Archive for Reviews
The episode starts with Dale and the rest of the survivors showing up at Herschel’s house. Carl is stable, and the group gives a small ceremony for Otis. It’s a sweet scene, and Shane somewhat makes up for his action by painting Otis as a hero, saying he sacrificed himself to save the deputy and Carl. The intro is also a nice lead-in to what turns out to be a mostly low-key episode.
The Walking Dead – After Shane’s eulogy, the group begins implementing their grand search-party plans, plans which essentially fall through, leaving Daryl to pick up the group’s slack. He embarks once again on his mission to find Sophia and finds a house deep in the woods. Though there’s evidence of recent human activity including some blankets and a opened can of food, Sophia is nowhere to be found. Not to sound callous here, but I’m getting tired of this particular plot line. Carol is a pretty minor character (I suspect that the writers will off her within a couple episodes), and while the prospect of her child out in the woods alone is frightening, the characters’ emotional foundation within the show has been pretty weak; Sophia, at this point, is little more than a plot device.
Herschel doesn’t want guns on the property. Rick and Shane give up theirs, but Andrea, who was given a gun by Dale last week, holds onto hers since nobody knows she has it. Shane suggests that the group set up a shooting range on the outskirts of the property. He also asks Lori if she meant what she said when she asked him to stay. She says she did.
Herschel tells Rick that the group has to leave after Carl gets better. Rick doesn’t object…yet.
Meanwhile, Maggie decides to go to town on a pharmacy run and Rick suggests she takes Glen, the group’s “go-to-town” expert, and, after last week’s mild salaciousness, I think “to town” is exactly where these two are going. On each other.
First though, the survivors needs to remove a zombie they found floating around in one of the wells on the property. Shooting it is out of the question, as the blood may contaminate the water. The brilliant solution they come up with is lowering Glen down into the well and having him rope the walker so the others can drag him out. This plan seems to work well until the pump that’s supporting the weight of the rope breaks, sending Glen on an intense plunge that puts him much closer to the zombie than is comfortable. He does manage to snag the zombie though, but as T-Dog and the rest are pulling the walker out, the body gets stuck on the edge of the well and splits in half, rendering all of their work useless. It’s the most intense scene of the night, but I failed to see its significance. It almost felt like the writers were pandering to the audience here, which is fine, since they don’t do it very often. It was a good scene, but had very little influence on the plot or the character development.
After the well incident, Glen and Maggie hit the pharmacy. After picking up some antibiotics and a mystery item that Lori has asked Glen to retrieve, the two have sex. But it’s not the romantic, sensual experience that one might expect in a deserted pharmacy during a zombie apocalypse. Nope. Basically, Maggie tells Glen that she’ll have sex with him because he’s one of the last men on the planet. Ouch. Poor Glen. He seems to be way more into this than Maggie, and this is confirmed when, riding back to the farm, smelling like sweat, shame, and Vicks Vaporub, she tells him it was a one time deal.
Rick asks Herschel to reconsider his ultimatum, not for the group, but for Carl. Herschel says he’ll consider it, as long as Rick’s people follow the rules. That’s good enough for Rick.
Daryl comes back sans Sophia and gives Carol a Cherokee Rose, explaining that on the Trail of Tears, mothers were so distraught because so many of their their children were dying that the men feared they would lose their strength and not be able to continue. The men prayed to their gods to take the sorrow from the women, and the next day, they saw behind them a trail of Cherokee Roses. I’m hoping this means an end to the search for Sophia. Daryl seems like he’s really the only one actually doing anything to find her, anyway.
The big shocker this week (because it wouldn’t be a proper episode without twist of some kind) is that the mystery item Glen picked up for Lori is a home pregnancy test. Yup. Lori’s pregnant, and in zombie-infested world like hers, a baby might as well be a death sentence.
It was a solid episode, but not one of The Walking Dead’s strongest. Still, it was nice to have a break from the usual level of intensity this show offers week after week, and I’ll be ready to tackle next week’s episode with renewed vigor.
A review of tonight’s “Homeland” coming up just as soon as I’m a victim of your fabulousness…
“What happened to you?” -Lauder
Remember what I said last week about how I’d rather not spend all my time obsessing on whether Brody has or hasn’t turned, if there’s a mole in the CIA, etc., etc., etc.? Well, an episode like “The Good Soldier” – where so much of the narrative is wrapped around a series of polygraph tests designed to uncover a mole – makes that kind of tough, no?
So let’s get that out of the way. First of all, polygraphy is a far from exact science, and there are many ways to beat the machine – even if the machine is operated by character actor and celebrity Twitter wit James Urbaniak. Even if Brody had passed the test without Carrie throwing in the adultery question, I wouldn’t have automatically assumed this cleared him. I know faith in the machine allows for a kind of narrative shorthand in TV shows like this, but still. At the same time, it’s hard not to notice that Saul not only fails the test the first time when asked about slipping Hamid the razor, but has a throwaway line later to Carrie about how he always fails those tests the first time. It could be that Saul is just naturally excitable – as almost any Mandy Patinkin character would be – and this is all a red herring, or it could be that Saul is working for Nazir, with or without Brody.
And everybody’s welcome to play that guessing game if they like. It’s part of a show like this, absolutely. But even with the more obvious attention to the “is he or isn’t he?” question this week, I still prefer to focus my attention on “Homeland” as a character study of two damaged people and the dysfunctional institutions in which they work rather than as a whodunnit where the creators bait a hook and pull me along for a whole season. Not only did I tire of the constant moles working for CTU and/or the White House when Gordon and Gansa were working on “24,” but “The Killing” killed whatever little patience I had left for longform TV whodunnits.
If the resolution of who is and isn’t working for Nazir and what their plan is turns out to be compelling, fantastic. If not, I’ll be busy watching Carrie Mathison find new and compelling ways to demonstrate just how screwed up she is.
In this case, it was the choice to have sex with Sgt. Brody, which was as revealing to us as it was to her. First, it provided further evidence that the sex scenes with Jessica weren’t just there for prurient value, as there’s a marked difference between Brody’s performance in the car with this intriguing stranger and the ones in his bedroom with his wife. And it was just fascinating to see, before they got into the back seat of the car, how much more at ease Carrie seems with Brody than she does with everyone else. Obviously, some of that is the undercover aspect – she’s playing a part for him to gain his trust and gather intelligence – but there’s also a sense that Carrie is genuinely more comfortable with him. Whether that’s because she feels she knows him so well from a month of video surveillance, or because she senses a kindred spirit in him, I don’t know. But Claire Danes and Damian Lewis crackle when they’re together, and as much as I enjoyed those early episodes where it was just Carrie on the couch with headphones on, their scenes together the last few weeks have been tremendous.
Brody’s in a position to sleep with her, of course, because he finally unleashes his rage on Mike at the reception after the memorial for Tom Walker. When you mix alcohol with Brody’s memories of murdering his partner, with the reunion of the old unit (including the disabled, bitter Lauder), with Jessica’s comment about why she and Tom’s widow had a falling-out, it would have been remarkable if Brody hadn’t gone crazy on Mike(*), but the brutality of it was still startling, and isn’t the kind of thing Jessica and the kids are going to be able to easily brush aside.
(*) It may also be that the group Eminem performance just lit his fuse.
I also quite liked our time spent with Faisel and Aileen before he was killed by their handlers. While the longform structure can lead to certain things being strung out, it also allows us more time with characters, and in this case we got to see them as a couple who could flirt, who had different fears and goals and temperaments, and as people, not just Terrorists-with-a-capital-T. Good work there, and I wonder how Aileen is going to keep factoring into things.
What did everybody else think?
What did you think of tonight’s episode of THE OFFICE, “Moroccan Christmas”?
All I can say is DAMN! I feel sooo bad for Andy (aka Puke). I wonder if Angela will call off the wedding now that the whole office (but Andy) knows she’s a tramp? I hope so; I’d like to see her get back with Dwight. There are really only two words to describe Phyllis tonight. Bad Ass! Not only did she finally stand up to Angela, but her Moroccan themed Christmas party was freakin awesome. Creed smoked from a hookah, Andy played a sitar, and Meredith… got wasted and lit her hair on fire
What was great about the whole intervention is that Meredith wouldn’t admit to being an alcoholic (even though she puked in the bathroom and lit herself on fire) but she admits to being addicted to porn. What a rock star! Meredith needs to be the lead singer of a band, not work at a paper company.
Then there is Dwight. I keep waiting for his character to get old, but he just keeps on getting better. Sort of like a Journey concert after several beers. I loved the Schrute family “five fingered intervention” he describes, “Awareness, Education, Control, Acceptance, and Punching”. LOL. I noticed that every episode we learn a new random fact about Dwight. This episode I learned that he can skin a mule deer in less than 10 minutes. He also is a great business man. Be it running a bed and breakfast out of his beet farm or buying up the town’s supply of “Princess Unicorn” dolls, he always seems to have his hand in something.
When I was watching this show tonight, I was thinking how crazy these people are and how this would never happen in real life. Or could it? If you have any funny/crazy stories from a work Christmas party please feel free to share them with me – I love some good office humor. Happy Holidays
I never thought we would see the day when House would return to seeing clinic patients. But, of course, it would take a bet with Wilson to get him there. Never underestimate the man’s sense of competition!
The POTW: The POTW was previously the “happiest, sweetest little girl” who became a “secretive stranger” once she hit puberty and may or may not have attempted to kill herself because she’s over weight and teenagers are little snot-nosed cretins who look for any reason to pick on other kids in order to increase their own self esteem or perhaps to distract themselves away from the fact that their lives are destined for misery marked only by pathetic recollections of their “golden years” between the ages of 14 and 18. What?
In addition to having done some narcotics dabbling and perhaps some heavy drinking, the POTW volunteered at a soup kitchen and had some strange relationship with one of her school torturers, who brings her homework, used to sell her vodka, and was her “secret boyfriend” because he wouldn’t be seen with her in public, but she gave it up and he was into that. Her symptoms range from seizures to a damaged heart and liver, and as the team tries to figure out what’s wrong with her, they go from tuberculosis, to leukemia and consider various transplants before Cuddy gets the epiphany this week and realizes the POTW has eclampsia.
Toxemia of pregnancy, which means the happy and sweet little girl should have been told about condoms. The show looks to end on a double bummer, since the POTW says the baby came early, wasn’t breathing, and so she left it in an abandoned building by the soup kitchen. In addition to that, she’s going to die herself. However, when the girls expresses remorse over having never buried the baby combines with Cuddy’s baby obsession, the head of the hospital goes to the abandoned building to find the body. And, of course, finds that there are squatters in the building who found the baby and have been caring for it themselves. She brings it back to the POTW, who seems grateful and mature despite being a 16 year old with just a couple days to live.
The Clinic: House returned to the clinic in order to prove to Wilson that he could get a patient to give him a gift. Which would mean he would actually have to act like he cared about a patient. His first attempt is with a girl who arrives with a headache. Within a few minutes, House tells her she’s pregnant, based on swollen breasts, a Dramamine patch, and headache. She claims it impossible because she and her fiance are “virgins” and then asks him if it’s possible to get pregnant via toilet seat transmission. And there is just no way I can believe an adult can be that dense.
He tells her that the only way that could happen would be if there was a man’s penis between her and the toilet seat, but she comes back with her fiance in tow demanding that he repeat that it’s possible to get knocked up thanks to unsanitary restrooms. House can’t quite swallow that pill and says she cheated, but agrees to run their paternity test. Several hours later, he shockingly reveals that she is the first case of human parthenogenesis – a virgin birth. Hence, because he helped her lie to her future husband, she sends a gift. What do you get a doctor to thank him for participating in your deception? We never get to know as House tosses wrapped package on Wilson’s gift with a triumphant “I won”!
The Rest Of It: I hate Cuddy’s hair. That’s the most important thing. Cuddy was super involved in the POTW, a fact which caused House to wonder if it was to try and be closer with him or because she was not over the loss of her adoption that never was. It doesn’t much matter the reason, because they still get together like oil and vinegar, leading Taub to quip at one point “This is a good experience for me, as my parents never got divorced”. Other than that, it’s most quiet on the Huddy front.
Less so on the 413 front. Foreman is treating 13 personally with the drugs for Huntington’s despite the fact that it is supposedly a double-blind study. When he bullies another patient – Janice – (played by Lori Petty) by telling her to “get over it” when she complains of stomach aches, 13 confronts him. Only in a far less bitchy way than she has ever confronted anyone else, ever. She does imply that he is just like House, however, which give shim pause. He talks to his research partner, who tells him point blank that the patients are not people, they are numbers. It gives him enough of a jolt to follow 13′s advice and meet with Janice. offer her participation in a lower dose run of the same drug and not actually apologize, but whatever. She rejoins the study and then Foreman and 13 make out.
The end of the episode tries to go for the mega-happy ending, as Cuddy looks over the POTW’s daughter and tells House that the grandparents have all decided it will be too painful to keep the child and have decided to put it up for adoption. Which I am not sure I buy, at all, but whatever. House asks what she’s going to do and she lets him know that she’s already called her lawyer and started the proceedings to become a foster parent and then adopt the baby. House tells her “Merry Christmas” in response, but he seems less than ‘merry’ about it all himself.
I’ve long had my suspicions that the Beatles had a direct line to God, and this week’s Eli Stone did little to disprove the notion. Specifically, it’s “Help” that Eli sees Patti singing during a vision he gets when he goes to the movies with Dr. Chen. Subtle it’s not, I grant you. But it gets the job done.
It’s about Patti’s daughter, Angela. In the vision, Patti tells Eli she’s innocent, so Eli offers his help to Patti almost before she’s heard from her daughter’s roommate that Angela has been arrested. Keith and Eli take the case, and at the arraignment learn that Angela’s been charged with three counts each of drug theft and narcotics trafficking. She’s being accused of stealing Fentanyl — an addictive and powerful opiate — from the hospital where she’s a medical student. Eli, convinced by the vision that Angela is innocent — and he tells as much to Patti — posts the bond for Angela’s $500,000 bail.
Angela absolutely denies the charges. Eli believes her, Keith isn’t really buying it, and Patti looks skeptical. Angela rattles off three very specific drugs and amounts she pulled for specific patients on the night in question, and insists that the charges are all lies. When they’re alone, Keith corners her, trying to get her to admit that she has a problem. She tells him to go to hell if he doesn’t believe her, regardless of his record of bringing his A game to work for guilty defendants when he was in the public defender’s office.
Eli tells Patti the case looks shaky; he’s seen people go to jail on less evidence, but he’ll expand the holes in the DA’s case. In court, a hospital administrator attests to how tightly these drugs are held, and how difficult access to them is — and notes that no one actually saw Angela taking them. Then all hell breaks loose when the prosecutor announces she’s calling as a witness the cop who arrested Angela on her DUI charge. The prosecutor’s theory is that Angela traded Fentanyl for cocaine — which forces Eli to sputter an objection and Keith to demand a mistrial be declared.
Angela admits that she tried cocaine the night she was busted, and names a classmate, Sean Binder, as the one who had the drugs. Keith says he’ll bring him in, but when Eli goes to join the meeting, Keith’s talking to a guy named Mark Young. Who turns out to be Angela’s dealer. When she ran out of money she started trading Fentanyl for cocaine. Keith shows Eli the guy’s cell phone — Angela called him a dozen times last month. We have to plead this, Keith tells Eli, who refuses to believe that this is the right explanation. It was revealed to him, he tells Keith. It’s fine that you believe in certain things, Keith says — unless they keep you from seeing what’s right in front of you. If you don’t accept that this is the truth, we can’t help Angela, he says.
Part of the problem is that Eli, quite rightly, dreads telling Patti that he was wrong. Patti confronts Angela and tells her to come clean and stop lying. I have a lot of problems, and being an addict is one of them, Angela tells her mother — but you never wanted to hear what was really going on because you had an image of me in your head. You put too much pressure on me to be perfect, she says, denigrating the fact that Patti’s a secretary and all she went through to raise Angela. You’re right, Patti says — I worked my ass off so you could have opportunities I never dreamed of. Their fight escalates, and ends with Patti slapping Angela in the face. You didn’t see my problems because you have your own problem, Angela says. In this case, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
Eli tries to talk to Patti, but she spits back that they were wrong to have put their faith in him. Later, Jordan, who’s hanging around the office a lot more because he and his wife have separated — explains: Patti’s problem is alcohol. When she was Jordan’s secretary, she deteriorated until a bar called Jordan to come and pick her up. He told her to get help or be fired. She quit drinking — dry, not sober, Jordan notes, saying that while treatment programs give people tools to cope in times of stress, Patti probably doesn’t have those tools. Eli finds her in the same bar, and they have a great heart to heart — the chemistry between Jonny Lee Miller and Loretta Devine is really wonderful. She blames herself for Angela’s problems — she’s innocent, Patti says. (So that was what the vision meant.) Eli counsels her that she’s got to be there for her daughter — but not like this. You need to want my help, Eli says.
Meanwhile, Angela’s about to skip town when Keith pulls an intervention of his own. Your mom’s right — you aren’t yourself right now, he says. But you can get through this. I know you can fix it.
In the end, Keith cuts a deal with the DA’s office, making right a shady move he pulled when he was a public defender. Angela will get probation following rehab, and 2,000 hours of community service at the free clinic in the Mission District. She’s out of her medical school, but if it’s what she wants later, she can find a way. Patti and Angela reconcile, and each takes responsibility for what she has to do.
On the Matt/Taylor front, things are weird between the not couple. They go together to the first ultrasound, and Taylor does a terrible job at explaining to the doctor who Matt is — noting that their relationship is “undefined.” Later at the office, Matt talks to Maggie about it, frustrated at the extreme discomfort of the afternoon’s appointment. Then he tells Maggie that he’s never told Taylor he loves her — and Maggie being Maggie (though she’s right on this one), she tells him to get on the stick and say something. Matt ends up taking Taylor to a Seal concert — he’s her favorite singer, and he scored tickets through new client Ashley Cardiff (Bridget Moynihan), an heiress who happens to know Heidi Klum. Well, that’s convenient.
At the show, Matt gets up the nerve to tell Taylor he loves her — and it falls flat. She doesn’t respond, which leaves him freaked out. He notes the irony that he of all people is in touch with his feminine side, and tells her she should get in touch with hers. Which isn’t really a fair thing to say. “You’re the dude,” he tells her. Which is really funny. Later, Taylor explains how hard it is for her to share her feelings with anyone, particularly since the last person she really opened up to broke off their engagement. She doesn’t love him… yet. Which is why she didn’t want to just say it, she says. But they’re never gonna survive unless they get a little crazy.
And of course, Seal walks in, playing a guitar and singing. Yeah, it’s hokey, but so what. I’m not a huge Seal fan, but his cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” during the concert is amazing. And props to him for being a sport about being on the show, even if it’s clearly a contrivance that doesn’t fit into the story at all. Also: Why is no one on TV ever trying to get tickets to a Springsteen show? Come on, Boss — give us a little prime time gift, will ya?
Speaking of contrivances, Matt and Maggie’s new client, Ashley Cardiff, is the heiress to an oil fortune, and she wants to start a trust to benefit the arctic wildlife adversely affected by her family’s business. “Not every woman likes to eat moose burgers and shoot polar bears,” she says. Maggie’s less than thrilled by the case, annoyed that she has to deal with the heiress who’s trying to redeem her family’s fortune by buying her way out of it. “What is it about the rich that makes them think they can just buy their way to being good people?” Maggie rants to Matt. Uh, that’d be money, Maggie.
Ashley’s charming and self-aware, and she talks to Maggie about how her family’s business has made her used to not being liked. And obviously, she’s well connected. But just as it seems as though she’s hanging around just to be a way to have Seal’s appearance make sense, she turns out to be the blind date that Chen has been bugging Eli to go on. And from the looks of the preview for next week, we’ll get to see her sticking around for a little bit. About time Eli got to have some fun.
Oceanside Wellness is now competing with Charlotte’s Pacific Wellcare and everyone seems to have a new counterpart to tango with. How will we deal with not one Private Practice, but two? We’ll start with some free food and end with a didn’t-see-it-coming-out-of-left-field hook-up, that’s how.
The women are all complaining about their lack of sex – Violet has no one, Addison (with a new fairly severe haircut) has Kevin, but he’s out of order for a few more weeks, and Naomi is wishing Addison’s brother would swing back through town. They find Charlotte giving away free breakfast to lure in patients to the newly opened Pacific Wellcare, and they snidely remark that no one will fall for that. We cut to Sam and Pete, eagerly eating her free breakfast. They meet Sheldon, who asks if Violet is single.
Later, they see Ray Daniels, a champion cyclist, who is walking with a limp. They poach him from Pacific to Oceanside, and tell him they can have him race-ready in two days. After a quick shot, he hops up on an exercise bike. At that moment, his wife, Monica, (played by, wowzers, Ione Skye!) comes in, clearly unhappy that he’s training. It turns out it’s not just his knee; he has a heart problem. He wants to ride for the prize money because they’re broke. He points out that Sam and Pete said they could fix his knee, and that’s what he wants, regardless of his heart issue. After some treatments, Ray is pain-free, but Pete is having second thoughts. He asks Ray not to race, but Ray says he’s going to, and he’s going to win, and get the money he needs.
The next morning, Pete and Sam are obsessed with watching Ray’s stats, including his heart rate (handy) online. In the last mile, Ray takes the lead, and wins, and then immediately the heart rate monitor disappears. When Sam and Pete arrive at the hospital to find Ray, they’re told he died. Over his body, Pete and Sam discuss their own faults in this case, and wonder if their own egos got involved too much, if they perhaps didn’t do all they could to keep Ray alive. You think?
Cooper has packed up a bunch of Charlotte’s stuff, and brings it up to her new office. Charlotte, who at first seems emotional, says she’s not going to return his stuff, spoils of war, she says, and then pukes into the trash can. Cooper insists she’s pregnant, which she denies while throwing him out of her office. The next morning, she brings pregnancy tests to Cooper, and while they’re waiting for The Results, they discuss names for this imaginary child. The test comes back negative, and both of them seem saddened by it. Their little magical moment dries up.
It turns out Charlotte was sick from the free breakfast. Not pregnant. When she tells Cooper this, and says that it was nice being with him, and she tries again to apologize. He closes her down yet again.
Addison meets with a patient, Leah, a workaholic who finds out that she has ovarian cancer. Addison wants to remove her ovaries and uterus immediately, but Leah absolutely refuses to go ahead with surgery because she wants a child – a child she’s planned and waited for until her career would allow it. She leaves demanding a second opinion. Later, Pacific’s “Dell” comes down asking for Leah’s records for a Dr. Lockhart. Addison marches up to Wellcare, and lays into Charlotte for allowing Leah to have false hope. Dr. Wyatt Lockhart appears, all suavey, calling Addison “Monty”, and explaining about a trial he’s going to run on Leah using different medications instead of surgery. As she’s storming out, Lockhart tells Addison that Charlotte said she was brilliant, but didn’t mention her hotness level. Addison only pauses for a second before continuing the storming-out.
The next morning, Leah comes into Addison’s office demanding her records, upset that Addison didn’t turn them over as she’d wished. She says that the most important thing to her is getting rid of the cancer AND having a baby – something Addison can’t give her with surgery. Addison reluctantly hands over her records, wishing her the best. Later, in the elevator, Addison and Lockhart meet up again. Lockhart invites Addison out to dinner, and then says they could just skip dinner and go to his place. Hello.
Unfortunately, complications arise, and Leah ends up needing immediate surgery. Lockhart isn’t a surgeon, so Charlotte calls on Addison to save Leah’s life. While scrubbing in, Lockhart walks in, and Addison tells him that his careless handling of Leah could cost her her life. Lockhart says that he will save her. On the operating table, Addison promises a crying Leah “we”, as in she and Lockhart, will help her. Even though he isn’t a surgeon, Lockhart proves himself to be handy, and also proves that the tumor is shrinking, through his treatment. When Leah wakes up, Leah tells Addison that she wants to go ahead with the surgery, to save her life.
As she’s leaving, Charlotte asks Addison how Leah is doing, and Addison takes the opportunity to tell her that Lockhart is a reckless SOB. Charlotte says that Lockhart is good for business, out for glory, and arrogant, and that she doesn’t have to like him. Addison says that he sounds like someone who would use insider information from her boyfriend to start her own practice, and that she and Lockhart must be made for each other. Charlotte, the Queen of Mean, breaks down crying. Addison, not getting her big walk out, offers to talk it over, but Charlotte dismisses her. BFFs in the making, I tell you.
That night, again in the elevator, Lockhart tries to turn on the charm again, but Addison says that if he calls her Monty one more time, she’ll plunge a scalpel through his hand. Oh, they’re so going to end up in bed.
Dell is seeing a young patient, Judy, who isn’t sure she wants to keep her baby – she’s been thinking about putting her unborn son up for adoption. Dell gets a brainstorm and calls all the doctors together to discuss starting an impromptu adoption service – they have clients who are always considering adoption, and couples who are having problems conceiving. In fact, Violet already has a couple who are interested in adopting. The next morning, Judy meets with Violet but before she heads in, Dell coaches her on what to say – and he goes a little too far, feeding her the “right” lines. Later, Naomi and Violet meet with the couple to discuss the situation. They’re a little gun-shy since they’ve been through this process unsuccessfully before. Dell then brings Judy in to meet them. That night, a very happy Judy tells Dell that she’s feeling positive – not about the adoption, but about her life in general. She’s excited that they’ve offered to pick up her expenses while she’s pregnant, but she also mentions that Violet said she could change her mind. So, she’s not 100% sure about the adoption. The next morning, Dell talks to Violet about his concerns, and Violet parrots back the same lines Dell fed Judy. Dell asks Cooper about the situation, and Cooper admits that he was adopted. He says that his birth mom wavered, but ultimately made the best decision for her, and for him as well. But Dell is still too worried… and I guess we’ll find out in a later episode what decision Judy makes.
Thoughts and Musings…
- I’m totally Team Sheldon. No matter what. Their date may have ended up on a fizzle, but I have hope for them. No matter what hookup Pete and Violet may have done. No, you read that right. Pete, saddened by Ray’s death, and Violet, saddened that Sheldon couldn’t seem to work up enough self-esteem to date her, hooked up. I can’t see them together though. Can you? Long-term? But, oh, man, wait until the rest of the docs find out next week. Wait until Cooper finds out! Whoo! Hooray for a really good storyline for Violet!
- And I’m totally over Officer Kevin. He’s jonesing to leave. Let him.
- There’s something really funny about Taye Diggs pretending to not know how to ride a bike.
Pacific Wellcare and its band of merry medicals may just be what the doctor ordered for this show. There’s tension not just between Charlotte and Cooper, but also Sheldon and Violet, and Lockhart and Addison, that we’ve been missing. I hope it continues.
From the moment we first met Chuck on Pushing Daisies, we’ve known that she’s something of an adventurous soul, and that circumstances — her father’s death, her agoraphobic aunts and, you know, her death — prevented her from living those adventures.
Wednesday’s episode dealt directly with the life Chuck hasn’t lived, and while there was the usual amount of visual playfulness and verbal brilliance, it also went a little deeper. And was that much better for it.
These spoilers come wrapped in a kicky new raincoat.
Because the people Ned reanimates only stay alive for 60 seconds, and he and Emerson are usually peppering them with questions about how they died during that time, we don’t get much insight into how they feel about being alive again. (Chuck is the obvious exception, but she’s a special case in a lot of ways, not least for her perpetually sunny outlook on life.) The return of Chuck’s dad, however, has let the show explore that a little more, and Charles Charles’ salty reaction to his new life has been pretty cool to watch.
I would agree, at least a little bit, with Chuck’s assertion tonight that part of her father’s animosity toward Ned is a normal dad’s reaction to his little girl having a boyfriend. Ned’s more right, though, in noting that their circumstances make the stakes way higher — pitchfork-toting mob higher, should their secret get out.
Emerson, insightful dude that he is, tells Ned that the elaborate stayin’-alive rules he and Chuck use aren’t going to suit a man like Charles Charles, world-traveling war veteran that he is. In fact, he lays down an ultimatum to the intimidated Ned: I’ll play by your rules, so long as you never see my daughter again. That, of course, doesn’t fly, and equally unsurprisingly, Mr. Charles catches them plastic wrap-kissing, which leads to a tussle (or more like a scuffle) between the two men and hurt feelings on all sides.
The way Charles Charles sees it, his daughter has a choice: pie or cake. Pie, he says, is just a simple pastry filled with something, whereas cake is layered and mysterious. The little girl he knew would have chosen cake and all its attendant adventures — so why doesn’t she do that now? he asks. We can go anywhere we want and do whatever we please. You would have to think that for Chuck — who died the first time when she was finally trying to have one of those adventures — such a prospect would be mighty tempting.
Fortunately for Ned, though, Chuck has found that her “lock-and-key” life is a different kind of adventure, and she realizes that her dad is still trying to be the parent she needed when she was 8 years old. So she chooses pie (yay!) — but her dad is still a cake man, and the last we see of him, he’s driving off to who knows where.
This feels like the start of a really interesting arc for Pushing Daisies. I hope, for our sake, that Bryan Fuller and Co. can bring this story around to some kind of conclusion in the little time we have left with the show.
I know I haven’t mentioned the case of the week, which like last week was at a pretty complete remove from the ongoing story. But the unlikely P.I. team of Cod and Snook brought their own goodness to the party as well.
The murder of Papen County’s lighthouse keeper wasn’t especially difficult to solve — especially if you follow the Most Famous Guest Star theory (Mary Kay Place, in this case). But the scenes with Place’s condescending widow and single girl Olive had me cracking up (as I’ve said before, angry Olive = comedy), and the idea of a future partnership between Emerson and Olive — should the burden of working with her true love Ned ever prove too burdensome — is an intriguing one.
And, OK, I nearly fell off the bed when Olive chest-bumped Emerson. Or chest-to-stomach bumped. Chi McBride is a legitimately big man (probably about 6’3″ or 6’4″) and Kristen Chenoweth you can basically put in your pocket. It wasn’t the most elaborate bit of physical comedy, but man, did it work.
A couple other highlights:
- Young Elliott McQuoddy was played by Alexander Gould, whom you may know from his consistently funny work on Weeds.
- I loved Olive’s explanation for how she knew the significance of the Dutch love spoon: “I’ve read the entire Harlequin library.” Seems about right.
- Once again, Josh Randall did some good work as Charles Charles, even though his face was entirely obscured by bandages and sunglasses. Maybe it’s his voice, but he managed to project an awful lot for someone with no facial expressions.
- Just for the record: Metaphors aside, I’ll take pie over cake. Apple, blueberry, pecan, cherry, pumpkin … yeah. I’ll take pie.
Top Chef: New York asks the big questions this week: What’s worse, boring food or bad food? Who’s more blameworthy, someone who came up with a half-assed idea and sees where he went wrong, or someone who defiantly insists that the dish was good? Is there such a thing as ego-reduction surgery, and can we send a couple of cheftestants in for emergency treatment?
Something old, something new, something spoilered, something blue.
Palate test! The cheftestants combine name-that-ingredient with a bracket-type tournament to discover who has the most refined taste. They graduate from a 30-ingredient shrimp and lobster bouillabaisse to a Thai green curry soup to a Mexican mole.
Stefan enjoys looming and smirking and pushing people’s buttons. Stefan bugs. Stefan, Hosea and Carla end up in the final round, and Carla gets booted when she guesses peanut butter in the mole. Stefan and Hosea guess back and forth for a while, and then Stefan throws out tomato paste, which gets the buzzer. Hosea guesses oil — then is able to correctly identify it as vegetable oil. Isn’t the whole point of vegetable oil that it’s nearly tasteless?
Hosea is thrilled that he out-palated the ego monster. He’s even happier that he gets immunity.
Here comes the bride!
For the elimination challenge, the chefs are divided into four teams and are told they’ll cook a course for Gail’s bridal shower. The teams have themes based on that old rhyme – something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
Team Old (Jeff, Hosea and Stefan) do variations on heirloom tomatoes. There are immediate clashes when Stefan tries to order everyone around. He’s particularly dismissive of Jeff’s plan to do a tomato sorbet.
Team New (Daniel, Eugene and Carla) goes off the rails fast. First, Daniel says that pickles seem particularly new to him — which is odd, because pickling is all about preserving food so it lasts a long time, thereby becoming old. They then switch to sushi — but it will be new sushi, because it will be cooked and involve steak! Carla is dubious, but she doesn’t say anything
Team Borrowed (Jamie, Rahdika and Ariane) decide to “borrow” from Rahdika’s culture, doing Indian-inflected dishes. They’re simultaneously borrowing Jamie’s special ingredient — vadouvan, a spice mix that’s like a French interpretation of curry. Rahdika is unhappy — again, she’s worried about being pigeonholed as the Indian chef — but she doesn’t seem to object.
Team Blue (Fabio, Melissa and Leah) realize that no food that occurs in nature is actually blue. Instead, Fabio convinces them to do an ocean theme with Chilean sea bass. Snore.
Things get ugly for Team New: Eugene’s rice comes out mushy, and instead of pitching it, he decides to add chili peppers to rehabilitate it into something palatable. The team decides to do deconstructed sushi, so the guests can build their rolls to their taste, and cement that plan when Stefan pooh-poohs it. During plating, Daniel has the bright idea to add mushrooms to Carla’s salad — which he does without telling her, or letting her taste them. Again, Carla doesn’t speak up.
Team Borrowed has a moment of panic when it looks like Ariane’s lamb is going to be undercooked. They leave it in a few more minutes, and then all the cheftestants pitch in at plating to make sure the dish gets out on time. Wow — folks must really like Ariane if they’re willing to do that for her.
The guests love Team Old’s dishes — particularly Jeff’s tomato sorbet. The only dish they’re not thrilled with is Stefan’s terrine, which is called rather bland. Hah! Guests also adore Team Borrowed’s lamb, which they praise as perfectly cooked. Heh.
Team New screws up all over the place. Eugene forgets to tell the guests how they’re supposed to construct the sushi, and everyone is confused. The only instruction they do get it that they should eat the Daniel’s yuzu sorbet last, which ensures that it will be melted. The mushrooms Daniel added to Carla’s salad are pretty dire. Eugene and Carla know things are bad. Daniel is oblivious.
Team Blue makes a strategic decision to have Fabio address the guests. It’s a wise choice — he charms the pants off the 43 women at the table, who even applaud his lame explanation that the yellow of the corn puree plus the green of the Swiss chard makes blue. (Um, I don’t think the spectrum actually works that way…). Once Fabio, his charm and his adorable accent leave the room, the guest admit that while the flavors are good, the food all shares a very mushy texture. One person calls it “old people food.” Yipe.
The Judges Table
The judges pick Teams Old and Borrowed as their favorites, and particularly praise Jamie’s vadouvan spices carrots, Jeff’s tomato sorbet (hah! The sour look on Stefan’s face when THAT is announced!) and Ariane’s lamb. The winner is… Ariane, which shocks everyone, especially Jamie. “None of us expected anyone but me to win.” If you say so, Jamie…
The judges ask Blue why they played it so safe, and Fabio starts to spin a line about how hard it is to perfectly cook 40-odd pieces of sea bass. When he sees the judges aren’t buying it, he wisely shuts his mouth. Team Blue is safe.
That leaves Team New. Carla admits she had misgivings, but she declines to place blame. That’s classy. However, the judges spank her for not raising her objections during the cooking process. Eugene admits that he forgot to give instructions, and that upon reflection, he should have ditched the rice instead of trying to rehabilitate it. Daniel admits that he spiked Carla’s salad with mushrooms… but he sees nothing wrong with that, or any of the dishes they presented. He thinks they were all great! For that failure of taste, he gets booted.
Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends
- I object that they allowed people to pick “salt” in the palate test. Who can cook without it? If they had to pick the KIND of salt — and yes, I have been to salt tastings, (where, I admit, I was utterly unable to differentiate between the pink salt and the black salt and the salt that came out of a box) — then I would be impressed.
- Stefan is apparently crushing on Jamie, despite the fact that he is definitely not her type. He shows his love by … making pants for her teddy bear? Threatening her with kisses? “Does the word lesbian mean anything to you?” Jamie interviews. Apparently, it means “Hey, look! A challenge!” Sigh.
- Jamie sort of puts up with Stefan, but the rest of the women seem to hate him. Carla is horrified when Stefan tries to negotiate a kiss with Jamie, Leah talks about how disagreeable he is, and Rahdika says “I would rather be on Satan’s team than Stefan’s team.” Heh.
- The men aren’t much happier with Stefan. Stefan tries to force Hosea to choose a particular type of tomato for his gazpacho, and he argues vehemently with Jeff about the sorbet. So it was particularly satisfying when Jeff’s sorbet took him to the top three.
- Fabio again provides a wealth of entertainment. He admits that his role is to distract the women with his accent and charm. After the yellow-green-blue thing, he crows “Hah! They bought it!” Hee!
- Plus there’s this winner of a Fabio quote, when Papa Bear Tom starts stalking the kitchen: “Colicchio is for me, it’s like you are the priest and he is the Pope.” That’s right – Tom’s the sexy, bear-friendly, intimidating-yet-somehow-cuddly Pope of New American Cuisine.
- Daniel, on he other hand, is not half as charming as he thinks. “I think they’re going to love [our dish]. I think they’re going to dance with it, I think they’re going to start taking their clothes off, and start eating.” Um, no. HELL no. Like, “Stefan converting a lesbian” no. Not going to happen.
Trouble finds the Darling family like a moth finds a flame — and on this week’s Dirty Sexy Money, the main source of trouble is hell-bent on revenge. And nothing short of that will do.
I swear to uphold the spoilers ahead…
The main source of tension for the Darlings — at least for Tripp, Patrick, and Nick — is Ellen’s brother, Chase. His wife left him, taking the kids, and he’s spreading his story that Patrick murdered Ellen. Now, with this family, often the most outlandish explanation is the correct one, but as we know in this case, Patrick really is innocent. Chase surfaces just as Patrick’s “inauguration” is about to take place at Federal Hall in New York. (Pssst. Senators take an oath of office, but only presidents get “inaugurated.” Civics 101.) Nick is dispatched to try to talk with Chase, and swears that everything he did on behalf of the Darlings was out of compassion, not guilt.
Chase isn’t buying, and over the course of the episode his manner becomes more intense and his behavior becomes more erratic. He goes to see Carmelita at the beauty salon where she works upstate, and tells her that he’s going public with the story that Patrick killed his sister. As usual, Carmelita is the only one with any real judgment or integrity. She tries to talk Chase down, and goes to Patrick to tell him of the impending problem of Chase. Patrick’s so thrilled to see her that he hatches a plan for her to be at his ceremony, and the two have a private lunch to talk. He wants to go public with their relationship, he tells her. It’s not just going to be the start of his first term in office, but the start of a new life for them, he tells her.
And no one can leave the Chase situation well enough alone. Ever the one to jack things up disproportionately, Nola suggests a psychiatric hold, even threatening to commit Chase if he doesn’t pipe down. Nick fights to give him another chance and to handle the situation on his own. And he’s making progress in another meeting with Chase, talking about how he knows first-hand the kind of destructive influence the Darlings can be. Then, of course, the cops show up and haul Chase off for psychiatric observation. Yeah, always good to make the unbalanced guy even more mad.
Separately, Nola’s serving another cause: Simon Elder. He gets her to steal a confidential file from Patrick for information about why the approval for Simon’s clean, non-toxic biofuel has been held up. Jeremy walks in as she’s snagging the file, and gets suspicious above and beyond his need to press the issue that he and Nola are still crazy about each other. Later, in a hilariously bad incognito disguise, he follows Nola and sees her with Simon. He confronts Nola, who after convincing Jeremy that she and Simon aren’t being, ah, intimate, tells him that Simon’s essentially blackmailing her — he’s got her brother and she doesn’t know where he is. Gallantly, Jeremy takes on Nola’s cause, determined to take care of things for her. Later on Simon, with breathtaking cruelty, dangles contact with her brother in front of Nola, only to snatch it away.
Meanwhile, puppetmaster Tripp has a hand in everything, even though he denies it, and he and Simon finalize their partnership agreement — which upsets Brian a great deal. This foray into Darling Enterprises hasn’t given him what he wants, he says. Between Tripp’s half of the company, Simon’s half, and “Saint Nick” waiting in the wings, there’s really nothing for him. So he goes to Tripp and quits.
Brian’s got much more on his mind anyway. He’s at Andrea’s bedside, refusing to admit that she’s dying, and that the experimental drugs she’s on aren’t working. There’s a beautifully played scene between Glenn Fitzgerald (love getting to see more of him) and Sheryl Lee in which she demands that he acknowledge out loud what’s happening to her. She needs him to focus and face the facts, so that she’ll know he’s strong and capable enough to take care of their son when he dies.
Outside her room, Brian runs into the bishop he used to work for. His six-month penitential retreat is up, and he’s going to need to make a decision about whether or not he’s going back to the church. Of course, Brian can never handle a bad situation without turning on someone, and he tells the bishop to tell God that what he puts people through, first dragging them through time and space and then making them suffer, really sucks.
But his resentment notwithstanding, Brian goes to church to talk to God. “She’s dying. She thinks she’s ready,” he says. “But here’s the thing: I’m not, and neither is our kid. You want me to pray, I’ll pray. Please don’t take her.” She has too much life ahead of her to go now, Brian says. And if God wants him back, Brian needs a sign. And when he goes back to the hospital, we find out that Andrea’s gotten a little bit better. For the first time, the drug seems to be working, and there’s reason to hope. Of course it’s too easy, but I like Brian and I like this storyline, so I’m in. He goes back to church. “OK, OK, you friggin’ win,” he tells God. Then he tells the bishop, who’s curious about his decision to come back, that he wants his job. Nice to see that Brian hasn’t stopped being Brian.
Brian and Chase aren’t the only ones tossing resentment around like Molotov cocktails. Karen opens the episode by going through her closet, getting rid of everything Simon gave her or liked. “I do it after every marriage,” she tells Nick. But since this one didn’t happen — thanks to Nick — it’s not really a marriage. “Your medal of heroism is on its way,” she sneers. And the fact that she’s getting her Darling Enterprises stock back isn’t even cold comfort.
After a conversation with Letitia and Jeremy, Karen comes to realize that Nick was acting in her best interests, and she goes to his apartment to talk to him. And finds the door ajar. Here’s a lesson for you, kids: If you go to an apartment — yours or someone else’s — and the door is ajar and you weren’t expecting it to be, don’t go in. Karen does, and of course Chase, who overpowered his police guards, took the van and the cop uniform and went to confront Nick, is there. Wild-eyed, he takes Karen hostage by pointing a gun in her face. He tells her that Ellen hated her, and that she used to make fun of her. He tells her that the Darlings stand for something that could never make normal people happy, and they’ll be sorry.
When Chase’s phone rings, Karen sees an opportunity and makes a run for it — only to be cold-cocked in the temple by Chase’s gun when he catches up with her. As Patrick is telling Tripp and Nick about his plans to go public with Carmelita at the swearing-in ceremony, he gets a call from home. It’s a dazed Karen, who has blood running from her temple and sounds disturbingly injured. Nick puts two and two together, gets police to his house after Karen passes out and cancels the ceremony when he learns Chase is there and is a threat.