As February transitions into March, there's a lot to look forward to. For one thing, March is a much better month than February. It's got more days, which obviously means it's sexier and more mature. It also contains the first day of spring, lays claim to St. Patrick's Day, and hosts that magical time of year we refer to as March Madness. However, before we can welcome March with open arms, we have to properly observe what happened on TV at the end of February, however inferior of a month it may be. So here's what we loved and hated about the small screen this week!
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't finished watching this week's new episodes (of Gotham, Parks and Recreation, Justified, etc.), we suggest that you hold off on reading this story until you do.
For a couple minutes, "Everything Is Awesome" at the Oscars
Even if the overall telecast was poorly paced, way too long, and often a snooze, Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island's performance of The Lego Movie's catchy tune was a definite highlight. Everything is awesome when you've got a dancing Awesome Possum, cowboys handing out Lego Oscars, and Will Arnett as Batman!
Imitation is the sincerest form of irritation for Better Call Saul's Jimmy McGill
Instead of cowering to the corporate strength of his rival in "Hero," Jimmy met Howard Hamlin head-on by becoming Howard Hamlin, complete with an expensive, custom-tailored suit and whitened teeth. Jimmy's goal wasn't to get away with copying Howard's "brand"—he knew he was totally guilty—it was just to get under Howard's skin. But Jimmy knows how to make any situation work for him, and transformed a prank into a springboard for his business when he faked a dangerous rescue and ensured it was caught on camera.
Fish Mooney's spite knows no limits on Gotham
Faced with two crappy options in "Red Hood"—lose her eyes to the organ trade and live out the rest of her days in the basement or die and lose the eyeballs anyway—Fish decided to create a third option... by melon-balling one of her peepers with a spoon and then stomping on it, thus ruining its value to the Dollmaker. While we're not sure how this helps improve Fish's situation, it doesn't change the fact that her glorious display of insanity/badassery was pretty much the most awesome thing she's done all season.
Ding dong, Sleepy Hollow's witch is dead
Monday's Season 2 finale was a generally enjoyable hour of television that reaffirmed the bond between Ichabod and Abbie and got us excited about a series that frequently approached the WTF end of the spectrum during its second season. And now that Katrina's death, the show has the opportunity to regroup (assuming it gets renewed for Season 3, of course). However, if we have one quibble, it's that we wish the events of "Tempus Fugit" didn't feel so EASY. Sleepy Hollow basically just pressed the undo button, and it doesn't appear there will be any lingering consequences from Abbie's trip to 1781.
Parks and Recreation goes out on a warm and fuzzy high note
Leslie Knope's seven-season journey came to a lovely end in "One Last Ride," a time-jumping series ender that played a lot like one of Leslie's own scrapbooks. The hour offered glimpses of what Pawnee's finest were up to in the future and showcased their biggest achievements and accomplishments over the years: Leslie eventually became the governor of Indiana (and possibly more), Ron took over the Pawnee National Park, Andy and April had kids, Garry was elected mayor of Pawnee (many, many times), Tom became a best-selling author, and Donna started a non-profit called Teach Yo'self. Oh, and Ben, bless his heart, became a congressman and never once gave up on calzones. The episode was light on the jokes but heavy on the happiness, and much like Leslie herself, a unique beacon of optimism and heart. We couldn't have asked for more.
Agent Carter leaves us wanting more
Since its inception, ABC has billed Marvel's Agent Carter as a limited series, but we're not-so-subtly suggesting that the network ditch the one-time-only label and renew the spy series for Season 2. After all, if Tuesday's "Valediction" proved anything, it's that we've still only seen the beginning of Peggy Carter's story. Stark's inventions are all accounted for and Dr. Fennhoff is in custody, but Dottie is still out there somewhere—and since Peggy is no longer being held back by her love for Cap, she's in prime position to start a new chapter in her life, hopefully with all of the world watching. Plus: Who doesn't want more Enver Gjokaj in their lives, you know?
Hindsight reveals what initially tore Becca and Lolly apart
It might be a little cliché that the wedge between BFFs Becca and Lolly was (will be?) a man, but Steve Talley's Kevin is so charming and likable that it's easy to see why both women fell for him (hell, we fell for him, too). So far, every time Becca has tried to alter her messy future, it's backfired—but will encouraging Lolly to drum up the courage to tell Kevin how she feels in 1995 finally break the cycle, preventing their friendship from imploding in 2003? God, we hope so. Someone should get the chance to be happy with this hunk.
Barry Goldberg takes a day off
The Goldbergs paid homage to Ferris Bueller's Day Off with a cheeky episode that saw Barry skip school in an attempt to relive the legendary John Hughes film, and we were wholly impressed with the show's faithful scene recreations, even if they didn't always go Barry's way. It's obvious the movie meant a lot to series creator Adam Goldberg, which is how it should be because it's the best.
Teen Titans Go! would like you to get over yourself
Much derided by fans of serious superhero fare, Teen Titans Go! decided to address the common criticism that it's too kid-friendly and silly by getting VERY SERIOUS. After a lecture from Young Justice's Aqualad (yes, that really happened), the Teen Titans grew taller and developed overly defined muscles and chins. They also embraced their inner angst: "I can use my cybernetics to see, but will I not lose my humanity?!" Even Aqualad was convinced they'd gone a bit too dark, but it was too late: the team broke up over trust issues—Cyborg drank Beast Boy's juice—and the world was left unprotected. Alas, that's what happens when you never have any fun.
The memory of Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy, who lived long and prospered
A great man and actor has been beamed up for the final time, and he shall certainly be missed.
12 Monkeys brings the heartache
Beautifully tragic, Friday's "The Keys" was the impressive young series' most emotional episode yet. You don't know what you got 'til it's gone, and the look on Cassie's face as she said goodbye to Cole so he could be vaporized by an airstrike—something that she knew about but he didn't, because of time travel and all that—made it clear that she knew she was losing an important person in her life. Heartbreaking stuff.
Banshee's blood feud reaches an impressive, deadly climax
Superhuman powerhouse Chayton has been marked for death since his heinous murder of Siobhan, but that didn't make his departure from this physical plane any less compelling. "All the Wisdom I Got Left" delivered another storytelling achievement with Hood and Chayton's multi-part final showdown, topped off with one of the most gruesome death scenes in recent TV history.
Disney XD will reboot DuckTales in 2017
Woohoo? Disney is planning to take another go at DuckTales, presumably updating it for a new audience, and the cynic in some of us is admittedly concerned by the potential for a dubstep remix of the theme song, a movement to humanize the Beagle Boys, and Webbigail taking selfies while sporting "people face." However, we'll definitely be all-in if the company decides to model the new show after the live-action opening it created last year.
Survivor: Worlds Apart features a silly gimmick, but a potentially awesome cast
The central twist of Season 30 pits three tribes against one another under the premise of "White Collar vs. Blue Collar vs. No Collar," and the labels are troublesome as they sound. The categories themselves are a mess, but the 90-minute premiere's attempts to reframe the game around them was even more frustrating. The good news, though? The castaways of Worlds Apart could be one of the show's better groups of contestants in a long time, thanks to a nice collection of super-fans, goofballs, and hard-headed jerks.
How to Get Away With Murder: Wait, didn't we already know that?
It turns out that if you'd stopped watching How to Get Away with Murder in October or November of last year, you'd still be pretty up-to-date on who killed Lila and whether the kids will get away with Sam's murder. In the end, as suspected, Sam was (mostly) behind the coed's death—he contracted Frank to do it for him, but he's still very responsible.
Thankfully, the finale opened up several new mysteries to drag out in Season 2: What did Frank owe Sam that killing a pregnant girl on Sam's behalf would make them even? Is Saul Goodman on the other end of that phone number Nick called? Um, Oliver is HIV Positive? And now there's another murder someone has to get away with? How long until the relationship between Bonnie and Asher devolves into the most hilarious break-up dumpster fire the world has ever seen? Is Eggs 911 some kind of brunch delivery service? Where is all this PCP coming from? We can't wait for Season 2! Well, we can, actually. But we definitely won't mind when Season 2 arrives.
House of Cards is back—and doing House of Cards things
If you're into House of Cards, the early episodes of Season 3 were almost certainly a welcome sight. Now that they're sitting pretty in the White House, the Underwoods' struggles are a little less compelling than their efforts to get there, but a cavalcade of supporting characters continues to help flesh out the world.
Monday Night Raw lays it on too thick regarding Roman Reigns
WWE's attempts to make the audience love its latest Chosen One by any means necessary took a few interesting turns this week. Sunday's Fast Lane match-up with Daniel Bryan proved that Reigns could handle the main event after all, but Monday's Raw featured two shockingly transparent promos from Bryan and Paul Heyman attempting to illustrate Reigns' greatness. WWE fans know that everything is predetermined, but the company is now throwing that in our faces far too often.
Okay, Pretty Little Liars, we get it: Spencer's in London
While "Bloody Hell" itself was more action-packed than the set-up and filler hours we've been trudging through as of late, it was difficult to overlook how hard the writers were trying to sell us on Spencer having jumped across the pond. The episode opened a veritable firehose of U.K. tropes by unleashing Big Ben and roundabout establishing shots, a stiff-upper-lipped Oxford professor in a bowtie, and someone correcting Spencer on calling a flat an apartment. And then there were the Union Jacks; how lucky that Spencer arrived so close to Flag Day! The only thing missing was a chimney sweep Doctor Who fan standing in a phone box while eating fish and chips.
Justified derails Choo-Choo
One of Harlan County's best new characters—the endearing, gargantuan Choo-Choo—was put down in Tuesday's "Alive Day," and right after we'd started getting to know the guy, too. A war vet who survived an IED explosion, Choo-Choo wasn't always the slow thug we've known him to be, and his unexpected sensitive side made his expiration that much tougher to take. And you know what makes it even worse? Now that Justified is in its final season, it's pretty much guaranteed that many more significant deaths still lie ahead.
Nashville's Teddy is still the worst
The first rule of Banging a Prostitute Club is that you don't talk about banging a prostitute, Teddy! And you sure as hell don't show up to her house uninvited, insisting that you need to come up with a plan on the off chance that your dalliance will be leaked to the press. How are you the mayor? Not only are you dumber than a pile of rocks, but your storyline is even worse than Gunnar's at this point—and all he does is whine about the World's Second Most Annoying Child, Micah (No. 1 is obviously the kid who had his face pummeled on The Slap). Please just move far, far away from Nashville so we can focus on Juliette, or literally anything else.
On Arrow, sex with Felicity apparently solves all problems
Look, we're Switzerland in the Oliver vs. Ray 'shipper battle for Felicity's affections, but we just can't let this one go: It's hilarious that just one night of doin' it with Felicity in "Nanda Parbat" was all it took for Ray's brain to unlock the secret to making his combat exosuit function correctly. He woke up from his post-coital slumber with such determination that it was comical (pun not intended). We know Felicity is special, but Ray's epiphany was a bit over-the-top.
Crazy internet is crazy
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) February 26, 2015
First it was the televised llama chase that took the internet by storm. Then it was that damn dress convincing people there's something wrong with their eyes. Come on, guys. Don't we have better things to discuss? Which brings us to...
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? The 100's same-sex kiss? The Americans' munchie-fueled Jiffy Pop fight? American Horror Story's casting of Lady Gaga and new "Hotel" theme? Vikings? Helix? Glee? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!
However, the character actor—who died on Friday at age 83 after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—was much more than a (half-)Vulcan. In fact, he boasted quite an extensive career both on-screen and off. Check out some of the many other ways the sci-fi icon lived long and prospered below.
After Star Trek's TV run ended, Nimoy joined the '60s spy drama as the Great Paris, a retired magician-turned-secret-agent. He replaced Martin Landau's Rollin Hand as a "master of disguise" and recurred on the series for two seasons.
Nimoy could've narrated the phone book and we would've been happy to listen. His many hosting and voiceover credits include the documentary series In Search Of..., which was dedicated to mysterious phenomena, as well as Ancient Mysteries, a long-running AE series. He also lent his voice to video games, animated TV shows (see below) and, most recently, was heard as Spock on an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
Nimoy appeared as himself in two episodes of the Fox animated comedy: "Marge vs. the Monorail" and the X-Files spoof "The Springfield Files." Both of his appearances referenced his Star Trek history, but also poked fun at his work in narration, as evidenced in the memorable "cosmic ballet" clip below.
Nimoy made a surprise appearance in the Season 1 finale of the Fox sci-fi drama as the mysterious Dr. William Bell, the deceased former partner of John Noble's Walter Bishop. The introduction of Bell opened up the show's alternative universe, which was further explored during a Season 2 arc that featured Nimoy in a recurring role. Ultimately, the actor (or his voice) appeared in 11 episodes of Fringe throughout the show's five seasons.
Director, writer, poet and photographer
Nimoy directed a number of TV series and movies, most famously helming 1987's Three Men and a Baby. In addition to writing two autobiographies, I Am Not Spock (1975) and I Am Spock (2005), Nimoy was a poet and photographer. He published seven collections of poetry and three books of photography. His series of photos called “Secret Selves,” an installation that encouraged his subjects to reveal their hidden natures any way they chose, was exhibited at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 2010.
The King of 7B is a single-camera ensemble comedy about an agoraphobic recluse named Prentiss (Ferguson), who leaves the safety of his home for the first time in 11 years after watching his potential soulmate move in across the street.
Executive-produced by Dan Fogelman (The Neighbors, Galavant), The King of 7B also stars Carla Jimenez as Juana, Prentiss's housekeeper, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Greta, a woman who delivers art to Prentiss’s home.
This role marks a return to acting for Ferguson, and his first big career move since signing off as the host of CBS's The Late Late Show in December. Prior to The Late Late Show, Ferguson appeared on The Drew Carey Show for eight seasons in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s.
Does The King of 7B sound like something you'd watch?
One thing I've been waiting for 12 Monkeys to develop is its sappy, emotional center. So far, the series has largely focused on saving the world, time travel, and melting your brain, but I always believed there was also room for the show to melt... your heart. *wink* Episode 7, "The Keys," was a total tearjerker that finally acknowledged the connection between Cassie and Cole, and it was bittersweet, potentially tragic, and the linchpin of what was probably my favorite episode of 12 Monkeys to date. Hey TV shows, you wanna know how to catch my attention with a love story? Make it really sad!
There were hints at the beginning of the episode that Colsie (the official 'shipper name of Cole and Cassie, duh) was in the works, when Cole and Cassie attended the opening of the museum exhibit in order to track down some details on the fragmented plate that might contain information on the Army of the 12 Monkeys. Watching Cole enjoy himself at a black-tie event with free all-you-can-eat-and-so-he-did tandoori chicken skewers, I momentarily forgot that the guy spent all of his pre-Project Splinter life in a wasteland, scavenging for food and killing chumps for scraps. He was in awe of the museum and the spectacle, and for the first time, he wasn't fully attentive to his mission. Hanging out in 2015 must be a total trip for him; he's not aware of history because it essentially didn't exist for him. If I traveled 30 years into the past, it wouldn't be that big of a deal; I'd just miss text messaging and Major League Baseball's Wild Card playoff system. But Cole was seeing the world before the virus decimated it, and thus surveying everything he was trying to save.
Part of that everything was Cassie, who, between Cole's time jumps and headaches, has become more than just an ally he needs to stop the virus. She's his biggest champion and one of the few people who actually believes him. And don't forget that he's lived in a timeline where she was dead, so it makes sense that he looked at her a little more wistfully in "The Keys." Throw in the fact that succeeding in his mission means that Cole will no longer exist, and these two are as star-crossed as it gets. Cassie has become a dream who's just out of reach, a ghost he'll never be able to hold. Even though Cole theoretically has the power of infinite time behind him, their relationship can end forever at any minute.
So Cole said, "Let's... just be us for a while." And for a brief moment, they were. They danced, they forgot about stopping a plague, they were just two people crashing a party and enjoying each other's company. And we were all allowed to squee for just a little bit.
Soon afterward, Cole would splinter away again, as usual—and Cassie would nonchalantly tell Aaron, "You'll get used to it." Her statement didn't seem like much at the time, but it revealed a lot about her state of mind; she'd gotten used to Cole disappearing that, just like she probably expected him to return each time, as he always did.
The twist in "The Keys" was that Cole would later be sent back in time to that very day, just a few hours earlier and all the way to Chechnya, where he was supposed to retrieve the virus that was being used as part of Project Troy. And he only knew about Project Troy because one week from that moment, Cassie and Aaron would tell him about it, detailing what was happening, where to go, and how to stop the virus from being released. Meanwhile, we saw the whole thing in Cassie's time, so it seemed as if Cole had just left and then magically reappeared in Chechnya, even though the Cole in Chechnya had already experienced everything that would happen a week later (follow all that?).
Cole would eventually be kidnapped by Russian militants... the same Russian militants who were holding a CIA whistleblower who the CIA wanted to kill by using the virus (the logic was that death by virus wouldn't make headlines the way an airstrike would, and the CIA could pretend it wasn't involved). Well, the virus was released and everyone died except for Cole because he's immune, but the Russian military helicopters that were en route to the area meant that the virus could potentially escape the isolated region and wipe out humanity. So the CIA did what it had to do and vaporized the facility—with Cole inside—while Cassie looked on in horror via one of those digital boards in a war room.
Yeah, that was bad enough. But "The Keys" twisted the knife when it fast-forwarded a week into the future, to when Cassie and Aaron were supposed to tell Cole about Operation Troy so that he could go back in time to stop the virus. Cassie knew Cole wouldn't make it out alive, but she had to stick to the script—you know, because the future of mankind was at stake.
With the shoe suddenly on the other foot, Cassie was hyper-aware of her limited time with Cole. Cole was already dead; she'd seen that single red blip (the airstrike) hit that green circle (the building Cole was in) on the war room's digital screen. Yet here he was again, unaware of his future and unaware of Cassie's past. They started a conversation we'd already seen the end of, and "goodbye" was all Cassie could muster in those final moments as Cole blinked out of existence and toward his doom, because there was nothing else to say. How fucking heartbreaking was that?!
What made the scene so effective was the restraint 12 Monkeys has shown with regard to the relationship between Cassie and Cole. They've enjoyed plenty of small moments together, but nothing has ever felt rushed. And now that we're staring at the end of their time together, it stings.
Obviously Cole isn't gone forever, but that's not the point. Cassie thinks he's gone, and that moment of emotion was worth the price of admission for this episode. They'll get their second chance, and that can only strengthen their desire to make it work. But who even knows whether that chance will be with the Cassie we saw this week, or with an earlier version of Cassie who didn't experience this loss? Maybe the conclusion of "The Keys" will only exist for us; maybe we were the only ones who witnessed that particular fragment in time, and the story will continue with Cole jumping backward even further, to a time when Cassie hasn't had to deal with the grief of losing him. Or maybe Cole jumped before the missile hit, and he'll return to Cassie in the immediate future, oblivious to what she went through even though she's scarred by losing him. The possibilities are once again as endless as time. But we'll always have that moment of seeing the look on Cassie's face, and time can't take that from us. Well done, 12 Monkeys.
NOT QUITE 12 NOTES
– This episode was LOADED with paradoxes (if Cole already went back to Chechnya, why did they have to tell him again? etc.), but at this point, 12 Monkeys is just rolling with 'em, and that's fine with me.
– The series is quickly approaching Fringe territory with the possibility of different existences and intertwining romances. I love that. Cole and Casie haven't yet reached the same level as Peter and Olivia, however.
– So, was the virus wiped out in the airstrike? Does Cassie change something so that Cole survives at the cost of unstopping the virus?
– A recurring images have started to become more prominent, including a gun firing, and a glass shattering. If you've seen the film version of 12 Monkeys, you know what that could mean and you should start worrying.
– Poor Cole was being metaphorically compared to a T-Rex in that one scene at the museum. At least he has regular-sized arms.
– How dumb does the military have to be to unleash a potentially lethal virus just to kill one guy? Hello, send in Team Zero Dark Thirty to do the job!
– Cassie: "You can't touch art, just look." Cole: "That's bullshit."
– Aaron: "I'm just worried about my tux!" Oh Aaron, you so funny.
– I've been enjoying 12 Monkeys quite a bit, but this was the first time where an episode left me dying to see the next one.
Before this week's episode, my expectations for another—and potentially final—showdown between Hood and Chayton were through the roof and hovering somewhere in the stratosphere. After a couple great match-ups last season, a wild robbery-shootout in the Season 3 premiere, an emotionally wrenching siege a few weeks ago, and then their intimate altercation in a tent, Banshee has skillfully presented these two powerful forces of nature as different but equally meaningful. It's unsurprising, then, that despite my high expectations and all the death and destruction that lingered between the pair, "All the Wisdom I Got Left" brought Banshee's long-running Hood-Chayton feud to a bloody, satisfying conclusion.
Heck, the episode managed to give us three distinct and significant scrums between the rivals, without limiting the impact of their final encounter or hampering anything else that took place over the course of the hour. One of the things I love about Banshee is that when the plot moves forward, it doesn't dawdle, and when characters say they're going to do something, they do it; there's never a delay because the show isn't close enough to the season finale or because an actor is only contracted for a set number of episodes. Last week, Hood and Brock decided to travel to New Orleans to hunt down Chayton. This week, they'd already made the trip and were working to accomplish that goal. The opening sequence was a fun if weightless way for the two of them to actually find Chayton, but once Hood and Brock made it to The Underground—a dingy fighting dungeon run by a Colonel Robert Parker cosplayer—and Hood locked eyes with Chayton (mid-fight, I might add), it was on. Less than 10 minutes into the episode, they were at each other's throats, tossing each other around, and trying to break each other's mind, body, and spirit. And again, that was just the appetizer.
While the fight choreography, direction, and editing were all expectedly superb, what I really appreciated about "All the Wisdom I Got Left" was that it told a succinct and complete story between Hood and Chayton. The history is the history, but from their early confrontation until the end, the episode illustrated how Hood's perseverance and resiliency surprised Chayton. Early on, Chayton mocked Siobhan's death, toyed with Hood, and basically dared Hood and Brock to make a major move in The Underground space. As their second clash unspooled in the second-level hotel room/apartment/whatever, they each did some pretty brutal damage to the other, but Chayton again eschewed any idea that Hood could actually defeat him. The, "You can't kill me, you're just a man and no man can kill me" line was one of the more badass things that Chayton has uttered, however pompous—and he's one of the biggest badasses in recent television history.
But we all knew how this would end, and that didn't make the actual conclusion any less satisfying. Hood chased a bloody and limping Chayton all around New Orleans, passing through a graveyard (which I thought was a fun little nod to last week's "you can't hide from the dead" line) and winding up at an abandoned-ish carnival. After watching him dismantle nearly everyone and everything Banshee has thrown at him over the past two seasons, we'd been conditioned to believe that Chayton was nearly indestructible. What we didn't quite understand was that Chayton had started to view himself in that same way. A couple weeks ago, he simply dared Amy and Hood to take him out, and last week, he mercilessly killed the woman who took him in; this week, he spent "All the Wisdom I Got Left" mocking Hood and Siobhan's death. For Chayton to finally acknowledge that he'd underestimated Hood in the face of certain death was a big moment for the character, even as he ridiculed Hood for his lack of understanding with regard to concepts like "purity," "true purpose," and a "spiritual calling."
That's when Hood blew his side off with a shotgun... before taking a few steps forward and pulling the trigger yet again, instantly eviscerating Chayton's face in what was one of the most impressively violent moments I have ever seen on television. It made Gus Fring's death on Breaking Bad look like a kid's cartoon. The best part, though? Hood's casual, "Hey," right before he took the second shot. That line was vintage Hood—an unfussy version of a traditional action-hero catchphrase.
While Chayton will be missed, Banshee did the character justice this season, and in "All the Wisdom I Got Left." Hood ultimately got to "win," but he didn't exactly walk away from their meeting unscathed. Twice during the episode, Brock noted that he didn't really know anything about Hood as a person, but was confident that Hood would do whatever was necessary to take out Chayton and Kai. However, by the end of the hour, Hood was just ready to pack it in. From everything that's happened with Rabbit and Carrie to falling in love with Siobhan and then having her ripped away from him by the Native American Hulk, there's only so much Hood can take. Chayton was right—he is only a man. While Hood's slivers of goodness and honor (or what Stowe referred to as weakness) mean that he'll surely return to Banshee with Brock and attempt to eliminate Kai (and Stowe), I can't imagine that he'll remain unaffected by these events. Chayton might be gone, but Hood will soon need something else—or someone else—to help make the pain go away.
Anyway, bravo to Antony Starr, Geno Segers, and the entire Banshee team for crafting such a wonderful Hood-Chayton rivalry on almost every level. The technical supremacy on display in each one of their fight sequences is generally unmatched, and both performers consistently raised their games as the characters' feud grew increasingly personal, violent, and ugly.
I briefly mentioned this above, but "All the Wisdom I Got Left" was also impressive in the sense that its spotlight on Hood and Chayton didn't disrupt or limit the impact of some of the episode's more minor story developments. I was especially fond of this week's rendition of Job and Sugar C-Plot Theatre, which saw Sugar giving a large chunk of the heist money to the son of a man he destroyed in a boxing ring several years ago. Banshee doesn't delve into Sugar's history as frequently as it should (there's only so much time in any given season, I suppose), so this was a welcome little detour.
Learning that the man Sugar beat to a pulp had died and that the son was simply conning Sugar for more money packed a nice punch, and Frankie Faison played that conflicted heartbreak very well. The characters in this world struggle to handle their emotions, and the idea that Sugar beat the guy almost to death simply because the woman he loved cared more for the dude than she did for Sugar was a great example of that overarching theme. Plus, who can complain about a brief sequence where Job throws down with a cocky boxer and wins his money back?
The perpetually deteriorating Proctor family saga also continued this week, with more lows than highs (for the characters, not Banshee). Rebecca's attempts to circumvent and yet support her uncle's businesses came to a screeching halt thanks to Burton's dogged stewardship of Kai's books... though I'm not sure I'm truly ready to talk about the scene where Rebecca tried to seduce Burton, only to realize that something is missing below the belt. That was one of those sufficiently creepy/weird moments that Banshee does very well. More importantly, Rebecca's attempted come-on might've knocked loose some of Burton's own concerns about Kai's relationship with Emily, meaning that he'll next have to deal with his own questions about loyalty, history, and what's "right" for the weird family's business.
Kai has other troubles, however. Fresh off being welcomed back into the Amish community (and the arms of his father), he was taken hostage by a group of men I presume to be Lennox's; they must've learned of Rebecca's shady side deals and are now ready to collect. (I'm guessing they don't know that Rebecca's the one who set up the other deals, but we'll see.) This development wasn't Kai's fault, per se, but he must wrestle with what he created, or what he failed to foster, with Rebecca. Did he leave her alone too often, or should he have empowered her more? Either way, Rebecca's actions have once again caused big problems for her uncle, and you have to assume that won't continue for too much longer.
And at the very end of "All the Wisdom I Got Left," the show's Villain in Waiting, Colonel Douglas Stowe, made a particularly discomforting reappearance at the diner. Unsurprisingly, Stowe is primed for war with whomever completed the raid on the vault—and by the looks of things, he's very aware that his former fling played a key role in ripping him off. Hood and Brock might be coming back to Banshee to deal with Kai, but chances are they'll have another significant obstacle to overcome before that happens. That Stowe was shot from behind like Chayton has been so many times was a telling little nod from the show and director Greg Yaitanes; one great Big Bad might be gone, but there's another one ready and willing to make sure that Hood can never, ever outrun the dead, or anything that he's done.
– The first Underground fight featured people popping one another with baseball bats. No thanks. However, I'd totally watch a non-canonical web series about all of Banshee's characters battling one another in The Underground, Mortal Kombat-style.
– The brief flashback to Kai and Burton's first moments together was violent, disturbing, and a little bit touching—the classic Banshee package!
– In case you'd like to hear more Banshee-related thoughts from me, I joined Les Chappell and Sean Colletti on their Under the Hood podcast to discuss last week's episode.
– Let's all try to name our favorite Hood-Chayton encounters. I have a soft spot in my heart for the first one, way back in Season 2's "The Warrior Class," but everything that happened in "Tribal" is also still clanging around in my brain. How about you?
Intrepidly, we navigated seas of loosely connected, yawning cases of the week when all we really wanted was an end to the oft-twisty, oft-turny, all-bendy path toward how... to get away... with murder. All to find crippling absurdity.
I won't even bother much with the first half of How to Get Away with Murder's two-hour Season 1 finale except to say it was pretty typical fare: a case unrelated to the seasonal arc except for some not-so-subtle nods to the individual characters' states of mind (or sometimes just an excuse for the lawyers to be lawyering), with teases of the Lila murder investigation and trial(s) sprinkled throughout. That is to say, the first hour was terribly boring and, at this point in the season, felt like a waste of time.
Those who've read my previous reviews might recall that the very things I demonize about How to Get Away With Murder—namely, the cases—are exactly what I now miss on the show's fellow Shondaland drama Scandal. We haven't seen Olivia Pope truly do her thing since Scandal's writers struck more of a balance between the sudsier parts of the show and the more painful love triangles they're committed to maintaining (yes, I still believe that Olivia just needs to forget about the men in her life, because they're all the collective living worst; she should never think about jam and Vermont ever again). And I fully admit that How to Get Away With Murder would be dull if it only focused on trying to figure out what really happened at that water tank. Cases of the week are about more than filler (or at least they should be), since they allow us to see characters in action instead of in the throes of temper tantrums.
But as the final episodes of the season started to pile up, the cases and lives of people not in the employ of Annalise Keating became distractions in an already stretched show. There's school and there's the law practice and there's the cover-up and there's the law student ducklings' inside-feelings. It was a lot to keep track of, and many things suffered, especially because these kids are actually in school and are supposed to be learning, not doing. I mean, what kind of education are the non-ducklings getting out of this class when AK goes off syllabus and starts sending her minions code for how to get away with their clandestine killing? Ms. Leibowicz, you can sit down now.
The bottom line is, once we reached a certain point in the season, the cases began to feel less satisfying from a character-development standpoint and more like filler, since there weren't many questions left to answer in the Lila case and the writers had to stretch the whole thing out across 15 episodes. The only real takeaway from the first hour of the finale and its case was that the priest the episode focused on wasn't a very good priest for a lot of reasons. Not only was he not very good at his job—which is primarily about fealty to God and not making eyes at the b'sweatered women he works with—but he killed someone, an act the hour attempted to justify by slapping a pederast tag on the victim as a shortcut to making a character expendable and humanizing a murderer. And if there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that child-touchers deserve the worst this world can deal them.
But there was a subtle, maybe even unintentional, nod here to the difficulty of surrendering your free will when you're only human. Priestly vows mean tendering the gift of free will, an Abrahamic sacrifice that requires a forever commitment. Once the sacrifice has been made, technically, the priest isn't supposed to ask for that free will back from his maker. For those who commit to such holy vows, the mandate is that they must be observed until death, either peacefully or in martyrdom. I'm looking at you, Piccarda Donati and Constance of Hauteville.
That fealty is present in the Keating law office. I don't want to make too many comparisons between Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder because there aren't that many similarities, but one of the more dynamic parallels is the messianic figurehead whom everyone blindly follows. All who stray from the path of Annalise Keating suffer a penance levied by the universe.
Of course, with that said, the seasonal arc about the murder of a pregnant sorority girl was ultimately about the ducklings' dramatic fall from the safety of their nest to the harsh, cold ground.
That's how we went from Wes biking so proudly across campus, concerned only with being on time for class, to Wes being the impetus for a study group's sharp downfall and, eventually, tying up his girlfriend with duct tape and locking her in a bathroom. And so, as was the case for most of the rest of the season, the only important part of the finale's first hour were its last five minutes.
The second hour concentrated on a disappointing mock trial that gave Rebecca her "day in court." The ducklings had all gone bonkers identifying holes in Rebecca's timeline and investigating her mysterious relationship with the guy who lived in Wes's apartment before he moved in. Over the course of the last few episodes, these issues have exploded into huge deals. However, they reveal more about the characters' psyches than they do about the actual storyline.
All told, the plot hasn't changed much since the start of the last season: Sam did it. He might not have been the one to actually squeeze his hands around Lila's throat, but he did ensure that she died in a creepy, I'm-gonna-do-it-but-it-won't-actually-be-me-because-I-have-a-guy-for-that sort of way... by hiring Frank to do the job for him. Is that a revelation for us? I mean, I suppose it is, in that Frank has been involved all along and now we know that the snake has been ravenously feasting on its own tail. But the culprits are all the same. And the innocent people are still innocent.
So basically, the last few episodes featuring bang-up detective work by Wes and Laurel, which led to holding a (more or less) innocent woman hostage, was a red herring. We were led to believe that Sam might not be the killer, but he so very much was. And now that we realize that, as far as the murder story goes, we haven't really moved very much since, like, Episode 4.
It seems that, instead of focusing on what actually happened to Lila and how the ducklings would get away with murder, the finale wanted us to turn our attention to the ducklings' downward spiral under the tutelage of the cometary ball of anxiety, stress, and confidence that is Annalise Keating. I'm sure none of her other groups of interns have had to deal with their very own dead body, but I'm guessing that—wait, is every school year a new game of Clue for the new crop of interns? Does Annalise hire a new Sam Keating every September so that he might eventually be killed by said interns, who go on to learn valuable lessons of victim empathy, PTSD, and divining solutions to getting away with heinous acts? That would be dash cunning of you, AK.
Assuming that Sam isn't Mr. Boddy, this is a special group with their own isolated disaster. Perhaps past groups were obsessed with AK's cases and surviving final exams, but this one is about self-destruction. And final exams. Each member of the "team" has changed in some manner because of what's happened this year: Michaela's type-A personality is bringing about the ruin of her façade, but possibly for the betterment of her future; Connor is looking for any kind of anchor in these rocky seas, desperately clinging to Oliver (who now has AIDS?!?); Wes is a whimpering fool; Laurel and Asher are—well, neither has changed much. The latter didn't really get exposed to the full throttle of this year's crazy, and the former might be the closest thing this show has to a sociopath.
So what are we left now? A group of broken kids who I guess are just going to continue with law school to keep up appearances while they continue trying to get away with murder. A professor who's basically unchanged. And another body and, therefore, another murder someone will try to get away with. Sorry, Rebecca.
In the end, you have to wonder how much better this show might've been in a tighter window. Would it have dragged at all if it'd only had 13 episodes to work with, or even 10, instead of 15? Would it have earned its revelations more honestly, without the red herring arc near the end?
Regardless, the most important question that remains is, "Was this finale enough to lure you back for Season 2?" And yes, it appears that there WILL be a Season 2. Returning viewers will have to be invested in the show's characters, because the mysteries raised at the end aren't really compelling enough to keep people interested, I don't think. Will you come back just to find out who killed Rebecca and how s/he will get away with it? Will you come back to see how much more trouble Wes can get everyone into, how far into the crazy these kids will find themselves. Are you curious to see what other bombs this show can drop in the last five minutes of every episode? I think that's the hope.
Also, I'd like to see more of Asher being the douchiest douche that ever douched.
What did you think of the finale, and of Season 1 as a whole?
Leonard Nimoy, the character actor most famous for playing the beloved Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek television series and in several feature films, has died according to The New York Times. He was 83.
Nimoy, who was rushed to the hospital last week with chest pains, passed away in his Bel Air, California home, his wife confirmed. The actor had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Nimoy, a Boston native, got his acting break with the 1952 film Kid Monk Baroni. He went on to land bit parts on Dragnet, Perry Mason, and in the film Get Smart before he was cast as the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock in the role that would launch him into stardom. Star Trek ran from 1966 to 1969, and Nimoy earned three Emmy nominations for his performance. He later reprised the role in a number of Star Trek feature films. In 2009, J.J. Abrams directed a reboot with Zachary Quinto portraying Spock, but Nimoy made a cameo as an alternate version of the character.
A photo posted by Zachary Quinto (@zacharyquinto) on Feb 27, 2015 at 10:01am PST
Off-screen, Nimoy maintained a prolific career as a voice actor and narrator and directed a handful of films, including Three Men and a Baby. More recently, Nimoy played a recurring role on the Fox series Fringe, which ended in 2013, and was heard as the voice of Spock in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. He was also a writer, publishing two autobiographies and several volumes of poetry.
Nimoy is survived by his second wife Susan; his children, Adam and Julie; a stepson, Aaron; six grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and an older brother.
"I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love."
-William Shatner http://t.co/U8ZN98tVYp
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 27, 2015
How to Get Away with Murder's two-hour Season 1 finale took over the internet on Thursday evening, blowing minds with a couple of killer twists. But the surprises didn't stop there; a new teaser that aired at the end of the episode revealed that How to Get Away With Murder has another season on the way.
Although ABC has yet to officially confirm the renewal of the Shonda Rhimes-produced drama, the teaser doesn't lie: How to Get Away With Murder will return in the fall and attempt to solve the case teased in the finale.
You can watch the 15-second clip below, but I have to warn you: If you haven't yet finished the season finale, there are some pretty big spoilers ahead.
Look, we all knew that How to Get Away With Murder was a lock for Season 2, but aren't you glad the news is out in the open now?
The much-anticipated return of Once Upon a Time is upon us, y'all! On Sunday night, the ABC drama will kick off another half-season of the most troubling stab at family programming in the history of television. And yes, I may have chills and a fever right now, but that should only help in explaining where OUAT's fall finale left each of our characters:
QUEEN FROSTINE AND WENDY OF WENDY’S HAMBURGERS
After the Ice Queen exploded into a million pieces and rained herself all up in everyone's hair and mouths, the Frozen™ characters returned to Frozen™ world a.k.a. the toy section at Target.
SNOW AND CHARMING
Storybrooke's residents decided to dispense with the voting system and make Snow White their mayor, even though it seemed that only a few hours had passed since she gave birth. So now Snow White is the mayor and Prince Charming is the long arm of the law. So far in these roles they've succeeded in identifying threats to the town and describing those threats to Regina, who has powers they do not—namely, of magic and logical deduction. Yes, all three of them really sassed each other good when the Curse of Shattered Sight descended on their home, but they had a big laugh about it later.
Rumple is no longer bossing Hook around via his heart, which must feel good. Also his outfit count is up to two, though he seems disinclined to alternate between them.
Regina sent Robin Hood packing in the fall finale so that he could escort his wife Marion out of Storybrooke. Her selfless sacrifice was not followed, Regina-style, by shattering a mirror with a wine class and declaring revenge on all who ever wronged her, but instead with a round of shots at Granny's with Emma. So she’s basically 100 percent a hero now! Canonically speaking, that is. Although she’s always been my hero, even more so when she was sending townfolk flying and making fun of Snow’s cardigans.
Emma’s instincts and sense of self were ping-ponged all over the place in the first half of the season in order to incorporate her into the Frozen™ theme, but it looks as if she ultimately settled exactly where she started: She's proud of her magical abilities, extremely ambivalent about her parents pressuring her into a romantic relationship with a man, and spending all day every day worrying about Regina.
Henry is a young man trapped by circumstance in a small, crazy town. Splitting his time between a legit mansion and a one-bedroom apartment containing four generations' worth of family as represented by five people has taken its toll on the kid, who now wants the whole clan to shack up together in the big mansion in the woods. Do it for the baby, if nothing else, guys.
So Belle quite literally banished Rumple from Storybrooke when A) she learned that he'd plotted to destroy everyone who was not her, including Henry, and B) she realized that she would always play second fiddle to the Dark Arts. Yes, she sent Rumple out into the cold without so much as a scarf or warm boots. Will this mean she loses her special status as The Only Member of Rumple’s Family He Won’t Sacrifice? I guess we'll soon find out.
Last time we saw a magic-less Rumple, he was sidling up to an aquarium worker (Ursula) after a long night of walking from Maine to what I assume was New York City. Is he going to join forces with the Queens of Darkness to return to Storybrooke and... do something? What exactly is he up to, do you think? Maybe he'll regain his magic and slaughter every last person he knows? Would that be really satisfying? Or perhaps he wants to regain his magic so he can suck all of Belle’s bad memories out of her head to make her love him again? That sounds properly convoluted and familiar.
What are you hoping to see in the second half of Season 4? Who would the Queens of Darkness really target in town? Like, Ursula wasn’t actually the Little Mermaid’s enemy in her retcon; in fact, Regina posed as Ursula in Ariel's backstory. Maleficent could hassle Aurora, I guess, except doesn’t she sort of have it bad already? Who’s Cruella going to start a beef with? Archie? I just don't know, guys.
... Do you think that power-sucking Mickey Mouse Hatbox is going to re-enter the mix?
... Belle and Rumple: Dunzo, or do you still have hope?
... What are your predictions for the rest of the season?
ABC Family has renewed Baby Daddy for Season 5, the network announced Friday.
The series, which hails from Dan Berendsen and stars Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Tahj Mowry, and Derek Theler, is the network’s longest-running comedy and second-longest running series after mystery drama Pretty Little Liars.
According to ABC Family, Baby Daddy ranks as Wednesday’s top original cable telecast among women 18 to 49. The renewal comes as the show is wrapping production on its fourth season, with the finale scheduled to air on March 18.
Are you excited for more Baby Daddy?