I’ll just go ahead and say it: Carrie Mathison has lost her gorram mind. We all knew she was on edge, that her point-of-view was unreliable at best, but in the fifth episode of the season, Carrie has officially sunk her battleship. With Halloween is fast approaching, maybe her story arc is intended to induce cringing, shaking, and downright fear. If that’s the case: Bravo! If not, well, I have no other way to justify that kind of behavior from a station chief in the freakin’ CIA. It appears as if she’s going down another, much younger, Brody rabbit hole, and I’m afraid there’s a snake pit lying in wait at the bottom.
As for the other characters, last week as we left it, Saul was pressured into leaving Islamabad; Quinn and Fara made incredible headway on the ISI conspiracy, even finding out that their main target from the drone strike, Haqqani, was still alive; then, there’s the ambassador’s sniveling husband and his relationship with the ISI. All three of these stories progressed in an exciting fashion this week. In fact, had Carrie been removed entirely from the equation, I would applaud the show for being must-watch TV again.
Saul. Oh, adorable, teddy bear Saul. You don’t play the aloof old man the way you think you do and it got you stabbed in yo’ neck. With some kind of sedative. Not a knife. Just so we’re all clear here. Point is, Saul, you know better than to walk into that kind of trap. However, as much as I love Saul (and his relationship with Carrie, even though she’s swimming in crazy juice), watching him get played was a refreshing change. I thought I had it figured out, assumed that Farhad would be dead in the bathroom, with Saul named the guilty party. But no, I was wrong, and opposite of my personality in the real world, I love being wrong while watching TV. In the first season, that was where Homeland excelled, and I desperately hope that kind of writing returns this season.
You know what else I want? More Fara (Nazanin Boniadi) and Quinn (Rupert Friend). Not romantically, you perverts. After three and a half seasons, I don’t trust any kind of romantic entanglement in the Homeland-verse. However, the pair work well together and it’s nice to see the hardened, cynical Quinn soften for Fara’s naivety about CIA protocol. (I also enjoy every time he gives Carrie the “WTF” face.) He sees in Fara a light about the world that faded for him years ago. However, both are limited in what they can do without Carrie’s help, and I wonder if either of them will hit a breaking point and resort to her rule-breaking ways. I thought that point might have been reached when Quinn and Fara reached the checkpoint and needed to follow the cleric with a drone, but they didn’t, and now Saul is taking a vacation in the mountains.
I don’t have much to say about Ambassador Boyd and her husband, as that is one of the more predictable story lines thus far, but I don’t hate it. The female ISI agent, Tasneem Qureshi, is spellbinding, and I’m intrigued to learn more about her, and the ISI in general. She and Carrie need to go head-to-head in the boxing ring. I have suspicions, also, that along with Dennis Boyd, Redmond isn’t entirely truthful about where his loyalties lie, but that would be too easy for Homeland. And I’ll stop now to prevent myself looking like a fool with further predictions.
And now, here we are, back to Carrie. Despite my earlier frustration, I still don’t hate Carrie. I may be the only one left, but I want to have faith that she’ll get back on track. Last week, she seduced a young man, one who was emotionally and physically vulnerable, and I….oh, how do I put this? I wanted to reach through the screen and shout a stern, “NO!” as if I were talking to a puppy chewing on a pair of shoes. But, you see, I’m not surprised by Carrie’s behavior. Over the course of three years, we’ve learned that when Carrie gets into trouble, she turns to sex as a way out. Heck, do you all remember her trying to seduce Saul in the PILOT?
Instead, I was more disappointed that Carrie ignored her coworkers calls for help. No matter what, Carrie puts the mission first. Her job is her life, so to see her push it aside when lives are on the line was rather shocking. Carrie doesn’t see the error in ways, truly believing everything she does is for the CIA. Classic Carrie. I think that, like Quinn, Carrie’s interest and faith in the CIA is waning. Only, she hasn’t recognized it yet and hides behind “recruitment.” If something happens to Saul because of Carrie’s inaction, I think we are going to see an even darker shift in her character. Besides, I know I said I wasn’t going to make any more predictions, but I think Carrie’s the one getting played by Aayan. He obviously worships his uncle, so there isn’t a scenario where I foresee him not being an inside source.
Overall, ‘About a Boy’ was a solid episode, easily the best of the season thus far. The preview for next week’s episode seems to an action-packed hour, so strap in, boys and girls. Homeland just might be hitting its stride. (Yes, that’s the cheery, optimistic gal in me talking. What? I can be nice.)
To sum up: Mandy Patinkin fits in the trunk of a Peugeot; Quinn leaves awesome voice mails; Women going to the bathroom in groups no longer seems like a bad idea; the ambassador’s husband is the twitchiest mole ever in the history of moles.
Season 4, Episode 5: “About a Boy” Homeland airs Sunday on Showtime at 8pm EST.
After endless months of casting rumors and choices that included Jared Leto, Tom Hardy, Joaquin Phoenix, Ethan Hawke, and more, Marvel has found their Doctor Strange in Benedict Cumberbatch.
Slated for July 8, 2016, Cumberbatch will play Stephen Strange, a former neurosurgeon turned Sorcerer Supreme. Strange serves as the forefront of the magical and mystical forces in the Marvel Universe. You can read more on his powers below.
Doctor Strange is one of the most powerful sorcerers in existence. Like most sorcerers, he draws his power from three primary sources: the invocation of powerful mystic entities or objects, the manipulation of the universe’s ambient magical energy, and his own psychic resources. Strange’s magical repertoire includes energy projection and manipulation, matter transformation, animation of inanimate objects, teleportation, illusion-casting, mesmerism, thought projection, astral projection, dimensional travel, time travel and mental possession, to name a few. The full range of his abilities is unknown. Doctor Strange’s powers are sometimes less effective against strictly science-based opponents, although he can overcome this limitation with effort.
Doctor Strange will be directed by Scott Derrickson and written by Jon Spaihts.
Microsoft has announced today that they will be dropping the price of Xbox One by $50 this holiday season. The promotion, running from November 2 – January 3, applies to any Xbox One console, including the Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Sunset Overdrive special edition bundles.
“Fans don’t have to wait for Black Friday this year to enjoy great savings on Xbox One. We’re offering our best price yet, with unprecedented choices and value, so more people can play on Xbox One this holiday,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president, Microsoft. “We’re gearing up for one of our biggest holidays ever and we are thrilled to offer fans up to $150 in savings on Xbox One and some of the biggest blockbuster games of the season.”
The promotion will be available nationwide at most major national retailers in the U.S., including Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Microsoft Stores, Target, Toys ‘R Us and Walmart.
Grove Street, it seems, is actually For Life, as the landmark Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas marks its tenth anniversary this weekend. Developer Rockstar Games is celebrating all weekend, popping off the festivities with a San Andreas themed playlist in GTA: Online (San Andreas Throwback Jobs) as well as themed shirts based off of the classic SA radio stations, and discounts on all green clothing and bandanas.
If that triggers your warm and fuzzies to return to a local Cluckin’ Bell or cruise the backwoods listening to some vintage Tom Petty, Rockstar has a big treat in store when it quietly drops a fully revamped version of San Andreas onto the Xbox Marketplace this weekend.
Rockstar has not officially announced, but has confirmed that the new edition will come loaded with freshly improved textures and graphics, better draw distances, and will support 720p resolution. As an added bonus, the game supports achievements, with a partial list below:
Getting Started – Meet up with the crew and escape the ballers
The End of the Line – Beat the game
Represent – Purchase a Grove Street tattoo
Hustle Some – Win a game of pool
A Legitimate Business – Export all three car lists
The American Dream – Purchase your first house
Get a Pump – Work out your arms or chest
Pay n’ Spray – Handle the heat with a new paint job
Bike or Biker – Complete BMX or NRG challenge
Beat the Clock – Win the Beat the Clock marathon
Metrosexual – Spend $6969 on clothes, hair, and tattoos
School’s Out – Fully complete a vehicle school
Serial Offender – Get arrested 50 times
Freight Date – Take the train between cities
Horror of the Santa Maria – Drown
Assert Yourself Next Time – Fail a mission
What the City Needs – Master Vigilante Mode
Savior – Master Paramedic Mode
Rescue a Kitten, Too? – Master Firefighter Mode
Yes I Speak English – Master Taxi Mode
Trickster – Master Pimping Game
Time to Kill – Watch credits to the end
There are also 11 more hidden achievements to unlock when Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas hits the Xbox Marketplace on October 26th.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was released in October 26, 2004 and immediately became the defining game of that console generation. The operatic gangster tale saw protagonist Carl Johnson dig himself out of gang-infested Los Santos by any means necessary and make a name for himself across epic virtual representations of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas separated by massive swaths of arid deserts and crisp redwood forests. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was a critical and cultural phenomenon that sold 27.5 million copies worldwide.
Earlier this week Marvel revealed that the first teaser of Avengers: Age of Ultron would debut on 10/28/2014, during next week’s episode of Agents of SHIELD. The trailer leakedthe next day in low-quality and went viral. With so many people having watched the leak, Disney made the smart decision and released the official high-definition version of the video.
In just 24 hours, the first Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” trailer racked up an astonishing 34.3 million global views, smashing the previous record by over 20 million views in the same time period. – Marvel
This was a worst case scenario for Agents of SHIELD, a show desperately in need of the ratings bump. Luckily, Marvel has found the next best solution – MORE FOOTAGE!
Marvel is set to show exclusive footage from Age of Ultron during next week’s episode of SHIELD. Then, on Tuesday, November 4 at 9:00 p.m. Marvel will reveal more footage of their next movie during the “Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop!” special.
Marvel has finished their casting for Agent Carter by recruiting Nikita alum Lyndsy Fonseca for the role of Angie Martinelli.
Fonseca will play an aspiring actress living in 1946 New York who befriends Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) as she herself seeks to find her place in the post-war world.
“‘Marvel’s Agent Carter’ opens up an exciting world of new characters for us,” said Jeph Loeb, Marvel’s Head of Television in a statement. “Lyndsy brings a warmth and humanity to Angie, who’ll be the friend Peggy needs if she’s to survive the dangers that lie ahead.”
Earlier this month we were treated to the first footage of Agent Carter at New York Comic Con. You can read about that HERE.
Welcome back to another exciting edition of Weekend Wisdom here at The Workprint!
Truth be told, this is an oddly slow week for promising new releases BUT we’re going to get through them together and then take a look at some smaller releases expanding to wider audiences this week. But your real best bet is one of the year’s best films that hit DVD and Blu-Ray this week. More on that shortly.
But first: The Newbies. And in the spirit of Halloween coming up I will start with the horror film even though there is serious reason to doubt that it will actually scare anyone in the way its intended to. Ouija is of course based on the classic slab of something resembling wood that people purchase in hopes of using it to contact the dead. Growing up, my kindergarten-teaching mother would instead use the board as a writing surface for grading young children’s ability to count to five so you’ll forgive me for not seeing the horror in the situation.
My own personal experience aside, I’m led to believe that some people have actually had a terrifying good time with it. But from the sounds of it, even they will find little to love in this terribly reviewed movie from first time director Stiles White. The film currently sits with an atrocious 9% on the Tomatometer. You’ve been warned.
But if you REALLY feel the need to watch a movie based on a toy don’t consider anything else but Clue. If you haven’t seen it previously, shame on you and make it your number one life priority. Seriously.
Also new in wide release this weekend is John Wick starring the previously thought-to-be-missing Keanu Reeves as an ex-hitman lured out of retirement to take bloody revenge on some gangsters.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “This sounds like every bad action movie ever made!” and “Was Liam Neeson not available?!” I thought the exact same things when I first heard about this movie.
But guess what?
It’s apparently really good. And Reeves is really good in it.
Those of you who read this column last week were assaulted by my excitement over the year’s best film thus far, Birdman. At that time those of you living outside of New York and LA were out of luck due the film only playing in four theaters BUT this masterpiece is happily expanding to 18 more markets this weekend!
Those of you living in one of America’s larger cities now have an opportunity to treat yourself to this wonderfully original piece of work. But if you find yourself having to wait a little longer you can pass some of the time by reading Erin Biglow’s excellent review by clicking HERE.
Also expanding into more theaters this weekend after two weeks in limited release is St. Vincent starring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, and Naomi Watts.
Murray stars as a heavy-drinking, hedonistic war veteran who becomes an unexpected friend to the little boy living next door. McCarthy plays the boy’s mother and hilarity naturally ensues.
The film looks like it might overdo it on the sentimentality but reviews have been kind with a respectable 74% on the Tomatometer. Should be perfect for those of you searching for a side of chuckles to go with your warm and fuzzies.
DON’T FEEL LIKE LEAVING THE COUCH?
Honestly, if Birdman still isn’t a theatrical option for you this weekend your best bet really is to stay home and enjoy one of 2014’s OTHER truly amazing films on DVD or Blu-Ray: Snowpiercer.
Set in a dystopian future where Earth’s only living survivors circle the planet in a specialized train, Snowpiercer introduces us to the horrifying existence of passengers who have been relegated to the slum-like “back-of-the-train” and decide to fight their way to the front and destroy the current class system.
Director Joon-ho Bong takes us on a journey that is all at once shocking, tender, violent, awe-inspiring, and soulful with a message that speaks directly to the economic times that we live in today.
If you like sci-fi or just a damn good story this is definitely not one to miss out on.
And finally, if you REALLY don’t feel like leaving your couch this weekend, pour yourself a big glass of booze and slip into the first half of the final season of Mad Men, which was also released on disc this week.
Directed by Chad Stahelski Written by Derek Kolstad Starring Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianna Palicki, Omer Barnea, Toby Leonard Moore, Daniel Bernhardt, Bridget Moynahan, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Bridget Regan, Lance Reddick, Keith Jardine Rated R
*** out of ****
It’s slightly difficult to describe John Wick, a nifty little entry into the assassin film genre opening in theaters across the country this Friday.
Like quirky little action-revenge films such as Payback, Desperado, Shoot ‘Em Up, Crank, and Drive,Wick is a movie much like its title character: very sudden, dazzling, full of wit and with flashes of cold, calculated violence. And, when it’s over, it leaves you in complete shock, not sure if you’ll see something like it in the future.
Keanu Reeves plays John Wick, a man who just lost his wife to an undisclosed illness. All he has left is his beautiful ’69 Mustang, one of his wife’s bracelets which he keeps next to him at night, and “Daisy”, a little beagle his wife left him so that he wouldn’t be lonely. When he and the almost-reptilian Iosef (Alfie Allen) happen to cross paths at a local gas station, Iosef gawks at his car like a cat-caller. When Wick tells him that he won’t sell his car to Iosef on the spot, Wick becomes the victim of a home invasion that sees his car stolen, his body bruised and beaten — and Daisy, who he had come to love, dead from a presumed broken neck.
At this point, any ordinary Hollywood genre picture would put Wick through a losing battle with the perps in court and then transform him into an angry vigilante, making him blindly fight against impossible odds and barely surviving his plight. Wick, however, takes a violent hard left turn: as it turns out, he was a part of Iosef’s world: a city-wide fraternity of assassins and hitmen who are all above the law. They have their own little clubhouse in the form of a neo-noir, art-deco, marble and mahogany hotel, a respite for the wounded and weary members, Even the cops know who they are — and they leave them alone, no matter what is seen and heard. Wick, however, was the deadliest of the bunch before he retired; a cross between a modern day samurai, The Man With No Name and Death incarnate.
Iosef eventually learns of this through his honorable father Viggo (Michael Nyqvist), a man angry at his son’s flippant ignorance of the man Viggo respected enough to let walk away from the group. When Iosef balks at his father’s disgust, Viggo tells his arrogant son of the legend of The Bogeyman, attempting to underscore the deep shit he’s in.
“Are you telling me Wick is the Bogeyman?” Iosef asks, incredulously.
“Wick is the man you hire to kill the Bogeyman,” his father gravely intones, adding, “And now, you’ve stolen his car…and killed his dog.”
You might feel inclined to giggle at this like the audience around you (I did) but anything more than that would really be dismissive. Wick is the kinda movie that relies on witty hyperbole and ridiculously silly situations to build an outrageous world where outrageous people exist and thrive for the sake of reminding everyone that good and evil exist and that the line that separates them is very thin. It’s the kind of film with a gun battle with an arbitrary nightclub backdrop because every assassin needs to get their gun off while grooving to DeadMau5.
For what it’s worth, Reeves is good here. He knows what the material is and he knows what to do with it. His easy-going attitude is perfectly in key with the film’s happily violent tone which ranges from “ouch” to “oh, come on”. It’s really impressive that a guy his age looks ageless. The surrounding cast works well and there are a few little bit parts and cameos from famous faces that make you smile. Even the direction from veteran stuntman and first-time director, Chad Stahelski, is simplistic, yet so sophisticated.
Mind you, you probably won’t see anything new. The movie doesn’t exactly break new ground as far as the action genre is concerned. It’s your typical East-meets-West chop-socky-and-guns action theater found at midnight on cable access. It’s the type of fare not dissimilar to an unmarked Composition book you’d find in the darkest corner of your high school library, containing pages ripped from Mark Millar’s “Wanted” graphic novel, passages from pulp detective novels, sketches of epic heroes and villains shooting at one another, and other lurid material. And, much like the hyperkinetic moods of the many authors involved with putting it together, it leaves you wanting.
Even still, Wick is a rare gem in a season where the Oscar hopefuls get the most press and one of Reeves’ better films.
I agreed to review Constantine as a favor to Bilal. He’s a nice guy, right? Likable, funny on the Twitter. I never believed he’d steer me wrong. And I also thought, “Hey, the show’s based on a series of DC comics, so it can’t be that bad, right?” Ah, what recent productions have done to my memory. For the past few years we have been blessed with good comic book movies, so much so that I forgot all of those bad years. Constantine isn’t one of those good productions. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Based on the wildly popular comic book series “Hellblazer” from DC Comics, seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine (Matt Ryan, “Criminal Minds”) is armed with a ferocious knowledge of the dark arts and a wickedly naughty wit. He fights the good fight – or at least he did. With his soul already damned to hell, he’s decided to abandon his campaign against evil until a series of events thrusts him back into the fray, and he’ll do whatever it takes to protect the innocent. With the balance of good and evil on the line, Constantine will use his skills to travel the country, find the supernatural terrors that threaten our world and send them back where they belong.
I cheated, I know, but after an hour of the show, I honestly couldn’t summarize its premise without question marks and swear words. Admittedly, I know absolutely zero about the Hellblazer comic books, and what little I know about John Constantine was gleamed from the 2005 movie starring Keanu Reeves. As you can see, I’m already off to a poor start. However, I assume I am NBC’s demographic for such a show–nerdy, but not quite knowledgeable enough to know when I’m being lied to.
I was going to preface this article with a professional statement, telling all you lovely readers (your hair looks nice, by the way) that even though I was discussing the pilot of Constantine, I would review it without spoilers. After having watched the show for what I can only assume was my entire night, I’m not sure that anything I say would ruin the show. There are demons. There are explosions. Someone sees dead people. It’s all Shyamalan from here, baby.
Using context clues (HA! Suck it, SATs!), I gathered that John Constantine is supposed to be an anti-hero–a man so tortured by his past that he’s kind of a jerk, but deep down has a heart of gold, or some such. If you are familiar with the Fables comic book series by Vertigo, I would say he’s a cross between Bigby Wolf and Doctor Who. (I don’t know anything about Doctor Who, but I’m going on looks alone. Please don’t throw things at me.)
Constantine, both the show and the character, seem confused about what and who they want to be. Sure, the show, like its source, is intended to be a thriller, if the all the dark scenes and poorly lit hallways didn’t give that away, but the cliched dialogue and action sequences make it come across as more comical than frightening. And this is coming from MISS Scaredy Cat herself. John is much the same, cliche right down to the smirk and loner attitude. Like many DC protagonists, he also has a ton of daddy issues. However, I can handle so much cliche its hilarious; I love guilty pleasure TV as much as the next person, but Constantine wasn’t guilty, it was just bad.
The worst part about the show is that it felt like it was three or four episodes edited down into one. Smash cuts between scenes didn’t heighten the action, but instead pulled me away from the story. I felt like there were time gaps between scenes and conversations that I must have missed while blinking. (SPOILER: A character dies in the first half hour. I wasn’t sad. I didn’t know his name. None of the other characters seemed sad either, so I guess it all turned out okay.) Even though the show is nearly an hour long, in that time there was zero plot and character development. In the first ten minutes, John goes from being in a mental institution, trying to believe demons aren’t real, to then telling a young girl with special abilities (seeing dead people/souls/whatever) that demons are real and to get in the damn car. The aforementioned girl’s entire purpose in the first episode is meant to act as the viewer, asking the questions we have about the world and its protagonist. Lazy, dull, and still utterly confusing writing.
I didn’t want this to be an entirely negative article, but I dug deep and I can’t find a positive about the show. (Matt Ryan is easy on the eyes, does that count?) Some might find it more interesting than I did, and maybe the show improves after the hodgepodge of a pilot. But if the first episode is the standard for episodes to come, hopefully, NBC will put the show out of its misery in a few weeks. For the time being: I’d still steer clear and wait for the real heroes to give you the all-clear to watch. You don’t want to strain your eyes that much.
Season 1, Episode 1: “Non Est Asylum”
Constantine premieres Friday, October 24th on NBC.
ABC’s new comedy ‘Selfie,’ is a reimaging of ‘My Fair Lady’ for the digital generation. Karen Gillan stars as Eliza Dooley (get it?), a pharmaceutical sales rep who realizes that all her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram followers don’t stop her from being lonely and friendless in real life. She enlists the aid of co-worker Henry (John Cho)—a marketing genius—to “re-brand” her as more likable and help turn her IRL social life around. Sadly, Eliza’s “re-branding” is rooted in sex panics, high-handed moralizing, technophobia, and tired old stereotypes about the sexuality of women and the asexuality of Asian men.
Bullied as a teenager for being—as she describes—“butt,” Eliza has reformed herself in the image of social media, becoming Instafamous and garnering the popularity she so desperately coveted in high school. Eliza’s dedication to her online presence has forced her to neglect her offline relationships and made her narcissistically obsessive. This has made her blind to the fact that the bullying she tried so desperately to escape has followed her from high school to the workplace. She is constantly ridiculed for her intimate connection to her phone, and her real-life social awkwardness is traced back to her slavish devotion to her online world. This not-so-subtle critique recalls the oft-invoked technopanic rhetoric that links the “downfall” of social manners, interpersonal communication, and work ethic brought about by the constant connectedness of the Millennial generation and their successors. Eliza explicitly references this generationally motivated, and media perpetrated, conflict when she states: “Social media can be confusing if you are old and dumb.” It is a line that simultaneously panders to younger audience members while legitimating the presumed prejudices of older ones.
A key to Eliza’s transformation is her embracement of her body, her sexuality, and her desire. So of course, the other characters on the show treat her as the office slut. She is the firm’s top salesperson, so her co-workers assume she sleeps with all her clients to ensure their business. When her revealing office attire fails to attract a warning from human resources, her co-workers decide she gets special favors because she has slept with the entire department (yes, the whole department. I guess they subscribe to the mantra “go big or go home”). Henry, upon meeting her for the first time, tells her that she has “lose sexual morals,” a conclusion he has drawn after listening to office gossip about how she attempted to date a man she did not know was married. In the second episode he informs Eliza that she is a “booty call” because she has had two (!) relationships that he knows about. Quick, someone get this woman a scarlet A and start handing out the penicillin.
Taming Eliza’s overt sexuality is Henry’s primary goal when he agrees to assist her with her transformation. He admonishes her to not make everything so “lurid” and “sexual.” He instructs her to dress for a wedding with less make-up, less cleavage, and more fabric. He covers her from the waist down with his suit jacket when he deems her office attire to revealing. He chastises her for not following his rules and explicitly disobeying his lessons. He is overwhelming paternalistic, acting towards her the same way an exasperated and out-of-touch father would his teenage daughter. Henry’s “great transformation” playbook has three moves: shame, patronize, and preach. To be fair, that may not entirely be his fault, because in line with long-held Hollywood tradition, Henry—as an Asian-American man—is written as an asexual character.
South/Asian and South/Asian-American men on screen have long been denied a sexual presence. They can be trusted sidekicks (Bruce Lee on ‘The Green Hornet,’ George Takei on ‘Star Trek,’ and Dani Pudi on ‘Community’), precocious man-children (Aziz Ansari on ‘Parks and Recreation’), an unhinged ball of explosive anger (Ken Jeong on ‘Community’) or a prank-loving reluctant time-traveler (Masi Oka on ‘Heroes’). What they rarely allowed to be is sexual (two notable exceptions are Daniel Dae Kim on ‘Lost’ and ‘Hawaii 5-0’ and Steven Yeun on ‘The Walking Dead’—more on Yeun later). Henry is no different. He is a closed-off workaholic who has put his career ahead of himself and his personal life. He seems uncomfortable with personal contact and after joining Facebook realizes that he is the only one of his friends not married with children. He insists that his interest in Eliza could never be sexual and in the same episode his boss says to him “You are always alone, it’s kind of weird.” And just to emphasize how buttoned-up he truly is, he literally buttons-up: his casual consists of shirts buttoned up to the neck and covered by a ‘Father Knows Best’ style cardigan sweater.
It’s clear that Henry and Eliza will eventually get together. They are already on that trajectory; in the most recent episode their future romantic relationship was heavily foreshadowed. The (hopeful) transition of Henry into a sexual being drew my mind to the only other Asian-American leading man on TV today: Steve Yeun as Glenn on AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead.’ The two share some striking similarities in how they are constructed as sexual beings, and by proxy, as men. Both Glenn and Henry are given very little backstory. In the entire run of ‘The Walking Dead’ all we have learned about Glenn—now one of the leading characters—is that he used to deliver pizzas for a living. Meanwhile, we know myriads of history about the white male characters, sexual and otherwise. We know little about Henry either—we get a picture of his mom and a brief scene with an ex-girlfriend in episode two, but both of those moments function to tell us about Henry in the present as a loner workaholic, rather than about Henry in the past. In season 2 of ‘The Walking Dead’ Glenn was often referred to not by name, but as “the Asian boy.” In ‘Selfie,’ Henry has yet to be given a last name. It isn’t until Glenn begins a relationship with Maggie (who is white, as is Eliza) that he comes alive, both a person with a name and as a hero. It seems that the same scenario will happen between Henry and Eliza; once their romantic relationship blooms Henry will become a recognizable and real being. This has already begun to happen. Henry’s most recent re-branding success is related directly to Eliza’s intervention. In the case of Henry and Glenn, both cases it is the role of white female sexuality that allows Asian-American men to exist as physical, sexual beings.
What is perhaps most frustrating about ‘Selfie’ is that both Gillan and Cho are so much better than the characters they have been given. Gillan’s timing is spot-on and she has a wonderful physicality that greatly enhances the comedy in her performance. Cho manages to convey a built-up energy under his straight-laced façade that is itching to be set free. The supporting cast, while also stereotypically constructed, are beginning to get some more screen space, adding depth to the superficially constructed office-relationships. There are moments in the show that gives one false-hope for its potential. Eliza tells Henry not to “get all slut-shamey” on her for her office romances, but her voice-over betrays her comment as she admits that Henry’s comments are valid. When visiting Henry at home, whom for all his talk about the importance of IRL relationships is usually alone, she cleverly quips “you live in a glass house”—which he does, literally and figuratively. Henry’s flaws are becoming more and more exposed, and one hopes that they will help balance the relationship between the two, although for the time being Henry is still given the moral high ground.
A more balanced relationship between Eliza and Henry, a less formulaic development of their eventual romance, and an emphasis the show’s moments of sharp writing instead of stereotype could go a long way in turning ‘Selfie’ into the show it wants to be, as well as the vehicle its stars deserve.
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has confirmed that Christian Bale has been tapped to portray Steve Jobs in Sony’s upcoming biopic of the same name.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang, Sorkin stated that, while Bale “didn’t have to audition” for the role, “there was a meeting,” and that, like “teams vying for the best athlete in the NFL Draft”, the studio and producers realized that they “needed the best actor on the board in a certain age range and that’s Chris Bale.”
The role of Jobs was much-coveted, attracting such stars as Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper and even Leonardo DiCaprio.
Bale was the choice of director David Fincher before Fincher left the project following a much publicized dispute with Sony over a $10 million dollar “director’s fee” which Sony refused to pay. Fincher’s latest picture, Gone Girl, has done big business for Fox, scoring just over $215 million dollars in worldwide box office revenue, nearly splitting that amount between foreign and domestic ticket sales.
Acclaimed director Danny Boyle took over the project when Fincher bowed out. In contrast, Boyle will be looking to rebound with Jobs, as his last picture, Trance, was a rare critical and financial disappointment, grossing just over $24 million dollars against a $20 million dollar budget.
Bale is fresh off the successes of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and American Hustle, for which he won several awards, including a Screen Actor’s Guild Award. He won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for the role of “Dicky Eklund” in 2010’s The Fighter.
“[Bale] has more words to say in this movie than most people have in three movies combined,” Sorkin said. “There isn’t a scene or a frame that he’s not in. And there’s a tremendous amount of language. So it’s an extremely difficult part and he is gonna crush it.”
This will be the third such film based on the life and times of Jobs. Noah Wyle played Jobs in the 1999 made-for-television feature, Pirates of the Silicon Valley, which was loosely based on Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine’s book Fire in the Valley: The Making of The Personal Computer. In 2013, Ashton Kutcher portrayed Jobs in the film, Jobs.
This movie is based on a Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography, Steve Jobs, which was published shortly after Jobs’ death, and will begin shooting in the coming months.
Ridley Scott might not have directly touched the series, but his signature is all over the new trailer for Halo: Nightfall, Microsoft’s first foray into scripted entertainment. Nightfall is an original story that focuses on Agent Jameson Locke, who is poised to be a major player in the new installment of the franchise, Halo 5: Guardians, which releases in 2015.
Halo: Nightfall will release weekly and be accessible via the new Halo: Master Chief Collection this November.
Move over superheroes, a new comic book television series is headed to town and this time no one has powers.
Deadline is reporting that Greg Berlanti, the man behind Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl, is bringing the ArchieComics universe to FOX.
The series, Riverdale, named after the fictional town the characters live in, will be set in the present in the small fictional town of Riverdale, New York.
The show will focus on the eternal love triangle of Archie Andrews, girl-next-door Betty Cooper, and rich socialite Veronica Lodge, and will include the entire cast of characters from the comic books—including Archie’s rival, Reggie Mantle, and his slacker best friend, Jughead Jones. Popular gay character Kevin Keller will also play a pivotal role. In addition to the core cast, “Riverdale” will introduce other characters from Archie Comics’ expansive library, including Josie and the Pussycats.
The show will be produced by Greg Berlanti and written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
“This is a historic moment for Archie Comics, and we couldn’t be happier to partner with FOX, Warner Bros. and Greg Berlanti to bring our characters to television,” said Archie Comics Publisher/Co-CEO Jon Goldwater in a press release. “Greg and Roberto are experts when it comes to making great, compelling television and bringing beloved comic book creations to life on the screen. They’re the perfect team to welcome viewers to ‘Riverdale.’”
“This is something we’ve been working on for awhile now, figuring out the best way to bring these characters to life for what will be, essentially, the first time,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “The entire team working on ‘Riverdale’ is as passionate about Archie as Jon and I are, so it feels like the stars have finally aligned for Archie and the rest of the gang.”
There’s nothing like starting the day with Benedict Cumberbatch getting his Smaug on in this behind the scenes video from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The actor’s rich voice is decidedly menacing as he speaks while fitted with motion capture equipment.
Cumberbatch will be next seen in The Imitation Game with Keira Knightley, which comes out in theaters November 21, 2014.
The third installment of the Hobbit films, The Battle of Five Armies will be released on December 17. 2014.
Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.
Update: Marvel releases official teaser for Age of Ultron
The first images of Ultron and Hulkbuster from the Avengers 2 trailer have surfaced today that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic-Con this year. The Workprint’s own Bilal Mian confirms its authenticity as he saw the trailer earlier this month at NYCC.
The Avengers 2 trailer will premiere on television next week on ABC during the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode “A Fractured House.”
The film features the original cast with Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor Johnson joining as the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver and comes to theaters on May 1, 2015.
Oh Hobbits! Nothing like a trip to Middle Earth to make any safety flight video more interesting than the average. From Elijah Wood’s obvious squirming upon being recognized on a flight to New Zealand, to elves, orcs, dwarves, and hobbits explaining how to unbuckle seat belts and the proper precautionary measures in case of an emergency, Air New Zealand is truly capitalizing on the LOTR franchise and it’s wonderful. Thanks Peter Jackson!
Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.
Last year The 100 quickly became my favorite guilty pleasure show. It wasted no time raising the stakes of humanity’s survival both on Earth’s surface and on the Ark, a space station serving as humanity’s refuge after the planet went through a nuclear apocalypse.
Season 1 of The 100 pushed its characters over and over again to make decisions for the greater good of the group at the cost of someone’s life. Whether it was rules set by Clarke or Bellamy on the planet’s surface or by Jaha on the Ark, tough decisions had to be made. What do you do with someone who breaks the rules of a new 100 society? What are the rules? Do the 100 try to make peace with the Grounders, native Earth survivors of the nuclear apocalypse, or wage war? The Ark is running out of oxygen. The population needs to be thinned. Who gets to live? Who gets to die?
The show excelled at asking these questions, but it floundered by creating love triangles, especially one between Clarke, Finn, and Raven. It was upsetting to see Clarke and Raven reduced to a teenage lover’s quarrel when their characters were otherwise so commanding and self-confident.
Season 2 of The 100 has not only learned from the first season’s misstep, it has excelled the series into what I’d say is one of the best science fiction shows on television.
What’s left of the remaining 100 are now scattered – Clarke and company were taken by the Mountain Men to Mount Weather, an injured Octavia was carried away by Lincoln, and the fate of Bellamy and Finn surviving the blast set off by Jasper in the finale is still up in the air. Let’s not forget that the citizens of the Ark, sans Jaha, are now planet side.
Eliza Taylor has done a fantastic job with Clarke in the first three episodes, channeling what I like to call her inner-Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead. Waking up in Mount Weather to find a happy go-lucky society akin to Woodbury, Clarke finds it all too good to be true. She wants to make sure her people are safe and will do what it takes to find those that didn’t find their way to Mount Weather.
There is a reason the rest of the 100 look up to Clarke as a leader and Taylor does a great (and violent) job showing us why. Sure the society at Mount Weather is just peachy, but at what cost? Is there something dark beneath the surface of their new refuge? Are they really safe? One way or another Clarke will get her answers.
The case of strong women in this series doesn’t end there. The women in The 100 hold their own this season. Clarke, Raven, Octavia, Abigail, and the Grounder women are not damsels in distress. They are the show’s driving force this season and I hope that doesn’t change. Be prepared to see them kickass and take names in their individual ways.
With that said, the men aren’t chopped liver in any way. Henry Ian Cusick and Isaiah Washington bring their A game, but I found the other males to have their story move at a slower pace.
The writers manage to play a near perfect juggling act in Season 2, driving each story forward at what feels to be a break-neck pace. Strong writing, great performances, and the added mystery allow for a second season to no longer feel like a guilty pleasure, but must watch TV.
The first three episodes were sent to us from The CW for review.
– Mount Weather reminds me of the vaults from Bethesda’s Fallout video game series.
– Devon Bostick makes Jasper’s crush this season the most adorable thing ever.
– Seeing leftover monuments that survived the nuclear fallout and the purpose they serve is a fun treat. I hope we see more this season.
The 100 airs Wednesday nights at 9 PM on The CW.
Season 2 premieres October 22, 2014.
Season 1 is now available to stream on Netflix.
EW revealed four covers today to their “Holiday Movie Preview” issue featuring the cast of Into The Woods. We get to see Johnny Depp as The Wolf, Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife, Meryl Streep as The Witch, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, Chris Pine as Cinderella’s Prince, Mackenzie Mauzy as Rapunzel, James Corden as The Baker, and Lilla Crawford as Red Riding Hood.
Based on the beloved Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name, Into The Woods is directed by Rob Marshall and also features Christine Baranski and Tracey Ullman in the powerhouse cast. The film will be released Christmas this year.
This isn’t the article I intended to write about Scandal this week. I was going to talk about how the season has started slow but, with the last episode, picks up some very exciting steam as far as our Fitz-Jake-Rowan storyline. I was a little bored with Mellie’s persistent failure to do her job in the face of her grief, to be honest, but this week?
The episode began with the first daughter, Karen (Madeline Carroll), calling Olivia for help after getting drunk, high, and engaging in a threesome (that happened to be filmed) during a party. Olivia sees a problem to be solved.She sees how it will affect Fitz, because that’s what she focuses on. That’s what she’s good at and she does what has to be done to make it all go away, at least for the press.
Mellie sees her daughter, a girl who just lost her brother and is forced to deal with the fallout while the world watches.
I don’t have children but I do write books for children, and one of my passions is making sure that my characters are as positive as possible about sex. It’s important to me that girls aren’t held to a higher standard than boys and that feminine sexuality isn’t demonized the way it has been for, well, forever. Which means there’s a certain scene in this week’s episode that made my cold little heart so, so happy.
When Mellie goes to talk to her sixteen-year-old daughter about the scandal threatening her future, she handles it in the most perfect way possible. The way that I’m sure would be hard if I were facing my own daughter, but with a script every woman should have tucked away in case she needs it – for a friend, a student, a daughter, a niece.
She tells Karen that if having sex with the two boys made her happy, or made her feel empowered or turned her on that she would try to be happy for her, no matter how many seizures it gave her mommy heart.
Let’s stop right there and let that sink in.
Having a threesome isn’t evil. It’s not deviant and it doesn’t make Karen somehow unlovable or (god, I hate this word) a slut. If it’s what works for her as a woman, then people need to shut their mouths and get on board. If you can’t do the latter, then mind your own business.
Mellie suspects (rightfully so) that Karen had sex with those boys because she’s grieving. Because feeling something is better than feeling nothing and for a few hours at that party she could be a girl whose brother didn’t die right in front of her, and she’s right. She knows her daughter. But she didn’t start there.
She started off with the statement previous statement about loving her no matter what decisions she makes about her body. Important.
But Mellie’s not done, y’all.
She puts her arms around her daughter and tells her that if she were a boy, the media and everyone else would be laughing and high-fiving her for taking two people to bed at once. That if she weren’t the president’s daughter this would be a small blip on her radar and that she’s sorry the world is so sexist.
What an empowering talk to have with your teenage daughter. Point out every day sexism and why it affects a girl’s life differently, but don’t condone it. Hate it. Acknowledge that, as a mother, you’re not ready to think about her growing up enough to make sexual choices but that you don’t judge her for what makes her happy. That translates into this: no one else has the right to do that, either.
The whole episode was strong but that conversation blew me away. If more writers and television shows would take the time to point out the small injustices in the world, the sexism and misogyny in every day life, to deftly show us the best possible way to handle them when speaking with young people, we might be taking a few more tiny steps in the right direction.
Season 4, Episode 4 “Like Father Like Daughter” aired October 17th, 2014 on ABC.
Last week we talked about the movies that can help you prepare for the apocalypse in the form of Ebola (or whatever the next deadly virus turns out to be – including zombies!) but let’s be honest…aren’t books always better than movies?!
Read on to find out the 5 books that are essential to your understanding of just how bad it’s going to get, and why monkeys and vigilantes (and possibly vigilante monkeys) will be chief among the things that end us all.
This is about what happens when an unknown but incurable virus rips through a small community that the rest of the world things they can cut off from the mainland, and the progress of the disease is disturbingly believable. Spoiler alert: Sorry in advance for the brutal cliffhanger ending.
The first book in this trilogy will hook you and though it’s a little bit lighter on the disease progression and a little heavier on how to problem solve (who doesn’t love a good CIA story?), this isn’t a book you’re going to be able to put down.
This recent take on the waves of disease and what’s left in their wake, this dark tale promises to keep you up at night…but one day might find a place on your reference shelf. You know, if you’re one of the lucky (?) ones.
Stephen King is reason enough to read this (really long) book if you haven’t yet. The man is the master of horror and when that horror could end up applying to your own life? You want to know just how bad it’s going to get after 99% of us are dead.
This nonfiction tale of the origins of the Ebola virus – and how it almost killed us all twenty years ago – will scare the shit out of you. So, it’s like literary Ebola. Fair warning: only read this if you want your level of panic over the current situation to get you an audition for Fox News.
This book may be fiction, but I’ve never read a more detailed, thought out description of how exactly our worldwide society will fall apart, followed by the same in depth look at what will have to happen in order to even think about putting it back together again. It might be about zombies, but this book should be required reading for anyone who even has a shot at a leadership position in this country. It’s NOTHING like the (really really terrible) film.
So, there you go! What books would you add to the list? Think any of mine are crap? Make sure and tell me in the comments – I love that.
If the season premiere of The Walking Dead was two steps forward for the series, this week’s follow up was one minor step back. There was a lot of air to be cleared between characters now that the group is mostly reunited and finally has some breathing room. Such interactions are necessary, but often handled clumsily and filled with awkward dialogue. Though this is still a common pain point for the series, there’s enough forward momentum and intrigue to carry the episode through its somewhat stilted conversations.
Our survivors are still wandering from the aftermath of Terminus, weary from the hardship and on edge from signs they’re being followed. They eventually come across the timorous Gabriel, a devout priest whose apparent cowardice and pacifism are something of an anomaly to the group. He leads the suspicious party back to his secluded church which serves as a temporary base while they rest and restock their supplies. Abraham focuses on fixing the church’s bus to use as transportation, while others go on scavenging expeditions.
There’s plenty of talking in this episode. Much of it felt obligatory or forced, such as Tara’s lingering guilt about having sided with the Governor, Abraham’s inevitable pitch for escorting Eugene to Washington, or the eternal sunshine of Bob’s optimistic mind. Others, such as Rick and Carol settling any unresolved tension or Carl’s appeal to his father for the courage and confidence to keep helping people, feel more genuine and rewarding. Daryl’s support of Carol despite her unwillingness to talk about what she’s been through after leaving the prison was a nice example of the more nuanced characterization the show occasionally does well.
After finding three silencers in a mini fridge in a gun store, Glenn teaches Tara the first rule of scavenging: there’s nothing left that isn’t hidden. This theme provides a loose structure on which to hang the show’s many separate conversations. In the most literal sense, there’s the person or people following the group. In a more ham-handed plotline, Gabriel carries a heavy burden from his past that he is unwilling to confess to Rick, despite how glaringly obvious it is that his cowardice probably got some people killed. It’s a thinly veiled mystery that even Rick doesn’t seem to have the patience to explore.
Bob, meanwhile, has a more troubling secret to hide. As the small foraging party reaches the local food bank, they discover a flooded basement full of zombies. Diving into murky, waist-deep water full of zombies is the sort of bad decision that teenagers make in horror movies, and the thought that they went down there willingly really strains credibility. The consequences are hardly surprising: Bob is bitten by a submerged zombie, but he hides the fact from Sasha and the group. As he wanders away from the group to die, he is instead knocked unconscious and dragged away. He awakens to a villain monologue from Gareth and the realization that his leg has been amputated and is being eaten by the other survivors of Terminus.
Once again, it really is nice to see the plot picking up so quickly. Previously, the show would have been content to delay Gareth’s return in favor of lingering on the characters’ various subplots, but the focus appears to be a lot sharper so far this season. Despite the abundance of dialogue this episode, the sense of forward momentum developed in the second half isn’t really diminished–it’s a solid episode that does a good job setting up what lies ahead.
Some other notes:
– Playing a game of “Good out of the Bad” with Bob, Sasha suggests mosquito bites, and I was disappointed that Bob didn’t just quote Ned Flanders (“Mmm mmm, sure are fun to scratch!”).
– The zombie that attacked Bob was beaten down with a big plastic tub, so I half-expected the goofy hollow *thunk* of empty tupperware every time the tub made contact.
– The show really played up Bob’s optimism to the point of caricature, so it’s a relief to see him in a bit of trouble. Not because of the sense of schadenfreude, but because he seems like less of a cartoon this way.
– Glad to see that Daryl hasn’t forgotten about Beth, even though it seems like Maggie might have.
The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 2 “Strangers” Grade: B
Man, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just keeps getting better. This time last year, the episodes were still a little slow going, especially in terms of character development. Tonight? Episode Five, and I feel like we’re watching an entirely different show — which is a very good thing.
So we begin with a fancy naval officer wedding, where a best man speech is currently underway. There’s a wait staff passing around champagne for the obligatory toast, and somehow, you just get a feeling that this isn’t going to end well. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. The guests drink and then end up convulsing and dead, and the Hydra/undercover wait staff makes their getaway as they relay their report to Bakshi.
Back at base, Coulson is approached by his team as he’s scribbling something onto his desk. (Is it the code? Yep, it’s totally the code.) They discuss their options and as Coulson mentions connections to the Obelisk, Skye starts to realize he’s intentionally skirting her questions. Poor Coulson. May advises him to let Skye in on his secret, and you can tell it’s killing him to keep things in the dark. But Coulson is Director now, and that means that he has to protect the people he cares about – even if it means having to lie.
Meanwhile, The Doctor (Kyle MacLachlan) is working on his patients in private, because you should always do your work in super secret undercover spaces. Raina shows up and asks for the Obelisk back, but The Doctor isn’t quite ready to give it up. We know that Raina has been working for The Doctor, and there’s an interesting exchange where the two discuss their history, including the fact that The Doctor apparently took her in from the streets. (He’s just racking up all the father points, isn’t he?) I find it interesting that Raina’s obviously not his real daughter, yet he chooses to harbor a found family connection with her in the same way Coulson does with Skye.
Anyway, turns out that The Doctor is a little crazy – like actually totally crazy. He’s got anger issues, and he kind of loses it when Raina backhandedly insults him, which in turns makes me actually feel bad for Flowers. (I know, I know.) There’s a lot of exposition dropped in this scene, but the big takeaway is that according to The Doctor, Skye isn’t Skye’s real name. Hmmm. So Skye’s a possible alien, her father has anger issues, and her real name could be something even more strange? Sign me up for theorizing, Marvel. You’ve got my attention.
At Hydra, Bakshi drags Simmons and her lab parter to a meeting, where Whitehall is present. He’s not happy with how the Obelisk has performed, and notes “our founder had the Tesseract,” a nice nod to Red Skull and Hydra’s history. He basically asks Simmons if the Obelisk can be weaponized, which she affirms. Let’s all take a moment and continue to be proud of little Jemma Simmons lying her way through one of the most lethal organizations in the country, okay?
Back on The Bus, Fitz is watching a shirtless Mack work out, and I fully believe this shot was included to make up for lack of shirtless Ward. Last week, I wondered if Fitz’s inclusion into the group finally meant that Imaginary!Simmons would be gone, so I was a little surprised to find her still around – albeit as a reminder to Fitz that he can let her go and move on. Skye continues to examine the code on the back of the painting obtained in last week’s mission, trying to find clues about what Coulson might be hiding from her. Lance drops by and basically nudges her into being nosy by suggesting she start with someone who might know about Hydra secrets: Grant Ward.
Ward thinks that Skye finally came back to him because she wanted to know about her father, but Skye insists that’s not true. He continues to prod her by telling her that Raina knows her father, but Skye’s not having any of it, and rightly so – it would be foolish of her to trust Ward so easily after everything that happened last season. To his credit, he’s actually forthcoming when Skye asks him about the code, if not ominous about what the results could be. He tells Skye about Garrett’s experience with it after he was injected with the GH serum, and that once he started writing, he was pretty much gone…so much so that Ward was actually glad when S.H.I.E.L.D. put him down. “Whatever took his place, I don’t think it was meant to survive,” he cautions.
While Raina goes to Hydra and stalks Simmons sending her messages to S.H.I.E.L.D., Skye goes to Coulson, who already knows that she’s been talking to Ward. He tells her that May’s been keeping an eye on him, and that he knows everything that’s happening is from the formula. Skye eventually realizes they’ve been monitoring her as well, since she was injected with the same GH compound when they saved her life. She hasn’t shown signs of being affected, though, and Coulson thinks that’s because there’s a possibility she could be an alien. Really? An alien? (Yes, Skye. An alien.)
Back at Hydra, Simmons is in the middle of working when alarms go off, signaling the fact that something’s wrong – and also the arrival of our very own Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird. Adrianne Palicki absolutely killed it in this role. I can’t wait to see her become more engrained in the show, but more about that later. Bobbi is apparently someone who specializes in finding secrets, and, well, Simmons is looking rather suspicious.
And Bobbi? She’s good. Like, really good, in only the way seasoned agents can be. Simmons has been doing okay with her undercover stuff so far, but watching Bobbi work makes you realize how much more experience she has with this type of thing. She manages to figure out Simmons hasn’t been at Hydra long, and while she’s interrogating her, Simmons manages to pawn off the device she’s been using to send her message to her lab mate. Sorry, Possibly-Only-Friend-That-Simmons-Has! Later, Bobbi also ambushes Simmons in the bathroom, trying to grill her further.
Coulson arranges to meet with Raina for dinner (with appropriate back-up, of course). Coulson wants the Obelisk, and Raina parrots that they want the same thing. She then shows Coulson a picture of Simmons sending S.H.I.E.L.D. messages, before threatening that he has two minutes to cooperate before she sends the picture to everyone in Hydra’s channels. Knowing that Skye is listening in on the conversation, she also drops comments about her father, which leads Skye to realize Ward was telling the truth. Skye tries to go outside and stop Coulson from outing Simmons, but May stops her, assuring her Coulson has a plan.
And, well. Coulson better have a plan, because all of a sudden, Simmons’ face is all over Hydra computers – and not in a good way. She does what any sane person in that situation would do and runs the hell away, until she’s cornered by Bakshi and Bobbi and some guards. Surprise! In one of the most epic fight sequences that rivals Natasha Romanoff’s Iron Man 2 moves (seriously, check out that last shot — it’s total Black Widow), Bobbi reveals her cover for S.H.I.E.L.D. and takes down the guards, helping Simmons to escape. That might be one of the most awesome character entrances ever, and I may have run to Tumblr to download all the gifs of Adrianne Palicki being a BAMF and using her batons to take down some bad guys (nice homage to her trademark weaponry in this fight.) The girls make it to the roof and then escape via a quinjet that Trip is piloting. Bobbi reveals that she took Simmons’ hard drive after their conversation in the bathroom, and I’m pretty sure Simmons is fangirling with the same intensity that I am, except I’m doing it in the privacy of my apartment.
Realizing she’s been outsmarted, Raina tells Coulson about Whitehall and asks her to take her in. Coulson refuses and Hunter tags Raina instead, hoping that by using her as bait, she’ll lead them to him. Coulson then asks how to find Skye’s father, and Raina gives Coulson an address before she leaves. It’s only a matter of time before the team figures out that Skye is missing…because of course she is.
By the time Coulson catches up with Skye inside the building, she’s already found nothing except a photograph of her dad with a baby. As she breaks down in Coulson’s arms, we realize that there’s a hidden camera in the room and that The Doctor is watching her from a tablet outside, and having his own feelings as he watches his daughter. May interrupts them to show them the bodies she’s found, which are all of The Doctor’s patients that have been killed by a scalpel. Skye calls her father a monster, and it doesn’t take long for the anger to come out again, before The Doctor drives off in a rage.
When Simmons and Bobbi return home, Coulson reveals that he’s asked Bobbi to join the team. Cue Simmons (and me) jumping for joy. The moment of levity lasts about a second before we realize that Simmons is seeing Fitz for the first time since she left – and yes, that’s real Simmons and real Fitz, not Fitz and his imaginary friend. Again, all the kudos to Iain de Caestecker, who’s knocking all his scenes out of the park. I was wondering how long we would keep Simmons undercover in Hydra, and I’m kind of glad it was only a few episodes – just enough time to show the character growth and difference from Season One Simmons, but without excluding her from the team entirely. Needless to say, I’m happy that everyone is more or less back together.
As Bobbi makes the rounds, we find out that she knows Mack. We also find out that she knows Hunter – like, really knows Hunter, because she was the elusive ex-wife that he kept trying to talk about last week. This is obviously a deviation from comic canon, but I think that it’s an interesting one, and also a good way to bring Bobbi into the mix without stirring up too much with the MCU. Most people had suspected that Bobbi’s inclusion in the show would mean that there would be a connection to Clint/Hawkeye. And while I think we could still see something in that regard, it’s a little hard to establish a relationship like that, especially when it hasn’t been talked about or hinted at. Plus, if the chemistry between that one scene is any indication, I’m already totally on board with more Hunter and Bobbi interaction. (Sidenote: one of my favorite subtle references of the night was Hunter saying, “I prefer you blonde.” While we know Bobbi as being blonde, in Bobbi Morse’s original introduction (1971’s Astonishing Tales #6) she’s actually seen as a brunette. By Astonishing Tales #8, writer Gary Friedrich had furthered the development of the character which led to a hair color change, which was never really explained.)
Skye and Coulson meet in private to talk about Skye’s father, and Skye tells him that she knows they’re going to try to take him down. Coulson is surprisingly honest with her and shows her the code he’s been writing, which Skye deduces is a map. Meanwhile, Bakshi is trying to talk to Whitehall about what happened in the lab when The Doctor appears with a case. After killing the guards in another bout of anger to make his point, he tells Whitehall he’ll bring him the Obelisk and teach him how to survive it, so that he can kill a common enemy: Couson. Oh yeah, and so he can kill everyone else, too.
So we blew Simmons’ cover with Hydra, we introduced the amazingly awesome Mockingbird, we found out some really good stuff about Skye and her father….but really, that all pales in comparison to the most important part of the hour, where at the end of the episode, ABC revealed next week we would finally be seeing the world broadcast premiere of the Age of Ultron trailer next week. I’m hyper just thinking about it, and let me tell you…if it’s anything like what I saw at Comic Con, you guys are in for a huge treat.
“Yeah, because I’m an alien.”*pause* “Hold on, are you saying I’m an alien?” – Skye
“I was trying not to rattle you” – Coulson / “Guess what? EPIC FAIL.” – Skye
The CW has ordered full seasons for Jane the Virgin and The Flash!
The Flash debuted as the most-watched series premiere ever for The CW, bringing in 6.1 million viewers in Live + 3 Day Nielsen ratings. Jane the Virgin became the networks most-watched and highest rated show in its time period in two years.
“We have had a fantastic start to our season this year, with The Flash launching as our most-watched series premiere ever, and Jane the Virgin recognized as the best new show this season by critics across the country,” said Mark Pedowitz, President of The CW, in a statement. “Over the past three seasons, we have made it our mission to grow and to broaden out our audience, and to keep raising the bar with the quality and impact of our new shows, and The Flash and Jane have both exceeded our expectations on all counts. I’m thrilled to announce full season orders for both of these terrific new series.”
We’ve had a good relationship, haven’t we? I mean, season three was a rough period for everyone, but you pulled it together in the end. Kudos to you! And season four is back to the Homeland we all loved in the beginning. A second kudos! Only, you see…there’s this issue I’m having with some of the writing. Well, one part in particular.
I’ve understood and even defended many of the decisions the show has made over the years. I wasn’t a fan of dragging out Brody’s storyline, but I got why you did it. Heck, I even ENJOYED Dana’s plot, if only to show the differences between her and her father. She was more than just a whiny teenager to me and I applaud that move. I don’t mind Carrie’s madness. In fact, I quite love that darkness about her. Sure, it was difficult to watch her let baby Frannie slip under the water for a few frightening moments, but that is the unflinching reality of Carrie’s situation. And even though I thought having Carrie seduce Aayan in the most recent episode was a tad too much too soon, I can grasp the loose rationale behind Carrie as a character.
But, oh, this is awkward. Okay, I’ll just go out and say it.
You need to stop this nonsense romance between Carrie Mathison and Peter Quinn before I maul an innocent bystander. Quinn is a complex character, a man who was trained to be a murderer coming to terms with the truths of what his actions have wrought. He is, hands down, the best character on the show. Until that little bit about him being in love with Carrie. It didn’t make me swoon or “ship” the two as maybe some had hoped. Instead, it took the PTSD and nightmares that Quinn faces every day and spun them into something romantic, something to even be desired. Quinn faces a plethora of demons, including his murder of a child. A child, Gansa. He doesn’t drown his sorrows in a liquid diet because he’s secretly in love with Carrie. He’s drowning his sorrows because he feels he can no longer protect those around him, those who look to him as a defender. They haunt him daily and he feels if he can no longer save innocent lives, then he can longer do his job properly.
Carrie and Quinn are two sides of the same coin within the CIA, but they each have their own moral compass, and even though one moral compass points a weeeeee bit more south than the other, the pair work well together. And that’s what I want for them. Quinn’s concern for Carrie isn’t because he has feelings for her, but because he sees her strolling down a dark path he once walked. It is so rare to see a male/female friendship on a TV show, one that remains platonic for it’s duration, because for some reason it seems that on TV and in movies, men and women are not friends unless love is involved, requited or otherwise. I had hopes, Gansa, that Carrie and Quinn would skirt that trope. I was wrong. And don’t give me any of this BS about Carrie and Saul being platonic, because you know that doesn’t count, and I’m offended you’d even throw that in my face.
But there’s still hope. Cut it out now. Stop the awkward, longing stares between the two. Have them protect one another as they have done in the past. Let them continue to grow individually, and as friends. FRIENDS. Because if you decide to take it that step further and have Quinn proclaim his “feelings,” we’re going to have to break up. And Gansa, you really don’t want me as a crazy ex-lover. I make Carrie’s questionable habits look sane and I will cut you.
To sum up:
Oh, and Fara is awesome. I would like more of her. K thx bai.
A busker takes a drug called, “Viper”, then robs a convenience store of its ATM Machine, carrying the thing on his own back in the latest episode of Gotham, appropriately titled, “Viper”. Gordon and Bullock are, of course, sent in to investigate and find the man practically swimming in ATM cash in a burnt-out old warehouse. Unfortunately, the drug has a mean side-effect: death by accelerated bone decay. The drug, as it turns out, was a prototype of “Venom” which, as Batman fans know, was Bane’s drug of choice. Since this is pre-Batman and pre-villains, we don’t see Bane just yet. Meanwhile, little Bruce Wayne thinks he’s found some irregularities in the dealings of his parents’ company, Wayne Enterprises, but before he can make the Board Members aware or even ask them, the man responsible for poisoning Gotham’s citizens with “Viper” interrupts and tries to poison the Board’s cocktail party. Bruce and the rest seem to escape the assault while Gordon and Bullock get the man responsible for the crime on top of the roof. Meanwhile, Penguin is alive and basically applies for a job running with Sal Maroni who, at first, is reluctant but warms up to Penguin after he finds that he’s trustworthy. Lastly, Fish Mooney, Sal Maroni and Carmine Falcone all struggle to take over Gotham via your usual underworld corruption. Fish trains a young girl named “Liza” in the art of seduction. The episode ends when Liza approaches Falcone, randomly singing “O Mio Babbino Caro”, much to Falcone’s nostalgic delight. She offers to let him hear it on her music player.
THOUGHTS: Gotham really started well. I forgave the non-stop fan service and slightly wooden acting and the show repaid me, taking away some of the overdone fan service while doubling down on the wooden acting and adding some really contrived storytelling. I’m serious. At best, this is a decent crime-drama. At its worst, the show is like Glee without the musical numbers. First, I don’t really mind the whole “Viper drug” storyline. I love the intrigue and the evolution of that element. What I do mind is the outright hokey execution of the story. The “Viper” drug makes people strong, but instead of them hulking up a bit, the user’s skin just turns grey and they break something nearby to emphasize to the viewer, “Ruh Roh! He’s on Viper!” Seriously. This happens each time the drug is used: dude breaks a bat over his knee, an old man bends his walker, the guy poisoning people punches a tin metal container…it’s terribly cheesy and something that belongs in 70’s Incredible Hulk, not this show. On top of that, the dude forking the stuff out freely has no plan except to pump it into the vents of a building which is hosting a party for Gotham’s elite — who all escape because the drug doesn’t travel through the vents quick enough. There’s no danger or suspense. Then the villain commits suicide after giving Gordon a clue that leads nowhere anyhow. This is careless. This leads to little Bruce Wayne. Forgiving the fact that he’s suddenly a child prodigy who is smarter than all the police in Gotham PD combined, the producers of the show, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to portray him as the love child of Patrick Dempsey and Data from Star Trek. He not only deadpans every single line he has in the most robotic fashion possible, he also shows no emotion whatsoever, like the dude at the poker table who’s about to take your money, your shirt, and your wife in the final hand. It’s severely off-putting. Lastly, I don’t care about Fish Mooney. It’s not because of her gender, it’s the fact that there’s no real reason for her to be there. We already have Maroni and Falcone fighting for Gotham, so why is she here? She “wants power”. Ok. Thanks for that. Why else? Anyone? Oh, she’s training somebody to be a “weapon”. Ok. Why? There’s no motivation or reasoning. It’s “well, I’m just evil”. Also, she’s a stereotype: a dominatrix on the side who enjoys some good Fifty Shades action and, what’s more, does it to the mafia partners she works with. I seriously hope Gotham gets better because it’s on my DVR Death Watch — and that’s telling because I’m a huge fan of Batman.
A meteor breaks up in the atmosphere and Emily’s greatest wish came true: her father is alive and (mostly) well…but is under the influence of the evil Victoria Grayson, thereby destroying her world.
Thus, “Meteor”, the title of the latest episode of ABC’s Revenge, is very fitting.
It took Emily three seasons to take out Victoria and the entire Grayson empire. She left nothing to chance, covering every base, dotting every single “I” and crossing every single “T” — and, yet, Emily’s world is starting to crash down around her with a reinvigorated Victoria who is threatening to raise hell, using her father as her trump card.
This story is the emotional crux of the episode.
At the beginning of the episode, Emily and Nolan have a bit of a heart to heart: he wants to call the police to report the mysterious intruder who tried to kill her in last week’s episode and Emily doesn’t want the police anywhere near them. Why? Because Charlotte, Emily’s sister, who didn’t meet a bottle of pills she didn’t like.
Lo and behold, Nolan invites the cops anyhow and, wouldn’t you know it: it’s Jack and Ben, the Riggs and Murtaugh of the Hamptons. Emily explains the attack and Ben and Jack eat it up with a spoon because Everybody Loves Emily. As Ben and Nolan collaborate on the security of the mansion, Jack warns Emily that he’s going to investigate Victoria for that attempted assault — but if anything happens to Victoria, he won’t hesitate to arrest Emily. Emily accepts this as Jack has clearly had enough of Emily’s games.
Meanwhile, Victoria offers to help David resurrect himself by building a convincing narrative. David wants to know specifics, to which Victoria replies, “I’ll handle it.” This clearly triggers something inside David and he informs her that this worries him, mainly because that was the exact same thing she said to him before he went to prison. After she leaves, David goes a bit insane, finds a chain, and begins to whip his own back with it, causing awful looking cuts. His plan is to appear disheveled and disoriented while getting arrested for petty shoplifting at a local convenience store in the downtown area.
At first, Ben thinks the department has caught the guy who attacked Emily because “he matches the description of the guy who attacked Emily”. This, even though Nolan admitted he couldn’t see his face and Emily didn’t get a clear view, either. While prepping the line-up, he practically goes white as he sees the face of David Clarke. Emily is brought in to ID the suspects and Jack, realizing the shitstorm that’s about to ensue, tries to prepare her. However, because that’s “against protocol” (it could create bias), he’s unable to do so.
In one of the most emotional moments of the series, Emily’s apprehensiveness turns to outright shock when she comes face to face with her father, David Clarke — albeit through a one-way mirror. Tears stream down her face and Ben, thinking that she’s traumatized from the attempt on her life, consoles her. Jack, Nolan and Emily have a meeting shortly afterward (Emily said that none of the men attacked her) and Nolan can’t believe it’s possible. Emily elects to Cowgirl Up and confront her father — but the Feds arrive to spoil the party and lock all civilians out of the building.
Meanwhile, Victoria forks some cash over to her son, Daniel who, at the same time, is looking to make it on his own steam by teaming up with the mysterious Louise. Louise has a strange attachment to Victoria and, at one point during Victoria’s meeting with her son, attempts to anonymously send her a drink — which Victoria refuses, much to Louise’s chagrin. With the money from his mother, David finds himself right back in the hotel penthouse he was tossed out of last episode. He invites Margaux over to celebrate, saying that the hotel left them a 100-year-old bottle of champagne — only to find out that Louise was behind the booze and that she also wants to celebrate with Daniel. What a nice problem to have.
Back at the precinct, David refuses Victoria’s hired legal council and says that he’s handling the situation on his own. He tells a story of being held captive in an old shack by Conrad Grayson and hired thugs who beat him up on a daily basis — and shows the chain-inflicted scars. The whole thing is nicely polished off with a humorous insert shot of Victoria, who goes from slack-jawed to, “Damn…I thought I was a good liar”:
Apparently, David doesn’t need to stand trial for the acts of terror he had been accused of since Conrad already admitted to framing him, so this case is pretty cut and dry. The FBI is even nice enough to release David into Victoria’s custody, no questions asked, and these little bits and pieces really pushed the episode down a grade. As awesome as it was, the logic is so stupidly off the charts, it insults everyone’s intelligence. David isn’t cool with this and says that he’s reached a point where he will no longer be a slave to anyone — including Victoria. She begs him to stay with her, so that they can all be one big happy family. Reluctantly, David agrees.
After debating with Nolan and Jack on how they need to handle things from here on out, Emily is finally ready to confront her father at David’s big press conference. Everyone in town seems to show up, and so does Emily — only to find that she’s been replaced by the very people she thought she put away for good. David calls Victoria and Charlotte his “family”. A dejected Emily looks at Nolan, who wonders what just happened.
Emily’s reply is simple and stark: “She got to him first.”
Revenge has been on a roll. This fourth episode continued to deliver the goods. It was well-paced and, with the exception of Elena Satine, was impeccably acted. My biggest problem with Satine is the fact that she cannot keep her Southern accent and seems to be fighting it off. At one point, you forget she’s got it and, the next, she’s calling people “darlin'” while spewing home-spin country wisdom. It isn’t convincing.Maybe that’s the point. She was, however, better than she’s been and a lot more outgoing, which is a huge plus. Her performance almost reminds me of one of those murder mystery dinner guests that plays their role right out of the box. You know that she has something up her sleeve…you just don’t know what is. It’s even more interesting that’s she’s getting close to Daniel which, in turn, would bring her closer to the person she idolizes: Victoria. The main thing that brings this all together is the public return of David Clarke and the emotional reaction from each of the main characters who have stood with Emily through thick and thin. It’s that very element that, combined with the possibilities set up for the big finale, that makes this episode very much worth watching.
USA Network has announced the renewal of their reality hit, Chrisley Knows Best, for a 12-episode third season. The series will also return in December for a half-hour Christmas special.
The real-life family comedy follows the entertaining lives of Atlanta-based “Patriarch of Perfection” Todd Chrisley, and his colorful clan including his wife, five children and two grandchildren.
“Viewers have embraced the Chrisleys for their witty one-liners, laugh-out-loud moments and heartfelt everyday situations,” said Chris McCumber, President of USA Network, in a statement. “This family has made an indelible imprint on pop culture, and we’re excited to continue the entertaining journey with them in season three.”
Today Disney revealed the concept art to their upcoming animated film Moana, which will hit theaters late 2016. The film is being directed by Ron Clements and Jon Musker, the duo who brought to us such classics as The Great Mouse Detective, Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid as well as Hercules, Treasure Planet, and The Princess and the Frog.
Moana tells the story of a Polynesian teenager who undertakes her ancestor’s quest of finding a mythical island. Along the way she teams up with the legendary demi-god Maui in this new adventure set in the ancient world of Oceania.
According to Musker, “Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself.”
Variety is reporting that British actor Vinnie Jones has been cast as Danny “Brick” Brickwell in CW’s Arrow. Jones will appear in episodes 10, 11, and 12 of the third season.
Brick is known in the DC Universe for his invulnerable, strong “brick-like” skin. It seems to hold up as Variety reports “Danny Brickwell is a ruthless gang leader who brings Star City’s government to its knees. He’s known as “Brick” on the streets because he’s been shot dozens of times but never put down.”
This isn’t Jones’ first romp as a comic book character. He was immortalized as an internet meme for playing the Juggernaut for his infamous line, “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch,” in X-Men: The Last Stand.
Arrow airs Wednesday nights on CW at 8:00/9:00 Central.