Fringe The Bishop Revival
Nazis, a string of apparently random deaths, and a race against a mad scientist bent out on creating the master race via killing everyone else make up "The Bishop Revival," another episodic story in the Fringe universe. While it didn't do much to expand on the alternative universe storyline, this episode was a thrilling display of mystery and suspense.
The mad Nazi scientist Alfred Hoffman is using research created by none other than Walter's father while he was an American spy in the 1940s. Hoffman's ultimate goal is to wipe out everyone at the World Tolerance Conference, and being a true scientist, he has to test his weapon in specific environments, namely all the decedents at a wedding and everyone with brown eyes at a coffee shop. This trail of death leads the team to the revelation that Walter's father Robert created the compound, and it's up to Olivia and Peter to find the lost books with the formula.
"The Bishop Revival," while fairly predictable in retrospect, is able to maintain a high level of intensity. Penned by Glen Whitman and Chiappetta, this episode is another in the line of truly fringe science episodes that they are known for. ("Ability" where people's faces seal up and "Of Human Action" where a boy can telepathically control anyone). This episode also has a lot of the stylings of Adam Davidson (Lie to Me, Shark) who makes his Fringe directorial debut.
Overall, this was a great return to the weird science and suspense than I enjoy about Fringe. Next week, we have the mid season Finale with a return to the alternative universe story.
- Whitman and Chiappetta really like that whole suffocating thing. You have to give major props to the makeup team for the victims as well, though you couldn't make out the veins on the barista in the coffee shop.
- Olivia: "Did you lose a bet?" Peter: "Either that or flying lessons."
- Walter spends a lot of time reminiscing about his wife and family in this episode, and even alludes to the fact he thinks Olivia and Peter would make a great match.
- The groom survived for a few hours via his asthma inhaler. What was he doing in the closet till then? Did he pass out and then wake up from the lack of oxygen as the inhaler wore off?
- Walter calls Astrid "Ostrich" this week.
- Blue blood, which was lacking in oxygen, was a nice touch. Nice job again Fringe effects team.
- Nazis had projects in molecular bombs, flying saucers, and the fountain of youth.
- Walter puts a clapper device in the lab.
- The whole book thing was an interesting red herring. Though pointless, it allows us to see some of the crazy artist's work with kittens and swastikas. It's pretty fitting in a Fringe universe.
- There was a clever allusion to the fact the Nazi's were attempting to build a fountain of youth, which they obviously succeeded in some form with Hoffman. Are there other Nazi scientists running around?
And so it ends. Thankfully this time Joss Whedon has the opportunity to actual finish the storyline of one of his original stories.
"Epitaph Two" ends what has been a fairy tale story of modern broadcast television in itself. It was merely a year ago that we were all commented on the fact that it was a minor miracle that Dollhouse was renewed for a second season. For the entirety of the second season, the writers took this idea to heart and made sure to move away from the episodic collection of random stories to evolve the show into a (half) season long cohesive saga that kept the viewer engaged the entire time.
"Epitaph Two" is no doubt a mass frantic race to the end of the story. Picking up right where we left off in "Epitaph One" (which was only available on DVD), we find Zone, Mag, and little Caroline trying to find their way to the Tuscon safe house, hopefully to find Echo again. Unfortunately, they have entered Neuropolis, the central mecca of insane corporate control that remained after the fall of humanity and the Rossum Corporation, and are quickly captured. While there, we find that Echo and Ballard let themselves be captured as a plot to extract Topher. Harding and Ambrose are even still around and have been jumping bodies for the last 10 years.
After a simple escape, we find that DeWitt has created a number of new houses, safe houses for actuals who have survived the carnage. From there, Topher talks about a plan to revert all the damage done years ago and restore everyone to their former state, but in order to do so, they must return to their former home, the LA Dollhouse.
NOTE: If you have NOT SEEN the movie SERENITY SKIP THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH Of course being a series finale, Whedon does not disappoint and of course will kill off yet another major character; it's one of his defining writing traits. The way Ballard dies, though, is actually very reminiscent of Wash's death in his other cancelled too soon drama Serenity. Paul, like Wash, dies suddenly and unexpectedly as he stops to help Mag who has been shot in the leg. There is no lead up, and there is no foreshadowing. Once again, Whedon kills off a character tragically with absolutely no time to remorse. Even the dialog afterward ("That's all of us seal the door behind us." "What about..." "That's ALL of us.") is the same dialog used in Serenity. War is inherently chaos, and Joss understands that in battle, you don't have time for extended death sequences. Death is sudden.
In the end, while completely frantic in pace, "Epitaph Two" provides the closure for a storyline that never had the chance to truly grow out of it's infancy. Topher sacrifices himself to prevent more harm to the world, and everyone wakes up from their nightmare, only to find an even bigger nightmare to rebuild. For a show that has spent the last 13 episodes showing the bleakness of everything, it ends on a hopeful note that maybe they can rebuild the world.
It's been a good run of a series, though I wonder how much better it could have gotten with another season. Originally slated for five seasons, I'm sure we would have gotten much more backstory as to how the fall of humanity actually happened. Ironically, though, I think it's the fact that the show was canceled which allowed it to finish it's run on a very strong note. The first season, granted, was almost just a collection of random engagements with no true storyline arc advancement. On the other hand, season 2 has had the opportunity to move the storyline at a breakneck speed, concentrating not on the engagements, but the evolution of Echo and her mission to take down the Rossum Corporation. This last season has been filled with action, drama, and intrigue, something that couldn't exactly be said about the first.
I'm glad that Whedon had the opportunity to complete a story line he created on his own terms. Somehow, I wonder if Fox felt some guilt over their treatment of Firefly, and the venomous hatred they received from the fans, not completely because of the cancelation, but the cancelation without any answers. Serial shows such as these live on engaging the audience over multiple episodes.
They are novels for the television age, and like a novel, you cannot simply cut out individual chapters and hope they will serve on their own. Great novels, and likewise great serialized shows, take time to develop a story, characters, and interest. ABC took that risk with Lost, and while some might argue it has gone on a bit too long without direction, no one can argue that ABC is committed to not leaving the story unfinished.
While Fox might still have some ire from fans of the Sarah Connor Chronicles and it's unfinished story, they surely have built some good will back by allowing Whedon to finish his latest television saga.
- The episode begins with a quick flashback to "Epitaph One" scenes, many of which I'm sure will confuse the hell out of any viewer who has never seen it. The episode itself even assumes you have seen it, as it makes no efforts to explain what has been happening.
- How does Mini-Caroline remember and know about the safe house? Did they make a print of her mind a long time after the apocalypse?
- In ten years, both Echo and DeWitt, and even Topher show obvious signs of aging, while Ballard, Pryia, and Victor do not?
- "World still needs heroes kid." "Wow, did you really just say that?"
- Even Alpha has lost the will to fight, and would rather live in peace with a bunch of empty state dolls in the LA office. There must have been some serious battles and bonding between him and Ballard as you could see the sadness in his face when he learns of his death.
- "Because we're not freakshows...well ok maybe I am..and Echo...and Tophers a little off" - Alpha
- When was Ballard's imprint taken? Was it after the fall or was it the imprint from when Alpha destroyed his mind? It seemed like it was a later one.
- What happens in a year? What will they find? What happened to Rossum? Were there any Rossum survivors? Can't they rebuild the wiping technology again? What will Alpha become?
- While the series ends on a final note, there is still the obvious opportunity for new stories in the form of mini series and movies. What happens in a year, for example? Echo and her team will still have to go around the world to hunt down and destroy the last of the Rossum technology.
When last we left Richard, we saw him escaping from the Prelate and her Sisters of the Light who wanted to keep him there and prevent him from giving the Stone of Tears to the Keeper. Meanwhile, Kahlan, Leo (Matthew Le Nevez), and the gang are following the compass, which is leading them back to the Sisters of the Light.
This week, we find Richard is mysteriously back at the temple again, confused as to if what was happening was real. Of course, the events of last week were in fact real, and Richard is just having an intense hallucination as the result of his wandering into an old trap made by the old wizards to protect the temple. It's a common TV plot device, where our hero, captured by the enemy, is forced to live out some type of false reality in order to keep him out of action or get information out of him. Here, the wizards force the victims to live out there worst fears until they eventually die themselves.
It seems though that Richard has multiple different fears in his life. First and foremost is the obvious thought that the Keeper is able to destroy the land of the living, killing everyone and everything, but that is not the only fear Richard has. His other big fear is that during his time away from Kahlan, she will fall in love with someone else. For a long time, Richard has abided by the thought that he and Kahlan cannot be together. His greatest fear though, is that Kahlan will find a way to get around her confessor powers (in this case, having them stolen), and then she will still end up with someone else anyways (in his mind, Phillip the new seeker).
His final fear though is his actions (letting Cara inside) directly provide the final victory for the Keeper, whose army wipes out the last of the living. Of course, we the viewers get a small tease of Kahlan and Cara fighting to the death as a distraught Richard looks over Kahlan's dying moments reaching out to her husband.
Back in reality, Sister Nicci (Jolene Blalock of Star Trek Enterprise), still holds all of Richard's magic, and manages to escape with the aid of the Keeper. This of course leads to a final battle between our heros and her Sisters of the Dark (probably the most uncreative name ever), which results in the mutual death of Nicci and Leo the Seeker.
I guess I should have seen Leo's death coming. With the return of Richard, there is no reason to have two seekers, and there was plenty of play between Cara and Leo, an obvious lead in to a tragic ending for someone. I guess I'll miss Leo though, as he was a lot less whiny than Richard was and much more charming, as evidenced by his ability to get a smile out of Cara.
Overall, while being a pretty good episode, I'm glad we are out of this current side story with Richard's wizard training, which got absolutely nowhere it seems. I look forward to the continuation of the regular storyline where our adventurers look for the Stone of Tears and stops the Keeper.
- Time passes slower in the old world than it does in the regular world. How much time has passed while they've been inside, and how much more power has the Keeper gained since?
- The Prelate is a pretty obnoxious jerk it seems, blinded by her own faith towards prophecy, that can even change on it's own!
- In lieu of the standard Richard shirtless scene, we get a Leo shirtless scene.
- While Leo and Cara are together, how does Kahlan and Zed not notice? Weren't they just on the other side of the cave?
- You can break though the trap by sheer will of mind and not accepting it as reality? Would Richard have been so fortunate if he wasn't the last person alive, with no one to kill him?
- Cara's ability to reflect magic includes the Sisters of the Dark's (and probably Light's) magic.
- Why didn't Cara reflect the fire ball as well? Why did Leo have to take it?
- With Nicci seemingly destroyed, what happened to all of Richard's magic? Is it destroyed as well?
Tonight's Better of Ted, "Mess of a Salesman," was less about the insane Veridian policies, and more about the insane people who work at Veridian. Ted's brother Billy is in town looking for a job, and he ends up as the new sales rep for lab supplies. On the other side, we have Veronica winning an award and recruiting Linda to help her raise money for a "Women in Leadership Mentors" charity.
The Ted/Billy storyline is good for a laugh, but overall it's not too interesting. Billy is an out of work salesman put in a position to sell Lem and Phil anything they can possibly imagine, and of course Lem and Phil get a bit carried away buying things like a monthly supply of cadavers, and robot family, and a wind tunnel. The real shining part of the episode was the team of Veronica and Linda as they went around the office getting money for charity.
Veronica and Linda work well together, with Veronica being the bad cop extorting thousands of dollars in guilt contributions, and Linda "talking" her down to a few hundred. The exchanges between Veronica and Linda are fast and classic. But once things start to go south (95% of the money goes to the company), we find that even Linda has a crazy dangerous streak as he head butts the foundation president, Mr. Page. (Through the edging on by Veronica of course.)
"Mess of a Salesman" deals a lot with the bonds we have between our siblings and the mentoring we do for each other. Sometimes the older takes care of the younger, and sometimes it's the younger that has to take care of the older. We often find ourselves either mentoring someone or being the men-tee, but in the end we all learn and grow when we are working together.
There is plenty of great dialog in this episode again, and the plot itself moves very fast. There isn't a lot of single quotable lines as much of the dialog sets up funny gags later in the episode. As usual, all the ramifications of the issues raised in the episode seem to resolve themselves one way or the other (the family of robots and wind tunnel are used to determine if robots are affected by wind), but "Mess of a Salesman" is a great example of the ensemble dynamic that this show does so well. Even with what could be it's weakest episode in terms of pure humor, Better of Ted is still magnitudes funnier than anything else on the air right now, and I'm sad to see it go now.
I love this show "100 and crazy percent". Farewell Better off Ted!
- Ted buys 3000 beakers from the lab supplier to get Billy a job. For the rest of the episode, we see him trying to justify the purchase by replacing items around the office with them, including the coffee mugs.
- Ted's great grandfather was a cow wrestler, who wrestled unruly cattle...for beer money.
- Theador-able vs Billy-has-a-little-willy
- "We can't leave work in the middle of the day. We're not somali pirates"
- Linda: "Well, I don't have a debilitating personality disorder that keeps me from caring about anything." Veronica: "First of all, it's not debilitating. It's liberating."
- "I don't wanna reject your body, you got enough of that from every girl in high school." - Ted to Billy
- Mr. Page is the classic sleazeball Rick Hoffman, while Billy is played by Warehouse 13 star Eddie McClintock.
- Veridian Dynamics Foundation: Helping the world by telling people we're helping the world.
- Veronica thinks a fawn is a woodland creature with scales and machine guns.
Scrubs finally starts to make some headway into establishing the lives of the interns as the primary focus of the show, though it still spends a lot of time dealing with Turk growing as the chief of surgery. Dr. Russell (Reno Wilson) makes a visit, and threatens the status quo as the most popular person at the hospital.
In the main story, we have Drew abandoning Lucy and the group during hell week, leaving them to their own dysfunctional personalities as they prepare their coursework for the upcoming report. On the second story, we have Turk continuously trying to assert himself as the leader of the hospital, despite Dr. Russell easily taking all the attention away from him.
It's a pretty loose episode overall, and there weren't very many laughs I thought. Kelso is still hanging around, and there is still no definition as to who is the focus character with it switching between Lucy and Turk all of the time. The final takeaway this episode, I guess, is that leadership is knowing when to step up and take charge, and when to step aside in follow. The whole season so far continues to feel like an afterthought unfortunately, and I'm not sure how long it can hold out.
- Mahoney talks about her throat seizing up from her hell week, and she ends up with a rough voice the rest of the episode. I'm not sure if that was acting or if she actually did have a sore throat.
- "You are a nasty old man." - Mahoney "Thanks, dear." - Kelso
- Mahoney watches "The Bachelor"! And cries!
- There is a terrifying amount of horse paraphernalia in Lucy's room.
- Supermodel intern didn't have any lines at all, which is a disappointing to me personally.
In this week's Human Target, Chance has to sneak into the Russian Embassy to hunt down the spy who killed his friend and is trying to sell secret weapons to the highest bidder. Along the way, he runs into an gorgeous FBI agent while trying to avoid Russian security and find the antidote his poisoning. And with that, you have the entire plot of the episode.
With three episodes of Human Target now aired, I have to seriously wonder about the viability of this show. On the one hand, it's an extremely fun show with plenty of action. On the other hand, I keep getting the feeling that I've quite literally seen it all before. During the episode, we have one sequence between Agent Emma Barnes and Chance where they fight it out in an office. I'm immediately reminded of the movie "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," right down to the similar red dress and tango music. It's not to say that it doesn't work in the context of the episode, but I wonder if there is a lack of creativity overall. In another sequence, we have Emma and Chance handcuffed together, making their escape on a motorcycle a la "Tomorrow Never Dies."
I haven't figured out if the show is a nod to action movies, or just plain ripping them off. In either case though, until the show itself falls off a cliff in ridiculousness, I think it'll remain enjoyable.
- "If I were a prostitute, I'd be a damn expensive one." - Emma
- "You're not what I thought you were...not a neanderthal" - Emma
- How in the world does Agent Emma's dress and hair stay that clean through the get away and the fighting? Oh silly Hollywood.
Chuck Chuck Vs. First Class
In tonight's episode of Chuck, Agent Bartowski gets his chance to prove himself on his very first solo mission. For the last three seasons, we've seen Chuck grow and grow as a spy, despite the fact he never had any real training. Until now, though, Chuck has always been playing support and backup to Casey and Sarah, but Shaw feels like it's time for Chuck to go out on his own.
Flying to Paris, (in first class!) we get a chance to meet our newest guest star, Hannah (Kristin Kreuk). The chemistry between Chuck and Hanna is immediate and very..sweet. If there was any question as to why Chuck was able to sweetheart someone like like Sarah, they should just watch how awkwardly smooth he is here. I guess though, it helps that Hanna is obviously interested in Chuck as well. As we already know Hannah will be working at the BuyMore next week, I'm sure this is going to lead to some interesting conflict between Chuck and Sarah.
Meanwhile, back at the BuyMore, Morgan's promotion is starting to catch up with him. Jeff and Lester have teamed up, and coerced the rest of the store to take up arms against him. The writers give us a little bit more in the antics of the BuyMore employees. Lester has moved himself into a kingpin like position, . It's a refreshing aside from the sometimes overly serious tone of Chuck's missions. I hope that with Casey's torture and brainwashing of Lester we haven't seen the end of the insurgency of the BuyMore.
In a move that proves that Chuck actually can hold his cover, he convincingly drops his successful executive cover with Hannah and reveals that he actually works at the BuyMore as a NerdHerder. The trick is he reveals he is doing an onsite install in Paris for a client, a story that is simple and totally believable. Chuck seems to be at his best when he stays close to his source material, and not when he tries to be the super spy he wants to be.
In the end, this was a final exam for Chuck. Shaw, whomever he is, understands the value of Chuck and his skills. He also realizes that Chuck needs to be pushed to his limits so he can control his skills. It opens the door for Chuck to have an even more direct role in future missions.
- Chuck's drink: Martini, shaken not stirred.
- "Just a little human to human..noid..interaction." - Chuck to Jeff as he drugs his drink.
- "Insurgents...I hate insurgents." - Casey with a grin
- "Personally, I have quite often wondered if the BuyMore is really an insane asylum." - Chuck
- Shaw is an interestingly mysterious guy. He doesn't' exist...anywhere, and he's only lost one spy ever, his wife Eve.
- Hannah is played by Kristin Kreuk.
- Hugo is played by Stone Cold Steve Austin.
- I fly a lot, and I usually try to fly alone for the sole purpose of that chance meeting with someone amazing. What I wouldn't do for a chance meeting with Kristin Kreuk...
- Flash skills: Fencing, Nunchuckery
- Music selection for the week: End song - "L'amoureuse" by Carla Bruni. Shazam hasn't been able to identify the other songs this episode, so if anyone knows I'd be appreciative.
And after a few months off, we are back with Westen and friends! "A Dark Road" picks up a few weeks after we left off with a lot of reminder about the previous half of the season, and the result of working with Tom Strickler. Someone is currently hunting down all of Strickler's old contacts to clean up any loose ends he might have had. Fiona doesn't have much play in the episode as she continues to recover from getting shot during her rescue, while Sam doesn't have much to do just because he doesn't do much anyways.
The main plot is to help a window who was the victim of an insurance scam where her husband died. The insurance scammers are now forcing her to file for wrongful death and collect a large award from the city. It was a pretty generic and weak plot overall, but the who purpose of the episode was to reunite Tyne Daly with Sharon Gless (Madeline) for a Cagney & Lacey reunion. The chemistry is immediate and works well.
If it weren't for the desire to put Daly in the episode, I can't help to wonder if it was not easier to just break into the insurance office and get the records in the first place, negating the need for Maddy to befriend and then betray Tina the clerk. It would have been a lot faster and easier I think.
For takeaways, we do get a small clue as to our new bad guy for this part of the series, Mason Gilroy, a ruthless and cunning assassin. In the end, this episode gives the viewer plenty of high energy car scenes, a few explosions, and a lot of run of the mill social engineering to provide a pretty low key start to the second half of the season.
- Firebombing a hotel room is a good way to get someone's attention.
- "The day that the cell phone call log was invented should be celebrated as a national holiday for spies."
- Michael's identity for the week, "Alex" the sleazy wheelman.
Fringe What Lies Below
Another episodic story in the Fringe series, "What Lies Below" takes a slight twist on a zombie virus infection. Our poor victim is infected by some ancient virus contained in a core sample from an oil well site. This is not just any virus though, but one that actively attempts to spread itself by any means, including taking over the host's rational mind. It's not quite 28 Days Later, but there are plenty of nods to zombie infection disasters (such as hyperactive people trying to escape and infect as many as they can).
This episode shows a lot of it's heritage in it's similarity to X-Files with it's thrilling nature. Unfortunately, it was also very predictable as well. Some virus breaks out, the team is trapped, and it's up to the outside team to find the cure and save the day. Combine that with a last minute cure right before everyone is wiped out via a military strike, and you have the plot line of just about every virus story out there.
In the end, this is just another creepy and heavily science based episode of Fringe that doesn't expand upon the other universe war storyline. It doesn't quite have the strong character performance of last week, but there are plenty of thrills for the viewer.
"If you haven't looked for the monster, you woulnd't have found it, and you'd still be happy in your bed, instead of being slowly digested in the stomach sack of the creature." - Walter
"And I was the chairman of microbiology at harvard, and I have little patience for small minded bureaucrats!" - Walter
Walter let's it slip to Astrid that he was afraid to have Peter die...again! Sooner or later she's going to put two and two together.
Lust in Translation brings us back to the silly story lines that don't have too much basis in reality, but provide ample chances of comedic events.
Ted is in charge of a corporate partnership between a German company to distribute translation devices. Of course the CEO of the German company is Greta Schultz, a blonde bombshell that Ted instantly looses all sanity over. On the other side, we have Linda actually getting the upper hand on the ever controlling Veronica in a game of Linda-Bagel, completely derailing Veronica as she seeks out her revenge and rematch. Gluing both of these plots together, we have Phil and Lem who have recently become aware that they are indeed evil mad scientists, who then attempt to find ways to redeem themselves.
Overall, there isn't much to the plot of this episode, as it's fairly simplistic with a typical man falls for woman from work, then screws up the relationship risking the business side as well. Of course Ted redeems himself at the end, though a bit too conveniently (and hilariously).
With that said though, it's still a pretty strong ensemble cast episode with plenty of laughs. I judge this show by how many lines I end up quoting as I take notes, and this is another "write the whole script down" episode.
- Stefanie von Pfetten (Greta) is a serial guest star. I guess she just has that look that
I lovepeople want.
- Germans think that Veridian is ruthlessly efficient and bent on world domination.
- Irish auditors think Veridian accounting drinks too much and writes overly depressing poetry.
- Lem: "Maybe we're evil scientists" Phil: "(Manic Evil Laughter) Sorry, I laugh like that when faced with an unpleasant truth. That's why I got thrown out of that Al Gore movie."
- "This isn't a library, you can't just leave your trash wherever you want." - Linda
- "We believe the Multi-Language Translator will create a furor in Germany, a furor that will sweet across Europe, crushing....no...." - Veronica
- "I'm good at everything I do. I'm not bragging, because bragging is the one thing I'm not good at. Although if I wanted to be I'd be excellent at that too. As I've just proved." - Veronica
- "Who wouldn't want to sound like a 90 food robot?" - Lem. Who indeed...
- Oh God, we have unhappy Germans. Nothing good has ever come from that." - Veronica
- "Put on your leather shorts, dark shoes, socks up to the knees and stomp around our fine city." - Veronica
- "This deal too important, and Sex can screw things up. Why do you think the Three Stooges whent though so many Curly's." - Veronica
- "Glasses and moustache are the same person" - Ted of Phil and Lem
- "Oh Queen Linda, the dainty footed." - Veronica of Linda
- "Flem and little bird man" - Greta of Phil and Lem
- "I like this voice. It's warm and friendly, and almost gender neutral." - Greta of Phil's voice
- The other talking machine project, a talking frying talking pan that screams when you put it on the burner, and criticizes your butter usage.
- Movies spoiled by Lem, Sixth Sense, Rocky 4, Godfather
- Art history degree = Time Waster's Hall of Fame (sorry Art history friends, but you know that's funny)
- "Using them would be like beating a unicorn to death with a bag of rainbows." - Lem
- Veronica is usually better at lying though her teeth on the spot, losing must have her frazzled.
- Veronica's taunt nicknames of Linda: Meat, Chicken bone
- I've never been so sure about being unsure about anything in my life" - Lem
Things that kill you in the lab:
- People skinning laser
- Man eating ficus
- Weight loss thing that kills people