Friday, January 30, 2015

Farewell, Kitty

Excellent conclusion to the two-parter on Elementary; they updated the canon story very well, and even surprised me in some details. The character beats were really touching and emotional too. The actors could convey so much without hugging or being demonstrative as other, less reserved characters might have done. Since the episode featured flashbacks to Holmes meeting Kitty in London, and showed the dramatic conclusion of her vengeance, it was a nice bookend for her character arc. I will complain, though, that it took forever for that stupid heroin packet from last season to finally pay off; they kept that under wraps too long, and I will be glad to never see a flashback to that goddamn packet again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Ugh! Another meh episode from Agent Carter. I don't fucking care about the Leviathan conspiracy, and I don't give a damn about Howard Stark having a vial of Captain America's blood! Just fucking get somewhere with the plot! Explain one of the mysteries. Sure, Bridget Regan's character killed an assassin, but Angie the perky waitress is still just a perky waitress, and it's so boring. I don't understand why that Agent boss guy passed a cyanide "breath mint" to a soldier responsible for keeping the Nazi in prison. Doesn't that make the soldier a good person? And I don't think he overheard anything that would make it necessary to silence him. So agents are just now randomly killing people for no damn reason?

Later edit: on second thought, perhaps the intent of the writers was the opposite--they wanted to imply that Agent Dooley lied to the Nazi and gave him a breathmint, not a cyanide tablet. Therefore the later mint he gave out was harmless. I wish they had made it clearer. Since we never see either the Nazi or the prison soldier again, we have no proof either way what the tablets are. Dooley should have taken a mint himself, and thus proved they were harmless, or he should have told the other agent back home, "All I had to do was lie to the Nazi" to make it clear.

Anyway, I am losing patience with this show, and am afraid that I'll waste eight weeks on it, just to get burned like with Galavant's finale. Why can't shows be awesome anymore? I'm trying to get into the new Mystery! show Grantchester too, and it's still iffy. The solution to the mysteries were not very clear or logical; it seemed like guess work at best. It seems like they are neglecting the mystery portion of the show just so they can focus on the romantic angst and drama about the attractive vicar. It's so annoying when TV shows have potential, but they don't fulfill it.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

To the Sunset

This week's Pinkertons episode was "To the Sunset" (although my local station reversed this episode with "The Case of the Dead Dog" that they aired last week). The governor of Missouri hired the Pinkertons to investigate the double murder of a Chippewa man and a white man, and they discovered a young boy who witnessed the murders but does not speak English. The story touched on a lot of racial tension as well as lingering bitterness about broken treaties and missionaries who keep trying to "civilize" the Indians. One guy tried to prove that Indians could integrate into the white world and live in peace. (But historically, "integration" meant that Indians had to lose their culture and their families. No thanks!) In the episode, a couple of Indian characters even discussed how the whites "stole the world" and can't be trusted to ensure justice.

Will Pinkerton really began to shine as he tried to tread carefully and diplomatically. When he traveled to find a missionary who could translate Chippewa, he met an attractive preacher's daughter named Rebecca. He clearly wanted to ingratiate himself with her, and yet he still pointed out to her that Indians resented Christian missionaries and wanted to be left alone. Later in the episode, Will even made a deal that Rebecca's group would stop trying to convert a particular Sioux tribe, and Rebecca honored the deal instead of arguing that Will had no right to speak for the missionaries. I liked it. Kate still did a lot of good investigating, discovering a crooked land deal which helped solve the murder. I'm not sure if she was lying when she said her late husband was named Archibald and liked French whiskey. In any case she proved herself to be a "sly woman", while John Bell at the farm helped take care of the Chippewa boy. Good episode.


Well, the Galavant finale sucked. I mean, the last two episodes were going well for a while, until things kept getting confused. Gareth said he knew what to do, and I thought it meant he had a concrete plan to overthrow Madalena and Kingsley, but instead he randomly keeps Sid for "insurance" and then just accepts the throne. Stupid. I did like that he genuinely cared about saving King Richard, but then why didn't he just refuse to fight for Kingsley in the duel? He said he had "no choice." But just last week he defied Madalena and said he was Richard's loyal dog. Why can't he say that to Kingsley too? What a terrible, disappointing ending. They just burned a season's worth of goodwill. Writers--stop writing cliffhangers for finales if you don't know that you'll be back for another season. It's arrogant and annoying.

I finally had a chance to watch The Interview this weekend. I opted for Netflix instead of going out to a theater. Franco really sold being dumb and stoned most of the time, though he had this devotion to his producer that was sweet. He never argued that they should keep doing dumb, easy news; he would do anything to make Seth's character happy. The running joke about honeypotting was cute, as was the whole buddy chemistry throughout their mission. Sure the movie was filled with a lot of gross potty humor, but that was actually a key theme, that the way to topple the dictator is to mock him and show him to be a human, not a god. It reminded me of Mel Brooks always saying that the best revenge he could have on Hitler was to make him look ridiculous. Also, the repeated biting off of fingers reminded me of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, so I can look past the disgusting stuff to enjoy the other parts I find more amusing. The Interview was both funny and surprising. I didn't expect for that North Korean lady Sook to say, "When will you Americans learn?" and criticize the assassination plan. She pointed out that The Supreme Leader's reputation needed to be killed, not just the man himself, because another dictator could rise in his place. There was also criticism of America's hypocrisy, and they showed that doing actual journalism in the interview was the key to starting the revolution. Very nice. Rogen and Franco did not disappoint, and I'm happy the movie got released after all.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Illustrious Client

I knew that Kitty's vigilante ways from the earlier episode would come back later. Lestrade didn't mind her beating up the guy who hurt his daughter, but now he realizes that he should not have condoned it. He suspended her from consulting with the NYPD, but I don't think we actually saw Holmes tell her this news. She went to crash at Watson's place, anyway, and we finally had the reveal about Del Gruner, aka an update on the villain Baron Adelbert Gruner from the story. I thought at first that the camera would reveal Gruner's right hand to the audience, but instead Kitty recognized his voice on the phone.

When I first heard that this was going to be a two-part adventure, I had feared that they would do something cliche, like have Kitty kidnapped, and "to be continued" on the screen. But they didn't, and I'm pleased so far. I still don't know what the "V" in the brand means. If it stands for something or is not meant to be a letter at all. Anyway, next week we'll learn if Kitty gets her revenge on Gruner like she does in the story, or if they update the acid attack to something modern. February sweeps also starts next week, so I hope the ratings will be decent.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Something About Brothers

The Pinkertons TV show has a factual error in that Will Pinkerton claims that his brother Robert (working at the Chicago office) is his twin brother. This is not true, historically. William is older by two years. Robert did have a twin sister Joan when he was born, but Joan died when she was only seven years old. That same year, though, another Pinkerton daughter was born, and she was named Joan too. It's a sad fact of history back then that many children born did not survive to adulthood, and names were sometimes reused like this. (Not to mention that Allan named his sons William and Robert after his own brothers.)

Anyway, in the "Case of the Dead Dog" episode, Kate Warne claimed to have met Robert Pinkerton already, and it didn't go well. He was fervently opposed to female detectives, and perhaps that's why Allan avoided introducing Will to Kate for years. I suppose this saves on having to hire another actor, if the brother Robert ever decides to visit Kansas City. Kate is cagey about her own family. She admits to having a brother named Virgil in New York state, but neither confirms nor denies having any other siblings. I am not sure what to take as historical fact given the clear error about Will and Robert Pinkerton. The episode's mystery revolved around brothers too, and whether such bonds can survive betrayal.

It's interesting that the Empire show is about fraternal rivalries and manipulations too, even though Hakeem and Jamal like each other. And though King Lear was mentioned in the pilot, the show is about brothers rather than sisters vying for control. The creators also make analogies to The Godfather, with the criminal family and the son who is reluctant to take over the dynasty. I suppose that conflicted jealousy leads to brothers both loving each other and hating each other, trying to compete with each other and trying to protect each other, with varying results. Maybe this is what attracts me to Arrested Development as well. But there the illegal schemes and Boyfights were portrayed comically instead of with soapy, murderous drama (at least until season 4). I guess it's fitting that Imagine Television made both shows. I do wish that Netflix would make some definite announcement about a season 5. The TCA winter press tour has been going on so long, and no interesting news is forthcoming; it's just network spin and publicity.

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Shows

Of the midseason shows, so far I've checked out Galavant, Agent Carter and Empire. Other shows I'm waiting for still won't arrive until February or later. Galavant is treading a fine line with its silliness and songs, but I do love Timothy Omundson as King Richard. It's fun enough that I'll see it through to the end.

Empire is pretty good; I'm not usually into soap operas, or hip-hop music. However, I like many of the actors and enjoyed Lee Daniels's movie, so I gave it a shot. I'm most interested in Jamal's story and his struggles with his homophobic father, though Cookie is very compelling too. I'm glad that the gay couple are allowed to be sexy and romantic onscreen, just the same as any hetero couple. The brothers being manipulated and competitive is also interesting. The FBI agent in the limo being named Agent Carter was a nice touch.

As for actual Agent Carter, the first two episodes were promising, but I didn't like the third as much. I still haven't seen Angie the perky waitress do anything worthy of Lyndsy Fonseca, and Bridget Regan was unrecognizable as a blonde neighbor from Iowa. I'm not sure I have the patience for the Leviathan story if it's going to be complicated and/or related to the rest of the Marvel universe, but they do need to finish the plot in only seven episodes; maybe it will be fast, and the writers on this show do seem more competent than the ones on S.H.I.E.L.D. I also like the Jarvis actor, and I hope the fourth episode with Howard Stark will be better.

On Screens and in Theater

So the feminist S(her)lock kickstarter met (and exceeded) their goal, which is great news. I'll be looking forward to that series even though I still hate the title.

As for the more conventional TV show Elementary, it looks like next week's episode will finally feature Baron Gruner, the de Mervilles, and everything from the Illustrious Client story. I was trying to be patient with Kitty's story on the show, but the gradual buildup made it seem like they were holding the climax until the season's end, instead of midseason. I hope it will be good, and that the writers resist the temptation to link Gruner to Moriarty somehow. I don't want her back, for any reason.

I'm curious about the sudden talk of Watson deciding to become an insurance investigator, though. We barely saw her take any private cases and they mostly turned into homicides so that the NYPD could investigate. The story about her boyfriend seemed to be dropped too. I'm not sure I know where the show is going anymore, and I don't know if its ratings will help it be renewed for another season.

Also, I recently learned that there will be a play in my area soon called "The Curious Case of the Watson Intelligence" which is some kind of mishmash story with multiple Watsons and timelines. I will try to see it, if I can get an affordable ticket.