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Last Week in TV - Week of October 16 - Reviews and Awards

Hello and welcome back to Last Week in TV. This week was a mixed bag for me. I had the opportunity to catch up on some shows, decided to drop a couple, and of course, am behind on a dozen more. Some things never change. With the last couple network pilots airing this week, I should be narrowing down my weekly viewing list and that's always a good time. As such, I've added a short section at the bottom about shows that I will no longer be reviewing, or at least not until I marathon them. So have you added dropped anything from your list this week? Anything coming on the horizon that you are anticipating? As for the nominated episode for next week, something happened for the first time. The random number generator picked an episode that I have already reviewed - Sherlock's The Sign of Three. My review of it can be found here. Therefore I ran the generator a second time and I'm heading back to my TV past with an episode from season 6 of The X-Files that focuses on Skinner. I always liked that character. If you have an episode you would like to nominate, please fill out the short 2-question form below. Until then, happy TV viewing!

Best Show You're Not Watching

Pitch - 1.02 / 1.03 / 1.04 - The Interim / Beanball / The Break

Sadly, because I was behind on this show, episode 4 doesn't qualify for Episode of the Week but it still deserves kudos and it's not even the best episode of the bunch. Therefore, we're throwing back to an award I used to give out when the column first started. Pitch is the best show you're (probably) not watching. I think the whole concept is a hard sell because those interested in sports are less likely to be pulled in by the drama, while some into drama might be put off by the sports theme. I'm here to tell you that there is something here for everyone. First, it starts with good characters. I was less than thrilled with the characterizations in the pilot because they went long on build up and short on characters. The next 3 episodes more than make up for that. They have especially done a great job with the mentoring bond between Lawson and Ginny. Not only does it flesh out both characters well, but it also gives the story an anchor. Plus, it's not all one-sided, which helps tremendously. Ginny gets great advice on how to navigate stardom and someone in her corner, while Mike gets purpose and perspective. His character could have been a stereotype of the veteran threatened by the rookie, but they went so much deeper than that and made his character the heart of the entire team. It's a role Gosselaar feels born to play. The show also fleshes out some of the other main characters well like Al, Oscar, Blip, and Evelyn. We've only got the barest taste of Amelia but I find her compelling as well. In fact, this is a real shocker. I don't even mind that Amelia and Lawson are sleeping together. I have no idea why but they just click for me. Still Evelyn is my favorite character because she knows when to support and when to lay it all on the line. She's a lifeline for both Ginny and her husband and that's a thankless job that she takes on with both grace and laughter. If you are not watching this show or if you dropped it after the pilot, I'd suggest giving it a try. You don't have to like baseball to get wrapped up in the struggle to find yourself in the midst of instant fame or the universal story of what to do next when one stage of your life is ending.

Grade: B+

Best Reason to Watch - the character interactions
Best Aww Scene - Ginny's mom says she's there for Ginny no matter what when she's a kid
Best Character Interaction - Lawson and Ginny by an earth length
Best Speech - Lawson calling out his teammates for being idiotic babies / Evelyn tells Blip that she is by far the most supportive wife when he's being selfish
Best Motivational Partner / Best Wife - Evelyn
Best Brother - Will
Best Play - Al makes firing him about putting Ginny in a bad light and it's the smartest play of the day
Best Back Story - Al's pity date story
Best Reference - Jerry Maguire
Worst Reference - the movie Just One of the Guys
Worst Back Story - Ginny's mom's affair
Worst Apology but He's Trying - Al to Ginny
Most Gruesome but Poignant Symbol - the cut off head of a doll used as a ball
Most Awkward - Ginny gets the call up to the All-Stars instead of Blip
Most Misguided Knight - Trevor calls off the pitcher to walk Ginny instead of hitting her (bean bagging)
Most Multi-Talented - Al, who also speaks Korean
Most Likely to Play Hardball - Maxine
Most Needed Scene - Lawson with his ex-wife
Biggest Order - Al pretty much tells Lawson to fix the whole team
Biggest Jerk - Bill Baker, who basically orders Ginny to choose between him or her mom
The "Poor Baby" Award - Oscar and his daughter Daniella talking about her parents getting a divorce
The "I Call Foul" Award - This is obviously written by men who are jealous of the Cardinals' overall success. I'm not exactly unbiased either, but comparatively, the Cardinals have a whole lot better sportsmanship than most professional teams, especially those on the coasts. Let your jealousy flag fly, writers. :-P
The "I See Both Sides" Award - Rachel makes sense about using Ginny's stardom to discuss big issues. Ginny makes sense when it comes to her having to live every day in her new life.
The "Way to Make Everything Worse" Award - Katie Nolan for making Ginny's teammates out to be babies and misogynists. Like earning their trust isn't hard enough.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Wendie Malick from Rush Hour / BJ Britt, who was Trip on SHIELD / JoAnna Garcia Swisher from Privileged and Reba / Shamier Anderson from Wynonna Earp / Kelly Jenrette from Grandfathered / Darius McCrary from Family Matters

Best Quotes -
1. Lawson: "Do I look like I play golf?" Ginny: "You look like a cousin from Duck Dynasty." Lawson: "You love the beard."
2. Evelyn: "Yeah, she doesn't date ballplayers." Trevor: "Well she stuck me out 3 times tonight so clearly I'm no ballplayer." Ginny: "You're trying to strike out a fourth time?"
3. Ginny: "A woman's not responsible for her own sexual assault because she went in the wrong locker room. That's not only wrong. It's dangerous. We don't need to make sure that every girl goes in the right room. We need to make sure every boy knows it's wrong to rape."
4. Lawson: "So maybe...we all start working as hard as her. Maybe we start acting like a team instead of a bunch of spoiled brats and maybe I'll feel lucky that you guys are all I have. Yeah, lucky to be a Padre with every last flickering minute of my damn career."
5. Evelyn: "You came back." Blip: "Biggest moment of my life...June 6, 2007. I was playing on the USC baseball team. I bought a bacon burger from this sassy freshman at the concession stand. I wasn't even hungry. I just bought it 'cause I wanted to talk to the prettiest girl I'd ever seen." Evelyn: "What a coincidence. That was my moment, too."
6. Amelia: "I don't know much about baseball, but I do know that it's bad form to play an All-Star game without pants."
7. Evelyn: "Look at me, Sanders. The only all-star team that matters is mine and you're already the leading vote-getter there."
8. Evelyn: "Hey, hey, hey, keep it down. I'm trying to decide what theme park tickets we should get." Blip: "Go with whichever one makes the money magically disappear less."
9. Ginny: "You're abandoning me in my hour of need." Evelyn: "Mmm yeah, no. I'm immune to guilt. Chicken pox and guilt, neither of them get me anymore."
10. Reid: "You think I hired you as my GM just cause you're good at your job?" Oscar: "I hope so." Reid: "Well that and you look like Spanish Superman." Oscar: "I'm Mexican."

Nominated Episode

Prison Break - 1.01 - Pilot
~~~Coming soon, reviews of the original series by Bwhit

And people say the Winchester brothers are co-dependent? I think Michael and Lincoln will be right up there with them and they haven't even begun the bromance in this pilot. While I'm sure that plot holes start showing the further along this massive conspiracy theory goes, the pilot is tightly constructed to give a taste of one man's ultimate sacrifice to save his brother. The pacing is decent and covers the basis without staying in any scene for too long. It doesn't delve into the rescue plan at all or even give a solid reason as to why Michael's willing to take such a risk, but it introduces the key players nicely and sets up a bare bones of the story structure. In the center is Michael, the well-adjusted and successful engineer, who decides what he really needs to do is get thrown in jail to help his brother. Somewhere in the shadows is his death-row inmate and older brother Lincoln, who dispenses dime store wisdom to his soon to be juvenile delinquent son. (Seriously, he needs to dial down the Dr. Phil.) It's immediately clear that Lincoln's the Dean Winchester to Michael's Sam, right down to the debilitating self-esteem crisis. He actually compares himself to an anchor at one point, dragging down everyone in his life. My guess is that this is why the brothers seem to be estranged when they were obviously close earlier. To keep it all in the neighborhood, Michael's baffled lawyer is also Lincoln's former lover, Veronica. Michael asks her to go all conspiracy theory for Lincoln but she declines until an anti-death penalty priest is murdered, bringing in the requisite secret, evil government group. Overall, I liked the episode and the characters are intriguing even if I have zero idea how most of them fit into the narrative. I'm a bit more hesitant about the brother relationship at this time though because Lincoln never appears to be grateful or even that concerned about Michael. I do realize that this will change but the absence of much emotion from Lincoln in their big reunion did stifle it a bit for me. I'm also not sure that all the conspiracy is going to work in the long run. Call it being The X-Files gun shy, but I've been burned by excessive serialization before.

Grade: B
Ranking: 4
Audience - people who like serialized mysteries with a huge wallop of bromance thrown in
Bottom Line - I'm looking forward to watching more of this series if for the brothers alone, but it won't be until after the new version begins.

Best Reason to Watch / Best Character - Michael is very intriguing even if his methods seem extreme
Best Scene - Veronica tries to talk some sense into Michael but later ends up following the conspiracy theory like Michael asked her to
Best Action - prison yard fight
Best Plot Device - by giving Lincoln very little time to live, they ramp up the tension nicely for season 1
Worst Plan - Michael turns down the warden's offer to make life easier because he needs to get on Abruzzi's work team (???)
Biggest Huh? - Since when do death row prisoners get work detail? Shouldn't he be in solitary?
Biggest Surprise - Michael just voluntarily tells his cellmate that Lincoln's his brother
Biggest Product Placement - White Castle
Most Tense - Lincoln's relationship with…well, just about everyone in his life
Most Charming - Michael with Sara because medical is obviously part of the escape plan
Most Stereotypical - the guards are mostly corrupt
Most Shady - Kellerman and Hale
Most Gutsy - Michael rests his brother and his life on breaking them out of prison
Least Successful Criminal - LJ, who picks up drugs at a police bust
Least Likely to Cave - the bishop
The " Say What?" Award - Michael gave up everything for his brother but when they get a chance to talk, they don't sound like they even like each other. There's got to be some serious water under that bridge.
The "You Know You're Truly Evil When…" Award - you kill a Bishop because you're afraid he'll keep you from executing someone else
The "Poor Baby" Award - Michael when Lincoln tells him he is going to be executed
The "Welcome Back" Award - Wentworth Miller from the CW / Dominic Purcell from LoT / Stacy Keach from Mike Hammer and The Blue and the Gray / Sarah Wayne Callis from The Walking Dead / Amaury Nolasco from Telenovela / Robert Knepper from Cult and Arrow / Robin Tunney from The Mentalist / Anthony Starke from Make it or Break It / Rockmond Dunbar from The Mentalist / Peter Stormare from The Blacklist and Graceland / Chelcie Ross from Christy / Jessalyn Gilsig from Vikings and Glee / Camille Guaty from Scorpion

Best Quotes -
1. Lisa: "Oh where is this coming from, LJ? Last semester you were getting almost all A's and now you're…it's your father, isn't it?" LJ: "I don't have a father." Lisa: "It wasn't an immaculate conception, honey. Trust me."
2. Sara: "I've got news for you, Michael. 'Trust me' means absolutely zero inside these walls. The only way you're getting that insulin is if I'm administering it."
3. Lincoln: "You mean what you said earlier?" Michael: "I'm not here on vacation. Trust me."
4. Michael: "I'm looking for someone. Guy named Lincoln Burrows." C-Note: "Linc the sink." Michael: "That what they're calling him now?" C-Note: "Yeah as in he'll come at you with everything but the kitchen."
5. Veronica: "I deserve to know. I loved him as much as you did." Michael: "Past tense for you maybe, not me."

Featured Reviewers

Agents of SHIELD - 4.04 - Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire
BY Swanpride 

The show was on fire this week - pun totally intended, especially since this episode was so quotable. Nearly every line was a zinger without feeling forced. While Agents of SHIELD is perfectly capable of balancing multiple storylines at once, the show tends to work the best when most of them take a backseat to one big story. This week the Inhumans arc meets the Ghostrider arc in one big mash-up, which allowed a lot of action-packed opportunities to play out beautifully, if a little bit understated in certain points. I admit, I was a little bit disappointed that Lola stayed firmly on the ground. Where the show truly shined was in the character moments in-between, including a much needed telling-off Daisy got from multiple characters. But I was especially celebrating when the show passed up on a round of needless relationship drama. After three seasons of teasing, there is nothing more I want to see than Fitzsimmons being happy together with their hardwood floor and their breakfast nook, and I am incredible pleased that this is what we get.

Grade: A-

Best Reason to Watch - A firework of action and careful plotting.
Best Scene - Jemma recognizing Aida as android immediately
Best Character - Jemma is the boss!
Best Fight - Hellfire vs. Ghostrider, naturally
Best Team-up - I wanted to see Daisy and Jemma on a mission together for ages.
Best Effects - Ghostrider catching the flaming chain.
Best Prop - The Shotgun axe has a comeback, and it still looks absolutely bada**
Most Snarky - Coulson was on fire this week (pun still absolutely intended)
Most Welcome - The wayward daughter being back with the team
Most Obvious - Hands up. Who else wasn't surprised at all that James turned out to be a traitor?
Most Random Observation - Naturally May would like Aida. Though somehow the notion of an android which pretends to have feelings is more creepy than one which actually has them. After all, isn't pretending to act like a sociable human being what psychopaths often do?
Prediction of the Week - I am just waiting for the next shoe to drop regarding Aida. Though I don't worry about the lie detector test, I have the feeling that something will happen so that Jemma gets out of it. Otherwise I guess we are back to the Ghost story next week...time to prepare the tie-in for Doctor Strange, right?

Best Quote:
1. Jemma: "You can't have it both ways, Daisy. You can't push us away and then come crawling back half-dead only when you feel like it. It isn't fair. You've already put a gun to my head. We are in this together now so suck it up!"
2. Daisy: “Whoever’s working in the terrible ideas division is crushing it.”
3. Robbie: "Funny, I was gonna say the same thing without the accent."
4. Mac: "Did two fire dudes just drop into a warehouse full of fireworks?" Coulson: "Yeah, you had to have seen that coming."
5.Fitz: "That is an odd thing to say about a person." Jemma: "Fitz, she is an android. You know that she is an android, right?"

Jane the Virgin - – 3.01 – Chapter Forty-Five
BY Emma 

This season’s premiere had to juggle several storylines but as usual, our narrator gets us caught up on all the plot threads and we dive right in with Michael’s condition. Over the summer hiatus, most of the show’s buzz pertained to Michael’s survival. Since this is a telenovela and not a “death is normal dystopian” or “time-travel-will-fix-it” show, I was 99.9% sure he would not only survive, but have minimal long term physical complications. Good news, I was right on both counts but the even better news is the writers used the time honored amnesia trope to bring some humor to an otherwise heavy episode instead of introducing it as a tired subplot. We also see some real personal growth in Rafael this hour. Not only does he support Jane and take care of Mateo so she can focus on Michael, he ends things with Petra (well, who he thinks is Petra) instead of continuing a physical relationship with her to ease his pain over losing Jane permanently. The S1 Rafael would not have been so mature. Xo and Rogelio also had some great character moments – Xo came clean to Rogelio about her pregnancy, including who the father is and Rogelio remained supportive despite how much it obviously hurt him. Last but not least, Rose and Luisa are on a submarine and not likely to be caught anytime soon. However, Luisa seems to be unaware of how she got on the sub. Did she turn down Rose’s offer to run and Rose abducted her in her determination to have their Happily Ever After? Or was Luisa complicit in being drugged as a condition of them running away together? Either way, I am a huge Bridget Regan fan and her chemistry with Yara Martinez is off the charts so anything that keeps them together and on the run longer is fine by me. Overall, great premiere that hit all the major plot points with the heart and humor I’ve come to expect from this show.

Grade: A-
Number of Scenes that Made Me Cry/Teary: 2

Best Reason to Watch – the journey to finding out Michael is alive
Best Scene – Jane’s pep-talk to an unconscious Michael before he goes into surgery
Best Backstory – Jane and Michael’s first love triangle and how Michael fought for Jane
Best Twist – Rose and Luisa are on a submarine and Luisa doesn’t seem to know how she got there
Best Revenge (flashback) – Michael pulls over Jane and her date after she called off sick to go on a date with another guy and he sees her leave with him when bringing her soup
Best Effects – countdown to the Petra-chicken basting
Best Reaction – Michael holding Jane to her deathbed promise of getting a cat
Best Use of Flash-Forwards – adorable future cat pictures
Best Code – Fry the Onion Rings = take down Rafael / Baste the Chicken = Inject Petra with paralytic
Best Hashtag – #EsteBunInTheOven
Best Silver Lining – Jane and Michael’s mom find some common ground
Most Heartbreaking – Jane begging Michael to stay with her
Most Supportive – Rogelio, offering to be there for Xo no matter what she decides about the baby
Least Surprising – Xo doesn’t plan on keeping the baby
Biggest “Oops” – mistaking Rogelio for Erik Estrada
Biggest Laugh – Rogelio being mistaken for Erik Estrada
Weirdest Confession – Xo confesses she’s pregnant with Esteban’s baby when she says she can’t pee in a cup to give to two stoners because the testing facility would know it wasn’t theirs because of the pregnancy hormones
The “Well Played” Award – Michael’s pretend amnesia when he wakes up from surgery

Best Quotes:
1. Narrator: “How does knowing the end affect the journey? Because some of you know how this is going to end.”
2. Jane: “So sorry to bug you but the doctor just gave us an update and I think I was in shock and I didn’t ask anything but now I’m prepared. So I was wondering if I could talk to a doctor, any doctor. It doesn’t even have to be one of your good ones.”
3. Michael: “Wait, who are you?... I’m just kidding.”

Lucifer - 2.04 - Lady Parts
BY Laura Markus

That was a fun episode! The case was very chaotic and kind of a mess, but everything else going on behind the scenes was great to watch. It dug deeper into pretty much all of the characters, which is always nice to see. Maze and Chloe were the standouts I think, and it was great to see the girls having fun and the boys getting into some trouble. And that nasty cliffhanger, well, they just can't give Chloe a break, can they? This season has been pretty darn enjoyable so far and this episode was another outing of that.

Grade: B-

Best Scene - Maze tells Chloe that they're moving in together.
Best Reason to Watch - The girls' and boys' nights.
Funniest Moment - Maze yelling, "No one calls my skank a skank!" about Ella.
The "Oh, Snap!" Award - Chloe gets into a car accident, and then fade to black.
Most Interesting Dynamic Moment - Lucifer pouring Maze a drink.
Worst Aspect - The case and everything surrounding it.
The "I Need More Details" Award - Whoever Maze was 'screwing' when she was on Facetime.

Weekly Shows

The Blacklist - 4.04 / 4.05 - Gaia / The Lindquist Concern

Overall episode 4 was better than some of the previous ones this season but it still falls off on its pacing, especially since the crime of the week plot wrapped up way too quickly in order to have all the characters emoangst about each other. That rushed the best part of the episode but dragged out the worst parts. I am so sick of the Kirk storyline that they cannot end it fast enough for me and we need to get Tom to his new show quickly. To be honest, I am also okay if Agnes stays missing because I'm not sure how a baby would work on this show and I really do not want Kirk to kill her, although that would make Tom and Liz splitting make more sense. Navabi and Aram were by far the worst thing about this episode though and usually I like them the best. I maintain that Navabi has every right to be ticked at Liz and to not trust anything she says. She does not have the right to take that out on her co-workers. Aram was outright spiteful to Navabi so time-out for him too. As always, the best subplot is Mr. Kaplan. Here's to getting some answers quickly.

Episode 5 was just a complete mess. I no longer care about most of the characters, the subplots drag on and on, and nothing ever gets accomplished at all. There is the DNA test confirming Kirk is Liz's father but given the track record of this show, who can even trust it? This show knows how to take a 2-episode plot and pour it into 15 freaking episodes. I don’t' care about Reddington or Kirk or their spat. I don't care about the soul-sucking love triangle with Aram and Navabi. At this point, the only main character I like is Ressler and all kudos to him for not letting Hitchins off the hook for being a cold-blooded killer. I will watch the next episode because NBC keeps telling me it is the episode I cannot miss but when that ends up being false advertising, this show drops back to marathon status for me until the winter break.

Grade: B- / C-

Best Reason to Watch - the case of the week
Best Scene - ecoterrorist dies / Ressler confronts Hitchins
Best Awww Moment - Ressler says he doesn't want Navabi to leave and if he can do something to change her mind, he will
Best Reaction - Reddington to Dembe calling his mole a freckle / Ressler to Cooper giving Hitchins the data
Best Real Life Quote - Tesla: "I don't care that they stole my idea. I care that they don't have any of their own."
Best Twist - the murderer is trying to upload all the inventions he stole to open source so everyone can start making them and improve everyone's life
Best Laugh - Reddington's reaction to Dembe giving Glen advice on how to bowl better
Worst Subplot - love triangle hell with Navabi, Aram, and Elise
Most Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs - the ecoterrorist
Most in Need of a Divorce - Tom and Liz
Most Angry - Liz at Tom for going after Kirk
Most Frustrating - Reddington, whom I'm about to start throwing socks at for being obnoxious
Biggest Dichotomy - the classical music playing in the background as the kids run for their life
Biggest Douche Moment - Aram and Navabi verbal spat
Biggest Question - Who is the guy who has Mr. Kaplan chained up and what does he want?
Weirdest Sight - Reddington in a bowling alley
The "Not You Again" Award - Laurel Hitchins is back and as dirty as ever
The "People Suck" Award - people are trying to make things better with their inventions but corporations prevent the inventions from coming out by either shelving the patents or killing the inventors in order to keep their profits
The "I'm with You" Award - Tom decides to track down Kirk instead of waiting like Liz asked
The "Voice of Evil" Award - Kirk's assistant keeps telling him to risk Agnes' life to save his own
Best Music - Different Drum by The Stone Poneys
The "Welcome Back" Award - Glen Carter
The "Welcome Back" Award (actor) - Matt Servitto from Harry's Law / Leon Rippy from Under the Dome and Leverage

Best Quotes -
1. Dembe: "It won't come." Red: "What?' Dembe: "Forgiveness for Kate, for what I did." Red: "You did nothing." Dembe: "Exactly."
2. Navabi: "It's this place. You never know where you stand with anyone, whether they'll be there for you when you need them." Ressler: "If there's anything I can do to get you to reconsider, you let me know. I'll do it. You're a good partner."
3. Ressler: "You know who she is and you're gonna give her that?" Hitchins: "Yes, Agent Ressler, he does but apparently you've forgotten. 'She' is your boss' boss' boss' boss." Ressler: "Well my boss' boss' boss' boss is a killer. See I know you murdered Reven Wright and one day, I'm gonna prove it."
4. Liz: "You don't have to apologize for trying to find our daughter."
5. Aram: "In Gaia's mind, he protected people." Ressler: "Yeah well, tell that to the parents who lost their kids." Cooper: "So he kills innocent people to make a point that innocent people are in danger."
6. Reddington: "Picasso said it took 4 years to paint like Raphael but a lifetime to paint like a child. They live in a delightful space somewhere between dreams and reality. They taste color, hear shapes, see sounds. We should all have such special needs."

Fresh Off the Boat - 3.02 - Breaking Chains

And she finally did it. Jessica has now reached the Beverly Goldberg standard of crazy. Many have tried but few make it. That was a world-class freak out over a gift. It reminds me of when Murray bought Beverly the microwave but with much more noble intentions from Louis. Usually Jessica is my favorite part of Fresh Off the Boat, but I had trouble relating to her this time because I would love to get a housekeeper. I did like how the episode gave her time to make her case however so we saw her viewpoint too. Plus it gave us another great Louis and Jessica scene. Still, it is the brothers who are the real treasures of this episode. It was a great change to see siblings trying to make the first day of school better for each other instead of bullying each other like most shows. Plus it showcased Emory's personality more than most episodes do. He gets neglected as the middle child much of the time. Evan standing up for Emory was a beautiful thing but it was actually Eddie that surprised me the most. Not only is he smart enough to play the system like he did, but he also gained some sympathy from me with his speech to Emory about his first day of school. I rarely remember how hard things can be for him because he hides it under layers of brattiness and goofiness. He is very right about schools not knowing much about other cultures in the 90's and how they tended to not want to rectify that. I don't buy his breaking chains theory about why he used his culture to get out of doing what he didn't want to do but he seems to believe it. That's what makes his gesture at the end to Emory more poignant.

Grade: B

Best Reason to Watch - the brothers actually do try to make things easier for each other
Best Scene / Best Scolding - Evan tells Eddie off on behalf of Emory
Best Idea Even if Not Appreciated - Louis gets Jessica a housekeeper so she has more time
Best Canon - they kept true to Eddie's first day as far as I remember
Best Nostalgia - the Magnificent Seven of gymnastics
Worst Nostalgia - Cinemax
Biggest Change - the brothers here are much nicer than Barry and Erica were when Adam started high school on The Goldbergs
Biggest Laugh - Eddie's aging up of his crew in his fantasy world
Most Interesting Philosophy - Jessica roots for whichever team is likely to win in the Olympic sport
Most Crazy - It's a tossup between Evan and his refusal to let anyone sit next to him on the bus and Jessica wigging out over the cleaning lady and then taking her hostage in the car to get cleaning tips.
Truest Statement - Emory: "Eddie's kind of the problem."
The "Um, Okay…." Award - Evan puts up a shrine to Emory in his bus seat
The "He Has a Point" Award - I'm am definitely NOT Eddie's biggest fan but I did like his speech to Emory. He shouldn't be taking advantage of the system but he does have to face challenges that other kids don't. Sometimes I forget that and only see the brat.

Best Quotes -
1. Emory: "You signed me up for Karate Club." Eddie: "If you want to do karate, you should do karate." Emory: "And you're okay with that? I don't want to embarrass you." Eddie: "Who cares what I think? Who cares what anyone thinks? You do you, dawg. I'll just keep on putting those cracks in the jade ceiling."
2. Jessica: "Do you have experience with those? They are very delicate. They are arranged in a certain tableau. Each angle tells a different story." Mary: "Are they discussing the dust storm that just hit them?" Jessica: "They're covered in the fog of resiliency."
3. Evan: "Emory's not like you. He just wants to be himself and you're not letting him." Eddie: "Why? Because I'm blazing trails and breaking chains." Evan: "You're breaking your brother's spirit. He's just Emory. Stop making him feel bad for being who he is."
4. Jessica: "A family is supposed to do things for each other, not hire strangers to do them." Louis: "But we don’t like doing those things. At Cattlemen's, I hire people to do things I don't want to do." Jessica: "I don’t want to run our house like a business. No, I don't love cleaning up after everybody but they need me to. I like that they need me to. I don't want a stranger taking care of my family. I want to be the one taking care of them and then resenting them for not appreciating it."
5. Eddie: "So, you want to be what everyone thought I was when I walked in on the first day. You want to undo all the work I've done over the past two years." Emory: "You mean all the work you've done so you could just be lazy." Eddie: "They're ignorant about who we are and where we come from. Why shouldn't we take advantage of that? They see me coming down the hall, they're nervous. I'm keeping them on their toes, blazing trails, breaking chains. Then they see you coming in your gi with your violin and your camera, and we're back to where we started!"

How to Get Away with Murder - 3.05 - It's about Frank

The pacing was way off in this episode. There were filler scenes and some parts moved too slowly for me. However some of the most dragged out scenes also ended up being my favorite because it filled in the back story of both Frank and Annalise. That was particularly important when it came to Frank because he has always been the most mysterious character. It was interesting to see his vulnerability as a young man and to get some hints of the deep-rooted psychological issues that he has. Even more intriguing though was Sam. I cannot reconcile this Sam with the one who was verbally abusive and who ordered the death of a college student. As the prison scenes played out, Sam's words seemed so sincere and it was particularly touching when he told Frank that there was good in him. I can see no angle for Sam to be playing here so it makes me wonder if maybe Sam wasn't always the highly manipulative sociopath that the show wants me to believe he is. Perhaps he was more gray at a time too. Of course, I'm pretty sure he took emotional advantage of Bonnie, Annalise, and Lila so maybe not. I found a lot of Annalise's personal grooming and bender to be a drag on the episode but it's hard to fault the show for giving Viola Davis extended screen time when she always turns out such a layered performance. It was good to see Wes take care of her for a change though and I liked that he refused to leave. In fact, he and especially Michaela were both much improved in this one. If Michaela becomes more sassy like here and less whiny, she might rise in my character rankings. Shutting down Drake like that when she knew perfectly well that she took his laptop was a bold move and let's face it, someone needed to tell that douche to stuff it. He's actually more irritating than Asher and that's hard to do.

Grade: B-

Best Reason to Watch - back story
Best Character - This one was hard, mostly because there were several characters vying for and losing it within the span of the hour. However Michaela wins this week by the sheer fact that she surprised me, had me clapping, and made me laugh out loud. Now this is a Michaela I can get behind.
Best Character Interaction - Frank and Bonnie in the first part / Annalise and Sam in the second half
Best Smackdown - Michaela to Drake
Best Back Story - Frank
Best Cameo - Mary J. Blige
Best Reference - Dead Poets' Society
Worst Reference - Wizard of Oz
Worst Plan Ever - Bonnie has sex with Frank
Most Creepy - Annalise won't stop touching Wes' face
Most Fantastic Sass - Michaela
Biggest Surprise - Hargrove is at Annalise's AA meeting too
Biggest Ewww - close up of Annalise vomiting
The "There's No Cone of Silence" Award - now Connor is talking about how they all have murder in common while in the midst of other law students
The "Welcome Back" Award - Brett Butler from Grace Under Fire

Best Quotes -
1. Michaela (to Drake): "Go anywhere near my bag or anyone else's in this room and your laptop won't be all you're missing, you spineless, tiny-balled, whiny excuse of a man! Walk away."
2. Sam: "You were 13. You didn't know what you were doing." Frank: "I planned it for weeks, waited for the perfect moment. Looked forward to it and when it was over and he was under that car, screaming like an animal in a trap, my only thought was, 'You idiot, Frank. You couldn't even kill him right.' Now tell me I should get out of here." Sam: "You should." Frank: "Then you're even more of a sociopath than I am." Sam: "Sociopaths don't cry over what they did, Frank. Hey. You have good in you, okay? Just like all of us and I'm here to finally help you see that. You have good in you."
3. Annalise: "You sure you don't want the ashes? I mean we can cook them into slop, feed it to pigs, or just spread them in the worst place imaginable."
4. Wes: "Laurel needs to tell you something." Annalise: "She can't speak for herself? That's not the Laurel I know, letting a man speak for her."
5. Frank: "I've always been kind of a moron."

Lethal Weapon (1.02 -1.05)

Lethal Weapon is a fun popcorn show but it is also notable for its characters. I love the bromance between Murtaugh and Riggs but Trish and Murtaugh are fantastic as well. In fact, they are competing with Randall and Beth from This is Us for best new couple of the year. I haven't liked a couple more since White Collar's Peter and El. Usually, the action is also good with decent pacing in the middle. Basically, it is just an all-around fun show…until it isn't. That's usually the point where Riggs is having a breakdown or acting insane. I realize that his mental issues are a major part of the show but it also is starting to drag down the momentum. I'm not saying to cut those scenes out. They can't because they help the audience justify Riggs' actions. I do think they need to be better placed within the episode and better written, especially the parts that come off hokey instead of sincere. Insanity cannot be his only defining characteristic. Riggs needs to be more well-rounded than that so I wish they would play up his loyalty, humor, compassion, or anything else more. They also need to show that Riggs is making some progress at some time. It is a bit too mopey for about 1/3 of every episode and that's a lot of screen time devoted in what is basically a popcorn show. Cut back a bit on the brooding crazy and that leaves ample time to put some more fun, action, and bromance in its place.

Grade: B-

Best Reason to Watch - the bromance between Murtaugh and Riggs
Best Scene - Riggs and his father-in-law talk about him coming to dinner
Best Aww Moment - Murtaugh covers a sleeping Riggs with a towel
Best Reaction - the Murtaugh kids when their parents start talking about having handcuffs upstairs
Best Save - Riggs pushes Murtaugh out of the IED range
Best Punishment - Murtaugh and Riggs have to go to couples therapy
Best "Don't Even" Face - Trish Murtaugh, who can stop a lie in 2 seconds flat with it
Best Character Interaction - Murtaugh and Riggs of course
Best Back Story - the Murtaughs met when he pulled her over for speeding
Best Advice - Riggs tells RJ to tell his parents the truth
Best Reference - Miami Vice / Tango and Cash / Peaches and Cream / Starsky and Hutch / Cinderella / Scorsese / Airplane / Butch and Sundance
Worst Home Decorating - the decapitated heads of pot dealers
Worst Time to Chat with Your Wife - in the middle of a police chase with someone shooting at you.
Worst Trash Talk - Cruz, the guy who used to be in the gang task force
Biggest Surprise - no one can shoot, not the cops or the gangbangers
Biggest Overreaction - Murtaugh goes after Riggs because his son was stupid when really he should be blaming his son
Least Needed Subplot - the junior detectives fighting to get Daddy's (Murtaugh's) approval
Least Realistic - jumping from one building into the window of another / the armored car door just pops open and it doesn't have run-flat tires / falling out of a high rise and into a pool you can stand in would end in your death big time
Most Like Keystone Cops - trying to arrest the Gigantor in the shower
Most Romantic - Murtaugh pulls his wife over for speeding again in order to start date night
Most Sweetly Awkward - Murtaugh tries to read his love letter to Trish from his note cards, word for word
Most Long-Suffering - the police captain and it's only been 3 days
Most Likely to Die Trying to Prove Himself - Cruz
Dumbest Argument - the meaning of "there"
The "Welcome Back" Award - Kristoffer Polaha from Ringer and Backstrom / Ellen Hollman from Into the Badlands / Jordana Brewster from Secrets and Lies / Michael Raymond- James who played crazy on Game of Silence too

Best Quotes -
1. Bailey: "Look, I just got a call from Riggs and I don't know if he's kidding, but..." Avery: "What is it?" Bailey: "He's asking for backup." Avery: "Send everyone - SWAT, hostage negotiators, everyone!"
2. Roger: "I'll tell the waiter we're leaving." Trish: "Oh no, no. You're leaving. I have a bottle of wine and a babysitter." Roger: "I respect that."
3. Riggs: "Hey, what are you doing? Why didn't you take the shot?" Murtaugh: "Because he's driving a propane truck. I didn't want any collateral damage." Riggs: "And you want to be spicy salsa."
4. Trish: "Do you realize how many mistakes he made before lunch? Experience trumps youth every day of the week." Roger: "Tell that to my knees."
5. Trish: "Martin, no matter what I say to Roger, he's gonna follow you down any rabbit hole you go and that's okay. It's what he needs as a cop and probably as a man, but I can't imagine what I'd do if I lost him so I need you to promise me one thing. At the end of every shift, make sure he comes home to me." Riggs: "Yes, ma'am. I'll do the best I can." Trish: "From what I hear that ought to do."

MacGyver - 1.04 / 1.05 - Wire Cutter / Toothpick

Out of the 2 episodes, the first was definitely more my speed. It focused on humor and friendship along with action while the second had more romance in it. But in the end, as it does with most episodes of this show, it came down to which secondary, guest characters I liked better. You just can't get any better than two estranged KGB friends who squabble before healing a decades old rift. The Russians and Thornton were definitely the highlights for me. I also felt the first one had better pacing, while the second should have been more action but ended up dragging in some parts. I guess there just should have been more tension than I ended up feeling when killers are on a train so I ended up bored in some places.

Grade: B / C

Best Reason to Watch - Thornton is particularly impressive in these 2 episodes
Best Scene - the two Russians talk about the past
Best Aww Scene - Riley watches The Price is Right with Alexi
Best Character Interaction - the two old Russians
Best Product Placement - Uber, which has been all over TV this week
Best Music - Mother Russia by Iron Maiden
Best Save - skateboarding Alexi away from gunfire
Best Tag Team - Riley and Katarina take out the bad guy / Mac and Jack try to pull the train apart
Best Burn Notice Flashback - the rolled up cat magazine used to inflict bodily harm
Best Throwback - "Oh boy!"
Best Reference - Grand Theft Auto
Worst Rendition - Jack doing Push It
Worst Flashback - Hairspray in the eyes really does hurt. Anyone who walked down a high school hallway in the 80's can attest to that.
Worst Time for a Heart to Heart - while running for your life on a train full of people sent to kill you
Most Funny - the old Russian enforcer with all the guns that Jack keeps having to take away
Most Hands On - Thornton, who actually seems to spend more time out in the field than anyone else
Most Likely to Make Everyone Paranoid - Viktor
Most Interesting Improvised Tool - the Glock bullet wrench and lock pick
Biggest Surprise - it's the first time Y2K was ever good for anything except to sell paranoid people a bunch of junk they didn't need
Biggest Huh? - Why have they stranded the car with the witness on it in the middle of the tracks without a bodyguard when the killers have a helicopter to come pick her off?
Biggest Mystery - Who is Thornton's mom and how did she get a reputation for being a butt kicker?
The "Priorities, Priorities" Award - Jack, while you are busy telling the guy to get his pants, how about grabbing his shoes as well? If this train crashes, he might need them.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Elya Baskin from any show that needs a guest Russian character / Olek Krupa from The Americans

Best Quotes -
1. Alexi: "You really kept one? But the orders were to destroy them all." Viktor: "Sometimes orders are stupid." Alexi: "So you had your doubts too?" Viktor: "Of course I had doubts." Alexi: "Why didn't you tell me this before?' Viktor: "You gave me no warning. You defected without warning, left me behind."
2. Mac: "I actually think I might have a solution to this, but it's... it's kind of risky." Jack: "What kind of risky?" Mac: "The 'it might derail the whole thing instantly killing everyone on board' kind." Jack: "Okay, good. We'll call that Plan A and not do that. What's Plan B?"
3. Riley: "Apparently 2 grumpy old Russians aren't enough. We also need a grumpy old computer."
4. Viktor: "I killed 27 people to keep that secret and now is on World Wide Web for whole world to see." Alexi: "Even secrets get old, Viktor."
5. Jack: "Well you'll be happy to know that Thornton and I have talked about getting you some more field training, but don't worry. Once we're done with you, you'll make Jason Bourne look like Matt Damon."
6. Jack: "Unless this plan ends with me eating a thousand pancakes, I don't like it."

Supernatural - 12.01/12.02 - Keep Calm and Carry On / Mamma Mia

When it comes to Supernatural these days, I both look forward to and dread the season premieres. For years it was the most exciting day of the TV year for me. Everything changed in season 8 when Jeremy Carver, whom I looked forward to having as show runner, destroyed the brother relationship in one fell swoop. So with our new fearless leader, Andrew Dabb, I approached this season premiere with extreme caution. Ends up, I need not have been nervous. While Supernatural will never relive its glory days of the first 3 seasons, the first two episodes of season 12 were solid. I loved Mary and so far her return has been a boon instead of a curse. That might change if she becomes a plot device to destroy the brother bond later, but for now she is an amazing asset. I liked how she not only can kick butt when needed but they humanized her as well. She is having trouble adjusting, not just to the new technology but also to her grown sons, whom she remembers as babies. Azazel took so much away from her family and her. Plus she has the added guilt of knowing that she was the catalyst for it all. Watching her catch up will be both touching and heartbreaking I suspect. I've never watched a show that got 12 seasons before but resurrecting Mary is a great way to make the story seem fresh again. The subplots though dragged down the pacing. To be honest, Lucifer, Cas, and Crowley's storylines closed in season 5. While I love Crowley (partly for the actor if I'm being honest), I can admit that this Lucifer plot feels a lot like dragging something out just to keep him on. It's like every time they put angels on the screen to justify keeping Cas. It's time to let all these sideshows go and concentrate on the Winchester family reunion. And no, that does not include having Castiel tag along.

Grade: B+

Best Reason to Watch - inserting Mary into the Winchester world
Best Scene - Mary and Sam talk at the end when he brings her John's journal and they hug
Best Awww Moment - Mary calls the Impala sweetheart just like Dean does
Best Action - Mama Winchester vs. Lady Bevell
Best Surprise - Vince has a back story that is very similar to Nick's before both become Lucifer's vessel
Best Back Story - how John and Mary met
Best Canon - Mary did start this whole thing and I'm glad they didn't forget that even if I am not happy that it is canon to begin with
Best Friend - Tommy, who tries to get Vince to move on from his dead lover
Best One-Shot Character - the demon who used to be a teenage girl cracked me up
Best Plan - Sam pretends to commit suicide so he can try to escape
Best Villain - Bevell, because she's someone I can hate but still respect as a villain because she's smart and snarky
Best Advice to the Writers - Cas: "Don't make things needlessly complicated…"
Best Flashback to Better Years - Dean and Mary talking about how her ghost saved them in Home
Worst Recap - Amara and God, which would be a storyline best memory wiped
Worst Torture - making any Winchester relive their past because their dark spots are really dark to paraphrase Sam in Nightmares
Most Interesting Casting - Rick Springfield as Lucifer
Most Likely to Become the Theme - good vs. evil monsters given that the British kill all monsters regardless of whether they are likely to cause problems or not, while the Winchesters tend to wait and see
Most Overused - torturing Sam is beyond a little old now / Spice Girl references are thrown out a lot here
Most Worthless - the British segment of the Men of Letters during the first apocalypse storyline
Biggest Change - Lucifer is less honest with Vince than he was with Nick and Sam
Biggest Shout Out - they are going back to my home state of Missouri
Biggest Mystery - Why is Rowena still on this show? I like the actress and sometimes the character, but her story ended awhile ago.
The "This Just Got Awkward" Award - Mary doesn't say any words and still implies that Dean was conceived in the backseat of the Impala
The "Still Miss You" Award - Benny
The "Welcome to the Modern Century" Award - Why is Rowena lying about being a star in the Royal Ballet if all it takes is a quick Google search to see she's lying?
The "I Don't Think So" Award - Mary is in the backseat while Cas is in the front? Nope, you don't do that to your mama.
The "Aww, Poor Baby" Award - Mary, who keeps looking at her hands after she kills British Xena to save Dean / Baby gets nailed again
The "Welcome Back" Award (object) - green jacket / John's journal
The "Welcome Back" Award (character) - Mary Winchester
The "Welcome Back" Award (actor) - Elizabeth Blackmore from Legends of the Seeker

Best Quotes -
1. Mary: "I just have so much about you boys to catch up on. Mother stuff, you know - first tooth, first crush." Sam: "Yeah." Mary: "I just have a lot of blanks to fill in." Sam: "Right, uh...Dad's journal. His writing, his words helped me fill in some blanks and answer some questions I didn't know I had and you know, it… keeps him with us sort of." Mary: "Thank you." Sam: "Good night." Mary: "Dean said you got out of hunting." Sam: "Yeah." Mary: "And yet here you are." Sam: "Well this is my family. My family hunts, you know? It's what we do. Mom, for me, just…um, having you here fills in the biggest blank."
2. Dean: "Listen, b**. I don't care who you are. I don't care what you want. You have my brother." Bevell: "Dean Winchester? I heard you were dead." Dean: "Well you heard wrong. Now I'm gonna give you one chance - just one - to hand Sam back." Bevell: "Sorry, not possible." Dean: "Oh, you think you can run from me? Try it. Because when I find you, and I will find you, if he is not in one piece, I will take you apart. Do you understand me?"
3. Crowley: "What's the bloody hold up? He's the one and only Satan in the phonebook." Rowena: "It's witchcraft, not Google Maps."
4. Sam: "You want to get mad? You want to get mean? I've been tortured by the devil himself so you, you're just an accent in a pantsuit. What can you do to me?"
5. Dean: “You okay?” Mary: “No. I'm sorry I just...I spent my life running from this, from hunting and I got out. I never wanted this for you and Sam.” Dean: “Mom, I get it. I do. If I had kids I wouldn't want them in this, but Sam and me - saving people and hunting things - this is our life. I think we make the world a better place. I know that we do.”
6. Dean: "She was using a Chinese mind control technique. Hard to do when you're unconscious. Turns out this ape did read a book or two."

Younger - 3.04 - A Night at the Opera

This episode flew by but it also felt like nothing much happened. I would have liked to spend a little more time with Liza and Josh at the opera, maybe even seeing their reactions to the show instead of a toss off remark from Josh at the end. It would have been interesting to see his take as a musician as well. I guess I was hoping for something less stereotypical and less love triangle. The YouTube culture could have been illuminating too but instead it was just a farce about the worst of social media. I know it is supposed to show the difference between old media and new media again but in this case, new media was especially pungent and repulsive. Time to try a little subtlety and maybe make these characters a little less defined by their generation. It's the third season so the same tired theme is getting a little old and a lot stereotypical.

Grade: C

Best Reason to Watch - Taylor
Best Twist - one of the Stoopid Girls is actually very smart
Worst Puns - Diana's sexy talk with the plumber
Worst Product Placement - the YouTube conventions actually look less fun after watching this episode than they sounded before it
Most Destructive - Diana, who breaks the pipes in order to get the plumber back to her building
Most Annoying - the Stoopid Girls
Least Flexible Neighbor - Diana, who makes them stop construction even though she is already up and almost ready to go
Least Grumpy - Diana after banging the plumber
Biggest Douche - Bryce, who is getting less interesting and more irritating
The "I'm with You" Award - I agree with Liza. Period sex is messy and less fun.
The "Over Your Dead Body" Award - There is zero way that Bryce is going to fire Diana. Zero. She'll have his corpse buried in a fashionable spot in the woods and never seen again before that happens.

Best Quotes -
1. Taylor: "My manager says that dense historical fiction isn't trending so for now I'm stuck acting like a drunk child while I pay off the rest of my student debt."
2. Josh: "Did they all go to the same plastic surgeon? Because they all look exactly the same." Liza: "Inbreeding. The 1% likes to keep the bloodlines closed."
3. Liza (about the Stoopid Girls): "They're gonna save the publishing industry?"
4. Maggie: "Now come on. It's our heavy flow day. I want to get home before I get mauled by a bear."
5. Josh: "Babe, am I underdressed? People are wearing capes." Liza: "That's cause she's a vampire."

Dropped Shows

I didn't get a chance to watch everything I wanted to this week and that means more things need to be dropped. Luckily both Speechless and Frequency annoyed me so much that they will open up some much needed space on my weekly viewing list.

As for Speechless, I cannot take Maya for another second. I like Minnie Driver but this character drives me insane. She is so focused on one child that she is completely out of touch with everyone else's needs. She is way too demanding at school and as a teacher, I resent the way she speaks to the people there. She's willing to make everyone else's life miserable for her son, but she's not willing to pitch in and help make the needed changes. Instead of railing at everyone, maybe she could have come up with the alternative party and not be a complete witch. Also, she is mentally damaging her other kids. The fact that they feel guilty about having fun when their brother isn't there is not only unfair to them but likely to make them harbor long-lasting resentment of their brother. That's not funny. That's emotional abuse. I have no desire to ever see another episode of this show again.

Frequency is the biggest disappointment of the week. What ended up being my favorite pilot of the fall season turned quickly into an emoangsty mess with the biggest douche character of the week. Raimy is equally as obnoxious as Maya and by far the biggest hypocrite. I know I should feel sympathy for her and on paper, I do. However she spends 2 whole episodes railing at people who do not deserve it. Even more frustrating is how she treats her dad. She's constantly yelling at him about things and then not doing them herself. The final straw was when she blamed her dad for not stopping her when she almost killed a man. He wasn't even in the same decade. Are you kidding me? I know she's under pressure and I know things are spinning out of control for her, but she needs to stop whining and bratting out. She's too old for that. At this point, I want her to give the ham radio over to Rayna and let him work with her father. He'd do a much better job of it. As it is, I have not given up hope on this show. I think it could right itself and become fantastic. I just don't have that kind of time right now. It's dropped to marathon later status.

Speechless Grade: D for dropped completely
Frequency Grade: D, but on hold to marathon later

Soon to be Dropped - American Housewife, The Blacklist, No Tomorrow, and Scorpion
Priority Shows Next Week - pilots, This is Us, Designated Survivor, Timeless, Scorpion, Eyewitness

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" 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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