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Once Upon A Time: ‘Red-Handed’

“I’m pretty sure I’m just going to screw it up. I mean, I’ll screw it up with flair, but…”

Since the pilot of this show, one of the stories I have most been looking forward to is Red Riding Hood’s, perhaps because she is such an iconic fairy-tale character. This week, we finally got it and it certainly wasn’t a disappointment. It had everything a great episode should have: humour, character development, shocking twists and turns, a good standalone story and developments in the overarching plot.

Before this episode, all we’d really seen of Red was a few glimpses connected with the Snow/James story, and all we’d seen of Ruby was that she was a waitress in Granny’s. This week, we got a lot more development for both aspects of this character, and I hope we get to see more of her in the future as she turned out to be a very interesting and enjoyable character to watch. As well as having some great dialogue (although that may be to do with the fact that this was a Jane Espenson episode), such as the above quote, she also has very unique talents connected with the shocking revelation that (in the Fairy Tale Realm at least) she is a frickin’ werewolf!

I have mentioned on multiple occasions how much I like it when this shows gives us a twist on the original fairy tales and this one was one of the most satisfactory yet, as we discovered that Red Riding Hood is also the Big Bad Wolf. Despite being Red Riding Hood’s story, the plot in the Fairy Tale Realm this week was actually more similar to the tale of Peter and the Wolf, especially considering that Red’s boyfriend was called Peter. Much like in that story, Peter (and Red) lives in a village which is being terrorised by a wolf, causing the residents of that village to go out in hunt of it at night. Also like in Peter and the Wolf, Granny (in place of Peter’s grandfather) keeps Red (in place of Peter) locked in the house to keep her safe from the wolf. Where the story differs is that it turns out that Granny wasn’t keeping Red in to protect her from the wolf, she was keeping her in to prevent her from turning into the wolf and attacking the townsfolk.

Naturally, it all goes wrong. Red finds Snow hiding in the chicken coop and lets her stay at her house while she’s on the run. There, Snow convinces Red to ignore her Granny’s instructions and go after true love with Peter, and Red decides that the only way to do that is to find the wolf and kill it. As she follows the trail of the wolf she discovers that it leads back to her house, and assumes that Peter is the wolf. She tells him that and ties him up so that he can’t hurt anyone, but unfortunately she is the wolf and attacks and kills him. She then runs away with Snow before the townsfolk can find and kill her.

It’s a fantastic and original retelling of the story, and provides a great background for Red. This episode was more about introducing us to Red’s personality and shocking us with Red being the Big Bad Wolf than it was about showing us the effect that knowledge has on Red and her reaction to it, so I hope we get more of her in the future where this can be dealt with.

In Storybrooke this week, there was a less shocking story line but perhaps one with more in the way of character development. Ruby quit her job at Granny’s in order to go out and have adventures, and ended up working with Emma at the Sheriff’s station. The main purpose of this plotline was to allow Ruby to realise that she isn’t as useless as she thinks is, and also to show us some of Ruby’s special abilities, like enhanced hearing and smelling, and how they can be used to ‘solve crime’. Hopefully these will be used again in the future as they seem quite useful.

The background-esque plot this week was once again following Emma investigating the disappearance of Kathryn, although it was very connected with the main plot as Ruby was helping her. By the end of the episode, she had found a box containing a heart presumably belonging to Kathryn which had Mary Margaret’s fingerprints on it. This is clearly a set up, and Regina seems to be the obvious suspect considering the use of a heart. Could Kathryn still be alive without a heart, like Graham was? Is one of the hearts that Regina owns Kathryn’s? I look forward to seeing where this plot goes, and how Mary Margaret is going to get out of the situation she’s in.

Other thoughts:

  • The title card this week featured Red walking away.
  • A wolf can be heard howling outside Granny’s near the beginning of the episode. Is it the same one from The Heart is a Lonely Hunter? Is there any connection between that wolf and Red/Ruby?
  • August tells Ruby that he visited Nepal and there were prayer temples overrun by lemurs. According to my very quick research, lemurs and endemic to Madagascar, which raises the question of why the mistake? Is it perhaps indicating that he actually hasn’t ever left Storybrooke, or is there some other significance?
  • Peter threatens “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow the-“, which is of course the threat the Big Bad Wolf makes in The Three Little Pigs.
  • Snow tells Red her name is Margaret then Mary, which is presumably where her Storybrooke name came from.
  • Emma says that “buses out of town don’t really happen”, which makes sense seeing as no one can leave.
  • In the Fairy Tale Realm, Granny’s ‘real’ name is Widow Lucas.
  • Granny’s six older brothers were veterans of the Second Ogres War. There is presumably also an Ogres War going on ‘at the moment’, as we have seen human Rumpel’s in the war and also Belle’s kingdom.
  • What’s going on with David’s memory losses? Is it Regina’s doing, or is there some lasting effects from the curse and him being unconscious when it happened?
  • Ruby tells Henry that she wouldn’t do a job taking things to people as she can’t ride a bike, and when he suggests not using a bike she says that she’s “not sure that’s a real job”, clearly referencing the original Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale.
  • Red tells Peter that she knows where to get rope. Where?
  • One of my favourite lines this week was Emma’s reaction when Henry told her that Ruby was Red Riding Hood: “With the little basket? Yeah, she seems like a badass.”
  • Granny says she got a wizard to enchant Red’s cloak to prevent her turning into a wolf. Is there any significance to this wizard? Is it Rumpelstiltskin?
  • Granny uses a silver-tipped arrow to stop Red. Traditionally, silver is the only thing which works against werewolves.
  • “Emma was my lemur”

Like last week’s episode, this one wasn’t especially significant in moving the overarching plot forward but it did provide a fantastic standalone story and some great character moments. It was great to see more of Red/Ruby’s backstory and I look forward to seeing more of this character in the future.

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TV of the Week: 07/07/2012

NCIS

Season 8, Episode 21

‘Dead Reflection’

In last week’s episode of NCIS, we were introduced to the Port-to-Port killer and the episode ended with Tony finding an eyeball in his drink. I was hoping, although not necessarily expecting, that this episode would continue with that plot, but instead it returned to a stand-alone episode with the Port-to-Port plot being put in the background. Despite that, this was an enjoyable episode as the team investigated a murder committed by a man who had been killed days before it. It was quite unbelievable, and very Mission: Impossible as Tony said, but it still made for a good episode.

One interesting thing which happened this week was the introduction of EJ’s team. Both of the new characters look like they will be fascinating to watch interact with Gibbs’s team, as we have Simon Cade making McGee jealous over his dinner with Abby, and Gayne Levin (Alimi Ballard, Numb3rs) making Tony jealous over his closeness with EJ and his film knowledge. I hope they stick around for a while, as it is nice to have another team at NCIS headquarters and it leads for more potential ‘inside men’ for the Port-to-Port killer.

The best thing about this episode, however, was the clash between Gibbs and Tony. Gibbs has a very clear rule against co-workers dating, which set him at odds with Tony over his relationship with EJ. Their conversation at Gibbs’s home was fascinating to watch as they are very close and depend on each other, but neither of them are willing to change their viewpoints about dating co-workers and it led to some great dialogue and acting. It was a shame that they were interrupted before they could deal with it all, but it does mean that presumably there is more to come in the future, which I look forward to.

While perhaps not as good as last week’s, this week’s episode was still strong and, as well as having a good stand-alone plot and some great character moments, it did make a little progress on the overarching serial killer case. The eye from Tony’s drink can open MTAC, which implies that the victim is connected with NCIS somehow, so I look forward to seeing where the plot will go next episode.

Leverage

Season 4, Episode 6

‘The Carnival Job’

While the cons in Leverage are always enjoyable to watch, the best elements of this show are the ‘human’ ones, which was why The Van Gogh Job was so good and also why I loved this week’s episode. The team are in the middle of conning a mark when suddenly the mark’s daughter is kidnapped and the team have to somehow get her back safely. One thing that this episode showed was that, while often the team are quite light-hearted about what they do, when they have something serious to do they can really come together and do great things, like saving the daughter.

All the characters had great moments in this episode, but it was really Eliot who shone. We’ve seen a little in the past how good Eliot is with kids, and that returned this week as he befriended the daughter, Molly, pretty much immediately by showing her how to beat the ‘rigged’ games of the carnival. Speaking of Molly, she was quite an awesome character: spunky and brave, but also realistic for someone in her position. I don’t expect we will see her again, but nonetheless I enjoyed her in this episode.

The plot itself was enjoyable to watch as well, although not as good as the character moments. The early parts of the con were very typical elements of a con, with the team pretending to be decorators there to redesign the mark’s house, but it really picked up after Molly was kidnapped and the team had to work to free her. The eastern-European housekeeper being part of the kidnapping was bit clichéd and predictable, but the rest of this plot was great, from Parker taking over the sniper’s nest on the Ferris wheel to Eliot getting beaten up and then managing to beat the Russians in the Hall of Mirrors.

Overall, this was by far one of my favourite episodes of Leverage. It had the perfect blend of plot, characters, humour and drama. I loved Parker and Hardison arguing about the Parker2000, Eliot bonding with Molly, and so many other aspects of this episode. I hope we get many more episodes of Leverage like this in the future.

Grimm

Season 1, Episode 21

‘Big Feet’

This was a decent episode of Grimm, although with it being the penultimate episode of this season I was hoping for something a bit ‘bigger’ and linked with the already introduced plots. This was actually a fairly stand-alone plot, and although some of the developments in this episode might have repercussions in future episodes, I would have preferred it if the show dealt with some already existing plotlines instead of introducing new ones.

The plot of this episode centred on some of Monroe’s friends losing control of their Wesen side and ’falling off the wagon’ due to a drug they had been using.  It wasn’t revolutionary as plots go, but it did show the difficulties that Monroe faces by being a good guy and also served to make steps towards both Hank and Juliette finding out about Wesen and Nick’s position as a Grimm.

I don’t actually have anything more to really say about this episode. It was decent, but slightly lacklustre for the penultimate episode of this season. I hope the next episode, the Season 1 finale, is able to live up to the earlier parts of the season and be as great as the show has been at points before now.

A Town Called Eureka

Season 5, Episode 8

‘In Too Deep’

Since Holly was transferred into SARAH’s mainframe last week it has become very busy at Jack’s house and this week dealt with the effect that that was having on Jack and Allison’s relationship. To be fair, this wasn’t the only cause, but it did highlight the issues which exist between the couple. While all this was going on, it was a day of pranks at Global Dynamics which unsurprisingly ended up going wrong, and Jack and Allison ended up trapped in a immobile submarine. Altogether, this made for a very good episode.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a huge fan of the relationship between Jack and Allison, but it’s clear that they are the relationship we are supposed to root for and so I do want them to be happy. Still, I did enjoy the confrontations they had while they were trapped. Allison was clearly having second thoughts about getting married, for a variety of reasons/excuses, and it was good that they were finally brought out into the open. At the heart of it, Allison was worried that if their relationship didn’t work out then they would never be able to go back to being friends, sort of like Xander in Hell’s Bells on Buffy. Fortunately, by the end the couple had resolved their issues and got married in the submarine. I wonder where this plot will go now.

Also on this week, we discovered that Holly is (once again) dying. I must admit, I am slightly fed up with the “Holly’s alive, now she’s dead, now she’s alive again, now she’s dead again, now she’s alive again, now she’s dying again” plot, but it will be interesting to see where it goes. I do hope that she isn’t killed off again, or else what was the point in bringing her back in the first place. Still, it will be interesting to see how this plot will develop.

To conclude, this was a very enjoyable episode with a great standalone plot but also some fantastic character development. Allion and Jack are now married, Zane and Jo are on track, but Holly is dying once again, and I look forward to see where all these plots will be taken for the last few episodes of this fantastic show.

Once Upon A Time: ‘Dreamy’

“You can do anything as long as you can dream it”

Despite being mostly filler, this was actually an enjoyable episode of Once Upon A Time which focused on a recurring character that we haven’t seen that much of so far: Leroy/Grumpy. We were briefly told Grumpy’s story back in 7:15 AM, although that story seems to come after what we saw this week. Like many of the stories in this world, Grumpy’s was all about love and loss, and also about dreams as we learnt that Grumpy’s original dwarf name was Dreamy.

The episode started in the Fairy Tale Realm, as we saw a fairy (Amy Acker!) spill some fairy dust on an egg from which Dreamy was hatched. I love how the dwarves are hatched rather than born; it’s little things like this that make the show so charming. Because of the fairy dust, Dreamy was dreaming of the fairy, Nova, even before he was hatched and when he finally meets her he falls in love with her, and she with him. They make plans to run away together but unfortunately, because apparently the mines are like the Night’s Watch and dwarves aren’t allowed to fall in love, Dreamy is convinced by Bossy and the Blue Fairy that he can’t leave with Nova and breaks it off with her, which turns him from Dreamy into Grumpy. The conversation in question is incredibly emotional and fantastically acted by both Lee Arenberg and Amy Acker, and is one of the highlights of the episode.

Meanwhile, in Storybrooke it is Miners’ Day and Mary Margaret is helping the local nuns, including Astrid i.e. Nova, sell candles. Leroy meets Astrid and falls in love with her, and tries to help her fix her problem of not having enough rent to pay Mr Gold. Initially he and Mary Margaret try and sell candles but because they are “the town harlot and the town drunk” nobody is willing to buy from them. Leroy then tries to sell his boat to Mr Gold, but that doesn’t work either, and eventually Leroy realises how they can sell the candles: he blows the power at the festival so that there are no lights. Everybody buys a candle, and Leroy ends up in Astrid’s good graces.

The Storybrooke plot itself is fairly inconsequential, with the main purpose being simply to show us how everybody hates Mary Margaret and then to convince her that she could be worse off because she does at least have the memories of good times with David. Nonetheless, it is a fairly enjoyable plot even if it isn’t massively significant and it does provide some great moments. For example, Mary Margaret thinking that Leroy was going to jump off the building and his response “I’m not going to jump […] Are you crazy? I could hit someone. You know how much damage I could do? I’m solidly built.” is hilarious, as is Mary Margaret asking Emma is she looks more sympathetic with or without a scarf, Bossy saying “You’re going to trust a dwarf that got his medical degree from a pickaxe?”, and Mary Margaret realising Leroy is in love with a nun.

The background plot this week was of Emma and Sidney Glass investigating Kathryn’s disappearance. We still don’t know what happened, but it looks like Regina was somehow involved and now Sidney is giving Emma false phone records in order to set David up. We also saw the return of Emma’s “I can tell when someone’s lying” powers, which are incredibly useless. She hasn’t any idea that Sidney is playing her, nor has she ever noticed any of the other lies people have told her in recent weeks. She can however tell that David is telling the truth and takes him in for questioning anyway because of the phone records. She really is a useless sheriff.

Other thoughts:

  • The title card this week featured the dwarves with their pickaxes, although only seven of them, which is strange considering Stealthy should still be with them.
  • The magic of the fairy dust powers the world, apparently. Could that be significant for the future plots of the show?
  • The dwarf who was watching the eggs is Watchy, and his boss is Bossy. They’ve got really original names.
  • Both Emma and Mary Margaret were wearing their beanie hats this week, and scarves. It must be very cold in Storybrooke.
  • The fairy is called Nova. According to Wikipedia: “A nova is a cataclysmic nuclear explosion in a white dwarf star”.
  • Bossy tells Dreamy that the dwarves whistle while they work, clearly referencing the song from the Disney movie, and that tune is actually whistled during the episode. Also, at the end Bossy and Grumpy say “heigh-ho”.
  • The dwarves getting given their names by the axes is a fantastic scene, and is another small detail which makes this show wonderful.
  • There are dwarf cardboard cut-outs with their faces missing in the background of the scene with Mary Margaret and Leroy in the school.
  • The nuns sold 42 candles the previous year.
  • Who was the guy eating the carrot at the house Mary Margaret and Leroy visited? Is there supposed to be some significance to him?
  • We saw Belle again this week, encouraging Dreamy to go after the woman he loved. Is this implying that Regina was lying when she said she died, or did it happen after this scene?
  • What does Mr Gold have against the nuns? Or is it that the fairies did something to him in the Fairy Tale Realm?
  • How do the dwarves go from working in the mines to rescuing Grumpy from jail? Did they leave simply for that purpose, or were they out beforehand?
  • The conversation with Leroy and Mary Margaret at Granny’s is reminiscent of the conversation between Grumpy and Snow back in 7:15 AM where he encourages her not to take the potion because our memories are what define us.

Overall, while this episode wasn’t especially crucial to the overarching plot, it was a good, enjoyable one. This wouldn’t work if this kind of episode made up the majority of the season, but having one now and again is fun. There was a little set up for next week here, such as David being taken in for questioning by Emma, and I look forward to seeing where it goes, but in general this episode was simply an enjoyable story where we learnt more about another of Storybrooke’s residents.

TV of the Week: 30/06/2012

NCIS

Season 8, Episode 20

‘Two-Faced’

One slightly strange thing about this season so far is that there hasn’t been any real overarching plot, excluding character plots of course. That was remedied this week as we were introduced to what appears to be this season’s ‘Big Bad’, a serial killer who kills from port to port killing navy personnel. This also tied in with the appearance of EJ Barrett a couple of weeks ago, as she arrived to pre-empt this killer and hopefully catch him. Naturally, this led to conflicts between her and Gibbs as she took over the case. It’s always enjoyable seeing Gibbs square off against another investigator, and while he seemed out on top Barrett gave as good as she got.

We were also introduced to Ziva’s boyfriend Ray this week, which wasn’t entirely unrelated. It turns out he works for the CIA and is the liaison for the case with the Agency. The fact that he didn’t tell Ziva that led to some tensions between them already, but they appeared to making progress to getting over it by the end with some help from Tony. I don’t know that I trust this guy very much, but that could just be experience of Ziva’s relationships usually ending with her boyfriend either dying or being ‘evil’. I doubt this relationship will overall end well, but I look forward to seeing where the plot goes over the coming weeks.

The episode ended with Tony and Ziva in a bar and the bartender giving Tony a drink with an eyeball in it, presumably sent by the serial killer. Clearly this plot will come back in future weeks and it looks to be an interesting one. Despite being a little late in the season to introduced a Big Bad, this serial killer seems to be interesting enough to make up for it and I am eager to see where this plot goes.

Leverage

Season 4, Episode 5

‘The Hot Potato Job’

The title of this episode turned out to be a lot more literal than I was expecting, which was kind of a disappointment. I was hoping that it would be a fairly unique episode where a non-literal ‘hot potato’ had to be passed from team member to team member for the whole con. Alas, the title simply meant that what the team had to retrieve from the bad guy was actually a potato. It does seem a little far-fetched that a potato would be worth so much trouble, but it was an enjoyable episode.

While there was nothing particularly revolutionary about the con this week, it did still provide a typically fun episode. It was especially enjoyable seeing how all the characters got into the building, and watching Nate and Parker with the kids was also great, although that plot didn’t really seem to go anywhere. The Sophie pretending to be Eliot plot wasn’t particularly interesting, but the rest of what was going on was still good. The ending seemed to imply that the woman (I can’t remember her name) has escaped the team’s form of justice and may appear again, but she wasn’t special enough that it bothers me either way.

The other significant development this week was Nate and Sophie sleeping together. The plot itself didn’t actually seem to go anywhere, but I’m glad that what happened at the end of the previous season has been brought up again. I’m not sure that I like the idea of Nate and Sophie being ‘friends with benefits’, but I’m not a big fan of them as a couple either so I hope the series can find a satisfactory way of dealing with this plot.

Overall, this was a generally good episode of Leverage, although it wasn’t anything special like last week’s. Still, a show can’t be that unique every week or it would defeat the purpose, so this episode was perhaps necessary. Hopefully we will have episodes in the future more like last week’s, but a normal episode like this one every now and again isn’t a bad thing.

Grimm

Season 1, Episode 20

‘Happily Ever Aftermath’

One slightly strange thing about Grimm is that, for a ‘fairy-tale based’ show, most of the episodes don’t focus on particularly well known fairy tales. I think we’ve had Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and The Three Little Pigs, but for 19 episodes before this one that isn’t a significant percentage. That’s not a criticism, because what we’ve had for the last few weeks has been fantastic, but it is slightly odd. This week, however, gave us an interpretation of a very well know fairy tale: Cinderalla. Of course, it was Cinderella where the main character was a ‘bat out of hell’, but it’s as close to a real fairy tale as we’ve been for a while.

This wasn’t as good an episode as the recent ones have been, largely because it was quite a procedural one, but it was still fairly enjoyable. The plot of the episode, with the godfather looking after Lucinda, the ugly stepsisters and the evil stepmother, was very similar to the original story of Cinderella, even to the point where, I think, we saw that the stepmother’s shoe business was called ‘The Perfect Fit’. Of course, it was drastically changed when we discovered that Lucinda and her Godfather were bat Wesen, that Lucinda had no conscience and that she was killing her step-relatives. It was fairly interesting to watch how the series changed the original fairy tale, although it still wasn’t as interesting as some of the previous weeks’ plots have been.

The background plot of this episode, despite not getting much screen time, was very interesting however. In order to help Nick get some closure on his parents’ deaths, Juliette contacted the man who investigated the car accident. This man then contacted Nick and informed him of the four suspects in the case: the three dead ones we knew about and another one. I imagine that this man will be a significant plot in the remaining two episodes, and I look forward to seeing how all this is resolved.

This was a good episode of Grimm, although not as exciting as recent weeks have been. It contained an enjoyable case and set up some plots which look as though they will be fascinating to watch develop in the next couple of weeks. Still, I hope that the final two episodes of this season do more to connect with the overarching plot of the season, as it has been very good so far and I desperately hope that the end of the first season doesn’t prove to be a disappointment.

A Town Called Eureka

Season 5, Episode 7

‘Ex-Machina’

After we discovered last week that Holly was alive within the Matrix, I suspected that something would have to happen in the near future to deal with that, and this week that was exactly what happened. The Matrix machine (I have no idea what it’s really called) was to be taken away for safety reasons as a new security system was installed in Global Dynamics, and the team had to save Holly from being taken with it. Fortunately, they managed to get Holly out of the Matrix mainframe, but unsurprisingly it all went wrong from there and Holly ended trapped in the GD mainframe instead.

It was quite enjoyable watching Holly ‘possess’ the different machines in GD, from the bionic hands to the giant laser pointer, and, by the end at least, it was still fairly clear that it was Holly. Aside from the creepy hand, the machines all seemed to have Holly’s quirky nature while she was in them, which was a nice touch. For a while at the end I honestly did think that Holly was gone forever, which would have been frustrating considering she only just got a reprieve from her first ‘death’, but fortunately Henry managed to salvage her and install her into SARAH.

I don’t actually have much to say about this episode, other than to express my relief that Holly is alive (sort of). It wasn’t the funniest episode this season, but it was still very enjoyable and was quite emotional at points, such as when Holly appeared to be lost forever. Jo was fairly annoying in this episode as she refused to help Fargo get Holly back until the very end, but she had her reasons and she redeemed herself at the end and in her conversation with Fargo. Now that Holly is back and the Matrix machine has been taken away, the only real remaining overarching plot is the Z-waves which the Astreus crew are still emitting. I assume that they will have some as yet unknown significance to make up the plot for the rest of the final season, or perhaps a new plot will be introduced soon, but either way I look forward to seeing how this fantastic show ends.

 

 

Once Upon A Time: ‘What Happened To Frederick’

“True love isn’t easy, but it must be fought for. Because once you find it, it can never be replaced.”

Back in 7:15 AM, when Mary Margaret and David started seeing each other, it was clear that their relationship wasn’t going to end well and this week featured the climax of that plot. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a fairytale-based show, true love is a big theme in Once Upon A Time and in the weeks focusing on Mary Margaret and David, and Snow and James, it is especially predominant. However, while Snow and James are seemingly getting closer to their happily-ever-after in the Fairy Tale Realm, Mary Margaret and David’s relationship is experiencing a lot more turbulence.

We first heard the phrase What Happened to Frederick back in The Shepherd, when King Midas warned one of his guards to be cautious when removing his glove for fear of turning him into gold. In this episode we learnt exactly what did happen to Frederick; he was turned to gold defending King Midas and Abigail from an attack and, perhaps more significantly, he was to marry Abigail before James. I love how this show is clearly prepared in advance for its future plots, and the fact that the plot of this episode was hinted at in a throwaway line in an earlier episode shows that the people behind Once Upon A Time have great attention to detail.

In order to restore Frederick to his original self, and help Abigail get her true love, James decided to go down to Lake Nostos and take back some healing water. There he had to confront a Siren, who tried to lure him into danger by changing into Snow. Fortunately, James refused to be taken in because he knew what true love felt like and, much like Wesley in Angel, he didn’t want an illusion in place of the real thing.

While James was fighting for true love in the Fairy Tale Realm, David was doing a fairly good job of ruining it in Storybrooke. He finally agreed to tell Kathryn the truth about his and Mary Margaret’s relationship, but he wimped out at the last moment and just told her that he didn’t love her. He also told Mary Margaret that he had told Kathryn about their relationship and when the truths came out, with a little help from Regina of course, David was left without either woman wanting to be with him.

In the past both Abigail and Kathryn have been quite irritating characters, although that may be because for both of them we know that they shouldn’t be with James/David, but here they were actually quite relatable. Abigail was pining for her lost love and helped James escape from King George’s men, and was almost an entirely different character from the one we saw in previous episodes. Meanwhile, after the initial shock of David and Mary Margaret’s relationship wore off, Kathryn realised the love the two shared and decided to leave town and encouraged them to be together. Unfortunately, she filled Regina in on her plan beforehand, who quickly set about messing it up in order to prevent Mary Margaret and David reuniting. Furthermore, Kathryn, unable to leave Storybrooke, appeared to have crashed her car at the end of the episode and seemed to have disappeared. Did that have anything to do with Regina burning the letter?

The background plot this week focused on Emma and the mysterious stranger, or August W. Booth as we now know he is called. August took her on a ‘date’ to a well, which it seems might have been located above Lake Nostos from the Fairy Tale Realm, which adds credence to the idea that Storybrooke is on top of where the Fairy Tale Realm used to be. We didn’t learn that much about August this week, other than his name, but we did see that he was doing something to Henry’s book. I couldn’t quite tell what. Was he treating it or something? With what purpose? I look forward to seeing where this plot goes.

Other thoughts:

  • The title card this week featured Frederick trapped as a gold statue.
  • There is a Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale called Catherine and Frederick, which I assume is where the names of Kathryn in Storybrooke and the titular Frederick come from. I can’t see any real connection of the story with the plot, other than the fact that Catherine and Frederick were married. The story is basically about a fairly stupid Catherine who keeps making mistakes which her husband, Frederick, has to correct. Perhaps this episode was meant to serve as the opposite to that, although it was James who saved Frederick here.
  • How was Kathryn’s letter delivered from outside Storybrooke if no one can come or go? Still, as I said in the past, I imagine that this is the sort of thing we just have to accept as happening in this world.
  • Is there any significance to Abigail’s ‘ears’ in the King’s court? Will we see Abigail again to find out who they are?
  • As per usual, many scenes with Mary Margaret featured her wearing a beanie hat this week, although I don’t think it changed throughout the episode.
  • As I mentioned earlier, we learn that the mysterious stranger’s name is August W. (Wayne) Booth. Looking for significance in that, all I can find is that, as August is a month, he could be the March Hare from Alice in Wonderland. He also mentioned “I always tell the truth”, which perhaps indicated that he’s Pinocchio? Neither of those explanations explain how he was able to leave Storybrooke, however, or why he’s a writer.
  •  Speaking of lies, there was a lot of talk of them this week. As well as what August said, there was David lying to Mary Margaret and Kathryn as well as the Siren ‘lying’ to James by imitating Snow.
  • I always enjoy the scenes between Mary Margaret and Emma. As well as often being touching, they are usually quite funny, such as Emma’s “plunging necklines” comment this week and Mary Margaret’s reaction to it.
  • James asked Abigail if she had tried using true love’s kiss to remove the curse from Frederick, which implies that the Evil Queen was telling the truth with what she said to Belle last week. Can true love’s kiss restore Snow’s memories from the potion she took in 7:15 AM?
  • The lake which James visited was Lake Nostos, which had the ability to “return something once lost”. Nostos is the Greek word for homecoming and the origin of the word nostalgia, which is interesting when you consider the role of memory in what is happening in this show. Also, the word seems to have some connection to Homer’s The Odyssey, which also contains Sirens like Lake Nostos here.
  • James says “none have my fearless bravery”. Or modesty, apparently.
  • Regina bought Henry a games console which was the same type Emma used to play as a child. This makes sense, as Storybrooke has only been in existence since Emma’s childhood and if the people haven’t changed since then then it makes sense that the technology hasn’t changed either.
  • The Evil Queen’s grudge against Snow White seems to extend to Storybrooke as well, as she seems particularly desperate to keep Mary Margaret and David apart.
  • The sports teacher at Mary Margaret’s school, who found Kathryn at the end, was Frederick from the Fairy Tale Realm.
  • There was reference this week to taking a “leap of faith”, which could be a LOST reference, but it is a well-known enough phrase that it probably wasn’t.
  • August talks about how “water is a very powerful thing” and says “if anything has magic, well, I’d say it’d be water”. Is there any significance to the water in Storybrooke? Does it still contain magic?
  • Regina is apparently good with plants. We know she keeps apple trees, but is there any further significance to this?
  • We saw Regina’s many keys again this week and it appears that they can open presumably every house in Storybrooke. At the very least, they can open the door to David’s house.
  • James and Red Riding Hood are now together in the Fairy Tale Realm, looking for Snow and escaping from King George. That wasn’t a pairing I saw coming.

This was, as usual, a very good episode of this show and made we eagerly anticipate next week’s. I don’t know that the Mary Margaret/David plot is my favourite in the show at the moment, but it is certainly interesting and enjoyable to watch. Mr Gold/Rumpelstiltskin wasn’t in this episode, despite his significant episode last week, which was a touch disappointing, and neither was Archie. Considering Raphael Sbarge is a series regular, he hasn’t appeared much in the series so far. On the other hand, Meghan Ory, who plays Ruby, has been in practically every episode despite not being a series regular. Still, I’m not going to complain, as I like Ruby, but I hope we see more of Archie in the future. As always, I can’t wait for next Sunday.

TV of the Week: 23/06/2012

NCIS

Season 8, Episode 19

‘Tell-All’

Despite being generally enjoyable episodes, I have to say that I haven’t been blown away by the recent stream of NCIS episodes, and that continued here. They are all good, solid, exciting episodes, but none of them have really done anything particularly special for me. I think perhaps the problem is that that have all been very procedural episodes of late, which is fair enough as it is a procedural show, but they haven’t really had any significant character plots in them. The semblance of a character plot this week was Gibbs getting an invitation to his ex-wife’s wedding, although it didn’t get a huge amount of screen time and I not entirely convinced I understood the resolution.

The plot itself was fun to watch, as always, although again wasn’t mind-blowingly special. It was the classic bait-and-switch; the episode spent the majority of the time building up the conspiracy angle, with a manuscript that everyone who read died, a college girl who was also an arms dealer, and a corrupt official, but at the end it all came down to a husband being jealous of his wife. I didn’t really see it coming, but it did still feel like a bit of a let-down after all that the episode had built up. We did get to see Gibbs work with Fornell, however, which was fun as always. It’s great to see Gibbs ‘relax’ about his friend, instead of being the ‘boss’ as he always has to be with the team.

Overall, this was a typically solid episode if nothing else. The plot was fun, the conversations between the characters were enjoyable, and it was generally a good time. It certainly isn’t a contender for the best episode ever, but it was decent enough. I just hope the series picks up momentum soon as we approach the finale.

Leverage

Season 4, Episode 4

‘The Van Gogh Job’

Unlike the majority of episodes of Leverage, which focus primarily on the con, this week’s was all about a love story. The team were investigating the disappearance of a Van Gogh painting during the war, but they already knew who had it just not what he had done with it. What was different about this episode, however, was that instead of trying to con him out of the painting, they simply asked him where it was and, after some initial reluctance, he agreed to tell the story to Parker.

The most significant part of this episode was made up of flashbacks to the man’s (Charlie’s) youth when he had fallen in love with a woman. Unfortunately, because of their difference in skin colour, society back then wouldn’t allow them to be together and the flashbacks told the story of the trials and tribulations they went through to be able to live happily-ever-after. We knew from the present day that it wouldn’t work, which made it all the more painful to watch what happened. One great thing about the flashbacks was that, instead of using an unknown actor and actress for Charlie and Dorothy, it was Aldis Hodge (Hardison) and Beth Riesgraf (Parker) who played their parts. Their acting was fantastic, especially in the final scene of the flashback, and it really connected to the story.

While the flashbacks were going on, in the present day the team were still looking into what had eventually happened to the painting. They pulled some very typical tricks to get them into people’s houses and the bank and in the end Nate realised what Dorothy had done with the painting after Charlie had given it to her. The present day plot wasn’t as good as the flashbacks, but it was still enjoyable to watch.

This was a very original episode of Leverage, as many of them are, and was one of the best so far this season. I look forward to seeing where the rest of the season goes and, if the storytelling and acting is as good as it was here, we are in for an incredible ride.

Grimm

Season 1, Episode 19

‘Leave It to Beavers’

One thing which has become particularly apparent over the last few episodes of Grimm is that Nick is slowly becoming more and more comfortable with his role as a Grimm and the responsibilities he has because of that. We saw this week how Nick is finally starting to use some of the weapons left to him by Aunt Marie and, while it was slightly odd how quickly he picked them up, it demonstrates that he is now a Grimm who is also a cop rather than the other way around.

The actual plot this week was more procedural that we’ve seen for a couple of weeks, as Nick and Hank investigated the drowning (in cement) of a beaver Wesen. Despite having a procedural beginning, this episode did tie in with the overarching plot threads from the season, containing both the return of the beavers we’ve seen in the past and the Reapers. The former of those provided us with a chance to see part of the society of these Wesen, and their traditions and rules, as well as the impact Nick is having in their lives.

The latter, meanwhile, served to demonstrate once again how Nick is stepping up his role as a Grimm and managed to kill both of the Reapers sent after him. The fight was fairly awesome, but what was especially great was that we saw how Nick and Monroe have decided that they aren’t just going to lie down and let the Reapers take over; they cut off the dead Reapers’ heads and sent them back to the organisation that sent them as a message.

The other small plot this week was that Juliette invited Monroe around to dinner. Naturally, it didn’t exactly go smoothly and Monroe did almost mess up the cover story at one point, but they managed to get through it. Once again I found myself hoping that somehow Juliette would discover Nick’s secret, but once again it wasn’t to be. I hope that she isn’t kept in the dark for too much longer, however, as that would really start to frustrate me.

To conclude, this was more procedural than the last few weeks have been but it was still an enjoyable episode and did serve to further the plot a bit more, particularly in terms of Nick’s role as a Grimm. The only thing missing from this episode was Rosalee, who seems to have disappeared without explanation. We are in the home stretch of this season now, and I hope this show can keep the momentum of the last few episodes up until the end of the season.

A Town Called Eureka

Season 5, Episode 6

‘Worst Case Scenario’

Coming into this week’s Eureka I was hoping that the Jack/Jo plot was over. Alas, as was clear from the ‘Previously On…’ that wasn’t the case, although it does seem like by the end of this episode that it is finally finished. I can’t see Jack and Jo together as a couple at all and, while I understand the tensions that existed after the time in the ‘Matrix’, I was fed up of this plot. This episode didn’t deal with it badly, but it wasn’t especially interesting and certainly wasn’t the highlight of the plot.

The disaster-of-the-week plot of this episode was, ironically, all about disaster prevention. After what happened with the Astreus Mission, Global Dynamics were conducting disaster simulations to test their reactions, but naturally it all went wrong when the computer conducting the simulations decided to make them a little too real. It was enjoyable watching everybody’s reactions to the disasters, both the real and simulated ones, and I did think as I was watching the opening scene that I wouldn’t mind a scene like that in the finale. Although there are often disasters in Eureka very few cause the damage on a scale of that in the simulation, and it would be interesting if in the finale the characters had to deal with the chaos of a real disaster.

The best thing about this episode, without doubt, was the revelation that Holly is alive within the Matrix. We don’t know whether or not she’s actually ‘her’ or whether she’s just a programme, but like Zane said if she thinks she’s real and Fargo thinks she’s real, who’s to say that she isn’t? It looks like Fargo is going to keep seeing Holly in the Matrix, which is great as it means we will see more of her and Felicia Day playing her. I look forward to seeing where the plot goes as I can’t imagine that the show can go too long with Fargo just visiting her now and again.

This was a great episode, and bodes very well for the rest of this season. Holly is back, on some level at least, and this episode was a typically enjoyable episode. The Jack/Jo plot seems to be out of the way, so hopefully the show can move on from it now and start some new plotlines for what is presumably the final arc of the show. I will be disappointed to see Eureka go, but if it can end at the standard of this episode I will be satisfied.

Once Upon A Time: ‘Skin Deep’

“You could have had happiness if you had just believed that someone could want you”

My slight criticism of last week’s episode was that it was fairly plot-heavy rather than character-driven; fortunately, this week was the opposite and we got one of the best episodes of the season so far. Rumpelstiltskin/Mr Gold is by far the most interesting character in this show and Skin Deep showed that, as well as being entertaining, mysterious and fascinating to watch, he is also an extremely emotional character. It would be remiss to discuss this episode without talking about Robert Carlyle’s incredible acting. He is able to switch between all the different aspects of Rumpel’s personality with ease and certainly provided some of the most powerful moments of the episode. Emilie de Ravin (Claire!) was also excellent as Belle, and I hope that the ending implies we will see her again in the future.

Last week we discovered that the Genie from Aladdin and Mirror Mirror from Snow White are the same character in this universe, and here we found out that Rumpelstiltskin is also the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. It was great to see a more human element to Rumpel since his transformation, as I was slightly worried that we would only get to see some more emotion from this character in flashbacks to before those in Desperate Souls. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and giving Rumpel a love story makes him a much more powerful and relatable character.

The Fairy Tale Realm story was by far the highlight of this week’s episode. Rumpel offered to help out Belle’s kingdom in the war if she would become his servant, an offer which she accepted despite resistance from her father and her fiancé. We never found out exactly why Rumpel wanted Belle to come and work for him, but I think she was right when she said he was lonely. Something had clearly happened to his son since the events of Desperate Souls, and Belle provided him the companionship he needed.

As with the original Beauty and the Beast, Belle found herself falling in love with the Beast (Rumpel) and he with her. In fact, they were pretty much on track for a happily-ever-after, with Rumpel letting her leave if she wanted, and although she was planning to I think she might have returned anyway. Enter the Evil Queen. With a few words in her ear, she managed to convince Belle to return to Rumpel and kiss him, in order to remove the curse and turn him back into a man. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t end well. Rumpel believed that she was working with the Evil Queen in order to weaken him and locked her up. I assume that was the Queen’s plan, but Belle was clearly not party to it. Deep down I suspect Rumpel knew that and, like Belle said, he kept her away because he didn’t believe that she could love him and he didn’t want to have his heart broken.

While the Evil Queen clearly had evil intentions, I don’t think that what she said was a lie. As far as we could see, true love did start to break Rumpel’s curse and the same appeared to happen with Snow in Pilot. Could a kiss then break the spell keeping them all in Storybrooke? A kiss between whom? The Queen also said “If he loves you, he would’ve let you go”, which was what he did in the end, showing once again that Rumpel did love Belle.

Also, although I don’t think this was necessarily intentional, there were several aspects of this episode which did remind me of LOST. Rumpel keeping Belle away because he didn’t think anybody could love him was similar to how Sawyer tried to make everybody hate him because he didn’t think he deserved to be loved. Furthermore, Rumpel told Belle “My power means more to me than you”, which was reminiscent of Ben telling Keamy that he didn’t love Alex, and we all know how that ended. Like Ben, it seems that Mr Gold is also regretting that and that in truth his feelings for Belle meant much more than his power, even if he didn’t realise it at the time.

Due to the strength of the Fairy Tale Realm plot this week, the Storybrooke plot wasn’t quite as interesting, although it was still very good. When Mr French (the Storybrooke equivalent of Belle’s father) was late on some repayments and Mr Gold took his van, it was easy for Regina to convince him to break into Mr Gold’s house and steal some of his belongings. One of those belongings was the teacup that Belle chipped, and the loss of that sent Mr Gold out of control like we’ve never seen before. He abducted Mr French at gunpoint, took him to a cabin in the woods, and proceeded to beat him up. While doing this, he also shouted at him:

“She’s gone! She’s gone forever! She’s not coming back. And it’s your fault! Not mine! You are her father! Yours! It’s yours!”

Much like Faith beating up Buffy in Who Are You or Buffy beating up Spike in Dead Things on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was very clear that during this attack Mr Gold was really attacking himself. He blamed himself for what he believed happened to Belle, and he was taking out his guilt on the only other person responsible.

What this hinted at, and was said explicitly later on in the episode, was that, like Regina, Mr Gold remembered his life in the Fairy Tale Realm. Now that Regina is aware of this fact, I look forward to seeing the future interactions between this pair. Both of them are fantastic ‘villains’ and it will be interesting to watch them fighting each other for power in Storybrooke. Regina does of course have an ace up her sleeve: Belle isn’t dead, as she told Rumpel, but she seems to be imprisoned by Regina underneath the hospital. Mr Gold can make Regina do whatever he wants by saying “please”, so I can’t wait to see how they both use the leverage they have over each other.

The B-plot going on this week was, as usual, all about Mary Margaret and David’s on-going affair. Ruby took Mary Margaret and Ashley (Cinderella) on a girls’ night out for Valentine’s Day, where, while Ruby chatted up several men at once, Mary Margaret and Ashley commiserated about their love lives. Fortunately, Ashley’s ended up significantly improving by the end as Sean proposed to her, but Mary Margaret wasn’t so lucky. David, rather stupidly, accidentally gave her his wife’s Valentine’s Day card (seriously? The envelopes were different colours and everything! David is really useless at this having-an-affair. Still, at least he didn’t give Kathryn Mary Margaret’s card. That would have been even more awkward).  This brought Mary Margaret to her senses, and she called off the affair. They still seem determined to find a way to be together, however, so it will be interesting to see where this plot goes.

Other thoughts:

  • On the title card for this episode there was a spinning wheel, which I think was the same as in The Price of Gold. That was either deliberately making connections between the two (Ashley was back after all) or very lazy. I can’t decide which.
  • Rumple’s comedy was on form in this episode, as well as his more emotional side. But with the fantastic Jane Espenson , what else would you expect? There were some great comedy lines, like “Well, that was a bit of a letdown”, “Your room […] well it sounds a lot nicer than dungeon”, and my personal favourite “You sent me a message. Something about ‘Help! Help! We’re dying! Can you save us?’”
  • This show continued its theme of having strong female characters, addressed explicitly by Belle when she said “There aren’t many opportunities in this land to show what they can do, to see the world, to be heroes”. This was presumably a reference to how ‘sexist’ many of the original fairy tales were, which is something that this show is changing in its adaptations of them.
  • Like many characters in this show, Belle was separated from her father and her family.
  • Belle’s fiancé here was Sir Gaston, who was her fiancé in the Disney adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.
  • Belle’s father is names Mr French, which I can only think is a reference to Beauty and the Beast being originally a French fairy tale.
  • The book David was reading was Anna Karenina, which is more appropriate than The Mysterious Island seemed to be. Anna Karenina is all about a woman in a similar position to the one David’s in: she’s married but in love with someone else. From what I know of this book, Anna is finally able to be with the man she loves but she becomes isolated because of this (much like Ashley at the beginning of this episode) and end up killing herself. This doesn’t seem to bode well for David and Mary Margaret.
  • Beanie count: Emma wore two different ones this week, but I don’t think Mary Margaret wore any.
  • Another entertaining scene in this week’s episode is Mary Margaret backtracking when Emma asks her how Henry is.
  • This is the second time Mr Gold’s been robbed. In the Fairy Tale Realm the Evil Queen says that he has “flimsy locks”, and that clearly is no different in Storybrooke.
  • In Rumple’s house there are a couple of recognisable things: the spinning wheel from his previous life, the dolls from That Still Small Voice, and the sword that turned him into Rumpelstiltskin.
  • What is Rumpel trying to forget? What happened to his son? His answer “I guess it worked” is genius though.
  • Belle’s arranged marriage to Gaston is the second we’ve seen in the show, after James’s to Abigail. I’m currently reading A Game of Thrones, so there are a lot of arranged marriages in fiction I’m into at the moment.
  • The Evil Queen seems to spend a lot of time in a carriage. Where is she always travelling to?
  • Mr Gold says that he’s been called that “Every moment [he’s] spent on this Earth”. Does that mean the Fairy Tale Realm isn’t on this Earth?
  • The Evil Queen mentions that she’s want to discuss a deal relating a certain mermaid. Presumably this means we will be seeing The Little Mermaid on this show sometime soon.
  • There are several roses in this week’s episode. Mr French has a delivery of roses to make, Rumpel turns Gaston into a rose, Sean proposes with roses (I think) and Regina gives a rose to the Belle’s ‘warden’. Roses were also a theme in the original fairy tale, I believe, as that is what Belle wants her father to bring her from his travels, which what gets him in trouble with the Beast.
  • Who is Belle ‘warden’? Is she someone we know?

This was one of the most emotional episodes of this show we’ve seen so far, and was an excellent instalment of the series. I much prefer the character-driven episodes like this one, and I don’t even mind that we didn’t see the mysterious stranger this week. I hope we get more episodes like this in the future, and I look forward to seeing where the show takes its different plots from hereon.

TV of the Week: 16/06/2012

NCIS: Los Angeles

Season 3, Episode 24

‘Sans Voir, Part 2’

Season 3 of NCIS: Los Angeles certainly came to an explosive close this week, as the team had to deal with the consequences of the Chameleon’s actions in this and the previous episode. Last week he was responsible for the deaths of Agents Renko and Hunter and he essentially handed himself in to the team, only to force them to release him this week in order to protect an asset in Tehran. The actual plot of ‘we have to find this guy before he is sold and gives up one of our agents’ wasn’t incredibly original or fascinating, but it didn’t really matter because everything else in this episode was so strong.

Of all the different types of villains which you can get in crime shows like this one, the game-playing ones are always the most interesting to me, and the Chameleon (like Pelant in the Bones finale) was a great example of this. He didn’t really have anything to gain from the events of this episode; he just liked playing with Callen and the rest of the team: killing their colleagues and friends in front of them, and then forcing them to let him go.

I had a feeling something huge would happen at the end, but I certainly didn’t expect what did. Callen shot and killed the Chameleon in full view of the world’s media without a legally-justifiable reason. He’s now been arrested and I don’t know how or if he will get out of this one. It’s not impossible; Jane managed to get away with murder on The Mentalist last season, despite committing it in public. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Callen somehow doesn’t get away with it and simply leaves the show. Both this show and the original NCIS are often quite high stakes, and normally are full of surprises.

I don’t, however, expect Hetty to leave the show. She’s threatened to resign before and it didn’t happen, and I imagine the same thing will happen again. To be honest, I’m feeling a bit the-boy-who-cried-wolf with Hetty’s plot. We’ve seen her be in danger or threaten to leave so many times that I don’t really care about the plot anymore, and when it does eventually happen I’ll think it was just another fake-out.

Overall, this was a fantastic episode of this show and a worthy season finale. We also got a bit of a chance to say goodbye to Agent Hunter and to learn more about her relationship with Hetty. It seems that the original NCIS team aren’t the only ones to get visits from dead friends. I can’t really tell if the ending was meant as a cliff-hanger or not, but seeing as it ended with “To be continued…” I imagine it was. I look forward to seeing how or if Callen gets out of the situation he’s in and to a lesser degree what happens with Hetty’s plot. This is a great show, and I can’t wait to see what happens in September.

NCIS

Season 8, Episode 18

‘Out of the Frying Pan’

Ever since Vance ended up in the hospital a few weeks ago, he has been acting even more mysteriously than usual and ‘Out of the Frying Pan’ served to further that idea. Gibbs and the team were told to investigate the murder of a retired marine and, more specifically, get a confession out of Metro P.D.’s prime suspect, which obviously didn’t go down as expected. It was fairly predictable that Nick wasn’t the one responsible for his father’s death, but this was still an enjoyable episode.

While not as rife with laughs as many NCIS episodes are, there were still some entertaining moments. I always like seeing members of the team work together, so I particularly enjoyed Gibbs and Tony’s interrogation of Nick. It wasn’t a funny scene, but seeing them both take such different tacks in the same interview was great to watch. As I say, there wasn’t a huge amount of laugh-out-loud moments within this episode, but there were several things to enjoy about it.

It’s is always interesting to watch Gibbs interact with younger characters on the show, as that it normally when he shows his most compassionate side. Nick was a bit older than the usual type of child Gibbs ‘befriends’, but it was still nice to see Gibbs in the boy’s corner, especially when Vance was pushing so hard to get the confession. Speaking of Vance, the fact that the victim was a friend of his was a bit predictable and personally I was hoping for something a little more complicated in way of an explanation so that it gave the show somewhere else to go in the coming weeks.

To conclude, this was a good episode of this show but it wasn’t really anything special. There weren’t a huge amount of character moments or humour moments, but it was still a fairly enjoyable plot. I look forward to seeing what the show has to offer in future weeks, and hopefully the episodes  contain a bit more comedy and character than this one did.

Grimm

Season 1, Episode 18

‘Cat and Mouse’

This week’s episode of Grimm was one of the most mythology heavy ones we’ve seen so far, as Nick, Monroe and Rosalee tried to protect a freedom-fighter from an assassin. One of the great things about Grimm is that there is a whole universe beyond what we see of the events in Portland, and this week we started to understand more about the ‘political’ climate and history of the creatures Nick faces. We discovered that there are seven ‘houses’ in this society and that they have influences in every aspect of the world, and also that there are Wesen who rebel against their power, like the man we met this week.

Another interesting thing about this week’s episode was that it really brought to the forefront the difficulties Nick faces being both a Grimm and a cop. At the end, he had to let a murderer go free because it was the right thing to do and to protect his friends. I imagine that this theme will appear many times in the future of this show, and I hope all instances are as good as this one was.

This was a fantastic episode as we got both a greater understanding of the mythology surrounding this universe and development of the main characters. Monroe and Rosalee seem to be developing feelings for each other and I look forward to seeing where this goes, and it’s also enjoyable to see Nick having to deal with the challenges of being a Grimm. We also learnt a little more about Captain Renard, who I still can’t decide if he’s really evil or not. He doesn’t seem to work for the houses (although it seems that Grimms in general do) and it seems like he just wants peace in his region of the world, but he is clearly not entirely good. I can’t wait for next week’s episode and to find out more about the universe and the characters of Grimm.

Leverage

Season 4, Episode 3

‘The 15 Minutes Job’

The supposed premise of this week’s plot was that Nate had to take down somebody like himself, but to be honest that was the aspect that I felt least worked. There weren’t that many similarities between Nate and the mark, and I never really feared that Nate would end up destroying himself during the con. Having said that, it is interesting to see him continually spiralling into almost despair and, while I wouldn’t complain if this were at some point during the series actually resolved, it does make a good story. It does mean that I care less about Nate than the other characters, however.

The con itself was enjoyable to watch, especially as this time the team had to build up the mark before knocking him down. It was extremely fun to watch as the team tried to get him to do a good deed and he kept completely foiling their plans, although the team did manage to get him in the end. Once he was in the public eye, the team then succeeded in ruining his career and getting him arrested for a crime he committed years earlier. It was a bit far-fetched, but this is Leverage so it didn’t really matter.

There wasn’t a huge amount for the rest of the team to do this week, in terms of character development. There were some nice scenes between Parker and Hardison, but in general this was supposed to be a Nate episode. It was entertaining to watch, but the Nate episodes aren’t especially interesting to me and so I didn’t like this episode as much as some in the past. Still, this is a fantastic show and I look forward to next week’s episode.

A Town Called Eureka

Season 5, Episode 5

‘Jack of All Trades’

This week’s episode of A Town Called Eureka featured the obligatory body-swap episode, which is one of the most common plots in sci-fi shows to the point of being overused. Despite that, this was probably the best episode so far this season, and by far the funniest. I lost count of the number of times I was in fits of laughter during this episode, from Jack in the shower with Jo, to Zane sexually harassing a woman as Jack, to all the being “in” somebody else’s body jokes. I think this was possibly one of the episodes of this show with the most ‘adult’ humour, as there were a lot of sex references in this episode. I also have to applaud the actors and actresses in this show, especially Colin Ferguson, as they all played each other’s characters extremely well, adopting the mannerisms perfectly.

We also discovered in this week’s episode that there may be hope for Holly yet. It turns out that her brain waves are still inside the Matrix and, although they had to shut down the system before everything could fully load, I don’t think that they would have introduced this idea if they weren’t going to go any further with it. I hope that Holly does return to the show; she is one of my favourite characters and Felicia Day plays her very well.

My only slight worry with this episode is that the show seems to be heading more and more towards a Jack/Jo relationship. I much prefer Jack/Alison and Jo/Zane, and I hope that now that Jack had proposed to Alison this plot will go away. Still, Jo didn’t seem especially happy with the turn of events and did confess to having considered what it would be like to date Jack. We did also get to see a slightly cruel side to Alison this week as, while in Jack’s body, she told Jo that she (Jack) had never thought of her that way. She seemed to be feeling some remorse for it at the end, but it wasn’t an attractive side to her.

Apart from the Jack/Jo tones of this episode, this was an exceptional episode and demonstrates exactly what this show is capable of. It was fun to see Warren again, and this episode had a great balance of humour and some more serious plots. This was an episode worthy of the final season, and I hope we get more like it before the season is out.

Once Upon A Time: ‘Fruit of the Poisonous Tree’

“Be careful. Emotional entanglements can lead us down very dangerous paths”

This week’s episode may as well have been called The Long Con, as in both the Fairy Tale Realm and Storybrooke the main plot was of the Evil Queen/Regina executing a carefully planned out trick in order to get something she wanted. In the Fairy Tale Realm it was the death of Snow’s father, while in Storybrooke it was the upper hand in her on-going fight with Emma. I have to say I suspected that Sidney might be working with Regina in Storybrooke, so the revelation at the end wasn’t a huge surprise to me, but, perhaps stupidly, I didn’t see the double-cross in the Fairy Tale Realm coming. I was thinking that whatever happened to the Genie that caused him to become stuck as the Mirror might be the reason why the Evil Queen had such a grudge against Snow and her father. Instead, that grudge was already in place and the Genie was simply a pawn in her overall scheme.

While last week focused on a more character-driven arc with Mary Margaret and David, this week’s episode concentrated more on the plot so I didn’t like it quite as much as last week’s. It was certainly good, and I did enjoy the twists and turns it took, but personally I prefer the episodes which are more about the characters than the plots so this wasn’t my favourite so far. I’m not at all surprised that this is the 11th episode (out of 22, i.e. the midpoint of the season), as it did feel like a fairly transitionary episode setting things up for the second half of the season.

One of the great things about this show is how it gives new twists to the original fairy tales, and also how it blends all the different fairy tales together in one world. This week’s Fairy Tale Realm plot was a fantastic example of this, as we learnt that Mirror Mirror used to be the Genie in the Lamp, who ended up trapped as the Mirror due to a wish gone wrong. One big theme in this week’s episode was that, like with magic, “making a wish comes with a price” as Mr Gold says. The King’s wish to free Genie lead to his death, as it was Genie who killed him, and it was Genie’s wish that cursed him to be Mirror forever. It also added to the theme of love being incredibly dangerous, as it was Genie’s love for the Evil Queen that sealed his fate.

While in the Fairy Tale Realm it was Genie being played by the Evil Queen, in Storybrooke Emma was the victim of Regina’s manipulations. Having been fired from the paper, Sidney Glass convinced Emma to join him in taking down Regina. Unfortunately, it didn’t go to plan as Sidney was working with Regina and the evidence Emma used to try and dethrone the Mayor turned out to only make her seem an even better Mayor, while also giving her the ammunition she needed to keep Emma away from Henry. As Regina said, Emma’s lost the high ground and it will be interesting to see how the story develops following this.

Other thoughts:

  • The title card this week featured Genie emerging from the lamp.
  • Henry has been hiding the book of fairy tales from Regina. Could anything bad actually happen if Regina got her hands on the book, or it is just that Henry thinks she’d take it away from him? Regina did of course see the book earlier in the season, after she took it from Henry’s room, and nothing significantly bad seemed to happen then.
  • We saw a lamp in Mr Gold’s shop a few weeks ago, which I assume is the one from here. The last person we see who has it in this episode is the Evil Queen, so I wonder how it got into his hands.
  • There were some pretty good special effects this week, especially of Genie coming out of the lamp. The only slightly dodgy ones are when the characters are walking on a CGI background, which always look very clearly computer generated.
  • Genie comes from Agrabah, which is the land from Disney’s Aladdin. The Disney versions of the fairy tales clearly have a lot of influence on this show, as well as the original versions.
  • The scene where Genie explains the rules of wishes is very well done, and one of the more entertaining scenes this week. It was also very well acted by Giancarlo Esposito.
  • Genie says he has granted 1001 wishes, clearly a reference to the 1001 Arabian Nights which contains the original Aladdin story. With the appearance of Genie here, it is presumably possible that we might see other characters from these stories, like Aladdin himself, Ali Baba or Sinbad the Sailor.
  • We don’t see much of Mary Margaret and David this week, but we do get a scene of them meeting at the Toll Bridge and having a picnic. They are clearly going ahead with the affair even with Kathryn still in the picture, which doesn’t really seem like the kind of thing Mary Margaret would do, but it will be interesting to see where this plot goes. Also, Regina hasn’t told on them so she’s clearly got something up her sleeve.
  • Is there any significance to Snow’s mother? She was apparently the “fairest in all the land”, but is she anybody we know?
  • The tree in the palace was from the Evil Queen’s childhood garden, so I wonder how it ended up where it is. Will we at some point get a flashback to the Evil Queen’s childhood?
  • Much like in Desperate Souls, there was discussion this week of whether it’s okay to do something bad if it’s for the right reasons. The show tends to be indicating that it’s not, based on what happened to Emma at the end, which doesn’t bode well for Mary Margaret and David.
  • You can tell that Emma and Mary Margaret are related purely by their fondness for beanie hats.
  • When we first saw Snow’s father he felt quite unrealistic, as he was so virtuous and kind, so I’m glad that the show gave him such a human emotion as jealousy to make him more realistic.
  • There is a game of chess in the scene with the King and Genie, which is quite appropriate for an episode so much about game-playing.
  • The King talked about the man who had stolen the Queen’s heart. Actually, she’s more the type of person who steals hearts rather than the other way around.
  • Regina was speaking on the phone to Miss Ginger about working conditions and air temperature. Is this a reference to The Gingerbread Man, or another, more obvious, fairy tale which I’m missing? Could it be a reference to the Gingerbread house from Hansel and Gretel? According to imdb, Patti Allan, who played the blind witch in The Thing You Love Most, appeared in Desperate Souls as Miss Ginger, but I can’t recall seeing her.
  • The Evil Queen’s father said the guards “know [he]’d die for her”. Well, he will.
  • Emma drove into another of Storybrooke’s signs. Perhaps Graham wasn’t wrong when he said that Emma staying was “bad for our local signage”.
  • It was a bit risky of Sidney to cut the brakes on a car he was going to be in.
  • What are the keys in Regina’s desk for? I imagine they will make an appearance in the future.
  • The mysterious stranger seemed particularly interested in Henry’s book, and we discover at the end that he is somehow in possession of it. What is his game?
  • Who would stop Emma from breaking any restraining order Regina took out? She’s the sheriff.
  • Does Genie’s wish to never leave the Evil Queen’s side extend to Storybrooke? Is that why he doesn’t betray her? Or does he still love her?

Overall, while not as emotional or character-driven as last week’s, this week’s episode was still a very enjoyable one and has set several things in motion for the coming weeks. It will be interesting to see what happens to Operation Cobra now that Emma can’t see Henry, and I look forward to finding out where this show goes with these plots. I can’t believe we’re already halfway through this season, and I hope the second half is just as good, if not better, than what we’ve seen so far.

TV of the Week: 09/06/2012

Alcatraz

Season 1, Episode 13

‘Tommy Madsen’

And so Alcatraz comes to an end. I can’t say that I’m especially devastated by this show’s cancellation; there were much better shows than this in previous years which were cancelled prematurely, and for all I know this show’s fate had to occur for Fringe to get a final season. The biggest problem with this show is that it feels like the writers came up with an idea for a show, the Alcatraz inmates coming to the present day, and then put the characters in purely to facilitate the plot. This is, in my opinion, never how a show should go, as the characters are the most important aspect of any work of fiction. Without interesting characters it is all but impossible to get invested in a show, and that naturally leads to low ratings and low quality.

The finale was fairly good. I wouldn’t by any means say that it was the best season finale to a cancelled show I’ve ever seen, but it was decent. We got some answers and all the characters were finally (almost) on the same page, it’s just a shame the show waited this long to do this. There wasn’t a huge amount of character development in this finale; a little for Emerson and Lucy perhaps, but overall it was mostly about the plot and the hunt for Tommy Madsen. Unfortunately, this wasn’t actually resolved and the last shot we had in this show was of Rebecca dying after Tommy stabbed her. I imagine that if the show had continued Rebecca would somehow have been healed by the Alcatraz doctor, who was doing something with the dead bodies, but the big problem is that I didn’t really find myself caring.

I don’t really have much more to say about this finale. It’s a shame that we will never find out what happened to the prisoners and to Rebecca, but I won’t lose any sleep over it. It was an average show which didn’t get the viewers and was cancelled. There’s nothing especially new about this story, and I’m sure it will happen again. The finale itself was decent, but nothing special, and wasn’t enough to save the show from going down in history as mediocre.

Hawaii Five-0

Season 2, Episode 23

‘Ua Hala’

This explosive episode of Hawaii Five-0 marked the end of the second season, and was certainly a fast-paced, exciting conclusion to this season of the show. The episode managed to fit in more plots that I would have imagined possible in a single episode, which was both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing was that it was gripping and made a very exhilarating episode. The bad thing is that there was so much going on that none of the plots were really developed, and some seemed to come out of nowhere.

For a start, we had Chief Fryer being killed in an alley. Then, when the team came to investigate, Max got shot by the killer as he followed a blood trail. As I say, this was very exciting, and almost enough to make you overlook the slight flaws in what’s happening. For example, why didn’t anybody else notice the (rather obvious) blood trail and why did Max follow it without telling anybody else. Also, why did the killer stay to shoot Max? It can be assumed that he wasn’t necessarily the target, but the actual killer didn’t seem to have any reason to want to kill the rest of the team. Delano did, but it seemed that the actual killer’s role was simply to kill Fryer. Furthermore, the Max getting shot plot really didn’t go anywhere. He didn’t seem to be in any serious danger, and the team never seemed to actually worry about what was happening to him; neither did they particularly seem to mourn Fryer’s death.

Then, after chasing the killer through the streets, they got back the Hawaii Police Department which the killer promptly blew up. Again, there are a few holes. How did she know how to navigate through the building, and why did she blow it up? Perhaps she was also doing it at Delano’s behest, but it was never really made clear. What’s even more frustrating was that the team actually pointed out these questions but then never bothered to answer them. Still, the explosion was extremely shocking and made a finale-worthy plot. Of course, what happened there was never particularly explored either.

When the team finally managed to catch and kill the killer, the case seemed to be immediately closed. Nobody asked why she did what she did, or how she “came back from the dead”, or worried about who else might be out there. We did get the answer at the end of who set everything up: Delano, the bent cop that the team arrested earlier in the season. It did seem to come out of nowhere and suddenly within the last few minutes Kono and Chin’s wife Melia were kidnapped, forcing Chin to get Delano out of jail. Delano then said that Chin could save one of the women in his life, and the other would die. Chin chose to save Melia, and Kono was pushed overboard into the sea, tied up. It’s the kind of way of killing someone that TV shows can usually get around, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Kono finds some way to survive. It didn’t really make sense as to why Delano did all he did, but it was certainly very exciting.

There were a couple of other plots also going on during this episode in the background. Danny’s ex-wife Rachel and his daughter Grace were moving to Las Vegas due to her new husband’s new job, so Danny was having to decide in this episode whether to let her go, or to get into a messy court battle. This also seems to come out of nowhere; not too long ago Danny was helping Rachel give birth to her new husband’s child, and now she’s perfectly happy to move and stop him from seeing Grace? It seems slightly out of character. Also during this episode Joe returned and took Steve to finally see Shelburne. The episode ended with Steve saying “Mom?” when he opened the door, which wasn’t really a surprise. Who else could it have been? But considering this plot has been dragged on for months, the revelation felt a bit lacklustre, as though it had just been stuck on the end of the episode.

This was a very exciting and enjoyable episode of Hawaii Five-0 if you don’t think about it too much. However, if you do you notice several plot holes and how the majority of the plotlines didn’t actually get much in the way of development. This wasn’t a bad finale by any means, but it was just trying to balance too many different ideas and not giving sufficient time to any of them.

NCIS: Los Angeles

Season 3, Episode 23

‘Sans Voir, Part 1’

This week’s episode of NCIS: Los Angeles kicked off the two-part season finale, with the second half coming next week. It did feel, to some extent, like this episode was just setting things up for next week as the case that the team were investigating didn’t seem especially relevant until the last few minutes when it was revealed that the Chameleon was behind it all. Several weeks ago we first met the Chameleon and he promised then that he would kill everybody Callen cared about, and it looks like he has finally got around to starting that.

The first main victim of the Chameleon was Agent Renko, who was killed fairly early on in the episode. I’m not entirely clear why the Chameleon killed all the other people in the case Renko was investigating before killing him, but I assume it was so that Callen and the others would be there when Renko died. It has been quite a while since we last saw Renko, so long ago that I’d actually forgotten he existed to be honest, and because of that his death didn’t have quite the impact on me as it did on the team. Still, it was clear that they all cared for him and it is a shame that he won’t be appearing in any more episodes.

While I did slightly expect that Renko would die after he suddenly appeared again in this episode, I did not expect Agent Hunter to also return and die. I feel quite stupid because I did notice Claire Forlani in the opening credits but I had completely forgotten that fact by the end of the episode. I certainly didn’t expect that she would die, especially so soon after Renko’s death. Assuming she is dead of course, as I never trust that a character is dead until we see the body. But I don’t see how she could have survived that explosion. I have to give props to NCIS: LA for having the guts to kill off two of its recurring characters in one episode. Normally when a villain threatens an agent nothing actually happens before he is caught, but here the Chameleon had already managed to kill two of Callen’s friends. Furthermore, although he was arrested at the end of the episode, he is still clearly where he wants to be and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else becomes his victim before the season is out.

Overall, while this episode was a bit light on an actual plot as it was mostly all leading towards the last few minutes, it contained some huge shocks and surprises. As I say, I expect we will get some more in the second half next week, and I can’t wait to see what the Chameleon’s endgame is.

NCIS

Season 8, Episode 17

‘One Last Score’

I should start by saying that I don’t actually have a lot to say about this episode. I think I wasn’t really paying attention at the beginning, as for the majority of the episode I didn’t really understand what was going on. I think I missed the part where it was explained why the woman was in jail, and as the plot mostly revolved around her I was quite lost. Still, the plot seemed fairly interesting although not perhaps to the usual standard.

One interesting thing about this week’s episode was the introduction of Special Agent E. J. Barrett who it appears will be around for a while. She seems to be quite a fascinating character (although slightly rude and interfering) and is also interesting for the effect she has on Tony. She is running the team which Tony was offered several years ago, which provides an insight into Tony’s thoughts and feelings about what happened then. One thing I love about NCIS is that plot lines are never really over and often come back in later seasons. I don’t know how the team behind the show are able to plan that far in advance, or even if they do, but it makes it real and rewarding for those of us who have watched the whole series so far.

Overall, this was an average episode with the introduction of a seemingly important new character. I look forward to seeing what role she plays in the coming plotlines, and how Tony and the rest of the team react to her.

Leverage

Season 4, Episode 2

‘The 10 Li’l Grifters Job’

After last week’s very character-driven episode of Leverage, this week the show returned to a more typical case, although as always there was a twist. In this case, the team were conning a businessman while he hosted a murder mystery party at his house, but things took an unexpected turn when the businessman was murdered. Nate was initially in the frame for it and it was quite interesting that, if only for a split second, it did cross all the team members’ minds that he might have actually done it. As Sophie said at the end, it doesn’t mean that they don’t trust him, but it does show that they aren’t entirely sure of exactly what Nate is capable of. I do think that the team trust each other more than they do Nate, after all he does a lot of his work drunk and you can never tell when he’s running a con on someone, but do think that they trust him as well.

The case itself was interesting. I’m a big fan of the Agatha Christie type crime stories and I enjoyed the way it was done here. I think it could have been done better, as the actual killer was fairly obvious and there wasn’t much in the way of clues, but there were some good twists and turns. I think perhaps it would have worked better if there hadn’t been the murder, which seems oxymoronic, but this isn’t a show which deals a lot with death and I would personally prefer to keep it that way. If they had done the crime plot and had something being stolen instead, or something similar, it might have worked better.

This was a good second episode of this season of Leverage, although personally I prefer the more character-focused ones like last week’s. Still, this show does stand-alone cons very well even without the character focus and I very much enjoyed this episode.

Bones

Season 7, Episode 13

‘The Past in the Present’

Of all the season finales I’ve seen so far this season, this is by far the most impressive and is the one that has me most anxiously awaiting the next episode. This is actually quite an unusual episode for the end of a season of Bones; normally the overarching story gets wrapped up in the penultimate episode and the last episode is more restrained and starts to set things up for the following season, while, no doubt due to the shortened season, this time the finale is finale-worthy and focused on the season’s Big Bad, Christopher Pelant.

We have actually only seen Pelant once before, but he is certainly a memorably villain. Even though last season’s Big Bad was the only one to actually succeed in killing a member of the team, I didn’t find him an especially interesting character and he never really terrorised the team like some of the others have. The show has had some impressive Big Bads before, from Howard Epps to the Gravedigger to the Gormogon, and Pelant is deserving of a place alongside those. I believe he is the first to really set up one of the team to take the fall for his crimes and, while we don’t yet really understand his vendetta against Brennan and Booth, he has perhaps done more damage than any of the others to their family unit.

In this case, an old friend of Brennan’s is killed and, while the team know that it was Pelant who did it, the evidence stacks up against Brennan. The victim was in a mental institution and had threatened Christine, there was video of Brennan leaving the mental institution the night the victim escaped, Brennan had access to the very rare toxin that was used to paralyse the victim, and one of the victim’s hairs was found in her car. While it was never especially convincing to us that Brennan had done it, it was interesting to see how the team reacted to the evidence. None of them really believed that Brennan was a killer, but the scientists amongst them had to follow the evidence as Brennan taught them to. We could see how much it hurt Cam when she found ‘conclusive’ evidence of Brennan’s guilt and had to report it, but as Caroline said at the end it was the only reason the Squints were still in the game.

Not all of them acted so impartially though. Booth was tricked into attacking Pelant and was taken off the case, Brennan was obviously taken off the case due to the evidence against her, Sweets was taken off for being too close to Brennan, and Caroline was taken off as Pelant hacked into the bank and made a transaction from Brennan to her. Angela, as far as I could tell, wasn’t taken off the case but she was the only one really fighting for Brennan’s innocence during the episode. Of all the team, Angela is the one who is the least rational and objective so it wasn’t surprising that she was so unwilling to do anything which would be detrimental to her friend, and it was her who discovered how Pelant was doing the hacking. Of course, there’s no evidence but hopefully the team will be able to prove Brennan’s innocence soon.

The episode ended with Brennan running away with Christine so that she wouldn’t be arrested. I didn’t really see that coming, and as she didn’t take Booth with her I can’t help but wonder how this will affect their relationship when she does (presumably) return. I also want to point out that this means that David Boreanaz’s two main TV character, Angel and Booth, have both had their children taken from them by someone they trust. I don’t expect Christine will return as a teenager, but it is interesting that a plot which isn’t incredibly common in TV has happened twice to characters played by David Boreanaz.

With such a cliff-hanger, I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here. It’s always difficult for a show to provide a satisfactory resolution to a cliff-hanger, but I have faith in Bones. We also need to find out what Pelant was doing in their house at the end, and how the Squints are going to prove Brennan’s innocence. I look forward to seeing how this plot is resolved and I can’t wait for September.

 

Grimm

Season 1, Episode 17

‘Love Sick’

While most episodes of Grimm have a main case and then some mythology and character development going on around it, this week’s episode was different. There was no procedural element in it at all, and it was largely focused on concluding the plots that have been going on for the past few weeks, as well as contributing to the mythology. I have to say, I really enjoyed this episode and I hope they do more like it in the future. Procedurals can be fun, but an in depth story is always more exciting.

The plot this episode concentrated on was all about what Adalind has been doing to Hank over the past few weeks. I’m glad the show hasn’t strung this story along for too long, as this type of plot can get frustrating. Fortunately, it seemed to be over by the end of this episode, which formed a great conclusion to this plot. It was great to see more of Monroe and Rosalee working together to help Hank and Wu, and there seems to be a slight romance potentially developing there. I wouldn’t complain, as it would mean more screen time for Monroe, which can only be a good thing.

The plot reached its peak with a fight between Nick and Adalind, and Nick getting his blood in her mouth. It seems that the blood of a Grimm was able to destroy the ‘demon’ inside of Adalind, and I wonder if that would work on all Vessen. What was perhaps more interesting was that Adalind herself was fine after what happened, which is I believe the first indication that the people and the Vessen ‘inside’ them aren’t one and the same. Is this the same for all Vessen, and what might this mean for the future of this show? I look forward to finding out.

The other main plot going on in this episode was with Sergeant Renard. It appears that whatever he is doing is part of the family business, and is under pressure from the rest of the family to deliver the key Aunt Marie gave to Nick in the first episode. They don’t appear to be a close family, however, as Renard shot his cousin in the forehead to deliver a message. It will be interesting to see what the family do now that Renard has failed to get the key, and what further steps he will take to obtain it.

This was by far the most serialised episode of Grimm so far, and I hope further episodes are more like this. The episode ended with Nick getting what appeared to be a map from the key. What is the map for? Who knows, but I can’t wait to find out. This show has a great mix of procedural and overarching mysteries, and I’m eagerly anticipating the next chapter of this story.

A Town Called Eureka

Season 5, Episode 4

‘Friendly Fire’

While the first three episodes of this season focused on dealing with what happened after the Season 4 cliff-hanger, this week’s episode returned to the more normal, stand-alone episode format of the show. I did like the whole virtual-Eureka plot, and thought it was fairly well executed, but I am pleased to be returning to the more traditional style of this show, for a while at least. I’m sure that as the end of the series approaches things will become slightly more serialised again, but for now I am happy to watch the typical Eureka hijinks.

The ‘disaster’ this week was all about a fireball (or a Firefly) that got loose acting seemingly of its own accord and causing chaos all over town. It was a typically good, funny, interesting plot and the revelation that the people who had been to the virtual Eureka were emitting some kind of radio wave that was affecting the fireball was both surprising and a fascinating plot development. I doubt that will be the only side-effect of the virtual Eureka, and I look forward to seeing where the show takes this.

As the hunt for the fireball was going on, the main characters also had to deal with the emotional impact of the virtual-Eureka plot. After all, the Astreus crew had just got used to what was happening in virtual Eureka and having to adapt to the fact that none of that was real was always going to be difficult. It was also hard for those who didn’t go into the virtual Eureka to understand the actions of the others, and it was clearly putting a strain on their relationships. By the end of the episode it seemed that most of the issues were slowly going away, but it will be interesting to see if there are still any residual effects next week.

The other character plot this week was Fargo trying to deal with Holly’s death. I am pleased that the show has dealt with this, and hasn’t just swept it under the rug. It also wouldn’t necessarily have worked if Fargo had spent the entire episode grieving, so the plot of him using a patch to go through the five stages of grief quickly allowed us to see both the effect Holly’s death was having on him, and allowed him to provide some of the comic relief for which he is known. My favourite scene had to be the one at the end though, as Dr Parish came by to mourn for Holly with Fargo. It’s one of the few times we’ve seen Dr Parish do anything kind, but it was nice to see the two of them overcome their differences and play a role-playing game in memory of Holly.

This was a very good episode of this show, with some great character plots and an interesting disaster-of-the-week. I hope the show can maintain this quality of episodes for the rest of the season, and provide us with a satisfactory end to this marvellous show.