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Photo Courtesy Of Nicole Rivelli/ FOX

Photo Courtesy Of Nicole Rivelli/FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Normally a recap would be filling this space as the FOX network aired their final episode of “Gotham,” for 2015, as the show will go on hiatus and return with new episodes in February. Regular readers of these pages are well aware that I have a soft-spot for “Comic-Book Series” in general and I’ve written before that I believed that Gotham had the potential to be the best of the lot. Since the series is a prequel to Batman, the show’s creators and writers have been able to put their twist on a tale that first appeared in Detective Comics in 1939.

When you decide to reboot an iconic story, there’s certainly room for some flexibility in the new version. We’ve seen Jimmy Olsen morph from a freckle-faced ginger-haired photographer into a Black Man in the CBS show “Supergirl,” and the change got accepted eagerly by the fans. Jeri Hogarth is a shark in stilettos in the new Netflix series “Jessica Jones,” even though the character’s a man within the pages of Marvel Comics. These are minor changes that leave the big picture unchanged and even the staunchest traditionalist won’t be bothered by moves like that.

However over the last decade or so, we’ve seen the creative community expand their visions of familiar tales by breaking continuity with what should be hard and fast rules. You can set Robin Hood in ancient China populated by Shaolin Monks or in Alaska with a cast of Eskimos, as long as you stick to the constant. Robin Hood takes from the rich and gives to the poor, want to change those parameters then give your story and characters other names.

Back in 2013 director Zack Snyder released “Man Of Steel,” the reboot of the Superman series and broke continuity with every other version of the tale ever told. One of the changes was relatively minor and likely scoffed at by the casual fan, the fact that the Son Of Krypton grew a beard on Earth. Kal-El/Superman’s beard not growing on Earth’s been a constant through comic-books, Radio and TV shows and in movies since the character’s creation.

The second deviation from the “Superman Bible,” however altered the character and made this version of Kal-El different from all his predecessors. Kal-El broke the neck of his Kryptonian opponent General Zod, killing him and violating one of foundation blocks of tale of Superman. Superman Never Kills. There’s no room for negotiation in that statement. Zack Snyder’s creation can never truly be Superman in my eyes.

Which brings us back full-circle to the subject at hand, the final episode of Gotham for 2015.  The creators of this series can play as hard and fast with the characters as they choose to, however when the series airs its final episode when ever that occurs certain paths have to remain unchanged. Selina Kyle will grow-up to become Catwoman, Alfred Pennyworth will live to see Bruce Wayne go deeply into his adult years. Of course Bruce will either be on his way or actually donning his cape and cowl in the series finale and Jim Gordon will become the Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department.

Everything else is up for grabs, they can throw a fake Joker on the screen and the fans will accept it. They can give young Bruce a doomed romance that forever affects his heart. They can have Harvey Bullock turn on Gordon and fall back into the corrupt cesspool that Jim first found him floating in. However they can’t alter those four tent-pole storylines, otherwise it’s a different tale.

The majority of the episode entitled “Worse Than A Crime,” was fast paced, gripping and entertaining as it all came down to a battle between Theo Galavan and the Brothers from the Order Of The Dumas and Jim Gordon, Alfred, Harvey, Cat, Penguin and his crew to save Bruce Wayne from imminent execution. Galavan sneaks away as Team-Gordon takes out all their opponents, culminating in the death of Father Creel as Harvey finally reaches the battle after struggling with the stairs.

At this point the story turned sideways and though it seemed puzzling one could make sense out of it. The only ways out for Theo, his sister Tabitha and his niece Silver are by greeting the police or by parasailing out of their penthouse window. Problem’s they only have two chutes and three people who need to escape. Theo expresses his disappointment in his niece and goes to choke her but he’s stopped as Tabitha comes up from behind and knocks him out with a blow to the top of his skull. Suddenly a devoted sister turns on her benefactor brother, without any real indicators? Strange but acceptable.

However what came next was not as Gordon finds Galavan in his office and tells the Mayor that he’s under arrest and to cuff himself. Galavan smiles and says you scared me there for a minute I thought you were going to shoot me. Gordon says this time he’s not getting away and Theo asks the detective if he’d like to wager on that, as that’s what Jim thought the last time he arrested him. The detective glares at Theo and says maybe he’s right and perhaps he should guarantee that Galavan never sees freedom again and puts his service revolver against the billionaire’s head. Galavan goes into begging mode quickly saying he was just talking big.

Just then Gordon’s commander Captain Nathaniel Barnes arrives on the scene with a uniform and orders Gordon to step away from Galavan. Barnes earlier in the episode issued a warrant for Gordon’s arrest, not knowing where his detective was located and he’d been charged with assaulting Galavan, still the city’s mayor. Barnes tells Gordon to put his service revolver on the floor and to put his hands on his head until Barnes gets the stories straight. Seconds later Barnes hits the floor as Penguin’s snuck up from behind him and hit him in the head knocking him out.

Cobblepot tells Gordon they can’t just let Galavan go through the system again and once again get set free. He reminds Gordon that he’s got all the judges in his pocket and he’d soon be back in his penthouse and running the city. We then see Gordon opening the trunk of a car and helping Galavan to his feet. Theo says you’re a moral man Jim, you’ll regret this and Gordon says he has greater things to regret than him. Penguin raises a baseball bat over Galavan as he lies on the sand near the ocean and says this is for his mother and beats Theo until the mayor pleads for his death. Gordon lets Oswald hit him another couple of times and then screams enough. He then pulls out his service revolver and executes Theo Galavan.

Gordon meets Lee Thompkins in a park, he sent her out-of-town just before the gunfight. She told him she’s carrying his child and he was about to leave Gotham City with her when he found out Bruce Wayne got kidnapped by Galavan. She sits on a cement bench and he walks over to her  and says it’s all over then asks her to marry him.

Do the creators of Gotham expect the audience to accept this brutal execution as part of the baptism by fire that helped shape James Gordon into the man who’ll become Commissioner of the GCPD. Gordon killed a man earlier in the season when he did a favor for Penguin to get reinstated on the force, but that was in self-defense. This was a premeditated act of execution and I don’t know how the character or the series recovers from this move.

I’m certain that there will be plenty of discussion from the creators of the series as well as from other observers. I’m hoping that there’s a rational explanation behind this event that allows us to forgive and to root once again for Jim Gordon.

Photo: Courtesy Of FOX

Photo: Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

 The FOX Network concluded their ten-part miniseries “Wayward Pines,” with an episode that’s kept social-media-sites buzzing, over the last few days. The finale divided fans of the series into two camps, those who think the show ended on a brilliant note, while others simply hated it. During the last few minutes of the finale, the show-runners pulled a “bait and switch” maneuver, altering the optimistic ending that got set-up during the hour, to a much darker conclusion. While many viewers enjoyed the twist in the final minutes, many fans got confused or disgusted with the ending.

Although I’ve yet to read any of the Wayward Pines trilogy of novels, written by author Blake Crouch, I’m aware that the miniseries ended differently than the first novel did. I’m also aware that a plot-device used in the TV show “The First Generation Of Wayward Pines,” wasn’t utilized in Crouch’s books. The fact that the mini-series used the youngsters prominently and they figured into the conclusion, has many friends of mine that read the novels, besides themselves in consternation. We’ve seen Hollywood reconfigure some incredible novels, into films that were barely recognizable to the book’s fans for decades. So we’re going to leave that subject alone, in this article and just deal with the perspective of fans who didn’t read the books.

The series and its final episode are recapped elsewhere on this site, so we’re going to concentrate on just the final scenes of Thursday’s finale. The creator of Wayward Pines, David Pilcher got shot to death by his disillusioned sister Pam, earlier in the evening. The show’s protagonist, former Secret Service Agent turned Wayward Pines Sheriff Ethan Burke, sacrificed his life to save the rest of the residents. Burke connected four bombs to a detonator and when the Abbies began to attack the elevator car he rode in, he blew them and himself up. The elevator exploded into a ball of flame and then dropped like a stone to the bottom of the shaft.

Hearing the explosion, Ethan’s son Ben stuck his head inside the shaft, looking and calling for his father. However, his search didn’t last long as a piece of debris hit him in the head and knocked him out cold.

A while later, things have calmed down in Wayward Pines, as the power’s restored, the people are safe and they’ve had a chance to catch their collective breath. Pam and Kate Balinger, Ethan’s former partner in the Secret Service, knock down all the barriers that have come between them for the last 12-years and level with each other. We see a pact formed between the two women, to help run the town and end all the secrets and lies that David insisted on using. Things appear to be taking an optimistic turn as the women attempt to put humanity in the year 4028, back on the right path. Then the screen goes blank for a few seconds, something doesn’t feel right, it seems unfinished. We soon find out that’s indeed the case.

When the picture returns we hear a female voice asking how are you feeling Mr. Burke? Ben’s in a hospital bed and Amy’s wearing a nurse’s uniform, he asks what’s going on and Amy says his doctor will be there shortly and explain everything. Ben asks her why she’s dressed like that and she replies she’s a nurse and graduated two weeks ago.

Ben soon finds out he’s been in suspension for the last three-years and four-months, along with all the adults from Group B. The First Generation Of Wayward Pines, overpowered the adults and after putting them all back to sleep, took over operation of the town. The fear and ignorance are back in full force, emphasized by corpses hanging on light-poles on Main Street, one having a sign around his neck reading “Do Not Try To Leave.”

Judging by the posts I’ve encountered on Social-Media-Sites, a sizable portion of the viewers were confused by the ending. They failed to realize that Pam, Kate, Theresa Burke and the rest of the adults from Wayward Pines, were back in their cryogenic tubes in suspended animation. Many also failed to grasp that the dozens of students that rode out the storm in the supply room of Wayward Pines Academy, had taken control of the town and running it just as the man they refer to as their Savior, David Pilcher kept things in order.

Another segment of the audience, believes that the last-minute twist was the perfect conclusion for the miniseries. Many felt that an optimistic ending, with all holding hands and singing “Kumbaya,” would have felt false and forced. This was after all the story of a psychotic genius, who kidnapped hundreds of people over a 15-year period, ripping them away from their lives and loved ones, so that Pilcher could restore humanity in the distant future. The optimistic conversation between Pam and Kate, was in fact just a mirage. A momentary feeling that they could reshape their society.

The last segment of the audience, simply hated the conclusion. They didn’t like the fact that Ethan Burke died and got more upset when they realized his death was in vain. The open and free society, that Burke envisioned never came about and in fact many folks got punished just for learning the truth. They didn’t play an active role into finding out what their circumstances were, but just by getting informed they got put back in suspension.

There were some published reports last week emanating from Internet-Based TV Sites that FOX had decided against bringing back Wayward Pines for a second season. However as of this writing, the network’s been mum on the series fate and no mainstream publication such as Entertainment Weekly, or USA Today have gone with the story running on the Internet sites. So as far as this writer’s concerned, the decision whether to bring back Wayward Pines next summer’s a 50/50 proposition and the controversy over the finale, helps the chances of FOX renewing the show.

As far as this writer’s opinion on the finale, it was far from being a satisfying episode. Had we flashed ahead and witnessed a teary-eyed Theresa, Ben and Amy at the dedication of a statue to the town’s hero Ethan Burke, for sacrificing his life to save Wayward Pines and all the residents were happy, that would have been a true “warm-and-fuzzy” moment. But the “bait and switch” conclusion, may have been the best fit. It was a dark-ending for a dark-series and 48-hours after being broadcast on the East Coast it’s still causing a buzz.

Courtesy of FOX

Courtesy of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The townspeople gather on main street. A reckoning is afoot. Ethan marches Kate to the platform, knife pressed against her throat. Some of her supporters are amidst the crowd with small weapons, seemingly prepared to respond. Flashing back to sometime before the reckoning, there is a much larger problem descending upon the fence. It takes one of the Abbies seconds to deduce that food very well could be on the other side of this large metal box that breached the fence. Luckily, Ethan arrives in time to introduce this Abbie to the grill of his truck. He then quickly smashes two more crawling under the dump truck by shooting out the tires.

In their holding cells Franklin begins to freak out a little while Kate remains calm. Franklin anticipates Ethan doing his ‘job’ like Sheriff Pope. Kate disagrees. Her previous experience with Ethan would seem to dictate just the opposite. Franklin insists they are already dead, it’s just a matter of time.

The apparent spokesmen for the first senior class of Wayward Pines abruptly pay the Sheriff a visit. Even though Ethan is not there, they are less than polite about their agenda. The children, even the old ones, take the rules very seriously. Their point of contention is that Ethan is holding terrorists with no intention of a reckoning. Arlene does her very best to stand strong between these kids and the detained. They reluctantly leave.

In what I at least I see as an underwhelming follow-up to a significant cliff hanger, we find Ethan and David Pilcher observing the repairs on the wall. One Abbie got through and Ethan killed it. Two more attempted to get through and Ethan smashed them with a parked dump truck. The gist of the collective fanbase’s anticipation for this episode in particular had to do with how much damage the Abbies would cause and is Wayward Pines equipped to fight them off. Taking three of them out before they could organize and fixing the fence is extremely underwhelming.

Ethan and Pilcher debate the causes of the predicament they find themselves in. Ethan believes this happened because Pilcher won’t tell them the truth. Pilcher believes this will only get worse the longer the rules violators go unpunished. Pilcher suggests that without Kate, there is no rebellion. Reckon her and everything goes back. A notion, that for now, Ethan refuses to get on board with. Then Pilcher does something that might be ill-advised. He threw the Easter Bomber in Ethan’s face as a cautionary tale before the dramatic walk away.

Ethan forcefully escorts Harold into the interrogation room…for the second time now. Harold tries to resist Ethan’s approach until he sees Kate. Ethan shrugs that off and drops two 8×10 photographs of Allen and Eric. Or what’s now left of them. As predicted, Harold is having a difficult time accepting the evidence in front of him. Ethan wants names.

Pam feeling nostalgic or fearful, finds Theresa and pulls her aside. This private conversation begins with the importance of questioning things. This is either Pam opening up or setting Theresa up for something bad. She suggests Theresa take Boxwood instead of Main St home. Just to see what she’ll find. Pam was touchy/feely for a reason. When Theresa reaches the elevator she discovers a key card in the sleeve of her cardigan. They same type of key card that unlocks the cryo-chambers.

All of the names Harold gave Ethan are conveniently in one place. Or so it would seem. Surveillance puts them all at the Biergarten. Which at the moment is virtually empty. The barkeep gets a phone call from Pilcher. No words are heard, but upon hanging up, the bartender finds all of their tracking devices at the bottom of a beer glass. The 14 dissidents are off the grid.

Amy develops a swelling in her brain. The commotion draws the attention of Ben who is under the impression that she is recovering just fine. Like any caring person in a hospital scene of this type, Ben almost cannot be contained by Pam. His emotions run over. Pam eventually convinces him to trust the staff.

During the painful time that Ben must wait to hear back from the hospital staff on the progress with Amy’s swelling, Megan Fisher re-enters Ben’s hospital room spewing her tired rhetoric. She stops speaking to let the student body’s fist pounding outside can be heard. Fisher is a rabble-rouser. She has collected the children and lobbied for Ben’s involvement to create added pressure for reckonings.

During the surveillance to find the dissidents, HQ’s staff finds this temporarily non-violent protest outside the hospital. Ben speaks to the crowd. At first it’s somber about the situation with Amy. But then it transitions into the same lines about rules and the safety of the town. Even including an apology for his father’s failures. This prompts one of the seniors to demand an answer.

Jason (senior): So when is your Dad going to reckon them?
Ben: He’s not going to.
(the senior storms off)

Naturally, the key card in Theresa’s possession would lead her to plot 33. What Theresa finds looks more like a bomb shelter than anything else. Once below, one swipe of the key card and ‘level 13 clearance’ appears and the door opens.

The Dead Poets Society rejects (seniors) return to the Sheriff’s office. This time with a bat and less calm. Jason subdues Arlene and handcuffs her to a filing cabinet before breaking into a weapon locker. At this point, Kate tries to reason with Jason by recalling a story involving Jason and a toy soldier about ten years earlier. The story only causes him to hesitate momentarily. At gunpoint, Jason forces the group out of their cells. Harold tries to retaliate after Jason strikes Kate but it doesn’t work.

Jason begins reciting the motto. He stands behind Harold, gun pointed. Then in a cinematically dark turn of events, shoots Harold in the back of the head sending blood all over Kate’s agonizing face. He continues to take out the remaining men with no abandon. Just before he shoots Kate in the head, Ethan arrives and shoots Jason.

Once moved to the interrogation room, Kate is tight-lipped. Almost catatonic. She eventually gives in. Ethan can’t protect the dissidents as long as Kate is being protected. Her plan is to reckon her to prevent others from dying. Before they can decide on this, Theresa comes in and tells Ethan she has something to show him, and Kate should see it too.

Lot 33 seems to have a library of videos of some specific relevance. The first of which shows Adam Hassler in the year 4020. He has found the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s half-submerged in the bay. He also references the Abbies and how they have been tracking him. This is another source that confirms what Ethan has said. Ethan has decided these videos need to be shared with the town. But it has to come before midnight. That’s when there will be a reckoning.

Ethan has invited himself into Pilcher residence. He tells Pilcher he plans to reckon Kate. Ethan will reckon Kate, but that’s it. No more killing. Pilcher gladly agrees. Ethan’s one other stipulation is that everyone, and he means everyone, has to be there. This brings us back to the reckoning scene from the cold open. However, he does not kill Kate. It was all a ploy to get everyone within earshot of Ethan to hear the truth.

Pilcher watches on a monitor as Ethan uncovers Dr. Jenkins as Dr. Pilcher and the man behind the curtain. The world they know no longer exists. Kate chimes in supporting Ethan’s claims. Then Theresa. Then Arlene and so on. Fisher interjects to push back and proclaim David Pilcher the savior deity she believes him to be. Megan rants on demanding Kate be reckoned. That’s the precise moment that Theresa slaps the gumption out of Fisher’s rant. Then…Pilcher cuts the power to the entire town. Including the electricity to Amy’s hospital room. And for what? To show them the horror he has been protecting them from. The final frame shows an Abbie grabbing the fence with no consequence for doing so.

Courtesy of FOX

Courtesy of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Ethan frantically carries his injured son into the hospital. Pam greets him and tries to put his mind at ease by reiterating that the children are their most precious resource. Shortly thereafter, Pam escorts Theresa into Ben’s room. The prognosis is better than expected, but they’re not out of the woods yet. Dr. Pilcher runs in and Pam intercepts him. He is understandably irate. Pam’s solution to the fallout is to have a ‘celebration of life in Wayward Pines’.

Harold and some of the dissenters are in the woods with an injured man. Assumption being the driver of the delivery truck. Harold gets the news that Kate is in jail and others are in the wind. One of them, while sympathetic has to leave to save himself.

While Kate sleeps, we see a flashback dream sequence of her in a padded room with Dr. Pilcher. She seems crazy, but really is having a difficult time coming to grips with the situation. With the limited truth the adults are given, it’s not far-fetched that she still believes this is a government program/experiment.

Pilcher attempts to quell the rumors being discussed in the coffee shop when Ruby gets a phone call. A gathering tonight, attendance is mandatory. Pilcher surveys the room after this news. Ruby looks awkward and removes something from her left ear. They appear to be pine needles. Her chip indicates that she’s at home in bed. Pilcher wants to look deeper to see how many other chips suggest they are at home in bed.

Ethan visits Kate demanding to know where the others are. He tells her about what happened to Ben and when she shows sincere concern, he lashes out. Then Kate brings up the question that we haven’t seen posed on-screen. Why did they choose Ethan to be Sheriff? Was it really just because he killed the Sheriff and then must assume his responsibilities? Kate believes that when it comes right down to it, Ethan will always follow orders.

Pam meets with Pilcher in his home to update him on the status of Amy and Ben. He interrupts her to tell her that he believes Ruby is ‘one of them’. Pilcher believes there is someone on the inside helping them to evade surveillance. Pam’s suggestion of conducting a security review doesn’t seem to do much for his concern.

Pam begins her questioning. She leads them down standard questioning then throws each one a curve ball. Thus far, they are giving all the right answers. Until interview #3. He is skeptical about how much he should be hearing. He believes she’s opening up for him to be honest. In turn, he gives honest answers. Not the best idea. “It’s just human nature to ask questions”.

Ben wakes up with Theresa bedside. His first concern is Amy. As Theresa leaves the room to check on Amy, Mrs. Fisher sneaks in to speak with Ben. After the initial small talk, she begins to plant the seed that this all happened due to Ethan’s poor choices in letting people go. She’s clearly doing damage control. She continues putting more thoughts in his head as to the severity of the situation. Up to and including the suggestion that he was a survivor of a terrorist attack.

The group of dissenters in the woods discover that their driver has died. They begin to dig a grave for him when one of them stops. He refuses to bury this man inside the fence.

At the gathering, amidst the side conversations, Pilcher suggests that the Mayor say some words to bring the people together. The Mayor doesn’t get three sentences out before Ethan asks to address the crowd. His message is just the opposite. Ethan thinks this gathering is a bad idea. Ethan gives details to what happened last night, which is exactly not what Pilcher wanted.

Ethan visits Ben and tries to make light of the situation. Here’s where Mrs. Fisher’s words influence Ben’s thinking. Even when Ben mentions the notion that Ethan let Harold go because he’s married to Kate. Bringing up previous issues they dealt with in Seattle over two thousand years ago. But, Ethan lets him speak. Saying to Theresa, he can say whatever he wants. Ben is clearly angered by this. Theresa tries to suggest that Mrs. Fisher is filling his head with this, and Ethan cuts her off. Then Amy walks in.

Pilcher and Pam meet again. It seems no one is intentionally breaking any rules. He says that it would be a tough line to cross if they had to punish someone on the inside. Pam claims they won’t have to. This grabs Picher’s attention. He grows a devious smile. It seems he is becoming suspicious of his own sister.

Letting the man go that would eventually cause a bigger problem would not be the first time it’s happened with Ethan. Ethan tells Theresa about the ‘Easter Bombings’, the previous example. This is the incident that lead to his infidelity with Kate.

Theresa confronts Mrs. Fisher. Theresa is not wrong, but squaring off with the Principal and residential hypnotist is probably not the best direction to take. She suggests that the best thing Fisher can do is to stay as far away from her family as possible.

Ethan gets a call about a stolen truck. In their effort to open the fence, for freedom or burial opportunities, Harold and the other man from the woods have stolen a 30 foot dump truck. Instead of assuming that there will be another bomb, Ethan thinks that the truck may be the bomb. Or at least the tool to open the fence.

Our second flashback of the night shows a more compliant Kate discussing her progress with Dr. Pilcher. She compares the difference between the same questions here and there. Wayward Pines provides a place where the imminent fear of terror is dramatically minimized. She feels safe regardless as to the answers. She can live moment to moment. Her compliance of course is only an act. Pilcher visits Kate in jail. They discuss the balance between risking loss of life for the truth. Both stand firm on their convictions. Despite that, Pilcher will not tell her what the truth is. Even after she reveals that she knows his name is David Pilcher and not Dr. Jenkins.

Pilcher: It’s not a question of keeping people in the dark. It’s a question of keeping people alive. Freedom or safety. Not both. (Pilcher walks away)
Kate: And who anointed you to make that choice?
Pilcher: I did.

Pilcher returns to his study where Pam pours him some tea. She leaves to get him some pie. Pilcher picks up the phone and quietly asks for security. The first stop is interview #3. Pilcher informs Pam of the interviewer. Pam is resistant to the idea of punishing him. Pam’s own humanity is showing through despite Pilcher’s panic. Pilcher gathers all of those ‘on the inside’ to witness what he thinks will be the last killing. With Reggie (interview #3) in cryo-stasus, one of the workers walks up and pushes a button on the panel and the unit fills with dirt. With Reggie still in it.

Harold tells his associate that he cannot continue without Kate. As he tries to walk off out of view, Ethan spots him from his truck. After a short chase and a few rounds shot in the air, Harold stops. Harold won’t give anything up and tells Ethan its too late.

Pilcher gives a Pilcher like speech to his team about vigilance. Meanwhile the man in the dump truck rams the fence. Successfully enough. He grabs his dead friend and ventures into the other side. He has a moment reviling in their success. Believing that they’ve made it. It only takes a few moments for the Abbies to find him. His moment of success becomes his moment of realization, just before they eat him.

Courtesy of FOX

Courtesy of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Ethan spent the night contemplating what he now knows. In the morning Theresa comes downstairs to find him in the kitchen still pondering what he discovered the night before. Despite instructions from Pilcher, Ethan decides to gradually tell Theresa enough to get her to stop considering a move back to Seattle. As we’ve discovered from ‘group A’, she just can’t wrap her head around the idea. She predictably thinks he’s been somehow brainwashed. He tries to explain that what he’s telling her came from what he saw with this own eyes and not a drug induced haze from a treatment at the hospital.  He mentions the ‘creatures’ and even the bombshell that it’s not the 21st century.  The number ‘4028’ is actually the date.  Shortly thereafter, they all get in Ethan’s truck and he notices something peculiar.

Ethan suggests they start walking. In short order, Ethan finds the culprit under the hood. Ethan takes the metal cylinder to his new office and discovers what looks like a small amount of C4. Pam walks in after Ethan pulls a file from the hiding spot in the floor.

On the walk to school, Theresa clings to Ben as she has since they arrived. Ben, unlike Theresa knows and has embraced the truth. He has accepted this fate and is good with it. Theresa’s mind can’t seem to get past the Seattle that no longer exists. Theresa tries to follow Ben inside the building but Mrs. Fisher won’t permit it.

On her way back from the school, Theresa again stops at Lot 33. Despite its plain appearance, she finds what appears to be a trap door in the ground.

Ethan meets with Franklin (the man from the file). He finds a way to bring up Franklin’s previous experience with explosive demolition, which prompts Franklin to leave abruptly.

Mrs. Fisher begins their Biology lesson by encouraging the children to open their text books and snicker if they’d like. This appears to be a lesson in sex education as procreation is the most important job the kids of Wayward Pines have. Reliving a sex ed class is very awkward to relive. The creepy factor rises a little when Mrs. Foster suggests that part of her job is to help them find their eventual mate.

Ethan finds Harold meeting with Franklin shortly after Ethan’s meeting with Franklin. After some small talk, Ethan asks Harold why he found a bomb in his truck then ask Harold to accompany him to the Sheriff’s office. Once outside, Harold tosses a pedestrian towards Ethan in the hopes of escaping. Harold doesn’t get very far.

Behind closed doors Ethan and Harold chat. Harold doesn’t admit to anything but does suggest that taking down the wall wouldn’t be a bad thing. “Don’t you want to get out, anywhere?” Ethan turns it back around to the ‘group’ of those trying to take down the wall. Specifically asking for names. Harold predictably jumps on the grenade taking credit for everything. Ethan writes a note intended for Kate, adding further confusion for Harold.

Clearly the note was to meet with Ethan as soon as possible. Kate is absolutely the leader, but we already knew that. We flashback to one of if not the first meeting of this clandestine group, then Ethan asks her to stop. Then she asks the magic question. “Why would I stop?” Ethan explains just enough. It’s not the 21st century out there. Kate seems to take this as more lies and she gets distant quick. Ethan gives her the ultimatum to cease and desist, but one must believe that’s not going to happen.

Amy catches up with Mrs. Foster to discuss Ben. Not as an assignment, but that Amy is legitimately falling for Ben and is considering taking their not quite relationship to the next level. Or in other words adding a level of physical intimacy into the equation.

Kate returns to the toy store and heads to the back. She and Harold believe ‘they got to’ Ethan. As we learned in the flashback episode, the adult mind refuses to accept the new reality. Kate decides to advance the time-table. They take the wall down tonight. But before that, its their turn for their annual fertility assessment. It’s obvious that the powers that be are intent on progressing towards that first completely original generation. Kate and Harold play the part well, but at the very least Pam is becoming suspicious.

Theresa and Kate accidentally meet in an elevator. After a short uncomfortable pause, Theresa asks to talk. About Ethan. They share what they know and accepting the truth is not on the table. To further complicate things, Kate tells of the only phone call she was able to successfully make to an outside like. There was a message from Ressler. Kate was entering a governmental program and would be severely tested. Possibly from another agent. And that her good-bye felt final.

Ethan pulls up right as Amy outlines her plan for her and Ben’s romantic evening.

Kate’s group attempts to set their charges when Ethan breaks up the party. Franklin disarms the bomb and Ethan accompanies them all to their respective holding cells. Kate doesn’t back down. She let’s be know very clearly that whatever this is, it’s only just begun. Once Ethan deduces that Harold is in charge of the backup bomb, she stands even more firm.

Ben makes his escape from the house (quite nimbly I might add) to meet up with Amy. They wait for the delivery truck to pull up. The same delivery truck that possesses said backup bomb. With the assistance of Pam and a very Dark Knight-esque surveillance system they locate Harold and the delivery truck driver passing a package. That package is in the delivery truck currently. Which is where Ben and Amy are. Amy finds the package and opens it. Another Ballinger original music box, which Amy uses as ambiance. Amy pulls Ben down behind a stack of sand bags and the kissing begins.

Ethan pursues that lead, but a group of Kate’s followers set up a roadblock to slow him down. It did, but just enough. Just as Ethan arrives on foot behind the delivery truck the little ballerina stops and the back-end of the truck blows up before Ethan can get there. After the explosion, Ethan finds Amy. Then shortly thereafter an unconscious Ben.

Courtesy of FOX

Courtesy of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Ethan Burke wakes up in the woods just as a figure escapes from view. He ventures out and the figure is not gone. Its racing past him repeatedly and even slices his arm as if to say, ‘still here’. Ethan fires his shotgun blindly over and over. One shot sounds like it might have hit something. Or someone.

Ben has begun to take a real interest in Amy. The bigger issue here is that perhaps he’s begun to accept the situation. Last week, the Mayor admitted that the town focuses on shaping the minds of the children. Ben is doing what he must to fit in, or so he says. It also doesn’t hurt that Ben is received like one of the popular kids.

Theresa following her son’s example decides follow-up on the real estate job she was handed. Her boss or at least immediate supervisor is loud a brash. Theresa’s first assignment is to ‘give’ the newest addition to Wayward Pines (i.e. ‘accident’ victim) a new house.

Ben and a couple of others have been summoned to ‘orientation’. Three kids in numbered seats in a white room. Mrs. Fisher enters without a word and sets up a projector. Fisher shows them students. All of them that came before them. This orientation is very ominous. Using phrases like “only accept”, “if you make it through” and “first generation of”. Only those kids ready for the truth will proceed.

Ethan continues to map the terrain, I assume to map out an effective escape route.

Theresa makes her way to the hospital to greet the accident victim she is supposed to give a house to. Mr. Johnson (the victim) is resistant to her help. She then tries to sympathize with him and his attitude changes. They connect as both being accident victims. Only Mr. Johnson saw something. He implicates Pam but before he can go too far, Theresa gets closer and warns him that this place is not safe. Great approach, if Nurse Pam wasn’t eavesdropping around the corner.

Fisher shows them more slides. This time of the same section of land over time. 14 years ago, a few years after that, and 3 months ago. She asks the kids what they see. Ben points out a figure in the left third. This the first official introduction of what they call ‘abbies’. These figures are the result of genetic mutations or aberrations. The photo is blurry, but it vaguely resembles the Marvel character Abomination if it was normal human sized. They resemble humans because they once were.

While Ethan tracks his route, hoping to avoid what his son is currently more informed on, Fisher continues with the lesson. She hands each kid a dirty coin. Ben asks to scrape off the sediment. What he finds is even more unexplainable. It’s a United States quarter whose date would indicate it came from about 80 years in the future. The Abbies are devolved humans. And the long and short of it is, they don’t have quarters from 80 years in the future, they have quarters that are over 2,000 years old. It’s not 2014, it’s the year 4028. Wayward Pines, it seems, may be an attempt to repopulate the human race into a world whose civilization died centuries ago.

Fisher explains how this is possible. Ethan finds the edge of Wayward Pines to discover what I assume used to be Boise, laid in ruins. Theresa talks to Mr. Johnson in the new home with dryer running. He remembers waking up and looking out of a window not unlike that of the dryer. Cryo-sleep. And why? These people were all chosen to survive the human race.

A doctor foresaw the devolution and decided to collect a sample of people to hopefully stave off the mutation that affects all people or things outside the walls of Wayward Pines. His name is David Pelcher. They will never meet him, but he is always watching. Essentially making a doctor a God.
Out on the edge of civilization a black helicopter approaches and lands in front of Ethan. Out of the helicopter steps Dr. Jenkins (Toby Jones). Only he is not Dr. Jenkins. His real name is Dr. David Pelcher.

The kids are on strict instructions not to share this new information with their parents. The idea being that adults have lived too long in the old world and their minds cannot handle this new reality. This way, the children are the guardians of the arc that is Wayward Pines.

Following orientation, Fisher escorts them to a dark room where all of the other kids stand holding candles. Amy welcomes them to the first generation. The kids all begin pound their palms repeatedly creating a fraternity like ritual.

At the helicopter, David gives Ethan the hard sell. Reluctantly, Ethan agrees to get on the chopper just as the Abbies descend upon his previous position. As the helicopter rises avoiding the four Abbies in pursuit, Ethan sees the desolation in the surrounding areas.

Courtesy of FOX

Courtesy of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Beverly continues to bleed out onto the wooden rig she was executed on as a young girl leaves a single lily at her feet. Sheriff Pope continues to stump for the duty of all citizens to protect the town. The crowd recites the rules while he preaches. Ethan continues to follow the plan despite the hunting party on his trail.

Kate puts on a kettle for tea when Ethan appears out of the darkness of her kitchen. He tries again to appeal to the woman she was, but the ‘reckoning’ paralyzes her and keeps her from reacting with any semblance of humanity towards the execution she just sat through. In a brief moment of clarity, Kate moves in close. Admits that there is blood on her hands and that Ethan got the second chance that most don’t get. Then she hands him his tracking chip. Then the phone rings.

Ethan: You going to answer that?
Kate: They’re not calling for me.
Ethan: Last chance, come with me.
Kate: You’ll never get out of here alive.
Ethan: Watch me.

Ethan makes his way back to 604 Main St to find Beverly’s body handcuffed to the ceiling. He pulls her down and vows to find her daughter and convey how hard she tried to get back to her. Ethan makes his way back to Beverly’s house to find it completely empty. As in ready to show. Just then, a man walks in showing the property to a couple of workers. He stops short and instructs the workers to start upstairs. Ethan comes around the corner. The ‘realtor’ says quietly, “don’t say a word” then gestures to his right. Outside Ethan sees a delivery truck with Wyoming tags.

Theresa (Ethan’s wife) has had enough with the agency run around. Her and son Ben travel to Boise in the hopes of finding him. With or without Kate. At the Boise field office she tries to get somewhere with a secretary. At first she doesn’t get anywhere but appeals to her sense of revenge if her husband is with another woman. The secretary tries to find some information from her supervisor. Meanwhile Theresa hacks the computer using Ethan’s login. She finds the last item on his expense report then leaves.

They stop at the convenient store of his last purchase. The clerk not only recognizes Ethan from the picture, but also remembers that they were dressed like they were headed to a funeral. Then two kids that look like they belong in The Shining mention an accident near Wayward Pines.
Before then can get to Wayward Pines, Theresa is pulled over. By whom? You guessed it Sheriff Pope. As he approaches the vehicle he casually squirts out a stream of oil from a large syringe. He offers to give her a temporary fix. He instead cuts a line under the hood.

Ethan hides in the back of the delivery truck, unnoticed by the delivery guy. The vehicle eventually comes to a stop. Ethan cautiously gets out onto a very strange looking warehouse. Strangely clean. Strange in general. Another vehicle enters. He notices many dirty cars. He jumps in one that turns out to be Theresa’s car. Inside is a sealed bag that reads, “Burke, Theresa Effects”. Then Pope smashes the window and pulls Ethan out. Pope stabbed him with an injection of some kind, this time Ethan doesn’t make it 10 feet before Sheriff Pope says something curious.

Pope: I don’t know what they see in you.

Ethan wakes to a ringing phone. The voice tells him that his wife and son were just discharged from the hospital. Ethan leaves the room to find Nurse Pam. She informs him that they are probably at home. Suggesting that Ethan Burke has a home in Wayward Pines. One of the nicest properties just opened up last night.

And just like that, all three Burkes embrace in Beverly’s old kitchen. Theresa and Ben don’t remember anything. Then the realtor enters the room to welcome them home. The realtor leans in and mentions the ‘state of the art security system’. The phone rings and Ethan rips the cord from the wall. He asks wife and son to stay inside.

Ethan confronts Sheriff Pope. Breaks the rules in his presence and Pope insists that Ethan does not want to know what’s behind door number three. Then Ethan politely threatens to kill Pope if he comes close to his family again. Then there is an old fashioned testosterone standoff. The phone rings. Then Nurse Pam (ironically at the precinct) tells Pope to stand down. The nurse tells the sheriff to stand down.

Dr. Jenkins intercepts Ethan on his trudge back towards the house. Still more cryptic dialogue. “Everyone in this town is doing the best they can, including you”. Then gives Ethan the hard sell on accepting Wayward Pines as his home with his family. “Not everyone has that”.

Ben sees from an upstairs window Ethan sneak off into the brush with Kate. Then decides to follow. Ethan it seems, only wanted to see how much she knew in regards to Theresa and Ben being in town.

Around the time Theresa notices Ben’s absence, she also notices Sheriff Pope in the kitchen helping himself to their ice cream. The creepy factor that Terrence Howard brings is tangible. He then asks for an thank you. That he does not get. Then Theresa asks him to leave. He obliges, reluctantly.

In the woods, Kate opens up as she wouldn’t in town. The time that’s passed, Kate actually believes is different. Ben returns to inform on his dad to his mom. Which she absolutely seems to be buying. And why wouldn’t she. The vague details line up perfectly. Ethan returns to find her wedding ring. They two new Burkes attempt to walk out of Wayward Pines. Not knowing the rules when Sheriff Pope arrives signalling with his siren. Instead of stopping they hoof it.

They don’t get far. But they get far enough to find the wall. Ethan pursued on foot and tackled Pope before he could talk to Theresa. In the scuffle, Pope eventually gets upright before Ethan. He points his gun at Ethan. Then meets the business end of his own truck with Ben at the wheel. With Pope laid out on the ground Ethan approaches, gun pointed.

Pope: You think you want to know the truth, but you don’t. It’s worse than anything you can imagine.

The camera pulls back as Ethan discharges a round. He then grabs Pope’s keys and finds a keyless entry remote. By pushing a button part of the wall opens up large enough to drive a truck through. Just before they can drive, something pulled Pope’s body under the gate. With the appearance of the wall, I’d love to say it looked like a small dinosaur, but I’m not willing to make that claim yet. Ethan throws it in reverse and high tails it out of there.

Courtesy of FOX

Courtesy of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

A serious car accident finds Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) laid up in a hospital bed. A curiously empty hospital, with one nurse and next to nothing else that resembles a realistically functioning hospital. The nurse is pleasant enough but has no intention of agreeing to his requests (i.e. phone, clothes, etc) and definitely not in favor of letting him leave. Pam (the nurse) claims his personal effects are at the sheriff’s office. Also that the sheriff’s office called his emergency contacts. Both of which I’m sure are not true.

Ethan and his partner are out searching for a couple missing Secret Service agents thought to have gone missing in this part of the country. One of those agents is Kate Hewson (played by Carla Gugino), who apparently was a former flame of Ethan’s.

At the Seattle field office, Ethan’s colleagues have no idea what happened. Two agents walk down a hall. One is ready to send resources to find out what happened. The other is glad to spin theories that point to doing nothing. The apathetic agent insists on being the one to call the families.
A few hours after the first visit from Nurse Pam with no doctor to follow has Ethan fed up. He rips out his I.V.’s and puts the suit on he arrived in. He starts to stroll out of the hospital when Nurse Pam appears. No one else. Not a single soul in the hospital except Ethan and Nurse Pam. He thanks her for her concern but insists on leaving.

Ethan strolls into a local bar on a main street that looks straight out of any Mountain Town, U.S.A. He meets Beverly (Juliette Lewis) who not only gives him a phone to use but also food with the promise to pay when he finds his wallet. Beverly seems friendly, but there is a hesitation behind her eyes. Beverly scribbles something on a hand ticket. It was not the cost of the burger, it was her address. Ethan turns the paper over and it reads “There are no crickets in Wayward Pines”.

Outside the bar, Ethan stops by a shrub where he hears the sound of crickets. Inside the shrub is a small speaker. Later in his shabby hotel room, the desk manager knocks on his door. The result of that conversation ends with the manager politely asking Ethan to ‘evacuate’ the room.

Ethan follows the address Beverly gave him and it leads to a small house that looks like it’s been condemned for decades. Inside he finds a body of a man wrists and ankles tied to the bedpost. This man is the other agent he was sent to find.

After than dead-end, Ethan makes his way to the Sheriff’s office. There is one secretary annoyed to have to do anything. Sheriff Pope is sitting at his desk doing literally nothing except eating an ice cream cone. Also, annoyed to have to do anything. Ethan mentions the decomposing body which peaks the Sheriff’s interest. Ethan begins to tell him the story of Beverly and the street address. She didn’t give a phone number because the Sheriff is supposed to have his phone. An idea that the Sheriff finds humorous. Ethan offers to walk the Sheriff over to the house at 604 First Avenue, but the Sheriff makes it very clear that he has no interest in being accompanied by Ethan.

In Seattle, the agents vehicle has been returned and is currently being examined. When Agent Hassler asks about the GPS module, the techs inform him that they can’t find the GPS module. Or anything thing else standard on the vehicle that would be helpful in locating Agent Burke.

Ethan tries making his phone calls. Everything goes to voice mail. Then he calls the Seattle field office. There is an answer. The voice on the line sounds suspiciously like Nurse Pam claiming to be Marcy. Ethan gets short with her and that does not help the situation.

Ethan goes back to the bar from the night before hoping to find Beverly. Sitting in the empty bar is a redheaded guy in his 30’s. He claims that bar has two employees. And both of them are men. The man plays up the notion that maybe Ethan had more to drink last night than he should have. Ethan goes into conspiracy theory mode, calling for Beverly as if she’s behind a mirror. After grabbing the man then letting go, the bar employee knocks Ethan out with a shot to the back of the head. Once down, he grabs a walkie-talkie and says:

Bartender: 10-1628 is not doing well.

Ethan has a flashback dream to the day or two before leaving for Idaho. He and his wife are celebrating his teenaged son’s birthday in a park. He mentions that he has to leave town for a few days, then wakes up. This time shackled to the gurney in the creepy one nurse hospital. This time instead of Nurse Pam, he is welcomed by Dr. Jenkins (played by Toby Jones). Dr. Jenkins tells Ethan (truthfully or not) that he has bleeding on his brain and that is the catalyst for his dissociative mental condition. All of Jenkins’ answers are not acceptable to Ethan. He gets louder and more insistent. Leading to Nurse Pam administering a sedative.

Nurse Pam wheels him towards a surgery room then walks away. Then, ironically, Beverly shows up in a black hood wheeling him in the other direction towards an elevator. They get some distance between themselves and Pam. Eventually they both duck into separate doors in a hallway. Pam notices the wetness from Beverly’s boot in the hallway. Believing Ethan is on the other side of the door. Ethan charges out from the other door knocking Pam into the ‘break glass in case of emergency’ as he and Beverly escape.

Beverly gets Ethan into what looks like another condemned squatter house. Beverly does work at the bar, but ‘they’ are trying to break his mind. Beverly tells him as he slips into a drug induced sleep that she came to outfit the schools with Y2K protection software. She was hit just like Ethan and told she had a head injury and memory loss. Then she says, “next week will be my anniversary, I will have been in Wayward Pines for a whole year”. She thinks its only 2000. Ethan says as he slips away that its 2014.

Hessler meets with Ethan’s wife and informs her that while there is no detail he can disclose at this time, it appears that Ethan may not have even been in the car. She asks him bluntly if Ethan is with ‘her’, presumably referencing Kate Hewson. She gets no real answer but doesn’t show any ill will towards Hessler either.

Ethan wakes up the next day and explores Main St again. Eventually he finds a green space between businesses and find a woman enjoying the company of others that looks like Agent Hewson, but with a complete makeover. Ethan flashes back to one of their intimate moments. Then he follows her home. He knocks on the door and a man answers. Hewson comes to the door and acts as if she’s never met him before. The ‘husband’ leaves her to her visitor. She insists they sit on the front steps.

Ethan is all but fed up with the situation, but then Kate begins speaking in a manner that keeps his attention. Making eye contact, “They’re watching us. They’re listening.” He asks how long she’s lived here, and she says 12 years. Which is odd considering Ethan believes they were working together five weeks ago. She has no answers. Then she goes all Stepford Wives and heads back into the house. Ethan asks if he’s having a relapse from a previous psychological episode. She discreetly nods in the negative.

In Seattle, Dr. Jenkins meets with Hessler. Jenkins refers to Hessler by his first name, insinuating a familiarity.

Jenkins: Adam, you wanted to see me?
Hessler: If there’s time, I want to call it off.
Jenkins: Its done Adam. It’s all been taken care of. Nothing for you to worry about.

Ethan quickly hot wires a car belonging to one of the residents. Ethan races towards an exit recklessly. Every path seems to lead him back into town. Eventually, he gets back out on the outskirts country roads and parks the car. He gets out and starts climbing up the mountainside. Ultimately finding a Jurassic Park style fence around the entire perimeter. Even the signs say, “at the risk of death” and “return to Wayward Pines”. He journeys back down. The moment he gets in the car, a cop car behind him turns on his lights. Its Sheriff Pope.

Sheriff: You didn’t make it too far did you?
Ethan: How do I get out of here?
Sheriff: You don’t.

Courtesy of FOX

Courtesy of FOX

Collage Designed And Created By Jason Jones

Collage Designed And Created By Jason Jones

Although the landscape of Television’s changed dramatically, since it first became embraced by Americans in 1947, in many ways TV hasn’t changed at all. Most viewers have no idea, why the Prime-Time schedule, kicks off in September, (the answer’s revealed below) or that the tradition’s a carry-over from radio. The question in 2015, however is if a system that originated in the early 1930’s in another medium, still works for Television today? The most frequent complaint I receive about Television’s, why do shows go on either extended, or frequent hiatuses, during the TV season. The answer’s due to maintaining the same structure that TV used during its first 20-years, of popularity, does that formula still work today?

Television first started becoming commercially viable in the United States, nearly 70-years ago and though many of that era’s shows, now seem crude and rudimentary, others developed formats still in use today. Many of the first Television stars, made the transfer over from radio, which entertained Americans, for nearly the two previous decades. Others, were former vaudevillians like Milton Berle who got dubbed “Mr. Television,” in the late forties and dominated homes on Tuesday nights. New York City reported that the water pressure would change radically, during commercials, due to the mass exodus to the bathroom.

Why does the Prime-Time schedule begin in September? Because that’s when American car manufacturers, a major advertiser on Radio and TV, introduced their new model’s for the following year. For the first few episodes of every season, the programs were loaded with automobile manufacturers, touting all the new models of their cars. Pretty much a case of the tail wagging the dog, but Radio and Television lived exclusively on advertising dollars. This was decades, before cable and satellite radio, where subscriptions, pay the bills.

The format started by radio, then carried over to TV, called for a show to run new episodes 39-weeks a year, then a Summer Series, would fill the void for the remaining 13-weeks. Audio-tape, didn’t exist during radio’s heyday, or videotape for many years in the world of television, so repeats were difficult to air. You’ve likely seen old TV shows on kinescope, a process where someone would actually use a movie camera aimed at Television screen, to send to the Western States, as we lacked the coast to coast coaxial cable setup we acquired in the sixties.

In the late sixties, the medium cut back new episodes to 26, to fill those 39-weeks, thus the repeat came into being. If you watched the show weekly, you got disappointed when repeats aired, however in the days before DVRs and VCRs, it gave viewers a chance to catch shows they missed the first time around. It also encouraged viewers to watch other shows, some of which became massive hits, after getting low-numbers earlier in the campaign.

Shows such as All In The Family, Hill Street Blues and Cheers, eventually all reached the number one spot in the Nielsen ratings, after looking like they’d get cancelled before its completion, started airing repeats. Of course the major networks, showed more patience with a show back then, especially if the series met the parameters of a quality show.

The networks altered the dynamics again, in the nineties, when they reduced their orders on episodes to just 22 per-season. Summer replacement series were no longer the norm, so more than half of the viewing year became repeat broadcasts. Cable networks, starting with HBO and Showtime, started producing Original Series, that began siphoning off a good percentage of the networks viewers. Before long, other networks, such as USA, AMC, TNT and A & E, followed suit. AMC of course produced two groundbreaking series in Breaking Bad and Mad Men and now have two new series, Halt And Catch Fire, which debuted last summer and Better Call Saul, which is currently airing.

TNT has become a prominent source of quality programming, introducing, Murder In The First, The Last Ship and Legends, last summer, all of which will return in a few months, for their second series. Our cousins from “Across The Pond,” have established BBCA, which includes the legendary series Doctor Who and one of my favorite series, The Musketeers, now in its second season.

To counter the competition, the networks introduced these “hiatus-periods,” for many of their series, sometimes replaced by limited run series, or a series of specials. We now commonly hear references to the fall season, or the winter season, in network promotions, terms that suddenly appeared out of nowhere a few years ago.

So now we’ve come full circle and face the question at the beginning of this article, does the system still work in 2015 and if not, then what can be done to improve things? With all the competition, from cable networks and new sources such as Netflix, Hulu-Plus and Amazon, is the system that the networks still hold into, now outmoded?

Many of the reasons behind the system still in use, are no longer relevant. During the days of radio shows and the first couple of decades of Television, Sponsors could host a TV show, leading to titles such as the Texaco Star Theater, Starring Milton Berle and the Kraft Music Hall. That changed due to a ruling in the late sixties and led to the variety of commercials we currently see. Secondly, there’s no longer the big kickoff to the model year for cars, so there really isn’t any reason, why the TV Campaign kicks off in September. With MLB playoffs and the World Series, the start of the NFL season and election coverage, once every four years, is September still the best time to start the season?

If we divide our 52-week year by four, we come up with the number 13. Would having four 13-week seasons of series, be preferable over the system now in place? After all how many series, can truly come up with 22 superior episodes, especially after the show’s been around the block for a while? For a series in its first couple of campaigns, the creative people are bursting at the seams with creativity, but as season ten of Supernatural attests to, it’s really rough creating 22 great episodes ten-years into a series. What if Supernatural only had 13-episodes this season and got supplemented by a spinoff series, concentrating on reoccurring character Charlie Bradbury, called The Adventures Of Charlie? Could something like that work for networks and viewers alike?

An idea that I’ve advocated for years, borrowing another concept from the British, limited run series, designed to tell an entire story in a ten-episode cycle, so the whole story’s completed in the show runner’s heads’ before they even hire a cast member. It’s actually recycling a concept from American TV in the seventies, when networks got hooked on miniseries. Some of those shows are now looked upon as some of the finest products in the history of the medium, unfortunately like most concepts in TV, it got overused and some very mediocre series, sullied the waters.

Perhaps by cutting back on older shows to 13-episode seasons, and making limited run series a part of their annual scheduling, the networks then could up the orders to new series, such as Forever, Gotham, Scorpion and other new series to a 26-week schedule to help eliminate those annoying breaks in the schedule.

Courtesy of FOX

Courtesy of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Alfred sits upright with Bruce at his side when Gordon arrives hospital cafeteria fare for Bruce. Alfred is on a strict ‘doctor’s orders’ diet. When Gordon inquires about the assailant, Alfred is intentionally vague, knowing full well who did it. Bruce follows suit. Gordon tends to some police business. Alfred gives Bruce the line about protecting your mates. Then asserts that he will get to the bottom of ‘why’? Alfred begins to get out of bed and ‘master Bruce’ isn’t having it.

Fish wakes up from her impromptu eye surgery to find Dr. Dulmacher (or “the Dollmaker” played by Colm Feore) watching over her. Now that Fish has actually met “the Doctor”, its time to execute the plan. She pitches him to make her his right hand. Drop Falcone’s name which gets her nowhere. Before the Doctor departs, he informs her that due to their stock of eyes are low, they were unable to match her eye color. And that they will speak more soon. She wanders over to a mirror and removes her bandage to reveal a bright blue eye.

Dent meets with Gordon and the Chief to inform them that Commissioner Loeb provided an eye-witness that exonerated a murderer, drug dealer, and detective Arnold Flass. In addition, Loeb is backing Flass for President of the Gotham City Police Union. Now, since the corruption seems to go to the top, that is where Gordon must strike next. Only this time, Loeb is holding all the cards. The ‘eyewitness’ testimony that exonerated Flass came from Harvey Bullock.

The fallout from Loeb’s office, for the moment, seems marginal. As Harvey put it, “some of us have our own Cobblepot, mine never came back.” Harvey, like Gordon, was given a choice to kill a bad guy or die himself.

Bullock: Half of the cops on GCPD have their own Cobbelpot, and Loeb knows about all of them.
Gordon: Well. It ends now.

Gordon meets with Dent at a diner in part to read Dent to see if he too is in Loeb’s pocket. Dent tries to relate with Gordon on the relationships between partners, then pauses, and left without saying anything. Dent and Gordon escort the man who once called Loeb a partner (back in his homicide department days). He resists, but Gordon leans in and picks up on the older cop’s hesitation.

Griggs: I don’t know what you two are talking about. If I did, I’d say you should ask Xi Lu, Chinese bookkeeper on Huron. Loeb always said, you wanna keep something safe, give it to Xi Lu.

The Doctor and Fish negotiate terms of her purposed deal. He will return Fish to the basement and see just how efficiently she hold up her end of the bargain by supplying the Doctor with a steady flow of new product, or in other words, fresh bodies to harvest parts from. She inquires as to the what if she fails. He responds by showing her what has happened to his former office manager that Fish out played. He is now sporting feminine limbs and augmented feminine breasts. Which was done merely for the Doctor’s amusement.

Selina drops in on Bruce and Alfred. She tries to downplay the severity of the situation, but reads Bruce’s temperament. Then leans in and hugs him. Bruce believes Reggie is the key to everything. Reggie showed up shortly after Bruce informed the board of Wayne Enterprises that he was personally investigating them. And he’s right. Pursuing this is a different story altogether.

Gordon and Dent find the location of the bookkeeper. Whether they were actually talking to the bookkeeper is a different question. They are asked to wait. That gentleman chuckles and leaves. Then everyone else in the room stands up. Gordon and Dent flee. Outside, Bullock pulls up in what becomes the get-away car. Bullock tells them that they didn’t push Griggs hard enough. Or at least not in the right way. Next we find Bullock on top of Griggs with Griggs’ upper half hanging out of a moving car at not a slow speed. Loeb and Falcone are in cahoots. Now they need someone on the inside that might talk. Insert Cobblepot.

Cobblepot understands exactly what is being asked and he is not frightened. Gordon may be slightly clouded by his desire to nail Loeb. Gordon agrees to a favor to be determined later and five minutes with the files when they are found (to not include cop stuff) to help Gordon and Bullock take down Loeb and by some extension Falcone.

Fish returns to the basement to find her ‘family’ divided. Facing opposition from some of them she tells them they will return the Doctor’s guard. Then gives the Doctor one of her more loyal subjects. “Doctor’s Orders”. When one starts to turn, she informs them that ‘their sacrifices ensure your safety”.

Penguin sits in the back seat (preferable to the trunk) when they arrive at “the farm”. Penguin wants no part of entering the premises. Then an old man (Brooks Hatlin old) knocks on the windows and Penguin secures entrance into said farm. It appears that Loeb owns the house this old couple reside in. Surprise surprise, Marge (the Mrs.) worked at Arkham. Quickly we discover that Marge wears the pants in this relationship, or so it seems. Marge goes to fetch the ‘keys’. If by keys they mean guns. The old couple defends the house admirably, but fall to Gordon’s gun.

Upstairs is padlocked door. Inside is a woman in a converted who we must presume is confined there. The assumption to this point is that Commissioner Loeb is hiding his involvement in his wife’s murder. Miriam Loeb (the attic woman) is not his wife. It’s his daughter. She’s clearly not all there. Gordon slowly and delicately inquires about Miriam’s mother’s death. Expecting a revealing detail about Commissioner Loeb doing the deed we discover it was Miriam that did the deed. There is a disturbance, Gordon races downstairs. Penguin is on the floor. A truck races away. Penguin wants to see what’s in the room. He turns around to see Miriam.

Miriam: Who is this? He looks just like a bird. I like birds.

Gordon walks into Loeb’s office without knocking. Drops a necklace made of bird bones (something Miriam makes as a hobby) on Loeb’s desk. Gordon doesn’t want Loeb’s resignation. He wants to maintain his leverage over Loeb. He demands Bullocks file and the files of all GCPD cops sent to Dent. Loeb counters. All that information would surely put a target on his head. Instead, Gordon gets Bullock’s file, Miriam stays put, and Gordon has Loeb in his pocket. And one other request. Loeb publicly endorses Gordon for President of the Police Union, not Flass.

Gordon enters the locker room where he finds Bullock putting something in the locker. Gordon hands him his file, essentially freeing Bullock of the thing that keeps him in check. I expected more gratitude, but instead Bullock conveys a story that comes down to, ‘no matter how much good you do, you can’t escape that one bad thing”. A cautionary tale about the deal he made with the Penguin.

Back at the club, we find the Penguin set up everything at ‘the farm’ to look a certain way. The elderly couple charged with protecting the farm and its content, were in Penguin’s pocket. At the club they were under the impression Penguin would relocate them to Arizona. Irony alert. He informs them that there is only one ticket to Arizona. So Marge gladly kills her partner of decades to win the tickets. Then she stands up, turns to Penguin, who in no uncertain terms lets her know there were never tickets to Arizona. Not unlike Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight recruiting henchmen and forcing them to fight to the death.

The Doctor is pleased with what Fish was able to do and welcomes her into upper management. He also is pleased to show her exactly why he’s not worried about her escaping or betraying him. They are on an island.