Monday, June 9, 2014

My Week in Tv! (02/06-08/06)

Here is the ranking of the shows I saw last week. Because of its special nature, Orange is the New Black will have its own post. Careful, spoilers are real.

6. Orphan Black: "Variable and Full of Perturbation" (Season 2 Episode 8)

Aaaaaaaand, after the episode I enjoyed most, here comes the one I enjoyed the least. I think the trans clone can be a good idea, but maybe it should have waited until season 3. I don't think we need any new clones now, we need the plot to advance a little, not more mysteries. Otherwise this will end up being Lost. All questions, stupid answers. Cosima's storyline was completely bonkers. "I'm dying by the end of the episode so let's get high on helium with the stupid doctor who insists on talking French to people when she's spoken to in English!" Alison and Donnie were a downer. I don't want them to be back together and stronger than ever. Donnie is the worst. He is a puppet who does not deserve his wife. Alternate romantic interest for Alison, stat. And the Tony thing was, well, cluttered and unnecessary.

MVP: Jordan Gavaris as Felix. I really feel for this character because he should have gotten from the clone mess away a million years ago but he is always caring for everyone and being level-headed and very cool.

5. Halt and Catch Fire: "I/O (Pilot)" (Season 1 Episode 1)

I was a little scared after reading about the first reactions to the show but I really liked the pilot. I'm not very invested in the computer world but the theme is broad enough to be interesting. And really with those actors you could not go wrong. Adorable Lee Pace playing someone not too adorable, Mackenzie Davis (MVP in That Awkward Moment next to Miles Teller) is our small-screen Lisbeth Salander and she is very good at it, Scoot McNairy is already a great character actor and I'm looking forward to seeing him develop a character over time and Kerry Bishé is finally getting some worthwhile work after her turn in Argo. It's true that so far it is not Mad Men, but let's face it, nothing is and nothing will.

MVP: McNairy is the one who does the most with his character in this episode and shows already how to inhabit a complex character.

4. Louie: "Pamela (1)" (Season 1 Episode 10)

This was another brilliant Louie episode but at this point who's counting? After Amia leaves, Louie is heartbroken and Dr. Bigelow tells him, in a great monologue, that this is the good part. Afterwards he receives a text from Pamela and he smiles. In the middle of the episode there's a lengthy stand-up scene about God, women and the naming of clothing after crimes. In the scene after this, Louie insists on kissing and holding Pamela when she doesn't want to. In my opinion, and this is what some reviewers are clutching their pearls at, Louie (the director) is fully aware of this juxtaposition. Louie (the character) is behaving in a way that goes against the insight that he has shown in his monologue. This is not a faux-pas; this is a very intelligent way of showing the attitude of some men (even intelligent men) towards rape and rape culture. Louie shows that it is a brilliant, complex show again.

MVP: Let's give it up for Charles Grodin as Dr. Bigelow. He is the breakthrough of this season. I hope they keep him around.

3. Penny Dreadful: "Demimonde" (Season 1 Episode 4)

I had been a little on the fence about this show but I really enjoyed this episode. It started on a grim note with the boring Dorian Gray in an, admittedly, really cool room with a lot of whores of both sexes. When they leave, he opens a hole in the wall behind a painting and passing an, admittedly, really cool mirror corridor, arrives to where his painting is kept. But we don't see it yet. That's a nice touch. I like how the show has been playing so far with what we know and we don't. A clear example is the first Frankenstein monster we see being the second and in this episode, the whole "What is going on with Josh Hartnett?". Is he a werewolf? Is he just squeamish in a show with a lot of blood? In the first part of the episode, Victor and James Bond try to cure the vampire by giving him clean blood (Ethan refuses, which is fishy) but it doesn't work, no matter how artfully Eva Green can throw an apple. The second part of the episode takes place in a grand guignol theatre where Ethan takes Brona and where also Dorian and Vanessa are. After a bloodbath of a play, the four characters come together and after a little bit of playful banter between Ethan and Vanessa, Brona gets jealous but also sad because she has the Satine disease and leaves. Dorian invites Ethan to a Fight Club-esque place where a dog has to kill rats while people place bets. More interestingly, they retire to Dorian's place and after having a few drinks... They kiss! And start undressing each other! And then the episode ends! Awful timing! I was not seeing that one coming in a million miles. But, obviously, I like it. Bring on the bisexualities!

MVP: Billie Piper as Brona because it is a delight to watch her reactions in the theatre scene and can also sell the fight scene with Ethan and the whole coughing-blood-and-falling-down business.

2. Louie: "Elevator Part 6" (Season 4 Episode 9)

All good things come to an end and so does Louie and Amia's short-lived love affair. They have one last romantic dinner in which Amia convinces a waiter at the restaurant to read/translate how she feels about Louie but the hurricane/tornado/storm can wait no longer. Most of the people in Brooklyn are dead and Manhattan is starting to be evacuated. Louie rents a car (the guy working there is deliciously oblivious to what's going on) and goes to get his ex-wife and two daughters. This is one of the most oddball episodes in the show, not very reliant on laughs but still darkly funny. A great episode all around.

MVP: Eszter Balint has been consistently great during Amia's arc and her looking at Louie while the waiter read was heartwarming.

1. Game of Thrones: "The Mountain and the Viper" (Season 4 Episode 8)

The show had taken a week to cool off and it came back with a vengeance. This was an amazing episode even though it started in the north (snore). But, soon, we forget about them and follow Reek in his adventures. Ramsay Snow's plan works and his father gives him his name but he still is an asshole to Theon. In the Vale, Little Finger is answering incriminatory questions from some random elders who want to hear Sansa's testimony. She comes clean by telling who she is and when it looks like she's about confess, she says that her aunt committed suicide. As she says herself, it was the smart thing to do since Little Finger is the only person protecting her and she even knows what he wants. Sex. They're talking about sex. Very close to Sansa (physically at least) is her sister Arya who has arrived with the Hound to the Vale where they inform them that the Lady Arryn has just died. Maisie Williams proceeds to laugh in an awesome manner. Danaerys is not laughing since she has learned that Jorah was spying on her and makes him leave forever. Sad face. And finally, in King's Landing, the trial by combat is about to start but first we get a really nice scene with Tyrion and Jamie bonding over a mentally challenged cousin which quickly develops in an angsty scene where Tyrion really needs to know the meaning of life. Isn't this show the best? And, at last, the fight. Prince Oberyn has this in the bag and dances circles around the Mountain. Oh, no. Wait. He does not kill him since he wants him to confess about raping and killing his sister and the Mountain throws Oberyn to the ground punching out his teeth (yes, plural. Very plural, in fact) gouges out his eyes and finally, makes his head, literally, pop. It's a incredibly tense scene that is one of the best things ever in this show. We won a bisexual male in Penny Dreadful but we lost one here. Long live Prince Oberyn. Now, what's going to happen to Tyrion? Are they really going to kill him?

MVP: Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, finally learning how to play the (ominous music) Game of Thrones.

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