Sunday, April 30, 2017

Flash 1.18

All Star Team Up

Felicity Smoak and Ray Palmer come to Central City for a visit. Ray needs some help with his suit and hopes to get it from the scientists at STAR Labs. It is her third and his first appearance on Flash. While they are in Central City a new villain strikes, the Bug Eyed Bandit. She doesn't have superpowers but controls a swarm of robotic bees  She is out for revenge. Her first two victims are former coworkers. After that she goes after Christina McGee, the head of Mercury Labs. It is her second appearance on Flash. I didn't notice in her first appearance but this is a character from the 1991 Flash TV show. She was a regular member of the cast of that show. She is played by Amanda Pays, the same actress as on the 1991 show.

There is a major subplot involving Eddie and Iris. She can tell that he is hiding something from her. She just doesn't know what it is and that is driving her crazy. Things go from bad to worse over the course of the episode. Barry tries to intercede. For a moment it looks like his one-on-one with Iris might do the trick. In the next-to-last scene in the episode it becomes clear that it doesn't do the trick. She still wants to know what he is hiding from her.

Cisco starts having daydreams in which he sees that Dr. Wells is the Reverse Flash. The dreams are right out of what happened before Barry went back in time a few episodes back. He sees Dr. Wells revealing his true identity and then killing him. It leaves him shaken. I'm starting to wonder if Iris is having similar dreams in which she sees Barry revealing himself to be the Flash before he goes off to save Central City. I wonder if that is why she is pushing Eddie so hard to cough up that which he is hiding from her.

Throughout the episode Barry agonizes over whether he and Joe should tell Cisco and Caitlin about Dr. Wells being the reverse Flash. They don't know everything but they know quite a bit. Barry asks Felicity for advice. He is worried that Caitlin and Cisco are in league with Dr. Wells. Felicity thinks that they are good people and that Barry should trust them. In the end that is exactly what he and Joe do. Caitlin thinks they are crazy until Cisco opens up and talks about the dreams he has been having.

Overall this wasn't a great episode. I think there was a little too much focus on Felicity and Ray. They really didn't need to be in this episode. I don't feel as though they added anything substantial to it. There wasn't as much focus on the villain as there quite often is, I assume that is because Felicity and Ray gobbled up that screen time. Thumbs down for the inclusion of the two visitors from Starling city. Thumbs up for the Eddie and Iris thread and the thread that saw Barry and Cisco open up and share what they know about Dr Wells.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

UnREAL 2.01

War

The 14th season of Everlasting is about to begin. Rachel is now the show runner. Quinn is still her boss. The relationship hasn't changed much. Mostly it is their roles on Everlasting that have changed. Early in the episode they celebrate the new season by each getting a tattoo on one wrist that reads:

Money
Dick
Power

By the end of the episode things aren't quite so rosy.

Darius Beck, the bachelor for the 14th season is a professional football player, a quarterback. He is African-American and the network suits aren't happy about that. Quinn has to play hardball with the network to get her way. She promises ratings and all sorts of drama which will have everyone talking about the show. Rachel has to deliver on Quinn's promises.

There are a number of familiar faces in the supporting cast. Jeremy, the cameraman that Rachel was engaged to once upon a time is still working for the show. Jay, the assistant producer, who tried cozying up to Chet last season is also back.

Chet is back and boy has he changed. He went through a paleo-regime that has him thinking and talking very differently than he did last season. He lost a considerable amount of weight and looks much slimmer than he did during the first season. He is no longer in charge of the show but he isn't about to take that lying down. The title of the episode refers to his attempt to regain control of Everlasting from Quinn.

Madison, the PA, has been promoted. She is now doing the the job Rachel used to do. She isn't great at it. Rachel has to walk her though an interview with a contestant. It seems during the interview that Madison is about to lose it but based on her comment afterwards it sounds like she got a rush from the the experience even though she blew chunks after the interview.

Rachel tries to do run the show right but somethings go wrong. She can't delegate everything. She has to talk Darius into not breaking his contract when he gets cold feet. She goes after Ruby, one of the contestants, who changed her mind at the last minute because it would push back her graduation from university. Things really blow up when Chet lures the bachelor away on the first night of filming. Quinn has seen enough and steps in. She promises to relinquish control once things are back to normal whatever that means. Rachel doesn't look too happy about that but that's where the episode ends.

---

Everything has changed and yet everything feels very familiar. I like it. I had my doubts but I like it. I don't understand how this show does it. It seems like a string of highlights but it works for me.

Part of the appeal for me is that it is essentially a workplace drama. I have a certain affinity for those kinds of shows. I don't like them all. I don't love them all but when they get it right, like this one does, I fall for them hard.

I think part of it is clashes of personalities. In part it is the moral ambiguities that the show navigates. They (Rachel, Quinn, or whomever) do something wrong but there usually is someone there to balance it out, to offer a counterpoint. They don't always say something, sometimes it is just the expression on their face, but their presence gives the show the balance it needs.

Kids on the Slope 1.05

Lullabys of Birdland

Things are still awkward between Kaoru and Ritsouko. Some of the awkwardness is alleviated after they talk briefly through a string telephone. Kaoru tries apologizing, Ritsouko tells him that it was her first kiss.

Yurika definitely has a crush on Junichi. Things are awkward for her when Ritsouko invitees her in to watch a practice session and both Junichi and Sentaro are present.

Kaoru goes to Tokyo so visit his monther. He hasn't seen her in years. Sentaro invites himself along. They try to visit Junichi but his neighbors tell him that they haven't seen him in a while. There are rumors circulating about what happened to him.

Kaoru visit with his mother goes well. He promises to see her again and gives her a copy of Lullabys of Birdland, sung by Chris Connor.

Not an outstanding episode but a good one. It is hard to tell what the show might be building to next. By the end of the episode things seem to be close to back to normal between Kaoru and Ritsuko. There is the mystery of Juichi. Where is he? What's up with him and Yurika?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Iron Fist 1.04

Eight Diagram Dragon Palm

Danny survives the fall from the building. There's no clear explanation as to how. He is found by Ward Meachum, who is the one who pushed him from the building. Harold shows up and talks Ward into letting Danny have back his rightful place at Rand Industries. He tells Danny about how he died and was resurrected by the Hand. He swears Danny to secrecy, he can't tell Joy that her father is still alive.

There were parts of this scene that I thought were pretty weak. I'm not impressed by Finn Jones (Danny Rand). Maybe if the show were written, directed, or produced better they could compensate for the lead actor.

Colleen fights again in the steel cage for money. This time she takes on two guys at once who are both much bigger than her. There's something about the way the steel cage matches are shot that make it very unconvincing to me. I think this may be one case where it is easier in a comic book to get away with having a character with a slight build beat up a larger, tougher looking character.

Joy and Danny get attacked by some Chinatown triad gangsters. Danny fights them off but then goes looking for their boss to find out why they were attacked. The answer he gets ties back to something that happened last episode when Joy talked a businessman into selling a pier to Rand. The Hand was behind that acquisition. The triad were not aware that the Hand was involved. The triad leader apologizes to Danny and quickly backs down when he finds out.

It isn't enough for Harold. Once he finds out about what happened he asks Madame Gao for permission to get retribution for what happened to his daughter. It seems like they are setting Harold up to be the big bad guy in this season. I hope that is not the case. I hope that the confrontation between Danny and Harold happens within the next couple episodes.

I was not impressed by this episode. It exhibited the same sort of problems that I saw in the previous one. The biggest problem is probably the lead actor. I don't find the story to be very compelling or cohesive. Hopefully it will get better in the next nine episodes.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Young Justice 1.01

Independence Day

Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Speedy are brought to the Hall of Justice in Washington, DC for the first time. They are under the impression that they are going to be given full access and going forward be treated as peers by their mentors. They are mistaken. Speedy storms off disgusted, after revealing to the others what Green Arrow told him: the Justice League's real headquarters is secret satellite called the Watch Tower.

The other three stick around but are left behind when their mentors take off on a mission. Robin, Aqualad, and Kid Flash don't sit around for very long. Instead they head to Project Cadmus after getting a report of a fire. After helping to rescue a couple scientists they discover an elevator that goes 52 floors below ground. They also see some things that look very not kosher, including a teenage clone of Superman. He is being kept in what looks like a cryogenic sleep.

After they free the clone he attacks them. They try to talk him down but he is relentless. He keeps fighting with them until he has them all down for the count.

This is my third time watching this season on Young Justice. I really enjoyed it both previous times. This episode is not the best but it does a very nice job of setting the table. The focus is all on the guys in the team. At this point there are no gals on the team but there soon will be.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

NewsRadio 2.19

Presence

Mr. James loses the office coffee maker and Bill in a poker game with another radio station owner. Jimmy gets some help from Lisa (whose relationship with Dave isn't going so hot at the moment) to win Bill back.

This may not be the out and out funniest episode but I love the silliness of the premise behind it all.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Seinfeld 3.03

The Pen

Jerry and Elaine visit with Jerry's parents in Florida. Jerry inadvertently causes trouble when he compliments one of his parents' neighbors. Elaine has some problems of her own.

Not bad but not great either. George and Kramer are not in this episode. Elaine has a great moment with a classic line.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Maron 4.10

Amends

Marc takes his sponsor's advice and starts going around making amends to people that he feels he did wrong. Not everyone wants to listen. Most if not all of the people he apologizes to appeared on earlier seasons of Maron. About halfway through the episode Marc's father shows up. For the most part he isn't very helpful.

There were some good laughs in this one.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Flash 1.17

Tricksters

Who is Dr. Wells? That is the question that is at the center of this episode. One could even say that the title is in part a reference to him. More clearly the title is a reference to The two villains known as the Trickster. The original Trickster (Mark Hamill) is in Iron Heights serving time for his crimes. He has been there for 20 years, give or take. The new Trickster is threatening the city with miniature bombs that pack a real punch.

Joe and Barry go to visit the old Trickster in prison. They hope that he can help catch the new trickster. They interrogate him in a scene that, at least for a moment looks like it was lifted from Silence of the Lambs. Old Trickster is enraged. He send them to his old hideout. They almost get killed by a bomb, I loved Mark Hamill in this role. He plays it a little crazy and at moments seems like he is about to slip into the Joker but he never quite does.

In the opening scene there is a flashback to the night that Barry's mother was killed. The Flash and the Reverse Flash fight in the Allen household. The Reverse Flash escapes but takes quite a beating. He discovers that he has lost the ability to move fast and time travel. He takes off his mask. The face underneath is not that of Dr. Harrison Wells.

I love this twist in the tale because just when it seemed like something had been resolved, who killed Barry's mother, something happens to cast doubt on that theory. Joe and Barry don't have this bit of information yet. They are proceeding under the theory that Dr. Wells is the killer. They have a hard time talking to Dr. Wells, especially Barry. Dr. Wells asks Joe what's bothering Barry? What's wrong is that Barry is having trouble at that moment seeing Dr. Wells as anything other than a killer.

The new Trickster helps the old one to escape from prison. They take a hostage, Henry Allen, Barry's father. They poison the champagne at a fundraiser for the Mayor's re-election. Iris is at the fundraiser. She warns her father, who is at STAR Labs at the time. Barry speeds to the fundraiser but the Tricksters are one step ahead of him. They strap a bomb to his wrist that will detonate if he moves slower than 600 mph. Barry doesn't know what to do so he calls STAR Labs for help.

Four years ago, Dr. Wells and his wife were in a car accident. The man who caused the accident was Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash. Dr. Wells wife is killed and Thawne uses some sort of future tech to kill Dr. Wells and make himself look just like him. So, I guess the answer is both yes and no, Dr. Wells did and did not kill Barry's mother.

Back in the present Dr. Wells advises Flash on how to get rid of the bomb on his wrist. He tells him to phase through a wall, something that Barry doesn't believe is possible. Dr. Wells talks him through it and invokes the name of the Speed Force. I believe this is the first time the Speed Force has been mentioned on the TV show. Barry is torn but follows Dr. Wells advice and it works. Barry goes through the wall but the bomb comes off his wrist. Now Barry isn't sure what to believe. He's convinced that Dr. Wells killed his mother but by the same token he can't deny the good things that Dr. Wells has done. Barry zips back to the party, inoculates everyone from the poison in the Champagne and captures the two Tricksters, This seems like it could be the end of the episode but there is still a little more.

Earlier in the episode Iris separately asked Eddie and the Flash to look into the disappearance of Morgan Bridge. She is convinced that something happened to him. Of course she is correct, she just doesn't know what that something might be. Eddie shrugs it off but the Flash agrees to help her. Towards the end of the episode, after the Tricksters have been captured, Flash and Joe have a meeting with Eddie. Barry takes off his mask and tells Eddie that he has to convince Iris that her coworker is okay. I thought it was kind of sudden for Barry to unmask like that but I guess now that Eddie knows the show could get more interesting.

It was nice to get a one-and-done story. The past few have been two-parters. There was a lot here that got me excited and eager to see how the rest of the season plays out. As usual I thought somethings happened a little too quickly but that didn't diminish my excitement. I love how things sometimes get discovered when two characters (Barry and Joe in this case) just talk something out. Of course it turns out that they only know part of the story.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

UFO Robo Grendizer 1.03

Makiba Farm is in Danger!!!

The night before the big party at the ranch, Daisuke has a nightmare that the Vegans will attack and he will be unable to stop them. The next day the party happens. Danbei unsuccessfully tries to borrow the TFO from Kouji to deliver an invitation to the aliens.

One of the guests at the party, Banta, has the hots for Danbei's daughter, Hikaru. She has no interest in him. She only has eyes for Daisuke and let's him know how she feels. Danbei doesn't want anyone touching his daughter. Based on what I saw in this episode and what I remember of the character, Banta is there mostly for comic relief, just like Danbei with whom he spars quite frequently.

Towards the end of the party the Vegans attack but Grendizer is able to deal with them fairly easily. The Vegans had hoped to learn the location of Grendizer's base but Dr. Umon and the scientists of the Space Science Institute use anti-radar gas to keep the aliens from finding the answer to their question.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

NewsRadio 2.18

The Song Remains the Same

A reporter from the Wall Street Journal interviews Bill. Lisa gets angry when Dave picks Matthew to cover the presidential primary in New Hampshire. Beth is convinced that the guy who just quit had a crush on her. Mr. James plays a few April Fools jokes on the staff of WNYX, even though it is February.

Better than average. A few good laughs.

Seinfeld 3.02

The Truth

Jerry is getting audited by the IRS. George tells his date, who works for the IRS, after he gives her some of Jerry's financial papers, that he thinks she is pretentious. Kramer is dating Elaine's roommate. Elaine does not approve.

Not the funniest episode ever but there were a few good laughs in this one.

George's middle name is Lewis or Louis. I'm not really sure on the exact spelling.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Maron 4.09

Shrink and Kink

Marc goes to a therapist to discuss his problems. The therapist is much younger than Marc. Dave reveals some more tidbits about his wife. Later, Marc gets to see first hand what Dave and Nina are like behind closed doors. Marc runs into his first ex-wife, Steph. She is his therapist's boss.

Not the funniest episode but still a good one, in my book.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Get Out (2017)

I had a fair bit of this movie spoiled by podcasts. It is hard to say what the experience would have been like if I had gone in knowing very little about it. I watched the trailer after I saw the movie and I thought it gave away a little too much.

Basically it is about Chris, an African-American man, who goes with Rose, his Caucasian girlfriend, to visit her parents. They live in a very nice house way out in the boonies. They act a little strange. Things get weirder when a large number of guests show up the next day, not totally unexpected but they really act strange.

Rod, Chris' friend, warned him about going on this trip to the boonies, but Chris didn't listen. He quickly begins to regret that decision. He calls Rod and talks to him. Chris still isn't convinced at this point that Rose's parents and their guests aren't anything more than just a little strange. It more or less stays like that until a camera flash causes something really strange to happen. That's all that I feel comfortable saying. To say anything about the third act, which I knew nothing about going in, would give too much away.

I think what makes the movie work is the gradual shift from uncomfortable to horrific. There is an element that seems a bit supernatural even though it isn't supposed to be.

Most of the movie is spent setting up the obstacle that the hero must overcome.

There is some humor in it but I don't think of it as a funny movie. I may have laughed nervously as much as I did because I was genuinely amused. I recall beating my hands against my knees towards the end of the movie but I can't remember exactly what precipitated that. I just recall being very excited.

I feel safe saying that this isn't everyone's cup of tea but I think it is worth seeing even if it does not sound like something you would normally enjoy. This is not your run of the mill movie, independent or otherwise. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Iron Fist 1.03

Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch

Colleen Wing gets a visit from some guys from Rand Security. They break into her dojo late at night. There is a brief fight wihich she wins and they go scurrying off after warning her that the guy who claims to be Danny Rand has escaped from the mental institution. As they are leaving she spots Danny, hiding on the ceiling. She helps him but insists that he cannot stay long.

Danny visits Joy at her apartment. She apologizes for drugging him and offers him $100 million to walk away from the company his father founded. He turns down her offer.

Danny attempts to re-establish his identity and his claim to the company that bears his name. He contacts Jerry Hogarth, who was his father's lawyer and played a big role in season 1 of Jessica Jones. She promises to help him. They need something to prove Danny's identity but can't seem to find any trace of anything that will help to prove that he is Danny Rand. He tries tracking down some x-rays that were taken after a skateboarding accident only to discover that someone hired by the Meachum's got there first and is about to burn the room where the records are stored. They fight but Danny isn't able to stop him from setting the room on fire.

Joy and Ward talk quite a bit about what to do about Danny. It becomes clear to me now, I don't recall if I noticed this before, that Joy does not know that their father is still alive and well. The secret seems to be eating away at Ward. Joy seems to be the tougher one in this episode. I'm really starting to wonder whose side she is on. At times it seems like she wants to side with Danny, but I'm also left wondering if that is all just a ruse. It doesn't seem outside of the realm of possibilities that she might be playing her brother and Danny off against one another. Her ultimate goal maybe to help herself.

Colleen takes part in a steel cage match. This part seemed a bit weird and out of character. Earlier in the episode she was giving one of her students a hard time for taking part in illegal fights. At first I thought she was there to find her student and make sure he was safe but he was nowhere to be seen.

Madame Gao shows up, although you only hear her voice. I suspected it was her and the credits on IMDB confirm that it was. She pays a visit to Harold Meachum to chastise him for visiting Danny in the mental hospital. She first showed up in season 1 of Daredevil. Earlier in the episode Danny mentioned to Joy that her father paid him a visit. He thought it was a dream, a side effect of the drugs they gave had him. She later mentions it to Ward. I wonder if she suspects that their father is alive?

There were a few sudden and weird twists in this episode, like the steel cage match. There was also the piece of clay pottery that Jerry Hogarth somehow got her hands on. It was a gift from Danny to Joy years ago. It seems like Joy must have somehow given it to Hogath, but why? I didn't think this episode was great. The best part is the Meachums, all three of them. Danny Rand has yet to win me over. I'm not about to give up on this show but it is far from great or without shortcomings.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

NewsRadio 2.17

In Through the Out Door

Matthew gambles with Joe. Bill gives Dave advice about how to deliver a speech.

Great episode which showcases Phil Hartman's comedic genius.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Flash 1.16

Rogue Time

There were some nice twists and turns in this episode. I was partially right about where it would go but I didn't expect it to diverge quite so much from where things were headed at the end of the previous episode.

Barry traveled back in time, at the end of the previous episode. When Dr. Wells finds out he tells Barry not to try and change things. Barry does not follow Dr. Wells advice. Before Weather Wizard can harm anyone he captures him and throws him in a containment unit at STAR Labs. Barry then tries to woo Iris. He isn't successful. Iris is disturbed by the way he is acting. She tells Eddie who punches Barry the next time he sees him.

Captain Cold and Heat Wave return. With some help from Lisa, Snart's sister, they capture Cisco and his brother. Cisco is forced to help build new guns for the villains, including a gold gun for Lisa. Captain Cold then threatens to torture and kill Cisco's brother unless he reveals the secret identity of the Flash. After being released by the rogues Cisco returns to STAR Labs and tells them what happened. Cisco is ready to pack it up and move on until Dr. Wells talks him out of it and convinces him how important he is to them.

At this point the episode got a little weak. It kind of fizzled for the last ten minutes without any fireworks. Flash stops the Rogues from stealing from the mob. He has a face to face chat with Captain Cold without his mask on. He seems to convince Cold to stop killing and then leaves him be. Cold did threaten that if Flash didn't go then he had a broadcast about to go live revealing the Flash's secret identity to the world. The sad thing is I was really enjoying the episode up to this point.

Things picked up a little bit towards the very end. First Caitlin lies for Barry and claims that everything he said and did recently was because he has been having mental problems since he got hit by lightning. That's what she tells Iris and Eddie. Then, Mason Bridge gets a visitor late at night. He is at the office alone, working on a story on Dr. Wells. The man in the yellow suit shows up. After he finds out that everything Bridge knows is on his computer (what? no back up on the company server??) he kills him and then wipes out his computer.

A little later Barry is at STAR Labs talking to Dr. Wells about what happened with the Rogues earlier that night. A news story pops up on the screen saying that Mason Bridge has disappeared. It seems a little fast for such a story to go public but whatever. Barry looks like he is about to tell Dr. Wells about the story when he changes his mind, turns off the screen and leaves. He meets with Joe at CCPD HQ. He tells Joe he thinks he might be right about Dr. Wells.

Why does Barry suspect Dr. Wells to be responsible for the disappearance of Mason Bridge? My best guess is that he knew Bridge was investigating Wells so therefore Wells immediately becomes the prime suspect. I don't recall Barry telling Dr. Wells about what he heard when he was visiting with Iris at the newspaper, but maybe my memory is faulty.

All in all this one was a bit of a let down, far from perfect, but for the most part I liked it. I did not love it.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Maron 4.08

Dave's TV Show

Marc turns to his buddy Dave Anthony for help. Dave's fortunes have risen just as Marc's have fallen. Dave now has a beautiful wife and lives in a beautiful home. H elets Marc stay with him and his wife and gives him a job as a writer on the TV show that he is in the process of developing. Things are starting to look up but Dave is acting weird and most of his success seems to come from pretending to be the sort of person Marc was before he lost everything.

Very funny. Dave Anthony was the star of this one.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Seinfeld 3.01

The Note

Jerry spooks his massage therapist after he starts talking to her about a child that was abducted. George gets a massage from a man and starts worrying that he is gay. Kramer claims he saw Joe DiMaggio in Dinky Donuts.

This one started a little slow but once it got rolling there were more than a few laughs.

Orange Is the New Black 1.13

Can't Fix Crazy

There are no flashback spotlights. Everything takes place in the present.

Plans are being made for Christmas. Several of the white inmates draw secret santa names and get presents for one another. A Christmas show is being planned by Cox, Sister Jane, and the chaplain. They audition lots of inmates in the process of casting the show. There is a wide range of things that the inmates do to audition, most of them fall into the categories of amusing or pathetic.

Red gets kicked out of the Kitchen and Mendoza takes over. She brings in Latina inmates (including Dayanara) to help her run the place. She only keeps Murphy and the silent one from Red's crew. Red wants them to sabotage the kitchen so that she can return to work. When she isn't getting the results she wants Red sneaks in at night and sabotages the oven. Murphy ends up getting burned. Red feels awful and the other inmates suspect it was her doing.

Figueroa talks Bennett out of filing a report about the drugs he found. She convinces him that it will look like he is the one that brought the drugs into the prison. Caputo later finds out what happened and pushes Bennett to write the report and give it to him. Mendez is still convinced that Dayanara is hot for him and can't stop talking to Bennett about it every chance he gets.

Larry's parents think he is crazy when he tells them that he and Piper are going to get married before she gets out of prison. He pays a visit to the prison to see Vause. Larry tells Vause to stay away from Piper. She is more than happy to do so and tells him how her relationship with Piper was rekindled in prison and how it was Piper who restarted it all. Piper tries talking to Alex about how she can't be with her anymore. It probably seemed like the logical thing to do in Piper's mind but it only makes Alex angry. She cuts Piper off from all contact.

Chapman goes to Figueroa with help on getting permission to get married. She tells Figueroa that Healey called Larry. She agrees to help Figueroa with the prison's public relations problems by getting speaking points to Larry in case he has another appearance on NPR.

Pensatuckey does her best to make good on her promise to kill Chapman. She confronts her in the shower but is unable to get the job done when a correctional officer walks into the bathroom. Chapman gets back the screwdriver she lost (see 1.04) from Boo, who has had it all this time. She carries it around until Pensatuckey confronts her outside while the pageant is still going on. Healey witnesses the beginning of the fight but walks away and doesn't get involved. Chapman uses the screwdriver to try and defend herself. The tool doesn't do her much good but once she gets the upper hand in the fight she loses it and bets the hell out of Doggett, possibly killing her, with her fists.

What an ending, what a season. I want to see more but I'm ready for a break, There are other shows that I want to get back to before I watch season 2. This show lived up to the hype. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but I loved it. It isn't perfect but the way the stories were layered together and drawn out worked for me in a big way.

Obviously, Chapman, whether she killed Doggett or not is going to be sent to SHU and will probably get her prison sentence extended. I'm curious to see how that changes her character and the tone of the show.

Kids on the Slope 1.04

But Not for Me

Life goes on and it seems as if a few months have passed since the last episode. It is December. Nothing much seems to have changed between Kaoru and Ritsouko. Sentaro has been posing for Yurika. I'm guessing that she is a visual artist of some sort but I don't recall that being mentioned before or any mention of the medium in which she prefers to work.

The quartet (Kaoru, Sentaro, Junichi, Ritsouko's father) gets an offer to play on Christmas at a club for American servicemen. Kaoru and Ritsouko each buy Sentao a drum stick for his birthday, which is Christmas Day. Kaoru tries kissing Ritsouko which seems to bother her out and she goes running off.

Kaoru learns about Sentaro's past after they get into a fight. They are both jealous of one another. Kaoru feels very lonely at home, even when surrounded by family. Sentaro, by comparison, always seems to have his younger siblings to keep him company. Kaoru learns in this episode what Sentaro went through growing up. He didn't realize how bad he had it. He didn't know about the abuse Sentaro got from his grandmother who never forgave her her daughter for getting into a relationship with an American, who is Sentaro's father and is (presumably) no longer around.

The gig at the club doesn't exactly go as planned. A drunk white American disrupts the whole show when he starts yelling about the fact that the quartet is playing "coon" music. Sentaro wants to fight but Junichi talks him out of it.

The episode ends with what looks like trouble brewing. It looks like Yurika, who along with Ritsouko came to the club to see quartet play, may be falling for Junichi. I don't like the direction that is headed in but that's not because it won't make the story more interesting or seems unrealistic.

The part of this episode that got me the most rattled was the fight between Kaoru and Sentaro. It was funny sad how they could both only see the good side of one another's home situation.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Iron Fist 1.02

Shadow Hawk Takes Flight

Danny tries talking his way out of the mental hospital. He convinces the doctor examining him that he is who he says he is, Danny Rand. That turns out not to be enough because when he starts talking about the Iron Fist the doctor insists that he will have to stay.

A lot goes on outside of the hospital. Colleen Wing is approached by Ward Meachum. He has been sent there by his father. Ward wants Colleen to sign a document saying that Danny threatened her. The Meachums know about Colleen because Danny tried calling her while he was in the hospital and they have the place bugged. Ward tries bribing Colleen. She pays Danny a visit at the hospital. I'm not sure exactly how she was able to get in, but that happened. Ultimately, even though she still isn't sure about Danny she refuses to sign the documents.

Joy Meachum starts thinking that Danny is really Danny. She sends him a big bag of M&Ms. He sends them back via Colleen. He has removed the brown M&Ms. This is enough for Joy to believe that he is Danny.

Harold Meachum, father of the Meachum siblings, watches Danny in the hospital from his apartment. He starts believing that Danny just might be who he claims to be. He pays him a visit late at night, when he is still pretty heavily drugged. He pumps him for information. He already knows that Danny claims to have been found by a couple monks and lived in a place called K'un L'un. He claims to have been a warrior and wielded the Iron Fist. He claims to be a sworn enemy of the Hand. Harold starts seeing possibilities and value in Danny. He tells Ward to have him moved to a private home where they can keep an eye on him.

It looks like that is going to happen. Danny is forced into a straight jacket but instead of being put into a vehicle he is taken to a padded cell where he is attacked by three other patients. It seems like his attackers are working for the Meachums. One of the things that Danny told Harold was that he gets stronger the more he is attacked. That is exactly what happens. Getting beaten up enables him to manifest the Iron Fist and burn through the straight jacket. Prior to that he was unable to do so because of the drugs.

He beats up his three assailants and then uses the Iron Fist to break the door to the hospital. The episode ends with him running off into the night. Ward Meachum is watching thanks to his surveillance devices. I got the impression that learning just what Danny was capable of was important enough to him that he probably was the one behind the assault.

This is show is definitely a slow burn. I'm fearful that it will won't live up to the promise it has made to me in my mind but for now I'm still enjoying it.

The episode opens with Danny still in the mental hospital. I was pretty sure that he would be out one way or another before the end of the episode. I was right but it took right up to the end of the episode for that to happen.

I lost track of time while watching. I couldn't be sure how much time had passed. There was at least one moment that felt like it might be the final scene but there was probably another 15 before the episode ended.

There is at least one mystery that is not solved in this episode. Harold Meachum comes home from visiting Danny in the hospital. There is a palm print on the window and written on the window next to it is a note that reads "where were you?" or maybe it was "where are you?" or maybe "where did you go?" I don't recall exactly. He starts to wipe it all away but then he stops and leaves it there. My first thought was that it was Ward that left the weird note but I'm starting to think that it was someone else. someone who has not been seen yet.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Mindy Project 1.01

Pilot

Mindy is a 31-year-old Ob/Gyn who grew up watching romantic comedies and is very disappointed that she hasn't had the sort of romantic success that usually occurs at the end of the movies she enjoys.

This was my first time watching the show. I was impressed enough to want to give it a few more episodes. I didn't love it but I like the tone and I'm curious to see where it goes from here.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

NewsRadio 2.16

Physical Graffiti

Dave insists on having dinner with Lisa and her ex-boyfriend, Stewart. It gets awkward, not much gets resolved. At the end of the episode Dave and Lisa split up.

Beth tries to invent new words, like bitchcakes, which she hopes will catch on and be heard everywhere.

Phil and Catherine gets into an escalating war prank war. It turns out in the end that Joe egged them into it and it was all revenge for the time they ate some food he left in the office refrigerator.

Not a great episode, none of the plot threads were appealing. They weren't very funny either. They all felt a bit forced. The only one that might possibly rate any followup in a future episode, and probably not in this season, would be the Dave & Lisa plot thread.

This episode originally aired in March 1996. There are a few references to the Internet. I guess this would be about the time that the Internet was starting to be a thing.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Flash 1.15

Out of Time

Weather Wizard, aka Mark Mardon (brother of Clyde Mardon, the villain from the pilot episode) returns for revenge on Joe West. Weather Wizard's powers are considerably more impressive than his brother's powers. He kills a coroner and almost kills Joe's boss, Captain Singh. Flash uses a device invented by Cisco to neutralize his powers but then is unable to catch the Weather Wizard because he has to get Captain Singh to the hospital before he dies.

Linda goes on a bowling date with Barry. They wind up playing with Iris and Eddie. Linda begins to suspect that there is more to her suspicions about Barry and Iris and let's Iris knows what she's thinking. Eddie more or less does the same thing later in the episode.

Mason Bridge tells Iris about his suspicions about Dr. Wells, specifically in reference to the mysterious disappearance of Simon Stagg (see episode 1.02). He knows that Dr. Wells was the last person to visit Stagg's building the night he disappeared. He also tells Barry about his suspicions about Dr. Wells.

The first time the Weather Wizard strikes Barry is with Joe and gets them both to safety. The second time is at the police station when Captain Singh is struck down. The third time and final time in this episode is when Joe is investigating an old hideout of the Mardon brothers. Throughout this episode Joe acts very emotionally. He insists that he can handle the Weather Wizard, even after he sees first hand what the villain is capable of. It was both tragic and melodramatic, and a bit of overacting for Jesse L. Martin.

Barry tells Cisco about what Mason Bridge told him about Dr, Wells. This leads Cisco to start wondering if maybe there really was something to Joe's suspicions about Dr. Wells. He tells Caitlin about his suspicions and talks her into delaying Dr. Wells the next morning. While Caitlin and Dr. Wells spend some time at Jitters, the coffee shop where Iris used to work, Cisco runs some tests on the containment unit (last seen in epiosde 1.09) that he and Dr. Wells designed to hold the Man in the Yellow Suit. He discovers something that looks like a simulation of the yellow suit wearing villain. Then Dr. Wells walks in and tells Cisco what he has been up to, that his real name is Eobard Thawne, and then he kills Cisco.

Barry and Iris rush to the waterfront after she gets a call from the Weather Wizard. He has captured her father. Barry and Iris share a moment at the waterfront before they realize what is about to happen, they talk, they kiss. When Barry sees the Weather Wizard creating a tidal wave he calls Caitlin for advice. She is at STAR Labs. It isn't clear if she has found Cisco's body yet but Dr. Wells definitely disappeared from Jitters on her. She tells him he will have to run faster than he ever had before and create a wall of wind to protect the city from the incoming tidal wave.

Barry apologizes to Iris and then changes into the Flash in front of her before telling her to get out of there. He then starts to run as fast as he can. It looks like he just might be successful when he stops suddenly and realizes that he has run so fast he has gone backward in time and is back at a point from a couple days before. That's where the episode ends.

This one was a lot of fun. So much happens. I've got a feeling that a lot of it will be undone in the next episode, including the death of Cisco, Barry and Iris opening up about their feelings for one another and kissing, and Barry revealing to Iris that he is the Flash. I'm guessing that this is another unofficial two-part story. How it will all get resolved I have no idea.

Maron 4.07

Philippe

Marc hangs out with an old friend of his, Bobby Mendez, against Shirley's advice. They go to a recovery meeting, Bobby gets beat up, they go to a cock fight and win some money, they hang out with prostitutes. It is all a little too much for Marc or at least more than he wants at this point in his life.

This was one of the funniest episodes I have seen of this show. Just when I thought it couldn't get any weirder it did, especially towards the end.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Mr. Holmes (2015)

Ian McKellen stars as 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes. He has outlived Watson and everyone else from his past. His memory is fading. He struggles to remember the details of a case that he believes Watson recorded incorrectly.

The movie has three points of focus. The first is the present, which in this case is Great Britain after World War II. Holmes has left London and now lives in a house in the countryside near a beach. He has a housekeeper, Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney), who lives with him along with her son, Roger. Holmes splits his time between reminiscing and keeping bees. Every now and then he will start to remember something about the past and have a flashback.

One set of flashbacks relate to the case that he believes Watson misrepresented. Thomas Kelmot hired Holmes to follow his wife, Ann, and find out what she was up to. Thomas believed that Ann was getting ready to leave him for another man. What Holmes discovered was that she was getting ready to kill herself, using poison. Holmes confronted her and thought he had talked her out of doing so only to discover later on that she did so by another means.

The other set of flashbacks are to a trip he made to Japan since the end of the Second World War. He visits with Tamiki Umezaki, a man who claims that his father met Sherlock Holmes, in England. a few decades before. Holmes cannot remember meeting Umezaki's father.

What Holmes learns through the course of remembering bits of his past is the value of fiction. He was honest with Mrs. Kelmot but that didn't keep her from committing suicide. At the end of the movie he writes a letter to Mr. Umezaki telling him about what he "remembered" about his father.

I watched this movie in bits and pieces over the course of a month. I don't recall all the details clearly at this point, especially from the first first half-hour. I did find the final act to be very moving. I should probably give another watch at some point in the future.


UFO Robo Grendizer 1.02

Our Green Earth

Kouji suspects that Daisuke is not human. He confronts him but Daisuke brushes him aside and refuses to answer the question. Kouji gets confirmation of his suspicion after Daisuke saves Danbei and the TFO by making an impossible jump off the back of a horse into the TFO. At the time the flying saucer was probably 30 to 40 feet off the ground.

Kouji goes with Daisuke to visit Dr. Umon who tells him about how Daisuke, whose real name is Duke Fleed, came to Earth after the planet Fleed was destroyed by the Vegans. The people of Fleed had given up war and were defenseless against the Vegans. The Vegans built Grendizer using technology developed by the people of Fleed. Daisuke stole it to prevent the Vegans from using it for evil.

The leaders of the Vegan forces, Colonel Blacki and General Gandal meet to discuss how to handle Grendizer. He is the only obstacle to them taking over the Earth. They get a video call from King Vega who insists that they deal with Grendizer. At one point during the conversation Gandal's face splits open and a tiny woman comes out from within to give Blacki orders.

The name and appearance of Colonel Blacki strike me as being at the very least racially insensitive. He doesn't look human but he is dark-skinned.

In the second half of the episode the Vegans attack. Kouji wants to join the fight but Daisuke knocks him out before he gets into Grendizer. Daisuke and Grendizer don't have any trouble dealing with the small Vegan attack craft. Saucer Beast Gamegame gives Daisuke considerably more trouble. It attaches itself to Grendizer in such a way that the Grendizer robot cannot launch from the saucer section of the ship.

The Saucer Beast is about to crash the two into the ground when Kouji shows up and blasts the saucer beast with some missiles. Daisuke and Grendizer are able to deal the saucer beast a death blow fairly quickly once they are free from the its grip. Daisuke and Kouji shake hands after the Vegans have been defeated and agree to be friends and work together to defend the Earth.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Orange Is the New Black 1.12

Fool Me Once

Chapman runs into Crazy Eyes while doing janitorial work on the graveyard shift. She tries to explain about what Larry said on the radio. Suzanne keeps her distance.

Chapman has it out with Vause on a couple occasions about what is going on with Larry and the fact that Alex is the one that gave her name to the police. Vause lays it out on the line and tells Piper what she thinks of her. For the most part I think she is right, that Chapman fears being alone more than anything else in the world.

Chapman tries to reconcile with Doggett who insists that they they pray together. Chapman plays along with Pennsatuckey and prays for forgiveness for what she did to her. Things seems better but Doggett isn't satisfied. She wants to baptize Chapman. At first Chapman agrees to it but then changes her mind and explains to Pennsatuckey, in front of her followers, why she doesn't believe. Chapman walks off leaving Doggett feeling betrayed.

Doggett gets the backstory spotlight. She was a heroin junkie. She shot and killed a nurse at the clinic where she had her 5th abortion. She killed the nurse because she insulted her. A lawyer from a pro-life organization offers her a deal. They agree to defend her pro bono if she will agree to say she did killed the nurse because she was taking a stand against clinics that offer abortions. At first she says no but when she walks into the court room and sees all the people rallying to her support she changes her mind.

Miss Claudette's appeal gets denied. She attacks a correctional officer who is giving her a hard time and gets sent to maximum security. The presumption is that she will never return.

Red organizes some of the other inmates to help Dayanara. They talk Caputo into going into the closet where Mendez and Dayanara are having sex. Mendez doesn't get fired but he is suspended without pay. He is convinced that Dayanara is in love with him. He tries to get Bennett to pass her a note. He also tells Bennett about the drugs that are getting smuggled into the prison in the grocery delivery vehicle. He says that Red is the one dealing the drugs.

Bennett is emotionally hurt by what Dayanara did. He isn't satisfied with her explanation that this gets him off the hook. He throws away the note Mendez gives him but finds the drugs and turns them into Caputo.

Yoga Jones and Watson share a couple moments together. Jones tells her about her crime. Watson's guess a few episodes back was correct, she did kill a child, but it was an accident.

Taystee returns to prison. Poussey is angry at her for not making it on the outside. Taystee has to explain to her friend how hard it was to make it on the outside. Poussey forgives her once she hears her story.

Larry comes for a visit. He suggests that He and Piper get married ASAP, before she gets out of prison, or that they break up. Piper is stunned by his idea. Before she can respond the scene shifts to Doggett who is steaming over Chapman refusing to get baptized and swears she is going to kill her.

So much going on in this episode. All very well layered together. Chapman continues to think she can fix anything. She didn't see that praying with Doggett, somewhat insincerely, wouldn't be enough or that it opened a whole new can of worms. I am all primed for the season finale. I'm pretty sure there will be a cliffhanger ending but I'm ready for that.

Kids on the Slope 1.03

Someday My Prince Will Come

Kaoru talks Sentarou into asking Yurika out. Sentaro is very reluctant to do so but he stumbles his way through it. At the last minute, when it becomes clear that he is getting help from Kaoru, Yurika asks who is it that really interested in her. Sentaro panics and says that it is Kaoru,

Sentarou and Kaoru double date with Yurika and Ritsouko. Yurika still thinks that Kaoru is the one interested in her. Ritsouko feels outclassed and undesired when Sentarou starts showing an interest in Yurika. The next day Kaoru and Senartou get into a fight over nothing. Ritsouko believes that they are fighting over Yurika.

Kaoru sets the record straight after playing Someday My Prince Will Come for Ritsouko. She is the one he is interested in, not Yurika.

For the first time in this series I was more into the emotional drama and character moments than I was by the music. The music was great too, but the interpersonal drama was just handled or presented that much better in this episode than it was in the last two. For the first time it felt real and unforced.