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All posts for the month March, 2015

Photo Courtesy Of ABC/David Giesbrecht

Photo Courtesy Of ABC/David Giesbrecht

Warning: Spoiler Alert

They say memories make us who we are, that the past defines us. But, we can’t forget to grow, evolve. Because sometimes a memory’s so powerful, that we get stuck in it, frozen in a moment.”

Henry Morgan’s opening monologues, are always a high point in an episode the ABC series, “Forever,” but the one he gave near the beginning of the latest episode entitled “Punk Is Dead,” basically summed up the plot for the evening. Dr. Morgan’s latest case, involved the lost love of a rock-guitarist, convicted of murdering her 30-years earlier and brought back vividly, Henry’s memories when Abigail left in the mid-eighties. That incident almost destroyed Henry, mentally and spiritually, before recovering with help from his son, Abe.

Our first scene takes place in Henry and Abe’s kitchen, as Henry blows on a hot seafood dish, Abe just prepared, when he asks if he added the saffron. Abe replies, of course it’s mom’s recipe, Morgan takes a bite and he’s in heaven. Abe says that dinner’s a nice change of pace, no bodies or calls from Jo Martinez, summoning Henry for another case.

Henry responds that Jo’s on a date with her new beau and Abe starts interrogating his father, about the man she’s seeing. Morgan tells him that his name’s Isaac Monroe, he’s a hotelier, driven and rich, his son replies wealth doesn’t impress him, but at least Martinez’s dating again.

Monroe takes Jo to the Forever universe’s legendary New York City Punk Club, the Trash Bar, for their celebratory final concert. Isaac bought the club and he’s tearing it down to put his next hotel in that spot. Martinez says he can’t do that, the place’s a landmark, filled with music and as she looks around the crowd, she says and drugs and starts reaching for her shield. Isaac stops her, asking her to take the night off from being a cop.

Carrying on a tradition that began with The Who, then got turned into an institution via the Sex Pistols, the band onstage starts destroying their instruments, the guitarist taking his instrument and smacks it against the backdrop wall, putting a hole through it and exposing the corpse of a woman buried within the walls.

Henry and Lucas arrive at their lab and meet Jo as the corpse is on an examining table, Martinez still wearing the outfit she wore for the date and Henry tells her she looks nice. He tells her the body got mummified by being wrapped in insulation, and they’re going to hydrate it with a bath, using a formula started in Egypt in the last century. If things go well, they might get a facial recognition of the woman.

The phone in the lab rings, Lucas picks up and the man on the other end asks to speak to the detective handling the Jane Doe case. Martinez gets on the line and the man asks if the victim’s Lucy, she then puts him on speaker-phone. She says they’ve yet to identify the body, but he’s welcome to come down to try to identify her, he says that would prove difficult as he’s in prison. She asks who it is and the man says he’s the guy convicted of killing her.

The man on the phone, Eddie Warsaw, was the lead-singer and guitarist for an eighties band called the Buzz-Cracks and boyfriend of Lucy Templeton,  who indeed was the woman discovered in the wall. Lieutenant Joanna Reece was a beat-cop on the case and the District Attorney’s office wanted a quick conviction, considering Eddie and Lucy worthless junkies. Reece thought they didn’t do a thorough investigation, but was too low in rank to speak up. She tells Jo to take Henry to visit Warsaw.

The former Rock-Star confirms the pictures they bring of the body are Lucy, then asks if that means the case will get reopened and Jo replies, the evidence still says he killed her. Eddie says he’s built up all sorts of theories over the years and has an extensive collection of notes, would they like to examine it? Henry quickly says yes, but Jo replies no. Warsaw looks her in the eyes, saying he didn’t kill Lucy, she was his heart, then he asks the pair if they have any idea the pain of losing the love of your life, without having a clue where she’s gone to?

Dr. Morgan knows that experience all too well, as we witness ourselves as we take our first flashback of the evening to 1985, as Henry’s in his house, shouting out of fear and frustration to two policemen standing in his living room. He tells them they don’t understand, his wife’s missing and they ask for a recent picture of Abigail, that he gives right to them. The first officer looks at the picture then at Henry a couple of times, before he asks how old she is and Morgan says 64. He then says he received a letter from her a week after she left, saying she needed to do some thinking, but she’d return, however it’s been three-months.

One of the officers reads the message and tells Henry it’s a Dear John letter, but Henry says that’s insane. They tell him it looks like she wants to stay hidden and there’s nothing they can do to help. They wish him luck and leave and we can see by Morgan’s facial expression, he’s running out of options.

The District Attorney claimed that Eddie killed Lucy with his guitar, but Henry says the wound on the back of her head weren’t  caused by a guitar. Jo walks into the morgue as Henry comes to his conclusion and he informs the detective, she tells Morgan that Eddie’s upstairs, ready to sign a confession he killed Lucy, in exchange for his immediate release. Henry convinces Warsaw to reject the deal, the D.A. says they’ll pull the deal off the table in 48-hours.

Henry tells Abe about the case and his son says that make sure this case’s about Eddie and Lucy, not Henry and Abigail. We flashback to 1985, to find Henry passed out on his living room floor, getting revived by a younger version of Abe, portrayed by David Krumholtz. The house is in complete disarray, with Morgan’s notes all over the living room. Henry says he must have passed out due to exhaustion, but they need to go to the bus station, as a clerk thinks he may have seen Abigail. Abe says it’s too late and puts Henry to sleep on the sofa with a pillow and blanket, then says I’m here now Dad. Morgan’s soon asleep and Abe looks around the room repeating, I’m here now.

Detective Mike Hanson was in a band in his early years, called Craniac, (pretty cool, huh?) and he brings in a coffee table book of photos from the Trash Bar, to show his buddies his ear in one of the pictures. Henry realizes, that the photographer Carl Massey, was likely familiar with both Lucy and Eddie and pay him a visit. A young man answers the door and it turns out the former gonzo-photographer, now specializes in child’s portraits to put food on the table.

Massey tells them he knew them both well and wasn’t shocked when Warsaw got convicted for Templeton’s murder, he said Eddie always had a temper. But then he says that the rest of the band hated her, they called her Yoko and said she stopped the band from reaching the top. Carl says, she likely was, because the only thing Eddie loved more than the band was Lucy.

The two go to talk to Eddie’s old band mate Rich Dornis and he notices that a wrist band that Rich’s daughter’s wearing, which belongs to him, have the same spike-placement as the marks on Lucy’s thigh. They ask to speak to him privately. Dornis says he did cause the wounds, as he found her dead body and buried her in the wall to protect Eddie, he says they were family and he had to help.

Henry goes to the penitentiary where Eddie’s imprisoned and says that everything Rich says checks out. Warsaw  starts getting agitated saying maybe Dornis killed her, then the prison guards take him  back to his cell, Warsaw’s notes and pictures, wind up all over the floor.

Morgan’s checking things over and over again, trying to prove Eddie’s innocence. Abe comes in and says this is how it started the last time Henry, I pulled you out once, I’m not sure I can do it again. We once again return to 1985, Henry wakes up after sleeping on the couch and sees all his notes and his corkboard are gone. He calls for Abe and his son tells him he threw the stuff out. He says it’s a year you have to get on with your life.

Henry’s nearly hysterical saying he can’t go on without her and he lacks death as an option. Abe replies that’s right, so you can sit and sulk for the next 175-years, or get over it. Henry asks how Abe can act so callous, Abigail was his mother, his son responds, that’s right and he lost her too. The phone rings and it’s the police, they may have found Abigail.

Apparently, Eddie lost all hope of getting cleared so he signed the deal, admitting he killed Templeton for his immediate release. Minutes later the toxicology report on Lucy comes back, she was clean for eight-months before she got killed. Henry realizes she must have had a reason to kick it and does a test to find out she had a baby. They look him up and his name’s Jeff Templeton and Jo and Henry go to pay the boy a visit.

Turns out Jeff Templeton’s the adopted son of Carl Massey and Martinez and Morgan quickly realize, Massey killed Lucy. They head to his shop, he tells them she was carrying Eddie’s baby, but she thought he’d freak out, so he took her upstate, got her sober and helped deliver her son. But after she gave birth to Jeff, she wanted to see Eddie again. He followed her and in a struggle to take her back upstate, she banged her head against the nail and died. Jo cuffs Massey and they take him outside.

Eddie’s waiting for them figuring out when Henry showed her the pictures Massey took of Lucy he loved her. He shoots out a window and when Jo reaches for her weapon he tells her to stay still. He’s about to shoot Massey, when Jeff shows up, the resemblance between Eddie and Jeff’s remarkable and Eddie drops the gun.

Massey’s getting arraigned on accidental homicide, but Eddie’s allowed to go free, Jo says he can go and he asks go where? Henry says he has a son and Warsaw says the boy doesn’t need him, Morgan counters with perhaps he needs the boy.

Back in 1985, Henry and Abe see the body and it’s not Abigail’s. When they walk away, Henry says he’s not sure what’s worse if that had been her, or her still missing, then asks Abe, what next? His son responds, with all the crap he’s collected over the years, Henry’s almost a hoarder, Morgan asks if Abe wants him to throw out his stuff? Abe says let’s sell it and open an antique store.

Mike finally gets to show off his vocal skills, as Isaac and Jo, Henry and Lucas watch him rock out in a karaoke bar, they applaud vigorously. Jo and Isaac kiss and Henry looks uncomfortable, but attempts to play it off.

Later that night, Henry’s sipping some whiskey, at home, looking at Jeff Templeton’s birth records when Abe walks in. Henry says something about the twin-doves in the logo reminds him of Abigail, but he’s going to leave it alone and go to sleep. Abe picks up the document and looks at it, we then see him in a storage facility, he opens the door to a room and all Henry’s stuff’s stored there, Abe didn’t throw it out. He looks at the poster board and sees a 20 cent stamp that has the same two doves together.

The Story Continues Next Tuesday Night at 10:00 pm on ABC. 

Better Call Saul 1-9

Photo Courtesy of AMC

 

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The one constant in the initial season of Better Call Saul has been the notion that Jimmy McGill – who shares his brother’s essential decency, deep-down, but has had to live down his grifter “Slippin’ Jimmy” youth – will do the right thing when it really counts, saving life, limb and long jail sentences in a pinch.  But at every turn, you can see the seeds of Saul taking root in the cynicism of the realization that, sometimes, it really is true that no good deed goes unpunished.

And while Jimmy threw back quite a lot when he refunded the dirty money from the Kettlemans – the fancy office and the seed money for significant expansion – he has much more at stake with his play against Sandpiper Crossing now that Chuck upped the ante in the case to a $20 million ask.  More than any other case in his career, this opportunity – obtained almost by chance, but developed through the tireless if shady means of investigation – represents the game-changer that he’s been seeking all along.  The loss of this shot would be enough to permanently embitter a great many people, not just somebody whose future we know will come from the ashes of burned-out dreams like Jimmy’s.

In Episode 1.9, Pimento, the most likely cause of Jimmy’s slide into the moral abyss comes into view for the first time, as the puzzle pieces from cold opens throughout the season begin to fit together.  In this cold open, Jimmy and Chuck are sitting outside in the aftermath of the last episode in wonderment about Chuck “surviving the electromagnetic radiation” of the atmosphere.  Their discussion leads to Jimmy’s successful denial of the restraining order that the nursing home tries to put on him; however, as Chuck points out later on while sifting through the opposing law firm’s document dump, the other side can decimate them in a war of attrition due to their lack of manpower.  Jimmy needs, Chuck declares, his own big guns: HHM.

It’s interesting that a lot of Internet speculation after Episode 1.8 surrounded HHM somehow managing to steal this huge case from Jimmy and that development becoming the cause of his deviation from the path of good.  As such, it was a refreshing twist from the writers for Jimmy to accede, fairly readily, to doing business with “the devil,” as he characteristically refers to Howard.  As Jimmy mentions the chance of getting an office next to his brother, Chuck gives a bit of an odd look.  FORESHADOWING!  Later, wielding a space blanket, he secretly uses Jimmy’s phone to make a mysterious call.

The next day, at Jimmy’s suggestion, Chuck somehow wedges the space blanket under his suit for the meeting at HHM.  Before the brothers McGill arrive, Howard arranges for all cellphones to be gathered and put away, along with the killing of all electricity.  When Jimmy and his big brother walk in the lobby, they are greeted by a company-wide standing ovation for an obviously-moved Chuck.  The meeting itself with Howard and his key associates proceeds very smoothly – one might almost think TOO smoothly – when Howard agrees to provide Jimmy with 20% of the final settlement and a $20,000 of counsel payment in lieu of a finders fee.  But when Jimmy asks about the location of his office, Howard clears the room for a private conversation, trying gently to tell Jimmy that the firm is not taking on new associates, regardless of circumstances.  He nods apologetically to Chuck about the decision being made by the partners in his absence, a detail that proves vital to the episode’s devastating, climactic scene.  From there, acrimony rages, as Jimmy angrily tells Howard that HHM will never get his case.  Later, when Kim tries to plead his case to Howard, she gets nowhere and Howard actually becomes quite condescending with her.  But as she leaves, he asks her to stay and close the door, for purposes left unanswered at the time.

Whatever she’s told – and by the end of the episode, it seems quite clear – her viewpoint has changed by the time she catches up with Jimmy back at the nail salon.  For the shot at good, guaranteed money and the chance to get out of his brother’s shadow, she urges him to take the deal.  Feeling betrayed by one of the only people close to him, Jimmy erupts at her, sending her away.  But her advice stirs some thoughts in his head and by the time he starts to wonder about why his cellphone had all the juice run down, he’s beginning to put the pieces together.  Interestingly, again, much Internet speculation had Kim – who doesn’t seem to have quite the depth of feelings for Jimmy that he does for her – being the source of his downfall, perhaps in the form of betraying him to get ahead at HHM.  That would have been more of a conventional story to tell.  But this way, with her being the catalyst for him figuring out the awful truth, was infinitely better.

He then makes a visit to Chuck that seems no different from any of the rest, but devolves into something else altogether quickly.  He surprises his brother by indicating that Kim convinced him to take the deal, before revealing that he did some research and learned that Chuck used his phone to call Howard the night before the meeting.  Connecting dots from the flashback in the previous episode, Jimmy deduces that Howard was quick to throw cold water on the notion of hiring him years before because Chuck himself didn’t want him around.  Confronted with the truth, Chuck shockingly connects dots to earlier flashbacks, proclaiming that he knows that his younger brother is and always will be “Slippin’ Jimmy.”  He sneers at Jimmy’s distance learning law degree and exclaims that Jimmy becoming an attorney is like “a chimp with a machine gun.”  Chuck is both resentful that Jimmy thinks that having a law degree makes them peers in any way and protective of what he sees as the sanctity of the law, so the reveal that he has been the force standing in the way of Jimmy’s potential opportunities at HHM all along is quite devastating.  Quietly, Jimmy informs Chuck of the supplies that he has brought to him and indicates that they will be the last.  As Jimmy is making the agonizing departure from the home of the brother that he has relentlessly protected and been betrayed by, Chuck calls after him in vain.  Clearly, he does not want a rupture with his brother and also, knowing that he’s not fully “recovered,” he knows that Jimmy’s been his crucial lifeline.  But, you can’t really expect that to continue once you’ve kicked your brother’s nards clear up into his esophagus, so other means of survival are going to have to be arranged – quickly.

Jimmy’s digestion of this season’s most bitter pill coincides with Mike’s first work in the Albuquerque underground, dealing with literal pills.  Having obtained a puppy from the vet for his granddaughter – no doubt as a cover for future visits to the vet for job assignments – Mike is recruited as bodyguard for a nerdy, first-time pill peddler with a code name of “Price.”  It’s supposed to be a three-man job, but one would-be tough guy instigates a fight with Mike that, naturally, ends poorly for him and the other specimen – a real mountain of a man – flees Mike in the aftermath.  So it’s just Mike accompanying Price to the drop with a crew led by Nacho.  It’s all tying back together, kids!

[By the way, the episode title takes its name from Mike’s previously-identified love of pimento sandwiches.  The wannabe tough guy queries him about what he’s holding, whereupon Mike identifies the sandwich in lieu of weaponry.  When asked about what he’d use to shoot with, Mike reveals his willingness to take guns from the loudmouth and, when challenged, proceeds to brutally do just that.  Beware of the guy you so casually referred to as “Uncle Fester,” jerk!]

When Price counts the money, he finds that he’s been shorted by a mere $20 and he’s about to let it go, but Mike insists that every dime be paid to them.  Nacho readily agrees and they all depart peacefully after the transfer.  Price wonders about how Mike knew that Nacho would knuckle under and Mike reveals his massive research, including the tidbit about Nacho working this deal on the side from his crime associates.  He wanted the deal to go through, regardless, and he wanted it to proceed quietly and smoothly.  Such preparation, Mike indicates, is key to “the life.”  We know that Mike is only going to get deeper into it and the tie to Nacho will be the first step in what might be a long road leading to Gus Fring.  Based on the professorial nature of the conversation after the drug deal, Price might become a fixture on the scene as well.

So now Mike’s origin story is pretty well advanced and it seems that Jimmy’s is catching up rapidly.  For his whole life, he’s been subduing his baser instincts to pursue the respect of a brother who clearly has very little for him.  Throughout the initial season of Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill has dealt with roadblocks, sidetracks and setbacks in his pursuit of a better life.  Now he deals with actual heartbreak, stemming from acute betrayal.  For the first time, we have a Jimmy McGill with nothing left to lose, because according to his own brother he doesn’t have a good name and he never will.  Essentially, the disabled Chuck has been revealed as the true Big Bad of Season 1, not the smarmy Howard, who may in fact be the decent guy that he’s portrayed himself as all along.  Now the acceleration of the negative feelings coursing through Jimmy will propel this show into what should be a very consequential and incredible first-season finale.

 

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Just when it looked like the chances of saving season three of the FOX series “The Following,” were between slim and none, the show shook up the dynamic radically, bringing back a fan favorite, in addition to introducing this campaign’s “True Big Bad.” The moves resulted in the good-guys finally winning a couple of rounds, as well as for a more taut and exciting episode, by far the finest of the season. Part of that involved addition by subtraction, finally getting rid of the psychopathic Mark Gray, at least for a while, but the breakthroughs the Bureau made on the case, added to the excitement.

As the previous episode concluded, FBI Agent Ryan Hardy, broke his vow to himself and went and visited serial killer Joe Carroll, whose awaiting execution in a Federal Prison, Carroll greeting him asking, what took him so long? The two longtime adversaries have a twisted relationship, knowing each other as well as they know themselves, both obsessed with finding out exactly what makes the other tick. Carroll can hit Hardy in spots that nobody else realizes exist, while Ryan used his knowledge of Carroll to stop he and his followers killing spree, three separate times.

Carroll show his powers of observation, stayed razor-sharp as he tells Hardy he looks well, he’s stayed on the wagon, back full-time with the FBI and it looks like Ryan’s in love. Hardy feels his buttons getting pushed and almost leaves, but Joe calms him down and asks what he wants, Ryan tells him they’re looking for Carroll’s mentor, Dr. Arthur Strauss. Turns out that although Carroll’s Strauss’ most famous protégé, he’s just one of many that Strauss trained to become highly skilled serial killers. We’ve already met Daisy, Kyle and Andrew this season, in this episode we meet another couple of his students.

Joe asks Hardy, what’s in it for him if he assists the FBI and Ryan asks him what he wants? Carroll says he’s resigned himself to his predicament, but he fears Ryan’s unprepared and Hardy asks him what he means? Joe says, don’t forget Ryan, when I die, you die and Hardy laughs the threat off. Carroll then says I miss “Us,” the banter, the laughter, the crying, if I help you, I want you to visit me every day until D-Day.

Hardy says that if Joe gives him some valuable information, he’ll return. Carroll then says that Strauss has contacted a former student that he trusts and that he and Daisy are hiding with them. Ryan has to find a connection Straus has in the nearby area. As Hardy leaves the facility, his body rebels against the emotion he’s suppressing and he vomits in a toilet on the first floor.

Hardy’s next stop’s at the hospital, to visit his niece Max, who got whacked from behind by Daisy with a wooden-plank in the previous episode, to rescue Strauss, she looks pale and weak when he enters. Soon after, Max’s boyfriend Tom, comes in to take her back to her apartment. Tom’s been monitoring Max’s movements, with Daisy’s laptop, that gets a feed from cameras she and Kyle set up in her apartment.

We get our first glimpse of the show’s new “Big Bad,” in the following scene, Michael Ealy whom you may remember as the android Dorian, in the former FOX series “Almost Human,” starring Karl Urban. Dorian’s benign manner and friendly personality, are nowhere to be found as his new character Theo, whom Strauss describes as “his best student.” Theo sporting long dreads, takes out Strauss’ trial lawyer with an acetylene torch.

Back at the Bureau Office, Ryan, Mike and Max had their suspensions revoked, but Bureau Chief Gina Valdez took the fall, serving an indefinite suspension, until she’s questioned by superiors, leaving Hardy in charge. He has his agents scour the area for missing person reports in the last 5-10 years and an analyst, says that six missing persons on the list, were last scene in Beacon, New York. Hardy and Weston take a trip to Beacon to check things out.

There are certain character actors on Television, that when you see their faces, you’ve got a preconceived notion, of what the character they’re portraying will act like. Michael Gaston, who played Beacon Sheriff Windsor, typically plays dicey upper-management characters, so I assumed that the Sheriff was a Strauss operative, when Mike and Ryan got to town, but he turned out to play things by the rules. However there were members of the community, that were far from what they seemed, as we found out.

Windsor and one of his officers, Hillary Banks meet with Hardy and Weston and the sheriff says they should’ve called and saved themselves a trip, Strauss and Daisy aren’t in his town. Ryan says they’re checking on missing persons reports and ask the pair if they recognize any of the six photos they brought with them. Banks says the picture of a young blonde woman, could be the Jane Doe, whose remains they found in the swamps a couple of weeks earlier. She volunteers to take the pair to the spot they recovered the body.

When they get to the area, Hillary mentions she returned home after discovering the Jane Doe, soaked to the bone, saying it rained hard that day. Hardy asks if the area’s prone to flooding and Banks says it is, which makes Ryan think that bodies could be buried in the higher ground and the rain dislodged the corpse, sending it down to the swamp. They find out Ryan’s theory’s correct as they find nine sets of remains, buried within the last 10-15 years.

Theo’s dreads are just a wig, we find out when he takes it off and gets into his car. He soon receives a text message, asking is it done? We then flashback 13-years according to the graphic, we see a nerdy looking guy talking on his cellphone and working on his computer. He says to the person on the other end, he hates that office and he should run it, then says he’s going to get some sleep. Suddenly he hears his stereo blaring from the living room, he leaves his bedroom to shut it off, then realizes he’s got a visitor, sitting on his sofa, wearing a clown-mask and a hood. The man in the mask tells the nerdy guy Patrick, not to be scared, they’ve chatted on-line for months.

Patrick realizes it’s a guy who uses the screen-name Karl-1988, whose in reality Theo. He tells Patrick, not to worry he’ll still get the glory, then as Patrick tries to run, he tackles him and ties his hand behind his back with a zip-tie. He then goes to fulfill Patrick’s plan, killing all four employees of the insurance office, Patrick referenced in his phone call, but he gets stabbed before he can kill all four employees.

He sneaks into a hospital and hides in a supply closet, when the door opens and a much younger Dr. Arthur Strauss, with a full head of dark hair walks in. Theo aims his pistol at Strauss, who tells him he’s there to help him, as he believes fate brought them together. He tells Theo he’s aware that he murdered the people at the insurance office, then says they share the same compulsion to kill. He tells Theo he’ll hide him, but the younger man says he has to finish first. He then comes back to the present, sends a yes response to the text, then gets told to drive to Beacon.

Hillary takes Ryan and Mike back to her Uncle Duncan’s café, he raised her as her parents died when she was a child. Suddenly a waitress named Margo, comes over to the table and says to Hillary the murderer’s Sheriff Windsor’s son Justin. Duncan says he doesn’t pay Margo to gossip, but Ryan and Mike ask Hillary to take the to where Justin lives.

Justin’s up to no-good, but it’s making crystal-meth at his shack in the middle of the woods. Windsor arrives and asks his son if he’s involved in the murders and the teen swears to his father he knows nothing about them. Windsor says his son’s got problems, but he knows when he’s lying and Justin’s telling the truth, then he arrests his son for the crystal-meth lab he owns and operates.

Daisy and Strauss are hiding out in a cabin, with Daisy certain that Strauss’ student abandoned them, but he soon arrives. It’s Duncan Banks’ who tells them there’s trouble as Hardy and the FBI are in town, it turns out that Banks’ murdered all the victims as well. Strauss tells him to calm down, there’s no way they can trace the victims to him, but Duncan says he killed before he met Strauss and that body’s buried with the rest.

Weston and Hardy get told that the first victim’s Hannah Banks, Duncan’s wife and the agents realize that he’s behind all the murders. They head into the café, with Hillary behind the counter, standing next to Duncan. Banks sees that both agents are about to reach for their service revolvers, he grabs Hillary around the neck and sticks a knife to her throat, saying if he can’t escape, he’ll slit his pretty niece’s neck. Hillary’s holding a cup of coffee and throws it in Duncan’s face, allowing her to get free and Ryan to knock Duncan out.

Windsor arrives, soon after Banks admits he killed Hillary’s parent, because her mother was a squealer, the officer punches her uncle in the gut, making him double-over in pain. Windsor tells Hardy and Weston, his father and Duncan’s used to hunt together and they used a cabin, which would make for a great hideout and says he’ll take them there.

Theo starts walking to the cabin and he once again flashes back 13-years earlier, as he and Strauss are back in Patrick’s apartment, for Theo to kill him and set him up as the murderer. He puts his hand over Patrick’s and has him pull the trigger of a pistol aimed at his chin, which sprays his brains on the curtain behind him. Strauss’ filled with glee tells Theo that he’s ambitious, but to avoid his moment in the spotlight, like a shark he should always stay under the water. Theo thanks him and tells him he’ll repay him one day, he returns to the present, knocks on the cabin door and Strauss says thanks for coming.

However Strauss doesn’t stay happy for long as Theo strangles him to death with a wire, nearly severing his head from his body. When Windsor, Mike and Ryan arrive they find Arthur’s corpse, but Theo and Daisy have escaped. We see Daisy by herself, hitching a ride. Theo heads home, where we find out he’s got a knockout wife and a beautiful boy and girl, oblivious to what he does.

Mike and Ryan tell Duncan that Strauss got murdered and show him a picture of the corpse and Duncan asks if Daisy did it, but she lacks the upper body strength to have done it. Banks says it must be Strauss’ best student, but that’s all the info he has on the guy.

Hardy arrives back to visit Carroll in the final scene and Joe remarks that Ryan kept his word. Hardy then asks Joe whose Strauss’ best student, then the scene fades to black.

The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 9:00pm on FOX.

 

Courtesy of ABC

Courtesy of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Toby slept through the dinner date he’s worked so hard for. To apologize, he brings happy a bouquet of wrenches and chocolates with nuts, as in bolt nuts. Totally not kidding. Happy is not going for it though. Suffice it to say, Happy is not happy.

Tonight’s job deals with an attempted homicide of a mob accountant trying to testify against her former employer. An organized crime group commonly referred to as “the DL”. The issue comes from the transport of this witness. Sylvester and Walter suggest a new strategy that flies in the face of the U.S. Marshall’s standard operating procedures.

En route, Walter questions why there is an empty school bus in a bad neighborhood. It’s an ambush. They successfully take care of most of the decoy vehicles. Then out of nowhere the bad guys t-bone the one specific vehicle with the target they’re looking for. My first instinct is to say the driver is in on it as he is unfamiliar to me. After shooting bulletproof glass, a hammer is the next tool to remove the accountant.

Walter uses shotgun shells in a plastic bag, stuffed in the air duct of the dashboard. Then by flooring the gas, it warms the engine enough to create an explosion. Knocking out the driver, US Marshall and the mob enforcers outside the vehicle.

A new vehicle, specifically a non-government issue vehicle is required. Toby takes to negotiating with ‘Earl’, who looks exactly how you might expect running a used car lot. Toby then does his thing breaking down Earl’s situation and at the same time paralleling Earl’s remorse for a one time love and turning that towards Happy. Toby eventually convinces Earl to swap his $2000 1970’s conversion van falling apart at the seams for a brand new government issue Suburban.

With a lull in the action, Paige tries to convince Happy to give Toby another chance and it’s not going well. Elsewhere the enforcers pull up on a used car lot with brand spanking new black Suburban. They squeeze Earl for information.

The van overheats and barely makes it to a gas station. On the way in, the accountant (who has been a pill the entire time) swipes a box of chocolate covered pretzels. Paige follows her into the ladies room where she lays out that this Maya (the accountant) is pregnant. 11 weeks. While the two ladies are safely in the restroom, Hector and his goon enter the store. Happy recognizes them and yells out to Cabe. A gunfight ensues.

Happy pushes Maya and Paige into a dark corner. Then utilizes a CO2 canister, a paper towel roll, and a package of urinal cakes to MacGuyver a cannon sending the urinal cake straight into Hector’s partners Adam’s Apple. At the same time Walter and Toby rig a temporary fix for the coolant issue using malt liquor and a random hose. Then drive the van into the convenient store, knocking Hector out.

As it turns out, finding the bathroom supplies was one of multiple examples that leads Sylvester and Walter to deduce that Maya is actually a genius, like them. Thus, the poor attitude or at least social shortness she’s exhibited the entire episode.

Maya guides them to a location of a DL hacker who spends all of this money on exotic cars. Lamborghini’s are nice but not big enough to carry seven passengers. Then Happy notices an Aerosmith type tour bus. Breaking in is not an option. They need muscle, but instead Walter suggests that Lambert (the owner of the cars) doesn’t know that and they proceed accordingly.

Guard: Mr. Lambert, these men claim to have some business with you.
Lambert: Who the hell are you?
Walter (in a cool, calm light L.A. Hispanic meets his natural British accent): The organizations that hire me call me Mr. Green. This is my associate (Walter gestures to Cabe and intentionally doesn’t give him a name).
Unnamed Cabe: Afternoon…
Walter: I’ve come on behalf of Hector Menjivar. I believe you know him. Someone you owe in a substantial way, I suggest you invite us in.
Lambert: Yeah, sure thing. I don’t want any trouble.

Using their coms, Walter says exactly what Maya tells him painting the picture that Lambert owes Hector a quarter of a million dollars. The two geniuses bounce back and forth effortlessly. In the end, Walter gives the ultimatum of collateral or Lambert’s left hand. He gives up the tour bus quickly. As they try to leave, Lambert calls Hector. At which point, Cabe backs the bus into a rock. Eventually they get out just as Lambert’s security give chase.

Maya continues to play the “this will never end” card. Walter and Sylvester come up with an idea. The feds need Maya to testify because of what’s in her head. Instead, they will fabricate a ledger whose contents will reflect everything in Maya’s head, thus removing her from testifying.
With Happy at the wheel Toby decides to take this opportunity to try to patch things up with her. Meanwhile Lambert, with Hector in the room, hacks the bus’ on-board computer and takes control. The bus is not accelerating on its own. In this Speed scenario they are approaching 90 mph and a long straight away followed by an abrupt turn that they will not successfully make at that speed.

Naturally, Walter’s mind goes to regaining control of the on board computer. Happy can’t access it from inside fast enough. So now we employ the skateboard and a rope trick at 90 mph. Happy and Walter separately use the skateboard to get under the bus. By accessing the computer manually they can remove Lambert’s ability to control the bus.

Safely stopped on the side of a rural highway in the California mountains, Cabe puts in a call to the local Sheriff’s department. Hector and his goon race towards them. The bus swerves at a high-speed but they don’t lose the pursuers. The bus leans left, allowing Hector’s truck to pull right. Revealing a police barricade. The two thugs are arrested immediately and Scorpion + Maya walk away unscathed.

With the ‘ledger’ built and a promise to keep her safe, Cabe and Scorpion are letting Maya walk. Technically she’s getting in a Sheriff’s police cruiser and being driven to Vancouver where she will assume a new Canadian identity. Then she will receive and turn over a package, the ledger. As well that ends well. I get the impression this is not the last we’ll see of Ms. Maya.

Back at HQ, risks are being considered. Happy says goodnight to all at once and Toby is alright with that for now considering the risk he took in trying to make things right. Sylvester found another container of his expired yogurt. Toby takes it and eats half of it recklessly then slams the container down to illustrate that Sylvester needs to take risks.

Toby (pointing his finger in Walter’s face): If you don’t take a risk my man, Drew is going to take Paige.
Walter: Paige is not yogurt.
Toby: No she’s a risk, one you need to take. So you need to get in your car, drive to her house, knock on her door and tell her how you feel.

Surprise, surprise. Walter hesitates for a second and then runs off, car keys in hand. Just at the moment when all of your feels and motivation to see this romance begin, the show runners from Scorpion drop the Acme anvil on your head. Walter walks up to see Paige feeding Ralph. Then you get the distinct displeasure of seeing Drew walk into the frame.

Squirel

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

So far, season five of The Walking Dead has had a record-breaking body count. The season’s finale is an extended episode, up to ninety minutes from the usual sixty. One can’t help but wonder if the usual body count for a season finale of this show might increase, as well.

Personally, I can’t decide if I’m pulling harder for Nicholas or Gabriel. Fairly certain that I won’t get that lucky.

First, we see a long-wrecked car in a wooded clearing. Morgan is sleeping in the backseat, huddled down but sleeping comfortably. He wakes peacefully and, upon reorienting himself to his surrounding, catches sight of a rabbit’s foot hanging from the car’s rearview mirror. He smiles. Luck, indeed.

And, for the first time in a very long time, we get TWO Morgan scenes in a row! He’s cooking his MRE breakfast over a little campfire in the woods when he’s approached by a tall, long-haired, lanky man with a gun. Morgan greets him evenly and suggests that he lower his weapon. The man (who, we see as the camera pans, has a W carved into his forehead) keeps the gun drawn on Morgan and begins to babble about the original settlers in the area. Keeping the drawn on Morgan, the man explains, without much prompting, about how they coerced the native people into hunting the wolves. But, things aren’t like that anymore. The wolves do the hunting these days. Morgan easily agrees, not tipping his hand that he’s certain he’s talking to a crazy person.

The Crazy continues, chattering on about how it’s nice to talk to someone. Sure, he sees people when his group runs through camps, or when they find people in their traps, but it’s not the same. Morgan, stone-faced, continues to listen as Crazy demands all of Morgan’s supplies. Morgan asks to keep a little, so he can keep going, but Crazy is going to take him too. Morgan wants to stay alive though, and tries to state his case while going for his gun. Crazy thrusts his own gun closer, ordering Morgan to be still. A tense moment passes, then Crazy’s friend jumps from the bushes to ambush Morgan.

That was a mistake. Even though Morgan doesn’t have his gun, he has a long wooden staff that he goes all master-fighter on the two with. He tries to warn them off, but people with W’s carved into their forehead usually don’t listen to reason so great. He puts them down, shoves them into the car that he slept in the night before, honks the horn a few times to see if any walkers are nearby so he can eliminate them if need be, and leaves them. He pauses only to grab the rabbit’s foot from the rearview mirror.

And we’re underway.

In Alexandria, Rick awakens in an unfinished room on a decent bed, his wounds cleaned and dressed. Michonne has been watching over him. She wanted answers from him the minute he woke up. She explains that Pete has been separated from Jessie and the boys, put into another house. More importantly, she wants to know why Rick didn’t tell her about his suspicions or his plans. He had to move fast, he replies. He knows he doesn’t have much of a good answer but the two have stayed alive because of their instincts, and she appears to understand his urgency. Even though she understands it, she doesn’t want Rick to continue behaving in such a way. They need to be accepted into Alexandria,

because outside was tearing them apart. Rick understands, on some level, but he can’t reconcile the daffy simplicity of the Alexandrians way of running things.

Before they can continue, Abraham, Glenn, and Carol enter. Upon seeing that Rick is awake and talking, Carol confronts him about the gun he had. She answers her own confrontation, though, accusing him of taking it from the armory and chastising him for such a stupid action. (Carol, Our Lady Badass, covers for her people before they need to cover themselves).

Glenn reports that Deanna is holding a meeting. Is it expressly to kick Rick out? Or just to try? Maggie’s going to request a meeting with Deanna to explain things, and to try to get a handle on how things might go.

Carol launches into the viable defense she’s prepared for Rick. He was concerned that someone was being abused. He took the gun for protection. Pete came after him first. It’s about 70% true, and that’s probably good enough to convince these dummies to let them stick around. Just tell them a story, she advises. These people are children, and children like stories. Carol’s been playing a role since they arrived, because she knows that’s how they want to see her. If she can do it, so can Rick.

Rick nods, but then orders a plan to rush the meeting and take Deanna and her family hostage in case things look bad. They’ll demand the armory or throats get slit. Glenn objects—now they’re like Terminus! No, Rick clarifies, they won’t actually hurt anyone. They’re too soft, they’ll give in before anyone gets hurt.

Because Glenn must have everything in black and white, he blatantly asks Rick if Rick wanted this kind of thing to happen. Rick didn’t, he says, he just snapped because he couldn’t handle their passive way of living. And that’s the way it is. They have a plan in case things go bad, and that’ll be that. He lays back down to sleep until it’s time for the meeting.

Maggie meets with Deanna, trying to contextualize Rick’s actions and advise against a bunch of frightened strangers having sway on her friend’s fate. She reminds Deanna of the reasons why they need each other, but Deanna is too troubled by the violence that has happened since her family’s arrival. Reg reminds Deanna that it was Michonne, not an Alexandrian, who put an end to Rick’s outburst. Deanna doesn’t appear to be moved. She’ll let the people have their say and make her decision, and with that, she dismisses Maggie.

Frustrated, Maggie leaves, but she’s caught by Reg on the way out. He knows that she’s right about Rick needing to stay, he’ll try to bend her ear if he can.

Carol goes back to see Rick, alone this time. With no preamble, she explains that she knows it’s unwise to tell Michonne and Glenn the truth about the guns and hands Rick another weapon. Rick is tired of lying, but Carol isn’t sympathetic. Rick doesn’t want to overrun Alexandria, but he doesn’t want to lie and pretend to play by their rules. Well, sunshine, says Carol, Queen of Post-Apocalyptic Sass , you don’t get both. Rick takes her point, and gathers himself. He wants to go home, so he sets out on the brief walk. A group of men are talking on the sidewalk, and he meets their eyes and greets each one by name.

The men are clearly unnerved by a man with multiple facial and hand wounds strolling along like nothing is unusual.

Maggie finds Glenn sitting outside upon returning from her meeting with Deanna. It went like they had expected it to, she reports. She plans on spending the day talking to as many people as possible, trying to explain Rick’s case so they won’t be so frightened of him. Glenn is supportive, but not certain he’ll join her. He’s still clearly rattled by Noah’s death and the lies that Nicholas is telling.

Speaking of Nicholas, he’s creeping and spying on Glenn as the scene goes on. After Maggie leaves, Nicholas (armed with the J gun that Rick stashed in the blender) makes certain that Glenn sees him climb over the walls and into the forest.

Rick returns to his house, wanting to see his children. Satisfied that they’re safe, he has a very frank discussion with Carl about what happened the night before, and what they’re planning for tonight. Carl isn’t happy about the threat of violence, but he understands that the people within Alexandria are weak and need to be awakened to this world’s harsh reality.

Pete’s dealing with his own harsh reality by drinking and sitting in the dark. He reluctantly answers the insistent knock at his door and is dismayed to find Carol on the other side, holding a casserole. Before he can turn her away she steps inside, shuts the door, and shuffles him against a nearby wall. She reminds him that he needs to be performing postop care on Tara. He growls at her to leave.

She shifts the casserole to one hand and pulls out a knife with the other. Calm, Gives-Zero-Shits Carol holds the knife against his throat and face. She could kill him right now, she says, not unhappily. She could, and she will, if he gives her any reason to. She knows no one would believe that she did it because she doesn’t like him, but they’d definitely believe it if she said he tried to hurt her.

He squirms. She continues. He’s a weak, nothing of a man, and in this world he should be dead already. But he’s here, and he’s lucky, and if he plays his cards right and does smart things, she won’t kill him. She sheaths her knife, shoves the casserole into his stomach, and walks out.

“I want my dish back, cleaned, when you’re done!”

Pete drops the casserole on the hallway and goes back into the living room. Crashing and stumbling, he’s enraged that he’s not in his own house.

But he’s close enough to see Rick stop by to talk to Jessie. She tries to shoo him away but Rick refuses to be sorry for what he’s done. She understands, but it’s still not a good idea for them to be seen together. Rick accepts, and turns to walk away. As he goes, she tells him that she realizes that he was right, after all.

Gabriel has been mostly doing Gabriel things (meaning, chores and weeping) all morning, but he decides to go for a walk. Spencer lets him out, reaffirming that Gabriel doesn’t want a gun before leaving the town. Gabriel is sure. God will protect him. Um, OK.

Gabriel comes upon a walker eating another person, and weeps and is distraught. He confronts it, he’s ready for it, he claims. I was personally rooting for the walker to have a Gabriel Burger, but instead Gabriel whips out a rope and chokes the walker. It takes a few tries before he manages to decapitate the rotting thing with the ligature, and he continues to weep and whimper as the walkers head continues to gnash its teeth on the ground. He pulls out a blade and spikes it, then goes to the person-not-yet-walker that was being eaten and spikes it, too.

He returns (without a spot on his white shirt, somehow), looking even more disturbed than usual. Spencer wants to talk to Gabriel about his spiritual troubles, and Gabriel says he’ll try to find the time. Spencer takes off, embarrassed of what he’s asked, and calls to Gabriel to make sure he shuts the gate.

Note: Do not, under any circumstances, let the emotionally-disturbed person who is failing to connect with reality in charge of locking up.

Daryl and Aaron have seen a man in a red poncho wandering through the woods, and have begun to track him to see if he’s a worthy recruit. They manage for a while, but unfortunately lose him. Instead, they find a cannery, which doesn’t appear to have been disturbed much. They might not be able to find the person, but if they can manage to bring back a lot of food, their mission will be a success.

They eliminate the few walkers they find wandering around the lot and begin to look for any supplies they might be able to take. Aaron spots an Alaska license plate and gathers it, happy to be able to start his collection over again. Daryl is as amused as someone who never collected anything can be. Chuckling, he opens the door on another tractor trailer parked by the loading docks.

Daryl, you should be more careful when you open doors.

That tractor trailer was full of walkers, who begin to flood out the door quickly, springing what quickly is revealed to be a very aggressive trap. The other trailers are also filled with walkers, all with W’s carved into their foreheads. Aaron and Daryl move to make it back to the road, but the lot is filling with more even more branded walkers. They find refuge in a nearby car, figuring that they can wait the swarm out before trying to make a break for it.

Except, no. Aaron finds a scrawled note stuffed between the seats. “Bad people are coming. Don’t stay.” So much for that idea, then. They consider their fate in silence, trying to ignore the rotting faces and hands scrambling at the glass. Things look grim, and they both know it.

Daryl opens up a bit, confessing that he feels better out in the world than he did in Alexandria. Even now, it feels more like him. Aaron counters that, while that may be true, Daryl also belongs somewhere safe, and the fact that he tried to integrate means a lot. Maybe, Daryl relents.

He lights a cigarette and tells Aaron that he’s going to leave the car first to cause a diversion so Aaron can make to the fence. Aaron won’t let that happen. They’re in this together. Daryl tries to refuse, but Aaron won’t be moved. Daryl takes a few more draws and they decide to go on three. They count.

One.

Two.

And then the walkers begin to drop away. Morgan has found them, somehow, and he’s taken it upon himself to save them. Save them, he does.

As space clears around the car, Aaron and Daryl get out to fight, as well. It’s an ugly melee, but a successful one. They manage to fight their way to the perimeter and close the fence again. Once they’re secure, the men introduce themselves in the shaky way that strangers who have just cheated death together do. Aaron, astonished and grateful, invites Morgan to join himself and Daryl on the trip back to the community.

Morgan is also grateful, but he declines. He’s actually a bit lost, he confesses. He’s looking for something in the area but isn’t quite sure where to find it. Aaron and Daryl offer to help. Morgan produces the map he found that Abraham and left for Rick. Yeah, Daryl can probably help Morgan find Rick Grimes.

Also outside the walls in Alexandria, Glenn is pursuing Nicholas through the woods. Glenn finds the body of another tied and tortured walker, but before he can react, Nicholas shoots him in the shoulder. The two men fight each other through and against walkers throughout much of the episode, with Glenn nearly getting chomped on at least once because Nicholas abandons him.

But back inside the walls, Abraham has gone to visit Tara. He turns away, though, when he sees that Eugene is sitting with her. He’s asleep, Rosita explains, and tells him to go on ahead. Once Abraham settles into the chair, she drops a bedpan, starting Eugene awake.

Abraham doesn’t want to have this conversation, but Eugene has some things to say. He’s sorry for lying, and unspeakably grateful that Abraham’s talents and wits for survival delivered him to DC anyway. Abraham is sorry for almost killing Eugene, but Eugene knows he probably had it coming just a little bit.

Rick is resting, waiting for the meeting, when Michonne approaches him. They a short-sentenced conversation about the guns that he, Carol, and Daryl stole and why they did so. He tries to hand over the gun that Carol brought to him, but Michonne doesn’t take it. She asserts that she knows they all have to try to make this work. She doesn’t need her sword, she explains, and Rick won’t need his gun. She doesn’t accept it as he offers it again, though. She leaves him to have a few more minutes to gather himself before the meeting.

Rick begins to check his weapons and arm himself, prepared to do what’s necessary against the Alexandrians if they decide against his fate. Bob’s words, “this isn’t the real world. This is a nightmare. And nightmares end,” echo across his thoughts. Pausing to look out the window, Rick scans the horizon for danger as he probably will for the rest of his life. At least he’s adjusted to finding it. He realizes the gate is open. He rushes down the street and finds the gate covered in walker detritus, flesh torn on the locking mechanism from a corpse that staggered into it before continuing further, into Alexandria.

At this point, the narrative layers quite a bit, between shots of the meeting (which starts without Rick and Glenn, to Maggie and Michonne’s protest), Glenn and Nicholas fighting in the woods, Rick finding and fighting off the walkers that got in through the open fence, and Gabriel, who stumbles into his

garage-church to find Sasha (who spent the day flinging dead walkers into a pit and taking a nap on them) looking for his guidance. Gabriel instead rants against her wickedness, insisting that she doesn’t deserve the utopia of Alexandria. Maggie, Abraham, and Carol speak in defense of Rick Grimes. The brawl between Glenn and Nicholas comes to a head when Glenn pins Nicholas down, pushing the barrel of a gun into his head, but is unable to pull the trigger for all of Nicholas’ pathetic weeping. Sasha and Gabriel begin to fight, but Gabriel vs. Sasha is like Comatose Antelope vs. Lionness and she soon puts him down on the floor, rifle drawn on him. Deanna recalls Gabriel’s warning to the group in the meeting, but Jessie (with a fresh black eye) isn’t necessarily convinced that he’s worth listening to. Maggie leaves the group to go find Gabriel.

Also, the Wolves have guided Red Poncho Man to their sprung-but-empty trap and slash his throat, killing him and leaving him to turn. As they work to lure the walkers back into the trailers by triggering remote noise-and-light lures, one discovers Aaron’s pack with pictures of Alexandria and its inhabitants.

Meanwhile, Rick has taken down the walkers who got into the town, and slings one over his shoulder. He carries it into the middle of the meeting and dumps it in the middle of the crowd. See, this is why you can’t have nice things, he tries to explain. Your gate was open and you’re all idiots and this needs to stop! Deanna demands to know why the gate was open, and Spencer admits that he left Gabriel to close it. Gabriel is still not at the meeting. Maggie found Sasha ready to shoot him and intervened. Gabriel continued to weep. Maggie should have let Sasha kill him. He doesn’t deserve to be alive, he sobs. He doesn’t deserve to be alive, because they’re all dead because of him. Them, who? Well, we don’t know.

Before the meeting can continue, Pete shows up, armed with Michonne’s sword and, again, roaring drunk. The open gate is proof that Rick and his people don’t belong! He’s flailing and dangerous. A few Alexandrians move to disarm him, but Pete lashes back at them.

In doing so, he catches Reg and slices his throat open, mortally wounding him. Deanna screams an rushes to hold her dying husband. Abraham springs across the crowd to restrain and immobilize Pete. Pete, for his part, doesn’t appear concerned that he just killed someone as he continues to shout against Rick. Sobbing, Deanna catches Rick’s eye.

“Do it,” she orders.

Abraham adjusts his hold on Pete slightly, so he won’t be harmed as Rick walks over to execute Pete on the spot. Everyone is stunned.

But no one is more stunned than Daryl, Aaron, and Morgan, who have just arrived on the scene.

Michonne collected her sword after Pete misused it and murdered Reg. She wipes the blood clean and moves to hang it above her fireplace again, but she reconsiders. Instead, she puts on her harness and slides the sword back into its harness.

She and her group will need to make it work within Alexandria. But Alexandria will have to work with her group, as well.

And that’s all for season five. Lots of people are dead and a completely new future awaits.

Photo Courtesy Of ABC/Jack Rowand

Photo Courtesy Of ABC/Jack Rowand

Warning: Spoiler Alert

In the Enchanted Forest, Snow White and Charming are running frantically through the woods. Snow is ahead of Charming, gaining distance as she runs. She’s tracking something. She pauses to examine a patch of earth and David catches up with her. They’ve been tracking a unicorn, and they seem to have found it. If they can approach it and touch its horn, they’ll be able to see their daughter’s fate. They reach out and make contact at the same time, but have two very different visions.

David sees Emma as a happy, cooing baby in a basket along a path in a strange looking forest. He approaches her and she continues to make docile baby noises as he picks her up. He’s so relieved, everything is going to be fine! Except, Snow’s vision isn’t quite the same. It’s in the same forest, but Emma is a teenager—a scowling, petulant teenager who rips out Snows heart and crushes it, simply because she can. They awake from their visions, and Charming is elated, while Snow White is horrified. She’s so disturbed and astonished by David’s elation, she can only breathe “it’s evil.”

So we begin this installment with a mystery, because immediately after the open, we switch to Storybrooke in the present. Emma and Regina are trying to figure out how The Author is trapped in the book. Regina is stressed because she needs to get back to the Queens of Darkness (minus Ursula) and Gold because she’s been gone a really long time. Suddenly, though, August’s condition worsens. Emma, Regina, and Henry take him to the fairies/nuns. Mother Superior examines him and finds that he’s suffering from the extreme magic he’s been subjected to. He may survive, but he’ll have to be very strong.

Regina is relieved that August isn’t actively dying, but she’s pressed to get back to Gold and she needs to take him something to show for all the time she’s been gone. Emma conjures a forgery of the page. Henry is impressed, but Regina is certain it won’t fool Gold. Instead, she takes a picture of the page with her iPhone, hugs Henry for longer than a teenage boy likes to be hugged, and rushes back to meet the bad guys.

As Regina leaves, Emma and Henry goes to The Charmings’ loft to meet Killian and debrief about what they’ve all learned. Killian explains what Ursula disclosed last episode—The Dark One wants to turn Emma’s heart dark to un-Savior her so to empower The Author to give villains their happy endings. Emma scoffs, not only because if this weren’t Fairytales of our Lives the whole plot would be ridiculous, but because she trusts in her family’s love for her and the goodness of their hearts. Killian cautions her that darkness has a way of sneaking up on someone, but Emma rebuffs him. Mary Margaret and David, with two of the worst poker faces in the world, fret in whispered tones about their sketchy past and how it may affect Emma. The two depart, hoping to find a way to intercede with The Author. His powers to grant the villains happy endings shouldn’t be reliant on Emma’s good heart and Savior status, and they have to convince him of that.

Emma is concerned about August, and Killian is jealous. Emma doesn’t find his protectiveness about her endearing. Still, she assures Killian that August is special to her because he was one of the few friends she made since her childhood trauma with Lilly (the girl from the video tape in the story arc that we are otherwise pretending didn’t happen). Killian seems placated, and the two are about seal their reconciliation with a kiss when a purple haze rushes through the window, knocking them out cold.

When Regina returned to Gold, Cruella, and Maleficent, she produced the photograph of the picture of the door. However, instead of being left with nothing to go on except the picture, Gold notices a glare on the photograph as a sign of magic. He quickly determines what August told The Heroes—that the page is the door and the author is trapped within the book. They need to get the real page. Regina cautions that since her son Henry has the page, they’ll have to be extremely delicate in procuring it. Maleficent, on the other hand, has a slightly different idea. She sets of a sleeping curse that knocks out all of Storybrooke. With the town incapacitated they’ll be able to find the page easily.

As the group walks into the cursed town, Maleficent pulls Gold aside. She knows she’s more valuable than Cruella or Ursula, especially since he doesn’t seem to be at all concerned with Ursula’s happy exit. Since she’s more valuable, there’s something else that she wants from Gold. He knows what it is, but they don’t mention it specifically. He concedes that if she can get him the page with The Author’s door, he’ll give her what she seeks.

The villains go to The Charmings’ loft, finding Emma and Killian passed out on the couch, but no sign of the page. Gold quickly realizes that Henry would have been immune to the sleeping curse since he had already been placed under one. Henry has taken the page, and they must find him. Again, Regina asserts that she’ll be the only one to deal with Henry. Gold agrees, and lets her go to find him. After she leaves, he tells Cruella and Maleficent to tail her to make sure she’s doing what she’s supposed to. He, on the other hand, has something to take care of.

Mary Margaret and David realize the sleeping curse has hit the town as they’re arguing in the street about their next course of action. Mary Margaret is distressed by their lying, knowing that their deception will only hurt Emma if she finds out the truth. David, though, thinks there might be another way. If The Author is gone entirely, Gold will have no reason to turn Emma’s heart. They can find Henry, get the page, and destroy it before they release The Author. Mary Margaret isn’t thrilled with the plan, but they notice Regina taking off from the loft and Cruella and Maleficent tailing her just as Henry calls Mary Margaret to tell him that he’s also been unaffected by the curse and is hiding at The Sorcerer’s mansion. It’s their perfect chance, isn’t it?

As Henry hides under a table in the mansion, a ray of sunlight hits the illustration of the door. The illustration begins to shine, golden light pouring from around the door and through the keyhole. The light makes contact with a keyhole on an adjacent desk, and Henry scrambles to open the drawer. The drawer holds only a small key, which shines like the illustration as he picks it up.

He hears someone entering the room and, thinking it’s Mary Margaret and David, he begins to tell of his discovery. He realizes its Regina and grows silent. She asks him for the page before she can explain what’s happened, and Henry hesitates. As he does, Maleficent and Cruella enter, mocking Regina about her parenting skills. Regina demands the page from Henry, but gives him an eyebrow waggle as she does so. He hands over a page and the three witches depart, Regina leaving last and casting another long, meaningful look to Henry.

Henry has handed her the forgery. It’s not a good plan, but it’ll buy Regina a bit of time with Cruella and Maleficent. Henry’s still sighing with relief as Mary Margaret and David find him, and he tells them of

their switch. He produces the picture with the key and moves to unlock the illustrated door. David stops him, claiming it would be dangerous, and takes the illustration and key from Henry. He sends him off so that David and Mary Margaret can examine them. Mary Margaret isn’t happy with yet another lie, but she nods to Henry and he gives them some privacy.

But of course those two aren’t the only ones with secrets. Gold left Cruella and Maleficent for business, and he does go to his pawnshop, but he isn’t interested in the antiques. He sees Belle collapsed on the floor. Distressed to see her slumped over so carelessly, he picks her up and carries her to the couch in the back. It’s a good time for a villain soliloquy, and Robert Carlyle never disappoints. He holds Belle’s hand tenderly as he tries to explain himself. His magic comes at a price, and his debts are unmanageable as they stand. He’s got to try to find a way to change the world, and he has to do it quickly, because other things are changing and he’s running out of time. He flinches here, reaching underneath his tie to press his chest in discomfort. He’ll come back to her if he can, he promises, and leaves.

Cruella, Maleficent, and Regina are waiting for him outside the shop. He quickly dismisses the illustration Regina shows him as a forgery and accuses her of deception. She tries to defend herself, but he knocks her out with magic and orders Maleficent and Cruella to take Regina to follow him to Regina’s vault.

At The Sorcerer’s mansion, Mary Margaret stands behind David, who crouches before a fire holding the illustration. Mary Margaret stops him before he can burn it and trap The Author in the book forever. They can’t start lying to Henry any more than they can keep lying to Emma. She has to know the truth about the horrible thing they did to Maleficent and how it will affect her heart. Reluctantly, David agrees.

They return to the loft to find the sleeping curse has worn off. They have a story to tell Emma…

Once upon a time, in the Enchanted Forest, Snow White and Prince Charming were worried about the fate of their baby. Their child has the capacity for good, but also for great evil, and they need to make sure their child doesn’t become evil. The unicorn gave them no good answer, so they set out to return home and formulate another plan.

Along the road, they meet a peddler whose cart has become stuck in the mud. Charming leans into the cart to help and soon sets it free. The peddler is appreciative, and they begin to chat. He notices they’re returning west and warns them that the way ahead is dangerous. Maleficent has turned herself into a dragon, laid an egg, and scorched the forest for miles around to secure her clutch. He advises that they head the opposite direction. They don’t know the way, they protest. That’s fine, he assures them, and gives them directions to a cottage. The man inside will be able to help them further. In thanks, Snow White gives the man a small bottle of brandy to warm himself on the cold road ahead.

Snow White and Charming find the cabin with no trouble, and who does the man in the cabin happen to be but The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. He seems to know of their plight, and offers a very dangerous but sure way to make sure their child does not fulfil an evil destiny. He can take the capacity for darkness out of the blank slate of a baby, so long as he has another blank slate to put it onto. Charming refuses, because

they won’t put that kind of darkness into another child. But Snow remembers what the peddler said about that dragon’s egg. An egg’s a blank slate, too, right? They confirm with The Apprentice that it will do the trick, so they set out to steal the egg.

They find Maleficent’s lair being guarded by Cruella and Ursula (what a crappy baby shower!), so they knock those two out and enter the lair. They find treasure strewn about the floor, and a beautiful golden egg laying on a nest of rocks.

Charming moves to retrieve the egg, and the nest twitches alive. Not rocks. A dragon, instead. Maleficent goes all fireball on them, but Snow grabs the egg and warns that if she toasts them, the egg goes, too. Maleficent stops and transforms back into a human, begging Snow and Charming to return her baby. Snow can’t return the egg, she explains, because she needs it to save her child. Maleficent continues to beg, mother to mother, for Snow’s mercy, but the couple run away without reply.

They turn the egg over to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, who performs the spell to cast the darkness out of Snow’s baby and into the egg. Oh, and in addition to transferring the darkness, he’s also going to banish it to another realm where the darkness can’t hurt anyone like it can in the Enchanted Forest. Snow and Charming are frantic—they told Maleficent they’d bring the egg back! But it’s too late, and the spell can’t be undone. As the panic continues and the spell strengthens, Cruella and Ursula rush the scene, trying to get the egg back, but they’re sucked into the portal along with the egg, just before it closes.

But Snow White and Charming’s baby is safe, The Apprentice reassures them, and her darkness will be banished as long as Snow and Charming raise her in the light to be a good-hearted person.

Upon hearing their tale, Emma is stunned and heartbroken. Her Superpower has been right all along—her parents have been lying and keeping this from her. She’s appalled at her parents’ deception, and runs off to process things.

In Regina’s vault, Cruella and Maleficent stand over her unconscious body, sneering at being deceived. Gold, though, isn’t fussed. He’s got something that she’ll do anything to keep safe. She’s safely unconscious now. He turns to search another area of the vault and Maleficent follows him.

She made Regina produce a page, and therefore she wants the answer she’s asked for. Gold admits that, even though the page was a forgery, Maleficent did fulfil her part of the bargain. But he’s hesitant to fulfil his. Once she sees what he has to show her, there’s no going back.

But Maleficent is desperate. She wants to know the fate of her baby. She doesn’t know if it was a boy or a girl or if it even survived being banished here. Gold, hearing the familiar pain of a parent who has lost their child, relents and shows her a scene: A tiny, dark-haired baby, squalling and wriggling in a man’s arm. A woman in a business suit smiles warmly, assuring him that the adoption has gone through and the baby is now his daughter. The man smiles as the baby continues to cry with healthy, powerful lungs. He’ll name her Lilith, he says. He and her mother are going to call her Lily.

LILY. EMMA’S BEST FRIEND FROM THAT VIDEO TAPE. THAT’S MALIFICENT’S DAUGHTER.

BOMB. DROPPED.

Emma is staring at the picture and the key as she sits on a bench at the harbor. Killian finds her, sympathizing with her struggle. He assures her that her parents meant well, and tells her that August has improved and is now awake. She goes to see him at the convent, explaining that they’ve found the key and they have the illustration. She wants to free The Author, because she has some questions about her own story that she wants answered, but August stops her. He’ll only be able to help her if he wrote her story.

See, The Author isn’t a person. It’s a job title. There have been dozens of authors over the years, across the realms, recording the best stories that ever happened. But the most recent Author (named Walt) didn’t do a very good job. Instead of recording the stories, he started to alter them. And so the Sorcerer’s Apprentice trapped him in the book where he could do no more harm.

Emma, though, wants her answers, and even if The Author isn’t a good guy he’s still her best chance. She uses the key to open the door, and in a puff of magic, The Author is revealed.

Upon seeing him, it seems very plausible that he is, indeed, The Author that Emma is seeking. He altered Snow White and Charming’s story, sending them to meet The Apprentice, instructing that he tell them of the spell to ensure their child’s good heart. He planted the seed for where they could find another blank slate to take their baby’s darkness, too.

THE AUTHOR IS THE PEDDLER. HE STILL HAS THE BRANDY THAT SNOW WHITE GAVE HIM THAT DAY ON THE ROAD.

BOMB NUMBER TWO HAS REACHED ITS TARGET. MY HEAD ASPLODE. (This is a Homestar Runner reference and usually I try to not mishmash my pop culture but it works way too well here to avoid.)

And The Author is still the jackass that he was when he was trapped in the book. Mary Margaret and David stumble to recognize him, and are still reeling with recognition when Emma says that she has some questions for him.

“I’ll bet you do,” he replies. With a cheeky grin, he pulls the curtains off the window onto the heroes and takes off running. Emma struggles out of the fabric and chases after him, somehow winding up in the middle of town before she realizes where she is.

End scene.

Okay, I’m going on record as saying that I absolutely love this season, and the plot twists are as fun and intriguing as I am accustomed to with this show, and I am totally going to crack in half because I have to wait two weeks for the next episode.

See you then!

Collage Created By Jason Jones

Collage Created By Jason Jones

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Although the snow on my lawn suggests otherwise, we officially entered Spring, earlier this month. Television’s marking the change of seasons and we’re adding some new additions to the NJATVS lineup in the coming weeks. We’re bringing on three new shows and greatly anticipating the final five episodes, of the freshman FOX series “Gotham,” returning in April. We’ll have in-depth previews, in the next few days of the new series we’ll recap, but here’s a thumbnail sketch of what you can look forward to starting in April.

American Odyssey-Premieres Sunday April 5, 10:00pm EDT on NBC: Although the promotional clips released by NBC, have focused on the plight of a female American soldier, trapped in the Middle East, according to IMDB.com, the story’s more complicated than that. Their description, “Three families are torn apart when a stranded female soldier, a disillusioned corporate attorney and a disrespected political activist are pulled into the same shocking international military conspiracy.”

What the preview clips have focused on, concerns Sergeant Odelle Ballard, the last surviving member of her unit. Many died via a drone-strike, the surviving members, killed by a private United States military contractor. Ballard, played by Anna Friel, perhaps best known for her role in the ABC Cult-Favorite “Pushing Daisies,” tries desperately to get back to her husband and daughter in the States, while avoiding those who want her dead. She’s also attempting to figure out why, her unit got wiped out, by supposedly “Friendly Fire.”

The previews evoke a cross between the Showtime Original Series Homeland and the TNT Original Series Legends, both recapped on our pages. If American Odyssey can get into the area-code quality-wise of those shows, viewers are in for a treat.

Gotham-Returns Monday April 13, 8:00 pm EDT on FOX: In the season of “Comic-Book TV-Series,” Gotham failed to come out of the gate with a flourish, however the show’s evolved into one of the strongest entries in its genre. The FOX Network’s marketed this show in superb fashion, putting it on hiatus for a month, then returning April 13, for the final four episodes of the first season.

This much we know, Jada Pinkett-Smith, will not reprise her character Fish Mooney, so prepare for her to exit in dramatic fashion, whether in death, or fleeing the prison she’s in and then Gotham City. If Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni, survive the first season finale, their demise will arrive likely early in season two, they’re the old guard who’ll fall to the psychopaths embodied by Oswald Cobblepot, Edward Nygma, Selina Kyle and others. Lets not forget ginger-haired Jerome, who murdered his mother, then revealed a smile to Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock, that could only come from the teen who’ll evolve into the Joker.

The show’s jam-packed with incredible performances, including Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth and of course the show’s breakout personality, Robin Lord Taylor as The Penguin, to just scratch the surface. Detective Jim Gordon came out on top in the last episode prior to the hiatus, but we’re aware he’ll endure major adversity during the remainder of the season. Young Bruce Wayne’s challenged the Board Of Directors of the Wayne Foundation, prompting the board to contemplate eliminating the heir to the throne. Plus who knows which familiar faces, we’ll see in younger incarnations, during the last four episodes?

Daredevil-Premieres on NJATVS Wednesday April 15, A Netflix Original Series:  A new concept for our site, Jason Jones will recap all twelve-episodes of this Netflix exclusive, starting on Wednesday April 15, and writing three recaps a week for four weeks, the recaps published each Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

I grew up a DC Comics fan, getting most of my knowledge of Marvel Comics characters via TV, an early sixties version of The Fantastic Four, broadcast on ABC Saturday morning’s aired regularly in my house. Then a syndicated weekday series airing Monday through Friday afternoons, revolving around Ironman, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk and Prince Namor, The Submariner. However, something about a blind Super-Hero intrigued me as a child and I did read the Daredevil series, so the character still brings back fond memories for me, despite the 2003 theatrical release.

There are some who enjoyed Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Daredevil, however to say I got disappointed, would make for a vast understatement. However, that was a different era for Marvel Properties, beginning with Robert Downey Jr. portrayal of Iron Man, and producing two epic films in The Avengers and Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD’s shown that their properties transfer quite well to the small screen and a weekly series. The previews released of the Netflix series starring Charlie Cox as the title-character, have a look about them that evoke the films of Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez. This series looks extremely promising.

The Messengers-Premieres Friday April 17, 9:00 pm EDT On The CW: Supernatural, narrowly avoided the apocalypse in season five, Sleepy-Hollow had a close call earlier this season, while it appears that the Rising Darkness in Constantine’s a prelude to the same event. So why would we ever need another series, whose reason for being’s stopping the Apocalypse?

An object falls to Earth one seemingly normal day, causing an explosion which killed five unconnected individuals, however they return to life after a few minutes. They soon realize they’ve got abilities, they didn’t possess prior to the explosion, such as the power to heal, or for a young wimpy teenager a sudden infusion of strength. Then there’s the matter of those wings that appear to stem from their backs.

The five get contacted and gathered, then informed they’ve been chosen to defeat Satan, whose taken human form nearby and stop the end of days from occurring. Satan soon contacts them with very tempting offers, will they give in to temptation or stay on course?

The only actor I recognize, J.D. Pardo portrayed Jason Neville in the Eric Kripke comet of a series “Revolution,” on NBC, another series that had a strong freshman season then succumbed to the sophomore slump. The CW pleasantly surprised me this season with their rendition of “The Flash,” going far past my highest expectations, so I’m willing to roll the dice on this series, that’s got a strong central concept and a very high ceiling.