Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Faye Valentine is a woman on the run. She is caught by a Gordon, a mobster to whom she owes money. He offers to clear her debt if she does him a favor. She agrees and is quickly put to work in a casino.
Spike and Jet visit the casino in the hopes of winning big. Jet hits the slot machines. Spike plays blackjack. The dealer at Spike's table is Faye. She is supposed to keep an eye out for someone who looks a little like Spike. When Spike sits down she becomes convinced he's the guy but then he doesn't follow the script.
Spike walks away from the table. Faye follows him. They get into an argument. Casino security gets involved. Jet has won about 200,000 credits but is unable to cash them in because Spike gets into a fight with security and they have to beat it before they get arrested.
They get back to the Bebop (their spaceship) with some help from Faye. They lock her up because they don't trust her. They discover that she has a big bounty on her head. They are ready to turn her in when Gordon comes after them. Spike inadvertently walked off with a casino chip that has a microchip inside it. The microchip is the key to a valuable piece of decryption software.
Gordon wants the chip back and offers them lots of money for it. Spike and Jet agree but Gordon reneges on the deal. Faye escapes from the Bebop. She swoops in and grabs the cash and takes off. Spike and Jet are left with nothing except the one chip.
I continue to enjoy this show but one thing that strikes me about it is the animation. It is not as crisp and clean as I remember it. The music is great, both on its own and the way it is used on the show.
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Paige tries hitting on Sam again. He still doesn't get it. It isn't until Julia (his therapist) suggests that maybe Paige wants to do more than just study that his eyes are opened. It isn't all smooth sailing from there.
Casey gets an approached by the athletic director at a really elite school after she breaks a record at a track meet. The AD wants her to transfer to the elite school. Evan doesn't want her to go to a school that's an hour away but he does his best to support her.
Elsa is feeling guilty about having sex with Nick. She starts seeing and hearing things, judgmental things. She decides to make it up to the family by making them a special dinner. It is just supposed to be the family but Casey brings Evan with her and Sam comes in with Paige and Zahid.
Doug's life returns to normal. By that I mean that he is just a father and a husband in this episode. He has a frustrating moment when he goes to group therapy with Elsa. It wasn't a funny moment but I could feel his frustration.
This show continues to grow on me. I laughed several times. The only negative things I can thing to say is that once again the show sometimes feels a bit rushed.
Monday, February 26, 2018
Jack angers a wizard when he accidentally bumped into him. The wizard turns Jack into a chicken. Chicken Jack is captured by a man who forces him to fight in an arena against other critters.
It takes Jack a few minutes to figure out what has happened. He tries talking. All that come out are chicken squawks but in his head he heard his own voice. It isn't until he sees his own reflection that he realizes what has become of him.
Unlike many episodes of the show this whole episode is set in a city.
This one reminded me of 2.03 (Jack and Smackback), primarily because Jack is forced to fight for the pleasure of others.
Not perfect but I like it.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
The episode opens with a montage of scenes that involve both sides in the war between the Gerhardts and Kansas City making hits on the other side. The montage happens for the most part without words but with Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull playing in the background. I thought it was a little over done. I'm not a big fan of using music in that way. I think it is just a little too cute and has been done to death, here, there, and everywhere.
The only casualty on the Gerhardt side from the attack at the end of the last episode seems to be Otto. He and Rye get buried at the same time in adjacent graves. Technically there is no burial for Rye since they never recovered his body. Floyd wants to know where Dodd is. Bear seems happy enough that he is out of the picture for now, even if he doesn't know what happened to him. The police, Lou Solverson and Ben Schmidt, show up right after the Gerhardts are done with the burial ceremony. They want to take Floyd in for questioning. She goes with them willingly.
Bear is left in charge at the Gerhardt compound. He has some help from some goons from Buffalo, led by Ricky G. Someone calls a couple times claiming to know where Dodd can be found but Bear refuses to take the call. Ricky G tries to encourage Bear to take the call but Bear doesn't care much for being told what to do by the likes of Ricky.
Simone runs off after the funeral, just as the police show up. She goes to see Mike Milligan. He is getting tired of her crap. She is angry because they killed her grandfather. She only wanted them to kill Dodd, her father. Before the scene gets very far there is a knock on the door. It is the police. Simone screams. Lou and Ben bust in and take control of the situation. Ben escorts Simone out of the hotel room while Lou stays behind to chat with Mike and ask him politely to go somewhere else and not make war in their neck of the woods. Ben recognizes Simone. She knees him in the groin once they are on the elevator. She leaves, while Ben returns to the hotel room, obviously in some physical pain. Does Lou know who Simone is? I'm not sure.
Hank Larsson and another senior police officer have a chat with Floyd back at the police station. She is very reluctant to give them anything. They want an end to the war. They are more or less willing to help the Gerhardts if it will bring an end to the war. They cannot put it exactly that way but that is the implication. It takes a while but eventually she starts to give them what she knows about the Kansas City mob's local operations.
Bear and Ricky intercept Simone as she is leaving the hotel. She knows how it looks. She tries to lie to them and tell them she was there trying to score some weed. Bear takes her for a drive while Ricky drives her car back. Bear doesn't take her to the Gerhardt compound. Instead he takes her off into the woods. He know she has been consorting with the enemy.
Betsy has some unwanted guests, Karl Weathers and Sonny. Lou wants them to keep an eye on her while he is off on this case. Betsy grudgingly accepts their presence. She tells Karl that she's pretty sure she got the placebo and asks him to keep an eye on Lou and Molly. She goes over to her father's place, alone, to feed Snowball, his cat. She is looking for Snowball when she opens a door and finds herself in a room filled with weird symbols. She doesn't know what to make of it.
Bear and Simone get out of his truck and walk quite a ways into the woods before Bear pulls out a gun. The scene reminded me of a similar scene from Miller's Crossing. Bear is pointing his gun at Simone the last time she is seen. There is no gun shot. She is pleading for her life. He gets back to his truck alone. He smashes the cast on his left hand in frustration. Did he do that because he couldn't get himself to pull the trigger and kill his niece? Did he do that because he is frustrated about the situation he has got himself in by killing his niece, even if she did betray the family? I don't know but I'm leaning toward the former.
Floyd returns from the police station and asks to see Simone. Bear says that she ran off. Before the conversation can go any further Ricky interrupts to tell them that someone is on the phone claiming to have knowledge of Dodd's whereabouts. Presumably this is the same person who called before.
Mike Milligan's boss is getting impatient. Mike wants a couple weeks to clean things up and get the Gerhardt situation squared away. His boss gives him two days, then he is going to send someone known as the Undertaker to take over the situation. Mike apparently didn't make enough an effort because within a day the Undertaker shows up. Mike and the surviving Kitchen brother kill him and his two flunkies. He then gets a phone call from Ed Blumquist. He says he has Dodd Gerhardt in his trunk.
Hanzee is not in this episode, except very briefly. The same is true for Ed, Peggy, and Dodd. Hanzee's name does come up in connection with a shooting in Sioux Falls. Two police officers were shot and the suspect's description sounds like Hanzee. Towards the end of the episode Lou and Hank head to Sioux Falls without Ben who doesn't want to stick his neck out any farther than he already has. Lou lets him know what he thinks of him before he and his father-in-law take off.
This isn't a bad episode but it also is by no means my favorite. It doesn't have any suspense filled scenes like there was in the last couple episodes. It is the quiet before the storm. What I really want to know is what Ed is trying to pull. Is his plan to sell Dodd to the highest bidder? I can't wait to see how this plays out. I would be surprised if Ed and Peggy come out on top in the end but considering that they killed Rye, ground him up, and are now holding Dodd hostage, after zapping him with his own electric cattle prod, maybe I shouldn't be surprised by how far they've made it up to this point or how far they wind up getting.
Friday, February 23, 2018
Based on what I can find this story was taken from a manga from the mid-1980s. I don't know if it was ever translated into English, or even the title of it.
The movie is a series of vignettes. Most involve O-Ei interacting with others, including her father, a couple of his proteges, her younger sister, her mother, and patrons. If the movie has a thread then I failed to find it. I feel as though there is some background information I am missing. The movie is very beautiful to look at but it feels incomplete.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Dev and Denise have been friends since they were little. Every Thanksgiving Dev has dinner with Denise, her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother. The story of this episode is told over the course of more than 20 years. It begins in 1992. The exact year is an educated guess based on the fact that Im Cool Like Dat by Digable Planets plays over the opening credits. All subsequent years (1995, 1999, 2006, 2015, 2016, 2017) are clearly labeled.
Denise comes out to her mother about halfway through the episode, in 2006, 7 years after she came out to Dev. She brings her first date to Thanksgiving in 2015. It is a very awkward meal. Denise's relatives aren't ready to see her in the company of another woman. She brings a different date in 2016, whom no one likes, except Denise. Even Dev has problems with her date that year. The next year she is back with Michelle, her date from 2015, and it goes much better.
Catherine, Denise's mother, is played by Angela Bassett. In 1995, Catherine makes reference to the fact that Denise and Dev are 12. Starting in 2006, Dev and Denise are played by the same actors that play them in the present.
I like this episode. It isn't my favorite of the season but it seemed more down to earth and to my liking that most of the episodes that focus primarily on Dev, his insecurities, and his life. I even watched it twice. If not my absolute favorite then at the very least it is up there with 2.04 (First Date) and 2.06 (New York, I Love You) as my favorites of this season, so far.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Spike attempts to catch a fugitive, Adbul Hakim. In addition to being wanted by the law, Hakim stole a valuable dog. Before he can ransom the dog it gets stolen from him. Hakim slips through Spike's hands but he winds up with the dog, a Welsh Corgi. The police capture Hakim so there's no reward for Spike, other than the dog.
The dog has yet to acquire a name but it will have one before too long, I think. I know it gets a name I just don't recall when it gets that name. What's more important is that the three of the five main characters of the show are now in place. Based on the teaser for the next episode I can see that another character gets introduced next episode.
There's nothing about this episode that I can say stood out for me. It lacks the tragic element that the previous episode had. It is a nice mix of humor and action. Overall it is a good episode. It didn't blow me away but I like it.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Sam still has a crush on Julia, his therapist, but recognizes that he needs up his game (my words, not his). He gets it in his head that he needs to dress better. He convinces his mother to take him to the mall. He doesn't want her to pick clothes for him. He also invites Zahid, his coworker, to join them.
Both Elsa and Zahid give Sam clothing advice that he doesn't care for. Elsa and Zahid share a moment while Sam is in the changing room. Elsa gets kicked out of the store.
Doug meets Ethan, finds out (from Casey) that he has kissed his daughter, and gets very protective. Casey finds out that her father left them for several months when she was 3 years old. Doug doesn't quite get a spotlight but for the first time he seems like there is more to him that just being a father and husband.
Julia discovers the cupcake that Sam unknowingly dropped under her couch in the previous episode. Elsa meets up with Nick and goes back to his place.
Loved the moment where Sam gets a compliment about his new shirt. It totally resonated with me.
I'm really liking this show, especially this episode. Hopefully the show will continue to impress and amuse me.
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Lou takes Ed into custody. Ed protests that he is innocent and hasn't done anything wrong. Lou knows better and doesn't listen to his lame brain excuses. Ed asks for a lawyer. He says if the lawyer advises him to talk to the police then he will. Ed calls for the only lawyer in town: Karl Weathers.
Hank stays behind with Peggy. He tries to get her to tell him what she knows. She insists that she and Ed haven't done anything wrong. Hank tells her that they are going to be experts there in the morning to inspect her car, the one she sold to the mechanic.
Dodd shows up at the Blumquist home with a bunch of his men. They are there for Ed. Hank tells Peggy to find a hiding spot in the house and not come out. Hank tries to talk reason to Dodd. Dodd isn't listening. Hank is getting ready to go for his gun when Hanzee shows up and knocks him out with a rifle butt to the forehead.
Charlie has already been arrested. He is given a chance to make a phone call. He calls Bear, his father. Dodd and Bear left with their men at that point. Floyd orders them to bring back Charlie and deal with the butcher. Bear and his men head to the police station, while Dodd and his men investigate the Blumquist home. Simone calls Mike after her father, uncle and the rest of the men have left. She tells him where they have gone.
Dodd and his men don't find anything upstairs. One of his men is hit in the head with a heavy piece of porcelain, possibly a sink, while they are searching the basement. Dodd shoots one his own men accidentally when he hears a noise. He finds the other man unconscious or dead as he makes his way through the maze of stacks of old magazines. Peggy gets the drop on him and hits him with an electric cattle prod. Dodd had one with him but it is unclear if he put it down or if is another one. It looked longer than the one he had. She keeps zapping him with it until he is unconscious.
Lou calls for backup when he sees the Gerhardt men, led by Bear. He only has a couple other policemen at the station with him. He calls for backup but they won't be there for about an hour. Ed has the lights turned out, the blinds drawn and then sends Karl (as Charlie's lawyer) out to talk to Bear. Karl talks sense into Bear while Lou sneaks out the back with Ed.
Hanzee left the Blumquist house after dealing with Hank and is sneaking around the police station looking for a way in. He knows that Ed and Charlie are both being held there. He isn't able to stop Lou and Ed from escaping through the woods but he follows them. Lou and Ed run into Hank who has regained consciousness and is on his way to the police station when they run into one another. Ed takes the opportunity to take off running. Lou decides to let him run. He knows Ed will head for home.
Mike and his men act on the information provided by Simone but they don't go after Dodd, Bear, and the rest of the Gerhardt men. Instead they hit the Gerhardt compound. Floyd, Otto, and Simone are the only ones home, aside from a handful of guards and other servants.
Hanzee emerges from the woods just after Lou and Hank take off in Hank's police car. He takes off after Ed.
This episode is filled with all kinds of tension: Hank's standoff with Dodd, Dodd's search of the Blumquist house, Hanzee sneaking around the Blumquist house and then the police station, Lou's encounter with Bear, Karl's successful attempt to talk Bear into backing off his demands, Lou and Ed's escape from the police station.
There are a lot of unanswered questions and situations to resolve just from the actions of this episode alone: Is Dodd dead or just unconscious? What will Peggy do with Dodd? Will Mike kill everyone including Floyd and Otto or use them as bargaining chips? Who will get to Ed first? Hanzee or Lou?
Friday, February 16, 2018
Philip and Elizabeth are tasked with finding and stopping an assassin who was hired by the KGB to kill a scientist. They don't know what he looks like or who his target is. They know he is going to kill one of 14 scientists in the Washington area but that's about all they've got to go on.
Claudia tells Elizabeth during a one-on-one meeting that Philip slept with Irina when he was in New York City. She doesn't seem to trust Philip and hopes that Elizabeth will see things the same way that she does. Elizabeth leaves the conversation feeling betrayed by Philip. She doesn't confront him right way but keeps the information to herself.
Elizabeth and Philip go to Baltimore on the basis of information provided by Claudia. They visit an arms dealer who provides them with a picture of what the would-be assassin looks like.
Philip continues to seduce Martha, who works for FBI Agent Frank Gaad, Stan's boss. She thinks Philip works for another intelligence agency. She helps him by photocopying information that Gaad handed to her to file away. FBI Agent Amador tries to rekindle his relationship with Martha but she brushes him off.
Stan Beeman secures a safehouse in the Eastern Market neighborhood of DC. It is a place for he and Nina to meet. The first time they meet there they quickly drop the pretense of professionalism. Later in the episode he finds out that Nina has received a promotion which could mean greater access to secret information.
Philip and Elizabeth find the assassin and kill him. They think they have accomplished their mission but they don't know that he already a planted a bomb in the handheld radio of one of the FBI agent who is tasked guarding a high level scientist. The bomb goes off killing the FBI agent and the scientist.
Elizabeth confronts Philip about the time he spent with Irina. Philip comes clean, finally. He claims that he didn't tell Elizabeth the truth before (when she asked him very directly if anything happened with Irina) because he was afraid of losing Elizabeth.
This isn't the best show ever. I'm enjoying it enough. I'm going to finish watching the first season but I'm not sure if I will continue beyond there. It isn't bad, it just isn't great. I feel as though the show takes too many shortcuts. There are too many things that are explained away much too conveniently or not explained at all. Where do all their disguises come from? How are they able to keep their work for the KGB a secret from their kids? I think my biggest problem with the show is that I don't feel immersed in the world in which the show is supposed to take place. It feels like a thin disguise.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Chef Jeff offers a long-term contract on Clash of the Cupcakes. Dev doesn't want to sign a long-term contract. He pitches a couple other ideas to Chef Jeff in the hopes that he can continue to work with him. Dev wonders if he is doing the right thing in turning down the long-term contract. He visits his father, who thinks he is making a big mistake.
Other things happen: Brian's father is dating two women. Dev has to give a pep talk to the Magnificent Kenny (Cedric the Entertainer), a celebrity judge on Clash of the Cupcakes. Dev finds out that Francesca is engaged.
I laughed several times during this episode but it felt a little disjointed. The part with Brian's father didn't seem to intersect with Dev's part of the episode at all.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Spike and Jet, down on their luck, intergalactic bounty hunters, go after Asimov Solensan, a criminal. Solensan and his wife are on the run from the law and the mob. He tries to unload some of the goods he stole from the mob but soon has lots of people (the mob, the law) on his tail in addition to the two bounty hunters.
Most of the episode takes place on an asteroid called Tijuana that looks like a set from an old western film. I love the pace at which the show moves and the way music is used to set the tone.
I first watched Cowboy Bebop 15+ years ago, sometime after I first got a DVD player, which was 2001. I watched it a second time 10 years ago, in 2007-08. I rented the DVDs from Netflix the first and second time around. This is just my third time watching the series. I feel as though I should have more to say about the episode but it really is as simple as I describe it in the first paragraph above. I decided to buy the DVD set even though it is available to stream through Hulu. I am watching it subbed, not dubbed. I have never tried watching it dubbed.
What sets Cowboy Bebop apart from other shows, I think, is how it purports to be an action show but is really a character piece. I love watching the crew of the Bebop, just two in this episode but more down the road, interact with one another.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Sam has a crush on Julia, his therapist. He gets down when he finds out she has a boyfriend but Zahid (his co-worker) and Doug (his father) try to encourage him not to give up hope. His father changes his tune once he discovers who he has a crush on.
Elsa struggles with her feelings for Nick, the bartender. It is implied that Doug had an affair some time in the past.
Casey gets teased by her classmates about dating a guy who got kicked out of school. She isn't actually dating him yet. She kisses him for the first time after she gets him to tell her how he got expelled.
On the whole not bad. I kind of like it. It isn't blowing me away. I wish the father had his own arc (like the other three family members) but maybe the show works better the way it is.
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Matthew returns from a vacation in Japan with gifts for everyone. Lisa refuses to ask Dave for a new chair because she doesn't want anyone to think that she did anything unprofessional to get it. Jimmy tries to teach Beth about investing in the stock market after she inherits some money from a recently deceased aunt.
Overall pretty good. Not every joke landed with me but it felt like more than half of them did.
Saturday, February 10, 2018
Hanzee explains to Floyd what he found in the last episode. Dodd insists that the butcher is working for the guys from Kansas City. Hanzee backs him up.
The Kansas City crew prepares a hit on the Gerhardt clan but the Gerhardts strike first. Everyone on the Kansas City side is killed except one of the Kitchen brothers. Hanzee is the only survivor on the Gerhardt side.
Simone goes to visit Mike Milligan, who wasn't present at the shootout. He has the head of Joe Bulo in a box which was presumably detached from the body by Hanzee. Mike insists that she start producing some information if she wants to live.
Peggy tries to talk Ed into listening to what Lou said about the Gerhardts coming after them but he is too fixed on his dream of owning the butcher shop to listen. After he goes to work she packs up her things in a couple suitcases and goes to the repair shop to pick up her car. It looks like she is going to make a run for it but at the last minute she changes her mind. She sells the car to the mechanic for $700 so that Ed will have the money he needs to buy the butcher shop.
Dodd is about to send one of his men to deal with Ed when Charlie (Bear's son) steps in. He wants to be the one to kill Ed. Dodd laughs at first but then sends him with his man to the butcher shop. Charlie goes into the shop and winds up getting into a conversation with Noreen, the owner's daughter. They talk about Camus. Ed comes out from the back but Charlie panics. Instead of shooting Ed he buys some meat and returns to the car.
Lou is more or less off the case for the entire episode. He is stuck with escort duty. Ronald Reagan (Bruce Campbell) is passing through on his presidential campaign. Ed has a couple conversations with Reagan which leave him shaking his head. He gets a call from Ben Schmidt about the remnants of the shootout from earlier in the episode. Lou promises to head to Fargo once he is off escort duty.
Charlie makes a second attempt at killing Ed. He goes in the back of the butcher shop. He shoots once but then his gun jams. Dodd's man comes in and tries to finish the job. Charlie seems to get hit by a bullet that is intended for Ed. A fire breaks out in the back to the butcher shop. Ed proves to be too much for Dodd's man. They wrestle around among the flames in the back of the butcher shop. The fight ends with Ed putting a meat cleaver into the man's forehead.
Ed and Noreen drag Charlie out of the butcher shop. The fire in the butcher shop is just getting worse. Ed takes off and goes home. He tells Peggy that he has changed his mind. He agrees that they should make a run for it. She tells him about selling the car. The episode ends with them hearing police cars outside their house.
The showdown between the Gerhardts and the men from Kansas City happened much more quickly than I thought it would. I was a little surprised to learn that Hanzee didn't kill both of the Kitchen brothers but looking back on it now I guess he had to leave someone alive to deliver the severed head to Mike.
I love how they keep throwing up these seemingly impossible situations. I half expected this to be Ed's last episode. I'm not disappointed that he survived the attempt on his life. I'm just not sure what to think now or what to expect next. I loved the tension surrounding him in this episode.
Friday, February 9, 2018
Philip goes to New York for a travel conference. There he runs into Irina, an old lover, who also works for the KGB. They work together to take down a Polish political leader who seeks to move his country away from the Soviet Union. She tells Philip she has a son. She tells him that he is the father. She wants him to run away with her. He sleeps with her but he turns down Irina's offer of a life on the run. He questions whether she has a son or if that was just a ruse to get him to run away with her. He returns to DC at the end of the episode.
Elizabeth stays behind in Washington. She looks after their kids and takes care of a little business. One of the subordinates of the man she killed in 1.05 (Comint) has serious gambling debts. He isn't being cooperative so Elizabeth shakes down and pays off his bookie. She meets with Claudia. They talk about their last encounter, when Elizabeth beat Claudia up after learning why she and Philip were being tortured.
Stan Beeman goes out drinking with Amador at the end of the day. He doesn't take Amador's advice when it comes to hitting on a woman who is giving him a look. He does sleep with Nina for the first time, when he should be at home having dinner with his wife and son. He once again expresses his concern about getting Nina out of harm's way to his boss who once again brushes off the request.
The episode ends with Philip and Elizabeth in their bedroom. She apologizes once again for what she told their superiors about him. She wants them to try and be a real couple. He seems to have accepted her apology. She asks him about what happened with Irina. He lies and tells her nothing happened between them.
Not my favorite episode of the season but it is up there. Stan's subplot didn't move me much at all. The parts with Elizabeth were a little on the weak side. The parts with Philip and Irina were more interesting. As always I love watching Elizabeth and Philip's relationship evolve. It is the centerpiece of the season.
The movie feels very disjointed. Some of it was interesting but for the most part I didn't feel as if I got very much from it. It covers a number of topics in Gilbert's life, including his marriage and his career in comedy. It was a bit of a chore to get through it. It felt more like a homework assignment than fun and entertainment. I think I might have laughed a few times but not consistently.
Oz Ozeransky (Matthew Perry), a dentist, wakes up one morning to discover that Jimmy Tudeski, a professional hit man, is moving into the house next door. Sophie (Rosanna Arquette), his wife, pushes him to go to Chicago to tell Janni Gogolak (Kevin Pollak), Tudeski's former boss, where he is in the hopes of getting a finder's fee. So he goes but things don't exactly turn out the way he hoped they would. He meets Gogolak and delivers the news but then has to fly back home to lead Gogolak and his men into a shootout with Tudeski.
A couple more twists are introduced when first Oz sleeps with Cynthia Tudeski (Natasha Henstridge), Jimmy's wife, who has been living in Chicago. Later Oz learns that Jill (Amanda Peet), his dental assistant, was hired by Sophie to kill him.
I first saw this movie on DVD back in 2001. I don't have a clear recollection about it one way or the other. It isn't a bad movie. It has a few good laughs. The plot is a bit convoluted. I could see myself enjoying this movie a little more if I found the characters to be a little more interesting. I watched it this time around for a couple reasons. I was looking for something simple to watch and because I had just heard Kevin Pollak tell a story on a recent episode of his podcast about a run in he had with Michael Clarke Duncan while they were filming the movie. Not awful but far from great.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Dev, Denise, and Arnold are excited to see Death Castle the new movie starring Nicholas Cage, Emma Watson, and Tyrese Gibson. This episode isn't about them or the movie. As they walk past a building the story suddenly shifts and follows Eddie, a doorman. For the next 10 minutes the episode is all about Eddie as he deals with tenants and tries to juggle a thousand different tasks and keep everyone happy. Eddie's story ends as the camera follows someone else out the building and into a bodega.
At this point the focus shifts to Maya, who works in the Bodega. She is deaf and this entire portion of the episode is done silently. When she is trying to communicate with someone who doesn't know American Sign Language (ASL), there are no subtitles. Later when she is talking to others who do know ASL there are subtitles. She argues with a friend who bought the same jacket as her. She argues with Barry, her boyfriend, who isn't giving her what she needs. This segment ends when Maya and Barry get into a cab. At that point the focus shifts to Samuel, the driver of the next cab to come along.
Samuel lives with 3 or 4 other guys. They are all from an African nation. They speak French when they are talking among themselves. They go out for a night on the town. They can't get into the club they want to go to because they don't have the right look or have women with them. They get lured to another club which is dead and where a bottle of vodka will cost them $800. They hang with some women at Lucky's, a fast food joint, before heading to the movies with the women to see Death Castle. The camera pans around the theater and everyone is there: Dev, Denise, Arnold, Eddie, Maya, Barry, and Samuel.
I remember hearing about this episode before. I didn't remember too much about it other than (a) that it was one of the better episodes and (b) that it highlighted the lives of a few ordinary New Yorkers. I think this one lived up to the hype. There was only one moment that made laugh out loud but I was more than ready for a Dev-light episode.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Sam considers dating after his therapist puts the idea in his head. Sam has a little bit of trouble relating to other people. Sam's mother doesn't like the idea.
The brother of one of Casey's classmates starts hitting on her. She tries to shake him but he is persistent, but in what seems to be a non-threatening way. Casey is Sam's sister.
Elsa, Sam's mother, goes out drinking after a dance class. She winds up spending a good chunk of the night talking to the bartender. Is this going somewhere? Probably, but not in this episode.
Sam goes on two dates. Neither date ends well. Sam is too inexperienced to know how to handle himself on a date. The advice he gets from classmates and coworkers doesn't help.
Sam is played by Keir Gilchrist who I thought was quite good on United States of Tara. His parents are played by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rapaport.
Pretty good, but this episode didn't do it for me the way I hoped it would. I like the premise but I thought it all moved a little too fast. There were some moments that felt very cliched, another knock against the show. I will probably watch more.
Saturday, February 3, 2018
Flashback to 1951 when young Dodd helped his father murder Kellerman, his rival. It looks as though Kellerman has the upper hand when the scene begins. Dodd is his father's secret weapon. He stabs Kellerman in the back of the neck while everyone's attention is focused on Otto.
Dodd, in the present, antagonizes some of Joe Bulo's boys when he runs into them in a doughnut shop. It isn't clear if he went there just to do that but I prefer to think that he did what he did because the opportunity presented itself. He went into the doughnut shop with an electric cattle prod. When they tried to stand up to him he hit them with it.
Hanzee goes looking for Rye and finally finds evidence that points to his murder. He starts by visiting the scene of the crime, the Waffle Hut. He finds some evidence that the police missed: a piece of glass from Peggy's car. That leads him to check out the local repair shop where he finds the car. He spooks the mechanic who disapproves of him looking through the car. Hanzee is chased off my Karl Weathers (Nick Offerman) who shows up with a gun.
The check Ed gave his boss for the down payment on the butcher shop bounced. Peggy took the money intended for the down payment and spent it on the course she wants to take. Ed confronts Peggy about the money. While they are talking, around the corner from the beauty shop, Hanzee drives by and makes eye contact with Ed.
Lou and Betsy visit her doctor and sign her up for a drug trial. The doctor explains that Betsy might get the drug or she might get a placebo. Betsy and Lou don't rightly understand the purpose of giving her a placebo, a sugar pill, but they sign up for the trial anyhow.
Lou is tipped off by Karl Weathers to Hanzee's visit to the repair shop. He meets Hank and they look over the car. Lou starts to have flashbacks to the night he visited the butcher shop. I could see the wheels turning in his head. He knows that something is off and begins to suspect that Ed is the one who hit and killed Rye.
Mike Milligan gets some inside information from Simone Gerhardt, Dodd's daughter, about what to expect from her grandmother and her father. They have sex while the Kitchens play cards in the room next door. She also tells him about her grandfather's doctor's appointment. She seems okay with the notion of Mike killing her father. She is more interested in doing drugs and having sex.
Floyd has a sit down meeting with Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett) from Kansas City. She makes a counteroffer. Joe questions Floyd's ability to control her sons and cites the incident from earlier that morning in the doughnut shop. While they talk Mike and the Kitchen brothers visit the doctor's office where Otto is taken. They leave Otto alive but kill his bodyguards and the nurse who was helping to care for him. Joe gets word of Mike's work. He rejects Floyd's counteroffer and lowers the offering price.
Hanzee's investigation eventually leads him to Ed and Peggy's home. They are not home at the time. In the living room he finds Rye's belt buckle in the fireplace. He is examining it when Lou comes looking for Ed and Peggy. Lou is there to talk to Ed and Peggy. He doesn't see Hanzee who slips away unnoticed. Lou asks them to come clean. He seems sure that they are lying but they refuse to change their story. Their car, according to them, was damaged when it skidded on some ice and crashed into a tree.
Floyd gives up on peace and tells Dodd and Bear that they are going to war with the Kansas City mob.
The gloves are finally about to be removed. War is on the horizon. Ed and Peggy's future doesn't look good. Will the Gerhardts be too busy with war to deal with Ed and Peggy? Will Peggy play dumb and frame Ed for the murder of Rye in the same way that Lester framed his brother for his wife's murder in Seasons One?
This episode is a bit of an in between-er. There's a lot of build up to things to come in the future episodes. If this episode belongs to anyone is is Hanzee. He kind of gets the spotlight as he searches for and finds Rye's killers.
This was an excellent episode.
Friday, February 2, 2018
Philip is abducted by men who seem to be FBI agents. They torture him. They claim to know who he is. Elizabeth is also abducted and brought to the same location as Philip. In the last episode it was revealed that the KGB knew that there was a mole in their Washington operation. Philip and Elizabeth are being tested to see how loyal they truly are. It goes on for a little while but eventually Claudia shows up and calls an end to the test. Philip and Elizabeth are enraged to learn why they were tested. Elizabeth beats up Claudia until her face is all bloody before they leave.
Nina is having trouble going along with Stan's instructions. She knows that there is a hunt for a mole within the embassy. She is convinced that she will be caught. She wants Beeman to follow through on his promise and help her defect. Stan goes to his boss who isn't interested in Nina's problems. Stan comes up with an alternate plan and frames Vasili Nikolaevich, Nina's boss. Vasili takes the fall and Nina seems safe for now. She clearly planted some of the evidence that gets Vasili shipped back to Russia but does he suspect her?
Paige and Henry get stranded after school when Elizabeth doesn't show up to drive them home. They wind up hitchhiking, Paige's idea, and get a ride from a stranger, Nick. He offers to drive them home but along the way he stops at a pond and hands Paige a beer. His intentions go from benevolent to malevolent fairly quickly. Henry saves his sister by smashing a beer bottle over the Nick's head. The siblings run off and make their way home on foot. They vow never to tell their parents about what happened that day.
Elizabeth and Philip get into a fight after their escape. Philip suspects that something is up when he learns that Elizabeth was not tortured. She grudgingly admits that she told their bosses that he felt like he fit in as an American. Philip feels betrayed by Elizabeth. He lets it show throughout the rest of the episode.
I love the emotional tension between Philip and Elizabeth in this episode. Just as it seemed like they were finally starting to feel like a couple something happens to push them apart. I wasn't too taken by the Paige and Henry part of the episode until the end of it. Them keeping secrets from their parents got me excited for what else might happen with these two. The Stan and Nina story was the weakest of the three stories.
This was an excellent episode, possibly my favorite since the pilot. The pacing was good. The story didn't bog down at all. Their were some very nice character moments.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Dev goes out to dinner with Jeff (Bobby Cannavale), a famous chef who is also one of the producers of the show he hosts. He also goes out with Priya, one of the women he went on a date with in 2.04 (First Date). Everything goes great with Jeff, not so much with Priya. Chef Jeff invites Dev to a dinner party. He doesn't want to take Priya so he ends up taking Francesca who is in town with her boyfriend. She was last seen in 2.02 (Le Nozze) when Dev was living in Italy.
John Legend makes a brief appearance. He is one of the guests at the dinner party. He plays himself and sings a song.
Arnold and Brian come to visit Dev on the set of Clash of the Cupcakes. They want to meet the Jabbawockeez who are there to make a guest appearance on CotC.
The episode ends on a down note. He has fun at the dinner party with Francesca but she already has a boyfriend. Dev is smart enough not to try anything stupid but I definitely got the sense that he didn't want the night to end when it did or the way it did.
Not too bad but not my favorite episode. There was a definite lack of humor. I laughed a couple times but for the most part this one went for the heart rather than the funny bone.