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Last Week in TV - Week of Dec. 20 - *** READER POLL ***, Reviews, and Episode awards

Hello and welcome back to Last Week in TV. Next week the guest reviewers and I are going to evaluate TV up to the midseason in a special edition of Last week in TV. We want you to join us in the episode awards. Below you will see two forms. The first is for your midseason TV awards (only shows from the 2015-2016 TV season please) and the second is the normal form to nominate shows. If you are new to the column, I usually review one episode nominated by the readers each time along with the shows I already review weekly and any new shows. To nominate an episode (past or present), simply fill in the show and episode in the form below. I use a random number generator to choose which episode to do each week. Nominations stay in the queue until the show is picked or the season ends. I'm especially looking for shows that I don't know much about and have never seen so feel free to add some that are less mainstream. If I can find a way to watch it, I will. Thanks so much for participating in the midseason awards and until next time, happy TV viewing.

Midseason Episode Award Nominations:

Episode Nominations Form:

Episode of the Week

Into the Badlands - 1.06 - Hand of Five Poisons

Into the Badlands is one of those few shows that did not have a single bad episode in the bunch. It has excellent pacing and the best action on TV. The characters are well-developed and they don't drag things out for long. If you haven't tried out this show and you love action, I highly recommend it. It's my favorite new show of the season so far. It's also the episode of the week. This finale was everything I hope it to be, especially if all the dead stay dead. I love how each main character had a major change in their life and the cliffhangers have me excited about next season. Tilda remains my favorite character and the Widow is equally fascinating. Even MK is growing on me. I'm even more curious about this medallion since it appears 3 of our main characters are connected to it. It's a rare show that does such a great job of keeping the pacing lightning fast while not dropping the plot and still developing the characters. Into the Badlands is a winner all around. Check this show out!

Grade: A-

Best Reason to Watch - all the action, all the cliffhangers, all the peril, basically the entire plot
Best Scene - Quinn dies…or at least he better be dead
Best Action - the flying monks vs. Sunny
Best Twist - tie - Waldo is the traitor working with the Widow / Sunny had an identical pendant to MK around his neck when Waldo found him and brought him to the fort
Best Reaction - Ryder to Lydia telling him that she knows about his sleeping with Jade
Best Plan (in theory) - Sunny gives the River King the head of the other dead Colt instead of MK
Worst Plan - Lydia goes back to her father. I would have tried the Widow first because together they could be powerful allies.
Most Manipulative - Jade purposely poisoned herself and framed Lydia for it, which is exactly what I wanted to happen last episode
Biggest Ouch - Sunny gets kicked through a wall and bricks fall on him
Biggest Shock - Ryder shows his face at the assassination attempt on his father
The "What Other Choice Do You Have Exactly?" Award - Veil says that she might not go with Sunny, for good reasons, but the other choice seems to be instant death for her and her child

Best Quotes -
1. Quinn: "I assume conversation is out of the question." Sunny: "You're gonna be my last tattoo."
2. Veil: "Is that why you're fighting, to rid the world of brutal men?" Widow: "There wouldn't be many men left if we did that."
3. Veil: "Any woman who forces girls to kill to show their love is not a mother."
4. Sunny: "Quinn, when I get out of these chains I'm gonna clip you first." Quinn: "That's just like I told Veil. You'll always be a killer."
5. Sunny: "You kill her. You kill yourself."

Weekly Shows

Agent X - 1.08 - Angels & Demons

As Agent X quickly speeds to its end, the conspiracy is starting to fall apart. Our heroes have the upper hand for right now but with Volker in the wind that could changed rapidly. I love how the president was able to take down his murderous security agent even while being poisoned. He's tougher than I thought. I'm also a fan of Lathem being dead because that guy was plain annoying. Better yet though, Olga lives on to fight another day. Too bad the series won't. I'm looking forward to seeing how the conspiracy is crushed and to finding out if Pamela or anyone else is involved. Pamela being involved would completely rock John's world and increase his commitment to the Agent X program so I could see that being a main twist. Of course Pamela dying would have the same result so I'm not ruling that out either. In the end, this was a good building episode but I hope the last two are amazing.

Grade: B

Best Reason to Watch - the conspiracy is quickly unraveling
Best Scene - John and Olga talk while being suffocated
Best Action - device fight
Best Moment - John and Millar shake hands before he leaves for the mission
Best Plan - John takes the device out of the box so Olga steals the case instead
Biggest Creepster Yet - Dante, who is super smarmy and talks about himself in third person
Worst Cliffhanger - real Constitution taken
Best Cliffhanger - Volker escapes
Worst Party Game - Dante makes his guests battle it out with his bodyguards
Most Superhero-Like Powers - President who chokes his Secret service bodyguard to death while dying from poison
Most in Need of a Dictionary - John, who needs to look up the words "truth" and "lie"
Least Grateful - the French ambassador
Smartest Person in the Room - Pamela, who plays on Dante's predilections and vanity
The "Good Riddance" Award - Miles Lathem is taken out by his own conspiracy
The "That Gives New Meaning to Rescue Dog" Award - while saving the French ambassador from thugs, John saves the dog from the douchey ambassador
The "Welcome Back" Award (character) - Olga, who like Moriarty on Elementary makes everything more interesting

Best Quotes -
1. Volker: "If you want to break me, try Manilow."
2. John: "Wow, I love it when people talk about themselves in third person." Pamela: "I like it when people talk about themselves. No secrets."
3. Olga: "This must be the girl you told me absolutely nothing about, John."
4. John: "You know what you are. You're like a mosquito at a nude beach. You know what to do. You just don't know where to start." Olga: "Famous American proverb?" John: "No, it's my grandma Rebecca."
5. John: "I take this new job and for the first time in my life I've got a father figure and an older brother and they both betrayed me. And I'm in that place where I don't even know what to believe anymore. I don't know what I've been doing and then….and then you show up. You show up like you walked out of a dream."

Ash vs. Evil Dead - 1.09 - Bound in Flesh

Ash vs. Evil Dead continues to be campy fun right up to the end. In the penultimate episode, Dead Amanda strikes back, the Necronomicon talks back, and everyone's suspicion that Ruby is evil is confirmed. That's a lot for 28 minutes so there's no dead time. (Bad pun intended. Sorry.) Well except for the walk in the woods shooting raccoons of course. I still don't know what the purpose of adding the clich├ęd 3 stupid people in the woods was except to add in a horror trope as old as horror stories. They've added nothing to the plot so far. I do like that we're getting Pablo into the heart of the story and Ruby always adds a lot of fun.

Grade: B+

Best Reason to Watch - Ruby
Best Scene - Pablo is masked
Best Entrance - Ruby
Best Reaction - Pablo to Ruby beating Ash
Least Surprising - Amanda's body is no longer there / Ruby is evil
Most Punny - Ash and Kelly
Biggest Laugh - the song Just the Two of Us plays while Ash cuts up Evil Ash
Worst Plan - splitting up, always
Worst Liars - Ash and Pablo are terrible. They should let Kelly make up all the excuses from now on.
Worst Timing - Heather, who screams in just enough time to let Amada escape
Worst at His Job - Brad, who is presumably in forestry but isn't dressed like a true camper and who can't follow a map
The "Are You Kidding Me?" Award - The campers don't even notice the blood on our fearless trio? Nothing suspicious there at all.

Best Quotes -
1. Ash: "Chopping up my evil clone. Maybe someday that'll seem weird."
2. Pablo: "Yeah, we definitely shot the right one." Kelly: "I'm reconsidering."
3. Ash: "Okay, there is no way they're gonna stay here cause they're gonna get possessed. Then they're gonna be on the night train to Kill-adelphia." Kelly: "With stops in Choke-lahoma City and Die-ami."
4. Ash: "We can't have hot and sexy coming back to ruin our day and I say that with all due respect to her. Well, brains before beauty."
5. Kelly: "The only person you're willing to lay down and die for is you." Ash: "Well that's because I'm very important to me."

CSI: Cyber - 2.10 - Shades of Grey

Wow! Avery is a world-class douche in this episode. Why in the world would she sabotage Raven's parole without first talking to Raven about it? I thought she was a psychologist. In the end, the people in authority were the real criminals and jerks in this episode. I kind of feel for the "bad guy" Robin Hood and I definitely feel for Raven. Peter treated Neal nicer than this in White Collar and Peter actually had cause for alarm. Avery did not and shouldn't be allowed to control Raven's life. She overstepped big time and it makes me lose respect for the character. I'm also not at all interested in the sudden crazy bartender stalking Elijah. Robin Hood on the other hand was interesting and the best part of the episode.

Grade: C

Best Reason to Watch - Robin Hood and learning about how banks screw over customers
Best Scene - Raven confronts Avery
Best Flashback - Raven's first day
Biggest Douche / Worst Boss - Avery, who should have taken her concerns to Raven instead of the parole board. Raven didn't even get a chance to discuss it.
Biggest Stalker - Nina
Biggest Betrayal - Avery suggests that Raven not be freed at her parole hearing
Most Ho-Hum Subplot - Elijah's crazy stalker
Most Evil - the greedy, murderous people and bank NOT the hacker
The "That Got Personal Quick" Award - Nelson witnesses a murder
The "Welcome Back" Award - Carlson Young from Scream / Derek Mio from Greek

Best Quotes -
1. Raven: "You don't trust me." Avery: "I do trust you. I just don't trust your judgment. You're still young." Raven: "I'm not Tobin, Avery. I put Jackson…Jackson behind bars today. Doesn't that mean that I've put my past behind me? Doesn't that count for something?"
2. Elijah: "It's all part of the sting, Nelson. She's just playing her part." Avery: "You two are the worst kept secret in DC."
3. Krumitz: "The target took control of the ATM using a whaling attack on Barnaby Bank CEO Ashton Wagner:" DB: "I'm assuming that has nothing to do with marine biology."
4. Mia: "My brother is dead because I was greedy."
5. Nelson: "Most guys don't like meeting their girl's ex. I'm looking forward to it."

The Librarians -2.09 - And the Happily Ever Afters

It's hard to believe that this is the penultimate episode of season 2 already. The time has flown by. This episode brings back the mythology of the season but for me it is both too little and too late. Now they are going to need to rush everything when they had an ample number of episodes where they never mentioned Prospero at all. I think the overall pacing of this show needs to be tighter, especially in light of another short season. They either need to cut down filler episodes or they need to go to a straight up case of the week format. Personally I would be fine with no overarching mythos simply because I would rather them not do it at all if they are going to make each season a rush job at the end. This episode also suffered a little because of how great episode 2.08 was. There was literally no follow-up at all because all the characters had amnesia, not just Ezekiel. This was a decent episode but not as good as I expect when leading us into a finale.

Grade: B-

Best Reason to Watch - each character's alternative life
Best Scene - capturing Ariel
Best Action - Special Agent Ezekiel Jones and his diner slide
Best New Character - Ariel, who is a lot of fun
Best Speech - the one Flynn gives to all the librarians
Biggest Awww Moment - Flynn realizes he can't do any of this alone anymore
Biggest Hmm - Why does Eve suddenly have an accent?
Least Likely to Stay Bored - Flynn, who has to flit from one thing to another
Most Effective - Ariel can take out basically anyone with a touch

Best Quotes -
1. Jenkins: "That sounds like a sentence, sir, but there's no information in it."
2. Flynn: "And we are the librarians. Well I am and they are and she's…" Ariel: "Very unhappy to still be here."
3. Flynn: "The paths of magic, they're supercharged." Baird: "Is that good or bad?" Flynn: "Depends on how you feel about the end of the world."
4. Flynn: "Have you all lost your minds or have I?"
5. Baird: "That's not real love. Real love is hard. It's risky. Sometimes it breaks your heart but you have to take that chance because that's what's real."

Catch-Up and Other Shows

Fresh Off the Boat - 2.10 - The Real Santa

Grade: C-

~I'm not big on Santa stories and this one was worst than most. Preachy and silly don't mix well for me. The best thing about it was actually Marvin, who spent all that time learning the science of Jessica's Santa. Now that's a good neighbor.
Most Critical - Jessica, who finds fault with Santa
Worst Idea - peppermint cornbread
Best Quotes -
1. Louis: "Is that from Moby Dick? I feel like that's one of those books everybody says they read but nobody's actually read it."
2. Louis: "He flies around the globe in one night to give the whole world presents. What's there to improve?" Jessica: "He has no higher degree. If you break it down, he's either a toymaker or a glorified delivery man. Either way he's labor, not management. Look how long it took him to promote Rudolph. Clearly not good at spotting talent and at his weight, he shouldn't be eating milk and cookies at every single house. No. He should just pack himself a little bag of almonds and a pear."

The Goldbergs - 3.09 - Wingmom

Grade: C
~This episode has heart. It has even more bratty kids and obnoxious mom though.
Best Speech - Beverly's "don't be a quitter" speech
Best Character - Murray
Best Quotes -
1. Adam: "The truth is no matter where you live, you'll always be my hero, always be my best friend, always be my Pops." Pops: "Sold."
2. Murray: "I did ROTC. It changed my life and I fully support this as long as your mother never finds out. And one more thing, if you do this there's no quitting. I mean it." Barry: "10-4 good buddy." Murray: "That's trucker talk." Barry: "Aye, aye matey." Murray: "That's pirate." Barry. "Hmmm."
3. Adam: "I measure age in spirit." Erica: "Well I measure age by when you were born and for Pops that's 1903."
4. Earl: "Mrs. Goldberg, I told you. Yelling hours are between 9 and 12. This is my lunch break."
5. Adam: "I've been informed that you're a sucker for a sales pitch so I figured you may want to sit for this." Pops: "Depends on what you're selling." Adam: "Us."

The Goldbergs - 3.10 - A Christmas Story

Grade: B-
~It's less bratty kids and more bratty adults but I like the overall idea that it's not what you do that makes the holidays special. It's who you are and who you have with you.
Best Awww Moment - Barry and Adam stuck to the pole together
Best Solution - the Kremps and Goldbergs celebrate together
Most Adult - Laney
Best Quotes -
1. Murray: "I've raised morons." Adam: "That's fair."
2. Voiceover: "And so my mom finally got the Hanukah she always wanted…Christmas."
3. Pops: "I'm HanuClaus. I'm mashing two words together to make on offensive one just like you do."
4. Beverly: "What is the one rule we have in this house, huh?" Adam: "No daring Barry to do stupid stuff." Beverly: "Why?" Barry: "Cause I have no regard for my personal well-being."
5. Erica: "It's like I gave you a list of stuff I wanted and you actually bought it."

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, The 100, Grimm, How to Get Away with Murder, The Librarians, and others. She also runs the annual Character Cup. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts The 100 "Red-Shirted", Sleepy Hollow "Headless" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
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