, not just the fact that it proves to be Darkseid's undoing but that it is Luthor that retrieves it and that is also seems to be his undoing too.

In some ways this episode reminds me a lot of Starcrossed, the 3-part finale to season 2 of Justice League. Once again there is an alien invasion that threatens to destroy the planet and the League needs all the help they can get to defeat the forces of Apokolips.

I wish this story had been a little longer. I would have liked to have seen more of some of the ancillary heroes battling the forces of Apokolips. It would have been nice to see the heroes and villains of Earth going toe to toe with some of Darkseid'd non-parademon henchmen and women. I wanted the scene where Luthor enters the Source Wall to last longer and show more than it did.

What is left hanging at the end is what happened to Luthor and Darkseid. They vanish but what happened to them. Are they dead? Will they ever return? The should, probably, but this is the series finale so that's it. This episode aired in 2006 but the JLU comic book continued until 2008. Based on the covers it looks unlikely that there was any followup in the comic book.

There was a lot here that I didn't remember. I enjoyed the very ending which was just a parade of heroes, some of whom had not appeared before. The parade ends with the Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

Overall Season 3 lived up to my memories of it. I didn't like every episode but I loved the story that ran through most of them and this two-part series finale.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Maron 4.02

Marc's Roommate

Marc wakes up in the rehab center. He tries leaving but ends up returning. Chris, his counselor, is a fan of his and wannabe podcaster who secretly tapes his conversations with patients. Trey, his roommate, is the spoiled son of an unnamed, big shot movie producer. Marc gets into arguments with both of them and by the end of the episode seems to have everyone's number.

As usual not the funniest show but it has its moments. The whole inmate running the asylum bit felt a bit cliched. I'm going to continue watching even if I don't always say the nicest things about this show which I think says something about how I feel about it even if I am unable to clearly express that feeling.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Secret Diary of a Call Girl 1.07

Belle reluctantly accepts Ben's offer to be her partner in a foursome. She tries to talk him out of it but in the end without a better option she accepts him. The night doesn't go exactly as planned but it also doesn't go horribly wrong. Ben doesn't get to do everything he expected he would be called upon to do or in the moment wanted to do. The experience leaves him a bit disgruntled but with a better understanding of what Belle's work is like.

The most interesting part of the episode was watching Ben and wondering if anything would cause him to do something rash. When Belle was making out with the other woman I wondered if the other man would start coming on to Ben and he would freak out but nothing like that happened.

Still don't love this show. Still want to finish off the season. Just one more episode to go.

Parks and Recreation 6.13

Ann and Chris

Leslie throws a big party for Ann and Chris who are leaving Pawnee and moving to Michigan. In typical Leslie fashion the party is completely over the top. Ben agonizes over what gift to give Chris.

Great episode. Lots of fun although Ben's anxiety did get to be a bit much.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Orange Is the New Black 1.06

WAC Pack

The warden decides to reinstate the Women's Administrative Council (WAC). Council elections are held. The prison population is divided into 4 or 5 groups, each of which has elects its own representative. The groups are the White, Black, Hispanic, Seniors, and Others. Healy wants Chapman to be the representative for the White prisoners but she has no interest in doing so. She just wants to maintain a low profile.

Despite her mother's interference, Dayanara continues her romance with CO Bennett. She knows her mother did something. Bennett claims he did not have sex with her mother. It is revealed that he is missing part of his leg, which he presumably lost when he was serving in the army.

Larry visits Piper. He tells her about his article on edging and how his boss wants him to write an article about what her being in prison has done to their relationship. Piper isn't too keen on that idea.

Chapman is still feeling guilty about how she treated Alex. She tries talking to her but can't work up the nerve to apologize.

Nichols kind of gets the backstory spotlight but there isn't a lot to it. She had a mother who was distant. Red is a surrogate mother to her.

Chapman finds a cell phone hidden behind a loose tile in the bathroom. She's pretty sure she know who it belongs to and that it is the device that was used to take pictures of some prisoner's crotch. She tells Larry about it when he is visiting. I've got a bad feeling he is going to use that information in the article he is going to write.

The episode ends with the election results being announced over the PA system. Chapman is announced as one of the winners, even though she didn't run. I've got a feeling that is going to make things very awkward for her going forward.

A decent episode. Not my favorite but it does a nice job of pushing the story forward and expanding picture it is painting of life in Litchfield Penitentiary.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Flash 1.10

Revenge of the Rogues

Captain Cold and Heatwave return. Captain Cold has a plan which seems to involve revealing the existence of the Flash to Central City. Up to now Flash has only been a rumor. Very few people have actually seen him. Heatwave just wants to burn things. This is consistent with the way they have been played in Legends of Tomorrow.

Iris moves out of her Dad's home and moves in with Eddie. Barry chooses to move back in with Joe. Caitlin starts to investigate Firestorm, the name that Ronnie used for himself in 1.09. Her investigation leads her to a grad student named Jason Rusch who drops the name of Dr. Martin Stein. Before she gets any further in her investigation she is kidnapped by Captain Cold and Heatwave. They want to fight the Flash. When he doesn't make it easy to find him they decide to capture an acquaintance of his.

The Flash finally comes out to play. In one of the more contrived plot twists Cisco tells Flash that in order to neutralize their weapons he needs to get them to fire right at each other, cross the streams, just like in Ghostbusters. Instead of Flash figuring it out on the fly the whole end to the fight is telegraphed. When he eventually does get them to cross the streams it is because he has slowed down and they are firing at him with their guns. What's unclear is why their guns aren't doing him any great harm.

Captain Cold and Heatwave are being hauled away by the police to prison. They are arguing when the van is stopped and the back doors open up. They are rescued by someone that Captain Cold refers to as Sis. The way he is acting this is all part of his plan.

Not my favorite episode. Part of it felt a bit forced, probably could have been handled better. Not a bad episode, but a lesser one by this show's standards.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Justice League Unlimited 3.12


Lex Luthor's obsession with reuniting with Brainiac reaches its high point. Tala uses magic to help Lex locate Brainiac, after his own efforts fail. Tala showed him scenes of Brainiac's planetoid blowing up (from Justice League: Twilight). Lex pushes the Legion of Doom to make modifications to their headquarters and then leads them to a far off solar system to find Brainiac.

There is some dissension in the ranks of the Legion of Doom. Tala is convinced that Lex has finally lost it and frees her former lover, Grodd, from the cage where Luthor was keeping him. Grodd leads a revolt against Luthor which ultimately fails and ends with Luthor forcing Grodd out of an airlock.

The remnants of the Legion of Doom locate the missing pieces of Brainiac and reassemble them only to discover that instead of Brainiac they have brought Darkseid back to life.

This is a very supervillain-centric episode of JLU. It is all supervillains until the very end when Luthor and the Legion of Doom return to Earth to tell Superman and the Justice League that they have a problem.

I should probably watch this episode again before watching the series finale. It has probably been more than a decade since I last saw this episode and I'm curious to see if there is anything that I missed this time around. One thing that remains unexplained in my mind is how the supervillains got back to Earth. I thought that Darksaid has destroyed or seriously damaged the Legion of Doom's HQ but maybe I'm just imagining that part.

On the whole a great first part of the series finale. It sets things up nicely for the next episode while at the same time having an arc of its own. The focus is mostly on Luthor, Tala, and Grodd. Most of the other villains hardly get any lines let alone character moments.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Powerless 1.02

Wayne Dream Team

Emily promises a fast delivery on a new product without consulting the rest of her team. Van, Emily's boss, is obsessed with a group photo which only includes his shoulder.

Ugh! I really don't like this show. I've given it two episodes which may not be a fair enough shake but for a show that is supposed to be funny I find very little in it that makes me laugh. For the most part it feels forced. It feels like it is trying to recreate some of the magic from Better Off Ted but failing miserably. Very unsure as to whether I will watch this again.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Orange Is the New Black 1.05

The Chickening

Chapman sees a chicken in the yard. Word spreads about the chicken. Everyone is trying to catch it. They think there is something valuable about the chicken but there are a number of different stories about what makes it valuable.

Sophia tries cozying up to Sister Jane, the nun. She wants her estrogen. She doesn't get what she wants but Sister Jane doesn't hold a grudge against her.

The chapel to the ceiling collapses after a prisoner tries hanging a large cross from a pipe running along the ceiling.

The prisoner-guard romance that has been building since the first episode finally starts to pay dividends. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger (in this episode) as Aleida, Dayanara's mother, who is also a prisoner, interferes by seducing Officer Bennet. It's pretty clear what happens but they have yet to show the fallout from Aleida's actions.

The backstory spotlight in this episode is on Aleida and Dayanara. They show both of them before either of them wind up in prison and also after Aleida gets locked up and Dayanara is still on the outside. The mother went to prison on drug charges. It seems likely based on what was shown that the same is true for the Dayanara.

Larry finds out that Alex is in prison with Piper. Piper lets it slip out when she is asking if he found out whether Alex is the one who gave her name to the police. He isn't happy but he asks his father, who is a lawyer, about it. His father is able to confirm that it was Alex who gave Piper's name to the police but warns him that it won't help Piper to know that. Later in the episode when he is talking to her on the phone he lies when she asks what he has found out. He says it wasn't Alex. Now Piper thinks she didn't treat Alex fairly.

More and more I think that Piper will cheat on Larry with Alex before the end of the season. It might only happen once. She might think it was a big mistake afterward but I think it is going to happen. I also think that Larry is going to cheat on Piper.

The scene with Larry and his parents was by far the funniest of the episode. He tries to tell them he was writing a magazine article about edging. Their reaction was priceless.

Not a perfect episode. I thought the chicken bits were a bit overdone but still a very enjoyable one.

Maron 4.01

Step 1

A lot has changed since the end of season 3. Marc now lives in a storage unit. He is no longer podcasting and is no longer sober. He is taking OxyContin which he is getting from a home healthcare worker he sleeps with. He tries to get his act together by getting Louis CK to work on a project with him but instead he gets checked in to a rehab clinic.

There are some good laughs here. As always this isn't the funniest show around but I like the tone of it. Sometimes it works sometimes doesn't. I would say this episode works for me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Parks and Recreation 6.12

Farmers Market

Leslie wants Ben (as city manager) to ban the guy who sells chard at the farmers market using barely clothed dancers. Ann is flipping out over how nice Chris is being during her pregnancy. Andy agrees to perform at a kids birthday party.

Excellent episode. Nice balance between the three plots.. My personal fave was probably the Ann and Chris plot but all three were fun and funny.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Black-ish 1.06

The Prank King

Dre makes a big deal about Halloween and kind of loses it when his wife and kids no longer want to celebrate the holiday by playing pranks on one another.

Every family has its own little ticks but practical jokes on Halloween was a new one on me.I didn't get or feel the whole Dad trying to force his way on the family. It got old fast. There were a few laughs here, I just had a hard time accepting this one for what it was and enjoying it as is.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Powerless 1.01

Wayne or Lose

This is a sit-com set in the universe of DC Comics. The main character is Emily Locke who has just moved to Charm City to take over the Research and Development Repartment for Wayne Tech. Her first job is to motivate her co-workers to produce something useful.

On the whole I was not impressed. The special effects left a lot to be desired. The humor for the most past felt forced and flat; there was at most 3 jokes that made me laugh; most of the others didn't even bring a smile to my face. I'm not going to give up on this show right away but this episode didn't give me much hope.

OJ: Made in America - Part 5 (2016)

The first 25 minutes are dedicated to the verdict and the immediate aftermath of the verdict of the criminal case against OJ. There are reactions from just about everyone involved in the case and interviewed for the documentary. Most striking about this may be the way in which the verdict divided America. Some people thought it was about the murder of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman whereas for others it was about the bigger issue of a black celebrity getting treated the way a white celebrity would get treated. As one of the jurors who was interviewed for the documentary pointed out, if the prosecution and investigators had handled the case differently and more professionally (not her words exactly but I think this is the gist of what she was getting at) then maybe the verdict would have been different. The other juror who was interviewed for the documentary made it clear that this was all about payback for Rodney King.

The second trial, the civil case brought by the parents of Ron Goldman, gets considerably less coverage is the documentary and presumably in the media at the time than the first trial did. The outcome of the case is that Simpson is held responsible for the deaths of Nicole and Ron and ordered to pay $33 million in damages. Fred Goldman, Ron's father, was interviewed and appeared in both this and the prior two installments. He had quite a bit to say. He understandably will never fully recover from the murder of his son but is for the most part very clear spoken and adamant in his conviction that Simpson deserves to be punished for what he did.

Simpson's life following the second trial, over the next 10 years, goes into what many would see as a downward spiral. Even though he gets custody of his son and daughter from his marriage with Nicole he is far from a responsible parent. He tries to return to being the celebrity he once was but quickly comes to realize that he has been tainted by the criminal case even though he was acquitted. He is able to make money (mostly through signing autographs and celebrity appearances) and does what he can to keep that money from getting used to pay the debt that he owes to the Goldmans.

He moves to Florida where no one seems to care if he murdered Ron and Nicole. He starts hanging out with a more dangerous element. His public behavior becomes more outrageous. He starts dating a woman who to many looks like Nicole.

The final chapter is the incident that landed him jail where he remains to this day. In an effort to recover some of his personal possessions he holds up a sports memorabilia dealer in a Las Vegas casino. The Vegas judge in charge of the case throws the book at him when it comes time for sentencing and he is sent to prison for 33 years. Was what he did armed robbery? Yes, but it is questionable whether he deserved to receive that long a prison sentence for the crimes he committed in Las Vegas.

One of the more interesting characters in this installment, who also appeared in the last couple installments is Mike Gilbert. He was OJ Simpson's agent. He helped OJ during and after the trial. He helped to move lots of OJ's memorabilia and personal possessions out of his home before they could be seized by authorities to help satisfy his debt to the Goldman family. He is implicated by one of the sports memorabilia dealers in this segment for selling off OJ's possessions. He does not respond to this claim. Not discussed in the documentary is his book, How I Helped O.J. Get Away with Murder. He claims that this is something he will have to live with for the rest of his life but the dispassionate way he says it makes me wonder how culpable he feels.

This installment of the series was probably the least satisfying for me. It lacked the juxtaposition of counter narratives found in the earlier installments. In some way OJ, at least as portrayed in this installment became a considerably less compelling personality as he began to indulge himself more and more.

Overall I thought all 7.5 hours plus of the documentary were worth my time but it probably isn't everyone's up of tea. Other opinions exist. I'm glad I watched it but I am ready to move on and watch something else. I don't see myself revisiting this documentary in the future. I think that for the most part my summaries in this blog will suffice to jog my memory in case I do want to revisit the story of OJ Simpson.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Orange Is the New Black 1.04

Imaginary Enemies

Chapman accidentally takes a screwdriver out of the electrical shop. Things go a little crazy in the prison as the guards search everywhere for the missing screwdriver. Chapman tries to return the missing tool but before she can someone takes it. For a moment it looks like that someone is going to use it to kill another prisoner but in the end she is shown using as part of a homemade sex toy.

Miss Claudette, Chapman's roommate, helps her hide the screwdriver temporarily but flips out after she learns that she didn't return it but instead lost it. Chapman grows a little closer to Miss Claudette but the closeness doesn't come easy. Chapman worries that she is going to kill her but in the end it seems like Miss Claudette is impressed with the way Chapman stands up to her, even if she doesn't let the younger woman know how impressed she is.

There is a little bit of drama surrounding a prisoner who is about to be released. She or her lover, most likely her lover, are the ones who I was concerned might be murdered by the inmate who took the screwdriver from Chapman's hiding place.

There is a little more of the budding prisoner guard/prisoner romance. I assume that eventually this will be a major plot point in an episode.

Miss Claudette gets the backstory spotlight in this episode. She came to the USA from a francophone country which I don't believe was identified. She started as a cleaning girl working for a service and worked her way up to the point where she was running the business. The employees were poor young girls, presumably from the same country as she. My first thought was Haiti but there are other countries it could have been. Her crime was killing a man who viciously beat one of the girls.

Nichols has a heart to heart with Alex. She can't get anything out of her about how she knows Chapman but she does manage to fool Chapman into revealing that she slept with Alex.

Larry was not in this episode. Unlike the previous three, with the exception of the flashbacks, this one took place entirely in the prison. There were no flashbacks to Chapman's past.

Overall a solid episode. I want to keep watching.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Justice League Unlimited 3.11

Ancient History

The Shadow Thief strikes again. This time he kidnaps Green Lantern. Vixen and Shayera, his current and former lover, team up to rescue him. Along the way they cross paths with Carter Hall who joins their fight against the Shadow Thief.

The true nature of the Shadow Thief who first appeared in Night of the Hawk (JLU 3.02) is revealed. Hall (aka Hawkman) was also introduced in that episode. It isn't a coincidence that they both made their first appearance in the same episode. There is a tie that binds them together. Shadow Thief knows what it is but Carter Hall has to have it revealed to him.

This is the missing second half of the story that began in Night of the Hawk. As a whole, when you put these two parts together it makes a lot more sense. All that really needs to be understood is that some time has passed between the two halves.

Still not my favorite story but considerably better now that I know, the rest of the story.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Black-ish 1.05

Crime and Punishment

Bo wants Dre to spank Jack after he scared her. Dre agonizes over it, as do his other kids who now worry that spanking is back on the table for all of them, thank to Pops.

Not perfect but this one had some good laughs in it. My favorite sequence was a little over midway through the when Jack was using his cuteness to convince his mother that he didn't need to be spanked. The facial expressions she was making were priceless.