Maria Thayer

All posts tagged Maria Thayer

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Looks like our old friend Oswald Cobblepot’s going to have a challenger as King Of Gotham City’s world of crime. In the second episode of the second season of the FOX hit series “Gotham,” we watched Theo Galavan’s band of escapees from Arkham Asylum make their presence known in grand fashion. Galavan’s the ultimate marionette, keeping his identity in the shadows as his escapees wreak havoc and getting Gotham City Mayor Aubrey James to publicly disappear through pure intimidation. Can the Penguin and company stand up against Galavan, his sister Tabitha and his escapees?

Published reports during the summer stated that two major characters would get killed off in the season’s first few episodes. One of those deaths took place in this episode and unfortunately our prediction in our season preview article turned out to be correct, ushering in a new day in Gotham City.

The episode opens with a meeting between Galavan, his sister Tabitha and Gotham City Mayor Aubrey Plaza, who finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having a wooden box covering his head. Theo tells James that he’s going to open the latch in the front of the box and one of two things will occur. Either James agrees to call his secretary and tell her he’s run off with a woman and he’ll send her written instructions of what to do, or Galavan will put a tarantula in the box and close the latch. Naturally the Mayor chooses to make the phone call.

James asks Galavan why he’s doing this to him and the businessman and community leader tells him that he’s just a part of the great endeavor, the great cleansing. Theo tells the Mayor that monsters are coming, who’ll cleanse the city in fire and blood.

We head to the offices of the Gotham Gazette and we see the editor in chief turn up his nose at the paper’s headline asking Where’s The Mayor. The editor starts shouting at his staff that he could care less where James is or whom he’s sleeping with, he says that’s not news. As he gives his lecture, we see bodies coming from the roof, dropping past their windows. The reporters rush to the windows to find out what’s going on.

On top of the roof we find the four men that Galavan and his sister busted out of Arkham Asylum, in the first episode. They’ve got seven hostages up on the roof, in straight-jackets and Jerome spray-paints a letter on each of their jackets and Aaron Helzinger picks them up and throws them to the street below. When they’ve finished the dead men on the ground spell out MANIAX! They’ve introduced themselves to Gotham City.

New GCPD Commissioner Sarah Essen’s working out of her old office in her old precinct. She addresses her officers and informs them they’re dealing with a massive problem, then turns over the floor to reinstated Detective Jim Gordon who gives a rundown on the MANIAX personnel. Jerome Valeska killed his mother, Arnold Dobkins’ a schizoid, a thief and rapist. Robert Greenwood murdered and then ate six women, Aaron Helzinger murdered his entire family with his bare hands and Barbara Kean killed her parents. The seven victims were all from the Yellen shipyard.

Galavan’s meeting with the four men planning their introduction, he says what they did was just the overture. Jerome impresses Galavan the most and when the boys get into a spitting contest over whose the boss, Valeska bests Greenwood in a game of Russian Roulette and winning the title.

Barbara and Tabitha enter the room with James in tow, still with the box on his head and the lid’s latched. The women are taking turns whipping him and tell Theo they’re bored. Kean asks when it’s going to be her turn to do something dastardly and Galavan smiles and says soon. Them he asks her what she knows about Jim Gordon?

Alfred and Bruce are down in Wayne’s father’s secret cave located below Wayne Manor and Alfred’s distraught at what he’s finding in there. There’s a cache of weapons and a bullet-proof vest with two slugs embedded in it. Bruce wants to turn on his father’s computer, but Alfred asks him to think it through. Wayne responds he’s thought about it enough, this contains all his father’s secrets. He turns it on, but Pennyworth destroys the server with a sledge-hammer, saying that what’s inside the computer likely cost Bruce’s father his life and he won’t let Bruce get killed. Wayne tells his butler and guardian that he’s fired and for him to leave and never return.

Jim heads down the bar that Harvey bartends at and he has an unpleasant reunion with Bullock’s fiancée Scottie Mullens. She asks why he’s there and tells Harvey he’s going to ask him to go back to being a cop, but Bullock tells her she’s mistaken. Jim says she’s right, that’s exactly why he came and Harvey tells him he’s got a life now and won’t go back. Before Gordon leaves Harvey tells him to look for a connection with Yellen shipyards, where all the hostages got taken from.

Alfred comes into the library with a small suitcase and bids goodbye to Bruce, Wayne tells him if he needs a reference that he’ll give him a great one. Alfred’s hoping the boy had a change of mind, but he leaves the mansion and heads to the train station.

Harvey’s hunch panned out, the MANIAX stole a filled-up fuel truck from the shipyard and the guys have chosen their victims, a school-bus filled with cheerleaders from Gotham City High School. Jerome soon has all the cheerleaders manacled to their seats  and then sprays them all with gasoline from the truck’s hose. He goes to light the gasoline, but his lighter doesn’t work, so Arnold Dobkins tries his, just as the police arrive. The MANIAX fire on the GCPD realizing they won’t receive return fire, standing in front of the schoolhouse. After shooting some officers they take off leaving Dobkins whose lighter’s failing to spark. Gordon grabs him but it’s a second too late as he finally lit the gasoline trail on the ground leading to the bus.

Jim knocks Dobkins to the ground with a punch in the face and then drives the bus to safety, seconds before the gasoline fire explodes. Gordon grabs Dobkins and asks who busted them out of Arkham, but before Arnold can respond Tabitha shoots him through the head with a high-powered rifle from a nearby rooftop. Now the MANIAX are down to four.

Bruce heads down to the train-station and finds Alfred sitting on a bench and sits down next to him. He tells his guardian he doesn’t want him to leave and he understands he did what he did to protect Bruce. However he says that Alfred’s either with him or against him, Pennyworth responds that of course he’s with him but he believes Wayne’s too young and not ready.

Wayne tells him that’s cool, so he wants Alfred to make him ready to teach him how to become a warrior. He says that Alfred’s lived a dangerous life and he can prepare him, the boy even says he’ll go back to school. Pennyworth agrees to the deal if Bruce follows his instructions completely and when Alfred tells him to hold back he’ll restrain himself. Wayne shakes Alfred’s hand and says he’s got a deal, but Alfred has to get the computer fixed. When Pennyworth asks how he’s going to do that, Bruce responds it’s Alfred’s problem since he broke it.

Regular readers of these pages, are well aware of my admiration of Sean Pertwee’s portrayal of Alfred. Although I enjoyed Michael Caine in the role in the Dark Knight Trilogy, Pertwee brings an edge to the part. He’s a dangerous man and when the situation calls for it, Alfred freely reveals that side of him. The next scene showcases that part of Pennyworth’s personality, as he tracks down Wayne Enterprises executive and confidante of Thomas Wayne, Lucius Fox in his favorite watering-hole.

Alfred makes it seem at first that their meeting’s accidental, but he soon tells Fox that he’d been thinking about him. Fox asks him what his thoughts pertained to and Pennyworth tells him the way he figures thing, the world’s made up of two kinds of people, those you can trust and those you can’t. Lucius agrees with him and then Pennyworth tells him that he needs to confide in him, but if Fox betrays him he’ll wind up dead. Lucius says perhaps he should pass on being Alfred’s confidante and the butler tells him that ship sailed, when he told Bruce his father was a stoic.

Lucius looks Alfred in the eyes and tells him he’s got only the best intentions in regards to Bruce. Pennyworth smiles and says he’s glad to hear that. Then he asks Fox if he can fix a computer?

Back at the precinct Gordon gets a call from Barbara Kean and he tries to play things cool asking her how she’s doing and what’s going on. Kean calls him on it and Gordon tells her she’s sick and she needs help. He says she’s really a good and loving woman and that he wants to help her. Suddenly he sees her in the doorway of the precinct, calling from a cellphone and she asks him how she looks. She leaves the precinct and he follows her out holding his pistol and aiming it at her.

As soon as he leaves Jerome and Greenwood enter the station wearing uniforms. Jerome ties up Commissioner Essen and then he and Greenwood open fire on the precinct. The pair kill almost all those in the building, Nygma, Kristin Kringle and Lee Thompkins, are among the few not badly injured in the incident. Essen’s witnessed this all before Jerome turns his attention to her.

Meanwhile Gordon’s following Barbara down an alley and he calls out to her to surrender and he’ll do all he can to help her. She says that’s just going to get her sent back to Arkham and Jim throws up his hands and says let’s talk this out. Kean says it’s too late for that and we hear a scream and Helzinger jumps down and lands on Gordon and starts pummeling him. Jim picks up a steel pipe and hits Helzinger in the head with it and then just stares when he doesn’t react. After a couple of seconds, Aaron softly says oww and then continues beating Gordon to a pulp until Barbara tells him to stop.

Jim’s on the ground on his back barely conscious and Kean straddles him and tells him she kept saying this is what she’s really like, but Gordon wouldn’t listen. She says I’m not sick I’m free, then tells Jim he best get back to the station in a hurry.

Greenwood and Valeska now concentrate on Commissioner Essen, Greenwood picks up a video-camera and starts taping Jerome’s conversation with Essen. She looks at him and through gritted teeth tells him that he’ll soon be dead and nobody will remember his name. Jerome laughs at her and says that’s where you’re wrong, I’ll leave a mark and it’ll spread like a virus throughout the city. Greenwood shouts out there’s nothing as contagious as laughter and Jerome shoots him dead saying that’s his line. Now just three MANIAX remain.

Essen head butts Jerome in the head and he says he likes it and tells her to do it again. The second time she breaks his nose and says that’ll leave a mark. Valeska laughs as blood spurts from his nose, then says now it’s my turn. When Jim arrives back at the precinct, a couple of uniforms are still alive as well as Ed, Kristin and Lee. However Sarah’s dying, her blouse covered in blood. Jim grabs her hand and says it’s a new day Jim and dies.

Lucius Fox is with Bruce in the cave as Lucius inspects the computer and smiles and says it’s certainly broken. Bruce asks him if he can fix it and Fox says he imagines so, but it’ll take some time. He then tells Bruce that he loved his father and he never got a chance to tell him that and he wishes he’d helped him more. Alfred enters the cave with a somber expression and some news for Bruce.

Jim enters Essen’s office and suddenly we see Harvey in the doorway and he says she was a Hell of a lady and Gordon responds she was a Hell of a cop. He then sees Harvey’s sporting his shield and he says he appreciates but Harvey’s not obligated to come back. Bullock says he doesn’t want to talk about it, we are what we are. Jim asks him how Scottie took the news and Harvey says she’ll understand, or she won’t.

As they head out of the office and into the main precinct, Bruce and Alfred arrive. Bruce tells Jim that he’s sorry for the losses but he’s glad Gordon’s okay. He then says he’s sorry he was so rough on Jim the last time they spoke and he gives Gordon a hug. One of the cops turns on a TV and we see a news report containing footage that Jerome sent to the station that he taped during the massacre. He tells the city they’re all prisoners, just cogs in the wheel, then tells them to hang onto their hats as they ain’t seen nothing yet!

The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 8:00 pm on FOX.

Photo Courtesy Of Fox

Photo Courtesy Of Fox

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Since the FOX Network started airing their new series “Gotham,” we’ve watched as alliances form and then crumbled, once powerful figures, running for their lives along with romantic relationships, dashed upon the rocks, while other romances begin to bloom. This week’s episode contained all of those elements, plus another serial killer on the loose and yet another amazing escape from the clutches of death by Oswald Cobblepot.

Our first scene takes place on a rainy-night on a Gotham City rooftop, (does it rain every night in Gotham City?) as a man with spectacles, wearing a suit and tie, trench-coat and fedora, drags a man tied to a wooden chair, with a black hood over his head to the edge of a rooftop. He puts a noose around the man’s neck with the rope attached to a giant pulley, he has the man hanging over the edge of the rooftop, takes off the mask and awakens his prisoner.

The man in the chair’s a younger guy with a gag in his mouth and gets scared out of his mind when he sees his situation. The man with the hat loosens the rope and the victim falls halfway down the building, suspended in front of an apartment, where an Asian maid vacuums the floor, singing to herself with headphones on.

The next morning Gotham City Police Department Detective Harvey Bullock’s met on that rooftop by his Captain Sarah Essen and she’s told the victim dangled and then brought back up to the rooftop, by his killer. GCPD forensic scientist Ed Nygma, says that the murderer removed a part of the victim’s abdomen, post-mortem and he’ll check it thoroughly when he examines the body at the station.

Essen tells Nygma, that he’s just a forensic scientist and not the Medical Examiner and the man who’s in that position keeps complaining about Ed overstepping his bounds. She tells him to stay away from the body, then asks Harvey where his partner’s at and Bullock responds he had personal business to attend to.

His partner, GCPD Detective Jim Gordon, heads to his former fiancée Barbara’s apartment, to drop his keys off, but he discovers Selena Kyle’s homesteading there. He tells her he’s going to get her a safe place to live, when she asks if he’d spoken to Bruce Wayne, he responds he hasn’t. She then tells Gordon she told the boy she lied about seeing his parents killer and escapes out of the apartment.

Gordon heads to the Wayne Estate and finds a very subdued Alfred Pennyworth and Bruce Wayne, Wayne’s reading the paper in the library, when Alfred announces the detective. Jim’s unaware anything’s troubling Bruce, but it quickly becomes apparent as the boy hesitates to shake his hand. Bruce says that Selena’s telling the truth, she just lied she saw the killer to escape juvenile detention. He then tells Gordon, the detective he no longer concern himself with the case.

Jim tells him this isn’t the time to give up and the boy tells him he’s intensifying his efforts. He then tells Gordon that it’s months after the murder of his parents and the only thing Gordon’s turned up’s an unreliable witness. He then looks Jim in the eyes and said he didn’t want the detective bound, by an oath he failed to fulfill. He then says that he lets Gordon out of his promise and he’ll find the killer with his own resources and walks away. Alfred tells Gordon that once Bruce makes up his mind, there’s no going back. Jim says he can’t do it on his own and Alfred responds he’ll have to look after his ward.

We’re at Sal Maroni’s restaurant, as he uncorks a bottle of champagne, as Oswald Cobblepot sits with him at a table and the Penguin and he celebrate the death of Fish Mooney, whom Oswald’s certain got gunned down by Falcone’s hit-man Victor Zsasz in the previous episode. Maroni says they’ve got to jump on her territory quickly and Cobblepot says he’s already taken her nightclub over in Maroni’s name. Right then Sal’s cellphone rings and Penguin’s world begins to fall apart.

On the other end of the phone’s Fish Mooney, standing in a phone-booth with a rotary-phone (one of the cool, little oddities about this series, is we’re never quite sure about the time period. Or perhaps Gotham City exists in an alternate universe, where cellphones and phone-booths do coexist?) She tells Maroni’s she’s still alive, despite what his weasely errand-boy told him, she’s fallen from the top but she’ll get back there. She then tells Maroni that Penguin told her he’d been working for Falcone the entire time and double-crossed them both. When Sal questions her, she asks him if everything adds up, or has Maroni overlooked situations?

He replies that rings true and she responds for him to get his house in order and hangs up the phone. Cobblepot, asks if the call brought bad news, Maroni says he needs to go upstate, to see a guy about a thing and he thinks that Penguin should join him so they can discuss business.

Bullock’s at the station when a woman approaches his desk and asks if he’s Detective Bullock, then identifies herself as Scottie Mullen, the woman they contacted about Adam Jadowski, then asks if he’s dead. Bullock asks why she’d ask that question and she says this is a police station and you’re a homicide detective, Harvey tells her that he is and her number was in his pocket. She says she was his sort-of sponsor in a support-group, Bullock asks, if it was alcohol or drugs and Mullen responds, that it’s for fear and Jadowski had a fear of heights.

Harvey starts to poke fun at the concept, when Mullen’s asks him why he wants to be an ass? He’s totally flustered and says excuse me and she tells him he started making fun of her and the others with phobias. Bullock falls all over himself in apologizing and asks when the group meets next and she tells him that night at 6:30 pm. He asks her if she’s Irish, then says she looks Irish, then asks if the meeting takes an hour and if conceivably, if she could have dinner after the meeting. She’s now flustered and says yes and he assures her he’ll find the murderer.

Harvey’s smitten. he watches her as she leaves the station and while Jim comes over with a slim lead, the chair that Jadowski got tied to is a wooden banker’s chair made by a manufacturer, that closed down a few years before, but still own their warehouse. Bullock, puts on his coat and says we’re on our way.

An elderly well-dressed man, leaves his apartment building and we see the killer clutching a pot-bellied pig, which the man’s clearly afraid of. He turns to head the other way and the killer’s henchmen, Tasers the man and they put his unconscious body into a van.

As they’re searching the warehouse, Harvey asks Jim about him and Dr. Thompkins and Gordon admits to feelings, Bullock asks about Barbara and Jim says he dropped the keys off that morning. Gordon asks why they always talk about his love-life, what about Bullocks and his partner responds, that his love-life’s a sad short-story. However he says if they catch this killer he’s got his sights set on Scottie Mullen, then we hear a man scream in terror. They run to find the elderly man tied to a pole, with pigs at his feet, while a man with a pig mask’s about to stab him, they shoot him first.

Maroni and Penguin arrive in the country ay Maroni’s cabin and Maroni slaps him awake, then says let’s go inside and get some chow. Penguin’s barely touching his coffee and oatmeal and Maroni asks why and Oswald starts eating and drinking asking about the guy. Maroni says don’t worry about him, I’m going outside to get some wood for the fireplace and Penguin knows he’s in jeopardy.

Ed decides to go against the Captain’s wishes and start’s examining the hole in Jadowski’s abdomen and finds something when the Medical Examiner and Essen walk into the morgue and the Examiner goes crazy, demanding she do something or he’d go over her head. Captain Essen says she’s sorry but she’s placing Ed on indefinite suspension.

We see a boat out on the ocean and in the captain’s sleeping quarters lies Fish Mooney, visited by the Captain to make sure she’s comfortable, then tells her if she looks out of her window she can see the Gotham City skyline. She thanks him but says she’ll see it again soon.

Harvey and Jim arrive at the station and the Captain asks how the victim’s doing and Bullock tells her he’s in Gotham General half-scared out of his mind. Essen asks if they’re certain they got the murderer and Gordon says he’s not, but Bullock says these nut-jobs work alone and he’s heading to the meeting to let them know their fears are over. Gordon tells Harvey, he can’t say that assuredly and Bullock tells him to be optimistic.

Captain Essen repeats Harvey’s words and Jim says that the victim had a weird wound to his abdomen and he wants Ed to look at it and Essen tells him he’s suspended and the Medical Examiner’s reports in. Gordon reminds her that the Medical Examiner ruled the last victim a suicide, after dying from icepick wounds to the back. She says that by taking down Flass, in the previous episode they’re now being watched and there’s only so much she can do.

Harvey’s talking to Scottie Mullen at the support-group and he says she seems like such a strong woman, what’s her fear and she responds she’s a strong woman who fears swimming-pools after almost drowning in one at age seven. She asks Bullock if he’s afraid of anything and after attempting to blow-off the question he tells her he’s scared all the time and offers to speak to the group. She says that’s great and excuses herself as Harvey finds himself next to the killer at the snacks table. The killer asks Harvey if it’s his first time, Bullock responds it is and the killer states he’s a regular.

Just before Maroni heads back in the Cabin, Cobblepot goes into Sal’s bag and pulls out a pistol. When Maroni returns he says it’s time to lay all their cards on the table, total honesty, total trust, then starts playing a game with Penguin, revealing that Fish’s alive and told him that Oswald’s worked for Falcone the whole time. After trying to deny it, he pulls out the gun and Maroni laughs and says it’s filled with blanks, then he knocks out the Penguin.

Jim and Lee Thompkins meet at a restaurant for what looks like a date, but Gordon gives her the file of Adam Jadowski. She looks hurt and he asks what’s wrong, she says the last time they were together he got passionate, she believed this was a date and put on lipstick. Gordon blushes, says the case was pretext and he really wanted to see her. She smiles and says she’s glad because she dislikes putting lipstick on for nothing. His cell phone rings and he apologizes and says he’s got to leave, she understands and says she’ll look into the case and he kisses her goodbye. He calls Bullock, telling him that the second victim just said he got taken by two men.

Ed sneaks into the police locker-room and goes to a locker and picks a lock on it. We’re back at the meeting as Harvey addresses the fear-support group, he tells them he’s scared every moment of his life. His biggest fear’s getting shot in an alley as he bleeds out while some thug goes through his pockets. He doesn’t want to go out that way, he wants to pass in a loving home in the arms of a beautiful woman and looks at Scottie. The group applauds and then the killer speaks, saying his name’s Todd and this is his first time speaking. He says he’s got an uncontrollable fear of failure, he inherited it from his father and fears he’s passed it down to his son, then starts to cry and leaves the room, Scottie soon following him.

We’re in a garage as Maroni stands in front of Penguin whose on his knees begging Maroni for his life, saying he can be more valuable alive than dead, but Sal says he’s heard enough of his lies. He tells him he’s going to put him in a car that’s going to be compacted by the crusher and he’ll send it to Falcone to use as a coffee table. He then throws Cobblepot in the car locking the doors as the crusher starts to work. Maroni’s cellphone rings and it’s Penguin making one last-ditch effort, Sal says take it like a man and hangs up.

Oswald then calls the crusher operator, a man named Duffy and tells him he just called Falcone and unless he stops this instant, Falcone’s men will slaughter him and his entire family. Duffy falls for it and starts running away, Maroni thinking all’s under control wasn’t close enough, starts chasing Duffy but the operator splits. Sal heads back to the car to see that Penguin escaped as well.

The Medical Examiner walks into the locker-room whistling as he ends his shift and opens his locker then screams in fright as body parts tumble out of his locker. As he starts to pick them up, two uniforms walk into the locker room and the Medical Examiner says it’s not what it looks like.

Sitting at the meeting, Harvey asks the group if it seems they should have returned, when he’s met by silence he says so long, getting to the parking lot just as the killer’s taken Mullen. Jim and Bullock head to the station and Essen asks if the guy they shot was just an accomplice and Gordon confirms, and tells her that Scottie’s fear’s swimming-pools. Just then Harvey gets off the phone with Scottie’s mother and she told him it’s the Mars Park Pool, uptown. They head out and a uniform tries to get Essen’s attention by calling Boss. She starts to say not now, but instead she asks if he’s holding what she thinks he’s holding.

The killer’s real name’s Dr. Jonathan Crane and he’s got Scottie bound and gagged at the edge of the pool, she nearly drowned in as a child, he tells her she’s strong as she’s only registering an eight on his scale, a twelve causes a major coronary and instant death. Suddenly a teen walks in and tells his father he needs money to feed the meter, the son Gerald sees what his father’s doing and Crane tells his son that they’ve talked about his reasons, to help society. The teen heads back to the van.

Seeing her only hope of escape leave Mullen’s gets more scared registering a ten on Crane’s scale and he pushes her into the pool. Right then Jim and Harvey enter, Gordon says he’ll chase Crane and for Bullock to rescue Scottie, Harvey dives in, cuts the bonds on her hands and feet, brings her to the tile and performs CPR, saving her. Crane unfortunately escapes.

The next morning a school-bus filled with church-women come upon the Penguin lying in the weeds, one touches him with her hand-bag and he awakens, the other woman saying she knew he was alive. He asks if they’re heading into Gotham City and they offer him a ride, he enters the bus as the women sing hymns.

Jim’s at his desk at the station when Lee Thompkins shows up and tells him that she examined the body and the killer extracted the victim’s adrenal-gland, which has no value on the black market. He tells her she’s very good at this and that the GCPD need a new Medical Examiner as the old one got fired for stealing body parts. How about they talk about the job over dinner that evening?

He then stands up and tells her he’s got an overwhelming desire to kiss her right then and she asks why he doesn’t. He says he’s on duty, there’s like fifty-people watching and she tells him she’s going to lean in at the count of three and if he fails to kiss her on the cheek the date’s off. He takes her in his arms instead and the station personnel, including the reinstated Ed Nygma smile.

Fish lies in her cabin and suddenly hears gunfire, the Captain bursts in and says he can hide her, when a giant man resembling a pirate enters. Fish and the man rush head-on towards each other and the scene fades to black.

The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 8:00 pm on FOX.

Courtesy of FOX

Courtesy of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

There has been a fair amount of conjecture regarding last week’s episode. I’m not going to go into great detail, but there are some common sense issues that viewers and critics as well as studio executives need to consider. Anytime you air a sitcom pilot up against the season premiere of Homeland, Major League Baseball playoffs, and Sunday Night Football, you are going to have less than desired ratings. It’s a sitcom. It’s not like you should expect immediate success like that of Gotham or The Blacklist.

For those who can’t get past the premise, you’re focusing on the wrong details. For my money, Mulaney is already better than Two Broke Girls, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The New Girl, The Goldberg’s and a litany of other renewed sitcoms already on television. I’d include Modern Family in that as well, but I don’t want to incite the wrath of their fandom. Mulaney is in a difficult time slot for what it is. A new sitcom.

Do keep in mind that this is the juncture where my expectations are raised. I admittedly am a fan of John Mulaney, Seaton Smith, and Nasim Pedrad. And with John and Seaton specifically, I am familiar with their stand up work and believe this can be the kind of show it was designed to be. Last week a bulk of the material was previously written stuff. Verbatim. So this week I’m looking for new material. I want to hear new material and how that fits in.

With all of that said, it appears that FOX was shaken if not flat-out scared by the ratings and critical backlash. Multiple websites indicate that “The Doula” episode was intended to be the 7th episode in order. However, here we are week 2, and we’ve jumped ahead. The only reason I can imagine they’d do that is to shake things up. Maybe “The Doula” is edgier or something. Let’s find out.

“I was got a message”. OK John, here we go again. Here, let me finish it for you, “so I put on a sweater and a pair of corduroy pants, and I felt safe”. Welp, we have new material. For those that watched tonight’s episode, the “bodily functions that are acceptable to talk about” bit is new material. And I found genuinely funny. It’s not “Ice-T giving examples” funny but nice to see new material.

“Midwifery, sounds like an ugly girl on Downton Abbey”.

This episode definitely has something the pilot did not. Painful, Ben Stiller movie like awkwardness. Starting with Lou Cannon channeling his inner Richard Dawson. Cannon, who recently broke up with this girlfriend, is now treating the female contestants (and even female crew) as if they are willing participants in the game show, “Find Lou a New Girlfriend”.

A lovely little comedic device that I personally have not witnessed yet made its appearance tonight. The “We’re helping carry this heavy thing, but not really” shtick. Poor Andre. But onto a longer bit. With Andre carrying the new air conditioner up to the apartment, they need to get the old one out. Motif goes out on the terrace to push it through with his feet. Naturally, looking like a woman in stirrups trying to deliver a baby just as John’s new item, the Doula, shows up. Which then turns into a great interaction with the “Doula” treating Motif like an actual woman delivering an air conditioning unit.

Side note. The Doula, is played by Maria Thayer. She seemed very familiar to me. Maria Thayer starred in the made for TV movie “Annie Claus Comes to Town”. And yes, Annie Claus is exactly who you think it is. No actor or actress who played even a small role in any Christmas movie (big or small) will ever escape my gaze.

In another great Elliot Gould moment, Oscar suggests to John that he learn as much about childbirth as he can so that it is no worse than watching a friend get their hair cut. Gould 2 for 2 on stealing scenes by the way. So with the help of Motif and Jane, John begins learning everything he can about childbirth. From shedding to episiotomies. All of that is difficult but fine. Until they get their hands on a video of “the Miracle of Life”. Midway through, escalating the last bit involving Andre, Andre comes in carrying a couch in a box by himself thinking Jane and Motif and eventually John are helping when they are not. He set the box down, looks at the TV and says, “hey, those are my parents”. Andre the obnoxious grass dealer is the Miracle of Life baby.

The last scene starts out well enough. John has educated himself as much as possible to prepare himself for watching Amanda (the Doula) do her job. Or in other words John is going to attend a home water birth. He even comes off well-meaning and prepared when he mentions that he brought a container for the placenta.

Amanda: Well, you’re like a Doula apprentice.
John: Well, whatever helps to create a calm and serene atmosphere for the baby to enter. Nothing’s going to spoil this moment.
(Lou Cannon slides into frame sitting down front and center next to John)
Lou: Wow, a home birth. You know they come out real slimy. Not all cute like on Murphy Brown.
John: LOU. The worst thing that someone can do at a birth is panic, but I am very concerned that you are here.

The entire episode, John Mulaney has been worried that some turn of events at this delivery was going to be his undoing. The prospect that he might see something that would turn him squeamish and he would embarrass himself or Amanda. Turns out he had nothing to worry about. Well, at least pertaining to the birth. Lou decides to tell and then show John about the thing he and Mary Jo did together to solve his ‘release’ problem. Then seeing Lou naked and Mary Jo naked was enough to make him pass out. Into the pool the pregnant mother is sitting in that will retain all of her and her baby’s bodily fluids. And there lies John face down in the delivery pool.