Looks honest enough to me
“The Trial of Jack McCall” doesn’t quite pop the way Deadwood‘s first four episodes did. Such dips are unfortunately common in “fallout episodes,” as creators seem to struggle with giving big events the appropriate recognition while still propelling the story forward. What shows have to say after their big moments is seldom equal to the way the audience feels about them, and there may be some tacit acknowledgement of that in the way this story unfolds. Hickok’s death rocks the community, but its an empty sort of rocking; everyone recognises that an event has taken place and clamour to be a part of it while those who actually grieve for Bill try to distance themselves from the spectacle.
Wouldn’t it have been nice had the episode focused on this?
Well, that was a misstep. “Misstep” might be an understatement, “derailment” could actually be closer to the truth. That’s pretty harsh for an episode that has more than a few good moments, but the shallow characterisation and straightforward plotting that have plagued this series since the beginning aren’t just unfortunate voids here, they actually undermine what’s presented on screen. “The Girl in the Flower Dress” endeavours to be more that just popcorn and, in so doing, runs headfirst into the series’ limitations. I can respect the episode for aiming higher, it’s something I’ve wanted from SHIELD for weeks, but it aims for an emotional payoff without laying the requisite groundwork and the result is the series’ worst episode to date. Continue reading
I’ve complained before that the charity was too remote from the “real” story of House of Cards and while this episode technically answers my complaint, it doesn’t really improve matters. This intersection of Claire and Frank’s worlds is a zero sum game, making hers seem more important and his less so. This story could have worked, as Claire would seem to be a front that Frank’s actually vulnerable on, but the resolution is disappointingly toothless as the Underwoods are able to succeed through “old fashioned gumption” rather than any dirty dealings. All-in-all, this episode feels more like an unnecessary aside at a time when the show should be kicking into high gear. Continue reading
The cement's still wet, just lean forward!
What’s this? A character driven episode of Angel? A good character driven episode of Angel? “Rm w/a Vu” certainly isn’t the best of Whedon, but it’s the first quality episode of Angel to rest squarely on the shoulders of the core characters. I’ve complained before that the AI team needed some attention and, looking at this episode, I think I understand why they’ve felt short changed. Angel’s format, helping a different helpless stranger each week, lends itself to a lot of intriguing diversity. It also means that the characters we’re supposed to care about are forever helping other people with their problems while giving us little insight into their own. We care more about Cordy than we possibly could about any random guest start and the fact that she’s the one with the problem this week means that the stakes are (finally) real. Continue reading
I've got some bad news
Well, it took five episodes but Mad Men finally stumbled. Not that this was a bad episode by any stretch, it just lacked the technical excellence that’s characterized the series up to this point. This show has done a remarkable job balancing disparate tones thus far, but making Don this disturbed by his past while still being cryptic about it doesn’t really work. We’re too busy wondering why he’s upset to really care about his pain and his farewell to Adam just didn’t have the emotional weight it should have. That said, a weak episode of Mad Men is still better than 90% of what else in on television, so I’m not too disappointed. Continue reading
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love Tyrion Lannister? While bitch-slapping Joffery still ranks as his finest moment, bludgeoning a bandit to death with a shield is a very close second. The scene is both grisly and awesome and it fits in nicely as this episode ups the action quotient of the entire series. It’s truly impressive that, in an episode that features more blood than any of the previous ones, a dwarf still ranks among the most badass characters. It’s even more impressive that letting him hold his own in a fight doesn’t undermine the the sympathy we’ve built up. Continue reading
Just as the case (finally) starts to heat up we get a much needed expansion of Avon’s character. Until now he’s been all business, a shadowy kingpin who only appeared on screen to issue orders and who’s crew has consistently outpaced the police. “The Pager” gives us a crime boss who is not merely clever and cautious, but extremely paranoid. Continue reading
, when at its best, set the gold standard in television time jumps. I say this because now seems like a good opportunity to reflect on the shortcomings of Damages
’ time shifts. Continue reading
“Love, American Style” opens with one of the most loaded lines of the series. What truth it holds isn’t what Dexter would have us believe. His desire for isolation is asserted throughout the episode; he’s unable to connect with other people and wishes he could stop faking and yet Continue reading