Welcome to the Halloween edition of TV Thursdays where we try out the aptly-timed Dracula in this week’s reviews. I suppose it’s lucky that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. skips this week, giving me more time to spend on other reviews.
Arrow #2×03 – “Broken Dolls” – Honestly, I listened to a podcast in the past week that criticized Arrow because it didn’t have any DC comic references. Seriously. You people are clueless. These episodes are packed with them, even more than I point out. Let’s look at this episode, shall we? We start off where we left off, with Oliver surrounded by police, but Black Canary shows up and saves him with her Canary Cry. Granted, it’s technological, not physical, but that’s just the kind of show Arrow is. They escape and she heads off, saying “nice mask”. He doesn’t wear a mask in the TV show, but the Green Arrow certainly does in the comics and Oliver’s black stripe across his eyes is an homage to the comics. Oliver heads back to his lair where he talks with Felicity and Diggle about the new player in town and he’s definitely not on board. Everyone wonders why Oliver went to see Laurel and he thought he could convince her that he’s not the bad guy. Sorry pal, she’s not being rational, talking to her when she’s having an emotional breakdown over Tommy’s death won’t help. Anyhow, Oliver wants to know everything he can find out about Black Canary and puts Roy on the case. Meanwhile, Detective Lance is being kept away from a murder investigation, a serial killer he helped put away, Barton Mathis, escaped from Iron Heights thanks to the earthquake and is on the loose. Mathis is also known as the Dollmaker, he kidnaps and murders young women and dresses them up like dolls. Of course, Dollmaker is from the DC universe, usually part of the Batman rogues gallery. Anyhow, Lance put him away last time and he’s fanatical about stopping him again. He tries to get in contact with the Hood, Lance knows the police aren’t cooperating with him and he knows more about Dollmaker than anyone else. The Hood agrees to help and together they go to see Dollmaker’s former lawyer, a guy named Tony Daniel. Yes, the DC comic creator Tony Daniel. He says that he doesn’t know where Mathis might be, but Oliver puts an arrow through his shoulder. When Lance objects, Oliver says “he’ll live”. Shades of Terminator! You know, if I wanted to be really obtuse, that could even be a reference to Deathstroke the Terminator. You know, Slade Wilson, back on the island? True, that’s probably stretching it a bit. Daniel finally tells them that Dollmaker used to hang out and they locate an abandoned apartment #52 (gee, where could that come from?) but Barton knows better than to use his old haunts and he leaves behind a phone and has a conversation with Detective Lance while Felicity traces the call. Dollmaker confirms that he has kidnapped another girl and while Lance listens, he kills her and promises to make her extra pretty. Once they find the body, Detective Lance and Oliver break into the police server room where Lance realizes that several of the women have been using the same kind of specialty skin cream. This is the clue that puts them back on track. There are only four places in town that sell the cream and Felicity volunteers to go to each of them and make a purchase, hopefully becoming bait. The Hood and Lance have a talk, he says he’s chasing the Dollmaker because he wants to symbolically save his youngest daughter, you know, the one that drowned 6 years ago on Oliver’s yacht? Felicia receives a scare when she’s grabbed by the Dollmaker, but Oliver puts an arrow into his shoulder and he runs away. Lance, however, is arrested for obstruction and thrown in the clink. Laurel gets him out by cashing in some favors that she doesn’t really have. She says she’s been chasing after the Hood because of Tommy, but Detective Lance points out that a guy with a bow and arrow can’t stop a building from falling down. Then Laurel says she feels guilty because Tommy was only there because of her. Oliver and Thea to into court and find out that their mother is being put up for the death penalty. Okay, I’m sorry, but she’s not directly responsible for anything that happened, no judge is going to allow that. Meanwhile, Roy is trying to find out about Black Canary. He steals some booze from Thea’s club (notice she claims she never received half a case of whiskey) and takes to his old fence. He pumps the fence for information and he directs her to Cindy, who has been seen with Black Canary several times. Now while I don’t know for sure, I’m thinking this is Cynthia Reynolds, Gypsy, who was a former member of the Birds of Prey with Black Canary. Anyhow, Cindy escapes and is chased by Roy and she runs into a clocktower. You know, that couldn’t possibly mean anything, could it? That’s only the Gotham Clock Tower where the Birds of Prey operate out of. Anyhow, Roy gets knocked out by Black Canary. She asks if “they” sent him, but he doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but when he gets a text from Thea saying that Laurel was kidnapped, she believes him and tells him go get lost. Before she leaves the clock tower though, she gets another visit, this time from an agent of Ra’s al Ghul, who demands she return with him. She refuses and kills him. In fact, both of the Lances have been taken, Barton wants revenge on Lance and is going to use Laurel to get it. Felicity checks security footage and finds a truck from Metamorpho Chemicals. They reason that Dollmaker is hanging out at Starling City’s Bisque Museum and Oliver rushes there, arriving just in time to stop Laurel from becoming the latest doll. Barton runs, even with a couple of arrows in him and Black Canary arrives and kills Dollmaker in cold blood. Laurel, seeing that the Hood has come to her rescue once again, forgives him for the death of Tommy. Detective Lance renames him Arrow, which is just one step short of Green Arrow. About damn time. We also get a bit of a flashback to the island where they bring back one of the Japanese soldier’s bodies to their airplane and Shado starts examining it. Oliver and Slade go looking for how the soldiers from last episode got onto the island. They find a cargo ship in the harbor which starts firing on Shado’s position. Oh yeah, and on the ship itself, it says Amazo. There’s actually another DC reference in the show, Detective Lance’s radio call-sign is “Delta Charlie 52”. Yup, DC-52. Subtle, huh? I could probably come up with some others if I looked harder but I think you get the message, this show is utterly littered with comic references, anyone who doesn’t see this has not been paying attention. So, I guess the question here is how does Laurel end up taking over the job from the Black Canary. Or does she? My new theory is that the Black Canary is really her presumed-dead sister Dinah, who was actually Black Canary in some of the books. The set-up from last season with her mother was just too perfect, we know her sister is really still alive, that’s where the Black Canary comes in. This show is just fantastic and with geeky references galore, it just keeps getting better.
Atlantis #1×05 – “White Lies” – After a mysterious stranger breaks into the palace and attacks Princess Ariadne, the reality is that he was giving her a message from her long-lost brother, thought killed many years before. The messenger is captured and tortured by Queen Pasiphae but he refuses to reveal his true mission. Ariadne, however, wants to go see her brother but it’s far too dangerous, Pasiphae is watching her closely so she convinces Jason to escort her handmaiden and pass a message back to her brother, which he and the regular gang of idiots do. Meanwhile though, Hercules has found another ridiculous thing to engage in, beetle racing. He bets everyone’s combined wealth, what little of it there is, on his first race and, to everyone’s surprise, it wins. He then falls madly in love with his beetle, as much as you can with a beetle anyhow, and this becomes a running thread through the episode. By the time they get through to good brother Therus’ hiding place and the handmaiden delivers the message, Therus really wants to head straight back to Atlantis and reunite with his sister more than ever, but such would be suicide. Queen Pasiphae tried to do away with Therus in her long-term plan to seize the throne and eventually, even Ariadne will succumb to her treachery. Therefore, she invented the story that Therus wanted to kill his father, the king, and he was banished and supposedly killed. Showing his face in Atlantis is a good way to get an arrow in his head or an axe in his back. Therefore, Jason volunteers to go back to Atlantis and bring Ariadne to him, which he does. This brings a couple of cute scenes where Jason brings Ariadne back to their hovel and she gets changed while he tries to clean up the house, pushing off the mess on Hercules and his disgusting habits. Of course, getting Ariadne out of Atlantis undetected is very difficult, especially after the messenger is eventually tortured by black magic to the point where he has to give up his secret and that ends his life. Knowing that Ariadne will be going to see her brother and knowing that the brother is still alive, she has Ariadne followed and the second she turns up missing, her troops are on the move toward Therus’ hiding place. Ariadne and Therus have a heart-wrenching reunion and he begs her to leave with him, after all, Pasiphae is going to try to have her killed too, but she refuses, she has to go back to Atlantis. This episode has a lot of good Ariadne/Jason scenes, it brings them closer together and might even start somewhat of a distant romance. It also gives Ariadne a bit of a backbone when she confronts Pasiphae upon her return, telling her she knows all about her plots and plans. Will this put her in more danger in the future? We’ll have to wait and see. One thing this episode really does is start to explore my biggest complaint with the series so far, the lack of an over-arching storyline. Where I had thought that perhaps Medusa’s transformation into evil might be the point of the first season, instead it looks like they’re delving into Pasiphae’s backstabbing and her attempt to take the throne. It’s about time they planted their flag somewhere, I was getting tired of waiting for it. The biggest problem this time out is that Hercules and Pythagoras were really given nothing to do, except the absurd beetle nonsense. It really made no sense and had nothing to do with the overall storyline, except to make everyone look at them and wonder “who are these idiots?” It should have been cut in favor of more on the Ariadne/Jason front. This show has yet to really grab me, there’s nothing I look forward to every week, it’s just not exciting and most of it is so episodic that there’s little reason to even watch it in order. I’m in for the season regardless, but it needs to get it’s crap in gear really quick or I’ll not picking it up again next season.
Castle #6×06 – “Get a Clue” – Castle and Martha go to see Alexis’ new apartment with Pi and Castle is very critical. She’s used to living in relative luxury, not… this. He offers to help them buy decent furniture, not something they got dumpster diving, but Alexis gets upset. However, instead of focusing on his problems, the NYPD gives Castle just what he needs, a new murder mystery. They find an accountant that was dumped in an alley, posed like a crucifixion, with wounds on her hands and a sharp blade injury through her throat. They speak to her boss and it turns out the victim, Susannah, had asked for some time off to deal with some personal issues. Then they head for her apartment and find it littered with books on ancient mythology and a big board filled with occult symbols and notes. Castle immediately leaps to the conclusion that she was involved in witchcraft, but when they talk to her cousin, he says no. He doesn’t know why she’s looking into mythology though, she’s a history nut, but only for early American history. He says that Susannah wanted to talk to him about something but never got the chance. What could it be? They start tracking video footage and find that she’s being stalked by a bald man wearing monk’s robes and Castle starts thinking Da Vinci Code and Esposito says he might be closer than he thinks. Lanie does her thing and concludes that Susannah’s stab wound was caused by a particular kind of ancient sword so they track down a historian that was helping Susannah with her research and it turns out there was more to this than they thought. She had brought him a scroll on parchment, supposedly written in the 1700s, with clues to track down an ancient treasure. The historian mentions the first coins minted in America, the half-dimes, which had vanished almost entirely and were now selling at more than a million dollars each. They track down the monk through some surgical scars on his head and he turns out to be an ex-con-turned-real-monk at a local religious order. It isn’t the monk that done it though, he says that he was protecting her from an evil looking guy and that he saw her get into a cab and drive away. The monk, Wade, provides a sketch and they confirm the cab ride and it’s back to square one. Castle and Beckett go to Wade’s monastery where he said he saw someone following Susannah and find some of the symbols that Susannah was researching. Castle says he knows of a medieval blacksmith operating in the city and they go to see him, maybe he knows about the sword, but as soon as they arrive, Castle is attacked by a sword-wielding maniac and they cross steel. Castle really is pretty good at it. Defeated, the man reveals himself to be a promoter who was running a game, dedicated to saving historical buildings in New York City. Susannah was one of the players in the game. It looks like the wild goose chase has hit a dead end and Castle goes home, dejected. However, once he gets there, he gets yelled at by Martha who is understandably upset at his behavior at Alexis and Pi’s. She tells him that Alexis is old enough to make her own decisions and he admits she’s right, but she says something that sparks a new idea. He takes the pieces from the scavenger hunt and realizes they all fit together to form a pattern. He rushes back to Beckett and shows her and they both realize what it means, especially since they had just received confirmation that Susannah’s cab ride had led her right back to the church. Once there, they figure out the last few clues, Castle sticks his hand in a lion’s mouth, and they discover a secret passage with an ancient crypt inside. It is covered with blood and a sword, presumably the murder weapon, lies on the floor. Someone had tried to get into the crypt unsuccessfully, but Castle figures out how it works and inside is a big bag of half-dimes, the treasure. Castle picks it up and an ancient trap is sprung, locking them inside. Of course, it’s a little silly when Beckett says she has no cell signal, considering there are big glass windows into the room, but eventually she calls to be let out. They go back to the man who set up the scavenger hunt and accuse him. He knew the treasure was real and had hoped that one of the players would uncover it. He and Susannah had worked on it together because it had come from an old family story of hers. Certainly her only living relative, her cousin, would also know that old story. They bring him in, after gathering DNA evidence in the crypt proving he was there. He said that it wasn’t fair that Susannah was going to give the coins away to a museum while he had to live hand to mouth with a mother in an assisted living center. He never meant to kill her, he had joined the game in a disguise to follow her and things just went badly. Since the coins were found on church property, they belonged to the monks, but the monks, who had taken a vow of poverty, had donated them all to the same museum that Susannah wanted to. After all of this, Castle goes to see Alexis and apologizes but she doesn’t accept it. She wants him to accept her relationship with Pi and until he’s willing to do that, they have nothing to talk about. He says he’ll keep trying. Now the mystery itself was kind of interesting, the idea of a historical scavenger hunt, ala Da Vinci Code or National Treasure is fun. Lots of stuff was a bit convenient, like Castle’s sudden grasp of Latin, rusty as it was, but it was still a fun watch. I like how they play constant homages to different mystery, sci-fi and fantasy genres and Castle is always running down the primrose path into crazyland. Good stuff.
Dracula #1×01 – “The Blood is the Life” – Time for a new series and I’ll be honest, I was skeptical of this one, mostly because of how vampires have been handled in recent years, either the absurdly sparkly or the ridiculously sexual and I detest both kinds with a passion. However, there were some elements that told me I should give it a chance, so I did. How did it fare? Read on. It is Romania, 1881 and two men break into a crypt. One of them is looking for gold, which he finds and the other man is seeking something much more sinister. We find the corpse of Dracula in the crypt and one man murders the other in order to drain his blood into the mouth of the vampire, bringing him back to life. Time passes and we see a fully rejuvenated Dracula in a bath in 1896. His butler informs him that his guests have arrived and that they were all photographed as they entered. The butler also tells him that the prototype is ready, Dracula, playing the part of reclusive American industrialist Alexander Grayson, tries out his accent and is satisfied. Tonight, he’s giving a grand ball for all of the movers and shakers of late 19th century London. At the party, Jonathan says that the wine in his glass is worth more than he makes in a week. His companion, Lucy, says it’s more than he makes in a month. Mina Murray wonders how Lucy ever managed to get Jonathan out of his lab. Her eyes meet Grayson’s across the room, it seems Grayson is quite taken with her, and there is a flash, apparently they’ve known each other quite well in the past, or will do so in the future, but she’s already spoken for now. Her beau, Jonathan, has wanted to propose but wonders if he’s good enough for Mina. Grayson’s butler welcomes them to Carfax manor (“show me the carfax!”). While mingling, Grayson asks two prominent businessmen if he can acquire the patents for some energy devices but they refuse, saying they only do business with British interests. Yeah, these two are going to last. Jonathan tells Grayson that he’d do better approaching their bookies because they are all addicted gamblers in a great deal of debt. The butler, Renfield, tells Grayson that Jonathan is a reporter and the press were explicitly not invited, but Jonathan is here socially. However, Renfield invites Jonathan back the next day for an official interview. Then Grayson takes the stage to demonstrate his newest invention, a means for transmitting electricity wirelessly. He hands out lightbulbs to the crowd and tells his scientists in the basement to activate the machine. It works, after a fashion, although they have to shut it down before it explodes and the reaction ranges from surprise to suspicion of fraud. Lady Jane finds Grayson and says his performance was operatic. He says he’s a great supporter of the opera and she invites him to see it from her box, but he has his own and rebuffs her. Later, Jonathan is typing and his roommate says that Mina won’t wait forever, if he doesn’t propose, someone else will. Jonathan expresses his doubt that he’s the best she can do. Lucy, staying at Mina’s house for the night, tells Mina that Grayson is much more exciting and mysterious than Jonathan, but Mina doesn’t want to hear it. Meanwhile, we see the anti-American Lord arrive at his home and is attached from behind, a splash of blood against the column is all we see. Renfield criticizes Grayson for ripping Clive apart, but Grayson says he was a pig and deserves it. Apparently, the Lord is a member of a secret society called the Order of the Dragon, whose activities include rape, murder and mayhem. Imagine, Dracula is actually a moral crusader! Back at the Lord’s house, his coffin has been readied for burial. A man breaks in and steals his head, taking it back to Lady Jane and another man who examine it. They can find no signs of vampirism, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, the damage to the neck is too great. They say it’s been 8 years since the last vampire roamed London, Jack the Ripper, who they went to great lengths to hide the identity of, mutilating the bodies and writing letters to the press. Jonathan arrives at Carfax Manor and interviews Grayson, who he finds visionary, delusional and an egomaniac. Mina visits with her professor, Dr. Van Helsing and asks who is to become his assistant. He says she has the best scores overall, but her ability to perform surgery is quite poor. She could do better if she just believed in herself and she says she’ll try. We see Grayson watching her leave the meeting in the dark before his eye is caught by another woman an in moments, she is moaning as he feeds. Jonathan and Mina arrive at the opera to sit in Grayson’s box, which he’s given them for the night. Mina thinks it’s a way to buy favor with Jonathan so he’ll write a favorable article. Grayson arrives at Lady Jane’s box. Grayson invites her into the back of the box where he indulges himself, while keeping an eye on Mina. Later, two of the Lords discuss how Grayson swooped down on Clive’s widow and buying up all of the stock at a low price by threatening to release the gambling debt info. That makes Grayson a partial owner of their company. Dracula watches from the rooftop where he’s attacked by a hunter from the Order of the Dragon, but Dracula is much stronger and kills the hunter. Lady Jane is working out, while a vampire is in a cage, she demands to know her sire, but when she refuses, she threatens to throw her into a lake where she’ll remain underwater for years or decades. The vampire tells her it doesn’t matter because soon, there will be tons of vampires in London. Grayson returns home and is visited by Van Helsing, who says that the Order of the Dragon cannot simply be crushed, their great wealth must be eliminated. This doesn’t make Grayson happy and he threatens to kill Van Helsing, but he’s reminded that it was Van Helsing that resurrected him in the first place and they must follow the plan. Grayson releases him, remembering that his wife was killed by the Order, and Mina wakes up elsewhere, remembering the same thing. Now honestly, there are things wrong with this series, beyond my hatred of vampires, but there are things that I like. I love the fact that Grayson is an inventor and a scientist, in fact, for the same reason that I love Murdoch Mysteries. This is in the same era and, at least in the first episode, they dropped names like Edison and Tesla. That’s great. Secondly, it seems like they’re casting Dracula as a good guy, at least so far. Sure, he’s still a bloodthirsty monster, but he’s a refined bloodthirsty monster. We haven’t seen him actually kill anyone yet who doesn’t really deserve it. Third, the idea that Dracula and Van Helsing are partners and friends is an intriguing one. We know that, at some point, Mina is going to marry Jonathan, she has to become Mina Harker, but we also know that Grayson has a thing for her and they have shared something between them, we don’t know if it’s in the past or in the future yet, so there’s a lot of intrigue going on. That alone makes me want to watch it. I don’t have any love for modern vampires, but this seems to go back to Bram Stoker and I do love the original, old-school vampires, back in the day of Stoker and Bella Lugosi and the like. It’s not the most amazing show I’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly enough that I want to see where it goes.
Elementary #2×05 – “Ancient History” – We open with a dead body beside a motorcycle. That looks like it hurt. Joan goes shopping with her friend Jennifer and they talk about a one-night stand Jennifer had a year earlier. She wants Joan to find the guy, someone she knows only as Tony, because she thinks he might be the one. Joan says that’s not really what she and Sherlock do, but she’ll try. Sherlock, meanwhile, has been bored, there have been no good cases lately so he’s been digging through the cold cases. Watson tells him that he smells like old mimeograph copies and tells him they have to go out. He takes her to the morgue where he has a standing bet with Eugene, the mortician. Any bodies that Sherlock can prove Eugene made a mistake on, he wins. They look over 19 bodies and find nothing but on the 20th, Sherlock sees a tattoo and says he’s got a case. Checking the files, it was a motorcyclist named Leo who was in a fatal crash with a van that also killed the van’s driver. Gregson tells Sherlock he doesn’t have to go digging in the morgue for cases. Sherlock says that the distinctive tattoo proves he was a Polish assassin and that the marks on his hands proved he garrotted someone the day he died. The problem is, there is no body and without a body, there is no case. They go talk to Leo’s wife and she tells them that he was a wonderful man, active in their church, whose goal in life was to open a senior care home. She can’t believe that he was a killer and he even called her an hour before he died to tell her that he loved her. Sherlock looks into Leo’s past and, because most murders are committed by people the victim knows, comes up with Travis Hardwick, a business associate who hadn’t sent flowers to Leo’s funeral. That means he’s probably dead. Where could his body be? They were pouring concrete at the site of Leo’s old folks home, what better place? But when they arrive, they see Travis’ truck and Sherlock knows he’s alive because of a receipt in the front seat. They go bang on a motel room door and it’s Travis with a couple of hookers. Travis says that he was just enjoying Leo’s largess, the project had run out of money and even though Leo said he got $25,000 from a loan shark, it wasn’t enough and he was just going to enjoy the hookers and blow until the money was gone. Sherlock confiscates the money but leaves the cocaine behind. They look at the money and realize it’s over 20 years old. $20 bills don’t last that long in circulation so they run the serial numbers and find they are from a heist. Half the money was never recovered so they reason the loan shark got ahold of the money and sat on it for 20 years. One of the suspects was a moneylender named Gertz but nobody knows where he is. Meanwhile, Joan checks out the bar that Jennifer says she met Tony in and finds that they met during the Brazilian Day celebration. The bartender says most of the people from the celebration end up in the bar. Joan goes and gets the b-roll footage of the celebration, thinking she might be able to find a picture of the mystery man but Sherlock tells her to turn it off. He reveals that it was him. Back when she just started as his sober companion, he followed her around to get to know her better and he met one of her friends. He only meant to ask about Joan, but one thing led to another and they had a one night stand. Joan is mad, this was a total breach of confidence , but he says they didn’t have a close relationship and once they developed it, he stopped following her. He suggests that maybe they could convince Jennifer that Tony was dead. Back to the case. Sherlock finds out that Gertz’ sister has a hair salon that’s stayed in business for 20 years in a bad part of town, they go there and find the loan shark hanging out in a chair. The place is a front for his business. Gertz says that he gave Leo the money because he had cared for Gertz’ mother in her dying days. However, a couple of days later, a Russian mobster named Gregori Andriev came to see him and busted up his arm until he told Andriev what he wanted to know. This made Sherlock look differently at the fatal crash and when Detective Bell went out to look closer, they found shell casings and Russian cigarettes at the scene. They also found the garrotted body of Andriev. So if Leo killed Andriev, who was shooting at Leo? While Sherlock tries to figure it out, Gregson tells him that Leo stole $30k from his Polish mob buddies, that’s why he came to America to start over. They found out that Andriev was under the psychiatric care of Dr. Glassman and Sherlock and Watson go to see him, using devious means to get into the office. Since Andriev is dead, Glassman tells him that he didn’t want to treat him but felt threatened. He did talk about one guy named Marco Zupkof so they go see him, but he’s not the one, he got stabbed in the leg and was in the hospital at the time of the shooting. However, they notice something about the tourniquet Marco had on his leg when he arrived at the hospital, it looks exactly like the curtains at Leo’s house. They go back there and it turns out that Leo’s wife had hired Marco to kill Leo because Leo was going to leave her. He had found out that she made some porno flicks to pay for her way to America. Leo was stronger than expected and he had survived the attack and stabbed Marco. After tending to Marco’s wounds, Leo had called his wife and told her that he had been attacked and to meet him. She arrived and found him finishing off her second assassin, Andriev, so she grabbed Andriev’s gun and fired, missing Leo, but causing him to swerve and crash. Case solved. Joan wants to tell Jennifer the truth and they meet, but Sherlock had already been there and explained everything. They had also slept together again. Now that Jennifer knows it was just a fling, she can move on with her life. Watson goes home and tells Sherlock that Jennifer had said she was ovulating, which almost shocks Sherlock until he realizes Watson is kidding. It was an interesting case, taking an accident victim and seeing it evolve into international intrigue and then, to a simple jealousy ploy. Great going! The other bit was a bit of a question, I didn’t know if Sherlock was serious when he said he slept with Watson’s friend, I thought he was just trying to get her to focus on the real case at hand. It was a bit weird when I realized he was serious. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer? Or maybe your friends’ friends? Who knows.
Haven #4×07 – “Lay Me Down” – Jennifer decides that she wants to get a job, not being crazy and all anymore, and looks to the Haven Herald. Why not? Also, Wade is now crazy and he’s not hiding it all that well. Even Duke, who isn’t known for being all that observant, thinks Wade is acting kind of strange, but there’s a drunk to deal with and the best place for a drunk in Haven is the drunk tank. Nathan and Audrey go out in the corridor to argue about Lexie and when they return moments later, Freddy the drunk is dead, apparently mauled by a bear while inside a locked jail cell. Most places, that would be ridiculous, but this is Haven after all. When Jennifer arrives at the Herald for her interview, she conveniently runs into delivery person Carrie who gives her advice on how to act during the interview. While it’s clear that she’s completely overqualified for the job, the Teagues give her an assignment, to do a complete background check on herself. Okay, does anyone else think that’s kind of creepy? No, it’s ridiculously creepy, Vince and Dave just want all the dirt on her and the easiest way to do that is to make her do all the legwork. She comes back and apologizes that she was again unable to find her birth parents, but Vince and Dave devour her self-book-report with absurd vigor. We now switch to Wade, our newest troubled psychopath. After killing Jordan, it’s clear that he’s not going to stop there, he butchers a troubled young girl right outside of a bar. She’s never done this before my ass. She’ll never do it again at least. Both Nathan and Duke start having dreams, but whatever happens in the dream also happens in real life. Both dreams are really disturbing and make you want to unsee what you just saw. Ick. Just ick. However, it gives them an answer to Freddy’s murder. It seems that there’s a new trouble that affects people by making their dreams real. Freddy dreamt about grizzly bears, he gets mauled by a subconscious grizzly and dies. Now, everyone has to remain awake except Audrey. It’s not not to be affected by the troubles, isn’t it? Dwight even has a dream where he’s shot and… he is. At least this is nothing new for him. However, they’re lucky, two other men have died in their dreams, one from bee stings and the other from his teeth falling out. I’d argue that’s a reference to The Tommyknockers mini-series, which is a good bet considering Haven is very loosely based on a Stephen King story. Vince calls in Jennifer and tells her that Agent Howard arranged her adoption and want her to explain it. She can’t and they say they’re going to get to the bottom of it. There seems to be no connection between the victims until they start noticing that there’s a copy of the Haven Herald at every death. They start thinking that this could be Vince and Dave’s trouble, but they assure them it’s nothing of the sort. Nothing has changed in their printing process, they’re not using new paper or ink, nobody new is delivering the paper and this makes Nathan look closer, realizing that all of the dead are on the same paper route. It’s got to be Carrie! They go chase her down and she immediately knows what the problem is, her trouble is that anything that happens to her in a dream affects her in the real world, it’s a problem that’s been in her family for generations. Somehow, her trouble is now affecting people on the outside! But how? Meanwhile, Duke takes a look at the police files for the dead girl and finds that there was a knife tip left in the victim. Interestingly, he found Wade washing a bloody knife with a broken tip at home. Wade claimed he was cleaning fish. Wade went to the marina and talked to the guy who rents boats and wanted to take out the boat Wade had been renting. The boat had a GPS so he followed it to the most recent spot and found a bunch of bodies underwater. Wow, almost like they watched the first season of Dexter! Among the bodies is Jordan, identifiable by her gloved hand, Wade must have killed them all! Duke must stop this and he confronts Wade outside of a bar. Wade doesn’t deny his actions, instead he threatens to squeal to the Guard about Audrey if Duke doesn’t keep his mouth shut. Duke promptly knocks Wade out and takes him back to his boat. Nathan and Audrey learn that there is one way (other than having Duke kill Carrie) to end her trouble. All she has to do is go into her dream and confront her worst fear. Luckily, she knows exactly what it was, she got mugged a couple of weeks before and those guys are the worst thing ever. While the rest of the town is having sirens blasted to keep people awake, Carrie gets some shut-eye and Audrey helps her through the dream. Carrie learns to believe in herself and breaks the curse and saves everyone in town. Those two men might seem a bit familiar, they are the two that came into Lexie’s bar and threatened William. Back on Duke’s boat, Wade calls to Jennifer to let him out of a locked room, which she does, only to be attacked by Wade. He cuts her and sucks some of her blood, then decides he wants more. Duke swoops in to save the day, but gets some of Jennifer’s blood on him too and it’s two silver-eyed brothers in a fight to the death. It’s a short fight and Wade ends up dead, but when Duke gets some of Wade’s blood on him, the Crocker curse is vanquished. Duke feels responsible for allowing Wade to kill. Audrey and Nathan go to see Carrie in the hospital and she says she’s fine. Audrey can see a strange handprint on her back that nobody else can see. This is strange. Audrey and Nathan go back to her room at the Grey Gull and Nathan again asks her to kill him. She’s still a bit pissed off that he slept with Sarah and had a child. She says the time for them is gone and they can work together, but never be anything else. Nathan storms out, then stops and goes back in and tells Audrey he loves her and they kiss. Outside, the two men who attacked Carrie watch the Grey Gull with binoculars and don’t seem at all happy. Please, can we just get rid of the whole Lexie thing? Audrey is hardly even trying anymore! Also, what is that handprint? Is that what made Carrie’s trouble change? And how is Jennifer connected to Haven, now that we know that Agent Howard arranged her adoption? And why does Duke seem so upset that the trouble he’s hated since he knew he had it is gone? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Mentalist #6×05 – “The Red Tattoo” – The end of the Red John saga gets closer. An old man clutches a bag in an elevator when a father and son get on. In his rush to get to his room, the man pushes the boy and the father chases him down the hall. Not getting satisfaction, the man calls security which bangs on the door while sounds of a commotion come from within. Security opens the door, just in time to see the man fall to the ground saying “he stabbed me”. There is no one else in the room and no way for anyone to escape. Call in CBI. Jane and Lisbon arrive and look around, there’s no way for the killer to get out of the room. Rigsby says there was an attempted car-jacking nearby and is going to check it out. Just then, the Visualize people show up, claiming that the dead guy, Chad, was a member and they have permission from Lisbon’s bosses to observe. It’s our old buddy Ray Haffner who frankly doesn’t seem to care who killed Chad, he just wants to make fun of the CBI’s efforts. Haffner then talks to Jane, saying that Visualize is now studying him because Jane’s ego makes him think he’s smarter than everyone else. This doesn’t bother Jane because, let’s be honest, it’s true. It turns out that Chad was an olympic gymnastics coach and a quite successful one. Jane and Cho go to his gym and talk to his clients, most of whom say he’s a great guy. Cho runs into one woman who hits on him but he turns her away. They talk to Chad’s partner who is really upset. When they ask him about his connections to Visualize, the partner says he knows nothing about it, but they had spoken to other parents and it was quite clear that Chad was a member. The partner admits that he lied about it because he was embarrassed that their growing business might be jeopardized by Chad’s involvement in a crazy cult. Rigsby calls and tells them that he found a knife with Chad’s blood in the car of the car-jacking victim but the timelines don’t match up. People heard a gunshot at about the same time that Chad was dying in his hotel room, then police found the gun in an alley a couple of blocks away, it doesn’t seem possible for all of these things to have happened at the same time. Back at CBI, they’re waiting for Haffner so they can go over the case and Rigsby says Haffner has no business being there because he’s a Red John suspect but Lisbon says they have no choice. Haffner arrives in his typical snarky way and they begin. The driver of the car who was shot is Frost, who used to work at Chad’s gym and was trained by Chad for years before he quit recently. Haffner makes fun of their efforts and leaves. What a dick. They go back to Chad’s apartment and find Haffner looking around. They suspect a third man must have been involved in these killings, perhaps even a fourth, but Haffner freaks out when he sees a spider on the wall. This is certainly a clue for later. Grace finds out that Chad didn’t die of the stab wound, but of a hemorrhage he suffered later, something Haffner knew all along, he still has friends in the CBI and can get access to anything he wants. Meanwhile, Rigsby is looking into Kirkland’s shooting and it strikes him as strange that, for a young officer who feels horrible about the shooting, he still put 6 bullets into Kirkland’s back. The woman from the gym shows up at the office and invites Cho out to coffee. Jane finds the bug she planted under Cho’s desk and goes after her, telling Lisbon he’s solved the case. They’re having coffee in the park and Jane sits down and eats her biscuit. She tries to deny it but finally admits she’s a private investigator hired by Visualize to learn things at the CBI. Jane slips the bug into her purse and keeps the listening device. Lisbon meets with Cooper and Haffner at the murder scene and apologizes for Jane being late. She’s brought along a prop that Jane asked her to bring. Meanwhile, Jane is in the alley where the gun was found with Rigsby and Cho, he tells them to stay there to keep anyone from being hurt. He goes back to the apartment and explains that Chad and Frost were gay lovers, from before Frost was an adult, but that they had a falling out and Frost was convinced Chad had found someone new. He therefore arranged to blackmail Chad and told him to bring money to his parked car. Chad did, but he also brought a gun and he shot Frost with the gun and a homemade silencer, but Frost managed to stab Chad at the same time. It wasn’t a serious wound, Chad stumbled back home, but in his apartment he needed to get rid of the gun and security was banging on the door. He used an elastic band used in weight training to shoot the gun out the window, which caused his stab wound to hemorrhage, killing him. The gun sailed into the alley, going off, causing people to identify the time of the shooting death at the same time that Chad died in his apartment. Case closed. As Cooper left the CBI, Jane tells him he doesn’t have to spy on the CBI but Cooper denies knowing anything about it. Jane realizes it wasn’t Visualize, but Red John and now, the private investigator is in danger. They trace the bug in her purse and race to her house but are too late, Red John has already struck. As she dies, she tells Jane that Red John has a strange tattoo on his shoulder. We’re down to 3 weeks until the big reveal, who do you think it is? I really don’t know why Visualize gets the kind of access they do to police resources. I know it’s a popular cult but come on, there have to be some officials that have some sort of professional ethics!
Murdoch Mysteries #7×05 – “Murdoch of the Living Dead” – Yes, it’s the Halloween episode and as expected, it was great. After a woman is found dead floating in the lake, an apparent drowning victim, Murdoch goes to inform the family, only to find her husband showing virtually no interest in his wife’s death, or much of anything else. They encounter her daughter, Betty, who says that her father isn’t really her father. Back at the station house, they ask Better what she means and she says that he vanished for a couple of days the week before and when he came back, he was a completely different man. Dr. Grace reveals that the woman didn’t drown, she was strangled by a very strong man with very large hands, so large, in fact, that he did it with one hand alone. George immediately starts postulating that the father, Jeremiah, was some sort of revenant, a walking body driven by unfinished business on Earth, at least until he discovers that Jeremiah is supposedly dead, his death certificate has been filled out by a Doctor Sabet but no one has heard of the man. Now, George thinks Jeremiah is a zombie. They try to interview neighbors but no one will talk about Jeremiah. He was a very violent man, prone to attacking people, until his mysterious disappearance. Dr. Grace’s autopsy found many old injuries on the dead mother, proving it. When another local man turns up dead with the same symptoms, also with a death certificate signed by the same doctor, Murdoch knows something is going on and once he works out that Sabet is an anagram for his old archenemy Dr. Luther Bates, who is about to give a talk about this exact subject, he rushes in to interject. Bates is convinced that, by shoving a scalpel up the nose of violent criminals, he can change them into law-abiding citizens. In reality, it just lobotomizes them. He was working with a clerk to file fraudulent death certificates, with the rationale that these men were no longer the people they used to be. Bates couldn’t be fingered for the murder, his hands weren’t big enough to match the marks on the body, but they had evidence that Betty’s mother had met with Bates and had a heated confrontation on the day she died. By tracking the death certificates issued by the clerk, Murdoch realized that there were 13 supposed dead men that did not have new identities and he raced to the state hospital where Bates was working. He found a secret chamber where Bates was keeping all of his “mistakes”, men whose lobotomies hadn’t produced calm, passive creatures, but had increased their violent tendencies. One was seen holding the necklace of Betty’s mother. Murdoch confronts Bates who shoves Murdoch against the cage of the giant-handed killer and flees. He’s almost killed when the cages all open and the men head out into the street. They are relatively easily re-captured, except for the one that killed Betty’s mother and Dr. Bates, both of whom cannot be found. Disturbed that his enemy had once again slipped through his fingers, Murdoch returns the pendant to Betty, who decides she’ll spend her life caring for her now gentle, but mindless father. We see Dr. Bates racing down a dirt road, chased by the last prisoner who catches him and kills him, truly poetic justice. This episode is the fourth to be directed by Yannick Bisson, who plays Murdoch. He does a fantastic job, as he has in all of his directorial efforts, he’s a skilled director as well as actor. I kept thinking through this episode that we need to get George Crabtree and Richard Castle together, both of them have proven prone to conspiracy theories and supernatural beliefs, I bet they’d be great together and Jonny Harris is actually quite an accomplished comedian, I’d love to see them share the screen someday, I bet it would be amazing. Unlike last year’s Halloween show, which was quite creepy and dark, this was relatively light if you ignore people’s brains getting scrambled. The affected men weren’t mass murderers for the most part, they were poor victims and in the end, Jeremiah got the care that he needed, although certainly not what he likely deserved after a lifetime of violence, showing that almost anyone can be redeemed in the eyes of those that love them.
Person of Interest #3×06 – “Mors Praematura” – After Root’s attack on Shaw last episode, it turns out that the Machine was able to predict the attack, but because of Root’s close relationship, the Machine conveniently didn’t tell Finch about it. Finch tells Reese to go look for Shaw but it turns out not to be necessary, Shaw actually partners up with Root after she’s told that the Machine informed her that Root needs her. Meanwhile, Finch has a new number and it belongs to a guy named Sloane. With Reese busy, Harold gets on the inside, posing as an estate investigator for Sloane, a man who has a knack for finding out the next of kin for the deceased so he can get them personal belongings. It’s admirable to be sure, they have to go through the belongings of the dead to find clues that lead them to their family. Sloane and Harold go to a new apartment, but Sloane knew the guy who died, it was his foster brother who supposedly died of a drug overdose, but Sloane knows his foster brother would never take drugs so something stinks. Fusco is investigating the scene of a carjacking and he tells Reese that Shaw and Root were working together to steal a medical supply van. Something is going on, but Finch has his own mysteries. At the foster brother’s apartment, every electronic device is missing, which makes no sense since he was a skilled hacker. They find a flash drive in the microwave, the foster brother, Jason, had tried to destroy all data on it but Finch tries to recover what he can and finds a couple of fragments of code. They find that Jason had rented a storage locker, but when they open it, it’s empty until they examine it under a black light and find the walls covered in luminescent code. They were starting to figure out what was going on when Bear starts barking, and a self-defense system is set off, locking them in the locker with gasoline flooding in, washing away the code and threatening to incinerate them both. Luckily, Reese is nearby and sets them free. Finch tries to send Sloane home, but he refuses, saying he’s a skilled investigator and he can help. Root tells Shaw that she doesn’t know the Machine’s plan, she usually gets told what to do just before she’s supposed to do it, but she shares what she knows with Shaw. It turns out that Jason Sloane isn’t really dead, he’s being held by the government because he got mixed up with a terrorist hacker group. They faked his death to protect him from his former friends until after he could testify, but now it looks like they found out where he is and they’re going to take him out. Reese and Sloane head back to Jason’s apartment because part of the cipher requires a specific book to break the code. After digging through the entire place with no results, Sloane remembers that they used to hide things from each other as kids and Jason always hid things behind the ventilation register. Sure enough, that’s where the book is. Root and Shaw break into a CIA safe house and use their connection to the Machine to set up a prisoner pickup. Root gets in a van with a number of other prisoners, including Jason, but she breaks her bonds and frees Jason, just as Shaw causes the van to crash. Root gives Jason a package and tells him to be on a plane at a certain time for a remote tropical island where a multi-million dollar bank account is waiting. However, Sloane gets kidnapped by the hacker group who tells him that his brother is alive, but not for much longer, they’re going to kill him to stop him from testifying, but by the time they arrive, it’s too late. Reese manages to rescue Sloane, but the terrorists get away. He does get a call from Jason saying he’s fine and that he’ll find a way to call again. Carter has spent the episode finding out more about HR through her new spy. She finds out that his real name is Mikhail and that HR has been placing Russian spies in the New York Police Department, both to guarantee their loyalty and to keep their friends in the Russian mob happy. As for Root, she finds herself locked into a room at Finch’s place, imprisoned within a Faraday cage that keeps her from getting any access to the Machine. I don’t think the Machine will be too happy about that. Great episode, lots of twists and turns and we get closer to the big bosses of HR. I know that Root is going to be very important in the near future, I wonder how everyone will react when she joins the team? The Machine has a plan… I love that.
Tomorrow People #1×03 – “Girl, Interrupted” – This is a Cara-heavy episode, giving us a lot of background information on the character. We start off with a deaf teenage Cara at a school dance, going off with a boy “somewhere quieter”. Well, she’s deaf, how much quieter can it get for her? Anyhow, they go out into the middle of nowhere and he tries to rape her. She runs away but he catches up and her fledgling powers blow him across the field where he hits his head and dies. Back to the present day where we see Cara on the subway, trying to block voices out of her head. Okay, let me get this straight, these people can teleport and they still ride the subway? Why? Is there a distance limit? We’ve never seen one even implied. Is there a weight limit? If so, it must be high because we saw Stephen teleport a whole group of people in the first episode. Why would you ever pay to ride a subway when you can just teleport? Speaking of Stephen, he and Astrid are at a party where he accidentally hears Emily thinking about suicide. He’s very disturbed by this because he and Emily have a bond, being the two crazies at high school. Emily had been involved in an accident years before that killed her younger sister and Emily, and frankly everyone else, blames herself for the death. However, he’s got other things to worry about. The Tomorrow People want him to place a bug into the servers of Ultra so they can search through their databases. Stephen brings up Emily’s plight, but Cara refuses to do anything to help humans, she wants them to go extinct. Stephen goes back to Ultra where Agent Darcy Nicholls tries to encourage his time stopping abilities by making him take off his shirt and shooting at him. It doesn’t work. I guess Tomorrow People is going for the same demographic as Arrow, where cousin Stephen Amell has his shirt off several times an episode. Okay, if you need skin contact for your little sensor, his arms were already bare. Let’s not be that blatant, okay? Anyhow, using Cara’s help, Stephen gets into the secure server and inserts the bug, but when Cara is distracted, he gets caught by good old Uncle Jed. Jed isn’t concerned about Emily either, it’s more of a risk of exposure to the world to help her than just letting her die. After Stephen leaves, Jed orders a sweep of the computers, just in case. Back at base, Stephen doesn’t tell John that Cara screwed up. We see another flashback of Cara in jail for the murder of the boy, he apparently had powerful parents and don’t want to admit that he was trying to rape her. Her father fights for her, but she just teleports out of the cell. Astrid is glad that Stephen is trying to help Emily, they find her at a diner but she doesn’t want their help. It’s almost the anniversary of her sister’s death and she wants to die on that day. Stephen again tries to appeal to Cara but she just doesn’t like humans. They’ve now hacked into Ultra’s computers and a potential new TP has been flagged, they go out to make contact but it’s a trap and Cara is kidnapped by Darcy. John is devastated because it’s the 5 year anniversary of Cara’s almost rape. Stephen goes into Ultra to see what he can do. Jed wants to kill Cara but he’s convinced to let Stephen give her the drugs that take away her powers. In the middle of the injection, Stephen stops time, switches bottles and gives her a saline injection and she acts like her powers are gone. Once she’s released, she can teleport again. Astrid calls Stephen, frantic that nobody can find Emily. He had heard some numbers in her thoughts and they turn out to be train times. Emily is parked on the tracks, waiting to get hit by a train. Stephen wants to just lift the car off the tracks but Cara teleports into the car and talks Emily down. She pulls her car off the tracks just as the train passes and all of them teleport away. Unfortunately, Astrid has just arrived and sees Stephen teleport. Stephen tries to convince Cara that maybe they were given powers to help people but she doesn’t seem convinced. Astrid confronts Stephen about lying to her, saying she knows what he can do. I always knew that Astrid would have to be put in the loop sooner or later, having a best friend who you’re always around, eventually they’re going to find out. So now that Astrid knows, we know she won’t spill the beans, but will she be part of the team or will she end up dead? I guess we’ll have to watch and see. After all, Stephen flat-out told her that he can teleport and she didn’t believe him. My second real problem with this is the idea that Tomorrow People can’t kill. What the? That’s an absurd thing to say. Why can’t they kill? That makes no sense whatsoever. Please get rid of this stupidity.
Best of the Week: Arrow gets the top spot this week as more characters start to fall into place and a particularly sadistic villain-of-the-week is brought to permanent justice. Black Canary seems to be a dark mirror image of what Arrow is trying to be in the aftermath of Tommy’s death and, if what I suspect is true actually is, it’s doubly ironic given her likely identity. This is great stuff!
Worst of the Week: Both Tomorrow People and Atlantis struggle to find their footing, which is why I’m giving them both last place in this week’s race. They are really suffering from the same kind of problem, neither has a good overarching storyline, they seem to be stumbling from one episode to the next and while they are surviving as purely episodic shows, that’s not what I really want to watch. Both need to tighten up their writing, find their center and decide what it is they really want to accomplish, otherwise I fear neither will survive this list beyond the end of their first seasons, assuming the shows survive at all.
Other Stuff I Watched: Antique Bookshop Biblia’s Mystery Files 10-11, Galileo 2 1-3, Mythbusters – Zombie Special, The Toy Hunter – Season 2 Special