Friday, April 30, 2010

My Review of Ashes To Ashes 3x05: "Episode 21"

Written by Tom Butterworth And Chris Hurford
Directed by Jamie Payne

Bevan: “The thing about Gene Hunt, it’s not what he did. It’s about what he got other people to do.”
Alex: “And what did he get you to do?”

I complained in my review for the previous episode that we weren’t getting anything with Sam Tyler and here was an episode that teased so much that I’ll be genuinely shocked if John Simm doesn’t appear in the last episode of this series. I mean, we’re three episodes away from the end. Now’s the time for answers, writers.

Bringing back another known Life On Mars character with Litton and his scumbag partner Bevan was certainly a way to throw us more morsels on Sam Tyler than ever before. Litton took an initial similar disdain to Alex that he did with Sam and Bevan certainly knew more than he was letting on.

At one point, Bevan even cornered Alex and promised her that he’d give her information on Gene and Sam if she’d drop Frank Hardwick. Alex didn’t fall for that one but she did get to witness Gene stealing her files and burning them along with Sam’s jacket.

I never get bothered by seeing clothes ruined or destroyed but seeing Gene burning Sam’s jacket for some reason got to me. It was like he was burning away the last trace of Sam, even though I still think he’s alive and it was enough to spark Alex into demanding some straight answers on the issue. So, why doesn’t Gene give her any?

Hasn’t Alex proved enough in over twenty episodes that she’s worth trusting? Or did Gene really did have something to do with Sam’s disappearance? He was desperate enough to silence Bevan and whatever he said to Bevan, it freaked the bent copper out enough to tell Alex to stay away from him.

Gene’s doing himself no favours by not confiding in Alex. Every time he pulls away from her is another chance for Keats to try and widen the gap between the pair of them. Keats can see that and he certainly has taken enough delight in undermining Gene at every turn this season. He even rubbed Gene’s nose in it by suspending Litton.

The idea of Gene actually being bothered that Litton’s career could be in tatters is certainly a change for the books. I used to enjoy Gene and Litton’ rivalry and Litton was largely obnoxious for the best part of this episode but if ever there was an episode to redeem an otherwise unlikeable character, it would be this one.

It would’ve been easy for the writers to have taken Litton down the road of corruption. Like Gene, Litton isn’t down with change and certainly couldn’t stand the more progression stances of either Jim or Alex in this episode. He even made a few sexist comments here and there when Frank Hardwick had originally been let go.

But being a sexist, old fashioned brute are his only flaws. He wasn’t anywhere near as bad as Bevan and actually believed that Frank had been stealing from police widows. The moment he realised that Bevan had been duping him saw a different change in his attitude. He even respected Gene at one point and commented on their glaringly obvious similarities.

More importantly though, he noted that both Sam and Alex have affected Gene and you don’t have to be a genius to agree with that. Now, I wish Gene would just bloody open up to Alex about Sam because there is very little time left and if he doesn’t act soon, Alex will end up being swayed by Jim from the looks of it.

As for other mysteries in this episode, we now have three main characters that have seen stars. I didn’t expect Ray to start seeing them as well and it was interesting that it gave him and Shaz something to discuss, even if he denied seeing them in the end. Is this show going to take a similar route to the US version of its predecessor? Something about those stars are significant.

Speaking of significant. Ray’s loyalties seem to be tested a lot recently. First with the army bloke and now with Litton and Bevan. Bevan had some kind of weird control over Ray and even tried to use that when he was trying to escape from Gene, Alex and Litton. I’m glad that Ray managed to snap the hell out of it though. Having friends like Bevan is definitely not worth the hassle.

Another good thing with Ray in this episode was him and Shaz actually getting along for a bit. Shaz asked him if he was lonely and he admitted that he was. Plus there was more dubious comments made about his sexuality. Whatever could that possibly mean? And I loved him and Shaz singing “Danny Boy” at the cop gala more than Chris’s impressive dance moves and those were bloody impressive.

As for Bevan and Frank, well it was a lot more interesting that some of the main cases this season and it helped that a lot of it tied into or related around the Sam mystery and even the stars. It also helped that Bevan was suitably nasty and that Frank (who’d witnessed him beating a black man to death) was reasonably harmless, even if he wasn’t the best comedian in the world.

Finally with Jim – hats off to Daniel Mays because he’s really doing a great job with showing how much of an odious little pencil pusher he really is. I’ve read theories about him possibly being a guardian angel for Alex and if that’s true, I bet she’d happily trade for Castiel off Supernatural. At least he’s likeable and hot.

Also in “Episode 21”

Those clips of Sam from Life On Mars were fantastic but I want a John Simm appearance on this show now please.

Gene (to Alex): “I’m not having two months hard graft blown by you, Sleeping Beauty.”

Jackie Tyler herself Camille Coduri played a prostitute in this episode. Sadly she wasn’t given much to do in this episode but it was nice to see her on TV.

Alex (to Gene, re Litton/Bevan): “I thought you were a throwback. Compared to those two, you’re practically homo erectus.”

Shaz (re porn): “Who watches this filth?”
Alex (to Gene): “You care to share anything with us, guv?”

There was no scarred copper in this episode and there was nothing further on 6-6-20. Bevan was also the police photographer on the day of Sam’s death.

Litton: “Couldn’t have made something up, you stupid woman.”
Alex: “No, because that would be breaking the law, chief inspector.”

Gene (to Alex): “Look at us; we’re like Sapphire And Steel. I’m like him and you’re like ... her. Team work, cop solidarity.”

I think this was the first episode where we weren’t in Alex’s flat, even if we did have some scenes in Luigi’s for this one.

Bevan (to Alex, re Sam/Gene): “I’ll never tell you what happened. The closer you get to it, the more you’ll never know.”

Ray (to Chris): “I just saw stars, like the edge of the world. Can’t you see them?”

Standout music: The Cure’s “Love Cats” won for me.

Chris: “Shaz, I’m cacking it.”
Shaz: “You’ll be fine. Now go break a leg.”
Chris: “That’s not very supportive.”

Gene: “Not many of us left, Litton, good old day. Now bugger off back to Manchester.”

Chronology: Still in 1983, though nothing further on that.

While there’s a lot of teasing in this episode, at least we’re back to things getting exciting. Now with three episodes left, let’s just hope the answers will be worth it because we’ve waited long enough.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Review of True Blood's 2x12: "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'"

Written by Alexander Woo
Directed by Michael Cuesta

Maryann (to Sam): “Was there no god?”

The amount of debates that particular question raises would have my head in a spin but to answer Maryann’s question, there was no god. Or if there was, he couldn’t be arsed to show up, even with all the big fuss that Maryann had set out.

She had the entire town under her control and even Sookie as maid of honour (so this whole debacle was treated as a union and a rebirth of sorts) and Bill was even kind enough to hand her Sam in exchange for Sookie. Heck, Sam was even bound and gagged to that meat pile and Eggs stabbed him but it wasn’t enough.

For one thing, Maryann’s probably been doing this for a while now which means that Dionysius had no intention of actually showing up and given that Maryann was supposed to be so savvy, she should’ve realised that she was being duped in a way.

Sookie smashing the ostrich and trashing the altar aside, it should have been clear that Bill and Sam had their own little plan to shaft the maenad once and for all. Both men desperately wanted her out of town and both of them knew that she needed to be her most vulnerable in order to do it.

The moment where Maryann thought she saw her god in bull form was the moment where she was undone. I’ve seen gorier death scenes on television but having Sam literally rip her heart out was enough to make me glad that I hadn’t been eating anything when watching this episode.

I know there was some disappointment with fandom over this episode’s quick resolving of Maryann’s plot but I thought it was perfectly fine. The character had been so radically different from “Living Dead In Dallas” that there was no way the character was going to make it out of the season alive. She had to die.

Sure, I’ll miss Michelle Forbes but we had her for fifteen episodes and she did a wonderful job with Maryann. And there’s also the fact that Maryann’s time on the show had serious consequences for nearly every character in some capacity as well.

Eggs for instance couldn’t deal with the fact that large chunks of his memory were gone and freaked out when he saw blood on his hands. Even Tara was no use in trying to reassure him and when Sookie did end up helping him fill in the gaps, Eggs did not react well at all. You can say what you like about the character but he did care about he’d done.

He freaked out over murdering both Miss Jeanette and Daphne and nearly causing Sam’s death and even tried to attack Andy in his guilt and confusion. While I didn’t exactly cry over his death, I did feel incredibly bad for Tara and for Jason, who was the one that inadvertently caused Eggs to die.

Eggs might not have been the most ideal of boyfriends but for Tara, she loved him and was hoping to have a relationship with him that didn’t consist of Maryann controlling either one of them. And if this series adheres to future books, then Tara’s abysmal track record is going to get worse.

I did love that Sookie reassured her about the family and I’m sure there will be scene in the third season that will see the pair of them bond over their losses but I also really feel bad for Jason and Andy. Covering up the truth behind how Eggs really died isn’t going to be successful for either one of them.

Andy didn’t need to actually lie for Jason. Jason did shoot Eggs because he thought that Andy was in danger, so it’s accidental. Still in some ways, this cover up might even cement or eradicate their newfound friendship. Jason had encouraged that heroes do things for good rather than glory. There might be a possible chance that Andy’s covering up of this murder could be his way of honouring that way of thinking.

As for the townspeople themselves – it’s amazing what a lot of self-denial can do. This is a community that have had to embrace the supernatural or at least acknowledge its existence and now they’re pretending that it never happened. I can understand why Andy was annoyed with them. I think I would be too.

Arlene in particular might not have remembered everything but she felt guilt about not being there for her kids and Terry was just awesomeness personified with the way he bonded with Coby and Lisa and Lafayette was just glad not to remember everything. Maxine, well she was less awesome but her venomous tongue finally got Hoyt to man up and choose Jessica over her.

And that would’ve been a brilliant thing but then we had to go and see Jessica sink her teeth into some trucker. I get that she’s young, immature and unable to deal with an adult relationship (hey, most adults are like that too) but perhaps she should’ve just faced Hoyt instead of snacking on some pervert trucker. I’m just saying.

As for Sam, it seemed that he got some lessons in people accepting his true nature. I loved that Sookie told him that he was special and while I never want to see a romantic entanglement with these two, it’s nice to see them more friendly with each other than they have been. Also the fact that they were some scenes together as well given how little interaction they’ve had this season.

Sam’s quest to learn about his true nature however was probably much needed for him but I can’t help but think that maybe he should’ve heeded Mrs Merlotte’s advice about his real family being bad people. And there’s Sookie’s own feelings of identity.

Electrical stuff aside, Maryann went to great lengths to point out that Sookie wasn’t entirely human and the words stuck with her. It was why Sookie had reservations to Bill’s marriage proposal and while it was predictable that she would change her mind and agree, I actually liked the fact that she did have some initial doubts.

With Bill being missing, it would seem that the obvious culprit would have to be Eric acting on Sophie-Anne’s behalf but knowing the books, Eric properly didn’t get the opportunity to keep Bill quiet on the V supply situation. Sophie-Anne was slightly more threatening in this one as well but even I know damn well that she’s not responsible for Bill’s disappearance.

Also in “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’”

Sookie Stackhouse creator Charlaine Harris guest starred in this episode as a customer talking briefly to Sam in Merlotte’s.

Maryann: “That’s hitting me. You’re not committing to this at all.”
Sookie: “I don’t have electrical powers. I’m a human being.”

And Sookie was literally the only human in Bon Temps, apart from Hoyt who didn’t succumb to Maryann’s power. Even Jason and Andy did in this one.

Maryann: “Come on, it’ll be our little secret. What are you?”
Sookie: “I’m a waitress. What the fuck are you?”

Eric might have many talents but it turned out that Yahtzee is not one of them. Hadley on the other hand looked worried/threatened when Sophie-Anne talked of Sookie and bored during the rest of the time.

Sophie-Anne (re Bill/Sookie): “Of course he would be with her. You probably are too.”
Eric: “I do not love humans.”
Sophie-Anne: “She’s not entirely human. Have you tasted her?”

Andy: “I never killed nobody before.”
Jason: “You see that house? It’s been in my family for 150 years. What kind of man would stand by while his grandmother’s house gets torn to the ground?”
Andy: “Not my grandmother’s house.”

I loved the deliberate contrast that Bill and Jessica had with each other during this finale. They’ve come a reasonably long way from disliking each other.

Bill: “I need you. Sookie needs you to make this right.”
Sam: “If I thought it was easy as giving myself up to Maryann, I’d have done that by now. What’s to say she’s gonna stop with me? Killers just don’t suddenly quit, you ought to know that.”

Maryann: “You’re lucky Sam. It’s everyone’s wish to have their life mean something. So few ever get to realise it.”

One of the patrons in Merlotte’s thought that Maryann Forrester meant Martian Foreigner and that the water had given them an LSD trip. Some people do have selective memory.

Jane: “Andy, whatever you’re drinking, we all want some of that.”
Andy: “It’s diet coke with lime.”

Sookie: “I don’t have the words to thank you for what you did.”
Sam: “Probably best you don’t.”

Standout music: “Beyond Here Lies Nothing” by Bob Dylan, which was also used in the main trailer for this season.

Sookie: “Yes, yes, Bill Compton, I will marry you. Bill?”

Chronology: From where “Frenzy” left off.

As a finale goes, I liked “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’” a freaking lot. It tied all the loose ends of the season together nice enough and it set up a lot of very interesting storylines for the third season. It might have killed Maryann halfway through the episode but it certainly didn’t lack in keeping me interested. And I bet I know exactly who kidnapped Bill too.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 4x15: "A Valued Family"

Written by Sarah Goldfinger And Michael Cinquemani
Directed by Michael Schultz

Kitty: “What part of ‘make it happen’ do you not understand?”
Buffy: “Not a thing. Excuse me; I’ve phone calls to make.”

Oh dear God. How many episodes of Buffy not the vampire slayer am I gonna have to endure before I decide to sue Cheryl Hines for noise pollution? That voice can’t decide what accent it wants to be but seriously, good at her job aside – would you hire the woman?

Kitty wanted to run a campaign about family values and while I get that she’s appealing to conservatives for that governor seat, I wanted to shake Buffy when she suggested putting some of her family members in the back. They’re her family, Buffy and your idea defeats that purpose in a big way.

Buffy might have been able to have bagged the job but she didn’t have a clue about Kitty’s feelings on certain things. Kitty isn’t ashamed of her family and you wouldn’t have to be a genius to deduce how Nora would’ve reacted if Kitty had actually listened to Buffy’s ill advice on this one. And yes, this is one rant I would’ve sided with Nora on.

Not only that but Buffy had to go and vet out Alec on the possibility that he slept with Kitty? I was actually pleased enough to see Alec in this episode, even if Robert initially wasn’t. And we finally got confirmation that him and Kitty didn’t sleep with each other. Looks like Kitty decided not to follow in his father’s footsteps after all with that one.

Also the way Alec and Robert interacted in this episode was one of a few good moments where mature writing actually came to a head. There was no self-righteous indignation, no fisticuffs or attempts for either guy to score points off each other. Robert wasn’t thrilled to see Alec but Alec at the same time actually did prove to be a stand up guy.

He could’ve easily gone to any downmarket tabloid and told them that he slept with Kitty. He also could’ve easily told Buffy and not informed Robert but he didn’t. He told Robert that he was being sought out for the story because he genuinely cared about Kitty. Both Alec and Robert even talked about Kitty getting better.

I don’t think in real life circumstances this would happen too often but for a plot strand, it actually was a relief to watch. Also relieving was Kitty putting Buffy in her place and telling her to arrange the announcement of her candidacy at the Walker homestead on a Sunday of all days. Who said that Sundays can’t be a work day for a political candidate?

I actually did love the Walkers sucking up a press conference in their family home, even if the episode didn’t actually end on a sweeping speech from Kitty to announce that she was in line to run for governor. That was another pleasantly surprising and unpredictable thing from this episode. Besides, later episodes will more than deliver on big sweeping speeches from Kitty so we’re not being denied really.

However, when it comes to denial I have to admit that while I’m glad that we don’t have to deal with two baby plots this season, I really did feel bad for Rebecca miscarrying in this episode. I knew as soon as she was getting pains in Nora’s kitchen that that was going to happen and sadly it did.

I don’t often give enough kudos to Dave Annable and Emily Van Camp but both of them really deserved it for this episode along. The anguish that both Justin and Rebecca had was sad to watch, especially when Justin broke down in Kitty’s arms and Rebecca had difficulty looking at Evan as well.

Kitty was also wonderful with this storyline too because it’s not been that long since this happened to her and she knew what Rebecca was going through and offered the girl support too. It was also the loss of a baby that saw a truly defining scene between Nora and Holly as well.

Things have been far less strained with the pair this season and Nora was even able to label Holly as family, which was something that even last season I don’t think could’ve possibly happened. Then Nora had to go and find out about Holly’s sale of Ojai Foods to York, courtesy of Buffy’s snooping and Kitty’s ability to spread the word.

To be honest, I actually Holly pulling out of the sale coming a mile off but I don’t think it was just because York being a total creep. She and Nora had finally made some peace with each other and Holly might not like the Walkers dramas but I don’t think she hates them enough to actually send them up the creek without a paddle.

But the odd thing was that she let Nora go off on one before admitting that she chose not to sell her shares. The best part of that confrontation however was the look on Nora’s face when she learnt that York was trying to buy his way into Ojai. Clearly Nora’s just as aware of him as Saul is and now I’m actually interested to see where that goes, which is odd considering that up until a few episodes ago, I had zero interest in this storyline.

Speaking of zero interest – Luc had to come back and Sarah and Roy’s relationship had to end, didn’t it? I guess I can’t totally pin this one on Luc because Roy dumped Sarah because he thought that they weren’t working out. He wasn’t even a jerk when doing it and neither was Sarah when she was getting the push. Do you see how great a storyline as mundane as this can be when the characters act like adults?

However if Roy hadn’t dumped Sarah, it was obvious that she would’ve dumped him. Apart from children, both of them acknowledged the fact that they didn’t really have much in common and decided on the ‘let’s be friends’ option instead. So, then what do Sarah and Luc have in common because we didn’t see that much of it when he was here first time around?

I mean, yeah, she dug his art and passion but she hated him being a bum and while he has this art gallery, is that suddenly going to make them a match? Even their reunion at the end of the episode was saccharine at best and the only part that deterred an otherwise excellent episode. Luc’s gonna have to up his game as a character if we’re to get invested in this relationship.

Also in “A Valued Family”

Apart from some sweet moments here and there, this is one of the few episodes where both Kevin and Scotty had naff all to do.

Kevin (to Sarah, re Roy): “You’re having sex so he’s either your boyfriend or friend with benefits.”

It’s a little too on the nose that Roy ended up being Luc’s painting as a valentine’s gift for Sarah when she got him chilli pepper chocolate.

Buffy (to Kitty): “Platforms are for Olympic divers, we already need to be swimming.”

Paige: “At least Andrew will say thank you.”
Sarah: “Well, there’s a lot to be said for a boy who says thank you.”

While I liked seeing Sarah and Paige getting along, that conversation was a little weird. Or is that just me?

Robert: “Why would you give a damn about my political career?”
Alec: “I don’t but Kitty does.”

Kitty: “How do you sleep at night?”
Buffy: “Like a baby. Now, let’s talk about your husband.”
Kitty: “You want to put him in the closet too?”

Scotty’s woes from the second season were mentioned but I’m surprised that Buffy didn’t mention William’s affairs or that Kitty didn’t discuss them either.

Roy: “I don’t think this is working out.”
Sarah: “Are you breaking up with me?”

Nora: “It’s always about money with you, Holly.”
Holly: “No, it’s about survival.”
Nora: “Well, congratulations, you made it through another day.”

Standout music: Billy Paul Williams “Till You Tell Me So”.

Robert (to Kitty): “This moment needs to be about you.”

Chronology: Valentine’s Day 2010.

I really loved this episode. “A Valued Family” is definitely the strongest episode we’ve had in a good while and while I’m sceptical for Luc’s return, I do think there will be enough other interesting stories as we gear towards the conclusion of the season.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Review of True Blood's 2x11: "Frenzy"

Written by Alan Ball
Directed by Daniel Minahan

Sookie: “How come there’s so much wrong in the world, Lafayette? How come people are wiling to do bad things and hurt other people?”
Lafayette: “Because they are weak.”
Sookie (re Maryann): “Well, I am not weak and I am not afraid. I’m gonna kick that evil bitch’s ass out of my gran’s house and then you are gonna shoot her.”
Lafayette: “In the fucking head.”
Sookie: “Right.”

Well if you’re going to try and stop something as powerful as Maryann, it’s probably best not to enter the situation with a defeatist attitude. Who needs Bill Compton to save the day? Sookie doesn’t. All she needed was a gun and a right hand in Lafayette to break into her own home to try and stop Maryann. Sadly for her, everything was going wrong.

Not only was her house being decorated with people fornicating left, right and centre, cutting off body parts and trashing the place, but it seems all of Sookie’s defences were being stripped down one by one. Bill was being delayed, Tara let her obsession with Eggs rule her head and Lafayette came into close contact with Maryann. So let’s focus on these three.

Tara first of course. The poor girl seemed to be mostly free of Maryann’s hold but she was determined to get to Eggs by any means necessary. If it wasn’t taking pot shots at Sookie, Lettie Mae and Lafayette, it was by sheer manipulation alone. Lafayette had the right idea tying her up. Too bad he had to leave Lettie Mae of all people to stand guard on her.

Of course Tara was going to be able to use religion to psyche Lettie Mae out. Lettie Mae’s easily swayed by religion and superstition. It was how Miss Jeanette was able to scam her and it was this coupled with some old fashioned emotional blackmail that Tara was able to get her free.

Lettie Mae desperately wanted Tara to forgive and while I’m glad that she finally acknowledges what a horrible mother she’s been to Tara, this was the worst time to cave into her daughter’s protests. Plus for a woman who taught Lafayette how to shoot, she did seem surprisingly rubbish when holding him and Sookie back to aid Tara’s escape.

Tara heading straight to Eggs was only going to lead to trouble. Eggs is way too far gone that I don’t think anything short of killing Maryann can bring him back. Tara made an attempt to get him to leave Adelle’s house before Maryann interrupted them. And there gave me some interesting things to mull over.

All season long it’s been interesting to see how Maryann has latched herself onto Tara. I thought it was only because Tara was vulnerable but it turned out that Tara somehow managed to summon Maryann to Bon Temps, despite the fact that Miss Jeanette was a fake. I’m not gonna say this chaos is Tara’s fault but as explanations go for Maryann’s arrival in this town, it actually does make a lot of sense.

What also made sense was how easily Maryann was able to sway Tara back into her influence once again. It almost looked too easy last week when Sookie and Bill pulled Tara back so having Maryann sink her claws into Tara once again wasn’t too much of a shock to the system. Still Sookie’s allies are narrowing down a lot, aren’t they?

This lead to Lafayette. Seriously, Lafayette and Sookie need a lot more scenes together next season because the both of them are a joy to watch. I loved their mutual annoyance over Eric tricking them to drink from him almost as much as I loved seeing Lafayette give some reasonable answers to Sookie’s questions of human decency.

Yes, none of the residents of Bon Temps right are themselves but even when they are, they’re guilty of doing bad and being led astray. Lafayette was pretty clear on trying to emphasise to Sookie that right now, they were under Maryann’s influence and sadly for him, Lafayette became the next person to succumb to Maryann.

I suppose I should be glad that Maryann did get Lafayette. The other options would’ve involved her claws and the poison from hell. And given that the next episode is the finale, Lafayette along with everyone else will be restored. Maryann might want to sacrifice Sam for her god but she’s in for a letdown on that one.

I didn’t need the cryptic comments from Maxine about Maryann’s imminent folly but it certainly helped. Given that Tara and Eggs were making a nest for an egg, I’m guessing Sam isn’t the only ingredient in Maryann’s little bid to be ravished by Dionysius. If Maryann hadn’t caused such chaos, I might actually feel a little bad for her. Goodness knows, she’s going to be sorry in the next episode.

This is where Sophie-Anne came in handy. Yes, she might have distracted Bill a lot in this episode but at least he left knowing exactly what Maryann was and how could be killed. The sacrifice itself allows her to be vulnerable long to die and given the look Bill gave Sam towards the end of this episode, it looks like these two might have to band together to rid Bon Temps of this particular maenad.

Also after all the intrigue, did Sophie-Anne come up a cropper? I know some other viewers complained a little about Evan Rachel Woods’s depiction of the character but I actually liked the Queen a lot. Reasonably mischievous, slight bratty/precocious but mostly a lot of fun. More surprising was her patience when Bill was losing his in some parts.

Plus I think there are a lot of fans out there who would happily watch with her as Eric and Bill screwed each other to deal with their tension. If there’s a low point of this episode (apart from it not being as good as past ones), it was having that brief scene outside the Queen’s mansion where Bill and Eric were goading each other about Sookie. Grow up guys.

Speaking of growing up, if Bill and Eric can’t settle their differences, amidst the chaos of Maryann, it’s great that Jason and Andy are able. Okay, so there were a few swipes in there but for the most part, both of them were able to get past their residual issues with each other to try and get weapons. And that’s not counting the amount of times Andy grumbled when Jason’s unhealthy curiosity about Sam’s shifter status generated the oddest of comments.

Also in “Frenzy”

We met Hadley in this episode, who is now a lover of Sophie-Anne’s. She’s still unaware that Adelle is dead. And Sophie-Anne wants to meet Sookie, which Bill did not seem pleased about.

Bill: “Isn’t that delusional?”
Sophie-Anne: “Never underestimate the power of blind faith. It can manifest in the ways that bend the laws of physics or break them entirely.”

There was some parental issues raised in this episode – Hoyt’s father committed suicide, the father of Arlene’s kids was a wildcard and Lafayette’s mother sounds worse than Lettie Mae.

Tara (to Sookie/Lafayette/Lettie Mae): “I finally find a good, beautiful, strong man and y’all want to keep me from rescuing him because you’re afraid I’ll get hurt? How hurt do you think I’m gonna be if we wait and something happens to him?”

Jason (re Sam): “Can you believe this? What an asshole!”
Andy: “Welcome to my world, Jason.”

Jason accepted Sam as a shape shifter very well. It’s also good, especially if his later fate in the series resembles what has happened in the books.

Tara (to Lettie Mae): “You’ve never been a real woman of God. You’ve never stepped outside your own ignorance and fear and done something selfless for me or for anybody. Well God is knocking on your door now, mama. He couldn’t be more loud and clear. Are you gonna let him in?”

Lafayette (re Maryann): “Somebody needs to slap that bitch.”
Sookie: “I have.”

Lafayette admitted that he’s had sexual dreams about Eric. Can we see them on screen? Oh, and Eric flew in this episode.

Tara: “Sookie, I need your keys.”
Sookie: “You’re being a fucking idiot.”

Tara (re Miss Jeanette): “So, she was real?”
Maryann: “Sadly no. I should’ve known she wasn’t the vessel but you have to try every option.”

This episode was loaded with some odd moments – Jane cutting her finger off, Mike forcing Sookie to lie down with him on the kitchen floor, a guy in the kitchen sink, another one trying on Sookie’s clothes and Bud in his underwear getting Andy to dance with him.

Maryann (re group): “You fucking morons. Must I do everything myself?”

Maxine (to Hoyt): “Maryann will remember this day for the rest of her life. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it’s all downhill from here.”

I laughed during the scene where Lafayette used drugs as breadcrumbs to distract both Terry and Arlene from the house. And has Hoyt and Jessica finished for good? Plus Sam also asked Eric for help with Maryann and who did Eric turn to? Sophie-Anne of course.

Pam (to Coby/Lisa): “You make me so happy I never had any of you.”
Eric: “Oh come on, Pam, they’re funny. They’re like human but miniature. Teacup humans.”

Lotus: “I will have sex with you.”
Bill: “That will not be necessary.”

Standout music: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins “Frenzy” of course.

Sophie (to Bill, re him/Eric): “This alpha posturing. You two really should just fuck each other and get it over with. I could watch.”

Chronology: Straight where “New World In My View” left off.

“Frenzy” certainly whipped up enough of a one to make this a standout episode. We’ve had stronger episodes in the season but there’s certainly enough going on with this one to serve as a satisfying prelude to the finale.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Review of Doctor Who's 5x04: "The Time Of Angels"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Adam Smith

The Doctor: “Any questions?”
Amy: “Is River Song your wife?”

If you were hoping for a concrete answer to that gnawing question, then that’s one way in which this episode will disappoint you. Yes, River Song might be back but neither she nor the Doctor are anywhere inclined to let Amy know if they are in fact married. Still, this isn’t the only this season that River will factor so I guess I can wait a little longer.

This was one of those episodes that was always going to be a big one because in a lot of ways, it’s sort of a sequel to both “Blink” and “Silence In The Library”/“Forest Of The Dead” due to the fact that the Doctor and Amy find themselves dealing with both River Song and the Weeping Angels.

When I first heard that the former was returning, I admit that I wasn’t exactly doing cartwheels in excitement much as I liked the fourth season episodes she hailed from but time is a great thing and over the last few weeks, I did find myself more and more enthused with finding out a bit more about the mysterious River Song.

She’s even given a rather cool intro into this episode where she’s cornered by Alastair (not that one) and literally throws herself out of a flying spaceship to strategically land into another. Bit of a recurring theme for River – she needs helps and does her damndest to ensure that the Doctor is there to pick her up.

If ever there was a woman to get under his skin and annoy him to a degree, it’s definitely River. What has to be more annoying for the Doctor than to have River show him how to park his own motor? That scene could’ve been a lot cringe worthy than it actually was but it was actually a lot of fun.

River’s return only really meant one thing – danger. She wasn’t here to give viewers answers on her identity, just more answers and more importantly she came packed with another motley crew who needed the Doctor’s help. If he didn’t like being a taxi service, I’m fairly certainly the Doctor was less pleased with the notion of being the equivalent of an army.

In fact, almost true to Doctor form, he actually tried to disengage himself from River as soon as they landed on Alfava Metraxis. The only reason he got involved was because Amy badgered him into staying on the mysterious planet and also if he did scraper, I’m sure River would’ve found some other way of roping him into things.

River was certainly meticulous with her planning on this one. She knew what she was doing when she got to that ship and she also knew that by talking about the Weeping Angels that the Doctor would fall into line and help her and her band of clerics. Yes, really, River’s crew this time around consisted of military priests.

Even the recording of a Weeping Angel and one of them being stored in the crash Byzantium (and yes, it’s that story) was enough to really reel the Doctor in. But it was Amy who had to suffer the brunt of the Weeping Angel image coming to life and trying to attack her with the Doctor and River being unable to help her. The only thing that did help Amy was her ability to use the pause button and even that had a limited effect.

Another Steven Moffat pointed out in various interviews in the build up to Season 5 was the difference between the Weeping Angels in their previous appearance and here. Previously they had been scavengers but here was a race of them determined to swell in power and with enough people around to use at their disposal, the Weeping Angels were certainly gunning for victory.

Amy was the prime example of the Weeping Angels striking dirty. The Doctor warned her not to look into their eyes because the eyes represented a door rather than a window. Amy unfortunately did look into the eyes of one of them and throughout the episode; there was a great emphasis on her rubbing her eyes.

I think twice I wanted to yell at Amy to tell either River or the Doctor that something was wrong with her. The only time she did it was when she thought her hand was going to stone and she was left with no choice. While I don’t ever want to see the Doctor take a bite out of his companions again, I am grateful that it was this that managed to get Amy to snap out of it as the Angels began their homicidal descent in the catacombs.

This lead to my other issue – the Weeping Angels. Do they work a second time around? Well, I don’t prefer this episode to their first one but they are evolving as a creature and while there are many nice nods to their first appearance, the strength of this story is showing how much difference two seasons can make. Sending you back in time really was the kindest thing they did first time around.

Here there is no such luxury. Amy slowly but surely being infected by one of them aside, the rest of the Angels (including the more grotesque looking ones) had a great time eradicating River’s sacred team one by one. A snapped neck is nothing when the likes of scared Bob’s voice is being used to convey the Angels order.

From the bits that Bob does say, it just seems that the Weeping Angels want to evolve from their weaknesses and become supreme but one notable thing was the glee it took in telling the Doctor how much he failed Bob. That was enough for the Doctor to get liberal with a firearm in one of the oddest cliff hangers for a two parter as he shot the gravity globe.

In the past we’ve had the likes of Slitheen attacking Downing Street, Cybermen surrounding the Doctor and company, a hybrid Dalek and the sky being choked by Sontarans but here, it’s the Doctor shooting up at the Byzantium in the catacombs with Father Octavian’s gun and telling the Weeping Angels they made a mistake by putting him in a trap. It’s not terrible but it does seem a little odd by comparison to the above cliff hangers I’ve mentioned.

As for the dynamic between the Doctor, Amy and River – I could get used to this. This show works better with two companions (did I mention I was looking forward to Rory returning recently?) and the scenes with Amy and River ganging up on the Doctor are wonderful. Amy and River also work brilliantly together that it’s a pity we didn’t get this sort of stuff with River and Donna last season. But I am still safe to assume that River’s the Doctor’s wife or not? Now that it the question.

Also in “The Time Of Angels”

I don’t know why but I was slightly disappointed that Alex Kingston’s name wasn’t in the opening credits.

River (to Alastair): “Like I said on the dance floor, you might want to find something to hang on to.”

Mike Skinner from The Streets played a security guard at the start that River used her hallucinogen lipstick on. I can’t critique his acting because he didn’t do much to critique.

The Doctor: “Parked us? You haven’t landed.”
River: “Of course we’ve landed. I just landed her.”

River (on driving the TARDIS): “Oh, I had lessons from the very best.”
The Doctor: “Well, yeah.”
River: “It’s a shame you were busy that day.”

The blue things are apparently the stabilisers or boringers as the Doctor now likes to call them. I felt bad for him when he made that wheezing noise with the TARDIS and River and Amy looked unimpressed.

Father Octavian: “You promised me an army, Dr Song.”
River: “No, I promised you the equivalent of an army. This is the Doctor.”

River (to the Doctor): “Sweetie, I need you.”
Amy: “Anybody need me? Nobody?”

We got the Doctor and Donna in a library for River’s first story and here, the Doctor and Amy had to nab a home box from a museum to locate River in this one.

The Doctor: “River, hug Amy.”
Amy: “Why?”
The Doctor: “Because I’m busy.”

Father Octavian (re the Doctor): “He doesn’t know yet, does he about what you are?”
River: “It’s too early in his time stream.”
Father Octavian: "Well make sure he doesn't work it out or he's not going to help us."

What the hell is River then? Also, didn’t both of them talk about her being prison as well at one point?

The Doctor: “Sacred Bob? More like scared Bob?”
Bob: “Yes, sir.”

Amy: “I thought they were all dead.”
The Doctor: “So is Virginia Woolf, I’m on her bowling team.”

This was the first episode to be filmed for this season. Other with New Who, later stories end up being the first ones filmed. And we got Gallifreyan writing in this episode.

The Doctor: “Don’t be an idiot; the angels don’t need you alive. Bob, keep running but tell me, how did you escape?”
Bob: “I didn’t escape, sir. The Angel killed me too.”

Amy: “You know you can’t die here.”
The Doctor: “Time can be rewritten. It doesn't work like that.”

River has a spotters guide on the Doctor and knows the look of every incarnation of him. She even called this one “baby face” at one point.

Amy: “I don’t need you to die for me, Doctor. Do I look that clingy?”

River: “No pressure but this is usually where you have a really good idea?”
The Doctor: “There’s always a way out.”

We can add the Bone Meadows as another in a line of Doctor/River adventures that have yet to be seen on TV. She was also surprised to learn that she was going to be a professor someday.

The Doctor: “Trust me?”
Amy: “Yeah.”
The Doctor: “Trust me?”
River: “Always.”

The Doctor: “Didn't anyone ever tell you, there's one thing you never put in a trap if you're smart? If you value your continued existence. If you have any plans about seeing tomorrow, there’s one thing you never ever put in a trap.”
Bob/Weeping Angel: “And what would be that be, sir?”
The Doctor: “Me!”

The Confidential for this episode gave us a look into the upcoming BBC games for the Doctor and Amy, coming out on June 5th – my birthday.

Okay, it’s not as good as the previous episodes that it’s being a sequel to, but I did enjoy “The Time Of Angels” massively. It’s certainly better than most first two part stories of a season and both River and the Weeping Angels are nicely utilised. Plus, the trailer for next week promises a lot on another lingering issue.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Review of Ashes To Ashes 3x04: "Episode 20"

Written by Jack Lothian
Directed by Alrick Riley

Shorty: “You belong here. You look like you’re visiting but you’re staying.”
Alex: “What did you say?”

As much as I love that little moment in this episode, it’s another case of some cryptic moments that don’t really advance Alex’s story. She might be getting messages on walls, having druggies making the above comment and dreaming of scarred coppers but it’s not actually leading anywhere fast enough. And we’ve got four episodes left as well.

Even when Alex tried to gauge Shaz into spilling more about the stars that she’s been drawing, we still didn’t get anything new. What is the significance of these stars? Should Alex be looking for a police box with a young man dressed in tweed? I’d pay to see that crossover.

This isn’t a bad episode in case the two paragraphs above sound like I didn’t enjoy this one but I guess I’m at a point where I want more attention on these lingering mysteries and almost less on the cases, especially given that they all seem to be mostly straightforward enough this season and don’t really need to take up that much screen time.

Still, this one had some stuff to aspire to. Alex clearly revels in being a mentor to any female officer she can stumble across. You just have to look at the way she interacts with Shaz to have that point drilled home and then there was Louise Gardner.

An undercover copper from a rival station trying to undo a drugs bust on the Guv’s patch. I can see how that would’ve rubbed Gene up the wrong way and with a superior as phenomenally useless as Wilson, a lot of sympathy was heading in Louise’s general direction.

Gene certainly had to go and make things bad for Louise when he and Alex talked to her during her undercover stint at the Stafford’s mannequin place. I don’t like siding with Keats but damn it, Gene, just once you should’ve done it by the book. Even Alex warned you enough times that talking to Louise so directly would’ve had consequences.

There was no surprise when she showed up at HQ battered by the rather vicious looking Daniel in the same way that it would also turn out unsurprising that Daniel would realise that Louise had grassed him up for the heroin in his car. Daniel might not be the most interesting thug of the week but he’s certainly nasty enough.

Louise played on that when she told Chris that Daniel had raped her and while Alex was right to castigate Chris, there are not many people who would actually blame Chris for beating the living daylights out of Daniel in his cells when the coast was clear. It’s only a pity that Daniel would end up escaping afterwards.

Another thing that became clear as the episode progressed was that Alex’s faith in Louise was going to be misplaced as well. Alex was right to sympathise with Louise because wrong turns or not, Louise was failed by her superiors. Wilson had struck a deal with Daniel and had basically left Louise to hang.

Weirdly enough, it was Daniel’s kingpin father who actually cared about Louise, even though he knew that she was undercover. Louise’s death was one of those occasions where I did care about the guest star dying, mainly because she had to have Keats of all people do the comforting as she died.

Then again, Keats did manage to make himself look pretty good by offering to take a bullet for Chris and he certainly must have generated some satisfaction when Alex forced Gene into thanking him. Of course the smile soon got wiped off his face when Gene gave the least sincere (and hilarious) apology to the smug git.

I like Daniel Mays as an actor and I know that Keats has a purpose to this season but like a lot of other things right now, I just wish he would get on with it. He talks about wanting to unearth Gene. Four episodes in, he hasn’t done enough to turn Gene’s team against. Even with Alex he seemed to be taking his precious time in turning her against Gene.

Also I was hoping that this episode might give us something a little further with the Sam stuff but that was another dead end as well. Thankfully though the trailer from next week does seem to indicate that some progress might be made there. Hurry up, writers, there’s not much episodes left to go through at this point.

Also in “Episode 20”

Alex tried to give Gene a lecture on driving while he was under the influence. Naturally, he told her where to go. And guess who wrecked the Blue Peter garden?

Gene: “Take note, she’ll be giving you advice soon.”
Shaz: “Not soon enough, guv.”

There was a nice reminder with a lot of Shaz’s scenes in this episode about Gene’s promise of promoting her. I hope he does actually follow through with that one.

Gene (to Wilson, re Louise): “So you put a woman in there to do your dirty work while you sit on your fat arse twiddling your thumbs?”

Wilson: “Nice tits.”
Alex: “Did he just say?”
Gene: “He’s a cripple, Bolly, have a heart.”

Bryan Dick who played the odious Daniel has also appeared in episodes of Torchwood and Being Human, TV fans.

Gene: “Just routine enquiries, Terrence.”
Terry: “Nothing is routine with you, Hunt.”

Gene: “Looks like Danny Boy’s going down faster than a five pound prossie.”

Alex took down a few notes this week, notably about Sam, Gene, Shaz, stars and the 6-6-20 that we’ve seen in the last two episodes.

Alex: “I think I’m being haunted.”
Jim: “Metaphorically?”
Alex: “No, literally.”
Jim: “Odd is underselling it.”

Gene: “Do I look like a slice of toast?”
Alex: “No!”
Gene: “Then stop buttering me up like a demented housewife.”

Alex dreamed of being buried here while Gene was trying to wake her up. Jim also talked about not believing in ghosts.

Daniel (to Alex): “I tried prison. I didn’t like it very much. I don’t plan to go back, so yeah, love, I wanna make a deal.”

Gene (to Louise): “I’ve seen slappers in my time but this is a new low.”

Standout music: Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”.

Gene: “You know you really have to stop with all this psychological bollocks, Bolly.”
Alex: “Good shot.”
Gene: “I was aiming for her leg.”

Chronology: Still 1983 but specific date as to when, though I would say maybe mid to late summer.

Not a bad episode but a bit too routine for my liking. I just think given that we don’t have much time left, there needs to be more advancement on the bigger stories instead of the focus being primarily on the cases which they have been a lot more this season.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Review of True Blood's 2x10: "New World In My View"

Written by Elizabeth R. Finch And Kate Barnow
Directed by Adam Davidson

Maryann: “What are you doing in my house?”
Sookie: “This is not your house.”
Maryann: “It is now.”

You wait ages and when Sookie and Maryann actually go toe to toe with one another, it actually turned out to be a lot better than I expected it to be. And I was one of a few who liked the fact that Maryann’s schemes have largely been disconnected with Sookie all season.

With the Fellowship gone and three episodes left of this season, it’s actually amazing that in ten episodes, Sookie and Maryann had three altercations. The first one in Merlotte’s, then when Maryann in maenad form attacked Sookie in the woods and now when Maryann spot Sookie and Bill breaking into ‘her’ house.

I could on about squatters rights and the like but I sort of loved Sookie during this altercation. Okay, so being brave against a powerful psychopath is one nifty way to get yourself killed but it’s not like Maryann’s the first psycho Sookie’s ever had to deal and this was after all, one hell of a crash course episode for Sookie in regards to Bon Temps current chaotic state.

Maryann was tempted to kill Sookie but couldn’t when the latter used some psychic power on her. What was that Sookie did? I’ve been reading up on the books and it’s a new one for me. Anyone knows, feel free to tell me, given that I am a spoiler junkie and the like. Either way, it shocked Sookie and Bill and intrigued Maryann a whole bunch.

I think intriguing Maryann is probably an even faster way of guaranteeing you a death wish or be used in a sacrifice. Maryann barely flickered when Bill attacked her (though she enjoyed tricking him into biting her) and something tells me that vampires aren’t a big deal for maenads and the gods they worship either.

Either way, now that Sookie’s on Maryann’s radar, she’d want to watch her back just that little bit more, even if Sam is Maryann’s main priority at the moment. Having Bill also figure out some details about Maryann and heading to the Queen of Louisiana was another sign of how big this Big Bad has become.

For nearly this entire episode, Tara was heavily under Maryann’s influence as well, even if she was tied to a chair and spouting off a lot of cryptic words and promising that Maryann’s god was hungry. This god’s got an entire town to feast on with more supernatural creatures than Sam, so I’m beginning to wonder why exactly it’s Sam that Maryann is so desperate to sacrifice for her god.

If Maryann’s done any research on Bon Temps or at least had some savvy, she’d realise that there were plenty of supernatural creatures to offer up. Ten episodes in and we still don’t know why it specifically has to be Sam. I’m not saying this as a criticism but it is worth asking though. Maybe it’s just some lingering revenge for the money he stole from Maryann when he was younger. Maryann certainly looks the type to hold a grudge as well.

And she’s been exceptionally successful in turning nearly everyone against Sam as well. I almost want to commend her for the chaos this episode showed with the locals. Even trusted people like Arlene and Terry were happy to trick Sam into coming to Merlotte’s just so they could capture him.

It’s one of those few times in the show where you do find yourself yelling at the television for Sam to just stay away from his bar. But he didn’t and it took some quick thinking on Andy’s part first to protect Sam and then a chainsaw wielding Jason for the second part. Simple rule, Andy and Jason are pretty good in a crisis this season.

Andy certainly displayed a lot more compassion for Sam’s plight in this episode than I think he ever would’ve during the first season and Jason was far cleverer with creating the illusion of Maryann’s god to satisfy the locals than he would’ve done in the first season. It also had one of the funniest moments in the series too.

Having Sam turn himself into a fly to escape the locals even bewildered Jason and Andy but it worked in getting them to retreat back to Maryann. Jason and Andy’s look of confusion was pretty priceless. Now it looks like Sam has two other people that are about to become privy to his secret. Still, there are worse people he could tell and they did after all keep him alive in this episode.

Speaking of alive, this episode heavily played touch and go with Tara as well. It was actually distressing to see this void of a woman there instead of the forthright woman that we know and love in the series. The fact that it took a jointed effort of Bill using a glamour and Sookie applying her powers to get through to Tara spoke a lot about Maryann’s influences.

However, just because Tara was free from Maryann here, that doesn’t mean that Maryann can’t get her or Lafayette and Lettie Mae again. Even though both of them were out of their depth until Sookie and Bill arrived, at least they were trying to help Tara as much as they could. As for Eggs, he’s a lost cause. I’m sorry but he is, isn’t he?

Speaking of lost causes, I know Maxine Fortenberry was under the influence like nearly everyone else in Bon Temps but some funny lines aside, the woman was an insufferable bitch in this episode. Jessica shouldn’t have lost her rag and tried to snack on Maxine but I could understand that she was being driven crazy by the woman.

Sadly, I don’t think stress is going to wash with Hoyt though. He begged Jessica to stop and Jessica tossed him aside, so yeah, that’s not going to down well. Besides, even if you do want to kill your mother, I don’t think you’re actually supposed to act out on those urges, no matter how much misery she puts you through. Then again, I also have a feeling that Maxine will live to annoy her son for another day. Hoyt will probably end up wishing Jessica had bumped his mother off then.

Also in “New World In My View”

Eric’s only contribution in this episode was a sexual sequence of Sookie’s where he’s naked, crying blood and nearly bites her.

Eric: “Godric is gone.”
Sookie: “I know, I’m so sorry.”

Did Eric head back to Bon Temps? He wasn’t in the same limo as Sookie, Jason and Bill as far as I can remember.

Andy (re Maryann): “What does she want?”
Sam: “I think to cut out my heart while a bunch of naked people watch.”

Jason: “Mr Compton, I ain’t about to sit back and let monsters destroy our town.”
Sookie: “Jason, this would be one of those times to use your head.”
Jason: “Oh I am. I’ve never been so clear in my whole life. This is the war I’ve been waiting for.”

The huge meat pile that Maryann has outside Sookie’s house is enough to make you want to go vegetarian, which Michelle Forbes is so I imagine that this might not have been fun to film.

Hoyt (re Sookie/Bill): “Should I have gone with them?”
Jessica (re Maxine): “And leave me alone with her? No fucking way!”

Lafayette (to Lettie Mae): “Jesus and I agreed to see other people but that don’t mean we don’t talk from time to time.”

That dialogue is even funnier considering the name of the love interest that Lafayette is going to have in the third season of the show.

Maryann: “What are you?”
Sookie: “None of your business.”

Andy: “How the hell did you get them out?”
Jason: “I threatened to shoot a bunch of nails in Arlene’s brain.”

Maryann threw a hint in this episode that Bill will leave Sookie. That could indicate Sookie and Bill breaking up or Bill causing her death in seasons to come, but currently it’s probably the former.

Lafayette: “This has to be the worst motherfucking intervention in history.”

Tara (to Sookie): “You tried to kill yourself? I don’t blame you with your fucked up life.”

Standout music: King Britt’s “New World In My View” for the way it was used to end this episode.

Tara (to Bill): “I’m not your fucking slave girl.”
Lafayette: “If ever there was a time to listen to a white man, Tara, this’d be it.”

Chronology: Where “I Will Rise Up” left.

Another cracker of an episode, “New World In My View” certainly has all the chaos and build up for a finale that you could expect. I really love where this is going.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

No Torchwood On FOX

It seems that FOX are deciding not to pursue a US version of Torchwood after all but that doesn't mean a US version isn't under consideration. More can be read here ...
Thoughts anyone?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Review of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's 8x34: "Twilight Part 3"

Written by Brad Meltzer
Artwork by Georges Jeanty

Willow (to Warren): “Angel’s the piece we were missing. Sure, Buffy shared her power, but when it comes to her place in the slayer history books – I’m pretty sure that’s not the only thing she was first to do.”

I won’t lie, I’m struggling with this one, I really am. The more I read it, the more convoluted and weird it sounded. Plus it didn’t help that the snarky little warning at the end of the previous issue actually came true – them fucking.

Remember back in the fourth season how watching Buffy and Riley spending all of “Where The Wilds Things Are” was tedious? Well, having her and Angel basically doing them same thing here certainly became even more tedious to flick through. I enjoy seeing my characters get it on as much as the next person but not throughout he entire story and that’s the main issue here.

The Buffy and Angel sexploits basically has them shagging virtually everywhere and anywhere, including at one point even in space. No, I am not kidding and gratuitous nudity aside, it basically added nothing to the story itself I’m afraid.

Fortunately that was where Giles had to come into proceedings. There was hints in the previous issue that Buffy’s been destined to be powered up and the like for quite a while now and it’s all to help her survive. But even here, we still don’t really know what Twilight is. Is it another apocalypse in the making? An actual planetary evolution or what? I’ve read this issue enough times already and I’m still confused about the general concept of it all.

And then what’s Angel’s part in that all. Is he genuinely being rewarded or did the fates need to bestow this onto one slayer and one ensouled vampire? Warren might be a snide prick but I’m glad he actually raised the question, one in which Willow could barely answer satisfyingly as well for my liking.

Still, the consequences of Buffy and Angel’s powered up super nookie did seem to be ecological with the amount of storms, hurricane and seaquakes going about the place. With six more issues left for this entire season, I still feel like naff all has actually happened and this issue has done less to provide solid answers, only more questions.

Also in “Twilight Part 3”

Buffy and Angel shippers must have loved the cover of them embracing for this one.

Amy: “Twilight is Angel? Of course he is!”
Dawn: “Of course he is? It doesn’t even make sense.”

Another promotional poster for The Guild appeared in this issue. Tempting as it looks, I’m gonna have pass on it.

Angel: “You have any idea how much I missed you?”
Buffy: “I do. I have lots of ideas.”
Angel: “Yeah. So do I.”

Xander: “We’ve got witches, werewolves and centaurs -”
Dawn: “Centaurettes.”
Xander: “The point is, even when it comes to the dark, scary ones ... how much more can you shock us with a fairytale?”

The Watchers Council killing themselves because of an empowered slayer is dumb even for them. Speaking of empowered, nice to see Faith getting her powers back in this issue.

Faith: “I got my powers back. I’m strong again.”
Giles: “It’s everything they warned. The universe ... the universe is answering.”

Angel: “They said it didn’t exist but it does, it always has. And now it’s ours. Here we are Buffy. Welcome to Twilight.”

There was a coming soon bit in this issue with Spike featured and the next issue is out on May 5th.

I’m sorry but I really didn’t like this issue as much as I tried to. “Twilight Part 3” just simply bored me and I really am confused about the whole thing. Hopefully more clarity will be shed in later issues.

Rating: 5 out of 10.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 4x14: "The Pasadena Primary"

Written by Michael Foley And Geoffrey Nauffts
Directed by Jonathan Kaplan

Kitty (re high school reunion): “So, we’re going?”
Kevin: “Why do I have a feeling I’m going to regret this?”

As much as I love my siblings, I think I can honestly say that there’s no way in hell I’d take one of them to my school reunion. Although come to think of it, my old school merged with another last year and I didn’t even attend that and that was more out of forgetfulness rather than deep seated issues with my school years.

Granted, when I do occasionally think of them, two thoughts do often enter my head – one being the desire to change certain things (like not taking construction or tech drawing past Junior Cert) and the other one being the desire not to dwell on it. It’s because of this; I actually understand where Kevin was coming from.

He wanted acceptance in a school from people who in the end weren’t worth bothering with in the first place. Everyone wants to be accepted in school, even if it is by obnoxious losers such as Brent, the very person that Kevin had hoped wouldn’t show up during the reunion when Kitty twisted his arm into going to.

There was a small part of me that was hoping a little that someone like Brent would’ve shown some actual growth from the person that Kevin knew him to be in high school. When he started talking to Kevin, the initial signs almost looked promising – a regret for past behaviour, sobriety and the happiness of being a father.

It was a happiness that made Kevin blurt out that him and Scotty were trying for a kid. Even now, Kevin still wanted to impress some dumb jock even though most viewers assumed that Kevin was the better person anyways. And besides, Brent did become proof that some people actually don’t grow up outside of high school.

He blurted out to everyone at that school reunion that Kevin was going to be a father and then he made an ass out of himself by trying to stop Kevin and Kitty from leaving. However calling Kevin a fag certainly crossed a line and in that moment, Kitty became even more brilliant than she ever was.

Maybe it’s not wise to threaten dumb, alcoholic jocks that you could have them killed but damn it, it made for a wonderful exchange and this was after Brent blurting that him and Kevin rigged her high school election so that she would lose. I thought as soon as this was revealed that we would get a Kitty/Kevin showdown.

I even thought that after Kevin was the one with the secret no vote that the siblings would bicker. The fact that they didn’t confused and delighted me. Confused because we’ve seen minor things all the time erupt into bigger arguments with Walkers and delighted because what we got instead was something more rewarding.

Kevin and Kitty really do have a brilliant rapport together and when it’s not them playfully snarking with each other, it’s moments like the two of them outside talking about the latter’s run for Robert’s seat. Kevin’s reasons behind his decision against Kitty’s political goals were certainly believable alright.

He knows that she’s good at the job but there was the concern of her health and his concern of being roped into her helping with her campaign. Kevin wants out of politics and I don’t blame him. Working with Robert for the past year and a half must have been enough to put anyone off politics for the rest of their lives.

But then there was also the fact that Michelle hadn’t fallen pregnant either. Both Kevin and Scotty were deflated by this but we only saw it hit Kevin harder, not that it didn’t affect Scotty at all. Once again, however, Scotty was more of a support system in this episode and that was during a time when he was facing a career crisis.

Scotty potentially losing his job would definitely a bad thing but Nora’s right – he’s talented enough to find more work even if the restaurant does go bust, right? At least here’s hoping. And then there was the decision on Scotty’s part to let Nora and Robert work alongside each other when they had an axe to grind.

I’m not gonna pretend I didn’t automatically assume that Nora was the one who was going to vote no during Kitty’s telling of her new political goal but even though it wasn’t her, she did believe as well that Kitty running for the Senate seat could’ve been a bad idea too. Still, the scenes with her and Robert were actually well done.

There was no overt nastiness, just some amusing sniping at each other and they were able to sit down and actually discuss the pros and cons of Kitty running without things getting personal. That’s surely a lot of progress for the both of them, isn’t it? There would’ve been a time on the show when that wouldn’t have happened. And also, fears aside, it was Kitty’s decision to run for office and she was doing her best to consider her family’s feelings which was something that Robert didn’t do in the previous season.

Speaking of considered feelings, I hope when Sarah ends her relationship with Roy, she lets him down gently. Damn Luc and his inappropriate texting. The problem with fantasy however is that doesn’t work so well in reality. We saw this earlier in the season with Luc’s refusal to get a job and whinging.

Roy might not be a passionate Frenchman but he does behave more like an adult and Sarah has had better chemistry with him than she had with Luc, so I’m actually sad to see that their first sex session did lack that fizzle, which Sarah later had to tell, Kitty. Sometimes I’m a little too amazed with the amount of personal details the Walker siblings share with each other in relation to their sex lives.

On a final note, here are some interesting words to try in the same sentence – Holly Harper, I actually felt sorry for you. Come on, she might be a pain in the arse nine times out of ten but that scene with York, no-one deserved that. And she was clearly shaken up after she left the hotel and returned to David.

David’s been harping on at her to get rid of Ojai and while he’s right, selling the business to York would be something that Holly would regret. She might want to get away from the Walker drama but York is definitely the last person to sell the business to. As for Holly accepting David’s proposal, I actually thought it was a nice scene especially after the menace that was York in this one.

Also in “The Pasadena Primary”

Two weeks in a row and still, Justin and Rebecca have nothing to do. At least they get to appear in the show, unlike Ryan.

Kitty: “Honey, how many dates did we have before we had sex?”
Robert: “Oh, I don’t know – one.”
Sarah: “Did he just say one?”

Technically their date in “Valentine’s Day Massacre” was supposed to be work related but thanks for reminding me of a great episode.

Robert: “I can handle your mother.”
Kitty: “That’s what Napoleon said on the way to Waterloo.”

Kitty (re high school): “Come on, it couldn’t have been that bad.”
Kevin: “I was fat and had no friends. Worst four years of my life.”

I notice that the more obstacles Kevin and Scotty seem to get with their quest for kids; we get more insight into Kevin’s issues with school.

Nora (to Robert, re kitchen knives): “Only a Republican would see these as weapons and not kitchen utensils.”

Kitty (to Brent): “I have one more thing to say to you. You ever again call my brother a fag, I will have you killed.”

Standout music: The Jetzons’s “Hard Times”.

York: “I’d like to relax first.”
Holly: “What do you mean, relax?”
York: “I’d like the same deal William got.”

Kevin: “I love you.”
Scotty: “I love you too.”

Chronology: A month since “Run Baby Run”, according the length of time that Sarah and Roy have been dating for.

“The Pasadena Primary” is definitely a lot better than the previous two episodes we’ve gotten with some great Walker moments and a wonderful array of surprising moments as well. Things are certainly getting interesting now.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Taking Eleven For Granted (Spoilers For TSJA)

Mondays are a brilliant day. Not only do we have the security of knowing that Matt Smith is going to be the Doctor for quite a while but he's also going to be appearing in Series 4 of The Sarah Jane Adventures along with Katy Manning, who will be reprising her role as Jo Grant in a two parter written by Russell T. Davies.

It's been a good 37 years since Katy Manning has played the role of Jo Grant and in the past she's often said that she would only return to the role if the character had shown any growth. Well, we'll see how much she's grown because she too is appearing in Series 4 of The Sarah Jane Adventures. Look at this nice new picture of both Elisabeth Sladen and Katy Manning side by side.

My only worry is that Amy is missing from proceedings, in spite of near confirmation that Karen Gillan will be reprising the role for Series 6 of Doctor Who. Still, Eleven, Jo and Sarah Jane battling monsters together is going to be awesome. Thank you, RTD.

Hopes for the two parter ...

- Hopefully the season opener or finale this time round.

- Both the Doctor and Jo appear early in the first episode and not the last two minutes.

- A good alien enemy to get into. Please no Slitheen/Blathereen for this one.

- Pure unadulterated awesomeness from Eleven, Sarah Jane and Jo of course.

Will Schuester, I Hate You

Yes, I know I desperately need to catch up on some stuff but I will get there. After all, here are some recent bits I've seen watching. As River Song would say: spoilers ...

I enjoyed the first series of Charlie Brooker's You Have Been Watching, so I was delighted to see that Channel 4 had wisely decided to renew it for a second run. The guests on the first episode included the likes of Liza Tarubuck and David Baddiel as they delved into the week's television. The highlight was probably their dissection of porny looking new series, Spartacus: Blood And Sand and the unusual critique section of Brooker's weird culinary dishes. Okay, so a Mars bars rearranged but it looked rather odd, didn't it?

Irish viewers still have the advantage of being ahead of their UK rivals with the sixth season of Desperate Housewives but the stories have been mostly okay to unremarkable in recent weeks anyways. The Bolen mystery still has yet to be really advanced and episodes where Susan and Gabby witter on about their kids academic progress is hardly riveting stuff. Still, the current plot between Katherine and ex-stripper Robin is a lot better than you'd expect to be as well. Maybe I'm biased because it's Julie Benz but it's certainly the strongest plot right about now.

I keep going on and off with Grey's Anatomy but it's always been that sort of show for me anyways. Watching Teddy and Christina compete for Owen isn't riveting, I've never cared enough about Richard to care about his alcoholism and do I have to talk about Meredith/Derek or even Mark/Lexi either? Even Callie/Arizona seem to be going through a rough patch on this show and Izzie basically returned to get the all clear and dumped by Alex. That I won't criticise because Alex was in the right and we know Izzie is leaving anyways but other than that, the stories need to step up a gear already and fast.

Lost is hurtling towards it's conclusion and the episodes are certainly getting a little stronger. Okay, apart from maybe Hurley and Libby getting their first proper date in the latter's flash-sideways, I still don't the point of them. Neither do I see how SmokeyLocke shoving Desmond down a well is going to deter Widmore for longer. And the deaths continue with the recent of episodes blowing Illana to bits. There's only six episodes left and while this season has been good, I don't know how satisfied I'm going to be with the last episode of this.

I wish I could say that I've been watching Heroes religiously this season but I seriously have not. In fact the last episode I did watch was the one where Nathan was finally dead and buried and Claire tried to expose Samuel for the dodgy little cretin he is with no success. BBC2 are nearing towards the end of the season in the next few weeks and with a renewal yet to be confirmed from NBC, this could be the series last season. If so, it really is going to go out on a whimper.

And I've caught up with all of Glee. No, I did not buy the first season on DVD but I have watched the episodes that I've missed and UK viewers, tonight you get the first episode of the second half of the season, so spoilers beware. Right, I wasn't all that bothered with neither Will/Emma or Rachel/Finn breaking up, I loved Sue's version of Vogue and her callous way of getting reinstated as well as encouraging Rachel to pursue rival club fellow, Jesse. And yes, I totally saw from a mile that this new coupling was doomed to be ill fated. The episode airs tonight at 9pm on E4. Sue Doing Vogue:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Review of Doctor Who's 5x03: "Victory Of The Daleks"

Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Andrew Gunn

The Doctor: “You are everything I despise. The worst thing in all creation. I've defeated you time and time again, I've defeated you. I've sent you back into the void. I've saved the whole of reality from you. I am the Doctor and you are the Daleks.”

It’s amazing that back in August 2009 when this episode was being filmed that a raw version of the above piece generated a pointless amount of uproar. Some fans were annoyingly convinced that Matt Smith was going to be a terrible Doctor but that’s already been proved wrong by now, hasn’t it?

So, the Daleks, eh? Am I supposed to be shocked that Steven Moffat would bring them into the fifth series? No, but I am grateful that a) he did it in an early episode of the season b) that it was one episode and not a two parter and c) that he didn’t write the episode himself. If this is the only appearance of the Daleks this season, will we have to wait until Season 6 before he pens an episode with the longest running foe of the Doctor?

Fortunately though, Mark Gatiss is more than flipping skilled to tackle the Daleks and a World War 2 backdrop almost seems a little atypical for him as well. After all, both “The Unquiet Dead” and “The Idiot’s Lantern” were period settings and it made sense to throw the Daleks into Churchill’s era during the war.

Churchill believed that the rather scatty Bracewell had created the Ironsides (what the Daleks go by here) to win the war and he wasn’t having any of the Doctor’s guff about their true purpose. After all, everyone except the Doctor was blissfully ignorant of the Daleks in this episode.

When I said everyone that also included Amy. A fair amount of stuff happened in this story but Amy’s ignorance of the Daleks was the thing that stood out the most in this one. How the hell could she not know about them? Was she living underwater during their worldwide attack in Season 4 or what? The best part about that however was the Doctor taking notice and confronting the issue head on towards the episode’s closing moments.

Because of her ignorance, Amy was willing to give the Daleks a break. She believed herself that Bracewell invented the wretched things and even cheekily asked one what their true motives were because she was still sceptical of the Doctor’s claims of them being aliens. I think this was a time when scepticism didn’t do Amy any favours.

But the interesting thing about this episode was that the wait didn’t last long. The Daleks could’ve (and might’ve if this had been a two episode story) kept the pretence of niceness going a while longer but all the Doctor had to do was flip out and attack one for the Dalek to let it’s mask slip.

But even then, things got more and more interesting. It wasn’t Churchill that the Daleks were interested in; it was getting one up on the Doctor. The khaki looking Daleks needed him to identify them so a progenitor could help them make a batch of new pure Daleks and there in itself lay something that’s been much discussed in the build up to this episode.

Revamping the Daleks was always going to be a risky thing. Too many changes and it might not look like a Dalek and far too little and people would be wondering what they were supposed to be looking at. With this episode, all we got were five Daleks in different colours, a chunkier look and a living eye on the eyestalk, which close up did look quite creepy and effective.

Other than that, this new bunch of Daleks were oddly familiar. They happily destroyed the old Daleks that ushered in their birth and made countless rants about wanting to exterminate the Doctor. In some ways, there’s a lot in this episode that doesn’t really reinvent the wheel as such. Even their motives are still within character.

They knew as soon as they placed the Earth in danger; the Doctor would everything in his power to stop them. Except this time around, it was what they wanted. By distraction, the Doctor ended up letting the new Daleks slip out of his fingers and there was a very huge tone of regret when Amy tried to reassure him as well.

The Doctor’s scenes with the Daleks on their ship were well written enough. I did love the joke with the Jammie Dodger as a potential bomb and the Supreme Dalek talking about the Doctor’s compassion being a weakness. The actual victory in this episode seemed to be an intellectual one with the promise of reprisals further down the line.

The Doctor was still able to stop them from destroying Earth with Bracewell, which led to one of the stronger moments of the episode. I liked the idea of Bracewell as a robot and I certainly had pity for him when he painfully realised his true identity. More importantly, the moments where both the Doctor and Amy in their own way diffused him was satisfying.

The Doctor started getting Bracewell to talk about his memories but it was Amy’s discussion of love that triggered his humanity and made him sentient. I’m not sure if it was wise for the Doctor and Amy just to leave him there but maybe if they’re lucky, Bracewell won’t be used by the Daleks from afar.

And as for Churchill, well it’s good casting from Ian McNeice and it was refreshing to have a historical in the episode who already had a past relationship with the Doctor but trying to pilfer the TARDIS key? Bad, Churchill, just bad. I did love Amy having her wits about her and stopping Churchill from keeping her and the Doctor bound to one time.

However there was also another issue raised in this episode – is Amy Pond in love with the Doctor? There is a part of me that doesn’t blame her if she is but at the same time, I don’t want a Rose/Mickey situation with Amy/Rory and I’m not sure if the Doctor himself is keen on having another companion fancy him, even if it is someone as sexy as Amy. Also there’s the more pressing issue of her not remembering an important historical event to address as well.

Also in “Victory Of The Daleks”

The Daleks in this episode had a small Union Flag underneath their eyestalk at the start of this one. Nice little touch there.

Churchill (re TARDIS key): “Must I take it by force?”
The Doctor: “I’d like to see you try.”

This Doctor gets a costume variation as well as he wore a blue shirt, bowtie and braces with his usual ensemble.

The Doctor: “What are you doing here?”
Dalek: “I am your soldier.”

The Doctor: “Amy, tell me you remember the Daleks.”
Amy: “No, sorry.”
The Doctor: “That’s not possible.”

We got another crack in time appearance as the Doctor and Amy took off at the end of this episode. These have to be connected to Amy, don’t they?

The Doctor: “What does hate look like Amy?”
Amy: “Hate?”
The Doctor: “It looks like a Dalek and I’m going to prove it.”

Amy (re the Doctor): “What does he expect us to do now?”
Churchill: “KBO of course.”
Amy: “What?”
Churchill: “Keep buggering on.”

I know there’s a Sixth Doctor story that involves Churchill but the Confidential for this episode did suggest that the Doctor and Churchill met more than once. And why didn’t Amy question the new face comments as well?

Dalek (to the Doctor): “Extinction is not an option. We shall return to our own time and begin again.”

The Doctor (re dead Daleks): “Blimey, what do you do to the ones who mess up?”
Supreme Dalek: “You are the Doctor. You must be exterminated.”
The Doctor: “Don’t mess with me, sweetheart.”

Appropriate that the word “sweetheart” is used considering that River Song is back in next week’s episode. This one didn’t end on a link to it though.

Supreme Dalek: “The Doctor has failed. His compassion is his greatest weakness. Daleks have no such weakness.”

The Doctor: “You are Professor Edwin Bracewell and you my friend are a human being.”

The new Daleks in this episode were Supreme, Strategist, Scientist, Drone and Eternal. They were also coloured in blue, red, orange, white and yellow.

Amy (to Bracewell): “Hey, Paisley, ever fancied someone you know you shouldn’t?”
Bracewelll: “What?”
Amy: “Hurts doesn’t it but kind of a good hurt?”

The Doctor (to Amy): “I had a choice. They knew I’d choose the Earth. The Daleks have won. They've beaten me. They've won.”

It shouldn’t be any much longer before Amy actually tells the Doctor about her wedding day, should it? And Oblivion Continuum was certainly a cool name for Bracewell the bomb.

“Victory Of The Daleks” is certainly different in some ways to many of the new series Dalek stories but oddly familiar in others too. You’ve got the sense of epicness, the pure unbridled loathing that both the Daleks and the Doctor have for each other but in a strange way, this is the only Dalek episode with the least body count of the bunch. After much deliberation, I think Mark Gatiss struck gold with this one.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Review of Ashes To Ashes 3x03: "Episode 19"

Written by Julie Rutherford
Directed by Alrick Riley

Gene (to Alex): “Firemen starting fires, what’s next – doctors killing patients?”

Yeah because such a thing would never, ever really happen in real life. As for arsonist firemen, not entirely the most unrealistic thing that Gene and the gang have ever had to deal with, now is it?

Gene’s guts might be the very thing that Jim Keats may want to serve his superiors on a platter but they’re also the very thing helped him out in this episode. He knew that Andy Smith was guilty of setting fires around polling stations and he was more than happy to maintain that belief when everyone else was happy to disagree with him.

After all, Gene’s never been wrong with such a thing in his life before and it was pretty obvious that as soon as snivelling little brat Barney identified Andy that we had our culprit for this episode. The only problem was convincing everyone else of Andy’s guilt and stopping his next area of attack.

That was hard to do when you had the likes of Jim Keats bleating on about how much of a hero Andy and his superiors nagging Gene to release him from custody. Even Ray was fully convinced that Andy was innocent. After all, Ray had struck up a bond with Andy at the start of this episode.

Andy was the fella who saved Ray from a burning building and Ray certainly admired the fact that Andy was in the Falklands as well. It was obvious from Ray’s admiration that some information on the sexist copper would be unveiled as the episode progressed and it was pretty predictable stuff as well.

Ray nearly joined the army but didn’t because he got scared and it created tension with his father. It made for a powerful moment when Ray was the only person who was able to stop a betrayed Andy from burning up his wife. Ray was the only person who could reach to Andy and afterwards, it also made sense that he would deny everything.

Ray didn’t fool anyone in this episode. Alex gave a fairly obvious insight into the way he was and for a small bit; I think Ray let down his guard, though Alex should probably be careful of her knickers nonetheless. However while Alex’s assessment of Ray were in a more positive and understanding light, the same cannot be said about Jim’s.

Ray might be an independent thinker underneath his desperation to prove something to Gene but it certainly didn’t help that Jim tried to use this to his advantage. Trying to turn Ray against Gene (and that’s definitely what he’s setting out to do) is certainly on the hypocritical side of things, isn’t it?

Jim talks a lot about trying to unearth Gene and revealing secrets but he’s a pretty see through character at the moment. He might give the odd insight into the likes of Chris and Ray but even the two of them aren’t as dim as Jim might like to think they are. Similarly, Alex did seem to be more on Gene’s side during the investigation of the arson attacks than she was with Jim.

Jim tried to create a divide between Alex and Gene by telling the latter of the former’s snooping into Sam Tyler’s files. Gene didn’t seem too pleased but seeing as he already knew that Alex had taken an interest in Sam recently, he wasn’t exactly as shocked as Jim might have hoped he was. As for this episode progressing anything on the Sam front, it actually didn’t in the slightest.

There was very little in the mystery front with this episode. Alex had one trippy moment where she was drawing stars and scribing 6-6-20 but outside of that, nothing. With five episodes left in the series, here’s hoping that things do speed up on the mystery behind that date and Sam.

I could talk also talk a bit more about the arson plot of this episode but the truth was that it wasn’t very interesting. Andy’s shellshock triggered him burning up polling stations, attacking a journalist and if it hadn’t been for him discovering about his wife and brother sleeping together, he would’ve attacked Margaret Thatcher but outside of that, it was pretty formulaic to be honest.

The connection with Ray and Andy probably helped the plot and there’s a wonderful scene where both Ray and Shaz go head to toe on their political viewpoints with Alex trying to keep schtum on future events but this episode just didn’t really offer anything new really. Even the obnoxious Barney being thrown into a cell wasn’t as funny as it should’ve been and he was twelve for crying out loud.

Also in “Episode 19”

If Daniel Mays’s name wasn’t in the opening credits, I might have actually been shocked when Jim announced that he was going nowhere at the start of the episode.

Alex: “Are you sure you haven’t left anyone out?”
Chris: “Vanessa Redgrave.”

Shaz mentioned that she was dating a posh bloke called Julian and Alex suggested dumping him because he liked Jazz music. Bit harsh, don’t you think?

Gene: “If you shove your nose further up Newman’s arse it’ll be browner than Ghandi.”
Jim: “Don’t shoot the messenger.”

Gene (re Alex/Shaz): “What is it with women and firemen, its pathetic? You’ll be wanting to go down his pole next.”

Shaz mentioned to Alex in this episode that she was seeing stars. What is the significance of them both seeing/drawing them? And who is that scarred constable?

Jim (to Ray): “Gene Hunt is an amazing fella, amazing but you don’t need him. You won’t be letting him down.”

Chris (re Andy): “How did you know he was gonna give you the lighter?”
Ray: “I didn’t.”

Standout music: Apart from some score music, nothing really jumped out for me. Plus this episode did seem low on music as well.

Shaz (re Julian): “He likes Jazz.”
Alex: “Dump him.”

Chronology: A couple of days/weeks since the previous episode.

Not necessarily a terrible episode but insight into Ray’s family background aside, I didn’t really enjoy this one. There were some nice characters moments and I could certainly get used to Alex and Shaz’s girly moments but this felt a little filler in places for me.

Rating: 6 out of 10.