Sunday, May 31, 2009
Written by Charles H. Eglee
Directed by Ernest Dickerson
Dexter: “My dad used to say ‘be careful what you think you know about someone; you’re probably wrong.’”
Miguel: “Smart man.”
Yes, the same man whose lies that were revealed from the previous two seasons have soured Dexter’s overall view of him. Harry might have been economical with the truth but there’s no doubt that’s he got Miguel’s number. Too bad that Dexter isn’t as easy to persuade nowadays.
Much as I like Jimmy Smits in this role and as much as I would like to go against all odds and think that Dexter may have finally found a friend, a friend that he can totally be honest with in Miguel, the truth is that Harry’s right. You don’t need powerful observational to come to that conclusion, just common sense.
Unfortunately Dexter seems to be leaving his common sense behind him whenever he’s around Miguel. It’s true that Miguel does have Dexter over a barrel (and that will be something he’ll inevitably use to his advantage or as revenge) but Dexter seems to think that Miguel is on his side and thanks the results of this episode, he’s gonna remain thinking that.
Harry told Dexter earlier on that Miguel wouldn’t be able to accept the real him and when Miguel kept asking Dexter uncomfortable questions about Ethan, Dexter’s response was to test Miguel. For that, Dexter showed some smarts but unsurprisingly enough, the test backfired on Dexter.
Dexter was hoping that Miguel wouldn’t be able (or would out right refuse) to bring Clemson Gull within his proximity. In fact it very much looked Miguel would refuse, he was citing enough reasons why neither of them should risk but it was still a shock to me as well as Dexter when he agreed to get Clemson.
Dexter noted that Miguel seemed to have a similar enthusiasm for killing bad guys as he did but Harry also pointed out that Miguel would sell him out in a second if they ever got caught. During Dexter’s fevered attempts of getting Clemson away from the courthouse, it very much looked like that Miguel was going to live up to Harry’s words. I guess now would be a little too soon for him to do that.
That being said, even though Miguel earned Dexter’s trust by helping him escape with Clemson, Dexter still wouldn’t let Miguel actually see the process in which he kills his victims. It’s obvious that Dexter would find some way of taking some control back from Miguel. Here’s hoping that he’s right about Miguel not holding a grudge for Dexter deceiving him though.
If Dexter and Miguel’s friendship is dangerous, then it’s nice that Rita and Sylvia are allowed to have a far normal friendship. Unlike their respective others, they’re not setting out to dismember bad guys but instead decide that working together in real estate could be a good thing.
Rita desperately needs a career for herself and Sylvia clearly seems to think that Rita could have a knack for real estate. I’m actually gonna be sorry to see this friendship fizzle out because if Miguel is unlikely to survive past this season, then Sylvia won’t either. Still at least her and Rita have the healthier friendship, compared to Dexter and Miguel of course.
Speaking of healthy, Angel seemed to be in a very good place this week as well. He finally managed to get a date with Barbara and all he had to do was not to fall for a honey trap. Come on, was there anyone who didn’t immediately realise that hooker wasn’t a set up? Either way it did its purpose and got Barbara to realise that Angel might be worth taking out for a meal.
Meals were also the rage for Camilla as well who wanted a key lime pie. It’s great to see her back, even though it’s under the sad circumstances of her having lung cancer. Dexter himself looked pretty crestfallen with her deteriorating state but there were some odd hints in the episode that Camilla wanted Dexter to kill her. Will he? Should he even?
Deb herself also had a hard time of it in this episode. Finding out that Wendell was the latest victim of the Skinner certainly put her on edge and with good reason. For a second, I thought she was going to think that the skinner was killing people because of her personally. She certainly wouldn’t have been wrong to have jumped to that conclusion and she was especially worried for Anton.
However thinking Ramon might have been the Skinner was a stretch in a way. Ramon’s volatile and dangerous and certainly not panicky when it comes to torturing people but even that’s not enough to make him the skinner. It was smart though that Deb at least looked into the option discreetly.
Also smart was that when she and Quinn discovered exactly what Ramon was really up to – torturing drug dealers to learn where Freebo was, she still played things by the book. Even Maria and Angel who weren’t overtly enthusiastic about her hunches couldn’t fault her this week.
Then there’s Yuki. She further made herself look bad by threatening to tell the station about Deb working with IA. Deb retaliated by telling Quinn that Yuki was investigating him. Quinn wasn’t all that surprised when he heard this but was he lying when he said that Yuki was doing it out of revenge? Yuki certainly seems vindictive enough and Quinn’s mostly okay.
Also vindictive was Ellen Wolf in building a smear campaign against Miguel to Maria’s disappointment. However it does look like Ellen might have good reason to go after Miguel though, especially given the strokes he pulled with the whole Chicky Hines thing.
Also in “Si Se Puede”
The title means ‘yes, you can’, ‘yes, we can’ or ‘yes, it is possible’.
Harry (to Dexter): “I understood. I just couldn’t accept it and Miguel won’t either.”
Harry dressing up as Dexter during one of the fantasy sequences was perhaps one of the strangest things the show has done in a while.
Dexter: “Ramon’s got anger issues. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
Deb: “Aw, you do care about me.”
Anton: “You sounded kinda upset on the phone.”
Deb: “Yeah, kinda upset in person too.”
Wendell’s body was a lot gorier than any of the previous victims of the Skinner that we’ve seen so far.
Dexter (to Miguel): “We took out the garbage twice. We should both quit while we’re ahead.”
Maria: “Life catches up.”
Dexter: “So does death.”
For a minute there, during that exchange, I thought Maria was going to say something about Doakes.
Camilla: “Dying I can do. Hell, I’m doing it. The pain is unbearable.”
Dexter: “How bad?”
Deb (to Yuki): “If you weren’t such a fuckwad, I’d feel sorry for you if you weren’t in IA where careers go to die.”
Quinn’s hair grew a lot in this episode that I found myself liking him more and more. He looks better with more hair.
Harry: “We only see two things in people. What we want to see, and what they want to show us. You don't know Miguel any more than he knows you.”
Dexter: “You're not seriously going to lecture me on relationships after the debris field you left behind?”
Deb (re Ramon): “How do you want to do this?”
Maria: “Book him. I want to inform the family.”
Chronology: A day since “Turning Biminese”.
“Si Se Puede” has it’s moments as an episode but it’s not the series or this season at it’s best, even if it is still of very high standard though. For that I can’t complain too much, just can we have some more on the Skinner please?
Rating: 7 out of 10.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Written by Jack Lothian
Directed by Philip John
Stanley: “It’s not what it looks like.”
Gene: “Never is. Flash of anger, lifetime of regret, still murder.”
Yeah, there are plenty of things to regret. Things you wished you’d never said or done or perhaps things you wish you had said or done. Regret can certainly eat away at you and in this episode; it really had to have done it with Stanley Mitchell.
You live in a neighbourhood where scumbags like Trevor Riley can do serious damage for the hell of it, that’s bad enough but when your own son is stupid enough to get involved with such a dangerous man, it’s got to be enough to anger you.
I don’t think I could blame Stanley for disowning Colin under the circumstances. There are plenty of people out there stuck in a rut, desperate to get away from the confines that they’re under but only a foolish person would go to a man like Trevor Riley for help.
Riley’s the sort of fellow who’d happily get his minions to bash in your kneecaps if you so much as looked at him funny. It’s easy to see why so many people fear and loathe him in equal measures. It still didn’t stop Colin and his dopey wife Donna from getting sucked into his world.
Gene made a comment about scum being scum, which raises a certain point. No-one can resent the likes of Colin and Donna for wanting to do better for themselves. There’s not a single person who doesn’t feel that way but it’s how you improved yourself that’s the issue.
Colin and Donna chose to go the wrong way about it, to the extent that Donna was even strong armed into having sex with Riley in order to protect her husband. You don’t have to have Alex’s brand of sympathy to be disgusted by that, even if Ray mistook it for something consensual. The look on Donna’s face obviously meant that she wasn’t enjoying the experience.
I had sort of thought around the second half of the episode that she was the one who had killed Colin or had been involved in his death with Trevor. Gene did throw the accusation of her and Trevor being in cahoots with each other.
The interesting part was not only was I wrong about Donna but it also turned out that Colin’s killer was his father. While Stanley was pleased that Colin was trying to escape from Riley’s hold on him, he was pretty disgusted with the method that him and Donna had planned to use to fund their new life away from Riley’s grip.
It was plausible enough to get Stanley to snap and kill his own child and it certainly added a better twist to the story. Even when Gene became privy to Stanley being the killer, he seemed more compassionate with the man than usual. One could almost say too compassionate but maybe the situation called for or maybe bits of Alex are rubbing off him.
Bits of Alex do seem to have that effect as even Ray was somewhat influenced by her this week. His usual disdain for her psychological profiling got put to one side when he embraced the idea of patterns in people’s behaviour. Ray figured out the bloodied blankets in the car that was left unlocked so hats off to him in that respect.
Also this week, there were some pointed comments about Ray’s lack of girlfriends. It’s something that’s always been hinted at, no matter how Ray tends to brag about his prowess, we’ve never actually seen him with a woman. Even Chris was able to point it out this when Ray was teasing him about Shaz turning into Bridezilla.
Chris and Shaz’s pre-wedding jitters did make for a good side plot in this episode. It was obvious that Shaz wasn’t going to demand anything too big but that Chris would inadvertently put his foot into it somehow. It was also obvious that by the end of the episode Chris and Shaz would somehow resolve their differences and carry on full steam ahead. That being said, just because it was obvious, doesn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable.
Also enjoyable was the closeness that a beating Gene received as well from Riley’s henchmen. Jokes about him and breakdowns aside, I loved that him and Alex connected on a few things. More importantly, I also had utter love for the comeuppance that Riley got as well.
Getting nearly crushed to death in a car by a furious Gene was one thing but having Ray and Chris nail Riley for outstanding parking tickets worked a treat for me, only because while Riley might be dangerous scum, the actor who played him didn’t really pull the role off as well as he could’ve done.
As for Alex, we’re at that time in the series where she’s hearing more stuff about her condition back in 2008 and believed that she was on the way home. Nice that she wrote each of them letters but did she really think that they were going to wait until she had left to read them? I’m not even sure if Gene was being honest when he said he didn’t read his, though it’s likely.
In terms of the Martin Summers/Operation Rose, this is the episode’s only misstep because nothing is advanced on it. However with the last two episodes around the corner, there’s no doubt that we’ll get enough stuff to keep us sated on that. I just hope the pay off is well worth it.
Also in “Episode 14”
The opening was a bit unusual with Alex and Gene catching suspect during a marathon. The suspect then threw himself over a bridge.
Chris (re victim): “Think he drowned then?”
Gene: “No, Christopher, I think he tried to drink the entire river for a bet and failed.”
Chris assumed that Colin’s marks at first had to do with Satanists. I wonder if that’s something this show would look into in the future.
Alex (to the neighbourhood watch meeting): “You should never take the law into your own hands of course.”
Gene: “Not unless you can handle yourself.”
Ray: “I’m like Liberace.”
Chris: “What, poofter?”
Ray: “No, no, the other one, what’s his name? Valentino. That’s it, I like Valentino.”
If you read Mackintosh’s report on the BBC website, he states Ray’s sexuality as unknown.
Donna (re Colin): “There must be some mistake. He’s not dead, he’s missing.”
Ray: “He definitely looked dead.”
Alex: “I am making a difference.”
Martin: “That’s sweet. Do you really believe that?”
Martin left Alex dried roses this time around. Why hasn’t anyone asked more questions about the continued flowers sent to Alex?
Shaz: “Right, so then marrying me is a circus and a hassle. Cheers, Chris, it’s nice to know how you really feel.”
Gene (to Donna): “Right, you took the word of a loan shark. You know you’re as bright as you look.”
If Gene and Alex were targeted by Riley’s henchmen, how come Chris and Ray weren’t either?
Alex (to Gene): “I feel different. I feel better. I think they’ve done it. You haven’t seen the best of me. Before I go, I think you’re really gonna be surprised because I haven’t felt this good in a long time.”
Gene (to Alex): “Something locked away usually means there’s something in there that you’re not supposed to see.”
In Alex’s letter, she talked about Shaz’s potential and Ray being repressed. Chris couldn’t understand a word of what she wrote about him and one can only imagine what she wrote about Gene.
Ray (re Gene): “He said he wanted to be alone.”
Alex: “Yeah and what people say they want and what they need are two very different things.”
Alex (re Trevor): “You nearly killed him.”
Gene: “Well, better luck next time, eh?”
Standout music: Motorhead’s “Ace Of Spades” (also used in Skins this year), Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Donna Summers “I Feel Love”. I love the contrasting music here.
Alex: “You’d miss me really.”
Gene: “Yeah, Bolls, I’d miss you. Cheers.”
Chronology: It looks like a few days have passed since Alex’s last meeting with Martin Summers.
Solid episode, quite enjoyable in a lot of places, especially with the reveal of what really happened with the main victim’s death but some more advancement on Martin Summers/Operation Rose would’ve been nice.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Written And Directed by Steven S. DeKnight
Adelle: “If you’re amenable to the terms of your contract you will be assigned to Echo, one of our most requested Actives.”
Boyd: “What happened to her last handler?”
Claire: “You’re standing in him.”
After a surprisingly underwhelming pilot episode, it’s nice to know that the second episode gave viewers more of a glimpse of the excellence that could be achieved. The episode might have some bumps but it’s an improvement from “Ghost” and that’s as good a place to start.
We’ve seen her as a hostage negotiator and a date for some random rich bastard, so episode two makes her a random date for another rich bastard. I’ll halt the groaning because even though Connell’s spiel about wanting to be with an honest woman isn’t as nauseating as it should be.
The date in question is also a little more adventurous than a motorcycle race. It’s the outdoorsy type of experiences where rock climbing and archery are on top of the list. Sure, Connell also got his wicked way with Echo but if the idea of Actives being used for sexual purposes was hard to swallow, then so is killing them.
It should’ve been obvious from the moment Connell started mouthing off about having the right to live – shoulder to the wheel and the like. Connell believes himself worthy of survival because of his ability to take down prey. Unfortunately for Echo, she’s gone from date to target practice, proving that some men really are bastards.
This is something of an unoriginal and uninspired premise, very horror in its setting (of course they’d have to be the woods because a fight for survival on a beach isn’t going to have the same kind of resonance) but there’s some psychological elements that actually make you care about the episode.
Unknowing of her surroundings and pretty much kept away from Boyd, Echo literally was without a paddle in an episode where she had to fight for her life. Maybe she should trade places with Alex Drake. 1982 is moderately safer in comparison that being stalked by Robin Hood gone very bad.
For the most part, there’s a lot of running on Echo’s part and being tricked into drinking poisoned water wasn’t the smartest of things that could’ve happened to her. Connell clearly didn’t want to kill her there and then, which was strange but maybe he really is the type of person who feels he deserved a worthy adversary.
Partly drugged out in a weird way brought some stuff to the surface for Echo. As good as Topher blathers on about his imprinting prowess, there’s no chance that Caroline could be completely eradicated.
Echo kept seeing little bits of Caroline, almost trying to piece the bits together. It’d be too simple if she got to connect the dots this early in the series but it’s good that parts of Caroline are seeping through, given the abhorrence of what is generally happening to her.
The interesting part of this episode should’ve been her final smackdown with Connell. It wasn’t but it didn’t lack either. After Echo got bored with trying to understand what would compel him to hunt her down like an animal, she decided to get more vengeance like in her approach. Connell shooting Boyd as well contributed to that.
Connell’s death didn’t exactly reek of poetry but heck if I’m going to feel sorry for him. His death however did confirm that someone really is watching. Undoubtedly the person is Alpha and it’s equally obvious that he was the one to hire Connell to test Echo out.
Alpha was also the same person who left that nice little envelope there for Paul as well with Caroline’s picture. Paul is still a weak point for me this episode, what with him being a laughing stock by his co-workers, harassing Lubov/Victor and being seemingly harassed by overly affectionate neighbour Mellie.
I’m not going to pretend that I think Mellie is a doll because I would be incredibly surprised if she wasn’t. Mellie showing up just as Dominic and Adelle argued over on how to deal with Paul butting his nose into the Dollhouse. Dominic wanted to kill him but Adelle clearly thinks that having someone spy on him is a better solution. She’s probably right.
As for the rest of the episode, the use of flashbacks to explain a violent incident three months prior certainly had its point. We learned that Boyd replaced Echo’s old handler after he wound up a casualty of mad Alpha’s killing spree. In fact, there were a lot of casualties during that. It was also Boyd who believed that Alpha was behind the set up for Echo, though Claire was all too quick to dismiss the idea.
It was because of Alpha we learned that Claire’s face was badly sliced up but apart from the Alpha information dump (why did he spare Echo?), the flashbacks also helped established Boyd’s introduction and disgust with the Dollhouse.
He pretty much treated Topher with contempt when he realised that he was responsible for botching up Alpha and he also didn’t treat Echo like a real person. However this episode more than showed that Boyd cares for her and the Active/Handler dynamic is pretty Slayer/Watcher like anyway in the general feel of it.
Another bonus with the episode was Dominic. His desire to kill Paul is one thing but the iciness towards Echo at the end of the episode was something else. He noted that people tended to die around her and he treated her with glaring contempt as well.
He’s very likely to be a dangerous threat to her and by extension to the Dollhouse as well. That might not sit well with Adelle who at the start of the episode did issue a thinly veiled threat to Connell if he hurted Echo. Not that an act of protectiveness like that would still make me think Adelle is doing the right thing with this organisation.
Also in “The Target”
The lighting for the flashbacks was a little jarring at the start, kind of similar to some episodes of Battlestar Galactica.
Topher: “What’s the magic word?”
Topher: “I was looking for abracadabra but that’ll do.”
Topher talked about Actives being vulnerable when they’re not programmed. Isn’t that similarly stupid to giving them impairments like breathing difficulties?
Tanaka (to other FBI agent): “Agent Ballard is telling us to investigate. Thanks for the tip.”
Boyd: “You telling me you programmed one of your Dolls to be Jack The Ripper?”
Dominic: “Not my department.”
Dominic mentioned in the episode that he would put Echo in the Attic if he had the choice or kill her. I can only imagine that isn’t a good place to be.
Paul (re envelope): “Where’d this come from?”
FBI Agent: “Granny left it. Man, her teeth were big.”
Boyd (re Actives): “Look at them. Bunch of helpless children. Did the ones Alpha slaughter even put up a fight?”
Topher: “They wouldn’t know how.”
Alpha was able to slice his victims in eight seconds because of the surgical skills that had been imprinted on him at the time.
Adelle (re Paul): “I think you overestimate his abilities.”
Dominic: “Even a blind dog can find a bone if he digs enough holes.”
Echo (to Connell): “You know what gives someone the right to live? Not hunting them!”
Some sci-fi favourites were in this episode with Mark Sheppard as Tanaka and Matt Keeslar as Connell.
Ranger: “I don’t know, I swear to God.”
Boyd: “He’s not listening.”
Mellie (re Echo/Caroline): “Is she in trouble?”
Paul: “Maybe or she got caught up with the wrong people. Either way I’ll keep looking until I find her.”
Mellie: “Lucky her.”
If Mellie is a Doll, then Adelle must have been aware of Paul snooping around for some time because Paul definitely knew Mellie for a while by his attitude with her.
Boyd (re gun): “Do you know how to use this?”
Echo: “Four brothers. None of them Democrats.”
Connell (to Echo): “Is this the best date ever or what?”
Standout music: “Get Out” by The Vines and “Leave It On” by Deorentos. Also Sierra didn’t appear in this episode.
Echo: “I’m gonna go swim in the pool.”
Dominic: “If it were up to me, I’d put you in the Attic or in the ground.”
Chronology: We know that Boyd’s been working with Echo for at least three months but we still don’t know how long in her five year contract Echo has been working for the Dollhouse.
This was way better but I’ve liked Steven S. DeKnight’s work on Buffy/Angel for the most part, so his trademark wit for “The Target” and moments of horror and psychological testing made me a little more invested in the overall story. Good job.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Directed by Alice Troughton
Sao Til: “The TARDIS is mine.”
Jack: “The TARDIS belongs to The Doctor.”
Sao Til: “But I am the Doctor. Don’t you recognise me?”
Okay by reviewing this scene, I am probably proving one or two things that a) I really am obsessed with Doctor Who or b) that I have way too much time on my hands. I can’t see either generating positive responses from people.
Usually I wouldn’t watch Tonight’s The Night, even though I like John Barrowman as much as the next person but when there’s a special Doctor Who, it’s enough to get me to cave in and watch it.
This little beauty was a nice little TARDIS scene with Captain Jack fighting the not remotely evil Sao Til, who wanted control of the TARDIS but it’s not like Jack was going to allow that.
If there was a chance that viewers were supposed to take the scene seriously, it went to pot the second David Tennant showed up and warned John Barrowman that the TARDIS was his. Like a buffoon, I did get a little giggle out of the scene and I have to admire the winner Tim Ingham for getting to have his dream come true. You certainly can’t begrudge the lad.
- The title sequence had John Barrowman, David Tennant and Tim Ingham in that order.
- Sao Til was an arms dealer and Jack noted that blue was a turn on for him. Chantho in “Utopia” was also blue.
- We got some nice little interviews with David Tennant and Russell T. Davies on helping Tim fulfil a dream.
- Perhaps they could add this as a DVD extra for “The Waters Of Mars” when it comes out.
- Tim Ingham is a drama student, according to one of the blogs I read.
David Tennant: “Oh and John, another thing.”
John Barrowman: “Yeah?”
David Tennant: “My TARDIS. My TARDIS.”
“Tonight’s The Night” might not completely fill a big Doctor Who void until the next special but this was very silly and very enjoyable.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Directed by Marcos Siega
Miguel: “All that stuff, that's not for men. Right, Dex?”
Dexter: “Lying naked on a table, helpless? No, thanks.”
Yeah, surrendering to another person or thing isn’t exactly the ideal of situations for Dexter to put himself under. Dexter is like many men who like their freedom so when tonight’s episode threw some uncomfortable realities his way, Dexter couldn’t fake it as well as he would usually do.
Dexter loves Rita, this we all know too well by now but now we’re seeing a side to him that’s desperate to cling onto the familiarity of his old life. He’s not ready to change and he’s certainly not ready to move. Rita trying to push it only helped freak him out all the more.
He was uncomfortable when Rita and Sylvia first ganged up on him with the suggestion that him and Rita would have to move in together. Even Dexter’s attempts of wanting to sublet his apartment wasn’t taken seriously. Rita wanted a bigger commitment that Dexter wanted to give.
In the last two episodes we’ve seen him going from telling Rita that he wanted to be there for their child to him proposing to her in the most heartfelt of ways. Having him balk at the idea of the two of them moving could be seen as silly. Did Dexter really think that Rita wouldn’t suggest moving in together?
I’d like to think not but he certainly was put out by it and at one point he actually snapped at Rita and told her he didn’t want to move in with her. I’m surprised she didn’t smack him when he did that but Rita can sometimes do that. Instead she just looked crestfallen and continued making dinner. Bad move, Dexter.
It’s nice that when Dexter’s being a bit of a prick that Rita has someone to confide in. I’m starting to like Sylvia more than Miguel. She genuinely does have Rita’s best interests at heart and didn’t pressure her into buying any houses that she wasn’t sure of.
It was also Sylvia who was largely there when Rita started bleeding by taking her to the hospital. Even trashing Dexter couldn’t make me dislike Sylvia, probably because it was all too easy to understand why she wouldn’t be so sympathetic. It’s almost a pity that Rita and Sylvia’s friendship won’t make it past this season.
As for Rita, she very nearly miscarried and it was certainly enough to scare anyone. I’ve had sisters who suffered similar scares so I know it’s a terrible thing to have to worry about. Rita was lucky that she didn’t lose the baby but that was because she had Sylvia to take her to the hospital.
The near miscarriage was also something that got Dexter to get his act together. Emotions or the lack of, even Dexter wasn’t thrilled about the idea of almost losing his own child and the ordeal was enough to get him to change his mind about moving in with Rita.
When Dexter wasn’t trying to wrangle out of committing further, he was also falling into Miguel’s trap. The second Miguel started talking about wife killer Ethan was the same one I realised that he wanted Dexter to do his brand of justice to Ethan. Dexter didn’t exactly fail on that score.
The usual bout of research was done quickly enough and Dexter certainly had fun in dismembering Ethan, even if he couldn’t dedicate as much time to the whole thing as he might have wanted to.
As for Miguel confronting Dexter about Ethan’s death – beautifully executed scene. What would’ve horrified any of the other regulars on this series about Dexter enthralled Miguel to the extent that Miguel tried to use it as a further means of connecting with Dexter.
And that’s my problem with Miguel – he’s forcing a connection with Dexter for reasons that I don’t know. He intentionally set Dexter on a path to kill Ethan and something tells me that Miguel will probably be misguided enough into thinking that he can control Dexter. He’s going to have one hell of a culture shock when he realises that no one can control Dexter.
Speaking of control, Ramon re-emerged as slightly calmer and more together when he approached Maria about trying to connect a recent skinner attack to Oscar’s murder. The Ramon in this episode that I saw was probably the most tolerable that he’s been in the series so far but he still managed to rub everyone up the wrong way.
Quinn especially had no problem in telling him to back off but it was Masuka who actually got him to do it by contradicting one of his theories. In some ways this was an excellent episode for Masuka.
Attempting to be more politically correct and polite was never something that was going to stick. If Deb and Angel’s sarcastic remarks weren’t enough to get Masuka back to his foul ways, then eventually something else would’ve done the trick. Though I did love Deb teasing him like mad.
Deb certainly had a lot on her plate in this episode. First off all, she made the effort to try and get Wendell to talk to her but judging by the obvious fact that she was being watched, I think she might have put the lad in harm’s way instead and possibly even Anton too. It was also nice to see her and Quinn reach some level of civility as well.
As for Maria, she had exceedingly little to do in this episode at all but at least Angel made some effort with Barbara. Okay, she refused an initial date but now that she’s realised he’s not some sleazy creep, I think Angel definitely has a legitimate shot with her. I like Barbara and there’s definitely some kind of a spark between her and Angel that could make a pairing between them work.
Also in “Turning Biminese”
Bimini is a fishing resort, right? It was also the same place that Ethan chose to vacate for the last time.
Rita: “Dex, that’s our baby.”
Dexter: “A baby. Incredible.”
I’m loving the fantasy sequences with Harry in this episode and one of them featuring Laura Moser was nice. Same actress as Season 1?
Harry: “Marriage is 50-50. What’s yours is Rita’s. Better hope she insist on a place with central air.”
Angel (re Masuka): “What’s up with him? He doesn’t joke around anymore, he dresses better, he’s polite.”
Quinn: “Maybe someone pointed out the error of his ways.”
Actually, Masuka’s attire was more dull than polite. No-one in this show really wears muted colours, not even Doakes or Maria anymore.
Deb: “You know, I can take inappropriate Masuka. I can take porn-loving Masuka. I can even take flatulent Masuka. But this dress-shoe-wearing please-and-thank-you zombie Masuka is fucking creeping me out.”
Deb: “Is this about your stupid paper?”
Masuka: “You guys don’t get it. You hurt my feelings.”
I noticed the romantic vibe between Deb and Anton went up a few notches in this episode. She was quite protective of him.
Rita: “No doesn’t really work in a relationship, Dexter. Can we talk about it is a little productive.”
Masuka (to Ramon): “Your victim was smothered. That's not opinion. That's science. And science is one cold-hearted bitch with a fourteen inch strap-on.”
Deb: “And he's back.”
Dexter and Miguel played a fair amount of golf in this episode. Dexter even used his golf bag to hide his weapons, which was pretty clever.
Rita: “What are the rules about using the bathroom in a show house?”
Sylvia: “There are no rules. You gotta go, you gotta go.”
Dexter: “And here I am, paradox personified. Taking life. Creating life.”
This episode used David Bowie’s “Changes” during a scene. Interesting choice.
Miguel (to Dexter): “You have nothing to explain, nothing to apologise for, not ever. I’m behind you, I’m with you and I respect you.”
Chronology: About nine weeks since “Our Father”, just by far along Rita’s pregnancy has gone.
“Turning Biminese” is a strong point for the series. Fatherhood, commitment, Miguel are all the things that Dexter can’t either shake off or control to his liking. Still, I’m sure that Dexter will adapt whatever way he can to these new situations.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
UK Airdate: January 22nd-March 26th 2009
Halfway Home: When ditching virtually the entire original cast from a successful series, you’re really put in a difficult position. How on Earth can you continue to make a series without the characters that made it? Wouldn’t ending the series completely have been a better option?
Most teen shows find it hard to make the transition from high school to college. If all the characters commute at the same college, it’s somewhat implausible and if they go to separate colleges, it often feels like you’re watching about three different shows all at once.
The writers here decided to ditch the original cast and bring in some fresh blood in order to avoid that kind of transition. But by bringing in a younger crowd so you can write more teen also means that things could get very repetitive as well. Of course not everyone’s gone.
Effy quickly replaced her brother as the centre of attention with Freddie, JJ and Cook all gushing after her and Katie wanting to hang out with her. Then there’s Pandora, who also elevated into a series regular and became Effy’s right hand woman for at least the first four episodes of the season.
Introducing all of the characters in the premiere episode gave some interesting impressions. Out of the boys, JJ shone the most, especially with his magic skills and the fact that it was obvious he had Aspergers (which got beautifully addressed in the seventh episode of the season) and Thomas also became the gentlemanly boyfriend any young girl would be happy to have.
That meant that Cook and Freddie didn’t really hit it off as well. Out of the two of them, Jack O’Connell is the better actor but Cook is such a vile character and it’s also predictable that his first episode would portray him in such a negative light as well. This show needs to lay off gangsters because even Mackenzie Cook’s gangster Johnny White fails to be either interesting or threatening.
As for Cook, his relationship with Freddie is certainly more interesting than his random whoring about the place. He berates Freddie and JJ, yet he’s useless without them and in spite of the fact that he seems aware of that nugget; he treats them cruelly within the season, even to the point where he causes chaos during a party in the woods.
Not that Freddie’s any better. I mean he’s nice to JJ and arguably a nicer guy than Cook (not exactly a hard feat) but his constant harping on about how much he loves Effy doesn’t half irritate. The only time Effy actually offers herself to him is after she bashed Katie’s head with a rock in self-defence (though still a shitty thing to leave her behind for hours on end).
The Effy/Cook/Freddie triangle really is dull. Both Freddie and Cook have more chemistry with each other than with Effy, so if you’re a slasher you’re probably wondering why the two of them don’t just hook up. After all they did kiss during a fight over Cook sabotaging Freddie’s sister Karen’s ambition for a pop career.
Thankfully though there are two couples in this season worth giving a damn about. On one hand you’ve got Pandora (who’s more likeable here than in her Season 2 appearance) and Thomas who just about survive the fallout of him learning that she was sleeping with Cook but they’re sort of underdeveloped as well.
The couple who are much vocalised in the season though are Naomi and Emily. We know from the first episode that they once kissed and their storyline all season is the best storyline the show has ever done as far as I’m concerned as well. The slow but organic build up from Naomi initially resisting Emily to actually committing to a relationship with her is compelling. Even things like an almost shag between Naomi/Cook, an actual shag between Emily/JJ aren’t enough to undermine the good work of this couple. Hell, even Katie sticking her beak in and trying to break up Emily and Naomi doesn’t work.
When I first saw Katie in the premiere episode, I knew we had our new Michelle. A far nastier version of Michelle but still a new Michelle nonetheless (though weirdly enough, I think I like Katie more than Michelle). As a twin myself, I was seriously looking forward to her and Emily’s episode and without a doubt; I actually think it might be my favourite episode of the series full stop. Everything about the episode just sparkled but to be fair the only episode in this season that’s near unwatchable is Cook’s.
As for the finale, I really wished they had pulled their finger out a bit more. It was way too low key and only focusing on Effy, Cook, JJ and Freddie might have been a better mid-season episode than a finale. Plus at least we know that Cook’s vileness is hereditary when we have to meet his father. As for Effy choosing Freddie, here’s hoping she spark a personality out of him because as detestable as Cook is, at least you notice him more onscreen. However all I want in the upcoming fourth season is for the writers not to wreck Naomi and Emily’s relationship. Other than that, they can do whatever they want.
DVD EXTRAS: I don’t actually own the DVDs, seeing as they’re stripped of the original music used per episode but I do know what the extras entail.
- 10 Video Diaries (JJ's Video Diary, Naomi's Video Diary, Pandora's Video Diary, Freddie's Video Diary, Karen's Video Diary, Cook's Video Diary, Katie's Video Diary, Emily's Video Diary, Effy's Video Diary and Thomas's Video Diary).
- Behind the scenes of each episode
- 4 Unseen Skins Episodes (Wurst Case Scenario, Last Bus, Welcome to Roundview and The Pact)
- Behind the scenes of the London and final auditions
- Trailers and behind the scenes of the trailer shoot
EPISODE RATING FROM 1 TO 10
3x01: Everyone = 8/10, 3x02: Cook = 6/10, 3x03: Thomas = 9/10,
3x04: Pandora = 9/10, 3x05: Freddie = 8/10, 3x06: Naomi = 10/10,
3x07: JJ = 9/10, 3x08: Effy = 10/10, 3x09: Katie And Emily = 10/10,
3x10: Finale = 7/10.
UK Airdate: February 11th – April 14th 2008
Nude: As per usual, second seasons are a bitch and a half to get right. There’s always someone who is going to gripe about things not being as good as the first season. Skins like many shows nowadays did have some detractors when it came to its second year but to be fair, while the second season wasn’t perfect, it certainly wasn’t unbearable either.
First of all, the opening episode was the strongest season premiere this series has done and given that Tony and Maxxie are two of the show’s most talked about characters, having them share an episode made sense. On one hand you had Tony trying to adjust to life following his bus accident. Not the easiest of things to do and equally frustrating when your parents can’t help, your friends aren’t experienced to deal with the consequences of your problems and also when you can’t even write your own name. All of these things are enough to drive anyone nuts so Tony generates a lot of sympathy for that alone.
It also doesn’t help when you’ve got Abigail going around pretending that you’re her girlfriend. I guess for Abigail, it must have been her little way of getting back at Tony but it’s a plot that doesn’t actually generate much drama. Abigail sticks around for the first three episodes and then she’s gone.
The best person for Tony in the premiere was Maxxie. He was sympathetic, helpful and supportive without the writers manipulatively trying to tug at the heart strings. Mitch Hewer isn’t the strongest of actors on the show and I’m probably in a minority of fans who don’t fancy Maxxie (all of the male cast don’t really do it for me, a bit too young) but he comes leaps and bounds in this season, though the first two episodes are the ones that really put Maxxie in the fray.
The first episode had him and his dad (played by Bill Bailey) at loggerheads over careers (dancing vs. manual labour) but without anything turning overtly nasty. It’s also typical that one of the homophobic bullies, Dale would also be gay and actively pursue Maxxie in the woods during a party.
The second episode then introduced us to Sketch, an unhinged girl attracted to Maxxie and contriving various ways to get his attentions. Poisoning Michelle so she could score a lead role in the same play as Maxxie (Obama the musical anyone?) is typical but her masturbating on Maxxie’s bed is definitely not something you’d see on Gossip Girl or 90210. Needless to say that Maxxie was less than flattered with her attentions and her grooming Anwar in changing his appearance to look like Maxxie might be played for laughs but it’s also seriously creepy.
Maxxie’s lucky enough to score himself a nice boyfriend who he got to keep after graduation but Sketch’s plans to trap Anwar with her blew up in her. I’m surprised she didn’t try pretending to be pregnant given how often she and Anwar were at it in a short space of time.
When it comes to other relationships, the second season is also the very season that obliterates both Michelle and Tony and Sid and Cassie in almost typical teen show style. I never cared for Michelle and Tony, so their relationship falling apart was fine by me but I loved Sid and Cassie, so them devolving as a couple is probably the thing I disliked most about this season.
Sending Cassie away to Scotland for the first four episodes was an obvious test – could her and Sid survive that long apart? The answer turned out to be no and through Sid falsely believing that Cassie was having it off with gay couple Rory and Lachlan and Sid sleeping with Michelle, their relationship went down the tubes. Seeing Michelle and Sid embark on (a thankfully) short-lived as a result of losing their respective others certainly was depressing but not as weird as Tony chasing after imaginary girl Beth (who looked way too similar to Effy at some angles) or Cassie’s random sleeping around with everyone in sight, including a girl. Also even when Tony/Michelle and Sid/Cassie reunited, the damage had been done. The former broke up after graduation and the latter ended when one of them bolted to New York.
The best relationship of the season was without doubt Jal and Chris. There had been some moments with them in the first season and the writers expanded on it in the second but sadly they didn’t get much joy either with Jal’s pregnancy/abortion debacle and Chris dying in the penultimate episode.
I have to admit when I first watched the finale, knowing that it was the last episode for these characters that I was a little disappointed with it. Coffin stealing aside and stories about Chris were lovely but I guess I wanted more. Still, they did set up the next generation with Effy’s expanded role in this season and we did get to meet Pandora, so all that ends well I suppose.
DVD EXTRAS: I don’t actually own the DVDs, seeing as they’re stripped of the original music used per episode but I do know what the extras entail.
- Behind the scenes
- Interviews with cast & crew
- Skins Secret Party Special episode
- 6 Unseen Skins Episodes (Abigail Video Diary, Auditions, Michelle’s Dating Video, Anwar and Sketch’s Date, Sketch's Video Diary, Tony's Nightmare, Anwar's Second Dating Blog: Sketch, Cassandra, When Maxxie Met James, Chris's Final Message)
- Broadcast trailer
- Writer Daniel Kaluuya’s story of working on Skins
- Skins in New York City
EPISODE RATING FROM 1 TO 10
2x01: Tony And Maxxie = 9/10, 2x02: Sketch = 6/10, 2x03: Sid = 9/10,
2x04: Michelle = 8/10, 2x05: Chris = 8/10, 2x06: Tony = 7/10,
2x07: Effy = 9/10, 2x08: Jal =10/10, 2x09: Cassie = 9/10, 2x10: Finale = 8/10.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Echo/Caroline: “I know. Actions have consequences.”
Adelle: “What if they didn’t?”
I swore to myself that I wouldn’t touch this series with a ten foot barge pole but the last time I adopted that kind of attitude, I ended up caving in and reviewing the series and thanking my lucky stars that I did. Maybe I’ll feel just as thankful with this series as well.
I caught this episode on Tuesday now that the Sci-Fi channel in the UK finally got up off their backsides and premiered the series, I felt oddly compelled to take it on. As summer TV goes, I need more programmes but in terms of opening episodes, I have to admit that I wasn't impressed and Joss Whedon is one of the best damn writers on television.
In the past four years we've had amazing pilots from shows like Lost, Battlestar Galactica and Heroes to name three but this pilot felt a little too tame for my liking, which is strange given it’s general premise and the amount of discussion that can be generated from the very topic of mind-wiping people.
Logistically and morally, there are plenty of holes that can be picked at the idea of the Dollhouse. Why would anyone in their right mind want to be part of something like it? I can see that along with Caroline, most people are coerced into it and the ones that actually volunteer are nuts. There’s no way in hell I’d allow myself to be coerced into doing it but Adelle did seem to have Caroline/Echo over a barrel.
Morally, it's degrading. Being forced or allowing yourself to be imprinted into something else to cater to another person's needs is just reprehensive, plus aside from physical and legal consequences, there’s also got to be some emotional ones too. Topher talked about the dolls living the dream but I fail to see how this actually benefits them at all.
Echo (the name of Caroline the Active now has to go under) is a character I have no idea on how I feel about. We saw her as a date for a rich playboy and then as a hostage negotiator called Eleanor Penn who was abused by one of the men who took Davina. The latter role was the more difficult to pull off but Eliza Dushku did alright.
It might have helped if they had gone with a darker plot than the little girl being snatched (although there were allusions to child abuse, especially when Eleanor disclosed more on her former captor to Boyd and Gabriel). Also the extraction was something of a disaster what with Mr Sunshine getting a clean shot at Gabriel and Eleanor getting caught by the kidnappers as well.
Still there does seem to be an ongoing arc as well as in Whedon dynamic, a Big Bad to look out for. I am intrigued about this Alpha person and their interest in Caroline/Echo. Why is Echo/Caroline so important to Alpha and how long do we have to wait for them to make a move as well?
In terms of the remaining characters, they’re certainly a mixed bunch with some of them working better than others. Then again, this is a debut episode so I can’t gripe that every character wasn’t perfectly vocalised. There’s a remaining twelve episodes to give us perfect depth on the assorted regulars.
I adored Boyd. To me, the character had a mixture of Giles, Dixon and possibly even Jack Bristow. He certainly displayed a fatherly affection for Echo and even seemed appalled by what the Dollhouse was doing to all of the Actives in question. Maybe he’ll try and change things from the inside or maybe he’s a mole.
On the contrary, Adelle the iron lady in charge of the Dollhouse was another character I cared for. Yeah, the icy demeanour is hardly original or breathtaking and while I didn’t totally buy her sympathy for Gabriel when his daughter was snatched, I couldn’t help but like her. I guess I’m weird in that way.
I was also very intrigued by Claire, the doctor of the Dollhouse. Amy Acker is always a pleasing bit of casting and she certainly raised some interesting questions, namely what happened to her face and why did she flinch when Echo asked if someone took care of her? Maybe she’s a botched doll or something. Topher kept looking at her in a strange way as well.
In terms of the other dolls, we met two more besides Echo. Superficially, I thought Victor was cute, though the Russian accent was a bit much in certain scenes and I sorted of hated the bathroom confrontation with him and Paul, though there was amusement generated from it as well. Victor had no clue about the Dollhouse when Paul was demanding answers. Apparently on engagement, actives are unaware of the Dollhouse. I suppose there’s a degree of logic in that.
However I really liked Sierra and although she didn’t get much to do, I do have a good feeling that she’ll shine later in the season. She certainly came through for Echo towards the end of the episode, so that’s a good start with her. Plus Echo seemed enthused about the idea of having a friend and concerned when she saw Topher imprinting her.
I could also tolerate Dominic. Nothing against Reed Diamond but I don’t think Dominic is meant to be the most complex of characters but this is Joss Whedon and I’m sure they might be some hidden depths with the character but here, he was little more than right hand man for Adelle and nothing else.
So, the only characters who left me cold were Topher and Paul. The former came across as the standard sexless TV nerd, as well as being a frightening mash up of Warren/Andrew when a Xander type personality would've been more needed for this kind of show. Topher’s breezy attitude about his work is Dexter-esque and I don’t mean that in a good way.
Paul, whose motives for trying to take down the Dollhouse don't seem compelling to me. Plus he was way too much of a meathead for my liking. I’m not criticising Tahmoh Penikett but I almost sided with the FBI bosses during that dressing down meeting than Paul himself. I’m hoping over the course of the season the writers give him a strong personality, especially seeing as morally, we should be on his side. He did allude to the imprinting process in the least flattering of descriptions.
Also in “Ghost”
There was an original pilot as well for this series but FOX made Joss Whedon change things. They do seem to have a penchant for doing that. Sci-Fi did some edits as well to the episode and it trashed Prison Break in the ratings, UK wise.
Adelle: “I'm talking about a clean slate.”
Caroline/Echo: “You ever try to clean an actual slate? You always see what was on it before.”
Caroline was a college student but what the heck did she do that Adelle could force her into becoming an Active? Plus there does seem to be some prior feeling that they know each other.
Matt: “Oh my God, you are a sore loser.”
Echo: “I wouldn't know, I've never lost.”
Matt: “That's OK, the first time you're always just a little bit sore.”
Topher: “We're great humanitarians.”
Boyd: “Who would spend the rest of our lives in jail if anyone ever found this place.”
I’m not sure if I like the credits for the series. Unlike Buffy, Angel and Firefly, they don’t really jump out at you and perhaps they’ve should used clips from all of the cast members and not just Eliza Dushku.
Topher: “Look at Echo, not a care in the world. She's living the dream.”
Boyd: “Who’s dream?”
Topher: “Who's next?”
Claire (re memory): “Does that bother you?”
Echo: “Should it?”
The set for the Dollhouse does very much look like Wolfram And Hart, though glass windows over the Actives beds? Are Adelle and company that scared one of them might try to make a run for it?
Paul: “Nobody has everything they want. It's a survival pattern. You get what you want, you want something else. If you have everything, you want something else. Something more extreme. Something more specific. Something perfect.”
Topher (to Boyd): “Achievement is balanced by fault, by a lack. Can't have one without the other. Everyone who excels is overcompensating. Running from something. Hiding from something.”
That being said making someone near sighted and asthmatic seems especially stupid when they’re on an engagement. And the actives names are taken from phonetics.
Gabriel: “You told me you were good with people.”
Echo: “I misspoke. I'm good at people.”
Boyd: “The older man. You know him. He's the one who took you. They never found him.”
Echo: “He said he was a ghost. You can't fight a ghost, but he was heavy, the weight of him. Ghosts are heavy. Ghosts are sheets with holes cut out.”
How long has Echo been an active? It’s not five years right but definitely a while since Caroline’s meeting with Adelle.
Caroline (on video): “I'd like to take my place in the world, like Mrs. Dundee taught us. Global Recovery, Doctors Without Borders... The world is in need of serious saving. And I want to travel. Travel around the world as I save it. In a private jet that I pilot and designed. Okay go ahead and laugh yearbook monkey. I know, I'm such a cliché. What can I say, I want to do everything. Is that too much to ask?”
Standout music: Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” during Echo’s first engagement.
As an opening episode, “Ghost” did set a template for the show’s premise, the kind of stories it can and will probably do and is certainly something that will inspire a certain amount of debate. Superficially there are some gratuitous moments with Eliza Dushku in a skimpy dress and Tahmoh Penikett, all topless and sweaty boxing. I know the show gets better with later episodes but this was an incredibly underwhelming pilot.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Directed by Philip John
Alex: “Is that why you’re here, to help me get home?”
Martin: “You and I are the only two people here who actually know what that means.”
Five episodes in and after going through a series of my own names for the guy – stalker bloke, Dr Death, we finally have another part of the mystery halfway solved. The man who has been stalking Alex all this time goes by the name of Martin Summers.
Adrian Dunbar is great casting for the role and I suppose it’s better to introduce him now that Mackintosh is out of the way rather than in the last two episodes. In fact, Martin even confronts Alex in her office, which is the most direct thing he’s done yet.
Like Alex’s he’s dying in 2008 but unlike Alex, I’m not exactly convinced that he’s the wizard that can get home. Even she thinks he’s more man behind a curtain than a wonderful wizard. If he really cared, would be have drugged her, abducted her and kept sending cryptic messages all this time?
The confrontation between him and Alex certainly is chilling. There’s no reason why Alex should really trust him, given the things he’s done to her. However the fact that another person, apart from Alex and Sam, who’s fallen into this world, could be very interesting plot wise indeed.
Of course, the thing I don’t get is Operation Rose. Martin himself didn’t explain it but he did try to get Alex to become a corrupt copper by trying to use her fading memories of Molly as a means of leverage. For a second, I did think that Alex would do it but perhaps there are good reasons as to why she didn’t.
Apart from the fact that virtually nothing can be gained from corruption (even if Martin is insistent that it would), Alex already knows that Sam’s experienced something similar with Frank Morgan and probably thought that Martin’s offer would be too good to be true.
Even Martin himself anticipated that Alex would turn down his offer. He did warn her however that by the time Operation Rose came into fruition that she would regret turning his offer down as well. When it comes to Operation Rose, is Martin a leader or a minion in the whole thing. Also, again, getting back to an earlier query – how can corruption help?
Matthew Graham has definitely mentioned in interviews that corruption is something that the series would be exploring more in the second year. Everyone was certainly feeling the heat from the fallout of Mackintosh’s treachery. Ray was on the money last week when he gave the warning of the department being torn down brick by brick.
In fact, Gene went even more about things by trying to reinforce a positive image of the police to the public eye, which was why he was so determined to nail George Staines for the burglary of the Drakes. Well, we’ve already met the Prices, so we had to meet the former significant others, right?
The problem for Alex is that whatever issues she has with Molly’s father Peter; she fails to remember that he’s only fourteen in 1982. Still, Alex’s reactions are supposed to be human and I guess we can give her some leeway but I did feel a little bad for Peter when she’s often too headstrong with him and he’s clueless as to what’s wrong with her.
However despite her harsh behaviour with a teenage version of her ex-husband, her relationship with the in-laws is beautifully drawn out. Her sympathetic compassionate with Marjorie is hard to fault as was the way that she revealed how much of a good influence Brian had on her.
Of course the interesting part of meeting the Drakes and trying to nail George for the burglary at his house was the fact that George was allegedly. Well dead men don’t send their mothers money and it was the visit to Elsie’s at first that tipped them off to George being alive.
For a revered gangster, George certainly had the most inept of cohorts. With a combination of Ray’s bully boy tactics and Alex threatening to use a vice in a very lethal way, Metal Mickey was the one to disclose that George was alive and kicking. And then there had been Gaynor, the Drakes offish neighbour.
Nicely played by Sara Stewart (who’s been in the likes of Sugar Rush, Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, etc), I wish I had spotted the links between George and Gaynor a lot earlier than I did. The whole gangster’s moll was a little too unbelievable, so the reveal of George actually changing his gender was a neat twist.
Apparently George had reformed but needed more money to keep the Spanish authorities quiet. More interesting was having Alex be the one to explain all about sex changes to Gene, Ray and Chris and the usual bout of political incorrectness from the pair of them. Alex wasn’t necessarily wrong when she noted that all of them did like the look of Gaynor, Ray especially might I add.
Ray certainly had a bigger part to play in this episode as well. The fallout from Mackintosh seems to have soured him more than anyone else about the police force. It was also nice that in spite of their massive differences, both Alex and Ray had some genuine moments of respect for each other. She made the effort to talk him out of leaving the police force.
As for Chris, he tried to give up smoking and it blew up in his face big time. Poor thing was doing it for Shaz (this guy would literally walk on broken glass for her) and she stopped him because the mood swings were more insufferable than smelling like an ashtray. However I did like that it generated some brief discussion on fathering kids.
Also in “Episode 13”
All the previously on clips for this episode were from last week. Mackintosh certainly has left a stench behind in the wake of his death.
Alex: “No, you should be happy. You should be happy. I've made it to the hospital.”
Alex was talking to Orville, that weird looking duck in this episode and Molly was also the name of Peter’s cat.
Alex: “Look at you, you’re almost cute.”
Alex: “Yeah, I said almost.”
Gene (re Metal Mickey): “Are you ill?”
Ray: “No. Why?”
Gene: “You only hit him once.”
Who was that guy Gene and Ray were loading onto a truck at the start of the episode? An early plot of Gene’s to get the police back in the public’s good book?
Gene: “What are you doing, Drake?”
Alex: “I’m trying to solve a crime, Guv. It is what I’m paid for.”
Metal Mickey: “I’ve got five kids.”
Chris: “Sure they’re all yours?”
Was it weird that Gene and Martin Summers saw each other at the end? I didn’t think it was but some people on certain forums think otherwise.
Alex: “If I may paraphrase Dorothy Parker I don’t think we should put all our eggs in one bastard.”
Gene: “What other bastard have we got?”
Martin (to Alex): “I haven’t got much time to wait for an answer and sadly, neither have you.”
We learned that Martin was a disgraced former cop and that in the present day; a painful death was awaiting him. Shaz was also (predictably) unable to get any intelligence on him when Alex asked her to.
Gene: “Bolls, don’t cry. That’s an order.”
Alex: “I’m not.”
Gene: “Now if you don’t stop crying, I might even start feeling sorry for you and God forbid, I might even have to put a comforting arm around you.”
Gaynor: “You’d be a hell of a loss to the police.”
Ray (re handcuffs): “Buttering me up is not gonna stop me from putting this on.”
Standout music: David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World” as well as his collaboration with Queen with “Under Pressure”.
Martin (to Alex): “I had a feeling that you were going to say something like that. Oh well, if I can’t change your mind, maybe Operation Rose will.”
Chronology: When exactly in 1982 are we? Summer/Autumn?
The more the episodes keep coming, the exciting they become. I can’t believe there’s three episodes left in this season, given how great it’s been. I really can’t wait to find out where this Martin Summers/Operation Rose plot is going to go.
Rating: 9 out of 10.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Written by Douglas Petrie
Artwork by Georges Jeanty
Dawn: “How long are you going to keep doing this to me?”
Doll Maker: “I told you. Until you’re safe.”
In case, that could be the longest time. Dawn and safety aren’t exactly the best of bedfellows and something tells that even if she didn’t grow up with supernatural stuff happening around and to her all the time, she’d still be a walking accident prone.
In space of twenty five issues, Dawn’s spent about fifteen of them as a giant, five of them as centaur and has been missing for the last four without anyone so much as blinking. Nice to know that she’s well loved then, huh?
The title itself made me think of Dollhouse but the idea of Dawn being imprinted with various personalities and sent on countless missions (both dangerous and inane) is obviously one that the writers didn’t consider for this conclusion to the latest arc.
Instead we catch up on Dawnie in her most interesting transformation as well – a porcelain doll. One of my friends has an aversion to the likes so it’s not an issue that he’d read happily. I on the other hand, do no suffer from the same affliction so reading this issue wasn’t exactly the most taxing of things I’ve done in the last month.
The opening pages of this issue are a delight, beautifully teasing the idea of unabashed horror with Dawn clearly begging not to have a knife aimed at her in such a way. Even when her current transformation is revealed, it still doesn’t undermine the potential danger she’s in.
After all, she’s a doll and being held captive by some form of a doll maker/puppet master and he is more than adamant to keep her. It seems that in spite of his alarming creepiness, his intentions are to protect rather than to harm Dawn. Too bad that that isn’t the most comforting of thoughts.
As for Buffy, she’s finally developing a clue about Dawn being missing. The fact that we’ve gone through 25 issues where everyone (including Dawn herself) has been lax about the series of transformations does sort of leave a bad taste if you think about it too much.
I remember in the letter page back in “The Long Way Home Part 4” how someone naturally pointed out that if Buffy had been going through all the transformations that Dawn was suffering, the Scoobies certainly would’ve been working their backsides off to fix things. With Dawn, not so much.
Buffy’s actually taken note that she’s missing and although I love Xander, I kind of hated that he was blasé about the whole thing too. Without sounding like a broken record but Dawn’s transforming and taking off all of a sudden are something to worry about. Plus she’s an adult but that still doesn’t merit being forgotten about either.
Of course Dawn did have to go missing at a time when Buffy and the gang were preparing for another attack on the slayer haven. To be fair, we’ve been international spats for the last three issues so in a weird way, an attack on home turf has to be a given at this point.
Xander himself deserves credit for quickly thinking of a man to look out for Dawn. Buffy was more happy for him to send a recon of slayers to fetch her little sister but it’s Xander who came up with the ace here. Who could possibly be the guy that would help find Dawn?
It had to be Andrew of course. He’s a regular in this season (he’s even been in more comics than Giles or as good as) and he’s young looking enough to pass off as a college student at Berkeley, which unsurprisingly enough is where he goes to play roommate with Kenny.
We’ve had to wait 25 issues to meet the bloke and Xander’s description of him isn’t totally off the mark. In fact, him and Andrew could probably pass as twins as there’s a glaring similarity in looks between them. That being said, Kenny does look immediately suspicious of Andrew, so no points there.
Dawn on the other hand might not have control over what she gets turned into but at least she tried to make the effort to escape from the doll house of doom. It’s just too bad for her that the rest of the dolls put a stop to her antics before she got close to the door.
As for the army, we’ve had zombies and shape shifting vampires and green fire and Warren’s bomb so the big fight here is a let down. Six piss poor vampires against dozens of slayers. Not much of a fight there but the odds being in her favour does give Buffy something to smile about.
The better part is that because of this easy victory, it also meant that Buffy could go with Xander to find Dawn herself without relying on her slayer squad to do the work. Her conversations with Xander about Dawn are hardly original. There’s been enough stuff said in the past about Buffy wanting to keep her safe.
Xander made the point that unlike Dawn, Buffy had a lot of people she could actually talk to, even if she withdrew from them at times. Dawn doesn’t seem to have a lot of friends and in the show; she rarely interacted with people outside the Scoobies despite the likes of Janice, Kit and Carlos.
During their little conversation both of them also realised that Dawn had undergone another change. Actually Xander could be the one credited with that and he also revealed that Dawn had slept with Kenny’s roommate as well. Xander really shouldn’t have cursed himself for it. In fact, he really should’ve told Buffy about it earlier in the same way that this plot should’ve been resolved as early.
Dawn definitely didn’t fare well with escape and trying to reason with a doll maker was also something she didn’t fare with. The guy might not be outright evil but even when Dawn explained that she had a soul, he still refused to release her. In fact he made some allusions of what was going to happen to her soul.
As for Andrew, well I wouldn’t wish him on anyone as a roommate and Kenny certainly seemed more than uncomfortable around him. Still when Andrew was lining up totems and discussing magic, it was becoming more clear why he was sent to see Kenny.
Making a brief appearance in this issue, Willow and a few slayers showed up at Kenny’s dorm. Now, I shouldn’t side with Kenny but I did love when he morphed into his true form and fled without very little effort on his part. Even now, Buffy’s slayers are going to let a demon slip through their fingers.
As Buffy and Xander, there was a brief encounter with one of the forest creatures. Buffy’s method of resolving a break in rules involved hurling the thing like a brick into the bush. To be fair, it was a little too brutal on her part but the creature in question did smash a window to a certain cottage.
Finding the cottage was a good thing but poor Xander got shot with a load of poison arrow by the other dolls. And here I was hoping that Xander would get the chance to slay some dolls but I guess not. At least Dawn used the distraction to try and escape for a second time.
However once again, she got caught by the creepy doll maker but with Buffy so close, it wasn’t like Dawn was going to meet an untimely fate here. Plus, Kenny in his thricewise guise was also on hand, even pushing Buffy out of the way to help save Dawn. I guess he really does care about her.
There were plenty of ways that Dawn’s transformation back to a real girl could’ve gone and given how long this plot was dragged out, it was unlikely it was going to be something that would satisfy readers but I bought it.
Having something simple as a heartfelt apology to Kenny be the thing that lifted his spell from her made a lot of sense. I seriously don’t condone what Kenny did to her, regardless of the circumstances but he did seem genuinely remorseful that the spell had escalated so far.
As for the doll maker, well technically he wasn’t that much of a bad guy and given that his doll creations told Buffy that he kept them safe, I don’t think she had a choice other than to let him go. It certainly raised an interesting dilemma but shouldn’t the guy have some kind of a punishment for holding Dawn against her will?
The last few pages had some nice bittersweet moments with Dawn, Kenny and Buffy that other issues have done well prior to this. Dawn and Kenny parted on good ways with decent explanations on the issue of sex for them.
Dawn and Buffy on the other way talked about the distance between them with Dawn reminding Buffy yet again that she can’t keep her safe. With Dawn finally back to her human self, that should hopefully mean that she gets a more active role to play in this comic season.
Also in “Living Doll”
The cover for this issue had Dawn (as human) in the same dress she wore as a doll making out with Kenny in his thricewise form.
Dawn: “Not the knife. Not again.”
Doll Maker: “Yes. Again.”
Given her exchange with the doll maker, I have a feeling that Dawn’s transformation into a doll had been for a while.
Buffy: “I’m generally okay with most of the things Dawn’s not. She’s not punctual, not tidy, she’s not very good about returning the Veronica Mars DVDs I finally got my stupid Scottish player …”
Xander: “So awesome. End of Season Two, they -”
Buffy: “Don’t tell me.”
Buffy: “I want to get my sister to safety too. Can’t. Not now. The threat outside’s too big for every slayer I’ve got here. I mean, look at me. Who dresses like Wolverine for fun?”
Xander: “Certainly not me. Any proof you’ve seen to the contrary could have easily been photo shopped and besides, I was drunk.”
Um, Buffy, there is a thing called a multi-region player. It should help with imported DVDs. I’m just saying.
Dawn: “I had a spell put on me.”
Doll 1: “You’re different.”
Doll 2: “You can’t leave. You can never leave.”
Buffy: “This spell took work. How dangerous is this Kenny?”
Xander: “Hard to say. You don’t usually get this strong a spell from the thricewise community. Apparently he’s a nice guy who just snapped after Dawn boinked his roommate.”
Buffy: “How can I not know this?”
Xander: “It cannot be because I just told you because I would never do that. Bugger. Hey, check me out, now I can hate myself in British.”
Some good ads for the likes of Halo Wars, The Cleaners and You Are So Undead To Me, which clearly looks like it’s being aimed at Buffy fans.
Dawn: “If you know I have a soul, then you have to let me go.”
Doll Maker: “Why? You could get hurt. That’s what I’m keeping you safe from. Cracking open that porcelain and phht! Your spirit will scatter like atoms, blasting apart. I understand it’s quite painful.”
Kenny (to Andrew/Willow/Slayers): “Can I just say one thing? ‘Oh crap, he got away.’ No wait. You say that.”
Those of you eagerly anticipating Dollhouse only have to wait for May 19th on Sci-Fi UK to watch it. And it got renewed for a second season.
Kenny: “I thought you liked me, like that.”
Dawn: “I had, have very intense feelings for you. Sex would have been at least equally intense. And I wasn’t ready. Not then.”
Kenny: “I get it. I’m sorry too.”
Dawn: “I might have scratched your Veronica Mars disc.”
Buffy: “And I will kill you.”
“Retreat Part 2” won’t be appearing until July but we’ve got a one-shot called “Tales Of The Vampires” coming out on June 3rd.
Rounding this arc off, “Living Doll” is a decent enough story but for an arc that started so ambitious, it’s disappointing that we’ve had very little pay off or serious consequences for Buffy and the gang.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Directed by Keith Gordon
Dexter: “Role playing, such an important part of growing up. When we were kids whatever role Deb assigned me, evil monster, treacherous Nazi, horrible alien, I played them to perfection.”
In life, there are roles to play and Dexter is definitely someone who knows that better than anyone else, given how he brags about playing them to perfection but even Dexter is forced to admit from time to time that there are some roles he’s a little shaky on playing out.
Being a father isn’t always something that comes naturally to him. The way he blurted out to Cody and Astor that Rita was pregnant was a massive no-no. Cody seemed more interested in the idea of a puppy rather than a new sibling and Astor took upon herself to act up a little.
In general I don’t mind Cody and Astor as kids and Astor raised the kind of questions any kid in her situation would do as well. Plus, she’s at the age when she will defy Rita a bit more so playing up at the Prados wasn’t exactly an unrealistic thing for her to do.
I think the good part of Astor acting up was that it seemed to be a one-off thing. Rita talked about her earlier in the season trying to assert her independence and rebelling does factor in it. I liked that Rita made the effort to iron things out with Astor as well instead of letting it fester.
Bringing up marriage was surely an inevitability I guess though there is nothing wrong whatsoever with two people having a child together and not getting married. Rita herself that she didn’t want to get married because she was pregnant and Dexter didn’t exactly come out with the most romantic of proposals either at first.
Towards the end of the episode though, Dexter came out with one hell of a proposal that even I totally bought. The fan part of me wants his feelings for Rita to be real, there’s definitely been enough in the space of three seasons for us to believe that he has genuine feelings for Rita and Rita obviously believed in it if she was willing to accept his proposal at the end.
Rita did have a fair amount more to do in this episode, which is always a good thing because reading four books worth of this series, Rita is just one of the characters that works better on screen than in print.
Friendship with Sylvia aside (nice that we actually see Rita interacting with someone other than Dexter or her kids), Rita also got fired at the wrong time. I understand losing it with snooty customers is a major no-no but Rita was right when she called the woman a bitch. There are some people out there who do genuinely thrive on being pains in the backside for no reason.
Speaking of pains – how effing annoying is Ramon? I know I’m supposed to sympathise with him because he’s lost a brother and because Miguel is bonding more with him than with Dexter but I just don’t want and this episode more than made sure I wouldn’t feel sorry for him either.
Even with Dexter playing both brothers off each other, I still couldn’t care less for Ramon. Drinking yourself into a stupor, causing bar fights and hissy fitting on Maria’s lap is not the way to get justice for Oscar’s death. Miguel wanted to tell Ramon but even if Dexter didn’t have to worry about his hide, he was right in knowing that telling Ramon about Freebo’s death would be bad all round.
Dexter’s little acts of sabotage worked exactly how he wanted them. It was clever to make Miguel believe that he was coming round to the idea of letting Ramon in on their secret prior to Ramon’s little bar brawl. Dexter can pat himself on the back for that but he’s still essentially stuck with Miguel wanting to be his friend.
Speaking of Miguel, Maria’s also seemed to have a U-turn with the guy. Why else would she go to Chicky Hines’s lawyer (I think her name was Ellen) and give her that testimonial. The cupcake and scotch scene was certainly a nice moment but I’m not entirely sure if Maria should be treading on Miguel, especially given how much Matthews hates her. I’m just saying, might help to tread carefully.
I can also take it then that Deb decided to go with Internal Affairs and spy on Quinn after all. Even with an episode absence, Yuki’s still a pain and I wish Deb would get back to her sarcastic self and sock her one. Besides we haven’t seen too much to actually suspect Quinn of being corrupt.
Deb even tried to get Anton to talk about his friendship with Quinn and even he didn’t have a bad word to say against her. Quinn was also excellent during the whole Fiona case as well, even if he forgot to tell Deb that they were playing good cop/bad cop. I didn’t exactly blame Deb for blowing a gasket there.
Fiona was definitely psycho-stalker personified with her murder of a man that she claimed was her fiancé but clearly he didn’t even like her. The fact that she was so convinced she belonged to the guy was scary as well. Deb was naturally disgusted by her but Dexter seemed to be impressed.
As for Masuka and Angel, both of them seemed to be making impressions and not particularly good ones. Masuka couldn’t muster anyone except Dexter to attend his speech (Forensics Quarterly again?) and got one hell of a dressing down by Quinn. Is it wrong that I actually felt a little bad for Masuka? I’m not keen on his pervy jokes either but he’s hardly Topher from Dollhouse either. Even Masuka has a sense of right and wrong.
Angel getting busted with a hooker who turned to be Metro vice cop Barbara Gianni really did take me back. I guess it’s because I view Angel as such a family man that him sleeping with hookers would be a shock. From Barbara’s perspective, I can understand why she wouldn’t be so sympathetic towards Angel.
If Dexter’s marriage proposal was touching and heartfelt, then Angel’s apology to Barbara is equally effective. To be fair, the guy has had a rotten time – divorced, not being able to see his daughter, getting stabbed by Rudy and falsely accused of rape by Lila. They’re not excuses to seek out hookers but still, there were enough for Barbara to realise that Angel wasn’t a creep either.
Also in “All In The Family”
Some of the episode titles on this show are pop culture reference, so was this one a reference to the sitcom of the same name?
Rita (re Astor/Cody): “We should tell them.”
Dexter: “About the baby?”
Rita: “I don’t want them to hear from someone else.”
I noticed that Rita was wearing the dress that Julie Benz wore in the Season Three promotional shots in this episode.
Dexter (re Fiona): “Forensics are gonna need her clothes.”
Deb: “Why don’t you tell her?”
Rita: “The honeymoon suite’s the best room.”
Female Customer: “There’s always a better room.”
Why didn’t Rita tell her boss that she was pregnant when she was castigated about her absences?
Dexter: “It’s your secret spot, right?”
Ramon: “Not anymore.”
Dexter: “I’ll keep it between the three of us.”
Dexter (re morning sickness): “They say this part should pass soon.”
Rita: “They say I should be glowing. Am I glowing?”
Dexter: “You are to me.”
Not to sound like a nark but shouldn’t Rita have gotten health insurance way after she got Paul behind bars? Though come to think of it, that’s also something I should look into.
Anton: “What do you need?”
Deb: “A stiff drink for a shitty day.”
Quinn (to Masuka): “You’re like the foulest person I have ever met.”
I should’ve mentioned it in my last review but Quinn’s first name is Joseph. There was a priest in my home town with the same name.
Angel: “Does any part of you think that there’s any part of me that’s proud of what I’ve done?”
Barbara: “No part of me really cares.”
Dexter: “Raw emotions, not your forte, huh?”
Deb: “What’s that supposed to mean?”
There was no Harry in this episode and Dexter didn’t kill anyone in it either.
Miguel: “I have only one person I can trust anymore.”
Miguel: “I was thinking of you, actually.”
Dexter (to Rita): “You're what makes me real. I want us to always go out for banana splits, and replant the lemon tree that keeps dying, and I never ever want to miss a pizza night. And that's how I know I want to marry you. Because something as simple as pizza night is the highlight of my week.”
Chronology: I don’t there’s been any time yet. Is Rita even past her first trimester?
For an episode that plays on the themes of role playing more than family from time to time, there’s no confusion in its message to me. “All In The Family” keeps things ticking over beautifully so that it’s really hard not to be interested in everything going.
Rating: 9 out of 10.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Originally posted May 14th on http://www.gcn.ie/The_L_Word_Tribute_Blog
After six seasons and 71 episodes, The L Word has finally come to an end. The show after the likes of Queer As Folk and Six Feet Under was the most prominent for it’s depiction of LGBT characters and in spite of various hiccups, it certainly has left a lasting impression.
The final episode, entitled “Last Word” was something alright. While I don’t think it was a particularly terrible episode (we’ve had worse), I did feel that perhaps we should’ve gotten more – like a resolution about who exactly killed Jenny (though I have a feeling she actually committed suicide) and perhaps seeing Bette and Tina actually take off for New York. I guess the birth mother really didn’t give them the baby in the end.
I liked the various cameos – Tim, Angus, Ivan, Peggy, Jodi, Marina, Carmen, Joyce/Phyllis as well as the various video tributes from the gang to Bette and Tina (oh and Dana got mentioned, which was nice) but some of the relationships decimating were a little sad.
I totally believe in Shane binning Jenny especially after the letter from Molly and hiding the negatives from Lez Girls but in a weird way, I was actually sad to see Helena and Dylan break up. Not sure why though. At least Tasha chose Alice over Jamie or at least that’s what it looked like to me.
Final credits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D42lJV_E8t0 From what I’ve read we were supposed to get a spin-off called The Farm with Alice jailed for Jenny’s murder but now that’s looking like it won’t materialise. Maybe it will eventually, given that the series did big for Showtime. Either way it’s unlikely that people are going to forget this show in a hurry. Even people on TWOP are still posting furiously on the show’s thread in the Drama Forums. Six seasons is a lot for any show and each season has certainly had its pros and cons as I’m about to delve into.
From what I’ve read we were supposed to get a spin-off called The Farm with Alice jailed for Jenny’s murder but now that’s looking like it won’t materialise. Maybe it will eventually, given that the series did big for Showtime. Either way it’s unlikely that people are going to forget this show in a hurry. Even people on TWOP are still posting furiously on the show’s thread in the Drama Forums.
Six seasons is a lot for any show and each season has certainly had its pros and cons as I’m about to delve into.Season 1
The first season of any show can be tricky but the series did manage to establish all of the leading ladies beautifully. Bette and Tina – the power couple on the verge of heartache, Shane the commitment-phobe but loyal friend, Dana choosing her sexuality over her career after the cost of her relationship with Lara, Kit the straight recovering alcoholic, Marina the alluring but manipulative temptress and Jenny, the once innocent, doe-eyed small town girl who’s voyage of discovery closed some doors while opening others. In other words as first seasons go, this was brilliant. The less said about Tonya though, the better.
For me, this was probably my least favourite season (is that an unpopular choice?). Two storyline bugged me – Jenny’s self destructiveness and the myriad of horrible writing fantasy sequences that we had to endure and I suppose Helena and Mark as villains, which just didn’t work. The season also didn’t do itself any favours by going overkill on the Betty exposure (even to the extent of giving them acting parts in certain episodes). There were some positives though – Bette/Tina celebrating becoming parents, Shane and Carmen finally getting it together and the Alice/Dana/Lara triangle, which left me conflicted as well. Season 3 Something of a mixed season but definitely better than it’s second. On one hand while I liked Dana and Lara back together as a couple, I did feel sympathetic for Alice even if her constant stalking of Dana did drive me nuts. Dana’s cancer plot and eventual death was harrowing, even if it lead to an episode where all the gang showed fond memories for her. It’s also interesting that while the writers got it right with Helena, they were wide off the mark with Moira (now Max) wanting to raise cash for a sex change. It was also nice that the writers gave Kit a romantic interest with Angus (though I’d pay not to hear him sing again) but once again, Bette and Tina broke up (damn the latter’s renewed interest in men and that dullard Henry) and Shane and Carmen didn’t quite make it to the altar either. Season 4 I started to feel that things were getting a little better with the fourth season of the show. They found a way to keep Bette and Tina mostly apart but without having them at each other’s throats all the time but this was also the season that introduced us to Papi, Phyllis, Tasha and Jodi. Papi (was she the girl that Carmen lost her virginity to?) was sort of annoying and at times, I could really take or leave Phyllis (though hooking her up with Joyce was a good idea) and Jodi (wasn’t overly keen on her and Bette as a couple). Tasha for me worked a lot and I loved her and Alice as a couple. They might not have a lot in common but something about them does seem to fit. Jenny’s ongoing crazy antics (trying to get revenge on someone who dissed her book) were nonsense though and it was obvious that Shane’s relationship with Paige around the time she was parenting her little brother wasn’t going to last that long. And poor Helena was destitute, took to gambling scams with rich bitch Catherine, only for that to blow up in her face. Season 5
For me, this was probably my least favourite season (is that an unpopular choice?). Two storyline bugged me – Jenny’s self destructiveness and the myriad of horrible writing fantasy sequences that we had to endure and I suppose Helena and Mark as villains, which just didn’t work. The season also didn’t do itself any favours by going overkill on the Betty exposure (even to the extent of giving them acting parts in certain episodes). There were some positives though – Bette/Tina celebrating becoming parents, Shane and Carmen finally getting it together and the Alice/Dana/Lara triangle, which left me conflicted as well.
Something of a mixed season but definitely better than it’s second. On one hand while I liked Dana and Lara back together as a couple, I did feel sympathetic for Alice even if her constant stalking of Dana did drive me nuts. Dana’s cancer plot and eventual death was harrowing, even if it lead to an episode where all the gang showed fond memories for her. It’s also interesting that while the writers got it right with Helena, they were wide off the mark with Moira (now Max) wanting to raise cash for a sex change. It was also nice that the writers gave Kit a romantic interest with Angus (though I’d pay not to hear him sing again) but once again, Bette and Tina broke up (damn the latter’s renewed interest in men and that dullard Henry) and Shane and Carmen didn’t quite make it to the altar either.
I started to feel that things were getting a little better with the fourth season of the show. They found a way to keep Bette and Tina mostly apart but without having them at each other’s throats all the time but this was also the season that introduced us to Papi, Phyllis, Tasha and Jodi. Papi (was she the girl that Carmen lost her virginity to?) was sort of annoying and at times, I could really take or leave Phyllis (though hooking her up with Joyce was a good idea) and Jodi (wasn’t overly keen on her and Bette as a couple). Tasha for me worked a lot and I loved her and Alice as a couple. They might not have a lot in common but something about them does seem to fit. Jenny’s ongoing crazy antics (trying to get revenge on someone who dissed her book) were nonsense though and it was obvious that Shane’s relationship with Paige around the time she was parenting her little brother wasn’t going to last that long. And poor Helena was destitute, took to gambling scams with rich bitch Catherine, only for that to blow up in her face.
The penultimate season of the series was dominated by the Lez Girls plots and you have to give the show credit for being able to poke fun at itself and also for reminding viewers of past storylines. Unfortunately it was also at this point that Jenny was pissing off all of her friends in one easy swoop. Her relationship with Nikki (the girl playing Jessie/Jenny in Lez Girls) brought out a much needed side but ultimately, Jenny got screwed over Nikki copping off with Shane and mousey assistant Adelle usurping her and taking control of the movie. It wasn’t all bad though. Helena might have had less to do but when she showed up, we saw Dawn Denbo tossed out with the garbage, Bette and Tina got back together, Shane opened up to Molly and Alice and Tasha also progressed as a couple. However a recurring trend over the last few seasons was Kit being savagely underused and even though she got robbed in this season, there was still very little she had to do.
Most cable shows when they hit a final season (Sex And The City, The Sopranos) usually try to do more episodes whereas this show decided to opt for less. It was probably a smart move given that in the space of eight episodes, Jenny’s death couldn’t be resolved (still think it’s suicide). As a final season goes, this isn’t awful – there were some enjoyable moments, especially the dance off but perhaps we should’ve gotten a bit more for the last episode. All we know is that Alice might be heading to the slammer (if the spin-off actually does materialise), Bette and Tina are off to New York and everyone else is still doing the same old thing. Maybe on re-runs, things might better fall into place.
With so many couples on this show, here are my five best and worst of the bunch.
1: Bette/Tina: No matter how much they fought, they were the ultimate couple on this show.
2: Alice/Tasha: Opposites attract and they are as unalike as you can get but adorable no less.
3: Shane/Carmen: Probably the only woman who got the farthest with Shane ever. Also kinda hot.
4: Dana/Lara: Probably my favourite relationship in the first season after my number one choice of course.
5: Jenny/Robin: The only non-destructive relationship that the former was in as far as I can remember.
1: Jenny/Shane: There’s a reason why you don’t date friends and these two prove it. Plus Jenny’s kind of nuts.
2: Tina/Helena: Penchant for pregnant women and Helena was a lame villain in the second season. All factors for me.
3: Bette/Jodi: I think ‘Yawn’ nicely covers this all round.
4: Jenny/Moira (Max): Another lifeless and unengaging pairing. Plus Max was a pain in the ass when we first met him/her.
5: Helena/Catherine: The one thing I probably would erase from the fourth season if I could.
Agree or disagree? Definitely let me know what you think on this topic.