I’ve had very little time to sit down and watch TV of late, I’ve spent every weekend for the past month helping my mother pack up her house for a move. Today, as I’m starting to write this post, we finally got everything into a moving truck and off to her new house, ending a series of long, exhausting days that I’m too tired to bother watching anything when I finally get home. It doesn’t help that I’ve been putting in 200-300 miles driving per weekend. Therefore, I’m somewhat grateful that there aren’t that many shows to watch right now. Hopefully, now that my free time is back, things will start to pick up
So let’s see what TV Thursday has in store for us this week!Burn Notice #7×07 – “Psychological Warfare” In the last episode, Michael asked Sonya to call her bosses and she’s made good on that promise, but things don’t go as he planned. First off, he’s required to write a record of his entire life in great detail and when he’s done, Sonya zaps him and he’s taken to an undisclosed location to meet with Sonya’s mysterious boss. Michael is tortured and sleep deprived, drugged and abused while the boss tries to figure out if he’s a traitor or a prospect for the inner sanctum. There are times when Michael is ready to crack, there’s a part where he hallucinates Fiona, who reminds him that if he cracks, everyone dies. Truth be told, there isn’t a lot of plot in this episode, it’s a big infodump about Michael’s life and past. For instance, I don’t think we’ve ever known that his middle name is Alan before. We do see the return of the very-dead “Crazy Larry” Sizemore, as well as being introduced to Michael’s father and the abuse he suffered in his childhood. A while back, Sonya said she studied Michael’s missions and concluded that the reason he had so few civilian casualties is that he was careful, now we know why he was careful and the heavy toll working with Larry caused. Toward the end, Sonya rushes into Michael’s cell, saying that he told the boss something that proved he was a traitor and she owed him for saving her life so she was getting him out of there. It was so ridiculously transparent, especially when they ran out onto the beach and there was a boat conveniently waiting for them, I’m not surprised that Michael turned around and went back in to complete his mission and get in good with the boss. It works, the boss reveals his name is James Kendrick and welcomes Michael to the family. It could be argued that the entire episode could be done as a monologue, the boss was really only needed as a sounding board for Michael’s delusions and I think Jeff Donovan is a strong enough actor to have played the entire thing alone, but I do like how they set it up. This is probably one of the most character-centric episodes they’ve done, we find out a lot about what drives Michael Westen, but we don’t get much that advances the overall storyline. Still, for the background information, it was a very worthy effort. It’s notable that the actor who played James Kendrick, John Pyper Ferguson, was also Pete Hutter on the Bruce Campbell series “The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.”, which, if you haven’t seen it, you’re crazy. We did see the emotional attachment that Michael has for Fiona, and the dedication that Fiona has toward Michael, it sort of makes me wonder what happened to Carlos, did he really go on vacation without Fiona? I did have a problem with Michael calling out Fiona, just so he could confess sleeping with Sonya. Why should Fiona care? She’s sleeping with Carlos now! It seems Michael is a lot more interested in her than she is in him. There’s only 6 more episodes until the end of the series, I hope they can do it justice.
Continuum #2×12 – “Second Last” – With just one more episode to go before the season finale, we start, as always, in 2077, with Kiera working a murder case, a Sadtech scientist working on an anti-matter power source, but Kiera is thrown off the investigation when she finds something fishy going on. Back to the present, Sonya and Kellogg argue over their arrangement, she tells him that she can send Travis after him but he reminds her that Travis hates her more than he hates him. Unfortunately, Sonya and Travis have already kissed and made up and Kellogg barely avoids death by promising to fund Liber8. Carlos meets with another cop who has found an abandoned vehicle with Gardinier’s license in the front seat. They open the trunk and find his body, reeling from the smell. Sorry, most trunks are not air-tight, if it smelled that bad inside, it would smell that bad outside. Gardinier had a flash drive with incriminating evidence that made it look like Kiera was working for Liber8. Emily tells Escher she wants to quit but he insists that she won’t be allowed unless she brings the time travel orange to him. She promises to do so, but changes her mind and urges Alec to run away with her to a nude beach in Thailand. Carlos stops Kiera from going into the precinct, telling her to lay low until they can sort things out. Alec and Emily pack and he takes the time travel orange along, but before they can leave, he gets the results of the DNA test he performed on Jason, discovering that Jason is really his father. Just then, Travis walks into the lab and demands that Alec activate his CMR like he did before. Alec agrees, but disables Travis long enough for them to make their escape. Instead of going to Thailand, they head for Jason’s place to confront him. Alec tries to get Jason to admit that he’s his father, but he will not, even though he does talk about knowing Alec’s mother. Alec pulls out the orange and Jason hides it, saying the Freelancers can track the egg. Kiera talks to Escher and tries to strike a deal, if he’ll provide the experimental anti-matter power source, she’ll go back to the future and keep Liber8 from ever coming back in time. Escher refuses but their conversation is interrupted. Kiera seeks out Kellogg and finds out that Emily works for Escher. Travis, his CMR now fully operational, steals the extra future suit from Alec’s lab and becomes a bad ass. The Freelancers tracked the time travel device and show up at Jason’s loft, followed closely by Kiera and Carlos. Emily admits to Alec that she’s a spy, but she’s fallen in love with him and doesn’t want to spy on him any longer. Alec admits that he’s working with people from the future and has been carrying around a time travel device. They’ve both been lying to each other. Of course, we all know what being honest means… someone has to die. In the ensuing firefight, everyone is separated, the Freelancers are shooting at everyone and Emily decides that destroying the orange is the only way to save everyone’s life so she stands up in the middle of a firefight and throws it, just before she gets plugged in the chest a couple of times. Good thinking, Emily. The orange rolls down the rooftops with Kiera in pursuit, she can’t let anything happen to it or she’s locked in the present. Alec and Emily share a tearful farewell and something inside Alec snaps. He goes straight to Piron and demands to see Escher. Kiera, not knowing where Alec has gone, goes back to the lab and hides the device. She’s uploading something into her suit, but we see a camera watching her. Okay, Emily is dead. Good riddance. I never liked her anyhow. I think Alec’s risk aversion was far too low around her, as they said in the episode, he’s getting laid for the first time in his life, he’s not thinking straight. Is this meant to be the event that turns him evil or is that still to come? And what is he going to talk to Escher about? I guess we’ll get all of these answers next week!
Perception #2×05 – “Caleidoscope” – We start off on Daniel’s birthday but he doesn’t want to celebrate, Natalie tells him he hasn’t celebrated since he was diagnosed. However, everyone wants to recognize the day. Lewicki gives him a breakfast treat with a candle, Paul tries to invite him to a fancy restaurant, Daniel wants none of it. He’s rescued by a phone call from Kate, they’ve got a case. Kurt Simpson was found dead in a hotel room with two slugs in the chest. He was a nobody in real life but he was using a virtual game called Caleidoscope to steal identities and credit cards. An online tip to an FBI bulletin board by a “Jeremy108” pointed the feds in the right direction, but it turns out that Jeremy is really an extreme shut-in who cannot function in the real world and Kate needs Daniel to try to get through to him. They visit his house, but Jeremy will not speak to them, his mother demands that they leave when he gets agitated. Daniel goes back to his house and has Lewicki set up a Caleidoscope account for him so he can try to contact Jeremy in the game. At first, Daniel is skeptical of the whole virtual reality thing, but it isn’t long until he’s sucked in and meets a woman named Ileana and they spend time talking in a virtual bar. Kate’s avatar shows up and spoils their fun and they go to find Jeremy. He’s able to talk to them in the game, but he says he’s not going to be of much help, he was angry when he filed the report and since people aren’t necessarily honest in the game, he’s not positive of what he heard. He says that Simpson’s avatar, who owns the bar, had banned Jeremy for talking to his online girlfriend and Jeremy would do anything to get back into the bar. Once they get out, they look up the girlfriend, whose avatar is named Crystalline, but who is in reality a middle-aged housewife in Florida named Ashley. They go to talk to her and find that she’s addicted to the game and totally in love with Simpson, she even left her husband to be with him in the real world. After speaking to her ex-husband and suspecting revenge as a motive for killing Simpson, it turns out that while he made some online threats, he had no idea where Simpson actually lived and was thus in the clear. He says that Simpson must be pretty well connected since he had an asian gang jump him in real life and beat him up. Back at his house, Daniel is getting ready to go out to the restaurant with Paul when his laptop beeps and Ileana wants to spend time with him. Paul shows up at his front door, but Daniel feigns illness to get back to Ileana. They spend time together and Daniel starts falling for her. Meanwhile, Kate finds out that Simpson spent a lot of time talking to “Big Tito”. They bring in “Tito” and his brothers, who turn out to be asian, but “Big Tito” turns out to be a 15 year old girl, the head of the identity theft ring. She’s not at all worried about admitting to it either, she says that Simpson was demanding double the going rate for credit card numbers and she had her brothers beat him up, but he was certainly alive last time they saw him. Simpson had certainly not been beaten up before his murder, leaving Kate confused. Back at the university, Daniel starts hallucinating Ileana, he runs home and logs into Caleidoscope and finds Ileana, asking her to go away with him to Japan in real life. She says he might be disappointed with the real her. I immediately started thinking she was a guy, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Daniel arrives at the precinct and tells Kate that Big Tito and her brothers didn’t know what Simpson looked like, they beat up the wrong person. It turns out that they attacked Jeremy, who had been sent by Simpson to pick up his money as a means of getting back into the club. Daniel meets up with Jeremy in the game and he admits that he forced himself to leave the house and he took his mother’s gun. Daniel reasons that his mother must have figured it out when Jeremy got home covered in blood, she must be the one who pulled the trigger and it turns out that he’s right. It also turns out that the mother is Ileana, who has been watching Jeremy in the game. She’s arrested and Daniel yells at her for deceiving him. Daniel goes into the game once more to talk to Jeremy and tells him he’ll get him the help he needs. He goes to see Caroline and while she thinks he’s there to rekindle things with her, instead he’s there to have her examine Jeremy. Daniel goes to make peace with Paul, offering to share a meal with him and then, he deletes his Caleidoscope avatar. Now honestly, having experience with this kind of game, although text-based, not graphical, I can understand how people can get lost, but seriously, to have a kid who is unable to deal with reality or care for themselves and a mother that just watches him, that’s a bit absurd. She should find a way to make sure he gets the psychological help he needs and letting him sit in front of a keyboard all day isn’t helping. And Daniel saying he’ll find an alternative that mom can afford and going to Caroline makes no sense either, unless she’ll do it as a favor or Daniel will pay for it. Caroline is a top expert in her field, she doesn’t work for cheap, I’m sure. This was a better episode than the last couple though because it didn’t require massive coincidences or large numbers of people suffering from rare disorders, it was just one kid and his problems. That makes the rating go up.
Under the Dome #1×05 – “Blue on Blue” – Joe and Norrie wake up to a huge cloud of monarch butterflies that have congregated on one side of the dome. Barbie can’t explain it, something must be happening. The military, which had pulled out last week, came back in force, bringing with them the families of all the people in Chester’s Mill for a visit. Linda gets to see Rusty, but then feels she has to tell him that his brother is dead. Of course, Rusty is carrying around his Microsoft tablet (the show is sponsored by Microsoft, everyone has a Windows 8 device), right next to the dome that makes anything with a battery explode. Um… Bueller? Seriously, Linda made Barbie put up police tape to keep everyone away from the dome, nobody was allowed to touch the dome, but Linda was immediately under the tape kissing the dome! How stupid! Julia expects Peter to come, but instead sees his sister who shows her a Dear John letter, implying that he’s just taking off. Norrie’s dad, whom she has never known, shows up, much to the chagrin of her moms who didn’t want her to know about him. She storms off, saying she hates everyone. Dodee talks to her mother via sign language and Barbie asks if she can read lips. He calls over a military guy on the outside and flashes an ID and asks what’s going on. The guy hesitantly tells them that the military is going to launch a powerful missile against the dome and then bugs out. The Reverend has been hearing voices in his head and thinks that God is going to wipe out the town when, in fact, he’s picking up military chatter on his hearing aid. Barbie and Big Jim fear that the bomb will breach the dome and kill everyone inside so they rush to get everyone to shelter beneath the cement plant. Big Jim, who found Angie in the last episode, agonizes over the implications for Junior, leaving Angie chained up while he figures things out. Eventually, he returns to the fallout shelter and cuts her loose, saying they’re all going to die anyhow, she should die a free woman. He confronts Junior, now a deputy, and Junior storms off. Angie runs back to her house to find Joe, but finds Junior waiting there for her. He apologizes for how he treated her and tells her that they’re going to die. She forgives him and they hold each other, waiting for the end. Meanwhile, Joe and Norrie are running around the town looking for Angie. As the scheduled bombing nears, Linda leaves the shelter and reminisces about her relationship with Rusty. Norrie and Joe, as the missile comes in, kiss for the first time and realize they weren’t being sent into convulsions. The missile hits the dome and blows up, leaving the dome without a scratch. Safe, everyone leaves the shelter and Big Jim and the Reverend meet by the dome. Reverend Coggins threatens to reveal Big Jim’s secrets and Jim pushes his head against the dome until his hearing aid explodes, killing him. The area surrounding the dome is devastated but the dome remains unharmed. This episode had the potential to be good, the idea of giving the families an unwitting chance to say goodbye to their loved ones is an interesting idea but it really fell flat. Was there a point to having Norrie’s absentee father showing up? Was there a reason Rusty got pissed off at Linda for telling him his brother was dead? She didn’t shoot him! She had nothing to do with it! This series had so much potential at the beginning but it’s largely squandering it all. Maybe they had 3 episodes of plot and 13 episodes to fill? Who knows but I’m not holding my breath for a decent ending.
Best of the Week: It was very close between Burn Notice and Continuum, but I think Continuum squeaked it out, just barely. As we close in on the season finale, they’ve taken a season where it’s felt like not a lot has happened and now they’re linking it all together into something really interesting. I hope they don’t drop the ball next week!
Worst of the Week: Under the Dome takes the bottom spot again, just because there’s nothing really worthwhile going on in the show. They started off with so many really awful characters that I don’t care about, now they’re trying to make the audience give a damn if these people die and I just don’t. Something has to seriously improve before the end in order to make this series at all worthwhile.
Other Stuff I Watched: Top Gear (UK) #20×05, tons of videos from San Diego Comicon