It’s a little better this week, we have four regular episodes to look at instead of three, thanks to the ongoing Olympics. I did take a chance on a new show so we’ll see how that shakes out. Hopefully within the next week or two we’ll be back to normal, there are a bunch of shows that I’m really missing. Anyhow, let’s take a look at these five shows on TV Thursday – 2/27/14.
Almost Human #1×12 – “Beholder” – I know I complain that the world of 2048 really isn’t all that different in many ways to the world of 2014 and I’m sure a lot of that is budgetary. It costs a lot to come up with a consistent and logical future world and the CGI to bring it to life isn’t exactly cheap. This week, we find a case of plastic surgery gone horribly wrong, which is a little cooler, I guess, than it sounds, but just barely. After a Chrome is found dead, ostensibly of natural causes, Valerie pushes to investigate it as a murder because Chromes are genetically designed not to die young, that’s why they’re so expensive. I’m not really on board with this whole Chrome thing, it builds an over-class and an under-class that I don’t really like and that disparity comes through clearly in this episode. Kennex and Dorian go to check out the murder scene and Dorian finds that there is a tiny puncture at the base of the skull, someone injected something into the victim and whatever it was made them die of what appears to the untrained eye to be a heart attack. Dorian tests the site and finds the DNA of seven other people, all of whom died of heart attacks in recent weeks. They go back to the precinct and find that all of the victims were beautiful people and the media somehow gets word that there’s a serial killer taking out attractive citizens. While Valerie goes to check out a Chrome Club that the victim was a member of, John and Dorian go talk to Rudy who is examining the bodies of the other victims. Rudy is worried that he’ll be next on the list, after all, he was a child model and his nose descends from royalty. Valerie tries to get into the exclusive club but gets stopped and the fact that she’s a cop has no impact because the club has a judge on it’s membership roll. However, she talks to one guy who admits that his Chrome brother is somewhat of a disappointment and he helps her to get the security footage that she wants. Yeah, not so much, the idea that this club is going to push an acting judge to cancel any search warrants that come along, I don’t buy. I don’t care how exclusive the club is. With the tape in hand, they look for the murderer and find him following the victim, but the facial recognition software keeps identifying him with different names, each of them one of the previous victims. Rudy discovers that nanobots were used, he’s found some of them in the injection sites of the victims, it’s a technology that was tested by plastic surgeons once but rejected because it kept killing the donors through heart attacks. John and Dorian go to talk to one of the plastic surgeons who was part of the testing phase and he tells them that there’s a special syringe required that injects the nanobots and then retracts them again so that they can build the particular body part on the recipient from the inside out. The recipient, in this case, is a man who was disfigured by the original clinical trials and now he’s trying to build the ultimate face for himself with a doctor who is practicing medicine without a license. There are ten parts to the formula and he’s collected from and killed nine of them, they have to find out who is doing the surgery and Kennex knows just the guy to get the information from. They find him, hiding in a body shell of a large woman, who Kennex knocks over and breaks for no particular reason. Come on, destruction of private property? Decarlo is played by Tony Cox, one of my favorite dwarf actors. Come on, the guy was an ewok! Anyhow, Decarlo points them toward the only one who would have access to the injection device, which just so happens to be the doctor working with the killer. There, they find the identity of the woman who was the last victim and they manage to protect her from his needle. While checking out the killer’s apartment, they discover that he’s been communicating online with a woman, claiming he was across the country. Even though his cheek bones aren’t perfect, he goes to meet her, he’s been watching her a nearby building and it turns out that she’s blind, she can’t even see all of the plastic surgery he’s performed or his almost perfect face. Confronted by Kennex, the man runs out and leaps off the building, killing himself rather than be captured. He’d do anything for love except, apparently, be honest. Kennex, moved by the man’s commitment, goes to ask Valerie out for a beer, but since he hasn’t shown any interest in her lately, she’s already going out with the Chrome guy from the club. That’s what happens when you sit on your hands, dude. Now the word on the street is that Almost Human is not getting the ratings that Fox wants and is likely on the chopping block and that’s a sad thing because it’s probably the show with the most potential I’ve seen recently. Sure, it has problems and the fact that Fox couldn’t show a series in order if it’s life depended on it doesn’t bode well, but I like Kennex and Dorian. I used to like Valerie until she turned out to be a genetically engineered perfect human, then she stopped being all that interesting. The idea of a tiered class system in the future really doesn’t appeal to me at all, I hope they’re going somewhere with it but with the next episode being the season finale and perhaps the series finale, it’s unlikely that we’ll see it soon, if at all. That makes me sad.
Castle #6×16 – “Room 147” – This was a weird one, but weird in a good way. When maids at a hotel find the body of a man with a single gunshot wound to the chest, dead on the floor in room 147, the cops are called in. Castle and Beckett find that the man, Justin Marquette, was a small time actor who was killed between 10pm and midnight. The hotel says Marquette insisted on staying in that specific room but he had no luggage and because the hotel wasn’t very full, there was no one on the floor to hear the gunshot. They found nothing on Marquette’s phone, but the desk clerk insisted that he had been texting and there was video proving he was using a different phone to text, a phone that was not found at the scene. They check out his work, an off-off-off-off Broadway play and are told that he had an argument with a woman earlier in the week outside of a coffee shop. They find her, Anita Miller, and bring her in for questioning when she instantly confesses to Justin’s murder. She knows details that only the killer would know but she also has an airtight alibi, she was out to dinner with her sobriety sponsor during the time of the murder. Just then, another man is brought in, Sam Carson, who similarly confesses to the same murder, complete with the same specific details and also with an airtight alibi. He, like Anita, couldn’t possibly have committed the crime but he insists that he did it. It doesn’t stop there, an accountant named Dwight Carruthers does the same thing, insisting that he killed Marquette, also with the same details and also with an alibi. Something is going on here. All of them say that they’ve been confused the last two weeks and at all of their apartments, any details about their lives for the past two weeks have been carefully deleted. Castle and Beckett can’t find anything to tie the three claimed killers and the victim together when neighbors start to tell them about a mysterious red van that’s been seen near all of the non-killer’s apartments. One neighbor took a picture of the van with a view of the driver, a bald man that was seen talking with Justin Marquette when he was accosted by Anita Miller. Castle is confused that all three “killers” were obsessed with drawing a strange symbol but none of them knew what it meant. By tracking traffic cameras, they find that the van is registered to a man who worked for the Eternal Horizons Institute (EHI), a spiritual cult that supposedly wants to help people. Castle and Beckett go to their New York office where they are told that the founder, Dr. Bauer, is at a conference in Stockholm, but they can talk to him via video call. He’s very smug and denies knowing any of the people involved and also tells Beckett that she won’t be able to get a warrant to search the premises, which turns out to be true. They know that EHI has something to do with the murder but none of the claimed killers say they are members or that they have ever heard of EHI. The psychiatrist that is working with the killers finds traces of a strong drug in their systems that would, under the right conditions, allow their minds and memories to be altered. Castle and Beckett compare the confessions and find that none of the confessions could have happened the way that Anita, Sam and Dwight described them. They search records for the hotel chain and find that EHI had held a conference at another hotel and rented an entire floor, including room 147. They find security footage of Dr. Bauer with Justin Marquette, proving he was lying about not knowing the victim. With this new information, they get a warrant and take down EHI and discover Dr. Bauer in a room of his headquarters destroying files, not in Stockholm as he claimed. He says that he hired Justin to act in a video for EHI, where viewers, under drugs, were supposed to put their problems onto Justin in the film and then Justin is killed, thus destroying their problems. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out well and all the people who watched it became convinced that they actually killed Justin. Anita, Sam and Dwight threatened to sue EHI and Bauer had their memories erased. Castle and Beckett discovered that one of the women working at the playhouse with Justin, her brother had died in an accident with EHI and she blamed them for his death, even though they were never charged. She gave Justin the phone that he used to text on and shot him in a duplicate of the film that he had made for EHI. In what was a really odd case, I thought it was going to be some kind of psychic thing, they really came through. Also, now that Alexis broke up with Pi (yes!), Castle wants her to move home but she says she has a lease and is killing herself trying to pay for it all herself. Beckett confronts her and tells her that she doesn’t have to feel responsible for making mistakes, she should come home and let Castle help her with her problems, which eventually she does. Good, I’ve missed Alexis. I love it when they dangle more red herrings than I can see through, that made this episode a hit in my book.
Helix #1×08 – “Bloodline” – Day 8 starts out pretty normally, there are Vectors in the ducts and now, apparently, they have x-ray vision. One takes a look at Julia, Sarah and Alan having breakfast and even though it can drop through the vent and eat them, it just moves on. Why? Hell, we don’t know much of anything, do we? By the way, Julia now eats like a horse and Alan can’t understand why all her symptoms just went away. It seems there’s a lot that she isn’t telling them, although she does let drop that Hatake was down on Level R with her. She hasn’t lost her sense of humor though as she does an Alien chest-burster bit and laughs her ass off at Alan and Sarah. Yeah, it was kind of funny. Suddenly, the contamination alarm goes off and Alan kind of saunters that way. Seriously, he does not move fast, he just keeps on chatting for a while after the alarm starts. What he finds is that the Vector in the vents went to the food storage and was apparently trying to infect everyone by infecting the dry food stores. Sutton commands that all of the food be burned, even if it is the majority of their staples. Back in the lab, Sarah is running a full diagnostic on Julia and Julia tells her about her new light sensitivity and her new silver eyes. She does ask that Sarah keep that last part secret though. Sutton goes back to Hatake’s office and goes through a scrapbook of Julia, trying to figure out why she’s so special. Her second-in-command, Klein, comes by to tell her that the mess the Vector left has been taken care of, she tells him that the CDC crew needs more motivation so they should just let Vectors roam free. Wait, aren’t Vectors supposed to be limited to Level R? Anyhow, she asks what she’s doing wrong and Klein gives her some advice and she gives him some boots. Sure, the boot-prize. Why not? Alan goes to talk to Hatake, who is tied up in a room. Hatake says he had nothing to do with Julia’s amazing recovery, forgetting to mention the drugs he gave her, but he does say that Julia is in danger. After all, as the only one to survive the plague, she will be studied for the rest of her life. Conveniently, Sutton picks that moment to bang on Julia’s door and force her into the light, revealing her silver eyes. She declares that Julia is now the property of the Ilaria Corporation. Daniel, who has been trying to hide Anana as a member of the medical team, decides it’s time for her to go. She wants him to go back with her but he says he has to clean up the mess here. They run across Sergio handcuffed to a bed and chat while Anana stitches up his ice pick wound. Wait, isn’t Anana a cop? How would she know how to stitch wounds? Anyhow, Sergio tells them that he was not only kidnapped as a kid, just like Daniel, but he helped to kidnap kids. Sergio gets a needle and picks the lock on his handcuffs as Daniel sends Anana out into the snow to return to her home. Alan and Sarah are in the lab pretending to work on a cure. Sarah tells Alan that there is no sign that Julia was ever sick, there are no antibodies, no evidence at all that might help them find a cure. Alan comes up with a plan to kill Sutton and tricks one of her minions into bringing all the supplies they need to make a bomb in a microscope so they can rescue Julia, but Julia has already escaped into the ducts and they tell her to free Hatake. Sutton almost bites the bullet but Klein manages to save her just in time. Sutton tells Alan to meet her in isolation or she will kill Peter. Of course, she’s going to do it anyhow. Hatake gets free and tells Julia to hide, but she refuses so he knocks her out and hides her behind his secret panel in his office. Anana gets back to her snowmobile to find Sergio trying to hot-wire it. They fight, but Sergio sacrifices himself so that Anana can get away. Julia awakes with a torn photograph in her hand of herself as a child with Hatake standing behind her. Clearly, there’s more history to these two than we know. Sutton pulls a tube from Peter’s cryotube and tells the guards to kill Alan as soon as Peter is dead. Vectors appear and carry Peter’s unconscious body away. Alan, Sarah and Daniel meet up with Hatake and he tells them to find Julia while he deals with Sutton. They talk and Sutton confirms that Julia is indeed Hatake’s “daughter” and that she is an abomination. She points out that Hatake is still wearing the watch that she gave him, but he pulls out a cord and garrotes her with it. He gets on the loud speaker and says that the Ilaria Corporation is no longer in charge. In the end, Daniel and Hatake meet out on the snow, Daniel says he can never forgive Hatake for what he did, but Hatake says that in time, he might understand why he did it. Then Hatake puts Sutton’s head on ice. At least the bitch is dead. Now this episode brings up a lot of interesting ideas. There is something up with Hatake and Sutton. Okay, Sutton is dead, but are we supposed to think they’re aliens or something? After all, we know that Hatake doesn’t really age, at least judging from the picture he left with Julia. Why not? Also, Sutton said that the purpose of the virus was to “think the herd”, I assume she means human life on Earth, but why? There’s got to be a lot more to this than we previously thought. We know that Hatake’s purpose was to create a virus and a cure but he failed in his mission. He didn’t expect the Vectors, but what are they and why? So far, we’ve thought they were just mindless zombies, but now we know they are much more than that. They plan on their own, they pick targets, what is their purpose and what do they want with Peter? And what about Julia? She’s Hatake’s “daughter”, although I don’t know that she’s his biological daughter, certainly she looks nothing like him. Is she half-alien? That might explain why she could reject the virus but there’s a lot more there that we just don’t know yet. And what about Sergio? Is he an alien too? Or was he a human recruited to pull off their plan? Sutton told him that he had to look like he was being prisoner, if it was part of the plan, why did he escape? I can still find no absolute word on how long this show goes on for but we’re down to 5 more episodes before it hits 13, which makes sense for a season/series finale. Could it go on? I suppose. I just want to see them do this first segment right before I commit to anything else.
Intelligence #1×08 – “Delta Force” – One of the problems so far with Intelligence has been that we know virtually nothing about Gabriel’s past before he got a chip in the head. Sure, we know about his wife’s betrayal but that storyline has been taken care of, at least for now. We also know very little about Riley’s past. This episode, we’re thrown a bone and a good one at that. Gabriel and Riley are sent off to Bolivia to protect Javier Leon, a candidate for the presidential elections who has been targeted for termination by the current president, along with all the other candidates. However, word on the street is that Gabriel’s old special forces friend, John Norris, has become an assassin for hire and is gunning for Leon and only Gabriel understands his former Delta Force partner well enough to stop him. They also allow Chris Jameson out of CyberCom, which is both good and bad for him, I don’t think he’ll be too happy to leave again any time soon. We see a flashback to John and Gabriel on the battlefield. Gabriel has been shot in the leg and they’re down to 5 bullets and at least 15 bad guys coming for them. Leaving Gabriel to hide in the reeds, John breaks into a house, takes a mother and daughter hostage and ties them up before returning for Gabriel. Gabriel is shocked at what John has done, but John just wants to survive and declares no one is ever left behind. He’ll do whatever he’s got to do to make it home. Back in the present day, Javier, his wife Marcela and her brother are introduced to Chris and Gabriel, it’s Chris’s job to get them to a safe facility and keep them alive until the U.S. special envoy arrives to talk to them. Gabriel tells them it’s his job to find the guy who wants them dead and Lillian sends them to meet with Dale Cogen, the sole CIA operative in Bolivia. Of course, by the time they get to his house, he’s stone cold dead and someone has set up an explosive in the house to kill off any spooks who might show up. While diving for cover, Gabriel sees Norris watching the explosion. He manages to get the number for John’s burner cell and calls him but John isn’t very talkative and he destroys the phone. Lillian isn’t at all happy that Gabriel didn’t just kill John when he had the chance, after all, that’s his mission here but it isn’t like she doesn’t understand that he’s a rogue element. She needs him a lot more than he needs her. Back at the safe house, Chris shows the Leons around the outdated technology left over from before the CIA was ejected from the country. Sure, that’s comforting. Gabriel realizes that if John blew up Dale’s outpost, he has to know where the Leons are being kept and he calls Chris to tell him to be on guard, but John is already there and seemingly takes out two CIA operatives that are foolishly sent out to take him out. Chris gives Javier a gun and tells them to hide in the control room. Marcela tells Javier to give her the gun, after all, she’s the only one with any military experience and he’ll probably shoot himself in the foot. When Gabriel and Riley arrive, the safe house has been stormed and Chris has been shot in the shoulder. Gabriel tells Riley to stay and make sure Chris doesn’t die while he goes to hunt down John. Lillian calls and says that a government satellite is now overhead but Gabriel disconnects from it, he wants to beat John on his own. He tracks him down and has him at gunpoint, but John has stumbled into an old mine field and he has to rely on Gabriel to get him out of it. Once safe, they talk and it turns out that John isn’t the assassin, he’s a deep cover CIA operative sent to protect Javier from his wife and her brother who are the real assassins. They rush back to the safe house, just as the U.S. undersecretary arrives and Marcela arms a bomb in her lipstick that’s supposed to kill all of them. She and her brother don’t want Javier dealing with the U.S., she wants to be revolutionaries. As Gabriel and John arrive, Riley sees John and shoots him in the shoulder (convenient everyone takes shoulder hits), then everyone opens fire and the brother is taken out, then Marcela is shot several times, dropping the bomb before Riley throws it out of range. Just as we think everyone is safe, the brother pops back up but is finally killed by Chris and his really amazing gun skills. On the plane ride home, John asks Gabriel what he’s doing for CyberCom but he can’t tell him. I really, really like the character of John Norris and while I don’t want to see him be a member of CyberCom, as a deep cover CIA operative, I’d like to see him again. This just shows the problems with assuming things without checking them out first. I also liked that, for the most part, Gabriel proved he was a competent soldier without needing to rely on the chip too much, he’s really spent a lot of time in his own head lately, I want to know that he’s good at what he does before being a plug-and-play device. This was a needed episode that proved he’s good without software. It was also great to see Chris grow a personality, we haven’t really seen him do anything worthwhile, hopefully in the future we’ll see more of him in the field. While I find it nice to see Lillian and DCI Jeffrey Tetazoo working together, it’s clear that you just can’t trust the CIA in this show. I really want to see more of that, I want to see the story behind it all and plus, I love Lance Reddick and want to see at least one or two episodes focused on him, just so he gets more central screen time. All in all though, great episode!
Those Who Kill #1×01 – “Pilot” – It was a slow week so I decided to take a chance on a new show that’s supposed to be starting on A&E on March 3. It’s loosely based off a Danish series called Den som dræber from 2011, but A&E has the pilot up on their site already so why not? It’s yet another serial killer drama (and they claim it’s really not, but so far, you couldn’t tell) and I have a really bad history with those, including that really crappy show The Following from last year. In fact, as I was reading about it, it sounded painfully like The Following, cops after a serial killer, calling in an expert to get into the mind of the murderer, etc. Those Who Kill tells the story of newly promoted homicide detective Catherine Jensen, who stumbles into a serial killer when she refuses to let a body, found in a refinery, go as an accidental death. She consults a forensic psychologist, Thomas Schaeffer, who had previously worked with the department with bad results, to get into the psychology of the serial killer and together, they find that this killer has been dumping bodies at the refinery for quite some time. With three more victims found, Captain Frank Bisgaard gives the case to her, with the reminder that every victim she can’t save, she’ll feel personally responsible for, and then he very reluctantly allows Schaeffer to consult on the case, even though he blames him for whatever mishaps occurred in the past. The killer is a complete animal, he locks women in airtight boxes and tortures them until they suffocate, unlike The Following, there is no attempt whatsoever to humanize him in any way and that’s a good thing. The killer has also taken his next victim, a young woman who was having car trouble (he had removed her battery leads) and now she’s in a box in a basement of a deserted building and slowly being tortured to death. Catherine and Thomas race against time to find her and, in fact, stumble across her in the course of their investigation but she collapses in a coma due to low body temperature. Catherine gets whacked over the head by the killer who dumps her into the box before he escapes, leaving Thomas to get her out, but he doesn’t do it quickly, he’s trying to understand the mind of the killer before he does, something which Catherine doesn’t forgive easily. They rush the victim to the hospital where she starts to slowly recover until the killer, dressed in his day job security officer uniform, gets into the room and injects air into the victim’s veins, killing her. Catherine gets drunk to forget and Thomas shows up to explain why he did what he did, but it turns out that Catherine has an obsession with serial killers because she was once directly affected by one. Right after he leaves, the killer breaks into Catherine’s apartment and kidnaps her because she had emasculated him at the hospital for not being a real cop. He takes her to a new location and locks her in a box, but she had learned from Thomas not to react to anything that he did and she might survive. Thomas reasons that the killer has to be someone in uniform that people trust and the security firm that covered the hospital and the refinery are the same so they expand their search to other places that the security firm handles. According to Thomas, the reason the killer selects his victims is because they’re all trying to turn their lives around but he’s unable to do so and he wants to quash all hope. One of the possible sites is a closed psychiatric hospital, a perfect location for people who were trying to improve themselves. They rush to the hospital and find Catherine in the box with the killer over her and rescue her, but when the killer tries to attack another cop with a knife, Catherine shoots him several times in the back. She tells Thomas to take the cop out for treatment, rolls the killer over and shoots him in the chest, killing him. She goes back to the precinct where she’s told she’ll be investigated by internal affairs for the shooting, but there isn’t anything to be worried about. Meanwhile, she sends Shaeffer a file on her background and he starts to understand more about her. I’ll be honest, I hate the character of Catherine. She’s a mess and I hate seriously, fatally flawed characters. She’s an emotional ball of fail and she never gets any better. Then there’s Thomas, who isn’t much better. He gets obsessively involved in his cases, that’s why his wife doesn’t want him to work with the police, something he apparently just ignores. In fact, there really aren’t any standout characters in this show, it’s even worse than my initial reaction to The Following. I spent 90% of the episode hating everything that was going on, it was the end that got me somewhat interested, maybe the idea is that Catherine is going to be the serial killer for the series. I mean, Dexter did it and did it well for the first couple of seasons before it got repetitive and boring, being a serial killer and a cop, but at least Michael C. Hall had a personality. Chloe Sevigny, at least in this episode, has none. Maybe that’s on purpose, I don’t know, I just got no positive vibe from her at all. There was enough here for us to take a chance and watch the next episode but we’re by no means sold on the series. Hopefully they do something really funky with it, otherwise it’s not going to make it more than a couple of episodes and that’s sad because the first season is only 10 episodes long. We’ll see, it might be a couple of weeks until the next episode airs.
Best of the Week: Castle take stop spot this week for a weird episode that kept me guessing until the very end. In a show known for weird, oddball episodes, to find one where I have literally no clue what’s going on until the last couple of minutes, when it all falls into place, that’s a rare and exquisite thing. Good job!
Worst of the Week: I will admit, this is unfair but I have to give it to Those Who Kill. The characters didn’t grab me, in fact most of them have little or no personality at all, but maybe that was the point. I really won’t know until I’ve seen one or two more episodes, but judging just off of the first episode, sorry, it wasn’t very good for the most part.
Other Stuff I Watched: Toy Hunter #3×02-3×04, Hero Yoshihiko and the Demon King’s Castle 1-12, Mythbusters #12×07, Top Gear #21×04