Couch Critic X

I watch, therefore I blog.

Fall 2012 – Pilot Report Card

Note:  I saw most of the Fall pilots at the Paley Fall Preview Parties, so some of the shows listed here haven’t aired yet.


The New Normal:  D- (I *really* wanted to like this one, but they covered up major deficiencies in the pilot–you know, little things like character and story development–with attempts at outlandish humor.)

Go On:  B (Lost a little steam at the end, but otherwise enjoyable.)

Animal Practice:  B- (My favorite part was definitely Rizzo.)

Revolution:  C+ (Holy disappointment, Batman.)

Chicago Fire:  D- (Hot mess.)

Guys with Kids:  C- (Sigh.  Remind me why NBC passed on The Mindy Project?)


Partners:  B (The clapping transition thing was rather annoying, but other than that, fairly solid.)

Vegas:  F (Wow.  How did they rope Dennis Quaid into this one?)

Made in Jersey:  D+ (This was supposed to be a “fish out of water”/”blue collar woman in a white shoe law firm” kind of deal, but all that kind of got lost in the shuffle.  At least that actress said “Trenton” like a true Jersey Girl would.)

Elementary:  A (My favorite of the bunch.  When I first saw that Jonny Lee Miller was cast as Holmes, I groaned.  But once he started speaking, I was hooked.)

The CW:

Emily Owens MD:  B+ (Not bad.  Except her inner 12-year-old monologue did wear a little thin.  Not my kind of show, but a solid start.)

Arrow: B+ (Honestly, this only gets a B+ because of the action–he does parkour!  Other than that, it deserves a B.)

Beauty and the Beast:  B+ (A whole lot better than I thought it would be, hence the B+.  Room for improvement, and I think I’ll stick around to see if it does.)


Malibu Country:  F (Wow.  Just…wow.  How does Reba get these shows?)

The Neighbors:  F (Hot alien mess.  I’m going to read the pilot script to see if this was just poorly executed.)

Nashville:  B- (Really couldn’t get into this one.  And the drama with the husband and father just seemed way too forced and not organic to the rest of the world they created.)

Last Resort:  C+ (A friend told me the script for the pilot was awesome.  Too bad that didn’t translate to the small screen.)


The Mindy Project:  A- (Go on with your bad self.  I may watch another episode.)

Ben and Kate:  B+ (That little girl is the cutest child actor I’ve seen in a while.  She did an excellent job.)

The Mob Doctor:  B- (The ending really bothered me.  SPOILER:  She’s given a way out, but she doesn’t take it.  So…yeah.)

Final thoughts:

Here’s to hoping that we get a better crop with the mid-season replacements.  Who else is looking forward to Hannibal and The Following?  (Loved their pilot scripts.)

posted by couchcriticx in TV and have Comment (1)

Note on Revenge Review for “Perception” (S1E14)

Sorry for the delay in my recap and review.  It’s been a busy work week.  I will get the review out (including quotes) as soon as possible.  Many apologies (especially those looking for quotes).

posted by couchcriticx in TV and have No Comments

Mini Movie Review: Chronicle

© 2012 - Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Quick and dirty:  This sci-fi flick about three old-a$$ looking high school kids, who get superpowers, was surprisingly entertaining.  But an extremely unlikeable protagonist, too much uncomfortable and annoying camera footage, a lame love interest, and a one-note villainous dad kept this movie from being the awesome movie that it could’ve been.  Nonetheless, if you and your friends feel like heckling a movie on a Saturday afternoon, this movie is for you.  However, I recommend seeing a matinee, using your student/senior discount, or using a voucher or Groupon, because this movie is not worth the full price of admission.


(3 out of 5 clapboards – I was entertained by it!)


The good:  Some surprising plot twists.  The characters use their newfound powers in a lot of fun ways.  No one ends up as a lab experiment.

The bad OMG I wanted Andrew to die from the first moment I saw him:  I understand that Andrew is supposed to be the socially awkward character, who, in essence, gets seduced by the Dark Side once he’s endowed with superpowers.  But he was just so annoying and unlikeable that the filmmakers’ attempts to make him sympathetic (he gets bullied everywhere he goes; his mom is dying; and his dad beats the sh!t out of him for no good reason) didn’t really work.  It wasn’t until his mom died, and his a-hole dad went to the hospital asking for an apology that I felt any kind of sympathy for him.

The cheesy:  Some (if not, most) of the special effects looked a little cheeseball.  Apparently, they only spent $12 million on production, so I guess it’s to be expected.  But I’ve seen other low-budget projects with better looking special effects.

Also annoying:  Andrew’s d-bag dad.  Of course.  Yes, he’s an out of work fireman, who is down on his luck and can’t afford to take care of his dying wife, so he takes it out on his kid.  But he felt like such a cliche.  And the video blogger, Casey?  She was just as annoying as Matt was pretentious.  And her interactions with Matt were so forced.  And aside from being attractive, I didn’t get his attraction to her, at all.  (That’s high school, I guess.)  Her character was also so underdeveloped that she almost seemed like an afterthought (“What?  We don’t have a love interest?  Crap!”) or a placeholder that the writers wanted to develop later on, but never got around to doing.  I was so hoping that they’d kill her off, but alas…

Of course:  They just had to kill Steve off, didn’t they?  He was best of the bunch.  Sniff.  If I wasn’t rooting for Andrew’s death before, I sure was after Steve bit the big one.

And tell me why…  Andrew’s father gets to live?  Everyone in the theatre was pumped by Matt’s aerial save.  But a few moments later, we were all sorely disappointed that Andrew didn’t get a chance to go back to finish off his d-bag father.  Major boo!

Final thoughts:  This movie made me thankful for movie vouchers.  While, yes, it was entertaining, I would’ve hated to have paid full price to see this movie.


posted by couchcriticx in Movies and have Comment (1)

Mini Movie Review: Underworld: Awakening

© 2011 – Screen Gems, Inc.

Quick and dirty:  I don’t know if it’s me or my low expectations talking, but I really liked this movie!  If you’re a fan of the Underworld franchise (or of the Vampire/Werewolf genre, in general), I highly recommend this film.  No, it doesn’t go deep into Vampire/Lycan lore like some of the other movies did, but I think that’s what makes this film one of the best in the franchise (second to perhaps, Rise of the Lycans).


(4.5 out of 5 clapboards – I really liked it!)


The good:  Action, action, action.  A cool uber Werewolf.  Oh, and for all you Lost Girl fans, DYSON!

The bad hyped up:  For someone who’s supposed to be really strong, Selene’s daughter (a.k.a. Subject #2) seemed kind of useless.  Then again, they probably didn’t train her for battle at the lab.  I guess Mama Selene is going to have to teach her some Death Dealer moves before the next movie.

The barely there:  Michael.  But I suspect that’s why I really liked this movie.  Ha!

The Where in the hell was this all supposed to be taking place?  We had European-looking license plates.  Vampires and Lycans with British accents.  Policemen with American accents.  No recognizable landmarks to speak of.  (Well, to me, at least.)  Can you hire a foreign national as a police officer in some European countries?  Or am I suppose to be suspending my disbelief?

Another question:  I’m no geneticist, but Subject #2 isn’t a hybrid like Michael, is she?  I mean, her dad’s a hybrid and her mom’s a Vampire, so that makes her 3/4 Vampire and 1/4 Lycan, right?  Or is hybrid DNA unique (and not just 1/2 of each race), and she’s 1/2 Vampire and 1/2 hybrid?  Either way, she should have more Vampire-like qualities than Lycan.  Right?  Man, if I don’t stop thinking about stuff like this, my head’s going to explode.

Oh:  Did that little heart pumping scene Selene had with David remind anyone else of The Matrix?

Final thoughts:  I was apprehensive when I first saw the trailer for Underworld: Awakening and learned that this time around, humans would be the common enemy of Vampires and Lycans.  Then, in the movie, when they first started talking about The Purge (Lycans almost extinct?  The Vampire race decimated?), I wondered how the humans could so effectively eradicate two supernatural races that have been in existence for so long.  But in the end, we found out that the Lycans had a hand in thinning out the Vampire numbers and that Vampire-Lycan feud is still going strong.  Such a relief, since that’s why we watch these movies in the first place.

Until next time…


posted by couchcriticx in Movies and have No Comments

Review: Once Upon a Time, “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” (S1E11)

© 2012 – ABC Studios


(2.5 out of 5 TVs – I’m on the fence about this ep!)


Recap:  This time, it’s the Man in the Mirror‘s turn to have his story told.  Unfortunately, this is one of the lamer background stories that we’ve seen so far.  The Man in the Mirror (who some of you may know as Sydney) was a genie in a lamp.  Yawn.  Then, one day, Snow’s dad comes across his lamp.  Since Snow’s dad is completely content (but I’m not even sure how that’s possible since he’s married to the Queen Mayor and all), he uses his first wish to free the Man in the Mirror and his second wish to give his third wish to my least favorite genie.  The Man in the Mirror says that he’s seen things go wrong for everyone who has made a wish, so he’ll never use the wish given him.  Yeah, like that’s going to happen. 

Did they bring the set of "I Dream of Jeannie" out of retirement?

Anyway, Snow’s dad is nice enough to bring the man-formerly-known-as-a-genie back to his castle, where he meets Snow and the Queen Mayor (who looks a bit weird in all the regal light-colored clothes they had her in).  And after one look at the Queen Mayor, it’s love at first sight–for him, at least.  (The Man in the Mirror is on a quest for true love, after all.)  While Snow’s dad seems like a nice guy (he used all his wishes for the Man in the Mirror’s benefit), he’s a bit of a dickwad to the Queen Mayor at his birthday party.  In front of all the guests, he tells Snow that she, like her mother was before her death, is the fairest in all the land.  Yeah, that’s great for Snow’s ego.  But Snow’s dad, that’s not the kind of thing you want to say in front of your current wife (and a bunch of party guests).

Snow’s dad’s neglect of the beautiful Queen Mayor only makes the Man in the Mirror fall for her even harder.  And he gives the Queen Mayor a mirror as a gift (gee, I wonder how that will come into play later), so she can see what he sees–that she’s the fairest one in all the land.  Gag.  This whole lovestruck genie thing makes me cringe.  (Even more than the convoluted twin brother Prince Charming saga.) 

Why is Snow wearing a wedding dress to her dad's birthday party?

Soon after, Snow’s dad finds the Queen Mayor’s diary and reads a choice passage to the Man in the Mirror.  The passage talks about a man, who gave her a mirror and has captured her heart and blah blah blah.  Snow’s dad tasks the Man in the Mirror with the job of finding the Queen Mayor’s love interest.  Of course, the man Snow’s dad is looking for is right in front of him, but the Man in the Mirror plays dumb (while doing a secret happy dance in his head) and agrees to look for this mysterious giver of mirrors.  Yeah, this isn’t going to end well.

In addition to enlisting the help of his trusted friend, the former genie, Snow’s dad has the Queen Mayor locked up, because of her conveniently discovered journal entry.  So, the Queen Mayor’s dad (the original Henry!) asks the Man in the Mirror for help.  The Queen Mayor’s dad needs the Man in the Mirror to slip her a box that will help save her, because the guards won’t let him see his daughter.  (“They know I’d die for her.”  Ha!)  Since the Man in the Mirror is whipped, he agrees to pass along the box to the Queen Mayor.  And when she opens the box, we discover that it contains a two-headed serpent from the Man in the Mirror’s homeland.  Hmm.  I wonder how that’s going to bite him in the butt later. 

Score one for true love!

Anyway, the Queen Mayor channels her inner drama queen and says that she’s going to use the snake to kill herself.  But of course the Man in the Mirror isn’t having any of that and suggests that he use the snake to kill Snow’s dad in order to set her free.  (Came up with that one all by yourself, did you, Syd?)  So, the Man in the Mirror uses the deadly serpent to kill Snow’s dad, and Snow’s dad learns firsthand that finding a a genie’s lamp sucks.  (“You were right.  I never…should’ve made a wish.”) 

And in a surprise to no one, after the deed is done, the Man in the Mirror discovers that the Queen Mayor never loved him and set him up to take the fall for Snow’s dad’s death.  (Who knew that assassinating the king with a snake from your homeland would be a bad idea?)  But he doesn’t take rejection very well and uses his wish (you know, the one he swore he’d never use) to be with the Queen Mayor forever.  And folks, that is how he ends up in the mirror.  Sigh.

In an even lamer storyline, in Storybrooke, Emma and the Man in the Mirror join forces to take down the Queen Mayor.  The Man in the Mirror’s leap to Team Emma is suspect from the beginning, but he seems to get Emma to believe him.  (What in the hell happened to her “I can tell when someone is lying” superpower?  Or is she playing the player?)  

Anyway, the two of them plot to take down the Queen Mayor and lameness ensues.  They find evidence that the Queen Mayor is using town funds for personal use.  And Emma and the Man in the Mirror brilliantly follow the Queen Mayor in Emma’s police cruiser, but miss the Queen Mayor’s money drop off in the forest (not where I conduct my real estate transactions) with Rumpelstiltskin, because of a cut break line.  Yawn.  And after breaking into the Queen Mayor’s office and finding what seems to be plans for a house to be built on the land that the Queen Mayor bought from Rumpelstiltskin (Emma, isn’t it suspicious that the Queen Mayor, who locks all sorts of shit up, has no password on her computer?), Emma decides to “expose” the Queen Mayor at a town council meeting for misuse of town funds.  But it turns out that the Queen Mayor used the money to buy land for a safe playground for Henry and all the other kids in Storybrooke.  A playground?  In the middle of the forest?  Seems pretty inconvenient to me.  And did you see the plans for this thing?  I know that it’s supposed to look like Snow’s dad’s castle, but how is that even remotely safe for children?

Lots of sharp edges and a remote location... Sure, that's a good idea for a playground!

Anyway, Emma’s humiliation in front of the town council seems like a weak blow to Team Emma (especially considering the build up in the previews for this episode).  But the Queen Mayor doesn’t stop with public humiliation.  She knows that Emma broke into her office, which is something the sheriff shouldn’t be doing.  But it’s also something that gives the Queen Mayor grounds to take out a restraining order on Emma.  The Queen Mayor won’t bring legal action against Emma, though.  But she will deny Emma access to Henry until she feels like being generous.  (“Until you have something more substantial than disdain to throw my way, you’re going to stay away from me.  And more importantly, from Henry.”)  I know this is supposed to be cruel and all, but trust me, Emma, the woman is doing you a favor.  Anyway, the next time we see Emma and Henry, they communicate via walkie talkie at the new not-really-safe-for-children playground in the middle of the woods.  (And seriously, who does the set design for this show?  The folks at Blizzard?)

This is NOT a man that you want around your 10-year-old son, Queen Mayor.

Oh.  In another subplot, Henry’s Once Upon a Time book goes missing, but it turns out that The Stranger has it.  Yawn.

And in the best part of the episode, Snow and Charming have a romantic picnic by the Troll Bridge!  Here’s to true love! 

Note:  This was one of the lamest episodes so far, so I’ll keep the rest of my comments brief.

Overall:  Both major storylines were pretty disappointing.  And it really is a shame that the Man in the Mirror, an actual recurring character, has such a lame (or perhaps just poorly executed) backstory.  On a good note, this episode didn’t have the recurring problem of “storyline being stretched too thin,” but unfortunately, the story that they gave us was subpar.

Random thoughts:  When in the timeline did Snow betray the Queen Mayor?  Is the Snow-Charming affair going to be ongoing?  Is there going to be a decent payoff to The Stranger thing?  And will Emma’s superpower make a comeback next episode?

Until next time…


posted by couchcriticx in TV and have No Comments

Mini Movie Review: Haywire

© 2011 – Relativity

Quick and dirty:  Gina Carano fans, get ready for disappointment!  While the fight scenes are good (for the most part), the writing is laughable, the acting is terrible, and the picture and sound quality aren’t fit for the big screen.  In an attempt to make this movie gritty and realistic, what they ended up with was a movie that looked cheap and just fell flat.  So, do yourselves a favor and save your money.  And if you’re still interested, wait until it comes out on DVD–it’ll look (and sound) better on your TV.


(2 out of 5 clapboards – I was disappointed by this film!)

Overall:  With an all-star cast, including Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Douglas, you’d think that this would be a good action movie.  (I purposely left Ewan McGregor off that list, because of his role in the fiasco known as Episodes 1-3.)  The best parts of the film were, indeed, the Gina Carano fight scenes, but other than that, this film wasn’t worth watching.  A lot of awkward silences.  Contrived screen moments.  And dialogue you’d expect in a film project that some ambitious high school students posted on YouTube.


The good:  The fight scenes (which, honestly, were the only reason I was interested in seeing this movie).  Gina Carano in action is fun to watch.  (Although two of the fights start rather abruptly and the one in the hotel is obviously sped up in one part.)  As for the rest of the action?  Meh.  Some of the scenes when she’s not fighting just dragged on for way too long.  For example, the scene where she’s chasing after Bad Guy #1 (I kid you not, that’s how they described him on a sticky) just keep on going and going.  I didn’t pay $13.50 to see Gina Carano run and pant for four minutes.  And the scene where she’s evading the police on rooftops and whatnot?  Yawn.  That could’ve been cut down by a minute or two.  This movie gets a C+ for editing.

The disappointing:  Overall, the acting was pretty craptacular.  Now, I didn’t expect much from Gina Carano since she’s fairly new to the game.  But Channing Tatum (who’s in about every other movie in 2012)?  Ewan McGregor?  And at times, Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas?  (Who both phoned it in for one scene.)  Painfully bad.  Shame on you all!

The bad OMG, did I really just pay $13.50 to see this?  The picture quality was horrendous.  It looked like most of the movie was shot on someone’s personal video camera.  I guess director Steven Soderbergh was going for a gritty and realistic look for the movie, but it just looked cheap and amateurish.  Such a shame since the movie was shot in some really great locales.  Then, to make things even worse, the sound quality was also pretty craptacular.  Did someone edit this movie using iMovie?  I would’ve been better off waiting for this movie to come out on Netflix.

Once again, Rotten Tomatoes has led me astray.

The g-d awful:  The dialogue.  Oh, the dialogue.  It was ridiculously bad.  I tried to commit some of the more egregious lines to memory (I didn’t want to be the person typing on my phone in the theatre), but as a self-preservation mechanism, they’ve all been purged from my mind.  The most astounding part of it all is that the screenwriter of record is a legitimate writer (not some producer’s relative).  So, shame on you, too, Mr. Dobbs!

Final thoughts:  I’m sure that the pitch for this movie went something like this, “You know that hot MMA fighter, Gina Carano?  Well, my cousin just wrote the perfect vehicle for her.  Is he a screenwriter?  No, but I’m sure that you can get someone to clean things up.”  That’s the only explanation I can come up with to explain Mr. Dobbs’ hackneyed script.  As for Carano, until she gets some more acting classes under her belt, maybe her next role should be as a supporting character.  (Or as my friend recommended, a kick ass villain.  Future Bond girl, perhaps?)  Until then…

posted by couchcriticx in Movies and have No Comments

Review: Once Upon a Time, “7:15 A.M.” (S1E10)

© 2011 – ABC Studios


(4 out of 5 TVs – I liked this ep!)


Short recap:  In our world, Snow and Charming are mutually stalking each other.  Kathryn thinks she’s pregnant.  Emma finds out that the mysterious stranger is a writer (yawn) and what he has in the mysterious wooden box is a typewriter (double yawn).  In the Enchanted Forest, we find out how Snow starts “cavorting with dwarves.”  We see further evidence that King George is one mean ole bastardAnd in the best part of the episode, in our world, Snow and Charming totally make out.  

Long a$$ recap:  A storm is coming.  Is it because Emma is changing things up?  And/or is it because of the arrival of our mysterious stranger?  Anyway, Henry questions the extremely evasive stranger as he’s fixing his bike in front of the Queen Mayor’s house, and the Queen Mayor is none too happy.  So, the Queen Mayor later manipulates Emma into questioning The Stranger (“There is no law against visiting Storybrooke.”) by telling her that he has an interest in Henry.  When Emma does confront him, they do a cute little song and dance and in the lamest of reveals, we find out that he’s a writer.  And what’s in the box?  A typewriter.  Seriously?  Who (outside of Brooklyn) uses typewriters anymore?  (And didn’t we learn about the perils of using typewriters two episodes ago on Revenge?)  Anyway, we still don’t know his name (hence, “The Stranger”), but he and Emma will be getting drinks sometime soon.  Hopefully, we’ll know his name by then.

Really? Is that all you got for us? At least tell us that the typewriter is magical.

In the Enchanted Forest, we follow Snow and Charming’s exploits during the two days before his wedding to Abigail.  Following what we saw in “The Shepherd,” Charming agreed to marry King Midas’ daughter, but in this episode, he’s moping around in his room instead of attending some royal party in his honor.  King George tells Charming to suck it up and show some enthusiasm.  (“I want your heart, not just your honor.”)  Instead, Charming writes Snow a letter and sends it via carrier dove, proclaiming his love for her and telling her that if she loves him, too, she should come to him before his wedding and they’ll run off together.  Snow makes it into the castle and has a near run-in with Charming right before she’s taken prisoner by a guard.  She meets Grumpy (the tallest dwarf I’ve ever seen) in the dungeon and after saving each other on two separate occasions, the bond between Snow White and the (now) Seven Dwarves is formed.  (I knew that guy, Stealthy, wouldn’t last long.)  But King George is still the d-bag fake father that we saw in “The Shepherd.”  And he even goes as far as threatening to kill Charming if Snow doesn’t tell Charming that she doesn’t love him.  (“You would do that to your own son?” “He’s not my son.”)  So, Snow ends up telling Charming that she doesn’t love him and takes refuge with her new not-so-vertically-challenged friends.  But something changes Charming’s mind and he dumps Abigail right before the wedding.  And then, takes off to find Snow.  Grumpy runs to tell Snow the good news, but she’s taken an anti-love potion that Rumpelstiltskin gave her earlier in the episode (“Love…has killed more than any disease.”) and the potion has erased all her memories of Charming.  Yikes.  (And reminiscent of Charming’s amnesia when this show first started.)  But I guess she’ll be getting her memory back after the poisoned apple and kiss thing goes down.

Back in the real world, Snow’s been quietly stalking the “married” Charming all this time.  However, Emma discovers her mom’s dirty little secret and tells her that the first step in getting over Charming is not showing up at Granny’s every morning at 7:15 just to see him pick up coffee for him and his “wife.”  Of course that doesn’t stop our two love birds (ha!), because Snow later finds an injured dove and takes it to the animal shelter.  You know, where Charming now works.  (Which is thankfully not a euphemism for hanky panky with the Queen Mayor.) 


Anyway, despite the storm that’s a brewin’, Snow is determined to help the dove get back to its flock, because if she doesn’t, it’ll be forever separated from its mate (and she doesn’t want the bird to suffer like she is).  Charming offers to help, but she turns him down, because while she desperately wants to jump his bones, earlier in the episode, she ran into Kathryn and saw that she was buying a home pregnancy test.  Yikes.  So, Snow goes to free the dove alone, but of course gets herself into trouble and somehow ends up hanging off the side of a cliff.  But Charming comes to the rescue.  Of course.  And the two take refuge from the storm in an abandoned cabin.  Snow pours her heart out to him, and Charming admits that he was also going to Granny’s at 7:15 a.m. just to see her.  Awwwww.  Cute, right?  But just when they’re about to kiss, Snow asks about Kathryn.  And it turns out that he had no idea that she might be pregnant.  They have a heart-to-heart, and even if Kathryn’s not pregnant, Snow isn’t playing the mistress, because he chose Kathryn (although one could argue that they’re having an emotional affair).  Sniff.  However, Charming wants to have his cake and eat it, too.  (“I have these two conflicting lives.  Memories of feelings for her…and real feelings for you.”)  And in the midst of all this, Snow returns the dove to its pack (and its mate).  Yay!  But despite their obvious love for each other, Snow refuses to act on it (physically), because it’s too painful and says they should forget each other.  Sniff. 

So, Charming and Kathryn have a heart-to-heart.  She says that it feels like he’s there, but not really there.  And in some of the best news this episode, she’s not pregnant.  Hooray!  At first, she was saddened by the news, but then, she was relieved.  But who can blame her?  Because honestly, in this world or the next, she and Charming really don’t have a chance.  Anyway, Charming, unfortunately, says that they should try to work things out.  At this point, I nearly tore my hair out, but then, I remembered the kiss that we saw in the preview for this episode and that gave me hope.

Someone does NOT look happy.

The next morning, when it’s time for Charming and Kathryn to make their coffee run, he says that they should have breakfast in.  And Snow and Emma watch the clock at home as it hits 7:16 a.m.  So sad.  (And have I ever mentioned that the Snow-Emma dynamic is one of the best parts of this show?)  But fear not, Snow hits Granny’s at 7:45 a.m. for her caffeine fix and guess who shows up?  You guessed it!  Charming!  (Soulmates that they are, they tried to avoid each other at the same time!  So cute!)  And even though I knew it was coming, I was all sorts of happy.  Charming tries to be good and walks out of the diner, but Snow follows him out.  And as soon as he says that Kathryn’s not pregnant, the make out session begins.  Hallelujah!  I waited a whole hour for this!  But of course, the Queen Mayor is looking on in the background.  And she does not look happy…

Overall:  What this episode should’ve really been called was, “Waiting for Snow and Charming to Kiss,” because that’s what I did for the entire hour.  And thank goodness Kathryn isn’t pregnant (which was my worst fear).  But I also felt like, once again, there wasn’t quite enough story for this episode (like they stretched what they had just a little too thin), but the Snow-Charming hookup at the end made up for almost all other deficiencies.  That and the minimal Henry screen time.  Woo hoo!

Best exchange of the episode:

Snow:  “I just like to…come here to see him.”

Emma:  “So, you’re a stalker?”

Snow:  “No, not really.  (off Emma’s look)  Maybe a little bit.  And it’s not like I’m following him.  I just know that he spends his morning with Kathryn, gets coffee.  Then, drives to the animal shelter to start work at 7:30.  And then, he’s home around 5:00.”

Emma:  “Oh, is that all?”

Snow:  “Thursdays they pick up Chinese for dinner.”

Biggest letdown:  The Stranger is a writer?  Really?  With an old ass typewriter?  (And is that really a good idea with arsonist Rumpelstiltskin in town?)  And is this guy a hipster, who rode his bike up from Brooklyn?  The only thing that could make this whole thing better would be if it were a magical typewriter.  (Like one that can change or create reality–in this world or the fairy tale one.)  Maybe.

It’s back…  The Apollo Bar Lost Easter egg.  I may have missed one last week, but to be honest, I’m not really looking for them.

That's a big ass candy bar, Snow. Gonna drown your sorrows in chocolate?

Final thoughts:  How long can the Snow-Charming romance last before the Queen Mayor puts another obstacle in their way?  And will they remember anything about their pasts after their make out session this episode?  (Or does only a kiss from Emma stir things up?)  And is this whole business with The Stranger going to continue to be a letdown?  Or do the writers have something more exciting in store for us?  Here’s to hoping…

Next time on Once Upon a Time, the battle between Emma and the Queen Mayor heats up.  And apparently, Emma’s enlisting the help of the Man in the Mirror.  But who cares about that.  What I really want to know is:  are Snow and Charming continuing the romance next week?  Until then…

posted by couchcriticx in TV and have Comment (1)

Review: Revenge, “Commitment” (S1E13)

© 2011 – ABC Studios


(5 out of 5 TVs — I loved this ep!)


Recap:  This episode is called “Commitment,” but it really should be called, “Collateral Damage.”  Anyway, the battle for Castle Grayskull…I mean, Grayson is on.  But Conrad gets a phantom assist from Emily when she anonymously sends him one of Mason’s David Clarke interview tapes (you know, where he drops the bomb that Charlotte’s his daughter). 

Maury! Maury! Maury!

The question of Charlotte’s paternity pretty much blows up the divorce proceedings, and Conrad threatens to leave Victoria with next to nothing–not even the Grayson last name.  (Busting up that prenup doesn’t look so smart now does it, Victoria Harper?)  Papa Conrad then goes into Charlotte’s room and steals some of her hair for a DNA test.  The result?  He is not the father.  (Anyone else have a Maury moment when we found out?)  And even though he’s raised Charlotte as his own for the last seventeen years, he goes from loving father, who’s willing to pay for her boyfriend’s prep school tuition just so she can be happy, to cold a$$ mofo, who kicks her out and sends her back to the mother she can’t stand.  Yes, his wife betrayed him and duped him into thinking that Charlotte was his.  But Charlotte’s done nothing wrong.  And without an explanation (or a good one, at least), the poor thing is cast aside.  But at least he’s letting her keep her trust.  (Thank goodness for small miracles, huh?)

"Wait. But that would make you both my half-sister AND sister-in-law!"

In other news, Fauxmanda and Jack come back from Atlantic City broke, but happy as clams.  (That lovey dovey note from their time in A.C. was just too cute).  But their happiness doesn’t last long, of course.  From Victoria trying to trip Fauxmanda up with supposed childhood fruit allergies…to Victoria sending in a sample of Fauxmanda’s DNA to see if she and Charlotte are related (thus, making her the real Amanda Clarke)…to Victoria sending a thug to get the David Clarke interview tapes that Emily planted at Jack’s…that girl just doesn’t catch a break this episode.  And because of said thug (a “subcontractor” of Frank’s), Jack gets his a$$ handed to him for interrupting the thug’s retrieval of the David Clarke interview tapes.  (Although the thug did leave one behind.  I wonder when Jack will find it.) 

After Jack’s beatdown, Emily finally tells Fauxmanda the truth (about her overarching plan of revenge, at least), but she also tells Fauxmanda that Jack got hurt, because Victoria was coming after Fauxmanda and that the only way to protect Jack is to get the heck out of Dodge.  Heartbroken, but willing to put Jack (and presumably, sisterhood) first, Fauxmanda takes the new cell phone, fake ID, passport, etc. that Emily has ready for her (man, that girl plans ahead) and leaves town.  Problem is, Fauxmanda can’t bring herself to say, “goodbye” to Jack.  But Emily says that she’ll take care of it.  And when Jack finally wakes up, Declan hands him a farewell note from Fauxmanda that’s most likely another product of Emily’s handiwork (we know how she loves arts and crafts projects and earlier in the ep, she took the Jack-Fauxmanda letter from A.C., presumably as a handwriting sample).  I know that I’ve wished Fauxmanda gone on multiple occasions, but sniff.  Poor Jack.  And poor Fauxmanda.

Yeah, that's never gonna happen.

On a happier(?) note, despite his mother’s protests, Daniel proposes to Emily and she says, “Yes,” without much hesitation.  (Thanks for the fake out, ABC!)  I have to admit that revenge plot and ominous storm aside, it was pretty romantic.  The yacht where they first met.  The jacket Emily intentionally spilled her drink on.  A string quartet.  The rain.  It was all very sweet.  But after all the casualties from her scheming this episode (most notably, Jack), Emily decides to take a chill and call off the engagement.  But that doesn’t last long, because Daniel’s a dumbass and says that David Clarke forced himself on Victoria and Charlotte was a result.  Seriously?  Is that the natural conclusion that you came to, Daniel?  Anyway, Emily asks him if Victoria actually said that, but Daniel conveniently doesn’t answer her question and just says that if David Clarke weren’t already dead (and “rotting in hell”–how colorful, Daniel), he’d kill him.  So, just to spite Victoria for supposedly further demonizing her father, she continues to go forward with Operation: Bring Them Down from the Inside (“How’s June for the wedding?”).  But seriously, Victoria wouldn’t say that, would she?  Since Daniel never actually acknowledged that his mom said it, I’m assuming that he probably just misinterpreted his mom’s emotional state and Victoria didn’t bother to correct him.  Right?

Anyway, we finally get confirmation of what we all suspected–that Ryan Huntley is on Team Emily.  And it’s a good thing, too, because he was able to switch out Fauxmanda’s DNA sample when Victoria asked him to have it compared to Charlotte’s.  But Victoria doesn’t buy it when the results come back saying that Fauxmanda is Charlotte’s half-sister.  So, her divorce negotiations now in shambles, and her divorce attorney giving her information that she knows can’t be true, she fires him.  Oh well.  There goes my theory that he’d be a potential love interest

Oh.  In (hopefully) the last segment of the Emily-Huntley flashbacks, we also find out that Emily’s dad was the one who refused a retrial (not Huntley), because that would’ve meant involving Emily and “he was afraid of what the conspiracy might do to keep [her] silenced.”  Aww.

I suppose I have to throw in one from the proposal.

And seriously, is it just me or is it really weird that fiances Emily and Daniel share a half-sister?  I know it’s technically not incest, but come on!  That’s f#$%ing weird!

In the beginning:  “Some say that our lives are defined by the sum of our choices.  But it isn’t really our choices that distinguish who we are.  It’s our commitment to them.

Damn, Emily:  “Okay, I came here for revenge, and you offered to help.  If you can’t stomach it anymore, then how about you at least spare me your passive aggressive judgments?”  Yikes.  But this isn’t the first time that Emily has snapped at him.  Poor Nolan must be some sort of masochist.

Collateral damage:  No one was safe from crying or crushing heartbreak this episode.  (With the possible exception of Declan.)

Favorite Nolan line:  “Yeah, well, kudos to you.  Looks like the ends finally justified the means.  Or should I say meanness?”

Favorite exchange:  (Well, except for the part where Jack’s heart breaks.) 

Nolan:  “Ashley Davenport…slumming it.  Mmm.”

Ashley:  (to Jack)  “Vodka soda, please.  House is fine.”

Nolan:  “House vodka?  Ash, talk to me.”

Ashley:  “Well, if you must know, I’ve basically shunned my best friend all summer in favor of worming my way aboard the ‘S.S. Queen Victoria’ only to find out that it’s a sinking ship.”

Nolan:  “How so?”

Ashley:  “All I’ve got to show for my summer with the Graysons is a gun-wielding psychotic ex-boyfriend, who made out with you.  Meanwhile, Emily gets an engagement ring and the keys to the kingdom.”

Jack’s heart breaks.  Only Nolan notices.

Nolan:  “Wait.  Emily…said yes?”

Ashley:  “According to her text.  I’m gonna go to the loo and drown myself in it.”

Nolan:  (points)  “It’s back there.”

Oh, right…  Ashley and Emily are supposed to be best friends.  I completely forgot about that.  Thanks for reminding us, Ash!

Heartbreaking exchange:

Charlotte:  (re:  Conrad)  “I’ve just never seen him look at me that way before.”

Emily:  “What way?”

Charlotte:  “The way he looks at my mom.”

Damn, Victoria:  Not only did she dupe Conrad into sleeping with her after she was already pregnant with Charlotte (via flashback, we see Victoria looking at her EPT results while the Clarke household is being raided by the authorities), but she also named Charlotte after David Clarke’s favorite aunt (the one that raised him).  And she brought baby Charlotte to his sentencing, so that he’d know that she was his.  Damn, girlfriend.  Too bad that came back to bite you in the a$$ in a major way.  And I suppose the whole thing makes you feel for Conrad.  Well, just a little bit.

We all know how Emily loves her arts & crafts projects.

But seriously?  Isn’t it bizarre that Emily and Daniel are hooking up and now, engaged to be married…and they share a half-sister?  And Emily would be both Charlotte’s half-sister and sister-in-law.  Isn’t there some kind of relation by proxy?  Probably not, but it just feels wrong!

Final thoughts:  Once again, a great episode.  I really hope that the writers can keep it up for the rest of the season!

In the end:  “For some, commitment is like faith…a chosen devotion to another person or in intangible ideal.  But for me, commitment has a shadow side, a darker drive that constantly asks the question:  how far am I willing to go?”  From the looks of it, pretty damned far, Ems.

Until next time…

posted by couchcriticx in TV and have No Comments

Review: Once Upon a Time, “True North” (S1E9)

© 2011 – ABC Studios


(3.5 out of 5 TVs — I was very entertained by this ep!)


Short recap:  This week, we learn about Hansel and Gretel’s backstory.  The Evil Queen deliberately separates them from their father (played by Krycek!) and uses them to infiltrate the “kids only” home of the Blind Witch (played by Anya!) in order to steal a black satchel.  Hansel and Gretel complete their mission (no thanks to Hansel), but instead of helping the children find their father (as she promised), the Evil Queen offers to take them in.  Still determined to find their father, Gretel rejects the Evil Queen’s kind offer.  And since we all know how the Evil Queen hates rejection, she zaps the kids off into the middle of the forest instead of reuniting them with their dad, who the Evil Queen had been holding prisoner.

In our world, the kids, who are still on their own, have never met dad, and dad doesn’t know that they even exist.  Emma, who still remembers her horrible experiences in the foster care system, does all that she can to keep these kids out of foster care, which includes tracking down dear old dad.  But thanks to the curse, dad had no idea he fathered twelve-year-old twins, so he’s naturally resistant to take them in.  Since dad won’t take them and the Queen Mayor has already made arrangements with child services, Emma resigns herself to driving the kids up to Boston in order to be placed in separate foster homes.  But on her way out of Storybrooke, her police car breaks down and she calls in the kids’ dear old dad, who just happens to be a mechanic, for some roadside assistance.  Lucky for the kids, after one good look at them, dear old dad changes his former ideas about parenthood.  Yay!  Another happy ending.  Oh.  And just as Henry says Emma’s really changing things around Storybrooke, a bona fide stranger rolls up with a mysterious (and possibly magical) wooden box.  Say what?!

If Krycek is your dad, don't be surprised if he disappears.

Long a$$ recap:  This episode introduces us to Hansel and Gretel, and their backstory.  While out in the woods looking for firewood, the kids get separated from their father, Papa Krycek.  To make matters worse, they run into the Evil Queen while looking for him.  But because they (and by “they,” I mean Gretel) fight back, the Evil Queen makes them a deal–she’ll help them find their father if they steal a black satchel from the Blind Witch’s house.  Easy, right?  Well, the Blind Witch lives in a gingerbread house that rivals Willy Wonka when it comes to sweets.  The Evil Queen warns them not to eat anything, but Hansel is either too stupid or too hungry to listen.  But lucky for him, Gretel actually pays attention and knows how to display self-control. 

Mmm. That CGI rendering looks yummy!

Once inside the sleeping witch’s house, Gretel heads straight for the black satchel.  But unfortunately, her dumbass brother heads straight for a cupcake and takes a bite.  The bite wakes up the Blind Witch.  And the kids are imprisoned, because Hansel has impulse control issues.  Gretel devises a plan to get them out, but Hansel is pretty much useless, so Gretel pretends to be him and takes his place as the first one to be taken out of the cage and eaten.  Gretel slyly takes the key to their cage out of the witch’s pocket and throws it to Hansel.  He manages to get out and grab a weapon.  But being the useless boy that he is, he trips before he gets anywhere near the witch and she uses her magical telekinesis to send Hansel’s weapon flying.  Lucky for him, the distraction kept the witch from completely typing Gretel’s wrists together, so she frees herself, and the two of them work to throw the Blind Witch into her own oven.  Yay!  But for some reason, the Blind Witch can’t or doesn’t use her magical telekinesis to get herself out of the oven.

"Be quiet! Or Cake Boss will hear you!"

So, the kids run off with the black satchel.  And the Evil Queen, who’s been looking on in her Magic Mirror, finishes the Blind Witch off with a fire bolt of some kind. 

Hansel and Gretel show up at the Queen’s lair and give her the black satchel.  What’s in it, you ask?  A shiny red apple.  (Wonder what she’s going to use that for.)  Useless Hansel whines about all the work that “we” did just for an apple.  (“We”?  It was all your sister, bro.)  But as we know, it’s not just an apple–it’s a weapon.

Anyway, the Evil Queen likes Gretel’s gumption and offers to put them up at her castle, where they wouldn’t want for anything.  Hansel’s eyes light up at the prospect, but Gretel (you know, the one who actually has a brain) refuses the Evil Queen’s tempting offer and says that they’re still going to look for their dad–even if he abandoned them.  That pisses the Evil Queen off, of course (and we all know how well she handles rejection).  So, she sends them off to the middle of the forest.  (Well, at least she didn’t kill them.)

We then find out that Papa Krycek didn’t really abandon his kids, but was kidnapped by the Evil Queen.  When she asks Papa Krycek why the kids (read: Gretel) would turn down the offer to stay with her at her kick ass CGI castle, Papa Krycek spouts some stuff about family that the Evil Queen honestly doesn’t understand.  But at least she doesn’t kill him.  Instead, she sends him off saying, “You can all be together…as a family…as soon as you all find one another.”

"Wait. So family doesn't rip out each other's hearts for evil magic spells?"

Which brings us to the real world.  At the drug store, Henry thinks an older girl (i.e. a twelve-year-old Ava/Gretel) is hitting on him, but Ava/Gretel is really just distracting him so her “not as useless as in the Enchanted Forest” brother, Nathan/Hansel, can sneak some candy and other items into Henry’s backpack.  As soon as they get caught, Henry realizes that he’s been used.  (Ain’t love a bitch, Henry?)  And Henry’s two moms are called in to sort things out.  The Queen Mayor knows her son’s not the thief (and apparently, she thinks Henry doesn’t eat candy–ha!) and takes Henry home.  Emma comes in to collect the wonder twins, who try to play the “our family’s so poor that our phone’s been disconnected” routine.  Unbeknownst to them, Emma’s superpower has come out of its dormancy and she calls them on their shit.  It turns out that they’ve been fending for themselves since their mom died and they have no idea who their father is.  Scarred from a life in the system, Emma doesn’t want to call child services.  So, Emma takes them to Snow’s house until she can figure something out.  However, while trying to find their birth father, she finds out that Queen Mayor has already called child services.  And as sheriff, it’s supposedly Emma’s job to drive the kids up to Boston, so they can be placed in separate homes.  Yikes.  And what?  How is that supposed to happen.  The Queen Mayor knows that the kids can’t leave, right?  Since they’re under her curse and all?

Found by the side of the road by a 7-year-old? I can see why Emma has some issues.

Anyway, Emma now has a ticking clock and scrambles to find the twins’ father.  She finally gets a lead when she takes their dad’s compass (the same one Papa Krycek gave Gretel in the Enchanted Forest) to Mr. Gold’s, and Mr. Gold pretends to look up who “bought” the compass from him and gives Emma the name (although totally knew who it belonged to as soon as he saw it).

Emma catches up with Papa Krycek, who is now a mechanic, and finds out that in our world, the twins were the result of a one night stand, and Papa Krycek never knew that their mom had gotten pregnant.  Since he never even knew he was a father, he’s naturally hesitant to take in a pair of twelve-year-old twins that he’s never seen before in his life.  Emma still tries to convince him otherwise (and drops the bomb:  “I don’t have my kid, because I don’t have a choice.”), but Papa Krycek isn’t ready to go from zero to single parent of two preteens in one scene. 

Meanwhile, the kids are still at Snow’s (“Yes, hiding the twelve-year-olds is a good plan.”  Ha!), so the Queen Mayor tells Emma to do her job and take the kids to Boston.  Emma reluctantly complies, but doesn’t make it that far (or even out of town) before the patrol car engine craps out on her.  And who does she call?  Papa Krycek, of course.  And we know that it’s meant to be, because Ava/Gretel’s compass goes haywire as soon as Papa Krycek’s pickup truck arrives on the scene.  He’s hesitant at first, but once he gets a good luck at them (and Emma tells him about her experiences with Henry), it’s all good.  One more happy ending for the inhabitants of Storybrooke.  Yay! 

Afterwards, when Emma recaps the night’s events to Mama Snow, she finally tells her about Henry’s theory that Snow is really Snow White and that Emma’s her daughter.  Snow jokes that she’d remember if she had a child.  Funny thing is, she didn’t joke about how her child could look older than her.  Anyway, Snow sees Emma’s baby blanket (the one that Snow wrapped Emma in before they put her in the magical wardrobe) and sniffs it.  We see just a flicker of some kind of recognition before Snow blinks it away.

So, Henry. No strangers come to Storybrooke, huh?

The day’s events have hit a little too close to home, so Emma goes out to the patrol car to think and go over her own case file (she was found on the side of the road by a seven-year-old?!).  Henry stops by with some pumpkin pie (earlier in the episode, Emma told Henry a little lie about his father and it involved pumpkin pie) and chats with his mom about what she did for the wonder twins.  ”What you did with Ava and Nicholas…  You really are changing things.”  On cue, a bona fide stranger rides on up on a motorcycle, asking for a place to stay.  Dang.  Things really are a changin’ in Storybrooke!

Overall:  I liked this episode better than last week’s.  Overall, it had a much more complete storyline.  Things got personal for Emma on multiple levels–as an abandoned child, who grew up in the system, and as a young mother, who gave her child up for adoption.  And it’s the first time that we really get a sense that Emma would like to actually raise Henry (and not just pal around with him from time to time).  Snow continues to be quietly awesome and such a rock for Emma.  We even got another glimpse of how incomplete a person the Evil Queen was, even before this whole curse nonsense.  I wish we would’ve seen more of Emma Caulfield as the Blind Witch, though.

You see it, right? The flicker of recognition?

Finally!  Emma tells Mary Margaret that Henry thinks she’s Snow White…and Emma’s mother.  ”I have a kid.  You’d think I’d remember that.”  Ha!

But…  Not much else happened.  Snow does sniff Emma’s baby blanket (the one she made for Emma) and for a second, there’s a flicker of recognition or something.  But she instantly goes back to normal.  Damn.  Is Emma going to have to kiss everyone one by one in order to completely break the curse?

Haven’t seen that in a while:  Emma’s lie detecting superpower is back!  Then again, she didn’t really need it to tell that Ava/Gretel was lying about their home situation.

Evil Queen, that's not exactly a compliment...

But…  Emma can’t tell when Rumpelstiltskin is being dishonest with her.  (Like when he told her that he didn’t have the compass owner’s name committed to memory, but he totally did.)  Is that because of the deal that Snow made with Rumpelstiltskin back in the Enchanted Forest?  (“Just a name, but I generally find that’s all one needs.”)

Favorite Queen Mayor lines:  “Now she’s cavorting with dwarves?  When did that happen?”  “I would’ve gone gravy.”

All isn’t forgiven…yet:

Emma:  “What’s your price?”

Rumpelstiltskin:  “Forgiveness.”

Emma:  “How about tolerance?’

Rumpelstiltskin:  “Well, that’s a start.”

Final thoughts:  Who is the mysterious stranger?  What’s in his wooden box?  Is the existence of Storybrooke common knowledge in the outside world?  What other changes are in store for Storybrooke?  And when are we going to find out the truth about Henry’s dad?

Next time on Once Upon a Time, stranger danger!  Oh.  And it looks like Snow and Charming get it on (or at least try to) in our world.  On the Enchanted Forest side of things, Charming’s a-hole adoptive father, King George, is back, trying to keep Snow and Charming apart.  Anyone else cheering for forbidden love?

posted by couchcriticx in TV and have Comment (1)

Review: The Mentalist, “Always Bet on Red” (S4E11)

© 2011 – CBS Broadcasting Inc.


(4.5 out of 5 TVs – I really liked this ep!)


Short recap:  The CBI team fumbles with the murder of the week, but Jane solves it in like five minutes (but only after he’s done framing a dead guy).  Summer is back and goes undercover with Cho.  (Impressive since she’s only been an informant for a few weeks.)  Grace is still deeply scarred by the events of last season and lets out her inner man hater in front of a suspect.  (It really wasn’t a good idea to let Grace go back to work so soon after killing her own fiance.)  Special Agent Darcy also makes an appearance (finally) and is now working on the Panzer homicide.  Too bad it’s caught Red John’s attention and he’s now found a new plaything in Darcy.  But Jane sets up a suicide victim as Panzer’s vengeful killer in order to close the Panzer murder investigation and save Darcy from a long and painful death at the hands of Red John.

It's about time!

Long a$$ recap:  Summer’s back (and no longer hooking!) and asks the CBI to help out a gentleman friend, who received a death threat.  The assignment doesn’t last too long, though, because her boyfriend’s boat explodes just as he’s yelling at Jane, Cho, and Lisbon for being late.  After a shark snacks on some of his remains, the authorities collect what’s left of his body, and the CBI murder investigation begins!  But that’s not what’s really important.  The most important part about Creek’s death is that it brings Cho and Summer together, again.  Cho and Summer have a few cute exchanges and then, go undercover to find a murder suspect.

But I digress.  The most important part of this episode is the return of FBI Special Agent Darcy, who has taken over the Panzer murder investigation from the SFPD.  But unfortunate for Jane, Darcy finally asks the question that should’ve been asked as soon as they uncovered Panzer’s body:  ”Are you sure the man you killed was Red John?”  Jane says, “No,” and does a little song and dance, which I suppose Darcy kinda sorta believes.  Lisbon then gets on his case about not telling Darcy (or anyone else, for that matter) that he believes Red John is still alive.  But Jane sees no reason to since everyone thinks that he killed Red John and his acquittal was based on that fact.  (Are we conveniently forgetting about double jeopardy, Mr. Jane?)  And the only reason why Jane lured Red John out of hiding in order to take care of Panzer was because Jane didn’t know of any other way to stop Panzer (a.k.a. the San Joaquin Killer).  Damn, that’s cold.  (And what I figured.) 

Thanks for that, Special Agent Obvious.

Anyway, long story short (ha!), Darcy’s involvement in the Panzer case draws out Red John yet again and he sends Jane (via the CBI server) some creepy stalker footage of Darcy and a note:  “She’s cute.  This is going to be fun…”  Lucky for Jane, Van Pelt’s too caught up in her own man hating drama to figure out that the uploaded footage is from Red John.  So, for the rest of the episode, instead of helping Lisbon and the team with the case at hand, Jane finds a way to get Darcy off the Panzer case and out of harm’s way. 

Since Darcy is unwilling to drop the case, Jane ends up framing a dead man as Panzer’s killer (the father of Panzer’s first victim, who conveniently kills himself the day after Jane receives the Red John stalker footage of Darcy).  In order to frame poor Mr. Maier, Jane uses his superior arts and crafts skills, which include the ability to forge a suicide note (that sounds eerily like something Jane would write to his own wife) simply from practicing Maier’s signature on his driver’s license and mimicking his handwriting. 

So, the case is “solved” (in the FBI’s eyes, at least), and Darcy is presumably out of harm’s way.  Although Lisbon expresses concern that Jane may have put himself in harm’s way, because he took away Red John’s perspective plaything (Darcy).  Jane’s not worried, of course.  But for a second, we see the vantage point of someone (probably Red John) spying on Jane and Lisbon from afar.  (Man, Red John’s quite the stalker, isn’t he?) 

You're shitting me, right?

Oh.  Jane solves the homicide case (you know, the one he really hasn’t been working on) by following up on a clue that stumped Lisbon (“What can you buy for $126.38?”).  His follow up includes a trip to the florist, shaking hands, and asking inane questions.  Oh.  And feeling white collar lawyer’s pulse.  That’s it.  Case solved.  (I honestly don’t know how these fools solved any cases before Jane came along.)

Overall:  This may have been the best episode of The Mentalist so far this season.  And it’s no coincidence that the only other really good episode this season was the prequel (of sorts) to this one.  But I think that this one is better, though.  The only major annoyances were the victim’s d-bag partner, Larry, and Larry’s legal counsel a.k.a. the killer.

The good:  Normally, I like The Mentalist episodes that are more standalone, but I enjoyed all the ongoing story lines that they touched upon in this episode.  Darcy and the Panzer murder.  Jane and Red John.  Grace and her PTSD.  Heck, I even liked the Cho and Summer story line.

The awesome:  Minimal Rigsby and his awful American accent!  Yay!

The bad sad:  That suicide note that Jane forged?  “Killing the man, who murdered our daughter, is the best thing I’ll ever do.”  It was as if Jane actually killed Red John and wrote his wife a note to tell her about it.  And the significance of that letter wasn’t lost on Lisbon, either.  Sniff.

"Take it from me. I helped kill my murdering fiance last season."

Is there a lawyer in the house?  Or in the writer’s room?  Clearly, a man who is a founding partner of a seemingly successful law firm would know that it’s not a good idea to have one of his white collar attorneys represent him in homicide investigation.  Either the writers have no clue or perhaps Larry didn’t care to look for a decent criminal lawyer, because he knew he was innocent.

I hate to admit it, but…  Unlike the first time they met, Cho and Summer were pretty cute together this episode.  When they were haggling over her commission?  Adorable.  (And it looks like the actress, who plays Summer, has taken some acting lessons in the interim.  It doesn’t look like she’s eaten, though.)

There it is:  Grace’s rage reared its ugly head this episode.  She needs to stop working so late and face her demons.  She’s also probably going to need therapy for the rest of her life.

Best Lisbon line:  “At least he was dead when, you know, the shark ate him.”

Favorite Lisbon-Jane exchange:

Jane:  (re: Darcy)  “Nice lady.”

Lisbon:  “Nice.  That’s all you’re going to say?  She’s nice.”

Jane:  “Great legs.”

Favorite Lisbon-Cho exchange:

Lisbon:  “What can you get for $127.68?”

Cho:  “You can go crazy at Olive Garden.”

Man, Cho is in rare form tonight.  (Do we have Summer to thank for that?)

Did you see it?  Thanks to Summer, Cho smiled again!  Was is it about Summer that brings Cho’s playful side out?

That reminds me:  What ever happened to Cho’s girlfriend?

Cho should only pay Summer in pizza.

Emergency!  Someone get Summer some food, stat!  They say that the camera adds at least ten pounds.  But even with that, you could see Summer’s ribcage through the back of that dress she wore while she and Cho were undercover.

Wait!  My prayers have been answered! Cho’s taking Summer out for some pizza as part of her informant fee.  Let’s hope that he makes her eat it all.

Cho and Summer’s playful exchange:

Summer:  “So, I asked around.  ‘Did Dersh happen to mention Al’s little secret?’  And by little, I mean big, ’cause he had to know.”

Cho:  “What secret?”

Summer:  “Cost you $1,000 to find out.”

Cho:  “$1,000?”

Summer:  (nods)  “And dinner at a nice restaurant.”

Cho:  “$500 and a pizza.”

Summer:  “$600, no mushrooms.”

Cho:  (tiny smile)  “Deal.”

Unofficial Fringe crossover event?  Are we in a parallel universe this episode?  Because where I come from, there’s a thing called “rigor mortis.”  And that would’ve prevented Jane from getting those lovely fingerprints from Maier’s corpse onto the fake murder weapon.

No, that's not weird, Grace. That's scary.

I see what you did there:  Before discussing the Panzer murder and Red John, Jane gives Darcy and Lisbon lapsang souchang.  You know, the tea he drank right before he killed Fake Red John.

Final thoughts:  This was a really great episode.  I just wish that The Mentalist writers weren’t so uneven with their writing.

Next time on The Mentalist, it’s Jane’s first mob hit.  Here’s to hoping that the episode is at least half as good as this one!

posted by couchcriticx in TV and have Comment (1)