With the loss of 24, and it wasn’t much of a loss at all, I’ve picked up Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain, plus the new Halle Berry series Extant so the summer isn’t as slow as I thought it might be. This week, I’ll be taking a look at six series, including a double shot of Extant, to see which of them really are superior shows and which deserve to be better. It’s another week so sit down and enjoy TV Thursday – 7/24/14.
Extant #1×01-1×02 – “Re-Entry/Extinct” – When I first went through the TV listings for the summer season, I bypassed Extant because I thought it sounded really dumb. It was only later when I caught a trailer for it that I thought it might be worth a look, but, as happens so often, I lost track of it and when I went looking, found that I had missed the first episode and therefore, I’ll be taking on the first two this week. Surprisingly, this is actually a pretty good show at first glance. Since I watched these back to back, I’ll just do one long review for both episodes. Ethan Woods watches his mother, astronaut Molly, who has just come back from 13 months alone on a space station. She’s feeling sick, which she attributes to re-adjusting to life on terra firma. Ethan and Molly go to a party, where Ethan plays with other children until he gets into a fight. Molly and her husband John break it up and scold Ethan for being anti-social. However, there’s more to Ethan than meets the eye and it’s kind of odd that I picked up on it. I don’t remember seeing anything about Ethan in the trailer, but since my wife and I have been watching through Six Million Dollar Man episodes, I said something offhanded like “he’s going to beat that kid with his bionic arms” and later, when he’s running away at the park, I said “give it up mom, he’s running 60 miles per hour!” Of course, Ethan turns out to be a robot, a new type called Humanics, which is supposed to be able to act in relate to humans better than previous models. Ethan is being raised by John and Molly after they were unable to have children of their own. However, this isn’t just a show about a robot kid, mom is still getting tested following her extended space stay and Sam, her friend and doctor, finds out that, somehow, she’s 14-weeks pregnant, which is impossible because she’s been alone for over a year. Molly begs Sam not to pass on the report to her supervisors while she figures out what happened. Of course, as one might expect, her supervisors are aware that something happened, a previous astronaut, Kryger, who supposedly killed himself after coming back from space, had the same kind of experience but it’s been hushed up. And Kryger isn’t really dead, he’s gone off the grid after being discredited by ISEA, the International Space Exploration Administration. We see a flash back to Molly aboard the Seraphim Station when Ben, the computer voice tells her that there’s a solar flare that is disrupting the station. The lights go out, Ben goes offline and Molly sees Marcus, her dead boyfriend and something happens between them. Meanwhile, John holds a presentation where he presents Ethan to a group of investors, but the investors are afraid that intelligent robots might spell the beginning of the robot apocalypse and they refuse to give him funding. One of them, Femi Dodd, is particularly adamant because robots don’t have souls and John calls her an idiot, which, of course, she is. Molly meets with her supervisors, Director Sparks and Kern, that there was a 13 hour empty spot in her mission, right after the solar flare, where she accidentally deleted the video recordings. Sparks isn’t convinced, she doesn’t make mistakes like that and when the same thing happened to Kryger. they had footage of his “experience”. Kryger, meanwhile, is trying to get ahold of Molly to warn her, he sends her a message attached to a balloon and then invites her to his double-wide out in the middle of nowhere to compare notes. Kryger saw his dead mother, who had died 30 years earlier, up on the station and it’s revealed that both Molly and Kryger have the same kind of mental abnormality. Kryger is convinced that the ISEA was experimenting on them in space. Maybe yes, maybe no, but certainly the ISEA knows something is going on and Sparks convinces Mr. Yatsumoto, a wealthy investor who ran the company that turned down John’s funding earlier, to make a private donation to the Humanics research project, both to keep a close eye on the program and to get closer to the family. Molly goes to verify Kryger’s story and finds that the video footage is locked down, but she gets auxiliary footage and sees Kryger doing something strange before the ISEA shuts her down. They start tracking her via an implant so she takes it out and escapes the building. This is as good a time as any, but this is a futuristic show, I don’t know what year it’s supposed to be exactly, but they have holographic technology, futuristic trashcans, lifelike robots etc. It is clear that this isn’t meant to be a modern day show, so why does just about everyone drive a Prius? Yes, I know it would be prohibitively expensive to build special cars,but did they have to be so blatantly and painfully obvious that everyone drives a hybrid? Anyhow, Molly hears a sound and thinks it’s the dryer, but then she collapses. She goes to the museum with Ethan, where he leaves the group and is educated on extinction by a robot. Sam shows up at the museum and pulls Molly aside and tells her that she’s being pressured to produce the medical results. Molly wants independent confirmation that she’s pregnant, but somewhere off the grid so no one can find out. After she drops Ethan off at the Yatsumoto lab for a fitting of new limbs for the growing robot and having a cold meeting with her husband’s lab assistant, Julie, clearly there’s something that’s gone on there that we don’t know about yet, she goes off with Sam to a veterinary clinic where she gets an ultrasound and confirms her pregnancy. John isn’t having such a good time as Fermi Dodd comes to his lab and tells him that she’s going to fight the funding, even though it comes from Yatsumoto himself, not his company. Yatsumoto checks a device and it tells him he has 102 days to live. He’s also apparently got a thing with Fermi Dodd, despite his assurances to John that she and he have very little in common. And Yatsumoto is played by Hiroyuki Sanada, who was in Helix last season and the voice just screamed at me every time he opened his mouth. Molly and Ethan bond some, when Ethan doesn’t want her to tell his father that he ran away in the museum and she doesn’t want Ethan to tell John that she fainted. They agree to keep each other’s secrets. At the end, Molly goes to Director Sparks’ house and confronts him, demanding to know what he did to them in space. He denies knowing anything about it and seems genuinely shocked when he finds out that she’s pregnant. So far, this is a really good series with a really interesting story. Halle Berry is doing a great job as Molly and while I think Goran Visnjic still has a way to go as John, especially in developing some kind of chemistry with his on-screen wife, I can understand it because, after all, they haven’t been together in 13 months. The real hit though is Pierce Gagnon who plays Ethan. He’s great and very believable in what has to be a difficult role, a robot that is designed to act human, but isn’t perfect at it. There’s a great scene where, after Ethan finds out at the museum that modern man supplanted Neanderthals because we were stronger and more intelligent, he asks his mother if she was weak because she passed out and she says no, reinforcing the idea that the weak are prone to extinction. Little touches like that are nice. Where I feared this show would stray into extreme melodrama, that hasn’t been the case, at least so far. There’s been a little family drama, but certainly not as much as there could be, Molly hasn’t run through the set crying about what a bad robo-mommy she is or anything like that and I’m hoping that when she reveals her mystery pregnancy to her husband, that doesn’t turn into a big fight either. So far, things are at the right level and I hope they stay there.
Defiance #2×05 – “Put the Damage On” – Last week, I commended Defiance for spending time on character moments that weren’t necessarily tied to the main plotline and hoped they’d continue to do it. They have delivered once again in another story that feels very stand-alone, perhaps even filler, but which gives us more insight into most of the characters in the series. Amanda, drugged up as usual, gets out of the bathtub, only to be assaulted by a man in a mask. He tells her that she’s his, but she beats him up and throws him out of the window. She tells Nolan that she can’t tell him anything about the man, but she got the strange feeling that it was the same man that attacked her in New York. She doesn’t mention to Nolan that the man raped her, that’s something only Pottinger knows at the moment. After Datak got beat up by his family and gang last week, Doc. Yewll is patching him up but she’s not really sympathetic to his plight. She thinks he brought it all on himself, which is pretty much the case. She tells him to do whatever it takes to get his family back and leaves, but she runs into Lev, an old acquaintance who she says isn’t welcome. It turns out that the were more than acquaintances, Lev and Yewll were one-time lovers, but Lev has come because she’s dying of a disease the Indogenes engineered to use against humans and she wants forgiveness. Amanda is walking in the market when she runs into Nolan, who insults her and says she has no emotional attachment to anyone. It turns out to be a delusion, as Nolan, Irisa and Tommy are coming from the other direction. She runs to Pottinger and asks if he drugged her or got his drugs from an unreliable source, she’s having hallucinations. He denies any wrongdoing, but has her taken to Rafe’s place for safekeeping. Rafe, meanwhile, is staying with the Tarrs after being evicted from his house last episode. He is taking a bath when Stahma comes in and disrobes. She tells him that she wants him to stay permanently, that he’s family and she wants to take care of him. He agrees to consider the offer. Datak shows up at the front door and is immediately punched in the face, but when he comes inside, he invokes an ancient Castithan ritual whereby he can remain part of the family and be involved in their lives, but he cannot live there. Christie says she’ll never allow him access to his grandchild. Tommy and Irisa are guarding Amanda when she thinks she hears a noise and they go to check it out, leaving Amanda with a gun for self-protection. She imagines she sees masked men coming through the door to harm her so she fires, taking Tommy down and hitting Irisa in the arm. Luckily, she heals fast, but Tommy is in bad shape. Lev and Yewll sit above the town and look out at the lights. Lev says she wants to be with Yewll forever, but reminds her that Lev actually died eight years before and Yewll doesn’t want to remember the circumstances under which she left. Lev wants Yewll to walk off the roof with her so they can be together again but Yewll refuses. Meanwhile, Amanda runs off after shooting Tommy and Pottinger and Nolan go looking for her. Nolan is very critical of Pottinger, but after he’s pulled away, Pottinger hallucinates Connor, Amanda’s ex-fiance who died last season, and apparently a childhood friend of Pottinger’s. There are tons of gay undertones running through the show this week, Christie gets hit on by Diedre, Datak enlists a member of the Votanis Collective by inviting him to have sex, Lev and Yewll, etc. It’s not a bad thing to a certain degree but it feels like they went overboard, stuffing it all into a single episode, maybe so they don’t have to do it again for a while. It just seemed out of place and over-emphasized. Amanda has been found, she’s collapsed and is foaming at the mouth. Nolan finds a flashing light from an implant at the back of her neck, it’s a faulty biological implant and it could kill her if it isn’t removed. They rush her over to Doc Yewll’s place, but the Doc isn’t home. Nolan, with Irisa’s help, has to remove it and he almost screws it up if Yewll didn’t show up just in time. Later, she takes out a similar implant from Pottinger, apparently they had implanted one into Amanda on purpose, but due to insufficient cautions, both of them had become infected as well. Yewll says she removed hers, but in fact, she didn’t because she doesn’t want to lose Lev again. Meanwhile, Datak goes to see Rafe and says that their problems are caused by the Earth Republic and they should band together to take the town back. There were a bunch of nice little character moments where we get more of an insight into what makes the characters tick. Pottinger, who tries to portray strength, was a laughing stock in his past, nobody liked him and he apparently set up Connor by stealing hair from his brush and planting his DNA. Amanda was more deeply affected by her rape than she let on and it causes her to distrust people for fear of it happening again. Even Yewll, who we know was a war criminal involved in biological and chemical warfare, is a much more tragic character than we previously realized. A lot of the backstory needs to be fleshed out, of course, but it gives us little glimpses into the characters themselves. So why is Pottinger and Yewll recording Amanda’s memories? What is it that she knows? What is this project that Yewll was working on before her incarceration that Pottinger is so determined to finish? Only time will tell but I, for one, really want to know.
Dominion #1×05 – “Something Borrowed” – To be honest, I’m not sure if Dominion is getting better or if I’m just getting used to being disappointed because I keep trying to identify plot elements that I enjoy but I really can’t, I don’t really like any of the people, there aren’t any real “heroes”, or even “good people”, just various levels of assholes and that’s not a good thing. I’ve gone on record saying I hate post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories and that’s really all Dominion is, with little chance, at least in these first five episodes, of anything really getting better. The thing is, the war with the angels is pretty much at a standstill, there isn’t any actual active fighting, you just get minor clashes whenever the two sides stumble into each other. Human civilization, what’s left of it, is going down the tubes and I really don’t know what side to root for, maybe Gabriel and his army ought to just put humanity our of our misery and be done with it. So this week, following Alex’s decision to let Michael train him to be the Chosen One, they’re out practicing target practice, with Michael as the target, but Alex can’t hit him to save his life. While Michael says that his military training has strengthened him, I think it’s been totally useless, he has no clue how to fight and can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Alex is still bothered by the death of Bixby, that ridiculously minor character that was only supposed to be in one episode anyhow. We get a flashback of David Whele and his family hiding in a closet from a band of marauding angels. One of his children won’t stop crying and eventually, the angels find them. David strikes out with a hammer and ends up killing his wife in the confusion. He’s interrupted in the present by William asking if he plans to speak at their engagement party. Claire goes to the barracks where Alex is and is sorry that Bixby is dead. She says that marrying William is the right thing to do because it will help people. She kisses Alex and leaves, but she’s not really feeling the wedding planning. She tells Noma that it’s all overwhelming, then David arrives and gives Claire a necklace that his dead wife wore on their wedding day, something borrowed for her to wear at her wedding. David says that word of General Riesen’s illness are out and the council wants to have him step down and David suggests that Claire can take over officially as Lady of the City and replace her father. Alex and Michael go up to his tower and Michael tells Alex he has to concentrate to hear what the tattoos are trying to tell him. He closes his eyes and has a vision of Bixby, who begs him not to let them harm anyone else. Michael says it’s been hours and asks what he saw but Alex doesn’t want to say. Clementine, General Riesen’s angel lover, goes out into the streets, even though she’s promised never to do so. She wants to buy a music box but she’s recognized as an 8-ball and has to kill the shop owner. Later, Riesen brings her flowers and comments on her new music box but he’s mad that she left the tower. She’s worried that when he dies, which appears to be sooner rather than later, she’ll be doomed. Her own people won’t take her back and the humans will try to kill her. David goes to see Becca to try to get her to side with him against Riesen. She refuses, but he reminds her that being Michael’s girlfriend won’t be acceptable to the people of Vega, any more than his other four regular sex partners. William is preaching to a crowd when he sees an unfriendly face, it’s one of his Gabriel’s undercover angels who accuses William of lying to the people of Vega by speaking out against Gabriel. He tells the angel that he’s Gabriel’s eyes and ears in Vega and has to maintain secrecy for his real loyalties. Claire arrives and stops William from killing the guy, she wants him to speak to his father about the Riesen issue and he promises he will. Becca comes to see Michael while he’s practicing his swordplay and while he initially tries to get her into bed, she tells him that she’s leaving him and he agrees that she should. He has no emotion whatsoever when she leaves. Alex finds out that there’s an 8-ball inside the city walls, one who killed the shop owner and goes out to find it, along with Noma. She reminds him that she’s sacrificed for him, she gave up their relationship to save his career in the military and he found Claire not long after so everything worked out for the best. Alex sees Clementine and shoots at her and chases her into the sewers. Wait, shouldn’t she have wings? Why didn’t she just fly away? William tries to destroy the scarf that his angel friend stuffed in his pocket but it won’t burn. He ends up stashing it in his father’s drawer in a hurry and tells his father to back off the Riesen issue. David tells William that he’s a weak-willed, useless worm that will never account to anything without David’s continuous help. Riesen, meanwhile, goes to Michael and asks him to kill Clementine, he says he once loved her but now she’s going to become his undoing. Claire searches David’s desk, supposedly looking for a speech, but she’s really looking for evidence. She finds the scarf, which she thinks proves he killed Bixby. Granted, he did, but it was planted, which David tells her when she confronts him with it at the party. Alex catches up with Clementine who begs for her life. She says that she has a family and a daughter and Alex says she stole the body. At the party, Claire toasts her dead mother and we find out that it’s the body Clementine is wearing. Now seriously, we do learn a lot in this episode, which is good, but we find out that nobody can be trusted and the last few people that we thought might be decent people, just aren’t. We need characters that we admire, people who we want to win and right now, I’m just not seeing anyone on this show that I care if they survive until the next episode. Everyone has a dark history, something evil that they’ve done that has made them a pretty questionable human being. I don’t like the Riesen family any more than I like the Whele family. I don’t like Claire, I don’t like William and I don’t like Alex. I can’t stand Michael or Gabriel, and as we saw last week, Uriel is a back-stabbing bitch too. Seriously, who in this show has any redeeming characteristics at all? It’s one thing to have flawed characters, quite another to have entirely reprehensible ones. This is not going in the right direction, sorry.
Perception #3×05 – “Eternity” – When Daniel’s step-mother can’t take living with his father anymore, she takes off and dear old dad moves in with Daniel and Lewicki to comedic effect. Yeah, not so much. Now that dad’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse, he’s losing his inhibitions and forgetting what’s going on. He spends a lot of the episode naked because he no longer knows that it’s wrong. They have a discussion that I think is extremely important because it makes no sense whatsoever that they act like they act, except convenient writing and absurd stubbornness. Daniel asks his father why he refuses to take part in the Alzheimer’s clinical trial and his father asks him why he refuses to take his anti-psychotic medication and I have to ask why both of them are being stupid. Okay, I can understand dad might forget, but he’s been shown to be terrified, at least initially, at losing his memories, yet he refuses to do anything that might potentially help and it’s not like it’s difficult, it’s taking a drug every day. On Daniel’s side, as I’ve said before, he makes no sense at all. At one point, he was on an anti-psychotic drug that had adverse effects so he had to switch drugs and everything was great. We know there are drugs that work, we know that he can be healthy, he just refuses. Yes, I realize that without this quirk, the show doesn’t work, but there isn’t any logical sense to how they do things. You’d think that the school, as a condition of having him back, would require him to be on the drugs. They can do that. After all, he’s embarrassed the school and made them look bad several times already because of his schizophrenia. The same with the FBI. You’d think that they would require him to be on his drugs. He’s blown cases for them because of his condition. Why doesn’t anyone do this? It makes no sense. The writers need to come up with some reason why it can’t be fixed, not just present a clear and present solution and then just not use it. Maybe they should have made him allergic to the only pills out there so he can’t take them at all. Anyhow, let’s get on to the main story of the episode. When a notable neuroscientist is found dead in his “panic room”, Daniel thinks it’s a locked-room mystery, but it turns out to be anything but. The scientist, Landon Jennings was working on a system for transferring the consciousness to a computer, thus allowing people to survive death, but, of course, Jennings had a rare degenerative mental disease which could spell disaster for his company because their test subject, Jennings, was the basis for their holographic spokesman, using brain scans and memory dumps provided by Jennings himself. There’s a lot of corporate espionage and backstabbing, Jennings’ wife had an affair with his business rival, the people working for Jennings’ company had motive because if it came out that he was mentally unstable, it would ruin the company and Jennings’ live-in assistant had opportunity to plant the device that ultimately killed Jennings, but it was none of them, it was a totally overblown suicide. Jennings had a memory puzzle on his computer that unlocked it and if he failed the sequence even once, hydrogen gas was pumped into his safe room, which would drive out the oxygen and suffocate him. Of course, this was really kind of silly, after all, everyone makes mistakes, mental disorders or not, and suffocation isn’t the greatest way to die, as was made clear by his thrashing around at the scene of his death. Wouldn’t it have been easier for him to just put a bomb under his chair? It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s painless due to it’s speed and you could still claim murder so the insurance would pay out. But you couldn’t have much of a mystery around that, could you? So again, we have writing that’s needlessly complicated and absurd, just so they can spin their wheels and throw red herrings around. It’s really not a great episode, I’m afraid, even though there were some places they could have really had a message, they missed it. I think it would have been a great time to compare Jennings and his assistant with Daniel and Lewicki but they didn’t do that at all. In the end, Daniel’s father decided that instead of living with Daniel, he wanted to move to a home. Of course, they won’t put up with him not taking his meds there, but at least we don’t have to have him on the show week after week, I think that Daniel is an enabling mechanism for James, neither of them will take care of themselves. I just wish we could see Daniel getting better, not continuing down the same bad road, even though the path out is obvious.
The Last Ship #1×05 – “El Toro” – After we saw a potential breakthrough last week, the Nathan James is on the way to South America to get monkeys for testing. Rachel doesn’t think that the nature preserve she has in mind will be populated, but as they arrive, they find out that the jungle is filled with sick people and Chandler and his crew are forced to quickly don masks and make a retreat, there is nothing they can do to help these people. Wait a second, I thought that the disease killed everyone who contracted it in 3-5 days. That was an awful lot of people to have just come down with it in a couple of days, plus the fact, they’ve been wandering around for weeks by now, shouldn’t just about everyone be dead by now? So Chandler forces Rachel to go back to the ship and she says there’s another facility 30 miles up the river. The destroyer can’t make it, but Chandler and Slattery and a couple of other guys take some monkey boxes and head up river by boat. It’s too far to keep in contact by radio but they have flares, green for okay, red for danger. As they get close, they see a wrecked boat called the El Toro and as they disembark, they are taken captive by gun-toting natives in service to a local warlord named El Toro. Yes, he named his boat after himself. El Toro isn’t a nice guy, he’s taken the villagers hostage and treats them as virtual slaves, claiming he keeps them safe from the disease and provides them order. The former mayor is a sniveling coward who allows El Toro to rape his oldest daughter to keep the rest of his family alive. Mason gets hit by a trap and is poisoned and only El Toro has the antidote so Chandler agrees to listen to El Toro’s demands in return for treatment. They give him a cock-and-bull story about thinking that the disease came from monkeys and El Toro says if they had just asked for monkeys, he would have given them some and sent them on their way, but now that they’ve insulted him, it’s not that easy. He’s going to keep their weapons and bio-suits but they can take their monkeys and go. El Toro isn’t as stupid as you might think, he works out the flare communication system and warns that he’s going to keep the children close to him, just in case they get any ideas about firing on his compound from the ship. He isn’t happy with the mayor’s daughter, who called him a pig, he put her on a boat and sent her across the river to be infected with the virus. Really nice guy. Chandler and his crew get on their boat and head back up the river, but Slattery says he can’t allow this to happen, he wants to turn back and save the villagers. One moment though, why couldn’t they go back to the ship, get more guns and men, and come back? Or at least get into radio range and tell the ship what was going on and have reinforcements sent? Wouldn’t that make more sense than sneaking around in the dark with no weapons at all, taking on heavily armed mercenaries? But that’s exactly what they do and while things all work out in the end, it’s probably not the best plan. While El Toro is getting ready to rape the mayor’s middle daughter, he’s stopped and ends up threatening Chandler, holding a knife to the daughter’s throat. Finally, though, he gives up and says that living in the brig on the Nathan James is probably better than being stuck in the jungle. I was hoping they’d put him on a boat across the river, but the mayor just stabs him and kills him, which is quite a fitting end to this scumbag. The overall story was good, it makes sense that the survivors of this plague world probably won’t be the nicest people around, but as they say, if they’re going to save the world, it should probably be worth saving. The scene where all of the sick villagers came out of the jungle and the crew had to race to put on their masks reminded me of a podcast I heard where they say they hated the show because everyone should always be wearing masks because the whole world is sick and all the air should be infected. Some people don’t understand basic virology, that’s not how it works! I’m finding that I pretty much disagree with everything that podcast says these days, maybe I ought to drop it and find one a little better informed in basic science. Regardless, it was a cool episode and one that shows that there are actually some good people on the planet, no matter how post-apocalyptic it is. Dominion and other shows could learn something from it.
The Strain #1×02 – “The Box” – I liked the first episode so much that I went and got the comic runs as well, plus picked up the three novels by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. I haven’t looked at the novels yet but I read the comics and I’ll do separate reviews of those in the future. I bring up the comics because the first series is extremely close to the story in the series, with some minor differences and it’s interesting to see where those differences lie. Here, then, is my take on this week’s second episode. We get to meet Vasilly Fet, who is a creepy exterminator who loves his cat. While it’s not entirely clear where he will fit into the story in the long run, we see him shut down a trendy New York eatery after he finds rats. This breaks up a meeting between Bolivar and his lawyer who are at the same restaurant, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Our criminal delivery boy barely gets the box into a security garage before teh sun comes up, but no one is there to meet him. He goes around to the back of the van, presumably to break his promise and look in the box, but something in the box is moving and he runs away. He gets home as his mother is heading out to Mass and his good-for-nothing brother gave her a stolen clock. Once she’s gone, they fight and neither one is all that great of a son. Bolivar and the rest of the survivors get released from quarantine, someone leaked a fake story to the media about the deaths being caused by a CO2 leak. In the comic, Bolivar’s lawyer, who we see later, got them all out. Bolivar and another of the survivors meet with his lawyer to discuss a lawsuit, as I said earlier, but when Bolivar gets horny, he tells his lawyer to pick out four girls for him. Palmer has to go out, he’s arranged the Master coming to New York, presumably so he can get bit and live an eternal life. His internal organs are failing and he approves an overseas trip to replace his liver once again. In the comic, and I promise I’m not going to keep going back to it, it describes a laundry list of surgeries that he’s had to keep himself alive, they didn’t go into detail here, but it gives a deeper understanding to know a little more of his background. Bolivar gets it on with four girls, but he sees the pumping blood in one girl’s veins and bites her, ending the party. He starts to lick up the blood on the floor, which might be creepy for anyone else, but for him, it’s pretty normal. Ef gets upset that the survivors are not under quarantine and gets pulled from the case. One of the other survivors, the captain, tells Ef that he has ringing in his ears and doesn’t feel well and Ef sends him to a doctor friend for a checkout. When the captain gets hospitalized, Ef goes to see him and finds the same kind of cut in his throat that all of the dead people had. Remember the French kid that went home to her father last week? The father called Ef to thank him for returning his daughter and Ef has no idea what he’s talking about, he thinks they returned her body, but when the father says that she came back alive, all by herself, in the middle of the night, shouldn’t someone think something is wrong? Anyhow, dear old dad is giving his daughter a bath and doesn’t seem to think that having red eyes and her hair falling out is a problem. Maybe it’s a French thing. The girl is hungry and goes all vampy and kills dad. No loss. Ef and Nora start doing some independent research on the worms and find that they really, really like blood. However, Ef has to go, he has to talk to his estranged wife and son about an upcoming court date so he rushes over there and finds that his wife’s new lover is redesigning the house, probably on his dime. He tries to convince his son that they want joint custody, but his son is honest, Ef will never be around like he promises he will. Ef goes to an AA meeting and spills all of his personal problems in a sarcastic manner. He then heads back to work and wonders why the coroner hasn’t sent him results of the autopsies. He and Nora go to the morgue and find all the bodies gone. Why has nobody else noticed this? The phone in the morgue was ringing, nobody ever went downstairs to see what was going on? There’s a really good scene between Setrakian and the Master’s man Eichorst in prison, where we find out that their relationship goes back decades, presumably where Eichorst was a guard in a Nazi prison camp over Setrakian. Eichorst even remembers Setrakian’s tattoo number, which we got to see last week. Palmer gets to meet with the Master for the first time and recoils from what he sees. We still haven’t seen what the Master really looks like, but it’s horrific if Palmer’s reaction is any indication. So did this week work? Sort of. After a strong start last week, we split up all of the characters into little groups and explored their backstory, but we didn’t really move the overall plot forward. Now I know in a show like this, there is a ton of backstory and exposition that we need to get to, the comics had a long, long story between young Setrakian and a gypsy fortune teller, explaining a little about the Master’s dark past, but you have to pepper this stuff in slowly while telling a compelling story and this week, I didn’t feel compelled. It was interesting, these are things that I want to know, it just isn’t necessary all at the beginning. They could have cut Ef’s family drama out entirely, in fact, I’m hoping in the TV show that his wife gets custody so that sub-plot can go away entirely, but they keep cutting from these big set piece plots to things that are pretty unimportant. Hopefully episode three gets back on track.
Best of the Week: Extant, with it’s 2-episode run, gets top spot because it was so much better than I feared it would be. Halle Berry is great, the different storylines are fun and I care what will come up in the future. I’m hoping they don’t drop the ball, as so many other shows do, I’d like this to continue being a strong contender.
Worst of the Week: As much as I hate to say it, Perception gets bottom of the barrel this week, mostly because either the writers don’t have a clue what’s logically wrong with the show, or they do know and they’re telling the audience that they do know, yet they won’t do anything to fix it. There’s a certain amount of suspension of disbelief in these shows, but when it becomes so absurd that you can’t even take the premise seriously, something is very, very wrong.
Other Stuff I Watched: The Wil Wheaton Project #1×08, Six Million Dollar Man #2×06-2×12, Mythbusters #13×02